Archive for the Commentary Category

The Wily Policeman

Posted in Commentary, Intellectual Property, Uncategorized on June 21, 2013 by Bradley Hall

Japanish Marchen ebook cover

This isn’t a review, I wouldn’t be that self serving, but, I did want to make it known on this site why I seem to have abandoned it as of late.

I’ve not abandoned it, it’s just been that I have been focusing my time on a wide array of things, of which this site has become one of many things I spend time doing.

Last year, I tried to translate an official German-language Final Fantasy XI novel in hopes being able to finagle a deal to translate the books officially for Square-Enix. They passed on the deal, even though it would have most likely done nothing but print them money.

I realized I enjoyed the job of translating, so I wanted to do more, more that I could then sell, legally.

I happened across gutenberg.net and found it had a large collection of German language books. I looked through their collections and found a few that were not only in public domain, but had also never been translated into English.

The one I first decided to translate was called “Japanische Marchen” – Japanese Fairy Tales. While the tales themselves were Japanese in origin, they were written down in this book for a German audience.

There are 24 stories in the collection. I believe two can be read via the sample on Amazon.com, and part of one can be read on the Barnes & Noble site (so if you want to read more of a sample than this one story, head to Amazon).

The book can be found for the Kindle at, well, the link is huge, but if you go to amazon.com and type in B00DGYKEOE in the search field, it will come up. There will soon be a print version of the book available there as well.

For Nook, you can find it at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/japanische-m-auml-rchen-bradley-hall/1115772053?ean=2940016450643

Unfortunately, B&N nor Amazon allows authors to pick what becomes the sample of a book, so here you go, my favorite short story from this collection. I hope you like it.

The Wily Policeman

The former Emperor of Korea had set up a secret police, which had to maintain peace and order in the city that should have prevented robberies and theft. But as so often happens the crime did not end and the Emperor was quite annoyed. He sent for the chief of police and began to rebuke him. The chief of police, however, defended his policemen and said they were all efficient and skillful.

The Emperor was clever and knew all the tricks that thieves can use, so he would put his police force to the test. He asked the chief to have them all arrive in the palace the next morning.

In the morning, the police were all gathered in the hall of the palace, the Emperor appeared holding a silk bag in his hand. This bag was filled with gold and the Emperor had someone hang it from the ceiling in the middle of the hall, so high that no one could reach it with his hand.

Then the Emperor said:

“Here, the bag hangs with gold. It will hang for three days. A guard will always be there. If one of you manages to remove this bag in three days, without anyone noticing, and no one hearing you remove the bag and its contents, you all shall henceforth remain in my service. But if any of you fail the task, I’ll chase you all to hell!”

There was a general shaking of heads and saddened, they went home, because it seemed impossible to remove the bag, because the emperor had placed a guard of four men who had to guard the bag day and night. The guards were threatened with beheading if they were negligent.

Sun came on the third day, the bag was hanging from the ceiling, still untouched and the police expected their release. To the astonishment of all, one of the youngest policemen said he wanted to try it, but said he needed to have at least two more days.

He was taken to the Emperor who laughed at the young man and said, “Even if I give you ten weeks, you will not succeed!”

“That may be true,” he replied. “And I think even that only a miracle can help us, but perhaps such a miracle will occur in the two days.” The Emperor liked the bold response. “Well, so be it! These two days are granted to you,” he decided.

The young policeman looked at the bag in the hall very well, and then he went home and made ​​himself a very similar bag, which he filled with small stones.

On the second day he took this bag, put it in the sleeve of his jacket, and went to the Emperor. The Emperor received him and asked if the miracle had already happened.

The policeman asked the Emperor to be allowed to look at the bag again. The Emperor approved and the policeman was taken to where the bag was still hanging, guarded by four soldiers.

After he had looked at the bag for a while from all sides, he asked whether it would be permissible to take the bag in his hand. The Emperor approved this as well. Here, the policeman took a stool and stood upon it and took the bag from the hook, looked at the Emperor, and placed the bag in his sleeve, saying:

“This is how to remove the bag!”

The emperor replied, laughing: “Yes, but we are all looking at you, so you wouldn’t be able to get away with it. So hang it back on the ceiling and acknowledge that not even you can do it.”

The policeman showed an apparently sad face, pulled the bag out again with a sigh and hung it up. He had not taken out the bag of gold, but the bag he made himself and filled with stones. That bag he hung on the ceiling, while he kept the real bag in his sleeve. He then told left the Emperor, telling him he hoped to be able to perform the feat the next morning.

The emperor therefore doubled the guard for the night, and the hall had to be lit so brightly that the bag could always be seen.

The next day came and the Emperor ordered all of the policemen gather around in the hall, as the emperor intended to dismiss them from their service. The Emperor could be quite rude and turned to the young policeman, asking him scornfully if the miracle had happened.

“I think so,” he replied.

“He’s totally crazy or outrageously naughty!” cried the Emperor. “Does he believe, then, I can not see? The bag still hangs!”

“I see,” replied the young policeman.” That there hangs a bag, whether or not it is the real bag, I doubt it!”

“This is really too much,” cried the Emperor. “Bring down the bag and bring it here,” he ordered the guard.

The bag was removed and brought to the Emperor, who opened it, but made a very vulnerable face as he saw just bricks and rocks in the bag and then looked closer and realized it was not the same bag that was originally hung from the ceiling.

“How did you do it?” he asked the cunning policeman. The young policeman man told how he had made ​​an identical bag and then switched the bags in the presence of the emperor.

“We have a devilishly clever fellow,” said the Emperor. “And since you seem to me to be the wisest of all, you shall be the Chief and I will not dismiss your colleagues. See to it that your police force do their duty and emulate you!” And so it happened!

Translator’s Note (Karl Alberti): This story is of Korean origin. It was recorded in this collection since Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910 and is now known as “Chosen”. The above story is reminiscent of the “cunning thief” of “1001 Nights.

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From Hell’s Heart, I Stab At Linksys

Posted in Commentary, Uncategorized on July 6, 2012 by Bradley Hall

I wrote this as an email to my brother several years ago about the trouble I was having with a Linksys Wi-Fi router. I eventually got it configured and it still works to this day…

Following a recent spate with someone who doesn’t know the difference
between DSL and LSD (well, they are both drugs), I stepped up the date of acqusition of a Wi-Fi router to today. I settled on a Linksys
WRT54G 802.11G Broadband Router, partially because it looked cool,
partially because my laptop has a G card, and partially because it was on sale.

I read up on it online and saw 1 bad review and like, a hundred
glowing reviews. I didn’t check to see if the sites offering the
glowing reviews were owned by Linksys or not, but I’m guessing now
that they were.

I bought the thing, fondled it a bit, and followed the instruction CD
to install it (the CD was designed so a 3-year-old could understand
it, it had pictures and arrows and shit).

The line from the modem goes into the hole marked INTERNET, one end of the other wire goes in any one of four holes (you get to pick!
Customer’s Choice!) on the router and the Ethernet port on the back of your desktop computer. Then after some kind of magic spell, and
powering it up, a 2.4 GHz radio beam launches itself throughout your
house, irradiates you for a few grays of exposure and somehow finds
its way into the Wi-Fi 802.11G card on your laptop, causing you to see stuff online faster than you used to could.

All the wires went where all the wires go. The thing was up and
running and emitting some kind of signal my Wi-Fi card picked up, yet
the install wasn’t complete. I still had to configure it.

Configuring was nothing more than pressing “next” and “next” and
sometimes, “continue” worked its way onto the screen. It did whatever
it said it was doing, no way I could figure out if it did. Eventually, it said it could not find the Internet (!) so I made sure the Internet was still where it was (it’s still here). Checked the connections, re-checked the drawings and arrows, everything was where it was supposed to be (even checked to make sure the wires still worked).

Still no Internet.

I looked at the troubleshooting guide that came with it, and all it
said was “check to make sure wires are connected” so I’m like, “I did
that” so then I decide to give tech support a call.

I rig up my laptop in the living room and hook it up on the phone line splitter and dial into the Internet. After a few minutes of loading, the Linksys support page pops up. The Ever Helpful tech support guy (who actually seemed interested) talked to me for a bit and directed me to download their special install program.

I installed and ran it, and found that it was dumbed down further than the one that’s packed with the router. Yes. It’s made for a newborn, or a high-functioning autistic chimpanzee. Not only does it have arrows and pictures, it’s got Flashing Lights.

I go through the Rainbow Lite Brite Install Sequence and it too can’t
find the Internet (oh, what a surprise!). So, then the tech guy tells
me to go through this sequence of accessing the router via Internet
Exploder and changing its IP address from 192.164.1.1 to 10.10.10.1
which, as I thought, does nothing more than make me have to remember a different series of four digits.

So now, I have a $55 wireless router paperweight until I figure out
how to make it find the Internet. If starving kids in Africa have no
trouble finding porn on the Internet within minutes of first turning
on one of those XO One Laptop Per Child doodads, then this thing
should have no trouble finding the same Internet.

Amen and pass the aspirin,

Brad

Steve Jobs

Posted in Commentary on October 6, 2011 by Bradley Hall

Some of you might remember that this blog actually came about due to my need to create my own space after the blog I used to write a bit for, Style Mac, changed formats to its new style.

Most of my early posts here were originally posted on that site. So, if you think about it, I kinda owe my blogging career to Steve Jobs.

Think of him how you will, but the man is one of the few people who could say he touched the lives of just about everyone on the planet, if not the United States.

Sure you may not have used an iDevice, but surely you watched a Pixar movie. Well, guess who owned Pixar… until he sold it to Disney and became the single largest shareholder at the same time…

Yep, Steve Jobs.

National Cemetery

Posted in Commentary on August 24, 2011 by Bradley Hall

A few years ago they built a National Cemetery just a few miles down the road from my house. I checked it out back in June, I just forgot to post this image of it.

All of the graves are full of people who served in the US Armed Forces and/or their spouses.

Many of the graves list death dates that predate the creation of the cemetery.

There’s really nothing else I can say.

I just got an email from Hosni Mubarak

Posted in Commentary, Government, Uncategorized on August 24, 2011 by Bradley Hall

Seriously, it’s an email from the deposed ruler of Egypt. He’s begging for my help and everything.

Of course, I know this is just another of those “deposed Nigerian Prince” style emails, it still makes me laugh that they started using a real deposed Egyptian guy for these. I look forward to receiving mail from Muammar Ghaddafi.

22/08/2011

Attn; My Noble Fellow

It will indeed be a pleasure to get associated with a good person of nobility like you. With this letter, I am making an appeal for your kindest attention. I only have limited access to communication so I will address straight to the point.

This is Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak, deposed President of Egypt, I was allegedly deposed and forced to step down by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces after the Egyptians protestsfor faster political reforms and demanded that I and my officials in my administration be forced to step down for political corruption, prompting the cabinet to look into reviving a law drafted after the 1952 revolution that overthrew the monarchy.

I would have called you on phone, but because the Egyptian Security Networking with Armed Forces is taping and monitoring myofficials’phone numbers, so it is no longer safe for me to call you which is why I think it is safe to send you this mail. I am placed under surveillance and still on detention and trials with my ex-Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, and six more senior ministry officials including my two sons.

However my main point of contacting you is to seek your sincere suggestion and guideline to move some allocatedfunds from my offshore accounts toyour country. Now I amcurrently incapacitated and suffering partial stroke and extremely worried over the political crisis which I cannot endure the ongoing catastrophe here, and please because of my position in the government now, I do not need to tell you of the absolute confidentiality which we both must have to observe as you are to help me in investing the funds in your country as my tycoon business representative.

Most of my private assets, bank accounts, my portfolio is being seized and confiscated by the Supreme Council, adding to that, the next session of my court trial is scheduled for September 5, that is why I decided to contact you now, though we are still going to court but the environment is good now to handle the transaction very safely before the specific date.

From the brief explanation of my present predicament which has befallen me now, you will understand my catastrophe with the Egyptian government now.I thank you very much for taking time to go through my mail, and please if you are sure you are truly capable to handle this transaction, revert back to me immediately.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely
Hosni Mubarak
Cairo, Egypt.

I love it, it really speaks to me, but more than that, it makes me laugh.

Nodal Points

Posted in Commentary on August 23, 2011 by Bradley Hall

Hidden in the rarely seen, often missed, corners of the Internet lies a website I first encountered several years ago. It is http://nodalpoints.com/ and contains only a few orange words on a black background. In their entirety, they read as follows:

According to Laney, last time we had one like this was 1911.
Can you see them?
If you can, contact us.
You will know how.
Help us direct them to positive ends.

Of course, there is no contact information. To find that, I did a WHOIS search.

In 2006, I sent an email to the address given. No response came back. In 2008, I sent again. Still nothing. Again in 2010 I queried. Silence.

Before I first found that site, it was shortly after I read William Gibson’s Bridge Trilogy of books.

I’m reasonably sure that text was due to those books. An exchange similar to that above takes place in All Tomorrow’s Parties.

Why write a website and then ignore all those who find it? There’s more to do on Zombocom.

Concert in the City

Posted in Commentary, music on July 22, 2011 by Bradley Hall

As some of you know, when I went to Arizona last April I saw a concert consisting of Powerglove, Mutiny Within, and Sonata Arctica. You can read about that exploit here: https://intellectualeconomy.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/concert-in-the-desert/

Anyway, yesterday I saw another concert, this time in my own actual hometown. It was an incredibly geeky affair consisting of Danimal Cannon, Brentalfloss, Random Encounter, The OneUps, and The Protomen.

While I had heard of every band in the lineup before the night of the concert, I was primarily there to see Brentalfloss and the OneUps. I’ve been a fan of the OneUps for around ten years, back when the band was called the OneUp Mushrooms.

Anyway, the concert was great. Every band performed flawlessly. I was worried about there being drunken regulars at the venue, but everyone there was as big of a geek as I am, so I wasn’t entirely worried about being assaulted by drunks or anything.

The venue, Jack Rabbits, is a place I’ve heard about often but had never visited. A friend of mine frequents the place as a performer so I asked for his input before I set off, and frankly, the place is about 1/3rd the size of U.B.’s Bar, the place in Mesa, AZ I visited last year.

In all it was awesome, there was not a single band that I wished would leave the stage for other bands and when a band left the stage, I was sad because each band kicked ass.

I’ll not post video of any of the groups that performed, but I will post images of the show below. If anyone posts videos of this particular night on YouTube, I’ll definitely make a post about them. I tried to take video with my camera, but it’s old and sucky and the sound and video did not work right. The world MUST listen to the awesome weirdness that is the Pokemon Theme Song Mad Lib: Jacksonville Edition, and I know someone out there had to have filmed it (I tried but as I said, my camera sucks).

Danimal Cannon was the first act, he’s normally with the group ArmCannon (Can you feel the Mega Man love with most of these names?). His solo show is something to behold. Dude plays guitar while a customized GameBoy spews out awesomeness.

Brentalfloss served as host for the show and also performed a few of his own songs (as well as the Mad Lib). He was a great guy all around. He autographed my Mega Man E-Tank (he’s often shown as being Mega Man with a bald head in artwork, an example of which is below). My friend Thomas and I managed to talk to him for a few minutes during the show while he wasn’t hosting and he said he enjoyed what little of Jacksonville he saw and that he had a burrito and it was good. He also posed for a picture with us which you will see below. Brentalfloss’ thing is singing lyrics to video game music that did not originally have lyrics. He performed three songs, his Tetris song, and two Super Mario Brothers songs, though one was a parody of a Little Mermaid song.

Next was Random Encounter. They kicked ass. Literally. Their music was rocking and energetic and they had style. I bought both of their albums. I had them autograph one of them. Below you will pictures of them performing their set. Their accordion player, who I believe is also the leader of the band jumped down into the crowd and played the accordion as part of one of their songs. I met up with the band members after their set and got pictures taken with two members and pictures of the other two members.

They ended their set with Take On Me, not a cover, they proclaim. A-Ha traveled through time thirty years and stole it from them.

After Random Encounter was the OneUps. I brought two albums of theirs I owned before the show with the intention of getting them autographed. I did. And then I bought their latest album, Intergalactic Redux, but didn’t have them autograph that, I mean, they did the other two, know what I mean? Didn’t want to annoy them too much. Their set was great. For each song they dedicated it to a random person in the audience or to something like “practicing making babies” or “to all women” before one song the dedication making dude looked around for a new dedication. I was in front and raised my hand and the dude pointed at me and said “The bearded man in the front row.” I heard a few other people comment that my beard was a great example of a manly beard. “My song” turned out to be a Legend of Zelda piece, it was awesome. One thing I liked about the OneUps set was that when they performed a song, they had video of that game displaying behind them.

Lastly was The Protomen. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to listen to their entire set as I had to jet, but they rocked. I loved their WWII reminiscent poster, so I bought that, for $5. I would have loved to have them autograph it, but wasn’t able to. Their style is based on the premise that before Mega Man took out Dr. Wily, the land was an oppressive one and that Protoman tried to defeat Wily, but was defeated and that Mega Man, his younger robot brother, tried to continue the fight. All of their music has a distopian flair to it. Before they began their set, a man in a metal mask addressed the crowd and announced that it had been a year since the Protomen had been to Jacksonville and that they were bringing the fight back.

In all it was a great, great, show and these words on this blog do not explain that enough.

HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER!

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve checked YouTube for videos from the show since I know several people filmed it and lo and behold, here’s the first posting someone has done.

Edit two: I’ve found videos from just about every band that performed that night, I FINALLY found one by Danimal Cannon.

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