Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fuck you, crane game. Fuck you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

more on Urban Dead

I mentioned Urban Dead in an earlier post, but I wanted to mention something that happened to me yesterday while playing it.

Imagine a partially text-based zombie survival horror game where you only live once. That's it. Everyone has a 4-week window of time to create a character, but when you're killed, you can't make another one, and there are no second chances.

That game is Urban Dead, in Borehamwood. Players get 50 action points (AP) per day where they can search buildings for items, move one city block, attack, etc. In UD, there are three separate cities, with a 100 x 100 square grid each, making 10,000 clickable buildings (such as banks, hospitals, schools, auto repair shops) and streets: Malton, Monroeville, and Borehamwood. Malton is the only city where death is never permanent (zombies can be revivified back into human players), and is the only one with open registration. Anyone can create a character in Malton, whereas Monroeville and Borehamwood are limited-time only promotional parts of Urban Dead. Borehamwood had open registration for a short time in 2008 and had a total of 11,058 players.

I had a character in Borehamwood. If you idle out and don't log back in within 5 days, your name disappears from the 3 x 3 map until you log back in. My character remained idled for 2 years. I had recently logged back in to find I was still alive, with only 23 survivors (myself included) and 91 zombies still actively playing. Most of the buildings in Borehamwood were ruined i.e. they cannot barricaded and search rates are decimated. Zombies can just walk right in and kill you while you're logged off, so staying in these buildings are not a good option, but the only one I had at the time.

I spent several days trying to gain enough XP from the few zombies left and trying to locate the other survivors. Finally, I had just enough XP to gain a skill that allows you to enter buildings that are extremely heavily barricaded. Today, I came across the first player I had seen in years. He introduced himself and mentioned that there was a group of players in a barricaded building 2 blocks from where I was, and that I was welcome to come. Not 30 minutes later, the barricades were destroyed and I was killed by a single zombie. Extremely unlucky for me.

I guess I am trying to say that I'm pissed. There's a certain psychology behind a game like this. In just about every other game there is, you get more than one life, you get savepoints, and you can just reload any time you die. In Borehamwood though, your life is utterly priceless and now you can never make a new one. Death is absolute. Survival in its truest form. You log back in wondering if your character was murdered in the night while you slept in the real world. With only 23 people left, any person you meet cannot be overlooked; they are part of your group and you are now friends, survivors, working together, and you share a camaraderie found scarcely else. Becoming the last remaining survivor in Borehamwood in UD is a title striven for by thousands.

It seems silly, but the death of my character saddens me. Ah, what could have been.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

faking your own death

"Faking your own death takes a lot of planning, care and closemouthedness.

First, you need to figure out what kind of death you want to have. For example, suicide, accident, or murder.

Next, you need to figure out how you will fake your own death.

Suicide and Murder are the two easiest to fake, unless you live in a town with an excellent police department, or have a suspicious parent/guardian/spouse who loves/hates you a whole lot and has lots of money to spend.

Accident is more difficult because you need to lead people to the conclusion that you are dead without actually producing a body. (unless you mean to kill someone?!)

Suicide can be faked most easily; for example by leaving a suicide note, and jumping off a bridge and not resurfacing while making sure there are plenty of people to see you and not actually managing to drown yourself. Research is crucial! Make sure you know how to swim well and how to land in water from a high altitude without hurting yourself.

Logistically, you need to have a getaway car secreted in some nearby spot and don't be stupid and pack up your room. Dead people don't need their clothes and cds.

Murder is also fairly easy, but this often requires pinning it on someone else, which may cause moral issues and also requires that the patsy have a plausible motive. Being murdered by an anonymous person, like a mugger or a thief, is very unlikely to work since your death is not easily verifiable and they can't have a plausible motive to work with. Think Double Jeopardy, and Wild Things. Again, the key is not leaving a body, but still making it obvious that you are dead. Smears of blood, teeth and body parts such as fingers are often sufficient identifiers, but use your imagination.

Accident is the hardest to fake successfully without having a body, so the only real way to do it is by the 'missing and presumed dead' method. A climb of a dangerous high mountain, or hiking alone in the forest, or driving somewhere and never making it to your supposed destination and leaving a burnt out car and smears of blood all over the place should work, but again, use your creativity.

Faking your own death is the easy part. The tough bit is emerging from your charade as a new person. If you're in the US you need a new Social Security Number. You need a birth certificate to receive a SSN. Where do you get a birth certificate? Those sort of records are notoriously hard to find. You're not likely to get one just by asking. You can't use just anyone's either. If you use one from someone who's still alive, or worse already dead, you're back to zero and probably incarcerated for Identity Theft.

A popular "film method" is to get a birth certificate for an infant who died shortly after birth because, supposedly, Death Certificates aren't issued for infant deaths, or some such nonsense.

Unfortunately we all know that the movies aren't real life. It's easy enough to get a fake ID and live under an assumed name for a short period on time, but the first time you get pulled over for a minor traffic infraction, it's The Big House for you."

-from Everything2

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


This is a post on reddit I really like. It's comforting to know that being homeless isn't the end of the world.

"Practical advise from someone who's lived in a car long-term.
  • Most Wal-Marts let you park overnight for free
  • Rest stops can be good, especially if there is security provided
  • Most National Forests (grasslands, etc.) and Bureau of Land Management properties allow free camping for up to 2 weeks (but no one actually checks..)
  • Church parking lots are usually good
  • Some hotels, especially along the interstate, won't notice if you park overnight. However, some will kick you out at 3 am so it's a craps shoot.
  • Find a place at least an hour before sundown so you're not driving around at night
  • Sleeping in nicer residential neighborhoods will get the cops called on you. Sleeping in bad residential neighborhoods will get you robbed.
  • Bum a place from friends. Join and set your status to "Traveling at the moment."
  • Staying clean is very important. Trust me on this. People trust you more when you're clean and you'll have an easier time spinning yourself as "adventurous" rather than "destitute." More on this later.
  • If you can find a restroom with a lock, you can take a fairly complete bath with a washcloth and a sink.
  • If you can't actually bathe, do a whore's bath once a day. Get some hand sanitizer, the gel with high alcohol content, and rub yourself down, especially in the stinky areas. It won't get you clean per se and the alcohol will dry out your skin, but it'll disinfect you and kill all the smell-causing microorganisms. Follow this with deodorant and baby powder.
  • The easiest way to LOOK clean and safe is to keep your hair and beard trimmed. The simplest and cheapest way to do this is to get some inexpensive hair clippers and clip it short once or twice a week.
  • Dark clothes hide stains. If you can't wash clothes regularly, turn them inside out and place them in direct sunlight to inhibit funk and get that nice outdoorsy smell.
  • Avoid cologne! Masking odors is the enemy. You want to have as neutral a smell as possible. Unkept hair and powerful body odor make it much more difficult to get help from people.
  • Baby wipes are awesome.
  • Libraries! Internet! Search for a job and read books! Keep your mind occupied and hone your intelligence.
  • Parks, especially dog parks, are great places for meeting people
  • If you find yourself in a hobo camp, like the ones that crop up in national forests and BLM camp sites, if you can make a hot cup of coffee you will have both friends and (more importantly) people to watch your back. It's as simple as Wal-Mart-->camp stove-->stovetop coffee maker. Take creamers and sugar from gas stations and the like. Oh yeah, it doesn't hurt to have 5-10 gallons of water in your car, especially if you're away from a city.
  • If you maintain yourself, and you look clean and safe, you'll have an easy time convincing people that you're adventurous rather than destitute. Adventurous gets you much farther than destitute, because secretly (or not so secretly) a lot of people our age want exactly what you have--The freedom of the road, no responsibility, time to write and reflect, no obligations, nothing but days and weeks to focus on yourself. Being destitute might get you a dollar or a cup of coffee. Being adventurous might get you in a pretty girl's bed, or better yet, a hot shower..
  • Go to where the young people are and mix it up once in a while. You'll fit right in as long as you stay clean and pretty. The easiest way back into the game is through a social network, so work on building a strong one.
  • Always, always be on the bounce. Keep an eye peeled for opportunities. Don't let the massive chasm of unencumbered time overwhelm you. Have a project for EVERY SINGLE DAY. Make a plan and stay clean, because as fun as it is to tramp around for a while, you don't want to do this forever.
I hope this helps, buddy. In all likelihood, you won't have to use 99% of what I've mentioned, buuuut you never know. Top priority for you, my friend, is take care of yourself. Decide RIGHT NOW and TODAY that this will only be temporary. Mourn the loss of what you had, but remind yourself every single day that this is a BEGINNING, not an end. Focus on putting one foot in front of the other and I guarantee that you will find yourself in a better place."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I decided to check on my character in Urban Dead. UD is a web-based zombie apocalypse MMORPG (I'm a sucker for zombie things). I haven't logged on in years but it looks like they've come out with a few cool updates on the game mechanics.

The primary thing to do is to kill zombies aka dead players, but once you hit the max level XP doesn't have a use anymore so I just kill living players instead. This is frowned upon in-game, but it is so satisfying. I once killed Ron Burgundy (he was an ingame celebrity).

Check it out, it's free.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

JFK, all the way

I've been playing a game called JFK Reloaded a lot lately. It's an abandonware simulator that takes you back to the day President Kennedy was assassinated, and you get to play as Lee Headshot Harvey Oswald. The object of the game is to recreate the assassination exactly the way it happened, misses and everything. After a while, the screen fades into a rotatable model of the car, and you can see each shot and how it enters, at what angle, etc.

I've been doing other things though. I like to pick off the limo driver as he rounds the corner, then the limo agent, then Governor Connally, his wife, the First Lady, then finally JFK. The car behind it carries the Vice President, his wife, a senator, and a bunch of other various people.

They all sit there and look around clueless, and they all die one by one. I start getting less picky about who dies next. Even a photographer gets popped. The simulation obviously deducts massive amounts of points from my "score".

You can download it here for free. I think this simulation is how the Kennedy assassination should be taught in schools. Maybe I'm just sick in the head, but it's a lotta fun!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Can't you hear me now

So I bought a cell phone jammer off of and it came in the mail from Hong Kong about 2 weeks ago. The idea is that you press a button on this device and it's supposed to create a dead spot within a 30ft or so radius, effectively blocking cell phone signals within that range. Shit's illegal in the United States.

"Cool," I thought. Only this baby came dead on arrival. Wouldn't hold a charge, which was apparently a common problem. Serves me right for buying illegal electronics from China. I spent about the next week or so sending it back for a new one and having a back-and-forth with the English-as-a-second-language customer service reps.

Finally, a new one came back in the mail, and this thing is cool as hell. I feel like a god, terminating communication whenever and wherever I see fit. I have mostly used it at work for when there's a customer next in line on their phone and they just won't end it. Although it takes about 30 seconds or so to start working after I press the button.

They go for about 27 dollars and everything on DX has free shipping. Worth it in my opinion.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Pokemon Blue was the very first gameboy game I got, at age 10. I would have never expected something like this was possible.

Just the sounds in this video are enough to haunt me. If I were actually playing this, I would turn this right off and probably not play for a while.

Jesus, pokemon is so broken. I like the "qq" move. Looks like one of those....things is insulting the other...thing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

From "Steal This Book" - Supermarkets

I love this (open source) book. One of my favorite sections is on free food, Supermarkets:

Beware the temptation to be a petty shoplifter. You are truly resisting oppression, not just being an angry wannabe revolutionary. Even an angry youth, once fingerprinted, will be in the database for life. How many promising brothers and sisters have successfully fought a political persecution only to be later sent behind bars for a maximum sentence on a shoplifting charge. To lower ourselves in the eyes of the public demeans our cause. We are not in the 60's anymore - we need leaders that inspire popular resistance to the corpgov. Be aware of modern technique for only the worst of emergencies.

Consider the story of Tre Arrow a leader in the eco-green movement who was slapped with some arson charges in 2001 to get him out of circulation. After escaping safely to Canada he is at the time of this writing sitting in a Canadian prison, fighting for asylum against the Canadian courts who want to deport him to the United States. All for being caught shoplifting bolt cutters. If the movement needs something so badly let a non-activist do the shoplifting.

This book/wiki is no substitute for knowing both the laws and enforcement of those laws in the different states and localities. For example some states allow store employees to make a citizens arrest for shoplifting and in others they can talk tough and hope you stick around until a sworn law enforcement officer arrives to collect you. Understand that a cop will almost never take an employee in for assault or false imprisonment even if he did improperly apprehend you.

In spite of massive markups and increasing food costs, there are still a few ways to get out of a supermarket without getting totally robbed. Shoplifting is a good way to send a known activist off to jail for a long time when no other charges will stick, so think before you steal. "Please do not steal from local owned stores for many have been closing down because of loss. In urban areas there are not very many local owned stores anymore. Loss and the supermarkets undercutting price until the local store closes, are main reasons why my store could not survive." -
author unknown

Getting food extra cheap:

Dumpster Diving
Many smaller supermarkets still have open-top dumpsters where day-old food can be had for free! Happy hunting! Some even separate veggie and meat stuff. Be careful with compactor type trash dumpsters, these are usually shielded so yippies can't jump in and root around when the stock boy hits the compress button. It is possible to bend the guards and reach in but never try to get in. Some compactors have exposed hydraulic hoses, these use quick connect connectors which are disconnected when the garbage truck comes, you could disconnect them when you dive the trash ares to "safe" the compactor, but be sure there is not an electrical assist or that you have not just removed the return line which would not disable the crushing direction. Most good stuff is ruined by compactors so the danger is almost never worth the risk unless you have an accomplice on the inside to load the compactor with good stuff for you and not hit the smash button.

One of our writers sent a letter to a large US bakery company saying that French students were coming to the high school and that there would be a presentation on American foods including snack cakes. They were asked to donate products for the exchange students to sample. One week later four coupons arrived worth five dollars each for that corporations bakery products. This is a great totally legal way to get some basic food if you are low on cash, because even most junk food companies also make bread and other products that are better for you. This also works if you write a polite letter to complain or compliment their products or just to ask questions, this sometimes also works if you call the 1-800 info number.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reading the above link while listening to the one below just makes it that much more awesome.
Love it when you're listening to music and it syncs up so well with what you're reading.

I hate political discussions

Skip ahead in the video to 1:54. The expression on Barack Obama's face is how I feel during every discussion during class at community college.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Survivor" made into a movie?

The folks at Film School Rejects have come up with a plausable movie adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's "Survivor". I Am Legend director Francis Lawrence is interested in it, but apparently due to 9/11 any story with a plane hijacking as a plot device is iffy. It's been over 10 years since Fight Club. It's about time for Survivor., am I right?