UNICORN PEGASUS KITTEN CONTEST! And, announcing Clash Of The Geeks!

We have a very cool contest for “Alas,” “TADA,” and “That Which Deranges The Senses” readers this week, relating to the new and spectacular chapbook Clash Of The Geeks.

First, a bit about Clash of the Geeks from John Scalzi:

Holy crap, is this a great little chapbook.

I’m not just saying that. Look, like probably the rest of you, I figured that when the stories for this thing came in, they would be cute and silly, and that we’d all just bask in the glow of doing something useful, namely, raising money to help folks afflicted with lupus. But then the stories did come in, and, well, damn, y’all:

We’ve got an actual epic poem by Patrick Rothfuss. We’ve got a one act play by online gaming community legend Stephen Toulouse. We’ve got Wil having a ball playing with his own image (and mine). We’ve got a song, complete with notation, from John Anealio (listen to it here). We’ve got Cat Valente hitting one completely over the wall with her awesome. We’ve got a surprise special guest appearance by Rachel Swirsky, who submitted to the fanfic contest, and who I took out of contention because that’s just not fair for the other kids. And speaking of the fanfic contest, Bernadette Durbin and Scott Mattes’ pieces are going to just knock you out. Oh, and yeah, I put a little something in there, too.

Seriously, people. This is great stuff. And the fact it is great stuff about the most ridiculous picture that has ever existed in the world just makes it that much more amazing.

You can download the chapbook for free here, but you are requested to donate $5 to “the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America.” And that’s where our contest comes in.

Mandolin — also know to some by her meatworld tag “Rachel Swirsky” — donated $50 to the Michigan/Indiana affiliate of the Lupus Alliance of America this morning. That’s enough to cover ten downloads of the Clash Of The Geeks. So who gets those ten downloads?

Why, you do, dear readers of “Alas,” “TADA,” and “That Which Deranges…”! Those ten already-paid downloads are for the ten lucky readers who win our UNICORN PEGASUS KITTEN CONTEST.

So how do you enter the contest?

Just leave a comment on this post — on any of the three blogs it appears on — before Mandolin and I wake up on Monday morning (September 27th).

A perhaps more important question: How do you win the contest?

The winners will be the ten people who leave the best historical or biological facts about unicorn pegasus kittens in comments, on any of the three blogs.

You do not have to have previously commented on “Alas,” “TADA” or “That Which Deranges….” Winners will be determined by the fickle combined tastes of Mandolin and Amp. You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but each person may win only once.

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16 Responses to UNICORN PEGASUS KITTEN CONTEST! And, announcing Clash Of The Geeks!

  1. 1
    Steve Thomas says:

    This portion of GENESIS, CHAPTER 8 was excised during the Council of Trent:

    [7] And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
    [8] Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
    [8.2] And also he sent forth a unicorn pegasus kitten, to find the Lord our God’s Almighty Clown Sweater, awash in the waters covering the earth;
    [8.5] But the unicorn pegasus kitten found only a ball made of soggy yarn, which distracted it mightily;
    [8.9] Neither the unicorn pegasus kitten nor the Almighty Clown Sweater were to be seen, or unseen, again;

  2. 2
    Allison says:

    Unicorn pegasus kittens, known for their soft fur and winged ferocity, harbor an unsuspected secret in their very specific diet: the blood of writer-orcs. There has been a recent request among extremist groups, such as America for Orcs and PETA, to devise a substitute diet for unicorn pegasus kittens. These organizations believe in sparing the orcs from violent impalations and gnashing of teeth consistent with a unicorn pegasus kitten attack. Groups in opposition believe substitute diets will not deter attacks, but rather direct them to a new source of violence and destruction: video games.

  3. 3
    Sihaya says:

    A unicorn pegasus kitten is the only cat which cannot have bacon stuck to its head. This is the distinguishing feature which separates the beast from the average, unhorned pegasus kitten and makes it such a fine prize for so many of the denizens in the world of Geek’i'noor. It is also what makes the unicorn pegasus kitten so deadly. What’s that, you ask? Isn’t it the horn itself that – well, yes, of course the horn is very deadly, but that’s beside the point. Any Geekling, whether orc or human, can overcome a mere weapon, as he’s been trained since his childhood, when he sat near the evening firelight – out of reach of the deadly Grue – and observed the training of his ancestors in the deadly martial weapons of clave, axe, spear and funny-paddly-device-with mysterious directional buttons.

    At the age of ten, young Geekling boys are sent on their first hunt together. A group of three are sent on their own with nothing but a sling and a pack of bacon for their weapon. Rarely do all the boys come back. In order to capture or kill the pegasus kitten, the boys must first mesmerize it by putting bacon on its head. The kitten, when confronted with the bacon, has something of an identity crisis. All that the kitten can see is meat. Is the kitten made of meat, it wonders? If so, it reasons, then it is already defeated. The poor beast lies prone and awaits its doom. While all the boys have a hand in striking the kitten down, the boy who strikes the last blow receives the most prestige. He returns to the village triumphant. Then in the middle of the night, he is likely to be beaten with foam covered swords, strung up by his heels and left dangling in the market square with the word “CAMPER” scrawled on his forehead.

    But a unicorn pegasus kitten cannot have bacon attached to the top of its head. The horn is entirely impervious to most adhesives, and it will not be impaled by nails, tacks, axes or arrows. For centuries both orc and human tried in vain to conquer the unlullable kitten. Until the Coming of the Great Conqueror Wheaton, not a single warrior had succeeded, and the aeries upon which the creatures live, high in the warm volcanoes of tropical Oh’i'o, are littered with dried bones, tattered black tee shirts and calcified Pocky.

  4. 4
    William Wisner says:

    The ancient Greeks knew of this creature by the name Pega-kitteh-corn, and sacrificed virgins in diaphanous gowns and laurel wreaths of catnip to it’s horrible cuteness. The desiccated corpses of the victims would be found with a smile on their face and tufts of downy fur in their hands.

  5. 5
    James says:

    Early in life the young bachelor will discover that mixing delicious ingredients together can result in a meal much worse than any of its components. Unicorn Pegasus Kittens (UPKs) are nature’s equivalent to my ill fated chocolate steak with peaches.

    These small animals posses an awkward combination of traits from each animal, including a long snout, clawed hoofs and two horns (it seems unicorn and pegasus horns are structurally different in several ways). Diet consists almost exclusively of Cream of Wheat, which combines the major staples of these animals individual diets (grains and dairy) in name only. All attempts to explain that there is in fact no dairy in Cream of Wheat have been unsuccessful.

    While able to fly from an early age, UPKs will stay close to their flightless mother, who’s wings molt during pregnancy and do not regrow until their UPKs have matured.

    Once matured, UPKs become UPCs, the only carnivorous mammal to achieve flight. Able to pluck small dogs from the sidewalk in much the same manner as an eagle catching a salmon. Hunting in packs, they have been known to lift these defenseless pets from the ground, even when the owner refuses to let go of the leash.

    This of course means that irritating your local ‘crazy cat lady’ is a dangerous prospect.

  6. 6
    AlanM says:

    Excerpt from David Attenborough’s Nom, Nom, Nom. Life among the Carnivores: Chapter 8, The UnicornPegasusKitty:

    Here (inhales) we see one of the most remarkable (gestures) animals in (bobs head for emphasis) the world. It’s (scrambles closer) the UnicornPegasusKitty (points) and it’s out for its morning stroll. (Hushed voice) The wings (brings hands in front of his body) are (emphasis) fully functional, although (wind blows hair) rarely used and are (pause) generally kept folded tightly against the body. The UnicornPegasusKitty prefers to stalk its prey (looks knowingly at camera) on foot. (Really quiet now) The UnicornPegasusKitty is now tracking one of its favorite snacks – (emphasis) Peromyscus maniculatus scalzi – (pause) the Scalzi mouse. This small, inoffensive, and balding creature is (gestures behind him) about to become (whispers) the UnicornPegasusKitty’s latest victim (we hear some frantic squeaking in the background).

    (David Attenborough’s Nom, Nom, Nom. Life Among The Carnivores is available from Amazon on BluRay)

  7. 7
    Jake Squid says:

    Over the course of history there have been a number of creation myths about the Unicorn Pegasus Kitten. Everyone is familiar, of course, with the ancient American Pioneer myth of the Bigfoot and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Blueberrry Pancake Mix explaining the origins of the Unicorn Pegasus Kitten. Other, lesser known, Unicorn Pegasus Kitten creation myths that are important to the field are:

    The Unicorn, the Pegasus and the Camel (Sahara)
    Loki’s Lucky Strike(s) (Scandinavia/American Tobacco Company)
    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Unicorn Pegasus Kitten (US Folk)
    Loss of the Megafauna (Australia Aborigine)
    The Kitten and the Tuque (Canada)
    Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake (Martha Stewart)

  8. 8
    Shawn Powers says:

    A Unicørn Pegasus Kitten once bit my sister…

    No realli! She was Karving her initials on the the Unicørn Pegasus Kitten…

  9. 9
    Jado says:

    Per SMOPES

    The Unicorn/Pegasus/Kitten is a hoax. Originating in the latter part of 2010 as the culmination of a series of highly improbable and so-awful-they’re-incredibly-cool paintings done featuring writer/actor/gamer/internet sensation Wil Wheaton (see Velvet Wesley [http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2008/08/evil-and-awesom.html] and As His Kilt Rises [http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/wwdnbackup/2010/07/as-his-kilt-rises.html] ), also involving John Scalzi and Felicia Day as conspirators/c0-subjects of the paintings.

    Contrary to heated breathless internet hype, the Unicorn Pegasus Kitten has been uniformly rejected by mythologists, biologists, and serious scientists of all stripes. It is impossible physically and biologically for the UPK to exist on this planet due to forces of gravity and material properties of biological tissue which precludes expected structural stresses of flight as applied to a kitten. Rumors of biological engineering have been rejected prima facie as being cruel beyond words, and mythologists are unanimous in their rejection of historical record of the UPK as ever existing prior to the 21st century.

    All of this has, in no way, diminished the fervor of adherents, and more internet content is provided weekly touting the fallacious pedigree of the UPK as having been the primary deity of obscure ancient religions, or having been famous for being the primary horror in long-lost Lovecraftian manuscipts.

    NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE has ever surfaced that the UPK existed prior to the 21st century. ALL CONTRARY EVIDENCE has been shown to be further hoax. Smopes stands firmly behind these statements. We are confident that no evidence EVER will be discovered that contradicts the established timeline, and we wish certain people who obviously have a great deal of time on their hands would find a new hobby, as this is getting tedious.

  10. 10
    Josh English says:

    From the unaired “Christmas Special” of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller:

    Once there was a young man who worked in a castle. His one job, the only task he was charged with, was, every night, to open a small wooden door hidden behind one of the towers and collect a small bag from a stranger. He then locked the small wooden door and carried this bag to the King. The King was well known for his ability to speak with animals. The boy took the bag straight to the King and left it there.

    He was not an important young man but he was blessed with curiosity, and so one night he dared to look in the bag to find a white snake, which was dead. Knowing the King was always hungry when he arrived at night with his little bag, he guessed the King ate the snake, and this was the cause of his marvelous ability.

    The boy used his knife and took a small sliver of the snake meat and ate it. Nothing happened, so the boy closed the bag and resumed his duty and took the bag to the King, who was esurient as ever so he didn’t notice the small cut in the snake.

    The next morning the boy was woken by the castle guard, who told him the queen had lost her ring and accused the boy of stealing it. The guard, thinking the young boy would run, gave the boy a chance to escape, which the boy took and made his way to his secret door and threw it open and ran away from the castle to hide near a duck pond.

    He didn’t know that this duck pond was a favorite place of the Queen’s, but when he saw her coming down from the castle he slipped into the pond to hide among the reeds.

    There he heard a voice say “I think I’m about to die.”

    It wasn’t his voice and he looked around and all he saw a duck hiding in the reeds.

    “Can you help?” said the duck.

    “Duck, you can talk?”

    “I have always talked since I was a hatchling, but I wish I could die. I feel terrible.”

    “Are you sick?”

    “I ate something and my stomach hurts.”

    The boy grabbed the duck and gave it a squeeze. He made so much noise catching and squeezing the duck he didn’t realize he had attracted the attention of the queen, who screamed for the guard to take him away.

    With a horrible quack, the duck vomited the ring onto the grass at the queens feet.

    The queen forgave the boy, and asked him what he would like as a reward. The boy asked for a horse and some travel money so he could see the world. The queen granted his request and sent the boy (after a good toweling off) on his adventure.

    Several days later, long after he had lost sight of the castle or the lands he knew, he came about a small group of bowlegged orcs trying to wrangle a unicorn in a small clearing in a strange forest. The boy kicked his horse into a gallop and chased the orcs away. The unicorn bowed to him in thanks (Unicorns are a haughty race who never acknowledge lesser (read any other) beings by speaking to them) and galloped off after the orcs, its horn getting sharper.

    Two days after that he found himself in a bog where a pegasus stood locked in a cage with nothing but black water to drink. The boy opened the cage and led the pegasus to a clearing where it could fly away. It thanked the boy before flying off, because pegasi, although noble, aren’t as uppity as unicorns.

    A week later he found himself in a village with a hundred kittens, two cows, and no one to milk the cows. The kittens were very thirsty and took to attacking the ankles of everyone in the village. When he offered to milk the cows, the people laughed at him.

    “No one milks me!” mooed the cow. “I am not a machine to feed these people and their psychotic kittens.”

    “But you will die if you don’t let someone milk you. Your body will keep producing milk and your udder will explode.”

    “Really?”

    “Really.”

    “The pail’s over there,” said the cow, shaking her head. The boy got the pail and milked the cow and gave the milk to the kittens, who lapped up all the milk almost as fast as he could get it out of the cow. The kittens, finally satisfied, took a nap after using the boys horse to sharpen their claws. The boy stayed in town for a few days to help bury his horse.

    Now on foot, he approached another castle where the men lined the streets watching the balconies. “She is the most beautiful princess ever,” one man said.
    “Only the bravest, most cleverest of men will win her hand,” said another.

    The boy waited until there was a fanfare and the princess appeared. She was indeed beautiful and graceful and smiled at her cheering suitors. The boy was in love, and shoved past the crowd and into the castle until he was standing in front of the King and the Princess.

    “To win her hand you must ride into this town on a very special beast,” the King said.

    “The beast must have the horn of a unicorn, the wings of a pegasus, and the softest fur in the whole world — kitten fur. Such a beast lives on an island in the middle of the lake.”

    The boy looked at the princess, the giant clown embroidered on her dress, and the king, who didn’t wear a proper beard and needed a shave. He looked a little green, too.

    And the boy knew the truth: this princess was insane and he walked out of the castle, looking for another princess to fall in love with.

  11. 11
    Steve L says:

    There are many tales that claim to explain the origin of the unigusten, as unicorn-pegasus-kitten hybrids are sometimes called. Perhaps the most common creation tale dates back to the queendom of Aeroria, where aerial duels between knights astride pegasi were a common method of settling differences. [The tradition continued into the Middle Ages, even after the conquest and destruction of the Aerorian civilization by barbarians, but was simplified from three-dimensions due to a lack of flying mounts and renamed "jousting".]

    One enterprising lord, whose name has been lost to history, wished to increase the chances of his knights striking a winning blow. He thus decided to give the mounts their own miniature lance. Capturing a land-based creature known as a “unicorn”, his personal wizard and his master-of-stables wasted no time creating a hybrid creature known as a unigus. The creatures had been bred for combat, not comfort, and so had a horrible appearance that terrified the spectators at the duels; however, their horn did prove effective against other pegasi-mounted foes.

    One afternoon, as the wizard was preparing the spell necessary to birth a new unigus, his six-year-old daughter slipped through the door of the stables clutching a newborn kitten. “Daddy, can I keep him?” she asked in her sweetest voice, knowing her daddy couldn’t resist when she did. Her father, deep in concentration for his spell, was unable to answer. But his chanting and the aroma of the unguents and incense he was using for his spell unnerved the kitten, who wriggled free of the girl’s grasp and bolted for the center of the room. Before the girl or the wizard could react, the spell was unleashed, and a unigusten stood in the center of the room.

    The lord was displeased by the fact that the girl had interrupted her father — she had been warned before — but was pleased with the unigusten, as it retained the unigus’s wings and horn but also added in claws and a more pleasing visage that he realized should increase the popularity of his duelists in the competitions. Thus from an accident; a pegasus; a kitten; and a unicorn; the first unigusten was born.

  12. 12
    Ledasmom says:

    It is little known that the unicorn pegasus kitten feeds on nothing but the brains of people writing about it aiiiggggghhhhhhh [p[kjafkajhflkjkjdjjjjjjjjjjjjjj

  13. 13
    tom says:

    Early 16th century European explorers were obsessed with discovering the ancestral homeland of the Unicorn Pegasus Kittens. The demand for their rare gold-tone polycarbonate horns was insatiable. Ground horn was used exclusively by the aristocracy and papal hierarchy as a cure for flambuoyancy (the tendency of bloated oligarchs to become airborne and spontaneously combust). The species was driven nearly to extinction before the discovery modern plastics and electroplating.

  14. 14
    paul says:

    Atypical Bone Growth in Feline-Avian Hybrids

    J. Fant. Anat. LXVI No. 2, pp 278-314

    Abstract: Competing pathways for regulation of calcium uptake have long been an issue for carnivore-avian hybrids, in which the high consumption of the predatory-mammal ancestor leads to a mismatch with the genes for light, hollow bones of the large-bird ancestor. This is nowhere more obvious than in Felis gigans pegasi, where, in the absence of a carefully-restricted diet, excess calcium is shunted into a large cranial bone spur that fractures and regrows at irregular intervals. In this study, we use targeted DNA-modification techniques to explore whether the conflict between ancestral genomes may also be responsible for f. gigans pegasi’s tendency to neoteny and clubbed hindlimbs.

  15. 15
    Sara(m) says:

    GETTING TO KNOW YOUR UNICORN PEGASUS KITTEN: A Helpful Guide

    Congratulations on capturing and taming your very own unicorn pegasus kitten! While it may not seem like it now, you’ll soon discover that the ownership of your new pet is well worth all of the clawing and goring that you’ve had to endure.

    The unicorn pegasus kitten has a delicate and refined palette and cannot be fed just any food designed for unicorns, pegasi, and/or kittens. In the wild, they consume the fresh gizzard of a fire salamander (red or yellow, never orange) or a bit of dryad’s tongue. In a pinch, you can substitute canned potted meat food product; only Treet brand is acceptable. On alternate Tuesdays, your unicorn pegasus kitten will want to go to Red Lobster.

    Like other hybridized mythical cat creatures, your unicorn pegasus kitten will prefer to sleep in your bed for comfort and familiarity. They snore, but don’t worry – you won’t fit in the bed and will be sleeping on the couch anyway. Your unicorn pegasus kitten prefers down pillows to synthetic and rests more soundly in a room painted a cool color with neutral accents.

    While it may take some time to get used to your new pet’s sharp horn, teeth, and claws, do not attempt to trim and/or file these parts. Instead, seek a pair of falconer’s gloves or a protective ensemble used for training attack dogs. Trust us, this will prove useful in your early interactions with you unicorn pegasus kitten (see the fifth chapter: “Tricks, Treats, and Triage: Training your Unicorn Pegasus Kitten”).

    From time to time, your unicorn pegasus kitten may exhibit signs of depression: brittle hooves, loss of wing feathers, or shedding of the whiskers. This is a seasonal periodic behavior and can be remedied with a trip to an amusement park. Your unicorn pegasus kitten will enjoy the roller coasters and the giant swings, as well as a chili dog with extra mustard.

  16. 16
    Ben says:

    Wil and UPK meet

    Is this a dream, I wonder. Am I just a dream?
    I can’t answer that question. There is only one thing I can do: continue. All I do know is that I must head south. I must keep moving.
    I do not know how I survived last night. My clothes were lost in the icy river, and I lay next to the small fire I was able to build, shivering through the crickets and howls under dried leaves. And though I awoke to a world covered in frost, I survived.
    But I can’t survive much longer, this much I know. With only my underclothes, I’m sure to freeze, if not today, then tonight. I must survive to battle that creature who invades my dreams – or do I invade his? – and end this.
    I walk all day. As twilight descends, I hear a plaintive mew. I know I must be hallucinating. The temperature dropped all day; I know I will die of cold that night. With no hope I follow the sound.
    And I see something I could never have imagined. A kitten, as large as a pony, with a golden horn jutting from its head. It paws at a scrap of cloth pooled around a pole. I approach.
    “Good kitty,” I say. The absurdity of this creature is lost on me; since I awoke in this strange land, nothing is absurd.
    It turns to me, and I see that it has no malice in its eyes. I approach and stoke its nose.
    I am so cold. The cloth is my only hope for survival. I touch at and look to the kitten for approval. I see that it wants me to have it. I pull it over the top of the pole.
    It can not be. This is not possible. The Clown Sweater, with its blank eyes, stares back at me. I thought there were no surprises left in my life, but this spectre from my former world nearly destroys me.
    A breeze brings me back to whatever reality is. I shiver violently and put the sweater on. I need to live more than I need to know how this came here.
    Once the sweater is on, I hold onto the pole; I am lightheaded. I feel a bump behind me. The kitten is showing me its affection. The kitten and this sweater must be linked.
    I feel the pole move and pull at it. A spear with a tip as golden as the kitten’s horn appears. I feel a sense of completeness and purpose I have never in my life felt before. I now have everything I need.
    I turn to the kitten to show her – yes I know now it is a her – my prize. Wings spread out from her back, and I know now my purpose. This kitten and I, this sweater and spear, will end this once and for all. This…unicorn pegasus kitten and I will defeat the apparition that haunts me at night and I will return to my real life.