Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Countdown to debate number 2

It's 00:40hrs GMT here and i'm up waiting for the most exciting event since the VP candidate debate last week... more on that later. During the last debate the host had a hard time getting the 2 candidates, Barack and John, to look at each other and actually "debate" each other. Mccain virtually ended up avoiding looking at Obama, and frankly it was all too friendly and courteous. I was looking for a raging argument... but that never happened. This TIME magazine cartoon says it all.

Well, guess what? i have a feeling things are going to be quite different tonight based on the sort of attacks and accusations which have been thrown during the past week. Oh, it's been shocking and i cant wait to see how these gentlemen will face each other tonight, knowing exactly what the other has said about them on various campaign platforms during the week. And then there's going to be live questioning from an audience? Oh this is going to be good. Infact i'm willing to bet that it will get confrontational... in a dignified and gentlemanly sort of way. You know?

Well, both candidates are at the venue, putting the final touches to their arguments i suppose... and we've got barely 12 minutes to go now. So, being totally original- like i usually am- let's get ready to rumble!  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

where are our employees?

I was just watching the news on telly and i saw the headline story: Ghana Telecom workers hold float. So obviously, i just had to see it... and sure enough, when the item came on, it was a thick crowd of former GT and i suppose now Vodafone employees, dressed up in vodafone shirts and matching red caps, wildly jubilating to some apparently, quite energizing brass band music.

This is not about the sale of GT to Vodafone, but were things really that awful that its sale has resulted in such a joyous outcry of employee affection for the buying company? or is all this just being orchestrated as a final sprinkling of sand into the gari as it were, of the people who seemed to be against the move?

My biggest wonder, however, was this: how can the employees of a newly privatised company, afford to be out partying, celebrating... basically having a seemingly profound carnival experience on the streets in front of their national corporate headquarters - first thing in the morning - at the beginning of the working week!! Meanwhile, the vodafone officials interviewed in the same news story, seemed remarkably sober compared to all the fanfare that was going on outside their building. They looked like they were deeply in thought about finally getting business off the ground... or maybe they were just simply baffled by the fact that there was nobody manning the offices and most employees were outside... having a rollicking time dancing to brassband music.

I know there was a similar celebration the day the sale was ratified. The celebration then, was to be expected. But here we are, beginning of a new week.. and yet, once again, another celebration? What was it in aid of? Was that the norm at GT before: Music mondays, Trumpet tuesdays? (cuz that might explain the need for its sale... would it not?)
Or, is that one of the advantages that's coming along with the sale to V-fone? Because if it is, then i will be switching jobs... in time for next week's party! Red cap anyone?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Beijing 08: 08 - 08 - 08

Like the over 4billion other viewers, i watched the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing olympics... and boy!! What else could they have possibly added to make that thing more magnificent? Nothing... absolutely nothing... unless they could've come up with a way to magically part their misty and hazy skies. It was a phenomenal event. Simply eye-nourishing and breathtaking! My only regret is that i wasnt in the Bird's nest to feel the ambience and euphoria that must have been pulsating thru everyone lucky enough to be there.

The lighting, the electronic stage/platform/ground, the costumes, the colours, the choreography, the precision, the art... the fireworks!!! those fireworks could be seen by everyone in Beijing. imagine that! they used over 20,000 fireworks! it was one of those defining moments of history.

Right from the beginning, they set out to dazzle and confound everyone completely, and they succeeded with me in 30 minutes. it ocurred to me along the line as they kept rolling out new scenes and sequences and transitions that almost if not everything is/can be manufactured in China. So why was i expecting any less? it was like Cadbury, having a chocolate party. there was no lack of resources or ideas or raw material. they were playing in their domain... and it was a beautiful thing to behold.

The show had a cast of 15000 strong - a feat only the Chinese could've achieved - and yet it was as smoothly choreographed a show as i'd ever witnessed. In all the pomp and pageantry, beauty and awe, one clear message popped into my head - the message i think they were trying to put across to the world. and it was simply:

we're large and in charge so just chill with all that human rights crap and let us show you a bloody good time!

...and then they proceeded to knock us out with an overdose of sheer amazement and disbelief. And all u could think about was, what's next? what can possibly be next? Not once during those four hours did my mind even wander to the issue of human rights, or attendee boycotts... nope. i was entranced and blown away, swiftly and powerfully, and honestly... now i'm too weak from the sensory experience which was the opening ceremony to even think about any of the other political issues...

So did they succeed? err... do doves fly? they'll be talking about this for a while, and London's got a very big task ahead of them in 2012.

it seems that China's decision to start the ceremony at 8pm on the 8th day of the 8th month of 2008 - a year of new beginning, and infinite achievement paid off... 8 fold. One world, One dream.

Friday, August 1, 2008

shoot the wings off the flies

i got to watch "Wanted"... angelina Jolie's latest. i guess there are different ways to reference the movie, but the female half of Brangelina is all that comes to mind at this point. but to be fair, it also stars Morgan freeman, James McAvoy, Common... and Marc Warren (who played Danny Blue in the Hustle series) to name a prominent set.

i couldnt wait to see the movie after i saw the promotional trailer. i dunno wat i was expecting... and i still am not exactly sure how i feel about the movie. The action floods in in tidal waves and the buildup is rollercoaster capable. It's quite a rush... and then it gets a little too "enhanced". the effects were astonishing... almost too astonishing. i like CGI as much as the next movie buff, but the beauty of CGI comes from its subtleness... u know it's there, and you're thankful to the guys with frilly hair and glasses for putting those effects there for you. But you dont want your brain to keep throwing reality check exceptions anytime u see an effect in a movie... but that's exactly what mine kept doing.

case in point, the part where:
wesley drives his car over fox's car,
his car flips in the air,
he shoots the "bad guy" (who's ironically listening to 'dont say goodbye') thru the sunroof of the limo
his car lands back on it's tyres and they drive off.

No commotion, nothing. it was a smooth op. uh, yeah... right.
i know people say what about the matrix? well what about the Matrix? in The matrix thatwas the whole point. they were in the matrix! no natural laws applied. Wanted on the other hand, is set in what looked like downtown New York. Should we do the math? maybe not.

A couple of weeks ago i sat in a Digital video seminar and the speaker showed a 3 minute clip of a project made by two students who were eager to show off all the digital effects they had learned over the period. so it was basically a simple sketch crammed with all the special effects they could. For a minute, i felt like i was watching something very similar to that. i was just staring at the screen in awe and shock and amazement and disbelief. it just kept coming... long distance curved bullets, knife fights, splattering heads, flying cars... talking pigs. just kidding 'bout the pigs.

i think my favourite scene was the one where with one bullet all the assasins are knocked out cold, for good, in a circular path. Oh, that was very cool... not because it heralded the end of the movie (or was it? hmm... ) but because it was a subtle cleanly executed effect. a nice way to curve things off - pardon the pun.

i still am not sure exactly what i think about the movie. it had a great cast and a workable plot, a lot of action and adrenalin generation. but was it a bit over the top?
i will say this: it was quite an experience.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

dongle, schlongle

i've just realized that my last post was more than a month ago? well, that's not entirely my fault. My Internet connection died. Yes, the kasapa "dongle" has finally passed away after 2 years of great service. i would frame it up and write a tribute to it, but it packed up when i was sending a really urgent email and so after fruitlessly trying to revive it and having to unnecessarily restart my computer... i broke the dongle and flung it's shrivelled pieces at the wall. Ahem... yes.

Anyways, point is i've been off the net; only briefly getting on it thru borrowed sources, like the college where i was taking a short course, or my friends' offices. i guess sheer frustration has pushed me into finally getting a permanent 24our internet connection at home. More of a necessity these days than a luxury innit? so, indeed, i have done so and am now speeding down the information super-highway... well maybe more like sputtering down the information dirt road at this rate... but who cares, it works! at least so far, so good!

so the good news is i'm back and unfortunately, so is this blog. And now i leave you with a question: who names anything "dongle"? i mean Dongle!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

10 minutes of history and legend!

I just got thru watching Azuma Nelson’s fight on tv. I dunno what I expected but I was pleasantly intrigued. The Professor still fights really well doesn’t he? I’m not a boxing fan but for what seemed like the 10 minute duration of the match, I was glued to the set... in my heart I was hoping he would knock the dude out for old time’s sake. That didn’t happen, but I’m sure everyone was impressed with his performance. Still has the skill doesn’t he? Fantastic. I don’t understand why he didn’t win, Seemed to me that he landed quite a few solid punches on the dude… enough to beat him nicely... or maybe I’m just biased?

But looking at it in retrospect I sort of understand why the Australian won. He’s Australian, the bout was in Australia, and turns out he’s quite a jewel to the Australian people – same as the prof is to Ghanaians. For me, that settles it. Maybe if the match was in Las Vegas on somewhat neutral grounds, could’ve been a different story, but it wasn’t. it was an Australian hero, fighting in Australia, in front of Australians… you do the math. At a point I even heard one of the Australian match commentators urging his man on. He forgot his mic was on. So, like I said, do the math. Regardless of who won or lost [we know who really won] it was a beautiful boxing match to behold. Two legends who still possess great skill and talent. The camaraderie between them was awesome and the hugs they gave each other after the match were affectionate and moving. A beautiful thing, it really was, bringing sportsmanship and poise to such a brutal sport.

Any more fights for the prof? he’s still my ultimate champ!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

the Spintex Chronicles

Had a meeting earlier this week in Osu, Normally I give my self an early start when I’m going to use the spintex road, but because it wasnt an “Accra Mall” saturday, and it was just about 1pm, I figured the traffic wouldn’t be as much as it normally is during the morning rush hour or in the late afternoons, i hadn’t used spintex at that time of the day for a while but I knew from previous experience that typically around lunchtime traffic had never been too bad, might have been slow but at least it would move at a steady pace.
So, I allocated a full hour as a head start. The meeting was at 3, I figured, worst case scenario, I’d spend an hour in spintex traffic and then 30 mins thru the 37-osu area. So by leaving at 1:15pm I figured by 2:45 latest I’d be at my destination. Wrong!

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I sure wasn’t prepared for what I experienced that afternoon. The flow was steady after a certain point around the zenith bank area. [we’ll talk about this spot in a minute] after that zenith bank spot, up to the CCTC – JONSON area it was cool and then 200 metres later, movement ground to a complete halt. we were at complete, utter, absolute standstill. There were points where for more than five minutes we’d be in one spot with absolutely no movement. I couldn’t believe it. It was hot, annoying, stagnant traffic. I wanted to turn around, but at that point you dunno which way to go, Nungua is not any better and besides there was traffic from a certain point in the other direction… because of the same zenith bank spot. Lemme explain this spot. It is a rough, extremely uneven patch across the whole road that is filled with deep holes. So everyone is compelled to slow down once they reach that spot. Whether you’re coming from the texpo area, or heading towards the texpo area you’ll be caught by that horrendous spot.

So traffic was building up at that spot and it didn’t make sense to turn around, it didn’t make sense to continue either! Here I was, in a BMW with a 2.0litre engine, and there were snails going faster than I was! 45 minutes later, I had only reached papaye. I wanted to strangle somebody. And then it got worse. It would seem that there are people who consider themselves more important than those of us suffering in traffic. They would come whizzing by in the middle of the road with their hazard lights on. These weren’t dignitaries, ambulances… or even hearses. No, they were ordinary civilians like you and I who had decided that they were far too important to abide by road regulations. About 13 cars sped past us in this manner, driving in the other lane and forcing the cars in the other lane to swerve rudely. I felt like blocking the road and asking them where they were going. To whom it may concern: if you want to arrest some unlawful motorists, the spintex road, in the afternoon, during heavy traffic – best time. An hour later when I reached the eastlegon underground tunnel turning, it became apparent, that the whole of Accra was trying to divert thru the tunnel, hence the standstill, and this standstill was causing effects as far back as Papaye! Why were they trying to divert? Because, they didn’t want to go thru Accra mall traffic. So I went straight, towards the mall, I figured since everyone wanted to use the east legon tunnel, there wouldn’t be as much congestion that way. I would be better off. Wrong!

I went as far as the Action church, and then I was back to standstill traffic. By now it was 2:43….and my fuel was now below the quarter tank mark. I was going crazy. The cause of the traffic now? People were coming out of the mall, that was mildly tolerable. It was the idiots making u-turns at the bus stop who were making matters worse. They were coming from accra to the mall, and instead of going straight and using the entrance towards the motorway, they would come in thru spintex, turn at the bus stop and join our lane so they could use the spintex entrance! What! my language beyond this point is too colourful to continue this narration!

We got rid of africa’s largest roundabout – the tetteh quarshie roundabout, to build an interchange. Why did we do this? Because we hoped among other things, it would ease the traffic congestion on the spintex road. We go thru all that trouble only to stick a mall at the most critical part of it and cause even worse traffic than before? seriously? And for goodness sake, why does everybody have to go to the mall everyday all at once? It doesn’t matter what time you pass by the mall there are always cars driving out of it. Where were we eating/shopping/hanging out before the mall arrived? On Saturday, spintex is a no go area, it’s a “mall traffic day” Let’s not make everyday a mall traffic day! If we had a consistent traffic control system with the police at different points of the road, like they do in the mornings and evenings, it would at least bring some sense of order to the situation. Why cant we do that? Extend the current rush hour traffic watch system to cover afternoons as well, with personnel at different points, directing traffic, and bringing a sense of order to the chaos. The mall can pay for this service! Little things can go a long way to ease the horrid spintex situation, like permanently fixing the spot near zenith bank once and for all, so it doesn’t keep getting worse once it rains… or fixing the other alternative “bush” routes that lead from the spintex area to as far as Labadi!

Oh in case you’re wondering I was 45minutes late for that meeting. So much for an early start.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Black man, and a Woman...

Yesterday i witnessed History being made. An African American, became the presidential candidate of the Democratic party of America. Long story short: there's a black man running for President of the united states of America. Even just typing these words is sending goosebumps up my neck.

i've been following the primaries like i'm sure most people have with a keener interest than normal for two reasons: there was a woman running for nomination, and then there was an African American also running. on both grounds, history was going to be made and barriers were going to be broken... we just didnt know which barrier would be broken. Yesterday, i think both barriers were broken. Senator Hillary Clinton has been formidable. Any qualms about the "strength and ability" of a female Commander in Chief have been squashed. She was like an endurance runner: a definition of determination.

but it was only after Senator Obama had won the nomination that the density of the situation hit me: this was the first time in the history of the American nation that a black man would be running for president: a feat a lot of people had written off as unachievable. and it probably seemed impossible too, given the most recent 100+ year history of the American nation and all the ethnic barriers that have seemed to instantly imply a barricade to certain possibilities and opportunities. And yet here we were, at the dawn of a new era so to speak. "My goodness, this is one of those history defining moments isnt it?" i thought to myself... and that thought sent a mixture of awe, and excitement tingling down my spine. a sentiment Bishop TD Jakes also expresses. It's like opening a portal to a realization of a whole new set of possibilities and an absence of seeming limitations. it was an inspirational moment.

A lot of the political and historical impact has already been talked about. but what strikes me the most is the latent implication of the feats that both Sen Obama and Sen Clinton have achieved for a new generation. A black man and a woman whether they planned it or not, have defined a new reality and hope for a whole new generation - a generation that's built up from the elderly, to young children, male and female, and from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. from people who have grown up in an era where women weren't even allowed to vote, to young people who thought they could never have access to certain opportunities because of their backgrounds. think about young people who are inspired now to take a hold of their destinies and make something of themselves. why? because Hillary did, and Barack did as well.

the two candidates have shown that Nothing Is Impossible. it sounds so simple, doesnt it? and yes maybe we knew it all along but look at all the effort and time and bravery it has taken us to realize this day. i wonder what other doors to a barrier-less future those two candidates could help unlock not just for the American nation, but essentially the whole world, if they worked together? i ache for that day, just as i ached for this one.

A new era, has dawned.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Prof. Soyinka and some football

figured today would go pretty slowly... up until the point where i got to watch the GH Blackstars kick Libyan bum. long story short: 3 goals to nothing. pretty good start for the world cup qualifiers if you ask me, considering the fact that they've got a way of just letting it slip sometimes... and Monsieur Le roi's recent departure. Ahem. no comment... i mean we could comment, about how he denied applying for the South African coaching job, even after the SA officials confirmed it; or how it would've been better for us to kick him out just then instead of giving him the luxury of resigning. "i was fired would've sounded much better than i resigned" in this case. but like i said, no comment.

so 'twas essentially the full complement squad in the hands of a local coach, and a vibrant home crowd. That seemed to do it. the support at the stadium was massive -home ground advantage - and the Ashanti King in attendance. point is, they've got the jump start with their first win, hopefully success wont elude them in getting to to the world cup! that'd be a first right? having a local coach take the GH team to the world cup? question is, will he get the job if he succeeds in getting 'em thru the qualifiers safely? or will the team be bundled up and handed to the next foreign applicant? je ne sais pas. i dont want to care actually... makes my head hurt.

Also had the pleasure of watching an interview with Prof. Wole Soyinka earlier today, that Kwaku sakyi-addo conducted.

The Prof turned out to be even more fascinating than i'd anticipated. key points i got from that humorous yet stimulating interview? he's a brilliant, self made man who considers himself not so much a rebel as a creative mind who stands for what he believes. he hasnt cut his hair since 1955, and his favourite pass-time, apart from being a wine connoisseur, is taking his "gun for a walk". his own words. He also truly cannot be bothered about animal activists. and their views on hunting for food. a sentiment i share, support and admire from my innermost reachings. Great man. Simply cannot wait to meet him. surely that would make for a riveting post, no?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I hear Tigo won the best telecoms company for this year? uh… duh. Well it sure wasn’t going to be the boys in yellow now was it? I’d have thought kasapa was in the running as well but I guess they don’t have as much a share of the market yet. So for now, it’s congratulations to Tigo. You guys must be doing something right. I wouldn’t know cuz I’m not on that network… yet…

But dwelling on tigo, something irks me a bit. I’ve seen their new campaign… the BE campaign. You know, be this, be that… be moved, be inspired. First time I saw it I thought to myself, they’re going at MTN’s GO campaign aren’t they? A little retaliatory advertising hasn’t hurt anyone yet. So this their new campaign is supposed to be, u know, “on point”. But lord help me I cant stand some of the ads. Don’t get me wrong I think the BE MOVED one is good, nice, brilliant actually. You know, the girl comes on, does a l’il dance, shakes what counts and it ends with a lovely smile. Cute. Nice. My worry is with the first one they had, and their newest release: Be Inspired.

The first one, I haven’t liked since it woke me up from sleep when I heard it on the radio. It’s supposed to be this chic singing… expressing herself thru song apparently. Nice concept on paper, only 2 flaws: 1.she cannot sing, and
2.the song she’s singing is tres’ horrible as the French in france would say.

So it’s not a very nice blend. The song starts off slow and low and just evolves into a loud disorganized scream. There’s no gradual melodic progression. One minute it’s low and dreadful, [there comes a time] and then the next second it’s a loud, really loud battle cry.[ be a hero!] I’m like Ebeeii oo, Sister!

The other one, their newest release, I saw on TV. I didn’t understand what I’d seen so I actually waited to watch it again a couple of minutes later… and till today I still do not get it. It starts off so beautifully: u see this handsome painter seriously going at his next masterpiece u know? It’s really very intriguing, his poise, his concentration, his paint mixtures… all that. And then you see the finished product… the supposed masterpiece and you’re like aah? [that’s actually what I blurted out…] What has the guy painted? Seriously, I’m still not sure what the finished painting is. is it a couple of cartoonish looking faces? Brown faces? So how come he doesn’t mix any brown paint? I mean… is it just me? And what’s all the green in the background of the painting? Are they on a farm? A field? What? I’m looking for answers people! I figured he was gonna paint the Mona Lisa or some renowned African painting that we could all relate to or something! And he actually looks so satisfied with himself and the painting. Unless I’m not as well informed as I like to imply that I am, that’s not a masterpiece, it’s a cartoon! an apprentice-piece!! The theme to it is BE Inspired? Inspired by what? as far as I’m concerned the painting is un-inspiring, he’s wasted his time… and my 30seconds! I can never get those precious seconds of my life back!

Ignore me… I’m ranting, it’s what I do. tigo has brought us some really good ads over the year and are infact responsible for bringing up some really interesting concepts and giving other people a run for their money.
The Be Moved ad with the dancing girl is near perfect; but as for the other two ads… they should… Be Gone!

Congratulations on your award Tigo people… keep doing what you do. It seems to be working.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

let there be light...

What the hell err… heck is going on with the electricity company/corporation of Ghana? Is there a power crisis that we the alleged “good people of this country” are unaware of? Over the past month power supply in my house has been as erratic as the Zimbabwean election results.

The people just take us for granted don’t they? They just cut the lights off and switch them back on whenever they like! What’s the problem? Is the dam drying up again? I seriously hope not… especially with all the immense rain we’ve been having this month… but even if the dam is drying up, cant they tell us? I mean, if it’s something that necessitates a power rationing system at least they should let us know… what’re they afraid of? Public demonstrations?

I can understand that they might be scared to even whisper that we’re going to have to ration power AGAIN after all we have been through so far, agreed. But who says that just cutting power off unpredictably is a more sensible course of action? What annoys me is that the thing doesn’t seem to have any pattern… they just turn it off and turn it back on whenever they feel like. Sometimes it’s like they forget that they’ve turned off the electricity in certain areas… and they just leave us hanging, feeling hot, sticky, sweaty and irritated, wondering what’s going on and why we haven’t had light for 6 hours or more. No prior announcement, nothing. Other times, it’s like they cant figure out whether to turn the lights off or on, so it’s off for two minutes, then is back on for a second, then it’s off again…and then back on! It’s like two people are fighting over whether or not to turn the lights off in that area:

“I say turn the light off in achimota! Oh massa why? My wife will be ironing by this time, do spintex! Oh my friend, u no know say my house dey spintex? I say achimota!”

So why are our lights being cut with no explanation? It wouldn’t be as much of a problem if it was being done systematically with a recognizable element of logic to it, but that’s the problem: it’s done anyhow! By heart! We’re just being taken for granted because the fine people at ECG don’t see it fit to render an apology or explanation… or even an excuse! Can you imagine? They haven’t even tried to cook up a feeble excuse for it… we are not that important eh?! At least something along the lines of “oh, it is just being brought to our attention” or “people are stealing the cables” or “there was a problem with the transformer” or even the infamous “plans are far advanced to resolve the issue!” at least something to make us feel psychologically things are being fixed even though we know that the “plans” will probably be in the pipeline for much longer.

I hate to think about what would happen if we hadn’t developed a culture of connecting our computers to UPS stabilizers and so forth… the number of home appliances that people have reported damaged due to this erratic power supply is saddening. We should be able to hold ECG accountable for the damages… you break it, you fix it. No be so? This brings me to a most pressing question: Can the ECG be sued? Maybe they can, but we just don’t know it yet… can they be sued? Because in the wonderful democratic nation of America, where anything is possible, some teens sued a burger joint for making them fat! So tell me, can we sue ECG? Because I will gladly sue them on behalf of every tax paying Ghanaian, (and even the non paying ones) for everything from negligence, to causing damage, loss of property and even for unnecessary sweat and mosquito bites; from all those hot nights when we have been forced to open windows and doors for circulation simply because without warning or apology our lights had been cut. And stumbling around in the dark, you and I are left wondering “ahh! these ECG people paaaa! When will the light come back?”