Tag Archives: article

On Mortality

tombstone

There are a couple of things I fear in my life. I fear losing a loved one, I fear ridicule for ridicule sake especially one without justification, I fear not being as good as I think I am and I fear growing up a failure and poor. All of these though pale in comparison to my fear of death.

The reaper must be rubbing his hands together with glee if he can read English.

I think I read somewhere that most men think more about sex within the course of the day, than anything else. Thoughts of my mortality come a close second for. Third is how I’m going to die. Would I have any last words and if I did who would hear them and what impact would it make on their lives or on that of my family. Would I say anything worthwhile other than “FUCK!” ? Would I die slowly, alone, or in the company of incompetent surgeons? List goes on and on

The whole notion of leaving this plane of existence, that’s if there is another plane, and having all bodily remains of yourself eviscerated with time bothers me. I matter. Goddammit I matter. I didn’t come into this world after nine months of conception, which was a product of some months of courtship  then marital consummation, to then vanish from it like vapour.  Even if my contributions to the world at age 27 might not be as solid as that of my peers, I do matter.

I suspect my fear of dying is a product of my fear of dying unfulfilled. Dying without accomplishing even half of the things I have planned for myself and the world. I mean I live in a country with a shit movie industry and I have plans to change that. I grew up with some money, big house and a car, then lost it all when dad died. So I want to taste the good life all over again. That’s not too much to ask is it?

I want to see the eyes of my unborn children swimming around in my ball sack. See if they inherit my nasty smoking habit, hair colour, nose, size and shape of head, intelligence without the depression, see if they turn out to be mostly girls or boys, gay or straight or transgender.

This kind of shit matters goddamit and the thought not seeing them because I could have a fatal heart attack, or stroke, or get stabbed or shot dead without warning, really pains me.

Don’t you all wish the universe in its infinite mysterious ways tattooed our foreheads, or somewhere most obscure, with our expiry dates the moment we’re pushed from vagina or cut out from womb? For example, at birth this would be my tag/stamp/tattoo on my butt cheek

Name: Stephen Nelson

Expiry date: so and so

Side Note: Better get a move on son, clock’s ticking

Yeah so what if something like this would take out mystery from life? So what, who cares? Some of us need surety to make us function.

May be the whole idea of mortality should never have been discovered or identified by human beings. It should just have been one of those things that just happen and we let it. Without any lengthy philosophical questions or discourse. We just accept it and move on with our lives.

Animals die all the time. I’ve never seen any kind of them gather round each other to mourn their dead.

Who has ever heard of funeral rites being held for a rat, by fellow rats?

Anyway… In the words of AL Kennedy, Onwards!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alone But not Lonely

Image

 

I don’t have a girlfriend. I don’t have many friends. But do you see me moping around acting like a homesick boarding school teenager? No!

For some strange reason I enjoy being alone and by myself most of the time. Strange because man has evolved into a social being with all the responsibilities and rights that come with such an evolution. This involves among other things making friends, keeping the good ones, cutting off the bad ones etc. Alas this evolution left me behind.

By myself I feel less fidgety and nervous. I don’t get that feeling that a thousand pairs of eyes are on me scrutinizing my every move – from nose picking to sneezing. I get to think better when I’m alone too. I doubt any kind of productive thinking can occur with the whole world watching, and God forbid reading your thoughts as they form in that little coconut of yours.

Most of the things I think about are about efficiency in my day-to-day dealings with the world. When to wake up, what to do right out of bed and more importantly what time I allocate to these things, until I hit the bed late at night. Thinking is one thing, doing is quite another. So then I ask myself why think at all if I don’t get any of these things done, and done right? Well, I can’t help myself. I don’t see myself doing any other important thing in my leisure time other than think. I’m  no Gandhi or Einstein but I’m a thinker, of sorts. Give me an isolated room atop a mountain anywhere in the world, that’s not too cold and I might end up coming up with a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, global hunger and poverty, AIDS and understanding those aliens we call women. Hell, I’ll even cool the planet if you throw in twelve dozen chilled six-pack beers.

Back to the girlfriend issue. The last one I had dumped me (I never get to do the dumping) in 2008 because she wants more out of life than I could give her, money-wise. That’s it. She didn’t leave because I was a lousy lover in and out of bed, or because I did really bad things like chewing with my mouth open.

That whole experience left me really fucked up. Should I have just manned up and forget the bitch and move on? If I could I would have. I happen to be the sensitive kind so matters of the heart do matter to me.

But lately I’ve found that I’ve become more interested again. I’ve started looking around but I still haven’t found any suitable mates ( Jezzus I sound like David Attenborough talking about Orangutan breeding habits). So in the mean time it’s just me and my thinking sessions and my lubricants 😉

_Steve (@song_1985)

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Personal hygiene is VERY personal

 

cat_toilet

hy·giene/ˈhījēn/
Noun: Conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, esp. through cleanliness

The above definition is quite clear.Maintain good health or you’ll fall sick or worse, die. Personally I think I maintain the hygiene habits of a 20 something year old male bachelor. Basic, functional and non-lethal. Sadly, this isn’t something I can say about the standard of hygiene of others.

In public places of convenience built by the government (KVIPs as we in Ghana call them) and at work, you expect a certain standard of hygiene so you don’t fall sick after relieving your constipation. The situation in reality is far from the case. The public ‘shithouses’ I’ve been to maintain health standards not fit for the lowest of creatures walking the planet.

Not even Qaddafi.

The very few times I’ve had the displeasure of using these facilities in Accra, I nearly passed out from holding my breath too long. They smelled like rotten eggs + urine kept for weeks + vomit + cigarette smoke + shit. And for some strange reason, every occasion that I found myself using these places, I had to move from stall to stall because one diarrhea-stricken bastard decided to let it rip right on the floor. Or some other bastard who had kept his shit for a whole week and had finally decided to visit and ended up filling the bowl, with bubbling, foamy, shockingly disgusting shit. SHIT!.

As a result of these shocking experiences, I’ve come to expect little of people outside of my house when it comes to hygiene. Most people don’t give a fuck about their health and so one would be stupid to expect them to care about the health of others. At least when they leave their respective homes.

And this brings me to the reason I decided to blog about this issue at all. The temperament of the toilet at work. She has grown to develop very violent mood swings. At one time she would be so clean and smell so fresh it could pass for a residential toilet sprayed with the sparingly used the-rich-relative-is-visiting perfume.

At times like these, my piss and the occasional poop, ease out stress-free.

However, when she does get into her bad moods, my dear friends, it ain’t a pretty sight at all, even for the blind. With the help of a leaky wash bowl they can conspire to stink up the place, wet the floor so bad sometimes there is no leg room for the customary leg-spreading when urinating and when it gets really bad, no water to flush her shit because of low water pressure. Not her fault but this proves how poor a hostess she can be to us.

I hope you’ve followed my subtle attempt at humour till now.

This collective running away of taking responsibility to keep her clean when her mood sours, is a shame since it is hard to point fingers to any particular person. But this leaves me thinking about why others don’t put in the needed effort to keep the washroom clean when the rest are clearly doing so. And the painful thing is the faults of the minority are more obvious than that of the majority.

It is also very obvious that the unknown offenders’ hygiene standards, if they possess them at all, go south when they leave their homes. Way down south. Who is going to finger them out and confront them to stop soiling up a place of repose for some of us and even forbid them from using it so they learn the hard way? One day of having to run down the stairs to find a toilet because you were just about to ‘pop’ will teach anyone of them a lesson.

Embarrassing, these people aside, the cost implications here are evident. Water and chemicals are usually used in large quantities when the clean up finally starts. Office stress can also escalate when one has just been to toilet hell and back. I can verify this because of the strange coincidence between people having terrible moods and when our toilet’s not clean. And how does this affect us? Well performing at 80% instead of 90% will affect productivity in the long run.

hy·giene/ˈhījēn/
Noun: Conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, esp. through cleanliness

Remember this and abide by it.

D_

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The ups of growing up

At 25 I find myself caught between a bygone phase of careless foolishness and the coming one of responsibilities that proper adulthood demands.

I feel like the septuagenarian of the 20s not quite the centinarian 30 but getting there. Instead of probably limping around with a walking stick I have noticed that my left tendon aches after long walks. But that might just be a my body’s way of telling me to get off my butt in the mornings and workout instead of devouring my ‘koko and kose’ right out of bed, sometimes without brushing my teeth.

Doing an early morning walk or jogging is out of the question since like most people I’m sure, I love my sleep too much to be panting around the streets of Accra at 4am with the risk of getting ‘kwasheed’ to boot.

Another thing that is completely out of the question is a gym membership. Two things. Can’t afford it, yet and I would hate the look of walking around with man boobs just to prove you can take on the average guy in a fight or that you’re a stallion in bed.

Again at 25 I feel less pressure to do things that are not important. This might sound a tad trivial but you can’t imagine the pressure that my youth put on me to be generous with my stupidity. I have a suspicion this might have something to do with this fucked up part of our genetic code that we can’t get rid of even after millions of year of evolution.

By the laws of evolution, you HAVE to fuck up when growing up so you know that you ARE growing up.

Some would say it is a sign of independence and that it is a good thing but I disagree. Looking back with 20/20 vision I would have been a millionaire or been more successful in life had I not wasted time and resources on the ‘other stuff’.Nevertheless I would at the same time take the plunge and say without being overly self contradictory that I wouldn’t trade that youthful stupidity for all the salt in the ocean. I am a better man, a tougher-minded man,a smarter man, an even wiser man as a result.

dUkE_

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Musical Eclecticism: A curse or a blessing?

 

Gucci Mane

 

 

I pride myself in the fact that I have a very broad musical taste. I can listen to and enjoy hip hop just as much as I can listen to and enjoy rock music (I mean really white rock music eg metal). But this had me thinking about a couple of things. Could this be a musical manifestation of some latent spirit of promiscuity and emotional whoredom?

I have a couple more questions that bother my never-resting mind. Like what number of genres does a person have to actively listen to to have an eclectic taste? 5, 10, or may be 50? Because with all the sub-genres coined by listeners and journalists you can easily top 100 in some instances.

Again does the eclectic ear only listen to ‘good’ music? Yes, good can be very subjective but good here stands for anything that speaks to you on all levels. Spiritual, emotional and physical.With the absence of bad music on the eclectic listener’s play list how then does he/she determine or really appreciate the good music he/she is generally more drawn to. Believe me when I tell you that you begin to appreciate good music when you listen to most of the shit that’s being fed to the masses these days by the ones I call our “clone DJs”. Cough, soulja boy,Gucci mane cough .

Does the eclectic ear also have to only listen to more obscure music than popular to stay eclectic? But isn’t the whole point of eclecticism to be all-inclusive ? To listen to a Bollywood soundtrack, to ambient to deep house, Afro pop, jazz, highlife etc?

These are a couple of questions that keep troubling this eclectic soul.

dUkE_

Tagged , , , ,

Do you Youtube or Vimeo?

I have been a Youtuber (yes there is such a word according to the online urban dictionary) for the past three or so years and have so far been pleased with the site and the opportunities it gives to up-and-coming film makers to showcase their talents/ lack there of :-).

The only time I got really pissed off was when my video “kiss me” by sixpence none the richer, had the audio muted because of copyright infringement (that law needs to be seriously upgraded, man). In my ever so humble opinion there should be a slight exception to using copyrighted materials on Youtube since most of the videos are for non-commercial purposes. I mean how can they censor a video that celebrates the art of kissing (in all its forms)?

I’ve known about Vimeo for a while now but it never really won me over from Youtube since I really didn’t see the point. Just like I wouldn’t see the point of drinking Pepsi since I’ve been a Cola head from birth. Besides, Youtube IS the mother of all video sharing sites. Some hard-core Youtubers actually claim that if you can’t find a video on Youtube it is either not relevant or unmade.

However these days I find myself drifting towards Vimeo with it’s cooler site design and superior support for HD videos (h.264 format)[great source of material for a video editor like myself]. In fact all videos on Vimeo are in this format making for a very crisp picture and sound quality experience when you’re watching videos.

However watching HD videos in Accra, GH comes at a price. Broadband over here can be very frustrating at the best of times. I use Vodafone‘s broadband internet service.In terms of their customer service (this does not only deal with rude receptionists) I and many other subscribers can testify to their hot and cold attitude to quality service delivery. You can pay for download/ upload speeds of 1mps/ 500kps respectively but at the end of the month receive download speeds of 80kps/50kps on average . No exaggerations, I assure you. Further proof of their dishonest corporate culture is in the false advertisement of their “Fastest Internet Cafe in Africa” internet cafe in Cantoments, their head office in Circle and at other locations.Absolute rubbish.

Vodafone's mascot snail

“Fastest” means I should experience speeds close to the advertised one or on average at least 5mps when network load is at peak and more when it is freer. All sorts of Advertisers Association of Ghana’ code where blatantly broken in the misleading of the public into thinking we were going to be served with 40mps on average when the real package was less pretty(but this a matter for another post).

My point is if you live in Ghana and find yourself having to choose between Youtube and Vimeo (that’s if you needed to make a choice at all) then make it based on your connection speeds. Youtube is friendlier to snail-like broadband speeds and has a larger collection and variety of videos than its rival, Vimeo.On the other hand if you are blessed to have super fast broadband speeds or higher then you should have no problems viewing Vimeo, exclusively.

MY FINAL CHOICE? Split down the middle between the two because of my unreliable internet connection. But I guess in the end I am more of Youtuber and will stay that way for some time too; I’m the loyal type.

Youtuber

One who spends so much time browsing Youtube videos that they have metaphorically taken root, in the manner of a potato or other root vegetable. A couch potato of the new millennium.
“Oh man, I haven’t showered in three days. I’ve just been sitting at my desk with a bag of Cheetos watching Youtube videos!”

“Dude, you’d better watch out you’re about to become a youtuber.”

Source: UrbanDictionary

dUkE_

Tagged , , , , ,

Pidgeonholing African Music

African Vegetable players

One comment made by one ignorant critic in the article below really annoyed me. ‘African music should have at least one vegetable-based instrument in it’.

Fucking nonsense.

It’s like saying that white music should have at least one Male lead vocalist screaming like a bitch in it.

Absolute rubbish.

Let me throw this question out there since I suspect there might be more of such stupid comments flying around.

Is ‘white’ music the only music allowed to evolve through experimentation and fusion?

>>>>>>>>>>–READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE–<<<<<<<<<<

Tagged , , , ,

Classroom “Comparative Culture” Study

This is a paper my sister wrote while at Xavier and I thought posting it here would be a good idea since she is a great writer. So read on and comment.

Classes at Xavier can be referred to as micro-societies that are the building blocks of the much larger Xavier community or institution. Every class like a society has its own culture that includes the rules, leadership style, and norms of the class. In this study, three such classes are going to be looked at to examine their cultures and if those cultures have an impact on the lives and attitudes of students and what those impacts are.

Firstly, we will look at classroom A, a language class, with the “leader” professor A. This class is a group of students who, for the most part, have some background in studying the language. Students are seated around a long oval table in the center of the room. The rest of the class is seated in the same oval pattern behind. This is a more closed-in face-to-face sitting arrangement. It kind of makes the class less formal which facilitates discussions and chatting in the language being studied. Groups are easily formed for group work as students sit close to each other. There is mixed female and male seating pattern and students are close to the teacher. The class is usually very informal and relaxed. As a language class, students get to talk about more personal and day-to-day activities they were involved, as a means of oral practice. Students tend to be more respectful and compromising to other students’ incompetence probably due to the fact that there is a general notion that this is a foreign language, and as a result, students are more relaxed and easily display their incompetence with the language without much shame. Moreover, professor A encourages all to speak a frequently. This encourages more class participation. Some class rules are that students are required to complete assignments and reading before class, complete all quizzes and exams and attend class regularly. These are the more formal rules. Some informal rules are that all electronic devices should be turned off in class and that all students are suppose to respect each other by being attentive and quiet when another student is expressing himself or self in the language.

Professor A uses markers and the white board to write, the required text, music, films and the projector in lesson presentation. She is very enthusiastic about the subject and engages students in a lot of informal discussions. She mostly wears a smile and encourages students to be alive and active. She poses direct questions to students and is patient with the pace of students in answering.  Students are very comfortable in this class and share a lot of personal details. Student comfortability is very high and accordingly professor productivity is high too.

Secondly, let’s look at class B, a philosophy class, with teacher B. This class seems to be more tensed, hence a relatively quiet class. There is less student participation, and students who participate are the same ones almost every time. Sometimes class room atmosphere becomes tensed due to touchy ethical issues brought on the board for debate. Students sit further from the professor in an elevated rows pattern, that is, students in the front row are lower than those that follow right behind them.  There is a mixed sitting pattern in regard to female and male students. Professor B is further away from the student in the front. He paces to the left and right and sits in the middle of his desk, when teaching. He uses the blackboard a lot and writes down key points from one end of the board to another. He uses handouts for class presentation. He likes to play the devil’s advocate to challenge students to think. He throws in random jokes and bad words to get students’ attention, to get them to relax. That can be a little distracting too as students may lose their train of thought. He uses hand gestures and intonations and voice fluctuation for emphasis. He tries to make the subject practical and relevant to students’ character in the society. Students are generally not very comfortable in this class. Student tend to have to raise their voices more as the class is widely distributed, and students are father away from the professor. Also due to the nature and complexity of the subject, students tend to be mostly silent and mostly pass questions on to other students.  Some rules are that student read materials twice or more before class, complete quizzes and assignments and come to class regularly. Some more informal rules are that students come to class early, pay attention and contribute to class discussion. Also students are not allowed to uses electronic devises during class time. Student confortability is low and productivity is quite average.

Last but not the least, is class C, a science class, with professor C. This class is usually a lecture by professor C using slides and the blackboard in lesson presentation.  The class is usually quiet, as it is suppose to be as there are no class discussions. Students tend to listen and take notes during the lecture and occasionally ask questions. Some students look at the clock a lot and some decide to sleep. Lecture tends to be a lot of information being given to students continuously with no pause for discussion or input by student. Students are seated very far from teacher, especially those in the back of the class. Rows are elevated gradually from the front seat to the back seat. Class population is large; contains about fifty students. Teacher presents the subject in a practical and applicable way to make science relevant to the student. Professor C uses the blackboard to explain things that cannot be done using the projected slides. He uses handout which are the printed versions of the slides that he uses. Professor C makes demonstrations with his body or descriptive mind pictures to carry information across and is pretty enthusiastic about the subject. The basic classroom rules are similar to that of the classroom A and B. Professor C encourages students to come to him during office hours and to take notes during class sessions. Student comfortably is quite average and productivity, according to Professor C, is quiet low.

Comparing these three classroom cultures, there are a couple of similarities and differences that surfaced. I noticed that in classroom A where the sitting arrangement are closely space and students are close to the professor, the class tends to be more relaxed and informal. Class participation is encouraged and student comfortabily and productivity is high. Other factors such as the enthusiasm of the professor about the subject, and the fact that the class is a language class; could be attributed to the culture of the class and its impact on students. Unlike classroom A, classroom C is larger, more formal and students are seated very far from the professor. There is no discussion and very little class participation because of the nature of the subject and the presentation style of Professor C. Students sleep in class and watch the clock a lot and productivity is not very high.  In classroom B, the sitting arrangement may not favor easy class participation although it is highly needed in this subject. Teacher is moderately father away from student and so they would have to raise their voices to contribute, which a lot of students are not comfortable with.  Moreover, professor B sometimes throws in random words and jokes that completely veer off the topic on the board. This may distract students and delay their thought process or completely change their thought process and disenable them to promptly and actively contribute concrete arguments and suggestions, which are much needed in the class.

In conclusion, looking at the study we can say that classroom culture definitely has an impact on the lives of the students. Although, other underlying factors which were not mentioned may be contributing factors as well, the culture of a class which is primarily controlled by the leader, which in this case is the professor, impacts the productivity of the students, the interpersonal skills and friendships that the students develop, and the student interest in the course. Students are not likely to make friends in classes where there are no or very little group discussions or relations with fellow classmates. Also students’ interest and productivity in a course that they have no say about will tend to be low as it becomes irrelevant and boring to the student. As college is the training ground for future executives and professionals, classroom culture and its impact on students’ lives and attitude, can be a zoom lense through which the larger picture of the productivity and attitudes of large corporate professionals can be examined.

written by Ethel Nelson

Tagged , , , ,