Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Crushing Kellogg (Fallout 4 Spoiler)

It's really no secret that you're going to have to face this guy in Fallout 4, but I suppose the spoiler warning is warranted if you've never had this conversation and want to go in "cold" the first time. You also get an idea of how he fights. This is one solution to dealing with him: lots of drugs.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The 40 Plot Holes That Weren't (continued)

This is old news now, but I hate to leave things unfinished.

Original annoying article: 40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
Part one of my response: The 40 Plot Holes That Weren't

Click through for the rest.


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Defending the Castle

This isn't exactly the same Castle as in my previous post, as this is a new character, but my defensive setup is largely the same. I let the Institute know that I was not going to be joining them. They didn't take the news well. They can bring it; I've been preparing for this day.

Share My Pain: Zombeavers

I was bored at home on a Saturday night, therefore bad movie. How bad? "Zombeavers" bad. Behold the trailer...

I live-commented on Facebook, and I have copied the transcript below the fold.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Building Up the Castle

If you follow me on Facebook, you may know that my current gaming obsession is Fallout 4. One of the features in the latest version of Fallout is settlement-building. You need to set up radio beacons to attract settlers, then make sure to satisfy needs like food, water, and beds for the people who show up. You also need to prepare for attacks on your settlement by various factions that want to steal your resources or just destroy for fun.

Settlement building seems to be one of the most popular aspects of the new game. Lots of YouTubers have uploaded videos of their settlements, and some have published detailed how-to videos. My own entry is not very elaborate, but FO4 has given me the opportunity to mess around with the video capture features of my PlayStation 4. I therefore present my own Fallout 4 settlement video.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The 40 Plot Holes That Weren't

Nena showed me an article called 40 Unforgivable Plot Holes in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' by Seth Abramson of the University of New Hampshire. She agrees with me that most of them don't qualify as either. It looks to me like Seth wasn't paying attention half the time.

I can be an argumentative jerk, so I'm going to dissect his article item-by-item.

This is your spoiler warning.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

The Force Awakens

I have now seen the movie twice. I was a bit disgruntled the first time, as I had avoided spoilers until mere hours before I actually got to see it, which put me in a somewhat negative mood.

I was past the negative feelings this time, so I think I can safely say that I do, in fact, like Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I agree that it is highly derivative of previous Star Wars movies (I will not say which above the fold), but that doesn't really hurt it. This movie has the character development and dialogue that we truly love from the episodes IV-VI. It has action, but not pointless action.

Don't get me wrong: it could be better. The plot doesn't have blatant plot holes, but there are certainly plenty of open questions (which is okay if sequels fill them seamlessly).

Spoiler free, I am not disappointed that I payed to see it in theaters twice. I may even do it again. If you still haven't seen it, go away.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Just a Rifle

Yet again, there's a dubious photo meme going around on Facebook.

Just a Rifle
I'm not going to try to make a case that you should not be allowed to purchase an AR-15 rifle like the one at the bottom of the image. I just want to point out that this whole "just a rifle" argument is disingenous. Rifles have different designs for different purposes, and terminology has adapted to describe those purposes. Not all rifles are made equal.

According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, an "assault rifle" is a "military firearm that is chambered for ammunition of reduced size or propellant charge and that has the capacity to switch between semiautomatic and fully automatic fire." By design, they are easy to carry, have a high rate of fire, carry a large amount of ammunition in the magazine, and reload quickly by changing the mazagine. The only distinction that the civilian model at the bottom has from a military weapon is that the civilian weapon is not capable of fully automatic fire.

The first (top) rifle in the image is a lever-action rifle. Today, they are designed mostly for hunting at moderate range. Looking at online advertisements, they are available in a wide range of calibers. The magazine typically seems to hold about 10 rounds of ammunition, which would have to be loaded into the weapon individually. The weapon must be cocked by lowering and raising the lever before every shot, which will limit its rate of fire, but if you went on a crazy shooting spree with this weapon, you could probably shoot ten people before you had to stop and reload, allowing potential victims to either escape or attack you.

The second is a bolt-action rifle, also typically used for hunting these days, although military sniper rifles are also frequently bolt-action rifles. Generally used with a scope, they are accurate at long ranges. The World War 2 era rifle that I own myself holds 5 rounds in the magazine; these can be loaded individually or loaded all at once using a "stripper clip" that holds all five rounds together in the right orientation for loading. These rifles typically use a powerful cartridge like the .30-06 round (7.62 mm). The bolt-action must be manually worked before every shot. If this was your weapon on a shooting spree, you could potentially hit from a large distance, but you would still probably only be able to hit a few people before your victims scrambled for cover.

And finally, the third weapon, which is also "just a rifle". The design is military, although the fully automatic fire capability is removed for the civilian market. For the military, it is intended to fire a lot of bullets in a short time at moderate range. As far as I know, civilians typically buy such weapons for home defense, plus just liking the idea of owning such a weapon. The AR-15 fires .223 caliber ammunition (5.56 mm): a small but fast bullet. The civilian model is semi-automatic, loading a fresh round into the chamber after every shot, allowing you to fire as quickly as you can aim and pull the trigger. I found online ads for AR-15 magazines holding anywhere from 10 to 40 rounds of ammunition. By design, the magazine can be detached when empty and quickly replaced with a full one. If this was your weapon on a shooting spree, and you had practiced with it, you could reasonably expect to shoot dozens of people.

I am not against gun ownership. As I said, I have a rifle myself. In it's time, my Mosin-Nagant was a military combat rifle.

I am against bad arguments for anything. Pretending that there is no difference between the three rifles in that picture is dishonest. You don't need 40 rounds of .223 semi-automatic fire for deer hunting; a weapon like the AR-15 is meant to kill people.

Sure, "assault" is an action, but it is also a design specification.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Gun for Home Defense

A popular argument against gun regulation is that "good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns" and "we need guns to protect our homes".

According to a study conducted by Emory University, a gun in the house is over 20 times more likely to be used to harm a resident than to fight off an intruder.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Not Exactly Gumbo

This one consists of onions and garlic sauteed in olive oil, sausage, shrimp, cheese tortellini, additional pasta, and chicken broth.


One chopped onion goes into the pan first, along with some salt, pepper, dried thyme, basil, and oregano.  They cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent, then a chopped clove of garlic goes in for a bit.

The sausage is half a link of a spicy sausage I got at the European Market & Deli, diced up and added to the pan for another few minutes.

The shrimp were frozen, so I put them in the pan, covered it, and let it cook for a couple of minutes to thoroughly thaw them.

Finally, I added frozen tortellini and a couple of shaped pastas, then added about a quart of chicken broth to cover everything. I brought up the heat to high until it was boiling, then dropped to low and covered it for ten minutes.

Turned out really good.

Death Star Conspiracy

A new conspiracy theory has emerged on Facebook.


Like conspiracy theories typically are, this one is full of holes:
  • Darth Vader was not in command of the Death Star; Grand Moff Tarkin was.
  • Darth Vader didn't build R2-D2; that droid was built before he was born.
  • There is no record of Darth Vader having children.
  • The exhaust port was not two feet wide: it was two meters wide; there are kids on Tatooine who can hit a target that size from a skyhopper.
These conspiracy nuts clearly don't want to acknowledge the very simple failures that lead to the loss of the Death Star.
  • If the Imperial intelligence services had been doing their jobs properly, the schematics for the station would never have fallen into rebel hands in the first place.
  • If every single gun turret on the station hadn't been designed to shoot at cruisers with no regard to the possible threat of fighters, the rebel attack would have been quickly repelled.
  • If the exhaust port had been fully shielded instead of just ray-shielded, there would have been no rebel attack at all.
This is yet another smear campaign aimed at Darth Vader simply because he was the sole survivor of the Death Star, when logs of the battle show that he was the only one who took action when it became apparent that the station's gun turrets could not rotate quickly enough to target starfighters. He ordered his squadron of fighters to repel the attack, placing himself at risk to lead the defense.

We should be glad he survived instead of trying to blame the Death Star fiasco on him.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Classics, of course

The Wolf Man


Psycho


And there are always flying monkeys to worry about.


Dracula



White Zombie, in its entirety.