First Post in Long Time

Turning over a new leaf. One of several, really. I can’t say that I will suddenly commit to regular postings, but any time I write something that’s not Top Secret Classified, I’ll probably post it or link it or say something witty or disgustingly self-deprecating about it.

So I wrote a chapter for a fanfiction about some crazy Slavic adventures in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. I may have written a post about this before.

The characters in the current chapter are Washer, a veteran stalker (read: Eastern European adventurer / treasure hunter in this sci-fi rendition of the Exclusion Zone) and gruff man of action, and Natasha Palinchak, a Ukrainian-born British reporter for BBC Documentary, on a film expedition to the Zone gone horribly awry. The story, as it goes, is of her adaptation to the Zone, and Washer’s heroic efforts to keep her from getting herself killed while himself not being killed by her ineptitude.

Here be the link to the new chapter, and a preview of it:

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12004094/4/Good-Morning-Chernobyl
“Alright, pop quiz, Miss Palinchak. What’s a safety, and what should you do with it?”
“It stops the bang. And you should keep it on until you’re ready to shoot someone.”
“Half credit. You should always be ready to shoot someone. Now, aim at the target I’ve set up at the end of the barn. You have eight shots to impress me.”
“Plus one in the chamber?”
“No, fresh magazine.”
She nodded and thumbed the safety off, then looked for the target. She saw only piles of hay, rusted tools, broken stalls, and the bones of farm animals long past. And Grisha’s body, leaned up against the barn door, strapped to the bar-hold with some moldy rope.
“I don’t understand. The door?”
“No. Our friend. Center of mass, less than 30 feet, unaware. Easiest shot you’ll get.”
“Unaware? He’s bloody dead.”
“What’s the difference? Shoot him.”
“No— no! He- have you no respect for the dead?!”
“Nor the living. Shoot him.”
“Cut the shit. He’s your friend!– Look, just— I’m not totally incompetent. Just let me shoot at a shovel, or hit a horseshoe or something.”
“–He’s also dead. And you will be too, if you can’t shoot a man-shaped target. Do I have to explain the psychology behind it?”
He saw the blank look on her face, and sighed heavily.
“So, in the old days of the Army, in the days when soldiers were just amoebous muck and not even dignified with being called frogfoots, they learned to shoot with bullseyes. Easy stuff, for volley fire. But as small-arms got more advanced, and aiming became actually important, military eggheads realized that soldiers which did perfect on bullseyes were actually terrible marksmen in combat, on the frontline or snipers. Can you guess why?”
“Stress of combat?”
“No, though that’s not a bad guess. It is because they were trained to shoot at colored circles, not people. They could easily hit the center at 300 yards, 4 out of 5 rounds. But they could not bring themselves to willingly shoot a human being center of mass, a much easier target.
“So, if you could shoot Grisha in the chest a few times, I’d be much more confident in your chances of survival.”
Natasha looked at the gun, then at Grisha, then at Washer, then back at the dead man.
“No.”
Washer shook his head and walked away. “Well, I won’t make you. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make her drink. I’m still not giving up on my payout, so thank your God that I’m a greedy bastard. We should probably get moving to stay—”
A gunshot rang out from Natasha, followed by a whimper from ringing ear drums and a thump as a body hit the ground. Washer turned and saw a dead tracksuit lying in the doorway of the barn, a spatter of bone and cranial matter on the door where his head had been.
Promptly, Natasha threw up. Not having anything in her gut but radioactive water, her vomit was mostly pond scum and frog eggs she’d accidentally swallowed.
For a brief moment, he was sickly amused by the irony of the situation. Immediately after, he heard guns being cocked, and a volley of Ukrainian profanity, shortly followed by—
He tackled Natasha into her vomit as the bandits outside lit the barn up with a hail of gunfire, 5.45mm rounds punching through the wood and sending wood shrapnel and lead fragments flying.
“Suka blyat, idi na khuy! Miss Palinchak, I would advise you to start crawling!”
“I am-I am you tit!” she yelled back in English.
“Hey, hold your fire, kurwa, stop shooting! Zdec turistka! Myi budem bogatymi! Obxodim patsany! You’re fucken dead, Washer!”

First off, Sorry.

Second, sorry again. I really should have been keeping up, particularly since exams are now two weeks behind and I have no reason to leave the place a derelict convention center for dust bunnies and internet gremlins.

And I might say (I’ve said it!) that I just haven’t had anything to write, but the truth is that I have LOADS of ideas to write about, in or on, so many I can barely keep my head on straight…. I just haven’t written them.

Instead I’ve been using my trusty keyboard to waste my time in videogames like the brutally unforgiving FUI (Fighting Under the Influence) medieval combat simulator Exanima, or the cerebral and pacific, The-Martian-Videogame Space Engineers, as well as the usual and classless timesink of YouTube.

Which provoked a curious thought– that our millenial generation and the one coming after will be the first writers who might credit video games as inspiration for their works. My first stories when I was young were based off my father forcing me to play Doom III to conquer my fears (my Bruce Wayne bats moment, if you will), and for a few years after, tended to contain the same excessively graphic gore and simplistic storylines as their inspiration– mass-market shooter games and Diablo II. They grew in sophistication after playing Bioware’s inimitable Dragon Age and Mass Effect, as well as doses of classics like Steinbeck, and modern commercial fiction in the vein of Douglas Adams and  Terry Pratchett— but it was from those two games that came my two main fiction universes, Lagan and Galaxia.

Now that I like to call myself a writer, there’s a knot of shame when I boot up a computer and immediately gravitate towards my Steam library. “I should be writing stories, not playing them,” I tell myself. “I’m not living the life of the mind, I’m living the life of the button.”

And yet I feel not an ounce of shame when I spend three hours de-rusting a spade.

Granted, computer screens are said not to be healthy for our eyes, and my posture approximates a turtle’s neck rather than a man of backbone, and its few games nowadays which spark brilliant literary epiphanies, and at least a clean spade looks pretty and doesn’t require electricity, but irregardless it all makes me wonder if the life of the mind is not all its cracked up to be.

Not wonder, argue. Of course we should be thoughtful in our daily lives, and not consign our higher faculties to the dream realm while wandering aimlessly through the concrete jungle. But perhaps that is just the thing– to stop living inside our heads, but live in the world. The life of the mind is only a life when the mind is left to freely wander– confined indoors to slave over a keyboard, the life becomes a prison, and we are the inmates, chained by the illusion that a busy mind is a fruitful mind.

At any rate, I’ve talked long enough. Hopefully I’ll post tomorrow.

Or I’ll post whenever I bloody well feel like.

Quick Query and Miscellany

Much as I love debating the mechanics of D&D, I am no long-studied wizard in the art of the game– neither am I particularly aged in writing. Eleven years is a long time, but not so long when you still don’t have a driver’s license, still haven’t held even a part-time job, or figured out this mysterious Western tradition called “oral hygiene.”

In the midst of that, I’m contemplating expanding the focus and content of this blog, adding in my random daily sketches (of varying quality, mostly low), droll one-liners, peculiar dreams, and completely out of context happenings from the weekly D&D campaign.

And probably adding more stories. I can’t guarantee any grammatically flawed stories in Russian, but needless to say I was rather startled at the response I received, mostly in that there was a response.

 

A Story (По-русски, друзья!)

If by happenstance someone who reads Russian comes across this blog, feel free to read it! If you’re really that curious, ask me, and I might actually get to translating it into English.

Because I didn’t write this in English. Just to be clear.

Also, my Russian grammar is terrible.

Холодно, холодно сердцею,

по Ёнотан Вонг.

Там будут нимного ошибек, поэтому много извениния.

Вечеру холодно. Воздух заполнятся крошечеые пятнышков холодность, но он не может видеть один снежинка он вздохнул и продолжает его прогулку, его ботинки загушаются с снегом. Continue reading “A Story (По-русски, друзья!)”

It’s Been a While, so Here’s a Game!

It’s Been a While, so Here’s a Game!

Something I didn’t make clear in my previous D&D centered posts is my absurd and self-flagellating obsession with modding. Tabletop games, that is, not computer games (which at this stage still overwhelms my capacity for code lingo.)

I find D&D a flawed system— but only in the same sense of a large hunk of unsmelted iron oxide. With a forge, hours of labor, a few watts of electricity for computer power, and the anvil of my desk (using my forehead as the hammer), I can make nearly any imaginable creation from it.

Continue reading “It’s Been a While, so Here’s a Game!”

Day Six: How Cramping Doesn’t Cramp You

Shame upon me, I’m late!

In spending an evening listening to remixes of the glorious compositions of the underestimated Ennio Morricone, I entirely forgot to put up a post last night. Which, really, isn’t that big a deal.

But principles matter.

And that’s why I adhere to realism in my roleplay.

No, not for its own sake, to accurately model fencing manuals of the late fifteenth century and paint a stark lithograph of a fight in armored harness. At the end of the day, it’s still a game, not training for a post-apocalyptic scenario in which your local SCA group must band together to defend the town against mutants and zombified football hooligans.

Continue reading “Day Six: How Cramping Doesn’t Cramp You”