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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JfZ making a mess of the web
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Saturday, March 20, 2004
Happy Birthday Iraqi Freedom!

Happy Birthday Iraqi Freedom! 

The little stinker just turned one-year-old.  Not every American or Iraqi was available to celebrate the Shock-n-Awe anniversary. But here he is, a screaming little one-year-old.
Like any child, it cost us all a lot of cash to get him here -- but who's counting?  We'd do anything for the little guy,  because we all know it was worth it.  We'll be here to celebrate his next birthday, I'm sure ...

click to view larger image click to view larger image
Here are just a few of the birthday cards I found for the little stinker.  I'm sure there are more out there from people all over the world.  If you'd like to add one, use the comments function.

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Friday, March 19, 2004
Fraggin' Friday: Q3A - Black Dog, Goth Mit Uns and Eulogy

bdog3dm1 by Black Dog BDog3DM1 is a tight FFA map by first-time author, Black Dog. Using some ikBase textures by ik, Black Dog has created a map with good architecture resembling a large open-air coastal condo at night. Good gameplay traffic flow is maintained with the middle and upper levels using ledges accessible to the lower floor room space by stairs, an elevator and a teleporter.  The jump pad to third level, one way to get to the lightning
gun, is so well blended into the coordinated ikBase textures that I ran into it by accident the first time through.  While it may be his very first map, I'm hoping it won't be his last. It is a clean-looking multi-leveled map with the right amount of ammo/health and the right kind of weapons to make it an intimate playground of death.

Goth Mit Uns by Dim_Walker Dim_Walker used a gothic castle theme with plenty of stairways and ledges leading to many split level rooms and hallways for Goth Mit Uns. Getting to some high ground and rounded off corners allows you to bounce grenades in multiple directions from a single location. There are several sniper locations where the Railgun would have been useful, had it been available, but all the weapons are spread out and work 
well in the map's architecture.  The one red armor, two yellow armor, various rows of armor shards and health are evenly distributed around the map.  I like the look of the one-way blue teleporters and the fact that all the weapons have a distinguishing floor texture at their respawn locations. That can be handy for a lot of players.  The two carved-out floor areas with shallow water are done well. There is good traffic flow all over the map but the bots all head for the second Grenade Launcher below the red armor. Even playing on nightmare skill level, a player can guard the Rocket Launcher at the top of the stairs from this second Grenade Launcher room and pick off bots two at a time as they arc through the air from off of the jump pad below.  I do like that there is an additional way into the Rocket room via teleporter so a human player can frag any potential campers in there.

Eulogy by Jex Visually, Eulogy is compact and busy, but the attention to detail and lighting in this map make it look very impressive.   Jex uses textures by ydnar and evil lair to a create a game space with beveled concrete, chain link fencing and industrial grating catwalks that allow you to see the action on the level below you and head toward it.  Then, out of the corner of your eye, you'll spot a moving shadow on the floor from an
overhead exhaust fan's blades.  It will distract you long enough to miss the rocket headed toward the imminent explosion of your brain pan.  The detailing is extensive. Pipes and railings are everywhere.  There are plenty of surfaces to get nailed with some nasty rocket splash or have a grenade bounce in any direction. Don't worry, armor and health are readily available on both levels.  Looking like a techno/industrial space from Half-Life, Eulogy is a fragfest factory that should be on OSHA's top ten most dangerous places to work list -- at least for 2-4 players.  Go ahead though ... play in the street.

more quake maps

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Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Fucking Rants v2.001

View higher-rez image

It was just too much to friggin' hope for.  When I clicked download, I told myself, "Don't get your hopes up.  You know it will never happen so don't be disappointed when it doesn't.  If it does transfer, you'll be pleasantly surprised".  Yeah, right.  It's a common thing these days, being on the web.  You view/download web pages like this one, you exchange email, you read the news, or maybe you chat online.  You expect a certain amount of reliability in the technology underlying your activities.

And if you're like most of us, you take it for granted.  You don't think about the advanced engineering technology of your automobile when you're dripping special sauce onto your lap while eating your Big Mac running a lunchtime errand to the pharmacy because you ran out of ibuprofen last night after listening to your mate bitching for three hours about the back-stabbing co-worker getting a bigger raise and your fucking head is still throbbing.

You don't think about it until your car magically won't start.  Then all the other stresses become instantly secondary.  The top-of-the-line car audio system with the XM satellite radio that made you finally cave in at the dealership to that middle-aged nasally-voiced lying weasel with the bad comb-over to buy the car doesn't even enter your mind because your fucking head is still throbbing and the car won't start.  You get neandrethal.  Zog make fire!  Zog know!  Zog check battery!

The same is true with whatever form of digital masturbation in which you prefer to participate online.  If you've used computers long enough, you've seen the blue screen of death (BSOD).  If you haven't yet, you will.  Maybe you've seen a co-worker or friend turn into Zog when some program locks up their computer, or maybe turn into a whining little bitch when their report won't print out, or better yet when 'the network is down', they turn into a torch and pitchfork-wielding peasant running through the village of office cubicles screaming at others to join them in the mob on its way to storm the castle Franken-technology department.

Me? I turn into the 2001: Space Odyssey Zog, throwing the leg bone of a fresh kill on the savannah through the air while classical music plays in my mind like Hannibal Lekter bashing in Sargeant Pembrey's skull with a nightstick while blood splatters all over my face because HAL won't open the fucking pod bay doors.  I turn into this Zog when I'm using the dialup modem technology that has been unreliable and annoying since an Imajica BBS user back in the D-A-Y used a 2400 baud modem to download a jpg of some amateur pornstar dressed like a cheerleader getting it up the ass with a 12-inch pulsating purple dildo because his fat wife is getting old and never did like anal sex.

So, anyway ...

All I wanted to do was download this Quake 3 map and check it out.  After waiting very patiently for over an hour-and-a-half, like the 2400 baud modem using accountant waiting for his cheerleader, I sat down in front of the PC and said to myself, "Wow! It's almost done -- 11 MBs transferred".  So, not wanting to do anything else online to disturb its steady progress, I scrolled up and re-read the ..::LvL reviews already displayed in another window, which took several minutes, and then decided to pass some more time playing a few games of freecell on the local desktop.  I glanced down at the minimized FilePlanet transfer window indicating 97% done.  I got so excited.  I closed the freecell game.  98% percent done.  I took a sip of coffee.  I felt my anticipation of hearing the file transfer complete sound like an over-sexed teenager with a raging hard-on copping the first feel of his girlfriend's breast in the backseat his dad's car parked in a quiet suburban cul-de-sac waiting to hear, "Yes, I'll fuck you"

Just then my connection dropped.


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Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Technical Difficulties

It's not called 'Thunderstorms in the Imajica' for nothing ... We've been getting some storms and hard rains lately.  When that happens, my phone service (Sprint) is flaky at best.
That makes using the dial-up even flakier.  As soon as I can, I'll update the blog with some of the stuff that's been going on lately. 

One unusual thing is that I slept last night like a normal person.  Retardo Cat ran away so his non-stop howling didn't keep me awake when I should be sleeping.  It's one of the first mornings in months that I actually awoke feeling good.  He showed up this morning, a filthy white cat for spending the night in the rain.  Unfortunately for him, he may be off to a no-kill shelter where they'll likely snip his furry little balls off.  But they will wait until someone can take him in.  Marion county is known for its thoroughbred horse ranches so I'm sure some sucker will adopt him to become the outdoor mouse-catcher in the barn.

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Monday, March 15, 2004
Morphine Dreams

Bed Ridden 2 Well, as I said on the tag board in between one thunderstorm and the next, Morphine Dreams has a new home now.  I wanted to do so much with my grafix and pix over on the space Hygelic kindly provided, but I didn't want to create a filespace and bandwidth monster.  It would have been a very daunting task, nonetheless.

deviantART is the host.  It seems to be a nice community of amateur and more skilled artists and artisans.
I spent some time figuring out how to customize the site.  I definitely had to make a little avatar.  There are forums and such where the avatar shows up in your comments.  And then, I had to make the HFD link button to point to Morphine Dreams.  It's up there on the left, below my JfZ reloaded mug.

I'm telling you where it is so you will stop dribbling spittle all over your keyboard, move your mouse over there and click the friggin' thing.  Seriously, come visit.

I'm uploading the older stuff first, but hopefully all the new stuff will be stored there as well.  I plan on scanning in old photo sets (aka pix) and the some of the new ones and displaying them there.  I won't have to worry about filespace and bandwidth, so I can put up higher quality images.

Morphine Dreams is going to be where I blog about grafix and pix.  There's a journal.  The site also allows me to not only upload my work, but also categorize it.  I prefer an organized life.  For example, if you wanted to see more sketches I've drawn like Bed Ridden 2 (shown), you can.  I can easily reference it here in Thunderstorms for you to check out.  Plus, whether you like it or hate it, you can leave comments easily there, too.   We'll see how the site develops as I can work on it.
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