About me

I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

My Pandora "radio station" profile
This is my favorite way to listen to music now.

My Yahoo "radio station"
(Unfortunately, only works in IE.)

Shopping

Looking to purchase something online? Support Caddickisms by going through one of these links:

Caddickisms Store

Amazon.com

Calendar

July 2012
S M T W T F S
« Jun   Aug »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Topics

Posts by month

Around the site

Today a guest post I wrote was published on the personal finance blog Gather Little by Little. Thanks to Glblguy for putting it up! I figured a couple people might wanderQuick overview for new visitors

Murder in the First, based on a true story, tells the tale of Henry Young (Kevin Bacon) and his attorney (Christian Slater) as they expose the brutality of the AlcatrazReview: Murder in the First

Star Wars: Community | starwars.com at Comic-Con 2006 At the recent Comic-Con, Steve Sansweet, head of Fan Relations, dropped some depressing news about one of the more anticipated Star Wars rumorsStar Wars in 3-D: Not happening soon

Reality TV has taken a wacky turn, but I think it's a turn for the better - at least in some ways. I am really not a fan of Reality TVSuperheroes in reality (tv)

The Last Airbender's current ranking on RottenTomatoes.com? 6% Six percent. In other words, atrocious. Worse than 94% of all movies rated. Horrible. A steaming pile of excrement. Your mother would slapReview: The Last Airbender

(Originally posted Jul 31, 2005 on my older blog) I've been watching Justice League and Justice League Unlimited lately. This is good stuff. Mike got me hooked. I'd caught it while flippingReview: Justice League

Somewhere around 35 years ago, I caught my first episode of Doctor Who. I watched a man with a very long scarf run around offering people jelly babies in prettyThe Doctor Is In

Everything old is new again. In anticipation of Tron: Legacy, a fan created this new trailer for the original Tron (1982), with a more modern look and feel. He did aNew Tron Trailer

Wired News: Orson Scott Card Builds an Empire The above link is an interview with multi-award winning [tag]science-fiction[/tag] author [tag]Orson Scott Card[/tag] on plans for his Empire franchise. [tag]Empire[/tag] was conceivedThe Multi-media Empire of Orson Scott Card (or How To Save the Video Game Industry)

Silence. That's all I was after. Just make the screaming stop (and prevent me from adding to it) - nothing else mattered. While the challenge presented by my youngest childThe Silence of the Lamb

[article no longer available]Thomson Announces Strategic Realignment of Operations; Company to Sell Education Businesses - MarketWatch [tag]Thomson NETg[/tag] and [tag]SkillSoft[/tag] have been trading 1st and 2nd place in the [tag]enterprise e-learning[/tag]SkillSoft buys NETg

Recently a North Carolina man named Tommy Jordan posted a video on Facebook in response to a letter his teenage daughter, Hannah, had written on Facebook. The video was intendedTommy Jordan: Parenting and Instant Fame in the Internet Age

Kathy Sierra has a great blog (Creating Passionate Users). I've only been following it for a couple weeks, but I'm really impressed. She writes about (predictably) making people passionate about"Interesting" idea

Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development: eLearnDevCast New Episode with Karl Kapp - GGG4L - Recruiting Gamer Generation I just listened to a discussion between Brent Schlenker and Dr. Karl Kapp aboutCorporate Gaming: Recruiting and training

Well, I was on the live session tonight (read about my experience with last week's recorded session). For the most part, as I expected, the experiences were the same. ThereOprah's Online Training - live experience review

Battle wounds

As I off-handedly mentioned, I went paintballing on Saturday. This was a group outing with a bunch of men and teens from our church. It was also the first time I’ve been on a paintball course in approximately 10 years. I’ve done it about 8 times that I can remember, but mostly through my late twenties and very early thirties.

I’m not horrible at the sport, but neither am I good at it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I vastly prefer the courses where you stealthily sneak through a wooded area to attack a bunker/fort. I’ve also found, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am not cut out for the reverse play on that same course, where I am on the team defending the fort.

Like most people, I rely heavily on my vision. The less I can see, the higher my stress levels get. Add to this the stress of being in an environment where someone is shooting something at you at over 250 ft/sec, and I think it’s fair to say that my stress levels get pretty high during these events. Especially because my goggles kept fogging up.

Goggles fogging up are not surprising in this sport. It’s happened every time I’ve played, in every kind of weather. This is the first time, though, that I’ve played where it’s rained in the morning and was sunny in the afternoon. Humidity, as you might imagine, was pretty high. In the rain, the goggle-fog got so bad that I literally could not see the end of my gun. That makes it pretty hard to find a target and shoot at it. And while I assume others were having a similar fog issue, I can’t make the assumption that their fog was as bad as mine, so popping my head out and craning my neck to take a look around via the extremely small area by the edge of my nose that would allow me to see something other than white-out would be a spectacularly bad idea. It also put my entire team at a disadvantage on one course, as I was in the “tower” as the designated spotter – calling out the locations of the attackers to my defenders below. That one didn’t work out so well.

When the sky cleared up a bit in the afternoon, the glasses fogging up was still an issue, but it usually didn’t get quite as bad unless the game went on for a long time. Most of the time, I could still see shapes, at least.

That doesn’t really help, though, if you’re defending a fort with limited visibility in a forest. Fort defense is a game that depends greatly on teamwork, as each individual is tasked with monitoring and defending against a particular direction of attack, because no one else can typically see that direction. If some attacker is very good at stealth (or avoiding paintballs), they can get around your back and take you out from a blind side.

One of our attackers was both very stealthy and very good at avoiding paintballs. I saw him for a second as he came around back, and tried to hit him, but he ducked into the tall grass and I lost him. The next thing I knew, he and I were back to back on opposite sides of a wooden fence. To my left was a small hole in the fence, large enough to shoot through. Both of us went for the hole at the same time, our barrels crossing through the opening, and let loose a barrage of paintballs.  I must have put my body directly behind my gun, and thus directly in front of his, because I got hit with every one of his shots. Remember, our barrels crossed through the hole. That means the end of his barrel was no more than 3 inches from my hands, probably less.

I don’t care how soft it is, anything that hits you at 250+ ft/sec hurts. Even at a good distance, paintballs sting when they hit. These shots drew blood. I have bruises on the knuckles of both hands, and two pretty good welts on my stomach. My stomach and hands were covered in layers of green paint, mixed with some red on my knuckles. I thought my finger was broken for a few minutes. I was most assuredly “dead.”

I couldn’t even muster the required cry of “out!” indicating I was out of play. All I could come up with through the unrelenting barrage of pain(t) was “aaaaauhhhh! Enough! Enough!” When he finally finished firing after what seemed like an eternity, I walked back to the “dead men” area where I received an appropriate amount of awe for the blood on my hands from the other walking cadavers. So that was good in a manly respect kind of way.

We only played two games after that (thankfully). Both were on the same course. In attack mode, I turned into a sniper in the woods and successfully controlled and took out a few enemies, contributing to our win. I enjoyed that game immensely.

For the final game, we were back on defense. I briefly considered defecting to the other team. To be totally honest, I was a bit skittish about being back in that death trap of a fort again. But we had a plan for better coverage, and I was up for another try, from a different position, this time on the second floor.

To say I was stressed would be an understatement. Not only was I fogging up, but I had even less visibility than my original position, except for the angle I was covering. I was probably annoying the tower spotters with my constant requests for reassurance that no one was coming through on our right (my back). Long story somewhat shorter, even though no one saw it, that same kid made it around the back again. That gave him a perfect shot at my back, which he took, again at close range. As I yelled “Out!” and a word that should not have escaped my lips (especially with a group from the church), I heard the kid snickering behind me.

I thought it was over, but then I was reminded that everyone had agreed that since this was the final game, we’d keep playing until we ran out of paint, regardless of how many hits we took. So, I reset my gun and took a somewhat safer location within the fort where I’d only have to worry about the back door and this kid. He had disappeared, but I knew he’d be back. I waited (still hurting, btw), until I saw his barrel breach the back door next to me.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t wait long enough. I shot too soon, and couldn’t get the angle on him. As we both released a torrent of paint around the corner at each other, I realized his gun was angling much closer to me than mine was to him. With a sudden onset of PTSD I yelled “Surrender!” ending my game just in time to prevent an incident that would have left me with no choice but to huddle crying in the corner.

I came away from the day sore and with a lot of bruises, as did every single other player (plus the referee, who took a nasty shot on the neck). The teens, especially, were showing off their bruises before we all broke up and went home. Some of them took some pretty good hits. To my knowledge, I’m the only one who shed blood, but there was a kid who thought he might have broken his wrist at one point (I think he was okay in the end).

Despite how it probably sounds, I had a lot of fun. Bruises heal, and were not unexpected to begin with. It’s not often you get to sneak through the woods and shoot people in a “safe” environment. It helped that all of the players were great guys who were out to have a good time, play by the rules, and who respected and supported each other. I’ve played with others in the past who were much more self-centered, petty, and showed less sportsmanship, which makes for a significantly less enjoyable time, so I thank this crew for making the day fun.

I also came away with stark reminders of why I’m not cut out for the armed forces. The stress I endured in these games was pathetic compared to what those guys go through, not to mention the physical pain involved. I’m glad I never had to test myself in that way in reality. If anyone in any armed forces happens to read this, in all seriousness, I’m very thankful for your service on my behalf. And also, if you’re ever in the area and want to join me in a paintball game, I’m ready. But I want you on my team – especially if you know how to beat goggle-fog.

Tags: ,

8 comments to Battle wounds

  • Paul Neralich

    So did this opportunity help you to keep you man card? Or do you still wear panties?

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Jury’s still out. It must be a step in the right direction, though, because I went out and bought stuff at Home Depot for a manly house plumbing project yesterday.

    Reply to this comment

    Paul Neralich says:

    I’d hardly consider installation of a pink toilet-seat cover a “plumbing project” let alone manly…

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    But it has blue stripes!

    Reply to this comment

  • Bob

    Ah, Paintball – I remember it well…

    A bunch of us went from work a couple of years (or more) back, and after being issued with Russian Army-surplus combat gear (and guns, don’t forget the guns) spent a day shooting and being shot at.

    With a break for lunch, of course.

    There were the same range of missions – Capture the Flag, Fort Assault/Defence, etc., and we got to play both roles in each.

    It was a great day, we had a lot of fun, and a long soak in a hot bath with a cold beer helped ease the pain. I counted 17 distinct bruises, and three lumps. No blood, happily, so you’re one up on me :)

    And to this day, I still don’t know who shot me in the ass…
    Bob recently posted..Things I’m Reading…My Profile

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Hi Bob… how’s Neptune treating you these days?

    I forgot to mention the lunch break! Very important.

    Reply to this comment

    Bob says:

    Neptune’s tiring – it’s taking longer and longer to get there and back – something about comparative orbital periods or such (which is why it takes so long to pick up my mail). Sorry about that…
    Bob recently posted..July 20th, 2012…My Profile

    Reply to this comment

  • Paintballing is quite a tiring sport, and playing with youngsters probably didn’t make things better as they are generally fitter and are used to these kinds of activities so I wouldn’t think anything of it. But it is true what you are saying, some of the smallest things make you so grateful for the people out there that are continuously fighting for this country!

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge