Monday, January 29, 2007

Favorite Penny Arcade Comic

Something reminded me of my favorite Penny Arcade comic, so I dug it up.

Claw Shrimp!


I almost played some Nethack this weekend. It just didn't seem right though. I'll wait until the 11th; give it at least a month.

*leaves flowers*

/ \
/ REST \
/ IN \
/ \
| Velma |
| 0 Au |
| crushed to death |
| by an exploding |
| drawbridge |
| |
| 2007 |
*| * * * | *

SMS Service

Hmmm... It seems the SMS service I use in conjunction with my scripts was down or something. Sorry for not responding to your e-mails earlier!

Range Report; one-handed, weak handed, and jam testing.

Hit the range this weekend. I hadn't gone in quite a while (just haven't felt the drive for some reason), so I was a little worried that my 1911 groups would be teh sukk.

Managed to get my best grouping ever. 1" group of 6 shots, one flyer put the group at 2".

Not bad for me...

I also got to try my hand at some one-handed and weak hand shooting, and found I was... within tolerances... with my XD-9, but my shots with the 1911 were quite accurate.

I've been keeping my 1911 from being my go-to pistol because I'd had some jams with it. As with most 1911 jams, these probably can be attributed to the mag (cheapie springfield mag). The jams were kind of specific, so I started trying to get it to jam so I could find out what the situation was that was causing it. Turns out that if I have one in the pipe and one in the mag, and fire, 1/3 times it will jam feeding. It's less likely to do this if I fire off from a full mag (if that makes sense), but when loaded with just those two shots, it will jam very often. A rap on the back of the slide will bring it home, and to a full firing position. I've been keeping my eyes out for a good deal on some Wilson Combat mags, but I think I'll just have to bite the... bullet... (Sorry.) I'll be on the look out for them at the gun show next weekend.

I was also reminded of just how much I love how the 1911 feels and shoots.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Internet is a Series of Tubes!

Give it a click, and discover why government needs to stay out of what it doesn't understand. (Which is just about everything.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union

Is it just me, or is our President really "on" tonight?

My initial reaction is that this is a reach across the isle; not necessarily what he's always stood for, but he's showing that their issues are important to him too.

Browning's "Paradise Lost"

Josh recounts man's fall from grace.

A fun and a humorous read! Give him a click!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Of Course You Realize This Means War

David over at The War On Guns has a rundown of exactly how our unalienable rights became alienated.

"Became", not "Will become", "are sure to become", or "Will likely become"; "Became." It's already happening. If you don't believe me, give him a click.

He thinks it's time to get angry. I'm inclined to agree.

Read, link, e-mail, and forward. People need to know about this.

Maybe it's time to dust off that big R word.
The least we can do is prepare.

CountyComm Review

A friend of mine referred me to Botach Tactical to find a hard-to-find item. Once there, I looked around, and found a wide selection of cool stuff at great prices. After work I hit their site, and decided the time was right for a little bit of a late night/early morning spending! I began (as I usually do) by filling my e-cart with everything that piqued my interest, then realizing my total is $600, I get real and start whitling down the items. I was stricken with a sudden case of frugality, and most of the stuff I wanted wasn't an immediate necessity as it was for disaster preparedness (I know, I know...) and could stand a little triage. I knew I'd likely have plenty of time and paychecks to spread out my purchases out, so I took it easy and didn't spend too much.

After I completed my order with them, I was in the survival/tacticool kinda mood so I headed over to CountyComm, my favorite place for odd and seriously cool stuff. Their selection is not awe-inspiring, and their website leaves much to be desired; but these guys always have great products you can't find elsewhere, great prices, and great service. After a quick perusal I filled my cart (again), then after remembering that I'm supposed to feel frugal, and that I just spent a bit over at botach, I slim my cart down (again), and finish my order.

The next day I made my rounds catching up on e-mail, and realized that I hadn't gotten my confirmation e-mail from Botach. I sent them an e-mail letting them know I failed to save my order number to track my order, and that I hadn't gotten a confirmation e-mail. Then I opened up my e-reciept to countycomm, and realized that I must have accidentally chosen the wrong address for delivery (why do I even still have that address in there?). I drafted an e-mail to Nick giving him the proper address, and fired it off. A little concerned about the missing confirmation e-mail (which are usually automatic), I typed "botach review" into Google, and found an epinions page for them. Oh my. The only place they got high marks was in the process managed by their yahoo store. The reviews covered the gamut; losing orders, shipping wrong items, taking weeks for delivery, lying to customers, faulty products, the works. Just as I finished the last review and was in a state of minor shock at the bullet I dodged with my frugality, a message popped into one of my inboxes. I didn't recognize the name, so I thought to myself; "See? Nothing to worry about. That's probably Botach with my order number now." But it wasn't; it was CountyComm returning my e-mail. Now, this wasn't a; "YOUR REQUEST FOR HELP AND OR INFORMATION HAS BEEN RECEIVED AND PROCESSED BY ORDERBOT 3000. YOUR REQUEST FOR HELP AND OR INFORMATION WILL BE HANDLED IN THE ORDER RECEIVED. WE VALUE YOUR BUSINESS. DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS E-MAIL OR WE WILL BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN." This was a friendly e-mail from a real person which briefly stated that my package almost went out to the wrong address, and it was sent 12 minutes after I sent my e-mail!

I thought about my previous dealings with CountyComm and remembered that they were always receptive to any inqueries I sent them, and that they always shipped very quickly. The only problem I almost had with them, was from them shipping my product TOO quickly! Ha! If only they all had that problem!

I knew CountyComm was really a military/commercial supplier, and that their website was likely only a small portion of their income, which usually spells poor service and speed of order. However any orders that I've sent to them have been processed and sent out quickly and efficiently. I just got so used to being treated well, that I just kind of forgot all those things the Botach customers experienced actually happened. Talk about good treatment.

I put CountyComm into the review website and found that it wasn't in there. It's a small shop, but it deserves at least one review! I signed up for epinions, and discovered that I couldn't "make" a new store to write a review. I sent an e-mail to them asking how I could get a store added (they haven't responded yet (HA!) ).

So, here I am, relating my experiences with CountyComm in the form of a review.

Ease of Ordering: 4/5 Space Pineapples
The ordering system works perfectly, and paying is a cinch, but the site can sometimes be convoluted, and has some broken links.

Customer Service: 5/5 Space Pineapples
You get small shop customer service, and attention to detail!

On-Time Delivery: 5/5 Space Pineapples
Never been a problem!

Selection: 4/5 Space Pineapples
They get a 3 for not having a huge selection of stuff, but they get a +1 because they carry a lot of unique items!

Overall: 6/5 Space Pineapples
That's right; six.

Give them a click, you won't be disappointed.

Book-By-Its-Cover moment

We had a bit of car trouble this weekend, and I called for a tow truck.

When the truck arrived, he pulled into the gas station across from us. "Uhh, that's the southeast corner, not the northwest corner, brain surgeon." After a bit of futzing, he made it to our spot and loaded the car onto the flatbed. He was a old, oddly dressed, white bearded man, with one of those knit hats that holds dreadlocks. After he was done, I signed the order, and my girlfriend and I packed into the cab of the truck.

As he started up the truck, I prepared myself for the small-talk that invariably accompanys a tow. I'm not really much of a talker anyways, and I'm even less of a talker when the talkee looks like a steriotype. For a while, he was quiet, and I noticed what was playing on the stereo; it was some kind of opera. As I listened to the beautiful music, I was tempted to ask him who he was listening to, but was afraid he would take that as an opportunity to strike up a conversation. The song ended, and a radio announcer called the song "Song to the Earth." Kinda hippyish, but still good. Why was this guy listening to his music? I eyed his headware and realized that it was very likely full of dreadlocks. Suprised, I tried to picture how he would look without the hat when he spoke.
"You listen to this station? KCRW? It's based in Santa Monica college I think."
KCRW was an independent station that played a very odd mix of music of different styles and genras, I rarely listened during the day but I used to listen to their late night electronica shows "Metropolis" and "Nocturna".
"Yeah, actually I do listen to KCRW."
"I listen during the day sometimes, but I usually listen to the music at night when they play trance."
Whoa. This guy's into trance? I love trance.
"Yeah, you listen to Metropolis? I love trance."

He talked for a while about some of the music from the seventies, and somehow got on Sci-Fi. He told us about an instrument called a Theremin (which is played without touching it) which made all those outer-limits UFO sounds. Interesting stuff!

We got back to music, and he told me that he picked up interest in trance after hearing it on an episode of Samurai Jack. (!!!) I LOVE Samurai Jack!

Crazy! This guy's awesome! It'll be quite some time before I judge a book by its cover again!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The space gun cometh...

Well, only 9 more days to go...
(guns; betcha can't buy just four!)

(cue Sci-Fi weapon sound) BZZZZOW! BZZZZOW, BZZZZOW!

Now Josh, before you get mad, you should know that there were extenuating circumstances...

102 of them...

I'd been keeping an eye on the G22 for a while, but couldn't see spending the money on something so bloody impractical. When I hit Turners yesterday, I checked out their lever guns (my latest fancy), then I noticed that they had a Kel-Tec SU-16CA. Somehow the guys on CalGuns are convinced that these were hard to find, and I was almost ready to pay a premium for it, but then I called up good old Ade's gun shop, and he told me that he had two new ones in stock, and for $100 less than Turners. Once I knew that I'd be able to find an SU-16CA, I was very relieved. I wasn't quite ready to buy a gun in the price range of the SU. I mean, I COULD buy it, but I would have prefered to prepare for the purchase.

I looked in the corner at where they kept the three G22s I'd been eyeballing for months. this time they were all laying out against the wall instead of crammed into the corner, and one of them had a red tag on it! Turns out that the G22 with woodland camo has been discontinued, and Turners through a brilliant marketing strategy (???) chopped $102 off of it. I could get the G22 easily.

Once I knew that I COULD, I tried to figure out if I SHOULD. Wanting a gun is one thing, but when it comes time to actually (fuck it, I'm going to say it) pull the trigger, you think more seriously about it. Which was particularly difficult in this instance, because this gun serves almost no purpose.

I mean, look at it. Should I ever need an expensive solution to engaging in close-quarters-combat with an elite force of varmints, I'd reach for the G22. Otherwise, it's purely for fun. Besides, my jaunts to the range lately have been lacking something. I wanted something to spice up my visits, and since I live so close to the (pistol calibers only) range, and so far from any wide open spaces I might shoot rifles at, I think the G22 presented itself at the right time. Even so, it still took me a while to convince myself to buy this completely impractical gun. Well, the bullpup design means I get the velocity of a 20" barrel without the extra space, and it can be switched from lefty to righty easily (important if you don't like bolts in the teeth!). The .22 round is useful only for varmits of various types, and killing paper. I guess it does have some points. (very few though)

As I was filling out the paperwork, (and being fingerprinted like a criminal) someone walked up and gestured toward the woodland camo'ed G22 on the counter between me and the clerk.
"Pickin' up a G22? Good choice. I've got one, and it's a lot of fun."
"Yeah... Kinda hard to rationalize though, right?"
"Oh yeah. But hey; fun's fun!"

Yeah. I guess fun is fun. This gun serves no practical purpose other than to go to the range and have fun killing paper. (maybe even with frikin' laz0rs!)

I'm happy with my purchase.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Introducing new shooters

JR was gracious enough to take some new shooters to the range to teach them important gun safety, and (as a bonus) an appreciation for firearms.

Learning to shoot can be one of the most important things you can teach someone else. The basics of firearm safety is something everyone should know, gun owner or not.

If you're a gun owner, it's your duty to keep your eyes and ears peeled for people who might be willing to go to the range with you. Teaching people (especially in blue states) that nothing bad happens when a gun goes off is an important lesson, and will bring fence-sitters to our side.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Could the S really HTF?

This is a favorite topic among gunnies, "When the Fit hits the Shan, where will you be? (and will you bring your towel?)" It refers to a total break down of social order and civilization, wrought with lawlessness and desperation. This situation is sometimes referred to as the Zombocalypse (though there are some who feel that word refers exclusively to the attack of the undead hoards), or TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) which seems more final than a simple SHTF scenario. There aren't really clearly defined differences between these ideas, but that's not important.

Whenever a SHTF scenario or TEOTWAWKI warning is posted on a gunner board, I suspect a majority of people simply chuckle to themselves and roll their eyes. I think this is because they think poster is referring to an incredible, unrealistic, world changing event. This does not have to be the case.
Unlikely Examples:
Will the army of the undead rise from the Earth to feast of the flesh of the living?
Probably not.
Will a rival superpower rise, and incite WWIII, leaving America a ravaged post-apocalyptic warzone?
It's unlikely.
Will the Red Chinese overtake America with sheer numbers, and claim the land as its own, forcing gunnies to fight for their freedom from the commies?
All signs point to No. (Hmm, that's actually possible.)
Will you awake from a sushi-induced coma only to find the populace of the city you live in have been infected by a highly contagious diet cola, turning them into bloodthirsty animals and you; armed only with your boomstick, chainsaw hand, and spleen are the only thing standing between the fanatical hoard of Islamic terrorist jellyfish and the destruction of the world by giant invisible pirate ninjas??? Also, you have to fight Metal Gear.
Er- What?!

The fact of the matter is that there are far more plausible possibilities that would result in the S H'ing TF.
Likely Examples:
Will there be an earthquake/fire/flood which knocks out power for 3 weeks.
It's possible.
Will there be a attack/mistake which contaminates drinking water for a month?
Very possible.
Will a serious tax hike drive the American economy into a depression?

It wouldn't take much to throw the citizenry into a panic. Loss of food, supplies, or water will breed desperation in honest people. Even a minor disaster will render the police useless, and allow rioting, looting and lawlessness. It's happened before, and it didn't start with a bad plot from a B movie.

Lets give it a shot, shall we?

Perhaps at the very moment you finish reading this post, an important water pipe juncture will burst and be closed off for repair. But once that juncture is closed off, other junctures, unsuited for the elevated pressure, will burst in a domino effect. Suddenly the county is without water for an undetermined period of time. The news reports start up and needlessly frighten people (because it's good ratings). Citizens will check their faucets; half will panic, half will relax and wait for salvation. The panicking populace will rush to the nearest store to begin hoarding water for their family. Shelves are emptied within 12 hours, at night, stores are broken into for their goods. Days later, the less than scrupulous of the populace realizes that the police are preoccupied, and begin robbing, raping, and attacking at will. The relaxed half of the populace who thought this would blow over quickly begin to become frightened after the end of first week sees reports of repair delays. Freeways out of the county are congested to closure and filled with abandoned vehicles. Local government will set up stations to dispense a far too little water to far too many people. Those who are denied government water will mob up on those who did get water, many people will be beaten, and little water will make to homes. A serial arsonist realizes he has the upper hand. The governor will declare a state of emergency, and send trucks of water, but the truck drivers will not deliver the water after being shot at by gangs. Friends, neighbors, and family turn on each other to take what they so desperately need to survive. The police force disintegrates as officers stay home in order to protect their families and find supplies. A week later, the governor will enforce the supply deliveries by calling on the national guard to defend the trucks. De facto martial law will be put into place. National Guard will hold off desperate citizens who mob the supply trucks to maintain order; a shot will be fired, then many. Supply truck massacres will cause a media feeding frenzy, and lead to retaliation against the National Guardsmen. Lawlessness will become so bad that repairs on the water pipes will be postponed indefinitely. Then things start to get bad...

(Whoops, you just finished reading this post! Care to check the news?)

Glock thoughts


Let me begin by saying that I don't much care for Glocks.

I don't like the way they feel.
I don't like the way they look.
I don't like the way everyone has one.
(I've got a weird thing about liking popular things)
I don't like their triggers.
I don't like their grip angle.
I don't like their non-safety "safety".
I don't like the way it's only half-cocked when it's cocked.
And I definitely don't like Glock fanboys.

For all those counts against Gaston's ugly little pistol, it still has one thing going for it. But that one thing just might be enough to overlook all the negatives.

  • Reliability

I'm not even sure there is any argument about this point. Glock attackers will frequently start their arguments "Well it is reliable, but..." as if there was any trait or characteristic that would matter more than reliability.


A bit ago I was watching Ronin, and at one point Robert DeNiro is asked what gun he'd like. He replies that he'd like a 1911. Which, to a gunny, is just a few notches above asking for "One that goes boom." I wondered what gun he would ask for if he were more specific. A Springfield Loaded? A Kimber Custom something-or-other? A classic Colt? This was going to be a pistol that was expected to work in tough situations, not a chrome-plated target shooter that could afford to jam if you didn't feed it properly. What ammo could he expect to get? Then I realized that if the gun was new, it might have to be broken in. I don't think they were in a location that they could fire off a couple thousand rounds to get a new automatic working smoothly and reliably.

I thought what I would want if I were in that position. The gun would have to be something I would have experience shooting, something that could expect to act consistently like the other guns of the same model I'd used, something with few safeties and few points of failure, and above all ultimate reliability. I'd (unfortunately) have to choose a Glock. No matter where I get the Glock from or what state of usage I get it in, I'd be confident that it would act consistently as any other Glock that I'd handled.

But hey, it's just a movie.

Why not choose an XD? It's basically a Glock right? Well, even if time earns the XD the decades of reliability that the Glock has, the features that the XD sports seems to lend it to being a carry gun for casual (if any) use. The Glock is as simple as getting hit in the head with a brick, and made to take thousands of rounds down the pipe without flinching.

For now I'm content with my XD, which (after a break-in period) has yet to fail to function. Even when I poured sand into the opened action, and put two mags through it, there was no issue. It continues to function flawlessly no matter what I feed it (though I don't feed it anything other than mid-grade and white box). Should it somehow manage to fail in some way though regular use, I will likely have no choice but to buy a Glock.

The simple fact is that if someone walked up to me when I required a gun, and asked me what gun I'd like;

I wouldn't ask for a Matte Black Kimber Pro X4 Uber-elite Ultra6 with Wolf aftermarket springs, StickyFingers grips, Thompkins McAwesomeshooter barrel and bushing, with a Shooty McShooterson super-duper-feather-lite trigger job, Ninja Nite-sytes, with a tan lucky rabbit's foot attached to the lanyard loop, and a rail-mounted Surefire weapon light and laz0r, pre-broken-in with baby powder hand-ground by Tibetan monks, with 6 Wilson Combat 10 round mags, and 1000 rounds of Winchester Ranger .45.

I'd simply ask for a Glock 23, and be confident that my choice was the correct one.

Enlightenment at work

Coworker: "It's ok to lie about sex; I mean, It's not like it was important to national security that we know that Bill was getting a BJ..."

Me: "That is wrong because of one word. Blackmail. You now have dirt on the most powerful man in the world. You don't think that has national security implications?"

Coworker: "... Never thought about it like that."

Me: "Neither did any reporter during that scandal. Why do you think that was?"

Coworker: "Hmm..."


Monday, January 15, 2007

No guns in schools? Try terrorists in schools.

JR over at A Keyboard and a .45 has a very sobering post about the prospect and the likelyhood terrorists attacking our schools.

I knew they would make a good target, but I had no idea that terrorists were actively training takeover and control methodology of schools, and obtaining blueprints for American schools. Or that they had a history of doing just that. Jesus.

This is more serious that people think. Reading what they've done in Russia in the past is truly chilling.

I'd recommend holding on to this link to enlighten the ignorant. Guns don't just murder, they also defend.

Workout music

For anyone who's interested in workout music, I thought I'd share the following nugget of wisdom...

Listening to the iPod of Dragonforce gives plus 10 to heartrate.

(if only I could find the gauntlets of strength)

.. Ok, that might have been too geeky.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Truth from Stouty

Stouty reminds us of some basic economics very eloquently.

This would be a good thing to share with your nearest and dearest liberal non-friend. The idea that a minimum wage is a good idea is a really popular belief in lefty circles.

The deep-seated idea that if you force eeeevil profit-obsessed business owners to pay their poor employees more, and not cause any negative impact is a liberal favorite.

The simple, undisputed law of economics that There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch just doesn't seem to phase the liberal mind.

Why not strike up a conversation with your left-leaning coworker, and casually bring up the latest democrat attempt at a minimum wage hike, and once they start filling their balloon with hot air, pull out your logic pin, and give them a poke! (insert evil grin here)

Give him a click.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

David Codrea, Talkin' to America

David Codrea of WarOnGuns was interviewed on the JPFO's Talkin' to America show.

Codrea is bang on as usual. It's completely worth your time, and touches on a range of subjects you might not be privy to. If you're interested in your 2nd Amendment rights (and retaining them) you are required under threat of Charlton Heston to listen to this interview.

Farvel Velma the Valkyrie...

I'd been playing my Valkyrie very carefully for a couple of weeks, and my caution had paid off with a fairly complete kit for going deeper into the dungeon. There had only been one near-death experience wherein I was saved by my faithful Red Dragon, Trogdor. I was doing better than I'd done before, and I owe that mainly to changing playing style. Once I stopped playing Nethack like a game, and more like real life, I started to do MUCH better.

My kit for continuing lower into the dungeon was almost complete, and I figured now would be a good time to complete my side quest, and hope to find the stuff I was missing among the goodies.

As I entered the final level of my quest, Lord Surtur's stronghold, I saw something I'd never seen before. It was one of the more dangerous things in the Nethack's dungeon; a lowered drawbridge. The funny thing was that I didn't know why it was dangerous.

I had read in a few places that one should always be careful of drawbridges. When I started reading the messages, I couldn't help but laugh at the idea of a player standing in the way of a drawbridge, and lowering it onto themselves. I couldn't imagine any other way they could be dangerous, but I still wondered why so many felt the need to mention being careful around drawbridges. This question rolled around in my head for some time; how many spaces would the drawbridge take up? Would you be able to lower it from a safe distance or at an angle? What about these drawbridges was tripping people up? I just couldn't figure out why drawbridges were so insidious.

So, I approached the stronghold (and drawbridge) carefully. I had no problem taking care of the monsters on this level, and felt brave. I stepped onto the drawbridge... I stepped further... And stepped off of it, into the stronghold. Ooooookay... I fought my way to Lord Surtur, who teleported away. I followed him outside (across the drawbridge), and dealt with him easily. Now my thoughts turned to the booty. I gathered most of the goodies from the level and left to complete my quest by returning the artifact, and resume my mission in the dungeon. After I got through identifying all my booty, I realized that I had somehow managed to leave 10 blessed +3 daggers on one of the quest levels! I was careful not to throw them in a direction where they could wind up in lava, so I figured I could find them easily.

I returned to the quest levels, and easily fought my way through to the lower levels with the help of Trogdor (who, by now, had been polymorphed from a Red Dragon into a Golden Naga by one of the dungeon's more malicious traps) and my Stone Giant. Both were quite strong, and very reliable. We made short work of the monsters who spawned more frequently here than in the dungeon. Easy experience, good chance of items; good times. We made our way to the bottom level with Lord Surtur's stronghold (and the drawbridge), and I spied what looked like my daggers inside the stronghold, next to two Fire Giants, who would be dispatched easily.

I stepped onto the draw bridge and looked through the opening into the stronghold, the fire giant was right in front of me, but with lava in front and behind him, I didn't want to risk losing any of my daggers. I took another step forward onto the base of the drawbridge within striking distance of another fire giant. "Come get a facefull of the Hammer of Thor!"

The fire giant zaps a wand of striking! --more--

"Go ahead." I say, "I'm magic resistant." and I hit the space bar for the rest of the messages.

The wand hits the drawbridge! --more--


You are blown apart by flying debris. --more--

Now on that last message, I got a little confused. You are blown apart??? Not, "Your shield is blown apart" or "Your bag is blown apart" It just says that I... was blown apart. What does that mean? How much damage does that do? That sounds dangerously final. If I land in the lava I can still teleport to safety... Will I get a chance to ask my god for help? Will my god help me automatically?
Slightly perplexed, I press the space bar.

Do you want your possessions identified? [ynq] (n)
(the message you get when you die)

*insert mild aneurysm here*

I stare at the message with furrowed eyebrows. I'm not mad or angry, just confused. It happened too fast. Surely my best character didn't just suffer an unknown insta-death. I stare at the screen for what must have been a few minutes. I'm in disbelief. I'm not sure what to think. I stare at the message for a bit longer, thinking that I must be misreading it, or it must be some kind of mistake. The cursor blinks back at me, waiting for my reply to the dreaded question.

Then, for some reason, I open up a text editor, and start saving my position, attributes, and score on the computer for future reference. I feel a bit numb as I record the dying qualities of my best character. I'd learned so much. I'd gotten so attached. Trogdor is masterless. Oh man. I can't believe it. Just like that. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200... Just dead.

I rifle through my accomplishments. Velma was a seriously tough bitch!... Obviously not tough enough. After 63371 turns... Brought down by an exploding drawbridge. Unbelievable.

I post the stats to my google notebook so I can pull them up later.

I don't think I'll be playing for a while...

/ \
/ REST \
/ IN \
/ \
| Velma |
| 0 Au |
| crushed to death |
| by an exploding |
| drawbridge |
| |
| 2007 |
*| * * * | *

Farvel Velma the Valkyrie...

You were crushed in The Quest on dungeon level 6 with 362800 points,
and 0 pieces of gold, after 63371 moves.
You were level 14 with a maximum of 124 hit points when you were crushed.

Final Attributes:

You were the Hand of Elbereth.
You were piously aligned.
You were fire resistant.
You were cold resistant.
You were sleep resistant.
You were shock resistant.
You were poison resistant.
You were magic-protected.
You saw invisible.
You were telepathic.
You were warned.
You were displaced.
You were stealthy.
You could teleport.
You had teleport control.
You had slower digestion.
You were protected.
You were fast.
You had reflection.
You were extremely lucky.
You had extra luck.
Good luck did not time out for you.
You are dead.

1796 creatures vanquished.

The scene etched into my brain.

Dow closes at yet another record-breaking high.

I blame Bush.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

OK, that's it.


I'm sick and tired of hearing how we need to "deploy" our troops to another country. CALL IT WHAT IT IS!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Living in Conditions

Most of the people in the world float through life with little attention paid to anything other than themselves.

A small percentage go through life acutely aware of everything that goes on around them; and prepared to take action if necessary.

When I started looking into getting a CCW permit, I found that it was a little more involved than simply jamming a pistol in your pocket. With great power comes great responsibility. The lives of innocents and loved ones around you are not instantly saved by the simple fact that you happen to have a gun on your person. You need to do more. Much more.

You have to be aware of how you appear and are perceived by other people.
You have to be perceptive of the people around you.

For most people, this means living in conditions.

In my eyes, there are only 4 conditions. This is kept simple for a reason, the differences between the four needs to be clear.

Condition White (or green)
Condition Yellow
Condition Orange
Condition Red

Condition White
At ease.
This is the lowest condition; this is sheeple mode. Very little attention is paid to your surroundings, and you are very relaxed. Some people argue that you should never be in condition white, and that the lowest you should go is some other condition between yellow and white. To those people I say, you must relax some time. Being in a constant state of alert and readiness will take its toll on you physically, and mentally. Don't do it. All that I ask about being in condition white is that you are prepared to escalate at a moment's notice. This is mainly a mental thing, but some equipment preparations are required.

If I'm sitting on the couch, watching TV or computing, I'm at condition white. But, I'll usually have my EDC knife on me or have a pocket knife on the coffee table in front of me (it's full of crap anyways), and I'll always be mentally ready to toss the computer, and bolt to the bedroom where firearms can be retrieved. Having this in the back of my mind doesn't really escalate my condition (I think), but not having it in my mind makes me unprepared.

Condition Yellow
What doesn't fit?
To me, condition yellow should be maintained whenever you are out of your house or around people you don't know. You are attentive to the strangers around you, how they're acting, what they're doing, what they're looking at, where they're going, and so on. At first this seems like a daunting (if not impossible) task, but once you get used to how the floating sheeple act in the areas you frequent, non-sheeple or people doing non-sheeple actions will we surprisingly easy to identify. This heightened state of awareness will likely net you a few people to keep an eye on. 99% of the time, these people will not be a threat of any kind, but since you're keeping an eye on them, you will be prepared should you be wrong. You just have to constantly ask yourself; "Whom here does not fit?"

If I'm walking through the mall, my eyes are constantly moving across the crowd in front and I'm constantly glancing behind me. Scanning the clothing, faces, body language, and movements of the people within 75 feet of me and my party. If someone is milling around or appears to be waiting in an odd area, I try to note where they're looking. Are they glancing expectantly at the parking structure, waiting for friends? Or are they scanning left, right, and behind them to make sure no one is coming? Is their body language tense or relaxed? If they don't fit, I probably won't deviate from my path or change the way I act; but I will be watching them.

Condition Orange
Something's wrong.
Condition orange is the realization that something is wrong. Odd or furtive movements by someone you're watching can escalate you to condition orange. Unfortunately I don't have a precise explanation of what defines condition orange beyond "Something's Wrong" (maybe that's a good thing). Sometimes condition orange can be attained by something as innocuous as a bad vibe you get from someone. Yellow and orange are very similar, but one important differentiator is that condition orange is the first stage of readiness and possible action. At condition orange you need to begin becoming physically and mentally prepaired to take action, and you possibly take avoidance action.

If while walking back from a resteraunt to our car I notice someone has been with us for a few turns, and is acting strange/differently, I will go to condition orange. At this point, I may place my thumb into my pocket and pinch my knife in a thumb and palm grip without removing it, but my primary concern is to keep from having to go to condition red. Since I'm beginning to suspect this person of bearing me ill will, I can no longer treat him like any other person (though he may still be). Hence, I am unable to take any overt action but must find a way to confirm or deny my suspicions. I may stop my party and feign forgetting something for long enough for him to pass. Someone with malicious intent may realize he has been spotted and walk on as if he was just another innocent sheeple wandering after his car. If this person sees us stop, and ducks behind something so we don't notice him following us or stops to innocently talk on his phone, it's time to go to condition red. If he was maintaining a distance, and begins to rapidly close the gap, it's time to go to condition red.

Condition Red
Possible threat, take action.
Strangely enough, condition red is not the final condition. Condition red is for confirming or avoiding the possible threat any way necessary. The final condition is the fight for your life and the lives of others, and need not be a condition. If you've made it to condition red correctly, your attentiveness will likely be rewarded by not having to go to the final condition. Once you've correctly identified a possible threat, you have the advantage of the first move. Usually this is finding/notifying security, calling the police, or if those are not viable actions, taking evasive action or turning the tables. If you've noticed someone acting strangely, and have positively identified them as a possible threat, fetching security will keep you from having to confront anyone. Likewise, if you're walking home, and notice some possible threats, you can call the police and ask that a unit drive by and talk to you for a short while to scare the threat away. Note that you MUST positively identify a possible threat before you do any of these actions. If you call the police and say that someone's walking behind you, they won't care. If you tell them you've walked in a circle, and have confirmed that someone is following you, they will (should). The last two possibilities are more dangerous. Taking evasive action can include ducking into a safe area (preferrably a room or building with lots of people), or just flat-out running (only if you've already called the cops or know where to run). There are better ways to deal with this than running, be smart about thinking up safe areas, don't rely on simply outrunning your possible threat. Note that if you start running and they give chase, you have a clear escalation to the final condition. Turning the tables is the last resort, as it is simply a confrontation. You turn around, step aside, and stare at your possible threat to let them know you see them and are ready for them. They may walk on, or they may take the chance on trying to take you in a ready state. This should usually only be tried when you have the advantage of numbers. This is NOT recommended. You can usually call, seek, or notify the authorities without letting your threat know that you are doing so. Your advantage is that you get the first move.
Remember that in this condition, you must be very careful NOT to corner yourself. If you were walking to you car or your home, you MUST go elsewhere, or pretend to be unaware in safe areas long enough for the authorities to arrive!
Remember that nothing is confirmed! At this condition it's VERY likely this person bears you ill will, but it is still possible for innocents to cause this condition! Preemptive attacks are assault and you WILL be arrested!

The most important thing about the conditions is not how well you identify them, but how cleanly and appropriately you switch between them. When your suspect is not making it clear if you should escalate, try to think of an action you can take to either confirm or deny the escalation without confrontation or letting him know you are aware of him.

Some people live with conditions but don't carry; some carry but don't live in conditions. Just because you don't have a weapon doesn't mean that you can't live in conditions or that conditions will help you and your loved ones stay safe.

Example of how conditions can help in a possibly bad situation.
Followed walking home.

Jake finished feeding his friend's dog, and started the 5 block walk home to get ready for his date. Jake was at condition yellow, and after a block-and-a-half he noticed that a couple of guys 50 feet behind him matched a couple of his turns. "No big deal," he thought "lots of people walk here." He walked on, but was alert of his surroundings, and aware of the two behind him. After they matched a few more of his turns, he began to worry. "I think they might be following me, but I have to be sure I'm not just being paranoid!" Jake spotted a coffee shop, and walked in to look around and see if they passed. After a few minutes he walked back out and casually looked where they were as he turned to continue his walk. They were there, talking to eachother and gesturing at a nearby car. When he resumed walking, they slowly began behind him. Condition orange. From here we will take a few journeys to possible conclusions based on Jake's actions.

Jake decided to walk in a circle along populated streets to make sure they were indeed following him. As he made the last turn he peeked over his shoulder to see if they followed. They never appeared. They realized that he walked in a circle, and knew they had been spotted. After losing the element of surprise, they moved on to easier targets.

Jake picked a populated corner, and stopped to look at a newspaper in a coin-operated newspaper dispenser. When he did, he turned his head and made eye contact with the two briefly, before pretending to continue reviewing the paper through the plastic window. The two walked up, crossed the street, and walked on. They knew he saw them, but couldn't make a move on the crowded street corner.

Jake walked in the circle mentioned in the first possibility; this time, they kept following him. Now he was sure they were following him. Condition red. He casually reached for his cell phone, and called 911. "911, what is your emergency?" "Two guys are following me, I think they're going to rob me. I walked in a circle to make sure and they're definately following me." "What is your location?" "I'm walking North on Main, I just passed 42nd, and I'm wearing a brown jacket and blue jeans." "We'll send a unit by, keep walking straight." Half a block later a police car pulled up next to him, and called to him. He turned to talk to the cop, and as he did, he saw the guys behind him had crossed the street and changed direction.

The police did not arrive, and Jake was afraid they were going to realize that he was wise to them. Jake picked another crowded street corner, and turned around. He removed his hands from his jacket pockets, and stared at them. They hesitated slightly, and continued walking. "What are you looking at?" One of them said snidely as they passed him, and crossed the steet.

The police did not arrive, and Jake was afraid they were going to realize that he was wise to them before the police made arrived. Jake looked around, and now found himself without a crowded street corner to use. He knew he would have to make the first move before they did since they outnumbered him. He also knew he shouldn't confront them since they outnumbered him. He glanced up and down the street and saw no police cars. When he returned his gaze foward, he looked down to the side and noticed in his peripheral vision that the two men had quickened their pace. He was losing the first move. He didn't want to confront them, but he didn't know the area well enough to run. He walked up some steps to the nearest alcove of an apartment building so he wasn't visable to the men. He heard their pace quicken. He turned to face the street, and put his hand behind him. He heard the men slow as they approached the alcove and come into view. He glared at them as they came into view, looking into the alcove for him. They paused, looked at his face, looked at his hand behind him on the small of his back, turned, and walked on. Shortly after, the police arrived and were nice enough to give him a ride to his apartment.

Had Jake walked home in a blissfully ignorant condition white, he might have found himself beaten in an alley, or the victim of a home invasion robbery putting his loved ones at risk. As we could see Jake could avoid the potential situation a number of ways without going to far as to pretend he was armed. None of this would have been possible had Jake not been aware of his surroundings.

The problem living with conditions.
If you make the decision to live your life in conditions, there really isn't any going back. You can either be aware of all things around you, and perpetually prepaired, or you can't. Living in conditions can be a source of headache for you and possibly your loved ones. Had I been in condition white in this situation, everything would have happened the same way, and everyone would have been fine. The contant awareness and (yes, I'm going to say it) paranoia can be a wear on you physically and mentally. When I was in Vegas, I wasn't used to how everyone acted, and I had a tough time identifying the sheeple. It was a strain just being there, around so many people.

Does everyone have to live in conditions?
Of course not. And I certainly wouldn't think poorly of you if you decided not to. Even if your condition white sense of security was shattered by an act of violence, you can still choose not to live in conditions. The simple fact is that most citizens can go their entire lives in condition white with no problems.

Some people don't have the capacity to live in conditions. However, those who DO have the capacity should think very carefully about the people who depend on them for safety.

For more information on this topic, I HIGHLY recommend reading Xavier's post Recognizing Threats.

Say 'non' to 2007!

I'd heard on the radio that the French were protesting the progression of time. They blamed the UN and demanded that they stop time.


I started looking around and found that this was really just a joke to parody their readiness to protest anything new.

I just thought they had gotten a little bit too much government subsidized wine! Seems they're more able to laugh at themselves than I thought!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Beautiful 3 Day weekend off.

This was a real weekend to remember (though, some parts I can't!). It was just what I needed to begin the new year fresh.

In order to relate how perfect this weekend was, I will be using the following smiley animation: as a bullet point image for each point.

Had my Birthday
Had a Birthday lunch of Thai from the best local Thai place. XXX Spicy Noodles if you care. (though I really wanted 5 "X"s)
Had a Birthday Dinner with my family with tons of (REALLY FRESH) sushi from a great sushi place And, I'm a total sushi snob.
Found a place that had my favorite sandals. My favorites broke a bit ago, and the place I got them from didn't sell them over winter. So I suffered with my backups until I couldn't find them, and tried to jury-rig my broken sandals. They broke the same day at a outdoor mall, and we went to some place to pick up some cheapies, and they were selling my favorites! I seriously love these sandals. Always buy extras folks!
Drank my way into my birthday with friends.
I got seriously F'ed up (since I so rarely do) on Wild Turkey and Coke (unlike 101, 80 proof sneaks up on ya!) on New Years with all my friends watching Season 1 of Robot Chicken.
I saw lots of Robot Chicken.
Played a bit of Xbox (Freedom Fighters; awesome game.)
Saw Pursuit of Happyness. (Loved it. But I'm a sucker for these kinds of movies.)
Played a metric ton of Nethack.
Didn't die while played aforementioned metric ton of Nethack. (bonus!)
Lost, then was reunited with my pet Red Dragon, Trogdor, in Nethack. (You have no idea how relieved I was when I found him!)
Not once did I do anything work-related.
Only once did I think about work. (Got a call that I shouldn't have, redirected it off, and quickly forgot about it)
Watched a ton of MASH on the MASH marathon on the Hallmark Channel. (which had hilariously stupid/silly commercials) I've known MASH was quality, but never had the chance to sit down and really watch it.
Had almost no responsibility the entire weekend.
The world lost one more monster to the gallows.

The only way this weekend could have possibly been any better would have been if Jack Bauer punched me in the face, which (I think we can all agree) would have been awesome.