A short, short story

Once there was a guy named Curtis. He wrote a blog called Musings of a 21st Century 'Murican Mountain Man. He lived on a mountain in Tennessee, far away from anyone and anything. If he couldn't kill it and grill it, he got his groceries using a jetpack that he built in his shed. One day there was a lightning storm that knocked out his power, and it killed his computer. After a few jetpacking trips, he managed to get a new computer. But then it was his annual "go-primitive survival challenge" where he would go off into the woods for a month, wearing buckskins, a Bowie knife on his belt, and a coonskin cap. And moccasins, of course. He slept in trees and drank from the mountain streams and went on a 3-week pine bark cleanse.

And then he got back to his cabin, ninety-pounds of extra fat clinging to his bones, and a brace of rabbit furs slung over his shoulder.

Curtis got back to his computer and typed his post for his readers, apologizing for why his was gone so long, and explaining what he was doing in the meantime. And then he set about building a new desk chair, because the old one couldn't take the weight that he had gained very well, as he found out abruptly, as you would expect.

The End.


Music, movies, and YouTube update (nobody cares)

So yeah, I'm doing another roundup/update post. I don't really mind, and I don't think you guys do either. I would think that you enjoy some variety versus me writing a bazillion paragraphs about the same topic.

As I mentioned before, I have been playing on my Xbox quite a bit. That's still true, but right now I'm trying to cut back a little so I can get more PC-based work done. Obviously, the initial excitement has worn off a little, but I think I have been having even more fun with it than when I first got it, because of certain games I have downloaded, and since I've become better at the controls.

I also redeemed my free 1-month trial of game pass, which means I have full games that I still haven't played through or downloaded.


Here we go.

The Greatest Showman (2017)

I saw this movie with my sister just recently in theaters, and I have to say, I was very impressed. I went in with low expectations (I made no point to go see it, it was more of my sister's idea) and those expectations were blown away. My low expectations were due in part to the mixed/negative critical reception.
 I have a tendency to set too much store by the opinions of the critics, so this movie taught me a good lesson: It doesn't matter what the critics say!

Based on the story of P.T. Barnum's famous circus, the movie does not feel like a historical biography. It is a entertaining musical, pure and simple. I think it's safe to assume pretty much next to nothing in the movie happened in real life, and I don't consider TGS a true story in any way, shape, or form.
Most biographical films tend to paint an unrealistic portrait of whoever the movie is about anyway, and I'm sure that P.T. Barnum is no exception. But like I said, it's a fun musical, not a biography, so I don't actually care.

The biggest issue I have with the movie would be the fact that it is very easy to twist the message into being one that supports homosexuality, trans-sexuality, and all the other weird and sinful "alities" going around these days.

I definitely concur with the message of accepting the differences in people and not looking down on or shunning them because of disabilities, abnormalities, or birth defects, but that does not extend to homosexuality, or other sinful lifestyles.

The movie made no overt move in that direction thankfully, but I think it is obvious that the filmmakers do support those sorts of things, but decided to leave it out for the sake of steering clear of political and social controversy.

 They saw what happened with Beauty And the Beast (2015), and they didn't want to pay the price of being overt.

But all in all, it was a "great" movie.


"Going Home" by Mary Fahl

My first music review on this blog. Ever! I first heard this song when I watched the Civil War movie, Gods and Generals. Gods and Generals is probably one of the most impressive films that I have seen, its emotional and dramatic style inspires me a lot and would be a style that I would like to imitate if I had the money to make the movies in my head into real big-budget productions (and they would require big budgets, trust me).

Unless something else comes to my mind as better, I'm going to say that Gods and Generals has my favorite opening credits sequence ever.

And half of that is because of the song. If it was set to a lesser song, the credits wouldn't really be worth mentioning.
It's one of those songs that is filled with epicness and grandeur, tempered with a whole bucket of bittersweet. It doesn't really make me cry outright, just kind of clogs up my heart and throat with emotion that can't really get out because it's so beautiful. I know that makes me sound like Anne of Green Gables, but I can't help it. I REALLY LIKE THIS SONG.

Grid 2 (2013)

I got this game on Game Pass. I had tried the Grid 2 Demo on PC before, and I liked it pretty well. It was fun to get it again on Xbox, and it is something I plan on buying once my Game Pass expires.

 It is a arcade racing game, not a simulator like Forza or DiRT Rally. It has split screen, something that way too many racing games lack, so that is the main reason I'm going to buy it, because I can race with my sister and dad.

The graphics aren't bad, and I have found the campaign enjoyable as well. And since it's so old, you can pick up a copy for only $25. Instead of Forza for $50.

Fortnite (2017)

I have played Fortnite some more, I and would definitely say that I have gotten more of a feel for it. I think it is a great game, and offers a lot. I like how it is not just a mindless tactical shooter, but combines all sorts of elements.

You have to be stealthy, you need to scavenge weapons, keep ahead of the storm, and be wise when it comes to pulling the trigger. There are plenty of times where the smart thing to do is to just stay hidden and let players pass you by.

 Other times you can catch players building or not paying attention and ambush them. I have only played it on Xbox thus far, but I would seriously consider downloading it on PC, since I play shooters better on PC, so I think it would be more fun.

YouTube WIP/update

Here's an update on my YouTube channel: First off, I think few of you actually care, but instead of doing a separate gaming channel, all of my videos are just going to be uploaded to my original channel. I know I've renamed it about thirty times, but right now I'm going with Andrew's TV as my channel title.


Why I haven't been posting.

It's been a bit since my Last Jedi review.

So what have I been up to? A few things. The main reason I haven't been posting here is because I have been rather busy playing on my new Xbox One S that I purchased with my Christmas/B-day money. I also went to a weekend retreat just this week. So there's another reason.

Even though I usually take a "all or nothing" approach when it comes to reviews (I usually devote an entire post to a single movie review instead of doing roundups) I'm just going to break tradition and do a roundup post. So there you go.

Dunkirk (2017)

This was a amazing movie. When it came out on ClearPlay and became rentable, I quickly made a point to watch it. We watched it on New Years Eve, which worked well with the length of the film. I was already impressed with Christopher Nolan's work in Interstellar (2015) and Dunkirk did not disappoint one bit. Besides have a breath-taking aesthetic and artistically masterful cinematography, it looked really good from the point of historical authenticity and realism as well. How do I sum it up? Go see it.

Star Wars Battlefront II (2017)

For those who have been around my blog for awhile, then you may remember my post about the earlier Battlefront game that came out in 2015. I recently was able to play the earlier Battlefront on my PC (thanks to a Origin free trial) and I was not disappointed. As much as people love to hate them, the new Battlefront games honestly aren't that bad. I don't play that many games compared to most gamers, so that may have something to do with why I'm so easily satisfied, but I think it is reasonable to assume that most people are just being too critical and need to get a life.

Battlefront II is quite different from the first Battlefront, but it is a lot of fun and is very cool. You do lose the ability to customize your character (one of the biggest things that stood out to me) but otherwise, it is "bigger" than the previous battlefront, encompassing more maps and including all of the eras of the Star Wars saga, which was one of the big selling points for me. (Who could play Battlefront without clones?).

The whole star card is system, as well as the crafting parts and all that, is rather unnecessary to me. I would much rather play a game where players compete on an equal footing, using their knowledge of maps and tactics, as well as superior reflexes, to subdue their enemies. Complicated systems where you have different abilites and powers to keep track of are annoying to me, especailly if it is a ability not really in the movies. But I must admit, if you know how and when to use them, you will be a more effective player.

The campaign on the other hand, while even though it is a needed addition, hasn't impressed me much so far. Star Wars is really going overboard with female protagonists, as if they are trying to make up for all the years that they focused on male characters. Iden Versio is a emotionless feminist and her two male sidekicks are fairly unintelligent dudes who don't seem to have any drive or emotion other than their enjoyment derived from gunning down rebels. Really, the campaign just feels like a mindless mission with Iden making dramatic comments and gunning down lots of rebels in a way that feels disturbingly like mass murder.

Why do they serve the Emperor? Why does Iden look like she is going to cry when the Death Star II blows up? What inner calling do they have that drove them to become special operators that undertake high-profile missions for the Empire? There is no emotional component to the story, just a trio of troopers who love blasting holes through rebels.

And who came up with the names Meeko and Haskins? Isn't Meeko the raccoon from Pocahontas?

Alright, enough said.


Why review Minecraft? Minecraft is Minecraft. 

Fortnite Battle Royale (2016? 2017?)

After hearing this game was essentially a free (and bloodless) version of Player Unknown's Battleground, the game that is literally taking the gaming community by storm, I had to give it a try. I have hardly played this game at all, having only payed about three matches and getting killed in all of them without doing anything cool or interesting. Hopefully I will revisit Fortnite with a more thorough post once I get in some more gameplay. As far as I could  tell, Fortnite doesn't have a avatar customization either. I noticed players with customized loadouts, but I wasn't able to figure out how to change my own. I don't mind playing a basic loadout, but it is annoying when I get spawned as a female character with an exaggerated figure.

Mumgoot Gaming and my Original YouTube channel.

What's a mumgoot? Read my new gaming channel description and find out. As some of you may know, I ran a YouTube channel for quite awhile. I have not yet restarted my original channel, but I have started my gaming channel which is going to be running alongside my main channel. I need to film a new video for my main channel, as well as do some redecorating. But for all my true and faithful fans, I will say (to quote General Douglas McArthur) "I have returned".

Mumgoot Gaming

My Main Channel

See you all later!


The Last Jedi (AKA the most gif-filled Star Wars review ever)

Alright, so like my previous review regarding Star Wars: The Force Awakens this post is going to be spoilery. I'm not going to detail the whole plot, just the parts that I loved and hated, and other interesting tidbits. If you want a blow-for-blow breakdown of the plot, just go to Wikipedia or see the movie. I'm going to be writing assuming you have already seen the movie so instead of a review this is more like my opinion of the movie. So if you haven't seen it yet, don't be surprised if nothing in this post makes sense to you.

And before I begin, let me just say:



Alright. So yes, because of fan speculation, and the downward spiral of planet earth, and the uncomfortable compliment that Poe paid to Finn upon wearing his jacket, I was really starting to think that the Last Jedi would be the Last Straw, with Finn and Poe becoming a couple. Thus breaching my values and ruling out my seeing this movie. But thankfully, there was none of that in the movie.

When I watched the trailers for TLJ I wasn't extremely impressed. Nothing looked very new. Same characters, same outfits, same planets and ships, nothing looked very new or interesting.

The result of all these factors was very, very good. Because thus my expectations were set so low that I became very impressed with this film despite all of its flaws that I will detail throughout this post.

The story basically revolves around two big plot points, the Rebels getting chased by the Imperials (forget the First Order nonsense, there's no difference).

And the drama with Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren.

The drama with the Rebels is pretty weak. Its a two-hour movie, and yet the Rebels are running away from the Empire for the whole of it. There are no good shootouts or ground battles, even though the space scenes are pretty good. But the whole Rebel drama with the Empire could have been done much better than the trash these writers pulled. I feel like they could have written it differently and could have come up with something a lot more interesting.


The plot with Rey, Luke, and Kylo? Different story. I loved the parts where we got to see how Luke lives on his Island, milking the weird sea-cows, and catching an awesome-looking fish, (even though his methods seemed extremely inefficient). I like how they chose to explain some of these little details, and the Greek/Italian frog-nuns, as weird as they were, were pretty funny.

The brown furry penguins were also adorable. But when they started showing up in every other scene the joke was starting to get old.

Now for my favorite part. Kylo and Rey. I don't usually ship people, but when I do.... I really ship it.
I know a lot of people hate me now

Kylo and Rey were the best things about this movie. My favorite scene was the throne room battle when Kylo killed Snoke (still don't know who he is, though I strongly suspect that he is Palpatine in some sort of way) and the ensuing battle with the awesome Samurai-style royal guards, which are my second favorite design piece. I love the creativity of their weapons, and how their armor consists of jointed plates that almost looked like glass or aluminum.

So everything was going along all nice and pleasant and my ship was sailing on stormy, but stable seas.

And then Kylo had to ruin it all by pushing the relationship and asking Rey to take over the galaxy with him.

 CAN WE JUST DROP THAT STUPID STAR WARS CLICHE? All the positive things that were happening went down the drain, and now we don't know where Rey and Kylo are headed. He tried to kill Luke, and that isn't a great sign. But what is with the power obsession? What are you going to do with the whole galaxy?

But then again, this is called "Star Wars" so I guess we can't expect much variety from a franchise that has existed for over 30 years being kept alive on a plot driven entirely by intergalactic conflict.

I feel like the plot was going along so nicely and that we were accomplishing a lot of good things, but it was like the writers were getting scared with their own boldness and they pressed "Ctrl Z" several times towards the end of their story.

Also the egregious amount of fake deaths was annoying as well. Leia's return from outer space was particularly ridiculous. At first I was a bit surprised at the violence of her death, as the ship's bridge exploded and she was sucked out into a vacuum. I figured (correctly as I soon found out) that it was a pretty indelicate way to kill off such an important character. It turns out she didn't die, that's why.

At first when we saw Leia's body floating through space, I honestly thought she was going to be reunited with Han Solo in some sort of Star Wars heaven. It might have been less cheesy than what actually happened.

Anyways. Finn's daring move, flying straight into the battering ram gun was a cheap trick as well. And then Rose came in just in time, and when she kissed Finn and passed out, I honestly thought she had kicked the bucket. So I actually got fooled once. Upon seeing it a second time, I remarked to a friend that she probably faked a faint because she was embarrassed that she just kissed Finn.

And I also thought for a second that Luke died when he got hit by all the AT-ATs. But I wasn't extremely surprised when he came back. This was the least annoying fake death, because it was actually a good plot twist and a good scene altogether.

Now for Luke's real "death". That was very well done. I love how we get to see the Jedi actually do cool things with the force (besides moving rocks, LOL) and how Luke was just so exhausted from pulling off that incredible stunt that he had to die. His death was extremely well done, and the last scene were he vanishes just like Obi-Wan, his cloak blowing off into the wind, was just simply beautiful.

I am also glad that they killed him off, because frankly, the old characters need to be booted out of the story. Han Solo was great in TFA, but he served his purpose, and was killed off. Luke served his purpose, and was also killed off in a tidy way, that had good finality and brought Luke's personal story full-circle. Leia? I just don't know. I think she should have died off in this one, and now that Carrie Fisher is dead, I don't know what they have in mind with the next movie in the trilogy. Her character doesn't seem to have the same drive and purpose now that Han is gone; she's just a relic and a quiet war hero from the days of the rebellion. The story's not about her anymore, or Han, and I think Luke is the only one who was able to contribute in a meaningful way.

And don't get me started on Chewie, C-3PO, and R2-D2. R2 was hardly in the movie at all, and besides the nostalgic conversation he had with Luke, he did nothing. It seems that he spends more time in sleep mode and standby and projecting maps than doing anything interesting. By virtue of having him in this trilogy, his character is cheapened, because he doesn't do anything. He's like an abandoned dog or a broken toy because his owners have all died or grown up.

C-3PO has a little more interaction because Poe can yell at him every once and awhile, but again, he doesn't contribute. Droids live for ever, but they can't be the same if the humans that they were associated with aren't around anymore.

And then there's Chewie. He lost his best friend. Han Solo. Can you imagine how long they been together and how much they've been through? And yet Chewie keeps flying the Falcon, feeds his fat face with furry penguins and basically acts as Rey's taxi driver. NO! NO! NO!

I don't think Chewie had enough reflection on Han's death and it seems like he moved on all too easy. In TFA, after Han dies and Chewie goes beserker shooting stormtroopers and stuff, I was thinking that maybe he was going to blow off the bombs, killing himself in the explosion of Starkiller base.

I don't want Chewie to commit suicide, but I think it would have been better if Chewie had died in some sort of blaze of glory, trying to avenge Han, and venting the agony at having lost his best friend. One way or another, the point is that Chewie should be dead. For him to continue is inconsistent to his character, because he was Han's sidekick. What is Robin without Batman? Rocket Raccoon without Groot? They must live together or die together, YOU CAN'T SPLIT 'EM UP!

Rose and Finn? Personally I don't care a whole lot. Their entire subplot was weak because it was connected with the nonsense with the Rebels flying away from the Empire. The codebreaker jerk was pretty annoying, and the scenes on the Casino planet were generally pointless. I think it was interesting that they introduced a new and fairly unique planet to Star Wars, but otherwise it just felt like wasted time.

And I'm not a ragamuffin or Pippy Longstocking fan either, so you already know how I feel about the grubby slave children.

And now for the worst character in the whole movie. Admiral (excuse me, Vice Admiral) Holdo. I'm pretty sexist by the world's standard, but I can appreciate a good kick-butt female character when she deserves it. But this lady wasn't even close.
Why is she so airbrushed in this photo?

 The reason I didn't like her was because she didn't fit Star Wars at all and was just a walking billboard for the feminist war machine.

 If she wore a uniform, had her hair in a bun, minimal jewelry and makeup, then she'd be tolerable. Probably still annoying, but at least tolerable. This same argument can also be used against Leia, because she didn't dress like a military leader either.

But she looks like she should be going to a garden party or something. What on earth? She wears a fancy dress, and all this jewelry, and she has her hair done up elaborately. Seems an awful lot like a leader who leads by charisma.

Is this the Rebellion that fought against the empire or some sort of weird emergent church that floats in space with a female pastor?

 When Poe instigated his mutiny I was pleasantly surprised. I was astonished that such a "diverse" and "politically correct" Star Wars movie would make A WOMAN the bad guy who gets bested by A MALE!!!

So the whole plot twist then where it turned out that Poe was being a impertinent jerk and this lady was actually a hero because she was actually trying to be humble (by being a jerk) was very frustrating. I'm not going to get super political in this post, but its hard not to, when Star Wars is bending head over heels trying to be so politically correct.

Not to mention she was a bad leader because she was being such a snot and withholding so much information from her crew that she ended up bringing down a mutiny on herself (it was her own fault).

 Why can't the Rebels be led by a man for once? Mon Mothma was fine. She actually had the air of a leader. But can we stop shoving the whole feminist agenda down everybody's throats? Especially with such an annoying character?

The things I liked about her:

1. She died at the end.

2. Her death resulted in one of the most awe-inspiring sequences in the movie where she lightspeed-rams the entire Imperial fleet.

3. Her lightspeed-ramming the Imperial fleet was actually a sweet move. Like that's an actual compliment.

Even Chuck approved of that

Anyways, enough ranting about her.

So what is there left to talk about? Covered all of the important characters.

Now for last minute compliments and critiques.

The new updated Imperial vehicle designs were generally bad. Red windows? For real? I feel like the new designs have become more junior-ized and colorful, and realism and plausibility has suffered as a result. The original vehicles in Star Wars borrowed design from real life. The Imperial vehicles had bland colors and stark geometry that reflected utilitarian military hardware.

And can anyone explain why snowtroopers are deployed on a planet composed of salt and dirt? It can't be cold because the rebels were doing fine in their open-cockpit skim speeders.  I liked how they remind me of old warplanes, and how they were basically falling apart as they were flying them, but I felt like they were shaking and jiggling way too much to be realistic (I know, its Star Wars, but still) and I think they would need to close the cockpits at the speeds they were going, because they didn't have goggles.

And Rey and Kylo tearing Luke's lightsaber apart? I don't know, its just not the same anymore. Won't kill off Leia, won't kill off Chewie, won't kill off 3PO or R2, but they split Luke's saber in half.

Not to mention I would have really have liked to have seen the inside of Luke's Jedi temple before it got torched.

And Yoda. Yoda was okay. But something about him was still... subpar.

So overall this movie is shaky. It has a weak plot, a draggy ending, dead-end character development, and the ruination of classic characters that have been around for decades. Yet for all these flaws, I loved this movie when I saw it, and I still love it. The bad parts were awful, but I still love it overall and it had a lot of great scenes.

Overall? I'd give it a 7/10, and I like it worlds better than TFA. It doesn't beat Rogue One, but Rogue One is so good and unique that I consider it to be occupying its own category separate from the rest of the SW movies. The Last Jedi? Might be one of my new favorites.

Happy New Year!


Tacticool Jerk no.3 How much is enough?/Conclusion

How much is enough?

How much firepower do we need to defend ourselves without become tactical paranoids? I'm not going to waste time with hypotheticals and "how things ought to be". I'm just going to take this from my understanding of the current state of the firearm in America. Not going to argue about legislation, "guns don't kill people" or any of that political stuff.

What we want to find out is what we need to defend ourselves in a realistic manner.

Right now, guns are pretty much all over the place. Restrictions vary in different states and locales, but for the most part, pretty much anyone in America can get a gun. Legally or otherwise. Full-auto firearms, such as military assault rifles and machine guns, are not widely available, but they are out there in considerable numbers and civilians have them. Civilians also have standard bolt-action rifles, semi-auto rifles, pistols, revolvers, and whatever.

The only things not widely available would be artillery above 20mm and other military grade weapons. But I assume that there is some of that in private ownership as well, not to mention stockpiles that homegrown terrorists and gangs might have stowed away somewhere.

So what I'm saying is, that there is no restrictions on guns in America. Yes, there are legal restrictions, but that doesn't actually bar anyone from gaining possession of any of these weapons. The point is that all manner of firearms are physically on-land in America, they're just hard to get to.

And what that means is that criminals (yeah, the bad guys) can theoretically get a hold of weapons fitting into any of these categories. If you think that's a bit much, let's remember the fruitcake who stole a tank out of a National Guard armory and tried to knock down a bridge with it.

Virtually, there is no weapon that you can't justify owning. And no, I'm not really going to count WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), let's not get technical about it.

So if you do get loaded out like Rambo, saying "You just can never know" well, we couldn't expressly say that you're wrong. Who knows. Maybe a terrorist group will spring an attack in your neighborhood. Maybe your ballistic armor and AR-15 will save your life.

But this is where "tactical, practical, prepared, normal person" has to come in. Most people cannot afford an arsenal. And you can't really protect yourself from anything no matter how much money you spend. Even if you managed to invent a real Iron Man suit,  and you wore it all the time, making you impervious to all manner of physical attack, there's still that possibility of someone shooting you while you're in the shower when you finally take it off. Or by that point, you're probably so paranoid that wouldn't take showers anymore anyway. But you get the point.

As Benjamin Franklin said (on his deathbed pretty much) there are only two things that are certain in life: Death and taxes. I don't think that's an entirely accurate statement, but he got the death part right. Sooner or later, by natural or man-made cause, you are going to die. (Unless you're a Christian and The Rapture takes place in your lifetime).

And if you are so intent on protecting yourself, eventually that will become counter-productive, because a life lived in fear isn't much of a life at all. I'm definitely not saying you should just go and jump off a bridge, but that you should simply come to terms with the reality of your earthly existence.

We can spend all the money in the world on guns and security cameras and body armor, but that’s it. There is no such thing as being prepared for everything, and eventually you're going to die anyway.

So when it comes down to how much weaponry you should have, and how much is too much, it becomes pretty subjective. No one can answer that for you.

 Most people who invest in guns and self-defense are people who (like myself) simply enjoy these things for their own sake. Guns and knives are cool. Sure, they have practical application, but if I weren't "into" guns, I probably wouldn’t have any. Or any interest in getting them.

Having a hobby that has real-world applicability is great, but we have to realize thats its just that. Real-world defense with a firearm is a serious subject that requires time , training, and money, plus the necessary mindset and responsibility. Its not about having the coolest guns, body armor, or whatever.

The time when you actually have to defend yourself could very well go down like the imaginary example that I will illustrate in a minute. Danger doesn't strike when you want it to, or just on the days you feel ready for it. It could, but it probably won't. That perfect moment where you chase away the purse snatcher and get the number of the pretty girl is just fantasy. If you have any Hollywood ideas about self-defense, then in the words of the legendary Rex Kwon-Do of Napolean Dynamite fame:

The following example offers a dismal view, but for the sake of humor and not being overly optimistic, I wrote it the way I did. Honestly, I think it is a pretty realistic scenario, with full acknowledgment of the fact that life is not Hollywood. When it comes to guarding your life in a deadly situation, being optimistic and rosy about your skills and reactions is a pretty silly thing to do anyway. Be positive, yes. But don't overestimate yourself.

Anyways, let's proceed with the example:

Begin fictional scenario-

*Dream sequence hazy fade-in

Imagine you're driving to go to a job interview early  in the morning. You're getting ready to go inside a restaurant for breakfast. You have your almost brand-new M1911 holstered inside your jacket. You think about leaving it in the car because its heavy and uncomfortable to actually wear.

Not to mention you don't feel comfortable shooting it, and you still forget to take off the safety most of the time. You just bought it, and it's probably the worst financial decision you've made in your life up to this point, unless we're going to count college.

Last week, you went to the gunshop. You walked through the aisles, ogling at all the guns, wearing an Oakley T-shirt and responding to comments and conversation with cryptic language, trying to pass yourself off as someone who has really been around guns. You know, that kid who grew up in Dakota, shooting rabbits with his trusty .22, still has it, named it Bessy, "Oh how I loved that gun" Yada yada.

After looking at all manner of guns and trying not to ask too many questions (even though there's a lot you'd like to know) you walk over the to the pistol counter.

You look at the handguns. You find yourself attracted to the .380 pistols, knowing that they have good accuracy and that their recoil isn't too bad.
Who needs a firebreather like a 1911?  Not to mention 1911s are way out of your budget (even the entry-level ones). Secretly you don't think you could handle that much gun.

Better start out small, right? (A buddy took you out shooting a few weeks ago, and his 1911 practically jumped out of your hands when you shot it, leaving your ears ringing).

As you examine the .380s with a thoughtful eye, a soccer mom walks up to the counter next to you and leans over the glass case, also looking at the very same .380s, a baby bottle sticking out of her purse.
                                         Inline image 2
A friendly sales man comes to the desk, and shows her one of the .380s. You notice a lot of words like, "Oh yeah, great for small hands," Real popular with the ladies" "Guy brought his 12-yr old to shoot one of these". And you quickly slip away to the .40s and .45s, 10mms and stuff like that.

As you look at these robustly military-looking guns and start breaking into a cold sweat (both fear and excitement), a female voice taps your ears. "Can I help you find anything?"

Mossy Oak hoodie, brunette, and blue jeans, this girl is about as 'Murican as they come.

 And she's just as pretty as those obnoxious country songs say she is.

Swallowing back the frog in your throat, you breathlessly ask about the guns, saying things like, "I used to shoot a Desert Eagle .50 Action Express, but I was thinking of maybe down-sizing a bit, like... (you make a weird face) like... .45? "

She quirks her face a little bit and proceeds to show you several guns.  After showing you some entry-level guns, she points out their feature model, a $2,500 .45 M1911 pistol.

 "Oh yeah," she says, "This has been real popular with our tactical crowd, its an awesome gun, I shoot it all the time, I have two, one for home, one for carry".

$2,500?! You think. You planned on spending about $400, ammo and an extra mag included. Gulping down the lump in your throat (and everything your parents told you about spending money), you ask for the papers and start signing your life away.

Then you buy some ammo and take it to the on-site range. You  shoot two mags worth at the range, and you scratch your head a lot when you take the target down, only finding two holes.

 Thinking that those holes are way too small to be from .45 bullets you realise that thats where you put the staples in to hang up the target.

A few hours before dinner, you walk out of the shop with a hefty Pelican case containing what is now one of your most exspensive possessions and a hefty charge on your Discover Card.

And all just because it was so macho,  trying to impress that cute sales girl behind the gunshop counter instead of settling for that plain-looking .380 handgun that you might have actually been able to shoot with subpar accuracy.

And without flinching like a five-year old during a loud parental argument.


So long story short, and with a certain degree of reluctance, you decide to leave your new gun in the car.

After eating and paying the bill you walk out to your car when a nasty-looking punk approaches you, asking for a couple bucks. You get nervous. You don’t have your gun. You don’t like people randomly approaching and asking you for stuff. Maybe you don’t like talking in general.

Not to mention you woke up with a headache that morning and you don’t feel very positive about the ensuing job interview, let alone winning a gunfight.

The punk keeps talking and then pulls a snubnose revolver out of his sweatpants. You freak out and he has to basically calm you down before you hand him your phone and wallet.

You’re crying and after your heart rate settles down (and the punk  is two blocks away) you remember two things: You should call the police, and you have a .45 caliber handgun lying in your car that you could have shot this guy with.

But honestly, your hands would have been shaking so bad that you probably would have just ended up blasting off five rounds that would have gone flying into the restaurant,  hitting and killing the poor 17-year old who flips burgers there, trying to raise enough money to go to community college.

And after this outburst, the dirtbag would take his turn and kill you with two shots to the face, eliminating the possibility of an open casket.

Shocked and mentally kicking yourself, you walk to the car with your hands shaking and sit down. Then you squirm uncomfortably as you realize that you wet your pants during the intense "tactical" exchange that had taken place just a few minutes prior.

Guns and glamour completely out of your mind, now you have to face the reality of what you're going to do about the job interview you were driving to, your best suit of clothes, and basically, what the heck you're going to do now.

    -End of fictional scenario-      

You can own guns and be a tactical nerd without being a obnoxious know-it-all that constantly spouts off about self-defense, and guns, and the apocalypse. If you want a gun to defend yourself, then its on you to determine what you need, and "how much is enough”.

 In the end, a gun can't guarantee your safety, no matter how well you are trained in using it. It only gives you a better chance of surviving. And again, provided that you know how to use it well and actually get the chance to. Can you imagine how many people have dropped dead without even knowing what hit them?

So I guess, in closing, what I’m saying is this: That the tacticool junkie has nothing to do with real-world self-defense and combat. But that doesn't mean you have to throw it out the window.

 Cool guns, video games, the Chevy Avalanche that you modified to look like a hummer?-that's awesome. That cool 5.11 Tactical lunchbag with integrated spotting scope pouch so you can snipe South American drug dealers while eating your lunch? (Clear and Present Danger, LOL).

That's cool.

But that's the movies, the video games, and your inner child. Don't  fool yourself into thinking that your hobby or fashion statement could someday save your life. Maybe it could. But it's foolish to count on it.

When we actually need to use guns to defend ourselves and to kill another human being, there's nothing glamorous about it.
When it comes down to that, let us not cheapen human life, or give such a serious subject a cavalier tone. Let us not demean ourselves to the minds of barbarians.

You can enjoy "tacticool-ness" and still be a responsible adult who understands the true nature of violence and self-defense. You can still be a war buff. But you just need to remember: Tacticool is tacticool, and tactical is tactical. They are similar words, but completely different, and never the two shall meet.

Go Ronald.

I Hope you enjoyed this post series as much as I enjoyed writing it. Merry Christmas!


Nerdy gaming: AAPG

The Tacticool Jerk post series is still running. I'm just taking a break.

Today I'm going to talk about a game I've been playing, America's Army: Proving Grounds.

I've been playing this game for a while now and I've gotten pretty addicted. It's a hard game to master, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty fun. A realistic military shooter sponsored by the U.S. Army, AAPG is the sequel to America's Army Three which is similar in its basic idea, but the two games are quite different.

When I first started playing this, it was very difficult and frustrating, the only way to get good at it is to practice. If you have played other first person shooters, that will help you out a lot too.

Today, I figured I would just talk about my current in-game experience. Not exactly a review, but I can imagine that this post could definitely influence you as to whether you would want to play this game or not.

Anyways, so AAPG is pretty realistic as far as video games go. It mimics the stress and chaos of real-world combat, and its damage model means that you can get killed very quickly with a variety of weapons if you're not careful.

AAPG doesn't have respawn per se, but you can be revived by teammates if they can reach you and bandage you before you bleed out. But some hits are fatal, and if you get choked out, you can't be revived, or if an enemy player reaches you first and handcuffs you with zipties.

Thankfully, the rounds have a pretty quick turnaround so you don't have to wait too long even if you get killed or secured.

Lately,I have been playing a lot on Bridge: Extract. This is a fun map and I steered away from it at first (fearing snipers) but once you get your feet wet, its a lot of fun to play. The particular server that I've been playing a lot has no limits on weapons, which means that each team can have whatever weapons they want.

 Usually, each team is limited to two snipers, two DMRs, two machine guns and so on, but with this server, the whole team can load out with sniper rifles if they want to, which gives you plenty of freedom for your playstyle.
Friendly player getting revived (note the objective backpack)

For sniping, this map is excellent. I was doing pretty well sniping, but I became annoyed by enemy snipers that I can't see that hit me out of seemingly nowhere. The map is shrouded with fog, which prevents snipers from ruling the battlefield with impunity.

But there are plenty of channels and beaten paths that players travel, presenting a fair amount of targets if you are a good shot and don't expose yourself too much.

Sniper leaning out from cover with M24 sniper rifle

Bridge isn't just for snipers though. The areas under and around the center bridge tower are usually hotly contested with assault rifles, handguns, and grenades.

 For a few rounds I played with a shotgun and I dropped a bunch of enemies using that and my M9 pistol while holed up around some roadblocks underneath the tower. The M9 pistol is a 9mm handgun and carries 16 rounds.
It's counter part, the Colt 1911 .45 is pretty cool, but only carries 8 rounds and has harsher recoil.

I have dropped many opponents with the M9 but only one with the M1911, and that was a rare situation. I'm not a very good shot, and I rely more on volume of fire rather than accuracy.

Therefore, I pretty much always carry the M9. I'm sure I could get a kill or two with the .45, but to me its not worth it. I get a much better kill/death ratio with the M9 than I would if I used the 1911.

M9 in action

For sniping, the bolt-action M24 is king. It's a lot of fun to shoot, and its rate of fire is pretty fast even though its a bolt-action.

 In one instance, a downed enemy was lying on the ground next to the center tower. This is a fairly dangerous spot, as it is pretty exposed to sniper fire. An enemy came out from cover to revive him, and in the ensuing chaos I as tried to shoot them, the downed NME was revived and got up.

But then I managed to drop both of them within five seconds of each other. Getting back-to-back kills isn't too hard when your using the M24. It's a real good gun.

In the extract game mode, the attacking team has to move the objective (blue guidon flag) from their side of the field to the other.
The defending team has to prevent them from extracting the objective, which appears as a black and blue backpack on the player carrying it. If this player gets dropped or killed, the objective appears as a flag again and stays in place til somebody picks it up again.

Teams can win by eliminating each other, or the attack team can win by completing the objective. Defense can win if the attackers run out of time. Most rounds are won by wiping the other team out.

Enemy player getting revived
When playing defense, most of my team (including myself in several rounds) would run right out onto the front lines, right up to the center bridge tower, which is probably the hottest zone on the map, populated by grenade explosions, snipers shooting through it, and gunfights blazing under and around it.

I noticed that most of our team (about two-thirds) would get involved in this heavy combat, and get killed. With such a hotly contested zone it was hard for these soldiers to get revived, and the enemy team would usually push on to our side of the bridge, where there would be a hazy gun battle as they threw smoke grenades and tried to get over to the extraction point.

The extraction point is populated with a ton of shipping containers that are really good for hiding behind and ambushing opponents.

Jumping on this bandwagon (as well as mimicking the tactic of another player) I equipped myself with a M249 machine gun, fitted with a red-dot scope (non-magnifying) and I held back in the shipping container area.

I played a few rounds like this, some where I went out into the action and fell back later, others where I went into action and got killed, and at least another where I stayed back for the duration of the round.

I found this to be very effective, as you can ambush the whole surviving enemy team, blasting them all away as they try to get to extract. In one round, myself and a few other survivors managed to accomplish this. I killed several enemies with my M249, and I got the last player using my M9.

Pistols can be fired extremely fast in the game, and I've noticed that the M9 is like a backup submachine gun. At medium ranges you can drop opponents with aimed double or triple taps, and at close range, you can just empty the entire magazine, spraying your opponent with lead.

If you are playing with a sniper rifle, having a handgun is very useful, unless you can pick up a third gun from a fallen player. Weapons that other players drop come with extra magazines, so its a pretty sweet deal, especially if you get to pick up a enemy weapon.

This is a schematic of the situation explained below. The enemies are coming from the right side, and their routes are represented by the red lines. I'm the yellow dot, and the killzone (marked out with the thin red lines) represents my field of fire.
In another round I managed to drop a bunch of opponents with my M249 as they presented themselves, but I made the incredibly stupid mistake of trying to secure an opponent right in front of me.

There was no chance for this guy to be revived since he was lying right in front of me and there was no point in doing it this late in the round when everything was down to the wire. I probably wouldn't have been killed if I had just been smart and waited for the last enemies to come into my field of fire. When I was zip tying this guy, an enemy player quickly dropped me with his assault rifle.

Getting a takedown (chokehold kill) is one of the hardest in-game feats. I have only managed to do this once, and it was in a situation where I was fighting another player one on one, and he was less experienced than me.

 I would like to get takedowns more regularly. As for me, I have been taken down a embarrassing amount of times. Or the circumstances were embarrassing, because the same player choked me out three times in the same spot about three rounds in a row.

Takedowns are a fancy pants move, they do have the tactical advantage of being quiet, (shooting can really give away your position) and whoever you choke out can't be revived, so there's no chance of them getting back in action.

But usually, players go out of their way to do a takedown just because its so cool and really marks you out as being skilled (not to mention its pretty humiliating to the victim).

However this can really backfire, as I remember a player who attempted to sneak up on another player to take him down, but the other player turned around and shot him. Going for a takedown is a calculated risk and you have to be careful.  Usually its just easier and safer to shoot somebody when you get the drop on them.

And that principle is pretty accurate in real-life combat, as knife fights and things like that are pretty rare. Its always best to kill your enemies from as far away as possible.

 In one round where I was playing the VIP, I only had a pistol with sixteen rounds and no extra magazines. I got the drop on another player, and if my profile statistics are correct, I killed this player with just one round to the head. I could have attempted a takedown, but there's a good chance I would have met the same fate as the previous example. You have to be smart! This is no game for Rambo. Its for brainy, patient Rambo!