Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I am, for the most part, a patient man, and I like to take things somewhat slowly. I would make a great besieger, in fact, I have laid two sieges in the last three years. Thus, the point of this post. Back in the grand day of Vauban, he of the star-shaped fortified towns, siege craft was an art form. You dug your approaching trenches, you mined under the walls, and tried to create a breach of the city's walls. That done, and depending on how you felt about the town you were besieging, you gave your loyal troops 3 to 7 days to rob, pillage, rape, and burn the place until their hearts were content.

However, usually it was considered the proper thing to do to let the besieged city, once they knew their game was up, to allow them to surrender with honor, and to allow the city to be saved being sacked by your troops. It showed that you weren't the bad egg your enemies had made you out to be, and allowed you to keep from getting too terribly many people killed.

Then, as with most things, someone had to go and spoil the rules by which the game of siege was played by, and thus you got the fight until the last man type of siege. The sieges of the Vietnam War, and of Korea. The really dirty sieges that didn't allow for honor, and didn't really care about the human cost, the goal was to win at all costs.

The two sieges I laid were one of each, both were, eventually, successful, but both had different costs. One was quite simply war at it worst, there was no quarter asked for, nor any quarter was received. It was a long, drawn out affair, and the eventually success I obtained was all the sweeter for the fact that I was, at first, the offended party. In fact, it was that offense, which the person giving offense might not have even realized what they had done, that lead to the siege taking place in the first place. I said I was a patient man, I did not say I was a pleasant man. Truth be told, I am not sure the besieged ever really knew that they were surrounded, or that I was, in fact, besieging them. Maybe that is the best kind of siege to endure, the kind that you don't know is happening, and even after your city 'falls' you really don't understand the reason behind it. For the besieged, that is probably as good as it gets. Ignorance being bliss. 

Those type of sieges are still quite fun for the besieging army as sieges can get. The fact that your (eventual) success has gone (mostly) unnoticed should not detract from the fact that it was still a success. In many ways this type of siege is the best type. All you have to know is that you are winning, and that you will win, your target doesn't really need the knowledge about their loss. It would probably just hurt their feelings anyway, and you've probably already done that once or twice anyway.

The second siege that I (most recently) successfully concluded was more of the 'surrender with honor' type of siege. It has been a siege of just over two years, and while their were losses, they were not huge losses. Don't get me wrong, this siege had its nasty moments, and for a while it looked to be a bit of a 'fight till the bitter end' type of siege, but eventually, finally, good sense, and good manners prevailed. It was in some way better, and in some ways worse than the first successful siege, but that is a story for another day. The sweetness of the victory is slightly different than that of the first siege, but by no means is it less sweet for that. After all, two years is a long time to besiege a city, any city, and when it eventually falls, by hook, or crook, or a lot of booze, fall it has, and to the victor belong the spoils right?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's the Mention I Miss

The title of this post is a line stolen from one of my favorite movies, and in that movie it is said by the character that I like the most. I will leave it up to you, if you care enough, to look that information up yourself if you want to be bothered, if not it really isn't that important anyway. It is just a cool title.

Picture two people having a chat, one male, one female, because if it wasn't like that, then this post would be even more pointless than it already it. This being the 21st century, this little chat takes place via text, after all isn't that an easier medium than either face to face, or by talking over the phone. . I guess our Juliet didn't have a convenient balcony for our Romeo to declaim his love from underneath before climb the trellis to claim his just reward. The male member (pun intended) is clearly a nice enough bloke, and is chatting up our female contestant quite nicely in an uniquely 21st century way.

This being christmas, god and the baby jesus get a mention, and our Romeo claims to believe in both. Of course, what was he supposed to say? Being a religious person herself, our Juliet would not react well to some raving atheist.  Back and forth this little quasi-romantic chat zips over the mysterious airwaves of cell towers in their fair city, and eventually after laying it on a bit thick, Romeo asks Juliet to 'let me buy you dinner'.

A time, a day(Thursday at 8,  and a (quite pricey) place (that I would never go) were selected, and everything seems to be going along swimmingly for our Romeo and Juliet.  Until of course, as often happens with these tricky negotiations, life intervenes by throwing one of life's little roadblocks in the way. Seems Juliet had an unexpected event (doesn't matter what) come up at the last minute, and our poor Romeo's tryst had to be postponed until a latter day. I am sure the blessed event will be rescheduled, but that information is not available to me at this time.

Not that it matters I am not the Romeo, however, I do know the Juliet, and I am sure it will be a lot of fun for them both. It is just that during all this flirting back and forth, no mention of Count Paris has been made, and it is that (since I am the Count (sort of) in question) mention that I miss. Funny you wouldn't think I would.


'You do whatever you want' she said with that tone in her voice that made it crystal clear that doing whatever I wanted was an absolute shit plan (not that I haven't had shit plans before, but that is a post for another day).  I have come to the conclusion that when someone, anyone, says that you can do whatever you want, that you shouldn't do it. No matter how much you want to do it, whatever it is, no matter how much you think that doing it would make your life complete, you shouldn't do it.

And that is where pants come into the story. One of the things I want to do is not to wear pants. I may or may not being wearing pants now as I type this, I will leave that up to your (horrified) imagination. I am just not a big fan of wearing pants, but since 'society' seems to think pants are necessary, I have to spend way too much of my life wearing pants. I find it quite sad. You see, I have never, ever made a bad decision while not wearing pants. In fact, the majority of my bad decisions (and I have made A LOT of bad decisions) have been made while wearing pants. I am not sure if it is the pants fault or not, but I tend to blame them.

I also think that a certain (mostly female) portion of society can go without wearing pants as well, but that is probably something that "I want to do" that isn't going to happen either. The trick about doing the things you want to do is that almost everything you want to do, no matter how trivial (in your mind) has wide ranging effects on people. Not just the stern person telling you to 'do what you want', but other people too, people you might not even realize are going to be affected are going to have to bear the burden of your decision 'to do what you want'.  It might be your boss, it might be your girlfriend, your best friend, or a total stranger on a train, but it is this lot that is going to possibly be blinded by the sight of you not wearing pants. Treat them kindly, even if you think they don't deserve it.

And even if they do deserve it, who gave you the right to decide that? It is not your place to decide who deserves what, nor who gets what. Unless you've risen way above your station, and are suddenly in some place of power, you are not the person to give people what they deserve, after all that would mean you get what you deserve as well, and I am pretty sure the last thing I want is what I deserve.

Merry Xmas you lot, and remember pants has another meaning as well, and I am pretty sure this post fits squarely within that meaning, sorry. 

Monday, December 05, 2011


The first punch you rarely see, it slips past your guard, catches you square in the mouth, and leaves you seeing little stars dancing around your head, like some Looney Tunes character that has just had a piano dropped on their head. You (eventually) managed to shake that punch off, and get to your feet, because more than likely the first punch has knocked you flat on your ass, and you need to get up eventually.  Once you get up, and get your bearings (east is to the right, west to the left, got you), and run your tongue over your teeth to see if any of them have been dislodged from your mouth, you come to the realization that your ballroom days are over, and this just got serious.

How serious is yet to be determined, but you are fairly certain that it is much more serious than you had imagined as you spent yet another day locked in your ivory tower. If, you manage to slip that second hay maker that was following the first like an express train following a local, then you have at least managed to ward off quick defeat. But now of course, you have to get it together because you are certain that this wasn't just merely a skirmish but the opening salvo in a fight that one of you will not walk away from.  School, all those glorious years of school, has not prepared you for this, and the only thing you have to rely upon now is your wits, which have sadly been addled by the first punch that knocked you somewhere south of goofy.

Hopefully, you will be able to at least defend yourself, even as you realize that David vs Goliath usually ends up with David being crushed like a bug, and as you look around over your situation, you realize that you've been cast as David in this particular dance, and that does not instill you with a great deal of confidence. And that is Goliath's main objective, to take away you confidence, and then hammer you into submission. That is what hammers do you know, they pound and pound away until whatever they are hammering turns into dust. Once they've stripped away what little confidence you possessed it is just a matter of time, and time is usually on their side.

Eventually, though you are going to have to throw caution to the wind, and throw a few punches of your own. It is a risk, and it has a high degree of difficulty that might (more than likely really) end up with you staring up at the ceiling wondering how wonderfully cool the floor feels upon your shoulder. And there Goliath will be looming (he is a great 'loomer') over you asking you if you wouldn't mind getting up, so that he could knock you back down again. And this is now going to be, whether you like it or not, your defining moment. If you stay down, which is really what you want to do, he will just kick you, because (from all I've ever heard) it is wonderful to kick someone while they are down. It then become incumbent upon you to get up, and get up quickly. Sure you'll probably (likely) get knocked back down, and maybe multiple times, but that is the point. They can't knock you down unless you are upright in the first place.

You know who you are, and you know what this post means, actually you probably don't Goliath isn't known for his intellect. Sort it out for yourself big man.