Saturday, January 14, 2006

BOOTCAMP: We lick your boots
This has nothing to do with the military or any other such institution that is associated with bootcamps. Am not going to talk about elaborate military drills or the shouting of orders or any other such things, but hey just hear me out a little. It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery (or is it compliment). Why am I even talking about imitation in the first place? This is because as a wannabe writer, I don’t have a style of my own, language of my own dammit even the ideas I pen down are not my own but a plethora of thoughts from such renown scribes as Oyunga Pala and Clay Muganda, not to mention a myriad of individuals I consider my close buddies. Well, if there is anything as a copy cat, then am guilty as charged. Mea culpa mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. This reminds me of one common Kenyan trait-aping. Man! We are such copycats! Sellah….
We speak English in fake accents acquired after watching a few movies at the neighbours house. We squeeze into our baby sister's clothes so as to look a little bit like Halle Berry, in the process spilling out unsightly pot bellies and exposing cellulite infested thighs for the world to see. We churn out our own copycat versions of "Jay Z" and brand them as "celebs",our movies are fake….man! , The list is endless…..Is it any wonder that we have no cultural identity that is uniquely Kenyan. Are we maasai (ostensibly the cultural face of Kenya),africans or "Kenyan African Americans"???Hmmmm.
Well, so much for that. I guess, when it comes to imitation, I think we are high up the scale. In our case it ceases to be flattery. It is plain boot licking. Hey, welcome to the bootcamp. Here we lick the boots. We lick them clean. So for all of you nonKenyans, next time you are travelling to Kenya, don’t forget to carry your boots

Thursday, January 12, 2006

ALCOBLOWS: The art of Toasting

I have always been fascinated by people who take alcoholic drinks. Well, the drunkards in this category, are often a spectacle and this could either be entertaining or plain obnoxious depending on the individual. However, what I like most about imbibers of all drinks alcoholic is the toasts they make. This is a compelling reason for me not to go ahead and advocate strongly for the banning of all drinks alcoholic much the same way that hard drugs are. It goes more than saying cheers or a votre sante or salude or l'chayim. Its an artform. On second thoughts I think people came up with toasts so as to play down the usual bitter taste that many alcoholic drinks have. Anyway here are a few toasts I came across, so next time you are poping that bottle of bubbly, you have no excuse whatsoever but to propose a toast.

May friendship, like wine, improve as time advances,
And may we always have old wine, old friends, and young cares.

To my friends:
Friends we are today,
And friends we'll always be —
For I am wise to you,
And you can see through me

May bad fortune follow you all your days
And never catch up with you.

To get the full value of joy,
you must have someone to divide it with.
— Mark Twain

I drink to your charm,
your beauty and your brains —
Which gives you a rough idea of how hard up I am
for a drink.
— Groucho Marx

Don't make love by the garden gate -
Love is blind - but the neighbors ain't !

Here's to you, as good as you are and as bad as I am,
I'm as good as you are, as bad as I am

May the people who dance on your grave get cramps in their legs.
from the book, The Joys of Yiddish

However, the one that captured me most was this by Alex Hitchens (Will Smith) in the movie Hitch:

Here is to never cheating, stealing or drinking.
If you must cheat - cheat death
If you must steal - steal away from bad company
If you must drink - drink in the moments that take your breath away

Have a breath taking day!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Once upon a time when I was younger (am young as it is), I got the opportunity to climb the highest mountain in Western Kenya, Mt Elgon. Now this is a moment I really cherish to this day. Mountains have a character of their own, right from the vegetation to the climate found at their different altitudes irrespective of the surrounding environment/area.

Mountains command respect. Before one climbs a mountain he/she has to get acclimatized to the mountain situation. One has to get used to the thin air especially in the higher altitudes; this in addition to the biting cold and the strenuous journey one has to undertake to conquer the alp. Well, am not really a mountain expert, but my experience on the mountain taught me a few lessons which I cherish to this day

One thing is that one should never be assumptive (sic). Never assume nor overlook anything. Be prepared in everything you do. Never underestimate any situation or person or whatever it is you may be facing. It is prudent to be well prepared for all eventualities, but neither should we overestimate anything. But aren't we human? Many a times we go about life guarding ourselves and covering ourselves in silky cocoons afraid of exposing ourselves. In a mountain situation this would involve packing just about everything in the rucksack. Extra pairs of gloves, an extra blanket to supplement to supplement the huge well, lined sleeping bag, extra rations, an extra first aid kit, well practically a micro-hospital. The result is that we weigh ourselves down with unnecessary luggage. Is. it any wonder that we more often than not get slowed down and tire quite easily. Do we need this extra luggage in life?

On the other hand, underestimating the challenge that the mountain portends is practically suicidal. You don’t wanna run out of supplies mid way through a climb, especially one that could take several days all in the name of travelling light. You simply need to be prepared to deal with each and every foreseeable eventuality. An extra jacket would be very welcome during that unexpected storm up the mountain. In extreme cases, underestimating the alpine challenge is simply put, deadly lethal.

Secondly during the hike, one needs to pace themselves at a pace that one can handle. Not too fast as to wear yourself out quickly and not too slow as to drag the expedition unnecessarily.
However to be dreaded most is altitude sickness, could be compared to seasickness but in my opinion more sickening. Usually brought about by the sudden altitude change and atmospheric pressure. A mountain climbers nightmare that.

But the greatest lesson that I brought with me was this. Enjoy! Enjoy the fresh mountain air. Pause and take one deep breathe and exhale slowly. Savor the moment. Enjoy the company of good friends, the friendly banter and the camaraderie. Enjoy the different mountain vistas, the variety of flora and even fauna one meets along the way. Live the moment and let it take the breath out of you. The greatest joy however is reaching the summit. It is a top of the world experience. Your head could literally be in the clouds. The sense of conquering and achievement is simply heavenly.

In this world are many mountains, majestic and immovable. The many troubles we face and the everyday challenges. We must climb these mountains, conquer those peaks and vanquish those enemies.