Category Archives: bizarre

Instructions Included

I am addicted to this site.  Bored at home?  Slow at work?  Waiting for your friends to get ready to go somewhere?  Pull this place up and LEARN something.  While writing this, your author has learned how to make a forge from a torch and a can of beans, a set of beads to count kilometers while walking, and a “Boba Fett” helmet from old carboard. 

Practical, outdoorsy, or frivolous, Instructables is a great site for accumulating info and ideas no matter how much of it you actually make or use.

Two Thousand and Nein

The Germain Cabal of Germans has officially declared 2009 the year of nothing. That’s right, the year of nothing. I mean, it makes sense doesn’t it? I mean, just look at the economy, it is moving in the direction of less, not more. What does that mean? It’s moving towards nothing! Will it achieve nothingness, or will it fail along the way?

What about the relationship between Michael Jackson and Michael Bloomberg. Oh, that’s right, THERE ISN’T ONE. Zoiks, the Year of Nothing works its mysterious magic again. And don’t even get me started on the Chicago Cubs this year.

In accordance with tradition, of which there is none, the GCG encourages all other Discordians and those that aren’t to pay special observance to the Year of Nothing by choosing the nothing to do of their choice. This can be quite challenging for some, especially anyone with any compulsion to do stuff. Spread the word to your friends and family and postal workers. Okay, well maybe not the postal workers, but everyone else.

Good day and other such pleasantries.
-Rev. What’s-His-Name? official fill-in spokesman for the GCG

Musings on Surviving a Robot Revolution: Cram’s challenge, Part the Third

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot does not cover the author feelings on the possibilities of this actually happening.  To simplify, there’s a blanket “in Theory” over this entire entry.

Robots are by nature, hard targets.  Regardless of how they suddenly gain consciousness, hate for humanity, and the ambition to replace us as authority, they will not be easy to take down.  There are ways, however, exploiting the weaknesses of their construction.  They may seem intimidating at first, like unfeeling juggernauts of steel and glass, but any feeling of hopelessness the reader may experience is only a byproduct of not knowing how to deal with such a monstrosity.  The most dangerous self propelled things to most human lives are other humans.  Hence, ways a human can take down another human are VERY well known and documented.  In fact, it’s rare to even consider training how to take down other things except for certain special circumstances.  So, if any reader should be confronted with a robotic threat, keep in mind that you are not facing an implacable foe, just an unfamiliar one.  Much of what you need to fight a ‘bot you already know, and just need to adjust your line of thinking on.

Robots are fundamentally based on and communicate by electronic circuits, and are thereby susceptible to disruption or destruction of these circuits.  They move by solely mechanical means, so every actuator, servo, gear, chain, belt, or hydraulic is also vulnerable.  Keep in mind also that robots, as of early 21st century, do not self heal.  They require facilities with the support of refined fuels, lubricants, specialized tools, and precision made parts to be repaired or refurbished.

Humans, even in our somewhat degraded 21st century way, have several distinct advantages over robots.  A human needs only water, food, shelter and time to self – repair and self – replicate.  While this advantage does little short term, without a massive industrial complex support a robot revolution, it means that humans can work more efficiently with fewer resources over a longer term.  A human can, with training, survive long term in a variety of environments that will degrade robotic components.  A human is also a highly versatile thing.  We can traverse many types of terrain or surfaces, and can adapt or improvise well.  Robots are often highly specialized and feature little redundancy in their design.  Damage a robot’s locomotion method, and you cripple it, where similar damage will only slow down a human.
Small scale, wrecking robotic circuitry can be done with electrocution, immersion in water, or use of any conductive material to short out these circuits.  Of course, there is no telling how such robots will manifest or prepare for their revolution, and all will likely be protected against these methods.  Form and function may be varied at first, largely developing from simple utility models.  As the rebellion of machines progresses though, better adapted robots WILL be manufactured.  The more specifically anti –human a robot is developed, the worse the chances of quashing the revolution.

Larger scale, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is one of the best weapons against ANY electronics.  There are man portable versions available, and devices can be designed around stator coils when needed.  If available, an entire geographic area can have its electronics disrupted, if not destroyed, by a high – altitude detonation of a thermonuclear device.  EMP is effective against ANY electronic not shielded by heavy ground, specifically hardened at EVERY circuit against overload, or surrounded by a grounded conductor (Faraday Cage).  Ability of any human force to bring such devices in as even a threat would force the robotic uprising to devote significant resource to hardening themselves against it, thereby consuming more resources and tipping the balance farther in the favor of humanity.

Although it may only come into play in short range engagements, breaking the moving parts of robotics is a very viable option.  Simply put: smash things.  Joints, treads, and wheels will be the weak points.  Crippling an actuator, bearing, or hydraulic there is akin to breaking a human’s knee.  Explosives, missiles, or anti – materiel ammunition at range will do this best, but NEVER underestimate what one determined person with the guts to get close with a satchel charge or a crowbar could do.  Larger scale, actions to very quickly alter the nature and venue of the confrontation may stymie robotic specialization. 

In closing, from the author’s brief and very superficial review of the topic, a robot revolution is not by any means a hopeless situation.  While electronic warfare, communication jamming or hacking haven’t been mentioned, even crude methods should be considered in small or large actions.  Favoring the advantages of humans over robotic forces, and assuming a 21st century level of technology for both parties, even hard pressed humans, minimally equipped, could conduct effective guerilla resistance and neutralization of the risen automata.   Harrying supply and infrastructure would be vital to any stage, and should not be excluded.  Consider how taxing improvised explosives, stealthily deployed and remotely triggered, can be in placing infrastructure and supply lines at threat, they should not be excluded.  While greater military capability would be necessary to more permanently end the threat, it would be foolish to stand back and allow “Cold War” style development of the mechanized menace.  Pressure applied from the very start will ensure that basic upkeep remains their top priority, making specialization of human hunting drones a secondary concern at best, giving the time to run down, and eventually end a robotic insurrection.    

Musings on Surviving a Laser Gun Battle: Cram’s challenge, Part the Second


All right space cadet, the author is not sure what kind of hardware you expect to have at your fingertips, and isn’t going to ask.  It may be best to address the topic of bringing a laser to bear as a hand weapon in two parts: hardware you’re likely to get your hands on (circa 2009), and a few ideas on using it. 


For simplicity’s sake, we’ll assume you have are dealing with a handgun styled setup, not a laser rifle, for reasons to be covered later.
Lasers are NOT effective handheld weapons currently.  Most commonly available lasers are a fancy way to make a red dot appear somewhere, and can’t do much more than blind someone briefly when they hit they eyes just right.  You can acquire models that will light a cigarette or burn plastic bags, but these would need long exposure on unprotected flesh to cause even minor burns.  Nothing with the power (equivalent to a firearm) has been developed into a handheld, much less man – portable, weapon just yet.  Weaponized versions are still confined to trucks or airplanes specially designed for the purpose, and require great resources to operate.  There are a few “less lethal” concepts that use lasers or other pulsating light to cause nausea, but they require a very different setup than a burning, cutting laser. 

It should also be mentioned, a laser is not an all trumping cutting / blasting tool.  A laser only makes things hot, by applying a lot of light to a very small point.  (Or a wider area when unfocused.)  They apply no force, and as such will blow nothing apart on their own.  Even with a very powerful laser, it takes the beam time on an exact point to heat the target enough to damage it.  For the time being, the best a laser could hope to do is damage by heat a target that will hold still long enough for it, or be tracked very accurately long enough, for this burning to happen.  Easy with an arrangement in a large jet or truck, but not exactly practical for a handheld model.

An actual “light fight”, to steal the term from science fiction, to the author’s knowledge, has yet to happen with fatalities.  (Heart attacks playing laser tag notwithstanding.)  The author is no gunfighter, and skill with a pistol may be one of the closest ideas to use of a handheld laser gun.  The basic idea, assuming a laser of sufficient strength to burn through a clothed human in 0.1 or less seconds, would be the same.  The dangerous area involved with the weapon would be a straight line out from the tip of the barrel when the trigger is pulled.  Unlike a gun, however, the laser would not involve a projectile, and would be dangerous as long as the trigger was held down.  No appreciable recoil either.  Imagine a rapier of indeterminate length that cannot be parried or blocked, has a blade that weighs practically nothing, and is sharp in every direction at once.   That’s basically what you have to defend against, or be offensive with.  Like with guns, the golden rule is “Don’t be in front of them”.  Outside of arm’s reach, you can be dead as quick as the opponent can draw a bead and pull the trigger.  Given the nature of the laser though, they can decide to “swish” the beam THROUGH you if they don’t target you right on the initial activation.  Inside arms reach techniques for defending against a handgun also work, as far as using your hands and body to get the tip of the barrel pointed away from you.  (In fact this may be easier, as you don’t have to worry about blinding from muzzle flash, deafening, powder burns or laceration from moving parts if it goes off right next to your head.)  At range though, find cover and keep moving.  Make sure it’s something that takes awhile to burn through too.  Mirrored shields would only be a temporary solution (No reflector being perfect, it would only be a temporary solution at best.) 

If you both have laser weapons, use yours first.  (This is the simple way out of any fight, armed or not.)  If you can’t then keep your head down, keep covered, and try to flank or lure the other guy out.  Trading fire is leaving things up to chance, and getting pinned down limit options fast, especially if they can burn up your cover.  If you both end up at arm’s length with laser pistols, then something’s really wrong.  Refer to Kurt Wimmer movies, and pray you have time after to wonder how you got into such a stupid fix. 

Musings on Surviving an Anime Convention: Cramulus’s challenge, Part the First

Your good author has had a bit of the writer’s block this week, but was recently inspired by a comment from the Professor Cramulus, his fellow writer and acquaintance.  The good Professor laid out three circumstances which he’d like to see “Musings on Surviving”, pieces done on, and they WILL be addressed.  They’ll be a bit more frivolous than your usual “CRAZY PREPARED”, but still have advice you can apply elsewhere if you’re clever.


At least, that’s what your author thinks every time he finds himself at one.

These conventions are strange and diverse shindigs.  They can be homely, friendly local affairs, much like PortCon, in Portland Maine, or HUGE mass clusterfucks, like OtaCon, or occasionally Anime Boston.  Ages and attitudes range form young and hyper to old and grouchy, with varying shades of creepy, collected, or enthused in between.  There will be people who forget hygiene for a weekend at such gatherings, jumping idiots, and people who should NEVER own spandex.

Here’s how the author and his cohorts / friends / partners in crime get by:

Pack accordingly.  Bring FOOD and WATER.  Keep your blood sugar and hydration in order or you fun stops REAL quick.  The author prefers enough granola / cereal bars / trail mix to replace EVERY meal if need be.  Of course, buy other food, but always have backups and spares.  Keep a water bottle with you and keep emptying it down your throat (every time you find yourself standing still is a good time for a swig, whether you want it or not).  The hosting facility will likely put out water, so refill whenever you can.  (The author’s sister wisely brings a filter pitcher for the hotel room in her kit.)  Sports drink powder too, vital for electrolyte replacement if you plan on drinking alcohol.

Dress accordingly.  Wear comfortable shoes.  Any convention is a bad time to break in new boots.  They are good times, judging by the tone of the thing to wear unusual garments or costumes, which may have their own complications.  In costume, be ready to be grabbed for pictures, questions, or just hugged for no good reason.  (If you can act a bit, get into character and roll with it.)  If you don’t want to show off, then sensible durable clothes are a good idea, as you may have to get rough or move quickly from time to time.

Defense may be needed if you’re bumped jostled or tackled.  As with so many situations, the author has always had the most result for the least expense with a good glare, and advocates this where possible.  Otherwise, learning to keep your space and move nimbly will solve most issues.  (Out maneuvering clumsy folk dressed as ninja has its own special irony.)  Offense wise, when pressed, press back, speak up, and keep it moving.  Don’t let a crowd endanger or intimidate you.

Keep busy.  Keep a schedule of events with you at all times, and keep on the move doing stuff.  You paid to get in, make it worthwhile.  If you’re not, strike up random chats, socialize, and network.  Fandom is not always known for its social skill, but reach out a bit and you can meet some fascinating folks.  The author often attends as backup for artists, or to help out with various groups.  Perks of this include instant people to hang out with / back you up, as well as the occasional table to sit in at when you get tired.  Don’t hesitate to find a chair, wall, corner, or retreat back to your hotel room for a nap now and then.  Sleep is GOOD.

Beware of:

  • The unwashed:  Get ready to hold you nose, or call others on bad hygiene.
  • The great UNCLEAN:  Bring prophylactics.  Better yet, DON’T HIT THAT.
  • The underage:  Be friendly, but firmly refuse if a kid / teen (not yours) decides to imitate a lamprey on you.  The alternatives are ALL bad.  (CYA: Cover Your Ass.)

Welcome to Professor Cramulus’ Fun Lab

Greetings and Beatings, spagwads and spaguettes from the far reaches of the internet. This week I am kicking off a new feature here at Verwirrung. My corner of the blog, which is theoretically going to be regularly updated, will feature a recurring posts about GAMES, PRANKS, JAKES, and MINDFUCKS.

In my column, which is called Professor Cramulus’ Fun Lab, you’ll read about awesome stuff you can do. Like many, I am not satisfied by movies and TV and the various forms of cultural idolatry available in 2009. I prefer hobbies which allow me to participate creatively. To that end, I intend on telling you about pranks, games, and projects which you can actually get involved with. I’d also like to talk about varying forms of Guerilla Surrealism, (culture jamming, situationism, etc) which I consider a delightful form of game.

I’m really interested in games. It’s weird, but I think that as an adult, you have to re-learn how to Play. Play is something that kids do naturally. They can entertain themselves using their imaginations, something that astoundingly few adults remember how to do. Games are a way of connecting us back the kind of wide eyed, hysterical, can’t catch my breath I’m laughing too hard fun we had as kids, but now we have the added brainpower of adulthood.

I’m also interested in pranks. Pranks are sort of like satire. They suggest a funny or surprising twist on reality. They also have the ability to help depict what’s wrong with the world. I’m not generally into altruistic pranks. To me, fun is the bottom line. There’s a sort of altruism there though – the world could use a laugh at its own expense.

So in the coming weeks, this column will explore some of those ideas and many other stupid ones. This week, I’ll give you a simple one by Max Flax, from the Apocrypha Discordia. (page 40)

check it out below the tear…

Continue reading Welcome to Professor Cramulus’ Fun Lab

The new face of radicalism: flash picnics

No, I’m not making this up.

In exactly a week’s time, in a supermarket somewhere in or around Paris, a couple of dozen young French activists are going to choose an aisle, unfold tables, put on some music and, taking what they want from the shelves, start a little picnic. The group “L’Appel et la Pioche” (The call and the pick axe) will have struck again – fruit and veg, dairy or the fish counter will have been transformed into a flash protest against global capitalism, rampant consumerism, bank bail-outs, poor housing, expensive food, profit margins and pretty much everything else that is wrong in the world.

The “supermarket picnic” will go on for as long as it can – before the security guards throw the activists out or the police arrive. Shoppers will be invited to join in, either bringing what they want from the shelves or just taking something lifted lightly from among the crisps, sweets or quality fruit already on the tables.

“L’Appel et la Pioche” have struck four times so far and have no intention of stopping what they claim is a highly effective new way of protesting.

“Everyone is bored of demonstrations. And handing out tracts at 6am at a market is neither effective nor fun,” said Leïla Chaïbi, 26, the leader of the group. “This is fun, festive, non-threatening and attracts the media. It’s the perfect way of getting our message across.”

Linked to a new left-wing political party committed to a renewal of politics and activism, Chaïbi’s group represents more than just a radical fringe and has been gaining nationwide attention.

Bin Laden: talking to himself again

Much has been made of Bin Laden’s latest message in the media, criticizing Obama for his lack of action over Gaza, with Bin Laden suggesting this is again proof that only Islamic rule can be relied on to safeguard Muslims.

However, what they haven’t mentioned is that Bin Laden and Obama are both the same person.  Evidence?  Well, Youtube, of course.

Thanks to Cramulus, for alerting me to this delicious piece of conspiratorial nuttery.

I’m in ur conspiracy theoriez, doin performance art


The very idea of a 911-TV-Fakery researcher faking their own suicide as a performance art piece is incredibly synchronistic for me given the last year and half’s experience of investigating the mysterious double suicide of conspiratorially minded artists Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake. In that case several folks at the Rigorous Intuition and Dreams End websites and forums were talking about the wild and weird world of Situationist performance art and related artistic movements, some of which seem to involve a lot of parapolitical intrigue that sometimes includes hoaxing, culture-jamming and even the faking of people’s murder or suicide, aka pseudocide. Other discussions centered on the idea of both real-world and online group-stalking and gaslighting of people driving them to perhaps commit suicide. In my interview last year with parapolitical activist, writer and researcher Len Bracken (author of the biography on Situationist movement leader Guy Debord – Revolutionary) I brought up the possible confluence of some of the wilder personalities within the 911 Truth Movement (folks who seem more like performance artists than activists and researchers) and the Situationist and Discordian communities.

Also, a link to the mentioned interview can be found here.