Coffee and cigarettes…

January 15, 2010

happy new year… is it over yet?

Filed under: brain candy — techrat @ 12:28 pm

Oy. Here we are just two weeks into the new year, and I’m already so very, very over it. It even started out so well… but how quickly do things change. I would appreciate it if the universe could stop throwing bad stuff at me and mine, just for a while. Not asking for forever… I know better than that. But a breather would be awesome. kthxbai!

The latest is a phone call from my credit union this morning, asking about a “few” transactions on my credit card the other day. Someone scarfed my CC info and used it to load up on WoW and Warhammer/DAoC subscriptions.  So, disputes are being filed with the CU, the card’s been cancelled and a new one is on the way (but until it gets here, I get to live on cash). On the upside, the nice lady at EA actually giggled and said “oh boy, fun time” as she took the banhammer to the little thieving shit’s accounts. As she whacked away, she confessed that this was her favorite part of the job.

Still waiting to hear back from Blizzard.

The good news, and there is some: the wedding planning continues apace, and AB and I are making steady, if slow, progress in figuring out how to shuffle her life deck with mine and make one whole one. Miss Kidd has her moments, but overall she’s still a good girl. (Also, I know you’re reading. You know what moments I want stopped. Stop them.)

Is it bad that I really just want a boring life for a little while? Is that really a lot to ask?

December 2, 2009

A Final Address: The Zombie Threat Must Be Defeated

Filed under: brain candy — techrat @ 8:11 pm

We, the living, are locked in a war with the dead. The fate of the world, or at least the world of the living, is in jeopardy, and it is up to we few survivors to end the zombie menace. I realize that some of you are afraid. I know that some of you are unsure that we can actually turn the tide, much less win, this mortal struggle. And, if we’re honest, there are many who wonder if it’s even worth trying to fight anymore. After all, they are many and we are few. But, my friends, it is precisely that fact which is why we must find the resolve to win this war. If we, the living, fall… that’s it. The dead will rule the planet. Life – and the truth is that, as far as we know, Earth is the only life-bearing world in the universe – will be ended. Whether we believe in God or not, we all believe that life is precious. Life is incredible. And life, when given a chance, will endure great upheavals and cataclysms – just ask the little mammals who survived the end of the dinosaurs. But now, in this moment of our greatest despair, it is up to us to create that chance for life to endure. We have the knowledge necessary to end this threat. We have the tools to do what must be done, however unpleasant. And we, each of us individually, have the power to save the human race. The zombie threat must be ended, once and for all, if we as a species are to endure.

We have the knowledge. It’s something of an irony that much of the knowledge of how to fight this very real danger came from a creation of entertainment – the zombie movie. George Romero led the way, and many others shared his vision over the last half century. Little did we know that one day, fantasy would become fact. Thanks to the Internet – which still endures to this day – we have these resources from which to draw strategy and tactics. Odd as their unlife may be to us, zombies are still human-shaped, and vulnerable to many of the same injuries as we are. Not only do we have the resources of fantasy, we also have the resources of fact – humanity, you will all agree, knows many ways to inflict bodily harm. We must now turn this knowledge from a means to harm one another, to a means to save us all.

We have the tools. Man is a creature that has always been driven to invent. A fallen tree becomes a club. A tree branch becomes a bow. Charcoal, sulfur and bat guano become gunpowder. Much of the great industrial power in the world now lays fallow, but its fruits still dot the countryside. Warehouses, stores, caches all contain pieces and parts of the things we need to continue the fight. Libraries contain vast stores of data from which we can derive improved implements of zombie destruction. Armories, military bases, and militia camps across the country and around the world contain truly mind-boggling quantities of weapons and materiel. For centuries, generals and admirals and presidents and kings have ALL believed rightly that superior technology is a powerful force multiplier – and a force multiplier is exactly what we need in order to take back our planet.

We have the power. Though they are many, the zombie hordes are greatly limited in what they can do. Their mindless, instinct-driven hunt for the living does not allow for creativity. They shamble onward, seeking only to slake the insatiable hunger within them. They are slow. They are stupid. They are clumsy. We, the living, are fast, and bright, and nimble. We can literally run circles around them – our children play Ring Around the Zombie even now in order to learn basic evasion tactics. We have the power to build fortresses and other defensible positions so they cannot reach us, but we can reach them with tools of destruction. Here in Fortress Tampa, our walls keep them out, and the ground outside the walls is littered with the broken forms of neutralized zombies. But we cannot live in these walls forever – we cannot forfeit the bulk of our world to the hordes. We must take back this planet.

The only thing we lack is numbers. Unlike any war we have experienced as a species, in the war against the zombie menace, the attrition rate is significantly lopsided. When we kill a zombie, their numbers decrease by one. When they kill a human, not only do our numbers decrease by one, but quite often their numbers increase by one as well.

But numbers alone do not win a war. Resolve wins wars. Determination wins wars. Courage wins wars. Faith wins wars. We must fight smarter, with more tenacity and creativity, if we are to persevere. We must do this for our sake. We must do this for our family’s sakes. And we must do this for humanity’s sake.

Borrowing the words of the poet Dylan Thomas, we must not go gentle into that good night. We must rage against the dying of the light.

September 15, 2009

RIP Dr. Norman Borlaug

Filed under: brain candy — techrat @ 8:29 am

The world lost its greatest treasure on September 12th, and I’d wager just about anyone reading this has never heard of him until now. (Offer void if you’re on my FB friends list.)

Dr. Norman Borlaug is credited with having saved, during his career, over a billion lives. No, that’s not a typo. Dr. Borlaug’s work in agricultural improvements has ensured more than 1,000,000,000 people worldwide have enough food. That, my friends, is a stunning figure, and I’m honestly hard-pressed to come up with a scenario that could possibly improve on that number.

You who know me know I am not easily given to wibbly sentimentality. But this man, from the moment I first heard of him and the work he’d been doing, instantly became a part of my personal pantheon of People I Want To Be Someday. He exemplifies that which I seek to grow in myself. He saw a problem, he thought of solutions to that problem, and despite all criticism and naysaying – of which there was a considerable amount – he made those solutions happen.

He’s widely credited for starting the Green Revolution – improvements in farming techniques and applied selective breeding to improve crop yields, shorten growing seasons and otherwise make it easier to extract more from the earth and put it into people’s bellies. His motivation wasn’t fame or fortune – in fact, he actively eschewed these things. He just wanted to do something to make the world a better place.

Look him up. And then look up to him.

September 4, 2009

double negativity

Filed under: brain candy — techrat @ 10:02 am

Recently, while driving between the Eastern Fortress and the Geekplex, I wound up behind a giant, sticker-festooned SUV. This being Tampa, I didn’t consider this terribly uncommon. There were the usual “NObama” and “My kid’s an honor student” adornments, but one in particular stuck in my head.

The back window was dominated by a drawing of a very angry-looking Pit Bull Terrier, and surrounding it were these words:  “If it ain’t a Pit, it ain’t shit!”

What we have here, basically, is the statement: “If not A, then not B.”

The rules of logic are vicious and unforgiving. If the statement evaluates as true – and we must assume it does because it’s being stated in an axiomatic manner – then it’s a logical necessity that the contrapositive must also be true. Flip A and B,  take out the nots, and we find the contrapositive to be: “If B, then A.”

Plug back in our terms, and the statement becomes “If it’s shit, it’s a Pit”.

Moral of the story: double negatives are bad. And, quite often, they’re unintentionally funny.

April 6, 2009

woohoo! i finally remember a dream!

Filed under: brain candy — techrat @ 8:55 am

I wound up, apparently, kicking myself awake this morning, and the timing was apparently quite good because I actually remembered dreamstuff long enough to jot it down. I almost never remember my dreams, and I’ve generally wondered what they’re like all of my life. Even on the best of occasions, I only remembered fragments. This morning’s had a good bit more fidelity left, and I was lucky to have a recording device handy that I could dump it out into for later retrieval.

There were ants. Lots of ants.

Standing in a pasture with AB, I’m studying the ants. They’re doing… odd… things. (more…)

March 4, 2009

oops…

Filed under: brain candy — techrat @ 9:37 am

Apparently, the C&H-inspired graphic from a few posts ago has gotten some attention. As in, national attention.

{waves to Reddit visitors}

Sorry there’s not much content. I’m kinda boring. ;)

February 12, 2009

so hot… want to touch the shiny…

Filed under: the precious — techrat @ 10:21 am

geekgurls, if you luvs your geekbois, and want to do a little dress-up for him, check this out.

(possibly NSFW – no nudity, but very suggestive all the same.)

February 11, 2009

yea, verily, i say unto thee – “THIS!”

Filed under: the precious — techrat @ 12:40 am
Don't put away your childish things. Save them for your child.

I don’t think I really need to say anything else here.

EDIT: Apparently, I do. Because some people don’t Get It.

I’m sorry if you don’t understand it, and actually feel sorry for you because you lack the capacity to look beyond yourself and the things YOU cherish, and embrace the universe that is. I’m sorry you can’t stomach that *gasp* Calvin could mature – though, really, it’s Calvin… he was already pretty damned mature for a six-year-old.

Nothing is static in this life. Sacred cows make the best hamburgers. All things grow, and change, and we adults are supposed to pass on the important lessons we’ve learned to our progeny, in order to help them do even better than we did.

I didn’t create this image… but I wish I had. Because it depicts, in metaphor, something that I’ve done literally with my own daughter. I gave her my own stuffed tiger and watched as it came to life for her, just as it had for me. I hope, in due course, she will pass the torch to her kids.

I taught her to read using Calvin and Hobbes. She’s learned to think critically and creatively because of C&H. We’ve made the Snowmen of Horrors (though, we’re in Florida, so they’re really Sandmen of Horrors). Great epic battles have taken place with dinosaurs flying fighter jets, and Spaceman Spiff has met his match in a blonde-and-blue pixie who takes great delight in teasing him for his taste in spacesuits.

Within the pages of the many books of collected strips, I’ve shown her important life lessons – including the one that most people miss: Of all the assets you have in this life, your imagination is the only thing without limits. Well… some people’s imaginations, at any rate.

And, my favorite lesson is one she pointed out to me: If someone DOES try to limit you, they do so at their own peril, for a tiger’s vengeance is legendary.

So… don’t limit those of us who want to give our children the best of what we’ve had ourselves. There’s plenty of us who DO like the image and what it represents. If you don’t like the image, move on.

There’s a great big Internet out there.

Let’s go exploring.

February 2, 2009

rainy days and automatic weapon fire…

Filed under: we need... a purpose — techrat @ 12:40 pm

…always bring me down.

Not much to say other than random flashes of thought from the past few days.

* Nothing is quite as frustrating as knowing there’s nothing you can do to improve a situation of your own creation.

* Things have taken a turn for the weird in the weekly D&D extravaganza. One of the party has been captured, and when I attempted to disrupt the capture, the GM exercised fiat for the first time ever and said it failed. He has Plans, I’m sure, but what, I cannot guess. Sucks slightly, though, because it’s Miss Kidd’s character what got captured (though not by any action on her part… it was DM’s wife’s week to run the fighter due to an appalling lack of Miss Kidd presence). Stupid half-elf. Never, ever split the party.

* I wander around outside the Fun Factory while I’m out on my carcinogen absorption breaks. The Fun Factory is located next to a very busy road, so I frequently find roadside detritus, with which I amuse myself by trying to figure out how it could have gotten there. Usually, I’m successful in at least constructing a plausible story. This morning’s find, though, defies all attempts at logic. What was said discovery? The flavor packet out of a pack of ramen. What could someone be doing, opening ramen at 35-50mph — and deliberately tossing the only thing that makes ramen edible in the first place — out a window? I cannot actually contrive a situation where that would make sense to anyone, regardless of actual intellectual capacity.

* Between the Pittsburgh win and a few other occurences, I hereby move that February first, 2009 never actually happened.

* The more I have to deal with the virus infection that managed to breach our supposedly tight internal security, the more I think a death penalty for creating and unleashing malicious code is a good idea. I’m thinking of a bounty system, really.

* The more I look into our supposedly tight internal security, the more it becomes apparent that we got hit mostly because someone was lazy and didn’t let their inner paranoia guide them in configuring said defenses. Not scanning files on access, only on modification? Kinda like having sex with a cheesecloth condom.

January 29, 2009

It has begun!

Filed under: brain candy,the precious — techrat @ 2:04 pm
Caution! Zombies Ahead!

Caution! Zombies Ahead!

Be on the lookout, folks! The uprising has begun!

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