Sunday, November 29, 2009

For my next trick, anvils.

Alright, so I've been writing, yeh? And I wanted to run the first bit by everyone. Tell me what you think, I'd appreciate it.


"You sure you want to do this?" Keith asked me. I nodded, more to myself than to him.

"Don't see any other way, to be honest."

He sighed, like an older brother watching his brother do something he didn't think was the brightest idea in the world. Leaning on the hood of his pickup, he stretched his shoulders a bit. My only gun and only holster were already hanging off my hip, and I was leaning against my idling Civic. The women were inside with a few other trusted friends, getting things ready for what looked like a long, rough haul. All those little things we put away for a rainy day got dusted off and dragged out of safes and closets.

"You're going whether or not I come, aren't you?"


He stared at me another moment as I loaded three speedloaders of .357 and dumped them in my left pocket. I could damn near hear the scales creak in his mind as he weighed everything out.

"Suppose you want help, too."

"Wouldn't mind it, homes," I said with a shrug. I had already made up my mind. I was going.

"She want to be rescued?"

I answered with a shrug.

"She didn't exactly ask for help, per se..."

Another sigh. He stared at the hood a moment. I flashed a cocky grin. I already knew the answer, before he reached for his Sig, made sure he had a round chambered.

"Alright, let's go save the girl who isn't your girl."


There's more written, I'm just fiddling with it some. Not done, but a good start, eh?


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Night

I don't know why it is, but since I've been about seventeen, my body just clicks into high gear around 2200. Every night, I get a burst of energy around then. After that, my energy dips till 0200. That's MY hour. That's primo writing time for me, when I'm writing fiction. It's when I'm on the bounce, mentally and physically. I have no idea why that is. I'm superstitious as hell, like I said. Maybe it's one of those leftover instincts. Maybe it's one of those weird genes that you can't hardly help, like the one that tells you "Fat. Sugar. Good."

There's nothing wrong with being a night hawk. It's personal preference, I guess. When I was in college, I worked a lot of 1800-0600 shifts as a security guard. Gave me lots of time to think. And, honestly, what's the difference between a home invader and the Beings in the Dark? Both are out to spill your blood. Both are vicious, violent, and no matter what the police and the media tells you, they exist. I saw weird shit that I can't explain, but I saw a whole lot more human depravity than heard the bumps in the night. I saw the results of the combination of schizophrenia and substance abuse. I had a Vanguard (think Stormfront or Heritage Society) member try to recruit me. Yeah, I've seen what the night brings out in people. I think Jim Butcher said it best:

"There’s power in the night. There’s terror in the darkness. Despite all our accumulated history, learning, and experience, we remember. We remember times when we were too small to reach the light switch on the wall, and when the darkness itself was enough to make us cry out in fear. Get a good ways out from civilization-say, miles and miles away on a lightless lake-and the darkness is there, waiting. Twilight means more than just time to call the children in from playing outside. Fading light means more than just the end of another day. Night is when terrible things emerge from their sleep and seek soft flesh and hot blood. Night is when unseen beings with no regard for what our people have built and no place in what we have deemed the natural order look in at our world from outside, and think dark and alien thoughts. And sometimes, just sometimes, they do things. "- Jim Butcher, Turn Coat

And I don't think he's talking about just ghosts and vampires. So, do me a favour tonight, everyone. Give Mr. Shotty an extra pat before bed, make sure he's ready. I know my kukri gets a little extra pat before I rack out for the night, just on account of not being able to imagine any of those things that go 'bump' that don't fear cold, hand-forged steel.


Monday, November 23, 2009

You can't hardly change a man.

A List!

And I'm a gamer. Before soldiering, before wanting to help people, hell before I was even a soon-to-be-reformed liberal, I was a gamer. And, like a Jayne hat, I proudly flaunt my colours.

And like Wash says, "A man walks down the street with a hat like that, you know he's not afraid of anything!"

Ladies and gentlemen, lemme tell you something: I walk to class every week wearing my Horde T-shirt or shrunken, malformed Rogues Do It From Behind hoodie. Come what may, I will be a gamer till they put me in the ground.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Great and Terrible Mojo Goddess

When I got out of the army, I worked for my uncle. Now, my uncle, aside from being extremely sketchy was a hard worker and strange man. He taught me how to mix and lay concrete, and drive a tractor. When we were working on contract, he told me of the superstition. Essentially, he believed that the Mojo Goddess was a watchful being, a saint of the workers. The Mojo Goddess was a deity that provided drive and initiative, and was not a terrible fan of overworking.

We regularly worked 14 hour days on contract, laying pneumatic tube three stories up. We ended up delirious from the exertion and lack of sleep. The Mojo was not with us, he said. There were two remedies to this situation:

1. Take a day off to rest, like cowards or possibly communists.

2. Make an offering to the Goddess.

Offerings varied from expensive rum (working hung over and three stories up was not particularly pleasant) to steak dinners and microbrewed beer. The Goddess, she is a being of excess. She sees you treat yourself well, or better yet, opulently, and she will reward you with renewed morale, vigor and energy.

Well, that's what he said. The theory was sound, even if the theology wasn't. Sleeping like the dead from the liquor, or the massive protein dump had something to do with it, I'm sure. The superstition works, all told, beyond what you would think. I've used offerings to the Mojo Goddess to kick the Muse awake from time to time, or to burn through school work. It's sort of a weird, family superstition I felt like sharing.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Feeling Naked

I've been feeling that way awhile now. It's more than not being able to carry, or not owning a gun. I've been aware and uncomfortable for awhile with the fact I can't carry. I shouldn't even carry a pocketknife, it's 'inadvisable'. But I put myself in Brigid's shoes this morning.

I have no hound.

I have no guns.

I have no recourse under the law.

If someone kicked in my door for some reason, I'm well and truly fucked. I an either leave myself, my mom, my sister and my dad to the devices of said home invader, or I can try to fight him, or I can try to get my hands on some sort of weapon. Should I fight bare handed, odds are I'll lose, especially if there's more than one of them. I can go for a weapon, come back and try to fight. I win, and when the law gets there, I go to jail. Period. While I may be found innocent of any wrongdoing, that means my college goes down the tubes while I sit in jail. A lot of things go down the tubes while I rot in prison for defending myself.

Awhile back there was a case where everything was illegal. A man in my hometown illegally stored a firearm, and when the police served an illegal warrant, dressed in civvies and NOT announcing themselves as police, he shot one to death and they shot his wife. A sad case all around, doubly so because the man may or may not have been a drug dealer. I'm not entirely sure. Depending on what source you read, he had unregistered/prohibited firearms, a key of coke, and 17 cell phones- mix and match what you will. Some sources say there was only a tiny amount of drugs recovered, etc. Whatever. Cock ups all around. But this man got off all of his charges. There may be hope that should I act in self defense, I won't end up in federal prison. Well, maybe. It's a different province.

Well, except for that kid from Waterloo (or Kitchener), who defended his younger brother from home invaders, is on trial for murder 2, and I can't find a thing about anymore. I hope he got off. The police here are zealously anti-gun.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Weighing In on the Registry, and Toronto's Gun Problems

Alright, I'm gonna do a lengthy post on the registry, so people can understand the situation here. Personally, if this goes through, it'll be a major victory for gun owners, but the instant the Liberals get back into power, they'll try to put it back it. Hell, last election, they ran on the platform that they would ban private handgun ownership. So, we have to be on the bounce to keep them from doing that should they return to power.

Alright, here's how it works in Toronto, which affects the rest of Canada:

1. Canada has pretty uniformly low violent crime rates, as well as ND death rates. Most gun deaths are suicides.

2. The main source of gun control legislation is the braying sheep packed into places like Toronto who want to bubble wrap every corner in the country. Toronto especially has had large outbreaks of gun crime, which meant that whining for gun control (instead of, say, more effective policing, social programs, better hospitals, etc) became an occupation for the mothers of the ghetto slime shooting one another.

I'll be the first to admit that the wrong people die in some of these shootouts. But the public seems to be of the opinion that only 'good kids' get shot in what are clearly targeted killings. Three guys hop out of a parked SUV with Glocks, walk up to a guy, and shoot him to death? That's called 'staking out your prey' not 'random attack'. Bangers have little interest in shooting someone for teh lulz. Nope, they have things to do, dope to sling, small businesses to 'protect'. Again, one of the more shocking scenes of gunplay happened in Toronto on Boxing Day in 2005. So, the streets were packed, and there's a Foot Locker on the main strip known for being shady, right? Well, two mobs of gangstas were loitering in front of it, and they started shooting at one another. 15 year old Jane Creba bought the farm that day, and a bunch of others were wounded including an off duty cop. As a side note, cops aren't allowed to carry off duty here. It's about the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

3. One of the main reasons why gunplay is causing problems in Toronto especially is suffering from gun crime (even though our worst year for murders was a shocking 82 in a city of 2.5 million) is the Club District. Let me break this down: you have an area that's just clubs, that draws in people from as far as Niagara every weekend. This club district results in a huge demand for drugs from the young people going clubbing. This results in large profits for dealers, which results in gunplay as they 'compete'.

4. Ridiculous gun control in the city of Toronto has not slowed the flow of guns into the city, just made it much for lucrative for black market elements.

5. Having little or no protection under law, and no access to firearms with which to defend themselves, people go a little crazy. I can understand that. There's a coupla clips from The Real Toronto, where bangers basically intimidate a person who tried to help their community so badly he barricaded his door.

This is an example of what the justice system does. Multiple felony counts, and this guy is still walking around. I don't feel sorry for him. He made the choices, why should we live with them?

Finally, you have the competing need for safety, with the need to making everything 'alright'. Sympathy for the bad guy and stuff. Like you saw in the video, they make him out to be a kid in rough circumstances, for whom everything isn't his fault. So what's a sheeple to do? He can't imprison poor little Chuckie because he's a violent felon, that's not his fault! I know, gun control, because Chuckie will listen to that, even though his charges are all for prohibited weapons that are banned for sale to the public and entirely unavailable unless smuggled in via the black market!

Finally, there are apologists. People who are so out of touch with reality that they think that hall monitors will stop shootings and rapes in high school ( )and that criminals will actually listen to laws. There was a recent vote by the community of the Jane Finch area (the armpit of Toronto) to actually kick police out of problem schools in the area. Want to hear something astounding?

Apparently, being asked questions by cops is 'harassment'. And patrols in schools where multiple gang rapes occur is 'oppression'. I'm starting to think that collaborators is a better term than apologists.

Now, why the registry got put in in the first place: take all of the above. This has been an ongoing situation. Now, put a dozen voting districts into a city like Toronto. Put another dozen in the burbs who will follow the rest of the city. Put one or two out anywhere else that doesn't have these problems, where hunting is still acceptable or gun ownership is a non-issue.

The final reason for the registry is, in my mind, the concept that Canadians have segregated protection of person and property as something that is the police's responsibility. It's a psychological issue. Their expectation is that they will be safe, and should that change, it's the police's problem. Therefore, if the police say a registry will save them, they'll vote for it.

Me? I hate them damn thing, but it's a nice start. It was a billion dollar bureaucratic mistakes, riddled with error and incompetence that didn't solve a single crime. Once it's dealt with, we have bigger fish to fry- magazine caps, having to sign for ammunition, and various other arbitrary and ineffective laws.


Monday, November 9, 2009


I used to love to write. I mean, I still do...I just don't write much anymore. I was always told I wasn't bad at it. Something that needed more practice, but that could be turned into something. But for me, it was always a lightning bolt in the dark- a huge blast of inspiration that burnt out quickly with impressive results. I haven't gotten one of those in awhile.

But you know what? Dragon Age has sufficiently good storytelling that it makes me want to do it again.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My opinion begins are 'displeased'

A lot of people know I'm a gamer. Not just a gamer, a game connoisseur. I don't buy games often, but I tend to buy the very best. My personal fetishes seems to trend towards games with moral choices and RPG elements.

First, a bit of backstory. Since highschool I've been a fanatic for a certain game company: Bioware. They ensnared me with the original Baldur's Gate, and from then on if they made a game, I purchased it or at least played it through. Have I been disappointed? Not really. Bioware makes the best role-playing games, period. Even if I hate Star Wars, I played Knights of the Old Republic. Know why? The games they make aren't for kids. They have romantic subplots, dark and realistic elements. Mature ideas, to be honest. You will be forced to 'shake hands with the Devil', even as a scrupulously good character. You will be faced with bureaucratic failures, good decisions that cost lives. Most of the characters in every game will be scrupulously realistic- down to political opinions, personal objectives (you aren't the hypercharismatic leader- these people follow you because doing so gets THEIR job done).

So, naturally when I saw that Bioware was putting out a new RPG in the same style as Baldur's Gate and it's sequel (which ate up hundreds of hours of my life which I can see now would not have been better spent), I jumped at the opportunity and pre-ordered Dragon Age Online, the Collector's Edition. I got all the DLC and stuff, I got the soundtrack, and the best part, I got it on the cheap because I ordered through a game system I trusted. I got the collector's edition for the price of the regular box edition because I got it via direct download through Impulse.

Now, the last game that Bioware put out was under the EA umbrella. EA is the villain of the game world. Worst of every world- rushed games, destroying venerable franchises through mismanagement, and horrible tech support. They make some lousy games, work their employees damn near to death (100 hours a week, apparently), and otherwise act in ways you would expect from Sierra Leone and not a game company. So, when I bought said game (Mass Effect, a fantastic game...once I got it to run), I was a little leery. Then it didn't work for six months. Then it worked, I played it, and I was happy. The game itself was brilliant. But the tech support was abysmal. All I ended up needing was a patch from Nvidia.

Back to the present- I bought Dragon Age awhile back, and yesterday I spent a nervous four hours getting it downloaded and installed. First thing I did was put my codes into my Bioware account. After that, I registered my game with Impulse so I could get DECENT tech support, and then I started it up. It asked me to register again...and then said my code had been used already. Now, I didn't use it yet with the main EA registry. If it was in there, it should have been under the same email address as my Bioware account...since EA owns Bioware. And there's more than 11 pages of complaints of a similar nature in the Bioware forums.

WTF. I pay 50$ for a game and it's screwed already?


Monday, November 2, 2009

So I was thinking...

So, I ended up seeing Paranormal Activity last night. Scared the ever-loving shit out of me at the end. 75% of the movie barely rates as 'creepy'. The last half hour, though, pretty creepy. I don't know why it got to me. Maybe it's one of those primal, hardwired fears- fear of something that has your number, that you can't fight, that you can't outrun. One of those pieces of flotsam that stuck with me through the years was a piece of narration from a not-scary book called Idlewild. To paraphrase Nick Sagan, the three most universal fears break down as follows:

1. The Beast Like Us: Vampires were never scary just because they drank our blood. Vampires were scary (y'know, before they became angsty teens) because they were a predator that looked like us, acted like us, that we could understand. They violated ancient taboos regarding sex, cannibalism, etc. Though they were like us, they weren't. Anyone could be one. Your sister, your brother, your uncle, your cousin- any of them could be turned into a vampire and you wouldn't know until it was too late. They were wolves in sheep's clothing that didn't prey on the weak.

2. The Beast Inside of Us: Werewolves, on the other hand, are the epitome of loss of control. It's not your fault you ended up as one, and you can't control it. You can't fight it. There's something terminally wrong with you, that if anyone ever found out, would kill you for. Werewolves are animals in the most basic sense, the kind of animal we stopped being when we started using tools and hiding in caves. It's a primal fear- regression, loss of control. The idea that you could be a monster yourself, and not be able to do a thing about it.

3. The Beast In the Dark: As soon as man had fire, he had somewhere to hide, somewhere that was safe. If you lived anytime before about 1500, if your home fires burned out it was considered a serious emergency. The home fires kept back the dark, and by extension, all the predators you couldn't see. Night was something to be feared. You never knew what could be lurking out of sight. Part of this is hardwired into our sense of hearing, too. That 'bump in the night' meant a lot more in prehistory than it does now- anything from sabertoothed tigers to other men with ill intent could be out there. We've stopped believing in monsters, and maybe that's a bit naive- there's still plenty out there, even if they wear a human face.

The book then posits that Lovecraft came along and broke the mold. Instead of something you could understand, the protagonists faced unknowable horrors that had no reason to destroy them. But that skips over the old ghost story. Ghost stories are, like the above, more or less universal in every culture and every corner of the earth. Unseeable, unknowable demons that have nothing but malice for the living. I guess Paranormal Activity falls partially into the last category. It takes place mostly at night, where befuddled protagonists try to fight off an invisible enemy. The more they try to fight it, the more it fights back.

Fear doesn't have to be rational. In fact, fear is largely irrational. And I mean Fear, capital eff. Not 'I'm afraid of failure' or 'I'm afraid of commitment'. I mean that feeling of icy water in your guts, the feeling of your body struggling to make up its mind as adrenaline dumps into your blood and your hackles go straight up. And like my previous post said, there's more than splatter to that. A good horror movie should trip those instinctive, baseline fears leftover from when our ancestors still huddled in caves and struggled with the concept of tools. That's real fear, good fear. Natural fear.