Fringe

Being the science fiction (and fact) buff that I am, I recently did a Fringe ssn3 marathon and lets just say I wasnt that impressed. It left too many questions unanswered and the cases were simply ridiculous. There is this one case where ati a chick cant die because the molecules in her body are too strongly atracted to each other because she was struck by lightening twice. Or the guy who combined two of the heaviest elements and made a molecule lighter than air. I get the fringe science bit and the idea that what you believe is impossible is just not proven yet. But come on. . . . and why are there only two parallel universes and not infinite? I just started on ssn 3 without watching the previous seasons but if the 18 episodes are anything to go by, there are fewer answers in the previous episodes.

I get this is entertainment and is supposed to be consumable by the general public but at times calling totally abstract thought science doesnt really pan out.  Anyhoo one underlying theme I have come to notice in almost all these hollywood productions is the hero mentality. As the plot develops there is always this one character on whos shoulder the fate of the entire country/world/universe rests. And its more often than not based on a decision based on love and/or allegiance. He or she is usually the only one that can operate some mystical ancient machine that was constructed for this one purpose. Somehow their DNA or essence or life force or whatever is what powers the damned gadget.Its like they were born for this . .. literally. And somehow he/she knows how to operate it even if scientists/engineers have been tinkering with it for years to no avail. It could be it is this particular motif that sells more movie tickets/has more viewership, but my conspiratory self smells a deeper intent. I think its all about indocrination. Irrevocable belief in the superiority of American technology,moral aptitude and massive support from anyone and every one who can think straight and is not a terrorist. But then again the movies are what built American culture. Thats their form of art and building up the national psyche even to supernatural levels is understandable. Maybe our makmende should be the star of our local 24.

In my view this type of indocrination creates a society that believes that there are chosen ones amongst us that have some super human abilities (i.e not like your boring normal self) and their fate is for them to save the world while we watch.  . or give them whatever they need to achieve this noble , divine duty.

Or I may have had too much Githeri.

Local Artistes and Missed Opportunities

As we say in slang iko watu wamelalia maskio. 

Kenyan/east african artistes are doing themselves a major disservice and they dont seem aware of it. The kawaida ruse is to complain about piracy and mismanagement at MCSK and ungrateful fans.

Ok listen. I love your music. But how do i get it? I wait for your album to be ready in 6 months and then buy it for 800 bob? I like you but not that much. The thing with piracy that no-one seems to acknowledge is that it is efficient. And nothing beats efficiency not even cool music. For instance the only source of Mejja’s and Madtraxx’s music that I have is getmziki.com and I download for free. These are just the singles, not the albums or any compilation of any sort. Getmziki.com is a US based outfit run by one Leo Faya. Why an outfit run by a guy based in the states should be promoting local artistes beats me to a pulp. There is no reason a club banger like maddtraxx’s   get down should not be onsale somewhere easily accessible to all those with Nairobi phones and Ovi enabled gadjets.

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Mejja

Now this is what I mean by being slow/being behind the news/kulalia maskio. If every (or most) of the copies of all the major tracks blasting on everyones phone right now had been sold rather than bluetoothed to death, we would have real celebrities who actually make money from their music rather than use it as a key to chicks and VIP entrance to clubs where they pose all weekend in clothes they cant afford. It would be an adequate revenue stream that would supplement perfomances. Contrary to popular belief people pay for percieved value. if you sell me a track for $1.49 I will sneer and go look for the torrent. Sell it at Ksh 10 – Ksh 15 and I will buy it gladly and tell my pals of this new site I found. You can even DRM protect it so that I dont bluetooth. Thats cool afterall its just 15 bob.

The idea is to make a joint concerted effort to have a presence online and am not talking Facebook. A central resource that would host all Kenyan if not East African artistes music for sale and provide a myspace like page customizable to the artistes demographic and style. This would be a central page where the fans can track new releases, scheduled concerts and even a blog that the artiste maintains himself or via proxy. If you get 500,000 people to download your music and lets say on the lower side your cut is 1 bob after taxes,producer,safaricom,mcsk etc you still make half a mill sitting there doing nothing. All kenyans need is to be pointed and they will flock and buy, if it is convenient and cheap. 

There are a few sites out there that are trying to push digital like this and this but I find them lacklustre and lacking the psyche needed to push legitimate music downloads mainstream and make it profitable.

This video by mejja I could pay for. 

But how and how much ? If they can answer that then they will be rich soon enough. 

When it comes to ‘development’ there is always a loser

These are scenes from the neighbourhood shop which was uprooted because of a recent development across the road.

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Basically the new developers decided in such a neighbourhood, Coca-cola kisoks are unbecoming to the residents. I doubt the (current) residents were asked though.The kiosks were directly opposite the gate of the new development. Security was the choice reason to evict them.

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Now a mother has lost a means of livelihood. I know this is nothing new (and possibly very mild compared to other places/situations) but the fact that it happens almost like its supposed to happen is abit appaling. Hope she gets a new funkier gig. . . .

France Telecom

I am personally getting tired of the incestant bad news coming from Orange Kenya. If they are not complaining about what a raw deal the Kenya government gave them , they are firing people and hiring more frenchies. They have the franchise to the single most successful smartphone this planet has seen and all they can do with it is offer it for valentines. Complete with a pathetic 300mb of data and a non-3G network .Oh and a contract that nobody really wants.

Their marketing team is top-notch though. Love the Ads. 

And now this

Now they want to sell prime property to shore up their losses. How bad can you be as a manager (of a hungry company) to have the keys to the pantry and then deciding that selling the key could fetch a few bucks. 

For all the years these french guys have been here it has been nothing but funny products that are not really made for any real kenyan but for an imaginary daft East African who will embrace anything a telco throws at him. From impossible to use CDMA phones that can only be used to call, to exorbitantly priced 128kbit connections labelled as broadband, to treating the iphone like some kind of technological god that should only be worshipped not used. It all stinks of neo-colonial outlook that views ‘developing countries’ as regions hungry for tech crap. Where is the government in all this? I smell a conspiracy though it sounds rediculous so I wont share it just yet

I dont like this CEO, their style and treatment of customers. I have a 4 month old issue that is still not resolved. as we say on twitter #EPICFAIL

Espionage

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Today as I so happened to be torching a plant with some pals, I was enlightened as to the reasons why some cultures have very weird happenings and almost pointless rituals.

The subject of choice fell on the night runners of western kenya. So the lore generally goes that there are these random guys who conduct regular business during the day but come night time, they take off all their clothes, smear themselves with slimy stuff and proceed to run around naked all night. Yeah. I know. Hilariously rediculous. All this behaviour is somehow linked to witchcraft, evil spirits, death and misery.

On the other hand, there is the village witch doctor who uncannily knows all your secrets, plans and just about every detail of your life. As though he was watching you. He knows who is sleeping with who, who killed who, and why you are not growing rich (coz you blow all your cash on women and booze). All this from shaking a gourd with 5 random stones and bones in it and studying the pattern they form when spewed on the ground. You really cant make this stuff up. He is just like the Echidna from Legend Of the Guardians

The obvious connection is so glaringly obvious it is laughable. The naked night runners are obviously intelligence agents sent out into the village to gather all the juicy goss that is only generated/talked about in the darkness in peoples home just when they think no-one is listening. The nudity, legend and slimy skin is an effective deterrent for anyone who would want to capture one and torture him into saying what his actual job was. This is the local version of the CIA. The most informed person in a whole African village is the Chief witch doctor. No wonder he/she is/was the chief adviser to the King/Chief.

Same strategy was employed by the colonialists when they set-up shop here. Seeing as learning the ‘savages’ language and customs would take a little longer than forever, how bout introduce a new one with a shiny new messiah and promise fire and brimstone for those who reject it? Oooh and make confession to the priest every week mandatory. So here we get villagers that routinely go to the local priest and spew their guts about all the horrible things they have been up to. Intelligence gathering. Its all it is.

#nowfueling

Yani we stoop to new levels of daftness and exploitation every new week. Over the past day most fueling stations have been running out of fuel at just about the same time. When the government (Ministry of Energy) is asked whats going on they as usual claim to have nothing to do with it. As if they represent some territory on the moon or a patch of land on the tropics of Pluto.

This led to annoying,wasteful and totally unecessary traffic snarlups what with everyone scrambling for fuel. A crowd sourced map was put together here to direct motorists to the nearest fuel station with stock.

As explained by some guy calling himself Cold Tusker , this whole fiasco is because some speculators bought a whole lot of fuel and decided not to sell it and just let it sit in the storage that the Government product was supposed to be stored at. Now why the government would share storage with some private fellows beats me but what is more amusing is that some individuals can buy enough fuel to supply the whole country and take up all the space available.

This is my definition of daftness and our weakness in the knees and hips that inclines us to bendover and take a big fat black one up the chimney. Someone should get a bitch slap.

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

So the newest iteration of Ubuntu was released 2 days ago and my impatient self couldnt wait to hit the upgrade button. Seeing as my home link cortesy of Zuku crawls like its got a bad date waiting, I decided to go download the ISO from school. After an adventure trying to get a pc older than the Ark to get to the ubuntu page, the download completed in under 40 mins. Now thats some blazing internet. Wonder where all that bandwith goes when Mwangy is not downlading stuff. Anyhoo getting home I make a flash disk my startup disk and proceed to boot from it after a little fiddling in the bios.

Ubuntu Is slowly maturing, and I like that lots, right from the install menu it detects if you have previous versions of Ubuntu and lets you choose to upgrade, install side by side or install fresh. . .Very Nice.

Now this is where I went wrong and my impatience came to bite me in the rear. In my haste to get the system up and running ASAP, I skipped the part for downlading updates during the installation. The result was poor grief. My quantum GIS and octave softwares were wiped out and my vlc started behaving like a kid with chickenpox and ADD. I suppose this is because of broken/incomplete package issues .. or maybe not. My advice is to let it download whatever it wants even if it will take forever and beyond. . . .

So go get your copy and join the head scratching republic. . I promise it wont make you lose all your hair. . . !