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By telling you these things, I run the risk of providing you too much information. Which might cause you to do things a little bit too differently, which, if you’re not careful might cause increasingly greater ripples upon society and change history as I knew it. Butterfly effect and all that. Which would stilll be okay. But it might end up invalidating some of the other information I’ll be giving you, leaving you forever puzzled and when you’re on your death bed you’d be all, “what the fuck did he mean by “bet huge sums of money on Manny Pacquiao fights” who the hell is Manny Pacquiao?”

Well, that’s tip number one. When you need capital, bet huge sums of money on Manny Pacquiao fights. He’s going to be this Filipino boxer and you can probably get rich off bets made on his fights, specially during the early days when he was still a betting underdog and he started fighting much bigger guys. So, that’s for your quick source of money.

The next thing I want to tell you is to invent Facebook. You don’t have to call it exactly that. But listen, here’s what it is: the way for you to become a multi-billionaire. By the time you’re about 18, a huge portion of the world’s households would have about one computer each. You might not have heard of this word before, “Internet”, that’s kind of a system where most computers in these houses would be linked with each other. As soon as you can get to a libray, read up all you can on what this word means, its history. What’s going to happen is it’s going to play a huge part in how most people would be living their lives. I don’t mean anything like people are going to be inside this “Internet” like in some sort of Virtual Reality environment, although that might happen too, in my–our –future. But businesses, governments, and people would be doing their official and leisure transactions on this Internet.

So, Facebook. It’s hard to explain but each person would have their own page on this Facebook. They put up their pictures on it, video, music, whatever else they might want to. They basically share information about themselves to other people who could simply use their own computers to view other people’s pages. They can send messages to each other, broadcast to a virtually unlimited number of people news about themselves like, “ hey this person and I are now boyfriend-girlfriend” and other people would be all, “wow, that’s great!” If you find this weird, don’t worry, usually it’s just the people who they know “In Real Life” like family, friends, classmates, who can read these things. What’s going to happen is, this Facebook, this Social Network would end up having billions of members in it each wanting to use the service to communicate with their friends or to basically just exist in this thing called the Internet.

What I hope you would do is invent this Facebook that I speak of. No, I certainly didn’t invent it, I’m just a Facebook user as well. But if by, say, 1998, you already know things like computer programming and how to create pages for the “World Wide Web,” and the knowledge of how utterly world-changing social networks will become, you’ll have all you’ll need to invent your own Facebook. Precursors to Facebook with names like Friendster and Multiply would already be arriving very soon at that point so you better be quick and start writing the code.

Oh, yeah, you still have to make it cool and trendy so people would want to create a page for themselves in this system and then afterwards recommend it to their own friends. That’s what we in this time call “viral,” because it spreads like a virus. So, you have to always have some knowledge of what other people think is cool at any given point. Which brings me to my next point. As early as now, you also have to work on your social skills. Not that the nerd who invented Facebook in my reality had great social skills, but he did have other people helping him out.

Let’s not put all our eggs in one basket. So, if you don’t end up inventing Facebook here are some other tips for you. Search engines are probably an even bigger thing than Facebook. Look them up in the school library and magazines about computers. See if you’d like to work on search engines instead. You have about five years before Google comes into existence.

There’s this thing called Twitter. People type short status messages on twitter on the Internet and say things like, “Got home at 5. Ate a chicken sandwich. Yum.” But the catch is, they only have about 140 characters to use on these messages. I don’t really know how that one becomes big, but it does. Try to invent Twitter.

So, that’d be about it for my professional advice for you. What you do with that knowledge is pretty much up to you. I’m also going to give you some reassurance. I’m from 2011. You can be 100% certain that at least up to my present time, you won’t get crushed underneath a building due to an earthquake or anything like that. Well, as long as you’re anywhere in Metro Manila. So yes, you can follow your dreams and live in some high-rise building with a view or something like that without needing to buy a parachute.

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is a pretty fun novel, but it’s obvious the amount of enjoyment one can glean from reading this is directly proportional to a reader’s knowledge of and love for 80’s music, movies and video games. The story is set in the 2040’s, and the 80’s are back in a very big way. But that’s not just due to the cyclical nature of trends and fads. That’s entirely due to the actions of one man, or rather, by the death of one man, James Halliday. While alive, he was one of if not the richest men in this dystopian future society. He was the inventor of OASIS, a kind of virtual reality, video game Universe world layered on top of the Internet, comparable to today’s World of Warcraft or Second Life but dialed all the way up to eleven and much more crucial to the functioning of businesses and economies. (For other similar virtual reality constructs in fiction, you can think of The Matrix or Snow Crash’s Metaverse or Summer Wars’ OZ.) OASIS isn’t particularly original as a fictional virtual reality world but it is more conducive to action sequences compared with the others.

Halliday grew up during the 80s as what might now be termed a geek and he’s decided to use his vast financial resources to get the rest of society to pay its tribute to his favorite decade. After his death, a pre-recorded message from Halliday is announced to the whole of OASIS. Somewhere in its millions of planets, he’s hidden three keys for use on three secret gates and the person to open all three gates gets Halliday’s Easter Egg, which equates in the real world to all of Halliday’s money and control of his billion dollar corporation. The way to find these keys and eggs involve solving puzzles that require an astounding amount of knowledge about the movies, shows, music and games of Halliday’s childhood.

So, the question is, if a reader isn’t too big on the 80s or isn’t at all that interested with some of the obscure references the novel gives out, would the book still be interesting? The answer is yes. It has other elements of interesting fiction going for it. But reading the book and “getting” the references is still going to be the optimal experience.

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Staring at the app’s play button as I waited for the dials to hit red, I thought to myself that now was the time for the Universe to do something, anything if it wanted to stop us from doing what we were about to do. A lightning bolt, if God wanted to be all Zeus-style here would be more than sufficient. We were on the rooftop, after all, and practically standing on top of one big puddle. The three of us would get fried in a split-second. Forensics would simply find our charred corpses the next day and wonder what these people were doing on a rooftop during tropical depression Rosinda and what the hell all the equipment was for.

Or maybe a heart attack. Lord knows my heart was beating fast enough. I imagined that when the time came for me to play the recording, I’d just keel over and die before I could run the program. Then, a lesson would certainly be learned by Elsa and Aloi, which is please not to fuck with the natural order of things.

But in a short while, the laser was already fully charged. Outside the tent, Aloisius did a thumbs up. “Alright, we’re good for four minutes, ” he told me. “I’m going to hit a beam against the side of that big nimbus cloud and by the time we get feedback, you can start playing the message.”

“So, what do you think’s going to happen?” Elsa asked. She half-startled me as I didn’t see her enter the tent. She had a jacket on but her jeans were soaked and her hair was dripping. Like me, she probably didn’t get a bit of sleep last night. “I mean, would they believe these new commandments? Or do you think there’s going to be a manhunt for us?”

“Are you asking if villagers with torches and pitchforks would eventually get to the mad scientist and his assistants and then tear them apart, piece by piece?” I chuckled.

She smiled. “Yeah, that gory end. Or, you know, a little something I’d like to call a criminal case. Which is what happens when crimes are committed. Such as the one we’re doing now.”

“I don’t think so. I suppose maybe over half the people hearing this would suspect that something was up, but not unless somebody out there knows how to mind-read, nobody would know who or what was really behind it.” I tried to sound as reassuring as I could. The rig was vibrating already, which meant that it was nearly time for us to start.

“Besides, I think we’ve got God on our side.” I told her.

I clicked on the button and the media player began to play the mp3. The audio was routed to the rig which then converted it into a continuous signal embedded into the beam. The beam reached the nimbus clouds and excited billions of water molecules at a key frequency which then produced a chain reaction as the bounced beams affected the other nearby clouds which then sent the same signal to its contiguous clouds. Power was what our rig needed but we were more than prepared and our resident mad scientist Aloisius knew his math. Within ten seconds, above the city of Manila, all the nimbus clouds of sufficient density were effectively converted to audio speakers.

The Lord spoke.

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