crane

Here Comes Trouble...

Lots of things have been happening, some of them looked bad when they happened, but some of it has turned out all right.

Our 20-year-old Passat died a complete death, I've had periodontal problems, and my old overuse problems with my hands and arms have come back with the competitive video gaming. None of those things were particularly surprises, per se, but they haven't been that much fun.



We were on our way to Boulder, and only a couple of blocks from our house when there was a terrible sound from the engine, and the Passat just stopped. It was as if the timing belt had broken, which pretty much caused the engine to destroy itself. It would have cost thousands to repair it again, and we figured having that money go toward a newer used car would be more useful than keeping the poor, old beast alive for the few years we had until Jet went off to college. We knew it was going to die soon, since it was so old.

So John basically went on a car hunt. The three of us spent a weekend driving cars around Longmont, off the dealers' lots, and realized that, of all things, we kind of liked the Ford Focus. Kind of. The one we found with a manual transmission had a clutch that didn't quite work...

John hunted some more and found a manual hatchback Focus being sold by a very earnest young man in Boulder, who happened to be a mechanic. *laughs* He was asking more than the owner-sold blue book but less than the dealer price, so we tried it out, and I found out that I loved the little thing. The other Foci we'd driven were the sedans and were all automatic, and this little guy felt more agile, smaller, faster, and was perfect for a family of three that didn't have to deal with a dog or a child seat anymore.

We bought it, and have dubbed him Einstein, as a four-year-old car knows and does so much more than at 20-year-old car. The heated seats that turn themselves off, the automatic locks, all the anti-lock braking mechanisms, the lighting, the radio that can be left on while the key is out of the ignition, the key that uses the lock button to let you know where the car is... The list is endless. And it also includes the possibility of a key fob that has a unique ID for Jet if we want to track data about his driving. Which we're not that interested in, but there are other families for whom that's a useful possibility.

So we now have a zippy little car that still gets 42 mpg on the freeway, and it's comfortable for all the around town driving that I do.

So that worked out very well.

The perio stuff has just been... well... due to gritting my teeth, the roots are a looser than they should be, and I've had a laser cleaning, special perio cleanings, and I've been consciously trying to manage it.

The hand and upper body overuse problems are a little more perilous for me. I've been working really hard on bettering my play by playing more with and against people who are good. I've been figuring out a lot of things, and fighting old tendencies. I'm getting better, but it's at the cost of using my hands far more than when I was only playing casually. I have to consciously take the time to heal up, to sleep, and to not play some days. It used to be that every three or four month, Jet would have a break from school, and I'd go on away from home for a week or something, but I didn't over Christmas break, when I had to figure out how to manage a 6's team.

I was online every day trying to cultivate the relationships I needed to connect my team up with people; and a lot of the relationships in this game are built on being able to play the game with the people that I'm talking with. There's nothing quite like playing with someone to figure out what their personality is like and how they approach the game and other people. I was also trying to learn what it was that I really needed to do and how to get scrims as well as figure out how to organize things so that these young men could play all that they wanted to play.

So there was a lot that I was trying to do, and a lot of communication that I had to do in order to get things where they needed to be. It's been a really interesting experience all in all; and on top of all of that I had to learn how to do the technical aspects of this game that had to do with being a medic.

Turning, moving, shooting, heal order, and basic reactions so that I didn't lose the ubercharge that so much of the 6's game revolves around. To be able to pop it when I've been hurt enough to justify without dying and not popping it when my teammates are able to take care of the threat even if I have been hurt. A lot of it can't be conscious decision making, it just has to happen.

It's interesting, though, that most of my instincts are good ones. And that my overall game sense isn't too bad about playing the actual objective. I just have a tendency to die a little too much and not always pick good places to be. I don't always look for the advantage or the danger that I should be looking around to see and avoid. As a medic, I really have to be aware of what'd coming at me, and to call it when I can see it.

It's getting better, and in one big leap when one of our most experienced players took the helm and decided to maincall for the team and tell us what it was that we needed to do and how to do it. And suddenly we're playing as a team and we're doing really well. That's been amazing, and I'm suddenly experiencing what the flow *should* be in a 6's game, and I'm actually starting to pick up the way the exchanges of power go and how the fight needs to go for us to win. That wasn't something I was getting when we didn't have someone telling me more of what ought to be happening.

So we're 2-1 so far, and have a good chance of winning the next game, I think; and then we're halfway through the season already. So that's all to the good.
I don't know much about your gaming, but I assume you are using a keyboard/mouse since you are playing competitively.
I'm a longtime gamer and not nearly so hardcore, but I have also had problems with hand/wrist issues that threatened my ability to pursue my hobby.

Have you tried the Steam Controller? It took me awhile to adapt, but I no longer use keyboard/mouse anymore for any game. In FPS I'm probably at least as good ever have been (which isn't very, by competitive standards) with aiming. Movement is better (stick vs. keyboard) and best of all, my hands mostly don't bother me.

Related question: are you problems more with your mouse hand, or your keyboard? When I was doing keyboard/mouse I often had the wrote problems with the keyboard hand - maintaining the "WASD claw" is hard on the connective tissues.