A look into the mind of the Monster.


There is some good news....LOL


Sorry for this…

Today is one of those days.
I hate this…I feel crippled and crushed.
I hate money…the idea of money, the fact that there is never enough.
Most of all I HATE the fact that the lack of it keeps me from doing anything.
I understand I can’t go jetting around the world…driving gold plated cars and shooting silver bullets into the air.
But what’s worse is when the things I want to do to feel good about myself and my life are out of reach.
What kills me is when I work to get something done, to build or make something and for the lack of 10 dollars I can’t finish it.
I hate not having the ability to go to a weekend SCA event…an event that cost 5 bucks. Because I don’t have 5 extra dollars…much less can’t afford the gas to get there.
I hate scrounging change to pay for things…to stand in a checkout line counting nickels.
There is money out there, and there is a plan to get it. We are so close to it…but there is nothing I can do to get it.

Sorry…this had to get out of me somehow.


Changes in the stable...

This is a cross-post from my new blog on this subject...if you'd like to follow it it's at http://myuralandme.blogspot.com/
Well. I went and lost my mind.
First let me give you a little background, just so we start from the same place, OK?
I am 40 years old with an awesome wife, a 2 year old son and way too many hobbies.

I practice full-contact stick fighting based on medieval combat. My wife also plays.
I play tactical paintball, hell I'm even on a team sponsored by a local field. My wife also plays.
I also wrench and ride motorcycles for fun. My wife also plays.

I come from a family of gearheads. One of my first memories is of a Panhead motor in the kitchen sink when I was a lil tot.
My Da rides, my brother rides...hell even my Mom has her own bike.
So motorcycles are part of my life.
For my birthday last year my Da gifted me a 1987 Harley Electra-Glide.
This wasn't just any bike...this was my Da's bike.
I lusted after that bike for nearly 15 years while he had it. Always begging to ride it...Hell, I thought about 'stealing' it on more than one occasion.
Then one day, he drives up from the old family homestead in Louisiana to my place near Chicago with it on a trailer, and signs the title over to me.
Needless to say, I was kinda floored.
But before you start thinking I promptly rode off into the sunset on it, I should come clean about a few things.
The bike has...Issues.
It isn't a basketcase, but it's not minty either.
Nothing major...just little stuff. Some electrical gremlins, the rear brake sticks, the paint is scuffed up, one of the saddlebags has a crack in the lid. Little stuff.
And my Da and I have a little different taste in aesthetics, pretty much every bike I have ever had has been
painted either flat black or OD green. Some examples...

I call this one Dingo.

The wife on her bike...it's named Plan B.
This bike has a wicked flame paintjob.  

One of these things is not like the other...

So needless to say I needed to get to work. 
Well..there is one lil tidbit of background info I forgot to mention.
I am currently without a paying job. I am working all the time, but seeing how I am working on starting a company with some buddies of mine...nothing PAYING just yet. So I have a limited budget...very limited.
As in none.
Well...having owned Harleys in the past I'll let ya in on a lil secret I learned the hard way.
That HD stamped on all those parts doesn't mean Harley Davidson. It means Hundred Dollars. 
So..I can't really do a rehab on the FLH. And I find I can't really ride a bunch anymore since we had our son, and me and the wife sure as shooting can't ride together, cause then there is nowhere to put The Boy.
So I start looking a something I have been interested in for years...a sidecar rig. I can't buy one, but I can look.
I have always wanted a sidecar for lots of reason.
Indiana Jones movies, Rat Patrol, Mad Max...blah blah. You get it or ya don't.
Plus...I have been thinking about something since The Boy was born. 
As I said, I come from a family of gearheads and riders, and I always remember my Da working on bikes.
I remember wanting soooo bad to go with him when I was little. I did get to go, when I was bigger, for little jaunts around town. Hell I even got lil mini-bikes and stuff to tool around the yard.
Thing is...if I want to ride with my family in the near term, well, it ain't gonna happen.
But maybe if I had a sidecar rig....hmmmm. (see how this thought process goes? )
Well, in my cruising around the Internet, looking at sidecar rigs for sale...hell even just looking for a side car to slap on the FLH...I find out there is a Ural dealer in town.  So I go down to the showroom and take a look at some of the Russian rigs. I find them very much suited to my taste. They ain't fast...they ain't flashy, and they are basically the same as they where when they started making them back in the '40s. So far so good.
Then we get to talking price....a new one starts at $10,000. Well...there goes that idea. If I can't afford to fix the FLH, I sure as shooting can't afford that.
But I do what every gearhead does...I keep looking at craigslist/eBay/Cycle Trader hoping to see an ad for a free bike with delivery.
Then I see a used Ural listed at shop in Wisconsin. Hmmm... An email was sent. A reply came back.
A lot of haggleing and horse trading later...I traded the FLH for a Ural sidecar rig, and made a little profit.

The Boy gives his approval.

Tucked in for it's first night in it's new home.

 So I got it home,and did the first thing any real gearhead does with a new motorcycle.
I tore it apart.

Well...I'm glad I did. There are some bad wires in the electrical system, and some gunk in the carbs. But nothing that can't be fixed cheap and easy. Overall the rig is in good shape. The motor has a little over 5000 miles on it...chump change, and it looks good. First impressions of it are what I expected. It's ain't fast...or flashy. It is easy to work on, and from my research parts are easier to find than you'd think and they are cheap to boot. Well, cheap for motorcycle parts.
Is it a good trade for the FLH? 
Hard to say.
Does it 'mean' as much to me as my Da's bike?     
No. But I hope this rig will mean as much to The Wife,The Boy and myself in the future.
I think it will, because it can do one thing the FLH couldn't.
Let us all eat the same bugs. Together.


L5 Production Blog: Post Production Update

L5 Production Blog: Post Production Update: Hello folks, Chad Burns here, with a little update on L5 for you. We have been working feverishly on the Post-production for the pilot an...


Lil vid from the Saving Private Ryan game at Fox paintball on May 7th.
Due to Operator Headspace and Timing and some Technical Difficulties...I didn't get a whole lot of usable footage.
This is my first attempt at integrating a map overlay into my vids...whatcha think?


Coming soon...

I have a couple of irons in the fire...doing some Top Secret work in the prop shop, but I am making a few workshop vids as I do it. One day, when it all gets declassified, mayhap I'll share with ya'll.

Elsewise...I am making preps for a big scenario game this Saturday the 7th of May at Fox Paintball.
The game is based on Saving Private Ryan and the folks I run with, Team Phalanx, will be commanding the German side. YEAH FOR BEING BAD GUYS!!!!!!!!!
Here are some link thingies  Fox Paintball and Team Phalanx  
Anyway, there are about 8-10 of us on the team with camera set ups, and I am making arrangements to gather everyones footage and make one giant video of the game from the winning side...which will of course be us.

Also..I'll being [hopefully] getting Project Prowler fired up and making a $hittonne of noise sometime soon...and of course, I'll be sharing that with ya'll.


VLOG April 24 update

Ok folks, Here is the latest news.
And a lil look at Dingo's first day out this season...


Paintball vids..another round.

Well, since I had to do another work day at Fox Paintball as part of the sponsorship deal, I brought my kit again.
Got to play a couple of open games.
I am enjoying the learning curve on the video editing stuff, and having something to look back on rather than my memory is damn helpful.
Here are a couple of vids... Once again I do one with a commentary track.
I also made a funtime video from another game.Still figuring out what is better...me yacking or just letting them roll.
I am running into issues with my music choices though.  It seems Youtube likes to kill the audio on every 3rd vid I post. They offer some music to replace the erased audio, but i like to still have the native sounds in there a lil bit.
Guess I need to figure out this whole metadata thing....


Paintball vids..

As promised, here are a couple of paintball vids from last weekend.
It was a good day, had the best weather so far. Clear sky and around 45 degrees. Lil windy (In fact the wind ate Mike's pop up tent). There were 5 folks who don't regularly play paintball show to play, and I was able to make sure everyone had what they needed without rental gear for the most part.(We did have to rent 1 HPA tank...damn hydro dates) Markers, mask, pods and pacs.
I think that means I may be a lil bit of a gear whore...not sure yet...in my defense Big Mike also helped to kit folks.
There are more vids in the works, but I am having problems with my video editing suite, hope to have it fixed this week.
This one is from the first of two games we played on the Village field at Fox River Paintball.
This is the second game from that round, we basically just swapped ends and ran it again.
This is the same video as above...but this time with a "Directors Commentary". I am thinking it may be fun to do more like this from time to time. Let ya kinda hear what I was thinking during the game.
That is all for now...please comment and let me know what ya think, good/bad or otherwise.
Hope to have more up soonish.



Man am I excited about going to play some Woodsball!
The best part is I have some folks who are kinda new to it coming as well...one of my favorite things is new players.


A lil update on what to expect....

As I alluded too, there will be some new paintball vids coming from me soon.
I have been working out different ideas for action camera..trying to get something decent for as little coin as possible.
While there are a slew of HD helmet cams out on the market now...I decided to go with slightly lower tech.
The reasons are many....
One of them is price. The 'best' price going for a HD helmet cam is around $200.
Another is I wanted something that is good for Youtube...I ain't shooting IMAX, so do I need anything more than good SD?
I figured not.
Soooo...for about $70 bucks I secured a SD helmet camera from Midland.
One reason the price is so good...is that is not really marketed that much as an "extreme sports' camera...it is mainly aimed at hunters and 'regular' outdoors types.
I also have an Oregon Scientific ATC2K camera that will be used as a gun-cam/odd angle cam.
Both of these cams shoot Digital video in 640 X 480 VGA at 30 frames per second and record straight to SD/Flash cards.
640 X 480 is fine for Youtube and the ilk.

Would I like to have something like a Contour HD GPS, that not only shoots 1050 HD but tracks speed/elevation and such? Sure.

I'd also like to be the King of all Londonuiam and wear a shiny hat.

C2E2 walkabout video.

I got to go to C2E2 and do a lil walkabout promoting L5.
Good times.
Expect some unrelated videos soon from me...PAINTBALL TIME!!


I'm gonna be a spaceman...again.

Well....I am gonna go walk around this weekend in my spacesuit.

It is C2E2, the big CON in Chicago...I figure what better way to show off L5 than a spacesuit?
Expect some pics and vids this week.


More Paintball chatter...

Ok...well the weather sucks...I've been trapped inside by the 5 foot drifts of snow piled against my front door.
I am broke, damn economy.
I am like a over sugared 8 year old.....I WANT TO GO PLAY OUTSIDE!!

And since I can't right now, I can do the almost next best thing. I can cruise the internet, most of my free time has been spent reading and watching paintball related stuff on various forums and Youtube..
I have come to a couple of thoughts that won't leave my head, so I am gonna give them to the interwebs to try and quiet my head. One of the big ones is compare and contrast of differing types of paintball play.

One of the things you need to know is the kind of paintball I like to play. My preferred game is Woodsball or Scenarios. I am in general not a fan of Speedball and Arena games.

There are some major differences in Woodsball and Speedball play...most notably scale. Woodsball is played outside (although not always in the woods...can also be urban, desert, scrub...whatever ya got) whereas Speedball is played around here indoors mostly  (although not exclusively)on small level fields that are generally set up to remove the terrain from play.
What does that mean?

Well....for example...in a Woodsball game, the terrain is a 'player'. Sometimes ya have to fight uphill. There are natural obstacles like streams and ditches, not to mention the camouflage opportunities.

There are locations that confer a significant advantage to the players that hold them, such as fortifications and strongholds.

In Speedball, the terrain has been removed as a 'player'. This is done by making the playing field smaller (usually around 50 x 60 meters) and placing the obstacles (called bunkers) in a symmetrically mirrored layout.

What this does is distills the game down, and makes the play much faster pace.(a typical Speedball game last under a minute...whereas Scenarios can last for days...)  It basically becomes a concentrated firefight. It artificially limits the front of the battle to a straight at the enemy assault. One of the most basic tactics is area denial by 'ropes' of paint...shooting high volumes of paint in a lane to further limit the choices of angles available to your opponents. This has led to the development of faster and faster markers, some with the ability to fire in excess of 20 balls per second(BPS).
That is NOT to say there are no tactics in Speedball...there are, just that the options are fairly limited and that most of the decisions revolve around gunfights, snap shooting and moving forward into withering fire.

I prefer the wide open play of the outside games in the green, and the type of play there. Where most times if you do come upon a dug in position, you don't have to run straight at it. Flanks are available, and a core of woodsball play. A good axiom for woodsball is "There is nothing so big and bad, that it can't be walked around."

What about cross overs? Do speedballers play woodsball and vice versa?  Yes.
Very few paintball players are purist, playing only one or the other. You will see speedballers out in the woods, where they can be very effective players, if used properly by their teams.
All that being said...do I play Speedball? Answer....not if I have a choice. However I have gone to speedball parks when there are no other options available...which is pretty much from Nov to March around here.
While when I go to speedball games, I am a distinct disadvantage due to the fact my kit is based around a mil-sim(Military simulation) semi automatic marker and larger gear pack-out. That doesn't mean I can't play and contribute to the fun, while having a little myself. There are even lessons to learn, as the skills honed in speedball can be used on the woodsball field.

As evidence I submit the following....

 If nothing else, I got to practice suppressive fire and being a base for a 'T' assault. I also had a bit'o fun and got to get dirty.


L5 Dev Diary 2.

Here is a random look at spacesuit construction and set building from pre-production.


A rant on Paintball...

I play Paintball.
Well, that is a lil vague as paintball can mean a lot of things.
I don't play Speedball, Hyperball, or Airball.
I play Woodsball.
So does my Wife....

So do a lot of my friends...here is a snap of my buddy Big Mike.

Hell, we even had a team for a while...

I present that just so you understand that I have some experience at Paintball.
I love playing Woodsball, it is a great way to meet new folks that already share an interest and I have never played a game where the other players were as invested in your success as a player more.

This Rant will not be about Woodsball vs Speedball...or what is real Paintball...although I have a pretty strong opinion on that.
This Rant will be on a Paintball Field practice called Field Paint Only(FPO) vs Bring Your Own Paint(BYOP).

Disclaimer: While I am an experienced player, I am not a professional. Nor am I a Field Operator or Owner.
I am not sponsored by, nor do I have any ties to any Paintball Field operation.
EDIT March 17 2011>> I should note that since I wrote this I have become associated with a Field Operator.
I am now a member of 
Team Phalanx
, sponsored by Fox paintball.


I dislike FPO. A lot. It has always bothered me. I understand that a lot of fields do it to insure they make money, and I am not against field owners/operators making money. FPO definitely helps their profit margins, but to me it has always seemed dishonest.
Let me try and explain that.
I go to a Field to play...There  is a Gate or Entry Fee.
This is what it will cost me to use their field, to help cover the cost of building, maintaining the field. Staffing it, insuring it, keeping the lights on and the toilets flushing. That should reflect how elaborate the field is to me. If it is a cow pasture on your uncle's back 40... an Entry Fee of 10-15 dollars makes sense.
If it is 14 acres of awesome, with tons of purpose built structures, and there are plenty of Refs...40-50 dollars makes sense.
But here is where the FPO issue comes up...a lot of Fields REQUIRE me to use their paint. Paint that is at a premium price.
To me this is , as I said previously, dishonest.
I am basically paying a second Entry Fee...and possibly a Fee to continue playing.
Does that make sense? I pay to get access to your field...to have the right to come play on your land, but then you charge me again to play the game.
If that income(from me buying your paint) is what you need to do to cover your cost...to break even or make a profit off me playing on your field...charge me that at the gate. Don't tell me it cost $15 to play on your field, then require me to buy a $80 case of paint. See...it smacks of bait and switch to me.
Now, before anyone starts blasting me in the comments that this is "just how it is" or that "Fields need to make their money"...I GET THAT...I do.
I want Fields to make money...then there are Fields to play on. I want them to make a lot of money, so that hopefully they can reinvest it into making the Field even more awesome.
My issues is that FPO seems underhanded to me.
Let me try this another way...

I started playing with rental gear way back in the day, it did the job of getting me hooked on Paintball. I went out and spent a fair amount of coin getting my own gear. I have spent the last couple of years tuning that gear to better fit the way I play...to enhance my fun. Then I go to a field that says I have to use THEIR gear.
Maybe not EXACTLY the same...but to me it kinda is.
I use a Tippmann A-5 marker with a Flatline barrel. The A-5 has never been a 'gentle' marker. It slams the hell out of paint when it fires. And the Flatline barrel is rough on paint, putting it under a lot of stress. This means I can't use a lot of paints without tons of chop. Especially Tourney grade paint, that has a thin shell. I need to use paint with a thicker shell in order to get consistent  results. Something like DXS Frostbite, or IMPACT.... I know this after months of making paint soup with other balls. So than I go to a FPO field...and guess what? I can't get a thick shell paint...so basically I can't play with my marker set up. Or I can get it, but it will cost me 50% more that retail...so I play 50% less games. Which means I have 50% less fun...which means there is a 90% chance I am not going to go to that Field again.
Now I could just accept this, and either pony up the extra cash, or find a marker set up that works with all paint, or just quit my bitching. But that is the issue here....I have an option.
There are fields that let me use the paint I have found works best with my particular set-up. These fields allow me to bring my own gear. My own mask, marker and paint. They may not be as fancy, or have flushing toilets. They may not be as close to me, meaning a 45 min longer drive. But I get to play more, and play the way I want to play. They tell me how much it cost to use their fields...and that is how much it costs. Not that much plus $X for paint before I can play.
Let me show you some differences.

Because it has an impact on planning, here is an overview of my gear.
I use a A-5 with Flatline barrel, 3000 lbs HPA, and a basic loadout of 750 balls. On a good day of play, I will use a case of paint.

Fox River Paintball: 
Entry Fee: $30 and includes all day air fills.
Paint prices: Range from $50 to $70 for full cases in varied grades.
Distance and Drivetime: ~50 miles and 1.25 hours
Cost for a day of play for me( Entry and a case of Paint): $80 if I use their paint, $30 if I BYOP 

Entry Fee: $18 and includes all day air fills.
Paint prices: Only one paint..cost is $90 per case
Distance and Drivetime: ~70 miles and 1.5 hours
Cost for a day of play for me( Entry and a case of Paint): $108, no option.

Let's say that travel time is moot.
Now take that cost times 2...recall my Wife also plays.
FOX:  $60-160
CPX:  $216
Where would you go?

Granted, CPX has a more elaborate field set up with more structures.
CPX FIELD pictures:

 FOX FIELD pictures:

 But is having a fancier field worth less play and more money?