Friday, December 4, 2015

How To Make A Local Hit Song...

The Kampala nightlife and radio waves are ruled by the country's most club-banging songs. The kinds of songs you'll hear your 7-year old neighbour singing word for word with incredible precision. If he's in the mood, he'll even burst out the appropriate dance moves. But, when you take a moment and focus on these songs, you'll find an undeniable similarity with most of them. Now, for those that are looking for the secret sauce that will make your track delectable, here's the recipe.

#1 Introduce everyone involved in making the track. This is a must, and if done properly, will have people jumping to their feet even before the real song begins. Most people start by mentioning the producer. If the producer has a good reputation, half your work is already done. If you don't do it, you are doomed to fail. You can also add, "It's another one..." even if it's your first. After all, at this point you don't have many fans, and most listeners don't know better. But they will keep their ears to the ground waiting for 'another one'. For me, whenever I hear 'Diki Music' I just begin bobbing my head.

#2 Introduce a new slang/phrase. Come up with a new word or phrase, use it repeatedly in the song, and soon everyone will be using it. It must be vernacular. We are not here to teach people English. Support the local language. Think about it. Do you know what 'dorobucci' means? Now you get the gist of it. Teach Africa something new. Totya lossi.

#3 Feature someone prominent. There's plenty to be gained by doing a collabo, especially if you're new to the music game. But even experienced musicians know it's good for the fans to do a collabo. My personal choice would be Irene Ntale. She seems to just elevate any song she features in. Just make sure the collabo is not a competition of vocal prowess. You want harmony. Like Radio and Weasel, who are on full-time collabo mode. If you are fortunate enough to get an international artist to collabo with, do not waste the opportunity. It's your chance to create something epic. Don't hurriedly whip up a song in 4 hours and call it a hit. We will notice how bad it is instantly. And randomly throwing in "Badman Rasta featuring Mavado" won't automatically make us like the song. Put in the effort.

#4 Make sure the lyrics have double meanings. Listeners love musical riddles. On top of being catchy, you'll have the entire city talking about your song, trying to decipher its true meaning. They'll be like, "Is he talking about black tea, or some kind of person? What does this 'chai mukalu' song really mean?" Yes, that's what you want as a musician. People listening and talking about your song. Up to now, people honestly believe Sheebah really loves ice cream.

#5 Shoot a video. Now, there are three essentials of any good local music video. Fruits, background people, and at least one smiling girl. Makes it believable. You don't want to be seen as distant. You want people to see you as someone they can relate to. Leave the expensive cars and numerous girls to the rappers. Unless your song is about such things, then it's appropriate. But if you're singing about how humble and down to earth you are when you're clad in more gold chains than an Egyptian pharaoh, you are truly lost.

#6 Sing things we can hear and understand. These things of rattling and bubbling unintelligible nonsense should no longer be allowed. Either you're a moron or you have the lousiest songwriter in the business. Or both. We want music, not a silly excuse to spend 3 minutes. Besides, if you can't sing, what are you doing in the studio? You're just giving high school students headaches as they try to jot down your lyrics for the next miming session.

#7 Don't say your own name more than once in your own song. Twice, if you really must. We are not complete idiots. The radio presenters will tell us. you told us at the beginning. You'll probably say it in the outro. Don't throw it in the lyrics every now and then, even if it rhymes with 'pizza'.

Now that you're armed to the teeth with this advice, you can head over to the studio and work on another run-of-the-mill hit song. Hopefully we'll have pleasant memories of it several years later, like we do now whenever we listen to 'Mic ya Ziggy Dee'.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Crossing the Teenage Threshold

Image courtesy of

When you're a teenager, the world is vibrant and full of opportunity. It's like there's a wall that's been in front of you for a very long time. You've always wondered what things were like on the other side of the wall. You always heard sounds of laughter and playful banter floating over it for your little ears to absorb and interpret in whatever way your young mind can. Then one day, you had grown big enough to see for yourself what was on the other end. Being a teenager means being on the fence. There are perks to being young, but there's privileges to being mature too. People begin to trust you and let you go off and do things on your own. But as you grow older, your tolerance for childishness reduces. Suddenly, your primary school going sibling is so boring you wonder how you guys ever enjoyed time together. Suddenly, everyone younger than you is a nuisance. What with all their pettiness and constant need for attention, right? You find that your concerns are bigger and more immediate than a mere snack while on your way to see a favourite auntie.

Since you've spent so much time being childish, you're now eager to do a little more adult stuff. All the things you were previously deemed too young to do are now within reach. You can stay out a little later, go off on trips with little or no supervision, drink some alcohol, and find out the extent to which your body is changing, along with the new desires you have. As a teenager, you feel like sex is on the table. Well, no, not like that. I mean that you feel you can now indulge in the hallowed activity of sex. Why? Because as you grew up, sex was shrouded in so much mystery that all it ever did to you was fill you with curiosity. You had to cover your eyes whenever a love scene was on TV. Of course, your parents/guardians wouldn't be caught dead trying to explain such things to you. They'd rather leave it to your teachers and peers at school. You were left to figure out the rest. The most they could do was say, 'Don't have sex. It's bad. Okay?' Then you asked yourself, "If it's so bad, why do the people having it seem to enjoy it?" Turns out, the main thing driving you to sex is curiosity. Until you learn that sex has so many faces.

There's a reason that the adults always said to at least 'wait until you're old enough'. Mainly it was because you needed to see the bigger picture. Sex is exciting, but it has an uncanny way of changing people's lives in ways that nothing else does. For instance, getting pregnant can change many things, especially if you're a teenager. Then it occurs to you that you're not so informed as you had thought. Sure, your pals had told you how epic it was to be sexually active. But most of that is just words. And even if there's some truth in it, luck eventually runs out when there's no method to your actions. If you don't use condoms, or any other contraceptive, there will be pregnancy. "But sex is better without the condom," they say. It is a fact, but there will be time for that at some point. You first need to stay safe and healthy. The teenage body is only beginning to modify itself for sexual activity, so it's rather unpredictable. And vulnerable. And a teenage pregnancy is nothing to smile about. The one constant is the threat to the young mother's life. Still, we make mistakes. Some heavier than others, but no need to ostracize. What I'd want our teenagers to know is that there are mistakes that can be avoided simply by postponing the activity until they know better. They say, "Never make a deal until you've listened to all the options." All it takes is to listen, and you might be saved from the dangers of your mistakes. By the way, condoms and contraceptives are not ways adults contrived to take the pleasure out of sex. Those things are meant to keep you safe from most sexually transmitted problems. And teenage pregnancy is one of them. Don't leave things to chance. Talk to someone older/more mature. A word could change the course of a teenager's life without them ever knowing it.

As the teenager can now see the green fields on the other side of the wall, they can also see the storm-clouds gather in the skies about. Naturally, they'd seek out shelter. It's not all fun and games, but just because the sun doesn't shine doesn't mean they shouldn't make the most of a grim situation. Should they insist on braving the storm, they would at least consider an umbrella or a raincoat. Or they can just wait until the weather's fine and jump about freely, without the restrictions of umbrellas and heavy raincoats. Enough analogy? Alright then, you should not have sex until you at least know about teenage pregnancy, STDs, contraceptives and the legal age of consent (I'll expound these soon).

Safety first, always.

#EndTeenagePregnancy  #Twefugge

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Shattering A Teenage Dream

Image courtesy of

The world is exciting and scary enough for 16 year old Daisy, a teenager like many others. She’s a bag of emotions and a large appetite, both for food and for life. Filled with youthful vigour, Daisy will tackle every challenge with the same attitude. She dreams of being an accountant someday. And all that happens while she tries to find her place in this world. It’s like crossing the hallowed threshold between two worlds. She is no longer a child, and doesn’t want to be treated as such. She is not yet an adult, but she want to be respected and taken seriously. One thing that remains true is that she is not as misunderstood as she thinks. The older people that she looks up to were once teenagers, like her. She may not know it at the time, but they do understand what she’s going through. And at that time, she needs someone she can relate with, so she mostly relies on her peers. Among her relatives, she confides in her auntie, who’s not as authoritative as her mother and is much easier to talk to.

It is a tricky time for Daisy because adolescents (young people between the ages of 10-19 years) are often thought of as a healthy group. And yet, many adolescents do die prematurely due to suicide, pregnancy related complications and other illnesses that are either preventable or treatable. In addition, many serious diseases in adulthood have their roots in adolescence. For example, tobacco use, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, poor eating and exercise habits, lead to illness or premature death later in life. 

Daisy, through her friendly auntie, gets to know many of these issues and she talks about these things with her friends. Her auntie advises her to delay sex and stay in school for as long as possible. In the event that Daisy becomes sexually active, her auntie strongly recommends that she uses contraceptives, the easiest of which is to use condoms. She might be labeled as uncool by her peers as they indulge in wanton sex, alcohol and drug binges. However, resolve is not easily found in solitude when you’re young. No one wants to be left out. No one wants to be the outcast. The days of ridicule from peers are long and stressful. The mockery and calls of cowardice are too much for Daisy to bear. So, despite her knowledge, she decides to indulge without proper safety measures, in sex and other related activities. When she later discovers that she’s pregnant, she tries to hide the fact from everyone, even her beloved auntie. But the signs are too evident for her auntie to miss. 

Teenage pregnancies are mostly unwanted and occur in girls below 19 years of age. Due to the burning desire of youth and lacking knowledge on sex education and family planning, it is very common. It can cost the girls (and the boys) in terms of school, respect of the community, and financially, seeing as neither parent is financially capable of raising a child, normally. This is exactly the situation Daisy finds herself in. James, the 17 year old adolescent responsible for the pregnancy, suggests that she aborts, because he’s not ready to take care of a baby, let alone face his parents with such news. Mostly, he’s motivated by fear more than a general lack of respect for human life. He really doesn’t know any better. They both worry about dropping out of school and the death of their dreams. He is also afraid that he might be imprisoned for having sex with an underage girl. She is worried that she might get complications and disabilities resulting from difficult deliveries or experience obstructed labour that may damage her bladder. As a teenager, her body is not yet fully developed enough for childbirth, so these complications might happen to her. She’s also wary of the wrath she’ll face from her parents when they find out. Daisy contemplates suicide, running away from home, and even abortion. She’s ashamed of what she has done and the friends who once encouraged her to indulge are now mocking her for her apparent stupidity. To Daisy, the world has become a harsh place and her dreams have been shattered. If only she could find the support she so desperately needs from the people around her, she wouldn’t resort to such drastic measures. 

Weighed down by immense sadness, Daisy goes to her auntie and bares all her pain and anguish to her, as if to tell herself that telling someone at least should ease the burden. Her auntie is surprisingly supportive to Daisy, and comforts her, saying it is not the end. She accompanies Daisy as they break the news to her parents. Much as the parents are furious and say that Daisy has destroyed her own future, they still care about the health of their child. They encourage her to visit the nearest health facility for antenatal care at least 4 times during the pregnancy, while they prepare to take care of her baby.
Daisy realizes that if she had heard about family planning, she would have known better. But even as she gets to know about it after her pregnancy, she can better plan for her future. Family planning involves having (the number of) children when you want them. This avoids unplanned pregnancies and having children you are not ready to take care of. Children are our legacy, the fruit of the womb, and deserve a good chance at life. With appropriate planning, parents can be able to offer the children whatever they need to live a healthy life filled with promise and opportunity. There are different methods of family planning available for both young men/boys and women/girls. These include: condoms (both male and female), pills for women, injectables and implants for women. Daisy learns that she can apply family planning later in her life when she has settled down. For now, she needs to concentrate on making sure that she gives birth to a healthy baby. She makes sure she eats right and even goes for HIV testing. Fortunately, she’s negative so if she does everything her parents and auntie tell her, she will give birth to a healthy baby.

Eventually, Daisy safely gives birth to a baby girl. Her relatives are happy for her and are more than willing to pitch in and help Daisy care for the baby. However, her auntie reminds her that with or without help from the baby’s father, she is responsible for the livelihood of her child. While her auntie helps Daisy try and get support from him, Daisy should find a way to provide for the child. That’s when Daisy learns about income generating activities and entrepreneurship skills training. Learning how to sustain herself despite the odds boost her level of confidence and sense of purpose. Daisy finds work in a salon, where she starts to learn the essentials of running a business, in conjunction with attending entrepreneurship and financial literacy classes. She believes that eventually, she will be able to start her own business and be able to take care of her child properly. Life may have taken her along a much different path than she had imagined, but she’s confident that she’ll make it work somehow. 

Unfortunately, some girls do not get the help, advice, or support that Daisy got. There are several abortions and birth related deaths all over the country. But all these problems start somewhere. Whether it is forced or consensual, teenage pregnancy must be avoided at all costs because there’s also health implications for the young mother. There’s no substitute for either school or health, and thus they must be preserved.

#EndTeenagePregnancy  #Twefugge

Friday, October 30, 2015

Safyre's Thirteen 3 Somethings...

After reading Basix‘s latest joint, I feel somewhat inspired to 'take part' in this kind of thing.

3 things that scare me…
Misplacing my keys
A phone call from a certain cousin
The phrase 'We need to talk.'

3 people who make me laugh…
Christine (she knows herself)
The guy that serves me Absinthe

3 things I love…
The burger from Sausage King, Kisementi
Playing guitar

3 things I hate…
Being asked if I'm a comedian
Being called a nice guy
People that don't respect premium whiskey

3 things I don’t understand…
Texting while driving
Feminist logic

3 things on my desk…
A book titled 'WTF, Evolution?! - A Theory Of Unintelligible Design'

3 things I’m doing right now…
Sipping cheap coffee
Listening to Wizkid

3 things I want to do before I die…
Invent something (preferably useful)
Be a father
See the Northern Lights

3 things I can do well…
Fix stuff

3 things I can’t do…
Lift a TV with one hand
Hug properly

3 things I should listen to…
Adele's music
The laugh of an amused baby

3 things I shouldn’t listen to…
Heavy metal
The ramblings of a certain uncle
A jackhammer being operated in my vicinity

3 things I watched as a kid…
Tom and Jerry
Charlie Chaplin
Time Trax

Don't be shy. Try doing your version. For now, I invite Nev, Gerard, Lynn, and Rogers to partake (evil smirk).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Phone wars... Or is it 'woes'?

We've really come a long way from the cartoonish green screens to the vibrant colour displays of modern smartphones. The advent of smartphones was a godsend. We were saved from banal and leg-breaking banter that filled up most of our days.

You remember how awkward it was to be waiting in a restaurant reading old text messages on your tiny Nokia 2300 while you waited for your date to show up? We don’t have to do that anymore. Now, you could be reading a book, going through those (usually hilarious) WhatsApp pictures and videos, play an epic role playing game, or simple Candy Crush. Anyway, waiting has been made so easy it’s practically an item on everyone’s roster. If those guys in the reception lounge are anything to go by, you’d be forgiven to think they just came for a nonexistent meeting simply so they could sit in the vey comfy leather couches and surf using the office Wi-Fi. Were you the awkward introvert at parties, who was always forced to ‘go make some friends’? No problem. If the pictures on your phone won’t break the ice with the saucy stranger, you might as well just talk about it to your friends on social media. It’s a brave new world for people out there.

I'm yet to find a direct correlation between phone size and social status. The iPhones are small but seem to command respect. But not from the guys who rock Google Nexus phones. Those ones look at the iPhone guys like they are cavemen beating at a computer. I'm not one to judge. One should always get what makes them happy. Unless you're a heavy user of Instagram. In that case, the bigger the screen, the better. Trust me. 

Of course, it’s all fun and games until the battery inevitably runs low. Man, these phones are such power-hogs. My previous phone probably had the record for the fastest battery drain, going from 100% to 0% in an astonishing 4 hours and 12 minutes. Yes, it was officially timed. So, I was the guy moving about with a charger all the time. I still detest power banks, because it would barely ever solve my particular problem. In its defence, it really was a tired old phone. Still, it made for interesting social situations. As a habit, I found myself engaging in social graces only if the battery was low. I won’t speak of the merits that resulted from such habits, but let’s just say it was tiresome. So, when it became inevitable to ditch it, I decided to take it several notches higher. 

My current phone, which I fondly call ‘The Armoured Titan’ is quite the beast. I scoff at power banks now. It’s such a behemoth that it’s frighteningly sluggish. Its current record is from 100% to 7% in 46 hours. And that is on average usage. The best part is that I can continue to be antisocial without fear of my battery running out, thereby forcing me to endure tiresome interactions.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Impersonal Side Of Transporters

So, you think that gives you the right to judge me?

I’ve had the most random misadventures with transportation personnel. The boda guys are so far the biggest culprits of this habit. The boda guy will ask you about your children. Then he will sound offended when you tell him you’re still childless. Then he will remark about how he’s about your age and yet he has three children. He’ll even ask you what you’re waiting for. And you’ll ask yourself the same question, forgetting that you actually know the reason why you’re single and childless, not in any particular order. So, you’ll tell him to be quiet and just ride along. For some reason, that instruction will only slip through his mind like water on the back of a duck.  He’ll ask you about ‘Tubonge’. He will sigh with bemusement when you tell him you have absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. He’ll then take it upon himself to educate your ignorant self about his political views.  At some point, you’ll just give up and sit silently until you reach your destination. You pay him and delightfully see him ride out of your life. But that never helps when you have a designated boda guy. You can rest assured that you’ll continue that conversation next time you require his services.

Then there’s the taxi guys. Now, I tend to find myself in late night taxis with a disturbing frequency. There’s nothing you want more than to take the short trip from office to home after a long day, so you can relax and unwind, and munch cereal for dinner. If you’re a bachelor, the rules for nutrition are not written on the wall. Normally, you’re the only guy waiting for a taxi at the stage, and people are unlikely to be walking slowly at that time. It is my working assumption that people who are at taxi stages at night know where they are going. Therefore, I find it hard to understand why a conductor stops in front of a couple who are not even at the roadside, to ask them if they are going. The conductor will completely ignore the fact that the couple are lovingly gazing into each other’s eyes and whispering unmentionables. Of course the other passengers will point out the obvious. But upon looking at the 6 people in the taxi, the conductor will feel obliged to try and convince the lovebirds to continue in the taxi so he can meet his night quota. Having been rejected by that couple, the conductor will look across the road at a random guy buying roasted maize. He will shout towards him, asking whether he is going. I don’t know what gesture the guy could have responded with that encourages the conductor to wait for him. Because as soon as the guy gets his maize, he heads off in the opposite direction, at which point the driver will call the conductor names and drive off.  The whole journey takes twice as long as it should, with the conductor repeating this error until you reach your stage.

Now, some people have the benefit of walking home from the taxi stage. That can be surreal, especially in the moonlight after a long day. You get to relax your thoughts and compose poetry. I’m not one of those people. I’m one of those that needs to get a boda to take me home from the stage, for it is not a walkable distance by my standards. So, I begrudgingly greet the boda guy, hoping for a swift and peaceful ride home. And that’s what it’s like for a few minutes until the boda guy says, “But you... Why don’t you have a woman at home so you can go home early instead of being out till late?”

Monday, August 10, 2015

How to behave like a gentleman... At a bar.

People go to bars, pubs, hangouts and whatnot for different reasons. Maybe they're heart-broken, maybe they are just relaxing with friends (there's few things more entertaining than counter-banter), maybe they just want to take their mind off things. Perhaps they are just waiting for the nightmarish jam to clear, so they can go home and do better things. There's a formula for calculating the reason people shouldn't spend so much time in jam, but that's for another time.

So, the bar/pub/hangout is where you find many types of people from different walks of life that aren't put off by the music or the prices. You can find the most random behaviour in such places. but there are things that are an absolute no-no for the classy types.

1. Have a wristwatch. Let not your time-telling depend on your phone, that is prone to running out of juice at any point. It's just ungentlemanly to ask the lady next to you for the time because your phone blacked out. Er, also, don't look at the time during a conversation. If you're bored, you can find more creative means to say so.

2. Be on good terms with the bartender. Bartenders are life-savers. If you know them, they can save you plenty of common bar troubles like solicitors (I won't call them anything else, for I'm a gentleman), people prone to fights, blacked-out phones, etc. You can literally hand your valuables to the bartender and feel safe. Also, it's just classy to walk up to the bar and wave two fingers at him, only for a double whiskey to meet your hand a minute later. I forbid leaving a debt at the bar, but sometimes these things happen. If it does, you must clear your debt the next day. Gentlemen don't drink beyond their means.

3. Never order for yourself any drink that is pink, multi-coloured and/or comes with a tiny umbrella and a straw.

4. Don't be in fights! This is an absolute no-brainer. There is no reason at all for a gentleman to be fighting in a bar, ever! So what if you find your girl grinding another man? That is your own failure as a man. She's out to have fun, so let her. If your girl likes to dance, but you don't, antagonizing the guy dancing with her doesn't help at all. If you must fight, take it outside, and be done with it quickly, if you are adequately skilled. If your fighting prowess comes from watching several hours of Sony Max, then you'd rather have just stayed at home.

5. Don't dance alone. You only dance if you ask a lady to dance with you (and she agrees), or she asks you to dance (in which case you have to agree. Never deny a lady a dance, ever). And when you dance, keep it simple. Stay away from the exaggerated moves of the more energetic youths. Just dance enough to show the lady that you do in fact know how to dance. These things of dancing as if there's no tomorrow are not acceptable.

6. Hold your drink in your left hand, at all times. When you're being introduced to someone, it's ungentlemanly to switch your glass from right to left, wipe the moisture from your wet hand on your pants and then deliver an unduly delayed handshake. You should always be ready to greet people at a moment's notice, and your greeting hand should be dry at all times. Oh, and smile while you greet, repeating the person's name while you do. It helps to remember the names, at least for that night.

7. Don't ever stand in one place, doing nothing or creepily watching people, or 'doing stuff' on your phone. That's unmanly. You are at a bar and it's a taboo to not have a drink, even if you're just waiting for someone to arrive that's just around the corner. You just go ahead and order a drink and wait. And if you're taking a break from the banter and just want to loiter for a bit, be sure to be constantly moving. We've already established that standing in the bar without company and a drink is unacceptable. If you're alone for extended periods, a seat at the bar is ideal. Okay, at the very least, be seated. To be on your feet is to be mobile. If you must stand, you must dance, and dancing alone is already outlawed.

8. Don't be loud. When you have to converse and the music is too loud, finding a slightly less noisy spot is adequate. No need for a gentleman to raise his voice for any reason. Competing with loud music is bad for your health. Also, you don't want drunk people shouting into your ears. Trust me, you don't.

9. Never be the first/last one in the bar. That one should speak for itself.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Just a recap of sorts... Sorry, sports!

Ladies and Gentlemen, and esteemed readers... Welcome back from a weekend filled with excitement in various forms, shapes and sizes. For some of us, this was in the form of sports. Now, some of these reports are not exactly news. But if you didn't know before, it might as well be. What I'm saying is that it's mostly not recent news. But here's a recap of sports events that took place recently.

Football: Copa America

Brazilian model Neymar Junior smiled and waved for his countrymen as Brazil went through to the semi finals. Between posing for cameras, Neymar said that as much as he wanted to help his team, he had a very important appointment with his hair stylist. When it appeared that that appointment would be interfered with by the next game, he decided that he was more talented in brawling than in footballing, earning himself a one match suspension, which he received gleefully. Now that he got his hair done, he's ready to contribute to the team's efforts in this difficult stage where they face a stubborn Paraguay. He'll be waving at them from a safe distance in the stands. One doesn't simply mess up their new hair.


The self-proclaimed king of boxing, Floyd Mayweather says that he plans to retire undefeated, and thus consolidate his self-proclaimed title. This did not go down well with the boxing community, who still doubt his boxing credentials. Especially a one Gennady G. Golovkin, who challenged Mayweather to a fight. This is how it went down:

FM: I'm the best ever! 48 fights, 48 wins! 26 Knock Outs. Surely there's no one better.

GGG: Oh sure. Why don't you try me out? You know, just for just?

FM: Who the heck are you? I can barely hear you over the noise my money makes every minute I smile and dance. I mean, didn't you just see me bag a new high score after beating Pacman? You better run, little rabbit.

GGG: Well, I only have 33 wins in 33 fights. Clearly not as many as you, sir.

FM: Heh. That's what I thought. You are a mere child. How many knockouts? Look at you. Can you even knock something out that's not the size of a soda can?

GGG: Actually, I have 30 Knock Outs.

FM: *chokes* I'm sorry, I have to attend to my money. It's calling me.

GGG: So, are we going to fight or what?

FM: Er... No thanks. Consider me retired.

Formula 1

It was a race filled with blistering pace in Austria. The Hamster was in pole position and poised to lead from start to finish until his little brother Nico slapped him just as the lights went out. The angered Hamster forgot to start his car in time and Nico raced off laughing, never to be seen again until the finish line, claiming his third victory of the season. While the Hamster was furiously chasing him (presumably to slap him back), he crossed a line. That's a line he should never have crossed. In fact, no one in racing should ever cross that line. The FIA was livid, and slapped him instead, with a 5 second penalty, effectively rendering his hitherto concerted efforts moot. The big brother once again took the blame for trying to retaliate against his little brother's violence. Guess he will be trying to make amends in the next race.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to survive in Game of Thrones…

It's one of the most thrilling shows on television right now. It has got people so addicted and involved, I fear it might soon degenerate into a religion of sorts. SO far, people are pulling out hair, swearing revenge on the creator of the series, and having loud discussions about the fate and possibilities of several characters and situations. But perhaps the key factor about Game of Thrones' appeal, aside from the epic story, is the random deaths. Or is it random, unexpected deaths of hitherto important characters. One thing you quickly realize while watching this show is that anyone can die, in any way. So, for the sake of your heart (and sanity) try not to bond too much with any character, lest the malevolent creator does away with them and scoffs at you.

Now, for those people that find themselves within the world of Game of Thrones, I have some tips for you. Having watched 5 seasons of the show, a pattern has emerged. So, if you're a character in a show without job security, here's how to endure, and stay alive, hopefully for as long as the show will last. If you follow these, the only possible way you'll die is by Armageddon itself.

#1 - Don’t ever proclaim your relation to the Starks. The creator has an apparent disdain for the Starks, and so do everyone else in the show. If you're a Stark, it's wise to live quietly by another name. You could become a blacksmith or something. No one kills blacksmiths.

#2 - Be a man of your word. This show hates liars. Once you promise to marry a man's daughter, let not 'true love' get in the way of your promise. Oh, don't be in 'true love'. That is also dangerous in these parts. 

#3 - Be a sellsword. Live for no real allegiance. Want easy money and guaranteed safety? Go be a mercenary, get your deposit, march along with the rest of the army. On the eve of the great battle, just slink away in the cover of darkness. You'll peacefully retire on a beach somewhere and enjoy your life (hehe) regardless of the outcome of the battle you fled from. Cowards live longer. You best believe it.

#4 - Be a boring fringe character. Bumbling idiot will serve you just fine. Just as long as you don't spill drink on the bloodthirsty psychotic maniac, you'll live a long healthy life.

#5 - Be light on your moral feet. Move with the changing current. Loyalty is overrated. You must exist solely for your own survival, so try as much to agree with whatever someone powerful is saying. Convince them, and leave while the subterfuge lasts. Besides, the characters on the show have so far shown that they're incapable of sniffing out a double-agent, for the most part. 

#6 - Befriend the Lannisters, but don’t stand too close. Currently one of the safest places to be is in House Lannister. You could be the guy serving wine or washing royal robes. Anything to keep you within the palace, as long as no one knows your name.

#7 - When a disagreement breaks out in a bar/tavern, flee immediately. The level of escalation in this show is too high! One minute, comrades are laughing. The next, one comrade is being gutted by another comrade. You can't even trust comrades anymore. Even if they disagree about the size of a warhorse, vacate the premises immediately.

#8-If you know a kingdom-threatening secret, keep it to yourself until such a time as it proves necessary to tell it. Even so, make it seem like it’s just drunken talk. The rumour-mill should do the rest.

#9-As much as you love entertainment, avoid gatherings that have a huge number of skilled soldiers. The chances of dying by accident are extremely high.

#10 - Don't trust dragons. Fine, they are divine creatures, and a real marvel to behold. But be not mistaken. They are akin to prepubescent teenagers, capable of surprise tantrums, and largely unable to tell friend from foe. So, keep your distance. And if someone so happens to tame one, don't be fooled. The one who tames is the only one guaranteed (as if) safety. Don't assume that since it's in your midst, purring playfully, that you're safe. You will not see it coming. I promise you, you won't!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lover's remorse...

Lover's remorse is the sense of regret after having made a lifelong commitment to one person, in this case, a spouse. For the sake of this article, let's go with spouse, since it has a degree of finality. A lover hopes that all that time, energy and resources will have been spent on a worthwhile pursuit of a significant other. It comes fear of making the wrong choice, guilt over extravagance, or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the current spouse. It's that longing feeling you get when you are with someone, and you feel like you've made a mistake. There may or may not be something inherently wrong with your choice, but the last thing you feel is contentment.

Lover's remorse is created through increasing distress associated with increased choices. I mean, the more potential mates one sees, the more difficult it becomes to pick one. Then they get caught up in the nitty gritty, the minute details. “He isn't tall enough.” “She is too needy.”  “He is too arrogant.” “She is too independent.” One looks around and sees so much on offer, but cannot partake because they are committed, as if there’s much fundamental difference in choice. Yes, the grass on the other side always looks greener. And it always will, no matter how green yours is. At some point, one must settle for what they want, in terms of key acceptable attributes, and try to enjoy life from there onwards. One finds themselves thinking about what they will be missing if they decide to go ahead with 'the one in the hand'. Others think that the universe has a twisted sense of timing, presenting 'the right one' just as they've committed their life to someone. 

For a goal-oriented lover (like those who badly want to get hitched, and time is running out), getting the 'wrong' spouse may not be a significant mistake. But for more involved decisions, the consequences of a wrong decision are significant. As the number of choices increase, it is easier to imagine a different choice that may have been better than the one selected. The constant comparison to one's expectations induces regret, which reduces the satisfaction of any decision, even if it fills the lover's needs. When there are many alternatives to consider, it is easy to imagine the attractive features of rejected choices and there is a decrease in overall satisfaction with the chosen spouse. And yet, to have any form of happiness (with a spouse), one must inevitably choose a spouse.

Factors that affect lover's remorse include resources invested, the involvement of the lover, whether the spouse is compatible with the lover's goals, and what positive or negative evidence the lover encounters post-commitment that confirms or denies the spouse as a good idea. The effort invested in the spouse (material, intellectual, psychological, and others) is directly related to the importance of the spouse. Spouses that require high amounts of effort but do not bear high rewards are likely to lead to lover’s remorse. 

Lover’s remorse is nothing more than a discomforting voice in your head that isn't based on any fact. Because, by nature, having a spouse is indeed fulfilling a fundamental need. The rest are just tweaks, according to preference, which must not be taken lightly, nor compromised on, for the sake of one's sanity. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

What happened between Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron?

Avengers: Age of Ultron is about a week away, and a lot has happened since the previous Avengers movie. There will be those in the audience that will be confused, others dazed, others asking themselves questions no one will be willing to answer satisfactorily during the movie. As such, I've had the pleasure to present some trivial information (most of which is fact, by the way) in order to curb general curiosities. As such...

The following takes place between Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron...

Iron Man: 

After the Battle of New York, Iron Man went on a frenzy. Due to his post-traumatic lack of sleep, he builds 35 suits (seen in Iron Man 3). His newest addition being the extremely faulty prehensile suit Mark 42. Guess after spending time with Thor (whose hammer always finds him) and Captain America (whose shield returns to him when thrown), he decided to do the same with his armor. Pretty nifty, huh? Then he gets surgery to remove the shrapnel out of his heart. He moves into The Avengers Tower, seeing as his Malibu home was destroyed. He builds Mark 43, which is a significant improvement on the Mark 42, with an inverted colour scheme, along with a Hulk-buster unit, to 'contain' the Hulk if he ever goes rogue. Along the way, Captain America takes his new pal Sam Wilson (the Falcon) to meet Stark. Stark says he recognized Sam's outfit (the EXO-7 FALCON) as one of his (earlier) inventions. He asks Sam if he'd like to be an Avenger. Sam declines, stating that he isn't yet at that level. Nevertheless, Stark says whenever he's ready, he'll be welcome. He also hints about outfitting him with a next-gen Falcon suit, stating that the one he used before was "prehistoric". Rhodey (War Machine), who has been on several peacekeeping missions, falls in and says that he better not try to claim one of his suits. Sam retorts that heavy artillery is not really his thing. It's not like he's over compensating or something. Rhodey challenges him to a race, whenever he's ready. Seeing as both are Air Force pilots, it should be interesting to see who wins.

Captain America:

After New York, and having nothing else to do in this confusing new world, he devotes his time to the peace-keeping efforts of SHIELD. He undergoes training in modern combat methods and strategies, and even gets a SHIELD tactical uniform. He carries out various missions until he gets caught in the drama that follows the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. After the fall of SHIELD, he goes on a soul-searching mission, and he eventually realizes that he does not need SHIELD to be Captain America. That he serves people, not governments or corporations. His buddy Stark, wanting to make him look more modern, makes changes to his 'SHIELD-issue' costume and adds a few technological upgrades to it and his shield. He also invites him to live in Avengers Tower. He and Stark laugh about having African-American sidekicks, who might someday graduate into full-fledged heroes.

The Hulk:

Bruce Banner remains with Stark, and they spend plenty of time together, playing with their toys... Er.. That sounded wrong. Okay. Stark, having rebuilt Avengers Tower, invites Bruce to go live with him so they can do science-y things. There's one condition though. Bruce should not Hulk-out anyhow, or else Stark will charge him for damages. Bruce agrees. And inevitably hulks out. And Stark takes a cut from Bruce's weekly stipend to cover for the damages. While Bruce is there, Stark takes that opportunity to study him and his ability, to help him learn to control the beast better. They end up becoming close friends, which, for some reason, bothers Captain America.


Probably been doing Asgardian stuff. You know, challenging people to brawls, occasionally visiting his girlfriend on Earth from time to time, going to check on Stark in his Tower, having arm wrestling bouts with the Hulk.

Black Widow and Hawkeye:

Probably did several SHIELD things in between. Probably dated (and broke up).

Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch):

These are normal twins until Baron von Strucker (the current leader of Hydra, who probably worked alongside Red Skull) finds them. He uses the Scepter to perform experiments on them, along with several other 'volunteers'. The twins are the only ones that survive. This is (most likely) due to a genetic mutation, their father being 'The Master of Magnetism'. Anyway, the Scepter only serves as a high-powered electrical surge to kickstart their latent abilities, something that has Baron von Strucker completely fooled as to the nature of the Scepter. Pietro becomes the speedster Quicksilver, and his sister becomes the telekinetic Scarlet Witch.

Infinity Stones:

In the beginning, Thanos gave Loki the Scepter (Mind Stone) to help him conquer the Earth and get him the Tesseract (Space Stone). Loki wound up losing both of them. Thor took Loki back to Asgard using the Tesseract, leaving the Scepter on Earth, which somehow wound up in the hands of Baron von Strucker. While on Asgard, the Aether (Reality Stone) surfaces, and is eventually relieved from the hands of the dark elf, Malekith. The Aether is sent to Knowhere, to be kept with the Collector. The Orb (Power Stone) is retrieved from a dead planet by Star Lord and Thanos sends Ronan the Accuser to retrieve it. Ronan gets it, then refuses to take it to Thanos. Ronan eventually loses it (along with his life) to the Nova Corps. We don't yet know what form the other two Stones (Soul Stone and Time Stone) are in, or their whereabouts, but we'll know in due time. So far...

The Scepter (Control/Manipulation of Minds) - Earth

The Tesseract (Control/Manipulation of Space) - Asgard

The Aether (Control/Manipulation of Reality) - Knowhere

The Orb (Control/Manipulation of Power/Energy) - Xandar

There, you are now more or less caught up on various events. You should be able to go through Age of Ultron without a puzzled look on your face, and asking questions during the movie while important plot points are being revealed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Movie Cop's Guide To Survival...

Cops are like the bread and butter of every (real) movie. It's almost impossible to watch an entire movie without a member of the law enforcement disposition making an appearance. Whether it's just making a housecall to repsond to a noisy complaint or stopping a band of dangerous thugs, these guys are necessary in Movie-ville.

Of course, in the more serious movies, being a cop is a very dangerous career, that often gets one chockful of bullets or blown to smithereens. They too need to learn how to make it in the dangerous world of Movie-ville. Here's how they can do it.

Tip #1: Learn how to survive a car chase. Honestly, most cops in car chases are either suicidal or have a fetish for crashes. Really, it's tiresome seeing law enforcement getting wiped out by a crazy con on the loose, behind the wheel of a garbage truck, making a mockery of pursuing cops. At least play Need For Speed Most Wanted to get a few tips. Man, those cops are aggressive drivers! Also, just because the state pays for those cars doesn't mean you should crash it the first chance you get!

Tip #2: Don't do 'one last mission' on the day of or before your retirement. Seriously, don't. History shows that that day is heavily jinxed in Movie-sphere. It's even worse when you show main cop/protagonist a photo of your loved one(s) on said last mission. You might as well be sealing your fate. Just the kind of things that make directors and scriptwriters get on your case. You don't want their unwanted attention. Trust me.

Tip #3: Don't stop a dangerous looking driver, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, for idle chatter. If you have cause for stopping him, get right to it, instead of joking around. If you need a means to kill boredom, tune in to truckers' CB chatter. You'll laugh for days. But stopping a pale mustachioed man with an absurd 'innocent' face is definitely not a good a good idea. The next sound you hear will be your groan as you cower in death, and disbelief over what just happened.

Tip #4:  Learn how to take cover. Don't be the hopeless muck running around with bullets flying all around you. You're not the main cop. The rules of gunfire most definitely apply to you.

Tip #5: Choose your friends carefully. Don't be corrupt, and most importantly, do not, under any circumstances, become the main protagonist's friend. In fact, you'd rather be corrupt than be the protagonist's friend. At least you'll have died for something. You could die just by the protagonist telling you to 'wait here'. Be the jackass who doesn't like the protagonist. You'll have no reason to be in situations thereafter that endanger your life in any way. If he ends up getting caught in a shootout, you'll be safely tucked away in a seedy bar waiting to hear of his fate on the 7 o'clock news.

Tip #6: Become a SWAT officer. Apart from having the heavy duty gear and kevlar, you get to be on the winning side, for once. These are the guys who never heed to the warning 'drop your guns or I drop him/her' and then promptly get shot. They are called in when words have failed. So they have no reason to listen to whatever the antagonist has to say. Besides, they have body armor. Huge bonus!

Tip #7: Learn how to profile quickly. This business of looking at a suspicious character quizzically for  10 minutes before deciding whether they are a threat or not is very dangerous. Suspicious characters tend to act quickly when suspected. You must learn to decide in less than 3 glances if someone is dangerous or not. And if they are suspicious, and dangerous, retreat to a safe distance and call it in. It's no use trying to apprehend a vanful of gun runners with two revolvers.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Movie Henchman's Guide To Survival...

This is not a list. A list reminds people of rules and regulations, which most don't like. But since some lives depend on what I'm about to throw down, I'll just call it 'a couple of things you'd like to know/do if you intend to pursue a career as a movie henchman'.

For starters, a henchman is a person (usually male, for the gender sensitive, because offing female minions is still frowned upon) who works for the bad guy (or girl, whatever). Could be the bodyguard, the guy that carries the wallet and pays for stuff, the guy that wards off the unwanted attentions, the guy that opens doors (did I just describe an ideal boyfriend?). Or it could be the random guy watering the flowers, or the driver, or the bartender. You know what, it could be anyone that works for the bad guy. We're not taking any chances. More often than not, a movie plot will require the hero to storm the premises of the bad guy, with serious intent of dispatching all those that stand in the way. Even statues, doors, windows, TVs, plates, tables, curtains, and sometimes dogs, are not exempt from this serious intent. These guys are not entitled any dialogue time, except to say something which will eventually turn out to be cruel irony. So, to avoid all that, try to do/not do the following:

Tip #1: Do not talk to the hero. This usually only serves to distract you from something that's supposed to happen. You're just a small piece of the grand plan. If you can't stop him yourself, go find your supervisor. He's highly paid. He should earn his salt.

 Tip #2: If it looks wrong, it is wrong. If a guy swipes a card and the machine rejects it, cuff him immediately. You can ascertain his true identity later. Being late for a meeting should be the least of his worries at that point. A tourist holding a map inside a warehouse looking for a restaurant is obviously up to no good. Dispatch him immediately. If there's any complaints (if the guy miraculously survived being dispatched), refer him to your supervisor.

Tip #3: There's no such thing as a henchman 'corporate ladder'. There's not even job security. In fact, it's probably the most insecure job in Movie-ville, next to being the bad guy, or a market vendor in a curiously conducive location for a car chase. You're not going to get promoted. You'll sooner die than see a pay raise. And the circumstances under which you'll be offered a raise will not be in your favour. When the hero raids the bad guy's villa and tries to get him to surrender, the bad guy will say no and tell his henchmen that he'll offer a huge sum of money to whoever brings him the head of said hero, and then scamper off to 'safety', leaving you with the insurmountable task of dispatching a hero filled with serious intent.

Tip #4: Never, ever, kidnap someone who means the world to the hero. That will not end well, and you'll not even get a chance to spend the down payment of the ransom.

Tip #5: Initiative never pays. You're paid to do, not to think. Your boss will not welcome any suggestions you might have. Even if those suggestions would have saved him, it is his destiny to be vanquished. How dare you try to interfere with your boss' destiny, eh?

Tip#6: Endeavour not to be present during rituals, scientific experiments, and the like. Those are well above your pay grade. Let's just say that things you probably don't understand are always out to prove their point to the bad guy using the less fortunate. That means people like you.

Tip #7: Never be the bearer of bad news. This is even more important if your boss is a raging, psychotic... Er, actually, regardless of the nature of your boss, just don't be the one delivering bad news. It's bad for your health.

Tip #8: Be a coward. This involves basic maths skills, like counting. If the hero shows up, with or without backup, recognize that the odds are already stacked up against you and run for your life. Then you can go and snitch on your boss or whatever. Chances are that by the time the movie ends, you'll be blissfully sipping on a mojito somewhere serene, with witness security and everything, You'll survive and thrive, and you'll have a gift most henchmen never have... Peaceful retirement.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Silent Rebel...

Those days (before the new millennium) when I was young , I was very adventurous. I liked to do things that people didn't dare to try. I was a thrill-seeker, a daredevil, a maverick. Those things of telling me not to do stuff because it was dangerous fell on deaf ears. Okay, not entirely deaf ears, but if I didn't perceive the risk, I went ahead with it.

I remember once looking for Jambula. Those that know the fruit know how big a deal it is. Anyway, that particular tree happen to be lined with 'suicide' electricity wires and filled with caterpillars. But the allure of the purple fruits was too much to ignore. Of course I carefully navigated my way to the fruits and back down, with just a few caterpillar spikes in my finger as battle scars. Yup, I wanted the fruits and neither live wires nor caterpillars were going to stop me.

That was about the time my uncle thought I watched too much TV, so one day, he decided to lock the aerial  in his room. That wouldn't have been a problem, ordinarily, for I liked the outdoors. But that particular day, there was something I couldn't afford to miss. So, as the hour of truth drew near, I mobilized my baby cousins and had them swear to the secrecy of the mission that was about to take place. I wasn't going to tolerate any snitching. They seemingly agreed to my plan, for it was in our mutual interest. Now, there was a copper wire that was kept around for disciplinary purposes. I loathed it, for I had had the utmost displeasure of spending time 'bonding' with it on several occasions. There were many days when I had wanted to get rid of it, but doing that would have only led to more wrath from the powers that were. But that day, it was not going to be my foe. We were going to make an uneasy alliance. It was the perfect size, and after ripping off part of the plastic insulation, the diameter of the wire was enough to fit right into the RF port of the TV (the place where the aerial is inserted). Further bending it into an appropriate shape and pushing the TV back against the wall, I switched it on, beaming with satisfaction at my craftiness.

Then there was a problem. My uncle had used the remote control to set the TV on standby. All I heard was the TV coming on and seeing a ka red light instead of green. I was beset by a contingency I had not foreseen, and I had to improvise quickly, for the hour was almost upon us. My cousins were looking at me hopefully. They dared not to believe that their leader was going to fail them yet they were so close to victory. I scratched my chin contemplatively for a few minutes, and then pressed one of the program buttons and voila! The TV burst into life with visual and audio glory! I just needed to tweak the improvised aerial a little before we got a clear signal. Having bathed in the adulation of my minions, we sat down and settled just in time to catch the latest exciting episodes of Godzilla (The Animated Series) and Samurai X. I had already calculated that by the time my uncle returned, the shows would have ended. Thankfully, that day he didn't do that thing adults tend to do... Show up at the most inconvenient times and catch you red-handed doing something 'illegal'.

The next thing I did was to figure out the secret code for activating calls on the home telephone. But that's a story for another time. Ah, good times!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It came in a blaze of colour!

While the clock steadily ticked on towards the midnight hour, the city was alive and buzzing in anticipation. There were people practically everywhere! You could have been forgiven to think it was merely an eclipse and that it was actually early afternoon, and not a quarter to 11pm. Everywhere that mattered was still open for business, encouraging you to spend a little more, to encourage you not to enter the new year with old money. Why should you be putting old wine in new wine-skins, eh?

I was in the midst of the hustle bustle. I was seated on a bench, watching the world go by. This time, however, I wasn't alone. I had the company of an exciting lady who was looking forward to being shown fireworks. I had promised that she'd see fireworks. I tend to make such promises. Anyway, while we lazily enjoyed ice-cream and talked about nothing I can recall at the moment, I had time to think about resolutions I might trick myself into making. My preferred resolution would, of course, be 1920x1080, but that's more of an inside joke for another audience. Like any other person, I had bright plans for the next year, but I was supposed to be living in the moment, and I wasn't doing that very well. It was in rare circumstances that I drift out of my comfort zone of solitude, but it seemed to be paying off. I thank the soul that recommended I do this. I managed to block out the activity around me and focus on the single glowing face right in front of me. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to take a walk in the supermarket, and get some supplies.

As we ambled casually through the aisles, we discussed the different shopping habits of men and woman. When I enter a supermarket, I tend to make a beeline to the specific item I came for. Women generally like to browse. As such, the walk was longer than I was accustomed to, but every moment spent with her was well worth it. It's amazing how even the most mundane activity with the right person can turn out to be a blissful experience. I think we learnt each other's preferred brand of biscuits, among other things. I believe this information will be helpful later on.

So, having armed us with plenty of crisps and soft drinks, and we made our way out of the kavuyo to the quieter environs of Kololo. It was quite the impressive view when we got there. It was like looking over Kampala in IMAX. Seeing most of it laid out before us like a grand banquet table, we settled ourselves and waited to feast our eyes on whatever fireworks displays the Central Business District had to offer. While we waited, I seem to have imbibed copious amounts of wine, and was probably uttering things to my companion. She seemed to smile that smile... You know, the smile of bemusement when you seem to be acting out of character, something that's rarely seen.

And then the sky was filled with a vibrant display of fire and colour. I snuggled closer to my companion. I must have read somewhere that it's a romantic gesture. I was in the mood to try it out. I think I pretended to know plenty about the landscape before us, and took it upon myself to explain a few things, amidst the lively 'ooh'ing and 'aah'ing of the people around us. She was knowledgeable enough, thankfully, and corrected me where I erred. Yeah, at night, you really can't properly recognise buildings at a distance, except those that stand out like a pulsating blistered thumb. At this point, my mind was filled with the awesome beats and crooning of Katy Perry's titular song. She didn't seem to mind, and snuggled in real close. So close, in fact, that I could almost feel the happiness. This was all pretty awkward for me, but I did my best to try to remain comfortable. I hope she didn't notice my struggles.

After the excitement had faded into the stillness of night, I didn't feel any newer, or any taller. But since my calender had changed, I figured I could change as well. I whisked the madam away to safety, after wishing her a happy new year and a good night. I retreated to the inner depths of my thoughts, and smiled. It was the most blissful New Years I'd had as far as I could remember.