Archive for the ‘Incredibly Weird Shit My Brother Found On The Internet’ Category


DAUGHTER: I love horror films. But I hardly ever get to watch them.

ME: (listens quietly, safe in the smug knowledge that daughter has never actually seen a horror film)

BEST FRIEND: This might sound babyish, but horror films give me nightmares.

ME: That’s not babyish at all, pet. Lots of people feel like that.

Samara from The Ring

BEST FRIEND: What, even grown-ups?

ME: Yep, even grown-ups.

DAUGHTER: I saw a horror film once and it gave me nightmares.

suspicious cat

ME: (first tinge of unease)

DAUGHTER: My Uncle showed it to me.

ME: (experiencing that curious state where you both know for sure this would never happen, and simultaneously have the faintest nagging feeling that it just possibly might have)

DAUGHTER: It gave me nightmares for weeks.

ME: (mentally reviewing contents of my brother’s extremely extensive horror collection)

Creep Movie Poster


Zombi 2

DAUGHTER: It was about this boy who kept dying, over and over again. It was awful.

ME: Oh, right – ! No, that wasn’t a horror movie; it was a public information film.

DAUGHTER AND BEST FRIEND (incredulous): A public information film?

ME: Yes. They were on the BBC and everything, during children’s programmes and so on. They were meant to scare us into not doing stupid things. They used to make us watch them at school sometimes.


(Appalled silence in the back of the car)

ME: Now I come to say that out loud, it sounds quite bad.

(more silence)

DAUGHTER: No wonder Uncle Ian is the way he is.

man in straitjacket

ME: Yeah, that sounds about right actually.


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Yesterday afternoon, while working very hard and not in the least bit conducting idle displacement activities as a substitute for actually getting words down on the page, Mumsnet circumstances beyond my control required me to click onto the following webpage:

Persun wedding dresses 3

Reasonable site structure, pretty dresses, models who look both beautiful and plus-sized, five minutes looking at potential wedding dresses for fellow Mumsnetters duly frittered, okay.

And then I read the lead-in copy:

Persun wedding dresses 2

“You must have been bothered by failing to get a plus size wedding dress to match with your fat body shape. Persun.co.uk will solve your problem and help you greet the arrival of the wedding. Plus size wedding dress on Persun.co.uk, you will never be regretful to get one. Welcome to our online store!”

That’s a direct transcription, by the way.

I don’t know an awful lot about selling wedding dresses, but I’m pretty sure the phrase “your fat body shape” doesn’t usually play a central role.

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This may just be one of the best sites I’ve ever seen in my life:

I was completely hooked from its opening header, “STOP ALIEN ABDUCTIONS”. The delightful strangeness of the next line – “In Italian as Fermaglialieni.com and in Portuguese as Parar-sequestros.com” was just one of those lovely little extras life hands you sometimes, like when you think you’ve finished your chocolate chip muffin and then you find another piece of it hiding in the wrapper.

Out of all the other languages there are in the world, why Italian and Portuguese? Surely the most logical second choices would be Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. (Do Alien Abductions exist in Chinese culture, I wonder? Are Italian and Portuguese people particularly vulnerable?)

So many questions. So few answers. Let’s take a look at the Hat inventor modelling his creation for us:

As it turns out, I do have an expectation of what the typical alien abductee might look like, and this guy fulfils absolutely none of them. My stereotype abductee is wild-haired, wild-eyed, strangely attired, frantic and jittery. This guy just looks like a nice, ordinary, older man heading off for a fishing-trip. Only with extra anti-alien precautions.

Just so we’re clear, I think this failure to live up to expectation is a good thing. I like having my preconceptions challenged. Alien Abduction is clearly something that can happen to anyone, regardless of age, weight, hobbies or hairstyle.

My other big expectation of this site was that it was going to be a snake-oil scam, where a series of increasingly terrifying Alien Abduction stories lead up to the discovery that you can, praise the Lord, prevent all of this happening to you by purchasing your very own Special Hat for the bargain price of $99.99 (plus shipping and sales tax). But as it turns out, there’s nothing for sale on this site at all. The inventor of the Hat has donated his construction method as a gift to the nation.

Which I have to say is jolly decent of him. If a little odd.

Let’s move on to the construction process this website outlines. Thanks to Wikipedia, I can report that Velostat is indeed the official material of choice for Anti-Alien-Abduction hats. Alien Abduction Hat Man has clearly done his research, which is what I’d expect from someone whose day-job is technical writing in the field of aviation.

Like the rest of the site, the instructions are carefully written, simple to follow, and completely insane. I like all the steps, but Step C is my favourite, mainly because it reminds me so much of my kids’ more incomprehensible art projects:

“Prepare strips of tape to secure Velostat sheets to the hat.

Cut small strips of tape about 1/2″ wide and as long as the tape width, which should be 11/2″ to 2″ long, and stick them to the back of a dinner plate or other smooth surface for use.

You will fill four or five platefuls of tape strips during the construction of the thought screen.”

At this point, I’m going to confess that I have a certain amount of fellow-feeling for the Abductee community. I regularly wake up in a blind panic, screaming my head off and pointing at the corner yelling incoherently about something only I can see. As it happens, I mostly just see stuff that it’s very easy for my husband to disprove (“See? The kids are still in their beds, not climbing on the roof at all. Now go back to sleep. No, really, go back to sleep“). So I rather quickly realised that, just because I wake up and see something, that doesn’t actually mean it’s really there. However, I can definitely see that if I lived alone, regularly woke up and saw aliens, and didn’t have a decent family doctor plus several family members who all do exactly the same, this might have had a rather different outcome.

All the same, I do like to think that, if I was on the receiving end of some of these Hat Wearing Sabotage attempts – rather than instantly concluding this was also being done by the aliens, I might consider an alternative explanation. Here’s the first two tips on how to cope with obstacles to successfully wearing your Hat:

“1. Prepare for a fight.
Aliens will try to stop you from wearing the helmet both mentally and physically. Remember that they can read your mind. Before you make one they may try to influence you that you don’t need one. Once you start wearing a helmet they may harass you or perhaps threaten to kill a pet in retaliation. They are good at manipulating your spouse to have a conflict with you about wearing the helmet. If you forget to wear it one time they may physically hurt you. They have done these things to a minority of abductees wearing helmets. Most abductees report complete success with the helmet when they wear it as much as they can.

2. Have a locked cabinet.
Aliens have taken ten helmets from abductees and several Velostat lined baseball caps. If you are not wearing a hat they will go through your entire house looking for them. They will not, however, go into a locked cabinet. Before you make a helmet have some kind of cabinet or trunk that you can lock. That way they won’t take it.
All thought is open and controlled in a telepathic society therefore locks are unnecessary. Aliens are unfamiliar with locks and the concept of a lock.”

I can’t help feeling Occam’s Razor might have a role to play here.

So, what’s life like for abductees in their new, Hat-wearing existence? From the testimonials, pretty darn good:

“Still nothing new to report here…so it must work!”

“Congrats…my life has changed for the better…new job, new confidence etc.”

“Thank you, thank you, for your work in this area. Your efforts to protect those of us who have been victims of this living nightmare are most appreciated.”

“I am happy to report that the Thought Screen Helmet has been performing beautifully! It’s been over six months now and NOT ONE INCIDENT! Aside from some of the naive neighborhood kids and their taunting it’s been a blissful period.”

There’s something rather sweet and poignant about these. What must pre-Hat life have been like for the person who finds their confidence and employability is increased by the continuous wearing of a velostat-lined aviator hat? (And how sad and empty are the lives of the neighborhood kids whose idea of a good time is “Ha ha, you’re wearing a hat”?)

I think the testimonials are what really tip this site over into Awesome. As a non-victim-of-alien-abduction, I see is a site that tells you how to waste several hours of your life on making a laughably stupid-looking piece of headgear with no discernible purpose.

But if you really are experiencing alien thought control, and your treatment options are 1) anti-psychotics 2) institutionalisation or 3) a hat, and the hat actually works for you, then who am I to judge?

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A Surprisingly Delightful Website

Here’s an illustrated transcript of the conversation that took place regarding the website of the National Insulator Appreciation Society, www.nia.org.

Ian shared a link:

Another page for Cassandra Jane Parkin‘s archives. The quarterly newsletter (Drip Points) is worth a look.

Ian: For the record, this is one of my favourite insulators:

Ian: Also there’s an amazingly detailed guide to things which look like insulators, but aren’t. So that will keep you on the straight and narrow.

Cassandra: These are ace. ACE. Thank you!!!

Ian: I actually really like this website. When Deb [Ian’s wife] saw me looking at it she said “is that that insulator website again?”

Cassandra: I can see why you like it actually. There’s something pleasing about insulators.

Cassandra: OMG. I like some of the insulators more than others. I have an Insulator Aesthetic.

CD 158

Ian: Insulators are great. There are some purple ones on there. You like purple.

CD 162

Cassandra: I do. I like the purple one a lot. And also CD 145.6. That one’s very nice. And CD 268.5 is lovely, I’d have that as an ornament.

I don’t like the House Telegraph insulator, though. That one’s horrible.

CD 145.6

House Telegraph Insulator

Ian: http://www.nia.org/general/cd_text/cd106.htm

CD 106

Ian: Oooh wow. I like CD 268.5 too.

Ian: Yep with you on the house telegraph insulator too. Yuk.

Cassandra: They’re very comforting objects.

Cassandra: It would be nice to go to a quiet American motel built out of old, grey wood, and stay in a very bare room on the first floor, and put an insulator on the windowsill and look at it by the light of the street-lamp outside.

Cassandra: I’m writing Insulator Porn now, aren’t I. I need to get out more.

Ian: But you’re so right! Maybe some of your friends in the US can make this happen.

Cassandra: One day we can take a road-trip. And when the Immigration people at the airport ask us the purpose of our trip, we can say, “We’re going to find a small motel and sit and look at insulators.”

If you, like me, now find yourself strangely drawn to these unexpectedly compelling industrial components, you may be interested to know that they quite often come up for sale on eBay. Only let’s try not to get into a bidding war, m’kay? As long as we conduct ourselves like ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure there are plenty of insulators for everyone.

And if you, like me, now have a Favourite Insulator, why not leave a note of it in the comments so everyone else can enjoy it too?

Note: to date, the proposed road-trip has not yet been undertaken.

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I was originally going to dedicate this Guess-The-Search-Term entry to the wiki-page on Cymothoa Exigua. For the record, C. Exigua is a parasitic crustacean that earns a living by eating, and then replacing, the tongue of its fish host. Apparently it does this without the fish ever noticing; a thought which has all sorts of horrifying implications for our own existence.

“You – you mean this isn’t how it’s supposed to look…?”

Cymothoa Exigua made its appearance on my brother’s Facebook feed with the enigmatic statement, “I’d forgotten all about these until today” – a remark which, all by itself, opened up whole avenues of questioning for him to skilfully evade. For example: How could anyone ever forget about this? What happened today to remind you? Does it seem weird to you that your FB friends have started leaping in with their own choice of hideous parasite which they feel is even worse than C. Exigua? Do we both need to fear for the future careers and habits of our children?

Honestly can’t decide who gets the worse end of the deal in this transaction.

And then my brother casually let slip that he was currently quite well versed in horrible parasites, thanks to his recent discovery of the frankly outstanding blog, dailyparasite.blogspot.co.uk.

Any website that can pose the question “Why do organisms have sex?” with an apparently straight face is all right by me.

Check it out; it’s really sort of awesome. If you (like me) suffer from the persistent delusion that when it comes to life on earth, mammals are where it’s at, then prepare to have your horizons thoroughly stretched – in that good but also quite uncomfortable way. As my brother put it; “It’s like one of those tear-off quote-of-the-day calendars. Only with parasites.”

And, as always, your idle speculations on what he might have been searching for when he happened across this little gem are more than welcome.

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I have a brother. My brother is awesome. My brother is also deeply strange, in a way that I sort of recognise but also am sort of in awe of. One of his favourite things to do is to post links to strange websites on his FB feed, then gently but firmly refuse to tell us how he found them.

Here’s today’s little gem:

This website, Maskon, sells customised silicon masks-plus-breasts, for your dressing-up pleasure. My brother describes this as “Buffalo Bill meets the Uncanny Valley, with terrifying consequences”.

For some inexplicable reason, every one of these masks appears to be called Susan:

In case you can’t quite visualise how a person might look dressed up in their Susan mask, there’s also a whole gallery of people modelling Susan.

Now, just so we’re clear – I firmly believe in the concept of personal bodily autonomy. Everyone one of us has the right to look any old way that makes us feel good, however unusual other people might find our choices.

But – damn…

Now, here’s the fun-for-all-the-family part. Who wants to try and guess what search terms my brother might have used to lead him to his destination?

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