The Gonzo Diplomat

Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Meme-ories are made of this

In Rant, TV/Movies, Uncategorized on September 23, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Oh the wit.

So anyway, it is cloudy yet again, and whilst it is hot and humid, the clouds are spitting crappy droplets and ruining any chance of going outside and getting some decent sunshine. It is then, thus, that I turn to the Internet to waste my precious, after dinner siesta time. And what better way to do so than by playing mind numbing games on Miniclips.com, reading fake news on The Onion, listings on Cracked and searches on Gorillamask. Whilst doing this, it is very likely that you stumble across memes on these and many internet sites.

What are they?

If you are one of those people who have yet to have sold their soul to the World Wide Web and still haven’t seen or heard of memes, then here is a simple description:

A meme is a popular term in the so called blogosphere, and refers to conversations, images or trends that end up becoming viral and spreading to other blogs, in a way that the original blog receives many visits due to it being the creator of the original meme, and other blogs feed on that popularity by enhancing and modifying the memes to keep the trend going.

Whilst it can be applied to viral marketing and promotions, as bloggers seek bigger audiences, though it could also be applied to simple cultural, humorous or even educational works that are spread from one mind, book, or even a blog to another, suffering variances, mutations and selections.

Like what?

All well from here, it even makes memes sound somewhat serious, particularly if you consider that one of the first important memes online was the Million Dollar Homepage meme, where Alex Tew, a student from Wilshere, England, decided to fund his university studies by selling pixels in 10×10 blocks at the price of one dollar a pixel. His page, which had space for one million pixels became a giant digital billboard. In 2005, it was positioned 125 in the Alexa web traffic ranking, it has decreased substantially since then, and the last 1000 pixels were sold for $38,100, bringing the final gross income tally to $1,037,100.

It isn’t all about making business though, and like all modes and fashionable trends, the popularity eventually goes down, and what was cool soon goes old. One of the first memes to be done, just for the hell of it was the Ate my balls meme, in the late nineties, where hundreds of celebrity photographs where modified with MS Paint and hung up on Geocities (oh the days), with speech bubbles making references to testicles. Remember, internet was limited then, and it was harder to get thrills.

One more in the Internet Phenomena List.

The Internet, apart from being highly useful for finding information, copying essays, searching porn and networking, is also great for wasting time looking at pointless shit and seeing it spread. Some other Internet phenomena many people have heard of include:

At this date, September 2010, the Internet is packed with memes, some of them just for fun, absurd and highly contagious. Social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr have allowed memes to spread quickly and programs such as Adobe Photoshop, but even MS Paint, can make modifications very easy. For now, here are some of the memes I see the most while wasting my time, let’s see how long they last, and how long it will be before they create a meme that can finally destroy and rid the world of Justin Bieber.

Top 12 September 2010: Because most of the stuff I put here will be old shit in about..two weeks time.

1.      Lolcats: Still lasting, whilst other memes like Rick Rolling, Leeroy Jenkins, unicorn adoration, the God awesome Philosoraptor and dramatic chipmunks are losing out in popularity, you just cannot avoid stumbling into cats making pricks of themselves.

Lolcats...Fail

2.      O Rly, another perpetual meme. Originated on the Something Awful Forums, it was used to sarcastically reply to something that was dull, unoriginal or just retarded.

3.      Prancing Cera meme: A picture taken of Michael Cera jumping between two platforms in Norway was uploaded in Flickr. It wasn’t long before he had a F*uck Yeah Tumblr page flooded with modified fan made images.

http://fuckyeahprancingcera.tumblr.com/

4. Sad Keanu: A paparazzi picture of Keanu Reeves eating on his own fuelled a massive array of pictures and even videos taking the pitiful piss out of the Canadian actor.

5. Rage guy (fffuuu): A popular comic which has served as inspiration for countless memesn including Forever Alone, F*ck yeah, Okay, Y U No? And Everything went better than expected. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/rageguy-fffuuuu

6.      Cool dog: Cool Dog is a nickname given to a leashed Shiba Inu dog with an elbow bent over what looks like a doghouse roof in a “cool” posture. Get it?

7.      Leo strut: Similar to the Disaster Girl, Leonardo Di Happrio is a photoshopped exploitable that uses an image taken of DiCaprio during the filming of Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”. The original image is of DiCaprio walking happily down a street but it has been edited into several scenes that usually depict a catastrophe or terrible happening, and where Di Caprio strolls as if he could have stopped the incident or helped people nearby, but instead continues throughout the scene doing his jolly strut. Source: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/leo-strut

8.      Son I am disappoint: First seen in November 2008, the pictures simly show a son doing something that disappoints his father, who replies, “I am disappoint”.

9.      Inceptions: Memes made from inception quotes and scenes, often merged with other memes. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/inception

10.      Surprised Kitty. More popular among the less sarcastic, but it is a very adorable kitty looking surprised.

11.      Bear Grylls: Pictures of Bear Grylls with captions that mock his…assholeness

12.      They asked me I could be anything I wanted…so I became a God: Famous meme from 4chan, though I kinda feel sorry for the kid

Anyway, enough with the time wasting, I think it is time to do my second favourite thing to waste time, eat. And by the time I come back there will be another hundred memes to try and get the gist out of. This stuff moves too quickly for me.

More info for meme spotting.

Further links: http://fuckyeahfunnythings.tumblr.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_phenomena

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/

www.Urbandictionary.com

http://www.failblog.org

The Fishermen

In Uncategorized on September 20, 2010 at 3:17 am

The Fishermen await their big catch

Two raindrops fell on my sleeve and another one landed through my collar and down my neck. I shuddered and outstretched my hand, testing the clouds for further rain.

“Looks like it might rain any moment now”, the woman next to me sighed, her gaze still firmly placed on the hustle of men in front of her.

“t’would be a pity,” her husband added, “we might not get to see what it is they have caught”.

The clouds were spreading over the sky, stretching as far as the horizon, trying to pry out any remains of blueness it could uncover, but they were yet to reach the blackness or heaviness that preceded a downpour. At this moment, you were just as likely to expect the heavens to piss down on you, in an almighty cloudburst, than to see some gracious rays of light seeping through the gray mass and illuminating the dullness surrounding us. As a result, we stood where we were, indecisive, waiting for whatever had to happen to occur, a deluge, enlightenment, or nothing whatsoever.

Ahead of us, the shouting and fumbling were getting louder as a man arrived behind us in a motorbike and ran to join the group.

“I think the fishing rod is his”, the man explained, “he got bored a quarter of an hour ago, went for a sandwich, I bet he wasn’t expecting this”.

The guy on the motorbike ran up to the group shouting and reaching for the rod, they were all surrounding him as he tried to reel in whatever it was he had caught. With his helmet still on, he began to draw in the line, trying to tighten the wire and secure the hook in the fish’s mouth.

“You know, I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen them fish anything”, the woman confessed, “and I’ve been coming here every day for four months now”.

Her husband nodded assertively, “I don’t know if I would have the patience”.

There was a small crowd forming on the edge of the lighthouse and on the rails of the way to the rocky edges where the fishermen usually lay, just to see what all the fuss was about.

On the edge of the lighthouse the sea begins to change as you enter the port. On your left you have the wildness of the open sea, with dark blue waters, thicker waves and stronger contours. In the centre the currents begin to merge and as the sea begins to get closed down you can see that around the corner the waters are calm, static and tame.

The fishermen were grouped around the calm areas, where their joking and card playing had been interrupted by a heavy jerking in one of their rods. By now, they had caused such a fuss that they had fifteen people watching above them from the lighthouse and me grasping on my camera trying to capture the moment.

“Must be quite hard being a fisherman”, the husband continued, “so many hours sat on those rocks, waiting for something to happen. I´ve seen these guys before, they spend hours here, they do nothing else.”

“Probably can’t even afford a boat, you know, to do it properly”. The wife added.

“What a waste”, he lamented.

The rain was still resisting itself and the fishermen were all trying to help bring the fish in, but the stubborn bastard kept right at it.

“Let it swim! Let it swallow the goddamn hook! ‘Til it reaches its lungs and pierces its heart!” The fishermen cried, “The son of a bitch will get tired sooner or later!” The fisherman with the motorbike helmet held on to the rod, switching his arms alternately on the cord and leaning back, trying to put his weight against the fish.

Nothing happened. The fish continued to push into the water and the helmeted fishermen gave in and let another colleague have a go against the fish. The beast just swam, and the man could not raise it no matter how hard he pulled.

“This is a very big one,” the husband commented us, “probably the catch of his life!”

All of a sudden, the line jerked strongly to the left, the rod began to move to the open sea and the fishermen, perhaps inexperienced or in simple awe, chose to follow.

“Perhaps it is not they who have caught the fish, but the fish that is catching them” the wife teased, hoping that the fishermen could prove her wrong, as she grasped onto her digital camera.

They say that good things come to those who wait, and for the fishermen, this was their moment. They knew that this fish was going to demand the best out of them, but they also knew that after day after day of mockery and disappointment sitting on the edge of those rocks, fishing minute catches and either throwing them back or feeding them to the stray cats around them, that this was their chance to redeem themselves to those around them.

***

I had tried my best to assure people that I still had something in me, that it wasn’t all lost before it had all begun.

“I’m sorry, but these things are like they are, and journalism means unemployment”.

I tried to think of a comeback to try and rescue and defend my vocation.

“It’s just what it is Ed, you are dispensable, when there is a crisis, when people need something with urgency, you and all that stuff that you do, are the first to be thrown away”.

For fifteen years I had tried to find something I could do, varying from vague architectural ambitions whilst building stadiums with colourful Lego bricks, to digging in deserts in Mongolia in search of new dinosaur remains.

“Your mind isn’t made for maths and physics, your buildings would crumble”, my sisters would say to me, “Palaeontology? You want to be digging up bones all your life?” my mother would enquire; “well you better find some three eyed winged mega-dragon-saurus or you’re not going to make much money” she would continue.

It wasn’t until I was sixteen, when two clumsy English teachers told me that I would do well as a journalist, that I was finally complimented for something in my academic life. Writing therefore became my vocation, and I taught myself that it was better for one to dedicate oneself to something he likes, than to do something merely because of the outputs he might acquire. At the time, everyone around seemed to support that idea.

Then the crisis kicked in.

“You are just wasting your life; you are waiting for what exactly? For something to happen? What exactly are you waiting for?” My girlfriend’s voice was getting angrier over the phone. Mine was getting quieter.

How could I say what I was waiting for? Did I even know? I was waiting for the moment to show what I could do, for somebody to accept, to catch an opportunity and prove my worth, but around me there was nothing, and hence I had to move. Why hadn’t I?

***

Ten minutes later, we were stood under darker clouds one hundred metres away from where we had originally started watching the catch. The fish had pulled the fishermen round the bend of the lighthouse and along the ridges to the other side of the rocks where there was open sea. A man with a green cap was holding onto the lighthouse, shouting at passersby in sea jets to stop by and try to help them somehow beat the fish. Next to him, the man with the helmet stood helplessly holding a small fishing net and nodding with pessimism.

I had had time in those ten minutes to strike up a conversation with the married couple next to me. They came from Bristol and were planning on moving back to England in the following months as they missed it and were worried about how the crisis was ruining Spain. They also offered me some compassionate hope and sympathy with regards to the daunting unemployment issue in the peninsula. Another man had joined us, an old American who has giving us fishing tips while observing the desperate fishermen.

“Oh I haven’t fished in eight years; I just don’t have the patience for it anymore.” He explained, “you don’t fish much around here anyway, these guys, they just don’t find anything else to do, they have a tent there and everything”. He watched the men along with us for a couple of minutes more, before waving us goodbye, insisting that the catch “wasn’t gonna happen.”

The fishermen were getting anxious, the moving further down the lighthouse, being led by the fish until they reached an area where rocks were now seeping from the water.

“I bet you this fish has been caught like this before”, the husband confidently assured, “he’s taken them there on purpose”.

“Why don’t they just yank him out?” the wife asked.

“That fish is too big, you need to let him tire, the thing is, he is the one who is tiring the fishermen out”. He replied.

The man with the green cap was cursing as he grasped onto the rod, fully aware of the expectation around him. The lad with the helmet would look up at us and the spectators and nervously look back down, playing with the fishnet in his hand. The fishermen had tried to stop jerking, to stop the hook from widening the cut and allowing it to come out. He needed it tight, stabbing the fish, wearing it out.

A cat joined us in the crowd. Small and spotty he licked his lips, perhaps waiting for the catch to be another disappointment, or a snack for him. He purred and strolled up and down, before sitting and watching with us.

***

“Why the hell are you still there? You 25 year old mummy’s boy, why are you blaming everyone else for your bitterness? You bring it on yourself!”

These are hard words to take and harder to accept when they are true. I had put too much faith on those around me, on their assurances that everything would be fine, on making plans on other people’s terms, and I blamed them for it, when really there was no one to blame for myself. I had made myself deteriorate into half the person I used to be, all on my own doings.

“When this so called crisis ends, there will be new people, younger and more prepared people getting your job, you will be old and surplus to requirements. You would be a waste of time, talent, everything.”

So what exactly could I do? Apart from hear obvious realities. The truth is, I ask myself why I became a journalist. Do I really have it in me? If I did, then why am I wasting away? Why am I not being used? Why does nobody admire me?  On the contrary, I have become a burden to those around me, even those who once loved me, who perhaps have yet to find the coldness to tell me that my presence is a discomfort for them. I have learned to not hope, I have learned that love can be encumbered when you are no longer admirable, that for those who have the wind in favour there are plenty of other fish in the sea, and that either you make the most of the moment or you are disposable. Maybe I am waiting too long for that big chance, maybe it will never come, or it did and I failed to catch it. Maybe it is too late for anything and I need to leave everything behind and start again, only now it is harder.

***

The woman had hidden her camera in her purse, and mine was also in its cover. The fisherman stood hunched over the rock where the big fish had hidden under. The line had gotten caught between the rock and the algae and was stuck.

“Well, if you want I can bring your tent over here?”, a colleague asked him.

The fisherman scowled at the rock and shouted “Not even God could get this bastard out!”

The man with the helmet was stood by his side, his hands on his waist, the fishing net on the floor. His body language said it all, for he had long lost his hope of catching the big one. He had imagined the big catch, the crowd exclaiming in praise, the moment he had been waiting for. His friends congratulating him as he drank beer with them. That big fish, the one he never even got to see, but that he had in his grasp.

The man in the cap took one last jerk in anger and broke the cord, he yanked the rod and walked away cussing, leaving the man with the helmet staring at the rocks where the big fish was hiding.

“It’s a pity”, the woman said by my side, “they were almost good enough to be part of my holiday album”. I smiled and walked away with them back to the beginning of the lighthouse. The cat disappeared under some blocks and the crowd dispersed, all this, while the man in the helmet picked up his net and stood still, knowing that he had lost his big moment, after so long waiting and waiting, he divergently debated with himself what he should do next.

The Last Weekend of Summer

In Rant, The Gonzo Diplomat on September 18, 2010 at 1:47 am

We were practically thrown over the barstool, sipping on some watered down Mojitos in a cocktail glass served with a straw. Around us girls walked in short skirts, and strapped vests, showing tanned and peeling shoulders over strong perfume and the clap clop of broken heels. It was the seventh time I had looked at my watch- an almost impulsive reaction- and it was also the seventh time I had remembered that the bastard had stopped sometime between 11 and 2:30 and I had no idea what time it really was.

In front of me I had a charade of poor jokes and sexist comments, I tried to smile but I had cut myself shaving after a mosquito buzzed past my ear as the razor landed above my lip. Nobody could notice, but it annoyed the hell out of me. Everything around me annoyed the hell out of me. It was the last weekend of summer, and you could sense the nostalgia in the air, and the forced intentions to try to make the night special, when in fact, it had been dire.

This guy called Joe, who had refused to tell me his real name because it was “too difficult to pronounce”, he just stood there staring at the girls, the tackier the better, the kind of girls who wore yesterday’s shirt and drowned the sweat with deodorant and hairspray, his eyes widening.  Every now and then he would prod me with his finger and say, “three o´clock” or “six o´clock”, and I would discretely, or not so discretely, turn and find a busty Russian girl with sex doll lips, sipping on some fruity alcopop and pouting like there was no tomorrow. As I would turn back, he’d be nodding like some sex mad pervert at me, his thumbs up and his grin wrapped around his face like a towel. “Spectacular”, I would lie, and he would resume his bird watching notifying me that he would “keep me informed on any new arrivals”.

The other guy, Phil, he is talking non-stop about who gives a shit what. It makes me feel guilty at times, the fact that he is opening his heart and telling me his life, his insecurities and his dilemmas and that I am paying no attention to it, but then my common sense gives me a kick in the balls, and I remember that he has no heart, just a puffed up chest, full of feathers made so that he can strut around like a champ.

“So, she thinks she can tell me what to do, but in the end, she always calls me crying man. Always.  I can treat her like shit, I tell you, but she will always come back crying. That is the effect I have on women…”

The effect he has on certain types of women, I ponder, the ones who I would rather avoid. The vultures, likes the ones perched around me. These girls, they don’t look at your hair, your expression, or your sense of humour, these girls go straight for your car, your shoes, your watch. They check to see with what kind of notes you’re paying with, and what your wallet looks like. They know brands you have never even heard of, and I’m not referring to Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Versace or Christian Dior, they know if your watch is a Chaumet, a Cartier or a Brequet and all those names send signals down their spine and down towards their libido. They wouldn’t care if Phil was one metre sixty five, had a beer belly and tended to gel his hair back to try and hide his first bald patches. All they knew was that he drove a Jaguar and that he loved himself.

“…they adore me. Ed, you reach a stage in your life, when you have done so much and earned so much money, that you literally shit on everybody else’s life. I don’t give a fuck about these people around me, because I will always be more respected than them, I have a good life. Suzanne, she knows that, and I have her trapped because of that.”

My head wanders off again, I don’t need to hear this anymore, he just carries on and on, and even when I try to give him some feedback he halts me with his hand and says “wait, wait,” and continues spraying shit out his mouth. Every now and then, I feel a prod on my side, and a murmur of “oh my God, look at eight o’clock”.

These girls, they don’t see that Phil has a disgusting tendency of picking his ear with his little finger and smelling it. Or that his breath smells like dog fart. They just admire the confidence in his stroll, the efficiency in the way he sells himself, I mean, in a different way, he had also sold himself to me. To what extent are women this way? Are men really the superficial ones? If Phil’s words were true, is civilization doomed?

The lights flicker out in the port bar; the only lights surrounding us are on the trail to the lighthouse. Sparklers begin to ignite on the centre stage, where before an Arab dancer had tried to woo the crowd, and some dumb jock had tried to sing an Usher song, they quickly spread throughout the dance floor and near the bar. A waitress walks up to Phil and asks him if he wants to hold a sparkler, he looks in repulse and says “I don’t want to hold anything”. The waitress, she smiles at him and says “ah don’t be so grumpy”. Joe’s mouth is wide open at this time. Meanwhile John Lennon’s Give Peace a chance is boosting around us.

The music is too loud for Phil to resume his dialogue, and so I am given some peace. I look at the crowd around me, waving the sparklers to such a tune, most of whom probably don’t even know what the damn song is about, and I wonder how long left until I leave this place. How long is this limbo going to last? How long must I repent for my sins, and when will I be freed from them?

The summer sun has long faded, the sunshine is weaker and the days are starting to get shorter. True, it is only September, but I swear I have felt stronger sunshine than this in previous years. The wind is sharper, the night is jagged, how long do I think I can last without a jacket? How long until the scarf makes its return? How long until I wake up feeling new? How long do I need to give importance or be affected by people who should already be out of my life? Forgive me for I have sinned, but give me a new chance and let me get out of this shithole.

The beaches are emptier, kids don’t run around them anymore, and the people who are brave enough to swim in the water do so with the sadness of saying goodbye for another year. They play with the waves and let the water trickle through their hands. The walk out slowly and stroke the sea, and when they leave the shore, they look back. It is always sad to depart, especially when times have been great, but I refuse to look back.

The sparkles have flickered out, and I see Phil turn to carry on talking and I prepare to hold my breath. Back in limbo, will someone wake me up? And just then I feel a prod as Joe confirms to me that there is a hot go-go at eleven o’clock.

Summer...it's over, man.

Still Waiting…

In The Gonzo Diplomat on September 10, 2010 at 2:12 am

Still waiting. For a rush I don’t even know how to explain. A sense of wonder to turn things around. Breathless and overwhelming, inside my days, inside this routine that has long gone off course. I slumber around torn in pieces, trying to shed my skin, layer upon layer, the depth of what I have become is too much. What lies beneath? Only dust? Will the Light just disappear? I mean, maybe all this is just a dream, and when I wake I am two years back, and the warmth is still around me, and I am there present in everything, I hear the breath of life in the streets outside, and I haven’t faded.

I live inside the same day, yesterday was like today, the only change might be the weather, and my eyes no longer tell the difference between one and another, like two strangers whose face you soon forget, and everyone moves on, but I still stand staring through the years.

I could just be stalled, and I am saving myself for the moment, to prove all that I have to prove, as the years pass and I get older, my spirit grows colder and I lose to fate and luck yet again.

It was you that brought this to me again, tore me a little bit more, saw my eyes beginning to rust, my breath choking in the dust, it was true that time has little empathy on those who stand and watch it pass by.

Will I be leaving soon? I want to hold my life by the reign and make a move that proves its worth and not the nothingness I see in misty reflections; to live a life and dance with shadows, to not fall apart in o the depth of despair and wishful thinking of things that will never even be there. To disappear and come back new, sharper, brighter, to not depend on what others are doing, I think it’s a change I need.

The strangest thing is that good things come slowly, without noise, when you’re alone and no weight is upon you, and all of a sudden a smile appears upon your face. The strangest feeling, a boost that no one will understand but you, and you dare not let anybody spoil it. That rush, that hope, that hidden fate, I long for it, I loathe those who have it, I sit in darkness and confusion. I sit and wait.