Sunday, September 30, 2007


This makes me laugh every time.

...No matter how many times I watch it. a row.

Rick-a-dick-dick, Rick-a-dick-dick!


I was thinking about this and busting up all weekend; YEAH, RUMSFELD!

Meanwhile in 2001...

I'm watching this movie called Shrek...

It's pretty funny, you might want to check it out...

Can has moar? plzthxbai

I'm not sure why, but Firefly seems to get more awesome every time I watch it.

Then SR just had to burst my bubble and remind me that no matter how many times I watch the series there will always be the same number of episodes.


Friday, September 28, 2007

That's really all you've got?

The Cato institute released a thorough fisking of the DC mayor's statements on how they will approach the DC vs Heller case when it is brought before the supreme court.

Anti-gunners' agendas have been running on little more than hot air for decades now, apparently they've been doing it for so long they've begun to believe it themselves. They've convinced themselves that what they're doing makes good sense despite all facts to the contrary. Usually when you-- well... lie like this, you don't want your view to be legally challenged by a body that will do more than simply believe what you say is fact.

Don't get me wrong; seeing this case brought before the supreme court is incredibly great news for freedom-loving individuals all over America, I'm just surprised that these idiots have been winning for so long.


"What's wrong with Apples?"

"They're just not real computers," the PFY says. "They're the piano accordion of the computing world, entertaining, but not made for professionals."

"Our Graphics people..."

"Yeah, but they're not professionals. They'd be just as happy with crayons and finger paints!"

The BOFH never ceases to entertain...

Quote of the awesome

From Jay

Some filthy tree-hugging hippie feels morally superior to a group of 4 year olds. What a hero.

It isn't as though the preschoolers were laughing maniacally and wringing their hands evilly at the thought of a tortured lagomorph; they were cultivating an appreciation and love of animals.

Way to go you hippie garbage. I can't wait until all of you start dying off. (hopefully sooner than regular people due to protein deficiencies and drug addled minds and bodies)

Die in a fire,

Hat tip to James.

So much for 78...

Lets hope for a rally soon... GW ain't looking too good...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Farvel Olga the Vampire Lord...

[Olga's quest continues...]

/ \
/ REST \
/ IN \
/ \
| Olga |
| 3203 Au |
| petrified by a |
| cockatrice |
| |
| |
| 2007 |
*| * * * | *

Farvel Olga the Valkyrie...

You turned to stone in The Dungeons of Doom on dungeon level 14 with 123857
and 3203 pieces of gold, after 29573 moves.
You were level 13 with a maximum of 146 hit points when you turned to stone.

At least the cockatrice was alive this time...

Olga was playing the mid-game very well, she had good kit, she was in good graces with her Tyr, and after sokoban, she had a bunch of rings that promised to be useful. By level 12 I still couldn't find any altars besides the one in the mine town, which was becoming quite a walk (back up to level 2, and down to level 6). My Bag of Holding was full of unidentified kit, and I was on my way to one of my storage chests to drop it all off when I hit a level teleport trap which sent me to level 2! Well, that was helpful. I headed down to the mine town to visit my temple and ran into a peaceful tengu. Eating them gives you a chance to pickup intrinsic teleport control. This would be useful in conjunction with a wand or scroll of teleport. Unfortunately, there's also a chance you can develop teleportitis which would cause you to randomly teleport. Teleportitis is a bit of a bother, but workable, and at higher levels you can teleport randomly at will, and if I got teleport control I'd be able to teleport wherever I want on demand, and chose to ignore the random teleports that don't take up any mana. I'd eaten a few tengus (tengi?) and with no luck (or unluck) so I figured I was due.

The tengu corpse tastes terrible! You finish eating. --more--
You feel jumpy.

Bugger. I wanted to hear "You feel in control of yourself." I've got teleportitis now. Oh well, I knew the risks, and one of those rings just might be teleport control!

In the mine town I notice a peaceful cat wandering around and am reminded of my earlier visit. Back when I was first visiting the mine town I was excited to find the temple was co-aligned and searched for a box to set up storage in the temple. Fortunately didn't have to look very far because boxes are heavy and tough to lug around. After I got the box up to the temple I had a bunch of junky weapons and armor lying around that were going to be put in there, but when I opened the box I got a message I'd never gotten before.
There's a cat in this box! The cat is alive!

Out popped a peaceful cat named Schrodinger's cat. I chuckled and moved on. Now that I was back I was looking forward to finding a wand of polymorph to use on a pet to hopefully turn into something tough like Trogdor, so I fed Schrodinger's cat and it was more than happy to become my pet.

Back at the sanctuary of Tyr's temple everything was checked for curses and I started trying on the safe items to see if they did anything obvious so I wouldn't have to use a scroll of identification. I found I had a bunch of cursed rings I didn't want to risk trying on. Afterwards I still had a bunch of unidentified scrolls and potions so I locked the door to the temple, and fished around in the junk chest I kept there for a weapon and piece of armor I wouldn't mind suffering the possibly ill effects of unidentified scrolls.

  c   uncursed scroll named DUAM XNAHT

Looks like a good place to start...

You read the scroll named DUAM XNAHT --more--
Your uncursed dagger turns to dust!

Whew! Glad I didn't have Mjollnir wielded at the time!

Fortunately none of the scrolls were punishment because I wasn't sure if I could safely pray yet. I had quite a few scrolls of enchant weapon and while Mjollnir was already kicking ass and rustproof and corrosion resistant, the daggers I was throwing weren't either of those things. Yet.

You are now weilding 9 uncursed daggers.
You read the uncursed scroll of enchant weapon. --more--
Your 9 uncursed daggers glow blue for a moment
You read the uncursed scroll of enchant weapon. --more--
Your 9 uncursed daggers glows blue for a while.


You drink the uncursed potion of confusion. You are confused!
You read the uncursed scroll of enchant weapon. --more--
You mispronounce the magic words on the scroll.
Your 9 uncursed daggers are covered by a shimmering golden shield!
You dip your 9 uncursed daggers into your blessed potion of water. --more--
Your 9 uncursed daggers glow softly amber

Awesome. 9 blessed +3 rustproof daggers.

My teleportitis flares up and sends me into one of the rooms I locked full of minor baddies wielding my new daggers wearing little more than a cloak. Whoops... I dispatch them easily enough and make it back to the temple with the intention of making a blessed scroll of identify to try to ID my cursed rings in the hope that one of them is teleport control. I pick up some useless potions and scrolls and go searching for a fountain to dip them into to dilute potions into water, and to erase the scrolls. I head back and drop my 4 potions of water on the altar to Tyr.

You pray to Tyr. You are surrounded by a shimmering light. --more--
You feel Tyr is well-pleased. The altar glows softly blue.
You see here 4 potions of Holy Water

I pull my magic marker and some unlabeled scrolls out of my bag of holding and then remember that an uncursed bag of holding makes the items within it weigh half, but a blessed bag of holding makes things weigh only a quarter! I dip the bag into one potion of holy water and smile at the thought that I just doubled my carrying capacity so easily. I check my knowledge to find the magic words to write a scroll of identify and uncap my magic marker.

What do you want to write? FOOBIE BLETCH
T uncursed scroll of Identify

#dip T
What do you want to dip your uncursed scroll of identify into? F
Your scroll of identify glows amber.
t blessed scroll of Identify

I dig in my newly blessed bag of holding and pull out all my wands and anything else I might want identified. When you read a blessed scroll of identify there's a chance it will identify your whole inventory, and you'll be kicking yourself if that happens, and all your cool shit is inside your bag. I read the scroll and ID some rings, see invisible, polymorph, -2 ring of lose constitution, polymorph control. Since I was just in my bag I remember that I've got a wand of turn invisible and zap myself with it. Then I realize that I've got polymorph control AND polymorph! If I can polymorph at will, I can do some cool stuff like turn into a dragon or cockatrice, or turn into a vampire lord and play the rest of the game with levitation, awesome strength, and without having to eat! I put on the ring of polymorph control and read a scroll of remove curse so I can take it off at will, then I take off my armor so the transformation doesn't destroy any of it. I put on the ring of polymorph and quickly dipped it into some holy water so I could take it off (it's not something you want to be stuck with). I waited a few turns for the ring to do it's thing, and sure enough;

What monster would you like to change into?

I thought a moment, then smiled.

You are transformed into a grey dragon! --more--
use #monster to use your breath attack --more
use #sit to lay eggs

Eggs? Well, I was a female! Suddenly I see myself strolling through the dungeon with an army of baby dragons at my side, breathing death at whatever might come near. Fuck. Yes. And if they die, I can use their scales for some awesome armor! I lay an egg, and move aside to an empty square to lay another.

Schrodinger's cat eats a dragon egg (laid by you)

[cartman]DAMNIT KITTY![/cartman] I need to lock that cat outside. I take a step towards the door and my teleportitis puts me across the map with a group (clot?) of Uruk-hai. Whoops, wait; I'm a fucking dragon now! I breathe a magic blast at a few of them and realize that I'm out of energy! Stats get redone when you change and while I had a lower natural armor class, I had 40 hit points! That can't be good. I give them a few strong bites and realize that I'm still invisible, so I avoid them and make it back to the temple.

What monster would you like to change into?

Whoops, forgot to take off the ring. Well, being a dragon isn't all it's cracked up to be...

You are transformed into a cockatrice! --more--
use #sit to lay eggs

Oh yeah, cockatrice eggs can be thrown like grenades! I quickly lay a few eggs, and my cat knows better than to eat them. But cockatrices weren't meant to carry all the shit that I had so I got pretty hungry moving around before the next transformation, plus rings make you hungrier. I turned back into my original form and grabbed my bag for some food only to realize that I was out. I headed out of the temple to find something to eat, but couldn't find anything. Weak! I headed back for the temple and by now I was weak with hunger. I couldn't pray for Tyr to fill my stomach since I just asked him to bless that water! I'm fucking awesome, and I'm going to die of hunger! I resist the temptation to freak out and run around the level looking for something to eat, and try to focus on what I can do. I check the junk chest on the off chance it'll have some food. No luck just swords and heavy metal armor. Wait... I pull out a few uncurse swords and daggers.

What monster would you like to change into?


Xorns are metallivors, which means that this chest full of junk is my ticket to a full stomach! It took more swords than I thought to slake my hunger, but I wasn't at risk of dying anymore. As I'm eating I realize that one of my choices of what to eat is unexpected, my ring of polymorph control. I confirm that the ring is made of iron, and can be eaten by me. Eating a tengu corpse can give me intrinsics, so eating a magic ring should be no different, right?

You eat your uncursed ring of polymorph control. --more--
Magical energy courses through your body!


What monster would you like to change into?

Awesome! Now I don't have to use a ring finger to keep polymorph control!

I change into a Vampire Lord and load my backpack light to go try out my new body. I decide to hit the bottom of the mines for the luckstone and on my way I had two surprises!

A chickatrice falls out of your backpack and calls out "Mommy!"

I'm fighting so I take a few more turns and another one appears! I guess some of those eggs I laid when I was a cockatrice were fertilized! I may not be flanked by baby dragons, but baby cockatrices just may be better! I step back from my melee and blow my magic whistle. A few turns later all my previous foes are made of stone, and not particularly interested in continuing the fight. I breeze through to the bottom of the mines and can't help but laugh when a really nasty monster appears with a menacing look in it's eyes, and is turned to stone at the mere touch of a tiny chickatrice. I also notice that as a Vampire Lord I have a modest amount of HP, but have regeneration and whenever I attack something I hit it with my weapon, then bite it and suck strength from it. Few monsters made it to two rounds of Mjollnir and the vampire bite, I was kicking ass. My thoughts turned to my piles of unidentified stuff on the level 12, and decided that I really needed to find another altar deeper in the dungeon. So, flanked by two chickatrices, I waltzed back up to the regular dungeon on level 2, and made it down to level 12 easily. On the way, my teleportitis put me into a previously undiscovered scroll store! Sweet! I was still looking for a scroll of genocide, and really wanted to rustproof some of my armor. I had a ton of cash, and didn't think I'd have trouble cleaning the store out, but I wanted to know how my new body would fair against a tough shopkeeper. I proved to be too fast and strong for him. I gathered up all the scrolls and read all the spellbooks looking for force bolt, but everything there was beyond my spellcasting skill level.

I continued deeper, with no altars in sight, until I found a treasure zoo which is basically a room full of monsters all standing on different amounts of gold. I had stealth, so all the monsters were will asleep when I opened the door. I laughed at what was about to happen, and blew my magic whistle. My chickatrices teleported in and, two at a time, began turning the sleeping monsters to stone.
You snooze, you lose!

They were halfway through the monsters when I noticed that one of my chickatrices had grown into a cockatrice. I named it Quik-Dry. My chickatrice turned a gnome to stone, and attacked a sleeping cockatrice. Uh oh, that cockatrice is petrification resistant, and I don't know if it can beat a full grown cockatrice in a physical fight. I confirmed I was wearing gloves, and ran over to take care of the cockatrice before my chickatrice got too badly hurt.

Seasoned Nathack players may know what's about to happen.

I approach the cockatrice and give it a good swing of Mjollnir, and follow up my attack with... a vampire bite. The worst part was that I realized that I would touch the cockatrice when I bit it after I pressed the attack button. I hadn't encountered any cockatrices before so at least I was thinking about the consequences of attacking a cockatrice, problems was I thought about it one turn too late.

Well, it was certainly fun to play around with polymorph, and I definitely picked up some skills and knowledge that'll help me in future games, but it was still rough to see Olga the Vampire Lord turn into a piece of art.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You are lucky! Full moon tonight --more--

There's a full moon tonight, and Nethack gives a luck bonus for full moons.

I'll be playing Olga tonight to take advantage of that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm mad as hell; and so are they.

Tam has voiced her disintrest in voting for someone who doesn't represent her, much to the chagrin of those who encourage us to hold our noses and pull the lever for fear of the "H" word.

To those who argue that we should hold our noses for the supreme court justices, Tam says this;
I am fully convinced that if Obama switched parties tomorrow, hardline GOP bloggers would be encouraging me to vote for the guy by saying "Hold your nose and think of the Supreme Court nominations!"

Thanks, but no.

Thanks Tam, at least someone said it.

I find myself in agreement with her. I want to vote for someone because they represent me not because I'm afraid of what the other guy (or girl) will do. When did we stop doing that?

I know my vote for RP won't be "thrown away", because I know the republicans will be counting every vote he gets; whether they win or lose.

Be sure and give those comments a read; they're worth your time. If this is indicative of what's really going on out in the base of the republican party, the time to clean house is drawing near.

Olga update

[Olga's quest continues...]

It's been a bit, and I think I owe some of you an update on Olga's quest through the Mazes of Menace. I know some of you saw no further update on her progress and, assuming the worst, though it best not to touch on the subject. I appreciate your respectfulness on the situation. :)

Olga died of a typo (sigh) which resulted in her death at the hands of a co-aligned priest (don't ask) Suffice to say, I felt her death to be quite untimely, and felt secure in reanimating her for another go!
Olga is dead! Long live Olga!

Shortly after starting Olga's second game, I stated aloud that I felt good about this game. Normally this would have been a cue for the RNG to give me a beat down, but for some reason (possibly the excessive caution I've been using) Olga has been doing quite well. She's a little bit past the first phase of survival, and I'm starting to scrounge up all the necessary equipment to go deeper. Nothing exciting has happened so far, except for the fact that the RNG seems hell-bent on keeping me from having a pet...

[To be continued...]

The confidence to handle a situation

Old story but relevant; this concealed carry permit owner and firearms trainer encounters a situation where he's glad he had his weapon on him.

Contrary to how CCW permit holders are portrayed, he didn't get in a shootout, he didn't return fire in a high speed vehicle pursuit, he didn't dive off an exploding tanker truck while shooting two guns, in fact; he didn't even use his weapon.

He found himself (and his family) in the beginnings of a dangerous situation, and since he was armed he was able to handle the situation with strength and the confidence that he would be able to handle the situation if it escalated.

Second, the only reason I believe I had the courage to stand up to them and show strength was that I knew I had a Plan B tucked away on my hip. The criminals never knew the gun was there, yet the gun helped me out of the situation. This is a value of concealed carry that most people miss.

You won't find this situation on any gun-related statistics, and yet the gun played an important part in the confrontation.

Two great reads

The Armed Canadian is hitting 'em out of the park! He's got two posts up that are sure to pique your interest.

The first is;
The Protest You'll Never See
Quite simply: Imagine 10,000 law-abiding gun owners marching on the National Mall with rifles on their shoulders and carrying signs demanding the repeal of some existing gun law felt (and rightly so) to be Unconstitutional.

The idea is civil disobedience for gun owners, and he goes into why it's interesting to think about, but not necessarily the best course of action. It's an interesting dive into what if territory, and is worth your time and thought.

The second is;
A "Reasonable Restriction" on Shouting Fire
Wherein he recounts a heated discussion of rights vs "greater good" that he had with is future mother-in-law.
Sparring about rights with a Government and History Teacher: Bad Idea.

He gets into some great analogies for 1st and 2nd amendment restrictions based on the "restriction" that you are not allowed to shout "fire" in a crowded theater. A great discussion, that both sides can benefit from. (plus you can gather some great ammo for future arguments heated debates)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Josh is on strike!

Lets hope an agreeable end can be reached in this tense situation!

Finally finished!

Finally finished with this.

6 months of divided attention, and scrounging hours to work on it here and there. It was basically a proof-of-concept to prove that we can do this so we could approve more time and manpower. Now we can get someone else to do the (now) boring part of my job, and free me up to do more of the fun stuff!

Stuff like this;

You... _might_ want to get that checked out...

Adventures in Google searches.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I don't know what's funnier...

"What women want" is on TV, and I couldn't help but marvel at Mel Gibson trying to put on tights.

I wasn't sure what to be more surprised about; that he gets paid to put on tights, or that he expects us to take him seriously after he gets paid to put on tights.

It begins... again... again...

Bolstered by my proper playing of Hildur, I must start again...

Velkommen Olga, welcome to NetHack!  You are a lawful human Valkyrie.


Olga the Stripling St:16 Dx:14 Co:18 In:7 Wi:12 Ch:8 Lawful
Dlvl:1 $:0 HP:16(16) Pw:2(2) AC:6 Exp:1

This post was made at 1:50pm

Tule falls into a pit! Tule is killed!
Off to a great start... Edited at 2:11pm

[To be continued...]

Well, that didn't take long...

/ \
/ REST \
/ IN \
/ \
| Hildur |
| 2052 Au |
| killed by a |
| death ray |
| |
| |
| 2007 |
*| * * * | *

Farvel Hildur the Valkyrie...

You died in The Dungeons of Doom on dungeon level 8 with 36645 points,
and 2052 pieces of gold, after 13101 moves.
You were level 10 with a maximum of 97 hit points when you died.

I had no chance.
Long hallway + fast monster with a wand of death + no magic resistance = you're fucked.
I had nowhere to run, no means of teleporting away, I couldn't dig to another level, I didn't have any kind of magic reistance, I didn't have any kind of reflection, I didn't have any strong wands, he was too far away for Elbereth, and he was damn fast. I dodged it 4 times, but I was totally fucked.

(this post made at 5:14am)

It begins... again.

Velkommen Hildur, welcome to NetHack! You are a lawful dwarven Valkyrie.


Hildur the Stripling St:18/01 Dx:15 Co:15 In:8 Wi:10 Ch:7 Lawful
Dlvl:1 $:0 HP:18(18) Pw:1(1) AC:6 Exp:1

(this post made at 12:03am)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Apple Juice + Air = WTFAWOESME!!!11

It's just carbonated apple juice! How could it possibly be as good as it is? All I know is this stuff gets cleared out of the company refrigerator in under a week, no matter how much we buy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This guy is pissed.

I like his videos, but he's pissed now...

Whether you believe the doom and gloom or not, it's interesting...

Don't ask; I might answer.

Ever veg out and let your mind think odd thoughts, and other odd thoughts that build on the previous odd thought, and when you get back to Earth, you question the progression of ideas that brought you to your final thought?

I do that all the time, except I bounce from idea to idea really fast, and I can't really control when it happens. I'll appear to be listening intently, (and may even be listening intently) but meanwhile, elsewhere in my brain I'm wondering if The Chipmunks could really sing, why would people be so concerned with how skilled they were and not just enjoy the novelty? This is, of course, a rather tame sane example. When the odd thoughts get more interesting they can give me a disconcerting feeling towards reality.

But hey; at least I don't wake up naked in a field, covered in blood.

This is probably why I enjoy activities that allow me to focus 100% on something, and devote full brain power to a single task such as shooting, or writing code.

Something like this is why I'm glad people don't ask me what I'm thinking.

I've been told my brain doesn't work the way its supposed to most do.

Quote of the awesome

David reminds us that when you compromise on principal you can only lose.

I know, I know: "Ron Paul can't win and this'll just help Hillary. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Politics is the art of compromise."

How's that working out for us?

From David.

Friday, September 14, 2007

When You Shouldn't Own a Gun

The Armed Canadian has a post up on when you shouldn't own a gun.

I can't say I disagree with his logic.

A gun is not a magic talisman. It does not resolve any situation by its mere presence, in fact, it escalates situations. This story speaks to the self-defense mindset. Having the mindset of self defense will do more for you than replacing it with a gun. If you're not prepared to use your gun in a defense situation, don't pick it up.

If you don't have the mindset, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to learn it.

I've said it before; buying a gun doesn't make you safe.
Learning how, when, and why to use it does.

Zero Punctuation video on Bioshock

This is hilarious and awesome. Perhaps so hilarious and awesome that I may have to make a new word.
Hilarisome? Awesarious?

It's all good. Just watch it.

Journalistic malpractice, caught in the act

There ought-a be a law.

David lays out some unfortunate facts to an "investigative" reporter. That is to say; the facts are unfortunate if you happen to be on the side of the argument that flies in the face of reality.

Facts are a funny thing; they don't have emotion, they don't have any agendas, they don't have any bias. They're just facts. They're the truth. You can't argue with them unless you have other facts.

This misguided person is convinced that stopping the legal sale of guns in high-crime areas will have a positive effect. In reality it will just make it harder for high risk victims (law-abiding citizens who must live in high-crime areas) to obtain the means to protect themselves and their families from those who would do harm.

David goes one step further. He points out that there are a number of points no reporter worth the name could possibly ignore. This is willful ignorance. When minds are already made up, and the "truth" is clear, who can be bothered to check the facts? It's not like it's her-- oh wait...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yet somehow; I have a girlfriend.

do /dev/dance;
make love;
at 19:00
at> wget down
at> <EOT>

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Invisible lulz

EDIT: fucking I don't feel like resizing those images. Just click on them.

First, the classic;
invisible bike


And for PDB;
invisible sandwich




Quote of the day

Restraining orders, don't.

From Kevin.

Evil, baby killing, assault steel

Fashion statement for gun control
Designer Melanie C. Brandon has made jewelry from a machine gun and pistols seized in Phila. and melted down.

"It was amazing seeing something that was used for so much violence, hurt and destruction, to watch its power being taken away," Brandon said. "This really hits so close to home."

emphasis added

So, this "something" had power? The power to bend wills, and corrupt innocents? The power to destroy the very heart of man!

...Or maybe, just maybe...

a gun is just a tool

an inanimate object

incapable of hate, anger, or vengeance

unable of any action at all...

unless it is actually used by a sentient being that actually IS capable of all those things.

Oh no, it couldn't be that. Any time any element or molecule is used for evil, that molecule carries the taint of evil no matter its form. When Hitler died and his body decomposed, any plant which absorbed this matter is evil. If this plant produces oxygen, and it is inhaled by a deer; that deer is evil. If a hunter shoots this deer, and serves it to his family, that family is evil. And so on, and so on.

Anthropomorphic inanimate objects. It's like watching a Disney movie.
This is Gunny the gun! He hates everyone and shoots people when they're not looking! Also, he eats babies and kicks puppies!

I guess some people just can't comprehend the idea of evil people. They deny reality by making excuses for the perpetrator, claiming that his evil is the result of society's ills, or that his evil is the result of a demonic possession from an inanimate object.

That's got to be some kind of mania...

Hat tip to David for the link.

9/11, 6 years later

An act of war such what was perpetrated on 9/11 should have been more than enough to galvanize the people to fight back. Americans are known (and sometimes hated) for their "can do" attitude, and their resolve. This can no longer be the case.

It seems that most Americans had their anger at the 9/11 attacks redirected, and placated.

Instead of being angry at the man who orchestrated the attacks, we were told that we should blame the president's administration. That our president and vice president were the ones who mismanaged everything, and overextended their reach, and caused this to happen. That we should hate George Bush and Dick Chaney, because they said so.

Instead of being angry at the group that orchestrated the attacks, we were told that we should blame ourselves. That we were the ones who brought this upon ourselves by sending aid to countries that other countries didn't like. That we were the bully of nations, and that we got what we deserved. This perversion of ideas didn't come from some other country, this came from within our population, and even from within our government.

Instead of being angry at the extremists who orchestrated the attacks, we were told that we should blame our own government, because they were the ones who murdered thousands of Americans, and they did it so they could start a war and give money to their friends.

The sport of blaming the victim has been rising in this country of late.

But with all that blame going around, we barely had enough for the people who needed it; us.

We allowed our resolve to be distracted, dissuaded, and divided. The threats against our country were marginalized by many even after 9/11. Blame was tossed around like a hot potato. But for every shrill cry, handful of mud slung, finger pointed, political advantage sought, and agenda driven, only the tiniest percentage of effort was placed on actually destroying the perpetrators of the heinous crime that everyone was talking about without actually talking about.

Instead of being a nation of action, we've been hobbled from the top down. We've taken our national interests, and submitted them for the approval of a conglomeration of nations that couldn't pick their collective nose without losing a finger.

We've allowed this country to become a nation of apology, appeasement, and anticlimax.

All in the name of partisanship.

Not the old kind of partisanship that which argued "I feel your direction for America is the wrong one.", this new kind of partisanship which argues "You don't agree with me, so you are evil and I will stop at nothing to destroy you." Politicians fell over each other to personally attack their opponents with privately funded organizations, private eyes, and cash prizes for proof of personal problems. Anyone who did not march in lock-step was the enemy, no distinctions were made. Anger, hate, and vendettas were the new political arena.

The only thing that saved this nation was the resolve of our president who knew that if we sat on our hands and debated action, it would result in no action. No other leader had the stomach to do what he did, and to power through the voices of the detractors denouncing, disparaging, and demanding. When everyone around him faltered, floundered, and fell, he was firm. He has suffered greatly for it, but I am confident that history will remember him positively.

I think we're through the worst of it, and I think people are starting to get their resolve back, but one more thing still has to happen before we return to our former strength;

...the next attack.

The next attack will solidify and unite the nation. It will tell the people that 9/11 was not a fluke, and that there are people in the world who want them, their children, their neighbors, and their coworkers dead. Americans will understand that these people don't want to talk about who's on who's land, or sending aid to this guy or that guy, they just want non-muslims to die. I hope that when this happens people will get over their borrowed personal hatred of George Bush they were told to carry. Otherwise the cycle will start again until he leaves office.

So I wait in anticipation and anxiety for the reunification of America.

In the meantime, head over to DI's place and remember. Remember the loss, the sorrow, the hate, the tears, the anger, and most of all, remember the resolve.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oh, okay... says I'm a Cool High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Everyone else was doing it!


I used to think burnout was just another word for lazy.

It's not.

Burnout affects people in different ways, and is often misdiagnosed. It's basically a feeling of discomfort that won't go away. People think they need to get more sleep, drink more caffeine, relax all weekend, or worse; take pills.

It seems to affect people who enjoy their jobs, because people who don't enjoy their jobs remember to take vacations, and are less likely to work long hours, and to work at home when "off the clock".

As with most personal problems, it's very difficult for someone to realize they have the problem. Hard workers are more likely to attribute their apparent lethargy to personal failings. Tasks or projects that used to be effortless now take effort and time to complete. Work gets pushed to the side in favor of semi-work-related diversions that you can rationalize (to yourself) are still work and accomplishments. Your work level may still stay the same, but your expended effort and personal discomfort steadily increase.

I didn't realize I was burned out until I was getting excited about a new personal technical project that involved learning new technologies and tough challenges. When I thought of it, I was pretty excited about the prospect, and did some searching around to find out what my first step was. Normally I'd be all over something like this, but weeks later I'm still excited about the project, but just can't bring myself to do even some light research on my starting point. I was chatting with a friend about my problem, and he said it was burnout. Right when he said that, I knew it was the case, and was surprised I couldn't see what was so obvious now.

For months now, I've been pining for some nature. Looking up backpacking and camping information, but never getting to the planning phase. I was dragging my feet, and didn't know why.

Well, not anymore! I'm going to set some goals for relaxation that keep me clear of computers physically, and mentally. I'm going to pick a week and just detach. I'm going to go read a book under a tree, and when I get tired, I'm going to sleep.

I feel better already.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Those Finns sure knew how to make 'em.

My 111 year old M39 arrived a bit ago, snugly packaged within a long cardboard box. Removing it from the box proved to be problematic because as soon as it was freed of its confinement, it was in danger of being crushed by the dense field of awesome that surrounded it.

It was in better shape than Pat had let on (I've read this is usually the case when dealing with her), the wood was well finished, and it had small spots of cosmoline throughout. It was looking forward to a detail cleaning.

I grabbed my leatherman, patches, and cleaning kit (including my universal cleaning stick)(BTW, FUCKYEA!) and prepared to get acquainted with my new rifle.

A couple hours and a hand full of soiled patches later, my appreciation for my new rifle had grown into reverence. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but everything about the rifle just fit perfectly. The weight, the length, the stock, the balance, the everything. It all just fit. The trigger was smooth and even through the break, and with the weight of the rifle, a quick pull wouldn't pull the sights off target. After seeing the barrel serial number I considered nicknaming it "Lucky". That night I admired the rifle until late, and put it away. The next morning I picked it up again. This was the longest it would stay put away for a week.

The reason it took me so long to write this should come as no surprise. Whenever I came home, instead of blogging I was shouldering my rifle, working the action, and achieving an unexpected trigger break. After a week of practicing (practicing sounds so perfunctory, I should say "after a week of enjoying my rifle") the sights align right where I'm looking automatically after I shoulder the rifle.

For all this talk of how much I love my new old rifle, I still have yet to actually shoot it. Details, details... You will get an update when I get a chance to visit the desert.

Until then; more high res pictures here, here, here, here, here, and here.


This beautiful moon.

There was a Zen master who lived in a small hut at he base of a mountain. One evening while he was away on a walk, a thief sneaked into the hut only to find there was nothing to steal. The Zen master returned and saw him within his hut. "You have traveled a long way to visit me," He said to the thief, "and you should not return empty handed. Please take my clothes." The confused thief took the clothes and ran off. The Zen master sat naked outside his hut and looked up at the moon. "Poor fellow, I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Quote of the awesome

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
~Ronald Reagan

Zen of the day

One day while walking through a forest a man found he was being stalked by a tiger. He ran as fast as he could, but found himself at the edge of a cliff. Hearing the tiger approach, he climbed down a short vine that dangled from the cliff. He could still hear the tiger when he noticed two mice crawled out of their nearby holes, and started gnawing on the vine. Then he noticed a small strawberry bush next to where he hung, and saw the most perfectly shaped and colored strawberry he'd ever seen. He picked it, and ate it. It was delicious!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Well look at that...

Not long after I post this about earthquakes in SoCal, than I find the following through an unrelated page...

L.A. in 1,000-year Earthquake Lull

Hat Tip to SurvivalBlog.

Anyone got a candy?

Anti-gun Jodi Foster talks to Variety about her new movie in which she plays a pistol-packing vigilante.
Playing this character felt good, Foster says.

"There's something gratifying about holding a 9 millimeter in your pocket," she admits, "to have the power to know that with less calories than it takes to put a candy in your mouth, you can make a decision that says, 'I live, you die.'"

Sorry Ms. Foster, for those of use who don't live in cartoons, taking a life isn't like popping a candy into your mouth.

Gun control advocates usually suffer from projection, and clearly, Jodi Foster is no different. Perhaps she should try to work out her mental issues and see if her perspective changes.

"Isn't it possible that we all have that bit of insanity in us?

"That's why I'm for gun control. Absolutely. I don’t believe that people should have access to life-or-death situations at any emotional time in their life.

Of course! Every time a gun owner gets emotional they just start shooting at whomever is closest! Although which legal gun owners topping 80 million, it's surprising we don't read about this more often...

"I don't really believe that a human being who feels [things] should have the option at their fingertips."

Of course you don't believe a human being should have that option. You obviously don't trust yourself with that kind of responsibility, so it's inconceivable that anyone else could. I do like how you fit that straw man argument in. Certainly a woman who uses a gun to defend herself from a rapist is not "a human being who feels". I guess it's possible she's just not "a human being who feels" she should be at the mercy of anyone stronger than she is.

I think the most infuriating thing about this, is when these arguments are broken down, they just don't make sense. Words just fall out of these peoples' mouths without being processed. If they stopped jawing about what they think they believe for more than 30 seconds, and actually thought about the implications of what they're saying, they'd understand.

It's like watching a monkey trying to put a round peg into a square hole. After hours they finally put the round peg in the round hole, and you fill with pride for their accomplishment! But then they remove it from the hole, and beat themselves in the head with it. I used to think it was willful ignorance or cognitive dissonance, but now I'm beginning to think these people simply lack the mental faculties.

My mouth tastes like backwards.

My new favorite quote.

Earthquakes in SoCal

There was an Earthquake in Southern California last Sunday.

To many of you this probably sounds like a common occurrence, but we actually felt this one in Huntington Beach. I haven't felt any earthquakes for years down here, and the next day there was a smaller one near the same area.

I'm pretty well prepared for earthquakes or interruptions of services, but this got me a little bothered. I started looking at a site that tracks earthquakes and was surprised to see quite a few fair sized earthquakes happening in southern California.

I was ready to get worried, but then I remembered that I'm a bit sensitive to things like this, and decided I should take the time to really crunch the numbers and figure out if there's really something to worry about.

A few crunchy hours later, I could find nothing out of the ordinary, and left with the same conclusion I had drawn prior to my study; We're overdue for a big one.

This is, of course, no secret. We've been overdue for quite some time, and everyone living here still has that notion somewhere in the back of their minds. I just wish they'd have the notion somewhere in their cabinets in the form of water and canned goods.

But, since stats are always open to interpretation, let me relate to you the findings of my short study of the numbers...

  • We only seem to have significant records from 1998 to present day (wtf?)
  • 1999 had a lot of fucking earthquakes (80 for the year, when the average for 1998-current was 29.7)
  • In 1999 there was a 7.1 in Joshua Tree area (Hector Mine Earthquake), which was in the middle of fucking nowhere, which resulted in no damage or loss, which was probably why this was the first I'd heard of it.
  • Of earthquakes 4.5 or greater we've had 2, previous years have been 2, 9, 2, 5, 4, 4, 23 (1999), and 3. Nothing big here.
  • Of earthquakes 5.5 or greater we had a 5.7 in 2002, a 5.8 in 1999, and the Joshua Tree 7.1 in 1999. It's been a while.
  • Joshua Tree aside, we haven't had anything over 5.8 since Northridge in 1994.
  • The only quake larger than Joshua Tree was Landers (south of Joshua Tree along the same fault line) at 7.3 This area seems prone to tectonic pressure...
  • Since Northridge, I can't find any quakes greater than 5 recorded on the coastal faults of southern California.

Conclusion: WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!

But seriously, I haven't found the recent shake-up to be anything but par for the course for southern California. The only difference was, it happened to be in a place I could feel it. It still seems pretty clear that our faults are overdue for a magnitude 6 quake, but hopefully all that heavy shaking going on in the Joshua Tree area is relieving pressure on our weary faults.

I'm still using it as an opportunity to talk to friends and coworkers about getting their earthquake kit ready. What I don't tell them that it could also be used for human-created disasters. They can figure that out on their own. Though sometimes I can't help but drop a hint like mentioning that my "earthquake" preparedness kit contains potassium iodide.

Free health care for the unhealthy?

Something many don't think of about "free" health care is the inevitable restrictions and intrusions into your life.

After the proposed system falls under (congenital) strain, how long do you think it will be until people stand up and say that their taxes shouldn't go to pay for people who live "unhealthy" lives?

How long before people start getting tested to see if they're smokers, and are forced to pay for their "free" health care because they're being "unhealthful"?

But no one likes smokers, so that's OK, right?

Do you drink often?

Do you eat fast food?

Do you drink 8 glasses of water a day?

Do you drink more than 2 cans of soda a day?

Do you get 8 hours of sleep?

Do you work out 3 times a week?

Do you take your vitamins?

Do you go to your mandatory quarterly check up?

Do you take your government-provided "preventative" drugs?

...and so on...

Got pretty bad Orwellian pretty quick, huh?