Sly Cows, Cannibal Turtles And Finding Religion In My Breakfast.

I wonder if anyone else watched this advert for Kellogg’s Mini Wheats. It has this Mini Wheat listening to his dad while there is a [human] kid in the background getting ready for breakfast. The dad tells his Mini Wheat child about how he is special and healthy, high in fibre and how he is perfect for kids because he is smaller. All this time the Mini Wheat is getting excited and pumped at how awesome he is if eaten. The Ad ends with the [human] mom smiling and picking up the box while the Mini Wheat and his dad cheer.

I honestly didn’t even try to over analyse that. I literally LOL’d at how subliminally grim that was. Looking past the colors and tunes it’s a dad getting his kid pumped up about being consumed. There is this other advertisement about this turtle shaped chocolate and the catchphrase is delivered by a fancy turtle going “Mmmm, I love turtles.” Really? How does that not whisper cannibalism to some degree. I think ‘Chick-Fil-A’ has nailed the logical aspect to their marketing. They deal solely in chicken products, most popularly burgers, so who do they have as a mascot? Not a chicken, but cows. It’s a variety of billboards featuring cows telling people not to eat their own kind [beef] and have chicken instead. Brilliant.

Then again I guess everybody’s gotta do what they gotta do, and that applies to breakfast cereal and chocolate turtles alike. But for a moment there I thought I saw an Abraham’s Sacrifice analogy in that Mini Wheats commercial.

Dreams Of Suicide And Installing A New Soul.

I was watching this film called Battle Royale. It’s about a cruel regime in Japan that places a class of school kids in an island who have to kill each other. Winner is the last one standing. Amidst the scenes of kids killing their friends I was drawn to contemplating about death.

I dream every night. I love it. It’s like watching a movie while sleeping. [Fun Fact: A dream lasts about an average of 15-20 minutes but one can have multiple dreams during the entire duration of the night] However on very, very rare instances I end up with dreamless sleep and that is annoying as hell. It feels like time skipped between when I fell asleep and when I woke up. So for me it’s like I didn’t spend any time asleep, like it’s a scene in a film that just cut to the morning shot. Coming back to death. I obviously put myself in the situation the kids were put in the film, specifically one kid who finds a gun. I immediately decided I would commit suicide, not because I’m lame that way but (1) otherwise I would be placed in a situation where I would have to kill a buddy or he/she would have to kill me, I don’t want to put anyone in that awkward situation and (2) I’m forever plagued with the need to know about the afterlife. And then I thought what if when I actually kill myself, lets say gun to the mouth, (it helps my point) that moment of life ending is like the moment I fall asleep, and then the next instance I’m born somewhere else, (waking up) in some other time, place or dimension. What if afterlife is like a dreamless sleep.

I’m not saying that I do or do not subscribe to the idea of reincarnation. I’m just wondering where I came from. Not physically, that’s pretty much taught in school, I was a sperm, and I won the race, (only race I ever won) but me as in, for the lack of a better term, a soul. Who installed that into this head of mine, the thing that has thoughts, decisions and ideas (much like the current one) and where was it kept before the installation? I guess I can appreciate why people believe in a religion, it’s probably comforting to have answers to things, and as long as one has faith in them, it’s no one else’s business. But I’m not religious in the least and these things bug me sometimes.

Also what is amazing is how fast thoughts work, cause all of the above probably happened in a couple of seconds while that kid was still wondering what to do with the gun.

Identical Jeans, Comfortable Lies And Nine Years Of Bad Luck.

Going through my fourth or fifth cycle of watching all seasons of Community I returned to the first episode where Britta tells Jeff that the only thing she can’t accept is a person lying to her. Thinking back, this is pretty much a staple as a deal breaker among people in television. It’s pretty common for people to be tolerant towards pretty much everything except being lied to. I get that, I mean on paper it seems legit to not be lied to by a loved one, but i don’t think it really applies as a universal principle.

Humans a fragile fucking people. We are constantly lied to, and we want to be lied to. Advertisements lie to us constantly. People want to believe that that cream will make your girlfriends envy you, or that deodorant will have women diving into your pants. Buts that’s materialistic. Our friends lie to us, and we know it. When my best friend broke up with his girl, she was immediately downgraded to ‘bitch’. I didn’t care what happened but she was wrong and that was that. When they got back together *eye-roll* we were all good with it. We said they just had a bad patch and “shit happens”. Both of us were in on the fact that I was lying to my friend. What about when you tell your girlfriend that that dress looks awesome when you have no idea how it’s different from the one she just changed out of. Or worse, Jeans! All jeans are identical to me except for the color. We lie about enjoying someone’s company, or about appreciating someone’s achievement to mask our jealousy. We lie about enjoying the same things as our crush, or blame our absence/ incomplete work at an imaginary reason.

I think if we weren’t lied to, then the world would be a miserable place. Sometimes I wonder if technology achieved the ability to read minds then there would probably be widespread chaos. Your boss would know it wasn’t your grandma’s funeral, your teacher would know that you don’t even have a dog, and neither does your neighbor. Your wife would know that she does look fat in those jeans, government diplomats would see right through their international counterparts and restaurant servers would never get tips. I know that TV characters mean a much more severe kind of lie but I think it eventually gets generalized.

I, for one, am glad that we’re lied to because I’m pretty sure for the last 9 years my best friend’s parents feel I’ve been a terrible influence. I’m glad for their sake too because the quiet, polite boy they see at the dinner table is not the same person I meet outside.

Political Ghosts And Roman Dogs.

I came across an article earlier that said that while Somalia has a government, it’s the closest a country comes to being an Anarchist state. Being lucky enough that every country I was brought up in maintained political balance I find it hard to imagine a country overrun by chaos. One of my favorite documentaries, Ghosts of Cité Soleil, depicts a sector of Haiti that is ruled by gangs, no police, no security, just gang members. That’s pretty intense.

I guess what my observation/question with relation to disorder bred by poverty is, when poverty kicks in and people have to depend on their survival instincts, why is the result always violent? Does this mean that (a) when left with nothing, man’s tendency is to become violent, after all even a dog left to starve will eventually attack its master, or (b) modern society over the years has become so polished (sensitive) that what should be normal behavior in nature is unacceptable by the standards of modern civilisation?

Is that then evidence of man being inherently “evil”, where without management he will eventually turn to violence? Or rather a reflection on the evolution of human society, where the majority has decided what is right and wrong? Civilisation keeps changing the meaning of civil because we know that there was a time when for sport even the greatest empire in the world watched people get butchered in a Colosseum.

Beautiful Women, Bottomless Drinks And My First Time.

The first time I ever flew alone internationally was when I was six years old. I’ve always loved to fly, I love being at the airport, waiting to get on a flight. I had a passport ever since I was 10 months old and my dad would always tell me, lose anything, your bags, your toys, but never lose your passport. Hell, if you get kidnapped, keep your passport on you at all times. That’s called nurturing.

I think I can trace back my affinity to air travel to my first solo trip. Anyone who travelled when they were that young will know what I’m talking about, it’s made easy for you, I mean waaay easy. I also learned several facts that I would only appreciate much later in life. Firstly one of your parents drops you off at the airport with this gorgeous stewardess, who would just dote on you, (fact #1 this phenomenon reduced significantly as I grew older). When you say goodbye to your folks she’d take you by the hand to the airline employees lounge. That’s where her friends see you and kneel around you just to be at eye level. After the ‘world’s most awesome interview’ was taken care of, I was taken to a big fluffy couch and got to watch cartoons on TV where I got to hold the remote! There were drinks, that came with unlimited refills (Fanta, in my case), this time a new girl, sitting on the arm of the chair I was on #pimpin

Soon it was time for boarding, of course my passport, boarding pass and luggage (a small backpack with a Gameboy in it) was carried by my attendant. I walked behind her while she glided past checkpoints that others had the misfortune of having to wait at. (fact #2 this will never happen again after the age of 12) As I boarded the flight I probably had my first mini heart-break as the woman I was clearly in a relationship with dating back to the employees lounge said goodbye to me. A hug, a kiss and that’s that. She did a good job at finding her replacement though because this new lady is just as good-looking, plus she was wearing a hat! Sweet!

I’m escorted to my seat somewhere in economy. The flights still empty and the stewards are chatting and getting ready. This pretty human being tells me to wait one minute and that she will be back. I was getting used to beautiful women leaving me for good but even before I finish that thought she returns. She asks me if I want to see the cockpit.(fact #3 that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I was smart enough to utilise) I don’t think it’s grammatically possible to answer that question with anything other that “Hell fuckin’ Yeah!” so we walk down the empty aisles to the front. I then enter a room that was made of buttons and lights. If I could live there, I would, but then I met the man in the chair, the Pilot.

He was probably the only other male over there who got treated the way I did.

It’s then announced that the passengers will begin boarding soon and I’m escorted back. My new woman returns after another minute with a coloring sheet, four crayons and a Hot Wheels! She knows how to please. As the flight takes off and I imagine what our kids would look like she comes back to me. She says she saw a seat empty up front in First Class and I could go there if I wanted. (fact #4 empty first class seats stay empty all through the flight now) I’m seated in the new location, my seat is bigger, I’m sipping on some more Fanta and there is a TV screen just for me!

I don’t think I even remembered where I was going anymore.

Bipolar Bus Drivers, The Meaning Of Life And How To Stare At Old People.

Have you ever noticed how happy bus drivers get when they drive past each other? It’s quite endearing to watch them wave. At least that’s the case in my city.

I got onto the bus today and the driver seemed pretty cheerful. Said “Hi!” and “Thanks” when I showed him my University Bus-Pass. As I went and settled all the way at the back I realized what an amazing amount of influence that man had over hundreds of people everyday. Two syllables per person and he could set the ball rolling for the quality of day his passengers had. That’s pretty awesome. I had to take multiple busses to work every night for four months and one of the drivers didn’t even look at you when you showed the pass. He just looked straight ahead. How can something you’re doing make it so awkward for me? At least have the decency to ignore me by pretending to text or something.

I bet happy bus-drivers are crazy happy in regular life. I mean driving a bus has got to drain you emotionally, especially on these fixed routes. So if you manage to be genuinely pleased with the events of life while driving a bus, its probably what’s left from being way way happier before setting off to work. Every bus has it’s share of interesting passengers. Most noticeably the ‘Yellers’.

There are an array of yellers to experience, ‘The Pissed-Off Bros’, ‘The Valley Girls’, ‘The I-CAN’T-HEAR-YOU-WHAAT?? Phone Call’ and the rare solo performance by the ‘Cat Lady’. I do what everyone else does and stay between my headphones but the worst bit is when people yell to each other in your native language. I never realized how hard it was to not eavesdrop until that happened. They might not think so but I believe their conversation is none of my business. But those voices, all native and recognizable, they might as well take a pop quiz at the end and evaluate the fruits of my remarkable attendance to their lectures.

Towards the end of my ride a young dad got in with his baby. A very elderly lady who had sat beside them since the last stop got up slowly and began her trip to the exit door. As the baby stared at her I couldn’t believe what I was watching. (You see where this is going) The Baby that had just come in, the Old Lady making her way out, while I made my journey sitting with strangers? Birth, Death and Journey? Pardon my sappiness but I think that’s a damn good metaphor for life.

SO MUCH WIN!!

Africa II: Super Agnes, Tribal Snipers And Eating The Equator.

The coolest thing about living in Eastern Africa was the sudden boost in one’s standard of living. Going from a first-world country with a really high cost of living to a 3rd World Country was amazing. Now our houses had lawns with trees and hammocks and a walled boundary, a gatea maid and a cook/gardener, really? A gardener! That’s just decadent. However we did not have a TV. Even when we changed houses we did not get a TV and I don’t know why, more surprisingly, my 10-year-old self survived (my friends had TVs).

Agnes, the maid, like most locals I knew, was unnecessarily warm and kind. She was in her mid-twenties and had 22 siblings, 4 of which were boys and the one of them was dead. We lived in the suburbs and one weekend we went to stay with friends in the city. Agnes was house-sitting. When we came back on Sunday night Agnes told us what had happened. Thieves were roaming the neighborhood and Agnes saw them break into the neighbors’ place. Long story short the entire family was massacred during what was just meant to be a robbery. Agnes immediately turned on all the lights and blasted music on the stereo. Apparently when the robbers came out of the house our place looked like it was having a party, and they left. The funny thing is my dad would have completely understood if she had made a run for it, the thieves would have taken what they wanted and Agnes would be safe, apparently that didn’t even occur to her, and knowing her, I’m not surprised.

Charles, the cook/gardener, was just like Agnes, except if you tone down the hyper-activity, and turn up the chilled-out factor. He always had a smile that looked like the two of you were sharing a secret that the other people in the room had no idea about. He had a slingshot and could shoot down birds like a damn tribal sniper. He made me my very own slingshot from a branch in our garden. He taught me that if you make small clay balls and let in harden for a day in the sun, when you shoot it, it’s hard as a rock except it shatters on contact. He also collected grasshoppers and ants and cooked them for us, that was a delicacy. When grasshoppers came in swarms, locals would run outside, against the swarm, with plastic bags held above their heads and bring home their catch.

I remember when my mom would come to visit us, we’d have these trips to Kenya for safari’s, or go to the ‘Equator’, which was a restaurant – on the Equator. They literally made this ten foot hoop on the side of the road that the imaginary line passes through. We’d go to local craft markets or animal adoption centers where you can pay for the zoo to take care of baby elephants and baby rhinos. When we came home local neighbors would stop to chat and eventually ask my mom how many children she had. When she said one, they’d apologize or ask her what was wrong.

When it was just my dad and me, we’d go to sports bar’s every night and play pool.

Africa I: Moonwalking Boxer, Hungry Bees and Rachel.

Back when I was in grade Four I lived with my dad in Uganda, Africa. I studied there for 6 months but including the visits before and after that you could say I spent a year there. Africa was awesome. And I say Africa because even though there are several countries there, even the locals speak of everything as being African, not Ugandan, or Kenyan or Tanzanian. It was Africa.

I remember our class teachers had been given coupons at the beginning of the year bought by our parents, and these were used to fund our lunch meals. I, however, was a coward and was afraid to ask for the coupons (even though our teacher was super nice) and I managed to spend all my months in school without eating lunch.

There was this one kid, I don’t remember his name but it began with a ‘W’. He Always moonwalked out of the class and he told me one day that he was going to go to Nigeria to watch or be a boxer. I told him there was a primary school in front of our house where early every morning, several boxers came and sparred before school started. I think that impressed him and I was slightly cooler by association. He had also never heard of Onions, which I found extraordinary.

My best friend was Karim. He was small and agile, like a happy, Attention Deficit bee. One day he requested the principle to let him dance for the morning assembly. Being the ultra-introvert I have always been I thought that was insane. We remained friends. And I took a leaf out of his confidence book, brought it down to my level and decided to talk to this girl I had a crush on. Her name was Rachel  and she was running for School President. One hungry lunch I saw her in the middle of this galaxy of kids and said “Hey Rachel…” and immediately the entire galaxy started laughing. You see there is a thick African accent which does not promote my regular pronunciation of the name ‘Rachel’ and since kids are inherently bastards, they did not let this go, worse still, Rachel laughed with them. I melted, and then evaporated.

Pockets, Friendly Enemies And Not Being Poor Enough.

I’ve come to accept the fact that I am, unfortunately, not poor.

Don’t get me wrong, my family is NOT rich, not even close. Seriously, I cannot emphasize how ‘not close’ to rich we are. We fall into that class people like my parents call “Lower Middle-Class” except we are in the bottom half of that sub-division as well.

I went to a residential school when I was a kid and I had a friend there, well not friend, more like enemy. However he was poor. His parents slaved to get him to a good school. His spectacles and his replacement spectacles were the same thing. When he got new shoes, they stayed locked in his trunk and he slept with the keys. But he embraced the fact that he was poor, and that made him fucking cool-ish. He could be arrogant and judgmental. I could afford to break my glasses, even if it was just once, but he had to have cello-tape handy. When he bought a comic book (yes ‘a’ comic book) and someone mishandled it, his lecture about his parents government job was tolerated. Once we had a fight and I ended up ripping out his shirt’s breast pocket. He Wore That Shirt To School The Next Day!!! Do you know what that feels like? To do that to a fellow classmate?

Anyway the point is my parents are just a hair above the poverty line. They worked to send me to a good school and they’ve worked all their life. But I was robbed of an opportunity to be a “people’s people” because my parents could just afford to get me another pair of glasses, pair(S) of shoes, a replacement to my tie. We’re Almost just as bad, but not bad enough where all that hard work can be ‘notarized’. I mean each and every one of my friends is way way way richer than me but I don’t get to stick out like the guy who deserves more. Damn it’s hard to be slightly more well-off and have a comfortable lifestyle.

But then again I guess my parents just worked harder.

Minimum Wage, Satanism and other blessings.

I was at work one night and a colleague and I stopped to chat for a while. Our talk ended when he asked me what my religion was. I casually said that I didn’t believe in religion. This floored my co-worker, so he asked me what my parents were, which would determine what I ‘was’. I said I didn’t know (I don’t want to be associated to a religion just because of my parents subscribe to one) and the beautiful awkwardness physically pushed us away. The next day another co-worker came and asked me what my religion was even before prior conversation had been established. I knew where this was coming from, someone was extremely curios. I wanted to say Satanist just to annoy, maybe intimidate them – if only I’d thought of it then

I don’t believe in religion,  in fact it actually annoys me a lot. I feel that every religion has an amazing message to deliver but through the centuries it’s just been raped by people for their own benefit. But that’s me, and I support the idea that everyone has a right to a view just like I do. But it bothers me that to some people, it matters so much what other’s believe. I remember watching the Louis Theroux documentary on the Westboro Baptist Church (The Most Hated Family In America) and that sort of dedication towards hate and fear-mongering is insane.

Also I read the Satanic Bible and the first half was actually awesome. It has nothing to do with the devil. In fact it rejects the idea of the devil, just like it rejects god. It’s like an Atheist’s Handbook. It tells you to (and I’m not kidding) ‘enjoy life as long as it’s not at someone else’s expense’ – That’s basically the derived tagline to the book if you read the first half. The second half unfortunately went into curses which was a bummer, but then I’m an intelligent, logical individual and made the decision to choose what I agree with (that’s in the Satanic Bible too)