Something I Wanted to do at Least Once in My Life

Today I officially held and fired a firearm; a pistol to be exact.  In celebration of my wife’s birthday, we decided to all go to the shooting range.  Part of me was looking forward to this just because I was going to get an opportunity to shoot a real gun, but the writer part of me was looking forward to all the details and experience I would get from it which I would be able to use in future writing.

There were so many interesting facets from the feel of the heavy, solid bullets, all lined up in a box.  The toughness of loading the bullets into the clip, and how it’s pretty tough and not as easy as they make it look on TV.  The extreme noise the gun makes with each shot, as well as the constant shooing going on around you with everyone else firing their pistols or rifles.  (I can only try and imagine what it must be like with automatic weapons!)  The great (and in my opinion, best) feeling of loading/jamming the clip into the gun, then chambering a round, and the feel of squeezing the trigger slowly and having this hunk of metal pieces turn into an astonishing and terrifying killing machine.  A weapon.  Then there’s the expended shell launching into the air, often hitting you with its hot metal surface.  It even jammed a few times, adding another great experience.  (I of course took some shells home with me.)

I tried two pistols: the Beretta and the Sig Sauer P 229, which were similar and at the same time different, with the balance of the weight, the feel of the gun going off, and being able to somewhat tell where I hit.  We were using 9mm rounds.  We all actually managed to hit the targets a number of times, with some shots in the center too.

It was a truly fantastic experience that I do look forward to doing again at some point (though it can be expensive, especially with the cost of all the rounds) and possibly trying out a rifle.

And as a final note, a small part of me is somewhat horrified that our species has created this assemblage of metal, gunpowder, and pieces to be this mortifying killing machine.  It just feels so dooming, firing off an explosive bullet and imaging it going into someone’s body.  I don’t think there are really any people who, when shot, can get up and walk away like they do in the movies.

Level 26: Dark Origins

Not that impressed so far.

Level 26: Dark Origins is the first in what is referred to as a “digi-novel.”  Written by the creator of CSI, Anthony E. Zuiker (along with Duane Swierczynski), it is the story of a serial killer who cannot be caught.  Murderers and criminals of various sorts are listed on a scale.  So far the scale has only gone to 25.  With the advent of Sqweegel — as the killer is referred —  he knows no bounds of depravity and torture, pushing himself to a whole new level.  26.  And the problem is whoever is working on the case ultimately ends up dead, often by the killer’s hands.  So no one wants to touch it.

The digi-novel aspect is pretty interesting.  It involves being directed to the Level 26 website at the end of certain chapters in the book, as well as being provided with a keyword.  On the website — where you naturally have to sign-up for an account — you can enter the keyword and then can watch a 3-5 minute clip that relates to the book.  Zuiker, in conjunction with writing the book, has also written and directed scenes, some with known Hollywood b-actors, others with nobodys.  While the scenes do tell a little more of the story, they are ultimately really over the top dramatically (I think it might have a little to do with the actors not being able to get fully immersed into the roles as all they have are these one-off scenes)  and tend to not provide too much information, and readers can in fact enjoy the book just fine without having viewed them.

As for the book, it features short, numerous chapters with a slowish pace, garnering it, barely, 3 out of 5.

We will have to see whether the story gets better, the pace improves, and the video scenes become more watchable.

But for now, not very impressed with the supposed “first digi-novel.”