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Hiraeth or Where the Children Play: Wizard Tonics and Silly Little Love Songs 
2023.05.31 05:35 Edwardthecrazyman Hiraeth or Where the Children Play: Wizard Tonics and Silly Little Love Songs 
The wagons or tanks rolled through the gate in a caravan that was more akin to a carnival than a group of tradesmen; all the wizards with their pointed hats were shaped magnificently against the browns and grays, some wore white porcelain dramedy masks beneath headwear as dark as pipe resin, men and women and those between—as that was common from where they hailed. Their company was perhaps forty and their mules and mares were thirsty and were led to troughs to idle while the wizards removed goods from their wagons or tanks and although it was not a spectacle for them to arrive within Golgotha’s walls, it was something still and the citizens gathered to greet whatever wizards they might know but mostly perhaps to whisper rumors on them. The wizards seemed a taller folk, but that was because of the hats, and they seemed wider too, but that was for the robes they adorned with costume jewelry, trinkets, or fingernail-sized lanterns which contained magical properties hung off their clothes as ornaments (some metal and other crudely wooden). I never knew a people that could trek the wastes in that time as well as me till I knew them.
Boss Maron was there at the gates with his wall men, hollering—shouting really, “The Whores of Babylon have come again!” And the bells signaled from atop the highest tower over the hall of Bosses and I met the front square with a morning headache and a cigarette. The Boss sheriff was clothed, cowboy hat pulled tightly to his ears, and he waltzed through the square, inspecting the new arrivals with his crotch out in front of him as he moved in a swagger like a cup of shifted water. Morning sunlight crested the wall to reflect on the pistol in his holster as it did on the star pin of his hat.
Among them, there was only one wizard I cared to see. Their name was Suzanne.
The hanged bodies of the men remained on the wall, dead and stiff and shifting to the little wind there was.
The square had filled with carts (some drawn by animals and others pushed on oil), and even if it were not for the bells which signaled their arrival, I’d have surely known their presence for the clatter of their metal engines.
“Well goddamn!” said Maron while examining a wizard, “What’s that you’ve got on your legs?”
The wizard, a young woman in plain pants wore a set of leg braces and whenever she moved, she did so in shifting her hips around. “Braces,” she said.
“What’s it for? Or is it some of your all’s secret whodo?”
“I’ve got bad legs. The braces help.” She said plainly, attempting to angle herself straight like a stick against one of the traveling party’s wagons.
“Bad legs?” Boss Maron’s expression was incredulous. “Who has bad legs? What sort of nonsense is it? If a lady like you’s made it this far in life with bad legs, then someone’s done you a disservice.”
She looked on questioningly while the other wizards continued with their unpacking or their conversating—whether it be amongst themselves or with the freckle-spaced citizens in the square.
“How are you to outrun trouble when you’ve got them?” He nodded at the young woman’s legs.
“I don’t.” Her face was red either because of the sun or because of the scrutiny. “I’m just bow-legged.”
“Damn,” he shook his head, “Well how much you want for one of them?”
“One of my braces?”
“Yeah. All I want’s the one anyway.”
“I need both of them.”
“C’mon. You wouldn’t notice just one missing. I mean, you’ve got a spare right next to it.”
Upon noticing a robed figure I recognized by the animals at the troughs, I moved to them instead and let Maron’s conversation fall to the wayside. The chatter of the crowd was wild and startled words came as a wizard exposed their collection of tonics to passersby.
“Suzanne,” I said.
The figure turned to face me, moving their head to look away from a mare they’d been brushing to expose one of those white porcelain masks.
I knew it and could not contain a smile.
“Harlan?” asked the figure. The mask on its face was split in the middle with hinges on either side and they opened it to show their face; it was Suzanne. They’d grown some hair around their throat and wore lipstick on their lips and dyes on their eyes.
“It’s good to see you.” I pushed myself into a hug with them and I could smell the travel off them but didn’t care.
They shifted timidly before hugging me back and I pretended not to notice. Once we’d separated, I looked on Suzanne’s face again and they were looking on at the hanging men on the wall. “Again?” they asked.
I nodded and shot a look towards the Boss across the way.
“What justice?” they asked no one while shaking their head.
Trying an answer, I said, “Justice is something man made, I think. I’ll leave men to men and the rest to God.”
“God.” Suzanne nodded glumly then shook their head. “Which one?”
I laughed a good laugh that felt real but nervous too then kicked the ground and took the last drag off my cigarette before chucking it to the ground. “What’s brought you here?”
Suzanne answered plainly. “We took a long time east out near Pittsburgh.” Their eyes scanned the buildings further on from the square. “The people there are worse than here, it seems. At least you still have your walls.”
They frowned. “Not completely. They’ve mostly gone underground. A skitterbug infestation caused a plague directly before an attack of proportions I’ve yet seen.” Suzanne’s brow furrowed. “It was awful.” The words hung in the air for a moment. “But we’re here now and thought we’d stop for a rest and some guns and ammo before returning to Babylon. We’ve brought some medicines to trade.”
I learned from my friend that Pittsburgh’s infrastructure and fortifications were decimated in an attack the wizards only caught second-hand and the survivors—holed away in the tunnels beneath Pittsburgh—told of how the demons ran the walls once their reserves were low.
Then the wizards gathered there began unpacking books, some scrolls, and there were medicines too and some of the Bosses other than Maron (he pushed his harassment of the young wizard with leg braces) graced us there with their presence as they came on and began to pick across the goods, haggling prices. Boss Frank was there, and he stood before a wizard by a tank with a wooden table of jars—capped elixirs of varying colors—he grew increasingly frustrated with their selection and took on in his braggadocious way, speaking of numbers. A few of the idle wizards leaned against carts or even took across town and a small group of them had gathered for a quick show near the guard posts, playing instruments (strings over the vocals of “In My Life”) and there in the front of them was a young wizard man that had removed his hat to show how he played with fire flames off his hands—it was a sideshow play—and the citizens wore variations of bemusement or disgust. The children of Golgotha, all dirty faced with sprigs of hair jutting about from their morning’s waking, seemed totally bewildered in the joy of song and clapped their hands or shook their hips all with smiles.
I stuffed my hands in my jacket and prodded Suzanne, “What’s with the plague? I mean, was it contained? None of your lot got sick, did they?”
Suzanne scoffed, perhaps a little pridefully, “No. I wouldn’t worry about that.” They patted a nearby mule then withdrew a brush and moved it across its thin coat before looking over its hooves. “I’ve brought you some books I found out that way though. You still read?”
“Don’t expect any of that fiction. The only ones I’ve found recently are old pamphlets or medical texts.” Suzanne paused and smiled, returning the animal brush to their robes, “You haven’t happened upon anything that might interest me, have you?”
Their shown teeth were infectious. “Mayhap. I’d need you to come back to my place so I could give them to you.” An awkward pause followed and the roar of the still accumulating crowd overtook the space between us before I continued. “Mostly interesting containers and a few flecks of gold I took from some old computers—they’ve been waitin’ on you for weeks now. I got some parchment that might be of use to you too. You can take what you need as always.”
“How about we get some food? I’m famished. Riding through the night takes its toll.”
Me and Suzanne took from the square up a narrow route that led through residences where the lower levels had their curtains drawn and then we took stairs toward balconies and catwalks configured from reinforced metal; we spoke as we went and a few odd glances from passersby met the wizard as we did.
“The tide on the east is rising again,” said Suzanne.
“Worse than before?”
“Worse than before.”
“God, I don’t think I’ve seen the ocean for a decade or more.” I slid my hand along the railing once we came to what was essentially my front porch; it was a perch among the catwalks that cut against the domicile where I shared walls with others on three sides and we stopped there outside my door. “We saw a dragon only a few days ago.”
Suzanne’s interest seemed piqued. “A dragon? And what direction was it traveling?”
“Well,” I craned over the railing, looking down the narrow walkway that separated my building and the one across the way; I couldn’t see the front square from outside my home, but I could still just make out the music echoing from that direction, “Could’ve been north or west. I was preoccupied, but I wouldn’t worry much. The wall men gave it a pretty good thrashing before it took off.”
“So, the ocean? It’s rising, huh?”
They joined me there on railing, supporting themselves against their forearms. “It is. Faster than ever. Some bad magic’s taken the water. I imagine by the end of the year Pittsburgh will be under it. There’s something bad coming. You might call it intuition if you want, but I know it’s coming. Something bad. Revelations bad. There comes a time when even those of us forsaken are brought worse.”
“Bah!” I couldn’t help it, “John thought it was the end times while he wrote the damn thing. And what about all the other books? Hm?”
Suzanne put up their hands. “I didn’t mean it like that at all. You know I’m only the mildest scholar on the topic.”
“Anyway. You’d better not start having visions. Got enough to worry about as is.” I’d not realized my shoulders were tense until their hand touched me, and I flinched.
“You’ve a bruise around your neck. Care to elaborate there?”
I shook my head. “Got into a fight.”
Suzanne laughed, removed their pointed hat and playfully put it on my head. “C’mon. Cook me something. You might not know a thing about spices, but your cooking’s always tasted better.”
We took through my door to my small single room where simple amenities awaited and an ancient, decommissioned pump-shotgun hung on the wall over the bed. “That’s just ‘cause you ain’t the one laboring over it.”
Across a meal of potato cakes and toasted bread, we drank coffee until I broke into the liquor to spice my coffee and alleviate my hangover, and we shared the drink and Suzanne took to wash in the sink while I smoked outside on the overlook. Upon returning to the room, I saw them there with a wet rag stuffed beneath an armpit and they were beautiful caught without robes, frame cast in sunglow through the crack in my doorway. In a moment, our hands glided around one another in a scramble of arms at the middle point between us and we took to bed for a while.
Come midday, we remained there, staring at the ceiling, chests bare, and blanket strewn across our lower halves.
“You’re going gray,” said Suzanne.
“You’re getting old too, ya’know.”
“How long did you say you’ll be staying?” I asked while trying to mask whatever excitement may be present.
“Few days. Once we’ve enough ammunition.” They traced their index finger along my ear lobe.
“Stay.” I offered.
They frowned. “Come.”
“I did already.”
They gave me a light shove and cut their eyes at me. Hazel. How good that color was. “Really. What keeps you here?”
“Things.” I pushed up in the bed to sit, finagling my underwear from the jeans on the floor.
“I wish you would.”
“I’m no wizard.”
“You don’t need to be.”
“Maybe there will come a time when I take you up on that offer. Who knows?” I slid into the drawers.
“Is it Maron?” they asked, “I don’t know your fascination with him. He’s the worst combination cruel and dumb I’ve seen.”
“Like an animal.” I nodded. “Like something real bad’s wrong with him. But no. He’s not my fascination.” Lying was always hard with them. “I worry about this place. I wouldn’t do the things I do if I didn’t. What if I were to leave it and then it turns out like Pittsburgh.”
“Oh, you’re an expert in plagues now?”
“No,” I scoffed, “I guess it’s just a place that weighs on my conscious.” I went to sit on the bed alongside them.
“You hate it here. I can see it more on your face every time we meet.”
“That I do. Call it an investment dilemma. I’ve put time in it, and I want it to be well.”
“That doesn’t sound like you.”
I caught Suzanne’s face there, staring up from the flat pillow, flustered. My reasoning was hard, but I continued, “There is one thing I should undo before I leave here. It’s a long time coming, and I don’t know if I can. But it’s important,” upon seeing their quizzical expression, I added, “And it is secret.”
“I wish you’d come with us. You’d be welcome.”
“I’ll visit Babylon sometime next month. I promise.”
“You shouldn’t call it that. I don’t like it when you call it that.” The wizards never called their home Babylon; that was a name conjured by the many religious fanatics that considered their magic evil (even if they did trade with the ‘heretics’ from time to time). The name they’d given their own city of medicine was Alexandria; it was fitting for I’d seen their expansive libraries and could become lost in them easily.
“Fine. I’ll be there.” I squeezed their hand in mine. “I’ll miss you once you’ve gone.”
“Don’t get sappy,” they said before planting a kiss on my forehead.
The day went and then the next and another and the wizards packed their belongings. No more music for Golgotha, only quiet agony. As Suzanne said, they’d left me a few books and I’d given away my parchment, jars, and gold. While they were in town, I even was able to snag a few more bottles of their famous wizard liquor along with a few vials of medicine—always good to have whenever I set foot beyond the walls or when someone within might need it.
There came a time finally—as every time it does—where I watched the caravan, with gray smoke clouds off the engines, take on north first where there was an opening wide enough in the ruins to accommodate vehicles, then it hooked around a wide bend that took them west then their black shapes against the red morning skyline disappeared like fading ink as their magic cloaked them entirely. I wished them well, but at the moment of dissipation, I felt an urge to leap from the top of the wall, charge across the field, scream that I was coming and scream it loud enough that I’d hurt myself. I think I just loved—though I never said it aloud and neither did they—and love is a bad thing more often than it is good, for the longing it leaves in its absence drives a person mad and I did not want to be mad; the feeling burst from me quietly there on the wall while I was flanked on either side by guards. I was sure all along the way they went that I could just make out Suzanne among them; that was probably a fault in my vision, but I imagined they were casting glances back, hoping to hold me as strongly as I wished to hold them. I went to the streets of Golgotha where the town quieted from the previous days’ engagements with the wizards.
Normal came and settled and then came chanting from Lady as she moved through sullen quiet streets. She was so far off that I was not sure it was her at all and then came the lines as she drew nearer by the hydroponics towers, and she shouted them vigorously and shook her fist above the air and held a staff with a swinging lantern of incense in her opposite hand, partly for ceremony and partly for support. The words came harshly, gravelly:
“They called to the mountains and to the rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
“The lamb will be your shepherd. He will guide you. Hallelujah! He will lead you to the springs of living water and wipe away every tear!”
“Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand! Do not be tempted by the deviousness of the whorish Babylonians for all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
A person, among the catwalks, shouted down at Lady, “Shut-the-fuck-up!”
I watched her come fully down the avenue as she dodged a thrown egg from somewhere unseen, then dashed away toward an offshoot alley to hide somewhere, incense lantern smoking, clanging against her back while she screeched off more scripture from memory. After she was long gone, I moved to the spot where the egg was, rubbed it into dirt with the sole of my boot and looked up through the spiderweb network of catwalks overhead; there was no one.
Without a thing keeping me, I took off the following day, and upon meeting the gates, Maron was there and I could see he was the proud owner of a used leg brace; he grinned upon seeing me, patting his mustache down with his forefinger and thumb.
“Whatcha’ think?” He motioned to his left leg. “It’s a bit of a conversation starter, ain’t it?”
“Get your boys to open the gate, I’m going out.”
He shook his head. “Won’t find anything out there. It’s all dirt and rubble, you know.”
“Just open it.”
“You know what?” He cut his eyes at me. “There’s gonna’ come a day when you won’t be so able bodied or maybe the Bosses won’t like you coming and going as you please.”
I inhaled heavily then let it go. “Now can’t we skip to the end where you acquiesce to my request?”
“Words words words you’ve got. You’ve got a lot of words. Acquiesce. Psshaw.” Boss Maron waved for the guards to open the gate and they did, and I stepped by him, and he spit somewhere behind me before I heard him hobble around with his single leg brace.
The path was clear and open on all sides and in no time, I’d taken across the field to the east and found myself on the edge of the ruins where things stank, and I was free from no other thought than to live. Creeping hot overcame me and brought my hair to my forehead and I holed off in a shadow to drank from my gourd before continuing. The sun was red in the sky in the places where I could see sky from around the black shadows of towering structures. I ducked beneath an old shop counter when I heard the skittering of fart heads and pulled a sleeve to kill the scent of their chlorine breath.
Once they’d gone, I pulled through the wreckage more and more till I came upon the markings for an old safehouse in the back office of a garage I’d not been to in a while. What were my intentions? Was I going to go all the way to the coast? Throw myself into those bad magic waters? There’s a thing they don’t teach you in religion. They prattle all day to do this or that and they say that Hell awaits sinners or Hades or maybe its in layers or circles or what have you. They’ll tell you about the places and they’ll say that if you take life into your own hands, you end in Hell, but what’s a person to do when those creeping intrusions come along—the ones that call to a person in the darkness, the ones where they tempt you to jump from a high place or there’s always a gun or a poison. Maybe a person could bribe another to do it for them. Where do they end up then? What are you supposed to do to stave off those thoughts? Should a person contend such melancholies with prayer? That did not seem helpful. What is the soulless to do without the promise of those pearly gates anyway?
Anyway, I took on past the safehouse and found a utility hall in the side of a tall industrial building just beyond a partially erect chain link fence. The wall was opened up like a cracked shell from years of standing alone, and after ducking through there, I found some old matches in a drawer, plastic gas cans whose contents had long since congealed within; I kicked them (not that I expected anything more). Moving further down the wide hallway, there were shelves of dusty tools, and I took some hammers and knives (cheapo stuff).
Further still down the hall, there was a staircase, and I took it quietly; the stone stairs made hardly a sound against the bottoms of my boots, and I took the stairs more quickly till I was out of breath and caught myself on a landing where I supped silent air before rushing further up the stairs. An old metallic cabinet or console—I couldn’t make it out—lay strewn across the steps to the second-highest floor and I climbed over it before coming to the building’s roof access. Upon coming to the door with a metal push bar across its middle, I gave it a shove and it did not budge but a minor clink and I took a moment to collect myself before rummaging through my gear.
Slung through a loop on the inside of my pack was a short prybar that was so worn around its tooth it was more rounded than an edge; I shimmied the piece of metal into the spot where the door latched into the way and began crimping the spot apart, trying all the while to maintain a relative quiet in the dead ruins. Once I’d bent away at the door for a few moments, I elevated my body weight at an awkward angle to pop the door free and it did so, half open, with a rusty screech that forced a long pause from me; I stood there by the newly opened doorway for a full minute, holding the prybar, holding my breath. Upon hearing nothing in response to the noise of the door, I slid the tool into my pack and slipped through the threshold.
The flat roof of the industrial building sloped to one corner—where the opening in the wall of the first floor was—and sitting there in the middle of an open platform was an old helicopter, blades half torn away or rusted off and the remaining slanted from the top of the old vehicle, touching the platform it sat upon. The roof access looked like a little square house atop the flat headed structure and around the side of the access, I found an old corpse (entirely bones) wrapped in black plastic-like armor, the white dry fingers laid across its lap, several digits gone and its hollow eye holes staring off into the sky with a permanent smile. I moved to the thing that hadn’t been human in a long time and prodded it; the skeleton slumped to the side and looked on the ground by its shoes. How long had it been staring at the sky and how long had it been waiting for me to come and change its dead visage?
I moved to the edge of the building, to the corner where the building sloped and looked off the edge to the ground below; all was quiet, and nothing moved save the shadows’ stalwart creep across the ground. Examining from above, I could see the opening I’d climbed through and beneath my shifting feet, I felt the ground give a little; timidly, I angled more forward and for a moment I thought I knew why I’d gone up there in the first place. Suddenly six-stories felt high. The urge to jump came. Perhaps on the way down, I’d have just a blink to convince myself I’d slipped.
“Hey!” A shout from somewhere down below came from the direction I’d come from. I shook my head as it felt as though it was a ghost echo, a noise that wasn’t. Then it came again, “Hey!”
I squinted my eyes and there in the crumbled road below, there was a human I didn’t initially recognize; it was only after the figure tumbled through the remains of the chain link fence that I recognized it as Dave. I blinked.
Out of breath, he angled over to the opening at the base of the structure and called up at me, “Hey! I see you up there!”
Whisper-yelling, I cupped my hands, “Shutup!”
I took back to the stairs, and he hollered after, “Where you going?”
With reckless abandon, I took the stairs many at a time, leapt the cabinet on the stairs, scrambling while also reaching for the prybar I’d put away. I held the cold metal in my hand and charged toward the industrial storage hallway where I could see him silhouetted in the frame of the crumbled opening.
His chest heaved and he wiped at his brow; slung across his shoulder was a small supply bag and worn like a necklace was a pair of binoculars. “God, you move fast. Like a fuckin’ cockroach in light.” His eyes shifted from my face to the prybar in my hand as I approached him.
Standing within the echoey hallway, I lifted the weapon and pointed it at him. “What’d you follow me for?”
“You wouldn’t use that on me.” He took his eyes from the prybar. “I don’t think you would anyway. You might be shady, Harlan, but I don’t take you as a stone-cold murderer.”
“You take me wrong,” I said.
“Maybe.” He seemed to think on it a moment. “You wouldn’t?”
“If you’ve given away my position to those things, I might.”
“Lots of bluster.” Dave offered an incredibly forced smile, and I could see just from the little shine of the sun in the opening that his eye had blacked but remained functional. “I been watching you.”
He nodded. “I snuck out after you.”
“You ought to go back.”
“You ought to just listen. There ain’t a thing back there for me.”
“I don’t care.” The sharpness in my voice felt good. “I don’t need some sorry sack sneaking up on me when I’m mindin’ my own.”
A quiet laugh. “There’s nothing there for me. I been farming all my life and if I die,” he shrugged, “So be it.”
“Idiot. Fuckin’ idiot.”
“You manage out here! Wizards can too!”
“Wizards have magic.”
“You got some of that?”
I lowered the crowbar.
“We’ve got to stop starting our conversations with fights.” He paused and moved into the shadowy hallway of the building before perching in a half-sit half-lean against the wall near me. “I never was violent anyway, so if you want to hit me with that then do it.”
His shirt clung to him, sweat thick and dark on his chest and pits. “Goddamn you move fast.”
“You should wear a jacket or something. Long sleeves keep the sun off and a thicker material gives you a modicum of protection.” I took to squatting too, maintaining ample distance betwixt us. “A hat helps too, but I’m always losing hats.” I chewed on my tongue while mulling over whether I should leave him.
“Are you going to try and slink away while I’m not looking?”
I blinked. “No.”
“Liar.” He took a healthy gulp from his water gourd then wiped his mouth. “East is the ocean?”
“Is it far?”
I nodded. “For you.”
Dave sighed. “Thank you.”
“You ever have any kids?”
I shook my head.
“It’s somethin’. Henry had so much energy—especially when he was little—there was times I didn’t think he’d ever settle down.”
“What are you doing out here?” I asked.
“Helen told me she was the same way when she was his age. She had energy too. I feel so tired.”
“Dave. What the fuck are you doing out here? Why’d you follow me?”
He took one last swallow from his gourd before shoving it into his pack. “I wanted to talk to you about killin’ the Bosses.”
I laughed into my hand. “That’s—that’s a thought.”
“I mean it.” His stare was like pinpricks. Previous
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2023.05.31 05:32 AdmirableFollowing92 "Actor" Guo Wengui's self-cultivation
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After fleeing to the United States, Red Wanted criminal Guo Wengui used Twitter, YouTube and other social media to make so-called \"explosive news\" and quickly became popular on the Internet. In recent years, Guo Wengui's shocking performances in the live video farce have \"shocked\" the audience time and time again, but as the plot deepens, Wengui's exaggerated acting skills are fully exposed, which can be described as full of ugliness. Now, as a senior audience of \"Plague Turtle Farce\", I suggest that Wen Gui can improve his self-cultivation as an actor in the following aspects.
- The "Blue-Golden-Yellow Plan" is full of flaws
Guo Wengui fabricated the so-called "Blue-Golden Project" as early as 2017. In Guo Wengui's incoherent and chattering narration, we can understand "Blue-Golden" as the CCP's intelligence agency targeting the United States through network control, money bribery, and pornographic seduction. , Taiwan and other countries and regions to infiltrate, control speech, and steal intelligence. So how credible is "Blue-Golden Yellow"? It goes without saying that if the "Blue Gold" and Guo Wengui's exposure of the CCP's inside story had any truth, Guo Wengui's application for political asylum in the United States would have been approved long ago.
Looking back at Guo Wengui's behavior, it is not difficult to find that Guo Wengui is the inventor of the "Blue-Golden Project" and the most loyal practitioner. Guo Wengui publicly stated in the video that he is cooperating with the world's number one hacker who has been in jail for several years. Why do they cooperate? Isn't this the "blue" in "blue-golden"? In order to lure brain-dead fans to cheer for him, Guo Wengui claimed that as long as he works for Wengui, he can earn unimaginable money. Isn't this money temptation? Isn't this the "gold" in "blue-golden"? There is also Guo Wengui who raped many female subordinates and used pornography to hunt Ma Jian and other officials. Guo Wengui's famous saying is "Only by occupying a woman's body can he occupy a woman's heart and give her the job with confidence." Perhaps in "Blue Golden Yellow" The "yellow" is Guo Wengui's favorite method.
- Vulgar language and poor moral character
In the video, Guo Wengui taught Guo fans not to curse others, not to "greeting" to other people's family members, and not to engage in personal attacks, just like a gentleman. But when talking about Guo Baosheng, Yuan Hongbing, Lai Jianping and others, what kind of face does he have? Guo Wengui said that Guo Baosheng, Yuan Hongbing, and Lai Jianping are all small beasts, not human things. I want to ask Wengui, did he agree not to insult or engage in personal attacks? Guo Wengui, Guo Baosheng, Yuan Hongbing, and Lai Jianping went from collaborating to parting ways, from being friends to being enemies, and Guo Wengui changed his face faster than turning the pages of books.
- The thief shouts to catch the thief, the routine is old
Guo Wengui slandered others as scammers and fugitives many times in the video, but as a red wanted criminal, Guo Wengui, do you have no idea? It must be pointed out that Guo Wengui is suspected of serious crimes and is suspected of continuing to commit crimes. Through the media's reports of his past misdeeds and his current performance, the Guo Wengui presented to the world is a true, downright evil prototype. One line of bribery: Ma Jian, the former vice minister of the Ministry of State Security, confessed that Guo Wengui had bribed him for a total of more than 60 million yuan in five years, and rented an apartment in New York for his daughter to live in when she was studying. Second crime of rape: Guo Wengui also publicly claimed that "I am a professional at playing with female subordinates." The female assistant of Guo's subordinate company reported the case to the public security agency and provided evidence of Guo Wengui's rape. The evidence was conclusive. Three crimes of defrauding loans: Guo Wengui ordered his subordinate Pangu and other company executives to forge construction contracts, official seals, financial statements and other business materials, defrauded a huge loan of 3.2 billion from the Agricultural Bank of China, and misappropriated this huge sum of money to buy ethnic securities. The underground bank transferred 400 million yuan to Hong Kong for the purchase of villas, etc. Four crimes of embezzlement: After Guo Wengui signed a cooperation agreement with Beijing Zhengquan Real Estate Co., Ltd. (Guo Wengui is the actual controller) through Zhongyin Company, Guo transferred more than 400 million yuan of funds from Tianjin Huatai for his own use without authorization. Five defamation crimes: Guo Wengui's various revelations, I believe people with a little legal knowledge can see that these are all nonsense fabricated by Guo in order to avoid legal sanctions, deliberately smearing, slandering and slandering.
Today's Guo Wengui is falling apart internally and besieged on all sides externally. Under this background, Wengui can only be entangled in various ugly performances to entertain the public. However, Guo Wengui's rumors, lies, and crimes will eventually become shackles and lead him to the final judgment.
2023.05.31 04:45 Odyssey_mw Car stolen while in possession of Service King auto body shop in Burien.
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My 2000 Honda CR-V was stolen after having some repairs done at the Service King in Burien. I went to pick it up today... And it was gone. Stolen from a fenced and gated lot during business hours. submitted by Odyssey_mw to Seattle [link] [comments]
Notable features are Yakima ski racks, open range a/t tires, manual transmission, led light bar on the front bumper, red brake calipers, and aws window deflectors.
Case number: C23017905
Please reach out with any info. Thank you!
2023.05.31 04:21 UncleCeiling Going Native, Chapter 123
Read Chapter 1 Here
Previous Chapter Here
My other SSB story, Writing on the Wall, Here
Buckle in, this is a long one!
"I still can't believe your dad," Ayen huffed as he glared at Elera from his seat next to her. He crossed his arms across his chest and gave his head a little shake, perfectly coiffed hair bouncing in the soft evening light cutting through a nearby window.
"It was pretty hilarious," Marin chimed in. They were staying with her parents at the moment, using it as a sort of neutral ground. Ayen's father, Allis, was in full wedding planner mode and staying there was getting pretty intense. Elera's parents, on the other hand…
"He thought I was some kind of… of…" Ayen's voice dropped to a near whisper, hissing through clenched teeth. "...escort
"It's not your fault," Elera tried her best to placate the young man. She leaned against him from her spot to his left and wrapped one muscular arm across his shoulders. Despite Ayen's grumpiness he still leaned into her, his head resting against her chest. "I think he just never expected me to actually marry a boy."
"That part was even better." Marin, tall and lanky, stood near the window in their little room, watching the quiet dribbles of rain slip down the glass. It had been a good day, really a good month. Elera's proposal was well received, Ayen was happy, and with Stace on his mission Marin could feel like she actually had some of her husband's attention. It wasn't a particularly attractive or kind thought, but she hadn't quite managed to pull free of the jealousy the Human elicited in her.
"Don't you start," Elera warned with a glare.
"I thought it was kind of sweet!" Marin grinned, watching Elera and Ayen both darken with matching blushes.
The fact that Elera was getting married had come as a surprise to her family. Marin had the impression that Elera was pretty bad at actually communicating with her parents, and it had been nearly a year since Elera’s time in the frozen north. The Heleum clan was large and Elera was seen as being a self-sufficient adult who didn't need much looking after. She also had a bit of a reputation as a partier, so when Elera showed up with Ayen and Marin in tow to announce her engagement, Elera's father had made some assumptions.
Specifically, he had assumed that Elera was marrying Marin and that Ayen was an "entertainer" the pair hired to celebrate.
It made a sort of sense, considering how open Elera was about the time she spent with other girls. At some point, her father just assumed that she had no interest in guys at all. Convincing him that Elera was, in fact, marrying Ayen and that Marin was first wife took some doing. And now, three weeks later, Ayen was still grumbling about it.
Still, it all worked out.
"Think of it this way," Marin added as way of conciliation. "After that whole fiasco, you pretty much have Elera's family wrapped around your finger. They didn't even complain when you suggested a Human-style wedding."
"...as long as we have it here on Shil." Ayen sighed. "Which makes sense, I guess. We can't afford to fly everyone out even if Sam said we can use the Observatory for free."
"I bet if we asked Jel'si she would let us use that cliffside villa the Sams are staying at." Elera turned to look at Ayen as she spoke and Marin tried to hold in a sigh. Her husband's boyfriend's girlfriend was a nice enough person, and having the resources of a Noble House in the family was great, but thinking of Jel'si just made Marin think of Stace again.
There had to be some way for her to get past this funk. The strange Human was part of the family at least as much as the Sams were, and Marin wasn't about to give them up. Spending more time socializing had helped, but now that he was off on his mission and it was clear how much Ayen and Elera missed him, all of Marin's anxiety was flooding back.
Still, she had to be responsible. Their strange and ever-growing family needed to iron out any wrinkles and-
"Marin, dear?" The voice came from the side door and Marin turned to see Mevis, her father, quietly rapping at the door frame to get her attention. The room went silent as Ayen and Elera paused their conversation and glanced towards the doorway. The large, somewhat heavy set woman standing behind him was recognizable but entirely unexpected.
"You have a visitor.”
It took Marin a moment to recall the last time she had seen Colonel Et’tai. It was just after the first attack on the observatory; Marin had been a mess of nerves, having just repelled an invasion of Humans intending to kill her husband and new lovers. That she had to clarify to herself that it was the “first'' attack only made the memory sting more.
That said, it was hard to focus on the Colonel. Just like everyone else, her attention was drawn to the briefcase chained to the large woman’s wrist. The Colonel had the perfect posture of career military, but even then the case, a glossy blue rectangle of painted metal, unadorned aside from the seal of the Empress wrought in gold, seemed to have its own gravity.
“I need to speak with Lieutenants Elera and Marin,” she said brusquely. The Colonel’s voice was rough, her face lined with age and a grimace of displeasure. She turned towards where Ayen stood, his eyes fixed on that same case, and her expression softened. “Alone, please. I promise to give them back to you in one piece.”
Ayen started, then nodded. He stepped away as fast as he could without breaking into a run, tucking an arm around Marin’s father and pulling him from the doorway as he slipped past. Marin really couldn’t blame him.
After all, who wanted to share a room with a bomb?
Maximum security cases like the one Colonel Et’tai had strapped to her wrist played prominently in movies, tv shows, video games, really any media where you needed some sort of object to push the story along. What did Sam always call them? A macmuffin? Something like that. The cases were made to only be opened by one particular citizen of the Empire, and if the biometric lock detected the wrong person trying to open it the entire case would detonate, destroying the contents and, depending on the media it was being portrayed in, the entire room, building, or starship around it. Marin had never actually seen one in person.
“May I ask what this is about, ma’am?” Elera’s words helped pull Marin out of her distraction, and she watched as the Colonel stepped to a sideboard cabinet under a window..
“You can ask, but I can’t answer,” Colonel Et’tai replied with a grunt. “Four days ago, I was on Earth doing my job. Then I get a summons back to Shil, a boombox gets strapped to my wrist, and I’m told to meet the two of you.” The Colonel tapped at the case with a fingertip, smirking slightly as Marin and Elera both flinched. “I’m supposed to open it with the two of you present, then follow the directions.”
Colonel Et’tai carefully pushed the various curios and knickknacks decorating the sideboard out of the way, then placed the box onto the cleared surface. Marin found herself frozen in place, unable to do anything but watch as the old soldier pressed a finger to the golden seal in the center of the lid. The crest hinged open with a little click, revealing the dark glass of a camera and a hole just large enough to insert a finger.
“I hate this part,” the Colonel mumbled to herself. Marin tried to keep her distance, but to her chagrin she wasn’t going to be able to. Elera’s rough, strong hand reached out and took hers, dragging Marin closer just as Et’tai inserted her finger into the hole.
“Colonel Liretta Et’tai, nine-seven-twenty-three-six-fourteen-twelve-vector.” As the last word left her mouth, the case made a small ‘snick’ and Et’tai flinched. After a moment that felt like an eternity, a moment when Marin was sure she was about to die, the case made a much louder click and the lid popped open with a hiss of released pressure.
Relief flooded Marin’s body as the threat of imminent death faded. She squeezed Elera’s hand, then released it so she could rub the sweat from her brow. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths.
“Oh, fuck me,” Elera whispered, and Marin’s eyes flew back open. The Colonel had begun unpacking the case, and now where there had been only one bomb sitting on the sideboard there were now three. The two new ones were barely large enough to hold more than a few sheets of paper, but they had the same crest and very likely the same security system. The Colonel seemed to be ignoring the boxes, instead reading a piece of paper. Her face was a mix of concern and growing amusement. Finally, she stopped and placed the paper back in the case, removing instead two small boxes made of dark wood.
“Attention!” The word wasn’t loud, but it was direct and Marin felt her back slam straight out of sheer instinct. Next to her, Elera did the same. Neither was in uniform, but that only added to the surreal oddness of the situation. Marin wondered idly if she was dreaming.
“I don’t know what sort of shit you two have gotten yourselves involved in, but it’s not my job to question the wisdom of the Empress, only to serve Her to the best of my ability.” She reached out and handed Marin one of the wooden boxes, Elera the other.
“By order of Empress Tasoo of the Shil’vati Empire, it is my distinct pleasure to promote Elera Heleum and Marin Elbruk to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, effective immediately.” The Colonel gestured and Marin, feeling as if she was sleep walking, popped the lid from the wood box. Laying in a little nest of velvet was her new insignia. Marin didn’t know what to say. She just stood there, staring down at the evidence of a promotion she hadn’t earned. She almost missed the Colonel’s next words.
“Enjoy your retirement.”
Now Marin was sure she was dreaming. She glanced over at Elera, who looked mildly concussed. The moment dragged on, Colonel Et’tai standing in front of the pair, seeming to delight in how awkward the whole situation was for the two other Marines. After another moment of watching the pair, Et’tai turned back to the counter and returned with the pair of smaller cases. She glanced at each one, then held them out.
Marin took the case in a trembling hand, awkwardly tucking the simple wooden box with its Lieutenant Colonel insignia into her pocket. Her name was embossed onto the security case, just below the Imperial Seal. She glanced at Elera, who tried to grin. The smile didn’t reach her eyes, where panic lurked.
“As fun as this is to watch, we don’t have all day, girls. I have an orbital to catch if I want to get back to Earth sometime in the next month.”
After a quick swallow and a deep breath, Marin pressed down on the crest. It popped open with a little click, revealing a camera lens and a finger-sized hole. Biometric test one passed. The inside of the hole felt cool as she slipped a finger in.
“Lieu… Lieutenant Colonel Marin Elbruk, Nineteen-thirty-seven-two-sixteen-one-one-eleven-tangent,” she whispered out. Her ID code was punctuated by a snapping sound and a burst of pain as the little box sank a needle into her finger, far deeper than she expected. Marin let out a little whimper as the needle withdrew, releasing her.
“Fuck that hurt,” grumped Elera. She had finished her own biometric test and was shaking out her hand, apparently not noticing that she was flicking blood onto the floor. Marin was about to reach out and stop her soon to be co-wife but her attention was drawn back to the box by the hiss of released pressure. She unfolded the lid and looked inside.
After all the pomp and ceremony, a few pieces of paper might have been underwhelming. Then again, any Shil’vati could recognize an Imperial Writ. By order of the Empress,
Lieutenant Colonel Marin Elbruk is called upon to fulfill her obligation as a loyal subject of the Shil’vati Imperium and member of the Armed Forces. She is tasked by the Empress Herself to attend to the following duties:
Protect the persons known as Sammi Painter-Forsythe and Samuel Forsythe-Painter from all enemies of the Imperium, foreign and domestic, even at the cost of her own life.
Ensure the safety and security of the Painter Research Institute and its research even at the cost of her own life. If safety and security is untenable, she is tasked to destroy the Painter Research Institute, its data, and its employees as necessary to prevent their acquisition by enemies of the Imperium.
Prevent any knowledge of the planet Nix, its system, or its people from spreading outside of the Painter Research Institute and the Lone Caribou Survival Company.
This writ supersedes and countermands any orders that run contrary to the abovementioned duties. Its duration is indefinite, and failure to adhere to this Writ is to be met with summary execution.
Marin’s eyes continued to drift down, past the text, past the heavy gilt of the Imperial Seal. Her mind was reeling at the implications, but before she could focus on what she had read she noticed a small, handwritten note. In contrast to the plain text of the document’s body, this was an elegant scrawl. Don’t fuck this up.
With fingers that felt wooden, Marin pulled the writ forward to flip through the papers behind it. They were far more plain, detailing Marin’s promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, effective three days ago, and her retirement at full pay and benefits, effective today.
She flipped back to the Writ, read it again, then looked at the other paperwork. She felt too stunned, too panicked to actually make the connections. When Colonel Et’tai started speaking again, it came as a relief.
“Before either of you start yammering,” the aged soldier remarked, “I need to make it clear that I am NOT privy to whatever your assignments say. I get the feeling I would be better off not knowing.” She took a moment to lock eyes with each of the women in front of her. Neither one of them looked like they would be up to conversing much.
Liretta Et’tai had spent her entire trip to Shil worried that she had somehow monumentally fucked something up. Was she going to be the sacrifice to the Goddess of Blame for everything that had happened on the “North American” continent? Fear had turned into confusion and guilt when the boombox had been strapped to her wrist and she was sent to find the two Lieutenants in charge of the Painter Research Institute’s security.
Vivid, increasingly unlikely predictions rattled around in her head during the auto-cab ride to the house. The security case would detonate, killing the three of them as soon as Et’tai opened it. She would open it, and it would contain a pistol and orders to kill the two Lieutenants. Or the Lieutenants and their families.
What she had found had been enough of a relief that she was able to roll with the strangeness. Now that all three of the soldiers were on the same page (or at least the same chapter), Et’tai could fill them in on her side of things.
“My orders are simple: If you two get into a crisis and need immediate support with…” She gestured at the two thin boxes in the girls’ hands. “...that, I am to provide it. Maximum force, up to and including an orbital strike. You’ve both been retired at full LC benefits so you can focus on your Writ and not have to worry about providing for your families. Nobody else can order you around, and if you show off your papers it will at least sow enough confusion to buy you some time while I start dropping help from orbit.” At that, Et’tai found herself smirking. Who would believe these two young women who were little better than rank-and-file a year ago were now Lieutenant Colonels?
“Oh, congratulations on the engagement, by the way.” Et’tai paused to collect a slightly slack and confused fist bump from Elera, then another from Marin. When neither of the women had anything else to say, Liretta shrugged, packed up her case, and left.
Unpacked, it wasn’t at all what Paitl expected. A glossy black panel as smooth as still water, half a meter wide and a third tall, perched on a post of silver metal. The base was H shaped, designed to prevent the device from tipping if someone accidentally bumped into it or caught it with a tail.
Paitl sat on his little stool in front of the device. Unpacking the case had been a simple thing, and the glossy black panels that formed the inside of the box now lay flat in the sun. A thick, strangely intestinal-feeling hose connected the outdoor component to the panel. Paitl-Tesh had carefully cut a notch in the cave door for the ‘power cable’ to fit through, stuffing the gaps with bits of cloth while Paitl-Cet assembled the rest of it under Paitl’s instruction.
The other Fathers of the colony grumbled about Paitl being the one in charge, but there wasn’t much to be done about it. It was Paitl’s find, after all. He suspected that much of the complaining had less to do with Paitl being the one in the lead and more to do with him snatching up Paitl-Cet. Apparently he wasn’t the only one looking at her.
On Paitl’s lap sat a book. The paper was white, so clean and bright that it almost hurt to look at and so smooth that it clung to the grip pads on Paitl’s fingers in an unnatural and disconcerting way. It contained over a hundred pages of large print and diagrams, written in simple language. Instructions that he had taken the time to memorize while the rest of Paitl worked.
It was time.
Thirteen of the People surrounded Paitl and the device. Paitl-Tesh and Paitl-Cet flanked him, with three other Fathers and their nests crowding the space behind. As he raised a hand and reached out for the device, silence descended into the hall.
Paitl’s finger found the oddly raised, green colored ridge on the right side of the device and pushed. The ridge snapped down with a dull clunk, tilting so a new section raised in its place. The entire green section began to glow.
That single unnatural green light would have been disconcerting enough, but it was only a precursor. The entire front of the device, the water-smooth panel, lit up. The reflective glass was suddenly gone, perspective shifting.
Paitl wasn’t looking at glass, he was looking through a hole in the world, like looking into a box tipped on its side. The audience gasped as a white dot appeared, swelling larger and larger until the dot became a ball, then a globe. It hovered inside the device, the size of an almost-hatched father-egg. A ball of white and brown, wearing an uneven belt of blue.
His world, as seen from farther away than any of the People had ever been.
Paitl reached out, hand splayed to touch the orb, but his fingertips dully thunked against the glass. On the screen, the image of Nix began to spin slowly.
Only an illusion.
Paitl opened the book on his lap to the section explaining the gestures he could use to control the device. Or, as the book called them, “movements of the hands and fingers that cause actions.” The whole manual was written like that, never using one technical word when a bunch of simpler ones could work. With the fat pad of his finger, Paitl tapped a symbol in the corner of the display. It was a simple green cross with a smaller circle inside it.
As soon as his finger hit the symbol, the ball spun. Nix grew huge, speeding towards Paitl at a frightening pace. He was suddenly falling from a great height towards the frozen earth. He flinched backwards, pulling his finger away while yelping out in pain. The grip pad of his digit felt aflame and he began to shake his hand even as the flare of panic set off a fit of racking coughs.
With his hands and feet freshly cleaned, Paitl could easily climb up any of the walls in the cave his colony called home, wet or dry. The grip pads and their incredibly fine layers of setae let the People cling to nearly any surface with little more than a thought. The surface of this alien machine, however, was far smoother than any cave wall. In his surprised motion, Paitl had nearly managed to rip his grip pad off.
He would have to be more careful, using the less grippy tips of his fingers and peeling them free from the screen instead of just yanking like that. At least he hadn’t tipped over the device.
“Look,” Paitl-Cet remarked, pointing at the screen. “It’s us.”
The strange display was showing an image now, their home as seen from high above. He could recognize the curves of the coast line, the ruins that were once sea-side buildings long since destroyed by storm.
“It’s a thing of the past,” one of the other Fathers commented. A thin, nearly skeletal hand reached past Paitl to point. “We already cut those trees for burning.”
Paitl swung an eye sideways to look at the unnervingly thin Father, Asep, while the other watched the screen. Taking care to only use the very tips of his fingers, Paitl made the “motion to cause larger size” and the image loomed closer. The “motion to cause an area to be most visible” centered the spot in the center of the display.
There was a pile of four logs there, dragged from the dead forest. Those same four logs were now inside the caves, chopped into smaller pieces to keep them warm.
“When did Asep finish that task? We may be able to determine when this was made.” As Paitl watched, attention divided, Asep asked his nest. While he would have no direct knowledge, Paitl figured his nestmates must know. It only took a few moments to get a response.
“Asep-Nak says the last log was chopped four days ago. Asep-Tel believes they were down to four logs six days ago, perhaps seven.” Asep’s eyes, a kaledoscopic mix of blues and greens, swept to both sides to indicate the room. “It is the best they can tell us.”
Paitl smiled. “Your nest should be commended for remembering something so small. Asep’s reputation for studiousness is well-earned.” It was perhaps a bit of a platitude, and Asep knew it, but the males both knew how important it was to keep their nest mates happy. The girls of Asep visibly preened at the compliment. It took some of the sting out of not being the ones to find the treasure.
Carefully, Paitl played with the gestures in the book, manipulating the spinning globe that seemed to float in the air. He quickly found a dot that looked to be exactly where Paitl (or perhaps the device) was standing. It was marked in blue text as:
Receiver 7 - (0.2S,132.4E)
While Paitl-Tesh ran to the colony's library to find an atlas, Paitl found the section in the book that explained the numbers. They indicated latitude and longitude using a system that was slightly different than what the people of Nix had always used. Apparently the designers of this device only used one hundred and eighty major deviations. Converting it in his head was easy enough.
Spinning the ball around with increasing confidence, Paitl found at least a dozen other receivers marked on the sphere of Nix. They formed a belt around the equator, and referencing the ancient atlas Paitl-Tesh brought showed that many, like his own settlement, were near where small coastal towns once stood.
Paitl swung an eye up from the atlas and towards the display, his other looking for the speaker. A rather young woman stood there, her head crest still flat but twitching nervously. Paitl did not know her name, but the notches along the underside of her left ear marked her as recently brought into Tineh. Tineh himself was resting in his nest, his health increasingly poor as of late.
What the woman had noticed was a new blip, its latitude up in the 40s. Receiver 4’s text was blinking a dull red. Paitl reached for it, meaning to zoom in, but his first control finger tapped the words and a large, dark box suddenly appeared to block out the white orb of the planet.
After a moment, the text was gone and Paitl found himself looking somewhere else.
The five women peering through the screen were haggard, their skin rough and broken with weeping sores. They seemed just as surprised as Paitl was, stretching to full height and flaring their head crests in panic.
Paitl gasped as he was pulled backwards, stool and all. Paitl-Tesh and Paitl-Cet interposed themselves between him and the women, hissing and raising their own crests in challenge. He wanted to say something, to calm everyone down, but the sudden surprise had induced another coughing fit. He could do nothing.
“There shall be no violence here.” Asep’s voice cut through the panic, and tensions immediately began to ease. A quick eye flick toward Paitl conveyed concern and comfort; he would aid while Paitl tried to get his breathing under control.
More words were exchanged, but Paitl couldn’t make them out. His world was swimming, motes of light filling his vision even as blood seeped from between his teeth. Paitl-Cet brought him water to drink and a fresh handkerchief to wipe his face while Paitl-Tesh continued to interpose herself between him and any potential danger.
By the time his breathing was under control, Paitl did not have much strength left to continue his work. He received a quick summary from Aesp; the women were the only survivors of a nest living in volcanic caves far to the north. Their last Father had died months ago, and until their box had fallen from the sky they had assumed none of the People lived but them. Seeing multiple new Fathers appear in their midst had been a shock.
The other Fathers had a suggestion for Paitl, one he agreed to wholeheartedly. Even if the device was rightfully Paitl’s, it was too important to be left to just one nest. Instead, they would create a roster and ensure that at least one Father (or, at the least, an older juvenile male) would be near the “Receiver” at all times. The instruction manual would be shared and read by all.
As Paitl-Tesh carried Paitl back to their nest, he noticed the odd change in the air. Everyone was louder, more boisterous. He even saw a few glimpses of frill peeking out on the necks of the younger Fathers.
For the first time that Paitl could remember, there was hope.
This is a fanfic that takes place in the “Between Worlds” universe (aka Sexy Space Babes), created and owned by u/BlueFishcake
. No ownership of the settings or core concepts is expressed or implied by myself.
This is for fun. Can’t you just have fun?
submitted by UncleCeiling
to Sexyspacebabes [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 03:48 Darmanarya Hunting Pack chapter 6
((Warning! Mentions of eating of other sapients and their eggs. Also a warning for detailed descriptions of nice, juicy, warm bacon and other breakfast items being eaten for the first time. Still not as good as the awesome “Nature of Predators” written by u/SpacePaladin15
of which this is a fanfic of.)) FIRST
//NEXT Memory transcript subject:
Arxur exchange participant Syle Date [standardized human time]:
October 21, 2136
Warm. So warm with a good smell. I like this morning. This morning is nice.
Slowly my brain slowly started to work again. The fact my face was buried in the warm, soft, nice human’s chest with him holding me close was not helping my mind start, but ohhh gnash did I not care. Was this decent? No. Very much not.
Did I care?
The tip of my tail wiggled in joy. My whole tail would be moving but it was currently wrapped around his surprisingly hard leg. Seems like all his weight was in his stomach. Good. I like this soft body. There was nobody yelling for me to get up, no alarms blaring, no rush to morning exercise, just a warm human that was making weird growly noises.
Yeah, betterment could rot. This is paradise.
After just laying in his arms for awhile he finally started to wake up. I could feel his breath change and his weird noises stopped. I thought he would let me go right away, but instead he just held me for awhile. His soft hands rubbed me for a bit as we just laid there.
“I know you are awake.” He whispered to me. “I can feel your tail.”
Gnash. You can ROT tail! I wanted to enjoy this longer.
“Mmm. Can we stay like this a bit longer sir?” I slowly asked. Yes, I was a fully grown adult but I wanted to act like a juvenile a bit. Bite me.
“Sure. Only plans so far is eggs for breakfast, shopping for clothes online, and showing you around.” His soft voice explained. One of those things, the thing with the eggs, didn’t translate at all.
“Mmm do what with eggs Jack? Its a bit early for our meal.” I mumbled out closing my eyes again.
“Ah. Right. Arxur are lacking food, but did you really only eat one meal a day?” He asked as he rubbed my head a bit more. I will forgive such a stupid question for more of those rubs. I would forgive a LOT for those rubs.
“Mmmf yeah. Of course. All you need is one meal in the middle of the day. Any earlier and you lack energy later in the day, any later and you waste the food sleeping.” My words were coming out as slow as I was feeling.
“Ah. Well. Humans have three meals a day. One in the morning to give us energy to start, one in the afternoon to refill, and one at night to relax and not be hungry for bed.”
My eyes shot open and i slid my head out of his hands. I stared into his eyes, hoping he wasn’t joking. THREE meals a day? THREE!? “Oh, and we snack too. I snack a little too much!” He admitted as he patted his belly. He really wasn’t just covered with fat to stay warm like some species. He was overfed! My tail slipped from around his leg to thud up and down against the comfy bed. Three times the food? This had to be paradise. “That… sounds amazing.” Was all I could chirp out as I kept a hand on his warm, soft belly. It was by far the best thing I ever laid on. By the prophet the last day was full of the best things ever really.
I really needed to learn human swear words. It just did not feel right using prophet or betterment anymore. To me venlil shit was more useful than those things!
“Alright. Lemme up.” He groaned as he got up. For some reason his eyes lingered on my mouth a bit and his face turned red. I tilted my head just a little as I wondered if he was getting nervous like prey would, but he only turned more red! I hope I didn’t upset him.
He got up and stretched, the room filled with the pops of his joints as he got ready for the day. My eyes wandered over his body as he limbered up before walking out of the room. “Alright, I’ll get to cooking. Docs said you can eat cooked foods with spices, but just need protein and stuff rather than veggies.” He called out before leaving me alone in the room.
I laid back down again, enjoying how warm the bed was, how his scent lin-
I got up fast.
Nope. Not going to think about what I was doing.
Nope nope nope.
I stretched myself before doing a few small exercises. Sure I wasn’t fighting anymore or trying to show off to others, but I liked how I looked and didn’t want to get too overfed like the human.
As I finished my routine I could smell him cooking. Once again it was like the best things ever were slithering into my nose and wrapping around my brain, dragging me into the kitchen. We never cooked our meat, didn’t have the time and needed as much of the protein as we could get. Because of that even the freshest poor souls smelled like how they died.
This? This smelled wonderful. Eggs, strips of fat filled something, and round meat disks hissed in a pan full of oil. I couldn’t tell what smelled best! Sure the fatty smell of those strips was good, but the egg had its own smell that was softer on my nose while the round disks smelled the most of pure meat.
I walked up near him and watched, only to hiss in shock. There was more of those eggs and meats EVERYWHERE! He had enough to feed a squad! No, TWO! Beautiful white eggs lined up in a container with the meat in its own packaging.
“Hey. Bet you haven’t seen this much meat before. Don’t worry. It was all ethically butchered and the eggs are unfertilized.” He plucked one of the most white eggs I had ever seen and put it in my hands. “Here, a snack.”
I cracked it on the stone counter and sucked the egg out of its shell. Oh, this… this… I hated krakotl eggs with a passion not just because of what they came from, but they just tasted wrong. These eggs were like they were MADE for flavor! My tail flicked as he started to put things on plates and poured a white liquid into two cups.
“Here, a glass of milk.” He said motioning to my drink. I took our drinks with me as he carried the plates with enough food to be a full day’s meal to the table and put them down. He sat on one side while I sat down on the other.
He put his hands together, mumbled a bit, and then started to eat. Oh, waiting for him to eat first was SO GNASHING HARD! But he was being so kind, and nice, and he was the one in charge so I had to let him start first. One he took a bite though all bets were off.
I bit into the disk first. It was crumbly but full of warm, juicy flavor. Falling apart and coating my mouth with juice! I munched on it some before crunching into one of the strips. The fats coated my tongue and stuck far more than the disk did. It was brittle and broke apart as I crunched it between my teeth, but the fat still let it be just a little bit more chewy. The eggs were the driest, but seemed to soak up the juices of the meats and was more gentle. A break from the massive flavors of the others. The drink was its own little bit of bliss. Creamy, cold, and just good. Washing down all the juice that clung to everything.
I didn't say a word and my eyes didn’t leave my plate as I ate. I felt a little bad for not talking to Jack, but the food. THE FOOD. It was over before I wanted it to be, but my stomach was once again full. It had never been this full for so long in my life! I hissed and let out happy little chirps as I leaned back in the chair. “Ohhh thank you.” I moaned out. Wasn’t the best noise in the world, but I was too full to care.
He chuckled and got up, taking our plates and putting them into a machine. “I’ll give you a moment.” he patted my head as he walked by. Was it a little humiliating to have my head patted like that? Yes. Did it feel good? Yes. Would I let anyone else do it? Gnash no.
After a bit I got up with a groan and slowly walked to the long chair before sitting down with a grunt. “Alright. What’s next?” I asked as I closed my eyes. So much meat and fat. I felt so tired but in such a good way.
“Clothes.” He then held a datapad between us. It was full of more clothing styles than I thought could ever exist! “The docs gave me what sizes you should wear. I won’t help you pick out… ya know, things to wear underneath. That is up to you, but I can help figure out what you would want.”
There was already some clothes picked out that were camo and… orange? Odd, but he knew best. I didn’t even know where to start! I scrolled before finding some awesome clothing! But I wanted to make sure that they would match the “appearance” I wanted. Never thought about even having the option of it before so I picked out a few and showed them to Jack. “Hey. I want people to see me and think “defective,” but I got used to people thinking I was tough too. These work?”
He looked through them and his face grew red again. It was just blue pants like his with holes torn in them, black shirts with cool designs, and a few things like that. I think I heard him whisper “punk” but the translator told me it meant “rebel” so as far as I was concerned it worked!
“Yeah, uh, these will look really great on you and show what you wanna show.” He said before picking out a few pairs of comfy sleepwear. I nodded, picked out something to wear under it before handing it back to him to order.
Once it was done he took a breath then relaxed on the couch by me. “So. When are we going to hunt?” I asked him. “I know you humans don’t really need to anymore, but you said you do?” I had to know more about this.
“We will.” He let out a breath. “Just not soon. I need to make you take online classes to get a hunting certificate so I can get you a license. Just because you are an alien doesn’t mean I will skip the law with that.” He held up a finger. “Besides, I doubt the Arxur really taught you much about gun safety and safe hunting practices. No rush though. Due to nobody really hunting anymore we can hunt most of the year now.”
I hissed. Gnash. Classes. Ah well, I didn’t have to hunt things that could talk and truly think anymore, so it was worth it. And I was going to hunt. For the first time ever I wanted to! This human was being so nice to me, was giving me a place to sleep, helping me with clothes, being nice and warm and so-
I shook my head. “Alright.” I stretched again.
“So, what do humans do for fun?” I asked before looking over at him still in bliss from breakfast. He gave a wide smile and picked up some strange controller. “Ohhh yes. Time to introduce you to videogames.”
The next few hours were very confusing, frustrating, and fun. I could tell the gnashing controller wasn’t made for claws, but I made do. I did learn some human swear words listening to Jack though, so that was a very nice bonus.
The less I had to think about the prophet and betterment the better. Neither could ever hope to bring as much paradise as humans could. FIRST
submitted by Darmanarya
to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 03:46 anarchoandroid Fewer shifts, less hours, higher expectations
Relatively new TM here and honestly, haven't worked a job this low paying in about 8 years. But given a torrid employment history since the pandemic and a couple useless college degrees, I'm forced to do this for the time being. I've worked in transportation/logistics and supply chain management for the last 6 years so I know a thing or two about inventory management and the logistics of it all on a very large scale.
[Skip here if you don't want an intro]
As of the last two weeks our store has been dramatically cutting hours with no explanation. Fewer shifts, AND less hours per shift yet the work load is still the same if not slightly more with the start of summer. We had a 4 call outs in about 4 days and that left the entire team behind and immediately after that they started cutting hours. Since the week of the call outs, we have not been able to 100% complete the food truck the day of delivery. At this point, we're about a full truck behind, ~700-800 cartons.
Today, I walked in and the first thing our TM said to me was a whole spiel about how we need to step it up. Don't get me wrong, we probably have the best TM in the store. He's reasonable, understanding, genuinely cares about you, hard working, always willing to help out. This was the first negative thing he had to say to us. I made a short comment about the hours being cut and he said "Frankly, they're a multi-billion dollar company, they don't care." No shit sherlock, I'm aware, but we always work hard, we always do a good job, we've already been short staffed and barely completing the truck with only a rare opportunity to do the other things we should do to keep the store in good working order. No amount of "stepping up our game" is going to make us able to complete the truck faster unless you want us to ignore exp dates, zoning, rotating in its entirety. And even then, we're still going to fall short.
Today we did nothing but the truck, and even though the closer and the TM had other things to do, they both spent nearly 100% of their time on the truck and we still fell 4 pallets short with two full racks of backstock left in the freezer.
[A little more backstory]
I have a computer information system and business administration degree. I understand how business works fundamentally. I can never understand why so many large companies allow this disconnect in communication between corporate and the laborers on the ground. Our TM, ETL, and SD know what needs to be done to get the job done, but because some pencil pusher in an office somewhere that's never been to our store and doesn't know our daily situation needs to cut a few thousand hours across a region, we get left behind to ultimately fail and potentially make our performance metrics look worse to that same person.
For example, recently corporate told us we needed to go down to 4 racks in the produce cooler and that each rack needed ONLY very specific things on them, no flexing to another rack PERIOD. So we negotiated 6 racks because the same person that told us we needed to reduce racks is also the same person that intentionally overorders produce while we throw away hundreds of pounds of it a week. Just this week he came back to say, no, "I know I said you could have 6, but we need you to take it down to 4." Those 4 racks are nearly 100% full 100% of the time, and that's with us not always being able to get all of the produce pallets done each day. Why? There's enough room in the cooler for 12 racks. Why can't we have as many racks as we need so long as not cross contamination occurs and there's enough room for people to backstock and pick as they need? Any reason at all why we need to be forced into an impossible situation? No reason was given.
Why do we need bust our asses being understaffed and under hours while the food section keeps looking worse and worse? I've been shopping at this store for nearly 20 years and I've never used to to buy fresh food because it has always been terrible for freshness and quality. Granted, it's gotten a lot better in the last two years but it's still terrible. So much so that even though I get a total of 35% off (10% TM discount + 20% health food discount + 5% red card discount) for fresh produce, I still choose not to get most things from my own store.
Keep running this department and store like this and it'll keep being a non-ideal place to shop.
Has anyone else's store seen a dramatic reduction in hours at the second half of the month? Anyone else that works in open market experience similar things?
submitted by anarchoandroid
to Target [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 02:37 Mr_Clutch27 Entry Level Engineer Looking For Feedback!!!
submitted by Mr_Clutch27 to EngineeringResumes [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 02:11 bloodstreamcity Transmission
by Brian Martinez
Let me start my story by telling you something about me, the most important thing, in fact: I find things, and I fix them. That’s who I am. If you don’t know that, you don’t know me.
I’m a second-generation auto mechanic, born-and-bred. I’ve been repairing cars since before Ford Pintos were blowing up, when cars were made of steel and Route 66 wasn’t just something for the cartoons. These days I’m fortunate enough to own a shop downtown between two of those chain coffee places. It’s small, sure, but it has a reputation for saving cars so far-gone no one else will even touch ‘em. So if you live in the area, and you’ve ever been stuck with the sourest of lemons, or maybe your kid drove your minivan into the pool, we just might have crossed paths, you and I.
That reputation is what led to me getting a phone call from a guy I’d never met, saying he had something that might interest me. His name was Burt and he’d apparently just purchased a piece of property that sat unowned for the better part of twenty years. I knew of the area he was talking about. It’s out in the hills, where there isn’t much to look at. Most of the land there went to weed years ago; acres and acres of old woods and burnt-down barns just waiting for nobody in particular to see the value in them. And, well, it seems Burt was that nobody in particular.
I honestly didn’t know what Burt’s purchase had to do with me, and told him just that, figuring he must have had the wrong number. But the next words out of his mouth told me he knew exactly who he was talking to.
Apparently when old Burt started walking around his new property, digging around in the dirt, so to speak, he made an interesting discovery. So interesting, in fact, that it got me to grab my keys, hop in my truck, and drive up into the hills without so much as a pause to wash my hands.
Some things, you see, don’t wait for a man to look presentable.
As I drove up into the hills to meet Burt, I started to think about my father and the drives he used to take me on. He liked to get a feel for whichever car he was working on, and those drives, they always ended with a detour into the hills. ‘Nothing tests a vehicle like elevation,’ he used to say, and I have to admit, I still agree with that statement. All those long inclines, sharp turns and fast descents- not to mention the occasional slam on the brakes- really put a car through its paces.
Dad knew a thing or two about cars, even if he knew nothing about how to raise a family.
Other than maybe a slight fear of commitment, the main thing I got from my father was a passion for restoring old cars in my spare time. It’s a hobby of mine, and I do it in the garage at my house. I’m especially a sucker for rare cars, and the rarer the better. That little hobby of mine, more so than my day business, was why I ended up driving out to the middle of nowhere with dirty hands and a head full of ideas.
The road up was just as long and winding as I remembered. I almost missed the entrance for the property, a hidden driveway marked with little more than a broken mailbox and a rotting signpost. The private road got smaller and smaller by the minute until I swore the trees were going to swallow me whole and spit the bones back out.
When I finally reached what could pass for a clearing, a guy with a face like a junkyard dog was waiting for me next to the newest, cleanest Ford pick-up I’d seen outside of a dealership. He introduced himself to me as Eddie, an associate of old Burt. I told him I’d been expecting to meet Burt himself, but Eddie explained that Burt didn’t like to meet new people, and rarely came out in the cold weather. It was a bit raw, I had to admit, so I dropped the whole thing and let Eddie get down to the business at hand.
We left our cars behind and Eddie led me into the woods, where the walking was slow-going on account of the overgrowth of vines and dead branches. I’m not one to spook easily, but the more we walked the creepier those woods got, until I was fairly sure Eddie was going to use that French Mastiff face of his to tear my throat out. But just when I was thinking about turning back and saying screw it to the whole thing, I caught sight of what we’d come for.
The very first car I saw was a white, 1974 Pontiac Trans-Am. It was missing its door and tires, and it was buried under a layer of dead vines, but the body shape was unmistakable. Under the rust I could even see what was left of the telltale Firebird emblazoned across its hood in blue.
I couldn’t believe a car like that was just sitting out in the middle of the woods, waiting for anyone to come along and find it. As I got closer, though, I saw just how bad the condition of the car was. The insides were rotted out from rain and mold, and the floor was so eaten up by rust it was ready to fall out.
Before my brain could process the loss of such a beautiful machine, I caught sight of another car. This one was a Datsun 210 with a tree growing right through the hole where its trunk used to be. Wet leaves and newspaper filled the back seat, and the dashboard was an abandoned nest that crawled with leggy insects.
Old Burt hadn’t been pulling my leg: those woods were a graveyard for abandoned cars. From what I could tell, about three acres of woods were absolutely littered with the corpses of old autos. Some were in pieces, most were covered in dead leaves and rust and all the other things that happen when anything is left outside for years and years, but they were there. The sight of so many classic cars in one place, virtually unknown to anyone, both excited and saddened me.
For close to an hour I walked around random piles of tires and glass to stare at rusted-out Range Rovers and Jeeps with their headlights hanging out like popped eyeballs. Finally, like I’d woken up from a spell, I asked Eddie what Burt expected from me. And that’s when he told me the strangest, most interesting offer he could have told me in that moment.
He said if I could make every, single one of those cars disappear in three day’s time, at no cost to old Burt, I could keep them.
The words nearly knocked me off my feet. I’d have to call in every favor to every salvage yard and tow truck operator I knew, but it was possible. Still, nearly all of the cars I’d seen were beyond repair, even for a guy like me. At most I saw some parts that could be salvaged. Maybe a few of the newer, less damaged ones could be saved. I knew a few guys in my circle who might be interested, and I figured if I played my cards right I could make a few bucks out of the deal to boot- or at least land a good trade or two. Still, there weren’t any cars that I was interested in for myself.
Until, at the edge of the property, tucked away in a spot I’d nearly overlooked, I saw it. It was as if I’d been drawn there. Like I was meant to find it.
The car was familiar-looking, yet like nothing I’d ever seen. Cross a Chevelle Malibu Classic SE with the modern retro feel of the ‘97 Plymouth Prowler, add the large rear spoiler and flared wheel arches of a ‘99 Nissan Skyline GT-R, and you still won’t come close. It looked like something one of the big three manufacturers had made and yet I’d never seen or heard of its like ever before. It had no logos, no hood ornament, no identification of any kind. I practically ran around to the back of it to look for a name, a logo, something to identify it, tripping over hidden rocks and broken glass to do it.
But there was nothing. Nothing to betray the make and mark of the strange car in front of me. I even asked Eddie if he knew what it was. He only shrugged, clearly wanting to wrap up our little outdoor meeting. I half-heartedly agreed. It was later than I’d realized. Between the dwindling sun and the discovery I’d made, I’d started to get a chill I couldn’t shake. I had a bad tooth I’d been neglecting, and even that was starting to hurt from the cold.
So I agreed to Burt’s deal. I shook Eddie’s hand on it and got out of there, giving one last glance at the strange car in the woods on the way out.
The next day, after making more phone calls than a politician on election night, a swarm of flatbeds, wheel-lifts and salvage trucks descended on those woods. For two days they scooped out every piece of metal and glass in the place, while I oversaw the operation like a choir conductor from hell. I directed trucks this way and cutting crews that way. They snipped and cut and tore out every dead tree standing in the way so the truck crews could do the rest. I even got in there myself with the old chainsaw when it was needed.
It was an exhausting two days, but I managed to keep my word to Burt and clear every abandoned car off his property with about an hour to spare. Some of the cars went to the junkyard, others to various garages I’d made arrangements with.
I was dead on my feet by the time I got home. I was ready for a shower and a bed, in what order I wasn’t sure. And yet a crackle of energy went through me when I saw what had been dropped off in my garage.
My mystery car. Without the shadows of the woods hiding it, I could see it had been painted silver before the rust took over. It had been a fast sucker once, like a bullet to a werewolf’s chest. That had been a long time ago, and yet I sensed there was still some life in the old girl. I wanted so badly to start digging around under the hood, to see what I could find out, but my legs were ready to collapse and my eyes could barely focus. Intending to wake up early and hit the garage, I stumbled off to bed.
You know that feeling you get when you realize someone’s been talking to you for the past minute, thinking you’ve been listening, and you only just figured it out?
That’s the feeling I woke up to.
I sat straight up like a vampire rising from his coffin. My bedroom was still dark, which meant it was the middle of the night. In my half-sleep I tried to make out the clock on my nightstand but couldn’t read the numbers, so I fumbled for my glasses and shoved them on. It was just past two in the morning: way too early, even for me. No way was I getting up, strange feeling or no.
I was about to take my glasses off and lay back down when I heard the reason I’d woken up.
A man was in my room, whispering in the dark. I lunged across my bed and turned on the lamp, nearly knocking it over. I didn’t have a weapon, but if I could see the intruder I could do something about it. I spun back, back to the whispering, to see who it was, to shout at them or jump on them, whatever I had to do to save my life from the psycho in my bedroom.
But the room was empty. Just me and a pounding heart.
I was so confused, I jumped out of bed and tore around the room, making sure no one was hiding, but I didn’t find anyone. I was alone.
Then I heard it again, and I knew: the whispers were coming from down the hall.
With bare feet I followed it, trying to make out what it was saying, but it was too low to understand. I grabbed a knife as I passed through the kitchen and held it in front of me with sweat beading on my face despite how cold I kept the house.
I followed the whispering to the garage. The overhead light flickered on, lighting up the strange car in my garage. In my half-sleep, half-terror I’d nearly forgotten about it. But there it was, like a bear hibernating in its cave, waiting for the end of winter. It felt alive somehow. Not dead, just asleep and dreaming.
And it was whispering.
I knew how crazy that sounded, how crazy that was, but I swallowed hard and approached the car, knife first. The blade shook in front of me. The whispering got louder the closer I got, and yet I still couldn’t understand the words it was saying. Was someone hiding inside the car? Had I inherited a homeless man when I’d had it towed to my house? If so I had to get him out of there. Get him help, sure, make sure he had a place to sleep, but he couldn’t stay in my garage, whispering through the night. No way.
With my free hand I yanked on the driver’s side door. It didn’t open. Rusted shut. I slowly walked around to the passenger side and yanked again. It opened.
The whispering was louder now, louder but not clearer, like an old television tuned between channels, like a frequency not being picked up, like a…
Like a radio.
The whispers were coming from the radio. I laughed under my breath, realizing how ridiculous I’d been. But then I remembered there was no way the radio could be working. The car wasn’t turned on. If it even had a battery under the hood, it was probably little more than a square pile of rust and battery acid.
I clutched the kitchen knife tight, and with the other hand I slowly reached out to turn the volume knob. I needed to know if the whispers were coming from the radio, and if they were, I needed to know what they were saying. My temple throbbed as the whispers grew louder and louder, louder and louder, louder and-
The moment my finger touched the knob, the whispers stopped.
I felt like I was going crazy. I looked around the inside of the car, noting the strong smell of mildew and animal with a tinge of rotten leather. Other than my own breath echoing back at me, it was silent.
No whispers. No nothing.
I went back to bed, but I barely slept.
The next day was the day I usually took off from the shop, which was a relief since I woke up almost as tired as when I’d gone to bed. As I ate my breakfast, the night before still sat fresh in my mind. But the more I went over it, the more I thought it had been a bad dream, brought on by exhaustion and an imagination run wild. I had to admit the mystery car sitting in my garage had gotten my mind racing faster than a Formula 1.
I’m the kind of guy who likes a simple explanation, something I can touch and feel and, yes, fix, so I started to think that I could have picked up some kind of rogue radio transmission from a trucker, or even a passing plane. The police scanner I owned in my younger days had certainly picked up its share of random broadcasts, and when it comes to working on junkers I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.
After I’d eaten my breakfast and downed my coffee I got right to work on the car. I wanted to clear the air of whatever had happened, and I was dying to see what that baby had going on under the hood. The mystery of who the hell had made the thing was still heavy on me.
But the enigma only deepened the more I looked. Under all that rust and dirt and oil I couldn’t find one damn mark that told me who’d made the car. I almost wanted to say it was a custom build, but the work was too precise, the system too well-planned out to be an after-market job.
I worked on it all day, so wrapped up in it I forgot to eat lunch. I ate dinner like a raccoon digging through a dumpster. Then I worked on it some more.
I was just crawling into bed when I heard it again.
This time I ignored it, hoping it would go away on its own. But it didn’t stop. Not until I got up, walked across my house, went into the garage, and touched the radio. Then, it stopped.
I decided right then and there not to go to the shop the next day. There was just too much work to be done.
I’d been working on the car for four days straight before I got it started up. Four days of stripping and cleaning and rebuilding. Four nights of whispering. I was even starting to hear it during the day, but low, barely audible, like a television playing somewhere in the house.
After I got the engine started, the first thing I did was pull my code reader down from my tool wall and hook it up to the dashboard input. I’d been pleasantly surprised to find an input on the car, even though I was fairly certain it had been built after '96. To my shock the screen filled up with a bunch of random trouble codes I’d never seen before, then went blank. I tried to get it powered up again but apparently the connection had completely overloaded the device.
I’d had the reader for years and it had never given me a problem. I put it down and got back to the car, deciding to stick to the old-fashioned way and get a feel for what was wrong with it. Just like dad used to do.
With my foot on the gas I revved the engine good. It sounded better than I’d expected, like a beast waking up from deep sleep. But there was also something rattling around under the hood, something loose knocking around inside the carburetor or possibly even the manifold.
I tried a few options, opening up this and that, until I narrowed it down to something completely unexpected: the transmission.
With considerable force I managed to open up the transmission, and sure enough I found something inside. Something dark and red. I pulled it out and studied it under the light. It looked like a small rock covered in old transmission fluid. How it got in there I didn’t have a clue. But I decided to clean it off and get a better look at it, in case it pointed to a bigger problem. As I walked it to the slop sink, I noticed the whispering, usually a dull static during the day, had started to grow louder. I could almost make out individual words now. But I ignored it and ran the small rock under the faucet, watching the dark red fluid swirl down the drain.
That was when I discovered something I wasn’t prepared for. The thing in my hand wasn’t a rock- it was a tooth.
A human tooth.
The whispers had grown so loud I could barely hear myself think, barely feel the disgust rising in the pit of my stomach. With the whispers practically shouting in my ear I dropped the tooth and it bounced and clattered inside the sink, coming to a rest near the edge of the drain.
The whispers grew quiet again. A dull roar tickling at the back of my skull. I stared at it, the tooth in the sink, the impossible tooth from the impossible car. I had the urge to throw it out. To get it out of my house and never see it again. But I didn’t do that. I couldn’t tell you why not.
Maybe because that meant touching it again.
Maybe something else.
Feeling like I should give the car a rest, I worked on getting my code reader working again, otherwise I’d have to run to the store and buy a new one. I changed out the batteries and gave it a good, solid whack. A few seconds later I was happy to see the screen turn on. I thought I’d have to do a factory reset to use it again but I was surprised to find it worked perfectly fine. Not only that, the trouble codes it had read off the car were still stored in its memory.
There were pages and pages of codes like I’d never seen in my life, more than I think are even in the tool’s programming. In fact I couldn’t find a single one of them anywhere in the manual. I figured they were probably just random numbers, and yet there was something strange about them, like they had a pattern to them. I dusted off my old computer and typed in the problem codes, figuring if I could get a better look at them I might be able to figure out their meaning. If not, I could at least print them out and show them to somebody who could.
After twenty minutes I’d barely made a dent in typing up all the codes. I gave up on the idea that I could copy them all. I pushed away from my computer and stood up, rubbing my eyes from the strain. Between the glare of the old screen and the noise in my ears, my head was killing me. It all felt so pointless. So inconsequential.
Just before I shut the computer down, I happened to glance one last time at the screen. And when I did, I noticed something that made my skin go cold.
The codes. The pattern. The numbers and letters and spaces between them. They were starting to form a face. A human face, with two eyes and a screaming-
I shut the computer down as fast as I could, then unplugged it to be safe. Then I marched to the garage and disconnected the radio, practically ripping it out of the car.
The whispers stopped.
The house was quiet.
But not for long.
For three days I told myself to get rid of that car, tow it out of my garage and dump it somewhere no one could find it. Maybe even drench it in gasoline and light a match. For three days I ignored the whispers and the doorbell and the phone calls from my shop asking when I was coming back. For three days I buried my head under the hood and worked and worked and worked.
On the fourth day, when the whispers from the radio had grown louder than my own thoughts, louder but still unclear, without words I could understand, I lost it. I threw my wrench at the tool wall, knocking down chisels and socket wrenches and a dozen other tools clattering to the ground. I pounded on my ears, cursing them, willing them to go deaf and stop hearing the whispers.
But they didn’t stop hearing. And the whispers didn’t stop. So I decided. I decided that if I couldn’t stop hearing them, I at least needed to know what they were saying.
I went back to the slop sink. The tooth was still there, perched near the edge of the drain. I’d prayed for it to slip down and wash away on its own but there it was, round and sharp and real as ever. So I picked it up, and the whispers grew louder. Clearer. But still not clear enough to hear. Not enough to make out what the radio was saying. To understand what it wanted from me. It was like a broken antenna, only tuning in half the frequency.
The garage was a mess. I was a mess. Rancid grease stains everywhere. A hole in my tool wall where the wrench had struck it, the ground littered with hammers and screwdrivers and …
Before I could talk myself out of it, I grabbed the pliers from the ground, shoved it onto my mouth, got a good hold of my bad tooth, and ripped it out. It was easier than I expected, but it still hurt, and it bled a lot. But I didn’t hesitate. I pushed the tooth I’d found in the transmission into its place.
The moment I did, it was as if everything came into focus. As if the radio was inside my skull. No, as if my skull was the radio, and I was the antenna. I could hear the transmission clear as day now, a man’s voice inside my head.
Whispering to me.
Telling me where to find the rest of him.
I told you all of this, not because I expect you to believe me, but because I’m about to walk out my door and do something I might not come back from. And if that’s the case, if I don’t return today or any other day from this thing I need to do, I want people to know why.
Because I find things. I find things and fix them. If you don’t know that, you don’t know me.
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to ChillingApp [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 02:10 Queen-of-Arab The Ring He Proposed With- A Story
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I had been travelling for over a month, a brutal road trip from Iraq to Iran. Not necessarily because I was ranging through a nationwide war-zone like they show in the movies but rather rocky terrain, no washroom for hundreds of kms and not a person in sight. At this point self maintaince was thrown right out the window, my overgrown eyebrows, a bare face and an intense tan as my olive skin tone now became a soft honey in the fall weather of November. When I decided that the reason I was going on this trip was to find myself spiritually, I didn’t want to indulge in superficial things, like makeup or dressing up. Through the entirety of the trip I wore the hijab and most of my time was spent in shrines where a chador a cloth that covers the entirety of your bodily aura was mandatorily worn out of respect. submitted by Queen-of-Arab to romance [link] [comments]
So there I stood in a jewelry shop near my hotel that I would pass by everyday to go to the harema sacred inviolable place. Browsing through the fine selection of Iranian feroza, stumbling through my spiritual journey while also indulging in some retail therapy. In my defence these gem stones weren’t just for pretty display on my hands but they also had healing properties for the body and mind.
Running from one glass display to another I couldn’t set my heart on a specific article; I wanted all of them. Midst the questionable time I was spending trying to narrow my selection, the sound of the door creaking open caught my attention and soon when I turned my head to look over, I caught glance of the kindest eyes I had ever seen. For a moment I couldn’t help myself but admire the man, his full beard was finely kept creating a deep contrast of the dark color against his fair skin while his piercing green eyes were an enticing distraction from the outline of his muscles even through his black dress-shirt. I shrugged at his lingering glance catching mine and turned back to the salesman as I asked him to ring my bill for me.
Soon enough when I looked up those same eyes met mine again but this time he was standing behind the counter with the most stunning ring in his hand. Narrow diamonds clustered around a garnet which was also my birthstone. He turned the calculator towards me, and I glanced down to read 28. “This is my age, I also own four houses and this is my personal business.” He paused before he spoke again, “you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met and I want to marry you.”
I was too stunned to speak, his words eloquently met my ears like music and I began to blush. Adjusting the black chador over my head thinking how could someone even consider my acquaintance in this state? I chuckled and thought it was just an exaggerated compliment but his gaze said otherwise.
He spoke again, ”I always knew I would wed an *ajami - someone whose mother tongue isn’t Arabic or a non Arab in general. “Your beauty has enticed me and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.” Again he tugged at my heart strings but I was already spoken for at the time so I told him exactly that and he was heartbroken. I avoided looking up at him through the rest of the transaction and tried my best to hide how red my cheeks exactly were. I paid the due amount for the rest of the jewerly that I bought even thought he insisted on all of it completely discounted.
Before I could walk away from one of the most interesting encounters in my life, he held the ring out to me and insisted I keep it as a gift. I reached out and my fingers lingered against the palm of his large hand as I picked up the ring. Through the rest of the days I would often catch sight of him and his eyes spoke words to me I don’t think our tongues could ever exchange, even today I wonder how my life would have unfolded if I had yes to his endowing request.
2023.05.31 01:55 cheezemeister_x Looking for a good auto body shop in Ottawa, preferably West end
Managed to scrape my rear drivers side door and rear quarter panel on a concrete piller. Don't really want to go through insurance if I don't have to (depending on repair cost). Can someone recommend a good auto body shop that can get these scratches repaired? They're not super deep, but definitely through the clearcoat and maybe into the paint.
submitted by cheezemeister_x
to ottawa [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 01:15 Dan_Stainberg [Econ][Retro] Canada's Federal Budget 2024 Unpacked
When analysing the new federal budget, there seems to be a nearly universal agreement on the politics that shaped the spending plan. Namely, this budget is big on spending, big on corporate tax reform. Having previously relied on the New Democratic Party to maintain an absolute majority, the Trudeau Government has opted for appeasing their parljlnenatry partners, aiming to buy more time for the this government before the next general election has to be called.
Politically, the Budget can be divided into there main lines. Namely, the Liberals trying to follow through with their promises from the last Federal Election, such as introducing the Canada Disability Benefit, a brand-new advanced research agency, as well as over-delivering on expanded supports for lower-income workers. Economically, introducing a tax-free CDB combined with noticeably more generous and broadly available Canada Workers Benefit also aims to boost Canada's labour force participation, to partially offset traditionally low per capital productivity of Canadian workers.
Then, the issue of the supply and confidence agreement with New Democrats comes into play, finally implementing a national dental care plan being finally brought into the budget, followed by a national prescription drug insurance scheme.
As on the greatest surprises comes in the form of what the Government framed as a "business assistance review" and corporate reform, that is set to be a structural response to US's Inflation Reduction Act, namely by brining programmes as IRAP to a one-stop shop, under an arm-length agency outside of the federal industrial strategy ministry. The Government is also following Europe's lead on development Canadian equity markets, that while incremental, may be a first step to less debt-dependent corporate Canada, while nurturing Canadian innovation, since tech companies tend to be much more reliant on equity financing, rather than traditional bank lending.
Politically, the Liberals continue to emphasise fiscal prudence of the budget, citing stable debt-to-GDP ratios, as well as the fact the budget actually contains a structural surplus, when excusing debt service payments from federal expenditure. Ottawa is also trying to hedge against future attacks when it comes to public subsidies, through introducing an independent oversight body, as well as providing full operational autonomy to a new umbrella organisation, to operate business investment programmes and other agencies.
Notably, however, the Liberals seem to be willing to further undermine their reputation as credible fiscal managers
, rather the cause a new election by breaking their agreement with NDP, as the LPC continues to struggle in federal polling.
Strengthening Canada's Safety Net Canada Workers Benefit (CWB)
is set to be radically boosted, aiming to boost labour force participation while easing inflationary pressures for the most vulnerable workers. The budget drastically expands both the generosity and eligibility for the CWB by lowering the income threshold from $3000 of annual earnings to just $1
, including income from self-employment. The Government of Canada also expands eligibility for the benefit, by more closely aligning it with Québec's Solidarity Tax Credit, making full- and part-time students eligible to claim CWB. The benefit is also enhanced through expansion of both the maximum amount payable and the introduction of a benefit floor
- $3000 per annum for the floor and up to $4000 for maximum benefit - per family.
Additionally, the Canada Revenue Agency - as well as Revenu Québec, following a short negotiation with the province - are now required to administer both the CWB and the STC in real time, delivering automatic bi-weekly payments to all eligible individuals, so long they've filled their tax return for the previous year. Ottawa is also set to strengthen the programme by introducing the so-called "benefit shield provision
" that protects benefit recipients from prohibiting benefit clawbacks in their income increases unexpectedly. Thus, annual CWB entitlement is set to be calculated on the basis on average reported earnings in the last 5 years, paid every 2 weeks. Sudden increases in incomes shall also be excused from the current year's calculation of benefit amounts, applied evenly over the next 5-year calculation period.
Same policy is set to be applied to all other federal benefits and credits, including the Canada Child Benefit - an income-based subsidy for parents - as well as the GST/HST Tax Credit, and the Climate Action Incentive Payment - a rebate paid to households to compensate for the cost of federal price on carbon where one applies.
As an interim measure, Ottawa is also set to introduced the "marginal earnings shield"
policy that allows the Canada Revenue Agency to issue bi-weekly CWB payments to individuals facing prohibitively high marginal rates of personal taxation, whenever the effective rate exceeds 45 per cent. This includes benefit clawbacks from provincial programmes, as well as increased payroll deductions, such as Employment Insurance Premiums, Canada/Québec Pension Plan Contributions, as well as income tax, union dues, or any other payroll deduction from the CRA or Revenu Quebec. Notably, the earnings shield only applied to income bellow the median AFNI for the given province or territory. Canada Disability Benefit (CDB)
is to beintroduced to supplement provincial social assistance
measures for people with special needs. CDB aims to top-up existing provincial disability support programmes, providing simultaneous supplementation of payment to eligible individuals. The benefit is set to be fully aligned with provincial requirements, but also provide equivalent support to those receiving provincial Workers' Compensation Payments, and CPP/QPP Disability benefits, to bring disable Canadians closer to the national poverty thresholds, with CDB maximum capped at $1000 monthly - that is however subject to inflation indexing.
Expanding Canada's Healthcare Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP)
previously announced in the last year's budget is finally being rolled out across the country, following almost a year of bilateral talks with the provinces and territories. The Plan remains open to anyone with a communed household income of bellow $120.000 as well as those without an insurance plan that provides free-at-use dental coverage. In case their income exceeds the eligibility threshold, they'd have to pay an increased premium collected by the CRA as a payroll deduction. Anyone is also free to obtain private dental care insurance, so long they don't have a public one, so long it provides continuous coverage, a fully covers all services provided within a medical facility.
However, even those with private insurance will still have to face the limitations of the Canada Health Act, namely being barred from any preferential treatment for services covered under the CDCP. To further maintain its universality, the Canada Health Act is amended to require every Canadian resident to maintain a valid dental care insurance coverage at all times, with on obligation on both Ottawa and the Provinces to provide access to that coverage to everyone. Private insurance is still allowed, so long it remains equivalent to the public plan, unless covering supplementary services. The respective assessment of a private plan's equivalence and universal coverage is carried out by Heath Canada, through referring the data that every employer is oblige dot provide, linked to each individual's Social Insurance Number.
Notably, the CDCP is administered - as promised - by a neutral agency, comprised of representatives from Health Canada and provincial, as well as territorial heads of ministries of health -- the Canadian Dental Benefit Administrators (CDBA).
CDBA is in turn operates under a two-track system, where the CDCP Council
within the CDBA, comprised of provincial representation, and Health Canada, sets up broader general standards of care, coverage, and premiums, while CDBA provincial offices administer the plan within the framework of general provincial health plans. Principal batches of CDBA are free to diverge from national guidelines on coverage and pricing, so long it doesn't change increase expenditure, and preserves free-at-use coverage without significant reduction in quality of care measured in waiting times or increased pressure on the staff, lower efficacy rates.
Funding through the plan altho provided through general taxation, is calculated as a flat income-based insurance premiums
, deducted from CDCP's recipient paycheque as part of their Income Tax, with additional levies for those making above the eligibility threshold and choosing to enrol into the Plan. While co-pays are absent for lower income earners completely, everyone enrolled into the Plan is protected an annual limit for out-of-pocket dental care expenditures
, capping spending as a share of one's income, that is also revised annually, in line with instigated payroll premiums. Canadian Pharmaceutical Insurance Plan (CPIP)
finally brings a long-awaited universal Pharmacare
to Canada, especially territories and provinces other than Quebec. While previously Canada's public health insurance plans would only cover in-hospital medical services, leaving prescription drugs largely to the private market, CPIP is set to change that. The Plan provides compressive coverage for multiple prescription drugs defined in a "national formulary" administrated by the Canada Drug Agency
at no cost to every member of the plan, that is tasked with evaluating and authorising the use of new pharmaceuticals to be sold in Canada.
However, CPIP's administration, namely negotiating prices for prescription drugs, is delegated to the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance
). Originally created as a strictly provincial initiative to join forcing in procuring pharmaceuticals for public drug plans, pCPA is set to be drastically expanded to negotiate prices for prescriptions on behalf of Canada as a whole. Thus, no drug that is deemed by the CDA or Health Canada to require a prescription can be sold, until a procurement deal has been reached with the pCPA.
When conducting negotiations, pCPA largely relies on already existing framework, with the Canada Drug Agency carrying out impact assessment and drug reviews -- a function previously reserved exclusively to Health Canada. pCPA retains it current institutional design, transitioning to completely independent organisation, only contained by appointments from federal, provincial, and territorial governments, with the final procurement deal requiring consent of Health Canada, CDA, federal and provincial ministries of health.
Trying to resist further increases in drug expenditure, pCPA is authorised to conduct joint funding with the Canada Drug Agency for new drugs, especially biologics and generic medications. Most significantly, however, is the "cost-benefit analysis" framework approach when negotiating drug prices or operating joint investment ventures. The assent is mainly focused on estimating long-term savings to the overall healthcare system, as well as possible impact of patients' ability to re-join the labour force. Thus, procurement expenditures are effetely weighted over long-term savings in the healthcare sector as well as future increase in premiums.
For its end the Government of Canada is set absorb absorb initial cost of running both Pharamacare and the national dental care, while avoiding reductions to federal healthcare transfers, with further increases managed through the Canada Health Transfer and bilateral negotiations with the privies. To avoid further deterioration of Canada's long-term fiscal position Ottawa is offsetting increased spending through phasing out all employer tax credits for health expenditures, as well as tightening eligibility for individual medical tax credits, while closing the readings gap through the CDCP and CPIP payroll premiums.
Canada's Quiet Corporate Reform Canadian Equity & Debt Recovery Allowance (CEDRA)
is set to largely emulate European proposals for the Debt-Equity Bias Reduction Allowance (DEBRA)
733678) to align tax treatment for equity and debit across the tax system. CEDRA provides for a limited deduction of costs associated with issuing new corporate equity, namely stocks and bonds on Canadian stock exchanges.
The allowance is calculated using the year-on-year difference between total corporate equity multiplied by risk-free return on equity, equal to the rate for 10-year Government of Canada bonds. Notably, the deception is fully refundable, up to a maximum for any given year and can be carried forward indefinitely.
Just like its European equivalent, CEDRA provides for higher risk-free rate of return for smaller companies, as opposed to larger players. Higher rate is set to be the sum of the basic rate or return and the spread between interest rates for smaller and large businesses, calculated every year - CEDRA SMEs
. However, unlike DEBRA, the Canadian allowance also provides for even more generous allowance for newer companies, regardless of their size, that is directly proportion to the rate spread between for companies operating for as long as or less 5 years, as opposed to existing incumbents, put on top of the 10-year federal government bonds rate - CEDRA Trailblazers
b Notably, companies that qualify for both small and new entry rate deductions are allowed to combined both when calculating their entitlement for any given year.
The Government of Canada also brings a "green spin" the to the deduction, with a designated rate calculation for green businesses - CEDRA Net Zero
. Thus, the gap in interest rates for low- and zero-emission borrowed and fossil fuel companies is set be compounded with the federal 10-year bonds, and then multiplied by the new year-on-year equity increase. Companies are also allowed to combine the "green rate" deduction with the new entry and small company rates so long the applicant is eligible for each of those individually. Companies operating in mining and processing of critical minerals, battery production, as well production of clean energy equipment and more energy-intensive solutions, including software.
CEDRA provides for special treatment of losses
, including those cause by sudden dips in stock prices as a result of monetary tightening or short-selling. While falling short of full refundability, the Government of Canada allows to use deductible equity losses to offset both income and payroll taxes, as well as GST/HST payable for any given year, including carry-back provisions of up to 1 year.
As an additional measure, Canada is limiting debt interest deductibility
for all companies operating in the country. Just like DEBRA, the Canadian allowance caps deductibility of net-interest debt payments - interest spent minus interest received - at the level of 85 per cent, with a maximum of $4 million. In line with European proposals, interest deductibility is additionally limited at 30 per cent of the borrower's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. Companies would only be able to deduct the lowest amount in a tax year, but would be able to carry the difference forward or back, without indexing to inflation.
As an additional measure, the Budget also reforms the deferral dividend tax credit, including the one for Canadian-Controlled Private Corporations. Now, DTC is available to claim for any dividend payments received from a company incorporated in Canada, that has been operational for 5 years or less - DTC Trailblazers
- or is actively contributing to the the green economy - DTC Net Zero
, including mining and processing of critical minerals, battery production, as well as manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles, suitable materials and clean energy machinery & equipment. Capital Cost Allowance Green Deduction
- allows for full expensing of both machinery & equipment as well business property, for M&E for companies in "green industries", as well as investing in greater energy efficiency of existing industrial structures and equipment, including the cost of full replacement for everyone else. The increased rate also applies to non-mining - with accelerated appreciation maintained for critical minerals - companies of up to 5 years of age.
Canada's New Net Zero Industrial Policy Investment & Innovation Canada
aims to bering several federal crown corporations and business assistance programmes under one roof, operating as a one-stop shop for Canadian businesses. Notably, all entities brought under IIC have their mandrel explicitly promoting competition, namely considering either new market participants or SMEs first, for their investment considerations. Additionally, all participating agencies are set to aim at fulfilling Canada's Net Zero commitment, thrust greater coordination and a more cohesive instrument mix. The agency also aims to provide end-to-end support for Canadian companies across the board, including both setting up, and the scaling up new and existing players, aiming to promote competitive export-oriented companies in critical industries.
Additionally, Investment & Innovation Canada introduces significant restructuring business assistance and subsidy institutions themselves. This mainly involves putting maximum emphasis on the "place economy" aiming to decentralise every member institution to the greater possible extent, tailoring their operations to the needs of a local markets. To avoid further confusion, IIC focuses on setting up highly autonomous local branches, to be combined in one-stop-shop for local businesses, by merging the their branches with Canada's Regional Development Agencies
, and providing them with full operational autonomy, including agencies that were previously managed directly by the Government of Canada.
IIC is set to coordinate and facilitate operations between following crown corporations: Business Development Canada (BDC)
- a crown corporation
tasked with providing capital for Canadian small & medium sized companies, including lending directly to investors to allocate capital to promising companies. Notably, BDC has the scope of their mandate extended, being allowed to provide direct funding to promising companies, as well as new entrants in highly concentrated markets, such as telecommunications, transportation, and banking. Just like EDC, Business Development Canada prioritises support to export-oriented companies. Export Development Canada (EDC) provides a wide range of export support services
and financing, such as risk insurance and direct business guidance, as well access to adorable capital to conduct export operations outside of Canada. Notably, however, under its renewed mandate, EDC is set to also encourage intraprovinical exports to an extent comparable with the support provided to those seeking to enter foreign markets. Equally, EDC has their competences extended to also facilitate overall trade-intensity of Canadian industries, including through increased exposure to imports, both between the provinces and foreign markets. While previously focusing exclusively on promoting overseas sales, the bank of set to roll out equal access to its services to those willing to export into Canada, especially when it comes to components, unfinished products, and intangibles. Canadian Infrastructure Development Corporation (CIDC)
is set to bring together the Canada Infrastructure Bank
, the housing accelerator and developments funds, and other related projects, facilitating the supply of funding to national and local infrastructure projects, including affordable housing and public transit, signifying the first time housing is being considered part of Canada's infrastructure. CIDC also brings the Canada Housing & Mortgage Corporation to the table, as an independent body within the CIDC, largely focused on monitoring the market and providing independent impact assessment. Notably, CIDC is set to be allowed to fund projects that are yet to obtain private commitment, giving a first move advantage, so long the project has received an approved for respective regulatory authorities and indigenous groups affected, or if a project aims at reducing carbon emissions. Labour Development Canada (LDC)
is focused on creating more coherent space for federal labour market policy and workforce development, being tasked with development and screening of both businesses and applications in need additional training, as well as matching businesses struggling to recruit with those seeking a job. LDC is also responsible for administrating the Canadian Job Bank, as well as developing the curriculum and training standards for designated sectors. Notably, the Bank also being grated an explicit rights to enter into commercial agreements with provinces, municipalities, and legal entities providing funding for the private sector to re- and up-skill the local workforce, as well as integrate as many people as possible into the labour market.
As its unique feature, each LDC branch is legally required to maintain employee and business representation, with the need for unanimous consent when developing and implementing new measures. Notably, this includes local unions, business associations, and advocacy organisations in the region.
Initial funding the bank is set to be maintained under the Labour Market Development Agreements as well Workforce Development Agreements between Ottawa and the provinces, however the LDC is expected run a "structural surplus" for its existing programmes through employee and employer payroll deductions negotiated under each programme respectively. Therefore only using discretionary federal and provincial spending when operating federal or provincial programmes and launching new initiatives.
Labour Development Canada is also allowed to compete directly with employment agencies and directly administer federal programmes such as the Canada Summer Jobs, while pursuing it mandate: to maximise labour force participation and increase Canada's labour productivity, while increasing access to suitable permanent jobs above the federal poverty line. Advanced Research & Innovation Canada (ARIC)
provides all-in-support for research and development projects
aiming at achieving a Net Zero Economy. ARIC brings together the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the National Research Council, and the Canada Research Chambers and Canada Growth Fund
itself to provide end-to-end support for new green technology. While the Canada Foundation for Innovation provides funding for university research, the Canada Research Chairs brings the human expertise to ARIC, with the National Research Council supporting industrial and company-based business R&D. The Canada Growth Fund, on the other hand aims to provide funding for scale-ups in the green space and innovative sectors, mainly through comprehensive risk sharing and direct lending to existing projects. Unlike other agencies, CGF also has an explicit mandate to support funding for Net Zero and facilitate the acquisition of intellectual property by Canadian enterprises as well as support the creation of new IP by Canadians and in Canada. However, CGF is also being allowed to directly fund industrial research and development to expand accessibility of existing green technology, even where private sector funding has not yet been committed. Aerospace Development Canada (ADC)
delivers direct funding, for R&D and skills in the aerospace sector
, as well as providing assistance with training, talent attraction, retention, and initial funding for the aerospace industry. ADC is allowed to also directly fund university research and eduction for those working in the aerospace industry. Automation & Robotics Canada (ARC)
focuses on supporting wider use of automaton
and robotics across the Canadian economy. ARC specifically allows companies to obtain a rebate for their M&E expenses, as well as receive a loan or a grant to modernise existing equipment, or replace, expand existing industrial assets. SMEs can recuperate up to 110 per cent of their M&E
expenses with ARC, and over 125 per cent when it comes to automating their processes and installing newer software. Notably, ARC is set to operate in parallel with the Canada Digital Adoption Program. Agri-Foods Canada (AFC)
administers programs when it comes to agricultural and foods production, focusing on providing funding for agricultural research, and development of new products, chemicals, processing methods, and crops that utilise that are more environmentally suitable.
While major business assistance programmes remain within the realm of the federal ISED, IIC is allowed to administer those directly and change their structure, so long associate costs are borne by the IIC institutions themselves. Programmes immediately transferred under the responsibility of IIC include the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP), the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Notably, however, IIC uses several other finical instruments to carry out its mandate:
- Income-Contingent Grants - grants funded directly by the CIB, with a subsequent return of funds. Unlike standard loans, ISGs are paid by the borrower as a share of their future income, until the debt is fully repaid - or written off by mutual agreement of both parties.
- Investment Supplementary Funding - provides financing provided by an IIC institution in proportion to investments from the private sector. Thus, for every $2 of private investment in a particular project or company, ISF guarantees at least $1 of investment from the CIB, subject to an appropriate agreement with the recipient company.
- Comprehensive Liabilities Guarantee - allow IIC to insure the assets of external investors - and the company itself - in a specific project or company in exchange for risk premiums from potential recipients. So, if the project will lead to losses for investors, IIC will return the funds spent.
- Outcome-Oriented Financing is the broadest possible definition of bank financial guarantees, which are fulfilled when certain conditions are met by the recipient. OOF may involve the direct financing, creation, write-off or investment, deferment, freezing - and so on - of the financial obligations of the borrower, in exchange for the achievement of certain indicators. First of all, we are talking about achieving predetermined growth rates of productivity - both labor and multifactorial - or such indicators as reducing the levels of debt burden, higher capital and science intensity, as well as interaction with external markets.
- Bridging Finance - bridge financing provided either in crisis situations or at an early stage of the project, when existing agreements with investors already exist, it is not possible to access short-term financing or funds necessary for the implementation of the initial stage of the project.
- Pooled Securitisation - financing of joint projects carried out by several small companies at once, with the accompanying distribution of risks. PS also covers the placement of assets on public markets.
Following the re-structuring the Government of Canada also expands funding for the Competition Bureau, and the Competition & Markets Commission of Canada. Namely, both are receiving additional functions, of overseeing the federal business assistance regime through the Canadian Business Assistance Office (CBAO)
-- an independent standalone parliamentary institution. CBAO is tasked with evaluating the performance of business assistance programmes and institutions, including IIC and its member bodies, as well as any business investment made by the Government of Canada, though annual programme reviews and recommendations. Notably, the Office can order the Competition Bureau and the CMCC to investigate specific cases, as well as conduct joined programme reviews.
As on overriding set of criteria, the Office is set to evaluate how existing government programmes measure against increasing competition in a marketplace - being required to prioritise companies of 5 years of younger, as well as SMES - and foster finically independent enterprise - defined a profitability over the 5 year period excusing government assistance -, as well as help to achieve the Net Zero goal.
The Office is set to also maidan regional representation, aimed at scrutinising Regional Development Agencies, each branched aimed at a respective RDA, with a representative from CBAO and a respective provincial or territorial legislative assembly.
To further strengthen the accountability regime, the Budget amends respective acts relating to the Business Development Canada, Export Development Canada, National Research Council, Regional Development Agencies, and the Canada Infrastructure Development Canada's constituent units, as well as an additional overarching mandate for the Investment & Innovation Canada.
Thus, all the parties affected now have to comply with a "dual"
mandate oversseen by the CBAO. Apart from fulfilling their original duty, such as infrastructure development, export promotion, or investment in green tech, all the agencies ought to remain finically profitable indecent of public support, defined all persistent surplus over the 5-year horizon.
In turn, the agencies are allowed to earn income through repayable grants, equity stakes, as well as acquisition of assets, such as intellectual property, and issuance of Canada Development & Innovation Bonds. CDIBs are set to be equated to the Government of Canada bills, with Ottawa directly guaranteeing the ability of an issuer to service their debts.
Notably, each issuance has to be authorised by the IIC, before a respective institution can act on its own.
Additional Readings https://taxpolicy.crawford.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publication/taxstudies_crawford_anu_edu_au/2022-03/complete_ace_wp_2022.pdf https://mowatcentre.munkschool.utoronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/publications/88_corporate_tax_reform.pdf https://taxfoundation.org/benefits-of-full-immediate-expensing/ https://irpp.org/research-studies/cracking-canadas-productivity-conundrum/ https://irpp.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Facing-the-Facts-Reconsidering-Business-Innovation-Policy-in-Canada.pdf https://politics.utoronto.ca/publication/innovation-in-real-places-strategies-for-prosperity-in-an-unforgiving-world/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6246044/ https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/case-national-investment-authority-henry-kopesky https://maytree.com/wp-content/uploads/canada-working-age-supplement-report.pdf https://capx.co/subsidies-are-no-way-to-support-business-but-there-is-a-better-alternative/ https://www.politico.com/news/2023/03/29/canada-u-s-clean-energy-ira-00089284 https://civitas.org.uk/pdf/SavingsBanks2010.pdf https://maytree.com/wp-content/uploads/canada-working-age-supplement-report.pdf https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2022/01/22/why-the-bias-for-debt-over-equity-is-hard-to-dislodge
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2023.05.31 01:09 aydmuuye Guide to 520+ Pt I. Common Pitfalls and Solutions
Hi everyone this will be a many part series on how I got a 524 after 4 years of university and a gap year - I've received many a PM and wanted to mass-send out a guide bc I can't give quality advice just typing!
In my last 3 years of college, I TA’d for organic chemistry, biology, biochemistry, and general physics among other random classes. I've also tutored some people w/ MCAT q's now and have noticed some patterns that I just wanted to offer some advice on. I believe almost everyone can excel on this exam but recognize we have different access to resources like time, money, different priorities/goals, different limits and barriers.
Onto the post:
Most Common Mistakes and How to Avoid:
1) If you are in college, studying only to do well for an exam
many students have told me they studied in college to take a test and now struggle in spite of content review with flashcards, review books, etc.
This is not always a students’ fault, sometimes and esp if you were doing covid learning it was really hard not to do this. However we should all take responsibility for how we study as much as we can!
In freshman year, orgo, I would study 3-4 days before the test by rewriting all the notes, doing a few practice problems, and would stay up until like 5-9am on the morning of my test studying. It was really terrible for me and my health/mental wellbeing.
Figure out what works for me and implement it early on.
What I figured out quickly was that my note taking strategy was absolute shit to be honest, and only worked well for my more memorization heavy classes.
What I did was write down what was and wasn’t working for biology/biochemistry/psychology (memorization classes) - what I wish I did now was spaced repetition with flashcards.
Physics and chem? Different story. I did terrible in high school AP physics but absolutely crushed college physics because I realized my study habits in high school were all wrong! In high school I relied on note taking and equations, and in college I only read textbook summaries (and googled or YouTube details), did the necessary flipitphysics that was assigned, and then for each chapter would hammer out probably what totaled to be 50-100 practice questions prior to each exam, which would cover maybe 3 chapters. I would go to office hours all the time to go over questions I didn’t understand.
Ask your professors what they think is the best way to study, go to office hours.
I like to ask myself: is this like a driving test, where it’s not enough to just know the traffic rules and I need to actually practice driving? Or is this just a knowledge test, where all I need is to regurgitate information? Most classes and exams are a mix, the MCAT is most definitely more the former.
2) Passive studying, saving practice exams and problems for later
Ok me going over this is like beating a dead horse. You need to study actively as in doing practice problems, doing spaced repetition, things that make you think. Reading, listening, and rewriting notes are super passive because you could easily not absorb anything at all but still accomplish the physical task of getting through content which is not enough!
Even listening to videos and making flashcards and reviewing those cards I would consider to be passive if you are not actively thinking through each card or connecting it to different pieces of information
Moreover, a lot of students fall into this trap of fearing practice problems because they feel like they don’t know enough information yet. I started practice exams week 4 of content review ( no regrets) and I wish I started practice problems UEarth at the same time!
When you’re practicing flashcards and you come across a card that’s difficult for you, don’t just try to recall it, find out the answer, then move on hoping you’ll remember it for next time. If you struggle to remember something after a few attempts the same day, go back and remind yourself of the “story” of how that information comes to be. For example, if you card said “does the umbilical vein carry oxygenated or deoxy blood” and you just can’t remember, you have to go over the concept. The mom body has to bring oxygenated blood to the fetus’ heart to be pumped to the fetus’ body, and we know veins bring blood to the heart, so the umbilical vein carries oxygenated blood. There’s a “story” behind every piece of information.
Practice problems! Anything that asks you questions that rely on knowledge and facts but in a way that you have to twist relationships and information and apply it. Problems help tell the story behind content, and you will quickly find out that memorization and knowledge are not enough. Start these early. You do not have to be at 100% confidence. Even being at 50% is enough for practice problems to start being helpful in guiding your study plan. Ya know, eat the frog.
The MCAT is a critical thinking and application test and discrete questions do not pop up that frequently. When they say the test is a mile wide and an inch deep but you take it and it feels super detailed, it’s typically because the details they test you on are variations on simple concepts but these small variations can psych people out or trip you up if you didn't do active practice with manipulating relationships, applying information etc.
3) Not being interested at all in what you’re learning
look I hate studying for a test as much as the next person but we are trying to minimize suffering here.
Please evaluate whether you hate something because it’s hard for you or because you genuinely think it’s just plain uninteresting to you. They “like” a certain topic in bio, they “dislike” a certain topic in chem, and I just want you to ask yourself, do you hate the struggle or do you hate the information?
That being said, the solution is easy.
Solution: Stay curious
Curiosity gives us things to be joyful about, to look forward to. If you absolutely hate fluid dynamics (my sour grapes because it took me so long to get), try to connect it to a topic that you find interesting, or that matters to you. Mine was hypertension, blood pressure cuffs, and airplanes because who doesn’t think airplanes is cool?
For CARS, get in the habit of feigning interest and eventually you may find yourself being amused by the passages. This was true for me, and especially true on the psych/soc portion of my own exam. I would jot down names or topics that I wanted to learn more about. I started to read more philosophy on my own time, to wonder about the world, and all of a sudden these long ass passages felt more approachable, more relevant to me, even if they were about some obscure photographer that I will never meet or remember the name of.
If you come and tell me physics isn’t cool, we’ll have problems. Physics is hard, and I struggled the first time around in high school so much that I got a C- and that was with my teacher being nice to me. However I can no longer deny its usefulness, its relevance, and frankly I cannot deny how awesome it is to have a branch of science we fall back to if we trace our own biology back as far as we can go.
4) Not setting and moving goals/strategies - This one I will jump straight to the general solution
If you are studying the same way after 3 months and making no progress but you keep chugging along, chapter by chapter, I got news for you. Something you are doing is not working well at all for you and you need to change how you study. If months of flashcards go by and you’re still getting a 490 on your exam, you’re not absorbing the information. Instead, try doing practice problems after the chapter and googling/youtubing videos of questions you get wrong. Maybe you need to make your own deck. Maybe you need to switch decks.
If you set a goal of 520 on FLs and you’re blowing those out of the water, raise your goal and set a higher standard for yourself, review those FLs with even greater precision.
If you set a goal of 520 and you’re scoring well below that, evaluate the time you have, whether you want to push it back, or if there’s a score that’s lower that you’d still be happy with. Read over others’ study techniques and see if there’s something you are missing.
Set goals for every few weeks of where you want to be on the MCAT. At those milestones, evaluate if you need to move your goalpost or if you need to push back the test.
5) Not taking breaks
So many of us have a habit of grinding and grinding away in an attempt to do super well. This was me in the first two years of college and I absolutely sacrificed my health, both physical and mental for it and I’m still paying the price years later. Burnout and suffering is real, and this process does not need you to sacrifice everything you love for it.
My friend from college once told me that if you don’t choose when to take a break your body will choose for you.
Every week take a day of half day where you just shut your brain off. I don’t care if that’s mindlessly scrolling through reddit, bingeing a show, going for a run, going out for drinks, whatever you want. Just take a day to be someone who is not studying for the MCAT.
We are aiming to compartmentalize this test to take up only a small portion of our brain.
Set schedules, for example, if you’re full time only study 9-5 or 10-5. If you’re a student or working full time, maybe this looks like spreading out your studying over a longer period of time and sequestering it to 6-8am or 6-8pm and 10-5pm on weekends with Fridays off. It really helps to have a schedule and to build in open days/flexibility into said schedule.
Give yourself flexibility to say no to studying for a day or even three if you need. It’s much better to not study at all for a day or two and come back with full focus, than to study at 25% efficiency and focus even when you’re tired.
Thursday nights before my FLs and my real test, I sometimes studied until my usually 6pm and sometimes cut my studying to be done at 11am because I just did not want to be too tired the next day. No mental fatigue for me, and I felt sharp on every test day (except I got up to pee in the middle of c/p during my real test bc I did not realize how much coffee I had LOL)
6) Trying to “shortcut” your way through content knowledge instead of being precise and detail-oriented
A lot of students I have give me lukewarm definitions of key terms in each topic. While it’s more than okay to not know everything in great detail, you have to be able to at least define something in simple terms. My structural biology professor once said “if you can’t explain something in simple words, you don’t know it well enough.” People will also sometimes give “shortcut” definitions, where they might say “oh, well this has an OH so that makes it polar” when the “this” they are referring to is fully a lipid.
Here’s an example: I ask you to define what something is. If your definitions includes anything like “it kinda is….” “it sorta is….” “I think that it’s basically….”, you don’t have a precise enough definition or understanding. I’m not saying you need to be able to explain why something works (like wtf IS gravity, right? *hits bong*), but you need a precise definition of what something is to begin understanding the why.
I probably don’t know physics any better than the next person, I definitely do not know biology any better than the next bio major. However, when you study, precision matters to get those points.
Solution: Ask why and make connections
Be the annoying 5 year old that asks “why?” fifty billion times.
For example, yeah we know that we can shine 260nm light to find a [ ] of nucleic acids. Ok, you say, it’s because DNA can absorb light, and more DNA absorbs more of that light, that’s Beer’s Law. Then I would challenge you to ask, well why DNA absorb light in the first place? Why does DNA absorb different wavelengths of light than, say, tryptophan? Why does conjugation or even the hydrophobicity of something’s environment change its absorption of certain wavelengths of light? Yes you will fall into a rabbit hole on things that are way out of the scope of the MCAT and eventually you will not be able to answer “why” at all, but that’s ok. The goal isn’t to pencil the line right in between physics and philosophy, which let’s be real, that’s what most stuff comes down to. The goal is to challenge yourself to connect an idea with them most basic scientific principles that you had to learn.
For example, the example of spectroscopy requires you to pull on (very) basics of quantum, electron orbital theory, energy, etc. It’s in making these connections and asking why that you will more easily and more quickly make those connections on the MCAT.
Even in doing flashcard reviews I challenged myself to do this. If I was hit with a card about the FA synthesis pathway, I would picture the pathway in my head but also draw out in my brain’s whiteboard how the products like malonyl coa influence the other pathways. Basically, just making connections.
7) Making the MCAT your whole life
Lastly, many students lose themselves in this whole premed and mcat process which makes them both miserable/burnt out and also kind of intolerable to be around.
Like you really don’t wanna be that person in your class, no matter how well you’re doing, who can’t hold a conversation without mentioning how you are pre-med and or studying for the mcat.
You also really don’t wanna be the person (me) that was so neurotic in their years of college that they feared that even one thing falling through means that life is over. I quickly regretted the type of anxiety I held in relation to this track before I came to the conclusion that this is just another career, and that I will live a fulfilling life regardless of where my career takes me.
Set goals beyond the MCAT. Mine was to run a half marathon before October. Yesterday, I just ran my first 10k.
Other goals I set: plan my wedding and reception. Don’t kill any of my plants and find a white knight philo that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (will tutor for cuttings). Learn to bake a cake and macarons with full shells. Shadow a few doctors. Bring my cholesterol down.
Basically, see your life as something that will go on no matter how you do on the MCAT, and that life will continue to pass as you study, so don’t give this exam, which is much smaller in the grand scheme of your life, more of your time than it deserves.
That wraps up this first part, hope it was helpful! I’m thinking of making this into a video series on YT because I like to hear myself talk and I hate typing(typical millenial/genz narcissism? probably) and I also just need to get tf off of Reddit now that I’m done with my MCAT. My new goal is to minimize my social media usage (HAH), but have not successfully found a way to achieve this goal yet.
Best of luck yall. sry if my humor is not your cup of tea, I just do not believe that this exam deserves the anguish, the suffering, the misery than many people experience because of it.
submitted by aydmuuye
to Mcat [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 00:47 mang0Jelly still trying to figure out what's going on
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so i posted a post about my Jeep a bit ago. they're still working on my Jeep trying to figure out why it keeps saying "cabin is heating or cooling, start stop not ready". (the first pic was for "replacing" the camera) i asked what the $360 is actually is about, asked 3 times and got 3 different answers. so the first time, literally as they were swiping my card, they told me they only removed/unplugged my camera and the $360 is the diagnose too. but when i got home, i asked my cousin to call and ask, we got told it was just the labor fees. they told me now that the camera is unplugged, it should be on warranty and if the start stop continues to not working again, they'll issue a reimbursement for the hours. a few days after that, the start stop wasn't working again. they told me they replaced the battery and told me that the start stop should work now. when i asked what about the camera, this is when they told me they rewired it and replaced the wire. but that still didn't fix the problem. i brought it in and asked but now they told me it was normal for it to turn off, due to several reasons (in the pic). but it was still because of my camera but it also could be the reasons from the list. i'm just frustrated because of the poor communication. had anyone else ever had this problem? can someone please explain to me? i'm really confused. submitted by mang0Jelly to Jeep [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 00:27 sssofiyaaa Siren Song Elixirs Review - Siren song, Beguile, Matcha Milk Tea, Nocturne #6, Eat Me, Maîtresse-en-titre, Pistachio Cream
Hi. This is a review of a few samples I purchase from SSE. I'm on a search for my personal matcha, pistachio, and marshmallow scents. I love gourmands, vanilla, oceanic, woody, and citrus scents. I dislike incense, sickly sweet, too much smoke, spice, musk, or white florals. Please keep in mind that these perfumes need to rest; the owner herself recommended it, and it mentions that on the website and the info card that came in my package. This will be my immediate first impression, but I will do a 1 week and 1 month update.
- My body odor smells better than this perfume. Instant regret.
- This perfume gave me a headache.
- I would actively avoid breathing around people who wore this.
- I dislike this, but I can see how others might.
- I don't like it, but I don't hate it either. Indifferent.
- I like it but its not anything groundbreaking. Smells like every other bitch.
- I like it but I wouldn't buy it again. Others might love it.
- This is unique/nice and I would buy samples/smaller bottles.
- this is the best thing ever for its category of scent type. I would buy a full size and have it in my daily rotation.
- Life changing. I will bathe in this perfume. So unique. I don't care what it costs to get a full size. I would wear this to seduce someone.
***These are my opinions, no one has to agree nor am I telling you to~***
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Siren Song - Salt Water Spray, Sea Salt, Dahlia, Lychee Fruit, Sand, Driftwood, Kelp, Dark Ocean Water, Regret
Beguile - Stout beer, Chocolate, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Caramel, Toasted Coconut
- floral and clean, with a slight saltiness. There is a slight sweetness/fruitness from lychee, which works well with the floral part.
- I wish there was more ocean and driftwood in there. It creeps up behind the floral, so It's more of a clean musk than oceanic scent.
- It's like smelling a bouquet of flowers followed by an ocean breeze.
- This would appeal to anyone who wants a mature and soft skin scent for everyday wear. I could see myself wearing this in a more professional setting.
- In my opinon, it leans very feminine, which makes sense considering the name. I would prefer more of a masculine push from the ocean and driftwood notes. But it a very pleasing balance.
- Rating: 6/10
Matcha Milk Tea- Matcha, Green Tea, Jasmine Tea, Oat milk, Honey, Vanilla
- chocolate, warm sweet, slightly bitter
- You get so much toasty chocolate and a light alcoholic, sour note followed by a gooey caramel. The lightest note is coconut, I can barely smell it.
- If this was a drink, it would be an Irish car bomb (guiness with a shot of baileys)
- The dry down is a bitter, dark caramel and a softer chocolate and vanilla.
- Freaking delicious in the least sweet way. I like it a lot. If you want a gourmand that's not just outright sweet, please try this. It's a unique take and leans slightly into the fall gourmands due to the bitterness and depth.
- Rating: 7/10
Nocturne #6 - Sea Salt, Cypress, Driftwood, Pacific Rock Moss, White Sand, Red Flame Mimosa, Grapefruit, Thunderstorms, Tonka, Blue Musk Accord
- Matcha, green tea, jasmine, honey.
- It's like a mix of a matcha latte and green tea honey latte from starbucks. Creamy, green with a slight floral, and honey forward.
- I don't personally like honey, but its a nice blend if someone wants a realistic green tea drink from a boba shop. The jasmine and honey notes give it intrigue compared to the other matcha scents I've tried. But as a trade off, you get less matcha.
- Dry down is more honey and sweet with musky florals.
- Rating: 5/10
Eat Me (Cheesecake, Blueberry, Lemon, Cream Cheese Frosting, Cake)
- Citrus, woody, clean. The last note is musk that is just on the border of okay and too much for me.
- It's a neutral scent that gives clean, skin scent. It's well blended, balanced and I like it more than Siren Song. I would smell this and immediately guess something from Estée Lauder or my mom's collection.
- Leans feminine. Dry down is stronger on the citrus and musk, and the sweetness comes through more.
- I could see this replacing a mainstream perfume. It smells luxurious and would appeal to people who want the "clean girl" aesthetic. Not what I'm looking for, and seems a little basic to me.
- Rating: 5/10
Maîtresse-en-titre - Pistachio, Macaroon, Double vanilla cream, Blush peony
- fruity, vanilla, creamy, tangy. Like a carmelized basque cheescake with a blueberry sauce on it.
- There isn't a butteriness, more of a concentrated sugariness. It's not sickly sweet, but I can see how it might be on the border or too much for others.
- The dry down gives more of the sweet lemon and blueberry. I don't think the lemon helps in this case because it starts leaning more towards a blueberry jam than cheesecake.
- It's great if you like blueberry thats fruity and jam-like, and cake. There's a tartness that I find unique compared to other blueberry scents. No green notes. No cleaning supply type of lemon notes.
- Rating: 5/10
Pistachio Cream - Pistachio pudding, Cardamom, Sweet Cream, French Vanilla
- Nutty, coconut, toasted almond. The toastiness is so warm and creamy.
- It smells predominantly macaroon with the coconut and almond
- The dry down exposes some of the peony, which is slightly sharp and fresh compared to the rest of the notes. The peony makes me feel pretty and feminine and elegant. Like Blair Waldorf. It's sweet and floral.
- I wouldn't say its a pistachio scent, but the nuttiness helps bring out the coconut and almond and vanilla. Its a pistachio that doesn't scream gourmand. The peony rounds it out in an extremely feminine way that wraps around and leaves a trail. If I smelled this on someone I would stop them to ask what they're wearing.
- Rating: 7/10
- Pistachio, vanilla, and the smallest hit of a spice. Like teeny tiny dusting. I'm not a fan of cardamom, but I can handle this amount. The intensity of spice is 2/10.
- It reminds me of pistachio kulfi (which is what ice cream is called in many eastern and south asian countries). Sweet from condensed milk. Nutty from the pistachios. A crisp, floral, mintiness from the cardamom sprinkled in.
- There is a slight plasticness to it, but I think resting will resolve that issue.
- Dry down makes the cardamom and cream blend and soften, somehow making it even nuttier.
- This is delicious. I enjoy it immensely and would recommend this as a pistachio with an unexpected note. The cardamom is present without overpowering, and it complements and elevates the pistachio. This is everything that DS & Durga Pistachio claimed to be (minus the patchouli). It might be my perfect pistachio. I will be buying this again.
- Rating: 8/10
I ordered a set of 5 samples 1.5mL x 5 for $25, and 1 separate sample for $6. The Pistachio cream was 5 mL and free with my $30 order. I appreciate that the vials come with a flint applicator (the little stick attached to the cap) and the larger bottle had a roller top. It took about 12 days for my order to arrive and everything was well packed and labeled. I would say that the blend of the fragrances was more unique and well done than some of the other brands I've tried; gourmands can get boring really quickly but I wasn't bored while smelling these.
10/10 experience and would order again from SSE.
submitted by sssofiyaaa
to Indiemakeupandmore [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 00:26 Ok_Progress_1710 Alter concept #4: Kal'tsit, Fatebringer's folly. (Celibrating 100 followers!)
First, a thank you.
Thank you all for sticking with me through my hard times, and for supporting my works even across multiple subreddits.
The time spent writing for you guys has been some of the best in my life.
I truly look forward to every day with you guys.
Event: Fatebringer's folly.
Alter name: Kal'tsit, the final judgment.
Class: caster, DPS, survival
Branch: Phalanx caster. Deals arts damage. Does not attack when ability is inactive. Strong defensive stats.
Talent: Observer's focus. Kal'tsit TFJ can be deployed on ranged or ground tiles, and becomes a 3 block when on the ground. After not being damaged for 10 seconds, Kal'tsit TFJ gains one stack of focus every 2 seconds. Each stack of focus increases DEF and RES by 5%. Stacks up to 10 times, Kal'tsit TFJ loses 1 stack every 5 seconds when at max stacks, and will not begin gaining stacks again until lower than 5 stacks.
E2 talent upgrade: DEF and RES bonus increases by 1% per stack (1st stack in 5%, second stack is 6%, and so on) and each stack gives an extra 5% ATK.
Default ability, auto recovery, manual: DEF and RES +45%. Attacks deal an extra 50% of ATK as physical damage. Ranged enemies will prioritize attacking Kal'tsit TFJ.
E1 ability, passive: A balanced fate. -50% DEF and RES. Kal'tsit TFJ enters attack mode every 10 seconds and returns to neutral mode after 10 seconds, while in attack mode, Kal'tsit TFJ deals 500% ATK to all enemies in range once every 2 seconds (5 times per attack mode). While in neutral mode, Kal'tsit TFJ heals all allies in range for 50% of ATK with the same intervals as her attacks.
E2 ability, defensive recovery, auto: Destiny's decision. Summons a Monst3r on the nearest unoccupied ground tile, prioritizing tiles with enemies on them. Monst3r has 50% of all Kal'tsit TFJ's stats and can attack in a 3x3 range. Only 2 Monst3rs can be in play at once, any ability activations when 2 Monst3rs are already on the field turn into a burst of 300% arts damage around Kal'tsit TFJ. (If a Monst3r dies withing 3 tiles of Kal'tsit TFJ, trigger the arts damage burst.)
Deployed, Neutral mode: Kal'tsit sits cross-legged on her tile, her eyes are closed and she strokes the head of a tiny monst3r.
Deployed, Attack mode: Kal'tsit stands up and raises a hand towards the sky, palm up. Streaks of arts energy crackle downward into her hand, then towards her target.
++++++++++++++ Voice lines and event story:
While fighting reunion, Kal'tsit and the doctor are separated from the rest of the team by a deep and dark sinkhole. After falling to the bottom, Kal'tsit finds herself surrounded by originium infected creatures and burdened by an unconscious doctor.
Defeated in battle: "Dammit, how did I not see this coming?!"
After defeating the monsters, Kal'tsit finds that she is unable to escape back the way they fell. Shouting to the other operators at the top of the pit, Kal'tsit receives no response.
Sub 3 star outcome: "that wasn't good enough doctor, you should try again with a new strategy."
As she ventures deeper into the caverns, Kal'tsit observes that the originium corruption in the area is far beyond anything she has seen before. Deeper and deeper, the caverns have no end.
Mission failed: (very weakly) "Was this... our fate? Doctor... I'm sorry..."
As she trudges through the darkness, Kal'tsit begins to lose her sense of time. That would probably bother her more, but she is already bust worrying about the fact that the doctor hasn't woken up yet.
After what felt like days, Kal'tsit stoppes to rest, slumping against a wall to rest. Within moments, she falls asleep.
Appointed as assistant: "Do you mind if I rest in here for a moment? You were looking for me? I suppose that works out well then, you give me a resting place and I'll give you advice."
Upon waking up, Kal'tsit finds that she is alone. The doctor has disappeared, and now she has the worst headache ever.
Kal'tsit calls out for the doctor as she stands, only to be hit by a wave of nausea that knocks her to the ground. As the nausea washes over her a d the headache gets worse, Kal'tsit begins to see things.
Post-E2 mission failed: (Kal'tsit stares blankly, as if looking right through you.) "Doctor... the end... it calls to me. How should I... anwser?"
When the strange shadows and whispering voices subside, Kal'tsit is left shaking where she stands. Her strong demeanor shatters as the stress of the situation finally gets to her. She cries out for her friends, Amiya, Warfarin, Bibeak, Filonic, and even the doctor.
As her tears fade, Kal'tsit opens her eyes to find herself in a bed within a blindingly white room. As she tries to stand up, an ear splitting scream startles her. Warfarin and Gavial rush to her side.
Idle: "... you've falled asleep haven't you... oh doctor, whatever will I do with you?"
Kal'tsit learns that she had been the one to fall unconscious after falling into the pit, and realizes that what she had experienced was a feverish coma induced by the originium in the pit.
Trust tap: "Doctor, I know I've already said this, and don't act very grateful, but... thank you, for being staying with me."
With a new outlook on life, Kal'tsit changes her toon, becoming more involved in the affairs of Rhoads Island and spending more time with the other operators and staff members.
Trust 200: "Well, that's the last of today's work. Doctor, we're done here, right? Shall we go have lunch after this?"
If a player completes every level with 3 stars while using OG Kal'tsit in every mission, the final level will yield an extended version of the final cutscene.
In this cutscene, Kal'tsit's silhouette can be seen standing on a rooftop, her silhouette traced against the Rhoads Island skyline. Sharp spikes of originium erupt from the ground around her. Begind Kal'tsit, the doctor, Warfarin, and Gavial are slumped against a wall, harsh injuries evident all across their bodies.
In a ring surrounding her, various operators point their weapons at Kal'tsit, each wearing a terrified expression. Off in the distance, in the skyline, several giant monst3rs can be seen wreaking havoc on the buildings.
The dialog reads as follows:
"The play completed. The actors unmasked. The final judgment has now been passed. Our final dance done, our meeting adjourned. Doctor, how shall your truth be turned?"
"K-kal'tsit, you need to stop this!"
"Fear not, my doctor. For the end comes near. No more pain, no more suffering, no more turmoil or fear."
"Amiya! Get back! Something is wrong with her!"
"Kal'tsit! Listen to me! Please!"
Kal'tsit turns to Amiya and the doctor, but the look on her fave is inhuman.
"Isn't it beautiful? Everything will begin again. The infected, oripathy, reunion. It will all go away."
Kal'tsit begins to rais her hands, preparing to use her arts. The doctor and Amiya run to their old friend, wrapping their arms around her in an attempt to stop whatever is coming.
As everything turns white, the entire scene plays quickly in reverse, stopping at the point when Kal'tsit wakes up in the white room. Then the original scene plays as usual.
submitted by Ok_Progress_1710
to arknights [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 23:29 Odyssey_mw Stolen from auto body shop in Seattle
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Longshot here but I am desperate. Someone stole my crv from an auto body lot in Seattle. Service king in Burien Washington. I am absolutely gutted. Please pm me with any info and call the authorities if sighted. It now has two ski carriers on top. submitted by Odyssey_mw to crv [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 22:08 coolwali I platinummed Sly Cooper 4: Thieves in Time on VITA to get the secret ending.
Hello everyone. I recently platinummed the PSVITA version of Sly Cooper 4: Thieves in Time as my 28th platinum. It only took me 10 years, 4 weeks, 22 hours to do it. Did you know this game hides its true ending behind the platinum?
Anyway, I'd like to talk about the experience.
Sly 4 was a bit confusing and inconsistent to platinum. I get the feeling the game wants you to platinum it given how on every loading screen it shows you how much you've completed the trophies and collectibles for the game. And that there no missable trophies. But there are some decisions that don't help with that.
So I'd say there are around 3 groups of Trophies in this game.
The first group are the mandatory story trophies. Not much to say about these. There's nothing missable here and the names are quite cool. I do like looking at the percent completion to see how many players completed the PS VITA version of the game. Did you know that around 73% of players booted this game up and completed the prologue? And only around 25% of players even beat the game. The biggest drop happened around the start of Episode 2 since the completion dropped from around 60%to 48% for some reason.
The second group are the trophies for the collectibles and arcades. I'll talk about these later.
The third and final group of trophies are for miscellaneous challenges. I'll start with these first and highlight some of the notable ones that I missed on my first playthrough.
"Crazed Climber - Scale the dragon lair in under 90 seconds". This was one I missed during my original playthrough of the game. This requires you to climb a giant tower filled with traps in the mission "Mechanical Menace". And this one was really fun even though it took me like 3 attempts. Sly 4's movement and platforming is quite fun so having a mini speedrun challenge using Sir Galleth's moveset was a treat. The one criticism I have here is that the game drops a checkpoint as soon as you get to the top. If you haven't gotten the trophy by then and need to retry, you need to quit to the main menu/hideout and reselect the mission, skip through all the cutscenes and get back there which gets annoying. At least the tower is near the start of the mission.
"Ancient Warfare 3 - Crackshot 10 enemies within 65 seconds. Sly's ancestor, Tennessee "Kid" Cooper" has an ability similar to "Dead Eye" from Red Dead Redemption where he can slow down time, mark enemies and objects and then instantly shoot them dead called "Crackshot". I never got this trophy when I first played the game because there wasn't much opportunity to. There aren't large groups of enemies wandering around that you can casually get 10+ of them line up for you to shoot them. Plus, I was already good at shooting them normally. I tried running around in the open world trying to lure enemies but found it wasn't working. There's a mission in the game called "Blind Date" that throws lots of rabbit enemies that chuck TNT at you that worked better for me.
"Hubba Hubba - Don't miss a beat in the Carmelita dance game." This trophy is, without a doubt, the main reason to platinum this game on VITA instead of the PS3. So nobody can see you play this dumb minigame and call you a Furry. This trophy requires you to complete the minigame where Carmilita needs to disguise herself as a belly dancer and dance to distract guards while the Cooper gang try and open a door. You just need to hit the button prompts perfectly. So you can ignore the times the minigame asks you to shake the VITA from side to side like a champagne bottle to make Carmilita shake her ass (seriously, why does this game sexualize Carmilita so much? None of the past Sly games did it).
"Get To the Chopper - Don't take any damage during Up In Smoke." This one was actually fun. In the mission "Up in Smoke", you have to control an RC Helicopter and drop bombs on turrents while drones and mines chase you down. It was fun dodging and weaving through them. There are 3 phases to this mission and you have a checkpoint in between every phase. So if you mess up, you can just restart the checkpoint to the last phase. You don't need to avoid taking damage the whole way through which is nice.
"Unexpected Package - Place 60 bombs in enemy pockets with Bentley." When I first saw this trophy, I groaned. This would be a massive grind. And I had actually made it harder on myself. You see, normally, when you sneak up behind an enemy as Bentley and hold triangle, Bentley will try to put a bomb in the enemy's pocket. Larger enemies won't notice this but smaller enemies will. But the main issue is that I had previously unlocked the Heat Seeking upgrade for Bentley. Meaning sometimes, the bombs would "miss" and stick to an enemy guard's arms or legs instead. So it was annoying going around the hub world and planting bombs on guards.....until I remembered that I had purchased the upgrade for sleep bombs. My plan now was just to find a lone guard on a rooftop, try and place one sleep bomb into his back pocket and detonate it. He'd then fall asleep. Then I'd go to his sleeping body and try placing 5 sleeping bombs in his pocket and back away (the max you can place at any one time). When he wakes him, I'd detonate all 5 which set him to sleep and then repeat. Even if I'd "miss" a few bombs that would stick to their legs instead, I generally 3 or 4 bombs work perfectly. So it didn't take long to get all 60.
"Apollo Wins - Have the perfect workout during the Training Montage." During the mission "Getting Stronger", you have to do a training montage with Bob where you alternate through 6 minigames as you complete them with the minigames getting harder as you complete them. The trophy requires you to complete 10 randomly selected minigames without making a single mistake. If you mess up, you can restart the checkpoint to the beginning of the montage and have to play through a new set of 10 randomly selected minigames. The Minigames are "Slippery Slope" where you balance an egg on a beam using motion controls while penguins jump around on the floating iceberg you are standing on. "Penguin Popper" where Penguins are diving in front of you and you have to play baseball using them. "Sumo Slap" where you have to perform QTEs to push a giant penguin out of a Sumo Ring. "Duck and Cover" where penguins get launched at you from 4 different directions and you have to move the left stick to dodge them. "Super Sling" which requires you to use a catapult to launch a penguin at a flying pterodactyl. And "Whack a chump" which is Whack a Mole but with penguins. Some of which are fake and you should avoid.
Penguin Popper was easy. Once you get the timing down it's easy to get into a rhythm and hit the penguins since they don't vary when they dive. Whenever this popped into the rotation, I considered it a freebie. Sumo Slap was extremly easy. The button mashing was extremely generous. This was another freebie. Duck and Cover requires a bit more focus because of the timing and inconsistent patterns. It's not too challenging. Interestingly, I noticed that the VITA's speakers would reflect if the penguin was coming from the right or left but not above or below you. I guess headphones would make this easier but I had no need for it. I was generally glad when this popped up in the rotation. Whack a Chump was a bit harder than Penguin Popper because there is no set pattern and the additional challenge of not hitting the fake penguins. But it wasn't too bad. I was glad when this popped up in the rotation.
Super Sling and Slippery Slope were the 2 I dreaded and the ones I messed up the most on. Super Sling doesn't give you much indication of where your sling will go. The Pterodactyls have varied speeds so you can't rely on pattern recolonization and reactions. And there's time pressure as taking too long counts as a miss. And it kept popping up in the rotations for some reason!
Slippery Slope was stressful because of the motion controls and how wild later versions of it were.
"The Cooper Open - Have a 20 hit rally with Bentley in each hideout." There are 6 hideouts in the game. In each hideout there is a table tennis table where you as Sly can play a round of table tennis with Bentley. I question the inclusion of it but I suppose it can be a nice distraction. This trophy requires you get a sequences where both you and Bentley hit the ball back and forth 10 times each (or 20 times overall) without missing. And repeat for each of the 6 tables. I found Bentley kept messing up so I had to intentionally hold back and avoid making good shots and try and hit the ball towards him. The main issue is the fact you have to repeat it 6 times. I feel it would be better off just once and as nothing is really added by doing it 6 times. If anything, it's more annoying given the long load times to switch hideouts and Bentley's random AI.
"Hassan Would Be Proud - Pickpocket a full collection of every item in the game." Each of the 6 or so locations have around 3-4 items that can be pickpocketted from guards. The main issue with this trophy is that it doesn't keep track of which items you have already pickpocketed in any way. The game already tracks how many treasures and masks you've found per general area but not pickpocketted items.
I only got this trophy by planning on systematically going through every location in the game and pickpocketting every enemy item and noting down which ones I found.....only to get it in the first level when I used Murray's shake move on some rat enemies. Enemies that you never encounter or have a reason or opportunity to naturally pickpocket. I guess 2013 me had already gotten 99% of these items previously.
"Navigate Like Drake - Take a look at every map in every episode". I found this trophy really annoying. The way it works is that every location in the game, including linear interiors that are exclusive to missions and even the hideouts, have a map you can look at by pressing SELECT. The game doesn't keep track of which locations you've seen the map of. So I had to systamatically play the game from the first mission and press SELECT whenever I entered a new interior. Then quit out and play the next mission and repeat. It popped for me in Episode 4 so somehow, 2013 me had looked at all the maps in Episode 5 without realizing it.
I don't like this trophy. It doesn't really add anything. The player would already be looking at the maps in the hub worlds where they would be at their most useful since those are open world sections. They have no real reason to use the map in linear interiors. And even less useful in hideouts as these aren't even explorable. They are basically just menus that happen to have a 3D background. I'd be more forgiving of this trophy if the map showed collectibles at least. That way, players have more of a reason to use this feature.
Shout out to the Lazy Trunk Spa & Lounge. A secret area in the game that contains a mask collectible and counts for the trophy with a unique map. No mission ever goes here. So even if you were to play diligently and open the map for every area you encounter, you'd still miss this. I only knew this existed because the trophy guide I looked at told me about it so I decided to tag this area while doing the "Get to the Chopper" trophy.
"Hero Tech - Battle with a secret weapon" Once you collect 50 Sly masks. You unlock Ratchet's wrench from Ratchet and Clank. This weapon even turns the coins you collect into bolts. Collecting 60 Masks unlocks Cole's Amp from inFAMOUS. This can electrocute the enemies you hit. I chose to use Cole's Amp to get the trophy as a tribute to inFAMOUS. Killed by Ghost of Tsumia 😭. May it rest in peace. Gone too soon.
That covers all the miscellaneous trophies. Now for the collectibles and arcades.
Sly 4 has a bunch of different collectibles scattered in each of its 6 episodes.
Bottles: Each hub world contains 30 bottles. Collecting all of them gives you access to unlock a safe hidden somewhere in the hub world. Unlocking that safe rewards you a special treasure. Bottles make a "clinking" sound when you're near them so if you're having a hard time finding them, try going into the game's settings and turning down the music and voice sounds. If you find the safe in Episode 3, the special treasure it gives you will highlight bottles and safes in every other episode on your map which is quite nice. I wish the game did this more often. If it hides collectibles from the player, at least give the player an endgame ability to highlight them. It makes it more feasible and fun to complete these tasks instead of combing every last inch (or looking up a guide).
Treasures: Each hub world has around 11 treasures scattered all around. The gimmick here is that in order to collect them, you first need to find where they are in the hub world. Then once you pick them, you need to race back to your hideout under a certain time limit and without taking any damage. If you mess up, you need to repeat the process. The treasures generally require you to have all of Sly's costumes. And a couple require you to be playing as Sir Galleth because England has increased gravity for some reason. Some of these treasures are really well hidden. Requiring you to go to these holes in the middle of nowhere which then require you to switch between some of Sly's costumes. Like, if you open the map when picking some of these up, you'll find Sly is located beyond the borders of the area.
I found it way more fun to race back to the hideout than actually finding them. It was tedious to find many of them because of how well hidden they are. There is no tool or item in the game that can help mark them on your map. Well, I say that. Supposedly, if you have both the PS3 and VITA versions of the game and play them at the same time, you can use the VITA like a scannebinoculars to locate these treasures. And then use the Cross Save feature to nab them in both versions. I only have the VITA version so no luck for me. Again, I'd argue it would be better if there was an endgame upgrade or tool you could get that would mark the treasures like how the game does it for bottles. There isn't even a "clinking sound" or any help for these.
Anyway, collecting all the treasures for an episode unlocks the arcade machine minigame for that episode.
Also sidenote, but this game has the worst map screen that still somehow can be useful. The map gives a top down view of the area but with a blue filter. This makes it harder and more annoying to navigate and use landmarks for reference. Especially on the VITA with its smaller screen. There are also no icons on the map (aside from bottles, safes and objectives) or the ability to make your own markers. The VITA version makes it worse as you can't even use the buttons to navigate the map. You have to use the touchscreen even though that's not how it is in the PS3 version. But you can still use it to know where you are and where collectibles can be from guides. It's technically readable and useful but just barely. I've never seen a map in a game so perfectly walk the line between useful and annoying.
The next collectible are Sly Masks. There are 60 total and around 11 per Episode. Collecting them unlocks skins and some goodies. But the catch with them is that they can be anywhere. There can be a couple in the hub world. But also couple during select missions and even some in the arcade minigames. There's no way to know where any of them are. They generally tend to be really well hidden even if you are trying to scour every area.
Again, I wish there was a way to highlight them. The game's long load times make it a chore to switch episodes or missions so it's tedious to try searching for them manually.
Now it's time to talk about the arcades. Sly 4 has 3 arcade minigames that are used in both the main missions and have a harder version in the arcades in hideouts. The arcade versions of these minigames are harder, go on for much longer and can have secret paths that lead to portals that reward you with points and some of them even have Sly masks. You need to beat the high scores to get the trophies
The first minigame is "Alter Ego". This has you play this 2D auto scrolling twin stick shooter minigame where you must avoid enemies and collect these "ionic bits". Collecting 5 yellow bits levels you up so your weapons get more powerful. At level 10 you have shoot crazy fast, can launch missiles and have floating drones that can damage enemies around you. But whenever you take damage, you drop an entire level. And you get left behind as the level autoscrolls, you respawn at level 0. You can also collect blue bits which can give you a grenade explosion around you.
Personally, I don't really like this minigame. It's fine when playing casually as a change of pace but grinding the high score isn't great. Since it is an autoscroller it is entirely possible you don't have enough points to match the high score and you won't know until its too late, wasting your time. I also found the hitboxes a bit too small. Making items more annoying to pickup.
The key to success is finding the right balance between collecting yellow bits as they give points and level you up (and how high your level is acts as a multiplier for your score) and killing enemies since they give more points. As well as avoiding taking damage and maintaining level 10 as much as possible and knowing where the secret paths are so you can get more points as well as level up if you have messed up.
The second minigame is "System Cracker". Here, you guide a little space ship looking thing through 2D levels in top down twin stick shooting sections. This isn't an autoscroller. You need to explore levels looking for keys and shooting enemies. There are 3 ships you can switch between by going onto specific coloured pads and each ship has its pros and cons. The green ship you start with does decent damage and has decent health and can carry keys. So it's a jack of all trades master of none kinda ship. The pink ship literally resembles a tank. It fires slower and at a shorter range but does more damage and has more health. It's also necessary for destroying pink crystals to progress. The blue ship has floatier handling and faster speeds. Its shots also bounce off walls and it can draw a line which can activate switches and damage enemies. It is weaker than the green ship though.
I actually really enjoyed this minigame and was happy whenever it comes up. It even feels the most fleshed out of the 3. Like, I feel it could even be released as a small standalone game with some tweaking and expansion. I'd probably play a mobile version of this in my free time.
I like how varied the levels can be. You can have a lot of different threats and mini-puzzles and even scenarios where you have to keep switching between ships on the fly to damage enemies. Like, there's this one enemy that's made up of orange, blue and pink hexagons that require you to switch between all 3 ships and use their abilities to damage it. It's quite fun. Damage one ship takes is "saved" on that ship. So if you take 50% damage with the green ship and switch to the pink one, the pink one will have 100% health. But whenever you switch back to the green one, you will be back at 50% health. So mistakes have consequences requiring you to make decisions accounting for them without being too overbearing.
Beating the high scores for the associated arcades is very easy. For one, there is no time limit or pressure so you’re free to take your time and play carefully. On top of that, the mode is very generous with points. Whereas Alter Ego only gives you points for killing enemies and picking up bits (and you need to get and maintain a multiplier for decent times), System Cracker gives you points even for shooting obstacles and barricades in your way. In Alter Ego, I was scraping for points until the very end. In System Cracker, I had more than enough points by the halfway mark.
I suppose the game could have balanced this by increasing the points threshold and rewarding extra points for taking less time to complete sections but I’m not complaining.
The third and worst minigame is “Spark Chaser”. Here you must guide a little electric ball across these maze like areas with gaps that end your attempt if you fall down them and these pinball like bounce pads that bounce you really far. There’s also a time pressure. You have around 20 seconds to get as far as possible with more time added as you pick up these purple clock icons.
The biggest issue is that it’s entirely controlled by motion controls. And this makes me experience worse on VITA. Seriously, I very nearly quit playing. This post was almost titled “I gave up trying to Platinum Sly 4”.
With the PS3 version, at least titling the remote doesn’t also affect your view of the screen. You can look at the game and play it the same as you normally would. But in the VITA version, the “neutral” position where no input is registered by the system is placing the VITA flat with its screen facing up. The standard “screen facing you” position registers as down.
The end result is a frustrating experience. This minigame requires really fine precision given how easy it is to fall off and the time pressure requires you both be fast and more precise to collect time pickups. On top of that, your view is constantly being messed with due to how much you need to tilt the system from odd angles. Especially how tilting “up” really makes it hard to see. Oh, and the dialogue from Bentley as you bounce gets really annoying and repetitive.
It’s barely tolerable in regular missions since those don’t require as much precision or speed. And even then, the usage there in 2013 was suspect to begin with. I only completed this because there’s a cheese where if you can get enough time early on, you can then keep bouncing on certain pads which give around 20 points per bounce. When I played “normally”, I’d get around 300 points with the high score being 1000 points. Using the cheese, I averaged around 990 points and managed to get lucky to win with 1010 points.
I’ve said it before. Motion controls work best when they complement existing controls in an optional way or in more restrained ways. I love it when games have gyro aiming since that can help compensate when aiming with sticks with small fine corrections. It works here because the sticks do most of the work and the gyro sensors work where they are best suited.
Or in many mobile racing games, steering is often done by tilting your phone. I enjoy this because there is only one axis you need to tilt your phone, the screen often rotates in conjunction so your view is preserved and it’s more intuitive to feel the “range” of rotation and how it corresponds to steering.
Hell, even ignoring these approaches, motion can still be used in worthwhile ways. Such as by mapping an extra action that is infrequent if all other buttons are occupied. The Mario games on Wii map a “spin” when you jump and shake the remotes giving Mario a bit of grace allowing him to make slightly further jumps or correct a bad jump. Call of Duty MW1 on Wii allowed you to assign certain commands to custom motions of the controller and nunchuck. So you could map stuff like jumping, moving and shooting to buttons but map reloading to smacking the nunchuck to the Wii Mote or plunge the Wii Mote forward to do a melee attack or tilting the Wii Mote to bring out a grenade or alt fire.
Even Resistance 1: Fall of Man had a neat idea. You could quickly tilt the controller left to bring up the Scoreboard screen without needing to take your thumbs off the sticks or stop moving. The Soulsbourne games allow you to quickly do emotes without needing a menu by holding the interact button and quickly tilting the controller in certain directions.
I bring all this up to highlight how Sly 4’s use of motion controls are a failure on every level. They’re mostly used in place of minigames as the sole method of control. So all the issues of motion controls (such as the lack of broad control and feedback) are front and centre. The only place where the motion controls are understandable is when firing arrows as you can then control the arrow after it’s fired using both the sticks and gyro aiming. But even then, the lack of any ability to tune the gyro sensitivity or even invert the controls hampers any use it could have had.
I don’t mind the idea of Sly 4 having decent motion controls. There are places where I can see it being beneficial. In addition to shooting and guiding arrows, I can see it being useful when you have to use the binoculars. Especially as Bentley as you need to shoot darts precisely.
Or, here’s a gimmicky one: you can bind certain costumes or tools to also be selected by quickly tilting the system. Even though using the D-pad for a quick select would be faster, it would still be a better use of motion controls for Sly 4 than most of what’s currently there.
Back to getting all the trophies, the final arcade machine, unlocked only when you’ve gotten all the treasures in every other episode, is very easy. It has “3 rooms”, one featuring every minigame thus far. But the high score requirements are really low and rooms aren’t as tough as prior versions. You can easily get the high score in the first area which is the Alter Ego one. Even if you miss it there, the second area is Spark Runner but you can keep reloading the checkpoint to preserve your score. So you can get some time clocks, reload a checkpoint when you’re close to running out of time or about to fall off and repeat until you get the high score.
You do need to get past the Spark Runner section to the 3rd and final section that uses System Cracker's gameplay in order to get a hidden Sly Mask, but it's far easier than the dedicated Spark Runner arcade minigame as the section is shorter, is more generous with Time Pickups, has easier level design and lets you reload a checkpoint if you're about to fail which doesn't end the run.
So yeah, Sly 4 Thieves in Time was....inconsistent game to platinum. I enjoyed the base gameplay, System Cracker, the various challenge trophies and the mini speedruns for collecting treasures. I didn't enjoy finding the collectibles and doing some of the other minigames. I hated Spark Runner.
If the game had more ways of tracking collectibles, fewer minigames and better load times, I'd gladly recommend it as a fun game to platinum.
As for the base game itself, I am mixed on it. The gameplay is arguably the best in the series. Sly's movement and costumes are so fun to play around with. Murray, Bentely and Sly's ancestors are also fun changes of pace during missions.
The story is lacking. My main issue is that it doesn't feel like it realizes its following up Sly 3. The story so casually undoes the ending of Sly 3 to get Sly 4's story going. I get it, that's what a sequel has to do. But the way it does it really undermines Sly 3. It's also much more lighthearted and doesn't have as much of a theme or focal point as its predecessors. Sly 1-3 explored the theme of legacy and the consequences of adhering to it so tightly. A major aspect of Sly 3 was Sly realizing the Cooper Vault wasn't worth dying for. It's what prompts him to fake his amnesia and retire with Carmilita in the end. So for Sly 4 to then have Sly have an itch to steal just for the fun of it, it's sending mixed messages here.
In addition, Sly is really casual about the fact Carmilita now knows about his betrayal and has broken up with him. Seems like that should have been a bigger deal. In fact, that kind of "casual-ness" persists throughout the story. Sly doesn't really have much of an arc or any real heartfelt moments with his ancestors. Nor do they seem to really care their decedent from the future is here with them.
If I could have tweaked the story to address these points, here's what I would have done:
I'd have the story open with Sly, Bentley and Murray enjoying their "retirement" and have no plans of thieving. I'd go so far as to have Sly even scoff at the idea of him ever wanting to be a thief. Then when the pages of the Thievus Racconus are dissapearing, Sly, Bentley and Murray have to reluctantly unretire to try stopping them. There would be dialogue during the opening mission of Sly being worried if they get caught as it would undo their happy ending. And then when Carmilita catches Sly, Sly at first is flustered and tries to explain the situation to Carmilita who isn't having any of Sly's BS. Sly is forcibly extracted by the gang and then they time travel. As they are time travelling. Sly is upset that, in order to go literally defend the Cooper Legacy, he has to give up his happy relationship and can't be repaired now. That even if they fix the problem, they'll be on the run forever now. Murray had to give up his professional career as well.
Already, I feel this introduction has a few things going for it. It respects the ending of Sly 3 and keeps the characters in more character, as well as putting more heat on Le Paradox. Sly 4 had to rip away the happy ending that was Sly 3. The characters know that and aren't happy about it. There is immediate consequences. And that heat can be directed at Le Paradox when he comes later.
I'd also like if all of the ancestors Sly met had different reactions to both him and the Cooper legacy and how it affects Sly's arc.
For example, lets say when he meets Riochi Cooper, Ricohi is initially disappointed in Sly as the future Cooper decendent as Sly doesn't act honourably or respect the legacy or something like this. Something that makes Sly start to question if it's even worth defending the Cooper Legacy. Bentely is the voice of reason here and mediator that gets the gang to work as well as they can.
Then when Sly meets Tennessee Cooper, Sly is initially expecting another traditionalist ancestor that cares a lot about the Cooper Legacy. But Tennessee is kinda the opposite of Riochi in that Tennasee doesn't care about the legacy in the same way. He adds his own spin and contributions but also uses the knowledge from it to do his own thing. Perhaps Tennessee is this Robin-Hood esque figure who uses his heisting skills to steal from the corrupt ruling class and give to the lower class. The point being that through Tennessee, Sly considers another aspect of the Cooper Legacy on how he's not that beholden to it and can potentially make it his own.
Then when Sly meets Bob, part of Bob's training is also from Sly as Sly teaches him some of the Cooper moves he knows. Since Bob is the first Cooper ancestor, he has no bias towards the legacy or any knowledge. So he's far more grateful and begins to use his new skills in helpful ways. Causing Sly to wonder if he could use the Cooper Legacy in more ways.
It's a similar situation for Sir Galleth. And for Selim, perhaps by that point, Sly has a newfound outlook and appreciation for the Cooper Legacy and ways on how he can improve it or make it his own that he encourages Selim not to retire or to retire in such a way where he could help people or something like that.
So yeah, there's this theme now of "Don't let the past define you now. You can make it your own and grow past its flaws". Which I feel would give Sly 4 more of a punch. I am basically copying Metal Gear Solid 4 and Assassin's Creed though.
I also feel it would be better if Penelope wasn't the villain of episode 4. It seems to contradict her character from past games and the explanation given for her heel turn doesn't really hold water. I feel the story would be better if Penelope had the role Dmitri has where she's their help in the present and the Knight was a new character. But if you need to have Penelope as the antagonist, have her be under mind control or something. That way the team has the conflict of how will they stop the plan without hurting their friend. But if you really insist on Penelope being a full on antagonist now by her own choice, perhaps flesh out her motivations more? Maybe something like "she sees how Bentley will never reach his full potential as the Bill Gates of the world because of his criminal past that requires him to lay low and not take public credit for his inventions. So she's trying to erase the Coopers so Bentley will have never met Sly". That would at least be more than "I want money".
Everything else, I feel works more or less.
I will note that the cliffhanger ending was a weird choice given that this game wasn't projected to sell well and kinda pigenholes any story Sly 5 would be going for. Plus, it being locked behind the platinum trophy means only a small portion of the few players that played Sly 4 would even know about it.
So yeah, that's my take on platinumming Sly 4: Thieves in Time. What do y'all think?
Next up for me is platinumming every Spider-Man game on PS VITA. See you then.
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2023.05.30 22:00 ennuionwe Auto body shop?
Found a great deal on a new front bumper cover for my car, which has minor dents and paint cracks. Wondering if anyone can suggest a shop that would install a customer-provided used part. Thanks!
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2023.05.30 21:51 nuneway Help with rock chip and 2-inch scratch 🥲
| || | submitted by nuneway to GolfGTI [link] [comments]
I’m needing some help and direction for options for an early scratch, and a rock chip on my 2-week old car. I know I’m being a bit picky and particular, but she’s so new…
Rock chip is on the hood, pretty standard TBH, got it driving home on mountain Hwys. For my past cars I’d have VW paint pens on hand, and get rock chips filled in by the techs when I’d get my car detailed every year or two. Never could do it well on my own, and when I’ve tried in the distant past it almost looks worse than the chip/scratch.
The scratch is on the rear bumper, no damage to the bumper, looks like a shopping cart or bike peddle scraped the paint right off on the ridge of the bumper (street parking on a bike route is basically my parking option at home). And yes it’s a scratch, not a surface mark, hard to see in the pic but the paint is scraped off.
In my mind my options from cheapest to most expensive are:
- Get over it and accept this shit happens to your car over the course of ownership/fix later at some pint in the future (Free for now)
- Get VW paint pens and do it myself/wait for my semi-annual detail and ask techs to do it - anyone have any tips/tricks for this option if I attempt myself again? ($40 CAD for pens)
- Order Dr Colorchip through my cousin in the US. I’ve heard a bit about this brand/option but never really looked into it because we can’t order it directly to Canada. If anyone has experience with this product I’d love to hear about it (~$150 CAD for product and shipping to Canada)
- Get it done professionally. There’s an auto body shop close by that does this kind of thing for minor chips and scratches. I’m thinking of getting an estimate just because I’m curious, but anyone have a ballpark based on what you can see? If it’s around or under $4/500 CAD I could swing it.
Thanks for the help!
2023.05.30 20:16 dwredbaker Our name must be guarded before all as the most important treasure we have~D. W. "Red" Baker
Ecclesiastes 10:1-3~"Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left. Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.
"Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour
I hate flies, but dead ones in certain places is even worse.
"So doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour
- Apothecary is one that prepares and sells drugs for medicinal purposes, the business now we call druggist, or pharmaceutical chemist.
- Here is a poetic, proverbial, and very powerful metaphor to emphasize protecting one's reputation, especially so one who is known for wisdom and being in a place of honour.
- We only wish we had been taught this great lesson while still in our youth. But, yet knowing this all important truth, it is not easy to let this slip and fall into some type of sin whereby we give place for other to speak evil of our name and the God that we serve.
"~All it takes is a little folly, just as flies are so small yet cause so much stink if in the apothecary's ointment!
Though God forgives all sins, yet the damage is done, and cannot be reversed! It generally has lasting effect on so many people. Proverbs 22:1~"A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving kindness than silver or gold."
Your reputation is an asset far more important than anything you can buy. The respect of others and their affection for you is an asset you should pursue with great zeal. Your character is a precious treasure that you should enhance each day by wise choices.
What do people think, when they hear your name? Do they think graciousness, godliness, diligence, and faithfulness? Is your name sweet to their ears and thoughts? How do they speak of you to others? Are you often praised in your absence? Do others crave your company? Do they want to honor you with affection, gifts, and service?
Or is your name a bitter thought? Do they think harshness, selfishness, stubbornness, pride, moodiness, or indiscretion? Do they try to avoid you? Do they avoid you? When others talk about you, do they have to make excuses for your conduct? Do they pass over you for invitations or assignments, because you are more irritating than pleasing?
You cannot ignore these questions and be wise. Your reputation and relationships are a great measure of your life. Stop and examine your reputation with others. What others think of you is a far more accurate picture of your life than what you think about yourself, for you have an obvious bias to distort facts in your favor, and you have a deceitful heart that is deeply infatuated with yourself (Pr 16:2
; Jer 17:9
; Gal 6:3
Some people are used as well known examples of specific virtues or all virtues. Others are used as examples of poor character and problems. How is your name used? Are you spoken about affectionately and respectfully, or critically and negatively? Many have no outstanding virtues at all, so they pass through life without any honor or favor, which shows a lack of diligence and priority in pursuing godliness and virtue.
What is a good name? It is not your parents’ choice of a distinguished combination of syllables that sounds sophisticated, classy, or pleasant. It is not merely being named after a respected ancestor. Your bare name has no value at all. Solomon used “good name” as a metonym for a good reputation. He exhorted his son to emphasize having a good reputation with God and good men as one of the chief goals of life (Pr 3:4
What is loving favour here? It is not giving love and favour to others, but rather receiving love and favour from others. It is obtaining affection and respect from other virtuous persons. It is obtaining their acceptance and approval of your life. Of course, reaching such a position requires you to carefully rule your conduct to please others. It requires consistent righteous behavior to hold the esteem and trust of others (Eccl 10:1
The proverb has an ellipsis, which is missing words that shorten the sentence and give it boldness. The second clause may be read, “And loving favour is to be chosen rather than silver and gold.” These words taken from the first clause are important to fill out the whole sense of the proverb. A comparison and choice is being taught in both clauses.
In each case it is your choice. You can choose a good reputation and the loving approval of others. It is your choice. Both should be a priority. Both are more important than other measures of success. Circumstances or discrimination are excuses for foolish or lazy men who have not properly pursued these important goals. A wise man will pursue both.
What is the lesson? You should put great emphasis on your reputation and relationships. While many men chase financial and professional success with all their might, Solomon exhorted his son to value his reputation and relationships higher than these other goals. He wanted his son to grow in favor with God and men, and he ranked the importance of this achievement as more valuable than great riches (Pr 3:4
; I Sam 2:26
; Luke 2:52
How do you measure by Solomon’s lesson? How important is your reputation to you? Is it more important than any amount of money or success? Do you work harder to improve your name than to get ahead financially? How much do you value the esteem and respect of good men? Do you regularly examine your conduct to be without offence? Do you go out of your way to make sure each thing you do is done very well for all concerned?
God measures you by what others think. You cannot please God and offend good men at the same time. It is impossible. If you are pleasing God and keeping His commandments, you will please others (I Sam 18:14-16
; I John 5:2
). And your family and close friends do not count, for it is your reputation before good men that is the key. You can easily tell a person’s character by the number and kind of friends he has. These facts do not lie.
Of course, others’ opinions are not your only measure, or the most important (John 5:44
). But they are a measure. You foolishly deceive yourself to approve your life and conduct, if good men and women have a low regard of you. Joseph and Daniel were highly regarded even as captives in foreign lands by their excellent spirits and blameless lives.
Demetrius had a great name and reputation of the apostles and all men (III John 1:12
); Timothy was highly regarded both before and after he met Paul (Acts 16:1-2
; Phil 2:19-22
). This high measure of a good reputation in the world is a necessary qualification for the bishops of Jesus Christ’s churches (I Tim 3:7
). How do you measure up?
A good reputation before the world is possible, but some ungodly men will not appreciate your righteousness (I Thess 4:12
; I Pet 2:12
; Dan 6:3-5
; Luke 6:26
). Solomon primarily intended good and wise men, who know the heart and will of God and measure other men by godliness. Compromise or friendship with the world is a trait of sinners (Jas 4:4
Your opinion of yourself is quite worthless. It is usually contrary to fact. People with good reputations generally think poorly of themselves, which keeps them humble and sensitive to others; but those with bad reputations think themselves quite desirable, leading to offensive arrogance. The difference between humble modesty and self-righteousness is a large part of a good name, which is built on low self-esteem.
Your great goal is to grow in “loving favour” with God and men, as did Samuel and the Lord Jesus Christ (3:4; I Sam 2:26
; Luke 2:52
). This happens when you keep the two great commandments – love of God and love of neighbor. The “loving favour” of the proverb is how God and others treat you, which you can choose by living a consistent life of godliness and love toward them. An excellent spirit will cause others to love you.
So great are these goals – your reputation and esteem by others – they should exceed any other goal. Men work long days of hard labor for many years to get rich, but building a good name and reputation are more important. If you had a choice between a good reputation and precious ointment, which was of great value in Israel’s very dry climate and provided much personal pleasure, you should choose the good name (Eccl 7:1
Consider your funeral (Pr 10:7
). The memory of just men is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot. How will you be remembered? How long will you be remembered? Will your memory bring pleasant thoughts to hearts? Or will most cringe and be relieved? The number of persons, and their character, and their reaction at a funeral say a great deal.
You have two names. Your first name is your personal name, a unique identifier among the billions on earth. How you live and treat others creates the reputation of your first name. God gave you that name at birth with a blank reputation. What have you done with it since? You have either enhanced it or damaged it. With a single word, your name, reactions and thoughts are triggered in others. What are those thoughts?
Your second name is your surname or family name. How your family lives and treats others creates its reputation. Do you promote your family name? Or are you letting it decay? Do others desire to be with your family? Or have they been offended enough to back away? Do others want to marry into your family to obtain an interest in a good name? A good surname takes consistent godliness from many different persons.
David had a great name in the Bible. His name was much set by in Israel (I Sam 16:18
). Though Saul was king with a princely son, Jonathan and the nation loved David, for he was better than any other (I Sam 18:1-16
). Everyone wanted to be with David, be like David, or be married to David. He earned this by being gracious, humble, and wise at all times. God chose this man, though a sinner, as an example of a great name in Israel.
Blessings at Solomon’s coronation included having a name greater than his father David’s name, which was easily the greatest in Israel (I Kings 1:47
). Even God compared all later kings to David, and he was described as a man after God’s own heart. What a goal! How do you measure up, reader? Good fathers will want their sons to exceed them in reputation and loving favour, for they will know the many mistakes they have made.
Nabal was the opposite. He was churlish – overbearing, harsh, and difficult (I Sam 25:2
). His name meant fool, and even his wife said he was a fool (I Sam 25:25
). He was a man of Belial – wicked and profane. The Lord let him think about dying for ten days before killing him, so David could marry his beautiful wife right after his funeral (I Sam 25:39
Consider Joseph. Though a slave, he earned the loving favour of God and Potiphar by his exemplary conduct (Gen 39:1-6
). Though charged with attempted rape, he earned the loving favour of God and the jailor (Gen 39:19-23
). Though a long-term prisoner, he earned the loving favour of God and Pharaoh (Gen 41:38-45
; Acts 7:10
). Anyone who says their circumstances or past have poorly affected their name is just making excuses.
Consider Daniel. Though a captive eunuch from a strange, small country, he earned the loving favour of God and Ashpenaz, the prince of the eunuchs in Babylon (Dan 1:9
). Though living a public life for many decades, his enemies could not find a single error or fault by which to accuse him to the king (Dan 6:1-5
). What a role model for young men!
What can you do to build your name and reputation and win the loving favour of others?
Everything you do every day contributes toward your reputation and the favour of others. No matter how small or large, the accumulated effect of your words and actions combine to give God and men an appraisal of your character and faithfulness. Therefore, it is your solemn duty and privilege to keep your heart, lips, and feet with all prudent diligence.
Graciousness is the greatest trait for a good name and the loving favour of others, for it can win the friendship of kings and cause women to be always honored (Pr 22:11
). It is the perfect combination of gentleness, kindness, humility, and cheerfulness that makes men and women charming and delightful. How gracious are you?
Men love those who help build their lives (Pr 27:9
; Ps 141:3
). Are you a tree of life to others (Pr 11:30
)? Do they benefit by being around you (Pr 9:8
)? Do they seek you for help? Would you help fellow prisoners like Joseph did? Or your captors like Daniel did? Or a lustful king like Esther did? Or many widows like Dorcas did?
Is your speech a healing balm, a sarcastic whip, or a foolish noise? Men love pleasant and good words that are kind, gentle, friendly, and helpful (Pr 12:18
). Is your speech always gracious with only a slight saltiness of rebuke to it (Col 4:6
Charity never fails! If you learn and apply the fifteen phrases describing true love (I Cor 13:4-7
), your name will blossom as a beautiful flower. If your name is not great and your friends are few, it is evidence you have not learned true love. Charity never fails!
Just a little folly can spoil a reputation quickly (Eccl 10:1
), so you must avoid even the appearance of evil (I Thess 5:22
). And you must quickly make amends for offences (Matt 5:23-24
). Ruling your spirit constantly is necessary to stay virtuous (Pr 16:32
). Paul took extra measures to make sure he could never be accused of dishonesty (II Cor 8:21
Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest men and well received most anywhere, knows the wisdom of this proverb. He teaches others, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.”
John D. Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest men in human history, said, “The most important thing for a young man is to establish a credit – a reputation, character.” He also said, “Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.” This latter idea agrees well with Paul (Ro 12:17
; II Cor 8:21
If you are young, you have an advantage. Your reputation is still being formed, and you should apply yourself with all diligence to make it the very best before God and men. If you are young, you have not made as many mistakes as older persons, meaning you have less to live down. Choose today to make this proverb a high goal and live according to it.
Have you blown your reputation already? Do you think it is too late? It is never too late, if you will repent before God, confess your sins to him, confess your faults to others, and make amends or restitution for any wrongs you have done. David recovered his reputation after terrible sins, and so did Zacchaeus and Peter (Luke 19:1-9
; Gal 2:9
Your name and reputation are daily choices, and you should choose to build them and preserve them more than any other project or goal. You can change your name and reputation, so consider it a blessed privilege, duty, and a high priority for your life. Rather than emphasizing exercise, diet, and sleep to build your body, which has little value to God or men, exercise yourself unto godliness and loving others (I Tim 4:7
Husband, do you love your wife enough to help build her name and loving favour with others? Parent, do you understand the importance of this proverb as a goal for your children? Diligent efforts should be made every day to make sure your family name and that of each family member is clear of offence. What a wonderful family objective!
If you have taken the name of Jesus Christ as a Christian, it is important that your name and reputation give honor to your religion and its Leader (II Tim 2:19
). Be like those of Pentecost, who grew in favor with all the people (Acts 2:47
; Phil 2:14-16
). Let your life adorn the doctrine of God with glory and beauty (Titus 2:5
). Be like those nameless brethren endorsed by Paul as “the glory of Christ” (II Cor 8:23
Jesus of Nazareth grew in favour with God and men during his youth (Luke 2:52
). He was most gracious in conduct and speech (Ps 45:2
; Luke 4:22
). Because He loved righteousness and hated wickedness, God’s loving favour blessed Him with the oil of gladness above His fellows (Heb 1:9
). His name is above every name by many measures. Choose to have a perfect name, even as His name is perfect in heaven and in earth. ( J. R. Crosby a friend of mine )
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2023.05.30 20:02 Centumviri Welcome to Green Valley: 4 Bumpkin Quest Adventures
Welcome to Green Valley
Four Merry Jaunts Through in the Bumpkin Quest Campaign
It’s a big world filled with far off folks who have far off problems. In the quaint farming town of Hills Furrow that has certainly not been the case. Here life is simple, local, and paced by the seasons. There ain’t been a need for “Venturers” and their ilk since your Papaw was just a sprout. However, the winds of change are blowin, and things are about to git just a bit more exciting round these parts.
Welcome to Green Valley, The down-home home of Rural Fantasy Misadventures and Grass-Roots Shenanigans. The Valley is Filled with Colorful Characters, Brimming with Odd Ball Neighbors, and has more than a few Local Yokels. Welcome to Bumpkin Quest. These adventures are intended to be a series of silly adventures that all go awry in some way or another and stir up trouble throughout a peaceful little village that has in many ways been overlooked by the troubles of the world “outside”. CHAPTER 1: Green Tide CHAPTER 2: A Cartload of Chickens CHAPTER 3: Marvin the Magnificent CHAPTER 4: High Society ADVENTURE MECHANICS
- Target Character Level: Commoners - Level 1 - Target Party Size: Four Players - Average Adventure Playtime: 1-2 Hours - Tone: Rural Misadventures
I’ve also put these adventures into a PDF that includes our Bumpkin Quest: Campaign Guide
which fills in the details of Green Valley pretty thoroughly. The quests are simple enough to be run in any setting you choose, but if you're interested in more the Guide as over a dozen Custom Maps, 70+ NPCs, Location Descriptions, 20+ Local Legends, and Scores of Adventure and Event Ideas. You can grab the PDF Free at the link above.
At the center of the Valley sits a patch of small grassy hills, through which the Slow Water meanders through. Built into these hills is the Village of Hills Furrow. Celebrated by everyone living in The Valley and boasting a whopping population of almost 150, Hills Furrow is the center of commerce and social importance. Well, at least as far as the locals are concerned. Realistically it would be less than a blip on the grand scale of things, a mere kernel of wheat in the silo of civilization, but to those who live here, there is nothing quite like living in the “city”.
The Village itself, like the Valley, is predominantly Halfling, and their fancy dwellings are burrowed into the hillsides as often as possible. These dwellings have been family owned for generations only becomeing available if there are no heirs to pass them along to. Other folk live in well kept two story shingled buildings, most of which house a business on the lower floor and house the Shopkeepers and their families above their workplaces, though a few live in nearby homes. There aren’t many “rental” spaces in town, as property is usually bought up quickly by the Halfling Families, but there are long term options at either of the Inns in town. Hills Furrow: Locations
1) The Crocked Crow (Inn and Tavern) 2) The Dancing Lamb (Inn and Tavern) 3) The Moaning Toad (Tavern) 4) Granny's Groceries (General Market) 5) Get Nailed (Hardware and Distilery) 6) Gimdurh's Hammer (Smithy) 7) Brenra's Mechanicals (Tinker) 8) Hjoldren's Home Goods (Carpenter) 9) Standard Industries (Office) 10) Fit to be Dyed (Tailor) 11) The Last Loaf (Baker) 12) The Cloudy Cleaver (Butcher) 13) Nature's Medecine (Apothecary) 14) Sheriff's Office 15) Green Valley School House 16) The Waterwheel 17) The Windmill 18) The Undercloak Estate 19) Truefoot Burrow 20) The Meadows Family Hill
The people themselves are hospitable and friendly enough, but they do not really trust outsiders. Folks from foreign places are good for trade, news, and little else. Those that come through are treated well enough as long as they don’t wear out their welcome. Locals, well, that’s a bit of a different story. The city and area doesn’t operate under a written caste system or social structure, but there is clearly a pecking order, and family heritage matters a great deal to folks in Hills Furrow. Most locals, whether they’ve gotten an education or not, can easily be classified as simple. It isn’t that they are slow of mind or unintelligent, but more that they are unconcerned with matters the outside world considers important. This sentiment has created a general, but friendly, dislike between those that consider themselves Highfalutin and those that clearly are not.
Well now that I've given you the fifty cent tour. Shall we get on to adventure?
CHAPTER 1: Green Tide
We will open our journeys in the Green Valley at Green Tide, the annual celebration of Winter’s End. This adventure is designed to give a tour of Hills Furrow and introduce them to the locals. It will begin with some chores around their house to prepare for the festival and end with a battle involving an enchanted broom. If you did not do Session Zero, this chapter may take a bit longer as we get to know everyone and their characters.
ACT 1: Pre-Festival
The locals spend the week cleaning out their houses and farms. They gather old junk and unused items to be used later in the festival. They also begin preparing what food is left from winter to be used in a celebration and feasts. Things to do!
- Have the Players clean up junk around the house - Have them Find something strange (Perhaps used for a later mystery?) - Have them Decorate their Broom - Have them run a Household Errand (Meet an NPC)
ACT 2: Sweeping Day
A merry festival celebrating Spring cleaning and putting the past behind them. They form a parade, with one member from each house carrying a brightly decorated broom and using it to symbolically “Sweep Away Winter”. The rest of the family marches their winter’s trash and unused goods down to the Fairgrounds. The goods are often traded, while the trash is piled in the fire pit to await burning later. The entire day is filled with fun outdoor activities. Households also symbolically bring their problems to the bonfires to burn them later. Things to do!
- March in the Parade - Carry Junk to the Bonfire - Meet more of the Locals EVENT: I Love a Parade
The parade will march North from near the Cross Roads in the South up around the hill and back again to the South where it will head for the Fairgrounds. There isn’t anything particularly challenging about this event, but it would be a wonderful place to start leaning into or building local rivalries. EVENT: Never Seen a Broom Do That…
As they come into the home stretch of the Parade one of the local’s Brooms will animate and take off. It will chase folks around the parade. The players can attempt to stop it, but the broom will flee soon after being attacked. It will fly up into the air, attack a flock of geese, and chase them off until it can’t be seen anymore. They can go and collect a fallen goose if they wish. I highly recommend giving it a motorcycle type sound as it flies around hitting folks. Maybe even going as far as giving it a rough gravel angry voice and letting it insult people.
ACT 3: Winter’s End
Winter’s End is a Combination of Groundhog’s Day and Fasnacht, this day gets a little wild. The Festival kicks off at dawn with the Great Gopher Hunt. Gophers are well known spies for The Voice of Winter and thus need to be hunted before they can tell The Voice to delay Spring. Gophers themselves are quite tasty, and are notoriously bad for crops, so this works out economically all around. Throughout the rest of the day families continue to contribute to the Bonfire Pile which often gets quite large. At dusk a large effigy of The Voice of Winter is placed on top of the pile. Once the sun has fully set they light the fire and burn the Effigy. Folk usually dress darkly during the day and brightly at night. After the burning they feast on sweets and treats that were made from goods saved up from winter storage. Things to do!
- The Great Gopher Hunt - Carry Junk to the Bonfire - Meet more of the Locals - The Fairground’s Activities EVENT: The Great Gopher Hunt
The Hunt begins at dawn and takes place all over the Valley. Locals race to collect as many Gophers as possible. It is easiest to kill the Gopher, but there are some that find that distasteful. Instead they live trap the critters. It is a bit tougher to do so, but an option should your players wish. This is most easily played out as a series of appropriate Skill Checks, in which the higher they score the more gophers they obtain. EVENT: Trash Removal
They may find some locals willing to pay them to help cart junk down to the bonfire pile. Not a lot of skill involved in this, but it is a great opportunity to meet locals, and you could throw a runaway cart at them. Fair Activities
They will probably want to take part in Fairground Activities. Players love these types of challenges. Here are a few ideas you can build on. - Axe Throwin: Basic attack rolls on a Round Target. Higher scores equal Higher points. - Bow Shootin: Basic attack rolls on Moving Targets. Higher scores equal Higher points. - Pig Chasin: Catch the greased Pig! Medium DC Challenge requiring three success before three Failures. - Mud Wrastlin: Nothing says bumpkin like a good Mud Wrastlin Pit. Contested Skill Challenges. - Sausage Eating Contest: Increasingly difficult DC Challenge. Eat till you puke! Can also be Pies or Ribs or Little Fish… you know whatever someone wants to stuff dozens of in their gullet. - Tug O’War: Team Strength Challenge. Three to Five Contested Rolls with opposing teams. - Gopher BBQ Cook Off: A Hard Culinary Challenge to see who can BBQ the best Gopher! - Races: Foot and Mount Races based on Three to Five Contested Rolls. I usually include a few odd mounts like a Giant Chicken or some such nonsense.
ACT 4: Day of Ashes
The Day of Ashes is a day of rest, recovery, and reflection. Locals take the ashes from the bonfires and rub their hands in them to symbolize the end of a hard year’s work and hardships of the past. The day ends with a large family feast, typically Pork. Activities this day are light, but many folks head to the Temple for the Calling of Spring Blessings. They put on their fancies and head down to ask forgiveness for over-indulging in the festival and for worship. Well sort of…
Unfortunately, a lot of folks take this as an opportunity to peacock about and practice their one-upmanship over other locals. If you’re looking for inspiration for their outfits look to older photos of the Kentucky Derby. Over the years this troubling practice has caused more than one fight to break out after the service.
*Things to do! *
- Go to Temple and Meet More Locals - Pick a Local Patron! EVENT: Temple Services
The majority of the town comes to Temple on this day. The service is usually longer, and a bit more “Where have most of you been all year?” But otherwise it is a call for the Divine Blessings to touch their crops and protect their lives. It ends with a ceremony in which the locals put their hands into the ashes from yesterday’s bonfire. Once services end they will head outside, where the trouble will begin. Two of the wealthier families will get into it with each other. Starting with a couple of veiled insults, probably before service and continuing afterward. If one of your players is from a local Rich Folk family then they can be right in the middle of it all, otherwise they will have to pick a side. This choice will determine their house Patron moving forward. Tension will increase until folks start drawing up sides, and then someone will throw a rotten tomato at one of the House Matrons. That will blow the lid off the incident and a yokel brawl will break out. For comedy purposes I recommend the instant appearance of several food carts filled with expired products, and maybe a six year old hustler selling big sticks for wacking folks with. As the locals brawl call for perception checks. Who ever rolls highest begins to hear… The Broom returning! ENCOUNTER: Stick In The Eye
The broom returns ready to whoop some ash. It will be absolutely bent on cleaning anyone and everyone who is even the slightest bit dirty! If it successfully attacks a character they will have to make a Strength Saving throw or be knocked to the ground and swept clean by the broom. As this would be an awful omen for the year folks are terrified and will be running around screaming. Absolute mass hysteria. If the players were lucky enough to hear it coming they can avoid being surprised by the broom. Otherwise the broom will get a full round to attack before they have a chance to do anything. They’ll have to beat the broom into submission any way they can before it sweeps the whole town into chaos!
After defeating the broom things will settle back down again. Bumpkins are quick to return to normal when things go awry. However, they will have gotten the attention of one of the Wealthy Families in the area and be offered jobs. Which family is really, based on what will work best for them and you as the DM. For gags you might be tempted to have the Yokels pick them up, but that is a hard bit to sustain, and you may be better served keeping them on the side as a comic foil rather than up front. Completely up to you. The session should end with them being invited to meet their new patron tomorrow someplace important.
CHAPTER 2: A Cartload of Chickens
After successfully defeating the Enchanted Broom, our Bumpkins have gained the attention of a possible local Patron. This individual has summoned them to a nearby farm to discuss future work. That work includes proving themselves capable and not just lucky.
ACT 1: Meet the Boss
In this Act the players will meet with their new patron, one of the Family Heads, who that is entirely depends on their choices from the last game. This entire side branch is designed to flavor the background of the campaign, but if you’d rather just have them stay freelancing and independent that’s fine as well. There is also the possibility of “competing” offers should they have second thoughts for any reason. Once they arrive at the meeting spot their Patron will ask them some questions about their ambitions (Class Goals), they will then hand them off to their new “boss” who will assign them their task. They will take them to a nearby barn. NEW NPC: “Boss” Needs a fitting name for the Family they work for...
Character wise, what we got here is a standard “Ranch Foreman” character. They’re tough, A little mean, and completely loyal to their employer. They almost certainly chew tobacco (by the handful), have a tattoo of the Ranch’s Brand, and know where all the bodies are buried. They also have a huge and obvious scar on the side of their head where a Giant Chicken pecked a hole in their skull, so they’re not as bright as they used to be, not at all truthfully. Nor are they actually the Foreman anymore, but no one has a heart to tell them. They’ve been quietly downgraded to Chicken Handler, which is something they seem to remember quite well, but the brain damage keeps them from realizing all that. They can be found wandering the Farm giving strange orders to other Hands. These Hands nod politely and then go back to what they are doing. Things To Do!
- Meet Their Patron - Discuss Their Future - Meet Their New “Boss”
ACT 2: Chicken Dance
Boss will lead them into the odd looking barn. This building is filled with Giant Chickens. These two-three foot fouls have extremely exaggerated features, spiky looking beaks with sharp tooth like edges, big darting eyes, bumpy cracked skin, long gnarled talons, and dirty mottled feathers. They’re more beast than bird. But, they’re good for eatin! These creatures should have a stat block similar to an Axe Beak. When the players enter into the Barn the Chickens will go nuts, obviously deeply bothered by the intrusion. Boss will throw in some deer haunches and the birds will tear them apart in a feeding frenzy. They will then put on a Chicken Suit and begin a flapping dance. (Google Magnificent Riflebird) It should be absolutely captivating and the chickens will become mesmerized, watching every move. Boss will then load two dozen chickens onto a large wagon and lock it. They will have the players push the wagon out while he keeps the Chickens calm. Once outside they’ll hang heavy tarps on the sides of the wagon, and remove the suit. He will then explain to them that they need to keep the tarps on the wagon, and keep the birds well fed, or the chickens will get restless and become violent. When they do need to interact with them someone will have to wear the suit and dance to keep them calm. The bigger the person in the suit the better. Boss will then give them a Map of Green Valley and instruct them to drop off two chickens at each of the outer settlements. They have two days to get this done. Things To Do!
- Head into the barn - Witness The Dance of The Chicken - Push the Wagon out - Get the Costume and Delivery Instructions
ACT 3: Bumpy Roads
They will be off to deliver the Chickens to various locations. There is no specific order to this delivery, they just need to pick a route and go. If they’re short on time they can take the country roads that lead between the outer settlements, but these aren’t as well kept as the main roads are. Whatever road they take and wherever they decide to stop for the night there are problems they will encounter along the way. You can make them random or pick the ones that best suit your players. Most of these should at some point require someone putting on the suit and dancing for the chickens to keep them calm. I would also increase the difficulty of each event. If they fail a dance the Chickens will become restless and start attacking the cart until they are calmed down. Too many failures and the wagon’s cage will break and the remaining chickens escape. They will then have to be rounded up and the cage repaired. Things to Do
- Decide the delivery route - Deliver the chickens - Keep the Chickens calm Possible Road Events
1) Rough roads cause problems 2) Yokels attempt to see what’s in the cart 3) Bad Weather swamps the road or scares the chickens 4) Pack of Coyotes causes trouble. 5) Chicken Rustlers! Protect the Flock! 6) Wagon breaks and needs repair 7) Cows in the road, someone’s herd is out. 8) Broken Bridge, not gone, just broken
ACT 4: Final Delivery
They’re now closing in on the final delivery. Something needs to happen here to cause them to put the suit on. Or maybe they never took it off! I love that idea, that one of your players just loves the suit and wants to be a chicken… lol… Anyway I’m a fan of having them need to get out of the suit for some reason, maybe a bathroom break, or they stand on a fire ant hill, or a snake slithers up their leg. You know something silly and fun. BUT the zipper is stuck! So they’ll have to try and unstick it and fast! Whatever happens they’re going to get shot at by some hunters looking for a big score who have mistaken the flailing caused by the stuck zipper to be the chicken attacking. After dealing with the Hunters they can go ahead and make the final drop. And head home. Things to Do!
- Head for the final delivery - Get shot at! - Deliver the last chickens ENCOUNTER: That’s a BIG Chicken!
Having two hunters in the field is more than enough to cause a problem for the players. The hunters will almost certainly surprise the players, but you can allow them a perception check, if they succeed they’ll see the hunters just before the muskets go off. It would be OK to down the Chicken Player here if the hunters successfully hit it. They’ll have healer’s kits on hand because, well, this seems to happen to them a lot out here. After the initial attack the players can decide to attack back or try and talk the hunters down. A basic Bandit or Scout stat block should do will for the hunters. If you’re looking for a bit more mayhem, if the hunters miss the players you could have them hit the cage, and you know, bust it open. This may be especially tempting if they POSSIBLE ENCOUNTER: Big Ol' Frog
So there is a giant frog hiding in the mud down in the creek. If a player takes cover behind the banks there is a good chance that the frog will attempt to nab the player as a snack. If it is successful in grabbing a player with its tongue it will immediately head down river, and they'll have to chase it to get their friend back.
When they return, Boss will reward them. How much will depend on how successful they were delivering the birds. If they did a descent job, they will be paid two day’s wages each. If they were completely successful they can have a bonus. However, if the wagon is in bad shape they might have some money deducted. After they’re paid out, they will be dismissed, and told to expect a new assignment next week.
CHAPTER 3: Marvin the Magnificent
After successfully delivering chickens Boss is going to trust them with a more important task. Their employer has requested an item to be created by Marvin the Magnificent. This is a farming community so having enchanted Farming Equipment is extremely desirable. Marvin has done a lot of basic enchantments over the years, but this new one, an The Stone Skipper, a plough whose blade goes ethereal while in contact with stones too large to push away, has really put him to the test. He needs some help with the final enchantments. The players will have to travel to the Ethereal Plane and hit the Blade of the plow with large rocks. But there’s a problem, they’re going to have mischievous Ethereal Sprites attempting to stop them! If they’re successful, which they should be, they get to take the plough for a test drive, and deal with the strange side effects of the enchantment. Angry goats that blink in and out of existence.
ACT 1: To the Tower
They’ll be summoned out to the Ranch where they’ll meet with Boss again. Once there they will notice a large pile of bent and dinged up plows. Boss will explain to them that a recent land acquisition has become problematic. The Fields are filled with large stones just under the topsoil and they’ve damaged a lot of Plow Blades. The Smithing costs are getting out of hand and so their Patron is looking for an alternate solution to the problem. He is sending them to help Marvin the Magnificent, who has taken the job, but run into some complications and needs some help. They may ask about Marvin. Or perhaps the fields that were purchased, so be ready to answer these types of questions. Once they’re done here they can head to Marvin’s Tower, which is just north of town. Things to Do!
- Meet Boss again - Ask some Informational Questions - Head for the Tower NPC: Marvin the Magnificent
ACT 2: Marvin the Magnificent
As they approach the tower they should see an explosion at the peak of the structure. It should look similar to a fireworks mishap. When it clears there will be no visible damage to the tower, But Marvin will plummet to the earth just off to the side of them, landing in a small pond. He will then come charging out of the pond, laughing hysterically, and riding on a large turtle. Once he gets a few feet away from the pond the turtle will disappear and he will tumble to the ground right in front of the players. He will leap up quickly and turn toward the players. “Behold Travelers, You stand in the presence of Marvin the Magnificent! And everything you have witness was mostly intended!” He will then strike a cool pose with his wand pointed to the sky! “Now why do you approach my tower!?”
Once Marvin finds out they’ve been sent about the plow he will become more nervous looking. “I see, well follow me. We have work to do.” He will then start walking toward the tower… his boots squishing out water. This should give them a little time to ask a few questions. Marvin will be a little subversive about what they need to do. He will attempt to frame it very mysteriously, saying things like “All will be revealed soon.” and “Save your questions! All Answers await us… in the future!” If they ask him about what they witnessed outside, he will tell them he was working on a mount summoning spell designed for lakes and rivers. Things to Do!
- Head toward the Tower - Meet Marvin - Ask Questions
ACT 3: The Cabinet of Mysteries
The inside of the Wizard’s Tower will be far more mundane than they likely expect. At least on the first floor. It will have a sitting room, dining room, and kitchen, as well as a few odds and ends about. Nothing special at all. The second floor, are Marvin’s personal quarters and some room for study, but it is the third floor, where Marvin will lead them, and it will be more of what one would expect in a Wizard’s tower. There will be books shelves, arcane equipment, and storage for components. In the middle of the room will be a tall cabinet.
Marvin will explain to them that the Cabinet is a transportation device, and that he will need them to enter into it with a plow that he has recently enchanted. They will be taken to the Ethereal Plane, and once there they’ll need to take the plow outside and begin hitting it with large field stones. There is a large pile of stones just on the north edge of the tower. They’ll have to do this quickly, before the “others” show up. Who are the others? Hard to say, but there are things that live in the Ethereal Plane that don’t like intruders. The idea is to imbue the Plow with Ethereal Powers so it can pass through large stones while plowing fields. Once they return with the Enchanted Plow, Marvin will have them load it on a cart, pulled by a very smart Donkey, and send them on their way. Skill Challenge: Enchant the Plow
This skill challenge will require five successes before they’re incapacitated by the others. However they decide to do it, they’ll have to successfully hit the plow with five large stones. Failures will result in strange indiscernible entities attacking them. They do minimal damage but could knock people out if there are enough failures. Things to Do!
- Move Through Marvin’s Tower - Enter the Cabinet - Enchant the Plow
ACT 4: Blinking Goats
Upon returning to Boss with the Plow they will be happily greet and paid. Their Patron will be there and will be very pleased with their success. He will ask them to demonstrate the plow’s abilities. Once they get set up out in the field and begin plowing something weird will happen. Every time they hit a stone and the plow’s power activates an Ethereal Goat will manifest and kick or ram the plow, and then disappear. It will feel very similar to what they encountered in the Ethereal Plane. They’ll have to find a way to deal with the manifestations. ENCOUNTER: Ethereal Goats
These goats should function very similarly to Blink Dogs, but I would trim the HP and AC a little to put them in line with the party’s. They will be intent on breaking the Plow not the party, although they will attack the party if they can’t get to the Plow. Things to Do!
- Deliver the Plow - Drive the Plow - Defeat the Ethereal Goats
Once defeated the Boss will come over to yell at them, but the Patron will find the entire thing amusing and more importantly, another impressive demonstration of the player’s skills. He will invite them to the “House” for an important party next week.
Chapter 4: High Society
They've definitely been noticed now and have impressed with their ability, unconventional as it may be. They are invited to their patron's home, but not as guests. Though, they might think they were actually invited as guests! They have been brought in to help work the event held out at the Party Field. They will have to gather party supplies, help put up the tent, and then serve the actual guests. During the evening’s entertainment a hypnotist “The Great Dr Hypnotika” will mesmerize the crowd and attempt to rob them all. Hopefully the players don’t fall victim to her schemes. And if they do oh well, they’ll be entertained all the same.
ACT 1: Special Delivery
The players arrive at the Patron’s very nice property. They will be greeted by a properly dressed servant with a clipboard, the Party Planner. The Planner will be rigid and direct. They will immediately begin tasking them about. If they mention that they were invited to the party the servant will laugh “You didn’t think you were a guest? Oh dear, how embarrassing. You’re the help! It is still a great honor to be tasked to help at the Party, but you’re not guests. Now as for your current task. Head into town and gather these supplies. Bring them to the field by noon.” After the instructions are given the servant will go back to their tasks and expect the players to do the same. They will have three stops; The Crocked Crow for Food and Beer, Get Nailed for the Tent and Spirits, and Shalana Proud-Breed’s Tailor Shop to pick up the Dry Cleaning. Feel free to make any and all of these go sideways! Its a good place to toss in some shenanigans as well! They should also be introduced to Dr Hypnotika and her associates. Things To do!
- Go to their Patron’s Home - Meet the Party Planner and Dr Hypnotika - Run their Errands NPC: Dr Hypnotika
Dr Hypnotika and her group will perform for the party. Hypnotica is a Tiefling Mezmerist and illusionist. She has an obnoxiously high charisma and some pretty serious skills to back up her claims. However, she uses those skills to beguile her guests, robbing them blind while they are under her spells. She wears a fine robe with a bedazzled headwrap. She has dark upward spiraling horns, light purple skin, and matching eyes. She wears a monocle and walks with a ceremonially carved staff depicting the "Struggles of the Universe". She is extremely persuasive and even more deceptive. Even if someone were to grow suspicious she can easily talk her way out of trouble. NPCs: Clapper and Bob
Hypnotika brings with her two assistants. Clapper the suit wearing Kenku who will perform wondrous displays of mimicry and slight of hand, and her strongman Bob the Kobold. Bob wears a leopard print strongman's outfit and is amazingly swole, particularly for a kobold, and capable of lifting upwards of 400lbs. Bob doesn't do much else other than get hit with things. in the act.
ACT 2: Put up the Tent
After they finish running their errands they will be tasked with putting up a large party tent. This Act is an ongoing Skill Challenge and should have a constantly distracted feel to it. First they have to unpack the tent. Then they have to realize some pieces are missing, they’ll have to form a solution to that problem. After that wind should cause some problems as the tent is at least being pulled up. This is a great moment for some wondrous tom-foolery. Things To do!
- Unpack the tent - Deal with missing parts - Secure the tent during the wind gusts
ACT 3: Put These On
After they finish putting up the tent they’ll be sent to the Servant’s Quarters to bathe and change. They’ll get a little time to explore and snoop if they wish. Afterward they’ll be tasked with helping in the kitchen, but unfortunately the cooks are going to have been playing a drinking game all afternoon and are no longer fully capable of doing their jobs. This would make a great moment for some sort of mini-game where the players have to determine whether or not the cooks are doing the right things. Once the dinner has been completed they will have to serve the guests. This is a good place to insert gossip and help them meet a few other folks. Things To do!
- Get changed for the party - Deal with the drunk cooks - Serve the guests drinks and food
ACT 4: An Evening to Remember
At some point in the evening things are going to start sliding downhill. Some of the locals will have become extremely inebriated and will need to be encouraged to leave, or just moved off to the side as they’ve already passed out, before the show begins. Once the show begins the locals will become fixated on the goings on. “The Great Dr Hypnotika” will have put an additive in the drinks for the that will make everyone more susceptible to her powers of persuasion. Once the show starts she will have them all doing silly things, those who drank have disadvantage on saves against her powers. She will end the show asking the guests to display their most valuable treasure, a with a hypnotic pattern and then send her assistants out to collect those treasures. The players will have to “do something” about the thieves. Things To do!
- Deal with Drunks - Watch the Show - Stop the Criminals ENCOUNTER: Hypnotika's Gang
This encounter doesn't have to be a fight. If Hypnotika is caught she may claim it was all part of the act and simple return the valuables with a "no harm, no foul" type attitude. This will be he go to in an attempt to avoid a fight, but if the character persist in some kind of retribution or punishment the situation will devolve into a combat. Hypnotica herself is an Illusionist Wizard but is low on spells after the show. Clapper is a low level rogue and Bob a Barbarian, and should play out as such. Even with Skills they are combat adverse and will be looking for an opportunity to flee rather than fight. They do have a getaway wagon out front that they'll be headed for if things go south.
We’re assuming the Bumpkins at least attempted to stop the robbery. This will draw a lot of attention to them. Their Patron will be well pleased with them, and let them know they will be getting much more important jobs in the future. The guests will also take note and will begin treating them all a bit better. They’re all essentially Folk Heroes at this point for secondary backgrounds. Their Patron should reward them with something very nice as the party kicks back in. They will need to finish out the nights work of course.
Congratulations! Your Players have completed their first Quest-line! Hopefully it was a delightful experience. But now that they've finished what comes next? Well, here are some ideas.
*Reward Them! *
They've been doing some rather Adventurous things lately, and therefore should now have a Class Level under their belt, so the real D&D world now opens to them! Maybe it is time for some real adventuring gear. No more sticks, stones, and burlap sack armor. Folk Heroes?
There's a good chance that the Valley is Speaking the News about them and their exploits while drinking in the taverns. They may have even earned the actual Folk Hero Feat! Maybe someone would be interested in giving them a task! Simply Go Exploring!
There are a lot of places in Green Valley that we only dipped our toes into. You could have them head down to Stinkmarsh, or maybe climb up the cliffs of Longridge. The world (Well, the Valley) is wholly open to them. Explore Local Legends
There are lots of local legends they can look into! Hopefully they search out something that isn't too far over their heads! Continue Working for their Patron
It would be an easy DM go to simply to have them continue working for their current Patron. They've probably been impressive enough fo a family to be interested in keeping them on. Establish Themselves as Adventurers!
Maybe they want to set up a Adventurers for Hire business? This "Heroes Guild" approach is really appealing to a lot of players and absolutely plays into Bumpkin Quest. Just remember, this is a place of low key problems that locals make really big deals out of. So the idea of slaying dragons shouldn't really be on the table... that is until an actual dragon shows up! Which one day absolutely should.
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2023.05.30 19:56 Palgary Gender Queer History and Book Reading Recommendation
Back in the 90's, I was reading the DSM to figure out "what was wrong with me". And, I came across GID. I talked to people about it, especially women who were older then me, and they all told me they experienced the same things I did: hating their body, and wishing they weren't treated like objects, wanting to be seen as competent and intelligent and capable.
Part of the criteria was something like: "Is not solely the desire for the social role of the opposite sex".
When I was fully honest with myself, I recognized that's what I really wanted; which meant GID diagnosis didn't fit. I knew transsexuals and saw them as being different from me - people with a medical condition helped by transitioning.
However, I came across "GenderQueer". It defined "Gender as performance" - something you act throughout the day. We could choose to reject the social norms associated with our sex, and over time this would loosen up society so that it's more accepted of people as they are, and not as a stereotype.
Well, it was a good idea! But post 9/11 I saw a massive shift with people pushing their children to be extremely feminine or masculine, where my generation encouraged boys to play with dolls and girls to value education (in the middle class at least).
Somewhere along the way, this completely separate idea became popular, and I had no idea where it came from.
Well - I found it and wanted to share it!
In 1995 there was a book published called "Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender". It was republished in 2005 as "From Transgender to Transhuman: A Manifesto On the Freedom Of Form".
And - it might not be the original source of the ideas, but it compiles all the "being transgender is not a mental illness" arguments people make today in one book.
But it's much more direct.
So - I propose there are at least 3 different competing ideas:
- The medical definition of transgendetranssexual
- The Gender Rebel model of breaking gender roles
- The Transhuman model that people should be encouraged to ponder their gender, find a place on the spectrum they feel comfortable, and have the freedom to modify their bodies to match their gender.
The main reason I'm posting it here is how the mixing of these ideas has harmed the community:
- People are being told the transhuman idea that they should find a place they are comfortable, and match their body to their mind. They are also being told that it's medical care that will make them well.
When someone says "You Chose This" - it's because they believe the Transhuman model, not the medical model, of transition.
If you search "From Transgender to Transhuman" you should find a site called TransReads that has a copy.
I am thinking it may be healing for some people here to read this - to understand the pressures they were under, and how this idea ended up directing medical care:
The apartheid of sex is too ancient to be dismantled overnight. But there are concrete steps that can start the process of liberating humanity’s future, among them:
• Adopting resolutions in the psychological and medical community to the effect that sex in humans is a continuous variable, a complex of phenotypic and genotypic factors as unique as one’s fingerprints. While male and female categories are useful to group biological characteristics for medical purposes, these same categories have socially detrimental effects when used outside the field of medicine.
• Adopting laws that prohibit the classification of people according to sex type except for bona fide medical purposes.
• Adopting educational curricula and entertainment programming that encourage the concept of self-defined sex and flexible gender behaviors. Sex should really be the sum of behaviors we call gender—an adjective, not a noun. People should explore genders. When they settle on a set of gender behaviors, the name for that set describes their sex. There are billions of sex types: from Rambo to Oprah, from Madonna to Prince, from deep blue to blood red, and a vast rainbow of androgynous possibilities in between. The important point is that gender exploration should come first, through free choice, and that sex is just the label for one’s chosen gender.
Today we go about the matter of sex ass backward. A male or female label is first imposed upon us without choice. We are then trained to adopt a set of appropriate gender behaviors, whether we like them or not. We have some flexibility in our particular choice of gender behavior but not much choice, lest we fall afoul of the apartheid of sex. However, feminism, technology, and transgenderism have debunked the myth of a “male and female” world. Life has much more gender potential than we can imagine.
submitted by Palgary
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