Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Let Me Tell You About My Character

Pay close attention. This is a nerd telling you about his character. I mean, I guess it could be an author telling you about his character, as this is the main character of my current writing project. But really, no. Nerd telling you about his character. So you know this is a serious thread.

No, not this character-although it is hard to understand the one I am about to tell you about without understanding my Nephandi as well. They both exist in the same genre-delusional self insert fan fiction-but the Nephandi is the gutter half of my personality, the core that lingers in the dark gnawing on a bone and doing rails off a dead hooker. He has all of my flaws, but magnified, and he manages to turn weaknesses into strengths. The character in the current project is at the opposite end of the spectrum-he is my ideal self, with all of my strengths, and my weaknesses more covered or buried over. You could spot the similarities between them-especially in their choice of weaponry-but the differences are profound, and represent the yin-yang of my diseased mind.

But enough about old shit; lets talk about the Scum Lord.

The Scum Lord is a merciless survivor in a culture that determines succession by patricide; namely, you challenge and kill your father to get his shit. There are a number of lords, major and minor, throughout the blasted remains of Amrykana, each one ruling a holdfast. Major lords have a number of minor lords (single families) as sworn bondsmen, carving a living out of the wastelands by farming and ranching. The Scum Lord is a skilled diplomat as well as a ruthless fighter, who lives and dies by something called the Codex Kalachnikova (The Code of the Kalashnikov) which dictates personal survival as the guiding principle. There are a number of ways he differs from most other major lords; for instance, to most holdfast lords, follwers of the Codex Bushido, consorts are simply brood animals for perpetuating and strengthening their bloodlines, but in the Scum Lord's holdfast they are essentially his wives, and he treats them fairly and with the kind of unselfish dignity that can only come from love. He raises his bastards fairly, until the time comes to exile or kill them of course. And above all else he keeps his holdfast strong against the constant dangers of the Rust Age, a thriving holdfast in the Tex Arcane, peopled by bastards who are cunning and full of tricks. It is little wonder they are one of the oldest remaining holdfasts.

Like the Gunslinger, the Scum Lord Khalid is more of an archetype than a man-with all the associated costs and cheap writing tricks. Yet as I begin to fill in his story more and more, I am beginning to see the purpose he serves. The Scum Lord is an ideal for me to cleave to, a sort of Nietzschean Overman for me to attempt to become, a ruthless and canny survivor who deals fairly with his friends-but with all the elements of my personality present which give me advantages as well.

As I read over what I have written already, I don't know if anyone is going to buy this story. If I had to pick a genre, it would be Fantasy Action. It is not meant to be a deep, damning critique of society or a profound, existential rant, although both of those things are present in it. It is more like the Gor novels-a brutal fantasy universe from a diseased mind, something that shouldn't be read into too deeply. If it were a movie, it would be directed by Zack Snyder. But I am going to finish it anyway, for my own sake if nothing else.

For I have come to admire the Scum Lord-and I would like to see how his story turns out. I am thinking the ending might surprise me. But maybe not-its hard to get the drop on a Scum Lord.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Stunning Return To Form

So, you bored with tales of the World's Least Sober Militia yet? Should I make with the disturbing shit again?

Yeah, I thought so.

I've been building up this elaborate sexual fantasy lately about a piece of music.

It is in the "third girl" fantasy book; one of the thickest chapters of mine, naturally. Such is the nature of my perversion that thinking about even mundane romantic bits like the wedding ceremony or just cuddling together watching a movie in a tangle is deeply arousing. Usually the girl is unspecified (well, there have been a few common daydream candidates) but she is mostly a collection of nebulous fantasy qualities.

Anyway, the fantasy in question is that we are dating a musically gifted student, who is playing at the Musical Arts Center at IU, in an early stage of our overall romantic involvement. So we drop her off there and get all dressed up to go to the show, and she is out there in the orchestra, a neat little dark haired chick whose punk rock leanings are concealed carefully beneath a black turtleneck (her piercing is out too) and she starts to play. Anyway, it comes time for her string solo (she plays the cello, mandolin and a few other insturments) she goes to the front of the orchestra and prepares her cello.

She doesn't dedicate it to us exactly, but her eyes find us in the crowd, dressed up and holding hands, and this small, secret smile appears on her face. Manda and I are almost overwhelmed by that potent, shared secret rush-and fantasy chick starts cooking off a slow, tender solo that becomes swelling, passionate and complex, and finishes with a sort of Chopin like rising Crescendo. She caps it off with a little coquettish bow at the end where her eyes search us out again, and takes her place in the Pit again.

It ends there, although I have a feeling this girl gets fucked in a backseat before the after party while Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture rattles the windows-and covers the squealing. But that occurs offscreen, though anticipation of it enriches the actual scene, giving it a sexual charge.

Yeah, I'm that fucked up. That shit just turns my motherfucking crank, man.

Friday, March 11, 2011

After the Bugout: The Foot Sloggers Lament

If you are wondering how the bugout went, take a look at my boots. They are caked in mud up to the rim, motherfucker. That's a sign of a good bugout-when you don't know what color your boots started out as by the time it is over.

In terms of my personal gear-the new boots held up well, actually-one of my biggest problems on the last bugout was a catastrophic boot failure, and I took a pair of spare boots just in case, but my new yardsale specials worked out just fine and my feet were dry the entire time, thank god. My new sleeping bag also worked well (thanks Mom) and I was mighty damn impressed with my Woodsman's pal-that thing chops like something three times its size. I wore a shoulder holster the entire time, and though the internet pundits all say that a shoulder holster is uncomfortable in the field, when it was over all my shit I barely noticed it. So my personal gear was well in order, and I didn't have to fuck with my bag to get it ready nearly as much as some of my compatriots did.

I was distressed by the amount of work it took for everyone to get their shit ready, although I was not immune from it-my batteries had rusted out in my headlamp and I had to rush to get a new one. Folks, we should be checking and maintaining our gear, not just buying it. So I am going to issue a challenge here-get your shit back in order sooner rather than later. Remember, you may not have 2-4 business days to get your shit together and bug out. You may have 2-4 seconds, business or otherwise. So don't let your gear fall apart this time-get it repacked, batteries replaced, in a place where you can find it and grab it in a hurry. I want to see improvement in this area, because it should not be hard-but we all fell into that trap after the last bugout and it cost us money & time when we could scarcely spare it. If you think I'm being harsh here, fuck you, it could have cost us a lot more.

It was a bigger bugout than I expected; we ended up having ten people there instead of six, so that was good, and we still had plenty of food to feed everyone. The improvements to the kitchen kit were definitely noticable; food preperation was much easier than last year, when we were wiping down dirty dishes with do rags in the pouring rain. We got one of those little portable sink things that collapses down right into the kitchen tote; it worked wonderfully and we had plenty of utensils this time. As usual, the food turned out well, and since no one was leaving to go to Mcdonalds this time (an issue we had last year) I am now confident we can feed 10 motherfuckers in the field for 3 days. Amanda is finally settling into her command role and has learned to start bossing lazy motherfuckers around while they are waiting to eat; we were never short on labor. We actually ate some wild game besides frogs for once; Jared caught a nice five pound catfish that we fried up on the third night, and it turned out delicious.

The biggest obstacle was the weather; besides all the other problems with constant driving rain, the weather was a crushing morale issue pretty much the whole time. Nothing scrambles a man's brains like being rained on for three days straight, so we had a lot more personal drama and snarking than we usually do. This, too, was something we could deal with, though I would rather not have. Between those two issues and wrangling them out, we ended up doing about half the stuff we had wanted to do.

The first night, our shelter collapsed; we ended up sleeping in the abandoned house on the property instead of in our shelter. There was no way we were going to make repairs on that shelter after dark in the rain in any reasonable amount of time. So we were only actually bugged out on the second night, after we had made some improvements on the group shelter. We always try a big group shelter and I am beginning to think it is inefficient; it takes forever to get everybody and all their shit in and out of that thing. We also ended up humping in two loads of dry firewood in rubbermaid totes, as nothing we found out there was going to light after being soaked through for several days. Once these two obstacles (shelter instability and lack of firewood) were sorted out, we actually got some decent sleep the second day and remained warm and dry. Well, too warm in some cases; one of our people did in fact catch fire once.

We had to cut out the land nav entirely and the herbalism got reduced to a small, 20 minute demo and lecture. Our trauma medical portion went well, although I would have liked to get in another ten repetitions on each part. Stealth mode we only did two rounds of, and that was a more limited exercise than we had planned because the woods had a lot of new deadfall and we didn't want to risk a night op. The CQB was cut short as well, but we did get some of it in-it took awhile to do any sparring because we only had six pugils. And we cut live fire out entirely and just practiced our group movement drills instead. The rationale is that ammo is limited anyway, and shooting practice is a constant effort that cannot really be worked on over a weekend, so any rounds we would be banging off would just be for funsies. There was some fun shooting done, most of it .22lr, but we didn't do any serious shooting because we had to use that time to practice moving in a group without shooting one another.

And as usual, all the criteria for a successful bugout were met-no accidental discharges, unsightly rashes or police raids occured. I did have to lay down some discipline this time, and frankly I don't like doing it, but there were occasions where it was required. I'm beginning to think there are going to be some changes in the way we do the events. Byoing the actual bugout, as in the rough camping survival part, along with the FTX events like the pugil stick sparring and the medical training, meant that we had to carry a lot of extra shit and use a lot of extra energy and I am thinking we might go to two short FTX events and one yearly survival event. It is still being decided and we have a few options we are exploring.

All in all, it was an educational bugout, if not always a pleasant one, and I am glad that we learned as much as we did. I have a million ideas for improvements that I can implement, so there is definitely still room to grow and I hope to keep doing so. So far, every bugout has been an improvement on the last in some way, and I intend to keep the trend going.

Good work, maggots. I'm glad you could make it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Planning the Bugout: Storms are Coming

The bugout is getting closer, we are at D-2 and closing. As the mad scramble to get everything ready continues, I just want to talk about some of the differences between the bugout and our previous bugouts.

Life is moving fast here in Babylon. Everyone is experiencing a slew of paradigm altering personal changes and personal/professional lives are in upheaval. One guy just broke up with his girl, one guy's girl just got out of jail, one of our guys is looking at some jail time in the future, two of our members just had a baby, and as for me, well, I lost my lucky hat. Sickness is rampant in the group and several are in the process of changing jobs.

Besides all that, we are looking at some serious weather for the weekend of the bugout; rain and mud and freezing temperatures at night. But the thing about a bugout is, you can't call the fucking thing off for weather, zombies don't give a fuck about weather, so we are going to tough it out. And the other thing about a bugout is, you can't call it off for personal drama either-the only thing zombies care less about than weather is personal drama. So we are going to tough that out too. But I think it is going to make for an interesting bugout; everyone is off center, off their game, and yet here we are anyway, loading magazines and sharpening axes.

Most pussies would back off because of these mitigating factors, but this is not our first bugout; we have done this before. We aren't a bunch of mewling college students stuffing canned goods in backpacks and loading Mosin Nagant stripper clips anymore. I think we have made a lot of progress over the last 3 years and damnit, we are going to show it this time. And you know, if we ever have to bug out for real, like for really real, we are going to be afraid, psychologically off center, emotionally drained, lacking sleep, going on adrenaline fumes & adderall, so really we are going to be closer to combat conditions this time than we ever have been before.

You heard that right, maggots. I am going to take your state of spiritual and psychological exhaustion and use it against you.

Physicall, we are going to have an intense bugout. In addition to the actual work of a bugout (shelter building, wood gathering, food procurement and preparation) we usually do a lot of FTX type stuff like patrolling, contact drills, hand to hand combat practice and usually a rousing game of Spotlight. This time we are adding some more advanced weapon techniques, pugil stick sparring and a physically intensive medical section.

It will also be an intense bugout mentally. We are going to be practicing our communications and land navigation skills all the time, as in "always on, always in character." Routine land navigation and communications drills will be a part of every other activity; essentially a light infantry unit cannot fight if it cannot move or communicate, so we are going to put some real effort into it this time.

I think one of the biggest changes to the bugout is going to be size; we are expecting 6-8 people instead of the usual 10-12. I both love and hate this. It makes it easier to plan everything; food and time requirements are way down across the board. But my labor pool is smaller and the picture is going to be way less badass. It is a game changer, but it is neither positive nor negative. I don't like that attendance is down but I recognize why that is; people have a lot of things going on in their lives and you can't drop everything just to train for the zombie apocalypse. However, the trouble with this is that we are going to have to stop to review everything at the next bugout, before everybody that didn't make it can integrate into the existing unit. We have dealt with this before, so it isn't a catastrophic change. But next time I'd like to muster the full 15 motherfuckers and take a really badass picture.

Well, thanks for listening, Internet. It is unlikely I'll be posting anything in the next few days so don't miss me too much. I'll be back on Monday or Tuesday and will try to give yalls an after action report. In the meantime, to simulate the Scumfuck in Babylon experience, take a bunch of pills and choke yourself. Trust me, it feels about the same.