Sep 30 2008

MM Participation Rewards

Category: Uncategorized @ 7:43 pm

This is a big week for change here at MM.  Effective immediately, we’re announcing our new participation reward system.  We decided we needed to also reward users for forms of participation other than contest entries.

Starting with contest #14, we will randomly select one user per week who had good participation on the site and reward that person.  The rewards may change, but this week it’s going to be a $10 gift certificate to the Mental Magma online store.

“Participation” is basically everything you can do on the site besides enter the contest.  That includes rating contest entries, providing feedback to other users’ entries (including simple messages of appreciation like “That was so funny I threw up”), voting on the finalists, participating in games, and posting in the forum (which will be announced tomorrow).  We’re not going to spell out exactly how participation influences your chances of winning (to prevent gaming the system), but I will say that in order to be eligible to win, you must, at minimum, make one non-entry comment and vote in the finalist poll.

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Sep 29 2008

Contest #14: Mad Scientist Aptitude Test (MSAT)

Category: Uncategorized @ 2:52 am

Mental Magma recently spotted a business opportunity involving mad scientists. Despite playing an important role in society, they receive little government assistance. Just try asking the NIH for funding on corpse reanimation experiments.  We’re considering opening a mad scientist school, but traditional school tests don’t adequately measure capacity for evil sciencery. That’s where we (and you) step in.

Your challenge this week is to write a question & multiple-choice answers for a Mad Scientist Aptitude Test (MSAT). Your question can be about anything you think is appropriate; example areas include: dealing with rioting townsfolk, henchmen issues, and, of course, the evil laugh. Leave your question (with at least 3 multiple-choice answers) in the Contest Entries section.

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Sep 28 2008

Contest #13: Winner

Category: Uncategorized @ 6:14 pm

It’s always surprising to me how much voting fluctuates on this website. Following last week’s record high voting, we had a small showing. Well, no matter, the contest itself was a wild success. I don’t think we’ve ever had a merch contest that created such a large number of creative and clever entries. There are so many good merch candidates that we’ll probably have to release them over multiple weeks.

Which brings us to the entry voted the favorite this week, Zabo‘s alternative hazard:

Notice: This shirt has been changed from its original format, it has been formatted to fit this body.

Congratulations to Zabo, he earns himself a $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate and a $15 Mental Magma Online Store gift certificate. Like I mentioned, many of this week’s entries are destined for our online store (including ones that didn’t make the finals). We’ll make a merch announcement when we have the first wave of them finished.


Sep 26 2008

Contest #13: Finalists

Category: Uncategorized @ 5:19 pm

Let me first say that I love the sign pictured here.  Just think about it for a minute.  Second, don’t forget to go to the previous post and vote on the issues.

So we’ve finished using our proprietary finalist selection process and have your top 5 entries of the week.  Like most weeks, I’d like to recognize other entries that were with staff favorites or received many votes.  There were nmrboy’s hating kangaroos, Lalaith’s Anti-Alliteration Area, Ian Randal Strock’s elect-with-caution, Soliel’s chest-staring weirdos, SomeGuyNamedDoug’s collapsing probability wave, and Jackie’s good-on-paper threesome.

Continue reading “Contest #13: Finalists”


Sep 25 2008

Mental Magmodifications cont.

Category: Uncategorized @ 5:35 pm

Although lots of issues were broached in last week’s finalist-selection discussion, I’ve broken down the elements into what I see as the 2 most relevent issues (and the ones we’re most likely to be willing to change).

Issue 1: Should we have a rating system that simply accumulates votes (such as our thumbs up system) or should we have a system that averages ratings (like a 5 star system).  A hybrid system is also possible (e.g. a 5 star rating system that also includes an option to mark an entry as “favorite”).

Issue 2: Should we, the MM staff, choose the finalists using our own subjective criteria, or should the finalists be chosen strictly by objective methods?  Again, a hybrid system is possible (e.g. the top 4 are chosen objectively and 1 spot is chosen by us or by a guest judge).

Continue reading “Mental Magmodifications cont.”


Sep 23 2008

Game: Certified Website Breeder

Category: Uncategorized @ 11:35 pm

Sometimes when I describe MM to people, I say it’s like Woot.com, Digg.com, and Threadless.com had a menage and had a chimera lovechild (maybe with HotOrNot.com filming it).  I was thinking about that today and started thinking about what other websites it would be fun to breed.

Ebay.com + KellyBlueBook.com = a resource for knowing the real dollar value of everything. Priceline.com + Match.com = name your price for a trip to a brothel (but the brothel chooses the girl).  Twitter.com + Random.org = a service that texts you a steady stream of randomly generated numbers (only marginally less interesting than twitter.com by itself).

Actually, I really like those ideas.  I’m off to turn those into new web empires; why don’t you do some website breeding and post the results in our comments section?


Sep 22 2008

Contest #13: Alternative Hazards

Category: Uncategorized @ 12:45 am

Pic by flickr user Arenamontanus

Our apologies to triskaidekaphobes everywhere, but we decided to plunge ahead with contest #13 despite the potential bad luck. This contest is about alternative warnings, hazards, and dangers. Sometimes there are threats in our environment that have nothing to do with falling rocks or electric fences. This week we plan on exposing those threats.

This week’s contest is to come up with a novel danger, hazard, or warning sign. You could go with science-related (Warning: The Sun is going to explode…in 4 to 5 billion years), go with absurd humor (Danger: Open pickle jar), go with something self-referential (Notice: I no longer have an appendix), or whatever you think of (you guys are better at this than me). This is going to be a merch contest, so we’ll be putting some of the entries in our online store.

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Sep 21 2008

Contest #12: Winner

Category: Uncategorized @ 5:23 pm

Internet historians of the 22nd century may remember Contest #12 as one of the most controversial of MM history (second only to Contest #666: Make a pact with the devil). We’ll have to wait to see if the controversy shakes up the way we do things here at MM, but we do have a winner for you.

We had a record voter turnout for this contest. It was an extrememly tight race between two users. In what is increasingly becoming the fashion here, our returning champion was bested by one vote by a user making her debut. Shiradee is our newest champion.

Here is the villainous limerick that won her the crown:

If Clark Kent had battled Lex Luther
He'd have ended up an ex-toother
So Superman stepped in
With his winningest grin
Now Luther is quite a bitcouther

On a side note, I was curious to see if we had more female or male champions. I just counted and we’re tied at 6-6 (assuming I’m correct in all my assumptions about who is male/female). Shiradee’s reward is a $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate & a How to Rule the World book. Thanks to her and to everyone who participated this week (yes, even you who participated in the attempted coup). Be sure to check back tomorrow; who knows what will happen here?



Sep 19 2008

Contest #12: Finalists

Category: Uncategorized @ 5:32 pm

This week was amazing.  In addition to the excellent variety of villain-based limericks, we were also treated to an epic 3-way poetry battle between Greg, Jakutz, and Stevel Knievel.  Neither Greg nor Jakutz made the finals, so the awesomeness that infuses their cells and makes them slightly luminescent in low light will have to be their only reward.  The week also saw the release of what is, thus far, my favorite set of merch: MM’s Portmanteau Collection.

There are plenty of users to recognize this week who didn’t make the finals, but were nonetheless noteworthy (either for being popular or MM Staff Favorites).  There were Zabo’s Skeletor, Padma’s Bush, Greg’s Drunk Driver, Drewbert’s Bush, Dawson’s Narnia, Brendan’s MM Contest Villains, and Jim Pettit’s Wicked-ass Witch.  Lastly, Alex, also in the finals for another poem, wrote an interesting limerick composed mostly of unrhymable words.

Continue reading “Contest #12: Finalists”


Sep 18 2008

From Spiceburgs to Hobophobia, this week’s merch has it all. Except for 2012 conspiracies.

Category: Uncategorized @ 10:42 am

Mental Magma Online Store


We got your Hobophobes, Magmaddicts, Tonions,

Gonadequates, Palintology, and Spiceburgs; how edutaining!

Special shout-out to Greg, Jakutz, Vlad and our Contest #10 Winner, c2!


Contest #10: Edutainment.


Contest #10 Edutainment Contest #10 Edutainment
Spiceburg by c2


Contest #10 Edutainment Contest #10 Edutainment
Palintology by Vlad


Contest #10 Edutainment Contest #10 Edutainment
Gonadequate by Jakutz


Contest #10 Edutainment Contest #10 Edutainment
Tonion by Jakutz


Contest #10 Edutainment Contest #10 Edutainment
Magmaddict by Greg


Contest #10 Edutainment Contest #10 Edutainment
Hobophobia by Greg


Feedback is appreciated.  Let us hear what you think.  Post your thoughts in the comments section.


Sep 17 2008

Mental MagModifications

Category: Uncategorized @ 8:41 am

It’s an idea we’ve been kicking around for a while…changing the contest voting system.  Jakutz broached the subject last week in the comments section of the finalists post.  Before I give you my opinion on the subject, let me say we will always encourage this sort of thing.  If there’s something you don’t like or have a better idea for, let us know.

From my perspective there are two primary things flawed about the rating system.  One is that, as Jakutz mentioned, the earlier entries are viewed more and thus receive more votes.  We could counteract this by reversing the comment order (most recent on top) or by putting the comments in random order.  My problem with this is that in some weeks the contest entries have a very nice flow to them.  This week there is an epic limerick war going on between several members.  Altering the comment order would disrupt that natural sequence.  On a side note, I think MM’s 2nd movie project (after Elves) should be a sequel to 8-mile featuring limerick battles in the ghetto.

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Sep 15 2008

Contest #12: Villainous Limerick

Category: Uncategorized @ 12:01 am

We at MM love villains, just love ‘em. They’re more fun to watch than heroes, usually more complex, and throw better parties. You’ve never seen anybody do the worm on a dance-floor until you’ve seen Vader use the force to make someone do it against their will. It is for these reasons we wish you compose an ode to these megalomaniacs.

This week’s challenge is to write a limerick about a villain of your choice. If you’re unfamiliar with how to write a limerick, ehow.com has a nice primer on the subject. In short, a limerick is a poem in which the 1st and 2nds lines rhyme with each other, the 3rd and 4th lines rhyme with each other, and the 5th line rhymes with the 1st and 2nd lines.

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Sep 14 2008

Contest #11: Winner

Category: Uncategorized @ 5:47 pm

Some weeks, one user’s entry just knocks it out of the park, returns it for a touchdown, or delivers a one-punch knockout (depending on which sports analogy you favor). This was just such a week. Long-time MM user, Greg, landed a triple salchow and then karate-chopped this contest in the throat (metaphorically). Not content to win with a simple plurality, Greg garnered over 60% of the votes this week.

Whenever the movie production arm of MM gets going, you better believe our maiden production will be Elves (see Greg's full entry here).

For his pitch, Greg gains a $25 Amazon.com Gift Certificate and can add “Mental Magma Contest #11 Winner” to his CV. Congratulations to Greg and thanks to everyone who entered this tougher-than-usual contest. Lastly, for all of you who emailed to ask about the next round of merch (from the portmanteau contest), we should be able to reveal it midweek.



Sep 12 2008

Contest #11: Finalists

Category: Uncategorized @ 5:15 pm

photo by Flickr user Dunechaser

So this week was a little tough, eh?  Only about a dozen brave MMers had a pitch for us this week. I suppose it’s good to throw a difficult one your way every once in a while to keep you guessing. Well, it’s time to determine who the best of the bunch is.

I’m not going to single out any entries other than the finalists this week.  But I would like to thank everyone who showed their movie pitch magic and entered the contest.

Because the entries tended towards very lengthy, I’m only going to include a brief description of the factions in the poll.  I’ll include a link to the original comment below the poll.  You can read the pitch in its entirety by clicking on the link.

Continue reading “Contest #11: Finalists”


Sep 11 2008

Your website name troubles are over

Category: Uncategorized @ 8:31 am

I sincerely hope I’m not turning MM into FunnyVideos.com (there are certainly enough of those already), but I had to share this video with you because it fit so nicely with last week’s domain name discussion. Interestingly, nearly all of the domain names mentioned here were registered within an hour of the video’s debut.