The Burning Throne, Episode 13: The Mountain Spirits

Continued from: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/the-burning-throne-episode-12-kuni-magatsu/

For those of you just tuning in, this is a weekly serial I’ve been posting. It is a journal from my monthly Legend of the 5 Rings roleplaying game that I play with a bunch of other Utah writers. Obviously, when it is a bunch of writers, you can’t just play a game. You’ve got to write it too.  

In this particular game, it was Tsuruchi Machio (played by Rob Wells) that started the fight by shooting at something suspicious in the trees. He then shot another guy after the cease fire, and was the one that tossed the sword into the bushes later that night. It works out later on though, when after Rob got kidnapped by birds (long story) I got to assign him the most annoying man in the world as his “yojimbo”.

Fourteenth Entry

From the journal of Hida Makoto, Crab Clan. 

The Brotherhood of the Paper Lantern faced its first serious test last night, and I’m afraid we were about as  smooth as nezumi performing kabuki.

Around midnight, Tsuruchi Machio and Shinjo Braga were on watch when they sighted multiple figures moving in the darkness toward our camp. I awoke to Machio shouting a warning and then I was immediately struck by an arrow. Hell of a way to wake up, that. Machio said afterward that the enemy fired first and without provocation. Gathering my tetsubo, I charged in the direction of the archers.

Even with it raining arrows, Kuni Magatsu took the time to apply his war paint before emerging from his tent. He then invoked the fire kami and set the tree line around the unknown enemy on fire. As I reached the trees, the fight became general, with many armored figures moving through the dark. I received a minor cut from a katana, but then I killed my attacker with a single blow. It was possibly the hardest I’ve ever hit anything. Magatsu snared another man with gigantic crab claws that formed from the dirt and the Shinjo managed to cut down a few more, before Ide Todo began shouting for us to stand down. Similar cries could be heard from the enemy commander to lay down their arms. They spoke Rokugani, not the filthy Yobanjin tongue.

I stopped. The warriors across from me stopped. I loudly repeated Todo-sama’s orders for the Shinjo around me to hear. The enemy did the same. The woods became eerily quiet. Even in darkness and the heat of battle, both sides understood the importance of obeying their lord’s orders without question. These were no bandits, these were samurai.

A brief moment passed as the two sides watched each other. Then came the sound of a bowstring being released and the thud of an arrow deep into meat. The lack of an answering scream told me that the target had been killed instantly. Someone had broken our hasty truce, and I prepared for the battle to begin anew. But it was only by the whims of the heavens and the voice of Ide Todo that the killing did not continue. The samurai I faced sheathed his sword and I lowered my tetsubo.

Zuko brought the enemy leader into our camp to parley. It turned out that they were a group of ronin, attempting to protect the region’s peasants from marauding Yobanjin. They insisted that our sentries had launched the first arrow and that they had counterattacked to defend themselves. The ronin, calling themselves the Mountain Spirits, were led by a former Tamori named Nobu, who went on a tirade about the Dragon clan’s failures to protect the outlying villages from the Yobanjin. It was rather tense as the two groups argued, but though we were outnumbered, it was obvious to all that we were the stronger warriors.

A truce was declared for the night. They took our second in command as hostage and we took theirs. The two groups broke up and made camp.

As I took the next turn on watch, I was lost in thought. I was troubled by this fight. And not just because of the terrible performance of some of our men. (if the attackers had been Hiruma, I have no doubt that half the throats in our camp would’ve been slit before anyone had woken up) I was ashamed of myself, for I had insulted the ronin’s honor and mocked the memory of the man that I had killed to his brothers. I had not conducted myself honorably. Bloodshed does not bother me. I have seen much battle over the last year, and killed many men, but this engagement felt… pointless.

Crab are considered more pragmatic than honorable. Lives that could have been better spent fighting the Yobanjin were wasted to accomplish nothing. But there was more than that. I glory in providing a good death to an enemy, but when my lord says that man is no longer my enemy, what point is there in causing his death?

Later that night, one of the idiot Unicorns tossed one of the other idiot Unicorn’s scimitars into the bushes. I kept the sword, and in the morning I publically ripped Shinjo Braga apart for several minutes. He has been troublesome, so I told him that if he had lost his weapon on the Wall, we would’ve tossed him over the side to go find it, and that if he ever screwed up and endangered us again, I would personally kill him. In fact, I gave him a long list of transgressions that would cause me to kill him. That finally shut him up.

We and the ronin are on the trail to their village. Just now, Magatsu decided to wake up the biggest earth kami anyone had ever seen, just to tell it we were passing through and to ask for its blessings. I think he might have been showing off to scare the ronin… I do believe it worked. I for one, will never look at rocks the same way.  Zukozuko and Machio have used the distraction to slip away to scout ahead at the High House of Light.

I must finish writing, for we shall arrive in the village shortly.

To be continued next week when we go after our cursed evil sword:  http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/the-burning-throne-episode-14-duty-and-faith/  Including a short story that I love from the PoV of a random guy guarding a hut.

Out of touch rich guys and tax time fun

I’ve only got a few minutes at lunch, so I need to keep this brief. (good thing I type 85 words per minute!) Since I’ve been spending more time watching TV lately (baby in my hands and I’ve got to do something) I’ve been watching more of the news punditry, and the stupidity is driving me batty. I can’t believe that I’m about to defend Mitt Romney of all people…

For the record, I’m not a Romney supporter. My issue with him is that I don’t think he is conservative enough, or at least he totally fails to articulate his belief in the philosophy if he is. I don’t like government healthcare and I don’t like gun control, two things Romney has in his past. I said it in 2008 and I’ll say it again now, electable in Massachusetts means unpalatable most everywhere else. I suppose I’m one of those Anybody But Romney conservatives they keep talking about, but I’d amend that to Anybody But Romney As Long As It Isn’t Newt Gingrich, because holy crap, that is a dude with some serious baggage.

That said, whoever gets the Republican nomination is a billion times better than Barack Obama.

But back to Romney, two things.

First, his 15% tax rate… I’ve been a professional accountant for most of my adult life, and hearing non-accountant news morons talking about taxes makes me want to take a flamethrower to their studio. Listen, you ignorant sluts, that is the capital gains tax. That is the tax that you pay on investments. Investment income is different than regular income.

When you invest and purchase stock in a company you pay capital gains taxes on the profit you make. However, that money has already been taxed, because the corporation you own stock in pays the corporate tax rate on what they make. So, keeping it simple, you buy stock in a company. That company made a profit and already paid a much higher corporate tax on what they made. They pay you a dividend and you pay 15% on what you made. If the money you used to buy that stock came from a regular income, then you were taxed when you received it at a higher rate as well. Oh, but rich guys inherit their money! Okay, that inheritance got taxed too, and depending on when he got that inheritance, it might have been at the highest tax rate of all (and ironically Romney donated his inheritance to charity too).

Right now most of my money comes from 1099 income, which means that I also get to pay all those withholdings that most people who get a paycheck never even see because their employers pay for them. (just think what everybody in America could do if they got a 16% raise tomorrow?) So my overall tax rate percentage is way higher than Romney’s. I’m totally cool with that, and you should be to, because if you are smart then eventually you will be living off of your investments as well.

So, income gets taxed higher. Investments get taxed lower. That’s why rich guys who now live off of their investments pay a lower overall rate. That’s why Buffet’s secretary gets taxed at a higher rate than her megalomaniacal attention whore of a boss.

“But they need to pay their FAIR SHARE!” you bleat.   

Dude paid more last year than you’ve paid in your life times five, but that’s not fair enough? But I digress. You want to tax the rich more? Okay, raise the capital gains tax… And watch as the economy tanks even further.

Here’s the thing about why capital gains needs to be lower than income tax…

RISK.

When you invest in something, you are gambling with the money you already have. There is no guarantee that you will make a profit, and in fact you may lose everything. Risk is the greatest disincentive to investment.  The only reason we have investment is because the potential rewards outweigh the risks. As you lower the incentives to invest, you lower the amount that will be invested. The second biggest disincentive is that even if you make $100 on that stock you bought, you’re going to give the government $15. Raise that to $35 and you just made risky investing look even less interesting. Make it not worth it, and people quit investing their money at all and sit on it instead. Then watch the economy implode.

“But fair share! FAIR SHARE!” sob sob whine blather.

Because half of us not paying anything in income taxes at all isn’t fair enough? Okay, so raising the capital gains tax is stupid, but you still want to stick it to those pesky rich people. I know! Let’s raise the corporate income tax! Rich people own corporations! That’ll show them!

(for the record, do you have a 401K? Then you own corporations too)

Despite already having one of the highest corporate tax rates in the functioning world, let’s go ahead and jack that sucker up! Except that corporations look at taxes as another expense. If you tax them more, they simply pass that along in the cost of their product to the consumer, as in you and me. If the expense becomes too much of a burden and causes their prices to rise to the point that they are noncompetitive, they either go out of business and you lose your job, or they move to another country that doesn’t molest them as much, and you still lose your job. They exist to make a profit for their stockholders, not to pay for your good time.

See why class warfare sucks?

And the second topic that is ticking me off, Romney is “out of touch from the common people” a meme that I’ve heard repeated over and over… (I can’t believe I’m defending Mitt Romney here, ugh).

I’m a Mormon, same religion as Mitt Romney, so I do know one thing about the whole Out of Touch Rich Guy crap they’re trying to sell. Romney has been what we call a Stake President. If you have any clue at all what a Stake President does, then you would know that there is no such thing as a Stake President that is out of touch with the issues of the common man.

This is how it works. Latter Day Saints don’t have a professional clergy like most churches. We have volunteer leaders. You don’t ask for a job, but rather you are asked to fulfill an assignment by the volunteer leaders that are above you. We don’t get paid.

I’ll try to keep this simple. The LDS church is divided into Wards. A Ward covers a geographic area, and is usually made up of 500-1,000 people. A Ward is run by a Bishop. Bishops still have their day jobs, but they fulfill a church calling which is equivalent to a pastor or priest in other churches. Most Bishops put in another fulltime job worth of hours a week fulfilling this unpaid calling. They normally do it for 3-5 years before they get released and get put out to pasture to go be a Sunday School teacher or Scoutmaster or something awesome like that which only takes up a few hours a week.

Unless they get called to be a Stake President afterwards. An LDS Stake is made up of about 8-10 Wards. The Stake President is the man that runs the whole Stake. The Bishops report to him. It is a ridiculous amount of responsibility. Like being Bishop, you will usually fill this calling for 3-5 years, during which you will age 10.

Now here’s the thing. Bishops and Stake Presidents aren’t just managers. They’re ecclesiastical leaders. Most of what they do consists of helping individuals in their Wards or Stakes. Every problem that pops up in some member’s life, every family issue, every marriage, every birth, every death, every divorce, every crisis, Dad got laid off, Mom got hit by a truck, Little Timmy is having trouble in school, whatever, that’s the bread and butter of what a Bishop deals with daily. Mormons have our own welfare system and the Bishops are in charge of it. Part of their job is to counsel, uplift, and help the members through their trials. If there is a sad story because of a bad choice or past baggage, then a Bishop has heard it at some point.  

So Mitt Romney has spent a giant chunk of his life listening to the daily problems and concerns of normal people, and then helping them find solutions. (which for Mormons usually don’t involve the government) He was a community organizer before community organizing was cool.

My main problem with Romney is his overall squishiness. He should OWN THIS ISSUE. But he doesn’t. He gets pushed around by the press and has his morals questioned by a serial adulterer who worked for Freddy Mac. “You only paid 15% in taxes!” and we get squish squish squish, instead of “Which was all I was legally required to pay, and I’ve  given more to charity than half the democrats in congress put together, and I didn’t take a salary for being governor or saving the Olympics, so SUCK IT, NEWT! BLAM!” My gosh, if we actually got some fire out of the guy like that we wouldn’t all be so meh about him.

 

Occupy Womb Street came to an end on Edgar Allen Poe’s birtday (I share a birtday with HP Lovecraft, so I’m sensing a trend here). Introducing Correia 2.4.  10 Pounds and 9 ounces, 21 inches long, and Mrs. Correia did that all without an epidural because she is a Viking badass warrior woman.

There is a new moose on Yard Moose Mountain.

He’s a surprisingly good natured little guy, and probably the strongest baby I’ve ever seen. And that is coming from somebody who already had three ten pounders. He lifts his head, looks around, can grab stuff and hold on like a 3 month old, and even did a push up to get to a more comfy position. This is the sort of madness that happens when we have babies go to their due dates. All of our other gigantic children were early.

Mrs. Correia is fine. We’re all slightly brain damaged from lack of sleep. There is a 7 year gap between this one and Correia 2.3.

SOPA

I’ve had several people ask me what I think about this and how they’ve been surprised that I haven’t had a post about it, mostly because I always have an opinion on political nonsense, and second, because as a fiction writer I get pirated a lot, so I have skin in the game.  I haven’t posted much because I’ve been running behind. Correia 2.4 should be here anytime now, but is taking his sweet time. (Mrs. Correia has started calling this pregnancy Occupy Womb Street)

As for SOPA, piracy sucks, but I’d much rather have some loser rip me off than give an already out of control government one more Orwellian power. Screw Sopa.

All of my state’s congressmen and sentators are now against it, including Hatch (who was one of the original sponsors). Good. Kill this piece of garbage.

As for all of the people out there on the internet having a massive freak out about the government potentially damaging something they love… WELCOME TO THE PARTY.

You think this is something new or unusual? Nope. This is just about a topic that you happen to be familiar with. If you fall into that camp, I want you to take a deep breath, step back, and examine all of the other issues in the past that you didn’t know jack squat about, but your knee jerk reaction was to say “there’s a problem, the governement has to do something!” Well guess what? The crap the federal government usually comes up with to fix these problems is similar to SOPA. In other words, the legislation addresses a perceived problem by instituting a bunch of stupid overregulation and taking away someone’s freedom. 

You think people need access to affordable medical care and shouldn’t be denied coverage? Well, you got used and we got the bloated ridiculous mess that is Obamacare. You saw a news report about how big business defrauded people and said congress should do something? Well, everyone in the business world got screwed because of Enron by completely useless new arbitrary crap laws, and a few years later we got into an even bigger financial crisis which the arbitrary crap laws we spent billions conforming to did nothing to prevent. No, because that financial crisis was caused by people saying that there was this huge problem that needed to be fixed, so more people who couldn’t afford to pay mortgages could still buy houses, and the government simply had to do something to fix this problem!

Any crisis… Any problem… You ask the feds to fix it, you get this kind of answer.  Almost never do the laws fix the actual problem. Instead the government gets bigger and gains a few more powers and it doesn’t fix the issue. When the problem gets bigger, then the government gets bigger and gains a few more powers that actually make the problem worse. Oh look! Despite all of these laws the problem has gotten even bigger? Whatever should we do? Why, I know! Let’s pass an even bigger law that takes away more individual freedom and gives the government more control!

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Any topic, any situation, any problem.  They address it, you lose freedom and they gain more control. Some of you are only offended today because this particular law hurts something you enjoy. The rest of the time? Screw it. You can’t be bothered to pay attention. Or worse, people like me who are up in arms over an issue are just cranks or anti-government crackpots.

I was going to close this blog post with a quote I read about freedom versus control, but Wikipedia was down protesting SOPA. :)

EDIT:  Right after I posted this, friend and co-author Mike Kupari posted this. So I stole it from him. (surely a SOPA violation!)  He’s on the same wavelength: 

You didn’t care when the government decided it could spy on you without a warrant. You didn’t care when they started telling you what you could eat. You didn’t care when your kids’ education was turned into indoctrination. You didn’t care when they were more worried about military veterans than Islamic terrorists. You didn’t care when they spent so much money that our entire economic system may co…llapse. You didn’t care when they gave billions of your money to unions and corporations that were their political contributors. You didn’t care when inert cosmetic features on guns were felonies. You didn’t care when they made it a fucking crime to not have government approved health insurance.

All of these things were done in your name. On your behalf. To help you, protect you, take care of you. Each time you gave them more power and gave away more of your freedom. Each time you believed them when they said they were protecting you, or helping the less fortunate, or sticking it to “the rich” who “aren’t paying their fair share”.

Each time you applauded their efforts. Mocked those that were concerned. Called them uncaring or racist or alarmist or stupid. Each time you asked for more. You begged them to take care of you, protect you, right wrongs, enforce equality.

But now that your Internet porn and bit torrents are threatened, NOW you care?

It’s too late for all that, kids. Turning off Wikipedia for a couple days isn’t going to win back the freedoms we’ve pissed away. It isn’t going to undo decades of expanding government power. They’ve already decided there’s nothing they can’t do, no law they can’t pass.

We watched it happen. We let it happen. We have the country we deserve.

So go ahead, post a rant about SOPA on your blog. Link to Ron Paul’s web page. Pretend you’re doing something. It’ll make you feel better. Then you will go back to business as usual and so will they.

Democracy in action. Isn’t it beautiful?

The Burning Throne, Episode 12: Kuni Magatsu

Continued from: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/the-burning-throne-episode-11-lighting-the-paper-lanterns/ 

Kuni Magatsu is played by author Paul Genesse, who joined Writer Nerd Game Night a couple months in. Here is a link to his first book:  http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=monshuntnati-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1594146594  I’ll be book bombing the next one when it comes out.

Paul’s character is great. He’s absolutely terrifying, possibly psychotic, and feels that he is prophetic (but only when he is drunk). Paul found this picture and used it as his character sketch.

Have no idea who drew the original pic, but it suits him

 

*

Private Scrolls of Kuni Magatsu, Crab Clan Shugenja

My Sensei, Kuni Kiyoshi warned me not to unnecessarily maim or kill irritating samurai. He said that many of the other clans would not understand me and that I should be patient with them and forgive their insults. I follow his advice and say my prayers to the kami silently to myself rather than crush their skulls or tear them apart with the magic of the kami. Not all of them are useless, but I wonder why so many of them do not understand Bushido or the proper respect they must give to the kami and the gods.

The wrath of the kami and the gods will be severe for those who offend them, and I am an instrument of their fury.

I pray every day that I will remember the lessons of Sensei Kiyoshi. My honored uncle taught me much and as I travel in the north in the service of the Crab Clan I will honor my master and all our ancestors as I carry out my duty. I shall keep the traditions of the Kuni Shugenja who have gone before me. I shall say the prayers to the kami day and night. I shall wear the white and red face paint in the ancient style my sensei taught me so the living and the dead shall know what I am. My enemies will see the face of death when I come for them and they will tremble before I send them screaming to the next world.

Now I must help repel the Yobanjin horde who invade the Emerald Empire from the north. I suspect that some foul power allied with the Shadowlands is aiding the barbarians. I will find out what or who it is and learn more about the Dark Oracle who is said to be leading them.

I now find myself in the service of the famous and honorable Hida Kenzan. He has tasked me to go along with his notoriously unlucky and dishonored half-brother, Hida Makoto, and keep watch over him. I will do all I can to prevent any further dishonor to the Crab Clan by Makoto. His father’s disastrous mistake at the wall is a scar that will never fade, but I now understand that Makoto is doing his best to reclaim his personal honor and for this I shall respect him.

Hida Makoto and the group he is part of, The Paper Lanterns, are representatives from many of the other clans and seek to find one of the Shameswords kept in the House of Light high in the Dragon Clan Mountains. We must prevent it from falling into the hands of the Dark Oracle leading the Yobanjin.

Hida Kenzan has also asked me to help destroy the Shamesword, and this, I will do, though before I attempt to break its blade, I will attempt to understand its connection to the darkness. If I can sever this link, perhaps I will be able to find a way to break the metal.

I will also carry the tetsubo wielded by Hida Makoto back to Hida Kenzan if his half brother should fall in battle. The stories of Makoto’s bravery and prowess in battle are likely true from what I have seen, but his recklessness may prove to be his doom. I will keep him alive as a service to Kenzan-san, though ironically Makoto has been tasked to be my personal Yojimbo.

In our first battle Makoto left my side and charged into the fray and killed a ronin warrior with a blow so hard it would have cracked an ogre’s skull. The battle was foolishly started by a dishonorable but deadly archer, Tsurichi Machio of the Mantis Clan. The battle was a mistake and was rushed into by samurai who must learn more patience. I am angered that the archer, Machio appears to wish for death and picks fights with simple Bushi. His history of getting into duels is known to me and he must be a friend of the infamous monk who murdered an honorable samurai and then fled. One day, Machio’s insults will get him killed, but if his death is honorable I will say the prayers over his corpse and help his spirit pass on. If he dies poorly, I will not say the prayers and will consider binding him to this world so he may observe the error of his ways before passing on so that in his next life he will show the proper amount of respect to the way of the samurai. The Mantis clan are valuable in the battle against the Shadowlands, but those Mantis I have met prove they are not truly one of the great clans by their lack of respect of Bushido.

At least my Yojimbo, Hida Makoto shows the proper respect. As he watches me, I will keep watch over him and prevent him from dying, unless the opportunity for a truly glorious death presents itself, then I will join him and we shall die together among the piled corpses of our enemies.

The Paper Lanterns, and their retinue now find ourselves in a village under the protection of ronin who call themselves Spirits of the Mountain. They have been allowed to escort us to the House of Light. They are not to be trusted as they have left the Dragon Clan and claim to be protecting the eta who live in the mountains. Why would I trust men who do not follow a Daimyo? Most of them are without much honor, though I agree that the Dragon Clan have proved to be weak as they let the Yobanjin invade their territory without mounting a strong defense. We Crab would have died to the last man to stop such a dishonor as the Dragon have allowed on their watch.

I am not afraid of the ronin, though I will be wary and trust our group leader’s decision to allow them to escort us to the House of Light. He is building an alliance that we will need as we travel in the Dragon Clan lands and fight the Yobanjin, but I will remember what my sensei has taught me: “Be wary of the open hand offered by any man, for it can easily become a closed fist.”

Still, I trust that our leader, Magistrate Ide Todo of the Unicorn Clan. He is an honorable and intelligent man. I do not believe the whispers that he is a coward, and why would I ever believe a member of the Scorpion Clan? Ide Todo is above the death dealing ways of lower men like myself who enjoy seeing blood leaking out of an enemy’s ears and laugh when the dead ghosts wail for the loss of their bodies.

The Unicorn are Crab’s strongest allies and Ide Todo has been a competent leader, though I wonder why he chose a former ronin who now serves the Spider Clan, Zuko Zuko to be our gunso, when Hida Makoto was the most qualified. Politics are the way of things in the clan territories away from the Kaiu Wall. Humility is a lesson beneficial to all samurai and Makoto will be forced to increase his own with Zuko Zuko as our gunso.

However, Zuko Zuko appears to be a competent warrior and his disfigured appearance will bring fear to our enemies. I wonder how he lost his eye and was burned. This I will perhaps ask him someday if the moment is right. Though I do not approve of how Zuko Zuko disappeared when the battle with the ronin started. A gunso should stay with the men and make certain they follow the commander’s orders, but somehow Zuko Zuko got his sword in a position to kill the leader of the ronin at the rear of their lines. It was a great feat, but how did he do it? There is something very strange about him and I can sense he is hiding something. I shall ask the kami about him. Also, how can I trust a man who has allied himself with the Spider Clan? The spirits do not favor the Spider and there are portents that the Spider will fall into darkness.

Despite the travails of the journey into the mountains we are now within sight of the ruins of the House of Light. I have spoken with two kami of the mountains, one of great significance, and I believe one of the Shameswords is within the ruins, as I trust the earth kami above all others. When the sun has risen I shall go with the Paper Lanterns and find the nemuranai within. Before we attempt to destroy the sword, I shall seek to understand the power of the blade and will speak with the awakened kami inside it and find out what its true powers are. I will speak with the soul of the dragon clan samurai who is rumored to be trapped within the blade. Perhaps he will tell me how to destroy it and free his spirit and thereby regain his lost honor.

I have already seen the darkness of the Shadowlands and looked into the Well of Jigoku when I passed the test of Poison Jade. I have survived my trials and will not flinch from what must be done now. If destroying the blade and learning its secrets will cost me my life . . . I will pay. Then once again my soul will return as a Kuni Shugenja.

*

To be continued next week when the Paper Lanterns go looking for an evil magic sword.  http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/the-burning-throne-episode-13-the-mountain-spirits/

Quick update, patch contest winners

Okay, I’ve been getting requests about the patch contest and how come I haven’t annouced the winners. Here’s the thing. I’m not quite done with MHL and still need to do another editing pass. There are a lot of other Hunters and rival companies in this book. My issue right now is that I’m using several more than I originally expected, but I don’t know how many yet, and won’t really know until I get the next editing pass done. Once I’ve got that, then I’ll post who the winners are. Part of the issue is that it isn’t just the ones that got the most votes, but ther are also several that I just thought were cool, but I havent’ seen if I can fit them in cleanly yet or not.

Standing in the way of getting MHL finished is that Correia 2.4 is due any day now, so we’ve been sort of hanging on to the edge of our seats, which makes productive writing time kind of hard to achieve. :)

Picture Time Fun, MHI tattoos, grips, D6 art, and my best mini yet

First up, an MHI tattoo that was recently posted to Facebook.

Personally, I’m not a tat guy myself, but that is freaking sweet. :)

Next, here are some custom MHI grips for a 1911. He sent a PDF to Alumagrips and they engraved these for him. The other side of the grip is the Crusader logo. Crusader is an awesome custom shop run by my friends Joe Chetwood and George Hill. http://crusaderweaponry.com/ 

People always ask me about using my logo on stuff. My answer is always the same. A. If it is for personal use (i.e. you’re not doing it to make money off of my stuff) go for it. B. You send me a picture to put on the blog. 

Up next, my latest mini. As usual my iPhone camera work sucks, but even then you can tell this dude looks awesome. I’m actually getting decent at this hobby. Lots of shading, much of which looks pretty good. Even the dusting of snow on the base came out pretty cool. (that’s baking soda) The fact that he actually looks a lot like me is purely coincidental. Though I do totally look like that with my shirt off.

Okay, maybe not. But at least the male pattern baldness hairstyle is 100% accurate.

Here are a few pics that I got from Zack at Minimum Wage Historian. http://minimumwagehistorian.wordpress.com/ (which is my favorite history geek website, this week features him interviewing Tomoe Gozen, 12th century samurai badass chick). These are characters from my and Mike Kupari’s novel, Dead Six.

Lorenzo

Valentine

Bob

And speaking of Mike, here he is winning the internet in Afghanistan. That is the most crap I’ve ever seen stuck onto a gun, and therefore is totally awesome. (the one that looks like a TV is a super EoTEch that normally goes on the M2) Mike will be home in a few weeks.  Then we will do his first book signing, and as many of you as possible need to come to make it extra good.

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