Sunday, December 6, 2009

Confessions of High School Senior-dom

I've heard a lot of people say that being a high school senior is amazing and fun and a blast the whole time. I've decided that those people were full of crap. Simply put, senior year is nowhere near it's cracked up to be, and here's why...

1. College... stuff: Let's face it, planning your future isn't fun. I guess I was told this, but not in all that great of detail. I hate in when the counseling department comes into your class and says, "If you don't turn in your applications by Halloween you won't get into the school you want to," or at least that's how it came off to me. So for those of us lazy people, we're still working on them. That brings me to my next thing, essays for applications. Seriously colleges, I need more than 200 or 300 words to express my thoughts.
(Heck, up to "thoughts" was 150 words and I'm just getting warmed up). And come up with some original prompts, seriously, I can only write on "How I would contribute to the school because it's a diverse place" so many times before I want to go run naked in the snow (that's an example of going crazy for you people who are sitting there thinking "EWW").

2. "Lasts": It's your last year of high school, HUZZAH! And yet then there's all those other "lasts". The last year you'll probably see a lot of the friends you made in high school. The last time you get to do high school extra-curriculars. I got to do Moby Dick the Musical and I'm doing Newsies for plays as a high schooler, but unfortunately, my first times are going to be my last. I know that colleges have play and stuff too, but those are definately filled with theater majors who are all pima-dona about their theater "my way or the highway" actors. Pass on that one. The last year you get to have some of the coolest teachers ever. I'm going to miss Felton and Linville and a few other teachers who I've gotten to know over the years, and that makes me sad. I'm sure I'll like my professors a lot in college (and beyond), but I don't think I'll be able to get to the personal level I've gotten with some of my high school teachers.

3. Tying up everything: This isn't a problem yet, but it will be in August/September. Unless I go to CU I'll have to hand over the Molon Labe airsoft team over to another guy, that's twice in less than a year that the team will have been turned over, I don't want to do that. Odds are we're going to start planning a big OP, but if I have to leave before that gets done, well shoot, I'd hate to leave before A) I can play in it, and/or B) before it can even get done with planning. I guess that's really the only "tying up loose ends thing" but I'm sure more will pop up sooner or later.

4. Singles wards: Yeah... 'nuff said. Graduating means going to the singles ward... that's a frightening enough thought right there.

5. Money: So you're supposed to be saving money for college and stuff during your senior year right? Well it's kind of hard to get a job when you have play practice every night until 5:30, homework, church activities, college app's that need doing and things in a social life. Look's like I might be using the Marty Jasken approach for eating next year, rice and bread.

6. Girls: So... I don't know what to really say here (although I'm about to go off in a stream of consciousness rant). You've made friends all through high school, for me several of them were girls. I'd like to think that I've gotten to be good friends with some of them. And yet, I don't know if they think of me as a friend or the weird kid that they know who has a bunch of guns in his closet. Then, you want to get close to somebody, but they never really let you. So if I'm supposed to meet a girl, do I do a hard and fast "HEY! You wanna go out? I know a great place..." or do I do the chivalry thing where you're actually polite to the girl and treat her like you should? I don't know. I guess I'll leave it there, I could do more, but it would make even less sense than what I just put down up there.

7. Leaving "home": I've lived in Loveland, CO for 18 years. I've never lived anywhere else. It is HOME. The thought of leaving the place that's had my heart and mind for 18 years when I graduate is a sad and almost frightening thought. I've made so many friends here that the thought of having to make new friends somewhere else is equally as frightening for a socially awkward person like me. then again, if I did in in 10 days at NSLC, can't I do in 9 months at college? I guess that one's just been nullified. Shucks

8. Not knowing: The world's a big place. Not knowing what the future holds scares the living crud out of me and annoys the same stuff out of me. I'm usually a very logical person. I like to know what's coming. And the fact that I don't get to even have the slightest idea of what's around the next bend... GAH! It's just one of those things, you know? But I suppose that's how it's supposed to be. I'll let my Heavenly Father steer me where he wants me to go.

9. Still having to take classes: The biggest thing I heard from people is that senior year is fun because you don't have to take that many classes. I'd like to call "bull" on that statement. Colleges want you to keep working yourself to prove that you won't slack off and be useless to them. So here I am taking 3 college level classes and the second highest level German class in school and trying to squish everything else in there. Thanks colleges, but I already learned my lesson about work ethic last school year (4 AP classes, German 3, and an accelerated physics course).

Kara, you're lucky you were a pseudo-senior

I think that's all. Good work, you just got through a really rambly post full of me venting. But hey, it's in the blog description, what were you expecting?

Confessions of a Teenage Airsoft Team Leader

OK, so I'm OCD and when my dad pointed out that the word "multicam" in my url was misspelled, I needed to fix it

So here's blog the first (originally published: Sunday, October 18, 2009):

First post huh? Woot... I think... well, let's dive in.

First of all, I'm going to tell you now, I do a lot of explaining and reasoning, so just bear with me.

for those of you who don't know, airsoft is a sport that's kind of like paintball. You run around with fake guns shooting projectiles of some sort at other people, generally on teams, and see who's left standing a the end of the game. But, airsoft and paintball do have several fundamental differences. Probably the biggest is the type of gun and projectile used. Airsoft guns shoot 6mm plastic BB's whereas paintball guns... well you get the idea. Airsoft guns are also a lot more realistic. For example, where a paintball gun looks like a bunch of plumbing that's been slapped together, an airsoft gun is generally an exact (or very close) replica of a real world gun. I, have this for example:

That said, airsoft is generally... more realistic (in my opinion) than paintball. Most airsoft players like to dress up in camo and authentic (or semi-authentic) military gear. Heck, your carrying a military weapon, why not look the part, right? Airsoft guns come in every shape and size. From pistols to assault rifles to light machine guns to snipers rifles (and beyond).

As you can guess from the nature of the sport (guys running around with replicas of rifles and military gear), airsoft isn't all that mainstream. In fact, when I first started getting into the sport, I had to do a lot of searching to find any groups in Colorado. Airsoft even gets a lot of bad press because of people getting the police called on them because they're just carrying they're guns around in our gun-fearing society (but that's another topic for another time).

So that's the gist of it, now why the heck am I writing a blog about it? Long story, so buckle up and get ready for a read.

I'd tried to find a Colorado airsoft group to play with on Saturdays because I can't play on Sundays because of religious commitments. No luck, the only people I ever found played on Saturday. So, February of my sophomore year I got a message on Myspace from a random guy named Daniel. he asked if I'd like to play airsoft with a group of guys he knew. I asked if he played on Saturdays and he answered in the affirmative. So I said "Sure!" and I went to my first game.

Turned out that Daniel and his guys played every other Saturday. Huzzah! I'd managed to find a group! I started playing with "the group" whenever I could. Then one day (I want to say it was the summer of '08) Daniel talked to me about how he was thinking about forming a team. By that winter, we had a team that was recognized by the our nearest community of airsofters. We were called, Molon Labe.

Molon Labe started to pick up momentum and we ended up being a pretty solid group with our own field and everything. We were in the process of getting a big operation (a fancy name for an airsoft game) put together when we hit a bump.

We had a group of people that used to play with us who would play at our field every weekend (even when we weren't there) and they ended up getting the police called on them. A couple weeks later we went back to the field and the police showed up and told us to get off or face charges. Needless to say, we left in a hurry. So, a month before we were supposed to run our Op, we had no field. Luckily a team up here in Loveland offered their field to us. So the Op still happened and went pretty darn good. But from that point on we've been "homeless"

Molon Labe has since gone really inactive. Most of us haven't played since that Op last June. The last time I got out to play was August. As you can tell we needed some reactivation. Another hit came when Daniel told us that he was selling all his gear because he was getting a new job where he'd be... out of the country for a while. Obviously he wouldn't be running an airsoft team from somewhere else in the world.

So on my birthday I got a text message from Daniel saying "Happy Birthday" and that he had a question for me. I shot back a text saying "What?" and Daniel sent me a message saying, "You want the ML?" All I could say was, "Wait... WHAT?" He let me think on it for a a few days and I finally sent his back a semi-reluctant but also firm "yes". So he said back, "Alright, the ML's yours."

Yeah... most 18 year olds' idea of an airsoft team is them and their friends with POS guns they just bought at Wally World in the backyard shooting each other. Nowhere near where the ML was before we went inactive. But for a guy having a real team plopped in his lap just days after turning 18, is a pretty daunting idea.

So, I'm in charge of a fieldless, dysfunctional airsoft team of busy guys who have to live real lives. Yeah. You see my problem here?

Now, I have the support of the whole team (as far as I know). I have contacts in a couple of other teams, so I've got a network building. And I have plenty of guns and gear. There's just the whole... needing a field that we can all get to and getting back in contact with everybody thing. Plus living the life of a high school senior. So last week my "assistant and I met for dinner and we started talking what we're going to do. Next up, a team meeting. From there... well we'll see.

To be perfectly honest with you, I never thought I'd see a day like this. I figured IF I ever got on an airsoft team I'd be the trusty guy that was always there when you needed him forever. Well guess what? Apparently that's leadership material. When I asked Daniel way the heck he thought of asking me to be the team leader he said it was because I was that trusty quick-thinkingness that helps you stay alive in airsoft. Moral of the story, be dependable... or something like that.

It's funny to me, I feel like one of those teenage parents you hear about that gets that "accident" that they love so much. That's kind of how I'm feeling about this airsoft team. I know I'm going to love it when it gets up and running, but the just knowing that I'm in charge of it is absolutely terrifying. I guess the only way to get through it is to soldier on.

So yeah, here I stand. With a group of really good guys behind him, and a closet full of airsoft guns, we start off on a long road toward getting the team rolling again. Here we go!