Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Up, Up and Away

It's been a while since I last posted as I've been quite busy getting the hang of flying so let me share a little experience that I had over the last few days that has been major.

By last week I had already done quite a number of hours and it was
about time for me to go solo so I was taken to a senior instructor who I flew with a couple times punctuated by a three day gap due to some lousy weather last week. However on Friday I was taken to the chief instructor who I had to stick with till he released me for my first solo. First flight on Friday went pretty well and he had some good encouraging words for me even telling me to believe in myself and I could do it.

The second flight on Saturday was a different story.I hadn't flown for 2 consecutive days for quite a while and those gaps tend to make you a bit rusty so I thought that this was my chance to get some good consistency. However after a relatively good start I made some of the same mistakes of the previous day and even some new ones. At one point I was given quite a dressing down in the cockpit and thought things had gone really bad. Afterward I was told that on Sunday morning I'd fly with the big boy himself, the owner of the school. He's quite an imposing figure a tall old man with a big grey beard who has a lot of experience under his belt so I knew the standards would be pretty high.

So on Sunday morning I woke up to another fine cloudless morning and I was surprised as the weather is hardly ever consistent. My flight was a little delayed as he was dealing with another student before me. When my time came he gave me a briefing first and looked at the comments from the previous flight and gave me some pointers on what to do. Soon after it was time to get going. Even when we were on the ground he had quite a number of comments to make on the things I was doing wrong and more when I got into the air. Probably due to nervousness I kept making some very silly mistakes which so got to him that he had to revise some of the basics with me in the air. This was really embarrassing for somebody who was already quite some way into the course. You can imagine how I felt after the de-briefing. I had really been brought down to earth or so to speak.After that I did quite a lot of thinking and praying, "have to pull up my socks" I kept telling myself. Fortunately on Monday I was scheduled to fly with the chief instructor so I was relieved.

Once again perfect weather on Monday morning, cloudless and only a slight hint of wind. This was truly amazing for me 4 days in a row of good weather was a first. I guess at this point you're probably thinking that I'm obsessed with the weather but it's part of the job! So as I was saying I was back with the CFI with a lot on my mind no doubt- "have to get to right this time, you can do it!" Went through the usual drill and he even expedited it so that we could get into the air much faster. Off we went into the sky, did a good flight and for the first time made a good landing, previously that had been my biggest problem. He went on to congratulate me for the good landing and of course there was the inevitable but- I had turned too early. Made the same mistake again and I was chastised but managed to fix it on the third try. I knew that what he was looking for was 3 good landings and that would be it. 1st one was good, misjudged the 2nd so
I didn't touch down but the next 3 were ok. On the last as I was about to get airborne again he took hold of the controls and just then I knew the moment I had been waiting for had finally arrived! A smile started forming on my face and I started psyching myself up. He asked
how I was doing whether I was ok and stuff and explained what I had to do next was to go up and do a circuit on my own.

Once he was through with the briefing he stepped out and it was time for me to do my thing. I gave him a thumbs up, put my hands on the controls, did my radio call and got going. The first thing that was really weird was the empty seat beside me and once I got airborne it felt really light and had to keep making adjustments. The flight went pretty well and it was definitely less stressful not having somebody there making comments every time you made a little mistake. Soon it was time for me to land and I was lined up on the final approach to the runway. Had to work on what was usually my weak point all on my own. This approach is particularly tricky as there are some trees just before the edge of the runway and so you have to be really careful so
that you don't end up perched on them. As I came in I noticed I was getting low and heading towards them. Naturally you would try to pull the plane up but this is a no-no as that would cause you to slow down and sink faster, I almost fell into this trap but I quickly increased the power and got over them and was back on course. Once Over them I was basically over the fence and went ahead to do a not so bad landing even if I do say so myself. It was finally done, the first solo, the first major milestone in my flying and 15th December 2008 shall remain permanently etched in my memory. After touching down I taxied back to the apron where the CFI was on hand to congratulate me and the other students were the to carry to the pool for a dip.

It's really hard to explain the feeling as I was really happy and at the same time relieved as it had taken me a while to get there as most of my colleagues had already gone before me. However I thank God for the way it went and the experience with the big boy which gave me a
wake up call.

Now it's on to the next stage.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Relfections on the victory

A lot no doubt has already been said about Barrack Obama's triumph in the US elections that have firmly etched his name in history as the first African American to win. This of course not being his only first as he was the first African American candidate to win nomination for the presidency. It all looks like a fairy tale but it really is true. I never for once thought that I'd see the day when somebody other than a white man would rise to the most powerful office in the land. In fact when the writer of 24 created a black president it looked very highly unlikely little did we know that a few years later the fiction would become reality.

As an African I'm proud to see a man of colour in that office more so when his father hailed from my home country of Kenya. It's amazing the way we've taken him to be one of our own yet his father was largely absent during his upbringing. I'll not dwell too much on this but will instead focus on another aspect of this story that makes it so inspiring.

Four years ago Barrack introduced himself to the world with an outstanding speech a the democratic national convention when he was still a senate candidate. Right there everybody sensed something special about the “skinny guy with a funny name.” Some had already started seeing him as a atrong contender for the presidency. That was his moment and he had to strike while the iron was hot. he easily won his senate seat as well as the hearts and minds of many Americans who saw him as a symbol of hope and as expected he eventually announced his candidacy for the presidency.

That decision in itself was very bold- a first time senator and more to that a young black man running for president. The odds seemed to be stacked against him but he kept on. Even during the democratic primaries his main rival Hillary Clinton kept highlighting his inexperience and after the initial predictions you would have thought he didn't stand a chance. Honestly even I myself did not see him succeeding against the Clinton name and a white woman looked somewhat more likely to win the nomination than a black man. the first few results may have been discouraging but he stood firm and so did his supporters behind his slogan of “Yes We Can”

His was a different campaign giving hope to a country that needed it. While Hillary kept trying to attack him, he maintained his cool and overtook her in the race and finally clinched the nomination. Even I was surprised at the turn of events and after my initial scepticism became a believer. That stage finished he went on to face John McCain who looked well past his sell by date and couldn't match the youthful enthusiasm and charisma of his opponent. Desperation set in and his nomination of a female Vice presidential candidate proved to be a flop. The rest as they say is history.

One thing that stands out in this his whole story is how he seized the moment. he could have backed down and said that he needed more experience or that the country was not ready for him. However he cast the doubts aside and went straight for it, it's really admirable as it can be so easy to avoid the risk and stay in a comfort zone but as the saying goes a ship is safe in the harbour but that is not what it was made for. I can not say any more about his feat but it has shown us that when you believe in something and make use of the opportunity truly great feats can be achieved- truly Yes We Can!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Around the mountain

his post has been a long time coming due to moving and all so without much further ado...

A few weeks ago on the weekend of the 26th and 27th September some pals and I decided to go on a road trip. It was pretty spontaneous but ended up being the most fun weekend I've had in a long time and probably in my life. There was a lot of long night driving but the company and scenery all made it worth the effort.

Started off on Friday evening from Nairobi at around 6 p.m and I being the genius I am decided to use the Bypass route from Embakasi to Thika road. After asking for a few directions we found our way to Kangundo road where as per directions we continued on a murram road and came literally to the end of the road- and this was at night mind you. Lost in an unfamiliar place in the cover of darkness is not a very nice experience believe me. Fortunately there were some Maasais around who guided us back to safety.

After that brief detour we got back on the Kangudo road and got on Thika road and arrive at Thika town to meet my pals at round about 8. After stocking up on energy drinks for the long night drive to Embu we set off. Gone down that road many time before so I was able to navigate well even in the dark to the next rendezvous point at Embu town. met the rest of the party there and headed on to Kamburu dam for the night.

On Saturday morning the adventure continued with a drive to Kiambere club right at the end of the Seven forks Dam series. Place was like a steaming cauldron with all that head and some of us took the inevitable swim. We hang around there till even then went on to Embu en route to the next destination- Kangu Baraka farm in Chuka.

More night driving but I had a nagging headache and so bought some pain killers at the supermarket in Embu. However after a can of XL energy drink the headache miraculously disappeared must have been the lack of sleep. We finally got to the farm some time after nine after a long delay on the road which was in particularly bad condition all the way from the Meru road junction. We were so wasted after the journey so a quick supper of sandwiches was enough and off to bed we went.

Got up early on Sunday morning as we had to be in Nanyuki by 9 to visit some 'surprise location' which was '20 min' away from the town. So 6 a.m found us ready to depart with pick up full of hay. The morning drive to Nanyuki gave us a very clear view of Mount Kenya before the clouds gather around it- was very picturesque, however the ice cap on the mountain was conspicuously absent- global warming anybody. 9 a.m found us in Nanyuki so we were right on schedule just 20 min left- right? Shock on us!

We left Nanyuki and followed our "guide's" Directions. Somehere about one hour later and over 10 kms from the end of the tarmac we had to stop and ask whether we are on the right track and he re-assured us that we were. You can imagine how we felt bwing far from civilization and the surroundings looking like this but we accepted that not all have the gift of estimating time and distance.

After a few more minutes on the dirt road we finally reached our destination- Ol Jogi game reserve. One of my ever resourceful mates whipped out his phone to check our location in google maps an to our surprise we were in Anaheim, California- I kid you not!

The joint is pretty neat- a private wildlife reserve owned by some Mzungu as usual. The landscape was beautiful but what was really interesting was the array of exotic animals there like

The Albino leopard

Russian bear- The only one in tropical Africa.

The show stopper however was a couple of our very own African elephants like the one at the top of the page.

After feasting our eyes on the show we made our way back to Nanyuki where we spent some time fixing auto issues caused by our roads and at about 4.30 we started the return to Nairobi. Arrived in Nairobi at about 8 tired but satisfied after a super fun weekend.

After this trip I truly understand how beautiful my country is and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Just want to thank all my pals who made this weekend so much fun- You know yourselves.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

At the ball game

All set for kick off

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to witness the brave warriors of Namibia get a lesson or two about football by the Harambee stars. Kudos to the boys for getting one step closer to World cup qualification. Let's hope they can pull something off when they meet Guinea away.

This being my first live national team football match I went with a lot of anticipation. Reports were that the match was sold out and the traffic on Thika road pointed to the fact. An interesting thing I noted was that there were a lot of the middle class rugby crowd headed there from the cars which were draped with the national flag and associated paraphernalia. A good thing to note that the game has such wide appeal hopefully at this rate we'll see better things for Kenyan football. However one of my pals pointed out that a lot of the support was because the team is doing well and I would tend to agree that we are fair weather supporters.

A section of the crowd at gate 13

After braving the traffic we made our way into the stadium a few minutes before kick-off. The crowd was not as large as I had anticipated and it was easy to get space. The thin crowd made it hard to pull off the Mexican wave as it kind of got lost at the gaps. The atmosphere was ok though I noticed that we are yet to learn the art of cheering in this country as there were quite a number of silent moments. That all changed when a goal came from the penalty spot and the stadium erupted into wild celebrations. Had to watch my head as people threw bottles from the upper terraces.

The team's performance was good enough to grind out a win though not without some tense moments in the second half. One area that really needs improvement is set pieces. We had so many free kick but we never so much as threatened the opposition from them. Also worth noting is our lack of attacking options; the absence of star forward Dennis Oliech was clearly evident. We need to get that talent pipeline moving because I know the next Oliech is out there just waiting to be discovered.

Once the final whistle was blown we quickly made our way to the exit. However our exit was not without incident. At around the point we joined Thika road one of the wheels of the car we were in ran over a lady's foot. What even made it more startling was the way she was screaming and writhing on the ground. The shock made me freeze for a minute before we bundled her and her friends into the car and rushed her to hospital. The ride was quite an experience with her wails and groans of pain especially since she had sprained that same foot before. You can imagine the kind of pain she was in! Fortunately for her there was no major damage and she received treatment at the hospital.

Fortunately for us there was no other drama that day as we went back home!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Oh no! not again!

Had to blog this before i went to bed.

I paid a visit to the 'wall' this evening. Inserted my card as requested and waited....

"Insert your card" was still being displayed- what could have been wrong? a few seconds later " "This ATM is temporarily out of service." What?

The guard told me to chill a bit and see if my card would re-emerge. After a while he said that since it was more than 2 minutes the card had been retained. being one to keep faith I waited. The wretched contraption made some noise and hope began to rise within me. The familiar "Insert your card" came back on but no card was returned. Card had been retained according to the guard. Doooooh! Nothing else to do but to go and collect it from the bank again.

Funny thing is that there are 3 ATMs on my way home. Had a strange feeling that I should alight where the first two are but decided against it as it was farther away. Next time I had better trust my gut feeling.

So it's back to the banking hall for me- isn't that sweet?

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Arrrrgggggh!... ... Phew!

Now where do I start? I think the best place to start is the beginning.

About 3 weeks ago my wallet decided to grow legs and walk out of my pocket. Must have dropped it in a mat but on further inquiry it was nowhere to be seen, apparently somebody had an eye for good wallets. Anyhow luckily for me no vital documents were inside but a very important ATM card was in there. I have since learnt that ATM cards are the best thing since sliced bread, without it I’ve had to brave the snaking queues at the farmers’ bank.

Naturally on learning of the card’s disappearance I hastily made arrangements to have it cancelled and applied for a replacement not without spending a good amount of time in the banking hall to get that done. Was told to come back in 10 days so I waited until the due date.

It was ready for collection last week and I made arrangements to leave work early so as to get to town before 4 p.m. Thought leaving by 3 would give me enough time but as always the traffic on Mombasa road had other ideas. Got to the city centre at 4.30 so much for that. Tried again on Saturday but the 45 min I’d given myself looked inadequate so my trip had to be postponed to Monday.

Come Monday with the benefit of experience my exit from the office was done at 2.45 p.m. Surely by any estimation that should have been adequate time to make it to town by 4. So I cleared with my supervisor and made my way to the gate. Luckily there was a matatu right there so I quickly got on and began my journey.

Before we even got to Mombasa road there was already traffic on airport north road. Even the driver was surprised and wondered whether the president was still around as he had passed that way earlier in the day. After a few manouvres on the road we got onto Msa road which looked to have a high amount of traffic for that time in the afternoon. The matatu was pretty empty so we had to make a few stops but it filled up quickly and according to my watch there was still a lot of time. Once it was filled up I was confident that it would be an express trip into town.

Shock on me when we got to south C and found a snarl up that is characteristic of rush hour and not 3.30 p.m! the driver too was confounded since that time is usually free flowing. Once again some overlapping was done on the road towards the Nyayo stadium roundabout, once we got there it would be all good- or so we thought. We had not even gone through the roundabout before we came to a stop to the horror of even the driver. Strangely all other roads heading into the roundabout were also held up. Knowing that our fate was practically sealed we moved slowly towards the city centre. In the meantime the driver was sharing how frustrating his job can get and I totally agreed.

Just after the Bunyala road roundabout ( side note: how many of those things do we have to pass? They must go, by yesterday!) I looked at my watch, 12 minutes left to bank closing time. Looked out the window and wondered if I alighted then whether I could make it. After a little thinking I decided it was best to stick in to the mat and told God- “please, let me make it in time”.

2 minutes to 4 still on the road, What’s more the contractors working on the road had parked a lorry with concrete blocks on our lane. Thought they were supposed to be working at night not in the middle of the afternoon! Arrrgh! I tell you sometimes you can just shoot people. Thanks to that little obstruction 4 o’clock found us at the Haile Selassie roundabout. I had no option but to alight from the mat in traffic.

Got of the mat and ran to the bank and you guessed it- closed by 4.03 p.m. tried to negotiate with the guards to let me in but hey wouldn’t budge, ati I should come the next day. “what!” After all the trouble I’d been through that was not an option. At this point I was livid, cursing the traffic, for crying out loud, I had done my best to get there in time! Tried calling a pal who works in the bank but he was busy.

As I was outside there brooding and almost going captain haddock on those guys hope arrived. I saw my cousin whose mum works at the bank come out of the door. “Halleluyah!” I thought. Told her my situation and she spoke to her mum. Strangely she noticed that her mum’s number was already on my phone but I guess in the situation I forgot. A few minutes later I was sorted and was smiling all the way out the bank.

Relflecting on that situation I really thanked God for coming through for me again like this time and this. Was a really frustrating experiences but it worked out well in the end. Thanks be to God.

Lakini this traffic is in a horrible state! One of my pet subjects but that’s for another day

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Games Over!

Wanjiru celebrates

Wow! what an Olympics it's been for my countrymen and women. Nothing could have been better than having the Kenyan national anthem being the last on the playlist and that's exactly what happened when Samuel Wanjiru had the honour of being he first ever Kenyan Olympic marathon champion. This Olympiad has had a number of firsts for the Kenyans.

Jason Dunford was the first Kenyan swimmer to get to the finals and more to that he broke the olympic record on the way there. Some may say that he peaked to early but something tells me there's more to come especially from his younger brother David.

Jelimo celebrates

The next first was Pamela Jelimo who earned her place in the history books as the first Kenyan female Olypic champion. A lot was expected from this young lady 'the Kaptagat Express' and her counterpart 'the Eldoret Express' Janeth Jepkosgei. Lucky for us we managed to prise Pam from the Americans who wanted to ship her off to the far away lands. The last pioneer of course was Wanjiru(which is actually a Woman's name).

The Haul of 5 gold 5 silver and 4 bronze is our best ever. The only time we came close to that was in Seoul where we garnered 5 gold 2 silver and 2 bronze. Last year's no 2 position at the IAAF world championships was a tough act to follow but the boys and girls have shown that they've got what it takes to do even better.

Bungei Crosses the line
Of all the 5 Gold medalists Jelimo, Kipruto, Langat, Bungei and Wanjiru some of them deserve a special mention. Jelimo has already been dealt with but the standout performance was from the relatively unknown Nancy Jebet Langat who won the women's 1500m, on that day the race was not a medla hope but she rose to the ocassion even without team mates to help her on. Next up is Bungei who as the captain made up for the dissappointment of not making the finals at the last Olympics. Last but not least is Wanjiru who won the marathon despite the favorite Martin Lel falling by the wayside .

Once again I congratulate the boys and girls for their performance which was outstanding, phenomenal, great even. As we celebrate let us not rest on our laurels as staying number one in Africa is not as easy as becoming number one. The beloved Ethiopians are constantly on our heels as evidenced by their double in the 5000 and 1000m. As I said in my earlier post these guys can be beaten but we have to be more strategic. Former Olympic champion John Ngugi( the last Kenyan to win the 5000m) higlighted this in an interview recently.

One thing that the Ethiopians have mastered is majoring on the majors as opposed to us who have guys running in the IAAF golden league and missing out on the olypmpics. Credit goes to Athletics Kenya for being strict this time round which I'm sure helped our performance. Teamwork wins every time!

Another thing that is vital is money, money, money! the Government and sponsors should do all they can to make sure the athletes get paid well for their efforts lest they defect to Qatar or Bahrain like some have. I wonder if we can even make athletics our national sport as that's our forte.

Kweli leo Najivunia Kuwa Mkenya

In a totally unrelated story came across these interesting pictures of Nairobi courtesy of Ntwiga's blog.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Games time!

This past weekend was pretty interesting as far as sports goes. Made my way to the RFUEA grounds where I watched Kenya come from behind and win the Elgon cup not without some last minute suspense where a converted try would have handed the cup to The visitors. Think I'm getting hooked on to this rugby thing.

jason celebrates his record

The 'real' Olympics began on Friday with the first track and field events. However there was a Kenyan- Jason Dunford who was also in contention for a medal in the 100m butterfly. He didn't make it to the medal positions but he had a good showing at the games by being the first to break the Olympic record though it was broken only minutes later. At least he got his 15 min of fame plus a new African and national record. Making it to the finals was no small feat and we hope to see more of him and his brother in London 2012.

The first major track medal predictably went to Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba in the10000m women and 2 days later Kenenisa Bekele also made of with Gold. Watching the two winners, it is easy to see that their weapon is the final kick in the last lap. That's the same way they've been beating the Kenyans since the early 90s. I'm no athletics expert but I think by now we should know what to expect and adapt to their style lest the Kenyans get forgotten. I stand to be corrected on this. You have to admit those Ethiopians have something special there, running for almost 10 km and still being able to sprint. What was even more amazing was the sprint at the end of the Women's marathon.

"This just in" Kenya have won their first 2 gold Medals. As expected Brimin Kipruto won the 3000m steeplechase( no 1,2,3 though some Frenchman spoiled the party) and Pamela Jelimo became the first Kenyan Woman to get an olympic gold in the 800m. Next up is 1500m men let's hope for something there too.

For a parting shot, the 'freshest' ad of the year

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Of Good Samiritans and Dark Knights

This past Tuesday I found myself having to go to the CID headquarters to get a certificate of good conduct. I had planned to collect in 28th after the usual two weeks but something came up and I needed to get it more urgently.

Not wanting to go all the way there only to bounce I asked if anybody in the office knew somebody at he CID so that I could confirm that the cert was ready. Luckily for me one of my colleagues knows a lady who works there however he didn't have her her number at the time neither did he know her name. He told me that he could somehow contact her through somebody at her home. after making a couple of calls he sot into contact with her gave her my details and confirmed that it was ready. I swiftly made arrangements to go and collect it that afternoon.

When I got to the CID headquarters I called the lady- who I learnt is called Winne to ask where Ican pick it up and was directed accordingly. On arriving at the collection point I gave my receipt. There was a problem though- the serial number had not been stamped "dooh" I thought to my self. How could I have forgotten that? I was directed to an office where I could get the number from the computer system. They checked my details and unfortunately the number was not available. However if I produced my ID they could get it. This where I remembered deciding not to carry my ID with me in the morning, after all I didn't know that I needed it. "dooh and double dooh."

At that point I decided to call Winnie up about the matter and she told me to call her back in 2 minutes. True to her word when I called her back she had the number ready and I quickly noted it down and went back to the office to collect the cert. To y relief it was ready but I still had to sign for it. "Where's your ID?" I was asked as I was about to sign. "Oh no not again!" I thought but he let me go easy.

After that experience I made sure to call Winnie and express my gratitude. Somebody I neiher knew or had seen had done a lot to help me without asking or anything in return. It's good to know that there are still genuine people out there. Made me think about how I can be a better person. It also reminded me of this other story.

Now for something completely different.

On Saturday I went to the movies. I had two choices either Wanted or The Dark Knight. Since I had been eagerly waiting for the next Batman movie I was leaning towards that side and after I read a bad review of Wanted the decision was much easier. One word comes to mind- wow! Great action movie the best I've seen this year which has been full of comic book(or is it graphic novel?) heroes. The most outstanding performance was Heath Ledger(Pity he's gine) as The Joker. Also there's lots of explosions and action galore. Story is good too with suspense that makes the 2 and half hours or so look so short. I give this one 5 stars most definitely. No wonder it's breaking records left, right and centre.

Friday, 4 July 2008

PRICE WARS: EPISODE III - Attack of the clone

The Green empire have retreated to their base to nurse the bruises from the last battle and plan their next course of action. The free calls almost ran their network to the ground and they had to adjust it due to the peculiar calling habits in the republic.

The Red team launch an assault, more like a clone of the Greens- 'free' calls yet again! they promise that the network can handle it, but can they now?

Meanwhile a new power is on the horizon the Orange empire are building their troops readying for an attack. The Blues in the other hand try to forge an alliance with the green empire.

The saga continues...

Monday, 23 June 2008

Barcamp Re-cap


That's the first word that comes to my mind about Barcamp Nairobi '08 which was held on 21st June. The turn out was great, sessions interesting, and lots of interesting discussions as well.

It is also worth noting that the Permanent Secretary for information made an appearance towards the end. He said that some policy changes will have to be made based on what he had there. We hope this means that the policy makers in Kenya will now work together with the tech community for development. Of course we will continue keeping them on their toes.

Thanks goes out to the organisers and those who attended for making it such a great day. Looking forward to the next one!

Safari Sevens

This Sunday for the first time Ever I managed to make my way to the Rugby Football Union of East Africa grounds on Ngong road for Kenya's premier rugby event the Tusker Safari sevens. Lets just say I discovered what I've been missing all this years. It was a great day weather was fine unlike the previous day which had been freezing cold.

Almost immediately after I came in I witnessed our own Kenyan boys beat the world champions Fiji in the quarter finals on their way to the title. There was a really big crowd and it looks like soon we'll need arugby stadium to cater for all those fans. Also in attendance were the Prime minister and his deputy who was presenting the trophies.

Here are some pics (note:taken from a phone hence the quality) of the goings on.
Kenya vs Fiji at the quarters
Some of us at the 'Russia' stand

The dying minutes of the final- Kenya vs Emerging Springboks
Yet another shot from the finals

All in all it capped a fantastic weekend which began with the hugely successful Barcamp on Saturday. Now it's back to work after my week off...

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Live at the Barcamp

Setting things up

An the games began

and continued
Chilling out in the google room.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Le Barcamp c'est back!

Barcamp Nairobi 08

When: Saturday, June 21
Time: 10am - 5pm (of course, this goes later, and I would stick around for any evening fun and conversation...)
Where: Jacaranda Hotel - (website) - (Google Map)
[UPDATE: venue was officially changed to the Jacaranda Hotel in Westlands, sorry for any confusion. We will NOT be meeting at the 680 any longer.]

Barcamp Nairobi '08 is an unconference made up of of technical professionals, Internet enthusiasts, bloggers, designers and other clever people in the Nairobi area who wish to share and learn in an open environment.

Attendees don't just watch a set list of speakers. They give their own talks. Podcasting. Web standards. Microformats. Gum stick computers. Physical security. Robotics. Evolutionary algorithms. It can be anything. This event is not just for stuffy developer types - one of the best barcamp presentations ever given was about sandwiches. Barcamp is what you make of it.

Groan of the week: The Finance minister made a sin-tax error in his budget speech!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

PRICE WARS: EPISODE II - The Empire strikes Back

A lot is afoot in the galaxy, the war is beginning to gather pace. Thegreen empire is doing well, trade is at an all time high and profitsare unprecendented. This time the empire is kind enough to 'reward'it's subjects for their loyalty. Free calls all night from 9 to 6 onlyafter paying the required tribute no less. The masses get excited andresort to their peculiar habits and the network soon gets clogged.

Meanwhile on the other side the members of the red alliance continueenjoying the congestion free network. However there is a sense thatthe green empire could yet have some more tricks up their sleeves...

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Great Scot!

Now let me turn my attention to the greatest football team in the world and its manager the one and only Sir. Alex Ferguson. When he took up the job way back in 1986 he promised to "knock Liverpool off their perch." That took a while to accomplish as he got his first league title in 1993 and has since then guided his team to within 1 win of Livepool's record 18 triumphs. What's interesting to note is that he is the only coach to have survived since the inception of the English premiership, only Arsene Wenger comes close at 12 years. During last night's champions league final one of the commentators remarked that he's the last of the old style managers. Nowadays they are controlled by billionaire owners but he has a firm grip on things, cross his path and you are out of the door ask David Beckham and Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Another thing to note is how patient the club was with him, it took him 4 years to win his first title the 1990 FA cup. I don't know how long he would last today, patience paid off handsomely. Another Interesting thing to note is that he is like the only manager of a big European club still in his job since 1999 when they won the treble. Truly a great man and their latest victory crowned a fantastic season.

The attack has been on a roll this season with the trio of Rooney, Tevez and Ronaldo all in the double digits. Of course the biggest hero of the latest triumph is the Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo, what a season he's had. As Randy Jackson of American Idol would say check this out dog.



Premier League



Domestic Cup






The stats speak for themselves and he got a good number of individual awards too. Let's see whether he'll become the first premiership based winner of the FIFA World Player of the year award. He has often been criticized for not performing on the big stage, I'm sure has now answered his critics with his performance at the final.

The success has been a great team effort and a special mention is in order for the exceptional defensive partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic with the support of Patrice Evra and Wes Brown. The shrewd summer buys also helped with all 3 major signings Anderson, Nani and Hagreaves settling well into the team so much so that Paul Scholes long injury absence went almost unnoticed.

There's little more one can say about that ensemble of the worlds most talented footballers and their Manager so I'll leave it at that. Congratulations Manchester United!!

And now for something completely different. Thank you John Terry! you were well, Terrific

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Price Wars!

A long time ago in a country not so far away...

The evil monopoly of the sole operator affectionately known as 'Posta' draws to a close. It is the dawn of new area, people all over celebrate the arrival of the new operators who will give them the freedom to communicate. Slowly everywhere what was previously a status symbol finds its way into the hands of the ordinary mwananchi. However the costs are high, they have to 'recoup their investment' they say.

A battle ensues, one of them does not read the market well enough and falls to the wayside. The other continues to gain more and more market share until it becomes almost another monopoly. Congestion sets in, people get well acquainted with the words 'mteja hapitakani' so much so that they become part of the vocabulary. Still they hang on after all the services are cheap(within the network). The second player is down but not out, tries to get back in the game but nothing doing, the force is too strong.

However more is happening in the galaxy, two new players are coming in, this could herald a new age of competition. An oracle predicts that soon the rates will go down to 2 bob. Even before the words can be digested we hear 3 bob being mentioned somewhere with a swift response of 10 bob from the other side...

The story unfolds...

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Marking Territory

This time I take you to the Nairobi Safari Walk- beautiful place, If you haven't been there what are you waiting for?

This past weekend a few friends and I visited the place this past weekend to hang out and check out some of the flora and fauna. Got to see quite a number of the animals on display but we couldn't spot the leopard( pun very much intended)However the king of the jungle was very visible and that's what I'll dwell on for this post.

First let me say that lion is a true poser like Alex from Madagascar. I don't whether he could see us but he was strutting majestically in his enclosure like a model on the runway. after strutting his stuff he positioned himself on a platform and gave some very deadly poses like a magazine shoot even turning his head so that we could get a better view. Then again all the showbiz could be my imagination but I must admit it seemed uncanny.

The view from behind the glass was no enough to satisfy us so we went for a closer look right next to the chain link fence. Got to see the lionesses up close and got a couple of photos for good measure. Never been that close to a lion before wonder hoe it would have been if there was no chain link but I digress. After our photo shoot with the lionesses Mr. Simba came by and started rubbing his neck on the fence. .

After the rubbing he proceeded on to his territory ritual. He turned away from us and as we were about to start snapping away the beast released some marking fluid(otherwise known as urine) from it's posterior right at us! For some reason the girls in our group got the lion's share(groan!) of the stuff. I guess the chicks had acquired a new admirer in the lion. This whole experience of course attracted some amused looks from the other visitors who also gave us some knowing looks outside the gate.

On the brighter side at least now we can walk in the park and fear no lions as we've already been marked.

This story is all true, I'm not lyin' to you( final groan or is roar?) I have availed a nice shot of the offending beast at the top of this post.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Views from the Great Rift Valley

A little eye candy from the Great Rift Valley, one of the wonders of our world. Photo credits all yours truly. Enjoy

This photo was taken by chance from inside a moving vehicle way back in 2005.
Location: Corner Baridi

The next one was also taken from a moving car- nice view of Mt.Longonot.
Location: Nakuru highway

A view of the valley side on Ngong hills

Location: Ngong Hills

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Criminal Element

The story begins on the morning of 9th March.

Early that morning, 6 o’clock to be precise I was dropping my brother off at the airport. As we approached the gate he was reading a text message on his phone which distracted him from the road. I noticed he was about to hit the police check sign but before I could warn him to swerve he hit it. Made aloud noise as it hit the ground and inevitably the policeman ahead started waving his torch- doooh! The phone was quickly hidden- if it was seen that would be it.

So he pulled over and the cop asked him funny questions like can’t you tell the size of the car, why did you knock the sign- etc so he went out to sort things out. After a little pleading he set thins right and was let go. In the meantime another cop asked who was traveling and then asked me for my license and I gladly presented it and we proceeded to the terminal where I dropped him off. Once again another cop asked for my license, all was ok, went on with my journey. End of part one.

Later on in the evening I was helping some pals drop of some stuff with the car and in the course of conversation I mentioned how a cop can always find something wrong with a car. I was later to find out that I had just jinxed myself there. As we set off I told my passengers to belt up as I was going to be driving fast on Thika road. Later on after zooming down the road I reached the police check at Clayworks and was pulled over. You guessed it! Belts not on, which was quickly pointed out by the cop. Back to the drill again- license etc. At this point I was so pissed at my pals for not belting up after I had warned them. What’s more the cop discovered that my license was unsigned. Please note this is the third time I was presenting on that day and now is when it’s discovered at around 10.30 p.m. Murphy’s law!

Okay I’ve been busted I begin my defense, “we’ve just come from a church function” “oh it’s Sunday, please forgive me.” By the way my appeals were very passionate at one point I Almost went on my knees. First he threatened a court appearance the next day- that didn’t work, then a ‘fine’ ( in fact he told me to ask my friends how much we were willing to pay) that didn’t work either kept on pleading with hands clasped and tears coming to my eyes. Eventually he told me get back into the car, I kept on pleading but once I got back inside to my great relief my license was returned and I went scot free. My pals congratulated me on an Oscar winning performance! I also called my bro who was in Congo by then, (one network can you beat that, bonga na bob with somebody that far away, thank you Celtel) He just laughed. However that is not the end of the story. End of part two.

Early the next morning I set off for Nairobi, Imagine there was traffic at 5.40 a.m. Thika road is special. After passing the snarl up at GSU roundabout which stretched back all the way to Safari park, (this is 6 a.m. mind you) I diverted to Outer Ring Road. There some funny matatu guy who was trying to overlap managed to knock the left indicator out. A couple of people pointed out to me that it was hanging so I removed it at a petrol station and left a gaping hole in it’s place. Got to Embakassi roundabout about 2 hours later- yes! The day pretty much went well, had to deliver the car back to my dad’s office in Hurlingham, did that in the evening. The journey was ok save for nasty traffic on Mombasa road, however when I got to city Mortuary roundabout one of the boys in blue stopped me-
“Oh no not again” I said to myself. The reason this time was the gaping hole on the left, license again- this time it was ‘mutilated’ Hey even one of my tyres was too smooth. Man our cops really know their work. Once again pleading- “I’m going to my dad’s office. It’s nearby” ( I was like less than a Km away!). Eventually he let me go ( yeah he asked for something small but I didn’t give in) and I delivered the car to my dad successfully.

So that is how I became one of Kenya’s most wanted. What a weekend!

Thursday, 6 March 2008


thanks to The mountain
The Rules:

- Link to the person that tagged you.

- Post the rules on your blog.

- Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.

- Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.

- Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

1. I eat bananas with the peel completely removed i.e a naked banana- something that my house mate finds really wierd. Learnt this Habit from this guy

2. When I'm working on something, especially when it's tough my toungue sticks out of my mouth. A habit shared with Michael Jordan so no sweat there

3. I don't put sugar in my tea/coffee. Habit I learnt from a friend in campus, been sugar free since September 2006. In fact nowadays when I put sugar in coffee I find the taste awful!

4. I zone out a lot. Could say I have a short attention span and sleep a lot in classes so I'm usually the butt of many jokes.

5. I find it impossible to litter. Hate it when people throw stuff out of car windows, would rather have my pockets full of sweet wrappers than throw one on the ground. However funny enough I'm not exactly the most organised guy.

6. I have missing tooth a molar to be precise so you wouldn't notice, not lost in a fight by the way. I'm too young to be losing teeth!

I will tag the following just to go with the flow so sorry to:

Tweedle dee, tweedle dumb

One quiet Sunday

After a long hiatus I come back into the Blogosphere.

Let me just share an interesting thing I saw in the last 2 weeks, last Sunday to be precise. My housemate was hosting some of his pals for a birthday party in the crib. 3 of them were having a joint party 2 guys and a chick. Apparently one of the chicks was going out with the dude so after the cake cutting ceremony he proceeded to give a special gift to his chick.

He started off with a long of story of how they've known each other since their school days and cracked some jokes here and there as he held a card in his hands. After a not so long speech he had something else to say. He reached towards his pocket and started getting down on one knee- could it be? as you guessed a small package came out of his pocket. Inside the box was a tanzanite ring! then he asked- 'want more cake?' hehehe.

Yeah a question was asked and he girl went into shock covering her head and fanning herself with her hands- temperature had risen through the roof! After a while she cooled down and luckily for him a positive response was given.

Well that's something I probably won't get to see again. Notes taken :)