on the train…

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There is a train that leaves the Imara Daima train station at seven o clock every morning. Another one, unlikely it’s the same one, leaves the station at nine o clock every morning. Oh, maybe I should have started by mentioning that I love using the train. More than that, however, I love listening in on people’s conversations. I don’t know… just hearing those snippets of conversations are at times admittedly the highlight of my day. Literally. When I alight the train I think about these people and their lives. Like, maybe I’d be in the middle of doing something really important like decoding a bomb or stirring my tea and out of nowhere just think to myself, ”oh my goodness! Tina skipped Brenda’s  wedding on purpose. What a female dog!” Out of nowhere I feel so angry on Brenda’s behalf. Maybe you’ve seen me on the street and I had on a scowl that just made you feel like if you talk to me I might just vaporize you with my eyes and maybe Professor X will come and take me and train me with the rest of the X men (if you don’t get that joke, I’m sorry) but just blame it on Tina, mmkay? Sometimes, I solve these people’s problems. It’s not weird, OK? Like maybe I’m taking a test, months later, and in the middle of the test I just stop and think to myself, ” excrement! You know, if Brian had just told Jeff he wasn’t cool working on Sunday, he wouldn’t have broken up with Stacy (y= 3sincoslog50-92{tan180}mc2… whatever)” … sometimes, I think to myself, ”dear God, maybe I should stop this. One day I just might hear something I shouldn’t hear”. Let me just say this, OK? I do not want to be stuck in the middle of those investigative series like Quantico or CSI. Then again, I think to myself, what else do people do on trains if not listen in on other peoples conversations? Sorry, I have nothing better to do. Really.

Anyway…

These people on the train dress in the most interesting way. With time, I have learnt to classify them according to how they dress. I can even go to the extent of guessing what they are probably talking about or thinking (just in case I get a quiet carriage, which never happens). Why do I do all this? So that I can choose who to either sit or stand next to. DUH… Sometimes, so that no one notices, I just stand behind them on the platform and when they get on the train, BAM! guess who is sitting next to them? Yes, me.

I wish I was kidding.

Now, back to these people and their clothes. It’s interesting how so much about a person’s personality is displayed in how they dress. I like that.  It’s like having a thousand novels in front of you every minute of everyday. For those who care to read. Anyway, I should probably get down to the post at hand…

 

PEOPLE ON THE TRAIN…

  1. SUITS

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There is a lady with who we board the train at the imara daima train station. This lady fascinates me. She is always with her friends or colleagues ( I’m not very sure) and they are noisy. No. Maybe you don’t get my point. Allow me to say it again. THEY ARE NOISY. I usually use the seven o clock train. Why? Its too early in the morning everyone is on their best behavior. There are no unnecessary greetings that waste your life. No unnecessary hawkers shoving their products down your throat. Its peaceful. Its quiet…

Then this lady comes along with her group. Its more of a gang.
You hear them before you see them. Their shoes… they wear these cheap stilettos that make so much noise… They usually carry these thermoses with some steaming beverage inside. Probably coffee. It must be coffee. They talk in that English cum Swahili language and say obnoxious things like, “we’ve ‘pandad’ the train,” or, “she has ‘pead’ me less change.” These ladies, they laugh. Oh gosh… they are constantly laughing. Have you watched lion king? You know that hyena? The silly one? How it laughs? Yes, exactly like that.
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Anyway, aside from the shoes these ladies display a firm grasp in office wear that is both modern and professional looking. They wear things like Neon colored scarfs, chiffon blouses, power dresses, trench coats and carry those baby sized handbags. They also rock hairstyles like soft dreads, Lupita haircuts and Bob cuts. They are professionals, I assume. I guess that’s why no one bothers them. They are constantly talking about a Jim or a Ted in their work place who drinks too much tea, or does something else that is amusing to them. I don’t like sharing a carriage with them though. They make the carriage feel small and airless.

There’s a second type.

They are probably the coolest people at the station. They usually fold their shirts at the elbows. If ever it snows, I assume they will still fold their shirts at the elbows. They wear no coats or jackets. They have these thin ties that end at the exact point where their trousers begin. They are constantly in headphones listening to music from their smartphones. They carry these bags… simple, casual bags that they drape over their shoulders and across their chests. They use cool words like ‘jav’ instead of bus. Their vocabulary consists of unnecessarily shortened words. I assume they are fresh out of campus and or on their first job. They mostly discuss matters of such gravity such as last night’s football match or how badly Arsene Wenger (or whoever) is managing Arsenal,or whatever, I don’t know, really. They nevertheless, have the most interesting conversations.

yup.

2. BOOKS.
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These are my favorite people at the station. Spotting them is easy. They look extremely tired and clearly are not amused by the train’s early hours. Usually, they have these bag packs strapped to their backs. They wear sneakers or multi colored dolly shoes. They are in skinny jeans (regardless of gender). Sometimes, their jeans are ripped. If they are female, the hair is probably in braids. If it’s male, the hair is in an Afro a form of protestation against the shaving they had to do while in school. Anyway,they are the most irritable. They stare down at their phones scrolling too quickly as if they can read at that abnormal pace. Often, they stand behind everyone else on the platform and just do whatever. They rarely talk. If they do it’s more or less about some professor is killing them with assignments or how an exam is coming on too quickly.

The funny bit about these people though is that on Fridays, they are suddenly rejuvenated (and increase in number). They speak louder, seem happier, healthier, more alive. When you stand next to them, you hear the most incredible stories, the most dramatic too. stories of a Brayo who found himself passed out in Donny with nothing on him, save for his clothes. They laugh how they talk, quickly, loudly.

I guess they are the people who only live once unlike the rest of us who live thrice. On that note, what life are you on, my friend?
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3. ME

Finally, we have people like me. We use the train as a matter of convenience. We arrive at the station at a reasonable time. We wait. We cause no drama. We are the normal people. We busy ourselves with people’s lives as we wait to reach wherever we are going. We don’t bother you with unnecessary greetings, neither do we borrow your copy of the newspaper. We don’t complain about how full the train is today because we know our father does not own the train. We are good people. You like people like us. We always have two fifties and give you change for your one hundred. We move for you when you need space to pass. We open the window when it’s too hot. We know people need to breathe. We know what’s logical. We do it. You always want more of us on the train.

We make you happy.

 

So, random question. Why has there been so many people on the train this week? Did people suddenly realize that the Mombasa road jam wasn’t worth it? Have the fares been spiked? I would really like to be able to seat on the train when I board it. I mean, the fifty shillings I pay is not for standing space, is it? If it is, I propose that those who get to sit should pay double. For fifty shillings I’d kindly like a seat even if it is next to whoever drives the train. Yes, thank you.

Anyway, do feel free to share your train experiences with me. Of the categories I have described which one do you fall in? I am still quite the liberal, even on crowded and noisy trains, and if you use the train, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at seven?

OK. Thanks.

 

 

 

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cents to gold…

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We do not use cents in Kenya. Likewise, you are not expected to have cents either. It’s not illegal or anything, just common sense. Why would you be carrying cents anyway? Do you really have that much hope in this failing economy?… Of course, those with cents are the credit shops where you use them to scratch off the black stuff (what are they called?) from your card. You are probably wondering why I just said all that… we are now in mid-January. The dry season. And no, I do not speak of the weather but I wish I was. Allow me to just take a second to congratulate everyone who has been able to see it this far. The dreaded month; and we are surviving it and pulling through like we are heroes. Nay, scratch that, superheroes. The queen should shake our hand. We deserve to be awarded medals and brass chest plates. We are people of valor. We deserve more than February as our reward for making it through January in one piece. We need a six month vacation at the Bahamas. And after that, we deserve another six month vacation in someplace cooler and full of culture like Paris or Italy or South Africa… wherever. We are good people. We work hard. Life must be kinder. If they don’t appreciate you my friend, call me, (or maybe not) and I will buy you a drink, or two ( or maybe not). Even if right now we have more coins than hope in the future (or is it more hope in the future than coins?) we are already halfway through January. We are, in every sense of the word, unstoppable. People like us invent the telephone. Heck! people like us walk on the moon. Am I right or am I right?

Sarcasm aside.

The question then arises, how am I to maintain my sense of style even in these tough times? You never know where your stylish looks could lead you. You could become the next supermodel or attract a partner to help you fight these biting financial times (or love you unconditionally) it all depends on what you are hunting for, really. Who knows? I therefore took it upon myself to present …

STYLE ON A BUDGET…

 

  1. KNOW YOUR WHATS AND WHERES.

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Imagine this, a great sailor on a voyage. Say, Christopher Columbus aboard the great Santa Maria on his monumental voyage which he will use to prove that the earth is round. Unfortunately, because he is the type of people not to think things through, he forgets his map at home. The ramifications? Years later, we still think the earth is flat and there is no America. Yikes!

Clothes shopping is as important as the discovery of America, or maybe even more. It needs careful planning and  and skill. Unfortunately, most of us humans operate on budgets because we are logical but still love to make it rain (like Lil Wayne). Well, we make it drizzle, but whatever … We like working hard then saving our money in order that we buy more important things like hover boards because one day when we find ourselves homeless because we decided to invest our life savings on a machine that does the job our feet should, I guess we can just eat the damn machine because we will be starving. More likely the machine will eat us but hey! At least we had hover boards right? Fantastic machines they are…

Crazy.
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Here is the trick to clothes shopping though, lists. Before going clothes shopping it is advisable to make a list. They are our maps. Now, it sounds like a lot of work and I know many people say that they just want to see what they will like so that they buy. However making a list will help you reduce on miscellaneous spending and pointless walking around looking for something you probably passed in the previous stall. The list should also be pretty detailed. Therefore, while making the list actually look at your clothes closet. What do you already have? What do you need more off? Which clothes do not have something to be paired with? What doesn’t fit? Which clothes should you never buy again? and so on… Through this, you will be able to solve many of your fashion problems. On the list also include beside each item, where you can possibly find them and how much they would go for. In the end you’ll find yourself with a rejuvenated closet.

Works like a charm.

2. DRIVE A HARD BARGAIN.
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It’s an art. It’s a must have skill too. You know, if you are serious about life. I have learnt from watching the pros at work. I don’t engage myself much in it though. Why? Well, its a superpower; and with great power comes great responsibility.

My policy? Do not let anyone stand between you and a chance to spend on saving. Because I love to make it rain. Only I like to drain that rain into a reservoir so that I can make it rain again later. Nothing is too cheap to haggle over. Well, unless it is actually cheap. Then, just leave it alone. No one likes a over-bargainer (is there a thing like that?). They just give everyone headaches and make you regret taking them shopping. The point of bargaining, contrary to what most people think, is to strike a balance between the buyer and the seller and not to have the seller make a minimum or zero profit. It’s supposed to be a win-win situation. So, be nice.

Before you start raising hell over some prices that you feel are too exorbitant for your taste (and wallet), please do your research and know what that item usually goes for. You do not want to move on to a different stall only to be quoted for the same price. You’ll just embarrass everyone but mostly yourself. Yes, you.
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3. GET CREATIVE.

It’s a brilliant thing. Do you have a t shirt that you can wear while going to sleep? The same t shirt when worn with a coat looks just as good. The same t shirt can also be worn with a skirt and some nice boots and voila! You look like you are off to Paris for the Paris fashion week. You don’t? Well, you should. Let’s face it, it’s not very possible to go clothes shopping everyday, or every week. Unless your Kim Kardashian in which case, I shall eat my words. But I can almost guarantee that you are not. Therefore, you must learn another skill how to restyle your own clothes. Restyle feels like the wrong word…. refashion? something like that.
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There are one million ways to wear a single clothe item in different ways. It’s fun too. It’s like putting on different faces. Only that you are not.

Obviously.

So there you have it. I feel like I have provided some pretty creative techniques of saving money. You know, if you use my techniques, you just might save enough money to buy that hover board. Even though the machine doesn’t actually hover from the ground neither is it a board. But not to worry. It works better than your legs do so I suppose it is good for something. It’s just that I assumed that because it is the twenty first century wed be working on creating cancer cures or solving actual global problems. But then I guess hovering to wherever you are going instead of walking is just as important. What do I know?

Anyway, do feel free to share your thoughts. How do you carry out your clothes shopping? Are any of my tips useful? I assure you that I am still quite the liberal even in this age of hovering boards and what not.

OK. Thanks.

 

seeing in colour…

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Yes, this post is going to have many color puns (and inappropriate use of the caps lock).

Today, allow me to school you a bit. In Art class we were taught that there are only three basic hues which when combined, make up every other possible color that we can possibly imagine; red, yellow and blue (which are also called primary colors) when mixed in equal or varying proportions, enable one to come up with every other color that we know. For example, green is a mixture of yellow and blue, orange is a mixture of red and yellow and purple a mixture of red and blue. Now, the tricky bit is if you add more yellow than blue you come up with a shade of green called yellow-green or yellow-yellow-green (which is often confused for yellow) and vise versa.  Now, on the other side of the divide there is black and white. We were constantly debating about these two colors until we were told that they are not considered as colors (at least not in an art class). White is a combination of all colors and black is the absence of color.

As you can see, art is science (or is science art?)

My point? Maybe you’ve heard of the fashion craze called color blocking? No? Well, now you have and because I am tired of arguing with people who do it wrong I have decided to do a whole post about it just so i can prove my point and hopefully, never lecture anyone on color ever again. EVER.
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On a light note, it’s hot out. Too hot. The wind feels like someone’s breath and the sun feels like a ball of fire. Well, technically, it is, but you get my drift, right? Leaving the house feels like walking into a sauna or something hotter like… a frying pan. It’s ridiculous, really. This kind of weather has me contemplating if I should splurge and buy one of those large coca cola umbrellas found in every other outdoor restaurant. Likewise, this heat has me considering buying a big sombrero or any other comically sized hat, just so I do not arrive wherever I am going smelling like something roasted. The funny thing about this Nairobi weather is that it is pretty unpredictable. At times, it’s cold. Too cold. The coolness (coldness?) even gets me budgeting for gloves and snow boots. Never mind the fact that we don’t experience winter in Kenya let alone snow. It’s crazy-the weather, not me.

BLACK to the post.

If you are like me, you probably take more time than the average person to pair your clothes when going somewhere. You fret over the colors you are wearing, whether they are appropriate for the weather, occasion, season, year, millennium, generation… well, once I RED that the color one wears affects the mood they will be in. I guess you can say it’s CYANtifically proven.
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So now, the question arises as to how to pair your colors. Well, there are the basic tips such as:

  1. Save bright colors for when it is warm and wear dull colors when it is cold.
  2. Dull colors create the illusion of slimness while bright colors create the illusion of thickness.

However, there are the more complex ones that everyone should know. So, without further aHUE, let’s get BROWN to business.

HOW TO COLOR BLOCK.
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Color blocking is the art of wearing colors that are not considered compatible but in actuality are compatible. Many go wrong while trying to do this because they do not realize that there is actually a formula on how to do it. It’s pretty simple too. In order to block colors, one wears colors that create contrasting sensations. That simply means you pair a cool color with a warm color (stay with me) warm colors are those associated with sources of heat for example, red, orange and yellow. Cool colors are those associated with nature, for example, blue, green and purple. however, this is not to say that any cool color can go with any warm color. mostly, for a color to block, it cannot have been made from the color with which it is to contrast. (i feel like i have stopped making sense). for example, green, which is a mixture of yellow and blue, contrasts with red. red is a primary color. red does not make up green. its quite interesting really, because different shades of the same color contrast with different colors. back on green. a shade of green called yellow green or lime green as it is often called, contrasts with pink. pink is a tint of red. further, purple contrasts with yellow, orange with brown and obviously, black with white (even if they are the Pluto of colors).

I guess now you understand why I called this post, ‘Seeing In Color.’

Quite intense, right?

But aren’t you pleased I told you all AMBERout it?

I should probably stop with the puns, right?

They are alREDy too much.
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My point must have surely been put across. Dressing requires some thought. Maybe some calculations and what not or maybe even some art classes. It’s up to you, really. But the color block when pulled off well is a beautiful thing.

On other issues…

Why is it this hot? Did someone offend the sun? Did the sun move closer to us? Somehow? whatever the case, that hole in the ozone layer is a reality. This heat, it makes me think of things like that,the ozone layer and tree planting and tea. Hot tea. So hot that it leaves you nauseated from drinking it. I don’t know. How is it even this hot? But the daytime heat is nothing compared to the nighttime chills. I sleep with gloves on. OK, maybe not. But I might. I really might. This January sun has something against us all, or is it just me?

I need some GREEN tea.

Anyway, do feel free to share your ideas on how you mix and match your colors. Share your opinion on my tips on how to color block and my extremely long lesson on color. Yes, I am still quite the liberal even in this scorching African sun.

OK. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

about 2016…

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First of all before I even get down to this year’s first post, I have just had the damning realization that it has been twenty four days since my last post. Wow. Twenty four days is a long time. I mean, in the writing world it is the equivalent of the time it would have taken twenty four seasons of 24 to take place (a season is a day, really jack?) or the time it took us to evolve into humans from our cousins the apes… whichever example you prefer. but its 2016 now. I’m hyped for this new year. I feel like shaking everyone’s hand on the street and congratulating them for seeing 2016. It’s 2016 for goodness sake, why cant I? I should be able to skip on the streets and plant a wet kiss on your baby’s forehead for no apparent reason and with no prejudice.  We are in the age of staggering technological advancements that have left many of us (like myself) dumbfounded at what button to push in order to start any device. But its 2016. God forbid I wake up tomorrow and find myself in the year 1450. (PS: that is way before Graham Bell even invented the telephone) and I wake up in total darkness, no jeans and with no WI-FI. And because it’s 1450, I guess our biggest problem would be the absence of Google and skin tight jeans. Can you even fathom a world like that? I shudder at the very thought of it. But because its 2016, I’m probably in a Cashmere sweater that suppresses the shudder before it surfaces. It’s 2016, my good people. Sarcasm abounds and inappropriate jokes are shared over steaming cups of cappuccinos or whatever else we shall be sipping in 2016. It’s sixteen years into the third millennium and we survived the onset of that too.

Cheers!
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Now, to the post at hand. Among my new years resolutions is to keep up with every trend 2016 will toss at us. All factors considered, of course. I encourage you to do the same. Surely, what we did not have in 2015 or in 1450, we shall get in 2016, right? On the other hand, I feel like I should share the two biggest crimes that should be buried together with 2015, fashion wise, of course. You know its always easier to move forward with a clean conscious from an updated closet. That having been said, lets dive in, shall we?

BAGGY JEANS.

 

For the invention of this heavenly invention, we have Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss to thank for giving us denim jeans or just jeans as we’ve come to know them. Of course, many, like myself, feel that it is our ability as Homo Sapiens, to rock a pair of well fitting jeans that actually separates us from the undeveloped primates with whom we allegedly share an origin with. Maybe you feel its our technology or ability to communicate with speech is what sets us apart but I tell you, put a good pair of skinny jeans on a baboon and it’ll blend right in- you wont even notice its hairy arms.

I joke, of course.

But there are those, who, for some reason can never seem to find a pair of fitting jeans. Therefore, they strut about on our streets with big, loose, baggy, parachute-y (whatever you want to call them) jeans that are fastened with belts. Now to all of you out there, belts are not supposed to make the jeans fit, belts are supposed to hold the jeans in position. Tsk… in an age where we take and sell photos of the moon, three quarters of the earth’s population is oblivious to the purpose of the belt.

On a serious note though, we are four days into 2016. Can we all just buy a pair of jeans that fit? Thank you.

MISMATCHED SOCKS

If you wear mismatched socks, you are probably the kind of person who does absurd things like putting sugar in your cup before you pour your tea or spreading margarine (or butter) on your bread after toasting it. Your life is probably upside down too because of your socks. I’ve never been able to wrap my head around it though, how do people lose a side of a pair of socks? Also, at what point did it become OK to wear mismatched socks? I mean, it’s not like we wear mismatched shoes. So, how come there are those among us with mismatched socks? Where is the correct side anyway? Did one side just pack up and leave one day? Has it called to check up on the side it left behind? No? OK.

Seriously. Could we kindly leave such atrocities in 2015? Or better yet, in 1450? I’d highly appreciate not having to think about your life when I see you wearing a mismatched pair of socks.

It’s 2016. Regardless. I hope you are happy or will be at the end of it all. Even if all you have are mismatched socks, I guess you still deserve to be a bit happy.

 

We are now faced with three hundred and sixty two days of 2016. I don’t know about you but on one of those fine days I’ll just walk up to a complete stranger and shake their hand. It’s 2016 after all. Why not?

That aside, feel free to share with me the fashion crazes you will be leaving behind in 2015. I am still quite the liberal even one hundred and forty years after the invention of the telephone.

OK. Thanks.