What is con crash, how can you avoid it, and how can you give your friends terrible advice on the subject?

A Villainous Guide To Surviving Con Crash

What is con crash, how can you avoid it, and how can you give your friends terrible advice on the subject?What Is Con Crash, And Why Does It Happen?

Con Crash is a “crash”, or what Alice Cooper might call a “come down“: a serious of physical and emotional symptoms caused by leaving the convention and going back to your so-called “normal” life.  Nobody is precisely certain of what causes a con crash, anymore than we know exactly what causes a hangover.  In general, it’s thought to be some alternation of sadness–the pain of parting with a weekend of like-minded souls, only to be dumped back into the ‘regular’ world; physical effects (most people do not eat, sleep, hydrate, or otherwise take the best care of themselves at events); and the malevolent work of angry demons.  We can’t know for sure, but we can do is make some educated guesses.

Now, I’ve run an event company, Jeff Mach Events, in one form or another, for over 25 years now.  And I’ve found that con crash is an incredibly pervasive phenomenon.  I don’t tend to get it myself, but that’s because of my own mantra: “If you don’t stop, you don’t drop”. Or as a former friend said, “Jeff Mach is basically a machine.  All he ever does is work.”

And that’s quite true.  But most people both can, and do, go back to their regular lives after an event.  And that’s when Con Crash is at its most dangerous.  

Con Crash is, in some ways, a positive thing, because it tends to indicate that you had an amazing time.  You go to a convention or festival, you have an incredible weekend, you meet amazing people, you do things that will remain joyful memories forever–and then you get home and crash hard.

Some of the best ways to avoid Con Crash include:

– Making sure to get enough sleep over the weekend

– Make sure to hydrate and take in nourishment

– We really mean it about the sleep part. Seriously.

– Preparing yourself–say, on Friday–by saying your goodbyes, taking photographs to enhance your memory, and re-establishing your bonds with friends old and new before you go. 

– Find ways to stay connected to your convention/festival family throughout the year.  Social media is good for this; although we’d also like to remind you to be careful  not to try to substitute the direct human interaction of a convention for the performative glimpses of peoples’ lives that you get through social media.

Of course, we’re villains.  So while we sometime want to help, it’s also important for us to offer options which are unbelievably, incredibly, supremely unhelpful.  So if you want to assist people with their con crash poorly, we recommend you follow the advice below.

FIVE HORRIBLE WAYS TO HELP A FRIEND AVOID CON CRASH:

1. Do not throw your friend into piranha tank. Piranha make an ugly, buzzing sort of noise while they strip the flesh from your bones. This noise can easily be mistaken for that of a Starbucks Frappuccino blender, and you might draw a crowd of people who will be sorely disappointed when they find that there is no caffeine to be had. I recommend barracuda – keep them hungry enough, and they can eat someone fairly quickly, and they’re MUCH easier to deal with than a horde of coffee-deprived Starbucksians.

2. If they’re cold, do not set them on fire. This plays havoc with household smoke detectors if you’re inside, and if you’re outside, it’s really inconsiderate to set your friends ablaze if you can’t provide people with the makings of S’mores when they come investigate.

3. Avoid blankets made out of poison ivy, unless they have really cute things embroidered on them.

4. Do not lock them in a room and play the Donald Glover novelty song “Werewolf Bar Mitzvahseventeen times, unless, of course, it’s near Halloween. Let’s be seasonally appropriate, okay, people?

4. Sharks with frickin’ laser beams. Effective? Sure. But most residential areas won’t let you bring in more than one shark at a time, and that means you have to leave the rest of them in your car or something, where they’ll get really bored. Pro tip: If you do go this route, loan the sharks your Game Boy. There’s nothing whinier than a shark who’s been hanging out in the parking lot with nothing to do but criticize the music in your Spotify playlist.

___________________________

Yours in Villainy,

Jeff Mach

Halloween

Halloween is every darn day everIf you’ve found this page, it means that you’ve found our Halloween event!  This is a virtual event–you celebrate it wherever you are!

We hereby officially declare that on September 13th, all and sundry get an Extra Halloween Day, and upon that day, all can and shall do all the things normally reserved for Halloween alone.  

Everyone–ESPECIALLY villains–deserves a chance to forsake everyday clothes, dress up, eat candy, dance, and watch all the spooky and/or Halloween movies you feel like.

We’re totally serious about this.  We’re going to wear costumes and throw a party near us and carve pumpkins and all the other stuff we love. You should do the same thing!  

This is an Evil Expo production.  As villains, we’re utterly shameless in saying: If you like Halloween, you’ll love the villainous fun of Evil Expo.  Check us out!

Extra Halloween on Facebook

Evil Expo on Facebook

“If I wasn’t even famous or had any success, I would still wake up and put tons of make-up on, and put on a cool outfit. That’s always been who I’ve been my whole life, so that’s never gonna change. I love fashion. I love getting dressed up. I love Halloween, too.”

-Gwen Stefani

 

Turtle Hill Motion Against Jeff Mach Events–Denied


BER L 000644-19
04/12/2019 Pg 1 of 7 Trans ID: LCV2019655670
BER-L-000644-19
03/27/2019 7:28:22 PM Pg 1 of 3 Trans ID: LCV2019549782
Celeste Fiore, Esq. NJ Attorney License #040652010
FILED
Argentine Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC
50 Church Street, Suite 106
APR
1 2 2019
Montclair, New Jersey 07042
Tel: (973) 744-2980
ROBERT C. WILSON, J.S.C.
Fax: (973) 860-0739
J. Remy Green, Esq., appearance pro bac vice PHV038434
Cohen&Green P.L.L.C.
1639 Centre Street, Suite 216
Ridgewood, NY 11385
Tel. (929) 888.9480
Attorneys for’ Plaintiff
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
Turtle Hill Events, LLC,
CHANCERY DIVISION: FAMILY PART
BERGEN COUNTY
Plaintiff,
DOCKET #: L-644-19
v.
CIVIL ACTION
Jeff Mach; Widdershins, Inc. d/b/a Jeff
Mach Events; Joan B. Mach; and Joseph
D. Mach.,
ORDER ON NOTICE OF MOTION
Defendants.
DENTE
This matter having been opened by the Court on Notice of Motion filed by Plaintiff, Turtle
Hill Events, LLC, represented by Celeste Fiore, Esq., of the firm of Argentino Family Law & Child
Advocacy, LLC and J. Remy Green, Esq, of the firm Cohen&Green, P.L.L.C. appearancepro hac
vice; and Defendants, together represented by Jeffrey R. Pittard Esq, and Liana M. Nobile, Esq, of
the firm of Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC; and the Court having considered the submissions of the
parties and having heard argument of counsel; and for good cause shown:
-7H
It is on this
,f‘ day of
f.”, 2019
Ordered that:
BER L 000644-19
04/12/2019 Pg 2 of 7 Trans ID: LCV2019655670
BER-L-000644-19
03/27/2019 7:28:22 PM Pg 2 of 3 Trans ID: LCV2019549782
1.
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BER L 000644-19
04/12/2019 Pg 3 of 7 Trans ID: LCV2019655670
BER-L-000644-19
03/27/2019 7:28:22 PM Pg 3 of 3 Trans ID: LCV2019549782
7. Qr_ontifig
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js,c.
ROBERT C. WILSON, J.S.C.
This motion is
posed
unopposed
A RIDER iS ATTACHED HERETO
AND NCORPORATED 1146REIN,
BER L 000644-.19
04/12/2019 Pg 4 of 7 Trans ID: LCV2019655670
TURTLE HILL EVENTS, LLC v. JEFF MACH, et. als.
DOCKET No. BER-L-644-19
RIDER TO ORDER DATED APRIL 12, 2019
THIS MATTER has been brought before the Court by way of a motion filed on behalf of
Plaintiff Turtle Hill Events, LLC (“Plaintiff’) seeking a preliminary injunction and other relief
against defendants Jeff Mach; Widdershins, Inc. d/b/a Jeff Mach Events; Joan B. Mach; and Joseph
D. Mach (collectively, “Defendants”). The Court, having considered the written submissions,
declares that Plaintiff’s motion is hereby DENIED.
New Jersey has long recognized the power of the court to grant injunctive relief to prevent
some threatening, irreparable harm in order to preserve the subject matter and status quo. Crowe
v. DeGioia, 90 N.J.
126,
132 (1982). In Crowe, the New Jersey Supreme Court delineated the
basis upon which an injunction should be granted. The Supreme Court held that an injunction
should issue when: (1) the temporary injunction is necessary to prevent irreparable harm; (2) the
plaintiff has a legal right to the relief sought; (3) the plaintiff has made a preliminary showing of
a reasonable probability of ultimate success on the merits; and (4) the relative hardships to the
parties have been considered by the court and favor the granting of temporary relief to maintain
the status quo. Id. at 132-34.
In this matter, Plaintiff alleges it will suffer irreparable harm if Defendants are permitted
to host and operate an event, “Evil Expo,” which allegedly violates two non-compete clauses in a
sale of business agreement. However, Defendants claim that Plaintiff is not entitled to such
injunctive relief, because:
(1) they have not violated either non-compete clause in the sale of
business agreement; and (2) Plaintiff has failed to set forth sufficient factual allegations to justify
the Court’s imposition of temporary injunctive relief. For the reasons set forth below, it is evident
that temporary injunctive relief is not appropriate given the circumstances at issue.
1
BER L 000644-19
04/12/2019 Pg 5 of 7 Trans ID: LCV2019655670
First, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that it will suffer irreparable harm if Defendants are
permitted to host Evil Expo, As previously stated, a preliminary injunction “should not be entered
except when necessary to prevent substantial, immediate and irreparable harm.” Subcarrier
Commc’ns, Inc. v, Day, 299 N.J. Super, 634, 638 (App. Div. 1997). Plaintiff has not demonstrated
an urgent need to prevent Evil Expo from occurring. Plaintiff only sets forth conclusory allegations
that it will be irreparably harmed by Evil Expo because that event directly competes with other
events Plaintiff purchased from Defendants, pursuant to their sale of business agreement.
However, upon a closer inspection of the evidence in the record, Evil Expo is an event with a
different target audience, and which hosts different types of events when compared to Plaintiff’s
“adult alternative lifestyle” events. The fact that Evil Expo will take place on January 20, 2020 —
over three hundred days from the filing of the instant motion — further supports a finding that any
harm that may be suffered by Plaintiffs is not imminent.
Second, Plaintiff has failed to establish that the legal right underlying its claim is well
settled, Plaintiff fails to appreciate that while New Jersey courts may enforce reasonable covenants
not to compete when applied to the sale of business context, there is absolutely no support for
Plaintiff’s unilateral expansion of the previously agreed upon non-competition clauses to cover
any and all events, including Evil Expo. The two non-compete clauses in the sale of business
agreement entered into by Plaintiff and Mr. Jeff Mach are limited as to the type of event they
pertain to, and the record does not support a finding that Evil Expo, which is not age restrictive, is
such an event,
Furthermore, it is unclear as to whether the two non-compete clauses are enforceable at all.
It appears as if the two clauses may conflict one another. Also, it is unclear as to whether Plaintiff
2
BER L 000644-19
04/12/2019 Pg 6 of 7 Trans ID: LCV2019655670
is the successor in interest to the now-dissolved entity that entered into the Agreement with Mr,
Jeff Mach.
Third, Plaintiff has not shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, as the very
essence of this matter, whether Evil Expo is the type of event which the non-compete clause would
prevent Defendants from hosting, is in dispute. Plaintiff argues that Evil Expo undoubtedly
constitutes such an event, while Defendants present exhaustive evidence establishing the opposite.
Specifically, Defendants describe Evil Expo as an event centering on the idea of “villains,” which
attracts individuals who like to write, watch, cosplay, game, read about, create and enjoy “fictional
villainy.” Significantly, Evil Expo also welcomes children to their event. The events hosted by
Plaintiff, on the contrary, cater to the sexual fantasies of an adult audience and erotic subject
matters, and as such, do not allow anyone under the age of eighteen to attend, Furthermore, as
explained in the previous paragraph, the Court is unlikely to enforce the non-compete clauses if it
determines that they have been unilaterally expanded by Plaintiff,
Finally, granting Plaintiff’s motion for injunctive relief would impose an undue hardship
on Defendants, specifically upon Mr. Jeff Mach. While Plaintiffs argue that granting the injunction
would do no more than impose contractual conditions upon Mr. Mach to which he already agreed,
Mr. Mach contends that the injunction will unilaterally expand the non-compete agreement,
preventing him from hosting any events, regardless of their subject matter. In doing so, Mr. Mach
would essentially be prevented from making a living in his chosen field of event planning.
Therefore, for the reasons set forth above, the Court denies Plaintiff’s motion for temporary
injunctive relief.
The Court would also like to note that the other relief sought by Plaintiff is not appropriate,
as Plaintiff has failed to set forth sufficient legal support for such relief. Such relief appears to be
3
BER L 000644-19
04/12/2019 Pg 7 of 7 Trans ID: LCV2019655670
another attempt by Plaintiff to modify or otherwise expand the non-compete clauses of the sale of
business agreement without the consent of Defendants.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion seeking temporary injunctive relief against
Defendants is DENIED.
4

 

Evil Expo Interview with Clare Urbanski, Author, Youtuber, All-Around Wit

The incredible Author, Wit, and Person-About-Town, Claire Urbanski!

Clare Urbanski is a fantasy writer from Wisconsin who loves languages, music, anything funny, and–above all–villains.

We’re excited to have Clare with us at Evil Expo!  We had the honor of doing an email interview with her.

Evil Expo: Can you tell us a bit about who you are, and what you write and create?

Clare: In most of my social media bios I describe myself as an “indie author and total nerd,” which I think about sums it up. As a child I used to be utterly convinced that “The Legend of Zelda” was real and one day Link would show up and sweep me away on a quest to help him save Hyrule. I’m not 100% certain I got over it, because when I realized Link wasn’t coming, I started writing fantasy novels instead. I wrote my first full-length fantasy novel in sixth grade, which you can pry from my cold, dead fingers if I ever find it, but at least it got me to where I am now!

My novels are very character-centric, with a lot of emotional content, convoluted families, and—of course—villains who do terrible things to themselves and others. People have tried to compliment me by saying “Oh, I like that it’s fantasy, but the characters are realistic,” which is a nice compliment but also makes me want to hit them with a bust of Ursula K. Le Guin. I’ve always been of the opinion that fantasy should never be superficial, and I’m hoping to fight against the constant assumptions that it can’t be a serious genre.

Evil Expo: How did you get started doing videos?

Clare: I’d been playing around with the idea of starting a YouTube channel ever since NormalBoots and HiddenBlock absolutely destroyed my constructive use of free time, but I never got around to it until I realized it might be a good way to promote my writing. After trying a few different things, I eventually decided to focus on villains—partially so I could promote it on my Villain Fangirl twitter account and partially because I realized villains were all I really wanted to talk about anyway.

Evil Expo: What do you like about villainy, fractured fairytales, and other unconventional scenarios?

I love playing around with tropes and archetypes. I guess you could say my style is picking up fantasy tropes and running with them—sometimes towards the right end zone, sometimes towards the wrong end zone, and sometimes completely off the field, leaving a horde of injured fans and pissed refs in my wake. Depends on what mood I’m in.

As for villains, there are a couple different reasons. Generic answer: they’re more interesting than the heroes. Sophisticated answer: I often think of the Bible verse about the one sheep from a flock of a hundred who wandered off—why would the shepherd need to go after the ninety-nine who stayed? He cares about them, but they’re not the ones who are in trouble. Trash answer: a lot of villains are super hot.

Evil Expo: Do you have a favorite villain?  If so, who is it?

Clare: Ganondorf. He’s definitely not the best villain ever, or even the best Zelda villain (except maybe in Wind Waker. He peaked in Wind Waker), but he was the quintessential villain of my childhood. I always wanted to square off against him in a good healthy game of Dead Man’s Volley. Except one time as an adult I actually had a nightmare that I was doing just that, and he ended up torturing me to death, so maybe it’s a good thing Link never rang my front doorbell like I wanted (the worst part is that’s not even the scariest nightmare I’ve ever had about a Zelda villain).

Evil Expo: Where should we look for your work?

If you like villains and memes, check out “The Villain Doctor” on YouTube, and if you’re looking for something to read, find me on Amazon or Goodreads! People’s favorites have tended to be “Sixth in Line,” which is a murder drama from the villain’s perspective, and “Queen of Spades,” which is a trilogy that brings a deck of cards to life (think that one part of “Alice in Wonderland” on crack). And I’ve got a new novel coming out this fall, “The Witch’s Apprentice,” which once again takes a fairytale premise (a firstborn child being promised to a witch) and runs off the field with it (the firstborn child likes it much better with the witch). I post updates on Twitter and Instagram pretty frequently, so follow me if you’re interested!

The One And Only Killswitch

Killswitch - speaker, thinker, creator, designer.
Coffee image by pawankawan

The entity known as Killswitch is not your run of the mill villain. He will bend and twist your mind and will until it becomes his own. Villainy is not always overt, it can come in the subliminal variety. In a quest to save humanity from eating itself alive and have it fall under his leadership, Killswitch not stop until he has achieved his goal. Global domination and control of all the coffee in the world.

Megalomaniac bent on global domination. You’ll see gamedev stuff, art, my crusade against stupidity and hypocrisy, so come follow along.

Somewhere east of nowhere

Evil Expo Interview: Chelsea Goodwin, Author, Radio Host, Personality

Editor’s note: Chelsea answered our interview in all capital letters for clarity. We were going to edit that, but it reminded us so much of Terry Pratchett’s “Death”, who also speaks in all capitals, that we left it in. After all, what better way to reflect a Goth Geek’s words than to pay homage to Death?

Chelsea runs Pine Hill Books with her partner, Rusty Mae. You can find them on Twitter @pinehillbooks.

““I REMEMBER WHEN ALL THIS WILL BE AGAIN.”
― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

Evil Expo: You’ve had a rich and complex history. Could you tell us some more about yourself?

Chelsea Goodwin: CURRENTLY, I HOST A RADIO SHOW CALLED in goth we trust WHICH AIRS ON  91.3 FM WIOX COMMUNITY RADIO EVERY WED. AND THURS. NIGHT FROM 10-MIDNIGHT AND STREAMS ON WIOXRADIO.ORG.   THE MOST FAMOUS PERSON I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF INTERVIEWING WAS JOHN ASTIN, THE LOVABLE GOMEZ ADDAMS FROM THE TV SERIES.   I HAVE WRITTEN A NOVEL THAT IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON AMAZON KINDLE CALLED pine hell.   I AM MARRIED TO RUSTY MAE MOORE, I DRIVE A 1961 WILLYS SEDAN DELIVERY WAGON, I HAVE TWO BLACK CATS AND A BLACK DOG AND I SELL BOOKS ONLINE AND AT CONVENTIONS.   RUSTY AND I USED TO MANAGE TRANSY HOUSE, WHICH WAS THE LAST HOME OF STONEWALL LEGEND SYLIVIA RIVERA.  I HAVE BEEN PRIVILEGED TO COUNT AMONG MY FRIENDS QUENTIN CRISP, AL LEWIS, JUSTICE PREVAILS AND OF COURSE THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS HIMSELF,  JEFF MACH.  I ALSO HOST VARIOUS LIVE SHOWS, WORK AS A HORROR HOST AND PERFORM AS A PIANIST FROM TIME TO TIME.

Evil Expo: You’re a part of history for a number of reasons, one of them being your co-proprietorship of Transy House.  How did that get started?

Chelsea Goodwin:  RUSTY AND I BOUGHT THE HOUSE ON 16TH STREET IN BROOKLYN THAT BECAME KNOWS AS TRANSY HOUSE IN 1995.  WE ORIGINALLY SET OUT TO BE A COMMUNAL LIVING EXPERIMENT WITH KNOWN FRIENDS, BUT THE PERPETUAL TRANS HOMELESS SITUATION BEING WHAT IT IS , WE FOUND OURSELVES TAKING IN TRANS PEOPLE, MOSTLY YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAD AGED OUT OF THE FOSTER SYSTEM BUT WHO WERE NOT READY TO BE ON THEIR OWN YET, AND DID OUR BEST TO HOUSE THEM AND HELP THEM FIND WORK, GET BACK TO SCHOOL, THAT SORT OF THING.   FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS OF HER LIFE BEFORE HER DEATH IN FEB. 2001 SYLVIA RIVERA, THE TRANS WOMAN WHO ALONG WITH MARSHA P. JOHNSTON HAD STARTED STAR HOUSE (“STREET TRANSVESTITE ACTION REVOLUTIONARIE”) AND WHO HAD PARTICIPATED IN THE STONEWALL REBELLION LIVED WITH US AT TRANSY HOUSE.   THERE IS A VERY GOOD MOVIE CALLED THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSTON THAT FEATURES RUSTY AND MYSELF, AND SYLVIA AND TRANSY HOUSE THAT I RECOMMEND.  IT CONTAINS QUITE A BIT OF FOOTAGE THAT WAS SHOT BY RUSTY.   INCIDENTALLY WE ARE ALSO FRIENDS WITH THE WRITER RACHEL POLLOCK, AND THE CHARACTER COAGULA WHOSE SECRET IDENTITY NAME IS KATE GODWIN IS A COMPOSITE OF KATE BORNSTEIN AND MYSELF.  I’M RATHER PROUD OF THAT.

Evil Expo: Do you have any messages for fans of today?

CERTAINLY. MY MESSAGE FOR YOUNG GOTH AND HORROR FANS IS TO READ AND WATCH WHATEVER TURNS YOU ON INTELLECTUALLY AND OTHERWISE, TO DRESS WHATEVER WAY MAKES YOU FEEL POWERFUL, TO LISTEN TO ANYTHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE MUSIC TO YOU, AND TO FIND THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD TO BE AROUND.   i ALSO SUGGEST THAT PEOPLE LISTEN TO VOLTAIRE  (THE CUBAN AMERICAN GOTH SINGER) BECAUSE HE’S AN IMPORTANT PHILOSOPHER WHO WRITES VERY FUNNY SONGS THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY LIVE YOUR LIFE BY.

Evil Expo: Who’s your favorite villain?  –or if you can’t choose one, who are some villains you really enjoy?

Chelsea:   MY FAVOURITE VILLAIN(ESS) IS CAT WOMAN BECAUSE SHE IS A PRIESTESS OF BAST, BECAUSE SHE’S A STRONG CAPABLE WOMAN WHO TAKES WHAT SHE WANTS AND STILL HAS A CONSCIENCE AND HER OWN VERY INDIVIDUAL CODE OF HONOURABLE CONDUCT, LOYALTY TO HER FRIENDS AND HER CATS,  AND BECAUSE THE MEN IN HER LIFE INCLUDING THE JOKER AND BATMAN BOTH FIND HER UTTERLY UNPREDICTABLE.  I’VE LOVED EVERY VERSION OF HER THAT I’VE SEEN IN FILM AND TELEVISION  (ESPECIALLY JULIE NEWMAR, LEE MERRIWEATHER AND OF COURSE EARTHA KITT) BUT MY FAVOURITE CAT WOMAN IS THE ONE FROM THE ORIGINAL BOB KANE COMICS OF THE 1940’S.

~CHELSEA

Zombie Apocalypse Entrepreneur

(This is a piece of short fiction from a novel I’m working on.
(At least, I think this is fiction. It’s a journal about a day in the life of a businessperson in a post-Zombie-Apocalypse world.)

6 a.m.  Wake up screaming

6:15 a.m. Realize it’s actually other people’s screams. Go back to bed.

6:45 a.m. Wake up screaming.  Mutter something unprintable, especially since nobody is making books anymore.  Wake up.

7:30 a.m.  Wash using stockpile of Handi-Wipes. Put on sunglasses, umpire chest protector, pants.   Bash Can of Food with rock.  Remember (again!) to try to find a can opener.

8:15 a.m.  Drain bathtub into jars.  Try not to breathe.

8:30 a.m.  Look for coffee. Realize there’s still no coffee.   Bash head briefly with stick until feel relatively alert.

9 a.m. Pick up baseball bat.  Leave through garage.  Swing twice, knock down zombie, turn slightly, deliver headshot.  Lock garage.

9:15 Load Volkswagon.

9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.  Think about how great it would be if the Volkswagon started.  Listen to the static on the radio and pretend that it’s the Beech Boys.

10:30 a.m.  Push Volkswagon.  Pause to slay living dead with bat.  Be grateful that there haven’t been a lot of them.

11 a.m.  Keep pushing Volkswagon.

11:30 a.m. Get winged by survivalist who thinks I passed too close to his shack.  Open trunk.  Throw him a bottle.  Get invited inside for lunch.

12:00 a.m.  Ahhh, stewed pigeon and fresh cigars.  Watch television with survivalist.  Agree that you get the best static when you point the screen to the southeast.  No idea why that is.

1 p.m.  Push car to town with survivalist.  Put out sign.  Start hawking.

GIN!  GIN!  You’ve smashed all the stores and searched all the basements!  All you’ve got left is hand sanitizer and homemade gin!  Buy now!  Buy now!  Will accept cans of food, bullets, and help fixing a Volkswagon!  Especially the Volkswagon part.

5 p.m.  Eat well-deserved candlelight zombie-steak dinner with survivalist at the best restaurant in town, namely, “The Only Restaurant In Town”.  Sell them remaining gin.

6 p.m.  It is dark.  Decide, along with restaurant staff, to sleep in the building overnight so as not to be consumed by the living dead.

8 p.m.  Well-deserved sleep, completely unbroken by screaming.

8:15 p.m., 9 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 10 p.m., 10:30 p.m.  Awakened by screaming, some from zombies, some from other people in the building, some from self.

11 p.m.  Drink gin.  Fall into stupor.

Wake up next day.  Push car home.  Do it all again.

Next step: Learn to make whiskey.

~Jeff Mach

A Lovecraftian Plea

CthulhuI have worked with greatest diligence
To lead a life of great responsibility civic
Thirty years I have spent as a servant of the people
A responsibility to weighty as to be megalithic

I try very hard to do what is right and proper
I spend no idle hours at all
And I am yet left with this single damnable question:
Why won’t the Great Old Ones rise up and devour us all?

Thirty years of fiduciary care
Fifteen wearing the necklace mayoral
Forty years of sacred rites unholy
Worship furtive and bloody and eerily choral

And the impudent works of worthless Mankind
Utterly fail to fall into the seas
Rivers run mostly with water, seldom with blood
Despite my thoroughly heartfelt pleas

I’ve found no success as a servant
Of the gibbering mouth, the weird uncanny flute
And I must rely instead on human nature –
A barely adequate substitute

I follow in the sad footsteps of my father
A stern, cold, observant Puritan
Preaching by day, then trying every moonless night
To make the reign of the ancient ones secure again

He burnt so many witches he became emphasymic
His rasped dying words which assured my fate
So I hold intolerably long urban planning meetings
And design postal errors which make most mail late

And the impudent works…

Still, I hold this consolation
As I try to pull down the Age of Man
I have caused inordinate distress
Within a brief mortal span

I’m a warlock of paper,
An archfiend of crimson tape
I try to open up my heart a bit more each day
And let a little evil escape.

The Doom of Villainy: AI

The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.... It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete, and would be superseded. — Stephen HawkingThe development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race…. It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

— Stephen Hawking, to the BBC

I don’t want to really scare you, but it was alarming how many people I talked to who are highly placed people in AI who have retreats that are sort of ‘bug out’ houses, to which they could flee if it all hits the fan.”

— James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era

Artificial intelligence is a forgone conclusion at this point, it is going to happen.  This panel will discuss the current state of AI and the current expected timeline for the coming of our Evil robotic overlords.  In addition to details on this emerging threat, panel villains will discuss their ideas on how to survive, and or profit from, this impending world changing innovation.

How do we use AI to our advantage?

How might Machine Intelligences use US to THEIR advantage?

Existing algorithms aren’t sentient, and yet they already control so much of what we look at, what we do, what we see, how we feel – on Facebook, on Amazon, and all over the Internet.  Is this a good thing?

Should evil wizards rule the world? If so, should they care about doing it well?

Does Everybody Really Want To Rule The World?

(an exploration of whether Dark Lords should rule, by Jeff Mach, as told to @darklordjournal.)

Should evil wizards rule the world? If so, should they care about doing it well?             I toppled the One True King to be here.  I ended a long line of monarchs.  Histories tell us they were just and noble and good. 

             But that doesn’t seem much like the humanity I know.  And I’m certain they were human—I’ve tasted the blood.

             Have you studied much in the way of human history? You ought, if you plan to be active in its affairs. A suggestion: seek out the stories which most conflict with what you want to believe.

             They may or may not be lies. But the ability to listen to those who disagree, even if you’re going to fight them with everything you have, is a strength; the inability to do so is a fatal weakness.

             It’s hard to have a good sense of what went on before. It’s difficult to capture a living moment in words at the best of times, and more challenging still to try to know what has happened in the midst of chaos.  Still, from my readings, as far as I can tell, the best model for governance is to be part of a fairytale kingdom with a wise and just ruler.  Provided that all rulers are wise and just, and you live in a children’s story, a monarchal autocracy might be pretty good for everyone.

             The problems likely start with genetics: It turns out that Royals are not, in fact, born to rule.  Or, at least, they’re not born to rule well, which is pretty much the rub.

             And sadly, fairytale kingdoms work poorly.  It’s not just that they’re fairytales and thus not terribly real; we’ve seen stranger and more mythical attempts at governance through history.  The problem is that Fairytales attract Good Faeries, and thus Bad Faeries; Evil Queens; Huntsmen, and, of course, The Grand Vizier.  And all of those tend to lead to ruination.  Even in a fairy tale, you need to hope that you’re in a comparatively modern chronicle, where everything is required by the narrative to work out well.  Because it’s not terribly likely, otherwise, that’s you’ll have an ending that’s particularly good for anyone who doesn’t live in the nicer parts of the Palace.  And since the common people are, definitionally, the majority the benefit of “most people” only makes sense if those people are happy.

             Except…

             Nobles and commoners share a common challenge:  they’d like to benefit from the world.  They have to; otherwise, evolution would select against them.  If your base survival traits don’t include “survive” (and try to thrive), you’re pretty much going to do neither.

             And thus the difficulty: one man’s wine is another man’s poison.  You need a hell of a surplus of resources to get to a point where “more for you” isn’t “less for me”.  Not even magic produces something for nothing—quite the opposite, actually.

             Assuming you could create, say, ten times the ordinary number of crops and livestock usually available given a particular set of resources (how?) –you still have to figure out how to divide it all up. What did it cost you to be able to have that kind of surplus, and how willing are you to share the fruits of your labor with those who didn’t help. Or else—it’s time to speak to the King and ask for judgment.

             It’s all very well and good to want to topple “Evil”; but what exactly is the plan to replace it with some kind of better leadership, “Good” or otherwise?