Friday Quote – Ronald Reagan

17 Aug
August 17, 2012

“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The U.S. Marines don’t have that problem.”

Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States.

I will admit it. I am utterly fascinated with the culture of the United States Marine Corps. I’ve used them as the basis for more than one of my sci-fi stories because of their unique warrior ethos.

Sometimes my inner geek screams to get out

17 Aug
August 17, 2012

So I was in training for the last two days for work. Part of the training is identifying stakeholders and the impact of our actions on stakeholders. The instructor’s quip was along the lines of log when we talk about stakeholders, we’re not talking about someone who’s holding a sirloin with a pair of tongs. I’m thinking:

Really? I would’ve gone with more of we’re not talking about a vampire hunter’s assistant.

Then I realized that most of the people around me would have taken a few minutes before catching up with me.

I am such a nerd.

There’s a good reason Gov. Scott told Tampa Mayor Buckhorn “No”

15 Aug
August 15, 2012

Tampa is host to the Republican National Convention later this month. The mayor and city officials held the first of three town halls August 14 to talk about issues surrounding the RNC, such as street closures, garbage collection, etc. What one would expect of a city about to host a major event.

Then came Occupy Tampa. I don’t have the exact quote and can’t find it on the internets. I heard it during the 6:00 am newsbreak on 970 WFLA on Aug. 15 on my way into work and they didn’t replay the quote during the subsequent newscasts that I managed to listen to. At any rate, one of the Occupy members managed to get to a mike and rant that the greatest threat to the protesters were concealed carry holders. If just one CCW holder felt threatened, this individual could indiscriminately spray weapons fire into unarmed protesters. Or, at least that was the tone of his comments.

Really? First off, past experience with overly-energized mobs of people doesn’t engender much trust that they will look out for my personal safety, be it political, sports, or just because. An overly excited protester or group of protestors waving potential club(s) and acting as if about to cause my death or grevious bodily injury is no different than the run-of-the-mill drunk or criminal doing the same. I can’t read their minds. I can only go on their actions and their words and respond accordingly. Perhaps the protestors should bear that in mind before they decide to get too belligerent with the regular citizenry. There is a very good reason why we use the saying that an armed society is a polite society.

Further, if we were to compare the criminal rates between protestors and CCW holders, I think I’d trust the CCW holders to show better judgement and restraint. I would even be willing to take out the bullshit charges that ususally are just “contempt of cop.”

The best way to win a fight is to avoid one. For myself, I intend to stay far the hell away from downtown during the convention. Unfortunately, there are plenty of others who just don’t have that choice.

Zombie Strike Part 1 Chapter 8

15 Aug
August 15, 2012

In Chapter 8, the team faces off against the person responsible for the outbreak. The first part of the chapter didn’t get recorded in this episode, so read this first and then listen to the rest of the chapter:

Chapter 8

Enemy Temple, Central Jungle of Target Island, 200 Miles West of Hawaii, 1800 hours Local, 26 July 2009, Countdown: 2 years, 5 months, 5 days

Sissy screamed as the snarling gollum leapt at her. She clawed for her MP7 as the hurtling creature crashed onto her, knocking her to the ground. It slammed its wooden club on her prone form. Quentin grasped the gollum’s wrist before it could strike again. Quentin yanked the gollum off of Sissy and slammed it into the tunnel wall. The gollum wasn’t even fazed, but the force of the blow did make it let go of its club. The gollum slipped out of Quentin’s grip and attacked him. Quentin barely had enough time to get his arms in from of his face and body before the gollum raked across him with its claw-like nails. Quentin screamed in pain as the gollum attacked again. He felt the bite. The tunnel exploded with thunderous sound. The gollum jerked to the side. Collin fired again. And again. And again. Each bullet drove the gollum back a bit more. Collin kept firing until his Glock locked back on an empty magazine. The gollum tried to take advantage of Collin reloading, but Mateo’s first round landed a bare instant after Collin dropped the magazine out of his pistol. Mateo’s fire wasn’t the steady staccato that Collin used to drive the creature off of Quentin. Mateo’s fire was slower. Mateo wasn’t trying to drive the gollum off his teammate. He was trying to shatter the stone talisman the gollum wore around its neck.

“Hold your fire!” Quentin yelled over the gunfire. Mateo dropped his Sig to a ready position. Quentin charged the gollum. A deep guttural roar erupted from Quentin. The warhammer flashed in the tunnel’s faint light. The blow easily shattered the stone talisman before picking up the wiry gollum and flinging it clear out of the tunnel. The gollum crashed into the zombies that were still waiting at the tunnel’s opening. Strangely, the zombies began fleeing as fast as they could from the gollum as it scrambled to its feet. Granted, it was like watching turtles running away from a ferret. The gollum sprinted back into the gollum. Mateo and The Steve opened fire, but the gollum’s zigzagging run threw off their aim. The gollum bounded off the tunnel’s wall at Collin with its arms outstretched. Collin casually brought up his Glock and fired five times. The gollum’s body fell lifelessly at Collin’s feet.

The Steve holstered his weapon and sprinted to Sissy. The team sniper was curled up whimpering. The Steve whispered into Sissy’s ear as plunged a syringe into her. The medic laid Sissy down on to the dirt floor and began splinting her left arm. As The Steve tended to Sissy, Quentin walked over to Mateo. Quentin’s face was pale.

“Matt, the gollum bit me,” Quentin whispered to his team leader.

“Damn. Are you sure?” Mateo asked. Quentin could only nod silently. Mateo fought back sudden grief. The team just lost Jack. That was bad enough. This was every zombie hunter’s worst nightmare. Not getting turned into a zombie. Having to put down your friend before he turned into one.

“Collin,” Mateo said quietly, “Take over for Steve, please.” Collin gave Mateo a level look before nodding. The medic looked up at his name. One look at Quentin’s face was all the explanation that The Steve needed. Mateo, The Steve, and Quentin walked a few yards further into the tunnel. The light was dimmer and the shadows danced around the three men. The Steve said nothing as he pulled out his Kimber.

NO, NO DISPARA!” shouted a voice in the darkness. The three men spun to the voice. Out of the shadows emerged a disheveled Hispanic man. The man was short and thin, with unkempt black hair and a ragged beard. His clothes were stained and torn. The man took another step closer and began speaking in rapid-fire Spanish. Mateo motioned for The Steve to put his weapon away. The man spoke for a couple minutes before Mateo silenced him.

“He says that his name is Dr. Miguel de Castilla,” Mateo translated, “He says that a bite from a gollum doesn’t turn a man into a zombie.”

“How?” Quentin asked, his voice breaking with sudden hope.

“The gollums are some sort of special warrior for Zeye Pay Toe Tek,” Mateo said, uncertain of the translation. “They were created using some sort of special ritual. They’re some sort of recreated Aztec warrior, not really zombies.”

“Xipe Totec?” Quentin asked, carefully enunciating the name. “Is that what he said?” The man nodded. Even in the dim light of the tunnel, Mateo could see Quentin pale.

“Okay, so who’s this Zippee Totec?” The Steve asked.

“Xipe Totec was an Aztec god,” Quentin explained, “He was known to the people as Our Lord The Flayed One.”

“Flayed?” Mateo asked, “Like what the Romans did to Jesus before crucifying him?” Quentin nodded.

“Xipe Totec was a god of life, death, and rebirth,” Quentin said, “Those statues at the front of the tunnel were of him. This is starting to make sense.” Dr. de Castilla grabbed Mateo and began speaking again.

“Okay, the doctor was an archaeologist working a dig in the Yucatan when someone snatched him,” Mateo said, “He woke up here. Apparently the person in charge of this calls himself Xipe-tzin. This guy snatched a bunch of Aztec specialists and forced them to help create the zombies. The doc escaped yesterday during some consecration ceremony. He thinks all of the others are dead. Killed by Xipe-tzin. He’s scared, but he’ll lead us back to the temple room.” Dr. de Castilla nodded furiously.

“Matt, this sounds exactly like what we’re looking for,” Quentin said, “We’ve got to stop Xipe-tzin.”

“How bad?” Mateo asked.

“End of the world bad,” Quentin said.

Narrator: Kenn Blanchard

Story: Derek Ward

This episode was originally broadcast on the Urban Shooter podcast.

Note: In the early episodes, I hadn’t figured out the numbering scheme. So the part/chapter numbers on the audio may not match the post title.

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Open Carry in Florida

14 Aug
August 14, 2012

So in the August 9 issue of the TBT (sorry, they don’t have it set up for me to link directly to the article) had a big front page splash on the NRA supporting a bill in the 2013 legislative session that would allow open carry in Florida. Well, welcome to the party. Never mind that you stabbed us in the back the last time.

The current law allows for “accidental” exposure of the firearm, but too much is left up to the individual police officer’s discretion. If Officer Friendly decides that you exposed your weapon in a way that is not covered under the law, then you get carted to jail and charged with a felony. Considering the tone from the top (I mean you Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee), I am still somewhat paranoid that my weapon stays covered and concealed.

If the NRA wants to lend their weight to the open carry fight, I will gladly welcome their support. My money, however, will continue to go to Florida Carry. They have never wavered in their support for those of us who carry for self-defense. I really should go to one of their open-carry fishing events, but I hate fishing.

Zombie Strike Part 1 Chapter 7

13 Aug
August 13, 2012

In Chapter 7, Mateo convinces M&W to let the team go find who sent the zombies after them. Deep in the jungle, the team finds something startling.

Narrator: Kenn Blanchard

Story: Derek Ward

This episode was originally broadcast on the Urban Shooter podcast.

Note: In the early episodes, I hadn’t figured out the numbering scheme. So the part/chapter numbers on the audio may not match the post title.

We’ve Got An Uphill Battle Here….

11 Aug
August 11, 2012

Most of the time I understand that my views are far outside of the mainstream. For FSM’s sake, I’m a wookie-suited libertarian atheist who revels in the geek/nerd culture. Still, there are sometimes when that fact I’m outside the mainstream gets slapped across my face. Hard.

From Reason.com comes this article: “Gallup: Majority of Americans Think TSA is Effective.”

For all the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) horror stories that pop up in local papers, then Drudge, then (often) Reason, turns out according to Gallup, that group of much-maligned gropers are doing okay. Or rather, 54 percent of poll respondees say that the TSA is doing a “good or excellent” job. However, a paltry 13 percent (barely more than the 12 percent who said “poor”) actually think the TSA is “excellent.”

WTF? Only 13% of respondents said the TSA was doing a poor job? After all the horror stories (some with video) that have been blasted across the blogs and news sites? Exactly how do these poll respondents think that TSA is effective? It’s probably like this:

The government promised that with the TSA in place, the planes wouldn’t be taken over by terrorists and crashed into buildings anymore. No planes have been taken over by terrorists and crashed into buildings. Except for lone wackos who crash their own planes into buildings. Or the terrorists that are stopped by the passengers themselves.

Since September 11, Americans have an instinctual understanding that they can no longer be passive observers during a terrorist attack on a plane. If that rare occurrence happens, then they are dead unless they fight. Unfortunately that knowledge hasn’t seemed to seep into their thinking minds. They are fully content with the theater security that is the TSA. There might be some grumbling from the conservatives on how the Israelis do it better (which is a bullshit argument when you compare Israeli and American flight volumes). There might be grumbling from liberals on lost liberties (which needs to be more than grumbling). Yet all of them are just fine with the government “securing” the airplanes.

So, if I hate the TSA, what would I do to make the airplanes safer? First, privatize airport security and make the airports and airlines directly responsible for them, as in civil liability. Private security would be forced to find that crossroad between cost, effectiveness, and intrusiveness. It would also make it easier for airports and airlines to switch companies if the current provider is not doing a good job. (Yay free markets.) Second, allow us to start carrying our weapons back onto the planes. I mean everyone. Pilots, stewardesses, passengers. Let us have our guns, knives, stun guns, batons. I don’t care if you ask that only CCW holders carry onto the planes. Just enforce the same laws that govern us on the ground. Those laws seem to work pretty well on the ground, they should work just fine in an aluminum tube flying at 30,000 feet.

Zombie Strike Part 1 Chapter 6

10 Aug
August 10, 2012

In Chapter 6, “The Steve” is checking in on Mateo when the first zombie horde attacks the base camp. As one of the team falls in battle, The Steve’s other half emerges.

Narrator: Kenn Blanchard

Story: Derek Ward

This episode was originally broadcast on the Urban Shooter podcast.

Note: In the early episodes, I hadn’t figured out the numbering scheme. So the part/chapter numbers on the audio may not match the post title.

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Friday Quote – Double Quote- James Feibleman & Stephan F. Roberts

10 Aug
August 10, 2012

BONUS DOUBLE QUOTE PRIZE!

“A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.”

James Feibleman

“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

Stephen F. Roberts

As an atheist, when I look at the myths that surround the current “popular” religions, I see many of the same themes that populated the “myths” of extinct religions. We shouldn’t kill (with exemptions), don’t steal (with exemptions), don’t lie (with exemptions), be kind to others (with exemptions). To use the old phrase, “the devil is in the details”. Each religious system believes that their deity or deities told them what the exceptions, be it kill only in self-defense or that it’s okay to lie and steal from heretics. I have to reconcile the pillars of my belief system when they clash, such as killing in self-defense or defense of others.

Zombie Strike Part 1 Chapter 5

08 Aug
August 8, 2012

In Chapter 5, Quentin rushes to engage Sissy’s target in the jungle and rushes to engage it. Upon reaching where Sissy was aiming, Quentin and the others can’t find anything. If it wasn’t a zombie, what was it?

Narrator: Kenn Blanchard

Story: Derek Ward

This episode was originally broadcast on the Urban Shooter podcast.

Note: In the early episodes, I hadn’t figured out the numbering scheme. So the part/chapter numbers on the audio may not match the post title.

Play