The thing about podcasts is that I’ve never really wanted to listen to people just discussing things. I don’t watch talk shows, I can’t stand listening to people read, and I can listen to people speak for about 50 – 100 words maximum, depending on the topic. So it was hard for me to believe that I’d ever want to get into podcasts as A Thing.

huff

I tried a few. When friends started podcasts, I would dutifully listen to one or two episodes to show my support and see if I’d want to keep going. I couldn’t! It never felt quite right. Sorry, friends. And really, it’s only so much that I can listen to anyone talk about anything, unless it’s Amandoll, about everything.

 

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I’m not sure if you guys ever noticed this, but updates on this site can ebb and flow. As we are the most depressed mini-cluster of writers on the internet, this makes perfect sense. At any given moment, one or all of us is in the throes of a crippling despair — or, in contrast, one or all of us is chirpy and pleased with life. This wide range in overall mood is reflected in our overall productivity, here at the Sneer Campaign and also in every single aspect of our lives.

abloo

I guess I should start off by telling you about Depression, as if you are at all strangers to the concept. But I know our demographics. You’re all a bunch of first world 20- and 30-somethings mostly. I assume you are all actually in the midst of your own Pity Parties RIGHT NOW, and are just taking a break to read this article in the hopes of finding some gentle humor to ease your troubled souls. Well, indulge me here for a minute. Pretend that you are all perfect spring flowers and have never seen a reason to frown in your life. Do you remember what that feels like? I think I might, but I could also be severely mistaken and I am just emotionlessly imagining the color blue. But emotionlessness is just an absence of sadness, and that doesn’t automatically mean “happiness.” Although some days, it is just as welcome of a relief. Am I even getting ahead of myself here? You can bet no one cares.

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As the reader may observe, many people have collections. Some folks collect animal figurines or dolls. Model trains are popular. Geeks galore (myself included) collect comic books. Even crazy things can be collected, like classic cars or human bones! I have begun to notice recently that I have a unique collection: introverts. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. I am unintentionally a collector of introverted individuals. How is this possible? I don’t know! It is a mystery for the ages, or maybe just me at age 35.

portrait of the author

 

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 get ready

Your friend has hit a rough spot and, for whatever reason, you have stepped up to aid them in their time of need. When you invite a friend to stay in your home until their lives stabilize, until they stop weeping at night, until they get a job — ANY job — and find a place of their own to live, you may not realize exactly what you are about to do. You may think to yourself, “This man or woman has been my friend for X number of years, I feel fondness for them and would like to give them sanctuary from their troubles. After all, were I in their place, I would hope that I had a good person to help me out.” But you fail to acknowledge that this person will be using your furniture, your bathroom, your cooking utensils. They will be all over your living space. They will probably even look in your bedroom when everyone else is out working.

Basically you’ve gone above and beyond the call of friendship. You may think that because you are being so kind as to do all of this, what with the inconveniencing your life to an extent and shaking up your day-to-day, your friend would be more than happy to do the one or two things you ask of them. No sir.

You see, when you invite a friend to live with you, something happens to them. They change into a monster. Many of you have seen this happen with real room mates, but the complexities of the Room Mate is a topic for another article on another day. Friends who are staying with you as guests do not have to pay rent, or bills. They often feel like real guests, although they start out as overly grateful ones.

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First came the tentacle rape.

It was the beginning in a long line of horrors that OMGJeremy has subjected me to in his articles since the very beginning in 2002. (OMGJeremy.com was the site that most of us used to write for.) But you know what they say: what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Well, I must be invincible by now. And not only have I seen a lot, but I’ve written about a lot too, articles that have been lost to time mostly, including a review of a site that teaches women how to rape their husbands. But in 2003, I found something that managed to combine all of those and more. It’s as if all my nightmares Go-Go-Power-Morphed into some unholy Megazord and returned to feed me my own ass.

“What is it?” you’re probably asking as you close the door and open a new browser window. Why It’s none other than Furcadia — an online game that let you take on the role of an animal and interact with others in a series of dream worlds. And not surprisingly in the least, it contains the three big staples of the internet diet: furries, cybersex, and MMORPGs.

furcadia

 

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halp

Clear communication is extremely important to me. I try to maintain a large working vocabulary so that I can choose the precise word I need for any given moment. If I don’t explain something clearly then that is time wasted and I can’t live like that. Being able to express myself to another person in a concise manner is possibly my most valued skill, in myself and others really, and I can’t overstate this enough.

But then some days, I can’t do it at all. On the day of this comic, not only could I not find the right words, I was actually saying the complete wrong words. I was WRITING the wrong words. I couldn’t hear or see, either. It was a mess. I was a mess. It was making me all in a tizzy. I still sometimes have these moments and I still worry. What does it mean? Am I okay?

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It’s summertime. It has been summertime for a good long while now, actually, but here in Kentucky the full force of summer hadn’t hit me until fairly recently. It must be said that I generally die during the summer time of year. The blistering heat and suffocating humidity do me no favors, and the harsh rays of the earth’s yellow sun give me freckles and a tan. How can I be “Amandoll, Undead Creature of the Night” if I am sporting a healthy tan? I cannot be, that’s how.

I am a girl who enjoys clinging to the silver lining, however, and fortunately I can come up with two things I enjoy about summer: soft serve ice cream cones from locally owned dairy shacks, and grape soda. Grape soda is probably a tasty treat all year long, but I do not thirst for it until the temperatures reach 90F (32C) and above, which actually is a temperature it still can reach in the autumnal months. It is also better when there is a drought on, because walking down alley ways behind businesses while a fine dust blows in your eyes is the PERFECT time to be sipping from a cold and slender glass bottle of that purple wonder elixir.

sssip

Previously, I had been under the mistaken impression that all grape drinks were created more or less the same. How many differences could there be in a product that contained soda water, purple color, and sweetener? Well, actually I don’t really know myself, so I have decided to conduct a Consumer Report for the world to reference as a resource. I am going to select a small variety of grape drink beverages and test them against the horrible summer heat. I will grade them on Flavor, Mouthfeel, Thirst Quench, Packaging, and Arbitrary Impressions. There will be technical jargon bandied about, and an air of scientific study will be apparent. So put on your eye goggles, sneer enthusiasts, because I’m going Purple Drank Sippin’!

 

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Camping sucks. Why does anyone do it! Every year, we are all asked to go camping as though our personalities have changed to loving the outdoors suddenly. And no matter how much you are sure you hate camping and don’t want to do it, eventually you break down and say okay, in case THIS time it will be fun for the first time ever.

And it is fun — in theory. However, when you get there it is full of bugs and people want you to do things with them and also there’s no shower. The rest is fun though! The sleeping and eating and some of the seeing your friends is fun. Maybe hiking is part of camping, and that’s fun, but really hiking is its own thing, so whatever. Anyway here’s the foolproof Sneer guide to trying your best not to want to die while being forced to camp.

 

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This is the most tedious game that you want to play. Most games try to disguise the fact that they are the same thing over and over and are largely based on chance. They try to disguise the fact that you earn points to level up so that you can earn more points. Or it at least takes longer for it to feel like a chore. Or to realize that you’re just playing a clicking game.

Pokemone Magikarp Jump

 

But not Pokémon Magikarp Jump! This one is barebones, totally obvious that it’s just a thing to pass the time. And it’s great. It’s finally Pokemon’s version of a clicking/tapping game and the mechanics are superbly mundane.

 

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