The Exigent Duality
OSHA Car - 07:07 CDT, 8/04/21 (Sniper)
I need to update this list with all of the new crazy stuff the Democrats want to do, such as let millions of illegal aliens in to vote, or turn every car into the Subaru Forester. Which by the way, I found a leaked, top secret prototype for what the new government cars will look like-- I hope I don't get in hot water for uploading it:



When I replace the Z this fall, it'll be tempting to just trade in wifey's WRX as well and get two new cars, then rust proof the hell out of their underbodies-- get in before the nanny state stuff goes full tilt.
Not Going Back? - 07:06 CDT, 8/01/21 (Sniper)
Imagine that your wife takes a baseball bat to the cat every time you say something she doesn't like-- then you overhear her the next day complaining to the neighbor: "my husband is so brutal to the cat, I don't know how he can be so violent and cruel!" That's the exact rhetorical tune the establishment-- State actors, CNN, et al.-- is singing right now regarding the WuFlu injections: "people who won't get the 'vaccine' are authoritarian: just look at how they're making us wear masks again!" It's like children on the playground: "he made me do it!"

Is anyone stupid enough to fall for this line? What I've seen in my personal life-- and yes, it's anecdotal, but it goes give me a modicum of hope-- is that the people around me who went full-retard regarding the WuFlu, went out and got their shots (and got sick from them, incidentally), and are now partying with friends like it's 1999. We'll see as the days and weeks progress from here, but so far I haven't seen even a hint from them that they are heading back towards their prior forty IQ levels: if anything, they seem to be completely tuning things out altogether.

After making people suffer so badly-- suicides, drug overdoses, depression, all at record highs-- from the establishment gunpoint-enforced lockdowns and mask mandates, then telling them that a magic shot will make everything ok, then letting them taste freedom, I don't think the genie can be stuffed back into that bottle: I just don't think the public appetite is there to go through it all over again, even among the most neurotic. Crossing my fingers.
A Kid's Life - 06:21 CDT, 7/31/21 (Sniper)
Yesterday, I penned a not-so-flattering take on "No Man's Sky", concluding that it was designed for a very select type of person. I then installed it on my son's PC, and I hadn't seen him having that much fun playing a game since the day he discovered his other favorites, like "Minecraft", "Cities: Skylines", and "Roblox". My son is one of those "select types of people" as it turns out, and I moved the Series X near where his PC is, as we're going to try out multiplayer today.

On another kid note, and unlike pretty much every other kid today, my daughter has been asking me to teach her how to drive since she was about six years old. "As soon as you can reach the pedals, and can see over the steering wheel", I always told her. She's now eleven years old and about the height of a short adult-- five feet tall. So I put her in wifey's WRX, and in about ten minutes had her able to get the car moving from a dead stop in first gear. And once you get first gear down, the rest is easy. Her only struggle was that the throttle felt very sensitive to her foot-- but that will come with time.
Scavengers and Vultures - 08:00 CDT, 7/30/21 (Sniper)
If anyone's employers are trying to force them to get a WuFlu-related injection, check out this page for resources. It's phenomenal stuff, but I do have a constructive criticism, which is that I don't really like the emphasis on "non-FDA approved" aspect, for two reasons.

First, it's not like FDA approval of anything including actual food products actually means those things are necessarily safe-- our entire society is essentially eating obesity and heart disease-fueling poison, and it's all FDA approved; hanging up on FDA approval is missing the point. Second, you just know these "vaccines" are going to get rammed through the approval process anyway-- if the argument is focused on a lack of FDA approval, what happens to that argument once the "vaccines" are "approved" two weeks from now?

The better argument is the moral one: it's obviously unethical to force someone to inject themselves with a substance, under threat of severe duress. That is an argument which resonates with everyone-- which is why when I've heard it posed, there is a mad scramble by the "vaccine" proponent to come up with some kind of ex post facto justification or analogy: after all, don't you know that requiring someone wear shoes in a store is the same thing as coercing them into undergoing a potentially lethal medical procedure?

Speaking of ethics, I've been thinking about the concepts of patriotism and loyalty a lot recently. Take this, where it's-- very accurately, if you ask me-- explained that the elites are selling off the remaining scraps of the country to the Chinese. Rather than trying to save the sinking ship, they'd rather scuttle it to make a quick buck off of the spare parts. Or read this piece, which is in the same line of thought.

Austrian economists routinely explain that the homo econimicus model is wrong: people make decisions all of the time in their lives, where they place non-monetary considerations-- often moral-- ahead of brute wealth accumulation. An example would be someone who volunteers for a charity: they are losing time and money, but do it anyway because they rate the moral value higher than the cash: it's the opposite of homo economicus.

CEOs, politicians, and other power mongers have always had strong sociopathic strains-- so I'm not expecting American C-Suite types to be saints. But at the same time, isn't there any part of their soul, which whispers to them as they wholesale sell out jobs on which their very American neighbors depend, to people in in a country thousands of miles away, just to save some pocket change on the bottom line?

I fully understand the financial argument: corporations need to control their expenses, and if they don't keep labor costs in line with their competitors, their stock price will fall and the company will lose investment-- perfectly valid, and I "get it" in the abstract. But details matter: is that argument actually true in many of these cases? We just saw the greatest wealth transfer from small businesses to giant corporations in the history of corporations-- and what do they turn around and do? Lay people off, and replace them with Indians or Chinese workers.

Let's say a Fortune 500 corporation made 3.3 billion USD profit in their last fiscal year. Let's also say that it would cost this corporation an additional 300 million USD per annum to keep the jobs at home, versus abroad. How much would EPS suffer? Would it really torpedo the company to make 3 billion in profit versus 3.3 billion? And why couldn't they gain new investors, by emphasizing that the corporation is focused on creating vibrant, thriving communities here at home, whereas their competitors are vultures?

I'm not expecting these CEOs to take extraordinary action, like throwing their bodies onto a pile of corpses to hold up the flag, as is described in the "Star-Spangled Banner"-- or to run up the beach at Normandy directly into a pillbox's machine gun fire. But surely their is some small part of them, towards which an appeal could be made?

I think a Left-Right populist coalition in America could be really interesting: every Bernie Bro I see has a "buy local" sign in his yard, and the Trump supporters are all about protectionism. It would be a bit like the "Yellow Vests" in France, where their creed was a bizarre mix of Commie stuff, like mandatory labor unions for corporations, with Libertarian ideas emphasizing individual rights and dignity.
Winners Don't Do Drugs - 09:02 CDT, 7/29/21 (Sniper)
Holy cow, if I had neighbors they'd probably be annoyed at my guffawing: this is an absolute listen. You should hear it straight from the horse's mouth, so-to-speak, but just to summarize, in part to cement my own understanding:

People who have gotten the shots are, as the efficacy of the "vaccine" wanes in their bodies, significantly more susceptible to re-infection than people who have not gotten the shots. Further, it's the people who have gotten the shots who appear to be spreading the mutants, not the people who haven't been jabbed. The Pfizer "vaccine" has the lowest durability, as such it's people who have gotten that one, who are the "first up" in terms of risk-- but the same fate probably will await those who got one of the other two shot sets, sooner or later.

Of course, it's the so-called "unvaccinated" who are being blamed for "spreading the 'delta variant'"-- not surprisingly, that supposition is materializing to be the exact opposite of reality, as does everything the establishment pushes in modern times.

But the real thing which got me was this: Dr. Robert Malone, the guy who quite literally invented mRNA "vaccines", and who one would think ought to know more than anyone how they work, is being censored online for spreading "disinformation". The guy who invented them! He's also being called an "anti-vaxxer"-- the dude who has spent his entire life inventing vaccines! There is lots of competition, but this might be the nuttiest thing the Left has yet done.

My mom always told me, "don't do drugs, no matter how much peer pressure there is." Turns out she was right!
Not What I'd Hoped - 09:26 CDT, 7/28/21 (Sniper)
I fired up Flight Simulator on the Series X yesterday and was pretty disappointed: the game runs great, but where I'd assumed they'd have completely re-designed the user interface to be controller-centric, instead I found that the UI is essentially untouched, and that they're expecting the player to move a semi-sticky mouse cursor around the screen with the left analog stick. Just getting through my pre-flight checklist, communicating with the tower, and getting the plane in the air took twice the time it does on PC. The Series port does fully support a mouse and keyboard, but if I'm going to drape peripheral cables onto my bed and fumble for some kind of mouse-friendly "comfy couch" surface, why not just run the PC version, which is hooked up to the same television?

On top of the frustrating controls, I'm also constantly taking and editing screenshots in the PC version, plus hacking the ".pln" files to put in custom GPS waypoints-- stuff with is either cumbersome or impossible on a closed console. Interestingly, the menus were totally broken when I first ran the game. After a bit of fiddling, I found that this was because the game imported my PC controller settings, something about which broke the menus. So if you're like me and played the PC version to death first, make sure to create a fresh controller profile from the defaults. Of course, don't overwrite your PC controller profile by accident!

I'm sure console-only players will have a lot of fun with the port, and it's nice that I have Flight Simulator installed on another device in my home in case anyone wants to come over and play co-op. But it sort of reminds me of playing "Warcraft II" on the Sega Saturn: it's possible, but if you have a DOS PC, better to just play it there.

On another game-related note, it's funny how things come full circle: I was a regular reader and occasional poster on NeoGAF, a long long time ago-- a forum which I came to call "NeoGAG", because it had been taken over by radical Leftists, SJWs, and pedophillic admins-- until the site imploded, at which point I jumped to "ResetEra". That forum wound up being the largest SJW nest I'd ever encountered, as they wound up banning over forty percent of the registered accounts for "wrong speak", almost always for politely disagreeing with someone over Woke religious precepts-- blasphemy! In my case, I posted a link to an innocuous YouTube video and was banned as a "white supremacist", even though the video had literally nothing to do with that concept.

Fast forward to 2021, and NeoGAF has not only banned all political discussion on the site, but the conversations half the time aren't that much different than what I read on 4chan or Gab! Bizarre.
Comedy of Errors - 10:13 CDT, 7/24/21 (Sniper)
Democrats, multiple of whom want to force WuFlu injections and face masks on everyone including on airlines, flee Texas to deliberately circumvent democracy-in-action, because they don't want to vote on a bill which would close common sense loopholes in the existing election laws-- because they require illegal alien votes to stay in power. On their way out, they fly on a plane without wearing masks. Several of them contract the WuFlu, despite already having been "vaccinated".

They travel to Washington D.C. to get effusive adoration from the White House, and in turn infect what looks like a large percentage of the people who work in that building. This forces Raggedy Ann on the defensive, and when pressed won't say how many people-- that's how you know it's a lot. All of this in turn forces the White House to change their tune on the "vaccines": "ok, they don't protect you, but they make the symptoms mild."

While that's technically a true statement, it's also a lie by omission: your symptoms are mild whether you've had the shots or not!
Larry Sanger - 07:09 CDT, 7/23/21 (Sniper)
As I've written many times before, the difference between Wikipedia and the Left's "Conservapedia"-- the hilariously named "Rational Wiki"-- has been rapidly diminishing for ages. As such, I really like Larry Sanger and the work he's been doing in calling Wikipedia out. But his solutions seem doomed to failure.

Back when the "selection" occurred, I pointed out that if you have a serial thief in your house, you can go around installing locks on every door within the home-- but the thief is going to circumvent every measure, because... they're a thief! The only solution is to eject them from the household.

Same goes for elections: you can't reform them if half the country is hell-bent determined to cheat in any and every way possible. And same thing with Wikipedia: introduce some kind of search system, and the Left will simply co-opt it-- just look at what a laughingstock Google has been for a long time; ditto for a rating system.

The only solution is to forcibly jettison these people from not just being able to edit Wikipedia articles, but from the country itself! And even that has risks, because they would probably just assemble an army in their new country, then come back to attack you from outside.

To play devil's advocate however, I do notice that Cultural Marxism is wobbling around on its last legs, getting banned in increasing numbers of school districts, plus getting exposed in corporations-- so perhaps the light of truth will cause reform? I'd like to think I played my small part with this blog in exposing the Frankfurt School nonsense, as I was writing about it years before the idea was exposed on the current wider spectrum.
Pro Evo is Dead, For Now - 06:24 CDT, 7/21/21 (Sniper)
Pro Evo is having its "Gran Turismo Sport" moment: no single player, focus on so-called "e-sports". Looks like I'm going to be installing (thanks, Game Pass) last year's edition as a sort of "Pro Evo of forever"-- an iteration which I'd skipped due to the promise of a true "next-gen" release this year.

I don't disagree with their decision to make a platform-based game: I've been saying forever that sports franchises should go that way. But I quite literally have zero interest in playing multiplayer: I'm an offline "Master League" kind of guy.

My second disappointment is how primitive the graphics look: we all know what's possible with Unreal Engine 4-- what exactly has the development team been doing all of this time? This game should look like "Rift Apart", but on a football pitch. It makes me wonder if all of Konami's talented developers jumped ship when the company started distancing itself from internal game development in general.

Of course, due to backlash they are going to renege on this "multiplayer only" thing and eventually add single player content-- just like what happened with the aforementioned "GT Sport": I just need to be patient.
Woke Toys - 18:21 CDT, 7/18/21 (Sniper)
I'm going to send this guy some cash: I have children of my own, so it's of particular value to me to know which toy or board game companies to avoid. Bravo on him, and the video is so shocking, that it doesn't surprise me why he felt the need to come forward.

The point he makes about kids observing things, because that's what kids do, and it doesn't make them "racist", is spot-on.

One time a little girl pointed at me, and asked her mom very loudly, "Mom, is that a boy or a girl?", because I had and have long hair and a beard. I busted out laughing! The little girl wasn't being "sexist"-- she was just trying to make sense of what she was seeing, in the same way she'd have asked about a tree or the moon or anything else.

When I was about two, my mom said I pointed to a black guy in a wheelchair, and said "Mom, look at the brown boy in the stroller!" Again, I wasn't a "racist two year old"-- it really was a boy (male) with brown skin, in a chair with wheels (a "stroller", which was the only descriptive word I had at that age, for that kind of conveyance).

I also really like the Black Supremacy built into their framework: what they're saying is that a black kid in, let's say, Nigeria will not be a "racist" kid towards white people-- but a white kid in, say, Wayzata Minnesota will be a "racist" towards blacks, just because the kid is "white". That sounds like "Black Master Race" kind of talk-- they're apparently genetically superior!

I love that clip at the end, of a Hasbro C-Suite getting confronted about this: I can guarantee there was a meeting between him and the HR lady the very next day, "what the hell are we going to do about this?" Either he'll choose to be brave too, or he'll be like my own employer's CEO: go along with the religion because Millennials are the biggest group of consumers right now.
Steam Deck Versus Series X - 09:43 CDT, 7/18/21 (Sniper)
I saw this and laughed: there is no way the Steam Deck is comparable in per-pixel power to a Series X, because games on the latter by-and-large don't run at native 4K-- they are upscaled, usually from 1440p.

But then I saw that the observation was made by Durante, who really knows his stuff-- this prompted me to give the notion a second thought, at which point it occurred to me that comparing the Series X at 1440p to the Steam Deck at 800p isn't apples-to-apples: why can't the Steam Deck do some upscaling too?

That thought in mind, I pulled out the proverbial napkin and did some crunching.


Series X at 1440p (55% pixel reduction from 4K)

  • 1440p = 3,686,400 pixels
  • 12500 gigaflops
  • Each gigaflop responsible for 294 pixels
  • Each CU responsible for 70,898 pixels

Steam Deck at 16:10 800p

  • 800p = 1,024,000 pixels
  • 1600 gigaflops
  • Each gigaflop responsible for 640 pixels
  • Each CU responsible for 128,000 pixels

Steam Deck at 16:10 504p (55% pixel reduction from 16:10 800p)

  • 504p = 451,584 pixels
  • 1600 gigaflops
  • Each gigaflop responsible for 282 pixels
  • Each CU responsible for 56,448 pixels


Conclusion

If you take the Steam Deck at native resolution, Durante is way off-- he's not even in the ballpark. But if you apply the same level of resolution scaling, turns out that the numbers are reasonably close, with the Steam Deck even having a slight advantage!

Put another way, Durante's observation isn't as crazy as it initially seems. Of course, there are lots of other variables-- I'm not sure these things scale linearly for one, given other potential architecture bottlenecks. It's still a fun thing to consider though.

Ultimately however, the value I personally see in the Steam Deck is as a RetroArch machine, and as a Steam Remote Play device for the bloodiest of the bleeding edge games, where people's mighty Turing and Ampere cards can do the grunt work, sort of like a Wii U part deux where a fixed box did the processing, and sent the feed over the LAN to the mobile component.

On a side note, I went back to "Monster Hunter Rise" on the Switch-- which was the next title in my review backlog-- and it's a blurry mess which is literally dropping down to the teens in terms of framerate in busy moments, when the system is docked. I'll play a bit in handheld mode today to see if things fare better.

Overall, I'm tempted to shelve the game and just buy the inevitable PC port on Steam when it comes out: provided it works via Proton, the Steam Deck "version" will easily run at 800p, and probably at a locked sixty frames per second too. If I go that route and double-dip-- it is a really fun game, even in spite of the low performance-- I'll post video recordings of both devices running the game, side-by-side.
Childlike Doctors - 07:42 CDT, 7/18/21 (Sniper)
Re-read this post of mine, then take a look at what's happening: I'm hardly a rocket scientist, but even I called it. So tell me again, what's the point of getting one of the so-called "vaccines"? It plainly looks to me like the "vaccines" just caused the virus to mutate. The people who took this shot must feel like total morons at this point: I tried to warn them repeatedly on this blog.

Now they've done God-knows-what to their bodies, and they're just going to get the virus anyway. Good going!

And if just one round of these shots can cause paralysis, sterility, and fatal heart problems-- not to mention countless side effects which will become apparent over the next five, ten, and fifteen years-- imagine people getting a series every year for "COVID-20", "COVID-21", the "Omega Variant", the "Gamma Variant", and on and on?

On this subject, a friend of mine read this from a doctor recently, and sent it to me:

"QUESTION: I’m hearing about new side effects to COVID-19 vaccines. What do I need to know?

ANSWER: COVID-19 vaccines are designed to prevent a disease that has so far killed near 4 million people worldwide. The benefits of the vaccines outweigh the risks. While the vaccines have been connected to a small number of side effects, notifications from the CDC about these potential side effects are primarily to alert those that may be most at risk to watch for certain symptoms. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective."


This kind of rhetoric really burns me up-- I don't know if it's political ideological control freakery, frantic terror at the prospect of getting sick, or the fact that subconsciously they're leery that they've made the right choice and want everyone in their camp, which is short-circuiting their ability to think clearly, but no matter the reason they don't seem to realize that they are toying with people's lives.

Four million people have died... with the WuFlu, or from the WuFlu? Big Difference! We know that in the US, influenza deaths were materially zero this past season, because all of them got blamed on the WuFlu. What were the ages of the people who died? What were their BMIs? What comorbidities did they have? How many of them were perfectly healthy, active, and fit thirty nine year olds, like me? How do we know the post-humous PCR "positive" results were even valid, on the number of cycles being used? How many people die from disease in general every year?

"Four million people had bad eyesight last year." Ok, but mine is fine-- why would I risk LASIK eye surgery if I have 20/20 vision? "But you can't spread bad eyesight." Great, then just have the eighty year olds take the "vaccine", if they want it-- they haven't as much to lose, so-to-speak, as they are approaching or exceeding median lifespan age anyway.

And you've taken the "vaccine" already-- so why do you care if I have? Aren't you "protected"?

"Yes, but we need to protect the people who aren't 'vaccinated'." No you don't: we've already decided that we don't care if we get the virus-- we don't want or need your "protection"! In my case, I've already had the WuFlu and "recovered" (from two weeks of the sniffles and a back rash)! I have the antibodies already.

All of this analysis goes doubly-- triply!-- for children incidentally: I've read too-many-to-count reports of perfectly healthy eight year-olds or teenagers found dead in bed: autopsy? Heart failure due to inflammation, just three days after "the vaccine". Children are at-- just about literally!-- zero risk of even being symptomatic, much less killed, by the virus itself. They also don't spread it, even if they've got it.

And by the way, let's not also forget that there are very effective non-"vaccine" treatments for the virus, such as Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, and so on-- what's the data on those? For very nearly everyone, unless you're eighty years old and obese, the benefits of the "vaccine" do not outweigh the risks-- and if a younger person does get very sick, maybe one of these other drugs is a good option?

In any event and to wrap this up, this scenario we find ourselves in can't just be about the WuFlu itself, because it has a 99.9% survival rate, and the pushy people have already been "vaccinated"-- it's something else, and I'm not certain what that "else" is. I don't like mysteries. This whole situation just reinforces my views of how adolescent the "adult" population is in the world today-- it's a world run by intellectual toddlers, who never satisfied their basic developmental stages, and are pulled around via their noses by subconscious needs.
Steam Deck Pre-Order - 14:38 CDT, 7/16/21 (Sniper)
Web sites really need to come up with some way to stop "scalpers" and bots, because this reminded me the day I eventually landed a PlayStation 5:



But in the end, victory! The more I thought about this thing from early this morning to the moment I could place the pre-order, the more sense it made for the way I play games.

The Switch whetted my appetite for and got me addicted to the "play on TV or in handheld" formula, but I've been desperate for a blend of that equation which wasn't rooted in 2005 Xbox 360-caliber graphics, in the year 2021: it's totally absurd. Then came the "Switch OLED" announcement, and...

But completely out of the blue, here comes good old Gabe to do what Nintendon't! There are several ways in which I plan to use this thing-- you'll quickly see why it's a good option for me:

  • PC Mode: Now that my actual PC is one hundred percent Windows, this will be my dedicated GNU/Linux, Arch ("SteamOS") box for non-gaming usage.

  • Super-Charged Wii U Mode: For games which need more grunt, I can stream my Windows PC straight to the unit via Steam "Remote Play".

  • Nintendo Switch Mode: Play games in handheld mode, or set it in the dock which will be plugged into my TV.

  • Open Source Handheld Mode: I've dabbled in those neat little Open Source handhelds, but this new baby will run RetroArch and every platform under the sun, with shaders and everything else.

  • Game Pass Mode?: I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft made a SteamOS "Game Pass" application, then licensed and linked in Valve's DirectX-to-Vulkan "Proton" translation library to make it tick.

People are skeptical of this because of Valve's failures with the Steam boxes and controller-- but unlike back then, every single gaming outlet seems to be really excited this time around, as the value equation is truly there.
Steam Deck - 06:44 CDT, 7/16/21 (Sniper)
Somehow I'd completely missed this: it's the Switch Pro, just not made by Nintendo! For reference, this has eight "compute units" versus the Xbox Series S's twenty-- at 1.6 teraflops, it truly is at the exact level of power and feature set I'd hoped the new Switch model would be.
Theocracy - 06:18 CDT, 7/16/21 (Sniper)
Out of nowhere, the "IRS" dumped five hundred Fed bucks into my checking account yesterday: a quick search revealed to me that the State is sending monopoly money to people every month, for every kid they have. Obviously, they are conditioning people for eventual and so-called "UBI".

Heads-up to Yellen, incidentally: this will not "alleviate poverty"; the State has thrown trillions of their funny money at inner cities since the 1960s-- take a drive through there sometime and describe that utopia to me.

But back to the topic, I would rather reconcile with the State once per year during tax season like I have always done-- so wifey went about the request process to get rid of the monthly payments. Turns out, their web site not only wants your photo and your voice, but you need to agree that those can be stored in a State-owned biometric database! Needless to say, wifey abandoned the process-- so we're stuck with "UBI-lite" apparently.

I wonder what it'd be like to have a State apparatus which isn't actively oppositional to your best wishes, and which doesn't consider you to be a "you'll own nothing and like it" ant in an ant farm at best, and a domestic terrorist at worst? I'll probably never know in my lifetime.

On an unrelated note, I noticed the other day that my daughter has The Sacred Pronouns in her Discord bio. Knowing her political beliefs, I asked her about it-- turns out, so many kids her age are "One with the Faith, Amen" that out of their bizarre "sense of respect" they kept referring to my daughter as "they", since my daughter had not yet declared The Sacred Pronouns! For fun, she plugged them in, and suddenly it was "she" and "her" during conversation.

So do remember, when you see The Sacred Pronouns listeth, in the name of The Inclusion, The Diversity, and The Holy LGBT, Amen, that it may in fact have been put there by a heretical nonbeliever in pure exasperation! I however am doing my part to participate in The Sacred Rites: I have "Potted Plant" and "Cheeseburger" in my Gab profile, lest there arise any confusion.
Theoretical Agent Knock - 08:15 CDT, 7/15/21 (Sniper)
I'm not really in the writing sort of mood, but this article seems too important for me not to pass on to my readers. The whole thing should be read, but the crux of it is this, bold emphasis is mine:

"These agents are coming to your home with one purpose in mind: to collect information on you.

It's a form of intimidation, of course. You shouldn't answer any questions you're uncomfortable answering about your vaccine history or anything else. The more information you give them, the more it can be used against you. Just ask them politely but firmly to leave.

In this case, as in so many interactions with government agents, the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments (and your cell phone recording the encounter) are your best protection.

Under the First Amendment, you don't have to speak (to government officials or anyone else). The Fourth Amendment protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. And under the Fifth Amendment, you have a right to remain silent and not say anything which might be used against you.

You can also post a 'No Trespassing' sign on your property to firmly announce that you are exercising your right to be left alone. If you see government officials wandering around your property and peering through windows, in my opinion, you have a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Government officials can ring the doorbell, but once you put them on notice that it's time for them to leave, they can't stay on your property.

It's important to be as clear as possible and inform them that you will call the police if they don't leave. You may also wish to record your encounter with the government agent. If they still don't leave, immediately call the local police and report a trespasser on your property."


Just to emphasize as I have quite a bit of experience "crossing the law", so-to-speak, these agents will probably be dressed in bright green shirts, wearing sunglasses, and will potentially be armed: they will take an authoritative and formal tone of voice and body stance, gussied up in pseudo-polite "do you have a few minutes to chat?" garb.

It's meant to scare you and disarm you, all at once. As most Americans are both friendly and sheepish to "authority" at the same time, this kind of "good cop, bad cop" all-in-one verbalization and demeanor package is very effective, which is why they use it.

Don't fall for it. They don't give a shit about you, and any attempts to ingratiate you by asking about your dog is total manipulation on their part. Do as the author suggests above: don't oblige them with a smile or chit-chat, don't say a word to them-- tell them that you're not interested in talking, and that they need to leave now.
Rift Apart - 19:36 CDT, 7/12/21 (Sniper)
I wrapped up-- and even "platinum'd"-- the latest "Ratchet & Clank" game, on the PlayStation 5. You can read my review here, and also check out the BitChute and Rumble links in the site menu above to see one of my trademark montages. "Rift Apart" is also probably the most technically sophisticated game yet made, click on any of the below for larger versions.













Fantasy, Meet Reality: Forza Italia Edition - 07:03 CDT, 7/12/21 (Sniper)
This trend made Italy's win yesterday all the more sweet for me-- after California, I don't know if there is a landmass I want to see sink beneath the seas more than modern-day England: their general population has a critical mass of authoritarian weasels, while their team are a bunch of "hands up don't shoot"-kneeling soyboys; Sunday's match was karma. I bet the average Englishman would support this too: "you have a choice, but it has consequences such as you can't get a job."

Naturally, after the game the English were more upset about meanie-head comments on YouTube than actually having lost the match: maybe crying some more will somehow make them stronger? If this microcosm doesn't sum up the pathetic state of that country, I don't know what does.

On a totally different note, this "Volocopter" is pretty cool looking: I count six motors across the two pylons, plus an additional two presumably to support horizontal flight-- it's essentially a giant version of a consumer-level drone one would order online. The gull wing design is also very attractive. Overall, the sentiment behind it reminds me of the "ICON A5", in the sense that it's an aircraft perhaps ultimately designed to be piloted by a greater percentage of people.
Lucky Box - 19:37 CDT, 7/09/21 (Sniper)
In the act of organizing post-move, wifey handed me a small cardboard box: "This is one of yours I think." I popped it open, and of all random things discovered that it contained a Nintendo 64! "Where the heck was this?", I enquired; "Either in our basement, or my parents'."

I unpacked the remaining articles in the box, gave them all a good scrubbing, plugged the unit in, and...



...it works! The system itself is in pristine condition-- it looks like it's brand new, ditto for the controllers. There was also a 256k third-party memory card from some company called "Pelican", along with two games: "Pokemon Snap", and "Diddy Kong Racing." I quite literally have no idea where this thing even came from, but I'll take it.

As for the games, the former I'd already played through, with wifey just a hair over twenty years ago. The latter I'd only ever heard of, and the less said about it the better: H and I played several races in split screen, and between the slippery physics, relentless AI, grating music, and abysmal framerate-- we're talking probably 12 fps much of the time-- it gave us headaches!

The game does have some kind of "adventure" mode with save support and a hub area, so maybe I'll give it another try: "git gud". We laughed out loud at the elephant guru racial stereotype which would cause modern-day Leftist heads to explode. It's also funny how he enters the scene with, "I will help you..... good luck." Boy, he's really bending over backwards there!

Many people probably don't know that I actually owned an N64 very briefly, squeezed between the 3DO and the PSX. I got it at launch, 100%'d "Mario 64" multiple times, rented some other games, very quickly realized that the system was rubbish, sold it to Funcoland for the PSX in spring of '97, and never looked back: best move I've ever made in the hobby.

It's kind of a neat system today, in the sense that it wound up being the most powerful cartridge-based platform ever made. But it seems to me that most of its best games-- "Mario 64", the two "Turok" titles, "Goldeneye", "Doom 64", and many others-- wound up on more modern Nintendo platforms, in "Rare Replay", or elsewhere in enhanced form; as such, I'm not sure what's really worth even collecting for this thing in 2021.
Normandy Flight Plan - 13:24 CDT, 7/05/21 (Sniper)
My mother-in-law and I have been talking about doing a Normandy run in Flight Simulator, and we finally got around to it today. This isn't the exact path I had in the flight plan, but we did a lot of-- excuse the pun-- "winging it" depending on what cool stuff we saw.

We started in the top-left of the map, taking off from Valognes, and zig-zagged our way Eastward, roughly following the orange line, which I placed purely based on my memory:



The first place we visited was the "Mont-Saint-Michel" island, which was off the South of the above map. I took the drone camera down to get a closer look:







Europe is a beautiful place, a fact on which I also commented in my "Superga Air Disaster" post. Here was the view as we looped our way back towards the Northeast:



Here is what the beach front looked like where one of the landings took place. For some reason it's not what my mother-in-law and I were expecting-- we were thinking more sand, and more cliffs. That's why these kinds of Flight Simulator escapades are useful.



More interesting than the beaches was the "Port en Bessin", which really caught our eyes:





Another shot of the beachfronts, this time further Eastward:



Our journey complete, we landed at the "Deauville - Saint-Gatien" airport, near Le Havre:



Wicked Bet - 17:31 CDT, 7/04/21 (Sniper)
Boy if this Stockman article doesn't hit home, then I don't know what will. If you don't have time for the full piece, just scroll down to the "Change From 1972 Through 2020" section, and take a look at the chart plus commentary. Anyone who has done the math on what it takes to raise a family in modern-day America, to be able to afford an emergency five hundred dollar bill, and to not be on welfare can fully attest to the reality.

By contrast, my grandfather moved furniture for a living, and in the late sixties or early seventies was able to build a thirty five hundred square foot house on a giant lot, across the street from a parkway: move furniture today for a living, and you're lucky to get a five hundred square foot, insect-infested studio apartment in the ghetto, while barely affording groceries, and not having access to a doctor.

As I've said many times before, when you institute "fractional reserve banking" and try to levitate wages through fiat, you're making a deal with the devil that overall price inflation won't wind up outpacing the artificially-goosed wages-- and like all such deals, it's not a bet you're going to win very often, and it's not a bet which "middle class" (which veritably no longer exists) America has won.

And we haven't even hit the actual collapse yet: this country is going to look like Greece, with people roving the fields looking for insects to eat.
Wireframe Prize - 06:47 CDT, 7/02/21 (Sniper)
After months of bated breath, I saw late last night that new Wireframe issue had been released. Heart racing, I opened it up, found the relevant section on page eighty, and... the kids and I won a prize! We were one of the so-labeled "bronze" winners, check it out! I can't wait to show the kiddos this morning once they wake up.



I've been eyeing up one of those "Evercade" handhelds for what feels like forever, so I'm sure the kids and I will get lots of use out of it. It'll be all the more satisfying to play knowing we won it!
Higher Standards - 06:52 CDT, 6/29/21 (Sniper)
I can't get over the standard of play at this year's Euros: just to name two examples, check out the match between France and Switzerland, or the one between Croatia and Spain. The fascinating thing is that, in spite of all the goals scored, the defending is generally and by historical standards quite good: players are closed down, and the teams are organized-- rather, there has been one wonder goal after another.

On a different topic, I've been trying to simplify my life to reduce stress-- and it's working. On the first part, being out in the country and away from the hedonism, violence, and cultural absurdity of the city has done wonders. On the second part, I now have only one old video game system set up-- my PC Engine-- while I nuked both of my hard drives completely, and installed only Windows 10: this means only one operating system to continuously patch, plus all of my files are always at my finger tips.

Between the move, selling my old property, my car breaking down, multiple enormous vet bills in quick succession, layoffs at my employer, managing an intern, and too many other things to count, the pressure has certainly been there-- and yet I've kept trucking, while my sleep has been fairly steady. I would not have been able to juggle this many balls in my old routine.
The Crazy Train - 17:22 CDT, 6/28/21 (Sniper)
The lengthy discussion here regarding the "controversy" surrounding Alex's take on AMD's "FSR" technology was somewhat grating, in the sense that they can't talk about the elephant in the room, and instead need to feign bemusement at why people on The Twatter were upset.

DLSS is not possible on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, because the AMD GPUs don't have dedicated silicon towards facilitating AI-based image reconstruction in the same way that Nvidia's hardware does. Regular readers can attest that I've said all along that these new consoles were and are not competitive with contemporary gaming PCs, right from day one and onwards forever, due to this "hole" in their fundamental capabilities.

The aforementioned elephant in the room is that the console fanboys, who just sunk a bunch of money into one of these two new systems and are thus tribal and defensive about their choice, are desperate for some magical fairy unicorn to come along and bring these new systems on par with gaming PCs-- so when AMD gave them the "FSR" straw, they grasped onto it for dear life, insisting-- as I saw in many "professional" headlines-- that it was AMD's "DLSS competitor."

So then here comes poor Alex, stating the obvious in his review that "FSR" is just a marginally-better-than-bilinear spatial upscaler-- which is exactly what it is-- the fanboys blew their lids. Even I could have told them up front that the two technologies don't work in even remotely the same way. I think they should just be happy with what they have versus harboring a PC inferiority complex: I've been playing Series X and PlayStation 5 since launch, and I think the games look great as they are.

Partially off topic, but I also wish people wouldn't just dump on the "Amico" before it's even come out: I looked at it with an open mind, and it looks really cool once you understand what they're trying to do; modern systems are so complex and over-engineered, that having a physical media-based system you just turn on and play arcade-style games, in seconds, is going to be great.
Attempted Car Repair - 20:47 CDT, 6/24/21 (Sniper)
All of the stuff needed for this project finally came in today, so I took a shot at the repair. I'm going to document a few things, just in case they are helpful to someone else in the future.

Getting the car off the ground wound up being an adventure: the clearance is so low that even my low profile jack wouldn't fit beneath it-- specifically, it wouldn't clear the front bumper assembly, or the giant plastic cover just behind.

The solution was to push the car up onto some boards, so I could fit the jack beneath. At that point, it was a simple matter of lifting the car, and putting the jack stands beneath. I put a washcloth over each one for some cushion, then very slowly lowered the car onto them. I then raised the jack flush, so that all three points-- the two stands, and the jack-- were redundant systems.

Of course, don't forget to chock the rear wheels before you do all of this. And I followed this diagram when positioning the jack stands: worked great, was very stable.



Once that was accomplished, I started exploring beneath. This particular example was built in 2002 and sold that fall as a 2003 model year. It's been through at least eleven winters, more if the previous owner drove it in the snow as well. Immediately, I started noticing some major issues.

The plastic tray-- meant to reduce drag coefficient I think? Total gimmick I wager-- was only held on by five bolts, out of a total of maybe twelve holes: the rest were all stripped, to the point where the holes were crumbled to many times their original diameters.

There is a ton of rust build-up around the wheel wells, and up by the struts. The actual frame looked ok, but this car is going to need some major suspension renovations soon.

As I kept working my way back, I very quickly came upon the spot where all of the brake fluid had flooded out of the clutch reservoir-- and sure enough, reaching my hand up past another plastic panel, I found that the clutch line had totally and completely severed off of the slave cylinder: it was quite literally a dangling hose, shredded and demolished.

I couldn't position my phone to catch the hose itself, but here is where the fluid was:



"No problem", I thought: "I'll just pull this panel off." Twenty years of rust responded: "No way, senor." Even gently hammering the wrench wouldn't budge them, and in fact I could see debris falling from the bolts themselves: they were so rusted and fused into place, that the threads were literally dissolving instead of turning in place.

And it was at that point that wifey, who had been handing me tools, stated out loud the same three things that had just become apparent in my mind as well:

  1. There is no way those bolts are coming out without professional help. In fact, they'll probably need to be drilled and replaced completely, which might even need some machining work.

  2. What else in this car is about to break into pieces? Are the brake lines in this kind of shape too? What about the clutch master cylinder? What about the brake master? What about the suspension components? I noticed that both catalytic converters have enormous rust holes in them. It's a mess under this car.

  3. It's time to buy a new car. On her phone, she looked up the nearest Nissan dealership: "We're going to go test drive the new Z when it comes out, whether you want to spend the money or not."

Even though I couldn't do this repair myself, it was really valuable to first of all have this experience-- I feel totally confident changing oil now, or replacing brakes-- but second to have my eyes opened as to the kind of shape this car is actually in: I've been having someone else do all of the work for eleven years-- I had no idea things were this dire.

As a partial aside, I'm a little frustrated by my (now old, since I've moved) mechanic: his guy replaced my clutch four months ago-- how in the world did he not notice this clutch line situation? He was right in there bleeding it! Well, I have a theory about that.

When I'd picked up the car, my mechanic told me "Yeah, [name redacted] said this system was really tough to bleed." Well, guess what-- it's not: you can find video after video on YouTube of people bleeding these lines, and they have no issues. Which leads me to my hypothesis:

This clown replaced the clutch, but couldn't get these bolts out to bleed the line properly. Rather than report the difficulties to his boss, he twisted and contorted his hands in there, and bled the line in as ghetto of a fashion as he could manage, which is why he was having such a difficult time getting all of the air out! Then four months later, the clutch line sheared: I was lucky the clutch died when it did, and not on the highway where it could have resulted in an accident.

My lesson in all of this is that I need to take more ownership of my cars: even if I get a brand new 400z or whatever it's called, I am going to put that car on jack stands and inspect every last bit of work going into it-- even warranty service. It's long overdue that I got more "handy" like this.

In any event, I'm going to get this thing towed into town in the next couple of weeks, and see if they can get it back on the road for me. Then I'll make some kind of decision about what to do next.
Tech Stack Plans - 07:30 CDT, 6/20/21 (Sniper)
I got a very good offer on my city house, so the rural home addition project is feeling very real now. In my excitement, I started planning out my technology stack:

  • My primary desktop computer will be an iMac 24-inch. I haven't been this excited about a discrete computer since perhaps forever: it will be the perfect little productivity box for video, photo, writing, and development work. It's also luggable, so I can take it places. Interestingly, many of Apple's services interest me too, particularly "Apple Arcade", which feels like the good aspects of mobile gaming-- sit down and just play, no-nonsense experiences-- minus the negative stuff, like ads and gated progression.

  • I'll trade in my now-multiple years old Samsung Galaxy S8+, and get whatever this year's iPhone winds up being. The phone will seamlessly integrate with the computer-- you can even receive calls from the iMac, which boggles my mind. Then right away, I'll start learning Swift, Xcode, and their AR toolkit.

  • I've been reading that Windows 11 is ten-to-fifteen percent faster than Windows 10 in games: I don't know how or why, but I will buy it when it comes out, then use my current PC as a dedicated gaming box, hooked exclusively up to my TV. Being honest with myself, I know I'll want to keep on the PC train down the road for the extra power it provides over the consoles.

  • The Series X will move into the family room, and be a Microsoft ecosystem box for the whole family to enjoy, if they want to drop in and play some Flight Simulator or Minecraft Dungeons with me or each other. The PlayStation 5 will stay hooked up in my room, for the exclusives: I'm specifically looking forward to "Horizon Forbidden West" and "Gran Turismo 7".

  • The Switch will continue to... be the Switch. Between Nintendo's membership and the almost unbelievable amount of great collections from Limited Run Games and elsewhere, the Switch is a really nice way to play old games, new games in the "Hi-Bit" style, and of course Nintendo's exclusives. I will probably flip to the "Switch Pro" whenever that comes out, and hand my current unit to my son. The "Pro" will be in my bedroom, the current unit will go in the family room.

  • The old systems, and maybe even the Atari ST if I can make room for it, will be in a "museum" corner with my Toshiba CRT television for when I entertain, or if me or my kids want to play some "Daytona" or something. I've read that RetroArch runs great on the new iMac, so I will also run HDMI-to-svideo to the Toshiba, like I'm presently doing from my PC.

  • As for this site, I think I will keep it, but re-write it as a single page application in .Net 6, when that comes out. That way I can have fun learning "Visual Studio for Mac", as Microsoft calls it. I will integrate the 'Wharf directly into the main site, and give the whole thing a facelift. I will still write about politics occasionally, but only within the context of games, like that analysis I did for the original "Horizon Zero Dawn."

Both Apple and Microsoft are apparently giving presentations this upcoming week on the new higher-end Macs and Windows 11 respectively-- should make for an interesting week.
Boomer Car Talk - 07:12 CDT, 6/17/21 (Sniper)
I'm sounding more like a Boomer every day: yesterday my car's clutch dropped to the floor and wouldn't return on its own-- and even depressed, any attempt to go into gear was met with wafting clutch odor. I went into the house and did five minutes of reading: clutch slave cylinder.

As it turns out, in the first few model years, the master and slave cylinders were housed outside of the clutch body housing-- what's apparently referred to as the "bell house casing". What this means is that you can lift the car and easily replace these pieces, as they're out in the open.

By the car's third model year, those components had been moved inside the "bell house casing", making the job take orders of magnitude longer to perform. On top of that, in just the second model year, the physical throttle body mechanism was replaced with "drive by wire", along with probably countless other "DYI"-unfriendly alterations.

Sure enough, I walked back out to the car, located the clutch fluid reservoir, and... empty. Which means air then got sucked into the line, causing a total loss of pressure. Only because this looks so relatively trivial to do, I got the confidence to order about four hundred dollars' worth of tools and parts.

The tools took up almost all of that cost-- but they were one-time and up-front: a hydraulic jack, jack stands, jack stand pads, an LED floor work light, and a few other things. The parts were cheap: sixty bucks for the OEM slave cylinder-- cheaper third-party ones were as low as thirteen dollars, but I wouldn't trust those; a nice steel braided clutch line since I've apparently sprung a leak; and a little tool to help me with the bleeding.

Here is the fun part-- the piece Boomers are always on about: when you push the car's clutch pedal, you literally look beneath the car and can see the rod moving through the slave cylinder. So if I replace it and bleed the line, and it still won't move, then I've got a master cylinder issue. The point here being, it's all mechanical. Similarly, if I push my car's gas pedal, I would physically see the body opening beneath the car.

Everything about cars apparently used to be this way-- and so every job was trivial: something breaks? Well, is it moving? If not, trace it back until you find the problem. Bolt in a new part, and you're done. No computers, no ECUs, nothing hidden away totally beyond vision or reach.

I really like the new Z and other cars like it, but based on what I've discovered about how the venerable 350z was "gimped" over its production life many, many years ago, I'd bet bottom dollar that these new sports cars are going to be almost impossible to self-service-- and that's even after setting aside the privacy concerns and computer complexity (good luck replacing that touch screen when it fails in twelve years).

If this job goes well and I don't wind up needing to get it towed to a mechanic in town, then I'll move on to other things, like replacing brakes. The cool part about it is that if I can become more handy like this, I'll own the subsystems in our various cars-- which means I'll know how they work, and if I start hearing sounds or smelling things, I'll know exactly what's going on, what to replace, and from where to get parts, just like how it's always been with my PC building.

This, versus when someone does the work for you: it's a black box, you write them a check, and you haven't gained any capital-- you're permanently at square zero every single time the car goes funny. It's like renting something versus eventually owning it.
Reinvention Concept - 08:36 CDT, 6/16/21 (Sniper)
I've been thinking a lot about my career, and how I can re-animate it. I haven't made any decisions yet, but I may need to make some substantial alterations to what I'm doing now:

  • Retire this web site, and make an apolitical blog focused purely on video games and technology.

  • Get invested in the iOS ecosystem so that I can be "first-in" when their Augmented Reality glasses hit. This means moving to a MacBook Pro, and an iPhone.

  • Write the new site in .Net Core, doing the development on a MacBook Pro, using some modern JavaScript framework, and host it on Azure.

  • Become an expert-- and I don't use that term lightly-- on iPhone and Augmented Reality development.

  • Dabble in robotics and AI development as well, keeping my skills up-to-date.

I had a good run talking about politics, particularly during my twenties and very early thirties. But when I look back at my writing over the past few years, I've really contributed nothing to the subject, as I think I've said my piece already.

As for technology, along with real-time POV-RAY another one of my childhood dreams has been Geordi La Forge's visor. Obviously, at consumer price levels Apple's incoming glasses aren't going to be able to see in infrared or something insane like that-- but the overall concept is basically the same. I think within five years, Augmented Reality glasses are going to be like the iPhone: everyone will be wearing them. And I think it would be a lot of fun to ride that wave on the development side.

So far as Android is concerned, that operating system was really cool in its early days when Google was in fact a noble company. But these days, I don't trust it anymore than I do iOS: I think it's a lateral move. As for GNU/Linux, MacOS is functionally close enough for me. As for Windows 10, the sooner I can say "sayonara" to that, the better; after all, I have the Series X for Microsoft's game ecosystem.

Another option would be a middle ground-- the Vee approach: have one set of professional, visible social media accounts for work, where you say all of the "right" things, and then have a hidden, secondary set of private accounts under pseudonyms. In my case, that would mean keeping the Gab account and this site, while having a parallel web site under my real name, along with real-name accounts on The Twatter, LinkedIn, and elsewhere.

The timing for all of this is nice as well, because once the bug out house addition is complete, I will be moving into a generous nearly twelve-by-twelve foot bedroom in the basement: this will make a nice laboratory of sorts, where I can run desks around much of the perimeter, with different sections devoted to different areas of study.
Christian Eriksen - 07:22 CDT, 6/15/21 (Sniper)
If you're squeamish, don't watch this, or read on any further.

I wasn't watching this match and I'm just catching up on highlights plus replays and such now, so I can only imagine the suspense: his face is towards the camera, and it's obvious that he's quite literally dead-- completely lifeless, haunting eyes. At that moment, it's like watching a ghost: he's gone. The ironic thing for him is that what saved his life was that the inevitable happened on a football pitch, with trained equipped medics seconds away, versus later on in bed that night like with Davide Astori.

He's a player who has struggled to replicate the form of his earlier years, and maybe now we know why: he probably developed a heart condition a few years ago and wasn't aware of it. Of course, he'll never play football again ala Fabrice Muamba-- but the important thing is that he's alive, plus he's such a talented guy he has a million other things towards which he can excel. And now that he knows about his heart and can get the proper treatment or surgery, he could live to be ninety years old.

Besides that, the twenty-nine year old started senior football as a teenager: that's an over decade-long professional career, playing at the highest levels. In other sports, that would be considered a super long time from where one could build an entire "hall of fame" resume-- so he shouldn't have any regrets: it's as if he had a catastrophic knee injury or something, and the doctors say he shouldn't run on it anymore. I'm sure he'll be amazing at whatever he decides to do in life next: apparently he's very upbeat in the hospital, and doing very well.
Ready for Sarrismo - 06:58 CDT, 6/14/21 (Sniper)
Tough to believe that Maurizio Sarri is the Lazio coach: in my mind, it's still totally uncertain and unofficial-- I must have post-traumatic stress problems from the Inzaghi backstabbing!

Every reform I've been wanting for years, Sarri is pushing for, such as a small squad over a large one, then using that money to focus on closing the quality gap between starters and reserves. It's like Lotito needed to hear these things from an outside name whom he respects.

As for the Mercato, the names to which we're being linked took an instant elevation given the coach's profile: I'm hearing Stevan Jovetic, Nikola Maksimovic, Matija Nastasic, Josip Ilicic, Mattia De Sciglio, Davide Zappacosta, Elseid Hysaj, and many others as being real possibilities.

Exciting times!

On a totally unrelated note, it's incredible living full-time in a rural area. When I skim the news now, it feels like I'm reading about a different planet, so far removed am I from the destitution of the urban setting. I should have packed up the family and shifted them here a long time ago.
Tripping Over Own Shoelaces - 20:13 CDT, 6/13/21 (Sniper)
It's difficult to overstate just how pathetic the video game industry is right now. My standard is "something which will blow my mind"-- think "Mario 64". If you can't meet that, then "something which looks like fun even if it is boring and second order." If you can't meet that, then "doesn't have totally offensive aesthetics or politics", which is about the lowest bar possible.

Out of all of the games shown at "E3" so far, zero percent-- literally not even one game-- gets over the first bar. Maybe ten percent of them-- think "Forza Horizon 5"-- fit that second category. The rest meanwhile can't even get over the lowest-of-all-bars, being actively repulsive in some way-- usually on the "woke factor" scale, but sometimes in other manners as well.

The YouTube chat seemed to mirror my opinion. I'm genuinely surprised the video game industry hasn't had another crash like it did in the 1980s: how many times can people re-buy "Halo" deathmatch with a fresh coat of paint, or "Assassin's Creed Six Hundred", or drive cars through corn fields with five percent prettier graphics, before they just find better things to do with their time?
Can Only Get Better? - 06:45 CDT, 6/13/21 (Sniper)
I loosely followed "E3" yesterday and, judging by the real-time YouTube chat sessions, the glaring disconnect between the super bizarre, cringey soy boy and pink-haired SJW presenters plus game designers, and the average person who actually plays video games, has never been wider: hundreds of comments scrolled by describing the pre-rendered CGI nonsense as "boring", page after page of "cringe" and "woke" or "libtards" when character designs were shown, and so forth.

Professional video game people live in their own bubble, just like the East and West Coast elites with regards to actual politics.

The most interesting example contrasting games of yore and the contemporary hobby come in the form of the "Final Fantasy VII" remake: the original game was technologically and artistically groundbreaking-- it was a landmark cultural moment. The whole game was made in about two years, and took thirty or forty hours to play through. The remake, by contrast, is technologically mediocre-at-best, has no notable aesthetic accomplishments, has orchestra-remixed music which removes all of the personality from those pieces, and it took five years to make yet only contains a tiny fraction of the story! And that tiny fraction is so bloated that it takes thirty hours just to get through, all by itself.

Now they're evidently re-making the re-make to take advantage of the PlayStation 5. Maybe it'll be like "Grand Theft Auto V": we'll have "Final Fantasy VII" remake getting rehashed over and over during the next eight years. I marathoned the original "Final Fantasy VII" the week it came out back then, and really liked it-- but I've already played it: why can't the game developers come up with a new cultural phenomenon, instead of riding indefinitely on the coat tails of the previous ones? Further, who is asking for these remakes anyway? It's like an entire generation of people are "stuck" in their childhoods and just can't move on.

In any event and back to "E3", Microsoft's presentation is today at noon, while we'll probably and finally find out what the "Switch Pro" is, on Tuesday.
Must Watch Vee Video - 12:43 CDT, 6/06/21 (Sniper)
This is the most important video Vee has ever done. Yes, he's been at the bleeding edge of "Cultural Marxism" and "Wokeness" too, but arguably the topic of the aforelinked video is why those ideologies are being pushed.

Many people I know are all in, but I guess that isn't a surprise since they were also taping paper towels to their faces and getting injected with experimental cocktails from multi-billion dollar drug corporations with no legal liability, and with who-knows-what long-term side effects, just to avoid getting the sniffles.

I think the reason people are susceptible to this is the same reason people bought mortgage backed securities back in the day, or why a dog swallows a heart worm pill wrapped in cheese: if you package a turd in an outwardly attractive package, gullible people low in the ability to think critically will eat it.

I did a budget yesterday and I would need to make about twenty dollars per hour to break even, with a cut-down budget. Of course, this would mean no money for car repairs, emergency vet bills, and no hobbies other than free "ebooks". In that way, Dr. Strangelove Schwab has already won: either I get with the program and have money but no sanity, or I ditch the program and have sanity but no money.
Rhetoric Man - 07:55 CDT, 6/05/21 (Sniper)
Like the world's worst "Mega Man" boss, holy buckets is this Fausti guy a liar: in 2018 he presented a slide which was titled "NIH Lifts Funding Pause on Gain-of-Function Research". The slide's bullets explained that along with this resumption, a committee would be created to decide which projects to fund.

Obviously, this was terrible: why was the United States government once again investing in research regarding how to modify animal viruses so that they could infect humans? Isn't that as flagrantly evil as all of the back-room research going on during World War II?

But here is how Fausti explained the very slide, as it was being shown to his audience, bold emphasis is mine:

"So let me explain this a little, because there is pushing back and forth from the press, like 'NIH is now going to do dangerous research-- but no: in fact, it's the very opposite. So, a framework has been now established to guide funding decisions on proposed research that might be anticipated to create transfer or use enhanced pandemic pathogens."


How stupid did he think his audience was? "Who do you believe, me or your own eyes?" This would be like me putting up a slide which says I'm going to gun pedestrians down with my car, then explaining to the room "No, no, all this means is that I'm going to sit in my car behind the steering wheel and decide where to point the car."

The one thing I've learned about this Fausti dude over the past couple of years is how sleazy he is at employing rhetorical tools: I'd even go so far as to say he's a master at it, and this is a good example.

To play devil's advocate, I am trying to track down that full clip-- perhaps in the following sentences he explained himself more fully. I'll post again if I'm able to find it-- but let's just say that I doubt it, based on his tone in the above quote.
Corruption, the State, and Derealization - 14:42 CDT, 6/04/21 (Sniper)
Here is an assortment of topics for your reading enjoyment.


WuFlu-Related Corruption

Yet another Tucker Carlson monologue worth a listen. Gee, you don't think this exact same scenario has been playing out with the so-called "anthropogenic climate change" scene as well, do you?

Skeptics of the skeptics often use the non-argument "but how could all of these people have been in on it, and not said anything?" Easy: the same way they all went around wearing WuFlu Burqas for a year, in spite of the fact a huge percentage of them were non-believers of the Branch Covidian faith; the same way people like me keep their mouths shut at work while Woketopia takes over; the same reason even privately ardent opponents of the Kim regime snitch on their other twenty four million neighbors in North Korea; and on and on.

It's called "fear". It's called "groupthink". It's called "conflicts of interest". It's pretty easy to put in place if the conditions are right and people have been properly prepared.

My favorite part of this was how the guys who created the letter discussed in the monologue went on to repeatedly reference what was behind-the-scenes their own letter as proof in support of their position. It reminds me of this Google-related confirmation bias post I wrote a few years ago.

Incidentally, it's interesting reading that post again, because my prediction came absolutely true to such a degree that its "spill-over" effect has even impacted DuckDuckGo, which is totally unreliable today as it farms results from other search engines. Gab is essentially my search engine today: it's the only way I can find "verboten" information.

Gab is incredible, by the by: I will post an opinion which has gotten me mocked, called names, and ridiculed-- even silly little things like "I like Phantasy Star III more than IV", believe it or not-- and the first responses I get on Gab are, "Yeah, me too!" I've never been surrounded by such like-minded people, in every way, as on that site, to the point where I'd never had many of my own tastes mirrored back to me ever, in my entire life, until subscribing there.

But back to the topic: people often ask "what is the 'deep state'?" It's people mentioned in this Tucker monologue, and thousands of more like them all over the place: Statists who mistakenly charted a State due to what Thomas Sowell called the "unconstrained vision", thinking it would represent the interests of them-- instead, cronies instantly take over this foolishly-granted monopoly on force, and use it to further their self-interests. That's the "deep state".


Evil Corporations

Take a listen to this video, and tell me corporations aren't evil. I've noticed over the months that Vee has come off of his "multi-billion dollar unaccountable corporations" line, probably because people like me were criticizing him for it in the comments-- but he was right, I deserve a big plate of crow. I'm after the truth, not pride: the Bernie Bros. can watch me eat it for all I care.

I recently wrote a post about how, in a way of thinking, labor unions "plug a loophole" in the corporation model, and I think that now more than ever.

"Corporations" are play-pretend, government-created entities where the State apparatus grants them collective liability-- i.e. "limited liability". But the profits are not collectively distributed: they go to the top, and are doled out in the form of salaries by the internal oligarch "executives". Further, employees have virtually no say in how the company is run: they are ordered what to do in top-down hierarchical fashion, like a military.

In other words, the internal oligarchs at corporations reap the private profits, but collectivize the risk. Sound familiar?

I would be one hundred percent ok with the State, tomorrow, enacting a law forcing all corporations to submit to immediate labor unions within their organizations: after all, the corporations are already "fake" State-created phenomena, why not just go all the way and stop them from having their cake and eating it too?

Of course, what would happen is that the unions would destroy the corporations by hamstringing those company's abilities to control their cost structures-- and over time, all of the corporations would go bankrupt. From there, all of the businesses would become private, which means smaller and more distributed: both profits and risk would be private.

Naturally, none of this would ever happen because the CEOs and politicians are all in it together: that's what Fascism as an economic system is, and that's what we have. Almost no one will bite the hand which feeds them.


Burnout

Is it bad that I took the "Maslach Burnout Inventory" and got the following one hundred percent honest scores?

  • Section A: 37
  • Section B: 29
  • Section C: 22

These numbers are off-the-charts apparently: for reference, the cut-off for "high-level burnout" in the sections, in order, are "30 and up", "12 and up", and "33 or less". There's essentially not a day which goes by, during which I don't wonder if I'm going to outright collapse in some way.

My workplace has these huge glass walls and rows of glass-windowed offices down a long hallway, near some escalators: I used to fantasize about taking a baseball bat or an axe, running down the line, and watching the glass cascade down in sheets. Of course, I never got close to doing it, but I often wondered if I'd get bad enough where I would-- and that was more than five years ago, way back before I'd started working from home!

What finally prompted me to get the "work from home arrangement" from HR was that I was derealized to the point that on a daily basis weird visual phenomena were frequently occurring-- veritably like stress-induced hallucinations: as an example, in a "one-on-one" meeting with my manager at the time, her head looked huge, like some sort of gigantic, crude, misshapen, freckled, moon-shaped flesh balloon! Needless to say, I wasn't comprehending a word she was saying, and almost broke out laughing in the middle of the "conversation" due to how bizarre her appearance was!

One time the derealization randomly went away in the middle of a meeting: for the first time in at-the-time nearly ten years-- much longer than that now-- I felt normal, for about two seconds: I could feel the warmth from the window, the smells in the conference room, actual emotions-- and I came within inches of screaming in terror, at which point the blanket went over me again. I'm not sure which set of triggers caused that to happen, because I'd love to try to reproduce the effect to see if I can get a larger window of insight-- not to mention how relieving it felt, even if it was scary too.

I think this all stems from undiagnosed Asperger's, which has led me into untenable career choices and social situations. No one ever sees it because I'm so good at faking it, in the interest of being the tireless little soldier who doesn't complain. For example, I was clinically (mis)diagnosed with "Generalized Anxiety Disorder"-- because I don't stim or exhibit many outward facing characteristics. "GAD" as a diagnosis means "we don't know what the hell is wrong with you."

Some day things will go sideways enough that it forces a change-- until then, I'll keep on with the six figure income and horde as much cash, crypto, precious metals, ammo, and other durable goods as possible.

I thought I would get emotional or nostalgic when stepping out of my Murderapolis house for probably the last time ever, after having lived there for over fifteen years-- but I felt nothing, despite having raised my two kids from birth there: no nostalgia, no sense of anything left behind, no positive memories-- it was like walking out of a gas station. I shrugged, sat down in my car, and drove away.

There is another round of layoffs happening at my company, this month. I really wish they would let us volunteer for those. I hope I get cut, but I have such good performance reviews-- top three-or-so percent of the entire enterprise last fiscal year-- that I don't think it will happen.

Add on the stress of the addition project and moving, and that's why I haven't been recording videos. I'll get back to it in the coming weeks.
Final English Football Nail - 08:42 CDT, 6/02/21 (Sniper)
Up until now, I had no idea English football had gotten this bad; I tuned it out a decade ago after I got bored with the "banging two rocks together" tactics, and went all-in on the Italian game-- but had I stuck with it, I'd for sure be dumping it now: there is no way I would pay money for tickets or even watch matches on television with giant "BLM" signs everywhere.

If Lazio ever pulled this stunt, it'd be the last time I watched them. Thankfully though, and say what you will about Italian culture at large, Italy is essentially immune from this sort of nonsense-- and especially Lotito, who is pragmatic enough at least to understand how alienating this junk is: he'd never see the Curva filled again.

One important addendum: Paul forgot to mention that this whole knee business started with Crapperdick, in direct response to "could have been my son" and "hands up, don't shoot", both of which were colossal lies. Even if you remove the "BLM" factor itself, the knee thing has been nonsense from day one: since then, think Jussie Smollett, Breonna Taylor, Bubba Wallace, Fentanyl Floyd... it's all one big false narrative.
Quake Retrospective - 13:21 CDT, 6/01/21 (Sniper)
I've been picking my way through Linneman and Audi's "Quake" video, and am finding it to be unsatisfying-- not because the material isn't exceptional, but rather for the reason that more than any other game in my life, "Quake" holds a special place for me: at the risk of sounding cheesy, I have my own "story" with it, and no video made by someone else can come close to representing my view of that title.


Childhood

My dad and I assembled an IBM PC Clone kit in 1989-- a 386SX with 4 meg. of RAM-- and I played a ton of EGA DOS games on that system. We didn't have a sound card or even a mouse: it was strictly a DOS PC. In 1991 we bought a Gravis Gamepad-- which was the standard PC controller all the way until the late 90s-- and it came bundled with this game called "Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons", which introduced me to a new company called "id Software". Up until something like 1997, my friends and I all pronounced it "Eye-dee", not knowing any better.

I recall being home sick from elementary school one day, playing my way through that first "Commander Keen" episode. I really liked the minimalistic, evocative artwork, and that the character was thematically reminiscent of "Calvin" from "Calvin & Hobbes"-- a comic strip I was obsessed with at the time.

I was ten in 1992 when "Wolfenstein 3D" came out, and my best friend at the time and I played it non-stop: we both had the official hint guide with all of the maps in it-- it was one of the first video games I truly fell in love with, and I still play it all of the time.


Doom

Via a screenshot in a printed mail order catalog of what I later found out was an "imp" throwing a fireball, I realized that the guys who made "Wolf3D" had made a new game, apparently called "Doom". A few days later, my dad walked into the house with a floppy of the shareware version. I played it for maybe a half an hour, shrugged-- "Meh"-- and went back to the aforementioned Nazi killing predecessor: in that first impression, I much preferred the more colorful style of "Wolf3D", the human enemies with actual voice acting, the flat levels, and so forth.

But, I gave this latest id release a second chance, then a third, and it grew on me to the point where it eventually became one of my favorite games. I even bought a thick hint guide with all of the maps in it, and made some levels of my own which my best friend and I would play via modem-to-modem. Of course, our parents would mess up our "deathmatches" by picking up the phone half the time, but that was part of the charm and novelty of that era: what we were doing shouldn't have been possible in the first place!

Incidentally, it's hard to overstate how scary "Doom" was at the time, especially for a kid my age. I remember standing outside the door where you encounter the first "pinky demon", hearing that snarling sound effect, and just not wanting to open the door: some of these enemies were as big as the player, and almost as fast!

The map editors in those days-- I think the one I used was called "Deep"-- required you to draw the "sectors" in a counter-clockwise manner, otherwise they wouldn't render correctly in the game. "Doom" level editing in those early days was very time consuming, as just making two hallways with a door between was cumbersome, especially if you wanted to change a sector later-- have fun re-drawing half the map.

One time I made a level with a one-way invisible wall, adjoining a hallway filled with barrels, with the "hidden" part accessible only via a secret door. I played my friend and kept pot-shotting him with the pistol, or damaging him by blowing up barrels: he had no idea how he was even taking damage! "Who is shooting me??" I could see him, but he couldn't see me! Finally, he caught me going into the secret door, and the gig was up.


Quake

About this time, John Romero was writing a lot on his .plan file about this new game they were working on, where you could move all of your limbs separately-- the game was set in this big open world, you could meet with rival factions, one of your team hiding up in a tree to snipe their leader in a sort of Yakuza-like betrayal...

As I found out decades later when I read "Masters of Doom" a few years ago, "Quake" was a project from hell: there was a huge rift in the team, where Romero-- just like during "Wolf3D" development-- wanted to do something really ambitious, while the rest of the team desired to keep it simple. Meanwhile, Carmack just could not get the culling working correctly in his new engine-- practically having a mental breakdown in the process, forcing him to bring in help in the form of Abrash-- causing the rest of the team to re-do levels five or even six times, or even to just sit idle waiting.

The first screenshots leaked-- by now, the game had a name in "Quake"-- and I was mesmerized. I had two dreams in those days: the first was playing a game like "Doom" but in full 3D like "Virtua Racing" in the arcades-- which was another title I loved-- with floors-above-floors and all of that; the second dream was doing "POV-RAY" so fast that it could be done in real-time-- a dream which was realized for me when I bought my RTX 2080 in 2018, right when Nvidia's "Turing" launched.

But back to "Quake", I breathlessly read the id team's .plan files religiously every day, amd absorbed every small information morsel.


QTest

In very late 1995 or very early 1996, my dad and I had built a Pentium 133 system with 16 meg. of RAM, a SoundBlaster Pro, and a nice video card. We also jumped from CompuServe to an internet-proper service, which we used in our dual-booting DOS/Windows 3.11 and OS/2 Warp setup. I was rapidly introduced to new concepts such as Gopher, FTP, IRC, Usenet, and the Mosaic web browser. I taught myself HTML and started making my first-ever web sites.

This was also right in the middle of the 3DO era for me, and one evening I was at my friend's house participating in a real-time chat-- what young kids these days call an "AMA"-- with Trip Hawkins via AOL. When it was our turn, we asked him if any 3D fighters were coming out on the system, to which he replied "We have a lot of exciting software, yada yada yada, one coming out is called 'Ballz', look for that."

We all know how "Ballz" turned out: it was a far cry from "Virtua Fighter" or "Tekken", to put it mildly, and wasn't even "3D".

In any event, right in the middle of this chat session, we checked the AOL game news section in a separate window, and: QTest had just been uploaded to id's FTP server! Being only 14 and not having driver's licenses, we called my dad and asked him to bring us to my house-- simultaneously, I had another one of my friends have his mom drop him off too.

We got a bunch of candy and soda from the convenience store near my home at the time, and waited for QTest to download. It was getting late, maybe 21:00 or 22:00, but I'd gotten permission from my mom to essentially have an all-nighter with my friends.

The download finished, we installed it, ran the .exe file, and... how the heck do you play this thing? We were stuck at what looked like a DOS prompt within the game! We dialed up to the internet and checked Carmack's .plan file-- "open dm1", and "connect [ip addr]" to join a server. We wrote those commands down on a napkin, dutifully restarted the game, typed "open dm1", and I proceeded to have one of the three most incredible video game experiences of my life (in chronological order: "Road Rash" on 3DO, "Quake" on DOS, and "Mario 64" on the Nintendo 64).


3D

QTest was so startling that we initially just stood in place, gasping at the gothic architecture. We hit the arrow keys, and slowly started traversing this 3D space, which was by a mile the most immersive thing we'd ever experienced. We spent almost a full ten minutes strafing around an ammo crate: "you can see it differently from all directions!" Then we walked under a bridge, then over the same bridge, using the "PGDN" key to look over the edge.

At one point we fell into the water, and clipped through the bottom of the map, or so we'd thought: "haha, funny bug!" But then we realized: this isn't like the water in "Doom", where you just walk on top of it-- in QTest, you can go in the water! We hadn't clipped through the level: we were swimming! While you could "swim" in Duke3D, it looked nothing like this, where you could look and swim in all directions, in true 3D, with an incredible wavering graphical effect.

My imagination immediately went into overdrive: in "Quake", you could make underwater 3D mazes! Just think of the possibilities!

Finally, we decided to connect to a server: a list of IP addresses were floating around-- we plugged one in, spawned into DM3, and immediately got fragged by a rocket. The guy who killed us typed, "We move fast here." Our jaws were on the floor: we were playing deathmatch with random, anonymous people over the internet, and several of them at once! We sat up all night playing, and got so good at the multi-second delay between pressing keys and having it manifest on-screen that we could strafe around corners-- again, with the keyboard mind you-- and peg people who were running at us post-turn.

Recall that this was mere hours after QTest hit the FTP server. My friends and I were three of the first maybe thousand people to ever play a deathmatch game and land a frag over the internet, in the entire history of the medium, where perhaps hundreds of millions of "frags" are earned every day across hundreds of titles: it's a badge of honor, of sorts.

At some point, someone figured out how to spawn beta versions of the enemies into the QTest maps, and even released "hacked" versions with enemies pre-placed in logical spots. Seeing a fully 3D "Shambler" for the first-time was astonishing: you could even land and stand on his head, because he was polygonal!


Shareware and Mouse Look

The "/" key toggled free look, and people quickly found out that if you hit that key, you could move your mouse around and aim that way-- even up and down!-- instead of with the keyboard. I was one of the first people to adopt "mouse look"-- my dad and I had this trackball, and a competitive breach developed between keyboard players, who you could always identify because they were shooting the stairs beneath you instead of you, and mouse players.

It might sound strange by today's standards to play a game like "Quake" with a trackball, but recall that this was the birth of a whole new genre: there were no rules, no standards, "WASD" wouldn't be "a thing" until the 2000s, and people played with whatever they had. One of my arch-rivals used a flight stick, and he was a top-drawer player.

I was playing three or four hours per day at this point, and after a few months the full-on shareware version came out. I wasn't big on some of the changed sound effects-- especially the removal of the incredible and gruesome QTest player fall sound-- and I thought the single player was kind of boring: it was like Doom, but with all of the personality removed.

But the deathmatch was better than ever, and that was all that mattered to me. On top of it, some guy figured out how to hack the BSP file format, and released screenshots of the first-ever custom "Quake" map: a single cube room. Very soon after he made a level editor, and in a matter of weeks a "modding" community was born.

I pleaded with my parents to let me pre-order the full version. They eventually relented, and I vividly, like it was yesterday, remember the whole phone conversation I had with the lady at id who took my order. I could tell that she could tell from my voice how young and nervous I was, so she was super friendly and patient with me as she took down the card info, and placed my order.

It felt like years that I had to wait: every day over summer vacation when I saw the mail truck, I'd sprint to the mailbox to see if it was there. Otherwise, I was playing five or six hours per day at that point, becoming very prolific at running the maps systematically, scooping up the rocket launcher and various armors the instant they'd re-spawn, then using my advantage to rack up massive frag leads at chokepoints.

Every week or two Carmack would release a new version, which you'd "pkunzip" over the top of the directory. I remember being really excited to see what had been changed, both in single player and deathmatch.


The Assassins

Finally, the day came: I opened the mailbox, and there it was-- this sexy, almost leathery-feeling cardboard flip envelope containing the game disc and manual-- I still have it in a box somewhere. I installed it and did an all-nighter, playing through all four episodes. In the ensuing weeks and months, my skills continued to grow, and I became one of the most prolific players on the internet: I could join essentially any server at any time, and win matches by sometimes twenty or thirty frags.

I even remember seeing some "celebrity" names appear in matches I was playing. For example, there was a guy named "Lord Soth" who ran probably the most popular shareware pages on the very young web, and I went up against-- and handily beat-- him on a few occasions.

There was a secret way to get colored text and special characters into your name, and I made a script which would auto-run on every game startup, to configure my "Sniper" player name, set my player "skin" colors of aquamarine top with beige bottom, and set up my custom control scheme: left alt for back, Z and X for strafe left and right respectively, and right mouse button to go forward. I even set up a toggleable mode which would take a screenshot every time I got a frag!

In those days, The Quake Stomping Grounds, Redwood's News, and Blue's News were my main sites-- the first one being based right out of Murderapolis, where I lived! They would run competitions where you'd record an in-game demo trying to accomplish some arbitrary task they'd made up, as quickly as possible-- then you'd "pkzip" the demo file, and upload it to their FTP server. They also maintained one of the best IP address server lists.

Windows 95 had come out by then, but my dad was such an OS/2 Warp fan, and didn't like Microsoft, so deep in 1996 I was still playing from DOS, using a command line-based TCP/IP TSR to dial up and hold the internet connection. In one of the patches, Carmack must have altered the network code, and my chat messages would take in order of five minutes to get to the other players. That became moot when, very late in 1996, my father finally broke down and bought Win95.

In "Quake", people would append their clan tag to the end of their name, ensconced in brackets. You always knew the hardcore players by which ones were in a clan. One day I kicked the butts of these guys with "[ASN]" suffixes, and I exchanged email addresses with their leader, a dude named "Raistlin".

Turns out the clan was called "The Assassins", and he invited me to a tryout on their own server! Unfortunately, I wound up being late, because I didn't know how to resolve a server name to an IP address: everyone kept telling me to type "ping", but it took me a while to figure out about what they were talking.

I finally connected, and they watched to see if I knew how to do things like circle strafing, rocket jumping, and how well I'd memorized the maps: I showed them how in a given map "A", if I heard water followed by an elevator followed by an ammo crate sound, I knew exactly where the player was and which way they were going. In fact, I could deliberately do things out of order, to fool other advanced players, so I could sneak up behind them!

Needless to say, I got into the clan, and immediately became the top player for them.


Bossman

One day, Raistlin made an announcement: due to other commitments he had to "retire" from the game, and he was handing over full control to Sniper-- me!

I immediately created a new web site for the clan, themed black and camouflaged forest green, complete with framesets and cool animated buttons which would "light up" yellow when you'd hover over them. I embedded a MIDI file of "To Make the End of Battle", as I'd made it the official clan theme song. I found out decades later that the song was written by Yuzo Koshiro, who was my favorite video composer at the time based on his work in "The Revenge of Shinobi" and the "Streets of Rage" games-- mind blown!

But back on topic: I grew the clan from twenty members to over fifty, broke them into sub-squads based on skill level, and managed all of the match and practice scheduling. The clan was almost exclusively college guys in their twenties: one of them once asked me, "Sniper, how old are you?", and he was astonished when I replied with "fourteen". "Our boss is just a kid, holy crap!"

I remember being disappointed with myself, because I would "choke" in matches against other big clans: I'd still be the top player between both teams, but not by as wide of a margin as I should have, and sometimes we'd add up the scores afterwards and wind up having lost by literally two frags-- if only I'd played better! But, over time I got better at harnessing the nervousness in order to focus, versus letting it control me-- something which continues to serve me well in competitive settings to this day.


Quakeworld

One day Carmack made a big announcement on his .plan file; paraphrasing: "I invented this cool thing called 'client side prediction'-- instead of having to wait for your player to move, the player will move instantly on your side, and sync up with everyone else in the background. It'll sometimes make your player jerk around a little, but it'll be way better than what we have now."

This updated network code was included in a brand new "Quake" client, which id named "Quakeworld": it had a refreshed menu, the ability to have custom player skins (I quickly got used to playing against skeletons), a built-in server browser (!), and even a global ranking system.

Incidentally, the ranking system was putting so much pressure on people that Carmack yanked it just a few patches due to complaints. Meanwhile, the server browser was quickly superseded by a neat external application called "Quakespy", which eventually got renamed to "Gamespy" after "Half-Life" came out. All the same, those were neat, novel features, even if they didn't wind up catching on at the time, in the form they were in.

But I digress: the clan and I did extra practice sessions to adapt to this bizarre sensation of instant feedback, which almost felt like single player!


GL Quake

At some point I saw screenshots of "GL Quake", with transparent water, and knew I had to experience it. By this point I'd finally built my own PC, a Pentium 166 MMX system. I bought my first 3D accelerator, the cheapest thing I could find in the form of a "Matrox m3d" and dropped it in. I still have that card, in a box behind me as I type this.

You would pre-bake the transparent water by feeding your map pack files into a "vis BSP" DOS command. As early as "Quake 2" that "m3d" card had this weird issue with "tiled" lighting, where the game world would look like a giant checkerboard-- but in the original "GL Quake", which was all I wanted it for, the card worked great-- and I think it only cost $60 or something ridiculous like that.


Other Anecdotes and Aftermath

Over time, The Assassins started to peter out as players-- even myself-- moved on to other things. On my account, John Romero had made the shocking announcement that he was leaving id: I couldn't believe it! Then the "Quake 2" shareware hit, and I just couldn't get into its sci-fi atmosphere like I did the Lovecraftian stuff from the first title.

Nonetheless and by now well into high school, my friend Cake-O-Demon and I still played a lot of this new sequel: we'd sit up all night at his house on his father's Pentium II 300 in their unfinished basement drinking soda, alternating matches, and taking breaks to play on his dad's foosball table (I became a very good foosball player during high school and college), using their wonderful ISDN line (meaning I was an LPB'er on those nights). I recall one incident involving this major trash talker-- Cake randomly fired a rocket upwards from beneath the opaque water, and nailed the guy as the dude was running across a bridge-- we only knew so from the terminal message along the top of the screen. What were the odds of that happening! But I never loved "Quake 2", and never got particularly good at it.

As the 3DO was dead, I'd also bought myself a PSX in early 1997, and games like "Crash Bandicoot", "Battle Arena Toshinden", and "Tekken 2" were consuming a lot of my time, on top of a myriad of other DOS and Win95-based PC games. Eventually I folded the clan, and essentially said goodbye to all of the friends I'd made.

On top of that, in 1998 my favorite game company (id was second), Epic Megagames, released their own first-person shooter in the form of "Unreal". I could write an equally long blog post about that game, and you can even find some of my old, crappy ".unr" map files on the web if you search for them. "Unreal" finally and definitively ended any desire I had to play "Quake" ever again. Just a year after that, "Shogo" hit, and added story telling to the genre in a way I found positively mesmerizing, further removing me from "Quake".

To drive the point home for good, observe how "Quake" doesn't even show up on my top games of all-time list: as huge a part of my life as it was when it was bleeding edge, I viewed and view it as completely superseded by newer games, such as "Unreal Tournament" (from 1999): the single player in "Quake" wasn't ever very good anyway, and in general it's simply not one of those titles I revisit like I do "Wolfenstein 3D" and "Doom", which have better stood the test of time.

But back to the main thread: looking back on it, to think that all of the above happened in probably only eighteen months is startling, considering how later in life I went from ages 30 to 40-- ten whole years!-- in the blink of an eye. To this day, I almost get misty-eyed when I think back on "Quake", and everything it brought to me in eighth and ninth grades.

I'll leave with two final anecdotes: being a huge Bobby Prince fan, I entered into a raffle on his website at bpmusic.com to win one of only four autographed "Doom Music CDs", where he remixed Doom music on fancy Roland hardware, and set up the track order to "make sense" while playing "Quake". Lo and behold, I won one of those, and still have it!

The other tidbit is that as I entered high school, I was hard at work writing a deathmatch guide in a notebook. I recall one segment being, "if someone is shooting rockets at you, close the gap as quickly as possible-- that way even if they hit you, they'll take themselves out as well from the splash damage."
Winbloze Audio Issues - 08:21 CDT, 5/29/21 (Sniper)
Continuing my chain of Winbloze posts, after having taken a break it sounded like fun to give repairs another shot. I found some additional "DISM" commands which apparently "repair corrupted files"-- I'm not sure which ones, or how it does that exactly, but I nonetheless dutifully ran them.

Winbloze still wouldn't boot.

My next stop was my motherboard's UEFI BIOS settings, and I observed that a Winbloze-specific boot section was set to using "CSM"-- whatever that is-- instead of UEFI. I flipped it to UEFI, and... Winbloze once again booted. Strangely, I then flipped the setting back to "CSM", and Microsoft's buggy operating system still booted-- so I'm not sure which thing I did actually fixed the problem.

My next step was getting Windows Updates to install. The mainline one would not install, giving me one bizarre error after another. However, right in the middle of that process the "May 2021" update magically appeared-- not sure why right at that moment, coincidence?-- and that did install.

But my journey wasn't done yet: the subsequent post-update reboot revealed that audio was broken-- just a big fat red "X" over the Winbloze mixer tray app. The legacy "Device Manager" showed my RealTek and Nvidia devices, claimed they were working, yet the new Winbloze 10 half of things said no devices were installed.

After about two hours of trying different things, I found a workaround, which needs to be performed on every single Winbloze 10 boot just to have functioning audio:

  1. Go to the new control panel's sound section. Flip the advanced settings to use mono.

  2. Go to the legacy control panel's sound settings, where you set up sound effects. Step 1 will have unlocked the "Test" buttons for those sound effects-- click "Test" on one of them, and you'll actually hear it play, even though Winbloze claims there are no audio devices.

  3. Flip your sound back to stereo.

  4. Now the legacy control panel will show your audio devices! But, the Winbloze 10 side still won't see them, and you'll still have no audio devices, and a disabled mixer. Click on one of them, select "set as default", then click on the one you actually want as default, and set it as so.

  5. Check out the Winbloze 10 mixer now, and you'll have one hundred percent functioning audio again in the operating system, as if nothing was ever wrong to begin with.

As I mentioned above though, reboot and you're right back to square one. I'm not sure how testing playback of a .wav file or switching to mono would cause the whole audio subsystem to behave differently-- makes me think it's a bunch of spaghetti code back there.
Not Worth It - 14:54 CDT, 5/28/21 (Sniper)
As a follow-up to my previous post, I did a half an hour of investigation, and here is what's happening: occasionally and for reasons no one can discern, the old DOS utility "chkdsk" will pseudo-randomly re-assign "drive letters" when it runs, on systems where dual-booting is leveraged. I booted to a "safe mode" DOS prompt, and confirmed with "diskpart"-- that is indeed the issue.

I tried re-assigning them, only for them to flip back again-- in other words, Winbloze still won't boot. I found some commands which can be run via a USB "safe mode"-formatted stick, but at this point, how can I trust Winbloze 10-- is this going to happen every time there is an update from here on out? It's not even worth the effort, since I've barely played games on my PC over the past few years anyway.

In general, I've been playing PC games since the mid-80s, but this might be the end of that road: Microsoft is incapable of putting out a usable, non-bricking OS, and publishers don't make many games for GNU/Linux.

And unlike those heady days of the 1980s and 1990s, PCs simply share their entire libraries with the dedicated systems, so why not just play on those? I'm tempted to hand my RTX 2080 to the wife, put the old GTX 1070 back into this PC, sell the whole works on eBay, and buy a cheap non-gaming laptop: as long as it can run Manjaro and RetroArch, that's all I need.
Broken Windows - 14:08 CDT, 5/28/21 (Sniper)
For fun, I booted into Winbloze for the first time in several months to get it patched up. After reboot, I'd found that it'd bricked itself! So, I shrugged my shoulders and booted back into Manjaro, laughing as I did so. A quick search reveals that Winbloze 10-- the worst version of Windows I've ever used, including "ME"-- is going backwards, as apparently every update is causing major issues.

This mirrors what I've seen from other Microsoft products like "Minecraft" and "Flight Simulator", the former of which is nigh-on unplayable on Switch while still running at 1080p on the Series X, and the latter of which was unplayable for weeks at a time for half of the install base due to sub-10 FPS levels, even for people with RTX 3080s.

The Series X itself has seemed very stable so far, but it's also running the ancient-- but very mature-- Xbox One dashboard and underpinnings: maybe I should not be wishing for a new Series interface? Not surprisingly, Microsoft is the company which has most heavily employed non-meritocratic "woke" hiring practices, and which has also engaged the most strongly with "Agile".

Also worth noting is that with GNU/Linux, a non-booting installation is trivial to take care of: you just boot into a single user runmode, check the logs-- which always tell you exactly what's going wrong-- fix the problem, which gives you uber verbose output back as you're working, and reboot back into multi-user mode. With Winbloze, it doesn't tell you jack-- "we're repairing your computer", whatever that even means.
Problem Fabrication - 16:39 CDT, 5/25/21 (Sniper)
Fun interview here with Brenda and John: the latter has been a hero of mine since I was eight or nine, when "Invasion of the Vorticons" hit, while I've always thought that he finally met the perfect complimentary companion in the mature and thoughtful Brenda.

The only thing in the interview I disagreed with was her overall take on character representation in video games-- that somehow not having a protagonist who "looks like you" means you "don't belong". We don't apply that standard literally anywhere else: could she not connect with "The Grapes of Wrath" or something just because she wasn't a male farmer? Did she not like "Sonic" because she's not a blue hedgehog?

To me this is an imagined problem, just like "systemic racismus", as Vee would call it: it's just one of those "virtue signalling du jour" things which people are parroting right now, and which will probably be forgotten ten years from now.

To be fair, even as a highly hormonal teenage boy, it actually annoyed me too that all of the women were bikini clad while wielding broadswords in combat, mostly because it just didn't logically make any sense. I never detected any kind of malice, or that game designers didn't like women-- rather, the designers were just trying to sell software, and the perception-- largely based in reality, in fact-- was that the primary buyers of games were adolescent white males.

On the same note, the "every protagonist is a square-jawed white guy with stubble" phenomenon during the "naughts" was something I made fun of on this blog many times back then: even as a square-jawed white guy with stubble, I thought it was silly: again, who cares if the character looks like me (or doesn't), if it's bad art?

She remarked that "thank goodness things are better now", but in my view they've gotten worse: we've shifted from one stupid archetype, the dudebro white guy, to another stupid archetype, lesbian-looking trannies-- except this time the archetype is motivated by malice, as the designers are deliberately taking revenge on (imagined) perceived past injustices done by evil whitey men according to their hateful "Cultural Marxism" ideology.

I think I'd get along with Brenda really well overall, lots of what she said I found highly relatable-- but she would definitely need to be one of those people where discussions about politics would need to be off the table.
Subaru Forester - 13:49 CDT, 5/25/21 (Sniper)
While this undoubtedly is one of Inzaghi's biggest shortcomings, to me it's not the "killer issue", since the fact is our Primavera squad is simply not very good: even Raul Moro, in the bit I've spent watching him, doesn't look first-term ready from a tactical or maturity standpoint; the Pedro Neto comparison doesn't seem quite right to me, as Neto was and is undoubtedly much more talented. Perhaps-- hopefully even-- I will be proven wrong next season, should Moro and others get more playing time.

For me, the fatal flaw with Inzaghi is that every single Serie A coach has known for about a year and a half how to shut down Inzaghi's system: employ a deep line forcing Lazio to play in front of you, don't turn the ball over in the middle third, and limit Luis Alberto's ability to face goal. I've been waiting that entire period for Inzaghi to adapt-- to come up with a "Plan B"-- and it has just not happened. It makes me question his intelligence, frankly: how many times can someone lose a chess match in the exact same way, and not pick up on how it's happening? Either that or Inzaghi is absurdly stubborn: "My system will come through in the end, you just wait!"

Yes, Tare is the primary fault behind this team's struggles: Inzaghi is a borderline miracle worker getting any kind of success out of many of these players. But the latter's complete lack of ability to adapt tactically over such a vast chasm of time is a critical problem: if this were a murder trial, it would be the damning piece of evidence.


Subaru Forester

On to a totally different topic, I drove my mother-in-law's "still new car smell" Subaru Forester between the two houses over this past weekend, and as I'm apt to do anytime I drive a new car, I jotted down a few notes. But first, a disclaimer: I am super grateful that she borrowed me her car, and indeed its interior space with back seats folded down is one of the car's major strengths: in that transformed state, it's very nearly like a small pickup bed with a topper. Additionally, while she likes the car on the balance, everything I'm about to write below are also things she dislikes about the model-- so I'm not ungratefully slagging off her beloved vehicle, or anything along those lines.

Let the positives come first-- as mentioned above, the car's interior storage space is very useful. The seats are also very comfortable, with reasonable visibility as well. Aesthetically, for being copy-and-pasted "Cute Ute Number 4672" on the market, it's probably the best looking one I've seen: funky tail lights aside, it eschews the bizarre and off-putting, very angular "whoops the designer's hand slipped on the easel", "Transformers" look of most contemporary vehicles, and instead adopts curves married to just enough of the trademark Subaru utilitarian "ugliness" to be pleasant on the eye. This particular color catches the sunlight in a really pretty way too.







Power-wise, the Subaru hallmark 2.5 liter boxer engine, putting out about one hundred and eighty brake horse power in this implementation, did a good job during my drive of letting me merge onto the freeway comfortably and even execute a couple of passing maneuvers, while hauling probably two hundred pounds of boxes and furniture. The transmission is the first CVT I've driven which didn't require me to adorn a barf bag, as it artificially mimicked the fixed gear ratios of a conventional automatic. I'm not sure if this was a toggleable setting or not-- it's merely how the car was behaving during my drive. It's about the slowest responding transmission I've ever experienced as well-- so bear that in mind.

In terms of handling... there isn't any: the body lean is immense for a, let's say, post-1990 car, and the OEM tires only contributed to the very poor response time on steering inputs, as the car wallowed when slung around a wide looping corner. The flip-side of this is that the car is very comfortable over bumps, which in this class is really what matters. While no one buys a car of this type for athletic cornering to be sure, I suspect the handling is worse-than-average in class, which is the only reason I mentioned it at all.

Gas mileage seemed good for a vehicle of this girth: I got nearly thirty miles per gallon on the essentially all-highway commute according to the car's trip computer-- good enough for me. It also runs on regular unleaded, which is a nice bonus. Another benefit is that the base model of this car can be had, brand new, for about $25k; I haven't extensively comparison shopped in the class, but off the cuff this seems like a very reasonable price given how expensive cars are these days.

But now to the negatives. Let's start by taking a look at the steering column:



I counted nineteen discrete actions available just from the steering wheel. The center column has a further eight actions, and-- like an airplane-- even the ceiling is filled with buttons and switches, to the tune of a further eight actions available:





That's thirty five operations, and we haven't even gotten to the heating and air conditioning knobs yet, much less the touchscreen which runs "apps", sort of like an integrated iPhone. I didn't even open that Pandora's Box, and just pretended it wasn't there. Whatever happened to a car being designed for driving versus endless tinkering?

It would be one thing if all of this complexity could simply be ignored-- but it can't: my mother-in-law had to quite literally walk me through a pre-drive checklist of all the things which need to be disabled, using these wide varieties of knobs and dials: "first you need to shut off 'ASS' so the engine doesn't die at every stoplight; then you need to shut off the thing which automatically swerves you into concrete barriers sometimes; after that, don't forget to disable the thing which automatically slams on the brakes if it thinks you're too close to another car."

And these are supposed to be safety features!

I found out the hard way that I'd missed the latter-most button-- which needs to be held down incidentally, as if the car's designers only reluctantly let you shut it off at all: at one point I executed an overtake-- yes, those are required in America due to all of the horrendous lane discipline on display-- and the car brake checked the vehicle I was overtaking, because it deemed that I'd gotten just that bit too close to the vehicle ahead of me in my exiting lane. Caught completely unawares, it took me a few seconds of being dazed, my heart racing, to figure out what the hell had just happened.

On that note, if you get "too close" to another car, the display console shows a giant flashing red circle and starts buzzing at you. On top of it, there is a large animated "fuel economy" section right at the bottom of your field of vision, constantly changing the entire time you're driving-- causing you to continuously battle the urge to take your eyes off the road to see what the car is heckling you about now! Heck, the vehicle even lectured me to check the back seats when I'd turned off the ignition!

Even something as basic as cruise control-- you know, a technology from the 1970s-- has been rendered useless: it changes your speed depending on the next car forward in your lane! Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of the function? One time I flipped "cruise control" on as a car was getting out of my way, like I've done ten thousand times in dozens of other cars, and the Forester slammed on the brakes, nearly giving me a heart attack, as I'd enabled the function a split-second too soon before the lane-changing car had completely gotten out of my way.

Every time the "cruise" control flipped between constant speed and "I'm going to change the speed all the time" modes, the car emitted an audible beep. I lost track of the number of times the Forester buzzed and beeped at me, all told. I wonder if this "adaptive cruise control" is why the lane discipline issues seem to be getting worse-- people just sit in the passing lane in a line, drooling on themselves like unthinking meatsacks, with their cars driving themselves?

When you put the whole Subaru Forester package together, I never felt like I was in control of the car: rather, it felt like flying one of the giant airliners in "Flight Simulator 2020", where you just sort of guide the craft towards the destination, with the autopilot handling most functions. But unlike an airplane in the vastness of the three-dimensional sky, a car operates on two dimensions, and is doing seventy miles per hour within mere meters of other four thousand pound pieces of motorized steel, glass, and plastic.

During the whole experience I felt like I was wrestling for control of the car, from the car itself. The vehicle was doing absolutely everything possible to distract, nag, harrass, and otherwise divert my attention away from actually driving.

I'm a driver who is never phased by anything: I've driven through raging snowstorms in my rear-wheel drive 350z, picked my way through near-zero visibility darkness, and even done some amateur motorsports, all without breaking a sweat. But this single trip in the Subaru Forester was non-stop white knuckling the whole way, my heart jumping at every beep and buzz, or every time the display readout changed, as I was flat-out praying I'd get to my destination in one piece.

Can you imagine if I'd had all of the "safety features" enabled? I can't, and don't want to either. It's no wonder some people are clamoring for "self driving" cars-- because "driving" a modern car yourself is so complicated, mentally taxing, and scary!

It was a huge relief after that and on arrival to hop into my own car, with its giant tach, manual transmission, actual cruise control, and nothing else-- and just drive. I am more curious than ever now to test drive some of these incoming Japanese sports cars, including the new "Z", to see where on the spectrum they fall between this Subaru Forester, and my current vehicle.
Summary - 08:01 CDT, 5/24/21 (Sniper)
I know Michael Snyder can be a little tiresome, but this is a pretty good summary of the state of the country at the moment. Cross-reference this with that early 1980s Yuri Bezmenov interview, and you can see that this is all by design.
Throwaway Cars - 14:12 CDT, 5/21/21 (Sniper)
Back in 2009 when I was shopping for a cheap used sports car, one of the models I looked into was the Mazda RX-8, my interest mostly derived from the "cool" factor which its spiritual predecessor, the RX-7, had in the mid-90s.

But I quickly backed off of that notion: you see, the RX-8-- like its model forebears-- was powered by a rotary engine. And these motors could not be safely restarted until fully cooled down-- so forget taking the car grocery shopping. Or using the car at all, in practical terms. These rotary engines also burned oil by design-- which means the owner needed to remember to routinely refill them with oil, no small thing in the average person's busy life.

Even by 2009, there were very few RX-8s of the early model years left: the finicky motors meant that, again in practical terms, they were shot by 75,000 miles, totaling out the whole car. Since then, I haven't seen a single Mazda RX-8 in probably six years. There was and is no such thing as a "ten year old RX-8": the whole fleet has essentially been junked by now, the last production model year having been 2012.

So, I bought one of the RX-8's myriad competitors in the form of a Nissan 350z for $15k, instead. Eleven years later-- so, an eighteen year-old car in total-- and it's still going just as strong as the day it rolled off the assembly line. Good choice then! Especially versus the RX-8, which I would have long-since replaced, maybe even with a 350z ironically: two cars-- cars are expensive!-- required over the given timeframe, versus just one.

See those Teslas and other electric cars driving past you while out on a walk? Not a single one of those you see on the road is still going to be on the road ten years from now: their owners will all have been forced to buy yet another car since the $10k battery packs will have all gone bad by then, totaling out the vehicles-- just like the RX-8 rotary engines.

In other words, in this "all electric" future you keep hearing about, every car is going to be a Mazda RX-8. This is a real problem for the average American, who can't afford an electric car in the first place on their median $36k annual wages-- much less a new one every decade! That's why the average age of a car on the road today is twelve years. Remember: that means half of those cars are even older.

Unless I get bored with it, in ten years I'll probably still be driving my by-then 28 year-old 350z-- and it will have out-survived not just the entire fleet of produced Mazda RX-8s, but generations of electric cars to boot! I'll have spent $15k on car purchases over 21 years, versus the Tesla snobs and "New World Order" Ford customers who will have spend at least $80k over that same time period. That $65k difference buys me a lot of gasoline!

Electric cars are like this: "Hey Sniper, I invented a new toaster, want to see it? It costs twice as much, can only toast one slice of bread at a time, and you can only use it once a day. Pretty sweet, huh?" The only reason you'd exchange your superior conventional toaster for the new one-- to make all of those trade-offs-- would be if you thought it was somehow going to "save the planet". Which, unfortunately, seems to be what a lot of people have been brainwashed into thinking.
Perfect Example - 08:12 CDT, 5/21/21 (Sniper)
I've written a lot in the past about the rapidly dropping testosterone levels in men, and how it's manifesting in men not just looking like women, but acting like women, adopting traditionally female values like safety-over-all-else, and in the most extreme examples even thinking they are women.

I've been catching up on Jonas Hansson's skating videos, and I found a perfect example of this phenomenon. First, here is a video of a skater named Richie Eisler: he is nine months older than me-- so, a fellow "Xennial". Second, here is a video of another skater, Eugen Enin, who was born exactly ten years later-- 1991, versus 1981.

I cropped photographs of them side-by-side. 'Nuff said:



Judging by the aforelinked video, Eugen Enin is a world class skater-- but as is the case with modern footballers, who almost universally look extraordinarily effeminate, how much better would they be if they married modern-day training and diet, to higher testosterone levels?
Wool Over Eyes - 15:12 CDT, 5/20/21 (Sniper)
Ex post facto reasoning is when you try to explain something after the fact, which makes what was in reality an irrational position seem rational in hindsight. This is a common face saving technique, and is also often used to gaslight people for political purposes. I saw a funny example today:

What really happened: Rand Paul called out Dr. Fausti regarding the latter's direct connections to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Not forty eight hours later, the CDC did a complete u-turn, telling people to not wear masks, which in turn caused Minnesota's Dim Tim Walz to loosen the state's WuFlu restrictions.

Local establishment's explanation (italics are mine): "In Minnesota, we are continuing to see a loosening of restrictions as vaccination rates increase and COVID-19 community spread decreases. As a result, we have decided to begin our partial reopening... on Monday, June 7, approximately one month earlier than originally planned."
Amusement - 08:00 CDT, 5/19/21 (Sniper)
This doesn't really impact me anymore as I only have three days left of living in Murderapolis before I permanently relocate to the rural-- formerly known as bug out-- house, where virtually no one followed the WuFlu Burqa "mandate" in the first place. But, it's still fun to muse.

I wrote about my restaurant experience in this post already-- what I didn't mention is that I also went into the local "Cub Foods" grocery store; probably ninety percent of the customers still had them on! However, less than half of the employees were wearing them.

Speaking of relocating, this server might be down for a few days over this upcoming weekend as I physically relocate it to the rural house: I'll have a lot of moving to get done, so I may not get around to setting it up on the network right away.
A Warning - 12:25 CDT, 5/16/21 (Sniper)
In 1926, a young Russian woman named Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum moved to the United States. She had just got done with the Bolsheviks confiscating her father's business, crushing his soul in the process, then sending her and her family on a long march with nightly threats of rape and murder. Her parents scrounged up just enough money to send her overseas, and to the day she died in 1982, Alisa had no idea whether her parents had survived or not.

Shortly after her time arriving in the United States, she started to see the exact same ideology and warning signs which preceded the Bolsheviks, happening in America. "I need to warn people", she thought to herself. She picked up a pen and started to write, following in the long Russian tradition of escaping censorship through the plausible deniability of literature. She also adopted a pen name: Ayn Rand.

Bad ideas are almost always wrapped in "feel good" rhetoric, which even allows the proponents of evil ideas to take the moral high ground. Others don't then fall prey to the concepts because they are bad people-- they are just naive: they haven't yet lived through the consequences of these lousy concepts, and they don't read enough history.

I've met a lot of people through the management of the addition project up North, and one of them-- a white male, Republican-voting conservative-- has said a few alarming things to me in the course of conversation. Similar to what Ayn Rand must have felt, "This is how it started in the urban areas", I thought to myself.

The first eyebrow-raising remark was about how "out here, it's almost entirely white, unfortunately." I've said, over and over, repeatedly across both blog posts and videos, that if offered the chance to live in a society full of Ben Carsons, I'd take it in a heartbeat-- when it boils down to individuals, I don't care what race someone is: if they share my values, we're all good.

I'm friends with and have worked with some wonderful black people, a few of whom might even read this blog. Unfortunately, most black people are not Thomas Sowell. If you chart the presence of hispanics and blacks across the United States, there is a very strong correlation between their presence, and murder. You can see the exact same pattern globally. People often try to dismiss statistics like this by saying that it's poverty-related-- but nope.

I also have seen this pattern anecdotally in my life: blacks are like locusts-- they shift from area to area, leaving wreckage behind. Ask anyone in Minnesota over the age of sixty what North Minneapolis used to be like: it was essentially all-white, crime was very low, the area was clean and orderly, and kids could safely roam anywhere. Drive through North Minneapolis today, and tell me what you see.

Ask any Minnesotan over the age of thirty five about a city called Brooklyn Center. When I was a kid, the city was almost all white, it was clean, and the local economy supported a large mall called "Brookdale", at which I spent enormous amounts of time as a kid. At some point in my teenage years, large numbers of blacks migrated from North Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center-- over the span of less than a decade, the city became filled with trash, the mall closed and everything nearby was shuttered, and crime soared. My uncle was actually shot at in that city, as some black gang banger opened fire on the Metro Transit bus he was boarding!

I don't know if it's excessive amounts of testosterone, IQ, some kind of combination of genes, or what: more research is required-- but which won't happen, because it's not politically correct to even mention the topic.

To be clear, cue disclaimer four hundred and sixty five, I would never judge an individual black-- or hispanic, for that matter-- person prematurely, assuming that they are violent just because of their race. That's the definition of the word "racism". But in aggregate, you do not want large numbers of blacks to move into your neighborhood: it's an easily supportable position, grounded in fact. I'd be saying the exact same stuff if it were my racial group having these unfortunate statistics: I'd be trying to figure out why, and how to get away from them, and to people who share my values!

On that note, I don't support racial segregation, but I do support values segregation: if you're a peaceful, smart, respectful black or hispanic person, try to make your way to a rural area-- I'll gladly welcome you as a neighbor. But don't then encourage everyone else in your racial group to do the same-- move, but don't broadcast it, or brag to them about how nice it is once you're there.

It's easy for the aforementioned rural guy to make himself feel good and sound egalitarian, because he's naive and hasn't had to live with the consequences like me and many other people I know. When you've lived literally your entire life in a 95%+ white, low-crime low-violence population where people don't even lock their houses or cars, it's easy for such a person to not understand cause-and-effect: what made and makes that rural area have the attributes it has?

The second troubling thing he dropped in a conversation was support for race and sex-based hiring quotas-- i.e., Cultural Marxism. Again, it makes him feel good to sound egalitarian and well-natured, because he hasn't been personally denied a job because of his race. The answer to "racism" isn't "racism", to "sexism" isn't "sexism", clearly. What he and everyone needs to understand, is that the people pushing this terrible, evil concept also have ulterior motives.

I think the rural area to which I'm moving is fairly "hardened"-- after all, this is just one person from whom I've heard support for bad ideas and foolish notions. But at the same time, if he's thinking these things, then there may be other naive people there with the same beliefs. And we all know what happened to Russia after the Bolsheviks took over...

In any event, enough with this distasteful topic: I had to write the post, but it leaves a bad flavor in my mouth.
Victory Lap Gloating - 12:59 CDT, 5/15/21 (Sniper)
I'm already having fun with the WuFlu Burqa mandate lift: I went into my favorite restaurant for the first time since Dim Tim Walz put the "mandate" in last July. The cashier-- with whom I used to be on quite friendly terms-- was visibly nervous as I entered, to the point of knocking a big stack of cups onto the floor.

She queried, "It's been a long time", to which I replied, "Ever since the mask nonsense-- been almost a year. But the 'mandate' is gone, so here I am!" She gave some kind of terse response, clearly not onboard with my attitude-- so I rubbed it in: "You know, I literally haven't worn a mask even once-- I made it the entire time!"

It was also deeply satisfying walking past all of the domestic terrorist "BLM" yard signs, and saying to myself: "I beat you all: you threw unconscionable levels of misery at me, and I not only came out, but stronger for it. Never forget: I'm a winner, you're all losers-- I stuck by my principles, you didn't, and here we are on even footing at the other side, me with my dignity intact, while yours is in irreparable tatters. Eat shit, morons."

So now that the tables have turned, dear readers, here is the gameplan: go anywhere you want, with your head held high. If a Karen or Ken questions you, smirkily laugh at them and say, "What, are you some kind of science denying blue anon conspiracy theorist? I think I trust the experts at the CDC more than you!", and just walk away.

If asked whether you've been "vaccinated", simply respond with an ambiguous, plausible-deniability nod, and say "Who wouldn't? They're highly effective!" Remember: after what the Karens, Kens, bureaucrats, and complicit normies have put us through over the past year-plus, you are under zero obligation to be honest.

Take a page from Saul Alinsky: don't hesitate to hold them to their own rules by liberally whipping out the "science denier" and "conspiracy theorist" pejoratives! Use any dirty rhetorical tool or sophistry you can come up with: rules only apply when the other side is also following them.
The Hokey Pokey - 07:07 CDT, 5/15/21 (Sniper)
I arrived back in Murderapolis for possibly the last time as a denizen of the area-- I'm making my permanent move to the bug out house over this upcoming long "Memorial Day" weekend-- to the very-next-day news that Minnesota's own Dim Tim Walz has gotten rid of the WuFlu Burqa "mandate"!

Of course, the underlying sickness-- no, not the WuFlu, but rather the hysterical mysophobia among "Joe and the Hoe" voters-- is not cured: the only reason the "mandate" was eliminated, was because the CDC's "Wheel of Fortune" dial happened to land on the "Alaska" vacation tile. Tomorrow when the CDC spins it again, it could just as easily land on "Bankrupt".

Because the science, amirite? "Put your right foot in, take your right foot out, put your right foot in, and shake it all about..."

Tomorrow, they could decide that there are "new strains!", and in goes the Burqa mandate once again. At least once I'm permanently relocated, veritably no one follows the "mandates" there anyway, which is one small part of why I'm moving. Hopefully some Millennial will come buy my Murderapolis "fixer-upper" house very quickly.

My only issue will be regarding access to health care, since I've heard that in other states which no longer require Binky the Clown noses, such apparati are still "mandated" in health care settings: you know, chicken wire held up to the face while walking through a cloud of mosquitoes. If I do need to see a doctor, I'll try walking in with no abasement, and will resort to the hilariously terrorist-looking Balaclava as a worst resort.

That said, I found my new rural dentist office, and I just walked right in! No Burqa, no one mentioned it, and I got my teeth cleaned for the first time in a year-and-a-half. Also got into an almost hour long conversation with the hygenist about home schooling: evidently, even the public schools there have been subverted by Communists, so she was picking my brain with the very likely intention of quitting her job, so she can home school her grandkids.

Her grandson, like all young healthy boys, wants to be running around, building stuff, and climbing trees-- so focus is an issue for him. In a traditional school setting, he falls way behind. When she was forced out of work-- Minnesota shut down dental clinics for several months at one point-- she essentially home schooled her grandson, and got him all caught up. Now, after being in the public school again, he's regressed from where she'd left him!

She also said that the schools, even there, have become hopelessly politicized. Subversion! So she's desperate to get her grandchildren out of there.

But back to the WuFlu, did everyone read that there are dozens and dozens of "cases" now-- including the New York Yankees starting lineup-- who are "testing positive" for the WuFlu, even after having had The Holy Jab? How many women have potentially been sterilized, or how many people will develop God-knows-what ten years down the road, for protection against getting a cold, but which isn't even turning out to be that protection anyway?

This is why people need to use their brains.

And just an update on my own status regarding having been infected by the WuFlu: a scant couple of days after the aforelinked post, and I was already one hundred percent over it! On a spectrum of dozens of colds I've had, this one wound up not even being in the top quarter "most annoying". A couple of the symptoms, like a back rash, were strange-- but only stuck around for a few days.

Overall: a nothingburger.

The other funny part about all of this is that normies still don't seem aware that the "PCR tests" are not intended to be used this way-- so, a positive test doesn't even mean you have the WuFlu, while similarly a negative test doesn't mean you don't have it. Someone once gave a "PCR test" to a grapefruit, and it came back positive. In the case of the Yankees and others, it could very well be one of the countless thousands of other endemic coronaviruses that they've got-- but let the Democrat freak-outery commence anyway.

On tap for today: pick up food from my favorite Murderapolis restaurant, wash my car-- got the lawn mowing done last night-- and play some serious "Yakuza: Like a Dragon" on Series X!