Category Archives: War

Monster Hunter Vendetta

Monster Hunter VendettaThe Monster Hunter series is a bit of a phenom in my book. Larry Correia, the author, self-published the first installment, Monster Hunter International. Due to his connections in the world of guns and shooting instruction and general firearms badassery, as well as it being an awesome fun read, it sold a few thousand copies. He got picked up by Baen and now the sequel is out. Monster Hunter Vendetta.

I saw Larry the other day at authorpalooza in a Barnes & Noble. Still a really nice guy and fun to talk to. I bought MHV, had him sign it and I’m halfway through it now. Just as fun, irreverent, and mile-a-minute as the first one.

But the cover quote. It’s a little odd. “Fast-paced action sequences and ultra-accurate firearms details.” Ultra-accurate firearms details?

It’s true enough. Larry is a master of his trade. His firearms details are ultra-accurate. But the book has a much broader appeal than that. No doubt readers of Gun World, where the author of that quote, Jerry Ahern, writes appreciate ultra-accurate firearms details more than most but…the books have so much more as well.

The books have cool twists and emotional depth and really good pacing and nifty ideas. They’re just plain fun to read.

Edit: So, I just finished reading MHV. So cool. Not a wasted paragraph. The end is as epically awesome as the first and the ride there as thrilling and fast paced as anything I’ve ever read. An absolute blast.

Conan didn’t read many books

Conan could have been a Ranger.So, as I mentioned earlier on this blog, I got a chance to go to Ranger School in late August of 2010. Ranger School is a 60 day school. Add two weeks to the front for National Guard guys like me to go through the mandatory Pre-Ranger training and you get two and a half months. Notice please that it is early September and, since I am writing this, I am clearly not in Ranger School.

I failed out. I do not feel bad about this. How and why make for a story that I won’t be telling in this post but which culminates in my burning desire to go back and try again.

So why this digression on Ranger School? Because of the look.

Continue reading Conan didn’t read many books

9/11 2010

So this is the obligatory post. I have lots of thoughts on the events of this nine year old date and their aftermath, but I’m only going to cover one set today.

Sacrifice. Quite a few people today have talked about honoring the sacrifice of those who lost their lives on this day.

What exactly is a sacrifice? says … well, it has a lot of definitions, not all of which apply, but all of which involve some deliberate effort by those performing the sacrifice. Rushing up the stairs of a burning building to save who and what you can, knowing the risk, is a sacrifice. Crashing the plane you are on rather than letting it be used for further atrocity, that’s a sacrifice. Even stepping up and attempting to impose order on the chaos of your co-workers in a crowded stairwell, giving up your place in the rush in order to stand on a bit of high ground and get things moving more smoothly, is a sacrifice. Showing up to work in one of the towers or even the pentagon was not. It was just bad luck. Calling it a sacrifice cheapens the concept and the efforts of those who did, and have been attempting to, actually do something about those events and their consequences.

So, in the interest of my peace of mind I’ve been busily assuming that all the people yammering about the sacrifice of those those who died on 9/11 are talking about those people who have lost their lives while doing something about those events. I’ll save the honor I have to give for them, thank you.

Russel Crowe as Robin Hood.

Wow, such a wasted opportunity.

I went into this movie with high hopes that had been slightly dashed by Eric D. Snider’s review. I actually find slightly worse for wear high hopes to be a good recipe for movie watching. It makes the slide into a comfortable watch, instead of a great one, easy and painless. Unfortunately, Robin Hood just kept on sliding.

*Major spoilers ahoy*

Once I reconciled myself to a slightly unglamorous telling of the tale I was wowed by the production values, and unlike Snider I found the twists and turns to be logical and the machinations believable, barely.  And then they got all feminist on us. Not sure who thought it would be a good idea for Maid Marian to show up for the final battle in full armor leading a band of naked orphans from the woods. (barely mentioned so far) It wasn’t. Neither was it a good idea to have her lift her helm and declare across the battlefield “This is for Walter.” (her murdered father-in-law) before heading off to engage the bad guy in swordplay. Cheese stacked on ridiculous does not make a good sandwich.

And for those naked orphans who turned into knife fighting ninjas taking out armored infantry? I do not thank you.

It got a little sillier when we cut to several different takes in a row of Robin carrying the armored Maid Marian in his arms, deeper into the ocean. What’s out there besides retreating French? And any hope of a satisfying ending? Sigh.

Ok, getting fired was good.

Go me.I have to say, the timing was actually perfect. Thank you, Sonic Innovations.  I’ve got the time to finish my book, and get a huge start if not a completion on the collaboration that’s in the works. I’ve got the time to get ready for Ranger School. This is the bomb.

It’s still scary because I’m leaping headlong after the dream of being a writer, but hey, I’d be an idiot not to with all these opportunities staring me in the face.

The long road to Ranger School…

…has begun.

I’ve been sporadically working out for the past several months, going two or three weeks at a stretch usually, toying with things like P90X and long grueling ruck marches in the middle of the night, for lack of time elsewhen.

All that has changed now. My ATL is a fitness and nutrition guru with a vested interest in getting me into good shape. I might have to drag him out of the line of fire after all.  He’s also a genuinely nice guy willing to put some effort into helping me out. You rock dude.

Today was the first day of the program he’s designed/designing for me. Nothing too complicated but I definitely did some work today.

Oh, and I got fired today too. My company could no longer afford to employ me. They are outsourcing whatever the hell it was I did for them. I suspect it also has something to do with the fact that they know I’m due to deploy pretty soon. They’ve bent over so far backward to accomodate my military requirements to date that I can hardly blame them, though their timing stinks. For me. For them, it’s pretty good.

Nice severance package at least. Gives me 2.5 months to grind out the end of my novel and get a massive start on the collaboration I’m doing with Brandon.Terrified

Bloody terrifying, choosing to finish writing projects instead of searching frantically for another 9-5er. I have faith that it will all work out in the end though. I’ve been handed some pretty incredible opportunities on the fiction front, I’d be a fool not to take them.

The Hurt Locker, Again

So, I re-watched the first three quarters of this film last night.  I did this for two reasons.

First: It’s up for an Oscar and people are both bitching about it and howling its praises to the moon.  I wanted to see how it bore a second watching and if the good things I remembered were actually that good and so forth. I didn’t finish it.  Admittedly it was getting a little late, 11:30 or so but I was not, at all, sucked into the conflict. I knew how it ended and that was enough, I didn’t need to see it again. It wasn’t compelling a second time. Any conclusions I draw from this must, of course, be informed by how often I watch films more than once. It happens. I’ve seen quite a few films more than once and enjoyed them immensely: Soldier, Equilibrium, The Last Samurai, Gladiator, The Kingdom, the list goes on. Wasn’t happening with The Hurt Locker.

I suppose my perspective is a little different from most folks though by no means unique. I’ve been in combat, in the Middle East. They got quite a few things right in the film. But when they got things wrong, they really got them wrong and I didn’t care to see the ending again.

Which brings me to my Second reason for watching it twice. There’s a scene where an insurgent, who is undoubtedly the guy who shot and tried to blow up the heroes, is lying bloody on the ground under the care of a US Army medic. The medic tells his Colonel that the insurgent has a survivable wound if he can be picked up in 15 minutes.  The Colonel tells the medic in his crazy voice, “He didn’t make it.” The Colonel then repeats the phrase, with a significant nod, to another soldier, not the medic, standing nearby. Then he walks away and the camera follows him.

My friends have cast some doubt on whether or not a gunshot rings out as the Colonel walks away. I watched the film a second time to find out for sure. It most definitely does.

The film makers tried very very hard to give the impression that an American soldier, under orders from his Colonel shot and killed -murdered- an unarmed and wounded enemy combatant. And they did it casually, in front of quite a few other soldiers, a crowd even, not one of whom raised an objection.  To that I say, screw you mister film-maker. That is complete crap and it betrays your underlying motives for making the film and your opinions of the American fighting man, both of which are wrong and nasty if not downright evil.

Such acts have happened, I’ll not deny it. They don’t happen like that. They don’t happen easily. They don’t happen casually. They don’t happen without objection, especially in front of a medic or a crowd of soldiers. They don’t happen without charges of murder being brought and prosecuted.

None of which, of course, will or should have the slightest bearing on whether the film wins a Best Picture Oscar. An Oscar isn’t about political opinion or truth in film-making.  I don’t think it merits the award as a work of art, but that’s just me. Now, Jeremy Renner, he deserves an Oscar. I thought his performance was brilliant as were those of the rest of the cast, including the crazy Colonel.

It being hailed as the best Iraq war film ever made? Well, last I checked the field wasn’t very deep yet. I suspect holding that opinion may have more to do with The Hurt Locker bearing out, subtly and well, the opinions about war and soldiers the mainstream media has been inculcating into the population for the last 60 years.