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Creation Date: 2002-02-26
Today, I will tell you a story of a grenade launcher that spit fire. I was in the trenches of WWII 1944. My platoon had been wiped out by weakly armored, heavily gunned panzer tanks weeks earlier and I hadn't seen a single person friend or foe since. I could hardly say that I had before either. But that is neither here nor there. I was walking in mud a foot deep in a wet trench four feet deep. I didn't know at the time, but there was a river feeding my current situation two hundred yards to my left. To find anything was my only goal. I could not see a single thing besides myself and the trench I was stuck in. I wasn't literally stuck, but I wasn't going anywhere. Certainly I would walk upon an enemy troop at some point and be happy as I was shot by the only people I could call my friends. Upon finding any enemy no matter how crude, I will announce to him in his language as best I can that he is my best friend. I am no traitor or coward, but here I am. I am in a trench built to protect soldiers from an ever-coming onslaught of evil troops. The troops that were supposed to be protected by these trenches were long killed. The evil that had killed them are hundreds of miles behind me. Why should I have to follow them to be killed? Surely I'll never catch them at my pace. The best way to find someone would be to head right into where I am sure that evil lurks. I dropped my rifle during the mess. Perhaps that is why the tank didn't strive to fire an expensive round at me. Or perhaps it's because I was headed bravely in the exact opposite direction of the entire world. Indeed I had drifted far into the place where it is impossible for people to go. I knew that for a fact. How did I know that? Because I stopped hating. There's no better sign. Well, well, I've found a muddy ramp out of the trench. I'm not going to make a quip about getting out of a rut in a bad place. I can only think of myself and I don't know why. Isn't there someone else out here? Can't I mail-order a Popular Science magazine? This is my dilemma. Being alone makes me more afraid than staring down a tank or a rifle. I believe that it's probably only because I'm not staring down a tank or rifle. I was afraid then. Would I be afraid when I saw the next row? It doesn't matter. Throw myself on the ground. I'll be missed if I don't make myself big enough a target, I'll sit up. As my arm pushes off the ground, I feel something metallic and laminated pressing against my hand. Not a rifle. This is thick. I look down and to my horror, a terrible machine of war is in my hand. A grenade launcher has been ditched by a fleeing enemy troop. Empty of course, but it's quite a piece of work. Really a portable horizontal mortar. It had no real practical use. It made an impressive bang and put a hole in the ground. People always run away before it explodes, but it certainly makes people run. Perhaps the grenade is the weapon of the enemy coward. Firing a weapon that will ensure your target will retreat. But of course the enemy could advance, but who would want to? Picking up this hefty piece fo metal, I can understand what the soldier who carried this felt. He was young and ready to die. It's a perfect combination for those with money on their mind. I look down the barrel expecting to see some gory detail. There is none. I could tell you that the barrel has been violated by the ammunition that has fired from it, but I don't think that counts. Innuendos hardly mean anything on the battlefield. When your CO tells you, "Come here," you hardly care about adolescent puns. Indeed that was my fireteam leader's famous last words, but he said it with less conviction in his voice. Certainly he found his words as fitting as I did. On the horizon, the sun is rising. Orange and green mix in a waving diffraction pattern. A physicist such as myself can make comments on the irony of the fact that this is my first and last time to see such a sight. I squint to get a better view and my pupils dilate to the size of the bullet headed my way. My eyeballs detach from my head, and I get a perfect view of my beloved grenade launcher behind the sun. My vision was blurred, but that is to no matter; my best friend stands above my corpse checking my pulse. He stops a built-in reflex to seal the wound; he must have been a nurse. But he thinks it is a good idea to pretend to his friends that he got a kill as I bleed to death. Don't worry, I'll thank you on the flip side, bud.

The story you just read was written on the spot without stopping for more than a congo bar. Don't expect too much. I'm a physicist, not a writer. I often find it helpful to write things that I am morally opposed to write just so that I allow room for creativity in all directions. A person who limits themselves immediately becomes less mobile yet more purposeful. Each side of the extreme is impossible. Many points in the middle are undesirable. Many people don't see normal situation as numeric controls, a slider switch between -127 and 128 or something to the like. Life can hardly be described by such a system, let alone the world. A Grand Unified Theory would likely make it less concrete. So today's lesson is to think about "it". No, not electric gyroscopically controlled scooters, rather the question of freedom vs. purpose. Find a balance or a line in the sand where freedom and purpose are separated for you. Certainly it should be based on what you want to do and what you should do. Perhaps it should also agree with what you say. Perhaps it should also coincide from time to time with what you do.

Thanks to Jonathan de Halleux for the wonderful AVI Generator Class. It will make AS3D Anime Producer real-time recording much easier. The demo given at that page is about a mile from real-time, but I believe that I can easily do it. It already does all the compression for me, all I have to do is ensure that rending at 32 fps is not held back by the AVI Class. I think that is what is going on in the demo. It just wants to record a large sample or something while the user waits two minutes... Not like compressing a spinning pyramid and cube at 1200x800x32bppx32fps to 56 kbps with perfect quality is an easy task, but I believe that it should be quick at least. I have most of the AS3D AD system working. The skinned mesh is still a ways away, but once I have that, it'll be flying.

"Do you like Tom Petty? 'Subsidiary life will beat you down break your heart, steal your crown. So I started out for God knows where. I guess I'll know; when I get there. Learning to fly around the clouds, what goes up must come down. Eh! Learning to fly (learning to fly) but I ain't got wings. Coming down is the hardest thing...' "

Remember earlier (last night by the time you read this) I was saying that all the "Heart-Shaped Box" midis were too light? I found it! It's the exact one that I murdered hundreds of virtual aliens listening to. Killing aliens is wrong, but certainly virtual self-defense can be plead. Not that it will save you from your God's (or mother's)judgement or wrath. This page has the only one that I could find. I downloaded more than a dozen icky sounding HSB midis from other sites before I got this one. I recommend it. But don't play it over and over again while you play hide the shotgun with your friend the alien from DooM. I think my retinas have only now recovered, while my mind never will. I will forever harbor a secret affinity for ET-esque aliens in repayment for all the aliens that I killed in DooM, Duke Nukem, etc. If I ever meet an extraterrestrial, I'll shake his hand and say, "Welcome to Earth friend, care for some lentil soup?" Of course, I'd better let my friend Leigh Ann cook the lentil soup or I'll start an intergalactic war. hahaha!

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