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How Time Flies aka Of the King of Pop and Easter Eggs

listening to: Sila and The Afrofunk Experience – You Love You

Wow, is it almost March already? So much for all those half written posts and ideas I had floating around my head. Guess that at some point I will get around to finishing them up, if only so that all my procrastination won’t have been for nothing ( believe it or not, waiting before you hit that publish button can be a good thing sometimes). But random ramblings will have to do for now so sorry to those who I had told I would update soon on matters of a more specific nature.

I usually don’t mind baby sitting my friends kids provided that I am given ample warning and that they are well behaved. The former is because while I appreciate surprises every once in a while they shouldn’t include dropping off your offspring at my place all willy nilly. Sometimes I need to make my living area more child friendly and anyone who knows me has heard me go on at length about how I hate unexpected visitors. You have to be a special kind of someone in my life to be comfortable enough to just stop by … I have come to the conclusion that only people who truly love me can handle the bitch face that I usually have on in the morning (not my favourite time of day) or grumpy/sulky phases. The latter is because I wont be held responsible for children that lack manners. Fabulously fun aunt or not I don’t tolerate children who talk back, are generally unruly, or like to dispute who is the adult in the house. By the by, times like these I catch myself mid thought and realize that I have turned into my parents. Ten years ago I would have thought that impossible.

Anyway. Not having any kids of my own means that my house is the typical child free zone. No special cable channels like PBS Kinds or Nick jr. No kiddie friendly juice packs lying around (orange juice in my fridge serves two purposes: to drink when I’m having breakfast and for making screw drivers and it has the dreaded pulp kids for some reason hate). No special software on my computer to keep them away from the ugly depths of the internet as they play video games. And alas, no toys/educational dvd’s, despite the demands that I get legos and Barney/Wiggles dvd’s pronto cos allegedly I can be boring sometimes (which I will deny forever, hehe). Still I can keep them entertained and fed. I get them to help me bake muffins, make random flavours of smoothies and popsicles and play dress up with the stuff that’s in my wardrobe and make them put on a fashion show for me.

Last night though, they (two little adorable and well behaved girls) were getting stir crazy half an hour into their visit. It was too cold to play outside and as far as they were concerned there was nothing interesting to watch on tv, nothing to play with (the “play with each other” suggestion was met with a blank looks) and they must have caught on that the fashion show “game” was more entertainment for me than for them cos dressing up was not an option.

Aside: after 5 minutes of hearing how I am deficient in some way cos I don’t have even have own a ball I told them that maybe they should use their imagination to entertain themselves. It was like I had asked them to sing a nursery rhyme in Sanskrit so I gave them an example. I made a ball out of socks and told them that they could throw that around. Here is their response, paraphrased: favourite almost 5 year old: that’s not a ball, it doesn’t even bounce! That’s just your socks in a big lump! favourite three year old: *picks up my ball and being the ever helpful child went and put it in the hamper and forgot about it* At that point I thought back to all the times when I was a child and we would wait for break time in school or Saturday mid morning so that we could take off our socks make them into a ball to play kati with and then of course get in trouble when you went home with socks that had lost their ability to be worn without uselessly pooling at the bottom of your feet and sighed. That sigh when all you want to say is kids these days blah blah blah. I remember when bottle tops were entertaining and plastic bags were re purposed into soccer balls.

Regardless, I had a secret weapon with me – a Michael Jackson dvd. I don’t know what it is about his videos that put kids in a trance or make them so obsessed with him but thank goodness that they could preoccupy themselves trying to moonwalk or spin or whatever. So I got around to whatever I was supposed to be doing for the evening while absent mindedly answering random questions. This was where I got into trouble. Since the almost 5 year old has a birthday coming up she is obsessed with knowing everyone’s age and when their birthday is and whether she can go for their birthday. So she asked when MJ’s birthday was and I was like in August. Then she asked when she could go for his party and I was like “of course you can’t, he died.” Since I was only half paying attention it took me a moment to realize that the endless stream of questions had stopped. I looked up and she was looking at me with a mixture of horror, shock and surprise.

“He died?!!?”

This is the worst possible situation to be put in. That girl is obsessed with Michael Jackson, he is even above Hannah Montanah or whatever singers Disney is forcing upon the general public nowadays. He is the reason she wants a red jacket and curly hair for her birthday. It was akward when I had to explain why MJ was different colours in different videos. It was a bad situation when in the interests of accuracy I needed to explain some aspects of the Easter bunny. Mainly that he doesn’t lay those chocolate eggs that he brings to people’s houses. Secondly that he can’t lay eggs at all (baby bunnies don’t hatch from an egg like a chick or a dinasour) and thirdly anything that looks like chocolate that comes from a bunny’s bottom should be avoided at all costs. When she was about to swear off Cadbury’s mini chocolate eggs I decided that some things are better left to parents to explain and that I should keep my mouth shut.

And seriously, I thought the reason all kids are obsessed with ‘Thriller” and whatnot is because at some point last year you couldn’t escape those videos. Maybe it’s just me but under list of things to know like a Kenyan is half responsible for Barrack Obama being on this earth and other facts maybe someone could add the fact that the King of Pop died? Then some of us wouldn’t be caught between a rock and a hard place.

Anyhoo. As I was trying to think a way of backing out of the whole “your musical idol is dead and no birthday for him” moment and wondering if I was in a position to explain death to a child the questions began. When did he die. Why did he die. I told her he died last year cos he was really sick. Then the real explaining had to begin. No, sweetie, you won’t die cos you have a cold. That isn’t nearly sick enough. The three year old was just distraught when she was informed authoritatively that Michael Jackson won’t be coming back and she thought that meant no more music.

Luckily, their parental units found it just hilarious and assured me I hadn’t traumatized the kids in any way though I was convinced that at some point I’ll be asked to contribute money should the almost five year old have to visit a shrink in like ten years. Especially since I heard that she has spent every moment alternating between telling everyone Michael Jackson died and that if they get sick they’ll die too.

Now that I’ve removed the cobwebs from the blog with this post maybe I can get to the drafts lying around and post them later this week. That’s not a promise though cos me and my procrastination …. wacha tu.

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Things I Learned From TV

Ok, I had a henna tutorial planned for Project Asilia and Nappturality, which is my go to place for info gathering is apparently down for maintenance so I figured since I had planned to do some blogging anyway I might as well spend a few minutes letting my mind wander.

trueblood-mouth2I’ve been watching True Blood the past couple of weeks and all I can say is, I don’t get the hype. Is it perfectly nice to watch and to have in the background as you do other things? Yeah. Has it inspired me to new levels of fandom like Battlestar Galactica? No. This is why I tend to watch some series after the hype is all gone and people have stopped raving about it – I think I had my expectations set a little too high. I do see the appeal though, but after hearing that Bill Compton character growl ‘Suh-kee!” (Sookie is who the story revolves around) one to many times I think I would have been better off reading the book the series was based on first. Or maybe the whole vampire craze that is going on is just not my thing.

Apart from the many things I can go into about the series (I have a running commentary, whether internal or out loud going on as I watch/read/listen to some stuff. I have had to analyse literature for school stuff and relate it to my life. If I don’t put it to use doing overly close readings of things then my parents wont have gotten their moneys worth) what I did notice was that they kind of gloss over the creepiness.

Ok, one of the storylines is that Jessica, a “new vampire” falls in love and does the deed with Hoyt, a human. When she was “turned” she was only 17 and still a virgin and the dude is like 28 I think … almost thirty. All I could think of was OMG, statutory rape! But does it matter if she is technically undead? Cos in my mind, she is a teenager, acts like one so is all that nullified just cos she wont ever age? Ama is it because she is no longer of the living? Weird. Still found it creepy though.

anna-nicole-smith1Most of the time when age difference comes up its cos they usually say the younger person is being taken advantage of in some way. When it involves adults with big age gaps it usually goes like eww! I don’t even have to go into explain– exhibit 1 is Anna Nicole Smith and her husband. Considering the fact that some of these vampires are hundreds or thousands of years maybe it’s okay cos they don’t look it. Or they are stuck in time and remain the age at which they were turned forever. In which case, the whole Jessica/Hoyt thing is still creepy.

So, since the stories we watch on tv and at the movies are both a reflection and an influence on popular culture this is what I have learned so far:

1. Vampire sex is hot. I mean, technically its necrophelia cos they are dead but those are just details that suck all the fun out of it.

2. If you are an adult hooking up with another adult and the age difference is big make sure that the elder in question is hot. Or undead. A combination of both is best really.

and

3. If they are part of the undead/supernatural set, vampire is always the way to go. Kinda hard to get it on with a zombie since rigor mortis has already set in and who the hell knows what a shape shifter will turn into in the throes of passion.

Up next in life lessons – chick flicks and why they convinced me candles are the source of drama in relationships.

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Random Thoughts on Dating

My issues with dating have mostly to do with semantics. It’s like the minute what I know to be hanging out is labeled a date I become a bundle of wretched wretched nerves and things just end all confused.

I’m not much of a date person. Well, date in the traditional sense. I’m not one of those people who have to be out with a different person three or four times a week to feel like I am out there. I always figure I’ll just do what I normally do and chances are if I connect with someone I will gravitate towards them or vice versa.

muteScenario One: The Mute

After being told to stop over thinking everything and being overly dramatic with the whole date label thing I decided that it couldn’t be so bad, right? If as people say my hanging out with some guys could technically be in the dating category I decided to have a change in attitude. No more arbitrary boundaries. So, someone asked me out for drinks and I was like O.K, twende basi. I am labeling this a date and its all good.

A few hours later he and I are on our way to happy hour and I realize, haki I have never heard this dude talk. Like, he is in a group of people as they talk but no contribution to the convo from him. I’m like haiya-ye what in the world did I get myself into. Cos im there talking myself hoarse and he just nods sagely and I’m thinking holy crap, SPEAK goddamit! Contrary to popular opinion I don’t like the sound of my voice enough to keep yapping to myself for endless chunks of time. It’s why they call it “beating” stories: participate! On cannot be in a fight like this all by their lonesome.

Anyhoo. We get to the place and still silence. He just sits there looking at his beer and me and nodding and answering questions with sentences that contain less that ten words (I didn’t even know that was possible – I have a hard enough time tweeting and this dude summarizes with no effort … the mind boggles). I always thought small talk was easy to make. Keep away from things like sex religion and politics and we will be good, right? I mean, so many things to talk about. We are both transplants from other countries in a foreign land – tell me about where you are from. We met at a place where we both volunteer – what motivated you to give up some of your time a few days a week? Do you like sci fi? Lets talk about that! I swear, I tried everything. Just more nodding and staring and me the more nervous I get the more I blather on and on. A few gin and tonics later it was like I was on auto pilot. Somewhere, there is a story being told/tweeted/blogged/facebooked about the time he went out with this Kenyan chick who would not.stop.talking!

The one weird moment was when he reached out and touched my locs. Just randomly and me I’m left thinking I really need to get one of these cos you don’t just go randomly touching peoples hair, how rude! I was told later I might have been misreading his gesture maybe those are his special moves but I don’t think so. Who just grabs a fistful of someones hair and then lingers? On a first date? In public? Methinks he was just curious to see what the hair felt like and he couldn’t help the impulse.

It doesn’t help that I really am a shy person and it takes a while to open up to people. Even though I am an introvert at heart having parents who are extroverts by nature has cured me of some of my self consciousness. They are always like, there are 6 billion people in the world, no one really cares that much about what you are doing, they have their own lives to live. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to hide in a crowd though. There are times where one on one conversation may seem like the easiest thing in the world and other times the hardest. And for those times its hard a buffer zone is needed to stop things spiraling into something like a very awkward scene from those crap romantic comedies.

ass in holeScenario Two: The Asshole

We all have asshole tendencies. Even Mother Theresa must have had a few off days, its just the way humans are wired. Thing is, we keep it to a level where interaction with others is not a painful, drawn out experience.

I go for a bbq one weekend and I walk in and I’m told ooooh, there is someone here who would be perfect for you! Come and meet him! I was thinking whatever. No way can any interaction be anymore awkward than the one with The Mute. After telling them that no, hooking me up with your friends/cellotape relatives is not the way to go (knowing older Kenyans tends to end up in a lot of these moments for some reason where they feel its up to them to play matchmaker. Why, I don’t know) I get my drink and decide to be polite and talk to him a while and then move on to other people.

After I say hi he goes like “is that drink for me?” I’m like, uhm say what? The cooler is over there with the beer and if you want a stiff drink they are all in the kitchen. He gives me a look and then goes and gets one himself. So we get talking about random things and again, he asks some lady walking by to get him yet another beer and I was wondering, whats wrong with him? Like is he in pain when he walks? Why only send the women for the drinks and not the men? So, I asked cos I was curious. His reply? “It’s how Kenyans do things, the women wait on the men”. I didn’t hear the rest of his little speech about how women should cater to men’s every whim cos I was too busy thinking aaaah, that’s what all the looks were about when food was ready and I came back with one plate for me. I was supposed to fix him a plate even though its self service and his legs work fine. Also explains how he kept saying his roots were important to him (trust me, the only roots he meant were where men got their food before everyone else) and a whole bunch of other statements I had just brushed off.

Salaaaaaaaaaaleh!

Look, I know all about entitled African men in general and Kenyan ones in particular. My dad is one of them. A lot of my uncles and older cousins are part of the “the world revolves around me” set. Usually this is balanced by women who frankly just don’t care (my mother is one of the “I wont change my name cos I am my own person” career women) or indulge them just enough and draw a line somewhere. Me I have no such illusions. While I don’t plan to be a ball busting bitch please understand that I will under no circumstances “wait” on a man my age cos he feels its my duty to do so. Kubaff. And when he was saying ati its how Kenyans do things there was this look of disappointment on his face as he looked at me and I was like its on.

Since I know these kind of men so well I know what horrifies them. Women who drink and smoke. The ones who declare they have no interest in cooking or finding a man and so on and so forth. So that day I drank shots with abandon, lit my cigarettes with relish and went on and on about how I don’t even know how to akisha the stove in my apartment and how kids = ew. I did go a bit overboard (ok, a lot) but maaan was it fun. By the end of the evening he was keeping 30 paces from me and tsk tsk-ing me from a distance as he asked his cousin why she thought we would be a match. Apparently I’m not the nice Kikuyu girl he had been told I was.

In this case fine, I was probably an asshole too. But if you are 25, living in the 21st century and act more entitled than my father who is almost 60 and was the only boy out of 6 children then sorry, there is no redemption.

I guess what really gets to me about a date is that sometimes, it seems like all a façade. I mean, you dress up a certain way and you have the right repertoire of info about yourself to make you sound intriguing and just enough funny stories to make you seem exciting and … I don’t know. Sub consciously we all do it, right? It’s not like when you meet someone, anyone, you go ahead and tell them everything bad that’s about you first. For them to accept the truly horrid parts of you they have to know what your redeeming qualities are first. But … I don’t know. It seems heightened someone when you are out on a date. At least for me it does. It may all come down to semantics but I am way more relaxed when just hanging out with someone and there is some flirting going on and while on a date and I feel like I’m being inspected. I’m not sure if the difference is coming across. Cos a date is a time you get to know someone and they get to know you and that’s what it boils down to, whether I call it dating or hanging out or whatever. Man, this made so much more sense in my head.

Scenario Three: The Quasi-Christian

Another group of people I tend to know very well is the religious (i.e Christian) folk. My father is Pentecostal and very much into it, my mother is Catholic and devout and I have family members who belong to every sect imaginable (it’s the law of averages. Have an extended family big enough and eventually, you will see it all). So, I speak the “language” and know where lines are drawn for both them and me. I have no qualms about dating/hanging out with religious people, just leave my spiritual path the fuck alone is my motto. You do you and I do me. And sometimes, it actually works. We may not end up together but I have made very good friends and met some awesome people.

Ok, this dude I have known a while and I start hanging out/dating. No big deal, neither of us is looking for anything serious. He is quasi religious which is something I will get into later. We have fun, we talk and do random things together and yet, no pressure. So one day we go for a birthday dinner which of course runs long cos its one of those resturants where they say “the party cannot be seated until everyone has arrived” and Kenyans and timing … anyway. Club hopping ensues and at some point we end up arriving earlier than everyone else at some random place. So, in the middle of things getting physical he pushes me away and says “come to church with me tomorrow.” I’m too stunned to even squeak out an “ati?” cos I’m not understanding. A back and forth about this ridiculous notion that I will accompany him to church begins. I ask why, he says just cos. I accuse him of trying to sabotage the night for reasons I wont bring up here and he’s like no, I’m serious. He kept persisting, even after I told him I wont go to church and if I were to go, I’m going for mass and you aren’t catholic soo … give it up. At this point I’m pissed like you wouldn’t even imagine and I’ve decided to get drunk since 1.the moment/mood is gone 2.its clear this dude has issues – he wants to sin on Saturday night but be cleansed on Sunday morning and take the heathen woman he was with so as to score further redemption points. Needless to say, he went to church alone the next day and it was a few weeks until he figured that I didn’t appreciate his trying to make me have a come to Jesus moment in a club when we are both tipsy and he stopped calling.

Ok, considering the past summer, not all of my dating experiences were bad. I actually had fun even though I am more of a hanging out kinda person and not an on the hunt kinda girl. The whole doing what I do and I will gravitate towards people or they me has worked out pretty well for me and there is no need to mess with a winning formula. And the above are not the worst times I had out but they stood out a lot for some reason, I’m not sure why. And while I’m sure I’ll keep being told that it’s all semantics when it comes to this subject, for now, my approach works and that’s cool.

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Always the One Taking Others to the Parlour, Never the One Getting Inked

skeleton tattooI’m the wrong person to come to when one needs to be talked out some form of body modification. I mean, within reason of course. If you will be working some sort of desk job or are in a place of employment where looking “professional’ matters in some sort of context then I won’t be encouraging you to split your tongue in half or get tattoos all over your face so you can look like some sort of cat. For those who want tattoos/piercings in places where it will be visible only when you want it to be or can be removed then go for it. Then again, it could be me and my nine piercings talking (recently I have had the urge to round that number up for some reason) and the fact that I am very comfortable with them. When necessary I take some out and they don’t interfere with my life in any way, though my nose ring did traumatize my mother since that’s one of the first things I did after I left home.

I have never taken the plunge tattoo wise though. I have the general idea of what I want and where I want and why I want it but … I’m not sure. It could be my procrastination because at this point I don’t know what the hold up is. I have taken a grand total of five people to the tattoo parlour and I have seen every possible reaction to the pain. Spontaneous nosebleeds, tears, fainting, excitement (he was more a pain is pleasure kind of guy anyway) and I pretty much know what to expect. You know, in theory. I don’t deal with pain very well and that is why even though natural child birth has been the norm for centuries I would rather have the drugs thank you very much. I have a friend who was in labour for three days and her description of it horrified me a little.

I can understand why some people are averse to that kind of body art. It’s permanent, it hurts and should you change your mind about them sometimes it’s pretty much impossible or expensive to reverse. On the other hand, if you are an adult and not drunk and put thought into it I don’t see why you shouldn’t have a certain piercing or a random tattoo that you really really want. I don’t buy the whole “when you are old and wrinkly you will regret it” story either. When you are eighty years old and thinking back on all the regrets and things you shouldn’t have done I highly doubt the smiley face on your bum or the butterfly on your shoulder will be very high up your list. Maybe that’s just me.

Before this summer ends, I am most definitely going to go for it. Take my design to the artist and finally get inked. Walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. Lakini I need time to steel myself for the pain and get one of the people who I have accompanied to their inkdom to come along with me and hold my hand because god only knows what my reaction to that needle will be.

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