March 2005

From Ubisoft.  Confirmed yesterday.  Website upGamespot carries the story.

FUCK YES. (more…)

So I’ve been thinking about Jerry Falwell being in the hospital, and it
occurred to me that there is at least one reason to hope this guy gets
better:  Zombie Falwell.  Stop for a moment and consider the
shambling horror that would descend on the good people of Virginia were
what passes for his soul to attempt passage into the great beyond in
that hospital bed.  That hospital is full of innocent people whose
brains are ripe for the picking and Zombie Falwell, shortly after he
rises from the gurney, stiff-armed and hankering for a hunk of
cerebrum, is going to loom large in those people’s short and
excruciating futures.

“Brrrrraaaaaaains,” Zombie Falwell will say, a glint of wicked glee in
his remaining eye, “Brrraaaains and th’ homos caused 9/11.”  His
swolen tongue will slip from between his teeth to lick what he now
calls “lips,” though others would call them “components of some grim
hoax on the theme of the human face.”  Then he’ll make sure no
more brains cause 9/11 by eating them.  No witness will survive to
tell that the look on his face was roughly the same as the look on his
face when he appeared on Crossfire.

“BrrrrAAAAAAAins,” Zombie Falwell will demand, a short time later,
addressing The Faithful from his pulpit.  His arms will drape over
the pulpit for support, his hands grasping at empty air as they go for
the meats that sit lined up in front of him.  “It’s a miracle,”
one of his followers will say, and Rev. Pat Robertson will agree, and
then Rev. Pat will regret that assessment when Zombie Falwell crashes
through a wall of his Virginia Beach compound, shambles onto the set
and proceeds to eat Rev. Pat’s brains right there on the 700
Club.  “Amen!” his co-host will cry, what’s-her-name, but her
praises will be cut short by a moaning:  “Braaaaaains,” Zombie
Falwell will pant.  “Brains and the idea that religion and
politics don’t mix was invented by the Devil,” Zombie Falwell will
mumble around fragments of skull as he demonstrates to Pat’s unwary
followers that Pat’s getting out of politics in ’88 was a terrible

“BRAAAAAINS,” Zombie Falwell will declare from the steps of the Capitol
Building.  Senator Santorum will stand there grinning like an
idiot, that eternal pinch gone from his face but otherwise no change in
behavior at all apparent, as Senator Bill Frist spoon-feeds Santorum’s
frontal lobe to Zombie Falwell while pronouncing that in his bona fide
medical opinion Zombie Falwell is healthier than he ever was. 
“Brains and other cars on the highway driven by believers will suddenly
be out of control and stark pandemonium will occur.”  “You got
that right, Rev. Zombie Falwell,” Frist will say over the audible slops
and slurps of what remains of Zombie Falwell’s lower jaw trying to gain
traction on the spoon.  The spoon is rusty and bent, but Zombie
Falwell doesn’t care.  He just wants brains.  “No more bouts
of viral anything for you, Zombie Falwell,” Senator Dr. Frist will
say.  “‘Cept that ol’ zombie virus!  Ha ha!  I
kid.  It’s a blessing.”

And then pretty soon everyone will forget he’s a zombie
altogether.  It’ll be like old times!  Zombie Falwell will be
more lively than ever.  Other televangelists will be found hanging
around in graveyards next to military bases where highly dangerous
experiments with nuclear waste occur under cover of night, hands in
their pockets, signs on their backs that say EAT ME – NO, REALLY and
when asked they’ll say they’re just hoping they’re good enough to
receive the blessin’s of the Lord. 

So here’s hoping Jerry Falwell gets better.  Lord have mercy, let’s hope he does.

(All quotes from Positive Atheism‘s Big List of Jerry Falwell Quotations.) (more…)

Some people write a living will, and some people write a living will that’s got moxie.  The money quote, for me:

If neither Bush twin is available to determine my fate, I would like
to convene a blue ribbon panel of Dungeons And Dragons players for this
purpose. The 12-person panel shall be selected by the United States
Supreme Court,
and will meet in the rotunda of the US Capitol building. They are to be
best such players currently available (as determined by court-appointed
experts). They shall set about determining my
fate based on my assorted attributes and several rolls of 20-sided die.


That would have been one of the old 2nd Ed. AD&D saves,
right?  Right up there with Save vs. Polymorph or Save vs. Wands
(leading one to wonder what one did to save vs. a Wand of Polymorph), I

Anyway, here’s the deal:  a dude in Jersey is accused of having
stabbed to death three acquaintances and the DA has suggested it might
have to do with Dungeons & Dragons because, you know, it has knives in it:

Castor says the motive appears to be jealousy, but they are
also looking into some sort of connection with the fantasy role-playing
game ”Dungeons and Dragons”:

“I mean, you have many, many stab wounds and those ‘Dungeons and
Dragons’ fantasy games involve swords and knives and daggers and things
of that nature. There may be a connection but I can’t say for sure.”

And by “I can’t say for sure,” I think he must mean “I am a complete idiot.”

I have to confess, though, my first thought on associating the murders with D&D was Damn,
dude should have bought some ranks in Hide or Bluff or something. 
At the very least he could have bought a potion of Pass Without Trace.

OK, so I had thought podcasting was basically a cute but unnecessary
fad.  I would rather read than listen, most of the time, and I can
read while at work whereas listening… not so much.  But The Boyf mentioned seeing a note during Battlestar Galactica that there was a podcast relevant to that episode on
I’m like, hey, cool, maybe the producer/creator/whatever guy has
something interesting to say.  I figured I’d download the little
mp3 and give it a listen and say, hey, that was neat.

No.  It’s way, way more incredibly cool than that.

It’s a commentary track for the episode.

You download it, you press play when the opening starts, you pause for commercial breaks.  It’s like DVD commentary only right now
Why wait for DVDs when the glorious, blessed,
holy-light-spilling-from-their-every-orifice interwebs can give us the
same experience right now?

I know this doesn’t sound like much, but it seems to me like this is major
This has (dare I say it?) the fleeting scent of synergy.  You get
your podcast commentary, you watch your show, it’s easy and it happens now.  (Actually, it happens precisely one installation of jPodder or iPodderX
from now, but hey.)  Combining anything with television to
accelerate an experience already popular (such as commentary tracks for
movies & shows on DVDs) is hot.  Hot hot hot.  I know that’s what they said about WebTV, I know, but this is different.  Call me crazy, but I see a shitload of potential applications that would be awesome.  Oh yes, call me crazy, but can you imagine what hot shit podcast commentary tracks would be if Joss Whedon had been doing this with Buffy?  Can you imagine what hot shit podcast commentary tracks would become, overnight, if CSI: Fuck If We Know, It All Kinda Looks Like LA Oddly Enough were doing this?

Oh, but they aren’t, are they?  Sure, 3 million people watch Battlestar Galactica every week, but assloads more than that watch CSI: Toledo or whatever.  And they aren’t going to do it because they don’t have to.

Ah, but you know that friend of yours who’s always been into forensics
stuff?  They read all the mystery novels that are based on actual
science and they like to talk about what shitty jobs all the various
Science Cop shows do with the real science?

Why can’t they do their own podcast commentary for each episode of CSI?

And what happens when some friends get together and MST3K up some of their own least favorite dreck on the tube?

Podcast Commentary Tracks + Television = Awesome.

I’m currently downloading the commentary tracks for BSG.  I
am such a nerd.  I know.  But I don’t care.  I revel in
it.  And now I desperately hope the countless people who will
certainly have already had this idea do something with it so that I can
find someone who’s producing their own MST3Ks of various things and that they’re good. (more…)

I’ve got up some pictures I took on Saturday.  Woot! (more…)

Wow.  The interwebs are a strange and wonderful place, and
sometimes they give us a great gift, whether that great gift is Jeff
Gannon or word puzzles or, you know, a hobo language for marking mind-control hotspots.

Psychalking.  Awesome.  Print your reference card today!  Or don’t, since, you know, they could use an impression from the printer to track your movements and find out you’re onto them.  Later, collapse into a whimpering ball from the paradox of choices.  Either way, hey, it beats watching primetime. (more…)

I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but it’s cool as hell:  PostSecrets
It’s an art project in which people mail in anonymous postcards, each
with a secret on them.  They are encouraged to be artistic with
the secret’s presentation.  Then the secrets, still anonymous, are
made publicly available.  Some are touching, some are funny, some
are deeply disturbing, some surprise me with what their author-artists
considered necessary to keep secret up to the point they made the
postcard.  The archivist asks that the secrets all be true and be
truly secret – something never told to anyone else.  Weird and
fascinating and beautiful and sad all at once. (more…)

OK, so I’m having too much fun revisiting the Church Sign Generator.

[[image:churchsign7.jpg::center:0]]   [[image:churchsign6.jpg::center:0]]

[[image:churchsign10.jpg::center:0]]   [[image:churchsign11.jpg::center:0]]

[[image:churchsign12.jpg::center:0]]   [[image:churchsign15.jpg::center:0]]

I think what makes it so satisfying is the opportunity to churn out a
more honest message on behalf of the religious right.  We all know
that’s what they’re thinking, and they know that’s what they’re
thinking, and no matter what they say their actions demonstrate that
these are the sorts of things they’re actually thinking.  So why even bother with the pretense? (more…)

I asked about D&D tools for the Macintosh, and lo and behold, comes to the rescue with snippet reviews of a bunch of gaming tools.  I’m kind of feh, whatever
on the die rollers, because I like the feel of plastic polygons in my
nerdy hand and I distrust a computer to do the die-rolling for me, but
the others sound interesting.  Too bad White Wolf’s tools were
universally awful and pretty much no one else has bothered to make any
for their games, eh? 

Anyway, woot! (more…)

In moving things over to my Mac, something remarkably easier than I’d
feared it might be, I ran across some old photos and some old image
files in general, including these church signs generated at, naturally,
The Church Sign Generator.  The first one was back when I was a Compoundian and Andy and I were posting on, since defunct.

In all honesty, the next one is stolen entirely from Pants Wilder.  One year he went to Bascha‘s Halloween shindig as Charon and handed out homemade business cards including one that said what’s on the sign below:


The rest are entirely my fault, and I assure you I’m very sorry for them.




To be honest, on a day (or during a week, no month, no year, no decade)
in which the religious fundies are trying to run everyone’s life it’s
awfully therapeutic to just kick back and make up some shit to put on a
church sign.  Mighty relaxing, I tell you. (more…)

Like apostropher,
I think everything that can be said about this has been said and by
“said” I mean “yelled through a loudspeaker,” for the most part.

That said, and because I haven’t touched a real topic lately – largely
because the real news is so tremendously depressing – I just have to
say for fuck’s sake, people, let the lady die.  She doesn’t have a cerebral cortex.  There’s nobody home in there.  As pointed out by Pam’s House Blend, the priorities which drive a middle-of-the-night session of three (3) Senators trying to override separation of powers and
fly in the face of their own, theoretical states’ rights stance all in
one go are in direct opposition to the priorities they espouse in any
other social context:  namely, that marriage is something
protected and isolated from the rest of society.  If parents can
barge into the marriage of a couple in their forties and claim that
they know better, though, it’s an awfully (and I do mean awfully)
good metaphor for what the Bible-thumping politicos do to anyone and
everyone who doesn’t go to their church on any given day.  Who
needs adulthood and responsibility and choice and consequences when
there’s a Moral Minority out there just foaming at the mouth to take
them away for our own good?

So much for adulthood, or rights, or the freedom to live (or die)
differently!  This is Bush’s America, folks – get it in sync or
get a law passed on your ass, your choice.  Until these jokers are
voted out of office, anyone anywhere whose personal tragedy or personal
decision enjoys even the briefest flicker of media attention can expect
a raftload of praying strangers and self-righteous white guys in
power-ties to show up outside their door with pickets and slogans and
cameras and, most of all, a desire to invade their privacy. 

But even saying that – even breathing the word “politician” in the same
breath as an issue as deeply personal and undeniably terrible as the
choices faced by that guy – feels downright evil.  That anyone
would try to manipulate it for political gain, on either side, is
grotesque.  I could sit here and say, “Oh, well, they did it
first, they passed a special law, they they they,” all day long and it
wouldn’t matter a damn bit.  This is how dirty our politics –
everyone’s – have become, that the personal becomes the political by
default, not by choice, and then the personal and the political are
soiled by one another, made more awful by their association with one
another.  Then, yeehaw, the more it’s talked about the worse it
gets for both the personal struggle between a woman’s parents and a
woman’s husband and the political struggles of anyone who places hope
or faith or any other sort of worth in the political system’s ability
to address societal issues when needed. 

You don’t have to be on one side or the other to be anguished by
this.  You don’t even have to have been in the position of having
to make that decision (though I have had relatives for whom
life-support was ended) to be anguished by this.  It is awful
regardless of where one sits on the spectrum of beliefs about the right
to life or the right to death with dignity or the right to live and die
however the fuck we please.  It is awful, and the longer it stays
up on the front page of every news site and the longer one side or the
other uses it to point at the other and say they are so awful then the more it taints us all. 

Do I have a definite opinion?  Oh gods yes – I say let her husband
make the decision, isn’t that part of the whole specialness of
marriage, that people entrust their fates to one another? I could be
wrong there since nobody in politics, of any party, is willing to come
out and say that hey maybe I should get to find out for my fucking self – but for fuck’s sake I shouldn’t have to or get to decide it for them.  I am pro-choice and pro-assisted-suicide and pro-death-with-dignity for many reasons, among them that I don’t get to decide such things for other people
That her parents would push this through the courts and then through
the media and then politicians would push this through the government
and then back through the media again in an effort to say, “Please, we
don’t like the decision that has been made, make it for us,” is
a terrible thing for them to ask and made even more terrible by the
fact that people would drive from states away just to hold one sign or
another outside a dying woman’s window.  This is their life and
her death.  To push it into the court of public opinion is
tremendously selfish and immeasurably evil.  To volunteer for jury
duty in that court is just as bad.  It is absolutely unthinkably
awful that I haven’t even had to say their names but you’ve known of
whom I spoke the entire time. 

Jesus H. in a wetsuit, enough already.  We have our own lives to
live.  Stop beating your chests in public.  Stop demanding
that the rest of the country make the decision you couldn’t make on
your own.  Let us write our living wills and get back to living. (more…)

OK, so as you might have noticed, I’m newly converted back to
Macintosh.  I have to use the term “converted” despite its overuse
because, frankly, the experience of getting everything set up and
sitting there going holy crap as Firefox launches in, what, two
seconds?  Maybe three?  Anyway, yeah, that is a religious

So now I’m trolling for utility suggestions.  Any good utility
recommendations you might have are welcome, though I have a special
interest in good Dungeons & Dragons utilities.  Yes, I am that
big of a nerd.

I’ve read a little about CrystalBall X and DragonAid X, and plan to give them a spin tonight.  But what else is out there?  What do you use?

John, I’m looking at you here. (more…)

So, Saturday was spent finishing off the bulbs and flower seeds I had
to plant (carnations, bachelor button, pansies, a whole raft of stuff),
doing a little light gardening, sitting on the back porch and generally
taking it easy.  Sunday, more of the same, with a trip down to
Dockside for dinner with Compoundians.  Oh, and we watched “Spring
Break Shark Attack.”  OK, by “watched” I mean “fast-forwarded
through the talky bits, only halting when I saw fins in the
water.”  It was tremendously disappointing.  I’d hoped to
watch many more yuppie scum get chomped.  Alas!

Yesterday, rather than work on book two I ran errands, checked out the new location for Chapel Hill Comics (much better store) and listed a bunch of stuff on Ebay that I’d been meaning and meaning to get rid of. 

Oh, and the new PowerMac G5 comes today.

Gods yes.

In the process of listing things on Ebay, I pulled the last of the
pictures from my old camera.  I’ll post them here soon. 
Suffice to say, there are cats, and there are views of the mountains
around Las Vegas from our hotel room at Fitzgerald’s last
November.  Not very good pictures, but hey, they’ll do.

Tonight, I hope to blog from the new computer.  AW YEAH.

UPDATE:  Oh my gods.  I… I’m not sure I can even express how awesome this is.  Macintosh, I love you.

His name is Withrow.  Katastrophes was right, I do have a naming convention. (more…)


NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage
are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase
the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, a study of 12,000
adolescents suggests.

The latest study, published in the April issue of the Journal of
Adolescent Health, found that teens pledging virginity until marriage
are more likely to have oral and anal sex than other teens who have not
had intercourse. That behavior, however, “puts you at risk,” said
Hannah Brueckner, assistant professor of sociology at Yale and one of
the study’s authors.

The pledging group was also less likely to use condoms during their
first sexual experience or get tested for STDs, the researchers found.

Of course, we all know that abstinence-only education is a huge success (cough)
and anyway it’s all about the children, right?  We must do
anything necessary, spread any lie necessary, pretend any convenient
fantasy necessary if that’s what it takes to protect the children,
up to and including forgetting inconvenient truths such as the
universal drive to experiment when young and the absolutely unnatural
concept of socially conditioning young people out of their ingrained curiousity about sex. 

Rather than owning up to reality and telling them, hey, the only guarantee
is to abstain but, if they don’t, or if things get out of hand, here’s
what they can do to minimize their risks, we just make them sign little
paper cards in Sunday School, cross our societal fingers and hope for
the best.  So, apparently it’s all about sickening the children.  Does our society really need a sex-obsessed religious right making sex even more dangerous for future generations?  Does our society need more
reasons to attach unnecessary and dangerous social stigmas to serious
medical conditions?  Jesus H. in a Mickey Mouse hat, these
fuckwits are going to kill us all, one way or another, with their
all-encompassing delusions of righteousness. (more…)

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