John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica



 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Friday, April 23, 2004
Fraggin' Friday: Q3A - The Regulator

  Make Q3maps, not war.
  Click for larger image

The Regulator is a medium-sized, visually busy map by first-time author, Jared Prince. There are two main open areas (for asymmetrical CTF) and running off of them are two and three levels of interconnected circumferential hexagonal corridors.  Each level of corridors can be accessed by either bounce pads, teleporters or ramps and all weapons, except the BFG, are available to you in them.

In the first main open area (shown above), the megahealth spawns in the fog in the ceiling above some interestingly contructed kiosks or work stations and is easily obtainable by a bounce pad.  Jared went with a damaged look for the other main open area where the medkit respawns.  There is debris and broken glass scattered around the bottom here.  The removed floor plate exposing a player health-damaging area was a nice touch.

Unfortunately, the source of all the broken glass in this ceiling displayed some HOM for me.  The use of every seemingly available animated and see-through Q3A texture was a little overwhelming and distracting at first.  But after playing this map against 4-6 bots in DM and CTF a number of times, I got used to it and found his use of colored lighting in some of the corridors was helpful for remembering which corridor to head down in order  to pick up a specific weapon, armor or power-up.

It is a very playable first-time map for FFA or CTF.  It's definitely worth a run-through for a Fraggin' Friday.

more quake map reviews

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Thursday, April 22, 2004
Happy Earth Day

PETA can kiss my mother-fucking ass!!!
Earth Day was started by a murderer
" Neighbors below Einhorn's flat had been complaining for some time that that they were detecting a terrible stench coming through the floorboards, accompanied by an occasional oozing of putrid brown matter that stained their ceiling. They tried to paint it out and sanitize the smell with disinfectants. But, the odor increased. And the oozing continued. When the building foreman investigated the problem, Einhorn refused to let the man check a closet from where the smell seemed to be coming. "

- from Counterculture Killer, by Joseph Geringer

It seems to me that the very first thing ever recycled by the founder of the increasingly annoying pseudo-holiday, Earth Day, was when Ira Einhorn stuffed his murdered girlfriend's body into the steamer trunk in his closet and allowed the remains of Holly Maddux to become a necrotic stew.

Knowing the fact that this so-called holiday was started by a psychotic, LSD-taking, misogynist murderer has made it difficult for me to get overly excited or enthusiastic about it all, but you go ahead and celebrate Earth Day any way you like.

I remember as a kid, we planted trees on Arbor Day.  Grocery store chains would hand out little pine tree saplings at the check-out counter and we would get home and excitedly plant them around the house.  I just knew that in 10, 20, or 30 years' time those little saplings would grow up to become a natural habitat for wildlife, like cute little squirrels or raccoons.  They eat the pine cones and make a home in the tree.  I'm confident you know some kid right now that most likely has some Earth Day activity at school.

It's all very wonderful, I realized as an adult, until those cute little furry animals dig through the shingles on your house and start shitting in your attic.  Aren't you glad you planted that fucking tree near the house now, Mr. Eco-friendly?  At that point in the game, I wish someone would re-manufacture and bring back plastic six pack rings for the next cute little furry animal to choke on.

But as I've try to point out in the past, most of the world's population increasingly lives  in urban areas.  The next furry little animal they are likely to see is when a cockroach crawls under their grandmother's wig on the nightstand of their tenth-floor apartment.  It's actually this apparent lack of interaction with wildlife that makes tree huggers out of most of our country's voters.  They love trees and they love animals.

I met a guy on the day I snapped those Bike Week pix who started a web site called www.peta.com ... but the real PETA has since either sued him out of that domain name or bought it.  His PETA site was People Eating Tasty Animals.  That's generally how I like animals, too --  with salt and maybe a side salad.  Actually, I've nearly wrecked my car avoiding some little furbag or another on the road.  I like wildlife in the wilderness, but just not in my friggin' house.

And I like trees too.  But, unlike an apartment-dwelling tree hugger who has never climbed a slippery two-story ladder, stood on a frozen roof with a running chainsaw and screamed obscenities at the evil tree that crashed into the roof and took out the electricity during a sub-zero winter during an ice-storm, I don't give flora and fauna more importance than humans.  I have been to Humane Society fund-raisers.  I was actually a member of a botanical society once, too.  I'd definitely be the first on my block to own an alternative fuel hybrid vehicle, if I could afford to buy one.  But, rabid ecologists can kiss my ass.


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Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Crowds and Chrome

Daytona Beach Bike Week
  Click for full size image, Myisha!

So what was I doing with my time between the Coalition of the Willy-nilly and Cooler Heads Prevail blog entries, you ask?

Even though it wasn't necessarily by choice, I took that week  off from being online.  It was a little refreshing and sometimes frustrating, very much like what most men think while looking at this hot-looking woman.  Unobtainable eye-candy, right?  And no, that isn't my money in her garter belt.

But while I was web-less, not only did I have to really think hard to remember what the name of certain movie actors were on TV rather than simply going to IMDb and satisfying my curiosity, but also I spent endlessless hours perseverating with GtkRadiant and designing innumerable Quake3 map-lettes in which to compile, render, and run around and lob grenades mindlessly at the architecture.  I also scanned  in some more pix from Daytona Beach Bike Week.

So now, I have two sets in that particular /photography/street/ gallery: Beach and Crowds and Chrome.  The link above will take you to a thumbnail page.  Don't forget to hit next 24 at the bottom of that page, if you want to see the rest of the pix from that day.  I'm not entirely sure how the gallery thumbnail pages display for non-deviantART users, or visitors.  I hope you enjoy them.  If you really, really like them, buy me this  cool T-shirt and I'll send you a CD with all the original high-resolution scans of these pix.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Coalition of the Willy-nilly

  I'm friggin' back!!

Just over a year ago, the Dubya White House announced its coalition of the willing whose primary goal was "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction".  Ironically, the secondary goal was also to "liberate the Iraqi people from one of the worst tyrants and most brutal regimes on earth."  I'd just like to point out that the U.S. government publicly and financially supported Saddam Hussein for decades until he lost his mind and thought we would stand idly by when he sought to control more of our friggin' oil by invading Kuwait.

Wrong.  Believe me, no one would give a rat's ass how many Shi'ites Saddam Hussein murdered for his own political convenience over the many years if as much oil was under the desert sands of Nevada, instead of modern-day Babylon.  Think I'm wrong?  Ask the survivors of the Rwandan genocide.

But the fact remains, we are again, and still, in Iraq with our military.  Regardless of the reasons why, real or imaginary, truthful or politically spun, I agree that we will likely have to stay in Iraq and (cough) stay the course -- If for no other reason than to clean up our own mess.  Anything else would be un-American.  I mean, think about it: we have laws in our own cities that mandate you have to pick up your own dog's shit in public places, why should Iraq be any different?

Unfortunately, as it's been reported in the news, some of the coalition is not so willing anymore.  Spain's new leadership said, "No mas".  And now, Portugal is yanking its entire military presence from the area.  Heh.  All 300 of them.  Puh-lease!  In related news, it hasn't been reported that this pull-out by our some of our European partners has caused France to raise its current terrorist threat level from "Run" to "Hide".


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Monday, April 12, 2004
Cooler heads prevail for how long?

Coffee is our friend


Last week, I went on a [mini-rant] about all the news buzz that the U.S. was going to go kick some more terrorist butt by going after the Shi'ite cleric al-Sadr.  I was a little angry at our leaders, or maybe just at the way the media trivializes it all.  I was worried about Iraq exploding into a worse situation than it already is and consequently that would mean more of our military men and women die.

Well, hopefully, the situation has calmed down a little with the current cease-fire in place.  I'm not even going to bitch that it's been a year since Dubya pranced around the deck of one of our aircraft carriers like a rooster in a flight suit and declared that combat had ceased in Iraq.  It seems 
Iraq's grand ayatollah al-Sistani spoke up, or more accurately, did not endorse the recent actions by Shi'ite cleric al-Sadr.  If none of what I'm saying is making any sense to you, I have just found something for you to read.

And just for my Neo-Conservative friends, I'm proud to say that the
source publication that reinforces my concern is from the Strategic Studies Institute, not some left-wing Hillary-idolizing liberal web site.  

Not a substitute for actually reading the monograph, here are some key points brought up just this past February by Dr. W. Andrew Terrill, in "The United States and Iraq's Shi'ite Clergy: Partners or Adversaries?":

The U.S. military presence in Iraq is currently in a transitional phase. Either the anti-U.S. insurgency will be brought under control and security will be provided to those forces involved in nationbuilding; or the insurgency will expand, and U.S. goals in Iraq will be undermined by increasing civil unrest.  It is imperative that the former objective be accomplished while the later fate be avoided.  To ensure this outcome, U.S. policymakers must understand the internal dynamics of Iraq, including the role of Iraq’s Shi’ite clerics.

Whether it was even mentioned on our news or not, al-Sistani may have recently saved many lives, both Iraqi and American.  Here are some quotable quotes to understand the impact and power this Najaf cleric has:

"Every day, we receive dozens of requests from Iraqis asking us to issue a fatwa against the Americans, and we say no. But this “no” will not last forever." -Spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Sistani

"If Sistani calls for a holy war, it will happen." -Ayatollah ‘Ali al Wahid

The full SSI monograph is available in PDF format.  I encourage you to read it.  For those of you with a short attention span, just read the Conclusions and Policy Recommendations.  They are on page 33 in the PDF.


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