Archive for the “Storytime” Category

I was chatting with the Sidhe Devils a bit last night, and somehow the subject got on me being really damn old (but not the oldest one in our guild, thankfully), and that I can clearly remember a time from before the internet.

You know, that ancient time when, if we were bored, we had to find something OUTSIDE the house to do.

And with one thing or another, I was reminded of an episode that I had gratefully almost forgotten.

And the stars aligned, and suddenly I both had a story on the tip of my tongue, and also felt in the mood to share.

Thus, we bring you… Storytime!

If you don’t like it, blame Wulfa and Dammy.

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Back in the earliest days of my time in our beloved Corps, I was stationed at the Marine Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina. It’s just a hop, skip and jump away from Parris Island (where real Marines, not those effeminate Hollywood Marines, are made), and a fast drive North from Savannah, Georgia and the endless joys of River Street.

Okay, one of the joys of River Street? Irish Pubs. More? Great nightclubs. My favorite? A bar that professed to carry 101 beers from all around the world… and if you drank one of each, you got a shirt showing you’d ‘Been around the world’. Thankfully, you were not expected to drink them all in one night, they gave you a punch card. Although some Jarheads tried. Oh yes, they tried.

One of the other local pleasures was Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, storied locale of hot beaches, hotter women, and drink shacks right on the water’s edge.

All in all, if you are mobile, life in Beaufort ain’t too bad at all. For being in a swamp, anyway. And PT in Beaufort is fun… I love running in the rain, and it rains in Beaufort ALL THE DAMN TIME. Screw Seattle. I was always partial to throwing my headphones on and going for a run in the rain around the flight line, a trip on pavement that tended to always be deserted.

One of the lesser known conveniences of living at the Marine Air Station, was that they actually had access to the waterway… and the base has a marina. I say has, I am assuming that, like much else in the military, nothing has changed. I could be wrong.

But there was a marina. And while it was, technically, funded so that the legendary gods of the officer ranks had a place to stash their yachts, (insert Kelly’s Heroes joke here), it was not actually off limits to the enlisted population. Just… not advertised. Or mentioned. Or encouraged for young Marines to go make themselves a nuisance there.

But, being the curious sort that I am, I took a jog down that way one day and saw the sign saying marina, and ducked into the quiant wood hut that stood at the waters’ edge to see what there was to see.

And behold, there was a window with a counter and a sign out log, and a Marine that attended said counter. And upon questioning, it was discovered that, if one were to take a written test on water safety and traversing intra-coastal waterways, and navigating channel traffic markings, then simply by presenting one’s ID card, one could check out… a boat.

A real life, kick ass sailboat. They’d actually GIVE you the damn thing! And trust you to bring it back!

Well, considering that you have to give them your ID, yeah, I guess they figured what the heck. But considering how controlled so many other facets of a young Marines’ life are, where you go, when you go, HOW you go… the fact someone would just trust you with a sailboat was pretty extraordinary.

So, having grown up in South Florida, and having spent one summer working a deep sea fishing boat as crew for my uncle, who owned and ran the boat as his livelihood, I knew my way around boats to a certain extent. the motored kind, anyway. Powered. Churning the waves, blasting through the sea. Fun!

Right then and there, I hatched Operation: Island Invasion.

I launched phase 1 the next day. I mentioned, casually, how it was possible to check out a Sunfish sailboat at the base Marina for fun and games.. and that it sounded like a neat way to spend a weekend… some brews, some sailing, some sun and maybe even some fishing.

And one of my compatriots in the unit allowed that it sounded mighty fun, indeed.

So off we went, that week after the duty schedule, to take the tests and get some maps of the waterways in the area.

It should be said, that neither of us had any previous experience piloting a sailboat. Ever. BUT, I was a Marine… how hard can it be?

My buddy for this task was a rather skinny little runt (as Marines go, anyway) that I shall call Corporal Henderson. He had been in the unit for about a year, and after another year, he would be able to change duty stations. He was single, lived in the barracks, and as far as I could ascertain had zero hobbies at all. Still, a pretty nice guy. And single, which was key to my plan.

I had hit upon my master plan at the very beginning of summer. Each weekend, we would jog on down to the marina with backpacks of drinks, check out a Sunfish, and head on out into the water. We learned to tack back and forth to sail into the wind, to maneuver and generally have ourselves a blast. Sailing, just for the sake of being out on the water, is a hell of a lot of fun.

Now, I say we, but the fact is that I was the captain of the vessel, and Corporal Henderson, sadly, was just along for the ride. He really did show an appalling lack of initiative and imagination for a Marine. Very content to just put his brain into neutral and do what he was told. So, I took the lead in learning, training, and getting the sailing of this little sailboat down pat.

Finally, the day came where I felt we were ready to discuss the second stage of my master plan.

I mentioned to Corporal Henderson how I felt that we were doing quite well in small boat handling skills. He allowed as to how he felt the same.

And then I painted for him a picture with my words. I said to him, “Imagine this… here they are, these beautiful ladies, lounging in the summer sun on Hilton Head Island… drinking foofy little drinks with fruit stuck on sticks and little umbrellas in ‘em. And from out of the ocean comes this agile little vessel, crewed by two buff and rugged young Marines such as ourselves, who pull our little boat up on shore and join them in drinks on the sand. And think how impressed these fine young ladies are sure to be when they hear of the length of our voyage and our travails across the seas. Frolicking, I dare say, may then commence in the surf and the sand. How does that sound to you, young Mr. Henderson?”

He seemed particularly delighted by this idea. Operation: Island Invasion was a go!

I had planned out our course most carefully. Making our way from the base marina to the waters of the ocean would be a long and interesting navigation, considering that there would actually be very heavy traffic. We were planning to take our adventurous voyage over the course of a 4 day weekend, and there were sure to be many other ships plying the waves at the same time. Plus, the Sunfush has a very shallow draft, making it an interesting challenge in heavy waves. We were going to need plenty of practise in choppier waters than the calm millpond crap you see in an intracoastal to complete our mission successfully.

So we stepped up our weekend excursions with longer and longer trips, lasting many hours of sailing time, to get closer out into the actual ocean. Much of the route actually passes right offshore of Parris Island, which was kind of spooky at the time. Kinda the same feeling I’d imagine I’d have sailing past Alcatraz… knowing that you were passing a land of pain and suffering beyond human ken. But I digress.

The point was, we’d need to get really comfortable with sailing in all environments.

I took to watching the weather reports VERY closely. It’s a serious shock how the smallest changes in wind velocity and direction, things that have little impact to traveling over the road, make traveling at sea on a wind-powered ship VERY different. There were more than a few hairy incidents, but we handled them all with calm and style.

Finally, the week had come, where that very next weekend we would be taking a little sailing trip. We were going to be taking the waters, leaving Marine Air Station Beaufort, SC, sailing through Beaufort itself to access Port Royal Sound, cutting across to the south side and then skirting the coast as we made our way to the beaches of Hilton Head Island… and we were going to take our sleeping bags in waterproof bags with us and sleep right on the damn boat on the beach. We’d spend the night there, and then sail on back. Perhaps we’d even be sleeping somewhere other than on the boat? 

The thought of who would be watching the damn boat once we got there and had no place to lock it never crossed my mind.

A truly magnificent adventure!

But first, we had to get through the week.

That week, we had an event that all Marines must do at some point. You have to requalify in many different things over the course of your time in the service, to ensure you are still prepared to do your basic job as an amphibious infantryman. Land, Sea, and Air. Gotta be prepared.

And while you obviously expect Marines to requalify on the shooting range, or the land navigation course with map and compass, or in moutaineering, or cold weather training… this week, we had our swimming requalification test to complete.

Among these tests include holding one’s breath while swimming a set distance underwater, treading water while in full uniform and loaded pack and gear (and mock rifle for the dead weight) for a certain time, that kind of thing. It was done at the on-base swimming pool.

And my unit formed up, and the instructors looked us over, and then, before we got started, said, “Okay, everyone that has had no problems with swimming in the past, over to that side of the pool. Those of you that can’t swim, over here.”

And as we all got ourselves sorted out, I see to my laughter that Corporal Henderson has gotten into the non-swim, or ‘brick’, lineup.

And as I laugh, because that’s a pretty funny joke, I tell him to get back over in our line.

And he informs me that, no, in fact he cannot swim.

He can’t swim.

He. Can. Not. Swim.

HE CAN’T WHAT?!?!

For three months we’ve been sailing over the waters for endless hours in a little freaking boat that could flip at any moment, without the faintest idea what we were doing, we were planning on sailing the damn thing into the ocean for a trip of about 30 miles, we have never, EVER worn our damn life vests the entire time, although we DID have to take them on the boat, I used mine for a cushion to sit on, and he doesn’t know how to WHAT?!?!

Just shoot me now, oh Lord, just shoot me now. 

And my fellow Jarheads, seeing my poleaxed look and dazed countenance, ask me what the hells got my panties all twisted up in a bunch.

And, more fool me, I told them.

Now, in my unit we all had GI Joe nicknames for fun. You earned your nickname the hard way.

We had one guy that had a pitbull, a dog he dearly loved, he was married and lived off base and god did he love that dog. And the base commander had gotten calls from the cops about his damn dog barking all the time. So, of course, he was “The K-9 Kid”.

I usually pulled the early watch, and I would jog into work early for my PT, get dressed there, get the coffee going, and drink about a pot of it with plenty of non-dairy creamer and sugar. All before 3 AM. By the time the rest of my team would come rolling on in, I’d have early radio checks done, radar would be turning and burning and ready for flight ops, and I’d be buzzing from caffeine like a livewire. My nickname was “Johnny Storm”. Flame on! Bouncy bouncy bouncy, ferret shock, ooh shiny!

So of course, right then and there, Corporal Henderson gets a brand new nickname, and “Aqualad” was born.

Needless to say, I never did make my trip to Hilton Head Island by sea. A failing I shall never forget.

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Back when I drove a truck cross-country for Dick Simon Trucking (the skunk trucks!), we had no nationwide cell phones, no satellite uplink computers to browse the internet, none of the new stuff you damn kids take for granted. Get off my lawn, damn you!

That’s a damn good thing, now that I think about it. I was single, I was making pretty awesome money, I lived in the truck so I had zero personal expenses except food and clothes…. the only reason I stopped driving was because I was lonely out there with no one to talk with or share things with. If I had a computer in the truck that I could connect to the internet with via satellite to play WoW on during federally mandated rest periods?

Yeah, I never would have quit trucking… I can admit that. It’s a fact.

Point is, I used to listen to audiobooks on cassette all the time, and comedy albums on tape.

Jeff Foxworthy, before he transformed his career into a family friendly persona, did some good old fashioned raunchy humor back in the day.

I was on the road listening to this show he recorded before a live audience, and he’s telling a story of how he was doing a stand up act near a local military base, and when in the course of the show he happened to mention the nearby military base with some 5000 Airmen (or whatever it was), he said that a cranky female voice piped up from the back of the audience to loudly announce “And every one of them is a bad lay.”

And he said he stopped, totally surprised, and said, “Excuse me, ma’am?” And she called out again “You heard me. Every one of them is lousy in bed.”

And his reply just floored me, I was laughing so hard… he said, “You know, ma’am… after a while, did you ever stop to think…. maybe it’s ME?”

:)

I have carried that bit in my head as a universal truth ever since. Years pass, but I’ll never forget the lesson in there.

If you’re doing something over and over, and you are bitching and complaining constantly about how everyone else is screwed up… take a step back. Maybe it’s not everyone else… maybe it’s you?

Used to be a funny little office sign you’d see in cubes… “If you are calm and collected while everyone about you is losing their heads… maybe you’ve failed to grasp just how deep in the shit you really are.”

Where am I going with this?

Well, as I’ve said before, Cassie and I have been PvPing in battelgrounds to earn the Honor for our Season 2 Merciless weapons. She has more than enough for her main hand, but she wants to have all the Honor she needs so she can buy them both at once. She even already has mats for both Mongoose enchants.

Her favorite BG? Eye of the Storm. She LOVES the fast paced action and sudden changes in fortune that can occur in the blink of an eye.

Me? I love me some Alterac Valley. I can’t help it, I love the large scale coordination it takes to make it all work.

Last night I popped into an AV, pretty late, just before bed. And it was one of those awesome battles, where everyone seems to know just where they should go.

I charged into the offense, as I am prone to do, and for the first time, instead of stopping to help down Galv, I decided to push on to help secure the first tower and hold it.

And I promptly found out what happens to those leading the pack past Galv… they die. And rez in the damn northernmost graveyard, with the entire Horde between you and the offensive team.

Okay, well, I remember from my pre-BC days that the easiest way to get through the cut when the Horde is inbound is to run down and under your own bridge, cut down through the valley on the west and kinda sneak up on the high road and wait for a gap in the Horde flow.

Funny how the Horde NEVER seems to decide to charge the graveyard by leaving the main high road, taking the dive down to the west into the deep canyon and coming up from that route under the bridge… no one ever defends it. I used to play defense on turtles and keep an eye on that avenue of approach worriedly… and never once have I seen a Horde mass attack through there to take a turtle defense from behind. Only lone rogue type folks take it, it seems.

Anyway, I take the valley approach to flank teh road from below where there is some cover, wait for a large pack of horde to flow past, then charge up onto the high road and hop/skip past the straggling Horde into which I appeared and made it safely past to rejoin the offense.

I passed each tower and GY, each was defended and held, got to the Relief Hut, and the timers for capture countdowns were nearing the end, got there just as the call went out “ALL IN”, charged in and identiifed the tank and spent the rest of the fight casting Flash Heal… boom. Alliance victory, 15 minutes into the fight.

Flawless Victory.

So what the hey… 15 minutes? if I rejoin immediately, maybe I’ll get most of the same team!

Went into AV number two… and as we charge south towards our usual offensive targets, it becomes apparent the Horde on this AV are playing a VERY different strategy.

They are staying in the southern half of the map, in groups of 8 to 12, and camping all the towers, every graveyard, and the relief hut. All of the Horde, not just a handful of griefers. I tried taking and holding a tower, and 8+ Horde actually assaulted the tower and all of them came all the way to the flag room at the top. Not the usual one or two to make sure it’s retaken, the WHOLE BUNCH in a coordinated move swarmed into the top room.

As I rezzed and rejoined the battle, and worked my way south, I saw that it was true everywhere. The Horde had turned turtle. Pure turtle. Zero offense, in favor of holding all the Alliance target points.

Alliance chat started to have the usual “Can’t you worthless noobs hold a Tower? We’re never going to win if you don’t hold the tower after you take it” comments.

I actually responded to that one, something I rarely do, announcing to the people who are bitching in chat, the same ones that ran straight to the Relief Hut and are now standing there bored waiting for the rest of the raid to do the work of capping and holding the towers and GYs while they sit and wait to rush in, “A mage and I were holding Tower Point, and 8+ Hordes bum rushed it. I’m heading south now and the Horde are camping, in force, every tower and GY south of Galv. Come back north and help retake them.”

I got taken out again trying to take a graveyard, and rezzed all the way north again. And as I watched the BG chat, the rest of the Alliance realised it was not just A turtle, it was THE turtle to end all turtles. Alliance BG chat exploded into hate and blame.

And I looked at the battle map… and I remembered I had all those AV quests you get by physically going to Alterac Valley north of Southshore, quests to get your Alliance trinket, cap a graveyard, burn a banner, take a mine.. those quests.

Well, I’m gonna be here for a while anyway, right?

So off I went, and I personally took a graveyard (FWGY, if you please), and I assaulted a tower (and died, but got credit for the Banner burning first), and I fought my way into the harpy den and got the banner for the Alliance trinket quest… and then I soloed my way deep into Coldtooth Mine, and made me way near to the Horde mine master… and waited in a side passage for the rogue I was certain was there to get bored and leave. I stood behind a pillar and moved my camera to watch, while I hid behind one of the mine supports, kinda sneaky like.

And sure enough, after a few minutes… off runs a rogue breaking their own stealth, secure in the knowledge that the Mine was theirs.

And 30 seconds later I burn down the Horde mine boss to recapture the mine, just as the whistle sounds to signal the Horde have wiped out the Alliance reinforcements.

I had a great time. I kept running around doing stuff, I nailed a few Horde, my only complaint being that EVERYONE resists my Psychic Scream, or is able to click out of it in 1 second it seems. Everyone. I thought that damn trinket was supposed to have a 5 minute cooldown, so I’m pretty sure everyone isn’t blowing their cooldown every time I happen to fire off Psychic Scream. Maybe it’s a Resilience thing, but I didn’t think Resilience had ANYTHING to do with resisting Fear effects.

Anyway, I had a great time. I didn’t get a win, or more than 100 bonus Honor, but I completed all the quests, got my Trinket, got 36 gold (those AV quests are worth 12 gold apiece. Cha-ching!) and that is my first time on Windburn capturing the mine solo. It was just… fun.

And the whole time I’m doing that… the Alliance BG chat channel is just going batshit INSANE with rage and hate and anger at being in a turtle. People are leaving the Alliance side, deserting in a FLOOD. The chat was full of epic hate and bannable language, it was just amazing. I haven’t seen that kind of wild abandon in spewing forth hate in ages. Maybe it’s the effect of being in a BG with people who are mostly from other servers in your battlegroup, that makes you feel even more anonymous than normal, like there are truly no consequences for being an utter douchebag on chat.

Just, the amount of blame being assigned to everyone, all the many reasons we would just WIN if all the REST of you would have done what you were supposed to , you’re all noobs, retards, stupid, etc etc etc. And all the hot replies, oh yeah. Feeding the flames. I’m surprised, totally surprised, it didn’t Godwin out towards the end.

And as always when I see that kind of finger pointing, that assumption that everyone else in the entire raid sucks because of a wipe, or a bad pull, or a failed BG, that line floats up in the back of my memory…

“You ever stop to think…. maybe it’s you?”

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I’ve mentioned on here a few times before, that John Ringo is one of my favorite authors. He writes truly great military Sci-Fi with tons of black humor, and he also has had lots of fun with different genres, like fantasy, and what could be called GURPS Black Ops, and just knocked them out of the park.

Oh yeah, Princess of Wands. Great book, and I hope like heck more in the series are coming.

For those of you that don’t know, GURPS is a table-top role playing game system developed by Steve Jackson Games, a set of rules that are supposed to be a ‘generic universal role playing system’, meaning that you can grab the basic book, and then have rules for how fast characters can run, how much damage you take by being hit upside the head by a blunt object, that sort of thing. Then, you design your own setting, apply the rules, and away you go.

In reality, the draw of GURPS for me were the hundreds of books that laid forth special rules and background for various settings. GURPS Supers, GURPS Robots, that sort of thing.

And GURPS Black Ops was a world setting for playing special agents of a black ops department of the government that takes care of ‘things man was not meant to know’.

Think the movie Men In Black, but with the possibility that the bad guys weren’t just aliens, but could also be remnants of ancient civilizations, mythical creatures, time travelers, dimensional explorers, demons, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and anything else that could go bump in the night. Super agents vs Cthulhu. You know exactly what I mean.

I ran one GURPS Black Ops game once where the agents went down to Georgia to investigate a strange energy spike, and got tangled up in a plot that involved the Russian government, nuclear waste disposal, dimensional travel and space orcs. It was a lot of fun, and I spent many hours researching it, too.

Anyway, my point here is that John Ringo wrote one of his books, Princess of Wands, creating a brand new approach to the black ops concept that just blew me away, not just with the stories but with the character and the world setting. I wanted to play a role playing game set in that world, and I can’t wait to see more books in the series.

As great as his books are, though, one of the best things about John Ringo, to me, is his willingness to go places you just can’t believe he went, and then to wonder just how many folks read what you just did, stopped, and stared at the page in shocked horror.

Most of John Ringo’s books are perfectly appropriate for all audiences, well-written books of adventure and war, as long as that audience is mature enough to read about honor and duty, loss and sacrifice, and the death and dying that comes from being at war. The Posleen saga and There will be Dragons comes immediately to mind.

He writes novels that are filled with death and violence as men and women struggle in war and battle against terrorists, slavers, and genocidal aliens. You know, military adventure fiction.

Yet he is getting famous in some circles for the outrage his Ghost series has caused, because in that series he included his own version of sex scenes in the same way that James Bond books would normally have scenes of seduction in exotic locales. 

Yes, I said outrage. Over sex scenes. In a book filled with people getting killed in battle. No, these aren’t picture books, either.  

It’s the same kind of distorted sense of proportion you see when politicians and lawyers are outraged over the ‘Hot Coffee’ mod for Grand Theft Auto, a mod that let you play a sex based minigame, inside of a game that is about jacking a car and killing hundreds of people by running them over, blowing them up or shooting them.

I just want to scream sometimes… “You can’t stand the thought that gamers might see a naked breast… but stopping a car at gunpoint, yanking the driver out, getting in, and running over 40 pedestrians on your way to a drug deal is okay? Are you people INSANE?!?”

Not that I want the violence banned either, mind you… I’d just like a game, OR book, to be sold to the audience it’s designed for. If it says “M” on the box, then sell it to a mature audience, not a freaking 13 year old, hmmm? And if it says “M” on the box already, and it’s a mature audience that is playing the game, and you were okay with selling a game about killing innocent people while building your criminal empire in the first place, what the heck does adding breasts do to make it more inappropriate?

Anyway… off topic from the off topic, as usual…

Bottom line, John Ringo writes great books, and at the same time is becoming notorious for writing over the top sex scenes in the middle of some of his Ghost books, books that are filled with terrorists getting killed in gruesome ways,  and it’s the sex scenes that prompt a shocked exclamation of “Oh John Ringo, NO!” Never mind that I think the writing of the Ghost series to be the best I’ve seen anywhere, for it’s sense of pure adrenaline super-spy anti-terrorist mercenary action.

This amuses me a great deal. And, as I have a particularly dark sense of humor, I saw with pride that there is a new shirt available from John Ringo’s website.

That’s right… you can now get a red shirt (to show that you are liable to die within seconds of your away team appearing on the planet’s surface) that proudly proclaims “Oh John Ringo, NO!”

The thought that this whole thing not only makes me laugh, but also makes enough other people laugh that someone created a shirt, raises it to the level of greatness.

By the way… if you are now worried that reading a John Ringo book might expose you to inappropriate material… well, then I suggest you just avoid the Ghost series, and either read Princess of Wands, the ‘Prince Roger’ series he co-wrote with David Weber that starts with March Upcountry, or the War with the Posleen saga that starts with A Hymn Before Battle (brilliant military sci-fi).

Those are all great books, and there will be nothing in them more offensive than people getting killed in battle. And maybe the possibility of all life on earth being eradicated by aliens. But at least the aliens don’t have sex, right?

Isn’t that a relief?

Sigh. Like life isn’t difficult enough without trying to find more things to be offended by. I used to watch violent, gory movies and TV shows all the time. Since Alex was born, however, I don’t watch anything with blood, guts or gore if there is the slightest chance he could come into the room and see it. That means we watch Top Chef, basically.

If I want to watch something, I wait until he’s tucked away in bed. Or go see it in the theater. I’d love to take him to see Iron Man, but some of the early battle scenes are a little more than I want my five year old to see. And I’m pissed at Transformers, because the movie toys are all marketed at his age group, and he loves the toys, he knows exactly who Bumblebee and Ultimus Prime are, but there is no way that I want him to see a Marine base in Iraq torn apart, and the Scorpion spearing Marines to death. He’ll just have to watch the cartoons. I wish that wasn’t necessary, all his other five year old friends seem to have seen it, but that’s the way it is.

So no CSI, no NCIS, and no Matrix or Dirty Harry or Platoon or Starship Troopers. He doesn’t need to see people getting torn apart or cut open and their brain removed at the age of five. Why? Because I am mature and able to tell the difference between fiction and reality, but he isn’t. And, as I am the adult, (cue the laughter), it is my responsibility to make that decision for him.

Every time someone tries to ban something outright as being inappropriate, whether they be a politician or an outraged parent, the message they are sending me is, they think that I am a child and unable to make decisions for myself, that I cannot tell reality from fiction, and only THEY are mature and wise enough to make those decisions FOR me.

Oh John Ringo, NO!

Thinking about my strong feelings towards people telling me what I should or should not believe, has reminded me of a Storytime… but it’s short, so I’ll tack it on here. 

Warning, this is another note in the “Big bear is not a nice person” file.

There was a very strong ‘born again’ congregation in Yucca Valley, CA, during my brief stay in the area back in the late 80’s. It was very common to see groups of earnest young missionaries hanging out in public areas, looking for Marines.

The group of four to five young people would, upon seeing a Marine of an imperssionable age leaving a gas station, or movie theater, or grocery store, surround the said Marine and start with the opening line “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior”, and move on from there.

Now, while I certainly have nothing against the sentiment, it was the approach, the surrounding, isolating, and pressure inherent in the way they would try to seek converts amongst the Marines off-base that I found personally offensive.

I found out about this because I had a good friend, a PFC that played in my role playing group that we nicknamed “El Destructo” because there wasn’t a single challenge he wouldn’t try to find some way to blow up, that was pretty upset by a run-in he had with them. He was genuinely scared at the way they surrounded him and treated him, because when he told them he was Jewish, he said they got pretty ugly and threatening. And to be fair, he wasn’t scared because he thought they were gonna hurt him, as much as because he knew damned well that if he got into a fight off-base with civilians, for any reason, his butt would have been in big trouble. When you’re a PFC, you dread ever being in any kind of trouble.

So yeah, I had a chip on my shoulder after I talked to him, and I planned in advance what I would do if I ever ran into that kind of trouble in Yucca.

And of course, I did have the pleasure of running into some of them… they accosted me as I left the movie theater in town, after watching the latest new release, Predator. Looking at IMDB tells me it came out in 1987, so that pins down when this happened.

They were very clean, young, somberly dressed men and women, a nice group of people, really. They certainly didn’t look like they were the kind of folks that would cause a disturbance, or start a fight. They’d been hanging out in teh parking lot of a gas station that shared a parking lot with the theater.

One of them, I guess the spokeman, walked up to and in front of me to block my way to my car, while the rest circled and closed in. It felt pretty threatening, they were well within what we think of in the states as our ‘personal space’. And the spokesman asked me the line I will never forget, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”

And I replied immediately, having previously thought long and hard about this exact situation, and what I would say if I had the chance. I can’t remember exactly anymore, but I practised it enough that I remember what the high points were. And I know that I was so happy that I had practised what I was going to say, that I was grinning in my most menacing way. Which, sadly, probably isn’t all that menacing, but you do what you can.

“I am a believer in the coming of Nyarlathotop, the deep old one of ancient times, the Goat with a Thousand Young. I am one of the true chosen ones that will serve to usher unto the world the great return, when the skies will turn to blood and the unenlightened shall be eaten by the mighty, and the balance of power on this world shall finally be restored to the dark gods as spoken of in the Books of Blood and the Necronomicon”.

They ran. They really did. It wasn’t the spokesman that started it, but as I kept going on, they broke and ran to their car and got in.

El Destructo laughed, and laughed, and laughed when I told him. 

Ah, good times. Good times.

I do think of those kids every so often, and wonder just what they thought. Did they really think I was serious? Do any of them still remember that? Do they tell stories in hushed voices around the campfire of the day a dark cult of devil worshippers revealed their existence? Do they make plans?

Well, as the New Testament says, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

These days, I am much more boring. If I was accosted in the same way now, I’m far more likely to just say, “Thanks, I’ve got to be somewhere, you guys have a nice day though,” and move along.

Hey, enough rambling. Go buy a shirt! Or a book!

Comments 26 Comments »

So I was thinking about that Storytime I wrote, and it suddenly occured to me…

I have a pic that was scanned back then, from the quality of crap scanners we had back in the day, that should have survived on my hard drive.

So for fun, I went looking.

I’m pretty dissapointed.

It does have me in one of the shirts I wore ALL the time, [whose caption, by the way, says “naughty or nice?” underneath], but sadly I was not wearing spandex at that precise moment in time.

The picture might have been taken by Cassie, shortly after we first met. I have absolutely no memory of when it was taken, but it would explain why I’m wearing dressy shorts. You know, shorts that have, like, pockets. And a belt! A freaking belt! Now THAT’S class, right there.

And the belt goes good with my floppy hat, doesn’t it? Too bad you can’t see the plume, though. It’s got a very pretty feathered plume. I have a stuffed bear around here somewhere wearing that hat, I’ll have to find it and snap a picture.

And for a bonus, I’ll give ya a pic of me as a Sergeant in the Marines, from out in Camp Pendleton, at the height of my surfing joy.

Note the sun-bleached hair. And the $100 Gargoyle sunglasses. And the sun bleached old school cammies. Damn, those were some comfy cammies. I had those for years, and yet they were in pristine condition. Just ridiculously faded from the sun. That’s about 7 years of wear, right there, boys and gals. The new rip-stop stuff just don’t fade like those did.

Anyway, enjoy. Let the mocking begin!

BBBcamppbbbrenfaire

Now, I mentioned in the comments below how the Mannyac is a huge guy, you can tell when you see him. But for point of reference, here is a recent pic… you dirty old man, you.

Nice kilt. /envy

Just to be clear, the top two pics are me, and the bottom one is Manny. For some reason, the longer I look at that, the more I swear he looks like he’s my brother. And what is it with evil people and goatees? Why do we feel like we have to advertise we’re evil? I wised up and shaved mine off, man… don’t give ‘em the advance warning.

The Kilted Mannyac

Damn, I love that kilt.

Comments 12 Comments »

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