Return to the Invasion of Normandy – 2015

Last July, a group of friends and I went to ION (Invasion of Normandy). This past weekend, I went and did it again. And like last year, I had a blast.

For those who don’t recall (and who don’t want to click on the little link above) – ION is a massive scenario paintball event that takes place in Albrightsville, PA. Approximately 4,500 people come out to shoot one another and attempt to win the day for their side. We were once again Allies.

Fortunately, this year I traveled with not one but three other folks from Iowa. Okay, just two others joined me on the trip from Iowa out east but we swung by Michigan to pick up my brother who is an Iowan at heart so that counts for something. From there, we headed down to PA. Along the way, we listened to the audio book of The Martian, which helped pass the time. (Hint – If you haven’t read the book, go read it now. It’s awesome).

In any case, we camped Friday night, fought on Saturday, hung out Saturday night, and left early Sunday. We stopped in Michigan for the night and then finished our drive the next day. All in all, a really good time.

Highlights

  • Last year storming the beach took less than 20 minutes. This year? Almost 90. It was a lot harder fight and required a lot more strategy. The group I was with worked together and led a number of charges that overran enemy positions. For the last 30 minutes, I had no paint in my gun and was simply leading charges and getting other folks to move. It was a sight to behold.
  • On occasion, ‘props’ are dropped in certain locations that will give the side that controls that area points (with which to ‘win’). We learned that a prop was going to be dropped near a place called the Museum at 4pm. Our group of 30 (plus about 15 regular folk) marched for the Museum. We found it unoccupied and setup defensive positions. And for the next 45 minutes, we held that place against 200-300 Germans determined to take it. It was one of the more glorious moments I’ve had in my life and was immense amounts of fun.

And now, some pictures:

After the beach.

 

The most grievous injury. I have no idea where it came from or what caused it.

 

My vest and name patch (Harrier is my nick within ShackTac).

 

Happy to have survived.

Full gallery of pictures here: http://imgur.com/a/c2A8h#3Rbou1A

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Turning 41 Amongst Gentlemen of the Road

Received last night from my little brother:

So this is 41 … it’s something alright. How am I planning on spending it? Well, the folks are coming up for dinner but aside from that, not too much is happening.

Most of the fun stuff happened last weekend. As a combination anniversary (June 5), Steph’s birthday (June 15), and my birthday (June 23), we treated ourselves to the Gentlemen of the Road music festival down in Waverly. (Fun Fact – It was originally to be held here in Decorah but logistical arrangements couldn’t be made with the college, so we lost out on it. Boo.)

What is GoTR? In short, it’s a two day music festival with about a dozen bands, headlined by Mumford and Sons. And it was fantastic. Four of the bands played on Friday with the rest on Saturday. So I got to see names I knew – Mumford and Sons, The Flaming Lips, Jenny Lewis – and a lot I didn’t know – Dawes, My Morning Jacket, Macabees, and a few others.

The headliners capped it off with a 2+ hour long show that was incredibly high energy and fun. Didn’t regret it one bit. Had a blast and would do it again in a heartbeat.

The only problem was the thunderstorms that swept through Saturday morning. Looked a little bit like this:

Thunderboom
Thunderboom

We were fortunate though in that one of Steph’s friends was from Waverly and her parents lived right next to the campground. We were able to get our car out of the mud pit that was the parking lot and park on solid ground. This also let us skip out of town right after the concert, getting home about 1:30am and letting us sleep in our own beds that night (plus the heavenly shower).

All in all, a great weekend. So here, treat yourself to some pictures and vids (click to embiggen any of them):

Campsite (only about 1/3rd full)
Dawes
Festival Grounds Entrance
Jenny Lewis
Flaming Lips (Not nearly enough drugs in the world to understand this show …)
Mumford and Sons

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweet Sixteen

Sixteen years ago on a nice, summer day not too unlike today, Steph and I were married. It has generally been a pleasant time.

Since that church in Calmar, IA (about 10 miles from here), we’ve been a lot of places. Our first anniversary was in Galena, IL, a town not far from where I grew up in Dubuque. Then we bounce around to a few other places – Colorado, Atlanta, and others here and there. Few topped the 4th in Paris with lunch at Versailles and dinner at the Eiffel Tower (that earned me about 10 years, just sayin’).

This year, we opted not to go anywhere and spent the week at home. This morning, we planted trees. Two apples and a cherry.  And, with a bit of unintended humor, one of those apple trees? 

We totally meant to do that.
We totally meant to do that.

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March & April Progress

Well I feel like a schmuck. I was positive I’d posted about my March progress but a quick look this morning told me that I was wrong. D’oh! To make up for that, here’s a picture of Cici acting as referee for a grunge match between Skye and Bee.

Rumble in the Kitchen
Rumble in the Kitchen

March

Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.

A total of 7,750 words written during March which makes it a good, solid month. It also marked the rough end of Act One. Not much else to say about that one.

April

Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.

Not nearly as good but better than I expected. A mere 5,500 words for the month. You’ll also note that I switched to Pink dots … that’s cuz I ran out of Green. A few things to note:

1) Following the end of Act One in March, I spent 7 – 10 days working out the path that Act Two would be taking. It ended up taking longer than I expected, though in the process, I figured out a lot more about my characters and made some much larger changes.

2) Solved a potentially major plot hole. Good but that took up a lot of time as well.

3) Grand Theft Auto 5 came out in the middle of April. I knew that was going to eat into my time so I’m not too disappointed. In fact, I’m surprised I was only 2,000 words off.

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