Why is it that Naps Never Work?

I dunno, I’m not a neurologist. 😐

But I do know that if you lay down for a thirty minute nap, you will always wake up feeling totally unsatisfied and regretful of all your time spent lying face down half-naked with your butt in the air, dreaming of bold and cheesy Dorito warriors doing battle with soulless original flavor Lays chips in an eternal war of salty doom, ending only in obesity and heart failure for all third parties caught in the middle.

Perhaps Colonel Frito and the Rufflenecks will come crashing in on their flaming drop-bags to save the day.

Or we’ll all be eaten alive by Bugs.

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Letters to my Son: Letter I

Dear Son,

Son, I’m writing this to you because I love you. I don’t know you yet, but I hope that when we meet, I will be a man you can happily call Dad.

But until we meet, there’s a lot that I have to do. I’m not your father yet. I’m a rotten man, a hypocrite, a rebel and a stubborn goat who will hear the truth preached to him all the day long and still not heed the words of wisdom. I’m unworthy in every way to be your father, and it frightens me that I might never become that man.

Or it would, if I did not have a better Father of my own. He’s not the man whose funny crooked teeth or thick hair I inherited, but He has been as much of and far more of a father than the one who conceived me.

To point, I want to be a good father to you. My father provided for me, but there’s quite a few lessons and points of guidance which he never gave to me, but which God graciously provided to me by His providence when I needed it, and even now He continues to lead me for His namesake – and I fully expect that when I see you, He will still be guiding us, me and you both. He is your Father too, and He knows you better than I ever will, for He made you with His hands, and breathed life into you in your mother’s womb.

I’m a writer, my son. That means that when God gives me good thoughts and words, I write them down. Right now, in my youth, it doesn’t seem like there’s much else that I’m good for, so it’s what I do whenever I’m not earning my wages. And that is one of the tough truths that we have to wrestle with under God. There are things we want to do, things we would want to spend all our days doing nothing but, and yet we cannot. Writing is not profitable. It is risky even to try to make a subsistence living as a writer, because unlike a standard 9 to 5 job, there’s no benefits package and no overtime pay. You live off of royalties, advances, and ad-revenue, depending on what you write. You have to practice for years just to get into the craft, and then once you’re in, you can never stop practicing.

And right now son, I’m afraid. I’m ashamed. I’m not brave enough to risk it all to get my dream career. I’m afraid of shaming myself in the eyes of those who love me by forsaking conventional labors for my writing. I’m afraid that I am just indulging laziness by wishing for this. I’m afraid that I would be acting in pride to gratify the desires of my flesh, and forsaking the God who has delivered me from my sins many and myriad. I’m ashamed already at the ungodly desires of my heart, the unrighteous intentions of my flesh, of my weakness in entertaining these traitorous thoughts.

Son, there will be a great many people in your life who will tell you to ‘pursue your dreams.’ They will tell you life is an open book, that the possibilities are limitless, that the world is your oyster.

They are lying to you. The world is not an oyster, it is a barren field. There is much possibility in it, but to extract from the bitter soil your dreams will require of you undying toil, remarkable luck, and toil again until your very bones wear out. To fulfill all your earthly desires by your own hands will consume you like a flame until you come to the end of your road and wonder what you gave up your life for.

Do not desire the things of this world. Even good and glorious things like fame, like doing something you love for a living, these things should not be your heart’s desire. Your desire must be in the Lord, or you will die unsatisfied. I know, because I chased these things and even baser desires for too long in my life, ignoring the appeals God made so gently upon my heart.

Please, my Son – do not be like me. I am not proud of my writing. I am good at it, and I know I was unarguably better at it than many of my peers in school. And there is some joy when I write well, a finely put together sentence, a good day which brought forth more words than usual. And if you become a writer like me, my son, by no means do I discourage you.

But if you are a writer, I want you to do one of two things. If you want to write because you want your name on book covers, because you enjoy it, because you’re good at it – don’t quit your day job. Secure your living first, and indulge your passion when the sun sets. Please, think hard before you give your life to art.

Did I say two things?

My son, no matter how much I want to give you that dream, of being able to do nothing but write for a living – I can’t offer it to you now. I don’t have that dream. I wonder if I even have the self-discipline to manage it if I wasn’t so hemmed in by shame.

God loves you. And if God wills it, it will happen. But when you pray to our Father, you cannot have doubt. You must know what you want, want it truly, want it for the right reasons (read: the glory of God’s Kingdom, the salvation of the unredeemed, and the deliverance of His people), and be faithful that God can do all things.

The Lord knows no doubt. He knows no fear, none of the vacillation that you see in this letter. He is not afraid of being shamed, He is not afraid for His reputation or his 401K or His marriage prospects. He is our bold and fearless King, who humbles all the wicked and proud of this world and heals the sick, feeds the hungry, and shelters the weary. It is our good and gracious God who liberated me from the lusts which consumed my whole being, our kind and merciful God who spared my grandparents from rapacious invaders and conveyed them safely to America, our holy and generous God who gave to me the woman who will be your mother, blessing me a million times in excess of that which I deserve – including by giving me you to rear and teach.

All the gifts you will enjoy, from your food, to your shelter, to your parents (hi there) to the nature present as it may be, to every single talent and ability of your body and mind – all these come from God, and they are purposed for His glory – that all should hear His Word, call upon His name, and be rescued from their evil. As our God smites the wicked so He also redeems them, saving awful sinners like me, who did only evil in His sight with no regard for good.

Our God – and I hope your God – is a delightful savior, who makes my heart sing with joy as I write this very line. For I know that a day will come when these worries will trouble me no more, when I will finally find rest when all I have known is toil. I love my God because He is good, because He first loved me when I was unlovable, and never expected a single thing in return but that I would believe in Him and look to Him as Father. And even these things are gifts from Him, to be given back to Him with loving shouts of praise.

I love you, son. I will write to you again soon. Please take to heart all that I have said, and treasure the wisdom I struggle to pass on to you.

May the peace of God be with you, offspring of mine.

Sincerely,

Dad.

Would You Look At That

In the space of less than an hour, eight people liked a single post.

That’s the most I ever had.

And I thought it was a trash post.

Nothing earthshattering here (yet, anyways.)

Well, I don’t want this post to be entirely vestigial, (though I’m burning with scientific curiosity to figure out what gets the views and why) so I guess I’ll make it about something not so great and holy and mysterious as the Lord, since He has not yet struck me with words today.

But that will have to be in the next post, so as not to contaminate it with the inanity of this one.

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!

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