Saturday, February 05, 2011

Some things change, some things never change.

It has been a little over a month since I started my new job, and I'm starting to feel like a normal human being again.

The sleep pattern is starting to be the norm, I'm getting over this weird cold that just seemed to linger for a few weeks, the new job stress took a couple hits when I got my first customer survey back (perfect), and some guy who's supposedly awesome was impressed with my work. Things are starting to feel normal again. But not that kind of normal I had at the last place, where things were slowly sliding downhill, and you never really realize that stress until it's gone.

Real normal.

Feels damn good.

I called my old paintball buddy when I decided to go paintballing the next day. The same old paintball buddy who had grown accustomed to me turning down every offer of an outing due to me being on call or some other engagement. And I do mean every. I went so far as to explain to him that I really did want to go, and to continue inviting me, but cosmic forces seemed aligned to prevent me from going paintballing with him.

Kharmicly, he was unable to go due to a prior engagement, however he hooked me up with one of his friends who asked him if he wanted to go the same day.

We hit it off immediately, all he had to do was mention "phantom" and "machine shop" and I could tell we were going to be best friends. He and his friend are stock class players, and run phantoms, so I told him I'd bring mine and we'd make it a triple. Since it'll just be three of us, he recommended we join a walk-on and take them to school. My kind of pump players.

I hit the local shop (the only one that's left) after work, and it turned out the shop owner was there. We started talking kit, and it turned out he was on the socal paintball scene for 12 years. When he found out who I knew and what I used to do, we caught up on common friends, and the ones who were no longer with us. We talked about the scene, the drama, how some things changed, and how other things never changed.

A lot of those times are over. There are glimmers of hope, but the scene is a shadow of what it used to be. The economy is to blame as much as silly drama.

The halcyon days of southern California paintball.

It made me sad that it was gone, but I was still happy to have been a part of it. It felt strange to talk about "the good old days." I'm only 27...

But time marches on, and the oppressive cost of doing business in California, and the high insurance rates for "shooting sports" forced fields to make up their costs by requiring players buy field paint instead of bringing their own. This paint was usually low quality and high cost to maintain the necessary margin the field needed to stay in business. This made players seek lower cost forms of playing, hence an uneasy spike in pump play.

Generally pump play is the polar opposite of the "Agg Kidz" (HK kids) I fought against in the sport. It's really easy to get your aggression going with 2 grand of kit slinging four cases of paint a day. "Whoops, lit up that last guy on the bunker, and he turned out to be a scared little kid just trying out the sport. Guess he won't be back! High five!" I'm hoping the return to pump play brought a return to focus to the game style down here, but I suppose attitudes don't necessarily have to change when play style changes. But I'm hopeful, and I'm going to find out today.

Blogging should return to normal once I get this new schedule figured out, and determine where it fits in it. I used to be able to write bits and pieces at work, but that won't be the case now. I'll be back. Don't worry.

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