Weird

Stranger than fiction – Pentacle in Kazakhstan

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0
August 15, 2013

I love stuff like this. You know when you see something bizarre in the real world and it just blows your mind? When you’re a writer, you see stuff like that and think, I’d never get away with that in a book. I think it was Neil Gaiman who said: “Fiction is hard, because it has to make sense. Real life doesn’t.” Or words to that effect. Apologies to Neil if that’s a bad paraphrase. And apologies to someone else if it wasn’t Neil Gaiman who said it originally. I honestly can’t be arsed to check. The principle is sound and has been echoed in many ways over the years. Which is why I love stuff like this. It’s just so out there, but it’s real. At least, it exists. It all starts with this headline: Gigantic Pentagram Found in Kazakhstan – Can Be Seen in Google Maps. The headline there links to the original article. Go have a read.

Essentially, it boils down to: A gigantic pentagram was found in Google Maps in an isolated region of Kazakhstan, West of the city of Lisakovsk (coordinates +52° 28′ 47.14″, +62° 11′ 8.38″). The circle’s circumference is over 1000 feet wide and contains a clearly defined, mathematically correct pentagram.

It’s actually a pentacle (a pentagram in a circle) but the article does mention that later.

Beyond that, it’s all speculation. I’d love to know more about why it’s there, who made it, etc. Is it for some magical rituals? Is there a great conspiracy at work or is it just a bit of fun and nonsense? Kazakhstan is apparently well-favoured among the occult elite, whatever that means. I really must arrange a visit there one day. Next book set in Kazakhstan, maybe? Then I can write off a research trip.

Of course, the first thought is that it’s all a hoax, so I double-checked. You can indeed see the thing on Google maps, so it’s at least that real. Here’s a crop from a screenshot I took after I tracked it down:

kazak 300x169 Stranger than fiction   Pentacle in Kazakhstan

I think this whole thing is pretty cool!

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Friday the 13th

By
9
April 13, 2012

friday13b Friday the 13thToday is Friday the 13th. Ooooh, cue Twilight Zone music. Of course, it’s all superstitious bollocks, like being afraid to walk under a ladder or thinking a political agitator died two thousand years ago for your sins. I mean, really? Get over yourself. But why is Friday 13th considered unlucky? Folklore and superstition is some pretty interesting stuff and it’s great fodder for stories. The more we draw on existing mythologies and folk tales, that have endured over centuries for a reason, the more we can make our own stories feel authentic and convincing, thereby helping readers to suspend disbelief and enjoy a fictional journey. And who knows, maybe in two thousand years there’ll be a group of weirdos attending the Church of RealmShift, praying to the god Isiah for absolution. That would be quite funny, but we really should have grown out of this stuff already, so considering another two thousand years of it is a bit sad.

Anyway, Friday 13th – where does that particular bad luck superstition come from? Well, the answer, as is so often the case: No one knows. But there are a lot of theories. Interestingly, this particular superstition seems to be quite young, with no real references before the 20th century. Going to the fount of all knowledge (Wikipedia, obviously), we get these possibilities:

1. In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth [more on this later - Alan], that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.

2. Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys, begin new projects or deploy releases in production. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s.

3. One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th. Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became extremely common.

It seems that there were existing superstitious issues regarding both the number 13 and Fridays, so it seems “logical” that Friday the 13th is doom with extra tragic sauce.

jason Vorhees Friday the 13th wb 300x203 Friday the 13thAnother theory is that Primitive man had only his 10 fingers and two feet to represent units, so he could count no higher than 12. What lay beyond that — 13 — was an impenetrable mystery to our prehistoric forebears, hence an object of superstition.

That doesn’t really take into account toes, though, so seems like a dodgy idea to me. Not to mention that surely there would be no evidence of anything beyond 12, thereby nothing to be scared of. It certainly wouldn’t have been called 13… or would it? That one makes no bloody sense at all.

Here’s another interesting idea from David Emery at Urban Legends:

Still other sources speculate that the number 13 may have been purposely vilified by the founders of patriarchal religions in the early days of western civilization because it represented femininity. Thirteen had been revered in prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures, we are told, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). The “Earth Mother of Laussel,” for example — a 27,000-year-old carving found near the Lascaux caves in France often cited as an icon of matriarchal spirituality — depicts a female figure holding a crescent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches. As the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar with the rise of male-dominated civilization, it is surmised, so did the “perfect” number 12 over the “imperfect” number 13, thereafter considered anathema.

I quite like that theory, not it’s got just enough bastardry in it to make it an enduring myth, and enough impetus for men in power to keep pushing their agenda. It would explain a lot about why 13 is so consistently recognised as a “bad” number if it meant men could retain some patriarchal power. Of course, it also means that superstitious feminists should embrace Friday the 13th, and that might give rise to some brain implosions.

And from the same source, here’s that great Norse yarn, mentioned earlier:

Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to 13. True to character, Loki raised hell by inciting Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved. And although one might take the moral of this story to be “Beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe,” the Norse themselves apparently concluded that 13 people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.

David also points out that there were 13 present at the Last Supper, one of whom betrayed Jesus and triggered the Crucifixion. And that crucifixioin allegedly took place on a Friday. The bad news is just stacking up for the mythologically-minded.

David Emery’s entire article makes for great reading on the subject, so maybe you should just go there and read the whole thing. I’ll wait here.

Good, wasn’t it?

Here’s an interesting extra tidbit, though:

The Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) on June 12, 2008, stated that “fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home. Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday the 13th, at least in the Netherlands; in the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500.”

It’s a small difference, but I do love me a bit of irony.

Anyway, if you really want to test your superstitious credulity this is the year for it – there will be three occurrences of Friday 13th in 2012, exactly 13 weeks apart. OH MY GODS WE’RE DOOMED!

black cat friday13th Friday the 13th

Not that everyone needs to worry. The Spanish and Greeks consider Tuesday 13th bad luck, and the Italians are concerned about Friday 17th. You see, it’s all bollocks.

On the upside, we do get some brilliant words from the superstition:

The fear of Friday the 13th has been called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen). Seriously, say that word out loud and see if you don’t love it. FRIGGATRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA! Now, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to use that word today in casual conversation. Best of luck.

There’s also paraskevidekatriaphobia a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”) attached to phobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning “fear”).

My preference definitely goes with friggatriskaidekaphobia, though.

Regardless, the only real bad luck I’ve ever heard of relating to anything directly related to this stuff is a stunt in the US many years ago. A guy was going for a bungee jump stunt where he would bungee off the side of a building and pick up a can of soda from the pavement. Extremely careful calculations were made, regarding his weight, the bungee rope, the distance and so on, to make such a dangerously accurate jump. Finally ready, he made the jump and smashed his head into the pavement and died. Why? Because many US buildings don’t have a 13th floor, skipping from 12 to 14, so the calculations of the building’s height were out by one storey. So 13 was definitely unlucky for that guy, but in a rather ironic way. Of course, all that could just be an urban legend, but it’s a great story nonetheless. And good stories are the best thing about all superstitions.

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Real Life Super Heroes in trouble again

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1
October 18, 2011

I’m sure long-time readers here will remember this post, about a real life super hero, or RLSH, and the comedy around his actions. That post generated over 150 comments before I finally had to close it to further discussion. Subsequently, there was this post, with the hilarious Captain At!

Now the ongoing saga continues. There’s this article from The Age, talking about “Phoenix Jones” and the recent entanglement that particular hero has had with the law. According to the article:

Self-proclaimed Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones, a vigilante crime-fighter accused of assault, made his first court appearance on Thursday, but prosecutors have so far declined to charge him.

The one-time mixed-martial-arts competitor whose real name is Benjamin Fodor was arrested on Sunday after police said he pepper-sprayed a group of innocent nightclub patrons he believed were involved in a street brawl downtown.

It raises interesting questions about reponsibility, not just for the safety of others, but for your own actions. You should click through to the article and have a read if you’re interested in this stuff. You should also watch the short news video at the start of the piece.

I have to say, Jones certainly fucked up by pepper spraying a bunch of folks just having a good time, but there are two far greater crimes in evidence from the Age’s article. One is Jones’s hair. Seriously, 1983 called and wants its fashion back. More criminal though is Ryan McNamee calling himself a “documentary videographer”. The wildly shaking camera is barely ever pointing at the subject matter.

Anyway, further hilarity from the world of RLSH. Keep it coming, guys – it’s better than cartoons.

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Practicing Jedi overlooked on 2011 Australian Census

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14
August 14, 2011

Practicing Jedi have been overlooked on the Australian Census. Then again, pretty much everything has been overlooked on the latest census, but the Jedi issue is more important than you might realise.

yoda Practicing Jedi overlooked on 2011 Australian CensusIt’s important to me that statistics are as accurate as possible. After all, 76% of statistics are made up on the spot, including that one. But I’m a stats nerd, so when we have a census, we need it to be as close to truth as possible. With that in mind, I entreated my minions on Twitter to make sure they did the right thing on census night. If you have no religion, I told them from a lectern of self-recognised authority, make sure you put No Religion. Don’t mess up the stats by putting something stupid like Jedi or Pastafarian (bless His Noodly Appendage). I was very quickly corrected by a number of minions. It doesn’t matter, they said, because putting Jedi would automatically get counted as No Religion anyway. I was outraged. What about the actual practicing Jedi out there? Suddenly their voice is not being heard.

Apparently the reason for this is because Jedi or Jediism (and who doesn’t love a word with a double i?) has not been legally decreed as an official religion. This pisses me off. Who are the Australian government, or anyone else for that matter, to tell us what our religion can be? In the 2001 New Zealand census there were more Jedi than Buddhists or Hindus. Of course, most of those 1.5% of respondents were being smartarses, but a small number may well associate very personally with Jediism. And good for them.

The biggest “officially recognised” religion in Australia is based on “the belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.” That’s the definition of Christianity from the Urban Dictionary and it’s pretty bloody bang on.

jedi church Practicing Jedi overlooked on 2011 Australian CensusThe NZ based Jedi Church states: “The Jedi Church believes that there is one all powerful force that binds all things in the universe together. The Jedi religion is something innate inside everyone of us, the Jedi Church believes that our sense of morality is innate. So quiet your mind and listen to the force within you!”

Screw the “official recognition”, I know which one of those makes more sense to me. And which one is likely to be the cause of far fewer wars, oppression and suffering.

I don’t follow any religion. On the census I put No Religion to make sure the stats were accurate from my input. But the stats are way off because the things people choose to believe in aren’t recognised. If someone can be counted for believing in a self-fathering Jewish zombie, someone else should be counted for believing in the Force. If someone puts Jedi and gets counted as No Religion, there’s a problem. Imagine putting Catholic or Muslim and getting counted as No Religion. It’s the same thing. And the belief of Jediism is no less reasonable than Catholicism or Islam. Just because they’ve been around since medieval times doesn’t make them somehow more valid. It makes them medieval. And we’ve all seen where that leads us.

So not only did the Australian Bureau of Statistics give me no place note down my dog on the census form, even though he’s a very important member of my family, or let me note that I ride a motorcycle, stating that only cars count for some reason, they’re also telling me what I can believe. It’s one thing to recognise a religion for legal purposes. As far as I’m concerned all organised religions should be declared businesses and pay tax as such. Tax exemption for believing in an imaginary friend is really only something that should apply to pocket money for children. But legality aside, if I choose to believe in something, that’s entirely my choice. If the ABS want a true snapshot of the nation, they should accept all belief systems, not just a handful they think are worthy through some arbitrary decision. If they want to include religion on the census they need to make a proper job of it.

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Christians upset about Muslim billboard

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3
June 28, 2011

I know, those crazy Christians are always upset about something. For that matter, so are the Muslims. Let’s be honest, the religious of any persuasion have always got something to moan about. But it’s been a while since I lampooned a bit of religious idoicy here on The Word and when I saw this article in the Sydney Morning Herald, I knew I had to comment.

In a nutshell, an awareness campaign by Islamic group MyPeace has resulted in some billboards going up to try to point out that Muslims really aren’t so different to Christians, or anyone else for that matter. Of course, they’re just people like all of us. The religious, regardless of persuasion, are all far more alike than many of them will ever be comfortable admitting. If nothing else, they share a large portion of willfull ignorance. And, that one foible aside, they’re no different to anyone else. But I digress.

One of these awareness billboards says: JESUS: A PROPHET OF ISLAM. And there’s a number and a website.

Some Christians are upset because it demotes Jesus from the son of god to a mere prophet and thereby injures their delicate religious sensibilities. And here’s where the relevance to this blog comes in – I can turn anything I find interesting into a debate on words, language and storytelling after all. The Muslims in question are trying to point out that they revere Jesus too, just not in the same way. Meanwhile, the Christians are upset that the status of Jesus is not being recognised. What we have here are two fantasy epics warring about who has the better angle on truth, when, in fact, neither of them have anything even vaguely resembling proof. Ah, religious tolerance – what’s that then? Some of the quotes really made me laugh.

One complainant said that Jesus “must not be associated with such [an] aggressive religion”. Oh, the irony! She burns!

Here’s my favourite:

“What [my child] knows of Islam she has learnt from watching mainstream news broadcasts and to have her saviour identified as being part of this malicious cult was very traumatic!”

Your child told you that, did she? After a considered exploration of available religions and a decision to be Christian? Or did you just tell your kid that’s what she thought?

Anyway, a complaint was lodged with the Advertising Standards Bureau and, thankfully, common sense prevailed:

”such a statement does not, of itself, discriminate against or vilify people who hold different beliefs… The board acknowledged that the Islam faith does consider that Jesus is a prophet of Mohammed… and that it is not unreasonable for children to be exposed to a variety of information in their daily lives, some of which may conflict with the views with which they are raised”.

No shit, Sherlock. We can be thankful for that decision, at least.

MyPeace founder Diaa Mohamed said, ”[The advertisement] conveys the message that, like Christians, we the Muslims also regard Jesus with extreme reverence. The idea being that the people will see beyond the words in the advertisements and recognise that Islam and Muslims are not much different from any other ordinary Australian.”

Which you’d think was quite fair enough. I wonder if he would be equally magnaminous if the Christians put up billboards all over town saying, “Mohammad is not a prophet of god and the only way to heaven is through Jesus.” The Muslims would be fine with that, right?

These kind of things give me so much fuel for characterisation and plot in fiction. People really are fascinating creatures. Or, to put it another way, as my old Grandad used to say, “There’s nought so strange as folk.”

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Yog-Blogsoth

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0
June 2, 2011

Yog-Blogsoth is a website well worth your time. Thanks to Michael for pointing me in the direction of this one.

From TheLovescraftMan.com:

Michael Bukowski is admittedly obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has spent the last year posting drawings of Lovecraft creatures on his blog Yog-Blogsoth. (Side note: Don’t we Lovecraft bloggers come up with fun blog names?) His ultimate goal is “to draw EVERY creature he ever describes (sticking to Lovecraft only so far) from Elder Things and and The Great Race (who are described in immense detail) to Vooniths and Wamps (who are only mentioned).

Have a look. It’s great!

ibian Yog Blogsoth

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Conquilt from Aussiecon 4 going up for auction

By
0
June 2, 2011

conquiltfull 224x300 Conquilt from Aussiecon 4 going up for auctionAt Worldcon last year, which was Aussiecon4, nearly 100 authors, illustrators, publishers and editors who were present signed a square of fabric. Each piece of fabric was worked into a quilt to celebrate the SF community. Click on the picture for a larger version. This is Conquilt.

Now, Conquilt is being auctioned on eBay as a fundraiser for the local Melbourne convention, Continuum. International bidders are encouraged and worldwide postage is available (at cost to the auction winner). The quilt will be on display at Continuum 7, 10th June to the 13th June 2011, and the auction will run on eBay from 10th June to 20th June.

My signature is on there, but don’t let that put you off. Look at this list of amazing names:

Alan Baxter Alastair Reynolds Alisa Krasnostein Alison Croggon Amanda Pillar
Andrew J. McKiernan Angie Rega Bill Congreve Bob Eggleton
Carrie Vaughn Cat Sparks Catherynne M. Valente Charles Stross
China Mieville Chris Miles (an associate of H. I. Larry) Chuck McKenzie
Cory Doctorow Deborah Biancotti Delia Sherman Dirk Flinthart
Duncan Lay Fiona McIntosh Foz Meadows Gail Carriger
Garth Nix George Ivanoff George R. R. Martin Gillian Polack
Glenda Larke Grace Duggan Howard Tayler Ian Irvine Ian Nichols
Jane Routley Jason Nahrung Jay Lake Jean Johnson Jenner
Jennifer Fallon Jetse de Vries John Scalzi Jonathan Strahan Juliet Marillier
K. A. Bedford K. J. Taylor Kaaron Warren Kaja Foglio Karen Haber
Karen Healey Kate Elliot Kate Paulk Kathleen Jennings Keith Stevenson
Kim Stanley Robinson Kirstyn McDermott Kyla Ward Lara Morgan
Leanne Hall Lisa L. Hannett Lucy Sussex Marianne de Pierres
Mary Victoria Matthew Hughes Michael Pryor Michelle Marquardt
Narrelle M. Harris Nick Stathopoulos Nicole R. Murphy Paul Collins
Paul Cornell Paul Haines Peter M. Ball Peter V. Brett Phil Foglio
Richard Harland Rjurik Davidson Rob Shearman Robert Hood Robert Silverberg
Russell B. Farr Russell Blackford Russell Kirkpatrick Seanan McGuire
Shane Jiraya Cummings Shaun Tan Sue Bursztynski Tansy Rayner Roberts
Tehani Wessely Tracey O’Hara Trent Jamieson Trudi Canavan

I’ve randomly bolded a few of the bigger names to give you an idea.

Conquilt was assembled by Rachel Holkner and award-winning quilter Jeanette Holkner. It is based on the pattern ‘Tribble Trouble’ by Martha Thompson. It measures 152 cm x 192 cm with a 5cm diameter rod pocket on the back for easy display. More details here.

This strikes me as a fairly bizarre item, but certainly a unique one and something that is likely to become more valuable over time and a true collector’s item. So get bidding!

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LiveJournal crosspost test

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2
May 12, 2011

Please excuse this post – I’ve been having trouble with crossposting to LiveJournal. I mean, let’s face it, LiveJournal is deader than MySpace really, but I know lots of people that still use it, like folks desperately cycling along the freeway as cars blitz past at twenty times their speed.

But anyway, I’m just trying this and if it doesn’t work I’m done. Finished. Screw LiveJournal.

As compensation, here’s a picture of Chewbacca riding a giant squirrel, killing Nazis.

chewbacca thumb4 LiveJournal crosspost test

EDIT: It didn’t work. Fuck you, LiveJournal, that’s the last straw. You’re Google Wave to me now.

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Real Life Superheroes – the saga continues to continue

By
5
March 15, 2011

I’m sure you all remember the bizarre RLSH – Real Life Super Hero – thing that blew up here back at the end of 2008. If not, refresh your memory with this post (that I had to close after more than 150 comments, many from “super heroes” themselves). That saga continued with this post. Now, I’m happy to report, the saga continues to continue.

You know when you read something and you think those time honoured words, Only in America! Well, now we can’t apply that to the RLSH thing any more as Britain and Australia are getting involved. That’s right. We have our very own Real Life Super Hero. He’s called Captain Australia and this is him:

captain australia Real Life Superheroes   the saga continues to continue
(Picture from www.bleedingcool.com)

Now seriously, how can that guy not strike fear into the hearts of villains everywhere? Although, by his costume, I think he’s actually Captain At. He probably deflects evildoers with his super belly. He patrols for crime around the Brisbane area apparently.

According to Captain At, “During one patrol, I stopped two sexual predators from taking advantage of a very drunk woman at a taxi rank. Unfortunately, I was unsure of my ability to conduct a citizen’s arrest and the two predators ran away before the police arrived. But I was able to prevent a near-certain sexual assault.”

You’d think a super hero would have some idea of the law regarding citizen’s arrests. You’d also think he’d just kick their arses, vigilante-style, but regardless he did do a good deed. So more power to Captain At!

Britain’s caped crusader is no less… well, less. Called The Statesman, but dubbed the Phan-Tum by the The Sun newspaper (that unquestionable paragon of quality news), he fights crime in Birmingham. Seriously, between Captain At and The Statesman, I’d take the Captain’s beat any day. The Statesman is one of at least 16 amateur crime fighters in Britain, according to researcher Tea Krulos, who is writing a book on the subject. Here’s The Statesman:

statesman Real Life Superheroes   the saga continues to continue
(Picture from www.bleedingcool.com)

The News of the World lists The Statesman’s crime fighting CV as “He helped three other superheores and Police Community Support Officers capture a drug dealer and managed to scare off burglars breaking into builder’s merchant.”

Along with people like Vague, Swift, Black Arrow, Lionheart and Terrorvision, The Statesman is keeping the streets of Britain clean. (Incidentally, what kind of super hero name is Vague? It’s a little… vague, isn’t it?)

When Krulos was told of the British heroes he said, “In America we have many, but they tend to seek publicity.

“In Britain it is a very secretive underground society. They do all they can to avoid publicity and communicate online. Whole forums are set up and often they operate in groups. I have spoken extensively to The Statesman, and he takes what he does very seriously.” (Source)

According to Krulos, “These are normal people wanting adventure and to improve communities. They achieve more than you’d think.”

I have to admit, I bloody love this whole thing. I just can’t leave it alone – it’s like picking at a scab. There’s a part of me that wants to laugh my arse off at these overweight comic book lovers running around the streets at night in costume. Then again, another part of me has a lot of respect for people that would run around the streets at night and put themselves in danger for the good of others, silly costumes or not. I love reading super hero comic books. I’ve been a regular Batman reader for decades. I’ve dreamed of what it would be like to fight crime, vigilante-style. But I’ve never followed through and done it.

I most certainly have stepped in on a few occasions when I’ve seen injustice done. I’ve got into fights before by getting involved when someone else was getting a beating, I’ve interrupted people that were clearly trying to break into a car and some other stuff like that. I’m also a career martial artist, so I’m probably less vulnerable than most in situations like these. But those were events I happened to stumble across. Going out and deliberately seeking this stuff is another matter entirely. And, let’s be honest, walking around the streets dressed like Captain At or The Stateman is the kind of thing that’s likely to attract a beating on its own.

I really hope these guys can stop a bit of crime and help some people. I hope they have adventure and a sense of fulfillment doing it. I really hope that more people will stand up for the oppressed when they see injustice instead of just walking by, and maybe one day we won’t need the super heroes that we don’t really have anyway. I just hope I don’t read about one of these guys eating a bullet or a blade in the meantime. We’ve all seen the movie Kick Ass. If you haven’t, you really should.

What do you think? Ever wanted to be a super hero? Do you think these guys are heroes or total fucking nutcases?

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A world-shaking idea, yours for 3 mill

By
10
February 28, 2011

Hat tip to my friend Cat Sparks for this one. She pointed me to this Bleeding Cool post on the subject. There’s an offer on ebay at the moment that must have film producers all over the world fighting each other to get the mouse click in first. Or maybe not. Seriously, this is more than hilarious. It’s actually a little bit sad, but it could also be a hoax, so I’m going to roll with it and rip the piss out of this bloke. It could be his internet 15 minutes of fame either way, but I really don’t think it’s going to be his retirement fund. Basically, this dude is offering an idea for sale. The bidding starts at $3 million with a Buy It Now option at $10 million. Yeah, you read that right. He’s trying to sell an idea.

idea A world shaking idea, yours for 3 mill

According to him it’s:

a STORY to topple Star Wars, Harry Potter investment

At least, that’s the title of the ebay offer. We can see immediately why he hasn’t written this idea himself. He admits as much:

I am by no means a writer.

That’s right, folks – he’s an ideas man.

I am selling my story that I have been creating for 10+ years. (not constantly writing, but of piecing everything together in a cohesive manner) It can be compared to stories like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Matrix, Indiana Jones and other titles in those categories. This is a really great story I have. This story needs to be completed by a professional writer or Ghost Writer.

Firstly, what categories exactly? There’s a general genre vibe about it, but he’s clearly just looked up the highest grossing movies to force home his point. He’ll be kicking himself when he realises he left Avatar off the list.

I would rather not sell it at all and just find investors to help hire a celebrity Ghost Writer, which would cost 250,000. The company that hires these writers out, guarantee the book to be a New York best seller.

Apparently there’s a company (just one by the sound of it) that can hire out ghost writers, celebrities no less, and guarantee a best seller. Fuck me, I need to find out who this company is and send them a CV. Sounds like any idea can be ghost written into a best seller if you can just find this company. Maybe their office is on Atlantis or something.

This is a serious auction, I’m not looking to rip anyone off. If you win this auction and decide you don’t like the story, then you don’t have to pay, and you will be refunded fully.

So you basically need to have $10 million to hit the Buy It Now button, hear his idea and then say, “Nah, it’s shit. Don’t want it.” Then you get your 10 mill back. And if it is some world-shattering idea, you can go and write the book or make the movie anyway, given that there’s no copyright on an idea. After all, he’s no writer, hasn’t written anything down. Of course, this would be fairly unethical, but when have ethics ever had much sway in Hollywood?

This story will bring in endless fame and money to anyone who takes it.

Endless money? Guaranteed? But he’s willing to let it go for 3 mill. The man is clearly mad.

If it sounds like too much money then you are not the kind of buyer I’m looking for.

Actually, it sounds like too much stupid. But thanks for the entertainment.

You know, there are a million people out there with great ideas. I get people suggesting ideas to me all the time. They’re usually fairly lame. Or someone hears that I’m a writer and they say, “I have this great idea for a book. I wish I could find the time to write it!”

You know what? That’s what makes someone a writer – finding the time to write it. If you really aren’t a writer, you can learn, or you can collaborate with someone. You can pitch an idea to a film company. You can contact someone that is a writer and ask them if they’d be interested in developing your idea. (They almost certainly won’t be, but you could try.) You know what you don’t do? You don’t try to sell the idea on ebay.

It’s the treatment more than the idea that makes a blockbuster. Even a brilliant idea can be ruined by a crappy novelisation or script. On the other hand, a really lame and weak idea can be a blockbuster with the right treatment. Yes, I’m looking at you James Cameron. When you get the great idea combined with the great treatment, you land one of those rare and awesome gems.

Still, I’ll be watching this one closely. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here. The fact that so many of us online are mocking the poor bastard might backfire – if he gets enough press someone might pay to hear the idea. It might turn out to be the greatest idea anyone ever had. But I’ll bet you three million dollars it isn’t.

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The website of author Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter, Author

Author of horror, dark fantasy & sci-fi. Kung Fu instructor. Personal Trainer. Motorcyclist. Dog lover. Gamer. Heavy metal fan. Britstralian. Misanthrope. Learn more about me and my work by clicking About Alan just below the header.

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