lovehate: 25 Things I Didn't Want to Know About You

I refuse to participate in the 25 Things meme on Facebook as I don't think Facebook is a good platform for long-winded text entries and I'm half-convinced that the FB gurus started the activity themselves as a means to move people from blogging to staying on the social network du jour.

While I do admit to a lovehate relationship with lists, as evidenced in previous blog entries here and here, I will define my participation in the activity from the reverse angle and present "25 Things I Didn't Want to Know About You"

1) You wet the bed every night until you were 17... you only wet it twice a week now.

2) You voraciously defend Richard Gere's reputation on the gerbilling accusations at the pet store three times a week.

3) Your musical "guilty pleasure" is the Mamma Mia soundtrack... your regular listening habits include the entire ABBA discography.

4) You watch NASCAR, but not for the crashes.

5) You keep lube beside your clock radio.

6) You once mistook Preparation H for toothpaste.

7) You once signed a petition to make LOLspeak an official language using your Twitter name and included the @ sign.

8) You still check the bulletin board in your building every day to see if people have ripped off one of the phone number tags for the flyer you put up about your "Handmade Crafts for Sale" and then rush back into your apartment to sit by the phone with the lights off.

9) You are building a wall in your basement of empty 2 liter bottles of dollar store Cream Soda.

10) You made a conscious decision not to speak "baby talk" to your cat because you wanted him to learn the proper way to yowl for Meow Mix.

11) You have a rash and/or are chafing. (I don't care where it is or how you got it, just don't speak of it any further)

12) You speak of your child's feces like you're gazing on the golden city of El Dorado.

13) You are only fourteen months away from completing your five year photoessay entitled "Things I've Cut or Clipped From Me".

14) You never gave up on the Laserdisc format and it's "close to DVD" resolution even though it's been all but dead for twenty years.

15) You overuse unnecessary articles by always saying "The Facebook", "The Twitter", and "The Skype".

16) You always say you're not "feeling fresh".

17) You decorate your house for the Olympics.

18) You have been hanging on to old issues of Tiger Beat for 25 years because you're sure that when Kristy McNichol makes a comeback they'll be worth something.

19) You scrapbook.

20) You consider shopping a hobby.

21) You once went to a concert because you overheard someone you thought was really cute say he/she was going there and you wanted to run into them and have something in common.

22) You have a collection of soaps, shampoos and other sundry bathroom items from every hotel you've stayed at that you keep on a curio shelf and will not open for fear of reducing the product's sentimental value.

23) You think it's quite acceptable to replace every lyric after the first line of a song with mindless monosyllabic gibberish.

24) You spend fifteen minutes in every supermarket you enter evaluating the wobble of grocery carts to ensure the success of your comsumer experience.

25) You would gladly write 50 or 100 things people didn't know about you if only a whacky social network spamming activity would prompt you to.

So that's it - 25 things I didn't want to know about you... or anyone for that matter. Here's an idea; let's pass this idea around and I think we'll learn a hell of a lot more about our friends without feeling like we're playing a bad game of Scruples.


lovehate: MemeMakers

In being thoroughly discouraged by what cuts it as an internet meme these days, I've decided to do a little deconstruction in determining what make a meme into the little slice of temporary pop culture phenomena that it is.

First, let's not deceive ourselves into thinking that ascertaining a meme's popularity is totally predictable. I maintain that a mainstream meme is the result of sheer luck and circumstance of a well-placed tweet or digg by a popular blogger, or a surreptitious mention on a popular podcast. So if one's heart is set on creating the next big meme, where does one begin?

Ingredient One: I Can Mistake Inglish?

Back as far as "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" people have flocked to mildly humorous examples of the English language being misrepresented or completely mismanaged to create a lasting effect that ranges from the silly to the absurd. Of course several years after the "Base" meme ran its course, "I can has cheezburger" kept up the trend, but included what will become our second step. The "Base" meme, due to its early nature, took longer to evolve and, because of it, stuck around longer. Several music and video remixes were made that required a certain level of expertise and allowed for the endurance of "Base".

Ingredient Two: Animalz R Phunny

Whether it's a cat, owl, or prairie dog, the sure sense of a odds-on meme will include an animal of some sort. With popularity going back to the early days of cats making unsuccessful jumps from sofas to tables, people love to see animals in two different scenarios: 1) being cute, 2) wiping out. The animal memes rely heavily on the minor abilities of people to use image editing to add text to photos. The partial, yet relatively minor skills involved in pushing this type of meme forward will spread it far more quickly, but ultimately cause it to flame out quicker.

Ingredient Three: Unmotivationals

The minor Photoshopping skills that people require for the text/animal mashups can also be used to create faux motivational posters. While this has become a meme in itself that would have run its course, the endless content that can be adapted has kept this satirical or parody-inspired practice in vogue. Also, the sheer ridiculous factor of the ever-growing original Motivators will continue to inspire this knockoff meme.

Ingredient Four: People Say/Do the Stupidest Things

"Stupid" people (read: wrong time, wrong place, wrong words for many of them) initiate this style of meme that propagates through video. Let's face it, it only takes the flailing of Star Wars Kid or a beauty pageant candidate exposing her sheer idiocy to capture the imagination of a mashup web generation. Remember "I like turtles!", "I'm not taking my glasses off", or "Leave Britney Alone!" If you don't, you must have been away from the web or ignoring the Fw:fw:fw: in your webmail boxes during the perfect time period. The stupidity inspires mashups, knockoffs, and responses that can keep these memes alive for a few weeks. The ease of use in spreading the word about these clips have made them some of the most popular memes of all. After all, what does it really take to email a youtube link to a friend, post it on twitter or facebook, or blog about it? But even if video dries up, you can always just add text to a picture of a person caught in an embarrassing situation that reads "EPIC FAIL!"

Ingredient Five: The Unexpected

From the early efforts of people being redirected to gross out porn to the more recent efforts that have revived Rick Astley's career through Rickrolling, the ability of someone to perform misdirection in link text or similar disguise has become as much an email meme as it has a web meme. Microblogging is a ripe medium for such an effort as it has become so simple to type "You Have to See This Car Accident" and then have the url redirect to Astley or a dozen other crazy clips. Kind of the laziest practical joke going, the misdirected link to unexpected content will always be around in one form or another.

And so we come to the part of the post where I try to create the ultimate meme. While I will try to incorporate as many of the ingredients as possible, I may not hit all of them. Cats have been done to death so I'm mashing up a picture of a soft-shelled turtle splayed out on the sand with its head half peeking out with the all upper case captions "I NEEDZ VIAGRA" across the top and "CLIC HERE TO HELP" across the bottom. In blazing red upper and lower case mix, diagonal to the top right we have "EPiC SHeLL FaiL" and the entire picture, when clicked, links to the misdirection video clip from an 80s band. While I've missed out on the Motivational parody and the human aspect in the original content, I do believe the goofy humans in the video make up for it. So we have a 1-2-5 meme with a dash of post 4.

Please feel free to send the link to as many friends as you like or mashup your own soft-shelled turtle viagra jokes as you can muster... I feel cheap and dirty.