Friday, October 20, 2017

Why We're At War With Fish

Grzq had always been fascinated by humans.
True, to the untrained alien eye all this species seemed to do was wage a rather one-sided war against the fish on their planet. Which was strange, because the fish didn’t seem all that threatening, nor all that interested in the war. Nevertheless, the humans spent huge efforts turning all their natural resources into their most toxic subparts, just so they could dump them out in their oceans.
And they seemed to be winning. All indications were that they’d run out of fish just before running out of natural resources. But the question remained whether this really was an appropriate achievement.
But Grzq was fascinated by the humans nonetheless. For one thing, humans had by far the shortest lifespans of any sentient species. In a sector of the universe where the average lifespan was just under a thousand years, humans barely managed to reach a hundred – and they didn’t even seem all that eager to use the second half of their lives for anything remotely interesting.
Because of their ridiculously short life spans, it was widely assumed that humans would never reach the level of development at which meaningful interaction would be possible.
But Grzq kept finding reports that held his interest. Random fly-by’s of earth had yielded odd results. First, radio signals had been detected. Then, only a few decades later, digital video transmissions. And, in between, there had been bizarre tales of humans being spotted taking a stroll on their moon!
How was that possible?
If any of this was true, it would be extraordinary. Especially considering how each generation of humans had to spend its time.

First, a human would spend roughly twenty-five years doing nothing but study. Trying desperately to absorb as much of the knowledge that had been gathered by his dead predecessors. Basically playing a decades long game of catch-up.
Then he’d spend another fifty or so years putting a small fraction of this knowledge to use, building up to some valuable level of experience in a single field.
But then, when he’d finally become somewhat useful, when he could finally add something to the global repository of information, he’d suddenly stop working and move to a warmer climate to read fiction novels. This was something humans called: being a pensioner.
However, before this human could return from this pension well rested and ready to finally make a contribution to his species, he’d unexpectedly die.
Which was amazing.
Surely this outcome shouldn’t come as a surprise.
If your father, grandfather, and great grandfather all died before the age of a hundred, if only three people on a planet of seven billion were actually older than a hundred, you should probably not assume, without evidence of new medical breakthroughs, that you’d live any longer than that.
But still, their early demise seemed to catch them off guard. Meaning the following generation was forced to start all over again, and with very little new information to go on.
This was dubbed: ‘Stop-start evolution’.
It was a far cry from the advances a species could make with access to a thousand-year lifespan.
Obviously the humans had something special. To create, within the limitations of a stop-start evolution, a container which could be blasted to the moon on top of a giant primitive firework, and carry a group of people safely inside, that was amazing. And to achieve this in a mere twenty thousand years...
Extraordinary creatures indeed!

Read Grzq' ongoing adventure here

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fairytale About An Alien President Stimulating Foreign Nuclear Programs

Whenever possible, the alien president did his best to accelerate the nuclear programs of foreign nations. At first, his attempts were limited to friendly, well-written emails and polite phone calls, but these had little effect. It was simply not possible to motivate other nations to work harder this way.
So he decided to do the opposite. His new efforts would be very public, and very insulting.
When North Korea shyly tried to show the world their latest, coolest, toy – a shiny new rocket they’d crafted in a basement, the president immediately sent out a slew of disparaging tweets. NK had hoped people would clap, tell them how awesome their little rocket was, how smart they were for building it, and finally take them seriously. Perhaps even allow them to sit at the big-kids table at the next secret heads-of-states party. But all they got was taunts.
So they stepped up their efforts. They’d show the big kids. They’d make them pay. They’d build the biggest, most awesome-est rocket and stick the biggest, most awesome-est bomb on top of it.
Which was exactly what the president wanted them to do. But it still wouldn’t be enough, so he went looking for other ways to increase the global nuclear arsenal.
He found an old deal that prevented Iran from developing their nuclear program. He was appalled. This was the exact opposite of what the world needed. He would break this deal, but do it in a way that made it look like he actually wanted a more restrictive deal. A deal Iran would never accept.
The expected result? Iran would have to step out of the deal and accelerate their nuclear program. Even though they didn’t really want to, even though they’d already become bored with nuclear toys five Christmases earlier.
But still, the president felt, this wouldn’t be enough. There had to be more nuclear weapons and there needed to be more conflict. Much, much more conflict.
The reason for this was, obviously, that the president was the only person smart enough to decipher the crop circles decades earlier. They were, in fact, a warning from an inter-dimensional species.
‘Build weapons,’ this warning said. ‘THEY are coming.’
So the president was doing whatever he could to save the planet, stave off the coming aliens. And, if it didn’t work, he’d lay a trap for them. It’d be easy enough with the increased earth arsenal and the high-running tensions he’d created.
He’d blow up earth in a suicide mission to protect other civilizations from the aliens.
It wouldn’t take much. All he needed to do was send the right tweet insulting the right people... Continue reading.

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Why the White House is a Dump - as explained by the Alien President

Part 7

Shapeshifting alien Gryx had taken over from the president and was expected to move into a great while house. The humans deemed it of utmost importance that the most important human of the land live in the most important house. So Gryx expected a lot from this great white house. He expected it to be spacious, luxurious, grand, and again, luxurious. After all, Gryx had seen pictures of kings’ castles, of pharaohs’ tombs, and emperors’ palaces. All these domiciles had been ancient and at least one of them had been designed for a dead person. Obviously a modern president could expect something far superior. Something that offered both the highest levels of technological advancement as well as the most decadent amenities earth had to offer. (And all probably coated in either gold or barbeque sauce – Gryx still wasn’t sure which substance the humans liked most.)
However, his initial visit had been disappointing.
As Gryx toured the house, the residing president explained the designation of each room, and Gryx had to admit, the place was indeed spacious. It was as large a domicile as he had seen on earth. Sadly, it was also quite old. In fact, the president was proud to point out that the great white house was the oldest house in the area, which Gryx failed to see as a positive. He’d rather not have the presidential estate be the house that brought the whole neighborhood down. Also, although humans had already mastered the use of excellent building materials such as rock and marble over four-thousand years earlier, the great white house was, for some reason, made from the same material as popsicle sticks. Another thing that baffled Gryx.
It just seemed like an illogical starting point.
Over the years certain types of fortification had been added, explained the president, but, essentially, the main building material was still driftwood.
Today, as he made his way down the stairs in search of the kitchen for the first time, Gryx felt a little twinge of disappointment at having to live in such a… such a… dump.
Sure, there were servants ready to satisfy his every whim twenty-four hours a day. That was nice, really nice. But it didn’t negate the fact that most of the wallpaper was drab and colorless (and distinctly devoid of both gold and barbeque sauce), or that, while the furniture was sturdy and expensive, it really wasn’t very stylish. Or that all the paintings he came across were simply laughable, looking as if some dumb schmuck had painted them hundreds of years earlier using only materials available at that time.
And, well, truth be told, there weren’t nearly enough TVs.
So apart from the ability to call on staff all hours of the day, the great white house was a real let down. He couldn’t imagine a pharaoh or emperor striking down here and actually being impressed.
No wonder the businessman’s family was still hesitant to move in.
His wife (or rather, the businessman’s wife), had called him several times to inform him that she had to remain in their previous domicile, citing different reasons for this every time. In Gryx’ limited experience with human females this was a clear sign she was unwilling to discuss the actual reason, but to Gryx it was clear. Somehow she had discovered about the dumpiness of the great white house and opted to remain on the outside of it for as long as humanly possible... Continue reading.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Ultimate List - As Explained by Leverage

So I had to deal with this really bad break up. Not one to waste time, I immediately turned to my oldest, dearest friend: Google. After all, more than 4000 years of civilization should’ve produced a cure, right? Countless generations suffered this fate before me, so the best way to deal with the rejection, the heartache, and that longing to spend the days with a special someone, it should be known by now. It should be Honed and Perfected. And, at a pinch, condensed down to a small pill or a fun little bullet list.
Not so.
Apparently humanity really dropped the ball on this one.
With over a million books and movies about love and relationships, I couldn’t find a single serious effort on how best to un-fall in love. The only thing out there is corny advice on keeping your distance and giving it time. Which begs the question: what have we been up to? Why haven’t we found a few moments to solve the most universal of all human problems?
Still, I was convinced exorcizing heartache could be reduced to a scientific exercise, and I set out to do just that. In fact, I captured my first efforts in a video blog series that I called: How to get over someone in 600 easy steps.
Okay, so I was still wallowing when I came up with that title. Deep down I didn't want to get over her, I just wanted a statement that explained how nonsensical my life had become.
Later I changed the title to: 27 simple steps to happiness…
Still heavy on the sarcasm, true, but definitely a nudge in the right direction.
Anyway, my goals were simple: 1. identify the steps needed to return the love-sick mammalian brain to normal operating parameters; 2. condense these steps down to a single-sheet PowerPoint presentation. (After all, PowerPoint is how the modern hunter-gatherer deals with reality. Creating bullet lists and charts pass for survival skills in our society, and rightly so.)
So why bring this up? Well, due to my more than heroic efforts nobody’ll ever have to suffer this fate again. They can simply follow my list and cure themselves. But before I tell you all about it, let me explain how I got into this mess in the first place. Continue reading...

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Two Party System - As Explained by the Alien President

Part 6

With only five days till the presidential elections, Gryx decided to brush up on the country’s political system. He wanted to know just enough so he wouldn’t inadvertently out himself as an alien. That kind of thing was bound to make his life complicated and he liked his life as simple as it could possibly get.
A quick search on the InterNet told him his country of choice had adopted something that was essentially a two party system. Legally more parties could join the fight, but historically the battle for presidency had been waged between two major camps.
This surprised Gryx. Even he could see it was impossible to condense the wishes of 400 million people into just two distinct viewpoints. There was no way to capture all their needs and hopes and dreams in such a limited setup. But, as he read on, he realized the system had some merit, or at least, the humans had found the only logical way to split their people into two groups. Truth be told, Gryx felt their solution was somewhat elegant.
Essentially the two main parties represented two distinct and disjunct ways of thinking: short-term vs long-term.
If your goal was to make as much money as possible without having to worry about the consequences, then the short-term party was for you. You might, for instance, see great opportunities to make some bucks selling hand-weapons to people in the streets. Or you’d like to see an increase in laws that would help poor people pay more bills for rich people, because you happened to be rich at the time. Or perhaps you had a cool idea for the planet’s natural resources and didn’t mind wasting them or causing a mess in the air and the oceans. Those kinds of ideas fitted very nicely in a short-term way of thinking.
On the other hand, if you had children, or happened to care about the future of the human race for some other crazy reason, then you might not want, say, all kinds of unstable individuals getting access to high velocity weaponry. And you’d probably take offense to distributing wealth in a 5% vs 95% ratio. You might even feel that polluting the planet was a bad idea and that natural resources should only ever be used sensibly. That kind of strange thinking would, of course, align you with the long-term party.
Not only was this system elegant, Gryx felt it was also highly efficient. The parties contrasted so clearly that he doubted anyone had to spend more than a few seconds deciding which side of the proverbial wall they wanted to end up on. That freed up a lot of time and mental resources.
For Gryx the choice was clear. He needed to get off-planet and he needed to get off quickly. Short-term was the only option for him. Burning up some backwater planet’s resources or its ability to sustain a lasting society weren’t high on his list. ... Continue reading.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Welcome To Earth

Part 5

Alien castaway Gryx gained access to the room of the presidential candidate by disguising himself as a member of the hotel staff. He found the businessman behind a desk, checking real estate prices on his computer.
“I know you’ve been trying to get out of the presidential race,” he said, waking the man from his mental slumber. “Doing everything you could to get people to stop voting for you. I’m here to offer you a real way out.”
The businessman looked Gryx over, only marginally surprised to see him, then shook his head. “It can’t be done,” he said. “I’ve insulted everybody, leaked all kinds of information, and I’m still in the race. It’s hopeless.”
“I can take your place,” said Gryx. “I happen to be a shape-shifting alien from another dimension.”
The businessman arched an eyebrow at this. “Believe me,” he said, “I know aliens walk among us. In fact, I suspect many of the people I meet on a daily basis must be aliens. There’s just no other explanation. But tell me this, and this is very, very important: are you a real alien or are you one of those fakes? Because I hate fakes.”
Gyrx smiled reassuringly. “I am the real deal, I promise.” He concentrated for a moment and changed the shape of his head.
Baffled, the businessman came closer. “That’s amazing,” he breathed, touching Gryx’ new features, ruffling the alien’s now orange-blond hair. “That is terrific. That is tremendously beautiful.”
“I took the liberty of copying your face,” Gryx said. “I can do the body too.”
He shifted his entire being into the businessman’s likeness, but the businessman balked at this. “Bullshit!” he said. “I’m not that fat! Not even close!”
“I think you’ll find that you are,” Gryx said. “But that’s not important right now. What is important is that you have exactly one minute to make up your mind, will you take the deal?”
Gryx had read that businessmen really respected the pressure of a time-limited deal. They couldn’t resist. A time limitation instantly made anything seem more valuable. And, true to form, a light sparked in the businessman’s eyes.
“Are you saying I could actually have my old life back?”
“Not exactly, we can’t both have the same name and face, that’d cause chaos. But I can give you a new identity so you can make a fresh start.”
“I don’t like the sound of that,” the businessman said. “I’ve never started anything fresh in my life. I’ve always started from a healthy jump-off point, like a mountain of my daddy’s money.” He gave Gryx a meaningful look. “You see, I know how to make something out of something, but I’ve never had to make something out of nothing.”
Gryx shrugged. “I can get you some starting capital,” he said. “But taking this deal will mean that you’ll forever lose your wife–”
“I’m in!”
“– and your children –”
“Let’s do this!”
“– and the rest of your family –”
“– and all of your friends.”
“You’re wasting time. Let’s make this deal before it expires!”
“So you’ll trade lives with me?”
“I’ll do it,” said the businessman, “if you promise to make yourself look less fat. I have a reputation to uphold.”
“I will not.”
The businessman mulled this over. “Okay,” he finally said, “I accept. But how are you going to make sure you get elected? Are you doing it with policies or by rigging the election?”
Gryx didn’t follow. “What are policies?”
“They’re… erm, I’m not sure. I think it’s just a way of describing how you are going to steal money without being too obvious about it. Like, say you want to give your friends a tax break, you can’t just come out and say it, you have to pussyfoot around it by pretending to, say, improve the health care act.”
“That sounds too complicated,” said Gryx. “And people are bound to see right through that kind of deception. I’m doing the other thing.”
The businessman nodded approvingly. “So then you’ve rigged the system.”
“Oh, no,” said Gryx. “I didn’t have to. The system was already rigged, I just modified the parameters.”
“Better be careful,” the businessman warned. “If they catch you, you’ll never hear the end of it.”
Gryx waved it away. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’m pretty skilled. I’m bouncing my attacks off some Russian proxy servers. They’ll never figure it out in a million years.”... Continue reading.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Welcome To Earth

Part 4

Alien castaway Gryx sat in his broken emergency return capsule for days, trying to work out the best way to get the humans to build him an inter-dimensional beacon using their nuclear capabilities. It’d be his only way off the earth.
According to the local InterNet, the easiest way to get access to nuclear information was to be the president of a nuclear capable country. As it turned out, being the president of a nuclear capable country was also the best way to get humans to do stuff for you.
But compromising an actual president would be difficult. Apparently there were only a few of these president creatures on the planet at any given time. They accounted for less than a tenth of a tenth of a percent of the global population, and they also looked very similar to the non-president versions of humans, so they’d be hard to spot. Gryx wasn’t even sure how the humans could tell them apart. Perhaps this was why most presidents plastered their faces all over their cities and their currencies.
Another problem was that the presidents were hard to get at. They were surrounded at all times by a heavily armed entourage and they were constantly being recorded. Everything presidents did, everyone they met, it was all committed to digital storage. No matter what shape Gryx took, he doubted he’d manage to compromise an actual president. He’d have to think of something else.
By noon he’d discovered that his situation was even more complicated than he’d feared. Not unlike the bee creatures on Aldercon, who could morph into the queen when the reigning queen perished, these president creatures could morph as well. Not perhaps from male to female, but they could definitely morph from citizens into presidents. In fact, some of these creatures would automatically morph back into citizens after a set number of years. Not all of them, though, Gryx discovered. Some presidents (also referred to as dictators) managed to hold on to their presidential forms for a very long time, right up until the point their subjects finally had enough of them and shot them to pieces.
And this gave Gryx his second excellent plan in twenty-seven hours.
Although it was impossible to compromise a president in its fully matured state, it might just be possible to compromise a president while it was still in its larval stage. Before it had been fully instated.
True, the larval presidents already had an entourage, but they were unarmed. And they already suffered from a mild form of the ‘always being recorded’ virus, but there were still plenty of hours in the day when they were completely unobserved.
Compromising a larval president was definitely the way to go.
Gryx ordered the return capsule’s entertainment system to follow the news cast on the InterNet and identify the closest electoral area that was about to shed one president and take on another.... Continue reading.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Welcome To Earth

Part 3

Return capsules weren’t supposed to land. Ever. They were supposed to head home and dock with an orbital jump station. This meant there was no official way to change the flight plan. That being said, there weren’t many things in the universe a quart of five-thousand-year-old whisky couldn’t lay to waste – Gryx’ brain and liver could attest to this. And, as expected, the return capsule’s navigational system wasn’t up to the task, either. It was easily decimated by a few shots of the whisky.
The capsule stopped its ascent and immediately dropped back to earth, crashing rather unceremoniously into the side of a mountain.
Having had only a few terrifying seconds to regret his latest questionable decision, Gryx now found himself laid out on the forest floor. He sat up painfully and checked his body. Most of him was still in one piece. The bits that were missing, well, he could regenerate those. It would take a few days, and he’d have to up his calories a bit, but that wasn’t a big deal. Upping his calories was one of his favorite past times anyway.
He took a big swig of the whisky to get started. That would take care of his nerves and provide enough calories for a couple of missing nails and a portion of his vestigial tail.
Already he was on the right track.
He stood and brushed dirt and pine needles from his ripped flight suit, then surveyed his surroundings. He’d been thrown clear from the capsule so he hobbled back over to it and inspected the damage. Large sections of the hull were cracked and burned. Much of the wiring and tech were shot also. As a return device it was useless, but the entertainment system was still intact and this was what Gryx was looking for.
He browsed the menus in search of the data that had prompted him to pour whisky over the main console. A few menus in he found it: a nuclear signature coming from this little backwater planet.
Who would’ve thought?
Apparently at some point these little chipmunks had split the atom. Good for them. They’d figured out how to harness subatomic energy and that meant they could help Gryx build an inter-dimensional homing beacon.
He wouldn’t have to travel the four hundred years back inside the capsule, he could just send an instant distress call and be picked up the following day.
Best of all, he no longer had no excuse for not learning more languages or figuring out how to stop drinking. There simply wasn’t time to do these things now. That was a huge weight off his back.
Gryx refreshed the data and got another surprise: the nuclear signature was still being detected.
He took a few moments to process the implications.
When the capsule was about to pierce the firmament its field of view had included a large part of the northern hemisphere of the planet. That was a gigantic area to capture signals from. Right now, stuck in the ground, the capsule couldn’t see much more than the dirt directly underneath it. So that meant…
The nuclear signal was coming from inside the mountain!
Gryx was shocked. He looked around. Nothing but trees and mountain in all directions. No signs of research labs or generator facilities. If he didn’t know any better, he’d think he was out in the wilderness, roughing it. Instead, he was apparently sitting on a cache of nuclear energy.
Why on earth would humans hide something like that away inside a mountain?... Continue reading.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Welcome To Earth

Part 2

Imagine traveling the 27 catrillion million light-years to earth without a single problem, then turning on the landing lights way too early and scaring the inhabitants of several major cities – already the people of earth were talking up a storm about those ‘strange lights in the sky’.
Not the best way to start a stealth interplanetary mission.
But this was exactly what Gryx had done. And he’d done it just before parking his spaceship rather permanently inside something that other pilots, better pilots, commonly referred to as: the ground.
Yes, he had miscalculated the elevation of the landing site and crashed the ship, but he had a good reason. It had to do with the 50.000-year-old whisky he’d opened to celebrate his first inter-dimensional jump precisely on the edge of the ionosphere of a planet. That was like hitting a bulls-eye with your first dart, when throwing it from five blocks away, standing on a balance ball, in a hurricane.
How often did that happen?
Well, probably quite often with other pilots, but that didn’t count. They had their fancy academy degrees and had logged the required flight hours. There wasn’t much honor in doing a good job if you knew exactly what you were doing.
In fact, to Gryx that had always seemed like cheating.
What he did, traversing dimensions without a clue as to what was actually happening, now that took skill.

After a modest countdown the emergency return capsule detached itself from the crashed craft and shot up into the thin, earth atmosphere. There was a momentary shudder as the capsule reoriented itself, looking for the perfect angle out through the firmament and back into space.
Gryx settled back in his seat. He couldn’t wait to get off the crappy, overheating, overcrowded, prehistoric planet. But he struggled to get comfortable. The capsule was little more than an egg-shaped hull surrounding a single seat, and whatever space was left was crammed with tech.
And this was the bad news.
Although the available space had been used to a degree of efficiency never before seen in the universe, it still couldn’t accommodate anything near the size of a dimensional drive. The capsule was conventional propulsion all the way, which meant the journey home would take over four hundred years.
Gryx peered out the viewport to see if he could still make out the broken remains of his craft. It proved impossible. Already the desert was shrinking, looking more and more like a child’s sandpit.
Somewhere in there had to be a tiny spec denoting his passenger, Grzq. A little dot that was the researcher who had contracted Gryx to take him to earth so he could study the humans.
Well, Gryx, thought, I did get him there.
Whether the poor bastard had actually survived the ‘landing’ was still somewhat of a mystery, but Gryx would definitely send for help as soon as he got home. Using dimensional drives the rescue team should arrive in approximately four hundred years and an hour.
True, he hadn’t actually discussed this plan with his client. He hadn’t even looked for the fool to make sure he was alright, but what good would it have done? If Grzq was hurt in any way, Gryx wouldn’t be able to help. Not only did he have no medical training, the sight of blood, even a tiny drop of it, made him hurl violently. How much fun would that be for a client? Gryx assumed that any client, no matter how crazy, would prefer his wounds hurl-free. That was just common sense.
As the view of the planet below became obscured by cloud cover, Gryx switched on the in-flight entertainment system. It was time to plan out his next four hundred years.
He could finally learn some alien languages.
Get that ever elusive engineering degree.
And figure out a way to stop drinking.
Then again, was that really the best way to start an extended vacation? Perhaps not, after all, there would be plenty of time for all of that later.
For now, maybe he should just watch some instructional videos about making babies. He’d always felt it was in his species best interest if he kept abreast of the latest techniques. You never knew when they might be needed.
As he browsed the capsule’s extensive electronic library, though, he experienced an unexpected twinge of guilt. Which made no sense. In no way was Grzq special. The man was just as annoying as any of his other clients. All he’d done was complain.
Why are you activating the landing lights already?
Why are you flying so erratically?
And why are we so close to the ground?
It was always something with his clients. It was either ‘we’re nowhere near close enough’, or it was, ‘we’re too darn close, pull up you cross-eyed moron we’re going to crash!’ It was never, ‘what are you doing? You’re flying too darn fabulously. Too perfectly distanced from the planet’s surface. Stop being so amazing.’
Nope. That never happened.
Granted, Gryx could have started drinking a little later. All things considered, he was ready to admit, but only to himself, that the results of his early partaking of his celebratory whisky had led to somewhat regrettable results.
Suddenly, Gryx was awoken from his musings. The onboard entertainment system was beeping. Some kind of alarm.
He browsed hurriedly through the menus, trying to locate the source of the problem.
A sudden pocket of dense air rocked the capsule and Gryx bounced in his seat. The ground below angled away precariously.
Gryx frantically checked the systems, pushing back horrible images of crashing a second time and spending the rest of his life on the miserable planet below.
Then he found it: one of the automatic scanning systems had discovered something interesting. He examined it closely. There was a strange signal coming from the planet below. A signal that couldn’t possibly come from down there. Not from a planet of barely upright chipmunks. But there it was, clear as day, emanating from somewhere deep within one of the mountain ranges.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Male Invisibility - As Explained by Leverage

Let's talk for a moment about the curious case of Male Invisibility. You probably don’t realize that, even though you’ve made eye contact with The One, and you’ve talked to her, it’s still likely you’re completely invisible to Her. For the girl of your dreams that was just eyes crossing paths. It happens to her all the time.
And that delightful conversation you had? If she even remembers it, she won’t be able to recall the specific details, such as whether she was having this conversation with a girl or a guy.
The reason for this is a difference in the way men and women perceive the world. Subconsciously, men divide everything in their field of vision into two categories:

1. Women
2. All other objects

We’re very aware of the women around us. We could be on our way to hospital with a broken leg, a punctured lung, and one eye poked out, and we’d still notice The One sitting somewhere in the distance. We’d still find the time to admire the way she read her book and ignored us. All the other objects around us we’re only aware of to the point of making sure we don’t crash into them.
Women, on the other hand, divide their field of vision into a multitude of categories:

1. Shoes
2. Other women
3. Assorted elements of clothing
4. Shoes, again
5. All other objects

And this is the problem men face: women group us in the all-other-objects category. This means that if we don’t do anything to stand out, we’ll register as brightly on their mental radars as old ladies, lamp posts, and dogs. They won’t exactly crash into us, but they won’t remember us either! If we want to be noticed, we have to drop our cloaks of invisibility.
Here’s what we need to do…

Continue reading...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Welcome To Earth

Part 1

“You know,” the businessman said, “I never actually wanted to be president.”
He looked over at the stacks of campaign posters, the streamers, the flyers. “Believe me,” he said, “I just thought it would be good PR to run. I’d go on the trail for a few weeks, drum up some extra business, then announce I’d no longer fund my own campaign and that would be it.”
He seemed to have lost his fight. His eyes were dull and unfocused, his shoulders bore the weight of the world, and even his hair, normally rebellious and fiery, looked lackluster.
“No one in their right mind was going to fund this thing for me, right? And if they wanted to, I’d just say something racist and the deal would be off. This country can’t stand racism. Or at least public racism.”
“Your plan did appear to be foolproof,” said his trusted advisor, topping up the man’s thirty-year-old scotch.
“Are you kidding? It was an amazing plan. A terrific plan. A great plan!”
“Still, somehow, it failed.”
The businessman nodded. He’d never admitted defeat before. In fact, he was a master at reframing any kind of defeat as a victory. But today, with no other witnesses than his trusted advisor, he simply sighed.
“I’ve attacked every minority. I’ve threatened the people with the harshest policies. I even promised to take away basic human rights, like health insurance and that other thing…” he trailed off. Policies, especially his own, weren’t his strong suit. He liked simple words like Deal and Profit.
“You threatened to squander what little prosperity the current president coaxed back to life out of a failing economy on an impossibly large construction along the southern border,” the advisor chimed in. “And, if I may say so, that was a brilliant move.”
The businessman straightened his shoulders. “The border wall was actually a reference to the pyramids and the slavery used to build them.”
“It was?” The advisor looked baffled. “That was very subtle. Perhaps a little too subtle.”
“Maybe. All the voters saw was a plan for a spectacular structure. They never even looked at the calculations, the ones I commissioned and then leaked to the press. No one cared about the cost, or the fact that it’d wipe out half our economy and still leave our borders virtually unprotected.”
“No, they didn’t, sir.”
“So I had no choice but to reverse-robin-hood them.”
The advisor raised another eyebrow. “That’s a pretty big word, sir. Is it one of those things you’ve overheard and started using without knowing the meaning? Or is it one of those things you make up just to confuse people?”
“Actually, it’s neither. Reverse-robin-hooding is an actual thing. It’s when you steal from the poor,” he paused for effect, then continued, “and give to the rich.”
“Ah, reverse– Yes, pretty smart.”
“It’s like the smartest, greatest plan ever. Tell people you’re going to take something from 99% of them and give it to the remaining 1%, you’ll get 99% of the votes against you.”
“That would seem the obvious result, yes.”
“But again, it didn’t work. So I announce some idiotic plan to revert back to coal.”
“And you received even more support.”
The businessman shook his head, topping up his own tumbler. “I mean, what more do I have to do to get out of this thing?”
The advisor handed the businessman his cell. “It’s still five more weeks till the election,” he said. “Why don’t you try another tweet? You know how vicious the internet is against stupid tweets.”
The businessman sighed and typed out a tweet, read it back, changed a few words to make it even more ignorant and more offensive, then sent it off.
This was prime stuff, he decided. He’d just reached previously unknown levels of offensiveness with a mere hundred and forty characters.
He looked back at his advisor, “This better work,” he said.
“I hear you, sir.”
“And what if I really do become president? Did you ever think about that?”
“I try not to, sir. But, don’t fear, it will never happen. I have one more ace up my sleeve.”
The businessman looked up, cautiously hopeful. “An ace?”
The advisor handed over the file he’d been carrying. “If all else fails, we’ll spread the rumor that you’ve being compromised by the Russians. No presidential candidate could ever survive that. It’s foolproof.”... Continue reading.

Similar posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

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Monday, June 26, 2017

The New Novel

Sometimes I'm so smart
I almost feel like a real person...

• Ever wondered why you can’t call a girl the next day?

• Or who invented the friend-zone, and what it’s really for?

• Or why the divorce rate has mysteriously tripled since the advent of deodorant commercials?

Severe introvert by day, misguided dating guru by night, Harold starts a Youtube channel to workshop his elaborate strategies for seducing Emma, the girl of his dreams. But when he finally works up the courage to ask her out, he discovers that Emma is only using him to get fodder for her own dating blog – the one she’s set up to test ways to seduce Leopold.

As it turns out, Leopold is actually one of Harold’s dedicated followers. When he savagely misunderstands and mis-applies Harold’s advice, he suddenly finds himself hugely successful with the ladies, Emma included.

Faced with this strange new problem, Harold comes up with what he believes to be the strategy to end all strategies.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Quotes from Sometimes I'm So Smart...

"Looking into my past lives. Am convinced some of them still owe me money."

"You'd think they'd have invented an apple with smokey bacon flavor by now."

"Forget about hunting and gathering, killing alphas who covet our females, warring with tribes who worship the wrong deities. These days our survival skills are reduced to finding the path of least resistance when communicating with other humans."

"I'm very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences."

"Work has been slightly less of a bare-ass slide down the cheese grater lately."

"I’m like moss; you might not care for me at first, but when you’re not looking, I’ll secretly grow on you."

"I read somewhere that all girls pee in the shower, is this true?"

"Do you think people can sneeze in their sleep?"

"Apparently there’s something about shoe-shaped objects that activates the pleasure centers of the female brain."

"There are over 6 billion people on the planet. That’s 6 billion people, give or take a few, who don’t like me."

"By my estimations things that don’t really matter take up about 90% of our time."