Tag Archives: memes

The Hacker

(After Poe’s ‘The Raven’)

Once upon a midnight dreary,  browsing websites weak and weary,
Over many a meme I’d seen before,
While I nodded, sleep-eye wiping, suddenly there came a typing,
As of some old friend skyping, skyping at my monitor.
`’Tis some spam,’ I muttered, `skyping at my monitor –
Only this, and nothing more.’

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each facebook member posts their food and sporting score.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From the internet a cease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore –
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore –
Nameless here for evermore.

And the lilting loop of each user’s sign in
Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`’Tis some spammer entreating entrance at my monitor –
Some spambot entreating entrance at my monitor; –
This it is, and nothing more,’

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,’ typed I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is my eyes were drooping, and so gently was the booping,
And so faintly you came typing, skyping at my monitor,
That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I brightened my monitor; –
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But silence began to sink, and the darkness gave no link,
And the only word there typed was the italic word, `Lenore!’
This I cut and pasted, and text pinged back the word, `Lenore!’
Merely this and nothing more.

Back to the browser turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a typing somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,’ said I, `surely that is something at my window software;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore –
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; –
‘Tis some spam and nothing more!’

Open here I clicked the link, when, with many a drag and scroll,
Up there popped a chat avatar like emoticons of years before.
Not the least ‘sup’ or ‘lol’ made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with manner of spam or hacker, froze upon my monitor –
Overlapped my Pallas wallpaper on my monitor –
Overlapped, and froze, and nothing more.

Then this ebony box beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the textbox it wore,
`Though thy looks be much like spam, thou,’ I said, `art sure no scam.
Ghastly grim and ancient hacker wandering from the nightly shore –
Tell me what thy lordly name is in the Matrix core!’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

Much I marvelled this anonymous chat to read discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing text upon his monitor –
Spam or bot above the statue wallpaper upon his monitor,
With such name as `Nevermore.’

But the chat, sitting lonely atop the wallpaper, showed only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he typed – not a character then he skyped –
Till I scarcely more than griped `Other friends have spammed before –
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have shown before.’
Then the chat said, `Nevermore.’

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly keyed in,
`Doubtless,’ said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some shady database whom unmerciful lowercase
Pinged fast and loaded faster till his code one burden bore –
Till the software of his system that melancholy burden bore
Of “Never-nevermore.”‘

But the hacker still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of chat and wallpaper and monitor;
Then, upon the leather sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous avatar of yore –
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous avatar of yore
Meant in typing `Nevermore.’

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fiend whose blinking cursor now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s leather lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose leather stitched lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, I heard a grinding, system slower, lagging from a muted iTune
Sung by U2 whose drum-beat silenced on the muted stereo.
`Wretch,’ I cried, `thy Programmer hath lent thee – by these dial-tones sent thee
Sprites – Sprite and Gin from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind tonic, and forget this lost Lenore!’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if spambot or devil! –
Whether troller sent, or whether mailing list tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted –
On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore –
Is there – is there ointment in your drawer? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

`Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if spambot or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore –
Tell this soul with heavy heart if, within the distant bonus level,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore –
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

`Be that word our sign of logging off, spambot or fiend!’ I shrieked upstarting –
`Get thee back into the matrix and the Ethernet’s core!
Leave no hard drive wiped as a token of that lie thy soul hath typed!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the chat window upon my monitor!
Take thy cursor from out my heart, and take thy form from off my monitor!’
Typeth the hacker, `Nevermore.’

And the hacker, cursor never sinking, still is blinking, still is blinking
On the wallpaper gif of Pallas that decorates my monitor;
And his blinks have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the backlight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the monitor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!

Top Ten “Top 10” Lists of 2011

  • 10. Top 10 Underreported Stories of the Year I think this is an interesting Top 10 list idea to tackle, because “underreported” — aka not popular, not top — indicates that these stories are anything but Top 10. So I commend Time for making an intrinsically hypocritical Top 10 list that is actually surprisingly informative and insightful.
  • 9. Top 10 Ways to Make People Believe You Are Not Drunk. Also known as “Top 10 Ways to Ineffectually Attempt to Mask All Signs of Alcoholism,” this list tries really hard to insist that no one will ever notice, despite the fact that its overall recommendation for hiding the effects of alcohol is just to sit there and do nothing for the entire night (which in turn kind of defeats the purpose of social drinking).
  • 8. Top 10 Sweatiest Movies. It’s about time someone compiled a list like this. I commend author Kate Witteman for her gall in even making this pitch to her editor. It’s an absurd concept that actually hooks on to our collective cultural curiosity.
  • 7. 2011 Top 10 Movies for Grownups. This one makes the list strictly because it was compiled by the AARP. And let’s face it, that’s funny. It’s not even that all of these movies focus on characters over 60 years old; they’re just “movies for grownups,” which is an incredibly absurd and ridiculously vague criterium. Even Hugo and We Bought a Zoo make the list.
    Bonus: 2011 Top 10 Albums for Grownups, a list that is much more in line with “Stuff Only Mom and Dad Like.”
  • 6. Top 10 Secretly Badass Animals. I’d never seen a Mantis Shrimp before I saw this list, let alone heard of one, but I can say with great confidence that my quality of life has vastly improved now that I have. Also, wombats. Who doesn’t love a wombat? Neither wom, nor bat, yet somehow, still incredibly — and, apparently, badass.
  • 5. Top 10 Topical Sesame Street Characters. The fact there have been enough topical Sesame Street characters to justify the creation of Top 10 list of said characters is proof alone that despite all threats of economic collapse and nuclear fallout, the future is inherently a good thing, and we’re all going to be okay in the end.
  • 4. Top 10 Short-Lived Celebrity Marriages. Obviously topped off by the whole Kardashian fiasco, this list is especially notable because it is indicative of the world in which we live. Future historians would be well served to examine this list to gain a better understanding of our celebrity-obsessed culture in which there have actually been enough short-lived publicity stunt marriages to garner such a list. And yet gay marriage is still such a hot-button topic…
  • 3.Top 10 Memes. Another impressive cultural indicator. The irony here, of course, is that “Arbitrary Year-End Top 10 Lists” did not make the list of Top 10 Memes. In an even greater tragedy, neither did Admiral Ackbar.
  • 2. Facebook’s Top Status Trends in the US. Another major hallmark by which Future Historians will judge our lives. What really gets me is that despite the fact that I pride myself as being someone whose finger remains on the pulse of Internet trends, I have no idea what “lms” or “tbh” means, even though they were apparently the most popular Facebook status trends of the year. (mumble mumble god damn kids mumble mumble off my lawn)
  • 1. Google Zeitgeist 2011 Top 10 Google Searches. A worldwide ranking of our most popular Google searches, this is a prime cut cross section of our modern culture. Hell, it’s even hard to be disappointed that Rebecca Black tops off the list. But I’m especially impressed that the non-existent iPhone 5 made the top 10. What does it say about our culture when fictional science (science fiction?) permeates the heights of our news and obsessions? I’ll leave that one to the Future Historians.

  • Honorable Mention: Top 10 People Not Running for President, because neither Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich is included.