...Really, not too bad. I decided that I might as well do the cheat to beat the tenth Terran level. You might think it was a slippery slope, but no. I used one cheat, once, and that was what I needed: "show me the money" to get 10,000 of each resource. (Fittingly enough, I called my save file 'cheater1'.) That was enough to allow me to build up my defenses, and knowing that I'd be attacked sooner or later, to begin building a force large enough to take them on.
I didn't really even use it all, either. Building defenses against the initial waves took only about 2,000. (Albeit 2,000 plus what my SVPs were naturally gathering.) I ended up using another 3,000 getting together strike teams (some of which were wiped out as impromptu defense teams when I came under attack, particularly from ghosts when I had no missile turrets nearby and thus had to get my radar and use it, a delay which is fatal for my troops), but the Sons of Korhal fell fairly quickly.
That gave me access to their resources, but I had to deal with repeated credible assaults by Alpha Squadron. Six (or was it 8) battle cruisers against a group of ghosts is...not a pleasant sight. (Annoyingly, it also removes the cruisers from my quickselect.) Now, by this point, I had long-since wizened up to the value of having a science vessel nearby, to be a portable detector. I had made note of its value against both their wraiths and ghosts. But I had to actually take time to get it, which often meant my troops were suffering in its absence. (Especially given the multifront aspect of the level.)
Still, though, I managed to capture the center area, and from there, it was just a matter of licking my wounds, protecting my troops (that were all fairly weakened), and figuring out when the best time to strike was. Answer: probably immediately after their latest assault, which they were launching surprisingly often (and surprisingly effectively, at that; I'm used to assaults failing, but these ones were leaving their marks). I did go in fairly soon, with only three cruisers surviving the assault (I had to have had eight, because I don't think me losing just three would have been noteworthy), but ultimately, their force was annihilated.
And again, I only used that cheat code once to do it, which makes me think that with some smart building, tactics, and forethought, I might be able to pull it off fair and square. Heck, by the end of the level, I had well more than 10,000 of both from my resource gathering, that I did basically because I could. (I like to drain the map dry.)
So that having taken me only a couple of hours, I decided to finish up the Zerg level I was on. It took me a while to orient myself, but I quickly realized I was building up my initial island to stave off transports (it wasn't until near the very end that I realized my island had a blind spot--more on that below), and preparing myself to get a defense/strike/initial response force of Mutalisks ready to capture the center island. I drained most of my starting resources achieving it (even the crystals up north I didn't know about until I went exploring up there), but ultimately I got my base established there and immediately started spamming my spore colonies.
Fun fact about how I play the Zerg, is that at least on campaign mode, my method of playing seems to be like the Terrans, with the Terrans playing like the Zerg. (And Protoss also for that matter.) They periodically send forces to attack, but my spore colonies and sunken colonies which I always make rows of end up--with help from a few supporting Hydralisks and any spare Mutalisks or if it's a true assault my Mutalisk task force--end up taking care of the attack, usually with minimal/no casualties on my end. Best thing about this? Zerg units heal...for free. So do the buildings. Now, this does mean I take some extra TIME waiting for units to heal, but in the case of Mutalisks, if I have some spares, I can just sub out the wounded ones and make a new task force of the fully-healed ones.
So with this bunker-styled defense where the creep covers every square inch it possibly can, I island-hopped down to the bottom island--there was a Terran base there, of course, but a surprisingly not-well-defended one. Killed about half of my Mutalisks, but it was worth it, thanks to the untapped vespene geyser and the lifesaving supply of extra crystals. Plus, with two hatcheries (one high, one low), I was able to creep colony the whole area...and with that many spore colonies lining the edges, any transport ships heading to the bottom island were getting shot down, because short of the slimmest of slim margins, I could shoot at them from above (middle island) and below (bottom island), effectively isolating the bottom island. Utilizing hit-and-run tactics, I was able to take out the defending missile turrets, and from there, it was just a matter of coordinating effective assaults.
Ended up losing all but three of my Mutalisks in THAT assault, but I annihilated the bottom Terran forces, and found they still had some crystals left to boot! (Albeit not very many.) So I creeped that area, too, and regrew my Mutalisk force, using hit-and-run tactics on the outlying missile turrets on the top island. (I save before each assault, for obvious reasons.) I was on my way from the southeast to attack the final one/two turrets, when...I found that before my forces had made it, they were under attack by Terrans...hiding out on my island! Yep, the blind spot. A place where the creep can't reach thanks to the blasted lava. And which is too small to make a hatchery on. (Yes, I checked.) See, I knew the blind spot existed...but I didn't know that they actually were using it as a staging area for their assaults. I thought they brought their transport ships right in rage of my spore colonies, and then ran after dropping off their strike teams.
So that was an unpleasant surprise, and I had to load my save file because I was losing my response team and getting low enough on resources that I was concerned I couldn't make another wave. So I reloaded, and then did a coordinated strike on them. Still lost a few, but not as many as I would have. I moved some hydralisks up to guard the blindspot, and then I licked my wounds and prepared for the final assault.
The final assault might have claimed some of my mutalisks (I don't remember), but I moved my hydralisks in to do the legwork once I was certain their ground forces were dead and their backs effectively broken. I infested the command center that wasn't my objective, created an infested terran or two, destroyed every building except Raynor's command center, softened it up with my mutalisks, withdrew them to leave my three hydralisks to chip away it into the redzone, and brought my queen in to finish the job.
Never thought I'd find the Zerg better than the Terrans, because I thought the Terrans were the only civilization that could use my preferred strategy of bunker-hopping. Yet I'm progressively finding that the Zerg (who I thought could only win via Zerg rush) can make better bunker-hoppers than the Terrans, so they're quickly becoming my favorite civ to play as. At least in campaigns.
Anyway, that also took me a couple of hours, bumping me into the 1 am range (thus, why this wasn't posted yesterday), buuuuuuut, my day wasn't done yet. I decided to play around with some of the programs that I used to have instant access to on my old computer, but which take a moment to find on my new computer. Here, take a look.
(Warning, this is my first time using images. I have absolutely no clue how well this will work, or if it will even work at all.)
And this? The above? Are me. As close as the programs I made them in would allow, anyway. (No program can realistically show hazel eyes, which I have, because hazel eyes change color depending on the lighting, from brown to blue to green to gold and everything in-between. I settled for brown/gold, though, because it's the most flexible of the colors the programs offer for implying additional colors.) The top one basically is the first image I got of my true self, aside from the exact nature of the high ponytail and a bit with the length. (It was a bit shorter.) The part of my hair I think was also a little more straight, though I do think it was slightly to one side.
You can see why I like it so much. It's basically me, at my most artistic. Yes, made with a program, but a program that's dang good at doing its job. An extension of that is the image on the right, showing a fairly idealistic portrayal of what I hope to be. As nice as it'd be to wear dresses, and as much as I desire to, for average day-to-day life, simple pants are probably what I'd wear, exactly as depicted there. Not jeans, but probably something similar to what I currently have, albeit more likely to be, I dunno, "skin-tight" I guess the word would be.
Something I used to do as a kid but eventually grew out of the habit of (partially through my parent's insistence) was wear armbands of literally anything. Those bands you get at a fair? I wore them until they broke or were forcibly removed from my hand by my parents. Rubber bands? Yep, wore them, though the tightness against the skin was noteworthy so that one I cut myself off from knowing how bad it was for my hands. You get the idea, though: wrist accessories were something I used to love, and ever since I realized I was a transwoman, the desire to wear them again has grown. (I permanently keep one hairband on my right wrist for use to pull my hair back, but I'd totally be down for having more.)
I'd probably continue to wear two layers of clothes, too: a tight undershirt (the full shirt there is basically an underarmor shirt, made generic), with a looser jacket over it. I typically keep my jacket zipped, but I do occasionally let the air in, especially during warmer periods of the year. As for the purse...well, I don't really have any purse color preferences, but the shoebag I already use as a makeshift purse is blue, so I thought it fitting. The rest is stuff that I don't see myself wearing if I'm at home (though the necklace is certainly possible; I used to wear a flashdrive around my neck as a makeshift necklace, too), and probably not if going to my current job as a lifeguard since I'd just have to take them off to go on-duty. But if going out anywhere else, yes, I'd have earrings, and I definitely would wear a necklace (even if the necklace was invisible via being underneath my jacket--which it may or may not be depending on circumstances--I'd definitely want it there all the same), and have a ring.
Now, admittedly, I'd need to get my ears pierced, something that I always have been hesitant about. (Yes, I've thought about it before, even well before I knew I was transgendered. The things you think about in hindsight only after it's become clear.) I considered clip-ons years ago. But I've found, through many, many different experiences and ways, I have an incredibly-high tolerance to pain. Especially if I can close my eyes and zone out, which for the purposes of piercings would be easy enough.
So that image is a good image of me going out, say, to the movies. The other images compliment that. The middle-right stands out because in it, my hair is down. That's the thing about the mental image of myself, my inner-self. Most of the time, she has her hair in a ponytail. It took me a while to even see her without it, but I eventually stumbled upon it in an ironic manner. (By staring directly at a picture of me, used as my graduation picture, taken by a professional photographer and thus cleaned up, and having it be a little bit of a distance away from me. So from there, the distinctly-not-female features were not as distinct.) And that image is more or less what I'd look like. I'd try to pull my hair behind my ears, and then further have it be behind my shoulders hanging over my back (the one exception to this being when I'm bare-chested; that's the only time I prefer to have my hair hanging in front of the shoulders, Godiva-style), but my hair is a little bit stubborn in its refusal to stay that way; I'd have some strands in front of my ears and some strands in front of my shoulders.
Though technically not accurate, it and the bottom sprite image also show me wearing a hoodie. This is mostly in homage to what I used to wear. Before I ran in track, when I began to make the transition to the light, relatively-tight, yet still somewhat-flexible, durable, and easy-to-store-stuff-in warmup jackets I currently use in my day-to-day life (for all the reasons just mentioned; they're very, very highly practical), I wore a hoodie instead. (Additionally, before I wore my underarmor undershirt, I wore two undershirts: a T-shirt and a sweatshirt, because the heat didn't bother me nearly as much as the cold.) The hoodies I wore were never perfect: hoodies are by their very nature fairly heavy and baggy, emphasized if you keep too many objects in your pockets like I do. Additionally, every one of them had flaws. No zippers on the pockets, no pockets at all, broken center zipper, no center zipper at all, missing the thingies allowing for the adjustment of the hoodie's hood tightness, never having those thingies in the first place, you get the idea. I had an idealized hoodie, but never once did I get a hoodie that had all of them at once.
So while the loss of the hood was unfortunate, thus why I occasionally still portray myself as having a hoodie, ultimately, I think that I made a good trade clothing-wise. (And, for the curious, yes, my pants were the same way. I used to wear sweatpants, but made the transition to the equally-as-warmthbringing warmup pants, which're thinner and lighter, though in this case they're actually slightly more baggy meaning I sacrificed tight-fitting clothes for easily-removable ones.)
Soyeah, that should give you a fairly good idea of what I want to look like. What I DO look like, ah......not so much.
Very, very sadly.
I...don't like to talk about it.
Yeah, I realize that in this blog, you already know the reason why. (At least, you do if you've read any of the archives.) But every time I type it out explicitly rather than implicitly as I am now, I feel as if I am admitting defeat, caving into despair. So while I can talk about what I actually look like--heck, I can even show you since it doesn't change too often--I really, really would prefer not to. It's just...too painful.