Here is what Apple did for Twitter (In figures & graphs)

I am no Apple fanboy. So when I read that Apple had lead to the growth of Twitter, I was skeptical at first. I even commented on the post but then it was taken down since I said it was a fallacy. Today, I decided to have a look at the numbers. And they do not lie. Quick stats run through:

Twitter users

  • March 2010 - 50mn
  • September 2011 - 100mn
  • March 2012 - 140mn

iOS 5 got deep integration with Twitter in October 2011.

Summary

  • Growth between March 2010 and September 2011 is 100% which translates into a 3.93% growth month-on-month.
  • Growth between October 2011 and March 2012 is 6.14% month on month.

The graph is below and these are my calculations.

If you need me to explain my methodology, tweet me @Chiira.

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Milton Glaser's Ten Things About Life

YOU CAN ONLY WORK FOR PEOPLE THAT YOU LIKE.This is a curious rule and it took me a long time to learn because in fact at the beginning of my practice I felt the opposite. Professionalism required that you didn't particularly like the people that you worked for or at least maintained an arms length relationship to them, which meant that I never had lunch with a client or saw them socially. Then some years ago I realized that the opposite was true. I discovered that all the work I had done that was meaningful and significant came out of an affectionate relationship with a client. And I am not talking about professionalism; I am talking about affection. I am talking about a client and you sharing some common ground. That in fact your view of life is someway congruent with the client, otherwise it is a bitter and hopeless struggle.

IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE NEVER HAVE A JOB. One night I was sitting in my car outside Columbia University where my wife Shirley was studying Anthropology. While I was waiting I was listening to the radio and heard an interviewer ask 'Now that you have reached 75 have you any advice for our audience about how to prepare for your old age?' An irritated voice said 'Why is everyone asking me about old age these days?' I recognized the voice as John Cage. I am sure that many of you know who he was – the composer and philosopher who influenced people like Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham as well as the music world in general. I knew him slightly and admired his contribution to our times. 'You know, I do know how to prepare for old age' he said. 'Never have a job, because if you have a job someday someone will take it away from you and then you will be unprepared for your old age. For me, it has always been the same every since the age of 12. I wake up in the morning and I try to figure out how am I going to put bread on the table today? It is the same at 75, I wake up every morning and I think how am I going to put bread on the table today? I am exceedingly well prepared for my old age' he said.

SOME PEOPLE ARE TOXIC AVOID THEM. This is a subtext of number one. There was in the sixties a man named Fritz Perls who was a gestalt therapist. Gestalt therapy derives from art history, it proposes you must understand the 'whole' before you can understand the details. What you have to look at is the entire culture, the entire family and community and so on. Perls proposed that in all relationships people could be either toxic or nourishing towards one another. It is not necessarily true that the same person will be toxic or nourishing in every relationship, but the combination of any two people in a relationship produces toxic or nourishing consequences. And the important thing that I can tell you is that there is a test to determine whether someone is toxic or nourishing in your relationship with them. Here is the test: You have spent some time with this person, either you have a drink or go for dinner or you go to a ball game. It doesn't matter very much but at the end of that time you observe whether you are more energized or less energized. Whether you are tired or whether you are exhilarated. If you are more tired then you have been poisoned. If you have more energy you have been nourished. The test is almost infallible and I suggest that you use it for the rest of your life.

PROFESSIONALISM IS NOT ENOUGH or THE GOOD IS THE ENEMY OF THE GREAT. Early in my career I wanted to be professional, that was my complete aspiration in my early life because professionals seemed to know everything - not to mention they got paid for it. Later I discovered after working for a while that professionalism itself was a limitation. After all, what professionalism means in most cases is diminishing risks. So if you want to get your car fixed you go to a mechanic who knows how to deal with transmission problems in the same way each time. I suppose if you needed brain surgery you wouldn't want the doctor to fool around and invent a new way of connecting your nerve endings. Please do it in the way that has worked in the past.Unfortunately in our field, in the so-called creative – I hate that word because it is misused so often. I also hate the fact that it is used as a noun. Can you imagine calling someone a creative? Anyhow, when you are doing something in a recurring way to diminish risk or doing it in the same way as you have done it before, it is clear why professionalism is not enough. After all, what is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success. So professionalism as a lifetime aspiration is a limited goal.

LESS IS NOT NECESSARILY MORE. Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realized that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. But it sounds great because it contains within it a paradox that is resistant to understanding. But it simply does not obtain when you think about the visual of the history of the world. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realize that every part of that rug, every change of colour, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else. However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. 'Just enough is more.'

STYLE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED. I think this idea first occurred to me when I was looking at a marvelous etching of a bull by Picasso. It was an illustration for a story by Balzac called The Hidden Masterpiece. I am sure that you all know it. It is a bull that is expressed in 12 different styles going from very naturalistic version of a bull to an absolutely reductive single line abstraction and everything else along the way. What is clear just from looking at this single print is that style is irrelevant. In every one of these cases, from extreme abstraction to acute naturalism they are extraordinary regardless of the style. It's absurd to be loyal to a style. It does not deserve your loyalty. I must say that for old design professionals it is a problem because the field is driven by economic consideration more than anything else. Style change is usually linked to economic factors, as all of you know who have read Marx. Also fatigue occurs when people see too much of the same thing too often. So every ten years or so there is a stylistic shift and things are made to look different. Typefaces go in and out of style and the visual system shifts a little bit. If you are around for a long time as a designer, you have an essential problem of what to do. I mean, after all, you have developed a vocabulary, a form that is your own. It is one of the ways that you distinguish yourself from your peers, and establish your identity in the field. How you maintain your own belief system and preferences becomes a real balancing act. The question of whether you pursue change or whether you maintain your own distinct form becomes difficult. We have all seen the work of illustrious practitioners that suddenly look old-fashioned or, more precisely, belonging to another moment in time. And there are sad stories such as the one about Cassandre, arguably the greatest graphic designer of the twentieth century, who couldn't make a living at the end of his life and committed suicide.But the point is that anybody who is in this for the long haul has to decide how to respond to change in the zeitgeist. What is it that people now expect that they formerly didn't want? And how to respond to that desire in a way that doesn't change your sense of integrity and purpose.

HOW YOU LIVE CHANGES YOUR BRAIN. The brain is the most responsive organ of the body. Actually it is the organ that is most susceptible to change and regeneration of all the organs in the body. I have a friend named Gerald Edelman who was a great scholar of brain studies and he says that the analogy of the brain to a computer is pathetic. The brain is actually more like an overgrown garden that is constantly growing and throwing off seeds, regenerating and so on. And he believes that the brain is susceptible, in a way that we are not fully conscious of, to almost every experience of our life and every encounter we have. I was fascinated by a story in a newspaper a few years ago about the search for perfect pitch. A group of scientists decided that they were going to find out why certain people have perfect pitch. You know certain people hear a note precisely and are able to replicate it at exactly the right pitch. Some people have relevant pitch; perfect pitch is rare even among musicians. The scientists discovered – I don't know how - that among people with perfect pitch the brain was different. Certain lobes of the brain had undergone some change or deformation that was always present with those who had perfect pitch. This was interesting enough in itself. But then they discovered something even more fascinating. If you took a bunch of kids and taught them to play the violin at the age of 4 or 5 after a couple of years some of them developed perfect pitch, and in all of those cases their brain structure had changed. Well what could that mean for the rest of us? We tend to believe that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind, although we do not generally believe that everything we do affects the brain. I am convinced that if someone was to yell at me from across the street my brain could be affected and my life might changed. That is why your mother always said, 'Don't hang out with those bad kids.' Mama was right. Thought changes our life and our behavior. I also believe that drawing works in the same way. I am a great advocate of drawing, not in order to become an illustrator, but because I believe drawing changes the brain in the same way as the search to create the right note changes the brain of a violinist. Drawing also makes you attentive. It makes you pay attention to what you are looking at, which is not so easy.

DOUBT IS BETTER THAN CERTAINTY. Everyone always talks about confidence in believing what you do. I remember once going to a class in yoga where the teacher said that, spirituality speaking, if you believed that you had achieved enlightenment you have merely arrived at your limitation. I think that is also true in a practical sense. Deeply held beliefs of any kind prevent you from being open to experience, which is why I find all firmly held ideological positions questionable. It makes me nervous when someone believes too deeply or too much. I think that being skeptical and questioning all deeply held beliefs is essential. Of course we must know the difference between skepticism and cynicism because cynicism is as much a restriction of one's openness to the world as passionate belief is. They are sort of twins. And then in a very real way, solving any problem is more important than being right. There is a significant sense of self-righteousness in both the art and design world. Perhaps it begins at school. Art school often begins with the Ayn Rand model of the single personality resisting the ideas of the surrounding culture. The theory of the avant garde is that as an individual you can transform the world, which is true up to a point. One of the signs of a damaged ego is absolute certainty.Schools encourage the idea of not compromising and defending your work at all costs. Well, the issue at work is usually all about the nature of compromise. You just have to know what to compromise. Blind pursuit of your own ends which excludes the possibility that others may be right does not allow for the fact that in design we are always dealing with a triad – the client, the audience and you. Ideally, making everyone win through acts of accommodation is desirable. But self-righteousness is often the enemy. Self-righteousness and narcissism generally come out of some sort of childhood trauma, which we do not have to go into. It is a consistently difficult thing in human affairs. Some years ago I read a most remarkable thing about love, that also applies to the nature of co-existing with others. It was a quotation from Iris Murdoch in her obituary. It read ' Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real.' Isn't that fantastic! The best insight on the subject of love that one can imagine.

ON AGING. Last year someone gave me a charming book by Roger Rosenblatt called 'Ageing Gracefully' I got it on my birthday. I did not appreciate the title at the time but it contains a series of rules for ageing gracefully. The first rule is the best. Rule number one is that 'it doesn't matter.' 'It doesn't matter what you think. Follow this rule and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late or early, if you are here or there, if you said it or didn't say it, if you are clever or if you were stupid. If you were having a bad hair day or a no hair day or if your boss looks at you cockeyed or your boyfriend or girlfriend looks at you cockeyed, if you are cockeyed. If you don't get that promotion or prize or house or if you do – it doesn't matter.' Wisdom at last. Then I heard a marvelous joke that seemed related to rule number 10. A butcher was opening his market one morning and as he did a rabbit popped his head through the door. The butcher was surprised when the rabbit inquired 'Got any cabbage?' The butcher said 'This is a meat market – we sell meat, not vegetables.' The rabbit hopped off. The next day the butcher is opening the shop and sure enough the rabbit pops his head round and says 'You got any cabbage?' The butcher now irritated says 'Listen you little rodent I told you yesterday we sell meat, we do not sell vegetables and the next time you come here I am going to grab you by the throat and nail those floppy ears to the floor.' The rabbit disappeared hastily and nothing happened for a week. Then one morning the rabbit popped his head around the corner and said 'Got any nails?' The butcher said 'No.' The rabbit said 'Ok. Got any cabbage?'

TELL THE TRUTH. The rabbit joke is relevant because it occurred to me that looking for a cabbage in a butcher's shop might be like looking for ethics in the design field. It may not be the most obvious place to find either. It's interesting to observe that in the new AIGA's code of ethics there is a significant amount of useful information about appropriate behavior towards clients and other designers, but not a word about a designer's relationship to the public. We expect a butcher to sell us eatable meat and that he doesn't misrepresent his wares. I remember reading that during the Stalin years in Russia that everything labelled veal was actually chicken. I can't imagine what everything labelled chicken was. We can accept certain kinds of misrepresentation, such as fudging about the amount of fat in his hamburger but once a butcher knowingly sells us spoiled meat we go elsewhere. As a designer, do we have less responsibility to our public than a butcher? Everyone interested in licensing our field might note that the reason licensing has been invented is to protect the public not designers or clients. 'Do no harm' is an admonition to doctors concerning their relationship to their patients, not to their fellow practitioners or the drug companies. If we were licensed, telling the truth might become more central to what we do.

And to wrap that up, here is a video posted by @wiselar still by Milton Glaser.

http://vimeo.com/23285699

Beans and Chilli

You know how beans give you gas? And then you keep on releasing small fumes that in the January heat can be ignited. That. Well, now while I was trying to keep the rats fed and the cockroaches a subject of scientifical interest, I found a way to avoid flatulence. Well, you may ask what I was doing with beans. I was making dinner. And then I came upon the realization that some things are easy to avoid. They don't include being poisoned by my cooking. I recently bought some huge butt chillies and on day one of cooking using them, including making kachumbari, they were just plain. Not hot. Just plain. And they were delicious.

Day 2 and I decided pasta with baked beans, mchele-dondo is a step away from me, would do that evening. Make the pasta in a way only a dude from the lesser slopes of The Aberdares would do. In another pan sufuria, add the baked beans and two chopped pieces of the chilli. Keep stirring while the heat is on. Wait for ten-or-so minutes. Food is ready. Munch away with a glass of water because in the two days since when they were bought, the half-life of the damned chillies had turned into double-life.

Day 3. Githeri. Remember the slopes from before? Yes, they make githeri there in copious amounts. But I only eat it once a week and it comes with more beans than maize. Buy the pre-cooked githeri from Nakumatt stores near you then go home. Vegetable fat, onion, garlic (optional), ginger (optional). Cook until the onion is dry. Throw in your pre-cooked githeri and keep stirring. Throw in the pre-chopped chillies and tomatoes (fresh ones preferably). Add three drops or so of water. Add salt. Wait for ten-or-so minutes. Food is ready. Serve and don't forget the glass of water. Drinking is most preferred.

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Since day 2 of cooking with the chillies, their double-life had doubled. Making its hotness quattro-life. And the best thing is that the next day after the usual morning routines, there were no gases in my stomach. And thus no flatulence. It seems that chilli can even neutralise methane and hydrogen sulfide. Mrs. Waweru, I am making you proud with my upcoming chemistry PhD.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

  1. Putting a face to the body: A forensic analysis carried out by members of the male species upon sighting a female species from behind.
  2. Living my Twitter life drama free!

 

And earlier this year I blogged here. Sorry that you were not invited to my blog's second birthday in November. We shall have a bigger party this November. Watch out for the invites.

Fallacies

If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. - Misattributed to Joseph Goebbels (See what I did there?)

And that is the truth of the matter. People will believe anything as long as you keep on repeating it to them. Maybe I am tired of that and so I want to say it here. Before my kids get to learn of the lie(s) and spread it around the world.

  • Month X has 5 Sundays. This happens once in every 823 years.

Yes, the first time you heard of it, you were wowed. Your eyes popped out. You believed you were part of history. You were the type that were stupid enough to forward the message that if it won't get around to 5 people you will get good bad luck in the next twenty minutes. You knew that this was an impossibility but you still did it.

But the one for months with 5 Sundays in 823 years is true. It has been tested and it is actually known to be true.

Well, son. Grab a pencil, some A4 paper and a calculator and I take you to class for a minute. We say that an year has 52 weeks, 12 months and a month has 4 weeks. Right or wrong?

Right. Good, simple mathematics will tell you that 12 months multiplied by 4 weeks per month will give you 48 weeks. Those are then the number of weeks that we will have in an year if we were to partially take the above definition. That then leaves us with 4 weeks that are unaccounted for. Let us leave that pending and we go to the next thing; days in a month.

The number of days in a month vary from a minimum of 28 to a maximum of 31. But a week has 7 days. And if a month has 4 weeks, there will be at least 11 months in an year that have days that are unaccounted for. Do they fall in an imaginary week or what? That is where the 5th week comes in. If I have lost you so far, go back up and then leave a comment if you still don't understand.

That then means that at least 4 months in any calendar year will have '5 weeks'. And if a week starts on Sunday and ends on Monday, how many Sundays will we then have? 5 Sundays in any month.

By the same workings although with careful substitutions for days with weeks and all those other things, a leap year has 5 months that have 5 Sundays each.

And for any month to have the 5 Sundays, that means that month has to come around once in every 823 years (if we take that the months happen just once). If we take it that they require after every other 11 months, then we have an even smaller probability of about once in every 69 years. That is two and a half generations.

Next time you write that nonsense on Facebook, Twitter or G+, get your head checked. And as you move from the left to the right of the social networks list, get more psychiatrists.

  • False Representation

We have taken social media to new heights. Good heights. We can promote anything there and it will gain the traction it needs. But don't get it confused, traction here depends on how you define traction but we all know what it can do. So when you tell us that you are going to the bundus to have a camp on Wordpress, trust me we will respond. And we will pay to attend it. And bring our clandes and side-projects. But read what you tell us first:

The real subject of the trip is WordCamp – and we have just the perfect WordCamp this weekend. With sessions covering a wide scope of topics and discussions, everyone is bound to leave the venue a word brighter and having known something new they did not know about WordPress.

And I will repeat that last part.

.....everyone is bound to leave the venue a word brighter and having known something new they did not know about WordPress.

Then what is that you were discussing about how to optimize your blog while using social media? That is not Wordpress exclusive. I have a Posterous blog (no shameless promotion here) and it is something anyone on any platform can be able to talk about. I expected to see people saying how they now know about how to use widgets and plugins for Wordpress and how they have discovered a richer way of posting. Tell me how the paid version of Wordpress is better than the free version (what I am currently using). But what was actually discussed was a total fallacy from what had been promised. If someone does that next time, just tell them as it is; You LIED!!!!

  • Reading from a Presentation

If I was paying to attend meetings/seminars/conferences that had presentations, I would charge the person who made the presentation and read from it. And I will one day ensure that I unplug the mains power to see someone make an a$$ of themselves as they fail to make a presentation that they prepared. How does one read something that they worked on for so long? Either that or they were totally in another universe while their virtual assistant (Iris) came up with the presentation with the dog barking in the house.

The presentation is meant to guide you as you go about with YOUR presentation. Own it. Don't let the laptop and the projector throw you off tangent by reading. What even makes it worse is if you have a more than 10 slides presentation and you read from all of them. And should I ever read from a presentation, may the good Lord help me to start stoning myself before everyone is asleep in the room.

We now go into our commercial break. Stay tuned for more after this short break.

  • Professional Multi-tasking

Specialisation is meant to make people good at what they do and they do it well. That is why your general practitioner is not the same person who fixes your plumbing or even drives your MP around. So when you have started your company and you want to impress the client, don't do everything that the job entails when you know you only have grasping Project Management knowledge on the details. You will embarass yourself. Get someone to help you. Walk around with an intern who can do something.

Don't try to pick the cloth's colour, decide what thread will be used, cut the cloth, stitch it and fitting it onto the client. No that won't work. Get people who can cut well according to measurements and body size. Get people who can stitch it without exposing the knotted thread. Get people who will fit it onto the client. If you can do any part of that, concentrate on that. I know it will take a beating on your expected profit but you would rather deliver something that can lead to business in future rather than a once-off thing.

Also, maybe unrelated to the above, before you start your company, have the following:

  1. Proper Research: Know what your competition is charging and then price accordingly. I have been told of people who are undercutting themselves in business by offering such low rates that clients don't want to work with them. My pal is quoting jobs for at least KShs 500 000 and you come ahead and quote KShs 150 000. Clients will not simply work with you on the basis of such huge 'savings' that you are giving them. They have to reason things out before anything happens.
  2. Working Capital: If you go into business without this, then you are jumping around on a one-ply sheet of paper up 1080feet in the sky. And when you undercut yourself and you don't have working capital, you are screwed.
  • Is Your Business Only Legal or Is It a Legitimate Business?

Anyone can register a business. It is not that hard to do it. But what makes your business legitimate is when there are people who are behind the business. People who are known what they do and are not afraid of saying that it is what they do.

Businesses in Kenya used to launch and not have websites or they would just have a Yahoo! Mail address. That has all changed and people/businesses now have websites. For KShs 50 000, I can have someone put me up in a nice corner of the web. But I know for one thing, some people would never take that business seriously if there is no face behind that business. Especially when I am a start-up. Just give a brief indication of the leading three (if available) people in the business. That makes it easy to be identified and people will always trust a human being rather than someone else.

And if you doubt it, look at all the companies that are being launched and have been launched anywhere else in the world. There is always a page on the website that you can get some information on who runs the business. Additionally, if your company has two people in it, there is no Chief/Lead/Head of/Director, Blalalalalalala. You are just two people in it. Print out a business card and write Partner. When you get people who report directly to you and are employed there full-time, change that stuff to whatever fanciness you choose to call yourself. Julie Waters said:

I didn't come into the business to get awards or titles.

NOTE OF THE DAY

When Steve Jobs died and you were all "iWeep, iSad, iCry, iDieALittle" then you later learn that Dennis Ritchie and John McCarthy had died and you say how we can idolize a guy who copied from Xerox, you might be struck repeatedly by a blind seagull.

PS: Sorry for the rather long blog-post but when it rains, it pours.

Disclaimer: The only business I have been engaged in, is giving out worthless advice for free and selling my time to a company. Also, if you are self-employed but you were once employed, stop hating on those who are employed. They do not have a simple mentality as you say. You were there at one point.

8 Out Of 10

I promised I won't take long before I update this dusty piece of the Internet. But it hasn't been long seeing that I have done it before the 2nd birthday of this here baby. We are now going through the teething phase of the baby's phase and I hope it won't bite too hand on the nipple that feeds it. Now that we are here doing this, I would like to start with some questions. Answer them as truthfully as you can.

  1. I am currently (and confidently) employed.
  2. I am currently employed in a position with a pay scale that fairly reflects my education, experience and talent.
  3. I have a minimum of six months’ cost-of-living expenses in the bank and/or cookie jar.
  4. I come from a wealthy family (not “rich,” wealthy).
  5. I am confident that my* investments, pensions, 401k’s and even Social Security/Medicaid NHIF healthcare insurance will be there when I need them.
  6. I don’t feel like I’ve dropped the soap in a prison shower every time I use an ATM.
  7. I have adequate, reasonably affordable healthcare insurance.
  8. I believe my best interests are being represented in Washington on Parliament Road.
  9. I believe my best interests in the financial sense are considered at the Stock Exchange, by my broker, by my bank and employers.
  10. I am living a better life than my parents, and my children will do better than me.

*My refers to anything that you pay out of your own pocket. Not what your parents, benefactors or employer pays for you.

** Taken from The Bosha's Tumblr.

If you got anything above 8 (80% easy, peasy maths), you are among the lucky 1% that roams this earth. What does 1% mean?

It just means that they are able to do all that (and much more). They are not even classified as the upper-rich class. They are the wealthy. They reek of money. The reason I asked that is because people distrust the financial sector. Even in Nairobi they do. Stock-brokers, insurers and other financial companies will go under, with your money. Then you will have to keep on following up in the courts so that you can get it.

We live in a ruthless world and the financial sector is eating away at it (while the shilling goes down against the dollar). It is high time that we did something like what I joke about. I am not saying that we camp outside some office but there must be more that can be done.

Bad thing is that my conscience has been battling with me especially since I was trained in the ways of The Financial Deceiver and I am itching to one day go back there. Side note: The numbers are too good to work with plus The Wall Street movies (this and this) make me believe I can still do some good.

This marks an almost two month blogging hiatus following a promise that I would update it more frequently. I won't make no such promises and I will see what goes this time round. Maybe it is high time I tried to spatter my creative juices upon this canvas that I have with me. A few changes will be made up here and I will try go back to the period of confusion.

My parting comment: When you cross over to the dark side, just accept it as it is with all the murk.

#NowPlaying Obie Trice - Cry Now

WORTHY READS

1. Longreads

2. Guernica

3. Nymou's Tumblr

4. Threadless (because I want one of you to get me a couple of t-shirts. Leave me a comment to get my skinny details).

Nairobi's Streets

I feel safe when I walk through Nairobi. I feel very, very unsafe when humanity walks in Nairobi. I feel threatened when those meant to protect us walk through Nairobi with guns. I guess it started one evening as I was heading home from my university classes. The matatu driver decided to start overlapping. Then came the cash-carriers of Kenya Nairobi alias the Administration Police. They were in the mis-understooduch hated Probox and the matatu driver decided to come in between them and the bundles of a dead president and a former president. Please note that I was sitted on the left-hand side so I saw everything in HD (Heightened Disinterest) vision. At this point one of the AP's (Alert Proboscite) decides to show the matatu driver who lays the law down on this side of town. He just took out his weapon (not of choice, I am sure) and proceeded to gently nudge the matatu on the rib. By gently I mean prodding like he was checking for signs of life from the ex-Japan people-carrier.

At this point I lowered my glasses and in the best voice I could, asked myself what Horatio Caine would have said if the AP's weapon had received a sugar-high of it's own. TGImF (Thank God It mis-Fired) would have been what the police commissioner might have said. Or not. The matatu driver got to learn something or the other and decided to keep on overlapping.

The next time I had this kind of an encounter was courtesy of the same men who ferry cash. I had just alighted from a bus and was waiting for a colleague to alight then we decide what direction to take. It is best to say here that I have something against bankers but I will refrain from doing so. It was at 7pm and we were at the point where there are so many people around that hour that it seems stupid to try and ferry cash at that hour hand of the City Clock. The Alert Proboscites immenjiateri alighted from there container on wheels and while pointing the (ever-present) weapon at us, shouted at us (I was with a friend, not colleague. A friend) to move. In that one tick before the tock, I saw my life flashing before me. It was not the best thing to see a metal-discharging metal pointed at me.

Lastly, are the guards at the closest embassy to where I work. Unfortunately that same route also functions as the Route-11 choice of getting into the CBD. They always freak me out somehow. Not because they have weapons, but they always look eager to hand over a few bullets to God using you as the courier. Last time I checked when that happens, they place something on you (not a wreath).

By the way, ili watu wakae wakijua I would have titled this post "Of Men & Guns" but then some of you would have thought I had joined a gym.

It's Been A While........

............continue singing with me. "Why is everybody quiet?" "Because you started that Staind song with the wrong note."

"Whatever."

Anyway, it has been a while since I last updated this piece of Internet real estate. To be frank, I have been lazy, I got other prime pieces and I was trying to find myself. Not like any of my body organs had disappeared in this cold but my mind has been all over the place so I had to let it calm down for a while. Plus a lot of stuff has been happening at work which somehow made me realize that I always approach whatever I am doing from the wrong angle. It is not like I know the right angle but for know, I just know that I was doing it all wrong.

There is the 5 links thing going on. You post links to five (5) of your past posts in a certain order. I have been avoiding it but seeing it is the only easy thing I can blog about, here goes bullet points (see what I did there?).

  • My Most Popular Post:

TedX Nairobi: It is just a quick summary of the happenings at last year's TEDx Nairobi. I did it that same evening after the event while I was at the iHub before I went to shake-a-leg. I was tired but thought I could do it by including all the links and whatever. Two hours later I was still typing it out. But I am glad that it received all the loving that it got.

  • Posts that did not get the attention it deserved:

Memories: Yes, it got the 10 comments but I thought it would get more. I tend to think of it as my finest work of fiction on this blog and it was in the run-up to the referendum when I wrote it. So yes, if you think it is still relevant, please add a relevant comment.

  • Post whose success surprised me

Book Review: Half of a Yellow Sun: My second book review and I was doing it because I liked the book. People came out to read it and I was pleasantly surprised about it. 15 comments. No further comment about that.

  • My most controversial post

Your Child is Not My Laptop: It is not controversial in the sense that I got bashed for it but because I know people would do it & not bat an eyelid or a cricket ball about it. I wrote it in the sort of way that says, "I am casually mad at society". So to make it really controversial, strip away the humour and if you do all those things, have a go at me. Cool? Cool.

  • Post I am most proud of

Coffee, A Stream and Tar: I am proud of it because I never got to finish it, promised a part two that I am yet to deliver and no one called me out on it. No seriously, do you take me for a politician? I am proud of it because it allowed me to go back in time and get nostalgic about my descriptive writing. I still owe you the part two and I am calling out the giants within to unleash.

I will not tag anyone. Because my blogging has gone off tangent and I might pass the bug through a tag. But this has allowed me to see how my writing has changed over time. I am not sure if it has gotten better or worse but it has changed. All in favour of it has changed for the better, say "Aye". All in favour of it has changed for worse say "Nay". The comments will produce a final tally.

 

 

Word of the Day

Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. - Bertolt Brecht

 

For Your Reading Pleasure

Friday Post

Diss-continue: What I do when I keep on throwing barbs your way and you have no reply to them.

It is Friday, Friday, Everyone is Gonna have a good time on Friday. (Shut up Rebecca Black). She is in my head and it is boring that people want to act like her on the one day all I can think of are grey alley cats. Not, LOLcats but actual alley cats.

Anywho, I have been bitten by the go-back-to-school bug. Well, the swelling is not yet there but I can feel the itch. I do not think my actuarial studies were going to make any sense 20 years from now (though I have that secret craving of being a qualified actuary). So, I am thinking graduate school. I am not sure what I will do thus, hence, therefore, (choose one) for the next one year, I will sit tight and hope to get back to hitting them books for a while.

Most people know me as Maina, Chiira or Chiira Maina. That is who I am on these internetz. Chiira is a cool name. because I am named after one of the tallest men I knew, my dad's father. (RIP Chiira). Coolest guy ever especially after he gave his life to God (for three years before passing on). Even before then, he was a pretty cool dude. I was brought up where I had minimal interaction with other people (I am not a people's person). I got to know what my name meant in Dholuo when I was in class 6. Our music teacher at the time came in for his first lesson ever and decided to ask me a question. Of course, I had to give my name (the popular version of it anyway). It was Chiira. For the next two minutes, he did not believe me and had to ask the whole class what my name was. It was Chiira. And that is when I got to know what Chiira meant in Dholuo.

Now, I have all these peeps who follow me on Twitter and know more Dholuo than I ever would. Yes, I am averse to learning any languages since my dad would not allow me to take French in high school, c'est tout ce que? My linguistic capabilities aside, it bugs me that people have a problem with me being comfortable with my name. It is my name, no bad luck has ever fallen my way because of it and you are just bugging me (especially on Twitter). I have a few tweets to this effect and I may not have made them when I was angry or anything but I still found it disturbing. Mine is simple; unless we have a really close Twitter friendship, I will not read too much into your name and I expect the same. Mutual respect *gang signs here*.

I sort of miss my old gig. Just shutting out all the people and getting to work on all those Excel worksheets. Making kick-a** reports for presentation where people would zone out when I just started talking. Playing with 5 MB Excel sheets and learning how to code from Prophet (two lines and my brain was like a KFC chicken). I still play with the Excel sheets in my new job and yes, they can be that big. But my people skills need a kick in the butt if I hope to do this until I am old. Maybe grad school will provide me with some of that, NOT.

PS: Sorry for not posting more frequently. I drain out my brain cells so few times in an year and I think this is the best place to do it.

Unfoiling an N8

Curtain opens to reveal three distinguished gentlemen lads standing outside a departmental store adjoining a store with a 30% off sale on handbags. One of the lads is in a black jacket (E), the other in a blue jacket (M) and the third in a black shirt (C). It is dusky hence the rest of the clothing is blurred or seems to be. Passers-by walk past the three in usual Nairobi fashion E, M & C are in animated conversation until M pulls out his N8 to start fiddling with it as he is wont to whenever conversation is that juicy. Suddenly, he cries out.

M: My phone has hang.

E: What? An N8 is not supposed to hang unless it is committing suicide.

Blank stare from C.

M: Can someone call me?

C pulls out his sleek Nokia and dials M's number. Waits for at least a minute before the N8 starts ringing. N8 rings but there is no response on the screen. M tries to touch the screen but nothing much happens. C ends his call but the phone is ringing and belting out some Adam Lambert song.

C: I need to buy something from the store. Let us go in. Plus M, you can have your phone checked out.

E: I need to go look artistic at the European Film Festival.

M: Stop being a diuck and we go into the store.

The three walk in but E has to leave his manbag at the watchman's place. M's first stop is the phone shop where he is told there is nothing that can be done but at the back of the store he can find someone to unscrew his phone. And possibly be thrown into a pit with German Shepherds.

C: Let me get something and I will be back.

C walks off and comes back holding a bunch of dead plants laid to rest in a plastic coffin.

E: His phone is getting unscrewed. Hope that does not screw it permanently.

M: Ha! Let us see.

Clearly M is now panicking & is about to cry. Cry For His Beloved Country Phone. Phone finally gets unscrewed and behold, forth shines a magnificent light that blinds us all. We can make tail of the phone but not the battery.

M: C, do you know how to get the battery out?

C gives him a blank stare. More fiddling, screwing the phone and finally we resolve to go on our way.

C: Let us pay for my purchases.

E: I will also pick up a cold Coke on my way out.

Next to the checkout till, the three lads stand. Conversation narrows down to the packs of prophylactics available for sell. SIDE NOTE: Gutter minds I would say.

C: just go to the vegetable side and have the phone wrapped in foil. It is noisy and before you get home, it will have outrang itslef.

M: Where is the vegetable side?

C: To the extreme left.

M walks away with phone in hand.

E: Seriously, he went to have his phone foiled up?

C: Yeah, why not? Seems like a genius idea to me at this time.

E & C pay for their purchases and head out of the store. M joins them later with the foiled up phone.

E: Let me take a picture of that but I think it would be better if taken from an N8. Or I take it, then Bluetooth it to the N8 so that we Twitpic it.

M: Stop being a cuant.

E gets his phone & captures the moment of genius and comedy intermarried. M is unfazed by all the brouhaha. The three lads walk away talking about work.

M: Maybe we should Google "How To Turn Off an N8".

E: You should do that on an N8. The browser is much better.

C proceeds to Google and comes up with a bunch of codes.

E: Did you know Google keeps all information about what you Google? So imagine what will happen on May 21st when they read your Googling history. "C once Googled "How To Turn Off an N8"." This is to be followed by fits of hysteria and.....

E is cut short by M.

M: My phone is alive.

M holds the phone high above his head & proceeds to pump a clinched fist.

C: Now you can unfoil it and then like tech bloggers, E can take a video then we can call it "Unfoiling an N8" and post it on YouTube.

E: Excellent idea.

E takes out his phone and proceeds to take the video while M unfoils his phone. C provides the background commentary.

M: Glad to have my phone back.

M kisses it passionately.

E: Oh shiot, I forgot to start the video recording.

Curtains close while M & C are left facepalming.

*****Events should be taken with a pinch of salt, tequila shot and a slice of lime.

*****No photographic or videographic evidence exists for this known incidence.

Short Story Review

The beauty of a short story is that it needs to be consumed in just one sitting, at a pace that one is comfortable plus it is quite nourishing. It has been said (and rightly so by one of the writers whose works I am reviewing today will be reviewing later) that it is the ultimate mark of creativity. I got this book as a casual buy; the ones where you shock yourself that you actually bought the book. African Love Stories: An Anthology

A brilliant collection of short stories edited by Ama Aita Aidoo, it features a winning story in the 2007 Caine Prize; the Jambula Tree by Monica Arac de Nyeko. The description says that it is an anthology that aims to debunk the myth that “the African woman is an impoverished helpless victim”.

Modi’s Bride by Siphiwe Magona is the definite spellbinder of this book. It starts off by giving us an insight into the early marriage customs. One can only marry after their older siblings have married. Lobola has to be paid first before anything can proceed. Modi is the first of seven boys and when it is time for him to marry, he takes his sweet time. At one point, his relatives grow restless and they want to know when he is going to marry. His is a simple answer, “I will marry when I find the right one.” He eventually does find the right one and he pays the lobola  in one fell swoop.

The twist of the story is that she is abducted by someone unknown. Seasons pass and still there is no word of her. Modi does not even go back for the head of cattle that he had paid. The bride’s parents are worried as to why Modi does not come to claim what is rightfully his. It is only when Jonasi rides in three head of cattle into Nonyibiba’s kraal, for that is the name of Modi’s bride, that the abductor is known. Modi saddles his horse and rides off to get his wife. He finds her with a full belly and no amount of pleading from her would make him not go back with her.

A classic tale of “And they lived happily ever after” but thankfully it does not have the walking into the sunset bit together even though she dies in his arms.

Molara Ongudipe in Give us That Spade! tells the story of a daughter who wants to be recognized as her father’s daughter even by her father’s family. Moriyike is Joko’s daughter with a dean, Kole, where Joko had joined as a lecturer with a PhD. The main story focuses on the one day during Kole’s burial where Moriyike is forced to sit in the further pews instead of the front one usually reserved for family. This troubles Moriyike but even her mother is just waiting for the moment of justice. Joko keeps reassuring her daughter that this will come to pass but Moriyike’s un-easiness sees her grab the spade just after the priest has said the final vows, “Dust to dust & ashes to ashes.” Her final words after failing to give back the spade as commanded by Kole’s legitimate family, sees her saying goodbye to her father.

One sunny afternoon, he showed her his house. One sunny afternoon, she fell into a trance. One sunny afternoon, she thought they could lie in his bed forever. One sunny afternoon, her world was crushed when she discovered he was gay. That is how it would be best to summarize Veronique Tadjo’s One Sunny Afternoon. After her flight back to her husband and kids, she is in a dream state which annoys her husband who later tells her to go back to wherever she wants but it hurts them to see her in that way. She decides to go back to that house with its long driveway & a lush lawn. He welcomes her awkwardly, only to enter the house and find a male telling him he is getting bored in the bedroom and he needs to hurry up. In her naivety, she had thought everybody is the same.

In Deep Sea Fishing by Wangui wa Goro, he is a man who does not give in to the needs of his loins over her needs. He cares for her even though she is scarred. Scarred for life such that when he touches her, she freezes. That one touch is what makes her freeze. They are both happy, Shanti and him, in each other’s arms. He has never explored her body until they go out of town and the passion consumes them and he starts to touch her all over. It is only when he extends his touch to that special place that he realizes there is nothing. Her explanation is that they sewed it in when she was young. The story builds up to this epic moment but then it starts breaking apart. Before it shatters, he manages to catch it by telling her that if it is no problem with her, it is no problem with him.

All the stories have a clincher in them. They are either humorous or sad or are a mixture of both. It certainly shows that writing by women for women in the African society is certainly with a purpose. The woman has been portrayed as weak but it is up to her fellow women to redeem her and also support her. Those are not all the stories but they jumped out at me and strangled me in a way that words carefully crafted only can.

PS: Go ahead and judge. Things have been thick and I no longer update this blog as frequently as I should. No excuses but I will soon do another book review.

No Apologies

I have neglected this blog of mine. But I will blame this one on where I earn my fish & bread. Long hours just as I had predicted plus I am yet to optimize this thing called Wordpress for Android. Anyway, I am here & I hope that I will be able to keep some things going on. As of January this year, I had been doing a lot of blogging. Not just on my own blog but for four other blogs. Work & laziness caught up with me and I have been forced to quit on three of those blogs. It has all happened over a matter of time but I am glad (proud, would be better but I reserve pride for peacock) that I was part of the initial team on two of those blogs. I pray that whoever takes up my fledgling pieces on the blog, will do a much, much better job thatn I did. And be more involved especially with the reading club.

Over the past few years, we have seen an influx of movies & series'. they are coming out of Hollywood & other places like they are sold by the ounce. Some of them are good, some of them are brilliant, some of them a re crap. it all started with the gopod, then came the brilliant & we are now in a mixture of all three. The worst thing is that they are recycling concepts like never before. Take the instance of the assassin who pretends to be a waiting staff. Remember, the first movie that came up with it? No? Me neither. But it was brilliantly executed in about four or five movies. Until the series milked it and now in nearly (made up stats) every season, an assassin must be waiting staff. Did creativity get washed down the loo together with the frog pet or what happened? Another thing they have milked is the father-progeny rivalry. Name any series that does not have that & I am prepared to go play rugby with a herd of buffaloes. Can't we just get past this thing & introduce something cool? Something kick-a**? Something that will make me squeal in delight like LOST did to me before I got all confused? Those two are the next things I am expecting in local Kenyan programs.

Coders. Favourite bunch of people. Today I did X hours of coding & I am now going to smoke weed a cigarette. I deserve a burger after writing code. I need to reward myself with a facial after all that coding. Head on to Twitter and you will realise that this is what they all say. Unfortunately, and someone once asked this, where are the finished products? Okay, the finished products are not meant for me & the other common Joes but still, in relation to the number of tweets I have seen saying I was writing code & those saying that we have a finished product, iko shida mahali. The ratio is about a three digit number without any decimal places to say a decimal-ed number with at least more zeroes than a Zimbabwean dollar note. A working application would have done us some good.

In case you did not know, insurance companies that have combined life insurance & general insurance will have to split their businesses into two separate legal entities by some date. That there is already a chance for people to capitalise in terms of systems that are used. Life companies especially need to use valuation systems. There are two popular systems; PROPHET & MoSes. They will be expensive for some of the smaller companies to use since they require substantial amounts in licensing fees per year. So developers have a chance to start working on that. But as people would say, pengine napigia mbuzi guitar.

Inspired

I loved mathematics. I nearly hated it because of my mathematics teacher. That was just after joining high school. First day of her class and we were classified as to whether one came from a public primary school or a private school AKA academies. For f*ck's sake, I was a PPSP (Public Primary School Pupil). No offence taken there but when we would have problems with any of the mathematical examples that she was explaining, you had to go and say where exactly you did not understand. The shortcomings of Kenya's 8-4-4 education system. An algebra (not that it is what we learnt in high school, but something of the sort) problem and you have to explain what exactly is gnawing at you. Maybe I am too stupid, but that was really stupid. Luckily, she moved and we I got one of my favorite mathematics teachers another mathematics teacher, God bless you Mr. Kevogo. That man instilled in me some of the best maths lessons with his hoarse voice and deep stare.

Campus mathematics was fun but the lecturers would not help that. My excitement increased today when I stumbled upon a video. Someone explaining at the recently held TED Conference. How to teach kid's mathematics. Mathematics is one of those things I love and I see myself growing old in. If Khan is to be believed (he must be because he knows more maths than us combined), kids need this. Only problem might be how to take it to the areas where there is no Internet connection. The class setting will not work because kids learn best at the rates they are comfortable with.

Khan makes a joke about being  a hedge fund analyst and he does not expect he will do something for social good. See if you can find it.

[ted id=1090]

Last year was a great year, no doubt. Then The Roots and John Legend got together to make an album. The Roots are pure positivity plus some very good instrumentals. Put in John legend and that is heaven sent. The album is a masterpiece. I thought that was it, until I saw the videos.

1. Hard Times

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYCKkmM0Tu8]

2. Wake Up Everybody

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJgxJ6JrPkc&feature=relmfu]

I love both videos for their simplicity and the way they are too good to be true. Especially when Black Thought raps plus the way Common makes his entrance in the earlier video.

Blogging Recipe: 10 Essential Ingredients

The fact that you have been tagged in a blogpost means that you have a duty to perform. Just like getting a chipo-funga and you just know that come what may, she has to shower in your bathroom and use your throne in the morning. Harsh realities of life, I say. Thus, here we go. The title should tell you what we are on today and let us keep moving on:

1. Always be you: Never, ever fake it. Of course, your mother's maiden name is her's but be you. I am Maina & this is where I blog. End of story. Moving on.

2. Invite your characters to life: Do not just tell us this is what happened. Make us believe it and bring all the crazies from the yard over to the party.

3. Never plagiarise: And if you do, give acknowledgements. If you don't do the second bit, we will get you and have you hung by the spine.

4. Conventional rules do not apply: Aspiring creative writers unless they absolutely state that they are doing a fictional piece, must drop what it is that they have learnt.

5. Never grow old:

We can be lazy & biased. For we are young & irresponsible.

That is the primary reason why bloggers exist. You grow old, you move on.

6. Read a lot: You get to learn more and more about things when they are out in the open and any material that can be read offers the best example. TV and radio are pure crass but never take my word for gospel truth. Movies are a good way to base yourself.

7. Reflect and think: It may be your opinion, but if you want to be a douchebag, maintain your douchebag levels throughout. Just like the high points in any game.

8. Be varied: I have never stuck to any one agenda and I do not think I ever will. That could also explain why I am doing randomly-timed blogs.

9. Twitter and Facebook: Never let them steal your time even though they are quite good at marketing your blogging. Foursquare might.

10. Get tagged: If you don't, please move on in life and try counting crows (not the band).

TAGGED:

February 2011

I am not the kind that writes posts that focus on a particular month. It is not just me unless that month was riddled by revolutions (think the North African January) or I got married via a shotgun wedding. So this comes as a bit of a surprise to myself and to you dear readers. One of the things I had promised to myself when I started toiling for money and experience was that if a job never made me happy, I would pack my bags and move on. The bottom-line (Money Matters) does not matter as much as the satisfaction that you generate from your job. Chief among the reasons I opted to do what I did, was that it allowed me to do so much. Well, not right after school but after interning is when I realised that actuarial was more than just numbers and it could be fun.

Things change & people alter things so that they change. That is what happened some time last year that I no longer felt that whatever I was doing was worth what I was getting paid for making me happy enough at the end of the day. Surely at end month I was happy but it felt like a cocoon with all the fencing that was surrounding the work. I was working in an organisation that was quite risk-oriented. But not in taking risks but in safeguarding against them. This limited what one could do plus even if you started working on it, it would be approvals, approvals, approvals & sign-offs. It would get frustrating plus with all the fence-ringing that we had, experimenting was out. But I understood where they were coming from. They had learnt their lesson and were now working on it.

I was not all that happy with what I was doing and so I decided to make the move. Convention would have decided that I go on to continue my product development work at a rival firm or move into a field associated with actuarials & actuaries. But life does not always give us what comes as natural order. An offer came up and I decided to take it up. Two problems were in my way.

One, people were about to register for their April sitting of the actuarial exams and here I am busy trying to get my papers in order so that I make the move. If I do not register within time, I will have to pay for my own papers, that is if, the papers do not come on time. I was just too excited about this opportunity that I had to keep on lying that I have to await for something to be confirmed. It would hurt me that I was telling my manager an "obvious" lie about registering for my exams.

Two, this was a new field that I was moving into. I had Google'd and Wiki'd my "new" job title only a month before. All I knew was that it was intensive. Not your usual kind of a comfortable 8-5 with a few long nights thrown in now and then. It required one to give their all. It involved high stake work that the client would want it limited to the maximum minimum number of personnel. And here I was trying to chart my way into something that was not known.

There were moments that I would think I was making the wrong decision and a day or two later, I would be in high spirits. For my colleagues who knew about the impeding move, they told me to relax & ensure I think through the decision I was about to make. I did much thinking & finally decided that the only risk that does not pay off is the one that you have not taken up.

It is both a happy thing that you move to something that is really new to you but also sad that I am leaving a field that will only grow upwards in terms of opportunities. It is a mix of both things that I find myself becoming a Media Planner.

I look forward to fun, bumpy rides with this new career.

PSSST: I work with pretty interesting individuals :)

Office Toothbrush

It is me writing this blogspot blogpost. Just so we clear the air, unlike the Malawians who want to clear the air even before Human Gas has destroyed it. Anyway, do not be surprised because I have never had a chance to do day-themed blogposts. It is just not my cup of tea. Speaking of cups, I bought a coffee maker at my place and it has become my secret addiction of late. Every morning, Saturday has no morning, I will start the brewing before I hit the showers. And that is what I did today. Done with shower, coffee is ready whereupon I decided to fumble about in the kitchen looking for a mug. Mug secured, two spoonfuls of sugar and first sip is taken. Ironed the shirt, ironed the pants as I kept on sipping. By the time am done, the coffee is done. Done with dressing, I packed the laptop then went to brush my hair before I took out the trash. That is the worst thing about Monday, you have to take out trash.

Brush the dust off my shoes and I was out of the building. A bit of banter with the caretaker and I was off to try and find my fish and bread. Just after my stop, I realize that my teeth feel weird. Quick tongue swipe confirms what I had not thought of; I had not come into contact with a toothbrush. Luckily, since December 2008 I have kept a toothbrush and toothpaste in my office drawer. It landed there courtesy of sleeping off my Tusker-pades at a pal's house and the next day I was part of a high-powered delegation to Machakos on behalf of the company.

Get to the office, act normal then proceed to brush your teeth in the gents. But beware that the cleaners do not catch you in the act. That gentlemen and ladies (who will not find this gross), is the lesson of the office toothbrush. Get yourself one before it is too late. You might want to thank me later or buy me my next packet of ground coffee. The latter more so.

And matters are not so good this morning when someone reminds me that Chelsea lost to the Liverflukes.

End Month Process

If you work somewhere where the systems depend on monthly payments or other sorts of things that come in monthly, will tell you there is a monthly process. You run the systems at the end of the month and get a position (financial mostly) before proceeding on to the next one. The same thing happens with traffic and salaries. And the two are related. The salary checks in and all of a sudden there is traffic on Nairobi's streets. You want to catch a loose, well-moneyed pint with your pals in Ongata Rongai so you take out your jalopy and head out with it to the petrol station where it gets a whiff of alcohol worth KShs 2 500 bringing the alcohol content of your vehicle to KShs 2 631.57. Next stop is the supermarket where you will get a few chilled cans before you hit the highway to Ongata Rongai. Right there outside the petrol station is a monster known as snarl-up. You very well know that there is no accident up ahead but there is traffic and it does not smile back at you.

The supermarket is even worse. The management have removed the 5 items or less counter to accomodate the shoppers who throng here in their masses. So with your 5 chilled drinks have to wait for someone with two huge trolleys to offload and make a payment via their card. Total time spent is close to an hour because signing for the card is about 56% of the time taken to offload the shopping. You pay but even the parking lot is jammed. By the time you get to Ongata Rongai it is already time for the crows to roost. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday are not spared the antics of recently moneyed people who take out their cars so that they can live for eight hours in the basement parking. Friday is another problem altogether. And I hate traffic if you ever got to know me well enough.

I would not be a typical Kenyan if I complained without offering a solution of sorts. I am proposing to all employers through their COTU (FKE - Federation of Kenyan Employers) to allow us to have two salaries per month. Stop smiling cause I am not proposing anything be doubled. Just take your salary (after tax, pensions deduction, NHThievingF*cksIF, etc. but bila bills subtracted) cut into two and you get one chunk on 15th and the next chunk on 30th. FKE will want to know how soon this can be done because it entails money (that is usually not available) being paid on the 15th. So employers will have to build reserves for kedo three months or so.

The benefits to you, you ask? Imagine a salary (half, nevertheless) that lands on the 15th when you are broke. That will be heaven sent. You can do so much more including disregarding Mututho's laws. But the best part is that your sweetheart will never miss her whiff of alcohol so you can ride her till she wants no more (your car, perverts). I will get used to month-long traffic and I won't be half cranky, half happy (because I got paid just enough) that it is end-month. And we will all live happily ever after.

Let me get to writing this proposal to FKE immenjiate.

#NowPlaying Just Got Paid - Johnny Kemp the next up Picture Me Rolling - 2Pac

Blogs of the Day

MoahandPainted

Daily Standard

Let Me Expound

Bobo's

Nairobi is ever-changing in terms of the popular landmarks. Most of the people who are now Mututho anti-compliant (and have always been had the law come up earlier), only know pubs. You tell them you are on DuBois Road, you practically have to draw a map of Nairobi to show them where it is. I learnt over the weekend that Tropez has been moved to where Riviera used to be. Don't ask me how you move a pub from one place to another where it replaces another pub. Only Nairobi can do that. Anyway, next to Tropez there has been an eatery that looks like a lounge with a splash of colour. Bobo's is the name and it is actually a Turkish eatery. Very nice place and quite cosy. Lots of colour, nice lighting apparatus (they make the ones at Nairobi's lounges cringe) and quite clean. An eatery has to be clean.

The food is real good and not so pricey (for the quality that is). I had an Iskender Mini Koftë which is basically a mini version of the Iskender Koftë. Less vegetables actually is the difference. And a bottle of water. KShs 500 for the rice, meatballs, natural yoghurt (no sugar) and a few slices of tomato and KShs 100 for the bottle of water.

They sell Tuskers (Malt and the lager) for KShs 180 which I thought is on the Sankara side of drinks. Juices are KShs 160 and they have Turkish pizzas starting from KShs 280. They can also do free delivery within the CBD but get yourself a minimum order of KShs 490. The kebabs also do not look that bad from the pictures they had put up.

Bonus points: No food smells around the place.

Common Sense Dictates.....

......that common sense is not so common. You can quote me on that. Do not take me to task over that statement for the simple fact that our teachers taught us that there were only 5 common senses. But we all know what we mean that common sense is not so common. For instance the drivers who cut across the road when you are enjoying some nice mix of music (not on Capital FM) and the right hand on the steering, chilling like peppers as you head home. Or the people who will gladly hand you their child in the matatu and proceed to catch a snooze.

Having lunch is a daily routine (of course you know that). So I decided to go and grab my meal. Long morning, meetings that extended past two hours and one-on-ones with the team. Worms are calling out for their due rights for the day. I obey the law of the worms. Walk into this place and it is full simply because am 30 minutes late.

Quick scan and table is located with only one occupant. I politely ask whether I can sit. She shrugs (with the mouth), shrugs AGAIN!!! (with the shoulders) and continues playing with her NokiaC3. Table is clustered so immediately I sit down, pull out my phone, adjust my seat, unlock my phone, Opera Mobilize it and such, she calls out to a waiter to clear the table.

It is busy so the waiter is busy and he does not do the table clearing. Couple of minutes and the lady tells me, in a stern voice, "Na hawatoi sahani." I am indifferent to whatever she is saying, phone in hand, quizzical look and I shrug. Two minutes later, she is off in a huff. Nice waiter comes and takes my order plus clears the table. She is back before he is done and she proceeds to throw the menu at him.

At that point am like, "WTF!!!!! Bixch?" Stupid woman has her office tag on the table so all I am doing is reading her name and such. My order soon comes, after what the worms said it was an eternity. She is soon having a go at the waiter.

"I came here twenty minutes ago. Before them" *points at someone behind me* "before him" *jabs a finger at me* "and am still waiting for food yet they all have."

Waiter tries to tell her to take a chill pill her food will be ready in no time. She won't have none of that wait business. She throws a fist at him and she is half-shouts, half-whispers that she is going to sort it out at the "ordering counter". She sashays and am disappointed that there was no mass to support the sashaying process.

She later comes back and after three or so minutes her food is brought.

When did we throw courtesy out of the window good people? What if that waiter will come to the bank and the waiter finds out that she is supposed to be the relationship manager?

My advice, although I never give any, is if a restaurant does not give you the treatment you deserve, take away your business at the moment and don't let them have a peek at it forever. It will save you many things such as having to shout and walking all around. And most importantly, eating food while angry at your server has been known to cause flatulence. Believe me!!!

Conversations (Part 1)

Of late nimekuwa na psyke ya kuandika kwa lugha ya mafans. Najua sheng yangu imekuwa inadi lakini watu wakuwe wapole kwanza. Story ya kuhama unaenda kuishi kwenye jiji ndio imefanya. Lakini pia inabidi tumechambua ile lugha tulikuwa tunaboronga tukiwa wapyenga. Kumekuwa na issues fulani zimekuwa zikihappen kwa hii country, both socially and politically. So nikaona nijaribu my hand at kuandika ma-play. lakini sijui kama nitaweza so itakuwa a work in progress. Characters ni wawili, K na J. Hawatakuwa wana-represent the opposite sides of the divide but watakuwa tu wanaongea. K anauzanga ma-cladi za wasee kwa kibanda (ma-fans wa Githurai 45 na Kibera wanaelewa kila nasema) na J ni boyz wake toka utotoni. J ni msee wa mabiashara ndogo ndogo lakini bado wana-manage kuzidi na life. Lugha kama kawa ni ya mitaani na other characters watawekwa kwenye mix vile story inazidi ku-flow.

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K: Vipi J? Naona uko maziara tu mtu wangu.

*Insert boy hug moment here*

J: Poa sana K. Nimetoka hapa juu kukimbizana na toast fulani iko na ganji ya mine.

K: Ni Johnny umetoka kukimbizana na yeye ama ni nani?

J: Apana mresh fulani beshte yangu. Lakini nimezipata.

*J proceeds to sit down next to K's kibanda on a slab of stone*

K: Sawa basi. Nipe uhondo basi. Mi niko tu hapa najaribu kuhakikisha ya kwamba nimepata at least kasembe ka leo lakini leo kumekauka ajab.

J: Usijali mtu wangu. Unaelewa hii ni hali ya Jan. lakini si Dec najua umekulia tu sana?

*K joins J on the slab of stone and proceeds to open a packet of groundnuts*

K: Yenyewe siwezi complain juu ya vile Dec ilikuwa timam. Inakaa ma working class walikuwa wamepigwa bonus moja ya vungu. Chapaa kila mahali. Lakini si hawa machix wamemwaga dough yote kwa clad?

*fist bump*

J: Ajab! Ajab!

K: So, story ya mitaa ni gani?

J: Unajua tu ni mapolitics za mitaani. Lakini sasa ni aje nimekuwa nikiskiza tenje asubuhi kama naenda hivyo Ngara kucheki Kamoss. Kwa ile mbathi wametuekea Milele FM.......

K: Ile station hukuwa na comedian moja toast sijui anajiita Ofuneke na accent ya uNaija?

J: Baaaaas, umeipata. So nimetulia tu hivyo, mamziki zao ziko juu kwanza. Alafu hao mapresenter wameshaanza kuongea mob. Mimi huyo nimeshachomoa nangos na nimeingia FB. Nikacheki kuna message toka Sly......

K: Sly huyu mmoja wa mtaani ama yupi?

J: Ndiye huyo. Dame mmoja amesimama kusimama lakini niliskia yeye na Johnny kuna kitu inaendelea. So, kabla ata sij-reply nikaskia wanauliza eti MP wetu alitufanyia nini Krisi.

K: Sikuelewi buda. Kwani kuna noma ya kuuliza maswali kama hayo?

J: Iza boss. Naelewa wewe ni mslow akili lakini pia saa zingine unakaa ukiwa umechangamka. Tangu lini MP akakuwa Father Christmas? Ata kama ako na kitambo na mandevu, hawezi pitia kila mtaa akidrop mapresents usiku wa 24th. Ama unadhani anaweza?

K: Sasa nimekupata. So walikuwa waanauliza listeners ati MP aliwaletea nini Krisi? Kweli watu hukuwa na ushiet kibao.

J: Ikabidi nimetulia na kujiuliza kwani role ya media kwa hii country hukuwa ni nini? Nakumbuka nikisoma place fulani juu ya hao ma aristocrats wa Brito. Na mmoja wao alidai eti kwa Parliament kuna Estate tatu lakini pale juu kwa gallery kuna a fourth one ambayo ni more important kushinda zote.

K: Kweli, kweli. Nakumbuka pia mimi nikisoma kitu kama hiyo. And then Jeffrey Archer akaitumia kummanisha eti Fourth Estate ndio inafaa kuwatch over maordinary, church ama religion yeyote ile na mapoliticians.

J: Ehe. Sasa mimi nashangaa kwani story ya media yetu imekuwa tu ni kushangilia hawa watu tulipatia ticketi ya kutuwakilisha bungeni ama ni vipi? Ama wakishaona story yao iko taken care of, wanasema sisi tukae tumejipanga?

K: Inakaa. Na unajua ile kitu ya kuudhi ni gani? Kila mtu wa media hukuwa kwa mfuko ya politician fulani. kazi yangu tu ni kumpigia tarumbeta either kwa TV, radio ama ata kwa gazeti. Na sio eti wanajificha wakiimba kama nyonde ngware? Hapana, wamejitokeza tu kabisa.

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(To be continued) ~ 2011 is here.