31 Jan 2011

Amazon(ia) of Absurd Commodities

I came across this on one of my mindless roamings ( i know there is no plural, suck it!) around the Net.
**I suggest you do not attempt to drink  and that your bladder is empty before reading this post.
I stole this post on http://www.cracked.com

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Everybody is a comedian these days, and the Internet has given us all an enormous stage. Maybe the best example is a supposedly comedy-free site like Amazon.com.
The deal is, anybody can write a review, on any product, whether they have bought it or not. So it's just a matter of finding a baffling/ridiculous/useless product and watching the Internet's sarcasm run wild. For instance, just check out the reviews for ...

#8.The "Guardian Angel" Acupuncture Device
Yeah, I know, sex toy jokes, right? Fortunately Amazon reviewers turn out to be more creative than you and I:
Bizarrely so:
By the way, the product description claims it's a Korean acupressure device. You roll it around on your hand and it cures your arthritis or something. That actually leads me to quote one more review:
All right, I guess there was room for at least one good sex toy joke.

#7.Wheelmate Laptop Steering Wheel Desk
This is a laptop desk that attaches to the steering wheel of your car, which is all that really needs to be said. But, of course, Amazon reviewers take pointing out what's wrong with it to the next level.
I should point out that, when we're done laughing at the stories of people mixing cocktails and eating chili while driving, there are some people who might actually get some use out of this when their car is safely parked. People like claims adjusters or real estate agents, who have to drive from client to client without returning to the office and need to do paperwork in the parking lot.
Not to be a wet blanket and say you can't cut lines of coke during a high-speed chase once in a while. Just do it responsibly.

#6.Uranium Ore
This is just your average can of uranium ore (well, the store that sells it also sells Geiger counters, UFO/ESP detectors and a camera for taking pictures of psychic auras, so take that as you will). So you've got your standard, "It mutated all the ants in my house!" reviews, but the best ones here are the ones you didn't see coming. Like this:
Or you can just enjoy this Back to the Future reference.
The title's all you need from that one.

#5.How To Avoid Huge Ships
Owners of small boats sometimes end up in the path of large shipping vessels due to not paying attention to shipping etiquette and rules, so sure, it's something people might need to read up on. Still, as you can imagine, the title of this one sent the sarcasm meter into the red:
As if that wasn't enough, Madeleine B. piles on an additional layer of sarcasm icing on the sarcasm cake:
What's it like to be so perfect, indeed.

When I first read this, and esp the one about Huge Ships, I literally fell of my chair.Nate literally picked me up!

Moving on----

#4.Playmobil Security Check Point
This toy is a model of a security checkpoint at an airport, with the same luggage x-ray and metal detector that has been standard in U.S. airports since the 1970s. Naturally, most reviewers use this as a launching pad for diatribes against the U.S. government and the "police state" represented by the new controversial full-body scanners:
OK, that might be kind of a ha-ha satire of people who overreact to toys or something. I'm sure they don't really think that airport security belongs in the same category as waterboarding.
I cut it off there because this guy wrote a whole fucking essay about our police state and what's wrong with airport security and how the system favors the rich and something about Guantanamo. I think he started out planning to write a joke about how thanks to some interesting timing, a previously innocent toy for kids now reminds people of a current controversy and then remembered how much he hated the TSA and started writing a Letter to the Editor.
I'm not joking when I say it's an essay, here's what the whole thing looks like.
"But wait," you might say, "I agree with that guy and find his stupid essay funny and enlightening. Can't a person make a political point and also get it across humorously, even if you disagree with him?"
Sure, but it wouldn't look like that. It would probably look something like this.
You can thank Amazon reviewer John T. Thompson for that.

#3.Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable
If you are any kind of tech person you probably know the whole high-end cable business is a scam. There is nothing more highly marked up and full of bullshit technobabble buzzwords than TV or computer cables in an electronics store. In a field of bullshitters, this cable was a bullshit medalist, though, with an original list price of $500, for a five-foot ethernet cable. Tech geeks tore it to pieces.
As you can see, the bitingly sarcastic reviewers were remarkably balanced. Not only did they talk about the cable's miraculous benefits, but were open about the dangers of such amazing technology:
I'm actually a little scared now.

#2.Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Kit
For whatever reason, some people do sell medical supplies on Amazon that only a doctor should be using. Like this exam table. I hope to God that it's only doctors that are buying these things, anyway. Still, reviewers had a field day:
Mysterious "Parent Child Testing Product"
Amazon users do their best to answer the question on everyone's mind: "What the hell is this?"
Sure, I could tell you what the deal is with this listing but that would be like explaining how Santa could never get to every child's house in one night. Isn't there little enough wonder left in the world without taking this away?

*end of my theft

P Diddy and the 100 Zillions of Dollars

One of the wonderful, yet disturbing thing about US is what people are willing to take each other to court for.  You know, like the Dartmouth professor who sued students for being mean,  accused students in her French narrative theory class of "anti-intellectualism" or the man who sued his dry cleaning company for $67 million for inconvenience, mental anguish and attorney's fees for representing himself, as a result of their failure, in Pearson's opinion, to live up to a "satisfaction guaranteed" sign that was displayed in the store. He later came back, said he thought his claim was outrageous, and reduced it to a more favorable figure, $54 million. He was going to use part of that money to rent a car that he would use to drive to a new dry cleaner. 

Today however, in my book, won the most hilariously absurd of all. Now, I am not a fan of P Diddy and his many, many dramas, but this time round, I am on the poor guy's side. Sometime ago, he met a woman, did all the nasty stuff he does with his women and left. Hell, having no fury like a woman scorned, puked out its rejects and out came this woman. Her name is Valerie Joyce Wilson Turks, and by jove, she is scorned! She is has a list of complains, and is asking for her day in court. In her very short list of grievances, the following are her claims:
  • P Diddy caused 9/11. No more details offered on how and why. But he allegedly did this with the help of  his ex, Kim Porter and the famous Rodney King . You will remembered Mr. King as they guy who was beaten up by some racist LA cops back in '91. 
  • P Diddy also put Turks some to hospital.  She says - "[Diddy] went through Kim Porter and Rodney King and knocked down the WTC and then they all came and knocked my children down. Set me up to be on disability and disabled my baby. He put my baby in a wheelchair."  If I was the judge, I would love to hear how Diddy "went through Kim Porter and Rodney King and knocked down the WTC"
  • Turks went gambling in Mississippi with Diddy and won some money. She had a chip that Diddy kept, she heard that he gave it to a certain Gwen, who cannot cash it. This chip is worth ' 100 zilion of dollars'. I did not even know that that is an actual amount!
  • from RadarOnline.
  • She's asking for $900 billion dollars in child support, and $100 billion dollars for "loss of income". 
Whatever  P Diddy is mixed up in this time round, sure is twisted! And if he indeed had sexual relations with that woman and fathered her baby, then he just hit an ever lower low!

Methinks I should dig up men from my past and sue them for something. I don't now, maybe loss of time when I was dating them? And perhaps put a monetary value on that time, at say, $1000,000 per second spent with me?

Of Names

There is a trend in our household. By our, I mean Nate and I (and our Spitz-Terrier Frosty who is still part of, but in another continent). The trend is  where I bring up babies, he ignores it. I bring up baby (notice the tense) he kinda indulges. While we are on the baby topic, we discuss names. He is supposed to name the baby if its a girl, I will name if its a boy. I pretty much have decided the name, which he actually likes, but he has not come up with the girl name. At this rate, when we do get the baby, and its a girl, she is going to be nameless for a while.

So today, by some chance, I was reading about something very unrelated to babies and names, when I came across this

Now, if that is really his name,  I bet his parents never had conversation on what they would name their baby. Or maybe the woman left it to her man, who was too lazy, and picked the first name off his brain, since little man was now born ans they needed something to write on his birth certificate.

25 Jan 2011

Kenya Thumbs up or Kenya Thumbs down

Today is one of those days that I work less but end up learning more.

Being the nice girl that I am not, I volunteered to fax some documents on behalf of Nate at the nearest Fedex Kinkos. For my peeps in Kenya who have no idea what Kinkos is,
it's like a cyber cafe with computers that do not work, fax machines that seem to understand this sentence only - 'press the keys with your fist as if you were punching cement bags in your local gym', printers that give you such errors>>>

and after all that you pay no less than Kshs. 100 regardless of what you went in there to do, including sending a one page fax. Anyway, while battling my own fax demons, some guy was battling the customer service lady at the main counter.  The conversation went like this. I will call the man A Stupid Sucker Has Overtaken Lovely Earth (A.s.s.h.o.l.e or A for short) and the Kinkos Girl...lets just call her Girl

A: I need a sharpener.
Girl :  Sure, there are right next to the fax machines ( where I was standing)
A: Are they for sale?
Girl: Yes, they are sir
A: Why?

At this point, me and several other customers looked up. If the guy looked like the pic on the left,
I would understand the basis of that question, and perhaps event take time off my faxing that I had already been working on for 10 minutes (2 pages!!), and explain to him the concept of selling and buying. But he did not, instead, he looked a like a very respectable middle aged man whose faculties were still intact.

And so went on the conversation:
A: Why are they not free?
Girl: I'm sorry sir, but we provide pens, paper, and other writing materials. But we do not provide sharpeners.
A: That is unacceptable. A whole store cannot supply sharpeners to its clients? What kind of business is that? I brought my own pencil. The least you could do is give me a sharpener.
Girl: I'm sorry sir, but you will have to purchase on from the store.
A: Will providing me with a sharpener put you out of business? I bet they only cost a dollar.

Now, I think if Girl was the owner of Kinkos, she would have explained why she has not made them free yet. In A's eyes however, it was her responsibility explain to him macroeconomics, profit and loss and what have you. Even maybe give him a presentation on how Kinkos sets their prices? But seeing as Girl is hired to serve clients...

At this point I was thinking, then why don't you buy it then if 'they only cost a dollar?' Oh, but he did not! He went on and on about how the store should give free sharpeners and how all the other Kinkos he has been to had 1,2,3 free stuff for use by clients... and the Girl, the Girl kept calling him SIR! Now, me, I am not made for retail business. I would have dropped the SIR in the second sentence. And what would have followed would have had me fired because of a stupid sharpener. Girl finally walked over to where the sharpeners were, picked one and brought it over.  How much is it? A barks.It was about $1.49 (rip off, yes, but you did go to Kinkos, so suck it up!). Again, he went on and on. Calmly, Girl opens up the sharpener and even sharpens the pencil for him. WHAT? I would have stuck that sharpener and pencil where the sun never shineth, pulled them up, stuck them in again, and added Tabasco on top!

Reminds of a time I had to pick up a package from Posta at GPO. I walk in, wait for hours then finally get attended. The package is addressed to my company. She asks me if I have permission to prove that I am authorized to pick the package on behalf of the company. I say yes, its my company.  She tells me she needs proof. I give her my Passport (me no have no national ID). She says its not sufficient. Do I have a business card? As fate would have it, I had just given out the last of my business cards. I could not prove that I own my company! I tel her she can call the company, which is listed in the yellow pages, and ask who the boss is? She tells meno. I tell her I can open my laptop and show her my email signature. Nah-ah. I ask her, so what do I need to do to prove it? She says to get  a letter from the boss instructing me to pick the package. But I am the boss, I say.  "Msichana, nimesema kama hauna proof sikupei package!" meaning - Young girl, I said without proof i am not giving you the package. with that she turns around and disappears into whatever world Posta and other government officials disappear to when they are tired of serving you.

Armed with my laptop, i start scouring the streets of Nairobi for a place where I can print. The first shop (actually, a stall that cannot fit two people, equipped with a photocopier that occupies the whole room, a PC that I swear still uses floppy drives and a bored attendant who look at me as if i am trespassing), does not have coloured printer. I don't know why I chose this time to be particular.  I am stubborn like that, even to myself! Our logo has red gold and black. Why I did not just print an effing b/w copy, I have no idea! So I walk and walk and walk. It was stupid to drive into the Central Business District as trying to get parking would have been another ordeal. I find a row of stalls, much like the first one, with even sour attendants, one tells me she does not know how to print, she is shop-sitting for her pal, I tell her i know how print, and I can do it myself. She says she is not allowed to touch anything... aaarrgh! Finally, I get one that looks promising,  I type a letter on my company letterhead giving myself the permission to pick the package, ( I'm serious!), BUT I forget I have no flash drive (its in the car) so I will have to connect my laptop directly to their printer.. oh wait I have a MAC, need to install software and at this point i say Eff the package, it could be anthrax for all I know. Good Samaritan offers a flash drive, I save the letter, connect the flash to their PC, anti-virus goes bonkers, and suddenly the we cannot see any of the documents on the flash. Good Samaritan is angry about all his documents being lost, attendant is worried about virus, I've had it to my neck and I want to go home and never receive a package through Kenya Posta... I ask the attendant to get off the chair. I sit and do my IT nonsense troubleshooting that now and then makes me thankful I took IT before I saw the light and voila, I am able to print my document. Go back to the Post Office, hand the my own permission letter, she does not even ask me for an ID, and gives me the package. I swear I wanted to reach over and...

And what I have been leading to, I came across is this website that allows you to compare your country and another. So I picked USA and Kenya and this is what I got:

What would you choose. I chose Thumbs up. Why?
1. Because I do not have HIV
2. I did not die in Infancy
3. I am not unemployed
4.I do not have more babies
5.I did not die at 19
6.I do use less electricity when in Kenya
7.I do consume less oil when in Kenya
8.I do not care how less / more money I make
9.I do spend less on healthcare
10.I do not feel the class divide.

Now, that is not to say that the above does not happen, but the fact that there is someone in the USA who will do the same comparison and make conclusions about how badly off my lovely country Kenya is.  The fact that we will use statistics to give countries thumbs up and thumbs down, and ask people if they would love to live there,  is disgusting to me. Pick any country, say Somalia. To the people outside Somalia, they see nothing but war, hunger and pain. I have never met more fiercely patriotic people than the Somalis. so much so, that some are of Somali origin born in Kenya or USA, never been to Somalia but defend it as if they spent years there. With all the problems that Kenya might or might not have, I love it, I would live there over and over and if you'd  rather not live there, good for us, the more of our country we have.

Where are all the good sides? Where is ' In Kenya...' you will less likely die from all the chemicals in your food, ...you will take in a deep breath and take in the smell of the land, pure soil and fresh air and not smog,...you will see beautiful animals in the natural habitat and not in cages,...you will, within 1 hour in any direction from Nairobi, see almost all the geographical features you are likely to find all over the world,...you will walk to your neighbors house and borrow salt / sugar,...you will have strangers who will treat you like family,...you will have the whole village come together to assist you,..you will eat tropical fruits  for almost nothing that you will spend hundreds of dollars per month on....I could go on and on, but that was not the point they wanted to prove, was it?

Maybe they had another intention, but taking it from an ignorant American point of view, it just downright makes Kenya a really horrible place to be  in!

16 Jan 2011

Finding my mojo. Again

When I first started blogging, it was on MySpace. I blogged every two hours. That might be a gross over-exaggeration, but I blogged several times a day. And I am not talking about the - I am now eating breakfast, I am now cleaning the dishes, I am now bored- kind of blogs. It was deep stuff. It was about my angst, about my love life (or lack of thereof), about humanity, about politics, religion, name it.

I was 22 and had just gotten a new real job in the film industry. My working experience dates back to when I was 18, which is something if you grew up in Kenya where we don't have part time jobs when you are in high school or still in school for that matter. I graduated high school early, and was stuck in an awkward position where I couldn't work and I couldn't go to University as yet. So I went to an IT college and in 3 months, I was done. Back to that awkward place again. I went to my college and asked if I could teach the beginners. I got hired and that was my first job. Then came a series of insignificant jobs that I have recently stopped putting in my CV, then the move to the big Nairobi city all by myself. More college, more insignificant jobs in TV stations, then finally the real job. There was something going on in my life then. I was beginning to understand responsibility on a whole new level. I had responsibility back home, being the firstborn and all, but this was different. I was aware of the world around me, of life, of money and career, of growing up, of being a woman.

I was no longer a clueless girl drifting in life, I was becoming a woman immersed in life. I was being opened to a world where my thoughts mattered and my actions held consequences for me, my work and my colleagues. I was part of a team. This was a new feeling. I went to an all girl boarding high school which is in itself a 'team' teaching experience, but for some reason, it never stuck on me then. I needed an outlet. A blog offered that. In the coming years, I would move my blog here and even write some more. I got followers, I even became real life friends with my readers. I joined blog groups, and discussed my blog posts with complete strangers. Then, I started withholding. I became aware of how much of my life I was sharing and suddenly, I felt open, vulnerable even. I started agonizing how much was too much, who was reading my blog and what they thought about me. I became conscious, a feeling that was foreign to me. You see, I never cared what people though about me before and now that I was thinking about it, I stopped writing. I would open my laptop, log in to my blog and type in a whole post. I would click save and shut the computer. It felt good to write, but to have it sit in my drafts left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction. A quest not complete.

Something else was happening. My career was taking off, I was doing more with my life, I was traveling more. That became my new reason for not blogging. I was busy. And I worked so hard at convincing myself that. It worked...for a while.

I used to be a storyteller. I was known as the writing-novel-reading girl in school. I was not reading anymore, I was writing even less. It has made me different. I have been feeling cramped, suffocated, constricted. Then my boyfriend ( feels like we are too old to be calling each other boy/girlfriend) bought me a moleskin. You see, he writes. A lot. We went to his home in Northern California to pick up some of his old stuff and boy, does he have a lot of journals. He is a film director and his journals are a cross between his creative thoughts and personal rants. I digress. Do that a lot nowadays.

I lost my mojo. Even began to question my ability as a writer. I have recently moved to a new town, a new continent, a new culture. And I am getting that itch. I have a little bit of time on my hands. But I have already come to terms with the fact that 'busy' was a concept I invented to excuse my fear of revealing too much. Maybe I should keep my blogposts less personal? But then, wouldn't that make me a hypocritical blogger? Isn't writing about letting the words flow from your mind, unhampered, down to your fingertips? If they have to go through a filtering system, that would mean I was being...phoney.

So I am starting again. I cannot deny the fear is there, but I can admit that I am loosing apart of me when I do not write. So here's to finding my mojo. Again.