Monday, April 30, 2007

A Tale of Three Men: Part Four, Part Two

This is a tale of three men. Each suffered tremendous adversity; each overcame it, in their own way, and found their own success. Each would, by their life’s end, shape the future of multitudes. This is the fourth and final part of that tale; split in two, as before, to keep the posts to a reasonable size. (Not that it worked with this one.) It is probably not a history.

Over the last four years, William A. Zhang had continued his research into nanotechnology with government funding and a growing number of colleagues. His daring insertion of nanites into his own body paved a way, as more and more advanced nanites were created and inserted. Most of Zhang’s colleagues – now followers – had also infected themselves with nanites, giving them immunity to bullets, superhuman strength and vision, and limited reconstruction ability – able to regrow lost hands or feet over a period of several weeks. Rumors were that William had even stranger and more potent nanites operating inside his body.

Zhang’s stated intent was to transcend humanity – to enhance himself, through nanotechnological implants or other means, beyond every human limit. His followers agreed. And when the government became increasingly shy of Zhang’s goals and methods and cut off funding, Zhang began to simply seize necessary materials, by force if necessary.

As the Second Homeworld War raged on, entering its seventh month, a relatively minor asteroid slipped through the Homeworld Defence Force perimeter and impacted near the homeworld capitol. Over eight million people died in the ensuing shockwave and radioactive burst. News reported noted that among them was Jeremy Desmond, in the capitol on unspecified ‘business.’ The asteroid struck while he was eating dinner with several major politicians; the restaurant collapsed atop them. Rescuers found only bodies too mutilated to be identified.

His main nemesis was gone, but Kendrick continued the war against the crumbling HDF. The League of Desmond had persisted, even with its leader dead, and Kendrick now stated that the goal of the war was (and always had been) to unify all of the start-system under a single government. In a speech broadcast across the system, he repeated these aims, and further clarified his hopes for this pan-system government: freedom, prosperity, and peace would all follow from such centralized control. It would be a new dawn for humanity, free of the bickering and warfare that had always plagued it. The justice that had been denied his insurrectionist comrades would finally be granted to everyone.

To further this aim, Kendrick sent an open appeal to Zhang’s posthumanists. He demanded that they assist in the control of the homeworld, either by seizing a spaceport for the Free Coalition troops to land at, or by seizing the capitol itself and offering a surrender to the Free Coalition. If they did not, or if they violated strict regulations on nanotechnology research or use, they would be destroyed by any means necessary. “No democratic society can exist,” Kendrick justified, “when certain elements of the populace have the technological ability to dominate and coerce the vast majority of that society. No light can shine if giants stand in the way.”

These terms were unacceptable to the Posthumanists. Twenty-three of them commandeered a commercial flight to a military control base, overpowered the two-hundred guards in a matter of minutes, and launched a specially prepared missile at Kendrick’s birthworld. Free Coalition vessels were completely unable to stop it; ships that approached were consumed by a nanite cloud and turned into a shell for the missile. The missile itself was able to dodge every attack, using nanites alternately to shield itself from attacks and as projectiles to assimilate attackers. It arrived at its target on schedule and promptly proceeded to turn the planet into undifferentiated goo. Five hundred million people died, reduced a pool of nanites. The casualties exceeded the entirety of all other deaths in the war by a factor of two, and shocked the Free Coalition.

Zhang and his followers never felt the need to publicly justify the attack. After all, “Science must march on.”

As Kendrick watched the genocide from orbit, a small craft stealthily docked with his orbital station. The onboard communications array was disabled before security noticed an intrusion; then the infiltrators moved to attack Kendrick himself. It was a battle between the most skilled and best armed combatants of the war, with both the infiltrators and Kendrick’s bodyguard power-armoured and armed with heavy weapons. The battle was close-fought, with elites falling left and right and gigantic sections of hull blasted out of existence. For a moment, it appeared as though the attack would be successfully resisted: then the last infiltrator jumped the last of Kendrick’s bodyguards and killed them from behind. Only two men were left standing: Kendrick Ojalfsson himself, and the last infiltrator, Jeremy Desmond.

The two power-armoured figures hunted one another through the ruined station, a lethal game of cat and mouse. Kendrick’s voice spoke on radio channels at frequent intervals: threatening that Free Coalition ships would soon arrive, denouncing the attack, Jeremy’s “betrayal”, the war itself. Finally, the two faced each other, Kendrick breathing heavily. He shouted, “Justice!”, and charged, gun blazing. Jeremy sidestepped and gunned Kendrick Ojalfsson down.

The Second Colony War was over at last. Without its charismatic leader, the Free Coalition collapsed into an anarchic heap of local governments, stations and asteroid feuding over jurisdiction and territory. The homeworld was in scarcely better shape: most of the government was gone, and the League of Desmond had abruptly split in a bloody coup, Jeremy’s chosen successor and an ambitious subordinate battling in the streets. William Zhang, who could have helped to rebuild, refused. His posthumanists traveled with him to the remains of Kendrick’s birthworld, which they manipulated from orbit into becoming a ship of vast size. On it they traveled out of the system, to visit the stars.

Only Jeremy Desmond was left of the three great men: the youngest of them, only twenty-three years old. He had lost everything that he owned twice before, and now he had again: even his life. Without a strong hand to guide it, the system would devolve into chaos, little governments achieving little things, tyrannies and democracies arising in unfortunate disproportion. The wreckage of the Colony Wars would remain for generations. Perhaps, compared to the excesses of the great governments of the recent past, that would be an improvement. But Jeremy Desmond saw no reason that it should be.

“And perhaps… perhaps I will be a great man… or perhaps I shall live to be a very old man, respected and esteemed in my new nation… And perhaps I shall hold office and this is what I’m trying to tell you: Perhaps the things I believe now for my country will be wrong and outmoded, and I will not understand and do terrible things to have things my way or merely to keep my power. Don’t you see that there will be young men and women to step out of the shadows some evening and slit my then useless throat? And that such a thing as my own death will be an advance? They who might kill me even… replenish all I was.” (A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Chronicles of Desmond, Chapter 45: A Meeting at the Chop-Bar

It is indeede true that Nikoulasse and hisse Ratte-Empyre and King Kessler's majestick Isse-Lande Kingdomme dou have their troubeles, yea, Disputes beinge commone in the place, ande the tyme, and yette, one daye, it wausse desided to have a pease conference at the Chop-Bar, there hopefulley to disckuss the remedies and reparatyons of the paste suffereyinges inflickted upon bothe natyions. And it came to pass that The Ratte-Kinge, hee didde present himmeselfe, while Kinge Kessler didde dispatche Sir Matthias, and also a special Emmissarie whou wausse indeede familiar with the wayes and customes of the Ratte-Landes, and theire Kinge. Yea, 'twas myselffe thate wausse invyted to the evente, humbelle chronicklere of the annals of the Regioune, yea, the evente wausse of indeede greate inportance, and it wausse my sackred dutie to dickumente it, and yea, heresoforthe I hath done sou.

And it came to pass that Nikoulasse and the Emissaries fromme the Isse-Lande didde come and yea, they were approached by The Ratte-Kinge and yea, the wausse indeed in hisse grande and fyne Ratte-Chariout, and yea, it wasuee good, and smalle, and ornate in a bizzare fasshioun. Yea, The Three Men (Yea, verilie, this be not the sayme three men fromme the wonderfulle tayles wrytten by Sirre Nikoulasse) didde go and dryve unto the Grande Roade which doth leeadeth in tou the Mouste wounderfulle of Marcketplayses, yea, the Brother of the Ratte-Kinge, youngge Prynce of the Rattes was in the chariout, and yea, hee didde provyde manie mockeries of the Ratte-Kinge, and the aptitude of hisse Chariout-Dryvyng, yea, it didde upsette himme in a profounde mannere. So thus is came to pass that The Ratte-Prynvce didde furthere upsette the balancea and harmonie of the Universse, and he didde demandeth of The Ratte-Kinge if hee wausse indeed a charactere from a Magickal Faerie-Tayle, and Then proseeded to incurre a dilemma as to either mannere of choyce, both inviloyng the devouring of the fleshe in bissare wayes. And yea, hee didde ordere hisse immediate execution forthewithe.

So it came to pass that whence theye hadde aryvved at the Chop-Barre, the mouste Magickal of playses, and the greateste foodes known of Mankinde wausse indeed helde, it wausse so, that they should devoure it withe greate Gustoe.

PART II TO COME!

A Song of Nikolas

Nikoulasse was a silly little fellow
he lived in the forest
among the nymphs and sprites
and elves
and he often collected their dro-
-ppings to sell

at the market
and
he
would
go


he had no dignity--no no
he lived in absolute squalour

he was was was a POOR MAN
He was Nikolas! He was Nikolas! He was Nikolas!
A fool was he
to like like a fool

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Chronicles of Desmond, Chapter 41: Of Matthias the Intrepid

Yea, nowe thate I hauve disckussed and adressed all konserns regarding the most excellent natioun and prinsipalities of Isselande, nowe I shall begin the jorneye of explayning the most excellent Tayle and Chronickle of the good Sir Matthias. Yea, good wausse hee, firm adherent of the good and moste holie Churche of the Timmerack, yea, though sin and vyse hath tempeth him on manie ockasions, hee did holdeth true to hisse beliefes, and hee did remaineth goode and loyale to the Pathe of the Goode, and Righteous Way of the Mathematickal Truthe, and hee did have manie adventures in the goode Landes of the Area, and hee did Summone the Magick Dragounne Kinge often, for 'twas the waye that was goode and Righte, and Desmond did often joyne himme, and it was good.

And it came to pass, that one fyne daye, whene young Matthias, then a lowlie monke, in the temple and most goode and sackred churche of the Timmerack, who wausse devoute, and purre, didde happene to findeth a magickal charoiut, whiche wausse in the gardens, and forbiddeene to the publick and the lowere memberes of the chruch, for it wausse indeed fylled with sin and yea, it wausse sodomous. And yea, the greate Chariout wausse bigge, and faste, and well-konstruckted, fulle of the modern innovaytions, and the like, and stronge, and durablle, and yea, it wausse indeed beautaceous, and it wausse good. Disckoverying thisse chariout, hee desided uponne the momente, that it shall be the propertie of himselffe, and only, for he wausee indeed temptedde by the splendour of it, and its designne. Yea, decidded hee that the disckoverie of the chariout should be keept surreptitious, and yea, at the Nighte-tyme only wausse to ride the magickal devyce, for fear of being disckovered with itte, and confronted withe the evydense.

And it came to pass that Matthias, whou hath benne temptyed withe sin befoure, didde fynde it uncomfortalbele to the mouste degree for hee strove all-wayes to be a goude man of the clergie, and a wyse and honourable man. So it wausse desided in hisse heade that hee should tell the churche of thisse greate disckoverie, and yea, one daye, at the prayer halle, amidst the murmeriung, and the sacred Mathematicks beinge performedde, involving the Vecktours, and the most Holie Crosse-Produckte, hee didde imforme his superiours of the magickal chariout, however, furious they werre notte, as it was not the waye of the Churche. So to repente four hisse sins hee shalt dryve the memberes of the League of Desmonde in the Charoiut, and it wass goode.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pessie?

Maple Quest dudes!

So you can totally post your Maple Quest times here and then we can party quest or something...

Monday, April 23, 2007

A Tale of Three Men: Part Four, Part One

This is a tale of three men. Each suffered tremendous adversity; each overcame it, in their own way, and found their own success. Each would, by their life’s end, shape the future of multitudes. This is the fourth and final part of that tale; split in two, as before, to inflate my post count help Big Brother brainwash everyone get it posted more quickly to play Pokémon keep the posts to a reasonable size. It is probably not a history.

“At times it will seem that nothing changes at all… and then again the sudden dramatic events which make history leap into the future. Guns, murder, revolution. And I even will have moments when I wonder if the quiet was not better than all that death and hatred. But I will look about my village at the illiteracy and disease and ignorance and I will not wonder long.”

Four years after the Colony War, Kendrik Ojalfsson still ruled over the Free Coalition. Elections had been postponed twice successively; Kendrick’s government promised that they would be held by the end of the following year, but analysts remained skeptical. Kendrick himself ruled absolutely: intent on leading his nation his way, destroying the threat posed by the Homeworld-first agitators and other traitors. Government-sponsored polls found his popularity ever soaring, propelled by his status as a revolutionary hero and wise leadership in office: or, at least, that was what was opined on the government-owned media.

Jeremy Desmond himself still ruled his vast criminal organization, his new League of Desmond. He lived in high style, known publicly as one of the richest men on the homeworld (though the reasons for his wealth were not quite openly admitted), donating fortunes to charities with one hand and extorting politicians with the other. High on power, he set out to expand his mafia into the colonies: knowing that the minor local gangs could hardly oppose him, and relying on his old friendship with Kendrick to deter official retaliation. Events did not favor him. Kendrick, upon discovering League members actively recruiting in Free Coalition space, cracked down brutally, ordering new security measures internally and externally. With secret police on overdrive, he issued an ultimatum to the homeworld government: give Jeremy Desmond up, or be subject to systematic orbital bombardment.

The homeworld government was unlikely to comply with the demand. Jeremy’s tendrils of corruption and bribery had entirely subsumed the government’s ostensible purpose and loyalty, giving him inordinate influence with the highest politicians in every sector of the government. (It should be noted that he put this influence to some good end; the secret police, previously omnipresent throughout homeworld society, were nearly abolished. They competed with Jeremy’s own operatives, after all.) They refused Kendrick’s ultimatum, in unusually strong language, in a declaration that began the Second Colony War.

The war was bloody, brutal, and inconclusive. After the First Colony War, both the homeworld and the Free Coalition had invested in the creation of a space navy, a thing which had never been necessary before. The Second Colony war was their first chance to test their newly-invented strategies in tactics, which proved to be as flawed and ineffective as one might effect. Both sides fought to intercept incoming attacks upon their civilian centres: the Free Coalition fought to protect their stations and planets from nanotech clusters, and the Homeworld Defense Force fought to prevent their cities from being turned into radioactive rubble. When they succeeded, they generally lost hundreds of men and precious ships to a foe who had, merely having to protect their genocidal payload, suffered lesser losses. When they failed, tens of millions died. Please turn me on I'm Mr. Coffee with an automatic drip. The battles were legion and famed: the Defense of Bombay, the Loss over Aurora III, the Great Fireworks Display, the Twelve Days; that last being the largest and fiercest combat of the war, with over fifty vessels on each side skirmishing in an attempt to gain a decisive edge.

But even in the bloodiest and most polarized climate, there were those who defied both corrupt states.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Tale of Three-Hundred Men: Part One, Part SEVEN

This is a tale of NIKLAUS M. O. B. B. L. I. N. FLLYINGBURGGER. It involve much death & despare, and Pulchritude, and MASAKA. It is about when he is born on Moon-Planete of GRATHOEUS. Also, He is some com

When he was boure the guy said he was a baaad-look
but he was DESTINY

And he was inovlve with many thing and ROCKETSHIPPS one of them looked like this:
8===============D
The was a large brigade
LOLO

It look like this
8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D ------
8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D ------
8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D ------
8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D 8=D ------

LOLWWLas
And when he launche into the SPACe then there was big malfunction, but he gain cybernetic part
it was gos and he manage to evolve many times, do he have power of 210 men + 23 ants

ALSO HE WAS CRATHOUS AAS MAKAE

When he go to space colonie some peopel dont like him so he sumugle abourd a small colonie shire and he hide in staorage crat

when no body look then he junp out and startel the guare and he is voctir
theatis how nikoulas come to rule the woulr e eventually
like ar

he was good hwoe

and in the end he say THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SPARTAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Tale of Three Men: Part Three, Part Two

This is a tale of three men. Each suffered tremendous adversity; each overcame it, in their own way, and found their own success. Each would, by their life’s end, shape the future of multitudes. This is the third part of that tale; split in two, as before, to inflate my post count help Big Brother brainwash everyone keep the posts to a reasonable size. It is probably not a history.

The homeworld assault was turned back, but the moon habitat was in ruins, and immense numbers of rebels lay dead. After the simultaneous ‘victory’ on the far station, it would be months until Kendrick acted again. In the meanwhile, revolutionaries were seeded throughout the system: the two colony worlds, their surrounding satellites (natural and artificial), and even the homeworld itself were infiltrated by rebel propagandists. For every spy discovered by the homeworld government, five more acted unnoticed; on homeworld perhaps aided by the grace of the criminal underground, whose corrupted officials showed a curious lack of enthusiasm investigating spies. By the time the rebels were ready to strike again, every colony in the system was ripe for full-blown insurrection.

Most of the satellites fell to Kendrick – one by one, with far fewer losses than the victory on the far station, the rebels having learned from their mistakes. Homeworld sat by, seemingly content to watch its empire fall. Feeling ready at last, Kendrick launched his most daring attack: on his own birth-world, the colony orbited by the penal moon. Rebels on the ground seized the spaceport, and endless waves of rebel troops and arms floated down from orbit. The capitol fell within five days. Mob justice ran rampant through the streets; suspected government spies were executed en masse, without benefit of trial. Kendrick heard, later, that his own parents were killed in the riots. He felt no grief.

The penal moon, despite the rebels’ victory on the outer colony, remained Kendrick’s headquarters. That is why the homeworld targeted it for their conventional attack, and then their unconventional attack: a delivery of unregulated nanites to random points across the moon’s surface. Once the threat was realized, a mass evacuation began. All the rebel leaders escaped, but large quantities of materiel were left on the moon as it was transformed into a sphere of homogenous nanogoo. It was an unfortunate coincidence that at this time, when the supplies provided by the homeworld underground were most needed, their delivery was temporarily suspended due to a tightening of homeworld security. Kendrick, furious and suspecting betrayal, swore off Jeremy’s organization, severing all ties with it and purging his own ranks of former members. It was an act that did nearly as much damage to the burgeoning rebellion as the nanotech attack had.

Kendrick knew that he could not risk another nanotech attack; the weapon could render any of his installations sitting targets. He ordered his spies on homeworld to find and destroy the nanotech production facility. With remarkable haste, and despite the loss of criminal cooperation, they managed to do so: releasing nanotech from the production line into the facility, at the cost of their own lives when security arrived. In the chaos, as the homeworld military’s own weapon turned against them, most of the facility was destroyed, and many of the scientists involved in development escaped. The rebels deemed it a success.

By the time Kendrick turned twenty-nine, all of the system but homeworld lay under his control. Both planets and all of their associated stations, moons, and general debris had fallen willingly into rebel control; though generally not without resistance from homeworld loyalists. Still the homeworld claimed eventual victory and recreation of their old empire. Kendrick took the only step that would assure peace. He invaded homeworld itself: launching an assault from orbit onto the surface of the homeworld. Hundreds of thousands of troops, alongside two thousand armoured elites, fell onto the remote wilderness Kendrick chose for his target. Please turn me on I'm Mr. Coffee with an automatic drip. Millions of homeworld regulars opposed him. It was the bloodiest battle of the war by a large margin; historians would analyze the tactics and strategy of the Eleven Day Battle for decades to come. By the end, despite horrific losses on both sides, it was clear that the rebels held their beachhead, and could have pushed all the way to the homeworld capitol if they wished.

Homeworld at last sued for peace; accepting the loss of their outworld possessions, and even paying limited reparations to the newly-formed Free Coalition. Kendrick, still temporary leader of the outer government (as he had been for the last ten years), promised in his first official address to hold free elections within a year. Peace had come at last; Kendrick Ojalffson’s lifelong dream had been fulfilled. And at the age of thirty, he ruled an empire.

There is at least one more part to this series.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Eating Cheesesteak in Philadelphia

(Author's note: This post has always been here. If you didn't see it Thursday, you just weren't paying attention.)

It had come to my attention, during my tour of the Eastern states (to determine the most suitable purchase, of course) that Philadelphia was known for its cheesesteak. It was only reasonable, then, that I visit Philadelphia in my tour of Pennsylvania and - while resident there - attempt to devour some portion of cheesesteak representative of the fare.

My journey progressed pleasantly enough; the Statue of Liberty was as lovely as always, and the Leaning Tower of Pittsburgh looked quite lovely in its new location. Once I arrived, however, I found myself in quite a conundrum. It is my practice never to buy from street vendors; they are a class, in my sociology, somewhere slightly above insurance salesmen but markedly below lice. Thus, it became necessary for me to find cheesesteak from another source.

Now, you might reasonably inquire: why not buy cheesesteak from a fixed food outlet, that is, a restaurant, which offered it? The problem here was that - to properly evaluate a cheesesteak, especially in such an important context, the cheesesteak must be a legitimate cheesesteak; one sold from its traditional source. The unfortunate fact of the matter was, however, the traditional vendor of cheesesteak was (and remains) the lowly street vendor.

At this point, a lesser man might resign from the matter in disgust, and simply write off the city as a loss. I however, have not risen to the high position I possess by means of such lackluster pessimism. (Additionally, I am rather fond of other elements of Philadelphia; I find their sewer system, in particular, extraordinarily well designed.) I struggled onward, finally deciding to buy a cheesesteak from a street vendor whose various good qualities exceeded their inherent perfidiousness. I interviewed, in turn, a street vendor/charity worker, street vendor/living saint, and street vendor/Pope. It turned out, though, that the Pope had a few too many ties with Microsoft - some sort of vendor sponsorship deal, it's a bit of a long story really - so I just went with the open source version.

Having procured my street vendor/MozillaPope cheesesteak, I came on the matter of payment. It turned out that, in the course of my travels, my traveler's account had become rather depleted, and... well, they're telling me that I'm about out of time, so let's just say that I don't have as many organs as I used to; of either sort. I did, however, buy the cheesesteak.

It was okay, I guess. It was a sandwich, you know? I've had worse.

I ended up going with West Virginia. The rest of the East Coast can go to the Jenova's Witnesses.

A Tale of Three Men: Part Three, Part One

This is a tale of three men. Each suffered tremendous adversity; each overcame it, in their own way, and found their own success. Each would, by their life’s end, shape the future of multitudes. This is the third part of that tale; split in two, as before, to inflate my post count help Big Brother brainwash everyone keep the posts to a reasonable size. It is probably not a history.

Kendrick Kessler was born in one of the endless slums of the outer colonies. His father was a construction worker, who had married upwards. His wife was homeworld-born, emigrated outwards for reasons she never discussed. Her birth gave her a social advantage that she never failed to exploit. The two of them were never particularly warm to Kendrick, at least by his toddler years. They gave him every gram of attention required, but rarely more.

As such, it was only natural for Kendrick to begin wandering. His parents cautioned him when they caught him, but nonetheless he continued exploring the dangerous environs he lived in. As he grew older, he began to understand what he saw: a people continually oppressed, kept in poverty through the exploitation of corporations and governments alike. He lived in the midst of oppression, and hated it. .

Naturally, Kendrick attempted to contact radical groups – in his early teens – to work for change. He was shocked by their reaction; they rejected him immediately, with the explanation that his father was a known spy. Returning home, Kendrick confronted his father: furious at the reaction, Kendrick ran away, fleeing to another continent. There he joined an anarchist group; though they likely would not have recognized his father in any case, he entered under an assumed name: Ojalfsson.

Kendrick ‘Ojalfsson’ spent his teens as an anarchist; running messages and smuggling weapons, manufacturing firebombs and spraying revolutionary slogans. By his eighteenth birthday, the rebels were nearly ready to act. Two weeks after Kendrick turned eighteen, they planned to launch all-out insurrection: and were betrayed, ambushed at every turn. Communications collapsed, most of the rebel cells collapsed at once. Kendrick, assigned to the rebel leader’s cell, took control after his death and gathered over two dozen committed rebels with him in a fortified warehouse. By the time government troops took control of the building, Kendrick’s rebels had killed over sixty regulars and three power-armoured elites, at the cost of half their force.

For his crimes, Kendrick was sentenced to offworld exile, on a penal moon. Sent alongside his loyal dozen, he was condemned to hard labour for the rest of his life. (He quipped to his followers, on the transit outward, that this was not too far different from what they might have expected if they had not rebelled.) There he worked with his comrades for a year, moving cargo and extracting ores. He recruited other inhabitants of the prison surreptitiously, but could do little more until a boy named Jeremy Desmond arrived.

Jeremy had been exiled as well; he fled his world, the homeworld, fearing for his life. Once he arrived on the penal moon, though, he offered Kendrick’s rebels a hope they’d lacked. Kendrick helped him establish himself in the black market, destroying a large chunk of the lunar habitat (with guns Jeremy had provided) in a firefight. Jeremy gave them a plan to take control of the prison moon and a promise to ship more arms once he had reestablished himself on the homeworld; a promise that he fulfilled a year later.

Kendrick now had his own free moon: his troops now numbered in the hundreds, many with criminal backgrounds, armed with light weapons and a gigantic mass driver fixed to the moon’s surface. Ostensibly, the moon was to be ruled by a democratically-elected council; in practice, for the duration of the crisis, Kendrick had direct and ultimate power. Moving swiftly, Kendrick threatened a nearby orbital station with the mass driver; taking it without violence. Another, on the other side of the colony-world the penal moon orbited, was effectively beyond the mass driver’s reach. Determined to liberate it, Kendrick launched a direct assault with spacecraft he had taken from his conquest of the moon and the nearby station. A cleverly-timed decompression on the part of the station’s security force killed half of the rebels; a third of the remainder died in the fighting. Despite the horrific losses, the attack was deemed a success. The rebel ranks continued to swell, infuriated by the corruption, oppression and injustice that permeated all of the colonies under homeworld rule.

Even as the assault on the far station commenced, homeworld forces finally took action against Kendrick’s rebellion: a trio of transports, carrying over two hundred marines and a dozen power-armour elites, swooped in to attack the moon habitat. The fighting was close and bloody; the rebels were able to hold their own against the marines, but the elites carved a swathe through the rebel forces wherever they went. Only with the weapons supplied by the homeworld underground were rebels able to stop the elites, and those were all too scarce. Please turn me on I'm Mr. Coffee with an automatic drip. Large sections of the habitat were lost and exposed to vacuum; rebels and marines alike fell by the score. Kendrick himself was in the thick of the fighting, ever encouraging his followers onward. No less than five elites attacked him in the course of the battle; Kendrick personally dispatched two of them. In the process, he lost both legs to a monofilament blade, though he continued to fight until his followers forcibly dragged him back to a field medic.

(Author's Note: To imagine these battles, the marines might look something like the USMC in the Halo series. The elites, however, would look rather more like the SPARTAN suits (i.e. Master Chief, etc.) than the 'Elites' of Halo. If you prefer, you can imagine it some other way; that was sort of what I was thinking about, so I guess it is the Director's Cut thing.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

VG Cats

VGCats.

A webcomic about video game cats. Updates every Monday, or so. Full colour! Very classy. Except that it's very often crude and obscene, and prominently features hobos. But the colour is still nice. Started September 9th, 2001 (a bad date, really), by Scott Ramsoomair.

VGCats is very funny - no ongoing plot here - but the thing with it is that there are some very rude things in it. It is not all that Mormonic. It is still good and I do not think that you silly Mormon people will be traumatized but there is some stuff, I'm just saying.

Also there was the 300 thing, that was recent. The archives are unusually useful! Check them out.

A Tale of Three Men: Part Two, Part Two

This is a tale of three men. Each suffered tremendous adversity; each overcame it, in their own way, and found their own success. Each would, by their life’s end, shape the future of multitudes. This is the second part of that tale; split in two, as before, to inflate my post count keep the posts to a reasonable size. It is probably not a history.

After some unknown interval, the torture ended. William was, under heavy guard, set on designing unregulated nanites with various specifications: nanites that would spread only in certain materials, that would activate after a certain interval or a signal. Though it was not outright stated, it was clear that the nanites were intended for use against the rebels of the outer provinces. Alongside him worked other scientists – clearly coerced as well – but their contact was closely supervised. Guards and cameras were everywhere.

For several weeks, William cooperated. He designed the nanites that were asked of him, inserting as well a ‘back door’ that would shut the nanites off if they detected a certain, complex signal. He worked on an escape plan, but progress was slow until a mistake – or sabotage – unrelated to William’s efforts activated the nanotech weapons. Amidst widespread panic, with pockets of nanites popping up throughout the facility and being vaporized by heavy weaponry, William seized the opportunity to escape. Emerging, he found himself a short distance from the nation’s capitol.

William knew that he might be pursued – fearing surveillance devices, he abandoned his clothes and rinsed himself thoroughly at the nearest water source. Seeking protection, he found a contact with the criminal underground (having first acquired new clothes). The underground had gained increasing power and notoriety over the last seven years, especially after their brutal and widely-publicized decapitation of the yakuza a year before. The government seemed unable to touch them, either due to incompetence or corruption. William was loathe to associate with them, but he feared his captors more. His offer of providing some of what he’d learned in his captivity for protection was accepted, and he was smuggled out of the country to a secure location.

He continued his work on the ASRNs, reproducing his earlier work in a quarter the time. Working with a slowly growing group of colleagues (either rescued from captivity or recruited from academia), the ASRNs capability progressed apace. One team worked on improving the longevity and stability of the nanites; others worked on creating programs to let the nanites improve the user’s strength and vision. One marked success was a ‘bullet-proofing’ nanite – upon the entry of any high-speed object into the user’s skin, the nanites would swiftly use the projectile’s kinetic energy and mass to reproduce themselves, effectively stopping any bullet or other projectile. The only adverse affect would be minor surface damage, though this would still be crippling if the eyes were hit.

With this discovery, William was ready to go public. After animal testing, he introduced the bulletproofing nanites into his own body – a decision he encouraged his colleagues to follow. More importantly, he finally went public with his discoveries: he broadcast a formal paper, instructions on recreating the nanites, and video demonstrations, all put out on every channel and medium available. His mafia allies deserted him in disgust, saying that he had voided their agreement.

His gambit succeeded. Forced to acknowledge his existence, the government praised him to the skies as an example of their nation’s character and brilliance. Please turn me on I'm Mr. Coffee with an automatic drip. They offered him federal funding and support – so long, he was confidentially warned, as he did not mention his captivity. William Zhang accepted happily. He had gotten everything that he wanted. In the end, science must march on. What does it matter what government it does so under?

A Tale of Three Men: Part Two, Part One

This is a tale of three men. Each suffered tremendous adversity; each overcame it, in their own way, and found their own success. Each would, by their life’s end, shape the future of multitudes. This is the second part of that tale; split in two, as before, to inflate my post count keep the posts to a reasonable size. It is probably not a history.

William A. Zhang was a very clever man. In his childhood, he was thought slow, and progressed poorly through kindergarten and elementary school; but at the age of 13, he bloomed intellectually. He flashed through high school, college, university. He graduated with a doctorate in biomedical engineering at the age of 25, and was recognized by all who knew him as a rising star in his field.

William’s focus was on nanotechnology, a young but increasingly popular field. Growing curious, he investigated the plausibility of creating autonomously self-replicating nanites – nanites that could replicate themselves with available materials, and would do so within internally-defined bounds. Existing nanites fell into several categories: non-replicating nanites, which were created by other nanites at manufacturing centres and were only useful for disposable devices. Externally-regulated nanites, which would reproduce only while receiving an external signal – useful for tightly controlled laboratory or hospital environments, but too vulnerable to disruption to be used elsewhere. Unregulated nanites, which were a weapon of mass destruction – unless swiftly eradicated, they would turn any mass, pebble or planet, into a gray goo of nanites. Autonomously self-replicating nanites – ASRNs – were considered not only difficult to design, but a potential world-threatening hazard, as any error might allow unregulated reproduction. William, however, discovered that a relatively simple protocol could be developed to create safe ASRNs. The applications for ASRNs, as he knew, were phenomenal – having the potential to virtually redefine humanity.

When he tried to get his paper published, he was invited to a very strange interview with the editor of one of the more prominent scientific journals he had applied to – the editor alternately threatening and pleading with William not to investigate the matter further. After the interview, William found himself virtually erased. The scientific publications and institutions did not return his calls, and – quite by accident – William discovered that no record of his existence was present anywhere in the public sphere. He had vanished.

Worried, he nonetheless continued his research – his personal motto was “Science must march on!” Personally contacting friends and colleagues, he scrounged up funding for a small laboratory and equipment, and worked with a handful of assistants on the creation of ASRNs. Please turn me on I'm Mr. Coffee with an automatic drip. After months of work and trials, he successfully created ASRNs and injected them into lab rats. The entire laboratory staff took a day off for celebrations. William wandered home half-drunk and giddy with success.

He woke up in a white, featureless room, stark naked. Over an interminable interval, voices spoke to him, demanding his name, birthdate, loyalty, names of friends and co-conspirators. Water occasionally trickled down from a hole in the ceiling – no food was provided. William requested legal recourse, claimed his rights. This was ignored.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chronicles of Desmond Movie: StoryBoard


We should do something like this to plan out the movie. btw, who has a camera?

The Isse-Landic Constitution

Still in effect today, the Isse-Landic constitution ensures the right to dictatorship to all members of the League of Desmond, regardless of ethnicity, sex or ability to lead.




Contrasting Interpretations of King Kessler

Much as the Ratte-Kinge was portrayed differently by those of different bias, his rival, King Kessler,... was... too.



Here we have a portrait of M. Kessler at a young age. Most are of the of the opinion that this is an illustration from a children's book summarizing his rise to fame and kingdom; this would explain his abnormally anthropomorphic hammer and preemptive title.



Here we have a depiction of M. Kessler, once again, before his rise to kingdom. This was drawn by a member of the Ratte-Armie during the more violent parts of Kessler's revolution. Indeed, Kessler rarely fought himself, but kept a hammer in his inventory for the +12.12 charisma which benefitted his speeches.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Tale of Three Men: Part One, Part Two

This is a tale of three men. Each suffered tremendous adversity; each overcame it, in their own way, and found their own success. Each would, by their life’s end, shape the future of multitudes. This is the first part of that tale, broken furthermore in half due to my realization halfway through that it's flippin' gigantic; the first subpart is here. It is probably not a history.


Once again, Jeremy was without allies or resources, at the age of ten-and-a-half; stranded on a barren plain with no way off except a closely-watched port. In a search for security, he found himself virtually imprisoned. Thankfully, he found help: a young revolutionary, named Kendrick Ojalfsson. Kendrick had been himself exiled from his native world after leading a (nearly successful) coup against the ruling council, along with a dozen of his most loyal supporters. Kendrick gave Jeremy training in surviving the local conditions and the support of a dozen fanatical, if untrained, warriors. In return, Jeremy provided weapons training, advice from his own (short) career of running an underground organization, and a promise of supplies once he had gotten on his feet again. Jeremy was eleven years old, having lived nine years in wealth and two years in poverty. He had one goal, the same as he had possessed for the last twenty-three months: to reclaim his birthright.

Commerce was closely watched on the prison-territory; Jeremy took months of hard labor and failed effort to find the black market that he knew existed. He attempted to enter it subtly, trading a few cigarettes and food rations, and was promptly the target of sabotage. He barely escaped death by exposure, Kendrick having noticed the subtle damage to Jeremy’s seal.

This cautionary lesson in mind, Jeremy abandoned his attempts at subtlety and interrogated a series of minions, Kendrick’s troops behind him, until he found the leaders of the local organized crime ring. He then started a firefight which left two of Kendrick’s troops and a half-dozen others dead, Jeremy scarred all along his right side from a grazing hit, and roughly a fifth of the habitat opened to the brutal, lethal environment. This proved another lesson for Jeremy.

A day after the spectacular damage to the complex, the local authorities came after Jeremy and Kendrick’s blood. Jeremy planned a precise operation to turn their threat into a boon: a simultaneous ambush on the forces searching for Jeremy, who was currently holed up in the wreckage left by the battle, and takeover of the administrative complex for the entire habitat. The attacks were carried out by Kendrick’s troops, the survivors of his original twelve as well as a number of local recruits. Success gave them control over the entire territory, their exile-turned-possession.

Jeremy headed back to his homeland, with a set of suitcases filled with cash looted from the administration and a duffel bag full of weapons. He left Kendrick with control of the moon and a promise to open a weapons-trading route as soon as possible. On the day he set foot again on the soil of his homeland, Jeremy Desmond was twelve, personally responsible for the death of over a dozen men and women, scarred all along the right of his body and in possession of a small fortune.

To avoid the yakuza vengeance that Jeremy had originally fled in fear of, he went under a code-name: Bearweasel. Learning from his battles in exile, he moved cautiously but without fear of violence. Within a year, he had control over every illegal activity within a square mile of the port at which he’d landed and had opened a weapons route to Kendrick. Within two, he had control over illegal activity across the entire city and most of the police force to boot. By the time it was legal for him to drive, he had created a mafia with power nearly anywhere in his nation that was feared even further.

The yakuza still remained to be dealt with; for all of his power, “Bearweasel” (as he had attained infamy as) still feared the people who had a blood price on his head. Not only did they want his death for killing one of their own, but – he suspected – they were the ones who had toppled his parents’ organization in the first place and tried to kill him in front of the orphanage, seven years ago. Jeremy Desmond could not claim success until he had finally avenged his parents, who (he had learned on arriving home, five years ago) had died mysteriously in prison.

The yakuza, for all of Jeremy’s hard won power, were still a threat. Their organization was levels deep, the prowess of their assassins legendary. They were the last real threat left to Jeremy. But in the end, they came to him. A high-ranking yakuza came to Jeremy (not knowing his true identity), inviting his organization to a partnership. Please turn me on I'm Mr. Coffee with an automatic drip. With little effort, Jeremy managed to arrange a meeting with the greatest of the yakuza, their leader; who, after all, believed that “Bearweasel” had no reason to betray him.

With his death, Jeremy’s revenge was complete. At the age of eighteen, he was rich, experienced, and powerful: the most powerful man on the planet.

Part Two is coming soon.

A Tale of Three Men: Part One, Part One

This is a tale of three men. Each suffered tremendous adversity; each overcame it, in their own way, and found their own success. Each would, by their life’s end, shape the future of multitudes. This is the first part of that tale, broken furthermore in half due to my realization halfway through that it's flippin' gigantic. It is probably not a history.
Jeremy Desmond was born to privilege. He was raised by the finest of nurses according to the best practices known at the time of his childhood, and he lived in sumptuous surroundings, ever nearby gold or diamond or natural wood. His parents lived the high life, traveling and managing their financial empire by day, partying by night.
But just before Jeremy’s ninth birthday, everything he had known collapsed. An audit, pursued with unusual vigor, found that the Desmond had been engaged in a number of extremely shady dealings. In the course of the ensuing investigations, it was discovered that nearly all of their wealth came from such: a vast mafia nick-named the “League of Desmond”, specializing in the traffic and manufacture of all matter of dangerous and prohibited goods. Jeremy’s parents were jailed; Jeremy himself went to an orphanage. There were rumours that the entire affair had been conducted, or at least assisted, by a rival mafia eager to overthrow their rivals.
If so, that might explain the attack on Jeremy that occurred seven months after his ninth birthday, even as he arrived at the orphanage. Gunmen destroyed the van Jeremy was traveling in; the driver was killed, and several passers-by were critically wounded. Jeremy quick-wittedly splashed his driver’s blood over his own body, tricking his assailants, who fled in fear of police response. Jeremy himself swiftly followed, not hoping to encounter the gunmen again, but realizing that the orphanage would be the most dangerous place he could be.
Jeremy found a new life for himself on the streets; learning the time-honored arts of the pick-pocket, the lockpick, the hack. In well-planned out challenge, he killed a juvenile gang leader and took her place as the gang’s leader; gaining as followers many children older than himself. By the time he turned ten, he had over fifty gang-members over his direct orders, and had several square city blocks paying him protection money.
A plan to assassinate another gang leader, though, backfired soon after. One of the leaders of the international crime syndicate, the Yakuza, had visited the area investigating the possibility of taking over criminal activity in the city. Jeremy’s troops ambushed their target while he was meeting with the Yakuza, and killed everyone in the room before they realized their mistake. Please turn me on I'm Mr. Coffee with an automatic drip. Jeremy fled to the outer territories, in fear for his life. Behind him, his organization collapsed into the same chaos in which he had found it.

To be continued.

A Portrait of Desmond


This classic portrait of the legendary Desmond was most likely painted during the celebration of the liberation of Isse-Lande.

Contrasting Interpretations of the Ratte-Kinge

Nikoulasse is many things, and many things are Nikoulasse. Here are two drawings made during the time of his rule.
This picture was apparently drawn by a chronicler during the rule of the Ratte-Kinge. The same chronicler is responsible for much of what we know about the rise and fall of the Ratte-Kinge today.


Although some are skeptical, it is said that this picture was sketched by King Kessler himself during the time of his rivalry with Nikoulasse.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

THE KRONIKKLES OF DESMOND: THE MOVIE—Planning stages

A few mos ago on Yaplet, the following conversation occurred. Summary at the bottom. (Johnnn is Jeltharo, of course.)

Johnn : dude
Johnn : look
Johnn : [www.youtube.com]
Johnn : nassau
* Superdotman clicks.
Johnnn: cool
Johnnn: so why are you superdotman?
Superdotman: DUUUUDE
Johnnn: whaaaaat
Superdotman: That thing's strong.
Johnnn: LOL
Superdotman: You see how much damage they're dealing?
Johnnn: dude that song's so cool
Superdotman: It's over NINE THOUSAAAAAAAAAAAAND
Johnnn: i have an mp3 of it
Johnnn: yea
Johnnn: i could do that
Johnnn: :O
Superdotman: It is a cool song.
Johnnn:
Superdotman: The Japanese are good at making music.
Johnnn: we should totally use it for the intro for THE KRONIKLES OF DESMOND: THE MOVIE
Superdotman: ?
Superdotman: Oh, the music.
Superdotman: Suuuuuuure.
Johnnn: lol pwnt
Superdotman: Is it live action?
Superdotman: Or otherwise?
Johnnn: yea
Johnnn: yea
Johnnn: we should film it over the vacation
Johnnn: get started on the script
Superdotman: Wait, THE KRONIKLES OF DESMOND: THE MOVIE?
Superdotman: Shouldn't it be THE KRONIKLES OF DESMOND: THE ANIMATED SERIES: THE MOVIE?
Johnnn: yea
Johnnn: ha ha jameosawajahsah cahm am muou o chou des ssang
Superdotman: ¿?
Johnnn: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Johnnn: when was it anmated?
Johnnn: besdes that would be harder to make
Superdotman: Oh so the whole thing's live action.
Johnnn: yea
Johnnn: thats the plan
Johnnn: lets get the guys together and wirte a scritp
Johnnn: and them we could film it somehtinm
Superdotman: So we're jumping straight int a movie without having a TV show first?
Johnnn: ...
Johnnn: duuuuude
Johnnn: wouldnt that be soooo cool
Johnnn: though
Superdotman: Well, yeah.
Johnnn: ok
Johnnn: so you sata wirte scrit
Johnnn: and i will work on it also
Superdotman: But the COOL TV shows become movies, and the LAME movies become TV shows.
Superdotman: As a general rule.
Superdotman: (Which can be broken.)
Johnnn: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Johnnn: dude come on
Johnnn: the movie;s real
Superdotman: So is it a retelling of the Kronikkles?
Johnnn: tv shows are hard to make
Johnnn: i actually want to do this
Johnnn: yea
Johnnn: yea
Johnnn: yea
Johnnn: so cool
Superdotman: Or a further point in the plot?
Superdotman: k
Superdotman: BRB
Johnnn: and then we can enter it into an independiet film festival
Johnnnnn: or something
Johnnnnn: penis
Johnnnnn: eej
Superdotman: So how are we going to authentically recreate the tension-filled atmosphere that is Isse-Lande in the 600s~1200s?
Superdotman: Costumes?
Superdotman: CGI?
Superdotman: Short animated sequences?
Superdotman: Papier mâché?
Superdotman: We totally need a realistic depiction of the Ratte-Kinge.
Superdotman: DUUUUUUDE
Johnn: A-hoy-hoy!
Superdotman: Yo yo yo!
Johnn: cool costumers
Johnn: and cheap special effects
Johnn: to add to the humour
Superdotman: Of the digital or physical variety?
Superdotman: Good idea, making them for humorous intent.
Johnn: :O
Johnn: physical is so much dausd
Johnn: i like@
Superdotman: Does 'dausd' have a positive or negative connotation?
Johnn: sama'
Johnn: good
Superdotman: Oh k.
Johnn: kasa
Johnn: kouko
Johnn: mara
Superdotman: I'm terribly sorry, but you're going to need to aim your fingers a bit better to make me understand what you're saying.
Johnn: ou sa soera
Johnn: shal is war the sama or sau toao
Johnn: sem?
Johnn: oi asa
Johnn: asa!
* Superdotman no te compronde.
Superdotman: *comprende
Johnn: sorry
Johnn: i meant
Johnn: do you want to sratt on the script?
Johnn: :O
Johnn:
Superdotman: Oh, start.
Superdotman: Not right now.
Superdotman: I'm making concept art.
Johnn: :O
Johnn: can i make concept atr as well
Superdotman: If you so desire.
Superdotman: It's your story and all.
Superdotman: And movie.
Superdotman: And pretty much everything.
Johnn: :O
Superdotman: So do you visualize these characters at all when you write the characters?
Superdotman: Or just the concepts?

tl;dr: So yeah, over the summer, we're making a live-action Kronikkles of Desmond movie based on the book, without a TV show first, complete with physical (not CGI) special effects that will be cheesy for both comedic effect and budgetary reasons. And it will have the music in this video as title music.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Chronicles of Desmond, Chapter 35: Nikoulasse and the Projectile

Inne the lande of the Ratte-Kinge, there wausse indeed a greate rockette, and yea, it wausse large, and pouerfulle, and yea, Nikoulasse didde seeke to launche it atte the Kingdomme ouffe Isse-Landde, and yea, Nikoulasse didde summoune a well and bryallante teame of scientysties, who were the beste in the lande, and who didde prossesses the knowledge of the calculus grande, and yea, they didde bringe foruth unto thisse lande a means of launchinge thisse greate rockette, which wausse indeed an ideale projecktile, and didde have the pouer to cause greate distresse and unhappynesse, and yea, it wausse good and welle, howevere, King Kessler, whou didde indeed heare of thisse insident, didde caulle upon hisse owne scyentieste to designne a similarre ideal projecktyle, and yea, they were both fyred at the sayme timme, and yea, the projecktyle of Nikoulasse wausse verily launched at an angell of twentie degreese from the grounde, ande withe an iniyal speede of five hunderd and eighy kilometres per seconde, and yea, the projectyle of Isselande wausse verily launceeth at an angell offe thyrty-fyfe degreese, and at a speede of four hundred and fifftie kilometres per seconde, and yea, itte wausse nevere desidedde whethere they didde interseckte, and yea, now it isse uppe to you to decidde if they didde interseckte.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Yaplet

Yaplet is the embedded chat thingy in the sidebar. It enables communication between people who don't have Gtalk or Gtalk-enabled iChat, and it has pretty much the easiest interface ever.


How to use Yaplet!
The little box to the lower left is your name. You can change it by just typing in a different one. The box next to that is where you type your messages. See? Easy! Up top, there's a logo and a number of icons. The number next to the logo indicates how many people currently have Yaplet open. This could mean that they are actively chatting, or they could just be reading the blog. Who knows?
You know! By clicking the number, a list of users appear. The black names represent people who are representin'. The grey names represent people who have represented in the past. From this pop-up-ish list, you can PM, ignore and vote to ban people.
Next to the little number is a key, where you can choose to cancel or allow swear filtering (though we probably won't be needing that) or do administrative things, though none of us are webmasters of anything.
Next to the key is a bell. Click it to enable audio notifications of new messages. Useful if you end up minimizing the poplet. (Remember that word!)
Next to the bell lie two ways of sharing the chat, but we all know about it anyway.

Now for the cool part!
Click on the little double-window icon or the 'Bookmarklet' link above to bring up the poplet, or pop-up bookmarklet. Now you can minimize Yaplet or browse other sites while using it! "But I don't wanna go to the blog every time I want to chill wit mah froods," you say. "Also, you're the coolest EVER." Therein lies the cool part! If you drag the word 'Bookmarklet' up into your bookmarks bar or toolbar or whatever, you can click it at any time to bring up a chatroom! If there's anyone inside, chat away; if not, click the little bell and minimize it, and you'll hear a beep-like beep the next time somebody says something. If you don't have a bookmarks bar, you can secondary-click ('right-click' is discriminatory in that it implies that the person is right-handed!) the 'Bookmarklet' link and there should be an option to add it to your bookmarks.
An annotation! If you go to the official Yaplet site, you'll be presented with a bookmarklet that allows you to chat in a different room, depending on the site you're on at the time. The 'Bookmarklet' link on here gives you only one one chat room: ours.

Etiquette time!
The cool thing about Yaplet is that it lets you have a conversation from anywhere on the Internet. The bad thing is that a conversation is typically comprised of two things:
1. A set of people
2. At least one idea
What does this mean? It means a conversation cannot occur if you constantly rename yourself, leaving all with ambiguity as to your true identity. If you need to rename yourself for comedic effect, do so infrequently with cleverness, not frequently with randomness. It's seriously not funny most of the time. In addition, there's no way of tracking who's who, as there are no notifications upon a name change. In addition, remember the golden rule of not having anything to do with MySpace: customize only to optimize. (You don't want to be like MySpace, do you?)

I will now leave you with two hypothetical conversations depicting the advantages of being more than yourself.

Conversation 1: A Fierce Battle

Ratte-Kinge: Yeah democracy!
King Kessler: Boo dictatorship in the absence of checks and balances! Yeah wikiism!
Ratte-Kinge: Boo vandalism!
King Kessler: But graffiti can be art sometimes!
Jesus^NPC: I beg to differ with your implication!
Jesus^NPC: While artistic value can certainly be conveyed through graffiti, there are few advantages offered by the medium aside from greater exposure.
Jesus^NPC: This greater exposure, however, is the direct result of advertising to airspace that doesn't belong to the vandal in question. In short, stealing!
Ratte-Kinge: ... Wow, man, do you just listen in on conversations until you hear the slightest implication of immorality, then metaphorically pounce on the sinner in the form of a sermon?
Jesus^NPC: Naw, that'd be a bit of a time-drainer. I get an RSS feed to my cell phone.
King Kessler: You can get an RSS feed for Yaplet?
Jesus^NPC: I'm in heaven, man. EVERYTHING has an RSS feed.
King Kessler: ...
Ratte-Kinge: ...
Jesus^NPC: ...
King Kessler: Yeah communism!
Jesus^NPC: Ideal communism, of course!
King Kessler: Of course!

Conversation 2: Dress-Up

Picard^1: Lol, I'm Picard.
PIANIST^NPC: Lol, I'm a pianist.
/npc Your: Mom Lol, I'm your mom.
/npc Your^NPC1: Mom Lol, you didn't use proper grammar.
Desmond^1: Lol, I'm stupid.
Ratte-Kinge^NPC: Lol, Desmond just claimed to be stupid.
Ratte-Kinge^1: I do, indeed, say, old chap, that in fact, I currently lack tendencies to partake in the act of emphasizing previously-iterated statements concerning Desmond's apparent claims relating to possible mental retardation on his part.
PIANUSFORTE: Lol, I'm the thing at which the pianus-fisch excels.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spring Break

A couple of things are happening over Spring Break.

1) It was suggested a while back that David should host a party, due to earlier complaints and also my absence in that time. Completely arbitrarily, I suggest Saturday 21st, at 2:00 PM. David: Do you want to host this party? (If not: Does someone else?) Other people: is this cool with you?

2) I'm going to be away over Spring Break; I leave at noon on Sunday and return Saturday night; that is to say, the 15th and the 21st. I'm not certain how much I'm going to be able to do with the blag; I'm going to be pretty busy, both with travelling and various homework assignments. I encourage you lot to maintain the blag, post cool things, destroy any of David's vandalism, encourage more dudes to use the blag... that sort of thing.

3) This isn't really relevant, but these two posts have been improved. Graphically improved.

That is all.

The Eastern League: In Christ Ascendatus

(This post follows the first in the Eastern League miniseries, and is a proud component of the Great History of the League. )

The Eastern League was caught up in multiple controversies in the years following Constantine's acceptance of the Christian church. In the furor surrounding the Arian heresy, "the highways were covered with galloping bishops" going from one council to another seeking to find a suitable position on the Arian beliefs - Desmondite bishops not least among them. The Arian beliefs - which took a position on an abtruse and theoretical belief, and thus incited theological arguments, exiles, and executions for a century - were finally crushed in 381 AD.

Centuries rolled by. In 679, the League moved to Rome en masse, attracted by the Church's growing power there in the absence of strong temporal rulership. In 756, the Lombards (who ruled most of Italy at that time) destroyed the Byzantine enclaves in Italy; the papacy's call for help invited the Franks, who drove back the Lombards and established the Papal States. After the Franks again assisted the Pope against the Lombards, in 774, the Frankish King Charlemagne recieved papal support; twenty-five years later, he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor, and war erupted between the Eastern Roman Empire and this newly-declared Holy Roman Empire for a decade. In all of this, the League of Desmond remained a power in the Church, their power waning and waxing by the favour of the pope presently in office.


Ostensibly, the Western and Eastern churches were part of one whole; led by the Pentarchy of bishops, of whom the Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of New Rome (Constantinople) were the greatest. But the churches had drifted over the years, divided in language, population, and practices. By 1053, the Western and Eastern Christian churches quabbled frequently, fighting over issues such as celibacy for priests (which the Eastern church did not enforce), certain elements of the Christian creed, and the jurisdiction of border regions. The League of Desmond, in this time, was one of the most militant elements of the Western Church, always the first to protest at some new offense of the Eastern Church and the last to back down. In 1053, a dispute over the use of Latin customs in Constantinople churches caused the eastern patriarch to order all Latin churches in Constantinople closed; in response, the Pope sent a mission of League emissaries, ordered to get the churches re-opened. The Patriarch, furious at the League's insolence, refused to acnowledge the emissaries. In retaliation, the League legates walked into the Hagia Sophia - the largest and grandest church of Constantinople - and left a bull of excommunication on the altar.

This is commonly thought of as the date that the Western and Eastern Christian churches went separate ways.

The League of Desmond gained members for their daring, gaining strength and power. Soon, they would become one of the most famous - and later, infamous - orders in all of Christendom.

(Author's note: It's been about a week since I began writing this. I hope to have another up sooner, but... no promises.)
(Also, David: I'm not stupid.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Auncient Rule in Isselunde

(This post is (arguably) part of the Great History of the League of Desmond. Though in no particular series, it is best if read after this post.)

The land of Iceland fell under Norwegian control from 1262-1264, at the end of a period of widespread chaos and anarchy. Haakon IV, king of Norway at its peak, began the acquisition; Magnus VI "Lawgiver", his successor, finished it. Under Magnus' rule, there was peace in Iceland, and the people were content. But his successor, Eirik II, was a weak king, guided (or controlled) by his counselors. Iceland grew restive under his rule, and it looked as though the very conflict that Iceland joined Norway to avoid was about to engulf the isle once more.

It was at this time that, according to the sagas, the hero Desmond emerged, to unite Iceland against the Norwegian king and seek freedom once more. It should be noted, before we continue, that Desmond is considered something of an Icelandic equivalent to Robin Hood; gathering tales from many times and people into one. As such, while it is likely that a hero of the sort described below did live and take the actions accorded to him, he may well not have been Desmond himself; the legends of Desmond can be connected to deeds stretching from 800 AD to 1550 AD!

Desmond swiftly moved to unite the people against his opponent Eirik II, the "Ratte-Kinge", as Desmond cruelly insulted him. Armed with what was thought to be the finest blade in all the land, Durendal (supposedly the legendary blade of Charlemagne's champions), Desmond seized the allegiance of all the earls of Iceland, by persuasion or force. Desmond's supporters in the League of Desmond, which Desmond himself had been a member of in his youth, helped lend a great deal of aid. The League of Desmond had been rather skeptical of Iceland's subjection to Norwegian rule, and welcomed a chance to throw it off. By 1287, seven years after Eirik II's succession to the throne and four years after Desmond's campaign began, he set sail with "three scores of longboats, filled with men both brave and stronge" to the coast of Norway.


In the summer of 1287, Desmond arrived, and set about ravaging and burning all along the coast. The "Ratte-Kinge" levied his troops and set sail, arriving within two months of Desmond with five score longboats, though "fewwe so stronge in woode or fleshe" as those Desmond had taken from Iceland. Desmond tied his ships end to end, forming a floating battle line - in those days, naval combat was much more similar to land combat than it became in the age of cannon, with most of combat consisting of the close melee battles that defined land combat. The Ratte-Kinge flung his men at Desmond's line - and Desmond threw them back, with terrible losses. He stood in the middle of his line, on his flagship Solid Serpent, shouting insults at the Ratte-Kinge's men and slaying any who approached him. Eirik II, knowing that his kingdom rested on the fate of this battle, sent a daring flanking attack against both sides of Desmond's line - leading the right himself. He fought his way, ship to ship, until he came at last face-to-face with Desmond. The Ratte-Kinge, alone of Desmond's foe, faced him with equal stature - matching him blow for blow. But his sword at last shattered beneath Durendal's weight, and he threw himself in full armour into the icy waters, preferring suicide to the dishonour of death.

Desmond continued to loot and pillage, and returned to Iceland at last in the fall of 1287, his longships burdened with captives and treasure. Rather than accepting rulership of Iceland himself, he crowned his companion, King Kessler, ruler of Iceland. Kessler ruled benevolently for thirty long years - though eventually, in a time of trouble, signing another pact with Norway in 1300 AD. (This time, it was with rather a better ruler.) Kessler ruled semi-autonomously from Norway for the rest of his life. On his death, he was consumed in a great fire, in a funeral attended by all the greatest men of the Northlands. Desmond himself consigned the holy blade Durendal to the flames, and then wandered away, never to be seen again. Legends linger that he, like King Arthur, will someday return to aid his people in their time of need.

Or so, at least, the sagas of that time say.

Blag Facts

WHAT IS THE LEAGUE OF DESMOND?
Historically, the League of Desmond can trace its heritage back thousands of years, to continent-spanning empires and brave warrior orders. The League of Desmond is a small group of school-friends, who enjoy one another's company and have generally similar senses of humor.

WHAT IS THE LEAGUE-BLAG FOR?
The League-Blag was created so that members of the League could share things that wouldn't fit the format of e-mail or speech as well. Any sort of writing, fiction or non-fiction, is welcome here if it seems at all likely to interest members of the League. Even mere YouTube or webcomic links are welcome as long as they provide some content as well; a review, a criticism, a parody... something more than a one-line description.
Others are welcome on the blag; though the blag was initially created for, and generally written to, members of the League, non-Desmondites are welcome, so long as they do not vandalize or flame.

WHAT IS THE LEAGUE-BLAG NOT FOR?
The League-blag is not for anything that would be better sent on the League of Desmond mailing list. Links, requests for clarification, chain letters... all of these are read quickly and then forgotten. The purpose of posting on the blag, rather than the mailing list, is to allow easy reference to earlier posts, and encourage a more leisurely consumption of content. If posts go up that are essentially pointless - that no-one will plausibly have any reason to look at twice - then the blarchive becomes swelled and difficult to navigate, and the League-blag suffers.
This policy, it should be noticed, is not enforced - with the exception of vandalism, which is smote with a swift and deadly hand. For new posters especially, gentleness and flexibility is advisable, and it is always better to side with more content rather than less.

WHAT IS THIS POST FOR?
I do not intend this post to be a condemnation of any recent posters who have violated it, nor a tyrannical, unilateral repurposing of the blag. If anyone believes that this post could be usefully clarified, amended, or otherwise enhanced, by all means; let them. Disagreements can be settled by IM. Let there be peace between Desmondites and peace between non-Desmondites alike.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bird-Gecko Mamluks

In the early nineteenth century, wild land speculation in the early West led to a rash of 'wildcat banks'. These banks would loan money for risky land deals, filling a niche that larger, stabler banks would not. Their frequent collapses eventually created a financial panic, leading to federal intervention. In the meantime, though, they had a great influence on the West. Their name comes from a well-publicized venture, in which such a bank financed a scheme to tame wildcats and use them to cultivate the rocky slopes of the Appalachians. The scheme failed, of course, which contributed to its notoriety. A stranger and more interesting tale yet is that of the Bird-Gecko Janissaries.

In 1844, Albert Schermencher conceived of a grand plan. The deserts of the far west were, at that time, nearly impassable. Horses were incapable of traveling through them, falling to illnesses of dehydration and heat. Schermencher knew, however, that the deserts of the Near East held a solution; the noble camel, perfectly suited to desert conditions. Why not import some of them? Of course, Western riders would be unable to ride these creatures; proper riders must be brought across the Atlantic, as well. Schermencher, funded in this unlikely attempt by reckless wildcat bankers, chose to hire only the best: the paramilitary Mamluks, one-time rulers of Egypt and now mercenaries frequently in the service of the French. If any would ride his camels to success in the New World, it would be them.

Schermencher's venture met some success, but profits were limited, and costs (running and initial) were high. His creditors were hard upon him to improve his returns; certain of them had taken to having armed enforcers pass by Schermencher's house at regular intervals. Schermencher, thus pressed, undertook a dramatic breeding program to improve every aspect of the camel. To improve the stock itself, he sought to breed the camels with horses and asses, so as to improve their endurance and tractability. Once these misbegotten creatures were born, he lined their sleeping quarters with the eggs of poultry and ostriches - so as to improve their speed by association - and laced their food with gecko limbs immersed in snake oil. Most of these poor beasts died of their treatment, and Schermencher's business collapsed. He died poor, his dream of easy Western travel left for the Iron Horse to fufill.


One camel, though - one single colt - lived through Schermencher's programme. It was everything that he dreamed of - ostrich-headed, gecko-tailed, swift and tough and tame. When the rest of the Mamluks returned to the Near East after Schermencher's paycheques stopped arriving, one stayed with this strange creature. They wandered the desert together, living off of small animals and cactus juice. Even to this day, some still say that they witness such a camel and rider - or, even more rarely, a small herd of them, riding gloriously though the desert sands.

Perhaps Schermencher did succeed, after all.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story was inspired by a very small sketch I made of 'a Janissary riding a camel', which David then magnified. It was... a very bad sketch. David's interpretation made it too hilarious not to create a story around.

The Misheard Lyrics of Wishmaster

This is hilarious. A DENTIST.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Hobo Chronicles of Desmond

Yea behold, Desmond wasse once againe latte one daye. Therefore, it becamme necessary for him to passe by the hobos once more. Yea, and while he wasse doing thisse, he beheld that there were two hobos, and yea, they werre holding hands after the manner of thosee marriede. And one of the hobos had a bellie of one who has drunken too much ale.

And Desmond, in an attempte to make goode humoure, asked of the hobos when they werre to be having their childe. And yea, the hobos replied it woulde be soone, and at that verrie instant, the hobo with the "ale bellie" relieved his bladderr in his pantse, and it wasse goode.

The other hobo, upon seeing the fouling of the pants, exclaimed to the first, "Thy water hast broken!" and hurriede hisse friend offe deepere into a nearbie allie.

And yea, behold, Desmond wasse once again latte the next day. Therefore, it once more becamme necessary for him to passe by the hobos again. Yea, and while he wasse doing thisse, he beheld the two hobos once more, and yea, they had between them a newbourne childe.

The hobo who wasse holding the newbourne childe asked of goode Desmond if he didde not agree that the child wasse indeed cutte. And yea, Desmond left.

And yea, behold, laterre that same dayye, Desmond hearde in the newse of a woman who hadde loste her newbourne child. And yeah, when Desmond inquired of the newse who had taken the child, the newse replied that the child had been stolenne by two hobos who believed that the child wasse theirs.

And yea, on this day, after hearing such things from the newse, Desmond took into serious consideration taking hisse owne life, for he believed thatte there wasse something wronge with this worlde.

The Ende.

Shadow

Jardan leaned against the wall of the darkened alley. His face was worn and beaten down by time; his possessions, though clearly valuable when new, were ruined by long use and abuse. It was nearly noon, but it was still as dark as night in the grimy alley - the rest of the city, too, Jardan knew. It was hardly ever light these days.

Humankind had reached a glorious peak; the starlanes were created and sent men to the stars at last, every day seemed (looking back, at least) to hold within it the promise of a better tomorrow. Then, on an outer colony world remarkable only for its triple-gas giant system and the scientific installations surrounding them, outer detection platforms began to vanish. Probes were sent to investigate; they vanished, too. The scientists were evacuated, and military ships were sent to guard against this alien threat. They kept on full alert at all times, sensors scanning for the slightest anomalies and guns kept constantly powered.

They vanished, too.

When outer satellites began to vanish from the colony system connected to the triple-gas-giant star by star-lane, the reaction was swift and determined. The entire population of the colony was evacuated - a testament to human ingenuity and compassion. Meanwhile, nearly every military ship in human space was sent to the besieged system, alongside refitted merchant ships and the personal yachts of the very rich. There they orbited the evacuated colony world, as sensor after sensor failed, engineers and scientists laboured to concoct some countermeasure, and the Shadow crawled ever closer.

They vanished, too.

The travel-lanes, one of the greatest and most lasting achievements man had ever created, were deactivated and dismantled. People fled in the days before the star-lanes closed; from moons to planets, from outer worlds to inner, and from outer stars to innermost: Sol, Earth's star. There, those who fled watched as the darkness swept in, despite all efforts to contain it, and began to move towards ancient Earth. Panic was rampant; witch-hunts began; but politicians proved their worth, soothed the people in their darkest hour, encouraged unity against this terrible unknown. Humanity, at last, stood as one against a common threat.

Jardan leaned against the alley wall, watching as darkness fell. He knew all of this very well. He was there when it started, after all; when, shortly after his revolutionary experiment with the Macro Particle Accelerator in the triple-gas-giant, the sensor arrays began to disappear. He was there with the scientists on the outer colony world, striving to undo that which he had somehow created. He was there in the flight to Sol, leaving the brave souls of the colonies behind to return to the bosom of Mother Earth. He was there in the great panic when the darkness came to Sol, fleeing mobs armed with torch and noose. And he was here now; reduced from brilliant young physicist to back-alley vagrant, or interstellar villain. He watched as the Shadow fell over Earth at last, a curtain separating life from death, or just one state from another. Despite himself, he smiled.

(This story was, of all things, partially inspired by this upcoming game.)

Dr. McNinja

Dr. McNinja.

A comic about a doctor, who is also a ninja. Updates on a M-W-F schedule (I think). Inked and coloured - on real paper! It's crazy, man. Started October 2005. Creator: Chris Hastings. (There's actually another guy who inks it, but he doesn't have a name. Or: I didn't bother to find it.)

Dr. McNinja is hilariously bizarre. The main character - the eponymous McNinja - struggles with his family tradition of the ninja conflicting with his calling of the doctor. Plus he occasionally flips out and kills pirates and so forth. Also, there are velociraptors, and Benjamin Franklin. Do not miss the "alt-text."

Link problems

Changing the url to unterseeboot.blogspot.com (instead of unterseeboot2.blogspot.com) was an admirable move, but it may have had certain unintended consequences. There are a number of internal links within the blag, pointing at other posts (especially my histories). With the move, it's likely that most or all of these links are now broken. If so, someone (probably me) is going to have to go through every post on the blag before the move and fix every single link.

Also, I do have real content planned to come out before the end of the day. Sizzling hot, to end this weekend's plague of administrative nonsense.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

More Lame Jokes

What did the clock in the cafeteria do when it was hungry?

Why did the sea monster eat five ships with potatoes in them?

What did the cannibal say when he came across a sleeping man?

Why did the boy take his GameCube on the elevator?

What happened when the duck swallowed an atom?

What is one job where it is easy to make thousands of dollars a day?

What happened when the teacher put the plant inside the math classroom?

What do you call a robber covered in cement?

Why did the skeleton cross the road?

Answers in comments.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

ATTN: Kessler RE: Wiimote w/ Compy

How you do it?

Real Names

So this is how this'll work: If you're okay with your real name appearing anywhere on this blog, say so here. Otherwise, nicknames of all sorts will be used in their place. If you don't respond, it will be assumed that you never saw this post, and your real name will be withheld out of respect for your privacy and/or paranoia.

Blah, blah, blah

You may have noticed that there are two chatting links at the right. Both lead to the same chat room, but are formatted differently. CHAT ROOM brings up a poplet, or pop-up bokmarklet, and CHAT BAR brings the chat room up in the sidebar. I suggest you bookmark either CHAT ROOM for general chatting or CHAT BAR instead of the blog. This will enable plenty of group communication! Then we can all be Web 2.0!