Flash Fiction: “Code Wet”

Yet another entry into DudeWrite’s Flash Mob competition.

As always, the story must be under 500 words. This time we got to pick one of three pictures as our story prompt. A picture paints a thousand words, so we really only needed half a picture to begin with, but ah well.

Here we go:

Mr. Matsumoto was clearly in trouble. The conference was going on its third hour without him having said a word. At first we took  his silence for a clever ploy to build tension and make his statement, when finally spoken, all the more powerful.

Then we began to wonder whether Nori Matsumoto was simply showing due respect to the other industry leaders. Being the last to speak could give him a certain moral edge, having displayed a degree of patience beyond that of mere mortals.

However, once the heads of other conglomerates began their second round of speeches, it became apparent that something was very wrong.

“What if he’s fallen asleep?”, Kenji was clutching a clipboard tightly to his chest and rocking nervously from side to side. His face was dotted with tiny spots of perspiration.

“I don’t think so,” said Shiro. “My guess is that Mr. Matsumoto has simply forgotten our terms. His memory isn’t quite what it used to be…”

That would indeed explain everything. If Nori Matsumoto had forgotten his statement he couldn’t simply excuse himself and leave the room to consult with his staff. Doing so would mean immediately losing face. After that his words would carry no weight.

“We have to do something!” Kenji’s panicked shriek made me cringe.

“What are you going to do, Kenji?! Walk over there and start whispering reminders into his ear?! In front of everyone?! What will the rest of the people say when they see Mr. Matsumoto listening to whispers from his subordinates?!”

Shiro had a point. We couldn’t just start talking to Mr. Matsumoto in the middle of the conference. Buuuuut…

“Say, Shiro, isn’t our new strategy to aggressively increase liquidity over the next few months?” I asked, an idea forming in my head.

“Yes, but as I said, we can’t just tell…where are you going? Moro! You can’t just…”

Shiro’s words faded behind me as I made my way to the conference floor. I strolled over to Mr. Matsumoto and, with barely a hesitation, leaned over to give his cheek a prolonged, slobbering lick. Nori Matsumoto flinched instinctively and turned to face me with an expression of utter disbelief. After having locked eyes with me, a sudden realisation came over Mr. Matsumoto’s face. Slowly, I gave him a meaningful nod and walked back to our staff offices.

* * *

After the conference Nori Matsumoto returned to our little group. He was still wiping his cheek with a handkerchief when he spotted me. He walked over and shook my hand, adding the following:

“You did well, Moro! Certainly a, hmmm, creative solution. But…you do know that I also can read, don’t you?!”

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4 questions sparked by the “Ecce Homo” restoration

By now you must have heard about the failed “Ecce Homo” restoration. If you haven’t, I hope the rock you live under is both comfortable and warm, despite neither of those features being characteristic of rocks. In any case, if you haven’t heard the story before and refuse to follow the link I’ve provided for some stubborn reason, here’s a quick recap:

In a Spanish town of Borja, an elderly lady by the name of Cecilia Giménez attempted to restore a deteriorated fresco of Jesus, “Ecce Homo”, in a local church of Santuario de la Misericordia. At some stage it became apparent that her amateur efforts didn’t quite yield the desired results. More specifically, Cecilia transformed Jesus into a nightmarish marshmallow-man.

Arguably the easiest “Spot The Differences” puzzle in existence

Reactions to the “Ecce Homo” incident ranged from outrage to amusement. The Internet, of course, exploded with innumerable parodies of the botched fresco job.

However, amidst all of this hype, nobody seemed to be asking the truly important questions. Well, that’s why I’m here!

4. Why did it take that long?

Reportedly, Ms. Giménez “had been restoring [the fresco] for years and had to give up before completing it” (emphasis added, because why not?).

H-h-how is that possible?!

Look, I don’t mean to brag, but I can draw up a pretty neat stickman figure in a matter of seconds. A simplistic approximation of a human face would take me a minute or two. Add a few hours to go grab some special fresco-friendly paint and I’d have Jesus looking like Pac-Man within a day, tops!

Hell, even Mr. Bean managed this feat in just over 5 minutes:


How can it take years to give Jesus a head-encompassing beard and remove all distinct features from the lower half of his face?!

Even more scarily…she “[gave] up before completing it”?! What was her next move?! Spend another two years meticulously adding a Spiderman mask over his face?! At what point in the multi-year saga did Ms. Giménez feel she was on the right track, but simply didn’t have sufficient time to perfect her masterpiece? Which brings us to the next big question…

3. How did it go that wrong?

We all make spur-of-the-moment mistakes every now and then. Just the other day I inadvertently soaked my fully-clothed self while fiddling with the shower tap and standing directly under the shower (true story). However, it takes a certain twisted combination of determination and denial to methodically butcher the face of Jesus over the course of, I can’t stress this enough, freaking years.

Please take another look at that “Before” photo. Sure, the paint has fully come off in places, but Jesus is still very much recognizable as a person in possession of a face. Splash some brown paint onto those white spots and you have a very basic, yet passable repair job.

“Meh, close enough…NEXT!”

How do you manage to gradually, day-by-day, morph Jesus into an androgynous bear-like creature and at no point consult with anyone about the structure of a human face? Which, in turn, brings us to…

2. Why has nobody else noticed anything until too late?

Here it is important to note that at no point did Ms. Giménez take “Ecce Homo” home to conduct her restoration work. Her “repairs” were being done inside the church where the fresco was, “in broad daylight” and with the approval of the local clergy.

Day after day, numerous people witnessed poor Cecilia labour over what looked increasingly like a bandaged head trauma victim screaming in agony through what was once a functioning mouth. Nobody, not a single person, thought that maybe, just maybe, Cecilia wasn’t quite the next Leonardo da Vinci. Nobody questioned whether this 80+ year old lady was the right woman for the job, even after seeing her systematically remove all human features from the two centuries old fresco.

Or maybe they did notice! Maybe they enjoyed watching this train-wreck unfold before their very eyes and waiting to see just how bad it gets? Afterall, isn’t that the reason people watch Jersey Shore and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?

1. Why no Kenny connection?

Now for the final and by far the most pressing question. Why, despite so many memes and parodies of the fresco, did nobody bring up its uncanny resemblance to Kenny from South Park? Kenny, with his brown-orange hoodie and his face devoid of everything but eyes?! Am I the only one noticing this?!

Oh My God, you ruined Jesus! You BASTARD!

I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the inevitable Youtube video remix starring Ecce Homo Jesus as Kenny McCormick! Aren’t you?!

What are your thoughts on Ecce Homo restoration? Do you have any unanswered questions of your own? Do you think Kenny was involved?!

Guest Expressed: “4 Products That Inspired Sarcastic and Funny Reviews”

You all know how much I love making funny reviews of stupid “products” and gadgets. Well, turns out I’m far from the only one (who knew, right?).

Today’s guest, Caleb Grant, discusses a few products that have inspired people to get creative with their reviews. Enter Caleb:

When most people think about online review sites, they tend to think that they’re filled with real reviews by real people that provide valuable insight to other customers who are reading them. Some people also think that most online review sites are filled with fake reviews that aren’t written by real people.

But there’s another type of review that’s gaining popularity, and it involves sarcasm and humor. There are certain products out there that are making such an impact on users that they feel the need to respond in a witty way.

In order to elicit sarcastic responses, the products need to be strange and uninteresting to most. The following are a few products that have elicited sarcastic and funny reviews.

4. BIC Pens for Her

BIC launched a pastel pen “just for her”. This pen has a diamond encrusted barrel for a more elegant look and a thinner barrel to better fit a woman’s smaller hands. People on Amazon are having a field day with this writing utensil, providing both sarcastic and humorous reviews on the product.

3. Luke Skywalker Jacket

This Luke Skywalker jacket boasts how it includes its Medal of Yavin, but it also prides itself on being authentic to the movie Star Wars. Like the BIC pen, users on Amazon are enjoying giving their lighthearted and fun reviews of a product. Some claim it to be a “chick repellent” and that it’s great for “walking through doors” or “nodding at your friends”.

2. Cat Evacuation Kit

That’s right. Someone out there thought that it would be a great idea to create a cat evacuation kit in case a fire, flood, earthquake or any other natural disaster occurs. The kit contains cat food and water with a five-year shelf life, treats, water bowl, collar, litter and scoop, ID tag, wipes, toys and first aid kit. You should not be surprised that this elicited sarcastic responses.

1. Horse Head Mask

Unless it’s Halloween, it doesn’t seem like there would ever be a need for a real-life looking horse mask. It’s actually surprising to see that there are more animal masks out there than just the horse, but apparently the horse was the only one that excited users enough to have some fun with their reviews.

It seems as if once  a product has earned a sarcastic review, more and more people start to fall in line to try and outwit the reviewer before them. While the reviews are not real and don’t represent how your product functions, it’s still a great way to get people interested in talking about you, and these simple reviews can do a lot for your business. Though most of the people who review the product won’t actually make a purchase, there are some who may be so intrigued with its uniqueness that they do.

If you want to get people talking about your product in a fun or sarcastic way, you first need to create a strange or obscure product that can create this type of response. In the case of sarcastic reviews, the stranger, the better.

Caleb Grant works recently wrote about spotting fake reviews and how to respond to sarcastic reviewers.

V for Vendetta, B for Bieber

So yesterday my girlfriend and I watched a Czech movie called Vendeta (which is an obscure Czech word for “vendetta”, to be sure).

It’s a dark and confusing tale of a man on a revenge spree. The movie contained a lot of inexplicable plot points, tons of footage of people running through forests and characters dying simply due to being tied to trees.

The movie requires a smarter man than me to fully understand. However, it wasn’t the plot or cinematography of the film that intrigued me the most. Throughout the whole movie my mind was busy asking one simple question…

“Baby, baby, baaaaby ooooh…..”

…what the fuck is Justin Bieber doing in a Czech revenge movie?! Sure, credits claim it’s some Ondrej Havel dude, but you and I both know a Justin Bieber when we see one, don’t we?! It’s not just me, is it? Please tell me it’s not just me seeing Justin there!

26 more dubious search terms

Remember how I wrote a post about crazy search terms people use to find my blog? And then you said it was hilarious? And then we laughed and laughed. That was fun. Good times!

And then you shared it on Twitter and I was like: “whoa, let me take a screenshot of it so that people can see how many Twitter friends I have and then everyone will finally love me and never ever call me a creepy loner again”?! Remember that? No? How about now:

Who’s creepy now?! WHO?!

Let’s repeat, shall we?

Below follow more search terms that have landed people on my blog. I have not manipulated any of them and I am not accountable for any disappointment in the human race you may feel after reading them. I did clean up the spelling errors, though, because making fun of spelling is the eezyest form of komedie.

1. I get laid less when wearing glasses

Very thought provoking! How was this research conducted? Did you account for other variable factors such as the pick up line used, the type of establishment and how drunk the stripper was?

2. Wearing glasses helped me get laid?

Unlikely! Refer to above scientific study for further details.

3. 30 bday guest ool

….aaaahm….the answer is….wait, I know this one….49 monkey marmelade?

4. Free spells that give you superpowers

Nothing’s ever free, friend-o. But if you buy the “Invincibility & Mind-Control Combo Pack” I’ll throw in “Reality Awareness” for only 2,99$!

5. A. spell. to. get. superpowers

Cure. For. OCD. Is. Not. A. Superpower. 1,2 3. 1,2 3.

6. Is hairspray a mosquito repellent?

Aaaah, a trick question, nice! I’ll go with “hair spray is for spraying hair”. It was a difficult riddle, but I cheated by using the “reading the name of the product” tactic.

7. Good suggestion vs. the cactus couch

I’d say “don’t sit on it!” is a damn good suggestion in this case.

8. I hate the fucking true twit spammypost

Thank you. Your rant has been forwarded to the relevant Google officer. Expect a sympathetic email within two working days.

9. Question mark

Until Google’s mind-reading algorithm is up and running I’m afraid you’ll have to use more specific search terms.

10. Sexy texts about a tie

Oh those naughty ties, always getting themselves all “tangled up”, if you know what I’m saying…

11. I made my gf faint

And then I got onto Google to tell the whole world about it and OH MY GOD I should have called a freaking ambulance instead like a normal person!

12. Sexy people all around the world let’s have some fun

I’ll be right there! Also, thanks for noticing, I’ve been working out lately.

13. Is it normal to get a white package of M&Ms in the cardboard box?

No, you usually get M&Ms in supermarkets and other stores, get away from that shady cardboard box guy!

14. How many people open my wall

Not as many as open your door, but that really doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for any contingency. Paranoia above all!

15. Can a man wear women eyeglasses?

Although it is usually physically impossible due to the women having drastically different facial structure and number of eyes, some women’s glasses can be modified to be usable by human males. However, do not wear these for extended periods of time!

16. My pillow ingredients list

Hopefully contains mostly “fabric” and “feathers” and zero “human skin”, you horrible creep.

17. Taking eye glasses off in mid-conversation when talking to someone of opposite sex

Is exceedingly tricky to pull off, but can be done with sufficient practice. Please consult our “Speaking & Controlling Body Parts Simultaneously” guide.

18. Are sexy texts OK?

NO! Where did you hear otherwise?! Was it Timmy?! It was Timmy, wasn’t it?! I’ll have a talk with his parents.

19. If a guy wears sunglasses when he speaks to me

Then summer has arrived at last. Another good indication that it’s summer is when people start saying subtle things like e.g. “Summer is here”.

20. Hero of a cat

Puss in boots? Catwoman? Supercat? Bootwoman? Spider-boots? I…I’m sorry, I have no idea what just happened!

21. Guide to not walking into glass doors

1) Notice door

2) Avoid walking into said door

Oh wait…did you say “glass door”?! Then I’m sorry, I can’t help you.

22. Stay humble you awesome son of a bitch

Will goddamn do, ya fantastic bastard you! You always make me smile!

23. Games that you can dump zombies in acid

Dude, I love killing zombies as much as the next guy, but that’s a strangely specific game request. What have the zombies ever done to you?!

24. World War 2 grenade children colouring

OK, this is either about the world’s worst work performed by children or the most ill-advised colouring book since “Let’s Paint Hitler’s Moustache”.

25. Cartoon pizza slice with no writing on it

Sorry, buddy, the 72nd Directive of 2009 requires all pizza slices to be labeled for quality control. Please report any unlabeled pizza to the “Ministry of Tasty”.

26. Milkshake walking into glass door

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re OUCH SON OF A BITCH THAT HURT!

______________________________

Part III is here!

3 reasons I’m getting a new laptop

Today, after many months of deliberation, I have finally ordered a new laptop. Being a gadget freak this is like a mini-Christmas for me. Except for it’s September and Santa Claus is not in any way involved in this transaction.

Below I’ll give you three reasons why I made this decision. Speaking of reasons: I have zero reasons to structure this post in list format, but lack of good reasons rarely stopped me before. So here goes:

3) Blue Screen Of Death

The “Blue Screen Of Death” is surely known to most of you by its far more catchy acronym – BSoD. It’s a standard feature that comes equipped with all Windows-based PCs. At random intervals, for reasons incomprehensible to anyone who isn’t Bill Gates, your computer will shut down and display some lines of white text against a blue background. This text will sound informative at first, but soon you’ll realise that it’s just computer-speak for “I broke, so fuck you!”

While in the past I was exposed to the infamous BSoD on a pretty infrequent basis, lately my laptop decided that looking at BSoD should be my new hobby. It doesn’t matter whether I’m doing something fun (playing Advanced Minesweeper: Pacman Snake Edition, reading comedy articles, watching porn) or useful (researching new porn sites), my laptop will usually decide that BSoD is far more worthy of my time. As much as I enjoy decrypting coded messages from my laptop, I think it’s time to move on.

2) Cooling fan noises

Another fun recent development is that my laptop’s cooling fan now acts as a coffee grinder. Well, it doesn’t actually grind any coffee, but it sure does a pretty neat coffee grinder impression. Every time it tries to speed up it sounds like helicopter blades slicing through a throng of advancing zombies.

I’ve tried taking the laptop apart and cleaning the cooling fan. Now it sounds like helicopter blades slicing through a throng of advancing zombies made of gravel. Since the cooling fan isn’t quite doing its job the laptop overheats way too fast and skips straight to BSoD mode.

I’ve had this laptop for over four years so any warranty and insurance on it have run out by now. Oh yeah, and the company that made my laptop has gone bankrupt around two years ago. It can’t possibly pay to start replacing components and making my laptop zombie-friendly again.

“Hi, Zombies! I am one of you! I come in peace!”

1) Underpowered gaming experience

I don’t play computer games as much as I used to, but I do play them every now and then. One thing you should know about most modern games is that they require more processing power than NASA’s space shuttle launches. That’s what it takes to realistically render hundreds of enemies succumbing to an onslaught of bullets from your guns.

This means that if I want to play a new game on my current laptop I have to turn the graphics settings all the way down, making my enemies resemble indistinguishable square blocks instead of infected Nazi robot soldiers that they truly are. What, you haven’t heard of that game – Infected Nazi Robot Zombies: The Shooting Of?! Is it all in my head? Damn, somebody should make that game, like, now!

Anyways, what I’m saying is if I wanted to shoot indistinguishable blocks at other blocks then I’d still be playing Tetris.

My new laptop should be arriving by the end of the week. Are you excited? You should be, I’ll be able to type out these blog posts on a brand new 17 inch screen. We’ll be communicating in HD and all that jazz!

Have you recently purchased a new gadget? A new electronic appliance? A new coaster? What do you think of infected Nazi robots and their impact on the zombie community?

12 surprisingly insightful “stupid” celebrity quotes

Everybody always makes fun of celebrities! I find that unfair. Just because some of them are spoiled people with an exaggerated sense of self-entitlement doesn’t mean they’re spoiled people with an exaggerated sense of self-entitlement! Oh, wait, is that exactly what that means? My bad.

My point is: it’s very easy to make fun of celebrities (which is why I do it so often).

They’re always in the spotlight, their lives are scrutinized at all times and people are just waiting for them to slip up and say something stupid.

Now, if only she says something dumb I’ll finally have a good reason to make fun of her!

There are countless blogs and articles listing all sorts of stupid things celebrities have said. What I’ve noticed, however, is that some of these supposedly “stupid” quotes are actually full of hidden meaning. This is why I will not sit idly by as celebrities are made fun of by people who are unable to understand their well-hidden genius. I am here to set the record straight once and for all!

Below you find a list of supposedly stupid quotes by famous people and my defence of said quotes. Enjoy:

1. Britney Spears: “I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.”

Sure, laugh it up, with all your fancy knowledge of geography and ability to read maps! But I bet you didn’t know that all modern humans have most likely originated in Africa, did you?! Well, Britney Spears sure did! All she’s really saying is “we’re all from Africa, but not all of us like fish”. And that, my friend, is a true story.

2. Jessica Simpson: “Is this chicken, what I have, or is this fish? I know it’s tuna, but it says ‘Chicken of the Sea.'”

Corporations have long mislead us with their false marketing! They know how easy it is for consumers to confuse chicken and fish. Afterall, chicken and tuna are so similar. They both lay eggs, neither one can fly very far and their ability to communicate using words is limited, at best. Companies know they can sell us these interchangeable creatures and we won’t know the difference. Well here’s one woman who isn’t afraid to stand up against this injustice. I salute you, Jessica, enjoy your chicken tuna!

Ladies and gentlemen – the “Tucken”! (Source)

3. Barack Obama: “When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point.”

People seem to claim this may have something to do with some drugs you allegedly can inhale, which sounds ridiculous in and of itself. Obama is clearly talking about the importance of remembering to breathe, especially when you’re young and tend to forget such things. If you don’t know that breathing constantly is “the point” by now, then how are you still alive?

4. Mitt Romney: “I’m not familiar precisely with what I said, but I’ll stand by what I said, whatever it was.”

This man has never spoken a lie. Not once in his life has he changed any of his opinions! He is still convinced Santa Claus is real, because he said so when he was four. He’s idealistic to the point of naivety. And you dare mock him?! Shame on you!

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

I actually understand how this quote can be misconstrued. That is because very few people know of an obscure and ancient usage of the term “gay”. It’s almost impossible to learn this long-forgotten meaning of the term, but with sufficient research you’ll find out that it used to mean “carefree” or “happy”. Arnold wants every man and woman to have a happy marriage, just like in the good old days. Clever wording, sir, very clever!

Look at how gay this man is! Must be a happy marriage!

6. Paris Hilton: “Wal-mart… Do they, like, make walls there?”

Why yes, actually, yes they do! Take that, haters!

7. Vladimir Putin: “We discussed this very important issue yesterday over a beer.”

Knowing how crucial the issue was, Putin, at a great personal cost, took a day off from vodka and downgraded to beer. Does he get any recognition for this? No…no he doesn’t!

8. Brooke Shields: “Smoking kills. If you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.”

What’s the problem here? Anyone who claims that the “being alive” part of your life isn’t important is a damn fool!

9. Christina Aguilera: “So, where’s the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?”

I’m pretty sure there are, like, at least two or three other buildings in Cannes, in addition to Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. Who knows which one of them suddenly decides to host the festival on any given year?

10. Bob Dole: “The Internet is a great way to get on the net.”

I dare you to show me a better way to get on the net than the Internet! Well, I’m waiting. Nothing? Thought so!

This, for example, is a terrible way to get on the net!

11. George W. Bush: “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.”

So do I George, so do I. Some may call you and I “dreamers”, but I know that some day we’ll see a brighter future. A future where the fish no longer invade our countries, rape our food and eat our women. A future where Tuckens and humans live side by side, in perfect harmony. Imagine!

12. Dan Quayle: “It isn’t pollution that is hurting the environment, it’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”

Here Dan is clearly explaining how dangerous it is to use abstract terms such as “pollution” to frame a problem. Take “bullying” for example.   As long as you keep talking about prevention of “bullying”, you’ll never get anywhere. Now, if we focus on that insufferable bully Steven from grade 5B, then we know exactly who deserves a revenge wedgie, don’t we?

I’m with you Dan, let’s give those impurities in our air and water a good wedgie and see how they like it! Who’s with us?!