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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Oh My GOD Stop "Helping"

I know what I said last night about being exhausted by the trans bathroom debate, but this is a case of Please stop "helping". You are actively encouraging behavior that will get your ass arrested or shot.
In this picture, an overzealous father has decided that someone approaching the women's restroom isn't sufficiently female and has pulled a gun to prevent entry. Not "Don't molest my daughter"; not even "You are making my daughter feel uncomfortable." Nope, this is full-on "I don't like the way you look and because you might do something wrong I'm going to hold you at gunpoint."

Folks, here in Florida this is known as aggravated assault. It is a felony. Do you really want to spend five years in jail and lose your right to own firearms just because you've decided that someone coming up to the restroom isn't sufficiently ladylike?

Of course, getting arrested for pointing a loaded gun at someone who isn't an immediate, obvious threat to yourself or another isn't actually the worst-case scenario. Want to know the worst case?
Yep. Pulling a gun on someone who just wants to use the toilet is a great way to get your ass shot. And you know what? It would be a justified shooting, because aggravated assault is a forcible felony.

Please, gun owners, stop posting shit like this. It isn't helping anyone, it's making our side look like kneejerk idiots, and it's encouraging people to take a course of action that may very well get someone arrested, hurt, or killed. It's very much our version of the "Joe Biden Defense", which is also terrible advice and has resulted in someone's conviction and imprisonment.

Just... stop doing this. You aren't helping. Please, please, PLEASE stop. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blargh.

Hi, yes. I'm alive.

I don't know what's going on with me lately, but I'm tired. Like, Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles levels of tired. I think it's both physical and psychological.

Physically, my body's sleep and eat cycle is dramatically out of sync with the world. I can't seem to fall asleep until 4 am, which means I have trouble waking up before 10. But then in the afternoon I'm dead tired, literally falling asleep in front of the computer, and so I take a nap that lasts from 2 or 3 until 5 or 6 or even 7 pm. And that sleeping makes me not hungry at decent hours, so I find myself wanting dinner at 8 or 9 or later, which of course means I have energy late at night and end up staying late and that repeats the cycle. I don't know how it started, but I need to stop it.

I'm also beat psychologically. I'm sick of the constant BS of politics -- frankly, I'm ready to adopt the Lewis Black method of determining the president -- and if every single one of the candidates (yes, including the one I support) were to suddenly die from explosive syphilis I would consider that a net win for not just America, but the Earth in general. And this whole business about transgender bathrooms that's really just an excuse for people to virtue signal... ugh. I can't even work up the spite to blog about it; instead I am reduced to going "Really? Really? THIS is what we're fighting about now?"  It's all just a poor satire of the gun rights debate, only with the positions reversed.

I don't know what's going on. My body is screwed up, so it might be kinda sick -- but I don't feel sick. I don't have the desire or energy to go out and do stuff (like shooting, which is why I haven't done any Monday Gunday posts recently, and I feel VERY guilty about that), and while I don't feel like I'm depressed, I recognize that not taking pleasure in things which used to be fun is one of the signs of depression.

I think part of my trouble is that I have become acutely aware of the passage of time. For example, when I sit down to watch a television show, or read a book, or play a computer game, my brain says "You are sacrificing an hour of your life to this thing. It's an hour you'll never get back. Is this really worth an hour of your life? Are you happy with this exchange?"  And of course I'm not, because I have this impression that my lifespan is so valuable that I ought to spend it doing ONLY AWESOME THINGS, like parachuting off of mountains or scuba diving in the Bahamas or snorting lines of coke off the epic tits of porn stars... but that isn't a reasonable belief, because even incredibly awesome people do mundane things like sleep and use the toilet and, yes, watch trashy television.

I don't know if I'm coming to grips with my own mortality now that I'm middle-aged or what. I just know that on one hand I am intensely dissatisfied with how things are going -- both for my life in specific, and for the world in general -- and yet I don't know how to fix any of them. Or indeed, even if they need fixing.

So yeah. It's pretty obvious I need a break, which is why I'm looking forward to going on vacation this weekend -- I and a bunch of other gun bloggers will be going up to Tennessee and we're going to have a blogshoot.

I'll let you know how it goes, and hopefully it will revitalize my ability to deal with things.

Thanks for checking in on me. Ideally I'll be back to writing about guns and Traveller and ponies and other awesome things next week.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #88 – The Group Podcast with Special Guest Luke Apps of Triangle Tactical Podcast

It was a long week moving Casa Sorrentino and URS Studios, so instead of a regular show, Adam and Sean bring you a special group show!
  • Sean tells you about another Sean Sorrentino. One who is a very naughty Sean Sorrentino. This Sean Sorrentino will not be podcasting where he is going.
  • Adam relates the horrifying story of the legal system run amok.. or is it? A teen is arrested on Felony Robbery charges for stealing a cup of soda from McDonalds!
  • Erin Palette holds an Ask Me Anything. About preps, you dirty minded people. 
  • In our main topic, we endure the nails-on-a-chalkboard sound of Hillary and her daughter Chelsea confirming that a President Hillary Clinton will, in fact, be coming for your guns.
  • Special Guest Luke Apps of The Triangle Tactical Podcast, thinks you should start a blog or a podcast. He's a great person to tell you about it because he's the person who encouraged me to start this podcast.
  • And finally, Weer'd plays a few clips from the latest episode of no one's favorite anti-gun podcast, Loaded Conversations. To say that this woman has "issues" is to grossly understate it. You've got to hear it to believe it. 
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. Go to StopNewsome.net to help FPC crush Governor Newsome's ammo ban.

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  • October 15 - Arizona specific - Glendale, AZ
  • October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 8: An Autopsy of the SocialAutopsy Situation


Part 1: An Introduction

Part 2: A History Lesson
Part 3: Born in Fire
Part 4: Factions Form
Part 5: The Curious Tale of David Pakman
Part 6: The SPJ Airplay Bomb Threat
Part 7: I Do Actually Stand With Mustafa

The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Gamergate. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against their own hobby's press. The ideology which controlled the machines sent two agents to the forefront. Their mission: to draw the aggro and act as bait. But they picked the wrong drama to initiate, and may be failing.

Late last week, a Kickstarter campaign launched for a service called Social Autopsy, ostensibly an anti-bullying service, which aimed to collect information on harassing and/or offensive speech and tie it to a database that would identify a person by name, by image, and possibly even by employer. I, like many others both in the free speech camp as well as those against it, immediately saw the flaws and exploits in a system like this.* But something strange happened with Social Autopsy.

I mentioned Gamergate earlier because several individuals opposed to whatever-the-narrative-is-this-week stepped in. Zoe Quinn and Randi Harper, who run anti-bullying organizations themselves, got involved with Social Autopsy... but not in the way you'd expect people working in the same field would.

Less than a day after the Kickstarter launched, Social Autopsy's founder, Candace Owens, was contacted by Quinn to discuss the project. In Owens's own words, Owens provided Quinn with her personal e-mail address, and Quinn spoke with her both over e-mail and phone. But not words of support, as you'd expect, but to try and talk her out of it. Why would someone who was the victim of harassment herself allegedly fight so hard against a way of unmasking and identifying harassers?

Owens was suspicious, but rebutted each argument Quinn had and, again according to Owens, Quinn grew more frustrated, again giving her credentials and claiming to be representing various anti-bullying organizations that she declined to name. With red flags going up, Owens stood firm, refusing to back down, with Quinn eventually warning her that Gamergate would come after her.

And sure enough, that's what happened. The anti-bullying advocate was then harassed off the internet and into hiding by a boogeyman that was simultaneously a bunch of powerless whiners and also the unnameable threat stalking the tech blogs and gaming press of the last two years.

Nah, I'm kidding. Hours later, Owens began receiving nasty messages first on her Kickstarter campaign profile, and then emails on her personal e-mail account -- the one she'd given to Quinn -- with all manner of offensive language with a single common thread. “Men, Misogyny, and Gaming,” as she put it. All of the messages came from male names, using gendered language against her, and with video games somewhere in the address field. Keep in mind that Owens had been nowhere near gaming until now. She hadn't even heard of Gamergate, but now she was getting emails from addresses like “gamedeveloperyal@animalfetishporn.us.” Hours after that her Kickstarter was shut down, and Randi Harper (again, a noted anti-GG name and herself a... harassment expert) wrote a post on Medium where she blasted Candace Owens and Social Autopsy's Kickstarter before claiming responsibility for having it shut down.

There's two possibilities I'm seeing here for what happened next. Candace Owens is either incredibly smart (if misguided, considering how terrible an idea SocialAutopsy was) or so uninvolved with the tech blog drama world that she immediately saw a pattern and started putting things together, because she then spent the next several days blasting Quinn and Harper on Twitter, all but accusing them of being the entire harassment machine that Gamergate was accused to be themselves and writing an epic history of the situation on her own website (I strongly suggest you read it) that puts mine to shame. Candace Owens continues to make noise about more information she has.

Of course, there was retaliation from the usual suspects. Jesse Singal penned a hitpiece than ran on New York Magazine's website. Embarrassing human David Futrelle has smeared her. I'm waiting for more to drop. But what I'm really waiting for is for the gloves to come off and get really dirty, though. Candace Owens is a black woman. That's not important to me, but that means she's further up the progressive stack than Quinn or Harper, and that means her voice should carry more weight with those most involved in this narrative. I'm 100% sure there'll be some justification, though: being accused of "internalized misogyny", or called an Uncle Tom, or something equally heinous to discredit her and protect the narrative.

Now we can only sit back, wait, and make more popcorn and hope more evidence is presented, because this ride *still* hasn't ended.


*For one, I believe that unless someone's job is directly tied to the things they say online, don't go after her job. For another, how do you weed out fake profiles, anonymous names, and impersonations to make certain that the wrong person doesn't get shamed?

In Memoriam: Prince


I heard that Prince died, and the first thing I thought was "I wonder where I could get six raspberry costumes?"

"What do you need 6 costumes for, Erin?" you ask, likely with trepidation.

"Why, so his pallbearers can throw him a Raspberry Parade, of course. I'd better start looking in secondhand stores."
I think Dave Chappelle gave him the best eulogy, though:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Traveller Tuesday: Skill Clarifications

Mongoose's second edition of Traveller changed the organization of skills. I approve of some changes, disapprove others, and feel that in some cases 2e didn't follow through to the logical conclusion.

Herein are the changes I have made to skills in my heretical version of Mongoose Traveller, including previous posts on skill expansion.
My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
Zero-G
This skill still exists in my game. 2e subsumbed it into Athletics, but I still operate on the notion that there's no unskilled penalty for not having the Athletics skill, and if I did it the 2e way that would mean everyone could move around in freefall unskilled. No thank you, I don't think so...

Technology
This is what 2e calls the Electronics skill. I approve of how 2e has turned the high-tech skills of Comms, Computer, Remote Ops and Sensors into a single skill -- not only does it make it easier for a PC to be appropriately tech-savvy early on, it also mirrors how Gun Combat is a single skill but with different specialties depending on the weapon.

I've renamed it to prevent confusion with the Electronics specialty, below. 

Science
I'm sticking with the 1e version of this, as I don't like the notion that being a biologist automatically gives you an understanding of planetology or economics.

Repair
2e did away with the Electronics specialty of Engineer, and folded it into Mechanic. Since mechanical repair and electrical repair are quite different, I've made Electronics and Mechanic distinct specialties of the Repair skill. 

Navigation
Folded into Survival. 

Medic
Continuing to harp upon "If slug pistol and slug rifle are two separate specialties, then completely alien biologies ought not to be lumped into the same skill," I have made each alien species its own specialty as explained in this post

Language
As explained in greater detail in this post, Languages are now separate skills. Related dialects (such as all Vargr languages being offshoots of Arrghoun) are specialties of the same root. 

Heavy Weapons
I'm taking the best of all the versions here:
  • Artillery - indirect fire weapons
  • Man Portable Energy - PGMP/FGMP
  • Man Portable Kinetic - launchers and direct-fire large-bore weapons like machine guns
  • Vehicle Mounted - tank guns, rocket pods. miniguns, etc 
Gun Combat
This is one of the simplifications of 2e that I don't like. After years of having skills broken up by both projectile and size -- and from my own knowledge that shooting a rifle uses different techniques than shooting a pistol -- I'm keeping the differentiation and adding a few. 
  • Archaic (by name, like Bow or Blowpipe)
  • Energy Carbine 
  • Energy Pistol
  • Energy Rifle
  • Shotgun
  • Slug Carbine
  • Slug Pistol
  • Slug Rifle
  • Zero-G Weapons
Drive/Flyer/Pilot
Air/Rafts still require Flyer in 2e, but fortunately Flyer is now a skill that anyone can choose as a background skill and is more easily acquired in character generation. That's great for people who are making new characters, but what about those PCs who were generated in 1e? Well, there are two options:
Battledress
Still a skill in my game. While I am comfortable with the very military skill of Battledress working as the Vacc Suit skill, I am not at all comfortable with the very civilian skill of Vacc Suit being used to operate the most advanced power armor in the Imperium. Again, no thank you. 

Advocate
Much like with Medic, I broke down what it means to have the Advocate skill and at which point it makes a character into an actual lawyer. There are also differences between military law, Imperial law, and planetary laws, and they are all specialties. Read my blog post on legal certification for further information.


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