Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Why own a car

I have just walked from westi to K street. Yes. I work in the red light district. Anyway. The sight of a guy getting into a mat through the window, and the enormous jam convinced me that I didn't have too far to walk. As it is, I probably got to my destination faster than those on the road. At some point, I was making better progress than some wailing ambulance slightly ahead of me.

I don't know how guys do it. I wouldn't survive the stress of driving in Nairobi and other associated hazards like finding parking. This is one of the reasons I don't own a car. One other being the fact that I can't afford one. Apart from the exercise that walking affords you, there are small things you need not worry about. Such as that guy cutting you off. I like the idea that I can get into a mat and go off to sleep, walking up just before my stage, oblivious to the hussles of the journey and without the constant pumping action of a leg on a clutch. Of course not having a car means that I am limited in as far as movement around town is concerned. I just hear about the club scene in westlands. I can't even afford doing the cab thing to and from those sides. So I stick closer home, or the CBD. Definitely no out of town ventures.

I wouldn't take this much further and suggest an Amish lifestyle, but a little walking is a good thing.

Friendship

I got a call sometime last week from a now-soon-to-be-ex-workmate who's on maternity leave. Had a baby girl sometime towards the end of last year. I was a bit shocked because we didn't normally talk on the phone or anything. Still for some reason, I had egg all over my face after the conversation. I mean. She had a kid and all, and not only have I never gone to see her, I'd never said anything. So embarassing, all my previous unanswered calls to her notwithstanding.

I have realised that giving money is a lot easier than giving one's time, attention and emotions. Not that I give my friends money or anything. Just another thing I've thought of. Anyway, I should probably check up on my friends more. Even the odd 'how are you' SMS which I really don't like. A pal of mine was actually admitted in hosi for a couple of days last week and I didn't know. At least he was well enough for us to watch the Carling cup final on Sunday. I don't have very many friends or at least not too many that I hang out with regurarly. Possibly 3 or so outside the introverteds.

Anyway. This is a tribute to my friends. I appreciate you all. [Don't worry. There'll be no mushy SMSs, calls or emails coming your way]

Monday, February 27, 2006

Of origins and flying spaghetti monsters

The eternal question of where we came from, and the evolution-creation debate has often stirred up many a soul. I learnt at a fairly early age never to discuss religion, or the [de]merits of evolution. It's a sure way to get into a fight. [And I haven't been in a fight since std 5]

Anyway, in an effort to make the argument for creation more 'scientific', the concept of Intelligent Design [ID] has been brought to the fore. Basically, the theory posits that the complexity of certain natural systems precludes evolution, random processes or chance as an explanation for their origin. ID itself has attracted an interesting and humourous parody in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. This is possibly due to the close links between intelligent design as a concept and God/creationism. Most people who push ID are christians and Americans at least aren't about to let church-state separation be blurred even futher. I learnt C.R.E [Christian Religious Education] for the longest time, and have turned out pretty much ok. I'm not some fundamentalist type, trying to laud my beliefs over everyone. [Incidentally, nobody in our high school year did CRE. Not a one. Not even the Chapel prefect. Everyone dropped it at the end of Form 2, which was the earliest one could]

Pastafarianism is indeed gaining a following but I'm one who believes that our minds can't grasp everything or explain everything. Perhaps Hal may do a better job at this. I'd sure love to have conversations with him.

If you had 24 hours to live...

What would you do.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What the...

I went to Safcom's new building today afternoon. I got a call last week about going for an interview there. I'd decided not to blog about my job seeking travails.

Anyway, so I check into the place. Actually, I made through a rather oddly placed entrance. I'm not an architect so I didn't give it much more thought, only to be stopped by a guard who tried to explain to me that I had just walked through an exit. Bemused, I walked over to what was the correct entrance. I was in shock. Full body metal detector walk through thingy, lights, like 5 guards. It's like they were expecting an attack. When I got to the actual building, more large, security type individuals, in some dark blue suits. What could they possibly be keeping in there. Is this the reality of the post 9/11 world. In contrast, for the building where our offices are, all one needs to do is to sign in at some book on the ground floor. I'm sure Superman, or Father christmas has been to our building if those sign in books are looked at. Kwanza I wonder where they keep those books. There's a new one like every other day, considering the number of people who frequent the building. Shish.

Chiks are expensive things

I have this womaniser buddy who has made the above statement on several occasions. I now have empirical evidence that this statement is very true.

I am broke damn broke. Before I got a loan for 2K earlier today, I had a sum total of KES 15 in my pocket. Jana I was reduced to trying to convince one of my managers to buy me lunch to discuss my career development. I wont get paid till mid next week and there is a weekend coming up and as much as I try I wont be able to stay in doors or take a walk in Uhuru park or Aboretum (What do people who dont drink do with their weekends?). I already owe more than I should on my credit card so although I do not want to I have to use it to at least get fuel.

Why am I broke? I havent been pynting as much as I used to. I got a token increment in Jan so I should be making more than I was last year. I have spent time reviewing my expenditure for the last two months, I have gone down to such a level of detail I might just as well have been doing a forensic audit. My efforts were not in vain I have flushed out the black hole that has been sucking my meagre earnings, its this chick that I have been seeing.

I can trace my financial woes back to December when we went to Lamu. Trust me taking a trip is expensive but when there are two of you its even more expensive. Lamu is lovely place and she made it even better.

She lives in Nakuru and I in Nairobi. The distance is good it makes the few times we hook up really special. She is a really good SMSer so I enjoy keeping in touch with her long distance. She has just finished campus and is not working so she pops up in Nairobi every so often. Since I live at home (I am closer to 30 than 20 still live in my mummy's house and intend to continue to do so for the forseeable future) to be alone we have to go to some lodgo. I guess the fact that she is wiling to do so shows that she might actually like me.

Last weekend I went down to Nakuru to see her. The road is pathetic and my body is still aching. Seeing that she also stays at home I had to take up a hotel room, spend money on dinner, drinks and lunch.

Before I met her my biggest expense item was beer. Now that she is in the picture she has taken over. This situation is not sustainable. What is a guy to do, now that chiks are expensive things?

You are what you seem

Yeah. I've been struggling with an appropriate blog title the whole morning. The other options included, "you are how you appear", "you are what you appear", "appearances" and "smoke and mirrors".

Anyway, I was thinking the other day about perceptions and how important they may[not] be. I was talking with a colleague at work yesterday morning actually, about how one not only needs to be good at what he does, but also be able to sell himself. Unless, I pointed out, you are extraordinary. If you are Einstein, it doesn't matter if you don't comb your hair and so on. Aren't 'mad scientists' just adorable. If you'll get us a vaccine for bird flu, I don't think many people will mind how you look or dress, etc. The trouble is these exceptional individuals are indeed the exception and a lot of 'good' people aren't very good at selling themselves. Those who are may not be as good know how to talk/act and often get ahead. The pseudo-swahili saying "empty debes make the most noise" comes to mind. As an analogy in the world of software, the UI is the application. Your application may jump up and down, make coffee and brush your teeth for you, but if it doesn' look good, no one may look at it long enough to know. They may not even care that it does all sorts of wonderful things.

As it so happened, our firm kicked off an awards scheme yesterday. To reward good performers. The maiden award at our office went to a lovely lady, who's been doing all the rights things. I cannot emphasise enough how I believe she's deserving of an award. BUT. Of course there's a but. If it was a straight drag race between her and our development team manager, our manager would win hands down. At least he would get my vote. Not only is he an excellent manager, but he's intelligent and full of remarkably good ideas. Perhaps he's earning loads of cash and a little bonus wouldn't make any difference, but I look at him and wonder. Do these guys know what they have. Perhaps if he had the right exposure and said all the right things they'd appreciate him more, but the guy just does his job. And well.

Personally, I like to do my thing the best way I know how. Appearances are way down on my list of priorities.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Pree---what?



The racket that is produced by this man can hardly be called music.

Everytime I hear him on radio, I can't help imagine what was happening in the God-forsaken studio where they were recording the music. I see a producer, who is not able to see, because he is stoned to death; Neither can he stand on his two feet because he is drunk as well. That is the only possible way you can come up with such horribly botched sound experiments.

As for the musicians (or musician), the clash and clatter of noise conjures images of small boys in some deep country hole (like swaziland), beating the crap out of a collection of old tins using sticks. Then some schmuck must surely have plugged in a direct current of 10,000 volts into the music equipment; The base signature in most songs sounds as if Hercules is dragging a warship across a corrugated floor.

In answer to these staggering inadequacies, Prezzo has a patented line. The thrust of it is this: If you don't or can't "appreciate" his music, you are slammed into a class of undesirable people called "MaHaterz". This has been used many times to silence people who have remarked that Prezzo's music is garbage. To give some lift to the dying horse that is his music, the man employs vast resources to shoot videos. He raps on stoically, even when he is hardly making sense. Songs have refrains; His is a particular brand where he constantly regurgitates his name in like some robot who only has six characters programmed into its memory. Young men who wear clothes that are too big for them, wave their arms frantically in front of the camera. Sometimes, someone will poke their nose at the lens. The message that they try to convey by these actions is totally lost on me. This mediocrity is now branded something else: Floss. You might even hear a few lines (when you ears are not bursting) where this word is used. The last time I checked, floss was a rudimentary dental instrument used for cleaning dark recesses of one's mouth; How this came to be something to be proud about escapes me entirely.

As for using a lot of money to shoot videos, I don't think his excellency Mr President makes any money from his music. In fact, one can say that his calling in life is to waste money. I detest such display of opulence. I am even more unimpressed because the man does not earn his lavish keep by the sweat of his brow. All I see is a baby, trapped in a man's body, splashing in a bath tub full of sweet sticky mixture of uji and honey.

Then this mama.........


I have heard it said that she is intelligent, sassy and quick witted. Top brass of Kenya's women professionals. Maybe she took leave of her senses. I hate to think that she was taken in by Prezzo's juvenile chest thumping.
Right about this minute someone is already protesting about love being blind, choices and other academic arguments that people employ when confronted with brunt suggestions. Save it.


Sometime, I can't help thinking that Prezzo is a living example of why people should not crave money that much. Along the same lines, this is an apt profession for him. It gives him purpose and application, albeit empty. It is not too bad. After all, check out what Osama did with his money.

I must stop here. It has become personal enough.

What is it about confidence...

That makes it such an attractive, and dare I say sexy attribute in a person. My hypothesis is that this is one of the main things that makes certain types of individuals irresistable. You don't have to be the biggest or brightest, but if you appear as such, the effect is the same.

Now, I've struggled with self-confidence all my life and am only starting to become comfortable in my own skin. [Stopping gorgeous women on the street doesn't count as confidence. That's temporary insanity] I feel like I'm going through a second phase of adolescence [or adole as we used to call it]. Learning about myself and deciding on values, things I'm willing to do or not do, and generally growing up [or old]. Slowly, the confidence is coming. Will come. And with it, many more exciting things.

Did you have deskfast today?

Deskfast is the most important meal of the day. I'm almost the only one in the office who skips it. This is probably because I really don't fancy haggling with mama chapati/mandazi early in the morning. Well, truth be told, we actually have bread bought for us in the office so unless you are craving for some oily flour products, man can indeed live on the bread provided.

This is a habit I've tried to steer away from though. True, eating before the sun rises is not an easy task, seeing as the stomach is yet to wake up, but there's something about starting the day with a huge, hearty meal. And eating with one hand while scrolling with the other is just not the way to enjoy a meal.

Friday, February 17, 2006

What is a blog

I've found myself trying to explain this phenomenon to a couple of my medic pals. Well. Even aJamaa had asked the same thing before he started blogging. [I still insist that it's not like a bulletin board, whatever that is. This is one of those things I wrote in my notes that I never understood].

Anyway. This post doesn't attempt to explain what a blog is, but I was inspired by a post at a techie blog I read. Talk about blogging about blogging about blogging. [I love the reference to the Trace buster-buster. Definitely one of the best movie scenes]

Do geeks make better mates?

I had a read at an article in this past Sunday's Nation by Christopher Hart. [You have to regiter to read online articles and I refuse to register to read newspaper articles, hence I can't provide the link]

Anyway, it was one of those pre-valentine's type articles, but a bit more original. Here was a guy actually suggesting, and substantiating his reasons why women should look towards geeks for mates. Well. The world has indeed changed, and computing and related technologies have given geeks a real boost. Taunts at them aren't as fun anymore because their net worth would probably shame their taunters, and would cover any psychiatrist fees anyway.

The author listed quite a number of qualities of geeks that he proposed as reasons why chics should give them a second look. I found the read rather interesting, possibly because I'm somewhat of a geek myself. There is hope.

A downside to being tall

I almost lost a couple of fingers earlier today. I was standing by a workmates desk, discussing a course of action for some issue we were dealing with. I streched out my hands heavenward, possibly as a reaction to the boredom I was feeling. No sooner had I done this than I heard a 'kluk' sound. For some reason I didn't immediately understand, my hands found their way back to my side. Possibly a natural reaction to the unexpected sound. I looked around to see what was amiss. Nothing. I don't know what prompted me to look at my hands. Probably the pain. That's when it hit me. One of the overhead fans in the office had made an atttempt at chopping off my fingers. It's a good thing that it wasn't at full speed, and the blades weren't sharper, otherwise I'd be contemplating reconstructive surgery. Luckily, all I have to show for this particular incident is an elastoplast on one of my fingers. I think our ceiling must be lower than standard.

The virtue of the black box

When I was in campus, I got exposed to the concept of viewing a thing [system/whatever] as a black box. You put stuff in. Get stuff out. You don't really care what goes on in there to get you what you wanted. Ignorance is indeed bliss.

Recently, I've started doing some reading. Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Yes. I only read tutorials and books that come in html version. This particular read happens to be in .chm format. Anyway. I realised that I need to read if I'm to have a chance at earning a higher salary.

I got to a section titled 'System Architecture Overview' the other night. Nice small section. I got to a point where the author was talking about different lock or update mechanisms or something. I felt physical pain as I read, and attempted to wrap my mind around the stuff being talked about. After a couple of sentences, the author would then say something like "This will be explained further in Chapter 15". I was laughing and crying at the same time. I'm in Chapter 3 and it's already bad. How will I survive at least 15 more chapters, chapters with greater detail on material I'm already struggling to assimilate. Isn't it wonderful when you just use something and not bother with how it works. I made my bed. Now I have to lie in it, clustered indexes and all.

A woman's desktop.

Yesterday, I had the rare honour of being invited by a senior manager, a woman, for a small tete-a-tete on a utility I had made. I promptly made myself available (like I had a choice). As I tried to purge the discomfort from my system, I looked around and I will try to give a description of her desk.

On one end, there is a stack of diaries. There is a sleek, leather bound one. Her name is embossed in excellent caligraphy on a shiny strip of metal. Directly below that is the standard company issue diary. Then there is a smaller personal diary beneath. Next to the diaries, is a box of Kleenex tissues. Invariably, one piece is sticking out the opening of the box, just like in the glossy ads.
There is a huge tin of milo and a small petri-dish like receptacle that holds a silver tea spoon. Silver. The metal. Not your bloody run-of-the-mill stainless steel. Down a few millimetres south, there is another tin of biscuits, imported. The name went something like "isolde" with those funny characters (èï), plus other characters that I cannot find on my keyboard.
Connoisseurs in strange European languages like Samborera can elaborate further.
There is a small jug of water, and the inevitable tall, thin glass, all elaborately engraved. The glass is somewhere between half to two-thirds full of water, which was too clear, even by water's standards and thus looked surreal.
Then there was this huge plastic "mug", for lack of a better word; The kind that americans favour for taking coffee during street jaunts; complete with a protruding mouth piece where one sticks their lips and sucks out the coffee. What is this thing called? Someone please educate me.

A tray follows next, with assorted papers, all neatly stacked together. Appropriately labelled folders peek out of the edges. Yellow and pink sticky note pads lie atop the papers in precise order, the distance from the pad corners to those of the tray unbelievably looking equal.
A miniaturized wooden "silo", with faces carved from the sides, holds a forest of garishly coloured pens of all shapes and sizes.

Ahhh...The heart of the matter. A gleaming, brand new Toshiba Tecra laptop. This little birdie comes with 512 MB of RAM, 80 GB HDD and a processor that runs at 3 GHz. Bluetooth, InfraRed and a TV card (like you can watch TV during office hours). The mouse is totally detached from the rest of the machine and is issuing a blue, psychedelic light. This will on occasion change to a bright, angry red if the mouse feels it has been inappropriately disturbed.

To the left of the machine is a potrait of a man, the woman and two obviously amply fed kids, all grinning incongrously. Glossy and colourful magazines (cosmopolitan et al) are by the photo.
Two cellphones, a Nokia 6230i and Sony Ericsson P900 are lying on the magazines. Also on the magazines is a black handbag which is the size of your ordinary textbook. A polythene bag, and certainly not the kind you buy to carry your fries in, is leaning on the handbag. The words "Woolsworth" are printed on the side. Yet another bag, made of sturdy polythene material (the look of the material defies simple description) and has white string straps is also present.

She effortlessly navigates the mind numbing maze of objects. She slips things into unbelievably small spaces; produces documents from huge stacks without thumbing through the whole thing. A cartographer can actually produce a map of this desk, complete with indexes.

A whole deal of animation is happening on the other desktop, the Toshiba Tecra one. Pictures of man, woman and two kids, in various states of grinning, against a variety of backgrounds, keep flashing by the screen in random order. The computer locks itself every five seconds. She unlocks it one second after that to reveal a desktop that has tooooo many documents for the small screen. No prizes for guessing that the static background has a picture of, yes, man, woman, two kids grinning. Its like a dark mime show.

In short order the meeting is over, since I never had anything to offer except to nod in agreement. I trudge back to my desk, quite relieved. Any area inhabited by HR people has this evil, haunted hang about it.I look at my desk in comparison. It is brutally bare and simple. To my right is a mouse, with the appropriate entrapments to the machine. In any random position on the desk you will find one pen, capless. There is a foolscap pad, with writings that do not follow any particular order, and neither are they complete or coherent. There is a flat monitor, pushed to the wall, the keyboard and system unit. A whole lot of wires running about and finally a deskphone.
My PC desktop is black. The only other icons that naturally don't come with Windows are: Winamp (2.8, and I have not recovered from being barred from using this program). Firefox (replaced IE),winzip and acrobat.Simplicity itself.

PS:
I am reliably told that offering our local variety of chocolates (read Dairy Milk) to a valentine, is a gaffe that only equals giving plastic flowers to a lady. Faux pas unparalleled. For chocolate to be worthy of her, it must first go through passport controls and board a plane from misty lands like the Netherlands, Denmark or Belgium. It must also be in wrapping that is more expensive than the chocolate itself by several orders of magnitude. In addition, it must not assume any of the more commonly known geometric shapes; No. A shape sculptor with the skill of a diamond cutter must be called in to carve the thing into a shape that gives the impression of love, affection or other feelings of a spoony (griiiiin) extraction. All this for something that will result in a formless mass once popped into the mouth.

Grand weekend people.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My visit to the dentist

Earlier this week, I started feeling that sharp pain that associated with a huge hole in your teeth, whenever I drank something cold/hot. Seeing as my threshold for pain has never been that high, I immediately set up an appointment with the dentist.

I was ushered in, to the lovely doctor's chair. He started poking around my mouth as they usually do before they start inflicting real pain. I was a bit concerned though. I typically take prophylaxis antibiotics before dental work [a story for another day], and attempted to protest that I wanted some antibiotics first. He wasn't taking me seriously and went on to do an xray of the side of my mouth. He looked at the xray then went back to prodding my insides. Ostensibly he couldn't see anything that could be causing my 'pain'. I would be very happy at that, if I wasn't a bit apprehensive. Have my neurotic symptoms become worse? My shrink will be horrified. He sent me away with a prescription for some tabs and mouth wash. Hopefully he'll find the cavity when I go back next week.

Following this, I came in to work late, only to be told by the Philosopha that all sorts of people were looking for me. As always, urgent matters were awaiting me. What a day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

IT Recruiting

I’ve recently been trying to analyze IT type of jobs and I’ve become a bit skeptic. The problem is the qualifications that they are looking for I wonder whether they ever get it. We have been discussing this for quite some time with samborera and personally I’ve arrived to the conclusion that most IT recruiters don’t know what they are looking for. They want a guy who knows all products from Microsoft from 1995 to 2004 (‘have added advantages’). Others just say any certification is an added advantage, the word any here adds proof to what am driving at they don’t know what they are looking. Guys look at those adverts and you will attest to me what am blogging about is true. I did go to one interview once that required a computer science fellow with 3 yrs of experience to do a job they were calling data entry. When I went to the interview there were other four guys who on chatting I discovered had done nothing to do with computers, anyway I had expected to meet serious techies there but to my disappointment there was none. Incidentally I never even undertook the interview because they delayed and had to go back to work. When you see those requirement just don’t take any serious interest about them. I had forgotten when you go for the interview and expect a three figure salary because of the qualifications they asked it will be shock on you as they will offer you event a lower salary than what you are earning and they care less. This post is a test to this

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I'm not wearing red

I thought I needed to clarify that I'm not wearing any piece of red clothing. Socks et al included. In past years, I have always gone out of my way not to. This hasn't been too hard since I don't own anything red. Truth be told, I don't like conforming. Never have. I am utterly incorrigible with this regard.

The only reason I would wear red todays is because I do indeed support The Reds. Given that I don't own a replica shirt, that isn't happening. I can text aJamaa the results of the game, if indeed he'll be otherwise occupied. Truth be told, I'd trade places with him. A bottle of wine with an obviously incredible woman, versus watching a team which can't score. Easy choice any day.

Concupiscence

An appropriate word of the day.

Join. Their world?

After 1, 2, 4 interviews, I got offered a job.

Since I resigned, I've had to deal with one persistent question. "Why are you leaving". I've never really had a good answer. It surely isn't because of want of a better working environment. A couple of guys have told me that working conditions at Celtel are horrible. Desire for better pay? Surely not. They have offered me less than I currently earn.

As it is, I've already quit my job and have signed up for this proposition. I'm expecting to hear from the other place I've been interviewing by the end of the week. Things may yet change. My inbox can't refresh fast enough.

I ask again, what is an intern?

Following my recent concerns about the definition of an intern, we have had more interns joining our software development department this week. Well, the intern who joined yesterday isn't in the office today and the Philosopha is now of the opinion that they are meant to be working for the one day. I really hope they are on their 'summer' break or something, and are not being taken advantage of.

Booty call?

If a guy calls up a chic at 1030pm, a chic who he hasn't called in the past 2 weeks, is that or is that not a booty call. Can you help me?

Why I will be watching soccer tonight.......

Vals is here with us again, and not without its usual grandeur. But I bet you knew that already.

What you didn't know is that I have a different item lined up in my calendar tonight. This vals, contrary to popular belief, I have decided to recoil into watching the reds/arses game and heck not because it promises to be an explosive match but because it provides the perfect route to escapism.
I have a couple of general friends (yes, girls) with whom I have been grooving away my fridays with, and being the commitment freak that I am, there is no way am asking any of them to be with me on a valentines evening. They know I have been seeing (not screwing) other people and giving any of them a nod on Vals is simply sending the wrong signals. I have gotten away with enjoying a friday night out and not calling for the ensuing two to three weeks, thats my life, thats the way I like it and am not about to mess it up in the name of Vals.
One thing am certain of is that the reds will be without one of their ardent fans as he will be busy declaring his undying love to some lucky girl over a bottle of wine (that he considered surplus to requirements I might add)

Playing hard to get

Playing hard to get

Playing hard to get is dumb, mean and just plain silly. In the last two posts this issue has come up and some people (KenyanGal please stand up) have suggested that playing hard to get is a good thing. the reasons given include that it allows one to verify that the person who is 'pursuing' them is really serious. I spit on that line of thought. The only person whose level of seriousness you should worry about when you are interested in another person is your own level of seriousness. Unless you have some special dip stick, thermometer or meter rule there is no sure way of knowing what is going on in somebody's mind or heart.

And why is it that it is only chiks who play hard to get? Were they given a special pass after making Adam eat the forbidden fruit? When I was in Primo chiks from class 6 onwards used to attend some gals only meetings with female teachers. I was always curiuous about what discussions transpired in this meetings, Was playing hard to get one of them? Or did chiks learn this crap from reading Mills and Boons. I must confess I have read one or two Mills and Boons but nowhere in the books was playing hard to get painted positively.

Playing hard to get is mean. So how does one go about it. I can see this sweet cute little Jezabel scheming "I like this guy and I know he likes me but I am going to make him suffer, I will only take his calls sometimes, I will pretend not to enjoy his company sometimes, If he does not ask me out at least two weeks before I will not agree to see him, I wil make sure he see's me with my cousins but I will pretend they are other suitors, If I run into a buddy when I am with him I will make sure I hug them affectionately just to make him jealous, I will never call him and when he does I will always end the call, I will alway tell him how my ex used to treat me like a queen, I will always tell him about how my chik buddies are treated well by their jamaas - taken out for facny dinners, showered with jewellery and crap like that. I will do all this because I want to make sure he cares about me. Confess all you women of 'a chik must play hard to get' fame this is what goes through your meand and evil little minds.

A woman generally wants to feel wanted. She wants to feel desired by men. That is why she will play hard to get even with that jamaa she is really not interested in. There was this chik I was interested in some time back, really nice and I felt we had really bonded. But she wanted us to stay just friends because as she put it 'I did not work hard enough'. Now that is the damnest thing that ever came out of her mouth. I did not work hard enough. Kwani ni mjengo? I have worked hard to get good grades, when in high school I worked hard to stay in the school sports team, I work hard to convince my boss to pay me a salary. I am not going to work hard to shower a woman with my luv. What can be more beatiful than a boy meeting a gal, the boy liking the gal the gal lliking the boy, the two of them getting it on and living happily ever after? What can be more beautiful than that? Its natural, it flows, and that is the way God meant it to be.

Playing hard to get is counterproductive. Now if a chik is doing it to tell how serious the guys is, how is the guy supposed to know if the chik is intrested? Play hard to get too? Where will that get us but a Mr and Mrs Smith kind of relationship? If you play hard to get chances are that some jamaas will pursue. But the pursuit becomes an end in itself. This guy will climb the mountains for you and cross the oceans for you. Then when he finally gets you, and there is no better evidence of getting you than laying you, he will be there wondering, "Is this what I have been working for? Is this what I have spent so much cash on? Is this what I have been investing my weekends on? Only this? Christ I have been stupid " And the chik is left there staying stuff like 'Jamaas are only after one thing' or 'He has changed'. If I were a chik I would be very careful about a guy who tries to hard. He probably enjoys the hunt and when he finally gets you he will move on to the next prey.

Thats my take on playing hard to get. I hope I was not to insulting, its just that this is something that I feel very passionately about. I have been on the receiving end of lines like "You didnt try hard enough" and 'I dont think you care about me enough'. A guy needs some pyshic powers to tell the difference between that chik who is not interested and that chik who is playing hard to get. With those few words I hope you (KenyanGal and all of like mind) will cross the floor and join me in this nobble war against this dispeakable evil 'playing hard to get'. Lets eradicate it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Heartbreak a lifetime ......

I have for long held that a man (can't speak for women) needs at least one serious heartbreak (of the romantic kind, inflicted by a woman) during the span of his life. This very desirable event derives maximum effect if it occurs at the onset of a young man's adulthood. If he gets more than one heartbreak, then certain things about the constitution of his character start coming to light. Of course, some people are visited by this mis-fortune severally, simply because they have this puzzling ability to genuinely fall in love several times in short spans of time; If, by bad luck, should a real heartbreak make your acquaintance when you are say 35, then you are in very real trouble. For one, your heart is not very good from all that drinking (and probably smoking); A goodly number of your brain cells have died as a result of natural progression of time, meaning that you are not as intelligent as you were when you were 28 (don't tell me about experience, its not the same thing); Your looks, well, don't command attention anymore.

Let me stop playing around and get straight to the point.

I was almost 18, starry eyed, wet behind the ears, when I got my first meaningful contact with girls. Anyone who has been to a single sex school can tell you that some people end up warped because of this social and psychological starvation. I enrolled into an obscure accounting college, just to while away some time before university, but also because I was becoming unruly and restless.
All the women were beautiful. Some were just spectacular.
God played one of His famous jokes; I, short, dark and totally unremarkable in every respect, a guy from shags to boot, hooked up with the cutest chic on the college campus. The circumstances that led to this event deserve an entire post on their own. This was huge, the passing of comet Halley fades into insignificance when compared to this.

For weeks on end I walked around college, dazed and confused, still disbelieving. I declared my undying love after only a day. I declared it everyday after that, many times a day.

On one fine Wednesday, in the harshest tone she could muster, she told me to disappear.
"Come again please, I did not get your last?".
She repeated her words precisely, forcing them out between firmly clenched teeth. And she chose a very opportune moment when there was quite a sizeable crowd thronging about; A guy, who probably thought I was hard of hearing, repeated loudly, slowly, in the manner that you address a 3-year old: Dude, -she-says-get-lost-she-does-not-want-you-anymore!
Aaaaaah! Wasn't I stung? Everything was so surreal. I was looking around, like a trapped animal. In my confused mind nothing coherent could form. Every protestation I tried dried up in my throat. Then she calmly walked off.

0.5, a man who had been held in lofty regard, was slithering on the grass, along with rodents and other earth animals, thoroughly humiliated, his heart ground to a fine pulp.

Pain. Borderline depression. Hard liquor. I was heading down, fast. I was in this perilous state for two weeks straight when something snapped. It is at this particular point in my life that applying logic and deduction to almost everything in life first asserted itself, forcefully. I asked myself a couple of really simple questions. And answered them as well.
Why am I suffering like this? Because a woman has left me.
Can I live without her? Noooooooooo.
Why not? I have very strong feelings for her.
So, are saying you are dead inside? Yesssssssss!
So, 0.5, before you met her, what were you doing? Weren't you living? (no answer).
Would you love to be rich? To be very intelligent? Of course.
Yet you can't. There are things you can't have, won't have simply because they are not yours.

And there it was, the answer. Crystal clear. She was not mine. She was destined to be with someone else because she could not get what she wanted from me. You can't keep them caged you know. You got to let them go because if you don't, they will still go and kick you in the teeth while they are at it. For the first time I was very calm. I was able to look back without fear or shame at people's mocking eyes. I could look at my former girlfriend as she strolled on the green expanse of grass with another man, and still muster a 'hello'. I had made my bones. I had become a man. To say that some pain was not there would be to lie; For therapy, I turned to my books and became an accounting wizard in short order.

From a bumbling idiot, I was transformed into a cool, dispassionate gentleman. A man of few words, great knowledge. Believe it or not, this now started drawing some girls towards me.
Did I say that this needs to happen early in life? That gives you a chance to recover. The next time I got hooked, I could see bsh*t from one mile away and offered advice as thus: Don't feel like you owe me an obligation; You can leave any time if for instance, you find someone who is more suitable than I am. I am OK with it. Cynical, delivered coolly and with affected aplomb.

From all this, many lessons have been learnt, and here is a sample.

i) 0.5 does not go after very beautiful women. He holds this unshakeable belief that they are just trouble. First, there always will be men hovering around her like sharks; Constant competition is never good, despite popular belief. Men have many wiles. They will get your woman. One way or another. Steer clear. If there is any trouble, be the one causing it. Go after other people's women, not have 67 guys after your chic. Jesus!

ii) Money has appeal. And let me be clear from the onset that I do not intend in any way to offend the women who read this blog. Put two guys who have roughly the same qualities; the guy with much more money carries the day. Chinua Achebe once wrote: You need petrol to light a fire. You get the drift.

iii) If she is out of your reach, leave her alone. I 'd rather be called a coward.

iv) It is very natural to get booted by a woman. Get over it quickly. Get back in the game. That stuff guys do where they try every damn bit to get back in the good graces of the woman then dump her for purposes of pride is just nonsense.

v) If a chic is playing hard to get, leave her alone. Don't waste time on some woman who is feeling hot, unless of course you are in the business to just prove you can get her. From where I stand, it is very simple. If there is a spark of some sort (sexual, physical, romantic), lets get on with it. We shall play it at its level. If it is plain good company that we make, so be it. If its just sex, poa pia. Its no use trying to morph charcoal to gold.

And I can't believe I have just let out all that garbage. I am becoming senile. Nice day.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Do you work with fools?

Or curmudgeons? [How does a guy know such a word] You are not alone.

Juiceless.

Words, sometimes just refuse to form.
Recent events in my life, as well as in other people's lives have not been worth commenting about. But I will just be good and crack up one.

Recently, we were called to a meeting and told of something about a job re-evaluation or promotion. Choose as you like. Generally this means that some more money is added to your bottomline. With great speed new copies of a document we call "job description" were handed to us. This new document, quite naturally increased the scope of our responsibilities, added a new range of systems to be developed; A new list of Projects 2006 was drawn up. My salary, however, has refused to move. The second part of the documentation, the one that tells you that your salary has inched up a couple of hundreds, seems to have gotten stuck at the printer. Or perhaps the computer, being the intelligent thing that it is, has refused to process this part of the equation at all. A very rosy picture in summary, I must add.

Someone has decided that the intranet looks "very dull". Consequently, it must be made to look "spontaneous, inviting and exciting" [someone wants to marry the intranet?]. Further consequently, it has been decided that "I am the most talented person" in the entire __ as far as graphic design is concerned. This is a line of thought that I find particularly disturbing. As well as untrue. Being "graphically talented", as I am repeatedly made aware, I should re-vitalize the intranet. And while I am at it, other things which are more important, and are of definitely more value, should proceed as planned.
0.5 has a 28 hour day. Or two brains, and three hands (as Samborera would put it). Look at me closely next time guys.
Manhours will be wasted playing with Fireworks and Flash. Colossal waste of time.

Someone asked me, to "investigate" why Crystal Reports blurs BLOBs (images).
And then do what? Write a patch which I will send to Seagate Software who will then mend their crappy software? And this coming from a fellow developer! Senior Developer infact. Some people have this insatiable quest to get physically harmed.

Oh yeah. Some old curmudgeon has decided that wearing headphones in the office is uncomely behaviour. I am thinking that there must be some business rationale behind it, otherwise there is no sensible explanation. Something like: 0.5, your wearing of headphones while writing code is leading to loss of revenue to the tune of like a million a day. To ensure we don't collapse, you must stop forthwith. Those of you who are wont to agree with this line of thinking, I will quickly remind you what I do:
Machines (computers) help people. I help machines. We have languages we use to communicate: they include vb, asp, C++ and sql. These languages have no eyes, ears or mouth. The machines love me in return; they play me sweet rock music. See? Symphony. Until some rank outsider who only knows how to work MS Outlook steps into the picture.

@6.00 PM, Nairobi time. Usual pub. Usual drink. Usual company.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Java 2

After the Java interview/exam I did recently, I got an email asking me to go back for another interview, with the CEO. I figured that they must have realised I haven't written much Java code and that would be that. Perhaps they just like seeing guys squirm. I don't know. Which reminds me. I'll have to look for a shirt to wear. Last time I went in my usual T-shirt and jeans. No way I was doing a java test in a tie. I hope I have a shirt in the closet that doesn't have rust. [What is that stuff that gets on clothes that have been in a wardrobe for too long that looks like rust]. Tomorrow 9am it is.

What is an intern?

We probably know the most famous intern ever. We had someone join our nice firm yesterday. The way you usually know that there's someone new is by an email indicating as much. [I should really stop hiding behind my computer screen] As I read the mail, I get somewhat confused. Apparently they are joining as an intern, but have finished campus [and are just awaiting graduation]. First, my understanding of 'intern' at this place is a guy who comes to do some work during his campus breaks or something. Besides, some of us graduated almost a year after finishing course work.

I was concerned. So I took her out to lunch. Anyway, apparently we'll be getting a few more of these 'interns'. Ati they'll jobo for a year and then be considered to officially join the lowest job grade that we have. Of course all this time, they'll be earning an interns salary. This is pure exploitation. She's happy to have a job and all that, but she'll be expected to work like a kawaida person, for a non-kawaida person's pay. This seems to be another tactic to keep costs down. The other popular one in force currently is to promise you heaven, soon.

Maybe my ideas on work are warped, but this is just not right. I guess we all need to look out for ourselves, because employers certainly don't.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

ASAP?

I'm aware that this typically stands for As Soon As Possible but what does it really mean. When you are told to do something ASAP, there's an implicit assumption that you are currently not doing it ASAP, and are probably reading a novel or today's newspaper. That you should put your third hand to use or push the TURBO button on your head. Being told to do things in this way is quite common place, and perhaps is appropriate to point out the priority something holds. However, when you aleady have a task priority system in place, and the tast at hand is already of a high priority, and evidently critical, what purpose does it serve. Other than further aggrevate the pressure that the guy doing the work is already under. It never ceases to amaze me how people think that by telling you to do something by today evening, that somehow by some mysterious magic that stuff will get scared and do itself by the said end of day. Software happens to be notoriously unpredictable and such thinly veiled threats often don't help in finding solutions faster. How is a guy meant to think with an axe over his head and no clear or obvious cause or solution in sight. He's likely to throw up his arms in despair and proceed As Slow As Possible.

Monday, February 06, 2006

C'est dommage

I saw Gorgeous again today morning. This time she was walking on the same side of the street as me, and I wasn't stalking her. There was some eye contact, and recognition of each other, but nothing more. Sheer and utter pain.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Rediscovering the joy of learning

Since I vowed to be leaving the office at 6, and of late, I've been reading tutorials and books and stuff. So far, I haven't been writing too much code. It's so much harder than reading. All the same, it's been fun learning stuff again. Now I read something every evening. This is in contrast to just laying in bed, which is what I used to do when I get home, in the guise of meditation. Well, I should still have at least 10 mins of meditation before I swatch. It's good to get out a rut, albeit temporarily.

Bullet proof code?

I was asked to look at some issue earlier today, and specifically told to "bullet proof" the code so that the error doesn't occur, seeing as we can't reacrate it. I looked at that statement for a while, wondering to myself what exactly is expected of me. What does the phrase "bullet proof code" mean anyway. Surely not code that doesn't have bugs. That's just not possible. Again, helpful information regarding the bug isn't forthcoming. Now I don't know where to start.

Attitudes

Ealier today, I was chatting with some workmates at the tea area when the attitude of one of our managers truly astonished me. Rather than replay the actual stories, I'll just talk about the idea. Basically, some of us [read me] were ranting about all manner of things, including having to pay 5 bob for an sms while Safcom makes 8 billion in profits. Her reaction? "What are you going to do about it". I guess it's a fair challenge, but I love to complain, even when I know things may not change due to my misgivings, or otherwise. I believe in the concept of speaking one's mind.

The saddest part for me was the fact that earlier today, I was talking with a couple of members of her department, about a meeting they had a couple of days ago. Apparently, they aren't happy about work and pay, and other stuff. Her response? "Why are you still here". That's just vile. How do you talk to your employees like that. It's a good thing some of us aren't in her department. That happens to be the general attitude of my current employer. Guys aren't happy. They know guys aren't happy. Their attitude? "Mta do?" Given, economic and (un)employment realities are keeping many people here, but still. We aren't goats. Well, I guess even goats deserve to be treated well. Sadly, this is the prevailing attitude among most employers in Nairobi.

How to ask for 120K?

How do you ask for a salo of 120K, with a straight face. I was talking to someone yesterday night and he was suggesting a guy should quote such kind of figures. That's way, way, way more than I earn, so I'd probably laugh if I say such a thing if asked the eternal question, "how much do you want?". As it is, I'm not sure how much I'm worth as far as a job goes. I've realised I'm worth more than what I currently earn though. You have a senior guy who earns loads more than you, but doesn't do as much or as difficult work as you do.

So how does a guy ask for 120K.

Two ways

There are 2 ways to do things in this life... The hard way, and God's way.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bad boy syndrome

I was reading the current edition of the Saturday magazine. The Nation don't seem to have it online, or do I have to be a registered member to access it. I found it a lot more refreshing and exciting than reading yet another Java tutorial.

One article was on The Bad Boy Syndrome. Once upon a time I used to be really into this topic, but I gave up trying to understand women. Aparently bad boys are interesting and us nice guys are boring. [I'm not the most interesting bloke around so I guess that makes me a nice guy]. Which type of nice guy are you?

Another article was on a mans apparent agony at discovering his wife was having a lesbian affair. I found it rather pathetic, with the narator going on about how he couldn't forgive his wife of 10 years and so on. Some pragmatism would be more appropriate. Anyhow, it got me thinking. What's the prevalence of bisexual women in Nairobi. [I doubt there are any true and strict lesbians]

Surviving Vals?

The ads and general mayhem has already started. How will you guys survive this one. I haven't added anyone to my phonebook recently so I should be fine.

Thingie

Seeing as Kamikaze passed his exam(s), aJamaa got promoted and 0.5 went on a 'SUPER' date, I propose we have a get together this sato. A pub where you don't have to talk over the music would be nice. I don't like shouting anymore. From like 6pm [I wouldn't be available till then]. 0.5? Which pub?

The Java interview a.k.a What is a static factory method

Yup. I went for an interview/Java test at Mobile Planet this morning. It's starting to feel like exam season. I wish there was another way of getting a job.

12 questions. 1 hour. During the course of this week, I realised that I'd never written a single line of Java code before, and my attempts at passing off as a Java programmer would be stillborn. Thankfully, they didn't shove a computer at me. I've never been so happy to write code on a piece of paper. I don't think I can get a Hello World Java app to compile even. Especially seeing as I'd probably not have an IDE and would have to make do with the Intellisense that Notepad would have to offer. They were asking the kind of questions their current programmers can answer. A guy who is just masquerading as a Java programmer may do not-so-badly, but they'd be able to tell from your answers. Incidentally, the last question was "Who is your favourite technical publisher?". I just laughed out loud. I don't read books. Everyone knows that. It's a good thing I had stripped some site where a guy had mistakenly left available a bunch of books. Is there any other such publisher apart from Oreilly?

The verdict: If you are called for an interview where you will be doing a Java test, don't bother reading tutorials or books on Java. You'll be asked to describe how to set up a VPN using standard tools on a GNU/Linux system.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Owning Up

I have this guy in the office who I complained sometime back he can’t own up to his mistake. He beats around the bush trying to explain weird coding stories which even himself can’t do. Scenario One: We design code and stated how the guy was supposed to reference me on different situation. This guy went and changed and never updated me of the changes. This left us debugging a simple bug for more than 2 days with 2 guys, I never complained. The good thing when it was discovered the other senior guy offered to tell him. why? Am sure he knows the guy’s behaviors. Scenario Two: I came today morning and discovered there exist a problem in the current components and ask the guy what it is as he owns the main exe. The guy was so busy and so I inquired to him to re-compile his components to ensure things are working. He argues that it’s because I have a form that contains a timer. The guy tells me it is possible to have a timer in a class without necessarily having a form. “Show me How?” obviously it fails. He says you should use some API to do this but doesn’t say which one, and just pulls off from the conversation. Anyway at last the guy accepts to recompiles and the thing works sawa. After doing my tests everything looks sawa and no problem. I don’t know why some (this) people think they are angels own up sometimes for this silly mistakes human is to error.

Round 2: The verdict

I ironed a trouser yesterday for the first time in about 2 years.

Anyway. My 2nd interview at Celtel was OK. I still felt nervous in the hours preceding it. I used to have a certain sang-froid when it came to such things. I don't know where that went. I didn't go in too early this time and managed to get to the IT department just 10 mins to time. Everyone in the building was wearing some brand new promotional T-shirts with the slogan "Switch. Ufurahie". I guess they wanted me to switch from Safaricom.

Again, this one didn't exactly follow my expectations. There were no technical questions. Not a one. The closest was "Which programming languages do you know?", and that came right at the end, after I'd had to answer all sorts of questions. Some that come to mind:

1. What do you know about Celtel? [Ummmm....]
2. Do you know the name of the CEO? [What does it matter!]
3. Are you currently working or are you idling [I don't take the "are you idling" phrase very kindly]
4. How many hours a day can you work? [Because you intend me to work for how long...]
5. Tell us about yourself? [What. How many sisters I have? The last time I had sex? Can you be more specific?]
6. What are your weaknesses? [Umm....]
7. What are your weaknesses? [I really stuggled with this one, and they kept asking it!]
8. What is success? [The dictionary.com definition?]
9. Why us and not Safaricom? [I also sent an application to Safaricom. :-))]

So. I probably need to go for more interviews. I'm definitely not too good at this kind of thing. And to think I just want to write code.

The verdict: I said all the things that would make me fail but I hope they can see past all that. I'll know one way or the other by the end of next week.

IE7 is on the way

For those still in the dark ages of the browser universe, there's hope. IE7 beta is available. You may want to read the EULA. Of course some of us Firefox folks don't really care that IE will finally have the features that we already enjoy.