Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Year 2016

Well then, 2016 has been... eventful. Just gonna come out and say it, 2016 has sucked pretty hard all around. Frigging everyone has been dying. Like, wow, so much death this year. It's hitting lots of people around me, which is not fun. That's not counting other pretty awesome people who have suddenly kicked the bucket. Last year we lost Robin Williams, Leonard Nemoy and Christopher Lee. Good grief. Why are all the good people suddenly dying off? Holy crap.

And let's not forget the absolute joy of this year's election, which was about as fun as shaving one's body using only duct tape. Merciful crap. I haven't seen this much vitriol and bile thrown around even in the deepest dregs of the Youtube comments section. Somehow we got down to the two worst candidates of both sides, and it REALLY became a case of choosing between two awful choices. That being said, the truly evil one lost. Karma always catches up. I just hope Trump doesn't screw things up. Then again, with Obama throwing a temper tantrum and punishing everyone around him for Hillary losing. So we're getting an upgrade. Then again, this could just be moving from AIDS to HIV. Both are awful, but one is slightly less awful. I wanted Endorphin Rush with Rand Paul, but nah.

It wouldn't be quite as bad, except a third of the country is throwing the most epic tantrum I've ever seen, and I say that as someone who has raised dozens of kids, most with emotional issues. Seven pound toys being thrown at windows pales in comparison to the hilarious or excessively violent reactions we've been getting from politicians and college students. Suck it up kiddies. Nobody cares what you think anymore. You cried wolf day and night at every little thing conceivable, and you've been tuned out. Trump won fair and square, and you've got no one to blame but yourselves.

As for myself I've finally entered adulthood in that I've moved out of the house and have enjoyed all the privileges that come with it. Things like worrying about paying rent, budgeting, finding a job, finding medical care, trying to have enough food for three meals a day, getting from point A to B in sub-zero weather, and all that joy. On the plus side I can eat as much candy as I sodding want and no one can tell me different!
And to top that off, one of my best friends, whom I'd been with for ten years, cut me off and abandoned me over differences of opinion. Of all the blows, I think that one cut the deepest. I've never had a lot of friends, and those few I do have I cherish dearly. So when I do everything I can to be tolerant and helpful but still get separated, I feel a little part of me die inside. Few things wither my soul like genuine and unconditional friendly love being cast aside in a bout of self righteous rage.

Phew... Okay, personal rant, over. The great thing about starting a new year is that you can start with a clean slate! I fully believe that 2017 will be better. But it is up to us to make it better. It won't happen without effort, so let's get to it! Simply smiling at a stranger or co-worker can turn their day around. A little kindness goes a long way. Show compassion and patience for those who cut you off or call you names. You don't know what they are going through. A family member of theirs might be dying of cancer. That's becoming increasingly common in my circle sadly. So be patient, assume the best in others and show love as best you can. I know I will.

In spite of my earlier ranting, this hasn't all been bad. I've experienced the wonders of snowfall, watching individual snowflakes fall onto my gloved hands and marvel at their natural elegance. I've learned the value of personally prepared meals. I have come to appreciate the simple things more and become more responsible. With luck I will have a decent job soon. I will hopefully get my first full novel out and begin working on my next. I will hopefully find a special young lady to share my heart with.

Although the road before us all is rocky and rough we have the potential to make it a splendid journey, hardships and all. So let us leave behind the nasty, thorny morass of 2016 and look forward to the rocky but fragrant meadows of 2017!

Monday, December 19, 2016

News and stuff

Things have been a mite hectic lately. I've been scrambling to find a job, coping with serious dental damage, trying not to freeze to death and assist friends and family with their various ills. So I haven't had the chance for a lot of blogging. Also haven't had a whole lot worth blogging about.

In terms of writing, I'm well underway with another Primal Frontier story. The first draft is basically done and needs to undergo revisions. Sadly my partner in crime and editor has been suffering some intense circumstances and simply hasn't been able to edit it these last few months. This is very regrettable, as I wanted to get it out by December here, but Life had other plans. I'm hoping I can get it out within the first few months of 2017.

In the meantime I'm beating my head against a wall trying to form the plot for my upcoming steampunk so I'm not just wasting time playing video games. It's frustrating because I have all the pieces to the puzzle, I just need to assemble them in the right order, which is proving rather difficult. I think I burned myself out with the Primal Frontier story, which has topped out over 100K words which would equate to around 350 pages on the Kindle. It might take my brain a wee bit more time to figure itself out. At the same time I'm annoyed that I can't actually get to work on it and get things moving. I need to be productive dangit!

Well, in other news I managed to acquire a job that pays enough for me to actually pay rent and buy food, and I've had some dental repair, so things are looking comparatively good. Hopefully in a short amount of time things will pick up, I can get Kapar's Mark published, get to work on my steampunk and make enough to eat cinnamon rolls everyday instead of ramen.

I hope that you can stay patient dear readers! Relief is on the way! Eventually!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Anti-Gun Activism At Its Best!

Yesterday I could have honestly said I had heard every single variation and permutation of argument for gun control on the face of the earth. And while this isn't necessarily an argument, I can honestly say that I've never even fathomed this as a counter-argument to gun carry. Take a look at this masterpiece of insanity. Careful though. I try to keep this blog family friendly, and this is a bit off my usual path, but I simply cannot avoid sharing it.
http://thefederalistpapers.org/us/the-difference-between-growing-up-in-the-1960s-compared-to-2016?utm_source=CT&utm_medium=CT&utm_campaign=CT

Students in Texas decide that the proper, adult and mature thing to do in response to other students now being allowed to carry guns on campus is to parade around with dildos. They call it "Cocks Not Glocks." I wish I had the imagination to think of something this bereft of logic. How this is supposed to accomplish anything seems to be missing from their earnest protesting. Seriously, what is this supposed to do? I'm racking my brain right now for some fever-addled explanation as to how this will make any difference of any kind. Maybe it's because I'm too logical and think things through, because I'm coming up blank.

Heck, if anything, this will encourage people to carry guns elsewhere. Guns equaling attractive ladies walking around with sex toys? Hmmmm... It's a mystery what that'll lead to.

So in summation, since every anti-gun argument has been driven to extinction in the face of logic and reality, the anti-gunners have resorted to this. I am in spasms of laughter at the complete and utter absurdity of this. I mean, THIS was their big master plan for combating the spread of carried weapons? What did they pass up in favor of this? Walking around with toilet seats? DVD sets of My Little Pony? I almost feel like I've stepped into some sort of alternate reality that operates on Loony Tunes logic.

Normally I get annoyed when I see idiotic responses to guns, but this is just plain hysterical. I couldn't have prayed for a more glorious example of the desperation and lunacy that the anti-gunners have resorted to. Not gonna lie, I'm excited. I can't wait to see what other bizarre antics they employ.

Someone pass the popcorn please! >:)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Aurion movie? Please be good!

Some of you may recall my absolutely glowing review of the game Aurion: The Legacy of Kori-Odan, which bordered upon slavish. In short, it's a game with one of the best told stories I've ever seen and combat so tight that older 2D fighters like Mortal Combat and Street Fighter weep bitter tears of envy, all while having spectacular world building and mythology.

And apparently I'm not the only one who thought so, because someone in Hollywood wants to turn it into a movie! Now, usually I wouldn't give Hollywood the time of day, but in this case... YES!!! Please make this a movie! But don't suck at it.

Honestly, if they can translate this to film well, it should be fantastic. It shouldn't be too hard actually. It's so smooth and straight forward that in many cases you could literally copy the stuff line for line and not have anything lost in the translation.

I have only one request Hollywood: Please don't suck! You have gotten ahold of an absolute gem of a story. Don't screw it up. Stick to the story of the game, throw some good actors in, give it the budget it deserves, and market it as a good story. If they mess this up, I will honestly be extraordinarily upset. This is a golden opportunity, and to waste such potential would be depressing on an almost cosmic level.

You can find out more here: http://kiroogames.com/en/kiro-o-studio/current-events/197-an-african-fantasy-rpg-game-in-hollywood.html

In the meantime, if this is somehow new to you, or even if not, please, please buy and support this game!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

While many are whining like a bunch of spoiled children, now is the perfect time to rejoice in the innumerable things we have to be thankful for. When you take the time to be thankful for what you have, you will appreciate the new things that much more!

Let us be thankful for everything around us right now. Thankful for family and friends, food and cheer, grand entertainment and the ability to talk to loved ones even though they be thousands of miles away. Thankful for this grand land we get to live in whose beauty stretches from coast to coast. Thankful for those small trinkets we have that communicate great value and stories. Thankful for the many creators and craftsman that give us so many wonderful devices and practical works of art.

So let's be thankful and gorge ourselves on fantastic food and enjoy our time with family!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Black Friday book sale!

For those of you who don't wish to die under a stampede of rabid shoppers and prefer to get your bargains online, then may I direct you to my humble selection of novellas which will be on sale for a mere one dollar a piece!
It'll last until Saturday in the PM, so if you get caught up making sacrifices at the alters of Steam and Amazon, then you'll have a second chance. I hope that you all might be entertained!

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Austen+Confer&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Austen+Confer&sort=relevancerank

May you all have a happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Inspiration for King Kong?

The original 1933 King Kong is one of my all time favorite movies. As a sprog I watched that movie with wide-eyed astonishment time and again. I can trace much of my love for adventure and the unknown to that movie. It has influenced many artists and creators through the years. Even the legendary Ray Harryhausen cited this movie as the inspiration for him to get into stop motion animation.

And now quite by accident I found someone listing several possible inspirations for this legendary movie. Look and be amazed! http://not.pulpcovers.com/post/153364595540/the-works-that-inspired-king-kong

The direct reference to the real life event of the explorer Paul de Chailu bringing news of gorillas to Europe is most intriguing. Certainly a worthy event to launch an epic story from! The silent film starring someone in a suit doesn't shock me. It wouldn't surprise me if it gave some influence, perhaps even a "This is a good idea with poor execution. Let's do it right!" I could be completely wrong, as film making was very different back then. I would love to find out though.

The possible influence that strikes me the most however is the story of the Meu-Meu, written by none other than the amazing author H. Rider Haggard! He's the one who invented the lost civilization sub-genre. Edgar Rice Burroughs was inspired by him. The man was wonderfully prolific, best known for producing King Solomon's Mines, amongst a slew of others. And thanks to the magic of the internet and Project Gutenberg this story is now available for reading for free! Christmas has come early for me dear readers! I was positively giddy when I came across this gem.

http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200191.txt

I'm going to read this story post haste. I feel like a story archaeologist! I love following the bread crumb trail of storytellers, finding out what inspired who. The history of storytelling is so rich and wonderful and it just keeps on giving me new things to enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen review

Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen: a time-travel romance by [Bensen, Daniel M]
Can you dig it?

Does this not right off the bat grab your attention? Well it should, because Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen is a rocking hybrid of pulpy Mesozoic adventure cross-bred with high-tech scifi and a delightful writing style that sucks you in like a whirlpool. Man, where do I even start? It's a pretty hefty book, around 357 pages, with a lot of character stuff and a surprisingly well done romance. Man, remember my surprise with Cry Havoc? A military scifi with sentient dinosaurs decked out with advanced power armor and weapons that sucked me in with a teen romance? Man, there must be something about dinosaurs that breeds romance. Who'd have thought?

I'm not going to cover this book chapter by chapter because it is frigging big, and it has a very non-linear plot which makes it hard to track. So I'll cover the highlights and focus primarily on the characters. Honestly, I think the characters are the biggest strength of this book.

The story starts off very scifi, with a trio of scientists traveling back in time for a simple research expedition guided by former soldier Andrea, who is a real spitfire and isn't quite digging the whole babysitting role. Andrea is a pretty awesome character. She's legitimately tough and a serious adrenaline junkie. She's a former soldier only because the far future is ruled by bureaucrats and since it is such a civilized era surely there is no longer a need for soldiers. Ha! Keep dreaming. She's resentful of the crap job she has and the people she has to put up with. Snooty scientists and hard-tack soldiers don't mix too well.

However, when they arrive in the Cretaceous, they discover that they are not the only humans present. As impossible as it is, there are indeed other humans running around, and the two do not mix well. It's never flat out explained, but it's theorized that some people used a time machine to travel way back when and developed their own societies. The fact that they basically live like cavemen but have access to some technology far ahead of their time such as flares and radios supports this. I actually really like this! It helps give an almost Barsoom feeling to it at times. I like seeing advanced technology side by side with primeval creatures and settings. Some of the slavers are able to speak extremely fractured English, further implying that they are the descendants of rogue time travelers.

I do need to take a moment to explain the power suits that the time travelers have. Unlike Iron Man, these things are skin-tight and look more like a second skin that molds with your body rather than clunky power armor. It can change its shape reflexively to protect the wearer like forming a shield or fire a blast of superheated plasma from the palm. It can also turn the fingers into metal-hard claws and allow the wearer to cut through enemies like spaghetti. That's not counting the increased durability, speed and strength. I gotta say, I really like this idea of power armor. It's something I haven't seen before and reminds me of the Symbiote from Spiderman.

Now, you might wonder what possible threat dinosaurs and bronze-age warriors can pose against these time travelers. Well, they do in fact have one critical weakness: They are programmed by the UN. Yeah, the UN still sucks, even in the future and make Marvel style awesome power armor uncool. It has a ton of prohibitive programs and routines that delay reactions and make fighting effectively almost impossible. Imagine trying to fight via answering an automated customer service system. That's almost literally what it's like. Every time the characters try to fight, the system asks if they want to do this, or that, and are you sure you want to do that? The primitive societies quickly realize that they can paralyze the suits by holding up their hands submissively. The programming thinks "Oh, they're surrendering! Can't let the user hurt them." Meanwhile the assailants are getting into better attack positions, and the user is almost helpless to stop them.

Now, when these two groups meet, it goes very poorly. Lots of people die, including one of the scientists who got a spear through the face, which is uncovered by the suit and is the only vulnerable point.

This is where we meet our other protagonist, the muscle-bound Traals Scarback with his awesome sword made of meteoric iron, Vritai The All-Cutter! And yes, they are pretty much as awesome as they sound. At first glance Traals is just a blood-thirsty and unsophisticated brute. Okay, he is bloodthirsty, very much so, but he is actually exceptionally intelligent and adaptive. He's a warrior philosopher who learned a great deal under an intelligent man who owned him as a slave. Traals did not take well to this occupation, having suffered tremendously, and now has a blood vendetta against the entire society. Honestly, at first, Traals is a huge arsehole. He has one goal only, and that is to bring complete and total ruin to the slavers no matter what he has to do or who he has to throw under the bus.

He is manipulative, deceptive, a first rate con artist and exhibits some sociopathic behavior, although he does end up having an arc. Anyway, without reciting the entire book, circumstances throw the different factions together and a lot of chaos ensues. It has a lot of ERB influence I think with different characters getting kidnapped, trying to rescue others, escaping, and all that sort of thing over and over again. Andrea gets caught by Traals a lot, and I actually kinda call BS on her second capture, seeing as how she's a deadly soldier who has killed multiple people with her bare hands. Seeing her get manhandled the way she did that time felt very false to me.

Anyway, there are a smattering of other characters, but the supporting character that stands out to me the most is actually the other surviving scientist, Chris. He's a paleontologist and loves seeing the animals here, but he's unprepared to deal with the sudden violence and conflict. And when his two companions are killed by these cavemen and Andrea is kidnapped, he begins to snap. Never having had to deal with such intense emotion he reacts with murderous rage. And then he's able to subdue the programming of his suit, giving him extraordinary power in the face of these throwbacks who begin to worship him as a god, which over time even he begins to believe, turning him into a villain.

Honestly, this is one of the most fascinating parts of the entire book to me. Chris serves as this contrast between the tame, civilized world and the savage instincts of Andrea and Traals. Those two are born fighters, veterans of combat of different types. Yet in spite of them enjoying combat, they are extremely careful in how they apply violence. Chris however has no discipline. He hasn't had to build up his skills or learn how to restrain himself. So when he has this god-like power amongst these comparatively helpless people the power begins to go to his head. Violence becomes his answer to those who oppose him and gradually everyone begins to grow fearful of his increasing aggression. I frigging love this.

He also adopts a copper mask to cover his vulnerable face. At first it's simply used as armor, but over time he becomes less and less human, and the wearing and mutilating of the mask further emphasizes his increasing lack of humanity. Now, he doesn't become flat out evil or psychotic. He doesn't turn into a despot and he's actually extremely emotionally fragile. It's this fragility though that let's him go down the path of aggression and using violence to solve his problems. Coveting of women and a burning desire to be loved doesn't help either. He tries to rescue Andrea, and honestly I'm not sure why the two couldn't just find each other and say "Oh hey, let's just run to the time machine and get the crap out of here."

Now before I get to the love story with Andrea and Traals, I should probably discuss the prehistoric stuff. This author goes out of his way to make it as realistic and scientifically accurate as possible. If you're one of those people who got upset at Jurassic World for not giving the raptors feathers, you will love this book. The animals feel real and the landscape feels genuinely different, and not just a generic jungle or desert that happens to have dinosaurs. Some of the critters are domesticated, most notably triceratops, which are universal beasts of burden and war mounts. It works though, and is very fun!

Now, the relationship between Traals and Andrea is complex yet oddly believable. Unlike some love stories I can't point to one specific point and say "This is when they began to get close." It's insidiously subtle, which is a definite point in its favor. I find it fascinating, because the two are on one hand polar opposites, yet still exactly the same. One is from a technologically and socially advanced future, but shuns diplomacy and goes right for hammer and fist approach. The other is from a crude, barbaric and primeval landscape but is exceptionally intelligent and waxes poetic with philosophical musings and political manipulation that would have served him well in DC. It's a fascinating contrast and a wonderful inversion of the usual trope of the person from the future being more advanced than one from the past.

Yet at their cores they both love fighting! They live and lust for battle and living in the moment. There is this crude yet solid core to them both that ties them together.

It's also fascinating to see Traals, who has manipulated people left and right, get completely outmaneuvered by Andrea. He initially just sees her as a means to an end, and he attempts to seduce her to get her to do what he wants. However he is stunned when she instantly picks up on what he's trying to do and turns it back on him. Apparently she's quite familiar with pick up lines and knows how to dominate that field. I was very amused when this horrified him and he had to leave after reacting violently.

I suspect that this inability to control her is what at first sparks his interest in her. Physically he can capture her and keep her from escaping. Heck, he even ropes her into a spear-wedding to keep her from getting killed by the tribe he's with. They didn't take well to her snapping the neck of one of their members. Yet even with this control he can't actually get her under his heel. Her blunt refusal to be diplomatic or be controlled, even if it hurts her, constantly confounds his Machiavellian schemes and makes his political life a nightmare. He tries to keep others from hating her, but she refuses to truly integrate, boasting this "Come at me bro" attitude which keeps him up at night. It's almost like having a WWF fighter at a session in Congress.

That's not to say Andrea is stupid. Oh heck no. She just has no patience for niceties and she can smell when someone is trying to control her, and she won't have any of it, even if it has adverse affects for her. Essentially, this makes her immune to Traals's manipulation, and it's actually pretty beautiful to see him consistently confounded. Then, very much against his will, he discovers that he's falling for her, and is actually horrified. He has genuine PTSD reactions to anyone having any sort of control over him, and the idea that someone has this sort of influence over him that he can't kill freaks him out on a very deep psychological level.

In fact, towards the end of the story this emotionally destroys him, as this love for Andrea overcomes his hatred for the slavers. Suddenly he feels like he has no purpose and just lays there bereft of meaning or goals. It's extremely amusing to see Andrea telling him to suck it up and get back to work though.

In spite of her own abrasive behavior, Andrea actually begins to gain status in the tribe by bringing her combat and tactical knowledge to the table, actually greatly increasing their combat prowess. She even teaches most of the women martial arts to avoid being beaten by their husbands. Not everyone likes her, seeing as how she is still this spitfire that will kill you if you mess with her, but they darned well respect her. She's this nail that just won't be hammered down. I'm still not positive why she falls for Traals though. That's not to say that I don't buy it, because I do, but it's very elusive to me.

Overall, I truly recommend this book. It has a very non-linear plot yet works wonderfully. The different perspectives are wonderfully opinionated. It's almost like each perspective was done by a different writer! The cultures are believable and sometimes beautifully intricate and complex. The scifi concepts are fun and there is a lot to make you think on. You have genuinely serious moments of emotional impact and sometimes slightly silly parts that make you laugh. Andrea and Traals have an epic climax (I know some a-hole will take that out of context) with riding a T-Rex and laying siege to a fortress with a time machine against slavers and a renegade scientist, and the entire book is executed to near perfection. What's not to like?

You can purchase this epic adventure here: https://www.amazon.com/Groom-Tyrannosaur-Queen-time-travel-romance-ebook/dp/B018UD6DH2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477669215&sr=8-1&keywords=groom+of+the+tyrannosaur+queen




Glad that's over...

I'm so glad that this election process is finally over and done with. For those of you wondering, I voted for "Screw both candidates with a rusty drill bit." Am I happy that Trump won? Meh. I think he's a despicable human being with no humility and was my last choice on the Republican nominee ballot. But I'm more happy that Hillary didn't win. I genuinely believe that she is an evil person, and that had she been elected many Americans would have died. She's already gotten away with multiple murders while lower on the food chain. What would stop her from doing more while in the President's office? So yeah, I'm glad she lost. Honestly I sort of see this as karmic backlash for all the corruption, murder, blackmailing and general lack of human decency on her part. She had her best shot at becoming President, and then lost to this renegade upstart. And with her health deteriorating, I think that this was her LAST shot. So she's going to be extraordinarily displeased for the next few years, and I'm going to enjoy every moment of it.

Do I think Trump will be a great President? Heck no. But he can't possibly screw up worse than Obama. At least this guy has a pair of testicles. Other countries won't walk all over him like a door mat. And I at least think that Trump wants America to do well, which is more than I can say for Obama.

I'm pretty intrigued by the reaction of the far left. All during the Obama administration they were ramming policies down our throats and giving the executive branch more and more power. Back then it was just fine! You stupid right wing jurks just need to shut up and deal with it. But uh oh! Now a crazy man is wielding extraordinary executive power and can push through a ton of ideas without being checked. Oh no! How could this have happened? If only we had a democratic society with checks and balances set up by an old group of intelligent men to limit the various branches of power! Oh wait...

See, this is kind of why us rightists wanted to restrict presidential power. So that if some megalomaniacal guy got elected he couldn't do any permanent harm. Whoops!
I know a lot of people were complaining about the Republicans stonewalling Obama's idiotic ideas in the House and Senate. How dare they defy the supreme leader's will! I'll bet now they are going to appreciate the concept of the senatorial veto. This is precisely why that process exists.

All I can say to the hard leftists who are now terrified, you kinda made this happen. You ran out every decent Republican runner for a snake oil salesman in hopes that he would sink that boat so Hillary would get elected. But that didn't work, and you paved the way for a showman. Instead of trying to deal with the most honest and respectable candidates you played this stupid political game to get the bride of Satan elected. You guys couldn't have supported someone like Rubio or Paul, men that were at least honest and respectable. Oh no! That would have been too easy. But the general public got fed up with being lied to, failed time and again and decided screw it, we're going with the guy who at least has the balls to admit his insanity. This was basically the coyote chewing off his leg to escape the gin trap.

I also believe that a person's true colors are revealed by how they deal with loss. Four and eight years ago, the right bent under the gloating and jeering of Obama and his minions, soldiering on as best we could in spite of his earnest attempts to torpedo the country. The rightists didn't firebomb cars. They didn't lay siege to the White House. They didn't start riots and rip apart entire sections of cities. They didn't call for mass violence. We hated Obama and everything he tried to put forward, but we put up with it.

But now that an insane moderate has gotten elected, the far left has gone absolutely ape spit. Riots, violence, destruction, rampant hatred, etcetera. You'd think that we had just firebombed orphanages and used the blood of the children to draw pentagrams to summon demons for the new justices. Wow. Weren't these the same people that told the right to shut up and put up with it? But now that they have to take the same medicine?  No grace, dignity and respectful behavior here. Okay, that's not totally true. There are some leftists who are genuinely acting with decorum, and I applaud them for it. But by and large we are now dealing with outrage the likes of which I haven't seen since the Twilight movies.

I find it fascinating how when Texas asked for permission to secede from America they were met with scorn. And now two days after election results and California wants to secede. Honestly, I say let them do it. Bye bye! Sure, I was born there and it has some gorgeous landscape, but we'll survive.

This is not me attempting to gloat. I consider this at best a pyyrhic victory. I do not like Trump. He was my last choice on the Republican ballot. I know he will try to do things that I, as a conservative, fundamentally disagree with and will try to stop. But he's better than Hillary, which is a terrifying thought. To those on the left who are freaking out, take the advice of someone who went through the ringer for eight consecutive years: Take a breath, calm down, and bear it. It will end. You can survive. There are good people out there who will help you. When my family and I were booted from our home, others came to help us. We found shelter and food. It was rough, but our family didn't break.

You can survive this too. Try to find the silver lining, prepare as best you can, and endure the next four years. The rest of us had to. So let's put away the molotov cocktails and hockey masks and try to rebuild this country.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Brief news!

Well dear gentlereaders, after scrambling desperately for about a month, I got ahold of a job! And this one is beyond full time. That has two effects: One, I can now purchase food and stuff again, which is very good and necessary to my continual survival. Second, I will be greatly slowed down in production. I'm trying to get another review out and work on more books, but this job is a real back breaker. But I shan't give up! It'll just take me awhile to get around to stuff. So I am sorry for not having posted much as of late. I'm now working and juggling multiple other accounts with other business, and trying to play half the games I've sacrificed on the altar of Steam. Those cagey buggers...

Anyway, I hope to have more stuff out soon. Take care all!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Halloween Horror Story!

Howdy all, just wrote a little spooky story in the spirit of Halloween which you can read riiiiiiiiight over here! http://eccentriccowboy.deviantart.com/art/Horror-Of-The-Deeps-638658138
Hope ya'll enjoy. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Kickstarter support!

Yet another budding artist and friend has made known to me their desire to get a Kickstarter going! And I'm here lending my support! It's a comic about comic geeks, which is kind of a novelty to me at least! They've already reached half of their goal, so it's only got a little further to go! Please help my pal and others right here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2143281195/they-have-issues-comic-anthology/rewards

Friday, October 7, 2016

Kangee Tomahawk



I fear I have another dirty secret that I've been hiding. Like the Bowie knife, I had somehow lived to moderate age without owning a proper tomahawk, despite declaring myself a lover of all things frontier based. Well, this year I fixed that problem! Ladies and gentlemen, behold the Colombia River Knives and Tools Kangee Tomahawk!

I admit, I was browsing around for a proper tomahawk for a long time, but none ever quite matched what I was looking for. Having handled a reasonable number of blades, I can often get an idea of how something is going to perform based on looks alone. I had been looking at Cold Steel products for a good while, but none of them had the design I desired. That's not to say they are bad models, not at all. Some of them have great blades, but had a spike or poll that just didn't sit right with me.

Nor did many of the tactical tomahawks jump out at me. I admit, some did look very practical and would certainly serve very well, but it takes a lot to get me to grab something selling itself as "tactical." Remember the tactical lever action 30-30? I can still hear the screams. I wanted something of wood and steel. I primarily wanted something that could process wood. Something for felling trees, splitting wood, things of that nature. I like something that can chop through wood for field work right off the bat. After all, if it can cut through wood, it can cut through flesh and bone! So I didn't need something advertising itself strictly as a combat weapon.

Then one day in the mail I found a little cluster of outdoors adds, and as I flipped through the pages my eyes settled upon something that immediately arrested my attention. That would be the Kangee and its brother, the Chogan, sporting a blade with a longer beard and a grand hammer poll. Something about the design of these two instantly captured my interest. I could tell at a glance that these were much beefier and ruggedly built. The shape of the design captivated me, featuring both exquisite blades and extremely functional and well designed backs.

Upon further investigation I only found myself wanting both of these more and more. Initially I wanted the Chonga, as I thought a hammer would be more useful than the spike. But after looking around at other articles and other tips about tomahawks, I found that the rounded side of the head can function quite well as hammer, and that the spike can be used to dig up roots for cordage in a survival situation. The spike also lends itself well to urban combat. I've heard that the enemies out East have developed a real appreciation for our soldiers sporting such weapons.

So at last I settled on purchasing the Kangee and a leather sheathe that could hook onto my belt. In total it cost over 60$, about twice what a Cold Steel spike hawk would cost, but I think that it was worth it.

Out of the box this thing is recognizable as a beast. Designed more for heavy chopping rather than combatic slashes like lighter hawks, the Kanee has some serious weight to throw around. It almost feels like a more elegant hammer. The haft is narrow at the bottom and tapers up toward the head, giving it a decent feel. It is very comfortable in hand. The steel is listed as 1055 carbon, but I'm not sure I buy it. 1055 is a somewhat soft steel, but upon trying to sharpen this, it proved remarkably hard in comparison. In fact, at first the metal was flaky. Trying to work on it with a carbide sharpener resulted in little flakes chipping off the edge, not fine grains like one usually gets with steel. In fact, it was a son of a gun putting a decent edge on this. I can only surmise it was given a unique treatment, as it almost feels like it was cast in a mold. The surface is marbled and uneven. It actually reminds me of a dutch oven pot.

However, that isn't to say the metal is bad. Not at all. I'm unsure what treatment it was given, but I wager it will resist rusting with a vengeance. After a lot of diligence, a strop, a puck sharpener and a carbide sharpener, I finally put an edge on it that stuck. I'm not sure if this is common, or if this was just a fluke. Seeing as how nobody else complained about this that I saw, I think this was merely a one off. Don't let this deter you from getting your own. Anyway, aside from the finicky metal, I have nothing but praise for the head. The blade has brilliant geometry and is almost over-engineered. It's solid like nothing else I've ever seen. The blade is about two and a half inches tall, giving it a decent curve and enough surface area to chew some respectable chunks out of wood or anything else one might be hacking away at.

The spike initially baffled me. From the photos I saw it looked as if it boasted a chisel design, a concept I hadn't seen before. Upon actually getting it though I found that this wasn't the case, but wasn't disappointed. The geometry of this spike is brilliant. It is designed in such a way that it is phenomenally sharp but will resist blunting or bending like magic. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it could puncture sheet metal or car bodies with ease and not loose its point. If you're one of those people that wants to be able to survive the apocalypse by breaking windows, puncturing tires, cracking skulls, busting locks or other such shenanigans, this thing will do all of that and more.

This thing boasts both exceptional geometry and heavy duty workhorse steal. This head isn't going to break anytime soon. The haft is simple but handsome hickory, and the sheathe, which is sold separately oddly enough, is beautiful and functional. However, the sheathe mounts so that if you mount it on your right hip, like I wanted to, the spike will be facing forward and the edge facing back. Maybe I'm just late to the game, but this seems kind of backwards. When I pull this thing out I want the blade up front, not have to flip it around. This might be because the spike necessitates the spike portion of the sheathe to swivel, and it would be difficult to move in and out otherwise. That or you have to mount it on your left side.

A pleasant thing I discovered right away however is that in contrast to sheathe knives with absolutely require sheathes, a hawk doesn't need to have one. You can stick it in your belt, sash or sweatshirt tied around your waist, and it can sit there nice and snug. One still has to be careful about their elbows with this, but it is definitely doable.

For mine I drilled a lanyard hole in the bottom with a loop of paracord and tied around six feet of the same just beneath the head. This was to help keep the head sliding down the haft during strenuous use and to offer a snug grip for more precision-based work. Also in the field I can unwind that six feet and put it to good use. Yay!

But how did it actually perform in the field? Sadly due to a lack of trees, transport, time, and FAR too many wintesses who are blade-shy, I haven't been able to give it a thorough testing. However, when most people weren't looking I managed to take a few whacks at some deadwood up in the mountains, and found that it bit deep. I have little doubt that it could chew through a five-inch thick tree in a few minutes if I take my time. The big eye makes wood splitting much trickier, unlike a hatchet or axe, but I suspect that it could still get the job done. I hope to give it a proper testing in the following months with a change of scenery. I actually find myself carrying this thing around the house as casually as a cellphone. It's just fun to have!

Overall, I frigging love the Kangee. There is no part of me that regrets this purchase. It is ruggedly built, wonderfully functional, handsome, and is an excellent breeding between frontier charm and modern efficiency. If you happen to be interested in a good looking and practical hawk, I highly recommend the Kangee. It costs a bit more than the Cold Steel variations, but it has the quality to justify it. And in case you're wondering, no, I'm not getting paid to pimp this out. I mean, I wish I was. I could use the money. But I just really this thing is great.

You can get your own right here on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/Columbia-River-Knife-Tool-2735/dp/B00I04Q6W4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473401025&sr=8-2&keywords=kangee


Deviantart account

Howdy! I finally came to the conclusion that I needed another place to post short stories, since blogs don't lend themselves well to categorizing things. That, and I suck at figuring out how to work the settings bar. So if all five of you fans have wanted to see me write smaller, quicker short stories your wish has come true! I've already got one Primal Frontier short posted, and I'm working on horror stories in the spirit of October. Yay!

http://eccentriccowboy.deviantart.com/

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Writing status and update

Been a little quiet here as of late. I just got done moving to another state and have spent the last few days without internet access. Yikes! Trying hard to find a new job that doesn't suck, and planning on how to deal with a winter that actually involves this cold white stuff that I heard falls from the sky. Not sure if I buy it, but it's best to take precautions regardless.

In the meantime, I'm hard at work trying to edit my latest book and first actual novel Primal Frontier: The Kapar's Mark. Check out the awesome custom cover!


The summary of this story is that our intrepid adrenaline junky has gotten bored with the local fare, but his interest is sparked by tales of an unnaturally dangerous beast lurking in the steaming jungles of a giant island far to the south. The interior of this island has never before been penetrated by white men and peril lurks behind every rock and tree. But not being one to let danger stop him from finding even more danger, he charters a steamship to travel up one of the massive rivers to explore the mysterious interior to go on one of the deadliest hunts of his entire career.

At this time of editing, I'm almost edging past 100K words, easily my biggest book to date. If you liked my earlier stories, you will love this one. Unlike the others I'm stocking us with a much larger cast of hopefully compelling characters and some themes that I think are pretty darned interesting. Ideas like spirit animals, motivations for doing things in life, what truly constitutes bravery and strong will are all things I'm exploring this time around. A little bit of philisophical spice to add some food for thought. But don't worry, there will be loads of action, obligatory fights with monsters and hostile tribes and other cool characters that can hold their own.

This is also the first book I'm having editing help on, and thank Odin, because that will really polish this story up. I'll try to have it out by December, so keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Aurion: The Legacy of Kori-Odan game review




Aurion: The Legacy of Kori-Odan is an absolute gem of a video game. I first checked it out with passing interest, something worthy of looking at certainly, but it far surpassed my expectations. A little history for this game, since it is breaking new ground, this is actually the very first video game produced in Africa, specifically Cameroon. It was successfully kickstarted this year and put up on the hub of all games, Steam.

I confess, hearing that it was made in Africa really caught my attention. The lore in this game is inspired from African mythology which is very cool. Although I would loosely classify this game as a fantasy, you wouldn't think that based on the unrelenting over-saturation of the game market with things based on Northern European mythology and Tolkien. I love Tolkien, certainly, but good grief you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a game without elves, dwarves and magic. So the idea of a game with a completely different inspiration really made it stand out to me.

In fact, I would almost say it has a Avatar: The Last Airbender vibe and freshness to it. It's a completely new experience that I hadn't gotten from American, European and Japanese games. Although clearly not a big budget game, every single cent goes to polishing and perfecting the absolute essentials. There is no flab or gimmicky garbage to distract you from the solid core. It's efficiency and focus like this that makes me appreciate low-budget games over million dollar sloths with little substance that have become more prevalent in the gaming world.

The setting is rich and deep, with a wonderfully fleshed out world with unique characters, cultures, visual style and combat. It lacks the insane complexity of most modern games, functioning more like a 90's side scroller RPG which I admit feels very fresh and has a nostalgic charm. We start off in the kingdom of Zama where we meet our character, Enzo, who is preparing for his coronation to King of Zama. He's got cold feet so we're allowed to stroll around the place and get immersed in the setting. We get a nice scene of Enzo ascending to his father's throne and also marrying the loooovely Erine! No sooner is this accomplished that we learn that the little kingdom of Zama is under attack by an unknown enemy. Starscream can relate to what's about to happen. Coordinated warriors storm the city and we learn that they are led by Erine's brother, and after some combat our two heroes are exiled from the country, evading death only through the help of another major character, Enzo's mentor Namode.

It's pretty evident that Enzo is currently incapable of taking his brother in law in combat, and to retake his kingdom he has to travel the world trying to unlock and hone the latent power within him, the Aurion, which I will discuss more later. He and Erine are thrust into countries and cultures that are completely alien to them, and even as they try to do good and gain allies, problems mount and fill them with a sense if nihilism that threatens to keep them from moving forward. The real meat of the story is the existential conversations and philosophy which resonate very strongly in our modern world.

So how does the game look?

When I first booted this game up I was instantly smitten with just how drop dead gorgeous this game is! Now, the graphics aren't cutting edge like most, but its simplicity allows for focus and it is very smooth. You can't possibly go into this game and not see the backgrounds and buildings. I honestly spent the first half hour of this game just walking around and soaking up the atmosphere of Zama. I truly felt as if I had been transported to another world, walking around living people with a very real culture. The art direction is simply fantastic. Every building, every character, every single item laying around on the ground seems to convey a sense of beauty and reality. The colors are as vibrant as a school of tropical fish that pop from the screen. I want my wallpaper to be like this art direction! Even if the gameplay doesn't interest you, this deserves an award for its visual style.

The music is excellent too. It uses African instruments and their musical style, making it contrast sharply with the usual orchestral scores we hear in the US. While we don't have a ton of variety in the soundtracks, the ones they have are solid and don't get tedious. Some are good for combat, others are relaxing and atmospheric.

We have no voice acting here, which I actually don't mind. We get floating heads and text bubbles. The writing is actually very good. For a game that wasn't originally made for English speakers, it is translated wonderfully and never leaves you feeling confused or adrift. There are typos here and there, but nothing big enough to actually cause a problem. I also adore the expressions they have for the speech bubbles. The faces that are used can show all of the emotions and thoughts the characters are feeling, conveying everything even without the speech. I found this to be extremely charming and a welcome change from most modern games.

The journey of Enzo and Erine also feels very real. The two do have chemistry and their interactions are a delight. These can range from them bickering, confessing their worries and fears, helping prop each other up during times of weakness to even highly amusing shenanigans. The comedic moments are actually very well placed in this story, helping to alleviate some of the grave situations that can really weigh down on you. I should also say that the character interactions all feel very natural. There are really no one note characters. All of the main characters have depth and range, with history to back their behaviors up. So if you've gotten jaded by Hollywood generic writing this will be a breath of fresh air.

But the real fun of this game is the combat. Mixing Street Fighter and Dragon Ball Z we have a combat style unlike almost any other I've ever seen. There are all sorts of combos and combat styles that you can utilize, switching up your tactics and strategy on the fly to deliver devastating attacks that feel like they can tear entire armies asunder. It's very difficult to convey with mere speech, but the combat is exceptionally satisfying. Not once did I swear at my computer screen for some arsery pulled by an enemy. Whether I'm dashing forward and delivering an epic kick that sends a minion flying, executing an apocalyptic power move that rends the earth in twain or powering up DBZ style and unlocking an ability far beyond the ken of my foes, everything in combat is fun.

This system is so versatile that you can easily come up with your own unique style to tear your enemies apart. The hits feel like they frigging hurt, and your moves feel epic. Even if you don't care about the extremely deep and intriguing themes present in the story, which if is the case with you then how frigging dare you, you can easily find this game's worth in the combat.

Oh, and a word of advice, buy an X-Box 360 controller. The game was intended to be played with such. But when I first got it I was being a cheapskate and thought I could surely handle it with the keyboard. Boy was I wrong! The easy fights at the beginning kicked my scrawny arse up and down the curb. There is no way to sufficiently describe the agony I experienced trying to play this with just a keyboard. I consider myself a reasonably skilled and seasoned gamer, but wow this was one challenge I simply couldn't overcome. So yeah, I invested in the controller. Trust me, the experience is infinitely more enjoyable if you spare your digits the masochistic torture that is keyboard combat.

For me the highlight aside from the combat was the world, mythology and existential philosophy. The intricacies and depth of this stuff is so vast and comprehensive that I can only give a very basic run down here and hope that you can pick up the rest if you play the game. In this world there is no magic per se, rather a blend of natural energy not unlike what you see in animistic belief systems and ancestor worship. There are people here known as Auronics, able to utilize this universal energy known as the Aurion. There are the four basic pillars of one's Aurion, which are element based, as in Fire, Water, Wind and Earth. However, this is a very deceptive oversimplification. Water for example is Adaption, the ability to change one's abilities and tactics in order to survive a current situation. This is just a very simple example of how these powers work, but it is far more fascinating than that once you get into it.

These are also much more than simple energies for combat. The entire game is centered around awakening these latent powers through soul searching and understanding one's complete self. Emotions, mindset, beliefs, all of these can either hold an Auronic back or empower them, for good or ill. The Aurion is an amoral thing, being neither inherently good or evil, but rather reflecting the user. It is through this that we are greeted to some absolutely amazing villains. Although evil, you understand their motives entirely and see how they have reached their current ideals. They represent everything from greed, vengeance and revolution. It's this variety of ideals and concepts that also really gives one the impression that there are almost an infinite number of Aurionic abilities that can be awakened for different individuals.

In fact, one's Aurion can be assisted in times of extraordinary need or emotional duress by a deceased ancestor, hence the ancestor worship. Elders and wise men who have long since passed can help guide our heroes from beyond The Veil where all the dead go, and give a sense of connectivity that one rarely sees in most games. Nor is it simply talking to ghosts like a seance with a crystal ball or some crap. It's much deeper and instinctive than that, something you could almost imagine actually happening.

Again, I'm only scratching the surface here, but if you've seen Avatar: The Last Airbender then you can get some idea of the kind of depth and complexity I'm talking about here.

The story is irrecoverably entwined with these ideas, taking us over the entire breadth and scope of the planet. The political problems our characters deal with are very real and don't shy away from the brutal realities. Many of the issues have no clear right or wrong answer. You can only find the best solution you can and hope for the best. The RPG aspects really shine here and I loved every minute of it. You deal with class warfare, revolution, rebellion, corruption, vengeance, sins of the past, poverty, and other problems we face in societies around the world. What's magnificent is how different leaders try to deal with these problems.

Very few games have ever made my brain itch like this one. You feel the weight and gravity of the concepts and situations presented. You watch as some of the top leaders pull dirty stunts to achieve the greater good and think of how they can truly solve the world's ills. The idealism of achieving moral and political victory without any strife or foul deeds of some variety are pretty brutally killed off in this game. Nor is it out of malice that some of these tricks are done. Rather it's out of raw necessity, where all attempts at peaceful diplomacy fail, leaving some people no other choice.

This is one of the very few games that threw me for a loop. I honestly didn't know where it was going to take me and the surprises that came up hit me like a brick. The emotional impact was very real. Honestly, this is some of the best writing I've seen in any game, movie or book. I have seen plenty of things flirt with this concept of existential truth, this underlying reality that is so essential and basic as to be almost beyond comprehension, but fail and look stupid. This is one of those extraordinary few that actually succeed. In fact, many times I had to reread stuff multiple times, because the subjects being discussed were so alien and yet ground breaking that it was difficult to wrap my head around. After playing this game my mind felt expanded, like I had reached a new plane of thinking. I can count the number of media outlets that have done that on one hand.

This game went from being an amusing curiosity to becoming one of my all time favorite games. For me it vaulted up to my favorites like Fallout, Bioshock Infinite and Mass Effect. It is so fun, beautiful, smart and thought provoking that I actually felt guilty for having purchased it when it was on sale. I want to go back and pay for this game at full price because it is just that good and deserves my money! I want a sequel from this company. Heck, I want five sequels! I'll pay double full price for each of them.

Sorry if this seems like a shameless love letter, but I can't say enough good things about this game. If you want a legitimately good buy with fun gameplay and an unbelievably good story, I HIGHLY recommend purchasing and playing this game. Please support these fantastic creators so that they can continue making more great games like this.

http://aurionthegame.com/

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Cold Steel Bowie Machete product review

I frigging love Cold Steel. Their products range from top of the line slicers of finesse and art to cheap, effective choppers that you can beat senseless. The breadth and scope of their product line is enough to make a weapon nut like me squeal with delight. So it was that recently I purchased their Bowie Machete. Now, this will come as a great shock to those who know my love for the Wild West, but I've never owned a real bowie knife. Okay, I owned one, but it was a piece of junk that didn't cut well and had only a partial tang. When I smack the flat of the blade I can hear something in the handle twang. So I know that when the going gets tough this blade is going to go flying and I doubt it will end up anywhere safe, knowing my luck.

I've been looking around high and low for a bowie that's both affordable and meets my standards. I've seen plenty hanging up in outdoor places, but they keep screaming "Partial Tang" at me, which turns me off mighty fast. I learned in my teens that if I need a big bladed chopper, there is no substitute for a full tang. Then Cold Steel, the cutlery equivalent of Santa's Workshop came through and produced the Bowie Machete. Their machete line consists of what are essentially economy-grade workhorses. No bells or whistles, just a chunk of sharpened leaf spring steel with a coat of paint and a handle. With price tags usually ranging within 30 dollars, you can afford to run these through a gauntlet of punishment and not mind if they bust. They aren't pretty, but they are ruthlessly functional and reliable. Perfect for a penny pincher like me!



Normally I prefer a chopping knife to have a little more belly to it, but I was impressed at the finesse this twelve inch long blade had. I managed to give it a bit of light testing on some mesquite brush and cut through a two and a half inch branch with minimal effort. For those of you lacking context, mesquite wood in the Mojave desert is some of the most parched and hard wood you can get. It's baked in the kiln that is the desert there and usually requires a chainsaw to process. But as you can see, what little I was allowed to do with witnesses around was promising.



For such a thin blade this thing chopped like a champ. The steel is relatively soft, meaning that it can take a royal beating without breaking and can take a nice toothy edge. Unique to this variety however is that the clip point lacks a false edge, unlike most bowies. That back portion is indeed very sharp, which took some getting used to, but found it to be very useful. I actually touched that up to a more delicate but much sharper edge than the rest, using it for jobs that required more finesse. So I can use the main edge for cutting through brush, branches, doors, tax collectors and the like, while using the back for opening letters, shaving and whittling.

I managed to test it out on some nasty thorny scrub too. Those branches are long and thin with a deceptively peaceful look, but will grab onto you and bit deep with their thorns. Where a hatchet or axe would have failed, this little champ excelled. Light and quick I was able to slice through the light but hard branches with deft flicks of my wrist. For the more stubborn ones the backside availed wonderfully, cutting through like a laser. I haven't had any experience in tropical regions unfortunately, but I imagine that this would excel as a brush chopper if one finds themselves in jungle or similar terrain. Much lighter and faster than a traditional South American machete, this boy will make quick work of any vines or pesky branches barring your path.

Normally my favorite fixed blade is a good kukri. Nothing can match those knives when it comes to raw chopping power, but now that I've given a real bowie some handling I can see why both are touted as among the best knives in the world. The kukri packs more brute chopping power, but the bowie has better balance and capable of more gentle tasks. I hope to give it a more thorough testing in the future. As of now the only thing for it to chew on is yuccas and joshua trees, hardly fitting for such a splendid blade.

I highly recommend acquiring one for either a bug out bag or heavy duty cutting work. You can get one for a song and it'll keep for a good long time.
You can buy one here!
https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Steel-97BWM12S-Machete-Sheath/dp/B00BD558JY

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Glory for the Emprah!

I frigging love Warhammer 40K Soulstorm with the Apocalypse Mod. Having a plethora of new infantry, weapons and vehicles to utilize on the battlefield as well as expanding the volume of units you can field at any time really gives this game some punch.

It was yesterday that I used this mod to engage in one of the most intense battles witnessed by man, mutant, heretic or xeno. My regiment of Imperial Guard, aided by another regiment, landed upon a battlefield known only as Dread Alley. Bombed out buildings smoldered around us as our bases were erected. We didn't know who or what we would be facing. We knew only that we had to reclaim this city in the name of the Emperor of Mankind. Through some fouling of our strategists our regiments were separated, each of us holding a small chunk of territory on opposite sides of the city. I was unable to lend him aid in the event of attack, nor could he aid me.

Undaunted, we swiftly began fortifying our positions and ushered in squads. Imperial Conscripts, young men and women barely having completed basic training were our first on the field. When serving the Imperium one must use all tools offered. Unfortunately our initial position was not advantageous. It had few resources and space. The one saving grace was that the entrance was a bottleneck, which would soon prove to be our salvation. By concentrating our firepower on this narrow entrance the enemies of mankind were unable to attack us without receiving a withering hail of bolts, artillery shells and blisters lasgun blasts.

We established a number of heavy bolter turrets and attempted to expand our territory whilst we built up our forces. But to our horror our left flank was beset by one of the worst enemies of mankind: The Ruinous Powers of Chaos. But like us they had not yet build up a sizable force. Gathering what men I had I beat back their initial wave and attacked their base which was only a hundred meters away from my own base of operations. How the Ruinous Powers could have been so close without our noticing I do not know, and it troubles me greatly. Even so we lost our initial advantage, for they had enough weapons in place to beat back our light infantry. Then as fate would have it we met another foe upon our right flank, almost equally repellent to Chaos if such a thing were possible. The Dark Eldar.

Their wretched ships sailed across the once sacred streets of the human city and their hideous soldiers marched on us, quickly destroying what little area we had secured. I realized that unless we reacted swiftly our base would be quickly be overwhelmed. Utilizing the expertise of the techpriests I built a wall of heavy bolters and summoned the true might of the Imperial Guard, our artillery. We deployed Medusa and Basilisk artillery units which then began to lob their shells with devastating accuracy. Soon heretic and xeno alike were sent skittering back under our devastating fire. Our bolters rattled unceasingly, sending streams of lethal bolts into their ranks.

Realizing that we didn't yet have the ability to fight enemies on each flank, I erected a wall of barriers across the bottleneck, effectively barring all entrance to our base. From here our bolters and artillery delivered scathing fire to our foes as they sought to break our defenses or attacked each other. Their mangled bodies piled high outside our walls. Rivers of blood soaked the soil. Daemons were shot to tatters. Our lasguns burned the flesh from their bones. It was no wonder that none of their assaults lasted for long. Not even a Tyranid horde could have withstood our withering fire.

North however our allies were in dire straights. They fought the horrendous Necrons, those soulless machines that moved without haste or emotion, coming with the same relentless inevitability as death itself. They unleashed their arcane weapons upon the regiment and slaughtered hundreds of brave guardsmen. In fact, even with some air strikes I delivered to assist them, their base was crushed under the weight of the Necrons and only a small enclave of barracks and a listening post managing to hold on in the far corner of the city. Being unable to lend them any true support and knowing they couldn't build any vehicles, I gave what resources I could to them and wished them luck. Had I the capacity to do more I would have done it. But with heretics on my left and xenos on my right, I had no ability to do anything else.

I began building more artillery, as our deep scans revealed that the Chaos base was close, and knew that with proper positioning and dedicated fire our long range guns could reduce their foul buildings to rubble. This process presented its own problems however. Being constrained in our small cell of city we had little room to build the necessary batteries. But build them we did and delivered the righteous wrath of the Emperor. Better still, we managed to construct a nuclear weapons silo. After many long minutes of repairing our barricade and firing countless rounds at the enemy, our nuclear weapon was ready. We calculated the target carefully, for the enemy's close proximity to us risked the blast damaging our own troops and buildings. With some careful planning however this was achieved.

With a single press of a button we bathed the traitors and daemons in atomic flame. A cheer went up from our soldiers as we watched them burn and turn to ash. But this was not enough for scum like them. We launched airstrikes and had our artillery annihilate what little was left, until there was not a single scrap of their foul tech or flesh left. Everything within range was bombarded relentlessly. We were determined to purge their taint from the planet. But to our disappointment, they were not entirely expelled from the city. Somewhere they still held barracks, as their forces continued to fight, albeit at a far lesser intensity. Even so we were overjoyed, having beaten them back and swiftly moved to seize their now vacant territory. We were in desperate need for additional space.

After an initially terrible attempt at securing it, the first party being slaughtered by another attack party, we barricaded the entrance and constructed much needed barracks and vehicle depots. We planned to unleash titans upon your foes, for none could stand before our full might when we launched our armored behemoths. Our forces were bolstered by a Baneblade we had fielded. Few things inspire Guardsmen or strike fear into the heart of the enemy like those mountains of armor and swiveling guns. It's plasma bolts burned earth into glass and vaporized heretics, leaving not even charred skeletons.

It was then that disaster struck. Before we knew what doom had befallen us our primary base was suddenly engulfed in a piercing light, and an explosion rocked the earth. Entire squads of infantry were vaporized in but a moment. Vehicles were burned to slag. Buildings were reduced to rubble. As my ears rang I realized to my horror that we had just been hit by a nuclear weapon. Almost half of our combat force had been wiped off of the battlefield, crippling our regiment. Worse still, our defensive walls had been knocked down and our turrets either badly damaged or destroyed. Somehow, my lieutenant survived the blast, even though her entire squad of weapon specialists had been devastated. I can only believe that she was protected by The Emperor.

Then the Dark Eldar came after us. They poured through the hole in our defenses and what little we had left was swiftly destroyed. It was fortuitous that we had established our secondary base, otherwise we would have surely met our doom. Our Baneblade roared to life and rumbled down the street, rubble crunching under its mighty treads. The Dark Eldar were soon blasted to bloody pieces under its mighty guns. They were unable to sustain the assault and were forced to retreat to lick their wounds. Although we were badly hurt, we were not dead, and the moment the assault ended we began rebuilding what we had lost. Our walls were again erected. Bolter turrets were mounted. Earthshaker platforms were placed. Techpriests repaired and rebuilt. Hundreds of Imperial Guardsmen and Karskins marched onto the field. We were the vanguard of the Imperium, and we would not falter.

Unfortunately our northern regiment faltered. Only able to field normal guardsmen and cavalry, they were crushed under the foul foot of the Necrons. We were alone amidst a hostile warzone. It was a dreadful stain on the history of the Imperium.

But we were not to be stopped! I fortified our ranks, bolstered our defenses and summoned our General's personal titan! A war machine of unparalleled terror and destruction, towering above even our largest buildings and boasting an arsenal that put even our mighty Baneblades to shame. It was our time to strike back. It was time to show the heretics and xenos the true power of the Imperium! So great was our resolve that even after we endured FOUR more nuclear strikes, we didn't falter. We moved forward, now finally ready to bring death to the enemies of the Imperium!

Then my sodding game crashed. Sigh. The one enemy that the Emprah can't protect me against.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hunting Ground: And Other Stories review


Hunting Ground is a collection of shorts and one decent novella taking place in an alternate history where humans and dinosaurs co-exit together from ancient to modern times. Huh, that sounds kinda familiar. Like another series that this reminds me of, cough cough, the dinosaurs aren't called by names that we use today, what with the continents having formed in a completely different way and the animals were named by other means rather than where their bones were found. It makes little sense to have an animal named Albertosaurus when no Alberta exists, no?

The biggest story is Hunting Ground, and I have to be careful with this one since it is pretty complex to judge. That and the author is a fellow indi and from all accounts seems like a very cool guy and very influential in the paleo community, and I don't want to risk him taking offense and having his raptor-ssassins coming after me.

Hunting Ground in a nutshell is the tale of two huge theropods of an unknown species appearing seemingly out of thin air in a rural territory full of ranchers herding scalies in present day and are being pursued by the adrenaline-junkie main character, Gina. These two critters are bigger than anything else in the area, and before you think you know what the story is, they are not causing mass panic and eating everyone in sight. Rather they are almost treated like Bigfoot at first, a few sightings by ranchers and such wondering what the heck they saw and others wondering if they just got into the vanilla extract again. Things do pick up after a time, as interactions between the huge theropods and people increase in frequency and problems arise, especially when a prize bull is killed and a bunch of ranchers and hunters decide that they have to solve that little problem.

The best thing I can say about the dinos in these stories is that they feel like living animals, not monsters bent on harassing our heroes at every turn like loan sharks. If you're one of the people who is bored with the Jurassic Park Syndrome and want to see actual animals that happen to be prehistoric acting like real animals, then this is your wet dream come true. From the first I was smitten with how natural the things felt. It was like I had stepped into a real breathing world and not a realm of chaos where you spend every second risking getting eaten. I have to give Will major credit, because his portrayal of scaly critters acting like critters is perfect. Every action our giant theropods take is natural and makes sense, from a critter perspective anyway.

But that's what also makes the story somewhat challenging: It was kinda boring for the most part. Because these dinos acted like normal animals and were NOT causing problems meant the story had almost zero momentum. Some scenes with our human characters don't feel necessary and I found myself tapping my foot, wanting to get a move on. I think part of this is a problem with myself. I've been spoiled by the lyrical prose and juggernaut pacing of REH and other authors, so pulling the pace back can feel like driving below the speed limit after you just had a try at NASCAR.

When we're at the interesting points this story is great. It's real. When the huge critters start getting aggressive it makes total sense from an animal perspective, something that takes great finesse and you can see the effort and love Will put into those parts. But when we get to the characters doing their every day stuff the story is wearing lead shoes. But I do give credit for trying to do a plot that hasn't been beaten into the ground like a railroad spike.

I did have difficulty following some of the exposition on the history of the locations and tribal interactions, but whether this is due to the way it was presented or because I have the attention span of a goldfish that lost a head-butting contest with a drunk bison is kind of a coin toss. Perhaps a combination of both.

The story mostly centers around our reckless young heroine Gina, who is adventurous to the point of being an insurance liability and being pretty abrasive to other people. Not many people can tolerate her, but when it comes to dealing with dino critters she is pretty darned good. A lot of the time I found her to be bland, but at a few points her character seemed to glow. The end game goes from just trying to spot the animals to actually capturing one and proving its scientific existence, and making a name for herself. It's not everyday someone makes a contribution of that size to science! One scene in particular captivated me, where we saw straight to her core and for a brilliant moment Gina was a whole person and you truly relate to her. It was an absolute gem of a scene. I just wanted more of those.

But most of the time the characters don't jive that well. I mean, it's not like I'm one to talk, and I am the half-Vulcan who doesn't relate to most actual humans or fictional characters anyway. Gina is supposed to be a gruff tom-boy character, but at times it really felt like she was trying too hard and it felt a little awkward. That also isn't to say that the characters are bad. Not at all. They aren't like 90% of anime characters, and wow that's going to net me some hate mail. I will actually say that the characters never felt like stereotypes or annoying tropes to make a point. They were just people and while they sometimes did stupid things, it was in keeping with their characters and had some range. I suppose I simply wanted them to shine more.

The ending is actually very sad. I mean nobody dies, but it leaves you with this sad, hollow feeling. Definitely not a story that ends on a high note. I mean Gina loses a leg, and now living as a cripple resigns herself to the fact that she can never go adventuring again, and the captured dino lives the rest of its life in a small concrete cage, its soul slowly dying in its prison of flesh. Jeez, apparently the zoo was willing to help catch it but not give it a decent habitat. Maybe the author was trying to make a point about something, but I just felt sad.

What I find interesting is that the very first page which serves as more of a prologue than anything else, describing an ancient wall, is frigging fantastic. You feel the age and mystery surrounding this wall and you want to explore it. I was taken right in like a bass looking at a worm jig. I may be incorrect, but I get the feeling that this author prefers a more prosaic style, as he certainly exhibits such a style in his earlier stories, and then tried his hand at a more casual style that had a slower pace. Again, I could be wrong, but that is simply the impression I got. Will Svensen does have some legit writing skills, and when he's on the ball, he does great. It just felt like he was experimenting in some of these stories and that on this big one he was going outside his comfort zone.

So what are my overall thoughts on Hunting Ground? I think objectively speaking it's good, but not great. Like I said, I've been spoiled by pulse-pounding thrillers and a slower paced story just dumped sand in my gears. But when we deal with the actual dinosaurs, this story truly does stand out. If you're a paleo fan and want something you haven't seen before, definitely check this one out. It does have some very well thought out and intriguing world building, with unique cultures, customs, and wonderfully realistic dinosaurs. I actually really hope that he keeps building this world, hones his craft, and delivers more stories. We need more fiction like this! He certainly broke the mold and took a real jump into the alternate history vein of dino stories, a sorely untapped sub-genre.

Most of the other stories are major shorts, lasting one to five pages, one of them a darned good little short as we watch nature take its course with some hadrosaurs. My personal favorite, a novella of decent size is Long Winter Night.

Unlike all the others, this is a survival story. Two scientists doing grunt work in the Northern Circle of this alternate reality are routine rounds with surveillance equipment when a blizzard comes in and they have to hunker down for shelter. Lo and behold, when it's over their rides are gone and they have to hoof it and hope they can make it back to the compound before the freeze, starve or get eaten. This time since it's winder and all normal prey critters have gone into burrows, anything active that eats meat is going to be mighty hungry and have exactly no standards. So a pair of humans walking around make prime pickings, so these two really have to keep on their toes.

I really like this one. I get the vibe that Will has actually done some outdoors stuff, because the steps the characters take in their survival situation are smart and realistic to the point I was almost clapping with glee. Take that Bear Grylls! It has good tension, a good action bit and it's fun. With the exception of mentioning that the two boinked while holed up, which even they felt was kinda pointless, I have little to complain about in Long Winter Night. It's a good story.

I'm glad that someone is taking all this time and effort to make something like this. I truly do recommend checking out and buying the book and checking out his sight Tyran King Press, a small hub trying to network other paleo authors in this vein dubbed dino punk. Hey, how can I not be cool with that? Or anyone for that matter? Dino punk! And yes, that did make me think of a dinosaur wearing black makeup and listening to punk music whilst headbanging. Somebody make this happen.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Artificial insomnia

I have just learned a very important lesson ladies and gentlemen. To insure a good night's sleep one must take several precautions. 
First, go to the bathroom. A full bladder is detrimental to peaceful rest. 
Second, have something to eat. Hunger pangs are not conductive to sleep.
And thirdly, and this is the most important... do NOT watch the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, especially around midnight. 

Yeah. Yeah, I made that mistake. So for all of those you who suspected I was above average intelligence, let this stand as a lesson to not overestimate some people. 

Sigh. I'll go to bed in a minute. Right after I check the garden. With my kamgee tomahawk. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Good time for pulp movies!

Well now, this is a very pleasant surprise! I had feared that gritty movies with beasts and tough guys were a thing of the past, but I'm glad to be proven wrong. In the last few years we've had Jurassic World, Jungle Book, Tarzan, a slew of westerns, a new Predator movie and now a new King Kong movie. These cool things just keep coming!

I guess Hollywood finally figured out that awesome with good story sells. In this age of modern tech and distance from nature these survival action movies from the bygone era really seem to still strike a cord with folks. Jurassic World actually tried something new, had great action and had enough interesting ideas and concepts to give the audience food for thought. It also wasn't afraid to poke fun at itself, being self aware and not taking itself too seriously. Tarzan, which just came out and for the first time in years I found myself rebuffed from the theater due to every single seat in the theater being used, was a wonderful adaption of the original books. It borrowed enough to be recognizable to the fans but did enough that was new to be its own thing. It was fun, epic, and really captured the magic of the novels.

I'm especially interested in this new King Kong movie, since it is NOT a remake. From the trailer it appears to be taking place in the 60's or 70's, which I think is a good choice. For a moment I was terrified that it was taking place in contemporary history, which is always a good way to turn me off. Rather than trying to retell the same story this one appears to be trying to explore the history of Skull Island and King Kong, something I haven't seen done and which really captures my interest. If handled correctly, this could end up being a really worthy movie. It could still end up being garbage though. I haven't seen King Kong this huge and OP since King Kong vs Godzilla in the Showa Japanese movie. Then again, this is being directed by the same guy who made the latest Godzilla movie, so fair enough.

Still, I'm cautiously optimistic. The line "This planet doesn't belong to us. Ancient species owned this earth long before mankind." really strikes a cord in my primitive soul, evoking images of some ancient secret lurking in the depths of this movie. Please, please, please be good!
Oh, also, Loki is in here. Cool!

Check out the trailer and let me know what you think. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAbI4w95cTE

Being a long time Predator fan, having sold my soul and dignity to acquire almost every comic, game and book on the franchise out there, hearing about another upcoming movie is most exciting. Funny enough, the Predator franchise has had a consistently good string of movies if you exclude the AvP stuff. Aliens sank itself right after the first sequel, but it seems as though that being an underdog has kept Predator from being shamelessly exploited. Although whoever names these movies needs to get fired. Follow me on this one.

First movie: Predator. Beautiful! Simple, effective, and no copyright issues.

Second movie: Predator 2. Sequel, simple title. Not too imaginative, but it works.

Third movie: Predators. Read closely. It is not the same as the first title. Look at that tiny s at the end. Oh! Plural form of Predator. Okay. If you're reading fast it's pretty easy to miss. I'm sure that won't cause aaaaaany confusion at all!

Fourth movie: The Predator. Wow, you guys are really breaking out the dictionary to make this title stand out, aren't you? Adding one whole new word! THE! This surely won't cause havoc when trying to research on Google. Ugh.

Okay, whining aside, from what I've read everyone seems to have a firm handle on what this should actually be. Shane Black, Hawkins from the first movie and one of the writers, stated that it's not the gadgets and action that will make this movie survive. It's putting them into a good story so that those gadgets and action actually mean something. They also know not to violate what is established in the previous films. They said why should they do a remake when they already have a deep and interesting setup to explore further?
Everything the producers say regarding this movie makes me want to jump and clap my hands in glee. It's like they actually understand the fundamentals of storytelling and want to make a good product!

While the rest of the world is falling apart around our ears, at least we have some good movies coming out to help curb the pain. Here's to good movies!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Once again I've been proven correct

Day in and day out I hear people screeing for gun control, how that's the only way to protect us from terrorists and criminals, when in reality they have no bloody clue what they are talking about. They tout theories and ideas in the face of real events flatly proving them wrong to the point that it's comical. France was once touted as an ideal which Americans should aspire to: Gun Free and safe! Except now terrorists are rampaging regularly there. There aren't any major gun vendors there. No Second Amendment. No outlets or firearm training grounds. And yet scum-of-the-Earth terrorists are still finding firearms to carry out their massacres.

I've also more than once said here and in person that even if terrorists were somehow denied the use of firearms they'd simply use something else. I've more than once mentioned that using a vehicle in a crowd would cause far more casualties than a firearm. Cars are incredibly powerful and much more difficult to stop. And wouldn't you know it? A terrorist used a car in a parade to run over more than 84 peaceful people in France whilst shooting out a window. Honestly, the firearm was irrelevant in this case. It's bloody hard to shoot one handed while driving. But the car itself was more effective here than even a bomb would have been.

With 84 people dead and many more wounded, this might inspire others to follow suit. Copycat terrorists will realize that a car has a lot more protection. It's a weapon and escape route all in one! Expect more crap like this in the near future.

Sometimes I really hate being right. I truly do. Because when I predict stuff like this it inevitably happens and I'm left shaking my head, wishing that I was wrong. But the writing is on the wall and apparently I'm one of the few people that can read.

Pray for the people of France. They will see MUCH more of this. And frankly, so will the rest of us.

Kickstarter: Warriors of the Wild Lands

Jim Cornelius of Frontier Partisans blog is one of the coolest guys out there. He's a walking talking tome of lore on frontiersmen of days long past. Name a country and it's likely he'll name a warrior who is from there. His blog is filled to the gills chronicling the exploits of brave men and women of the frontier going back centuries. You can lose yourself in the tales of men who seemed larger than life. His writing style is excellent.

And he has officially begun a Kickstarter for his self-published book Warriors of the Wild Lands! I am going to make a pledge myself very soon and I heavily encourage any of you reading to do the same. You can go to his Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/809441675/warriors-of-the-wildlands-frontier-partisans-book

Jim is a fantastic guy and very worthy of your time, attention and money. If by some quirk of fate you've found my blog before his, quit wasting time and head on over to his pronto! http://frontierpartisans.com/

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Rebellion Day!

After Christmas I think the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. A holiday celebrating the renouncing and rebellion against a tyranical government that demanded an obscene volume of taxes and lording over citizens who wanted nothing to do with them. Sound familiar?

But for now let us enjoy the best day of pyromania in the world with our environmentally un-friendly explosives polluting the sky for fun and dazzling flashes of fire that must make the birds go nuts. Explosions away!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Primal Frontier new book cover!

Okay, now I REALLY like this book cover. Check this thing out and try not to salivate.


Created by the infinitely talent Rodrigo Vega, I'm extremely pleased with the inking and faded parchment look. If this type of book cover doesn't get your interest then you have no soul, sorry.
Stay tuned for future updates for this story!

You can check out Vega's DA page here. Give him all the support you can get! http://rodrigo-vega.deviantart.com/

Friday, July 1, 2016

Next book: Primal Frontier: The Kapar's Mark

Okay, been pretty silent on book status as of late, but fret not adoring fans! All two of you! For I've been hard at work chiseling away at my next book which I'm confident will blow all prior ones out of the water. For one this will be my first full sized novel. Second, I have an amazing friend acting as an editor helping me. Said friend will help ferret out problems in my book with the same ruthlessness and tenacity as a Spanish Inquisitor. While I love the books I've written, there are so many problems in them that I wish I'd spotted before.

But fret not, for with this newfound help and my ever sharpening skill set this next book will be awesome.

For a synopsis, this time our intrepid hero Ansgar Tapio, the mighty hunter of dinosaurs on the Wild Continent, now undergoes a more personal journey to a mysterious island to hunt a kaprosuchus. This is an expedition story with lots of traveling, meeting primitive tribes, minor warfare and lots of brushes with deadly wildlife. So if you're a fan of H. Rider Haggard stories you'll probably like this one. I do try to keep the pace up though, so worry not if you dread exhausting passages just talking about going from Point A to B.

I'm also introducing some new characters to help liven things up. As a note for stories much further down the line, I will have some exclusively featuring other characters. For those of you who liked Zanji in my first book, Hunter from the Red Hills, she'll have some stories where it's just her kicking butt and exploring the world.

Anyway, back to this story, The Kapar's Mark, this island we're visiting is a cross between prehistoric North Africa and South America. Reptiles dominate this place and crocodiles are everywhere. Honestly, prehistoric crocs don't get the love they deserve. T-Rex always steals the spotlight, but not this time!

This story is still months out as the editing process will take a lot of time, but I'll get it churned out soon enough. In the meantime I'm also going to start working on the first entry of my upcoming steampunk! Keep tuned for details on that one.

Eccentric Cowboy out!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why We Should Not Ban Guns

This is an article meant to refute many of the claims about guns going around and to educate those who are sitting on the fence and want some facts and logic. There is a lot of misinformation and outright lies being told in order to pass more gun legislation. Many of these measures would in fact accomplish nothing at all. Let's take a look so you understand why us gun nuts are so opposed to new measures. Well, the same old measures being proposed again.

One common theme I hear is closing the "gun show loophole." Trading guns at a gun show is not a loophole to background checks. Having actually been to gun shows and talked with people there, many of them run background checks on their clientele anyway, even though they aren't required to. Contrary to what the media says, we actually don't want guns falling into the wrong hands. When someone feels off sellers have the right to reject selling them anything and have done so. Gun shows sell anything from firearms and ammo to tactical gear, antiques, clothing, books, bumper stickers, knives, and other things. I've even seen people selling fine china and jewelry!

The number of guns used in crime bought at gun shows are amazingly small. I've seen numbers running from 3%, 2% and 0.7 percent. In other words, next to none. Straw purchasing is still illegal even from a gun show and is a legal ground for prosecution. One of the problems is simply that people who do so are rarely prosecuted.

Another claim is that we need another Assault Weapons Ban. This was enacted during the Clinton Administration back in the 90's. The thing is that it did absolutely nothing of any kind to help anyone. This is not an exaggeration. It was enacted as a measure against criminals but almost no criminals use guns like the AR-15 or its cousins. They typically use handguns that they can conceal. The ban primarily outlawed cosmetic features. Such measures as outlawing collapsible gun stocks or pistol grips would have the same effect as banning spinning rims on cars to cut down on speeding. In other words, nothing. It was a failure that did nothing but teach people to buy firearms by the bucket load every time a politician suggested more firearm legislation. To those of you who aren't savvy to this, gun sales have skyrocketed during the Obama Administration. Every time someone mentioned gun control another few hundred thousand firearms flew off the shelves.

A common misconception is that violence in general has increased dramatically in recent years. It is very easy to suppose that mass shootings and crime are much more prevalent now. However, this is not true. Rather we are given this impression because of the speed of social media and increased focus on such events. With modern technology news can spread much faster and thus with greater coverage it gives the impression that these things are more frequent. In reality however violence has been decreasing steadily. Violent crime is at its lowest point since the fifties with far less murder and overall aggression. Nor have mass shootings increased. They took place more frequently in the past, but because of limited coverage at the time it had less of an impact.

It is much like that trick question of a tree falling in the woods but no one is around to hear it. Does it make a sound? Yes, but no one hears it and nobody reports it, so to the world at large it didn't happen. There are also shootings where the perpetrator has in fact been stopped in his tracks by other individuals carrying firearms legally. However these are almost never covered simply because a hero saving the day doesn't get as much attention in the news. It's not horrifying to see a monster thwarted in his evil schemes. These happen more often than the blood-soaked massacres we hear of.

Don't let TV fool you. America is actually one of the most peaceful places in the world today. For some context there are approximately 322 million people living in the United States today. The ATF estimates there are approximately 300 million firearms owned across the country. Speaking personally, I believe that number is actually much higher. I also believe about 100 million citizens are gun owners. But the number of crimes or violence committed with weapons cited in the ban are very few. Those that do take place are anomalies. On average about 30,000 people per year die from firearms in the US. However, most of those aren't murders. This number includes justifiable homicide, such as police officers shooting suspects and private citizens killing in self defense. Accidents take up a pretty small number but are included. Most actual murders occur places with the highest gun control such as California, Illinois and New York between criminals shooting at other criminals. There is of course overlap in some states such as Texas and Arizona simply because they are right by Mexico and the drug smuggler violence spills over onto our side.

Actual murders with firearms are closer to 10,000. And again, almost none of those are done with "assault weapons." So what percentage of these guns are used in actual crime and how many citizens are engaged in said crime? I'll let you do the math. I don't do well when it's literally less than one tenth of a percentile. It should illustrate however that for such a large and dense population and the enormous density of firearms the number of incidents with them being misused is extraordinarily small. This would be like banning Ferraris on the basis that it would make drug smuggling harder. Theoretically it would result in a few incidents being thwarted or slowed down, but in the grand scheme of things it would have so little overall impact as to be unnoticeable.

Supposedly the Second Amendment needs revision. Many have called either for it to be removed, changed, or ignored. Often I have seen it said that the part "A well regulated militia" implies that the citizenry are not only open to control but mandated by the Second Amendment itself. However if we look at the context in which it was written and the men who wrote it this makes little to no sense.

For example, if taken in the context that the militia is simply a home guard like the National Guard, then what sense would it make to limit what they have access to? If a group is charged with defending a countries borders against invasion then why would they be subjected to bureaucratic control? This would be counter-intuitive and would actively harm any efforts to protect the country. Would it not be better to ensure that they have the best tools available?

What's more the Bill of Rights was written by men who were rebelling against an intrusive British Empire with the express purpose of outlining rights divine to all human beings that no government had any right to restrict. The Bill of Rights is not a set of laws to restrict the citizens but to restrict the government. With the First Amendment the rights of free speech, peaceful assembly and practice of religion, the cornerstones of a truly free society put in such high regard would it not be strange that the second right should immediately be about regulation and control? And with this written with the echoes of musketry still ringing in the ears of the writers? This seems extremely unlikely.

As further proof I cite the words of Thomas Jefferson: "No free man shall be debarred from the use of arms." As the drafter of the Bill of Rights and Constitution he clearly held the ability to own and use firearms to be very important.

Another argument I have frequently seen is that destructive weapons we have today were inconceivable back then and that the founders could not have anticipated the horrors that would be committed today and thus a provision should be made in light of this. While it is true that by far the most common guns were single shot flintlocks with slow reload times there were in fact crude repeating weapons at the time. One of the most notable was the Puckle gun which bears some remarkable resemblances to the famous Gatling gun. The Puckle was designed in the year 1718, decades before the American Revolution and almost a century before the invention of the Colt revolver. The founders also consisted of many inventors who were very familiar with mechanics and engineering who were well aware that advances that would take place with weapons. It was an inevitability that they were well aware of.

Another common argument is that the founders never intended for men to have access to military-grade weapons. This is also quite untrue. In fact, often throughout history civilians have had access to weapons superior to what armies and navies had. This is because civilians were able to expend more money on high quality weapons. Armies had to outfit thousand of soldiers with weapons which made logistical sense. All they needed was a weapon that was good enough and could be spread across their forces. This was again illustrated during the American Revolution. The main weapon of the British forces was the Brown Bess musket, a rugged weapon that was a decent all-arounder but excelled at nothing besides massed fire and bayonet charges.

While most American soldiers were likewise armed with Brown Bess muskets and French supplied muskets, the weapon that many brought to the table that made an impact were the Kentucky long rifles. Backwoodsmen from the tall woods of Kentucky became notorious for killing British officers from up to 200 to 400 yards away which was almost inconceivable to most of the Red Coats. Although the long rifle wasn't as fast firing or able to equip a bayonet, limiting its use in large formations or charges, its accuracy and range were unrivaled. American snipers harried artillerymen and officers with unnervingly accurate fire.

Prior to the American Revolution most armies saw rifles as extremely specialized weapons that couldn't make any major impact on the field of battle. After their experiences with the American backwoodsmen however the British Empire came to the bloody realization that they were in fact quite deadly when applied correctly and gave rise to the Royal Rifle Corps, also known as the Green Jackets, a specialized group of British soldiers using the Baker rifle. Suddenly all other European militaries began using rifles to a greater extent as well. They all realized that accurate fire from skirmishers or scouts could kill important personnel and turn the tide of battle in their favor, all lessons discovered from the bloody battlefields of the American Revolution.

Nor was this the only case of this sort of thing happening. Throughout American history the civilian population was always leading the way in small-arms development. Throughout the 1800's the US Military was learning lessons from men with privately purchased arms. The Mexican American War saw the legendary Colt revolvers come into existence. The Civil War showed the Henry and Spencer repeater rifle's deadly effectiveness on the battlefield in the hands of men who purchased said weapons with their own money at private shops. The expanse across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains was dominated by the deadly Winchester rifles, Sharps rifles, and mountains of others whilst the Army was using converted muzzle-loaders for the sake of logistics.

Even today private companies lead the way in new small arms. The now infamous AR-15 wasn't made by the military. It was invented by a company and first being sold to civilians until they picked up a military contract. Americans owning powerful weapons rivaling or surpassing the military isn't unusual. It's been standard tradition for centuries.

Yet even with this in mind many insist that we the people have no business owning such deadly weapons, arguing that we have no need for them. The days of the rugged frontier and invasion from foreign powers are long gone and with them the need for arms. Right? I in fact argue that the need for private defense is just as valid today as it was hundreds of years ago. As the saying goes "The more things change, the more they stay the same." For a hundred years no country has dared invade the United States. Note, I did not say "attack." I said invade. Poncho Villa attacked the United States early in the 1900's, but he made no attempt to occupy or hold territory. No one has tried to hold territory because nobody thought it was smart. Even during World War 2 when the Japanese Empire was steamrolling all competition the idea of invading the United States and occupying territory seemed the furthest thing from their minds. Not even the gigantic Soviet Union during the Cold War harbored even the foggiest thought of invading the US.

This is because in addition to the incredible military prowess of our country the idea of facing millions of highly motivated and heavily armed men and women protecting their families and homes would be a blood-stained nightmare to even the most elite military force. How could any army hope to overcome tens of millions of citizens armed just as well if not better than their own military?

But as our country is currently slipping with incompetent leadership and a now highly motivated enemy we still have a very valid need for private citizens with arms. ISIS is attempting what no one has tried in almost a hundred years. But they are operating on the sly and not engaging openly. That's because if all of ISIS were to come to the US right now and engage us in an up front fight they would be in for a one sided curb stomp. They attack places with lots of people where firearms are prohibited. When was the last time you heard of a mass shooting at a gun show or a shooting range?

They pick their targets carefully and aim for the points of least resistance where they can do the most damage. They are not abiding by any laws and are using the deadliest weapons they can get ahold of. It is for this reason that I argue the Second Amendment is just as valid as it was when the ink was still wet. We have to be ready to face these men and others at a moments notice with as much firepower as we can muster. They don't want a fair fight, so why should we give them one? Why should our citizens be limited to the barest minimum of weapons when our enemies get the most destructive possible, legal or not?

Paris outlawed all "assault weapons." As we can see, that did nothing to deter truly evil men. Nor will it deter them in the future. Why should we make the same mistake? We should be ready to respond to any such acts of depravity with swift and precise retaliation that they can't hope to stand up against. Harsh? Yes. But it's also effective.

But can the citizens of the US truly fight back with firearms? Or is it just a fad? Well, according to all numbers, the answer is overwhelmingly yes. Depending on the source, citizens use firearms to defend themselves approximately 800,000 to 3,000,000 times per year. Assuming we go with the lowest number, 800,000 cases per year, that is in vast excess to firearms being misused. Speaking personally I believe this number is so low because of how the statistics were gathered. Many actual uses aren't listed depending on the location and procedures of the local PD. But we'll go with the lowest number for me to illustrate my point.

Now, these aren't all cases of people being killed or even shot. Many of them are simply firearms being brandished and the offending party retreating. But that's still pretty good. As mentioned above thousands of criminals are shot and killed by civilians every year. So let's compare the 800K defensive uses compared to the approximate 10K murders. That's an 80 to 1 ratio. So if we confiscated all firearms would the US actually be safer? You'd remove that 80 to 1 and make it 0. And how would those 800K of defensive uses have turned out had the defenders not been armed? You can take a guess.

Even with this knowledge many of you who are sitting on the fence probably wonder why people like the NRA and other gun rights activists are so adamantly in opposition to any new gun legislation at all. This is due to several reasons. One is that over time gun rights have actually been dramatically restricted. There was the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968. Back in the 20's you could own a tank or field artillery without so much as a stamp required from the government. But steadily new laws have been marching on us. We've seen legislation of all sorts thrown at us all year every year for decades, and simply put, we don't want to see the choke-chain of laws to get any tighter.

Many members of the gun community simply want to have the means to defend themselves simply because they know that the police likely won't arrive in time in the event of violence taking place in the home or abroad. Defending one's life and those of friends and family is the right of every human being. Life is precious and is to be respected. However, we recognize that not everyone has this respect for life and that in order to preserve our lives from those who would take them we must be prepared to stop them. Firearms are by far the best tools for this.

Throughout history there have been many weapons devised and most relied on physical strength. Firearms however changed the face of the world. Suddenly a sickly man in a wheelchair or a young maid could fend off a rabble of thieves with a simple flintlock pistol. A firearm is by far the most effective tool for defending one's self. It doesn't require exceptional training or physical strength to operate. A firearm makes the weak equal to those who are strong. There is a reason the Colt revolvers have been nicknamed The Great Equalizer. It doesn't matter if an someone is poorly trained or sickly. They're bullets hurt just as much as hardened criminals or terrorists. And that makes evil men afraid.

But what's more is that most men in the NRA fear some people far more than terrorists or criminals. A far greater threat is the United States Government itself. In the last century more than 100 million people were slaughtered not by invading armies or disease, but by the establishments set up to protect them in the first place. Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong, Kim Jong, Fidel Castro, Benito Mussolini, all were men in charge of governments that were then ordered to conduct a bloody harvest of their own citizens. No criminal syndicate, terrorist cell or serial killer could ever hope to equal even one percentile of the carnage that these historical monsters enacted.

Even these men were preceded by other tyrants who treated their citizenry like cattle. The single biggest problem to these despots however have always been armed citizens. A foreign government or organization might be bribed or threatened into neutrality or cooperation, but few men can be persuaded to turn on their own families and homes. A single body of men determined to protect their loved ones with proper arms are extraordinarily difficult to defeat or subject to tyranny.

Equalization of firepower isn't meant just for citizens to fight against crime, but to balance the power of the government. When a body of government has the power to do whatever it wants with its citizens, it will do whatever it wants. Nothing teaches men drunk on power and authority humility like knowing that the people they lord over have the capacity to knock them down. This is the very essence of the Second Amendment and why we gun owners cite it so often and enshrine it so fervently.

Some look to our government for protection as well they should since that is in fact their job. And they have done good work. The FBI and other organizations have worked tirelessly to thwart groups of evil bent on committing atrocities and are to be commended for their work. But at the same time this same body can and has done horrible things. In World War 2 thousands of innocent American citizens were interned in concentration camps without evidence or trial even while Hitler was doing the same thing. The Manzanar camps were just one example of this. The Tuskegee Project took place over decades where a government branch infected thousands of black citizens with disease for experimentation under the guise of free healthcare. Going back further the various indigenous tribes were subjected to a vast array of mistreatment and terror after being disarmed. They too were portrayed as being vicious, uncouth, untrustworthy, dangerous barbarians that had to be civilized and deprived of weapons in order to do so.

As much a threat as terrorism poses it can never equal the threat that a corrupt government presents. While ISIS is killing thousands other governments are killing millions. This is the core around which the NRA bases itself. Only armed citizenry can withstand a hostile and corrupt body of power.

Even with all this in mind, outright gun confiscation is physically impossible anyway. If an Australia style gun ban were done, it still wouldn't get all the firearms. Gun control can no longer work. Here I go into great detail about why it is simply no longer feasible: http://eccentriccowboy.blogspot.com/2014/03/gun-control-why-it-is-unofficially-dead.html
There are millions of Americans who wouldn't submit to gun confiscation anyway. The Australian culture is very different from ours. For many a forced roundup would be the final straw and would take up the call for revolution. No police force in the world would contain the millions of Americans, being armed, marching on the capitol to relieve the current government of its power.

I hope this has been of help. Keep your powder dry folks.