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Halloween D.I.Y Project: Make Your Own Zombie

Halloween D.I.Y Project: Make Your Own Zombie
Make Your Own Zombie

    One of the most overlooked yet incredibly useful personal productivity tools available today is the zombie. Though incapable of many creative tasks, they are ideal for most corporate work, and suitable for all manner of tasks requiring physical strength, repetitive actions, risk to life and limb, or the death of your enemies. What’s more, zombies work for free (though you must remember never to feed them anything with salt in it). What better way is there to Get Things Done?

    Zombies are the ultimate D.I.Y. project, and uses only natural materials (though handle them with care, lest you find you’ve zombified yourself). Follow these simple steps and you’ll have your own zombie ready to work in no time!

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    (Note: The creation of zombies is regulated by law in some principalities. Please check your local statutes on zombie creation and ensure all relevant permissions and licenses are obtained before undertaking such a project. The following information is offered for education purposes only; the author assumes no liability for damages suffered as a result of readers’ use of this information.)
    The secret of zombie-making is in the coupe poudre, a powder that is rubbed onto or otherwise introduced onto the skin of your future zombie servant. While recipes for coupe poudre are a closely guarded secret, a little trial and error should get you there — try experimenting on unwanted pets before taking on a human victim. You’ll need the following materials:

    1. Tetrodotoxin: A neurotoxin found in the liver and ovaries of the pufferfish Fugu rubripes, tetrodotoxin administered in the right dosage causes paralysis and the reduction of the metabolism and heart rate, causing the future zombie to appear dead to all but the most sensitive medical equipment. This is the same fugu found in the sushi specialty, which causes several deaths annually (more than a few of which “dead” have woken up in the morgue when the toxin wore off, causing quite a scare among morgue workers!) An important side effect of tetrodotoxin is that the victim, though appearing dead, remains fully conscious — this will be crucial to the success of your project.
    2. Bufotenin: The cane toad, or Bufo marinus, secretes a white, milky irritant called bufotenin from glands at the rear of its head. This highly toxic irritant can inflame the eyes and skin, and even kill small cats and dogs (so handle carefully). Bufotenin also causes mild hallucinations, and is a controlled substance in many parts of the world.
    3. The skin of the Dominican tree frog: The tree frogs found in Dominican Republic and Haiti produce an irritating secretion similar to, but far less deadly than, that of the cane toad. Rich in this secretion, the skins are dried and ground, producing a skin irritant that causes tiny wounds in the skin’s surface and allows the toxins to enter the bloodstream.
    4. A clay jar: Used to hold the zombie’s ti-bon anj (the part of the soul responsible for free will and human agency). Any earthenware jar should work fine, so long as it’s large enough to hold a ti-bon anj — however, you’ll be keeping this for the length of your zombie’s service, so make sure it’s an easily identified jar you won’t mind showing off to visitors.
    5. Other ingredients: Although the ingredients above are key, other ingredients may be added to suit your own personal taste and style. Ground tarantulas, shaved-off pieces of human skulls, and other additions add that dash of individuality to your recipe, letting your zombies know you really care!

    The ingredients are mixed together and ground into a powder, which is often left to age for a couple days to build up magical potency. You’ll have to figure out how to introduce the coupe poudre into your victim’s system — perhaps sprinkle it on their bedclothes? However you do it, the result should be their apparent death. Try not to appear too eager at this point; zombie-masters are not always well-received in many communities. After suitable ceremonies and mourning and the preparation of the body, your future zombie will be buried.

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    Remember: assuming your preparation worked, your victim is not only still alive but fully conscious. While you are preparing for the second stage of your project, your future zombie is being buried alive while hallucinating badly because of the effects of the bufotenin. This trauma is the raw clay from which you will reform your new zombie’s psyche; revel in it a bit.

    After a suitable time period — not long enough for your victim to die of asphyxiation in their coffin, but long enough so that there aren’t likely to be any mourners standing vigil over the gravesite — you will need to dig up your zombie and revive her or him. For this step, you will use another preparation made from the datura plant, known in Haiti as “zombie cucumber”.

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    Datura is very high in two dangerous alkaloid compounds, scopolamine and atropine. The atropine is a stimulant used in modern medicine to help revive heart attack patients; you will be using it to “jump start” your zombie’s metabolism. It is also a hallucinogen, as is scopolamine, though not quite as potent. Scopolamine is a powerful hallucinogen, but has other important properties, most notably causing amnesia and long-term memory loss, causing your victim to forget most of the details of his or her past. It also makes your subject extremely suggestible (hence its use by many bad people as a “date-rape drug” and experiments by the CIA for use as a truth serum).

    Psychologically damaged by the experience of being paralyzed for days and buried alive, hallucinating badly much of the time, and then administered high doses of further mind-altering substances, your subject will now be completely zombified — a zombie worker completely obedient to your commands. The uses of a zombie are numerous: pick up dry cleaning, write your division’s quarterly earnings report, harvest your sugar cane, attack your co-workers — the possibilities are endless. Periodic administrations of the zombie cucumber may be necessary; use your own judgment. Remember not to feed it any salt or the spell will be broken, and while ex-zombie attacks on their former masters are rare, they are not unheard of. Also, you’d probably do best to keep it away from renowned zombie-fighting troubadour Jonathan Coulton.

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    Good luck, and happy Halloween!

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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