My daughter's boyfriend's dog Halo is at the house for a few days due to some weather issues. She's a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix, small and lithe.
The first day over, he put her in the garage to keep her away from the cats and the allergic person (me). He took a nap before work.
A couple of hours later, she scratched at the garage door, and I let her in. He hadn't turned the lights on, and I expect she was bored.
She trotted down the hall, came back to the kitchen, and spoke to me in body language.
"Hello. I can't find my boy."
I pointed down the hall and said, "First door on the left." She raised haunches and lowered her head, "Thank you," and sure enough, she went right there, walked into the room, and looked up to see him sleeping on the bed.
"Yes, I see my boy. But this is your house."
I said, "Yes, you can get on the bed," and pointed.
Again the thank you nod, and she jumped up and curled up at his side. She didn't move for four hours, and leaves the cats completely alone. She'll stay in whichever room she's told to stay in, patiently awaiting human companionship or instruction.
You can tell a lot about a man by his dog.
Actually, I have been, but was still updating software.
The Meh of the Five Armies
Dec 17, 201403:23AM
As you gather from the title, this wasn't what I'd hoped.
First, we got punished for reserving for the midnight showing. After that got booked nationwide, someone in production or distribution decided to open up earlier slots in the evening for all the people who didn't respond in time. So the latecomers managed to book earlier shows.
I'd hoped to see it on the Imax screen, but that was reserved for people doing the three movie marathon, and that was 8 hours I didn't want to sit in the theater.
So there were about a dozen of us in a standard theater. And the guy behind me kept practicing a tap dancing routine (literally) every two or three minutes (literally). When I finally couldn't take it anymore and asked him to stop, he did.
On to the movie.
The problem with this section of the story is there's not a lot of character to discover, other than Thorin's fall, which was done well enough. We have good character background on the others, and there's not much more to develop.
We did get to see the reveal of Sauron and the foreshadowing of the threat to come, and Saruman showed some depth, because Christopher %#$@ing Lee is awesome.
Laketown is too far from the mountain here, so rather than the refugees using the perfectly serviceable forest with game, timber, fresh water and nearby fish, they move up into the abandoned town across from the mountain, miles from anywhere, and are short of rations. Duh.
The battle was a huge mess, with some good scenes including the shield ramping, but otherwise was hack and slash from different POVs for an hour. We've seen this before. The dwarves smashed, the elves shot and slashed, the men did what they could.
The cherry atop the turd was the resolution of the love arc between Fili and Tauriel. Everyone saw it coming, and Jackson had a chance to NOT be cliche, and sold out. Everyone was rolling their eyes and groaning, though some of that might have been the scenery protesting at being chewed.
It's one weak movie of six, but since it's the conclusion of this arc, it diminishes the entirety of The Hobbit. They could have got as much material into two slightly longer movies, or they could have used this one to delve into more backstory, more detail on different fighting styles or overall strategy.
You're going to see it just to resolve the trilogy, but don't expect to be blown away. It's once again "We need MOAR! special effects and mayhem or people won't watch!" sellout and cliche.
THIS Is What A Slippery Slope Looks Like
Nov 08, 201412:32AM
When some limpwristed little pussy says they want to take your gun away, "For safety," shove it up their ass sideways.
Katie Eastham Can u hand in old kitchen knifes to as i dont no what to do with them x
Like · Reply · 2 · September 15 at 12:16pm
Lancashire Police Hi Katie, yes you can hand any knife in, including any kitchen knives you no longer want.
Like · 3 · September 15 at 12:20pm
Trevor Patrick Jones Use it for cooking. You know, what you're supposed to do.
Unlike · 3 · November 5 at 3:17pm
Jerry Bradley She don't cook she obeys McDonald's.
Like · November 6 at 1:47pm
Michael Z. Williamson Sell them at a used goods store, you stupid bint.
Like · Just now
ZOMFG! LOOK AT ALL THOSE VIOLENT KNIVES!
Europe Again, November
Nov 06, 201401:43PM
If you are in Western Europe, I'll be at Spangdahlem Air Base's SciFi Con again this year, on 15 November.
On the 16th, I'll be signing books at the American Book Center in Amsterdam.
In between, I'll be in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Email me and we might be able to meet up.
Fighting a Truck Fire
Jun 06, 201401:04AM
Yesterday, my daughter and I were alongside a semi that started smoking. The driver pulled off the road onto the shoulder, and as we drove past in traffic, we saw the smoke get heavier.
I pulled off to the side and dug for our fire extinguisher. It's supposed to be under the passenger seat or the dead space next to it. This is not my usual vehicle—my van has a large extinguisher under the passenger seat. I couldn't find one in this car, and about that time, flames started coming out of the tractor's headlight. I checked the rear hatch of our vehicle, which has cargo straps, saws, machetes, tools, prybars, but no extinguisher.
The driver was on the phone to 911, and apparently, another passerby sprinted across 6 lanes of US31 and a block down to the fire station.
I improvised with several bottles of water from the flat we keep in back, managing to kill some of the flames on the lamp assembly, tire and fender. A passenger in another vehicle handed my daughter several more bottles as they drove by. She kept bringing me bottles, I kept squirting them in.
Flames under the hood kept spreading back to the surface, and it finally occurred to me I should be using the awl on my multitool to punch the caps so I could spray a stream. This was more effective. Flames flared up, I got them knocked down. I put out the tire, the fender and the headlight, which cracked and burst. I started spraying under the grill.
I was having some success, but it wasn't going to be enough. I could hear sirens.
In the parking lot behind me, someone screamed for me to get back. Why? The fire was nowhere near the fuel tank, tanks almost never explode, and diesel is less reactive than gasoline. I was safe enough. But that's the effect of too many movies on people's thought processes.
Someone else started directing traffic into the other lanes.
Under the hood, the fire flared up, while the driver tried to reach his extinguisher, which was locked in an outside compartment. His keys had remained in the ignition, and he'd left them as he vacated, which was the right thing to do at the time.
Two police cars rolled up and blocked traffic.
The flames rolled out behind the hood, and there wasn't much more I could do. The fire truck was crossing the highway, and the cops had traffic under control. One of them pointed at me and the road, I thumbed up and we climbed back in and drove off.
It was 30 seconds later I realized something, opened the console, and found the extinguisher in its fitted compartment within. It wasn't my usual vehicle, so I hadn't instinctively known where it was, and I hadn't remembered. Would the extinguisher have been enough? Maybe, though with flames under the hood it might not have mattered if I couldn’t reach them. I'd definitely slowed the fire down, which counted for something.
On our way back a half hour later, I stopped to talk to the driver. The engine compartment was burned, and the front body gone. The cab was largely undamaged. The rest of the truck was fine. It looked repairable, since it didn't seem to have suffered any structural damage.
I'm very irritated that I didn't remember where the extinguisher was, and that I'd forgotten the trick of making a spray bottle by punching a hole. I've done that before, but not recently. We responded, and were helpful (no one else stopped for several minutes, and no one else had an extinguisher), but were not optimal in our efficiency.
From this I learned to have more drills with our own vehicles. Skills are perishable and must be practiced.
I use old extinguishers with low charges to practice on burning brush. I need to add response drills in each vehicle to the drills we do in the house. That $10 extinguisher would have made a difference, if used as well.
My grandparents, as told by my mother:
My father, Ernest F. Stephens (always called "Steve") was born in London, January 1909, the son of a Welsh coal-miner turned construction worker and an Irish farm girl who went to London and worked as a domestic servant in an upper-class household. Dad was the youngest of seven children (4 girls, 3 boys, in that order.) He completed high school at 14 but college or university was not available to him so he joined what was then the Royal Flying Corps intent on improving himself. (1923) He became what was called an "aircraft fitter" which was in essence a mechanic, and learned to fly in a Sopwith Camel. In 1928 he considered returning to civilian life but the depression had started and his father, brothers and brothers-in-law were all unemployed, so he re-enlisted and was promptly posted to the Middle East and bounced around that area from station to station for several years, during which time he learned Arabic and Farsi as well as French, and learned as much as he could about the history and culture of Persia (now Iran) Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and the Holy Land. He even read the Quran. He also went India returning to England in 1935. By then he was a sergeant in what was now called the Royal Air Force. The same year he met my mother and they married in February 1936.
My mother's name was Dorothy May Maidlow, although she was always called Shirley by her siblings, and her parents were refugees from Europe (German father, French mother) who came to England in 1915. My mother was actually born in Lugano, Switzerland, (May 1915) as her parents were on their way out of Europe. She was also the youngest child of her family, the 13th. Her father died when she was only eight and her mother when she was 15, so she went to live with one of her older sisters who was married. She had no formal education beyond high school but was very bright and a fine pianist and water-colour artist. When she married my father she did what was considered normal at the time and became a full-time homemaker. Told that she could have no children, in 1937 she and my father adopted my older brother, (also nicknamed Steve when he joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15).
In 1938 when Nazism was making life very difficult for German Jews, my parents fostered half a dozen Jewish refugee children who had been separated from their parents. (Luckily, in the end, all were reunited) When WW2 began in 1939, my brother was one of thousands of children from Britain's main cities who were sent to live in Wales to keep them safe from expected air-raids. (As it turned out, he was cared for by a family who spoke no English so when he returned home he spoke only Welsh and had to learn English all over again.)
At the time the war began, only officers could become RAF pilots, and to be an officer you had to have a university education and/or come from the moneyed classes. However, due to the shortage of skilled pilots, it was decided that sergeants could be trained and put into action. Thus my father became one of "The Few", the pilots who fought the battle of Britain in 1940, who beat the much larger, more experienced Luftwaffe. At this time, my mother joined the Women's Royal Air Corps in what was basically a secretarial position, but due to her above average intelligence she was recruited to work at Bletchley Park where she became one of the "girls" who eventually broke the Enigma code, along with other codes in use by the Germans.
After the Battle of Britain, my father was posted to a number of bases both at home and abroad, where he worked in his capacity as an aircraft mechanic but also took advanced courses that qualified him as an aeronautical engineer. While stationed in Gibraltar he was in charge of cannibalizing the remains of 250 aircraft that were damaged in the North African campaign - he built 50 complete airplanes from the pieces and parts. He was also stationed briefly in Malta, which was horribly bombarded by the Germans, in Libya and Egypt, and in 1941 he was sent back to Persia where he witnessed the coronation of the Shah of Iran. He was sent to Italy (Sicily) in 1943. There, he learned Italian and in 1944 he was on the Italian mainland when Vesuvius erupted and he also visited Pompeii and Rome.
In my father's absence my mother continued her work at Bletchley, and then (I'm not sure of the date) got my brother back from Wales. In 1943 she returned from work one day to find her house (and the entire block on which it had stood) destroyed in an air-raid. The only surviving item was a souvenir cup from 1911 commemorating the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary which had belonged to her mother and is now in my possession. (It's a little chipped and scratched) In 1944 my mother lost another house to a V-1 rocket, while she and my brother were actually in it! She and my brother took shelter under the stairway, curled up tightly, and survived, only slightly injured, to find that the stairway was the only part of the house left standing.
In 1944 my father went to work with the French Resistance in Occupied France, a period which he did not discuss with us. The only story I heard was that he was responsible for the discovery of a German spy, posing as a member of the Maquis but felt rather badly because the young man was only 19 and was later executed.
At the end of WW2, the Royal Air Force decided to allow non-commissioned officers to go through a training programme that would allow them to become officers. My father was in the very first group chosen, and became a Flying Officer in 1946, about eighteen months before I was born in October 1947. My earliest recollections are from when I was about three, when we lived on an RAF station on Thorny Island, off the coast of Hampshire (Southern England) It was part of Coastal Command. They used seaplanes for patrolling the coast and I remember sitting on my father's lap and flying above the chalk cliffs. Since that day I've always loved aerial views of the land. In 1952, shortly after the birth of my youngest brother, my father returned from a posting in Bulawayo (now Zimbabwe, Africa) which was then part of the British Empire, with the news that the whole family was going be able to go and live there for the duration of his posting.
After we returned to England my father was appointed as the Commanding Officer of an RAF station near Liverpool, Northwest England, which was his last posting. He retired after 38 years of service. His experiences in the Middle East and Italy gave him an interest in archaeology and ancient history. He also loved gardening and until we went to live near Liverpool, he and my mother grew all the vegetables and much of the fruit that the family consumed. A couple of times a year, my father would travel to London for a meeting, and usually he took me with him. We would stay with his oldest sister and her family, and I got to see all the great sights of London, and then on the Monday we would go to a building in Whitehall, where I would sit in the lobby and read until his meeting was over. I was never told what transpired at these meetings - he just said it was related to his service in the RAF. When I was in my thirties, while visiting my parents in England, I saw a documentary on the BBC about Britain's MI5 and MI6 - and recognized the lobby where I used to wait for my Dad! Even then, my father told me nothing, other than to agree that I was right about that being the place!
For his service in the RAF my father was awarded the WW2 Service Medal, The Distinguished Service Order, (for his work in Gibraltar) The Africa Star, The Italy Star, The Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and the 1939-45 Star. My mother won the WW2 Service Medal and the 1939-45 Star.
My father passed away 12 April 1992 at the age of 84, my mother on 19 October 1995, aged 81. Had she lived a few weeks longer she would have been able to tell me the details of what she did at Bletchley and what my father did for Military Intelligence, but, having signed the Official Secrets Act she was sworn to secrecy until 31 December 1995 - and she took her oath very seriously.
I am immensely proud of both my parents. And I remember telling my father that I thought he was a remarkable person, to which he replied that he was not remarkable, that he was an ordinary man who had had a remarkable life.
I'm going to preface this by saying I DO NOT blame Archon's concom (yet). They got handed a bag of feces and really don't have any options.
It started when Tim "Uncle Timmy" Bolgeo was invited as Fan Guest of Honor.
Some anonymous (of course) hero read through his newsletter The Revenge of Hump Day to find a racist comment, out of context, copied and pasted from another source. Apparently, said crusader wasn't bright enough to realize that the phrase "tacky alert" is the intellectual and non-pussy little bitch version of "trigger warning." (Oh, did I offend you? That's nice. Fuck off, pussy.)
So, it was a race-oriented joke in poor taste. What kind of monster does that?
Other than every comedian in the country and half the internet?
"ZOMG! What would happen if the press found out we invited A RACIST!!! To our convention???"
Honestly, the press could give two shits about something like Archon. It's not ComicCon, not DragonCon, not even a horror con. I'm sure they have better things to do than troll through old internet posts looking for tacky jokes of someone they've never heard of attending a thing they've never heard of. Don't give yourself too much credit for relevance.
And then EMCS or whatever his name is spit his binky, shit his diaper, screamed for mommy, and demanded Uncle Timmy be stricken from the list.
Lots of other sandy genitalia piled on, in an orgy of bliss. AHA! We have someone to hate! Life is good!
The Gold Medal goes to the person whom I won't embarrass by name, who said, "Well, I don’t know who he is or what he said, but I guess this is for the best."
"Liberal" "Tolerance" in action. Someone said he said something bad, BAN HIM!
BTW, the ORIGINAL source of the tacky joke seems to be Saint Louis' Craigslist. Guilty consciences?
I commented that Mel Brooks certainly wouldn't be welcome, with his jokes about Jews, gays, blacks and rape. I got snidely reminded that "You do realize that Mel Brooks is Jewish, right?"
Oh, right. That TOTALLY justifies racist, homophobic and rape culture humor. Silly me. So, what jokes can blacks tell? What jokes can gays tell? We already know white people can't tell jokes at all (even if the Klan DID go after Tim's Catholic, Italian ancestors).
I got no answer. Apparently, it's okay to make offensive jokes if you're something, but not if you're something else, because racist.
Predictably, that thread turned into…a thread of racist, sexist and homophobic jokes. Last I checked, it was still there.
So, Archon has no problem with that kind of humor. Though it's possible the mouthpiece in question hasn't brought it to their attention yet. So, what's the problem with Uncle Timmy?
Probably because he's conservative and Catholic. The commentary does in fact suggest frothing religious bigotry and political bias.
so many sad old white people grasping at straws! I'm glad this controversy happened so that all of the closet Archon racists have come out of the woodwork, and will I know who to avoid or mock in the future, if I ever do come back to the con. A lot of you probably don't realize your own racism and are simply old and out of touch conservatives, frightened by the rapidly changing world and the looming end of white privilege, and I feel sorry for you. I'm consoled by the fact that most of you are of an aging generation that will be dying off in the next few decades. anyway non-PC jokes are one thing, but the quotes from uncle timmy's newsletter to the effect of 'black people don't learn the same way whites do' are beyond the pale (no pun intended) and Archon did the right thing by uninviting him. Now it's just a waiting game while the rest of y'all old racist a-holes die off so we can move forward as a species.
Michael Z; Williamson: "sad old white people" is ageism.
John Mitchell And oh yeah, thanks for rubbing my nose in my own mortality by reminding me I'm part of "an aging generation that will be dying off in the next few decades". Bonus point for sensitivity...
13 mins • Like • 4
Andy Hamilton your the one defending a racist. i have no obligation to be sensitive to anybody's stupid beliefs and i dont have to tiptoe around the issue. you're basically already dead. deal with it.
Michael Z. Williamson: Wow. What a tolerant little fuck.
People Who Like This
Get that? HE LIKED my comment. He's proud of it.
By the way, Andy is not racist—his wife has a black cousin.
Now, Brad Torgersen has a black wife, and he's racist (per the SJWs). Tom Kratman has a Panamanian wife and he's racist. Larry Correia has Portuguese (Latino) ancestry and he's racist. Sarah Hoyt is from Portugal itself and is racist. And of course, since I'm white, I'm totally identical to American whites, and therefore racist. As long as you're a conservative, or even worse, a libertarian, you're racist. A liberal can have black friends to prove they're not racist, but a conservative, well, you're racist, because you just are.
Oh, did you note that Andy isn't even coming to the con? So what's his point?
Oh, BTW Andy:
"but the quotes from uncle timmy's newsletter to the effect of 'black people don't learn the same way whites do' are beyond the pale (no pun intended)"
Well, Andy, you should probably contact the Dept Ed, George Mason University, and the NYT and tell them how racist they are, for saying that people of different ethnicities, cultures and languages learn differently:
So it turns out you're ignorant, stupid and full of shit as well as a racist, ageist, fat-shaming "tolerant" "liberal." Whose wife's cousin is black, thus proving you're not racist. Or something.
The entire wall is full of frothing vitriol, hate, racism, ageism, fat shaming, anti-Christian sentiment, anti-conservative sentiment, threats of violence, threats of harassment, and god knows what else. From "tolerant" "liberals."
Way to be tolerant and diverse, "liberals." You make me proud.
I draw attention to this comment:
Christopher D. Cyr Just harass him a bunch. Then when he reports you, say he's lying. Then security will escort him off premises. Yesterday at 10:20am • Like • 5
This violates the Archon harassment policy, to whit:
“All attendees at Archon are expected to treat other attendees, guests, staff, and the general public with respect. Harassment of any kind, including physical assault, deliberate intimidation, stalking, unwanted photography, or unwelcome physical attentions, will not be tolerated.
Any attempt to have an innocent person removed from the convention by falsely accusing him or her of threats will be itself treated as an act of harassment and will be dealt with appropriately. The responsibility for settling interpersonal disputes lies solely with the individuals involved, and Archon will not tolerate being used as a leveraging point in such disputes.”
I do expect Archon to ban this Christopher D. Cyr from the con AT ONCE, since he's stated an intent to cause trouble, harass people, and violate policy. (Got a screenshot, btw, in case anyone wants to claim I'm making it up.) Unless they're lying hypocrites who don't actually have an harassment policy, and endorse such behavior.
Also, I can't help but notice that every crusader I see is…a middle class white person. No doubt fighting for those poor minorities who just aren't capable of comprehending the slight done to them.
Oh, it turns out that several people of various racial and ethnic makeups went to bat for Uncle Timmy. Guess what? Yeah, they're racist, too. This was libsplained to them. Denying you're a racist makes you a racist. White people know this (if they're liberal).
What seems obvious to me is:
Archon's attendance, management and guests are overwhelmingly (90%+) middle class white people born in the US.
They feel guilty about this.
Rather than do anything about it, they're attacking a third party to try to prove they're not racist.
Cool story, white guys. You've definitely made the case.
You bigoted fucks.
From me: Christmas Sales and Gifts
Dec 08, 201312:23AM
For those of you who don't follow me in other media, a couple of updates.
http://michaelzwilliamson.com/bibliography.html my books are here, and can be bought through Amazon and I make a few cents extra through that link, and on anything else you buy on that clickthrough. I appreciate it. If you prefer electronic editions, BaenEBooks.com is the place to go to get the best price and send me the biggest cut of royalties. If you'd like a signed edition of something, email me and I'll see what I have in the office.
http://www.sharppointythings.com/knives.html some of my custom knives can be found at this link, email me if you're interested. I make them intermittently, and they tend to sell fast when I do.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ActionStudios?ref=ss_profile are my wife's cloaks, well made, great for costuming, and sturdy enough for use in re-enactments. They last for years.
Enjoy your holiday of choice.
Europe AAR, with pictures
Nov 25, 201312:41PM
Hosted here, and on my site.