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, April 26, 2004
... and the moral of the story is?

Lisa Ling is a hottie!
How FUN is this?

A discussion over at Plastic points out a recent article by Daniel Terdiman, Playing Games With a Conscience:

In it, Terdiman mentions the release of the Simon Wiesanthal Center's annual report, Digital Terrorism and Hate 2004, which the SWC is selling for $20.00 in CD-format.  I'm big on free information on the internet, especially if it is important enough, so I'm a littled irked that the SWC expects me to pay for its "report".  Other than that, I can't comment on it.  All I can do is not give them a free link to their store.  Terdiman also quotes an essayist, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, about's September 12th game:

the goal of the game is to develop in the player "empathy for the people who will become terrorists out of that experience, of having seen innocent people killed."

Basically, the game goes like this:  You're the U.S. military.  The terrorists are in the village.  You shoot the terrorists and inevitably kill innocent bystanders.  Other people in the village see this and then become terrorists, too.  The point of the September 12th game is, as near as I can fathom, that you kill Osama and a thousand more take his place.

Empathy is one thing.  Teaching your kids that the U.S. military is in a no-win situation while someone's relatives are actually fighting in (Fallujah) Iraq, right now, is up to you. also recently released a Madrid game.  Its goal is to "homage the victims of the Madrid terror attacks, as well as all the other cities that have  experienced these hideous crimes."

While Wardrip-Fruin may be a Brown scholar and believes that the popularity of online gaming may be a way to communicate ideas since the straight-text e-book has flopped commercially for the most part,  I partially disagree.  Blogs, which are predominately text, have become huge.  In addition, while I could perhaps imagine myself having a little empathy for someone's situation, if say, I was reading their Trapped in Fallajuh blog, I think it's in poor taste to turn the War on Terror or the Madrid Bombing into a videogame to begin with.  But maybe that's just me.

And finally, I thought games were just supposed to be fun, right?

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Sunday, April 25, 2004
YCMTSU - Furor over Dover caskets

  You Can't Make This Shit Up

YCMTSU (You Can't Make This Shit Up)

Furor over media showing flagged draped caskets.  Is it disrepectful?  Is the Pentagon hiding information from us?  Is this White House trying to cover up the numbers of, or the political impact of U.S. forces being killed in an increasingly unpopular war?

Blah, Blah, Friggin' Blah!!!

I found this link on Samizdata (and followed it to a NASA PR):

Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1600)

April 23, 2004 

Columbia Crew Mistakenly Identified As Iraqi War Casualties

Many news organizations across the country are mistakenly identifying the flag-draped caskets of the Space Shuttle Columbia's crew as those of war casualties from Iraq.

Editors are being asked to confirm that the images used in news reports are in fact those of American casualties and not those of the NASA astronauts who were killed Feb.1, 2003, in the Columbia tragedy.

An initial review of the images featured on the Internet site shows that more than 18 rows of images from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware are actually photographs of honors rendered to Columbia's seven astronauts.

News organizations across the world have been publishing and distributing images featured on the web site.

 - end -

The web page at memoryhole showing the photos of flagged-draped coffins is dated 22 April 04, and the photos themselves are from a CD of photos sent to memoryhole from Dover AFB:

All photographs showing caskets (or other devices) containing the remains of US military personnel at Dover AFB. This would include, but not be limited to, caskets arriving, caskets departing, and any funerary rites/rituals being performed. The timeframe for these photos is from 01 February 2003 to the present.

So, memoryhole is quite clear about the caskets.  It was Fox news (and others) that screwed up.

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Saturday, April 24, 2004
Sandbox has a home

  Go read  Sandbox  and stop whining about your life.
Click here to read  Sandbox now!

Welcome to my Sandbox.  I appreciate any of you that have gone to the site to read Dennis Hooker's free book in PDF file format, and I'm sure he does too.  This morning, I got a bright idea.  Uh-oh, you say.  Well, this one might have worked out for the best for everyone.

When you want to read Sandbox, you can now go to deviantART.  I uploaded the four parts of his book that he graciously split it into there.  As soon as I hear back from Dennis, I'll turn over the keys to some accounts I had to create in order to accomplish this.  That is, if he feels like dealing with feedback about his book.  I no sooner finished uploading one of the 'lunchtime-downloadable-parts' of the four parts of Sandbox when other deviants started adding the files and the account to their watch list and favorites list.  So, that was pretty exhilirating.

Each part is a zipped PDF file and is only between 150 and 300 KBs, so you can snag and read each one as you have the time to do it.

I hope putting Sandbox there is a good thing.  Hopefully, it will give this personally empowering information some added exposure and solve some of the other issues Dennis and I had talked about.  Now, not only can people go to the Sandbox site and download it from a fast server, but it will keep track of alot of statistics, and has a nice feedback and commenting function built right in.

Stop whining about the relationships in your life.
Go now and start reading.

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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 ... 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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