Regularly Scheduled Interruptions

It hasn’t been a great week. I ended up running late on Monday, missing not only the regular train but the late train. I was having a lot of abdominal pain Monday night and yesterday morning so I called in sick yesterday. It got a bit better throughout the day but worsened at night. So I woke up this morning feeling ill again, and missed the train. I’m on the late train. Saying I still don’t feel great is quite an understatement, but I’ve gotta go. I really need a few months of good health here, it’s a real pain to be right on the cusp of no sick leave all the time.

Since I was home yesterday, and I just got my 27″ monitor in the day prior, I spent most of the day gaming on it, running through a bunch of games. I ended up spending quite a bit of time on Rocket League and the new Hoops mode. It’s always fun to get in on the ground floor of a competitive game, when everyone’s on about the same footing as far as experience. The 2v2 setup is ideal for such a small court, and it leads to some very intense matches. Two of the first three games went to overtime, the first one being sent to OT with a bank from three-quarters court with no time left on the clock.

I also decided to try some ranked 1v1 play. When you’re playing an evenly matched opponent, 1v1 is a blast. For reference, I’ve been playing Rocket League a bit longer than most. I picked up the predecessor game, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars on release day in 2008, and I’ve got about a thousand hours logged on it. Rocket League plays pretty much identically in every manner. The thing is, the crowd that played multiplayer SSARPBC were incredibly skilled. Most of the game happens in the air. At the top tier of Rocket League the same is true. But if you didn’t have a top-class aerial game, you weren’t playing multiplayer SSARPBC. Play single-player against bots, or perhaps try a new game. I chose to play single-player.

So as you transition to ranked play, it first has you play 10 unranked matches to determine your skill level. These are generally against players in the bottom 3 tiers (of 15 possible tiers). Bear in mind, I haven’t played 1v1 at all in probably two years. My first few games were wins by scores of 8-3, 9-1, 8-7, and 6-1. I ended up going 3-3 in the remaining six games which was sad but 7-3 over ten games was a good enough performance to place me in the Prospect 3 tier, which let me skip the bottom two tiers entirely. I was hoping to skip this one as well and go straight to Prospect Elite. I think the loss in the last game is what prevented that.

There aren’t many games where I feel like I have the potential to be one of the better players in the world. I certainly never feel that way with any shooters. It’s never going to happen with chess or go, not Scrabble nor Boggle. As a pre-teen and teenager, I thought it might happen with soccer. That ended up having more to do with the quality of opponents than my skill. I feel like it could be the case with Rocket League. The biggest factor in improving at something is to constantly be challenged, having peers at your skill level to analyze your work and offer feedback and a test. If you’re sandbagging your way through a game, it reinforces bad and sloppy habits. And there’s always temptation when you’re sandbagging to stay there. It’s like Mitch Hedberg said, “I wish I could play little league now, I’d kick some fuckin’ ass.”

I played a fair bit of XCOM: Enemy Unknown over the weekend. This is where that sandbagging and sloppy play comes up. I started a game on Easy mode, and played far too aggressive and loose. My squad was scattered all over the map, triggering tons of aliens, but they didn’t hit hard enough to make me change my playstyle. Until the first terror mission, that is. Full squad wipe. Rage quit. Like it’s the game’s fault that I played like an idiot. I started up a new game, and played it proper. Moving as a group, not dashing unless it’s a must, using overwatch. I’ve incurred one loss, a support that could’ve been saved if someone else in the squad knew how to work a fucking medkit. I’m all the way through the alien base assault and the first abductor landing. I have high hopes.

I really have no idea how today’s going to go. I still feel quite ill. There’s a lot to do. At some point I’m going to be asked to think. I would much prefer to be back in bed, honestly. I feel on the edge of throwing up. I think I should cut out the coffee for a few days, I think the acid is making things worse.

I’m only now questioning why Santa Fe is as expensive as it is to own a house. Speaking objectively, there’s not much to do here. No nightlife to speak of, not so much as a bowling alley to be found, no beer scene outside of Santa Fe brewing. More than half the homes don’t even have air conditioning. Traffic is a huge pain in the ass at rush hour. Why can’t you find a house for under $200k worth living in? That’s some crap. Is it strictly because it’s a state capitol? There was a listing for a house for $165,000. The first sentence in the listing? “Some say the house can be saved.” And I want to meet the person that said that, because they’re crazy. You couldn’t open all the doors at the same time or the fucking house would collapse.

Maybe the answer really is “Because have fun driving an hour from Albuquerque every day.”

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