Miniscule Black Hole – Part I

This post originally appeared on Storymoja Festival Blog

What Nairobi needs is a flood of heavenly proportions to clean it, wash the filth towards Nairobi river and any other outlet available. Wash away the filaments of delirium inducing weapons from the future. Weapons which have destroyed the present to save the future.

 We are just a semi evolved race hurtling towards its own demise. Accelerating and fanning the risk. Consuming and in turn being consumed by the greed of standing above everybody else’s head. So lonely and single minded, yet none can stand loneliness.
These were the words of Seko, a strange creature who traced his lineage to me. His head is huge. A concave shaped behemoth on the top of his neck. It is also bald giving it a rather ghastly look. His complexion is not like anything I have seen. Sci-Fi channel has given me time to time a picture sub consciously lodged in my mind of what aliens could look like if by any chance in the future they decide to pay us a visit. Green men, men with pixie pointed ears, creatures with multiple limps and complete lack of empathy. That sort of thing. Seko is not an alien. He swears by the Christian and Muslim holy books that he is human. He was not sure of what religion I subscribed to so he learned all the texts as part of crash course on the 21st century earth and the crazy religious zealots everyone is according to their history. He is right by some extend, and wrong too because I don’t subscribe to any religion. His skin feels rubbery to touch, more like touching the outer layer of cobra’s eggs. An activity which nearly killed me a decade or so ago when I bumped in to some by our farm. Fascinating contraptions that held me in awe for some minutes. A strike on my left hand brought me in to senses and it is also the reason I don’t poses the arm any more. He talks, not in any way different to the way I do though the accent is a bit perplexing but it is a bit difficult to focus on the accent when the creature in front of you is 8 ft tall and from the future.I am curious, very curious. The shock of the cavity which opened in my lab does not wear off but my scientific curiosity gets better of me. I never dreamed I would have any children, let alone have a lineage stretching more than four hundred years in to the future. If this thing is talking the truth that means I finally got the courage to chat up girls and even get one in the family way. The future doesn’t look so gloomy after all. My synthetic arm whirs in the struggle of shifting the couch in to a position which Seko can comfortably sit. It is a bit a product of my invention. My research work is based micro and nano robotics. Micro robotics has been fairly successful in the past few years and it is one hell of a scientific leap. My biggest echelon in the field is Squido. The tiny mosquito-like creature which guards my house with an option of paralyzing any biological intruder with one sting. All it takes is one command from my glasses or computer. I have not figured a way to disable fully mechanical robots though. It is a work in progress. I have a friend who has managed to install electronic modules in to the brains of rats, spiking their I.Q and making them excellent spies for several government agencies. I have no interest in that at all. I find it creepy and disrespectful to the laws of nature. These are major lauded accomplishments in the scientific field. The same cannot be said for nano robotics. The control of matter with atomic or molecular precision has proved to be a tough nut to crack. The underlying reason is lack of enough funds in the field rather than insufficient knowledge. Governments all over are afraid of what might come out of it hence tough regulations against it. This has paved way for underground crime and military organizations and corporations to invest in the field away from the prying eyes. Nearly everybody in the scientific community knows what is happening. Some renegades, I am not proud to say I am one of them, have chosen to go ahead with actualizing the thing which has been keeping us awake at night for so long. I have perfected the art of manufacturing and hiding them until the right time when the regulations will be lifted. A few hundred of them are safely lodged on my synthetic arm. One of them though calls my spinal cord his abode in the effort of confusing my neural system in to believing that the synthetic arm is flesh and blood as any other part of my body. So far I have succeeded and my doctor or any other person would immediately report me to the ethics commission if they realized I have done so. This research is one of the reasons Seko was chosen to lead their team to our time line and systematically alter it. If all goes according to plan, 99.98% will not realise they were here. The other 0.02 % percent is made up of scientists handpicked across the globe who nobody will believe if one day they go mental and decide to blurter it out. That is the best case scenario. The worst case scenario involves annihilation of every organic thing on the surface of earth as well as what is contained several hundred kilometers beneath.Seko does not eat; or rather he does not consume nourishment by conventional ways. He digests a mixture of Hydrogen and carbon straight from the atmosphere through the pores on his skin. He does not know what hunger is and neither does anybody alive in the universe during his time. I realise this after I generously offer him a cup of steaming hot coffee believing that coffee, my good old drink, is timeless. Thoughts whir through my mind. I could be having a rather realistic dream. I could have been abducted and my thought processes altered by nanites. I know there is a group in Tokyo really in to mind altering research by the use of illegal nanites. If so, what would they want with me and why go to all the trouble of showing me something as unrealistic as this? I dismiss this as illogical. I might have just gone mental, after all people have been known to say I am mad from time to time. I push my cup subconsciously off my desk and the hot coffee jolts me back to the present when it makes contact with my groin. The hot searing pain cannot be anything else but real. I am in the present, conversing with a post-humanoid creature as if we are just out in the bar sipping martinis. Wait until I write about this. I might be on the verge of a Nobel peace prize. Seko shakes his head disapprovingly and puts his rather short finger relative to his size on his mouth in a silencing gesture. He is telepathic too and he gently informs me I am not to communicate the encounter to anyone. I have to spend my day normally and if possible spent more time in the lecture halls. He is now the custodian of my lab and it will be the nerve centre of his mission. He assures me with a pat in the back that it will not take long than intended and with my full corporation we might even speed it up. This is all confusing and highly uncomfortable. My lab is my baby, my legacy. I would not dream of bequeathing it to anyone, leave alone hand it over by passive aggressive persuasion. Seko reading my thoughts tells me that this is just the beginning of things and it would be wise for me if I put my heart in to it and really cooperated. He is to brief me the next day as well as divulge the details of his mission the next day. Until then I will have to get a good night sleep and come back in the morning fresh, with my bags packed.I make my way out of the lab dejectedly, the orange sun is glowing majestically over the Chinese university tower as it sets. My lab is a smart house and can perform basic functions like real time surveillance on command or even defend itself if the worse comes to the worst. I think this is the time. I do not know if Seko can read a mind which is 200 meters away but I will have to take my chances. I sent a magnetic lockdown command through my glasses to the lab. No response. I activate nerve gas release. No response. The lab has been turned in to a Faraday cage. I am so doomed.

I walk briskly towards city centre and in no time I am at 20th Century cinema wine bar. I usually frequent it on Fridays but this Tuesday calls for special drinking. I would like to see if not so few shots of whisky will clear my brain which is very cloudy at the moment. Thoughts and counter thoughts on time travel criss-cross it. It is a paradox and a scientific impossibility. Sure, since time immemorial people have burned the mid night oil trying to come up with calculations which can enable it but it is just too complex and still impossible. I am really not sure how this future race did it but they must be pretty good to pull it through. It is surprisingly hot where I am seated and I endeavour to move to another corner. I pick up my glass and but I trip with the first step I take and go sprawling towards the counter. This day is not getting any better. My artificial limp luckily hits the ground first so there is no real damage other than my deflated ego. Rising up I realise the nights mission is already accomplished, I cannot keep my balance and hell and Seko know what tomorrow will bring. I summon my hover car to take me home.

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Satao – a legend

I really had to repost this.

Mark Deeble

Satao - legend just title

When I last wrote about Satao, I felt that I couldn’t use his name. I could refer to him only as a ‘magnificent tusker’ or an ‘iconic Tsavo bull’. I feared that naming him would risk revealing where he lived. Now that I can use it, I wish that that I couldn’t.

On the 30th May, poachers finally caught up with Satao. An arrow smeared with Acokanthera poison hit him in his left flank and penetrated his body cavity. It travelled right through to his vital organs. To begin with, he might have run, to get deeper inside the park, where he felt safe. Running would have made the poison work faster. He didn’t get very far. Eventually he stood still in open ground, not a mile from the park boundary – with the potent cardio-toxin coursing through him. Without any cover to hide his tusks, he’d have felt exposed…

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Oh! The Joys Of Kenya @ 50

Have you heard that they are looking for 150 limousines to ferry V.I.Ps during our beloved country golden jubilee? Did you see that 50 bob gold coin our dear supreme leader launched to show how rich we are after just fifty years of independence? Have you seen flags and other shukas paraded all over the city proclaiming the fifty years?  I have heard some guys on Twittverse have been paid 100 grand to tweet about their love, their pride, their heritage, their commitment to a Kenya which is just fifty years young. Why not 50 grand?

 

A rumor goes that the M.Ps are getting 10 M bonuses, once again, why not 50 M? After all they have worked hard to earn it. 50 years of screwing up a country of nearly 50 M people is not a small task. I myself and my whole clan couldn’t do it in a millennium. I know what is on your mind, no, we are not lazy.  They have sank their teeth and wieners in to the good old Kenya without making any considerable mistakes. It’s true every once in a while one of them decides to steer away from the masses and do something else. Let’s say some developments, civil rights activism, fight corruption and some other acts of selfishness which are frowned upon by the members of the August house.  He or she is quickly silenced by the high priest or else he is jeered upon by his comrades until he drops the embarrassing behavior.

I think you have heard that some people have died in Moyale due to tribal clashes.  27 of them and counting. In case you are wondering, yes, this happens often. But what does the good old menopause Kenya do about it? Nothing , it’s not a big deal. The fourth estate is excellent in it’s devotion to licking the ass of the high priest and his cronies. Fifty years on. All of them have the money to sent reporters to S.A for Tata Madiba’s send off but none to make their way to Moyale. Well, the high priest recently decided the licking was not up to the current globally recommended standards. Borrowing a leaf from Mugabe, Kim Jong Il, Ayatolla etc (He sure does have many role models). They decided to add another thread to the screw. It will now include curtailed press freedom amongst other things. The forth estate was brought up to standards by a resounding ‘Ayeeee!!!’ in August house a few days ago. Newspapers were then termed as ‘makaratasi ya kufunga nyama’ . I am at loss why they still lick that ass instead of a fully blown media blackout. The perks of Kenya at 50.

 

The process of retrenching nay sacking 100,000 civil servants is already on the wheels while we celebrate. A good reason given for this is that we can’t afford the wage bill. We are simply too poor. Yes, we can afford to pay M.Ps and their smaller followers M.C.As gazzilions of Kenyan shillings but we are too poor to compensate the hardworking Kenyans. Teachers have been whining since time immemorial, their wage, working conditions and other negligible issues have always been in contest. The government is for the opinion that they are just fine and they should stop making noise over nothing. Teachers think otherwise but still, they have all the reasons to celebrate Kenya at 50.

Health workers will also be on strike while the celebrations go on. Of course this is a non-issue. No M.P can ever be caught dead using the public health system. To sum it up it’s no concern of theirs.   It has now become the norm, rather than the exception for you to lose your belongings or life to criminals every once in a while. This, as a proud country which is past mid-life crisis, we choose to ignore. A product of unemployment and flawed institutions. We trudge on, after all we are fifty. Police officers don masks and steal from you at gun point, they rent out their guns when they feel it’s too cold. But hey, we are fifty, a reason to celebrate.

 

We have an excellent education system, hell, the good old government is even upgrading to schools 2.0. Laptops for standard 1 kids and all. Graduates who cannot perform a single task litter the job places but who cares. The government is digital. We have a new constitution. A fact which makes us congratulate ourselves every day.  Plans are underway to screw it up and judiciary will just be a victim of circumstances. Guys who at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sorry Mutunga and co. Please show up to the celebrations in full regalia, we will have nothing less. Lest we forget, we have Thika Superhighway. The other potholes are negligible. This calls for a toast of champagne.

 

I must confess the euphoria has also sank in to my cranium. You can only hold on to being bombarded by the marketing efforts for too long. I have been dreaming of Madiba passing on the night before celebrations. I am not sure how our dear old Kamwana would have reacted then. It would have been a real bummer. I would still celebrate Madiba’s life, just like I am doing.

P.s I saw my good old senator ‘hanging out with’ Mandela thanks to poor photoshoping skills. Please, Mars take me away.

Sight of Nairobi Underbelly

Sometimes certain phrases or words seem to resonate more with the ‘others’ than you. You never associate your life with them. Terms like Nairoberry happen to other people who share this sometimes flourishing as well as depressing city. The act of visiting a police station to report a crime seems so detached it’s almost laughable. Then the cracks. You lose your phone every few months in unclear circumstances but you do not consider this a crime. After all everybody has lost a phone, either snatched in the C.B.D or a simple misplacement. It’s a way of life. You go ahead and buy another one, a cheap android until you save up for the next Lumia or Iphone. It’s funny that this cheap replacement is the one that never gets stolen and it’s always there to bail you out after the big one is gone. This happens and the huge spinning circle that is the city continues with the movement.

The cracks widen unexpectedly. At the beginning of last month my backpack which contained a tablet, a laptop and a few books was snatched at Ngara. The notorious, noisy, free for all location. It was all too sudden and bewildering that by the time I came to my senses and adrenaline snapped the chaps were already across the busy highway. I could not even give a chase. I stood there transfixed and watching as my property disappeared in a whiff. I gave myself excuses, as if I was covering for the thieving idiots. The gadgets were already past their sell by date and I was already thinking of replacing them anyway. It just came sooner than I expected. My work was already backed up on Mega, Googledrive, Dropbox and Skydrive. The books? I was sure they were literate chaps, would they read them? Probably not. The sequels of Hunger games, Catching Fire and MockingJay. They had cost me a fortune and they would probably end upon the street to trade for a measly 100/=. If they could only read them. Maybe they would get another outlook on life. They would understand why some districts where unhappy with the capitol, and why it covered up for all its sins. Why it held hunger games to silence the people. They would understand what is happening in Egypt. And maybe, just maybe, they would join us in the next ‘Occupy Parliament’ with the aim of making a change rather than thieving and looting.

Later my thoughts struck me as somewhat stupid. I should have found a way of getting my gadgets back. Not find a way to buy replacements. But that is what happened.

Nearing the end of last month I bought a new laptop and decided to give tablets a wide berth. This was an expensive Alienware machine. This bore the surname of KittyHawk as all my laptops have but this one’s moniker was KittyHawkMonster. A fitting name for the knight. It did cost me a fortune and my resolve was to extremely secure it and work it like a donkey. I hightailed to Google and read on the most fool proof way to secure an Alienware, I promptly did that. I now basked in the glory of this black and colourful jewel. Little did I know that my joy was to be snapped into twigs very shortly.

The last Sunday of the month I woke up, had a hefty breakfast, and made my way to a friend’s place where we were having a meet up. I ended up spending the whole day there due to a little matter of World Of Warcraft. I got home to find that KittyHawkMonster had sprouted some wings during the daytime and flew away. Gaping at the spot where I left him shell shocked I shouted for the gateman to make his way to my apartment. I know I did utter some unlimited number of expletives which would give a nun a fatal heart attack as I sought to know who broke in to my house and made away with my new laptop which was yet to acquire insurance.

The next day I visited a police station in a bid to make sense of what was happening. This nightmare was now crawling in to my day to day life with devastating effects. There is only one little fact I failed to adhere to, and it made all the difference. I refuse to pay for police services when I do so every day with my tax. I did not cough up a bribe to oil their palms and get the investigation wheels moving despite the not too obvious calls of ‘ongea vizuri kijana tusuluishe hii mambo’. I left the station half dejected, half determined man. I knew nothing would be done despite my one to one talk with the O.C.P.D. I knew chances of setting my eyes again on KittyHawkMonster where next to zero. The only comforting fact was that whoever who had it now held a piece of very expensive, ugly or beautiful depending on who is looking at it junk. I had already secured it such that formatting it was completely impossible. They could do with selling the parts. I wished them luck in that.

As I wait for a technician to install spy cameras on my apartment I wonder if I have become too paranoid. I already have a new state of the art lock system. How can I live spying on myself and my guests? Now that I have seen the Nairobi underbelly it’s the price I have to pay.

Cultural Indictment: The New Star Trek

Michael Stark

I’ve been a lifelong science fiction fan, especially so of the Star Trek franchise. As a kid, I was drawn to the stories and to the ability to use reason to guide humanity past difficulties and solve complex problems (though I could not put such words to it as a child). As an adult, I more clearly see the philosophy embedded within Star Trek, especially so in The Original Series and The Next Generation incarnations.

Theologian Stanley Grenz testified to the philosophy in Trek many years ago. The opening chapter of his book, A Primer on Postmodernism, examines the shift from modern philosophy to postmodern philosophy as seen in TOS and TNG. That chapter is required reading in my intro to philosophy courses that I teach and it is coupled with an readings from Descartes and different postmodern thinkers (Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard) through the lens of James K.A…

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Dark Forces in Digital Age

Now that Uhuruto won Kenya has finally got in to digital age, for they are the digital team who can’t tell android from I OS. All In all, it is great gesture as the future wars will be cyber wars and God forbid we have a C-I-C who can’t pull a trigger. That equals to just coding the first lines in Java and generating numerous bugs for our sophisticated virus (weapon) which make it  absolutely obsolete in the end.God help us when the war comes. The high brigade gets to form a highly nationalistic government which does shine bright like a diamond. It is so inspiring it wakes up the long forgotten poetic lines which make unequivocally no sense to the digital heads.

“The bright old day now dawns again; the cry runs through the land

In Capitol there shall be dear bread, in unaligned counties sword and brand

And poverty and ignorance shall swell rich and grand

So, rally round the rulers with fine gentle hand

Of the fine old Kenyan monarchist days, hail to the coming time

I am supposed to say this, am I? I heard from unconfirmed sources that I.D for the lack of a better acronym to his name, the wannabe hacker is now the chief when it comes to monitoring blogs and curtailing free speech on the interwebs. Wait jhsgfs…………………….Sorry, I must have dozed off on my keyboard. Why is there a dart on my neck?  No, three darts on my zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
 The dark forces appeared for the first time in our country when U.K and MaDVD discussed and came in to a pact that U.K was to step down for interests known to him and few people as the T.N.A front runner. A grant gesture if you ask me. Little did MaDVD know that his dream of leading this great country was going to be killed in less than a week. He went on to divulge what had happened to the fourth estate which nowadays has merged with the first and the second estates. The result is that we currently just have the cunning first estate and a highly polarised third estate. He got the shock of his life when the meeting with U.K and the decisions made were blamed on the dark forces which were lurking about in the board room and some courageous enough to infiltrate U.K’s mind and speak for him. Everything which happened on that day was to be forgotten immediately and blamed on the shameless dark forces which nearly led the great states man astray. I had no problem with the dark forces then, I never questioned their intentions as they did not concern me.
Dark forces have struck again. This time whispering to our president-elect his dear wife should hold the bible while he places his hand on it and swears to lead our great nation. This is not the norm, anywhere. If you are pledging your allegiance via a holy book you hold it up and speak. That is what Kibaki did, and Moi and his dad. Excuse me for assuming that dark forces have something to do with this. Wouldn’t this pave way for anybody in a court of law who feel they don’t have to hold the bible fully to invite their wife or husband to hold the bible for them while they just place their sweaty palms on top of it? I know I would do so and cite the precedent being set by our president. Here is another alternative which can defeat the dark forces at their own game. If U.K feels that the bible is too heavy, why not pull the bible app on his iPad and swear with it? After all, isn’t he the digital president? Or maybe he prefers another holy book like the Koran which also has an app. We will not blame him. Questions will only abound if he decides to go a mile ahead and request an Oxford advanced learners dictionary as it possess the same volume as the holy books.

Be inspired: My beef with motivational literature

I like writers, scratch that, I love writers. My girlfriend is a writer and nearly all the girls I have dated in the past expect for a brief period of time in and after high school when I used to date any girl who smiled at me. And any other one who didn’t and she had boobs, as long as they did not realise I was dating them. It was a tough but sweet time. The only writers I hate are the one who write inspiration literature. Nonsensical ramblings which leave shallow minded readers with the Jedi effect. It is as if Obi Wan Kanobi has approached them, casually waved his arm at them and confidently told them. “Stop drinking Guinness, you hate yourself and you should be drinking Pilsner.” Now, this situation plays out without the involvement of the mighty Yoda when one, out of curiosity or desperation picks up a book with the big picture of the author smiling at the cover telling you how you are going to use the same tactics and land a millionaire wife or a six-figure job in a period of six months. Your choice.

motivational

These writers have, with all intentions of a psychotic murderer, dedicated their whole lives to ripping people off their hard earned money by selling them lies disguised as truth. What a bunch of soulless bitches. I bet right now they are laughing at me with their iPads at the coast of Bahamas.

Kenyans are known as a country which does not read. Hide anything on the pages of a book, I can bet you my half-eaten sandwich that a Kenyan will not find it. Don’t worry, it’s still delicious and it was also sizable before I took those mighty bites I always do off it. Researches have shown that the only readable thing majority of Kenyans buy are inspiration books. It is as if having thousands of television evangelists preaching prosperity gospel every weekend is not enough. Funny this should come up, they also write the stuff after realising people will stick to your every word. As long as they periodically see you smiling, or shouting on national television.

The readers are characterised by among other things their pride when reading a sizable book with a big picture of a person who is probably a child molester smiling on the cover. Damn it! Don’t they know there is something called artistic cover art, and your flabby cheeks aren’t a choice? But then, there is nothing artistic about the book.  I find most of them in busses nearly every day. This one caught my attention. Confidence: There are no coincidences. A title bound to trap those guys who have sweaty palms, noses, brows, tongues, well sweaty everything seconds before a big pitch to the investors. Here is what I think it should have said. Confidence is only worth if you are not a frigging idiot. Get armed with confidence and head out to Victoria Falls for water skiing. Or just grab your confidence and go hit the village bully on the nuts and shout you are confident. Your broken neck will bring you back to reality. Words that can fit on a single billboard instead of a 300 page book, what a waste of our resources. The billboard can have a big picture of a confident idiot seconds after they have broken their neck wrestling a bull someplace in Spain, or western Kenya. The title would be, Confidence: You need to have brains.

Next time you walk in to that bookstore be sure to look around. Some other genres of books exist.