What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Shopping Trip (part 2)

In part one, Chester and Denise went on a shopping trip to "the GAP." It didn't go well: they purchased nothing. In part two, Denise is trying on clothes, trying to find a suitable blouse to wear with jeans. We join them at Aéropostale, the mall-based specialty retailer of casual apparel for young people and proud owner of the most hideous name in all of clothing.

Chester followed Denise around like an indentured lackey. Unlike the speed and dexterity with which she selected jeans for Chester to try, Denise took forever to pick out a suitable top. Some she commented on snidely, others she reached for and touched suspiciously, still others she regarded with an air of disdain that Chester would never understand. Chester knew he never wanted to be looked at that way by anyone and thought about advising the management that they burn the offending clothing item. He almost raised the suggestion to Denise, but was worried that she might secretly like that blouse and be upset with him for requesting its destruction.

Chester was so confused!

Onward Denise and Chester marched, darting around like bees in the spring, from rack to rack and mannequin to mannequin. Denise found parts of the store Chester never dreamed existed and could never have found without her help.

It was a full twenty minutes of "shopping" before Denise selected something she liked. To Chester, it looked exactly like all the other blouses that Denise had disdained with her visage or besmirched with her lips, but he smiled and nodded, relieved that the expedition had finally found some traction. Armed with her one item, Denise went back to her hunting. And Chester returned to his role as the trailing lackey.

Denise's second clothing choice was being worn by a mannequin. Although the item was available on the racks, it was only in Denise's size on the store display-person. She promptly started undressing the poor creature.

That's when Chester got really scared. It's not like he'd never seen an unclothed mannequin before (I mean, what's there to see?), but the idea of stripping one down in public ran contrary to his conservative upbringing. Granted, every mannequin should have the right to be unclothed, but it should do so in the privacy of its home, not in the middle of Aéropostale, the mall-based specialty retailer of casual apparel for young people and proud owner of the most hideous name in all of clothing. Besides the mannequin's feelings, Chester worried about the store's ability to advertise. As we discussed in part one, the whole purpose of having a clothing store is to win the battle against nudity. If a mannequin isn't wearing clothes, what does that say about the war?

Chester's entreaties did nothing to slow Denise's fingers, as she slid the blouse off the poor plastic person. Chester dramatically averted his eyes as she buttoned on a new covering. Chester sighed with relief that no young children had passed and made a mental note to write a complaint about Denise's behavior to the staff at Aéropostale, the mall-based specialty retailer of casual apparel for young people and proud owner of the most hideous name in all of clothing.

Armed with her clothing items, Denise entered the fitting rooms. Outside, Chester wondered how he should react when he saw Denise exit the dressing area wearing the mannequin's clothes. If Chester praised the garb and Denise didn't like it, he risked losing judgment credibility. Similarly, if he expressed dislike of the clothing item, that reaction might be interpreted as dislike of Denise. And Chester was pretty fond of Denise...

Chester had removed a scrap of paper from his pocket and was starting to construct a game theoretic payoff matrix on which to base his reaction when Denise emerged. She was wearing the first top she had selected. Chester sat silently, staring at Denise, or, an observer might easily have concluded, past her. He said nothing. The silence grew eerie as Denise spun around twice -- what grace, Chester thought -- and asked the words he'd been dreading.

"Watcha think?"

Chester coughed and chortled on his words for a few seconds to delay responding. But something about his contrived hacking triggered a bronchial reaction and he entered a genuine fit of coughing. After a minute of red faced gasping for air, during which Chester rolled on the tile ground trying desperately to regain control of his respiration, Denise burst into tears and reentered the dressing room. When Chester recovered he heard sobbing from behind the dressing room door.

"Denise? Gee, Dee...girl, I'm sorry. I have this frog in my throat..." Chester was trying to make things right. "You look nice. I mean, the blouse is sorta ploppy, if that's a word. You know, kinda frumpy. Like something Gloppy would wear. But I like Gloppy. Gloppy can work. Always been a fan of Candy Land..."

The dressing room door flew open and Denise strode out, not sparing a glance at Chester.

"Drive me home," she said. And Chester did. Every five minutes he began an apology, but really didn't know what he was apologizing for, except making Denise feel bad -- but he wasn't sure whether he or his bronchial reaction were responsible for her tepid state of mind. And his clarifying question was met with even colder silence.

Chester concluded that this shopping trip had gone even worse than the first. Not only had they purchased nothing, but Denise hadn't even tried on her second clothing choice!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Awkward Situation #2

Picture this.

You're on a bus.
You can hear very loud music.
You're drinking your second can of Mountain Dew.
All of a sudden, you realize that you really need to burp.
You think about the situation and decide that maybe, just maybe, you could burp on the beat and the loud music would disguise the sound.
So you try it.
You are impressed with your creativity and problem-solving skills.
Then you get off the bus... but the music still follows you.
You realize you've been listening to your iPod.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good Idea/Bad Idea #6

Good idea: Reading FCN.

Bad idea: Reading FCN while drinking milk.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The New Postal Workers’ Creed

Neither snow nor rain nor heat of day nor gloom of night

Nor declining mail volume

Nor changed routes

Nor anthrax

Nor rising postage rates

Nor crazed eBay vendors

Nor elderly suspected terrorists

Nor the annual 102 billion pieces of junk mail

Nor stupid pranksters

Nor the Unabomber

Nor rabid dogs

Shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mammoth Monday

You know something that's way bigger than you? A mammoth.

A what?

A mammoth, that's what. In this day and age, "mammoth" is an adjective for something really big. But thousands of years ago, "mammoth" meant a 2-story tall, 8-ton elephant covered with shag. It was basically a mammalian truck. Common knowledge understands that mammoths died out back when your grandpa was doing his thing - before that even. But did they really? No one knows for certain. And unless you want to be caught with your britches down in a mammoth invasion, you should have a Mammoth Survival Plan.

So. What are mammoths? How do you know you're looking at one? Couple of clues: mammoths are like elephants, but with smaller ears. Other differences: Their bodies are significantly larger and heavier, their tusks are longer and curvier, and they have long, shaggy fur. Though we have never encountered a live one, evidence suggests that mammoths move in herds, are very territorial, and tend to be pretty standoffish. That means they don't get along well with people, even your grandpa.

Return of the Mammoths

There are literally millions of places on the planet that mammoths could be hiding completely obscured from humanity. We haven't seen any for a few thousand years so we've concluded that they're gone. But Rome wasn't built in a day (whatever that means). Mammoths could very well have just gone into hiding up in the arctic, where they've been breeding like rodents. Let us consider:

As the population expands, the herds will need more space to grow. They will gradually take over larger and larger tracts of land, starting in Canada or Russia. Some natural barrier will be holding them back (and keeping us from finding them) until one day, without warning, the pressure of expansion becomes too much and they explode across the barrier into human territory.

Deep in a mammoth's psyche is the understanding that land, once occupied, must be fought for. This means clearing out pests and predators in the area. Mammoths will attack and destroy human settlements in their new territory; and such an invasion would be totally unprecedented and unanticipated.

Thousands of environmentalists and scientists would strongly urge against fighting the mammoths. Many would even seek to be human shields (dying in the process). Police would seek to respond but are ill-equipped for facing hundreds of crazed charging mammoths that can crush their cars with one stomp. It takes a lot to bring down a mammoth. Small arms fire is not enough; flash bangs and gas will only make it more angry.

Military Police will be dispatched onto the scene, but instead of using the most effective possible measures, they will try to subdue the animals in humane ways. Elephant tranquilizers and traps will be too few and too small; the MPs will be overwhelmed, and in the face of billions of dollars in damage and thousands of lives lost, the honest-to-goodness military will move in. Mammoths will charge at what ails them and are hard to stop when they start. This means safe ways of fighting them involve air-to-ground weapons and evasive ground maneuvers (which is a military term for driving away as fast as you can, firing your machine gun backwards and screaming like a maniac). After extensive damage and a protracted search-and-destroy campaign covering much of the continent, the mammoths will be contained.

So, mammoths don't necessarily threaten your way of life. They won't end life on the planet. But what do you do to keep from getting stepped on?

First: consider the chances of a mammoth return in your area. If you live in Baja, you have nothing to fear (of mammoths - but don't worry, there are plenty of other things to keep you awake at night). If you live in the Northwest Territories, you're definitely in danger. If you live in the Ural Mountains, you've probably already seen a mammoth and you're not telling anyone about it.

You sneaky devil.

Having assessed the threat level, you can determine how much time you'll have to react to a mammoth invasion. If you're in the forefront - with little or no warning - your plan should be very simple. Find a way to get out and stay out until the military gives you the go ahead to come back. Don't go back to your house for your photo album or your lucky blanket or to turn the stove off - go.

If you have a limited amount of time to prepare (less than 24 hours), go to your home or the home of a fellow survivor, form a party, build a few survival kits (you should have these lying around anyway in case of zombies, biochemical attacks, and vise versa), then boogie. Make a goal of putting as much distance as possible between you and the mammoths. Don't stop at what looks like a safe place - just go. Minimum safe distance is one hundred miles. You'll probably pass a police/military barrier or two on your way; don't allow that to increase your sense of safety. Just go already.

If you have a healthy amount of time to prepare (more than 24 hours), form a survival party and standby; keep an eye on the news and be ready to evacuate. You may not have to leave - awesome!

Of course, all the planning in the world won't guarantee that you won't be forced to fight a mammoth. If you are, your options aren't that great.

How to Kill a Mammoth

This next section may get a little unpleasant.

If you have a gun, use it. A .45 or thicker rifle round behind an ear or 4 inches above the eyeline should stop a mammoth cold, but you're safer using a bona-fide Elephant Gun. Popular with big game hunters is Nitro Express (so named because it used to be powered with nitroglycerin - cool!). Lots of great choices there; you want a gun with the maximum possible impact.

If you want to go "all the way" in preparing for the return of the mammoths you've got two solid options:

The legal one: the CZ550 from American Hunting Rifles. This beauty - sometimes referred to as the Dinosaur Rifle - puts a massive hole in anything it shoots at. Be sure you're trained to use this weapon, as discharging it incorrectly can knock you flat on your back, break a few bones, and deafen you permanently. Remember that mammoths are larger than any big game known to modern man, and this calls for extraordinary measures. Look into the .600 overkill - a cartridge that can penetrate six feet of solid oak. Downside -it feels like holding a cannon.

The illegal one: Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs) are convenient, reasonably portable, highly effective, and fully biodegradable. They were originally designed for use against tanks and light vehicles but are perfectly respectable against mammoths. Attaining an RPG can be tricky, and for legal reasons, we can't really tell you how to do it.

We can tell you how to use it, however. Good news: firing an RPG is so easy, even a terrorist can do it. All you do is rest it on your dominant shoulder (if you're right handed, put it on your right shoulder) and hold the handle/trigger with the corresponding hand. Use your other hand to steady yourself. Before firing, you may want to cup your other hand over the barrel directly above your firing hand.

To aim, peer down the barrel. There should be iron sights at the very end. Line the sights up so the mammoth is between them. Then squeeze the trigger. The rocket will fire, and the rest is easy.

Safety guidelines: do not fire at a target less than 60 feet away (that's about two RV lengths). Make sure the area behind you is completely clear, as rocket exhaust will shoot back behind you about 3-5 feet. Do not fire this weapon up, as the exhaust will bounce off the ground and burn you. Do not fire with your back to a wall. Do not fire in a crowd of screaming people.

Oh, and for the record, none of that is from experience, and F definitely didn't accidentally burn down half a national forest playing with the RPG he bought on eBay. Just so we're clear on that.

Moving on.

If you don't have a gun, your options are significantly more limited. Everything you learned about killing mammoths in the 10,000 BC movie is wrong. Forget 10,000 BC. Your chances of killing a mammoth by penetrating the heart are a million to one. You could try to stab the mammoth in the eye - but not while it is charging. If you get close enough to stab a charging mammoth the purpose has been defeated.

Consider these two tactics popular with Africans, who have to deal with mammoth's smaller cousins. First, you could dig pits with sharp spikes at the bottom. Downsides: this will only stop one mammoth, at which point the rest will just charge over the corpse and keep going. Also, it's extremely time consuming and not very mobile. Another option: slash their hamstrings with machetes, then start stabbing. This method is very messy and risky.

Your best bet may be to do it with your bare hands: sneak up on the mammoth while it's sleeping and stuff its trunk down its throat, suffocating it. This really does work, folks. We are not making this up.

We think it's pretty obvious by now that even if you've got heavy weaponry, your best chance of survival is putting distance between you and the mammoth herds. This really shouldn't be that hard to do if you're alert and prepared, so be alert and prepared already. Remember: it takes 15 minutes of Mammoth Survival Planning to prevent a lifetime of heartache.

Of course, there may be other creatures hidden away in unexplored regions - zombies for instance. But if zombies break loose, well ... you know what to do.

Friday, February 20, 2009

25 Random Things: Miley Cyrus Edition

We at FCN have been able to access Miley Cyrus's Facebook profile through sources that will remain confidential. We found one of her recent notes to be particularly interesting, and will now re-distribute it here without permission. Enjoy, but don't tell the cybercops.

My 25 totally random things! =)

1. Pink isn't just a color, it's an attitude!

2. The number of years I dated Nick Jonas. LOSER.

3. I'm obsessed with brushing my teeth... it bugs Emily Osment, but whatev.

4. I tape Hannah Montana so I can study myself. You gotta love TiVo.

5. I'm a vegetarian, but I so totally love shrimp!

6. I have pet chickens. Isn't that hot?

7. I'm hypoglycemic. OHMYGOSH, I finally spelled it right!

8. I'm a fan of cosmetic dentistry.

9. I'm starting to get worn out. See here for an explanation of my demise.

10. Miley was totally not my real name. It was a nickname. My real name was Destiny. But I changed my name, so I'm all legal and everything now.

11. I'm not just a celebrity. I'm a corporation.

12. I totally heart Chinese people even though my slanty eyed pose thingy got slammed by the press. Bummer. Chinese people are totally boss. AND Chinese food rocks.

13. To prove that the above random fact is totally true, I decided to show that I am tolerant of ALL my fans! See here:

14. I've never taken formal singing lessons! Bet you couldn't tell, huh?

15. Dolly Parton is my godmother. That. Is. So. Messed. Up.

16. I could shop all day. Shocker!

17. I don't pose nude. Only partially nude. There's a big difference.

18. I date underwear models. But my daddy-poo approves.

19. Oh my goodness, there's a piece of glitter on the carpet!

20. And there's a piece of glitter on my shirt!

21. I'm working so hard to be a "good girl". My Disney career depends on it!

22. I'm a borderline schizophrenic. My alter ego has long blond hair and wears tight brightly colored pants.

23. I heart txting.

24. I look so fat in 3D. Time to go anorexic again.

25. I wear a promise ring. As soon as I can remember what the promise is, I can take it off. But I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by breaking a promise when I don't remember what it was!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

That's One Way to Do It

Dear St Mary's Really Expensive Private High School Family:

All of us have been hit hard by the current economic crisis. Unfortunately, many of last semester's students are no longer able to afford our tuition. Enrollment is down by 20% this semester.

In order to keep this school afloat and ensure we maintain the high standards of educational quality you've come to expect from St Mary's, we are raising your tuition by 20%. Thank you for understanding and have a great semester.

Robert Seems
St Mary's Really Expensive Private High School

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Life Tip #86

Do not cultivate illegal cannabis plants in your house.

If you must cultivate illegal cannabis plants in your house, do not hang out in front of a police academy.

If you must cultivate illegal cannabis plants in your house and hang out in front of a police academy, do not do burnouts outside the academy.

If you must cultivate illegal cannabis plants in your house, hang out in front of a police academy and do burnouts outside the academy, do not do so while the academy his hosting a graduation.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shopping Trip (part 1)

Can I make a confession? Of course I can, half of FCN's posts begin with that facetious five word sentence. What a hoax. This blog is a non-catholic confessional and you, the faithful few, are our priests. It's a cyber line on which we hang out all our filthiest laundry. Well, here it goes: My confession is that until last week, I had never been on a real shopping trip. Sure, I'd done an occasional pit stop at a department store, sneaking through the doors afraid that my other guy friends might see me penetrate the sanctuary of retail clothing -- but in all my twenty years of living (and boy have I lived), I've never been on a bonafide shopping trip, with a female intent on spending money.

It's stories like these that make me glad we have so few readers: less embarrassment for me.

But this story isn't about me, it's about Chester, my faithful alter ego and imaginary childhood friend who stays with me despite the number of times I've stood him up, and Denise, the girl with whom he'd scheduled a date.

Chester, in case you don't recall from earlier, has trouble with decisiveness. He wants to be able to open a young woman's door for her without asking her permission first. He wants to be able to choose what octane gas he wants at the pump without changing his mind after swiping his credit card. He wants be a man's man and make moves without looking back. But his irksome mind keeps thinking of new, better ideas and he lacks the wherewithal to say "no."

The "what to do" conversation had gone something like this:

DENISE: "Chester, do you have plans for today or did you just come over to sit on my couch?"

CHESTER: "Well, not really. I mean, it's a nice couch. And I've always been a fan of the Espo Modern Tan. Is this microfiber? It's nice. Soft. Firm but pliable. Sitting on it is like dermabrasion for your behind. Very pleasant, actually. So I'm not knocking your sofa. It's just...there are a lot of things we could do today. That new Clive Owen movie just came out, In N' Out is giving away discounted double-doubles or we could just chill. Some of those options have a lot of merit...this couch is nice."

DENISE: "You wanna go shopping?"

CHESTER: "Okay."

And that is how Chester ended up in the GAP, a clothing store named for the hole it leaves in your wallet.

The GAP is a confusing store. The walls are lined with all manner of clothing, most of which looks identical, and the center areas are dominated by table-like kiosks which hold even more clothing. Most of the clothes are really nicely folded, which struck Chester as odd.

Nobody calls GAP "GAP." It is always "the GAP," the way a court jester might refer to his king as "His Majesty." This regal designation actually works to improve the store's aura and I found myself humbled to be in the royal sanctum of anti-nudity. Because that's all clothes really are: an open war on nudity. Ever since the Fall, we've tried to combat our embarrassment by covering ourselves up, as if a little textile could obscure how ugly we are. Some people, it seems, are able to wear clothes and still lose the battle. Their ugliness is on display for everyone.

Maybe Denise thought Chester was ugly. Chester didn't want to dwell too long on this ego-diminishing thought and forced his mind to move on.
Although, if she did think he was ugly, why was she going out with him? She was going out with him to a clothing store, silly Chester, to purchase coverings. Coverings that would obscure his appearance.

Chester was trying hard to look at the clothes, the shirtless GAP model on the wall (who was, no doubt, trying to hawk a shirt), anything to keep his mind off his own personal appearance, when Denise came up with an armful of clothes. Here, try these on.

"Denise, this is going to be awful expensive," Chester responded. "I was thinking I might just buy a pair of jeans..."


"Well, you've picked out a third of the store. I'm not that rich..." Chester had told Denise that he was independently wealthy. Chester figured Denise believed him and he didn't want to pop that balloon.

"Yes...well, you can't very well go buy something without trying on a lot of stuff first. You need to search and experiment."

With an "Oh," Chester marched into the dressing room and after interrupting a plus-size woman in a state of undress ("sorry ma'am...that may be a little tight"), settled into the clothes-trying business.

It took forever. Each pair was exactly alike, but Denise found unique things to say about them. Chester didn't know where she found all the adjectives -- words like "casual," "formal," "ripped" and "boggy." But he appreciated the fact that he was the center of attention and so put up with the charade.

In the end, Denise didn't like any of the jeans and they left the store without any purchases. To Chester, the trip had been a dismal failure, but Denise was in bright spirits and appeared satisfied with the outing.

Check back in later for part 2, when Denise tries on clothes and Chester has to be critical.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chuck Norris Monday

Please excuse the delay in getting this post up. For reasons related to the content, it was unsafe to post it in the morning (when Chuck Norris was most likely to check FCN and see it).

Chuck Norris is a reasonably nice guy. This is why we are all still alive. But the cosmic threat that he poses means we would be remiss in avoiding him.

There are a host of legends about Chuck Norris, many of which are untrue. These elevate Chuck Norris to an almost godlike status and increase the hysteria associated with a potential Chuck Norris apocalypse. The first step in forming a Chuck Norris survival plan is to cut through the smoke and mirrors and look at some facts:

Chuck Norris does not know where Carmen San Diego is.
The universe does not revolve around Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris cannot touch MC Hammer.
Chuck Norris has never played Russian Roulette.
The Bermuda Triangle has never been a square.

We don't mean to lure you into a false sense of security, however. Chuck Norris is extremely dangerous. How dangerous? His roundhouse kick is capable of generating a whopping 5.7E48 joules, which is trillions of times more energy than the Death Star used to blast apart Alderaan. Nothing can withstand kinetic energy on that level - not even gravity. In fact, Chuck Norris' kick would theoretically be capable of dismantling the sun.

So how do you fight Chuck Norris?

You don't.


There are two (simple) ways to survive in a universe containing Chuck Norris.

1) Don't get him angry. This is what has prevented the apocalypse up to now. Chuck Norris is really a nice guy with a solid respect for human life. He doesn't want to go off killing people. His power remains almost totally untapped.

As long as this remains the case, it's clear skies ahead. But if Chuck Norris starts getting angry, the situation will go downhill fast. Simple way to prevent: keep him happy. Chuck Norris doesn't just need to not feel like kicking things. He needs to have a deep subconcious understanding that violence is not the answer. If you see Chuck Norris, shake his hand and compliment him on how tranquil he looks today. If he asks you to do something, do it. Use polite phrases like hello, thank you, after you, and you have a nice beard. Don't draw attention to things that bother Chuck Norris (such as democrats and ninjas). Focus on peaceful topics.

Don't say anything bad about Chuck Norris where he can see it. You'll note that this post doesn't contain any directly anti-Chuck material. This is because we are smart cookies.

2) Don't get in his way. If Chuck Norris does get angry, the chances of terrestrial survival are very slim. Your best bet is to get off the planet immediately (before the shock waves from his kicks break the planet apart). Most space launching activity is in Texas and Florida; there's also some action in Russia and China but it will be much harder to hitch a ride there. We suggest avoiding Texas at all costs. If you can't get into space, get into the air (which transmits shock much less than dirt). Planes, helicopters, jumping - it all helps.
Get away from large bodies of water, where tsunami waves will begin to pick up and wash onto shore. And as always, evacuate metropolitan areas. Chuck Norris is likely to head for them if he's bent on exterminating civilization. It also contains buildings/sharp objects you don't want to be around in case of a round-house induced earthquake.
Take advantage of the fact that Chuck Norris is just one man. If he's not toasting the planet, you will probably be able to escape him if you just keep running. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to resist. You will only make him angrier, and the only thing that can cut Chuck Norris is more Chuck Norris.
Eventually he will calm down or get tired (not physically - Chuck Norris doesn't get fatigued. But he might get bored). If the planet is still in working condition, resume normal life and repeat step 1 indefinitely.
If the planet is destroyed, you'll be exiled into space. But that's a topic for another Monday.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Awkward Situation #1

Picture this.

You're sitting in class.

Your professor is explaining, for the 14th time, the difference between an oligarchy and an autocracy. You were up late last night watching The Dark Knight. Again. You shotgunned a Red Bull before class but it apparently isn't kicking in yet.

Your eyelids droop and fall closed subconsciously, and you are vaguely aware of resting your head on the desk. You're studying by osmosis, right?

You don't know how long you've been asleep, but you suddenly feel your neighbor shaking you awake. Feverishly he whispers, "Dr. Stevens wants you to stand and close the class in prayer... wake up!"

So you stand and begin to pray. You're aware of a few faint twitters and giggles. You finish praying and sit down.

Your classmates are staring at you. Trying to keep a straight face, your professor folds his hands in front of him and says, "Thank you for that impromptu prayer. Do you mind if I finish the lesson now?"

You look at your neighbor, who won't make eye contact with you. But judging from the silent laughter racking his body, you know you've been punked.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Facebook Research: News Feed

Facebook.com. Enter. Click. ihatemyspace[at]somespace[dot]com. Tab. *******. Enter.

Hmmm… let’s see here. Jessica and Bryan just ended their relationship… bummer, I expected that to last longer.

Susan Jefferson is omigosh, I just like totally stubbed my toe! ouch lolz!!!!!!! Does she just keep getting blonder, or is it just me?

Collin Michaels wrote a new note. “16 random things (lol).” That’s only like the 12th one of those I’ve seen this week.

Dave Stewart just changed his about me to “I am a womanizer, and I’m not ashamed. I have a corvette and I…” I really don’t feel compelled to read the whole thing. There was more than enough information in that lovely preview.

Amelia Flannagan joined the cause “Save the rocks, don’t use pencils” Wow, that's so random. I think I’ll join just for the heck of it. Where would donations go? School of Rock? Maybe I'll write that on her wall...

Laura Warren commented on Ashley Weber’s photo. “Lololol idk y u taged me in this I look like a giraffe lol” Holy smokes, she does look like a giraffe in that picture… now that I think about it, she looks like a giraffe in real life too. Woah, bad mental image there.

Julia Nelson wrote on your wall. “you are so hott. we should hang out sometime! call me.” She’s desperate. But wait… I’m desperate too. Nevermind. Delete. It's nice to know I'm somewhat attractive, though.

Susan Jefferson became a fan of Charlie the Unicorn. So, that’s why she keeps saying “Shun the non-believers!”

Nate Harmon and Chris Gordon are attending “Hug a cheerleader day.” Slightly disturbing, but an intriguing concept. I bet a cheerleader with low self-esteem created that event.

837 of your friends changed their profile pictures... I have way too many Facebook friends.

Time for a new status change. Hmmm… “(my name deleted) is realizing how much time he wastes reading his news feed. I am such a creeper.”

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life Tip #85

Don't use an electric heat gun unless you know how to do so safely.

If you must use an electric heat gun without knowledge of proper safety procedures, do not use it to defrost your car's window.

If you must use an electric heat gun without knowledge of proper safety procedures to defrost your car's window, do not use it in your garage.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Search for the Perfect Major: Part 3

Major under discussion: Philosophy

The meeting had already started, so I quietly tiptoed through the back door of the classroom. It was the weekly Philosophy-Philes meeting. I think that means philosophy lovers, at least I hope so.

I'd never been to one of the meetings, but if I was going to see what a philosophy major really does, this was the place to be. I was surprised to see no one with taped glasses and pocket protectors. There was one student whose hairline was just beginning its process of recession, but generally they looked like normal people. This was encouraging! Maybe philosophy was the major for me.

A student stepped to the front of the room. She seemed like the leader. She had a look of wholesomeness, like a model for those pictures that come free with a new picture frame. In a very nasal voice, she went over the philosophy idea of the night. Then she announced a 10 minute silent "think-time." I hadn't been warned that I would need to think about philosophy.

Thinking about things… now that is not something I do for fun. I'd gotten through college so far without too much thinking, and I wasn't about to start by choice.

I spent the 10 minutes of thinking time trying to figure out how I could fake my way through the philosophy courses. It didn't look pretty. And neither did my face, which was now contorted in an expression somewhere between exasperation, confusion, and desperation.

At the end of the 10 minutes of misery, another student got up and said, "It is now time for the philosophy joke of the week. Descartes walks into a café and sits down ready to order. A waiter comes up to him and asks, 'Do you need a menu?' Descartes replies, 'I think not,' and he disappears!"

I had many questions about this so-called joke, which I tried to ignore as the room erupted in laughter. In fact, the most pressing question really made me proud of myself because it sounded philosophical. "Why am I here?" Actually, I wasn't referring to my existence; I was referring to my presence in the philosophy club.

My second "major" excursion was a wash. Philosophy just required too much thinking. I think I'll try something a little more… objective. Something concrete… like Biology.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Biochemical Warfare Monday

If you haven't already, check out Testudo's totally valid zombie plan. It's weak only in its occasional vagueness. Way to go Testudo! We're honored to have been part of this excellent plan. We hope you inspire more FCN readers to build their own solid plans for the future.

You know one thing that's really swell? Walking along minding your own business when suddenly you're contaminated by a biotoxin. Your eyes dry up. Your mouth foams. You drop to the ground in agonizing pain. Your friends run to help you. You try to gesture at them to keep back but you can't move. The last thing you see is your friends dropping onto the ground next to you.

Okay, actually, that probably wouldn't be really swell. In fact it would probably be worse than spending the whole day going bowling. So what do you do to protect yourself?

Understand, avoid, survive.

Biological warfare is as old as your mom. Maybe older! Some of our earliest records of ancient wars involve polluting enemy wells, poisoning the tips of arrows, and hurling clay pots full of snakes or scorpions. In medieval times, catapulting dead animals or victims of the Black Plague into besieged areas was as common a daily occurrence as syncing your iPod is today.

Breakthroughs in microbiology in the twenty-first century made a whole world of awesome toxins possible. Geniuses like Joseph Mengele were able to grow pure strains of their weapons (and, usually, forcibly test them on subjugated peoples). Though there has been extensive testing of biological weaponry, it has not been seriously used since World War II.

Weaponized biotoxins come in many forms but one of the best kinds available today is Anthrax. Because it is widely regarded as the ultimate anti-personnel biological warfare agent, we'll use it as an example (more on agricultural agents later). Anthrax is most effectively delivered by aerosol (probably by aerial spray or low-altitude detonation of a weapon vessel, covering the area below). It is then inhaled and causes a pneumonia infection that feels like a bad head cold. This cold gets gradually worse over several days and then causes massive respiratory failure. In nearly 100% of cases, victims who have inhaled Anthrax die - even if treated very early after exposure.

You can also contract Anthrax infection by eating something with Anthrax on it (oopsies). This form is more easily treated by antibiotics; the fatality rate is closer to 50%. That's not so bad!

Anthrax on the skin is really not serious at all if treated. If it's not treated, it will cause nasty skin lesions that may be fatal.

So, armed with this knowledge, lets get into the dirty details.

Anti-personnel biochemical attacks will center on major metropolitan areas. If you're living near one (or downwind of one) and suspect an attack may be imminent, you must evacuate immediately. Get a mask (not the dentist kind, the coal miner kind) and wear it at all times. It will itch and be irritating; you'll sweat underneath it and you'll sound funny and have to shout to be heard. These are all annoyances. Being dead is more serious than an annoyance. WEAR THE MASK.

Get into a car and drive to an isolated area. Be sure keep the windows rolled up, the doors closed, and the AC on recirculate. Don't stop to pick people up (they may be contaminated).

Your survival area should be away from cities, roads, and rivers. Dig yourself a well. Only eat food that has been in air-tight containers since before the attack, and only after cleaning the container thoroughly with well water. Destroy all clothing that may have been exposed. Do not offer shelter to other survivors (if the area gets wind of it, they'll all flock to you; your well will run dry and you may be targeted by an air strike).

Stay in your isolated area for at least one year. If you are ready to return to civilization (to see if the war is over/it was just a false alarm), follow the same car procedures described earlier. If you must leave your car for any reason, such as to refuel, be certain your mask and gloves are secure. Wear long-sleeved clothing and eye protection (swimming goggles will work).

Because the city has probably been annihilated and you are on the brink of death yourself, looting for survival necessities is morally acceptable. Looting for luxury items is a moral gray area.

You've probably noticed that the plan described above is both vague and equipment intensive. The vagueness is something you'll have to solve yourself (by customizing your plan; we encourage you to post it in a comment below!). The equipment is taken care of by planning ahead. You won't have time to stockpile these essential items when the emergency strikes so be sure to have a biochemical warfare survival kit packed and ready to go in your car.

It should include, among the following:

- Masks for everyone in your party
- Backup charcoal canisters for the masks (at least a year's supply)
- First aid kit (with antiseptic and some light cutting tools)
- Flare gun (properly wrapped)
- Tent (the more air-tight the better)
- Non-perishable food (in air-tight containers)
- Can opener and scissors (for the air-tight containers)
- SPF 40 Chapstick (don't leave home without it)
- Blanket (for cuddling with)
- Shovels (for digging the well)
- Water purifier tablets (because well water is yuckie)
- PSP (because life in the wild is kind of boring)
- Batteries (for the PSP)
- Flashlight (in case someone asks you what the PSP batteries are for)
- Hunting rifle (for putting down game and people who won't take no for an answer)
- Duct tape (because you never know)
- WD-40 (also because you never know)

Agricultural warfare involves herbicides and is used to cause starvation or to clear out areas that the enemy may be hiding. This does not immediately effect you as it is a strictly military action that usually does not target civilians (unless those civilians are farmers, in which case: powned!).

Well, that's the basics of surviving a biochemical attack. Remember that you can never know too much about the various types of weaponized biological agents that can be used against you. Research and learn to adapt.

And finally: it's fully possible that the warfare agent would be a virulent strain of zombie virus. If that happens, well, you know what to do.

Friday, February 06, 2009

"I'll just work it off tonight"

I just left a particular well known sandwich franchise that serves all manner of bread and meat combinations in "submarine" style sandwiches. I am reticent to name the franchise because to do so might constitute libel and render FCN vulnerable to a lawsuit that could result in the loss of all of its meager resources to the ensuing litigation. I will, however, tell you that the restaurant has over 30,000 locations in some 87 countries and was named the #1 Franchise in 2009 by a really fat fast food connoisseur. I'll also tell you that the company has ads featuring "Jared" who dropped a bunch of weight by "eating fresh." Oh, what the heck, you have it figured out by now. It's Subway. So go ahead and sue us Fred DeLuca. I read about your innovative business strategy in my economics class, but Fortune 400 members don't scare me. Well, most of them don't. These two guys (here and here) look a tad scary. But Fred, go ahead and try to take us down!
So there I was - at Subway - about to order the least healthy thing on the menu. Subway puts unhealthy things on the menu so that we guys can go there for lunch, scarf down a thousand or so quick calories and show our moms the partially redacted receipt so they will be proud of our health-conscious decision. Meanwhile our moms don't understand when we try to make health-conscious decisions at In-N-Out.

But whatever. This post is about neither our moms nor Fred DeLuca. It's about two middle aged women who entered the subway after me looking disheveled - as if they just returned from promenade. There is no polite way of saying this. These women were overweight. They were fat. They looked like contestants in the first week of "Biggest Loser." Okay, maybe the third week. They were corpulent, fleshy, obese, overblown, procine, portly and stout. They suffered from gut overflow, they overstocked the adipose tissue, they were ready for winter, they were running a surplus, they were a nightmare in a 2-piece, they were oleaginous and unctuous in the storage area. And I do mean that with all respect, because there is no nice way of saying it. None at all.

We'll call them Rosalie and Carol, for no particular reason.

Rosalie told Carol that she had eaten a burrito and a donut (or is it a doughnut?) for breakfast and that she wasn't that hungry. Carol confied in Rosalie that she had eaten a box of oreo cookies and a whole box of taquitos for breakfast and that she didn't have a big appetite either. I had eaten a burrito, donut, and a box of taquitos that day, but I didn't say anything.

Both entered the store complaining about the walk across the parking lot, a complaint I found dumbfounding given the gorgeous day outside. In fact, I was planning on eating my sandwich outdoors in order to take advantage of the sunlight and catch some unprotected ultraviolet rays. I know, I live dangerously.

When Rosalie and Carol ordered my distracted interest turned into focused attentiveness. They both commanded footlong sandwiches with everything. And they sat down in the store to eat their caloric feast. Carol told Rosalie that she would "just work it off tonight" a promise that rang hollow.

It rang hollow because she didn't like walking across a parking lot on a gorgeous day. It rang hollow because she couldn't possibly work off all the food she'd eaten that day unless the "work" was done by a licensed plastic surgeon. It rang hollow because health is a lifestyle and habit - it isn't a twenty minute decision before dinner. Dang, that was painful to type.

Anyway, in case you think we're picking on those who lack self control just for the heck of it, know that the only thing separating us from Rosalie and Carol is a few years. We'll get there eventually...and when we do, we'll be ready to confess.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

That reminds me...

The following is a transcript of the first seven minutes of my upper-division economic theory and research course taught by Professor Dennis O. Doherty (above), a faculty member who has been at the university 35 years. His knowledge about the topic and acumen to discuss economics are unquestioned. His brevity and succinctness are not.

DENNIS O. DOHERTY: I love teaching in this room. The first time I taught a course in this room was in the fall semester of '84. They had just built this building five or so years before after a substantial struggle with the administration to secure funds. The former Department Chair -- actually the chair before him; the one two chairs ago -- felt we should direct our money toward sports -- football specifically. He was a big fan. He thought it would help recruiting. Ironically, after this classroom building was constructed the school did away with the football program, making this the only Division 1A NCAA institution to get rid of a football program in the last century. A real shame, if you ask me.


DENNIS O. DOHERTY: Actually, it would have been the spring of 1984. I remember because they were putting in the East lawn. Looking out this window, it used to be a mess of shrubbery that the science students would burn back with freshly mixed experimental weed killer. It was all very impromptu. The brass opted for aesthetics over academics and installed the sod. Their work was a major interruption. Every class period, it seemed, we'd be bothered by the sound of their travails. I like that word, travails, did you know it's borrowed from the French? Sometimes I think we ought to return it.


DENNIS O. DOHERTY: I had cold cereal for breakfast this morning. For years I had a regular breakfast of two eggs and toast. It was the perfect combination, I thought, of carbs and protein and it stuck with me pretty well. I never had any pre-lunch collapse. But my doctor is worried about my dietary cholesterol. Any biology students here? No? Well, the cholesterol you consume in your diet isn't nearly as bad for you as the saturated fat you put in your system. In fact, you can eat a lot of cholesterol and not have a problem as long as the saturated fat is kept to a minimum. But for some reason my doctor is worried about the cholesterol. He wants to put me on a statin drug -- some kind of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor -- to reduce my risk of heart disease. But I'm concerned about the liver damage. My dad was an alcoholic and died of liver poisoning. Or whatever it's called.


DENNIS O. DOHERTY: Take care of your diet. Take care of your health. Life advice...

DENNIS O. DOHERTY: Oddly enough, they would use a drywall knife to cut the sod and they had to be careful how they placed it because the irrigation system was pre-installed. This was in the early days of low-evaporation sprinklers, when environmental consciousness was just starting to emerge as a dominant consideration. Nowadays it isn't nearly as much of an operation, but back then it was perceived as very innovative. A drywall knife. How many of you guys have seen a drywall knife? It looks like an oversized putty knife with blades that are almost too dull to justify the name "knife." I wonder why they never developed a tool explicitely for cutting sod. I have a buddy who works in the landscaping business -- he actually does design for upscale and bids out installation projects to subcontractors -- I ought to give him a call and ask about that. He's got a couple of kids, wonder how they're doing...


DENNIS O. DOHERTY: Miss, you are late. You are fortunate I am so lenient on tardy students. When I was a graduate student at the University of Utah -- that's where all the backslidden Mormons go -- I was tardy for the first day of my statistics methods class. I didn't miss a day all semester and was never again late, but he really drilled me for it in his seminar review. Eugene Billington. That was his name. He specialized in regression analysis of demographics -- a field which is really quite large now, but was just emerging in the 70s. He gave me an A- in his class. I don't think I've ever worked so hard for an A-. I mean, I had classes at the undergraduate level that I just surfed through -- never did the readings, missed class, glossed over the homework -- but not in Billington's statistics methods course. He would grill you for that.

DENNIS O. DOHERTY: So, here's the syllabus...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Life Tip #84

Don't take away your girlfriend's beer.

If you must take away your girlfriend's beer, make sure your girlfriend is not Angela Amodio.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Swingin' Mood

Lately, my moods have been changing more often than a neat-freak's bedsheets. They've been like a ship without an anchor, tossed about on the waves of circumstance. This past week in particular has been a roller coaster ride.


With gas prices once again climbing past the 2 dollar mark here in happy NorCal, I was hoping that my transportation's mechanical troubles were over. But as I drove towards school one day this week, I knew that it was not to be. Pulling out of my driveway, I pressed the gas pedal, began accelerating to 55, and realized that my transmission was not shifting.

Instantly, my mood changed. From looking forward to a half hour of listening to country hits and pushing my car to its limits, I was thrown into the deepest doldrums of dollar deduction. I began mentally ticking off the greenbacks. Visions of $500, $1000, and then $1500 repairs began marching through my mind.

Sadly, I turned my car back toward home. I would just have to miss school today; hopefully the prof would understand, but I doubted it.

When I walked through the door, I was greeted with a big smile from my mom. "Class got out early? Wonderful! You can clean your room today."

Still wallowing in a slough of self-pity, I slowly dragged my feet down the hallway to my bedroom. There's a reason we don't allow guests back there. I was accustomed, comfortable even, with the sight that greeted me, but it only served to further my depression. Books and papers were piled high on a desk and dressers, clothes were scattered across the floor and bed, candy wrappers leftover from last year's Valentine's day lay heaped in one corner, and cobwebs hung from every cranny of the ceiling.

I sat down on my bed, instantly exhausted by the sight. For a good 10 minutes, all I could do was look around and stare at the mess. Finally, some resolve began to form in my little finger, and I slowly moved my hand to pick up a t-shirt that lay on the floor. I folded it and set it next to me. I repeated these actions until all the clothes had been folded and then put them away in my dresser. Turning around, I noticed something shiny lying just under my bed. I stooped down and picked it up.

Instantly, I became elated. It was my John Williams' Greatest Hits CD! I thought we had lost it in our last move, but here it was, in all of its shiny wonderfulness. Freshly energized with renewed energy, I popped the disc in my stereo and set about sorting the papers that lay scattered around.

As the glorious notes of Schindler's List and Home Alone soared through the air and reverberated against my ear drums, I mechanically shuffled the various documents...trash, school stuff, trash, bank statement, school, trash, paystub, trash, trash...wait, what's this? My hand closed around an envelope that I'd never opened. The return address said "California DMV." Uh-oh.

I quickly tore it open and began scanning the pages. "Registration overdue. Must pay $300.00 by February 2, 2009." Oh dear, that was yesterday! "Or car will be seized and impounded." OH NO! Even though my car wasn't operating properly, it was still my only means of transportation. Losing it meant being grounded 40 miles from the nearest major city. Frantic, I ran outside, only to see a tow truck leaving our driveway, my car trundling along behind it.

The notes of John Williams' music forgotten, I dejectedly sat down on our front step and cried. How could my day have gone so horribly wrong? I decided I was in need of a nap, but as I got up and turned my feet toward the front door, I remembered the mess that awaited me in my room. Granted, it wasn't as bad as before, but it was hardly conducive to rest.

Emotionally and physically drained, I decided to sleep on our trampoline. And that's what I did. Until my younger brothers came and started bouncing, ruthlessly returning me to reality.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Alien Monday

So, we're ready(er) for a zombie apocalypse. Bring on the future!

Not so fast, Kemosabe. Zombies aren't the only potentially-world-ending threat facing the uncertain days ahead. If you intend to keep yourself and your family safe, you'd better have surveyed a host of different threats. FCN will help you.

Today: a hostile invasion from extra-terrestrial sentient life forms.

Unfortunately, we know much less about aliens than we do about zombies. Don't get me wrong: humans have been rubbing shoulders with aliens for thousands of years (though, for very complicated reasons, that's a closely guarded secret). But those aliens aren't hostile and don't pose a serious threat to humanity. Neither do hostile aliens at our technological level.

The serious threat is a hostile alien force with vastly superior technology, and, as you can probably tell, we have never encountered that yet. We can therefore only count on logic to help us formulate an attack. Let's start with what we know for certain, based on the fact that if any of these facts are untrue the Alien Survival Plan does not need to be put into effect.

1) The aliens can travel through space at reasonable speed.
2) The aliens can find this planet because they have technology that makes them able to detect something they want on the planet.
3) The aliens have weapons capable of making human extinction a real possibility.
4) The aliens have no serious weaknesses, such as vulnerability to germs or water.
5) The aliens want something on this planet and are about to kill us to get it.

There are three possible things the aliens might want from Earth. In no particular order, they are: minerals, water, or humans.


An attack from miner aliens would involve a sudden, coordinated attack on resource-rich areas across the planet. Our foes would either use close-up drilling techniques to bore down into the earth and suck the minerals out or pull the minerals out from space.

If they are using drilling: first, try to ascertain as quickly as possible what mineral(s) the aliens are going for. Everyone else will be trying to do this too; any radio or TV station should be able to give you the best accepted current theory. As soon as you know the target, get as far away from it as possible as quickly as possible. Don't go home; don't stop at Wal-mart for supplies. Get in a car, bike, plane, whatever, and boogie. The safest place to go in a drilling miner alien attack is an old strip mine; it's almost guaranteed to be dry of minerals and the bowl-shape will provide a little shelter from the elements.

Do not try to fight the aliens, as this might cause hostile action directly against humankind. Instead, bunker down where you know it's safe and wait. Space travel physics indicate to us that the alien ships will probably be massive - probably several hundred miles across at least. You will be able to see them clearly in the sky. When you no longer see them, you know it's safe to go home.

If the aliens prefer long range planet draining, your chances are much lower. Most planet drain techniques involve tearing a planet apart and processing each of the pieces in the ship. If this happens, there is really nothing you can do to save yourself. If the methods used are more sophisticated and the mineral in question is simply levitated out of the earth, all you need to do is get to a safe spot as described earlier and wait it out.


Aliens seeking our water pose another serious threat. Water is Earth's most precious resource and the basis of life as we know it. It's very likely that imperially-minded colonizing aliens would seek out watery planets like ours and suck them dry to hydrate their terraforming projects in other areas.

This would involve the creation of a small number of water teleportation vacuums in our major oceans: probably at least one in the Pacific and Atlantic; probably a third in the southern Indian ocean. These vacuums would suck up trillions of gallons in a single day from pipes that pulled water from the bottom of the ocean (just like a straw: you don't suck your soda from the top do you? No. You put the straw down at the bottom of the cup, just like space aliens).

While you will probably be in no immediate danger when the water sucking begins, you will still be in very grave danger. Without water, Earth will die within a matter of weeks at the most. You cannot afford to sit idly by and let the planet be sucked dry. There are only two possible solutions. Neither of them can be performed by you (unless you're a very powerful person, in which case: hello!); they require massive international cooperation and resource expenditure. But you need to know about them so you can adapt.

1) Military action. In anticipation of stellar (pun intended) defensive measures, the whole of humankind's nuclear payload will be launched at the orbiting alien fleet. Any shields or countermeasures the aliens have will hopefully be overwhelmed by the sheer number of incoming threats. In addition, the aliens will probably not have a serious military presence of their own; expecting minimal resistance, they should have just a token escort and should be only marginally capable of immediately retaliating. If we prove annoying enough, the aliens will leave us alone. If not, they'll send a battleship to kill us all, in which case see the "Killer Aliens" section.

2) Deceit. Because the aliens will not stop until they have sucked the planet dry, we must trick them into thinking they have succeeded when in fact they have not yet. Start by plugging the ends of the ocean-floor pipes. This will suggest that there is no more water to be drawn. If the aliens clear the pipes and proceed, start feeding strange things into the pipes such as oxygen, diet Pepsi, and beanie babies. Eventually whoever is up in the ship watching the monitor will get the message and power down the vacuums. This is really a gamble but if it works, the aliens will leave our planet in peace for a long time, if not forever.

PS. Depending on how the vacuums function, it may be possible to merge these two strategies by sending armed nuclear warheads up the pipe. Devious ...


The worst kind! These aliens aren't here for our planet, they're here for us. Contrary to what much of science fiction suggests, our bodies are unlikely to be useful sources of food or energy compared to other terrestrial creatures. We probably won't be as smart as the aliens will, and to them, we'll be hideously ugly.

They'll want us for two things: slavery or the satisfaction of a kill.

Slaver Aliens will try to take people alive, probably by landing in major metropolitan areas, cordoning off an area (perhaps with the use of some sort of energy barrier impassible to us), then processing everyone inside. If we're really unlucky, they'll have a way to detect and abduct us from up in space, in which case our only hope will be prompt military action as described above.

If you are abducted by aliens, do not panic. Keep all your senses open and try to understand how the aliens think and communicate. The aliens don't think the way we do. They won't know you very well and may overlook something very serious about keeping you contained (such as locking the door). If you're patient and keep your head on your shoulders, there's a fine chance you'll be able to escape and return to Earth.

If you're forced to fight the aliens, try to stab them in the eyes if they have any. You have no idea what other parts of the body may be vulnerable. If the aliens communicate through telepathy, you may be able to kill them by overloading their minds with images of themselves dropping dead. This is risky, however, as the aliens will have been able to practice telepathy all their lives (and who knows how long that is), whereas you will only just have gotten started. Eye poking is safer.

Blood Lust Aliens are absolutely by far the worst possible kind of aliens ever. They will come only for the sport of killing us or to satisfy a genocidal passion. They will probably not stop until they are convinced all of us are dead. Again, direct military action is an appropriate response, but considering that these aliens will have come ready for war, the odds of a successful nuclear strike are lower in this scenario than in any other.

No matter what kind of Killer Aliens are attacking, it is imperative that you get away from other humans immediately. Evacuate cities no matter the size - make for the hills and then get off the road, lead your car behind, and hoof it. Try to ascertain what the aliens are using to find you.

If it's smell, find a place you can lie in water and breathe through a straw or reed. If you can find a creek with an abundance of fish (and you like sushi), you may not have to surface for weeks at a time. This will be tricky and require great patience and training, but hey - it's better than getting vaporized!

If the aliens find you by sight, hide from the sky. Caves are your best bet. If you cant find one, dig yourself a dugout and hide inside. Never ever come out in the day or when the moon is bright, or if you see bright/moving lights in the sky.

If by telepathic signature, visualize yourself as a rock, incapable of thought. Hold that image until the aliens leave.

If by sound, keep your breathing shallow. Lie flat on the ground and do not move until the aliens go away (you should be able to watch the proceedings in the sky quite clearly). Be sure to turn off your cell phone. Not vibrate - off. And no iPods!

Whatever you do, don't get near other people. Every additional person in your party exponentially increases your chances of being caught. Stay alone to stay alive. You can rekindle those old friendships when you've all come through the invasion safe and sound.

One more word of advice, and this covers all three kinds of alien invasions: whatever you do, be quick about it. You're dealing with enemies that can zip across light years in the blink of an eye. They're not going to sit around waiting for you to back up your hard drive and grab your sweater. As soon as you ascertain what kind of aliens are attacking, kick into survival mode and head for the hills.

There is, of course, one final kind of alien we didn't mention: space zombies (like head crabs or the Flood). If you're attacked by that kind, well ... you know what to do.