Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Barber Story

A discussion in another forum about how to invest and spend ones money reminded me of an experience last year.

I was in Mombasa last year with a Kale friend of mine. A true Kale. He is so black he is dark blue. But sharp as nails, a very excellent programmer, he had a peculiar goat-like smell that I never understood (was he bathing without soap, or not bathing at all?) though he was a jolly good fellow, astute with politics and current affairs. He had very little idea about how to dress though but who cares, he is a man, just like me. The defining attributes in a man are power (build or position), resources (money) and status (a good job, position etc) - looks, style and other superficial stuff are just manure that women seldom care about. Fellow men of course don't give a rat's ass one way or the other. He married at 23 and has a kid and is building a house and that "project" is the centerpiece of his life right now. By all standards, he is a nice fellow and we hung out a lot coz we both don't drink and enjoy playing pool.

"Nataka kuenda kunyolewa" I tell him as we walk down one of Mombasa's streets. The sun is blazing down on us.

"Si ungoje ukanyolewe Nairobi, kwani kuna haraka gani. Hiyo nywele inakimbia?"

"Wacha niende, tutaonana baadaye" Most often, I am economic with words especially when I don't want to argue over decisions I have made. He realizes there is no talking me out of this one.

"Unaenda kunyolewa wapi?"

"Hapo karibu na SummerLink"

"Wancharge pesa ngapi?"

"Kama 150 hivi"

"Ati 150? 150 yote?" He is visibly shocked. Deeply offended, in fact.

"150" I say calmly, bored to death.

"Kwani wamenilimia shamba gani hiyo? Mimi nanyolewanga na 30 bob. Hata Eldy wakipata 50 bob ni bahati sana. Siwezi nyolewa na 150. Hiyo ni kuharibu pesa. Kutoa tu nywele kidogo wanataka 150?" He is emphatic.

"Wewe twende ukitaka kunyolewa nitakulipia"

So we went. The queue was long. We had around six guys. There was a lady and two barbers. There was some discussion about how fucked up our politics is and he gave his useful opinions on the matter. My turn came and I got the cut and the lady delivered the massage and all dark thoughts in my head were massaged away and replaced by a sweet smell. Of course, as she moved this way and that, fluttering over me like a mother hen and deploying her ample bosom skilfully, I closed my eyes and submitted to her strong, soft fingers and sweet-smelling lotions. Hmmmm...I let myself be swallowed by her attention and allowed her to take control of my head. Now warm water, now sweet-smelling, thick lather, now a scrub, now an aftershave, now a disinfectant, now a lotion, now a was heaven...I didn't want to go home.

His turn eventually came and we were left smelling fresh and crisp and a little turned on. He promptly paid the 150 before I could pay for him. As we were leaving, I asked him "Bado unaona hiyo 150 ni mob sana?"

"Its worth it" He replied, deeply humbled. "Its worth it" He mumbled again to himself, with a far-away, satisfied look, the lotion working its way into his formerly dry scalp and feeling like heaven.

"That is what I call a haircut" I told him as one would tell a two year old. There was a gentle breeze kissing us. He was too satisfied to agree and he nodded deeply. Not in assent to my remark. By this time, the mint in the scrub must have been tantalizing his hair follicles.

I didn't need to nudge him back to the present. I let him enjoy. Bugger.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I have added Weight - MIR vs Lesnar

Yeah, eventually. Been eating and shit. I am tottering near overweight but I am fine. I have some 4 days left and not much damage can happen to my weight in that interim period.
Meanwhile, baing an MMA fan, I gotta comment on the Mir vs Lesnar fight. Many bets are on Lesnar winning in UFC 98 on May 23rd 2009 is the next big thing. I can make some predictions.
Mir will beat Lesnar. This is based on the following assessment.

Lesnar strengths:
Power - he is a good wrestle and can hold his own.
Powerful punching
Size - means he isnt easily contained and is dangerous while in a dominant position.
Hunger - he lost their first fight and wants to be the best fighter in the world.

Lesnar weaknesses
Lack of grappling and MMA experience. He only knows how to strike.
Too much reliance on brute force.
Body build.

Mir strengths:
Mental power - he is a coach, he studies fights, he is mental. He can let Lesnar think he is winning then hand his ass to him in a platter pronto. Or shall I say tout de suite?
Tactics/ skill - can grapple and strike and ground and pound his wins span from TKOs, rear naked chokes, armbars, toeholds, knee bars, Mir locks etc. In other words, he has an arsenal and can unleash a triangle choke on Lesnar at anytime.
Good striking (showcased in the Nogueira fight)
Unpredictable strategy (Nogueira fight)
Good grappling.
Mir weaknesses
Speed - he isn't that fast - but this can be corrected.
Agression - his approach appears "soft." Iron fist in velvet gloves? Maybe.
His cardio and power is questionable

As for me, I will start next week cautiously and built slowly and steadily to a relentless, maddening training regimen by mid year. King Geb is in town. He says Wanjiru and Daniel Komen are the two buggers who can make him stir in his sleep at night.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I have recovered. Now I am stretching this week in preparation for my resumption next week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting On Well

I am almost through with the second week of my second post-injury break. I am not too worried about losing form because my hunger, my passion, my anger and my thirst to go sub 90 minutes is building every day as I get better.
I have been influenced by something Richard Hillested said sometime ago:

When I was 37, I pulled a groin muscle, and I tried to run through it. A friend asked, ‘You have to decide: Are you going to run for the next two weeks or for the rest of your life?’ That's been my philosophy ever since.

Richard Hillested, 66, finisher of more than 75 marathons and Ultras.

So I would rather take the next two weeks and start running in early Feb. And I will start slowly and explode sometime mid-March. No more injuries for me this year. Slow build up and avoiding too much too soon should help. At any rate, my knee is much better, haven't had any pain or incident with it the last three days, even when I am running up a flight of stairs. But I am still conserving it. Still havent fully tested it outside the pitch.
Yes, I am also seeking to increase my earning abilities coz I need all the money I can get this year: lots of plans plus my mother is unwell so drugs and hospital bills...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is it Just Me?

The main reason I used to read books, when I was young and full of
s..., was to find pithy, deep, poetic phrases and sentences. I used to
find them in novels but mostly novels captured my imagination and
seduced me to follow a story to the end once I identified with the
protagonist's quest in some way.

Phrases like "the tension in the air was so thick you could lean on
it" appealed to me. Or, "The door clattered open and the daylight
exploded in his face" Or "He had a cruel saucer face that made smiling
a parody." Phrases like these are what kept me reading and I collected
them. The more phrases, the better the novel for me. I think the
author who took the cake was George Dawes Green (The Juror). These
phrases were like pearls in seas of text and I collected them and
hoped one day I would be a writer equipped to develop better ones and
evoke the same feelings in readers as they did in me.

Then I got interested in how the world works and read Physics, Maths,
Philosophy and so on. And I stopped reading fiction altogether and
discovered another world. Out of all the fields of knowledge, I find
Biblical Scholarship to have the richest and most colorful language -
followed by literary theory, then science. Yesterday, Shadrack was
kind enough to lend me a paper from a scholarly journal and I came
across the phrase, "It is the task of the present article to assess
critically the aspects of MacDonald's attempt"

Lets stop there. Now, this sentence is simple and perhaps boring to
some. But it struck me and made me shift in my chair, pause and sit
up. The language used is simple, yet the clarity of expression is
breathtaking. It makes me pause and ask myself, "would I have put it
that way?" The reader is made attentive of the author's purpose.
Everything read so far is situated and the reader is made to sort of
arrange the furniture in his head and make room for what is to come. I
love that he uses the word "task" to refer to the objective of the
article. And I love the word of the word "present." People complain
that some scholarly papers are complicated, boring and what not but
what I have come to learn is that scholars use the most transparent
and clear expressions in literature. The lengths they go to keep
things clear and simple is admirable.

So anyways, phrases like those keep me reading scholarly papers. Am I
weird or what? Anybody have a similar feeling?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Writing, Running, Growing, Money, Love, Career, Family

New year, competing interests. Seeking Balance, security, growth, happiness, stability and success.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Still Recovering Took a 4.5 Hours Walk

Still Recovering Took a 4.5 Hours Walk
I took a 4 and a half hours walk in the Sun yesterday to clear my mind and help my knees to heal. I just took some sunglasses, a cap to keep off the sun and one liter of water and a peaceful mind and set off like a guru with a rucksack slung across my shoulders. My mind like quiet rock in a pathless forest. Observing the blown dust, the sun, the rushing traffic, the drunks, the church goers, the rich, the rubbish and the world in general. Soaking it all in. I felt my energy being used up, my muscles getting fatigued, my sweat flowing and the wind blowing through my windbreaker. The Tao was not restless it just wanted to move like the wind. I am still organizing my thoughts regarding how I should run this year, what to aim for, what to accomplish, what to improve on, how to increase my earnings and generally how to become a giant in everything I do.
I will search for what Guinness world record I can set or break. Maybe something like the longest distance run non-stop? I will look it up. I want to push myself. Meanwhile, I am limping from yesterdays walk (something harmless up my quads) though my knee is not noticeably worse or better. Am I a wuss or what?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Weight Loss Article is Finally Ready

Yep, I am through with it. I can improve on it when time is available. Meanwhile, my knee is not yet 100 percent so I am not running the rest of the week.
The Article is available in the following link.

Monday, January 5, 2009

10K Test

I ran a slow 10K at 52mins to test whether I had fully healed. The truth is that I am not sure. I will see how to proceed tomorrow. Whether to do another slow 10K or a 5K, or rest till Friday is something I need to decide.
Decisions decisions, decisions.