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 09, 2004
Fraggin' Friday: Q3A - Short Circuit

  Click for larger image!

Like Pain From Spain and RockNRoland, Short Circuit is another very cool map by Binaryshi.  It's no wonder that it was included in map packs and received kudos at the time it was released.  Check out the Short Circuit page on Binaryshi's Mapping Lab @ Planet Quake: it was included in a ..::LvL Cream of the Top map pack, an All-Star's map pack, and won 2nd in a mapping contest, in addition to just receiving great reviews from all over the gaming community.

I played Short Circuit about a dozen times against just 3 bots and it was very challenging to come out on top.  Running through Binaryshi's C-12 pipes is a visual rush.  Some lead down to the Red Armor.  Some lead to more powerful and effective weapons, like the Rocket Launcher or the Plasma Gun.  Red Armor is available at the bottom along with the Lightning Gun.  As is the case with all popular areas in this map, you then have multiple paths available to take: you can exit the Red Armor room via the jump pad, the teleporter or go back up through one of the pipes.  Up top, the Med Kit respawns and is accessible from many directions.  Quad Damage respawns at the bottom of a pipe of water and is a popular place for bots and humans alike.  The Shot Gun and the Grenade Launcher are readily available at player respawn locations.

It's like running through a game of Chutes and Ladders ... with no pesky ladders.  It is a fast-paced and well-designed multi-levelled map where the action can come from any direction, all the time.

more quake map reviews

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Thursday, April 08, 2004
Red Wings Playoffs

Use my Amazon Search box to find your stuff
Get some cool Red Wings toys today

Wednesday night, the Detroit Red Wings started their run for the Stanley Cup by beating the Nashville Predators, in game 1 of the first round of playoff games.  Living in the middle of citrus country in Florida, the one thing I really miss about the Detroit area is the whole Hockeytown thing

I've waited all Winter for ESPN to stop airing endless college basketball games and friggin' billiard tournaments and get down to the business of showing me some damn hockey! 
 Back in Detroit, Red Wings fans don't have to bother with the corporate whims and decisions of Michael Eisner.  No, they just turn on the local friggin' station and watch half of the games.  Sometimes, you even have a choice as to which local station on which to watch the games.  I used to think, "Maybe tonight, I'll watch the game on CBC Windsor and see what ugly tie that legendary goof, Don Cherry, is wearing."  The NHL may have a television blackout rule like in any other major sport, but it simply doesn't apply to the Detroit Red Wings.  I have heard on-air announcers joke that even Detroit Red Wings players usually only get tickets for their own family at away games in other teams' arenas.  Most Red Wings home games are completely sold out so far in the future that one of the sperm swimming around my left ball sac would most likely have to know someone to get a ticket.

A few years ago, Toulon and I had the opportunity to see a Red Wings playoff game or two.  An executive suite with 20 tickets were bought at a charity auction for $20,000 for one playoff game.  I happen to know the guy who bought these tickets, and we paid his out-of-pocket cost (after using 50% as a tax deduction) for game tickets.  So, I paid $500 per ticket to watch the Red Wings play one playoff game at Joe Loius Arena. 

Before those games that year, the last time I had seen the Red Wings play in person was in the 1970's when a neighborhood kid's dad took a bunch of us kids to Olympia.  Later on in life, I discovered this guy was a VP for the Teamsters and his house across the street was an alibi destination for Chuck O'brien
on the day Jimmy Hoffa vanished.  I told you that you had to know someone to get friggin' tickets ...

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004
some Bike Week pix

  click for more pix like this

Just so you don't think that I'm some usenet newsgroup nut- job that only rants about news and politix all the time, I thought I'd better blog about something different and refreshing.  If you need a mental break from it all for a few minutes, feel free to browse some of the pix I've been uploading into one of my galleries at deviantART.

This particular set of pix will grow as I scan and manipulate the photos I have already taken.  Right now, I started with the Born to Ride mindset of pix, simply entitled Bike Week - Beach.  I've just put 8 in there so far.  You've already seen the one photo (shown), if you happen to see last month's one blog entry that got published as an article on Plastic.  Here's the blanket description for these pix:

No matter how many wheels are under you, it is a rule that you must cruise the beach during Bike Week in Daytona Beach.  I tried to capture people as independent spirits with the ocean and in their own little world. This was no easy feat if you check out the shots from the pier showing how friggin' crowded Daytona Beach was for miles.

You hafta know I dig my little Live Beach Cam on the left-side-panel and my Weather-Pixie, too.  If you want to see how crowded it was when I was taking pix like the one shown, view 
photo 07 and photo 08 taken from just about the same place as the cam.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004
A thought experiment

Mind numbing

"Part of the reason why I write about the media is because I am interested in the whole intellectual culture, and the part of it that is easiest to study is the media.  It comes out every day.  You can do a systematic investigation.  You can compare yesterday’s version to today’s version.  There is a lot of evidence about what’s played up and what isn’t and the way things are structured." 

 - Noam Chomsky, in "What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream".

Okay, since I just talked about Chomsky yesterday, I revisited some of my links in that entry from last month, P isn't for Politix. So, here's my little thought experiment: One story, many ways of telling it.  We report, you decide.

One story:
Originated from a February 18th, 2004 press release by Senator Grassley of Iowa:

The Associated Press seems to have run with it first. (Reuters did not)

Long-suppressed report details FBI agent firings for crimes, misconduct

Author: CURT ANDERSON Associated Press Writer
Date: February 19, 2004
Publication: Associated Press Archive Search

"An internal FBI report kept under wraps for three years details dozens of cases of agents fired for egregious misconduct and crimes, including drug trafficking, attempted murder, theft, misuse of informants and consorting with prostitutes.
The report, released Wednesday by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, found that about one in 1,000 agents was dismissed for serious misconduct or criminal offenses by the FBI during the period examined, from 1986 to 1999. The average was between eight..."

Now the fun begins with the headlines, the blurbs, and the importance of the story:

Detroit News (one paragraph national briefing):
Report details FBI agents’ misconduct

MSNBC web site parrots original AP story but the headline suggests no suppression:
FBI report on agents released after long delay
Audit finds 1 in 1,000 dismissed for crimes, misconduct
"and was accompanied by a Justice Department letter urging that it be kept confidential."

The Washington Times (full AP article editted by staff writer):
FBI disciplined 77 agents over 14-year period
The AP story with some seemingly insignificant changes in it:
"... but was accompanied by a letter from the Justice Department urging that it be kept secret."

CBS News: (AP/CBS writers with balanced blurbs with lots of related story links)
Years Of FBI Agent Crimes Detailed

Then there's Fox News: Nothing at all.

If you can find where Fox News ran this story, I'd like to see it.

I found it very interesting exploring the weight of the portions of the AP story each news outlet focussed in on.  You'd have to read each article in browser windows side-by-side, like I did, to really appreciate the subtlety involved.

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Monday, April 05, 2004
Chomsky blog

check out some Chomsky DVDs

Last month, you might have heard me ranting about the media.  I mentioned the Chomsky work, Manufacturing Consent, to give you some clue behind the topic I was talking about, or why I was ranting about it. 

( Now just FYI, I have some handy-fucking-dandy access to Amazon stuff, so I'm going to use it to serve up grafix here from time to time.  Mainly because if I continue creating my own grafix for all of Thunderstorms' blog entries and store them on the server my friend, Hygelic, provides for me, I'd quickly create a file space and bandwidth monster there.  So, get used to the idea that I've partially solved that problem by creating an account with Amazon and also with deviantART. )

Back to Chomsky.  I recently read on diepunyhumans that someone is helping Chomsky do his own blog over on Zmag.  Pretty friggin' cool.  Zmag hosts the Chomsky Archives.  Go check out Noam Chomsky's blog, Turning The Tide.  It just started with some entries this past week.

It may be educational for your friends that base all their thinking on world events from what the talking heads on their nightly news serve up like super-sized fast food portions of mind-numbing propaganda.

Especially since your idea of the situation in Iraq may be culled from the soothing sound-byte McNuggets from the Bush administration and you're not likely to see images of the latest shit hitting the fan from Iraq when U.S. forces go after the locally popular (but decidely anti-american) Shiite cleric, Sadr.

Why the hell not?  We stepped on our dick going into Iraq in the first place, so let's just stay the course.  Who next to hate us?  Wahabbi, check.  Suni,  check.  Now, Shiite.  Double-check.  The Kurds are left ... until civil war erupts full-scale in Iraq and we have to choose between backing Turkey or the Kurds in northern Iraq. 

Ah well ... you go, Dubya!  No, really ... just go ... back to Kennebunkport*.

*Crawford isn't funny.  Back to KenneBUNKport is.

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