Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Monkey On My Back

Finally got past a bit of a barrier about my dental stuff. I'd had a bad experience with a dentist in the spring, and finally got around to finding a new one, and doing all the things that I needed to do to get all my records to a new place that someone I really do trust a great deal recommended. I'd been thinking, nearly all summer about the fact that I should get it done, but it took me months before I actually did it.

And the hardest part was just picking up the phone to call the old office to tell them that I wanted them to transfer the records. Especially since their main office manager is a mom that we know well from carpools and the bus stop as she's in the neighborhood. I had all these fears in my head, but when I made the request she was perfectly professional and perfectly helpful, and it was such a relief.

It is funny to me, at least, that the phone call was much harder for me than the prospect of going to the dentist to get a crown replaced and a filling redone. Maybe. The dentist I didn't like had recommended a whole bunch of things, some of which I knew I wasn't going to do and didn't think I needed. He seemed to really be pushing that I get stuff done, and I am getting a second opinion on the necessity of both of those procedures.

I managed to do five different phone calls I'd been thinking of doing for the last month. I also laid down a sketch for another painting. I wrote for the first time in a very long time, and I actually ripped apart a shawl that I'd started and realized I was using a too small needle size for the last two months. *laughs* Lace shawls always take such a long time.

I'm also had a rather extraordinary Team Fortress 2 experience today.

This isn't going to make much sense to those that don't really play the game, but I'll try to give some background. TF2 has nine classes of characters. Supposedly they come in three types. Offensive is supposed to be the Scout (fast and lightweight), Soldier (rockets), and Pyro (as you might guess, flame thrower). Defensive is supposed to be the Demoman (grenades and sticky bombs for area denial), Heavy (massive health, rapid fire miniguns, but slow), and Engineer. And Support classes are the Medic, Sniper, and Spy. Good players can use any class to do nearly anything, but Engineers are usually thought of only for the defensive denial of areas. They don't have much health, they usually deploy stationary sentry guns, they can supply health and ammo from dispensers, and they can move people quickly through a teleporter. Every engineer is limited to one sentry gun, one dispenser, and one entrance and one exit for the teleporter.

I was in a Payload game, where the idea is that the Blu team has a cart, that only moves down a fixed track when they're near enough to make it go, and they're supposed to make it go past a bunch of checkpoints to the end point. Red, the defensive team, is supposed to stop them by any means possible.

My team had been defending as Red, and I think we managed to defend the last point with four or five of us turning into engineers by the end, so when the server flipped sides and we went Blu, we had five engineers to start. And none of us changed our class. You can pretty much change class any time you want to, though it's more efficient to do so when you've died as you usually have to wait to be respawned anyway (one gets used to dying a LOT in this game). But during startup you can change without penalty. I've seen a lot of Blu teams that have no engineers at all, most sane people switch.

But we all decided to just stay engineers, and two of us even jumped on the cart at the start point with tool chests full of whatever buildings we were thinking of dropping the moment we got out of the start gate, and away we went....

The funniest thing was that four of the five engies had changed to a loadout (set of weapons and gear) with the Gunslinger instead of the usual wrench. It gives us more health and exchanges the usual sentry gun (that takes a little while to "build" and can be added onto to make a bigger, badder, rocket-boosted monster with time and metal) for a tiny mini-gun that can be deployed instantaneously. Both try to shoot at any enemy within range of its guns. I also had the Frontier Justice, which is a shotgun that does a lot more damage every time my sentry gun gets destroyed, even if I'm the one that destroys it. So all four of us were jumping in with mini-guns that automatically fire at anything they can see, and putting them at all crazy kinds of angles around the advancing cart. We'd destroy them when we were past them and then plant more. And we were all covering each others backs with our shotguns. It was surprisingly effective.

Once in a while one of us would drop a dispenser for the others to grab more metal to build and health & ammo for everyone else on the team. I'd never gotten that many captures as an engineer before, but I usually swap to pyro or heavy when I'm on offense. And then the fifth guy built a sweet little nest just below the end point, and after I'd died, I saw his teleporter entrance at a slow level 1, so I built it up to level 2 and accidentally went through. It was nice to level up all his buildings (I love that about engineer, too, you can help the other engies fix, repair, and build up their stuff, too) and then run upstairs to set a sentry gun on the 'wrong' side of Red's exit from their respawn area, so it would hit them in the back as they ran out toward the cart.

We won very quickly. That map is something of a bear at the end game as there's a lot of cover for the defense, usually. In the public chat for the game, someone on Red said that Blue was just really good or they were really bad. For me, it was really nice to be a part of a team of engineers that worked well together. *laughs*

That was very memorable for me, along with a Difficult MvM game that Jet and I and one other person started, got trounced on over and over again, but we gutted it out and ended up winning. I swapped from pyro to heavy and ended up being an engineer with the other guy that had started with us. I found a wonderful teleport position, and with our guns and dispensers on opposing sides of the bomb target site we were able to heal and support countless teammates in the final defense. But that game was a week or more ago.

This afternoon I went over to Mimi's to help her out with some computer things that had been really bothering her, and we got through it all in a very intense hour or so. I really enjoyed that time and the work and being able to help her.

One thing that the whole dental thing is drilling home to me is that my fears aren't the truth, and they don't reflect reality in the least. I just have to step forward in reality to know what's going to happen next. I don't know. I can't know, and anything I say or think to the contrary is only going to get in my way of doing the next thing.

I have a book of poetry from a friend, and I'm going to do what needs to be done to get it self-published for him. That'll be pretty straightforward so far as steps go. He doesn't want an editor to touch 'em, and I don't blame him too much, and he has several dozen friends who really want to buy the book. It didn't hurt that Paul, Mimi's husband, put the whole collection into Word, and added scans of all the pictures that he'd drawn to go with them. So it's just getting the material into the right format and setting up the account for him and seeing if he wants a periodic check or direct deposit. It's going to be pretty fun, I think.

John also just finished a three week push on a home that had to have all its floors completely replaced. The family moved out of the place in order for us to do the work, and he and his usual crew just went to town. Jet and I only worked a couple of days. This was one of them. The old flooring had been screwed into the subflooring, and while the flooring had come up, the screws were all sticking out. So they had to all be removed in order for them to put in the new subfloor.

Other had done probably three quarters of the house, and I finally just picked up the grinder and went at the screws. The grinder basically uses friction to burn through the screw's metal, which is why all the sparks. There were hundreds and hundreds of the things, and I had to be pretty careful of the resultant very very hot screw pieces all over the floor. The sweeping up of all the debris took nearly as long as getting them all removed. I was also lucky enough to work there on the very last day, doing the finishing chalking for all the trim. It was a few hours' work, but it was nice to see it all finished. A brand new wooden floor to replace awful carpets, warped floor boards, and worn linoleum.

I had an IChing reading the other day that said, "You have become an instrument of Heaven's will, offering a balance in the world around you. It is not swashbuckling prowess or uncanny talent that qualifies you for this office, but your simplest gifts -- your modesty, your compassion, your economy. Because you can see clearly who most needs a miracle, Heaven's bounty is being put at your disposal."

*laughs* So much for my pride in my capabilities--not that I needed the pride anyway--and the odd thing is that I find that I'm very much grateful to find myself in this position. For all that someone else might have said, "Well, why don't I get the miracles?" I have to say that it's amazing to be able to give what people really need.
Tags: dentist, gaming, me

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