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

miércoles, 28 de febrero de 2018

Adolescence


   The taste of iron was not to be ignored. Maybe it was because of the cold that had swept through the city around those days, the fact was that the gun tasted like pure iron and the taste was enough for Felicia to pull it out of her mouth and put it back on the wooden box her mother kept it in case robbers or someone broke into the house. Felicia’s eyes were flooding with tears, so she ran to the hallway bathroom and thoroughly washed her face, trying to eliminate her feeling while doing it.

 She looked at her own eyes and nose and skin once she was done but everything she had been feeling was still there: her insecurities and self-hatred had not left her body just because she had taste the iron that made up a gun. She did feel a little bit less agitated and her mind seemed clearer, as if she had put on glasses or something. She dried up her face with a small towel, taking her time to appreciate its smell and texture. It felt as if she had never used her senses until that day.

 Felicia then walked to her room again and closed the door. She didn’t lock it though, because it didn’t really seem necessary anymore. She had dropped the whole idea of killing herself, only because of the taste of the gun. But it wasn’t only that, it was also the fact that she wasn’t really sure about what she was going to do. After all, Felicia was still a very young woman and had a whole life before her. Something inside of her told her to wait a little bit longer, to hold on for a while.

 The young woman was in high school and, as with most kids there, she had started feeling anxious when she discovered how things had change from one grade to the other. Now, all the girls in her classroom and age would be trying makeup away from teachers, drinking alcohol, smoking marihuana and even talking about their sexual experiences. Felicia, at first, thought it was all about a little group of girls that had changed in the blink of an eye but then she realized it had affected every single person her age.

 She used to enjoy talking to her friends about the shows she liked, many animated programs among them, and about some games and silly things that they liked because, after all, they were still children. Maybe not like her brother Thomas who was eleven years old, but kids anyway. They couldn’t legally drink or vote and they were still in high school trying to decipher math problems and having homework. The shift that she had witnessed seemed rushed and unexplainable but she soon learned she had to adapt soon to this new state of things.

 Felicia realized this when she started being harassed by some girls in school because of her weight. She had always been a little bit bigger than most girls but no one had ever said anything hurtful to her because of that. Now, things had changed dramatically: some people outwardly said to her how fat she was and that she looked like a pig or a boar. Sometimes it would be in a low register on the school corridors but some other times it would be right to her face, as if they wanted to see how she responded.

 She always walked on, deciding not to engage in any sort of fight. But as the school year went on, it was more and more difficult to resist. She tried to remember what she liked about school and so she decided to spend a little more time in the library. Her best friends were sadly not there for her at the moment because one of them had left for a neighboring city and the other one had just stopped talking to her out of the blue. It was probably the worst part of the whole deal.

 Anna had been her best friend since they were toddlers. They had been in each other’s houses and their parents knew each other very well. They had celebrated birthdays together, as well as spending some holidays in the same place whether it was Disneyland or a cabin in the woods. They loved to go shopping together and make fun of everything and everyone, along with their mutual friend Jeff. They were basically sisters for more than fourteen years and now all of that had disappeared for no apparent reason.

 They had not talked over the summer because Anna had left for a long trip with her parents and she never contacted Felicia after she had arrived. Felicia didn’t think much of it but she quickly realized in school that everything had changed between them. She had tried to come close to chat for a while but it was obvious Anna had no desire to interact with her. So Felicia stopped trying and the relationship died a sad and unexpected death pretty soon. It was devastating for Felicia.

She even called Jeff to tell him about it and he was kind enough to hear about all of it but the thing was that Jeff had some problems of his own. His parents were divorcing and it wasn’t clear what was going to happen with him after that. He had told his parents he wanted to go back to were he had friends and family but his parents didn’t seem to care a lot about what he had to say. They were too busy accusing each other of something, so Jeff couldn’t really be there for Felicia in any way. He just asked her if she was okay and that’s when she realized she wasn’t.

 After that phone call, it was the first time Felicia realized that she didn’t really feel great about the whole situation happening around her. After all, she started feeling alone and without friends, something a young person is sometimes unable to handle, as it is a necessity for them to be social and able to talk to someone if they need help or advice, and sometimes that comes from people their age who have information they personally don’t have. It’s something they need Felicia realize she didn’t have anymore.

 Her parents were another problems. They had recently begun showing signs of a certain distance forming between them. There were no family weekends anymore. Mom stayed at home while Dad went away to fish or be with his friends. And when her mom went out with her friends, Dad stayed around to be with the kids. It was nice and all for a while, but Felicia soon realized it wasn’t very normal for parents to simple not talk a lot to each other. She wondered if a divorce was looming.

 So the bullying at school, which got increasingly worse, her lack of friends and the tension at home, had all been enough for Felicia to take advantage of none of her parents being at home to get into their room and grab the gun, to the point she had it in her mouth. After she went back to her room, she started crying and she didn’t really knew why. Maybe it was because she felt weak or maybe it was because she felt very alone. It was then when she heard the door and it was her little brother.

 He had arrived from being with a friend and Felicia could hear him throwing his backpack and turning on the TV. Without thinking, she opened the door and walked to his room. He was watching cartoons and looked at her on the door when she appeared. Felicia tried to seem calm and just wanting to hang out for a bit but Thomas was no fool. It is a common mistake to think youth means ignorance when it’s nothing of the sort. He realized soon something was wrong but didn’t ask outright.

 Brother and sister spent a good chunk of the afternoon watching cartoons and sharing appreciations about them. Then, they grabbed cookies and milk and also some ice cream and ate it all just before their parents came back home. They didn’t look as happy as them.

 But all of that didn’t matter because Felicia realized she still had people around who she could trust and also that she had to take care for. The world was not going to end. She was going to face the tide with the weapons she had at hand and promised herself to survive the whole messy thing that is adolescence.

lunes, 12 de febrero de 2018

Being wild


      As he went down on me, I started looking up at the ceiling. I had been drinking quite a lot and then, he had rolled a marihuana cigarette in seconds and we had smoked it together while laughing about people that we had met in our pasts. We shared a lot and we knew it but, for the night, we had decided to remember certain things and not the whole picture. We hadn’t discussed it with so many words but it was clear to both of us the moment he had stepped in my apartment that night.

 It felt nice what he was doing and, I have to say, he looked better than ever. He had recently entered a gym and the results were already showing. Granted, he might never become an Olympic athlete or nothing like that, but he did look amazing, just like I remembered him from the past, or even better. Back then; he was tall but very skinny, with a beautiful body that had virtually no curves. I never complained then because our relationship was based on love and he had been my first love.

 This time around, however, as I closed my eyes out of pleasure, I knew that everything we did was simply based on lust. That love that had united us so many years ago had been dead for almost as long as we had been apart one from the other. We had lived a lot and we hadn’t spoken much through the years, only following each other on Facebook and such social networks where you can take a peak on the lives of others, almost always just to have something to regret.

 But then, we reinitiated our relationship by talking at least once every two months and then more and more often. As the time passed, we realized we had grown to be very different people socially but very alike in everything that had to do with sex. Sometimes, we would chat online for hours, talking about what we would do together if we could and things like that. I didn’t mind at all, as I had vowed to be a single man for a long while. I was certain that kind of flirting wouldn’t amount to anything.

 Him, however, had a very different life going on. As we started talking, he wouldn’t say much about himself and would often prefer to talk about me or about the times we had been dating. But eventually, he had to confess that he was not only dating someone, but that he had been doing so for more than a couple of years. Furthermore, he hinted to me once that his partner had proposed to him with a ring and everything one would imagine, but that they had agreed on marrying after they were able to afford living together and everything that came with that.

 At first, I had decided to slowly pull away from that friendship of sorts we had developed. For a while, I couldn’t understand why someone that was almost married would talk to me like he did. Furthermore, it was outstanding to read how he described my body with a precision I would never imagine a surgeon to have, much less a boyfriend I had spent less than half a year with. It scared me but at the same time it felt very flattering, as no one else was telling me the things he said so often.

 Then, one day, he wrote to me on my cellphone one afternoon. It was a weekday and he just said “Hi”. I said the same thing and then we engaged on the typical conversation one has with any living person: we talked about what was going on with both our lives, what we were doing right then and there and, finally, the weather and such things most people don’t really care about. Then, after about fifteen minutes of filler, he finally said what he had been wanting to say for a while: “I’m alone in my house now…”

 I immediately understood what he meant with that. He clearly wanted me to drop by and have sex with him. In minutes, he confessed he had been thinking of me for some time and that he wanted to feel again what he had felt with me back in the day. He was very flattering, telling me a bunch of stuff I was very glad to read. He told me I had been the best lover he had ever had and that my body was ingrained in his memory forever. He said all the right words, in the right order.

 However, I was reluctant because I remembered his almost husband. And I have to confess something: I have not been an angel all my life. I have been known to go to bed with people that had previous engagements, me knowing about the whole thing. The difference this time was that I actually knew him and I had been in a relationship with him. Somehow, that changed it all and I had to lie in order not to meet him for sex. One part of me wanted to but my true soul gained the upper hand.

 Not that my decision changed anything. Especially not after, one night during a shopping spree with a friend, I stumbled upon my former boyfriend and his fiancée. We couldn’t just pretend we hadn’t run into each other, so we decided to shake hands and talked a little in the middle of the mall. I don’t know how, but I ended up chatting it up with his partner and I have to say I found him to be a very nice person. He wasn’t the type of man I had envisioned for my former lover, but he was undeniable a good person and I understood why that relationship had formed and had lived through the years.

 However, I had no idea why the guy wanted to cheat on that nice man. I didn’t understand it at all and didn’t understood either when he called me out of the blue in order to invite me to a “game night” at their place. According to my former boyfriend, it had been his fiancée’s idea. I struggled with the decision of whether to go or not but finally the decision was taken for me, when the fiancée himself called me on my cellphone and begged for my presence. After that, I couldn’t say no.

 The evening, I have to say, was pretty tame. They drank conservatively and their jokes were just like their level of general fun: just average. Other friends of theirs were there, thank God, so the evening passed without a hitch until my ex-lover pulled me aside on the kitchen, touched my genitals over the fabric of the pants I was wearing, and told to my ear that he really wanted to fuck around with me. When he realized nothing could happen there, he told me the story he had created for his almost husband.

 He hadn’t told him that I was a former lover or boyfriend. He told him we had gone to college together and that we had gone out several times together because of mutual friends. But his lies proved unnecessary, because his fiancée never asked anything. He was being a gracious host and a nice person overall, not drilling into people’s lives or anything like that. That made me feel even worse when I got home. So that’s why I’m staring at the ceiling right now, trying not to think a lot or feel much.

 When he came back to kiss me on the lips, I did it in a very distracted fashion. He had come in to my apartment out of nowhere, as his fiancée had left the city for a couple of days because of a death in the family. He was in mourning, who know where, as the love of his life was getting rid of all his clothes and my clothes as well. Yes, I felt guilt but then I realized, or told myself at least, that none of that was my doing. I wasn’t the one doing something wrong, or so I told myself.

 As I had sex with him, I tried to dedicate my senses to the moment. The marihuana kicked in right when it had to. I heard his moans and I felt the heart of his body very close to mine. And we spent hours doing the same thing, in different ways.

 When he left early the following day, I realized that I was one kind of person. And I have to tell everyone that I’m not ashamed of that. I am the person that fucks someone that wants it and I’m the person that does something knowing the consequences and ramifications it could have, if any.

miércoles, 7 de febrero de 2018

Fired

   Everything that could go wrong with that meeting had gone very wrong. The copies that Thomas had to give every single member of the board had been misprinted and he had not bothered to look before because time was of the essence and he had to arrange for the menu at lunch, the position of every single person in the room and even taking into account if they like the sun or not or if they have fallen out of grace with the big boss, something that was kind of important.

 After the copies, it was precisely the lunch menu that went to shit: the people from the catering service had mistakenly delivered a huge amount of vegan lunches instead of the pork or fish ones Thomas had ordered. It was only hours later, when none of that mattered anymore, that the lady from the service called to ask if she would be able to get the vegan lunches back because the clients that had ordered them were refusing to eat anything else. Thomas didn’t even bothered to tell her about his day.

 Besides that, the projector with every single slide from the big boss’s presentation had suddenly stopped working midway through the meeting and it had refused to turn itself back on. They called on every single technician in the building, but none of them were able to bring the machine back to life. Even worse than that, the cause of the whole mess had been some sort of power problem with the building’s wiring that had also fried the big boss’s portable computer.

 They tried to revive that too but it was obvious it wouldn’t work ever again. To call people down, he assured them he had a copy somewhere but that was bullshit. The person that managed the storage of the documents and the slides in the presentation, from that laptop, was Thomas. And he had created a copy of the document but had done so on an old removable drive that had been corrupted a long time ago with a very potent virus. Luckily, he had lost the drive at some time during the day.

 Of course, the meeting had to continue with a verbal presentation, with no images and no support documents on paper for the members of the board. Thomas had to stay put right there, next to the technicians that were still trying to save both machines. It was obvious they were doing so because the big boss was there. If it had been someone else’s computer, they would have just thrown the thing on a garbage bin and get on with it. But they couldn’t and Thomas couldn’t move because his boss had asked him, without really looking at him, to stay there.

 The outcome of that awful day was obvious: Thomas was fired at the end of that day and he was asked to grab everything of his right then. The boss told him he had been on of the worst, if not the worst, assistant he had ever had. He refused to give a recommendation of any kind and only wished Thomas luck, but not to find a new job. He told him he hoped he could get a brain or something that would work to make the world less of a pain in the ass while he was in existence.

 The words resonated with him for days, from the moment he put his belongings on a box and carried them all the way home, to the following days when he had to make a plan in order to survive with the small amount of money he had saved from that job. It was going to be very hard, especially because he was well aware that finding work was not going to be easy. As a matter of fact, finding the one, which he had been fired from, had been almost impossible and had only happened because of a friend.

 He actually felt the responsibility to tell that friend and he was very comprehensible. He told Thomas that, by what he was saying, he had simply been fired because the day had gone very wrong. Some of the things that had happened had been his fault, no doubt there, but others had been stuff that he wouldn’t have been able to control, even if he had wanted to. But his friend Fred had been most interested by the words the big boss had told Thomas when leaving.

 So interested in fact, that he asked Thomas to tell him the story, word for word, at least five times. Then, he grabbed a napkin from the place they were having a drink in and asked the waiter for something to write with. When he had to pen on his hand, he asked Thomas to say the words again. And Thomas had no problem with that because he was already a bit drunk and also because those words had resonated in his head, exactly as the man had said them, from the day he had been fired.

 His friend, when dropping him home, told him he was certain he could do something with those words. Thomas had no idea what Fred was talking about. The truth was that he only wanted to sleep and maybe just stay beneath the covers for some weeks. He wanted to have a moment to think about the next step to take in his live. It was nice of Fred to worry so much about him and about how he had been fired, but it was obvious he knew that Thomas had to move on and just see what else life had in store for him. That was his last thought before falling asleep.

 A week later, Fred called Thomas and then visited him shortly after. Thomas had been in several interviews for the last few days, but the truth was he had not been getting lucky at all. Most jobs involved things that were beneath him, and he knew that to be true. After all, he had gone places, studied a lot and spent a lot of money in education. And now he was going to ask for position in a call center and managing a register in some retail store. It was a bit degrading, to be honest.

 Fred only told him to keep trying. He seemed worried but also kind of happy. He has this expression on his face, which is very tricky to explain. Thomas didn’t ask what he was up to because he really didn’t want problems thrown at him. He couldn’t talk more drama or more denial or anything else that would make him feel like shit. He only wanted stability and it was clear that stability did not want anything to do with him. They spent the afternoon talking, Fred grinning every once in a while.

 It was kind of late when Fred finally revealed his intentions to Thomas: he had been talking with a good friend of his, a lawyer. Apparently, she was an expert on cases when people had been fired without any real reasons or in a manner that wasn’t the right one. Thomas was fearful of what Fred had planned but his friend assured him they could easily win a case against the company he had worked with. The only thing they needed was proof of the words that the big boss had told Thomas.

 They spent weeks looking for that. It seemed unlikely that the big boss would have a camera or a microphone in his office and Thomas was certain that he hadn’t been recording that dreadful evening with his cellphone or something. They tried security cameras and even other workers but at the end, they found that the answer had been literally seating there the whole time. Unbeknownst to Thomas, the big boss’s laptop had not really been destroyed by the power surge. It had been kind of working the whole time.

 The surge had opened and closed several programs, erasing some content also. But one of the programs opened was the microphone function that let people record audio with their laptop. And as the technicians had left the computer inside the big boss’s office after the meeting…


 Thomas got a good amount of money for the way he was fired, for the words that a powerful man had thrown at him. Those words had made him realized that he wasn’t worthless. But also, he realized what he wanted to do next. And he was going to need his friend Fred and that lawyer to accomplish it.