liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
I feel a little like I'm slipping sideways instead of moving forward or back. I'm still gaming, but in different venues than just TF2. I'm now playing Terraria, Civ V, CS:GO, Overwatch, Payday 2, and, most of all, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, mostly because I get to play with Jet, and he and his friends really like playing with me, no matter how good or bad I might be. I'm helpful, I cheer them on, and I usually do something smart in a game where there are so very many ways to die by being stupid.

Still, I've decided that I'm out of competitive, and that's been a good decision all around.

I am painting, spinning, and even dyeing again. There have been some fun things in the past few months, and the bees are still doing quite well. There are mites, but I think I'll just treat them this fall and it might help with next year. I've been getting through a huge volunteer work load for the Longmont Studio Tour, and a lot of it has been for the marketing side of things, rather than just the art. But I've been painting again, backing things, and trying to figure out matting and framing as well. And, of course, John and I just had our 30th Anniversary and it was a good, quiet one, with the annual Boulder County Fair ferris wheel.

Some of the pretties... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
Today was one of those days....

I was added back onto the roster of my old 6's team, I got my bee allergy shot, I helped plan a siege defense, I got to play Rainbow Siege Six for the first time with my son and his friend, I had a last minute dental appointment with my periodontist that was nearly foiled by my GPS, and I might have a mild eye infection as well. But I got Dairy Queen and good gaming.

I think I'm a little tired.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
One of the interesting things was that when I first started down the competitive path, I lost about 15 pounds of weight from my high of about 172 lbs, during the worst of the stressful days of moderating. Then, over the course of the six months of competitive, I got down to about 150 lbs.

I'm not a small woman to begin with, I'm 5'9", and I did and still do construction, so 150 was kind of frightening. The only time I'd ever hit that weight since my late 20's was also during my moderatorship, when I'd gone four months on extreme stress and got to the point where I came down with vertigo before I could actually stop and rest for a week. I regained my weight fairly quickly with actual sleep and food.

I did that again.

Within two weeks of quitting competitive, where I was cooking again, lifting again, and went from doing about 3000 steps on average per day to doing about 7500 a day now, I got back up to 155. Now I'm at 158 and steady with the usual daily fluctuations as I had been before all these adventures. The interesting thing is that even with the weight gain, I still fit into my skinny clothes, so I suspect that a lot of the weight regaining was mostly muscle mass that had atrophied when I wasn't moving around all that much and forgetting to eat. I went from getting breathless just going for a walk to being able to do my usual three mile walk easily.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Finch)
Yes, it has occurred to me that the whole year's worth of pursuing gaming was actually my running away from something else.

Immersing myself within game worlds, with people I could probably never see face-to-face, whom I didn't even know the real names of, was incredibly like the early Usenet in some ways. Handles like MonkeyMasterB8, Synchronous Heartbeat, ExtraOrdinary, Randomizer, ToastGhoast, and my favorite EvilDeath1234 were all a part of it. Most people felt it mildly rude to be looking for real names, though, eventually, with all the time in conversation, we would start to talk about our real lives.

Pursuing, if not perfection, at least excellence, with those whose sole purpose was to get better at the game, was intoxicating, and playing with people who did little but play video games for all their time off filtered for those for whom this was their life for now. And it turns out a lot of us really are walking away from life for a while, for various reasons.

And I had my own reasons... )
liralen: On the road (road)
Four of the guys who were regulars, either as substitutes or as main players, have said that they won't go forward with the team. Merek, the one with the most experience in competitive, who had gotten into ESEA open teams that were quite good, said explicitly that he wasn't going to play with the team if I wasn't playing anymore.

He said that he'd had so much experience in competitive that it wasn't about winning anymore, it was about the people he was playing with. And if they weren't fun to play with, then it wasn't worth doing. And if I wasn't going to be playing with him, then he didn't want to play anymore.

When I told Joanne that they'd had to have an ex-plat medic to replace me, she interrupted and said, "They can't replace you. No one can replace you." She was right.

And I have to hear them both... )
liralen: sfm of my medic (my_medic)
I started in October, at the very last minute putting an ad up on the UGC LFP forums for the NA Iron teams. There were, as I understood it, five divisions, the lowest being Iron, then Steel, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. And the teams that placed in the top so many spots of each division could move up.

I honestly didn't think I could even get into Iron... I only had 700 hours in the game, and barely 60 of them were as a Medic. I'd mostly played Pyro, Engie, Heavy, and Medic was my fourth-most played class. But Medic was the one class I thought I might be able to play in the 6's meta, which really only allowed for medics, soldiers, scouts, and demomen.

I had no idea how bad I really was... )
liralen: (Urahara)
I have rarely, in my life, been so without a long-term plan for where I was going or what it was that I was going to do. With work, there had always been a plan; with the books, there was the finishing of them; with the painting, there were the shows; and with the church, there was a clear agenda of what had to be done.

But, ever since May, I've been going forward into this gaming world like a blind man moving without even a cane to figure out where the next step even was. I'd just feel my way forward with each day; and things happened to me, sometimes without my really consciously choosing what it was I was going to do, who it was that I was going to seek out, or even a very clear idea as to what it was I was even attempting to accomplish. I would blindly ask and then I would receive the unexpected. Like going to TPF and asking to learn how to play with other people and being gifted with people well beyond what I thought was my ability to play against. Going into competitive TF2 and suddenly being given a team, of all things. And then going and doing what I thought might be best for the team, with the advice of my most experienced comp player who was all of 16-years-old, and we now have a good chance at going into the playoffs.

And I've been given the most amazing of gifts... )
liralen: (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.

Coping has had a few good side effects... )
liralen: (Ukitake Tea)
... I did nothing but exist.

It was 9 F (-13 C) outside, and I stood there, watching through the open garage door all the tiny flakes dance down out of a white sky onto a landscape blanketed in light and limned in sepia and shadow. Every breath bit cold at the linings of my nose and the back of my throat.

I stole the moment because I was helpless.

There was nothing I could do, so I did nothing but exist.

I had an 11 am appointment that I was going to miss. I'd left my keys in John's car, and he'd found them there, and was running them back to me in order to rescue me, taking time from his meetings and calls and arrangements, making me a priority ahead of the rest of his plans. I was grateful.

I'd called the chiropractor to tell them I was late, and they would tell my massage therapist. We would just have to wait and see how things played out.

So I just breathed and saw and felt.

And it was good.

John was happy about being able to help me, and I was grateful to him for the help. I ended up being half an hour late, but both my therapists moved their times around for me this time. I'd done the same for them in the past, with as little fuss, but it seemed a miracle for me. *laughs* I thanked them, and got taken care of by them, and was, again, grateful.

With their help I'll be able to scrim tonight with my team. I'd found a scrim partner the night before, and another captain gave me their spreadsheet for organizing scrims, and another captain said that they'd love to fight us again: we were a good challenge. My pocket soldier talked with me about strategies and personal mottoes during his off period in high school. My medic mentor took some time to go over a demo with me between his college classes and performance periods.

I am being helped all the time. An exercise I hadn't consciously undertaken, but it was one I needed. I was horrible at asking for help before all this TF2 stuff, and now I'm asking for help all the time, and it's all from people who don't get asked that often by someone like me, either. It's good for them, too, to know that they should be respected for their abilities, patience, and authority--for their agency in someone else's life.

I ice every night, to save my hands for a little longer, to let myself play a little more. I know my hands will go, my reflexes fade, my hard-won muscle memory will, one day, be nothing but memory; but, for now, I fight as hard as I can, learn as quickly as I can, do the best I can for the people I'm with.

And it's enough.
liralen: Finch Painting (Finch)
A UGC Steel team, even.

And people seem to be trusting me with it.


Since about April, I got involved in the TF2 (Team Fortess 2) gaming community. It started with joining the failing Team Play First Community, and getting pulled into the staffing because someone found out that I could play with computers and get them to do what I wanted them to do.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (socks)
Lots of socks.

From Noro's Silk Garden Sock yarn, it's amazing stuff, and I've made Jet a pair and myself two pairs, and it's all because I got sucked into One Last Thing.

The Governance retreat went really well, though, so I'm glad of that, and it was so positive, and we made huge headway into making things more workable, simpler, and more powerful on all sides of the table. I'm so glad of Kimberley Sherwood at Third Sector Group. They specialize in helping nonprofits with fundraising and governance, and she really understands the difference between regular non-profits and churches.

They are significant differences, too. )
liralen: Finch Painting (superglue_flake)
All right.

I finally got my Razar Stealth Blackwidow keyboard, and I'm happy with it and with the low weight needed to activate the keys. It makes my tendonitus just that much less aggravating. And it's as silent as I'd hoped that it would be. I'm also grateful to finally have function keys again, and some of the navigation and short cut keys that the Happy Hacker does not have.

Which isn't to say that I don't love the Happy Hacker for its capabilities when I'm writing code, but it is not the easiest thing to use when a lot of the game keys are function keys. And on the HH they take two key hits instead of one, so it's Not Good for reflex work. Yes, I know that I could reprogram it, but this just seemed a whole lot easier, and there was no way on earth I'd give up mechanical switches. The Razar ones are quite nice to the touch, too.

I know... updating more than once in a week... it's insane... )
liralen: Finch Painting (tiger_bunny)
There were actually two parts to this last adventure, too. One was actually from the sign up phase, the other was the game itself....

A little story about how this game came into being.... )

The amazing game itself. )

We talked until about 11ish, and I still had to pack to leave Monday morning, and I was up until midnight doing so, and finding various things that I had to give back to Carl. Oops. He ended up telling me to just keep a few things... *laughs* I did, however, manage to get him an origami box to give to Eric, and Eric was quite happy to find shuriken in the folds.

The next morning, I got up in plenty of time, ate the very last of the Trader Joe's food I had with me, got to the shuttle, got on the plane, and got to DIA easily. The bus to Boulder was there when it was supposed to be, and there was enough room for me and my luggage, and John picked me up in Boulder. It was an amazingly fun trip and I was thankful I got to go. I am very thankful to Carl, to BigBadCon, and to all the people I played with and for and all those I just got to meet.
liralen: Finch Painting (sheep egg)
So John and I now have a tradition, where I take a week off for the Big Bad gaming convention and then he takes a week off to go to Seattle and be with his mom for a week. Poor Jet has to do the school thing, but since there was talk at BigBadCon of allowing 13+ to play and run in a kiddie pool, he's said that he'd like to come for the weekend and not skip any school to do it, but still come and play. That would be fantastic.

As it is, though, we each get our week to do what it is that we really want to do, and it turns out very well for both of us. Jet seems to get into the spirit of the whole thing, too, and is extra helpful for both of us while the other is gone.

So... this was the prep days with Carl for BigBadCon.... )

I'm going to have cuts for each of the games in case someone wants to avoid spoilers for the games themselves.

Not actually Jeremy Tidwell's Companions game, but Duane O-Brien's The Ultimate Grand Deadly Kumite of Exploding Death.... )

When my game finished, I went out to the food trucks to find some dinner, and ran into Jeremy at the King Knish cart. He apologized very nicely for showing up an hour late, and it turned out he'd run for those that had waited. I was a little disappointed with that, but it's just life. He had to run into his next game, and when the food took a little longer, I said that I'd be happy to bring it to him in his game when it was ready. He seemed kind of surprised by that, but I said that I didn't have a game and I might as well do it.

So I did. I also found Carl eating his knish in the main lobby, and I happily sat down with him to eat my dinner. The spicy ketchup that the Knish Man made was very good and the knish itself was savory and tasty. It was nice to just talk a bit with him before it was very late, and I went to bed feeling really sick from my cold, and resolved to sleep as long as I could because I didn't have a morning game.

I did manage to get up in time to ask Carl about the models he wanted me to build of the Russian airplanes that were flown by the Night Witches, and he happily gave me the kits and a little glue if they needed it.

I went back to sleep, only getting up for a little breakfast and a Nutella and banana crepe from the crepe wagon, and then another nap; and by the time it was 3pm and time for Carl's game, I actually had my voice back and enough energy to go play with him and the three guys signed up for the game.

Carl's Night Witches: The Visit )

Saturday night dinner was a long-time tradition... )

I'm not sure when it was, but at one point, Carl and I were just sitting in the lobby of the convention and Sean sat down to talk about a possible teenager extension to the convention. He was saying that there were people who couldn't come because their teenage kids couldn't come, so he wanted to create a safe venue for teenagers, at least thirteen and up. So we talked through what it would take to create some kids' tables, for the 13-17 crowd and what it might look like. That was fun, especially since Jet might be interested in such a thing.

I got to sleep at a reasonable hour, but after sleeping most of the day I had a hard time getting to sleep. I also thought that my first game started at 9; but I was wrong. Oops... luckily, I did both a good deed and got forgiven my mistake...

We Are Iron Man by Christine Lorang... )

And then Lali and I ran off to Hacking as Women. )

Given that this got to be bigger than the 64k limit... I'm cutting it here and putting the last and best game with Kevan Forbes in another post. *grins*

Band Mom

Oct. 10th, 2015 09:42 pm
liralen: Finch Painting (My_hat)
It seems that I am a band mom. *laughs* And not just a band mom, but a marching band mom, which seems a different breed of sorts. And it seems that John and I have done our usual thing, which is just dive in and do stuff.

Jet has had marching band competitions both last weekend and this weekend. Luckily, or unluckily, depending on how you look at it, last year, his high school's marching band placed dead last in the standings, so there really was only room for improvement. And they have improved. The band director is really fun, and really wants his kids to have fun and grow with the experience, so it's been good watching the kids figure out what it is that they can do.

Read more... )


Aug. 19th, 2015 02:01 pm
liralen: (crane)
Lots of changes...

VBS was good, the small break was great, the last of the summer was full, and then yesterday Jet got his braces off for the last time (he'd had two sets of them, poor kid) and today he went to high school.


For the Picture... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Gromit_Knit)
There was a time I would have laughed if someone said I might be anxious after just two days of rain. After the floods, though, it's kind of interesting to go around Longmont after two days of pretty heavy rain.

I was at the 911 center today, doing my thing. Legal procedures have changed here, and a lot more lawyers are required to get transcripts earlier on in the process than before. So I get a mountain of work every time I go in. Every week is different.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (bat)
Amazingly grateful for being able to walk around the neighborhood in the sunshine today, with Jet. I'm happy that I can cook again, that I can wander around the house again, that I can actually drive to church and do everything that I needed to do there. I'm amazingly grateful for just the simple act of being able to put my hair in a ponytail and not be dizzy from the unconscious head toss that I do when I do it. *laughs*

It's pretty amazing the number of things I have back.

The biggest was that I was able to let John go off on a trip to Cleveland on Wednesday through to today. I tested being able to drive on Tuesday morning, and was so exhausted at the end of the meeting I had then that I had to lie down on one of the couches at church for a conversation with someone else. After that I was good enough to get home. Luckily, it got better after that...

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Tenpou/Hakkai)
I spent most of the morning installing doorways, actually door frames with doors in them in one of the houses that had been flooded. We put hangers on the doorframes, hung them in the holes that had been made in the walls, and shimmed them so that they were solid where all the hinges and latches needed the support. Then we took all the doors off their hinges, and put supporting screws in the tops and bottoms so that they could be painted with a final coat of paint.

All in about four hours all together, for a whole basement, with several bedrooms, a bathroom, and a storage room, as well as the entry down the stairs.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (pyro)
Just been on a kind of recovery schedule... taking it easy, mostly, but trying to get some physical work in to let me sleep at night.

Yesterday I spent hours on the rose garden, wedding, watering, and dead-heading in full sun, and it was wonderful. We've had a month of rainier and wetter weather than we're used to, which is nothing compared to what we used to get in Seattle, but here it was pretty unusual, so it's been nice that this week we're back to high-80's during the day and 50's at night, so that it's comfortable to sleep.

Today I got in a good long walk through the whole neighborhood, too, along with a much needed two hour nap. I'm just wiped and not exactly sure why, but I'm sleeping when my body seems to really need the sleep. So that's all to the good.

I also had about fifteen minutes of TF2 gameplay... )

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