Monday, December 26, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 229: ACP Holiday Party

In This Episode

It’s an ACP Round Table! Join Weer’d, Erin, David, and Oddball as they exchange gifts and discuss these news stories:

  • There was a mass shooting in Australia, despite all the stories saying this never happens.
  • There was also a mass shooting in Canada, which they admit happens, but certainly not as much in America.
  • In America there could have been a spree killing, but a brave armed citizen shot the attacker.
  • The CDC colluded with anti-gun groups to scrub defensive gun uses from data.
  • Injunctions against Oregon and California anti-gun laws were made.
  • And California Police are allowed to use lethal force... with robots?

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Sunday, December 25, 2022

A Cornucopia of Christmas Cheer

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

I've spent most of the day pleasantly exhausted, so here's a collection of random things which pleased or amused me. 

Hanukkah Harry Saves Christmas

This blast from 1989 was so hard to find, it makes me wonder if it's been expunged from the internet for some damnfool reason. 

Regardless, enjoy this funny and heartwarming story from when Saturday Night Live was still funny. 

Star Wars/Trek Holiday Funnies

I never realized I needed this last image until I saw it.

Remember, Worf's adoptive human parents were the Rozhenkos, and from what I recall of their appearance they had a solid Jewish vibe. Given that the origin of Hanukkah occurs during the Maccabean Revolt, that makes it 100% a War Miracle, and Worf would definitely approve.

These comments from Ori Pomerantz's share are pure gold and so I must share them. (His post is set to Public so I figure that's all right.)

Miss Ukraine 2022

Miss Ukraine brought a sword to a beauty pageant, and I'm obsessed. The vibe is just *chef's kiss*, and I'm certain the NATO symbolism on the wings isn't accidental. 

The «Warrior of Light» costume symbolizes our nation’s fight against darkness. Like Archangel Michael, who defends Ukraine with a sword, it protects us. Viktoriia has a weapon in her hands, her body is covered in armor, and at the same time, she carries light through the darkness that came to our peaceful lands with the aggressor.

The monolithic jumpsuit symbolizes armor and wraps Victoria like a second skin.

The white dress consists of a stylization of a vyshyvanka with puffy sleeves and a skirt that has more than 10 meters of fabric to it.

The headwear is decorated with spikelets, which are traditional in Ukraine.

Symbolic wings are burned in battle, framed in blue and gold armor in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and decorated with various mirror ornaments, opened for the decisive battle.

The costume was created in Ukraine in four months in extreme conditions, to the sound of sirens, without electricity, and by candlelight.

This In Nomine reference is going to make sense to very few of you: 
And the Laurentines go, "Doo, do doo, do doo, do do doo..."


Given what day it is, you can probably guess at whom this is directed. 

Peace (on Earth) out, y'all. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Another Gaming Story

So, who wants to hear the story about the Traveller player character who took an anti-tank missile to the chest?

My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.

This is the same group as in my previous story, but it was earlier by several years. The PC we will call "murder machine" was your typical murderhobo who, during the course of play, had sold his soul to Naval Intelligence, and in return his brain was scooped out of his body and placed into the highest tech cyborg body possible. He then acquired a suit of powered armor which further enhanced his abilities. Basically, he wanted to be a Warhammer 40K Space Marine, and he got pretty damn close to that. 

In this adventure, the PCs found themselves up against a squad of trained commandos and their transport, a VTOL gunship which also carries troops, rather  like a higher-tech version of the Hind Mi-24.

This is the picture I used. Looks mean, doesn't it?

The player characters were hiding and under cover. The commandos fast-roped out of the gunship and set up lines of fire in hasty fighting positions. The gunship then flew off to blow up a compound (where the PCs had just been, and who had triggered the alarm which brought the gunship there in the first place) to erase evidence and leave no survivors. 

Once the gunship flew away, the players executed a fairly well-orchestrated ambush against the soldiers who had pretty impressive armor and weapons. It was a tough fight, but the players won, mainly by being smart. Then the gunship returned because its troops were dying. 

I, an intellectual, figured that the PCs know that they can't shoot this thing down, because it's armored like an A-10 Warthog (and they KNOW THIS because I've TOLD THEM) and they have no anti-aircraft or anti-armor weapons, just small arms and one SAW equivalent. The smart thing is to run away, seek cover, try to find another way to defeat it, and they've been smart so far. 

That's when Murder Machine decided to go full-on "STAND AND DELIVER!" by walking out from cover and shooting the gunship with the SAW.

He rolled. He hit. He rolled damage. I consulted the craft's armor, because vehicle-scale is different from personal-scale. 

I say, "You've chipped its paint."

Then, because I love drama, I give them a little cutscene. "Cut to the cockpit. The pilot says "We're taking fire!" and the gunner says "Nah, it's just small arms, nothing to worry about," and pulls up a video feed of the PC." (Who is in Battledress, which is what powered battle armor is called in Traveller.) 

The gunner goes "Holy shit! He's wearing Battledress!" 

The Pilot says "Kill it."

If you've played StarCraft 1, where there's a cinematic involving a Terran saying "Kill it!" and launching a missile at a damaged Protoss thingie, and when it explodes he goes "Yeah! YEAH! Feel that hot love right up your tailpipe!".... you've got the right idea, because the gunship is Not Fucking Around and launches what is basically a Hellfire at Murder Machine.

To our great surprise, Murder Machine DID NOT DIE. The anti-tank missile hit, and ablated his battledress armor to basically nothing in the chest area, but his augmented cyborg body is still functioning. Badly damaged, mind you, but  still functioning.

I said "The blast knocks you flat on your back. Your helmet is blaring all sorts of alarms as it suffers critical failure. But you're still alive, thanks to [all this stuff], although barely. In the gesture of universal defiance you shakily raise one hand skyward, then extend your middle finger." There is much laughter. 

I, an intellectual, figured that this has sent the proper message to Murder Machine who will decide discretion is the better part of valor. Murder Machine, a Marine, decides "I aiten't ded yet", so he STANDS UP AND TAKES ANOTHER SHOT AT THE GUNSHIP. 

Between his wounds and the full-auto penalty, he misses.

I decide that this stupidity must be punished. The gunship, now well and truly freaked the fuck out that someone survived an anti-tank missile, decides FUCK THIS and pulls a Kylo Ren on him. They launch another missile and follow up with the chin turret gun, which I think is a full-auto rotary-barrel grenade launcher.

They hit. The damage, when converted from vehicle scale to personal scale, is obscene. To use a D&D-ism, this would be well over 100 hit points worth of damage. 

I don't precisely remember what I said , but it was along the lines of "You explode into a fine red mist." Then I crack my knuckles, and in my cruelest Game Master voice I croon, "I've killed one PC. Who wants to be next?"

The other PCs wisely choose to learn from his example and unass the area immediately.

Post-Script: Murder Machine wasn't really dead, because a dead PC just means the player rolls up a new one. A crippled PC, on the other hand, is amusing and a learning experience.

Later on, the surviving PCs found that an emergency locator beacon was transmitting. Upon investigation they discover Murder Machine's head inside the battledress helmet, which ejected to safety and put his head into cryosleep. The thinking here is "Save the brain, and the body can be cloned later." Of course, that depends upon access to cloning technology, which the PCs don't have and is damned expensive, so they have to improvise. 

By "improvise", I mean that when they get back to the ship they assemble a basic life support system for his brain (remember, everything else on him was cybernetic) and mount it and his head to a maintenance robot, which is basically a Roomba with manipulator arms. Think one of the skutters from Red Dwarf, crossed with 790 from Lexx. 

What followed was a nearly year-long side quest where the PCs slowly upgraded can't-call-him-Murder-Machine-anymore's body into a less impressive, but at least bipedal humanoid cyborg, frame. 

To the player's credit, he learned his lesson and was much less foolish after that. Also to his credit, he had a sense of humor about being the ship's Roomba for a while. He's a Marine in real life, so he can laugh at himself. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 228: Segments Galore!


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss a Stop the Bleed event held by the Atlanta Pink Pistols chapter and funded by Operation Blazing Sword;
  • Xander was hacked recently, and he brings us his Independent Thoughts on the aftermath and some of the things he could have done better;
  • David's segment on optics covers electronic sights;
  • Oddball explains his love of expensive knives;
  • and finally, Weer'd fisks Joe Biden's speech at the National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Main Topic:

Independent Thoughts With Xander:

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Oddball’s Corner pocket:

Weer’d Audio Fisk:

Thursday, December 15, 2022

A Gaming Story

This happened back in 2017, when I decided to run a Pathfinder game using the D&D 3e module The Sunless Citadel, as it had been recently converted to 5e and republished under Tales from the Yawning Portal and the Virtual Tabletop version was available on Roll20. 

The PCs were either first or second level and were pretty beaten up, having just survived a tough fight against the boss of a dungeon level and his minions. The main treasure was in a classic big-ass iron chest. The Rogue checks it and finds it locked and trapped with the traditional poison needle trap. 

Unfortunately, the Rogue also can't roll high enough to disarm it. Taking 10 doesn't hit the DC, and because it's trapped she can't Take 20. But because she's rolling to disable the trap and not pick the lock, so long as she doesn't critically fail she can keep picking at it. 

(Some of you may be asking "Well, didn't they find the key when they killed the boss? Wouldn't that have bypassed the trap?" and the answer is that I honestly don't remember why that wasn't an option. I think it's because in the original adventure the boss isn't listed as having the key on him, so perhaps I ruled that it was hidden and the PCs didn't find it in whichever room it was stashed.) 

After 3-5 failed attempts, each roll edging dangerously close to the dread Natural 1, the Gunslinger decides to do the classic Hollywood tactic of shooting the lock off.  He rolls a Nat 1 and crit fails. 

I rule that the shot has mangled the lock such that it's now unpickable. Oh, and it's still locked.

The PCs then decide that the best course of action is to USE THEIR MELEE WEAPONS to damage the chest enough that they can access the interior.

I dig out the rules for item hardness and hit points, and they proceed to beat the SHIT out of that chest, a la Office Space and the printer.


When they finally broke it open, I was laughing so hard I could barely talk. Paraphrased from memory, I said something like this:
"OK, so what you see is... a lot of broken glass that probably used to be potions... which have soaked into the scrolls, making the ink run and ruining their magic. There's a couple hundred gold inside, but yeah, you destroyed 80% of your treasure."
The players learned a valuable lesson that day.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 227: the Hypocrisy and Stupidity of Gun Prohibitionists


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • Shannon Watts playing both the sides of a self-defense shooting;
    • Oregon starting to regret the consequences of passing Measure 114;
    • a San Diego Sheriff's Captain is in trouble for running a corruption racket which included accepting bribes in exchange for concealed carry permits;
    • several other bribery stories which show that corruption is common in may issue states.
  • David continues his series on sights by explaining the parts of a scope;
  • Weer'd interviews Stephen Gutowski of The Reload about his new gig with CNN;
  • and finally, Weer'd fisks the Brady Campaign again, this time about "the right time to discuss gun control."

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Main Topic:

Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

Interview of Stephen Gutowski:

Weer’d Audio Fisk:

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Two Quick Updates

Well, it's been a week. 

"National Write More In My Blog Month", or whatever I called it, was a good step forward; I actually did write more blog posts in November than I have in quite a while. Unfortunately I fell out of the habit of writing this week, mostly because I'm exhausted from family drama and/or Christmas decorating and/or my aching body. (Yes, I'm as tired of complaining about it as you are of hearing about it.) Things are looking cautiously better, however, and I give myself a 75% chance of making it through this holiday season with my sanity, patience and health mostly intact. 

It's late and I'm tired so this will be quick, but I really wanted to write something this week so I could have a sense of accomplishment rather than kicking myself for another failure. (Yes, I'm aware I need to be kinder to myself.)

Two updates on topics mentioned in the Thanksgiving AAR:

1) Sal Hamilton is back for more drubbing. 

Apparently Sal wants a national org which represents everyone except white people? I don't think such a think exists. More telling is his dismissal of groups like AAPIGO, JPFO and NAAGA as invalid. As I said above, that seems pretty racist. 

I believe this one needs no further comment. 

2) The Molon Labe, Oedipus design has been finalized and is in the OBS-PP storefront! 

You can get it as a t-shirt, a sticker, a coffee mug, and an assortment of other merch. As always, the money goes to Operation Blazing Sword, a 501c3 tax-deductible charity. 

That's all for now. I'll try to update more often in the future. 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 226: Is Self-Defense Becoming Non-Partisan?


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • an article from The Atlantic about rethinking "Run, Hide, Fight" in a manner that shows some minds are being changed;
    • the Chesapeake, VA Walmart shooting;
    • and Biden's declaration that semi-automatic weapons "have no redeeming features."
  • Next, Savage1R returns to the show to give us a breakdown of the FTX Cryptocurrency Scandal;
  • and finally, Weer'd sits down with Ian McCollum to discuss his upcoming book, Clockwork Basilisk.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Post-Thanksgiving After Action Report

I recognize that "post-Thanksgiving" probably renders "after action" redundant, but it has the feel that I like and je suis un artiste, so what I want is what you get. 

Thanksgiving was pretty standard and blessedly non-dramatic. We had a smaller bird because there's just the two of us (and our two dogs) now, so instead of a 20+ pound turkey this one was in the teens. Normally, the turkey sticks around for weeks and I'm sick of it, but this time it was all eaten by Saturday and I felt like I hadn't gotten my fill. Amusingly, we still have plenty of side dishes left. 

Speaking of side dishes, this will trigger some of you and appeal to the rest: genuine Ocean Spray-brand cranberry jelly, fresh from the can, sliced and presented on a crystal serving dish. We're just fancy like that.

I've been fairly busy since then, lack of blogging here notwithstanding. Last week I wrote not one but two articles for Blue Collar Prepping, one about how to shoot an azimuth for land navigation and the other about using trigonometry to find the distance to an object towards which you want to travel. Yes, I used math! Not just basic arithmetic, but actual high-school level math with hypotenuses and tangents! Math which I haven't used since last century! And I got it all correct! This is a massive achievement for me, and you should be very proud of me, because I am, and this moment may never come again. 

One reason I was able to write last week is because Mom is toning down the Christmas Crazy this year. Some of it is because of her age; she's slowing down and doesn't have the energy to do everything, so she's prioritizing. This has reduced the usual Christmas stress to a much more tolerable level. I might even be able to enjoy the holiday this year. 

Another thing dropping the stress is that, after years of Mom saying "I know you're getting older and putting up the roof lights isn't easy, so when you're ready to call it quits just say so and that's fine, " I've decided to take her up on her offer. I've persisted for years despite it being a literal pain in my back (I have arthritis in my lower back -- joy -- and the constant up-down-up-down of hanging icicle lights from a slanted roof, often in the blazing Florida sun, wipes me out), but I did it for her because she loves pretty Christmas lights so much. Not only does she love them on her house, but every Christmas she asks me to drive her around the neighborhood so she can appreciate the decorations. 

This year, though, was the year I called it quits. It seemed like everything was giving me trouble: more lights than usual were burned out, the ladder needed both of us to wrestle it into place, my back was hurting like a sumbitch, and the temperature was high with a high humidity that turned it into a sauna. Then, when I finally got up there, first I needed to replace ALL of the clips which had been removed when our roof was replaced... and I discovered I couldn't fit the clips under the tiles to mount them. 

I probably could have forced the clips under the tiles, but 1) that seemed like an insurmountable effort at the time and 2) I was worried I'd screw things up and somehow breach the seal integrity of the new roof. I just felt like God and/or the Universe was telling me it was my time to be done, so I took it. I had planned to go at least one more Christmas, because I'll be 50 next year and that seems like a good age to stop dicking around on rooftops, but retirement came a bit early. Mom accepted it with grace; I think I feel worse about not being able to make the house pretty for her than she does about it. 

Finally, I've been kind of on fire lately in regards to Twitter. I'm not on it a lot, but after the Club Q shooting there's been the usual name-calling, virtue-signaling and pearl-clutching from the prohibitionists, and that's afforded me the opportunity to make some very cutting points. I don't go out of my way to be a jerk, but when I get tagged in some bad faith arguments, I like to vent my spleen. 

Example 1:

In case folks were wondering why I bothered replying to a nobody, it's because Everytown was tagged and I want them to see this.

Example #2:

I do so love it when our European "betters" decide to lecture us on how to run our country, doubly so when they're German. 

I expect Herr Brusco to block me any moment now. 

Oh yes, speaking of "Go Fuck Yourself", here is a new design that will be uploaded to the OBS-PP storefront once the final tweaks are finished:

In case you're wondering what King Leonidas' famous imperative has to do with Oedipus, consider the latter's relationship with his mother. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 225: The Heroics of Richard Fierro


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs;
    • the racist remarks of a New Jersey assemblyman, and the racist roots of gun control;
    • and the unintended consequences of passing Oregon Ballot Initiative 114.
  • Next, Weer'd sits down with Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons and Headstamp Publishing to discuss all the difficulties of getting Pistols of the Warlords published;
  • and finally, Weer'd brings us part 4 of his fisk of Brady Campaign talking points, this  time on the "culture of gun violence".

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Show Notes

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Press Release: the Club Q Shooting in Colorado Springs



Daytona Beach, FL, 21 November 2022

On 19 November 2022, at approximately 11:55 PM, a predator entered Club Q in Colorado Springs. He began firing almost immediately, killing 5 and wounding 17 before being subdued by two unarmed patrons of the club. More people were injured in the crush trying to escape. Despite there not yet being a disclosed motive for the shooting, the effect of the shooting in one of only two gay clubs in Colorado Springs is chilling. Operation Blazing Sword – Pink Pistols (OBS–PP) condemns this shooting in the strongest possible terms.

Whatever his motive, he brought death and chaos into what had been a safe space. Among the victims were Daniel Davis Aston and Kelly Loving, a transgender man and transgender woman who were killed just hours before a brunch that would commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday. The fact that the attacker was subdued by patrons of the club reminds us that we are our own best defenders and first responders, which is why the motto of the Pink Pistols is Armed Queers Don't Get Bashed.

"I’m heartbroken and absolutely mortified,” said Dani Birzer, a friend of Daniel Aston. “You always know this is a possibility when you go into a gay club because you know you’re not protected.” This lack of protection at the Pulse Nightclub massacre led to the formation of Operation Blazing Sword, and its mission is to promote lawful self-defense with legally-owned and legally-carried firearms. Our position is that gun rights are queer rights, because guns in the hands of queer people protect queer lives. Therefore, any law which seeks to prevent us from carrying a gun for self-defense is anti-queer and a threat to our lives.

Operation Blazing Sword – Pink Pistols strongly encourages anyone who wishes to exercise their right to keep and bear arms to seek out as much firearm education and training as they can manage. The right to defend yourself comes with the responsibility to use those tools correctly and within the law, and self defense has strict requirements to meet. To that end, Operation Blazing Sword maintains a database of 1500 queer-friendly firearm volunteer educators in every state of the USA. OBS–PP also submits legal briefs (amicus curiae) to protect the rights of not just queer people, but all peaceable citizens, to have access to the most effective tools for self-defense.

Operation Blazing Sword, Inc. is a grass-roots 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping queer people become responsible firearm owners through volunteer education.

Pink Pistols, a division of Operation Blazing Sword, is dedicated to the legal, safe, and responsible use of firearms for self-defense of the gender and sexual minority community.

Media Contact:   
Erin Palette

Monday, November 21, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 224: Wylde Electyns! *guitar riff*


In This Episode

  • Erin and Weer’d discuss Second Amendment news pertaining to the mid-term elections:
    • In races where gun control was in issue, things didn't go well for the gun prohibitionists;
    • Iowa has a Constitutional Amendment protecting the individual right to keep and bear arms;
    • Oregon has magazine capacity limits and requires a permit to buy guns and ammunition;
    • and many Oregon sheriffs have said they won't enforce that law.
  • Tiny returns to the podcast, this time talking about how the Dunning-Kruger effect might also tie to your regional experiences;
  • David brings us part two of his history of gun sights;
  • and finally, in part 4 of his Virtual Reality series, Matt talks about where you can play your VR games.

Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Colorado Springs 11/20/22

Yes, I am aware of what happened in Colorado

I am having a really TurboShitty Bad Day and this only added to it. 

I do plan to make an official announcement about it, but I need to be in a better headspace first. I haven't even had the mental spoons to read the article. 

The limit of my knowledge is "A bunch of people were shot in a gay club on Colorado, oh and today also is the Transgender Day of Remembrance" and I just cannot bring myself to learn more right now.

Besides, anyone who knows me, and knows what I do, will know what I plan to say anyway. 

Today is a mental health day, and that's that. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Shove All the Planets in the Universe Up My Ass

An oldie but goodie from the late, lamented Firefly:


This sentiment is an accurate depiction of how I've felt the past few days. I'm not going into specifics because of my "no whining" policy on this blog; I'm just going to explain that 
  1. I have spend the past three days running errands and dealing with my father's crap (both literal and figurative);
  2. but at least I've accomplished measurable success, as opposed to the too-common and highly annoying "I've worked for hours and know I've gotten things done but I literally can't see a difference having been made."
OK, maybe a bit more context. Dad is at a VA home in the next county, and mom is 83 and doesn't feel comfortable driving on the interstates, so when she goes up to see him either I need to drive her or she has to ask a family friend to take her. That's an hour up, an hour back, and about an hour to visit, so I basically lost an entire afternoon playing Erin Uber. 

I've also been dealing with the decades of junk that dad accumulated in his bedroom so that I can move into it and have a bit more privacy. A lot of it falls under "Too nice to throw away but not valuable enough to sell" and is mainly books of history and politics, but I'm about to the point where I'm fed up and ready to ditch most of them at the local library. Last night I was fortunate enough to have the time, energy, and desire to do work in his room, and I got enough done that I can see the difference. 

I won't be moved in by then, but I'd like to be sleeping there by Christmas. Normally I'd say this is possible, but I refuse to sleep on that mattress due to him having both kinds of incontinence, and mattresses aren't cheap. 

Finally, there's this bit of social media which I'm proud of. You'd think a lawyer would understand the basic concept that criminals don't obey laws, but whatever, we're not gonna make it as a culture / country / species anyway.

Anyway, all of that that is why I feel like the planets in the universe have been shoved up my ass. 

By the way, when you make your comments below, bring your A-game; the expected "Uranus/your anus" reply is low-hanging fruit and you're a better class of deplorables than that. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Well, as you can see I didn't post anything on Friday. This is exactly why I decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo, because if I did, then I'd be behind schedule and beating myself up about it. Instead, I'm doing Try To Write More In November But If I Don't That's Okay And I Forgive Myself, or TTWRINBIIDTOAIFM, and I'm writing right now so this definitely counts. 

On Sunday I also wrote what I think is a really great article on Blue Collar Prepping about a battery backup for my CPAP, and I'm pretty sure that counts too. 

So, I'm gonna talk some shit about William Gibson. But first, a video. 

I used to be a William Gibson fan. I adore Neuromancer; in addition to being a well-crafted story in general, it's a seminal work of science fiction that jump-started the cyberpunk subgenre (alongside other authors like Greg Bear and Walter Jon Williams). I try and read it every year or so, it's that good. 

The sequel, Count Zero, was also very good, although the story is a bit fractured due to perspective shifts. Something that you need to know about William Gibson is that he can tell amazing stories, but only so long as he keeps to one character's perspective. The more perspectives he adds, the more convoluted the story becomes, until it eventually collapses under its own weight. The multiple perspectives become more important than telling a coherent story, resulting in an ending that gives no closure, squanders the intriguing possibilities described in previous novels, and leaves the reader mourning for what could have been. This is what happened to Mona Lisa Overdrive, the third novel in that trilogy. 

I call this Gibsonian Head-Up-Ass Syndrome (GHUpAS, pronounced "goop-ass" because it's my acronym and I can say it however I like), and it's unfortunately a characteristic of his work. My friend Chris Hogan over at the BookFace says Gibson is "an amazing short story writer who sadly works in the novel format," and I can't disagree. Burning Chrome, a collection of his short stories, was published two years before Neuromancer, and many of those stories laid the groundwork for his later Sprawl Trilogy. I think Neuromancer succeeded mainly because it was originally serialized in Asimov's Science Fiction, which meant that it essentially was a collection of short stories told in series and tied together with an overarching plot.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Count Zero works mainly because he keeps the perspectives tight (two, I seem to recall; no, wait, three, but one of them contributes very little to the plot and doesn't interact with the other two POVs, so these act more like interludes than anything else) and because it plays off a neat idea introduced at the very end of Neuromancer: that there's an alien Artificial Intelligence in Earth's internet that was beamed here via satellite from Alpha Centauri and is interacting with the unleashed Neuromancer-Wintermute AI gestalt that was freed of its chains in the previous novel. We subsequently learn that this gestalt AI decides to manifest as various loas of Voudou, and they are appearing to a young woman who can somehow interact with the internet without machinery. 

This is a really cool concept. I bet you're hoping that in the third book you find out why the alien AI is here, how it's different from human-built AIs, if it's friendly or an enemy, and that sort of thing, right? And when you discover that a fan-favorite character from Neuromancer is in this book, that there's gonna be some awesome ass-kicking. Oh, and the internet-woman is here, too! It's all coming together, right?

Answer: Hahahahahaha fuck you, no, you get dogshit. The story in Mona Lisa Overdrive is a confusing mess, there is no resolution to many dangling plot threads, the alien AI story is left abandoned, and your fan-favorite character might as well not be there at all for all the impact she has. 

So why is GHUpAS a syndrome? Because Gibson did the exact same thing in his next three books, the Bridge Trilogy. 
Book 1, Virtual Light: Gibson created an interesting world with compelling characters and an intriguing plot.

Book 2, Idoru: This is a fork from the main book, focusing on a side character from the first one and a plot related to an unexplored aspect of the setting that is relevant and related to the first novel. 

Book 3, All Tomorrow's Parties: The pieces from books 1 and 2 could come together to make a truly remarkable story, but sadly GHUpAS is in full effect. The ending is squandered, more of an afterthought to the mental masturbation of the various perspectives than any sort of closure, and compelling ideas are left to die undeveloped for the sake characters we don't care about, and the characters we do care about are wasted. 
Yes, I am still angry about the wasted potential of Mona Lisa Overdrive. So angry, in fact, that when Gibson pulled the same shit with All Tomorrow's Parties, I swore I'd never give him another cent and never read another of his books. In fact, I am so angry that I want to invent time travel for the sole reason of going back in time to publish all his stories before he does, just so that I can then give those trilogies the proper endings that they deserve. 

So, yeah, The Peripheral? This sounds like peak GHUpAS to me. Maybe he's gotten better with his Blue Ant trilogy, but I wouldn't know because I swore I wouldn't read them, and at this point I don't really care. 

If he holds true to pattern, then whether or not the series has a satisfying ending will depend on if Amazon is adapting just the one book in the series, or all three.
Just the one book? It should be a pretty good series. 

Two books? Still fairly good, although viewers will probably be left with a gnawing "Okay, but what happens with plot threads X, Y, and Z?" feeling. 

Three books? Look at how Game of Thrones ended. 

That's my prediction on November 11, 2022. Come back here from the future and tell me if I was wrong. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 223: Round Table News Round-Up


In This Episode

It's an ACP Round Table! Join Weer'd, Erin, David, and Oddball as they discuss:

  • Oregon's anti-gun ballot initiative and their insane, racially-charged promotion of it;
  • Iowa's desire to codify the right to keep and bear arms in their State Constitution;
  • a federal judge trying his hardest to ignore the NYSRPA v. Bruen ruling;
  • a joint story between The Trace and The New Yorker attacking the work of Dr. John Lott;
  • more news from New York courts on the Concealed Carry "Improvement" Act;
  • and an anti-gun group is targeting video games for "encouraging violence". What is this, 1999?

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Friday, November 11, 2022

Stuff and Nonsense

 All right, I need to keep this short because it's late and I'm in a fair bit of pain from some weird neck kink that suddenly appeared for no apparent reason other than to hurt me, so have some random gibberish. 

"It [Thursday] occupies that nebulous place in space-time that is immediately after the halfway point, but an infinity before the end. It's the weekday version of the last 20 minutes of school, in which time ceases to exist as a measurable quantity and becomes a subjectively infinite purgatory." -- Erin Palette, circa 2009, colorized.

Found on Facebook, creator unknown

I know a lot of you were worried about me, but Hurricane Nicole was a big nothing for my household:
  • The hurricane hit well south of us.
  • We are far enough inland that flooding isn't an issue. 
  • It was only a Category 1, and Floridians tend to sleep through Cat 1 and 2 storms. 
  • We didn't even suffer any damage from Ian, so nothing was been weakened that could even be affected by Nicole. 
  • I thought we might lose power for a bit last night or this morning, so I implemented my emergency CPAP power preps. (Those will be the subject of a future Blue Collar Prepping post.)
  • The power barely flickered, so I didn't get the chance to test them, but everything implemented smoothly. 
This was literally just another Wednesday for me. All part of being Floridian. 

Here's another funny hurricane thing, found by a Facebook friend. This is from the What the Forecast app for Valdosta, GA:

I mean, I guess that's thorough?

I feel like I'm scraping the bottom of my creative barrel here but at the same time I also feel like I haven't written enough to justify stopping. 

Hm, OK. I have a thesis cooking about how Night Court is basically the 1980s version of Barney Miller but I'm not prepared to develop it right now. Until then, I leave you with this:

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