Monday, 19 January 2015

Media Monday #2

This was going to be almost as good as the first Media Monday. I would ask you if you cared to watch Jack's Gap, if you enjoyed it. Your own opinion on Nothing But Thieves. Then proceeded to tell you about perhaps the most sarcastic person on the internet, danisnotonfire, and given you a taste of Weka Weka by P Unit and probably a whole lot more.

 But I just can't bring myself to it, not with scenes out of my backyard being likened to Soweto Uprising 1976, not with a whole primary school being drugged into this mess we call corruption and most of all not when the blame game is going on over whose land this is anyway.

It is with utter disappointment that I write this post. What would have started out as a normal Monday Blue took a turn for the worst with Monday taking a hue darker than ever imagined for the children of Lang'ata Road Primary School.

From the beginning, for familiarity of course. To get to town I pass that school, to go to church I pass that school and to go to school, right again, I pass that school. I see these kids walk to school in their green checked  uniforms with backpacks that may match their weight or on closing days with nothing but cheesy grins on their person. I have seen the lower primary kids take detours home with their variation of adventure time in tow. When any of them are late, they have each others back, passing their backpacks over the fence to evade consequences of their actions, if they got away with it, more power to them. And every school morning, like clock work they tend to their school's environment; no eyesore here.

The problem, their environment, their playground has allegedly been another case of an age old problem, land grabbing.

My expectations were this was going to be just another ordinary strike; banners, chanted slogans and a traffic snarl up here and there. I was not there, but clearly something went terribly wrong. With my Instagram timeline blowing up with #OccupiedPlayground trending and my sister's WhatsApp exploding with comments calling out police men who pelted out teargas canisters at children resulted in the protest not only making national news but also international headlines.

Having had only a mild experience with tear gas, I cannot even begin to imagine what 6-13 year olds experienced. There was crying, yelling, stampeding and sheer shock that led some  of the traumatised kids to pass out, understandably.

What hit me most, the now suspended OCPD defending his command on account that the kids were throwing stones at his men and of course they retaliated.

News rooms have had quite a field day with the ball of blame being volleyed all over the place. But the fact remains what happened today should never have happened. Was it the activists who made a mistake by involving the children or the police who made the kids their target? I don't know. It's not even about the land anymore.

I leave you with the words on one of the placards held by the pupils reading, "Mom and Dad...What did you do to change things?"

Thursday, 15 January 2015

TCWT January 2015 Blog Chain

I am so used to being at the bottom of the TCWT chain, that it feels rather different posting stark in the middle of the month. Regardless, Hurray! to new experiences.

On to this month’s question then:

“What is something you feel is generally written well in fiction? What is something you feel is generally written poorly?”

Now this question got me and got me good. More like exposing the skeletons in my book closet. I generally hate being in a position such as the one I am in. Saying what I like and what I don’t like that just makes me feel judgy. But that does not stop the fact that out there, there are works of fiction that to put it mildly just did not make the cut.

For you to get what I mean, I figured I might as well ask myself ,”what do I like in a good work of fiction?”

A big part of what consists like in my book? history. It could be the history of the characters or the historical period in which the book is written. This may explain why I am a huge fun of biographies and autobiographies. What history does for me, besides creating a stronger liking for the book , familiarity with the characters, the period, the place. In other words, makes me feel at home.

A good example would probably be “The Help”. Written in the civil rights movement period, the author  manages to make you even more at home since the setting is in 1950s Jackson, Mississippi and manages to drop names of civil rights movement activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and activists in their own right like Rosa Parks. The period is depicted effortlessly yet effectively allowing even the most unfamiliar with this period in history an understanding. You may be thinking that “The Help” is non-fiction and rightly so. That should be the thought, because the definition of a good work of fiction: it was so good, you almost thought it was real.

Vivid description lures me in to have a book listed as a well written work. This I have learned can do one of two things, work for you or against you. If it’s too vivid, using all manner of language ingredients just to make it “good” it’s overdone. Here I go then, not a well written work of fiction in one aspect, “We Were Liars”. On more than one occasion, I had to re-read a sentence just so that I could I understood what it actually stood for carefully subtracting the fancy language for understanding; a typical example of using vivid description to the negative extreme.

It would be awfully wrong for me to write about vivid description without blurting out my confession. I can’t write a good work of fiction to save my life. My saving grace, vocabulary. An attempt at vivid description usually leaves me asking myself questions which even I can’t answer when used to the extreme. A normal dose of my descriptive writing for me feels too scanty. Why am I telling you this? Because this either makes me a good judge of vivid description, since it is my writing dream to master the craft, or an incompetent judge(see how I cleverly avoided the word bad?) because I wouldn’t know what’s good from bad descriptive writing. You be the judge within my judgment.

But when there is nostalgia in a good work of fiction,that pretty much wins the lottery in my head. It’s become quite common for writers to do this through adding a soundtrack to their books. It makes it better, heavier and  a base is established. You can tell a lot about a character from the music they like and or the time in which the book was written. Eleanor and Park for instance its 80s rock not Cindy Lauper or Madonna 80s. That explained a lot about Eleanor and Park; their wardrobe, their emotion, their interests. Again putting a picture in my head whereby I could fully and clearly see everything and anything about Eleanor and Park unfold.

The same goes for “This Song Will Save Your Life”, “If I stay” and feel free to comment on any other book that shares the same. Please note, this does not necessarily mean that I think these were good books, for that you can wait for the review except the ones that already have reviews.

The end is usually what has the twist and turn, untwisted, the mystery, unraveled. Usually, the deal-breaker. Here ultimate judgment is expected. It can’t be too obvious because the thrill is eliminated right there and then. It can’t be too twisted because that probably means the reader was probably led on too long may I mention again, “We were Liars”? Then again the ending can’t be too final. Suspense is almost always welcome, be it in an unanswered question or an unturned stone. You can’t tell me in the “Hunger Games” you’re not wondering what happened to Gale besides the Capitol gig or Hazel Grace after Gus in TFIOS or what happened between Quentin and Margo Roth Spigelman if there was a Quentin and Margo Roth Spigelman. These are all valid questions, unanswered but valid. After all, if writers gave final answers to all the questions wouldn’t they be out of business? They’ve got to keep us coming back for more.

Be sure to check out all the other blogs in this month’s blog chain:

Happy reading y’all and don’t be afraid to comment !

Monday, 12 January 2015

Media Monday #1

I trust that you are having a wonderful start to your week. If you're not, fear not I am here to fix that.

So from the title of this post I hope you get the impression of a series. It is only fair that I tell you upfront that it is very unlikely that it will be weekly because I can only indulge in T.V and or music ever so often, but on the bright side you get a feel of what's going on in my head, my mind, my world. With that said, Media Monday was not originally my idea. This baby was borrowed from one Adora over at halcyonbound. Adora's is Music Monday,a little tweak here and a little tweak there we have Media Monday's. Help me express my gratitude by heading over there and showing her some love; share, comment, just indulge.

Are you excited yet? Of to Media Monday then.

Isn't it mind blowing that when you have exams the internet seems even more interesting and the stars are in alignment for once, take having the house to yourself for instance. Well this weekend that was the situation. The fruit borne from scavenging the internet for a cheap thrill, Jack's Gap. This gives the impression that I immediately fell in love with Jack Harries. Actually it was more of a "meh" emotion which progressed to dislike and eleven videos later, I was obsessed.

Meh: The first video I watched was Jack introducing his twin brother, Finn (Please note I am containing myself from saying #FinnFinnTheBetterTwin). Verdict on the video, not much. But I had faith plus his thumbnails were pretty cool so I did the inevitable, watched another of his videos.

Dislike: Five hours in Hong Kong. This was how I discovered I am nothing minutely close to a hopeless romantic. I have no intention of spoiling it for you, so go ahead and watch the video. The grand gesture thing just left me, I don't know, perturbed? jealous? All I know, there I was watching it over again.

Obsessed: The beginning . Given that I had already watched two videos of Jack's Gap, heck, why not just start from his very first video. Eleven videos later, forget studying, Jack and I, okay and Finn, basic BFF's. There I was counting Maoams , using the word "cheeky" in the cheekiest of ways and convincing myself that these *insert ghetto fabulous voice* two fine brothers, were indeed telepathic. I guess it is safe to say that I was sorted.

Ultimately, I ended up being more familiar with English slang other than Marxism or Legal Realism and praying to the good God on high to add just a few more hours to the weekend for compensation purposes. Lesson learned: Go check out Jack's Gap pronto! Oh yeah and I lost a couple of five minutes of my life that I will never get back. Thanks, thanks a lot Jack.

Interesting factoid, Jack and Finn happened to be in my city Nairobi, Kenya about a week ago (do not do the shmoney dance... okay on second thought, do it).

Musically speaking, do yourself a favor and go check out Nothing But Thieves. Warning: it is Indie. I may or may not be a big fan, still finding that out at the moment but these guys, they just do something to you. It's chills and calm all at the same time. Is that even possible? Okay at least with this song.

Last but not least, I have been watching Got to Dance every weekday on DSTV channel 102, 7.30 pm East African time (you see how I sneaked in that promo in there?). So besides looking, no, gawking at Ashley one of the judges, there are a couple of acts that honestly this will make no sense but, wow! Dance Illusion, Bitter Harvest a married ballet duo who have come out of ten years of retirement and dance like SYTYCD 2012 winners, Chehon and Eliana, probably even better given they are the only other ballet act I remember and this will sound corny but the love for their craft and each other besides their incredible technique is the icing on the cake.

My all time favorite, Sharifa. Eeyore in demeanor, Tigger when she dances.

Happy reading y'all.

P.S Expect back to back book reviews. Slacking has officially been omitted from my vocab.

Sunday, 4 January 2015


Now on to more important things in life, my birthday wish list.

Let me just say, being born in that unfortunate period between the Holidays and the Back to Life, Back to Reality period teaches you one thing. Don't expect much. My only consolation, Christmas and New Year Babies, basically those born during the holidays because that means one thing and one thing only. You call it unfair, your parents call it economizing, I call it the 2-for-1 gift, one gift for both your birthday and the Holidays *insert promo voice*.

Even though I know shouldn't expect much, you can't stop a girl from dreaming. Besides if you are a faithful reader wondering how to impress or get the attention of your favorite blogger (in this case, me), well don't I have the answer for you. Are you constantly checking this blog? Are you or do you consider yourself my friend? Most importantly, are you wondering how to put a smile on my face as I turn a year older? Look no further, presenting my birthday wish list!!

Loving men's watches but I will spare you the trouble of getting me a Rolex and you could just go for something simple and bold.

I do not have a lot to go on, but I think I have potential in photography, that being said, any serious looking camera would do. You see how I am making it so simple for you.

The Bang Bang Club
Of course only the best photojournalism book to go with my dream of being a photojournalist. Coming to the realization that I have too many dreams.

These West African garment looks cool and will probably be cooler on me.
Some people have a thing for shoes, I have a thing for pajamas.
Because I cannot get enough of them.

TOMS or the shoes I talked about in this post.
And you will have a very happy twenty year old blogger in your hands.

I probably will end up gifting myself most of these items but just in case, you know what to get me. Let me know what you would get me that is not on the list and what you'd like for your birthday. Virtual gifting is acceptable, right?

2014, Bye bye teens

Well first of, Happy New Year!

This post is dedicated to the year that was, the teenage years and to my existence on planet Earth for two decades. Do I sound excited? Well I am and I am not. So let me give you a mini-feel into my sentiments at the moment. You remember how you were twelve and you simply couldn't hold your horses to be thirteen? Then you got to thirteen and their really wasn't anything to write home about, and you couldn't help but feel a little disappointed inside? Well that's the excitement I am not feeling right about now. Except when you turned thirteen, teenage hood started coming at you in bits and pieces you could handle, the good and the bad, rather than in the rush you anticipated. Then that's the excitement I am feeling.

So up next are a bunch of things that I learned in 2014 and while being a teen. (This should have been two posts, but my time management skills have failed me. Something I ought to work on in 2015.)

She believed she could, so she did.
Yes, you have probably heard this quote billions and billions of times and even I admit I kind of got sick of it. But these words just about accurately describe my trials, successes and failures. Despite all the voices of doubt and downright discouragement both internally and externally, I soldiered through with my biggest fans rooting for me. Remember you should always believe in yourself, then everyone else will follow suit soon enough. That doesn't mean I came out victorious through everything, hands clasped and saying 'Bravo! Bravo!' to an imaginary crowd. Most times and more times are coming where I felt beaten to a pulp and staying down was the preferred option but you know what they say:

What's the worst that could happen.
There was a point in time if I was told to describe myself in one word, "Failure". My grades were looking all sorts of bad, the school of my then dreams had oh so graciously rejected me and my pre-finals were looking all sorts of ugly and rumor had it, they accurately predicted your finals score. Well, I lived, through it all scoring grades that are not too shabby, if I do say so myself with a try-it-all attitude when I got to the other side. No matter how big it is and whatever it is, I feel like I have seen the worst so I validly ask myself whenever in doubt,'What's the worst that could happen?'

Failure is enlightening.
If anything it must be an ingredient to success. You probably like, "Say what, now?" Trust me I feel like that too and in all honesty I cannot explain what that means but simply said, to the successful, failure is the fuel that keeps you going, the flat tire that can be changed, the speed bump on the highway. Why I am using motor analogies I do not know, but one thing is for sure, failure does one of two things stops you altogether or stops for you to recollect yourself. The choice is yours.

Go for it.
The only thing between you and what you want is yourself. Enough said.

Find yourself.
Nobody ever wants to say they are in the process and those who do are looked at as though they are a bunch of sickos. I say if you won't do it now, while in your teens, you risk living an unnecessarily unsatisfying life for a while. Go ahead, do it, stumble, fall, make a fool out of yourself  in the end (the end could be anytime between now and a lifetime) you won't regret it. After all who doesn't like mysteries, you never now what you will find.

It's okay to be different.
My teens were marked with significant jealousy of all my friends who were allowed to go out for a night on the town. I probably wasn't let out because of using such phrases well into the millennium, but it doesn't change the fact that I was still jealous. See in my day, (there I go again) the popping events were, Black Rock, Extravadance, those New Year's Eve all night parties. It took me a couple of years to figure out that we do not all have the same idea of fun, for you it's getting your dancing shoes on and chasing the sun from an odd hour in the night, for me it's an 80s movie, Sundance movie or even a god Y.A book. It doesn't change the fact that we have both unwound, of course one of us more comfortable than the other.

I guess its time to say, Bye bye teens, Hello Twenties !!