Psychic Warfare Department

A Study on the Human Condition and other Horrors

When I left Hamtramck I pretty much lost my computer. I eventually managed to cobble another one out of spare parts but it's basically a potato and can't run anything more graphically challenging than minesweepers without smoke pouring out of it. So that means no gaming at all this past year and more time spent watching SciShow and reading Snopes.

Along the way I became very frustrated with all the garbage on YouTube and the net in general and developed certain rules about browsing which I will now share thus:

1) Never click on anything with a "Top X" in the title. Which wipes out about 2/3rd of the entire internet right there, and nothing of value was lost.

2) Never click anything that begins with "You won't believe."

3) Never click anything that contains the word "Epic" unless you're researching Greek mythology.

4) Never click on anyone that uses "destroys" when something in not being literally smashed and/or blown up into it's component parts.

5) Never click anything that contains the world "Miracle" unless, again, you're researching mythology.

6) Avoid clicking anything that contains the world "Amazing" unless it's from a very, very reputable source.

7) Never click a video that has some asshole in headphones talking to a cheap monitor camera with bad lighting. That person is not a professional anything.

8) Never click anything in all caps. That is the worst sign of desperation there is.

9) Never click anything with an unbelievable photograph for it's display piece. Obvious fake insert is obvious.

10) Never click anything that contains the words "simple trick" and "don't want you to know." These are snake oil advertisements pretending to be content.

Armed with this I spent several months mercilessly torturing YouTube's pathetic algorithms, banning channels on the first offense without a single view, over and over for what felt like eternity, but in the end I won: I haven't had a single top ten list, miracle cure for eye-boogers, stupid conspiracy theory, or other such idiotic and obvious garbage show up in my suggestion list for over a month, now.

I don't know how or why, but apparently I managed to finally teach that damn program what cheap clickbait is and, more importantly, to stop trying to get me to watch it.

Now if only I could do the same for the rest of the internet... oh well.

Is it a culture thing?
Why is it that pot dealers use imperial measurements while coke dealers use the metric system?

Irrelevant Writing Follies
A personal peeve of mine that I've seen even the best writers do is to inject references to their own favorite bands/songs into their stories.

Stop doing this. No one gives a shit.

I get why they do it. Maybe they're sitting around and listening to that particular song for inspiration and, when the inspiration finally comes, they decide to throw it in. Or maybe the song creates a certain feeling in them and they (mistakenly) believe that it will create the same feeling in the reader. One, that's lazy and two, it does not work.

Let's do a reality check here. Nobody is going to stop what they're doing, set down your book, run out and buy a copy of whatever album your referencing, put on your favorite song, go back to the book and suddenly, magically, "get it." Not gonna happen. Never has happened. Never will. You know why? Because no one gives a shit.

Music is art for the ears, reading is art for the eyes, and if you want to mix the two together then go make a fucking movie already. You can inject your favorite band into a movie. Y'know, like the way J.J.Abrahms seems to think that somewhere in the world there is a Trekkie who actually doesn't want to vomit when they hear the Beastie Boys? And you can expect that your favorite song inserted into your movie will get the exact same eye-rolling reaction. But at least you get to force people to enjoy your craptastic taste in music, right?

Now this is not to say that music has no place in writing. Feel free to mention genres of music. Feel free to write about how beats or notes flowed. By all means fuel the reader's imagination so that they can insert whatever particular song track they want into the picture themselves. But do not, I repeat, do NOT go on a tangent about how the 4th stanza of Thorium-15s B-side 8-track (only available in Estonia, printed in 1976 and only 50 copies were made) is the most, like, totally sublime piece of music ever made you fucking hipster douche. No one gives a shit.

When a writer does this all they are doing is creating an empty space in their story. People don't know the song, they don't care about the song, they do not gronk whatever emotional tie-ins that you're counting on by playing this particular card and so they just shrug and move on, hoping that the actual story picks up again soon. Writing about songs in your story is, if you'll pardon the irony, the equivalent of "dead air" to the DJ profession. Think about that. Imagine you were at a concert and all of a sudden the band completely stopped playing music while they flashed a page from a book up on a projector behind them, then sat there twiddling their thumbs, expecting you to read it in its entirety, before resuming playing. Oh, and it's an author no one gives a shit about.

So yeah, stop doing that. Please.

Rome did not fall in a day, either.
Kind of disappointed that the $2.50 an hour that I was originally promised turned out to only be $2.05 an hour. Sadly I know that to complain would be the same as resigning, because that's just how the world works now, and I can't afford to do that.

File under: "Fuck Humanity"
Woman, elderly, fat.
Republican, says the poor, weak and mentally ill should be left to die.
Lives off social security.
Owns a shihzhu.
Calls it her baby.


The downside.
"Because I can't see it any more."
"See what?"
"I'm 907. After a while you just can't see it."
"See what?!"
"Everything! I look at a star and it's just a big ball of burning gas. I know how it began, I know how it ends... and I was probably there both times. Y'know after a while everything is just stuff. That's the problem. You make all of space and time your back yard and what do you have? A back yard."

- Dr.Who, "Flesh and Stone"

You have to admit, the Empire got shit done.
"I swear, Americans' irrational fear of big government has given them something worse: inefficient government. Which, by its very nature, must be bigger than an efficient government in order to provide the same services, while still providing those services to a lower standard."

Why Patreon Sucks.
In a previous post I explained the simple problem with paying people to work on projects rather than paying people to finish them. That is because whenever someone is hired to solve a problem it doesn't take long for them to realize that if they ever actually solved it they'd be out of a job, so instead you get the people tasked with finding solutions deliberately squashing solutions in order to keep the paychecks coming.

Enter Patreon, which has now done the same thing to... well, everything. For a while Kickscammer was the defacto place to go if you wanted to con people out of their money. If you're in a hurry it still is. A couple pieces of concept art coupled with a good sales pitch can net you an easy million bucks that you can then dump into your Swiss bank account before retiring to Mexico or whatever.

However, if you want a constant, steady flow of money for doing basically nothing, Patreon is definitely the way to go. Sure, you may not make a million bucks off suckers all at once, but in this testament to human stupidity, you can easily con suckers out of anywhere from (I've witnessed) ten to fifty thousand dollars per month. Every month. For doing fuck-all.

Keep that in mind if you ever find yourself trying to feed a bad cocaine habit. So long as you film yourself having hilarious anxiety attacks during your drug binges and post it on YouTube (with a special thanks to your supporters on Patreon) you'll never have to work a real job again. Or if you're a Kickscammer veteran you can again take a few pieces of pencil sketch concept art and empty promises and call it a video game in progress - boom, instant income for life, baby. All you have to do is draw another alien or a spaceship once every few weeks and maybe hire that one guy's nephew every couple of months to color some of it in and make it look all digital. And, as with all things, the fastest & easiest path of all is with porn. Not going to go into detail (do I need to?) but yeah, every cam-whore and art school dropout on the planet has a Patreon page now. Because that's what the world needs.

But worst of all is this: Even if you were one of those rare 0.1% of Patreon users who actually want to produce something of value for the world, well, that isn't going to happen, buddy. Because the real job of Patreon is connect the worlds whores to the world's pimps. For this I will use YouTube as an example. Let's say that you're channel is doing something, call it Thing A. It could be politics, science, music, whatever. You put up a Patreon link. One day someone comes along and makes a huge donation and attaches a note that says "Do less Thing A, do more Thing B." What is Thing B? Doesn't matter. It's what you're doing now, because holy shit that's a lot of money and you don't want to lose this patron. So whatever it is that you wanted to do is now over. Now you're doing whatever your biggest benefactors want you to do instead. Nor does it have to be a single large benefactor. It can just as easily be hundreds of little backers who are all voting for the same thing. One day, after months of no money and no viewers, you get drunk and go into a drunken/political/racist/classist/art snobbish tirade on your channel. The next day you find that you're now on the Top 10 Trending List (greeeeeat), you've got a million views and a thousand people donating via Patreon who all want the same thing: "More of this shit, please!"

And now your life now revolves around getting drunk and going into drunken/political/racist/classist/art snob tirades every other week in order to please your audience. Because that's your job now. That's what you've become. That's who you've become. That is your raison d'etre. Hope you're proud of yourself. Dance, little puppet, dance for your master.

Entropy always wins in the end.
I suppose it had to happen eventually, but I wasn't expecting my eyesight to go from flawless to fucked in the span of a single month. Exasperated by my inability to afford glasses, of course. Having to hold books a half meter away in order to read them is awkward, and reading is the only real pleasure that I have left in life.

Still, considering that there isn't a single chromosome in my entire genetic blueprint that isn't completely defective in some way or another, the fact that I managed to live to forty is pretty good, considering the odds. Fifty, on the other hand, is not something I'm betting on and sixty is right out. Thank goodness.

I have always felt that Natalie Merchant's true calling was to be a writer and that she just sort of fell into music by accident.


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