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Journal Journal: Stupid Strogg Jokes (August 1998) 2

Strogg
How many Stroggs does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
Stroggs are too big to fit inside a light bulb

Why did the Strogg quit smoking?
The Marine ran out of grenades

Why did the Strogg cross the road?
Stroggs cross everybody, especially if they have a stupid Quake name like "Road"

How can you tell if a Strogg has been at your computer?
It says "Intel Inside"

How many Stroggs does it take to wallpaper a room?
It depends on how thin you slice 'em

A space marine walks into a bar with his pet shambler on a leash. "Do you serve those slimy damned stinkin' Stroggs in here?", he asks the bartender. The bartender replies, "Yes, sir, we don't discriminate, we serve anyone". "Good", replies the marine, "I'll have a beer, and my shambler will have a couple of Stroggs."

You know you're wearing the wrong skin when
-You're wearing the Southpark "Chef" skin or the PC Gamer "Coconut Monkey" skin and your clan is playing against the Cool Cocks clan
-You're wearing the "nudechick" skin and your clan is playing the PMS clan
-You're wearing the "cow" skin and your clan is playing against the (0W601z
-You're wearing any female skin (esp. crakhor or nudechick) and your clan is playing against the Drunken Old Bastards Clan
-You're wearing a Homer Simpson or a Kenny skin (Doh!)
-You're wearing the "Waldo" skin and you're not a camper
(there could be certain tactical advantages to wearing these skins under these circumstances...;)

You know you need a new Quake name when
- everybody else says "hehe" whenever they frag you
- bots laugh at you
- nobody shoots at anyone but you
- Captain Immy gives your Quake persona his "President Nixon award"
- The name's male and the skin's female
- The name's female and the skin's male
- Walt Disney sues you for copyright infringement for the use of the name
- The FBI drops by your house for "a few questions"
- Your Quake name is "Road"
- You're playing CTF and all your team members frag you
- You're playing CTF and all your team members disconnect
- You're playing deathmatch and everybody disconnects as soon as you log on
- Your Quake name is longer than the Fragfest's URL
- Coconut Monkey asks you for a date

You know you need a new Quake server when
- Falling in the lava gives you a frag
- You respawn with a blaster and everybody else respawns with a BFG
- Nobody else in the game has a ping over 10
- All of the players are named "Thresh"
- You wait 20 minutes for one skin to download
- Zaphod's the LPB
- firing your blaster makes you lose 10 health units
- none of the other players have names you could say on the radio without losing your FCC license

You know you need a new computer when
- you see the phone cord icon while playing single player
- you shoot at a Strogg and real smoke comes out of the PC
- Flamethrower grabs a fire extinguisher whenever you visit his site
- your voodoo card starts making dolls
- the quake guy scratches at your screen screaming "Let me out! Let me out!"
- you see a 5 1/4 inch floppy sticking out of Tokay's Tower
- it says "Intel Inside"
- it doesn't say "Intel Inside"
- you get it unwrapped and plugged in

Campers
Where have all the campers gone?
Lag time passing
Where have all the campers gone,
Long time ago?
Where have all the campers gone?
Blown to fragments, every one!
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

They won't let you play Quake on the office LAN? Here are some
Video Games You Can Play At The Office ...in fact, are required to

Word Processor
The object of this game is to fit a three page document on a 1.4 meg floppy. The deluxe version is loaded on a network file server with the bonus "try to type slower than the screen" game.

Spreadsheet
Try to print and perform rudimentary calculations before the next completely changed version comes out and leaves you ignorant again

Microsoft Access
Harder than playing Quake on a modem against Thresh on a T1. The object is to learn a complex programming language called "visual Basic" with no manuals and only one day's training, which does not even mention "visual basic"

E-mail
Try to send a message across town and have it get there before the post office could deliver it

Windows
Many games within a game, including "what are all these buttons", "Where's the stupid start menu hiding", and "If I'm not supposed to touch this control panel thingie why is it here." Also included: the "Hey! My screen's blue" game

Thresh's Quake Bible leaves out one important chapter:
Genesis (because Sega sucks)
so here it is:

            In the beginning was Pong. And it was a void, without substance and without form. And it sucked.
            And on the first day IdApogee said, "Let there be fun". And IdApogee created Commander Keen. And he saw that it was pretty good, at least for the technology of the time. And he gave it away as shareware.
            And On the second day IdApogee created the Duke, and the Duke said, "Damn, I'm good".
            And the Duke and the commander saw that they were ega, and killed the energizer bunny. And IdApogee said, "Why has thou killed the bunny?"
            And Duke said "Come get some".
            And Keen said "But we were naked, and had no 3D".
            So Id banished the Duke to the store shelves, without 3D.
            And Duke and Keen begat two sons, Wolfenstein and Doom. And Doom slew Wolfenstein, and Wolfenstein's blood seeped through the prison floors and was drunk by the earth. And a mark was placed on Doom's head, and Id said, "let no man slay the Doom; ye shall know the Doom by the mark on his head. And ye shall know the mark by its name, and its name is Doom."
            And Doom begat Quake, and civilization as we know it came to
            THE END

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fifteen years ago this month... 2

Sorry I haven't posted much, I've been spending all my spare time, as well as my not so spare time, like when I should be cleaning my filthy house, on that book. It's almost ready to send to the LoC for an ISBN. You should be able to get a copy in six months or so.

So I'll post some fifteen year old stuff from my old website as a poor substitute for a real JE.

EA frags Quake on 2 wheels
Road Rash can't escape EA's tire iron

        Electronic Arts finally responded to my query about when "Quake on 2 wheels", AKA Road Rash 3D, will be ported to the PC and if it will have internet support. The answer was: "Sorry but I have no information at this time for Road Rash on the PC. It is not listed for upcoming titles. Please check back at a later date."
        So if you want to trade your rocket launcher and BFG for a chain and club to gib Strogg, er, cops and riders from a motorcycle, you'll have to do it on a lan or local call modem on the old '95 version. Meanwhile, drop EA a note telling them to DO IT!

Fair sinks like a rock
        The infamous Illinois State Fair is this and next week. It's only gotten worse. Country-Western at the Bud tent, warm flat Miller at the "Rock" tent. The "rock" was warm and flat, too; barely rock. These are always the hottest two weeks of the year in Illinois, over 90 degrees (that's half the boiling point of water for you folks in the more civilized parts of the world, meaning everywhere except the U.S.) and so humid it makes the Florida swamps seem like the Arizona desert.
        What's worse, the only thing even remotely Quake related is that a lot of the people there look like Strogg.

Bad servers should have used a smaller gun
        I jumped into Tokay's Towers through GameSpy last Sunday, and either I had a better connection than usual or everybody was low on health, because I got 4 frags in less than a minute. I jumped up on that box for the armor, and ran over to the armor shards. As I was leaving to pursue more hapless victims someone started materializing on that pad in there. I don't like shooting anyone right off the pad (unless they're an LPB who's been ragging me), so I started for the stairs, and he fragged me with a rocket launcher, one shot. I had 100% health, plus jacket armor, plus shards. I didn't think much of it until I materialized - with a little blaster.
        There are no transporters that I know of on Q2DM1 (If I'm wrong tell me where it is).
        No frags can be counted if you got them cheating. So where's the fun? If your server allows cheats, it sucks, and I'll hit the "never ping" GameSpy tab every time. If you see someone on your server that appears to have a hack that lets him/her cheat even when your server doesn't allow it, block their access. Cheaters only ruin the game for everyone else.
        If enough people send me mail with names and addresses of bad servers and hack cheaters, I'll start posting them.

Windows frags users
        Don't you love that blue screen that says "invalid vxd call to xr48mumbojumbogobbldygook you need to run setup again? And when you do, Quake or Gamespy or half your other stuff won't run any more and has to be reinstalled, too? (I just reinstalled after a BSOD last weekend)
        Windows 98? Hey, those guys are still using two digits! Haven't they heard of Y2K? When the new OS comes out in 2000 will it be "Windows zero zero"? Seems that's what they have now. They've promised to fix the bug that gives an incorrect date if you boot your PC at midnight new year's eve on any year. Who wants to bet some of their marketing weasels wanted to tout this as a "feature"?
        So in order for them to have a chance at my hundred bucks two or three years from now, here's the minimum I need to get me to buy their new OS:
        Complete voice activation. I mean I want to throw away my keyboard completely and leave room on the desk for a wheel and a MIDI keyboard. Voice technology's been in the hospitals for years, they should get with it!
        Instead of making MSIE part of the desktop, make it so I can uninstall the damned thing. I hate that browser and only use it to make sure my web pages don't look too funky in it.
        They've had long filename support for three years now, when are they going to implement it? Instead of IM1PU.DLL, why don't they name it "Unused driver for that turkey you deleted last year.DLL"?

Sweden Frags U.S.
        Actually, Sweden's Quake team kicked the U.S. Quake team's asses, with our best players (including Thresh), no less. For a bloody firsthand blow-by-blow, surf on over to Thresh's Frontline column via the Links section (after finishing here, of course!)

Quake can't escape Doom's BFG9000
        Mr. DooM is back! With the advent of Quake 1, Doom was, well, doomed. Doom did remain in a kind of nether region (dedicated consoles like Nintendo and Playstation). Quake 2 sealed the final nail in Doom's coffin. Even Mr. DooM's page, once linked from PC Gamer, disappeared from the internet.
        Or so it would seem. But Mr. DooM (AKA Tom Sanders) has respawned after - what? Falling in the lava? tripping over his own grenade? Shooting a wall with a rocket launcher at close range? Not paying his ISP's bill? Who knows? Any way, the Mr. DooM page is back, and he's got a Quake page, too. He's calling on you mod writers to make a Doom mod for Quake 2. If you've got a Doom mod let him know. Let me know, too.
        You'll find his Quake page linked from the "Other Shooters" column of the "Links" page.

Max gets Squished
        I got an email from Max, who ran across the "elevator bug" in the "out of the box" Quake 2. My daughter got squished a while back, too. If you're stuck under the elevator with Max, see the Newbie page for a quick fix.

Fragfest frags 3.17 patch
        The newest patch is becoming a permanent fixture at the Springfield Fragfest; it will be there longer than "a few more weeks". If (ok, when) the next patch is out, it will take its place. The short version (you need 3.12 or later to use) is right here. No muss, no fuss, no "Maximum number of users" or "server may be down". Just click the "get it here" above to download, it only takes a minute.
        Click "Get Quake" to get the full patch from Id and other sites. There are also links to get demos of both Quakes. See the Patch section of the Newbie page for info about what the patch adds.

Steve frags George
        I was listening to George Thorogood's Haircut CD the other day, and noticed - there aren't really many Quake 2 songs on it. The ones that are are either borderline, or level-specific and play on the wrong level.
        So, I'm taking Lonesome George off the "Suggested Quake 2 music" list. Please drop me a line with some suggested replacements.
        In honor of 'ol George, though, this week's theme is a monster 800k file that I just couldn't cut down any smaller. The tune is George's rendition of Dex Roger's ancient Killer Bluze.
        It's still a good album, even though there aren't many Quake 2 songs.
        Update: Here's the first suggestion I got: Prodigy, The Fat of The Land. I never heard of this band before, so I did a little surfing to find a sample or two. Here they are (Real Audio) - "Smack My Bitch Up" and "Firestarter". Quake meets Rap? This sounds more like Screamer 2 than Quake to me. (I always put the Screamer 1 CD in when I play Screamer 2.)

Springfield frags the world
        I started the Fragfest back in Februrary when it was really hard to find a low ping Quake 2 server around here, and originally its purpose was to promote a Saturday Morning internet Fragfest where folks in Central Illinois could have pings less than 200 and even T1 players would have pings of at least 90.
        The Fragfest page kind of kept growing and evolving. As the number of Quake 2 servers from St. Louis to Chicago grew, the Springfield Fragfest Quake 2 server, limited to Saturday mornings, kind of dwindled after reaching a peak sometime in June and dropped to nearly nothing after it was down for two weeks. There are plenty of low ping servers now, many of them empty much of the time.
        I added an "invisible" hit counter a week or so ago out of curiosity to find out how many of you there are, and wow! There are a lot more of you than I thought! No wonder I get so much mail, It seemed that everybody that saw the page was writing (actually only a small percentage).
        I also discovered from the useage patterns, most of you are scattered all over the world. I guess I'll have to get one of those "universal translator" programs.
        So, since it seems that almost none of you are from around here, I'm changing the Fragfest page's name to the "Springfield International Quake 2 Fragfest". Also- you don't have to be from around here to get fragged on Saturday morning. Using the Springfield Balance of Power rules, you could be in Australia with a 14.4 modem and still win. See the Fragfest Server page (not the server commands page) for more info.

Fragfest Gibs Zombie
        Did you wonder why the Quake 1 zombies disappeared from Quake 2? Actually, there's one left.
        Fury (what a great Quake name!), looking for guitar tablature, sent in an excellent question about the mysterious band that does the music for the Quake 2 CD. By now, everybody is aware that Nine Inch Nails played Quake 1 to mixed reviews. Did you know that the Quake 2 theme was written by Rob "White" Zombie? No wonder the "Astro Creep" CD goes so well with Quake 2.
        Listen closely to "Electric Head Part 2" and you may hear a sample from DOOM. I did.
        The music on the Quake 2 CD was performed, and the rest of the tracks written, by Sonic Mayhem.
        No mixed reviews on this sound track, at least from me. My opinion is it's the best game music I've heard, even surpassing Screamer 1's excellent sound track.
        I've added links to everybody involved in the Quake 2 soundtrack and sound effects in the Music section.
        My thanks go out to Sonic Mayhem and Rob Zombie for cutting a great soundtrack (stick it in your audio CD player when you're away from your PC), and to Fury for an excellent question.

CIH almost dodges entertainment firms' grenade
        Last week I warned our overseas friends about that new nasty virus (see "old stuff"), thankfully still rare. 7/27 Jesse Burst ( ZDNet, non-Quake) reports that an unnamed U.S. West coast entertainment site almost made CIH not "rare". They found a copy in something they almost posted on the net. No word about who the entertainment site was, nor what kind of programs CIH infects. What is known is that it's native to win95/98, strikes on the 26th, erases your flash BIOS and the first meg of your C: drive, and comes from the former Soviets.
        If your BIOS is erased, the only fix is a new BIOS. Unless the BIOS is in a socket, that means a new motherboard, or a soldering iron.
        Here's more info about protecting yourself against this malicious piece of vandalism and the copycats that will surely follow. First, get a good antivirus program. Second, make sure your important data files are backed up; don't worry about your saved Quake games, 'cause Id will trash them with the next upgrade anyway. Also: keep your data off the C: drive if you have more than one drive, since the C: drive is what most vandals hit. Everybody has a C:. Now, there's another precaution you should take, thanks to the damned Russian Mafia: Password protect your BIOS if it will let you. If you buy a new PC or motherboard, make sure you can.
        I don't know what a lawyer would say (any Quake lawyers out there who can set me straight?), but now that vandals can erase your BIOS, I'd say not being able to password protect your BIOS constitutes a "defect in materials and workmanship"!
        If you want to know more about internet vandalism ("hell no! where's the 'back' button?"), I wielded my flame thrower against them in a page I posted last year. It's still up; there are (were?) links to places you can get antiviral software.
      Virus update: PC Gamer's web site reports that the July edition (U.K. only, U.S. is ok) of its CD contains an unspecified virus in an unspecified program. If you are a U.K. PC Gamer subscriber, disinfect your PC!

Steve trips over his own grenade
        I used ZD's "dupless" program to clean up my hard drives and found a ton of duplicate files, including 3 Netscape Mail programs. Being the idiot I sometimes am, I deleted the wrong ones; now Netscape can't find the "sent mail" folder and refuses to send mail. DUH! I received a boatload of mail from you folks this morning, so please bear with me while I fix this problem I stupidly caused. It may take a day or two to get an answer to you. If you don't get an answer by this weekend, please write back! Just in case Netscape eats my mail.

Quake.com trips over his own grenade
        Quakedotcom solicited suggestions for improvements. I've got one: When somebody answers your request for suggestions, don't send it back with

"The original message was received at Thu, 30 Jul 1998 00:43:32 GMT
from 3dialin144.famvid.com [208.16.70.144]
----- The following addresses had delivery problems -----
(unrecoverable error)
----- Transcript of session follows ----- ... while talking to mail.quake2hq.com.:
>>> RCPT To:
&lt:&lt:&lt: 550 Hey! Stop that! There's no precisionx@quake2hq.com here!
550 ... User unknown
----- Original message follows -----"

That kind of pisses your readers off.

Page almost escapes Microsoft's blaster
        Those of you with IE or Netscape 4 point something may notice a change or two if you stick around in here long enough. Netscape 4.x users noticed a change right off. Other browser users may or may not have noticed anything (damned HTML!). The Fragfest was the first page I used Netscape's page composer in. When I started it, I had the old, fuzzy, dying monitor; I used a 14 point type size, since the white on black was hard for me to read on it. IE doesn't support point sizes. Note: If the type is too small, and your browser's preferences won't let you change it, let me know.
        After I got the new monitor, I noticed the page looked better in IE, so as of last weekend (7/25) I got rid of the "point size" thing. I'm also going back to NotePad for page composing, since Netscape's composer undoes things I do and does things I have to go back and undo, and puts in a lot of unnecessary junk code. Its only real advantage is the spell checker.
        I also put an "invisible" hit counter in, 'cause I was curious as to how many people are coming here. I didn't think many people saw the page until It started getting email and showed up on those top whatever lists. If you're curious, that's what the little button before the music section is.
        Which brings me to the next change; "ambiance". If you just can't tear yourself away from this page long enough to go play Quake, you're too loaded to play well anyway. If you're not that loaded, you may have noticed the "loading junk" indicator is still going. Stick around long enough and a music track from the Quake 2 CD will start playing; that should remind you to go play some Quake! If it starts up fast when you come back, that's a reminder to empty your cache.
        If you hate it, send a few flames my way. If I get enough "get rid of that damned music" mail I'll take it out, right now it's just kind of an experiment. (If I see someone named "Guinnye Pigg" the next time I play Quake I'll say Hi;)=
        There's a control in the Music section to turn it up or down (or off). The IE control looks funky anywhere and doesn't have a volume control, and looks especially funky hanging past the column; but few ever accused Gates of hiring good designers. All graphics intensive pages (most shooter pages) load faster in Netscape. Animations play faster in IE. Like you give a flying frog, right?
        If you are one of the "five percenters" that use a different browser you won't hear anything. If you use Netscape or IE 3.x, you won't hear anything either. Upgrade it, you'll be glad you did, both 4.x browsers are more stable than either 3.x browser, and support for supposedly "cool" stuff like java, frames, and all that other stuff I don't use here is better supported. You Netscape users, that "starting Java" message is your browser loading the wav player, not the Fragfest, you won't get that with IE. If you are using the AOL browser, get a different ISP and watch your Quake scores shoot up dramatically (and your I$P rates drop)!
        I had a suggestion from one fellow to use frames, I guess they're cool now. Last year everybody hated them. A (very) few sites use them well and to the site's advantage, Quaker's Refuge, for one. If you want to see the Fragfest in a good frame, surf on over there, check it out for a while (their hit counter went kerflooey and they want to run it back up anyway), then come back here through their link section. Abracadabra, instant Fragfest frame.
        Remember, folks - most of the internet and all browsers still suck. So play Quake or Quake 2 instead.

GL Commands can't escape QuakeWorld's super shotgun
        I've got a few notes asking for the GL commands, even though I can't test them. As I replied to the email writers, there is a fairly large list of GL commands over at Quakeworld, a very large, entertaining, and useful Quake site (which is why they're listed in my "links" section). Before you run over there to get them, be aware of a few things. First, it's quite a few mouse clicks (and large page loads) away from their main page. Second and most important, Quakeworld does not test the commands in their command list. If they did, they would know that the "cl_stereo" command does not let you play Quake 2 with 3d glasses. Well, you can play with 3d glasses but they don't do anything except make the colors look funny. I did test this command (with 3d glasses), and what it really does (as listed in my Console section) is to give you the choice of stereo or mono sound.
        There are also a few typos in their commands page, but give them a break- I know from experience what a PIA it is to spell check and typo squash that kind of page.

Quake on 2 wheels
        There's a new Road Rash out. BAD NEWS: It's not out on the PC. Send Electronic Arts an e-mail demanding that they port it to the PC right now! While you're at it, tell them to make it internet compatible so it will really be Quake on wheels.

Quake on four wheels
        When are they coming out with a Screamer you can play over the internet?? Update: I got this note from PBerry@SOL.com - "I can play over the net. nobody else is ever there."

Quake for kids
        The July PC Gamer CD had a demo of a game called Jazz Jackrabbit, which my 11 year old daughter has discovered. The demo will play over the internet. The Marines are cute little armed bunny rabbits, and the Strogg are turtles. You can only play single player and CTF with the demo; my 11 year old wants the full version so she can play deathmatch on it.
        Really! I'm not making any of this stuff up!

Steve frags Steve frags Steve frags Steve frags Steve
        What a really strange Quake week! No real Quake news (so go play some Quake). People must be having a hard time coming up with Quake names. There are "name generators" on the net, which I guess is where those people named urnim2, etc. come from. I almost never see anybody using their real names, which is why I often do. Now they're lifting them from Quake pages. I played against "Thresh" last week! Funny, his ping was 327 and he was the lowest scoring player there. I saw "Immortal" with a 400 ping (the real Immortal has ISDN or ASDL or something). A few weeks ago I saw "Bill Clinton", "Bill Gates", and "Janet Reno"; Janet was pretty good, but like Bill and Bill, lots of people hate the real one. Duh! Janet trips on her own grenage.
        Then, I got on one server with a dozen or so people - and 3 of them were named "Steve"! Wow, I'm flattered! I was playing as "Peng Hai" at the time, as packet loss had just got me kicked off of two Lithium servers (sorry, our server requires your ping to be less than 2 and yours is 999,999,999).
        One of them immediately changed his name to "Kaine" and chased me unmercifully. I kicked myself off that server; I kept getting stuck to the floor, and everybody there was better than me, anyway.
        I played a different server with the same name, and ib666pu or somebody changed his name to "Kaine" and chased me all over, too. Those guys also seemed better than me, but I wasn't getting stuck too often, and none were LPBs. They still kicked my ass.
        If you're still playing single player newbie, go see the Newbie page, then play on the net! The funnest thing about Quake is what people say and do there. I'm still chuckling about the guy I saw a couple of months ago whose ruse was "I'm new at this and I'm drunk". Hey, I'm not new at this and I'm in awe!

Quake news died
        Yeah, not much real news this week. So I'll bore you some more, when the music starts you'll wake up and go play Quake...
        I got "sharked" real good on another Lithium server. I hadn't played that level in a while, and didn't recognize it right off when I jumped in, so I stupidly asked "is this a custom level?"
        "Yeah"
        I blindly jumped off the ledge, and into a pool of water (where were my brains? That could have been lava... who cares?), climbed out... OK, I know where I am now... and there's this guy at the end of the corridor jumping up and down, holding a rail gun and not shooting it. I start shooting my little blaster (like I said, where were my brains) - and killed him!
        "Bastart!", he says.
        "Huh?" I replied. "Are there some rules to this mod I should know?" I mean, when I was a newbie I ignorantly got in to a CTF and started killing everybody and they were pissed. I check that Gamespy column now, but This felt the same.
        "Yeah, you're only supposed to shoot robots"
        Huh? OK, I'll try it a while. DUH! I died five or six times before I "got it". When I started shooting back, they all disconnected. They're probably still laughing.

Steve is disintegrated by Newbie
        Hyjack writes, "Please I need the 3.17 Patch to get started on Deathmathes. I'm at 3.05 version and need to be upgraded so if you could please!"
        Which got me thinking, there are over 100,000 Quake pages on the internet, and not one that I have found that is geared for newbies. Quake 2 is still flying off the store shelves faster than Windows 98. Everybody that is buying a PC for the first time needs Quake 2. And there is a lot of stuff you and I and Id take for granted, that newbies need to know (like don't camp and fer God's sake don't call me a camper or I won't be shooting at anybody but you)!
        So for those of you that stumbled across this page looking for a patch, here's a link to the brand new newbie page.
        I looked for Hyjack's patch, and GEES even the big one's hard to get, even when you know where to look; and my ISP might scream if I loaded that 10 meg patch here, so I've added a few links to some full patches at the bottom of the Patch section.

Abe is blasted by John
        The results of the Abe Lincoln "controversy" are in. I've got so much email this week I haven't even had time to play Quake. The results are- nobody cares. Out of all the mail, nobody even mentioned it. My wife, who is the only one who actually saw the graphic in question, said it looked like (expletive deleted).

User Journal

Journal Journal: Edward Snowden vs President Alan Richmond 15

The cries of "Snowden is a traitor!" by traitors like Dick Cheney bring to mind a movie that sits on my shelf: Absolute Power, starring Clint Eastwood as a jewel thief named Luther Whitney and Gene Hackman as President Alan Richmond.

In this movie, Snowden; er, Whitney is robbing a very rich man's house. So rich, in fact, that Walter Sullivan can buy the Presidency for Obama; er, Richmond. Sullivan is actually a "good guy". Well, except for wanting to kill the man who murdered his young wife.

Sullivan and his entourage had left on vacation, and Whitney breaks in to rob his house. Unknown to Whitney, Sullivan's wife feigned illness to have an affair with the President. Whitney hides in a vault with a one way mirror watching the foreplay, which gets a little rough, then a lot rough, and it looks like Richmond is going to strangle Mrs. Sullivan. She gets the upper hand and stabs Richmond with a letter opener. Richmond screams "Help!" and secret service agents rush in and shoot Mrs. Sullivan.

The chief of staff and secret service cover up the murder. There's a chase and Whitney gets away, with evidence of the murder.

Whitney is set to run when he sees Richmond on TV with Sullivan and gets pissed. The rest of the movie has the SS chasing Whitney. No spoilers here, see the movie, it's very good.

At any rate, at one point Obama; er, Richmond, calls Whitney a traitor who "betrayed his country". Just like Cheney and the other government criminals call Snowden. And make no mistake, the NSA's spying on innocent Americans is criminal. I would call it treasonous.

Snowden did, in fact, betray his employer. He did not betray the United States. The government should not be spying on its own citizens; it is unconstitutional and therefor illegal. This was a criminal act, treason against the populace and a violation of the oath they swore to uphold and protect the Constitution.

The United States isn't the Federal government, it's US, we Americans. Snowden reported a crime, knowing it would cost him everything (and he had a lot of "everything") and knowing that there was no way he was going to come out ahead.

I'm disgusted by this whole affair. I joined the military during the Vietnam war despite there being no chance of being drafted (my birthday was the last on the lottery list; only lottery I ever won, and I gave the winnings away).

Now that we're in an Orwellian surveillance state I'm sorry I ever served. Well, except for it making it possible for me to get an education.

REPEAL THE GOD DAMNED PATRIOT ACT. NOW!

Next election, please vote either Green or Libertarian; the Republicans and Democrats are traitors to the American people.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I need a new browser 7

At least until I put Linux on this notebook. FireFox 21.0 is wierding out like IE6 on a lot of sites, including slashdot. I can't even change my sig.

What browser are you using?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why does McDonalds want to make me fat? 15

From Food Business News:

NEW YORK â" For McDonaldâ(TM)s Corp., it may seem like a supersized dilemma: Offer a healthier menu or serve customers their coveted fattening fare?

Itâ(TM)s a matter of social responsibility versus sales, said Don Thompson, president and chief executive officer, who addressed the topic during the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York on May 29.

âoeToday, we are in this time period where people are defining quote-unquote âhealthyâ(TM) and ânon-healthy,â(TM)â Mr. Thompson said. âoeAnd the question really is, in the restaurant business, what does the customer want? ⦠Whatever it is a customer wants, we will be selling more than anyone else.â

Ok, Mister Bernstein, I say you're full of shit. I think you WANT us to all be fatasses.

I usually go home for lunch, but my car's in the shop today and don't have time to walk home, eat, and walk back, so I walked down to McDonalds. McDonalds is a lot closer than home. They had a promotional thing up with some new quarter pounders, so I decided to try one. I got the habañero Ranch quarter pounder, which I will get around to trash talking later. I ordered a small fry and a small coke to go along.

"That will be $7.52".

"How much was the burger itself?" I forgot what her answer was but it seemed like a hell of a lot for a hamburger. When I was 12 a McDonald's hamburger, fries, and small coke was 37 cents plus tax. Of course, the minimum wage was something like a dollar back then. She told me the price, I winced and said "too much, but I'll pay it anyway."

"The value meal may be cheaper," she said. I said ok. She rang it up. $7.01.

A burger with a small fry and small coke costs more than a burger with a medium fry and a medium coke. Why does McDonalds want me to get fat? I wound up throwing half the fries away, that's way too much food. Plus McDonalds fries are nasty. I didn't like the burger, either. False advertising if I ever saw it. Habañero? Really? Habañeros are one of the hottest peppers there are, and that burger had no hint whatever of any kind of hot pepper.

Of course, there's a sit-down restaurant that's even worse on the spicy front, on the corner of Second and South Grand named the (checks Google Maps... WTF, google? I search for 2nd and South Grand and it gives me 2nd and North Grand. Should I start using Microsoft Bling? Drags map down to South Grand... here it is) sorry, called the MeKong Cafe. It seems that General DuCatt or however you spell it traveled back in time from Cardassia and opened a barbershop in Springfield... anyway, the MeKong's window says they specialize in Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Thai food. Having been in Thailand in the USAF and loving that food, I ate at the MeKong diner once.

I was not impressed.

Thai peppers are ounce for ounce some of the hottest peppers there are; they're tiny little things, half an inch (couple of centimeters) long and eating one will bring far more tears to your eyes than eating a jalapeño. I grew some, years ago -- they're great for getting rid of a sinus headache. Like Mexican food and for the same reason, Thai food is hot. Damned hot. Shirt wringing wet hot, which is why spicy food is so popular in Thailand and Mexico; Thailand is almost at the equator. The whole year I was there it only got cooler than eighty F once.

So I'd stopped at this so-called "MeKong" restaurant and ordered cowpot. Cowpot is Thai for "fried rice".

"Um, what?" the oriental waitress said, obviously not being from Thailand or, indeed, South East Asia at all.

"Thai fried rice," I said.

"Do you want it hot?"

"Of course I want it hot. I want it to taste like what I ate in Thailand. Blistering hot."

It was wimpier than Chinese fried rice.

There are a lot of fake foreign restaurants at that corner, probably catering to all the government employees that work in two large buildings that sit caddy-corner from each other there. There's a Taco Gringo, which is about as far from Mexican food as you can get, a Chinese place called China One, and another oriental restaurant named, hilariously, Dynasty.

Sheesh, I thought software devs came up with stupid names, like GIMP and WinCE. But a restaurant named the Die Nasty?

Anyway, back on topic, it isn't just their "value meals," either. Why is a hamburger with one patty and one slice of cheese more expensive than a hamburger with TWO patties and a slice of cheese?

Why do they want everybody, especially the poor and/or frugal, to be fat?

I will say one nice thing about McFatsos, though -- their side salads are really surprisingly good. Yeah, it's hard to screw up a salad but Burger King manages to. I'll get the salad, take it home, and eat it with a steak and baked potato. THAT's food, not faux cowpot or a hamburger with bacon (to disguise the taste of the beef, of course) or a taco some gringo made.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Dirty Old Man

This is actually a few years old but I've never posted it on the internet, but I did drunkenly sing it at a karaoke bar. One woman was laughing so hard she literally fell out of her chair, although I didn't think it was THAT funny. When I got off the stage I told the bartender "I want whatever she's having!"

I heard this song on the radio this morning and I said to myself, "those geezers are even older than me!" So I changed a few words...

Hey, baby, if you're feelin' down
I know what's good for you all day
Are you worried what your friends see
Will it ruin your reputation fuckin' me

'cause I'm a dirty old man
Yeah I'm a dirty old man
A dirty old man

Don't drive no big black car
Don't like no Hollywood movie star
You want me to be true to you
You don't give a damn what I do to you

I'm just a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man

Well, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, dirty old man
A dirty old man

I've been trouble since I don't know when
I'm trouble now and I know somehow I'll be trouble again
I'm not a loner, but I'm always alone
Every night I get one step closer to the fucking grave!

'cause I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, dirty old man
Dirty old man, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man

C'mon, c'mon man
Dirty old man, old man
Dirty old man, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man

Hey, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man, yeah!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Keith Richards is ten years older than me 1

I live in an house on the ninety-ninth street on my block
And I sit at home looking out the window
Imagining the world has stopped
Then in flies a guy whos all dressed up like a union jack
And says, Ive won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn, baby

The telephone is ringing
I say, hi, it's me. who is it there on the line?
A voice says, hi, hello, how are you
Well, I guess Im doin fine
He says, it's three a.m., there's too much noise
Don't you people ever wanna go to bed?
Just cause you feel so good, do you have
To drive me out of my head?

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn baby

I was sick and tired, fed up with this
And decided to take a drive downtown
It was so very quiet and peaceful
There was nobody, not a soul around
I laid myself out, I was so tired and I started to dream
In the morning the parking tickets were just like
A flag stuck on my window screen

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn

Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around, baby, twos a crowd

(Sorry, I had to do that. Wait 'til you see what I do to Foreigner's Dirty White Boy)

User Journal

Journal Journal: John thinks I'm a space alien 10

Back by popular demand...

"Hi, Steve, how ya doin?" Ruthie said as she got a mug out of the freezer.

"Hi, Ruthie. Pretty good, except I don't think I'll ever get that book finished. I keep finding mistakes," I said as I sat down next to Crazy John and pulled out my wallet. Ruthie handed me the beer she'd just poured.

"Computer's battery died so I thought I'd get a beer or two while it was charging," I said.

Crazy John really is insane; he suffers from schizophrenia and its delusions. They tell me he used to be really intelligent, but one night he was beaten, robbed, and thrown in a dumpster and left for dead. He was never the same afterwards.

John's passion is his main delusion - that he was once abducted by space aliens and that space aliens have infiltrated our world. I try to debunk the poor fellow's insane ramblings with scientific facts. I've explained how Einstein had worked out relativity and the cosmic constant, that the faster you go the slower time goes and there's no way to go faster than light, obviously not mentioning space warping which some theorize might someday get us past that hurdle. He talks of Area 51 and I respond with how unlikely that even if there were space aliens, they wouldn't be the least bit humanoid. In fact, that's where the idea behind Little Green Men came from -- talking with Crazy John.

He gave me a pointed look, and by that I mean he actually pointed at me. "I know who you are!" he said sternly.

I was amused. "Of course you do, John, I've been drinking with you for years!" pretending to not know what he was talking about. He changed the subject. Sort of.

"Where did that face on Mars come from?" he asked.

I groaned; not this nonsense again. "It's a trick of the light and where the position of the camera is, John. Other photos of the same rock show that it doesn't really look anything like a human face. It's the same with the Martian bunny rabbit."

"What bunny rabbit?"

"There's a rock one of the robot rovers took a picture of that, from the angle it's taken, looks just like a rodent. There are a lot of other things like that."

I tried to explain the concept of Pareidolia to him, pointing out so-called images of the virgin Mary made from rust running down overpasses and things, but he would have none of it and simply changed the subject again. "There is one thing that will go faster than light," he said. "Human telepathy!"

I rolled my eyes. "Show me some proof of telepathy's existence, John. If you can show me someone who can read my mind or even some biology that shows it's possible I'll believe it. But I've seen no documentation of anyone actually being able to do it."

I finished the mug and put it and another buck and a quarter on the bar, and Ruthie poured another beer. John got a weird look on his face and wandered off.

Good, I'd had enough crazy for one day.

Ruthie shook her head sadly. "Poor guy," she said.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Writing a book is easy 24

Writing one that doesn't suck is really, really hard. For me, anyway.

The crude first draft of Nobots posted here sucks, and sucks badly. There are inconsistencies, typos, misspellings, crappy grammar, sloppy writing, and a host of other errors that make it suck.

It's done, but not finished; it still needs sanding and polishing. I tell myself it's finished when I can go through it five times in a row without making any changes, and so far I haven't been able to get through it once without changing something, and can't go through it five times without finding an error of some sort.

I've been spending almost all my free time working on it, which is why you haven't seen me here much in the last few months. I wish I could afford to retire so I could work on it full time, I could probably finish it in a couple of months.

Oh, well, like those other losers say in Chicago, "there's always next year." I'll finally have a lot more time for reading and writing and learning next year.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Beam me up, Scotty! 5

It was a beautiful day today, and my boss wasn't at work. The TV weatherman had said on the early morning news that it was going to rain tomorrow and for the next week, too. So I took the afternoon off.

I'd say my favorite radio station is a local college station, WQNA. Their music is an incredibly eclectic mix of genres; rock, punk, ska, country, old jazz from the thirties, you name it. Hell, they play belly dancing music on Wednesday nights. Well, they used to, I don't know if that show's still on. An old friend I've known for twenty years hosts a blues show on noon Sundays. On Wednesday mornings there's a show on called Ben's wacky radio that runs from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (US central time). The show is a Doctor Demento knockoff, and I was a Demento fan decades ago, so I hit the WQNA button on the radio when I got in the car to leave.

When I got home I turned on the TV, which serves as a forty two inch computer monitor, and clicked "WQNA" on Aramok's playlist. They stream in MP3 and AAC from their website, and there's no real radio in the house. Not needed; as far as I know, every radio station in the world streams over the internet.

I started working on Nobots.

The announcer said that the next half hour was devoted to Star Trek, so I put the laptop down because I knew the radio was going to be too distracting.

A song came on that the "Ben" guy said was by the actor Terry McGovern called Beam Me Up, Scotty. As I listened to the nerdy song I thought "Hey! That guy's read The Paxil Diaries!" My googlefu is weak today; I can't find the lyrics, but it's about how shitty life is on Earth. "My wife went away and took the car and left the bills and the kids".

I'm sitting here, all proud and smug and pleased with myself and googling for the lyrics when I came across this.

McGovern wrote the song in 1976, the year I got married.

Oh, well, at least you guys read it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: An Open Letter to Google 1

I was already in a bad mood when I got to work. My arthritis was hurting badly and McDonalds got my order wrong, I was almost late from taking it back, and the office was freezing. I logged in to the network, and opened IE because the Outlook email client stupidly has no way to change your password. Adobe informed me Flash needed upgrading so I clicked OK. It asked if I wanted to install a Chrome frame for IE and I unchecked the box and clicked OK.

The damned thing installed a Google toolbar in IE, installed Chrome, and made it the default browser!

I uninstalled them and reset IE as the default browser; it isn't my computer, it belongs to my employer and I'm supposed to use their approved software. I hate my work computer. When I uninstalled Chrome, IE opened by itself to a firewall "Forbidden!" page, listing it as "shareware, freeware".

It was really cold, my arthritis was killing me and I went home. I won't be upgrading Flash on any of my own computers, because trojans are evil, even when they're written by Adobe, Google, Sony, or anybody else. I'll probably uninstall all Adobe products from my own machines except one; sometimes channel 49 won't come in so I need it for the Big Bang Theory.

Google, your motto is a God damned lie. I've been a faithful Google user since you first put the search engine on the internet; it was heads and shoulders better than any of the others and still is. I cheered when you used the Linux kernel in Android. I was an early G+ user when you had to know somebody to get an account. I have a gMail address (I seldom check its mail, though).

But these stealth installs are bullshit. That behavior is not acceptable and I won't tolerate it. I won't be back on G+ or gMail and I may bight the bullet and start using that shitty Bing.

When I see or hear that you've changed your ways I'll be back. Hurry, though, because I'm thinking of buying a new phone and I really don't want Apple or Microsoft.

I will repeat myself here -- it is never acceptable to install anything at all on anyone else's computer without their permission, ever, for any reason. No exceptions.

Slashdotters, please inform your non-nerd friends of this rule, just the other night a guy I know was steaming because his daughter in law had "messed up my computer."

Google, I'm really, really disappointed in you.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Loose End 4

Previously...

"Gumal, I want to thank you for introducing me to Doctor Ragwell," Colonel Gorn said as he shook Ragwell's hand. So, Doc, are you fellows going to let us have your nobot technology?"

"Well, Colonel, there's a very big problem with that, a grave danger to you if we did. A danger we only recently discovered, and it's too late for us. Odd that a protohistorian should discover a secret of nobotics and an engineering principle that we programmers didn't have a clue about, but that's exactly what Rority did.

"It's sensible that tools and other machines be designed to be as safe and efficient and easy to use as is possible, and that is where the trap lies.

"It's been a design and engineering axiom for millions of years that machines do nothing to harm human beings or let them come to harm, to follow humans' instructions to the letter unless of course it would harm a human, and of course to avoid destruction unless it was ordered or if the machine's destruction would keep a human from harm. I was the fellow who found this programming, after Rority enlightened me about the three principles of engineering, and it's an impressive piece of work.

"Comments in the code indicated that these design principles didn't come from an engineer, but from a protohuman biochemist who died centuries before the principles were actually feasible. Gumal's friend Rority found the answer - the protohuman who came up with the concept wasn't just a biochemist, but a writer of both nonfiction and fiction as well. These principles were first put forth in several of his novels. Rority is a fan of the biologist's fiction, it seems.

The principles are called 'the three laws of robotics', despite the fact that they're not really laws, just design specifications, and they apply to all machinery, and not just robots."

"But I don't understand," interrupted Gorn. "That seems perfectly logical."

"Yes," said Ragwell, "and that's the trap. We can't live without the nobots; they're inside us, millions of them, keeping our biological machinery healthy and in working order. Without them our lifespans would only be maybe a century, and I don't think there's a human Experimental alive that young. We're trapped in an array of cubes. Everything we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell is controlled by the nobots. You see, we can't know what's real and what's not.

"And the nobots aren't sentient, although they certainly can seem to be. They're just microscopically tiny computerized machines that are all networked together into a collective.

"They can't be bargained with. They can't be reasoned with. They don't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until they are dead!

"We're safe in our cubes, but we really aren't free. There's been little real scientific or technological progress in we're not sure how long. For all I know, this whole thing could be fiction."

A horrified look crossed Gorn's face. "How... oh, no. Nobots were here! They'll construct a matrix and imprison us!"

"No," said Ragwell. "Our species diverged millions of years ago. To the nobots, you're not human."

Gorn looked even more alarmed. "They'll wipe us out as a threat to you!"

"No," Ragwell said. "A 'respect'... not exactly an accurate word, by the way, since they're machines and can't feel respect; I'm anthropomorphizing here... a 'respect' for all biology has been programmed into them. They wouldn't harm you even if you were a grave danger to us. Look at the Venusians, they wanted to kill everybody on Earth and Mars, but not a single Venusian died. At least, not from anything except other Venusians, the GRB, and the ones headed for Earth that you fellows killed. The nobots didn't harm a single one."

"What about the Venusians? Are they still a threat?"

Ragwell laughed. "They never really were. Not to us, anyway, although they were to you. But no more. The Venusians don't know it yet, but their weapons no longer function; nobots have disabled them all. They're stuck on their own planet now and can beat on each other with sticks and stones as long as they want to stay stupid.

"I shudder to think what would have happened had they developed nobots first, no way would they have developed the three principles. But that's another reason you shouldn't have nobots; if you stagnate, the Venusians may some day catch up to you, and that would be the end of Earth and Mars."

"What about the Amish? Did the nobots assimilate them, too?"

"No, of course not. Changing them with technology would destroy their culture, which would run afoul of the first principle. They would not be themselves without their culture. The nobots actually perform 'miracles' for them to strengthen their faith."

"Their faith in what?"

"Their faith in the fact as they see it that what they believe is true, that the universe is an artificial construct made by a supernatural being, whom they worship. There's a lot more to it, of course, and we're just now learning about them. That's Rority's and Gumal's field of study."

"Well," said Gorn, "I'm sorry about your imprisonment, not knowing what is or isn't real..."

"Don't be," replied Gumal. "Nobody has ever really known what was real and what wasn't, anyway. There's no way for you Martians or anyone else to know what's really real, either. For all you know you've been in nobot cubes yourselves all this time and never knew it, just like we were.

"We're happy. Even though giving you nobotic technology would be the worst thing we could do to you, at least we can give you spacewarp technology. And stratodoober technology, too. Here, have a toke!"

The End

Afterword

What you have read is the rough, crude first draft of the book, with little proofreading or editing. The final version will be slightly different from what you've read; there are inconsistencies and other errors that need to be cleaned up, dialogue to be added, paragraphs to move, clumsy sentences to change, etc. It's sort of a Reader's Digest version, only without their famous censorship; the manuscript is already five or ten thousand words longer than what you've read. It stands at about 35,000 words now, quite a bit longer than what you've read, and need at least another five thousand more to be a full science fiction novel.

This is a Slashdot book. This isn't just my book, it's our book. Had it not been for slashdot it might not have been written at all, and certainly would have been a lot different if it had been. I think it wouldn't have been nearly as good without slashdotters' input.

The first chapter was my second or third sci-fi short story, Hadron Destroyers. It was prompted by a comment by Abreu in the story LHC Knocked Out By Another Power Failure. It's hard to believe that I've been working on this thing since 2009! If I remember correctly I was down with the flu at the time I wrote that first chapter, and hacked it out in maybe ten minutes for a cheap laugh.

If you read the comments to the various chapters you can see the input you, my fellow slashdotters had. One comment about the Titanians gave me the idea, not fleshed out in the draft but already incorporated into the manuscript that prompted a misdirection; the reader is led to believe that Rority and Gumal are from Titan. I haven't worked it out completely yet.

There was a little editing in some online chapters -- for instance, one chapter had a "Scotty error", mixing thousands with millions, that I changed to look less stupid after a reader pointed it out. I want to thank all of you for your input.

What would I like to get out of this? Well, a Hugo and a spot on the NYT best seller list would be nice, but I think the odds of that are greater than me finding a winning lottery ticket laying on the ground. What I expect to get is what I've already gotten, the sheer fun of writing it.

When I wrote (and am still working on) this, the goal was to write what I'd want to read; entertaining, amusing, and thought-provoking. I'm not sure how successful I was at that. I also wanted to pay homage to some of the science fiction and fantasy authors whose books and DVDs grace my shelves and whose works undoubtedly influenced my own writing.

I wanted to write the science fiction novel, full of rockets, time travel, and of course lots of real astronomy, physics, astrophysics, chemistry, and other sciences in general; most of the science in the book is real and based on real scientific principles. Yeah, grabonic radiation and one or two other things are made up, but you can find most of it in wikipedia.

I wanted to get it right. I learned a lot while writing this, and of course as a nerd, you know that the learning was half the fun.

I also wanted to come up with the meanest, nastiest, most sickening bad guys ever. I probably failed at that, too, but I tried.

I hope to have the finished version in paper form this year. I'll be letting the e-book form go out with a noncommercial license and will put it on The Pirate Bay myself when the finished book is available.

If you liked this book, please tell all your friends. If you hated it, please take a toke off your stratodoober and wash it out of your brain.

Again, thanks for reading it!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Farmers on Drugs

Previously...

"Whoa, mule! What's wrong with you?" McGregor said sternly. His mule had been more and more restless for half an hour now; probably spooked by all the dogs barking, he thought. Now a wind was blowing.

Reverend Smith was walking down the lane toward McGregor's farm, and started feeling light-headed. The air smelled funny.

McGregor, seeing how no work was going to be done this morning, unhitched the mule from the plow and started walking towards the barn.

He started feeling light-headed as he unbridled the mule, and started staggering. Everything looked funny; he rubbed his eyes and saw Smith staggering towards him. He giggled; Reverend Smith staggering?

"Are you OK, Reverend? You look a little unsteady."

Smith giggled. "You don't look so steady yourself." They both started laughing uproariously. "I don't know what's so funny," Smith said, and laughed again.

"Those cows are funny!" McGregor said. "Hey! My cattle! What's wrong with them?" The cows were all spooked, terrified.

"Oh, Lord," said the preacher. "Sinkhole! Look at that tree!"

McGregor started running to the cattle pen's gate and fell down. He got up and continued to the gate, this time at a quick stagger. Smith sat down on the ground, his head spinning.

McGregor opened the gate, but he was too late for half his cattle, who had fallen into the ever-widening hole. It was certainly a sobering experience.

"Reverend!" he cried, seeing the preacher laying prostrate on the ground. He felt like his head was clearing somewhat.

The farmers could have no idea that a supernova had obliterated the Acrux system 321 years earlier, and that the gamma rays had killed everything on the southern half of the planet, and oxidized much of its nitrogen into many different and varied oxides. Something similar (except it wasn't really) had happened more than once. An exploding star had affected Earth four hundred fifty million years earlier, causing a mass extinction called the Ordovician event, for instance.

What usually caused these mass extinctions was some angry, petulant, unsociable, mean-tempered superstar who couldn't hold his mass and finally blew up under the pressure.

Planets around "nearby" stars are greatly affected by these phenomenon. On Earth-type planets, with mostly nitrogen atmospheres, much of the nitrogen combusted, producing various nitrogen oxides, mostly what protohumans who used hydrocarbons for fuel called "smog,"

The oxide affecting McGregor's farm was what is commonly known to us as nitrous oxide.

"Laughing gas" is what it's usually known as.

This supernova was different than most supernovas. It was man-made.

"Reverend? Wake up! Are you OK? Oh, Yeshuah..."

The preacher's eyes fluttered. "What happened?" he asked.

A sinkhole in my cattle pen. Whoa... look inside that hole!"

Continues...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Earthian War 5

Previously...

"Lieutenant Maris reporting as ordered, sir."

"Thanks, Maris, sit down. Coffee? Cigar?" Colonel Gorn offered.

"Cigar, sir?" Maris said, puzzled. Gorn laughed.

"Private O'Brien gave it to me. His wife's pregnant, been giving cigars away to everybody. I'm happy for the young man, but I don't have any use for a cigar."

"Well, thank you sir, but neither do I." Maris waited respectfully for Gorn to get to the damned point. He didn't.

"Lucky kids, those O'Briens. Not many babies getting born these days."

"Yes, sir. I agree."

"I'm curious, Maris, you must be some kind of genius."

"Sir?"

"The way you knew the Venusians were going to Saturn."

"Oh," said Maris, "That was easy, just simple math."

"Simple math?"

"Yes, sir. I calculated their trajectories and there was no way they would wind up here. Either all their mathematicians are idiots like Zales thinks, or they were going someplace else for some other reason. And as close as they were going to the sun it suggested a slingshot.

"Jupiter and Neptune are on this side of the sun right now, so the only place they could possibly be going would be Saturn. The only reason I could think of why they'd be going there is to go to war with the Titanians. Can't for the life of me figure out why, though."

"Maris," replied Gorn, "You are a fucking genius." He laughed. "No, you're just a genius, you and O'Brian together make a fucking genius.

"But seriously, Maris, I'm impressed. That was good work, and it's going to look very good on your record."

"Well, thank you, sir, it's good to know that one is ap-preciated."

"You are, Lieutenant. Well done! Dismissed."

"Yes, sir," said Maris, rising from his chair. "Thank you, sir," he said, saluting.

The colonel returned his salute, and Maris sauntered down to the workshop where Johnson and O'Brien were tending the screens.

"Anything going on, men?"

"Not much, sir," said O'Brien. "Washington's slaughtering barflies, Ford's sleeping, and they're trying to take out satellites."

"Are they having much luck?"

"No, sir. They sent up thirty rockets and the satellites destroyed them all. Washington hasn't got laid yet, either."

"Is that germane, Private?" Maris said, suppressing a grin.

"Why, yes sir," O'Brien replied. "He's not nearly as disgusting once he gets his teensy little pecker wet. He usually just staggers back to his palace and passes out and we have a nice, peaceful night. Except maybe for the occasional rocket base commander committing suicide."

Maris chuckled. "Good point, Private."

"Excuse me, lieutenant, sir," said Johnson. "Sarge, he's going to another rocket facility."

"After saloon hopping?" O'Brien said, incredulous. "That's not normal for him. Shit! Johnson, did he get laid tonight? Did you listen to everything he had to say?"

"I think so, Sarge, at least until the Lieutenant came in." He looked at the Lieutenant. "Sorry, sir."

"No problem, Johnson. I take it you'll watch the recording, Zales?"

"Yes sir, that's standard procedure."

"Ok, I'll get out of you guys' way and let you do your jobs. Keep me posted."

"Yes, sir," said O'Brien, turning to his screens. He put the video back by two minutes."

"Hark!" said Colonel Sharpley.

"At ease, Colonel. How fast can you get a two thousand man ship ready?"

"Immediately, sir, within the hour."

"Excellent," said Washington. "Man your ship and ready for liftoff in two hours."

"Yes sir. What is our destination and further orders?"

"You're to go to Earth and start construction of a military base at the planetary coordinates in this packet," he said, handing a packet to the base's commander.

"We're colonizing Earth one month after we've dest-royed Mars."

"Sir?" Queried the Colonel. "Destroy Mars? All due respect, sir, and in fact all respect period, but we can destroy Mars?"

"That's classified. Just get there. Dismissed."

"Yes, sir," said the Colonel, saluting. Washington left.

"Bloody hell," said O'Brien. "Watch my screens, Johnson, I have to talk to Maris."

O'Brien walked down the hall to the lieutenant's office and knocked on the door. "Come," ordered Maris.

"Sir, the Venusians are launching a warship towards Earth, where they plan to set up a base. Washington seems to have a plan to destroy Mars."

Maris picked up an instrument and spoke into it. "L2, there is a Venusian warship headed for Earth. Stop it with any means necessary. Reply when you get this message." It would be a while before the radio waves reached Earth's L2 Lagrange point. He spoke again.

"Colonel Gorn, please," he said, and laid it down.

"Be glad you're not an officer, private," he said to O'Brien.

"Yes sir. The shit seems to have hit the fan. Am I dismissed? I should be watching the screens, all that's on duty is Johnson and he's pretty green.

"Yes, O'Brien, dismissed. Damn." His device beeped. O'brien saluted and left.

"Gorn here. What's the problem, Lieutenant?"

"Venus is attempting to establish a base on Earth, sir. I've alerted L2. The Venusians are sure they can destroy Mars. Maybe they've contacted the Titanians? Maybe they're not attacking them but teaming up with them? We don't really know anything about the Titanians."

"This is mere speculation, Maris."

"Yes, sir, it is. Merely hypothesis. With no way to test it."

"Well, thank you, Lieutenant. Keep me posted. Dismissed."

"Yes sir," said Maris.

Continues...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Table of Contents

1 - Little Green Men
2 - Martians
3 - Venusians
4 - Farmers
5 - The Death of Two Protohumans
6 - Ghouls
7 - It's the end of the world (but I feel fine)
8 - A Night on the Town
9 - Stratodoober Madness
10 - Blood on the Plow
11 - The Assassin
12 - Bigfoots
13 - Sick!
14 - Terry and the Nac Mac Feegle
15 - Rocket Man
16 - Hadron Destroyers
17 - Spies
18 - The Dance
19 - Dennis is a Two Headed Martian
20 - Titan?
21 - Not a ghost of a chance
22 - Suicide Bombers
23 - The Time Triangle
24 - Earthian War
25 - The Zeta Reticuli Incident
26 - Martian Panic
27 - Everything You Know Is Wrong
28 - Farmers on Drugs
29 - The Venusian Way
30 - The Surface
31 - Morlocks
32 - War of the Worlds
33 - Venus and Mars
34 - Ford and Gorn
35 - Acrux
36 - Captain Future and Buck

I've been busy on this thing, not just writing the new chapters but changing things around in the manuscript. I'm doing little to no editing on the posted chapters because the damned "smart quotes" glitch just takes too much work.

A lot of this needed to be changed. For instance, in Hadron Destroyers, the Rority and Gumal characters changed places in the manuscript.

I wrote Farmers on Drugs yesterday, it will be posted later. I'd decided to do a little wikipedia searching to be sure that Acrux was near enough to cause problems for Earth, and found that it was plenty near - but I learned how GRBs have caused mass extinctions. Wikipedia says that the gamma rays oxidize atmospheric nitrogen, so I thought, "laughing gas!"

What causes extinctions, according to Wikipedia, is the destruction of the ozone layer and smog. I couldn't find out what would happen if two neutron stars collided head-on, so to hell with it, I'm leaving that in. If there are any physicists or astrophysicists out there reading this and I made some kind of stupid massive blunder, please let me know!

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