Re-Thinking 9/11 -- what the heck happened?

Something to consider:  When USA was attacked 9/11/2001, who benefitted?  USA attacked wrong country & invaded it & is still there 12 yrs later.  Cost $trillions, most $ went to 'contractors' (ie mercenaries) & weapons manufacturers.
Bush family profited directiy via Carlyle Group investments, a private weapons/military investment.  Cheney profited directly via Haliburton stock & kickbacks.  Muslim nations -- under assault by USA military who call them terrorists, despite USA using drone attacks vs civilians, 'night raids' into people's homes, and widespread institutionalized torture of civilians.
Just saying that ... whatever you think you know, maybe the OPPOSITE is true?

ie Dept of Defense = Dept of War
ie Terrorists = Civilians trying to survive in an occupied country
ie USA Military = foreign invaders testing out new weaponry on lesser armed civilians
ie war motivated by 9/11 attack = Christianity vs Islam (Crusades) or Racism (ie USA vs non-white countries)

I'm confused why Bush & Cheney & cohorts are not held accountable for lying to USA, for attacking wrong country, for torturing people & authorizing global torture practices, or for blocking & misleading the investigation of 9/11.
And when I say confused, I mean -- WTF?!?!?!
/end rant

Apps Aug 2013

Latest iPhone apps installed - Aug 2013
Dungeonism - $2 (installing now)
Any.Do - free  (5* todo list)
Buffer - free
7 min workout - free
IBodyBuilder - free
Hunters (reinstalled  -5* game)
KP -(Kaiser Permanente) - free
Filmstrip - free
SunMoonGyro - free
Luminance - free
Retro-Racing - free (5* game)

apps installed & immed deleted
Dungeon Wagon
Blood Brothers RPG
Robot Junkyard
Survivor Z

Deleted apps
Bit Dungeon -- fun, but done.  Would play again *esp if updated

Kick Ass 2 - review

First, I saw the graphic novel at a comic store for Kick Ass 2.  I stood and read the whole thing, cover to cover.  It was *awesome*.  I was stunned that they took the story so far.

As someone that loathes unnecessary violence and ultraviolence, it might be surprising that I enjoyed this comic.  But Kick Ass 2 answers the question, "What if people were really superheroes or supervillains?"  And the answer is -- lots and lots of bloody mess.

Didn't buy the book that time, though.  Then I saw the movie was coming out.  Very exciting.

Now I wanted to buy the graphic novel, but guess what?  Sold out!  I asked a comic store owner & they said, "Yeah, it was selling slow until the movie was announced and then it flew off the shelves."

Just before I saw the movie, I was in a comic store & off-handedly asked if they had the graphic novel.  They had 1 copy left.  I grabbed it on an impulse buy.

Then I heard it was in the theaters.  I heard a few positive reviews, and decided to see it that night.

The movie was entertaining, funny, immature, and had a lot of references to that comic (and a lot of lines & references from the comic), but it didn't have the grit of the comic.  It didn't have the heart of the story.  I wasn't sure why, so I re-read the comic.  And there it was ...


The comic book was ~ 200x more violent than the movie, including the villain shooting innocent children for no reason, rape, animal mutilation, and beheadings.
The comic book did not have the silly 'happy ending' sequence of the movie.  The comic book was hardcore, the movie was a 'feel good' movie with no core.

There were scenes in the movie that didn't make any sense to me:

Kick Ass dressing like a pimp & getting beaten was not in comic.  Didn't make any sense.  Hit Girl beating them to a pulp wasn't in the comic either.

In the  movie, Motherfucker's uncle kills Chris' last remaining gangster friend, his 'Alfred', while in jail.  (What was the point of that?)

The pseudo-rape / comedy scene with 'Night Bitch'.  This was adapted from the comic's harsh gang rape of Kick Ass' dream-girl.  I found it impossible to chuckle at a rape scene, depite the deliberate attempt for a laugh.

The movie has a lot of reminiscences of Big Daddy, which weren't in the comic.  And Mindy/Hit Girl had an awkward line of dialogue about her promise to Big Daddy to defend the city...?

In the movie, Markus was an authoritarian & Mindy / Hit Girl always obeys.  Pretty hard to swallow.  But in the comic, Mindy's mother is barely sane & Markus uses the guilt of her mother's fragility to keep Mindy in-line -- and Mindy explains how her Dad taught her to be obedient.  Comic made slightly more sense here.

The movie made up the "last defense" adrenaline needles -- not in the comic.  Not necessary.

Movie had Kick Ass dating Night Bitch -- not in comic.  The comic has Kick Ass unable to score with anyone -- makes more sense, no?

Comic has Hit Girl as a 14 year old.  In the movie she seems like a high-school senior (~ 17?) but she looks like a 19-20 year old, and she's supposed to be a freshman (15?).  All of the 'annoying cheerleader' scenes were not in comic, nor was the 'shit & puke' stick.  (I admit I LOL'd at that scene and also wondered if that's a real weapon.  Hard to know what's real & what's comic book fantasy nowadays!)

Comic has a no-name baddie knocked into the shark tank, then Hit Girl tortures him to spill the beans.  Movie has Motherfucker go into the shark tank, which actually made more sense to me & was 'normal cinematic forshadowing' -- but it was preposterous.

 Movie shows Motherfucker in an unnecessary 'legless & helpless in hospital bed' end scene.

Here were the 'toned down' violent scenes I can recall from the top:
Kick Ass' Dad was beaten to death in the movie, but in the comic he was beaten & hanged from a noose.  (Different feel.)

Hit Girl is beaten brutally by Mother Russia, her face disfigured by a brass knuckle beat-down. 
In the movie, Mother Russia finds Hit Girl's 'last option' adrenalin needle & assumes it's poison, so she injects Hit Girl, resulting in an upbeat/contrived 'adrenaline battle' where Mother Russia is stabbed to death with glass (same as the comic).
In the comic, Hit Girl then decapitates Mother Russia in the comic, "just to be sure".
In the comic, the General (Colonel?) is beheaded and his dog's head is left on his corpse.  In the movie, he's shot & beaten to death.

The final battle with Red Mist/Motherfucker was pretty different in the comic, but the ultimate point was the same: Kick Ass wins & proves himself to be a good guy, while Motherfucker is weak to the core & loathable. 
Comic -- Kick Ass continually attacks, Motherfucker constantly retreats & uses every dirty trick in the book; hitting Kick Ass from behind a door, begging for his life, whining about getting a painful nut-shot, throwing nails into Kick Ass' eyes, etc.

In the comic, Kick Ass knocked Motherfucker off the top of a building and he lays in an alley with broken body & broken neck, and Kick Ass (the hero) calls an ambulance for him.

And lastly & most significantly to me, the comic's final scenes feature Hit Girl and Markus both going to jail.  Hit Girl pays a rough price for being a heroine, and Markus for 'aiding & abetting'.

In summary, I was disappointed that the movie didn't 'hold true' to the comic

CNN has devolved into a crappy Fox-TV equivalent

If you watch a lot of CNN, as I do at work, you might have noticed something really unusual happening.  I knew that most of their shows are horrible sub-par crap, and even though I like a few show hosts (Anderson Cooper, Anthony Bordain's new show, etc), the quality recently tanked.  I also despite Piers Morgan, the inferior replacement for Larry King.  (Btw, why is an uncharismatic British news exec (who was part of the Rupert Murdoch news organizations in England & thus the scandal) hosting a talk show on CNN?)

News reports had said CNN had let go of all their investigative journalists and were moving towards a more 'panel talk' format.

But just how God-awful this format will be remains to be seen.  In the last month, stories which were played all night long included: Martin-Zimmerman trial, birth of baby King George, Ed Snowden's voyage, and now Anthony Weiner's sexy tweets.

But the flaws here are so stunning -- editorial is regularly conflated with reporting, there is no clear fact checking or validation (and lies are tossed out regularly), the news is presented as 'infotainment' and personal dramas, and lastly but most importantly --> the focus of the stories is warped almost completely, the 'narrative' hijacked by CNN, and then the news is retold without the most critical aspects mentioned.

Highlights of flawed coverage:

Zimmerman trial -- why was the case significant to USA?  Not because of the drama and the outrage, but because in Florida the police let a man kill a teenager and go home that night without being charged.  Because racism and apartheid still exist in the South.  Because these new "ALEC" pro-gun laws which are now in effect in many states enable violence against minorities without prosecution.  WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT AMERICANS STOP RACIST WHITE MEN FROM KILLING BLACK CHILDREN WITHOUT ANY RISK OF PROSECUTION, CNN?

King George birth -- this story annoyed me to no end.  Not even a moment spared on the history of USA, people fighting to be free of an oppressive empire, and rather a focus on the British royal family.  'Royalty' -- a tradition people fought in USA to end.  WHY WOULD AMERICANS CARE ABOUT BRITISH ROYALTY, CNN?!?!  We fought a war to be free of them!

Ed Snowden's voyage -- CNN simply accepts that it's ok for USA to prosecute & pursue a USA whistleblower where 'freedom of speech' and 'freedom of press' are guaranteed in Constitution & this secret spy govt is not part of our laws, no coverage of the leaks, no discussion of the collusion between press and govt to keep information out of the hands of the public, no discussion of what the secret USA govt spying on the public means, no followup questions, attacking Glenn Greenwald for covering the story, etc.  WHAT IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THE LEAKS, CNN???  CNN is too afraid to say.

Anthony Weiner -- OK, he tweeted and did other stuff that married people aren't supposed to do, and Congress people shouldn't do, and married Congress people get embarassed when it's exposed.  Got it.  But what positions does Weiner take on substantive issues?  WHAT STANCE HAS WEINER TAKEN AGAINST THE BIG BANKS, CNN?  That's right -- Weiner wants to prosecute the big banks for the bailouts (as did Elliot Spitzer, another guy clobbered by the media).

I'd like to shut off CNN forever & replace it with actual journalism & reporting.  But for now, it seems that CNN has joined FOX as a pro-govt spin machine, committed to reporting entertainment only and downplaying / spinning / distorting the real news.  Why do they do this?  Because the govt and corporations make it worth their while.

IFTTT -- powerful, simple, dangerous, cool.

If This, then That. is the site, the iPhone App is here.

So what the heck IS this thing?


Well, it creates 'rules' which monitor your different apps & sites, and if you (or someone else) does something at one of those things, IFTTT then responds by doing something else which you pre-define.

Like what?  Well, my first rule was -- if I post something on this blog, post it on my FB page.  And that worked.  So I then found 'a recipe' (that's what they call the 'rules') which checks this blogs & when I have new post, & it notes the post into my twitter feed.

So in a way, this is good b/c it automates tasks that I always wanted automated.

But it's really easy to imagine what could happen if this app starts posting the wrong stuff in different spots, or posting someone else's stuff into my stuff, or vice versa. 

Imagine if you have a rule that says, 'anytime there's a bikini pic in FB, send me an email' -- but you make the recipe wrong and it sends that email to someone else?!?!?

And yes, you have to imagine that it could send other people's stuff to you.  Which could be good, bad, or annoying depending.

Opportunities for rockin' new stuff, opportunities for torturous hell!  Let's be careful with this one!

Here are my shared recipes so far (9/2013):

IFTTT Recipe: Email new 'Order of the Stick' comic

IFTTT Recipe: Email me Headlines

IFTTT Recipe: Blog Update, post link to FB

Ravenmark: Mercenaries - free, new, pretty cool!

Found Ravenmark: Mercenaries on Appshopper - free!

Lots of great freebies lately.  Not enough room on the i-Thang to install all of them, but i'm trying.  Game of day is Ravenmark-Mercenaries.

It's like a tabletop miniatures combat game.  Totally free, but you can buy it & get rid of annoying pop up ads.  Or just ignore the ads?  (Is that possible??!?)

Gasland II -- more painful knowledge 'the frack attack' vs the world

Watching Gasland II on HBO. I'll be damned -- BP Oil Spill was a deliberate coverup! Should we be surprised? I suggest you watch #1 and #2 if you want to understand the ramifications of fracking and the massive BP Gulf Oil Spill.

Which lead me to something very inspiring - Sean & Yoko & Jimmy Fallon singing "Don't Frack My Mother".

Maybe we are on a quick road to hell, but one person in the Gasland II movie called this the 'last hurrah of the fossil fuel industry' and said that this would be taking out more substantial chunks of the environment.

Not sure it's all worth it when we can generate power in much more kind and healthy ways.  We aren't obliged to combust... but people rushing us to Armageddon seem compelled to accellerate the process.

I don't believe that we have to destroy the planet -- but I'd be happy if we destroyed some of these corrupted institutions and organizations. -- free internet 'radio' hosting and call-in! Sweet

BlogTalkRadio is here!  I've got mine!

I've wanted to do 'call-in' radio for awhile, but haven't tackled it.  Now the infrastructure is here -- costs $$$ for pro level, but also has free version.  I went 'free'.

My BlogTalkRadio 'station' description:

PostModern Scifi Philosophical Brain Food

Now just gotta whip up a theme song and get rockin'!


(Hope to post/embed the audio shows on this blog.)

Wazhack for iOS - review

Repost from AppStore Wazhack review: 5 stars

First, ignore any 1-star reviews talking about KB flaw. Dev knows & plans to fix, said its a UNITY flaw. (Yes, it's annoying!)

Game is a neat 2 1/2d side scrolling Rogue-like. Has old school scroll names, unknown items, Identify & Uncurse, etc.
Game is *really hard*, also.
Last point -- at 300', game has $1 IAP to play more w/char class. There are 4x classes (male/female versions = 8), so to play all classes would cost $4 I think. I've only unlocked Knight/Valkyrie (1 class), feel like it was a dollar well-spent. Haven't tried others yet.
Other points --
Game speeds up / slows down. Dev said is based on keeping finge
View also zooms in/out.
Powerstones I think are like mines/grenades. Easy to kill yourself!!
Pop up tips are helpful at first.

For dev -- hard to see some items & bats! Feeding dog has a bug which occasionally only shows potions & no food. A help explaining spells & item effects would be helpful, rather than a 'help' which takes me to a website w/o help!! Could also use a help explaining all icons in UI. Messages list (under 'more') should start w/recent msgs first!!
I am happy to keep providing feedback -- maybe put a link in app to send feedback (besides savegames!! -- which doesn't work anyway bc of KB bug)?
I'm a fan of roguelikes since day 1 & I think this is my fav iOS Roguelike so far -- but havent tried for many days yet (& only 1 class, haven't gotten very deep before brutally killed, etc). I'd rec this game to any fan of roguelikes.
Lastly, I had a spell which tamed a bat. In another game, cast same spell while I had a dog -- made dog attack me! (Sucked.)
Also there's an identify scroll which does ID all items!! Gotta love that!

I'll repost my comments to my blog ( & anyone who wants can add comments / tips. Also toucharcade has a thread about this game.
And there's a wiki here.
r down, but seems at variable times.

April 2013 iOS apps

Here's my April 2013 iOS app writeup.  My iPhone 4 only has 16 gigs, so I often cycle apps.  Please let me know what *really GOOD* apps you recommend -- I'm an app nerd.
Dungeon Raid -- all time fav game, generally too expensive, (I'd grab it for $1 in a sec though).
Battle Heart -- awesome. (It's the game your D&D game was based on.)
Infinity Blade -- free (IB2 is out, so IB went free. It's a deal!)
Kingdom Rush -- great game ($1) but hard, I'd wait for it to go free.
Nimble Quest -- free, strange, fun
Bit Dungeon, Card Quest -- both dungeon explore games.
My latest fav is Block Fortress which I got on sale for $1 but is probably $2 now.
If you're really into gaming, grab the Touch Arcade app (free) and take a look at .  re: Appshopper app, so if you have it installed that's great -- if not, you can't dload it right now b/c Apple said "no" to them for now.
Other apps: Evernote, Dropbox, Tapforms, Flipboard, Yelp, Sol, EasyFTP, Craigslist +, Kickstarter, GasBuddy, Imo, Waze, Blogger, Blogger +, iBart, Ancestry
Pics: PS Express, Adobe ideas, Bokeh Lens, ComicBook, Nostalgio, Orange Cam, Photostudio,
TV: Netflix, HBO Go, Youtube, TED
Music: TuneIn Radio, SoundHound, SoundCloud, Pacifica, Pandora, Downcast, Figure, Animoog, Loopy, RandGrid, DM1, 5-0 Radio

Rant - Humans' De-evolution into mobile phone zombies

Dungeon Hunter 4 -
another 'IAP-plagued' iOS game
I posted this rant in TA comments on Touch Arcade's Dungeon Hunter 4 preview - an ok game plagued intentionally with "IAP" (in-app purchase) design which is money-grubbing and evil (and makes gamers pee their pants with anger). 

Actually the GAME looks cool.
But the IAP / store mechanic looks like a game-killer.
Meh. Who cares, really?

The whole 'hack/slash' genre is a bit ... sad ... at this point. Where is the adventure in it? Overpowered dudes run around kill weaker grunts who ave no chance, looting their corpses which vanish into money (leaving no blood on the killer's hands). Can you see this stuff ain't good for society?
Domination and violence are a bad solution for almost every scenario in life! This virtual violence is part of the conscious attempt to dumb down the masses.
If religion was the opiate of the masses, mobile gaming is the crack.

This 'dumbig down with mindless domination & destruction' issue is far more significant than these endless IAP rants all mobile gamers must make.

What is needed is creative games that give people an opportunity to think, not point and kill games that make meat-heads even more 'Bill & Ted'-like. Last comment in my 'human de-evolution rant': Bill & Ted, Dumb & Dumber, & Wayne's World were all comedies -- they weren't meant to be reality shows!
Turn off the devices, use your hands, brains, minds, and bodies. Don't just be another programmed vegetable idiot moron who only fiddles with their little 8" screen all day long!
It's pathetic!

There's a whole world being stolen from you by corporations and polluters to enjoy! Better do it now, b/c all those rare elements being mined for our smartphones are destroying the environment so badly that soon all we'll have is the virtual world to live in!
Wake the f**k up!
/end rant

SOL - the app, dude! A new form of sun clock!

I randomly noticed in AppShopper website that SOL app went free today.
I checked it out -- and I love it.
It's an app that shows you the sun's position all throughout your day AND midnight AND sunrise AND sunset.  And it looks so cool!
Their website is entertaining b/c it links to their blog, which had a very funny entry called Marketing’s a Bitch: Lessons from the App Store.  It was insightful into the mind of dev's, and hilarious.  I posted a long ranty comment, hasn't shown up yet.
Get it today for free (!!!), or wait a bit & you'll pay $3. Either way, it's cool. Take a look at the website & see what you think, watch the video, etc.

Get the app from iTunes!

Looper - review

Redbox'ed "Looper", a scifi movie w/Bruce Willis, Jason Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt. I give it 6 stars out of possible 10. (Sidebar -- saw Dredd ~ 2 weeks ago, and thanks to Karl Urban nailing it, I'd give that 7stars out of 10. Had mor...e style points and a convenient 'slo mo' drug that looked cool, & had some RoboCop spirit / style.)

Anyway, I wouldn't say Looper was a great film in any sense of the word. But it had some interesting bits. Happy to watch scifi that had a little mental stimulation. I didn't think Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a good job as a young Bruce Willis at all, but didn't seem important for the overall film.
  • Advertising really misrepresented film.
  • If you follow the logic, has some serious incest going on...?
  • Missed how kid becomes "Rainmaker" during his life. Guess that info wasn't necessary...?
  • Had some cool steampunk references, like "Gat Man" and "Blunderbuss". (Flying bikes didn't make any sense but you could tell someone said "c'mon, we gotta have 'em". Incongruency points!)
While I like 'time travel' movies which have the 'no paradox possible' concept, and that time resolves itself (via some undisclosed mechanism which, frankly, makes zero sense -- but needs some scifi name like "temporal particle rebalancing", ha ha), generally the writers can't hope to keep stuff 'in sync'.

P90X - Day 5, & day 7 'wrap up'

Update - I have now done 5 workouts in 6 days.  (I was too exhausted on Thurs to do the workout, due to graveyard shift + extra 4 hours of taking care of baby while my partner works.)  I decided that my 'day off' will be Thurs rather than Sun, so I had to change my workouts a bit.

As I stated previously, I'm also scaling the workouts back significantly as a part of "building up a base" of conditioning.  Even still, doing approx 1/2 or less of the workouts (which is quite challenging for me), I'm noticing all kinds of improvement -- back and chest feel stronger, my arms and legs feel powerful.

Another observation -- I dubiously bought "Muscle Milk" from GNC to try after a workout.  Despite being somewhat sore generally, I did the "Legs & Back" workout -- but skipped the Ab-Ripper X (actually b/c of time, but also I thought 2x in the first week was enough).  I was surprised how many reps I could do and how good I felt.  Doing pull-ups, I did noticeably more -- even though I was still easily exhausted and did nothing like what they do in the videos.

So after I showered & got ready for work (@ 9:30pm), I grabbed the Muscle Milk and took a big swig, then ran out the door to get some dinner on the way to work.  I stopped at Gordo's (an ok Mexican restaurant nearby) and got a beef & chicken taco (rather than normal 'super burrito', which has rice & more tortilla and cheese).  On my way to work, I finished the drink -- and it did taste chemical-ish.  Not 'bad', but not wonderful.

But at work, I noticed through the night that almost all the muscle soreness was gone.  I feel that my muscles are still swollen, puffy from the workouts, but no pain.  ZERO.  And normally I drink a lot of coffee to do the graveyard shift, but I only drank 1 1/2 cups.  That's significantly less -- maybe there's stimulants in the drink?  Now I'll consider trying the 'Whey Protein' powder I have (it's a lot cheaper), and see if it has a similar effect. 

I have to admit -- I'm impressed.  If this is the secret path to doing extreme workouts and not having any pain, I may do it.  But I don't really want any ingredients going into me which are unhealthy for long-term.

Another note: despite it's challenging nature, I like Ab-Ripper X and am stunned at my improvement after just a few repetitions of the video.  In preparation, I could barely do 20 situps.  In my first playback, I could not do most of the situps, but I tried to do some.  In the second playback, I could do noticeably more reps of each move -- but my abs were too sore to do some moves.  So I didn't push it.  I guess that's a good way to go -- just build the base, don't let my ego get involved.

Update 1/23
Well, I got in 1 week of P90X and then stopped.  First I missed a day, which became 2 & then 3 and then it was hard to start back up.

Observations:  I really liked the workouts, and doing 1/2 workout might be a good way to get 'a base' to someday do whole workout.  I'm not in physical shape to do 10 pullups, let alone 50+.  But the workouts were damned good and hit every area.

My knees were a little beat up from Yoga & Jump Training, but the Kenpo X was surprisingly one of the harder workouts -- which surprised me bc my martial arts background is better than all the other stuff.  Maybe it's b/c I did that workout 100%, while I slacked deliberately on the others...?

So I got the '10 Minute Trainer' videos & will give them a try.  I'm not done w/P90X, though -- but w/new kid and working graveyards, it's a hard time in my life to devote 60-90 min's a day for workouts...

P90X 2013

Started P90X on Jan 1, 2013 (my 2nd attempt, but my first serious attempt). I've been prepping for it for a few weeks -- just doing push-ups, sit-ups, and running laps indoors at work.

I committed to myself in Dec I would go for it. My weight is the most I've ever been (230 lbs for 6'2" guy) and I haven't been motivated to excercise significantly for months (a year?) bc of working graveyard shifts. Having our first child in Oct was a blessing AND another reason to get some muscle tone. (He's already ~15lbs & not gonna get any lighter!)

My biggest issue w/P90X previously was finding the time (since I sleep during days), the intensity of the workouts, not understanding the diet program, and my wife not being into it (actually, she was initially & did a few workouts, but she quickly hurt herself).
I've found it's easy to injure yourself bc the workouts are tough and my 'starting point' is not very fit.  So I committed to doing between 1/2 & 2/3rds of the workouts to start, not pushing myself hard at first, and just learning and trying.  Working on my 'base'.

It's still hard!!!

I'm going to track my progress in this blog -- and on my iPhone, and on paper, trying to keep motivated. Taking the photos was motivating -- I was surprised just how out of shape I looked from different angles. Those pics will *never be seen* -- unless in 3 months I look a lot better!
I make it easy by putting the videos on my PS3 and hitting play -- much easier than digging up DVD's.  I love PS3 'VOD' functionality -- in some ways it's way better than our Comcast DVR!
Our 5 year 'anniversary' of when we first met is Jan 1st.  My wife has resumed working out, and I didn't want to fall behind.  So that was more motivation to go for it.