Saturday, March 29, 2008

Quote of the class-obsessed pathology

I was reading an old post, and came upon today's quote of the day in the comments.

The class-obsessed are easily mislead by their own simpleton calculus. It's not at all necessary to lever wealth as a precondition for virtue, or "desperation" as a precondition for malice and evil - Fidel Castro has millions and runs his own country yet has people beaten up regularly.
It has more to do with pathology than economics.


Party Hard*

* In this instance, "Party Hard" means that I got drunk off overly strong bloody marys, and read Monster Hunter International for the entire party. At least I was still in the same room as our guests!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Quote of the why should we even have to say it?

"What should we think of a gentleman, who upon hiring a waiting-man, should say to him "my friend, please take notice, before we come together, that I shall always claim the liberty of eating when and what I please, of fishing and hunting upon my own ground, of keeping as many horses and hounds as I can maintain, and of speaking and writing any sentiments upon all subjects." As a mere servant, the government had no power to interfere with individual liberties in any manner without a specific delegation. "[A] master reserves to himself ... everything else which he has not committed to the care of those servants."
~Tench Coxe

No nethack update today

I know you're all just crushed.

Picked up Monster Hunter International and didn't put it down till 3am. Only because I had a meeting I needed to be sharp for in the morning Can't wait for my lunch break.

After I finish this book, (if I don't read it again immediately) I've got another book I started that is just begging to be read. Then there's the gun show this weekend, and helping my sister move. Plus Rock Band parties, regular parties, and casual get-togethers. Projects to plan, places to go, people to see.

Man. I don't know what I was thinking when I started listing all that, but I'm actually doing all those things this weekend. Busy busy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Hilde transcends the rest... in AWESOME!

[Hilde's quest continues...]

Shocking experience
We explore deeper a few levels, and finding no altar, I decide to go just a few more levels down. It was easy going until I ran into a shocking vortex. It caught me at a corner and engulfed me quickly. I hit it with my hammer (which does shock damage, which the shocking vortex was probably immune to), and the shocking vortex shocked the shit out of me for a few turns before I got below half health. Shit! Screw this! I read a cursed scroll of teleport, not caring where I went, so long as it was away from here. I didn't remember that cursed scrolls of teleport, send you to a different level! Luckily, I was only sent two levels up, and made it back to Benny quickly, and dispatched that damn vortex from a distance with my daggers. Geez. Shocking hurts. Mjollnir deals shock damage, so I guess I got a taste of what I've been dishing out. I put "get shock resistance" on my list.

Feeling jumpy
On our way down I find a few boxes, and record their location in my notes, but find little else of interest. Benny is still doing most of my fighting, which is fine with me, and my orc shaman (being in way over his level) is trying to appear as non-threatening as possible. On level 11 I find my Quest magic portal, but don't go in. I think I need to be level 15 before I can start my quest, and for as much as I'm letting Benny fight for me, don't think I'll ever get there :). Further down I eat a few tengu, but still no teleport control. The teleportitis is beginning to wear on my nerves. I really got to find an altar, and get these rings identified.

She turned me into a newt!
Next level down I come across some uncursed plate mail, so I blow my whistle to see if my orc shaman wants it. He appears and greedily takes off his leather armor, and puts it on. Maybe now he'll be tough enough to actually, you know, fight. Later on the same level as soon as I exit a room with my pets in it, I get the message "You hear a thud." Uh oh. Something got dropped. I go back into the room I just left and see some plate mail on the floor that wasn't there before. Great. I think my orc shaman just turned into a newt. I walk over to the plate mail, search repeatedly, and discover a polymorph trap. Lovely. What the hell is it with me and polymorph traps??? I blow my magic whistle and Benny teleports next to me, along with my brand spanking new pet Hill Giant. Sweet! Giants kick ass! I take another step, and my Hill Giant steps on the polymorph trap again, and turns into an imp. Whoa. I thought they wouldn't step on the trap again! Curious if it'll happen again (and wanting something more powerful than an imp) I wait a few more turns, and get the message "The tame imp deliberately jumps into the polymorph trap!" I didn't know they could do that. I guess they know when they suck too :P... My imp turns into my new pet baby yellow dragon. Sweet! Still a baby, but sweet nonetheless! I quickly get far from the polymorph trap, and blow my magic whistle to keep my new baby dragon from turning into something less useful.

Git along, little doggie!
On the same level I find a saddle, something for which I have little use. You can use the saddle to ride a horse or other mountable pet, but I don't have any experience riding, so I decided not to bother with it (also, it's heavy). I leave the room and my baby yellow dragon picks up the saddle and puts it down as I leave. A few twists and turns later my dragon catches up with me and drops the saddle it was carrying. No big deal, pets pickup and put stuff down all the time, they like to bring things to you. I continue through the level and eventually lose my dragon, upon finding the stairs down, I blow my magic whistle and teleport in Benny (who wasn't too far off) and my baby yellow dragon, who... drops the saddle he was carrying. Huh. Ok. I can take a hint. I saddle up my baby dragon (which surprisingly, actually works), and hop on, expecting to fumble and fall off, or be bucked off. I successfully mount the baby dragon, and am now riding a tame baby yellow dragon. Awesome! I picture Hilde, queen of badass, atop a comically small yellow dragon. Who cares, it's still awesome. I go find a monster to attack, and find that when I attack while mounted, I do my regular attack, and then my steed attacks too. This is pretty cool! I discover, though, that I can't pick up objects on the ground, so I dismount frequently to pick stuff up. I get the message You do not have enough riding skill to do that when I try to pick stuff up while mounted, so I guess I'll be able to pick stuff up without dismounting after I ride for a bit. Since you can use an iron hook to pick up stuff on the ground while levitating, I bet you can use it to pick stuff up while riding. I'd remember finding an iron hook though, so I'll just be dismounting frequently. Which kind of bugged me since I was still unskilled at riding, and didn't like dismounting with the thought I might not be able to remount We get to the down stairs, and when I go down I get the message "Your baby yellow dragon flies along the stairs" Sweet! I can fly too! Just keeps getting better and better! On the next level I dismount to pick up some gold, and get the message, "You've been through the dungeon on a baby yellow dragon with no name." Heh. Nethack is full of jokes like this. I decide my baby dragon does need a name, and after a bit of thinking lightning strikes! I name my baby yellow dragon, Old Yeller.

Old Yeller gets put down
I blind myself with with my towel to focus on my ESP and get an idea of what's on the level, and spot a priestess! Hopefully she's in charge of a temple with an altar! I rush over there and find the temple to be cross-aligned with me. Damn Loki. Well, Benny has taken priests before, after he's done with this one, I'll just convert it for Tyr. Benny begins the beat down, and the priestess of Loki bashes him back with her mace. I wait a few turns, and the priestess is still standing. Wow. Tough girl. I wait a few more turns of fighting, and Benny disappears. What? He's not dead, is he? I wrap the towel around my head again, and spot Benny, back by the stairs we just came down. He retreated? Is she really that tough? Without a stethoscope, I can only guess how hurt the priestess is, but after a few turns she casts a spell, and heals herself. Shortly afterward, Benny teleports back and they start round two, but it ends the same as last time. Benny retreats and heals, and the priestess heals, then they go at it again! I guess they're pretty evenly matched. Whether the priestess stays or goes, this is going to be my new outpost. I head back upstairs and bring a box down to the temple, and put it in the corner. Old Yeller follows me in, and decides to pick a fight with the priestess. Uhh... She's pretty tough, be careful. I figured he'd take a few swipes at her, get konked on the head a few times, and run away. He's just a baby dragon, after all. He hits her a few times, and takes a few hits, and I'm surprised he hasn't run off yet. Priestess of Loki swings her mace. Old Yeller is killed! O_O shit! No! Old Yeller! Why didn't you run away! Fuck! My girlfriend hears my lament, and asks if I can bring him back to life. I stop. I never though of being able to bring something back to life. The only thing I can think would do something similar is a wand of undead turning, but I always though that was more like a "turn something into a zombie" type wand. I guess it would make sense that it could bring something back to life. I have a wand of undead turning, but it's way back in the mine town. There's no way I'd be able to get it back here in time. Poor Old Yeller. I dig a grave for the poor guy, and engrave the floor above him with a wand of digging, Here Lies Old Yeller. I place his saddle in the box, and start testing some uncursed rings. My teleportitis flares up, but this time, I'm asked where I want to teleport. I name the ring I was trying on at the time "Teleport Control," and happy with that find, begin my storage consolidation with Benny in tow.

Moving, wishes, and holy water
We back track to the nearest storage closet, chest, or box, and carry everything back to my new outpost at the temple. Being burdened with all that stuff makes me hungry faster, so I realize that I should just wait for my teleportitis hit, and teleport directly to the down stairs, blow my magic whistle for Benny, and go down. It doesn't take long before I've gotten all my storage areas, and all possibly useful items down to my new outpost, which I've now begun to call Loki-land. The next and final equipment gathering trip is to the mine town's haunted temple of Tyr, and my last storage closet. I'll be making some holy water for my equipment processing, so I have to carry all the useless potions down with me for watering down. All of this would be a HELL of a lot easier if I had a freaking bag of holding. Or even just a regular bag, so I wouldn't have my knapsack full! I finally make it to the mines, and pick up another potion I can do without. Diluting potions twice turns them into water, and I need water to make holy water. The difficulty comes from how to dilute your potions safely. You can't dilute them in a lake unless you are actually IN the lake (with all the armor, you sink right to the bottom, not to mention water damage on other equipment), or have boots of water walking. I don't even have access to a lake, which means I need to use fountains, which are dangerous for lower level characters. Messing with fountains is usually bad news, they have quite a number of effects, most of which are negative or dangerous. There is a tiny chance that you'll get a luck increase, and a tiny chance you'll free a peaceful water demon, and an even smaller chance that he'll grant you a wish, but the dangers of the fountain FAR outweigh the benefits. But I didn't have a choice (plus Hilde was pretty tough), so I set about diluting my four useless potions in the fountain. I'm guessing my extreme luck helped me avoid most of the dangerous consequences because for 5 turns the fountain didn't retaliate at all. The sixth time, it unleashed a water demon, who shouldn't offer too much resistance. Before I can attack I get the message "Grateful for his release, he grants you a wish!" No shit! It's good to be lucky! After considering my options, and my current equipment, I wish for a blessed greased fireproof +2 cloak of displacement. I prefer displacement to invisibility, because some of the higher level monsters can see invisible, and displacement works on all monsters. Plus I already had a ring of invisibility. As I finish diluting my last potion, the fountain dries up. I enter the haunted temple, (luckily no ghosts appeared) and place the four potions of water on the alter of Tyr, and prayed. The voice of Tyr booms: "Thou art arrogant, mortal!" Tyr knocks me down a level! Tyr apparently thinks I'm taking him for granted. Actually, it was probably all those peaceful tengu I attacked in a very un-lawful-character-like manner. Sorry! Geez. Have some sacrifices. I pick up an old wand of create monster, and a few sacrifices later I get the message Tyr seems mollified. Thanks, now can you help me out here? I pray on the altar, and am surrounded by a shimmering light. I glance down at my feet and see my 4 potions of water glow blue. Nice. I pack up everything of use, and as I'm leaving, I remember I wanted to try the wand of undead turning. I zap a nearby gecko corpse, and it comes back to life! Well, it may be too late for Old Yeller, but at least I won't lose any more pets. I head back to Loki-land without incident (wasn't even burdened).

Pimp my kit
With an altar, the protection of a strong pet, holy water, nearby fountains, blank scrolls and a magic marker; I was now in a position to do some experimenting with my mostly unidentified equipment. I started with scrolls, and grabbed some uncursed armor and an uncursed weapon that I wouldn't mind turning to dust on accident. I strip down, put away all my burnable stuff, put on the crappy armor, wield my crappy weapon, and read the first uncursed unidentified scroll. Scroll of gold detection. Useful if I read while confused for trap detection. Next blessed unidentified scroll. Blessed scroll of genocide! Sweet! Oh wait... The first thing you do with a blessed scroll of genocide is kill the entire race of Liches. Which would include Benny. I don't really want to do it. I decide I can always make more blessed scrolls of genocide if I have to, and instead take out all water monsters (jellyfish, paranahs, sharks, giant eels, electric eels, and krackens) who become very bothersome later in the game. (and fucking krackens grab you off land, and drown you!) Unsure I made the right decision, I read the next uncursed scroll. Punishment. Damn. A heavy iron ball and chain materialize on my leg, not too difficult to remove, just a bit bothersome. That was all the unidentified scrolls, now to get all this other stuff identified. I had two cursed scrolls of identify, one uncursed scroll of identify, two blessed blank scrolls, and two uncursed blank scrolls. I wanted as many blessed scrolls of identify as possible, since each one has a chance of identifying your entire inventory, instead of just 2-4 items. I dip the two cursed scrolls of identify into one potion of holy water, causing them to become uncursed. I then drop the two newly uncursed scrolls of identify, and drop the other uncursed scroll of identify, causing them to stack into one item; 3 uncursed scrolls of identify. Since the three were stacked now, it only takes one more potion of holy water to make all three blessed. With my three blessed scrolls of identify, I rummage around in my box, and pull out everything I could possibly want identified, and read the three scrolls. Each one only identifies a few. Damn. I've got a lot more stuff that I really need identified. I pull out my magic marker, and write an identify scroll on a blessed blank scroll, and read it. Yes! It identifies all my stuff, including all my wands with various numbers of charges left. Among the identified stuff, I see a ring of polymorph control! Sweet! Now I can do like I did with Olga, and make some awesome pets, and eat some rings for intrinsics! Just gotta find a scroll of charging for my polymorph wand. I store the stuff that's not immediately necessary, and set about bettering my equipment. I pull out two blessed scrolls of enchant weapon, some potions of confusion, and my 20 throwing daggers. I wield the daggers, and read the two blessed scrolls of enchant weapon, making my daggers +4. I then use my magic marker to write another scroll of enchant weapon, and drink the potion of confusion. Being confused can have positive effects when doing certain things. While confused, I read the scroll of enchant weapon, and mispronounce the words, causing my 20 +4 daggers to become rustproof. I then dip the 20 rustproof +4 daggers into one potion of holy water, causing them to become blessed. Then I name my new kick ass daggers, Deadly Daggers, and set them for throwing. I use my magic marker again to write a scroll of enchant armor, but in my haste, write a scroll of enchant weapon. Whoops. I wanted to repair and protect my damaged +4 small shield, but I guess that'll have to wait. I re-equip for exploration, choose a potent set of wands that still have enough charges to be useful, and set off with Benny.

The most awesomest evar
Next level down, we find a large dog, and being very prepared to add pets to polymorph, I have a bit of tripe for him. He devours it, and cheerily follows me back up two levels to the polymorph trap. I leave Benny one level down so he doesn't get in the way, then repeatedly blow my magic whistle while standing next to the trap, and after a few weak transformations, my new pet dog turns into a black dragon! Fucking sweet! This is just what I wanted! But it's not complete yet! I hurry down stairs and grab the saddle, being sure to keep my new dragon away from that dragon-killing priestess, and saddle up.

It was at this point that I realized that Hilde was the most awesome nethack character I'd ever created. She was decked out with awesome armor (-14), wearing her cloak of displacement, wielding Mjollnir, capable of throwing three blessed rustproof +4 deadly daggers in one turn, with a pet Arch-Lich, and RIDING A MOTHERFUCKING BLACK DRAGON!


Hilde is awesome.

Too awesome to last
We go back downstairs, and continue deeper. After the first dismount I get the message, You've been through the dungeon on a black dragon with no name again, and ask my girlfriend what I should name him. Murderface. Perfect! With a breath attack of disintegration, it seemed like the perfect fit. After two more levels, we run into a warhorse, and after tossing an apple at it, it was happy to be my pet. I was getting a little pet-happy, with a convenient polymorph trap, and a series of awesome pets. We encountered a few ogres, and I began to get that sinking feeling when my new warhorse kept coming back for more. He died after only a few turns as my pet. Damn! Wait. Lets see if that wand of undead turning will keep it my pet! I zap my wand of undead turning at the corpse of my former warhorse, who quickly pops right back up like nothing ever happened! Sweet. We head back to the polymorph trap, and I leave Benny on the level below to keep him out of the way (Note that I have done this twice, not a good thing to do with a powerful pet) After a few turns, my warhorse has turned into the SECOND nastiest monster in the dungeon; a mind flayer. Known for their area psychic attacks, and the most hated attack in nethack, the mind suck. Mind flayers will attempt to eat your brain, and cause your character to forget things, like what ring does what, what wand does what, weapon experience, previously explored levels, and more. It's terrible. It's like you're starting over. And now, one was my pet. Cool? I attack a few more monsters, and dismount to pick up the loot, but when I try to get back on, I slip. I try again, and slip again. I try again, and fail. Shit. Murderface probably isn't liking this. I try one more time, and get the message, I think Murderface would mind. What? Why would Murderface mind? I then realize that Murderface is no longer my pet, and is instead, a peaceful, saddled, black dragon. Damnit! I guess he really wasn't liking the constant up and down. I wonder how I'm going to get the saddle off of him, and realize I might have a scroll of tame monster in my box at Loki-land. I head down with my mind flayer and Benny to check the box. No scroll of tame monster, and my mind flayer seems disinterested in trying to suck the brains out of the Priestess, even while she's preoccupied with Benny. I get an idea that will require Benny be elsewhere, and leave him upstairs. I enter a closed corridor off of the temple, lock the door behind me, leaving my mind flayer and the priestess in the temple, and put on my ring of conflict. I wait a bit as they dance around in the temple, but cant hear or see any sounds of attacking. I wait a bit longer, and see nothing happening. Maybe my mind flayer needs to level up. (Holy shit! I just realized! All that sparring with Benny, probably maxed out the Priestess's level! She's probably tougher than me! I'd better watch out for her!) I give up on my mind flayer, and head back up to meet Benny.

Mr Benedict... We meet again.
I head up the stairs and jump out of my chair as I see Benny standing next to me, but this time he has no text highlight. Benny is no longer my pet. Benedict has gone feral. Mister Benedict... We meet again. I expected this was how our relationship would end. Don't think I didn't learn from when we last fought, and don't think I've forgotten the amulet of reflection you're wearing. I was unprepared before... Now we end this. And just as I prepare to unleash a salvo of Blessed Deadly Daggers, and go invisible, I remember Murderface went peaceful, and check his status to find that Benedict the Arch-Lich, is in fact, Benny the peaceful Arch-Lich. Whew! One wrong hit would have turned him hostile! Glad I checked first!

I quit now so I could collect my thoughts, and plan my next moves. A lot had just happened. At first I really wanted Benny and Murderface back, and hoped I could find some scrolls of taming. But then I realized that beating the game without genociding Liches is EXTREMELY difficult for someone who's never even beat the game once. I've decided I'll just have to do it. I can't polymorph Benny into anything else because he's magic resistant. Well, I'll finally get my amulet of reflection back! (heh, heh... awww.) As for Murderface, I think I can still tame him, so long as I don't hit him on accident. Writing this reminded me that I don't need more charges for my polymorph wand because I can use the polymorph trap if I take off my magic resistant armor. I'm planning on doing what I did with Olga, and laying some dragon and cockatrice eggs for some awesome pets, and possibly a ridable dragon in the near future.

[Hilde's quest ends]

Fallen Friend

All this success with Hilde reminded me of my most successful, and most unexpectedly taken character, Velma.

After Velma I didn't play for 5 months.

Its been a while, but I still remember that day like it was yesterday.

*leaves flowers*

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Statue Gardens and the Big Room

[Hilde's quest continues...]

Before I hit the treasure zoo, I make my way back to the sink and check my ring inventory. I find two of the same types of rings that I've been unable to identify by wearing, so I toss one into the sink. (as I write this, I realize I forgot to kick a ring out of the sink. I need to add that to my to do list) The sink responds by blending into the floor for a moment. That means it's a ring of stealth. Perfect! I can put on the other one, and use it in the treasure zoo! With stealth, all the monsters remain asleep (hopefully), and you are free to dispatch them one at a time. On my way to the zoo I find another ring, and after determining it to be uncursed, I put it on. My orc shaman takes a swing at Benedict, who responds by clocking him. Awesome! I found a ring of conflict! It makes everyone on the level fight eachother, and can be very useful. I quickly remove the ring before Benedict decides to break my face. I pick the lock on the door to the zoo and open it. I see a sleeping cockatrice two spaces away from me, at the edge of the group of monsters, and get a great idea.

I go back up a level with Benny and my orc shaman, and leave them there, I won't be gone long. I return to the treasure zoo, dig out a section of wall next to the corridor, and pick up a rock. I open the door, and throw the rock at the cockatrice, who promptly wakes up and takes a menacing step toward me. I slam the door, lock it, and snicker as I put on my ring of conflict. Then I wait as I hear sounds coming from the other side of the door. After a while I don't hear anything, and unlock and open the door. There stands a cockatrice among a large group of stone statues of the former monsters, with a gnome and a bugbear cowering in the corner. The cockatrice hisses at me, and I send 6 daggers his way, which drop him quickly. I note the cockatrice left a corpse, and check on the bugbear and gnome in the corner. Might as well make the set complete! I double check that I'm wearing gloves, and that I have a lizard corpse ready in case I fuck up, and pick up the cockatrice corpse. I wield it like a flail, and hit the Gnome with it, who instantly turns to stone. The bugbear falls just as easily, and now I've got a statue garden! I put the cockatrice corpse in the far corner so I don't have to worry about it until it rots away, and get ready to head back to my pets. Then I realize I've been gone longer than I thought I would be, and am not sure if Benedict could have gone feral. It seems unlikely, but I don't want to take the chance, so I bring the cockatrice corpse to the stairs with me, searching every turn to make sure I don't trip into a pit and turn myself to stone. I remove my ring of conflict, and on the previous level I'm relieved to find Benny is still happy to call me master, and we continue downward.

As we pass my new statue garden on our way to the down stairs, I remember that there should be a throne in there. I go back and find the throne under a statue of a floating eye, a few chips with my pick axe later, the throne is visible. I take a seat, and get the message that I feel out of place. I keep sitting, and it saps my strength for two points, but doesn't vanish. I weigh my options and decide to keep trying. I sit on it a few more times, and am rewarded with a free genocide. After realizing mind flayers won't be a problem for a long while, and I can't kill liches quite yet (Benny's my bud!), I choose rust monsters, who destroy my throwing daggers, and rust out my armor to uselessness. Extremely annoying. For a brief moment I remember the "feeling out of place" message and wonder if since I seem to be unaligned with this throne, if it'll teleport in a bunch of rust monsters instead of genociding them. I quiet my fear, and go for it. All Rust Monsters wiped out. Sweet! The throne, having expended its power, vanishes in a puff of logic.

We go down stairs and I see something I haven't seen in a long time. The big room. The big room is basically a large open room with no rooms, doors, or corridors to help you deal with multiple enemies. It's a bitch because you start in the middle and the ~30 monsters descend upon you from all sides, and if you're not careful, surround you completely preventing you from escaping. Every time I got the big room I backtracked and searched in vain for a ring of conflict, but this time I already had one. I brought Benny and my orc shaman upstairs, returned to the big room, and put on my ring of conflict. Then I sat back and enjoyed the show. While most of the monsters are busy beating on eachother, there were still a few gnarly ones pretty close to me, so I start walking a path to avoid most of the monsters while they beat on eachother. They get a little close, and I bash a few with Mjollnir, and make my way to a nice empty part of the big room. As I approach, the largest swarm of bees I've ever seen in nethack appears right where I'm heading. Bees are not too tough if you've got poison resistance, but they can still swarm you, and make your life very difficult. I make a bee line (yeah yeah) away, but some giants deflect me to the wall. I don't want to be pinned against the wall, but it beats being surrounded on all sides, and maybe they'll kill eachother in the extra time. I make my way to the wall, and the bees are upon me quickly, fortunately, most of them are attacking eachother, but they have poison resistance, and the swarm looks even bigger than it was before. The bees have me on one side, and begin to cusp above me like a small wave. “Bees! Bees! Bees in the car! Bees Everywhere! God, they’re huge! Your firearms are useless against them!” I'm reminded of Go strategy for some unknown reason, and move to the cusp instead of away from the large body of bees. The gamble pays off, and I manage to keep from being surrounded. I make it to a breakaway, and look around the dark areas of the room for items unmolested as the remaining monsters duke it out. I find a few more rings, wands, and an amulet, and decide it's time to let Benny take care of the rest of these guys. I remove my ring of conflict, and grab him from upstairs. Without the ring on, the remaining monsters close in on me and Benny, this is apparently exactly what Benny wanted because he goes nuts, and clears the room quickly.

I sift through the dropped items in the big room, and find a few more wands and rings. Knowing Benny is already wearing an amulet of reflection, I put the unidentified amulet on the ground for him to inspect. He picks it up, and puts it down. Well, I didn't get my amulet of reflection, but at least I know this one isn't cursed. I toss it on and see no immediate effect. Oh well. I'm sure I'll find out soon enough. I find a whistle, and with high hopes, use it. My pets teleport right next to me. Yes! Finally, a magic whistle! No more waiting for slow pets! Then I remember SlowPoke and feel a bit down. Poor guy. Oh well. We head deeper and I find that I can see a xorn through the wall. Woot! I'm got an amulet of ESP! I name the amulet and dispatch the xorn who drops two food rations. I pick up the rations and realize I'm burdened. I spot a conveniently nearby box, and begin unloading some of my less than necessary equipment into it. I continue through the level and find another leprechaun hall. After Benny has his way with the little buggers, I gather up all the gold and some more items, only to become burdened again. On the way back to the box a peaceful Tengu teleports next to Benny and I. Benny takes umberage to this, and kills him in one hit, leaving a corpse. Hmmmm... Eating a tengu corpse has a chance of conferring the teleport control intrinsic. Also, it has a chance of giving me teleportitis. I've seen a few tengu around, so if I get teleportitis, I'll just keep finding and eating until I get the intrinsic. I eat the tengu and get the message, "You feel jumpy" Bah. Teleportitis it is, oh well. Back at the box, I eye my inventory more carefully. I realize I've got a lot of unidentified rings and scrolls. Probably some good ones among them. I've only got a few scrolls of identify, what I really need is a magic marker. Instantly I remember finding one, and 3 blank scrolls... somewhere... Shit. Why don't I take more complete notes? Well, it's in one of my outposts or closets or boxes, so I'm sure I'll find it. That's what I need to do. Get some of this inventory sorted. Make some holy water, blank some scrolls, and generally futz with my stuff. That'll be a bit of fun. Unfortunately I still haven't found an altar in the regular dungeon. The only one I know of is in the mine town, and that's a long way to lug all that stuff without a bag of holding.

I decide to take a quick look a few levels down, and if there are no altars, I'll just make the long trip to the mine town with the haunted temple.

[to be continued...]

Bifocal Brainery

For the first time in a long time I sat down to write a two page paper. An ROI for some code I'm writing. I didn't expect it to be a problem, since I knew plenty of reasons why my code was a good investment, and knew my boss would agree. (it was really just an exercise, but I was taking it seriously) So I sat down at the table, and got started with the short notes I had written Friday. My significant other began playing Bully, and turned on a CD to listen to while playing. The CD had songs I vaguely knew, and as I stared at the mostly blank screen, I realized I wasn't writing anything. I had plenty of points to make, I just wasn't writing them. Man! Why can't I concentrate? AP English was a while ago, but I can't be totally useless! I got up and stretched, got some water, and sat back down. Nothing. It was like my brain was stuck. Why can't I think?! Getting frustrated, I closed my eyes and focused on how to expand upon my first note... I sat quietly, and suddenly I realized what my brain was doing. It was singing along to the CD.

Well that's stupid. Forget the song I barely know, I need to think about this. I stare at my notes and concentrate, but can only sing along. Ok, I'm getting earplugs. I plug my ears and sit down to concentrate. Beyond the ringing of silence I can still pick out the lyrics, and can't think about anything other than those lyrics. I get frustrated and grab my The Saint - Soundtrack CD (my first CD and most favorite CD) and a pair of headphones. Quickly all outward noise is drowned out by The Chemical Brothers - Setting Sun blasting in my ears.

Suddenly my mind is clear. I focus on my notes, and an hour later, I'm done.

I can't do this with a song with a lot of lyrics, speech part of the brain can only focus on so much and still allow me to talk to myself. When coding I only listen to hardcore electronica (, and it helps me think. Obviously it's not just for coding. I like the idea of both sides of my brain working at the same time.

This experience reminded me of when I used to live with some friends, and came home with my girlfriend to find one of my friends asleep on the couch, with the stereo blasting heavy metal. I wondered aloud how she could possibly sleep with all that noise (this was before I liked metal). My girlfriend reminded me that I can fall asleep to my favorite music. I understood what she meant, but it still seemed odd at the time. Now, it makes perfect sense.

Hacker Quickie v1.0

[The following is provided for informational purposes only, and only to further the understanding of the curious.]
MAC addresses
The Media Access Control (MAC) address is a hardware based address that is unique to each networking device. This means that when you go to the store and see boxes and boxes of network cards, each one has its own unique MAC address. If you remove the Network Interface Card (NIC) (NOT NOT NOT "NIC Card") from your computer, and install it on another computer, that computer will have the same MAC address of your old computer. It's tied to the actual, physical device.

MAC addresses are used for low level routing (low level means on a local area network basis), and are not found out on the internet. If you connect your computer to your home router or cable modem, your MAC address will not go beyond that gateway device. The MAC address is used in a number of ways, but primarily it is used for unique identification of individual network devices. If you take two computers, and give them identical IP addresses, your router will know something's wrong, because there are two computers with two different MAC addresses, and the same IP address.

The idea that MAC addresses will always be unique is what we're going to exploit.

The MAC address that is set on the hardware will never change, the MAC address that your operating system stores for use, however, can change. Basically your networking drivers picks up the MAC address from the hardware, and uses it for future traffic. By simply changing that address after it has been obtained from the hardware by the software, you can effectively change your MAC address.

Ok, so your MAC address is different now. How is this useful? Well, since most networking hardware is predicated on networking devices playing by the rules, you can bypass restrictions set by networking hardware. To do something like, oh, I don't know... Obtain free internet access at a local coffee shop with one of those shit-eating website redirects that wants you to pay for internet access. Networking hardware recognizes computers based on IP address and MAC address, by changing your IP address and MAC address to that of someone who has already paid for access, you will be permitted internet access. This, of course, requires someone already be paying for internet access, and since you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a douchebag writing his novel or trying to look important while he checks his blog for comments over and over, this shouldn't be a problem.

You can also bypass the MAC address filtering on an unsecure wireless network. Simply obtain the MAC of an allowed machine, and emulate it.

Changing your MAC address for windows is as easy as SMAC. Hmmm... I've been out of the windows game for a while, and SMAC now appears to be a pay utility. I'm sure there's some other free utility that will allow you to change your MAC address on windows. You will probably have to disable the device or the connection before you can make the change, and then turn it back on. I forget what I had to do, but it was something similar.

Changing your MAC address for linux is an existing option that comes with the OS.
ifconfig hw eth0 12:FE:AB:78:90:CD
You may have to ifdown the interface before making the change, and then ifup it and check that it stuck.

Also know that the MAC address you change to must be valid. You can't just pick random numbers and letters. There are a number of random MAC address generators online, so grab one.

Coming up next time, capturing and reading network traffic.
For things like valid MAC addresses!

Disclaimer: ExistingThing does not condone the use of services which you are not allowed to use, even though there is a minuscule chance that you'll get caught, and a microscopic chance that you'll actually get charged. ExistingThing also reminds all the s00pr l33t hax0rz out there that hackers don't get slaps on the wrist any more, they get shipped to Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants. No lawyer. No habeus corpus. No phone call. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Seriously TSA?

Wait wait wait wait wait...


No, really; seriously?

Because, I mean, c'mon, but seriously?!

What's wrong with this picture?

You don't put shit in the trigger guard of a firearm! It's called a trigger GUARD for a reason, to prevent things from bumping into the trigger!

ALTERNATE QUESTION: TSA, can you really be that retarded?
ALTERNATE ANSWER: No, but if you hand me that hammer, I can try.

Gun Accident In U.S. Airways Airliner Cockpit Was TSA Engineered!

The insane procedures required by the TSA demands that our pilots to lock and then un-lock their .40 side arms was and is a solid recipe for disaster. Did the TSA deliberately create this bizarre and unconventional Rube Goldberg firearm retention system hoping for this result? The sordid history of the FAA and TSA’s total resistance to the concept of arming pilots to protect Americans is in itself a scandal.

Well now I've got to order it.

You can't get a better book review than that.

My wallet probably won't mind...


Finished the sample chapter.

Couldn't help myself, and went for the next day shipping. It'll be here tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Simplified one time pad encoder/decoder

This simplified one-time-pad script will only work with letters for ease of physical transmission. (that is to say; no numbers or symbols, only letters of the alphabet)

It uses a simple XOR to generate the encrypted text. As usual, the unbeatable strength of this type of encryption depends ENTIRELY on the randomness of the key used, and that a key NEVER be reused. For more information on this potentially unbreakable form of encryption, and tips on how to use it, check my earlier post.

For ease of translation it is recommended that keys be entered one line at a time, and messages be decrypted one line at a time. This makes it easier to keep track of the lines used.

If your key is formatted thusly;

Format your message to match;

Then encrypt it while keeping the formatting.

Here's the script;


my ($mode,$count,$result);

if($mode eq "-d"){print "decrypting mode\n";}
elsif($mode eq "-e"){print "encrypting mode\n";}
else{print "Use -e to encrypt, and -d to decrypt\n";exit;}

my %alpha = (
A => '1', B => '2', C => '3', D => '4', E => '5',F => '6',
G => '7', H => '8', I => '9', J => '10', K => '11', L => '12',
M => '13', N => '14', O => '15', P => '16', Q => '17', R => '18',
S => '19', T => '20', U => '21', V => '22', W => '23', X => '24',
Y => '25', Z => '26'
my @alpha=qw(A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z);

print "input your message: ";
print "input your key: ";
my @msg=split('',$msg);
my @key=split('',$key);

print "translated message:\n";

if($mode eq "-e"){
$result=($alpha{$_} + $alpha{@key[($count-1)]});
if($mode eq "-d"){
$result=($alpha{$_} - $alpha{@key[($count-1)]});
print @alpha[($result-1)];
print "\n";

Just drag-select everything in the box, copy, and paste into a wider text editor like notepad or gedit. Don't worry, it preserves newlines.

To run in teh loonix, just save it and run it in a terminal as "perl file_you_saved"
To run in windows, download and install activeperl (free) and save it as a .pl file. Then run it in a command prompt (start->run->cmd->[enter]).

Use switches to run a decrypt (-d) or an encrypt (-e) -e -d

Keys should be long and random for many uses. They should also be given to the recipient in person, or via mail on paper media, and kept in a very secure location. Once the key has been given, encrypted messages can be sent via insecure methods like e-mail. I originally recommended NOT using your computer, everyone has their own level of security, and if you feel your computer is 100% secure, you're wrong. Instead, download and burn a copy of a live linux distribution (such as Knoppix). This CD will boot on your computer, and make NO CHANGES to your existing operating system. (Your Windows XP will be untouched. Just remove the CD and reboot, and you're back.) Boot it using the "toram" (to ram) function, which will ensure that all data is written ONLY to ram, which wipes all data completely, and irreversibly upon power down. Load the script via a usb key (you unplugged the network cable right?), and run at your leisure, encode/decode, and turn the computer off (that's OFF, not reboot), and have a coke. You've earned it. This method of computer work ensures complete computer security. Physical security, however, is up to you, so make sure no one is shoulder surfing. Maybe hide under a thick blanket. Or a tinfoil fort. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Benedict and SlowPoke

[Hilde's quest continues...]

Before we make it out of the mines, my black naga managed to find YET ANOTHER polymorph trap, and turned into a baby purple worm. If he can get enough experience, he'll turn into an excellent pet, a purple worm. The great thing about purple worms is their attack is to swallow enemies whole. Unfortunately it's quite slow. I leave the mines and continue deeper with my Lich and my particularly slow baby purple worm. If I get too far from my pet worm, he loses track of me, and wanders off, so I have to stand a space away from him, and wait until he gets next to me then take another step and wait. I really need to find a magic whistle. We find the leprechaun hall, and collect so much gold that I'm becoming burdened. I decide I need to set up an outpost, and carry a large box from a few levels up down to a big room. Unfortunately, the room is pretty open, and doesn't have doors in every entrance, so I carve Elbereth using my wand of digging and put my large box on it. On the same level I find the entrance to the sokoban mazes, so I head back to my outpost and adjust my inventory for exploration.

In the sokoban mazes and I somehow manage not to kill my pets when they annoy me by getting in the way of me moving boulders. I find a few rings and an amulet which I toss on to see if there are any immediate effects. Nothing happens, but I leave them on in the hope that something will happen to reveal their effect. I make it to the third level, and accidentally fall down to the first level. I run back up to find my Arch-Lich eyeballing me menacingly. Oh shit. He teleports next to me and tries to freeze me, and attacks with a nasty spell! He's still listed as "tame", so I check his description, and see nothing wrong, I have no stethoscope, so I can't see if he has any abnormal statuses. He's pissed off or confused or something. He gives me three good hits as I try to make it to the stairs, and I've got about one hit left, and I'm frantically checking my inventory. The only thing I can find is my wand of polymorph, which doesn't work on Liches (if you'll recall), of course I didn't remember this as I was freaking out, and zapped him with it. He teleported away, and out of dagger range, but I still had two spaces to move. I took another step toward the stairs, and he teleported next to me, and hits me for the last time, and I watch my hit points drop to zero. Fuck.

But wait!

The unidentified amulet I was wearing began to glow! It was an amulet of life saving! It revived me to full health, and turned to dust. I ran downstairs to compose myself. I ran back to my outpost and checked to see if I had anything useful for taking on an arch-lich. Nothing. I was prepared to bypass sokoban until I either got strong enough to take on an arch-lich, or found a scroll of genocide. Unwilling to give up so easily, I stock up on healing potions and cautiously head back.

I appear on the level and wait till he teleports into view. He appears directly across from me, and I fired off three daggers, ready for battle. My lich just screamed at the attack, and began ambling around, like nothing happened. I waited a few more turns, and cautiously approached my questionable pet. He just wandered around. Oooookaaayyy... I guess he got confused or something, because he was fine after that. I decided he earned a name, Benedict. I found my baby purple worm and decided he deserved a name too, SlowPoke. I chuckle at the name, and then realize that SlowPoke is so slow, and Benedict is so fast that SlowPoke will likely never get a chance to make it to full grown purple worm. I decide to give him a chance at the last monster-filled room in sokoban, and if he doesn't get enough experience, I'll just polymorph him into something a bit faster.

I get to the last room, and wedge him in the doorway. SlowPoke goes to town, biting everything and doing rather well until he gets hit with a poison arrow. Apparently baby purple worms don't have poison resistance. SlowPoke is dead.

I grab the amulet of reflection (forgetting about my bag of holding), and (stupidly) decide to put it on the ground to make sure it's not cursed (of course it's not cursed, it's my prize). Benedict sees it, and puts it on. Well shit. Whatever. Damnit. I sift through the junk, and leave with Benedict (who, for some reason can still teleport in sokoban). We head a level down and find a sink, and a treasure zoo. Before we can make it there, we run into a pony, one carrot later I've got another pet pony to polymorph into something awesome. A few zaps of my wand of polymorph doesn't change the pony into anything that would make a great pet. I zap again, and find the wand to be empty. Guess I'm stuck with a pet orc shaman for now.

[to be continued...]

Quote of the worst nightmare

There, but for the grace of a confidential informant and perhaps the common sense of a police officer, go I.


Not much for conspiracy theories....

...But a lot of stuff about this case just didn't ring true from the beginning.

Now this?

It's highly suspect, at best. At worst? ...

Innocuous Homunculus

Starting a game of Nethack gives you one immediate goal; don't die. After you make it through the survival phase, you can start gathering your kit for going deeper. The survival phase is made easier by selecting strong characters such as a barbarian or a Valkyrie, who start out with good strength, and good equipment. I was reminded that this character selection still doesn't make you invincible, or prevent random acts of Nethack God.

My Valkyrie was tooling around on the first few levels trying to find an altar and a box or chest when she ran into a few lower-level nasties, one of which being a Homunculus. No big deal. Homunculi are very minor foes, and I dispatch them with enough regularity that I thought nothing of the presence of one. After picking on the jackals I attacked the Homunculus, which would fall to about 2 hits. However, the Random Nethack God decided that it rather liked that particular Homunculus. I couldn't hit him for the life of me (unfortunate pun). After a few dagger swipes flew by him, he decided he should put me to sleep. I survived my unfortunate nap, though the jackals attacked as I slept, but when I awoke Mr. homunculus decided I could use some more rest.

Hilde is dead! Long live Hilde!

Deciding Hilde hadn't quite earned a name for herself, I restarted with the same name, and warily began my descent.

After a bit of exploration, my pet cat Rex fell protecting me from a werewolf. Poor little guy. It was important I find good equipment quickly, and a pet is good for making sure I don't use any cursed items. Two levels down I ran into a large dog, who was happy to join me after I fed him some tripe. Rex II did a lot of fighting for me (I wanted to keep from leveling up before I got better equipment) and always yipped happily after a battle. A few levels down I find an armor shop, and manage to distract the shopkeeper long enough for Rex II to make off with some nice plate mail. All this while I'm fighting melee with my dagger, and throwing daggers at enemies, although with Rex II as tough as he was, I wasn't really doing much fighting. I found a neutral altar (I'm lawful), but there weren't enough monsters around for me to confidently claim it for my god. Instead I lugged a chest from upstairs down to the altar room, and started my dungeon clean-up. Picking up, and checking every item before storing it in the locked chest.

I do a bit of clean up on the previous 4 levels, lugging weapons, armor, and potions down to my small base where I can make sure they're not cursed, and try them out. I add a few daggers to my throwing daggers pile, and safely add enough armor to get my armor class down to 5. I find an unidentified wand and zap a nearby newt who reacted by turning into a motherfucking black dragon! I freeze up instantly as I realize that it'll only take one blast of its disintegration ray to end my quest. I frantically check my inventory for something that'll help, but I'm not far enough along to have identified stuff I'd just be reading scrolls and hoping one is a scroll of teleport. Then I realize that what got me into this mess will get me out of it! I zap the same wand at the black dragon who (hilariously enough) turns into a lizard. Rex II is emboldened by this return to form, and quickly kills the lizard. I grab the corpse because they never go bad, and can keep me from turning to stone should I happen upon a cockatrice. I eye Rex II holding my new wand of polymorph and give him a zap! *poof* Rex II the giant ant? Nah. *poof* Rex II the garter snake? Hell no. *poof* Rex II the fire elemental? Lets go down the list... Big? Check. Tough? Check. Badass? Check. Made of fire? Double check! I wander the level looking for something for Rex II to attack, and a hapless imp crosses our path. Rex II hits the imp who bursts into flames, and quickly dies. Awesome.

We make it to the mines and (being a dwarf) the gnomes don't much mind my presence. This is good and bad. Since the gnomes are not that tough, they're good for easy experience, and usually have a few daggers (which I need for throwing). Attacking them unprovoked would cause a hit to my alignment. Lawful characters can't go around wasting peaceful monsters. Fortunately, Rex II had no such inhibitions and, with a little coaxing, took care of all the gnomes all the way down to the mine town.

The temple in town is chaotic, and I'm not even thinking about taking on the priestess. I've had far too many problems with the town temple to convert it lightly. As I walked from shop to shop checking out the goods, I wondered if Rex II was tough enough to try to take on some shopkeepers. Pets killing shopkeepers is a good way for lawful characters to get lots of stuff, and strong pets are a good way for early characters to get lots of stuff. Pets know how tough their enemies are, and choose their battles, so who they take on is a good indicator of their strength. Rex is still tough, I guess he's not just as tough as I thought. As I came to Izchak's lighting shop, I saw three lamps just begging to be rubbed. As I entered Rex II decided he was tougher than Izchak, and wasted him in a 5 turns! Killing Izchak is in bad form! I mourn Izchak for a few turns, and then check his pockets, and help myself to the three lamps and some candles. I begin rubbing the three lamps, and get lucky. A djinn pops out, and offers to grant me a wish! After some careful reflection, I decide that Blessed +2 Gray Dragon Scale Mail is a good fit for my current situation. This pushes my armor class down to -5.

We encounter a pony, and one carrot later, I've got a pet pony. Sadly, I have no experience riding, and have heard that horses are hard to feed. I realize I'm kind of enjoying letting Rex II do all my dirty work. This is my first time letting a pet do most of the work, usually I just kill everything myself. I guess this is how people play as archaeologists and tourists. I zap my wand of polymorph at my little pony, and suddenly I have a pet lich. Liches are undead wizards, and are most hated by NetHack players. It is recommended that they be genocided if you get the chance. Liches are known for doing things like destroying your armor, cursing your items, summoning monsters, teleporting away, drawing monsters to you, and in its final form, casting the instadeath spell touch of death. Now one is my pet. Huh. It's probably more more trouble than it's worth. I'd rather have a Dragon. I zap lich, who responds by shuddering. Oh. Liches have magic resistance. Well, I guess I've got a pet lich. Better make sure I don't lose track of him, otherwise he'll go feral, and attack me. (and probably win)

Lichy is a bit tougher than Rex II, and decides to kill the deli shopkeep. I mourned for a few turns, and picked up some food rations. We continued further down the mines with little problem, it was a bit tougher to keep track of two pets without a magic whistle, but I managed. Somewhere along the way Rex II discovered a polymorph trap, and turned into a Black Naga. Pretty strong monster, but not as good as a fire elemental. We made it to the bottom of the mines, and I set about searching for the luckstone, and a few fakes later I found it. On my way back up to the mining town Rex II must have found a level teleport trap, because he disappeared. Back in town I realized I had two wands of create monster, and wanted Mjollnir, so I entered the now haunted temple, and a few zaps and offerings later, I had some godly luck, and Mjollnir. I didn't care about the haunted temple because I didn't intend on using it as a base very much. Lichy had grown into an Arch Lich, and could now teleport at will. Cool. I won't have to worry about him keeping up when I navigate levels. Maybe a Lich makes a better pet than I thought.

[to be continued...]

A micro lesson in macro economics

Students turn a profit from candy sales

With candy sales banned on school campuses, sugar pushers are the latest trend at local schools. Backpacks are filled with Snickers and Twinkees for all sweet tooths willing to pay the price.

“It’s created a little underground economy, with businessmen selling everything from a pack of skittles to an energy drink,” said Jim Nason, principal at Hook Junior High School in Victorville.

This has become a lucrative business, Nason said, and those kids are walking around campus with upwards of $40 in their pockets and disrupting class to make a sale.

But hey; at least it's not the mafia and gang wars benefiting from this underground economy... This time.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Welcome back to NetHack!--More--

You feel a change come over you. --More--

You feel like a new woman! --More--

That's right, I'm playing graphical Nethack. It's nothing new, but I just resisted playing it. I'm still spending too much time identifying things since I don't know what the pictures mean.

This is what that picture should look like, in all its ASCII glory.

Lets see how this works out.

Ya dern kids with yer... graphical user interfaces! Why, in MY day...

I love Lego Robot comics.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Unpredictable Jalapenos

As previously stated, I like spicy food. When picking up mexican food I like to grab a few jalapenos from the salsa bar, and eat them with my food.

If you eat jalapenos straight for long enough, you'll begin to realize that different brands come with a different average level of hotness. Some of these brands are so weak there is no point in eating them, while others register an impressive showing. The problem comes from the 1 out of 20 that doesn't fit the mold. Sometimes it takes the form of a pointlessly weak pepper, but sometimes it's an insane fire-breathing pepper of doom.

I was just eating some left over jalapenos from the fridge, and encountered that one out of twenty.
I'm 15 minutes in, and 6 brisk ice teas down. Things are starting to settle down...

Good times...

Greg has a dream...

Greg has a different take on Heller.

I sure wouldn't mind that. :)


Laughing so hard I'm crying!

Awareness Test

A simple video to test your awareness.

Shamelessly stolen from The Volokh Conspiracy.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Toys and Tools

I bought my first set of vernier caliper on my lunch break for a project.

I quickly returned to my car and read the instructions on how to... measure stuff.

After my lunch break was over I returned to work, and found myself wishing I could measure the items around my desk.

Why? I don't know. It's just a tool for measuring stuff...

...To the hundredth of an inch!
With a dial for estimation to the thousandth!

I'm playing with it now. :D

such a geek

UPDATE: a widemouth can opening is about .924 inches wide. I was going to compare it to a regularmouth (???) can, but every can we have is widemouth. When did that happen?


Yes, for the first time in over 70 years, the supreme court is hearing a case regarding the 2nd amendment. But for the first time in even longer, it will rule on an individual right to keep and bear arms. It's unlikely anything like this will happen again in our lifetimes.

I got up early to watch the oral arguments.

We live in important times.

I feel pretty good about our chances. Got my toes crossed.

I know it's unlikely there will be any immediate sweeping action based on a pro-gun ruling; but that won't stop me from imagining myself at the range, issuing a long burst from my silenced, full-auto, MP5.

PDF transcript of oral arguments here. But the written arguments are supposed to have more bearing on the decision. The oral arguments provide a bit of insight into the justices, whom commented frequently.

Learning the hard way

The videos speak for themselves.

Be sure to check out the second video. The questions are a little prodding, but the answers are worth listening to.

And people say the story of Kitty Genovese is out of date.

Cartoon primer on the subprime debacle

Hilarious and worth your time.

Funny, but not funny; "haha." More like funny; "Awwww."

Hat tip to The Volokh Conspiracy for the great link.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I don't know why people don't like libertarians. The worst thing a libertarian is going to do is begrudgedly call the fire department.

Old Boy


Suicide Kiss - from Suicide Club

Because the dead shine all night long.

The video is probably NSFW. Shows blood, murder, implied sex, and a crazy haired cross dresser. Maybe you can scroll down so you can only see the subtitles, and listen to the song.

This song has been stuck in my head since I saw it.

I would advise against watching this movie (Suicide Club, not the video above :). You can watch it to say you've seen it, but really, that's all you get out of it. I would argue with more substance, but I've never had anyone disagree.

Go watch Oldboy instead.

See how long it takes you to recover after the credits start rolling.

Tally Hall - Good Day

Friday, March 14, 2008

Quote of the bitch slap!

This quote comes from Tam, who is a veritable cornucopia of bitch slappery.

From the comments on some Ozzie's bitch fest on America's gun culture.

I don’t really feel particularly threatened by anything; statistically speaking, I’ve pretty much experienced all the crime I’m ever going to experience if I stay away from bad neighborhoods after dark. So I don’t feel the need to own a gun for protection from baddies or terrorists or invading armies.

I feel the need to own guns because my doing so bugs the hell out of hippies halfway around the world so much that they write essays about it.

Cheers, mate! :)

I seem to remember an Ozzie who was making similar arguments...
What ever happened to him?

Didn't think to smile.

Usually when I'm working I have what could be described as a scowl on my face. I am by no means angry or upset, I'm just concentrating. When I left for lunch yesterday two of my coworkers were coming in as I was going out.

Coworker: Whoa! Haha, what's with the scowl! Who pissed you off?
Me: Hmm?
Coworker: What's up? What's with the angry face?
Me: Oh...
I pause, and actually have to think about how to smile for some reason.

I put on a soft smile, and warm look.

Coworker: Whoa! Haha! Complete turnaround!
Me: Sorry. I just didn't think to smile.


And I came upon a doctor

who appeared in quite poor health
I said there's nothing that I can do for you you can't do for yourself

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dollar breaks 72 support

One of the reasons.

JR relates one of his reasons for carrying his firearm, and remaining active in politics.

Those Eyes

"Perfect" security of RealID defeated by teens

Teens Using Real I.D. Cards To Get Into Bars

Seems RealID is a great idea in theory (just like many others) that cannot overcome the hurdle of (say it with me) implementation.

The government couldn't implement its way out of an inflated balloon with a needle.

This is the only thing that subdues my fears of an all-seeing Orwellian government; that the government is so poorly managed from the ground up (seriously, they get paid more to waste money) that it would be nothing short of impossible to turn this hodgepodge of people officially compelled to do the bare minimum into that monolithic government that good old Georgie imagined.

Of course, that doesn't keep it from trying.

While it might muster a strong showing of cohesion here or there, undoubtedly you will find that the initiative was lead by ONE person very close to the people implementing, who has usually been given a lot of slack on the leash. But much like the new hire who joins a company with the drive to change the long-standing tradition of failure; this kind of successful management will soon be quashed by those within the system who fear, more than anything else, being measured by their... *shudder* success *spit*

I got your domestic terrorism right here.

Goth clothes 'prompted killing'

Certainly civilized nations can't expect citizens to resort to violence to protect themselves, and civilized nations can't be expected to prosecute "poor misguided murderers" to the fullest extent of the law, but in certain civilized nations you risk your life walking down the street.

Quite the civilized utopia you've got running over there.

If previous experience holds true, the 15 year old that played part in the killing will probably get a few years in jail and a few on probation.

For as much time as we spend trying to figure out effective methods of (ahem) rehabilitation, the two most obvious methods aren't to be touched with a 10 foot pole. Locking them up and throwing away the key, and the journey to room temperature.

GoDaddy silences

GoDaddy Silences Police-Watchdog Site

A new web service that lets users rate and comment on the uniformed police officers in their community is scrambling to restore service Tuesday, after hosting company GoDaddy unceremonious pulled-the-plug on the site in the wake of outrage from criticism-leery cops.

RateMyCop founder Gino Sesto says he was given no notice of the suspension. When he called GoDaddy, the company told him that he'd been shut down for "suspicious activity."

When Sesto got a supervisor on the phone, the company changed its story and claimed the site had surpassed its 3 terabyte bandwidth limit, a claim that Sesto says is nonsense. "How can it be overloaded when it only had 80,00 page views today, and 400,000 yesterday?"

"Having a website like that puts a lot of law enforcement, in my eyes, in danger because it exposes us out there," Officer Hector Basurto, vice president of the Latino Police Officers Association, told ABC television affiliate KGO.

Since undercover officers aren't in the database, and the site has no personal information like home addresses, that fear seems unfounded. Chief Jerry Dyer, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, voices what sounds like a more honest concern: that officers will face "unfair maligning" by the citizens they serve.

While I support transparency in any organization funded by tax payer dollars, overzealous local law enforcement bashing is to the detriment of the community they patrol. When cops are screamed at for doing their job (which they often are), they stop.

Look at LAPD.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Space exploration seems hardly worth the investment compared to the return. While NASA has produced a number of inventions and discoveries which have improved our quality of life, we remain quite a ways away from floating houses on the moon.

Space exploration without the ability of faster-than-light travel seems a bit like masturbation to me. A great bit of fun, but ultimately pointless. At least masturbation doesn't cost 1.5 billion taxpayer dollars every time you fire off into space. (heh)

But when they release the most amazing pictures you've ever seen, and you can't help but gawk awe-struck as the vastness and beauty of the universe comes into brilliant relief, if only for one shining moment; you can't help but wonder if it just might be worth it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

USDOJ sends thinly veiled threat to blogger David Codrea

David Codrea, has been covering the trial of Ryan Horsley, owner of an Idaho gun store, who's livelihood and freedom are being threatened for minor clerical errors in his gun sales records.
(For putting "y" instead of "yes" and "n" instead of "no". Seriously.)

After trial testimony David A. Meyer, US Marshal Judicial Security Inspector, approached Ryan Horsley and told him to tell David about the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007.

Certainly this kind of unofficial, off-hand, third-party "advisement" was issued with the clear intention of intimidation. David Meyer didn't walk up to David, call him, or e-mail him and tell him he should be careful not to violate the law. And David Meyer would not announce his intention to arrest David Codrea prior to actually executing the arrest. There is only one way to interpret this kind of activity.

To instill fear, and to intimidate.

So is David Codrea cowering in a corner somewhere?

If you're familiar with David, you already know the answer...

He saw right through it, and came out swinging.

Just when you think the Fedgov is beginning to become acquainted with the law of unintended consequences; they do something stupid like this.

These semi-threats and intimidation tactics are harbingers of very nasty things for our first amendment rights.

I'm posting his response in its entirety, formatting and all, for a reason. Read it.
Also, note I've added a new tag.

Taking the Bait

An Open Response to

US Marshal Judicial Security Inspector

David A. Meyer

I understand you took Ryan Horsley aside at the conclusion of trial testimony and instructed him to advise me of the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007, specifically, "Inspector Meyer asked me to contact you in regards to posting any information with the intent to threaten, intimidate, or incite the commission of a crime of violence against that covered official... "

In other words, this:
`Sec. 119. Protection of individuals performing certain official duties

`(a) In General- Whoever knowingly makes restricted personal information about a covered official, or a member of the immediate family of that covered official, publicly available--

`(1) with the intent to threaten, intimidate, or incite the commission of a crime of violence against that covered official, or a member of the immediate family of that covered official; or

`(2) with the intent and knowledge that the restricted personal information will be used to threaten, intimidate, or facilitate the commission of a crime of violence against that covered official, or a member of the immediate family of that covered official,

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

`(b) Definitions- In this section--

`(1) the term `restricted personal information' means, with respect to an individual, the Social Security number, the home address, home phone number, mobile phone number, personal email, or home fax number of, and identifiable to, that individual;

`(2) the term `covered official' means--

`(A) an individual designated in section 1114; or

`(B) a grand or petit juror, witness, or other officer in or of, any court of the United States, or an officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate;

`(3) the term `crime of violence' has the meaning given the term in section 16; and

`(4) the term `immediate family' has the meaning given the term in section 115(c)(2).'.

Your message has been received loud and clear--along with your warning that you will not hesitate to come down and arrest anyone you suspect of violating this law. Before I give you my reply, I want to make it clear that my response is mine alone. Any retaliation is mine to face, and taking it out on the man who passed your message along at your direction will not be something you can now do outside of a brightly focused light.

That said, OK, I recognize bait when I see it. I'll bite. Here is my considered response. Now that you've snagged me, hang on tight.

First off, if you have anything to say to me, say it directly. Don't go presuming sovereign citizens are your personal messenger boys.

Second, how dare you?

Don't presume to have authority to impose any prior restraint on what I write. Don't presume to warn me about what you will or will not allow me to say.

For you to imply any of my work might be illegal is a vile slander and you know it--if it wasn't, I'd already be in custody (assuming I was allowed to survive the arrest). Hell, you even admitted as much, but qualified that while I hadn't broken any laws, people who comment on this blog might.

That ain't your call, either, Bub. Don't presume to tell my guests what they can say--I run this site, you don't. I don't moderate and pre-approve comments, so if you have a problem with that, take it up with Blogger, which provides this as a standard option.

I've made it clear on numerous occasions that I allow "comments except for those that are...something that could be legally perceived as a threat against a specific person other than myself..."

Those get removed. And I've even warned people against it.

I've also speculated that comments that may be perceived as threatening are invariably posted anonymously, and that trolls doing it could very well be agents provocateur attempting to bring discredit or worse to my site. Heck, they might even work for the DoJ--it's not like you guys don't hang out here at all hours.

But you apparently need to establish a plausible cover story. Let's see--the same mighty BATFU that sends armed invaders smashing into people's homes and businesses is just scared out of their jackboots over what's being said about them on... blogs, so they need to enlist a protector, that would be you, against "Homegrown terrorists".

That would be people like me?

I dunno, Dave. It seems more likely they don't have confidence Judge Lodge will arrive at the verdict they've invested--what--how many hundreds of thousands of dollars in(?)--so they're coming up with Plan B in case they don't get the vindictive satisfaction they crave?

And we know they don't like light being shined on their activities--hell, we knew that when they presumed to authorize whether or not reporters could be present when they conducted public business, and maintained that bloggers were not "Authorized Journalists."

For the record:

I've never threatened anyone nor encouraged anyone else to threaten any one. I don't threaten people.

I've never given out any specific identifiable information about any of the agents, inspectors or witnesses involved in this case.

Now we get to the word "intimidate" and boy, that's kind of like beauty, you know--in the eye of the beholder? I mean, that's kind of like the anti-gun loons who say they have a right to feel safe, like I have any control over how they react emotionally.

So with no watchdog press, and with this edict you're warning me about in practice, "intimidation" might be construed as taking of photographs of government agents in action who end up being witnesses. If this is now verboten, well, there's only one set of lights left to turn off: RKBA (look it up) bloggers.

Now I have on occasion meant to ridicule, like now, and even dare and defy, again.

So if you think you have grounds to arrest me for violating this new law you just had to issue an official warning on, if you think you can prove I'm out there doing anything illegal, immoral or fattening, well, y'all know where my taxes get sent to, so I don't think you'll have any problem finding me.

I think it more likely you're just engaging in one of those color of authority abuses to try to chill free speech. I think BATFU's tired of having their vindictive actions exposed and they wanted you to throw some fear out there to make it stop. Well, hell, why would you expect people who don't respect the Second Amendment to give a damn about the First?

Funny how unintended some consequences are, isn't it? Instead, here I am calling attention to things even louder. Say, do you think Judge Lodge will appreciate hearing about your ham-handedness in this? I'm going to write him and find out.

So here's the thing, Dave. If you want to take this further, just say the word. I won't talk with you on the phone unless I can record the conversation, or in person unless I have an attorney present, but you're free to email me back (dcodrea AT hotmail DOT com) as long as you know I'm going to post it at WarOnGuns. Aside from that, if you want to go even further and arrest me (and why would a US Marshal send me a warning that he was prepared to do just that if that wasn't the ultimate card in your hand?), I do hope you can conduct things peaceably, as I would have no intention of missing my day in court.

At the risk of sounding paranoid (right, BATFU fears people like me and my site visitors?), I want to establish a record that I will not physically resist. If anything transpires that says I did, it will be a lie.

Easy. I've got kids in my house.

So with all that out of the way, I guess there's nothing left to do but present you with this. I bit, so now it's your turn:


This warning on the part of a federal marshal is chilling, and it was intended to be. By making specific mention of not just this blog, but of you who comment on it, and by warning us against something we've never engaged in, it's pretty clear what the intent was here.

Unlike many bloggers, I write under my own name. I do so because better men than me pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor, and bequeathed to me a sacred inheritance. If I am to consider myself even minimally worthy of their great sacrifices, I can do no less than strive to do the same--albeit with full humility in acknowledging my comparative shortcomings.

But I knew when I got involved in 2A activism many years ago that doing it sincerely would involve potential legal repercussions--from defying the state of California on registering my property, to chiding the City of San Francisco on their elitist hypocrisy and lawlessness. I do this not because I'm self-destructive, but because these are the agents of the state who rely on fear to impose their will, and I'm more resentful of that than I am afraid.

Governments are instituted among men to secure the blessings of Liberty. People should not be afraid of their government. I want to help dispel that fear. And I can't do that if I'm hiding in the shadows. I can't encourage others to do that--which is what we need if we're ever to secure meaningful reforms.

So I long ago made the decision that my Internet activities would be an open book. What I have written cannot be erased--at least by me. The good marshal here is free to look at everything I've ever said on this site and elsewhere, and he'll not find a shred of evidence supporting his decision to warn me--and you, the WarOnGuns correspondents--against committing a federal crime.

It's the same with emails. Many of you have written me and know I always make a good faith attempt to write back. And yes, at times I've wondered if some of my unknown correspondents might be trying to get me to write something imprudent. I've not only never taken that bait, but I don't even use encryption--something I've been urged to do, but my instincts say I will be better able to defend myself if I can demonstrate I've never tried to hide anything.

Regulars here will note that this post is a lot longer than I usually write. I did it because this time--with the specific mention of willingness to make arrests on the part of a federal LEO, I know making a post like this will not only anger him, but will get me as close to the line as I can get--knowing full well that this may still inspire him to increase the pressure, instead of just going the hell away and leaving me the hell alone.

Without meaning to sound paranoid, if the fedgov did decide I'd crossed their line with this and sent someone out to enforce their new edict against me, what do you think the chances are they'd send out someone to the home of a known "gun extremist" to politely ring my doorbell and hand me papers?

I figure my best protection at this point is to either let them cow me into silence, in which case this post would never have been written--or else shine as much light and bang as many pots as I can in case they decide to follow through. That's what I'm doing.

The ball is now in their court.

The floor is now open for comments. Careful now, both in what you say here and in what you say if you choose to email Inspector Meyer. As with so much else, and as he has made abundantly clear, intimidation and threats are the sole province of "The Only Ones," and they will brook no competition.

And if anybody wants to make a copy of this post, just as insurance in case there are repercussions, go right ahead.


A scary thought occurred to me

I was thinking about ye olden times and how people would have a lot of kids because some were bound to die of disease, and/or more kids meant more hands to work on the farm/family business. I remembered reading how expensive it was becoming to raise kids, and figured most people just plain couldn't afford more kids.

Then I thought about welfare, and how having more kids gets you more money, and how people were MAKING MONEY by having kids they couldn't afford. The government We would be ARE paying people to be irresponsible.

We are rewarding people for being irresponsible.

I don't even want to think about what these welfare babies have in their future.


They can put a fucking man on the moon, but microsoft can't make the COMPUTER IN THE PALM OF MY HAND update for daylight savings time?!

Fuck you guys.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Modeselektor & Pfadfinderei - My mosquee is my cathedral

Oddly hypnotic.

Modeselektor - The Dark Side of the Sun and How to Field Strip an AK47

M.I.A - Paper Planes and How to Field Strip an AK47
Whoops, no embedding (for some damn reason) click here.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Perl coder, tech support, and part-time psychiatrist

I'm a polite person, and do my best not to speak ill of anyone I know, even behind their back. Frankly, I see no reason to get angry at anyone. I believe most people do what they do in good faith, or because they don't know any better. One part of being polite, to me, is looking at people in the eyes when they are talking to me, it was a respect thing when I was young, and it stayed with me. I'm quiet by nature, and when dealing with someone I don't particularly care to listen to, I learned long ago to simply reply affirmatively, nod, and listen. The result of neutrality, politeness, and attentiveness (real or feigned); is everyone thinks I'm their friend. They'll talk to me about things they don't seem to talk to other people about, and they'll feel better once they did because they got things off their chest without anybody judging them. People like people who are like them, and via simple half-hearted agreement, people like me.

This agreeability has extended to almost every area of my life, and has helped me accomplish things, and obtain privileges I doubt I'd have otherwise.

Strangely, this extends to customers over the phone. I've been praised by name in e-mails from our customers as someone who always helps, and gets the job done. Usually from Customers with whom I'd had minimal contact, and (honestly) didn't think I'd done that exceptional of a job for.

Just now someone from accounting (whom everyone strongly dislikes) called complaining about her computer. All she needed was a reboot, but she wouldn't consider the thought until I listened to her technical woes. This lead into her family woes. Which lead into her personal woes. After she was done, she rebooted, and thanked me vigorously for helping her. My part of the entire conversation consisted of affirmative grunts and liberal use of "mm-hmm" and "uh-huh." I did nothing, just as I'd done for her before. But she likes me. She has said I'm the only one in this company she doesn't have a problem with, and as head of accounting I know I've benefited from her friendship in ways I'll never know.

Sometimes I think it strange to have benefited so much from a mantra so simple as,
"Shut up, be nice, and look people in the eye."

Continual questions, and backwards clarity

I'm a questioning kind of guy, and always try to see things from different perspectives. But I don't just question the beliefs and decisions of others, I mostly questions the beliefs and decisions of myself. Whenever I lack conviction on something serious, I try to have my mind changed as much as possible. After reading posts or articles from people convinced they are right, I begin to formulate an opinion, and take a side. This decision is far from concrete, and will likely come under fire from a contributor with a stake in the claim; me. I'll read something else that makes great counter-points, and decide that I need to revisit my decision, or change it entirely.

This could go on for months.

But each time I revisit opinions, I develop more of an understanding of the argument, and more clarity on the matter. This leads to stronger opinions, and better arguing on the subject matter. But no matter how firm my beliefs may be, there will always be that nagging voice who will insist that my entire idea development process was wrong from the beginning, and was SO wrong that I can't even see how wrong it is.

When this happens, I have to revisit all the data, and evidence that lead me to my conclusion, so I can see if I come to the same conclusion. Frankly, this is why I keep this blog. (in addition to posting the occasional odd contrivance for my future review and amusement)

I read my blog a lot. I like to dig through old posts, and remember what I said at a certain time, recall a time or phase of my life, and enjoy the good points I've made because I honestly forget them. I also use these excursions to remember why I hold a belief. Finding a pointed post on the subject matter is like a quick shot of clarity for which the dissenting voice can have no riposte.

This will be one of those posts.

From Liberty comes this reminder on just why people who support the constitution should not support McCain. This quote is sharply worded for good reason; because there is no response.

I do not vote for candidates who shit on our Constitution. Period.

You may argue that by NOT voting McCain, you're voting for Hilbama, but you'd be wrong. A vote is an affirmative action; it is not something that happens by mistake or by accident. A vote is also completely boolean; you either vote FOR someone or you don't. There is no gray area in your vote, and no matter how hard you picture Ronald Reagan when you push that button for McCain, you just accomplished the same thing as a McCain supporter who thinks the constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper.

Thank you, Liberty. For your clarity, candor, and curses.