Futuristic

Alistair,

I woke up a week ago with a Heads up Display constantly in my line of sight, determining threats and reading heart rates and showing me a minimap. It’s handy, but it’s tagging threats from people I’ve never seen before. Well, specifically, it’s tagging Enemies. I don’t remember meeting any of them, and I definitely don’t know where the HUD came from. Are they connected?

Futuristic in New York

 

Futuristic,

There should be a toll free number in the lower left corner of your HUD when you close your eyes. Call that number and ask to be put in touch with your designated Alpha. I know that none of this makes sense to you, but you’ve become separated from your pack and it’s only a matter of time before one of the Enemies you’re looking at realizes what you are (assuming they aren’t just someone who you forgot cut you off in traffic).

Alistair

Feathered Quartet

Alistair,

I just walked in to my house and found my four Parakeets at the piano playing Bach’s Italian Concerto together. We shared a long look and I retired to my bedroom in confusion. I could hear hushed tweeting coming from my living room. They have now resumed the Concerto. They have obviously practiced a lot and have gotten quite good.
I want to know what is going on here but I don’t want to discourage their playing. How should I approach this situation? Is it possible my cat has hidden talents as well?

Feathered Quartet in Utah

 

Feathered Quartet,

Encourage as you would any other talent: honestly appreciate it for what it is. Namely, four parakeets hammering out a tune definitely meant to be played by at least ten, given the finger to beak ratio typical of birds perform human utilities. Don’t coddle them, however. The best artists have their starving period (though given that these are parakeets, this starving period should be heavily abbreviated).

Your cat almost certainly has no hidden talents. Cats never have anything to gain from hiding a talent. It isn’t an ego thing; the psyche of cats has no room for ego, id, or any of the other numerous psychological bits and pieces normally residing there.

Alistair

Thinking

Alistair,

If zombies existed, would they even be violent? What about dead people is inherently violent? Do you think there would be a social stigma? Would they be considered a minority group? Just trying to get some insight on what would be most likely to unfold if we could bring people back from the dead.

Thinking in Puxtawaney

 

Thinking,

“If”?

Alistair

Prophetic

Alistair,

I was contacted by an alien, someone with a green tint to the skin and technology that absolutely looked like magic. He told me that he was, among other things, the loose inspiration for the god known as Zeus. Shortly after that, I was contacted by an older man who looked like a wisp of fabric who said he was Zeus. And then a twelve foot tall giant who said he was Zeus. They all want me to have some sort of job promoting them, but I honestly don’t know who to go with, if any. Any advice for getting the real Zeus to stand up?

Prophetic in Georgia

 

Prophetic,

None of them are the real Zeus. Just trust me.

Approach their offers as you would any other set of job offers; compare compensation, perks and job satisfaction.

Alistair

Who

Alistair,

What am I? I awoke in a crater just outside a small town, with no memory of where I came from or how I came to be just outside a small Scandinavian town. Through the course of events, I’ve found out that I seem to be both impervious to damage (car crashes, falling from great heights, small arms fire) and have incredible strength. I accidentally threw a motorcycle through a brick wall. There’s government agents very interested in getting hold of me, and I’m not sure what to do. I beg you, Alistair, advise me.

Who in Oslo

 

Who,

You seem to have had a busy short while; most people who are impervious to small arms fire never have occasion to discover this, let alone falling from great heights and car accidents. It’s less likely that these government agents are interested in your personal abilities as they are interested in the fact that you seem to be a highly accident-prone individual. Try taking up dancing (solo, not ballroom, unless you find an exceptionally durable partner).

Anyway, you’re probably an alien or an experiment. Maybe a mutant. Who cares, in the end? Make yourself what you will be. And get a medical checkup.

Alistair

Torn in Two

Alistair,

Short-time-reader, first-time-advice-seeker. So, I’m about to graduate from college, and have had a couple of promising interviews. One is a market research position for a small start-up. The other is an assistant to a self-proclaimed prophet hellbent on bringing back forgotten traditions of darker times. Both pay about the same, but the latter has better benefits. Which should I go with?

Torn in Two (maybe literally, dependent on job performance)

 

Torn,

That’s the tricky thing about startups, isn’t it? They demand performance, and quick, because they’re a half step from circling the drain like so many pennies in a sink themselves.

While the dark prophet definitely promises better benefits, one has to bear in mind that the thing about prophets is their ‘In for a penny, in for a pound’ nature. He’s already claiming to be in league with shadowed powers and terrifying nightmares giving him a glimpse through the veil of time; it’s kind of small fry at that point to say you provide dental.

Neither job, statistically, is going to last very long. After you’ve weighed the enjoyability of the work itself, think about your exit strategy. Would you rather be hunted by opposing forces, slain as a sacrifice to ever more demanding remnants of ancient forces, or having your mind destroyed from having glimpsed horrors beyond that which man should see; or would you rather have to reenter the job search with a marginally stronger resume? I can’t pretend to tell you which is preferable, as that’s really a personal decision.

Alistair

Expecting

Dear Alistair,

My wife and I have recently been trying to conceive. One evening, I dreamed about a five-dimensional child unfolding itself and rolling toward me, screeching “Daddy!!!” with a thousand distended, toothless maws. A few weeks later, a routine pregnancy test showed a blood-red pentagram instead of the standard two bars. My wife has had inexplicable base cravings and every dream I’ve had since has been suffused with blood and the screams of the damned.

I guess my question is: what’s your stance on breastfeeding? It seems like a really controversial topic and my wife and I can’t really get a straight answer on the internet. Any help would be appreciated.

Expecting in Montana

Expecting,

First off, I think that it’s worth pointing out that your spawn-child hasn’t even arrived yet and you’re already forgetting to enjoy the moment. Now’s a good time to set a pattern of enjoying – not stressing – your kid. Everyone will benefit.

For your average two-bar baby, formula versus breastfeeding is an entire conversation. There’s a Nature Knows Best Camp, an It Doesn’t Make A Lick Of Difference Camp and I’ve heard that there’s some third option; I, personally, could not care less. Decisions like that do not ultimately determine the sort of person/entity your offspring will end up being. Especially, as in your case, if said offspring is as much hellspawn as youspawn.

I suggest that you follow the same rule that you would follow for a weapon: don’t point the muzzle(s) at anything you don’t want destroyed.

Alistair

 

Thrifty

Alistair,

I got an offer for a credit card that offers rewards points; for every set number of points, I can exchange it either for free airline miles or for minutes taken out of Purgatory at the end of my life. Is this a scam? If it isn’t, how can I best work the system?

Thrifty in New Orleans

 

Thrifty,

I need more information about you personally to answer this exactly. Working the system is simple because value systems dictate strong value disparity between the point systems available. Some people are going to strongly value the Painless Minute Points while others are going to strongly prefer the airline miles. So depending on where you fall, you can do one of two things.

a. Collect PMPs and sell them at an exorbitant rate in exchange for airline miles

b. Collect airline miles by the many different means available in our credit economy and exchange those for your PMPs

Alistair

Nosy

Alistair,

I just started a new job. It’s OK, nothing really stunning. The coworkers are friendly, the benefits are OK, and the basement is absolutely off-limits. This was made excessively clear to me in training, as it was repeated something like eight times in the first day. Since then, I’ve seen smoke pouring out from beneath the basement door, lights that flash, and a sound like cinderblocks being dragged across the floor. Should I be concerned?

Nosy in Sydney

 

Nosy,

No, because the coworkers are friendly and the benefits are OK. In this age and economy, that’s reason enough to ignore any number of smoke-emitting, light-flashing, noise-making basements. Seriously, all three of those issues can be caused by nothing more concerning than the building being heated by an old-fashioned furnace – an old-fashioned furnace that runs on cinder blocks. What you don’t know might hurt you but might not. Get back to me if you notice anything actually worrying, like a really strong whiff of bananas for no apparent reason. If there’s smoke, lights, dragging noises and inexplicable banana smells, get the hell out of there.

Alistair

Maybe Quisling

Alistair,

My neighbors are being hunted by a mysterious creature who lurks in the darkness. I haven’t told them that I can hear it whispering to me in the night; it wants help. It wants me to lure them out, to let them be found and taken away.

Is collaborating with the creature sketchy? Or just good sense?

Maybe Quisling in San Juarez

 

Quisling,

First of all, you’re making some assumptions about this creature’s work. The mysterious is not always the malevolent. Perhaps this shadow-lurker is liberating the souls of your neighbors from humanity’s quagmire to be released in a higher plane. Did you ever think of that? You probably didn’t, did you? Maybe he’s on a rescue mission, spiriting away the occupants of a given postal code before the meteorite hits. There’s even a race of caring (if confused) demigods who are constantly trying to physically restructure our timeline so that everyone can enjoy their best possible reality. Any of these are possible. It’s also possible that it’s a weremongrel who’s a total creep out to eat the innocent. I’ve seen that too.

On the plus side, making the right decision here doesn’t require that you know all the facts first. Regardless of whether your new friend is a goodie or a baddie, it’s in your own interest to at least make him think that you’re useful.

Alistair