Mark Kaigwa

Posts Tagged ‘Ramblings’

[Video] OK Go – This (Ukwelii blogging silence) too shall pass

In Perspective on April 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

To make up for the blogging silence so far, I’m giving you a couple videos that have over the past couple of months caught my eye or I know will enthuse you as I prepare for a return to the interwebs…If you’re looking to catch up on where I’ve been  you can check my Posterous Blog “Ukwelii wa mambo” – lot’s of nice snippets and titbits of my daily trails along the web and the universe

Below is rock band OK Go who (with a little help from insurance company State Farm) made this viral video which captivated me with it’s use of a Rube Goldberg Machine (that “simple” contraption that works throughout the video)

I’m sure you’ll be fascinated for the moment…And yes, this blogging silence shall pass. Consider this the beginning.

#Stigvote : A Twitter Story

In History's Future, Perspective on August 31, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Forewarning: You probably need to be familiar with Twitter and The Stig to really enjoy this article…

Top-Gear---the-Stig-0010

The-African-Stig

Some say he’s powered by a warped core, and that he has tyremarks for fingerprints…

Some say he can slam a revolving door and that his premolars are what are commonly referred to as ‘blood diamonds’…

Others claim that his blood type is ‘Unleaded’ and if you tune in to the 1245 MW Frequency, you can hear his thoughts…All we know is that he’s called The Stig.

It was a conspicuously sunny Nairobi afternoon, as @mkaigwa (known from here on out as TheRealStig) walked around in his ‘Oval Office’ pacing the length of the room searching for a corner. He was also pondering all things horse-trading, flea-markets and lampshades. In the midst of his thunderous brainstorm, from the comfort of his umbrella, he sent out a tweet. A tweet that would change the face of the Tweetmosphere…forever. One of the greatest revelations to a modern mystery that has baffled millions of car enthusiasts the world over. He exposed, that He indeed was…The Stig.

lewisms0112_468x317

Simple it was. A statement that was true, fair and just (all three words in the Kenyan context). But not so. For soon after this tweet was hurriedly placed behind a cursor and sent at lightening speed through the interwebs to appear to some +350 followers, there would be trouble in paradise.

Meanwhile in a dreary and drizzly London, from a pro-Arsenal cafe, sat @Shaun_g, also known as ‘Leader of the Resistance’ or LoR. As pulses of Arsenal-blood flowed through his body to his fingers, Shaun_G was also to send out a tweet that would shake the foundations of the Twitterverse. He challenged @mkaigwa and claimed HE was The Stig.

It left @mkaigwa disturbed. He paced up and down the halls, with great unease. This prompted him to seek the counsel of one of his wise men. Having been challenged, and the masses being told of this farcical reality, it was the wise words of @alfredmutua that prompted @mkaigwa to find a democratic view to resolving matters.

It was to be decided, who indeed is The Stig. By means of a vote. Not just any vote, but #StigVote.

In The Beginning

The Campaign Trail

And they were off. @mkaigwa began the lobbying for his election (and appropriate renaming) as “The Democratically Elected, People Chosen, Fairly Voted Stig” or TDEPCFVS for short. It wouldn’t be easy, @Shaun_G was prepared, he was poised, and with his international credentials, looked set to mount serious challenge to the incumbent @mkaigwa.

The campaign styles were simple. Get people on Twitter to ‘vote’ for whichever candidate they felt best represented them. Some chose not to vote, others chose to vote either both ways, but there was soon to be a twist.

Watching from his lair, deep in the labyrinth beneath Nairobi (Also known as E-dust-real area). Unbeknownst to the common man, was the coy @intelligensia. At this point, #Stigvote was looking like a two-horse race, a good-old Obama-McCain or an Ali-Foreman. But @intelligensia was having none of it. Needless to say, a large 6 foot tall spanner was tossed into the election and it became a three-legged horse race for the official Twitter Title of TDEPCFVS.

Mharibiff

It seemed that there were plenty who were unaware of this monumental race, it was a Manyoo-Liverpool-Chelsea or in my case, a Inter-AC-Juventus race for the Title. It was big. It was really big. Like El Clasico, only with three teams…so El Grande Classico (Why do I feel that doesn’t make any sense in Spanish?)

This battle, it seemed, was to be won and lost deep in the servers and networks of the interwebs. It was a level playing ground, and @mkaigwa was pulling out all the stops to make sure he would be fairly re-elected. His campaign manager @louizah sent out the word, and was quick to persuade the masses on who to pick. But it was close, @Shaun_G and @intelligensia had soon caught up to @mkaigwa’s supposed lead, and things looked like they would go down to the wire.

Supporters were tense, and this soon showed as ‘deals’ began being struck left, right and centre. The @mkaigwa camp stood its ground as it slipped into last place as @Shaun_G and @intelligensia struck deals in high places with Kenya’s Twitterati. It started off innocently with @swmaina asking if anyone had something for him to eat, but the events that followed shook the walls of twitter integrity for years to come. It soon became apparent that @swmaina was not looking for anything edible.

The Society of Blogs for Better Tweets (or SoBleets) has reserved the right to show this tweets contents.

Retouch

It all went downhill from there, from open e-bribes to cookies, milk and drinks of a markedly higher potency being promised in return for vote. It must be said, however, that @Shaun_G did excellent in this arena, covering his tracks by going to DM Status (The equivalent of door-to-door Marketing) His strategy would soon pay off, as @intelligensia’s house of cards came tumbling down. Messages like this were soon appearing on screens across the world.

Won me over

@intelligensia was not to be outdone so easily and soon began receiving requests of his own…

Widespread Rigging

@intelligensia tried to throw the heat off him and his ‘Electioneering team’ He would soon bite his words, as @swmaina would soon make a confession meant to build @intelligensia’s campaign and give it credibility that hurt @intelligensia’s public image. @Swmaina had confessed to being bought, and was going to use his spare vote (Granted to him on a Stig Pardon by @mkaigwa) to re-vote.

This would lead to a Delegation of a Team of Experts of Prominent Persons Enlisted on a Shortlist or DATEPPES being sent to investigate. But @intelligensia’s light in the race, was fast disappearing. @Shaun_G had overtaken him in the polls, and @mkaigwa held his slender lead. @mkaigwa was hard-pressed by events. Instead of chasing after votes, he sought clout, one vote that would change all votes.

@mkaigwa won @mamajunkyard’s vote and in a change of events (just like when Obama landed a big State and got more points in the Electoral College) He was in the lead again.

There was also the great support of key individuals in Mark’s party.

Mafans Kibaooo

A Timeline was quickly set to 2 PM CAT and as the clock ticked slowly, sweaty fingers typed on keyboards Africa-wide and worldwide urging the masses to vote.

In every election, there are ‘spoilers’ @intelligensia is a spoiler, since this was a two-horse race, but he can be classified as an official spoiler. A last mid-election appearance on the ballot papers was @schunga who sought to clarify some issues.

Randomschmandom

Such late entries to the Election were quickly dismissed. At 2 PM CAT, the Official Results Came in…

Sweeping Victory

The Race from here on out, defines words, and can only be described with….Tweets.

Going Ahead with Ceremony

Official Results

The Swearing in Ceremony had started, and it seems while others were being sworn in as Helmet Secretary, others began protesting the outcome.

SwearingIn1

But it seemed the decision was final, and though it was a close race, The Winner had been decided.

Rigged out...Awww

Oh, well…You win some you lose some…That’s a #Stigvote for you.

(Stage Directions:) Draw Curtains.

THE END.

Buses, Busia and The Border

In Happenings, Perspective on July 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm

So far, so great in Kampala. I love it here. It’s green like The Hulk and what Al Gore wants the world to look like. Weather’s great too. People are great too.

The trip was equally as ‘enlightening’ I took the night bus with fellow screenwriter and Maisha Finalist Bernadette Otieno for company. We took an Akamba bus to Kampala, and left on Friday at 7 PM. Bus wasn’t that full, which was weird. I soon found out that it would get weirder, people started getting off the bus as soon as Uthiru sides. What I haven’t mentioned is the mad rush I had to make for the bus. I left South B at 6 PM to hopefully get to Lagos Road by 7 PM. During rush-hour. On a Friday. On a rainy evening. *What was I thinking?* Well, God made a way, and I made it on time.

So how it works is that the Akamba bus to Kampala acts as a bus for all the other stops on your way to Kampala. So we also had passengers from Nakuru, Kisumu, Siaya and Busia. We were going to use Busia as our point-of-entry into Kampala. I had nothing to worry about, never been to Western Province in general, so was looking forward to the ride. I also tried to keep people updated via tweets and status updates. Funny thing I noted, though. At 2 A.M in Kisumu, everyone on board looked like a washed up extra on Lost or Pirates of The Carribean…All they needed to say was “Where’s Lock?” or go “Aarrgh, Matey!” It was too funny, obviously I might have been saying this because I was nowhere near a mirror, but that was besides the point.

I slept a good part of the way, something I’m thankful for. But our stops in Nakuru were cool. I’m not a fan of diuretics when travelling, but seems everyone else was – with people having coffees, teas, cokes etc. It was an interesting ride though. Was nice to stand in places I’d never stood before, didn’t eat anything at the stops, though, heard too many stories of  ‘that guy’ and trust me, I don’t (and neither do you) want to be ‘that guy.’ You know how the stories are “ Hey, did you hear about that guy who ate… at the bus stop at… it totally left him… and his road trip ended up being… all because he…” Feel free to fill in the gaps. And I had my chances, dozens of guys shouting “Njugu! Njugu! Njugu! Njugu Karanga! Njugu Chemsha! Njugu Patisha!” (Njugu are groundnuts or as you might call them – peanuts) and plenty other foods you might want to taste on an ordinary day. But this was no ordinary night, so no chances. Stomach trouble on a 12 hour bus ride wasn’t what I signed up for.

The border is probably the most hilarious bit of the story. So the bus stops. It’s 4 AM and we have no idea where we are. We hear a loud voice shout from outside “Passports! Everybody with their passports!” So I had mine safely zipped up in my jacket. Heard plenty of stories from friends who’ve travelled to dozens of countries, the general rule of thumb is that you don’t let go of your passport. Ever. Especially in African countries. At the border. You didn’t just travel all the way to the border, just to get your passport stolen. Nope. Don’t think so.

The Busia Border Post - Yellow Jackets and All

The Busia Border Post - Yellow Jackets and All

I get off the bus, groggy like everyone else and coming to with my new surrounding. The guy in front of me is quickly ushered away by a guy chanting ‘Passport, Boss. Passport.’ He gives the stranger his passport and is led to what could only be the Immigration office around the corner. His accomplice had been eyeing me and the second before my big toe had touched the ground off the bus, he was hounding me. He seemed pretty legit (for 4 A.M – he had a blazer on…), though I only stared at him for half a second before he got my hand and began to tug for my passport as we walked toward the Immigration area. I gave my passport to him, but followed him awkwardly close as he zipped off, quick to put a brother in a choke hold if he tried anything…Politely, though (You know me). He led me to a window with some light and in lightening speed, began to fill out a yellow sheet of paper – my immigration papers. I was surprised, to say the least. “Occupation – he asked me.” I was still in a daze to his ‘hustle.’ It was 4 in the morning and he was as perky, chirpy and zingy as a …tangy pickled pepper served right after some orange juice. In my half-asleep-yet-awake-enough-to-put-a-brother-in-a-choke-hold-if-he-tried-me kinda daze, I muttered Journalist as my foggy memory thought what I was doing at the Busia border (I was going for a Screenwriters Workshop – My mind got as far as Writers Wor…*end of transmission* hence ending up on Writer, Writing, Journalism…Journalist!

Strange but true.

So in (I kid you not) in less than a minute, he pointed me to where I was to stand, and had a good laugh at my passport picture (No, you don’t want to know why.) I stood in line, gave my passport, got a stamp on it and received a blue paper in return. He quickly got my attention and drew me back to where we filled the original one. I stood again in awe as he asked me how long I would be in Kampala, I said 24 days, he put down a month. I was a bit awestruck. He quickly looked at me and with a cheesy salesman smile and beamed “In case of emergency.” I chuckled anxiously. He then smiled and said “ I’m sure you’ve got something for me. You know, for the trouble…” I chuckled again and went back to queue with the same bunch of people. I was confused though. Everyone still had the yellow form and I had a blue one now – all filled out too. I began to circle around the lines of people like a lightening struck moth – looking for a light. This guy, (gosh, I don’t even know his name, we never even got that far) saw me looking confused walking the people and called me. “Mark…Mark! Come here.” I approached. He pointed me to the other side of a gate i.e. The border to where I was supposed to go next. “I’ll take you,” he said. Like I had any other choice.

We approached a policeman who I showed the passport and blue form. He nodded, and sent me through the gate to the Uganda Immigration Office about 50 metres away. I walked with my good friend, thinking of the convenience he had saved me, and how I admired his hustle – for 4 in the morning, he made my day. I gave him something ‘for the trouble.’ He quickly told me he had to get back, he couldn’t get as far as where i was going. I knew he was going to get another ‘customer.’ I didn’t mind. He was good help.

I went on to queue at the Ugandan Immigration Office, a small office, akin to the Busia one. This time, I had company – from the other side of the border. They had yellow jackets – exactly like the City Council Officials in Nairobi – only the City Council officials have ‘Corruption is Evil – Parking Attendant’ on theirs. These fellows each had a wad of cash that if it was in it’s Kenyan equivalent, would have them far from the border at 4 AM but in some lavish hotel in Nairobi. Ugandan Shillings vis a vis Kenya Shillings retail at the ratio of 26:1. Still getting over that. I look at it like the math lesson I never asked for, paying back for any I missed 🙂 These were some dodgy fellows who I’m sure could pull a fast one on me, and from what I heard  now, they pull stuff that ought to be in The Real Hustle.

I forget to mention, as I took in all these sights, Bernadette was on the other side of the border with her blue form wondering where to go. She gave me a call, and I went over to get her. She wasn’t as fortunate with her Immigration Writer Companion or IWC (I just made that up…they need an official name though.). He was a rather dicey character, while he filled out her forms, he chased after a fellow IWC who had a debt of his.

Note to IWC’s: That’s not a good look with the customers, so take notes: Chasing after debtors is a no-no.

(Back to regular programming)

And after helping Bernadette out with the forms, he quickly named his price… 200 Shillings – $2.7 …needless to say, she had to cough it up. He wasn’t smiling. I paid my guy less than half that – which is still quite a bit, but I had some change so I didn’t mind.

Note to IWC’s: Always smile, you can do it, if you’re that perky at 4 A.M. You can do it.

We went on to have the bus searched by ‘Customs Officials’ and trust me – whatever high tech approach you might be thinking now, it was a guy with a flashlight who walked through the bus and combed through luggage. Simple, but effective.

It was an experience I just had to share; too funny and special to keep to myself. So now you have an idea of what to expect when you get to the border…at 4 A.M.

If you have any border stories, I’d love to hear them…

Father Chuck Norris had many sons e.g. Tiger Power!!!

In Ramblings on January 30, 2009 at 12:54 pm

“Had many sons…Had many sons.. So Father Chuck Norris I am one of them and so are you… ”

You know about Tiger Power? You’d better, lest he let’s you know about him. Then we’ll have known about you.

He is, in my opinion, one of the greatest and manliest men any Kenyan ever knew. Ha, Chuck’s so invincible. The only guy I know personally who fought Bruce Lee, that’s serious, and he’s still around. Anyway here are some classic Chuck Norris quotes, and just in case it crossed your mind the answer is yes, Chuck does all my stunts. Here they are:

-Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

-The quickest way to a man’s heart is with Chuck Norris’ fist.

-What was going through the minds of Chuck Norris’ victims before they died? His shoe.

-Chuck Norris does not hunt because the word hunting implies the possibility of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.

-Chuck Norris has counted to infinity. Twice.

-Chuck Norris recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage. We know this beverage as Red Bull.

Long live Chuck Norris. I wish we had our own Chuck Norris, this inexorable figure that everyone just seems to almost idolize (idolatry is bad, no really) so it’s the most sincere form of flattery you can find.

Which brings me back to my original question ‘You remember ‘Tiger Power’? Sure you do! Imagine him lying down, in his wear-it-every-time-but-it-never-gets-dirty-or-smelly costume of an almost skintight red top and grey sweat-pants, don’t forget his leather I-go-to-the-gym-and-I-don’t-got-abs-but-i-got-a-good-belt! I’m not hating, I wore the belt also – briefly-, so I know. Anyway one of his signature moves, or set-pieces if you will, was him getting run over by a tractor. By tractor I mean a Massey-Ferguson tractor, and I’m talking about the back wheels. Oh, wait, no…that’s not right. It was a Land-Rover, yes, a Land Rover. In forward and reverse. Consecutively. Don’t worry, I was eventually able to pick my jaw off the grass after I saw it the first time.

Now, I wasn’t the greatest follower of Mr. Power, and my recollection is subject to embellishment and misdirected facts but I know one thing, Mama said eat your greens or I’m calling Tiger Power.

He was many things to us, including chosen son of Chuck Norris. In the same way the President of the U.S. has an indelible link with Kenya, it was chosen before time that through Chuck Norris, we would have a connection to the U.S. through Tiger Power.

He was actually the Kenyan version of Santa, think about it. A Santa. A Chuck Norris. A Santa who can fight. I know if Chuck was Santa he’d have werewolves for deer and a Ghost-Rider inspired chariot. I digress, moving on though, where did this generation of strong Santa-like Kenyan Chuck Norris-lings go? Anyway, he was an icon, and it didn’t matter how bad you were to your parents, if you went to the show, or to one of these random events and he happened to be there and do a set-piece, he always had some time he’d get the kids all around him and give them a word. The kids listened.

Their glazed-over eyes peeled, and ears enlarged, lapping up his words amidst his paced breathing thanks to his previous stunt, and “Tiger Power says…” was all they needed to hear. Come to think of it, Tiger Power was more than just a Chuck Norris-ling Santa-like. He had to have some Mr. T DNA inside him. Yes, that’s it. Mr. T.

Ok, so what do we have here. The affectionate heart and ticklish belly of a Santa, the clout (in every sense of the word) of a Chuck Norris, and all the menace of a ticked off Mr. T. It Makes me teary eyed if you ask me. I feel like I’ve painted the perfect picture of the Mona Lisa, if you know what I mean. Anyway, Tiger Power was like an idol, a Kenyan youth/manly man idol. Middle aged men wanted to be him, kids wanted to sit on his shoulders as he walked (One on each shoulder because he’s strong and balanced like that) and mother’s wanted him to be head disciplinarian of the household.

He was the answer to the Orie Rogo Manduli derived phrase ‘Total Woman.’ He was the ‘Total Man’

What were your fond/ not so fond memories of Tiger Power? Let me know.