Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta pictures. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta pictures. Mostrar todas las entradas

miércoles, 11 de abril de 2018

What is content?


   The world today is all about making things, producing whatever it is you want in the hopes that someone, somewhere, would want to own in some way, whatever it is you have made. Content creation is the biggest thing nowadays and the fun part of it all is that the ones who create that content are not even good at creating anything. They just grab the best parts of what interests people the most and they mash that up together in order to create something that will attract people to it.

 Usually, content means videos, texts and pictures, all trying to call your attention into something you are probably interesting in. There so many things around right now, that we can say for sure that there is something for everyone. Is not like in the past when people had to go places to look for what they liked and maybe what they liked was not widely available or was even forbidden. Nowadays, every single kind of content is available in your home, without even moving from your bed.

 And people complain about that. Actually, they have two ways of complaining: they want more information, even easier to attain at every single moment in their lives and every single place in the planet. But others want the opposite. As always in human history, there’s always a group, a very vocal one, that advocates for a return to the old days when everything was done by hand and when people didn’t have the same freedoms they have today. They phrase it differently but you know what I mean.

 I won’t say that these kind of people want less freedoms and less information, because many of them just want to be freed from things like social media and the pressures of modern life, but I bet there are some of them who don’t really like the fact that information gives freedom, it gives us power to know that there’s something better out there. Information is knowledge and knowledge is a big power that can never be underestimated. Just ask the ones that have used it to their advantage.

 Of course, not every single piece of information is valuable; just as not every single piece of content is good or even worth a look. We are being dumped tons and tons of shit every single day into our mind, by people and even by computer generated automatic services that read into what we like and enjoy, deciding then to sell us whatever it is they are pushing somewhere in the world or maybe closer to home. Maybe they want us to buy tickets for a sport event, or music from various artists. Maybe they even want us to buy time with some other person or a game that can shield us from the pressures mentioned before.

 This world is surprising in that it has some things that are surprising, amazing if you will, but there are others that have always remained the same. For one, our naiveté is still a big problem when someone else wants us to believe in whatever it is they are talking about or whatever they are trying us to do.  We are still very much a silly little creature that had the luck to evolve into something a little bit more versatile and interesting. And yet, we still like to believe what we know are lies.

 Maybe its because people have gotten used to having everything at hand, just in front of them, so they have left their defense mechanisms in a dark corner inside their minds, where it cannot help them when someone wants to take advantage of them. Humans have decided, actively, to let their guard down and just enjoy all the good things of being the most evolved creature on the planet’s surface. Sadly enough, there are bad things too and there are many bad humans around to make our lives not like a dream.

 But we were talking about content. And how does this all relate to that? Very simple: the content machine that has been created, where people ask for “community managers” in their companies, is all about trying to make us thing one thing that may not be true. Actually, it’s mostly never true. We are now offered various options and we have to decide which one is the real one, which will make us happy for sure. And when we decide, we mostly choose the most visual striking option.

 That’s because we are humans, we are attracted to everything that goes inside our heads through our eyes. It has always been like that, ever since publicity was created and all the attempts to sell whatever it is they were selling. Because you can better believe that every single piece of content today wants to sell you something. Only a small fraction has been created for your pure enjoyment and even that can be put into question. It’s all about buying, about exchanges between people that can go right or wrong.

 But the truth is that we don’t really mind at all. We don’t care what it is they want to do with us. We just conclude that it is all a tale trying to make us feel scared about big companies and the government and how the mighty God of capitalism works. Our reaction is one of contempt for the ones that try to warn us about the bad things behind this society that has become a huge marketplace where everything is exchanged, no matter what. There is always a buyer and there is always someone selling exactly what we are looking for, what we want the most.

 We don’t know how else to live anymore. If everything disappeared tomorrow, many people would collapse on the spot, not knowing what to expect from the world. And that’s very important, because people feel safe in this huge marketplace, they know how everything works and they like that. The unknown has only ever attracted a very small amount of people, the real adventure of not knowing what lies beyond. Most of us like a good routine and we stick to it even if we complain daily about it.

Well, that’s what content is all about. It’s brings a cozy feeling to people that sometimes think the world might be going down any day now. That’s why even the news coverage in general has changed, in order to adapt reality, those things that we always thought that they couldn’t be manipulated. History changes or at least the way we look at it. Our perspective is no longer ours, but someone else’s, someone behind a computer who wrote exactly what we are going to think about a certain subject.

 And I have bad news: they have succeeded. Because people are not critical anymore, they just listen and listen, read and read, they think they are building their own opinion but they are not. They are just choosing what they like from what they’ve heard and seen, not really digging deep into anything. That’s too much work.

 That’s how we live nowadays. So if we can still fight, making the kind of content that is free from everything and every form, maybe that way we can still have a little window of hope. Maybe that way we can actually give people hope for the future and even for a present that looks like one thing but that is most likely something else.

viernes, 9 de marzo de 2018

Julia in the desert


   The stars seemed to be very close. Somehow, the sky in such a remote area of the world was different than what you would see in other parts. Julia was lying down on a think towel she had purchased before the trip and she started counting the stars but she got lost and tired quickly. She hadn’t even removed her boots before lying down and now she was falling asleep, in the middle of the desert. She hadn’t prepared her tent or any food. She was much too tired after her first day.

 Early next morning, she was woken up by a tickling on her stomach. Julia didn’t really open her eyes immediately. But as the tickling persisted, she decided to sit down and properly wake up. She stood up in fear once she realized the tickling came from the tough little legs of a scorpion that was parading itself all along her body. She checked herself for any stings but there was nothing. It was clear that, if the creature had stung her, she would be in severe pain.

 Julia decided to spend her second day looking for a better camping spot. She walked half that day all along the desert and the small patches of life she could find, until she found a small group of thin trees. They gave some shadow from the sun, which was perfect because it had started coming out behind big clouds and it was insufferable to walk like that. She was able to put up her tent in a few minutes and get inside before the full power of the sun was displayed. Thankfully, she had bought the right tent.

 She smiled at the thought of her looking around several stores until she found the right one. It was clear that many of the employees at all the stores didn’t really believe her when she stated she was going camping in the middle of the desert. She even explained to them she was studying biology and that was the perfect way to get more comfortable with future trips she might have to endure. But apparently she looked too “girly” and too “nice” to be the type of woman that goes camping.

 Julia even imagined that they pictured her doing her nails inside of her tent or maybe bringing a man with her in order to repel bugs and others animals. But she couldn’t care about all of that, about what she thought they were thinking or about what they were actually thinking. She could only care about her priorities and her first one was to become the best biologist ever. She really loved the profession but had always had a certain fear and disgust towards going camping or working in the middle of a jungle or any wild place. So Julia forced herself to camp and live through it alone.

 She sat down on the tent and removed her boots after almost a day of use. Of course, her feet smelled awful but it was the price to pay for such an adventure. Besides, she was certain that a source of water would be around and she would take advantage of that the moment she found it. Meanwhile, she had to conform with removing her boots and socks and giving her aching feet some air to relax. She opened her backpack, grabbed a couple of power bars and ate them in a few minutes.

 Food was one of the big problems she had to face doing what she was doing. It  wasn’t like she was prepared from day one to hunt and eat anything she found. Besides, she was in a desert and the amount of animals there was severely reduced. It wasn’t as if she was in the middle of a beautiful European forest where she could hunt down boars and roast them slowly over a nice fire. She couldn’t do that, so she had prepared herself with lots of cereal bars and small foods that she could move around easily.

 It wasn’t the best meal ever, but at least she had fresh water, which was enough to make her feel alive once again. She lay down for a bit and realized she hadn’t really done much related to biology. The closes thing had been her encounter with the scorpion and she had run so fast after that, that she was ashamed to call herself a scientist. So after relaxing for a bit, she put on her socks and boots again and a baseball cap her dad had given her before departure.

Then, she went outside to check for animal life outside the tent. Julia found some interesting bugs near the thin trees and was able to take pictures with her cellphone. She had a better camera inside her backpack but she really didn’t want to be fixing its configuration when trying to take the picture of a small creature. She promised herself to check the camera features before going to bed. She saw some more scorpions, as well as tiny spiders that seemed to like underneath the hot desert sand.

 When going back inside her tent, a powerful noise attracted her attention upwards and she realized a very rare visitor was flying over her. Before leaving her house, Julia had checked all the information she could about that part of the country, so she was well aware of the existence of such a majestic creature. It had a very large wingspan but its body was rather small. Its feathers were light yellow, in order to reflect the sun light and being able to blind its prey with them. It was such a beautiful design nature had achieved, so of course Julia took lots of pictures.

 Later that day, and after eating a whole tuna can with beans, Julia uploaded the cellphone pictures onto her laptop. She had brought several spare batteries for it, but even so she decided to limit her computer time to only an hour a day. She erased the pictures that she didn’t like and was about to turn off the computer when she decided to look at some of the other pictures she had on her laptop. Family pictures, others with friends and some at college too. She was smiling in most, not in all of them.

 She even laughed out loud when she realized she had a couple of pictures of her old boyfriends. She hadn’t seen any of them in a long time, as they had been only high school crushes and nothing more. Yeah, she had gone with one of them to prom and with the other one on a long summer vacation. But that was it, they were both now in the past and she had to move on. Actually, it had been partly because of them she had decided to follow her dream of becoming a biologist. They didn’t think it was a realistic dream.

 After turning off the computer and putting it away, she decided to grab the camera to fix the settings before using it the next day. She had bought that second hand camera online and had never touched more than a couple of times to know it could be turned on and off. That was it. Now she had to put everything in the right setting in order to capture the perfect pictures in the scorching desert. But as she wasn’t very good with things like that, Julia soon fell asleep with the camera on her chest.

 The next day, she woke up to see the camera had rolled to the side. She grabbed it to put away but then the bird with yellow feathers screamed loudly. Because this time, it did seem like a scream and not like the beautiful chant of a majestic bird. Julia stepped outside barefoot, only to see the sky was very dark and that the bird was on top of the nearby thin trees. The bird let out another “scream” and suddenly flew over Julia and away from the tree area. It seemed to be escaping something.

 Only moments afterwards, the ground began shaking violently. Julia fell to her knees and saw how her tent moved around as if tossed by some invisible force. She tried t o crawl her way back inside the tent but the earthquake stopped right before she was able to get it.

 Inside, all of her stuff had spilled out of the backpack. Food, the camera, phone and laptop, everything was upside down. The bird had warned her right in time. She was thankful and realized she had made the right choice by spending two weeks in that desert. She was going to make the best of it.

viernes, 8 de septiembre de 2017

Liz

   The album filled with pictures from her childhood had to be somewhere handy. She would always bring it out when her children visited and now it was nowhere to be seen. She looked for it beneath the sofa, inside very shelf and drawer and even on the small and cramped space above the house that people called an attic but it was not as big as she thought an attic should be. She had to bring out a stick to bring down the stairs and at her age it was not an easy thing to do.

 Liz was her name and she had never been too fond of her name. Her mother had named her after Queen Elizabeth and her father had agreed. She would always ask her dad why he had let that happened and he never thought she was speaking seriously. The truth was that Liz didn’t feel anything like a queen, specially living in such a secluded place, when most people didn’t even care about such things. She would have wanted a simpler name, a more normal one in a way.

 Finally, she found the album behind a big chair near the curtain. It was right then when the wind broke the glass and she was forced to duck down, scared a big piece would cut her face or any part of her body. After all, Liz was all alone in that house and the only way to get to a shelter was to go down the road towards the town, where a big sports venue had been built more to shelter people when hurricanes happened than for hosting sporting events, rare in the island.

 When she realized the glass had fallen far from her body, Liz stood up and decided it was time to get into the car. The keys were on the dining table, next to her jacket. It was a bright yellow jacket, which came with a hat of the same color. Her niece had bought it for her in a big fancy store in New York and she had to accept it in order not to make her sad. The truth was that Liz had never liked yellow but with that rain, the jacket had finally become pertinent in her small world.

 Before heading outside, she stood up in the middle of her living room, looking around, trying to remember if she had left something. There was a backpack with some clothes in the car, along with Jim, an orange cat that had accompanied her for the last three years. Besides that, she had her album beneath the jacket, to protect it from the water, and she was closing her right hand around the car keys. She then realized that, maybe; she would never see her home ever again. That realization sunk her heart a bit but her feet suddenly moved.

 Moments later, she was shaking her gray her in the car and Jim was meowing like crazy. He was sitting in the copilot’s seat and he seemed to be a bit scared of the storm. Honestly, it was much stronger that what Liz had predicted. The wind was moving the car, so it felt as if she was in the middle of an earthquake. On the windshield, lots of water was pouring down. It was impossible to see beyond the car’s hood. The lights of the town were nowhere to be seen and the sun had been lost.

 Nevertheless, Liz turned on the ignition and started moving her car very slowly down the road. It had been a great idea by her son Richard to pave the road all the way down to the village. They had made a big garage sale and with the money they had managed to fix the access to the house. It was one of those things George had always hated about living right there, far from his beloved ocean. But the properties down there could only be afford by the wealthy and they weren’t any of that.

 It had been George who had discovered the island, in a way. He had been there while doing business and he had fallen in love with birds and the ocean and the lush green soft hills all over the place. When he visited, the island only had a couple hundred people living in it. His insurance business could do great with things like hurricanes. Liz laughed when remembering that, she thought the irony of him never seen such a storm living there having insured the whole island was just too funny.

 Maybe too funny indeed because it was right then when she accidentally stepped on the accelerator and the car when downhill fast for a few meters before she could react properly and hit the breaks. When the car stopped, Liz was very scared and Jim was meowing even more than before. But she wasn’t afraid of the storm. She had lived through others after her husband had died. The thing was that she was certain to have seen a man outside, through the windshield, before pushing the brakes.

 It was getting darker outside and Liz didn’t dare to step outside the car and check if everything was right, if it was her eyes that were creating mirages in front of her or if something had actually happened. Jim fell silent and that for Liz was louder than an alarm. She put on her hat again and opened the door, letting in lots of water and wind into the car. Jim didn’t say anything; he seemed to be too preoccupied for that. Liz was about to close the car door when she felt something on the pavement. She screamed the moment a hand grabbed her left ankle.

 But it wasn’t a zombie or anything of the sort. It was a man, a black skinned man, much younger than her. He was very weak and his hand soon fell to the floor from her ankle. Liz kneeled in front of him and touched his face. He was very cold and it was obvious he had been outside for too long. Maybe he was extremely sick. There was no one near and screaming didn’t help at all. The wind was howling much too hard for anyone to notice her, even if they were close.

 Liz grabbed the man’s face again and she gently patted her cheeks. Seeing nothing happened, she slapped him harder. The man opened his eyes and he started mumbling but nothing made sense. There was no reason for him been there, unless he had gotten lost in the storm. Maybe he had left his house after the rest of his family and then he had just lost track of them in the storm. No one, not even the youngest person, could ever see a thing or two with all that rain, haze and wind.

 The older woman decided to do the only thing that made sense. She opened one of the back doors or her car and then grabbed the man by the armpits. She pulled as much as she could. It took her a while to get him close to the door. Then she slapped him again and managed to make him help her, by raising his waist a little bit. That was enough to get him in the car. She pushed his body gently by closing the door and then she hopped on the vehicle, all wet. Liz had lost her hat and she hadn’t realized.

 It was easier to go up that road backwards, than moving down. She knows that at full speed, she would be back home in less than a minute. Liz stopped the car right before she hit her house. Jim had jumped to the back seat and had helped by keeping the man awake, although he kept trying to talk, as if he was in the middle of a very deep dream. Urged by the situation, Liz grabbed the man by an arm and took him to the house. Jim followed, unbothered by the rain. The car had been left open.

 Liz left the man in the small room beneath the stairs. He would be safe there. She would hide in a tiny cellar that her husband had built beneath the kitchen to keep his wine bottles cold. She took the bottles out and snuggled with Jim in the cramped space.


 Few minutes had passed when she heard a horrible noise, as if a tree had been pulled out of the ground. It was awful. She closed her eyes in horror. But instead of remembering something comforting, she reminded herself of the album she had left in the car. Her memories were gone.

lunes, 8 de mayo de 2017

Inside

   Of the first night, I only remember when one of the nurses looked at me and she had this weird expression on her face. It wasn’t really fear but something else. Maybe it was pity or something similar. Anyways, I will always remember her face over mine, looking down on me. I felt I was already on the hole to be buried. You tend to get very dramatic when you’re sick. And that was the first time I was really sick. Doctors would tell me, months later, that I could have died.

 It was the fever that prevented me from remembering anything from that first day. But as time went by, I started remembering more and more things. For example, I know for a fact that on the second day, a male nurse came and stared at me for several minutes. I think he thought I was asleep or in a coma or something. I knew he was there because of his reflection on the window. It was very creepy. Maybe he did something to patients or something. I would know about it later.

 They gave me actual food only a week after I had entered the hospital. Before that everything had to get in me through an IV. I felt miserable, weak and fearful that so many things could happen. I was scared they would discover something in me that might mean then end of my life. I thought that stay in the hospital would be the death o f me and, again,  I don’t think you can blame someone for being overdramatic in a hospital. Awful things happen in those places every day.

 Luckily, with time, I was able to recuperate. It wasn’t fast at all but at least not every single bone in my body was aching. The pain started to go away and I was just so grateful that it was all coming to an end. I felt it was going to be going on for many more weeks but thankfully it didn’t. They did not discover anything strange, rather the opposite. What they did tell me was that I wasn’t eating well and that I should be trying to eat more regularly and more types of food.

 True, I had been neglecting my meals before getting sick. I had lost any interest in food or in anything that wasn’t going to give me what I really needed in life. I became obsessed with achieving one goal and it was then when I became ill and couldn’t even continue achieving that goal. I wanted to be successful and finally prove myself and others that I was worth something. That drive lasted shortly, as my stay in the hospital just changed everything for me. I didn’t do what to do, again. I was confused and relieved at the same time, it was pretty confusing.

 One month after leaving the hospital, I had to go back for a check up. They wanted to verify everything was ok. I had all the time needed because my ambition had been cut short and now I had no idea what to do, how to proceed. Unfortunately, I fainted in the waiting room, just as the doctor was preparing to receive me. They laid my body on a stretcher and gave me something so I could sleep for a couple of hours. Somehow, they knew I hadn’t been able to do it by myself for weeks.

 That time, they did found out that I had some sort of disease, a condition as they said. It’s very difficult to explain what it is and the name is even stranger but the point is that thing makes me weaker as time goes by. It has been inside me for a long time and now it will live in me forever until my death, which might be caused by it. Not directly but the weaknesses my body have will enable diseases and other awful stuff to just come through and attack my body in the easiest way.

 I was put in a room again and stayed in the hospital for a couple of days. I remember I cried a lot that time, because I felt I finally knew when and where I was going to die. Of course, I didn’t know for sure but it was pretty obvious that I would have to deal with something that most people have no idea about. If I had ever wanted to go back and try again l my failed attempts to be successful, with those news it seemed my world had ended and there was no way to turn it back on.

 I didn’t know what to do. When I saw my parents checking the prices of the pills I would have to take for life, I felt even more like a leech, useless and pathetic. I can recognize that I thought about killing myself but my body or something else wouldn’t let me. I found myself to feel not only weak but empty. I had nothing left inside and couldn’t even fathom the possibility of feeling anything ever again. I was in my lowest point ever and only a miracle could save me.

And it did. As it happens, I had been taking pictures and putting them online, for several years actually. I had many followers but they rarely commented. One of them was the male nurse that stood by my bed that time I got sick. I ran into him this one time, when I went for another check up. He reunited the courage to tell me he was a huge fan of mine and that he would love if I accepted to have coffee or something with him. Feeling so down, I said yes only to keep walking and reach my doctor’s office. I even gave him my cellphone number.

 Days later, he called and told me he could go near my house if I preferred. The point is, he is the most charming person in the world. We have been talking for a few months now and I think his interest and original take on everything that is happening to me, helps a lot in making me feel less sick of myself and more proud of the few things I’ve done. He makes me feel good when we’re together and that’s the best. He likes to hold my hands a lot and hugging me is a apparently a hobby for him.


 My disease is still there though and sometimes I can almost feel it moving through me. I feel like a bomb about to go off but no one knows exactly when, not me, not the doctors, not my family. But one day. The important thing is, it’s now right now and that’s something.