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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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    Last Updated on September 10, 2019

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization

    Do you know that prioritization is an art? It is an art that will lead you to success in whatever area that matters to you.

    By prioritization, I’m not talking so much about assigning tasks, but deciding which will take chronological priority in your day—figuring out which tasks you’ll do first, and which you’ll leave to last.

    Effective Prioritization

    There are two approaches to “prioritizing” the tasks in your to-do list that I see fairly often:

    Approach #1 Tackling the Biggest Tasks First and Getting Them out of the Way

    The idea is that by tackling them first, you deal with the pressure and anxiety that builds up and prevents you from getting anything done—whether we’re talking about big or small tasks. Leo Babauta is a proponent of this Big Rocks method.[1]

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    Approach #2 Tackling the Tasks You Can Get Done Quickly and Easily, with Minimal Effort

    Proponents of this method believe that by tackling the small fries first, you’ll have less noise distracting you from the periphery of your consciousness.

    If you believe in getting your email read and responded to, making phone calls and getting Google Reader zeroed before you dive into the high-yield work, you’re a proponent of this method. I suppose you could say Getting Things Done (GTD) encourages this sort of method, since the methodology advises followers to tackle tasks that can be completed within two minutes, right there and then.

    Figure out Your Approach for Prioritization

    My own approach is perhaps a mixture of the two.

    I’ll write out my daily task list and draw little priority stars next to the three items I need to get done that day. They don’t need to be big tasks, but nine times out of ten, they are.

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    Smaller tasks are rarely important enough to warrant a star in the first place; I can always get away without even checking my inbox until the next day if I’m swamped, and the people who need to get in touch with me super quickly know how.

    But I’m not recommending my system of prioritization to you. I’m also not saying that mine is better than Leo’s Big Rocks method, and I’m not saying it’s better than the “if it can be done quickly, do it first” method either.

    The thing with prioritization is that knowing when to do what relies very much on you and the way you work. Some people need to get some small work done to find a sense of accomplishment and clarity that allows them to focus on and tackle bigger items. Others need to deal with the big tasks or they’ll get caught up in the busywork of the day and never move on, especially when that Google Reader count just refuses to get zeroed (personally, I recommend the Mark All As Read button—I use it most days!).

    I’m in between, because my own patterns can be all over the place. Some days I will be ready to rip into massive projects at 7AM. Other times I’ll feel the need to zero every inbox I have and clean up the papers on my desk before I can focus on anything serious. I also know that my peak, efficient working time doesn’t come at 11AM or 3PM or some specific time like it does for many people, but I have several peaks divided by a few troughs. I can feel what’s coming on when and try to keep my schedule liquid enough that I can adapt.

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    That’s why I use a starred task list system rather than a scheduled task list. It allows me to trust myself (something that I suppose takes a certain amount of discipline) and achieve peak efficiency by blowing with the winds. If I fight the peaks and troughs, I’ll get less done; but if I do certain kinds of work in each period of the day as they come, I’ll get more done than most others in a similar line of work.

    You may not be able to trust yourself to that extent without falling into the busywork trap. You may not be able to tackle big tasks first thing in the morning without feeling like you’re pushing against an invisible brick wall that won’t budge. You might not be able to deal with small tasks before the big tasks without feeling pangs of guilt and urgency.

    My point is:

    The prioritization systems themselves don’t matter. They’re all pretty good for a group of people, not least of all to the people who espouse them because they use them and find them effective.

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    What matters is that you don’t fall for one set of dogma (and I’m not saying Leo Babauta or David Allen preach these things as dogma, but sometimes their proponents do) until you’ve tried the systems extensively, and found which method of chronological prioritization works for you.

    And if the system you already use works great, then there’s no need to bother trying others—in the world of personal productivity, it’s too easy to mess with something that works and find yourself unable to get back into your former groove.

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    In truth, this principle applies to all sorts of personal productivity issues, though it’s important to know which issues it applies to.

    If you thought multitasking worked well for you each day and I’d have to contend that you are wrong—multitasking is a universal myth in my books! But if you find yourself prioritizing tasks that never get done, you might need to reconsider which of the above approaches you’re using and change to a system that is more personally effective.

    More About Prioritization & Time Management

    Featured photo credit: Sabri Tuzcu via unsplash.com

    Reference

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