I am sorry but I am afraid this week I will be taking large breaks from my usual blog schedule. We are suffering technical difficulties on Dumbledore Shot First, and you can blame Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Syndrome, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Nerd Spasms and other such nonsense.
Dumbledore Shot First office.
Our boys will be working double time to get my operating again.
One of my favorite components to Naruto is the clever us of Japanese mythology, culture and kabuki to create dramatic tensions, symbolism and motifs. Naruto is a terribly unappreciated anime, in my humble opinion, and I think more people should give it a chance. I am gonna make some enemies here BUT 1. Bleach sucks and 2. Neon Genesis: Evangelion is pretentious and annoying.
All things must come to an end at some juncture and, just as I finished the 6th Season of Doctor Who, I also wrote a nifty little send-off to the season's big bad. The Silence were also my final induction into the scariest monsters of Doctor Who for Who-lloween. I really enjoyed writing the articles for this theme and hope to repeat the fun with another event for another season. Suggestions?
Red Riding Hood has always been a story that rattles around in my head. Perhaps, for Halloween I should've dressed as the Huntsman? I really like the variety of ways that these old fairy tales can be depicted.
I don't know how I totally feel about this last chapter I wrote the night before Halloween. I think I wanted to tell a story and maybe it wasn't best to put this in Lucius's perspective. BUT, I am rather proud of the story my brain pooped out and would love some opinions.
(Note: I decided to leave any specific game off the list, otherwise COD 4 would probably be #1)
11. BIG AND COLD: World War II and the Cold War
There are 12 games in the Call of Duty series. The first 6 games were all set in World War II followed up by World at War and then, finally, we got a Cold War game last year with Black Ops. The first one I played was Call of Duty 2 and I was impressed from mission one with Battle of Normanndy which has you scaling cliffs and taking out German gunners. This was my first taste of shooting my way through history. Yet, I believe that the first 6 games were lacking. Yes, they were all trying to be fairly accurate but it wasn't until Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare that the series became known for its cinematic scope and from that moment on things were never the same.
In World at War, you got to fight on both fronts of the war for the allies, as an American in the Pacific and a Soviet taking Berlin. The cinematic portrayal of that game gave us moments where we were forced to accept the unacceptable. In one scene, with Reznov, which I'll explain at number 7, the series continues the trend of incredible heart wrenching moments that began in COD 4.
Black Ops came out last year and was a little bit more speculative. You played a Black Ops Special Agent in a race to kill Castro, escape Soviet prison, stop an assassination plot and nuclear attack by the Russians and were exposed to years of Cold War history. From the jungles of Vietnam to the rooftops of Hong Kong to the Pentagon, you take a wild trip that turns history into a heart-pumping tale of suspense and action.
10. NOOBS ON THE TOOBS: Black Ops' "There's a Soldier in All of Us" Trailer
The name of the game was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It entered a dangerous world of World War II shooters and Halo in a way that would change modern first person shooters forever. The most popular guns in the game were probably the assault rifles like the M4 and the M16. My favorite gun?
To say I love shooting the W1200 in COD 4 is an understatement. Shooting no other weapon gives me the visceral satisfaction that this weapon does. Everything from the look of the urban blue camo to the sound of the end of my gun blowing someone's face away to the sound of me pushing bullets into this pump-action monster.
Slap on some sneaky perks, stopping power, and I could kill anyone guaranteed in 2 hits. This was the perfect weapon for sniper hunting and one of my favorite moments of using the gun was when I routed the enemy team on The Bloc and I could hear the enemy shouting at each other about allowing me to just destroy them.
8. NAZIS & NIXON: SPEC OPS MODE/ ZOMBIE MODE
To the philistines out there who believe COD is 1-Dimensional...I ask you to turn your eyeballs to the picture above. Call of Duty: Black Ops lets you fight a zombie horde from the Pentagon as JFK, Castro and Nixon alongside up to three of your friends. If you can honestly sit there with a straight face and tell me that such an insane concept is not one of the coolest ideas you have ever heard....I just do not even know what to do about that.World at War introduced the first modern COD co-op mode, with Zombie Mode (cuz Nazi zombies are fun to kill) and Modern Warfare 2 introduced Spec-Ops mode, where you work toward objectives in special missions.These missions range from sneaking around and sniping the enemy without getting caught to racing snow mobiles down a mountainside.
Call of Duty brings some of the biggest bang for your buck out of any shooter on the market and that's why its king, baby.
7. BAD RUSSIAN: VIKTOR REZNOV
This World War II Russian badass drags your ass through Europe in World at War. Every word he says is with purest passion, from joy to rage, and this insane passion forces you to perform the first act of war-time inhumanity in the series.
During the capture of Berlin, he corners some German prisoners and gives you two options: 1. Shoot them with your machine gun or 2. He will burn them alive with a molotov cocktail. This moment has stuck with me for years to come and took a very modern look at the way the Fall of Berlin went down.
Reznov is an unkillable bastard and though it seemed like his story finally ended in Black Ops, I wouldn't be surprised if he came back for another round down the road.
laser [ley-zer] noun
1. Acronym. Light amplified by stimulating emission of radiation.
2. a device that produces a nearly parallel, nearly monochromatic, and coherent beam of light by exciting atoms to a higher energy level and causing them to radiate their energy in phase.
immolate [im-uh-leyt] verb
1. to sacrifice.
2. to kill a sacrificial victim by fire.
3. to destroy by fire.
EX. I never liked Smokey Bear but I think I went too far with my super-ironic-super-science this time. I created a Kodiak bear chimera with the wings of a California Condor, laser eyes and the desire to immolate all that stands in their way of total domination of the forest.
After speaking with my friend Zach,
he convinced me to take my recent and ponderous interest with my newest
character in his newest Advanced D & D campaign.
I will be posting a first draft of, hopefully, two chapters a week, and I
will probably resume The Action Society posts next month. Enjoy and PLEASE comment.
EPISODE 1: THE SUPPER INTERRUPTED
The mud squelched underfoot of the straw boots of an
odd couple. Rain had swept down across the mountains of Toza, flooding the
rivers so that clay washed over everything and even swallowed the main road. On
either side were the once green fields, flooded with water, so that it almost
seemed like the road was winding through a shallow lake. They air was a chill
with a winter rain’s mist, hanging in the air like tight sheets of frost, that
melted as soon as they hit the two men. The only sound was the disgusting
squish and pop of their steps as their footing sank into the mud and they
pulled their feet up before they got bogged down. The two had walked under
these unpleasant circumstances for hours and they did not say a word to each
other. They walked side by side; with the largest of the pair waiting for the
other to catch up, if he got ahead of his traveling companion.
As the two walked, up
ahead they could see the road rising up as it came to some houses on either
side. The houses were also risen up, on hard packed earth, stone, or wood; they
were little islands against the tide of the flood waters. Smoke drifted through
the wet haze, from the little openings at the mouths of the houses, between
where the walls met the roof, and disappeared into the clouds above. The sound
of a barking dog could be heard by the two men but it quickly stopped. The
smaller of the two could have sworn he saw a little face peak out at them from
over a gate before quickly ducking back down. The little hamlet was certainly
alive but most definitely subdued by the harsh turn of the weather.
The smaller figure led
the way toward the largest building they could see. Above the door was a glass
plate, chipped, with red symbols written on it. The larger figure paused as
soon as he spotted the plate and his companion looked back. He grabbed his arm
and pulled him to the front door. Drawing his attention away from the door, the
larger figure watched as his companion called out, they waiting to see if
anyone was in the home. Surely enough, after a couple of moments, they could
hear doors sliding around inside. After a patient pause, the front door was
pulled aside and, standing in the foyer, was a small middle aged man. He was
balding on the top of his head and had a frowning face. He looked as if he was
quite fat, not so long ago, but had recently been forced to lose weight. The
villager gave a small bow and looked at the two figures.
In front, was the
smaller of the two travelers was a young man with a scar across his right
cheek. His wild hair was tied back in a knot so that it made a dark halo at the
end of the knot. He had a serious brow over a pair of almond colored eyes that
shown on his pale face. His eyes were sharp and seemed like they could cut
anyone with a stern glance. His serious face was accented by thin black mustache
under a slender nose and just under his thin lips was a strip of wild hair that
was just long enough to come off his chin. He was of a rather slight stature,
made even more obvious by his attire. He wore a large straw rain coat and round
straw hat, dark blue kimono with a white crane pattern on them, blue and white
striped trousers, and a pair of straw boots. Fairly mundane clothing, but the
eyes of the middle aged man were drawn to the beautiful sword hand and scabbard
at the young man’s hip. The scabbard had a black sheen to it and little
circular grooves carved into it. He saw that in some of the grooves were red
metal beads with a black smoke cross painted onto them. The sword was shorter
than the katana’s he saw the samurais wear when they came into town and yet, he
could tell this was no commoner’s sword and the owner was no commoner.
Standing behind the
owner of the sword was the largest man that the village had ever seen in his
life. The swordsman’s height just barely came to the bottom of his companion’s
chest. Furthermore, the larger stranger was as wide at the front foot to the
villager’s home and had a large belly. He was more impressive than the largest
sumo he had seen on a trip to Tozachi city. A large head sat at the top of a
pair of shoulders that sloped down into muscular arms and two hands that were each
as big as four of the villager’s own hands. His skin was tanner than any farmer
the village had seen from the south and his eyelids were dark. They framed his
golden eyes, like topaz, that glinted and seemed to be trying to solve a
difficult puzzle. A friendly smile seemed to constantly pull at the edge of his
large mouth, some stray whiskers that hung tightly to his face, and leading to
his thick sideburns. His hair was wild and the villager couldn’t quite make out
what color the tied back nest of hair was in this light. At first, it appeared
just as dark as his companions, but it was as if, from the roots, his hair
changed from black to brown to a copper and even white tone. He also wore a
large straw rain cloak and in his hands, he held a hat similar to his companion’s
round straw hat but cast in iron. It looked somewhat like a large cooking wok
without the handles. He wore a faded blue kimono over his trousers, a large
studded belt, with copper domes, wrapped around his waist. Tucked into his belt
was a black club with copper studs on it, a large drinking gourd, and strapped
across his back was a daikyu bow. They each carried a traveling bag across
their backs that looked as if it carried their entire lives.
The villager seemed
impressed, as he bowed even lower, “Good evening. I am the village head, Godo. Sirs,
may I be of assistance to you this evening? Perhaps you are looking for
somewhere to stay the night and rest your weary feet?”
The swordsman gave a
small bow and introduced them, “Good evening. I am Kuroihi Takezou and this is
my friend, Hachiyama-san.” The giant bowed all the way at the waist before
returning to cast a shadow over the doorway. “We would have much appreciation
to stay at your home for the evening if it is not too much trouble. The
conditions by the road would not afford us to make camp. How much would it cost
to stay the night?”
nothing at all.” Godo stepped back, “Please come in. It would be my honor to
entertain you for the evening.”
you sure?” Takezou asked.
sir, yes sir. I won’t hear of it.” Godo replied, “As the village head, it is my
privilege and duty to entertain guests to the Asa-Mura.”
thanked Godo and paused just outside the door, crouching down, to unstrap his
boots and place them just inside the door. He stepped inside and also peeled
the muddy two-toed socks from his feet with a relieved sigh. Hachiyama did the
same, though it seemed to take him longer to work out the knots of his
bootstraps with his thick fingers. He sidled under the door, his head just
barely tapping the ceiling, he bent at waist, just a bit, before crouching down
to peel his socks from his feet. Godo seemed impatient because the moment they
finished he led them into a room and set them a table. The two travelers sat
down, cross-legged at one end of the large table, as Godo went to go prepare
them a meal.
two sat in relaxed silence. Hachiyama closed his eyes after setting his travel
bag, rain coat, and hat aside. Takezou did the same but did some leg stretches
as they waited. The house was warmed by a wood stove in the next room, the
kitchen, and the two were relieved to feel their toes slowly regain warmth and
revive from wet numbness. Godo returned after a short time and sat across from
them. His wife and two maids came in a little time later and laid out several
large dishes. Hachiyama grinned at the sight of the delicious food, setting his
drinking gourd by his knee, and doing a little bow.
wife’s cooking looks as lovely as it smells,” Hachiyama chuckled and gave Godo
Godo was surprised by
the voice that came out of the giant’s mouth. It was not the voice of a
simpleton. It was slow, deliberate, deep, but soft and poetic. It was like the sigh
of a summer breeze.
The guests began eating
the meal set before them with little shyness. Takezou ate with proper etiquette,
though he scooped himself a sizeable portion. Hachiyama on the other hand,
piled food onto his plate, and scooped up into his mouth with an almost
glutinous zeal. After getting their fill of food and wine, the two companions
thanked their host again. Hachiyama stood up and gave a little bow. He asked
Godo if he and his wife would enjoy a song.
“After such a wonderful
meal and given this dower weather, it might brighten your spirits.” Takezou
Hachiyama did not have
any instruments. He simply took a deep breath and began to sing a folk song. It
was about winter rain and a young family who loses their crops. It was a song
that Godo and his wife had heard sung before but never so beautifully. By the
end, the wife’s face was with tears and the hosts thanked Hachiyama for his performance.
He gave a deep bow and smiled at them, “It is my honor to entertain you.”
The middle-aged couple
explained that they could have the dining room for the night and brought them
some cots. It was still a little early for bed but the two were tired. The
couple left their guests to rest. Hachiyama lay out on his cot, sipping some
sake from his gourd, and watching Takezou perform some balance exercises.
“We got lucky finding
such generous hosts, eh Takezou?” Hachiyama asked, softly. Takezou did not
pause as he practiced reaching for his sword.
The swordsman did not
cease his practice but answered his companion. “Yes. Though, I am not sure.
Such generosity when the rest of the village, well” Takezou paused, “you saw
it, didn’t you?”
“Yes, the village.”
Takezou sat down beside his lounging friend, “No one came out to investigate
“Perhaps they were
busy?” Hachiyama suggested.
“I do not think so.
Their crops are flooded and well, no offense my friend, but your appearance does
draw some attention.” Takezou countered.
Hachiyama shifted uncomfortably,
“Perhaps they’re having
troubles?” Takezou yawned.
echoed, just as a scream cut through the night air. The large man sat bolt
right up and Takezou opened a nearby shudder to peek outside. Hachiyama walked
over to the sliding door leading to the room but Godo opened it first.
He was trembling, “Sirs,
I have some business to take care of outside. I beg you stay inside. This is of
no concern to you.” He shut the door and left the two inside without another
Hachiyama looked over at Takezou, “Do you see anything?”
“No.” The swordsman
More louds voice and
the sounds of horses clopping down the road could be heard. The sound of a
wailing woman could be heard and men shouting. Takezou turned from the window, “C’mon.”
Hachiyama followed him
outside, where they could see a group of peasants in a crowd in front of a
nearby house. A woman was crouched on the ground, holding a lifeless body of a
man to her. Standing by the crowd was a group of men in ramshackle armor, wielding
spears and other weapons, and standing between the woman and the armored men
was Godo. A tall man in all black, on a black horse, was shouting at Godo. The
village head was cowering, and seemed to be trying to calm the shouting man
The two travelers
quickly walked toward the ruckus. As they got closer, the man on the black
horse looked toward them, “Who’re these people, Godo?”
Before Godo could
explain, Takezou spoke up in a clear authoritative voice, “I am Takezou Kurohi.
What is the trouble here?
The man in black,
wearing the garb of a monk, sneered, “Takezou Kurohi?” He poked Godo with the
end of his spear, ignoring the two travelers, “Who’re they?”
Godo tried to explain, “Please, I will pay you. Just leave us be.”
“No.” The man on the
black horse snarled, “One of your peasants got in the way and attacked one of
“You killed him,” Godo
gestured to the dead man lying in the lap of the wailing woman, “You man got
his revenge. Just please, leave us be.” He got on his hands and knees, begging.
“No. We need to teach
you little peasants a lesson, Godo. And for starters,” He swung his spear and
the villagers screamed out, but it was too late. The man on the black horse
stuck Godo in the back and then again. He pulled his spear up, “I recommend you
two strangers leave.”
Takezou glared at the
man on the black horse, “No.”
“No?” The man on the
black horse laughed, “Why does it matter to you, kensei?”
man was our gracious host and you cut him down. You also insulted my name.”
Takezou spat, “What is your name?”
the hell does it matter to you?” He asked.
killed Godo.” Hachiyama interrupted, pulling his club from his belt, the man
looking him over with a sneer.
of it?” He spat.
Takezou snapped, “I asked you for your name.”
Takeshi,” the man in black answered, “Why do you care?” His men were growing
restless, the villagers watching in fear from where they stood crowded around
the young woman and her dead husband.
put his hand on the base of his sword, “I challenge you to a duel. If I win,
you leave the villagers alone. If I lose, we leave and never come back.”
the man in black threw up his spear, “Get ‘em.” A half-dozen bandits rushed
forward, while the others chased after the villagers. As soon as the bandits
got within a few steps of Takezou he cut them down. His sword in one hand and
the scabbard in the other, the latter used a shield and club, the men each fell
into the mud. The weapons and bodies of the six men broken by swift blows, the
swordsman fought his way toward where the leader had retreated behind his men
with silent determination. Meanwhile, Hachiyama was chasing after the bandits
that went toward the villagers and their homes.
let out a piteous scream before falling crushed in the mud by a blow from his
club and others never saw it coming, sinking to their knees, and remaining
silent forever more. Hachiyama shouted, “Get inside!” to the villagers, Takezou
fending off more men, as the giant took a spear to his back. He let out a
rather small grunt of pain, before turning around on his attacker, and knocking
him through the air with a swing. He heard a child cry out for help, turned,
and made his way toward a bandit who had thrown an old man to the ground next
to a little boy. The bandit was just about to lay the killing blow on the
helpless grandfather when he spotted the club-wielding menace charging down on
him. He grabbed the child and held him as a human shield. Hachiyama paused, “Wait,
don’t hurt the child.”
bandit sneered, walking toward Hachiyama, a knife to the child’s throat, “Then
put down your weapon.”
looked down at his club for a moment. He knew if he did not surrender the child
would die but if he did he would die and the bandit might kill the child
anyway. Trembling, just about to throw down his weapon and surrender, the
bandit let out a painful groan, and sunk to the ground. The child escaped his
grasp, as the old man stood behind the downed bandit, holding up a shovel above
his head. He shouted to the other villagers, “Come outside and help! Help the
big guy let out a battle cry and turned to the next unlucky foe. Meanwhile,
Takezou had nearly caught up with Satō, when the bandit leading priest spotted
him. He whistled and retreated up the road. The remaining men ran after him or
anyway they could retreat. Takezou kicked the mud, dried his sword on his
sleeve, and put it away. The villagers were collecting the dead, some
celebrating and other’s mourning. Takezou just stared at the forested mountain
the bandits had fled to. Hachiyama made his way to the place where his
companion stood so disappointedly, “He got away?”
am sorry. We did good though. They won’t be back for a while, right?” Hachiyama
asked and Takezou nodded again. Over two dozen of the bandits had been cut down
by Takezou, smashed by Hachiyama, or bamboo speared by the villagers. Takezou
turned around, slowly, and looked at the bodies piles up along the road. He
took a breath and walked back toward the center of the village. Hachiyama
followed close behind, resting his club on his shoulder, as they found the
largest group of people.
is the town elder?” Takezou asked a nearby man.
grandfather that Hachiyama had saved answered, “He is up in the temple. Come
with me. He will want to thank you.”
three of them and some other villages made their way off a little side road and
toward an old temple. A huge stone pillar stood out front, with the names of
thousands of gods carved into it, as a spiritual marker of the important of the
place. Hachiyama did a little respectful nod to the stone when the other
villagers bowed. Then the grandfather led them up inside the temple. Coming out
from a little side room, was an ancient man, milky grey eyes and shaking, came
out, “These are the two men who fought off the bandits?”
Elder Gi,” The grandfather explained, “Hachiyama-san and Takezou-san.”
Hachiyama and Takezou looked a little surprised that the old man already knew
that they had just helped fight off bandits and that the villagers all already seemed
to know their names.
Gi chuckled, “News travels fast in Asa-mura.” He gave them a bow, as did the
other villagers, “I want to thank the both of you for doing that for us. We are
not worthy of such generosity from two talented warriors.”
do us too much honor,” Hachiyama countered, shaking his head, “It is the duty
of those with power to defend good people from those who abuse it.”
elder smiled and coughed, “Such kind words. We peasants rarely get such
charity, you see. We are lucky you came along.”
are you going to do now that your town head has been killed?” Takezou asked the
elder who sighed.
not allow that death to weigh your hearts down too heavily with sorrow. Godo
was not a very bad man, but he was a coward and louse. Any kindness he may have
shown was probably just to win a favor from you or your allies.” Elder Gi
sighed, bitterly, “He is the reason we got into this trouble in the first
place. He kowtowed to the bandits too quickly and gave them too many
concessions. Perhaps, now that he is dead, that will get the attention of the
samurai or Lord Tosa.”
so,” Takezou sighed, “But perhaps not.” The swordsman looked about the temple,
pacing a little, before stopping. He had made a decision, “We will go to Tosachi
and tell the samurai there of this business.”
honored ones that would be so generous.” Elder Gi said.
is but a small task,” Takezou waived the compliment, “We are going to Tosachi
to meet a friend of Hachiyama and it would be my honor to defend this village
as my own.”
nodded, “We will get rid of the bad men.”
elder braced himself against the grandfather, “Thank you. You need not trouble
yourselves,” he sounded very impressed, “But if you would help us through this crisis
I will make sure that your names are put in our prayers for months to come.”
you.” Hachiyama bowed to the Shintō priest, bowing deeply, and Takezou did the
same. After some more pleasantries, they quickly made their leave, taking some
of the horses from the dead bandits, telling the villagers they would sell the
horses and bring back some rice for their stock. They left the next morning,
the sun breaking through the thick clouds, creating a halo effect that made it
appear as if a dark circle had broken through the clouds as they made their way
over the last hill of the village.
hummed softly and broke into a cheerful song.