[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2011-12-30

Review of 12 Volt 7 Ah Sealed Lead Acid Battery – 2 Pack

Filed under: Technology — bblackmoor @ 18:28

Originally submitted at BatteryMart.com

The valve regulated, spill-proof construction of this battery allows trouble-free, safe operation in any position.


Good product, good price

By bblackmoor from Richmond, VA on 12/30/2011

 

5out of 5

Pros: Good Value, Reliable Performance

Best Uses: Emergency Equipment, Portable Electronics

Describe Yourself: Value Oriented

Primary use: Personal

Was this a gift?: No

I ordered four of these to replace the batteries in two APC UPSs. The batteries fit the UPS enclosures perfectly, charged up, and work perfectly. I needed to use the terminal clips from the old batteries, but I already knew that, so that was not a problem.

(legalese)

Sunday, 2011-12-25

Merry Christmas 2011

Filed under: Music,Television — bblackmoor @ 10:35

Merry Christmas from the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend

Here are some Christmas songs from the Monarch and his merry band.

And from 2004, here is a Very Venture Christmas, a special presentation from Astrobase Go!.

The.Venture.Brothers.S01Exx.A.Very.Venture.Christmas from Hepatitis Q on Vimeo.

Sunday, 2011-12-18

Festive pre-Christmas weekend

Filed under: Friends,Movies — bblackmoor @ 22:58
2003 Tiburon rear body work

I recently got the hatch of my car fixed at Pouncey Tract Collision. They did a great job. I just wanted to start off with that, because I keep forgetting to blog about it.

This has been a great weekend. We went to a friend’s Christmas party on Saturday, and then went out to dinner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Great food, but ludicrously overpriced. About double what we would normally pay. But it was a celebration, so what the heck. The food and service really were great.

Vixen's first Christmas tree

Today we made lasagna and gingerbread cookies, and invited some good friends over to watch Christmas specials and movies. We watched Santa Claus (the crazy Mexican movie where Santa fights Satan), Elf, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. That was great. I firmly believe that Christmas is for everyone, regardless of religion or lack thereof, and I love sharing it. As usual, we made too much food. We’ll be eating lasagna for the next week. Lucky for us, we really like lasagna.

Tomorrow we go to fill out the loan paperwork for our house. Yay!

Tuesday, 2011-12-13

Crazy December

Filed under: Fine Living,Friends,Gaming,Work,Writing — bblackmoor @ 23:16
Welcome to our haunted house

It’s been a crazy December. The craziness actually started in October, with my wife being in car #2 in a five-car accident on the freeway. She is almost healed up from that, and she has a shiny new Honda, so all’s well that ends well, but still, it was a crazy time for a while there.

I am spending a lot of time working. I haven’t counted the hours, but I would estimate somewhere around 60 to 70 per week. I don’t mind that: it’s close to the end of the project, and everyone’s antsy — and I love my job. But it means that I have not had as much time to indulge my hobbies as I would like.

One of those hobbies is my car, a 2003 Hyundai Tiburon. I have been meaning to do some cosmetic work to it for, well, months, but for a lot of those months, every weekend it was either raining or over 100 degrees outside. Bleh. Lucky me, my car was hit in a restaurant parking lot. That time of the year, I guess. The lady who hit me was honorable and asked around for the owner of the car. The insurance settlement was enough to repair the damage she did, and also took care of the cosmetic stuff I had been planning to work on.

Another hobby is a superhero roleplaying game I am working on. I would really, really like to have it completed by the end of the month, and on DriveThruRPG by mid-January. But we’ll see.

I am not the only one with problems. A dear friend of mine —

Let’s sidebar, for a moment. English is a great language, rich with the diversity of the many cultures we have absorbed or conquered, but I feel it has a few serious deficiencies. One of these is our word “friend”. I think we need at least three words for what is currently referred to as “friend”. We have “acquaintance”, of course — someone whom we have met, and perhaps encounter socially from time to time, but whom we do not actually know and with whom we do not intentionally socialize. Then we have:

The social friend: You drink with him at parties, and maybe have lunch with him once in a while just to have some company. He’s amusing, most of the time, and you don’t mind talking to him, as long as the conversation stays light. You might know his political or philosophical beliefs, but if so, it’s because he volunteers that information to anyone within earshot, not because you actually want to know, and not because he has any interest in what you think. You’ve never met his family, nor he yours, and if something serious happened in your life, you’d probably think of telling him the time you ran into him, but you would never make a call specifically to tell him your personal problems, nor would he think to make such a call to you.

The good friend: You have lunch because you enjoy each other’s company. You help each other move, if you don’t have plans. You talk about your kids, or your spouses, and you actually listen to the other person. On the other hand, you probably don’t talk about the intimate details of your marriage problems, or how broken up you really were when your cat died. You might not ever be truly close, but you respect each other and you like each other.

The dear friend: You have known each other through good times and bad. You have disagreed, sometimes quite seriously, but your friendship has persisted long after those disagreements have been forgotten. If you go out of town, he’s the first one you ask to watch your cat, and if he asks, you agree immediately. If he calls you and needs a ride because his car broke down in Pennsylvania, you ask him for directions. If he is in trouble, you respond. It’s just that simple.

So, as I was saying, a dear friend of mine had some personal issues a week or so ago, and for a while I was worried about him. I still am, actually, but not as much as I was a week ago. But it was really surreal for a while.

On the other hand, it hasn’t been all bad. After literally years of searching, we have finally found a house that is closer to where my wife works (she commutes an hour each way right now) and which she likes. This was no small feat. It’s also nearly $100,000 less than some other houses we were looking at just a few weeks ago, which pleases my wife more than pretty much anything else ever will. As it happens, the interest rates just bottomed out, so we are getting a good deal all around. Barring unforeseen catastrophe, we should be moved into our new (to us) house by the end of February, which is outstanding.

So… crazy, crazy month. That’s what I am saying.

Sunday, 2011-12-04

Bulletproof Blues design journal: Paralysis and Mental Paralysis

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 14:30

My day job (which I truly enjoy) has kept me really busy over the past couple of weeks, so I have not made as much progress on Bulletproof Blues as I had hoped. I do still plan to have the book finished by the end of December, but I will have to hustle!

In the last day or so, I have decided on a format for the power listing, and wrote up two powers which will be the template that the rest of the powers follow: Paralysis and Mental Paralysis.

Paralysis

Activation: Attack
Task roll: Accuracy vs. Agility
Target: Single target
Range: Firefight
Cost: 1 character point per rank

The Paralysis power prevents a character from moving or taking physical actions. The mechanism which causes the Paralysis must be specified when this power is purchased. For example, the target might be entangled in webs, encased in ice, bound by rings of magical force, or they could be literally paralyzed by some form of toxic gas.

Attacking a character under the effects of Paralysis provides a +6 attack bonus (the standard attribute bonus for attacking a helpless target).

Using Paralysis requires an Accuracy task roll against the Agility of the intended target. If the attacker achieves a massive success, then the rank of the Paralysis is increased by three for the purposes of breaking out of it. For example, if a character is affected by a rank 4 Paralysis, and the attacker achieved a massive success, they would need to make a Brawn task roll against task difficulty 15 (4 + 3 + 8‌) to break out of the Paralysis.

To break out of the Paralysis, the target must make a successful Brawn task roll against the rank of the Paralysis. If the character succeeds at this task roll, they may use their remaining movement action. If the paralyzed character gets a massive success on this roll, then they break out as a free action. For example, if a character is affected by a rank 5 Paralysis, they would need to make a Brawn task roll against task difficulty 13 (5 + 8‌). If they roll a 16 or more, they achieve a massive success, and breaking out is a free action rather than a task action.

If the character has not broken out of the Paralysis by the end of the scene, then they break out of it shortly thereafter. How long thereafter is largely plot-dependent. For example, if the target of the Paralysis is left behind for the police to apprehend, then the Paralysis lasts long enough for them to do so.

Mental Paralysis

Activation: Attack
Task roll: Willpower vs. Willpower
Target: Single target
Range: Visual
Cost: 2 character points per rank

The Mental Paralysis power prevents a character from moving, thinking, or taking any actions. While affected by Mental Paralysis, only a moment seems to pass for the target, but after they break out of it, they are aware that something unusual has happened, and that they have “lost time”. For example, the “lost time” might appear as a brief “white out” of the target’s vision, or perhaps the target simply falls asleep for a time. The mechanism which causes the Mental Paralysis must be specified when this power is purchased. For example, the target might be frozen in time, commanded to “Sleep!”, or they could be knocked out by some form of toxic gas.

Attacking a character under the effects of Mental Paralysis provides a +6 attack bonus (the standard attribute bonus for attacking a helpless target).

Using Mental Paralysis requires a Willpower task roll against the Willpower of the intended target. If the attacker achieves a massive success, then the rank of the Mental Paralysis is increased by three for the purposes of breaking out of it. For example, if a character is affected by a rank 6 Mental Paralysis, and the attacker achieved a massive success, they would need to make a Willpower task roll against task difficulty 17 (6 + 3 + 8‌) to break out of the Mental Paralysis.

To break out of the Mental Paralysis, the target must make a successful Willpower task roll against the rank of the Mental Paralysis. If the character succeeds at this task roll, they may use their remaining movement action. If the paralyzed character gets a massive success on this roll, then they break out as a free action. For example, if a character is affected by a rank 6 Mental Paralysis, they would need to make a Willpower task roll against task difficulty 14 (6 + 8‌). If they roll a 17 or more, they achieve a massive success, and breaking out is a free action rather than a task action.

If the character has not broken out of the Mental Paralysis by the end of the scene, then they break out of it shortly thereafter. How long thereafter is largely plot-dependent. For example, if the target of the Mental Paralysis is left behind for the police to apprehend, then the Mental Paralysis lasts long enough for them to do so.

 

Thursday, 2011-11-10

What’s wrong with Congress

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 21:21

Here a major thing that’s wrong with Congress, and to a lesser extent, what’s wrong with legislation at every level: a simple prohibition (note: every law is a prohibition — laws do not permit: they forbid, and anyone who believes otherwise is profoundly confused) … a simple prohibition becomes an absurd mountain of legalese so complex that virtually no one who votes for it has even read it, much less the rest of us having any chance of reading and understanding it.

When Paul Volcker called for new rules in 2009 to curb risk-taking by banks, and thus avoid making taxpayers liable in the future for the kind of reckless speculation that caused the financial crisis and resulting bailout, he outlined his proposal in a three-page letter to the president.

Last year, when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act went to Congress, the Volcker Rule that it contained took up 10 pages.

Last week, when the proposed regulations for the Volcker Rule finally emerged for public comment, the text had swelled to 298 pages and was accompanied by more than 1,300 questions about 400 topics.

(Volcker Rule, Once Simple, Now Boggles, The New York Times)

Tuesday, 2011-11-08

Cancer-causing airport scanners? Enough Is enough

Filed under: Civil Rights,Technology,Travel — bblackmoor @ 21:14

It’s bad enough having to shell out exorbitant amounts of money in order to travel, but there’s no reason any individual should be forced to choose between a certified health risk or a humiliating, invasive search of their person by ill-trained government agents. Even the airport personnel have expressed concerns about the scanners. The Allied Pilots Association has urged its members to opt out of the body scanning measures because of the “ionizing radiation, which could be harmful to their health.” That caution has been echoed by the Federal Aviation Administration’s medical institute, which has raised a concern about the effects of radiation exposure on pregnant pilots and flight attendants.

(from Cancer-Causing Airport Scanners? Enough Is Enough, The Rutherford Institute)

Saturday, 2011-11-05

Pretty good week

Filed under: Gaming,Work — bblackmoor @ 01:11
Bulletproof Blues

Pretty good week, aside from dealing with the repercussions from Susan’s car accident. Made pretty good progress on a work project, caught up so that I am no longer behind in my class, more or less finished the cover for my first commercial game product in 16 years, and contacted a few publishers who might be interested in releasing source material for the aforementioned game.

Monday, 2011-10-03

When the liberty bubble bursts

Filed under: Civil Rights,History,Privacy — bblackmoor @ 19:11
What the American people need

On the one hand, I don’t think anyone who is wealthier than 99% of the country should be making decisions for the other 99% of us. On the other hand, if we put a salary/net worth cap on who could run for public office, I think the end result is that our ostensibly-elected rulers would be even more corrupt and incompetent than they are now. I honestly have no idea what to do to fix this great nation.

In a nation of laws, where fundamental principles of fairness and equality under the law are sacrosanct, where everyone has the same access to the courts and has to follow the same laws, libertarianism is the best and most ethical basis for a government that provides the best outcome to the most people, and imposes the fewest obstacles for people to better themselves and to help those who are worse off than themselves.

The problem is, we do not live in a nation like that. Our society has never been perfect, but at its core, it used to be based on principles of fairness, and hard work, and individual rights. The day to day operation of our society often conflicted with those principles, but gradually, those flaws would be brought to light, old ways would be challenged, and things would get better. The society we were was slowly turning into the society we aspired to be. Liberty, and honor, and justice were leading us from darkness toward the light. Slowly, to be sure, but we were on the right path.

I am not sure exactly when this ceased to be the case, but I think this is no longer true. The foundation on which our society is built is corroded and crumbling. Our legislatures pass laws to which they make themselves exempt. Media outlets give us the news they want us to see, and truth is irrelevant. We allow ourselves to be distracted by trivia, or blinded by superstition, while we revel in our ignorance. We are engaged in an endless and expensive war against everything. Corporations reap tremendous financial rewards while stripping both their employees and their customers of their basic human and civil rights — right to privacy, right to a jury trial, right to a personal life, right to earn an honest living, etc. — and it’s perfectly “legal”. We imprison more of our population than any country on Earth, for nonviolent offenses, and we use them as slave labor for corporations.

(You might think some of the previous paragraph is hyperbole. I am sometimes too fond of hyperbole. But in this case, it isn’t. If anything, it’s an understatement.)

We are fucked. The political dog and pony show is out of control, our economy is in the hands of people who really don’t care what happens to 99% of us as long as they benefit, and it isn’t getting better. It’s bread and circuses, and we are running out of bread.

I have yet to hear a single person suggest anything that I think would reverse this trend. Not the Tea Party. Not the Obama followers. Not the blue-collar Wal-Mart patrons, who do most of the real labor in this country and receive nothing but scorn for it. Not the socialist hippie-artists, or the pseudo-intellectuals who’ve never done a useful day of real work in their lives. Certainly not the politicians, regardless of their political affiliation.

Not even the libertarians.

I look into the future, and I see darkness.

There are a lot of reasons I am glad that I don’t have children. This is one of them.

Thursday, 2011-09-29

Taking the high road

Filed under: Society,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 03:27
Bad behaviour

Ran across this article (which I heard about from Gareth Michael-Skarka, ironically), which made me wonder for a moment if my choice to take the high road in online disagreements was ill-considered. Only for a moment, though. Ultimately, my not being an asshole to people who act like assholes is about my being happy, and not about making them change their behaviour — which I do not think is possible, anyway. Whether it’s nature or nurture, some people are, sadly, simply unpleasant. Ignore them, avoid them when you can, and don’t expend any unnecessary effort on their behalf.

On the other hand, don’t penalize yourself on their behalf, either. Harlan Ellison might be an arrogant jerk, and Orson Scott card might have some unpleasant personal beliefs, but my life would be poorer without their books. I don’t have to want to socialize with someone for me to benefit from their work. Keep things in perspective. Life is too short to hold grudges.

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