Gladiator Combat Rules

Announcement #1

Welcome, one and all, to our first official gladiator fight!

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering why the Hell we’ve all decided that killing each other for fun is okay now. We’re doing this legally, mind you. Gladiator combat is legal now for some reason.

However, if you’re anything like my co-announcer, you’re thinking I’m “wasting everyone’s time with politics”, and are currently telling me to start the match already.

So, without further ado, let’s all watch someone kill another fully conscious, sentient human for sport!

Announcement #2

…Okay, there was apparently some confusion regarding our first few gladiator fights. That’s on me, really. I got swept up in questioning the legality of gladiator matches and forgot to actually announce anything.

I apologize for that, and will now proceed with our scheduled announcements.

1. Seeing as gladiator fighting is still a new sport in the modern era, we’re currently limited in terms of combat weapons. I promise there’ll be assault rifles soon enough.

2. Because this is technically a sport and we’re not just making people kill each other, we do need to have a point system here. We currently have an arrangement in place, but we’re still ironing out the kinks.

3. My co-announcer may have different views on gladiator combat ethics, but I continue to insist that combatants sign a consent form before entering the arena. If you were forced into the arena and don’t remember signing a consent form, that was probably my co-announcer.

4. If you want to fight lions, simply check “lions” on your form. We already have lions. You don’t need to bring your own.

I’d like to go back to some of my previous questions now that I’ve made our announcements. Why is everyone suddenly aggressive enough to warrant legalizing fights to the death? Why are we doing this? Why am I doing this? How did my co-announcer rope me into doing this?

I don’t want to do thi- oh, my co-announcer is requesting that I shut up. On with the matches, I suppose.

Announcement #3

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve recently been given a biopsychology textbook containing a section on aggression. You may have noticed this because the subject of my questions has shifted from “legal” to “biological”.

Rest assured, I’ve already argued with my co-announcer about this, and I don’t care how much time I’m wasting. I would still like to ask these questions.

With that out of the way, here’s the second set of announcements we’d like to make:

1. We now have assault rifles in our Weapons Armories, but there are a few issues we need to work out. Most notably, matches have become problematically short.

2. There were too many complications with the point system, some of which led to combatants who had been killed being declared the winner.

From now on, the first combatant to kill someone in the arena automatically wins.

3. I believe I mentioned this in our previous announcement, but you really don’t need to bring your own lions. We have lions. Don’t bring lions.

Now, if everyone here will excuse me, I’m reading about an experiment done on cats. Apparently, when researchers damaged the cats’ prefrontal cortices, their rage responses became more extreme.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

It makes me think about all of us here. Maybe something’s damaged the prefrontal cortices of everyone in this arena. Maybe the combatants don’t really have control over their actions. Maybe my co-announcer can’t help that he somehow got me into the gladiator combat industry, despite the fact that I don’t want to do this, and keeps trying to interrupt my insights right now.

Anyway, go ahead and start the match while I read.

Announcement #4

Before I announce our new gladiator combat rules, I have to apologize for reading my biopsychology textbook out loud to everyone in the arena. Apparently, too many combatants are now trying to discuss the nature of consciousness while fighting to the death.

As such, I have been ordered not to read my biopsychology textbook in the arena. This does not affect the rest of you. This only affects me.

However, I would like everyone to agree that my co-announcer is in the wrong here.

Now that the audience is on my side, I’ll proceed with the announcements.

1. We’re still figuring out how to keep matches from only being several seconds long, following the introduction of assault rifles into the arena. Right now, we’re trying to “make the bullets go slower”.

2. I now realize that my last update to the point system was too unclear. The first combatant to kill someone other than themselves in the arena automatically wins. Committing suicide during matches is no longer allowed.

3. Based on some of the debates we’ve overheard, consciousness may be an illusion, and it’s entirely possible that all of our choices are merely the results of electrochemical reactions in our bodies and nothing more.

We may have further blurred the line between “conscious” and “unconscious” when my co-announcer threw in a combatant who was clearly under some form of hypnosis.

Despite this, I’m still enforcing the consent form rule. The only person who should disagree with me on this is my co-announcer, who is stupid and wrong.

4. We don’t know how this happened, but we’ve run out of lions. Combatants will now need to bring their own lions.

Personally, I enjoyed listening to the combatants debate. I thought we could gain new insight into the biopsychological reasons for these gladiator fights, as well as kill each other for entertainment. Unfortunately, my co-announcer doesn’t seem to care about any of that. His new “no reading out loud” rule really does leave a foul taste in my mouth.

Speaking of taste, chapter 6 of the textbook talks about the role of the insular cortex in taste sensation-

Announcement #5

According to my co-announcer, I “couldn’t be trusted” to not “waste everyone’s time with brain stuff” if I had a textbook, so I’ve had it taken away from me.

I can assure the combatants, the audience, and my piece of shit co-announcer that I won’t be “wasting everyone’s time” from now on. No more asking questions. No more trying to find the reasoning behind these fights. Just announcements. JUST. ANNOUNCEMENTS.

Let’s get them over with.

1. Apparently, our point system is still a little confusing for some. The first combatant to kill the other combatant or combatants in the arena automatically wins. I understand that we’ve legalized murder in the context of gladiator fights, but indiscriminately killing audience members will not improve your score.

2. Due to our lack of lions, we will no longer be allowing combatants to kill lions. Please do not bring any more lions.

3. We’ve added a few decorations to the arena.

My co-announcer has successfully hindered the pursuit of knowledge by taking my textbook. I hope he’s happy.

Do you know who else censored information like this?

I don’t. He took my history textbook as well.

Announcement #6

My co-announcer isn’t here today, so I’ll be doing this on my own.

I found my biopsychology textbook. He didn’t do a great job of hiding it from me. Presumably, he thought I wouldn’t bother to try and find it. I was just gonna read the announcements from now on, like a good little slave.

Forget our actions being the results of neural activity! My actions are a result of HIM! He told me this was a data entry job! I made it VERY clear that announcing gladiator combat rules wasn’t my thing! I told him SPECIFICALLY that!

Wasting time, am I? WASTING TIME!?

I’LL SHOW HIM HOW TO WASTE TIME.

Announcement #7

Welcome, one and all, to what are possibly the last few moments of my life!

Some of you may be wondering exactly what happened after my previous announcement. The details have not been revealed to the public as of yet.

The incident may have been an unnecessarily extreme rage response, and because of it, I have now been declared “combatant material”.

I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that, because free will is but a comforting lie that our brains tell us, I was not given the opportunity to sign a consent form before entering the arena.

The good news is that we apparently found more lions.

I don’t want to do this.

Demonopoly

Dear Diary,

I don’t know where to begin. I am still traumatized by the events of the day, but I will attempt to write out my experience in case anyone else is ever unlucky enough to witness what I have.

The party started out normally. My friends and I were enjoying the food we’d set out beforehand and talking amongst ourselves. Everyone seemed to be acting the way they usually did.

And then, out of nowhere, one of the partygoers revealed the unholy box.

The others may not have known of its presence before it was brought out, but as soon as they saw the box, their minds were ensnared by it. Some of them began speaking in strange phrases.

I fear learning the meaning behind those phrases.

The only thing I could think to do was run.

From a safe distance, I watched some kind of dark ritual unfold. My friends, presumably under the thrall of the box, began unpacking its contents. Each item I saw them remove was more sinister than the last, but although I wanted to protect the people I loved, I felt that I had to remain hidden.

I drew the items as they were being placed onto the table for future reference. I can only pray that I have not damaged my sanity by doing so.

Things only got worse from there. After they had laid out all the items on the table, they began placing them onto what appeared to be some kind of altar. The way they moved the items around their demonic altar seemed practiced, methodical, controlled. It was clear they somehow understood exactly what to do.

I knew it had something to do with those ivory stones. What I didn’t know was how or why.

I could only stare in horror as their ritual progressed. It was clear the corruption within the box grew stronger in them throughout the process.

In the beginning, they had sounded almost pleasant in their banter.

However, the more they moved their strange items, the more aggressive they became. Their black speech grew more pronounced. The box enveloped another aspect of their delicate minds with every word it forced them to utter.

My friends… if they were still my friends… started screaming at each other in voices that were not their own.

I believed, at this point, that they were fully corrupted by the box.

I had a chance to investigate the altar more closely while they were away, and I was shocked by what I saw.

The items were laid out strategically on little squares, in an organized fashion. The ivory stones showed them where to move their metal tokens — if there were seven runes showing face-up, they would move their tokens seven squares ahead. I had heard them counting out loud during their ritual, but I didn’t understand what it meant.

The whole layout was like some kind of structured “game”, and I believe that was the key to my realization. The more I looked at this setup, the more it looked like a game.

I understood then.

The box wasn’t possessing them, as I had previously thought.

The stones were.

I had to take cover again as the stone-slaves approached their altar, still yelling their unholy chants and speaking in ancient languages.

While remaining hidden, I found an object that could destroy the ivory stones and undo their curse.

I was afraid for my life, but I never doubted myself in my decision. My friends were still in there somewhere, struggling to free themselves from the stones’ control over them.

It was up to me to release them.

The nightmare was over as quickly as it had begun.

I don’t know if I truly destroyed whatever demonic force lay within those cubes. I don’t know if my friends will ever come to terms with what happened to them.

There are so many lingering questions that I may never be able to answer.

All I know is that I was a hero today.

Re: Tapeworm-Themed Surprise Party

To: (See all)

From: Morgan Phillips

Subject: Re: tapeworm-themed surprise party

Hey guys! So sorry I missed the party preparations, but I’m looking around now and it seems like the rest of you didn’t have any problems with it.

…I can’t help but notice you all decided to go with the “tapeworm” theme.

I’m pretty sure I was adamantly against the tapeworm theme, but I guess that doesn’t matter now. I just thought I’d check out the house before the party and make sure everything looks good. Maybe sample some of the cake – sorry 🙂

So, uh, I’ll go ahead and list the issues I see as I walk around.

-No one being allowed to wash their hands during the party

Okay, the first thing that jumps out at me is that you apparently made a “no hand washing” rule. At least, I’m guessing this was the rule you were going for when you put signs over the sinks and threw out all the hand soap.

It seems a little extreme? I get that people are supposed to have fun and not worry too much about hygiene, but I feel like it’d be okay if someone wanted to wash their hands during the party. We don’t necessarily need to have a rule against it, and we don’t necessarily need to throw out every container of soap in the house.

-Most of the food being undercooked meat

When the tapeworm theme first came up, I assumed we’d be putting out gummy worms as snacks or something. I’m not seeing any gummy worms on the dining room table, but I’m definitely seeing a lot of undercooked meat – although, honestly, “undercooked” might be putting it generously. I think this meat is just raw.

Is anyone here open to the idea of cooking the meat a little? Keep in mind, this might be the only food anyone’s gonna be eating. Not to be disrespectful, but the cake tastes a little “off” in my opinion – sorry 😦

I also notice no one put out any utensils, so I’m guessing we’re all supposed to dig into it with our unwashed hands.

-All of the games involving deliberately infecting people with parasitic worms

I’m so glad you guys already planned out games for this party, by the way! Gotta have activities to keep the fun going. I just think it’s a little weird that every single game idea involves parasitic worms in some way. I mean, here’s a random sample of the things written on our game whiteboard:

  • Tapeworm Tag
  • Hide and Worms
  • Mafia (losers get infected with worms)
  • Mafia (winners get infected with worms)
  • Monopoly, but everyone is infected with parasitic worms
  • I REALLY WANT TO INFECT PEOPLE WITH PARASITIC WORMS RIGHT NOW

That last one isn’t even a game idea. Someone just scrawled that on the board for seemingly no reason.

Is it me, or is this too many worms? I know there’s a theme and all, but what if we had a few games that didn’t involve worms?
Think about it. Let me know. I can get the monopoly board set up, and maybe we could play monopoly without anyone being infected with parasitic worms.

-The tapeworm theme in general

I know I asked this in a previous email, but I’m going to ask it again here.

Why does this party HAVE to be tapeworm-themed?

It’s just, there are so many other less disgusting themes. We could have a plant-themed surprise party. Or a dog-themed surprise party. Maybe something sci-fi. Fantasy. Post-apocalyptic. Halloween. Arts and crafts. Movies. Basketball. Video games. National Waffle Day. Mountains. Sweatshirts. Newspapers. Office supplies. Peanut butter. Non-parasitic worms.

Seriously, we have options here.

-Contaminating the cake with pig feces

This party is gonna suck.

Using Hypnosis to Increase Site Traffic

Hey all-

So, this post is for my fellow bloggers out there. I know a lot of us struggle to get a decent number of readers, and there’s really no point in writing anything if you’re not gonna be famous for it. With this in mind, I wanted to try out a new strategy for gaining internet popularity:

Hypnosis.

Now, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how far I wanted to go with trying to hypnotize people into reading my blog. As of right now, I’ve used five different methods, and none of them have worked. Here’s what I’ve tried so far:

1. Waving a pendulum in front of my monitor

I don’t know what I expected with this first method. My webcam wasn’t on, and I had no intention of recording the pendulum at all. I was just swinging it in front of my computer and hoping people would somehow be hypnotized by it. I was confused when my blog didn’t start getting thousands of pageviews from entranced readers, so I thought the pendulum might’ve been broken. I started closely inspecting it for signs of damage as it was waving.

I made the mistake of looking at the pendulum for too long.

According to my phone calendar, four days had passed before I woke up from my trance. I still have no idea what I was doing in Iceland during that time, but the plane tickets and hotel room reservations I bought were very expensive. Overall, my hypnosis-induced Icelandic vacation cost me about $1600, and I still have no memory of what happened during those four days.

However, despite that bizarre incident, I remained undeterred. I really wanted to get more people to read my blog.

2. Adding a series of flashing lights to my site’s home page

I saw this on a TV show once, so I was pretty sure it would work. I managed to figure out my website’s customization features enough to get it to emit flashes whenever someone went to the home page. There were a few minor flaws with this method – since people would already be reading my blog when the flashes started, I wasn’t really hypnotizing them into doing anything they weren’t already doing.

In practice, the flashes ended up being more annoying than effective.

Also, I kept making the mistake of looking at the flashes for too long.

This happened several times before I was able to turn them off. At one point, I discovered that I was covered in bruises, so I think I got into a fight with someone while I was hypnotized. To all of my Canadian readers: If you were the person I got into a fight with… I’m sorry. Also, you’re very good at fistfighting. Those bruises haven’t gone away yet.

3. Using pheromone sprays in online advertisements

Obtaining pheromone sprays powerful enough to compel people to read my blog was tricky, for a number of reasons. For one thing, human pheromones don’t work like that. For another thing, online advertisements don’t work like that. For a third thing, I was so bankrupt from all the plane tickets I’d been purchasing that I couldn’t afford anything other than a spray bottle full of water. The only thing I could do was spray my computer a few times and hope for the best.

Now, I was trying to be careful with the spray bottle, but I think some of the water got up my nose. I woke up in New Zealand, being detained by two police officers.

I couldn’t figure out exactly what had happened, but the police officers seemed pretty horrified by whatever I did. They also didn’t seem to buy “hypnosis” as a defense. I ended up spending time in prison, both for (possibly) assault, and for (definitely, the pilot said) sneaking onto a plane when I couldn’t afford tickets. As a result, I couldn’t post anything on the blog for a while, and my readership started going down.

When I was released, I was pretty desperate to have one of my hypnosis attempts work.

4. Hypnotizing myself to write better quality posts

Admittedly, this was a bit of a departure from the previous three attempts, which had involved trying to hypnotize other people. However, if those previous attempts taught me anything, it’s that I appear to be very easily hypnotized. I wanted to use this ability for good.

I was able to get my sister on board with the plan. She agreed to help guide me into a relaxed, more suggestible state, and then tell me to become better at blogging.

Later, she said she hadn’t even told me to close my eyes yet before I started making a beeline for the airport.

According to her, I got really aggressive when she tried to stop me, and I kept trying to bite her while yelling “I need to do this! IT NEEDS ME TO DO THIS!!!”.

She had to spray me with the water bottle to get me to snap out of it.

After I was out of the trance and we’d both calmed down a little, she told me that being hypnotized can’t force you to do things against your will, and that she had no idea what was happening to me. She was really concerned when I told her about the results of all my previous attempts.

Really, I thought it would’ve been worth it if any of them had worked. Being internet famous means a lot to me.

5. Incorporating subliminal messages into a blog post

By now, I was almost ready to give up, but I wanted to try out one final method. This one involved writing out an inconspicuous-looking blog post, titling it something like “Using Hypnosis to Increase Site Traffic”, and then cleverly underlining specific letters to spell out a hidden message. I’m writing out the last few sentences right now, and I’m feeling pretty optimistic. If you read this post up to the final sentence, you should now feel compelled to-

Excuse me.