Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Clash of Civilisations

What if the clash of civilizations was an internal struggle? What if peace simply stopped at making peace with oneself? Might be easier to cope with despondency, to rationalize hate. Hate from those you've never met, and those that share your beliefs. There's a problem when we frame beheadings as barbaric, but have no problem with drone attacks. Both are detestable. Both are worthy of contempt, outrage. 

I wonder what comes to your mind when you read 'beheadings'. Did you imagine Marie Antoinette, awaiting the guillotine, perhaps Ned Stark kneeling at King's Landing, or like me, you thought about the Egyptians, slaughtered by ISIS a few months ago. 

My fears are closer to home. I don't fear being attacked while I'm at the musjid, like so many in Pakistan do. I'm grateful for that. I fear smash and grabbers, robbers, remote jammers and a political machine twisted to protect one man, while being complicit in denying the rights of so many. 

I can switch on my playstation, and for a moment, make peace with the knotted, lashes of reality. Well, as long as loadshedding doesn't spoil my middle-class pleasures. It's hard to have faith in humanity. It's hard to imagine peace. Maybe I'll find peace in indifference. Or in the clutches of self-censorship, the force that compels me to wait before commenting, posting, committing. I haven't found peace elsewhere.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tweets from January and February 2014

In an effort to blog more, and recycle, here's some of my tweets from January and February of 2014. Let me know if you like any of them, mum. Also, let me know if you don't get any of the references.

---

And I said 'what about Breakfast at Tiffany's?' She said 'I think that they're not Halaal.'

Happy feet is 'step-up' for penguins.

Do people in Klerksdorp and Piet Retief feel lied to when the narrator in the movie trailer says 'Coming soon to a theatre close to you'.

Yo momma's so fat her @JohnCena t-shirt says "You can't see anything else".

You know that Mecca has become too commercialised the day they start marketing it as 'bottomless zamzam'

My timeline brings all the bots to the yard.

Proclaimers '500 miles' is like a Jamaat anthem.

'Vorsprung durch Tabligh!' When Jamaat brothers appropriate brand slogans.

Do people who shop at 'plastic land' have a bucket list?

What's up with muslim kids styling their hair like Guile from Street Fighter!

Chana magaj is the Timothy Dalton of sweetmeats.

"She wants the deen" new age imam trying to connect with a younger crowd.

One thing about Hitler though - dude appears in a lot of moustache infographics.
If you went to a bird park and all you saw were hadedas.... You lost!

Indians will store atchar in milk bottles if the mouth was big enough.

Witch-hunts were usually a crowd-sourced affair.

Lion King is basically about the rise and fall of hyenas during the Scar administration.
I'd be pissed if I was illiterate and someone handed me a fortune cookie.

The person who made up the ' We live in a society where pizza gets to your house before the police' joke probably never ordered Caminettos.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will add that shit to his linkedin profile.

Here's a tip. Check which version of the Bang Bang Club you hired before watching it with your in-laws
Treat your wife to a romantic dinner this valentine's. At your mother's house.

If you're buying valentine's day gifts from toys r us...#sheistooyoungforyoubro

Nothing says friendzoned like an e-mail that starts with 'Slmz brother in Islam'.

Colour-blind people should not work in bomb disposal.

Don't count your chickens before they are certified.

Samoosa runs are very different to chicken tikka runs.
"PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS! Itty-bitty living space!" All townhouses in Fourways.

Deenyat kitabs are the only non-medical books in the world that refer to farting as 'passing wind'.
Shouldn't it have been called 'murder she typed' ?

I have a dream, that one day, the guys at TRO will be exposed to a better range of chewing gum.
'What I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career' - Liam Neeson's Linkedin Profile.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Concerning Peace

What if the clash of civilizations was an internal struggle? What if peace simply stopped at making peace with oneself? Might be easier to cope with despondency, to rationalize hate. Hate from those you've never met, and those that share your beliefs. There's a problem when we frame beheadings as barbaric, but have no problem with drone attacks. Both are detestable. Both are worthy of contempt, outrage.

I wonder what comes to your mind when you read 'beheadings'. Did you imagine Marie Antoinette, awaiting the guillotine, perhaps Ned Stark kneeling at King's Landing, or like me, you thought about the Egyptians, slaughtered by ISIS a few days ago.

My fears are closer to home. I don't fear being attacked while I'm at the musjid, like so many in Pakistan do. I'm grateful for that. I fear smash and grabbers, robbers, remote jammers and a political machine twisted to protect one man, while being complicit in denying the rights of so many.

I can switch on my playstation, and for a moment, make peace with the knotted, lashes of reality. Well, as long as loadshedding doesn't spoil my middle-class pleasures. It's hard to have faith in humanity. It's hard to imagine peace. Maybe I'll find peace in indifference. Or in the clutches of self-censorship, the force that compels me to wait before commenting, posting, committing. I haven't found peace elsewhere.

MJ

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My first Google Hangout

I'm quite chuffed that the Chicky Lamba story has gone the way of Harlem Shake and fizzled out as it was equal parts funny and embarrassing. I tend to choose my battles on social, and actively avoid being part of the flavour of the month (or the day if our propensity for fickleness is acknowledged). I do this because emerging stories often lack enough context to allow one to communicate an informed comment. Maybe i'm 'doing social media' wrong. We tweet to stay relevant, but that sometimes comes at the cost of value (really adding something to the conversation). 

Anyway, The Daily Vox were kind enough to conduct a Google Hangout with me a few weeks ago on the chicky lamba story, but with a focus on how social media has changed the way we consume news, video content and memes. Here's the clip. Enjoy 



Let me know what you think.

MJ

Sunday, October 26, 2014

PS4 versus Xbox One

While I firmly believe in the power of social endorsements, and the role of word of mouth in the decision-making process, I've always been rather sceptical of my own influence in regards to most things online (I actually state that I am not an influencer in my twitter bio, which probably explains why I don't get invited to product launches). 

I get asked a lot about PS4 vs Xbox One and although I am often very diplomatic, I feel myself being drawn to one camp. I've been a passionate Xbox 360 advocate since getting the console 8 years ago, and I expected the allegiance to extend to this generation... but it hasn't. Here's why I think you should consider the PS4 this time around.


*Before I go into my list, I need to state that multiplatform games sometimes perform marginally better on PS4, but since this is only noticeable if you really look for it (and have both versions running side by side), I am excluding it as a factor. Also - tech specs don't mean much if it doesn't translate into great gameplay experiences.

Also - this is a lot like the Islamic concept of Istikharah - if you lean a certain way, then it doesn't matter what I say, you should get the console you want.. this is more for the neutrals.

1) The PS4 has been around for longer.
You could argue that the Xbox One and PS4 have had similar launch dates overseas, but the PS4 launched locally within weeks of its other launches and this endeared it to me. It also means that we've had a year to build a... 

2) Thriving second hand market 
I refuse to pay 800 rand for a video game. Luckily, the PS4 has had enough time to build a decent user base, and with this, comes a ton of second hand titles for people like me. This is an important point if you're happy to wait a little before getting a game. There is a thriving swapping community on Gumtree too.

3) Less dependence on internet access 
I was at BT Games last week and overheard a parent telling their child that they can't get the Xbox One as it needs to be online all the time. Microsoft have retracted that decision, but clearly they haven't done a good enough job telling people (especially since the BT Games chap was like 'yeah, you have to be online). I'm assuming most people who buy a next gen console have internet access, but surely this access differs (not all of us have uncapped broadband). I use mobile data so there's no way i'm getting a console with a 40gb game download, or a mandatory install before you can even play a game. 

4) Better exclusives
This is very subjective as different franchises appeal to different people, but I've found  that the PS4 has better exclusives (from a review perspective). With Uncharted, Little Big Planet 3 and The Order around the corner, it seems to be winning (but again, this is subjective). Here's hoping for a 'Ratchet and Clank' and 'God of War' title. I do think Ori and the blind forest will be amazing (that is an Xbox One exclusive).

5) Better Marketing/ positioning


I'm not too big on the Xbox One being touted as a media centre. I want a gaming console that can do media, and not a media centre that can also play games (if that makes any sense). The media features feel US centric, and while I'm hoping that changes (

It would be unfair to exclude the areas where the Xbox One shines, so let's cover them:

1) The controller
The Xbox One controller is a thing of beauty, and while the Dual shock 4 isn't as bad as the Dual Shock 3, Microsoft's controller wins hands down. Also, a second controller doesn't cost the same as 3 months installment on a Tata Indica so that's a plus. A major problem with the PS4 is that the analogue sticks' peels (Ster Kinekor is aware of this and I think they sort it out - probably with replacement grips). 

2) The Xbox One interface is better
It feels modern and bursting with options. The PS feels simple and uneventful in comparison.

3)  Xbox in SA is still a little rebellious and against the norm, which means it is slightly elitist and cool.

4) Digital Games are cheaper on Xbox One
While we all hope Playstation reconsiders the price of digital downloads, this is less of an issue for me as I prefer physical copies of a game (due to limited mobile data... and because I want to sell it after I'm done!).

5) Xbox Live is also a superior offering
Something to consider if you are big into multiplayer. 

In a perfect world you would own one of them as your primary console, have a Wii U as your second (because Nintendo actually have the best exclusives) and get the other after a few years, instead of having a child. But if you were really stuck, and my points resonate with you, then get a PS4.

I find both the Playstation Eye as well as the Kinect to be gimmicky at best, and while I always have fun using these peripherals when my niblings come over, it is at its best, a party trick. 

MJ

Whenever I write about stuff that has fanboys, I have to state the obvious.. this is my opinion. Mine alone. You're welcome to challenge me on any point I have made and I will listen, I am very open to unlearning / changing my mind, but do respect that this is my opinion. 

btw - If you can get a Wii U at a great price (second hand), then consider it because the exclusives are fantastic (Super Mario 3D World, Wind Waker HD, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart etc are all great fun. Don't touch Zombi U - it's a piece of shit).