Thursday, December 24, 2009

Don't forget to remember, on this special day:

Happy 233rd We'll Cross the Delaware and Kill You in Your Sleep so Don't Piss Us off Day!

It's my favorite holiday this time of year, although the rest of my family is talking about some silly one tomorrow. Oh well, family, go figure.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

True to form...

...our current Commander in Chief of the most powerful military in the world turned a solemn occasion, the return of MY fallen comrades into a photo-op and publicity coup.

I can't believe I actually gave that classless piece of excrement the benefit of the doubt when I first learned of his intention to be present during the return of more of our fallen. I knew his record and his lack of concern for service members, evidenced recently, and I knew about his fatal, for we who serve, dithering about making a F***ing decision in Afghanistan, how he's been avoiding his regional commander for the conflict, but I thought he had to give enough of a damn not to crassly take advantage of the sacrifice of those who gave all for political gain.

Well, not too surprisingly, I was wrong. That son of a bitch brought the White House press corp with him. He was posing for pictures! Then, the damn media covering the event had the audacity to take a cheap shot at Bush because he never went to Dover. Those simpering, fetid, slavering, troglodytes!

There was never any doubt in the minds of those in uniform that W. loved and respected those in the military. He never met the bodies at Dover because he knew it was a solemn time and the families deserved to have a measure of privacy, something impossible in the presence of the POTUS.

He did, however, spend a great deal of time with the families of those who had lost loved ones in the service. He even had a White House photographer with him during those visits. He would stay with those families and talk to them as a peer, about anything they wanted, for as long as they wanted. Then, if they wanted a picture with the President they could have it. NO ONE else ever saw those pictures. They were not for the consumption of the voracious media. They were for those families.

Not so with Dear Leader! By all accounts, all he did was pose for photos and pretend to give a rip.

Well, to Hell with him. If the best he can for those who died and their families is abuse them for political gain, then F*** him. I will never give him the benefit of the doubt again. I will do everything in my power to thwart his plans for this country, I will devote myself to exposing his flaws and mocking his character (or lack thereof). Sure, I'm just a middle class veteran with no real clout, but I will work my damnedest to be as big a thorn in his side as possible. I will encourage others to do the same. I will no longer restrain my dissent out of respect for the office he holds.

It's unlikely the bastard will ever read this, but just in case:

Obama, you bastard, you have spit in the face of those who served this country unto death. You have betrayed the sacred pact between a commander and his troops. Your lack of intestinal fortitude and moral certitude has contributed to more deaths of our comrades in arms. You are unworthy of US, THE OFFICE YOU HOLD, AND THIS COUNTRY.

You sir, can go to Hell.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Well, it's Halloween

And in accordance with tradition, I'm not doing all that much.

Ten pounds of ribs BBQ, a few beers and/or cocktails and that's about it.

Man, I haven't worn a costume in years. Not since the last time I pretended to be somewhat normal.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The intartubes are all a flutter...

Well, at least some of the blogs I read.

Over at Jennifer's blog, we have possibly the most ridiculous atheist contrived idea ever. Denial of service to God? Well, the founder of the organization originating that particular idea actually showed up and stated that it was a joke. Being fair, I'm inclined to believe an atheist when he tells me he didn't expect to accomplish anything by arranging for mass, simultaneous prayer. Would be funny if it did though.

Over at Breda's place we have feminism crop up. Matter is handled by her and her readers, including self, maturely and with minimal kerfuffle, but when Marco posts about what she said, suddenly some dinosaur is insinuating things about stay at home dads that I didn't much care for. So I went after him, he spouted some amazing ignorance, I replied. Ugh.

I fed the damn troll. You'd think I'd know better.

Oh well. I wouldn't even be writing this, but hey, I heard somewhere that the key to blogging is to write something everyday, thought I'd try it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

On matters of faith

I've recently been reading the afterwords of Kratman's upcoming novel, The Toluriad, and discussing it a bit here and here. Also, oddly enough, a brief bit of SPAM, not of the electronic variety. Weird.

Anyway, it resulted in some interesting lines of thought on my part. Specifically on the nature of the Science vs. Religion debate, which is ridiculous to say the very least, which led me to pondering the thinking of atheists. Specifically, non-militant, non-agnostic atheists. Which led to an interesting observation. There don't seem to be too many of them.

Of course, the sample set was highly self-limiting seeing as it was composed only of friends of mine. Turns, out, at least among my friends, that those I'd always considered straight-up atheists turn into agnostics when engaged in serious conversation on the topic. I certainly don't intend that, or anything else in this post, to sound insulting to agnostics or atheists in general. Just certain ones.

Thing is, it seems the common thread is that they don't really know with certainty one way or another, but they really doubt the existence of a God. Fair enough.

Seeing as there is no proof that God, or any supernatural being(s), exists and no way to proof He(she/it/they) doesn't exist (basic scientific principle: you cannot prove a universal negative*) any solid stance on the subject requires faith. That's an easy concession for me, as having faith is kind of part and partial to the whole Christian experience and any other religion I can think of, but I remain exceedingly curious what a more, er, devout(?) atheist would have to say on the subject.

I am, unfortunately, endlessly familiar with what an anti-theist, or militant atheist if you prefer, has to say on the subject of faith. It generally combines a string of variations on, "You don't know anything about science!**" and a litany of the misdeeds performed by any person who had any religious leanings whatsoever. As I generally refuse to entertain vitriol as a serious contribution to a debate, especially on such a contentious subject, I pretty much discount anything I hear from that crowd.

I will listen if someone uses logic and presents an actual coherent argument for the absence of the supernatural, I don't class those as anti-theists. Thing is, I've never actually encountered that.

* While one can infer the presence of a universal negative and feel pretty darn confident about the conclusion (ie. All cats are animals, therefore no cats are non-animals) it is not a certain thing. Using the above example, what if we met a race of sentient cats? Then it becomes a matter of how does one define a cat, an animal, or both.

Going off that, unless one can observe the entire universe simultaneously, a universal negative cannot be proven. The possibility always remains that somewhere beyond current knowledge, the thing posited to not exist may indeed be doing so.

** Indeed? Having already covered universal negatives, how about we delve into logic? Do a search on Pascal's Gambit. Good stuff. Remember, as one of the fathers of computer science, Pascal was a card carrying member of the science community.

Because sometimes, violence is the only answer

When engaged in conversation regarding current international affairs and concerns, I am often asked if maybe I'm just a bit blood thirsty. My response, now, is along these lines:

"I have a wife, three kids, and two cats, all of whom I dote on endlessly.
I teach Sunday school every week to some very unique and gifted children, all of whom I adore.
Both sides of my family, for all their faults and foibles, are the most dear people in the world, and there's nothing I wouldn't do for them.
I have several hundred people I consider my friends, all over the world, and I'd gladly give them the shirt off my back, my last dollar, or even my life.
I am a man filled with love for those around him, even those I disagree with.

You bet your life I'm blood thirsty!"

If I have to kill every last predatory bastard on Earth with my own two hands in order to safeguard those I love, then I will do so with same determination I bring to all arduous tasks.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Holy CARP! Tom Kratman uses AOL!

And, for the FTC, I wasn't given squat to make that statement.


Holy CARP! I'm writing a post! Something I should be doing more off in the near future. Probably starting monday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I believe I owe this man a beer

Not wanting to repeat what others have said about this, so the title says all I have to add. Listen to the whole thing and note the lack of booing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

If you voted for Obama...

If you think dissent is only patriotic when you and your ideological comrades are doing it...

If you don't see anything wrong with the government seizing control of pieces of the private sector...

If you would rather limit or eliminate the rights of your countrymen than have to deal with your fear of anyone you can't control being armed...

If you seek to limit the rights of fellow citizens in any way...

If you believe we should give amnesty to illegal aliens and don't care about the dilution of American culture and ideals...

If you think we should surrender any of our sovereignty to a multi-national body...

If you wish those who oppose your views could be forced to simply go along with them...

If you want dissent silenced...

If you are always sure to fashionably badmouth the country of your birth...

If you see no problem with surrendering control of your health, and everyone else's, to the government...

...and have no problem making other people pay for it...

If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom,...

...go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just because I can

Taking a bit of a breather from the Sisyphean task. Probably just for ten minutes or so. Not long enough to write anything terribly meaningful, instead I will spout random facts.

1. There is a loaded .45 next to my computer right now, and has been every time I've written for the last few years. Strangely, it has never risen up and killed anyone.*

2. I can type somewhere around fifty words per minute most of the time. When writing in 'the zone' I can get up into the high sixties. Despite this, when done with a writing session, the day's word count divided by the number of minutes spent working on it usually come out around five.

3. There is a special 'relativity free zone' that follows authors around.

4. According to Luke 22:36, Jesus is a fan of the right to keep and bear arms.

5. The political elite currently at the reins in D.C. really do believe that we are as ruthless as they are. A certain level of concentrated evil tends to distort the perceptions of those present.

6. The Recession is over (yay!), Obama said so, any lingering effects are simply lies and elaborate hoaxes of the Teabaggers. (That's where all the money they were supposed to be paying us went)

7. A Fabrique National 5.7** is the ideal weapon to hunt large, dangerous game.

8. Dissent is no longer patriotic. Update your plans accordingly.

*I'm only admitting this now since Breda admitted to doing the same.

** Notice the itty, bitty muzzle? Yeah, me too.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Entropy wins again?

Much like Africa always does?

I'm something of a history buff, especially regarding the early history of Western Civilization. In my various studies, and frequent arguments with professors, I've noticed a trend. Not some obscure historical fact, I'm sure many Americans are thinking on this very trend right now.

Civilizations are cyclic.

Let's take the origins of Western Civilization, the ancient Greeks. The rose to completely dominate, sometimes, the Mediterranean, had colonies and influence in parts of Africa and reaching up North into Europe. Eventually, there were a few nations that rose and were similar enough to be grouped into Western Civ, but Greece remained at the forefront. There was Thermopylae, Marathon, Troy, and the conquests of Alexander to tell us that no matter what you think of the Greeks these days, their ability to make war was no mean thing.

Then they fell. I'll not get into all the causes of their fall, or that of others, as they are still debated widely, but the root will be the same throughout.

Next rose the city of Remus and Romulus, Rome. Growing from its humble origin as a town astride a trade road, Rome grew to dominate the ancient world. With outposts ranging from the shores of Africa, to halfway up Britain (clearly marked where Hadrian's wall was) and out East into modern day Turkey.

And they declined, fractured, and, finally, fell. Others rose up to take the reins in Europe eventually, but the true successor to Greece and Rome was the United States, starting somewhere around the establishment of the Monroe Doctrine.-

Now, with the decline of national identity resulting from rampant illegal immigration (if you don't know what I'm talking about, take a trip to SoCal), the government trampling the will of the people, seizing control of major industries, attempting to seize even more (no, forget that, from now on I'm calling it what it is, stealing. The word seize when used in conjunction with government action can impart a veneer of legitimacy), stealing more and more of the fruits of our labors in order to fund vote buying schemes and economic power grabs, and actively seeking to suppress dissent(!) many people are, quietly mostly, wondering if we're circling the drain ourselves.

Well, we're not. At least, I don't think so. If another generation or two had passed before our current contretemps that might not be the case. Today, however, as the injuries and usurpations against the free people of this country mount, people are beginning to discover that they are indeed the descendants (spiritually if not genetically) of those who screamed, "Give me liberty or give me death!" and, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country." Everywhere, people who never stood up to a bully in their lives are finding steel in their back bones and reserves of righteous indignation they never knew they had.

The people are pissed and are fighting back. Is it possible that the America we all love will never make a return? Yes, it is, but by all that is good and right, the bastards will have more of a fight than they can stomach.

A free people are hard to subjugate. A free and well armed people are a nightmare.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I must be a caffeine/nicotine achiever

I said yesterday that if writing got frustrating, I'd post a blog.* Obviously, that did not happen. I, happily, reached a point where I needed to expand the protagonist's role instead of deleting sections and doing snippet style editing. I actually got to simply write again.

Thirteen hundred words just under four hours.

I also, in that time, drank a large pot of coffee and smoked twelve cigarettes. That sounds bad enough, but when you take into account that I've been averaging between five and eight smokes a day and trending downward, that's a heck of a lot of cancer sticks.

Oh well, it's been like a month or so since I last 'got in the zone' while writing, so I'm not lamenting too much, but still. Damn.

*I know how silly that looks, but it really is a lot different.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The conquering hero has...

...certainly not returned in the person of yours truly. I haven't been doing any conquering and I'm definitely no hero. Heck, I never did get this new electron box entirely squared away to my liking. I simply decided that I had hit the point where it was no longer worth trying to get my new Vista machine to act like my well and truly tweaked old XP one. I may still, at some point in the future, install a different OS, but I just don't feel like messing with it anymore.

As for the book? Ah, such stories I could tell...which I think is the point. I'm not sure anymore. Somewhere in the midst of trying to write the final battle sequence from several dozen viewpoints, as opposed to the three from the rest of the book, I realized that I had gone way over the thirty thousand word goal I had set for myself. Not just that, but the battle had only just reached the point where the plan falls apart.* In other words, it was only just getting involved. The problem is that each viewpoint character has a role throughout the entirety of the battle, so I didn't want to just skip one viewpoint ahead while the viewpoint is covering another angle.

Well, that particular method of reading about a battle may be the joy of historians attempting to recreate an entire battle, it's not such a good way for a novice author to tell a story. I am sure anyone reading it as it currently is (I'm not even close to finished fixing it) would quickly become bored with reading about the same event, over and over, but from different viewpoints. It only worked in Vantage because; one, each revealed a good bit of new information and two, there were only a few viewpoints, not dozens.

So I've been fixing it in segments, deciding what events can simply be summarized afterward, likely by whatever poor bastards lived through them, what should the protagonist be aware of, what can be revealed by one-off viewpoints (like a narrator or a bad guy), and what to just pare away as excessive (probably a lot).

In other words, not the best of times as far as writing goes. That's okay though, I think I'll maintain sufficient motivation simply because I'm so close to being done. Then I get to start on the next one having already learned everything I did from this one. Hopefully, that'll help me avoid the problem I'm having currently, without which I think I'd be done by now and well into editing.

Oh well.

I have a few posts planned out regarding current events. I might even do them today, but that depends on how frustrated I get with writing. So, if I end up burning up the intratubes, it means I've gotten frustrated. In any event, I won't say watch this space.

*I suppose that could be a spoiler, but I doubt anyone who reads through the rest of book would be even a little surprised. The characters sure aren't.

Poetry Corner, audio-visual edition

I'm gonna break with own poorly established tradition and post an instrumental instead. A recently composed one at that, I believe in 2000, which just goes to show that there are still composers out there doing good work in that area. Howard Shore is another good example, he did the music for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Anyway, find six and a half minutes to just sit back and enjoy. The name of the piece is Lux Aeterna, but is more commonly known as Requiem for a Dream. Either way, the nom de guerre fits this haunting piece.

It starts out just barely audible and picks up just a bit under thirty seconds in.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why I sometimes avoid the news...

Ok, I never really avoid the news any more. Used to when I was on leave. Just in case I needed to claim ignorance of an impending recall when asked what I was doing on the backside of the beyond.

I may, however, start! Can Obama win the hearts and minds of Muslims? For those who don't want to hit the link, it's a gushing piece about how Hope'nchange(TM) is going to try to win over all those Muslims in Egypt, but he doesn't need to because they already wuv him soooo muches! It also makes sure to sneak in an unsubtle jab at Condoleeza Rice for her speech in 2005 delivered to student in Cairo. The article goes on to say the Lightbringer's policy of opening dialogues and expanding communication will work so much better than Bush's policy. You know, because he just yelled at them and bombed them and was so terrible.

There is so much in that article that is stated as absolute fact that is, to anyone who is still paying attention, entirely subjective. This is true with almost any news one reads involving politics these days.

The gubmint posts a list of US nuclear sites. Look past the worry mongering about security at the storage sites in the first half. They may well have said, "This is not the incompetence and/or malfeesance you're looking for." Security at that, and all the other sites where high grade material is stored, is as formiddable as it is humanly possibly to make it.

Honestly, the actual information released is not too big a deal. With a few days research, a savvy individual could likely piece the information together themselves. What blows my mind is that no one calling for heads to roll. Instead we hear specious concerns for overall security and nothing said about who was responsible.

Then several paragraphs follow about how it was no big deal, which is sorta true I guess, and how the GPO (gubmint printing office) simply posted it as a matter of course since they do so many and they had no way of knowing it was sensitive. Really?
Some of the pages are marked "highly confidential safeguards sensitive."
Uh, oops? Maybe I'm a little over critical because I worked in the nuclear field for a little while with both weapons and reactors. Shockingly enough, we took security really damn seriously. If I had leaked so much as an inter-office memo about coworkers' lunch plans, I'd be in Leavenworth still making big rocks into little rocks and little rocks into dust. But since this is the fault of some anonymous employee of the Obama gubmit, nothing will happen.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fun with photography

So the wifey and I had a range trip scheduled today, not particularly note worthy, but we had to cancel due to the Irate Wifey not feeling too hot. By the point this was determined, however, I had already assembled the pistols we were planning on taking (today was to by a pistolcraft day), unloaded them and all their attendant, ready magazines. I sat looking at the assemblage on the table, with all the various rounds arranged in neat rows and columns (I am, alas, struck with the same minor OCD so ubiquotous at the genius level;) and the magazines and firearms arranged around their ammo. It made me smile, so I made a few adjustments (cleared some clutter) and snapped a few pics I thought were cool. Here you go.

Yeah, that's my dining room table after clearing away some of the clutter. While I was originally stripping out the mags, there was three more books and an entire deck of Uno cards. Oh well.

I'm the worst blogger ever!

Title pretty much says it all.

I can't believe I, of all people, didn't write a post for Memorial Day. Granted, many others did a far better job than I would of, but I feel a little guilty about it, none the less.

Of course, I never managed to be on the computer for more than five minutes that day, still.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's in a name?

First of all, someone who is often chagrined at his habit of not posting anything for extended periods of time probably should not decide to not talk politics for awhile.

Hard not to since I get my news via the intrawebs, which is largely about politics, and then when I go to write a blog post, well, you get the idea.

The upshot is I've averaged about two thousand words a day for just over a week. Maybe I'll be published before the end of the year.

One certainly hopes.

(See what I did there? First paragraph was in third person, middle two in first with a bit of second person, and the last back in third. I've been playing such games for days. I'm such a dork)

Anyway, South Texian today had a post about Joe Klein, of Time Magazine:
"He became ground zero among the neo-cons, but he's vastly smarter than most of them," said Time's Joe Klein, an admirer and critic who praised Krauthammer's "writing skills and polemical skills" as "so far above almost anybody writing columns today."

"There's something tragic about him, too," Klein said, referring to Krauthammer's confinement to a wheelchair, the result of a diving accident during his first year of medical school. "His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he's writing about."

In context, he essentially is saying Krauthammer doesn't know what he's talking about when it involves something physically demanding. In the literary world, to say someone lacks nuance on a particular topic is essentially the same as saying they may know a little about what they're talking about, but lack depth, experience, or some such on the topic.

Well, the only thing physically demanding Krauthammer really talks about is the military and what it does, can do, should do, etc. In a very round about way, he's calling Krauthammer a chickenhawk.

A chickenhawk*, in the parlance of the Other Side, being someone who espouses the use of military force for any reason whatsoever, or just has an opinion of any sort regarding the military, who was never in the military. Amusingly, when Obama called for the bombing of Pakistan (which would have been stupid**) no one called him a chickenhawk. Heck, whenever a liberal of any variety lowers himself to talking about military matters, including strategy, no one calls them chickenhawks.

Funny that. Of course, it's not that liberals don't think those who were never in the military should have an opinion on how it operates, after all, many of them have a whole plethora of rules and policies they want implemented to make the military 'kinder and gentler.' It's really about the nature of the discourse.

This is hardly limited to the instances of people being called chickenhawks. Every time you hear some useful idiot calling conservatives fascists, it's the same thing. I'm sure with some thought I could list a few dozen cliche names liberals will call those who are opposed to their point of view.

See, an argument that stays rooted solidly in reality, ie. logic and facts, is one that liberals have a poor chance of winning. However, call someone a fascist and suddenly he's defending himself and his point of view against a word which has had its meaning redefined specifically to include them. The debate moves into the gutter of arguing from emotion and feeling, facts and history be damned, and this is a fight we conservatives are not good at, but which liberals excel at.

I must admit, I used to allow myself to be roped into such ploys all the time.

The worst part of it, the average man/woman-on-the-street liberal doesn't think they are doing this. They developed their point of view, or had it introduced to them, from the viewpoint of emotion and feeling. That being what the position is based on, it is what they use to defend it.

One must remember that nearly every liberal really does have the best intentions, just like what the road to Hell is paved with.

While most liberals do not consciously try to move a debate to the emotional level, there are some who do so quite deliberately. Anytime you hear the phrase, "Think of the children," or any of its semantic equivalents, someone is defending something they know will not pass rational examination. It also why certain semi-auto rifles are called 'assault rifles/weapons/etc' (though they are nothing of the sort) by those who favor banning them and their talking heads (now including Jimmah Carter!) talk about how they're only useful for killing people. Of course it's ridiculous, but it makes it hard to argue against them when we're forced to play their game.

*The original meaning of a chickenhawk is one who is terrified of something, but is brave anyway. Makes sense, since without fear, bravery is impossible.

**At the time he made the statement. This may be changing soon, if it has not already.

Poetry Corner-Snipe's Lament

Having spent my share of time standing the watch in the hole, I well remember seeing this on a plaque outside the Chief Engineer's officer. To this day I can't remember without getting a little emotional. Life down in the pit is no easy thing. Eighteen hour days, ambient temperature never below 105 and more often around 120 with the humidity high enough that water condenses on every surface, including skin. And those poor bastards get paid only as much as the admin type who spends six hours a door working in an air conditioned office and stand, maybe, one watch a week.

Yeah, it's no easy life, but they live it.


Now each of us from time to time has gazed upon the sea
and watched the mighty warships pulling out to keep this country free.
And most of us have read a book or heard a lusty tale,
about these men who sail these ships through lightning, wind and hail.
But there's a place within each ship that legend's fail to teach.
It's down below the water-line and it takes a living toll
- - a hot metal living hell, that sailors call the "Hole."
It houses engines run with steam that makes the shafts go round.
A place of fire, noise, and heat that beats your spirits down.
Where boilers like a hellish heart, with blood of angry steam,
are molded gods without remorse, are nightmares in a dream.

Whose threat from the fires roar, is like a living doubt,
that at any moment with such scorn, might escape and crush you out.
Where turbines scream like tortured souls, alone and lost in Hell,
are ordered from above somewhere, they answer every bell.
The men who keep the fires lit and make the engines run,
are strangers to the light and rarely see the sun.
They have no time for man or God, no tolerance for fear,
their aspect pays no living thing a tribute of a tear.
For there's not much that men can do that these men haven't done,
beneath the decks, deep in the hole, to make the engines run.
And every hour of every day they keep the watch in Hell,
for if the fires ever fail their ship's a useless shell.

When ships converge to have a war upon an angry sea,
the men below just grimly smile at what their fate will be.
They're locked below like men fore-doomed, who hear no battle cry,
it's well assumed that if they're hit men below will die.
For every day's a war down there when gauges all read red,
twelve-hundred pounds of heated steam can kill you mighty dead.

So if you ever write their songs or try to tell their tale,
the very words would make you hear a fired furnace's wail.
And people as a general rule don't hear of these men of steel,
so little heard about this place that sailors call the "Hole."
But I can sing about this place and try to make you see,
the hardened life of the men down there, 'cause one of them is me.
I've seen these sweat-soaked heroes fight in superheated air,
to keep their ship alive and right, though no one knows they're there.

And thus they'll fight for ages on till warships sail no more,
amid the boiler's mighty heat and the turbine's hellish roar.
So when you see a ship pull out to meet a war-like foe,
remember faintly if you can, "The Men Who Sail Below."


Friday, May 1, 2009

Feeling somewhat better now

I seem to have passed the point of wishing for sweet, merciful death. No fever or congestion this morning. Still coughing up some ugly stuff and my throat, nose, entire face, body, etc still hurts, but I seem to be on the mend. Just in time for a fun weekend of yardwork. Yay?

Introducing the fail bell

Got the populace a little upset at you because your plane buzzed N.Y.C. for a friggin' photo op?

'Ask not for whom the fail bell tolls,
It tolls for thee!'

Tell the population to avoid enclosed spaces like subways and airplanes, not considering the implications of such a statement?

'It tolls for thee!'

Publish a DHS report labelling returning veterans as potential right wing extremists, because they are either to stupid or morally bankrupt to resist?

'It tolls for thee!'

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stupid illness

It's bad enough that the intranet seems especially devoid of edification this morning, but I can't seem to do anything very well at the moment. Stupid cold. I thought I fought of the wifey's cold, but woke up this morning with a fever, a headache, and so congested I can barely hear or think.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Everyone loves a good rifle

Right? Oh, well.

I should probably still be busy writing about the further adventures of (redacted) and the (redacted), but I've been doing an exceptionally lousy job of concentrating today, so I figured I'd blog a bit. After all, when I get off the computer I have to clean kitty liter boxes and a bathroom, do dishes, work out, and generally do stuff. Yuck.

When I wrote this post I came pretty close to simple dismissing the defensive value of rifles. Especially in a home defense context. Hell, had the winds of hopen'change not gotten to blowing, I might never have revisited the topic. Now, however, I think I would be remiss in not doing so.

A little background...

By nature, temperament, experience, training, whatever, I'm a dyed in the wool rifleman. One of my fondest memories of the Navy is the first time I had an M-14 handed to me. Yeah, it was old, poorly maintained, and the sights were off, but I loved that thing. It was the first semi-automatic rifle I ever fired that wasn't a .22. Quickly learned that I had a bit of native ability with it too, when I finally got the sights zeroed. Then came the M-16, three variations of it, the M-4, M-25, EBRed M-14, M-82, and a few others I can't remember. I learned that if I did such and such, just so, breathed just right, and squeezed the trigger just like so I'd hit my target. Anywhere from CQB range to 1200 meters (I have hit target on a range at 1700, but that was more the exception than the rule).

As a fighting instrument, the modern rifle is a first class tool, not soon to be replaced.

Then I got out of the Navy. Still loved rifles, but in thinking about the times and places I'd actually needed them, I couldn't imagine needing one simply to defend myself. Still wanted to get a whole list of them, and had no problem with anyone else doing the same, but I prioritized on what I considered useful for defense. So I set about transforming myself into a pistolero and shotgunner, and, discouraged by the price tags of the rifles I wanted, simply tried not to think about them.

Had I kept my brain in the on position, I would have paid attention to the store owners who successfully protected their property during the L.A. riots or the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when armed citizens (before being forcibly disarmed by their 'protectors') had to fight off roving bands of looters. Are pistols and shotguns useful in such situations? Of course, but they are not ideal and when your life, or that of a loved one, is on the line, you want the absolute best tool for the job you can get.

When confronted with civil disorder and the breakdown of basic services, a fighting rifle is one of your best tools. The shotgun remains highly desirable as does the pistol, but unlike normal home defense you may have to engage multiple attackers at open distances. This is where a self-loading, magazine fed rifle is worth its weight in gold.

Apparently I am not the only one to think so, either. Ar-15s, Kel-Tecs, and any other rifles matching the description are flying off the shelves faster than gun stores can restock. Heck, last time I tried to price rifles, there weren't any that fit the bill. Can't say I blame folks, I just hope they remembered to buy plenty of extra magazines and ammo and make sure they can use the things.

I highly recommend to anyone who hasn't done so already to get themselves a defensive rifle. Yes, you'll probably be fine without one, heck you probably won't ever be in danger from rioters, looters, etc, but that is not the way I recommend approaching personal safety. Especially these days. * And no, I'm not at all recommending people take the approach of forming into impromptu fire teams and patrolling for trouble, with their rifles, if the fecal matter does hit the rotary air impeller. ** If trouble does come your way, however, you'll be far better prepared to survive it if you have a rifle you know how to use with plenty of ammo loaded and ready to go.

I won't go into recommending this rifle or that with what accessories. I could spend a week discussing options and still not cover everything, not to mention I'll be wrong by at least one person's reckoning. Nature of the beast and diversity of opinions and choices is a feature, not a bug.

Instead, since I currently have no rifles that fit the bill (remember I got laid off a while ago?), I'd simply share my plans, such as they are, for acquisitions. I just have to finish this book and get that sweet, sweet, vile mammon.

Our first two rifle purchases will be AR builds. I've never owned an AR, but I've had plenty of trigger time with them and have helped other assemble them from parts. Final decision has not been made on parts yet though. I'll try not to geek out to much in the descriptions...

For the wifey, a carbine length either M-4 style or flat top. Currently leaning towards a flat top with flip-up iron sights co-indexed (for the uninitiated, that means they line up with the other sighting gear) a good red dot sight, probably EOtech holosight, and a flip-in/flip-out magnifier for reaching out just a little bit further, foregrip, and a collapsible stock. Yeah, really good red dot sights will bump the total price by 300-800 dollars, but is totally worth it if you have someone good at short to intermediate range rapid acquistion and fire. Such as the wifey. Might also go with a laser and flashlight, as this will be intended for closer range.

For self, a full length AR probably A4 style, but with a Magpul stock. I'll go with a higher end upper, probably DPMS, fully floated, blah, blah barrel and a bipod. Haven't decided on glass (scope) yet, but whatever it is will likely cost a fortune. Heck, I'll probably even get a light amplification scope. I'm looking to make a 600-800 meter rifle. The odds against needed that kind of reach are astronomical, but my house has great fields of fire and I'd hate to have a chance to head trouble off and not be able to take it.

Finally, the value of the .22 rifle should not be discounted. Sure, I'd hate to have to rely on one to stop an attacker, but they serve plenty of other functions and the small, cheap (relatively, ammo just ain't cheap these days) ammo means you can, and should, have lots. Like in the range of thousands of rounds.

A .22 can be used to take small game such as rabbits as a supplemental food supply. In a situation where you have someone unskilled at arms, as long as they're reasonable unlikely to shoot you, then can blast away at bad guys without wasting more valuable ammo. Not only might they actually stop an attacker, they'll serve as improvised suppressive fire. The .22 can also be used, if a situtation actually lasts a while, to train others in firearms without using your primary ammo. Heck, if all else fails, a .22 rifle with ammo in it is worth more than your bare hands and even the greatest, empty, rifle in the world.

Finally, I advise not just having lots of ammo, but lots of magazines loaded. Having 32,000 5.56 hollow points is great, but if you have to reload magazines after the second one, you're probably in a bad place. Also of consideration, though not of primary concern, is ammunition commonality. If things go bad and stay that way for awhile, will you be able to find more ammo? If you are using a 5.56, .308 win, 7.62x39, .30-06, etc, yeah probably, but if you're slinging a 7.62x54R, you may have some trouble.

*I'm not one of the doomsayers who expects are entire civilization to soon collapse or any 'long night' style scenario. The worst I expect disturbances of a few hundred (maybe a thousand or two) square miles that last from two or three days to a couple weeks. Plenty bad, but not the end of the world.

**I'll probably be visiting the topic of what one should and should not be doing in such a situation, even assisting law enforcement in restoring order, but not encouraging reckless action.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ah the joys of the collegiate experience

I had originally planned on writing about rifles today, a topic near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately, my mornings belong to writing for filthy lucre and blogging is relegated to catch as catch can. Since I have Kenpo in about an hour, there's no way I'd finish a post on rifles.

Whilst in the Navy (ie. during my misspent youth), I was a sufficiently motivated, studious, and, frankly, brilliant (and humble) to finish a bachelor's degree just slightly before my twenty first birthday. Long story short, my education officer pulled a fast one on a bunch of us and we never got credit for most of our classes, about two thirds of them in my case. When I originally wrote this, I went into detail about the whole thing, but realized that even after all this time I remain sufficiently livid so as to be incapable of writing about it coherently.

Moving on.

A few months ago, I decided to go back to school. Doing a little math here, it's been...lessee divide the square of C by the cube root of zero (what? I live outside the flow of normal time)...aha! Eight years since the last time I took a class more academic than how to treat a sucking chest wound or not offend the women or minorities I worked around. Things have changed a bit.

Oh! Sounds like story time!

"But why do they use just zeros and ones in binary? Why not use zero through nine? You could have more information in the same space." This said with the assurance of one who is confident of revolutionizing the field.

A plethora of response came to mind. You know, such trivial things as not being able to simply imprint actual digits in the flow of electrons. Things like on...and off. Maybe a reference to Morse code to illustrate how information is transmitted with only two options. Instead I shoot back with, "What? Because the tiny little cables and electron paths are two small for bigger numbers."

I know, I know, I'm an ass. What do you expect me to say in a conversation that's taking place in a political science class?

"Wouldn't it be worth it to make them just a little bigger? You could at least use three and four."

At this point, I'm just wanting the little wart to shut his month, but since gratification in that regard was not forthcoming...

"You'd still have too many heat dissappation problems and major diminishing returns in volume to processing power and storage capacity."

"Why do we have to use zero and one though? They're the most useless numbers in the world."

I'm sure my tormentor has a vast and metropolitan experience of the world, and this is just a lapse. After all, we all know (right?) that they're actually the two most important intergers. I mean, there are entire FIELDS of study in math and science that rarely, or never, work with values that aren't between those two.

So yeah, I really was about ready to flatten this kid.

"Because they're the smallest ones with the highest value ratio."


"No, drop it. You don't know what the FRENCH FRIES* you're talking about."

"But zero..."

"What?! What is so ALL FIRED* wrong with the current method? You know, since it's the only one that will work unless we stumble on a completely new theory of electronic operation!"

"I just don't like zeros."

Wow. All this from a...wait for science major. Guess how many classes he's failed! If you guesses 'all of them,' pat yourself on the back.

Not all my fellow students are like that though. In my stats class there are two girls, who sit way in the back of the classroom just ahead of me and the guy I sit next to. In a roughly linear (sorry stats midterm was yesterday) fashion, test scores increase with distance from the teacher. This being a statistics class, I decided to write that phenomenon up sheerly for grits and shins.

We were debating actually giving it to our teacher, until the review session last night. The teacher asked questions with varied awards (arranged ala Jeopardy), and divided the room into teams by rows. The last two rows being largly empty she teamed the four of us up. Being the older and more mature member, I decided to stop answering questions upon realizing that even if one of the other teams got every answer right, we would still win. Now it seems to hand in that little bit of observation would just be rubbing it in. Something my fellows seem all too eager to do.

Ugh, how did I become the guy who has to wrangle both the idiots and rambunctious smart guys? I used to be the rambunctious smart guy...

And now I'm almost late for Kempo. Darnit.

*Not what I really said, this is a reasonable kid friendly blog.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let's make a deal

Sorry about the continued lack of regular posting. Between trying to hammer out a book, which is turning into a real page turner to my mind, working out twice and day, and being a full time college student, I have not written here a tenth as much as I'd like. That said, I figured it was time to offer a couple of proposals to those whose political ideals are in conflict with mine.

So there's been a little debate over at the Smallest Minority regarding guns, gun control, the effect an armed populace has on crime, etc. Pretty interesting stuff, deteriorated a bit when the anti-gunner started arguing from a position of feeling and ignoring the obviously real dangers of modern life, but still pretty interesting.

It got me thinking a bit though. Kevin repeatedly posted statistics of various gun friendly locales here in the US of A and noted they, almost universally, had lower crime rates. His opponent pointed out that correlation does not imply causation. This is true, but it does still tell us a few things. For one thing, it can eliminate potential causation. Kevin's opponent, without having any statistics or other evidence to his case, merely asserted that the statistics mean nothing. Not so, although as someone versed in them, I often find their value dubious.

See, those stats did show a negative causation. One that directly opposes one of the dearly held beliefs of those opposed to gun rights. "More guns cause crime!" Right, then how come Texas isn't more like D.C. or L.A.? Hell, how come my little corner of paradise, being about as heavily armed as the 7th Infantry, has a virtually non-existent crime rate?

So, the first deal, leaving aside for the time the issue of legally vs. illegally possessed firearms, I'll stop saying that the statistics indicate that more guns will lower the crime rate. Sure, there's a lot to support the theory, but I'm willing to give a little. The flip side is, my honorable opponents, you must stop saying more guns will mean an increase in violent crime.

Next, "Republicans," and by extension, all conservative, "are fascists." Really? Man. This one has gotten old. Especially since when I've heard that, often with some vitriol behind it, I've always been included in the condemnation. I'm not a Republican and never have been. Heck, I'm a conservative only by courtesy to some people's minds. What I am is a strict Constructionist with some libertarian (note the little 'l') leanings. That doesn't matter. Anyone who opposes government handout programs and nanny-statism is a fascist.

Let's examine that for a second. I know, I know, fascism has evolved, in the current political discourse, to mean simply anyone who supports something we oppose. That's not what it's supposed to mean. At it's founding, Fascism opposed Capitalism as the source of class inequality. Additionally, it opposed Communism as exploiting class warfare. In other words, on neither side of the political divide in America can the term be accurately used. Conservatives are, on the mean, capitalists and liberals, again on the mean, while not Communists are experts in exploiting class warfare (ie. tax the rich to give money to the poor).

Fascism supported both military expansionism as well as government oversight and control of corporate endeavors. So we can both accuse each other of those particular facets of Fascism, but it isn't really accurate to do so. While I'm sure there are some who consider themselves conservatives who favor annexing (read: invading, conquering and subjugating) foreign territory, on the whole we're as opposed to it as the next guy (who happens to be a liberal), but continue to be accused of it because of a greater willingness to use military force. On the other hand, I've heard liberals being called fascists quite a bit recently due to the government's recent acquisition of control over several industries nearly in toto. Sure, it was, by and large, the elected Democrats who voted for it, but the average liberal on the street was just as pissed off as me.

So, can we please stop calling each other Fascists? It's not true on either side. I'm sure there are those who would gleefully debate which side is closer to being fascist, but really, it's got to stop.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ever wonder why Atlas looked so constipated?

I know, I know, weird title.

What can I say, my mind seems to be dwelling in a weird place of late. First, why is it misfortune always seems to hit me first? I'm the only person I know to have been laid off while simultaneously I've yet to get even a sixth of what they owe me from Veteran's Affairs. Predictably, this has caused a bit of financial strain at a time when prices are going up.

No worries, I am not without my resources and recourse. Things are just a bit tight.

Anyway, I've wondered off topic. Atlas. He holds up the world. Looks kind of heavy. He seems to be straining a bit. Now, it appears he's shrugging.

I am, of course, referencing the Ayn Rand novel, Atlas Shrugged. Not that I recommend reading the book. While I certainly find the scenario plausible and even a little terrifying, the book itself and many of Rand's beliefs are rather repellent. Still, in this day in age, you should probably read at least a fairly detailed synopsis of it, as well as the entirety of 1984 and Animal Farm.

Those of you who suffer through seeing me on a regular basis may have noticed that my mind seems to be working a bit differently. My priorities and outlook have changed. This is not a new phenomenon, mind, but another situational adaption I seem to be making.

I've been doing that since childhood. My own dear mother has frequently commented on how I seem to posses a much harder, callused personality than I did while in high school. Not that I am actually callus or even hard, I'm every bit as sympathetic and caring as I ever was, it just doesn't show as much. It's an adaption. I've always adapted to my situation. Heck, when I fist got to Camden, people thought I was a totally uncaring hardass. I wasn't, but that is how I'd had to act at my previous unit.

In reality, this is something we all do, most just don't pay attention to it.

I told you all that so I could tell you this.

It doesn't take the oracle at Delphi or even a crystal ball to see that we, as a nation, are in a rough patch and, unless things change, heading for worse. I don't believe all the gloom and doom prophesies I'm hearing now, about total collapse of our economy and, subsequently, way of life.

But I think we're heading for some serious trouble. When economies tank, especially when there is widespread and deeply felt resentment (like over a few stimulus packages the electorate didn't want), people often take their anger to the streets. With cutbacks coming in local government budgets, not federal of course, this will mean less police and emergency response. Wouldn't take much of a spark to cause a breakdown of civil order under those circumstances. Worse, the first time it happens will likely set up a domino effect.

Down go the dominoes.

Worst, there is no way to predict where such civil unrest will occur. True, big cities are more likely than small ones, but even small city economies are tied into the nationwide network of commerce and when the mill closes or the farms cannot by seed, people will be angry. No where will be immune.

So, now my imperative to you. Be prepared. Stock up on long shelf life foods, talk to your nearby friends and family about mutual preparations, decide where would be the safest play to try and wait things out (good lines of fire, sturdy construction, etc), buy rifles, shotguns and loads of ammo (more on this later), etc. I'll be going more in depth later, but the essence is to make ready for trouble.

To that end, I've started a (VERY) rigorous new fitness regime, stepped up my combatives practice (part of the regime), and am planning several new firearm acquisitions.

The odd thing is, I don't even feel like I'm being paranoid. Hopefully, nothing bad will happen near any of you, but I hope you don't gamble on it.

Forged in Fire, Rotted from Within

(reposted from another blog of mine)

So, here we are in the year of our Lord, two thousand and seven. For decades we have taught young boys that their natural, chromosonal aggressiveness is wrong, bad, verboten. Girls are taught to keep their man humiliated and feeling perpetually guilty of everything that goes wrong, to control him. Schools teach young children that to believe in God is simple superstition, that our own culture and its mores are intrinsically inferior to all others, that Western Civilization, and by extension, our country, is the bad guy throughout the last few hundred years of history.

The result? Sky-rocketing divorce rates from men who get sick of being treated like village idiots sneaking off with their secretaries who let them wear the pants occasionally and women finding some other man who actually acts like one (although they'll do their best to change him too). Our borders leak like a sieve because we're too afraid of 'oppressing another culture', insensitivity, or racism to defend our way of life and national identity. We're more afraid of the boogeyman of global warming than militant Islam because to deal with the later would require us to actually admit we're battling an entire culture, not just a few radicals.

The list of symptoms brought on by the monster of causality is long and, frankly, we haven't even seen all of it yet.

And where does it all start? By rejecting what we are. Whether you believe in God, as I obviosuly do, or something else, the simple fact is that boys act one way and girls another. This is the natural way of things. Males are aggressive, analytical, territorial, and protective. Females are intuitive, subtle, security-minded, and ruthless. Are there certain exceptions? Absolutely, you'll not likely meet anyone more ruthless than me, or a man more protective than my wife. The point, however, is that there are clear differences and preferences between the genders, even among children treated the exact same. Different hormones, chromosones, etc. By trying to eliminate these natural traits, we've upset the natural order. I can't count how many couples I've met who were absolutely miserbale because the woman exerted dominance over the man. Not that the opposite should be true, marriage should be equal, but it's obvious such a situation cannot maintain. I've seen nearly all of those relationships end in divorce, over the course of less than five years. That's the biological side of it.

On the national side, it's about our national identity. We are a nation that was forged in the fires of war. The War for Independance. "Give me liberty of give me death!" "I regret I have but one life to give for my country." "The tree of liberty must, from time to time, be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants, for that is it's natural fertilizer." Patrick Henry, Nathan Hale, and George Washington. That is who WE were. Patriots, Americans, COUNTRYMEN. We had pride, a work ethic, and a thirst for liberty. We even extended that liberty to others, who sailed across the Pacific and took it. Made this country their own and became Americans themselves, and it was good. We fought any and all who threatened that liberty or the lives of our citizens. So, what happened? Simple, we abandoned all that. How many would seriously expect to hear a President say anything even remotely like the above quotes? No one.

The two are closely related. Without the natural balance in place of men's aggressiveness and women's propensity for security, we tipped the scales to far towards security and the nanny state that engendered. As a backlash against the suppression of men's aggressiveness, we have passive-agressiveness mixed in (in an unholy matrimony) with blatant machoism. Rap videos are a good example. So we have the drive to outlaw guns, control the Internet, outlaw this, ban that, raise taxes more to feed the poor, 'Screw Capitalism, the government needs to run these industries,' give up just a little more privacy for the sake of security, nationalized health care, etc.

That's the prognosis boys and girls, sorta. Things aren't so bad as the media would have us think, although those disfunctional jerks think it's good. We conservatives (who, in my mind, could be described as those who respect the balance) are not the toothless, old lions baying at a world that no longer fears them that some would have you believe we are. I hear all the time about how the soul of America is gone and we no longer have the will to win, etc. Not true. We are made of sterner stuff than that. Even now with a war going on, our military is all-volunteer. Volunteers who shame me for having joined in peacetime. Our Southern border is patrolled by private citizens every day, day in and day out, at cost to themselves, using their own vehicles, gas, and, you guessed it, guns. Everywhere you go, you meet people who rail against the nation our media would have you believe exists. Well, we're NOT that nation, we may have been led astray and struggling, on the ropes if you will, but WE ARE NOT BEATEN. As long as people like us draw breath America will be free and the battle for her soul will not over.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

The city on the hill

The shining beacon of freedom and justice. The torchbearer of liberty and the hope to live free. A nation of laws, governed by a body for the people, by the people, and of the people.

A nation forged in the fires of its liberation and whose freedom has been secured through its centuries by the blood of its best and bravest.

Its scientists and engineers cured more diseases than any other nation, reached the moon before any others, and plumbed the depths of the atom.

She defeated communism, Nazism, Imperialism, and even fought brother against brother to end slavery.

A country whose fire is fueled by the hard work, sacrifice, ingenuity, and ambition of its people.

Kind of hard to reconcile all that with what we see on the news every day, isn't it?

The laws are hardly applied equally to everyone. The federal government has repeatedly demonstrated a disregard for the Constitution and has worked itself into a frenzy trying to seize control of as many institutions and industries as it can. The media blatantly shills for those in power whose agenda they agree with and a willfully ignorant populace accepts it. Just to name a very few outrages.

If we want to hold onto this great Republic our forerunners built for us, we must fight tooth and nail for it. We face entrenched power brokers, a hostile media, elected 'representatives' hell bent on ruling us as subjects, and an apathetic, largely ignorant electorate.

There is no consolation prize. This is the last redoubt of freedom in the world and the hope of the free world rests on our shoulders.

Poetry Corner: Recessional


God of our fathers, known of old--

Lord of our far-flung battle line--
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget--lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies--
The Captains and the Kings depart--
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget--lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away--
On dune and headland sinks the fire--
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget--lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget--lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

By: Rudyard Kipling

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

You go ahead, I'll watch

The wifey and I recently gave a very good friend a pistol in .380 for her birthday. Skip ahead a few days and the Irate family is gathered around the table playing a friendly game of cards (for the record, our definition of friendly excludes violence and nothing else) when I get to fiddling. I finish my turn, go get the range bag and start digging for ammo. Not because of the card game. Wanted to find some .380 to give to our friend.

First box o'bullets to get dug up was 9mm FMJ. I set it down to take my turn, and went to pick it back up, noticed something amusing. On the bottom of the box is a list potential uses for this particular ammo. It included thin skinned game such as white tailed dear...and boar. Lemme rephrase that, BOAR.

Snickering quietly (loudly snorting), I pulled out one of the boxes of .380 FMJ and guess what, it said the same thing.

Now, far be it from me to say that you can't hunt boar with with a tiny little pistol round, but I will say you probably shouldn't.

For reference, THIS is a boar.

Hey, if you got the stones, and good life insurance, you go right ahead. Me, I'll stick to using rifles. Really big rifles. Occasionally rifled shotguns.

EDIT: That's not me in the picture.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Change you can believe in!

No, I'm not going Obama bashing, I leave that to Mr. Biden (rim shot!).

This here, is how I will improve government upon my conquering of the world, for we the little folk.

First, no more Ivy Leaguers trying to run the economy and write the federal budget. Instead, the only people eligible will be housewives from lower middle income families. This will have many benefits, the best of which will be listening to one tell a whining Congress weasel that he already spent his allowance and he'll just have to make due. Also, it might help bridge the gap between the elitists running the show and the common folk.

Second, a limit on the length of any piece of legislation. If it can't fit on a single page of standard size printer paper in size 10 font, it's too long.

Hand in hand with the previous, a council of dunces will be appointed. Membership will consist of twelve high school graduates with no further education. They will review all pieces of legislation to have successfully passed through both houses. If they cannot understand it, or even if there is doubt, it either goes back to committee, or dies. This will have the added benefit of highlighting the failure of the public education system.

This has been an announcement of the Irate Army.

Join the Happy Throngs!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Grumbling and muttering

Haven't blogged in a while, obviously. I'm sure whatever small readership I developed is now gone. Oh well, my fault.

The reason I have not been writing is, amusingly, that I have been. I set out some time ago to write a book and then have it published. Hardly the first time I've taken to writing a lengthy story, but this time I had a plan that would, hopefully, avoid wrangling with a publisher and editor. Such wrangling is outside my skill set and the reason I've never had anything published. I'm just not very good at revising my own work, especially when I make a mistake in continuity.

But this time, I had a plan! Before the first word of the first chapter was ever committed to a Word document, I had written detailed biographies of each and every character of importance, I even had a list of tertiary characters at what was important about them. I had an outline that was just under twelve thousand words in length (for reference: most books are around one hundred thousand). I had detailed notes about every spaceship involved, its history, crew roster, armaments, performance, and quirks. Every planet and polity (obviously a sci-fi) was detailed down to the demographics, who was in power, political structure, and laws. All the technological and cultural changes in humanity was carefully plotted along a detailed timeline.

Truly, a masterpiece was about to unfold. Only...I noticed as the story unfolded that it was kind of stilted, seemingly disjointed. The plot twists hardly seemed like twists at all, more like inevitable outcomes of the string of events. I shrugged that off and plowed ahead, promising myself that my live-in editor (the Wifey) and I would fix it easily in the first revision. The continued until I had over sixty thousand of the planned hundred and twenty. Despite knowing what was to happen next, with the assistance of my handy outline, I could not seem to get the story from point A to point B (or point H to I in this case) in a manner that seemed both logical and to flow pleasingly.

The problem, obvious in retrospect, was that by arranging so many details ahead of time, I had severely limited my options when writing. Worse, it just wasn't any fun, which tends to stifle my creativity. If I wanted a character to do something that might seem counter-indicated, like leap up from cover and run screaming towards the badguys, I told myself that it didn't fit the bio, no matter how much my mental picture of the character said that was exactly what he would do. Looking back over what I had, I can't imagine any way to make it even remotely readable without a complete rewrite.

So I gave up on writing for a few weeks. Thought about at least posting on the blog, couldn't get motivated to do it. Heck, I even had a hard time getting my essays done on time for my homework. I seem unusually prone to writer's block when frustrated.

Well, about a week ago I had a conversation with some old friends of mine, who both happened to be published authors and among my favorites at that. They gave me a few tips, most of which centered around being less of an anal retentive obsessive compulsive. Shocking that.

Which brings me to where I am now. About ten thousand words (Already?!) into a book that, as yet, lacks so much as an outline. At least a written one, I have a bare bones one in my head, but I'm not, apparently, allowed to commit it to any media until I've reached a certain point in the story. It's kind of funny, but has been amazingly effective. I feel almost like a passive observer as the outline as steadily transformed into something far more readable and exponentially more interesting than it would have been had I committed to it before I started letting the characters interact in my head.

The best part, is the solution to a problem I've had in writing even before my obsessive planning got out of hand. Despite my best efforts, I've never successfully injected humor into any story I've written. This goes back to the first time I wrote one back in grade school. The problem is trying to put humor into a story. It don't work that way, Cleetus. It has to already be there, all the author should have to do at that point is simply bring it to light. The characters, at least some, must have senses of humor and the circumstances simply have to give them something to laugh at every now and then. My current story has thus far been, at various points, both hilarious and spine tingling and it all flows logically. Sure, most of the humor is of the dark and/or gallows variety, but some will no doubt be labeled sophmoric. That's fine with me, I know first hand just what people's sense of humor will do in bad situations and I think I'm pretty close.

So, got that all off my chest and an entire blog post written, hopefully the first of more to come.

Time will tell...