Parental Reading Guidance… Army Sergeant Style

My dad can read but doesn’t much… unless you count horse magazines. Something about equine breaking and shoeing gets his literature on. My mom is a huge fan of “sex and sufferin” books… this is how she categorizes her reading pursuits. I understand the “sex” part, but the “sufferin” is what throws me for a loop. Personally, I am a huge fan of sex, but the suffering part is a downer. Not because I am squeamish, but because I don’t give a shit about book characters having to suffer. Just get back to the “throbbing manhoods” and “heaving” bosoms. I am also surprised she doesn’t use the words “velvety” and “ravishing” more often in her everyday speech. I believe those two words are prominently used in her “S&S” books. Glad she isn’t into “S&M” books… who knows what she would talk about when chowing down on Crisco fried food at the dinner table.

Obviously, reading was a big part of my childhood… but I have never read an S&S book. I don’t remember Mother Goose and some old lady with a foot fetish with a worn-out uterus. I do remember we had this Native American folklore book (back then it was entitled “American Indian”). Today you would be confused between the building of the Taj Mahal and spirits of Tatonkas by the title of this book.

My sister and I are now voracious readers. If you were her Facebook friend you would get a constant stream of Kindle book recommendations and recipes. She is really into the literature of chocolate corn muffins. I’m into nonfiction and worthless humor. I am really into the literature of the nerd.

Our reading habits are based on having parents who A) encouraged reading and B) didn’t really know what the fuck we were reading. Once we got old enough to buy, or check out, our own books we pretty much explored the world on our own. We never had a book removed or banned through the infamous hand snatch that so many parents are known for. I am not even sure they were aware of our forays in literature… I just know that I was never told what I couldn’t read. This may be the only liberal aspect to my otherwise Southern Republican parents’ life.

The Third World War by Sir John Hackett, published in 1982, was the book that gave me insight into the importance of parenting. I read this adult book when I was 12. It was technically proficient imagining of a war in Europe between NATO and the Warsaw Pact that would happen in August 1985. Eight years later I would excel as an Army private because I was ready (after reading this book) to be part of the coming inferno in Europe… the Soviet Union collapsed months after I enlisted. I enlisted as a 19D, Armored Cavalry Scout… which meant that in case of war with the Warsaw Pact I would have been a real shitty T-72 speed bump in the Fulda Gap. This book built a foundation in my mind and ensured that I could accurately identify the Soviet mechanized formations… at least the Forward Security Element of the Advanced Guard. We Cav Scouts weren’t expected to live past initial contact with these units. In Afghanistan, these formations proved less than succesful for the Soviets. This book prepared me for my future career in the Army.

Getting this book was not that easy though. I saw the book in the Bad Nauheim, Germany, Post-Exchange bookstore. I was either in the 6th or 7th grade, I don’t really remember. But I do remember being fascinated by the “novel’s” cover, it featured a Soviet T-72 shooting out of some flames… this is the same type of tank I mentioned earlier that was designed to roll over the top of dumbass 19-year-old American privates like me. The store clerk wouldn’t let me buy it. She specifically said “that book is for adults, you can’t have it.” I was crushed, as a 12-year-old who had been raised on war toys, being refused a book on war was unthinkable. We won’t discuss the parenting decision of allowing me to play with war toys or how I grew up fantasizing about the military… which were dispelled once I actually served in the military. I walked home broken-hearted.

My dad, an Army NCO at the time, saw my crest fallen face and asked me what was wrong. Today I would have said “the fucking bitch at the book store wouldn’t let me buy a book I wanted. Since when is censorship ok?”… but since I was 12, I said something like “the mean store clerk wouldn’t let me buy a book I wanted and I don’t know why… something about me not being old enough.” This pissed my dad off… pissed him off in a way that I didn’t expect. I thought he would be mad at me for acting sad and mopey, instead he was pissed at the bookstore bitch. He curtly told me to follow him.

We marched (did I mention my dad was an Army sergeant) back to the store. Upon entering we marched (did I mention my dad was good at marching) up to the counter and confronted the bitch. He placed his hand on my shoulder and said “Do you see this boy? Any time he is here and wants to buy anything… he can. I don’t care if it is a Playboy magazine or some ‘adult’ book. He can buy anything he wants. I determine what he can read, not you.” With that he did an about-face and marched out with me standing there. I then bought the fucking book.

My dad didn’t say a word when I returned with it (I think he was polishing his Army boots… Army sergeants do that). I didn’t thank him because I did not realize how important this event was. Years later, upon recalling this event I thanked him. He didn’t remember it but admitted it was something he would have done and would do again.

My dad can read but doesn’t do it much. But he served in the Army so you can read all the S&S books you want. I have bitched about my parents a lot as I was growing up. Now as a man, I realize that they did the best they could. Parenting be hard. This is one of the greatest memories I have of my dad. By the way, horse breaking and shoeing magazines bore the shit out of me, but when I see one I think of my dad, smile, and think how that bookstore bitch didn’t know what hit her.

A harbor seal, a morning run, and hot food on Army mess hall trays

It’s raining here in the Pacific Northwest… it is not a heavy downpour but a constant drizzle that seems to soak into the bones quicker than a deluge would. Even with the leaves off all the deciduous trees, it is green here. There are numerous cedar trees here. The cedars are dark green and shiny with wetness. Their greenness keep color alive here even in the late Fall. There is a wet greyness here, but there is color too. I believe you would have to get used to being soaked if you lived here. I don’t live here, but some of my family does and since it is Thanksgiving… I am here.

My morning coffee vision was a harbor seal making his way up the Puget Sound in the grey morning with streaks of sunshine trying to punch through the clouds… the grey wins. One head bob, two bobs, three bobs… the seal made his way up the calm and steely waters. The seal didn’t seem to have a final destination… just sort of seemed to be making a lazy movement through the water. His slow travel matched the weather… it was constant and determined.

My morning run among the cedars was constant and determined too. Running here means a mix of sweat and rain. Sweat had misted on my shirt, my breath steamed in the cool air. Running here with an iPod seems wrong, very wrong. The slap of running shoe on wet pavement is a welcoming sound and keeps beat with the waves lapping the sand and stone. To interrupt this with modern music and electronica doesn’t seem right. I tucked the ear buds into my pocket… I didn’t ruin the moment. I run quicker because there isn’t music playing in my ears or head; I run a quicker pace because this is one of those moments where I am thankful that I am a runner. I am outside listening to my breath, my heartbeat, and the sound of my feet moving along. This type of run let’s me sort through my thoughts… this type of run let’s me take out the mental trash. I am not in a groove, I am in my own head. This is meant to be enjoyed in its simple pleasure. Nothing today will be as enjoyable.

The weather reminds me of growing up in Germany as an Army brat. Reminds me of being a young U.S. Army officer in Germany. Reminds me of what holidays mean to me. I cannot remember making holiday crafts in school or family. Paper turkeys were in my past, but they are forgotten. What I think of when it is grey, rainy, and cold is hot turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and rolls served on a plastic Army mess hall tray.

Thanksgiving in the Army is the day when the officers wear their dress uniforms and serve the enlisted soldiers and their families. Holidays in the Army is when you realize what an insular institution the military is… it is removed from society. It is not a hometown or small piece of America. It is always an outpost populated by American soldiers. it is full of soldiers missing home and making it through a day when they would rather be home with friends and family… and wondering how and the fuck they ended up there. I imagine Roman legionnaires felt the same when celebrating Compitalia in some far-flung place in Britain, Gaul, or Germania.

I have been served in mess halls as a child and as an enlisted soldier. As an officer, I have placed cuts of turkey on soldiers’ trays. It isn’t mom’s cooking… but it is almost as good. However, like Captain Willard says in Apocalypse Now: “The more they tried to make it just like home, the more they made everybody miss it.” You make the best of it… you eat the food and thank those who are serving you.

I don’t necessarily think of things I am thankful for on Thanksgiving. I think of the warm memories of Thanksgivings of my past. I am (I believe) always thankful for the good things in my life. Thanksgiving is a memory of grey, wet, and cold days punctuated with warm food served on plastic mess hall trays.

The vision of the seal making its way through the water was later reflected by me running in a grey Pacific Northwest drizzle. Both of us are making our way somewhere, but nowhere in particular. It isn’t necessarily a holiday, but it is a day to think about the things that important to you… and move along in your run.

This post sponsored by Skoal

Thankfully, there is a lot of bourbon in this house. It is stored in the damp basement by the washer and dryer on a folding card table. I would describe this basement as cool; cool that it is damp, dusky, and very earthy… and cool because if you were a serial killer this is where you would bury your victims. The card table is covered in bourbon… it is the nectar of life and blossoms down here in bowels of the earth.

The sweet sweet nectar of life has just gotten me through 3 hours of Tinkerbell and her friends. I had no idea that butterflies got their wings painted by fairies… but they fuckin do. They also paint the black stripes on bees, make the grass grow, and spin spider webs with a needle and a thread. Honestly, I had no clue this kind of entertainment existed, nor had I realized how important a full bottle of earth cooled bourbon is to get through these fairy tales. My twin nephew and niece love this stuff… seems they can’t get enough of “tink’bell.” They aren’t even into three glasses of bourbon (like their uncle)… yet they are laughing their little heads off.

There was a moment when my head, eyes, and ears perked up… seems some Disney shows do not have ads, instead they have sponsors. These sponsors (some toy or kids’ apparel company) announce their support of the show at the beginning and then at breaks in the show the sponsors’ products are then shown. I imagine some really smart ad person decided that this sponsorship, like NASCAR, is a better way to get their product displayed. Hook ’em young.

I have always been fairly cognizant of what I was being sold when I was watching television. I also recognize that selling ads is what funds my favorite television. But there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. You can sell to my twin nephew and niece… they have no money yet. But when you start violating things that are important to me is when I stand up and say “fuck you.”

I didn’t have a problem with Nike using the Beatles’ “Revolution” because I am a Rolling Stones kind of guy. What I have a problem with is Subaru using the Pogues “If I Should Fall From the Grace of God” in their new hockey mom ad. However, by the comments on the youtube version of this ad, I am in the minority. Best. Comment. Ever: “The Pogues are so fucking awesome that they even make a lame car commercial look cool.” – MontrealExposForever. 1. The Pogues are so fucking awesome, but 2. Subaru cars are noooooooo where as lame as the Chevy Cobalt, and finally, 3) What sort of fucking dork has a youtube ID of “MontrealExposForever”… dude that boat sailed so long ago. You’re stupid wannabe-European Canadian city was unable to support a mediocre team that actually had its outfield distance marked in meters… get over it, they are the Nationals now.

“If I Should Fall From the Grace of God” isn’t even about anything closely resembling capitalism, unless drinking an assload of beer and whiskey is somehow promoting capitalism. What this ad really tells me is that Subaru was smart enough to hire an ad firm that was smart enough to hire someone like me. Obviously someone within the bowels of this ad firm realized “the Pogues are so fucking awesome.” Someone knows good music when they hear it and realize there is a tune here that hits close to the heart and head… damn now I want to buy a Subaru.

So if Skoal wants to sponsor my blog… I am open to this financially rewarding endeavor. It would result in the http://www.sublimemonkey.wordpress.com site opening up with a 30 second video of a monkey riding a midget. This dynamic duo would be running through a field of golden wheat while Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Pissin in the Wind” plays loudly. Then it would cut to a large breasted woman, in a skimpy maid’s outfit, bending over to pick up a pair of muddy running shoes. Cut two would show two midget women, also in maid outfits, wrestling in baby pool full of chocolate pudding. Finally, it all fades to black with a flashing picture of a can of Skoal. The last thing you would see is Beavis and Butthead exclaiming… “Damn! The Good Life!”

Damn! The Good Life! indeed! Hopefully some really smart ad person will read this blog and push this idea to Skoal.

Jake Ryan, urine, and two good books

*Note to readers: I am visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday, so posts will be fewer for the next couple of days

It is all about learning lessons and consistently applying them to your life. One learns lessons without realizing it, and then you apply them to your daily routine without a thought. I clean the bathroom and I have learned an important life lesson: if you’re the one who has to clean up the piss; aim better or sit down.

Seems learning lessons and telling stories about them is a great way to write a profitable book. Tina Fey’s Bossypants is a good example. All those years writing and acting improv at Second City and SNL has been hugely profitable for her. It also seems that realizing universal truths and lessons is a good way to tell stories about 14 year-old girls and 19 year-old boys. Comparing two teen characters in novels is also a great way to discuss life lessons.

Teen girl literature has reached a point of cultural saturation. Forks, Washington, is a tourist destination because imaginary vampires and werewolves are fighting the classic battle of good versus evil there. (Forks is, right now as I write this, about 2 hours from where I sit in the play room of my family’s house here in Tacoma) Grown-ass women are coo coo over Coco Puffs for the Twilight series. I guess Jake Ryan would be even hotter if he sucked  blood. Before you throw up in your mouth, this is not a blog post about vampires or werewolves. It is about the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, which has a 14 year-old girl protagonist and The Sojourn, which has a teen boy protagonist.

21st Century America has not reached World War I cultural saturation. Other than one bad-ass video and All Quiet on the Western Front, my youth was not filled with WWI references. WWI was the Great War, but so few of us know anything about it. My grandfather fought in the trenches of France and blinded in one eye by mustard gas. War is nasty business, and its survivors are seldom eager to recount it. WWI has become a few paragraphs in high school history classes, yet it laid the foundation for the rest of the 20th Century and its legacy remains with us today in the aftermath of the Cold War. Without WWI, there is no Hitler. With no Hitler, there is no present day Europe with its unified Germany. Present day Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal ought to be thankful for a unified Germany and its strong economy.

The connection between a “young adult” science fiction story and a WWI novel is easier to see if they the books are read in close proximity and one takes the time to list the commonalities. Both are stories about survivors and growing from child to adult through pain and violence.

In the world of life lesson novels the formula (that these two books have) is pretty simple. If I was going to write a novel, here is what I would include:

– young hero/protagonist (learning important lessons are better for youth)

– 1 parent homes (Hunger Games: single mom where dad died in mining accident; The Sojourn: single dad where mom died in a train accident… ramifications of the violent deaths of a parent run through these stories like a main artery)

– Outdoor survival skills (… I skin a buck, I can run a trot line … it’s the survivalist’s code)

– pain and suffering (getting hurt, and causing pain and suffering on others is how our heroes learn about themselves… killing other humans is key to survival)

– hunting skills (along with outdoor survival skills like starting a fire and killing fellow humans, killing large animals plays a key way in which the heroes hone their skills)

– Winning is the result of surviving (winning at a last-man-standing game and war means nothing else but coming out of the meat grinder with only a few fingers or toes missing… but the minds of heroes are the real scarred body parts)

– realization that being a pawn in a larger game is key to winning (accepting one’s role and place in life makes learning lessons a lot easier)

– hunger (not only is hunger in the title of one of the novels, but the experience of starving is an important avenue in realizing how its the little things, like food, that make life enjoyable)

Take these factors, throw in dirt, cold, and depravity and you have a damn good book. Both stories also make you realize that surviving doesn’t mean you really win; it means that you have a future filled with nightmares, regrets, and a childhood cut short. I think it is more fun to read (and as informational) Yummy Yucky. I have accepted my role as head piss cleaner-upper … it’s a life lesson I have learned and accepted.

Occupy Sublimemonkey Blog Part Deux

Thankfully George Pullman is not sitting on Wall Street today. Getting arrested beats what happened to the Pullman workers. This morning’s coffee discussion bled into a lunch discussion. The academic question was “what if the Occupy movement had happened in earlier “good ol’ days” of American history?” We had no concrete answer, but rabbit holes were explored. Three former “protest” movements were identified as possible case studies. For those of you with no desire to read the rest of this, here is the answer: we have no fucking clue… but it is interesting to ponder the reliance of using military force. We obviously think of the Vietnam War protest and Civil Rights movements, but there are other examples.

Whiskey Rebellion, 1794: The new American government needed funds, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton thought taxing whiskey would be a good source for big government exploitation. Distillers in western Pennsylvania thought differently. Some whiskey “rebels” attacked a federal tax collector’s office. President George Washington, at Hamilton’s urging, eventually sent in approximately 13,000 state militia members headed by Hamilton and the Virginia governor. The rebellion was squashed… two “rebels” were tried for treason, but later pardoned. Maybe the Tea Party should really be the Whiskey Party… now that is something I would support.

New York City Draft Riots, 1863: Democratic New York Governor Seymour despised Republican President Lincoln. Poor Irish immigrants despised being forced to head South and fight for blacks. New York City Provost Marshall announced the names of the first NYC draftees on July 12, 1863. Within hours a mob over 50,000 (primarily Irish) looted and rioted in the East Side of NYC, including numerous lynching and beating of blacks. For three days violence reigned, causing approximately $1.5 million in damages. Eventually, President Lincoln dispatched the federal Army of the Potomac who encamped in NYC for weeks.

Bonus Army, 1932: In the Summer of 1932, thousands of American World War I veterans had encamped in downtown DC (the original Occupy DC movement) to lend support to a congressional bill that would authorize the paying of bonuses to the veterans for their service in the Great War. A law had been passed in 1924, but the payment and been deferred. On July 28th, a U.S. Army brigade marched (literally… not a protest march, but a military march) into DC to dislodge the veterans from their campsite. There was approximately 43,000 members of the Bonus Army, which included 17,000 veterans and their families (and affiliated groups). After a few incidents of police intervention and violent responses by the veterans, the U.S. Army, under command of General Douglas MacArthur moved in. 55 veterans were hurt and 135 arrested. They eventually got their bonus of $2 billion , only after Congress over road President Franklin Roosevelt’s veto in 1936.

The theme seems to be the use of federal forces in these case studies. Today, major metropolitan police forces are militarized, so I guess it’s about the same.

Occupy Sublimemonkey’s blog… thoughts over coffee

Matt and I just returned from Firehook and our coffee conversation is still in my head. These thoughts are not completely coherent, and not all of them are my own. Matt may blog about it too, if he does I will let you know. His thoughts will be definitely be better written.

Here are some of my thoughts on the Occupy Movement. *Note: I have a friend that, at the moment of this writing, is part of the Occupy Wall Street protest and is providing Facebook updates and videos. I wish her the best of luck and hope she is safe, however, I hope she understands there are prices associated with actions and convictions.

– I support the Occupy movement’s rights to free speech and assembly. This is not the Prague Spring, nor is it August 21, 1968, when Soviet forces rolled in to end the Czechoslovakian political reform movement. This is the United States of America, and there is a significant history of protest movements here. One significant difference between this protest movement and other American protests is that it is not filled with disenfranchised individuals; it is filled with people who do have other options. One may wonder what would be the result if the man hours used in protesting were transformed into political action such as petitioning Congress or working toward the election of politicians that are sympathetic toward the Occupy movement’s beliefs.

– The impact of these occupations will be negligible. Unless true political and societal changes result from these protests, this will just be another blip on the television screen. CNN and Fox are having a field day covering these events. If these protests do not result in votes, they will have been for naught.

– These occupations are not bringing attention to an ignored issue. White voters in the South during the 1950s and 1960s did not discuss segregation or voter disenfranchisement. Civil Rights protesting brought an ignored problem into American homes through television images of police dogs and fire hoses. Civil Rights protests were the only avenue. American voters are very aware of today’s fiscal realities… and it is being discussed. What is also being discussed is the drum circle. No one thought Civil Rights protesters were a joke, they were viewed as a threat. The Occupy movement is close to be considered it is nothing more than a joke, or a bad case of bored youths.

– If you are occupying a location, arrest or bodily harm is a significant risk. Believing and acting are things that shouldn’t be done lightly. If you are out for a good time, or interested in joining a mob mentality… you may be in for a surprise (that being a pair of zipper cuffs or a baton to the face). If the price is worth it… go for it, but don’t protest with a faint heart.

– When does your right to protest cross the line? Does affecting the daily life of other Americans qualify as a disqaulifier? If you destroy private and public property, are you causing more harm than good? I do not support a protest that hampers a single mom’s work commute. I definitely don’t support looting and vandalism. That would be hooliganism… this isn’t fucking England during a football match.

– If there are 10,000 protesters, then there are 10,000 different reasons for the protest. Picking up chicks would be my reason to attend a large-scale protest. Coherent mass movements are hard to manage… ask the Libyans and Egyptians.

– There is a hypocrisy in protests and politics, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it distracts. Yes, the Occupy movement is filled with individuals who are using corporate researched and produced smartphones. Yes, they are wearing Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy apparel. Yes, they are the recipients of the good life… but that doesn’t negate their views or their rights. It just shows how complicated this world, and living in a free society, can be. I would rather see a protester using a smartphone than a Christian protesting an abortion clinic while cheering the death penalty.

Thoughtful civil disobedience is a wonderful tradition in America… I hope the Occupy movement will be remembered as such.

It’s the little things

Being observant can pay off, or at least make life an entertaining spectacle. I notice unpolished, scuffed, and dusty shoes… it’s my thing. It also enhances movie watching and video game playing. By the way… have you gained some weight? (being tactful doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with being observant)

In Time, the non-Saturday Night Live Justin Timberlake vehicle, is entertaining. It’s a sci-fi thriller, lots of shooting, lots of pseudo-futuristic scenery, lots of running, lots of car chases. Running and car chases seem to be the dominant theme in this movie. This “getting there as quickly as possible” theme matches the premise of the movie. This movie is about time, and when you are short on time… you get your ass moving.

*Note: I am not spoiling the movie in this blog.

Time is currency. Once you reach the age of 25 you stop aging, but your clock starts… literally displayed on your forearm as a bright neon green reminder of your impending death. You have one year to live unless you start earning time, either through work, gambling, or crime… unless of course you are fortunate enough to be the 1%. The 1% get to live forever, the 99% aren’t so lucky. This information and premise is stated up front… I made the leap. I said “okay, I’ll believe this whole genetic countdown to death thing.”

The time thing is also why running and car chases are the vehicles to move the plot along. If you are always running out of time… you got to run or drive fast. 3 days to live, well I guess I am going to sprint to work to earn more time… and I am going to work fast so I earn more time. Need to get across town, well better put the pedal to the metal. Time is ticking baby!

Here is where the plot and details get fucked up. Amanda Seyfried… who looks like a cross between a monchichi and a big-boobed nymph… plays Justin Timberlake’s love interest. Movie directors, producers, and writers know what movie goers want to see… we want to see young ladies running around with shapely legs. To ensure Amanda’s legs are adequately shaped (and movie goers voyeuristic needs filled), she wears super high heels through the whole movie. Sprinting through gunfire, well put Amanda in some Jimmy Choo heels! Need to ensure a dramatic “almost out of time, thus about to die” scene (which is a re-play of an earlier scene)… put Amanda in heels so she can show how hot and fast she can be.

I’m sorry, I can believe this whole time is money thing but I am calling bullshit on the shoes. Nobody with half a brain would consciously put on heels when the odds of running are pretty high in your daily life. Wouldn’t the laws of evolution render the desire for heels extinct? If 99% of the population is constantly running, or at least walking fast, wouldn’t the market for selling heels drastically drop or disappear? No large consumer base equals no product. This is the simple economic rule of supply and demand.

Along with shapely legs, movie goers want to see car crashes. Shattering glass, squealing tires, Thelma and Louise plunges… this is what we like to see. However, there is a car crash (actually it is a multiple roll down a slope) that was total bullshit. No seatbelts, just a moment where Justin Timberlake acts like my mother in our 1979 Chevy Caprice wagon… throw an arm out to stop little Sublimemonkey from nose diving through the windshield. Luckily for our monchichi nymph, Justin has some awesome upper body strength.

It’s the details that matter. It’s the details that makes a flight of fantasy go from entertaining to stupid. Fortunately, these two things didn’t subtract from the overall entertainment value of the movie… it’s worth seeing, especially to see corporate Hollywood’s take on corporate greed.

Speaking of worth, I paid $63 for Call of Duty’s Modern Warfare 3. Worth every penny. I spent 6 hours of my life last night being a stoned cold killer. I got through 36.4% of the game… I should be done in about 12 more hours (sooner if I call in sick tomorrow). There is no plot, there is no premise. In campaign mode you run around shooting bad guys. In multiplayer mode you run around shooting bad guys. Pretty simple concept. It is a delicious concept and experience. Visually it is striking. It is stunning… it is a smorgasboard of video gaming pleasure.

I’m crouching behind a concrete jersey barrier. The bad guy (Russian) is crouching behind a pile of trash and tires. My machine gun is rocking and rolling… brass is flying out of the ejection port with a distinct “ping” that is barely audible because of the roar of battle. I can see my rounds missing and smacking into the trash heap. Clearly visible puffs of dirt and trash show that I am not in a good position to deliver the coup de grace. I continue to fire because I am now mesmerized by the image of me killing trash. This is a visceral experience, there is no rational thought… I want to shoot trash just to see it die in HD. Paper is being ripped and tossed into the air. Those same shreds are then gently floating down. I hit a soda can… it jumps into the air and then falls down hard… bounces once and then rolls.

I grew up in Tennessee, I know the physics of killing cans… this is exactly how a can dies when shot. Refocusing on the bad guy, I pull a grenade and I toss. My movements are real… which means it seems to take forever to lower my rifle, pull grenade from pouch, pull pin from grenade, cock arm and throw grenade. There is no superhuman video game speed here… this is painfully slow. The grenade arcs through the air, it bounces off a tire with a thud (like the sound of a hammer on a tire makes) and then explodes. The bad guy is pushed up and away. I don’t notice the bad guy, I notice the tire. It flies into the air and then spalts down. I am stunned but move on… I got bad guys to kill. A hail of fire pushes me back a couple of minutes later. I don’t want to die, I have to balance my inner Rambo with my hatred of waiting for the respawn. You can’t be too big of a hero, but you don’t want to be the last man through the door. You rush the enemy when needed, you fall back when necessary.

The fucking tire is exactly where I had moved it with my grenade, it had not “respawned” to the trash pile. This game remembered, this game got it right. This game got the details. The only way this game would be better is if you wearing high heels while shredding trash, tires, and bad guys. Being able to take off your high heel and stab someone with it might make it better too.