Crystals are all the rage right now. People are lauding their mystical healing powers, imbued from sacred vibrations in sync with the Sacred Earth Mother homeopathic chakra feng shui. Or something. You can understand why, when a hunk of quartz is $7.25 at your local Crystal Emporium and Mud Spa whereas actual medical treatment in the United States is $1850 just for them to print and send you the bill. It’s easy to see the appeal of eating a fistful of quinoa, taping a garnet to your forehead and hoping for the best.

That is not to say that the healing powers of crystals are devoid of merit. I’ve done some research, and while I’ve found countless sources telling you WHAT each kind of crystal or stone is good for, there’s very little documentation on HOW to use them to best effect. It’s hard to find a reliable druid in this day and age.

Once again, Sneer Campaign is here to help. I have tirelessly scoured the internet, head shops, rock shows, Burning Man-type peyote appropriations, and exactly one florist. Presented here is the Sneer Campaign Guide to Optimal Crystal Implementation.

ommmm

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There are aspects of the human condition which baffle me. I mean, I have most of it all figured out, of course, but I admit some things make no sense to me. And there are things going on in our societies that seem like they are poorly thought out, and maybe even ill-advised. What is everyone thinking!

Most of us can agree that there are big things that are wrong. Big wrong things that nevertheless a lot of people partake in, such as racism, homophobia, murder, and so on. I will not speak further on those. I am here today to talk about the little things that aren’t hurting anyone but me and my brain. What are you people doing? Why!

whatta doll

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We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

no

In this instance, I once again firmly believe that I am experiencing a rational fear, and always have behaved this way. Is it so improbable that while cooking, a little burst of oil would alter the course of my life? Maybe a face wouldn’t melt into an unmanageable tangle of scar tissue, but imagine what that would do to an eye. I have felt it on my arm! It hurts!

If I have to fry an egg or goetta or something, I am nothing but a mess of flinching and I actually stand several feet away until I have to draw near again. I just can’t get over my certainty that the moment I let my guard down or am caught by surprise because somehow water got into the pan, the oil will go straight for my face. Asking me to fry up a food is met with the same sort of reluctance as if you had asked me to volunteer to risk getting repeatedly snapped by mouse traps. If I offer to fry food for you for any reason, it means I like you enough to be brave, even though this comic shows that I am a big ol’ coward.

 

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

FACE IT

Forever, as far back as I can remember, maybe as soon as I was self aware enough to realize that I have a reflection in the mirror, I have had this notion that how we look can change with our thoughts. Like expressing emotions, only a lot more than that. After a few years, my notion became more of a crackpot theory as I started to think that maybe our faces are a projection of our inner thoughts to the point that if we just concentrated, we would be unrecognizable even to people who know us very well. I thought this would be very handy if I ever needed to disguise myself and secretly worked towards achieving this skill, this skill that probably can’t actually exist but I’m never going to get all that time back, am I!

One of the negative side effects of getting myself to believe in this idea is that, as a result, I have never been comfortable with the idea of sleeping near anyone. At slumber parties, I would stay up the entire night not for fear of pranks, but because I didn’t want anyone to see me being asleep. At home, I wanted a locked door to my bedroom so that the only things creeping in to watch me sleep were monsters and Mirror Amanda. I can’t snooze in cars, and to sleep on public transit is laughable in that nervous, unfunny laugh kind of way. Even living with boyfriends, I will usually face away from them, sleep with my head covered up with a blanket or pillow, have my face buried in my arms, or at the very least, feel this sense of horror when I wake up to find that my face was visible.

What do I think will happen when I’m asleep? Do I think I’m actually a monster? Do I think that my face will become a blank, expressionless, actual mask? I really don’t know! I refuse to think about it any more than this.

We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

 

Irrational Fear Comics: House Centipedes by Amanda Wood

 

It makes sense to be afraid of a centipede because they have the ability to deliver a nasty little bite. Some of them do, anyway. So you should approach them with some amount of care. I actually don’t mind most centipedes. I don’t really want them to be on me, or anything, but compared to this one specific type of incredibly common centipede, the House Centipede, I am practically long time best buds with every other centipede on earth, including those ones that are so big that they can eat mice.

The house centipede is frequently found inside of, you guessed it, a house. They are actually good critters because they hunt spiders and crickets and roaches, but unfortunately their appearance is so terrifying that I would rather live with spiders — and spiders almost terrify me into paralysis, too. But it is nothing like when I see a house centipede!

They have horrifically long legs which are also psychic antennae. I know that their legs are some sort of unholy feelers because if one is walking on a wall and I see it from far across the room, the moment my eyesight lands upon it, it stops. It FEELS my vision. It probably then feeds on my terror, or hones in on my fear so that it can make its way to nest within me when I am sleeping. I am marked when this happens, just like any of you! Have you seen how fast they are?? It is unnatural! Nothing on this earth should ever be even half as scary as these house centipedes are! However, I get the feeling that this fear of mine is “”irrational”” because everyone always tells me to calm down whenever I fly into a panicked outrage as I talk about them. Also, everyone else I know is able to kill them in cold blood, or even trap and release them. I never can. If I can make myself move at all it is in the opposite direction, out of the room, forever.

 

We’re living at a great tipping point in the labor market. As workers demand more and more rights, and customers expect increasingly good service, many business owners are caught between a rock and a hard place. “Innovation is our only solution,” says Japanese executive Ishiara See-Iyo.

Jobs flowed out of the United States due to costs, and many companies are demanding better conditions for workers in China. Automation and the use of robots alongside other emerging technologies provides some new options, but often requires enormous overhauls and retrofitting. Mr. See-Iyo saw that deploying new resources into his business’s existing space was key. “Your shop can’t be ugly to accommodate your robot. Even if there isn’t a smiling person to greet them at the door, people expect a level of warmth that technology simply can’t provide.”

“Mankind lived hunting and gathering. Then we lived as farmers. Now we do an immeasurable number of things. Cats were undomesticated. Now they’re domesticated. They’re smarter than ever. Of course it makes sense that they too have an opportunity to enter the labor market.” Titans of industry are incredulous of See-Iyo’s plans and methods, but they’re dying to know his secrets.

According to industry insiders, private investors have been offering millions to See-Iyo. “Industry insiders are betting their Benjamins that this man has the proper training programs for a cat to pack your next Amazon order, to serve your burger at McDonald’s, be your next Uber driver, or even serve drinks on your next flight.”

haircut and the captain

 

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We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

irrational fear

Today I am exploring a relatively recent irrational fear. No, it is a fear that I have had for as long as I can remember, but until last month, I thought it was a very reasonable fear to harbor. Dollissa and Frant were visiting me, and I mentioned this preoccupation of mine, and why I could never really enjoy balloons at all, and couldn’t understand why people seem to enjoy them so much when they could kill you. They were bewildered. Then I explained that if a balloon popped and I gasped and it became lodged in my throat, it wouldn’t be easy to get out because it would stick to my insides, and that would be a terrible way to go. Then they explained that my worry was completely insane, and why would I ever even think that. That’s a very good question. Why WOULD I?

Maybe a human gasp isn’t strong enough to drag a balloon all the way down your throat. Maybe the odds of the balloon piece flying directly into my open mouth are unbelievably minuscule. But maybe it could happen?? I don’t want to take that chance. Sadly I can’t say that my fear has been eradicated by the scoffing of my friends, but I can say that I have had many years of not enjoying the company of balloons, and even water balloon fights had an added layer of dread for me. This irrational fear is staying right in place.

There have been a lot of movie cowboys who have had famous star horses as their mounts: Hopalong Cassidy and Topper, the Lone Ranger and Silver, Gene Autry and Champion the Wonder Horse; but none were as famous as Roy Rogers and his Palomino steed, Trigger. Or really, I should say “Trigger and his hanger-on, Roy Rogers the singing cowboy.”

Trigger was a wonderful horse, a marvel. And he was so famous that he even starred in a comic book series! He could walk on his hind legs, sign his name with an “X”, cover himself with a blanket, had a very good rhythm as a dancer, and apparently, he was even house-trained. He had so many tricks memorized that they ran out of ways to teach him prompts for new ones (that amount, for those of you who are curious, is 150 tricks). He was a professional actor and like any superstar, would perk up as soon as he saw cameras or crowds. Trigger was not a diva, though, and was reportedly as sweet as sugar to almost everyone.

trigger

However, in my idle moments of reading about this equine, I discovered several shocking facts!

 

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It’s ANY DAY OF THE WEEK and without a doubt every single person who might ever read this DEFINITELY needs to get fit, fast! Faster! Any minute of the day is the right time to inform you that you are blubbery and unsightly and obviously need to start exercising because, honey, that portion control diet that relies on self-control just AIN’T workin’ for you. At least, this is what I have gleaned from watching any television, seeing any magazine, or overhearing anyone trying to make money at the expense of the insecurities of others. And who isn’t, amirite? 

Well let me tell you that THIS article CAN’T fail. It’s my very own method towards a better me, and friends, if I use it, then it HAS to be good. It is also probably based on science because I am wearing a lab coat as I write this. And my name tag says “Dr. Amandoll, nutritionology fitness expert.” It’s not like I do anything else but sit around and THINK all the time, right? So I clearly have all the answers. I think that’s all it takes to make me Qualified, right? Right? Well, if you believe it, it’s good enough for me, and let’s never bring the Courts into it.

exercise

 

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I don’t drive. I have never driven a car. Despite this, I have been on a lot of road trips. I am pretty much an expert on being a road trip passenger. I’ll write a handy How-To Guide on it one of these days, but today I am going to speak of a time in 2014, when AlexT and I went 2,400 miles in a little loop from NYC to North Carolina, through Ohio and back to Newark, NJ. It took nine days and many things happened. But one thing stands out (for the purposes of this article, at least).

You’ll find, sometimes, at the end of a journey when you look back, the trip had some themes that appear. My most recent trip just a couple of months ago had two themes: World Fairs and Morbid Obesity. In November of 2014, one of the most stunning themes was Billy Joel.

billy joel

 

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