Coping with Success
After weeks of searching, I finally found them. If you’ve been following my recent exploits, you’ll be well acquainted with Coping-gate; the universe was out to get me and prevent the conclusion of my wall project. There has been a breakthrough. Not through the wall, but rather the availability of the coping stones for the top.
The day after my FRCPath Part 1 exam, I checked the Wickes website as I was determined to finish the wall before Winter. Three in stock. Yeah yeah, I thought, I’ve heard that line before. Three in stock translates to three in pieces, having been the last pieces on the palette. It seems to be standard practice to smash all remaining stones once the stock drops to less than five pieces. I learned my lesson from past experience and called the store before placing an order online. The guy who took my call was in the office upstairs, but he would go down and check and ring me back. I wasn’t hopeful – neither would you be if you were under a ‘Coping Curse’, but my exam was over and I was on a high. It wasn’t a big deal if I couldn’t get them that day, but it would be a nice surprise. He called back to say yes, miraculously, the three remaining items were in stock and intact. I placed an order as soon as the call ended. To Wickes!
The weather had been miserable the last few days, with torrential rain and near gale-force winds, so there was to be no building for a while. It didn’t matter to me, as I had finally secured the last pieces of the puzzle, and eventually there would be a clear day and today was that day. I mixed a bucket of mortar, and after borrowing a little work platform from Doug, I was able to finish the project.
My multiplayer gaming experience has been lacking as of late. And by late, I’m referring to the last ten years. My interest in gaming transitioned almost entirely to single player, story-driven titles and as a result my skills have suffered. Significantly. I can no longer compete at any level, but things are starting to improve somewhat. One of my friends introduced me to Apex Legends, a free online ‘Battle Royale’ style multiplayer FPS. Teams of three ‘legends’ are launched into the battlefield and pitted against each other. Equipment is OSP (on-site procurement, for all the non-Solid Snake fans), and the legends each have tactical abilities to help out in combat. These range from offering healing to teammates and tracking enemies to launching air-strikes and deploying ziplines.
The learning curve is fairly steep for someone who hasn’t played an online multiplayer game in almost a decade, but it can be pretty fun. And incredibly frustrating. At the start of each match either you or one of your teammates is the ‘Jumpmaster’ and the first task is to pick a location to drop into. It’s important to pick a location with plenty of loot – enough weapons and equipment for you and your teammates – but the best spots are almost always contested and can lead to a rapid confrontation and bloodbath if you’re not careful. Or this may be exactly the style of game you like to play. The gameplay is quite versatile in that regard. You can have an all-out firefight and go out in a blaze of glory, or play the long game, taking your time and only engaging enemies when you’re sure there’s a reasonable chance of success. Tactics are everything.
We can’t forget the Battle Royale element. An important part of the game is the arena which periodically shrinks. A glowing orange wall marks the boundary, and being outside this means death. Not instantaneous, but your health gradually drops which can be fatal if you don’t get back into the arena. Playing the ring is a key part of gameplay, and driving players out is another potential tactic.
If you’re into online FPS games, you should definitely give Apex a go. It is incredibly frustrating at times, but can be very rewarding.
Post Exam Excursion
We had a brief getaway in Dartmoor in the most miserable weather known to man, with the highlight being breakfast at the Farmyard Café in Wotter. It was a while since I’d had a fry, and the challenge of ‘the Shire’ called to me. The fries were named after breeds of pony and horse, the smallest being the Shetland, and the largest the Shire. Three of everything. I’m still full a week on…