Sunday, October 17, 2010

Some Life Changes!

I have a date scheduled for my oral exam - finally! Well, sort of. I scheduled it for November 9th. The "tentativeness" is because it turns out my boss will be out of town that day and would prefer I do it on the 8th. He doesn't HAVE to be there, though, so we'll see what my committee says.

I also got rid of Twitter. I just really didn't use it that much, and to be honest, does anyone really care what I'm doing every few hours or so? Probably not. I don't really care that John Smith (fake name) is having coffee with eggs at 9am and then at 12 he checked in at the bike shop on 55th ave. I don't need to be that involved in people's lives. I'd rather be able to write a whole explanation out with basic updates every few days or weeks and let people read it if they want to, rather than blow their twitter feed up with stupid useless information.

I did, however, join a social site called Culinary Culture. It's similar to the other networking sites in that you friend/follow people, etc. but it's all about food. People post reviews of restaurants and recipes/techniques they're trying out. I followed a forum buddy o' mine named Jennifer who has some really great recipes. She's also got a great foodie vlog for healthier eating aimed at gamers. I'm not much of a gamer anymore, but her tips can apply to EVERYONE not just gamers. Her first vlog was about different herbs and what they go with. It was a great video. Check her out!

Her second video is good too, a recipe for basil garlic chicken (Yum!)

I started working out last week as well. So far it's been tough but good. I'm really sore, but it's a good sore. I've been riding my bike to work for a couple of months now and I really really like it. I picked up a pair of Shimano MTB shoes last night at REI and some Pearl Izumi leg warmers so I can ride when it's cold out. I've been to 2 different Yoga classes and I liked those as well. We'll see where it all ends up, but for now I'm eating healthier, working out and riding a bike. I'd like this to last for a long time, and that's my goal - WILLPOWER!!!

Off to work and studying for now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Some Paintball Stuff :)

I've played paintball 2 times since I last posted. One was a great time at MN Pro where we had a huge game - I think there were close to 150 people? I'm not entirely sure but it was fun. I got some great kills and even though a lot of the field was up to my thighs with water, I still had fun.

Most of our guys weren't there due to the weather kind of being off and on, but there were 3 of us and 3 more guys who are now in the process of joining the team. (In case you care, my team is Dead Squad... Please ignore the awful picture of me - it really might be the worst picture ever) Our team lost, but I ended up with the 2nd most points of all and I won a $225 gift card to MN Pro's shop. I'm currently now in the process of figuring out if the CCM karnivor pump kit I mentioned in an earlier post will fit my gun. It looks like it will and so it seems I will FINALLY be able to work on that project!!!! Yay!!

The second game was this past weekend at Splat Tag in Hudson, WI. It was the Giant Big Game, and Darrin runs a great field with great refs. Usually. I have to say, this was not such a good game. We lost, which is ok. We didn't play that great and the larger team we were on had quite a few players who really weren't interested in playing that much. But the reason I didn't have as much fun was because the referees had NO clue what was going on. No one seemed to know the rules - points were given then taken away, bases were lost because the referees didn't know who was where - just awful. The referees even had radios that died on them. Who plans an event for 300 or more people and doesn't charge the radios for those who are RUNNING the game and need to be in contact at all times? I had my radio on from 10 am until 5 pm, and it never went down... Blech. If the referees had actually been good, I'd have had a blast. I was in some of the longest and most challenging firefights I've ever been in. I got shot more times in the first 15-20 minutes than I have ALL year in my other games. It was nuts!

Most of my shots were taken in the gun or the mask, but I got a few on my legs - pardon the extreme paleness. I'm in MN and refuse to go to tanning beds.

Note: these have all been healing for 4 days now. They're not as bad as they were.

These 3 bruises are on my right leg and hit me from about 60 feet:

This is a picture of a bruise on my outer left thigh. Was about 20 feet away:

This was the nastiest one. I got shot from the same person as the one above, but I was closer when I got hit. Maybe 10 feet. The one above was after I called myself out and was walking away. You can actually see the two bruises in each of the photographs a bit.

In retrospect, as pissed as I was at the refs, it was still fun.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


It's been a whirlwind of events the last few months. I've been crazy busy with everything and very little paintball has been played. That's ok, though. I got the proposal done and turned in and after a few revisions, my written preliminary exam was passed and done. I'm currently trying to schedule my oral exam date - trying to get 5 professors into one room at the same time so they can test me is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I'm aiming for October but we'll see.

The biggest news currently is that I was published for the first time. It was back in May and was on a project I did in another lab when I was doing rotations for grad school. I have to be honest and say that I don't remember the entire point of the project, but I generated the mutants they used in the paper. I'm listed as the second author, which is pretty cool (technically I'm written as the 3rd author, but the first 2 authors are co-first authors, so...). I'm very grateful that I was listed as an author, I figured I'd at most get an acknowledgment in the back of the paper. Even more cool was that we were published in the inaugural issue of mBio (as ASM online publication).

Here's the link:

Also, in line with this I found out another professor I rotated with during that same time has acknowledged me in his new paper for making mutants in his lab. The paper isn't published yet, but still nice to know I got an acknowledgment. I feel like I'm moving up in the science world. Now if only I could get my OWN paper, I'd feel better. That'll come soon enough though.

We've got some really cool things going on in the lab which I'll discuss more as we make progress and publish (Probably won't talk about too much that isn't published - I don't want anyone stealing my work... I don't think this because I have an ego, but unfortunately it happens in science a lot). I'm really excited to see where we are going with stuff. What I can say is that I'm working on some very important pathogenesis and physiology stuff and that we've begun some vaccine studies. I feel like a real scientist now :)

I'm going to my first conference in Chicago at the end of September to present some of my data on a poster for a large group of people at the GLRCE regional meeting. I'm nervous but excited. We've got some great data and I am really happy with the direction we're moving in.

My paintball gun project is on hold for now. The parts needed are pretty expensive and I don't have the funds at the moment to really do too much with it. I'd rather be able to play and not build my gun than to build my gun and not be able to play - it's kind of dumb to have a paintball gun as a paper weight.

More to come!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Karnivor Pump Project

So here goes, my first actual post about something. A month or two ago I started a pump gun project with an old semi marker I bought on ebay. I bought a WGP Karnivor on Ebay back in 07 and the thing never worked. The guy I bought it from disappeared and so I was left with a broken gun. I spent a long time researching and tinkering and a good amount of time taking it to 'cocker techs to get fixed but no one could figure out the problem. I called WGP, but the warranty was bad due to the seller swapping parts from two different color Karnivors. Basically it was a huge mishap. So, after a few years of it hanging out in a box, and my new love of pump paintball (as well as some nice new pump kits for the Karni) I decided to make this bad boy a pump.

This is my first paintball project ever. I'm not very far. I've taken it somewhat apart, and I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but this thing is in pretty bad shape. I had to buy 2 different screw extractor sets just to get off the snatch grip screw. The snatch grip screw is completely stripped out and I'm not even sure it's the original screw. I'm almost 100% positive the guy just went to a hardware store and picked some screw up that fit.

I think the guy used loctite on the front reg because I've tried everything to take it apart but I can't do it. Not a big deal as I'm going to use a Custom Products shorty reg on the front, but still a pain in the butt to not be able to get in there and see what's inside.

Here it is so far (I've only included the body, the hammer assembly and the IVG). The hammer assembly is in pretty bad shape. The cocking lug is pretty rusty and looks pretty rough. I've got to find a way to clean them up.

I still don't have a valve tool, so I haven't been able to get the valve out, but I'm ordering one off of here soon. I'm actually quite concerned that the internals and the valve are going to be rusted after sitting in a box for as long as they did. I may have to buy a new Karni valve - I don't know where I'm going to find one of them anymore :(

(looking down in from the back of the gun)

My ultimate goal is to rebuild this thing with a Chipley Custom Machine AT pump kit. They are expensive but they are really really nice. I looked at saving money and getting a Sanchez Machine pump kit but apparently the latest batch has been having issues with pump rods breaking, and I have had awful luck with this thing so I'm just going to spend the extra money and get a really nice kit from CCM - they come with a lifetime warranty.

I want to get it anodized digi-cam or something, leaving the grip and pump handle black. I just think that would look really nice, and be useful for our scenario games. I may actually get it powder-coated white. That's be really nice looking, too, and much more my style.

We'll see. Much more to come, but for now, this is it

First Blog ever

So, I'm taking a break from writing a grant proposal, and I was looking back over some paintball forum posts I've made, and I decided I want to make a blog about the sport and my life. This isn't going to be a place I come to rant, it's not a political or debating blog where I get on my high horse and berate others. This is simply a way for me to post things I find useful or interesting, a place for me to post a bit about my life, primarily my interest in paintball. This blog is going to contain reviews of paintball gear, my general impressions of the sport, stuff about my life, almost anything and everything - but I promise no politics, religion, or anything like that. There are too many useless opinions out on the net about that crap already. Nobody cares about my take.

I got engaged about a month ago to my girlfriend of 6 years, Kelsey. We couldn't be happier. Wedding planning is a bit of a tough thing for me, as I'm not a great planner, but I'm actually enjoying it. I go to school at the University of Minnesota as a PhD student in the Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer biology program. It's a LOT harder than I expected, but it's really really fun. I research Staphylococcus aureus in the lab of Pat Schlievert.

For those of you who don't know me very well I absolutely love paintball. I started playing when I was 12, living in Rochester, NY. I had a friend who played with his younger brother in the woods just behind their house and he got me into the sport. I bought a Brass Eagle Tiger Shark pump and played with them every chance I could get. I loved that thing. I moved to Florida about a year later, but kept on playing. I played all through high school moving from the Tiger Shark to a Spyder SE to a 2001 Dark Angel LCD and then to an ICD Promaster (I'm actually going to do a small review of these markers at some point). About 3 years ago, I made the switch back to pump and bought a CCI Phantom.The semi-auto play in the speedball circuit became too expensive, and to be honest, I got tired of the skate-park-rejects that came along with that play style (this isn't everyone who plays speedball, but many of the kids I played with were this way). I now play on a team in Lakeville, MN called Dead Squad. We're primarily a scenario/woodsball team, but some of the other guys like speedball/hyperball/xball as well. I'm not a great player, I never have been, but it's really fun. It's the only activity I've ever done that I enjoy everything about. I may not play speedball anymore, but if it's on TV or a tournament is broadcast online, I'm watching it.

I like to bike, to play my guitar and bass (they are still in Florida, poo ), I love to hang out with my fiancee and friends, I love to do research and I love to play paintball.

Welcome to my little, random world.