Saturday, October 31, 2009

Horror and Terror

Lately, I haven't been going to theaters much because the budget's thin. But when I have gone, I've noticed something: We no longer have scary movies. We have splatter flicks.

Y'know what? It's really depressing when in a lot of cases the primary motivation of a movie is to show the deliberate infliction of pain on people. Stuff like Saw, Hostel, and Touristas comes immediately to mind. Are we so twisted that watching teens be tortured, literally- digits cut off, drills driven through cheekbones, nothing but the deliberate and malicious infliction of pain- is now entertainment?

I mean, it explains why the kids aren't right these days. Let me break it down: if it is made, they can find it. If they can find it, they can obtain it. And you'd better believe that as soon as they're 12, they're better than you with technology, so they can hide it, and they can hide the evidence. I know that's exactly how I was. They were going to get into porn, you can't stop that. But really, torture flicks? S'bad enough millions of sick fuckers enjoy the things, but now, they have access to them. And if you think that watching someone get taken apart, piece by piece, isn't going to affect a 12 year old's mind, then you're dead wrong.

So, tonight I'm going to see Paranormal, which is more of a 'terror' flick. A good horror movie should be about fear, the unknown, that sort of thing. It should flip those switches in the back of your head that have been there since we were hunting mammoths. What it breaks down to is fear should be more than watching other people suffer.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Getting That First Date, A Supplement to "Don't believe everything you read"

I was reading Mausers and Muffins this morning when I realized that there mysterious, carefully hidden, jewels in the world- women who actually enjoy shooting. These treasured, nigh-mythical beings will never, ever have trouble finding menfolk for themselves, just like the equally rare 'hot nerdy girl'. So, to supplement Brigid's list of what works and doesn't, I present the following advice that I often learned the hard way:

1. Don't yell from your car. This one should be obvious: only the most ghetto-slime, trailer park men yell at women from their car. Not only is it an utterly classless and crass thing to do, how far do you expect to get? I mean, honestly, what the hell? I know the latest trend is for guys to be emotional, effeminate, whiney bitches- but being an asshole doesn't equate to being masculine. As a side note- I never did this, but I watched it happen enough to realize that it doesn't matter what you're driving, women won't want a thing to do with you.

2. Smile. This works. I don't mean a huge, shit-eating grin, but smile. I've found that women generally respond well to being made to feel as if they make a man happy by just being there. You smile at them, give them good eye contact, they feel good. And if they feel good being around you, they'll do it more.

3. Don't care or try. Women come and go (mostly go, in my accounting of things...) and that's the way of things. So, don't make it seem like you're trying, or that you care on the first coupla dates. Seriously, chicks dig independent, confident guys. Turn the tables- instead of chasing her, try to make her chase you. The thickness of your stacks only matters to one kinda girl, ye ken?

4. No Man's Land is for pussies. Engage her on her terms- somewhere she feel comfortable going on the first date. If she's never been shooting, don't take her to the range. I mean, this runs contrary to a lot of advice, but put it like this: make her comfortable with you before you hand her a loaded weapon. Shooting is definitely a third-date sorta thing.

5. That said, women also generally don't appreciate being bothered by men in a lot of cases. The bus for example, is a poor place to meet women, unless you see them every day. Pick your battles.

6. Having the skills to like independently is a huge plus to women. If you can sew, cook, iron, etc on your own, she knows you're looking for a mate, not a mother or maid. Sure, other guys might have fat stacks, a fancy ride, and ooze charm, but without the skills to live on their own, they're just overgrown boys.

Now, I have a story about pubtrans and dating. When I was in college last (before the army), I was coming back from the range one night. I got on the train, slumped into my seat and tried to work out the kinks from a couple of hours of drills. I smelled like cordite and sweat, was exhausted and happy. As I sit down, I notice that there's an exhausted, sweaty girl sitting not far from me. She was actually pretty cute- black hair, nice eyes, runner's body. So, I give her a smile, she gives me one back and goes back to her sudoku puzzle. I whip out my iPod and try to zone out for the half hour ride back home, and I see a guy come into our train car from the next one over, right? He's dialing his cell, and he starts talking loudly. Me and her, we glance at each other, then him, go back to studiously ignoring each other.

"Hey babe, how's it going? Got dinner ready?"

Christ, what an obnoxious asshole.


He made a gurgling, strangled noise. Me and the girl look up at one another, at him.

"My brother?"

We have no idea what he's on about, but it sounds serious. She tosses me a note saying something like 'wtf', I toss it back quickly with 'TRAINWRECK' scratched onto it with my keys, because I didn't have a pen on me.

"So you're taking the kids, the much? TIMMONS?"

Now we're paying attention, he starts sniveling.

"But...but baby..."

She stifled a giggle. I hid a smile.

"But baby, I'm SENSITIVE!"

There was a stop about then, and he all but dives off the train, and we burst out laughing. What a douche. I walk over, introduce myself. Her name was Val, and we dated for a year, until I decided to join the army. Ah well, it was a good run, and we were so similarly twisted that after the fact, we talk twice a year. We both played WoW, and she met another guy who got her into shooting. We just didn't click, so whatever. I like to think I was a different person back then.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to...

...Tim Horton's. It's like the Forum, except the coffee is better and the donuts worse. Anyways, so I'm with a classmate, right? I'm wearing my Realtree hat, and he comes up besides me and asks in almost a furtive whisper,

"Hey, Des. Do you...hunt?"

"Nawp, J. But I want to."

He looked around, making sure no one was listening as we walked.

"Oh, I bowhunt. I just thought-"

"Cool, what for?"

And he started stammering. See, I wasn't being aggressive, or questioning, just interested. His reaction was something else, though. He looked around again as we got in line, made sure no other classmates were within earshot.

"Well, I think it's a sustainable practice allowed by-"

"J, stop. I was asking what you hunt for. Turkey? Elk?"

He looked skeptical.

"Black bear and deer."

"Cool, man. You got big brass ones to bowhunt bear. You got tags for this year?"

He relaxed a bit, and we talked kit for a few. I said I'd like to come along if he went that year...I was just astounded that he was so secretive, so...ashamed of hunting. Honestly, I didn't think it was a big deal, but I can see why people get worked up. We WERE at college, the very nexus of young, well meaning idiocy. Sure, in concept, a lot of the ideals held by students are all fine and good. Well, until subjected to reason and logic. That's what happened to me. I sat with a bottle of Glenfiddich in my 18th year, and actually thought instead of felt. I argued and debated with many a man and woman, and one by one, they broke things down. The big one was gun control- I used to be all about it. I was healed of my ignorance the hard way.

I realized I was wrong. I admitted it. I made a plan, and corrected the issues that I had.

It bothers me a lot that J feels so ashamed of something that's a natural part of the order of things. I mean, it's not like he's torturing these animals. He eats what he kills. But people make him feel like he needs to hide hunting from everyone.

Welcome to the locus of liberal hypocrisy- free speech, so long as you agree with them.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Paradise to the Right, Hell to the Left, and the Angel of Death Behind...

...but school has had me by the short hairs lately. But, right now, I'm up and feeling lousy and thinking. I know, that in and of itself is dangerous.

So here's my train of thought, folks:

Due to my injury, I've been given a bit of a 'reset' by life. No one's hiring, because the job market it glutted with people healthier and more qualified than I am. So I'm back at school, because as Heinlein said, "Doing something constructive right away is better than doing the best thing hours later." I'm still in physio, unfit for hard labour, so this is something constructive.

Honestly, it's like being sixteen again: no ride, no cash (well, not after my laser eye surgery, anyways), and slim prospects for the immediate future.

So I got thinking about starting over again. I mean, once people start on their life paths, that's pretty much it. After ten years in marketing, are you gonna turn around and start over again when you're all comfortable? Nawp. What's gonna happen if you're not doing something you enjoy, at least from time to time? It affects you. You may not see it, but it does. And as I'm sitting there in class, watching a combination video and powerpoint lecture on 'facilitating interaction and the business cycle during an emergency', I realized something: While I may be able to do this, I'm more likely to choke out the mayor and take charge if he starts fucking around during an emergency than sit there and pat his ego till he shuts up.

I got figure out some way to make this education into somewhere where I get to be near the front actually helping people, or so help me God, I'm gonna LOSE it. I didn't pick Emergency Management because I'm pretty, I picked it because I want to help people. It's the same reason I joined the army- because by me acting directly, I could help people directly. I wasn't some sack of hammers sitting 500 miles from where he's needed hasslin' folk over forms, or advising some bigwig doing lines off the ass of his or her intern. Same reason I wanted to be a cop- it's where the metal meets the meat that you can do the most good.

So I was thinking that maybe, if I get better (much better), I could do something again. Part time as an EMS or fireman. Become a reservist MP or medtech (our closest analogue to combat medics- we don't have any, just a TCCC dude who's actually an infantryman, and medtechs), or a police reservist.

Then I remembered that women hate that, especially mine.

She's the daughter of a cop, right? So she watched her mom fret and worry about whether or not her husband would come home at the end of the night, whether or not she'd have to raise her children alone, etc. All reasonable stuff, that I can understand. I mean, it's a shitty deal. So, she jacks me up if I even bring up the concept of, you know, doing something useful in the future. Now, I can understand being upset at a loved one risking their lives recklessly. But, honestly? C'mon, folks. Being a cop or firefighter isn't Russian roulette or sleeping with hookers. It's risky, I won't argue that, but it's a job where the risk comes with a fighting chance. And that's all you can ask for in this life- a fighting chance. You mitigate that risk with your skill, your courage, your abilities. The risk is never gone, just like it's never gone every time you step in a plane or boat or car. But if you're at the wheel, at least you can fight for yourself, ya ken? The woman is protective of me, and I can understand that, but still...she's in for a rough ride if she thinks I'm going to stay away from doing what's right. And she may dump me over it- a lady's already dumped me once for joining the military.

So I'm presented with two roads. On one hand, I can walk the civvie life, be the best civilian sheepdog I can, and hope I don't end up some fat old guy with a chip on his shoulder. Aim for accumulating wealth and skills on the side and living the safe, comfortable life. Or I can try to get back in the field, help with my hands even as a civvie and a sheepdog. If I can't be a reservist, be an auxiliary cop. If I can't do that, volunteer firefighter.

I think that two things can sum up my mindset right now in two sentences:

Firstly, my girlfriend is going to be pissed.

Secondly is a quote from the Unit: Rangers, did you sign up just to get out of the house, or do you want to come help me kick the door down?

I need to start setting objectives for myself. Specific stuff, not just 'get into shape, fatass!' or 'volunteer' or 'write'. That's been my one of my main problems lately- I've been bumming around, putting stuff off. Even when there's assignments due, I'm better off putting a half hour aside for a run and clearing my head than not. A half hour run, once a day. There. It's up here for all the world to see.

And, to end this painfully long post, here's an awesome video with absolutely not relevance what so ever to this post:


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Clothe yourself in righteousness...

...for that is armour enough.

One of my favourite fictional characters said that. It's true, to a degree. You do right by people, and by and large they'll do right by you. But there's always that element. That Element. That Element, that would rather jack your wallet or your car than work a day. That Element, with baggy clothes, hats with stickers and tags, a cold smile and leering eyes. You've seen 'em. You've seen them in spades at the mall or the bus terminal or where ever, slinging dope for booze money and watching. Always watching. Know what they're watching for? Soft folk. Soft folk all by their lonesome. They know them pretty well. They're not predators. Predators implies that there is a stalking element, a deliberate application of a skill

No, gentle readers, these people are more like vultures.

They hunt the weak without skill, and only by opportunity. Lazy enough to let a young, fit man pass by, someone who looks like they could run. Not even defend themselves, just leg it. That's too much trouble for That Element. Well, at least alone. Numbers give them bravado, not courage- courage is a redeeming trait. Bravado is what lets them take on the healthy. In an unarmed society, they are a real and credible threat. I see them every time I go to school, from bus terminal to campus. I know they're there, just like they smell something funny off of me and let me be.

And coming out of the army, knowing I have a ruined shoulder, seeing them waiting there- laughing, joking, never taking their eyes off the crowd- that's what really got me rethinking my opinions of concealed carry.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thanksgiving with the Maybe Soon-To-Be-In-Laws

So, it's that magical time again. I get to have a dinner with the girlfriend's parents and grandmother. The father is a cop, the mother hates me, and the grandmother seems to like me, so it's always interesting. That's why I bring bribes. A bottle of wine and some flowers for the matron, and we're good to go. They tend to interrogate me, so that's fun. But, I gotta learn to take it on the chin.

Depending on how well it goes, there may be an AAR.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Caffeine, a Vice I Can Get Behind

It's the vice of of choice in my generation of nerds. I'm not talking Much more powerful stuff. Red Bull, NOS, Amp, Rockstar, Bawls. It's a litany of heart racing, consciousness-expanding liquid. You wake up in the morning after five hours of sleep, and you feel like someone just scraped you off the road. You're groggy, running on autopilot until you hit that first Bawls with Breakfast...

Oh yeah. Hell yeah. You're a born again predator, baby. You rip through your morning, shrugging off paperwork. You think on your feet, and you ride the rush until the next dose. It's awesome. But ti does come with a downside. Plenty of crashes, the stuff's expensive...but if you need to write, or you need a pick me up, you know what to reach for- an extra strength caffeine drink.