Archive for month: October, 2013

Metal Tuesday – Iron Maiden – Wasted Years

29 Oct
October 29, 2013

This week’s Metal Tuesday is Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years.”

The beginning riff is probably one of the best in power metal.

Lyrics:

From the coast of gold, across the seven seas,
I’m travelling on, far and wide,
But now it seems, I’m just a stranger to myself,
And all the things I sometimes do, it isn’t me but someone else.

I close my eyes, and think of home,
Another city goes by, in the night,
Ain’t it funny how it is, you never miss it til it’s gone away,
And my heart is lying there and will be til my dying day.

Chorus:
So understand
Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years,
Face up… make your stand,
And realise you’re living in the golden years.

Too much time on my hands, I got you on my mind,
Can’t ease this pain, so easily,
When you can’t find the words to say, it’s hard to make it through another day,
And it makes me wanna cry, and throw my hands up to the sky.

Chorus:
So understand
Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years,
Face up… make your stand,
And realise you’re living in the golden years.

Monday Fiction – Avalon – Book 1 Chapter 4

28 Oct
October 28, 2013

Anne

Kurt pulled into a driveway that wrapped around an old row house in Milltown. The old manufacturing district was trying very hard to reinvent itself and regain its former glory as the commercial heart of the city. Most of it was like this row house – worn and ragged. Anne felt remembered pangs flow through her heart. Her grandparents had lived in a house just like this on the other side of Milltown. Grandpa had worked in the old textile plant until it finally killed him twenty years ago. After that, Grandma just sort of, went away until she died a few years later. Anne’s momentary nostalgia died as Kurt expertly relieved Anne of her sidearm.

“What the hell?” Anne demanded.

Detektivin, right now, you are our guest,” Kurt said, “I don’t want our guest shooting my employers. At least until after I get my pay.” Anne planted her feet and stared at the smiling German.

“What is going on? Who are you? Who are your employers?” Anne asked.

“Well, at least you haven’t become indignant that we’ve taken you,” said melodious voice behind her. It had the same strange accent that Erik used. Anne turned to find two women standing at the rear door of the row house. One was a tall, lithe brunette with calm and warm blue eyes. The other woman looked Hispanic, with dusky skin and jet black hair. That one’s dark eyes flashed with amusement.

“After those monsters at the warehouse, I figured if you wanted me dead, you’d just left me to them,” Anne said, “And Erik and this one were just too smooth not to be something more than common criminals. There’s something strange going on in my city, and I am going to get answers.”

“Where’s Erik?” the brunette asked Kurt. Her tone was calm and collected, but Anne could see the tiniest flicker of terror flash in the woman’s eyes. There was an emotional connection there. Good. Anne could use that if needed.

“He stayed behind to deal with someone named Arem,” Kurt answered. The brunette tensed as her blue eyes widened in shock.

“That’s impossible. Arem died nearly a decade ago. There’s no way he could be here,” she said. Anne had heard that tone before. The woman was trying to convince herself that the boogeyman hadn’t come back to hurt her.

“Tall male, about six-three? Thin with dark hair? Eerily handsome? Appears out of thin air with orcs in tow?” Anne asked. The woman nodded slowly. “That’s the guy that Erik called Arem. Right before he shoved me out to meet Kurt. Now, who the hell is this Arem and who the hell are all of you?”

“This is best told inside,” the brunette answered. “We will answer your questions, Det. Hearst. Please, we need to get inside where it’s safe.”

“Those things I saw at the warehouse could tear through the side of that house,” Anne said, not surprised these people knew who she was, “You expect me to be safer in there than out here?”

“Walls are not this house’s only protections,” the dark woman said, “Besides, if Erik stayed to stop this Arem, I don’t think we’ll have to worry about it.” The brunette shot the dark woman a reproachful look, which the shorter woman blithely ignored. The two women turned and walked in the house. Kurt motioned for Anne to follow them. She didn’t move.

“Give me back my gun,” Anne said. “I’m not going to shoot those two, but I’m not going into an unknown house unarmed.” Kurt gave another of his radiant smiles. Damn it. Maybe if she’d met him some other time and some other place. With a flourish, Kurt produced her Glock. Anne snatched the handgun from his proffered hands. A quick check showed it was still loaded with a round in the chamber. Satisfied, Anne walked into the house. Kurt followed whistling some tune that tugged at Anne’s memory. She’d heard it long ago, but couldn’t remember where.

Just beyond the door was a well-appointed, if dated, kitchen. God, it reminded Anne of her grandmother’s kitchen. She followed the two women through a narrow hall into a side room. It was decorated like a family room with comfortable, aged furniture and pictures of smiling people on the walls. Kurt motioned for Anne to sit in a cushioned chair as the two women sat on a couch across from her. A steel carafe sat on the coffee table between them with four china cups. The dark woman started pouring a rich coffee by the aroma.

“My name is Samantha Hart,” the brunette said, “My companion is Veronica Patel. We, along with Erik and Kurt, have come to this city looking for you.” As Samantha talked, Anne felt cold pricks in her mind. Well, that was the best description of the sensations. Her face hardened as she stared into Samantha’s face. Anne was sure that the woman was the cause behind the pricks.

“What are you doing?” Anne asked dangerously. The brunette gave her a warm smile.

“You can feel that?” Samantha asked. Anne nodded. “That is very interesting. Most people can’t feel when I do that. As to what I’m doing, I’m reading your thoughts.”

“What?” Anne blurted in shock. She didn’t know how, but she knew Samantha was telling the truth. She’d always been able to tell when someone was lying to her. “That’s impossible. There’s no such thing as telepathy.”

“No one born on this side of the gate can do it, that’s true,” Samantha said, “Which makes you all the more interesting. You have a touch of the power. I can feel it in your mind, but I can’t find where. I’m very sorry. This is going to hurt. Kurt?” Anne had the barest moment of realization she was in trouble before the German had her restrained.

“Relax fraulein, and it will hurt less,” Kurt whispered with a tone of personal experience. Intense pain flashed through Anne’s head. The cold pricks were now one large stab. She tried to fight, but Samantha was unbelievably strong. Memories flashed through Anne’s head. The day she became a detective. Comforting a victim after Anne had shot the man raping the poor girl. Joining the police force. Graduating the police academy. Moments of passion with her old high school boyfriend. Her mother and father watching her dancing as the lead ballerina in a recital. God, she was ten. Even older memories flashed by. Then it felt like she hit a wall and the pain stopped. As the memories cleared away, Anne could see the room. Samantha was on the floor, holding her head in pain.

“What did you just do to me?” Anne screamed at the woman. Maybe she could still reach her pistol.

“I tried to find out why the Dark Towers were after you,” Samantha answered, staggering to her feet, “To see if you were already in league with them, even without you knowing it. Possibly even why you have a touch of the power in you. To see whether or not we could recruit you, have to protect you, or have to kill you.” Anne’s body went cold at the matter-of-fact tone Samantha used.

“And?” Anne asked. Before Samantha could answer, the door behind her slammed open. Anne could smell blood and gunpowder waft in. Samantha’s eyes lit with relief and worry.

“I would kind of like to know why Arem wanted her as well,” Erik said, walking into the room before collapsing.

Friday Quote – 10/25/13

25 Oct
October 25, 2013
A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. The so-called right to health care, food or housing, whether a person can afford it or not, is something entirely different; it does impose an obligation on another. If one person has a right to something he didn’t produce, simultaneously and of necessity it means that some other person does not have right to something he did produce. That’s because, since there’s no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give one American a dollar, it must, through intimidation, threats and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American.

Dr. Walter E. Williams, economist and commentator

This is a concept that those who say healthcare, education, and even clean water are basic human rights should stop and ponder. Even the right to keep and bear arms does not require that someone provide me with arms, just that I am allowed to keep those arms that I purchase or produce.

I Admit It, I LOL’d

24 Oct
October 24, 2013

Had a door-to-door atheist come to the house the other day. Asked if I had lost Jesus yet.

— Robb Allen (@ItsRobbAllen) October 22, 2013

That reminds me, I should wear my FSM shirt again for the next Open Carry Fishing Event.

Problems in the Current State of Science

24 Oct
October 24, 2013

Science, when conducted rigorously, is the best means for humans to explore and explain our reality. The key word being rigorously. Without that, our understanding of reality is skewed because it’s based on false facts. So, when I see something like this, I get concerned. The Economist published a lengthy article detailing critical problems in the current state of science. I would heartily recommend that you RTWT.

Various factors contribute to the problem. Statistical mistakes are widespread. The peer reviewers who evaluate papers before journals commit to publishing them are much worse at spotting mistakes than they or others appreciate. Professional pressure, competition and ambition push scientists to publish more quickly than would be wise. A career structure which lays great stress on publishing copious papers exacerbates all these problems. “There is no cost to getting things wrong,” says Brian Nosek, a psychologist at the University of Virginia who has taken an interest in his discipline’s persistent errors. “The cost is not getting them published.”

Two of the biggest issues that faces science is the current process of peer review as well as the undesirability of doing replication experiments. Currently, peer review is rife with errors that provide gaps for bad papers to be published.

…in a classic 1998 study Fiona Godlee, editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, sent an article containing eight deliberate mistakes in study design, analysis and interpretation to more than 200 of the BMJ’s regular reviewers. Not one picked out all the mistakes. On average, they reported fewer than two; some did not spot any.

Replication, which is supposed to be the main corrective or confirmatory agent in the scientific method is disdained.

Journals, thirsty for novelty, show little interest in it; though minimum-threshold journals could change this, they have yet to do so in a big way. Most academic researchers would rather spend time on work that is more likely to enhance their careers. This is especially true of junior researchers, who are aware that overzealous replication can be seen as an implicit challenge to authority. Often, only people with an axe to grind pursue replications with vigour—a state of affairs which makes people wary of having their work replicated.

To me, this is definitely where voluntary associations could come into play. I would love to see something like United Laboratories be established for the express purpose of replicating and validating experiments. Or multiple organizations that can give experiments a “stamp of approval.” I don’t know if this is possible in the current environment, but I would rather a non-profit of some type take this on rather than wait for one of the myriad of government agencies that would be chomping at the bit for a chance to regulate science.

Sometimes an Article Comes Along…

23 Oct
October 23, 2013

And I say, “Dammit, that is exactly what I would’ve written if I could have just found those same words.” I came across this on the Book of Face and it perfectly encapsulated me frustration when dealing with progressives.

You need to read the whole thing, but here’s the part that made me squirm with envious joy:

Metal Tuesday – Persuader – Doomsday News

22 Oct
October 22, 2013

This week’s Metal Tuesday is Persuader’s “Doomsday News.” This is one of those songs that get stuck in my head until I burn it out through repetition.

Lyrics:

For some time I looked at the world
Through the eyes of damnation
Dark sights, they hide away from the sun
In the doomsday city I run

In a stream of cruel diminishing thoughts
Darkness shadows the light inside
People not convinced, laughing
End of mankind, wither and die

In denial the fools will carry on
A face unseen will show you what I mean
When the legions arise to destroy

Another day has come to end
No one heard my prophecy
And if tomorrow brings decay
Then it’s only my price to pay

Now look, ripping divine serpent
Slither into their minds
Destined to be, eternally
But you are the filth, and death is my God

From the grave black, rise and follow
The strong will remain
All there is left, this eternal horror
Now blood falls like rain

Monday Fiction – Avalon – Book 1 – Chapter 3

21 Oct
October 21, 2013

Anne

The quartet of orcs bellowed as they charged the two. Anne raised her sidearm, but Erik pushed it down with surprising force. Anne glowered at the strange man. What the hell was he playing at?

“Don’t bother with that,” Erik said, “Your pistol isn’t going to be enough to take down an orc. Run to the street. Wait for a van driven by a blond-haired German named Kurt. Go with him. Tell him I’ll catch up.”

“Are you insane?” Anne demanded, “I need to call this in before these things kill a bunch of innocents.” She pulled her radio off her belt. The radio was ripped out of her hand by an unseen hand. What the hell?

“Don’t,” Erik said, holstering his own pistol. With a flash, he had a thick-bladed dagger that reminded Anne of a Bowie knife in his left hand. In his right was a massive stainless revolver. “Your police will just get slaughtered if they try to take on the Dark Towers. Run, now!” An invisible force pushed Anne towards the entrance of the warehouse. Forget who this Erik person was. The question in Anne’s mind was what was Erik? Anne stumbled a couple of steps before sprinting towards the entrance.

“Arem!” she heard Erik yell before she ran out of the warehouse. Then came a thunderous roar that could only be that revolver. Forty yards until she hit the entrance to the docks. The unearthly snarl to Anne’s left startled her enough that she tripped. Stars and pain blossomed as she hit the asphalt. Her sidearm clattered across the ground. Anne turned over as her vision cleared. What she thought was two dumpsters unfolded into two towering monsters. Each stood nearly twelve feet tall with dark, gray rough skin. They looked like much larger versions of those monsters Erik stayed to fight. Instinct took over and Anne slipped her hand down her her boot and drew the small Ruger LCP. A small red dot appeared on the closer monster. Anne squeezed the trigger. Blossoms of dark blood appeared on the monster’s chest, but all the little .380 bullets managed to do was enrage it further.

Screeching tires drew Anne’s and the monsters’ attention to the entrance of the docks. A white van darted into the dockyards before pulling an amazing skew turn to stop maybe ten feet from Anne. The two monsters stood still, trading perplexed looks with each other. Maybe they’d never seen a van before? The side door of the van slid open. A tall, lanky, blond man stepped out holding some kind of belt-fed machine gun. The two monsters didn’t seem to surprise him. If anything, the new man looked resigned. This must be Kurt. He pointed the machine gun at the monster that Anne wounded.

“Nice grouping fraulein, but trolls need more than small bits of lead and copper to take them down. Cover your ears. This is going to be a bit loud,” Kurt said. Anne quickly grabbed her ears a moment before the machine gun’s roar filled the dockyards. She could barely hear the monster’s howl of pain as its chest was torn apart by the machine gun’s bullets. Was there small gouts of flame coming from it? The first monster fell, and Kurt quickly turned the gun on the second. It didn’t last any longer than its companion. The silence was deafening as the machine gun stopped firing.

“Come, fraulein,” Kurt said loudly, “We need to get you and Erik out of here.”

“He said he was going to catch up with us,” Anne managed to say as she leapt into the van. Guns of various sizes were locked in racks on the sides of the interior. Kurt gave the detective a quizzical look as he locked the machine gun into one of the racks. “He was fighting off some orcs and someone named Arem.”

“Arem?” Kurt asked, “Who’s Arem?”

“Tall guy, brown hair and scary eyes?” Anne asked, “He was leading the orcs. I think that’s what the other guy called them.” Kurt’s normally handsome features contorted into a grimace.

Schiesse,” the German cursed, “Hold on, this is going to get a little rough.” Kurt deftly wheeled the van around and darted out on to the street. He sped down the boulevard for a few blocks, took a right, and blended into traffic.

“Where are you taking me?” Anne asked.

“To my employers,” Kurt said, “They are the ones that normally deal with the dunkle Turme.”

“The what?” Anne asked.

“Sorry, the Dark Towers,” Kurt answered, “The monsters across the gate.” Anne didn’t look any less confused. Kurt shrugged his shoulders. “They will explain it to you.”


Erik

Orcs. Why the hell had Arem brought orcs to Earth? Better question, how had Arem survived? Erik thought as the orcs charged with their black swords raised above them. At least Kurt had been nice enough to put a light and reflex sight on this revolver. Not only did it help with aiming the heavy piece, but added a bit of weight to the front so he didn’t need to use as much power when using it. Erik placed the glowing dot on the lead orc and squeezed the trigger.

He felt the recoil thrum through his body. The heavy bullet neatly blew the back of the orc’s head out, splattering his comrades with blood and brains. To their credit, the three remaining orcs didn’t hesitate, but spread out to come at him from multiple angles. So, these had been up against Avalonians before. Well, Erik doubted they’d faced anything like him.

He flipped his dagger at the left-hand orc with enough power pushing the blade to launch it like a crossbow bolt. The orc gave out an abbreviated scream as the blade lanced through its eye before slamming into the its brain. It fell to the ground and slid for a few feet. The right-hand orc took a pair of bullets to the chest. With orcs, it was best to be sure. Like its brother, it went to the ground dead. Erik was brought the revolver around to deal with the last orc. The orc threw a small blade at Erik, forcing him to slide out of the way. Well, small for an orc. The blade was almost a bloody short sword. The orc sped up.

Erik felt the spike of wild magic before his revolver was torn out of his hands. The silver weapon fell into Arem’s waiting hands. Erik didn’t have time to even curse. He used a bit of power to yank his dagger back, and then sent a stronger blast at the elf. Arem stumbled back from the surprise push and accidentally fired the last two rounds from the revolver. Erik felt one of the heavy bullets whistle past his head a scant moment before a hammer slammed into his chest.

The last orc’s body slumped to the ground with the gaping hole in its chest. There was a flash of pain and Erik fell back to the ground. Damn, he hated getting shot. At least Arem killed his own orc with the same bullet. The elf pointed the revolver at Eric’s prone form and squeezed the trigger again. The warehouse echoed with the mechanical snap of the hammer landing on a spent casing. Arem let out a string of elven curses and threw the revolver on the ground. Erik winced. He really didn’t want to listen to the German when he brought that revolver home. Sirens in the distance caught Arem’s attention.

“We’ll finish this fight at a later time,” Arem promised. Another spike of wild magic coursed through the warehouse. A red hole in the air appeared just long enough for Arem to step through. Erik stood up. His chest and ribs protested the movement. It was time for him to get the hell out.

Friday Quote – 10/18/13

18 Oct
October 18, 2013

I learned that very often the most intolerant and narrow-minded people are the ones who congratulate themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness.

Christopher Hitchens

Metal Tuesday – Savage Circus – It: The Gathering

15 Oct
October 15, 2013

This week’s Metal Tuesday is Savage Circus’ “It: The Gathering.” This is a decent power metal song based on the Stephen King novel, It.

And now I want to go watch the miniseries because Tim Curry is just fucking awesome as Pennywise.

Lyrics:

What am I doing here?
What is the reason for my fear?
Something vicious buried in black
Rising up, it’s coming back

Long forgotten evil’s drawing near
Hidden down below
It stood the test of time and now it’s here

No loss of memories protecting me no more

[Chorus:]
Seven bound to the oath
Hold on forgetful
That brought us back, coming here
To end it once and for all
Hand in hand, we’re going to stand
Together again, to carry out
What must be done
The final chapter has begun

Now we’re going back in time
To fulfil the mission to seal the mine
In the underworld of the sewage pipes
The tunnels bare of light

Mortal fear makes me shiver to the bone
Down below, I’m not alone

Seven minds and but a single thought
Seven vowed to return
Seven versus the evil beast
To finally get released

A devil in disguise of a clown
Is preying on the children of the town

No loss of memories protecting me no more

[Chorus]

Now we’re at the gateway to the devil’s lair
Behind a torturous light I can feel it stare
It is awaiting like spider in the web
Seven against you now, the final attack

No loss of memories, the gathering is fulfilled

[Chorus]