Sunday, October 16, 2011

Good guys don't wear masks... yet.

It's hard not to appreciate the simplicity of the solution the London rioters employed. One minute they're a bystander fleeing the throng, the next, all identifying features are covered, and they are free to do as they please. We now see Occupy X protesters using here what was proven successful there. As resistance and violence increases, so will the need for anonymity.

We will need it too. It's not usually our style to hide who we are, but if things continue the way they are now, it will become a necessity.

Because what some call vigilantism, others call responsibility.

So buy oversized hoodies and handkerchiefs for each person willing, and keep one set in each vehicle. You could even get track pants, gloves, and shoe covers, but I don't think they're as necessary here as in London, where CCTV can track you from cradle to grave. All this can be shoved into a drawstring backpack (or small regular backpack), so you can enter an unmonitored area, and emerge anonymously with the backpack on UNDER your hoodie.

You may wonder why we should have to be anonymous? The good guys don't wear masks. We're in the right, we're preserving order, we're defending civilization from the barbarians. Right?

Maybe. It depends on which way the political winds are blowing. Right and wrong are now subject to popularity, politics (but I repeat myself), and circumstance, and selective enforcement of law is the new weapon of those in power with an axe to grind.

There may be a time when, as far as our leaders are concerned, we're tromping on the "right" of the people/the minority/the disaffected youth/the unemployed/the union to "petition for redress" their community by burning it down and stealing from it. When the peace-loving gang of Occupy X protesters express their righteous frustration with the economic system by kicking the local business owner in the head as he lay bloody and motionless on the pavement, we would be the ones who "escalated force disproportionately" by responding how any sane human being would.

They will be the poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

We will be the vigilantes, terrorists, escalators, and murderers.

WE will be the ones getting no-knocked four days later when fingered by the liberal down the street after you didn't let him steal what society owed him from the local big screen teevee shop, or after impeding the path of a riot with (gasp) a gun, or worse: after stopping a felony in progress.

With many of our leaders showing support for a movement that has openly called for a violent revolution, we can't expect laws of man or god to be enforced for long.

If good people push back when the mob turns, I don't think there will need to be much fighting. But if there is, who would you be fighting against?

I don't think you're ever going to get in a shootout with the granola-eating, tree-hugging, whale saving, Prius-driving, ponytail-sporting liberal down the street. Our current flavor of liberals aren't willing to die for their beliefs. They're more likely to gather at a book burning or throw bricks from within a crowd (though some might be brave enough to kick an unconscious and pre-beaten capitalist in the back). I don't think you're going to need to do more than send one whizzing over the head of a privileged child with a master's in Neo-Colonialism of Industrialized Capitalist Superpowers by Global Policies of Socio-Economic Oppression (who somehow can't get a job or figure out how a hammer works) who's caught up in the group-think of "The Human Megaphone," in order to send them crying back to their parents' McMansion. The Anarchists might issue a few sucker punches, but they're more about riling up the crowd. Some of the true believers might be convinced to pull a trigger, but if fire is returned, they care more about their foodstamp-fed bodies than their ideology. But unions? They scare me. They've got bodies that will do what they're told, organization, mob tactics, and aren't afraid of dealing out "righteous" violence to get what they say they deserve. And the worst part? Police have a history of letting union violence slide because of the political power behind them.

So when world turns upside-down, and the have-nots have tacit political approval to fight the haves of all shapes and sizes, what do you do after you catch your reflection in the mirror and don't recognize it?

That's entirely up to you and the degree to which you see yourself as belonging to something larger than yourself.

Do you remove your license plates, and drive until you think you're beyond the reach of the ideologies of jealousy and entitlement? (hint: don't stop till you hit Mars)

Do you stand in front of your business or house, say "this is MY line in the sand," and shoot whoever crosses it? (hint: this usually compromises your anonymity)

Do you organize your neighbors, Katrina-style, and barricade entrances to your neighborhood, form a fire brigade, repel rioters, arsonists, and offer no witnesses to police inquiries about the additional ventilation provided to the aforementioned? (hint: "Officer, we have 20 witnesses who say that guy fell on those bullets before he dropped his Molotov cocktail and became engulfed in flames...")

Do you form mobile citizen fire brigades and response teams to enforce the laws the police can't or won't?

Or do you let the practicality of your mind defeat the truth and honor in your heart, and do nothing?

I don't know. Like I said, that part is entirely up to you.

Pray for a future wherein we may enjoy a beer and laugh at our overreaction as we look back on this mental and material preparedness. I'll buy the first round.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Miffed over OnStar tracking? Try cell phone tracking.

I see everyone getting indignant over OnStar tracking your location speed, seat belt status, etc after people requested the service be disabled. But for years cellular providers have been keeping records of your location and your calls, and selling them to the highest bidder in most states, and to law enforcement organizations in all states, without a warrant.

Just keeping this all in perspective...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The History channel.

Have you ever watched a History channel show about the lead up to X conflict, or Y situation? Did you find yourself yelling "Wake up, Sheeple™! Don't you see what's coming?!" at the teevee? If so, you should keep in mind that all the key events have been distilled out, and placed in a nice neat line of dominoes in the interest of focus and brevity.

Imagine watching one of those shows that was 30 years long, where each ominous event is noted in under 10 words as it passes on a news ticker at the bottom of the screen, while the main screen shows Charlie Sheen's rants or the new awards show or some wayward starlet's mug shot, or if those things don't strike your fancy, the latest footage from Afghanistan or the recent sports game or the newest tech gadget.

Are your progeny going to say, "Grandpa, we just learned about the global collapse in school, and we couldn't understand why you didn't see it coming." To which you may reply, "Well, little Jenny, it was a different time then. We wanted to keep track of the important things, but other things kept getting in the way. There was the NFL strike, Lindsay Lohan's rehab, decades of baseball stats, arguing on internet forums, video games, the new season of Dexter, iPods, health scares, new electronics, funny cat pictures, internet videos of people hurting themselves, Facebook, new and exciting things that were going to kill us in new and exciting ways, and the pills. So many pills. Have I told you about the pills? Pills for happy, pills for sad. Pills for bored, pills for mad. Pills to treat every affliction, and pills to curb our pill addiction. We had a cure for society's ills, and it was always pills, pills, pills." "Mom! Grandpa's Cat-in-the-Hatting again!"

History is a very interesting thing. Once it's past, we like to comment on it from the comfort of our armchairs. But we refuse to recognize that we're making (or not making!) history every day, and that one day, people in armchairs will look on our history as we looked on our forerunners', and they will comment. What will their comments be?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Feel better?

It seemed the area was clear. They must have been keeping the area around their hideout clear of zeds. I did a quick room-to-room search of the building, ignoring the sounds of wet thuds and grunt-screams from that woman in the office. When I was satisfied, I made my way pack to the office. As I rounded the corner I got to watch for a few moments as she wildly stabbed at what used to be her rapist's crotch. It looked as if a small bomb had gone off in his pelvis, all that was left was blood and pulp. The blade rang as it hit bone-- or the concrete beneath. One hundred and two pounds of primal rage focused every fiber of its being on one thing. Face twisted into something never before seen in civilization. I didn't dare interrupt. She became aware of my presence all at once, and jump-slipped backwards into the wall, horrified and confused at what had happened, eyes transfixed on the creation of some demon. As she caught her breath, she managed between gasps for air, "I just-- ... He was-- ... I didn't--... When he--..." I stared at her eyes until she met my gaze. "Feel better?"

She looked at herself, covered in blood and started hyperventilating.


"These people aren't from around here. They moved here from far away. Not even this planet. They float around, bumping into things, playing the part they're supposed to play. Surprised, sad, happy, laugh. They perform these things but they aren't these things. They're empty vessels. Husks occupied by some alien force trying desperately to become human. To feel what the real humans feel, to taste what the real humans taste, to experience what real humans experience. But they can't. Because they're not human. They just want to be real. The lives were always better on the other side of the galaxy, so they came here to become real people, and to live what they thought they should live, instead of realizing that they had all the life they needed where they were. They suffered from the same defect as humans. Envy. Envy so blinding that they couldn't see beyond their flat little non-noses to the truth of reality. The truth that they are who or what they are, and nothing can ever change that. The ironic thing about it is that they would live what they believed were happy lives where they only somewhere else when they formed their opinions. Instead they chase what they can never have, and tell themselves how great their lives are now that they aren't who they were. They see things on television and in magazines and they become those things. Like a child putting on its parents' clothes so it can pretend to be grown up. Or an adult, doing childish things so it can pretend it's not. There's never any satisfaction in these lives. No appreciation. No love. No laughter. No soul. These people have to be something. They can't just be. This would all be understandable -- even excusable -- if these self-propelled sacks of chemicals really were aliens from another planet. But they're not. They're actually magical beings of endless complexities and uniqueness, blessed with life by a random amalgamation of atoms formed in the very stars they hide behind their roofs and their eyelids and their bright lights. Stars so beyond their experience, so unfathomably far, so incomprehensibly large, so impossibly hot that they must avert their gaze from their creators, their gods. They're afraid. They're afraid to acknowledge the miracle of their lives because they're shaken to their core by the thought that they'll have to stop doing all the things they've been pretending were important after they realize how important they themselves are. What they don't understand is that there is only one thing that changes when you realize the greatest truth of your life. Your perspective.

I'm going to change that."


Warren turned to Jacobs with a strange look on his weathered face. Fascination? Morbidity? Condescension? Or was it something else? Something I'd never thought of? Once he caught Jacobs's eyes he purposefully drew his Beretta, ejected a 9mm round from its chamber, and caught it in the air, all without breaking eye contact. Warren turned the round in his hands and held it up between himself and Jacobs and spoke, "Don't you see? That's the amazing thing about a bullet. A bullet is a hunk of metal. Nothing more, nothing less. It doesn't care if you've got a badge, backup on radio, a SWAT team, or a helicopter in the air. Hell, it doesn't even care if you command thousands of nuclear bombs. All it does is fly straight, and fly though soft things like us. It is impartial. It has no fear, no remorse, and no respect. It will not deviate because you're a cop, or a soldier, or a child, or a king, or a president, or the Pope, or God him-fucking-self. People like us grow to forget that fact. It's only natural. We get respect, so we think we have the respect of everyone. We get fear, so we think we have the fear of everyone. We get power, so we think we have power over everyone. We forget that it only takes one bullet to end us, and one person to fire it. Body armor can be penetrated, windshields can be shattered, arteries can be opened by a prison shiv made from a fucking plastic spork. You keep going out there and pushing people around like you're invincible, and you're going to give someone a reason to remind you that you ain't. Every civy out there... Every single one... Is capable of ending you. Some more than others. They just need the right reason. 'Some more than others' there too. You don't live as long as I have by putin' on the uniform, walking out that door, and giving people reasons."


"You know the difference between you and me? You look up at that building and see a Monolith. A huge, overbearing structure assembled by the will of powerful architects. Representing the unshakable dominance of the kings that commissioned it. Daunting. Intimidating. Invincible. You know what I see? I see people. Simple people with simple jobs. People made of flesh, and muscle, and bone. Fragile people. People who do their job not because they believe in what they are doing, or the ends of their efforts, but because it's their occupation. People easily dissuaded. People easily scared. People easily killed. With those people shuffled off or scared off, the monolith becomes a husk. It may still stand upright and tall, but it is lame. A decaying symbol of a dead power. The shadow of kings."

A bit late.

It was a job well done. He told his superiors they needed another few hours though they'd already cleaned the place out. No one was there, so there was no action, and that makes the door-kickers antsy; so he got a few extra hours so they could have some liberty time to unwind.

It was the fourth raid Black Boot team had been on in the past week. The guys liked all the action, and relished the rush they got from taking out Enemies of the State. Plus they got to enjoy a few choice picks from the collections they confiscated. Sure, it was tough luck for the guys that got raided, since they usually got overwhelmed in bed, and were never taken alive, but the law was the law, and without it there would be chaos.

The Black Boots were sitting around the rural property of the house they'd raided checking out their loot, drinking some beer Martinez snuck in one of the duffel bags, and generally horsing around. He avoided the childishness because he thought it undermined his authority over them. He picked a spot under a large elm tree facing the sunset where the roots formed a natural seat for him. He treated his job with a bit more seriousness than they did. It was hard for him to go after Americans. It helped to think of them as he'd been instructed; as domestic terrorists. But he knew they were just Americans. Americans like his grandfather who stood up to firehoses and dogs to secure his rights. All of his rights, including the right to keep and bear arms. But things were different now. His grandfather wouldn't want to own one of these assault weapons... Would he? He protected his family from the KKK, but those times were gone now. We're more civilized. We have better laws.

He ignored the dirty joke being told behind him, and stared at the low-hanging sun trying to quell the odd feeling he always got after he did his job. He sat with one knee elevated, and his gloved hand on top. Something struck him about the black tactical glove that interrupted the natural scene before him. He took it off and felt the cool air hit his hand as he replaced it on his knee. That was better.

As he drifted closer to a welcome nap, he noticed a small black spot grow from the top of a distant hill below the sunset. Like one of the armadillos that plagued the area struggling up the incline, then stopping at the top to survey the land around him. He idly thought, "That's a big armadillo. How far away is that?" He squinted.

First he saw the flash. He could just barely make it out so near the setting sun. Then he heard the buzz of the bullet. Then he heard the sick slap of impact on flesh behind him. Then he saw the spray of blood and matter hit the back of his naked hand still on his knee. He didn't even have time to change his expression. Then he heard the shot. He stared at his bloodied hand.

It wasn't till the second shot buzzed by him that he was broken from his hypnosis. He clambered around behind the tree, and almost tripped over his machine gun. He struggled a thought. "What the hell?! That can't be Jacobs! What balls he must have to shoot at the Black Boots!" Henry Jacobs was the owner of the property they were enjoying, thought to have fled days before the raid. Officially, he was being raided on suspicion of owning silencer parts, but the truth was that he had been a vocal opponent of theirs for years. There wasn't anything in his file about him being a sniper. As far as they knew, he was just a typical fat slob gun nut. Someone was going to pay for this oversight. He moved his back against the tree but lost his footing in the exposed roots and fell backwards into a sitting position, hitting his head hard.

He was frozen in a minor daze. He saw his teammates running for cover, and their weapons, being systematically cut down. Shot in the chest or head, sometimes straight through cover. Those who could make it to their machine guns returned fire to no effect. They were shot in the head when they exposed themselves to fire. He couldn't process what he was seeing as he watched his men die. Those who were not killed on the first shot were hit in the head, ending them in a bloody show. Jackson was the first to run, and was ended before he could make it 15 feet. The remaining members of the Black Boot squad were cowering behind any cover, refusing to expose the smallest bit of themselves. There was a short reprieve, then the shots began hitting the cover, ripping blindly through to their targets. As he regained himself he began to stand against the tree, a shot ripped through the tree trunk just above his head, showering him with splinters. The pain on his scalp snapped him back into his situation. He was lucid now, he had to think about his men, he had to fight back. He grabbed his sub machine gun, took a deep breath, and stepped out from behind the tree, leveling his gun at the target.

He emptied his sub machine gun at the small shape on the hill, and became enraged when he saw his shots kick up the dust a little more than half way to their target. "Who messed with my gun?!" he thought angrily. "It always hits dead center at the range!" Then he realized that he'd never shot it beyond 100 feet. Then he realized he'd never shot it at anyone who was shooting back. Then he realized he'd never actually shot anyone who wasn't in their bed, 5 feet away. For a brief moment he felt a repressed thought push to escape; then cease its struggle.

They were the Black Boots, they were number one, they were the best. They couldn't be wiped out by one man.

Presently, he realized he was not reloading his gun. He looked down and found his sub machine gun on the ground, and his arms hanging at his side. A cold wind chilled a spot on his chest underneath his vest. "How can I feel the cold through my vest?" He tried to say. He bent forward to inspect the cold spot, but realized he wasn't bending forward, he was falling backwards. The world spun downward, and the tree he was under came into view. After he contemplated this occurrence, and considered previous data, he came to the conclusion he had been shot.

It was strange. He always thought he would go out in a cacophonous chorus of gunfire, bullets ripping through his body as he expended his final rounds and issued a war cry before rushing headlong at his attackers, knife in hand, defiant to the end. Instead he lay backwards on the cool grass among strangely aromatic flowers, his face warmed by the low sun. The world around him lazy. Frozen in serenity. It seemed odd that such violence could happen in such a beautiful place. He was lost in thought now. The rifle issued death with slow, dull thuds. As he listened, the bullet whiz and rifle crack seemed separated and disturbed the peace of the valley; but after a while, the sound seemed almost natural. Like it was the way things were supposed to be. As if it were as common a sound as the birds singing or the wolves howling.

Time lost meaning as he drifted in the sea of grass, pushed gently about by the wind. Then he heard the faintest footsteps approaching, and forced himself back to reality and his suffering to see the man who had taken his life.

The man was small, and looked younger than the 31 years his file indicated. Everything about him was plain except for his sharp eyes. The man was checking the bodies that were once familiar, but he seemed aware he was being watched. The rifle he cradled looked old, like out of a history book. A small scope was mounted awkwardly forward, and looked strange. Through the haze he thought, "We're so much bigger, and better equipped. How could we have been beaten by that gun?" He looked at the insulting rifle, and noticed an engraving on the stock. It was something he'd seen before. Something from the files he had reviewed. It was that flag with the snake that said, "Don't tread on me" under it. Everything seemed suddenly clear.

He fought for a wheezing breath, attracting the man's attention, and rasped, "I think --- I understand."

The man who killed him squinted at the wind as he scanned the horizon, then turned to his quarry.

"It's a bit late for that."

Response to Mike

Mike, I've got my ass-kicking boots on, and when I read your comments, all I hear is the wah wah wah of Charlie Brown's parents.

You know better than I what thing you wish you were doing. Write it out, break it down into bite-sized chunks, take a knife and carve out at LEAST 3 hours a day to make it happen.

Focus on the goal. Print out a picture of it, and put it on the ceiling above your bed. Getting up is the hardest part. Once you're vertical, it's all down hill from there. Leave your house to accomplish your goal, too many distractions there. Chip away at it every day, until you've made a good dent in it, then reevaluate. Has this been fun for you? Are you still interested in it? Do you look back on what you've accomplished and think, "Fuck yeah." Are you making enough progress each day to get there in time? Or did you realize you hate it, and can't stand wasting time on it? Time for something new.

It doesn't matter what you do. All that matters is that there's a goal, and you're making progress toward it.

It could be as specific as "get this accreditation," or as nebulous as "figure out how to run a business." Try to pick a path that will be versatile if you decide you hate the destination half way through. That way you can salvage some of that spent time.

Because time is your most valuable, and most finite resource.

A note on finding that "thing" that you want/are good at. I was talking to a personal trainer a while ago, he told me about how he never thought he could make enough money to become a private trainer, and how he would go to his office job, and squeeze in time to run up and down the stairs to get some exercise. This struck me because there is no way the thought to run up and down stairs simply for fun would have occurred to me. But this was his "thing," and to him, doing anything else was just crazy. He wound up striking out on his own, with a promise to his wife that if he couldn't make it work in 6 months, he'd drop it. He made it. Literally on the last day of 6 months, through a minor contact he made in passing several months prior. The universe deus ex machina'ed his dream.

The point of that story is, we all have obligations, and there are things we can, and can't do. But if you can carve time for your dreams out of _your_ life, without disrupting the lives of those around you, the only person stopping you is you. I don't have a lot of obligations. I want to be a good husband, brother, son, friend, entrepreneur, and employee. Roughly in that order. My nights are for my wife. My weekends for my friends, family, and wife. My afternoons and evenings for my occupation. My mornings were unclaimed because I was too busy enjoying my lethargy, so they were up on the chopping block.

This last weekend was my first since I decided to pound the pavement till it bleeds, and I spent it with friends and family, and playing Minecraft. I played because I figured I had earned the chance to play a bit. But Sunday night? Regrets. I'm trying to get 4 hours of work in every morning, and I spent about 12 hours (or more, they melt together) playing Minecraft (yes, it's that good), but when I was done, all I had to show for it was a series of logic gates which equated to a combination lock using the in-game equivalent of transistors. I was proud I had accomplished this with no assistance or guide, but after that was done, I realized that I had wasted the equivalent of three (or more) mornings on this. Building things like this for no reason other than to see if you can, is a truly obscene waste of a human being's most valuable resource. I may not be ashamed of my accomplishment, but I'm definitely ashamed of my wasted time.

Of course there is room for leisure, all work and no play makes Jack go on a killing spree, but keep it to a minimum. Save the life of leisure for retirement. Sit on the porch of your mansion, and think back on how you picked yourself up by your bootstraps, and made a better life for yourself, your family, and your generations to come. Think about how your success allowed you to focus on the things that really matter in life. It beats the hell out of rotting in a retirement home, or worse, becoming burden on your family.

If you happen to experience a feeling of loss at the end of your day, don't worry, that's just your drive to succeed sucker punching your contentment. Not everyone has that drive. Consider yourself lucky. Now that you know it's there, and you know it's pissed off at you, you can choose to do one of two things. You can either kill it with sleep, beer, and cheap entertainment, or you can nurse it back to to full strength, put it at your back, and let it push you off the couch, and onto the path to your goal. Confront all the missed opportunities in your life, and instead of letting them hurt you, let them motivate you. They're not failures. They're fuel. Burn them.

And if you think it sucks waking up early for 5 years to become everything you dared dream, then try waking up late 20 years from now with nothing to show for it.

It's all starts in the mirror, man. What do you see when you look?

If you're fine with what you see, then rock on with your mediocre self. Relish your tiny victories over life, and bask in your supremacy over esoterica. Honked at some idiot? Amazing. Told your off your boss? Historic. New high score? Monumental. Level 65 Paladin? Prodigious. Built a combination lock using an in-game equivalent of transistors? You're like a god among men.

But if, in that mirror, you see a world of potential crammed inside a locked safe? Then there's only one thing you can do. Crack it, tame it, and ride it to victory over life.

The best and worst thing about this path is that you're the only one who can get you there, and you're the only one who can keep you going. It's all you. Other people may help, but you can't expect them to do it forever. You have to change yourself.

All of it, from beginning to end and everything in between, depends only on you.

Lets clear out some of this stuff.

I've got some bits and pieces left over in the back of the fridge.

Simon Sez...

Gee, what could this handy, pocket-sized thing be?

Dollar included for size perspective. Silver included for perspective on the dollar.

Lets unfold it...

Just as I suspected! It's a collection of adhesive-backed address labels with politically thought-provoking statements on them!

I wonder what one could do with these...?

Found this picture on the camera

Aside from being a great picture of Ava, I noticed this picture includes our departed friend, the cable box.

Just seeing it here reminds me of the thing we miss most about it.

The clock.

We just keep looking there, expecting to see the time.

But it's too late...

We'll get over it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Holy fuckin' shit!

That idiotic high speed rail approved by a majority of the mouth breathers voting citizens with whom I share internment a state, has exceeded its cost projections.

This is far from surprising, as anyone with a memory longer than a goldfish could tell you that every proposal is under estimated so severely you wonder if anyone in Sacramento owns a calculator.

Water is wet, the sun rises in the East, and any cost estimate that comes out of Sacramento must be multiplied by 5 to be repeated with a straight face.

But this is not the development worthy of the painstakingly selected choice of words which comprise the title for this post; the amazing development is that they stopped.

That's right. They reassessed, loudly announced the discovery they knew from the project's voter approval, and actually stopped what they were doing so they could review their ability to continue funding the project!

This is a huge step forward for California (and a revealing view behind the curtain of the fiscal problems California faces), because it used to be that when a project ran belligerently over budget, there was this song and dance about how they need to reign in spending, and reduce overhead, and reevaluate the project, and absolutely nothing official interrupted anything about the project. It just kept chugging along as if the politicians' words carried as much weight against the project as they did outside the political echo chamber. Then, years later, the project would be reevaluated, "discovered" to be horrendously over budget, and the song and dance would start up again.

But they actually stopped this one.

This is a huge step forward for California!

Well, "huge step forward" might be a bit much... Lets just say California ceased its self mutilation for a moment.

I take what I can get. Who wants cake?

The Hunter and the Moon

My eyes opened without hesitation. I was lucid, and rested. A good start.

I put on the latest evolution of clothing selected for my pursuit. As I struggled toward my goal in the preceding months, clothing changed more than anything else. Past challenges, mistakes, and successes groomed my accoutrement beyond mere garb, and into nothing short of the purpose built machines of steel and polymer, and of plastic and silicone that I once regarded above simple garments. My clothes were tools. Good tools.

Quietly, I readied my equipment. Silence punctuated only by the backpack's zipper, and the M1A's action closing after one final chamber check. I kissed my dozing wife as I did every morning, and heaped straps onto my shoulders before stepping out into the stillness of a world frozen in the lull between drawn breaths.

The car beeped politely as it unlocked, and clicked gently as the trunk opened. I loaded the trappings of my current task into the eager car, and paused as I drew the trunk near closure. After a moment's hesitation, I slammed the trunk shut, hopped into the driver's seat, and drove off, trying to complete my intrusion upon the quiet as quickly as I could.

The traffic lights seemed to act more reluctantly as they granted me passage to the freeway. Free, at this unnatural hour, to exaggerate their lordship over my movements. The sparsely populated freeway lay before me, its usual cold indifference unchanged. It asks only that I get on and off as quickly as possible, and I do my best to oblige.

After a few curves, and appropriate application of the accelerator, I found myself completely alone on a stretch of the 12 lane freeway. Nothing in front, nothing behind. It felt wrong. Like aberrant actions in dreams; you feel that you must stop and question, but know that you won't be able to. I noticed the radio had been turned off.

I took my exit, and waited at the light. To my right, rows of closed shops leading to a city ready to burst to life. To my left, looming mounds of darkness silhouetted by moonlight. The light changed, and I turned left.

The darkness seemed to accentuate the twists and turns of the mountain highway. The drops off the shoulder had turned from slopes to beautiful valleys into an abyss whose glare hardened as each successful turn denied it of your substance. The will of the darkness pulsed rudely in the back of my mind, where I had banished it long ago. Far away, but never gone.

As the lights of men faded, the sky revealed the brightest of her bounty. Unfathomable gaseous monuments to our slightness deigned to share their light from impossible distances. A lifelong favorite cluster of these gods hovered over my destination. The oldest hunter known to this planet offered his consent before fading into the beginnings of the horizon's glow to leave me to my task.

I turned into the dirt clearing nearest my access point, quieted the car, and stepped out of my shell. As I moved the equipment off the car and on to me, my stomach growled loudly, threatening to expose me at my most silent if I didn't meet its demands. I opened the dense brick of nutrition I had brought along, and bit off a piece. Unlike the protein bars, this seemed to provide filling substance to my stomach, instead of small clumps of slow-release energy. My opponent sated, I adjusted the straps that clung to me, and closed the trunk.

The hunter gone, I now looked to the moon, which drifted imperceptibly toward a smaller mountain -my destination- on the horizon. It shined full, and urged me on with the knowledge that it too would soon be gone, and my magic hour lost. The moon somehow entranced me, and as an unintentional moment lost in contemplation elapsed, a shooting star appeared, and streaked in my intended direction before vanishing forever. Its swan song short, and without echo. But not unnoticed. My face brightened involuntarily at my luck, but my thoughts were still shrouded deep within my mind. I knew they had wished for something.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sorry for the delay. I'm starting to feel it again.

Hello, the one reader that stuck with me :) I'm starting to hit my stride again, and I'm reigniting my relationship with my muse. The problem with my smart post is that it's hard to follow it up with a post of my usual caliber. So I've been waiting until I've had something smart to say. How long this will last (or if it ever started) is completely up to you.

Who cares? Enjoy a ketchup post!

I just finished my 6 months probation at the new job, and have become a valued member of the team due to the fact that I actually do work. I was happy to get away from the small company BS, but now I'm getting an introduction in big company BS. It only bugs me a little bit, because instead of taking tons of time measuring how much work I'm doing compared to everyone else and adjusting so I only do the bare minimum, I just do my fucking job as much as I can without dropping the ball. It's amazing how much time and effort people put into not doing their jobs. Maybe amazing isn't the right word. As for that promotion I was working toward, I was assured that I would have gotten it had the job existed by the end of the trial period. More big company BS meant a reorganization in the middle of my trial period for the job. The job I was going for was one of the casualties. I aired my disappointment at the situation, and moved on. I know I'm good, and so do they, so I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing.

I'm not sure that I've said much about my hunting intentions here, but I'm going to change that now. A few years ago I took an interest in hunting, and without a friend or family member who hunted, I reached out to the online community. Bad idea. I'm not sure if it's hunters or just Californian hunters, but they were almost uniformly dismissive, derisive, and even discouraging. Most seemed to think I could only hunt if it did it their way, and the rest were more than happy to help so long as I paid to join their club, paid for their land, and paid for any game harvested. "Ranches" were the next place I looked, but most in the area were canned hunts. I started seriously considering saving up for a trip out of state, but the more I read about Southern Californian deer, the more of a challenge it sounded like. Very few people hunt Deer zone 15 because of the few deer and continually low harvest rates. But if you know me, and you might, you know I like a challenge. So I figured; at worst, I go hiking, get some fresh air and exercise, and enjoy some nature. And at best, I go hiking, get some fresh air and exercise, enjoy some nature, and do something other people don't/won't/can't do because they think it's too hard. And I do it all myself, without paying dues, fees, and respect to people who don't deserve any of the above. So for the last couple years I've been slowly gathering enough information to feel like I'm starting to know what I'm doing. As I've drawn closer to that point, I've been getting more aggressive. I know my way around all the dfg and usfs sites, and I've called ranger offices for the details I couldn't find online. I've been hiking more, and spending lots of time on Google Earth plotting game trails and identifying accessible areas to inspect more closely on upcoming hikes. My boss's boss was a hunter when he was younger and is getting back into it, so he's been giving me tips and advice that have been really helpful. It's starting to get exciting.

I found myself in a magazine. I looked at the cover, and there I was, the headline article. I didn't know it at the time, of course, but something in the back of my mind told me to buy it from the airport duty free shop. As I read the article on the plane, I began to assemble the puzzle pieces in my life that made my story tragic and victorious. Having never seen the box the puzzle came in, I was a little afraid of the picture the puzzle made. There were very few happy endings for people like me. After some research and soul-searching, I decided that whatever may come in the future, I should embrace my gifts now and enjoy their fruits later. I dare believe that my triumphs over what I thought was my disease (could still be, I suppose), would apply to this congenital mental whimsy. Events have aligned since this decision that have lead me to believe it was the right one. All that is left is practice.

Part of the above has been more writing. "Tac" and many others are swimming around in my head, and they need to be let out. As with writing this blog, the exercise is more important than the result. But in practice, I'm trying to make the two of equal import. Half for you, the reader, and the other half for any potential publisher. And yes, The Walking Dead series will continue and be completed (under a new name, of course). Any other bits that don't quite fit in will wind up here, so I welcome your cheers or jeers.

Since the iPad, I've been hoping for an Android tablet to come along and sweep me off my feet. Even as the first real contender arrived, I argued against software, hardware, and price, and waited. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Motorola XOOM arrived with honeycomb fully executed, but at a price I was simply not willing to pay. As I patiently pined for a proper price point, there were some rumblings about the nook color e-reader making a splash in the third party ROM scene. Starting at $250, it certainly looked interesting. Only recently did CyanogenMod 7 start to really come into its own on the nook, just as Barnes & Noble started selling them at $200 (see coupon code), and the decision was all but made. I put up a good fight for a few weeks, but lost (won?) in the end. The Nook color running CM7 is a perfect fit. I get a day of hard use out of the battery, movies played from any format I choose, netflix, the excellent browsing experience Dolphin Browser HD provides with Flash 10.1, e-reader apps (nook app not working for me, fixes available, but I haven't cared), unfettered android market access, multitasking, vnc/rdp on a usable screen, very usable soft keyboard (thumb tap, vertically) all in a light package. There are some issues, of course, the case seems plastic-y and feels like it might shatter if dropped, the screen can seem really sensitive doing actions beyond a quick tap, there's a little chop in my scrolling, it's heavier than the e-ink nook/kindle versions, none of the usual android home/back/menu/search hard buttons (replaced with a hide-able soft button bar which works fine, but still isn't hard), few hardware features (gps, compass, keyboard, camera, flash, etc), and a few minor polish problems with CM7 on the nook. Most of the cons are because it's supposed to be a $200 e-reader, and are severely outweighed by the pros. Plus, most of the missing features aren't required for my use. It has been an excellent improvement to my workflow, and just like my Droid, I know it will only get better with future releases.

A few weeks ago (not really sure when) our cable box, purveyor of mindless entertainment, killer of time, and server of empty mental calories, ceased its assault. When I discovered this I made some halfhearted attempts to fix it, and I told my wife, who said it had broken some time ago, but she forgot to tell me. I confirmed the internet and game consoles still worked, and decided to bring in the box for replacement later. Except I didn't. It's been a month, and we haven't missed it, so the obvious questions arises. Do we really need it? I know the answer is "no, we don't need it," and I know I'll miss some great shows (I can always find them online if I need to), but it really is only for entertainment, and it seems we're getting our entertainment elsewhere. After writing this out, the answer seems obvious.

I brought the M1A out to the range a few more times after finding a great deal on some American Eagle 308. I was reminded of what Jeff Cooper said about ammo stored being potential skill left to gather dust, and decided to shoot it up. A few hundred rounds later, I was ringing the 10 inch gong at 400 yards off irons. I've still got a couple hundred rounds of skill left, and expect to improve. The M1A seems to shoot right when it gets hot, but in its defense, I was getting it too hot to hold. I was getting ready to adjust the sights, when I just let it cool down a bit, and it was right back to normal. That rifle is still very nice.

My wife's employer decided not to renew their lease, and her job disappeared with the building. Fortunately, my new job affords a high enough degree of stability for her to take her time looking for the right job instead of just any job. She's taking some of her time to get crafty with some paintings she's been meaning to make and sell on etsy, giving her that time and opportunity is something I'm happy to do for her.

That's about it for now, see you soon.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Welcome to Tactical Black Ops Martial S.L.A.P. Fighting

Alright, it looks like everyone is here, lets get started. Welcome to Tactical Black Ops Martial S.L.A.P. Fighting. If you are here, it's because you realized that there is only one way to survive a gunfight; my way.

Introductions: you can call me Tac. I know some of you are probably thinking, 'Where have I heard that name before?' the answer is, 'Everywhere.' I've been involved in every major gunfighting development in the past forty years. Only problem is, they were all stolen from me. So now I don't open my mouth unless someone's writing a check. Just a note; Tac is not my real name. It's a name that was given to me by a hundred year old Buddhist warrior monk while I was training at his temple on my travels through the far east. Also my real name is a killing word in twelve languages. So Tac keeps me safe, and therefore, you safe. I know you're probably thinking, 'Tac, should I make out all my checks to Tac?' No, stupid question. Remember to make out all your checks to my corporation, The Combat Assault Slap House or CASH. I see there are now a few questions, stow them. In a gunfight, questions will get you killed. Pay attention to that. I'm going to tell you countless things that will and won't get you killed in a gunfight. In case you miss some, don't worry, almost everything, including nothing, will get you killed in a gunfight. If you have a question about whether or not something will get you killed in a gunfight, the answer is yes. In fact, the only things that won't get you killed in a gunfight are the things I'm about to tell you. I know you're probably thinking, 'Tac, people survived gunfights before your system was invented.' Wrong. If anyone survived a gunfight it was because they were using my techniques, whether they knew it or not. But enough about my groundbreaking gunfighting system, lets talk about what you do before you get into a gunfight.

Surprisingly, the time you spend not in a gunfight can be up to 100% of your life, that's why I include this section as part of the training, even though it doesn't apply to me. I'm in gunfights a good 30-40% of my life. Ok, so, how many of you think I'm talking about situational awareness? Hands? No, wrong. In a gunfight, situational awareness will get you killed. What you need is Confrontational Awareness, which is a patent pending technique developed by me, Tac. Now I know you're thinking, 'Tac, how is Confrontational Awareness different from situational awareness?' Well, why don't you wait a minute, and I'll tell you. Situational awareness means you pay attention to what's going on around you, but confrontational awareness means you do something about it. Example; I was in a bar, drinking a beer, minding my own business, when this guy comes rushing up on my blind side. Bad idea. First; I don't have a blind side. My sides are all scanned for threats at all times, including aerial and subterranean. Second; I can kill a man in eight ways using only a beer. Anyway, I flip him into a wrist lock, smash his face against the counter, and shatter his knee, thus eliminating the threat. However, in this particular instance, I wasn't technically in danger. Turns out he was just trying to get a beer, turns out he was a lawyer, turns out I can't go back to Arkansas for a while. So what, my bad then? Hell no. I just eliminated a potential threat. It may not have been an actual threat, but it was still a type of threat. And to be fair, who's going to come up behind me after I did the same thing to four other guys? I mean-- four other people. Situation awareness could have gotten me killed there. But instead, Confrontational Awareness potentially got me the rest of my life, and definitely a few warrants. Arkansas sucks anyway. Full of sheeple.

Ok, I'm seeing more questions. Remember, questions get you killed. Hands down folks... Ok. Another example; I was at an amusement park, drinking a frozen lemonade, minding my own business, when this kid comes up to me. No time to think. In a gunfight, thinking will get you killed. And I know I said 'kid,' but you guys should have been thinking, 'Kid, or midget assassin?' I see some nods, that's good, but remember, in a gunfight, nodding will get you killed. So I react immediately by drawing the Strider Tiger tactical knife I duct taped to the inside of my Mickey costume, and put that between me and the potential threat. This one didn't turn out to be an actual threat either, but the important thing is that I would have been safe if it was. Funny story. I still got the costume, but it's covered in stun gun burns. Good conversation piece. Or it would be, if I ever told anyone my address. In a gunfight, telling people your address will get you killed.

Alright, enough of that passive hippie stuff, lets get into some real, no BS gunfighting situations. Once the threat has been identified, and you know it's time to shoot we start the PEDSMASS system. That is not to be confused with the PADSMESS system, which is a slightly modified version that was stolen from me by a certain instructor who I'm sure you all know. Now, I'm not here to issue personal attacks; but him and his weasel friend are both liars and thieves, and they should die in a fire. I was in a bar in San Francisco, drinking a cosmo, minding my own business, when Weasel One and Weasel Two come up and buy me a few appletinis. Unfortunately, my leather collar was a little too tight, and the booze hit me harder than I expected. Remember that. In a gunfight, wearing a leather fetish suit will get a you killed. So the weasels start pumping me hard for information. Just pumping and pumping and pumping, and before I knew it, I had blown my secrets. Not a proud time for Tac, but at least I get residuals on the video. Alright, enough about those weasels and their rock hard abs, lets talk about PEDSMASS.

PEDSMASS is an anachronism for each part of the SLAP fighting system. The letters and their meanings are like this;

P stands for 'Push.' Science numbers show that 94.56666667% of gunfights take place at the ranges people usually encounter in phone booths. The 'Push' means you push your opponent as hard as you can to get some distance between you to use your gun. Keep in mind that if a gunfight starts inside an actual phone booth, pushing will not work. And that's why in a gunfight, phone booths will get you killed.

E stands for 'Eliminate.' Now I know you're probably thinking this is where you eliminate your opponent. Not quite yet. When I say 'Eliminate' I mean you vacate your bowels. When you're in a life or death situation, you're going to shit your pants. I have personally shit myself in gunfights on every continent. Yes, Antarctica counts. Polar bears want those baby seals you've got hanging over your shoulder, and not for the expensive pelts either. Anyway, shit just happens. I say, why wait? Do it now before the gunfight gets started, and you'll save yourself time later. Hey, quiet down! You think that you're going to have time to find a john in a gunfight? No way. In a gunfight, toilets will get you killed. We will be practicing this step later, which is why I locked all the bathrooms and poured a laxative into the coffee. Train as you fight, people.

D stands for 'Draw.' This is when you draw your gun. Try not to screw it up. I highly recommend you complete the previous step before starting this one, because it can be very distracting. When drawing, how many of you think slow is smooth, and smooth is fast? No hands. Good, you're learning. If a = b and b = c, then a = c, right? Well slow doesn't equal fast. It's basic math. Throw that out of your mind, and replace it with this; 'Fast is fast and faster is faster than fast.' So for fast and faster, which fast is faster than the fastest fast? It's ok, you can answer this one... 'Faster' is wrong. I was looking for fastest. Faster is the fastest fast and faster than fast and faster. Wow, you ever say a word a lot and it starts to sound weird? You shouldn't, because saying a word a lot until it starts to sound weird will get you killed in a gunfight. Actually, I guess it depends on the word. I'll get back to you on that one.

S is for 'Shoot.' Now, believe it or not, this is probably the least important part of the whole system. If you've ever been on the internet, you know that once your adrenaline starts pumping, you won't be able to hit the broad side of a barn from inside. I remember this story of these guys who were in this apartment when some other guy comes out of the bathroom with a huge 357, and shoots all 6 at them from 4 feet, but hits nothing but air. Jules thought it was a miracle, but it's really because of adrenaline. I see hands again... I can wait as long as you can... That's better. Anyway, it's a proven internet fact that you won't be able to hit anything, so the shooting part of the gunfight is pretty much a formality. You might stun or scare him with the sound though, so make sure you get a really loud gun.

M is for 'Magazine.' How many people know what a magazine is for? ... One? Ok, what's a magazine for?... You just got killed. You think you're going to have time to reload in a gunfight? Hell no. How long does it take the average person to reload? Too long, that's how long. In a gunfight, reloading will get you killed. So you take that magazine, and throw it at him. You ever been hit with a loaded magazine? It hurts. One time I was at a Navy Ranger Team Spetsnaz shooting competition, drinking some Tabasco sauce, minding my own business, when these Operators start begging me to demo my draw technique. So finally I break down, and draw my Glock 61, which is a custom deal Gaston Glock handmade for me when I saved his daughter from snow terrorists, but that's all classified. It's not a big deal, just a 10" extended barrel, extended capacity mag, extended beaver tail, extended trigger guard, extended forward and rear cocking serrations, extended mag release, extended slide release, extended sights, extended trigger, and extended accessory rails. Anyway, I draw my Glock 61 so fast that I actually bend the laws of physics, which is the only explanation for why my magazine release activates, and the mag goes flying, bounces off the ground, and hits me right in the head. I know you're probably thinking, 'Tac, why would your magazine fly out of your gun so fast?' The answer is obvious. I triple stack all my mag springs to guarantee reliable feeding. One magazine spring is good feeding? Then Tac says three are three times better. Oh yeah, make sure you bring a high capacity one so it's heavier. Also, aim for the face so he'll have to close his eyes, that's important for the next step.

A stands for 'Advance.' This is where you advance on your opponent. Now I know you're probably thinking, 'Tac,' by the way, you don't have to call me Tac every time you know, I know who you're thinking at, 'Why would I advance on my attacker when I've already put distance between us?' Well if you can't figure it out for yourself, you're just not a real Operator. Plus the Advance put us in range for the most important part of the PEDSMASS system. The SLAP.

S stands for 'SLAP.' Now, when I say SLAP, I don't mean slapping someone. I'm talking about my patented SLAP fighting system. The S doesn't stand for one thing, it's an acrobatism for my patented SLAP system, which it, in then of itself is an attackonism for more words. So again, SLAP doesn't mean slapping. So, what do the letters in SLAP mean? Glad you asked.

The S stands for 'Slap.' This is where you use your support hand, to apply an open palmed hand to the side of your attacker's face. Now I know you're thinking, 'Tac, why would I slap someone in the middle of a gunfight?' The answer is obvious because slapping does many things at once. First, you break line of sight by pushing your attacker's face to the side. You can't shoot what you can't see. C'mon guys, this is kids' stuff. Second, you disorient your attacker. You ever been slapped by a real operator? No. You haven't. Third, he won't be expecting it. He thinks you're going to shoot him. Wrong-o Tango. Bullets are just what you'd be ready for, so you get the slap. Fourth, that shit stings. Like, a lot. Pain is distracting. Everyone knows you won't be able to feel gunshot wounds in a gunfight because your adrenaline is going to be pumping, but slaps come in right under that threshold. It's simple physics.

Now, believe it or not, I've been slapfighting my whole life. You just ask Mama Tac, and she'll tell you the first time I started perfecting my technique. I was in a crib, drinking a bottle, minding my own business, when Mama Tac comes up and tries to take the bottle and put me to sleep. Bad idea. At 6 months, I could kill in 4 ways using just a blankie. Lucky for Mama Tac, I only slap away every attempt at that bottle. Finished the whole thing and threw it all up. I've been doing this forever folks, I know what I'm doing. Anyone want to take my bottle? Huh? Ok. I think I've made my point. Oh, one note about slapping; in many cases, but not all, a gunfight could turn into a slapfight. Did you know that over 60% of all gunfights end in slapfights? No, you didn't. That's because the fatcats in the firearm training industry knows that I hold 16 patents on different styles of slapfighting. You ever heard of a movie called Equilibrium? Well there was this guy in one of my classes who was asking all kinds of questions, and after the class, he shakes my hand and says I've been a great help to him. Yeah, ok, I don't think anything of it, but two months later? Equilibrium comes out, and that last gunfight is right out of the textbook I would write if writing textbooks didn't get you killed.

It seems that you're not convinced of the legitimate combaticative applications of the slap fight. So my first question to you is, have you ever been slapped in a gunfight? No, none of you have, because you're still alive. You ever seen that guy who was shot like 80 times and he still could walk to the police car after they cuffed him? One slap would have eliminated all that trouble. Sidenote: when I saw that story I went right to the Chief of their department, and told him that for 5 easy installment payments of $29.99 I could teach his department my patented techniques and increase officer safety. He'd been drinking too much training industry kool-aid, and kicked me out of his office. But he wasn't laughing at me when I waited for him in the parking lot and gave him an impromptu demonstration. I know you're probably thinking, 'Pretty ballsy move, Tac.' Well, yeah, it kind of was, but he didn't see it that way. The details aren't important, but I'm not allowed in Oklahoma anymore. Eh, big loss right? Who cares. His willingness to press charges should show you this isn't your playground sissy slap fight, this is real life and death slap fighting.

You know how we've been going over what will get you killed? Toilets will get you killed, reloading will get you killed, textbooks will get you killed, guns will get you killed, and yes, even gunfighting will get you killed. Sometimes even if you win. You kill a guy, go to jail and get the chair? You lost the gunfight. That's why killing will get you killed. You know what won't get you killed? Slapfights. ... Hey, I see some snickers. Do not snicker. In a gunfight, snickers will get you killed. This includes the candy bar. Too much nougat. Hey, sit back down, I'm getting to the L in SLAP.

L stands for 'Lunch.' This is where the gunfight gets mental. You gotta get inside his OODA loop. You ask him what he had for lunch and when he stops to think about it, -boom- you hit him with the next step.

A stands for 'Another Slap.' You think he was reeling from that first one? You switch gears on him with the mental play, then right back to the slap. He'll never see it coming. I have seen people lose control of their bowels on the second slap. That should show you what effect switching up your methods will have. Most people just aren't prepared for it. One time I was at a fondu party, drinking some cheese, minding my own business when this Seal DEVGRU Ranger Recon Scout gets all up in my face. So I decide to give him some schooling. His supposedly elite training made him completely unprepared for my slapfighting style. He was so unprepared for that second slap that he went into a coma immediately. Still in it, as far as I know. Hey, he knew the risks when he put on the Dominos uniform. Of course, the state of Arizona didn't see it that way, so I'm not allowed back there anymore. I know you're probably thinking, 'Tac, aren't we in Arizona right now?' Well, yeah, I guess we are. What are you, a cop or something? Moving on.

P stands for 'PARTY,' which is an acrocombe for another set of steps that you can learn about by taking Tactical black ops martial SLAP fighting 2. I won't give away the keys to the castle on this one, but I will give you something to think about when you go over the brochures I put under your windshield wipers over the break. Here it is; the T stands for 'Tactical.' I've said too much already. If you want to know more, you call the number on the brochure and tell Sheila you want to sign up. Sheila's kind of like my secretary, but also, my girlfriend. Tac can't be tied down. He's like a wild animal. You think you can put a wild animal in a cage? No way. I'm the wild animal that'll be waiting behind the door at feeding time with a shotgun. How'd I get a shotgun? Wouldn't you like to know...

Now that I've explained every part of the SLAP system, we're back to the last letter of the PEDSMASS system.

S stands for 'Scan.' This doesn't mean you scan the horizon for threats, this means you leave the area as quickly as possible, and listen to the police scanner you keep in your car. Apparently the police trust a lot of these potential threats, and come looking for you even though you were only defending yourself preemptively. I know, our legal system is flawed, but we've got to work within it the best way we can. Or just avoid it. So you listen to the scanner for a bit, and maybe lay low at a girlfriend's house until things die down. If they don't, then hey, that state probably sucked anyway.

Alright, so now we can start practicing these steps-- Hey, we're doing training in here, you can't come in unless-- ... No, my name's Tac. The name was given to me by a hundred year old Buddhist-- ... No, I don't know who that is. But you should be careful, because that name sure sounds like a killing word in twelve different languages. ... Hey, I don't know anything about any assault charges. ... Well, you say she was, but have you ruled out midget assassin? ... Ok, ok, no need for that, just let me finish up with this class, and I'll go with you and get this all sorted out.

Alright class, there's one more thing that will get you killed in a gunfight, and I can't stress this one enough. Getting caught. WINDOW SLAP ASSAULT! *CRASH*

Friday, April 29, 2011

I am very smart.

I recently finished Atlas Shrugged, which turned out to be the most important book I've ever read. The most important thing I took away from it was the title of this post. I am very smart.

I'm not kind of intelligent, I'm not weirdly smart, I don't just happen to figure things out. It is neither freaky nor scary that I understand, learn, comprehend, correlate, and retain a wide variety of information about a wide variety of topics faster than almost anyone I know.

I will no longer feel the need to make excuses for my intelligence, because I was conditioned to do just that, and never realized it until Ayn Rand wrote about people who intentionally limit your potential by making you feel bad for being better than they are.

At work, I am excelling at my tasks and surpassing coworkers who have been doing for years what I've been doing for 4 months. I knew I was good at my job, but I didn't have enough experience to know just how good I was. Coworkers have asked me to help them with things they should have been able to do. At the time it confused me, but after I realized why, I had to laugh. These people knew I was smarter than them, and I still didn't.

But how dare I think like this? I should hide my talent. I should bury my skills. I should pretend they are an accident. What would happen if I made someone feel bad about themselves?

It is smug.
It is vain.
It is prideful.
It is unseemly.
It is antagonistic.
It is condescending.

But it is the truth.

When I was very young, my mother told me that when the kids made fun of me for being so smart, it was because they were jealous. I rejected that notion immediately, and never revisited the premise. It took decades for me to realize it, but it is completely true. Yet the opposite was what I would have said without a thought before that realization.

What other self-limiting falsehoods lie in the unchallenged corners of my mind, planted long ago by the enemies of my ability?

What buried truths lay undiscovered?

Who have I become with these mental blocks placed in my path?

But more importantly...

Who could I be if I remove them all?

Is there a limit to my potential if I remove them all?

Is there anything that could stop me if I remove them all?

There's only one way to find out. the way; who told you you weren't as smart as me?

Edit after comments: What if the people who are the engines of this world are not that way because of their natural ability, but because of their state of mind?

The royal family's shit stinks.

One of the things that makes America amazing is that the people who run it are not our betters. They are our peers. (technically, they're our employees once they get elected, but I digress) These people are just individuals. They're anyone. They're not a special class, they're not a higher caste, they have no birthright. They're just individuals. And when you have a country full of "just individuals" the only thing that stands out is what each individual does. The accomplishments of the individual. The honor of the individual. The integrity of the individual.

I can't help but cringe when people fawn over people who they think are better than them. Be they celebrities, politicians, or "royalty." Whether or not this actively makes them less than those they fawn over is a question worth asking.

Given the above, you can imagine what hearing about the royal wedding has done to my faith in the people of this country. So I'm just going to state a few facts that I think some people need to hear. Particularly in the UK.

When a member of the royal family get a paper cut; it bleeds.
When a member of the royal family sexually attracted; they lust.
When a member of the royal family is thirsty; they drink.
When a member of the royal family goes underwater; they return for breath.
When a member of the royal family shits in a toilet; it stinks.

They are just people.
They have the same organs as you.
They require the same food as you.
They put their pants on one leg at a time... Just. Like. You.

They are NOT magical.
They are NOT better by birthright.
They are NOT smarter, faster, and stronger.
They are NOT infallible.
They are NOT perfect.

Judge them by their accomplishments, their character, their triumphs, and their personal strength.

Then see where they compare to a single mother working two jobs to keep her kids in private school.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ronnie Barrett spits on California's gun laws again

First he tells the LAPD that he won't repair the guns they bought from him because they were using them as political pieces to advance the cause of gun control.

Then he developed the .416 Barrett, which just happened to circumvent California's .50 caliber ban.

And now a bullet button magazine release...

Wonder why he developed this...?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

At first I was excited about Portal 2

Then I watched all the media and read the comic here.

Now I'm ecstatic.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

At what point do the TSA failures add up to a conclusion?

I've become aware of a few (additional) instances of TSA agents failing to stop knives from get through their x-ray machines. In one case, an all metal Spyderco Harpy, which this person realized too late that he had left it in the bag. He watched with much apprehension the display on the machine as it painted a perfect outline of the grip, blade, some serrations, and the patented Spyderco thumbhole less than a foot from the TSA agent's face. He then watched with confusion as the TSA agent progressed the bag off the screen and out of the x-ray machine without incident. Afraid of the repercussions of alerting someone with authority over you that they missed a chance to exercise it against you, he kept his mouth shut. On his return flight out of a much smaller airport, he left no knife in his carry on, and was glad because he saw what appeared to be a supervisor reviewing and re-reviewing each bag with fastidious scrutiny.

Given the TSA's abysmal record of failure, and the growing pile of anecdotal incidents of local failures, I can't stop my brain from considering the possibility of accidentally leaving a knife I would not miss in my carry on bag and being prepared to let them toss it.

One related revelation comes from my (long overdue) reading of Atlas Shrugged. (Don't worry kids, all you have to do is make it through that first 400 pages, and it's all rich, creamy, fair-market-value gravy from there.) I realized something about the forced decision between the body scan machines and The Grope (which casually tosses aside the final veil you held over your most private of areas, and affirms that the federal government's reach extends from your income, to your home, to your family, to your body, and indeed, to your penis or vagina. Oh, and that of your child). The villains in Atlas Shrugged refused to name what their power allowed them to do, and relied on the consent of the victim to acknowledge only the compulsory "choice" in the matter. Your assailant's request always ends with the unsaid words, "or I'll have you killed/imprisoned for decades/fined thousands of dollars/touch your daughter in ways that would put anyone else in prison." These threats are never spoken, but the victim knows they're there, and the invader knows they're there. It is only by consent of the victim that these words remain unsaid, the trespasser appears benevolent, and the victim steps into the radiation chamber, seemingly of his own election.

Of course, the frightening thing about these new villains is that they act with the consent, and under the powers of, a vast, nameless, faceless, amorphous bureaucracy. A bureaucracy which is both unaccountable and accountable, guilty and innocent, powerful and powerless, contemptible and... indifferent. It corrupts its employees with authority and impassivity, and comforts its employers with deniability and abdication. It sanctions the worst in the worst people, and overpowers the best in the best people. If humanity is to return, it must be stopped.

While on the matter of radiation; given the hyperbolic reactions of the media and (sadly) therefore public to levels of Japanese radiation in America that are exceeded by a banana, I feel a part humanitarian, part capitalistic, part juvenile duty to sell Potassium Iodide pills for $20 a hit in the line to the body scan machines. But then I think to myself, "Just because a fool and his money are soon parted doesn't mean I have to be one of the opportunistic, greedy capitalists who only profits a little bit," so lets make it $60. Step right up folks! Save your children from a slow and painful death! Don't want to bleed out of all your orifices? Then buy ET's Rad-B-Gone! Only $60 a pill, or save in bulk at 4 for $300!

Friday, April 01, 2011

How do I watched ET play nethack ¯\(°_o)/¯

I dunno lol!

ET plays Nethack on, and you can watch him play live, look at his old playthroughs, and if you get a login, play the game in a browser (or command prompt) and send him annoying messages while he's playing!

How to watch:

First, you need to connect:

From a browser click here OR telnet to

Once you're connected, click on the terminal screen then press "W" to watch games in progress, and press the letter which corresponds to ET's sooper seekrit username; Aemaeth.

If you register for a login: you send annoying messages to me while I'm playing live! (press "M" while watching).

Is ET playing live, right now? Lets see:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What gun for asteroid?

I'm sure you've all seen the unbelievable devastation caused by the tsunami in Japan by now, and I must ask all the preppers out there... What preps for a 20 foot, 30 MPH wall of water?

My brother and I were talking about this on the way out to the desert yesterday, and we were at a bit of a loss. To me, it feels like the "What gun for X" hypotheticals about outlandish scenarios you might find yourself in, and what gun you would choose.

The only thing we came up with was strapping a boat to your roof, or some kind of floating ocean hamster ball.

The destruction in the videos is so relentless, so complete, that it's almost it IS unbelievable. It is a force of nature from which we have no defense.

May be a helipad on your roof?

Compooter. I has one.

A real one this time. No more struggling with Lappy on long sessions.

I mainly bought this computer for Minecraft, and in that regard I was successful.

Secondary and tertiary goals include things like writing more, and having a solid box on which to telecommute. The box was of decent spec, but hardly gamer-ready, so I picked up an ATI graphics card and a larger power supply for aforementioned video card.

But who cares about that. MINECRAFT!

It's so awesome. I fucking love it. I've got the display settings turned all the way up, and it runs perfectly (Although the day/night changes can still lag this quad core, 4gb ram, 1 gb vid ram box. Java, you stupid fat bastard.) I can honestly say I was speechless when I saw my first world save with no fog obstructing my vision beyond 50 feet. I spent an amount of time that must be measured in days in that virtual world, and I got to see it completely for the first time.

Since I've gotten most of the Minecraftery out of my system, and have mostly been interested in what Notch will do with it in the future, I believe I will soon be visiting the "games I'll play if I ever get a gaming rig" list.

This list contains such noble games as Starcraft 2 and STALKER, and ranges down to the ignoble reader favorite (ha!) Dwarf Fortress.

Stay tuned!

PS: It's an HP, and damn their eyes for the amount of shit they put on their boxes, and the effort they go to in order to prevent you from removing it. Just when I think I got it all some HP solution tracker/helper/survey program identifies itself for my increasing wrath.

The A in M1A stands for AWESOME

My brother and I had a small outing to the desert to do some shooting, and I finally (yes, call me PDB) shot my M1A.

The M1A is the most expensive gun I own, it's also the gun I waited the longest to get. It represents everything I love about rifles, and had been at the top of my list ever since I first laid eyes on one. I went with the scout squad because I knew that if I got a standard, I'd just want a National Match and a Scout Squad anyway. Now I can just get the NM if I want.

After feeling the surprisingly gentle recoil of the Garand, I was a little worried that a synthetic stock scout squad would be too light, and recoil harshly, but it somehow recoils more lightly than the Garand. I had heard that the muzzle break and rubber stock pad work overtime on this gun, but I severely underestimated how smooth and soft they made the recoil. By the end of the day, the Garand had begun to feel unrefined next to the M1A, which is quite a feat.

The perennial favorite of the desert is 3 liter soda bottles from the 99 cent store. We set them up, and blow them up, usually at close range. Since this trip out was just my brother and I, we set the bottles up a little further. Along with the 10" gong, most of the 3 liters wound up at around 200 yards, but I wanted one that would last. So I grabbed a suitably hi-viz (fiz?) orange one, and took the long walk through the wash and up the hill to about 325 yards and set it up.

We opened smoothly with the M1A, and after ringing the gong repeatedly, I decided I wanted to start the fun of taking pot shots at the tiny orange dot on the hillside throughout the day. Sadly, I ruined the fun on my second shot from a cross legged sitting position. At cleanup I saw it was a grazing shot, catching only about a half inch in from the left side, but it was still a hit on a 6" wide target at 325 yards off irons.

The M1A was the go-to gun for cleaning up targets that refused to be shot. Only one resisted its charms, but that target danced around all the other bullets too. It wasn't until I was shooting My Rifle later in the day that we finally got rid of it. It never ceases to surprise me how something so simple as "Front sight, press" gets consistent hits after magazines of mid-day misses due to fatigue. After loading My Rifle and looking for targets I decided to try for that slippery 3 liter with some renewed focus. A different focus. I placed the front sight in perfect focus, and the target became an out of focus tiny blob of white sitting on top of the front sight. From a standing position, I hit dead center on the first shot the target that we had missed for dozens of rounds from sitting and prone position.

Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.

It's easy (and fun) to get sloppy with both eyes open in the large aperture sight on close targets, but when your target is small and far, and fatigue has set in, what you really need is "front sight, press."

The only problem that day was that we didn't have enough 308 to shoot it all day long. But I'm not sure there's enough 308 in the world to get your fill of shooting that gun.

It is slick, it is smooth, it is light, it is accurate, it hits hard, and it will hold 20 rounds of reach-out-and-touch-someone in a light, balanced package. But what is most important is that it is worth every penny. The M1A is the most expensive gun I own, and to be honest, I was a little afraid I was going to walk away from my first experience with it wondering how much cash I could get for it to put toward an AR-10. I am extremely impressed with this gun, and would recommend that anyone who wants a high quality, full powered, detachable mag fed, classically styled rifle begin saving their pennies now. The M1A really is the pinnacle of classic American rifles, and it is no wonder it has endured.

I'm Subaru folk now.

I got a new car; a 2011 Subaru Outback. And yes, it really does come with an intrinsic sense of self satisfaction, thanks for asking. I was about to buy an ubiquitous Toyota Rav4 because it was most of the things I wanted, but the day before, my dad introduced me to the new outback (unlike the older, more wagon-y model that he has), and the next day I bought it. And thank god I got my new car in a manual. I was ready to go automatic for lack of manual versions of the cars I was looking at, but the Outback worked its way in. People these days. There were literally four manual transmission Outbacks in Southern California. Two were ugly, and one was in my color. Armed with that information, I got a price that allows me to chuckle at Rav4s for how much more car I got for quite a bit less money. Plus, having a car made at a zero landfill plant makes non-Subaru hippies cry when they can't take the moral high ground on their choice of car. I put an NRA sticker on the back just to piss them off.

The car represents a kind of phase shift for me. To quote everyone who knows me, "It's a grown-up car!" Exiting the phase of "Yeah, fast cars are awesome, I love to go fast." and entering the phase of "Yeah, fast cars are awesome, and I'm going to die if I get the combination of perfect song, perfect level of congestion of the freeway, and my recurring lead-foot syndrome." The Subaru is considerably slower than the turbo Passat. To get a manual, I had to get the smaller engine. But beside being slow, it's also smoother, and much more refined. The clutch is electronic, so at first, I could barely drive it. I couldn't feel a damn thing. I resorted to looking at the tachometer to know when I should shift, and when I missed a shift and ground the gears, the only way I knew it was because I could hear it. I couldn't feel shit. The fact that there is no real engine noise, very little power (comparatively, I guess), a very smooth ride, and no raw connection between you and the engine, gearbox, and clutch makes it a lot harder to get excited, and attempt to beat the land speed record while driving a slalom of zombie drivers on the freeway while Born Too Slow turns that knob in your adrenal gland up to 11.

That said, there is truly nothing like that rush. But it ain't worth gettin' dead over.

Oh yeah, I was sure I was going to miss the turning radius on the Passat, but the Outback blew the Passat out of the water. I'm pretty sure I could flip a bitch inside a parking spot. It's really impressive, and really useful.

Coming back from the desert trip yesterday we popped the Outback's cherry with some light off-roading along a dirt road mountain pass of rocks and washes. The latter of which sent most of the contents of the trunk airborne for enough time to do the tablecloth pull trick with my trunk liner. After a bit of practice, I got a better feel for how to spot the washes and take them in a way that didn't make me worry for my virgin car. Honestly, I'll admit to having a bit of the pucker factor for most of the trip. Driving over sharp rocks, steering through soft sand, and hitting bumps that would have broken my last car in half, all at a fair speed was mentally taxing. But these thoughts were countered at each turn by the Subaru's constant reassurance that yes, it could do this, and yes, it could probably do it backwards and at twice the speed. In fact, thinking back now, I don't think we ever bottomed out. 8.7" of ground clearance and good suspension are probably the reason for that. I was impressed, and we got the new Subaru the thing that Subarus seem to need most; dirty.

Catching up, getting ahead

A mere two months into my current employment, I'm trying out for a promotion, having being goaded on by my boss. Somehow there is little competition for the position, so many suspect me of being the frontrunner. I didn't think I was qualified enough for the position, but the last two months have been very reassuring to me in regards to my ability to pick up new things quickly. I'm way ahead of where I should be, and I think that's why my boss wanted to make sure I at least tried out.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that doing this means I'm essentially doing two jobs. The stress has caused me to get sick, gain weight, and break out. Fortunately, this will only last for the month before they make the decision, then I can focus on one or the other. Interestingly enough, if I get the position my coworkers tell me I'll need two promotions, and two raises, which would probably make me the most well paid and skilled new guy still on probation. A few people told me that they don't expect much from you in the first 6 month probationary period, but I'm not the kind of person who meets those kinds of expectations.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quick range trip

On my last .22 trip to the range, I brought the 1911 for a little attention. Unfortunately, I didn't shoot it very well.

So last weekend, I went to the range with the GI .45 and the XD-9, and was surprised to find that I just sucked that day.

A a few single ragged holes through a few targets later, I had full confidence back in my 1911, and my XD-9 felt much more natural than I remembered.

I got a few compliments on my shooting, as usual, but no one seemed interested in any pointers, so I didn't offer them.

One of my near-term goals is to get as good with my .30 rifles as I am with my pistols and AR carbine.


I was thinking about the reason there can be no Medicare or Social Security reform.


Today's politicians regard the senior voting bloc as solid, reliable, trust-worthy, restless, pernicious, and vindictive. That's why no politician subject to reelection would dare touch any of the senior hot-button issues.

So instead of dealing with these ticking time bombs, we get to watch helplessly as they slowly count down. The seniors will get theirs, and keep kicking the can down the road until it's no longer an issue for them... Because they're dead.

I can't help but wonder how much worse it's going to get when the glut of Boomers reach immaturity.

Who knows more about current tax policies?

Professional Orange Troll Snooki, or President Barack Obama?

When the president of the United States of America insisted that he "didn't raise taxes once," you didn't have to be a Professional Washington Political Pundit to know that he was full of fake bake.

How the hell does the President of the United States of America think he can get away with a lie so obvious that a hilarious caricature of a human being sees right through it.


I'm so angry! Hold me back! Hold me back! ... No really, someone hold me back!

From WSJ: Obama Renews Vow To Repeal Tax Cuts For High Incomes

So guess who's got some big balls now?

Obama was so ANGRY about the tax cuts for the high earners that he just HAD to take advantage of the Democrat SUPERMAJORITY and...! ... AND...!!!

... Extend the Bush-era tax cuts.


The DASTARDLY Republicans LIE, CHEAT, AND STEAL their way into the House of Representatives, and now they say they're going to protect their RICH, WHITE, FAT CAT constituents!

D'oohh! IF ONLY those EVIL republicans didn't own the House!

Oh, you just BET Obama would kill those tax cuts for the richest Americans!

So be sure to vote Democrat next time so they can get a SUPERMAJORITY, and then they'll be able to pass whatever they want!

Tis the season for revolution

So apparently now is the time for the people to unite and overthrow their corrupt governments!

Meanwhile in Mexico, all those young full spirited Mexican nationalists are...


I understand that they have some serious problems down there with the drug cartels, but that doesn't change the fact that for every Mexican waving the red white and green up here, there's one less down there.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Some twitter selections

Man, you don't even know. I had charcoal ALL up in my grill.

Dreamt we were on Run's House on a trip but Run stayed at the starbucks when he found they'd serve horseshoecrabs right to his canoe. Srsly.

Oh noes! A young hippster caught corporate-looking me riding my shopping cart! It told him to get a job and pretended it didn't happen.


Saturday, February 05, 2011

Some things change, some things never change.

It has been a little over a month since I started my new job, and I'm starting to feel like a normal human being again.

The sleep pattern is starting to be the norm, I'm getting over this weird cold that just seemed to linger for a few weeks, the new job stress took a couple hits when I got my first customer survey back (perfect), and some guy who's supposedly awesome was impressed with my work. Things are starting to feel normal again. But not that kind of normal I had at the last place, where things were slowly sliding downhill, and you never really realize that stress until it's gone.

Real normal.

Feels damn good.

I called my old paintball buddy when I decided to go paintballing the next day. The same old paintball buddy who had grown accustomed to me turning down every offer of an outing due to me being on call or some other engagement. And I do mean every. I went so far as to explain to him that I really did want to go, and to continue inviting me, but cosmic forces seemed aligned to prevent me from going paintballing with him.

Kharmicly, he was unable to go due to a prior engagement, however he hooked me up with one of his friends who asked him if he wanted to go the same day.

We hit it off immediately, all he had to do was mention "phantom" and "machine shop" and I could tell we were going to be best friends. He and his friend are stock class players, and run phantoms, so I told him I'd bring mine and we'd make it a triple. Since it'll just be three of us, he recommended we join a walk-on and take them to school. My kind of pump players.

I hit the local shop (the only one that's left) after work, and it turned out the shop owner was there. We started talking kit, and it turned out he was on the socal paintball scene for 12 years. When he found out who I knew and what I used to do, we caught up on common friends, and the ones who were no longer with us. We talked about the scene, the drama, how some things changed, and how other things never changed.

A lot of those times are over. There are glimmers of hope, but the scene is a shadow of what it used to be. The economy is to blame as much as silly drama.

The halcyon days of southern California paintball.

It made me sad that it was gone, but I was still happy to have been a part of it. It felt strange to talk about "the good old days." I'm only 27...

But time marches on, and the oppressive cost of doing business in California, and the high insurance rates for "shooting sports" forced fields to make up their costs by requiring players buy field paint instead of bringing their own. This paint was usually low quality and high cost to maintain the necessary margin the field needed to stay in business. This made players seek lower cost forms of playing, hence an uneasy spike in pump play.

Generally pump play is the polar opposite of the "Agg Kidz" (HK kids) I fought against in the sport. It's really easy to get your aggression going with 2 grand of kit slinging four cases of paint a day. "Whoops, lit up that last guy on the bunker, and he turned out to be a scared little kid just trying out the sport. Guess he won't be back! High five!" I'm hoping the return to pump play brought a return to focus to the game style down here, but I suppose attitudes don't necessarily have to change when play style changes. But I'm hopeful, and I'm going to find out today.

Blogging should return to normal once I get this new schedule figured out, and determine where it fits in it. I used to be able to write bits and pieces at work, but that won't be the case now. I'll be back. Don't worry.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Fuck "some other time!"

I was talking to a coworker about how the missus and I used to be hardcore ballers, and regaled him with all my awesome stories. Afterwards I sent him some pictures and checked out a field I've been meaning to try out for some time.

So fuck it.

I'm going paintballing tomorrow!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Bernanke who cried wolf

One of these times he's going to be telling the truth.

But no one will believe him.

The problem is, we'll get eaten alive, not him...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I lol'd

Alternate Names for the "Repealing The Job Killing Health Care Law Act"

5) The “We’re Not Going to Grind Gramma Into An Edible but Nutritious Slurry Act”.
4) The “Sarah Was Right; There Really Are Death Panels Act”.
3) The “Dear God in Heaven, What Were We Thinking Act”.
2) The “We’re In Charge, So How Do You Like Us Now Act”.
1) The “Happy Cuddle Puppies Nuzzle Wuzzle Act”.


The new job is looking good

The commute is considerably shorter than I had expected, which is much appreciated.

I still haven't gotten the hang of the "regular people" schedule of 8-5, so I'm tired when I should be awake, and awake when I should be tired.

The company won a few "best place to work" awards, and it's not hard to see why. This place rocks.

The work is demanding, which beats the hell out of the alternative. So far, I've just been training, so I've spent most of my time straining to understand the complexities of a large business production software. The program is frickin' huge, and twice as complex in troubleshooting. I love a challenge.

The mental drain is worse than the physical drain, and it leaves me useless for blogging afterwards, so it might be a while before I return to a normal blogging schedule. I know you're all waiting on bated breath. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

A few things stand out

The congresswoman's survival is nothing short of a miracle. I wonder if that disgusting piece of trash lost his smirk after her found out she survived.

The shooting took 30 seconds and it took 10 minutes for first responders to arrive. Do the math.

Two heroes were forced to tackle this menace while he was trying to reload. It would have been safer for them and everyone else there if they had guns.

The loss of the 9 year old girl is almost beyond grief, but I have to know, do you think the father carries a gun everywhere now?

I pray that there are people out there right now taking a second look at those family members that they've been making excuses for.

And liberals, just as always, struggle to find logic in the illogical.

The nurture part of them is what keeps them from admitting there is evil in this world. Same here. It must be the music. There must be SOME explanation for why this crazy person was crazy.

You know, I can't help but wonder if libs fantasize about murdering those who disagree with them, which is why they're so violent and oppose guns (projection) and when someone goes off like this, they need an explanation for why they haven't gone off the deep end yet. Insecure. Uncertain. Scared.

and if this had happened at a rally of republicans I can't help but think the body count would have been lower