No, I haven't died yet, I just haven't been online much this past week ;p. One of my oldest and dearest friends on the 'net, decided to spend his holiday here in Georgia. So I've been absent from the computer like 90% of the time, instead of on the computer that much. After something Cara said a while back, I've been trying to be less omni-presently online anyway... but it's been a while since I've been offline this much. For most of the decade I have probably spent more hours online than off, that's just how life has been :-/.
During my all to much time on the computer, I have developed a number of relationships and crossed paths with many people around the world. Some of which are very important to me. Among these is a young genius from Germany known by the name of Miles. He and I go back as far as cica 2006. I was one of his instructors when he was an [SAS] recruit, he was once even being groomed as my prospective 'replacement', and we've often worked together on various projects. The light armour vest in the SWAT skins is largely his handy work btw. We have also seem our fair share of differences over the years, both in and out of [SAS] but have remained friends through it all. Even though we haven't always seen eye to eye about everything, you could be sure if I ended up in the brig, Miles would have been sitting right next to me lol. I still remember during the trainers war that nearly split the clan in two, when Miles set aside his own interests and was the only one to come to my aid. You're never gonna live that one down buddy!
After countless warnings that he would probably be bored senseless among other likely problems of spending his holiday here, it was finally sorted that he would be staying with us rather than booking a hotel. The apartment also ended up cleaner than I've seen it in nearly ten years, and ma did most of the effort: if I had to do it, a lot more stuff would have been thrown out unceremoniously and start a thermonuclear war. The conditions I'm stuck living in are not the best, but hey, if he wanted to take a crack at it who am I to complain \o/.
The family F.O.R.D. was also removed from play by way of my mother and the mechanic: water pump needed replacing. Ended up asking our pastor to help pick him up from the airport in Atlanta, as an alternative to having to make like an Asian taxi driver dragging a cart. Picking Miles up also showed me that the traffic on the I-85 going into Atlanta isn't as bad as it used to be in the earlier 2000s, meaning that gmaps listed travel times are now respectable enough for planning purposes. Because my mothers utter lack of comprehension for scheduling algorithms, I also ran out of prep time! Luckily there was just enough time to dig up maps of the concourses and main building at the last minute; so we decided to link up in the atrium, which is near where the two terminals join outside the main security funnel. After arriving the pastor and I set up shop in a spot where we could establish over watch of the checkpoint and baggage claim areas. In the end ma's cell phone rings in my pocket and Miles walks up from behind me; beats him having to page Spidey01 to the information desk. Ha, that indeed would have been funny xD.
This was the first time I've ever met the face behind the text/voice/pictures behind someone I know from the Internet. Wasn't anxious about meeting my friend 'for the first time', so much as how many ways that law writing bastard Murphy might put a monkey wrench into his holiday. We've known each other for a good while, including our real names. Our ride 'home' was largely spent catching up, looking at photos and feasting on a bag of erdbeerschnüre :-). That reminds me, there's still some left!!! What a friend, who brings snacks :-D. Finally got to see him meet my mother and the dogs, been wondering what that would be like lol. It was also a little bit odd using real names instead of call signs, but I would say we got along reasonably well; also I couldn't help but smile when he nearly called me Spidey in front of my mother xD. It was also nice to hear how well his spoken English has held up, except for the word "Eggs" the only times I had trouble understanding Miles was an issue of volume. I guess nether of us are really loud mouths unless provoked lol.
Since the cars water pump had yet to arrive, and ahem, getting around our area of Georgia without a car is one of those, "You may try surviving a zombie apocalypse without weapons" kind of affairs, renting a car was a necessity. I think after walking around down town here, Miles can comprehend that legs first lol. Hunting down the nearest car rental company was easy, finding their branch wasn't half as simple; blasted Google map! Plus ma was pissed they didn't have any cars available when we showed up; we had to come back later. Not to mention the process of renting a car in America is almost as invasive as talking to The Government. Beyond that it was a great experience working with Enterprise rent a car. Thus I ended up behind the wheel of a Chevy Cobalt for the week. Despite having more microchips than my desktop computer, it's handling was very close to what I'm used to driving. I actually liked that Chevy because unlike my brothers car, it actually fits my taste: handling more like a car than a hair trigger. The former being ideal for a more urban'ish setting and the latter for abusing the laws governing free/express ways. To each their own I guess. The amount of standard issue tech' stuffed away in modern (cica 2010) cars is also kind of amazing for me, considering that I still remember when power windows and locks were sort of luxury features; I can't help but feel old.... :-/.
After a quick meal Friday night, we hit the local cinema for a go at a film called Inception. It's a very interesting, if complex thriller about inserting an idea into some exec's mind via shared dreaming. For me it's even more engaging a film because I have problems sleeping and often experience some really awesome^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hludicrous dreams. Miles also got to experience the difference in movie popcorn on this side of the pond. I'm sure Miles also got a closer look at my fouled up sleeping patterns.
On Saturday we joined an Airsoft event on the other side of town. Of course I have no idea how Google came up with that, since iirc Miles had Googled for paint ball lol. I've always been interested in such things, but for finacial reasons have never had the chance to try airsoft before. We packed a cooler with about 4 litres of H2O and a pair of foot long sandwiches. I've got to admit, that Miles is one hell of a sandwich maker ;). Lacking any airsoft equipment, we had to rent a set of G36C AEGs and paintball masks, on top of that we were like 20 minutes late. The afternoon was spent alternating between airsoft games and leaning against an open trunk: hydrating, eating, and loading BBs. The games were split between deathmatch/objective respawn games in the backwoods and no-respawn attack/defend ops in a field with obstacles and light buildings.
Moving tactically was fun, and having to RTB through thick brush every time you get shot is enough of an effort that you want to avoid being hit! Not as much as in real live warfare where getting hit may mean death but still enough to take it very seriously. It's been a few years since I've done that kinda stuff phsyically, let along been through woods. The simulated G36Cs had plenty of ammo per mag (drat) but using the peep sights while wearing a PB mask was a bit more probmatic; I preferred using the stock and semi-auto from a supported position. Most of the things I know apply much more cleanly to airsoft than online gaming, come to think of it! Despite best efforts at sure safety during the day: I still managed to fall down a hill, knocking my mask and glasses clean off; scratching up my right forearm by trying to force myself through thick foliage with my carbine leading the way, only to find half of it was full of thorns!; Being used as a "Walking shield" by one of our living teammates, as I was walking to the deadbox after getting shot; almost getting strangled by a piece of tree while 2-man carrying an objective crate back to base, only to get shot a few moments after extricating myself lol; and getting shot in the Adam's Apple while covering Miles' assault up a hill, all because the OP4 assigned to assault our teams' position obviously had a few campers who survived past end game phase 8=). It was loads of fun with the airsoft stuff and I can't thank Miles enough for that afternoon. Interestingly, while I'm largely chained to a computer non stop, I seemed to hold up to the prolonged exertion better than Miles did lol. We also learned that long sleeves are a Good Thing(tm) for such a game. A canteen or water bladder isn't a bad idea either but the games only ran like 20 minutes a piece. Someday I need to build up an airsoft kit and go back (y), and remember the long sleeves!
Played a couple games of chess overnight, allowing me to test two different strategies on him: blob and dynamic. The former being designed to curb attacks rather than seek a decisive action, and the latter based on a fast, dynamic take over by high value pieces. The second game saw what has to be one of the worst opening plays I've ever made, but it served it's purpose well: get my most useful pieces ready. It was a close game until I finally screwed up. Gotta admit that playing chess IRL is easier, because Mal.exe can't distract me with the subject of cleavage. Miles and I have played chess over the Internet a few times, but it was great to be able to get my chess board out of mothballs for a change. I rarely get to play, and I do enjoy chess very much, when my brains in fit shape.
Sunday morning was a visit to our old church. I think Miles was happy he didn't get hearing damage from the loud music xD. It's not a, eh, quiet place. Curiosity seemed to get the better of him, although I would not call my friend a church goer by nature. The evening was spent in an arcade, where we almost beat The House of the Dead but were defeated by the final boss. I must admit failure drills work well against zombies, especially if you aim using the light guns sights and close one eye from time to time. With like 6 shots between reloads, you also learn how to trust and cover your teammate in a game like that. Ironically I had just been thinking about that game like the week before.
Since Miles never had Jaw Breakers, Monday morning I called up the local candy shop and we took a ride down to Fuzziwigs in between grocery shopping. After enjoying a few gobstoppers, we walked around the area for a bit. Miles decided to pick up a copy of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within; so we spent part of the afternoon playing that over a round of non-alcoholic beer and substitute twinkies. I think that is probably the most alcohol he has had in a while and I rarely drink but hey, it was bound to happen eventually :-o. Perhaps the choice in beer, might also have gotten my mother to figure out that drinking a bar dry wasn't on the agenda for us two. The non-alcoholic beer wasn't bad actually, and it's nice to be able to taste the actual beer rather than the alcohol content; last 'drink' that I had was a brandy my mother convinced me to try, which I didn't care for, just for that reason: it had a taste on par with the smell of rubbing alcohol. Given the choice, I'd take the NA beer instead. Then again, given the choice I'd likely be drinking water anyway, lol. Later on we took to the arcade and beat Time Crisis 3, it only took most of $20 in tokens. Blasted clawed goons... Before calling it a night, we hit the billiards table and played a game of the eight ball; only thing is after so many years, I'm totally useless with a real cue! That however is just the way life's cookie crumbles. After Miles went to bed, I took a while to master more of PoP:WW, until my mother broke my concentration 8=).
Tuesday was mostly a waste of petrol, when we went exploring the next city. That night we hit the cinema again and watched Avatar after a feat at Golden Corral. I cannot say that I enjoy the "3D" thing but I seriously enjoyed the film andn it has a spectacular visual style. O.K. so I love sci fi, sue me! I also believe that the solution to many problems lay between the cold steel of mans high technology and the biological nature of the Na'vi existence. My P.O.V. on that may partially be to blame on readings about Kashyyyk, but that's a different matter. Miles also knew that my last outing to a movie theatre was 2005s Episode III, so I reckon he couldn't help but cram the cinema into things lol.
Wednesday I woke up to Miles having fixed breakfast, a concoction roughly being toast, bacon, egg, and beans layered respectively. It was delicous! On Wednesdays I often go without eating until supper time, so it was even better timed on his part. It wasn't long before my mother started barking for me to get dressed at 11:30. I calculated what time was actually needed: about 15 minutes to get dressed and load the car, another 35 for driving to work. That left 10 minutes to spare for getting to work on time at 13:00. Ma was late getting dressed and we still got to work with almost 10 minutes to spare. That goes to show I know a thing or two! Miles decided that he was coming to work and helping with the cleaning job. We got out about an hour earlier because of his help and ma wanted to hit a grocery store on the way back home. Miles did me the biggest favour: he found the twinkies while we were shopping xD xD xD. After getting home, we had to break open the box; there is nothing like a real hostess twinkie. Spent the night chatting and laughing through Down Periscope. A most excellent comedy pitting a WWII diesel submarine against the modern navy: sometimes thinkin' like pirate owns.
Thursday was the trip back to the airport for his flight home. It was also the first (and so far only) time that I've gotten to drive on the interstate. My mother's paranoid about such things. IMHO it's no worse than driving the main highway here, only big difference is there is a lot less traffic and higher speed limits. I made sure that Miles got checked in and ready to pass through the security check point before wishing him a safe trip home. Getting around the airport is actually pretty easy (for me), so it is hard to get lost, it's just a matter of figuring out where you need to be :-o.
This journal entry is already quite long, so I guess I'll call it a night instead of keep pumping memory and trying to put it in semi-comprehensible order. Don't think I will ever forget Miles coming to the U.S.A. either, so I guess I don't need to worry about updating my journal. If he has no objections, maybe I'll insert the picture of us into this entry for good measure.
Either way, I think it's almost time for a quick rest and some zombie slaying.