Sunday, November 28, 2004

Happy Holidays

Just got back last night from driving 500 miles to my parents place for Thanksgiving Dinner. Great time had by all, as usual--got to see my brother and his girlfriend, some friends of the family and such. Only was there for two days, but that's the way it goes.

I don't like the distance, which requires a lot of scheduling difficulties to visit, but the drive itself isn't too bad. The only place traffic is ever bad on the trip is around Atlanta. So the trip isn't too bad--I work my way thru my cd collection, and think up things to be pissed off about. And business ideas and such too. And wrestle with philosophical problems. Good, quality thinking time.

Mom told us to write out Christmas lists like she does every year. Mine are usually pretty short, so I add in unusual things just to flesh it out a bit: A steam powered catapult and a 6 month supply of cats. A flunky, a toady, and a brace of henchmen. and so on. This year I didn't do that--I guess I got sidetracked before I could do it. Or perhaps the small notepad was to blame. Always blame the equipment, never the operator.

So here's my Christmas list:

* .45 ACP ammunition--I prefer 230 grain full metal jacket ball ammo for target shooting--my preferred carry ammo is Hornady Custom 230 grain jacketed hollowpoint +P

* .303 British ammunition--my preferred rifle is the No. 4 Mark I Lee-Enfield. I love bolt-action rifles, and have actually been reprimanded for rapid firing at some ranges--I can fire 10 rounds in about 6 seconds with that baby. Of course, accuracy goes to hell, but most rounds fired in combat are suppressive fire anyway. If I keep his head down, I can take my time to make the next round count.

* Jack Daniels--I talk about drinking, and think about drinking, a hell of a lot more than I actually drink. I still have a decanter half-full of Jack that I've had for a year. But I bought another bottle here in Alabamastan recently, and it was no-shit $32! For those who are unaware, any alcohol purchased outside of Alabamastan and transported into Alabamastan is considered bootleg alcohol, and thus illegal. I always wanted to be a bootlegger! I've been listening to "The Ballad of Thunder Road" and any other song I can find regarding bootlegging. One of my favorite Muppet Show episodes is the one with Peter Sellers--at the end they sing "Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women." Anyway, my already half-consumed Jack Daniels was bootleg whiskey as soon as I moved it to Alabamastan, as was the Irish Whiskey my youngest cousin bought for me for last Christmas (Well, I expect her Mom or Dad actually bought it, as she's not legal yet), and my collection of red wines is bootleg as well. For that matter, I believe the same law applies to tobacco, so the Prince Albert in a can I brought with me (I'll smoke a pipe about once every 4 months or so) is bootleg as well. Anyway, I'm hoping my relatives will become my accomplices in my bootlegging activities, by purchasing the whiskey for me as a gift. There: I've confessed to bootlegging, conspiracy to bootleg, and misprision of either felony or misdemeanor, depending on how the gov-goons interpret it.

* Bushmills--the aforementioned Irish Whiskey. Basically the best Irish Whiskey there is, followed closely by Jamesons (which is also quite acceptable). I usually don't drink it straight--I use it to make Irish Coffee. Bushmills is the oldest continuously operating legal Irish Whiskey Distillery. I've heard it's possible to get the absolute best bottles only by touring the distillery--so I'm hoping I can get a relative to take a vaction to Ireland some day and bring me back a bottle of their best. Shouldn't be too hard. I can't do it, because I refuse to fly until I'm allowed to carry my life preserver (aka my pistol) and the Irish and Brits aren't civilized about letting free men carry the tools of self-defense.

* the final item on the list, gift certificates to Books-A-Million or or other book suppliers. I have a wish list on Amazon, but it hasn't been thinned out (it runs to pages in double digits). I may have already purchased items on it, or read them in ebook format, or borrowed them from the library or some such. Usually I list a few titles on the list I am particularly interested in, but this year I didn't--I wrote the list in something of a hurry.

So my list is a weird one. You oughtta see the rest of the family's lists. My father's includes "A Shrubbery." I've always suspected him of living a secret life--it turns out he's a Knight of Ni. Not really all that surprising, now that I think about it. I asked if he'd also like us to cut down the tallest tree in the forest with a herring. I think that's for next year's list. My brother's is pretty much the same as it always is--basically "Find me some old moth-eaten army stuff. If it's got bullet holes in it, even better." He also wants some new boxer shorts. The sicko once mentioned he'd like to make himself a pair of burlap underwear. I suspect he's done it--and probably wears it too.

I haven't seen any lists from my sister's family yet--I'll probably have to stop by and ask (they're only about 250 miles away). My neice (Mackenzie--everyone else calls her "Kenzie"--I call her "Mack" and my sister often calls her "Mac-and-cheese.") will be three in March. So I guess I'll have to get her something age-appropriate: whiskey bottles with sippy-cup tops (nipples are for babies), small-caliber pistols (her arms aren't long enough for rifles yet, and bolt-actions require a bit more manual dexterity than the average three-year-old posesses) I'm thinking perhaps a revolver, as automatics may be a bit intricate for a toddler, and some of the small parts may present a choke hazard during field-stripping. I'm not sure if her strength is up to the level of pulling back the slide on an automatic either. Those small hands just don't quite have the leverage.

Unless I get married and have (or adopt or in some other way acquire) children of my own, I reckon I'll have to content myself with corrupting neices and nephews and cousins and such. Better lay in a good supply of whiskey and ammo now--don't want to be caught short when the little tykes are around. Shot glasses are just about right for little hands. Perhaps I ought to start buying some of those little Derringers I'm always seeing at the gun stores. I've always thought them a bit feminine myself, but I guess they're just right for small hands. Not any good for protection unless you're worried about attacks by rodents, small birds, or snakes I reckon. But probably would be good for developing the hand-eye coordination and good shooting habits before growing into larger calibers.

Don't worry--I won't start the little rugrats on explosives until they're 8 or so. you gotta be careful running triplines with tension-release-detonation. It also helps if they've learned some basic electronics and can handle a soldering iron before getting into that stuff. It's not critical, but it helps to know WHY you can improvise the detonation trigger out of a lantern battery, a clothes pin, a plastic spoon, and 10 inches of electrical wire. Knowing how will get you through most of the time, but knowing why can help you figure things out when you need to make substitutions in the recipe. You have to know what the eggs do in a cake before you know if you can substitute something else for them--just as you have to know that the plastic spoon is an insulator (i.e. not an electrical conductor) keeping the two halves of the circuit separated until removed by the pulling of the trip wire, before you can know that any other decent non-conducting material will do--the spoon is just easily acquired (they come in MRE packets) and is a shape that works pretty well for its purpose in the system. Of course, the clothes pin and the spoon are both unnecessary if you have a long enough piece of insulated wire, but I think they are less prone to failures, as the tension of the clothes pin assures a good transfer of current thru the circuit.

I won't teach them to actually MAKE the explosives until they are much older--teenagers are prone to accidentally spilling and breaking things, which is not good when you're trying to manufacture homemade explosives. Composition 4 is much safer for children--it actually requires an electrical charge or high-pressure to explode--and thus can be safely dropped or bumped or whatever. I've actually cooked on C-4--you can light it and cook over the flame, so long as you don't do it in an enclosed space--the fumes are pretty nasty.

Well, have I dropped enough in this post to give the Echelon and Carnivore geeks apoplexy yet? If not, here goes:

Improvised Tactical Nuclear Devices are for advanced students only. I can give a rough-sketch idea of their construction, but I don't have the fissionable material, nor the math skills necessary to design the intricate series of shaped charges necessary to compress the atomic core into a critical mass and thus jump-start the detonation. Trial and error is not a good way to learn this, I think. And these should never be used by children. "No! Bad kid! Don't play with nuclear weapons without adult supervision!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ranting, Emergencies, and hatred of phones

Define the term "Emergency." If I ask you if something is an emergency, what would you take that to mean?

We had no power at work. The main transformer caught fire. We have 2 electricians and 2 helpers for the entire campus. The electrical grid across campus is antiquated and in bad repair--everything is falling apart. Every time we make an electrical repair, the increased load on the rest of the system causes something else to blow.

The same goes for water systems, gas lines, HVAC systems, etc. I would be willing to bet that 60% of the roofs on campus need replaced entirely. We have 2 plumbers. We have 3 HVAC workers, only one of which is actually completely qualified. We have 2 carpenters. We have 1 locksmith.

So when it's raining, the transformers short out, and we lose power. This kicks off all the HVAC systems, which means the HVAC techs have to go around and turn off all the HVAC systems with 3 phase motors, otherwise all the motors and condensors and such burn out when power returns to the system. Probably 85% of the roofs across campus leak when it rains, not to mention all the backed up drains and such. Furthermore, anytime anyone moves a vehicle across the ground--be it a fire truck, a bucket-truck, a delivery vehicle, or whatever, we get broken gas and water lines.

So, in the middle of a particularly bad rainstorm, when we've just had the fire department there to put out the fire on the main transformer, and we don't have any electricity on campus, and all over the place buildings are flooding, sewers are backing up, and so forth, if you call me with a maintenance request (and if I'm answering the phones, that means that the phones are ringing off the hook and/or we're running really short on personnel) and I ask you if it's an emergency--what sort of work request had it better be if you say "Yes it is."? I'm thinking life safety issues, followed by items which could cause serious and permanent damage to the University.

Not roof leaks that have been there for (no shit) 20 years or more--why did you place your computer under that leak anyway, if you have known it was there for 20 years?

Not telling me your power is out--I know it's out, because if it's out where you are, I'm sitting in the dark too. And don't ask me when it will be back on--it will be when we can get it done. We don't want to sit in the dark either. We didn't turn the power off ourselves, and we didn't schedule the power outage. You've been having these power outages every time it rains for at least 10 years. My company has been here for 10 months, and you've given us half a mil to do $500 Million+ worth of necessary repairs. We've got 2 electricians, which is what you allowed us to hire--neither of which is actually certified or fully qualified--but those are the two you gave us when we came in. Please don't act surprised and shocked after 10 years or more of this shit, when we don't immediately restore power to the entire campus.

And you had definitely not, after telling me this is an emergency, under these conditions, and being yourself a University Staff Member, proceed to give me a long list of shit like missing peepholes, closet doors off track, keys you would like copied for closet doors, and other plainly NON-FUCKING-EMERGENCY-SHIT-LIKE-THIS! I swear by all the gods ever conceived that I WILL GO POSTAL. I WILL GO COMPLETELY APE SHIT.

I have NO PATIENCE in Emergency situations. NONE. Fucking Ti-Ti. Any other time I will be perfectly reasonable with you--even if I don't like you. But in a bonafide emergency I do not have time to play silly-buggers. I am not a nice person; I do not like people. I am amazing in an emergency--otherwise I wouldn't be here. I was not brought to Alabamastan for my sparkling personality or my fashion sense or my ability to engage in the pseudo-intellectual circle-jerk of PC buzz-word spouting. I'm here because people recognized that I get shit done, and can improvise, adapt, and generally kludge shit together as needed. I'm doing this in the office because that's where I'm needed. I'm not a computer whiz, but I can make the computer do what we need done, and I am one of the few office-pukes you'll meet who understands the office is there to support the folks who do the real work--not to obstruct and delay and give certain folks an air-conditioned seat in which to get swivel-chair spread. I was brought here because shit is falling apart all the time, and there are an average of 5 low-grade emergencies every day, at least 2 mid-level emergencies every week, and every 3 weeks or so there is a major emergency just on the edge of actual life endangerment for someone.

Anytime the folks at work decide they care more about playing games, spouting pc-buzzwords, and preserving feelings than they do about fixing problems and protecting lives and property, all they gotta do is tell me, and I'll leave with a smile. Until that time, either lead, follow, or get the fuck outta my way. And don't waste my friggin' time. I have places already picked out to hide the bodies if necessary.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I don't like people.

I don't like people. Oh, I like many individuals just fine, but people in general annoy me. The more time I spend alone, the more I dislike the telephone, groups of people, public places, etc. Perhaps I just need to drink more.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Perhaps a step closer?

I have perfected the use of my home computer in remotely controlling my work computer. Hopefully having demonstrated this, I am one step closer to convincing my boss that he doesn't need me on site--and I could work just as well from home, plus no one would have to see my ugly mug around the office, or listen to me rant, or worry that I might go postal.

Of course, I haven't given up on convincing folks at work they don't need me at all. If I can spin off enough of the job to others, I'll try to convince them to let me take a pay cut and work from home. It'd be worth it to take half my current salary if I could work from home 100% of the job.

Which would be one step closer to heaven--opening a bar somewhere, in which I sit by the fire, drinking Jack Daniels and reading all day long. A quiet bar, with just enough customers to keep me in business, but not so many that I make enough money to attract the attention of the government goons. A small, quiet, intelligent, appreciative bunch of customers, who will mix their own drinks and deposit their money in the till. If I am especially careful in setting up, and get the right location, I can have everything delivered, and I won't even need to own a car. And if I live in the Bar, I can cut my expenses even further--thus needing fewer customers.

Nothing ambitious--no advertising, quiet music, loud enough to understand the lyrics and enjoy; not so loud as to make normal conversation difficult. Comfortable lighting--not bright, not a cave. Comfortable chairs--not hard stools. A stage for occasional musicians--acoustic or otherwise, depending upon my mood. A nice big fireplace at one end. Plenty of book shelves. Irish Coffee, Jack Daniels, and an enclosed grill pad outside for those warm summer nights. Grilling steaks, playing Ray Charles, drinking Jack Daniels, and looking at the stars.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Raining on Parades

Believe it or not, I'm not all doom and gloom. I'm just drawn that way.

I don't intend to do it, but almost every time anyone mentions anything related to government, politics, news, etc. I tend to reply with a rant, essentially saying "No matter how bad you think it is, it's really much worse." The problem is, it's true. Things ARE worse than people know, and ARE going to get much worse.

So what should I talk about?

Sports: Don't follow them. I'm not a spectator by nature, and the only sports I'm interested in participating in are generally solitary efforts.

TV: I don't watch much, and no network shows.

Movies: I'm into a few of them, mostly comedies and the Firefly movie coming out in April of 2005 is at the top of my must see list, but that pretty much exhausts that topic for me.

Music: Well, I don't know any of the new stuff--I listen to classic rock, blues, and a mix of assorted other stuff most people aren't interested in. The new stuff all sounds the same, and all the "artists" pretty much look the same to me.

Books: Well I read all the time! But wait--no one else reads. So I guess that topic is out.

Religion: Well, I can talk about this, but generally it just pisses everyone off--religious types and athiests alike.

Philosophy: Another one I'm good at. Of course, no one else is, or cares.

History: Yet again--I know the topic, no one else does, apart from spouting off whichever myths they've been indoctrinated with in the government schools.

Education: I'm against government schools. Everyone else thinks they're a great idea, and has no interests in facts proving them destructive to the youth of America, and thus our future. So another no go.

The military/war: I was in for 10 years. I know what I'm talking about. If anyone cares enough to bring up the subject, they end up either 1) scared of me and or 2) looking at me like I'm psychotic, not to mention sometimes 3) physically ill and determined to avoid me from then on.

Art: I'm not an artist, but I know what I like. 99% of what is called "Art" is crap. Fuck Monet--his shit should all be burned. This is not a popular topic for people once they get to know me.

Social Justice: This is just a euphemism for politics, so no go.

Economics: I actually know how to do math, and don't take what the government pseudo-economists say as gospel, so I'm not very popular in this topic. I am an Austrian when it comes to economics--and if you don't know what that is, you aren't interested in talking economics with me anyway. If you do know what that is, you're either 1) an Austrian yourself, so we agree and don't have much to discuss; or 2) a non-Austrian Economist, and your greatest efforts will be directed towards drowing me out with your own pseudo-scientific, mystical babblings.

Love/Romance/Sex: I'm a fighter, not a lover. I'm a pretty plain vanilla sort of guy when it comes to love and/or sex. I don't have any particularly unusual fetishes, apart from an attraction to assertive, intelligent, independent, and competent women. I'm too old, too tired, and too proud to spend my spare time out trying to bed anything that moves. Sex is great, but I've found the only women any good at it are the ones I have noted my attraction to above. Cheerleaders piss me off, models look plastic, and women without brains have the same effect on me as fingernails across a chalk board. As far as who everyone else is sleeping with and what they are into, I'm not interested. Call it solipsistic, ego-centric, self-centered, whatever, if you aren't sleeping with me, your sexual interests, partners, practices, fetishes, predilictions, pecadillos, equipment sizes and/or attributes, etc. etc, don't count anyway. My history in these matters is between me and those who were involved with them in the past, and not for discussion with anyone else. Call me unromantic. Fine--I'll even agree. I don't care. So much for that topic.

Drugs: My preferences are for caffeine, a little alcohol, and upon very rare occaisions, perhaps a little tobacco. Anyone else can do whatever the hell they please--the "War on Drugs" has killed more people than drugs have. Topic done.

Foreign Affairs/Policy: See politics and military. End of topic.

Someone try me out on some new topics, please.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election Aftermath

"Few men desire liberty. Most merely hope for a kind master." --Sallust

I've said it for years--most people in the world, especially Americans, would be more than happy to accept slavery, so long as you don't actually use the word. Call it "Universal Employment" or "Life-long security" or some such, and you can sell them on every jot and tittle of the substance--just avoid the bad word "Slavery."

Some folks call 'em "Sheeple." And perhaps they're right. Most people do seem to act like sheep. They don't fight the wolves, even in self defence. They don't even keep running from the wolves. When a wolf chases sheep, the sheep run until one is caught; then they all turn and watch until the wolf is done with the victim. I guess they hope the wolf won't be hungry anymore.

America was a frontier once. Those days are past. It seems that Liberty only exists on the frontier--once the frontier is gone, so is Liberty. The only Liberty remaining on Earth is what is to be had in cyberspace. There seems to be a genetic flaw in humans--when life gets too easy, when there are too many of us around, when we don't have enough real threats around, we go insane, and destroy Liberty.

I can think of only one solution: Space. We've got to get the hell off this planet. Earth has to be just a place to be from. Earth will be the slum of the solar system in short time, if we can get the hell off. We've had the technology since the 1970s--fuck NASA. NASA exists to keep us all OUT of space--to keep us all at the bottom of the gravity and tax-slavery well. And we don't have to colonize the Moon or Mars--although they will be colonized someday. The key is the Belt--the Asteroids. Enough wealth to make everyone on Earth as wealthy as Bill Gates (relatively speaking), plus easy to turn into a personalized planet.

If I ever get out there, I'm opening a bar/bookstore on my asteroid. I reckon it'll actually be a general store of sorts. And all who are independent and honest are welcome. Government Agents of any sort are unwelcome--but I repeat myself.

The meek shall inherit the Earth (a plot, 6ft by 4ft by 6ft). As for me, I'm headed for the stars first chance I get. And I cant wait to shake the Earth-dust from my feet.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Initial Post

Ok, lemme give this thing a try. I reckon I'll just introduce myself a bit--just in case someone surfs in here by accident. It's generally considered unsporting to not post "Beware of Dog" signs and such, so consider this fair warning.

My name is Mike Ruff, I'm 32, male, 6 foot, gray eyes that change to various shades of blue and green for no apparant reason, about 230 lbs, and I shave my blond hair off because I have no patience with it. I joined the Army at 17, I've lived in every state on the East Coast of the US plus a few others, I've traveled around a good bit of the world, and I just moved to Alabama from North Carolina in March of 2004. I read voraciously, and actually go through withdrawal symptoms if I haven't read a book in the past 16 hours. I've got an A.A. degree from a community college, a Doctor of Divinity thru mail order, and a little more than 240 credit hours towards a B.A. in Philosophy, History, Classical Studies, Literature, and so forth. I did my freshman year in college in Augsburg, Germany, about a year after finishing active duty in the US Army and doing a few other things in between.

After I came back to the States, I was in the Nasty Guard until I finally came to my senses in 1998. The only thing I was ever really good at was being a soldier. I knew that I was going to be a soldier from the time I was about 8 years old, and spent a lot of my childhood preparing myself for that life. I miss the life all the time--but I realized that I could not be true to my oath and remain in the US Army at the same time--more on that later.

These days I make my living as on office manager, which provides me with 1) plenty of frustration (without which I would probably curl up an die from lack of opposition) ; 2) plenty of horror stories for anyone who complains about how bad they have it; and 3) plenty of amusement at the expense of less intelligent and educated life-forms--i.e. university faculty and administration, college seniors who aren't literate, etc. Hey--it's either laugh or cry. "The world is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think." I think that was Oscar Wilde, but I don't remember.

Anyway, to shorten this already long story, I'm a Libertarian/Anarcho-capitalist. I'll explain that later. But I'm basically an anti-government gun-nut (I carry The Pistol. In the beginning there was the 1911, and it was good. And God said: "Thou shalt not hang all manner of foul implements on this good product of my disciple, John Moses Browning, lest it malfunction in thy hour of need."). In addition, I believe everyone owns their own body and life, and therefore interfering in the decisions of consenting adults with regards to their choices in sexual partners, recreational pharmacology, life-styles, and so forth is wrong. The principle is the "Zero-Aggression Principle" or "ZAP." More on this later.

More on everything later. I'm going to see whether the Communist or the Fascist won this stupid damn election for President of the US. The only decent human up for election might pull 1% if he's lucky (i.e. Michael Badnarik).