Monthly Archives: November 2002


Nope! I'm posting this since I know there are a number of pilots on IAM who may find this story interesting. Plane-sized parachute systems are old news, especially to those interested in ultralights. Anyway, they recently documented the first recovery of a full sized civilian aircraft (like I said, this really took off first for ultralights). The parachute system even works from heights as low as 300 feet… When I finally get around to building a plane, I'll definitely be using such a system.

In five years I hope to have a small homemade plane and a bigger and better truck, both alcohol-still powered. I hope to have a completed home in a defendable location that can stand independent from communication and power grids, as well as from food and other production systems (on all those points: if needed; not always). I want to be a good/better shot with a bow*, and I want to have a pumpkin-launcher-type device that if need be can shoot an iron ball through an armored vehicle at a thousand feet.

Basically I want to have the option not just to be totally self-sufficient, but also to be totally able to defend my property using low-tech sustainable weaponry that doesn't need power and mass-manufactured ammunition and so on. Yeah, laugh it up — but my friends will thank me when the revolution comes. Don't tread on me.

* Bows and crossbows are unregulated. For me, going by-the-book (and I'd rather do things by-the-book since the last thing I need is going to jail for something stupid), it seems like the right option. Under repressive Canadian gun laws, if you apply for a gun permit, even just for a shotgun, you give the police permission to search your home for “verification” purposes. I am of course not willing to give such permission.

Family Values

As you probably know, I have no contact with my parents. My mother disapproves of my lifestyle, and my father is, well, unstable. I wish I could figure out a way to help him get his life together. In many ways he taught me everything I know, and I do want to help him if I can (his dream was converting his farm into a “sanctuary” where a community of people could come to life safely and freely, and, among other things, ran a company developing advanced communications technologies).

Anyway, I got an email from my grandmother (my mother's mother) telling me that I had to apologize to my mother for cutting her out of my life. After all she said, I'd hurt my mother when I was younger by my lifestyle choices!

(from my reply)   When I was a CHILD? When I was a child that'd been taught to express themself, but then when I started expressing who I was, I was told that it was so distasteful that I didn't even deserve to live in the house? When I was told that in public I shouldn't walk near my mother because it was too embarrassing for her to be seen with someone like me?

Among other things she went on to tell me that it was pretty much all my fault, and that if I wasn't willing to reconsider my lifestyle and adapt it to something they found more acceptable, then I really couldn't blame them if they had a problem with it.

The email goes on but you get the point. It's sort of like the “but if you wear that skimpy dress, you should have known I'd rape you” excuse. It's bullshit. It tries to move the blame to the wrong side. But you all know that. I doubt there's a person on this site that hasn't gone through these things with someone, be it family, friends, schools, or employers…

So parents: If you spend your child's youth telling them how much you hate their decisions, and letting them know that you would rather see them on the streets than with piercings in “your” home (and that's what you tell a child when you say “I'll kick you out if you don't take out that piercing” — you're actually saying “if you try and be yourself, I'll gladly watch you die in the streets”), don't be surprised if one day the tables are turned on you. Don't be surprised when the ultimatum you offer flips on you.

When I was a child, I knew who I was.

When I was a child, I know who I wanted to be.

Media Galleries

I'm at the point of integrating the full media galleries (support of most standard AVI formats, MPG video, MP3 and OGG audio files, and so on), but to do so I'm going to have to drop about a thousand dollars having an employee do it (it's very much outside of my experience, and I'm too swamped with other things to deal with it, and yes, PsyberCity does have employees other than me).

Anyway, there've been very few donations in the last four months or so, so I just wanted to make sure that people were interested in me doing the above (when it's just my work I don't mind doing it, but this is real money spent). I'm not asking for donations — I understand that a lot of people are tight right now — I just want to know if this is a feature that people would like. I know that a lot of digital cameras take MPG clips so it might be fun to be able to cleanly post them here.

Add this to the “Shannon shouldn't answer support mail late at night” file. An urgent request to add “a picture of a cheshire cat” had just come in:

From: Stevejs1@***
Subject: a picture of a cheshire cat

Please!!! Can I get a pic of a cheshire cat,
that maybe a little "mad".

People constantly ask that every stupid utterly unrelated thing to the subject matter gets added to the glossary (a few other recent requests include “animated four leaf clovers”, “kanji for serenity”, “genial tattoo”, “unicorn”, and “polyamory”). My reply:

Subject: Re: a picture of a cheshire cat

Here you go, I hope this helps.
Send me a photo if you get it tattooed on you!

For sale?!?!?

Add to Shannon's Christmas list:

My latest article

I'm not entirely happy with this article — it's a bit disjointed. You should see the original though. I've cut this version back to I think 3,800 words, with the original being a solid 1,500 longer. It's a big subject. Anyway, it won't go public until tomorrow so if you'd life first dibs on it, here you go:

Should Freedom of Expression be a right?

"If God wanted you to have a tattoo, you would have been born with one. Here in South Carolina, we still believe in God."
- South Carolina State Senator Jakie Knotts

"If God had wanted us to eat cooked food, he'd have installed a furnace in our throats."

- Anonymous author of the Fingernail Mods FAQ

Recent court cases regarding the legality of tattooing in the state of South Carolina have tested the question of whether the method of expression is included in the first amendment right of free speech. The court decided that freedom of speech is limited in its context, and does not in fact apply to tattooing (even though it has in the past protected far more socially questionable art forms). In this week's column I will make the case that freedom of expression rights are both desperately needed by the modified community, and that in modern times, it makes sense to consider a freedom of expression right as a single unifying right that also protects speech, culture, and religion.


I thought it might amuse people to hear how I write. I jot down my ideas on little pieces of paper that I carry around with me when I go out. Then I rough out a structure and type the body in on the computer using AbiWord (a free open-source competitor to MS Word). Then I print that out and go lie in the old hay in the barn editing it by hand.

Today it was supermuddy back there so I went for a spin in the ATV every time I needed to clear my thoughts. It's so warm and wet today that the four wheeler was throwing up a forty-foot rooster tail. Very fun!