Africa Offline

We have a problem. I won’t be able to attend BHH, our monthly gathering of intellectuals and Rev, which is a real bummer for me because my life, bereft and wretched, needs as much sunshine as it can get.

If you see Daredevil wish her a happy birthday for me, and if you see Erique tell him I want my money, dammit!
I’ve learnt that prestigious online media organisatioin Uganda Talks has been trawling through Ugandan blogs seeking those it can mention for blog of the Specified Time Period. Because I am nothing if not a vain bastard who wants everyone to love me, I am going to start pandering to the intellectual reader, in the hopes that this will get me considered for mention by Uganda Talks.
I shall begin with burning political issues which I shall address in the form of an impassioned rant.
Why is Mengo calling for a boycott of New Vision over that story they wrote about the Kabaka pawning off the palace for a loan yet they remain suspiciously silent over Connie Nankya’s article in which she claimed Michael Jackson was not all that?
In other  news:
Damage to the undersea internet cable SAT3, which serves much of west Africa with web service, plunged much of the region into an internet blackout recently. The Evil Western Media Conspiracy (or BBC) doesn’t specify when this started, but other sources say that it could be as many as 10 days before they are back online.
Which sucks because I had a hot deal going on with Charles Taylor’s cousin’s son. I don’t now how I’m going to get my 10 million dollars now.
And finally, because I have always wanted to say this:
Baz out.
If when you go you see Daredevil wish her a happy birthday for me. And if you see Erique tell him I want my money, dammit! I’M NOT PLAYING!!
Now, onto business.
I’ve learnt that prestigious online media organisatioin The Independent /Uganda Talks has been trawling through Ugandan blogs seeking those it can name as  Blog of the Specified Time Period. Because I am nothing if not a vain bastard who wants everyone to love me, I am going to start pandering to the intellectual reader in the hopes that this will get me considered for mention by Uganda Talks.
I shall begin with burning political issues which I shall address in the form of a brief but impassioned rant.
Why is Mengo calling for a boycott of New Vision over that story they wrote about the Kabaka pawning off the palace for a loan yet they remain suspiciously silent over Connie Nankya’s article in which she claimed Michael Jackson was not all that?
In other  news:
Damage to the undersea internet cable SAT3, which serves much of west Africa with web service, plunged much of the region into an internet blackout recently. The Evil Western Media Conspiracy (or BBC) doesn’t specify when this started, but other sources say that it could be as many as 10 days before they are back online.
Which sucks because I had a hot deal going on with Charles Taylor’s cousin’s son. I don’t now how I’m going to get my 10 million dollars now.
And finally, because I have always wanted to say this:
Baz out.

political-pictures-george-bush-nigerian-lottery1

Management reserves the right of admission

coke from munyonyo1

What I have here you will not believe. This, lays ‘n gennermun, is no ordinary Coca Cola. This, friends and colleagues, is a Speke Resort Munyono Coca Cola.
Naturally, therefore, it costs a lot more than a merely mortal coke. Two thousand five hundred shillings.
Now, experience has shown the wise among us, those of us who are not too stupid or stubborn to learn, that when it comes down to it, when you break it down to the bare essentials, there is no difference between a coke from that converted container outside your school and a coke at a posh hotel.
It’s like Rihanna vs That Chick From Vogue Magazine on UBC. The difference is not in the essence. The difference is in the ephemera. In the superficial, the surface, the add-ons, the things that surround the essence. You see, when it boils down to it, Rihanna and TCFVMOUBC are basically the same thing: sources of televised amusement. The only difference is the packaging. Riri is soooo hot, banange.
It’s the same with a coke. And if I pay a lot more for a soda, I expect it to be Rihanna. I expect it to come in a very clean glass. With a wedge of lemon and some ice. On a coaster. And with a waiter if not a waitress smiling as if they would sincerely be more than happy to wipe my ass for me should I require it.
I certainly did not expect to pay 2,500 bob for a soda in a plastic tumbler that had evidently just been scrubbed with steel wool.
You should know that this was at the poolside at Speke Resort. It costs 20,000 to swim in the Olympic-sized pool on the premises, but to just sit around and not swim at all costs 10,000. That’s the entry charge for non-swimmers.
Why would they charge you to do nothing?
It’s not because they are after your money, by the way. No. It is evidently to discourage broke muhfuckers like myself from thinking they can just stroll in and buy nothing but a coke and then stroll out as if Speke F. Resort Munyonyo is their kafunda.
I am willing to bet, I am willing to bet a lot of money, that if I was actually a big spender, probably from outside countries, Nigeria inclusive, and I walked into Speke Resort Munyonyo’s pool area dangling Toyota Harrier keys and wearing Ray-Bans, and if I actually swam, then got out of the pool and ordered a Milan steak with my coke, that shit would come in a glass. With a lemon wedge and some ice. On a coaster. And the waiters would offer to wipe my wet ass for me.
I am sure of it.

The object dispayed above, lays ‘n gennermun, is no ordinary Coca Cola. This is a Speke Resort Munyono Coca Cola.

As you would expect, it costs a lot more than mortal cokes do. It costs Two thousand five hundred shillings.

Now, experience has shown the wise among us, those of us who are not too stupid or stubborn to learn, that when it comes down to it, when you break it down, there is really no difference between a coke from that converted container outside your school and a coke at a posh hotel.

It’s like Rihanna vs That Chick From Vogue Magazine on UBC. The difference is not in the essence. The difference is in the ephemera. It’s in the superficial, the surface, the add-ons, the things that surround the essence. But when it boils down to it, Rihanna and TCFVMOUBC are basically the same thing: sources of televised amusement. The only difference is the packaging. Riri is soooo hot and  glamorous, banange, but TCFVetc looks like she could sell me tomatoes.

It’s the same with a coke. And if I pay a lot more for a soda, I expect it to be a Rihanna. I expect it to come in a very clean glass, with a wedge of lemon and some ice, on a coaster, and accompanied by a waiter if not waitress who is grinning as if they would sincerely be more than happy to wipe my ass for me should I require it.

I certainly did not expect to pay 2,500 bob for a soda in a plastic tumbler that they scrub with steel wool.

You should know that this was at the poolside at Speke Resort. It costs 20,000 to swim in the Olympic-sized pool on the premises, but the entry charge for non-swimmers is 10,000.  So  to just sit around and not swim at all costs 10,000.

Why would they charge you to do nothing? It’s not because they are after your money, of course. Sudhir already has plenty of my money by way of the taxes I paid to subsidise his Choggum activities.  No. It is evidently to discourage broke muhfuckers like myself from thinking they can just stroll in and buy nothing but a coke and then stroll out as if Speke F. Resort Munyonyo is their kafunda.

I am willing to bet, I am willing to bet a lot of money, that if I was actually a big spender, probably from outside countries (Nigeria inclusive) and I walked into Speke Resort Munyonyo’s pool area dangling Toyota Harrier keys and wearing Ray-Bans, and if I actually swam, then got out of the pool and ordered a Milan steak with my coke, that shit would come in a glass. With a lemon wedge and some ice. On a coaster. And the waiters would offer to wipe my wet ass for me.

I am sure of it.

coke from munyonyo2


One quiet day in the media

You see, this office is full of thieves. Curmudgeons. Crooks, criminals and journalists. People with no sense of right and wrong. It is as their morality organ was circumcised the hell off of them at birth. These are people who cannot leave your mug alone.
The corporation provides cheap coffee mugs to be used free of charge by those who require coffee. Coffee, for those of you still in school or unemployed is the fuel on which corporate people run.
Sometimes the clean cups run out. Because the yuppies really really needed their coffee. Like most of them were having sex the night before, so they didn’t get enough sleep, so now they are having trouble staying awake, so the meeting is even stuffier and worse-smelling than usual because when they start to dose off they lose control of their spincter. Is that how it’s spelt? Sphincter? Anyway.
Anyway. Because we know that occasions like this will arise, some of us take preemptive action. We bring our own mugs from home. The deal is that you other losers can use the fee office mugs, but I will use my cool one. When the free office ones are full of crud, mine will still be right there, gleaming and clean and unblemished.
It doesn’t work that way, as everyone from MTN to Monitor will tell you. Everyone except those from President’s Office. In PO they don’t use mugs of course, they use beer mugs and when those are dirty, they can just swill straight from the gourd.
Geddit. Tonto. I’m trying to diss the president’s office. Catch up with me.
Anyway. It doesn’t work that way. Because when the free loser mugs are all dirty, the yuppie will not sigh and walk back to his sad little cubicle. He (or she, for even she does it. Don’t be fooled by the dimples) will reach into the cupboard and FLAGRANTLY USE YOUR EXCLUSIVE MUG.
So when you get there you find your mug has also been used. Which really sucks and is a scumbag thing to do.
Unless, like I did, you thought JR wasn’t coming in to work today. I swear I only took the mug because I thought you were not coming in to work  today. I have said I’m sorry. What more do you want from me. Stop hitting me, woman! I have sensitive skin.
You see, this office is full of thieves. Curmudgeons. Crooks. Criminals. Journalists. Rascals. Ne’er-do-wells. People with no sense of right and wrong. It is as their morality organ was circumcised the hell off of them at birth. These are people who cannot leave your mug alone.
The corporation provides cheap coffee mugs to be used free of charge by those who require coffee. Coffee, for those of you still in school or unemployed is the fuel on which corporate people run.
Sometimes the clean cups run out. Because the yuppies really really needed their coffee. Like most of them were having sex the night before, so they didn’t get enough sleep, so now they are having trouble staying awake, so the meeting is even stuffier and worse-smelling than usual because when they start to doze off they lose control of their spincter. Is that how it’s spelt? Sphincter? Anyway.
Anyway. Because we know that occasions like this will arise, some of us take preemptive action. We bring our own mugs from home. The deal is that you other losers can use the free office mugs, but I will use my cool one. When the free office ones are full of brown crud, mine will still be right there, gleaming and clean and unblemished.
It doesn’t work that way, as everyone from MTN to Monitor will tell you. Everyone except those from President’s Office. In PO they don’t use mugs of course, they just swill straight from the gourd.
In case anybody missed that I’m trying to diss the president’s office by insinuating that they drink tonto at work. Please note that I am a courageous reporter who is not afraid to rub the powers that be the wrong way.
Anyway. It doesn’t work as planned, because when the free loser mugs are all dirty, the yuppie will not sigh and walk back to his sad little cubicle to continue his daydream about being anywhere but in this hell. He (or she, for even she does it. Don’t be fooled by the dimples) will reach into the cupboard and FLAGRANTLY USE YOUR EXCLUSIVE MUG.
So when you get there you find your mug filled with wasted coffee grinds.
Eugh. This is scumbag behaviour.
Unless, like I did, you thought JR wasn’t coming in to work today. I swear I only took the mug because I thought you were not coming in to work  today. I have said I’m sorry. What more do you want from me?  Stop hitting me, woman! I have sensitive skin.

Ask Vanilla

Check out the hook while the deejay revolves it
Check out the hook while the deejay revolves it

“If it was a problem,” balloon-panted rapper Vanilla Ice said in his magnum opus, 1991’s Ice Ice Baby, “Yo! I’ll solve it.”

He is here today to make good on that promise. Here to answer your relationship and health and family problems, is our new Agony Aunt, Vanilla Ice. Kick it one time, boy.

—————————————-

Yo! Vanilla,

I have been dating a wonderful guy for the past few weeks. He is a celebrity who is well known in town. I really like him and would like this relationship to last, but the problem is his female fans. He gets a lot of attention from young girls who are attracted to him because of his fame and it makes me feel a bit insecure. Of course he has to be friendly to them, but I can’t help worrying that things will go too far. So I guess what I want to know is, where do they sell acid?

Bernadette

Yo, Benadette,

You need to talk about your feelings with your boyfriend. Make sure he understands your insecurities and how you feel. Acid is not the answer. Communication is. Ask him to make sure that he makes it clear to everybody that he is unavailable and that, furthermore, those heifers need to get their raggedy-weave asses and step the fuck off. Word.

—————————————–

Yo! Vanilla,
My mother-in-law came to visit us from the village about two months ago. The trouble is that she has never left. I don’t want to seem rude and inhospitable, but how do I get this woman out of my house?

Margaret

Yo Margaret,

Let her catch you having sex doggystyle in the kitchen. That got MY in-laws the hell out of my house super fast. Even my wife left. Which was great because now the house is empty and when I want to have more sex with the maid, no one will interrupt us.

—————————————-

Yo! Vanilla,
I have this strange oily discharge…

Eugh! Next question.

——————————————

Yo! Vanilla,
My man and I have been together for about four months now, but I am worried. All he seems to beinterested in is having sex. What should I do?

Akiiki

Yo!
Duh.

—————————————–

Dear Vanilla,

That’s Yo! Vanilla.

Sorry. Yo! Vanilla, I haven’t had my period in two months. I think he left something inside me that blocked it.
P.N.

Yo, P.N.!

Defilement is a terrible, terrible thing.

———————————————

Yo! Vanilla,
I have a problem with people touching me. I get really crept out whenever anyone makes any kind of physical contact. It makes me uncomfortable just having people stand close to me. They don’t even have to be strangers, they can be family or friends, I just get nervous and break out in a sweat when people come too close and my skin crawls whenever someone touches it. Am I a freak?

J.H.

Yo!

I assume that is a rhetorical question.

You know my steez.

It was at a media-upbuttering function on Tuesday, a cocktail party thrown by a new internet company. They hold parties of mid-level lavishness to lull the press into a false sense of camaraderie so that we will be positively disposed to their product when we write or broadcast about it. Free booze and chicken are availed.
In attendance were many prominent journalists and myself.
Also in attendance was Rosemary Nankabirwa, who is well known throughout the nation as one of the few Ugandan news anchors who know how to speak English.
In addition to English, Nankabirwa also knows one of the the other prominent journalists I was sitting with (shouts out) so she joined our table and conversation was struck up.
We did not discuss Salvador Cerinza, we discussed how the telecom industry in Uganda will be impacted by the introduction of broadband services, taking into account market differentiations and the impending arrival of Seacom. What about.
Actually SHE discussed it. I sat there and nodded with my finger on my chin, saying, “Hmmm”, “Really?” and “I see your point” at the correct intervals.
I was enjoying this very much because I was sure other hacks were looking and saying, “Kale look at those intellectuals discussing intelligent things. Those of Bazanye and Nankabirwa.”
Especially those losers from radio (edited out).
But Hah! The joke’s on them. For I am far from that clever. I don’t even know what a gibagite is. Is it an animal? Does it have wings? No idea! I was just nodding and acting as if I was not entirely at sea yet I was drowning like a Backstreet Boy.
I left the party with the media fraternity convinced that I am a clever man, at par with the likes of NTV news anchors – (well, the likes of some NTV news anchors. Let’s not get carried away) So be advised: you may not think that much of me, but there is a roomful of people who consider me intellectual.It was at a media-upbuttering function on Tuesday, a cocktail party thrown by a new internet company. They hold parties of mid-level lavishness to lull the press into a false sense of camaraderie so that we will be positively disposed to their product when we write or broadcast about it. Free booze and chicken are availed.
In attendance were many prominent journalists and myself.
Also in attendance was Rosemary Nankabirwa, who is well known throughout the nation as one of the few Ugandan news anchors who know how to speak English.
In addition to English, Nankabirwa also knows one of the the other prominent journalists I was sitting with (shouts out) so she joined our table and conversation was struck up.
We did not discuss Salvador Cerinza, we discussed how the telecom industry in Uganda will be impacted by the introduction of broadband services, taking into account market differentiations and the impending arrival of Seacom. What about.
Actually SHE discussed it. I sat there and nodded with my finger on my chin, saying, “Hmmm”, “Really?” and “I see your point” at the correct intervals.
I was enjoying this very much because I was sure other hacks were looking and saying, “Kale look at those intellectuals discussing intelligent things. Those of Bazanye and Nankabirwa.”
Especially those losers from radio (edited out).
But Hah! The joke’s on them. For I am far from that clever. I don’t even know what a gibagite is. Is it an animal? Does it have wings? No idea! I was just nodding and acting as if I was not entirely at sea yet I was drowning like a Backstreet Boy.
I left the party with the media fraternity convinced that I am a clever man, at par with the likes of NTV news anchors – (well, the likes of some NTV news anchors. Let’s not get carried away) So be advised: you may not think that much of me, but there is a roomful of people who consider me intellectual.
It was at a media-upbuttering function on Tuesday, a cocktail party thrown by a new internet company. They hold parties of mid-level lavishness to lull the press into a false sense of camaraderie so that we will be positively disposed to their product when we write or broadcast about it. Free booze and chicken are availed.
In attendance were many prominent journalists and myself.
Also in attendance was Rosemary Nankabirwa, who is well known throughout the nation as one of the few Ugandan news anchors who know how to speak English.
In addition to English, Nankabirwa also knows one of the the other prominent journalists I was sitting with (shouts out) so she joined our table and conversation was struck up.
We did not discuss Salvador Cerinza, we discussed how the telecom industry in Uganda will be impacted by the introduction of broadband services, taking into account market differentiations and the impending arrival of Seacom.
What about.
Actually SHE discussed it. I sat there and nodded with my finger on my chin, saying, “Hmmm”, “Really?” and “I see your point” at the correct intervals.
I was enjoying this very much because I was sure other hacks were looking and saying, “Kale look at those intellectuals discussing intelligent things. Those of Bazanye and Nankabirwa.” Especially those losers from radio (edited out).
But Hah! The joke’s on them. For I am far from that clever. I don’t even know what a gibagite is. Is it an animal? Does it have wings? No idea! I was just nodding and acting as if I was not entirely at sea yet I was drowning like a Backstreet Boy.
I left the party with the media fraternity convinced that I am a clever man, at par with the likes of NTV news anchors – (well, the likes of some NTV news anchors. Let’s not get carried away) So be advised: you may not think that much of me, but there is a roomful of people who consider me intellectual.

Art Of Storytelling II. Or How To Make Megan Fox Hot

Now, where were we? Yes. Michael Bay creates a delicious spectacle of flashy CGI, cool cars, explosions and wisecracks. He neglects to give his movie narrative force but still ends up with a fun flick, despite the fact that, having little in the way of plot, this film amounts to nothing more than a long, large screensaver.

The few of you out there who give a rat’s ass about my future wellbeing will know that I have been working on a very ambitious novel project. The plan was to have it written by October, self-published by November, in stores by December and then I sit back and let sales provide me with airtime for the rest of the year. 

But I hit a snag. That snag being that I have been writing this thing for ages, but it’s going nowhere. 

The novel itself is kind of like a Michael Bay film: full of very cool cars. (well, not really, but for the purposes of this post, let us say it is).
By the way, you know what the chief difference between a book and a movie is? It is much easier to make Stingray Robots in books. You make them thus.

“He opened the door and saw, there in the garage, a silver Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. He blinked in surprise. It looked awesome. But no sooner had he reopened his currently still-in-blink-progress eyes than, Gasp! The car began to transform into a giant robot. In seconds, the car was gone. Replaced by a large robot. One with swords.”

I didn’t spend a dime on that. I can do it all day. I can even make my version of Meagan Fox hot. I do that simply by saying,

“In walked Megan Fox. She was the hottest thing he had ever seen.”

But, though some of us are very able—actually, MANY of us are fully capable of consuming meaningless spectacle on screen, it won’t work as a book. I really think I have a pleasurable bunch of scenes down on paper but I have reached the point when I can’t avoid the question movie critics asked about the Stingray: “Where’s it going?”

They teach us that we need at least three acts to tell a complete story. In the first act you introduce your setting and characters and try to convince your audience that these characters in this area are worth their interest. In the second act you have to introduce conflict. And in the third act this conflict is resolved, allowing you to finally end the story.

TROTF was all first act it seemed. If any conflict was introduced and resolved, it was a weak, insignificant event, drowned out by all the engine noise and explosions. I barely remember what it even was. Someone wanted to burn the sun oba? 

Now, even though I am not going to go so far as to deny enjoying the film, cos I really did. (Look! A Stingray/Robot!) I now get to see what its detractors were saying: because even I began to get a little bit bored as we entered into the second hour. I can fully understand why some people would begin to think: “Yes, it looks good, but what does it do?”

Michael Bay had taught me to think that a plot is nothing but a skeleton upon which to layer all the cool flesh, a thing that allows the martial artist to pivot his muscles so he can fight.

That’s it. My novel is stuck because I have been watching too much Michael Bay-style blockbusters.

If you are vegetating in front of a screen on a weekend, that may be enough, but as a writer, how about thinking of the plot as scaffolding? As a framework around which to build your thing?

If one maps out a plot, one never gets to the point where one asks where one should go next because one already has ones’ path mapped out!!!11one

So what a storyteller needs to do is throw in some crap for the people to deal with it, help them deal with it, and that is not only how you break out of your snag, but it is also how you avoid TROTF’s major failing. Thank You Michael.

By the way, if  you are wondering what any of this navel-gazing has to do with you, well, consider yourself advertised to. Coming soon to a bookstore near you…

The Art Of Storytelling

(The Art Of Storytelling: An object lesson from Mister Michael Bay).

Michael Bay is the very famous director of Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, which is the title of  his latest massive blockbuster.

TransformersRevengeOfTheFallen

I feel the urge to say “the titles” because somehow that sounds like two: “Transformers” AND “Revenge of The Fallen”. I don’t know why. I’m probably not getting enough of some vital vitamin. Anyway…

TROTF is about motor vehicles from outer space thatconvert into giant robots and  fight each other while Megan Fox putters around beneath them attempting to look sexy. I don’t think she succeeded, hardly having been all that to start with.

75-Premiere_Transformers_Revenge_of_the_Fallen_LA_CAGS106.standalone.prod_affiliate.81

Megan Fox: She looks like someone who just had their crossed eyes fixed with a hammer blow to the head.

Anyway, the story’s basis is very simple, as is the basis of Megan Fox’s alleged sex appeal. (She is one of those women who believe that all you have to do is bend over in shorts to be hot. Please. My fart.) So much so that I, a long term connoisiuer of Mr Bay’s work, can tell you, frankly, from my expert assessment, there was barely a story there at all.

The lack of plot has led many many many people to wonder, with scorn and contempt  unconcealed, too, why the hell this movie ended up being so popular despite not having character development, compelling plot, or even that much acting? The movie was just a bunch of fighting robots. How is that supposed to be enjoyable?

People ask themselves t his question.

As if it isn’t obvious. Let me explain.

Look.

2009-chevrolet-corvette-stingray-sideswipe-concept-front-angle-picture-588x441

That is a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

It’s a very nice thing to look at. I would enjoy watching Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays moving around on a screen.

This is a robot. ( It is called Sideswipe and that is its sword.):

Sideswipe-Corvette-Stingray

It’s a very nice thing to look at. I would enjoy watching such robots moving around on a screen.

This is violence.

transformers-2-movie-explosion

(As above.)

Is it becoming clear yet? You see, an action blockbuster about fighting robots from outer space is really not the time to examine the inner turmoil of a tortured soul, or to present a metaphor of the death of family-centric culture in the 21st Century. It is not even the time for an actor to show a range of or, in fact, any emotion at all. It’s time for the robots to fight.

Michael Bay understands this, so he doesn’t waste our time with a plot. He realizes that we don’t even care if it makes sense, so he took the money that would have been spent filling  the many gaping plot holes and used it to make more explosions instead, and for that we thank him. Thank you, Michael.

Look.

2009-chevrolet-corvette-stingray-sideswipe-concept-front-angle-picture-588x441

That is a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

Some people look at that and think, “Awesome car.”  Some people think, “Awesome car. But where is it coming from? Where is it going? What is its purpose? What is its meaning?”

You haha.

In short, the aesthetic merits of Transformers are entirely superficial, but they are merits, nevertheless. To whit: It looks good. that’s why we like it. There is a point to this, which I hope I will add when I update this post. It is an important lesson about How To Tell Stories.