He crouched silently behind the tree, scanning the open spaces between scattered derelict barrels, dirty tractor tires jutting weirdly from the ground, and haphazard logs. The steady patpatpat of pressurized guns came from all directions. Suddenly the slim cover, peppered by a hail of incoming fire, became a liability; it was time to move.

Where to go? A rough wall of logs on the right looked inviting, but could he make it there safely? The hesitation cost a painful pelt in his upper arm, and he looked down to make sure the telltale sign of a hit labeled him as a casualty. Nope. Get moving, he thought to himself, No, duck! What was he doing out there, anyway? New experiences were fun, but battle tactics and ground warfare required training and practice. He had neither. Aw fuck it. That last shot was a stray, the tree was good cover.

Wrong again, bucko. patpatpat Pink splatters erupted from his hip and part of his face mask, sending him quickly to the ground, hastily fumbling for his gun plug. It didn’t exactly hurt, but it wasn’t a warm hug either. More searching for the plug meant more chance of getting hit. No good. Shit, where was that thing, anyway? Got it! Gun up, off the field. Time to wipe off some paint, and end the first round of a three hour set of skirmishes.

That’s my story, anyway. The others likely had different experiences. Things got better when we got into the woods; more cover and more space to run. All in all, I have three welts, all three of them were from the first two rounds of the game. Being as I don’t bruise without the aid of baseball bats, that was a bit of a surprise. At the time, I knew those shots I took hurt, but welts were the farthest thing from my mind until I got home to shower off the dirt and paint.

And my thoughts that my long hours of DDR had somewhat prepared me for the exertion were only partly right. Sure, I wasn’t breathing hard after most of the rounds, but my quads are killing me. DDR apparently works the calf muscles way more than the upper leg, and that was my downfall. No running = no upper-leg strength + jumping from a crouch into a run for three hours = ouch. I’ll get over it, but it reveals a flaw in my plan to get in better shape through DDR alone. I think bike-riding and runs will have to be thrown in for good measure to ensure things like this don’t happen again.

Oh, and see my rant on the lack of DDR machines in the Quad Cities.

I saw The Hulk to cap off the day, and it wasn’t as bad as I’d figured from the previews. Not a bad use of a few bucks. Book five of Chobits is also very good, and I’m surprised to see that there are only eight in the whole series. I’ll have to see how that turns out. Only three to go!

Paintball woes.