The Wife of the Innkeeper in Diablo is Unhappy With Their Living Situation

Bron, we need to talk. I’ve tried to be supportive, but it’s time to accept the fact that opening an inn in a town plagued by dark cultists, the undead, murderous goatmen, the angry spirits of our ancestors and demons in service of the Lord of the Seven Hells himself was not a prudent business decision.

For starters, we haven’t had many guests. I’m guessing that’s because being surrounded by cursed ruins and twisted forests overrun by shadow doesn’t exactly scream “vacation hotspot.” And business travel has slowed to a crawl ever since most of this land collapsed under the screams of endless shrieking hellspawn. But I think what’s most important is that the majority of our prospective customers are now part of the shambling army of zombies currently laying siege to our town. I imagine they’re unlikely to be tempted by your “bring in the body of a slaughtered goat shaman and we’ll cook him for free!” deal.

I know, I know, you “anticipated” this. “But think of what we’ll sell to the guests we do have!” you said. “We’ll supply warriors and mages. We’ll arm and armour heroes!”

Well, I don’t know if you’ve taken a good look at the heroes in town, but I have. And I don’t think the eight-foot tall strongman wielding two flaming broadswords forged from Angelic steel that syphon away the life-force of his enemies to fuel his bloodlust is going to have much use for your grandfather’s old wood axe, unless he’s planning to shave with it. And that light leather armour from your stint in the town watch? The one you said wizards would be all over? Yeah, this wizard is surrounded by a raging winter storm that freezes anyone who gets within five feet of him. Which, incidentally, probably explains why Snuffles went missing.

Then there’s the woman who throws jars of poisonous spiders at her enemies while her undead hounds rip them to shreds, and the monk who punches skeletons apart. Should I ask them if they’d like to peruse our dagger inventory? Some of them haven’t entirely rusted up yet!

Not that it even matters if you make any money, because I’m sick of having to beat off swarms of flesh-eating ice bats every time I go to the grocers. I’m sick of losing guests who don’t believe me when I warn them that if they get too close to the tree around back it will set them on fire and then eat their soul. I’m sick of living in a town where the legions of the Hells outnumber us honest, hard-working folk by thousands upon thousands to one.

Remember when I had to hire an adventurer to escort me to my sister’s farm down the road? And he killed over 200 of the Hells’ undead minions, a trio of giant electrified spiders that could summon meteor strikes, and Lord Dunhyld, the Phantom of Anguish, one of the grotesque champions of Azmodan, Lord of Sin? It’s a good thing a horde of imps devoured all his flesh just before we got back inside the gates, or else we’d have had to take out a second mortgage to pay his hazard fee.

And don’t even think of saying that I should just keep in touch by mailing a letter. You know as well as I do that all the postmen have been eaten by wraiths.

I haven’t asked for much in this relationship. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to live in a place where we’re not in constant danger of dying tortuous deaths that will condemn our spirits to the fiery pits of the Hells for all eternity. Also, I have yet to “get used” to the constant stench of rotting flesh and endless blood rain as you claimed I would.

I love you, Bron, but enough is enough. Either we move, or we divorce. I know divorce is a sin in the eyes of the Gods, but considering that we’re woken up every night by the shrieks and moans of the ritualistic murder orgies held by maleficent covens across the river, I think it’s safe to say that the Gods’ eyes are elsewhere.

I know that keeping inn is your passion, and I want to support that. But let’s run an inn that overlooks the tide of a crystal clear ocean instead of a tide of unrelenting demonic evil. Let’s run an inn where you don’t have to demand gold up front in-case the guests are robbed and murdered by bandits. Let’s run an inn where, instead of hosting recitals of ominous prophecies and triage centres that turn into shambling battalions of the risen dead, we host bingo night. No one’s ever lost a limb or their sanity to bingo night.

Oh, and maybe think of a more welcoming name for your new inn than The Slaughtered Calf. Seriously, what the fuck were you thinking?

Internet Job Titles Explained

Blogger: I am a housewife and/or teenager.

Vlogger: I am an attention whoring housewife and/or teenager.

Social Media Specialist: I dropped out of university because I spent all my time using Twitter and Facebook.

SEO Specialist: I can make your content more appealing to Google and less appealing to human beings.

Anything with “Rockstar,” “Jedi” or “Ninja” in it: I work for a company that will be defunct in six months.

Humourist: I’m too pretentious to call myself a comedy writer.

Comedy Writer: I’m not witty enough to call myself a humourist.

Freelance Writer: If the law didn’t stop me I would eat you and put the money saved on groceries towards rent.

Movies Inspired by Internet Ads

He was a desperate young man in your area who had just made a strange discovery about women. She was a single mom in your area who was lonely and looking to get laid with no strings attached. Neither of them wanted a relationship, but a one night stand left them hoping for more. Now they’re torn between enjoying their single lives and getting serious. They weren’t looking for love; they just wanted to Meet Sexy Singles.

When a stay at home mom realised that a single weird food would keep her from ever having to diet again, she thought she had struck it rich. Then her husband stole her secret, the fortune that should have been hers, and her son. Convincing the world that her ex is a fraud won’t be easy, but she finds one hotshot junior lawyer who’s willing to go up against his sharks. Together they’ll win back her money, her child… and maybe even her belief in love. Her ex will eat his words in Eat THIS.

When an average local man discovered the cure to cancer, he thought he’d be a hero. Instead he’s on the run, chased by ruthless killers as he struggles to unravel an elaborate global conspiracy between pharmaceutical companies and hospitals that may even reach the very top of the World Health Organization. He doesn’t know why the medical community wants his cure suppressed, but one thing’s clear: Doctors Hate Him.

Buzzfeed Reports on the Second World War

The 23 Most Unforgivable Military Blunders of 1941

17 Propaganda Posters That Will Make You Feel Feelings

10 Problems Only People In The French Resistance Understand

Winston Churchill And FDR Would Be The World’s Greatest Power Couple

31 Biggest Landmine Fails Of 1943

14 Things That Happened At The Yalta Conference

The Story Of The Battle Of Stalingrad In D. W. Griffith Stills

If All Allied Leaders Were Replaced With Ingrid Bergman

27 Times In 1945 President Truman’s Family Was Cuter Than Yours

319 Concentration Camps That Will Make You Lose Your Faith In Humanity

I Will Rain Destruction Down Upon You Like a Vengeful God, The Source

I entered your bright white fluorescent hell like a lost soul entering a strange and despotic land. I needed new earbuds and I needed them urgently enough to brave your tangled maze of poor choices and suspiciously named in-house brands imported from only the least discerning Chinese factories. Nexxtech sounds like an anime produced by a discount Korean sweatshop animation studio and GnarlyFish like a Phish cover band that the other cover bands look down on. What sane man desires to sully the soundtrack of his life with headphones that make it seem as if your music is being piped through an unusually long air tunnel?   

But amidst the wasteland of electronic detritus designed to take advantage of the ignorant, the desperate and those whose last major technological purchase was a phonograph so they could enjoy the musical stylings of that young up and comer Bing Crosby I managed to suss out some headphones that appeared as though they would allow me to hear my music without simulating the effects of deafness, tinnitus or, somehow, both. And they were only overpriced enough to make me feel like I had been tricked by an experienced shyster, not taken complete advantage of by an incompetent conman who nevertheless somehow managed to play me for a fool. In your Kafkaesque Best Buy that constituted a “deal.”

I was heroically able to complete a transaction with your surly cashier despite the fact that she seemed less intent on taking my money than she was on demanding my email address, as though it were the last piece of the dark ritual required to raise the shambling corpse of Circuit City from a Lovecrafian nightmare realm of dead but dreaming corporations, and not a means by which to send me newsletters for television sales that the Amish would recognise as rip-offs.

I of course also turned down her offer of an extended warranty, despite her pleading assurances that it would give me three years of coverage on everything from water damage to all-devouring plague of locusts. While I realise that you are probably holding her children hostage until she forces enough of these bad investments onto hapless consumers willing to take on the financial burden simply to cease her incessant braying, her dead eyes betrayed the fact that she no longer has any love left to give her progeny. If they are lucky they will somehow escape your nefarious clutches and spend their formative years in an orphanage, or perhaps they will simply be granted the sweet embrace of death instead of being trained to slave away in your call centres, answering questions from easily confused grandparents for what will feel like endless eons.

What seemed like a prudent financial decision would prove to be my downfall, aside of course from the obviously poor decision to offer my patronage in the first place. If entering your store was my Anschluss, declining the warranty was my Stalingrad. That may seem like a tasteless analogy, but I feel it is appropriate considering the quality of neither your electronics nor your service would feel out of place in Pavlov’s House.

I left your store like Lot left Sodom, only had I been accompanied by a wife I know she would have had no desire to look back. But less than an hour later I found myself returning to prostate myself before my nemesis, to grovel in the faintest hope that this soulless harpy would show mercy on a man who was cursing her beneath her breath.

You see, it seems as though your crude packaging is made from two kinds of plastic. One has the strength of mithril and would be better put to use manufacturing bulletproof vests than in safeguarding your products from the orcs that you apparently think wish to steal them. The other kind has the strength of thin cardboard that’s been left out in a rainstorm overnight and then urinated on by a horse that had really been holding it in. That’s how, after spending several minutes trying to penetrate my new headphones’ defences with about as much success as eunuchs have in penetrating women, I sliced through the plastic, an earbud and very nearly my finger. Fierce resistance wasn’t ended that abruptly since the Death Star was destroyed.

While I admit that I am not what society generally deems to be “competent” or “intelligent” I don’t think it’s immodest of me to brag that I am usually capable of opening a package without rendering the product within useless. You don’t see me pouring a glass of milk by running a steak knife through the carton or making an omlette by smashing my fists on an egg carton and collecting the yoke that dribbles out. And yet that is essentially what your shoddy packaging forced me to do.

Under the circumstances I didn’t feel it was unreasonable to ask for a replacement or a refund, in-so much as your cold corporate heart has any concept of reason. Yet my protestations were met with nothing more than repeated statements about how my request was only covered under your extended warranty. Under other circumstances I would have taken this as the company line spouted by an apathetic employee with no desire to risk being fired for breaking protocol. But this employee knew I had erred. There was a glint in her eye, a mocking tone in her voice, a suggestion that I had fallen into a classic pitfall and instead of throwing me a rope she was going to rain down poisonous snakes.

I will begrudgingly admit that you have technically done nothing wrong, at least not in the legal sense. Morally you are doing wrong simply by continuing to exist. But if your reaction to a consumer suffering from a product’s design failures is so robotic and unfeeling that I now assume the term “customer service” is what you use to refer to the handjobs you give each other while recounting this experience then I see little recourse. I am not an angry man. But you have roused a dark part of me from a deep slumber, and soon the only “Source” you know will be the source of your constant suffering. I am that source, my friends. You will sing laments of my coming, and I will ensure you can hear them only in mono sound.

2014 Olympic Demonstration Sports

Cross-Country Tweeting

Time Zone Adapting

Fluff Media Coverage Endurance

Excessive Patriotism Displays

Apathy Feigning

Uninformed Criticism of Ice Hockey Lineups

Synchronised Homophobia

Thanks For Helping Me Through My Childhood Existential Terror, Mom

I don’t remember how I learned about death. It may have been when my grandfather died, or it may have been when I lost Goldfish, my beloved pet goldfish. I don’t remember when I learned how to not name things like an idiot, either.

But however I learned about it, I quickly became obsessed. The concept of death, of simply one day never waking up because you’re dead, sucker, gripped me with a terror even worse than the fear I associated with class presentations and the constantly looming threat of having a video game save file accidently deleted by some mouth-breathing friend. I’m pretty sure you could have locked me in a room with the sex-offendingest looking guy you could find and I would have been more at ease than I was when I thought about death. At least until I realised that I would probably be murdered after the sex offender was done sex offending. Then I would panic.

At night, when I assume other children were spending the time it took to fall asleep thinking about unicorns or winning the Stanley Cup or winning the Stanley Cup with a team of unicorns, I developed a habit of working myself into a frantic, death-obsessed feedback loop. First I would lie perfectly still and take slow, deep breaths to pretend I was six feet under. Then I would think about what it would be like to stop existing and never exist again, to reach a point where not even hockey playing unicorns who also fought crime and did your homework and were your best friends could save you.

I would imagine going to bed and not waking up, I would imagine years and decades and centuries going by without me, and I would imagine the whole world forgetting that I ever existed. All the while my breathing would get quicker and quicker as the thoughts made me more and more anxious. Eventually they’d overwhelm me, at which point I’d sit up straight and gasp like people do in movies after they have a nightmare, and yes, I’m aware that this sounds like I was getting off to some unusually depressing pornography.

After one particularly panicky instance I started crying and ran downstairs for some mothering. When my mom asked what was wrong I choked out “I don’t want to die!” in-between sobs. I assume her first reaction was to make sure I wasn’t being chased by an axe murderer, but after she performed a perimeter check she gathered me in her arms, rocked me back and forth, and tried to comfort me with words that I’ll never forget. “But that won’t happen for a long time!”

Damn, Mom. Look, I understand that I put you in a tough position. When you’re in the kitchen making tea in preparation for a nice, relaxing night of watching Jeopardy!, tactics for helping your son confront his Lovecraftian existential horror will not be at the forefront of your mind. If I was in your situation I would have either said, “Well then you better get your stupid tears off my shirt and get the fuck back to bed,” or yelled, “Go talk to your mother!” before hiding under the nearest blanket and faking a bout of narcolepsy. I’m proud of you for not panicking and trying to find a Berenstain Bears book that covered the situation. The Berenstain Bears and the Terror of the Infinite Void would really fly off the shelves.

But talk about not being comforting. There were no platitudes about going to heaven or wild speculation about medical technology one day being able to put my brain in a computer or cryogenically freeze me until science invented immortality. Not that I would have expected you to go in that direction, but I like the idea of a parent’s comforting words being loosely inspired by Demolition Man.  

No, what I got was a kick the can down the road, deal with it later mentality, which works well for me as an adult when I’m feeling too lazy to do the dishes, but less so as a child facing the most terrifying thing he’s ever learned about. I understand the strategy, because kids are dumb at time. To a kid, the week before Christmas is an eon. Ask a child to comprehend the seventy or so years it will take for them to become a wrinkled old person hanging out on death’s front porch and you can watch their brains seize up. They understand in theory that it’s really long, but the concept of time means about as much to them as the concept of money. They know it exists and it’s important, but they can’t begin to explain why it’s in limited supply. Incidentally, Mom, you never did give me a satisfactory explanation as to why we couldn’t just make everyone rich by printing lots of money.

Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a message of “It won’t happen for a long time, so worry about it later” was interpreted by me as “It won’t happen for a long time, so you better worry about it constantly until it does.” I’m good at worrying. I do it a lot. If I don’t have anything to worry about I worry that I’ve forgotten something. Or, if I’m feeling meta, I’ll worry about how much I worry. Right now I’m worried that I’m talking about my worrying too much. How’s that for meta?

So I went right back to having my little panic attacks. But guess what? Panicking about death became so routine that it started to not scare me anymore, or at least no more than I was scared of anything else in my life, like French homework or girls. I worried myself into a state of tedium. “Ugh, it’s just another night of fretting about the horrible implications of eternal oblivion. I wonder if we’ll play freeze tag tomorrow?” I worried myself into freedom, and while that’s probably the least inspirational story of someone overcoming their fears in human history, it was good enough for me.

Thinking about dying still unnerves me, but no more than I imagine it does most people. So thanks, Mom, for advice that was far more brutally honest than you probably meant it to be. I’m sorry for forcing you to get philosophical on such short notice. I don’t know if our conversation was the sort you’re taught about after “Where do babies come from?” at parenting classes, but you acquitted yourself well.

Love,
-Mark

P.S. I’m also sorry about the time I rolled my foreskin down as far as it could go while I was having a bath and then called you in to look at my amazing accomplishment. Those were my wild days before I began to fear the cold embrace of the grave.

My To Do List

Get groceries.

Do the laundry.

Look for a new job.

Launch a successful, rewarding career.

Find true love.

Get married.

Have children.

Raise children well.

Have a full lifetime’s worth of accomplishments, experiences, friendships, moments of awe, and love.

Make a difference in the world.

Come to the grim realisation that no matter how much of a difference we make there will always be tragic inequalities between nationalities, races, genders, sexualities, classes and other dividers, as some people are predisposed to prejudice and as we try to support a growing global population on dwindling reserves of resources amidst the problems of climate change conflict and exploitation will be inevitable.

Deal with the despair that comes when we accept that major events in our lives are dictated by chance, and that the whimsies of fate that planted us in this day and age control the course of our lives as much, if not more than, our own actions.

Know that no matter what I do with my life my very nature will prevent me from feeling anything other than dissatisfaction and a vague sense of unease.

Become an angst-ridden old man, bitter over never taking the risks I knew I should have taken, knowing that my cowardice prevented me from achieving the dreams I held as an idealistic but nervous youth.

Feel guilty about my bitterness, as regardless of what course my life takes I will enjoy a higher quality of life than the vast majority of people in human history.

Accept that I will one day go to my death in tremendous fear and panic, assuming I’m not abruptly snuffed out in a manner that prevents me from even having the chance to acknowledge that my time has ended.

Come to grips with the fact that in the grand scheme of things we are less than specks of dust, doomed to be forgotten first by our fellow man and then by reality itself as the aeons pass and the dying universe consumes humanity, rendering existence ultimately meaningless.

Catch up on the latest celebrity gossip.

Be disappointed in Olivia Wilde’s new hairstyle.

In Retrospect, My New Year’s Resolutions May Have Been Too Ambitious

I’m not someone who apologises for thinking big. I don’t have failures—I have learning experiences. I believe that no dream ever ends—it just gets put on the backburner. But as the year draws to a close, I am forced to acknowledge that some of my resolutions were not as realistic as they could have been.

First and foremost, I was unable to realise my vision of adapting the classic Boxcar Children novels as a series of Hollywood blockbusters. It turns out that today’s kids aren’t big on the Boxcar Children, or boxcars in general. Also, I had no qualifications or movie industry experience. But I’ve written scripts for the first two movies, plotted outlines for the next five, and come up with some mock merchandise, so the project is all set to go once the right producer gets a look at it.

My attempt to adapt The Boxcar Children into a series of modern young adult novels for today’s urban youth ran into trouble as well. I hope the petty lawyer that killed Subway Kidz on the ridiculous grounds of copyright infringement can sleep at night knowing he denied children access to a series of scandalous murder mysteries, thrilling drug den busts, and sizzling arson investigations. Not to mention the relatable struggles the heroes will face, including Henry’s battle with alcoholism, Jessie’s sexual awakening, Violet coming to terms with the death of her beloved Watch, and a special entry in the series where Benny is molested by Uncle Andy. Because “The Man” has a problem with encouraging children to read, Subway Kidz will instead be made available through fanfiction.net. While this is a step down from the bespoke folios I originally envisioned, what’s important is that the stories will be told.

While I never like to write off a project entirely, the less said about my “Build Your Own Boxcar” kits the better. Apparently having a life-sized boxcar on your front lawn brings down property values. Which is bullshit, because having judgemental neighbours is what should really bring down property values. If everyone in a community did it there would be no problem. But that’s not realistic, at least not until CarKidCon 2014 rolls around and I host my Boxcar Fan Relocation Project Panel. At the very least, I’m optimistic that the kits can be salvaged and turned into novelty desktop figurines to be enjoyed for generations.

On that note, CarKidCon 2014 may be cancelled. But if you’re one of the smart investors who bought a weekend pass at the early bird price of just $279, consider it valid for 2015.

Let’s look at a few of my other resolutions. “Cat Navy.” I don’t know what that means. We’ll make this one a lower priority for now.

“Petition the White House to create a national Gertrude Chandler Warner Day.” Well, I made the petition. It’s not my fault only 17 people have signed it. I can’t solve voter apathy in America alone. But we’ll brainstorm ways to drum up interest during the next BoxKidCon.

“Finish writing Working Hardy, or Hardy Working? An Analysis of the Hardy Boys’ Mystery Solving Methods.” I didn’t finish, but only because I started working on The Happy Hollisters and the Mystery of How They Solved Mysteries. But writing half of two books is basically the same as writing one complete book, so let’s call this a success.

“Publish Nancy Drew and the Secret of The Baby-sitters Clubs’ Sapphic Romance Parties.” Apparently prudish publishers consider this to be “unmarketable” and “immoral.” I don’t know what their problem is, I aged all the characters up to 18. I guess it’s too avant-garde, but someday the world will be ready.

Never let it be said that I consider myself above criticism. 2013 was full of disappointments, and it’s fair to point that out, but I’m not disappointed in myself for aiming high. Some might call me foolhardy for being equally ambitious in 2014—I say they’re the ones who’ll feel like fools when they read my forthcoming essay on the subliminal incestuous themes of The Dana Girls franchise.

Historical Upworthy Headlines

Everyone Thought This Young Man From Nazareth Was Crazy. Then People Started Listening To Him.

The Romans Didn’t Take This Slave Leader Seriously. They Won’t Make That Mistake Again.

An Inventor Calls It A Light Bulb. I Call It Amazing.

These British And German Soldiers Were Told To Shoot Bullets At Each Other. They Decided To Shoot Soccer Balls Instead.

You’ll Never Believe Where This Influenza That’s Infected 500 Million People Began

Don’t Read This Jewish Girl’s Diary If You Don’t Want To Cry

They Tried To Make This Heroic Woman Sit At The Back of The Bus. She Decided To Stand Up Instead.

This Black Minister’s Dream Is Way More Inspiring Than Any Dream I’ve Ever Had

The President Wanted To Give A Stirring Speech In Dallas. But This One Awful Man Had Other Ideas.

I Loved The Graffiti On The Berlin Wall. But I Loved Watching What Happened To It Today Even More.

Wow, You’ll Never Guess What Political System Completely Collapsed Today