Saturday, July 14, 2012

Browser Based Buffoonery

So, it's no secret I have a lot on my plate, right now I am working on two gaming books, this blog, and I'm officially part of the staff for a charitable donation drive. Today I have been unwinding by playing a browser based rpg called Dragon Eternity and while it isn't exactly innovative it is addictive, with clean if somewhat repetitive graphics and a fun, easy to learn interface that still offers a bit of complexity in combat with spells that can be cast off of your turn, scrolls and potions, and more. I have had a fair bit of fun with it and would suggest it to anyone looking to burn a few hours.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Operation Baen Bulk

Another great charity has come to my attention, Operation Baen Bulk. Baen is a publishing company that specializes in science fiction and fantasy, often with a military twist, and Operation Baen Bulk is their effort to support our over seas charities.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

You Know I'm Hungry, Because Here's More From The Budget Gourmand

Here's something for your sweet tooth, and it will impress any lady that is over in the morning. Just don't blame me if you tell your friends you can make these and they toss gay jokes at you for a week. Not everyone is a fan of Heinlein's statement that A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

White chocolate cranberry muffins.


Ingredients

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 eggs
    1-1/3 cups buttermilk
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    1 cup dried cranberries
    2 ounces white baking chocolate, grated
    1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    4 to 5 teaspoons cranberry juice

Directions

    In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries and chocolate.
    Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
    In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and enough cranberry juice to achieve drizzling consistency. Drizzle over muffins. Yield: 15 muffins.


There you  have it, sweet, tasty and you get plenty of them, a great little recipe if I do say so myself, and I do. I really, really do... where is that muffin tray....

Chicken Boxer

I'm a huge fan of celtic rock band Gaelic Storm, so it should come as no surprise I've been following the release of their preview songs, I have to say I'm thrilled so far. The whole album has that rolling, rocking feel that they are so good at and if you want to hear some fun music you should listen to their preview jukebox for a bit. I know I'm going to be buying Chicken Boxer the moment it drops.

Government, Monopolies, and The Market

The mooks at CBS are hooting and hollering over how the GOP is trying to repeal Obamacare without something to replace it. The problem is they're wrong. Conservatives want to replace it with a free market by allowing insurance buyers to go across state lines, eliminating restrictions and requirements on coverage, reforming tort law, and providing a tax credit to people that have insurance.

See, conservatives get that the enemy of freedom is a monopoly, but when you have an educated and engaged populous a monopoly cannot stand. There is always someone trying to get in to the market, competition is an evolutionary force in the marketplace. Look at phone services, when the government controlled things there was one style of rotary dial telephone, and after a few decades they finally came out with the touch-dial telephone. When an independent inventor came out with the answering machine it was actually illegal, the government considered it tampering with government property, namely the phone lines. Within two decades of the telephone industry being privatized we had cordless telephones with built in answering machines, call waiting, conference calls,  and the first generation of cell phones in development, within another two decades we are at the point where our cellular phones have more processing power than NASA did when they sent a man to the moon, act as video cameras, music players and provide internet access on the go.

The government didn't mandate any of that, in fact when you read about some of the scandals government officials have gotten in to lately it becomes pretty clear these people are behind the curve when it comes to technology. Companies made all these improvements to phone technology because they were openly competing with each other and needed an edge. The tech improved, prices dropped, and now you are a freak if you don't have a cell phone. In the same way, if we remove government interference companies will come out with a multitude of plans to fit as many needs as possible so they can get as big of a market share as they can. When every market role has been filled insurance providers will enter a bidding war for your business, prices will drop as low as market conditions allow for with the company still making a profit.

Tort reform is a sticky issue, one that will be difficult to hash out, but isn't central and reasonable people can argue all day about who should bear the burden of the costs of frivolous malpractice lawsuits. However strengthening the laws and making them less open to abuse will lower the cost of malpractice insurance for doctors, which means they will have lower overall costs and not have to pay as much for their insurance in the case of doctors with their own practice, in the case of hospitals the issue is much the same, but simply magnified due to the number of doctors under the hospitals umbrella of coverage. Providing a tax incentive is a simple issue however, give people a way to recover some of the cost of getting insurance and it changes their cost/benefit calculus that occurs with every purchase. We don't need a huge government bureaucracy to implement any of this, in some cases the solutions I'm talking about here and conservatives as a whole have been suggesting for years would eliminate bureaucracies already in place, a nifty side benefit for the taxpayer since it would cut government spending.

Science!

NASA's Cassini orbiter has been taking pictures of Saturn and it's moons, studying seasonal weather patterns on the gas giant and it's satellite, a daunting task since it a single year on Saturn is equivalent to 30 years on earth. Regardless of this fact the Cassini orbiter has been bouncing around the big gas ball and recently swung down to take a look at Titan's south pole. I know, I know, hold the butt jokes for later people. The point is that Cassini has taken some really interesting pictures of a gaseous vortex that is massive in scale, possibly bigger than the whole of the United States. Scientists are unclear about how long this vortex has been forming or why it has appeared, but one thing that is clear is that between this and CERN's recent discovery it is a great time to be a nerd!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Nerd Fu

So, me and my friends have been dissatisfied with D20 Star Wars for a long time, there are some things it does well and some things it does horribly. I was talking with one of my friends, R., about using different rules sets for it and eventually we hit on the Omni System as something that could work fairly well. Since we don't own the Omni System book, just Talislanta, so working out conversions is a pain but so far there aren't any truly insurmountable issues. The Force works pretty well being represented in the same way the various modes of magic are and the mechanic is fairly clean. The big issue is converting gear, races and classes, none of it is difficult, but once you have the mechanics figured out the drudgery of applying them can be.... annoying. That is going to be the big problem, apparently I'm the number cruncher for this little side project.

Getting Fit

I'm kind of a health freak, that's not to say I look like a fitness model, but I try to keep trim. I'm only a few years from 30 so it's definitely harder than it used to be but generally I'd say I'm in better shape now than at 20 thanks to the work I've put in. A big part of it is keeping your routine from being too routine. Lately I've dropped push ups and running from my exercise regime and added more time doing martial arts forms, speedbag work, and the venerable military burpee. I first became aware of the burpee in the army and it is a great full body workout, the military variant is also called an 8 count body builder and is outlined below.

Military 8 count bodybuilder
  1. Squat with hands on the ground,
  2. Kick back your feet,
  3. Down for push up,
  4. Up for Push up,
  5. Kick feet back in,
  6. Stand up,
  7. Motion one of a jumping jack,
  8. Motion two of a jumping jack.

By repeating this simple, equipment free exercise you get a good, full body workout that develops cardiovascular health and muscle strength in a way that develops explosive power needed to generate force rapidly from a resting position. It's one of the best exercises I know for this purpose and it can be incredibly flexible, if you want to focus more on the shoulders and triceps you can change out the regular pushup of steps 3 and 4 for dive bomber push ups, or to focus on the chest, tricep and biceps make that standard pushup a "clap" pushup. You can add stress throughout the whole thing by wearing a weighted vest or even just a backpack with sandbags in it.

Well, that is my exercise tip, I should mention I'm not an M.D. and different bodies can handle different stresses so consult your doctor before starting a fitness program.

Human Helper Monkey

I've been working as the web admin for a local charity, really I should call myself the web monkey. The boss has me fixing issues with peoples personal laptops, debugging and cleaning components that have nothing to do with the charity. Why is it that people above a certain pay grade view everyone under them as labor and not people? Is it really just simple arrogance or what?

I've had this issue before, when I worked as part time handyman for a business I was always fixing things my boss there brought in, just to keep the peace, one time the guy even tried to get me to come to his house to fix a leak. Thankfully I was out of town at the time so he couldn't complain too much when I told no. I know it's not because I'm too nice to say no, I say no to people fairly often and my friends have called me an asshole enough times for it to be a valid descriptor, so why do my bosses view me as a human helper monkey?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Donnie and the Sea

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has an excellent article up at the Wall Street Journals website on why the U.N. should not hold preeminence in law enforcement on the seas. The main crux of the matter is that with 90% of all trade being moved over the sea at some point forfeiture of  a nation to police trade in hulls owned it's citizens amounts to a de facto acknowledgement of the supremacy of the international community. That de facto acknowledgement could easilly be argued as a case against a nation's ultimate sovereignty, while this has little legal ramification, circumstances that would cause the legal sovereignty of a modern nation are almost unthinkable after all, there is the issue of national prestige for Americans.

We are a nation that fought a war of rebellion to have the power of self determination, we aren't the French or Germans, the Swiss or the Belgians, who in the name of economic growth and multiculturalism bowed down and accepted the authority of the European Union, nor should we be so meek when it comes to our trade across water, we Americans are masters and commanders of our own fate and should refute the power of an organization so notably corrupt and venal as the United Nations when it comes to commerce over the waters. The Law of the Sea  Treaty was foolishness thirty years ago, and time has not lent it a veneer of wisdom!

I'm Going Out In Style

I have this whole fixation with death, most people would call it morbid. I call it motivating, when you are intimately aware of your own mortality it makes you more determined to live a life you can look back at at the end and go "You may bury me with an enemy in Mount Calvary You can stack me on a pyre and soak me down with whiskey Roast me to a blackened crisp and throw me in a pile I could really give a shit - I'm going out in style You can take my urn to Fenway spread my ashes all about Or you can bring me down to Wolly Beach And dump the sucker out Burn me to a rotten crisp and toast me for a while I could really give a shit - I'm going out in style." Because really, it is all about having people there at the end that love ya' and miss ya' and the only way to have that is to live. I know plenty of people with a bucket list, well, you never know when that bucket may get kicked and the worst is always a heartbeat away, make it one full of joy, experiencing something new. And Thanks to DKM for putting it so well in their song Going Out In Style.

Dumb Thugs

Three people were killed this weekend at a soccer tournament in Delaware... which is shocking because it is hard to fit soccer, Delaware and gun violence in the same though... when a trio of men walked up to one of the players, tapped him on the shoulder, and shot him in the chest as he turned around. A second player was shot in the head before the crowd returned fire. It's my opinion that this prevented further loss of life, excluding one of the scumbag gunmen who received multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the hospital, since the gunmen continued to fire rounds after killing what was presumably their target. Hooray 2nd amendment rights, boo thuggery!

Unemployment

According to Examiner.com analysis every state that elected a Republican Governor in 2010 reduced unemployment whereas states that elected a Democrat Governor held at the national average or had unemployment go up, such as New York multiple percentage points. So, cutting spending and reducing taxes doesn't work, huh? Thanks to Breitbart and Support Your Local Gunfighter for reposting the statistics either partially or completely. I know this won't shut up any smug, Keynesian economists but it does make a nice, tidy package of data to beat them over the head with, figuratively speaking.... though I could get it all inscribed on my clue-bat come to think of it.

Hate Mail

So, I haven't gotten any hate mail yet, so I'm going to write some of my own, in a move blatantly ripped off from Frank J. of IMAO. It may not be an original thought but the people I hate don't have very many of those either, and I'm atleast funnier than the politicos I so loathe.


Dear Joe,

I'm just sending this to ask how long it took you to chew through the spare kong ball that the president was using to muzzle you. I have several friends with dogs and know how tough those suckers can be so I have to say I'm impressed with the effort even if I find the thoughts you expressed after somewhat.... lacking in thought. Maybe that is all incidental though, it just occurred to me that you might have been worried about the president mistaking you for Bo at his next beer summit. Have you asked him what sort of sauce he uses on barbecued boxer? I have never eaten dog but I would suggest sriracha, sriracha works on everything. Maybe you guys should soak the HCR bill in the stuff when it gets repealed and Boehner is getting ready to shove it down your throats? Of course, that would take critical thinking skills and those don't seem to be your strength if the hair plugs are any indication Joe. The only way you could look more embarrassing to look at is if you raided Obama's closet for a pair of mom jeans. In closing, I hope you get lost at sea looking for Obama's mythical 57th state, you jowly old windbag, may your hairr plugs become swollen from trapped sweat and your throat become so hoarse you are deprived of your own unctuous voice.

Sincerely,
The Gentleman Punk

Monday, July 9, 2012

R.I.P. Ernest

Ernest Borgnine, born in 1917 to Italian immigrants, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, won an academy award in 1955, and became such a ubiquitous star that tallies of his roles are rarely complete, died sunday. He was one of the greats, a man with a big heart and a love for what he did and had a great sense of humor, according to those who knew him best he never took himself too seriously. Hollywood has lost one of it's greats.

Do They Make Swim Trunks With Cups?

See that? Well, according to a daily mail article  is that is in lake Lou Yaeger in Illinois and is called a pacu fish, they are native to New Guinea and are infamous for biting testicles off of men. The natives actually call the fish "the ball cutter" and these bad boys have even appeared on the british television program "River Monsters". Call me crazy but I'm not swimming anywhere that has a fish called the ball cutter. Nightmare fuel, I tell you.

It's Dusty In Here And I'm Cutting Onions.... Shut Up!

So I won't lie about being a sci-fi nerd, I've gone over that fact on this blog before. I loved Ron Perlman in Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Perlman is a great character actor and has played Beowulf and a vampire hunter in Blade 2. Still, there are a lot of actors who are immensely talented and huge assholes. Steven Seagal is a great example of this, I met him once and trust me, the world is at no risk of a douche deficit. Ron Perlman is getting written up for the right reason though as he made a kid's dreams come true by reprising his role as Hellboy.
Zachary loved his visit for two very special reasons. It was Zachary's wish to meet Hellboy and also to become Hellboy. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted Spectral Motion with this request, Mike thought it would be fantastic to have Ron Perlman reprise his role for the day. Ron loved the idea and donned the makeup once more (with the assistance of Lufeng Qu and Eden Elizalde) and also ordered a Hellboy sized meal of burgers, shakes, and fries for Zachary and his family and the entire Spectral crew to enjoy. Later in the day, Zachary was transformed into Hellboy with the assistance of makeup artists Lufeng Qu and Neil Winn. Both of the Make-A-Wish days were a complete thrill for the families of the children, as well as for the crew at Spectral Motion!

The above quote is from the geekologie  article, I just gotta say how cool it was that Zachary got to live the dream, and congratulate Perlman on such a classy move.

Old Songs Revisited

Ok, I have pretty odd musical taste, I admit it, stuff ranging from The Dubliners, to Lordi, from Billy Idol to Frank Sinatra and jumping from there to AC/DC. I was in a punk rock band briefly in high school and can still belt out a few tunes pretty well. Long and short of it? I love music. That being said there are some old songs that make me scratch my head, and one in particular is bugging me.

"Get Outta My Dreams" by Billy Ocean sounds like a typically innocuously up-beat 80's love song right up until you think about it. Ostensibly the singer has never seen this woman before and yet he is telling her to get out of his dreams and in to his car, sounds stalkerish and if I was a woman the guy that used that line would be getting a face full of mace a lot sooner than my phone number. Seriously, how much cocaine was everyone on back then?

A Good Cause Part 2

The blogger site for the Susan Duncan Defense Fund is up and they have a Google+ donation button. I highly recommend everyone take a look, they have a basic rundown of their current situation and why they need to money, and I can tell you personally from having interviewed Susan over a drink or two that she is a lovely woman.

Good To Know

In case of zombie five year olds, I am apparently safe as I can beat 34 five year olds in a fight. How many can you?


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Is Wayne Brady Gonna Have To Choke A Bitch?

Bill Maher keeps using Wayne Brady's name as some sort of code for a wimpy black guy when talking about the President and how he isn't scary or aggressive enough. Wayne Brady responded with the following rather amusing rant edited here for brevity...

But even Bill Maher — like, I’ve had Bill Maher twice now, when referencing Obama, he’s like, ‘Yeah, you know, with your Wayne Brady.’ So, that means it’s a diss to Obama to be called me because he wants a brother-brother, or what he perceives. Just because you fuck black hookers, just because you have that particular black experience....    Now, I’m not saying I’m Billy Badass, but if Bill Maher has his perception of what’s black wrapped up, I would gladly slap the shit out of Bill Maher in the middle of the street, and then I want to see what Bill Maher would do....  I’d get sued and lose my house and it’s not worth it for me, but the black man part of me would be so satisfied to slap the shit out of him in front of Cocoa and Ebony and Fox, the three ladies of the night that he has hired … and Fancy, who also happened to be named Tyrique at one point.
 Please Wayne, do it, this unfunny ass has been decrying conservative bigotry and hate while calling the daughters of candidates every filthy name in the book and inventing a few new ones for way too long. Someone has to take him down a peg and if you did it I know people would be lined up behind you.

Last Day

I'm pretty sure that anyone reading this knows about the DNS changer trojan that is supposed to knock out internet access for a lot of people, well today is the last day to check at here to see if you are infected because the FBI is taking down the backup server farms. Remember to check, either that or actually download your porn instead of streaming it.

Perez Hilton Takes A Shot at Adam Carolla

Kinda like my friend C. taking a swing at Mike Tyson, and C. is maybe 150 lbs. of snarky little asshole. Adam Carolla made some comments about women not being as funny as men in general to which Perez Hilton takes umbrage but I kind of agree with. Am I saying I'm going to be invited to a friar's club roast before Kathy Griffin? No, but women like her, Sarah Silverman, Lisa Lampanelli are all exceptions to the rule and for every funny female comic you name I can name a half dozen guys who are in the same arena as them. I'm not even going to say it is all down to nature, some of it is gonna be nurture.

Guys generally feel more comfortable pushing boundaries when we joke around because in a way it is expected. I know I've said some pretty horrible things to my best friends, including telling one of them I hope he gets raped by a honey badger, or making scheisse jokes when my friend D. who is uber-german got a glass coffee table for his new apartment. When it comes to comedy dirty is easy, shock can be effective, and for men there are fewer truly taboo topics. I don't know, maybe I'm taking it too seriously though, it could just be Perez being a nancy boy.

So I Missed A Day

Friday was a mess and I missed posting anything, so I'm going to put some things up today while I can, some serious, some hopefully not so much. I hope to piss at least one person off today.

Why Isn't This News?

Last month Jacqueline Gardner, a 24 year old waitress and mother of two was murdered outside of her apartment for the $85 in tips she had made that night working at Joe's Crab Shack by three thugs with a shotgun. As of the article I've linked to being published, two of the suspects have been apprehended with a third being in hiding. Police have shared information with the FBI and hope to bring the third gunman to justice.

My question is, why isn't this bigger news? It's an unprovoked attack by three men, who according to witnesses were of one race, attacking and killing a person of another race. I can only guess, but the old eyeball test says it is because it doesn't fit in with the Lame Stream Media's narrative of racial violence against blacks who according to witnesses claim performed this assault and killing of a white working mother.
They need to realize that until we can talk honestly about race the problems aren't going anywhere. According to the FBI's statistics, African Americans are targets of crime from within their own ethnic group than from outside of it, and target other ethnicities more often than they are targeted.

It's part of the thug culture and we all see it every day. It goes from the vile, misogyny and violence filled lyrics of rap and hip hop, the thug life glorifying ego vehicle movies of DMX and 50 Cent, to the race apologists in Eric Holder's Justice Department refusing to prosecute the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation during the last two series of elections. I'm not going to pretend to have an answer for how that came to be, or how to fix it, but until it is addressed we are going to have more Jacqueline Gardners and more Trayvon Martins, and a whole lot more assholes like me who can't ignore the difference.