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it's been so fucking long since I've uploaded anything on here that I spent so much time forcing myself to remember to choose the category, gallery destination, links and polite requests for equally polite criticism in the comments that I forgot to fucking title the damn thing.

I also realise on retrospect that I never gave Charlotte Madison, Britain's first female Apache helicopter pilot and author of Dressed to Kill, a book that is as well-titled as it is well-written, the proper credit for providing the inspiration for that final segment of the chapter.

and by inspiration I mean if it wasn't for her I'd probably have absolutely no fucking idea what I was doing because I've never been deployed with an incident response team before. I can't even lie I just straight-up lifted some shit from her account because I tend to look upon military nonfiction just as a frame of reference even if it's laid out in the format of a story.

say what you like about books, but the early works of Chris Ryan and Andy McNab have, between them, given me more useful trivia about the SAS than all the websites on the internet that I've ever visited.

but I digress. I've been gone a goddamn fucking long time and believe it or not I actually quite missed some of you (if not the site itself. my deviantwatch is still filled with crap that you have to sift through to find the occasional gem, be that a user or an individual piece of art)

a lot's happened since I've last been here. I've been to the States twice to see my girlfriend, DennouParanoia, got a job, seen the Guardians of the Galaxy movie (which was even more hype than I'd dared hope for), finished several video games, moved house, been to the London Comic-Con (and cosplayed!!), had a birthday

oh also DennouParanoia (who is an incredibly talented artist, and I am in no way biased) is open for requests right now so if you fancy having something drawn then drop her a line

that's about all I have to say for now. have an excellent day/night/weekend/week, depending on what applies whilst you're reading this!
  • Listening to: Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1
  • Reading: Dressed to Kill by Charlotte Madison
  • Watching: Game Grumps
  • Playing: Marvel: Avengers Alliance
  • Eating: ham and cheese baguette
  • Drinking: Coke
Yeah this account is fucking dead

I've got writer's block something fierce and I've lost all my muse for my CoD stuff

I don't even lurk dA any more like

I'm mostly active on tumblr these days but yeah

just wanted to stop by to thank all of you who wished me a happy birthday

I had an absolutely fantastic day and I got a ton of cool stuff

so yeah peace out I guess

idk maybe I will come back to this place at some point once I've got less irl shit on my plate to be dealing with
  • Listening to: Dusty Springfield - Spooky
  • Reading: Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines
  • Watching: The IT Crowd
  • Playing: Marvel: Avengers Alliance
  • Eating: Cheeseburger
  • Drinking: Orangina
Well, I've updated Bullet Points at long last. cue applause from an off-screen audience

Now, some of you might have noticed a couple of things about the newest chapter. First, I slotted in a cheeky little nod to the original Bullet Points, just as a sort of bonus for the people who watched me on my old account and have been following my exploits since then. I'm not going to say what it was exactly, but props to anyone who can spot it.

You might also have noticed gave away a rather crucial tidbit of information with regard to Jackal's background, a bit like the reference to Kosovo he made in Chapter 2 - originally it was Northern Ireland, but I retconned it when I realised that he wasn't old enough to have served during The Troubles.

Whoops, there I go again.

Anyway...those of you who have read the original Bullet Points (and its successor, Exit Wounds) will doubtless know about Jackal's military background, so it's more significant from an in-universe perspective than anything because Dice knows next to nothing about him. But that's the whole point of doing this reboot - to flesh out the characters in my stories, make them more than just a collection of names with guns. The Modern Warfare series is particularly guilty of doing that. They give us characters who we desperately want to like but are either badly characterised - for example Ghost, whose representation in the Modern Warfare 2: Ghost prequel comic was fantastic but had the knock-on effect of making his in-game counterpart look like a cardboard cut-out - or characters like Sandman and Yuri, who could potentially be highly interesting characters but who the developers just hand-wave any information regarding them as "classified" before unceremoniously killing them off near the finale of the game.

The whole point of Jackal's character is that he's meant to be mysterious, and a little bit enigmatic. Few people besides Dice have ever seen what he looks like because he always wears a facial covering of some kind whilst on operations, and even fewer people know his real name. The problem is, whilst the whole mystery-man angle is cool at first, eventually it just leaves people dissatisfied and wanting to know more about the character they've grown attached to (as with Ghost in Modern Warfare 2). For that reason, I've decided that I'm going to dedicate a small segment of Bullet Points to characterizing both Jackal and Dice.

I'm going to aim to make it feel as fluid and natural as possible, so it doesn't just feel like I've shoehorned it in, but I think it's important to explain a bit about Dice in particular because when you take into account an event that happened in her backstory, it really doesn't make sense that she'd just throw herself at Jackal like she did in the original Bullet Points. Sure, she likes him, but I didn't really get that across last time and so as a result it just felt clunky and awkward and made Dice sound like some horrible Mary Sue whose only purpose is to act as Jackal's love interest - and that is the polar opposite of what Dice is. She's a fantastic character in her own right, and arguably better-developed than Jackal, but like all truly great characters she's flawed - not in the way that she's developed, but rather from an in-universe perspective.

Special forces operators are children of adversity. Like Ghost in the MW2 comics, his difficult childhood, the loss of his family, and what happened to him in Mexico shaped him into what he is. That's not to say that every operator is like him - Ghost is an extreme case (and a fictionalised one at that), but Jackal and Dice are similar to an extent. What makes special forces so good at what they do is the fact that they are used to being put under extreme duress - some are simply determined to be the best, but you have to ask yourself what sort of mental state a person has to be in to not only be accepted into the world of special operations but also to carry out such an awful job with such efficiency.

Let's be honest - "perfect" characters are fucking boring. A truly perfect character is one who comes off as being credible, like the "heroes" of Alan Moore's Watchmen or Joss Whedon's Firefly, or the kommandant of a Nazi death camp in a poem I once read who sends scores of men, women and children to their deaths without a flicker of hesitation and stops off at the sweetshop on the way home to buy chocolate for his young child. It's an uncomfortable paradox; we like the idea of villains we can hate unconditionally, but then we're forced to watch the kommandant kiss his wife and child who he loves so dearly. It's like the opposite of an imperfect hero - an imperfect villain, whose occasional softer side makes him imperfect, as opposed to the imperfect hero whose moments of darkness sometimes lay bare just how much of an awful person they can be. In war, all acts of heroism come at a price, because invariably people are going to die and at the end of the day it's you or the enemy.

Not only do you have to stop and think about the morality of what these so-called heroes are doing but you also have to take into account how it affects the heroes themselves - the human cost of war, which, given that my works are meant to be putting Call of Duty into a real-world context, is something I don't want to shirk away from. I might run the risk of upsetting someone or even of making my characters appear unsympathetic, but what you have to remember is that special forces soldiers are, at their core, killing machines. They might phone their wives and girlfriends before a mission to tell them how much they love them and laugh and drink beer with their friends after a successful op, but even if they don't enjoy doing what they have to do they don't allow that to stop them from doing it. As Curtis LeMay once said; "Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing...but all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you're not a good soldier."

On that note, anyone who hasn't played Spec Ops: The Line should definitely do so, especially if they're a fan of first-person shooters. Playing that game probably got this thought process going in my head in the first place.
  • Listening to: Les Cowboys Fringants - Plus Rien
  • Reading: SEAL Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin
  • Watching: Generation Kill
  • Playing: Halo 4
  • Eating: Cheese on toast
  • Drinking: Fruit juice
Oh look, we're not dead

I suppose that means I've not got a viable excuse for continuing not to update Bullet Points any more
  • Listening to: R.E.M. - It's The End Of The World
  • Reading: No Easy Day - Mark Owen
  • Watching: Firefly
  • Playing: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
  • Eating: Bacon sarnie
  • Drinking: Apple Tango
and I've just now figured out how to do small text

woo
  • Listening to: Madeon - Finale
  • Reading: Charlotte Madison - Dressed To Kill
  • Watching: The Unit
  • Playing: Modern Warfare 3
  • Eating: Pizza
  • Drinking: Coke
and it's only three months late.

Enjoy, and don't forget to comment. Feedback means more to me than favourites.
  • Listening to: Blur - Song 2
  • Reading: Sniper One - Sgt. Dan Mills
  • Watching: The Unit
  • Playing: Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
  • Eating: Malt Loaf
  • Drinking: Coke
First and foremost, a massive thank-you to everyone who sent me a birthday message. I had a fucking fantastic day and got pretty much everything I wanted and then some.

As I've previously mentioned, I'm not too active on here these days as I'm mostly spending my time on tumblr, but I will be popping in occasionally to check what's going on and to update my writing stuff. The second [revised] chapter of Bullet Points is coming along nicely, and hopefully it should be up soon.

If you fancy adding me on Xbox Live, my gamertag's the same as my dA username. If you want my Skype name, just ask.

I can't think of anything else to say now so I guess I'll just end this here.
  • Listening to: The Clash - Death or Glory
  • Reading: Union Jack Volume 1
  • Watching: Spaced
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Eating: Cheese Bagel
  • Drinking: Fanta
:bulletred: Re-write Bullet Points for clarity

:bulletred: Re-write and finish Exit Wounds

:bulletred: TF-247 origin story (working title: Insurgency)

:bulletred: Finish and upload Conviction