A year and a day late

A few days back, Jason from Prophetic Heretic sent me an amusing link that, I thought, would take the cake for the day's Daily Suckage.

I was going to put off remarking about it for a few days until its one-year anniversary of posting, but that passed yesterday while I was doing a walkabout in Northampton and later playing Halo until the wee hours. So, without further ado, here ya go:
Microwave beam devices are just one of a number of new weapons under development that could be used against US crowds. This article in Defense Update magazine describes the variety of anti-personnel energy weapons being developed by the Department of Defense. These include the Laser Induced Plasma Channel (LIPC) pictured above, which can "work like 'artificial lightning' to disable human targets" and "can be adjusted for non-lethal or lethal use."

Other weapons being developed include the "Pulsed Energy Projectile" (PEP) device which, as New Scientist explains, "delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometres away." New Scientist observes that "pain researchers are furious that (medical research) aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon," adding that "they fear that the technology will be used for torture."

The Wynne story came and went so quickly that radio journalist Charles Goyette from KFNX in Phoenix tried to follow up. An interview was scheduled with the Air Force Secretary's spokesman, USAF Major Aaron Burgstein, to get elaboration on the Secretary's remarks. But Burgstein cancelled at the last minute without explanation.

Burgstein's email to Goyette added that "SECAR (Wynne) is not advocating using non-lethal weapons on the American public," just that they be "fully tested first before they're employed overseas" because our enemy "uses any and all opportunities to wage a propaganda war."

Sounds benign enough. Unfortunately, it directly contradicts what Wynne actually said. "If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens," said Wynne, "then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation."
I love you too.

The new Changeling

I less than three Changeling: the Dreaming.

It was an abomination. It was cute and genki where Demon and Wraith were bleak and inki. It eschewed the Gothic-Punk aesthetic altogether in favor of closeted childhood high fantasy. The seven races of Kithain were dismally balanced and overspecialized, with two whole races fixed pretty much permanently on one of the Seelie-Unseelie axis. There was laughter without schadenfreude. In a World of Darkness, it was a Thomas Kinkade landscape (and not one of those that was, the way Thomas Kinkade paintings actually are, a Dionaea house.)

But there was beauty in it. Sometimes nightmarish, sometimes insane, often childish, but there were some moments in Changeling that were, though not Punk at all, Gothic in their beauty. (The most obvious one is the road to the legendary Snail Graveyard, littered with the crushed shells of the millions of snails that never made it to the end of their final voyage. Beautiful.)

I will also admit to being deeply biased against New World of Darkness. The old World of Darkness had become bloated
Q: How many mortals does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None, because there's too many vampires, mages, demons, changelings, Garou, Gurahl, Bastet, Corax, Ananasi, Nuwisha, Mokolé, Nagah, Kitsune, Ratkin, mummies, Imbued hunters, and Kuei-jin in the room already.
and unstable, too much so to go on forever without turning into a Shadowrun-style endless downward spiral. Too many coming apocalypses; too many product lines.

But I'll take the Old World's decadence - the fact that in any game you'd have dozens of options going to waste - over the New World's cookie-cutter essentialism. (What was done to mages in particular is a travesty. Never mind that I never got the hang of the rules of OWoD magick, never figured out what the Euthanatoi or Virtual Adepts were fighting for, and never spent enough money to make sense of the truly heinous metaplot: the scope and vision of Mage: the Ascension completely outclasses Mage: the Awakening.) And the rules changes suck too.

So it came as a hell of a shock to me, downtown in Northampton this afternoon, to discover that
  • White Wolf has a New World of Darkness incarnation of Changeling,
  • it's orders of magnitude better than Changeling: the Dreaming, and
  • it's the best product line the New World of Darkness has, hands down.
If it weren't for the fact that I spent my month's free spending money on class supplies, and the bulk of the rules come separate from the actual book (making it something like $80 to play), I'd buy it without a second thought.

More on this later, once I've actually read through it, but it's really awesome.


Blame Florida

Hat tip to Trinity for posting this on her blog first:

"Fuck the police" is cliché, but I left my muse on the corner of Biscayne Boulevard; my rhetoric is clotted and doesn't flow as smoothly or frequently as it used to.

So what else is there to say?

I'm bad at math, and ever since I wrote a utilitarian defense of blaming rape victims I've avoided hedonic calculus, but it's still useful - even if only for comparisons.

So let's do some pseudomath.

I refused to heed an order to disperse to earn my epidural hematoma.

As far as I can tell, the student (I keep wanting to say "kid," but that's not fair: I'm not that much older than he is) did nothing specifically to earn his tasering. Taking too long for his questions, sure, but that's not a crime under any civil code I'm aware of - and Kerry obviously didn't consider him a waste of time, because he bothered to answer the kid'sstudent's questions while the tasering was underway.

So, breaking out the hedonic calculator, who came out worse in this? It seems like a simple ratio of harm dealt divided by provocation, so does the student's zero value for having no offense cancel out my side of the equation or not?

I'm overthinking this too much.

And oh yes, because I don't have anything better to say right now: fuck the police.

My first showtune

The game was canceled last night. I was late coming from a lab, and didn't get the message that I was supposed to pick up two other players.

This meant that I wound up, amongst other things, having to get a gallon of water for Adam, who's been going through a gallon a day to try and piss off his weight. No idea how feasible it is, but it's a ritual of his and I was tasked with enabling it this week.

The world would end if I didn't. *shrugs*

I took the opportunity to update him about my court case; he's been outside the loop for awhile, and had no idea that it was over.

And after that we watched a few video clips from Avenue Q, which in good fashion I had heard about but never seen before. Part of "Time," a few different renditions of "The Internet Is For Porn," and eventually a British production of "It Sucks To Be Me."

At which point, abruptly, the following verse came to me:
It sucks to be me
It sucks to be me
I get beaten up
By a Florida cop
In the land of the free...
I'm still trying to work out the first half of it, but yeah, there you go.


Happy Birthday, Victor Wooten

And Theodor Adorno, but Victor Wooten first and foremost.

The long nightmare of hope is over.

My name is Edo. I'm not going to use my real name, because there's enough damning shit about me on the Internet using my real name. I'd rather any future employers not dig it up.

For the last four years, I've been very quiet. I used to blog pretty much every day; that died down because of legal counsel telling me to Not Talk about the elephant in the corner. It's still pretty irregular.

It ends now. As of 12:40 EST this afternoon, I have nothing to lose by blogging. So ladies, gentlemen, and motherfuckers: here's everything you ever needed to know about my life, in a nutshell.

On the morning of Thursday, November 20, 2003, I was at the demonstration against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. There's a two-minute gap in my memory, at the end of which I found myself face-down on Biscayne Boulevard with several police on my back. I was arrested and spent, more or less, the next 36 hours in jail.

When I was released, vomiting and miserable, my friends took me to the ER at Jackson Memorial Hospital. After several hours in the lobby, I was led to a gurney, where I woke up the next afternoon in the ICU. I spent three days there, in and out of consciousness, and another six days in the Neurological Ward on the ninth floor.

After I was released from the hospital, I filed a case against the Miami-Dade Police Department. It was at that time that my lawyer counseled me not to talk; and so I simply stopped writing, because the injury was all there was to talk about. The only thing that I could say that was in any way mine, something worth listening to that made me anything more than another digital echo. My blogging, and all of my writing really, has suffered for it.

As of yesterday afternoon, though, there is no more case. I'll print out what my lawyer emailed me, sign it, and fax him a copy, and my appeal will be retracted.

When I first met my lawyer, I told him, very honestly: "All I want out of this case is a new guitar." I'm not even going to get that.

More on this tomorrow. Tonight I need sleep.