The Book doesn’t end in Malachi

…and doesn’t stop in Revelation neither

People don’t like to long read stuff over the internet. They’d rather you keep it short and simple. This is why sites that post long essays – Wait But Why, Aeon, etc – have some sort of holy grail following. The reason is because the few who actually remain dedicated to those sites don’t stumble on them by accident; they are intentional.

I want to limit my posts to 500 words. Previously, I had set the range of my posts to between 700 and 1000 words, not like I set this range intentionally but I realized that somehow my posts always fell between this range. I’m not doing this because I want to conform to the short reading time of this generation.

There’s a great advantage to being concise. It gives you objectivity and purpose, this is why Twitter has become so popular among a generation so ridden with distractions yet yearning for objectivity. This is why unusual artists like Beyonce, Lecrae, Chance The Rapper, etc have such a huge following behind them. They know how to be concise and not beat around the bush.

Conciseness gives you power; the power to dictate flow. However, one of the limitations of concision is the inability to let you get into the head of the reader. This is why most Oscar winning movies are unusually too long – The Revenant, Titanic, Theory of Everything, all prove this point. Concision does not give you ample opportunities to get into the head of the reader (or judge).

There are compelling cases for both sides of the coin but there are no middle grounds. You can’t be concise and get into people’s heads. This is why minds who have been able to achieve the two deserve a great deal of mention. Being intentional is such a great deal in a world ridden with “fake news”, fake love and fake people.

Over the last few weeks I’ve read extensive works on the history of Jacob Fugger and Arthur Guinness, and there’s a striking similarity between these two men who lived in two different periods in history. From creating a thriving Banking system in Medieval Europe to creating a Brewery still standing the test of centuries, I’m convinced that these two were intentional from the start. If they weren’t, Arthur wouldn’t have moved to Dublin nor Jacob remain in Augsburg.

I am looking for intentional people, I want to be intentional. To be intentional means to be concise, to be succinct, to create social palindromes that drive home the point long after you’re gone and derailed. To be intentional is to always have your eyes on the prize at all times. Napoleon met his waterloo at Waterloo because he let his eyes slip off the prize for just a second. To be intentional is to be a visionary.

Most importantly, to be intentional is to realize that the book doesn’t end in Malachi.

I did this in exactly 500 words.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

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Starting Early: Emails

This is the first installment in a new series I started called “Starting Early”. It’s going to be a chronicle of my early and first interaction with some of the things that come to define me today and how they have influenced me greatly. I would share stories of my first contact with Emails, Books, Music, Girls, Internet, Computers, etc. Enjoy!

Source: checkupnewsroom.com

I created my first ever email address in 2002, I was only 8 years old then. The email was “imo4real98@yahoo.com”. The first email I tried was “miracle@yahoo.com” but it was already taken, I had tried several variations of my first name before I decided to use my initials. “imo” are the initials of my first name arranged in no particular order. The first email exchange I had was with an Uncle who lived in “America”, and then subsequent email exchanges with people I met in chat rooms (more on that later)

The actual word “imo4real98” was suggested by the cybercafé receptionist where I sat. I didn’t think too much about it, I was just happy to finally get an email that was not taken, and I wasn’t born in 1998 neither, but maybe she felt I was; I was definitely so small as an eight year old, I must have passed as a four year old in her sight, or maybe it was just random. “for real” sounded like the mark of authenticity in those days (akin to “official” and “real” these days). It’s fifteen years now and I still have that email (although not really really active, prefer Gmail these days). There was a period when it became redundant for over three years, but I was able to recover it. After being used to the world of emails, I switched to “kenspaco@yahoo.com”, the inspiration came from my obsession with the name “Kenneth” as a kid, I loved the name “Kenneth”, I’m struggling to remember the source of my obsession right now.

I also created an AOL account and a Hotmail account but I used Yahoo! more than the rest because of Yahoo! Messenger. I also used Hotmail often too because I loved their light blue background, and because of one other feature that I can’t remember now. Oh, and I also had to falsify my eight on numerous occasions because I could find my year of birth on the dropdown list.

I’ve lost “kenspaco”, and it didn’t fly as a nickname neither because my classmates as at that time were either dunces who knew nothing about emails or they were just being annoying and would rather stick to calling me “mmiri oku” (an Igbo variation of my name meaning hot water).

Because I didn’t have a computer then, I was always at the Cybercafé. I would always rush to the cyber café after school and stay there till dawn. One of my early obsession was Yahoo Messenger. I was told there was a chat room where you could chat with people from other countries, and because the person I watched using Yahoo Messenger always went to the “Romance” Chat room, that was where I always went. Back then, I didn’t know it was odd for an eight-year-old to be in a romance chatroom, neither did I understand what “Romance” really meant. I had thought that was just the only chat room, in hindsight I now understand how and why everyone was always shocked whenever they came to my computer screen. I did meet so many people from that Chat Room, most of them would send me vulgar and explicit private messages which I didn’t understand but I would play along with them in a bid to sound smart. Most of those friends are nowhere to be found now anyways.

That early introduction led me into a decade old obsession with Yahoo! The Yahoo homepage was an invaluable news source for me as it covered every segment and category. It would be another thirteen years before I would create a Gmail account. Even as a full-fledged adult now, I cringe from time to time whenever I remember Yahoo!’s demise, really sad stuff.

I shared the story of my early introduction to emails because my initiation into the world of emails has had a great influence on how I like to conduct my businesses these days. I love emails, I’d prefer you send me an email even if it’s a one liner. I also love closing my emails with a remark. My strong affinity for emails certainly has roots in my being introduced to it at an early age. That was the first thing I knew I could do with the internet — send emails, before the other things. It also tells a great lesson in loyalty and efficiency, I remained with Yahoo! despite the mass exodus to Gmail, but the minute I used Gmail and saw how effective it was, I didn’t think twice.

In a nutshell, most of the things we have become strongly attached to these days all have roots in our mode of initial contact with them.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

Unbroken? Don’t Touch

The average price of a toothpaste in Nigeria is $1 (at bank rate of course). I pay so much attention to my mouth and its constituents, I don’t even know why, probably because I hate bad breath. Like if I was going for a meeting with a client worth a million dollars and your breath was stinking; I’d gladly forfeit that money. So I try so much to make sure my mouth is clean, I think that’s the part of my body that gulps so much money from me followed by my armpit of course.

My teeth has been awesome over the years, I’ve gotten compliments from all and sundry about how white my teeth are (are instead of “is” sounds so weird, but English says it’s correct), and how awesome my dentition is. Basically stuff like that. I mean, I use a mouthwash, I brush twice everyday (it’s like a religion, I never ever fail to do this, one time I fell asleep after a long day, I woke up by 12 in the middle of the night and unconsciously headed straight to the bathroom to brush my teeth). So I expect my teeth to be cool of course.

There’s this international toothpaste brand that keeps making brilliant ads on TV, I’d seen them for so long and somehow, they’d managed to convince me that their toothpaste was superior. Remember the average price of a toothpaste is $1, well these guys sell theirs for $3. I didn’t even mind, I bought it. Anything to make my already awesome teeth better! After using the first one, I didn’t see any difference, in fact, I think my teeth became worse. My teeth became rather sensitive to extremely cold things (unlike before), my teeth just became uncomfortable, and it was awful. But because I believe so much in their adverts, I decided to blame myself. I felt it was because I had gone for the wrong “flavor” (not exactly flavor but you understand what I mean, I ran out of adjectives), so I decided to buy another variant (oh! That’s the word I was looking for). It didn’t get better, the final straw that broke the camel’s back was the third variant I bought, they called it ”Gentle Whitening”, that stuff darkened my teeth instead of whitening it. Like what the hell? What did I get myself into? It’s been frustrating.

That’s the tale that has led me to this post. If it’s not broken; don’t fix it. I know there’s that constant natural desire to be better and stuff, but be careful what you wish for. My teeth was awesome, in perfect state, but I fell for a brilliant TV ad, now see where it has led me to. Quality sometimes can be disguised. Yeah, I said that. And funny enough, it doesn’t require quality to spot quality most times. It requires a simple survey.
After my horrible experience with these $3 toothpaste guys, I decided to do a simple twitter search about them (google is too mainstream), and I realized almost everyone had a complaint or two about them. Like people were experiencing the same problems I was; I must confess, that made me feel better. I wasn’t the only gullible one who fell for their trick at least. But imagine I did this survey before buying them, I would have avoided the whole brouhaha at first. Now I see why modern day Einsteins twisted the old maxim that “experience is the best teacher”. You know they now say “someone else’s experiences is the best teacher…don’t let it happen to you first”. I added the last part. But it makes perfect sense now.

Only a fool will jump from frying pan to fire just to show that he can jump.

Remember when we had just GPRS on our mobile phones? You know life was pretty much sane back then, with our “G”, we could do whatever we wanted, Facebook, Goal, Wapking, Waptrick, Sefan, and all the other stupid things we did on the internet back then with no complaints whatsoever. But just like my toothpaste story, someone somewhere came across a Nikola Tesla or Edison theory that said we could do more on the internet with double GPRS and decided to take the theory serious. Thanks to some crazy Billionaires who like that kinda stuff, the dude got funding and went into research, the result? The 2G internet was born. That guy ruined our lives! From 2G to 3G and now we’re at 4G (hey, in Africa of course, I know some of my American readers will quickly point out that they’ve got 4.5 or 5g over there, allow us shine in peace with our 4G at least).

I mean, faster internet shouldn’t be a bad thing yeah? But it is! That’s because you pretty much can’t do anything with G or 2G. I know this because the network reception in my house room (room because once I stand in front of my door or walk around my compound, I get good reception, but on my bed, my table, my toilet; pretty bad reception. As a matter of fact, to publish this post on the internet, I’d have to go stand in front of my door). Note that when I say bad reception I mean 2G. It’s crazy how I can’t open a web page with 2G, not even Facebook. Like freaking Facebook that required just G to open back in the day! This is treacherous! I’m furious! Why is this so? This will take us back to my toothpaste story. So when Facebook saw that there was now 3G, it decided to do some crazy stupid stuff behind the scene that meant 2G couldn’t open Facebook pages anymore.

Now this is what progress does to you, it gives you an illusion of something better. So Zuckerberg sees 3G, and rants in his garage about how the introduction of 3G means, Facebook can now stream live videos, post pictures without compressing it (remember when they used to do that?), and all the other stuff and boom! They added all those features and a little more. But in adding those features, they made Facebook heavier. This explains why my miserable 2G can’t open Facebook pages. It also explains why my teeth has become miserable. The $3 toothpaste guys probably added some chemical benzene-ethanoate-fluoride-chloro-II-methane compound bullshit which my teeth was unfamiliar too and it had messed up my teeth.

Were we not all happy when I was using the normal $1 toothpaste? Why are we now unhappy? Some guy decided to conduct an experiment and came up with that disaster of a toothpaste that has now become my nemesis. Don’t get me wrong, research is good. But research shouldn’t be done at the expense of efficiency. The fact that those guys at Volkswagen keep researching and bringing out new car models every year doesn’t mean my great grandfather’s 1969 Volkswagen Beetle can’t move. You should have brought out your 3G without making my 2G less efficient. And for this, I bear a grudge.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

The Throwback Birthday

I may not have access to the internet by the time it’s 12am, August 30, 2015. Which is why I’m posting this now. Things like this make me thank God for Mark Zuckerberg’s internet.org which aims to stream down internet from space to underdeveloped countries in Africa and other continents. When you see the giant stride Mark is making, it makes you wonder about your own life. That young man is already a billionaire, yet rather than rest on his laurels and watch the income flow, he’s still out there trying to make a difference in other ways that he can. It really tells you that it’s not always about the money, at some point the money makes less sense and you begin to look at the list of lives you’ve impacted on rather than Forbes’ list. That is surely a lesson to be learnt.

If you go through the archives of this blog, you’d notice a regular occurrence, since 2011 when this blog went live till now, there’s always been a birthday post whenever it’s my birthday. A closer look at all these posts will show a similar theme, the ever increasing need to get better. But this year is going to be different, rather than mumble and muse about what I should do and what I shouldn’t do, I have decided to rather look back with a grateful heart of thanksgiving to God for all he has done for me.

I have recounted my childhood so many times on this blog, I’m not prepared to go through the motions and rigours again but there really is plenty to be thankful for. But before we continue, I must confess that I truly feel like a winner; I’ve finally created a Gmail account after almost two years of “network error” messages, and having to deal with the rubbish Yahoo! spills sometimes. Although I must confess, Yahoo! has definitely become better, is this due to Marissa Mayer? I don’t know.

For one, this is the first birthday post I will be posting as a graduate. I have just finished my final exam from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. And you can’t fault me when it comes to prestigious schools, I’ve been opportune to go through some of the best; my high school was the prestigious Federal Government College Enugu, of course as is the case with prestige, we have produced many governors, senators, and men of substance. I started out my primary education at Citizens. If you followed the trends of the ‘90s well enough in Ikorodu, Lagos, you’ll agree with me that Citizens was the bomb. So I’ve been through the very best at all tiers. A round of applause, if that comes with any prize. Yeah it does, the thing with prestige is that it attracts prestige too, so there’s the chance of meeting up with great minds (like people have done with me; I’m a great mind!)

I had to retype the last two sentences; this is due to the absurd weak nature of my laptop battery. It went off immediately electrical power was gone. The fact that I could remember almost verbatim what I had written is also a stroke of genius. I deserve some credit for that. The auto-save function of Microsoft Word 2010 is abysmal, if it were Word 2013; it would have recovered everything I had typed. So which is the better form of genius? The ability to remember (as I have done) or the ability to ensure you need not remember (as Bill Gates & co. have done with Office 15’s auto-save feature)? Think about your answer carefully, therein lies the recipe for your success and I mean it.

Since I’ve delved into technology, let’s flow. The last time I wrote a birthday post (exactly a year ago), I had a fully functional 750GB HP 2000 laptop, a Blackberry smartphone, lots of money, and all the other good stuff. Just 12 months later, I have no hard disk, no laptop (just the empty casing to stare at me), no phone (not even an un-smart one), barely no money and almost no good stuff. I’ve lost every digital file. I then begin to wonder, has progress been made at all?
Back then, I lived virtually my whole life on the internet, how have I been able to cope without first hand access to the internet? A stroke of genius! It must be.

Looking back, that experience certainly made me better off. It turned me into a man-mountain. It gave me lots of time to do me-stuffs, ample opportunities to relax and think straight.
I finished reading all Malcolm Gladwell’s books with my favourite being David and Goliath (which influenced one of my previous posts; “Underdogs or just Dogs”). I must confess that most of my paradigm during this past one year was shaped by the philosophy portrayed by Malcolm in his books, and I don’t regret it one bit.

I’m here sitting on my scattered bed, with my diary on one corner, my NKJV Bible on another end with my notepad besides it. At the opposite end is my little detachable dell stereo speaker and a reading lamp. I just took another look at my bed and I’m wondering why my notepad is closer to my bible than it is to my diary. And I’ve just picked up a lesson from there, what I write, what should shape my thinking is what God’s word says and not what I think (which is what I write in my diary).
So it’s been one year of mainly no internet, no phone, no laptop, none of those things that supposedly makes life tick and yet my life ticked. I’ve found happiness despite having no temple run to keep my mind engaged, I’ve not suffered depression despite not having a laptop to watch movies with, and my dexterity with the keyboard is still high grade despite not having to frequently type as I would have wanted.

But it has also been one year of God’s goodness. God has just been so good! Saved me from reckless situations, shown me mercy and just been too good to me. This one year without internet and some of the supposed basic necessities of life has only made me seen that the one basic necessity is just the Presence of God working out all that stuff in your life.
I’m thankful for those God has brought my way. I’m surrounded by wonderful people, people that are ready to take all the shit I constantly throw at them and still love me nonetheless. For all those in my life, thank you for hanging around despite my weird manoeuvres. I really do love you all.

We look forward to the next 365 days with renewed vigour and hope that internet.org will be fully functioning in Nigeria so that yours truly can also enjoy this good act of philanthropy.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.
@Mr_GudMan