Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This is relevant to your interests

For the first time ever, an online vendor has sought me out to buy advertising on this blog. And, because I am not an idiot, I said "Sure!"

Fortunately for you folks, I made sure that the product would be of interest to a demographic within my readership.  (I may be a whore, but I'm not shameless.)

Now, here is the image that I was requested to post:

You can personalize it!
And here is the link that I was asked to post:

Now some of you clever folks are no doubt asking, "Erin, why does an American blogger have a link to a UK storefront?"  To which I reply, "You got me hung, Jack. They have the gold, they make the rules."

However, I hasten to point out that all of you are clever folks who know how to find the North American version of the store, should you be so inclined.

You now have less than six hours...

... to get in on the Evict Lyme FUNdraiser.  DOOOOOO EEEEET.

WNW: Bronies & Simponies

Nota bene:  This video is satire, which is why I'm posting it. Of course I do not agree with its purported thesis. Fortunately, neither does its author.

I particularly enjoy the narrator. Her voice makes me think of a female Yahtzee Croshaw.

(h/t to Oddball)

Since I'm already getting my nerd on about ponies, I might as well fully geek out and show you this delightful jewel: a pony version of The Sims, featuring the Hooves family.

I am embarrassed to admit how much I would play this game.

And no, I don't know why Amethyst Star is listed as a member of the Hooves family. Can somepony clue me in on this?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Traveller Tuesday: Laser Rules

No sacred cows slaughtered this time, but they got singed a bit.

This came about as a result of me looking at the main book, and then the High Guard changes for lasers, and saying "That just doesn't seem right."  None of these designs have been playtested (yet), so feedback is highy encouraged.

Pulse Lasers are primarily defensive-- essentially energy version of Phalanxes. They do 1d6 damage, but due to their spread have a +2 to hit and to damage missiles, boarders, and any craft less than 100 tons. Because of this (and tonnage) pulse lasers are good choices for small craft. 

Beam Lasers are primarily offensive. They do 2d6 damage, because A) there's a lot more energy behind a constant beam than a pulse, and B) with the "hose" effect it's a lot easier to aim the laser and keep it trained on a target for maximum effectiveness. They are, however, terrible at hitting anything moving quickly, and so suffer a -2 to hit anything less than 100 tones.

My players like it, but please, tell me what you think. 

Gunnnies Helping Gunnies: A Follow-Up

Ugh, this past weekend has been allergy hell for me. But as miserable as I am, there are people who have it worse than I do, which is why I try (not always successfully) to adhere to a "No Whining" policy. Fortunately for me, there isn't a "No Ranting" policy on this blog.

A week ago, I saw this video on Jim Braaten's blog. It... bothered me, for reasons I will explain in a moment.

Now, I agree with the message of the video:  change your message to be effective, get more help. As a writer, I can't not get that. But here's what bothers me:  the woman who changed his sign goes by him twice, and neither time does she give him any money.  She's all, "Oooh, I wrote words, that's better than any money I could give him."

It would be one thing if the writer was unemployed, or a student, or a small child, because then I could reasonably think "This person doesn't have any money, so she is helping the only way she knows how."  I get that because, far too often, that's my life.

But this bitch has a business suit and an attache case and designer fucking sunglasses. She can damn well afford to give this fellow some change, and yet she doesn't. She doesn't know that her change in words will work, either... which is probably why she came back. Maybe it's just me, but while I dig the overall message, the execution of this video just pisses me right the fuck off. Perhaps I'm over-sensitive.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I'm not the woman in the video. I want -- no, I need you to know that before I ask you to contribute anything to a cause or an individual, I've already donated my own money to the cause. I don't ever ask you to do anything I'm not willing to do myself.

All right, rant over!  Let's check in on some folks I asked you to help out in a previous post.
  • The Indigogo fundraiser for Brigid's friend Kat M. has been successfully funded, and there's still time on the clock!  Thank you everyone who donated -- you're awesome!
  • Glen Furtado, the gun store owner who was robbed and run over, is doing better. He is out of the coma and, according to his son, "is doing very well at this point in time. He is alert and aware of everything. He is also back on facebook and his phone. He is remains hospitalized, but is making great strides everyday. There is still a long road ahead, but we will all be here to help him along the way. If anyone wants to get in contact with him, let me know through this page, facebook, or my email On behalf of the entire Furtardo Family, thank you all so much for the support and help."  Not a lot has been raised in the past 40 days, so I encourage everyone to visit his Fundrazr page and give what they can, even if it's a dollar.
  • This last one is hard to write. One of our own, Squeaky Wheel, is having a hell of a time dealing with complications stemming from Lyme disease and the TWO surgeries it will require. She's trying to be strong, but I don't know how she does it... I read her Lyme Journal entries and just shudder, and am ashamed at how thankful I am not to have anything as horrible as what she has.

    The Evict Lyme FUNdraiser raffle that Jennifer is running end midnight on Wednesday (that's tomorrow), so if you haven't donated then PLEASE DO SO.  Squeaky is one of our own, dammit! We take care care of each other!

You know what?  I made a care package for Tam, and I'm going to make one for Squeaky. I don't know what's going to be in it or how I'm going to get it to her, but it's something that I can do. If you know what she likes and can make suggestions, let me know -- let's make this happen, folks.

Begin Operation: Lymeparty!

(Yes, I totally went there.)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Derpy Fett

I put it to you that Boba Fett is the Derpy Hooves of Star Wars fandom.

I swear to God, I did not know this picture existed
until I looked for images to bolster my claim. 

Consider the following:
  • Neither of them have had much "canonical" screen time or dialog. 
  • There are few actual facts about them. 
  • They appear mostly in the background. 
  • Nevertheless, they are deeply beloved by their respective fandoms...
  • ... so much so that a HUGE body of lore has sprung up around both of them. 
  • Their collectible toys are expensive, hard to get, and highly prized. 

Didn't know about this one, either. Honest. 

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Isms in Games, or Just Who Is Your Role Model Here?

One of the really nasty things that happens when you get your social justice mixing with your video games is you start to lump in artistic displays with actual problems. I will openly admit that, due to video games being a sort of 'boys club' for so long, that ingrained attitudes and storytelling techniques will seep into the finished products that represent outdated and/or harmful attitudes, but there's been a disturbing trend of pointing fingers at things that really don't need fingers pointed at. Some of these things range from ham-handed to clever in their depictions, but they're still just that. Depictions.

In 2011, the sequel to the amazingly well-received and well-crafted Batman: Arkham Asylum was released in Arkham City, with a story that spanned most of the terrifying Rogue's Gallery of the Bat-Family, with cameos from civilians Jack Ryder and Vicki Vale, the League of Assassins, Calendar Man and a disturbing Rabbit-masked sequence with the Mad Hatter. The game expanded on the amazing gameplay and storytelling of the first in the series, introducing new mechanics, a vast city, and an entirely new gameplay style and playable female character with the Catwoman levels. Now, it could be argued that some of the female characters were a bit sexualized, but that's not what we're after. In the Catwoman levels, the thugs called her a bitch. Repeatedly. In anger. This was deemed, on the front page of Kotaku no less, to mean the game was sexist.

In March of this year, the Tomb Raider franchise was rebooted. Scripting the new game was one Rhianna Pratchett, daughter the one and only Terry Pratchett. Gone were the cheesecake tank-and-short-shorts of yesterday, replaced with battered cargo pants and sturdy boots. The pixelated boobs that were nigh-on-infamous were replaced with a more realistic female frame. The cocky, cold-blooded demeanor was replaced with a young, nerdy student who was eager to chase her ideas and turned out to have a spine of tempered steel. The things that Lara Croft endured in this game would have probably made me give up after the first 20 minutes or so. Every time I overcame a major obstacle, I felt a sense of accomplishment for myself, and a sense of awe at the personal fortitude that this woman was displaying. For context, this island is full of men that came from crashed aircraft or ships that have washed up on the island under similar circumstances to how Lara's ship was marooned. In the pre-release trailer for the game, one of them corners Lara, clearly intending her harm. For a half a second, his hand rests on one of her hips. The public outcry overwhelming. Lara Croft, rape victim. Rhianna Pratchett was crushed when she found out that's what people were taking away from her story.

That same month, Bioshock Infinite was released. The setting was a city in the sky founded by a religious zealot and set in the year 1912. The game was gorgeous, with a deep storyline, a fantastically well-crafted companion AI, and an ending complicated enough that Casey Hudson over at Bioware was probably steaming as the ending credits rolled. The Bioshock series has always dealt with serious political, social, and religious themes in a very serious manner. Bioshock Infinite was no different with the city of Columbia, a display of American exceptionalism run rampant. The city was a product of its time, with the wealthy white folk enjoying the carnivals and clean streets, the Irish providing the bulk of the manual labor, and the black population relegated to cleaning toilets and using servant's entrances. I think by now you're probably seeing a trend here. There were people that latched on to these things and decried the game and its creators as racists.

Now, I feel I'm getting a bit long-winded on the subject, so I'll take a break for the time being, and you'll get further ruminations on this in my next installment.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mods are asleep...

... post ponies!

I haven't been feeling great this past week. Not so much sick, but emotional: feeling lonely, feeling sad, feeling depressed. Ponies help with those feelings.

First we start with a video of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... muffins?

Warning:  Some of these videos are liable to stir up lots of dust and onions near your computer.  For example, Derpy's Toy made me bawl like a little girl even though it had a happy ending.

Haven't cried enough? Okay, try Snowdrop on for size:

I bet you're crying now, aren't you?  It's okay. This is a safe place. Just let it all out.

Since Princess Luna showed up in Snowdrop, we have a natural segue to this AMAZING music video. Children of the Night is slightly grimdark, what with the Victorian level of poverty, but the music and singing and animation are all top-notch.

This last one, Daylight's End, isn't quite as amazing, but considering that it's a pony video made from a League of Legends song, it's truly impressive how well it fits both setting and character. And the song is just incredible!

I do so love this fandom. Even when they make me cry.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Traveller Tuesday: Damage & Healing

Warning:  Sacred cows slaughtered in this post.

People familiar with the various incarnations of Traveller understand just how lethal combat can be. It is entirely possible for a character to die after being shot once. This is generally regarded as A Good Thing, since Traveller at least nods its head in the direction of realism, and this kind of thing happens all the time in the great MMORPG we call Real Life.

So my beef isn't with the damage system. I do, however, take issue with how easy it is for someone in Traveller to be healed of damage. Let me illustrate via anecdote:

Several game sessions back, several my intrepid murderhobos were involved in an an air/raft crash. The damage involved was such that it blew through their Endurance stat completely and into a second physical stat.  They were, needless to say, not in a good way. I described this as broken limbs, concussions, and compression to the spine.

However, one of the PCs had a medikit built into his vacc suit, and the other was on the receiving end of a good Medic roll, both of which restored most, if not all, of their Endurance.  By a strict reading of the rules, these people -- who had just been involved in a serious accident, the kind of thing that requires an ambulance and paramedics and probably emergency surgery -- would be able to stand up and walk away just because they had been splinted, bandaged and received an injection of painkiller.

I take issue with this. "Instantly better" medicines are the province of Star Trek, which is around Tech Level 20 in Traveller terms, versus the Third Imperium's maximum of TL 15. This is even worse when you consider that during character generation it is quite easy to suffer an accident that results in the loss of characteristic points, but once out of chargen and into play, there are no rules for being maimed and crippled.

These rules -- which I am sure will be revisited and revised, based upon discussion in the comments and the cries of my players -- aim to change that.

Let the howling commence. 

Taking Damage

First let me detail the various Traveller characteristics and how they relate to damage:

  • Endurance measures resistance to pain and strength of immune system. Unless there is a very good reason why not, damage always applies to Endurance first.
  • Strength represents a character's musculature and skeletel integrity. Anything that would affect a PC's overall bodily structure, such as gross physical trauma, applies. 
  • Dexterity represents a character's nervous system. Anything which causes neurological damage, such a poison or radiation, applies here. Specific damage against precision organs like fingers and toes also applies. 
  • Intelligence only takes damage in specific circumstances where brain damage would apply: asphyxiation, cranial trauma, and psionic attacks. 
  • Education is similar, but represents loss of memory rather than physical damage to the brain. Psychological disorders would cause this, as well as the aforementioned psionic and cranial trauma. 
  • Social Standing is damaged only if the wounds are disgustingly disfiguring, such as burns over large portions of the body, or if they reduce an ability to interact with others (such as losing a tongue, or being a blind, deaf, and mute). Given the nature of reconstructive surgery within the Imperium, this is not the handicap it would be in today's era, so damage to the Social stat should be considered an "easy out" and to be avoided. 
  • Psionic damage is damage taken directly to the psionic portion of the brain. This occurs mainly during psionic battles, but it could also occur from cranial trauma (bad enough concussion, a gunshot wound, a lobotomy) or from tailored anti-psi poisons. 
So now that we know what takes damage and when, we can discuss the actual procedure. 
  1. The character takes damage, which reduces his Endurance stat. 
  2. When Endurance hits zero, damage is applied to the relevant stat according to damage type. (See above.) If the GM permits, this damage could be spread out:  a bad car accident could result in damage to Strength, Intelligence and Education, if a concussion could plausibly occur. 
  3. When a secondary stat hits zero, unconsciousness occurs.  
  4. This is where significant rules changes occur.  After the second stat reaches zero, permanent characteristic loss starts to occur. The GM chooses, or may allow the PC to choose, which stat or stats are so affected.
  5. When any stat other than Psionic strength reaches zero, that PC is dead (but might be revived with the right medical technology if applied quickly enough, or placed in an emergency low berth). If Psi strength is permanently reduced to zero, that PC has lost all psionic aptitude due to brain damage. 
I think you will find that these rules are not more lethal than the rules as written. They do, however, have nastier long-term effects in terms of characteristic loss -- but I feel that suits the system and the setting. 

This also gives the GM greater flexibility:  instead of saying "Well, you're dead now," a GM might instead say "You survived, but you are horribly crippled with a wrecked immune system and significant memory loss."  A  total party kill ruins a campaign, but a viciously mangled party desperately seeking medical attention is a side-quest all its own. 


First aid is effective any time before permanent characteristic loss, and restores lost Endurance points as per normal. First aid does NOT restore other lost characteristic points, but it halts their loss and, by restoring Endurance, creates a buffer that must be gone through before more are lost. 

Natural healing restores characteristic points that first aid cannot, as does surgery and medical care. 

Medical care is required to restore permanently lost characteristics, and costs 5,000 Cr per point restored in a TL12 medical facility. As TL goes down, prices go up. Characteristic restoration is not possible below TL9. 

(See Traveller core book, p. 75, for defintions of First Aid, Natural Healing, Surgery and Medical Care.)

In Conclusion

I am certain that I have missed something, be it an arcane rule or a piece of medical technology in one of the books. If you spot something, please mention it in the comments below and I will incorporate it into my revised rules.

I understand these rules will annoy purists. That's okay; I'm making a career out of doing just that.  What I like about this system is that simulates a more realistic version of damage and gives the GM more dramatic   options, all without over-complicating the rules.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Gunday: Buy Stuff

This day has been a total waste.  How total, you ask?  Imagine if a simple errand -- say, "Take mom to have blood drawn" -- took your entire morning and half your afternoon, instead of the basic half-hour it should have been.

On top of that, I think I missed the memo that today was "Everyone Be Slow and Lazy and Incompetent Day". If the planet is beset by disaster within the next few days, know that it is because all day long I was fervently wishing for everyone to die.


Which led to this amusing little bon mot on Facebook:
"Erin, eat a Snickers."


"You always turn into a homicidal maniac when you're hungry."


"Better now?"

Yes, much! Now I am a homicidal maniac with a sugar high!
Yes, I'm fairly certain that quote will never come back to haunt me in any measurable way....

ANYhoo. Several of you noted your pleasure when I announced that Lucky Gunner was sponsoring me to attend Bidet Shoot 2013, and some even said you would consider buying ammo from them.  As it turns out, LG has an affiliate program (kind of like an Amazon Associate, but with bullets) where if you buy stuff from them through my referral link, I get a small cut of the action which I can then use to buy ammunition for my own self.

If only there were a subtle way to suggest that you go there...

ammo for sale

*whistles innocently*

Look, I'm not saying you have to buy ammo from them. If you find a cheaper price, by all means go for it. I just see this as a handy way for you to buy ammunition that you were going to shoot anyway and, at the same time, help your favorite bratty little sister afford some range time.  It's a win-win, right?

Anyway, that's all I've got tonight.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Final Update on Mom

She's home and in good spirits. Her hand and arm are still swollen and discolored, and it hurts her if she bumps it or picks up heavy things (so stop doing that!) but otherwise she is in fine form and will likely go to church tomorrow.

Thanks to one and all for kind thoughts and prayers!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Update on mom (with pictures)

I went to see mom after dad came home. She was feeling well enough to eat dinner and her hand had stopped swelling enough that she could use her fingers. She seemed herself again and was in good spirits. The ICU people are keeping her overnight for "just in case" situations.

Here are some pictures I took with my iPhone. Sorry about the quality.

This is her left little finger, where she was bitten. The little red dot there is the wound. 

This is her hand. The blue lines are there to mark the progress of the swelling. 
At its worst, her hand was 21 centimeters around. 

Going down her arm....

... to pretty close to 2/3rds the way to her elbow. 

Here is the little bastard. Emphasis on little. 

Mom was very lucky:  A small snake, with only one fang strike, on a part of the body without deep tissue or major blood vessels. And even so, her hand and arm swelled like a sausage and is blue-black from the hemotoxin that killed the blood cells (so everything looks bruised). If this had been a bigger bite, her allergy to the antivenom could have had tragic consequences. 

Still, mom is a a tough old lady. 

The phrase that got me banned from Facebook

"I was once niggardly with a jigger full of chiggers."

I am immensely proud of this ban, mostly because I know I don't have anywhere near the readership that Michael Z. Williamson has, and yet I was able to offend enough brittle people to get censored and timed-out just like he did. I've got game, baby.    ::flex::

Again, not a picture of me. I just like her expression and muscle tone. 

 Here's what I find darkly amusing:
  • Mad Mike got blocked for saying "Chigger," but I didn't. Of course, I included a link to the Wikipedia article about chiggers, which probably helped my case. 
  • I "confessed" to being a pedagogue. Which, curiously, did not result in a ban, as I assumed people would confuse pedagogue (which I am) with pedophile (which I'm not). 
  • Yet in between those two, a bit of doggerel which included a legitimate word for "stingy" that only sounds racist got me banned. 
  • And yet, the "Kill George Zimmerman" page somehow doesn't violate Facebook standards, despite having a credible threat of violence. 
Oh, Facebook admins. You're such a bunch of cunctators


Final Update, 3:00 pm Sunday:  She's home and in good spirits. Her hand and arm are still swollen and discolored, and it hurts her if she bumps it or picks up heavy things (so stop doing that!) but otherwise she is in fine form and will likely go to church tomorrow.

Thanks to one and all for kind thoughts and prayers!

Penultimate Update, 8:30 pm Eastern:  Saw mom at the hospital tonight. She's doing a lot better and we expect her home tomorrow (Saturday). Want to see pictures of the snakebite?

Update 3, 1:15 pm Eastern:  Thank you everyone for the prayers and well-wished.  People have asked how it happened, so here's the sequence of events:
  • Mom is out in the garden, pulling weeds. 
  • Her left hand gets too close to a pygmy rattlesnake that is hiding nearby. 
  • It bites her just below the knuckle of her left little finger. 
  • Fortunately, the snake is small and only gets her with one fang, so she didn't get a LOT of venom. But she was still obviously poisoned. 
  • She pounded on my door, then got the shears and killed it. This is partially for antivenom purposes, partially for revenge, and partially because she didn't want it to bite me or any of the dogs later. Pygmies are small, but aggressive little bastards. I've actually seen them pursue humans. 

If anyone has experience with antivenom and allergic reactions thereto, please leave a comment on the blog. I'm not sure if being on the AV for 45ish minutes is enough to neutralize it, and if I should be more worried about the allergic reaction.

I also hope she doesn't sustain damage to her hand. She's left-handed, and that would really REALLY suck. Please set my mind at ease.

Update 2, 12:48 Eastern: Mom called to let me know that she had an allergic reaction to the antivenom and they're moving her to the ICU for the night. Now I am starting to get concerned.

Update, 12:00 Eastern:  She's still in the ER but they've moved her from the immediate treatment room to one of the patient rooms near the nurses' station. She's now on antivenom, as the swelling had gotten past her hand (which is big and puffy and tight) and into her arm. The doctor is looking in on her regularly (probably checking for allergic reactions), and they are keeping her until at least 5:00 pm.

Original Post, 11 am-ish: At about 8:30 this morning, mom woke me up by pounding on the door and saying she'd been bitten.

As I shoulder-rolled out of bed  (it would have been damn tactical, too, had it not been for the fact that I left my glasses on the nightstand and was fumbling around going "What what what?"), my first thought was that one of the dogs had accidentally nipped her and that she needed help putting on a bandage.

Nope. Turns out she'd been bitten by a pygmy rattlesnake while gardening.

While I was throwing clothes on so I could drive her to the Emergency Room, she got a set of pruning shears and cut the little bastard in half. Not to be trifled with, my mother.

So, a couple fun facts:
  • I can dress for the ER in about 10 seconds: tee, shorts, ballcap, slip-on shoes and grab my wallet. 
  • In an emergency, I can be up and moving before my conscious mind fully comprehends what is going on. 
  • I still had enough presence of mind to bring the body of the snake and my Kindle Fire. 
  • I can make it to the hospital in 15 minutes, and I was only lightly speeding. 
I got her checked in being tended to by nurses. The doctor said they would keep her for observation for 6 hours -- by then her hand (she'd been bitten on the knuckle of her left pinkie) was visibly swelling. They might give her antivenom; but they might not need to, since it was a small snake and it only got her with one fang. 

She sent me home to look after the dogs and get breakfast. I will keep everyone updated. Right now, I am 99% confident everything will be fine. 

Prayers and well-wishes gratefully accepted.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Alan Wake, or Writer's Block can be a Cosmic Horror

     So there are two things to remember when reading things I write. An intrinsic part of my personality is my pride in being a PC gamer, and that I've seen some shit in my day. There are spiral bound notebooks that I had full of things I wrote that I can only remember snippets of, that sadly went missing sometime between 7 and 10 years ago, the circumstances surrounding which maybe, just maybe, I'll go into one day. Once we've all gotten to know each other better.

     So, needless to say I went through a traumatic experience, my writings were lost to the aether, and I didn't write much of anything outside of a drunken rambling for a long time. Emphasis on drunken. One of the hallmarks of my relationship with our dear Erin is that I barely remember the circumstances of our first encounter. I probably left an obscenely rude comment whilst totally hammered. To this day, I can only get the mere gestation of a story started, and then run into a brick wall when I attempt to take it anywhere. I'm slowly getting better though, and its exercises like these that help most.

     Alan Wake was extremely late coming to PC, having originally been designed for, and released on console, as so many games are. The developers stated that there wouldn't be a PC port, claiming it was meant to be played on a couch, and at the time I believed them. The publisher was, after all, Microsoft. Considering MS hasn't published a game for PC since, oh, 2007 you'd think they didn't want you playing games on PC. Remedy did, later on, develop a PC port of the game and released it for PC. It sold so well it made back the cost of porting in less than 24 hours. The dev team even put a QR code hidden in the game that led to the message "Huh. Turns out this isn't too bad even if you're not sitting on a couch when you play it. Who knew!"

     As a teenager, I read a lot of Stephen King novels, and I apparently wasn't the only one. The first spoken words in Alan Wake, the game, are Mister King's name, and aside from being on entirely the wrong coast, the game plays out like an homage to King's works. But there's something deeper at play here, something that dredges up a lot of painful memories and brings a sense of catharsis by the end, leaving me with a feeling that while I may never completely escape that black void that formed around my creativity, I can find ways to work around it, and eventually get back to the world.

     Alan Wake, the man, is a crime novelist. Hard-boiled detectives and brutal, noir worlds. Its no surprise this was brought to us by the same people that did Max Payne. When we meet Alan, he's gone through a rough patch, drinking, pills, partying, and hasn't written anything in two years. His wife sets up a surprise vacation for him, as a way of trying to get him writing again, but some kind of dark force takes her from him and sets about wrecking his world. I can't help but feel that the entire game is a vivid metaphor for writer's block. It starts with a literal one, then as the action of the game progresses, it becomes a yawning, black, monstrous void of darkness, taking parts of Alan's life and sanity from him. As someone with the soul of a writer, not being able to write anything is emotionally crippling.

     At the time when I first played this game, it had been two years since my last creative spurt had run dry, so I really felt like I identified with Wake, having beaten my head against the brick wall of "I got nothing" for nearly as long as he had. Just without the advantage of a loving, supportive wife and a party lifestyle.      

At the risk of spoilers, Alan doesn't escape the darkness. There's no happy ending, where he's reunited with his wife and his world is put back together in a perfect little package. The traumatic events and the writer's block. But he finds a way to live with it. He finds a way to work around it, and to affect the world around him. And when we last leave Alan, he might have found a way to make it back to the world. It gives me a little hope. Finding little cracks in the block, ways to work around it, to where I'll be able to maybe string together a coherent, stable narrative. Of course, that all could be a metaphor for something else, but we don't want to go *too* deep. After all, it's not a lake, it's an ocean.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Since the last time I talked about my random dreams was well-received, and I've had a couple zany ones since, I thought I'd share. 

July 7, 2013:
Last night's dreams were brought to me by Michael Bay: awesome and spectacular, but making no sense whatsoever.

First I was a cat burglar who knocked over an oil lamp that destroyed a library, thus revealing the location of a little boy who was being held captive by a creepy evil man (possibly a lich or a vampire); then the boy's father was doing a daring rescue via an underground cavern filled with critters that swarmed like a Harryhausen flick and he had to dodge them using only infrared goggles and lamp.

Then I was a member of GI Joe and I was doing an in-flight insertion to a hijacked plane while wearing an Accelerator Suit alongside my partner, Mossad agent Lewis Black, to defeat the terrorist leader, a one-armed Danny DeVito.

And then finally, I was at a fancy dinner where a blonde Guy Pearce, with stretching powers, matched wits with evil mastermind 1990s Val Kilmer, in what was possibly the yaoi-est version of Mr. Fantastic & Doctor Doom that I've ever seen.

I wish to state for the record that even though the dream did not say, I am unsure if Lewis Black's character was male or female.

July 17, 2013:
Right before the alarm woke me up, dreamed I was some kind of viking adventurer with shield and axe and epic beard. I also had a basso profundo voice* and was singing:

Let's go
on adventure!
Let's go
on a quest to find

Dammit. I will never find out what I was questing to find.
*Seriously. Imagine James Earl Jones singing the Kalevala. It was that awesome.

Since I'm on the subject, will anyone else admit to having gender-bent dreams? I know it happens to other people, too, and I would LOVE to hear about them.

WNW: Wolverine - The Musical

No explanation need be given, honestly. Just watch this.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Traveller Tuesday: The Rum Runner

The Rum Runner is a Type A3 merchant, also known as a Fast Trader, which features Jump-2 capability, 4 Gs of thrust and a cargo capacity of 50 dtons.

This amazing art is courtesy of Ian Stead, whom I commissioned to draw this piece.
His blog, The Work of Ian Stead, is essential viewing for all fans of Traveller.

The first Type A3, named the Blockade Runner, was a retrofitted Empress Marava class A2 Far Trader that was pressed into service during the early months of the Fourth Frontier War as an ad-hoc military transport and, on more than one occasion, privateer/merchant raider. Rumors that the crew of the Blockade Runner were previously smugglers and/or pirates are unknown as their records are currently sealed by the Imperial Navy.

Despite the short duration of the war (only 16 months by Imperial reckoning), there were many merchant ships who took advantage of the Imperial Navy's offer of a retrofit in exchange for wartime service. The nature of these ships - fast, with long legs and decent cargo capacity - made them appealing to many merchant crews whose ambitions were greater than mere speculative trading. Consequently, in the 21 years since the cessation of formal hostilities between the Imperium and the Zhodani Consulate, the Runner class has been a popular choice for risk-takers and adventure-seekers.

Ships of this line include, but are not restricted to, the following named craft:
  • Blockade Runner 
  • Star Runner 
  • Home Runner 
  • Base Runner 
  • Blade Runner 
  • Logan's Runner 
  • Rum Runner 

Passenger Deck
The Rum Runner has several features which distinguish it from an Empress Marava. Perhaps most notable is the low berth bay is immediately adjacent to the passenger lounge. While only carrying 6 low berths, there are in fact 7 beds -- one of these is used for medical examination and first aid purposes, turning the entire bay into an infirmary of sorts. In more affluent vessels, this bed is replaced by an Autodoc.

An iris valve connects the infirmary to the relocated air/raft bay. This enables wounded crew members to disembark (or be carried from the back of the air/raft via stretcher) and receive immediate attention. The air/raft enters and leaves through a retractable door in the ceiling.

The fore-most passenger suites are configured expressly for High Passage. If there are no high passengers to be found, these are preferentially given to couples or family members. Due to their exterior windows, iris valves between the staterooms and common areas have been installed.

In the aft starboard corner of the common room is a Steward's Closet. This contains spare linens, a compact washer/dryer unit, and other supplies that passengers might need (such as toothpaste and other hygiene items). Fore of the passenger lift is a small food preparation area with a dumbwaiter that leads to the ship's galley, below. There is also a hidden and unmarked manual hatch in the floor.

Crew Deck
Most distinctive about this deck is the large loading ramp. Six displacement tons in volume, it is ideal for express cargo which needs a fast turnaround. If such is not carried, this is where passenger cargo is often placed.

You will note that unlike the Marava, this class of ship is not troubled by the lack of security between passenger compartments and the bridge. Passengers may board through either air lock or the loading ramp, taking the elevator up to the common area. The iris valve to the crew deck is then locked for the duration of the trip.

Directly aft and to port of the bridge are a spare toilet, the ship's locker, and the galley. To starboard is computer access and a stateroom which is usually assigned to the pilot. Due to its cramped nature the pilot is usually given the privilege of bunking alone, though this stateroom can support double occupancy.

The port side of the ship features the captain's cabin with adjacent ship's office and more staterooms. The empty area to port of the staterooms is a small common area, where breaks are taken and meals eaten by the crew.

Directly aft of both sections are small access airlocks followed by cargo locks, capable of processing 4 dtons of cargo at a time. These 8 dtons are not counted in the ship's cargo capacity as Imperial regulations expressly forbid the blocking of any airlock which would be used by passengers to evacuate the ship in case of emergency.

Attack and Defense
Perhaps the worst thing which can be said about the Runner class is that it has no armor at all. This is a deliberate design choice rather than an oversight, as it was felt that 4 Gs of speed and an innocent appearance were sufficient passive defenses. However, retrofitting armor at the cost of cargo space is a popular choice with many crews. A less radical option is the addition of a reflective hull coating to protect against lasers.

In regards to active defense, however, the ship is not lacking. All Runner class ships come standard with two dual turrets. The port turret is for defense and is armed with a pulse laser and sandcaster, the starboard turret is offensive and carries a beam laser and missile launcher. The magazines for the ship's turrets may be accessed from the cargo locks for loading or changing of munitions.

Game Stats
Stats for the Rum Runner (using Mongoose Traveller rules) may be found here.

Author's Note:  While I love the Mongoose Traveller rules, their ship designs leave something to be desired. I wanted something that looked like a "proper" Far Trader of classic design, rather than the squat monstrosity of MongTrav. Brook West helped lay out the hull and proportions, and Ian Stead prettied it up and helped decorate what I called my "space dollhouse". Both of these gentlemen are phenomenal people and if you are a fan of Traveller you would do well to get to know them both. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Gunday: Thank God That's Over With

So, the Zimmerman Trial is over here in Florida, and the riots that everyone was worried about didn't happen.

Well, at least not here in Florida. I understand that there were some conflicts in Los Angeles between the police and the protesters when some of them started slinging rocks and batteries at the cops.

Are you not entertained, America? All this was ribbed for your pleasure by the media, after all.

Anyway, I am really over this entire thing, and I hope I never hear the words "George Zimmerman" or "Trayvon Martin" ever again, much like I hope never have to hear about "Octomom" or "Casey Anthony" or whichever asshole it was that was schtupping one of Palin's kids. (No, honestly, don't tell me his name. I'm happier this way.)

If, however, you feel you haven't yet gotten your fill of GZ/TM, then let me direct you to these fine hand-crafted links:
I will close with this:  Yesterday on Facebook, I offered to explain "SYG" in simple terms to anyone who was confused by it or thought it applied to GZTM. I noted that while I was not a lawyer, as a licensed concealed weapon carrier I had actually read the statues several times, because it was my ass if I got them wrong.  One person took me up on that offer, and within a short conversation I was able to enlighten him.

He then said:
You sick, evil, twisted bitch, Erin... Now that I have a better understanding of SYG (and how Florida's specific laws relating to it are not relevant to the Zimmerman trial), I have contracted a full-blown case of Class-IV SIWOTI* Syndrome over 98% of my friends feed. Damn your eyes.

(By the way, you have my full permission to use that quote for promotional purposes as you see fit. I would prefer for it to be credited either anonymously or as "A yankee lib.")
Annoyance and education in the same package -- my job here is done.

*Someone Is Wrong On The Internet

Friday, July 12, 2013


I had one yesterday and I was in miserable pain for 8, 9 hours.

I'm working on one today as well.

If this keeps up I will need guest writers.

If you can write half-decently, can post once a week, and have an interest that is both geeky and congruent with the sensibilities of this blog, email me a sample of your writing. Perhaps you, too, can be part of the Erin Palette Media Empire.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to lie down in a cool, dark room and try not to throw up.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WNW: the Bidet

I had meant to include this video when I gave the after-action report on the Bidet Shoot, because it was the first thing that sprang to my mind when I coined the term.  Naturally, my goofy brain forgot all about it.

So the next time you hear me talking about the Bidet Shoot, you need to hear that word in Zach Galifianakis's voice.

For you... the war is over.

There's a popular shooter series that's mainly known for its releases on the X-Box family of consoles called Halo. It's spawned countless toys, animations, web series, and off-shoot games. Names such as Peter Jackson have been tossed around in the hopes of making a feature film. I have a rather... unorthodox, and sad, perspective on the Halo series, being a PC gamer, and someone who gets emotionally involved in these stories that the single-player campaigns offer, as opposed to owning a games console and playing primarily multiplayer.

It was some time in 2005 that I happened across a copy of Halo: Combat Evolved for PC on a software store shelf somewhere. I'd heard of the game, but having long since left behind games consoles for PC gaming, I hadn't had a chance to play it, let alone get wrapped up in the online gaming community that was forming around it and its home system, the X-Box. The last time I'd played a multiplayer shooter, it had been the hours sunk into Perfect Dark, and its predecessor Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64. For some reason, the store had marked down this copy of Halo, so I picked it up.

I understand there's a lot of people who play these games, and others, solely for the online community and competitive multiplayer, but I'm not one of those people. For one, I'm terrible at competitive multiplayer. My brain simply cannot track an irrational human being, but put me against an AI, and no matter how random the movements seem, I can track a pattern. It's for this reason that when I try a game's competitive multiplayer, be it free-for-all, team deathmatch, or capture the flag, I rarely play more than a few rounds before going back to the campaign mode, usually in a state of frustration.

I still remember the first time, waking up in that cryo chamber in the Pillar of Autumn, testing my suit systems and hearing Jen Taylor's voice for the first time ever. Cortana is the reason I wish I had an AI as a friend. I remember seeing those little grunts for the first time, thinking just how incredibly stupid they looked as they fired their little needle guns at me, and the silly noises they made when I fired a shotgun into their carapaces at point-blank range. Being freaked out by the Flood and the corpses they re-animated to attack me with. The lonely walk through the Library. Racing a warthog through the wreck of the Pillar again, ending on a tense moment, with the first time Master Chief took his helmet off being teased.

I've always been, obviously, a big sci-fi fan. I grew up on the tail end of the original Doctor Who series, with classic Trek reruns and late nights watching The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, with Doctor Who following minutes afterward on PBS Saturday nights, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 sometimes showing late, late afterward. I can't help but feel, when playing through the first game, that Halo was almost a parody of high-concept sci-fi, with the overtly green, hyper-militaristic UNSC squaring off against a garishly purple, weird (and sometimes ridiculous) mix of alien species. Whatever it was, the aesthetics of the UNSC attracted me greatly and Covenant’s repulsed me.

I wasn't the only one, as around this time I started following the Red vs Blue web-series.

Several years later, Halo 2 was released. It's no coincidence that Microsoft delayed releasing it until after the X-Box 360, it's shiny new jewel in its gaming crown, was released. As a PC gamer, you get used to this sort of thing. It may have even gone unnoticed, if it weren't for a change in the landscape of PC gaming. Halo 2 was released the same month as Half-Life 2. I'd played the first Half-Life game, and was entranced. It may or may not be a contributing factor to how I never finished university. I was psyched for Half-Life 2, until I saw it came with this intrusive bit of software called Steam, which required me to be online whenever I played the game, and seemed to track what I was doing with my PC.

Needless to say, I uninstalled it and didn't touch Half-Life 2 or Steam for several years. My tune has, since, changed, but that's a story for another day. Instead, I played Halo 2. I had a blast racing on foot through the streets of Future Kenya, my powered armor propelling me along, trusty shotgun back in hand. What really surprised me, though, was the introduction of a second playable character. I had my hands on the enemy, it seemed. The Arbiter was introduced, the one whose very plans I had thwarted in the previous game, now disgraced and cast out because of *my* actions. I think it was about here that Halo stopped edging on parody and started taking itself seriously. I stood toe to toe with the Gravemind, with the only man tougher than Master Chief, Master Sergeant Avery Johnson, and I got a chill down my spine at "Sir, finishing this fight."

Then something happened. Or rather, it didn't happen. I look at a certain shelf in my apartment. At the figurine of Master Chief. The MegaBloks Warthog with the various UNSC and Covenant mini-figures fighting around it. The two different figures of Cortana. I waited. Six years later, I'm still waiting to finish the fight.

Halo 3 came and went, with no PC release. As did Halo: ODST, Halo: Reach, and now Halo 4. Most frustratingly, Halo Wars, a tactical real-time strategy game, which have *never* been successful without a mouse, was an X-Box 360 console exclusive. They even re-released Halo: Combat Evolved, the first game, with an updated engine and graphics. There's been rumors, here and there, of ports to the PC platform, but nothing concrete.

Recently, I got a huge twinge of nostalgia when “Forward Unto Dawn,” a web-series on YouTube premiered. It was a thrilling story chronicling over-achieving pretty young cadets, at least until things went sour and the Covenant attacked. Seeing a Covenant elite, in the flesh, being treated with the awe and dread that one of Alien's Xenomorphs would normally be afforded was chilling. And then He showed up. The man himself, Master Chief. Big damn hero personified, walking those scared kids straight out of hell.

Now, I talk a big game, about the "Glorious PC Gaming Master Race," but part of that's just bravado. I miss you, Chief. And you, Cortana. If I didn't have to buy an entire console just to see you again, I'd be right there in the fight with you. I hope, one day, to be running alongside you again.

Until then, I'll be waiting.. to finish the fight.


So, the last time I had a co-writer on this blog, things didn't go so well. (I shan't name names, but the archives are there if you look hard enough.)  But that was six years ago, so I figured maybe it was time to suck it up and try it again.

Also, I am trying to build the Erin Palette Media Empire over here, and to do that, I need minions flunkies serfs peons co-bloggers.

So I'm going to introduce a friend of mine, Salem McGourley.

Salem can best be described as my "platonic soulmate": we've known each other pretty much since the moment I started blogging, and if he had the plumbing I prefer, or if I had interest in males, we'd be boinking like bunnies. As it is, we're practically an old married couple already, bickering and finishing each other's sentences.

Well, there was that one time I killed him on my blog, but that hardly counts. Ironically, not only did no one get the joke, he didn't even READ that blog entry until it was far too late for him to reply with a humorous "Wait. What? I'm not dead!"  The bastard.

Hmm. I am starting to see a flaw in this plan.

At any rate, Salem is going to be writing an article a week for me about assorted geekery that I don't touch on in my posts. Usually this will be about computer games or Doctor Who, but perhaps he will do one of his amusing tirades against social justice warriors on Tumblr. He has a dark sense of humor, like I do, and the snark is strong with him.

In order to prevent any confusion, I shall post a picture of him at the beginning of blog posts so you will it is him talking and not me.

Poncey eyebrow for the win. 

Don't fuck this up, Salem.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Gunday: Breaking my Open Carry Cherry

As I might have accidentally mentioned in passing, about three weekends ago I was up in Tennessee and Kentucky.  While there, I took advantage of their Open Carry laws and, well, carried openly.

(Legal Note: TN only allows OC if you have a recognized concealed carry permit, whereas KY allows full open carry without any kind of permit.)

The first time I OC'd in public was when I met Oleg for lunch. He took me to a Thai restaurant, because I love Pad Thai and will eat it any chance I get. My holster was completely outside my clothes; Oleg had his inside his pants, but outside of his shirt. I dubbed this style "subtle carry", as it provided all the benefit of OC while keeping his pistol mostly concealed.

No one gave us any hassle about it, but I didn't expect any. I thought it might feel weird to OC in public, but I didn't -- perhaps it was because I was with another OCer, or perhaps it was because I knew we were in a state where OC had been legal for some time and expected people to be cool with it.

Then I went up to Kentucky for the Bidet Shoot and OCed the entire time. Again, no problems, although I felt some eyes on me at the hotel.  Of course, I was nearly always in the company of three tall and burly men who were also OCing, which might have had something to do with it. I didn't see anyone else OCing, however.

It was on my way back that someone finally said something about my OC. I was at a truck stop in Tennessee, paying for gas & munchies at the counter, when someone behind me said "Aww, what a cute little gun!"  My immediate reaction was to be annoyed, because the tone of voice sounded mocking; I inferred a kind of  What a tiny, useless little popgun you have intent from him.

I could have made a big deal out of it. After all, don't anti-gun folks think we're all insecure and compensating for something? Surely I pulled out my gun and shot him for being insulting to me, right?

Well, no. I didn't do that, because I am a responsible human being who understands consequences.

Instead, I took a breath, turned around, smiled and said "Thank you!" in as bright a tone as possible. "I have small hands," at this point I waggled my fingers to demonstrate, "so a small pistol fits me just fine!"

So engaged, he asked me "So what is that? Glock 26 or 27?"   It turns out this fellow just suffered from asshole voice, which is the verbal equivalent of bitchy resting face, and actually thought my gun was cute.

We talked a bit about carrying, and he mentioned that he preferred 1911s -- fortunately we avoided the 9mm vs .45 argument -- and I earned Geek Superiority by proclaiming that I had just returned from a blogshoot where I had shot an AR-50.

As he left, he said "Don't let them take your rights away!" to which I replied "I won't!" and then, to my utter surprise, the matronly woman behind him -- who, to steal a line from Lewis Black, looked like "Protestantism had sprung from her womb" -- nodded sagely and said "Amen."

Oh, Tennessee. You seem like such a nice place to live. If only you didn't have vampires and douchebags setting up checkpoints on your highways, I'd be inclined to move there.

So anyway,  that was the degree to which people commented on my Open Carry of a pistol. I am pleased that my first time was so easy and uncomplicated!

Friday, July 5, 2013

While I'm Ranting...

.. I figured I ought to share with you this wonderful quote that came to me on Facebook via a friend:

"Doctor Doom is beloved in Latveria even though the rest of the world views him as a horrible super villain and he pulls it off because his people live idyllic, sheltered lives. If I made $80k a year working in a Doombot factory and spent all my weekends drinking lagers with dirndl-clad frauleins I wouldn't give a shit either."

Damn. I need to get me a piece of that sweet, sweet Doombot action.

Also: "Sweet Doombot Action" is totally going to be my 70s Blaxsploitation name.

You're welcome, boys (and gals so inclined).  Have a great weekend!

Spleen Venting, Part Deux

Remember yesterday, when I said "If you're not angry, you're not paying attention?"  Well, while folks were likely enjoying last night's Great Patriotic Circle-Jerk, the America you were celebrating died a bit more.

Development 1:  Well, we weren't using that Third Amendment anyway

This happened in 2011, but it is just now going viral (due to the legal paperwork having been filed).
LAS VEGAS (CN) - Henderson police arrested a family for refusing to let officers use their homes as lookouts for a domestic violence investigation of their neighbors, the family claims in court.
(Edited for space; you really should go read the whole thing.)
Police took Anthony and Michael Mitchell to jail and booked them for obstructing an officer. They were jailed for at least nine hours before they bailed out, they say in the complaint. All criminals charged were dismissed with prejudice. They claim the defendants filed the baseless criminal charges "to provide cover for defendants' wrongful actions, to frustrate and impede plaintiffs' ability to seek relief for those actions, and to further intimidate and retaliate against plaintiffs."
None of the officers were ever subjected to official discipline or even inquiry, the complaint states.
The Mitchells seek punitive damages for violations of the third, fourth and 14th Amendments, assault and battery, conspiracy, defamation, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, negligence and emotional distress.

Development 2: Irony is alive and well in Massachusetts.

On Independence Day, in the Cradle of Liberty, police conducted a warrantless search and seized property (firearms) because they belonged to the fiancee of someone they didn't like.
I had an EXCELLENT gun lawyer on speed dial. It took half an hour to get a callback on a vacation day, but after that, he was with us every step of the way.

I repeatedly refused the cops' requests for a voluntary walk-through of the house.

I repeatedly refused to answer any questions.

The cops repeatedly told me that if I had nothing to hide, I should just allow a walk-through, and if I was a good guy, I'd have a "conversation" with them.

In the end they illegally seized my FID (just plan CAN NOT do it, but they took it and wouldn't give it back) and they illegally seized Jennifer's firearms. My lawyer was appalled but not surprised.

Jennifer and I have been talking about moving out of MA in 3-6 years.

We are officially looking for real estate tomorrow; I will not spend one more day than is necessary in this totalitarian hell hole.

At the end, some of the cops who ransacked the house tried to shake hands with me. "No hard feelings".

I refused and said "Gentlemen, please think about what you're doing. On the Fourth of July, the day we celebrate freedom, you stole legally owned firearms from a women who is engaged to a guy who made a joke you don't like. You are not the good guys. You are 'just doing your jobs'. Look in the mirror. You're the bad guys."

Response: "I'm sorry you feel that way. Have a good Fourth."

My lawyer says that there's a decent chance I may yet be arrested.

And with that, I should probably go radio silent for a while.
Again, read the whole disgusting development.

I find it weirdly amusing that I am taking nearly the exact opposite trajectory of what is expected: during my youth I was pro-government and pro-police when nearly everyone else wasn't, and as I get older I am becoming a reactionary that is increasingly distrustful of all forms of authority.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

On this Independence Day

Lots of folks are posting the text of the Declaration of Independence, and good for them. But that's not my style. Normally I would write something far more substantial, but due to the holiday my attentions have been required elsewhere. So I will leave you with the following thought:




"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time 

with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
 - Thomas Jefferson, 
3rd President of the United States of America 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gunnies Helping Gunnies, Part 2

Yes, it's time for me to annoy, cajole and guilt you out of your hard-earned money! 
The last time we did this, our community kicked the everliving hell out of cancer. Let's see if we can't beat the crap out of these problems, too!

If it helps, don't think of it as charity -- think of it as a political contribution to decent folks who likely share your values. Even if it's just a dollar, please donate. 
Art by Saturtron

I thank you, the recipients thank you, and the ponies thank you. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bidet Shoot After Action Report

I have been told that yesterday's post was "a cocktease." Um, thank you?

At any rate, I shall stop tormenting everyone's roosters and get on to the meat of the matter. WizardPC has some amazing pictures here, and while I will link to some of them you really should go to his blog post and look at them all.

The Bidet Shoot

After waking up and having breakfast, we (Oddball, The_JackAwelowynt and myself) trundled down to the logging camp that would serve as our range. There we met Freiheit, WizardPC, and James & Jim, the father & son who owned the range. Again, my fears were unfounded, as both Wiz & Frei were quite lovely to me and treated me well (even though Freiheit was shocked, the poor dear).

First we unpacked all of the guns and ammunition in a buffet of ordnance that would no doubt kill pearl-clutching anti-gunners:

I regret that there isn't a picture of the pickup with its tailgate full -- and I mean FULL -- of ammo boxes. There was an entire box full of .50 BMG. I thought this was extraordinarily ambitious.

Then we received a brief safety lesson (reiteration of 4 rules, how to call Range Hot and Range Cold, etc), and then it was time to begin the festivities. Since we knew The_Jack was going to shoot his mortar at the end, I thought it was highly appropriate that Freiheit would start things off with his cute li'l Pocket Cannon.

I also regret not getting a picture of this with a toy Pinkie Pie standing next to it. Ah well.

We seeded the range with a variety of targets: sporting clays, silhouettes, metal twirly things and even some small bottles of Tannerite.  I wanted to make sure my Mosin's scope hadn't been knocked out of alignment, so I took aim at one of the Tannerite charges and started shooting. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite tell where I was hitting, so the following exchange happened:

Me: "Hey Awelowynt, can you spot for me?  I can't tell if my shots are high or low."  (This is because the scope is zeroed for 100 yards and the range was only 60.)
Him: "Sure."
Me:  *reloads* *shoots*
Tannerite: *BOOM!*
Him: "... you're a bit low."

We then shot what might be called a metric fuckton of guns.   People were going around like it was a key party, asking "Do you want to shoot my [fill in the blank]?"  Very early on I stated that "My answer to Do you want to shoot one of my guns is always Yes!"   I lost track of how many guns I shot, and sadly I did not get to shoot them all. I know I shot:

  • Oddball's Ishapore SMLE and CETME (which was probably my favorite of the tryout guns); 
  • The_Jack's KRISS Vector SDP and several of his pistols; 
  • Roadkill's [Don't hurt me, I don't know the model] Mauser and revolver; 
  • Freiheit's KSG;
  • and Awelowynt's replica WW1 Trench Shotgun. I also shot his Henry Lever Octagon .22 rifle using subsonic .22 short that was so quiet and recoiled so little I honestly couldn't tell that I'd shot it.

I especially enjoyed the decoration Awelowynt made on this last one, so I brought out some folks who would appreciate it and had their picture taken with it:

I promised you folks a Glockenpony 2, did I not?

Oh, I also got to shoot a FULLY AUTOMATIC UZI.  That was awesome!  I know that full auto causes a barrel to climb, but I really wasn't expecting that degree of "ride up".  I was better the second time, in a more aggressive stance and fully braced, and I shot the hell out of an old water cooler bottle that was sitting at about 30 yards.

I also made sure everyone who wanted to shoot my toys had the opportunity. I believe the general consensus is as follows:
  • The Sub-2000 is a fun gun to shoot, and is well suited to the role of home defense carbine;
  • The Sleep of Reason is far nicer than any Mosin-Nagant has any right to be;
  • Everyone loved the PMR-30 as a fun little gun that was surprisingly accurate, surprisingly smooth, and made satisfying fireballs. Freiheit even went so far as to write a review of it.
  • No one wanted to shoot my SKS except me. 

I also managed to do this with my SKS:

It's hard to tell, but that is a bolt and washer that secured a length of chain to a hanging metal target The_Jack had brought. I, ah, wasn't aware that target was for pistols only, and I, ah, kinda killed it. First it was hanging with both chains, and then a bit later it was dangling with just one, and then it kinda fell to the ground.  Apparently one of my shots hit the bolt square-on and dig a trench out of it, and then the others caused the target to spin and dance such that the other chain failed. Or maybe I shot it too, I don't know.

The good news it was just the bolt and chains that broke, and not the actual steel target, I didn't have to replace it. Jack was a sweetheart and forgave me the chains. What a lovely fellow he is!

After that it was noonish, so we all went to lunch at a local eatery where we shared BS stories and passed around our concealed carry permits, laughing at the horrible pictures. I believe I won the unofficial contest for "If I ever get arrested, this is the picture the news will use."

We returned to the range and, because this was a celebration of Oddball's birthday, we all had cake!

Yes, that's a toilet on the cake.  It's vanilla ice cream with chocolate underneath. Make your own joke.

Yes, we are using a bayonet to cut it. Awelowynt decided that he'd use dry ice to keep it from melting, and so he used an excessive amount of it (20 pounds) to keep it cold. That worked too well -- while the ice cream melted pretty easily in the hot June sun, the chocolate was frozen solid.

There was brief consideration of using the frozen cake as targets, as well as the dry ice.

After this, it was time for the actual shooting of bidets. Now, I had expected something like this:

Instead, we got this:

Which totally makes sense, because we were going to shoot the hell out of it anyway and why waste a perfectly good bathroom appliance, but darn it, I wanted to kill a fanny-flusher. 

Luckily for us, one of the guys (Freiheit, I think) works in home renovation, and so had access to three ratty toilets ("terlets," the in local parlance) for us to perforate. 

The first one disintegrated under a hail of automatic 5.56mm fire. 

We then set up the AR-50 and let the birthday boy have first shot at it. I am pleased to report that it takes two shots to kill a toilet terlet with a .50 cal: one to destroy the tank, the second to destroy the bowl. 

Then I was up with the remaining terlet, and this one had the bidet in it. I killed the hell out of it, too. The recoil was hardly anything, due to the weight of the rifle and the muzzle brake and because I am used to shooting my Mosin-Nagant. The report was impressive, though.

When we called "Range Cold!" and went to inspect the devastation, I was impressed. The bidet was mostly in one piece (aside from having a broken hose) and it had been hurled a distance of two Erin Palettes away from the shattered terlet. I really did measure that: feet at the bidet I assumed the push-up position, and then I moved up and put my feet where my head had been. It really had been thrown two of my body lengths.

(One EP is approximately 5'4" in length.)

After this, I decided that I really, REALLY needed some photographs of the AR-50 with a certain pony.


50 Caliber Glockenpony, bitches!

What happened next was perhaps the manliest thing I have ever seen. The owner of the AR-50 was talking some good-natured smack about how if anyone wanted to shoot it freehand, they were welcome to try, har har. Those pictures don't give a good sense of scale, but that damn thing is about 5 feet long (0.95 EPs) and weighs about 35 pounds, but due to the length it feels more like 50. While I could pick it up to carry, it was too long for me to properly shoulder as the recoil pad kept getting caught in my armpit.

But Oddball, being tall and strong, decided he would give it a try. In a kilt, no less. But he didn't have a good target.

I happened to see a lime-green bowling ball in someone's Box o'Targets and I asked, "How about that?"  It was decided that this would make a splendid target.

We set it up, and... well, let's just let the video speak for itself.

Yes. That is a man in a kilt free-handing a 5', 35 lb rifle and killing a bowling ball at 60 yards. You're welcome, Internet.

That's a heck of a trophy. I believe he took a chunk home with him.

Then we had the closing ceremony where The_Jack fired off his mortar (sadly, no video of this).   It was ... substantially louder than Freiheit's cannon.

After that, we cleaned up the broken pieces of terlet (which was a pain), went back to our hotel rooms, and took showers as some of us (myself included) were suffering from heat exhaustion. Wiz & Frei left for home, but the rest of us went out to dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Roadkill.

Sunday morning came too soon; we were all having a blast and no one wanted to leave. I took it as an excellent sign that, after spending so much time in each other's company, none of us wanted to stop talking at breakfast when we needed to vacate our rooms. And then, after packing up and checking out, we were still BSing in the parking lots.

Group pictures were taken; hugs were handed out (mostly by me); goodbyes were said and we reluctantly went out separate ways.

The Bidet Shoot was an UNQUALIFIED success! Much fun was had by all.  Special thanks to:

  • Lucky Gunner (official sponsor of Bidet Shoot 2013) for providing us with ammunition and a bidet;
  • James and Jim Cook, whose range we used;
  • Charlie Rose, who served our country with distinction and in whose honor the range was named. 

Next Year:  Bidet Shoot 2 -- Flaming Chainsaw Boogaloo!

The Fine Print

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