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Topics - Cramulus

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Techmology and Scientism / Your New Car is Spying On You
« on: July 23, 2013, 03:26:49 pm »

Nearly every car being manufactured right now comes with a little added bonus by way of a tiny recording device nestled under the center console. And if you’re looking to keep your driving habits under wraps, you might want to start worrying.

As many as 96 percent of the cars mass-produced in 2013 include event data recorders, or EDRs, yet the existence of these small “black box” surveillance devices are rarely known among the automobile drivers whose data is being collected with every quick turn of the steering wheel.

Despite widespread ignorance of the EDRs, though, they could soon become mandatory. The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking that the installation of EDRs in light passenger vehicles be mandatory starting September 2014, and opponents are already attempting to raise awareness in order to make auto drivers aware that their sudden speed bursts and even seatbelt data is being collected and could be easily shared.

Depending on the type of EDR, these black boxes can record the speed of a vehicle, the crash force at the moment of impact and an array of other information about the automobile’s inner workings.

“It really just takes a snapshot of the event,” John Giamalvo of told CBS News.

Other information that can be collected and then shared includes whether or not the car’s brake was activated before the crash, the state of the engine and whether the vehicle seat belt was buckled before an incident.

Apple Talk / Microreligions
« on: July 19, 2013, 04:01:30 pm »
There are a million ways to be holy and it only takes 5 minutes to get there. We are spiritual pioneers, hacking a shortcut through the postmodern jungle with a machete of blind ignorant faith.

Microreligion #412: Excreationism. We simulate the creation of the universe by stripping naked, sitting in darkness, and taking a huge dump.

Microreligion #190: Cafe Gnosticism. We consume toxic amounts of caffeine in order to slash the material veils of the 40 hour work week.

Microreligion #284: Murdochism. We believe everything printed in a Newscorp publication is literally true. Join us on MySpace.

Microreligion #128: Emotichondria - We believe each emoticon is an archetypal force which we can commune with via a ritual conducted in an IRC channel.

We believe there is an afterlife reserved for forgotten emoticons. Somewhere, :-$ and =:o] sit on a cloud, playing harps. At last, self expression.

Microreligion #162: Wiccan Reconstructionism. We are reviving traditional witchcraft as it was depicted in 1996 documentary "The Craft".

Apple Talk / Ingress
« on: July 18, 2013, 04:46:20 pm »

Anybody here playing Ingress?

If so, what's your experience been like?

For those of you that haven't heard of it --

Ingress is a game for mobile devices running android. It's a video game that you play by walking around in the real world. It's an ARG, definitely the biggest one ever launched. Here's how it works:

There's a blue team and a green team. (I'm on the green team)

Many public locations (mostly public art, parks, and public buildings like libraries and post offices) are "portals". A portal can be controlled by either team.

You can "hack" a portal if you're within a certain distance of it. That's like opening a treasure chest, when you do it, you get a few pieces of random gear.

Each portal has resonators surrounding it, these are like the portal's health bar. You deploy them to defend a portal, or you attack them to capture a portal.

Portals can be outfitted with upgrades that defend the resonators from damage or attack opponents when they get too close.

If your team controls several portals, you can link them together to create a "field", and capture territory for your team. There is a global score that is constantly shifting based on how much territory each team controls.

I find this is a video game that gets me out of the house a lot. I'll notice that a portal near my house has been damaged, so I walk up the street and repair it. Or another player needs gear, so I go somewhere private and drop a bunch of equipment. He then has to get within 10 meters of the dropoff location, spot the gear in his ingress scanner, and pick it up.

It's made me explore my neighborhood quite a bit. Made me notice little trails and statues which I normally just drive past. And I've now met seven or eight people who live nearby and I would never have otherwise bumped into.

The game is still in beta, and it's being updated constantly. There is an ongoing story, which is dispensed in the form of media items... once a week, when you hack a portal, you'll find an "Ingress Report" which is a little 5-minute video about current events in the game. Sometimes they stage plot events in big cities where you could actually meet some of the game NPCs and influence the story. They also have a website where plot info is kept, and it's full of bizarre puzzles. If you solve a puzzle, it gives you a code you can plug into your scanner for free gear. (although you have to be one of the first people to solve that particular puzzle, so I haven't succeeded at that yet)

It's a very interesting game. It's kind of like geocaching but with teams. Not perfect yet, by a long shot... but I enjoy that we are finally playing games that combine GPS and RPG elements. It's so bizarre to me that I'm playing a video game which involves getting exercise. Every so often, I bump into my neighborhood nemesis, the guy who foils all my plans and controls most of the nearby territory. It's weird, because our relationship exists on this game layer which is invisible to everybody else.

Just the other week, I was standing outside of this bar (girlfriend was smoking a cigarette), and trying to capture the nearby enemy portal. Suddenly, my nemesis came running down the street, phone in hand, to recharge the resonators and block my attack. He looked up and saw me standing there, and we shook our fists at each other. My friends were like, "What's going on?" They didn't even know that the two of us were engaged in this hyper-nerdy form of gang warfare.

Apple Talk / Deck Duel
« on: July 16, 2013, 03:55:48 pm »
Deck Duel
(c) Cramulus

A fighting game for 2-4 players using regular playing cards.

Setting Up: Each player is dealt a hand of cards and given some tokens to represent life points. One player is given an “initiative” marker.

In a 2 person game, you get 5 cards and 5 life points.
In a 3 person game, you get 6 cards and 6 life points.
In a 4 person game, you get 7 cards and 7 life points.

Black cards represent kicks. Red cards represent punches. The card’s number indicates how strong the attack is.

Taking Turns: Play is divided into rounds. The player with the initiative marker acts first. Then, play goes to the left.

Attacking: On your turn, you may play one attack. This attack is applied to each opponent simultaneously. Each opponent may try to block it by throwing a card of the same color and an equal or higher number. For example, a red 5 can only be blocked by a red card of 5 or higher. If the attack is not blocked, the defender loses a life point.

Flying Attacks: If you have two cards of the same number (example, the two of spades and the two of hearts), you may use them together as a flying attack. Both cards in the flying attack deal 1 damage and must be blocked separately. If the defender can only block one of the cards, the attack deals 1 damage.

Counter Attacks: If you block an attack using a card with the same number (for example, blocking a jack of clubs with a jack of spades), it is called a counter attack. The block card counts as an attack against the original attacker. He or she may attempt to block it as normal. You may not counter a flying attack.

“Finish Him!” When a player runs out of life points, he or she is dying. The person who landed the final attack may immediately throw an attack as a “finishing move”. If the dying player can block the finishing move, he or she survives the match but is still knocked out. If the dying player cannot block the finishing move, he or she is beheaded.

At the end of the round (after everybody has taken a turn), draw cards until your hand is full again. The initiative marker is passed to the left.

How to Win: You get one point for being the last player alive in a round. You lose a point for being beheaded. Play a few games to see who is the best fighter!

RPG Ghetto / Human Occupied Landfill
« on: July 15, 2013, 06:19:04 pm »
Human Occupied Landfill, or HOL, is a tabletop RPG printed in the 90s.

Game Rulebook:

Wikipedia page:

At this point, I'm really used to playing overproduced, highly polished RPGs. Books with a dozen editors, a highly trained design & layout department, and tons of official branding and merch. I'm used to books with proper spelling and well-playtested rules.

HOL has none of that. But it has more spirit than any RPG book I've ever read.

First, take a scroll through the rulebook in the link above. Notice how the book is ALL HAND WRITTEN? It screams 90s zine. It makes me want to write a 90s zine. It was picked up by White Wolf's Black Dog division. Black Dog specialized in edgy, fringe, often experimental games which probably wouldn't work for a mainstream RPG audience. All the black dog publications have attitude. This book has a bad attitude which will get it sent to bed without supper, but instead it stays up listening to punk rock and drawing pictures of guns.

Writing an RPG is a labor of love. HOL was clearly a labor of hate. You can tell from the blurb on the back cover:

We know that look.

That "If I have to check for traps one more time, I'm going to sneak a spoonful of drain cleaner into the GM's yoo-hoo and start screaming "GUESS YOU FAILED YOUR SEARCH CHECK ON THAT ONE MR. TEN BY TEN STONE CORRIDOR."

You need help.

You need HOL.

Science Fiction Roleplaying for gamers who've had a really bad day. Get it before you hurt someone.

These guys hate D&D. You can tell. They played it to death and now they're bored as hell. You can see it in their parodies of D&D munchkins and "gary" style gaming. They want something more, but they're not entirely sure what. Just that it's loud, and rude, and might result in personal injury.

I get the sense that HOL was written more or less as it popped into the authors heads. You can tell they were making it up as they were writing it. The rules are difficult to understand. They self-contradict. They ramble. They go off on diatribes. The example text for how to parry an attack goes in circles until the GM (or HolMeister as they are called in this game) decides its too complicated and tells the player to fuck off and just dodge the goddamn attack already.

Most games start their book with a disclaimer which tells you it's just a game. This game begins with a claimer, promising you that playing this game will lead to drug use, psychosis, and kitten murder.

I'm not sure if HOL is playable. I'm going to find out. The rules are really weird. The setting is there, but there are no plot hooks or story ideas, just a lot of setting elements. There are no rules for character creation. Just "come up with a character, and the GM will gut it, then give you some numbers." I'm not really sure if the numbers even matter. It's like the whole game is about the attitude.

We're gonna play this week. My friend is going to run it--he says he played a few sessions back in the 90s and it's actually playable. I'll believe it when I see it. I started to make a character - I'm going to be a Health and Safety Inspector who specializes in trivia and quiz shows. I'm not going to take any combat skills, but I will have the ability to throw fundraisers and make my voice sound really important. If I understand the game properly, at some point I should punch another player in the face. (right, Player, not Character.)

So that's a quick intro to HOL: Human Occupied Landfill. Take a flip through it, check out what I mean. It's like a fractal. If the book feels like it's flipping you off, it's because every paragraph, every sentence, every piece of punctuation, is also flipping you off.

Any of you guys seen this book? Tried it? Lived to tell the tale?

Apple Talk / "Start a new topic" lol okay!
« on: July 15, 2013, 03:35:43 pm »

Hey strangers! Long time no see.

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single flying round house kick, then we snatch the keys, steal his car, and get Chinese food.

It was Confuflux, the end of Confusion. It was a Monday in the year of our Lady 3179. I was heating up the leftover Chinese food on the dashboard of the stolen vehicle. Triple Zero sat next to me in the passengers seat, warming his face with a cigarette lighter.

"Trip," I said, "we're lost, bad." The wipers pushed the snow off the windshield, making a eeeky eeky rubber-on-glass noise which made Trip flinch.

"No no no," he said, turning the map upside down, "we're right near.... just after ...." he squinted and turned it over again. "Hey man, this is a chinese food menu."

"That's it, I'm making a ü turn."

"No no no," Trip said, "I think I figured out where we are. This is ... we're in ... one of the lunch combos."

Shaking my head, I screetched the car around, and then made it hop twice, completing the ü. The windshield was covered in snow again. I jumped out of the car, wiped off the snow with my sleeve, and got back in the driver's seat.

We were about six inches from the over-sized welcome sign.

<font size 72,00> WELCOME TO THE PRINCIPIA DISCORDIA FORUMS </humorous size>

"Sweet Merciful Fuck," said Trip, taking off his sunglasses.

"Alright," I said, "Just a quick stop..."

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Common Walls Debate
« on: February 21, 2012, 03:49:09 pm »

First, let's do Common Walls!

Apple Talk / Inspirational Valentine's Quotes
« on: February 14, 2012, 02:35:21 pm »

On this day in history, St. Valentine banished all snakes from Scotland. And on clear nights, if you listen very closely, you can still hear him riding through Sleepy Hollow, his severed head held aloft, crying out "The British are coming!" Ah, Love!

RPG Ghetto / 3D terrain molds
« on: February 10, 2012, 06:21:03 pm »
I was going to buy a set of Dwarven Forge tiles off a friend of mine, but he ended up selling them to somebody else. I love 3D terrain, and Dwarven Forge stuff is pretty much the corvette of tabletop accessories. So now I want some more 3D stuff.

I found a link to this website which sells molds you can use to build your own 3D tiles:

So for $29, you can get a mold of some architecture, pour some plaster in there, glue together the little bricks, and voila, a cool 3D hallway for little miniatures to march around in.

after you pop stuff out of a mold and paint it, it looks like this:

then you build the thing:

then eventually it looks like a (crappily assembled) version of this!

I'm thinking about buying some of this stuff, even though that definitely commits me to a lot of arts-and-crafts time. What do you guys think? Is there other 3D terrain out there that's worth checking out?

Apple Talk / MOVED: [GROUP PROJECT / GASM] Refractions
« on: February 10, 2012, 03:27:55 pm »
This awesome topic / writing / photo project has been moved to THINK FOR YOURSELF, ASSHOLE. Close all your other windows and GO,31601.msg1144953.html#msg1144953

Apple Talk /
« on: February 09, 2012, 05:26:29 pm »

Hi guys! Help me solve this mystery.

In my "discordian" google alerts for the day, I noticed a website just went up:

There's nothing there, except a cool image (above), and the phrase "VUGA VULET SAGA SHAN ISA GO!"

I am intrigued. I want to find out what this website is and what that phrase means.

When I googled that phrase, it only pointed at this page, which has little other information. If you look through the history of that page, you find that it was created in 2003, and the only text on the page read

"VUGA VULET SAGA SHAN ISA GO! Spirit of the Sky, Remember!"

the phrase "spirit of the sky, remember!" is from the Simon Necronomicon.

Does that VUGA VULET sentence sound familiar to anybody? Does anybody have any ideas?

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / [GROUP PROJECT / GASM] Refractions
« on: February 08, 2012, 05:33:48 pm »
Project ideas...

Everybody involved, go out, take a dozen (or more/less) photographs.  Grab an image that speaks, something with some emotion behind it, that might do the same for others.

Shove them all in a common photobucket (or whatever) account.

Go in.  Grab an image.  Yours, his, mine, whatever.  Doesn't matter if someone else has used it, in fact, better to get multiple stories per image.  Grab one that tells you a story.  Tell us the story (with link).

Rinse and repeat.

Apple Talk / ITT: Things that are Holy About Payne
« on: February 08, 2012, 01:52:15 am »
This guy is our Messiah

let's list his holy properties

GASM Command / [GASM] Secret Text Vault
« on: February 07, 2012, 05:53:20 pm »
Quick idea. Here's the prank:

We create a little archive of text files. These files appear to be the "discordian secrets". They might be actual Discordian texts, sermons, etc. They might be stuff we made up. It might be single pages from existing stuff. Some of it might be gibberish.

The vault is password protected. On the page somewhere, there's a unique string that appears nowhere else on the web.

Then we create posters that contain that string, as well as the password to the vault. The password might be a puzzle of some sort, or we could just be straightforward about it. The posters are distributed and put up in cities all over the place.

People who are intrigued by the posters will google the string. This leads them to the website. Those that figure out the password get access to these secret files. In their minds, this is a reward. That text will get more of their attention. They'll tend to think that these files are "significant".

---that's the whole idea! It's just a really roundabout hook for Eris. If we can present it in a way that's surreal, intriguing, and makes you feel like you've discovered some kind of secret conspiracy, you'll be more likely to be CURSED with the MADNESS.

Apple Talk / The Great Poop Prank of 2006
« on: February 07, 2012, 04:13:42 pm »
The Great Poop Prank of 2006
a true story by Professor Cramulus

You had asked about Discordian weddings. I have a story about a Discordian wedding, but it's in the middle of a story about one of the greatest pranks I've ever pulled.

It was 2007. I was living in the Obnoxious Jerk Cabalhouse in Stamford CT. The OJC was a group of loud Discordian spags that spent most of their time shouting for no reason and carrying on like assholes. That's another story.

My cabalmate Golden Rod was the priest at his Sister's wedding. The sister didn't really know anything about Discordia, she just knew that he was a registered minister in Connecticut (Thanks ULC!). Golden Rod warned her that a Discordian wedding would probably have some sort of awful twist. She said that would be cool.

The Back story

Now let me back up a bit. Golden Rod and I are best friends. In the year that this story takes place, I was pulling an epic prank on him.

Golden Rod was a master at the video game Halo. He played in national tournaments. He won money. He played every day. At this point in our story, he was kind of deep into it. You couldn't even talk to him, he'd be glued to the TV in his room for 8-12 hours at a time.

Golden Rod had just bought his first computer of his very own. There had always been one in the house, but he had never owned one. He was kind of a newbie at computers. When he installed AOL Instant Messenger, all sorts of people came out of the woodwork to say Hi. Prior to this, he was only online for like 15 minutes per week. So if you actually caught the crazy bastard online, you'd want to say Hi.

One night, I sneaked into Golden Rod's room and changed his AIM Profile to say, "Hi, this is <name omitted>'s roommate, and I'm pulling a prank on him. I'd like your help. Please contact him some time in the next 3 days and tell him you had an incredible dream, and he was in it. Make up anything you want, but during this dream, he craps his pants. You can use AIM, but it's better to call him, e-mail him, or contact him some other way. Please don't spoil the joke by telling him what's really up!"

Without going on too much about Golden Rod's personality, this was really the perfect prank for him. Believing that multiple people were having dreams about him is the sort of thing that would get into his head. He would be skeptical, but a part of him would really want to believe that something mystical was happening.

For the next week, the messages poured in. "I just had this crazy dream, dude! I was on the subway, and there was this homeless guy, and he shit right on the floor... and when he turned around, IT WAS YOU!"

At first, Golden Rod was amused. But after three or four people had told him similar stories, he began to suspect something was up. But here was the problem - a lot of the people who were coming out of the woodwork to talk to him weren't even friends. A bunch of them were people he had met online, or at some remote show or convention - he hadn't talked to them in YEARS. There was no way somebody contacted all of these people. He couldn't figure out what node connected all of them (it was himself, all along!).

Some of my friends delivered FANTASTIC performances. Golden Rod grilled them hard and they held up under pressure, acting shocked when they heard other people were having similar dreams. Some of their performances had him convinced that at least SOME of these poop dreams really happened.

By day 3, Golden Rod started to get worried. "I honestly don't understand what's going on," he told me, "It's either an elaborate prank, in which case somebody has been VERY clever, or Eris is sending me some message through the dreaming."

"Maybe it's a prophecy," I said, "Maybe you're going to crap your pants."

"That's what worries me," he told me, "Every time I fart, I think to myself, oh fuck, it's happening. I've been crapping like crazy so I don't shit myself at work or something."

"I know what's going to happen," I replied, smirking, "You're going to be stuck in traffic on I-95, and there will be no bathroom. You'll shit your pants, then you'll have to sit in it for an hour."

"That is the worst thing I can imagine," he said, brow furrowed with genuine worry.

"Maybe you should just get it over with," I suggested. Golden Rod's brow furrowed again. Then there was silence. He was really considering crapping his pants on purpose!

I saw his brow furrow again. "I'm gonna do it," he said.

I waited.

He couldn't do it.

"You might as well do it here in the apartment while you've got clean underwear in the other room," I said.

He told me I was right. He tried to crap himself again. But he couldn't bring himself to intentionally shit his pants.

He was so confused. Are all mystical experiences like this? he wondered. If this is a prank, I can't figure out who's behind it. On the other hand, if Gods really are real, why am I worshiping this awful fecally-obsessed harpy?

The Wedding

A few days passed. Golden Rod had worked himself up to a state of poop-anxiety. He said his butt-cheeks were clenched all day. He was seeing poop everywhere. He knew the prophecy was coming true, whatever it was.

A cabalmate of mine ("Hideously Superfluous K") actually crapped his pants by accident after eating at a buffet. This was a sign.

It was Saturday. Golden Rod was wearing his finest, officiating over his sister's wedding. It was a beautiful day, despite the cranky constipated infant (being held by Golden Rod's mother).

Golden Rod said some nice words, he said some silly words, he said some sweet and sentimental words. Then he wrapped up the ceremony with a "You may kiss the bride." The bride and groom began making out.

All hell broke loose.

The infant SUDDENLY and EXPLOSIVELY recovered from her constipation. You know what happens when you put your thumb over a hose nozzle and water sprays everywhere? Liquid shit blasted out of the kid's diaper. It got all over the flower girl's head and face. Golden Rod's mom was covered in shit. It kept coming out. The mom ran towards the bridesmaids, trying to pass off the fecal spray hose. The bridesmaids panicked, screaming, flailing around, falling all over each other, getting covered in shit. The whole congregation exploded in laughter, terror, disgust, amusement, you name it. Golden Rod raised his hands into the air, concluding the ceremony by shouting "ALL HAIL DISCORDIA".

Waiting for the other shoe to drop...

At this point, I wasn't sure what to do. Should I tell Golden Rod that this has been an elaborate prank? Or should I just never tell him, leaving him with a feeling of unease and mystery for the rest of his life?

Eventually I realized that it's a prank, and it's for MY entertainment, so I should try to wrap it up.

I tried to tell Golden Rod, I really did.

I went into his room one day while he was playing Halo. I put his AIM profile up on the screen. He didn't even know what an AIM profile was, but it was the key to the poop dream mystery. It was the only point shared by all these different branches of his social network. I said, "When you get a chance, check this out."

He said, "I will," but he didn't look up. I went to bed, locking my door behind me.

Golden Rod never did check out the monitor. His girlfriend eventually came home and closed the window without reading it.

The next day, before bed, I went back into his room. "Did you check out that thing?" I asked.

"Nah," he said, "Christie closed the window. What was it?"

"Check it out," I said, putting the profile back up on the screen. I surpressed my giddy giggle and left the room.

He didn't check it out. Hours later, his computer restarted itself, and the window was closed.

The third day came. I told myself that if he didn't get it today, Eris probably wanted him to be left in the dark.

I said, "I know you didn't see this, but you really do need to look at it. You'll thank me later." I turned the monitor towards Golden Rod, who was busy blasting people with an assault rifle in Halo.

"Yeah sure," he said, waving me off. I figured he wouldn't see it. I went to bed and locked my door.

That night, Golden Rod DID check it out before he went to bed. I remember waking up briefly at 4:30 AM to him yelling "MOTHERFUCKER!" in shock and surprise.

But nobody was awake. He couldn't flip out about it, nobody was there to hear his outrage. And my door was locked. So Golden Rod bottled it up and went to bed.

The next day, I drove into Connecticut for a party at a friend's beach house. Golden Rod was there, but we didn't talk about the prank. The party stretched late into the night. Eventually, the sun was coming up over the Atlantic Ocean.

Somebody said, (totally randomly) "I had the weirdest dream the other day."

At this point, steam began to come out of Golden Rod's ears. His eyes bulged. "I saw," he said, breathing heavily, "I saw my AIM profile..."  All that rage he had bottled up began to escape.

I grinned. "And...?"

"And.... YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGHHH!" ---- that was the sound he made as he choked me.

The next 30 minutes were spent as he called up every single person that told him about their dream. This was 5 AM so he woke up everybody he called. This one poor girl was in the hospital with meningitis, she couldn't even sit up, and he yelled at her all the same. "YOU WERE IN ON IT TOO?" he shouted into the cell phone. She hung up on him. He called back and kept yelling. Eventually, his phone ran out of batteries.

"That's it," he said, "I'm out of here."

He pushed a rowboat into the ocean and paddled away.

He actually did get lost at sea, and was stranded in the boat with no water as the sun came up. When he eventually came back, he was sunburned like a lobster, dehydrated, crashed out on my friend's deck.

"All I have to say," he said to me, thoroughly exhausted, lying face down in the sand, "is that you got me. You got me real good."

And that is the story of the Great Poop Prank of 2006.

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