Geocaching Scourge

Someone in the South Bay with the geocaching name Scourge is removing some of those pesky lame micros that never should have been approved in the first place. His (or her) log entry is always only the mystic message “pum-SPAK!” Having been put on the right research path by fellow cacher Equinox who swears no knowledge of the identity of the real-life Scourge, I did a little homework on the details of the Marvel comic origin of villain-killer Scourge.

Scourge was an organization of super-villain killers (posing as a single person) who embarked on a killing spree in 1986 Marvel comics, cumulating in a massacre in a bar. Scourge typically wore a disguise, targeted a super-villain, and shot them to death with a sawed-off shotgun containing explosive ammo — with only the sounds “pum” (the shot fired) followed by “SPAK!” (the lethal explosion of the bullet).

A new Scourge has surfaced in some comics, with the added slogan “Justice is served!” The Scourge organization was originally founded by a major 1940s Marvel hero, The Angel, who retired after a bystander was killed by a criminal he was battling. Consumed by rage and guilt, the aged Angel later used his personal fortune to found and fund the Scourge of the Underworld organization, which is dedicated to the assassination of so-called super-criminals.

Scourge’s victims include Enforcer, Miracle Man, Hate-Monger III, Megatak, Melter, Titania, Basilisk, Hammer and Anvil, Fly, Death Adder, Blue Streak, Cheetah, Commander Kraken, Cyclone, Firebrand, Grappler, Hellrazor, Hijacker, Jaguar, Letha, Mirage, Rapier, Ringer, Shellshock, Vamp, Wraith, and even several Scourge agents. What a list!

Whoever chose Scourge as the alter-ego character with which to assassinate criminally micro-sized geocaches did so brilliantly. I wish I’d thought of it. Justice is served!

Author’s Note

Removal of approved geocaches by anyone other than the owner or an agent of the owner is just not nice, and I do not promote, condone, or support any such activities — and I am also in no way responsible for said activities.

First Look: World of Warcraft…

I’ve been bitten by the Blizzard bug again. This time it’s the latest entry in the WarCraft saga: the two-month-new World of Warcraft, a huge four-CD massively multiplayer online role-playing game, or MMORPG for short. The predecessor, Warcraft III, never gelled with me, mainly due to its complexity and less-than-interesting playing, but WoW is a fun, engaging, and addictive timewaster.

Image © Blizzard Entertainment

Installation is tedious; it took well over an hour to install the four CDs. Worried about privacy issues? Assuming you can live with the fact that World of Warcraft is a purely online game and they can pull the plug at any time of their choosing, accepting the terms of service also allows Blizzard the right to scan your computer’s components, including “your computer’s random access memory, video card, central processing unit, etc.” While presumably added to help prevent players from installing modifications that would provide them an unfair advantage, you have to assume that Blizzard at any time can read any part of your system’s memory.

Game play is purely RPG. You start as a level 1 character of the race, gender, profession, and look of your choosing. Quests abound, and it’s easy to establish a group of players all completing the same goals. Conquering various beasts and villains, as well as completing quests, produces gains in experience. It is not long before the level 1 wolves near your starting gate (assuming you start out as a member of the human race) become mere pests and hardly a challenge. So far, I’ve not run across any real idiots, but I’m also consciously avoiding the player-versus-player aspects of the game, preferring to stick with the normal quest-based mode. On the contrary, it is more often that I run across a warlock or priest who casts a heal spell or enhancement over me. In return, as I’ve gathered strength, I’ve helped a newbie or two (hard to be more of a newbie than I am at this early point!) to complete a quest or regain health.

Great graphics. Almost no lag (except in highly populated areas such as the auction house). Interesting goals and quests. A huge map to explore.

I have never payed a subscription to play an online game, so $15 per month seems steep to me, but I have a feeling I’ll be sticking around for a while. But, hey, the first month is free anyway. Isn’t that how a drug addiction usually starts? The first one is always free, and then you become addicted for life. Welcome to the World of WarCrack!


Actually, having played the game for the past several weeks, I have come to the conclusion that WoW is highly populated with idiots.

Photoshop Tutorial: Torn Paper

Image © Richard D. LeCour

Here’s a quick-and-easy Photoshop tutorial that, if nothing else, reminds me how to create the look of torn paper.

  1. Create a layer of your paper.
  2. Select the entire layer with the rectangular marquee.
  3. Use the lasso tool to deselect the area to be torn off.
  4. Add a layer mask.
  5. Smudge the mask edges with a one-pixel brush.
  6. When the edges look sufficiently rough, apply the mask to the layer by trashing the mask.
  7. Apply a drop shadow to the layer to add depth.