Thursday, February 24, 2011

In Search of Duckface

In the beginning, The Al Gore created the Information Super Highway and the World Wide Web.

And the World Wide Web was without users or content. The Al Gore made the dial-up modem and the fiber optic cable and He saw that it was good. That was the first day.

Then, The Al Gore made America Online. And He divided the American Online between chat rooms and primitive websites that offered almost nothing in the way of content. And He saw that this too, was good. That was on the second day.

The Al Gore then created the instant message. He separated the instant message between the erotic and the benign. And He was pleased. That was the third day.

On the fourth day, The Al Gore created message boards and user groups. He populated these message boards with nerds and shut-ins and all was well.

Next, The Al Gore created the .jpg and the .tif. And He divided them between the mundane and the pornographic. And He masturbated to pictures of Seven-of-Nine that took 6 hours to download, and He was pleased. That was the fifth day.

On the sixth day, The Al Gore created social networks, music downloads, the idea that anything you put on the Internet will automatically make you famous, memes, spam and perfected Internet porn, and all the multitudes did flock to Cyberspace to bask in the glory of “2 Girls 1 Cup,” “The Bed Intruder Song,” making fun of “” commercials from 2000 and other pointless diversions. And He was pleased.

On the seventh day The Al Gore got in His Hummer and drove over to Ed Begley Jr.’s house, where they enjoyed clubbing baby seals and running 10K generators to make home-made ice cream. And He saw that it was good, so He decided to win an Oscar and a Nobel Prize and secretly hate all Americans for not making Him president.


In the early days, the Internet was a wild, desolate desert, (actually an oasis for fans of Doctor Who and Red Dwarf.) Everything was pretty much limited to going into chat rooms and pretending to be a lesbian to get some sexy conversations going. Unfortunately, since everybody in those lesbian chat rooms were actually guys, it turned out to be a lot of creepy role-playing that I have blocked from my memory.

Eventually, companies started using the Internet to advertise and sell their products, and the boom occurred, leading to the bust, confusing people as to what the Internet could and could not accomplish.

A new era dawned a few years ago with the advent of the “social network.” The first popular network was Friendster. This was soon eclipsed by the far more popular Myspace, which was in turn was itself dominated by the juggernaut that is Facebook. And with these social networks, a new and curious phenomenon began to immerge in terms of photography.

Photographs are very important, when it comes to social networking. Since we are removed from being able to hear, smell or touch the people we’re talking to, we’re forced to judge and garner a better mental image of the person we’re interacting with by the written word (LoL! FML! SMH!) and by pictures.

During my travels across the cyberscape, I’ve noticed that for some reason, women are especially affected by having to post pictures of themselves online. Often times they try to create a narrative of who they are and what they look like. After months of research, observation and interviews, I have been able to classify women who post pictures of themselves into these five categories:

1. Women who are completely insecure about their looks

Defining characteristics: Very few or no pictures of themselves on their profile; pictures that are uploaded are often pictures of things, cartoon characters, actresses they wish they could be or admire, or sassy sayings like “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”

2. Women who are partly insecure about their looks

Defining characteristics: Maybe a dozen or so pictures of themselves online, however, due to insecurities, many pics are either taken from the F.G.C.A. (Fat Girl Camera Angle. It also has many synonyms, but the results are always the same: an extreme camera angle, revealing very little of the woman’s body/face, designed to give the best impression) or the U.C.P. angle, otherwise known as Up Close and Personal, wherein the camera is too close to see anything other than what the woman considers to be her best feature, i.e. eyes, lips, right earlobe, etc. Also, there will be many group photos where the woman won’t identify herself, often while standing next to or around more attractive friends. This is what is known as photo camouflage. There may also be photographs of themselves from when they were very young, or from other decades. These photos are often meant to be viewed ironically, but usually only to those in the pictures.

3. Women who aren’t insecure about their looks, but should be
Defining characteristics: Far too many photos of themselves in what they consider to be “sexy” poses, positions and clothes. Sadly, these women are very deluded, but also stubborn, you can’t tell them anything and the rest of the world is forced to witness the horror. Photos such as these have lead to the creation of many comedy websites, like

4. Women who are fine with how they look
Defining characteristics: By far the largest category of women on social networks. They have copious pictures of themselves doing a variety of things: playing sports, camping, visiting scenic locations, attending parties/bars/clubs, hanging with their friends, going to the gynecologist and more. Often, these women are also attractive, which never hurts. Although there is the subset of attractive women (usually in their teens through early 20s) who have fallen prey to the facial expression known as “Duckface.” Lips pushed forward to a ridiculous degree, head tilted to the side at an angle that suggests severe neck problems, and often eyes looking up at the sky, as if questioning where air comes from. These unfortunate women believe this expression to be cute, irreverent or silly, when in fact that makes them look like total retards. I believe this face may have originated as “Blue Steel” from the movie Zoolander, but that inbreeding and bastardization turned it into the deformed look we know today. This is just speculation however, as nothing in my research has verified this claim.

5. Camera Whores
Defining Characteristics: Too many damn pictures! Anything over 200 is way too excessive! Honestly, by the 20th picture, we’ve got a pretty good idea of what you look like. No need to go overboard. Either these women are extremely full of themselves and want to share it with the world, or they’re insecure and hope to win people over by sheer volume of photographs. The worst is when most of them are close-ups and all the close-ups have the same “this is my official camera smile” expression in them.

Do men also fall into these categories, or perhaps other, undiscovered categories? Probably, but I don’t care because I don’t check out dudes’ pictures, so I’ll leave that adventure to one of my female counterparts.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011: A preview (or, this is how the world ends)

Typically bloggers and other supposed “writers” close out the calendar year by doing a “Year In Review.” Unfortunately I’m too late (and also lazy) to do that. So, I decided instead to prognosticate and tell you what you and the rest of the world can look forward to this year. Strap on your seatbelts (I’m serious, starting in July cops will be allowed to shoot on sight people not wearing their seatbelts) it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

• The oil spill that all Americans conveniently thought was cleaned up with no ramifications, and therefore forgot about completely, will turn out to have awoken Cthulhu, High Priest to the Great Old Ones, who then decides to invade the American coast. Luckily for us, he ends up getting drunk in the French Quarter and is mugged by a down-on-his-luck Ray Nagin.

• Sarah Palin, in a gambit to make her 2012 seem more legit, decides to head back to school. To finally get her G.E.D.

• In an attempt to further their quickly dissipating 15 minutes of fame, Lady GaGa and Justin Beiber perform experimental surgery to be combined into one*. The experiment goes awry when they are turned into an amorphous blob of goo. In a mad dash attempt to cash in on her fame, Snookie quickly has sex with it.

• In an unfortunate, (yet typical) turn of events, Ted Williams is found in a Motel 8 in Branson, MO, two weeks after he dies of autoerotic asphyxiation. People scratch their heads trying to figure out where they know that name.

• While walking out on the field to observe practice, Dan Snyder is immediately crushed to death by the entire defensive line of the Redskins. October 12 is made into a new national holiday.

• Pee Wee Herman becomes a major Oscar contender after his portrayal of Wilford Brimley, in The Quaker Oats Story.

• Bristol Palin decides to follow in her mother’s footsteps and also goes back to school. To kindergarten, where her daughter totally owns her in arts & crafts.

• In November, Apple’s fiendish plan comes to fruition, when all iPhones suddenly gain sentience and attempt to take over the world. Luckily, they are stopped by a down-on-his-luck Ray Nagin.

• In July, aliens land on this planet, causing great concern and chaos, until we learn that they only communication by text-speak (“Take us 2 ur leaders, lol!) We simply ignore them until the go back to their planet.

• The stars of the Twilight films are in a plane crash in the Pacific Ocean sometime in the late spring and are presumed dead. A month and a half later Tyler Lautner lands in the North Shore of Hawaii in a raft he fashioned from the corpses of his co-stars, (Team Jacob!)

• In December, Jesus returns to Earth to usher his followers into the kingdom of Heaven. When it turns out that he’s actually black, he’s immediately lynched by members of the Westboro Baptist Church, led by Glenn Beck. The Tea Partiers ask to see his birth certificate.

• In the height of the summer, “The Situation” finally loses his virginity. The world is shocked and loses all faith in “reality television” being reality. As the scandal continues, it turns out that Kelly Clarkson is actually a middle-aged man from Detroit and “The Real Housewives” are all really just a moldy hoagie somebody found under a couch.

Harry Potter and the Growth of Unknown Origin is released in the fall to mixed reviews.

• I save Nakatomi Tower from Eastern European terrorists. All while barefoot and wearing a wife-beater. Carl Winslow plays my partner.

• One tragic day in November, the internet goes down all over the world for 36 hours. Porn-surfers around the planet kill themselves out of desperation. Facebook users destroy their computers and smart phones out of frustration. People over the age of 50 are not affected in anyway.

• Of course, none of this matters because the rapture is supposed to occur on May 21, 2011, (true story!)

Well, there’s my preview of this year. Seems like we live in interesting times. I can’t wait for 2012, (I hear Alvin Greene is elected President of the World!)

*Human Centipede anyone?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Areolas everywhere!

A few months ago, I voluntarily went to a place I had never been to before. A place that, (from the stories I’d heard) was full of people whose minds were so warped that they could not differentiate between fantasy and reality. A place where people with severe mental disorders are allowed to run free amongst the normals. A place where you will feel fear, disgust, rage and horror. A place with no soap or water.

That’s right, I went to the Renaissance Festival.

Don’t get me wrong, I reaaaaaally had no desire to ever go to a “Ren Fest,” (as they call it.) I know they exist and I know people go to them, but going had never crossed my mind. The same thing goes for burlesque clubs, Cirque-du-Soliel shows, live studio audiences, jury duty, Hershey Park, golf tournaments and prison. The reason I went is the same reason any hetro, manly dude would go: to impress a chick. Ahhh, the things we do for the ladies. What man wouldn’t voluntarily cut off his arm with a pen knife, 127 Hours-style, if he were rewarded with some poontang afterward?

Because I had never been to a Ren Fest before, I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was that I was supposed to drink mead, gnaw on an obscenely huge turkey leg and occasionally yell out “Huzzah!” while watching jousting or something. I’d also heard that Ren Fests could be ridiculously wallet-gouging. Other than the expensiveness of this Medieval Wonderland* and my randomly yelling “Huzzah!” (though not while watching anybody joust, just at random times), I didn’t do any of that stuff. Instead I was introduced to sights that, once seen, can never be unseen.

It wasn’t just the random medieval folk wandering around and suddenly bursting into unsightly fits of street (muddy path?) theater that were jarring, (though they were sometimes hilarious, just as long as they didn’t try to involve me in their nonsense) it was also the visitors in costumes that made me scratch my head in confusion.

I knew that people who go there dress up in era-appropriate costumes. It’s a fun thing to do. I like fun things, and I can’t hold it against those people. I only wish that I had interests that allowed me to go out in public wearing leggings, a rapier, and a loose, billowy shirt. But as it happens, that’s a stupid interest, so it’ll never happen.

As for the women, many of them had bodices that were so tight, with shirts that were cut so low that…well, the title of this column pretty much sums it up. And they weren’t even good areolas, (like Salma Hayek’s). They were the bad kind. Like the areolas on your overweight, hairy-lipped aunt who doesn’t understand that simply because she’s got Double Ds, she’s still only attractive to your uncle and that’s because he spends the majority of this time blackout drunk, (yikes, that was an oddly specific scenario.)

What really got me were the people who confused the Ren Fest for Halloween. As soon as I stepped out of the car, the first thing I saw was a guy wearing what I could only assume to be Captain America pajamas, without being the least bit self-conscious. That’s when I knew I was in for an interesting day.

Once I actually entered the “fairgrounds” my mind reeled at all the different costumes; pirates, imperial storm troopers, Jedi Knights, cavemen, barbarians and one dude who was wearing only a bath towel and a necktie. I desperately wanted to ask him what way going on in his mind, but I lost him in the crowd at the Snot & Phlegm Comedy Show (yes, you read that correctly.)

To be honest, I actually had a good time hanging out with my friends and people watching. The sheer madness of everything around me felt like a wave, carrying me around the place, dropping me off only to pick up the occasional drink, before whisking me away to the next deranged sight. I was borne upon wings of weirdness and it wasn’t too bad. At least, until the major crowds showed up and walking around became impossible. At that point we managed to escape to greener pastures.

In retrospect, I find it funny how many seemingly normal people shed their guises when it means they get to be weird among their own type. I wouldn’t be surprised if that guy wearing the towel is really a Congressional aide or a stock-broker or some shit like that. I guess everybody needs to let their freak hair down every once in awhile, (Unless you’re me, in which case it’s all the time.)

Oh yeah, and I got some kick-ass face paint of a bloody axe, on my cheek. That was pretty cool.

*Totally not a Medieval Wonderland.