The Manliness of Manly Men being Manly!

A film producer of my acquaintance used to call these “rammer lines.” You know, the classic “This — is SPARTA!” declarative. In my career I have written a lot of these. What always ticks me off though, is although I can write them, I suck at actually being able to say them, even in those rare moments when I can actually think of one fast enough to apply to the  situation at hand. I’d end up throwing in so many “ums” and “y’knows” that the impact is lost, plus I generally trail off weakly. So it’s just as well I never became a fireman, because I’d be all: “So, um, let’s beat us a, y’know, goddam path into, y’know, hell or whatever.”

I can’t grow a mustache like that either. I honestly think that’s part of the requirement.

So I’m sure everyone’s wondering how all this drama is going to tie into Max’s storyline. Well, stay with us, because we’ll be getting to that soon! And by the way, we really appreciate all the upvotes on TWC (the link’s to the upper left there.) You guys are awesome!

Oh, and we’ve added a high-quality PDF version of the first book to the bookstore! So if you’re just joining us and want a fast way to get caught up with earlier storylines, or just a way of being supportive (along with the always-appeciated TWC votes) — consider a book in any one of the various formats available!


More below!



Playing Fireman


A couple years back, I was working for a pyro effects crew doing flame effects for a National Guard commercial.

We went to an actual suburban cul-de-sac with a hill behind it, and we ran propane hoses and fire hoses and fire bars and massive valves and fireproofing all day, and then we spent all night igniting the most gigantic propane fires ever on the hills and also behind the houses, while handsome and heroic National Guard troops (they used real National Guard personnel, both male and female, carefully selected for ethnic diversity and physical attractiveness) “rescued” families and adorable toddlers from the inferno.

We had one regular fire truck, but for the purposes of the commercial we also had a National Guard fire truck pull in to Save The Day. And man, when you see a National Guard M1142 Tactical Firefighting Truck you don’t forget it. Those things dwarf, absolutely dwarf standard civilian fire trucks. They have eight tires (four on a side) that are bigger than my car. They hold one thousand cubic shitloads of water, and they can also climb mountains. They are stunning, but not scary – instead, they are somehow reassuring. They are the same color and damn near the same size as Thunderbird Two, and when they come rumbling up on a fire, shaking the very ground beneath them, you get the impression that fire is going to meet its match. I’d love to see them used more often. This is the sort of thing I WANT my taxes used for.

The propane fires were immensely hot. We had an entire propane truck pumping liquid propane at high pressure (we went through 800 gallons of propane that night) to create the blazing infernos, and we all had fire hoses to keep things under control. We needed them, too. Though the flame bars were at least twenty feet from the hillside vegetation (in these concrete drainage ditches that could not be seen from below) the sheer heat of the firestorm kept igniting brush up to twenty feet away, even though it had been sprayed with water and fire retardant gel. It was also melting the hillside’s plastic sprinkler pipes. I was up near the top, with a fire hose (man, those are fun) keeping the blaze confined, and since I kept having to get in the shot to douse an incipient runaway, they gave me a firefighter’s turnout and helmet to wear so I would look like I belonged in the picture. I have to confess, that turnout gear is awesome. It really does the job of keeping the heat off, because I was scorched everywhere it failed to cover. (They only had a Medium, and I’m an Extra-Large.) Special kudos to the helmet’s flip-down face plate.

So for six solid hours I got to pretend that I was a grownup at last, and had actually become a fireman!

Still can’t grow a mustache, though.

— Bob out