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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Monday, July 19, 2004
Monday Madness Mondo Melicious

Happy 0011 0111th Birthday

Happy Birthday, Melicious!

said the Pixel Monkey to the Geek Grrl.

Sunday, July 18, 2004
Dukesville - 2nd amendment

Assault Weapons
Since I'm usually ranting about free speech and privacy, I generally leave it up to others to rant about the 2nd amendment.  I totally support the second amendment but, I'm just not learned enough to be an ardent spokesman for it.

Duke at Dukesville is the person I look to for this issue. I'm just a pixel monkey, really.  If you want a cool dukesville button, just right-click the graphic and select save-as.  If you want the countdown above it, follow the link and get it from their site (so it will be update for you).

You can reload your weapon with my slightly editted link list of web sites I found on the AWbansunset site:

Second Amendment groups and information sites:

RKBA.ORG - Right To Keep And Bear Arms, hosted by Jeff Chan
NRA - National Rifle Association, the preeminent SA group in America
GOA - Gun Owners of America, another strong SA group
Armed Females of America - Very efficacious SA group
Firearms Coalition - Hosted by Neal Knox and his pro-SA group
Packing.Org - Best Concealed Carry (CCW) information site on the web, hosted by Mark Solomon
GMJ Enterprises - More CCW information, this site is hosted by the venerable Jim Mayhugh.
Women to Arms – More women fighting for SA rights
Oregon Council on Firearm Rights – Oregon fighting the AW ban and other anti-gun issues
Keep And Bear Arms – The gun owners' home page! Also, home to the
Coalition Against the Semi-Auto Ban 

Firearms sites - Pro-SA folks and information:

AR15.COM - The infamous boards for the AR afficionado, hosted by Edward and Juan Avila.
Ammo Oracle - The AR15 ammunition FAQ, hosted by the Troy Tiscareno.
The Firing Line - Forums of info, buy, sell, and trade weps. Hosted by Rich Lucibella.
Glock Talk - Another great board where folks can discuss handguns, namely the Glock line. 

Firearms manufacturer and vendor sites: – Classified Ads
Arsenal, Inc - Makers of fine AK-type weapons
Auction Arms Auction site
Bushmaster Firearms Arguably the finest AR-type weapons made
Chestnut Ridge Gun Supply
Claude Hall Gunshows Shows in Vegas and Oklahoma City
Glock Very popular pistols
Gun Broker Auction site Auction site
Gun Finder Search and Buy
Joe & Ken Firearms AK/AR Sales and more
Mossberg Mossberg Fine Combat Shotguns
Olympic Arms AR-type manufacturer
Red Star Arms Improved replacement parts for your AK
Robinson Armament Co. Firearms Mfg and Sales
Rock River Arms Very fine AR-type manufacturer Military Surplus, Gun Parts, Outdoor Gear and More
Nothing But Guns All about the Romanian SAR series of AK-type rifles
Ruger Quality firearms
Sig-Arms High quality pistols
SmartCarry An innovative and comfortable CCW holster
Smith & Wesson Popular pistol manufacturer
Specialized Armament Warehouse Sales of AR-types and parts
Springfield Armory 'Nuff said.
The Gun Store, Inc. Popular attraction in Las Vegas--machine gun rentals
K-VAR Corp The largest supplier of AK-47, AK-74, Krinkov and RPK parts and accessories.
Walther-USA Walther Pistols Great source for all types of gun parts and accessories
Remington Country Remington Firearms

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Your comments are always appreciated - Make some thunder.

Saturday, July 17, 2004
Hypno Toad Hangover

Click for JfZ's Forehead Logo Branding
I left the Hypno Toad up to mesmerize and irritate all of us long enough now.  I feel a little grouchy after my toad buzz.  I have multiple rants knotting up in my soul like acid reflux.  So, if I were you, I would say a few Hail Mary's, kiss the cross, and duck  -- because my head has stopped twirling around, it's 3:00 A.M, I'm drinking coffee and I'm about to projectile vomit in your direction.

Martha Stewart

Look, we all love Martha.  She helped kick off the 2004 Forehead Logo Branding here at Thunderstorms around the new year.  Back in the beginning of March of this year, we talked about this Brady Bunch era icon when she was found guilty.   I even gave you a Martha Stewart Living ID and password to check out her corporate web site and maintain your anonymity so you wouldn't have to explain to the other people around you why you're receiving tips on folding linen or on sprucing up a friggin' rumpus room.

So now, Martha has finally been sentenced with five months.  Every possible permutation of the Martha story is back in the news.  She is scheduled to appear on CNN's Larry King Live, Monday at 9pm.  I'll probably watch the show just to see what further clueless and inappropriate thing may come leaping forth from her heavily medicated mind.  I heard she inadvertantly compared herself to Nelson Mandela in a recent interview on ABC's 20/20 with Bah-bah Wah-wah:

"I could do it.  I'm a really good camper.  I can sleep on the ground.  There are many, many good people who have gone to prison.  Look at Nelson Mandela."

Oh, Martha!  Can you see now why we make fun of you?

Before you try to point out to me what a mean-spirited bastard I am, know this: I know I am.  If you've been paying attention at all, you humorless idiot, you'd also know I don't care what you think of about me.  Feel free to join me in my daily chant, "I hate everybody and everything.  I hate everything about everybody."  Never forget that this includes you.  Now that we know where we stand, I can share with you my most recent favorite Martha Stewart articles:

Friday, July 16, 2004

All Hail the Hypno Toad !!

And now for something completely different since we've been getting so political and serious lately.  I thought in the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal my true political ideology, bias and loyalty.  Thank sideshow for the link.

You only need to have a sense of humor for a week on the main page.

If the Hypno Toad is really irritating you, causing a rash or you experience dizziness -- you can read Thunderstorms via the Permalinks until the bad nasty Hypno Toad goes away.

Thursday, July 15, 2004
BBSes 2 Blogs

Things are never just black and white
The namesake for this blog is from my old BBS, Imajica.  Imajica was the first fantasy novel written by famed horror guru, Clive Barker.  Like the many worlds or dominions of Barker's Imajica, Imajica BBS had more than one personality inside its collective digital mind.

To the first time visitor, Imajica BBS was an interesting, but fairly tame board with local message bases, Fidonet message bases (similar to usenet news groups), handy shareware files to download, and some addictive and well-liked online games to play.

If I knew you, or a trusted Op or friend knew you and could vouch for you, Imajica was an adult board.  Typical of adults-only material was the ever-expanding file system of porn .JPGs and .GIFs, of course.  Most of the images were quite small or of lowest resolution to today's standards because people were downloading them using dial-up modems as slow as 2400 baud.  I also brought in and zoned for specialty message and file networks like CATNET for adults because people seemed to enjoy participating in the daily interactive erotica.

If you could really be trusted, Imajica had several elite personalities to it.  People would make long distance calls from various dark, monitor-lit basements around the planet and transfer files.  Although it was tempting to fantasize that Angelina Jolie might call from a payphone dressed in a red latex outfit someday, I remember much tamer visions of the actual callers.  While it was fairly exciting when I might see someone making an international long distance phone call and knew many of the Europeans that would call up and say, "hallo", the one guy I remember the most lived in the middle of nowhere in Homer, Alaska.  He would call regularly, and mostly download games -- and oftentimes just new shareware -- because, well, he lived in the middle of nowhere in Homer, Alaska.

While my background and introduction to digital communications was in the Army dealing with strategic and tactical message switches, I enjoyed running Imajica for more than just learning about and playing with some technical toys.  The hardware and software made that early precursor to our modern internet possible and fun.

More importantly, it's what we did with those toys.

The one epiphany I had early on while running Imajica in Metro-Detroit was that the BBS was blind.  It couldn't heap prejudice upon the caller for being fat, or ugly, or whatever.  Being blind, or more specifically color-blind, Imajica afforded its users something completely different from the normal interaction between people on the street (in meatspace).

Detroit is one of the most segregated cities in North America.  This is supported by census data.  I feel Eminem's movie, 8 Mile, could have been called Berlin Wall.  For those of you who know or have read about the Cold War and the former Soviet Union, you'll understand the reference.

Unlike meatspace, or the real world, users on Imajica could get to know each other without the burdens of instant physical prejudice, like the color of one's skin.  A person could argue, debate, agree, or cheer for any topic of discussion without ever actually seeing what the other person looked like.  You had to get to know people from what they wrote, from what they said, from what was in their mind.

Maybe because of that unusual quality that the bulletin boards like Imajica operated under, people did get to know each other better.  And, it was the birthplace of online dating, and some people who met online did go off and get married, as well.  It may have been the dinosaur era of the digital age but most of the friends I have now, I met then.

With the huge number of weblogs continually churning out entries like this one, authored by one person or a group, the opportunity has never been greater or more available to the netizens of the world to do just one important thing -- get to know each other a little better.

This morning, I read the blogs of different members of the Jarrar family.  They're Iraqi.

Raed is a secular muslim who seems to dislike long-bearded fundie-extremists like Osama bin Laden as much as he dislikes the arrogant neo-cons of the Bush Administration.  He's in Amman, Jordan working on a thesis paper right now so he keeps in touch with his Irani girlfriend, Niki, on a shared blog.  Since he's on hiatus from Baghdad right now, Raed's original blog (with extensive archives) is being updated by his friend Salam who posts about the lowdown on the streets of Baghdad.

Salam posts some serious stuff because, well, the situation is serious in Baghdad.  I gathered he also must be a secular muslim, like his friend, Raed.  I laughed my ass off when I read:

I frikkin' met an Ayatollah! a real life Ayatollah, I watched him eat a banana and then he put his hands on my shoulder and prayed that I get married soon, my mom was beside herself with joy and I just couldn't stop laughing.  The heretic fagot getting a blessing from an Ayatollah. that is how great those four days were.

Raed also has two brothers with blogs.  It may surprise some of you to hear how very much like typical U.S. teenagers they are.  On Khalid's blog, he talks about the big political issues we blog about too.  But he also laments failing an exam in school, just like we do.  The last entry I read was about the show Malcolm in the Middle.

On Majid's blog, (the younger brother), he hasn't really posted since the middle of last month when the family went to Jordan but he talked about graduating from high school.  And Iraq.  And Majid is filled with teenage angst.  And he seems to like Metallica.

Raed's mom, Faiza, has a blog.  It's in Arabic and English.  Last week, they were still in Amman.  Faiza is an amazing, eloquent writer.  She bought some books on U.S. History last week in Amman and shared some of her thoughts about America.  After reading only a few entries, it isn't surprising to hear her maternal compassion and wisdom come through:

When I was in Baghdad, I used to listen to news and events directly from the people, or see them with my own eyes, but here, I feel that only a small margin reaches us…and many details are skipped, then I imagine the people in the west and how would they get the news… they being very far away from all this reality, from the true picture of matters…and I do not blame them when they think about us in a way very different from the truth.

Maybe she is right about one thing.  I think we'd all be better off turning off the television once in a while, abstaining from the fast-food media propaganda being shovelled into our brains for a day or so, and taking that time to get to know someone better.

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