Thursday, October 25, 2012

"I hope you smile today..."


*Nailed on Nyambura's door*

"Have been unavoidably detained by the world. Expect us when you see us."

*Another note on the door*

"Hope this makes you smile today. I did. mob wendos, Nyambura."


Monday, September 10, 2012

Musings over morning coffee...

 "Some people appear to be happy, but they simply don't give the matter much thought. Others make plans: I'm going to have a husband, a home, two children, a house in the country.

As long as they're busy doing that, they're like bulls looking for the bullfighter: they react instinctively, they blunder on, with no idea where the target is. 

They get their car, sometimes they even get a Ferrari, and they think that's the meaning of life, and they never question it. Yet their eyes betray the sadness that even they don't know they carry in their soul. Are you happy?"  Paulo Coelho (From the book, The Zahir)


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Midnight musings # 1.

"It don't matter that some fool say he different..." -D'Angelo (The wire, season 2, episode 6)

"...The past is always with us. Where we come from, what we go through, how we go through it; all this shit matters. Like at the end of the book, ya' know, boats and tides and all.

It's like you can change up, right, you can say you're somebody new, you can give yourself a whole new story. But, what came first is who you really are and what happened before is what really happened.

It don't matter that some fool say he different 'cause the things that make you different is what you really do, what you really go through. Like, ya' know, all those books in his library.

He frontin' with all them books, but if you pull one down off the shelf, none of the pages have ever been opened. He got all them books, and he hasn't read nearly one of them. Gatsby, he was who he was, and he did what he did. And 'cause he wasn't willing to get real with the story, that shit caught up to him."  D'Angelo's take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

The perks of being an armchair athlete...

With the Olympics over, I've been feeling -all week- like it is 4 am and I've just come from a rave.

You know, 'twas an epic night. I'm savouring that euphoric feeling...and yet...and yet it is tinged with an all-too familiar here-comes-the-crush sensation. By crush, I mean that sinking feeling that sets in the minute it hits you that the mundane will be waiting for you the minute you wake up...
I love the Olympics. It is the one time I get to indulge my inner armchair athlete to the max. 

Swimming, track events, basketball and women's beach volleyball have always been my fave events and a must-watch, but I always find myself watching events I would never bother to watch on a normal day like judo, gymnastics (which I can only describe as eye-popping insane), synchronised swimming, diving and fencing (this year, I pretended to be Arya Stark taking her 'dance' lessons). Hell, I even surprised myself by watching the entire Japan Vs. USA women's soccer final and I'm not even a soccer fan.

But it doesn't just stop there...

-I'll happily ogle, then get into a passionate ogle fest daily analysis with like minded individuals the next day...
-Solemnly swear (I usually mean it at the time) that I will never ever skip any of my walking/jogging sessions...
-Be reminded of the fact that I'm not the only person on earth who unleashes their inner fan girl/boy and that they know how to have an Olympic-themed ball. 

The ultimate perk?

The human stories. I get to (re)discover and be wowed by the infinite depth of the human spirit. That is what gets eternally etched on my mind. And the entire Olympic experience-even when mixed in with the not so cool- is profound and magical...There were the moving wins and heart breaking losses; history was written and re-written, legends were born...and of course, to top it all off oh-so beautifully were the quirks and light moments. I toyed with the idea of doing a recap, in photos and videos, but then I found out that Eddy Kimani had already done a super cool recap of the 2012 Olympics.  Do click and enjoy, people.

But before I sign out, I leave you with a few of my honorable mentions in the  'light  moments' category that were not featured on Eddy's list: 

-The US Olympics swimming team decided to get creative and made  this fun "Call me maybe" video .
-Watching the camaraderie between members of some teams was special. For a second, it almost seemed like they were not in a competition. And in some cases, in a competition where they were pitted against each other.
- I discovered (to my delight) that  Hip hop and equestrian games can mix oh-so beautifully (on hearing the track, I snorted my coffee)... 

-I went all 'I can't believe he just said that out loud' when Nicholas Bantum of the French B-ball team remarked, "I wanted to make sure he had good reason to flop."  AFTER punching Spain's Juan Carlos Navarro in the groin. Apparently, Bantum was seriously pissed and tired of the Spanish team's 'diving' tactics.

Aaaaand, I just have to give it up to the creators of all those crazy Olympic-themed memes that had me busting a gut in the office.

I actually found myself pondering on how to pull off the McKayla Maroney peeved look (thanks to this meme) and still look as badass as she did...

-Then they anted it up with the  mofarahrunningawayfromthings meme...

FYI, TDKR is a seriously awesome, gloriously dark movie...Say, Mo would have been an unforgettable extra, no?

"Mo, I feel you. They seriously creep me out too."

A brief side note (rant): To those who threw a hissy fit (our local Tv stations had me pressing the mute button during prime time news) 'cause of Kenya's performance, I'll say this: Athletes do know when they have come up short and they do beat up themselves over their performances. Alot. Their reaction alone can easily tell you that.

Don't be that guy who makes it his mission to rip into them just 'cause you can. Especially not when you're seated pretty on the sidelines; merely watching the action. It's not cool (plus, there's something so disturbingly easy and spiteful about it it seriously bugs me out).

We all win and lose some. You can't be on top all the time. The cool thing...the important thing is to work at it. Do show up, give it your absolute best and when it is over, go back to the drawing board...tomorrow, win or lose, is another day.    

I watched several Olympians from various countries who had either not made it to Beijing (either due to illness, injury, or failed to make the cut during national trials) or simply lost at Beijing, find redemption in London.

With that in mind, let's remember, there's always Rio.

Mob wendos,


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nyambura, go the F**k to sleep.

See, it is fifteen minutes past midnight and I still can't sleep. I went to bed an hour ago but all I can do is toss and turn. Counting fluffy sheep didn't help.
Truth be told, sleepless nights like this are not alien to me and they do not bother me...Much.
True, I'm so going to be in trouble five hours from now when the muezzin in the nearby mosque calls.
 I'll hit the snooze button thrice, grumpily shower and dress up, skip breakfast and rush to the office where I'll do the zombie shuffle till mid morning.
But there is something about the stillness and alone-ness of midnight that I find enchanting. It is the one time of day that I thoroughly enjoy retreating into my mind. Everything for me feels heightened; the silence is louder, the stars are brighter, the monsters under the bed seem spookier, the cold bites and I can taste every subtle nuance of the emotions stirring within...
So I'll pick a book and read or watch re-runs of my fave shows, reflect some or brood as I scribble and doodle in my notebook till I drift off.
Tonight I roll out of bed, grab a duvet and patter to the living room, throwing it on the couch before heading to the kitchen. I pour myself a bowl of cereal, chop up a banana, throw in the slices, cover it all up with warm milk and voila: a tasty midnight snack.
 My mind is too dog tired to read (I'm currently reading 03 books:  A dance with dragons by George R.R. Martin, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Fearless fourteen by Janet Evanovich) and the best it can do is muse idly while unwinding...
Armed with my snack, I settle in the couch tightly wrapped up in my duvet and start watching re-runs of Friday night lights; the only show to ever make me tear up in recent times. To me, it will always be a timeless, achingly beautiful classic.  It was not every one's cup of tea -if your attention span is abysmal or gravitates towards the adrenaline-pumping, jaw dropping dramatic, then you won't be able to sit through an entire episode of FNL much less watch all the five, sublime seasons.

I could ramble on and give you a detailed review, but the hour is ungodly and I'm worried my review won't do the show justice so I won't. However, if you're into soulful stories that are character driven, awesomely written and have heart, then by all means add the show to your must-watch tubey list. But first, do watch and savour this FNL trailer; a beautifully poignant montage that captures everything I loved about this show...

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose.

Mob Wendos,


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stuff that makes me smile on a cold, Saturday morning...

I'm heading to the office and it is 0730 hrs when we pass by Traffic police headquarters.
Directly across its entrance is a Flora toilet roll billboard facing away from Nairobi Hospital. On it is this young chap in a white vest, wearing a crown...aaand he's taking a dump in the loo. The guy has this Urm-I-think-I-can-feel-one-coming expression on his face and it is simply hilarious.
The fact that my mind is replaying memories of certain storytellers, who shall remain nameless (I never said it was Ziggy!) narrating to me...nay, acting out the craziest bathroom tales is not helping me keep a straight face (fyi, I'm in a matatu).
The caption at the top reads: 'Comfort fit for a king.'
Now I never even knew there was a brand of Toilet roll called Flora and I don't think I'll buy it when I do see it. What I can bet on, is that it will always make me think of the 'King'. And the thought of him will leave me smiling.

Here's to a lovely weekend.  

Mob wendos,


Friday, May 18, 2012

The one with the short story...

If only tonight he could sleep
 "You're not supposed to be here," Edu reminded her wearily as he sipped his beer. His bleary eyes remained fixed on the Indian Ocean. Its usually deep blue waters were a churning grey as a storm cloud in the horizon fast approached the mainland.
Well, you're not supposed to be here either...working day and all, Sera replied as she strolled up to him. 
He chose to say nothing.  He had been hoping he'd get away from her for just a couple of hours, have a few beers and some much needed shut eye. The irony of it all was not lost on him. There was a time when he would have happily chopped off his arm to spend more time with her.
You do know what they say about day drinking, don't you?
"You want one?" he offered.
She pouted. Now you're just being mean.
"Sorry," he said, running a hand over his clean shaven head. He still hated upsetting Sera even when she was being infuriating-which was often. "I'm just a little tired."
She flopped down next to him. You've been saying that a lot lately.
"That I'm tired?"
That you're sorry.
"I know."
Sera's gaze shifted towards the newspaper which he was using as a place mat for his cans.
Poor guy.
Edu grimaced, taking a swig from his Tusker can. Poor guy indeed, he thought to himself. As far as he was concerned, Jared was a pompous ass and being rattled by the cops would do his character some much needed good.
I get it. You never liked him, but they're unfairly giving him a hard time when the killer never left the building, she glanced up at him. You'll get away with it you know. No one knows you existed in my world.
"Ah, the perks of secret love," he drawled bitterly. "What we had, was it ever real?"
Of course it was.
"And yet when it came down to making a choice, you chose him," he pointed out.
Sera bit her lower lip; something She did when nervous or anxious.
I didn't. I said I wasn't ready to let him go just yet. I thought you'd understand where I was coming from.
"Are you serious?" he asked furiously. "From the moment we met, you kept telling me you're just waiting for the right time to break up with him. I stayed because I knew you'd do it soon."
Sera sighed. You always had to be so serious about everything.
He blinked at her in disbelief.
"We are in business together and he's like part of our family. I'll have to break it off carefully," she'd said.
They had been quite a pair, he mused. To the world, Edu was the reclusive owner of a successful start up company. The nice guy who lived one floor above her: always the designated driver, always polite to the neighbours, the help and always in the background and comfortable with it. As for Sera...well, Sera was something else entirely.
She was a beauty; with her smooth dusky skin, lithe frame and dark eyes full of mischief and mirth. But it was more than that. Sera was always full of so much energy and excitement it radiated off  her, lighting up any room she walked into...the life of any given party. The second Edu met her, he knew he wanted to be close to her and revel in the magic that was her presence. So for one year they secretly dated. For one year he was consumed by a love that was intense, extravagant and tinged with a longing that gnawed at his soul.
Then last Saturday night, they had their worst fight ever. He had been waiting in her apartment when she walked in late. They were to have take out Ethiopian dinner then watch a movie at her place. Sera  forgot this and went to a party with Jared. She tried to sweet talk Edu into accepting her heart felt sorry and letting it go. He'd had enough. So they had an ugly exchange of words. Then came his ultimatum, her final stand and him demanding to know why she was being such a selfish bitch. By the time the dust finally settled Sera was dead.
The memories were loud and jagged. Some, he had trouble accepting as real: the feel of his fingers around her neck, the panicked look in her eyes, Sera's thrashing body as her nails clawed desperately at his hands. Then there was the terrible stillness, the lifeless eyes, him mechanically picking her up; laying her out on her bed, arranging her body just so...gently tucking in her comfort blanket around  her curled up body as though Sera was only sleeping. But worst of all, was the sickening horror and self loathing he felt after he stole back to his apartment.
He mentally shook himself and the memories slithered away. It was then he noticed that a beach boy had stopped several feet away to gape at him.
Give him your winning smile.
Edu waved. "Vipi boss," he called cheerfully.
The beach boy shook his head and hurried off.
I think you scared him off.
"Am I going mad?" he whispered.
What do you think?
He leaned against the palm tree's trunk and closed his eyes.  He was tired and his thoughts were like broken pieces of a mirror caught up in a whirlwind. She was just in his head, he chanted to himself. And if he could get a good night's rest...
Just 'cause I'm in your head doesn't make it unreal or insignificant, you know
The first time -after her death- Sera paid him a visit, Edu had woken up with a start from a nightmare only to find her seated cross legged at the foot of his bed watching him. Her appearance was solid; nothing like Casper the friendly ghost. She was like the real in-the-flesh Sera, except she now had a hoarse voice, bruise marks discoloring her neck and forever wore the same little black dress she wore that night.
Edu had never believed in ghosts. Nana, his mother's elderly house help, had tried to make him a believer as a child with her fantastical tales of the spooks that lived and thrived in Mombasa. He had instead found the stories hilariously entertaining and begged her for more much to her chagrin.
A part of him had been terrified by Sera's appearance but another part-that secret part he did not want to acknowledge- had been grateful he had the chance to ask her for forgiveness and show her how truly sorry he was.
Then her visits became more frequent and with each visit, Edu was left more jaded, hollow and desolate within. But even more disconcerting was the encroaching shadow he sensed swirling and wrapping itself around his mind...distorting...needling...cooing...
 "What's on your mind?" he asked, taking in her wistful face.
I was just getting many places to go many things to be... and it was going to be epic.
"I know."
Now...I'm here...stuck.
Edu sensed a vicious edge to her words. Odd, as Sera had never been an angry person. Then again, Sera had admitted to him a couple of nights ago that she was alone on the other side. She did not know why this was so, but it scared her to be in such an unfamiliar place alone. So she came to him for company. He had never known Sera to be easily scared or lonely either.
"I'm sorry."
You've really got to stop saying that.
"I know."
Don't feel so bad, she paused, smiling at him. At least you and I get to be together forever just like you wanted.
"I wish I could take it back."
What? You killing me?
"My falling in love with you; that's when it all went to hell," he said with sudden, absolute clarity.
You can't mean that. We were good together weren't we?
His voice tightened.  "That's the thing, Sera. I'm trying really hard to remember the last time we were last happy together. But I just can't remember."
 I didn't mean to hurt you then. Please believe that.
She abruptly got up, skipped towards the shore and twirled with her arms outstretched, closing her eyes as a gust of wind blew in.
Sera paused and held out her hand. Come. Let's go for a swim.
He frowned.  "The water's too rough. Besides, you do know I'm not that good a swimmer."
I know.You'll be fine though.
"I will drown."
Don't be such a buzz kill.
"You go on and enjoy your crazy swim, Sera."
Tell you what; we go for a quick swim and I'll finally let you sleep.
Edu considered. The tide made him uneasy and yet the thought of his head hitting a pillow and peacefully drifting off was sheer bliss.
She flashed him a wicked grin. Hand over heart my dear.
"OK," he said as he unsteadily got up to his feet. "Just for a few minutes," he whispered as he followed her into the raging ocean.

Copyright © 2012 by J .N. Kariuki