Monday, August 20, 2007

Jeeze,

how hard is it to start a paintball team? Luke and I went to an indoor 3 man field saturday night, and we practiced together. There was a 3 man team there, and they were a little better than us. One of them noticeably moreso than the others.

Well, Luke and I are thinking about starting a team to try and play some beginner tournies next year. We'll see how that goes- luke doesnt have a job, so it would be hard for him to pay (it's not a cheap sport) and we're both not that good as far as tourney players go. Part of why we went the other night. We practiced some running and shooting drills, shooting with our off hand, snap shooting... I couldn't really practice fast laning (shooting fast in a certain spot, making a player run through your stream) because my hopper doesn't load fast enough (new one gets here tomorrow, heh :) ) but I did get to practice where to shoot. Thing is, most of the beginner tournies are 3 man. Luke and I are TWO. We need a third player. Someone that is interested in playing some tournaments, having some decent gear, practicing with us a bit, etc. It would be *really* fun to have a team and play at some local beginner tournies, where it's almost everyone's first time playing a real tournament. If we get good enough, maybe even win something. First place usually is a pretty darn good reward, be it cash, guns, gear, etc. That'd be pretty sweet. If we keep practicing throughout the winter, we could probably be decent for the beginner tournaments.

I was asked to play with a team last weekend for a beginner series event, but I declined, figuring I needed more experience, and went to practice with Luke instead. Funny thing is, the team I declined, won 3rd place, and I didn't even think they were that good... they were shooting some pretty cheap guns, and not a lot of play time. Oh well, live and learn.

There are lots of teams around the area that probably wouldn't mind picking up an extra one or two people... I wonder if it would be easier just to join someone else's team, and not haveto worry about all the semantics of being a team captain. Getting people to go to practice, making sure people can afford a tourney, working on drills, being responsible in general. :/

I'm thinkin, if it was my team, I'd name it after my old PB company I had. Savage Paintball. Maybe I'd name it Team Savage, or just Savage. hehe.

Until next time...

Friday, August 17, 2007

So...

An old friend of mine got saved. Someone I had given up pretty much all hope in. I used to pray for him for a few years, and try and mentor him and help him be successful in every way I could. He was in my MCP class, and he was one of the smartest people. For years we had this love/hate relationship where he would cuss me out and hate on me, and then we'd have a lan party together the next day. I always tried to forgive him for everything he did, just so I could continue to try and help him out/be his friend. It all gets very complicated and stupid, as in high school drama/cliche ish, with the group of friends we were "in" or whatever, mostly with all of them not wanting me around, but at the same time, wanting me around. :/

It all kind of ended when I graduated, and I got my job at MS. I kind of had a new life then. Volunteering at Church dozens of hours a week, etc, (all talked about in my blog at that time) so I just kind of moved on from such a horrible relationship/dynamic. I hated getting cussed out and treated piss-poor all the time, and after years of trying, I came to the conclusion that there was no way I could ever change any of them. And I lost my best friend in the process of it all, too.

Fast forward to today, and out of the blue I get a message from this guy. I was still friendly toward him, I don't really know why, we didn't leave on the best of terms and/or really like eachother at all, but I always felt I needed to be respectful and treat him well regardless. Well, good thing I did, and good thing I felt that way. He messaged me to tell me he was going to church. I didn't want to push the entire church thing on him, for fear of scaring him away (new believers often stumble when overbearing people push rule after rule on people) so I left it at that and we talked about other stuff, just kind of catching up. Well, we hung out, had dinner, and I was pretty amazed at how much he'd matured. He'd gotten a decent job, gotten out of some of his nastier habbits, and moved on. I didn't think he could get out of this rut, but it looks like God had more faith in him than I did. I guess I'm human too. :)

So, we got him a bible, with his name on it. Rosemary was awesome and went after work to the christian supply store two days in a row and got a nice NLT bible for him. After a few days of getting re-acqainted and everything, I slowly started talking about more Christianity related things. I am trying to message the idea that it's all about love and peace, hope, kindness, etc. because so many people these days think Christianity is just a set of rules you haveto follow or you go to hell. So far off from the truth. :( And last night in the bible, Rosie and I read that new believers are the easiest to stumble from false teaching. And of course they don't know any better. I cried last night as I was praying over this guy. We told him to read Romans first, and handed him the bible. Then him and I hung out some more and had a great conversation and opened up to eachother a bit. As I was praying and thanking God for seeing fruit of seed I had sown so many years ago, (And lots of other people's seed too) and praying for his protection in Christ and his new budding relationship, I got a call from him, asking "which book of the bible did you want me to read first again?" After I answered and said goodbye, I laughed at such an amazing thing. I wouldn't really expect most people to want to dive into the bible like that, nor the idea that he forgot the book and needed to call me, in middle of my prayer for him.

God is pretty amazing, and I'm so humbled and in awe over his ultimate plan for us all. He really is in control. The last few weeks, we've been praying for God to use us in every way possible, and I love it when he answers prayer like this. There is no gift greater than that of life, the one Jesus gave us on the cross, and to see a friend realize that and take it, is probably one of the most precious things in the world.

Ricky

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hello...


I don't really know what to blog about at all, so I'll talk about how I wanted to be a pilot when I was little. (please don't tell me that sentence is contradictory- I already know, and I just don't want to re-write it).

The blue angels are in town this weekend, and it kind of comes up in my mind every year when they are in town. :)

When I was little, I LOVED the idea of being a hot shot pilot and having the skill to navigate the complexities of a dogfight. The only thing that kind of worried me a bit was my fear of heights, and how dizzy I get so easily (which I now know is clinical vertigo). But man, I would dream of piloting an F-14 through the skies in tight twists and turns, barrel rolls, and I even imagined myself doing lots more complex things like reverse-throttle hops and inverted high velocity dives...

Well, time went on and that idea kind of came and passed, because of my fear of heights, sadly. Well, years later, the idea was perputuated somewhat, by this new computer simulator that came out called Longbow. It was a helicopter simulator, and Mom bought it for me. Our computer at the time was not designed to run it- the minimum requirements were a computer twice as fast as ours. It took me three months of reconfiguring the computer and learning about how Extended Memory and IR ports work to get it to work, but I did- and I played that game for hours and hours. I got really good at it, too. It was made by a company called Janes, who specialized in lifelike simulators- the manual for this game was about the size of the bible, and you had to know most of it to know how to play. I mastered this game. I could manipulate height, speed, rotor angle, tail rotor angle, rudder, etc, all at the same time. It was the ultimate in multi-tasking. I remember watching other people play in the stores, and guys that had said they played the game lots at home could only come to a hover and shoot tanks one at a time. I remember flying 8 ft off the ground at 140mph targeting and launching missiles at 8 tanks all at once, all while never even being shot down. After a year or so, I stopped playing that game and it kind of left my mind.

About two years later, a good friend of mine from Church who worked at Microsoft (Robert Deupree) told me of a new game they were making, called Fighter Ace. It was set in world war 2, and was only multiplayer. It was a plane simulator, and it was (at the time) massively multiplayer, with up to 40 players in the game at one time. Well, Robert pulled some strings and got me into the Beta program on that game, about a year before it came out. I got on, and started playing with the guys that wrote the game. After I got the details down of how to deploy landing gear, fix flap angle, and things like that, I took to the skies. It was a BLAST, because I felt naturally good at it. Almost all of the developers had private pilot licenses, and were pretty good, and I'd get humbled every now and again by one guy in particular, but other than that, I felt untouchable. I would only die when I had accrued enough damage from the last half dozen dogfights to put me at a severe disadvantage. All of the developers started to recognize me and switch to my team whenever I would get on, and to mix it up I'd pick a different plane to fly almost every time. I tried P-51 mustangs, P-38 lightnings, ME-109s (german planes), Zeros (these were fast and fun, but they were made out of wood and cloth, so they are very fragile) and all sorts of different planes. I could fly circles around those guys- I often tried to mimick the movies and come in above unsuspecting enemies and invert myself for the famous top gun greeting. Sometimes they'd freak out and pull up and we'd both go down in flaming wreckage, but it was a lot of fun to play around with guys.
The next game was X-wing VS. TIE Fighter. It's a space fighter simulator, so physics is a lot different, but a lot of the tactics are very similar. I played that sim for a few years as well, and they had groups of people that would fly missions online together- or online "squadrons". This game was less of a simulator and more about dogfighting, and I wasn't as good at it as the others, but I could hold my own pretty well.

I know computer games aren't a direct translation to real life skill, but I feel there is something there. The first two I mentioned above, were touted across the flying community as amazing simulation games, very closely depicting real world phsyics and complexity.

I just wonder, what would have happened if I didn't have vertigo. If I had joined the air force and became a fighter pilot. It sounds like a dream to me, to twist and turn in the skies, taking part deadly dance of guns and missiles. I know that, with my personality, I would become pretty good. I focus in on something until either I completely dominate in it, or get bored. I just wonder, what would it be like, to do that?