Friday, January 6, 2017

Ancient Dread: Welcome To The (Real) Jungle

We have been moving up the river for the last few days, heading SW to the inlet and march NW through the woods towards what we believe is the main village.  Chants from the natives put the crew on edge.  Rod has questioned them and they tell her that it is a challenge… “Come to the game” and invoking Cha-Qloa, a name we have not heard before.  King says it is the ‘Spirit of the Hunt”.  Counter songs have no effect.  It seems too easy.  We know there are many of the enemy out there but they are letting us pass and rest up from the volcano.  The watchers at night though disturb our sleep.
About a day or so from the inlet,  midday, standing on an outcropping rock, stands a man, wearing a skull like mask, headdress, and staff  who stares at us. Refusing to respond, he radiates evil and magic.  We pass underneath him . He does nothing but watch.  

Dawn approaches as does the inlet and beach.  The old man is there, along w/ near a score of armed warriors.  Sensing his emotions show anticipation.. fear… expectation.  We beach the boat and step off.  When the rest of the crew attempts to leave, the others get very excited. We stop.  The old man beckons just us forward asking us to set down our weapons.  We do and move to him, intuition telling us that this is a parlay. He is the ‘Speaker’.  He tells us that they have what we want but that they have hidden it.  Since we have performed their ‘ritual’ at the volcano, we are under safe passage.  We must find the ‘Hunt’, survive, and then we will leave w/ our prize.  The Speaker places a symbol on our foreheads in some sort of substance.  It tingles.  A wave of vertigo passes over us.   They turn and leave.  King informs us that the symbol is ‘of the hunt spirit’ and will keep us from being attacked by the locals. We are now part of the ‘hunt’ and will face ourselves in the ‘Deep, Dark, Jungle’.   The ‘other lands’, the land of spirit. 

We beach the boat on the north side of the lagoon and set off,  only the five of us, into the JUNGLE.  Strongbow, Echo, Rod, Ackdor, and King.  Cloying heat surrounds us.  Everything seems to radiate magic. Rod says she feels off… dizzy.  Echo, King, and Ackdor also feel it but not I.  Rod says the world feels ‘empty’, as if all the people are gone.  Night falls and we camp.  Minor annoyances only.   In the morning, an aerial reconnaissance by Rod shows we are surrounded by jungle as far as the eye can see.  There is no sun, only light.  Strongbow’s Gem of Direction spins incoherently.  Planning for our future, we spot bananas and coconuts along w/ fresh water. 

Eventually we come to a clearing.  In the center, about a half mile across, is a lake. In the center is a small island containing some trees and a smoking campfire.  No presences are noticed other than the Jungle, itself radiating.  Tracks show it as a local watering hole. Where then did the campfire come from?  The trees seem to contain some sort of fruit.  It is decided to get over to the island in various ways.  The fruit are mangoes.  The campfire has no tracks around it.  We rebuild the fire.  

A pair of tigers visit the lake during my watch.  We seem to share a common goal.  They stay in my mind.  Rod tries the water, feeling refreshed but notices no reflection for a moment before it seems to reappear.  A scream by Echo causes King to wake her. She had fallen asleep and dreamed of falling towards the sky.  King wakes us in the morning.  Echo, tasting the water, tells us it tastes like water from the pure elemental plane.  We all take our fill and decide to rest for the day. 

The next night, I sit in reverie, imagining a time before time, when Elves were one w/ nature. Thinking of Melina, I snap out of it, somewhat disappointingly.    King wakes us up in a panic.  There are large bubbles in the middle of the lake and Echo is missing.  Rod and I dive in after her.  I am disoriented but Rod reaches Echo who is about 30’ below the water’s surface and pulls her to the shore.  After she (Echo) recovers she tells us she doesn’t know how she ended up in the water.  We just notice that Rod is in her natural form.  I seem to have developed a tan.  Sensing magic, the fire registers.  I pour out the water onto it, extinguishing the smolder.   We decide to move on. 

Things appear darker, more ominous. We feel more a part of the jungle than before. A huge spider nest is avoided as we move deeper into the woods and make camp.  We are woken up by thunder and lightning.  Our Environmental Tents provide protection although the morning is like walking in a swamp.  Later we discover some more fruit.  Nothing untoward happens through the day.  We camp and enjoy some roast pineapple. The night is quiet. 

In the morning, we are low on water.  We strengthen our resolve and let Echo purify morning water.  A search turns up some coconuts around a small pond, about a ¼ mile across.  W/ fresh water and many coconuts, we move on.   A distant river is heard… Right at the edge of a cliff.  A tree has fallen across it.  We easily make it across and camp for the night and feast.  The morning is darker, much darker than it was before.  Almost as if it is a different place.
We come across another clearing.  

 Cobblestones, long set, have grass growing between them.  Large obelisks, obsidian and smooth, jut out from the ground.  In the center is an oval pool about 15’ wide and 7’ across.  It seems a holy place.  Calling to us. It wants us to drink. The water is deep and blue. We drink.  It flows through me, pulling something along inside. Our reflections in the water are gone.
Drums.  Drums in the jungle.

The hunt has begun.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

'Snuffy' Phleger Needs To Turn Around To Find The Source Of Crime

So the 'Father' known for threatening the lives of politicians and firearm shop owners marched on Chicago to protest the large numbers of homicides last year.  Where did he march?  Why the 'Magnificent Mile', a high end, low crime shopping district in the city.  Nowhere near where the overwhelming majority of murders are occurring. They carried crosses engraved w/ the names of the victims.  The article highlights four of them.

 Regular readers of this blog probably know what's coming.

The first homicide of 2016, Deandre Holiday.  This was splashed over all the papers. The February before he was arrested for having a gun w/ a defaced serial #. I'm going to bet no FOID or CCW as well.

A relative of his, Derrick Canady, was killed in an alley at night in August. He was on parole for armed robbery and had a history of vehicle theft and drugs.

Another victim, Isaiah Hurley, was shot in the middle of the night in October.  He was on parole for multiple drug felonies and was a documented gang member.

Only one of the four victims highlighted in the story did not have a criminal record and he was killed by a carload of gangbangers.

So 75% of the 'victims' were living the 'thug life' and died the way they lived.  The last was the only real victim and it's due to the violent gang sub-culture rampant, and encouraged, in the city.

To find out why these homicides keep happening, Phleger needs to turn around and start questioning the families of the ones following him. They knew their sons etc. were acting stupidly. How many of them instead were blaming the police, the NRA, and anyone else instead of seeing reality?

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Monday, January 2, 2017

The fake Matrix is real

So it's now 2017; time to reflect.

One of my yearly traditions is to "winterize" my guns. This involves tearing each one down, cleaning, inspecting, oiling; etc regardless of the last time I shot them or even touched them, along with trying to find a more creative way to fit them all in the 3 gun safes I have. This involves a copious amount of cursing and the inevitable conclusion that I simply must forego the next two gun purchases on my want list and get a fourth safe.

I think we're all familiar with the classic anxiety dream of being back in high school or college and knowing we have a test to take but can't find our schedule, or the room or open our locker or whatnot.

I have a variation of that dream in which I am under attack and can't remember the combination to my gun safes or the even more common scenario where I can get the safe open and everything is a pile of rust, or I can't find the right mag for the gun I want to defend myself with or I can't find the right ammo if I find the mag. Inside the dream, it's a maddening search filled with regret for not preparing.

Another variation is that I come across guns inside my safes I don't remember ever buying.......and can't find any mags or ammo for them. the dream has become reality.

If the average gun owner owns 4 guns, I have twice that number of guns I've never even fired for a wide variety of reasons.

I emptied all the safes and did inventory....................I came across a bolt action .223 with a bushnell scope that for the life of me...........I have no memory of ever buying.

I am an honorable person and must now call my buddy and ask him if it's his and we somehow had a mix-up swap when loading up after a range trip; something which has never occurred before.

When considering my collection, it is feasible............but if I get to the point of discovering a gun safe I have no memory of ever buying, I'm going to stop eating spicy food after 7pm and hope that restores the universe back to something I know and understand.


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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Star Wars X-Wing Drone: The Unboxening

So my eldest sibling is the one who started me on the direction of Geekdom. Got me my first copy of GEV, took me to my first 'Con, etc.  This Xmas was no different. 

Setting the scene.  Xmas Eve. The dimly lit front room at our mom's house.  Everyone watching and quiet because sis insisted this be opened last. 

The box:

 The sides are sealed w/ plastic tabs that look like wax impressions of the rebel sigil. I carefully detach them and open the lid. This is what erupts:

OMG.  So today I finally get a chance to explore, assemble, and play. 

Lots of things.  Drone, remote, charger, batteries, and lots of extra pieces/parts.

Both C3-PO and Yoda instructed me to install batteries in the remote.  It's a very chatty system w/ lots and lost of background music and sound effects.  Most of them can be turned off.  It's fun for a bit but when you're trying to learn, it's a distraction. It did startle me when I pushed a button and "Weapons Systems are now activated" burst out. Lots of laughs from the rest of the family as it was very sitcom-esque. 

The assembly is fairly simple.  There are two styles of blades that need to be put in the correct places. The battery pack is actually designed to look like the cockpit w/ a dummy cover included. It's designed to be interactive w/ other units so you can have 'battles' using I/R sensors.  Yes it makes laser blast sounds as well.

I added the 'safety cover' on mine because.... well.... I suck at using RC stuff and I don't want to break my expensive new toy by repeatedly crashing it into things.

  It does have numerous 'beginner' user features to limit that happening. Even still, no video of the embarrassing initial takeoffs.  The batteries last between 5-10 min.  I'll be working on practicing a bit more.

Maybe when I can get it to move w/o crashing I'll post some video's.

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