I’ve idly thought once or twice about what it would be like to be a gunsmith. Today I actually looked around online to see what it would entail. For once, I’m actually encouraged.

There’s a gunsmithing trade school in Colorado, even in the same area where I have both friends and relatives. The school’s claim that their program can be completed in 14 months is probably unrealistic, but it’s not going to be a life-sapping span of time.

Because of the training I’d receive on shop equipment, the skills carry over into plenty of other (quite employable) fields. If I end up getting serious about making movie props, the training would plug right into that.

It’s a field that lets me work with my hands, offers room for creativity, rewards attention to detail and craftsmanship, and work will never dry up in my lifetime.

Paired with my English degree, it would also qualify me (I would assume) to write/edit books and manuals.

I’m not seeing many cons to this, to be honest. Well, other than helping perpetuate objects designed solely to kill. Part of the problem, not the solution and all that.


Stretching the writing muscles: Asteroid off the port bow.

My life and yours will be ended by a rock. Not just our lives either. A rock puts an end to human history. Last month, it was a faux news article stuck to the break room fridge by that joker Nelson. Today it’s a fact, an ugly sooty little fact that feels like a piece of popcorn stuck between my teeth. I worry and pick at it, but nothing I do budges it. Frustration, helplessness, everyone at the observatory ate these for every meal for a month.

Yesterday, the president informed the world of its fate. An asteroid the size of Australia was on its way, and no rushed nuclear solution had been launched. For two weeks, the rest of the nuclear club opposed the launch of any American vehicle carrying nuclear weapons. By the time we’d thrown enough charts at the politicians, it was too late.

The president’s speech was the best of his career, and as usual, people listened and took…some kind of hope from his words. There was panic, but not to the scale anyone expected. Maybe they realized the government could have chosen to remain silent, and let our nation pass away in the night, continent spinning off into the darkness with all the rest. Instead, he trusted us to do what should be done on the eve of apocalypse. Pray. Forgive. Make love.

Last night after the speech, my family collapsed onto the den rug to huddle together. The kids were old enough to accept the fact, but not the reality. They’d cried harder when I grounded them from TV for a month. Clair had known since I had, though every day she’d expected some intervention. Even that night, she didn’t lose it completely like I did. She lay in bed behind me now, a crumpled snowdrift of kleenex tumbling off the sheets.

I couldn’t see the rock now. It would hit on the other side of the world. Yesterday you could see it without a telescope. I was glad I couldn’t see, glad it wasn’t hanging in my sky, an obnoxious obviousness.

“The universe doesn’t keep score, and we are not waiting for points to be tallied as this round ends. We are a beautiful creation, painfully beautiful…and nothing but our eternal opponent could bring us together like this. For the first time we can see that we are a family, and together as a family, we are moving on to the next step.” God, he had a way with words. Belief shone from him; belief in his message and belief in us.

Music started up somewhere down the block. In the movie it would be a grand soaring orchestral number, raising goose flesh on your arms. Instead, it was “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls. It made me angry, that my last moments would be demeaned by this music. When I thought about protesting, the anger fell straight out through my feet. How silly could I be? In a way, the song was thumbing its nose at the universe. It wasn’t a dirge; it was just life, common and anchoring.

When I’d convinced myself I had no good reason for watching the sky, I slid back into bed and spooned up against Clair. She slept, arms curled around the kids, our big dumb dane stretched across the foot of the bed.

How many things would come through with us, to this ‘next step?’ Would religion weather the transition? Would wrong and right? My brain just wouldn’t shut up. Fantasizing about what was to come wasn’t helping. Nothing could help. I might as we—

Lion dream

Vivid dream last night. I and an unidentified girl were chased around a house by a lion. It cornered us, and in a last ditch effort to save us from a mauling I threw myself at the lion, got my arms around its neck, and…petted it.

The lion seemed…shocked, but settled down and enjoyed it. The poor guy was achingly thin, the pet of a man who had died. It had been surviving on dry catfood for weeks.

Then somehow I got a horribly infected wound, visited a Jewish doctor, and was told to drink barley water. The end.

More movie reviews

Barberella – Space heroine saves the galaxy with naivete and sex. Anima review: Many things make more sense to me, after seeing this movie. Space Channel 5. Certain Futurama jokes. Bladder cancer.

The Thing – Alien organism terrorizes a camp of scientists working in the antarctic. Anima review: I may as well have seen this movie already as far as the plot; a lot of fiction, television, and movies imitate it. I’ve also read the sci-fi story that inspired the movie. The effects freaked me out. I’ve seen far ‘worse’ things in more recent films, but that was mostly CG stuff. Seeing rubber, fake blood, meat, and so forth moved with strings and cables by people who know what they’re doing? That is seriously, seriously disturbing. I can’t say it scared me, but it pushed some primal buttons. I haven’t felt that disturbed since I saw that backwards-walking creature in the Silent Hill movie.

Captain EO – A 17-minute movie in which Michael Jackson leads a spaceship crew to victory over an evil Borg queen-esque villain…with dance. Anima review: I think it’s safe to say that the director, producer, and Michael are sorry they ever touched this one. It was like an episode of Care Bears got fused with Star Trek TOS, then it ate a bunch of MTV and vomited up Captain EO.

Silent Running – One man in a crew of four aboard an eco-dome spaceship refuses company orders to destroy the domes. Instead, he kills his crewmates, reports a severe malfunction to the company, and flees to Saturn where he can tend to Earth’s last forests with only three robotic repair drones for company. Anima review: Alright. Your protagonist is not sympathetic. Your robots are not charming enough. Your protagonist doesn’t stick to the task he killed three people to continue performing, and…and…ugh!

Things to Come – Old black and white film based on a H.G. Wells story. In a nutshell, war is bad, globalization (the uniting of all humanity under the ‘sane’ rule of scientists and engineers) is our salvation, we as a race have unlimited potential and the self-granted permission to expand, exploit, and conquer the universe. Anima review: I think I can understand the belief that the intelligentsia would do a better job ruling the world than politicians. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’d ever get enough brainiacs together who wish to hold public offices. The ones that do accept are bound to be insane, or just looking to fund their Space Gun research.

Futurama, Into the Green Yonder – The fourth and final(?) Futurama movie. Better than 2 and 3, still not as good as movie #1.

Still to come: The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Children of Men.

Old sci-fi movies

I dug up a few titles I hadn’t seen from a list of the top 100 sci-fi movies of all time.

Liquid Sky: Invisible aliens come to New York in search of heroin. Anima review – WTF!!!

THX 1138: Pre-Star Wars George Lucas film. Anima review – …Wait, what? This is…you suck!

A Boy and His Dog: A teen and his telepathic, smart dog adventure in post-apocalyptic lands in search of food and sex. Anima review – Hee, the dog is smarter than the kid. OMG Cannibalism!

Still to come: The Thing, Things to Come, Children of Men, Captain EO, Silent Running, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Barberella.

(I’m not happy with the top 100 list I found, by the way. Dune didn’t make it into the top 100! Not even close.)

Inventions people would actually buy.

Personal EMP field generator: Puts out weak electromagnetic pulses, not enough to destroy all electronics but quite enough to disrupt or ruin cameras and tape recorders that come within five feet. Goodbye obnoxious mobs of reporters/fans. Market: Politicians, celebrities, victims of tragedy hounded by the media.

No-Grow Grass: It doesn’t actually *not* grow, but it’s genetically engineered to grow to a specific height and stop. There’d be a very short strain for athletic fields and people anal about their lawns, and a longer strain that’s friendlier to outdoor play.

Shock-sensor equipped cellphones: Instead of digging your phone out of your pocket when it goes off at an inappropriate time (at the movie, at a funeral, in the classroom, in the confession booth) you can simply slap it. The sensor detects the shock, and goes silent.

The Ruin-a-Spammer’s-Life Foundation: A small non-profit organization staffed with IT works who would take donations and use them to legally (no book of Job reenactments) torment the people responsible for our spam. If you donate enough, the foundation allows you to participate personally in a campaign.

More beneath the cut.

Job Search Rage

Craigslist is one of the multiple sites I check daily for jobs. Yesterday I received an email from an employer I’d sent my resume to, informing me about their company and assuring me an interview was forthcoming. They’re a marketing firm, and they’d like me to visit a provided link and take a survey so I’d know what they were talking about during the interview. That sounded reasonable, and the link wasn’t a mouse-over-WTF, so I followed it.
Briefly, the page in the link loaded up, but I was swiftly redirected to Vindale Research. I signed up with minimal personal info, and when the first ‘survey’ was a much more extensive personal info form, I decided to Google the site. Yep, it’s a scam. One of those ‘complete offers for cash’ scams.
This was the first response I’d gotten in months from an employer, and it turns out to be fake. I was crushed.
This morning I received responses from two other Craigslist posters I’d emailed. One was rather subtle, apologizing for already filling the position, then pointed me to a jobs site I’d never heard of. Spam.
The other didn’t even try to disguise itself. ‘This isn’t a normal job, actually. Make money with!’

Listen up, job-board spammers and scammers. If I ever find out who you are, I will remove your balls with a pair of safety scissors, and replace your eyes with your own testicles. You’re worse than the sick-child scammers. You’re worse than the prayer-campaign scammers. You are the parasite that causes the long lingering death of the mouldering rodent who feeds on the scum of the Earth. You possess a sickening pustule where others host empathy. I can only hope your deceptions have become so foul because of desperation, that you are on the brink of homelessness, and by next month you’ll be sleeping in a dumpster with lice in your beard and maggots in all your crevices.