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Archive for June, 2009

Discussion Starter: Movie Mistakes

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Discussion starter for you: What are the worst movie gaffs that you can think of?

For example, some people would say that in the movie Independence Day Jeff Goldblum’s character wirelessly communicating with the alien mother ship using a PowerBook 3400 (a model which has no wireless capability) and implanting a virus is the worst movie “hand waving” exercise in recent memory. Some people would say that the gaff is that he was able to write (and compile) a virus that knocked out the alien’s shields. In other words the gaff isn’t that there are aliens or that the aliens who are capable of inter-stellar flight aren’t peaceful (which is one theory of alien life that is alluded to in the movie). The gaff is that the crucial plot device couldn’t have worked.

I will now hand wave the second of those two gaffs away. They were able to write and compile the virus because the scientists at Area 51 had the alien parasite fighter to experiment with for years. The computer were capable (and now I’m hand waving) because they’re computer’s and the logic processes were similar. No, strike that– they wrote the virus on the fighter and just delivered it on the PowerBook 3400.


Caspar, the FRIENDLY Ghost

Monday, June 15th, 2009

First a disclaimer: even after all the following, I am still undecided as to the existence of ghosts. On one hand, I am a pretty pragmatic person, and like solid evidence of things; on the other hand, this all happened to me personally, NOT some friend-of-a-friend or whoever!

I’ve been a movie theater projectionist for a long, long time now; occasionally in newer theaters (my current one is a five-year-old IMAX — woot!), but many times, especially in my earlier days, I’ve worked the oldest places in the area. For one twelve year stretch I was at a theater built in 1911, which is where I encountered Caspar.


General Petraeus Facts

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

(Submitted by SPC Cameron Kennedy)

I’m not sure if you are familiar with the Chuck Norris facts that are over exaggerated but they are rather hysterical. I have created a list of General Petraeus facts based on the true story of a LTC Petraeus being shot in the chest on a live fire exercise and then sent to the hospital. After being refused early release after only two days following the shooting, the then LTC Petraeus dropped down and knocked out 50 push-ups. He was released that day.

With that I humbly submit to you for possible publication: the General Petraeus facts.

1. M1 Abrams no longer fire depleted uranium rounds, they now have Gen Petraeus’ fist waiting down the barrel. It was deemed inhumane for use.

2. Osama bin Laden is not hiding in Pakistan, he’s hog tied in Gen Petraeus’ footlocker.

3. Iraq used to be a frozen tundra before Gen Petraeus got there.


Voodoo Farming #1 (06/11/09): Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

    Welcome to the first article of a new series, Voodoo Farming: A Not-Quite In-Depth Look At Zombies In Popular Culture. In this series, I’m going to try to enlighten you to the many varieties of zombies depicted in popular culture.

    When the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse (colloquially referred to as the Zombocalypse) comes, I want my fellow meat shie- er, fellow humans to be prepared to fend off the vast hordes of oncoming undead. After all, every one of us that falls in the forthcoming zombie onslaught will only bolster the ranks of the terrifying, shambling undead.

    Every day, many of us get up and go to work. But before we do that, we often like to go outside, grab the morning paper, and wave hello to nice Mr. Jones next door. But one day – and that day is coming soon – you will turn to wave to your elderly neighbor only to discover that he is missing half of his head and he’s all too happy to look in your direction for some replacement brain matter.

    So what would I do, my friends? What would I do when Zombies Ate My Neighbors?



Descriptive title is descriptive.


    First, my gentle, hopefully still-living readers, here’s the hard facts:


Threat Level:


    Zombies Ate My Neighbors is possibly one of the biggest ball-busters out there, only barely beat out by swift kicks to the groin, horse riding, and the ill-conceived combination of rollerblades and a downward-sloping railing.

    This classic SNES game contains 48 aneurysm-inducing levels of zombie and B-movie monster terror. Zombies? Check. Werewolves? Check. Giant, rampaging toddlers? Check. There’s so many more terrifying beasts in the game, from cheerleader-kidnapping aliens to Frankenstein’s monster to giant ants.



    Apparently the squirt gun is enough to take out the more common enemies like zombies. The variety of weaponry in this game is crazy for a top-down shooter game. The short list, from memory: squirt guns, canned soda grenades, silverware, ice pops, fire extinguishers, weed whackers, Pandora’s Box, a cross, a potion that turns you into a raging monster, tomatoes… there’s probably a good dozen other weapons that I’m forgetting.


Cause of the Outbreak:

    Where should I start? Throughout just the first ten levels of the game, you see:

  • Toxic chemicals dumping into water.
  • Toxic chemicals dumping into water near a graveyard.
  • Radioactive waste in the back room of a supermarket in a mall.
  • A mysterious, glowing meteor crashed into the ground.
  • A mad scientist who disappears by drinking a magic potion.
  •     Take your pick.



        Werewolves, Chainsaw-wielding maniacs, Martians, mummies, Frankenstein’s monster, giant ants, giant babies, pod people, killer plants, blobs, killer toy dolls, midget mushroom men… and probably more.


    Odds of Survival: Low.

        I consider myself a pretty decent gamer. I’ve been playing games since I was four – almost twenty years. But I have never, ever beat Zombies. I think I may have gone as high as the mid 30s. This game is insanely impossible, and anyone who has told you that they beat this game is a bold-faced liar. The difficulty curve slopes so steeply upwards than if it were a mountain and you’d try to climb it, you’d find that you’re walking upside-down halfway up the damned thing.



    The Devilish Details:

        Let’s take a quick peek at the game, starting with the character select screen:


    An example of early ’90s fashion.


        Zeke is on the left, and Julie is on the right. These are our teenage protagonists. Save for the sprites, the characters have no differences between them.

        I would like to restate that our main characters are teenagers. Take a look again at Julie. She’s awfully… voluptuous for a teenager. Where the hell were these girls when I was in high school? I would have shown up to school every day and gotten straight A’s just to get a look at women like this. (As an aside, I’ve heard my buddies say stuff like “Oh, well, you were too stupid to notice the hot girls” and similar things. I, like most teenagers, was a walking bag of raging hormones. Bullshit I wouldn’t have noticed.)

        On the opposite end of the spectrum is Zeke. Zeke has apparently just stepped out of a late-night rave, or perhaps he is such a hardcore fan of 3-D movies that he never takes off his special glasses. Half the time I let this tool die on purpose for such an inane fashion statement. If it was a game featuring little kids, it’s be cute. But since they are high school age kids, that makes Zeke either a rave-hopping ex junkie, mildly retarded, or both.

        The objective of the game is to rescue at least 1 survivor every level. If you run out of lives, or all of the survivors die, you lose the game. Up to 10 survivors spawn in a level, and the amount of survivors that spawn depends on your score in the previous level(s).


    Braaaiiiiiins. (I swear, I’ll try not to use this as a caption all that much.)


        Here we have a shot of Level 1. Toxic waste surrounded by zombies? Not a good sign in my book. Zombies are slow and dumb, but they will bum rush you or a survivor at three times their speed if they get within a few feet.




        Here we have a picture a couple levels into the game. Note the zombie approaching the toddler.

    They wouldn’t.


    Not the mama!


        Apparently, they would.

        Sometimes, the game makes it hard to want to rescue survivors. Observe this fine member of our armed forces.




        He seems to be wielding a World War I-era rifle (complete with bayonet), and the uniform matches. Judging by the quality of his equipment, I’m going to guess that he’s Army Reserve. Actually, even the Army Reserve gets better gear than this. Is there an Army Reserve Reserve?

        Let’s check out this guy’s training. Uniform? Check. Weapon? Check. Shitting your pants in fear and not shooting your rifle? I don’t think they really cover that at basic.

        Later on in the game, you’ll see these same poor, ill-equipped soldiers with bazookas sitting right next to them. You think someone besides a couple of rowdy teenagers would pick up a weapon and shoot at the marauding hordes of ungodly horrors roaming through the countryside.




        Here we have the “Fun Baby” dolls. Apparently, there’s a bit of fine print on the box you can’t see, namely something about these dolls being hellspawn who throw and/or maul you with axes. They often work in groups. I have never seen a group of toddlers so organized since A Streetcar Named Marge.




        Here we have your standard chainsaw maniac. Anyone who is into vintage horror movies knows how intimidating Leatherface is. Jason Voorhees is a tank. These guys apparently lean more towards Jason Voorhees.

        Note that I have the bazooka equipped. Ammo for the bazooka is rare, but that’s because it can take down pretty much anything in one shot. It can break down doors as well as bust open walls and hedges. It takes five shots – five shots – to take out a chainsaw maniac.

        For your reference, here is a picture of an actual bazooka:


    Dude, we could totally turn this thing into a bong.


        Bazookas were designed to heavily damage tanks and introduce machine-gun nests to our good friend Mr. Fiery Molten Shrapnel, Esq. These chainsaw dudes have to be doing more steroids than the Yankees starting lineup allegedly does.

        The first level you encounter them you have to deal with several of these guys. Your best option is to freeze them with the fire extinguisher and run.


    Mama? (I’ve used this caption four times already, and it’s been relevant every single time.)


        You thought that I was joking about the giant toddler? That flat pancake-y thing underneath the toddler is Zeke. Yes, he steps on you and smushes you.



    Wrapping It Up:

        Zombies Ate My Neighbors is forgiving at times (a life bar, health kits you can use at times, three lives, co-op play, and bonus levels where you can get more health kits and extra lives). Most of the time, however, it is a game that is very challenging. If you are a fan of B-movie horror movies and delicious satire, you will enjoy this game.

        As for the possibility of a real-life Zombie invasion, what can we learn from Zombies?

        Stay the hell out of hedge mazes and the toy aisle.



    Ihmhi is a developer for Fortress Forever, a free, fast paced Team Fortress mod for Half-Life 2.

    The Zombie Stories

    Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

    Billy (of the untitled zombie story fame) now has his own site up. So if you are interested in seeing how his zombie sage ends, order order | go and check out http://psychlycan.wordpress.com/

    Also, once again I find myself running short of guest stories. So if you have a funny story that you would like to share, please feel free to send it in.

    I Have Writer’s Block

    Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

    So here is a picture of an otter.


    That is all.

    Zombie Story Part 4

    Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

    This is the latest installment of my story. I am still writing another story of mine, asthma one that I hope to get published, ambulance so if you do happen to still enjoy this story, despite its flaws, any help in getting my other, better written story, published would be greatly appreciated. And now, Part 4 of Zombie story. (I still need to work on my ability to name my writing.)

    “Mr. Washington, this strange new threat has taken over several of the settlements, but it seems to have started near Williamsburg. It also has been a severe problem for the British as well, as some of our men watching their formations have witnessed these things that were once human overrun the troops. It appears, so far, that these abominations do not die from shots through the heart, or even from dismemberment. However, if one manages to destroy the brain, they fall like they had been dead the whole time,” said Benjamin Franklin.

    It was then that a messenger entered a room, saying that a young woman, covered with blood arrived, stating that she had just come from a small settlement near Williamsburg.


    River Crossing

    Monday, June 8th, 2009

    South Armagh in Northern Ireland is rural…very, very rural!! There are some of the tallest, thickest hedgerows that you’ve ever seen and one of the main rules of patrolling out there is “Don’t use gates, bridges or any other channeled path”. This was brought in due to the fact that the IRA had been burying huge bombs under gateways between fields and in one instance, detonated it remotely, killing two guys and seriously wounding the other two guys in a section of 4 men. Getting through, over or around the hedgerows, ditches, swamps and fields full of mad Irish cows was always something to look forward to on every patrol…..NOT!!

    Patrolling is also a bitch because of the amount of kit you have to carry. A normal patrol will see the average troop humping upwards of 40 pounds of gear, sometimes as much as 80 if we were on extended patrols or OPs. I only weigh 165 now pounds and was quite a bit smaller and lighter back then, so you can imagine what a bitch it was for me!!


    Night Filler List

    Sunday, June 7th, 2009

    (Submitted by ltc_insane)

    1. Have pallet jack races around the store when the day staff go home.
    2. Riding a pallet jack period is against OH&S even though the stock runners still do it regardless.
    3. Should not laugh in any of the night fill managers faces when they tell me I have to do the impossible to fulfill the store managers unrealistic expectations.
    4. Should not laugh at my managers when they say there is not allowed to be any excess stock of lines which are full and won’t go on the shelf.
    5. When working past midnight night fillers probably should not start a congo line around the store.
    6. I should not sing the D&D version of Jingle Bells during Xmas time to compensate for the horrible Xmas songs/carols that play over the store speakers all night.
    7. Bon Jovi songs should not be played loudly & repeatedly from the stereos in the electronics department.
    8. I should not strongly curse the store manager by the many foul names I have labeled him with just because he’s a clueless asshole.
    9. Especially when he is in the next room and may hear me.
    10. I should not threaten to throw anyone down the compactor………no matter how much they may deserve it.
    11. I should not threaten to kill anyone, especially not any of the day staff managers.
    12. I also should not threaten to kill the pay office staff even though they seem to fuck staff pay on a regular basis.
    13. I shouldn’t tell the night fill head manager that she has a nice ass, even though she does have a nice ass and finds it amusing that I would even say that to her.
    14. I shouldn’t flirt with the night fill head manager in any way, shape or form even if I do it to keep her sane and amused.
    15. I should not laugh when I knock an entire end of books over.
    16. I should not refer to new night fillers as “fresh meat for the grinder”.
    17. I will never be allowed to use my altered version of a certain speech made by the drill sergeant in the pilot of Space Above & Beyond on new night fillers.
    18. I should not swear when the store is still open.
    19. I should not swear so loudly that i can be heard clear across the store.
    20. ……….even if a bunch of shelves nearly took my head off
    21. ……….even if the end cap of stock I’ve just filled collapses because the brackets and shelves are useless.
    22. I should not curse customers for leaving rubbish and stock from other departments all over the place ……… especially when the store is still open.
    23. I am should not refer to the store as one big OH&S violation.
    24. Night fill should not shake the vending machines.
    25. ……… even if the food/drinks frequently gets stuck in them
    26. I am not allowed to kick the vending machine when it short charges me for 3rd time in a week.
    27. Night fill are not allowed to get bolt cutters to cut off the padlock to lockup so we so we can put away the expensive electronic stock because the fools from the day staff locked the key away where we cannot get at them.
    28. I should not take pride in the fact that one of the night fill head managers I worked under told me that he has never encountered someone who hates their work place as much as I did.
    29. I should not threaten to kill members of the day staff for leaving trolleys of cardboard at the compactor without bothering to put it in the compactor and leaving it for us to deal with.
    30. Night fillers should not play soccer inside the store and laugh at the amount of stock that is knocked off the shelves during it.
    31. I am not allowed to refer to the counting and checking during stocktaking as a waste of night fill’s time.
    32. Night fill managers are not allowed to use the PA to tell stories during night fill.
    33. Or do silly voices.
    34. Night fill are not allowed to suck helium while inflating balloons to do silly voices.
    35. I should not refer to the female staff who dress up as Santa’s helpers at Xmas time as “Santa’s Sexy Helpers” even if their skirts were incredibly short for their size.
    36. I should not remind the night fill managers that with all the unpaid work they get stuck having to work that they are making less per hour than a 15 year old Macca’s worker.
    37. Night fillers should not tell their managers that they are making more money than the managers.
    38. I should not take spiteful pleasure in racking up overtime just to spite the store manager for being a tight-fisted moron.
    39. I should not curse the cleaners who come to do the floors of the store for keeping the night fill staff back for half and hour because they cleaned and sealed the floor on the way to the back door.
    40. Night fill should not curse the cleaners for turning up at the worst possible times and making our work harder by having to go around the areas they are cleaning.
    41. I am not allowed to dismantle a cardboard display stand with a crowbar.
    42. Night fill is not allowed to use large boxes to hide in just so we scare the crap out of someone.
    43. I should not refer to most of the monthly corporate training/education as a waste of night fills time.
    44. I should not comment after viewing the first 5mins of the latest corporate training video as a couple of million dollars better spent on staff.
    45. I should not sign off on corporate training saying I’ve done it when I haven’t.
    46. Even if it is not particularly relevant to our jobs most of the time.
    47. I am not allowed to refer to cleaning the fixture room as a waste of time as the day staff always end up messing it up within 24hrs+.
    48. I am not allowed to laugh at the day staff while they are trying to catch pigeons who have some how gotten into the store.
    49. RnB Xmas songs are a blasphemy and should not be played over the PA at Xmas.
    50. I am not allowed to refer to the store as “the hellhole”.

    Fun With Internets- Ferret Time

    Thursday, June 4th, 2009

    More fun from the ‘tubes.