atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#6829: Detailed analysis

I forget when it was this past weekend that I read it, but it was a long disquisition on Iraq's firing of "Silkworm" missiles at USS Missouri in Gulf War II. The missile did not hit the ship, and was shot down by an anti-missile missile after it had already passed astern of the battleship. One salvo--out of an entire war--that didn't even hit its target.

The information in the article was so detailed it even talked about rounds from other ships which were fired at the missile striking the Missouri. It read something like, "Out of 100 rounds fired, three struck Missouri...," and went on to say where they hit on the ship. Like, if you were aboard the ship, you could go right to the spot.

There was a detailed discussion of the history of the type of weapon; there was a detailed discussion of the actual attack, and how it was repelled; there was a detailed discussion of what damage would have been done to Missouri had the thing hit in various locations.

Pages and pages and pages of analysis, for one missile fired in one battle. It was the first time a missile had been shot down with another missile in actual combat (not testing, training, or other live-fire exercises) so I understand why it's that detailed, but still: it boggles the mind.

When you're writing a story about a battle, it's impossible to consider that level of detail unless you are talking about a one-on-one fight, one man against another. The problem is that a fleet engagement involves thousands of people, each one doing something every instant. You need to distill those millions of individual actions down to a single average action. Concentrate on the actions of a few individuals and otherwise, paint with a broad brush.

But reality is different. Watch Band of Brothers; there's an episode where Easy Company does an assault on a fixed position which--the after-show title cards tell us--is still studied today by students at West Point as an excellent example of how to conduct one. (At one point the Germans are actually shooting at each other.) One little skirmish out of an enormous war, but it's analyzed and discussed seventy-five years later.

Military history is detailed and complex. It's hard to write combat stories that well.

* * *

Taxation is theft.

* * *

Saturday night I had a honey of a nightmare. Holy crap.

It was the standard "zombie disease outbreak" scenario. For some reason I was in a hospital, of course. The disease didn't kill people and it left the victim's mentation intact, and of course they were still coordinated and everything. Besides leaving them still sentient it otherwise had the other usual hallmarks: the desire to spread the disease to everyone, and a complete indifference to injury or pain.

For most of the dream I did a pretty good job of avoiding them, but then I got cornered in (I think) an operating room by a pair of twin girls, brunette, maybe early twenties. They got the better of me and pinned me, and they were psychotic and cheerful about telling me how they were going to infect me; I closed my eyes so they couldn't spit in them.

Telling me, cheerily, that I might as well give up, they proceeded to--I couldn't see, but I could feel hot blood and...stuff...pouring down on my face as they held me down.

"Eye goo is the best," one of them chirped.

"I know! It's so silky smooth. Here, feel," the other one said, sticking my fingers into her now-empty eye sockets.

"Me too!" Both hands.

The disease also conferred rapid regeneration of tissue, so they weren't permanently blind, but the sensation of the blood and vitreous humor and the insides of their eyes and I did not want to see it--

I was surprised, when I woke up, that I had not woken up screaming. It was pretty bad.

I lay there in the dark for a few moments, trying to make sense of it. Anxiety dream, I knew, thanks to the employment foo-raw. I debated getting up and having a Xanax, but having had two doses in a row Thursday-Friday I didn't want any...and I fell asleep while debating that question.

Right back into it, of course, though at a different point. More zombies, more terror, more horror--I wrenched myself out of that one by sheer force of will. Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope. up and had a snack and looked at some stuff on-line. I was up maybe an hour before I went back to bed, but when I did return to the world of dreams, at least it was not that one.

I have had some really bad nightmares--not often, thank all that's holy. For sheer terror and horror this one probably ranks in the top five.

* * *

Got up and cut the grass, which needed it, but not as badly as I'd feared.

Cleaned the pool cover off and refilled the chlorine dispenser, just in case we get a day or two in the late summer where we can swim. I expect to start emptying it in the next couple of weeks, though.

Things being what they are, though, we're going to move up our plans to revamp the spare room, which is why we're cleaning it out. I figure it'll be about a week's worth of work to paint it; of all the rooms in the house that one was painted the most recently before my wife and I started working on it. (Well, except the kitchen, which was painted in 2008.) I painted that room in 1990 as I recall, or 1991. Whichever it was, it will take some doing to get everything ready, but a couple coats of Ultra White on the ceiling and a couple coats of [whatever] on the walls, and then we can put up shelving and have a nice reading room. Just effort, mostly.


Speaking of, off I go.

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