Forgot your password?
User Journal

Journal: A Pretty Good Friday

Journal by mcgrew

For the last several years my Easter routine has been a three day celebration. On Good Friday I find somewhere to have Walleye for lunch, which isn't hard. Most places have it every Friday. Friday nights I like to find a bunch of Christians (not hard, most bars are filled with Christians) and get drunk with them on the blood of the lamb.

Saturdays I watch the only R-rated religious film ever made, The Passion of the Christ. Easter Sunday I attend church, where the services are so good that if it were a secular thing people would pay fifty bucks a ticket.

But yesterday was different. I'd gotten some snail spam from Xfinity/Comcast offering internet for twenty five bucks a month. I've been on AT&T for years, with only one complaint: they keep jacking up the price. It's risen from 24 to 51.

There was a box on my porch: Nobots. It was OK so I released it to the bookstores, it's supposed to show up in stores in six to eight weeks. The cover is slightly different from the copies you guys bought, those books will be worth something in a decade or two.

The cable guy, who wasn't Larry, seeing as how he not only wasn't a redneck, he was black, showed up fifteen minutes early.

I felt sorry for the fellow, because the whole exercise was a corporate bureaucratic clusterfuck. He asked what equipment was giving me trouble. "It's a new installation," I said. So he had to call the office to clear that up.

"It says here you have some Comcast equipment," he said. "Yeah, I replied, digging through a pile of electronic junk. "I had cable a few years ago and they never came to get the cable box. Here."

"It says here you have another piece of equipment."

"No, unless it's cabling or something. On the phone again he couldn't find out what the equipment was supposed to be. Considering they sent him with a repair ticket rather than an installation ticket, my guess was a clerical error. I have to call them and clear it up, I am NOT looking forward to it.

So he gets out a modem/router, which he calls a "Dory" or "Dorie" or something that sounded like that and plugs it in to the cable and my router and fires it up. The Linux box is running, playing oggs and MP3s so I pull up Firefox. "Looks like it's working," I say.

"Huh? That's impossible! I haven't activated the modem yet!"

The DSL modem was still running. Duh!

His "Dory" didn't work. So he unplugged the cable and plugged it into a piece of test equipment. "No signal," he says. He goes out back behind the house to change the connectors and test the signal there. He comes back in. "There's no signal going into your house. I have to climb up the pole anyway, I'll be back in a few minutes."

When he got back he announced that it had been disconnected at the pole. He hooked his gizmo up and announced that he had a signal.

But the modem still wouldn't work. "Darn," I said. "I was going to have some fish at Suzy-Q'a." By then it was noon; what should have been a routine installation taking no more than half an hour had placed roadblock after roadblock in front of the poor technician.

He said to go ahead, it would take a while to get hold of his supervisor, who was at lunch. He'd sit in the truck and try to figure it out.

I'd placed my order over the phone, so when I got there it was not only done, but had cooled enough to eat without burning myself.

When I got back, the installer said he'd found the problem, that I'd gotten the wrong modem and he had to go back to the shop but would only be gone a little while. I told him I'd probably be sitting on the porch with a beer when he got back. "Man," he said, "I'm sure looking forward to that!"

"After the day you've had? I'll bet! I know what it's like, man." He left to get a different modem.

Two Comcast trucks showed up, he and his supervisor, a nerdy looking fat white guy who wanted to know where the "start" menu was. "Right where it's supposed to be," I said, taking the mouse and clicking. "Oh," he said. "The icon's different."

He putzed around in its internet settings and couldn't make heads or tails of it. I told him I'd never had to mess with it, it's not like Windows. In Linux, you just plug it in and it works. He plugged his laptop in and couldn't get on the internet with it, either. So he went for the different modem, which was exactly like the first one. This one worked, except for the button that's supposed to bypass the wifi password. No problem, the password is on the bottom of the modem.

They got done about three. I guess I have to go down to AT&T to cancel my DSL, it was impossible over the phone.

Too big to fail? Too big to operate with any efficiency whatever is more like it. I feel sorry for their employees.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Sixteen 3

Journal by mcgrew

        When I woke up, all my muscles were on fire. We would have had to turn the ship around today, and in fact that's what was scheduled, except for the meteors and the drama that followed.
        Destiny was sleeping peacefully. I got up, thankful that we weren't at Earth gravity but wishing we had turned around for deceleration then, because they have it plotted so that you start the journey close to the planet you're leaving's gravity, and reach your destination close to that planet's gravity. We were at half Earth gravity now and it would gradually be lowering to Mars' gravity.
        The girls didn't like half Earth gravity, they were going to hate Mars. I guess these girls were being well paid or something, they sure were paying me good. Except that from what I'd learned about these women they probably just promised free drops. Drops were the addicts' only motivation, only goal, only thing that mattered to them.
        God but my muscles were all on fire. I sat down on the couch and had the robot make a cup of shitty coffee, my legs hurt. I had it bring me water and Naproxin and drank the lousy coffee. Yech. Why can't they program those damned things to make drinkable coffee? I should have went to college and learned programming.
        I only drank half of the nasty brew and hauled myself painfully to the shower. A hot shower would do wonders for my aching muscles.
        The hot water felt as good as the coffee had tasted bad. I took a really long one. It helped ease the pain, and the pill had started working some, too.
        I took one sip of the remaining cold, nasty coffee and started a pot. Damned stupid robots.
        I was just pouring a cup when Destiny came in. "John!" she said. "You look like hell!"
        "I feel like hell. All that damned climbing yesterday nearly killed me. And I still have to check the instruments and inspect the boat."
        "You did inspection yesterday. I thought inspections were weekly?"
        "Yeah, normally, but yesterday wasn't the least bit normal. I have to inspect that busted generator since it would have cooled enough by now, and the other one, too, since it's working harder now that there's only one."
        "Poor baby!"
        "Well, at least I don't have to inspect cargo today. Want to watch a movie later?"
        "Sure. Isn't it almost time to check your instrumentation?"
        "Yeah, it is." I kissed her. "See you in a while."
        I went towards the pilot room, which was really just outside my quarters. Yesterday I'd been wishing for a bicycle, today I was wishing for a cane.
        All the readouts were normal except one ï½ air pressure in the port generator was twenty kilopascal low. That wasn't a good sign at all, I was going to need a suit and tether in case a bulkhead blew while I was in there.
        I noted the log and stopped by our cabin... heh, "our cabin," how about that? Anyway I stopped to fill a bug mug and summon a medic.
        Medics are robots that look kind of like narrow tables with padded tops and appendages to measure bodily functions and administer medicine. Planetside they called them "gurneys" but everything is named different on a boat. Like port and starboard.
        I sat on the medic and ordered it to the port generator and got another robot on the fone to fetch the suit from the starboard hold where Destiny had gone out the airlock.
        After I'd suited up and tethered, the difference in pressure made it hard to get the hatch open. I tried a crowbar and couldn't even make it hiss. So I lowered the pressure where I was and the door popped open by itself. I took a floater with me to hunt for the leak.
        A floater is just a small balloon filled with helium with a small counterweight to make it gravity neutral. It goes where the air goes.
        I found where the air was escaping and patched it. Why can't they program robots to do that? Stupid robots, they could act as maids and medical doctors and all sorts of other functions but the damned things can't patch a hole or make a decent cup of coffee. At least they're cheap.
        The pressure was slowly rising so I sat on the medic and waited until it matched the rest of the ship so I could get out of the room. I hadn't needed the suit, but left it on just to keep my ears from popping.
        The gauge said pressure was normal so I tried the hatch. It opened easy, so I took off the suit and gave it to a robot and rode the medic back to my rooms.
        I was dying of thirst, even after downing that big glass of water when I took the naproxin. I said something to Destiny about it when I got back, taking another pill and drinking more water.
        She laughed. "You're dehydrated, dummy. You told me yesterday you thought you were going to drown in your suit from sweating. You probably need electrolytes, too."
        "And I'm hungry, I just didn't feel like eating when I got up. You hungry?"
        "I could eat. Robot eggs okay or do you want me to cook?"
        "No, robots cook okay as long as it doesn't involve coffee. How do you want your eggs?"
        "Ham and cheese omelette is okay, maybe with some hash browns."
        "Okay. Robot, a ham and cheese omelet, a Denver omelette, two hash browns and toast. No coffee!"
        Them damn robots suck at coffee, and they can't patch a hole at all. I'm glad they can cook.


User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Fifteen

Journal by mcgrew

        I started the long walk back to the pilot room wishing again for a bicycle or something.
        A robot wheeled past. Hell, I should just flag down a robot. But, of course there was a reason for not having transportation; I remembered the climb up the boat when the whores locked me out and how tiring it was. A body needs exercise and the most I was going to get on a boat with two-thirds gravity was walking.
        Destiny and Tammy were in the commons with a few other women; I say "women" because these were acting halfway civilized, despite their lack of clothing.
        "Done already?" Destiny asked.
        "No," I sighed. "Trouble. One of the generators blew out and we're off course again. I just saw you and thought I'd say 'hi', I can't stay. Too much damned work."
        "what do you have to do? How long will it take?"
        "I don't know. When I get us back on course I have to see what the robots are doing with the generator."
        "How bad is it?" Tammy asked. "How many generators are there?"
        "Only two. I wish this was an old tub, they originally had just one fission generator and got retrofitted with fusions. If our other generator dies it's batteries.
        "What then?"
        "We're late. But there isn't much chance of losing both generators. We'll be okay. But speaking of generators, I gotta go." I kissed Destiny and headed to the generator.
        It had cooled enough for the robots to go in to work, but was a bulkhead removed from where a human could tolerate it. I had two more engines I hadn't checked off so I inspected them. Of course, if there was anything wrong I'd have been clueless.
        The repair robots said the generator was shot.
        I walked past the commons to my quarters, Destiny and Tammy weren't in there although there were a few unclothed whores. Damn, ladies, put some pants on!
        Destiny and Tammy were in my living room drinking coffee. As I walked in, Destiny said "John, you're damned lucky Tammy's here."
        As I'd suspected. "You're supplying the drops," I said, sitting down.
        "The whores would have killed us without them."
        "How much you got?"
        "Enough to get to Mars?"
        "Don't worry. I know my chemistry, I know how much they need."
        I said "don't give any to the bitches in confinement."
        "You don't know what you're talking about. With drops they're harmless. Take them away, and well, it isn't pretty."
        I was confused. "What can they do locked up?"
        "They're liable to suicide."
        Crap. Losing cargo is a pretty bad thing.
        "Crap! Damn but I'm glad you're here. I'm going to suggest to the company that they send someone like you on all these runs."
        She laughed. "The company wouldn't want to spend the money necessary. The bean counters know how much loss is acceptable."
        Destiny said "I made coffee."
        "Thanks, but after the day I've had I want a beer."
        "I'm still trying to wake up," she said.
        "Yeah, you napped for a couple of hours after you went for a stroll outside. I would have thought the oxygen would have woke you up."
        "Actually it put me to sleep."
        Where the hell was that robot with my beer? "Robot! Beer, damn it, are you deaf?" A robot rolled over with my beer. I'm glad this boat has the older robots. The newer ones talk, and it's annoying as hell. If I want output from the computer I'll use my fone or tablet.
        Tammy said she had whores to study and excused herself. The robots made dinner and we watched some really dumb old movie from a couple hundred years ago, laughing all the way through it although they say when it was made, it was meant to be serious.
        Then we went to bed. I hoped tomorrow would be less stressful. My muscles all ached from the walking and climbing, I was going to be in pain the next day.

To Be Continued...

User Journal

Journal: The third time wasn't a charm.

Journal by mcgrew

I've hardly logged on to the internet at all this past week, too busy correcting a mistake software houses frequently do: Trying to rush a project out the door. The fact is, I'm tired of The Paxil Diaries, but I don't want to ship a flawed piece of crap.

The first copy had a messed up cover; my printer's "cover generation wizard" has an interface almost as bad as GIMP. I fixed it and ordered a corrected copy, and a day later as I was converting the .odt to .html I discovered that some of the chapter numbers were wrong and there were no page numbers. I fixed it, resubmitted it and thought "This time it'll be right."

Number three showed up bright and early Thursday morning. I started going over it with a fine toothed comb. Almost halfway through and I started to think I'd be able to release it. The weather got really nice so I decided to read it in Felber's beer garden.

I discovered I was far better at proofreading when I've had a few beers than sober. When I'm sober what the words are saying distracts me from the words themselves, and I read too fast and miss errors.

It was full of errors, many of them whoppers. I marked them drinking, and finished correcting this morning while sober and sent for copy #4. It may be available in a couple of weeks depending on if I find more errors when it comes. I'll upload the book's HTML and PDF versions as soon as I decide I can release it.

Meanwhile, I can get back to Mars, Ho! this week.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Fourteen

Journal by mcgrew

As I was floating back to the pilot room, Tammy was waiting outside her quarters, hanging from the doorway with one hand. "Is Destiny OK?" she said with a worried tone.

"She will be," I said. "A little anoxia." They'd warned us about anoxia in Captain's training and I'd seen it before. "She's in the infirmary getting oxygen. You can see her if you want but she was still unconscious when the robot took her."

"Thanks. I would have thought you'd have stayed with her."

"God knows I'd like nothing better, but I have to make sure we get to Mars alive. We're off course and I have to inspect the ship to make sure it isn't about to blow up or anything. Look, I gotta go," I said as I continued to the pilot room.

We were even farther off course than I'd feared. Now it was a matter of juggling speed and fuel usage to the company's specifications.

Back in the old days, way before my time, these boats weren't so automated. Crews were human rather than robot, and the Captain had to calculate all this stuff by hand, with their primitive computers helping.

Captains had to go to college back then, and some of the crew, too. The Captain had to figure out all that shit almost by hand; he needed to know calculus. Hell, I ain't even took algebra even though I could have in high school.

I made the adjustments the computer read out, and we had gravity again and were going the right way. I didn't look at what gravity was, and it was hard to tell since we'd been so heavy before weightlessness.

The empty crew's quarters were first, then cargo pens. I wondered why they call them that.

"Who is it?" a voice said at my knock. Presumably Kathy, which was the name on the doorplate.

"Captain Knolls. Ship inspection, you girls should be used to this by now."

"Yeah? You should be used to us telling you to fuck off, too."

"Door, open. I can lock you up any time I want, you know. I don't even need no excuse."

"I ain't got no drops, bitch."

I suddenly realized why they called them "pens". They were designed to house any species of animal, and a word Destiny had teased me for using came to mind.

Feral. From what I'd read of Tammy's book, some of these whores were more animal than human, especially when they didn't get their drops. It had driven Billie wild enough that she'd wound up blowing her quarters up, with her in it.

I sighed. "I hope you're lying. From what I found out I'm better off when you have them."

"Well, cough 'em up, Joe!"

I laughed, and replied "I ain't got no drops, bitch!"

I did wonder why they hadn't run out. Where were they getting them? They shouldn't have been able to get them onto the boat in the first place.

Billie's quarters were next. She, along with some fifty odd fellow cargo were confined for the duration. Of course, I just opened the door and entered, taser in hand. This would have been a "brig" back when Captains had diplomas.

The robots had done a good job, but they always did. Except for making coffee. They suck at that. But you couldn't tell that she'd almost burned to death. Well, except that her hair was really short and frizzly.


"I ain't got no drops, bitch."

"Whatever," I sighed, and inspected the quarters. It was obvious she was lying, her eyes gave her away. I wondered again where the drops were coming from.

After hearing "I ain't got no drops, bitch" so many times I didn't even hear it any more I went to inspect the infirmary, the one part of the inspection I looked forward to. I wanted to see how Destiny was.

Tammy was sitting there talking with her. "John!" Destiny said. "Tammy told me you saved my life."

I blushed, and grinned sheepishly. "It's my job."

Tammy laughed. "Bullshit, any other 'cargo' wouldn't have made it. Destiny almost died, and she would have if you weren't moving so frantically. God but you're fast!"

Destiny pulled me close and kissed me. "Thanks, Johnnie," she whispered, then said in a normal voice "go ahead and finish your inspection, I should be able to go home in half an hour. I'll meet you there."

I walked back to the starboard generator and wondered why in the hell I had to do this. I mean, I don't know anything about a fusion generator. There was a stairway to get there, as the generators and engines were on the "bottom" of the boat. It was the "bottom" because the ion engines pushing against the ship pushed everything else the other way. Something about "three laws of thermoses" or something but I think I was hung over that morning's training and don't really remember. Something about actions and opposite reactions or something.

I went over the checklist and checked the first engine. These things were huge and there were a lot of them. A hell of a lot of electricity went through those things.

I had two more engines to go when an alarm went off. "Damned whores, not now!" I thought.

But it wasn't the whores, it was the port generator and I couldn't get in; the computer said it was an inferno in there. Hell, that damned thing should have shut down automatically. I pulled the breaker and there was a sort of thump. Damn. Another trip to the pilot room, we were going to be off course again.

It would have to cool before the robots could start repairing it, if it was repairable at all. Damn, if the other generator went out...

I called Destiny. "Honey, I'm really sorry but this is going to take a while."

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirteen

Journal by mcgrew

The cargo hold door was open. That wasn't right, that door should always be closed. I went in, scared to death about Destiny, straight for the airlock.

The outside hatch of the airlock was open, which meant somebody was outside the boat. That relieved me a little, I'd worried one of the whores had thrown her out the airlock without a suit. But the open hatch said that thankfully hadn't happened

It also said that I wasn't getting outside here. Thankfully there were three airlocks that doubled as boat docks. One was for the Captain's houseboat connected to the pilot's room, and the other two were at opposite ends of the ship. Sometimes dozens of ships coupled like this traveled together. It's supposed to be cheaper that way for big loads.

I flew as fast as I could to the other wing, put on a suit and went through the other docking airlock, closing it behind me.

The climb on the skyscraper-like boat was a lot easier without gravity. It was probably stupid of me but I was in a hurry to get to Destiny, who was probably dying by now so I didn't bother with tethers, I just moved as fast as I could. My God but this woman was my life! The thought of losing her... I climbed faster.

I kept trying to call her on the suit radio, knowing it was useless. Her radio probably wasn't even turned on or she would have tried to call me rather than following me out.

I finally made it around to the airlock she'd left open and saw her floating about six or so meters from the boat. I hooked two tethers to a rung next to the airlock and one to my suit and pushed off towards her. She wasn't moving and that worried the hell out of me, if she was conscious she'd be thrashing around in a panic. She was obviously out of air.

You would think climbing a tether without gravity pulling at you would be easy. You'd be wrong.

There's no gravity but there's still mass. There was the mass of two humans and two suits, which weren't all that light. I climbed the tether to the lock and pulled her in behind me.

Finally inside the airlock I shed my gloves and her helmet. She took a big gasp of air - she was alive! I got our suits off as the medical robot wheeled her away with an oxygen mask on her face.

I floated back to the pilot room to make the course correction. The ship's inspection would be a little late today.

I should have inspected the ship first.

User Journal

Journal: Progress update

Journal by mcgrew

I've been a little busy this week, too busy to spend much time soylenting. I've only written about three more paragraphs of Mars, Ho!; I've been working on Nobots and The Paxil Diaries. The Paxil Diaries was waiting on my porch when I got home from Patty's Tuesday evening, and boy was it a mess. I've mostly been working on it. It's funny how much easier it is for me to notice mistakes on paper I miss on screen.

I finished editing it again last night and am waiting for another copy, which they haven't shipped yet. When it comes I'll go over it again, upload the revisions and buy another copy. It may be green outside before you can get a copy after all.

Nobots needed more sales outlets, so I worked on that, too. You should be able to get it at bookstores in a few weeks. If you bought a copy last year, you may own a rare book. If my name is on the bottom right of the front cover instead of right under the title, you have one of fewer than two dozen copies. It should be worth something in a decade or so.

I may work on the Mars book today, but then again I might just take the day off, take the computer to Felber's and watch Cosmos on Hulu since channel 55 was off the air last night; their web site said there was equipment failure. And drink beer in the beer garden and listen to music and enjoy the 65 degrees they're forecasting.

Or maybe sweep the floor... nah.

User Journal

Journal: A Pleasant Vacation 2

Journal by mcgrew

I'd planned on traveling to Cincinnati last Monday to visit my daughter and came down with the flu. I called Patty and told her it would be the next Monday; she works full time and is a full time student at Cincinnati State, and Monday is the only day she has off.

I looked her address up on Google Maps. It looked pretty easy to find. "Don't trust Google," Patty said. "They're doing road construction and it will try to send you down a road that's closed. Take the Hoppit exit, turn right and I'll meet you at the Shell station.

My nose was still producing copious amounts of snot, I was still coughing up lots of mucus but felt a hell of a lot better than I had last week. I woke up about 5:30 Monday morning, did my morning routine functions, especially coffee, one function of which was checking my phone. Three missed calls and a voicemail from Patty. I called, knowing she wouldn't answer because she's never awake that early and left a message that I was on my way and to call when she woke up.

I have a big laptop bag and a small laptop; the bag had cost me $5 and came with a broken laptop. I put spare clothing, charging accessories in it and loaded it, my battery jumper, and Patty's cat's ashes in the car.

I had a half tank of gas and figured it would get me to Indiana, where fuel would surely be cheaper. After all, it's a red state and Republicans hate taxes, right? No such luck, I was down to an eighth of a tank by the time I reached Bloomington.

It's a little frustrating that Cincinnati is southeast of Springfield, but you have to go northeast to get there unless you want to drive over three hundred miles of two lane road with 30 to 45 MPH speed limits and lots of stop signs and so forth. It would take forever that way.

Gas was a nickle cheaper than Springfield; $3.55. I put twenty bucks in, figuring I'd fill up in Indiana and started on my way again. I had my phone plugged into the car stereo for times there was no music and I'd heard all the CDs, which I'd neglected to change before I left. There was a rest area so I stopped to urinate and change CDs. I checked the phone; Patty had called. I called back, and again she warned me about Google.

Apparently people from Illinois aren't welcome in Indiana, as the usual "Welcome to [state]" sign was nowhere in evidence. The only way I knew I'd crossed state lines was that the pavement got a lot worse. I-74 had apparently been badly neglected for years in Indiana, except for a stretch by Indianapolis. Gasoline was more expensive than at home.

The sun was shining, the pavement was dry, and there was little traffic. "Welcome to Ohio!" the big sign proudly proclaimed in bright graphics as the pavement improved. I reached Cincinnati and the traffic was terrible. I-74 East split into I-75 north and south; I guessed south but wasn't sure. I pulled over to the shoulder and called Patty to make sure I wasn't going the wrong way. I wasn't.

The next exit was the Hoppit exit. I met Patty at the gas station. "You shaved!" she said.

"Yeah, my upper lip hasn't seen the sun since before you were born." Patty had never seen me completely shaven; most of her life I've had a beard, or at least a mustache when my chin hair went gray.

"I don't like it," she said, frowning."

"Neither do I. I'm growing it back this fall." I noticed the gas cap door on her car was open as she pulled out and was about to honk to let her know when she pulled over and shut it.

We got to her apartment and we hugged and I shook her fiance's hand an gave Patty the metal box and envelopes. I hadn't opened one of them, which had come from Coble Animal Hospital. I'd thought it contained Princess' ashes but they called a week later to inform me I could pick her up.

"Ooh, this is a pretty box," she said. "What's in it?"

I still can't believe I spent over three hundred dollars for a dead cat, part for the vet to tell me she was dying and part to have her cremated, since the ground was frozen and I couldn't bury her. I discovered that animals and humans are cremated in the same crematorium, which is why it's so expensive. If Little One dies in the winter I'm storing her in a deep freeze until the ground thaws.

Patty opened the unopened envelope and started crying. It was a plastic placard that read "PRINCESS" and had her paw prints in it. No, I guess I didn't spend $300 on a dead cat, I spent it on my daughter. "Put this with Calie under the tree," she instructed. "When you move, take it and Calie's grave marker with you."

Colby had planned on making Reuben sandwiches for lunch but the corned beef was still frozen. "Let's go to Chick Filet," he said. "OK," I replied,"but then Patty needs a phone." Her iPhone had been broken for months, its screen cracked. And she'd liked my phone and especially liked my low phone bill.

We had chicken sandwiches and went to Best Buy. The price of the phone was half what I'd paid for mine. She was trying to decide between it and a more expensive one with a front facing camera but decided she liked the idea of it being waterproof and resistant to shock.

"Lets buy a TV while we're here" she said to Colby. After they talked for a while she said "well, I'm buying a TV. I have the money." They have an old twenty two inch tube TV that doesn't work and a little nineteen inch widescreen.

But she didn't like the prices so we went to H.H. Gregg, whose prices were no better than Best Buy's. Best Buy's crack Geek Squad couldn't activate Patty's new phone so we took it home and did it ourselves.

I'd bought Gravity, which had come from Amazon amazingly the day before it was supposedly released for sale. It was a "combo pack" with a DVD, Blu-Ray and download. I'd brought the Blu-Ray for Patty, and we watched it using her Playstation and little TV set.

None of us had seen the previous night's Cosmos so she fired up Hulu plus on the Playstation. After watching it and an episode of Doctor Who I decided that I wanted Hulu Plus.

The next morning she gave me a big bowl of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, and two T shirts. One was almost a joke; a St. Patrick's Day Reds shirt. The other was hawking some video game, a nerdy shirt I'll wear proudly.

She wanted to see how badly Google would have set me astray so I gave her my phone. She was amazed. "They got it perfect, that's how I told you to go." I loaded up the car, we said our goodbyes and I set off on the long journey home.

The trip home was as unpleasant as the trip there had been pleasant. First, I missed my turn to get on I-74. Five miles later I got on I-75, saw I was headed to Dayton and took the next exit. I stopped at a gas station, got gas, and consulted the map.

It would be nice of these things came with manuals. I think it ironic that everything used to have a detailed manual when technology was primitive enough you didn't need one, and now that interfaces have only icons and no way to discern WTF they mean, they don't. Let's see, looks like I go that way...

The radio was playing commercials so I switched it to the phone to listen to KSHE. The disk jockey started giving directions! "Go west on" whatever street the gas station was on "point seven miles and turn right." It wasn't KSHE, it was Google Maps. It easily got me back on I-74 north and it wouldn't shut up so I switched back to the radio.

Traffic was horrible; a semi that read "TARGET" zoomed past me doing at least twenty miles above the speed limit and almost made me miss my exit. Looks like it isn't just their IT that could use more training.

A little green sign with white lettering said "Welcome to Indiana". It started snowing. Twenty miles later visibility was poor, and twenty minutes after that the pavement was covered.

It was a miserable trip. The snow stopped around Indianapolis and the traffic was almost as bad as Cincinnati. Halfway to Illinois the wind started blowing. A couple of semis almost got blown off the highway.

Gas in Bloomington was $3.49.

When I got home there was a box on my doorstep; The Paxil Diaries had arrived. I'd screwed it up terribly. So you still can't have a copy yet...

User Journal

Journal: Nobots News

Journal by mcgrew

If you're the owner of a copy of Nobots, you now own a rare book. Fewer than two dozen were printed. If you don't yet have a copy, the price is a little higher.

When I originally published I was brand-new to all of this. I guess I still am. Until now the only place it was for sale was Lulu; I hadn't properly registered its ISBN and the bar code on the cover was wrong (Lulu put it there).

When I was readying The Paxil DiariesI got better at navigating Lulu's interface and figured out how to add one of my ISBNs and get it for sale at Amazon, B&N, etc., and get it listed on Google Book Search. I fixed the front cover, too. It now looks like it does on my web site.

Those fewer than two dozen copies will be worth quite a bit in a few years. I worked with a fellow named (iirc) Dave Luttrell a couple of decades ago when computers were expensive. His sister won the lottery and fulfilled his dream of writing a book about his time in the Vietnam jungles. She bought him a computer for him to write it on, and a small local publishing house published it.

There was only a single printing, I don't know how big the print run was, but the local library had a copy. Interesting book, could have been better edited.

Years after I'd last seen Dave, Amy was telling me about her late uncle who had written a book about Vietnam and I realized that Dave was Amy's uncle. She was wishing she had a copy of his book and tried to find one.

The Elf Shelf, a used bookstore here, had a waterlogged copy for $250. So hang on to those books!

No sooner than I'd ordered a galley proof of The Paxil Diaries when I found a huge blunder -- a lot of chapter numbers were wrong and there were no page numbers. That's now fixed, and barring any further stupidity on my part you should be able to get a copy in a few weeks at the latest -- they shipped the galley proof three days ago.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Twelve

Journal by mcgrew

The damned alarm woke me up. Damn them whores... but it wasn't whores, it was a meteor shower. Fuck. I went to the pilot room.

The meteors were tiny but when you're going fast, well, when a meteor shower is coming you want to slow down.

Or speed up. Usually it was slow down but not this time. I spoke into the fone. "Attention, passengers and cargo. Prepare for higher gravity in ten seconds." Ten seconds later I gradually added thrust. We were almost at Earth-normal now, and man it was not the least bit comfortable. I felt like I weighed a ton.

After these long interplanetary trips it was customary to spend a month or more in a gradually faster centrifuge until 1.3 normal. After a few days of this, Earth felt pretty good.

Right now it wasn't too comfortable, but we had to outrun those rocks. We'd be at .85G for the next hour. It looked like I was going to be up early today, I had inspection in two hours. I was glad we'd gone to bed early instead of drinking, this would have been hell with a hangover. I went to my quarters and made coffee, wishing again that robots could make decent coffee.

I flipped on the video and saw the last quarter of the zero-G football semifinals. That's one hell of a sport. Too bad Memphis lost.

I was wishing we were back to half gravity again, just sitting here was tiring. When the game was over I headed back to the pilot room.

I couldn't get in, over fifty angry whores were blocking the hallway. "You're all going to be confined if you don't let me through."

One of them laughed. "You and whose army? You think you can take us all on?"

I pulled out my taser. Most of them laughed. "Go inspect your boat, Joe." I don't know why the whores call me that, they know my name. The woman continued. "This full gravity is great, Joe, and we ain't givin' it up!"

"Look," I said, "this acceleration is going to need a course correction. I have to get in that pilot room!"

"Fuck off, Joe." Scattered giggling from the whores. I turned around and slunk off to the cargo area. I sure wasn't looking forward to this.

Damn but the cargo area was a lot longer off than at half G. I finally got there, suited up, and went through the airlock.

My God but I was scared. With the boat's acceleration it was like hanging from the side of a skyscraper. With weights on you. In a space suit with clumsy gloves.

I hooked the A tether to the highest rung I could reach and climbed. When the tether was below me I hooked the B tether above and unhooked the A tether.

I don't know how long it took me to get to the houseboat. I had to stop and rest a few times. I was sweating so hard I was afraid I'd drown in my suit.

I finally got there, went inside, and pressurized it. I took off the suit and went through the dock into the pilot room, pulling the suit in behind me. I was soaked in sweat, I wouldn't have been wetter if I'd been caught in a thunderstorm on Earth.

All my muscles ached, on fire. Them whores was going to be floating in a minute, I was really pissed off. I strapped into the pilot chair and killed the thrusters. The asteroid threat had long since passed and we'd been at high G way too long. Damn, our trajectory was way off.

Well, I'd fix that later. Right now I had a bunch of whores to lock up, and I wasn't about to be gentle. I was hurting like hell from the climb, I stunk, I was really pissed off at those damned whores and almost hoped they'd give me an excuse to tase them.

I was also looking forward to a shower. I was nasty.

I checked the monitor - they were all still outside the pilot room, floating, guarding it from me, ignorant of how the houseboat was docked to the ship. I wonder what went through their heads when we started floating?

I pulled out my taser and went outside. "All of you worthless bitches, hands behind your backs or God damn it I'm going to tase the shit out of you!"

This time they complied. It took half an hour to get them all cuffed and another half hour to get them to their rooms. I stopped by my quarters to make sure Destiny was OK.

She wasn't there. I knocked on Tammy's door. She opened it and said "You're probably looking for Destiny."

"Yeah, you seen her?"

"She was worried about you. She was heading toward the cargo bay right before we lost gravity."

Holy hell, I hoped she hadn't gone outside the boat to find me. If she did, she was probably dead, or would be soon.

I kicked off as hard as I could towards the cargo hold, flying as fast as I could.

Continues, probably tomorrow. I want to thank rk again for pointing out an embarrassing typo in the last chapter. I'm not going to edit the online drafts, but it's been fixed in the manuscript.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Eleven 2

Journal by mcgrew


I woke up before her for once. I took a shit... hey, you wanted everything, right? Started the coffee because the robots really suck at making coffee, and got dressed. I was just taking my first sip when the doorbell rang. It was Tammy.

"Hi, uh Destiny invited me for coffee."

"Come in. She's still asleep, I'll get you a cup."


"Uh," I said, handing her a cup, "Destiny says you're a psychologist and a, uh I forgot. You're not a whore, you're studying them.."

"Did destiny tell you that?"

"She didn't have to. I ain't went to college but I ain't stupid, I can add two and two and get something between three and five. It's obvious."

"Is it?"

"Yeah, I wondered how you got the money for a ticket, but shit, you got two doctorates. You ain't gotta look for work."

"Nope. Want to know about my studies?"


"Jesus, you're a dumbass. I'm studying drug abuse and prostitution and you have two hundred drug addicted whores on board! Do you want an education, dumbass?"

I felt like a dumbass. "Yeah, I guess it might help."

"Here," she said, giving me a small memory chip.

"What's this?"

"Just read it. Don't worry, anything you don't understand I can explain."

Shit, I hate reading. That's one thing where me and Destiny are different, she loves reading. "Well, you had me fooled when I met you."

She laughed. "I study them, you don't know them at all. Don't let them know they're being studied or the study will be ruined."

"I'm discrete. Guess I have some studying to do."

"It'll save you a whole lot of trouble. I have some studying to do myself," Tammy said. "Tell Destiny to drop by when she wakes up. I'll be in the commons."

I put the chip in the tablet and started reading.

After reading for an hour and a half I had to put the tablet down. I was in trouble. No wonder they was paying me so good.

Most of these girls were abused and sexually molested as children, most of them raised in foster care. Many and maybe most were children of criminal parents; thieves, often very violent. They were the kids society allowed to be ruined for life.

It was sad. Most of them were droppers. There's a chemical name for drops in Tammy's book but I'd have to look it up.

These girls hated sex, having a normal sex life was ruined in their childhoods when they were molested and abused. But drops made the whores enjoy getting fucked. Most of them had never had an enjoyable sexual experience until they put a drop in an eye before work.

There were other psychoaffective (and yeah, I had to look that and lots of other shit up when I read that damned book) stuff. Her book had a lot of other big words like neurotransmitters and I just kind of glossed over them, I ain't went to college or nothing.

I gathered the whores just stayed really fucked up.

And the drug was highly addictive physically as well as in worse ways. It made the user the opposite of pissed off when under the influence. When that was taken away, well... it ain't pretty.

"Damn," I thought, "Addiction must be a bitch" as I got another cup of coffee.

It seemed I was in for serious trouble.

User Journal

Journal: Fifteen years ago...

Journal by mcgrew

I've been busy working on "Mars, Ho!" lately. There should be a new chapter posted in a week or two. So for now, here's some crap from the last century, this month fifteen years ago. It tells a tale of how to decimate a popular site: be a web gypsy.

There is mention of a weekly column I wrote for Kneel over at Katalystic called "The Weak End Hell hole", but the wayback machine has no clue it ever existed. Those columns are gone, lost in time, like tears in the rain...

Host gibs Fragfest
        I was about to write, "It appears that gameplex is gone, as in 'won't be back'", when I recieved an ICQ informing me that ugn3d (gameplex's host) got a new, unnamed owner. The new owner dumped gameplex and all sites that gameplex hosted. Gameplex will be moving to a new server and will get their own server later.
        So, I don't think the Fragfest will be moving from this address unless I die or change ISPs. I've too much of being hosted; the short URL isn't worth it. 3/1/1999

Fragfest joins the game
        My apologies to all the folks who have been trying to access the archives (Old Strogg's Home earlier than mid January), and who have run across dead links and broken graphics in the other Fragfest pages.
        I apologize also to my link buddies for putting up with a site change to gameplex and back.
        I also want to apologize to Neil, who is still waiting for that "Silicone Drive" banner I promised. Considering how long it's taking, I'd better make it extra pretty. Guess I'd need to have the Quake Guy wear a little lipstick.
        Speaking of Kneel, he really wants the Fragfest over at, so will soon get you here. The "url from hell" will remain working from now on, though.
        And thanks to Flamethrower, for changing the link back to the "URL from hell" before I even knew gameplex was shitbombed! 3/2/1999

FamVid got squished
        If you found that the Fragfest was missing again today, it was because my ISP was down for a few hours to put in a couple of T1 lines. It's all your fault, too, and I want to thank you! Now, call some friends and tell 'em about us and see if we can clog their bandwidth enough to make 'em install a couple more. 3/3/1999

Shinola frags Steve
        "Psst, buddy, wanna shoeshine?"
        "Uh, I'm wearing tennis shoes." He flashed a goneplex logo.
        I put my tennis shoe on the, uh, whatever you call that thing you put your shoe on to get it shined. I slipped him a five. "Whaddya know?"
        He looked at the five. "Not Much. You're not going to like it."
        I slipped him a ten.
        Twenty dollars later I was still wondering whether or not to believe it.
        It seems that someone had planned some sort of party for later this month, and had so much alcohol and explosives for the fireworks display, most of it had to be stored somewhere else.
        A spark from a stray smoker caused the demise of an entire city block.
        "So where does gameplex fit it?"
        "Gameplex? Who's gameplex?"
        If you know anyone who would like a nice, shiny pair of sneakers, I'm giving these away.
        UPDATE: Two emails from two guys, the first reading "Don't jump to conclusions", and the second saying "that shoeshine guy is lying, and btw he gives you a crappy shine." 3/6/1999

Slipgate died
        One year ago today, the "haste does not bring success" sign went up. In honor of the occasion, I am not going to post today. Huh? I did? Oh, never mind. BTW, you missed the fireworks. Oh, and I think there's a new Weak End Hell Hole posted at Arcadia. 3/9/1999

Jazz Jackrabbit can't escape Dad's shotgun
        "Hey Dad, did you know you were famous?"
        Daughter Patty ran across some of you guys playing Jazz Jackrabbit 2 yesterday. Talk was about her Quake-crazy dad, and the fellows asked for a name. When she said "Steve" they said "McGrew? From the Springfield Fragfest? No wonder you're so good!"
        Actually, Patty's butt-kicking sk1llz are her own, and if I ever played that rabbit game I'd probably get my sorry old butt stomped pdq. My own Quake sk1llz are waning, what with all the work, having the flu, getting used to the new config, campers, bots... let's see, what other lame excuse can I come up with for sucking...
        Yesterday, in addition to being the one year down day for Slipgate, was Patty's birthday. So, thanks for giving her a cheap thrill.
        Hey, thanks for coming by! Now, where'd I put that shotgun? 3/10/1999

Counter sank
        I'm sure you don't mind a bit, but yesterday was this year's record low visitor count (so far... shudder). Not even half a gross (and I hate days when the Fragfest isn't totally grossed out).
        I sent an email to Old Man Murray asking him if he's seen my missing visitors. No response from the Postal Terror, so I think he's got 'em. I'll have to send Nacho over there with a few sticks of dynamite.
        When I went to GamePlex, a few of you got lost. When gameplex suddenly disappeared from the face of the net, the counter dropped like a rock. It was up to half normal earlier in the week when Planet Quake and Yello gave a link (thanx, guys!), but it's just me and you loyalists now. Do me a favor, write Blue asking "hey, whatever happened to the Springfield Fragfest?"
        I'm about ready to put your picture on a milk carton. 3/11/1999

Nacho joined the game
        Nacho, fellow victim of the evil IGN and their destruction of gameplex, told me last night that Nacho Extreme is almost ready to post. Gameplex has a server, but still doesn't have their domain, so Nacho is posting at his old Arsonist haunts.
        I'll give you the URL as soon as he has it up. 3/11/1999

Quake 2 mod sank like a rock
        The newest Quake 2 mod, "Unpronounceable Sword Thang" as Yello puts it, weighing in at 35 megs (Canadians are laughing and thumbing their noses at Yanks and Brits) was released last night, and soundly trashed by the reviewers at Planet Crap.
        To quote my daughter, "Nya Nya Nya Nya Nya, I know what the logo means in Japanese and you don't". Actually, I'd tell you, but "I can't post because it's not perfect yet" Nacho went to a lot of effort to figure it out, and he'll need a few visitors when he opens.
        A big thank you to Neil for the p1mpage on yesterday's Yello page (which is where the "sword thang" link takes you). Judging from the counter, quite a few folks said "hey! A real link!"
        UPDATE: Nacho Extreme is open! 3/13/1999

User Journal

Journal: Coming soon: The Paxil Diaries 3

Journal by mcgrew

Ten years ago K5 was thriving, and my diaries got popular there. Folks wanted me to make a book out of them, and I promised I would.

I never got around to it, despite people periodically nagging me to. I finally did put together a PDF. I'd excised much of it, thinking it was too long, and emailed copies to those who asked.

Last Fall when I released the hardcover of Nobots I was again chided to get The Paxil Diaries on cellulose.

I'd discovered that no, it wasn't too long at all, and the abridged version was too short. So I redid the whole thing. I've been working on it almost exclusively for months and neglecting Mars, Ho! which I haven't done anything to since fall.

All that's left before publication is making a cover. The cover is the sticking point. It's going to be a photo of downtown Springfield with Betty Boop photoshopped in, and I'm waiting for Springtime to take the photo.

So if you're one of those who have been urging me to release a physical book, I'm projecting sometime in April.

User Journal

Journal: Nobots: The whole book is now online! 3

Journal by mcgrew

Get it here!

So why did I move the release date up? Readers! Or rather, a reader. A fellow commented "Damn you! I went to see what your book was about and before I knew it I'm on chapter 7 and feel the urge to finish it tonight (otherwise I wont sleep). I've had plans for tonight..."

I'd just gotten my first check for books that had been sold the day before, but comments like that are even better than the check. I mean, I didn't write it to make money, I wrote it to be enjoyed. I walked around with a smile on my face all day and thought "gee, I need to let that poor fellow finish the book." So now you can!

If you're using FireFox to read it, PDF isn't the version to choose since FireFox sucks at rendering PDFs. It is, however, faithful to the printed version. Actually it was used to produce the printed version, and there may be some words in the HTML versions that should be italicized but aren't, I've found and fixed one or two but I'm sure I've missed some. Also, the PDF and printed versions are Gentium Book Basic while the HTML versions are Times New Roman. There is one passage that is Aral and renders funky in the HTML, and later in the book there's a Venusian nursery rhyme that is Comic Sans Serif in the printed and PDF versions.

I haven't posted the e-book version yet because I'm not satisfied with it.

If you select single file HTML (which you can download, of course) the screen will change only slightly, with links to PDF and e-book missing. Links to chapters are internal links.

I hope you folks enjoy it, that's why I wrote it.

User Journal

Journal: Nobots Chapter Thirty One

Journal by mcgrew

Online now.

"Let's go back fifteen years and play some Quake!"

I groaned. "Fifteen years ago this month? NO! Hell, no, dammit Rority. That was a hell of a time. I'd been hosted for two months and lost half my visitors in the move, then my host got hacked and the place kept crashing and just disappeared in a black hole..."

"Oh, sorry," he said. "My bad; GamePlex was a mistake Gumal and I had to fix. But you recovered!"

"Yeah, after being kidnapped and tortured. I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition. No, I'm not going!"

"Your So You Want To Be a Webmaster, too article is gone, but we had nothing to do with that."

"Where did it go?"

"The Vogons destroyed Planet Quake to make way for a new interplanetary bypass. Let's go!"


"We're going, and that's that."

Desatio frags 100
        Spew #100 came out last night, a live show with people there. Hear Desiato sing for the last time!
        He posts news of his and Yello's new "Arcadia" project- with a live link.
        Of the occasion, Sgt. Hulka said, "Holy giant butt zits Batman!"
        In other web nooze, Evil Avatar redesigned the Weakly Web - again. It has an "Illinois weather" theme; if you don't like it, wait a few minutes and it will change. 2/16/1999

Games can't escape GameSpy's BFG
        Version 2.08 is out- and I can't get it yet; all the ftp servers are full. When I finally do snag the sucker, you can get it here, where the server is never full.
        The GamePlex problem still isn't solved, so until I can access the Get Quake page again I'll have the new GameSpy on the main page... at least, when this REGISTERED USER actually gets a copy!
        UPDATE: It's downloaded, and is uploading as I type. Get the new GameSpy here. 2/17/1999

Yello frags Kneel
        In addition to Grannies, Yello admitted today to kidnapping Kneel Katalystic, and says he may release him. He has also kidnapped YOUR T-shirt, and demands that a ransom of (I think) $25 U.S. for delivery of your shirt be sent to:
Gimme Back my Yello shirt!
26 Claverham Park
BS49 4LR
Yello plans to buy out Planet Quake with the proceeds.
        He also accurately misquotes PQ's "So you wanna be a web guy, huh??? Well think again loser boy!!" article (twice), has some quack 3 screen shots you don't want to miss, and has a GIANT interview. 2/17/1999

Fragfest should have used a smaller gun
        *sigh* I still can't log on; sounds like Flamethrower's troubles with Planet Quake last November. Again, I apologize; but I've at least mirrored the OldStuff page on FamVid's server so I could shorten this one.
        There are new links on the Links page, and a new command on the Commands page, but you'll have to wait until I can access gameperplexed again for the update. 2/19/1999

Kneel frags Yello
        In a stunning move, Kneel escaped from Yello's clutches, wrestled his weapon (a banana, I think) away, and kidnapped Yello. Yello had a backup weapon (a moldy dish rag), and each is keeping the other at bay, argueing about who is kidnapping who (or is that "whom"? Whom cares, anyway?)
        At any rate, the new Kat page may be back as soon as this weekend. Regular contributors are Yello, Kneel, Tron (3D Gamer's Edge), Morgan Parry (TenFour), Desiato (Spew), and Tom Cooney (I think "the Grin Reaper", but I'm not sure). I may contribute something once in a while if I can get my muse to stand still. Kat's new page is big and unfinished, and I have no idea how they're going to pull it off by this weekend. Maybe they'll use Yello's overcooked Puntyum 3 timewarp processor and force hundreds of alternate Ben Siskos to do the work.
        The new page will have, among other stuff: Editorials, Articles, Interviews, Game Reviews, Girl Gamers, Top Ten, Audiocadia (real audio? dunno, the link led to "AOL, er, 404 file not found". I said it wasn't done), Mod Reviews, Cheat Codes (blood 2 was up), Files, free Advertising for us po' folk that can't afford Planet Quake, Links, Give-aways, Stumble Throughs, and a weekly column by the captive Yello, who Kneel now has trapped in a bottle. 2/19/1999

Nacho Extreme joins the game
Nacho Extreme died

        Mail from Nacho- Nacho Extreme ain't gonna happen. Bummer too; it was a good page. He interviewed me, too. 2/18/1999 Update- Nacho Extreme will be here sooner or later; ok, later. Nacho is playing some game and helping to fix Gameplex. 2/19/1999

Hacker frags Gamesmania
        I finally got ICQ working again, and boy, are there a lot of messages! This one was among them: "okay, logins work for sure now. they've been up constantly since i last reset ownership. one of the reasons they were down is because gamesmania got hacked. and i also have heard of other instances of attempted hacks into the gameplex network. so you guys watch your backs. take care." 2/20/1999

Kat frags you
        Update to yesterday's post- The Grin Reaper's page is up, but not yet public. The Grin Reaper is a young Canadian named Brian Griffith who has "a bad habit of designing levels", so I guess when the Kat page is opened to the public, his link will be in the "mods, levels, etc" part.
        They're making great headway on the Kat page, they may just get it done after all! 2/20/1999
        UPDATE: It's finished! I hope they get all those Ben Siskos back to whatever weird dimensions they came from. I also hope he has a use for the ten million copies of Shakespeare's Hamlet all those monkeys wrote.
        See the new Kat page here 2/20/1999 (later)

Fragfest Disconnected
        I got access to Gameplex today, but don't know for how long. There are a few new links, and if you want to witness the Borg assimilating Quake, check out the Humor page (give the .wav a minute to load when you get there). 2/20/1999

Flamethrower joins the game
        Flamethrower, in danger of starting another "ticket to nowhere" contest, updated today, saying "There simply hasn't been ANYTHING that I could give a rats chuff about going on." He also says, "MIDWAY vs GT" - "If anyone (ANYONE) at Midway or GT would PLEASE write in about the spat I'd LOVE to hear from you. SHIT, if *anyone* has *any* rumors or interesting news, please let me [Flamethrower] know!!!"
        He also has a cool new link button. 2/20/1999

PQ Frags Webmasters
        Last week, Planet Quake published "So you want to be a webmaster", an editorial discussed widely over the net. I wrote a rebuttal, and rather than post it, I sent it to Planet Quake, who posted it here. 2/20/1999

Illinois State Government frags Y2K problem
        It seems the State of Illinois has reached Y2K compliance. This email reached my desk this morning:
        "Y2K Date Change Project Status
        "Our staff has completed the 18 months of work on time and on budget. We have gone through every line of code in every program in every system. We have analyzed all databases, all data files, including backups and historic archives, and modified all data to reflect the change. We are proud to report that we have completed the "Y2K" date change mission, and have now implemented all changes to all programs and all data to reflect your new standards:
        "Januark, Februark, March, April, Mak, June, Julk, August, September, October, November, December
        "As well as: Sundak, Mondak, Tuesdak, Wednesdak, Thursdak, Fridak, Saturdak
        "I trust that this is satisfactory, because to be honest, none of this Y to K problem has made any sense to me. But I understand it is a global problem, and our team is glad to help in any way possible. And what does the year 2000 have to do with it? Speaking of which, what do you think we ought to do later this year when the two digit year rolls over from 99 to 00? We'll await your direction." 2/24/1999

Steve frags Arcadia
        When I got home from work last night, a rather large blanket was thrown over my head and I found myself in a large burlap bag, bouncing around as if in a truck. I could hear a pair of giggling, cackling old women, but couldn't make out what they were saying. I feared the bag was on fire, as I smelled something similar to burning burlap, only sweeter. Eventually the jostling stopped, the bag was removed, and there was a blinding light in my eyes. An obviously fake German accent (actually it sounded like a Brit impersonating a Spanard) spoke. I feared it was Todd Porter looking for Flamethrower. "Nya ha ha, we have you now, Meester Frogfast.......... There is no escape............. you WEEEELL tell us what you know..........."
        I tried to tell the voice that I didn't know who Flamethrower really was, but was silenced. I hadn't expected the Spanish Inquisition.
        "Nobody expects the SSSSSSpanish inquisitionnnnn................"
        After being being shown the torture chamber with its devious devices, including a "soft pillow" and a "comfy chair", I relented. And tried to think up some convincing lies, since I didn't have a clue as to the truth.
        It wasn't Porter after all, and he couldn't care less who Flamethrower really was. It was actually Kneel on a "recruiting" mission. Since I have a low tolerance for soft pillows and couldn't bear the thought of the comfy chair, I agreed to his "request". Especially since he was armed with a bowl of raspberries.
        So now you'll see me in a weekly column titled "The Electric Gamer's Weak End Hell Hole" at Arcadia. The first edition of the column may be up by Thursdak (which would be about four days early). 2/24/1999

Asylum frags Old Man Murray
        You might not have noticed this newish site buried in the links section. Maybe it would be more prominant in the Quake Asylum where it probably belongs (still too clean- cuss a little, Marvin).
        Murray claims his site to be the "official game site of the US Postal Service" and says, "Think about it: gun toting maniacs navigating the same tired route over and over again picking up and dropping off items. Have I just described quake players or mailmen?"
        Right now (but maybe not tomorrow, this is the internet) he has a comparison between John Romero and Oscar Romero.
        BTW, Murray says, "How do you like us now that we're pretty much in charge of the post office, Blues? Ignore us now and you get no mail, baby. You and your little friend Redwood."
        I know I'm scared! Uh, wait a minute, I have direct deposit and the bills and junk mail come by... HEY, MURRAY! Ya know what yer momma told me? 2/23/1999
Update: Murray says via email, "We're working to increase the amount of swearing." Since he also says he's working on a links page, he won't have to, since he'll have a button. 2/24/1999
'nother Update: That boy's fast. In his news section today, he not only used every cussword in existance, he even made up a new one! You will now find the old fart in the Quake Asylum, complete with straitjcket. And when he finishes his links page, he gets a front page button. 2/25/1999

Steve frags Webmasters
        I want to again thank all you folks that sent mail about that "webmaster too" article on Planet Quake. It seems I have one more regular visitor, who appears to be replacing a dropout. The rest must be Fragfest regulars, as my visitor count is actually down a bit this week (except Sunday and Monday).
        Of course, Planet Quake is being boycotted again by some of the regulars at Planet Crap.
        Nice timing, guys.
        At the last count, the boycott has made Planet Quake's 100,000 hits per day drop steeply to, oh, about 99,994 per day. Give or take half a dozen.
        Meanwhile, the boycotters' pages counts have risen to an average of a phenominal 9.5 hits per week.
        The boycott stems from Planet Quake's "stealing" a domain they paid for from a site they hosted. It does sound like they aren't being exactly nice to the guy, but wtf, I don't have a domain; why should he? Unless he can afford to blow the price of a Voodoo, in which case he would have had it before PQ hosted him anyway.
        Some people can't stand to see anybody make a buck. Commie bastards. 2/25/1999

Steve can't escape Kneel's... comfy chair?
        The (ouch) interrogation has been (ooh that hurts) completed, and I was allowed to go about my "business". Why anyone would want to read an interview with me is beyond my comprehension, but if you do, there's one over at Arcadia (or will be very soon).
        Also, if you can't get enough of my drivel here, Kneel has posted the first of my weekly "Weak End Gamer's Hell Hole" columns (also at Arcadia), where I actually get to write about something besides Quake and Quake people, places, and things, and don't quite manage to. 2/26/1999

Saved games can't escape Id's shotgun
        A reader has been gently chiding me to provide Quake 2 level cheats, and he's right; I should. Especially since I haven't found anywhere else that does, aside from the sketchy info in the manual. I just want you all to know I'm working on it, but I'm also working on making a living, raising my family, writing articles (see last week's Planet Quake article So you want to be a webmaster, too, and the new weekly column at Arcadia mentioned yesterday), scribbling out some art for Kat Media's Silicone Drive, and perfecting the "left hand mouse, right hand joystick" configuration so I can quit sucking at deathmatch (I've sucked ever since I tried the new config).
        Apologies; please be patient with me! 2/27/1999

Gameplex died
        !!!!! Also when I got home, I found Gameplex completely gone! And so was the page! Until I rebuild the structure over here, the internal links at the top of the page won't work.
        I haven't got a single email from anyone at Gameplex, and everyone on my ICQ list connected with Gameplex is offline. 2/28/1999

Levelord Frags Flamethrower
        Last week Levelord had a rash; actually, (to quote him completely out of context), he said in his Bitchslap page, "There seems to be a rash, yes, a rash"
        He had a bit of a rant against... I couldn't tell who he was bitching about, except it wasn't Old Man Murray or BitchX, since he said, "I love Old Man Murray and Bitch X.". (Hear that, Murray? Your threat of withholding his mail worked!).
        Who was it? Planet Crap? Planet Ho Slap? He refused to say.
        Almost at the end, he says "The absolute depths, though, were reached by publicizing a company's internal email." O.k., He must be talking about Flamethrower.
        I got home tonight from visiting relatives in Missouri, and saw that Flamethrower's column started, "Ooops. Looks like the trippy Levelord has..." and you'll have to surf over to his page to see the rest. 2/28/1999

panic: kernel trap (ignored)