Sunday, December 31, 2006

Resolutions-ish for 2007

Not a big fan of the whole resolutions thing...but, I do have some objectives for 2007. In no particular order...
  1. Get out more. I'm way too much of a homebody. At least two things a month, outside of the house, with people.
  2. Write more. I'm way behind on writing stuff for several projects, at least two of which could make some money. So, get to writing.
  3. Exercise more. Where I'm going to squeeze that is is open to question. Between school, work, and some of the other stuff I'll do...I'll find something.
  4. Learn more stuff. Finally go to The Crucible and do some blacksmithing classes, so I can learn how to make my own blades. More cooking. More interesting classes...
  5. Find more romance. Tricky, but doable...
There's probably more, but I'll figure it out from there.

2007 should be a lot better...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussain's Death...

Yep, he's gone. Saddam Hussain is going to have a lot to explain to whomever he meets on the other side of death. And, with luck, his spot in Lucifer's privy next to Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot has been assured.

But, you think about it, and there are so many ways his execution could have gone...I mean, he was a creative soul and creative souls should die with some thought.

So, in the interests of providing that thought, here are some of my ideas on how Saddam Hussain could have met his Maker...
  • Leave Saddam in his hole in Tikrit. Just leave him there. Call Taco Bell, and have them ship in a full Taco Bell setup. Ship it by C-17 if you have to. Set up the sewer pipe so that it flows into Saddam's hole. Then, serve everybody free Taco Bell meals...
  • Set up a lottery. Make the tickets really cheap. First three numbers drawn get a pistol, one shot, and a staked out Saddam Hussain.
  • Go all Battle Royale. Plop Saddam Hussain, Kim Jong Ill, and a couple of other dictators on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. Three days, and the last man standing gets a villa somewhere in the Alps and half a billion dollars.
There's probably other ideas...I'll think of something else. And, while hanging him was a good thing, you can dream of all sorts of fun fates to give Saddam Hussain.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Fun With PC Hardware

So, I'm playing with my computer, plug in my iPod...and the computer locks up.

After thirty minutes of being inside the guts of the computer, replacing the CMOS battery...nothing works.

So, in a Hail Mary play, I unplug the iPod.

Suddenly, it works...

I am just waiting, waiting for the day where people can just fix a computer by kicking it a few times and it works again....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What The?

Zombietime has always been a place that I like looking at. I can point people to the site, and say, "Yea, the idiots were protesting outside of my office and I had to see all of those barking moonbats all day...". So, when he works through the debunkment of the Red Cross Ambulance destroyed in Lebanon, it becomes a Major New Incident.

And, quite franky, it should have been bigger-a decade ago, the major networks would have been falling over themselves to try and "restore credability". Like the Rathergate scandal, it was a major blow to the media credability, and it was made worse due to trying to brush it off. To try and claim that bloggers are the unwashed masses, whom don't know what they're doing.

Bad idea.

Worse idea? Try to claim that somebody that has bent over backwards to be fair is biased for Israel. And that there is no real proof to their claims...which is sad, really.

Lesson to be learned? Don't try to bullshit in the era of high-speed Internet. Especially with people that are looking to try and take you down a peg. Or have the facts to back up their assertions...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

John Ringo Gets...Upset

John Ringo falls into a tirade about reviews...don't blame him. Hell, I even agree with him...
Prepare for a tirade.

Another writer who shall remain nameless refers to Amazon reviews as "the slush of reviews." It's for that reason that I've stopped reading them mostly. It's just...pointless.

But the really poor reviews of Into the Looking Glass are just so fucking braindead... I mean it brings a new meaning to "here's a dime, buy a clue."

Okay, item the first: Everything that any random character says does NOT constitute the beliefs of the author. In GENERAL the main character will, but even that is not a hard and fast rule. I point you to various writers of serial killer books (the entire Hannibal Lecter series, for example). All the authors are not, themselves, serial killers. Otherwise there'd be no time to arrest them all.

The one reviewer that used the position of an old lady character, that Heinlein can't write, as some sort of argument that I believe that Heinlein cannot write (quite the fucking opposite you ignorant dipshit) is just so... GOD HOW FUCKING CLUELESS CAN YOU BE. It's an old lady who had never been exposed to SF or for that matter a bad translation of Tolstoy, trying to read The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. Which is entirely first person from the POV of a person who uses "Loonie-speak" which is not standard American English and thus, TO THAT CHARACTER, seems badly written and confusing.

Hand it to your 90 year old grandmother who has never read SF and she's going to have the same opinion.


Jesus Fucking Christ.

Then there are the braindead morons who are complaining because THE BOOK HAS TOO MUCH SCIENCE IN IT.

Hellooooo! Earth to idiots! SCIENCE FICTION. Try that again. SCIENCE fiction. Note the first word. HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES DO I HAVE TO REPEAT IT?


I won't even bother with the people who found the main character "too impossible." Too many of the BFs know damned well who it was based upon and I actually had him lacking in weapons knowledge instead of a firearms collector and crack SHOT! Which he IS! Jesus. Doc grew up COON HUNTING! Thank God I didn't have him be as good with a gun as he actually is or the poor dears would have REALLY FOUND HIM UNREALISTIC!

Oh, and given that Doc spends about half his time in DC... It's not exactly impossible that in a similar situation he WOULD be called in. And if people think that the president of the United States, whoever he or she may be, cannot get their hands on a physicist in under 24 hours they're REALLY FUCKING STUPID. Drive a few hours from DC and there are areas where you can't swing a CAT without hitting a PHYSICIST. Albeit they're mostly Chinese.

For that matter, one reviewer thought that it was a violation of reality that the main character would "know the physicist involved." They CLEARLY KNOW SHIT FROM SHINOLA ABOUT THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY!!! Christ, those guys gossip worse than old women!

And they're spouting as if they have a fucking clue.

I really give up hope.

I'd say "rant mode off" but I'm not sure I'm done...



JFC on a cracker.


There are just no words for how idiotic those people are. I'm surprised they can read. Hell, I'm surprised they can breathe without someone whispering "in... out.... in... out..." in their ear!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Up To Orbit...

So, for Christmas, the Parents gave me a copy of The Rocket Company, and this got me into thinking of ideas. Taking the idea of Space Ship One, the concept would use a jet-powered aircraft that gets the reuseable platform up to high altitude, then the platform launches into orbit.

The "platform" would be a lifting body design like the X-24, built around a flat "belly" that would only have opening for the landing gears. Unlike the shuttle, it would not use tiles (which, for all of their capability, they are mechanically fragile-NOT good for something that needs a fast turn around. The belly would have semi-mechanical cooling in the form of water from the fuel cells used to power the vehicle-water injected into the belly heat shield, and allowed to evaporate/vaporize and carry heat away. Maybe a folding solar array, too. The fuel tanks-namely the kerosene/JP-4 used for the rockets and jet engines (wait for it...) would also be used for cooling.

Besides the flight crew (two or three), the platform would incorporate either a cargo bay with top hatch for unloading payloads (big enough to carry a Destiny Lab Module-sized payload-fifteen tons, 9 meters long and 5 meters wide), or people (ten? twelve?) to a desitnation like the ISS. Two rocket motors for reaching orbit and deorbiting, and two jet engines (with the air intakes on top) for when the platform is in the atmosphere-so it can abort a landing and orbit a few times around the landing strip.

One of the biggest things about this platform is that you can have multiple orbiters-and only a few lifting platforms. And, turn around time is vital-the belly plate is designed to be a single-piece unit that can be removed by releasing some bolts, so the heat shield can be rapidly replaced between missions. Everything else should be easy to repair and maintain-and upgrade.

Other ideas for the platform...
  • Build a launching catapult...catapult that gets the platform up to speed, winged booster that gets the plaform altitude and flies back on it's own (and unmanned), a disposable booster than gains altitude, and the rest is history.
  • Offer a platform fitted with luxury options for rich executives and government leaders-by suborbital operation, it can reach anywhere in the world in four hours. The military, too...
So, name it Sparrow?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Oh My...

Steve has managed to get a nice long stick to poke a particualr hornet's nest...Linux distros. I'm almost tempted to post this on Slashdot. It is very facinating, and I'm wondering how the Linux advocates and fans will take of this.

Quite frankly...yea, there is an opprotunity here. A single venture captitalist can buy out a number of the big Linux providers, and build a single Linux version. One that addresses many of the concerns, and proves that there is a Single Linux Platform(SLP) that people can produce software for-games, applications, and other products. Show that the new Linux is a 64-bit platform through and through, no legacy code that would be a problem, no trying to squeeze in DOS functionality somewhere in the system. Hell, even include high-quality anti-hacking measures to ensure that things don't spread.

Buy Firefox, flat-out. Still offer Windows and Mac and non-SLP functionality, but make Firefox the web browser of choice.

And, make deals. Offer some of the big companies access to the software for early code development. Have some of the "big deal" programs (iTunes, a Trillian-like IM program) ready to launch upon Day One when SLP comes out.

It can be done. And, there is time...if a venture capitalist hurries.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays

May you be with those you love, care for, think highly of, and wish to see lots and lost more in 2007.

And, of course, the presents. May you get everything you need this year, including love and really good whiskey.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Did the PS3 and Wii Kill Christmas?

That's an interesting question, and I'm wondering about that now...

Think about it for a second. The things that have been blared from the nearest rooftops-end to end, corner to corner-has been that you absolutely must have and no hesitating!!! the PS3 and the Wii. And, both Sony and Nintendo know this, and delibrately starve the supply. I do think that Sony is more guilty of this than Nintendo (the PS3 is pretty much the ONLY thing that is making Sony a profit these days), but the artificial supply deficit means that you have people fanatically waiting out in line...which creates the appearance of heightened popularity.

Remember, a lot of the people there have said-more or less-that they're buying a PS3 to resell on eBay or Craig's List. They've brought family to get around the "one PS3 per person" rule, to get enough of them to make a good profit (hell, you can just search for PS3 on eBay and they're going for $1000+ per system. Assuming $700 for a unit, and maybe two games, that's at least $200 profit per system, a return of 25%). Add to that you can't just buy a PS3 in some places-the ads at WalMart and such are "packages" with at least two games.

So, you have these massive, massive crouds, waiting for the systems to come on sale. And, Microsoft is laughing to the bank-they have the play-proven XBox 360 with games that don't have the teething/"pretty much a slightly redone earlier system game" problems that a new system already has. They don't even have to lower their prices that much-there are XBox 360s for sale out there.

Who wants to wait in those lines? Who wants to fight those crowds? So the brick&mortar stores lose money-and to try and get what little sales they get, they don't try to get people in with lower prices. Or create bundle deals that would remove most of the "sale" price... (ex., CompUSA had a $200 laptop. It wasn't a bad laptop for the price-but to get it and the discount from the price they had it (about $699 or so), you had to buy a new Motorola RAZR phone, activate it on-site with Cingular, and pay all those other fees...).

You want to know why people go to They get good prices, without this kind of game-playing.

So, sales are down. And, outside of the PS3 and Wii...there is nothing that is "must have". There's no Furby, no Cabbage Patch Kids, no Tickle-Me-Elmo that has the public imagination grabbed. The market for MP3 players is pretty saturated, a fact that the Zune hates. And, there isn't any real market for TVs that has people going out and buying...

Christmas isn't dead. But it has been wounded.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gone Through The First DVD of "Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite"

So, Greencine sent me the first DVD of Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite, and I'm getting interested.

Quite frankly, I like Taro...he deals with the situation better than I thought a lot of other harem anime protagonists would have (and, quite frankly, me at 14) .

And, I think I got a handle on the story,'s pretty much a "feudal-lord-in-training" story told via a harem anime, with lots and lots and lots of fan service. And, it tells the story pretty well, as Taro learns how to handle each member of the staff appropriately-never a push over, never as a friend, but as their leader.

And, Steve, I fully agree...Taro's grandfather is a pervert of legend...and needs major therapy.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Things I Want In 2007

I want some things in 2007, things to make the world a better place-
  • A car that can change it's own flat tires.
  • A mead that I make that isn't useable only as rocket fuel.
  • Damn it, something that allows me to sweep the car ahead with lasers, so I can destroy anything that would do in my tires.
  • A cable service that lets me get the channels I want, and not have to morgage out my kidneys.
  • A good sci-fi RPG.
  • A good mecha and/or harem anime series that doesn't suck.
  • That the last Harry Potter book ends the series right (i.e. with enough satisfaction to make enough people happy).
  • Damn good beer.
More as it crosses my mind...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I Want A Place Where Every Maid Had A Garter Belt...

Hmm. I do remember reading about "theme resturants" in Japan like Anna Miller's, where the girls dress up in neat costumes and serve food...and attract people to buy food. Kind of like Hooters, but with maid costumes...

Anyways, with my need of a place that I can have fun at (fun being equal to a place that has good food, good beer, and good company), I keep thinking on the subject...and come up with my own theme place idea-Londonminium.

It's a mixture bar/coffee shop/resturant. You can pretty much wander in, find a booth or chair(s), look at the menu, and wait for a maid to come by and take your order.

Yes, a maid. In a full costume that leaves so very little to the imagination...and what it does leave to the imagination should be very tempting. (We'll have male butler-costumed waiters, too...just in case). They play a careful game, and it's fully understood that when you walk in, it's very much look, don't touch (the girls will get raises and increased salary on the basis of knowledge of a martial art, the more and the higher rank, the better...).

The booths can be screened off, and there are areas which are convienent for meetings. We're talking classic, Victorian-esque London coffee shop...everything should hint at this being London (or at least England), from the food to the coffee to the tea to the beer. Each place should have a theme to it that ties it into the area as much as to England/London. The San Francisco location, for example, should have a nautical theme to it, showing both cities as the part of a network of trade and ships that travel the world.

Oh, yes, the beer....we make it all on site, if we can. The place will have Wi-Fi, bookshelves (with places for people to leave and take books...), magazines, memorabilia, beer for sale, etc, etc...

I'm aiming at creating a "third place", where people can hang out, meet up, chat, hear live music (local jazz, rock, etc...), have a drink with friends and people after work, work on homework and meet up with clients. Oh, and have fun and a good time.

Not looking for investors yet...but I am thinking about this semi-seriously. Need a good location, might be in San Francisco or San Jose...hell, maybe even Portland or Seattle...

Would This Make A Good Story?

I think it would, too.

Entrenched scientific bueaucracy thinks that the grave threat to the planet is global warming, and they advocate massive, "protective" cuts into civil liberties and rights; forcing people to recycle more (and pay major fines if they don't seperate out their garbage), cut back on their driving and taxed gasoline more, nearly crippled any buisness that didn't have a eight-figure savings and lawyers for new enviromental regulations, and other measures to help us "save the planet".

Politicans, especially of a authoritarian outlook, run with this because they can claim it is "for the children", and that "the rest of the world believe in it and is doing it" (namely Tranzi Europe). Meanwhile, it's critics note that some of the worst polluters (namely China and India) would never adopt these regulations-they're trying to get their countries out of the 19th Century, they want to become the regional superpower, and/or they like the idea of seeing their children grow up and eat three times a day (take your pick, or add your own). Media starlets, whom a generation ago would have been laughed off-stage and lost work because they were being "political", act as-if their beauty means that their minds know everything that is possible, a sort of Zen paradox and advocate "saving the world". This coincides with a generation of Americans having some of the worse possible education in science and engineering, requiring them to import people from overseas to do those jobs.

Meanwhile...the fecklessness of polticians and diplomats that think that they can negotiate their way out of anything means that a regime lead by those that believe the end of the world is coming in the form of the Tenth Iman gains nuclear weapons. Tensions in the area ratchet up, with American troops in the area and Israel decides that they need to set their house in order before fears of a nuclear-armed Islamic country decides to drop bombs on them, and the Palestinians suffer as always.

Major nuclear war breaks out in the Middle East. Maybe America gets involved, maybe it doesn't. Still, it does damage and politicans use this as yet another reason why science is bad, nuclear power is bad, and why there have to be more controls on the enviroment. Especially as storms get worse, it's blamed on global warming-despite the fact that ethical scientists note that there are a lot of holes in their theory.

Meanwhile...the global cooling trend, one that everybody missed because human industrial efforts kept global temperatures up, takes off like a rocket. By the middle of the century, Canada has a year-long winter, never rising above freezing. Ice moves from the poles, and famine, war, and massive relocation of people follow in the wake of it. And, of course, the polticians claim that we are still doing damage...and need to have more political controls in an effort to stop the future spectre of global warming.

Of course, somebody already wrote that book...and a lot of the details are beginning to come true. I hate this-science took over from blind faith because its results could be proven and demonstrated by anyone with the tools. Could the search for deeper structures in the atom be the modern version of the angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin solopolism in the faith? And, if science and the scientific method fail, if people believe that it will be nothing more than a tool of the Faithful against the Ignorant, what's left?

Something is going off in the world, we need to pull whatever bad milk is in the fridge and get it out. Now.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Guilty Pleasure #11

I'm a huge fan of Orbiter, which is this utterly awesome freeware software that lets me bounce aroudn the solar system with all sorts of ships. For example, there's a very high-quality Firefly model that I have been tooling around the Solar System with. A defnite "ship that never was" in the form of the DynaSoar, which I am working on a very tricky method of trying to make an orbit to the Moon and back.

Maybe if I stuck it on a much more powerful booster...

It's good, clean fun in a whole dirty sort of way.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Back To The Basics

Okay, I'm a Lego fanatic. Have been, always been. And, I surf the Lugnut (the Lego Fans) sites fanatically.

Today, I bought some Exo-Force Legos, namely the Stealth Hunter and the Grand Titan. I really wanted to get the Uplink, but I couldn't find any.

I built them tonight, and will probably play around with the bricks tomorrow. They have a "combined model" that is going to be HUGE when finished. My only real complaint is that the joints are "friction" joints-and you play with them enough, they'll get sloppy...

Still, it will be fun. I feel a bit happier already.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Somebody Has Way Too Much Time On Their Hands...

Somebody made a real version of Nausicaa's flying wing.

Now, this would be cool as a setup for a flight sim-they apparantly have a version of Flight Simulator 2004 or X running to train the pilot. Need to set up the flight platform so that the pilot can use his body weight to manuver (the trick is the steering...not sure how to work that out...).

Damn, the geek instincts are kicking in...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Game Mechanics II

Game idea mechanic to back up with Genus.

There are six major stats-Strength, Constitution, Wisdom, Intellegence, Dexterity, and Agility. Each of these is grouped into two-stat groups (Movement-Dexterity and Agility, Body-Strength and Constitution, Mind-Intellegence and Wisdom) and three stat groups (Flesh-Agility, Strength, and Constitution; Soul-Dexterity, Intellegence, Wisdom). The stats also derive certian stats (Speed-which determines placement in the initative queue(Dex+Agi/2, rounded to nearest die), Unarmed Combat-damage done without a weapon(Str+Agi/2, rounded to nearest die), Hit Points-how much damage the player can take (Str+Con), Cunning-how mentally agile the player is (Int+Wis), Resistance-how long and how much abuse and torture the player can take (Wis+Res), and Common Sense-how good the player is at "putting things together" (Int+Dex)).

Skills are derived from the six stat groups, and usually use different stats to roll for differen things. For example, Movement has skills such as dodging, Flesh handles things like Martial Arts and primative missile weapons, Body handles meele weapons, Soul can handle things such as magic and oratory and seduction, and Mind handles Education (knowledge) and Mechanics.

Also, skills are tracked. You can only upgrade a skill that you use-below the fourth level of a skill, each time the player is successful you get a check mark on the skill. When the number of check marks equals the skill's level, you can upgrade the skill. Above fourth level, it takes a certian number of critical successes to get a check mark, or you have to use blue Genus to boost up your skill. And, over sixth level, you need to do something pretty spectacular to get your skill boosted.

The ideas are coming out and up pretty fast...

More MMORPG Ideas...

Following up my MMORPG ideas/concepts previously posted, here's a few more to look at...
  1. Following The Wild Geese-Players are going to be in a big world. How big? The map is easily 1.5 times the size of Earth, in flying ships that can do 400-500 mph at most. And, unless the players stake out a territory with their own cities (and to do this takes a lot of time and effort), or it's staked out by game-generated content (like massive dungeons/artifacts that have to be raided), the world is going to...change ever so slowly but certianly. The mountains stay...but the pass you used may be gone tomorrow.

    Magic reshapes the world where sentient minds aren't around. And, of course, there is the wylds...
  2. Making Your Way In The World-Players have a job in the game-if they got the skills, they can take a job in a town, and when they're off-line, they earn a little bit of coin and a little bit of experience. And, you have to be off at least fourty hours a week, or else you become a freelancer, which means you have to pay rent on your Room (think of it as a D&D Portable Hole that's...a room). Player guilds and ship crews are considered "jobs"-and if your player is off line, an homunculi takes their place-a NPC that can die (but the player doesn't die) and earns experience doing exactly what their job is or defending themselves if attacked (and people that kill the homuculi will only get as much experience as an equivilant monster).
  3. Shipboard Time-There shouldn't be a thing on a ship that a player can't do, if he has the skills. Gunners running cannons (maybe a console-like station, similar to a warship sim), where players can take shots at an enemy ship. Characters with engineering skills can repair damage on the ship, players that have medical skills can heal people. Artifacers (people with skills to make artifacts) can create replacement parts, specialized ship-scale ammo, and similar items. Ship captains can use their skills to make aiming better (and ships with the really fancy and advanced fire directors can do Salvo Fire attacks...which do more damage), manuver the ship, and rally the troops. And, anybody that has a gun or blade...can defend the ship against boarding attempts.
  4. Game Metaplot-There is a game metaplot, and it spans across the various servers. Each metaplot has three or four "resolutions", and the average of those resolutions becomes what changes in the game world. Between the six or so major factions, another ten or so minor factions, cabals within the factions, player characters, and NPCs (that actually specially-designed "players" run by the game staff), the metaplot will move...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Game Review-Burning Empires

The Burning Empires RPG is based upon the Burning Empires comic book series by Christopher Moeller, set in a seperated era of worlds and start systems that are clawing their way back after a disaterous civil war. Much of the highly advanced technology of the Empire has fallen into disrepute, and the empire balkanized between various factions. However, this would not be a disaster, if it wasn't for the Vaylen.

The Vaylen are a worm-like creature, barely larger than a large earthworm. Without a host body, they are nothing more than...worms. But, inside of a host body, they fully awaken and become sapient, taking over the body and it's memories and becoming the full creature that they are.

And, humans are the host of choice. The sheer scale and complexity of the human mind put all other hosts to shame-and there are so many of them to be used and taken...

So, from the Galactic South, the Vaylen invade, infiltrating worlds, stealing bodies, and making use of the wonders and glories of their human hosts to take over worlds, and people.

People that you might love.

This is the heart and soul of the game, written and developed by Luke Crane. Players are on one side or the other of this war of shadows and of armored units, where the word is as important as the gun.

Tightly integrated with the Burning Wheel rules system, Burning Empires uses a D6-based dice pool system that is skill and stat-based linked. The system is well constructed, and players build their characters by selecting a homeworld, stats, then various Lifepaths, where the player's skills and abilites (called Talents) get adjusted. Then, players get dropped into their campaign.

Campaigns are based upon one of three possible stages-Infiltration, Ursurptation, and Confrontation. Infiltration is the classic spy story...trying to penetrate hostile defenses, playing spy/counter spy games, defeating and destroying efforts to make political inroads. Ursurptation is politics...Dangerous Liasons with the eventual threat of death and disgrace and dishonor. And, being used as the host for a Vaylen. The last stage is Confrontation-warfare, open battles, fleets burining in the night.

The game is high concept-tools and weapons are generic unless a player invests time and effort to customize them. Another high concept is Artha, which comes in one of three types-Fate, Persona and Deeds. Each is earned by characters in play, and can be spent later on specific things. This encourages gaming and playing, and the game is built along those lines. Combat and social interactions are handled all in the same conflict engine-combat is abstracted on a single self-drawn map that mostly gives ideas of cover and areas of vital control.

Graphically, the game is very good. The font is clear and the text is well-written, and the layout is well-done. There are page tabs on the side, but the color is not sufficently different enough to quickly find sections via the side. The nessisary handouts for the game are not in the book-but are online, which is a mixed blessing.

I like the game-it may never take over the "super-detailed" sci-fi RPG niche that Transhuman Space and Traveller hold, but it's an interesting take on sci-fi gaming in a gaming world that is over-saturated with Fantasy RPGs. I'm going to enjoy playing this game-and you should, too.

Rules-4 out of 5 (damn near perfect, some more detailed rules for combat and vehicles would be nice.)
Layout-4 out of 5 (great layout, excellent index, needed to be a bit larger and more contrast in side tabs would be great.)
Graphics-3.5 out of 5 (the art looks like it was used in the comic books, almost entirely. Useful...but some new art would have been good.)
Fun Factor-3.5 out of 5 (the game will intimidate new players. Be warned. And, it's a game with a definite start, middle, and end...)
Final Score-15/20 (Worth Getting)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Playing Through The "New" World of Darkness...

Okay, here's the caviat-I've had a love/hate relationship with White Wolf Games. I was never a big fan of vampires (Zakuboy breaks out the flamethrowers and gas-guns with the wooden and silver stakes when he hears that there are vampires around), and the Vampire genre was the big one that appeals to so many people, including LARPers. And, the people that played Werewolf tended to think that the crazy Wolverine was their dream model...

Give me Mage. Lemme turn any annoying Vampire to a deck chair and a margurita shooter and enjoy the sunrise.

So, I approached the "New" World of Darkness with a bit of trepedation. One of the things I liked was that White Wolf seperated the rules from the various "core" universes-you only need to buy one book (The World Of Darkness core rules) and whatever other games you wanted. This was good.

So far, I've picked up the "big three"-Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf:The Forsaken, and Mage:The Awakening. And, I'm reasonably impressed. One of the big things about this version of the game is that the back story is vague...delibrately so. Torpor means that the oldest vampires are not sure what happened exactly way back when, the Werewolves that are the default PCs are not well regarded by most of the spirits (due to the betrayal of Father Wolf in the belief that he wasn't able to continue the defense of the world), and the confused nature of magical power for mages. And, the rules are a lot clearer-having more page count for details helps. Factional fun exists, too...and is much better to handle.

Problems? Piss-poor layouts, and the occasional "it looks cool but it totally unreadable" font. And, the system demands a GM that can kick ass, take names, and leave any munchkin player in the dust-else, he'll get run over.

I might never be a booster for White Wolf Games, but it is a good read when you can get 20+% off at Borders....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Anime I'm Looking At...

...I'm wanting to watch this, but I'm waiting a bit for the holidays to end, so I can afford to get some.
  • Fate/stay night- It looks curiously interesting. Must write more harem anime, I can see a potential plot line here...
  • Zipang-Alternate history fun, with a definite Japanese "feel" to it. It has to be better than Weapons Of Choice(Hilary Clinton as the "best wartime president ever"?!?!?)...
  • GUNxSWORD-Interesting sort of Cowboy Bebop/Trigun cross, with mecha. Maybe get from Greencine first.
  • Solty Rei-This looks like it'll be fun. Strange, but fun.
I'd love to see a good sci-fi anime series, a'la Banner of the Stars/Legend of the Galactic Heroes, and a good mecha series (Gundam SEED Destiny is NOT cutting it). And, a series that doesn't end in a car crash like the latest Tenchi Muyo would be nice, too.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Game Mechanics

Before you get the idea of a bunch of geeks in Cheeto-stained overalls, I'm polishing up mechanics for the game ideas I'm working on....and one of the things I'm working on is cinematic play...where the players are movers and shakers in the game's story.

One of the major mechanic ideas is the idea of genus-that which makes players something above the other characters in the story. Think of it like this-by working with the genus, you can add bonuses. For example, Aragorn gets into a bar fight. If he gets into a bar fight, for no other reason than to have a barfight, he only can roll his "brawling" skill. (For a note, stats are resolved by die size, and the number of "dots" in a skill is the number of dice you roll-the dice are D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, and D20.) But, if he gets into the bar fight to resolve his personal genus of "protecting my friends"-using the bar fight to help a friend get out of the bar without incident. If he succeeds in his first roll, he can gain a token (more on tokens in a second).

If, in helping his friend out-and his friend is Frodo whom has the One Ring needs to escape-and this is part of the campaign genus of "destroy the One Ring"-even if Aragon fails his roll, he gains a token.

Tokens are important...because you can use them in scenes. "Scenes" cover things like combat and role-playing. All tokens start out as white tokens (I'm thinking of plastic poker chips), which let you reroll one die per token, or spend any experience that you have currently on your character sheet to boost a skill that you currently have. You can exchange four of your white tokens for one blue token, to be given in the next scene (i.e. if you're in the role-playing section, you can't use your new blue token until combat), to give you another die to roll for your skill, use experience you have to start a new skill that you can use now, or force the GM to reroll one die per token.

What can you do with four blue tokens? Exchange them for a red token. This can let you get one automatic success, turn a fumble into a failure, let you buy up your stats at any time (and lets you buy past the D12 limit to D20 at any time, and not the "at the GM's discression" for the next game and beyond), and cause the GM to take a failure on a roll.

More on the game mechanics later...must write.

People Are Crazy.

Steve has suggested the creations of an "Anime Day" for December 25th...

And, of course, like all internet memes, the idea is spreading. Soon enough, there will be a court case, the ACLU will get involved, and it'll all be a mess.

Tho, if there's a church, I insist upon a high maid/costume aspect to the female priestesses....

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Map Of The Internet...

Somebody made a map of the Internet...and it's an interesting sort of map.

I like this map-it lets me see how a lot of the flow and system works.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

New Game In My Hands...

I picked up Burning Empires from the FLGS, and it seems to be interesting. The game system seems to rely upon "ripples"-what the players do affects society, which affects the game universe.

Reasonably good production quality-all color, good layout, the pages stuck to each other a bit but pulled apart without problems. A more formal review will come up in a few days.

I think I'll get into working on my own game, too. The only issue is that I have is what game universe I'll use (the game mechanics I'm working on are mostly done...fine tuning and getting some of the ideas to work for it). The two I've got notes in are-
  1. A world that can be considered a hybrid Byzantine Empire/Belisarius seires/General series/Tenra Bansho Zero, where players are part of one of the empires/clans/packs, facing off against each other or against the Beast that lives to the south. Where politics in the captial mean that the battlefield could be safer, and magic and technology exist side by side.
  2. Sci-fi with starships after the fall of the First Empire and the resurection of starship travel. No aliens, but bioroids and chimeras (human/bioroid hybrids) will take a lot of their place. Anime (namely Banner of the Stars) and recent book sci-fi (David Drake's RCN series, The Mote In God's Eye/CoDominion) and some classic sci-fi (Traveller is a big influence, esp. in the politics.) influences. Players can own starships of a reasonable size that are reasonably combat capable.
I'm tossing the ideas out, to see what people think and what I should work on. I'm going to do both of them...just one before the other.

This Probably Explains It...

So, a little checking around Anime News Network, and I find out that the director of the third Tenchi OVA series is Kenichi Yatagi, whom directed two big train crashes of OVA series- Macross II (which had a high cheese factor) and the unwatchable Megazone 23 Part III. And, there are very few other credits for him.

And, I wonder...according to the credits, he did co-direct the second Tenchi OVA series. So, he had to have at least a passing familiarity with the plot, in theory.

Then he promptly nerfs one of the biggest character-building points of the first OVA series-in episode 4, when Ryouko can project herself out to a limited extent outside of her cave prison/trap. There's a montage scene of when Ryouko can watch and see Tenchi-and shares in his joy when he sees somebody that's his mother (or at least that's what the subtitle dialog and dub says) play with him.

And tries to comfort him, by the faintest of touch, when Tenchi cries in the rain at his mother's death.

By making the woman seen in Ep. 4 his sister, not his mother, it takes the edge off of the emotions. And, it turns a poignant scene into another case of misunderstanding.

And, it makes Tenchi into another harem anime trope-the "forgotten promise".

Ugh. I'm getting a battleship and bombarding the studio from orbit. Just to be sure. And, there isn't a plot resolution...which means that they're trying to add more story to the series.

I think this is why I liked Tenchi Universe-it ended. And, there was an eventual victor in it.

EDIT-I think I figured out where the "Mom" comment came in, if the dialog is supposed to suggest the sister. After FFing through maybe the last remaining VHS copy of the Nexus fansub of Tenchi (GOD, we used to have to do that to find stuff, didn't we?), and watching the DVD again, I can see where "sis" became "mom". Older-looking woman, a kid of about four or five and still kind of getting the hang of the language...later on, bit older kid cries his eyes out for his mother. The translator probably thought that Tenchi was doing Relationship Spoonerism, confusing "sis" for "mom", and backed it up on the context of the images.

And, damn it, I like this one better than "Oh, it's her sister and Tenchi pulled a Mihoshi..."

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Whatever fit of particular insanity that has grabbed me and hasn't let go...made me go out and buy the last three DVDs of the Tenchi Muyo series.

Now, mind you, Zakuboy here has been a Tenchi fan for years-but, it's a particular kind of fandom to it. I can't stand most of the "spin off" series, with the exception of the Tenchi Muyo TV series. The rest...disturb me on so many levels. Except for the TV series (which they renamed Tenchi Universe), which I liked because it told the story, with a bit longer of a draw and a bit more characterization, the rest seemed to be working on the nigh-traditional "harem anime" concepts.

Except for the "Pretty Sasami" ones-but those were sailor suits parodies. Not bad ones, either...

What appealed to me initally? Tenchi, at least in the first two OVA series, was a proactive character. Yea, he was often confused, often running fifteen minutes behind the facts. But, as we see in the first episode-when he realized that Ryouko could be stopped by taking away her gem, he tried to get it. He even tried to fight Ryouko with a piece of rebar, probably knowing that it was useless. And, when he got a grip, he damn well got a grip-he didn't hesitate to go and rescue Ryouko from Kagato, or Washuu from Dr. Clay.

What happened in the third OVA series? Steve put it best-he pretty much became another harem anime male lead. I liked the "wood chip on the waves" analogy he used-instantly, he got tossed around, confused, and treated as-if the slightest bit of stress would be massively fatal to him. Hell, I could see the sources of stress...and they did suck. But, the way they were could see the traditional harem tropes being warmed up and ready to be inserted painfully into the story.

This pissed me off-I'd rather have the storyline as abandonware than this bad ending, which seemed to have been a Gainax ending.

Friday, December 08, 2006


They're going to make Firefly into a MMORPG.

It's one of those ideas that will either be really, really good or really, really bad. Especially if we get ships, which are a character in this universe...

And, I like the Multiverse idea-it may be how next-gen MMORPGs get built, in the form of a developer-used universal toolkit.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm Gonna Write!

I'm writing the script for a harem/mecha anime right now. It may never be produced, but the mental exercise will do me good.

And, as soon as I find a copy of Adoble Acrobat 8 that isn't an arm and a leg (maybe get one at school), I'll post the PDFs of the scripts. So far, the plot is getting interesting....I've only demolished a small part of Tokyo, but the boy has met the first girl, stuck his hands in her breasts, and she swallowed him up.

The strange man in the black suit and black hat has just gotten really mysterious. And vicious.

And, I'm not sure how I'm going to end this. Since I'm not "Kill 'em All" Tomino, there will be a small but signifigant body count. So, do I end it with a polyamorous septangle? Many marrages (which means that I'll have to bring in more male characters and build up the plot around them..)? Only one surving girl? Hm...

This is getting fun.

Intellectual Disconnect

I actually read the Iraq Study Group report last night (had a touch of insomnia), and when you look at it, I have to wonder...

Are there more people on really good drugs than what I've been told? You read the report, and you can boil down the 80+ pages of it to the following talking points-
  • Sell the Iraqi government down the river to Syria and Iran, both of whom are pretty much waiting to carve the country up on the basis of religion and ethnicity and use the Iraqi oil fields as another weapon in the Great Jihad.
  • Pull out American troops "with honor", and put the Iraqi army-which has barely been around for more than a year or so in a serious form-in "charge" of military security. Everybody that has dealt with the Iraqi army in the field has said that they are getting better, but they are not quite ready for prime time yet.
  • Rely upon the United Nations to stop Iran's nuclear efforts (when they did such a good job of keeping Saddam Hussain from keeping his stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction), and if Iran does mange to get a nuclear bomb...oh, well.
  • Selling out Israel, by ensuring that the Hamas government (which has said, on multiple occasions that they are planning the world's biggest Jew burning since Hitler) can complete it's rearming and military encirclement of Israel in both the Gaza Strip, Palestinian territory, and Lebanon.
  • And, in short, be nice to the Moslems-whom are either guilty by action or silence in supporting people that would cheerfully turn back the clock to the 7th century and kill anybody that thought another 13 or so centuries of progress was a good thing.
This is not just the Democratic Party's talking points. Nor is it just deluded Berkleyites that are still having acid flashbacks. These are points from people that have to know better, whom have access-in both official and unoffical manners-to the statements and information than most people can get via Open Source resources (the press, blogs, web sites, etc, etc). MEMRI is doing excellent service showing what most of the Islamic world watches-between the paranoid rantings of imans that state that American soldiers eat living Iraqi children and blood libel of Jews that even a fan of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion would find laughable-and how much they hate the United States and freedom and "loose" women.

I wish I had access to drugs this good. I would love to have hallucinations this vivid, that I could eventually talk people into doing things the way that I wanted.

My confusion is terrifying. I can look out across this-and see terrifying things. If we lose in Iraq, if we lose to an insurgency that is no more than political banditry, our enemies will cheer and claim that the United States is a paper tiger. That we can be hurt by just a few dedicated Soldiers of God. That Israel will vanish off the face of the Earth in nuclear fire. That maybe the last hope for a Middle East that doesn't glow in the dark from space may happen in my lifetime.

In the name of God in all of His and Her forms, why can't our leaders see what this means?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Good Idea?

I had this idea, and I've been boiling it around in my brain for a while. I like it a lot-

One of the problems with Afganistan is that there are a lot of people there that are young, full of piss and vinegar, and there's nothing to do but get pissy and take shots at each other with (badly aimed) AK-47 fire. Not a lot of work, the soil isn't good for growing a lot except opium poppies, and it gets very boring, very fast. So, we have large pool of soldier-age men.

And, the United States needs, more or less, boots on the ground. Not quite bullet sponges, but we need more manpower to take and hold places.

So...what are the two tastes that go great together? The French Foreign Legion. Well, the American version of it...

Even if we pay a lot of the recruits half what their American recruits get-and offer the full medical support for the immeidate family that Americans do-how many people will we get that want to try and get a slot? Make sure that Basic training is hard-we should weed out about a quarter of the recruits prior to passing Basic, with a brutal manner of "you're soldiers of the Legion now, not (insert tribes here), and you need your comrades to survive". Probably need Marine DIs, with a "we want at least 5% training fatalities...". I can think of at least a half dozen ways to ensure unit loyalty-from The Log (a squad-sized length of telephone pole that the squad has to carry AT A RUN RECRUITS!) to exercises where if the squad doesn't come back intact, they don't get to eat for the day...

Ten years service and a honorable discharge gets you and your immediate family (wife, kids, and parents) American citizenship. Twenty years and a general discharge the same, with an honorable death or crippling injury in the line of duty giving the same, as well.

Give it a few years, then establish Legion recruiting posts at American embassies, and promote from the ranks. Any recruit could become an officer, get a full education, and become something better than where they came from.

It would make for interesting battlefields...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Doing the Meposian Dance Of Joy

Welll, I'm back to full-time blogging.

The mointor arrived this morning via FedEx, and I got it all hooked up and installed. It's's my first LCD screen (I've been burning through the old tube for about 5 or so years) and it is just strange to have so much space (the monitor is a "19 inch", but it's gotta be longer diagonally...). And, to have everything so wide across the screen in a good way, it feels great.

Haven't played any games on it yet, but when I do, it will be facinating.

Slowly upgrading my way through the 21st century, one piece of hardware at a time.

UPDATE: Just played F.E.A.R. and Dawn of War on the new monitor, and it's wide and bright, and so very facinating. There's details that I'm seeing that I never saw before...and it makes me want to upgrade my computer.

The question becomes-do I try to find one of the last boards that support AGP and a newer and faster processor (I have an GeForce7600 GS AGP), or do I wait, save more money, and get a new mobo and processor, memory, and the multiple-connection PCI-E video cards? A dilemma...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Wait A Minute...

...people are doing damage to their TVs with their Wiis, because they are swinging their controllers vigorously...

Some people view it as a danger because they are doing damage to their electronics. I take it as a great sign...of people actually moving around and exercising.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cool Ideas, With Caviats

Via Michelle Malkin, I just heard of Psiphon, a tool that would prove to be very useful for breaking through the censorship blocks of places like China, Saudi Arabia, and Iran have set up, to keep people from reading news articles and information that the Powers That Be want to keep out of their hands.

Mind you, this idea is fun-despite the fact that it was founded and funded by George Soros. Tho, the Slashdotters are saying that there's a problem, namely that Psiphon can be used by terrorists and hackers due to it's anonimity and there is still logging and tracking of website travel-which means if you go to a webpage that you shouldn't go to (like a kiddy porn site), you'll have a record of going there. That, and there are other options for beating the firewalls the Chinese setup, too...

It's still a great idea. And, if I was somebody nasty, like, oh, the CIA....were to provide the software that could beat the firewalls through, ah, various means throughout these countries... It would be one of the best uses of tax dollars that I could ever think of, a kind of Internet Voice of America to beat back regimes.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Party Rooms

I'm seriously thinking about setting up a party room this year (okay, 2007) at SiliCon (the costs to even have a idle fantasy of a wet dream of setting up at BayCon would require me to double my salary intake at work-a state of affairs that would probably require blackmail).

Here's the issue-theme! Last year, there was a Mad Scientist room that was awesome. So, I need a good, general-purpose theme. The only three I can come up with is-

  • Anime Themed-Do I go for maids or sailor-suits cosplayers(and there will be wings that are big enough...)? Anime themed-drinks...there will be one called the Gainax Gulp (drink one and you can make sense of Gainax plots...). Figure out how to set up a laptop (get laptop) to work with a projector (get projector) so I can play fansubs on the wall of the room (get room). Definitely an anime raffle. Must make nice with anime studios, write reviews, so I can get neat stuff ahead of time to raffle off...
  • Barflies-Baen Books fans are called Barflies. Therefore...a Barfly suite. Baen-author themed drinks (if there was ever a Keldara Beer, I'd lay in several cases...), music that is suitable, a sign asking for patrons to please clear firearms and provide a place to store them while there*, and that sort of thing. Oh, auction material, too...signed books, at the very least.
  • Leather Tea Party-My third option, and my least but probably best favorite. Mostly because if you're going to do kinky things, alcohol is verboten. (Wah!) Probably have to find people to do impromptu classes and This Old House-esque advice and suggestions ("Try flogging them with a downword motion, not a diagonal one"). The only question becomes keeping the kids out (rare but possible) and what to have for a raffle prize.
Well, for the year, I'm going to be gathering what I need to set up and get the room organized. And, of course, decide upon a theme...

*I wish to God I was joking...


Steve, you haven't made me mad. Hell, I even understand the point-even with the warning and the page of series you don't or won't want to see, you're probably flooded in requests and suggestions and thinly-veiled threats that you just have to see Series X, because of Reason Y. Or that you just have to watch a series again, because you didn't "get it" (of course, I think you're not getting it is a lot better than most people's "getting it"...).

And, one day, I'll be getting the same thing, too. Probably have to put up a disclamer/warning to save trouble along the line.

The suggestions were made in the theme of "hey, thanks for the ideas-tried these yet?". Zero, zip, nada pressure.

Still going to read your blog, as I think it's one of the best ones out there. Hell, you're still welcome around here to take the occasional rounds off the hooch (virutal and otherwise) and steal something from the DVD collection to see if maybe it's all that it's cracked up to be.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Welcome Aboard!

Since I'm a huge fan of space exploration in all it's myriad ways and forms, I've decided to add Selenian Boondocks to my blog list. Welcome to the echo chamber...

Thanks, Steve

I got the first disk of Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite, and it pretty much is what I was hoping for and what Steve DeBeste said it was going to be.

So, as a gift, I'm going to suggest to him two mecha series that don't suck, that he might not have seen yet....
  • Big O-The best way I can describe it is "Batman with Giant Robots". If you're like me, and the Fox-produced Batman:The Animated Series was the very height of animated superhero TV, Big O wins because the main character is Bruce Wayne. The only thing Roger Smith is missing is a cape and cowl. The plot evokes themes that were brought up in movies like Dark City and anime like Serial Experiments Lain. Would you be the same person if you didn't know who you were?

    In addition, the robots are fantastic. There's a hefty/major steampunk/classic robot attitude to them. They aren't machines that will move like ninjas-they stomp around and flatten city blocks just by walking. They have weapons that destroy whole districts, and they are as much deity (Megadeus is not just a name...) as tool.

    The first two seasons are on DVD in compliation packs. I own both, and I'm glad that I got them. And, everything seems to hint that there is a possible third season, which people are still sending in petitions for. There are tales still left to tell in the Big O universe.
  • RahXephon-One of the first, post-Evangelion "angsty" giant robot tales, the series does something that Evangelion doesn't.

    It works.

    And, I don't want to knock the ever-living snot out of Ayato (by about episode 16, I wanted to beat Shinji until even Camile Vidan would say "man, that's just FUCKED". After that, I wanted to beat Hideaki Anno for tormening Shinji until he pissed brain cells in his blood.). I actually liked Ayato and could sympathize with him-thrown from culture shock to culture shock, and he manages to be a decent human being throughout. The plot finished in a way that makes sense from beginning to end, and once you understood all the relationships and the time shift (to understand the plot, you have to understand that one character's has been frozen in time for about 16 or so years), it all make perfect sense.

    The movie, which normally would have been nothing more than the studio trying to make more money, can be seen to fill in some holes in the plot that were left...and make some parts of the plot even better. It's easy to get, too-the series in in a boxed set and the movie can still be bought, too.
And, sadly, there isn't a lot more out there if you're not a die-hard giant robot/mecha fan. Maybe the two Patlabor movies (the third is pretty much a Mamoro Oshii pontification on genetic engineering and obsolesence), but there isn't a good/interesting "firm" mecha show in the vein of Armored Troopers VOTOMS or Fang of the Sun Dougram really out there lately.

Or, if you're looking for "world saving giant robot", GaoGaiGar is being released on DVD, and I had fun watching it when it was fansubbed.

I think we'll be short on giant robot shows for the next couple of years-shojo and the American market, which isn't very mecha-friendly, is taking a lot of the money.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Short Posting...

My monitor is giving out. So, I have to give a new one...

So, short postings for next few days, as I've ordered a nice new LCD monitor via

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Long But Good Read

Thomas Kratman, whom has written some very neat sci-fi, has just had the eARC for his latest collaborative work with John Ringo published. In it, he deals with one of the major threats of our time-the Transnational Progressives, aka the Tranzis. This is the afterwords for Yellow Eyes, and all the usual caviats apply (printed with permission and will remove if permission is removed...)

Both John and Tom have served in the Republic of Panama, John for some weeks while attending the Jungle School at Fort Sherman, Tom for four and a half years with Fourth Battalion, Tenth Infantry (as a sergeant) and Third Battalion, Fifth Infantry (as a lieutenant). Tom says, “If the place where you were happiest in life is home, then my home is Fort William D. Davis, Panama Canal Zone, with the 4th of the 10th Infantry, from 1977 to 1978.”
It’s a magic place, Panama, and we highly encourage our readers, or anyone, to visit it. (Did we play some games with the terrain in support of the story? You betcha. But Panama is still a great, wonderful and very beautiful place.)

Can they fight, though? Is the portrayal of the defense in the book realistic? After all, the United States took them down in a bit over twenty-four hours back in 1989. How good could they be?

And that is an interesting question. In 1989, in Operation Just Cause, the United States launched a sudden and surprise attack on the then existing Panama Defense Forces and did crush those forces in about a day, picking off holdouts over the next 3-4 days. This would not appear to be a great recommendation.
That is, it doesn’t appear to be until you look at the particulars. We hit them in the night, where we have an overwhelming technological advantage. We hit them with little or no tactical warning. We hit them with greater, and in places overwhelming, numbers and overwhelming firepower, even though the use of that firepower was somewhat restrained. Further, we hit them with complete air supremacy and used that air supremacy to deliver, over and above the rather large forces we had in Panama already, three of the best trained, most lethal infantry battalions in the world, the three battalions of the 75th Infantry (Ranger) (Airborne). More forces followed on, later, as well.

The wonder is not that we took them down in a day, but that they were able to hang on that long. Indeed, if there’s any wonder in the story it’s that, even when abandoned by some (one remarkably loathsome and cowardly wretch, in particular…West Point…Class of 1980) of their US trained officers, the others held on and fought.

The wonder is that at their Comandancia, parts of a couple of Panamanian infantry companies fought against hopeless odds, nearly to the last man. There were only five prisoners taken there; and all of those were wounded. The rest, true to their duty, died in place. Moreover, they drove us out of the compound more than once before they were finally subdued. There were more Texan prisoners taken at the Alamo.

The wonder is that, despite all those disadvantages, the PDF managed to inflict about three casualties on us for every four they took.

Did we mention that some young Panamanian kids with almost no time in uniform kicked the bejesus out of a US Navy SEAL team?

So, yes, they’re a tough and a brave people, well within the western military tradition, and – properly armed and trained – they can fight.

Of course, the western military tradition, outside of the US and UK, isn’t what it used to be. Oh, the formations are still there, some of them. The weapons are, if anything, better than ever. Even the men – and women, too, of course – still have much of what made the West great inside them.
Unfortunately, the West itself has largely fallen under the control of civilization Dr. Kevorkians. Some call them “Tranzis.”

“Tranzi” is short for “Transnational Progressive” or “Transnational Progressivism”. For a more complete account of their program, look up John O’Sullivan’s Gulliver’s Travails or some of what Stephen den Beste has written on the subject. You might, dear Reader, also look at John Fonte’s The Ideological War within the West. Lastly, for purposes of this little essay, look up Lee Harris’ The Intellectual Origins of America Bashing. These should give you a good grounding in Tranzism: its motives, goals and operating techniques. All can be found on line.
For now, suffice to say that Tranzism is the successor ideology to failed and discredited Marxist-Leninism. Many of the most prominent Tranzis are, in fact, “former” members of various communist parties, especially European communist parties. These have taken the failure of the Soviet Union personally and hard, and, brother, are they bitter about it.

Nonetheless, our purpose here is not to write up “Tranzism 101”. It is to illustrate the Tranzi approach to the laws of war.

That’s right, boys and girls. Pull up a chair. Grab a stool. Cop a squat. Light ‘em if you’ve got ‘em. (If not, bum ‘em off Ringo; Kratman’s fresh out.)
It’s lecture time.

One of the difficult things about analyzing Tranzis and their works is that they are not a conspiracy. What they are is a consensus. Don’t be contemptuous; civilization is nothing more than a consensus. So is barbarism. Moreover, the Tranzis are a fairly cohesive consensus, especially on certain ultimate core issues. Nonetheless, if you are looking for absolute logical consistency on the part of Tranzis you will search in vain.

On the other hand, at the highest level, the ultimate Tranzi goal, there is complete agreement. They want an end to national sovereignty and they want global governance by an unelected, self-chosen “elite”. Much of what they say and do will make no sense, even in Tranzi terms, unless that is borne in mind.

Below that ultimate level one cannot expect tactical logical consistency. Things are neither good nor bad, true nor false, except insofar as they support the ultimate Tranzi goal.

For example, if one were to ask a Tranzi, and especially a female and feminist Tranzi, about the propriety of men having any say over a woman’s right to an abortion the Tranzi would probably be scandalized. After all, men don’t even have babies. They know nothing about the subject from the inside, so to speak. Why should they have any say?
Nonetheless, that same Tranzi, if asked whether international lawyers and judges, and humanitarian activist non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, should have the final say in the laws of war, would certainly approve. This is true despite the fact that the next lawyer, judge or NGO that understands as much about war as a man understands about childbirth will likely be the first.
Why do we say they know nothing about the subject? By their works shall you know them.

The International Criminal Court is, after the UN and European Union, the next most significant Tranzi project (Kyoto being dead on arrival) and arguably the most significant with regard to the laws of war. A majority, if a bare one, of the world’s sovereign states have signed onto it while about half have ratified it.

The ICC claims jurisdiction over all the crimes mentioned in its founding statute, irrespective of who committed them, where they were committed, or whether the “crimes” are actually criminal under the traditional and customary law of war. This is called, “Universal Jurisdiction.”
Universal Jurisdiction, as a concept, has a number of flaws. Among these are that it has zero valid legal precedence behind it.

Zero precedence? Tranzis will cite at least two precedents. One of these is the jurisdiction exercised from times immemorial by any sovereign power over pirates at sea, when any were caught. The other is Nuremberg. These are flawed. In the case of Nuremberg, the jurisdiction exercised was not “Universal” but national jurisdiction of the coalition of the victors over a Germany whose sovereignty had been temporarily extinguished by crushing defeat in war.

The piracy precedent as applied to modern notions of universal jurisdiction doesn’t stand close scrutiny any better. The Tranzis claim that universal jurisdiction was exercised over piracy because piracy was, in its conduct and effect, so ghastly. This is wrong on both counts. In the first place, pirates were not necessarily subject to universal jurisdiction except insofar as they were caught where national jurisdiction did not run; typically at sea, in other words. Moreover, alongside piracy there existed privateering. In their conduct the two were often enough indistinguishable. In other words, however “’ghastly” privateering may have been – and the former residents of Portobello and Panama City could have told one it could be ghastly, indeed – it was still not subject to universal jurisdiction. No matter that piracy was no worse than privateering, it was so subject. The difference was that sovereign powers, nation-states in other words, exercised sovereign jurisdiction over privateers, were responsible for their actions, and punished them at need, while they did not and could not with pirates. It was the lack of sovereign jurisdiction, both as to their persons and as to the locus of their crimes, that left pirates open to universal jurisdiction and not any supposed “ghastliness” of those crimes.

Along with the lack of valid legal precedence, the ICC and universal jurisdiction suffer other flaws. Recall, dear reader, the lack of Tranzi logical consistency on the questions posed above about abortion and the laws of war.
Anti-imperialism is yet another Tranzi tactical cause. But what is imperialism beyond one or several states or people using force or color of law to make rules for another or other state or people? And what is the ICC, using all the staggering moral and military power of…oh….Fiji… France… West Fuckistan…but the attempt at enforcing rules made by one group of states upon others? It’s Imperialism, in other words.

Of course, imperialism in the service of a higher cause – the raising of unelected, self-styled, global elites to power, for example – is praiseworthy, in Tranzi terms.

Nothing deterred, the Tranzis claim that Tranzi courts, to include notionally national Tranzi courts like those of Spain, have universal jurisdiction. Why?
Tranzis hate national sovereignty. It cramps their style. It interferes with their program. It’s aesthetically unappealing.

Their goal is the destruction of national sovereignty. The right of a people to democratically make their own laws, to govern themselves, is anathema to Tranzi goals and dreams. When they say “Global Governance,” boys and girls, they mean it. They really intend that unelected bureaucrats and judges, and self-selected elites ought be able to tell you what to do, how to live, what to pay in taxes, what rights you are not entitled to.

Sovereignty stands in the way. The ultimate expression of sovereignty is a nation’s and people’s armed forces. No army; no ability to defend one’s own laws and way of life; no sovereignty.

But how to do away with sovereign control of national armed forces? It’s a toughie. They’ve got all these guns and shit, while the poor Tranzis have none.

“Aha! We know,” say the Tranzis. “We can control a nation’s armed forces if we can punish the soldiers and especially the officers and a nation refuses to stand up and defend them. No nation which permits a foreign court to exercise jurisdiction over its military can any longer be said to own that military. Instead, that military will be owned by the courts able to punish the leaders. Onward, into the future, Comrade’s!”

Let them punish your soldiers and the soldiers can no longer be counted upon to defend the nation. Nor would you deserve being defended by your soldiers. Let them punish the soldiers and there is no principled distinction to prevent them punishing the president, the legislature, even the Supreme Court. For who would defend the president, legislature and courts once the same have let down their soldiers? Let them punish your soldiers and you deserve what you get…and to lose what you will lose.

It would be one thing if the ICC were something more than a misguided exercise in legalistic Tranzi mutual masturbation; if it could, in other words, be effective in limiting the horrors of war.

It cannot be effective. Ever.

This is because of the very nature of war itself. There is nothing a court can do that, in terms of punishment that deters, even begins to approach the horror men inflict on each other in war, routinely, in the course of normal and legal operations. There is nothing any court can do that can even hope to catch the interest of tired men, hungry men, men fighting for victory and their lives. No sensible court would even try.

There is some conduct which cannot be deterred. When life is at stake, the law recognizes no “no trespassing” signs. When the choice is between picking pockets at a mass hanging of pickpockets, and risking the noose, or facing slow starvation…well…at least the rope is fairly quick.
Similarly, when the choice on the battlefield is life or death, what power has some uncertain court distant in both time and space to deter anything? The simple answer is; it has none. What trivial power has the law with its trivial possible punishments to deter conduct that might save soldiers’ lives, their comrades’ and their country’s in the here and now?

Yet we can see that, however imperfectly, the customary law of war has often worked – even without any such body as the ICC and without Spain’s recent disgusting, illegal, morally putrescent attempt at exercising sovereignty over American soldiers. It has worked imperfectly, to be sure. Yet it has worked often enough…indeed, within western war it has worked more often than not.

Where the laws of war have worked to mitigate the horror and protect innocent life they have, by and large, done so when the combatants were of the same culture, shared the same values, and had what we might like to think of as a basic decency.

That’s rarely been quite enough. It needed a little something else, some other reason to follow the rules.
The other reason was the threat and fear of reprisals.
Tranzis hate reprisals, which are war crimes in themselves but war crimes which become legal in order to punish an enemy who violates the law of war, deter him from violating it, and remove the advantages which accrue from such violations. The Tranzis don’t hate reprisals merely because they’re ugly, cause suffering of innocents, etc., though they hate them for those reasons, too. No, Tranzis hate reprisals because reprisals work to enforce the laws of war and their own silly courts fail.

Reprisals work? You’re kidding us, right?

Wrong. Why wasn’t poisonous gas used in the Second World War? The threat of reprisal. What happened when, in 1944, the Germans threatened to execute some numbers of French resistance fighters and the French Resistance, which was holding many German prisoners, answered, “We will kill one for one”? The French prisoners held by the Germans were left unharmed. Why didn’t the Southern Confederacy during the American Civil War execute the white officers of black regiments as they had passed a law to do? Because the Union credibly threatened to hang a white southern officer for every man of theirs so mistreated. Why didn’t the United States or South Vietnam execute, generally, Viet Cong guerillas who had gravely violated the laws of war in the course of the insurgency there? Because the North Vietnamese had prisoners against whom they would have reprised had we or the South Vietnamese done so.
Reprisals work; courts and statutes do not. The law of war, because of the nature of war, must be self enforcing, through reprisals. Nothing else can work and any attempt to do away with reprisal is an indirect attack on and undermining of the law of war.

But then, the law of war and mitigating its horrors are not really what the Tranzis are about. Undermining national sovereignty? Replacing sovereign nations with themselves? That’s what they’re about.

The Tranzis aren’t about eliminating war’s horrors? Oh, John, Oh, Tom…say it isn’t so.

(Interject dual sigh at the vast iniquity of mankind here.)
It’s so.

Recall that we mentioned that Tranzism is the successor philosophy to Marxist-Leninism. It should come as no great surprise, then, that one of the key pieces of Tranzi legislation on the law of war should have been sponsored and forced into existence by…wait for it….wait for it….THE SOVIET UNION.

This key piece of Tranzi legislating on the law of war was Additional Protocol I to Geneva Convention IV. The Protocol itself was shoved through by the Soviets at a time when it looked like Peoples Revolutionary War (guerilla war…communist insurgency) would continue to be a powerful weapon to advance the cause of communism. The United States has never ratified it and, pray God, it never shall. The Russians, who forced it through, have never payed it the slsightest attention as witnessed by their conduct in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 and, more recently, in Chechnya.

The Protocol is interesting for three reasons: what it purports to do, what it actually does, and for the admittedly slick way in which it tries to do it.
The slickness is in the way the Protocol is structured. It begins with a pious preamble, typically enough. That isn’t the slick part. What is clever is that it repeats much of what was already in Geneva Convention IV (GC IV), which is concerned with the protection of civilians caught up in war (as is the Protocol), and then interweaves some very new things. The new things include major advantages, given gratis, to guerillas and especially communist guerillas, a broad ban on the use of what it calls “mercenaries,” one rather unreasonable restriction on the use of food as a weapon and a subtle way of saying “It’s okay to push the Zionist beasts into the sea.”

Then, when a nation refuses to ratify the Additional Protocol for any of the at least five really good reasons not to do so, it stands accused of anything from being in favor of mass rape to forced medical experiments a la Josef Mengele. Never mind that all that is prohibited by the original GC IV and that the Additional Protocol adds nothing of importance. “You refuse to ratify the Additional Protocol? You Nazi bastards!”

Are these guys slick or what?

As to what the Protocol is supposed to do, protect civilians, one has to wonder. It is part of the traditional law of war that, in case of a siege, a city may have its food cut off and civilians attempting to escape may be fired upon, even killed, to drive them back to eat up the food. This is cruel to be sure, an “extreme measure” as the USArmy’s manual on the subject admits. Cruel or not, this was upheld in the late 40s in the case of United States v. Ritter von Leeb and is still – up to a point – good law, outside of Tranzidom. Geneva Convention IV ameliorated this harsh rule, and reasonably so, by requiring that some evacuations for particular reasons (maternity, infancy, infirmity, for example) be allowed.
The Protocol, however, does not allow food to be cut off or civilians to be driven back into a besieged town to eat up whatever food is there. Naturally, one cannot permit food to enter without at the same time feeding the garrison, which will ensure for itself that it eats first. Therefore, the besieger has a choice, sit there forever – which is generally impractical – or take the place by assault. Now imagine what will happen to the civilians if the town is stormed, when every room receives its donation of grenade and bullet. And this is supposed to protect them? Starvation, at least, while unpleasant, offered a good chance for a besieged town to fall after a few lean days without the massacre intendant on an assault.

What then is the purpose of the Additional Protocol? It is to disadvantage the west, to reduce its military power, thus to reduce its sovereignty. Since being forced into existence by the Soviets the Protocol has had no other purpose.

The law of war nowhere mentions the phrase “illegal combatants.” Tranzis will tell you that, therefore, there is no such thing. This is false.

There is a legal principal, a Latin expression, “Expresio unius exclusio alterius est,” the inclusion of one is the exclusion of the other. While the law of war does not mention “illegal combatants,” it goes to some length to explain what is required to be a legal combatant. If there is such a concept as legal combatancy, and rules which must be followed to attain that status, then failure to follow those rules places one in the implicit status of illegal combatant.

Those rules are four. To be a legal combatant under the original Geneva Convention, which is quite different from the Additional Protocol to which the United States is not a party, one must a) wear a fixed insignia recognizable at a distance, b) carry arms openly, c) be under the command of a person or chain of command responsible for your actions (much like a privateer was under a sovereign and a pirate, again, was not), and d) conduct operations in accordance with the customs and laws of war. Failure to meet any of these conditions makes one an illegal combatant.

Note, here, that individuals do not “conduct operations.” Organizations conduct operations. This implies that one is responsible for the actions of one’s organization as well as for one’s own.

Can you hear the sound of Tranzi heads exploding over that last?

They might seem to have a point. Civil law normally doesn’t permit people to held responsible for the actions of others, right? Wrong. Look up “conspiracy.” Once someone becomes part of a conspiracy they become responsible for everything their co-conspirators do.

Moreover, within the law of war’s concept of reprisal perfect innocents may be effectively responsible for what their side does. After all, what happens when a side violates the law by using a hospital, say, for an ammunition dump? The perfectly innocent and otherwise protected wounded are blasted from this world to the next in reprisal.

Equally so, within an armed force, both by “d)”, above, and under the practical effect of the doctrine of reprisal a combatant is responsible for both his own actions and those of his organization.

It works the other way, too, by the way. Note that General Yamashita was hanged not for anything he ordered or could have prevented but for things subelements only notionally under his command did.

What does this mean for the current war? It means that every Saudi kid, inspired to go to Iraq to fight by watching some truck driver’s head sawed of on Al Jazeera, has – in civil law terms - voluntarily joined a conspiracy to fight illegally and is thus an illegal combatant and that – in law of war terms – he is an illegal combatant even if he personally follows the rules completely.

Those who would grant him legal combatant status, the Tranzis in other words, thus are trying to improve and enhance the effectiveness of those who would and do violate the law of war.

This is something you would expect from an enemy, right?

So what can we do? What would John and Tom like to see done?

Number One: Never forget that the Tranzi purpose is inimical to our own, that they are the enemy as much as Hitler was or al Qaeda is. They want us, as a distinct nation and people, to cease to exist. They want our constitution overthrown or made subordinate to their law, which amounts to the same thing. They want our military made subordinate to their judges, so that it can be undermined and made unable or unwilling to defend us. They want us to lose our wars.

Number Two: Remembering that the Tranzis are the enemy, give them no aid, no money, no support. Do not give them a foothold into the armed forces and if such foothold exists (say, in the form of an institute devoted to peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance) close it down. Audit the Tranzis' books; they’re as corrupt as imaginable and could not well stand auditing. They tend to lie, especially to raise money. Require that their charitable activities advertise truthfully and punish them when they do not. Jail a few of the bastards. On second thought jail a lot of the bastards. Remove their tax exempt status on the first whiff of impropriety. When the ultimate Tranzi organization, the UN, cheats the Iraqi people and hides the details of the thefts withhold the funds otherwise due to the UN and pay it to the Iraqis instead…with no chance of ever making good to the UN any such amounts withheld and given.

Number Three: Did you know that the United States has what amounts to a conditional declaration of war in place should anyone have the gall to grab one of our soldiers to turn over to the ICC or some other Tranzi court? It’s called the American Servicemembers Protection Act and it passed unanimously in the Senate. (Sometimes your country just makes you proud.) We should look for an opportunity to exercise that law…and sometime soon. Spain might be a good place to start.

Number Four: Even when we have them on the ropes do not let up. Finish them off. Make the Tranzi organizations extinct and the parasites who live off of them spend the remainder of their days poor and hungry. Do not weep for the Tranzis.

Number Five: Don’t, don’t, DON’T give up hope. The Tranzis are not going to win. Their center of gravity, Europe, is dying to demographics. Within the United States and with our own Tranzis much the same thing is happening regionally and sub-culturally. The prize Tranzi projects, the UN and EU, are staggering under a burden of incompetence, ineffectuality and corruption. Moreover, say what you will about Muslim extremists, they’re still damned good at demonstrating to the world outside of Europe what happens when you let the Tranzis take over.

By the way, Tom and John intend to fight the bastards all the way.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snagged A Nintendo DS...

...last week, a sort of "Christmas to Me" present, and got a copy of Final Fantasy III.

I pretty much expected it to be a "play a bit, mostly on BART" sort of thing...but, it's gotten quite cool and fun.

It feels like what I got into video games for-not quite a quick fix, but gaming pared down to the basics. It's old-school in the biggest regard-you just pick it up, and play. No 200+ page manual to try and work through, no load times, no cut-scenes that you suspect they put on the game to try and add content to fill up the space. No massive, esoteric plots to try and work through, because there isn't any space to mess around with those sorts of things.

Hell, I can even quit half-way in the middle of a boss battle, because it's not going to take me three hours to get through a un-interruptable cut-scene to finally get back to the boss monster. The DS isn't perfect, I got one with just one pixel stuck on in blue (and, it's just ONE, so I can't bitch too much). But, damn it, I like it.