Answers from the Adviceroy

Dear Adviceroy,

Now that the holiday season is upon us, I’m worried about saying something stupid at family gatherings.  My dad’s side is pretty…well, pretty far away from my political views and my mom’s side is pretty into what I call, “getting sloppy drunk and poking bears”.  I don’t want to add to the chaos and would prefer to keep my mouth full of pie and casseroles of varying quality.  Any tips for surviving the holidays?

Thanks in advance,

Fearful in Florida.

Dear Fearful,

I know a thing or two about the interpersonal politics of large families. There’s a fine line to walk between showing everyone you are your own person and not be banished from the clan entirely.  What I find works best is a distraction.

Do you own a duck? It doesn’t have to be a big duck.  If you do not currently own a duck, find one.  Many upscale pet stores will offer ducks for purchase at reasonable rates.  Do not pursue a duck rental option.  This time of year, many people simply have zero ducks to give.  Supply simply cannot match demand.

Bring your duck to your family gatherings.  When the conversation turns to politics or the value of Nickleback as art, shout, “it’s going down!” At this time, throw some feathers at the offending family members.  I did this for a solid five years and now my family gatherings are as superficial as a college alumni networking event.

Best of luck.

The Adviceroy



Do you have a question for the Adviceroy? Fill out the form below or email shawnwritesstuff(at) and the Butterfly will answer in three to Y units of time.


The Farm at Dela Corner

It was an unlikely spot to change the course of history.  Dead fields, poor cell reception, a faint smell of onion in the air at all times; the farm at Dela Corner was not something people wrote home about.  Indeed, the only people who would write home about it already lived there.  They were far from interested.

The occupants of the farm at Dela Corner were the Dela family.  The family did not know their origin, but De la Somewhere is a difficult name to put on official documentation.  The family decided to be simply Dela and made their mark bringing organic carrots to a market ten miles away.

Carrots and poor ancestry records hardly ever contribute to drastic changes in the course of human history though.  On one occasion onion smell lingering in the air did contribute, but not for good.  Never for good.

At the edge of the property, beside a bed of carrots planted to distract rabbits (unsuccessfully), and near the edge of the dirt road often called ‘bumpy’, stood a barn.  Underneath the barn, Ralph Dela worked on contacting extraterrestrial life.  As far as he knew, his efforts were as successful as the distraction carrots.  Unbeknownst to Ralph, his broadcasts of early 2000s rock-rap favorites and podcasts about which bbq sauce would be best on organic carrots had been heard.

The farm at Dela Corner changed the course of human history when the aliens receiving those messages coming from below the barn arrived in their ships, landed on the bumpy road, walked to Ralph, politely asked for the broadcasts to end, and returned to the skies.

First Contact was weird.


Thanks for reading!

Squeak’s Interview (A Transcript)

Transcript of First Television Interview of Beloved Superhero Squeak.

Squeak: I have to say, while this microphone is strapped to parts of me even my, uh, ‘special partners’ [Laughter] don’t touch, this is the most surreal moment of my life.

Rebecca Carver, Interviewer: [Laughter] Is that because you are the subject of people’s attention and this is the first step to interviews becoming commonplace or because Rocco’s hands are strangely cold?

Squeak: The Rocco part. Thanks, Rocco! [Laughter]

RC: First question, first real question anyway, which of your creations has been your favorite?

Squeak: Mouse.  For the simple purpose of it matches my name so well.  But, you know, this question has come up before when I do mock interviews in my own head following a battle with a big bad.  [Laughter]

RC: Your powers have certainly helped you face down a fair shake of evil doers.

Squeak: Here’s the thing about using my powers of bringing balloon animals to life in order to fight the criminal underworld that plagues this city, the real work is not done by me.  The real work is done by Mouse and Bad Hat, by Snake and Hot Dog, by Sword and Puppy and Horse and Framed House and Big Ol’ Circle.  I just give them life.  And commands to viciously maul bank robbers.

RC: That’s very noble of you, Squeak, but none of it happens without you and your ability to literally breathe life into these crime stoppers, our city would be a much different place.

Squeak: Wanna know something funny?

RC: Please!

Squeak: My powers don’t work on water balloons.

RC: Really? Why do you think that is?

Squeak: I suspect they are pure evil.

RC: Having been in water balloon fights, I agree.

Squeak: One moment, Rebecca, sorry. My crime fighter flashy thing is doing its flashy thing.  A message will come through in a moment. The police chief gave this to me.  Kinda’ like one of those “your table is ready” buzzers at Chili’s, but this is a call to justice, not cheese sticks. Here we go.


Squeak: I must run.  There’s trouble downtown.

RC: Rocco, get the mic off quick!

Squeak: [Laughter] Thank you, Rocco.

RC: Good luck, Squeak.



Thanks for reading!

Alek Conducts an Experiment

Alek always wanted his children to be aware of, and make use of, the scientific method.  He found ways to model the basics of the principle whenever possible.  Today, after spending a week with his family with no work or in-laws to interrupt their interactions, he had a hypothesis that required observation.

He stood against a wall in the family room and watched his children go about their play.  Play-sets, Legos, dolls, and a marble run thing that one of the grandmas gifted with great excitement were all strewn throughout the room.  Alek took diligent notes, marking down everything from approximate room temperature to the position of a two-by-two red brick that had fallen between a shelf and the couch.  He did not know which variables mattered most to his hypothesis, so they all mattered.

May tapped his shoulder.  “Darling, what in the world are you doing?” She asked.  This was nothing new in their house, but she did regular checks to ensure Alek’s sanity was still intact.

“Science, love. I have a theory that our children are superhumans.  Observe,” Alek said, lowering his notepad.  “Children!” He called out over the white noise that had filled the room for three hours. “Please go clean your rooms.”

There was no obvious sign his words were heard.  The children kept playing.

“See,” Alek said to May, “they appear to be incapable of hearing me.  However, if I change the words, but keep the tone and pitch they can hear me.  I suspect some sort of genetic anomaly that leads to precision ‘selective hearing’ I call it.  Once more; observe,” Alek cleared his throat and gave a new command.

“Children! Ice cream! At the dinner table!”

Toys dropped to the floor, the white noise was replaced by the thundering feet of what outside observers would swear to have been that rattle of 1,000 elephants, but alas it was two young children in search of sugary confections.  Alek and May barely had time to remove themselves from the doorway separating the family and dining rooms as the children whirred by.

As the children sat at the table, they saw no sign of the promised ice cream.

“Oh, sorry gang, you have to clean your rooms first,” Alek said.  A groan later, the children were busy cleaning.

“That was super passive-aggressive,” May said.

“I’m pretty sure that is the one skill I will ever teach them.  Oooh! I could base a little experiment around that,” Alek said.  He was soon drafting a new experiment.

Caution or Results

“We should be cautious.  Rushed decisions lead to disaster,” Myla cautioned.

“This isn’t like that weekend in Miami.  We’ll be fine,” Ryon said.

“Caution sent Dex home last time.  We need to make a choice and we need to make it now,” Chi said, bluntly.  He was tired of waiting.  Myla’s caution and Ryon’s inability to take a side had always back their progress.  Chi just wanted it over.  The day had been long and tiresome and the night ahead held no changes.

“Fine. Pepperoni and black olive.  Just place the order,” Myla hoped her choice was not too rushed.

Headlines of Shadow Gulch’s Newspaper, The Local, from 2117

I’m a future thought sort of person.  The present is incredibly hard to live in and difficult to navigate but by golly six steps ahead makes total sense.

I also need better hobbies for Monday nights, but that’s an issue for a different time.  Better hobbies in general.

Here now. Headlines from 2117, as reported in the local newspaper The Local, the most highly circulated publication in Shadow Gulch.  Population 2,495.  3,495 in tourist season.


February 3: Mayor States “All is Well” Following Smoke Leak at Factory

March 18: St. Patrick’s Day Festival Pretty Routine, Very Warm

April 1: Sky Turns Weird Shade of Blue for Three Hours

April 7: Retraction: Trying To Revive Ancient April Fools Day Tradition was Poor Taste. Sky Regular Shade of Blue

April 15: Whoops! Sky Weird Blue Again

April 16: The Local Gets New Editor!

June 3: Weird Blue Shade Called ‘Indigo’

June 6: Sky Back to Standard Blue. Investigation Pending

July 12: Remember that Smoke Leak? It Was a Problem.

July 14: New Editor Was Government Mole or Spy or something. Take the Streets Citizens of Shadow Gulch!

July 15: Meet the New Staff at The Local

July 16: You Know Who’s Pretty Cool? The Hivemind of The Great Dyleiar Plant.

August 18: Hivemind Hosting Bake Sale This Weekend.

September 1: New Assimilates from Bake Sale Shout (In Unison) “We are Legion! We are Hivemind!”

September 19: Home and Garden Show A Hit! (Also; Hivemind Assimilating Neighboring Towns)

October 2: Hivemind Will Deliver News Directly to All Joined Brains For Foreseeable Future

December 18: Shadow Gulch Liberated From Hivemind of Dyleiar Plant. Town Not Sure How to Feel.

December 28: Factory Leaking Smoke Again and We’re All Cool With it.



Thanks for reading! I’m off to bed.

The Garden Tour (In 100 Words)

“The hotel has taken an …unique approach to the gardens this year,” Elizabeth commented, trying to avoid being rude.

“This is really upsetting,” Carl did not consider the feelings of the nearby garden staff.

The two, enjoying a weekend away at a hotel recommended by friends and internet alike, stared at tall trees depicting scenes of ruined buildings, Orwellian propaganda, mushroom clouds, mutated humanoid creatures and other imagery of collapsed or dying societies.

“Perhaps I can explain,” said a smooth voice from behind the couple.  “We try to match pop-culture with our designs.  To keep hip, these here are distopiaries.”


Thanks for reading!
I’m sure the jokes been done before, but by golly, distopiary is a fun word.