On Becoming a Virtual Ghost

I'm starting a new side project, and I honestly can't decide if it's funny, morbid, thought-provoking or just plain weird.  It's a performance art project that will take me decades to complete, and I'll never get to see the results.  It's going to affect every single person who follows me online in unpredictable and surprising ways, and hopefully spark some lively debate.

With the help of web guru Patrick Delahanty, today we began setting up  I'm currently in the process of giving the website all of my credentials and passwords for my social media websites (currently twitter and facebook, though we'll see what new startups make the cut in the future).  And starting on my upcoming birthday (January 17th), we're going to activate a dead-man's switch on the site.

From that point on, every birthday for the rest of my life, I'll need to check in to let Afterlyfe know that I'm still alive and kicking (if I'm smart, I'll also make sure the site hits me up with email reminders every year as well).  Once I stop checking in, Afterlyfe will assume I've kicked the bucket, and go into action, taking control of my facebook and twitter pages.

From that point on, Afterlyfe will use all my previous tweets and facebook updates to recreate a digital simulacrum of my life.  The goal is to make me the world's first virtual ghost.

For starters, we're going to keep it simple:  the default settings will be that the moment I die, Afterlyfe will make an exact copy of my last year in tweets, and release them at the exact times they were originally posted, year after year.  Every year, followers will see me complain about taxes come mid April.  You'll get my same Christmas tweets.  Happy birthday wishes I made in the past will continue to arrive, year after year, right on schedule.

Even if that's all the site does, that's good enough for me...  After all, what are ghosts supposed to be but people who don't know that they're dead?  Wandering down the same halls, doing the same things they did when they were alive.  Afterlyfe would create the digital echoes of my thousands of tweets and status updates for decades to come.

If we're able to get fancy, I'd like to go back and favorite some of my best tweets.  Little nuggets that I'm particularly fond of could automatically be sprinkled in among the tedium in the echoes.  That way I can bring a smile or thought even from beyond the grave.  That'd be cool.

So... why do this?  Isn't it tacky and morbid?  Probably.  But there's so many services that already exist that nuke all your online data after your demise.  That makes sense, I suppose, but it just seems like such a waste.  I mean, we pour so much of our personality into our updates, and so much of them get forgotten over time...  We all make jokes about haunting our friends if we meet an untimely demise, but now you can actually do it.

Is this insane?  Silly?  Creepy?  I'd love to get your thoughts, as I honestly don't know myself... that's sorta the whole point of this experiment.


PS - if you're nutty enough to want to join me on this bizarre adventure, you can sign up at and we'll notify you when the service is fully functional.


Check out the BBpedia!

It's a freaking WIKIPEDIA all about Brian's shows, including live shows, Scam School, NSFW and more:

got anything you want to contribute?  any pictures from live shows?  fun facts or observations about any of the online episodes?  create an account and make your changes!

(seriously, though... this is amazing.  there are entire pages explaining all the bizarre NSFW in-jokes...  just keep hitting "random page" and you'll be amazed)



Pi Day magic trick reads your mind over Twitter

No lie:  Brian will read your mind over twitter!  Check out the video:


New 5-minute Demo Video Released

New for 2010, and in HD format... it's Brian's Demo Video:


The Greatest Story Brian has EVER Received

Today I got the following letter.  It came from a longtime fan of both Scam School and BBLiveshow/NSFW who I had not heard from in almost a year...  and now I understand why.  Please note:  the following story is so outrageous, I was convinced it had to be fake, but after several exchanges with the first-hand party, I'm slowly realizing that the following story appears to be 100% absolutely true:


I am a Peace Corps volunteer, and recently did a year 'deployment' to the Dominican Republic.  The village where I lived was, by all classical definitions of the word, remote.  No electricity, no plumbing, and all the water comes from a hand-crank well.  They grow their own crops and, literally, hunt their own dinner on a daily basis.  Houses here are made by hand from mud brick and straw.  The nearest established 'modern' city, La Vega, is 4 hours away by auto.

After my year, I had grown quite close with many of the people of this community.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.  The community had a big gala celebration in my honor on my final night before leaving to come back to the States.  During the course of the evening, I did an impromptu magic show, made up mostly of things I learned watching Scam School, tweaking and changed to better fit my audience  Well, that was the plan, anyhow.

About 6 tricks in, I still hadn't gotten much of a response.  I'd gotten a few smatterings of courtesy chuckles, but not much more than crickets.  Literally, crickets.  I was pretty sure I was not making any kind of cultural faux pas, so I took a moment and asked one of the elders why nobody seemed that interested or really entertained by what I was doing.  His response?

In broken English he said, "Your tricks are very good, but we have seen them many times before on the internet.  Most of us go to La Vega every few months.  We always go to the library and use the computers.  One of the children found a great American show called Scam School.  Maybe you watch it too when you get back to your home and one day be much better magician."

Really.  God's honest truth, that happened. 

As an interesting sidenote, you might also be interested in knowing that many of the parents in the village tease their children into behaving and going to bed on time with mocking threats of being visited by "El Diablo de Mano" (The hand devil)... AKA  Mr. Happypants.

Yes, Brian, you are known and influencing culture in remote places where even Survivorman wouldn't go.  Good job!  I had to write and let you know.

Congratulations, by the way, on NSFW and all the HUGE advancements you've made while I was gone.  I'm looking forward to getting back into my usual routine and catching the BBliveshow.  We'll always have Chadsgap.  ;-)

C. Thomas Kennybrook
AKA  The guy that shopped the "toddler beating on a drum" picture

No surprise here:  my first response was to completely disbelieve everything... but I slowly began to accept the truth when I received the followup email:

Good sir Brian,

That story is 110% true, although I may have mangled the exact literal quote of the village elder.  I mean, there I was, in a place where they could have easily filmed Gilligan's Island, and I've got some local village elder basically telling me, "Don't quit your day job, kid.  You're no Brushwood."  Totally surreal. 
The funny thing about El Diablo de Mano is that I had heard it more than a handful of times while I was there, and never paid any real attention to it.   Every place on Earth has their own little specific cultural nuances, and I had just kinda accepted El Diablo de Mano as one of theirs without any real thought.  Once the Scam School bomb got dropped that last night,  it fell into place in my head not unlike a flashback montage from some Hollywood thriller with a big reveal like The Sixth Sense or Unbreakable.

Actually, the village does have *some* electricity via four diesel generators, supplied by the Peace Corps.  And they have two televisions and two Ipods (also supplied by the PC).  One is in the school, and the other is in a communal "movie tent" of sorts.   Every few weeks on a R&R trip into La Vega, one of the PC volunteers (there were three of us) will take the Ipods to the library in La Vega and load them with educational videos (for the school) and entertainment (for the movie tent).   Apparently, I learned, one of the volunteers who had rotated in and back out before me used to load the entertainment Ipod with Scam School.  Silly me, I always picked old black and white movies.  The PC has a program for educating people from the community and getting them college scholarships in the US.  It's your basic investment strategy to help the community help itself.  As part of lessening the culture shock, we show entertainment that not only entertains, but also is relevant with contemporary American culture.  So, that's how Scam School (and Totally Rad Show) found their way into the wilds of the Dominican Republic.

I honestly don't know what to say about this, except this is a million times better than whatever my childhood dreams were.