Truly Terrifying Halloween Horrors

Okay, October, you want some really scary Halloween ideas? You asked for it:

  • You receive an auto-generated copyright lawsuit for your Halloween costume, billing you a hundred dollars for each image bearing the character’s likeness. You have one week to file a brief disputing the claim. The letter is dated three days ago.
  • A crazed psychopath breaks into your home while you’re asleep and replaces only one of your identity documents with a forgery almost good enough to fool an official.
  • Skull insurance.
  • After a day of pumpkin carving with friends and family, which involved some kids, which involved fragments of pumpkin getting into parts of your house even oxygen molecules haven’t seen, your vet calls with the results of the tests: your pet is deathly allergic to squashes.
  • A wrinkled distant relative presses a bloodstained parchment into your hands before dying at your doorstep. It explains that you can avert the hereditary curse if you remit the second part of your first quarter’s non-refundable portion of your taxes, correctly, on the first try.
  • A cursed puzzle box dripping with blood is the anti-bot check to unlock your e-mail account.
  • A hungry vampire posts your home address on the front page of reddit.

Doc Civil Defeats The End of Darkness

Doc Civil Battles The End of Darkness

Any other man would have yielded under the agony. But any other man would not have learned total bodily control from the Temple of Fahr’awayz’wizer! Using every gram of the training he’d absorbed from the mountain-top mystics, Doc Civil’s bronzed body endured in perfect horizontality.

His superior hero brain had mastered their life’s wisdom in a mere fortnight. Luckily most of that wisdom was about detachment from care and freedom from ego, so they weren’t too upset, though one had angrily stomped down the mountain swearing to prove that not all foreigners were so lotus-stomping smart, and was now a multimillionaire guru in Hollywood.

That had been ten years ago, but the training remained. His every joint was angled to preserve maximum relaxation. His toned muscles maintained perfect poise. His whole body aligned to resist the ever expanding sphere of agony. Doc flexed his rippling muscles, his advanced post-Sandow studies enabling him to take more exercise while pinned in place than most mortals could if swimming through an ocean of protein shakes.

Every morning he practiced this two-hour sequence of total muscular control, allowing him to extend that single warm moment of waking up over one hundred and twenty perfect minutes. Then, having practiced it, he immediately used it, extending the blissful comfort to a full sixth of every day.

Through it all, his bladder was as unto a thing of iron, installed in a submarine and built to withstand the pressures of the Marianas trench without the least discomfort.

And so Doc Civil defeated the end of darkness. The sun marched boldly into a new day without disturbing him even once. At the very instant of noon he leapt from the bed, masterful muscular control forward-flipping him from the sumptuous mattress into raptor-skin flip-flops, in which he walked across to the marbled chamber where he would triumph over the The Ammoniac Rapids, before descending the oaken staircase to develop The Potion of Arabica.

He’d heard his ancestor had used his training and fortune to escape death around the world. But that seemed like a lot of trouble.

Important Update

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“The Deltaphones”!

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The Immortality Formula and Old Chinese Coffee

Behold, I finally get to share my immortality formula!


That’s eternal ability, and that’s just the first of the fantastic solutions I teach you in 4 Coffee Cocktails for Pure Productivity Power. We gave it that name because those poor people looking for office efficiency tips online need these drinks way more than we do. We just want them. And while we’re at it, we can remind ourselves of 7 Scientific Ways Coffee Gives You Superpowers. Which isn’t just “almost every scientist ever was on this stuff from the moment it was an option.”

While we’re at it, lets dust off a coffee shop story from a few years back:

Continue reading

Rater of Gater Haters

My Cracked article on #gamergate went up last week, and it was glorious. The comment section was Conan’s best in life streamlined for the internet age. “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” That stuff gets pretty easy when they flock to drive themselves past you in a whining parade, pre-crushed, and there’s a 33% time-saving with nary a lamentation to be had.

The only thing that could have made it better would be if I was on a cruise across a caldera in the Mediterranean at the time. Which was actually the case. Nothing like basking in the beauty of the world while ignoring the “asshole alert” in your pocket.

"You have a message from 'Spank Bitchoker'. Would you like to read it?" "No. No, I don't think I'll be doing that."

“You have a message from ‘Spank Bitchoker’. Would you like to read it?”
No. No, I don’t think I’ll be doing that.

The piece got over five thousand comments. Well over a hundred thousand words. I usually enjoy reading the comments, one way or another, but that pushed it over the Commentasekhar limit of collapsing into a one-way hole of sucking, an infinitely compressed ball of hatred from which no useful information can be extracted with modern science.

Hard to say which wastes more energy (Image: NASA)

The only difference is that real black holes can be interesting.  (Image: NASA)

The length of the posts I did see was insane. And the sheer number of people who had no preconceptions or real interest in the issue, but just coincidentally happened to drop by to point out a few things at short story length, wow. It was enough coincidence to power at least three lottery jackpot wins. Which is even-more-coincidentally the amount you’d have to pay me to read them all.

It’s inverse SEO. Hordes of idiots searching for certain words which are already online and then writing volumes of repetitve bullshit. But SEO is a reversible process, because no matter which direction you run it in the results aren’t good. And it’s a thermodynamic process, because no matter which route you take it makes everything worse.

What these War and Peace-of-their-mind dumping gaters don’t get is that quality still counts over quality. All their thousands of words don’t cancel out even one comment from someone whose opinion I respect. Related: holy hell:

gate scalzi

gate wendig

gate doctorow

gate manna phrozin

If you don’t know those names, great, you’ve just found lots more good stuff to read. Gaters trying to astroturf over people who actually make and think might as well be wallpapering Jupiter.

But since they’re trying so hard, I will give them one bit of helpful advice: seriously, if your username or icon is about bitches or the choking thereof, you really aren’t getting read.


Games are fun! Other things aren’t!

The Image of Athens

Athens will always be a psychic shock for the traveller. The only place more defined by history is a museum, and to millions of minds Athens will always be an open-air academy of toga-wearers surrounded by marble columns. You know that information is just a little out of date, but the image won’t leav you. Unless you go there.

On first approach it’s the most organic city you’ve ever seen. Much more grown than built .From the air it’s an endless expanse of white houses, growing out along the coast and among the hills, white clusters more like a massive shrubs than small buildings. Between the sun and the sea it’s obviously where humanity was meant to live. So comfortable to live, so easy to grow, so convenient to travel around their own little pet sea, the city could just keep expanding. You get the feeling that people only populated the rest of Europe because Athens realized that they’d have to keep some room to grow grapes, so poor Billyonysus was brought aside and told “Listen, we like you and all, but it’s either you or wine and you’re really not that much fun.” And poor Billy grumbled north to settle somewhere colder.

Unfortunately those Billys would built things even bigger and more powerful than temples to the gods, with even more perceived power to bless and ruin its subjects. They were called banks and economies, and hey would all crash down on Athens harder than the worst of Poseidon’s wrath. Now parts of the city look like they’ve been bombed and then sold the rubble for spraypaint.

The city is stuffed with ruins. Only some of them are ancient. Once-beautiful houses fester like rotting teeth, and gaps in the streets are common where waste ground simply hasn’t been used. It makes you wonder what the wonderful ruins must have looked like shortly after they fell. Instead of awesome testaments to the ancient glory they would have been monuments to recent failure. The empty homes of gods, left in a land abandoned by the bigger forces which claimed to create everything good.

Luckily for Athens it was always the people who really made things work. And they’re still working now, and millions more travel to the tombs of the gods than ever attended upon their living glory.

Fractional Life-Crises

  • Mid-life crisis: the fear that you haven’t done all the things you wanted to in life.
  • Quarter-life crisis: the fear that you have no idea what you want to do in life.
  • Three-quarters life crisis: the certainty that you haven’t done all the things you wanted to in life, which can take the form of wisdom or bitterness.
  • Three-eighths crisis: the urgent inability of the first two above to meet and have a really good talk.
  • Five-eighths crisis: the less urgent but still pretty painful inability of the second two to meet so the third can tell the second it’s nowhere near too late, jesus, while still missing the same lesson themselves.
  • alphalife crisis: a glorious moment of connection with all things that make life possible, but you lack the verbal ability to explain it.
  • incrementlife crisis: the sudden realization of how much time has passed since you said you insisted you were going to get something done.
  • Zeno life crisis: realizing with every increasing frequency that you’re closer to death, even though there will never be a time where you realize you’ve died.
  • One forty-two-decillionth life crisis: the length of time over which we still can’t merge general relativity with quantum mechanics, which is really a huge deal but we have to confess it doesn’t affect your life personally.
  • 1.01 life crisis: The ritual works! Quickly, Igor, activate the defenses before the accursed Guardians of Light undo us all!
  • -1 life crisis: the knowledge that you’ll never achieve as much as your good parallel self because of how much time you must spend each day maintaining this perfect goatee/significantly nakeder version of your regular clothing/both.
  • Pi life crisis: the tendency to become spherical when your obscene dystopian wealth keeps you alive much longer than most people (e.g. Baron Harkonnen)
  • goldenlife crisis: No crisis, everything looks pretty good!
  • i life crisis: The way you still miss Captain Teddybear.

More existential overanalysis with

How Social Justice Warriors Will Ruin Gaming

A “hardo” is a self-described “hardcore gamer”, someone who thinks you can play video games better than someone else in any way other than directly beating them at a game you both play. They think shooting people in Call of Duty makes them superior to someone  playing the Sims or Candy Crush. We need a new term for them because they’re trying to call themselves “gamers”. But everyone who plays games is a gamer. That is what the word gamer means.

Hardos often rail against SJWs. An “SJW” is a “Social Justice Warrior”, which is meant to be a derogatory term for people who care about equality and fighting discrimination, but honestly sounds like an anime knockoff of the A-Team and is therefore awesome.

The suggestion that SJWs are destroying gaming is ludicrous. Every Social Justice Warrior in the world put together to form Social Justice Devastator couldn’t dent the billions of dollars taken by Call of Duty alone. And they wouldn’t even want to – they just want to add a few options so that the series can make even more money. The main effect of SJWs on gaming is making more independent games, which, again, is something you’d think all gamers would like.

What are hardos so afraid of? Behold, as we glimpse their nightmare world of SJW-ruined gaming.

  • Call of Duty: Social Justice Warrior. You’re deployed in a raging warzone to fight against the enemies of equality, but the very first injury puts you out of action and into months of minigames based on healing and physical therapy.
  • The Sims: Assassin’s Creed. You spend months building the a beloved character only for some asshole to come out of nowhere and stab them through the neck because they were bored.
  • Titanfallout. After wrecking a billion-dollar piece of military hardware, you’re court-martialed and dishonourably discharged to scapegoat the commander of the failed mission. You find yourself under attack by endless lawsuits, and the game becomes an unwinnable finance simulator.
  • Mass Effect 3. An RPG gives you the ability to play as any color, gender, or sexuality, despite being heavy on cutscenes, and still makes millions of dollars. Thereby permanently embarrassing every other video game made before and since.
  • Call of Duty: Every Warrior. The ability to choose your skin color makes the game unwinnable, as choosing any non-US nationality causes your AI team-mates to assume you’re the enemy and must be shot in an absolutely guilt-free manner.
  • Call of Duty: Gender Wars. The ability to play as a man, woman, or other gender empties the multiplayer servers, as millions of players are paralyzed by the concept of picturing what it’s like to be someone else.
  • EVEn. A giant space MMORPG where the economy reflects the real cost of war and production. Attacking and taking over another territory tends to destroy most of its ability to generate wealth, leaving the occupier facing endemic structural problems. War is terrifically expensive, and must be supported by productive players, so that the majority of players have to generate the wealth and deal with the fallout of the fighters. Players can run businesses generating the energy and weapons for the militaries, but can be attacked in turn. Note: I would love to see this game.

Games are fun. Read more games and more fun at

Surrender of the Body Havers

The point of a drone is to send a machine somewhere you don’t want to go yourself. Forget spying and military strikes, we’ll soon have drones going to the shops for milk and fetching the TV remote from across the room. Drones watching children perform their school pantomime. Drone buzzing softly as spouse shares their annoyances of the day. Drones with very special attachments providing intimate attention. Eventually the drones take over. Our bodies weren’t snatched, they just stopped bothering to get up in the morning. Those matrix pods filled with pink goo weren’t built by the machines. They’re just what happens when you lie in the same bed with a laptop for ten generations.

Space Marines Do It Better: Xenos

The filthy xenos couldn’t even burn right. Thick smoke choked the chamber, not with the victorious feast-smells of roasting flesh, but a scratching foulness which cut the throat and pained even his implanted multi-lung. Vithar’s fangs bared at the sense-memory: they burned like the Illuminated Ones his pack had ended during the Purge of Scriatia. Blasphemous, many-angled things, worshipped into being through stained-glass windows set in cathedrals of heresy, and blasted back to oblivion by melta fire. His nostrils flared at the same stink of poisoned silica.

His flamer washed over ranks of eggs. He’d boarded the vessel searching for a lost scion of the Belisarius Navigator house. The wayward mutant’s craft had crashed on Levitian Quartus-26, and it seemed his family wanted their errant son recovered despite such blatant proof of his flaws. They had requested that the Vlka Fenryka “extend the courtesy of assistance as part of their honored alliance”. Vithar snorted. Navigators always used too many words. Due to sitting in sealed chambers with no tales of their own to tell, no doubt.

Vithar had been returning to his squad aboard the Fenrisian supply barge, Gnawed Femur. As the only ship in range, it had been diverted to recover the target. Even one Astartes was likely overkill for simple rescue. Low orbit auspex had located a crashed vessel, though interference from particulate storms confounded any further details. His first glance had told him the ship was not Imperial, but the Navigator might have sheltered within. One could never predict the insanity of those who gazed into the warp. He had unclasped his helmet, that his senses could best hunt his prey, and started searching the vessel.

The giant xenos corpse had not surprised him. As far as Vithar was concerned death was the xeno’s natural state, one he was blessed to help them attain. But the wounds were troubling. The thing had died poorly, burst from within. Tyranids. He growled and pressed on.

The only scents remaining in the long-dead vessel drew him deeper into the vessel. A large chamber, still moist, a low fog stirring as he strode into horror. The cavern was infested with ranks of what were quite clearly eggs. Vithar voxed the Femur.

“Large numbers of dormant xenos located. Commencing purge.”

And now they burned. His flamer washed over ranks of the foul incubators, baptizing the xenos with sacred promethium, burning them from the Emperor’s galaxy. Bursting motions turned his head to see things scuttling to escape the flames. He twisted to turn the judgement of fire on them, washing the walls, the roof, the skeletal claws falling, curling, blackening. A clatter directly above, he was pulling the flamer up even as everything went black. Knives of pain stabbed into the sides of his skull. Unutterable horror forced into his mouth, slithering past his tongue, questing to implant. He roared in inchoate fury, the last air driven from his lungs by this unforgivable desecration of the Emperor’s flesh. His teeth slammed shut, a portcullis, and his mouth flooded with pain. The thing on his face convulsed as he tore its weakened grip free, dropping to one knee to punch the horror into the ground. He spat a smoking chunk into the yellowed ruin.

He bent the flamer to the immolate the remains even has his gauntlet sizzled against the grip. His flamer continued to function. His armor was uncompromised, but would require repair and ritual cleaning to soothe its spirit at such insult. Finally he turned his attention to his burning flesh. His Betcher’s gland was gone, ruptured by the acid, and the melted stubs of many teeth would need to be replaced. He could feel his breath whispering through holes in his cheeks and under his jaw. Larraman cells were already hardening inside his mouth, and along the gouges in his vocal cords. Through it all, the flamer burned.

Pathetic. If their idea of defense was bleeding, he would be happy to oblige them.

The Femur’s preparations for departure were almost complete when the Navigator’s retinue arrived. Vithar stared through the armorglass viewing block of the airlock’s inner door. The Navigator was comatose, human eyes closed, third eye hidden under a securely knotted bandana. A bandana with bloodstained holes on either side, as if punctured by knives. An attendant hammered on the glass, screaming through the intercom channel.

“Open the Emperor damn hatch! We have to get him inside! Quarantine won’t help him!”

Vithar’s scarred gauntlet rose to the control panel, punching in the override. The heavy internal doors thunked and ground into the wall. The attendant recoiled from the end of Vithar’s bolt pistol. A voice ground like hate itself.

“Only the Emperor can help him.”

Suffer not the alien to live.

Warhammer the point home with: