Red Dawn, 4/5, would pay to watch again.

This movie was great. The only problem is that it left me wanting more. We are up to our noses in shitty entertainment, lawyer show after lawyer show, doctor show, crime show, cop show, zombie show, etc. Sure some of it is amazing, good acting, production quality, music, but the settings are all the same. The most recent general story setting has been the "Zombie" one, and I'm sure we are all tired of that. 

Red dawn is one of two films, (the other being something called "Red Dawn") that have the setting "Your home nation invaded, what do?" And I loved it. We have so many shows about preppers and how awesome our military is, we are ready for this setting.


To really enjoy the film, you need to remember that the opening montage of the movie, the one that explains the state of the world that caused this new Red Dawn, does not explain everything. It says something along the lines of China becoming a superpower, and gathering regional allies, to include Russia and North Korea, (and possibly others). But thankfully it leaves very little answered.

If you know anything about China, Russia, and North Korea, you know that them working together in the capacity required for this movie, is highly unlikely. North Korea hates international aid, and China and Russia were set against each other to weaken the second world during the cold war. Being a highly unlikely alliance, only reinforced the setting.

When NK forces started to appear, with new tools, fancy tanks, and nourished soldiers, the first thought that came to my mind was not, “This is stupidly unlikely.” It was, “My god, what could have happened to make them do this?” What sort of dirt, blackmail, or coercion could have brought NK into this new Red Coalition? Wearing and using equipment that they obviously could not have made themselves. The thought lingered in my mind for some time as I enjoyed the combat scenes.

Later in the film, it became obvious. In an iconic line, (which I believe was lifted directly from the old film), “They don't want to be here,”
was the feeling conveyed. When the character spoke, he was talking about the normal, boots on ground grunt. When I heard it, I thought to myself, “Who DOES want to be here? How high up the chain of command does this go?” It became obvious, NK did not WANT to be here, they were just another pawn in China's game. They had shiny new toys, and in my mind every single one of them was emblazoned with “made in China.”

Looking for these deeper secrets made the film far more interesting, but unfortunately they made the setting far more interesting than the film. It was said that North Korea was only tasked with occupying the NW states of the USA, with other nations tasked with other sections of the US. That moment kind of killed it for me, up until then I was focused and following the Wolverines of Spokane, but those lines broke a seal and had me thinking... “Yeah, there is a WHOLE OTHER WORLD out there, WTF IS GOING ON THERE?!” Sure, the film was meant to follow the Wolverines, and by only showing their local view, convey the feeling of being cut off from the outside world.

That's not the crap I want though.
1 hour and 54 minutes is not enough time for this world.
I want some grade A+ series from this shit!

Think about how much could be covered! Instead of one lone resistance group, we could be presented with the whole smörgåsbord of American culture. The Wolverines In Spokane and the military families at Fort Lewis, fighting to hold off an enemy and disbelief;
the resistance in california, easily dominating the disarmed population of the inner city, but struggling with rural resistance; the humid death swamps of Louisiana, full of Vietnam Veterans waiting for revenge (bonus points if Vietnam is tasked with Louisiana and Mississippi); The East coast, bombed into submission because of our massive military presence there; and the Michigan Militia, who was actually in a training exercise for just such an event when it happened. The scope does not end there, there could be drama in other countries, Germany, Great Britain, shit, what is happening in the middle east?!

The potential does not even stop with the combat on the ground. The dialogue of the national leaders would be good too, and act as a calm, yet suspenseful juxtaposition that all dark war tales must have. You could have some state governors, struggling to gather the shreds of their national guard and state militias. The inept President of the United States that allowed this to happen, or did not do enough to prevent it, perhaps he just managed to pull out all US foreign troop deployments, and just weeks ago signed a bill that cut military spending to a fourth of it's previous amount. Not to be limited to our side of the pond, the President of Russia, North Korea, and whoever else, all struggling as their nations are practically the lap dogs of this new Chinese mastermind.

The ideas for epic moments practically write themselves.

Imagine the freedom fighter, who learns some dark secret that seems to justify this invasion.

Imagine the same guy, who learns that the inept president has forces set to knock out the disruptor field long enough for him to launch the nukes. In an attempt to stop the end of the world they need to break into an active nuclear silo to access the launch network, and do what they can to jam it. Or otherwise attack their own nation to prevent some greater evil.

Imagine deep within a bunker in China, an old man hunches over a war table, talking to his subordinates. Once everyone leaves a young and noble looking officer walks up to the old man, the Premier of China...
The conversation drags on about the planning, and in the heat of conversation the your officer says, “Would you have us call you Emperor? Would you have us kneel and revere you as a god?!”

To which the Premier replies, in his old gravely voice, as he plops into his chair, “Kneel.”

So yeah,
Red Dawn, 4/5, would pay to watch again.


But I never forgot that it was all free.

I remember when I first switched to Linux. My incredibly powerful gaming laptop was torn asunder by Iranian computer viruses and spyware. A friend had mentioned linux, and I had an Ubuntu 8.10 CD lying around, so I popped it in.

Installing was simple enough, just keep clicking "next" on the screen, and other minor clicking. Nearing the end of installation it asked for an internet connection... I was in Iraq at the time, and to log onto the internet I needed to open a browser and put in some data, so I clicked past it. A few moments later, I discovered the horrible truth... my laptop's networking chip was part of the graphics chipset, and the Ubuntu CD did not come with Nvidia drivers. Put plainly, to get my computer on the internet, I needed the internet.

For months I hassled with my laptop, fiddling with settings, trying to bypass the requirements. I could not download games, programs, or browse online. My nice and expensive gaming laptop was reduced to a typewriter... except I could not get printer drivers either... Many months later, I took a pass (short vacation) to Qatar, and, hoping to find some wired internet there (the Iranians I got the internet from in Iraq had a login system that did not work with linux even if I plugged directly in, they fixed this eventually).

Sitting in Qatar at one of the tables I pulled out my laptop to play some simple game that came with it, like minesweeper, or draw a photo, I can't remember. It was never super amazing anyway. My laptop has a 16-17 inch screen and was displaying at 800x600, the highest it could go. I had gotten used to it... But today, for some reason it connected to the internet wirelessly. Did the router there use some other frequency that the base drivers could use? Did I accidentally change some setting? I have no idea, but I still could not log into their paid internet thing, though this time it was because I did not waste the money on a prepaid internet card, when my internet did not work.

That day I found out something beautiful...

Paid internet services don't block the ports used for updates... and all of the software downloads are processed though the same ports.

Joy, I had never felt such joy.

For hours, perhaps the whole night, my computer downloaded updates. I did not know at the time that I could get games, the software catalog had never downloaded. And the whole time I sat there watching in 800x600 as the download bar grew, and the programs were installed in the terminal. It was the first time I saw a download speed get up to 2 megabytes a second, I did not even know things could go that fast.

Of course it needed to be restarted, I don't think you can triple the data on your hard drive and not need a restart, but before I would I searched through the software, downloaded Wine, The Battle For Wesnoth, every other game I could find! Video codecs, things to play DVDs, EVERYTHING! It was an orgy of installation.

When I restarted my computer, the true glory of the open source world exploded onto my screen. I had forgotten that my computer screen was the highest definition on the market, I had forgotten that draw speeds could go faster than you could see. I had forgotten about the internet, and I had forgotten about games...
But I never forgot that it was all free.



 This was originally a comment on The Truth About Guns post Ambienistas Rejoice! 3-Gun Nation Series Returns to the Internet, but it ran a little too long for the comment box... so I put it here. Please check out TTAG, I really hate leaving a comment there directing them here... :<

I don't think 3 gun will ever be as popular as football. In general the popularity of a sport is directly related to it's cost of entry. The worlds most popular sport, actual football (the one where they use their feet...) is popular because all you need to play is a single ball. Since everyone can play it, everyone has a basic understanding of the rules, which are themselves simple, just one sentence "Kick the ball into the other team's goal" sums up the worlds most popular sport.

Mind you things like Nascar are popular, but have a high cost of entry. The thing here is again, the rules are very simple to understand, win a race, everyone knows what a race is, but it is also related to a car, which nearly everyone in the US has a basic understanding.

Also these are team sports (back to football/field games), where people work together to outmaneuver their foe. Generally (exception baseball) a large portion of the team competes at the same time, and against another team.

Something like this three gun competition has a high level of entry, and the technology it uses is generally obscure, reducing the fanbase. The teams do not work together at the same time, and they are only engaged in indirect competition, do direct team vs team play (understandable though, while I would like to be shot by some of those ladies I doubt I would draw a large crowd).

As a final note we have the marketing aspect of the game. Here I see team FNH, and others dotted with sponsors, not "The Seattle Seahawks" or "The Oakland Raiders." Games like football are more than just things we attend to watch advertisements, we go to pit our cities against each other and see who is the best, like nationalism on a smaller, less violent scale.

If you wanted to make a popular sport you would need to do the following:
1- Take... say 15 prominent cities and have them establish teams for this "newsport"
2- Move the advertisement and sponsorship out of the limelight to let the cities shine, the Seattle Spartans (we do have a Mt. Olympus) and Oakland Operators sound WAY better than "Team Foreign country based military arms manufacturer." Sport is an analogue for cities to fight, we hate each other you see.
3- Lower the barrier to entry. Have team armories and open drafts so people don't need to bring their own guns.
4- Yes, point 4 and now we address the actual game. You need a game that directly pits one team versus another, in a fast paced game that involves a lot of movement, stamina, and chances to do improbable feats of skill.
5- Fill airtime. Require helmet cameras, and a gun camera, and have commentators, like some cool people. FPS Russia and R Lee Ermey.

If it was me, I would have a game go like this, there is a live fire preliminary, where the teams compete in shoothouses and such, do some long range shooting, etc. Then for the final round have a simunition battle of capture the flag, have ten players active on the field, and when they are hit they need to be carried off by the next in line to deploy, who is invulnerable while they retrieve their teammate, then the retriever replaces the fallen teammate, slowly rotating through the whole team. It would be fast paced, allow for various physical and lucky feats, and dynamic, which is something the 3GN is lacking. I am sure to a seasoned shooter the little differences are readily apparent, but the visual drama is lost on a newbie. This would have people running, shooting, falling, being carried, all somewhat relatable to a wider audience.

That was long, sleep time is now.


Testing Testing, 1,1,2,3,5

Alright, so I am a total nerd, I watch science fiction, science fantasy, I play D&D, Pathfinder, GURPS, Shadowrun, and occasionally I might write a fanfiction...

But right now I am figuring out this "blog" thing...


Testing Testing, 1,1,2,3,5


I should really be doing

Sorry I have not updated in awhile, I know I said I would update every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but I have so much homework...

...I should really be doing.


Remarkable Progress Indeed

Today I woke up at 8. Nothing special for you "normies" I am sure, but to me, waking up at a "normal" hour is something to be cherished. As I have stated before I have some new rules regarding my conduct... IN BED!

Honestly now, ever since I stopped surfing the web in bed... well it's not like the sleep is any better, but now I don't lie in bed for 4 hours before falling asleep.

Remarkable progress indeed.


Throw a stock on there ^_^

I don't really have much to say... I had a few snow days at school, and SHOT show is over. Thusfar this is my favorite video from the show:

I really look forward to getting one of these. But my state does not allow SBRs, so Ill just weld a silencer to it and throw a stock on there ^_^


For alcohol poisoning :D

Tomorrow my university will have it's first snow day in... quite awhile. I am sure this is not impressive to some, but I am in Pullman, Washington... it can snow here like there is no tomorrow!

Recent intelligence indicates that the university often avoids calling a snow day, because the last time they did, the local hospital set a new record, for alcohol poisoning :D


That will never happen anyway

Well, a first week of classes went pretty well. I only missed one class, and that was because I tried to do math too early in the morning and missed my bus, but other than that I think I am doing pretty good.

I outlined some of the things I wanted to try in last Mondays blog, and I guess I should report to how well they have been working.

The “no laptop in bed” thing has worked amazingly. After just a few days I shaved hours off of my “toss about bed” time. I have been waking up early (on time) more frequently, and in general I have been more refreshed by the sleep... then again there is more sleep being had, so I guess that makes sense. When I have kids, I am definitely NOT letting them use a laptop in bed. Maybe just as a video screen to watch things as you drift into sleep, but not for high level mental interaction in bed, shit is dangerous.

As for the other points... they were more difficult. I definitely did better than I have in the past homework wise, but not the hour-per-hour method that I had going in my head. Probably because I did not have a lot of the books I needed, and there was just not a lot of homework... But other than that I have a good feeling about this too.

Overall I am really excited, now all I need to do is actually study Russian so the girl who sits next to me does not look so distraught with my existence. But hey, that will never happen anyway.


Nothing New Really

My roommate reads a lot of fanfiction. Often he comes to me complaining about how nobody in the fanfiction world knows how to write, and spell. His latest gripe turned amusement is the misspelling of "loose cannon."

I'm taking credit for this now.
I understand his complaint. Often the misspellings we see are trivial, and often humorous, but when you are trying to be engaged into a story and the wrong "two" is used one too many times it can get on their nerves. They're to blame for this, the fanfiction writers and their writings, on that site, there.

Understand the above paragraph, and you can be a paragon of grammar to these people.

Anyways, his gripes aside I have my own semantic arguments, and not just against the anitvirus software. My problem arises in my favorite sub(ish) culture, guns.

Guns and the words used to describe them are a wide and varied, but a recent product being released is just... labeled wrong. >.<

While I do like the look of this new item, CLEARLY it is a... well nothing really. The non NFA item one (the one without a stock) is the equivalent of a power strip. Plug one in and get more outlets, except in this instance you get piccaninny rails. It effectively makes your pistol heavier, and lets you attach non pistol stuff to it... but other than that... nothing.
The stocked version however, it just a short barreled rifle, law covers that already. It reminds me of the old luger pistols that had detachable stocks. Nothing new really.


This Blog Contains Profanities



Have you seen this series? And I don't mean "series" in the British English sense of "season" but rather "series" in the proper 'merican engrish sense of "the whole damn awesome fucking show!"

But seriously, it is amazing. Mr. Holmes is a complete asshole, and Dr. Watson is a badass mutherfucker, I'm pretty sure he is played by Samuel Jackson with CGI and a voiceover.

Now I could delve into a review of the actual actors, or the amazing pacing and presentation, music, and honestly I should. Unfortunately I am not a connoisseur of the genre and can't really describe it against it's contemporaries. Instead, I am going to talk about it's running time!

You heard me right, the running time. I won't be silly, I'll talk about running time in general first... obviously.

Usually shows are slotted for a 30 minute or 60 minute time slot, and need to make room for about 27% of that to be advertisements. I am sure they do this for a variety of reasons, to pay their bills of course, and because with their budgets they can only make shows so good, and because those shows are only so good people will really only be interested for so long... Also tradition, that happens all the time, fucking tradition. In recent (ok maybe like a quarter century) years I have seen shows get larger and larger budgets and become more and more amazing. I remember the first time I saw CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and was amazed with the production value.

As budgets grow and grow eventually someone remembers to pay the writers more money, they get good directors, and better in general. Eventually cinima quality footage is being aired live for free on TV (an archaic video viewing device, like a one way skype call). People stay more interested, and eventually they stop caring about all that time commitment shit and worry more about conveying a story.

An example of this is the HBO show "Game of Thrones." Which, although it does still release in hour long (addles) blocks, is amazing in it's quality and possibly the best transition from book to film I have ever seen.

HBO (as far as I know) gets their funding from the people who buy HBO cable, a medium which is dying. I don't get cable, I have the internet, and for some reason HBO GO is only available to people who buy the HBO cable package. Netflix on the other hand, despite their previous fission-debacle, has decided to enter into programming, releasing content on it's own. I am sure at some point Hulu will do the same, and thousands already release their own content on Youtube.

But without the structure of braodcast television, how will this new entertainment landscape look? Will shows become smaller? Will they swell to hours in length?

Personally I would like to see miniseries become the norm. Years from now I would like to subscribe to "Sci-Fi Entertainment" website, paying them a small fee that is pooled with other's contributions and formed into amazing miniseries for my viewing pleasure. Delivering Hour and a half chucks, just like Sherlock, that fucking awesome show...

Oh, by the way...

This blog contains profanities.


But right now I an the guinea pig

Classes started up again today. Getting up at 8 was easier than I thought it would be, considering all the lounging I did on the winter break... it was glorious.

And so, as this is some sort of web based logging system for my life, I will share with you what I am going to do to make this semester a better one.

First off, I got a nice notebook. ONE notebook. A five subject one. Which is good because I have 5 classes. Sure I may need to lug around some textbooks and additional notebooks for a lab class, but overall keeping all of my notes in one simple book will be nice for organization.

Second, Ill be trying to follow some rules I have set for myself
  1. After each day, notes will be transcribed from the notebook to a .txt file per class. After the notes are taken from the book, any additional information I can remember from the day will be added to the relevant text file. 
  2. For Russian class, in addition to typing the notes in cyrrilic (learning to type in Russian, WOAH) any words that I do not know off the top of my head will be put onto flash cards. This will result in duplicate flash cards for frequent words, and help me learn them faster.
  3. On each normal working weekday, a period of time equal to or greater than the time spent in class will be spent studying. Transcription time counts to this minimum, as does homework. This is not intended to rush me through homework, but rather to assure that I do something every evening. I may go over this time limit to finish an assignment, but if I have no homework I will find another way to study for that class for the time.
  4. Attempt to finish homework one day before it is due. This is quite normal, as people often finish work before the due date, and as my classes are not every day, but it is a good goal.
  5. I will not surf the web or otherwise use my laptop while lying in my bed (exceptions to watching movies while in bed or lying on the couch). It is an incredibly comfortable and bad habbit that I got into when space was at a premium in iraq. Lying in bed playing games. It associates your bed with playtime, reading time, and all other things you do in it. It is better to only have your bed associated with sleep in your mind, so that it is easier to fall asleep when you want to. I say this having horrible sleep problems, I often go to bed at 0200, and lie awake doing nothing for hours because my mind has lying in my bed so strongly associated with mental activity (maybe I should also not lie awake in bed in general) I have a desk now, time to use it. Good sleep is important. Almost as important as,
  6. I will eat in the morning. Something, anything! Grain from the side of the road, or a stray orphan, in the morning, feed is important! It boosts your metabolism a bit and generally prepares you for a more energetic day!
So these are my rules for a better learning experience. perhaps ill use them on my children, but right now I an the guinea pig.


The Criminal Commits the Crime.

To continue the rant I had on Monday, I would like to talk about "victim blaming" and what I believe to be true on the matter.

For those who do not know, victim blaming is when a victim of a crime is blamed for bringing the crime upon themselves. Often this manifests as a rape victim being blamed because of the way she dresses, or going out to clubs and rubbing against people.

In my, personal policy, I usually wait until my partner says "rip off my clothes and make the sex to me please" before I rip off their clothes and make the sex to them. It is... amazingly nonromantic, but I would rather let the mood die a little than push someone beyond what they want to do. I do have a creepy demeanor, and err heavily on the side of caution, for I have been blamed for stalking people home from school who actually just live near me.

Anyway, back to victim blaming. Does a rape victim increase their chances of getting raped by going out dressed like a total slut? Probably not, rapists often rape because they want to control women, and if a woman just looks like she is going to give it up then there is nothing to control. As a matter of fact I think if you dress conservatively a control-rapists is more likely to select you. In the case of one who might roofie a drink, yes, dressing in skirts and not wearing underwear might increase the chances of you being selected, if only because in that specific instance the criminals are most likely selecting on sexual appeal, and ease with which they can bypass clothing. And third, going out may also increase your chances of getting raped, if only compared to staying in and never meeting anyone. Most important thing, travel in groups.

The final part of this comes down to who is at fault. And let me make my point clear, If the most beautiful girl in the world walks from club to club totally nude and at each club dances and rubs up against everyone while dancing, does that mean she was asking for it? Does that pardon the rapist? No, never in any instance is a lack of consent justified. Never in any instance is the victim to blame, the criminal commits the crime.

If I put a bag of one million dollars out on my lawn and it gets stolen, was I asking for it? No, not at all. Was I maybe not the smartest with my money? Yes. Just remember, the criminal commits the crime.


Thanks... Lucasarts?

This movie does not really look to be anything special. I am sure it will be a triumphant tale of military comradarie and combat expertise overcoming adversity, to kill Nazis, all presented in a historically "accurate" manner.

Though I expect it to be a predictable piece (the guys friend is going to die, and at some point they will hit the wrong target or fly over a concentration camp/generic travesty and be abhorred by the abhorrence of war), but what I AM excited about is the positive (hopefully) light in which black people will (hypothetically) be portrayed in. Set in the 1940s this setting will predate many of the negative stereotypes associated with black people, and (possibly) portray it's characters with a professional military demeanor. It won't be a movie about "niggas smokin nazis while smokin on the fly while high." no shitty blackxploitation movie here.

It will be a WW2 movie, about pilots, hardship, and being a badass. And not letting racism break their stride, or their spirit. Showing some good role models not just for black children, but all children.

Thanks... Lucasarts?


Pretend you want it and bite it off

Sexism in the workplace can be a dangerous.

I have strange views on sexism in the workplace. This is probably due to the many strong women in my life. As far back as I can remember my mother was single (though this was not true as the divorce was after my birth), and an older sister. Both were strong people, and I never thought of them as their gender. They were always just strong people. It never occurred to me that they would not have a problem doing anything that I could do. Of course girls can vote? Why wouldn't they? Of course you should be nice to them, they punch hard!

This brings me to wimminz in the workplace. I have seen these alleged "females" and worked with them, I can attest to the fact that they are real. I don't understand why it's a problem, or why so many people are against it. I understand the comradarie of a well knit unit, and how it can be difficult to let new people into your group. I am sure the problem is really in the lack of understanding, and subsequent justification. The group does not want to open up to new people, and they search for any difference to justify their claim. And as a slightly sexually dimorphic species, ones gender is quite easy to point out.

I believe (as in, have no citeable sources), that men are afraid of women breaking up their group. I have seen some movies, and heard stories, enough to assume it is a widespread cliché. The story goes that a tight group of friends, usually small, a new female comes into the circle and the single men fight over her and it slowly tears the group apart. Sometimes they fight with fists, sometimes the alpha male gets the girl and the others allow it (resentfully), and other times they are at each others throats like starving lions over lady gaga in her meat suit.

I could stand a slice.

Now, as for this in the workplace, I am sure people are worried about a female, as an object of sexual desire, setting coworkers against each other for her affections. I believe this is why the US military was so against gays openly serving, they did not want people fighting over each others affections. Mind you that was quite irrelevant because of the various fraternization policies in place, and how often they are ignored because men and women, deep down, they want each other. Overcoming authority for love and lust has been highly romanticized of course, so it's no surprise. But we are supposed to be professional anyway, so that should be no problem right?

So now lets talk about sexual harrasment, if only because I have been hearing a lot about it. I don't know why we have specific laws about this, I think we should just have more effective laws to prevent harassment in general, the same for assualt. Mind you if I was assulted I have been advised by my mother to "pretend you want it and bite it off."

(I will elaborate on this subject on Friday).