Back in 2007, I was into ghosts. Like, really into ghosts. I spent time watching videos of supposed ghost activities, looked into the equipment needed to find evidence of ghosts, and even went so far as to write fake stories about my fake encounters with ghosts.
I shared one of those fake ghost stories on a website called “The Midnight News” in order to scare some people on the internet and to add my own invented anecdote to haunting lore (unfortunately, the story I wrote is no longer available — trust me, I looked).
While I don’t remember the entire story, I know it had something to do with a previous owner’s child dying in my house in the early 1900s (you know, like every ghost story) and mysterious, unaccounted for sounds emanating from the basement. Yeah, 14-year old me wasn’t exactly exploring new literary frontiers with my ghost stories.
To my horror, somehow my made-up story made its way to the producer of an A&E television show called “Paranormal State,” a series about a group of Penn State college students who investigated claims of paranormal activity.
One night in August 2007, this email arrived in my inbox:
Hello Nick -
I was terrified.
This was, arguably, worse than a real ghost would be. Somehow my fake ghost story had manifested itself into a real-life thing — having a crew of amateur ghost hunters come to my house and film it for national TV. I wasn’t prepared for that pressure as a 14-year old child. And, at that age, I absolutely did not have the authority to allow a group of paranormal investigators and an A&E television crew access to my house for a night of filming, at least not without talking to my parents first. How exactly was I supposed to explain to them that I had spent time making up ghost stories on the internet?
In my panicked state, I did what anyone would’ve done: I didn’t respond to Chris’s email for eight years.
Eight long years.
He sent his original email in August 2007 — finally, in September 2015, I responded to the producer with this email:
Chris responded almost immediately saying “Mind. Blown.” and asked me how I had saved his email all these years, and why I made up the ghost story in the first place?
It’s been two years since he asked me those questions… and I still haven’t returned his email.
Stay tuned for an update in six more years.
Back in September 2010, when I was just starting my senior year of high school, I wrote an email to myself through FutureMe.org titled “Questions for the Future.” In it, I asked several questions for myself to answer in 2017. Below you'll find the answers to those questions. Enjoy!
This email was sent by you (me) in September 2010.
Is the Simpsons off TV yet?
No. And honestly, I don’t remember being a fan of the Simpsons, so I don’t know why I would ask this. I guess for posterity?
Did they make an Arrested Development movie?
No, but they did make a new season which was alright. And there’s another new season coming out in 2018. So, kind of?
Is Will Ferrell still making awesome movies?
Not, uh... not really.
Is Conan O'Brien still on? Jon Stewart? Colbert?
Yes, but on TBS. No. Yes, but on CBS. Overall, late night TV is probably worse now than it was in 2010. Sorry, me.
Do you still watch Psych, House, The Event, NCIS, Fringe, The Office, 30 Rock, Communtiy, SNL?
I don’t even know what the hell The Event is, so no to that. I still watch The Office on Netflix (Netflix is a prominent video streaming platform in 2017).
Did they ever make a sequel to Cloverfield?
Kind of, they made it into an anthology series. So not really.
Is the iPad still "revolutionary"?
I’m not sure what I meant when I put "revolutionary” in quotes, but tablets are very popular so it seems like the iPad had an impact. Personally, my phone does everything I’d use a tablet for — and for that reason, I’m out.
Has anything truly amazing happened with technology?
Yes, this happened.
How much money do you have?
Not enough. If you get this answer in 2010, invest everything in Bitcoin. Pls.
How much does gas cost - today it's $2.87?
About $2.50, so cheaper actually. Thanks Obama.
Has the Tea Party destroyed America yet?
I wouldn’t say destroyed, but they certainly haven’t helped.
How’s the whole Israel / Palestine thing?
Was Barack Obama reelected?
Yes. Now please, for the love of God, don’t ask any more questions about the presidency.
Who is the president?
Oh, my sweet summer child.
A few months ago I set up a parody Donald Trump-themed dating website aptly named Trump.Singles. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, didn’t I almost get sued by Donald Trump for owning a website with ‘trump’ in the name? Yes, yes I did. But in the end The Donald cut me a two figure check, which I think means I won the legal battle and I’m allowed to do it again. Plus, that was before he was running for president, and now I think it’s my patriotic duty and God-given right to make fun of Donald Trump.
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The concept behind my Trump dating website was simple: in an effort to breed the most luxurious and intelligent wall-building babies the world has ever seen, Trump.Singles would serve as a place where wealthy people with the last name Trump could meet other wealthy people with the last name Trump. The only downside to Trumpbreeding is that the children would have cartoonishly small hands.
Now, here’s the thing. I often start funny projects like Trump.Singles and never really tell anyone about them. It goes a little like this:
Last week, Fox News’ Fox and Friends aired a segment featuring the website TrumpSingles.com (you may see where this is going) which is an actual, real thing that exists for Trump supporters to meet other Trump supporters without having to worry about the awkward moment they reveal that they’re a Trump supporter.
After the Fox News segment aired, thousands of single Trump supporters looking for love flocked to the internet and searched for “Trump singles.” Well, it turns out that my website, Trump.Singles, was the first result when you Googled that phrase. What’s more, the actual TrumpSingles.com crashed due to the heavy load of horny Fox News viewers, causing even more people to end up on my site in an attempt to connect with other Trump singles as quickly as possible.
I thought it was pretty obvious my website was a parody, but of the 4,000 people who visited Trump.Singles, at least 89 people who filled out the “Sign Up” form apparently had no idea. This led to some great “applications” to join Trump.Singles.
Here are some of my favorite comments that were submitted (and again, these are 100% real):
"Just heard about your website on Fox News. What a great idea. I wish you success." - Joe J.
Thanks Joe! It’s already a success, trust me.
"I have been a Donald Trump supporter since the beginning would love to meet a gentleman that has the same political views for our wonderful country! Trump2016" - Jackie C.
I wish you all the best Jackie.
"i wanna find me a sugar daddy so i can get that trump stump" - Brittany B.
"Go TRUMP or go home!" - Eric T.
I think America is getting ready to go home in November.
"I hope this is legit!!!!" - Suzanne A.
"I am a trump supporter" - Michele V.
I am not a trump supporter. - Nick B
"This is a great idea! I support Trump for POUS. I also predicted he’d win when he first appeared he was running!!!" - Emma B.
If you predicted Trump would be the GOP nominee when he first announced, then you’re far smarter than I am. Also, it’s POTUS.
"its great" - Steve W.
If it’s already great, then what is Trump trying to do again?
"No comment." - Sharon P.
"your domain names. .com and .org are jammed solid
watched on f and f this morning
couldn’t get on" - Craig S
So my website was the third Trump Singles site you tried using? Craig…I’m so sorry.
"Want to join and have you become President." - Lester B.
Nick Butler 2016 - Lester B.
"I’m black.." - Michael M.
Look, my African American!
"I am a patriotic American that wantsthis country to be great again. I want to meet somebody that will snuggle on the couch with me as we watch the election results roll in and celebrate when Mr. Trump crushes crooked Hillary." - Betty S.
Betty is looking for the man of her dreams. Literally, because what she just described will never happen.
On one hand, I feel bad for these people. On the other hand, it’s pretty damn obvious my website is a joke. Right next to the form they filled out, it says:
Unfortunately, none of the people who submitted an application to Trump.Singles was actually a member of the Trump family, which means I had to deny their application. I didn’t want to break their hearts too bigly, so I delivered the news in a way that would seem familiar to them: I wrote the rejection email as Donald J. Trump.
This is that email. Read it in Donald Trump’s voice.
That’s it. If (and when) I receive some responses to that email, I’ll be sure to update you all. In the meantime, if your last name is Trump and you’re looking for love, feel free to check out Trump.Singles.
Last week, I filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to start an independent expenditure-only political action committee (or superPAC) named Don’t Approve This SuperPAC. Despite pleading with the FEC to not approve my superPAC by literally naming it “Don’t Approve This SuperPAC,” they went ahead and approved it anyway.
You read that right, I have a superPAC. Like, actually. Don’t believe me? You can check out the superPAC’s website at DontApproveThis.com.
Thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, I have the actual power to actually collect and spend unlimited amounts of actual money to influence the American political landscape.
I know what you’re thinking: “Wow! This is impressive! This must have been really difficult to do!”
Nope! Turns out it’s superEASY to start a superPAC. It took me 15 minutes to fill out the Statement of Organization form, which officially lists me as the “Unpaid Intern” and “Chief Con Man” of Don’t Approve This SuperPAC. Once I finished the application, I thought it might be difficult to find a bank who would open a public funds checking account for an organization with “Don’t Approve This” in its name. But, thanks to the great people at Trustco Bank, I was able to open a new account in less than 30 minutes!
“But Nick,” I hear you wondering. “How much did all of this cost?”
It’s true. There is a cost associated with starting a superPAC, and I’m not proud to admit that I paid it. In order to start a superPAC, you have to buy a stamp for the envelope you send your application in -- and that stamp will set you back about 49 cents. It’s a small price to pay for the power to collect and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the American political landscape.
As we move forward, I’m going to give some thought to what candidates and issues Don’t Approve This may advocate for (or against). In the meantime, I urge you all: don’t donate to Don’t Approve This SuperPAC.
Don’t Approve This SuperPAC
Unpaid Intern & Chief Con Man
A few years ago I engaged with North Korea in direct, high-level conversations on one of the the most secure international communication networks known to man: Twitter.
Back in 2010, North Korea launched an official Twitter account, @uriminzok. This was the first presence the secretive nation had on social media, and I thought, “Wouldn't it be fun to get North Korea to tweet at me?” So, using Google translate I simply asked: “What is your YouTube account?”
One day later, North Korea responded -- they sent me a link to their YouTube account.
So, North Korea tweeted at me. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only American to have ever been tweeted at by North Korea. Which is admittedly very, very strange.
The tweet almost certainly put me on an NSA watchlist. Around the same time, the spy agency began collecting data on social connections of US citizens to track “connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States.” This tweet gives me a direct connection to North Korea, so I’m probably on the “people to keep an eye on” list. It also gives my Facebook friends and Twitter followers a second degree connection to North Korea ... so, you’re probably on the list too. My bad.
A year after this tweet, I discovered that a Japanese blog -- which has since been deleted -- had looked rather extensively into the exchange. They wanted to know one thing: “Who is Mr. Nick Butler?”
This screenshot is the only remaining image of the blog post. Luckily, I sent excerpts of the post to a friend on Facebook shortly after discovering the article. The Facebook chat is still archived today (which is slightly unsettling), so I can share some of the things that were said in the post.
Ultimately, the blog looked at my brief exchange with North Korea and my background, noting my Twitter profile described me as “the senior editor of MovieViral.com,” concluding that I was a “movie lover.” The post also noted that I like politics. It went on to examine whether or not I had a “special relationship with North Korea.”
After reviewing my tweet, North Korea’s reply, and my subsequent reaction, the author of the article concludes that “Mr. Nick seem to be extremely normal American,” but went on to say, “Mr. Nick North Korea's support is indescribably creepy.”
Well, there you have it folks. My support for North Korea is, according to at least one Japanese blog, “indescribably creepy.” But definitely not as creepy as the guy North Korea follows.
Nick likes politics and does not, in any regard, support North Korea. Like Sometime Weekly on Facebook and Twitter.