exiting the twenties; the threat of thirty

Kelay beresu lemetkes endetemokerew (letters from his college almost always begin with this phrase :smile:) today, he  turns 29. Props to his feet for having carried him thus far; extra props to their Maker.

This particular edition of the celebration of life began with a trip to the insurance company -an acknowledgment of his mortality. In the good old days, the trip would have been to church.

On this post, there won’t be no reflections or refractions on his journey, except maybe for this…

What has he been building up to all these years?

One sees Manchester United (his team) get mauled by Barcelona (they used to be his team but he dumped them when they started to get too successful; common human behavior? one is not sure), and one gets to thinking how wonderful it would have been to be extraordinary.

But what’s with this obsession with being extraordinary. He read somewhen somewhere that heaven was putting his soul into whatever it maybe that he is doing at a particular moment. But he is not sure if he has got a soul; and his mind and flesh, their exertion is spent on yearning. People tell him “you looking good”. Little do they know that it is the devil’s confusion: he lets him look good long as he feels bad. (From Beloved, which he has failed to finish)

When will the yearning stop? Should he not be thankful for what he has -thankful even before considering people that do not have what he is blessed with, because that would disguised condescension. What does he mean by “disguised condescension?”

When will he stop talking and start listening, at least to himself? But if he stopped talking, then he would not be able to listen to himself. What if he opened his mouth partway and …

Okay! Movin’ on…

Why does he feel sad letting this day go (it is already 11:10 Ethiopian time)? Granted, it is his special day, but does he feel special?

Why can’t he go out there and grab life by the scruff and mount it, so to speak?

Why is he so fond of sexual imagery?

Why, for once in his life, can’t he write something intelligible?


One

We celebrate like I just turned nine boi boi 🙂

class(y) thoughts

Saw this quote at the beginning of Any Given Sunday:

I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT ANY MAN’S FINEST HOUR-HIS GREATEST FULFILLMENT TO ALL HE HOLDS DEAR IS THAT MOMENT WHEN HE HAS WORKED HIS HEART OUT IN A GOOD CAUSE AND LIES EXHAUSTED ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE-VICTORIOUS. VINCE LOMBARDI

This is exactly the position I would like to be found in after each of my classes. For the time being, I am resigned to sitting on the floor, knees bent, my back to the walls. It is not because the floor of the office is dirty. I mean it is dirty. But it is not like the nice cleaning lady (the hardest working member of the college) has not offered to take care of it; it is due to procrastination on my part.

The real reason I don’t lie on the floor of my office is that most days seem to be LSEDs (low self-esteem days) precipitated by a mistake or two I did when delivering lectures; the parts of the lecture that were so bad that I wanted to get out of myself, give myself a good slap and get back inside; all the times when i thought i had my torso covered only to get kicked in the crotch; the thought of all the stupid things I said and did…

Hope springs eternal; I still look forward to the day when I will finally be able to lie on the floor, roll on that mofo…

And oh! Here is a way of inspiring confidence in your students -confidence about your ability to make stuff clear… entangle the hell out of your laptop’s power cord 🙂 or you can dismantle the socket adaptor thingie, like you knew what you were doing, take a (clueless) look inside for a second and go looking for a healthier adaptor. And this adaptor, by the way, is made in PRC -People’s Republic of China. They are making everything nowadays that they had to use an alias so that we won’t get bored.

One

the lengths they go to (what’s in a shag?)

The great thing about books is the way they depict the sexual encounters between people. Sure,  there can be other great things about books. But for all intents and purposes of this post, let us stick to the sex part.

Someone may remember that, in tenth grade Amariña, I narrated for the class some part of Keadmas Bashager. What someone may not know was the trouble I had keeping my concentration whenever Abera and Lulit decided to get naughty. Or someone may already have been wise to my discomfiture from my voice that kept going above Tsige (from Derasiw) voice register.

Damas y caballeros, I give you excerpts from books written by authors from three different continents (commentaries in red -my own):

Petals of Blood -Ngugi wa Thiong’o

“It is not that” he said “It is not that at all. After all you’ve tried, you’ve struggled.” He instinctively sought her hand as if to reassure her.

She nestled closer to him wanting to assuage him, to fight the enemy of life in that voice. Her warmth gradually powered his lungs, ribs. Life quickened in him. He felt this sharp pain of death-birth-death-birth (Wtf?!)  and he tightened his left hand round her right hand fingers. He felt the prolonged shivering of her body thrilling into him, and now it was he who wanted to cry as he remembered Mukami. This was somehow mixed up with consciousness of Wanja’s past anguish and suffering and this in turn was mixed up with his own internal turmoil. Where was the power of words that Fraudsham had once talked about? Now when words were in flight, it was only the knowledge, the consciousness of past suffering and loss that brought them together, giving birth to their mutual need of each other. Karega’s heart seethed with a hopeless rage: he bit his lips trying to hold himself together, hold back the impulse toward the recognition of their mutual nakedness. But the rage of the impulse urged him toward her, made him hold her closer to him, gradually laying her on the grass, surely and methodically removing her clothes with her hands making impotent gestures of protest, oh Karega please don’t do that, and he hearing that genuine fear of need and desire in the voice, felt hot blood rush and suffuse his whole system as his body sought out hers in a locked struggle on the ground. He felt the tip of his blood warmth touch her moistness and for a second he was suspended in physical inertia. Then she cried once, oh, as he descended sinking into her who now received him in tender readiness. Then they started slowly, almost uncertainly, groping toward one another, gradually working together in rhythmic search for a lost kingdom, for a lost innocence and hope, exploring deeper and deeper, his whole body aflame and tight with painful desire or of belonging. And she clung to him, she too desiring the memories washed away in the deluge of a new beginning, and he now felt this power in him, power to heal, power over death, power, power,… and suddenly it was she who carried him high on ocean waves of a new horizon and possibilities in a single moment of lightning illumination, oh the power of united flesh, before exploding and swooning into darkness and sleep without words.

They woke up in the morning dew on their hair, dew on their clothes, dew on the grass, dew on the hill and the plains with the earth aglow with a mellowing amber light before sunshine.

Verbose. Just like African meetings, the matings also tend to be long-winded. A lot of unrelated shit gets brought into the picture. Even this commentary is longer than the other two.

For Whom the Bell Tolls -Ernest Hemingway

He turned himself toward her and he felt her shiver along the long, light lovely body and then she sighed, sleeping, and then she, still sleeping, held him too and then, unsleeping, her lips were against his firm and hard and pressing and he said, “But the pain.” And she said, “Nay, there is no pain.” “Rabbit.” Nay, speak not.” “My rabbit.” “Speak not. Speak not.”

Then they were together so that as the hand on the watch moved, unseen now, they knew that nothing could ever happen to the one that did not happen to the other that no other thing could happen more than this; that this was all and always; this was what had been and now and whatever was to come. This, that they were not to have, they were having. They were having now and before and always and now and now and now. Oh, now, now, now, the only now, and above all now, and there is no other now but thou now and now is thy prophet. Now and forever now. Come now, now, for there is no now but now. Yes, now. Now, please now, only now, not anything else only this now, and where are you and where am I and where is the other one, and not why, not ever why, only this now; and on and always please then always now, always now, for now always one now; one only one, there is no other one but one now, one, going now, rising now, sailing now, leaving now, wheeling now, soaring now, away now, all the way now, all of all the way now; one and one is one, is one, is one, is one, is still one, is still one, is one descendingly, is one softly, is one longingly, is one kindly, is one happily, is one in goodness, is one to cherish, is one now on earth with elbows against the cut and slept-on branches of the pine tree with the smell of the pine boughs and the night; to earth conclusively now, and with the morning of the day to come.

Then he said, for the other was only in his head and he had said nothing, “Oh, Maria, I love thee and I thank thee for this.” Maria said, “Do not speak. It is better if we do not speak.” (Oh oh, I think the roles have been reversed!)

Typical American here, now  and us alone attitude.

Nikos Kazantzakis -Zorba the Greek

Had the widow become aware of my gaze? She suddenly ceased her song and turned round. Our eyes met. I felt my knees give way, as though I had seen a tigress behind the reeds.

‘Who is it?’ she said in a strangled voice. She pulled her neckerchief over her bosom. Her face darkened. I was on the point of leaving, but Zorba’s words suddenly filled my heart. I gathered

strength. ‘Sea, women, wine.’  ‘It’s me,’ I answered. ‘It’s me. Let me in.’ I had hardly said these words when a feeling of terror gripped me and I was just about to run away again. But I controlled myself, though filled with shame. ‘Who d’you mean, you?’ She took a slow, cautious step forward, leaning in my direction. She half-closed her eyes to see more clearly, advanced another step, with head forward, on the alert. Suddenly her face lit up. She put the tip of her tongue out and licked her lips. “The boss!’ she said in a softer voice. She came forward again, crouching as if ready to leap. ‘You, boss?’ she asked hoarsely. ‘Yes.’ ‘Come!’ (Come indeed!)

Dawn was breaking. Zorba was home already, sitting before the hut on the beach. He was smoking, looking out to sea. He seemed to be waiting for me.

Friggin’ Greek prude! You are supposed to be an atheist, for Heaven sakes!

One

You know the joke about the judge who was confused over all the “gibre siga” and “fitwete siga” and went “min gibr siga fitfit siga tilaleh?! b… atilim wey?”

Afropop.org, Spotify and the CIA

I used Spotify from 2009. I previously talked about Ethiopian songs on Spotify. The list has probably grown since then (although at times I have noticed songs that used to be available were no longer). As most users of Spotify, I was annoyed by their decision to force people into paying. I liked the songs-followed-by-adverts model. The adverts weren’t too long and a good number of them were local adverts, and unlike many adverts I see everywhere some of them were actually of interest to me (eg. live music shows in Scotland).

Last week I forgot my Spotify running overnight and burnt my ten hours quota (at least that’s my explanation for why my quota was all gone the next morning). I had a deep thought about it and went to their website to pay for membership expecting to pay the pound equivalent of 5 dollars, only to find out 5 dollars translate to 5 pounds in Spotify Land.

So I looked elsewhere for songs. I am now hooked up with afropop.org. I love the presenter. The songs are awesome songs, mostly African and Latin. The Cumbia genre, Fidel Nada’s feel good reggae, Toubab’s Krewe‘s electrified Mali music, the possibilities are endless.

I have to thank Spotify though. Thanks to it I have discovered great songs and musicians. The polish band Novika, the Malian Ali Farka Toure, more great songs of Salif Keita, Imogen Heap and Armin Van Buuren,  to name some.

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