Monday, June 19, 2006

Trying my hand at being all official

Lemme take this opportunity to inform all the bloggers whose sites i visit that i shall probably be linking you. I have already linked some people but i shall be linking more. I hope no one will feel bad about this. Cant go to all the blogs to ask for your permission.

But if you feel like u dont want to be linked, please leave a comment.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

So embarassed

i feel like a dork...well. was trying to change template, the machine kept on jamming, lifted someone else's source and tried to work with it, it still jammed and i walked away from my blog for days. imagine my embarrassment when i opened it today to see the links done and redone, to very bad effect.

now my crusade is to learn all the secrets that come with writing code.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Hell ride

Someone said that if you can drive in Uganda then you can drive anywhere in the world. Our roads are the ultimate road test. With their constantly materializing potholes, a driver must have more than just bare driving school knowledge. They must have a sixth or even seventh sense to know that even if there was no pothole yesterday in this place, there is now so deal with it….

On the hierarchy of hell rides, just below the loaf-like death traps we call our taxis are the bikes. We have taxi motor bikes and we call them bodabodas. Now if you want to die without feeling guilty that the Big G is going to skin you once you get to the Pearly Gates for pulling the plug too soon, get a job as a bodaboda rider. That way, when the end comes (and it will come soon. But by the time it comes you’ll be dead anyway) you wont be responsible for what happens.

For some obscure reason, I let someone talk me into sitting on one of these things. It was evening and we had to be someplace early. A friend was getting married and his men friends were getting together to send him off in style. We had to give him advice, tell him what to expect and (since none of us is married) try to get him to tell us what it feels like to be on the verge of Going Down. I also wanted to see if there would be a stripper like for real as I have heard that it is becoming common in Ug for guys to hire strippers for such parties. But that is a whole new area which we can put off for another time. Really obscure, no?

We got bikes at Wandegeya. It was rush hour and that made it easier for Enos to convince me to get on because if we had sat in one of the taxis, we would have gotten to Kawempe after two hours. The jams in Kampala are another wonder of the city, something a tourist can come down to see, y’know. The guys said they’d take us for Sh.1000 and we said that’s fine. But it was not fine for me because already, I was thinking of all the guys I know of who have had bad experiences with bodabodas.

So I was there holding onto the metals on my seat and sending up prayers as my driver weaved in and out of traffic, dodging oncoming taxis whose drivers didn’t know the first thing about the Highway Code (do we even have one?).

My friend is an old hand at this thing, he told me. At rush hour in Kampala it is better for you to stay at office and blog, read other people’s blogs or just comment. You can also go benching in Box, only that that game is now so old, you might find yourself colliding with your son in a chick’s room.

Enos told me that he usually gets a bike and goes home in half the time, at twice the cost. But he doesn’t mind. That explains why he was talking to his driver about whatever as they flew towards Bwaise. I was astonished. The guy was sitting there like he was in a sofa back home. I bet he got to know the boda guy’s name and address.

I have never been one to warm up immediately to strangers. I have a problem even with ‘Spesho’ drivers because once we agree on how much he will extract from me, I fall silent with my thoughts. It’s not like I don’t think they are capable of intelligent conversation but work with me here.

Anyway, when I opened my eyes, I was miraculously there. I had not died. But even as I thought about that, another image entered my head. I thought of all the guys who are lying in the casualty ward at Mulago Hospital who met their fate on bodabodas. I think I shall continue dodging these hell rides for long. And since there was no stripper, next time I won’t even bother to answer when a guy calls and says, “Come for the bachelor’s party.”

Some party.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Stand

Been reading The Stand. It is one hell of a long story – 1421 pages. At first, I thought I would throw it on the heap, like I do to most imposing tomes by Stephen King. I have not found a really tight read from Stephen King since The Dark Half, Pet Sematary and Christine. Furthermore, when I discovered Shaun Hutson, Mr. King lost some of his pull on me.

But The Stand is believable. The way this guy keeps the fire burning even after all those pages is what kept me reading I guess. I am about to finish. The books that can keep me from everything else, forgetting about food and TV are what I call good books. Reminds me of those days in school when I would stay in bed for the whole weekend reading.

Someone said King was thrown out of hell and he is moving around here trying to find a hole in the wall so he can slip back to where he belongs. Meanwhile, while he looks, he writes those cold-blooded tales. But anyone who read The Green Mile will agree with me that this dude is a student of psychology (or sociology or whatever ology) who is probably wrongly accused of being always morbid. For me, John Coffey is everything Jesus Christ is (was). He probably just went to Isaiah and used the idea that the saviour would be rejected because of his looks and his strange habits, that he would be sacrificed for our transgressions…

King says The Stand is “a dark tale of Christianity,” The story, first published in 1978, is a simple tale of Good vs. Evil. So it is not a new tale. But he goes beyond that and creates all these characters that will stay with me for a long time. It is like Hansell and Gretell, he says. The story is simple; there is this woodcutter who has two kids whose mum dies so he marries another woman who turns out to be a bitch. He’s a little soft in the head so she convinces him to kill the kids coz there will be more food to go around. He says yes but he can’t do it so he leaves them in the forest to die.

Hansell and Gretell find a house made of cake but it is the home of some old crock. She wants to eat them but in the end, they get the better of her and they break free. The story is pure and simple but there are many small parts that make it a classic. The breadcrumb trail…the house of cake…the hearts of two rabbits…

The Stand has all these little aspects that make you look at the issues from a thousand new angles. After reading, imma get myself the movie (seen it at the lib). And I am enjoying it immensely. I got Virgin King, the autobiography of Richard Branson but for the moment, I am letting it sit on the table as I complete this.