not pretty, but it will work

Speaking of building your own "garage-expedient" firearm, this may just be a trailer for a movie, and thus just a dramatization, but, yes, making a firearm-like device capable of grievously wounding / killing someone really is this simple:

Look at the tools and materials she used: wire snips, a block of wood, a knife, a short length of steel pipe, a file, the pipe end cap, copper wire, a small square of cotton fabric, a handful of screws, matches, duct tape, and some kind of powderized propellant.

Aside from the last item, it is a fair bet that most of the homes in America have the same, or at least similar, items as are what are shown in the trailer, and even if they do not, I can guarantee you that every "home improvement" store worthy of the name does.

And it is not like the last item is that hard to make. Various instructions exist online for the production of black powder, and buying it is just like any other online transaction – the stuff can be delivered to your door, no questions asked (in most states).

Would I want to fire such a contraption myself? Oh hell no. Would I if I had to? Probably. Would I want to be downrange of it? Only if we are talking distances of a football field or more. Would it be lethal? Assuming conversational distances, assuming everything worked, and assuming the screws did not just fly off with reckless abandon, I could easily see a device like that killing someone. Possibly a few someones.

Which just goes to show how futile the notion of "gun control" really is. There is absolutely no way you can "control" wood, steel pipe, basic hand tools, and so forth, and even if you tried to, people would just buy the materials from different stores and you would be none the wiser. Worse, I am fairly certain even I could manage to produce at least one of those contraptions a day (especially if I used better tools than the character in this movie apparently had access to), and with practice, that rate would unquestionably increase, and the functionality – and thus efficacy – of the device would increase over time as well. So what is the point of registering / regulating / restricting firearms again? Is a person somehow less dead if they were killed by screws moving at hundreds of feet per second, rather than a specifically-made bullet doing the same?

[Caution: I have absolutely no idea how a device like this would be legally defined. Given that it does not use cartridge-based ammunition, it is not legally a "firearm" in my understanding of the law, but aside from that, you are very much on your own if you undertake the assembling of one.]

(Courtesy of Everyday, No Days Off.)

sign them up for a marathon

I was not a huge fan of the book, so maybe it is just as well the movie’s only point of similarity appears to be its title:

Of course, the movie goes with freakishly hyper-fast zombies, whereas the books featured the standard shamblers… I cannot say as though I have ever been a huge proponent of the former position. I mean, unless we are going to the 28 Days Later theory, "zombies" are functionally dead, with the majority of their bodily functions shut off. As such, wounds will heal slower, if at all, infections will win, swelling and necrosis will set in, and things will just start breaking down. If it is winter, you will probably end up with zombsicles, and if it is the summer, especially around the equator, you are going to have steaming puddles of goo and one hell of a smell.

But zombies as a persistent threat? Unless we are talking about certain parts of the world, or we buy into the Newsflesh theory that all humans are already infected and just waiting for exposure to the live virus and/or death for the bug to take over, I am just not seeing it. Oh, sure, a zombie break-out would pretty much be an apocalyptic event, if only because people are stupid, but the movie seems to focus more on that collapse, and less on the aftermath, which is what the book really pursued. Of course, that aftermath did not exactly make for riveting reading, which means the producers probably made the right call.

*shrug* Honestly, I am more looking forward to this one:

(Videos should work now. Apparently when scheduling posts for the future (which I was doing for the Christmas holiday period, since we were and are out of town), WordPress just arbitrarily deletes / breaks the YouTube embed code for videos. Wierd.)

who would give a 300-foot-tall battlebot to that ai?

I do not care how bad-ass your mecha are or how much the world’s continuing existence depends on someone using them to beat the everloving crap out of some oversize, extradimensional beings; if the assistant AI sounds like GlaDOS, I am NOT driving the bloody thing:

(Click through to see the video.)

And, yes, it really is Ellen McClain voicing the Jaegers’ control matrix; if there is not some joke about / reference to Portal in the movie, I am going to be very disappointed (cultural gaps like that in stories always annoy me… you can imagine how much everyone’s ignorance of the concept of ‘zombies’ gets on my nerves with The Walking Dead).

(Found by way of Lurking Rhythmically… and everyone else.)

who is john galt?


Well, I know where I will be next Friday, and this time it will be shown in the "real" theater here in Knoxville, rather than the artsy-fartsy indie theater off in the boonies.

Part One was good, but it could have been significantly better; this time around, we have changed everyone in the credits aside from Brian Patrick O’Toole as one of the screenwriters and John Aglialoro as the producer, so I guess we will have to see how that affects the feel of the movie… The good news is that the pace of the story picks up in the second part (as much as anything written by Rand could be described to "pick up"), so hopefully it will not have the "drags in places" feeling of the first one. Personally, I prefer the actor playing the old Rearden to the new one, but that may just be me, and is neither here nor there in terms of the movie.

Of course, when you get right down to it, how can I really dislike a movie that features the line, "If you feel you have the right to use force against me, bring guns," from one of the protagonists?

Unfortunately, our government has shown a remarkable willingness to shoot your dog, your family, and even you in order to get you to do what they want you to do… even if they happen to be at the wrong address. Rand may be one of the worst authors I have ever had the misfortune of reading, but damned if her prognostications did not contain the startling bushel of truth…

does this make it "classic"?

Huh. Apparently it has been ten years since Firefly first aired (in truth, the anniversary will come on 20SEP12).

As I told someone after a particularly strenuous karate class, "So this is what getting old feels like…"

I will confess that I have never seen Firefly on network television; at the time it first aired (out of order, irregularly, and at strange timeslots, thanks to the idiots at Fox), I was in college, and I do not think I even had a television in my dorm room at the time (I never owned a television until after I graduated, so it is a question of whether or not my roommates had one). However, I came home for Christmas break in 2002 and my parents were absolutely raving about this new science fiction show that I must have seen, so I eventually borrowed some recordings some folks I knew made, and within an episode, I was hooked – as I recall, I might have watched the entire series in about two days.

Since then, I have bought the the DVDs, the follow-on movie, and all three sets of comics (though I am still holding off on reading the last); I have watched the series all the way through at least six times (deployments can get very, very boring) and the movie at least thrice; I compiled my own book based off the storyline; and I have even gone so far as to model a very expensive gun from a prop in the show… and I am just a small-time "Browncoat". Other far-more-dedicated people have invested far more time, effort, and money into supporting this short-lived show and continuing its memory for the foreseeable future.

I somehow doubt Joss ever figured that the ‘verse he created would have such a lasting impact on the world around us, but I doubt he minds. If you happen to attend Comic-Con this year, I certainly would not mind a report on that panel, and someone tell Adam Baldwin that the real-life incarnation of Vera is his to shoot whenever he wants.

nazis… from the moon!

I have been idly keeping an eye on this production for quite some time now, and judging from the preview alone, here is my highly-qualified and unassailable opinion on the matter:

This is going to be awesome.

If its graphics are bad and its story sucks, there is pretty much no way for it to avoid being campy… which is just great. If its graphics are good (which they appear to almost be) and the story is at least understandable (I almost wrote "plausible", but never mind), this could potentially become the cult classic of 2012.

Either way, if this thing manages to make it to a screen near me (and it might, but I am not counting on it), you can bet I will be plopping my butt in a theater to see it. I mean, really, Nazis from the Moon, apparently driving space-Zeppelins and UFOs. If that does not automatically kick over your giggle switch, I almost do not want to know you.

(Stand by for "gun control" extremists to pop out of the woodwork decrying me as a neo-Nazi, white supremacist, or some other idiotic nonsense in three… two…)

you sank my shape-changing, alien ship thingie!

On the one hand, a movie based off Battleship (no, really, the board game) is possibly the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard of.

On the other hand, it seems to give the Navy some good airtime (despite dressing the actors in the same mind-numbingly idiotic Navy Working Uniform our sailors have been forced to adopt), and as a veteran, I can hardly argue with that:

(Note to Google Reader viewers – there is a video above.  Click through to see it.) 

And, of course, on the gripping hand, I am forced to point out that US Navy battleships have been officially decommissioned and mothballed, and are currently on display in museums around the country. It is said that there are plans to reactivate them should a situation ever arise requiring the delivery of small VW Beetles onto targets within 20 nautical miles, but I have some personal doubts as to whether or not such a plan could be executed in a timely fashion, if at all… or if it would even be worth it (their manpower requirements, technological deficiencies, and years of inactivity would be horrific to overcome).

Still, as mindless-entertainment movies go, you can almost certainly do worse…

(Courtesy of Gizmodo.)