Eurocon – yesterday, or today, or i forget already

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Let’s start with lastnight. I gave out a few presents to my fellow parrots. Also Unguis (seen here in the photo) and Lapwin, who both helped lots with the EMC (unguis still does). The present? A bottle of spitfire beer from the brewery in my home town of Faversham. Everyone likes the bottles so much many remain untouched, waiting to travel home to live on a mantelpiece. Clearly ung wanted a taste first 🙂

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This morning was visit to the Museum time. The transport provided was a little unexpected, especially for our two American parrots who used to go to school in a bus just like this. It belongs to the museum and they used it to collect us as we were a large group.

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The museum (Wings to Liberation, in a town called “Best”) itself was impressive. It began as a collection of Market Garden related memorabilia and has grown to include several other things. They’ve been doing lots of work recently on the exhibits and made a very nice job converting the old vehicle garages of the site. I’ve always felt a museum is better with a guided tour and Jac, our guide and museum volunteer, certainly delivered the information. They also had several aircraft displays and the recovered remains (steel framing) of a glider that landed nearby and was excavated nearby.

A section of the museum was dedicated to the Highland Division of the British Army. They landed nearby and the collection of their presence has grown to include information about all their activities during the war. That got me thinking, I know very little about my Granddad Mitchell’s war. I had to text my uncle to find out which regiment he was in. He was in the Highland Infantry so perhaps he came through here. One things for sure, I’ll be asking questions about his history when I return home.

Another thing that surprised me was the reaction of people to the Nuremberg trial pictures. Immediately saying they should all have been hanged for their war crimes. I don’t know much about the trials, the people, or their crimes to comment specifically, but it did make me ponder. So I had the following conversation with Dhyran:

Me: “You wanted to join the Air Force didn’t you?”
Dhy: “Yes, as a pilot”
Me: “So, say you got in, flew for a few years, became squadron commander, then base commander, then a senior commander and eventually became responsible for the whole Luftwaffe.”
Dhy: “Ok…”
Me: “and say this was just before Hitler came to power in Germany. You’d have to follow orders right? That’s a key part of military discipline. So at what point, and which person in the military, is in the position to say no?

Dhyran couldn’t answer that any easier than I can.

Our guide also made a comment at another point in the tour that Germany suffered from it’s lack of 4 engined bomber. There were plans to develop one in the 1930’s but the officer in charge died suddenly and no one carried on his belief in the need. From an allied point of view, that was fortunate. Essentially we benefited because their military failed in that area. Should he have continued his work, would he have been tried for developing the technology used in the war? I guess I’m saying war is a terrible thing and nothing will ever repair the damage it does. Apportioning blame may make us feel better but it changes nothing of history.

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OK, onto some brighter things now. An old Eurocon tradition is to taste the “FPO”, short for Flak Panzer Oil, a drink (allegedly) made by Kossu from Finland. I’ve wanted to taste it for years last night I got my first taste, and my second… Want to know what it taste’s like? Get yourself a place on the next Eurocon <S>

Eurocon – great times with more to come

The end of my first 24 hours here approaches. It’s been great (even the FPO was nice, more on that later) and I just checked tomorrows programme:

Saturday 17 May
08:15 – till 09:30: Breakfast. (If there are any survivors left from Friday) Tongue
09.30 – Depart to the “Wings of Liberation” museum
10.15 – Arrival at the museum.
10.30 – We have a full guided tour (approx 2 hours) including 4 guides, so we go in 4 groups.
12.30 – Lunch at the museum.
13:00 – Depart with the bus to Moergestel for the Euro-Laser Zap’athon 2008, laser gaming event (All versus NINJA) Grin
13.45 – Arrival and play the laser game event. 2x 1 hour (max. 24 lasers)
16:00 – Depart back to the hotel
18:00 – Dinner in the hotel is served
19:00 – 2 vs 2 write up.
20:00 – WarBirds 2 vs 2 duel / This classic is still here and can’t be missed on this special edition of the Eurocon. The pilots battle for the trophy, the honour and a very nice price! iEN sponsors free accounts again for everyone. Your CM for tonight will be the honorable Unguis, <S> Cool
After the winners ceremony we will also announce the pilot who can carry the famous title of “the EuroPilot Of The Year” for 2008.

Museum, Laser game, then the 2 vs 2 duels. It’s going to be a GREAT day!
<All>, and goodnight

(<S> = salute)

Eurocon – international culture at it's best…

A little break from talking and playing gives me time to post a few more photos and explanations.

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We can start with what sort of Personal Protection Equipment is necessary to play a computer game. In other countries it appears players take their safety more seriously than I ever have. Here Unguis (Germany) demonstrates his safety headgear and goggles.

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However, it appears rules in Ninja’s homeland (Monaco) aren’t so stringent. Here we can see his PC is looking rather naked missing it’s entire outer case. Notice how the plastic carrier bag is neatly covering the DVD player by the monitor. The hard drive resting on a purpose angled cardboard box lid. OK, serious explanations now, Ninja flew to the con from Monaco and in previous years had to pay a heavy surcharge for the weight of the PC. So, his solution is to take only the essential parts of the PC which is why there is no case. The monitor was loaned for the con by one of the local competitors. Don’t try this at home folks, I’m told last year static electric destroyed his motherboard.

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Of course, if you travel by car then there’s not much of a limit to what you can take. This behemoth has a control panel just for the cooling fans. That wouldn’t even fit on my desk at home.

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Whereas this beautiful set up is fellow >>>PARROT<<< "Halb", An american living in Amsterdam in the day time he travels the world as a professional film cameraman shooting commercials and movies any time any where. His Mac laptop runs bootcamp to run all the PC games, and the screen is simply a huge apple TFT. Two things to note on this photo, firstly the black edge of the screens is where he's pulling a tight high G force turn and is starting to black out. Second, behind the screen of his laptop you can see a little grey box? That's my PC from home, tiny little thing that at 2 years old can't be upgraded any more and will be on my next years wish list. Oh, thirdly, that little box on top of Halb's screen is not a webcam, it's a TrackIR sensor. More on that another time though.

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I’m not the only one posting pictures around the internet. There is a forum for all the players and interested parties and already several photos have been posted there complete with humorous captions.

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Being the afternoon, it appears most players have recovered from the night before and surfaced to play, chat, drink more beer… actually most people seem to have been taking it easy so far.

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Final shot of the posting goes along the line of 1st ROF squadron players. First in the row is Lapwin, one of the 8 who organise the event. I’m guessing he’s the one who came up with the “Dead Parrot” logo for this years event, which all we >>>PARROTS<<< felt was quite a compliment. We just turn up and play after all, they do all the hard work. Now for a little writing. It's not been non stop playing games. In fact, I've played less than I expected, only about 4 flights so far. The rest of the time has been talking to people. It's strange to put faces to voices I've heard for years now but never met. Baubai was completely different to what I expected (imagined overweight aging German, found very fit late middle age german). It's funny how you make judgements from a voice alone. Better than all the gaming has been a short discussion with Livius (german). We were talking of how great it is that we can all be friends, 60 odd years after our countries were fighting a horrific war. I told how in my Granddads life story he wrote of coming off the boat onto the Normandy beaches and his first sight was “the headless Canadian officer”. Livius then told me of his Dad’s similar story. Driving as a passenger in a lorry they were targeted by a sniper. His driver was shot clean through the head and the bullet passed over Livius fathers head by a truly small measurement. He didn’t hear the shot, only becoming aware of the drivers death as they began to veer off the road. He also told me of his personal experience of visiting the Imperial War Museum in London as a teenager and how it differed (for the better) when he visited it 15 or so years later. I keep praying that this new age of easy communication will bring countries closer together. I still hope that all wars will end soon, and that my grandchildren (should I be blessed) get to enjoy friendship with nationals of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and every other country where British national relations are less than ideal. I hope this, yet I also hope for the safety of the British servicemen and women who have to do the difficult job required today, as Livius father and my grandfather did 65 years ago.