Tags: gunporn


mexican standoff, ole!

After a six-hour* last push I have finally completed Mexican Standoff (Mark I.V--had to do a complete rewrite halfway through, and the play itself is a total rewrite of yet another idea). It is the crassest, most puerile, least creative writingey thing I have written in a long time--the characters are caricatures, the motivations are absurd, the audience interest is mostly spectacle, and there is an intentional abundance of melodrama and cheap writer's gimmicks. And the subject matter, given the whole VA Tech thing--dear goodness, I wouldn't be surprised if a misreading of the play wins me a trip to the campus therapist. But I regret nothing. It is exactly what I intended, and for that reason, if nothing else, it is beautiful to me. And it is done.

(*Okay, I cheated, I stopped for dinner, 4th Meal, and 30 minutes of nethack--but total writing time today still adds up to six hours. I can write sometimes. Sometimes.)

It gets workshopped on Tuesday. I look forward to seeing the expressions on my classmates' faces.

Also: I am still looking for actors for the stage reading. I need a suave, straight-laced Coast Guard man; a freewheeling frat cowboy; a motormouthed seventeen-year-old waitress with low self esteem; a coy but sultry femme fatale; and a few bizarre yet familiar restaurant patrons. No experience necessary, and you get to pose all John Woo badass-like with toy guns. Appropriately, the reading will happen over reading period. And it won't be a huge time commitment!

scruffy-looking nerf herding

War. War never changes.

Nerf battle tonight with David Lou, David Carlson, Matt, Samantha, Roger, and Elise. Armanent: five Maverick pistols, a Magstrike SMG (with two cartridges), two double barreled shotguns, a Longshot sniper rifle, two flashlights, and two cardboard riot shields. Arena: Burton basement--or rather, one corner of Burton basement, with long hallways and little cover. Teams of 4 vs. 3.

I'd like to say it reminded me of my childhood, but that would be completely untrue. For one, adults actually follow the rules--none of that "I shot you! Noyadint! Yesidid! Noyadint! Yesidid!" I remember so unfondly. In fact, we not only accept death, we die in the most melodramatic way possible. ("MOTHERLAAAAND!") For another, adults play a far more tactical game. While outwitting the other kids was always the key to victory in kid Nerf battles, rarely does a team of kids have the patience and discipline necessary to set up squad tactics and pull off elaborate ambushes. There were times, kneeling in the dark ready to lay down suppressing fire for a fireteam charge, when it felt more like Rainbow Six than Quake 3 Arena. When you're up against friends weaned on Counter-Strike and bad spy movies, there's so much more to the game than rattling off foam darts at each other. You use flashlights to throw off the enemy team's aim. You hide in the shadows and watch changes in light for movement, crouching low to make yourself a smaller target. You prop chairs against doors for use as motion sensors. You strike when you hear your adversaries discussing strategy, and move when you hear them reload. It's all the fun of soldiering, with none of the actual violence.

Not that we took any of this seriously, of course. Not at all. Matt and Sam, being actors, lent an air of theatrical badassery to the battle--slinging rifles across shoulders, tilting hips while lining up shots, wielding pistols in each hand. At one point Matt even took off his jacket to show he meant business, revealing a very intimidating and very Jayne-esque wifebeater. (He was promptly shot.)

As experienced as I am with squad tactics and first-person shooters, I confess that I'm terrible at Nerf. I'm pretty good with a BB pistol, but I couldn't hit your mom with a Maverick if she was on top of me. (Which she was last night. Ohhhhh.) Gravity is not kind to the Mavericks, which are designed to be fired across small living rooms, not long hallways--and the sniper rifle is surprisingly not much more effective in that regard. For three of our five rounds, I had the dubious privilege of dying in the first few minutes. Sometimes it was just a consequence of me serving as a diversion. Other times it was because the Matt and the Davids are incredibly good shots--there was one instance in which I was hiding behind the riot shield and providing suppressing fire while Carlson reloaded, and Matt managed to angle a dart right over the shield and into my forehead. pwned!

I did get him back for that, though--what I lack in accuracy I make up in ninja. By the fourth game or so I knew I was a poor shot, so I chose the SMG, which fires three darts a second but has a range of about three feet. As my teammates prepared for an assault on the door in front of our base, I turned out the light and hid against a wall across the corner from the door on the other end of the hallway. I saw a silhouette disturb the pool of light coming through the door window and crept into the shadows, just out of his cone of vision. Matt burst through the door, pointed his gun across the room, looked right over my head (I was crouching down), and walked in, cautiously, searching the darkness for shapes. He spotted Elise waiting in ambush on the far wall and started inching towards her. I waited until he was barely too far out of cover to run back into the stairwell, and then cut loose with the SMG. Five darts to the face! Poor guy was so surprised it nearly keeled him over.

My favorite Fallout Tactics technique actually worked in real life. I am so pleased.

metal gear solid 2's dead cell in real life

Anyone who has been to post-Katrina New Orleans need not be introduced to Blackwater Security, the corporate mercenary group responsible for controlling unrest through fear and intimidation. (Those of you who have not be rest assured that their quirkily modest website, and the nothing-nice-to-say attitude the major news networks have about them, are deceptive. In any area where they have been deployed, they have a reputation for being brutal, ruthless killers, hired under politically correct pretenses to do very politically incorrect work.)

Well, the Virginian-Pilot did a series of excellent articles on what they're like on the inside. Joanne Kimberlin and Bill Sizemore's reporting is far more balanced than mine would be.

I'm not a big fan of the propaganda game, by any means, but my viewpoint is probably best expressed in images. This is the National Guard:

This is Blackwater Security:


tapping colorless mana

A vicious cycle: Overwork, burnout, Wikipedia. Overwork, burnout, Wikipedia.

I have used my burnout time learning about the following mysterious and fascinating artifacts:

  • Antikythera Mechanism: An ancient and highly complex device found on a Greek shipwreck, believed to be the world's first analog computer
  • Voynich Manuscript: A tome of unknown origin, containing inexplicable truths and written in an undecipherable script
  • The Codex Seraphinianus: The most bizarre encyclopedia ever written, inspired by the Voynich
  • The Wycliffe Bible: The first complete English translation of the Bible, brought from the clergy to the masses by a Protestant Prometheus, and subsequently hunted down, destroyed, and replaced with the more politically correct King James Version by a fearful Church
  • The SR-47: The bastard lovechild of the M-16 and AK-47, invented for Operation Enduring Freedom (only seven are known to exist)
  • The Active Denial System: possibly the second most horrible anti-civilian weapon our military has ever invented (the first being the atom bomb)

  • Also, asphalt is a byproduct of petroleum refining, tar is a byproduct of coal refining, concrete is directly produced from crushed stone. It's interesting to see how changes in our transportation infrastructure have influenced our choice of roadbuilding materials. In Edison, New Jersey, where I was born, you can clearly see where the cul-de-sac where I used to live was grafted onto another road because there's a very sharp line where tar becomes asphalt. Roads leading to the old railroad tracks from my house are mostly tarmac (tar macadam) or tar-based concrete, and are rough and stony in texture; roads to the nearby shopping mall are slick asphalt blacktop. A future archaeologist with some knowledge of the history of American industrialization would be able to determine, from where one road begins and another ends, how, where, when, and how fast the town grew. Perhaps if Peak Oil hits, our roads will be paved with depleted uranium?
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    my baby

    RZ-1 A-wing interceptor. Ohhhh yeah.

    Only Imperial ship faster than these things in the original trilogy are the TIE Defenders, and TIE Defenders are just unfair. These things could outrun a squad of eyeballs and singlehandedly destroy a Super Star Destroyer on the way back. (Happened in RotJ. A-wing + kamikaze = bye bye capital ship.)

    Sure, the X-wings have proton torpedoes, which are nice for blowing up slow-moving oafs like supply containers and Death Stars. But just try taking down one of those zippy-ki-yay TIE Interceptors with one of those. Anyone can hit the broad side of a spice barge with a torp, but it takes the Force and a handful of well-aimed concussion missiles to blow a squad of squint pilots off their perch--in a single run. You can keep your X-wings for their space superiority and your Y-wings for blowing shit up and your B-wings for looking stupid, but the A-wing is a ship-to-ship ship. A dogfighter's dog. Concussion missiles are where it's at.

    Of course, you could always waste your engine power on laser cannons and use those instead, like some kind of wuss. But where's the fun in that?


    Why am I doing this instead of writing my paper?

    jaw slack, head tilted, drooling

    That's what this F-22 Raptor commercial does to you.

    And look--an even better one!

    And another. It is launching a missile WHILE FREEFALLING AT FORTY-FIVE DEGREES. Goodness, one more of these and I may need a cold shower.

    Also worth a look: the obligatory my-plane-could-beat-up-your-plane rigmarole in the comments. Seriously, people, the only way we could determine whether the Eurofighter or the new MiG could lick a Raptor in a dogfight is to actually have one. And when that happens, it will be World War III. We will have more important things to worry about, like why we are all dead.

    From Erica (of all people).