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Scuf lived up to its poor reputation

2020.10.27 20:22 Frequent_Fruit_5360 Scuf lived up to its poor reputation

Here's a summary for those of you who don't care to read this rant:
You pay Scuf $200. You wait 3 weeks. You receive a broken controller out of the box. They don't respond to your service requests until you pester them and write bad reviews. You ship it back to Scuf facilities (on your dime) so they can repair your broken, brand new controller. Now you've spent even more money, waited even more time, and have a controller that you might be able to use for 3-6 months best case scenario. Asinine. Do like me and get a refund. Or do one better and don't buy one at all.
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So against all advice that I'd come to read on the internet, I decided to purchase a very attractive, custom Scuf Prestige controller (~$211).
Basically it's been a month long process of trying to recover that money. Let me elaborate:
I ordered a controller, like many of you here. And like most of you, I waited several weeks for the controller to arrive, enduring Scuf's arduous assembly process. This process features a stage wherein someone at Scuf ensures that the controller works properly before it's sent to the customer [hint: I think this is a lie].
When the controller arrived, I expected the battery to be charged, so I began playing immediately. Within a few minutes, the controller disconnected from the console, so I assumed that the battery needed juice (despite the gauge reading full, which even Scuf will tell you isn't accurate whatsoever). I played the rest of the night with the controller plugged in, and left it charging until I the next evening (so the controller was plugged in for nearly 24 hours straight after it initially lost connection).
The next evening I was excited to use my $200+ plus controller wirelessly-- the very controller which advertised stupendous battery life. I turn the xbox on, remove the controller from the cable and had just neough time to jump out of the plane in warzone before the controller disconnected. Again. This time, mid flight. I splattered on the ground. I cursed. I reconnected the controller to its tether.
Frustrated, I fought my way through the Gulag. Bam; Redployment. Now I'm falling through the sky and I open my map, only to realize yet another fatal flaw: The map cursor is slowly moving downward, but I'm not touching the right stick. I flick the right stick, and the dragging stops. I touch it again, and it resumes. I can't. Then I checked and confirmed the dragging in other games, other game modes.
I immediately emailed Scuf support to make them aware of the two critical issues that I experienced out of the box, as I'm sitting here with a controller that took 3-4 weeks from the purchase date to arrive...And then I couldn't use it for the first week that I had it in my possession because I was waiting for support to get back to me. Of course, initially I was hoping they would tell me it needed a firmware update or something. But no. They waited a full week, and then responded with "make sure the battery is charged." Which not only is that a beyond absurd response given the situation, I specifically noted in my support email that I had already charged the battery. I told them I had, and then concluded that I'd need to send it back to Scuf for repair. So after 3-4 weeks for delivery, a week of non-use, a week to ship it back, and then Scuf's multiple week-long repair process? So what, I'm supposed to pay Scuf $200 and get a usable controller 3 months later? No. No chance. I sent the controller back over a week ago requested a refund. They have not issued the refund.
I have bought thousands of items online through the years. I have dealt with incredible and terrible customer service teams. Scuf is the only company I have ever dealt that delivers a customer service experience so bad that I can identify literally no redeeming quality of whatsoever. They don't even stand by their product or offer to send a new one. You're either waiting months to send it back for repair, or you're getting a refund (on their time). They do not care about their customers.
submitted by Frequent_Fruit_5360 to scufgaming [link] [comments]


2020.10.27 20:07 NemoWatches Oblivious player is oblivious.

 This story takes place a long time ago, like, pre-“cellphone in every pocket” era. This may be a bit long. I was in my teens and I was hooked on playing D&D. Playing roleplaying games kept me out of trouble and also kept me from indulging in certain….habits. My regular group wanted to branch out with other games like World of Darkness and Shadowrun, but I truly loved playing D&D (2nd Edition at the time). I realized I could get my fix by joining another group at the local gaming shop. The owner told me there were two groups playing D&D and one was actually looking for people to join up. After making a phone call and some arrangements, I returned to the store to meet up with the group. 
The group was seven people:
The DM, a college student in his early 20’s. His group had split up, as they do, so he and his friend, Fox, wanted to create a new one. He was a very good DM who was an aspiring writer. He understood the concept of collaborative story telling way before most. He really wanted his players to help drive the story. He was a fast thinker and was able to adapt to change. He wasn’t the most original story teller, copying many ideas from movies and books, but his stories were fun.
“Fox”, another college student, early 20’s and the DM’s roommate. He played a Human ranger. Dual wielder build , think Madmartigan from “Willow”. Fox and the DM seemed to be old friends. Fox was very funny and quick witted. Tall guy with kind of a frat guy vibe to him, I felt like he was going to be an a$$h*!e, but he was more of a “laugh with you” versus a “laugh at you” kind of guy.
“Blue”, a young lady in her early 20’s, playing a Drow cleric. Drow were rare back then, but Drizzt was big and everyone was finding a way to play them. She had a solid backstory so I guess the DM allowed it. She was very bouncy and bubbly IRL, an absolute sweetheart of a woman but she role-played her character completely differently. A dark, pained exile from the Underdark who had critical knowledge about the BBEG of the campaign.
“Scratch”, the youngest in the group. A 14-15 year old kid who was very into D&D. His mom would drop him off. He was playing the mischievous rogue trope, a half elf thief. Not the most mature kid, prone to acting a little childish and bratty, but he would pick on when we were being annoyed and he was a talented player. Apparently he was a theater kid, so his parents thought this was great practice for him. Despite being closer in age to the older players, I tended to talk to Scratch more out of game.
“Bull”, a guy in his mid to late 20’s. Who claimed he worked as a bartender and acted like that was the pinnacle of “cool”. Would always have some story about a “girl he picked up last night”. Carried himself like he was a body builder, even though he wasn’t big or muscular at all. He was a massive rules lawyer. He would find any esoteric rule or optional rule to give bonuses to his character. Bull was a power gamer, playing an elven fighte “archer”. Had a very bad habit of interrupting people when they were talking. But he was funny and a good player. As much as he would annoy you, he could still make you laugh.
“Sapper” our oldest player in his 40’s playing a half-elf druid. I was initially a little weirded out that there was this older guy in the group, but DM and Fox apparently knew him for a long time. DM even referred to him as “Pops” every once and a while. He was an old school gamer who was the ultimate support player. He was the antithesis of “Bull” in that while he knew all the rules, he would be more helpful and remind the other players or the DM if they missed something. He rarely spoke about his personal life. He was a stocky, barrel chested guy.
And finally me. I was around 18 years old and I was playing an Elven mage. I had just started college and still living at home. I was a little oblivious to the world around me and I frequently missed cues and hints. I was the guy who would ask what’s going on while watching the same movie as you. (I’ve gotten much better.) When I played roleplaying games, I was able to focus on the game for some reason, so I really enjoyed playing. I felt I was my “best self” in game.
 Initially we were playing at the store, once a week in the evenings. It was loud, a little crowded, and…..smelly sometimes. There were multiple tables with Magic the Gathering players and a large Warhammer type game table with a bunch of older guys. The first game was supposed to last only two hours, but we were having so much fun and we stuck around until the owner kicked us out. The DM had us meet more organically in story rather than the whole “Stranger in a bar” trope. Everyone’s character had a personal stake in the outcome so every character could be engaged. Our game was going very well. The DM was talented and gave us some incredible action beats. We were progressing nicely and having a lot of fun. Well, most of the time. We had our problem player, Bull. Like I mentioned, Bull had no issue interrupting people and would sometimes step on other player’s turns or even the DM’s. He was the guy that would scream out an action just as the DM was explaining something. You know what I’m talking about? Like this: 
DM: “The Lord raises his scepter and….” Bull: “I shoot it out of his hand!!!!” Rolls “I got a 19” DM: “um, the scepter flies out of his hand. The guards train their crossbows on you. The Lord holds his hand and screams “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? I WAS GOING TO SIGNAL THE CHEF TO START DINNER!”
The DM would call out Bull when he would try to add all these weird bonuses to his attack rolls. DM and Fox caught on very quick to all these and the three would argue at length about where he found these and Bull would argue and wave around a legal pad full of notes about why he gets those bonuses. This is before the age of smartphones and the internet as we know it. Bull could never back up his claims and would only say things like “I found this in (insert module)” or in “a Dragon Magazine”. Many of his bonuses were redundant and didn’t make sense. It was annoying and Scratch pointed out to me that when Bull got too animated, the store owner would walk by and he would calm down. After the game, the owner would always pull Bull aside and talk to him if he had an outburst.
 One day, the group started talking about moving the game elsewhere. Apparently, there were a few reasons. First of which was Blue. Now, like I said, this was awhile back and female gamers were extremely rare. When the store was packed, there were only two ladies in the place regularly. Blue and an older lady who played Magic. Blue was a very amiable girl who was kind to everyone she met. Her personality was such that the guys at the store instantly thought she was interested in them. Hell, I thought the same thing for a bit, but I realized that her kindness was not flirting. The game was constantly interrupted by guys trying to talk to her. Well, after a while, one of the much older guys in the store started to pester Blue a little too often and the older guys had to step in. Secondly, Magic the Gathering was blowing up and the store owner wanted to limit our table top time to make way for more Magic gamers. Apparently, Magic made the owner more money. It also drew in younger folks, which made things more uncomfortable. They were louder and less respectful of other people’s space and property. One day, a kid just threw a soft drink across the room, missing his target, and landing on our map, wiping clean most of a battle. No apologies, no action from the owner. DM suggested we move the game to his house. We went around the table and we all, one by one, agreed to move the game to DM’s house. Sapper didn’t immediately agree, but after he and DM went outside to chat for a bit, he agreed. We left the store that night for the last time gaming there. I walked home while everyone else went to their respective cars. I saw DM and Sapper talking to Scratch’s mother, Scratch told me they were discussing the change of venue. 
DM and Fox lived in a fairly large guest house attached to a bigger house. Apparently, a cop lived in the big house because there was a police car parked in front of it. This made me slightly nervous, for…..reasons. When we walked in, their dining room had a large table and a large bookcase full of D&D books. This was a much more comfortable venue. We got right to the game and things were so much better. The privacy made us more comfortable and the role-play greatly improved. The players all started to affect voices and accents. Even Bull relaxed a bit and wasn’t quite so annoying. We had a lot of fun for a while. Our campaign saw our party teaming up to fight a Drow wizard who was trying to find an artifact of immense power. Blue’s character was the BBEG’s daughter and vowed to stop him from killing any more innocents. After a while, a love triangle formed between Fox, Blue, and Bull in game. Well…more like a love wedge, with Fox and Blue flirting and having moments and Bull trying very hard to win Blue over. I thought it was very entertaining and Scratch and I started to try to mess with Bull’s character via the old “notes to the DM” trick. Scratch would create fake love notes from Blue to Bull and hide them in his pack. I would cast an illusion to make it look like she was looking at him and checking him out. Bull would react or confront Blue and she would let him down, which would leave him slightly embarrassed and upset. One day, Sapper pulled the two of us aside one day and asked us to stop messing with Bull that way. I wasn’t sure why he said that, but I stopped. Can’t say the same for Scratch, though.
Then things started to get a little uncomfortable. Initially, Blue would ride in with Bull, because she didn’t have a car. I had asked if he could give me a ride too, but he said it would be too out of his way. (He lived two blocks away from me.) I was saving up for a car, so I had to bum rides or take the bus. After a while, Bull offered to give me a ride because “he” realized how close we lived together. When he picked me up, I saw that Blue wasn’t there. During our car rides, he would talk about how Blue was so into him and how they went out earlier in the week or she stayed over his house. When I finally asked why she wasn’t catching a ride with us anymore, he said he wanted to keep their relationship low key. I wondered why he would tell me then, but I didn’t give it too much thought. Blue would always be there before us. When the game was over, I would catch a ride home with Scratch’s mother because Bull would hang out afterwards at the house with the older guys and Blue. I couldn’t hang out because I had school or work early. I guess Sapper hung out with them too, because I never saw him leave. Scratch and I would talk about the game on the car ride home. While I would bring up what happened in game, Scratch would talk about what happened at the game. He pointed out that at the table, Bull would always try to sit next to Blue. Early on, there was a musical chair game every night with all the players shifting chairs. Eventually, Blue nestled between the DM and Fox and Bull would sit across from her.
Fox and Bull would get into arguments often. Fox would try to do something and Bull would spout rules, real world physics, or any other reasons why he couldn’t do that. They started to go at it until Sapper or DM would get them to calm down and move ahead. Bull would do his bonus thing where he would be in a tree, shooting an arrow at an enemy, and he would roll and call out a ridiculous number. DM would ask where he came up with the number, and Bull would start listing:
Weapon Specialist: +1 Dex Bonus: +4 Elf: +1 Master work bow: +1 Master work arrows: +1 Higher ground: +2 Sun behind you: +1 Taking time for the shot: +3 Elevated Position: +2 Hated Enemy: +2
 DM cut him off and said “Higher Ground and Elevated Position are the same thing, you aren’t a ranger, and I still want to see where the hell you are finding these BS bonuses. And I don’t even want to hear you say “Dragon Magazine”. Then we would have to wait 20 minutes for Bull to rifle through books and try to find (or pretend to find) where he found the bonuses. One time Scratch said, “You take the time to write down the bonuses, why don’t you write down where you found them so we don’t have to wait for you to find them. “ Bull, snapped at him and barked “F$&* you”! Sapper told him to calm down, that he was a kid. To which, Bull replied “You aren’t my father!” DM told both Bull and Scratch to relax or the game would stop. Bull calmed down and sulked when he couldn’t produce all of the extra bonuses. Blue tried to console him and point out he still hit his target, but he still acted upset. Things came to a head one day when in an earlier game, Blue was captured in game after she fell in battle and in the subsequent mission, the rest of the party went to save her. Despite Bull’s best efforts, Fox got to her first and had his swashbuckling, two sword flipping, and dashing rescue moment. He even got to scoop her up and swing on a rope to get her out of harm’s way with me sending a fireball at the enemies chasing them so they had an explosion to swing away from! They landed and had an in game kiss, which…they….also…did IRL. Fox, swept her up and laid one on her. Blue was definitely surprised, but she clearly reciprocated the kiss. My jaw dropped. Scratch immediately turned to Bull and blurted out, “OOO, that has to sting!” I saw Bull start shaking. He stood up and started screaming at the DM. “There’s no way he could do that. He killed like 8 guys single handed!” Scratch pointed out that He, Sapper, and I all helped or buffed him with spells or arrows. Even Bull shot and killed one of Fox’s attackers. Bull, knocked over his large soda as he was complaining, and Sapper immediately got up to get paper towels from the kitchen. Bull started in on Fox, claiming he lied on his initiative rolls and exaggerated his movement to get to her. DM said, “Fox rolls on the table in front of us, and we are tracking movement on the grid. There’s no way he could have cheated”. “BullSh*t! You are covering for him! You both are trying to make me look bad, you’ve been doing it all campaign!” Scratch interjected “You don’t need their help to look bad.” Bull screamed again “F&*% you, you little sh*t!” Fox admonished Scratch with a glance, but glared at Bull. Blue stepped in, “Bull, calm down, please.” Bull turned on her, “And you let him kiss you! Come on, let’s get out of here!!!” She said, “What? No, I’m …” DM spoke up, “Dude, you need to leave, now. “Scratch, who was smiling at the action, chimed in “Yeah, get lost, a$$h*!e!!” 
With that, I saw Bull’s hand reach into pocket, I pulled Scratch behind me in an act that, at the time, I didn’t understand why I doing it. Fox stepped back with Blue as DM moved around the table. Bull produced a pocket knife and turned toward DM as he flicked it open. DM pulled a chair in front of him and yelled something like, “DAAA!” Before I knew it, Sapper was rushing into the room. He grabbed Bull’s hand and twisted it hard inward toward Bull’s chest. I heard the knife fall and I saw Bull swing and hit Sapper on his ear. Sapper yanked Bull’s arm behind him and grabbed the back of his neck. He them slammed Bull on the table, (crushing some miniatures) and then slid him onto the floor. There was some wrestling on the floor and Fox and DM rushed over. I couldn’t see what was happening because I backed away and found myself in the corner of the room standing next to Blue. Scratch had slipped out to the other corner to watch the fight. I saw Fox pick up the knife and Sapper barked at him to put it on the table. Sapper then said to DM, “Go get my handcuffs, they are on my belt.” DM ran off through the back door and Sapper directed Fox on how to pin down Bull’s legs. He then told Blue to call the police. After hearing that, Bull stopped cursing and started saying “Ok, Ok, I’m good, I’ll just go. “ Sapper said “Oh, you’re going alright….” Bull pleaded with him, but Sapper kept him down until DM came back with a pair of handcuffs. Like real police handcuffs. Sapper puts them on him and stood him up. He searched him like a cop would and then commanded Bull to sit down in a chair. Sapper then looks at DM and asks, “You ok, son?” to which DM responds.” Yeah, Dad. “
My jaw dropped. It was like that scene at the end of “Usual Suspects”. As Sapper was asking everyone if they were ok, memories started flashing before me. I never realized just how oblivious I was. Here’s a list of revelations that hit me while I was standing there waiting for the police. 
First, Sapper was DM’s father. He lived in the big house. That’s why I never saw him leave. That’s why DM would sometimes call him “pops”, he wasn’t being insulting, he was just talking to his dad!
Second, the reason Sapper told Scratch and I not to mess with Bull, was that he was aware there was something wrong with Bull. I didn’t really pay too much attention to Bull when he would drive me to the game, but he talked a lot about how he and Blue had a relationship, I assumed he was telling the truth. I thought Bull was angry because Fox kissed his girl. Obvious to everyone but me, that wasn’t the case. Sapper was aware of Bull’s delusions and he asked Scratch and I to stop messing with him because he just didn’t want us aggravating the situation. Which brings me to the third thing.
Fox and Blue were actually and item! Scratch later filled me in that he figured out they started dating around the same time we moved the game to the house. Their relationship progressed to the point where they were spending the day together and he was taking her home. Or maybe she was staying there. Either way, that’s why Bull wasn’t driving her to game or home. It seemed that she was so nice that she didn’t want to overtly show off their relationship because she didn’t want to upset Bull.
Fourth thing…..Bull was bat crap crazy!!! He apparently was delusional. He truly believed he and Blue were in a relationship, despite all evidence to the contrary. After all this was done, we all sat down and they discussed everything that happened. Apparently, he been asking Blue out since they met and she had been letting him down, but she still was happy to be his friend. Recently, Fox had a conversation with Bull where he broke it to him that he and Blue were an item. Bull apparently told him he was still going to chase after her saying “Let the best man win.” Sometime after that conversation, Bull got it in his head that he and Blue had some kind of relationship. When he saw Fox kiss Blue, he truly thought Fox was kissing “his” girl. Which is why he snapped.
 Which brings me to the fifth and final thing. Sapper was a cop. He lived in the big house like I mentioned, and that’s why he was leery about moving the game to the house. He lived there with DM’s Step-mother and another son and daughter who was several years younger than DM. He told DM that they had to hold the games in the in the guest house where he was living with Fox. He also wasn’t too happy about having a minor come over but he and DM talked to Scratch’s mom and later to his father at length. I was always nervous around cops back then…..for…reasons…. but I realized that he was just a regular guy, a guy who was into the same things I was into. Well, ……..not everything I was into. 
So this whole internal revelation montage ended, when I heard the sirens of police cars. I was worried about where my backpack was…for ….reasons. They came in and started asking what was going on. Bull started screaming about how his father was a high ranking police officer from the next county over and how they had to let him go immediately. The police got statements from everyone, including me. They arrested Bull and took him away. We all were standing around when Fox apologized to everyone thinking that his actions caused all the problems. Blue apologized because she didn’t realize just how much Bull was into her. Scratch apologized because he thought his teasing pushed him over the edge. I apologized because I just didn’t realize how bat crap crazy Bull was and I never told anyone about his conversations with me. Sapper apologized because he knew we shouldn’t have let Bull play with us. He had a conversation with the store owner who told him that Bull was prone to fits of anger. The owner told him he had calmed down over the years after he suspended him from the store a few times. But the owner still saw that anger bubble out sometimes. DM finally spoke up and said it was his fault. He convinced his dad to bring the game here and allow Bull to play. He said he should have listened to his dad’s intuition. When all was said and done, we all agreed to take a couple weeks off so DM could retool the campaign since Bull’s character was not going to be there anymore.
Sapper, DM, Fox, and Blue went out to tell Scratch’s parents what had happened. She was shocked and according to Scratch, she needed those two weeks to be convinced to let him play at DM’s house again. I saw how upset she was so I didn’t ask for a ride. Sapper offered to take me home, but I politely declined…….for…..reasons and I took the bus. We started up again and DM stated Bull’s character fell during Blue’s rescue.
 Bull apparently showed up a day later to get his car. Sapper stood outside and watched him as he got dropped off and he jumped in without a word. Bull got charged and his family got him a great lawyer that got the charges reduced. I’m not sure if he served time, but I heard he got a ton of community service. We added and subtracted people to our group over the next couple of years we played together. Eventually, my original group started playing D&D again and I decided I would play with the two groups. Years later, I lost touch with Scratch, but through the magic of Facebook, I still talk to the old group. Blue and Fox dated for several years, but eventually parted ways and got married to other people. DM is living with his husband, (another thing I didn’t notice.) I’m actually still very close to Sapper. He was kind of a mentor to me and got me to drop certain…habits, and go into his line of work after I finished school. Now with the advent of online table top gaming, DM is putting together a reunion game using Fantasy Grounds. I’m really looking forward to getting to play with my old friends again. 
submitted by NemoWatches to CritCrab [link] [comments]


2020.10.27 20:06 NemoWatches Oblivious player is oblivious.

 This story takes place a long time ago, like, pre-“cellphone in every pocket” era. This may be a bit long. I was in my teens and I was hooked on playing D&D. Playing roleplaying games kept me out of trouble and also kept me from indulging in certain….habits. My regular group wanted to branch out with other games like World of Darkness and Shadowrun, but I truly loved playing D&D (2nd Edition at the time). I realized I could get my fix by joining another group at the local gaming shop. The owner told me there were two groups playing D&D and one was actually looking for people to join up. After making a phone call and some arrangements, I returned to the store to meet up with the group. 
The group was seven people:
The DM, a college student in his early 20’s. His group had split up, as they do, so he and his friend, Fox, wanted to create a new one. He was a very good DM who was an aspiring writer. He understood the concept of collaborative story telling way before most. He really wanted his players to help drive the story. He was a fast thinker and was able to adapt to change. He wasn’t the most original story teller, copying many ideas from movies and books, but his stories were fun.
“Fox”, another college student, early 20’s and the DM’s roommate. He played a Human ranger. Dual wielder build , think Madmartigan from “Willow”. Fox and the DM seemed to be old friends. Fox was very funny and quick witted. Tall guy with kind of a frat guy vibe to him, I felt like he was going to be an a$$h*!e, but he was more of a “laugh with you” versus a “laugh at you” kind of guy.
“Blue”, a young lady in her early 20’s, playing a Drow cleric. Drow were rare back then, but Drizzt was big and everyone was finding a way to play them. She had a solid backstory so I guess the DM allowed it. She was very bouncy and bubbly IRL, an absolute sweetheart of a woman but she role-played her character completely differently. A dark, pained exile from the Underdark who had critical knowledge about the BBEG of the campaign.
“Scratch”, the youngest in the group. A 14-15 year old kid who was very into D&D. His mom would drop him off. He was playing the mischievous rogue trope, a half elf thief. Not the most mature kid, prone to acting a little childish and bratty, but he would pick on when we were being annoyed and he was a talented player. Apparently he was a theater kid, so his parents thought this was great practice for him. Despite being closer in age to the older players, I tended to talk to Scratch more out of game.
“Bull”, a guy in his mid to late 20’s. Who claimed he worked as a bartender and acted like that was the pinnacle of “cool”. Would always have some story about a “girl he picked up last night”. Carried himself like he was a body builder, even though he wasn’t big or muscular at all. He was a massive rules lawyer. He would find any esoteric rule or optional rule to give bonuses to his character. Bull was a power gamer, playing an elven fighte “archer”. Had a very bad habit of interrupting people when they were talking. But he was funny and a good player. As much as he would annoy you, he could still make you laugh.
“Sapper” our oldest player in his 40’s playing a half-elf druid. I was initially a little weirded out that there was this older guy in the group, but DM and Fox apparently knew him for a long time. DM even referred to him as “Pops” every once and a while. He was an old school gamer who was the ultimate support player. He was the antithesis of “Bull” in that while he knew all the rules, he would be more helpful and remind the other players or the DM if they missed something. He rarely spoke about his personal life. He was a stocky, barrel chested guy.
And finally me. I was around 18 years old and I was playing an Elven mage. I had just started college and still living at home. I was a little oblivious to the world around me and I frequently missed cues and hints. I was the guy who would ask what’s going on while watching the same movie as you. (I’ve gotten much better.) When I played roleplaying games, I was able to focus on the game for some reason, so I really enjoyed playing. I felt I was my “best self” in game.
 Initially we were playing at the store, once a week in the evenings. It was loud, a little crowded, and…..smelly sometimes. There were multiple tables with Magic the Gathering players and a large Warhammer type game table with a bunch of older guys. The first game was supposed to last only two hours, but we were having so much fun and we stuck around until the owner kicked us out. The DM had us meet more organically in story rather than the whole “Stranger in a bar” trope. Everyone’s character had a personal stake in the outcome so every character could be engaged. Our game was going very well. The DM was talented and gave us some incredible action beats. We were progressing nicely and having a lot of fun. Well, most of the time. We had our problem player, Bull. Like I mentioned, Bull had no issue interrupting people and would sometimes step on other player’s turns or even the DM’s. He was the guy that would scream out an action just as the DM was explaining something. You know what I’m talking about? Like this: 
DM: “The Lord raises his scepter and….” Bull: “I shoot it out of his hand!!!!” Rolls “I got a 19” DM: “um, the scepter flies out of his hand. The guards train their crossbows on you. The Lord holds his hand and screams “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? I WAS GOING TO SIGNAL THE CHEF TO START DINNER!”
The DM would call out Bull when he would try to add all these weird bonuses to his attack rolls. DM and Fox caught on very quick to all these and the three would argue at length about where he found these and Bull would argue and wave around a legal pad full of notes about why he gets those bonuses. This is before the age of smartphones and the internet as we know it. Bull could never back up his claims and would only say things like “I found this in (insert module)” or in “a Dragon Magazine”. Many of his bonuses were redundant and didn’t make sense. It was annoying and Scratch pointed out to me that when Bull got too animated, the store owner would walk by and he would calm down. After the game, the owner would always pull Bull aside and talk to him if he had an outburst.
 One day, the group started talking about moving the game elsewhere. Apparently, there were a few reasons. First of which was Blue. Now, like I said, this was awhile back and female gamers were extremely rare. When the store was packed, there were only two ladies in the place regularly. Blue and an older lady who played Magic. Blue was a very amiable girl who was kind to everyone she met. Her personality was such that the guys at the store instantly thought she was interested in them. Hell, I thought the same thing for a bit, but I realized that her kindness was not flirting. The game was constantly interrupted by guys trying to talk to her. Well, after a while, one of the much older guys in the store started to pester Blue a little too often and the older guys had to step in. Secondly, Magic the Gathering was blowing up and the store owner wanted to limit our table top time to make way for more Magic gamers. Apparently, Magic made the owner more money. It also drew in younger folks, which made things more uncomfortable. They were louder and less respectful of other people’s space and property. One day, a kid just threw a soft drink across the room, missing his target, and landing on our map, wiping clean most of a battle. No apologies, no action from the owner. DM suggested we move the game to his house. We went around the table and we all, one by one, agreed to move the game to DM’s house. Sapper didn’t immediately agree, but after he and DM went outside to chat for a bit, he agreed. We left the store that night for the last time gaming there. I walked home while everyone else went to their respective cars. I saw DM and Sapper talking to Scratch’s mother, Scratch told me they were discussing the change of venue. 
DM and Fox lived in a fairly large guest house attached to a bigger house. Apparently, a cop lived in the big house because there was a police car parked in front of it. This made me slightly nervous, for…..reasons. When we walked in, their dining room had a large table and a large bookcase full of D&D books. This was a much more comfortable venue. We got right to the game and things were so much better. The privacy made us more comfortable and the role-play greatly improved. The players all started to affect voices and accents. Even Bull relaxed a bit and wasn’t quite so annoying. We had a lot of fun for a while. Our campaign saw our party teaming up to fight a Drow wizard who was trying to find an artifact of immense power. Blue’s character was the BBEG’s daughter and vowed to stop him from killing any more innocents. After a while, a love triangle formed between Fox, Blue, and Bull in game. Well…more like a love wedge, with Fox and Blue flirting and having moments and Bull trying very hard to win Blue over. I thought it was very entertaining and Scratch and I started to try to mess with Bull’s character via the old “notes to the DM” trick. Scratch would create fake love notes from Blue to Bull and hide them in his pack. I would cast an illusion to make it look like she was looking at him and checking him out. Bull would react or confront Blue and she would let him down, which would leave him slightly embarrassed and upset. One day, Sapper pulled the two of us aside one day and asked us to stop messing with Bull that way. I wasn’t sure why he said that, but I stopped. Can’t say the same for Scratch, though.
Then things started to get a little uncomfortable. Initially, Blue would ride in with Bull, because she didn’t have a car. I had asked if he could give me a ride too, but he said it would be too out of his way. (He lived two blocks away from me.) I was saving up for a car, so I had to bum rides or take the bus. After a while, Bull offered to give me a ride because “he” realized how close we lived together. When he picked me up, I saw that Blue wasn’t there. During our car rides, he would talk about how Blue was so into him and how they went out earlier in the week or she stayed over his house. When I finally asked why she wasn’t catching a ride with us anymore, he said he wanted to keep their relationship low key. I wondered why he would tell me then, but I didn’t give it too much thought. Blue would always be there before us. When the game was over, I would catch a ride home with Scratch’s mother because Bull would hang out afterwards at the house with the older guys and Blue. I couldn’t hang out because I had school or work early. I guess Sapper hung out with them too, because I never saw him leave. Scratch and I would talk about the game on the car ride home. While I would bring up what happened in game, Scratch would talk about what happened at the game. He pointed out that at the table, Bull would always try to sit next to Blue. Early on, there was a musical chair game every night with all the players shifting chairs. Eventually, Blue nestled between the DM and Fox and Bull would sit across from her.
Fox and Bull would get into arguments often. Fox would try to do something and Bull would spout rules, real world physics, or any other reasons why he couldn’t do that. They started to go at it until Sapper or DM would get them to calm down and move ahead. Bull would do his bonus thing where he would be in a tree, shooting an arrow at an enemy, and he would roll and call out a ridiculous number. DM would ask where he came up with the number, and Bull would start listing:
Weapon Specialist: +1 Dex Bonus: +4 Elf: +1 Master work bow: +1 Master work arrows: +1 Higher ground: +2 Sun behind you: +1 Taking time for the shot: +3 Elevated Position: +2 Hated Enemy: +2
 DM cut him off and said “Higher Ground and Elevated Position are the same thing, you aren’t a ranger, and I still want to see where the hell you are finding these BS bonuses. And I don’t even want to hear you say “Dragon Magazine”. Then we would have to wait 20 minutes for Bull to rifle through books and try to find (or pretend to find) where he found the bonuses. One time Scratch said, “You take the time to write down the bonuses, why don’t you write down where you found them so we don’t have to wait for you to find them. “ Bull, snapped at him and barked “F$&* you”! Sapper told him to calm down, that he was a kid. To which, Bull replied “You aren’t my father!” DM told both Bull and Scratch to relax or the game would stop. Bull calmed down and sulked when he couldn’t produce all of the extra bonuses. Blue tried to console him and point out he still hit his target, but he still acted upset. Things came to a head one day when in an earlier game, Blue was captured in game after she fell in battle and in the subsequent mission, the rest of the party went to save her. Despite Bull’s best efforts, Fox got to her first and had his swashbuckling, two sword flipping, and dashing rescue moment. He even got to scoop her up and swing on a rope to get her out of harm’s way with me sending a fireball at the enemies chasing them so they had an explosion to swing away from! They landed and had an in game kiss, which…they….also…did IRL. Fox, swept her up and laid one on her. Blue was definitely surprised, but she clearly reciprocated the kiss. My jaw dropped. Scratch immediately turned to Bull and blurted out, “OOO, that has to sting!” I saw Bull start shaking. He stood up and started screaming at the DM. “There’s no way he could do that. He killed like 8 guys single handed!” Scratch pointed out that He, Sapper, and I all helped or buffed him with spells or arrows. Even Bull shot and killed one of Fox’s attackers. Bull, knocked over his large soda as he was complaining, and Sapper immediately got up to get paper towels from the kitchen. Bull started in on Fox, claiming he lied on his initiative rolls and exaggerated his movement to get to her. DM said, “Fox rolls on the table in front of us, and we are tracking movement on the grid. There’s no way he could have cheated”. “BullSh*t! You are covering for him! You both are trying to make me look bad, you’ve been doing it all campaign!” Scratch interjected “You don’t need their help to look bad.” Bull screamed again “F&*% you, you little sh*t!” Fox admonished Scratch with a glance, but glared at Bull. Blue stepped in, “Bull, calm down, please.” Bull turned on her, “And you let him kiss you! Come on, let’s get out of here!!!” She said, “What? No, I’m …” DM spoke up, “Dude, you need to leave, now. “Scratch, who was smiling at the action, chimed in “Yeah, get lost, a$$h*!e!!” 
With that, I saw Bull’s hand reach into pocket, I pulled Scratch behind me in an act that, at the time, I didn’t understand why I doing it. Fox stepped back with Blue as DM moved around the table. Bull produced a pocket knife and turned toward DM as he flicked it open. DM pulled a chair in front of him and yelled something like, “DAAA!” Before I knew it, Sapper was rushing into the room. He grabbed Bull’s hand and twisted it hard inward toward Bull’s chest. I heard the knife fall and I saw Bull swing and hit Sapper on his ear. Sapper yanked Bull’s arm behind him and grabbed the back of his neck. He them slammed Bull on the table, (crushing some miniatures) and then slid him onto the floor. There was some wrestling on the floor and Fox and DM rushed over. I couldn’t see what was happening because I backed away and found myself in the corner of the room standing next to Blue. Scratch had slipped out to the other corner to watch the fight. I saw Fox pick up the knife and Sapper barked at him to put it on the table. Sapper then said to DM, “Go get my handcuffs, they are on my belt.” DM ran off through the back door and Sapper directed Fox on how to pin down Bull’s legs. He then told Blue to call the police. After hearing that, Bull stopped cursing and started saying “Ok, Ok, I’m good, I’ll just go. “ Sapper said “Oh, you’re going alright….” Bull pleaded with him, but Sapper kept him down until DM came back with a pair of handcuffs. Like real police handcuffs. Sapper puts them on him and stood him up. He searched him like a cop would and then commanded Bull to sit down in a chair. Sapper then looks at DM and asks, “You ok, son?” to which DM responds.” Yeah, Dad. “
My jaw dropped. It was like that scene at the end of “Usual Suspects”. As Sapper was asking everyone if they were ok, memories started flashing before me. I never realized just how oblivious I was. Here’s a list of revelations that hit me while I was standing there waiting for the police. 
First, Sapper was DM’s father. He lived in the big house. That’s why I never saw him leave. That’s why DM would sometimes call him “pops”, he wasn’t being insulting, he was just talking to his dad!
Second, the reason Sapper told Scratch and I not to mess with Bull, was that he was aware there was something wrong with Bull. I didn’t really pay too much attention to Bull when he would drive me to the game, but he talked a lot about how he and Blue had a relationship, I assumed he was telling the truth. I thought Bull was angry because Fox kissed his girl. Obvious to everyone but me, that wasn’t the case. Sapper was aware of Bull’s delusions and he asked Scratch and I to stop messing with him because he just didn’t want us aggravating the situation. Which brings me to the third thing.
Fox and Blue were actually and item! Scratch later filled me in that he figured out they started dating around the same time we moved the game to the house. Their relationship progressed to the point where they were spending the day together and he was taking her home. Or maybe she was staying there. Either way, that’s why Bull wasn’t driving her to game or home. It seemed that she was so nice that she didn’t want to overtly show off their relationship because she didn’t want to upset Bull.
Fourth thing…..Bull was bat crap crazy!!! He apparently was delusional. He truly believed he and Blue were in a relationship, despite all evidence to the contrary. After all this was done, we all sat down and they discussed everything that happened. Apparently, he been asking Blue out since they met and she had been letting him down, but she still was happy to be his friend. Recently, Fox had a conversation with Bull where he broke it to him that he and Blue were an item. Bull apparently told him he was still going to chase after her saying “Let the best man win.” Sometime after that conversation, Bull got it in his head that he and Blue had some kind of relationship. When he saw Fox kiss Blue, he truly thought Fox was kissing “his” girl. Which is why he snapped.
 Which brings me to the fifth and final thing. Sapper was a cop. He lived in the big house like I mentioned, and that’s why he was leery about moving the game to the house. He lived there with DM’s Step-mother and another son and daughter who was several years younger than DM. He told DM that they had to hold the games in the in the guest house where he was living with Fox. He also wasn’t too happy about having a minor come over but he and DM talked to Scratch’s mom and later to his father at length. I was always nervous around cops back then…..for…reasons…. but I realized that he was just a regular guy, a guy who was into the same things I was into. Well, ……..not everything I was into. 
So this whole internal revelation montage ended, when I heard the sirens of police cars. I was worried about where my backpack was…for ….reasons. They came in and started asking what was going on. Bull started screaming about how his father was a high ranking police officer from the next county over and how they had to let him go immediately. The police got statements from everyone, including me. They arrested Bull and took him away. We all were standing around when Fox apologized to everyone thinking that his actions caused all the problems. Blue apologized because she didn’t realize just how much Bull was into her. Scratch apologized because he thought his teasing pushed him over the edge. I apologized because I just didn’t realize how bat crap crazy Bull was and I never told anyone about his conversations with me. Sapper apologized because he knew we shouldn’t have let Bull play with us. He had a conversation with the store owner who told him that Bull was prone to fits of anger. The owner told him he had calmed down over the years after he suspended him from the store a few times. But the owner still saw that anger bubble out sometimes. DM finally spoke up and said it was his fault. He convinced his dad to bring the game here and allow Bull to play. He said he should have listened to his dad’s intuition. When all was said and done, we all agreed to take a couple weeks off so DM could retool the campaign since Bull’s character was not going to be there anymore.
Sapper, DM, Fox, and Blue went out to tell Scratch’s parents what had happened. She was shocked and according to Scratch, she needed those two weeks to be convinced to let him play at DM’s house again. I saw how upset she was so I didn’t ask for a ride. Sapper offered to take me home, but I politely declined…….for…..reasons and I took the bus. We started up again and DM stated Bull’s character fell during Blue’s rescue.
 Bull apparently showed up a day later to get his car. Sapper stood outside and watched him as he got dropped off and he jumped in without a word. Bull got charged and his family got him a great lawyer that got the charges reduced. I’m not sure if he served time, but I heard he got a ton of community service. We added and subtracted people to our group over the next couple of years we played together. Eventually, my original group started playing D&D again and I decided I would play with the two groups. Years later, I lost touch with Scratch, but through the magic of Facebook, I still talk to the old group. Blue and Fox dated for several years, but eventually parted ways and got married to other people. DM is living with his husband, (another thing I didn’t notice.) I’m actually still very close to Sapper. He was kind of a mentor to me and got me to drop certain…habits, and go into his line of work after I finished school. Now with the advent of online table top gaming, DM is putting together a reunion game using Fantasy Grounds. I’m really looking forward to getting to play with my old friends again. 
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2020.10.27 19:00 FourSeasonsLodge 9 Crucial Ingredients for a Memorable Family-Friendly Reunion

9 Crucial Ingredients for a Memorable Family-Friendly Reunion
Family-Friendly Reunion

How To Plan An Amazing Family Reunion

10/27/2020
Planning a family reunion at a North Conway, NH can be stressful, annoying, and awful...but they typically lead to some great laughs and wonderful memories!
Once you figure out the details and plan a family reunion, it's on to enjoying time with loved ones that you don't typically get to see very often.
Family reunion vacations in North Conway, NH come in all shapes and sizes. I have hosted some family reunions with 4 generations represented and others are adults only.
Every type of family reunion has it's own challenges and rewards. CONTACT US FOR MORE INFOLet's face it, some of your family members are folks you don't even like. It's really hard if one of those people are the family elders! There's nothing like a mad Granny but on the other hand, most grandmothers are happy just to see their kids and grandkids.

My Incredible 30 Year History of Family Reunions

​I've been renting my New Hampshire cabin rental called Four Seasons Lodge for almost 30 years.
​Most of the wonderful groups have been family reunions celebrating a milestone birthday or anniversary.I was always in charge of organizing the large family reunion get-togethers of the year in my family so I feel your pain in planning a family reunion.
I always say that trying to get a group of people together is like herding cats!
What makes it even worse is getting them to agree on dates, location of the family reunion, amenities of the venue, and scads of other decisions!

Teena - A Little Bit OCD and a Dash of Rock and Roll!

I jokingly tell everyone that calls for information about Four Seasons Lodge that you and I have the same kind of personalities.
I mean it too!
Think about it, you're reading this because you are in charge of finding a North Conway vacation rental that will make multiple personalities smile!
Sound like an impossible task? Nah, not for someone like you that has a touch of OCD, is a task master, is high energy, and loves to have a fabulous time.
You have all the skills to "git 'er done" and I'm just the gal to help you!
I want you to get past the planning part with as few hitches as possible and onto the enjoying part. That way you are ready to go down memory lane while simultaneously creating new memories with your family.
Family reunions can be the bane of our existence if we allow them to get the better of us, but that doesn't mean they are.
From that one grumpy, crazy Uncle to Auntie OCD we have to juggle several balls just to spend time with these crazy people.
​And why? Why do we subject ourselves to such tortures? Because they are our family and that should be a good enough reason. ​In this day and age we all lead extremely busy lives and our family members move all over the place.
That means you see much less of each other as time goes by and family reunions rarely get planned--and no one wants that! Or maybe you do, I don't know you so who am I to say?
​But you have to see them at some point and with a family reunion you can get it all out of the way at once!

Reasons for Planning Family Reunions

No matter what your reason is, you have made it a point to see your family--so make it enjoyable.
Yeah, this could include chosen and un-chosen family, family you adore and family you don't really get along with... but nevertheless they are important people in your life.
Take this time to mend old arguments, create new arguments, or just spend some sincere quality time with your loved ones.
Before I begin to list off all of the why's and how to's of planning a family reunion here is one of the most important things to keep in mind: add humor.
Add humor often and whenever possible.
​You're there to enjoy each other! Not to have arguments, land disputes and will readings. Or maybe you are there for those things, in which case some lightheartedness will be much appreciated. Most family reunions celebrated at Four Seasons Lodge are milestone birthdays or anniversaries.
Sometimes though, they are planned to celebrate a family member's life and love while that family member is still alive or has recently passed.
​Not all family reunions are created out of happiness. Unfortunately, we all fall on hard times but those hard times are the best reason to get together as a whole. CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO📷Old Fashioned Family Reunion

The Surprising Reason Why You Must Hold A Family Reunion

Love of course! Why else would we subject ourselves to spending time with our families?
Familial love is a thing to be celebrated, cherished and enjoyed! Even with all of the crazies and loonies that we have in our families, and believe me that does not exclude yourself, we have to celebrate the love that is there!
​So get over yourself and your petty disputes and cherish one another. You only have one life to live so make it enjoyable and surround yourself with love. Speaking of loonies and crazies... the women on my mothers side of the family, including my dear mother herself, believed that everyone in the world was weird--except them. They honestly believed that they were normal. HA! Yeah right! My family is filled with just as many wackadoos as any other and that includes the women!
Now, I'm pretty sure I convinced my mother otherwise but my grandmother, God rest her soul, carried that belief straight to her grave. Don't get me wrong she was an amazing woman but that does not exclude her from being a big ol' weirdo like the rest of us.
And yes, us means you as well. Don't kid yourself like all of the loony women in my family--we're all weird!
​Besides, who wants to be normal? It sounds boring.As I mentioned before there are plenty of reasons to bring your own Army of Maniacs together to party.
We already went over the more sad or sentimental reasons so now we're on the fun ones!
One main reason to plan a family reunion is to give all of the kids a chance to get to know their more distant relatives; aunts, uncles, cousins etc. Without this type of special bonding the kids might feel estranged from their family.
Maybe they'll keep the tradition going because they'll have created such fond memories together! This could be your legacy!
The second reason is to mercilessly judge any new family members... no, no not the babies you monster!
Spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends, fiances, and maybe your third cousins yippie Pomeranian are awaiting your judgement.
It's always exciting to welcome new family members to your clan and family reunions are great opportunities to do that. They can meet and fall in love with your family or you can decide you dislike them and promptly scare them off.
Once upon a time, I had a boyfriend visit my sister with me and we ate lobster, which he never had before, and it scarred him for life.
​My sister laughs about it to this day because he was so offended. Besides, how do you grow up in New England and never eat lobster? I digress...To sum all of that up: family reunions are great for seeing relatives you never see, new relatives, potential new relatives or it's just for the kids.
​No matter what the reason is reunions make for good stories, memories and maybe a few solid migraines.
So, whether your family reunions are an annual gathering, a spontaneous venture, or to celebrate an important family members birthday or anniversary you are there because of love![PLAN YOUR REUNION](https://www.fourseasonslodge.com/)

How Do I Even Begin to Plan a Family Reunion?

Step one is complete. You have your reason... or maybe you don't.
Either way you've read all the way to step two so you are undoubtedly inspired and just like every good book character you desire something.
And true to it's word, just like every good author, life makes your desire ridiculously difficult to attain--or they kill you. Authors love killing their beloved characters and as readers we all cry and throw our books at walls.
​Planning a family reunion might make you cry and throw things too but you can do it! I promise that it isn't impossible.
Step two is figuring out how exactly to organize the chaos--and I am here to help! Now step two is really a bunch of steps tied together so hold onto your hats. 1. First and foremost start early.
Everyone and their mother, possibly including your own, will have conflicts and complaints.
The earlier you begin to plan your family reunion the easier it will be for everyone to prepare both mentally and physically. It's easier to ask for work off and which soccer games the kids might miss if you give out potential dates early on.
I suggest taking a poll and giving three options for dates to see how many people agree to which one.
  1. Some are born to lead and some are born to follow.
Find the Virgos, Leos and Aries in your group and dub them team captains!
​Try to make sure they are people who work well together because you don't want to deal with more arguments than you have to. So choose wisely and in the words of The Hunger Games, "May the odds be ever in your favor."3. Pick the right destination for your reunion.
This can be one of the more difficult decisions when it comes to planning large group getaways. You want everyone to be happy, the space/location to be enjoyable, and you want to make sure there is plenty of room for everyone.
Is your family full of outdoorsy people? Owners of RV's and state-of-the-art camping equipment? Does everyone love outdoor sports? Are they history fanatics, shoppers or foodies? Or even better, are they introverts who just want to read a book laying by the lake, sitting in a ski lodge, or just in any big comfy chair they can find? Say what you will but they are the easiest ones to accommodate.
Realistically, you'll have more than one type of person in your family--especially if you have a very large family.
​You have to find a destination that will suit the majority and you and your team captains (who should be decisive people) can work together to make the final decision. 4. Choose the right accommodations for your group.
I've said it before and I'll say it more: family reunions are like herding cats.
Even professionals get eaten! Laugh all you want but if your house cat was bigger it would've killed you already. Trust me, it's science!
Anyway, as you know, cats are impossible to herd. Just try it, I dare you! They're lone rangers, independent, and judgy creatures. Just Youtube people trying to walk their cats! You'll get sucked into a Youtube hole and be entertained for hours. Whether you waste time on Youtube or not, cats are impossible and so is your family... NOT.
You can herd your family if you're assertive and up to dealing with their BS.
Finding accommodations for large groups is difficult--but not impossible.
Once you pin down your location you have already made your job a little easier. Now you have to research and choose between the accommodations that are available in the area. You can pick camping, a hotel, motel, or a vacation rental.A great thing to weigh-in when you're choosing a spot to stay is meals.
How close do you need to be to restaurants? Who has different diets and allergies that you need to be aware of? Are you trying to cook throughout your reunion?
Plan now! Don't be lazy and wait until the last minute. Planning your food options beforehand will help you decide what type of accommodations you might need.
If you plan on cooking you'll know to get a spot with a large kitchen or grilling area.
If you plan on eating out for every meal than a hotel can easily suffice your needs.
Camping means you need solid equipment and food prepared way beforehand--and for such a large group that is a whole other step. Is that something you want to deal with?
​Who would be in charge of meals? It all needs to be weighed in while you're figuring out where you want to stay. 5. Consider childcare options.
Do you need to keep the gremlins fed well before midnight and under constant supervision? Or are their older kids and grandparents who are perfectly capable of babysitting? Although, grandparents may feed them after midnight because they're trying to spoil them... so be careful!
​Luckily, you will most likely have an adult/teenager that doesn't want to partake in an activity because they're too cool for it. If that's not the case (because they're trying to enjoy themselves too) then do preliminary research on your outside-of-the-family options.
Don't be that rude planner who just leaves the kids in the parents arms. They deserve a break!6. Be the Leslie Knope (from the brilliant show Parks and Recreation) of the trip and have color-coded binder that hold your itinerary.
Take a poll from your family or ask them what they'd like to do and give them a deadline. Or just ask the team captains! OR be a control freak, ask no one anything, and decide what the family itinerary is.
Personally, I pick control freak just because it seems the easiest. Then the others can complain and try to add stuff and you can bulldozer over them and ignore everyone.
No, I'm joking. Next-to-no-one is ever happy if you choose this option.
​Be inclusive but organized and decisive. 7. Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness!
Be assertive, decisive and maybe a little OCD but remember that it is of utmost importance to be mindful of others. Make decisions but remember to ask for forgiveness and forgive others.
Don't create any unnecessary hostility during your family reunion.
There's already going to be a potential for drama--rivalries, kids getting in trouble, in-laws, new boyfriends/girlfriends, you name it!
​Be forgiving. 8. How long should you be cooped up with a ton of people you don't always get to see?
What a tough question to answer. Personally, I believe the shorter the better. I mean, not less than 24 hours because you still need to enjoy each other, but don't overdue it.
Your overzealous need for some down time should not cloud your judgement. I know you want to dedicate your entire week to your family but it isn't recommended.
The best amount of time to be cooped up in "crazy-ville" is about three days.
​That's not just my own advice. Ninkovich says that "your next reunion will benefit if you leave them wanting more."📷Family Reunion Games - Bubbles!9. Last but not least, on our ninth step of step two is figuring out what to do!
Things to do during a family reunion are the toughest things to plan.
The ultimate question besides why am I related to these lovely wackos is what can we all do together to create wonderful memories for years to come?
Talk about pressure. I don't know about you put I'm a sucker for team games. It's me and my husband against the world and we love winning! Pictionary, Taboo, Cranium, Family Feud--all of these games are great options to beat your annoyingly competitive cousins from North Carolina.
A cheap, no fuss, ice breaker is to pass out small bottles of bubbles and head outside to load the air with bubbles!
​I bet you'll have tons of fun plus you'll get some great pictures too!Whenever no one wanted to play games my cousin and I would play a card game called Spit. It's a great thing to do when killing time during awkward family visits.
We could play an entire game in 2 minutes flat and leave with some red palms from slapping the cards too hard...but it was always worth it.
Spit is a great game to have a tournament for or to play while everyone else is being poopy. All you need are two decks of cards and one willing opponent.
Another great thing to do is create a family trivia game.
Send a questionnaire to all of your family members to gather intel. During the reunion split everyone into groups and play the game! Get creative and make it fun.
​You might learn something new about your beloved family members--but that doesn't mean you will like the information, so be wary![CONTACT US](https://www.fourseasonslodge.com/)
How To Get People Off Their Phones And Talking With Each Other
I'll let you in on a secret here, if you're vacationing at Four Seasons Lodge there's an easy way to have everyone looking up instead of down. Flip our hidden switch to turn off the WiFi and you'll have your kids or partner engaging in fun because they cannot get on Facebook!
​When I check the Lodge after folks check-out, the WiFi switch is usually turned off. Go figure. HA!If you've picked a gorgeous location like North Conway, NH to host your family reunion, plan ahead so you have family friendly activities planned that even the "gamers" will enjoy.Is it beautiful outside?
Put on some comfy boots or sneakers, pack a lunch, and go for a hike.
If your gang isn't in the best physical shape, plan ahead and research hikes that are on the flatter and shorter side or just go for a walk.
​Bring a camera and take lots of photos because cousin Emma may never accept a hiking invite again!Do you have some water rats on your invite list? See if there's anywhere to rent tubes or kayaks and plan a lazy day on a river somewhere.
​I'll be you'll find a rope swing along your journey - challenge grumpy Uncle Ed to try it out. Get that camera ready!
Or just rent Four Seasons Lodge and enjoy our heated, indoor pool! But I digress... Family reunioning in a winter wonderland?
Take a poll to see if folks would rather snowshoe, ski, snowmobile or ice skate.
​Usually you can get group rates with a group size starting at 10 folks. That's a great way to save money so you can all have a beverage or two after you work your flabby muscles past the point of no return.If your gang is into team sports, get out there and play ball! Kickball, dodge ball, volleyball, soccer, whatever!
Get outdoors and sweat. Burn off those calories from your moms famous brownies. If ball games aren't your favorite and you're trying way too hard to be the "cool uncle" then make a slight shift to water balloons.
A good old fashioned water balloon fight is way better when you add teams and super soakers and believe me, as the "cool aunt", I'm just speaking from experience. It's more of a water war than a water balloon fight in my family and it is worth it on a hot summer day!
​Have buckets of "ammo" on each side of the playing field and have everyone start in the middle. If you have trees and obstacles to hide behind it just elevates the fun.Another great outdoor activity to do is a scavenger hunt.
You can be an overachiever, like me, and make it super difficult but highly rewarding by stashing a hundred dollar bill somewhere and whoever finds it keeps it!
Or if only the adults are playing then you can hide little alcohol bottles (nips as we call them here in New England), or candy if it's the kids.
​You can make a scavenger hunt as basic or intricate as you wish. You can have everyone work individually or in teams but no matter what make sure there is a fun prize at the end! Incentive boosts morale.
You could even make it native to the area like having them find a type of leaf, fire wood, or wild mushrooms. And if you're like me than you can stash riddles everywhere. Just tell them their first clue and they're off!Do you have a family full of talent? Or at least a group that's overly-confident?
Put on a talent show! Your own crazy uncle can sing an inappropriate song, your cousin can dance and you can enjoy a bunch of stand up comedy full of dad jokes by you-know-who.
It doesn't matter if there is genuine talent, no talent, or a mix of both. A family talent show will create memories to last a lifetime.
Plus, maybe you'll create a tradition to embarrass the young ones for years to come.
I live for embarrassing the young ones! That's the main reason I added a Karaoke machine to my New Hampshire cabin rental called Four Seasons Lodge.
You should hear folks belting out a tune (badly) and everyone laughing! If you want more equally embarrassing, but equally fun games to play, then invest in Speak Out. You've probably seen it on Ellen. It's the game with the funny mouth pieces and it's hilarious!
Another great awkward game is one you can make at home. The Banana Game is an absolute riot!
Have the willing victims make a line, tie a string around their waist with a banana tied to it (make sure the string is long enough for it to almost touch the ground) and the players have to use the bananas to hit the ball across the finish line.
​It'll give you memories to last a lifetime!A good old fashioned egg race is another great homemade game!
Pick partners and give them two spoons and an egg. The first runner puts the egg on their spoon, puts the spoon in their mouth and runs to their teammate without dropping the egg. Once they reach their partner they have to transfer the egg to their teammates spoon before they run to the finish line. The first one across it wins!
I once played it more like a relay race but on horseback. You had to go around a barrel and, thankfully, the spoon was just in your hand. Another great way is to blindfold one person and then you have to guide them with your voice. SAVE MONEY CONTACT TEENA
3 Reasons To Host a Family Reunion In A New Hampshire Cabin Rental
I know you've been to reunions where everyone has their own hotel/motel room or cabin but I'm going to explain the benefits of renting a huge lodge or vacation rental and having the whole place to yourself.
1. Kitchen Yes, I said it. A Kitchen. You don't know me but I am a terrible cook, don't care much about food, but love to watch people cook.
When I'm part of a family reunion, I'm the one sitting there chatting with those that are sequestered to the kitchen to whip up something delicious.
I'm at the ready if they need someone to hold a strainer so they can pour in the spaghetti or chop a veggie or two so they can attend to the stir fry.
I love watching people do things they are skilled at. I could NEVER take a few veggies and a dob of meat and present my hungry family with a stir fry creation!
That's really not the most important reason to rent a venue with a kitchen. In no particular order, here are my thoughts:
  • save money on eating out
  • little tykes won't get scolded for crying at a meal at home
  • people like me can take a tiny portion and keep the conversation going at the table
  • you don't have to listen to that stupid Muzak in a restaurant
  • allergy sensitive folks won't put themselves at risk
  • bring frozen meals like lasagna or chili to heat up
2. Save Money
Yes, save money! Add up 10 or so rooms in a resort and I know you can find a great vacation rental for much less.
Book directly with the owner of that vacation rental so you don't have pay Airbnb/VRBO/TripAdvisoetc their huge Service Fees.
Eat most meals at the venue rather than dropping hundreds a day on meals.
3. More Bonding, Memories, Pictures, and Laughs
Last but certainly not least, the best memories are made at the end of the day reminiscing about the day's adventures!
​Gather round the fireplace or cuddle up on the couches and tell stories, reminisce, listen to Grandma's stories, and get to know new and old relatives!
If you all head back to a hotel room every night because there's no place where the whole family (including infants) to gather and relax, you are missing out on some special memories.
Lastly, all the awesome games I described above won't get played. I'm NOT a game person but when someone coerces me to play, I always have a fantastic time!I bought Four Seasons Lodge as the result of planning many family reunions.
I know the headaches, the joys, and the fruits of hard labor that come with getting your entire family into one place.
Look what came out of mine? I found our prime location and bought it!
But I still want to share it with others who may be struggling to find their space like me and that's how I came to have the business I have today.
​My NH cabin rental is not for sale, but it may be the perfect place for your family vacation. The showpiece of the entire Lodge is our heated INDOOR pool! It's heated to 81 degrees year-round and even grumpy old Uncle Ed will enjoy a swim after dinner.
Does everyone want their own private space? Perfect, we have 10 bedrooms with sleeping for the 20 fun relatives you plan to invite to your family reunion!
Located in North Conway, NH, Four Seasons Lodge is set in a perfect location (in my opinion anyway). It's tucked in a private spot off a scenic byway, minutes to world class outlet shopping, great restaurants, 7 awesome ski resorts, and great hiking.
We are locals and live, work, and play in the White Mountains. Hit us up if you need suggestions of things to do in North Conway or check out our blogs.
I love to say to folks that are tearing their hair out trying to please everyone in their family by choosing the BEST possible venue for their family reunion - RELAX!
Memories that last a lifetime will be made by everyone and they have you to thank for bringing all of them together!
Give me a call and I'll do all we can to make your family reunion as smooth and painless as possible!
Feel free to contact me for more information about hosting a family reunion at Four Seasons Lodge.
https://www.fourseasonslodge.com/blog/how-to-plan-a-family-reunion-the-right-way
Teena ​ Four Seasons Lodge 31 Whiskiers Lane North Conway, NH 03860 ​ 603-662-5391
https://www.FourSeasonsLodge.com
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2020.10.27 08:08 G_Boreas [RF] WTC4: Sparkplug

Early Sunday evening was settling in on the large parking lot of Twins plaza. Several groups of cars were parked here and there. Inside the cars, or standing outside, groups of young people were chatting with each other, drinking coffee, having a cigarette, or listening to music. The focal point was the Twins Coffee Shop, or Twinnie’s as its most loyal patrons called it. Twinnie’s parking lot was the place where restless youth assembled to bond and to plot against the vast oppression of the suburban life.
Two friends, Pauly and Lennon, were lounging in the reclined seats of Lennon’s Lexus. They were talking about Eli Panier, the newly minted Silicon Valley billionaire.
- Can you imagine? said Pauly, - The man comes to the country with barely a dime in his pocket, and ten years later he’s runs the most profitable AI firm on the planet. He is one of those rare geniuses who just see things others cannot see. He explains it to these hedge fund wizards, and they hand him over hundreds of millions of dollars. Next thing you know, our reality is getting transformed by new technology.
- Man, I met some of those hedge fund guys in college and these people have next-level vision. Their everyday reality is something we can only dream about. They run this country. Hell, they run this world. But to Eli Panier they are only a bunch of bumbling children. Can you imagine that level of flow?
- Bankers may run the country, but they don’t do anything creative. Eli Panier on the other hand is a modern-day Prometheus. He is taking humanity to the space age.
- Bankers don’t give a shit about the space age, man. Cash rules. They care about living the good life. Mansions, swimming pools, women. They let the nerds build the technology, and they take the money and celebrate by banging super models.
- Sure, finance requires a high-level IQ, but at Eli Panier’s level of IQ? He has transcended sex, man. To people like him, sex is like a remnant of our animal evolution. They get mind orgasms thinking about space and science and shit.
Pauly and Lennon turned up hip hop on the sound system and looked out onto the parking lot and the Twinnie’s coffee shop behind it. Inside the coffee shop, three women in grey uniforms and hairnets were busy taking orders. They were serving coffee and donuts to an endless line of customers pulling up and out of the plaza.
A black sedan pulled up some distance in front of them, next to red car that was already parked there for a while. Two beautiful young women walked out of it. A third attractive girl that walked out of the red car, and they greeted each other with hugs.
- Damn, that’s Laura, said Pauly.
- Man, she was hot ever since high school, but right now she’s turning into a total bombshell, said Lennon.
- She’s dating some lawyer who works downtown.
- She knows what she’s doing, eh? A downtown lawyer is a big upgrade from her last boyfriend.
- Yeah, no kidding. That bouncer who got arrested for beating some junkie kid half-dead.
- Let’s go talk to those girls, said Lennon.
- Honk or something, said Pauly.
As they were deliberating, a white Honda Civic pulled up right by their car, and the driver rolled down his windows. It was their high school friend Theo.
- Dude, where have you disappeared? We haven’t seen you much this summer, said Pauly.
- Working hard, said Theo.
- You still working with that crazy Ramón dude? asked Lennon. - Why are you doing that crazy job man? Those construction guys are mad as bats.
- It’s a good question, said Theo, - I’ve been wondering that myself.
- And where were you last night? We were all playing poker at my house, said Pauly.
- Man, last night was crazy. Marvin and I ended up at a pool party in Pine Grove. I ended up sleeping with this cougar at the house.
- No way, Pine Grove! said Lennon, - That’s sick man. You’ve got to introduce us to some of your new rich friends.
- You guys chill here every day, enjoying life, huh? Don’t you ever get bored of Twinnie’s?
- Bored? answered Pauly, - This is where it’s at my man! Check out the action over there. Pauly pointed at the three women.
- Oh, it’s Laura and those girls, said Theo. – I can barely recognize her.
Theo stepped out of the car and went into Twinnie’s to buy a coffee. On his way there he passed right by Laura and said hi. On his way out, he chatted them up a bit and then nodded in the direction of Pauly and Lennon. The girls waved. Next thing, the boys and the girls were all out of their cars and talking to each other.
- So, what have you been up to, Pauly? asked Laura. I saw your mom at the mall the other day. She told me about your plans to move to the big city.
- Oh, nothing is sure yet, said Pauly, - We are considering expanding with another restaurant in New York. But we are only in the planning stage.
Everyone congratulated Pauly. Only Lennon and Laura had known the news.
- When you set up shop in Manhattan, I’m coming down right away, laughed Lennon. - I’ll move my accounting business down there too and we can live the high life. All the ladies are welcome to join us as well.
Theo was beginning to feel uncomfortable. His construction job wasn’t going to fit in well into that conversation. However, he could brag about making friends in Pine Grove.
- Talking about high life, he said, - I went to a party in this mansion in Pine Grove. I made friends with the host; this banker guy named Neil. He and his friends were talking about their investment business.
- Well, you have a science degree, said Pauly, - You were the math kid ever since high school. Tell those guys to hook you up with some work, man! You can work the Excel sheets for them, predict the stock market.
- Actually, we did talk some business. I think I might actually have a chance here.
- That’s awesome! said Laura, - You go get tiger!
- We’ll see. It may be complicated.
A warm summer night was beginning to set. Some more friends came and went. Most people knew each other from back when they went to the same local high school. Much of the conversation revolved around recurring jokes and recycled gossip. Eventually there were only the guys left with Laura. Pauly turned the conversation turned to a funny podcast by Bill Burr and they went back into Lennon’s Lexus to listen to it. Theo sat in the back with Laura. Lennon and Pauly played the piece in front and found it really funny. Theo smiled here and there.
Laura didn’t find it funny at all. The piece was making fun of women.
- I don’t know, the guy just sounds like he is really bitter.
- Laura, it’s not like that, said Pauly, - If you listen to the guys other stuff, you’ll see that he’s not a bad guy. He has a great relationship with his wife, and she pitches in too sometimes.
The argument escalated from there and Laura wanted to go home. However, her girlfriend who drove her to Twinnie’s had left.
- You know what, screw you guys, said Laura. – Theo, can you please drop me off at home? It’s getting late anyways.
- Sure, said Theo. The other two guys were by that point were more or less silenced.
Theo and Laura walked over to Theo’s car and got in.
- It smells a little funky in here, said Laura.
- Sorry, it’s all my construction clothes. Theo did not foresee a woman in his car that weekend, so didn’t do much cleaning and knew that Laura was right. He was of course nose-blind to his own stink.
Theo turned on the ignition, but after short revving and a screech, it failed to start the engine. His ignition had been giving him some problems lately, and he had been planning to take the car to the mechanic. Again, he had not foreseen Laura sitting in his car.
- Shit looks like I left the light on, he said - I’m such an idiot.
- Oh. That sucks, said Laura. – So, we can’t leave?
- I’m sorry, said Theo, - I’m going to have to call the road service to help me out here.
- Oh, that sucks. Well, I wouldn’t mind sticking around, but I really need to get back home like an hour ago to prepare for work tomorrow.
- I understand. Why don’t you grab a ride from Lennon while they are still there?
- Okay, said Laura. She gave Theo a hug and got out of the car. – Hope it gets fixed soon!
As Laura got back into the Lexus with Lennon and Pauly, Lennon rolled down his window and asked:
- What happened brother?
- Man, my car battery died. You guys go right ahead, I’ll wait for the road service.
- Dude, I got booster cables in the trunk! Lennon begin to step out of the car, but Theo stopped him.
- Won’t help, man, trust me, said Theo, - The battery needs a stronger boost from the big tow truck. It would just kill your battery too if you tried to give me a boost. I know my car. You guys just go ahead.
It took some more convincing, but Lennon got back in his car and the three of them drove off. Theo was left alone in the dark parking lot that at this point was almost deserted. He got out of the car and lit a cigarette in the blue silence of the city at night.
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2020.10.26 16:26 Dr_Morrigan Dr. Morrigan's Case Files: Tobie's Bug Bite

Previous Case Files: Adelaide, Hannah, Anson, Ryan, Ryan's Addendum, Carrie
AUTHORITIES HAVE IDENTIFIED ALL 32 BODIES FOUND ON SALT CREEK PROPERTY! the headline read.
I pushed the paper away from me, not wanting to think about that night. It had been almost a month since it happened, but it still felt like yesterday to me. That is why I was currently sitting in a diner, eating breakfast on my way to Camp Curiosity. Paige, the owner of the camp is one of my oldest friends, and every year she tries to get me to come out and join them. When she called and asked if I could fill in for the current camp doctor, who had to leave unexpectedly, I agreed to help, happy to have something to do to distract me from my thoughts.
When I pulled up to the camp’s office an hour later, Paige stepped out with a huge smile on her face, waving her hand in greeting,
“How was the drive?” she asked, walking over to the car as I got out.
“Not too bad,” I replied, returning the smile as best I could.
“I can’t believe you’re finally here after all these years,” she declared, wrapping her arms around me.
“You know how work is,” I started to explain after she released me from the hug, but she cut me off with a wave of your hand.
“It doesn’t matter,” Paige said, “You’re here now.” I could tell she was excited to have me there.
I felt bad that I wasn’t able to share her enthusiasm.
“Grab your stuff,” she pointed at the car, “And I’ll show you where you’re staying.”
After taking my bags out of the trunk, I followed Paige to a small cabin situated at the back of the camp, not far from the lake. A large sign hung above the door, its faded red letters spelling out the word INFIRMARY.
Paige pulled out a set of keys and unlocked the door. “After you,” she said, gesturing for me to enter first.
The room I walked into was set up like an out of date hospital exam room, minus the sterile white walls. Everything in the place looked like it had been pulled out of a time capsule from the ’80s. The only modern thing I saw was the portable AED mounted on the wall by the door.
“Your room is through that door,” she pointed at the door across the infirmary, “Once you get situated, come back to the office and I’ll give you the official tour.” She handed me the set of keys she had used to open the door. “These keys unlock all of the doors in the camp,” she said before releasing the keys, “You and I are the only ones with a set, don’t let them out of your sigh.”
“I won’t,” I promised, closing my hand around the keys.
As Paige was about to walk out of the infirmary, she stopped and turned around, “Thanks again for doing this on such short notice,” she said.
“Anytime,” I replied with a smile.
“See you soon,” she said, closing the door as she left.
My room was about half the size of the infirmary. It reminded me of my dorm room from when I was in college with the exception that my dorm room didn’t smell like mothballs. The thought of moths and other bugs invading my privacy made me decide to leave my clothes packed in the suitcase instead of using the provided dresser.
The only things I removed from the suitcase were a plastic bag full of toiletries and a cloth-wrapped bundle. I tossed the toiletries into the bathroom sink and then carried the bundle over to the dresser where I set it down and unwrapped it, revealing the gimcrack in all its hideous glory.
I don’t know why I brought it with me. I suppose some part of me might have been refusing to let go of what happened that night and bringing the gimcrack was my way of punishing myself.
After I placed the gimcrack on the dresser I sat on the end of the bed and stared at it, recalling the phone call I had made to Father Cooke and Magister Alexander, the priests from opposing doctrines who had warned me about Ryan’s grandmother.
If they hadn’t come out that night and taken charge of the situation, I would have been sitting in the middle of the drive, cradling Carrie’s body in my lap until the sun came up.
Snap out of it, I chided myself, getting up and leaving the room. Being alone was the last thing I needed.
When I went back to the office, I found Paige outside talking to her camp counselors who were spread out across several picnic tables. The kids would be arriving soon and she was handing out their assignments.
“Ellie,” Paige said, waving me over when she saw me approaching the group, “You’re just in time.”
She waited until I had walked over to stand next to her before introducing me to the group of college-age young men and women. I smiled and gave them a quick wave.
“I’ve known Ellie since we were your age,” she gestured at the group, “And I trust her with my life,” she placed her hand on my shoulder. “I expect all of you to show her the same respect you’d show me. If you need something and can’t find me, talk to her.”
“Alright,” Paige clapped her hands together, “You all have your assignments. Hop to it!” she shooed them away. “You ready for that tour?” she asked, turning to face me as the counselors dispersed.
Paige showed me around the grounds, pointing out the various buildings along the way. Everything seemed to be built around a large outdoor amphitheater situated in the center of the camp. The infirmary, mess hall, recreation center, and office were all located on one side of the structure while the boys’ and girls’ cabins were on the opposite side.
“This place is huge,” I remarked as we made our way down to the boathouse.
“It used to be much larger,” Paige said, leading me out onto the dock.
“Seriously?”
She pointed out across the lake, “See those poles sticking out of the water?”
I squinted my eyes, scanning the opposite shore of the lake until I saw what she was referring to, “Yeah,” I said.
“When my great grandfather built this place, the boys and girls had separate camps. Camp Curiosity was for the boys and Camp Confection was for the girls. Those poles are all that remains of Camp Confection’s boathouse.”
“What happened?”
“The eighties,” she laughed.
“All the horror movies?” I asked, mostly joking.
“I’m sure that was part of it,” she replied, “But I think it had more to do with the increase in specialty camps that started popping up at the time. Kids had lost interest in the traditional camp structure and wanted to go to computer camp or sports camp. My grandfather owned the place back then and tried his best to keep up with the changing times, but he was out of touch with what the kids wanted and ended up failing miserably. He wound up having to close Camp Confection, deciding to consolidate all of the girl’s programs into Camp Curiosity in a last-ditch effort to save the camp. As you can see,” she looked back at the camp, “It worked.”
“Is the old camp still over there?” I gestured across the lake with my chin.
“Most of the old buildings are, but they were gutted when my grandfather combined the camp curriculums.”
I stared off into the woods on the other side of the lake, looking for signs of the old camp, but couldn’t see anything beyond the thick wall of trees.
“You ready to head back?” Paige asked.
“Yeah,” I said, following her off the dock and back towards camp. “Do you think you’ll ever reopen the camp?” I asked.
Paige shook her head, “I seriously doubt it. I barely make enough to keep this place running,” she gestured at the surrounding buildings. “I would have sold off that part of the property years ago if I could have.”
“What stopped you?”
“I don’t own it. I just own the camp. The property it sits on is part of a family trust. To sell it, I’d have to get permission from the trustees and they’d never allow it. My great grandfather was adamant that the land stays in the family.”
“Maybe I can lease the land from you,” I blurted out as a crazy idea suddenly sprang into my mind.
The entire time we’d been talking, we were also walking towards the camp office, but Paige stopped and stared at me after processing what I had just said, “Seriously?”
I nodded.
“What would you do with it?” she asked.
“I’d reopen the camp,” I replied.
“Why the hell would you want to do that?” Paige looked at me like I was crazy, “You’d just be throwing your money away fixing that place up and it would be years before you started turning a profit if you turned one at all. I can’t let you do something like that.”
“Well, it wouldn’t be a camp,” I clarified, “It’d be more like a retreat. A place I can bring patients to get them out of the city.”
And I place I can escape from the city, I thought to myself.
“That’s actually not a bad idea,” Paige said, “But…we’ll have to talk about it later,” she pointed to the entrance of the camp where the loud rumbling of several diesel engines announced the arrival of the school buses carrying the campers.
Once the kids arrived things got a little crazy and the days flew by. I spent most of my time patching up the occasional skinned elbows and knees or applying anti-itch ointment to mosquito bites. The worst things I had to deal with, besides a few cases of separation anxiety, were a sprained ankle and a mild case of food poisoning.
Paige and I never discussed the retreat during that time, which I was thankful for. It was a half-baked idea that I needed to give more consideration to before I committed to anything.
Before I knew it, the two weeks were almost up and I was feeling more like my old self.
I could get used to this, I thought one evening, jinxing myself and ruining the experience of the previous week and a half.
“Doctor Morrigan! Doctor Morrigan!” I heard someone yell as I was walking past the boathouse on my way back to the infirmary.
Mark, one of the lead counselors came running up to me, “Something’s wrong with Tobie,” he said, trying to catch his breath between words. As he spoke, he pointed at the dock where several campers and Jamie, another camp counselor, were standing around looking at the prone form of a teenage boy lying in the bottom of a canoe.
I ran down to the dock, pushing my way through the group of gawkers, “Jamie,” I said, snapping my fingers in front of the counselor’s face to get her attention. “Get these kids back to their cabins.” When she turned and looked at me, I pointed towards the group of buildings in the distance. “Now,” I demanded.
As Jamie herded the kids off the dock, I stepped into the canoe and began checking Tobie’s vitals, I turned and looked back at Mark who was watching me from the dock, “What happened to him?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” Mark shrugged, “We were on our way back to the dock when he said he felt sick and then suddenly passed out.”
Tobie’s pulse was strong, and he was breathing normally. As far as I could tell he wasn’t in any immediate danger.
“Help me get him to the infirmary,” I said, leaning down to grab Tobie under his arms while Mark grabbed his ankles.
As I lifted the teenager, he stirred a little, mumbled something, and then burped right into my face.
“Did you give him alcohol?” I asked, glaring at Mark. The smell that came out of Tobie’s mouth was unmistakable.
“No!” Mark declared, “Of course not!” He was offended by the suggestion.
I let the matter drop for the time being and instead focused on getting Tobie back to the infirmary without being seen. If word got out that one of the campers was drunk it could be the beginning of the end for Camp Curiosity and I wasn’t about to let that happen to Paige.
“Tell me everything you know,” I said to Mark after we had gotten Tobie into one of the infirmary’s beds. “Starting with what you were doing out on the lake so late with a canoe full of campers.”
Mark hesitated for a moment. I could tell he was trying to come up with a plausible lie to keep himself out of trouble.
“Don’t lie to me,” I said, “I’ll find out the truth one way or another.” That was both a promise and a threat.
Mark looked at me, reading my face, knowing that lying to me wasn’t in his best interest.
He slumped his shoulders and sighed, “They wanted to see what was on the other side of the lake,” he finally admitted.
“You took them to Camp Confection?” It was the perfect place for a group of teenagers to hang out and drink.
He nodded. “We weren’t there very long,” he explained, “We just explored a few buildings and then came right back.”
“Where did Tobie get the alcohol?”
“I don’t know,” Mark replied, raising his hand as if he were taking a pledge. “I swear.”
“Could one of the other campers have given it to him?” I asked.
“Not without Jamie or I noticing,” Mark replied. “We never let them out of our sight.”
How does a teenage boy, surrounded by people, get drunk without anyone noticing? That was the question I needed to answer, and unfortunately, the only person who could answer it right now was passed out.
Not knowing what else to do, I patted Tobie down, looking to see if he might have a flask hidden somewhere on his person. I didn’t think he did, I just wanted to be thorough and didn’t know what else to do at the moment.
As I was rolling him to the side to check his back pockets, I noticed a large red welt on the side of his ankle. It looked like a nasty bug bite.
“Do you know how he got this?” I asked, pointing at the bump.
“No,” Mark replied, “He never mentioned anything about it.”
Inside the infirmary was a desk where I was required to fill out incident reports for every camper who came to see me. I walked over to that desk and began searching through the drawers, looking for the magnifying glass I had seen earlier in the week. When I found it, I sat down on the bed next to Tobie and held it over the bite mark.
“That’s odd,” I whispered.
There were marks around the circumference of the bite that looked like tiny teeth impressions. I’ve seen enough bite marks and been bitten enough times in my line of work to know what a human bite mark looks like. The marks on Tobie’s ankle looked exactly like that. The problem was the size of the marks. The person who made them couldn’t have been more than six inches tall.
There was only one kind of creature I knew of that could make a bite mark like that. A faerie.
“I need you to stay here with Tobie,” I said to Mark, getting up and heading out of the infirmary before he could protest. “Don’t give him anything to eat or drink while I’m gone,” I added before shutting the door.
I was originally going to take a canoe across the lake but then I decided it would be a lot quicker and less of a hassle to just drive over there.
When I approached the gates to Camp Confection, I was happy to see they were exactly like the ones at the entrance to Camp Curiosity which meant they weren’t locked. I just had to unlatch them and push them open before I could continue on my way.
The old road that led into the camp was covered in pine straw and full of potholes, but still functional. When I pulled into the parking lot, I parked my car and turned on the high beams so that my headlights illuminated what was left of the camp’s buildings. From what I could tell, everything was laid out exactly like it was at Camp Curiosity.
I got out of the car and began walking towards what was left of the cabins, thinking that would be a great place to start my search.
“If I were a faerie, where would I hide?” I said to myself, looking from one dilapidated building to the next, but they didn’t look like they had housed anything in decades.
Turning around, I made my way to the other side of the camp where all of the service buildings were located. All of those structures were in similar disrepair except one, the mess hall. Considering how old it was, and the state of the other buildings in the camp, the mess hall looked pretty. A fresh coat of paint and some new windows and it’d look almost as good as the one over at Camp Curiosity. That wasn’t natural. It should be in the same sad state as the rest of the buildings.
Faeries are inherently magical. They exude the stuff which tends to have several beneficial side-effects on their immediate surroundings. One of those side-effects is a deceleration of the aging process. I was sure that is why the mess hall was in much better shape than the rest of the camp.
When I entered the mess hall, I could see several tracks of footprints in the dust. Further proof that I was in the right place.
I began searching the interior of the building, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Everything looked as I expected it would. It wasn’t until I got to the kitchen that I found what I was looking for.
While searching through the empty cabinets, I noticed that one of the units on the floor wasn’t secured to the wall very well. It wobbled when I pulled open the doors. Wanting to see if there was anything behind it, I grabbed hold of it and tugged it off the wall.
I didn’t have to pull very hard before it fell forward and collapsed in on itself.
“Found you,” I said, kneeling to get a closer look at the faerie hovel built into the wall where the cabinet was.
“You shouldn’t be in here,” a small voice squeaked behind me, “It’s not safe.”
I jumped, at the unexpected sound. “You just scared the shit out of me,” I said, turning to face the diminutive woman standing in the doorway of the kitchen.
She was wearing a simple green dress with a white apron over it. On her head was a matching bonnet.
“You’re a Chaun, aren’t you?” I asked.
Chauns are a type of house fairy that tended to live hidden among humans, usually in rural locations. Having one living inside your house was believed to bring good fortune to the family.
“I am,” she replied, “And you’re a Fay.”
Fay was a faerie term used to denote someone who could see and interact with the fae folk. A side effect of those who’ve been scarred by something supernatural.
“You said it’s not safe in here, what did you mean by that?” I asked, crossing my legs and taking a seat on the floor.
“Do you know what happens when a Chaun goes mad?” she asked, walking over to stand in front of me.
“Sort of,” I admitted, “They change depending on the type of madness inflicting them. I know that a Leprechaun is a Chaun that’s gone insane with greed, right?”
“Everyone knows about the Leprechauns, but have you ever heard of a Clurichaun?”
I shook my head. My faery lore was very limited.
“A Clurichaun is a Chaun that’s become addicted to spirits.”
“Spirits?” I was confused for a second but then I realized that she meant alcohol. “Tobie must have had a run-in with the Clurichaun.”
“Is that the boy that was in here earlier?” the faery asked.
“Yeah,” I nodded my head, “I think the Clurichaun bit him and affected him somehow.”
“He did,” the faery agreed, “That bite cursed the boy to drink like a Clurichaun. He’ll curse you too once he sees what you’ve done to his home.” She pointed at the hovel I had uncovered.
“What does it mean to ‘drink like a Clurichaun’?”
“It means that whatever the boy drinks will turn into spirits.”
That explained why Tobie was drunk. He must have taken a drink from one of the water bottles when they were returning to Camp Curiosity.
“Where is he now?” I asked, looking over at the disheveled hovel then back at the faery. From what I knew about Faeries, I needed the Clurichaun’s help if I was going to remove the curse he put on Tobie.
“There’s a moonshine still hidden at the bottom of the hill behind the camp. Last time I saw him he was heading down there to refill his jug.”
“How long ago was that?” Right after I spoke, I remembered that faeries didn’t measure time the way we did, so she wouldn’t be able to answer the question in a way that would help me. “Forget I asked that,” I said, waving it off with my hand as I tried to think of how best to help Tobie.
“The Clurichaun can’t help you. Not willingly,” the faery said, guessing my thoughts. “If you want to cure the boy, you’ll have to free the Clurichaun from his own curse.”
“How do I do that?” I was prepared to do whatever it took to help Tobie.
“You have to get him to drink something other than the spirits he craves.”
That sounded simple enough. The hard part was going to be catching the Clurichaun, but I already had a plan for that forming in the back of my mind.
“I’ll be right back,” I said, getting up and walking out of the mess hall, being careful to walk around the little Chaun as I left.
While I was walking through the camp, I remembered passing what looked like an old bonfire, around which were a bunch of discarded beer bottles. I was going to need a few of them for my plan to work.
As I gathered the bottles, it was easy to guess how the other Chaun had succumbed to the intoxicating call of the spirits. The abandoned camp was the perfect spot for young people to hide out and get drunk. The Chaun wouldn’t have been able to resist the lure of those gatherings. At some point, someone must have left some alcohol behind and that is all it took to start him on the path to becoming a Clurichaun.
After I had collected a few bottles, I went down to the lake to clean them out and fill them up with water. Once I was done, I returned to the kitchen and waited for the Clurichaun to return.
“You should probably go,” I said to the Chaun, “I don’t want to cause any more trouble for you.”
Faeries were bound by various pacts, and if they broke those pacts, they could be cast out from Fae society, or worse, they could be stripped of their magic. There was a limit to how much help the Chaun was allowed to give me. I just hoped she hadn’t already crossed that line by telling me how to cure the Clurichaun.
“I appreciate your concern and acknowledge your respect for our ways, kind Fay” she replied turning and walking out of the kitchen. “Be careful,” she added and then vanished.
I didn’t have to wait long for the Clurichaun to return. From the noise he was making, he didn’t seem to be concerned about hiding his presence.
Before he entered the kitchen, I positioned myself among the ruins of the broken cabinet and grabbed one of the bottles.
“What have you done to my home?” he demanded, setting the large ceramic jug he was carrying on the floor beside him before pointing an accusing finger at me.
“I must have had too much to drink,” I slurred, pretending to be drunk. “I’m starting to see little people.”
The Clurichaun stopped and cocked his head to the side at the mention of me being drunk. “What’s that you’re drinking,” he said, eyeing the bottle in my hand.
“This,” I pointed at the bottle, moving my hand as if I couldn’t hold it steady. “It’s Beer.”
“Can I have some?” he asked, reaching his hands out to me.
I pulled the bottle closer to myself. “You already have some,” I said, pointing at his jug.
“How about we trade?” he suggested. “I’ll give you some of mine,” he gestured back at his jug, “if you give me some of yours.” Then he gestured at my bottle.
I pretended to think about it for a moment, “Okay,” I shrugged.
“Excellent,” he said, rubbing his hands together. “I’ll get us some cups.”
I watched as he walked over to the cabinets on the opposite wall and retrieved an old tin cup that was almost as big as he was. He dragged it next to my foot then ran into his hovel and returned with a much smaller cup for himself.
“Me first,” he said, holding out his cup and licking his lips in anticipation.
I held out the bottle and poured a drop of the lake water into his cup.
I had hoped in his eagerness to have the beer that he would just chug it down, but he wasn’t that easily fooled. He brought the cup to his nose, sniffed it, and then dumped it out. “That isn’t beer,” he yelled at me.
“And I’m not drunk,” I said, reaching out and grabbing the Clurichaun with my free hand. It was time to go to plan B.
“What? How?” He squirmed in my grasp, trying to escape but unable to. That’s when he bit me.
The bite didn’t hurt as I expected it to. Instead, I felt a kind of tingling sensation where his teeth punctured the skin of my finger.
And now I have the curse, I thought to myself.
Keeping the Clurichaun in my hand, I refilled his cup with my other hand, then held it up to his lips, “Drink!” I demanded.
“Uh-uh,” he said through pursed lips, turning his head to the side.
“We can do this the easy way or the hard way,” I said.
He didn’t reply. He just kept his head turned to the side.
“Fine, have it your way,” I grabbed the cup he had given me and filled it full of water. “Last chance,” I warned, holding him upside down above the cup.
What I was about to do would break one of the faery pacts I was bound by as a Fay, but I didn’t have the time to sit there and wait him out. I would deal with the consequences later.
I began lowering the Clurichaun’s head towards the cup. When his hair touched the water, I heard him take a deep breath.
“It didn’t have to be this way,” I said, dunking his head beneath the surface of the water and holding him there. I counted to thirty seconds before I pulled him out.
Water was flying from his nostrils as he began breathing heavily through his nose, refusing to open his mouth.
“You ready to take that drink?” I asked.
He narrowed his eyes and glared at me. I took that as a no.
I dunked him again, holding him under for a full minute.
That process continued for several minutes until I finally said “Fuck it,” intending to end this one way or another. “I’m not lifting you out until you drink,” I said, raising my voice to make sure he could hear me. “Drink or die. That’s your only option.” I meant what I said.
I wasn’t in the mood to be charitable, not after losing Carrie. I know I was projecting my anger, taking it out on the Clurichaun, but I didn’t care. He was going to suffer the same way she suffered.
I must have zoned out because I didn’t notice the little Chaun until she had climbed up my leg and stood on my knee. “Let him go!” she yelled at me, “He took a drink!”
I looked down at the cup and noticed the torrent of bubbles coming from the drowning Clurichaun’s mouth. “Sorry,” I said, quickly lifting him up and gently laying him on the ground.
He lay there coughing and sputtering.
The Chaun slid down my leg and ran over to him.
Did it work? I asked myself, reaching down and picking up the cup of water. I took a sip and immediately spat it out. It didn’t taste like alcohol, it tasted like the dirty lake water it was supposed to be. I’m glad that’s over.
“This isn’t over,” the cured Clurichaun sputtered between coughing fits, “The Court of Seasons is going to hear about this.”
“I’m sorry. I truly am,” I apologized, “But I didn’t know what else to do,” I didn’t want to cry, but the tears came anyway. There was no excuse for what I had done. I deserved the shame I was feeling.
The two faeries sat there, huddled together on the floor. It never occurred to me that the two of them could be a couple but it was obvious to me now, seeing the way little Chaun cared for him.
“I’m not asking you to forgive me,” I said, “I don’t even forgive myself.” I stood up. “I will not plead my case to the Court of Seasons and will accept whatever judgment they pass down on me.”
Neither one of them spoke as I got up and left the mess hall, but I could feel their eyes drilling holes into the back of my head until I was out of sight.
I drove back to Camp Curiosity. When I got back to the infirmary, I found Mark sitting on the bed next to Tobie holding a trash bucket under his head.
“How is he?” I asked.
“Okay, I guess,” Mark replied. “He puked his guts out for about fifteen minutes, but he seems fine now. He’s been asking for water, but you told me not to give him anything to eat or drink.”
I walked over to the sink and filled a glass with water, carrying it over to Tobie.
“You can go, Mark,” I gestured towards the door, “Thanks for watching him.”
Mark got up and started to leave, “Do you know what happened to him?” he asked.
“I do,” I said, sitting down next to Tobie and handing him the glass of water. “Someone hid some liquor in one of the mess hall cabinets. I think Tobie helped himself to a little of it.”
“Sorry,” Mark apologized, “I guess I should have kept a better eye on him.”
Tobie started to shake his head and was about to protest my explanation, but I cut him off by pushing the cup against his lips.
“Drink,” I said to him. To Mark, I said, “Don’t beat yourself up over it. It wasn’t your fault. Go get some rest, its been a long day.”
“Yes, it has,” he agreed, walking out of the infirmary.
When I pressed the glass to Tobie’s lips, he took a hesitant sip and then grabbed the glass out of my hand and started chugging it. “More please,” he said, handing the glass back to me.
His thirst was enough to tell me that he was going to be fine.
I let him stay the night in the infirmary, sleeping off the effects of all the alcohol he had unknowingly ingested because of the curse. Before I tucked him in, I explained what had happened to him, and that he needed to keep it to himself. Talking about it would only cause more trouble for himself.
When I went to check on him in the morning, I found him hiding under his blanket.
“You okay, Tobie?” I asked.
“Is she gone?” he replied, keeping the blanket over his head.
“Is who gone?”
“The ghost lady,” he said reluctantly, thinking I would laugh at him.
Anyone else might have laughed at him, but not me. I knew what he was going through. I went through the same thing.
“She’s not here,” I reassured him, “She only appears at night.”
“You’ve seen her too?” He slid the blanket off his head.
I nodded, “She scared the shit out of me one night when I got up to use the bathroom, but she’s harmless.”
“Who is she?”
I shrugged, “I don’t know,” I sat down on the bed beside him. “I suppose she’s just the remnant of someone who used to work here.”
“What’s a remnant?”
“A remnant is the spiritual energy left behind by someone who has died unexpectedly,” I explained. “It’s a residual presence. Sort of like a psychic imprint.”
“Like a ghost?” he interrupted.
“Not quite,” I said, “A remnant isn’t really a ghost, it’s more like a character in a movie that keeps repeating the same scene over and over again.”
“Oh,” was all he could think of to say in reply.
“You’re going to start seeing a lot more things like that,” I warned him, “But most of them will be harmless.”
“But I don’t want to see them,” he blurted out.
“Sorry kiddo, but you don’t have a choice in the matter,” I replied,
“Why?”
“It’s because of that bite,” I pointed at his ankle. “Anyone who becomes scarred by something supernatural gains a special kind of sense, one that allows them to see and interact with things that most people don’t know or don’t believe exists.”
“Well, how will I know if they’re harmless or not?” he asked.
“You’ll know,” I said, getting up and walking over to the desk so I could grab a pen and a piece of paper, “When that happens,” I wrote my phone number on the paper and handed it to him, “I want you to call me as soon as you can.”
I felt bad for Tobie, knowing how drastically his life was going to change now that the veil had been lifted from his eyes. But at least he had someone to talk to if things got out of hand. I didn’t have anyone to talk to when I received my scar.
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2020.10.26 15:00 RobJHayes Self Published Fantasy Releases – November 2020

Self Published Fantasy Releases – November 2020
You can find the original post, complete with all the shiny covers, here.
https://preview.redd.it/fk6b09pe3gv51.jpg?width=3048&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=87bd001e7f52203ec6d6b5c656a01e33b4f7d2c7
If you would like to be kept up to date with the upcoming lists, please subscribe to my newsletter by clicking this link. I don’t send out letters too often, pretty much once a month when this list goes out… and occasionally if I release a book or something.
As always, this is not a comprehensive list, but only includes all the books I have heard about so far.
If you have a fantasy novel you are self publishing in November or beyond, let me know either in the comments, or by emailing me, and I shall add it to the page. There are but 3 requirements:
  1. It must be a self published fantasy novel.
  2. It must have a Goodreads page.
  3. It must have a cover.
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27th October – Flesh Eater (Houndstooth #1) by Travis M. Riddle

Branded as a Flesh Eater, Coal is on the run from Palace Stingers: soldiers tasked with tracking down those who have consumed flesh and locking them away in specialized prisons.
After a year of avoiding capture and struggling to scrape by working odd jobs for a local crime lord, Coal is growing desperate. He learns of someone in the city’s underbelly who can erase his record, but her services don’t come cheap.
Seeing no other option, he enters a spiderback race with a grand prize valuable enough to pay for his fresh start. But he’s not the only one after the prize, and Coal is about to find out exactly how far he’s willing to go to win.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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29th October – A World Broken (Chronicles of the Lady Sar #1) by Carol A. Park

In every end, there is a beginning…
The five races of Erets have lived in one accord since the inception of the world. But now, the seeds of hostility are growing due to a dispute over an innocuous plant, and three people find themselves entangled in affairs they would have once found unbelievable.
An advocate—trained to promote mutual understanding between the races—must confront the unimaginable prospect that peace is out of reach.
A priest—one who refuses to bend the knee to the gods he serves—finds that the only vow to those gods he has made might be harder to keep than he expects.
And a seeker—a gentle warrior sent to uncover the truth behind an unthinkable murder—stumbles into a labyrinth of lies that could shatter the world.
These three must save the world that they know.
But are they already too late?
Check it out on Goodreads.
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30th October – A Vow that Clashes (Voice that Thunders #4) by Cully Mack

When a vow demands sacrifice, who will pay the price?
Far behind Gabe is his innocence, destroyed when a Watcher slaughtered his clan. Now considered a chosen one, Gabe strives to understand his magic and his calling. He desires nothing more than to find his sister but is besieged by hybrid abominations intent on extinguishing mortal life, his most of all.
His allies: a cunning thief, an Immortal, and a Fire Wielder stand fast with those seeking sanctuary underground. It’s a trap. The god of deep mines and solver of secrets is coming… A perilous maze of tunnels, their sole hope of escape.
As vows and destiny collide, Gabe faces a devastating choice: abandon the people and his allies or forsake his beloved sister.The fate of the world rests on his decision, for the Watchers know a greater adversary approaches, a possessor of flesh. The clash between darkness and light has never been more dreadful.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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30th October – Sins of the Angels (Armageddon’s Offspring #2) by Philip Dickens

PUBERTY IS ENOUGH OF A PAIN WHEN YOU DON’T GROW WINGS.
The feathered wings on Piralel’s back mark her out as a nephilim. Her father is human, albeit one who has lived an unusually long life, but her mother is an archangel.
She has grown used to the stares that her unusual appearance brings, but not everyone paying her attention is content just to stare.
When Piralael is kidnapped, her family and friends face a race against time to find out who is behind it, and to get her back.
But there are others also racing to free the nephilim, for very different reasons. And all of them must contend with the murderous fanatics in red cloaks.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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31st October – The Devil’s Day (Lucky Devil #3) by Megan Mackie

You can always find help at the Lucky Devil.
Rune Leveau—emerging Talent and one-time corporate prisoner—knew that better than anyone. She’d rebuilt her life at the Lucky Devil bar, with her Aunt Maddie’s help. Now, in her aunt’s memory, Rune continues that legacy.
But when it is time for the Devil to collect his due, Rune could lose it all…
With the days counting down until she must defend her claim to the House of Magdalene—including the bar—Rune and her partner, the cyber-spy St. Benedict, hunt for a way to defeat her challenger, the fire Talent, Abraxas. Instead, they uncover long-kept secrets. But do they hold the key?
No matter what, the Devil will have its Day…
Check it out on Goodreads.
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1st November – A Ballad of Faith and Blood: Part One by Andrew William Tinney

Kith Thorn is the greatest bard who ever lived. From the northern mountains of High Haven to the sweeping plains of the Southland, Kith captivates audiences large and small.He is also cursed with ill luck. Misfortune, poverty, and disaster plague him wherever he goes.Bound to the dreadful Sir Drasten Vo Karroc and the pious Sister Ayda, Kith finds himself swept off to the crusades, a player in an altogether different ballad; one of faith and of blood
Check it out on Goodreads.
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1st November – How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps by Andrew Rowe

For thousands of years, there has been a cycle: a Demon King rises and conquers, and a Hero is reborn a hundred years later to defeat him. Each time, civilizations are ground to dust beneath the Demon King’s hordes, but humanity has remained secure in the belief that a Hero of legend will always save them. There’s just one slight problem. It’s only been 23 years since the Demon King’s latest rise, and this time, he’s already conquered more than half the world. If humanity simply waits for the Hero’s return, there may be no world left for him to save.
And so, Yui Shaw sets out with an ambitious plan. A 10-step plan.
She’ll find a way to obtain the Hero’s legendary sword. She’ll earn obscure classes, gain levels, and increase her skills. She’ll travel to the meticulously-crafted dungeons that seem designed for one specific Hero to complete. And, if she’s truly (un)fortunate, she might even find a fairy.
She might not be a Hero—but if she can fake it long enough, she might still be able to save the world.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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2nd November – A Hero’s Welcome (Heroes of Troy #2) by Daniel Kelly

TROY HAS FALLEN
The greatest city on earth has been reduced to a pile of smoldering ash, but the cost has been high. The fabled king Priam with the last remnant of the city, knowing all hope of survival is gone, sacrifice themselves in a last act of defiance to destroy the greek army.His once mighty army destroyed, his alliances in ruins.Agamemnon crawls for the safety of his fortress walls of Mycaenea well aware that enemies will smell blood in the water.But after ten years at war, who could you trust to keep your throne safe?
Running for their very lives, the refugees of Troy search the sea’s of the Mediterranean for refugee led by Aeneas. Somewhere they can survive, in the hope of one day bringing vengence to their home.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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2nd November – Fading Lights by Ryan D Gebhart

As the Lucillian Alliance crumbles and Ramiel’s prison weakens, the Erynien Empire’s supporters’ true loyalties are revealed. Yet even with the scales of power shifting, all is not lost, Myrium still stands, legends awake, and a Phaedryn soars through the skies for the first time in fifteen hundred years. Devlyn must reconcile his identity and his place in the world to fulfill the prophecy spoken by Lucillia.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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7th November – Ire of the Outsider: Dream One Book 2 by Alno Highking

‘To think that a savior cannot be evil is a lie. Our Zaeva sleeps at the peak of both mountains. The Void of Faegor and The Life it was born from.’
The deal between kings has been made, despite clashing ideals. Allowing Alqon to enter Asidra, the mortal realm of Sela with nothing but a empty stomach, a grasp of life and a chance…
Sela’s realms are not identical to the golden limbs of Faegor he is used to. Asidra burns black with human ambition. From the endless clash of power in the world of magics to the years of devastation war has brought to Nyrem, in one way or another Asidra has known only ambition and death. Today is no different.
In Qethran, the mightiest of lands in magic, the Seven Foundations rumble with a inevitable clash of magic’s elite before the new generation’s time comes. In the Blood Continent, all revolve around the coming steps the Lion will make to avoid becoming the next to fall and be devoured as his new border. And In the Isles, an outsider’s steps appear and is noticed as he reclaims his footing in a new world overflowing with life before his hunt begins.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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8th October – Star Eater by Alno Highking

Five thousand years prior, Lalu The Cursed terrorized the universe with power stars had never seen before and still to this day, he was unstoppable. Every planet he stepped foot on was reduced to nothing, and its people by eras.
It was not until The First Alliance was born that his wrath could be challenged. That was not until the first half of the twelve stars was devoured, and the second to come. At the center is where the final battle was held. And in part to all that remained, the stars were allowed to continue to shine.
That was the story of Lalu The Cursed. A story among many we have truly forgotten.
Now, we are more alien to one another than ever before. Throughout the wars and greed and secrets, the official star powers and those who stand unnamed as their equals, the politicians, the syndicates fueled by blood, the syndicates fueled by peace, the average man’s regrets, and woman’s flaws, throughout it all… we are lost. So terribly lost.
And out there, somewhere out there the forgotten also remain. Far greater than the mighty of today, different than how we will remember. And they will return.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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11th November – The Clockwork Ice Dragon by Liz Delton

An invention gone wrong. A city buried in snow. And she only has ‘til Christmas to make it right.
Aurelia Sundon has an idea for a brilliant invention that will ensure her family’s financial future. But the elite inventor’s guild has imposed a ridiculous deadline for invention applications: Christmas Day. With only four days until the deadline, Aurelia thinks she can finish it in time.
Until her old love Frederick Grandville steps back into her life when he enters the competition with his own invention. Frederick could be the downfall of Aurelia’s career. Again. But when his invention goes out of control, the wondrous snow it brings down on the ever-sunny city of Soldark turns into an outright blizzard.
With a broken promise between them, she’s not so sure she wants to help him. But the clock is ticking, the snow is getting deeper, and Aurelia must find a way to team up with her rival or risk losing her one chance at a better life.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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12th November – The Weeping Sigil (Dreadbound Ode #2) by Jordan Loyal Short

Adrift in the void, Henrik’s rescue is only a prelude to slavery.
But his new life on Tyria is not at all what he expected. When the illustrious House of Quoll purchases him, Henrik finds himself living in the home of his old enemy, Prefect Brasca Quoll. Desperate to hide the truth of his last days on Heimir, Henrik dives into the murderous game of Tyrianite politics. Devastated by the catastrophe on the Norn homeworld, the Federation teeters on the brink of civil war.
While the Shining Ones maneuver their champions for the final confrontation, Henrik’s fevered visions unveil the scope of Moriigo’s nightmarish rebellion.
Aboard a stolen voidcraft, Brohr and Lyssa hurtle into the depths of the starry abyss, on a desperate exodus in search of safe haven. But the outer reaches of the system are full of strange worlds, haunted ruins, and bizarre cults.
As anarchy grips the streets of Tyria, Henrik vows to reveal the true peril facing the Federation: Moriigo’s return! While rival electors, assassins, and federal inquisitors plot the downfall of House Quoll, Henrik must bind himself to the future of his onetime enemies, lest the horrors of his prophetic visions come to pass!
Check it out on Goodreads.
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13th November – Oh Wretched Moon by Kate Ramsey

They were never supposed to meet.
Stolen at birth and brought up underground, Luna knows nothing but darkness and isolation. When disaster drives her out of the only home she knows, she stumbles into a world of wonders. But monstrous creatures lurk in corridors—and then there’s the mysterious stranger who disappears when danger strikes.
Raised by a witch, Aethon has been taught to worship strength and fear nothing. When a hunting expedition keeps him out past curfew, he finally encounters a threat his courage cannot face. With the help of a strange girl he survives the harrowing night, but his life has already begun to crumble.
As opposite worlds collide, they will need to rely upon each other to find freedom. But which is more dangerous: captivity or escape?
Check it out on Goodreads.
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13th November – Thorn of the Night Blossoms (Scions of the Black Lotus) RE-RELEASE by J.C. Kang

She’s the emperor’s deadliest assassin……who’s in love with her clan sister.
With a brewing insurrection threatening the realm, she must choose between love and duty.
Because when faced with a nascent rebellion, your decisions could save an empire.
Or topple it.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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14th November – Finding Your Harpy Place (Tales of Arvia #2) by D.H. Willison

Life is a journey. On Arvia, it’s a perilous one.
Darin, a human of extraordinary unimpressiveness, astounded observers by surviving his first year on the mythical world of Arvia. His training and equipment may be questionable, but at least his best friend, Rinloh, an accident-prone harpy the size of a three-story building, is willing to lend a hand. Or a wing. Yet when an ancient magic artifact leaves a trail of chaos in its wake, it’s no longer just the giant mythical monsters he has to worry about.
Rinloh, a harpy whose unbridled enthusiasm leads to the occasional sundry destruction, charges into things talons first. Her curiosity is as insatiable as her flockmate’s appetite for human flesh, yet she can’t protect Darin from them until she becomes full-fledged. Regrettably, the test is a human hunt.
A distant forest may hold answers to both quests, yet who dares venture where even harpies fear tread?
Life is a journey. Sometimes the most important journeys are within.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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16th November – Fatedancer (Books of the Ascendant #1) by Francis James Blair

For one hundred and forty-three cycles, humankind has been the playthings of the gods. Monsters spawn in endless swarms across the countryside, dungeons full of treasure lure the unprepared to their doom, and adventurers squabble amongst each other in a constant battle for supremacy. Whoever holds the highest score when the cycle ends is granted immortality, but only if you can live long enough to seize the prize.
Luf Corent doesn’t care about dungeons or immortality, only with ensuring that he and his sister continue to survive for another day. Unfortunately, when you’re the lowest-ranked member of the weakest guild in the city, life isn’t exactly glamorous. Luf’s future doesn’t hold much beyond killing sewer rats and avoiding the attention of the guild’s more elite members.
However, when a twist of fate makes Luf the most sought-after person on the continent, he quickly discovers there is more to being an adventurer than just killing rats. In order to survive to the cycle’s end he’ll need the help of the man who almost won the last ascension tournament, but that help might just be more dangerous than the people who are looking for him. Especially when it seems as if even the divines themselves are taking an interest in this tournament’s results.
After all, when the gods play their games, it’s always humanity that loses…
Check it out on Goodreads.
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18th November – To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl (Yarnsworld #5) by Benedict Patrick

There is a price to pay for becoming a story.
Kaimana has defied the gods and won the freedom to spend the rest of her days travelling the collection of tropical islands she calls home.
But the people of the islands have taken notice of her.
They have started to tell her story; for many children, one of their favourite fireside tales is now that of the Taniwha Girl, the brave woman who befriends monsters.
Some islanders even pray to her.
The gods are displeased, but they are not the only ones paying attention to Kaimana’s rise to fame. On the borders of the island ring, an ancient demon – an old enemy of the Crescent Atoll – spreads its influence, and a spider-faced figure shadows Kaimana’s movements.
To secure her own safety, and that of her island home, Kaimana has to make a choice: turn her back on the people of the Crescent Atoll and continue enjoying the life she has won for herself, or give up all she holds dear to live up to the legend of the Taniwha Girl.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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20th November – Coven of Shadows (The Souls’ Abyss #2) by S.C. Gowland

Check it out on Goodreads.
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21st November – A Season of Ravens by J.R. Snyder

Confronting werewolves, exploring haunted forests, calming angry spirits, and befriending ancient vampires.
These are just a few of the tasks that Asher Norwood and his raven partner Aethon find themselves doing on any given day.
Asher is a sin eater, a guild of mages that exists to combat dark magic wherever it rears its ugly head. Invoking the forces of nature to protect a society that looks down on him, Asher will stop at nothing to defeat the monsters that plague his world.
Check it out on Goodreads.
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Space for more...
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2020.10.26 03:11 severakj Kaiser Lane, VOL 1, Chapter 5 (Azur Lane x Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

[Chapter One]( https://www.reddit.com/AzureLane/comments/hidhf5/kaiser_lane_volume_one_the_gathering_stormchapte)
[Previous Chapter](https://www.reddit.com/AzureLane/comments/j6vpw7/kaiser_lane_vol_1_chapter_4_azur_lane_x/)
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Links to alternate sites:

[Fanfiction](https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13630036/1/Kaiser-Lane-Volume-One-The-Gathering-Storm)

[Ao3](https://archiveofourown.org/works/24989680/chapters/60504472)

[Spacebattles](https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/kaiser-lane-azur-lane-x-kaiserreich-legacy-of-the-weltkrieg.863147/)
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A vicious war cry. The echoing boom of large-caliber guns. The shrill whistle of shells in the air. Scharnhorst’s ears rang with the familiar sounds of battle, the Yorck-class Fast Battleship’s body instinctively twisting to best protect itself from the incoming fire. Plumes of seawater burst skywards on every side as her opponent’s volley of twelve 45-cm shells plunged into the harbor around her. The waterspouts threw spray in all directions, soaking the Weltkrieg veteran to her bones.
Absent was the usual hellish flame of high explosives going off, as well as the deadly storm of shrapnel and metal fragments. The yellow clouds of dye that marked the impact of each shell, too, served as a reminder that this was not a fight to the death, but rather a ‘friendly’ training exercise. Not that that fact was going cause Scharnhorst to hold back that much: the Fast Battleship had been taught long ago that the sea did not forgive half-measures. Training was no exception to that rule. If you slacked off in a spar, you might slack off in a battle, and if you slacked off in a battle you wound up sunk. Her old instructor Von der Tann had, quite literally, beaten that lesson into her head, and Royal Navy had damn well made sure that it had stuck. Now it was the Weltkrieg veteran’s turn to try and pass on what she had learned from a lifetime in the Hochseeflotte.
Heavy emphasis on the word ‘try’.
Almost casually, Scharnhorst dodged sideways as her trainee Deutschland’s next salvo screamed in, an annoyed scowl decorating the Fast Battleship’s features. The younger shipgirl’s gun control was almost laughable, the shots she had fired having less been ‘aimed’ at the lavender-haired woman and more ‘fired in her vague direction’. The dozen shells that composed the volley fell in four loose and easily-avoided clusters (one from each of the other girl’s turrets) rather than as a singular overwhelming blow, the pinpoint precision that would have been a given among the veterans of Jutland or Skagerrak almost entirely absent.
Well, at least she’s using all her main guns at once. Only took her what, four years? Bitter sarcasm tinged the voice in Scharnhorst’s head as she took up her own firing stance, her eight 38-cm guns swinging into position. Completing her targeting calculations with near-trivial ease, the Weltkrieg veteran sent a real salvo back at her trainee: eight guns roaring as one, shells in a tight cluster, aim precise. For the sake of trying to teach the younger girl something, the Fast Battleship had made sure to telegraph her incoming attack as blatantly as possible, giving her opponent the chance to read her body language and try evading the volley instead of just relying on her armor.
No such luck. Deutschland, as per her norm, simply stood there and took the shots, apparently deciding that things like ‘dodging incoming fire’ were for lesser beings than the (not entirely fraudulently) self-proclaimed strongest ship in Ironblood. For a brief moment, the Super Dreadnought disappeared in a cloud of training dye and seaspray; a second later, a coughing noise sounded out from where Deutschland had been standing, the cloud clearing to reveal the Super Dreadnought’s face and torso had been painted lime green, the Flagship-to-be spluttering as she tried to spit the rancid-tasting training dye out of her mouth.
Another second later and a furious howl escaped from the black-haired girl’s lips, followed shortly by another flurry of 45-cm shells. Once again, to call it a volley would have been to stretch the definition of the word: it was clear to anyone with a trained eye that while the younger shipgirl may have been firing all her big guns together, she was still aiming each turret independently. Rather than in a true broadside, the shots were still plunging down as quartets of separate barrages, each one with only a bare fraction of the power that the shipgirl that had fired them should have been able to achieve.
Scharnhorst didn’t quite roll her eyes as she again easily evaded the worst of the incoming fire. That even with sloppy gun control and sloppier aim Deutschland’s shots made her teeth rattle, that even with training shells her student’s raw power was apparent, only served to disappoint and frustrate the Fast Battleship further. This was the girl that was the new pride of Ironblood? This was the girl that was meant to be the Hochseeflotte’s future flagship, the heir-apparent to Kaiserin Friedrich der Grosse herself?
In theory, yes. On paper, Deutschland was the greatest warship ever built, the ultimate symbol of the new order that the Kaiser’s Empire had brought to the world, a living testament to Teutonic might. Among all the shipgirls in the world, only her own sister Graf Spee could match her raw power: a hull close to 300 meters in length; enough engine power to give her a top speed of 27 knots; a dozen 45-cm guns and enough secondary firepower to arm a light cruiser flotilla; plate armor 410mm thick all along her hull, forged from only the strongest steel. Truly, Deutschland was born to rule the waves and lead the Kaiserliche Marine.
And here she was losing a training match to a two-decade old Fast Battleship that wasn’t much more than half her displacement and had maybe 3/5ths of her firepower.
Such things made one worry about for the future of the Kaiser’s Empire. It was a worry that only deepened when one remembered that a Wisdom Cube was shaped by the ideals and wills of the nation that built used it, and that an Ironblood shipgirl’s personality was therefore reflective of the mindset of the whole of the German people. Deutschland’s issues were emblematic of the problems that had developed in the entire nation’s post-war psyche: in the years since the Weltkrieg had ended, Ironblood’s eisen had become softened, and its blut had started running cold.
The younger generations of the German people knew only the fruits of the labor of their forebears, not the blood, sweat toil and tears of the labor itself. The children that had grown up with the Kaiser’s Empire on top of the world had come to have an attitude built around three things: ingrained feelings of complacency, arrogance and decadence; a pig-headed belief that that just being German made you the best; and the dangerous assumption that the Empire’s place in the sun had been owed, and not earned. Gone was the unshakable discipline and unbreakable will that had won the Weltkrieg, replaced with…well, nothing of value, really.
It was Ironblood’s own fault, of course. Omnipresent state propaganda, so key in holding the nation together through the war’s long, dark and grinding final years, had ultimately proved a double-edged sword. Not that it hadn’t been a necessary evil: The Empire had come closer, far closer, to collapse (both on the home front and the frontlines) than even its own citizens knew. If the public had had any idea of how bad things had actually been, the whole of Ironblood would have almost certainly collapsed.
To be bluntly truthful, the Kaiser’s Empire hadn’t actually won the war: they’d merely convinced their enemies that they had lost. Half of a victory is accomplished by arms: the rest is done by convincing the foe that they’ve been beaten, regardless of whether or not they actually are. Or to put it another way: you can win at poker with a pair of twos if everyone else at the table thinks that you’re holding a full house.
No better analogy could describe Ironblood’s victory in the Weltkrieg. The war had not been won with guns or shells, but with cracked codes and counterintelligence, with government proclamations that had not been allowed to be questioned and very tight controls on what the public had been allowed to know. The shining example of this policy of deception’s success was the tale of the Kaiserliche Marine’s victory in the naval war: in one of the greatest intelligence coups in history, the Ironblood propaganda machine had managed to bluff the entire British Empire (and the Kaiser’s) into believing that the Hochseeflotte had scored a ‘Trafalgar-esque’ victory over Royal Navy at the Battle of the Skagerrak, when nothing could have been further from the truth.
Far from a smashing success, Skagerrak had been for Ironblood the very definition of a pyrrhic victory, and even merely achieving that had taken a near-miraculous series of lucky flukes. Almost everything had gone right for the Hochseeflotte (they had all-but annihilated the Royal Battlecruisers; they had savagely mauled Britain’s Dreadnoughts; they had decimated their light ships; they had even cut down Queen Elizabeth herself), and still Ironblood had come within a hair’s breadth of defeat.
Royal Navy had matched their foes blow for blow, loss for loss, sinking for sinking. Skagerrak had not been (as was told to the German people and the world) a glorious rout of an outsmarted and outmatched enemy, but the Kaiserliche Marine’s most desperate and darkest hour. The Hochseeflotte had thrown everything and anything that it had had at Royal Navy. Experimental seaplane tenders, practically every U-Boat in Ironblood, and even the brand-new Yorck-class Battlecruiser sisters, who hadn’t even had their shakedown cruises before being thrown into the fire: all of them had been sent forth in an all-or-nothing operation that had relied on a battleplan that many had considered so insane that it looped back around to genius.
The ‘victory’ the Kaiserliche Marine won that day was bought with the sacrifices of dozens, hundreds of Ironblood shipgirls. Their Light Ships were decimated earning it: sent on death-or-glory torpedo attacks against the Dreadnoughts of Royal Navy (essentially being sent to die to buy breathing room for the Hochseeflotte’s Capital Ships), nearly a third of the entire Fleet’s combat-capable Destroyers had either been sunk or were badly damaged-losses further amplified by the destruction or crippling of around one-fifth of all Ironblood cruisers and a full half of their U-Boats.
Among the Capital Ships, the news had been similarly grim. Of the four Bayern-class girls that could go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Queen Elizabeth- and Revenge-classes, two had fallen in the course of the battle, and the other pair would require months in drydock before they were ready to fight again. The rest of Ironblood’s Dreadnoughts had fared little better, with even the Kaiserin herself receiving wounds that could not quickly be repaired.
It was the Battlecruisers that came closest to achieving what the government’s proclamations of victory declared that they had done (having decisively defeated their Royal counterparts in the battle’s early phases) but in the grinding night action that had ultimately decided the engagement’s victor they, too, had been made to pay the butcher’s bill. The old First Scouting Group, the proud veterans of Jutland, had been hammered so badly drawing fire away from their more modern comrades that none of them would see combat again for the duration of the war.
That Seydlitz and her direct command had even managed to survive the battle could largely be attributed to the spectacular performances of their Mackensen- and Yorck-class protégés in the Second Scouting Group, who had thrived in the hellfire of their baptism by flame. It had been mainly been their guns that had responsible for the obliteration of the Royal Battlecruisers, and it was their arrival into the chaos of the night action that had sealed Queen Elizabeth’s fate. They would be the ones to be declared the heroines of the hour, and if anyone doubted those honors then Second Scouting Group possessed more than enough battle scars to prove that they rightfully had earned them.
But that Ironblood’s Battlecruisers (half their number crippled and the rest badly maimed) had been by far the Hochseeflotte’s most intact formations by the time that the Fleet had returned to the safety of the Jade Estuary was telling. The Kaiserliche Marine may have struck the Royal Navy a blow the likes of which it had not felt in centuries, but they had effectively crippled themselves in doing it. There was no doubt in Wilhelmshaven: after Skagerrak, the Hochseeflotte could not afford to launch another assault against the Royal Knights. One more battle of such magnitude would have meant the utter destruction of Ironblood.
But Royal Navy hadn’t known that. Royal Navy had known nothing about the losses their foes had suffered: as the final phases of the battle had been fought in near pitch darkness, the Royal Knights had not been able to see that they were bloodying their foes just as badly as they themselves had been bloodied. In the confusion and chaos of the night battle, Queen Elizabeth and her command had had no idea of what the tactical situation was outside of what they could see with their own eyes, and what they could see was sorely limited.
And in the black of night, Ironblood had given Royal Navy a rather compelling reason to believe that it was they, not the Kaiserliche Marine, that were the ones to suffer the greater losses. When the First and Second Scouting Groups had limped into the confusing and brutal fray of the night action, they had done so by essentially pincering the Royal Knights between themselves and the Kaiserin’s Battle Line. Unable to clearly see the enemy’s reinforcements, the Queen was left to assume the worst: that Ironblood’s Battlecruisers were fully intact and that her own Battlecruisers had been completely wiped out.
This, in turn, lead Elizabeth to believe that the arriving Ironblood reinforcements (which had caught the Royal Navy main body almost completely by surprise) were far combat capable than they had actually been. The Royal Knights, thinking themselves to now be surrounded by a superior force (and inexperienced in night combat), had panicked. Fearing a disaster, they had tried to retreat, and had then, at the absolute worst possible moment, Royal Navy been confronted by an actual disaster: in the chaos of their attempt to disengage, their Queen had fallen.
Staggering away from the battlefield, Elizabeth’s successors would be left stunned by the shock of her loss, the Flagship’s sinking amplifying the psychological impact of Royal Navy’s casualties tenfold. The shocks to their pride and self-confidence were massive: Not since the Siren Wars had a Royal Navy Flagship been lost in battle. And not only had the sinking of Queen Elizabeth been devastating to the Grand Fleet’s morale (indeed, Elizabeth’s fall would inflict upon her successor Warspite and most of her Court a kind of mental paralysis which the Grand Old Lady would never fully shake), it had thrown Royal Navy’s chain of command into chaos, crippling their ability to deal with the ensuing crisis. And as they scrambled to rearrange its hierarchy and regain its bearings, the Hochseeflotte had struck again.
The decisive blow of Skagerrak would not be made by a naval cannon, but by the printing presses of the Ironblood state media. Knowing from intercepted and decoded messages that their enemy believed themselves crushingly defeated, the Kaiser’s Empire could not and did not allow the truth of Skagerrak to escape. The propaganda techniques that had shifted Jutland from a stalemate to a smashing victory in the public consciousness had been perfected in the years since that earlier battle, and now they were put to good use: the whole world was told of a story of complete and utter annihilation of the enemy, and were informed that the Ironblood Fleet could easily steam out and do it all over again at a moment’s notice.
That the shipgirls had no crews that could have allowed the truth to leak out made the lie all the easier. Dutiful to the last, the girls of the Hochseeflotte had done all that they could to help foster the illusion, and soon carefully doctored photographs of them were circulating throughout Ironblood, showing the German people images of decisive triumph and flawless victory. The censors did the job of hiding the girls’ injuries and disguising the fleet’s losses almost perfectly: if you looked through the newspapers of the continent, one would never have known how badly the Kaiserliche Marine had been bled.
Royal Navy (which even accounting for its losses at Skagerrak would have still have held notable advantages in numbers and firepower over Ironblood, and in all likeliness would have been able to destroy them on a whim if it came to another surface engagement) took the bait. The newly-crowned Queen Warspite, already plagued by self-doubt, grief and regret, had been in no mood to go combing through her enemy’s declarations of triumph looking for discrepancies or trying to challenge Ironblood to a rematch, and nor had her advisors.
Convinced by the loss of their Flagship that they had been dealt a crippling defeat (an illusion reinforced by a the Hochseeflotte’s continued hit-and-run raids on the British coast, which seemed to imply that the Kaiserliche Marine still had enough strength left to go picking a fight), the Grand Fleet would spend the rest of the war hemmed up in port, terrified of losing more sisters-in-arms than they already had. And by the time that Ironblood’s façade began to crack the truth started to leak out, it was too late to make a difference.
Similar stories had played out on land. The Kaiser’s government had had to convince starving people scavenging for turnips and horse-feed that the citizens in enemy lands had it worse and were on the verge of breaking, and had managed to loot enough food from its conquests to sustain the illusion. The army had fended off Azur Lane’s almost feral counterattacks to try and stop the push on Paris by making them think that they had enough reserves to launch attacks along the flanks of the main thrust, tying down entire enemy divisions guarding against attacks that would never come.
By lying long enough and loud enough, Ironblood had been able to create an entirely new truth and convince the world of it. The Kaiser’s Empire held together long enough for mutinies in the Iris Army to rip the Orthodoxy apart. The British Expeditionary Force, in perfect position to relieve their beleaguered ally by launching an assault that would have cut the German lines to pieces, had called the attack off, believing it to be a suicide mission into impregnable defenses (defenses that had been held by undermanned ‘ghost divisions’ that in practical terms existed only on paper). And so it was that in the end, Ironblood won the war: a victory built on the greatest set of lies ever told.
Because their new world order was built on the foundation of such lies, the Kaiser’s Empire could never stop lying if they wanted to maintain their oh-so-fragile hold on world hegemony. The end of the façade of unchallengeable power would have meant the end of Ironblood itself, the German people too exhausted and bled too dry to even consider withstanding a renewed enemy assault. The slightest lowering of their guard might have invited such a challenge, and so Ironblood’s great bluff had continued: They showed their enemies and allies alike nothing but strength and power, never backing down from a challenge, launching interventions the world over as displays of might and praying that no one would ever catch a glimpse behind the curtain.
By sheer luck or divine intervention, the illusion had held. The rivals of the Kaiser’s Empire had each had their own reasons for failing to see through the veil: Northern Parliament was embroiled deep in its Civil War; The Iris Orthodoxy, Sardegna Empire and Royal Navy had all been struggling to rebuild themselves, and had soon found the fires of Revolution sweeping across their lands; Eagle Union and the Sakura Empire, both isolated in their own continents far from Europa, had had little reason to challenge Ironblood’s claims of incomparable strength. But that the deception was allowed to persist only let the lies take deeper and deeper root among the German people, and even those that remembered the truth eventually began to convince themselves otherwise.
The lies that Ironblood had told the world started to become the lies that they told themselves. Public opinion, mirroring what the state press had told them in the war years and beyond, became convinced that that the British were weak and decadent, that the French were spineless cowards, the Russians were a backwards people a century out of date, that none of them were legitimate threats to the new order. The guard was relaxed. Vigilance was not maintained. The lies were taught to children in the schools, who grew up believing that state’s official explanations of how the war was won, never knowing that the ‘inevitable victory’ had had more to do with sheer luck, clever lies and the shortcomings of Azur Lane than any of Ironblood’s own military accomplishments.
And those that didn’t remember the war, didn’t remember the truth about it, had no alternative but to learn the lies by heart. Who was going to tell them otherwise? With the old enemies gathering their strength once more, who would dare admit weakness? Rather than being told of the full extent of the nation’s sacrifices and suffering, a whole generation was instead raised believing their parent’s propaganda: that the war had been a smashing and glorious victory, thinking that Ironblood’s ascendency had come at the hand of destiny, and that in both the present and the future that would be enough. That if there ever was another war, the Kaiser’s Empire was fated to win it.
Given that a shipgirl’s Wisdom Cubes (and thus their personality) was shaped by the wills and beliefs of their nation, how else could a girl like Deutschland (who had been built specifically just to one-up the other Great Powers) have turned out but entitled and arrogant to the extreme? The black-haired girl seemed totally convinced that their own strength was all that they would ever need, that fate itself would bend to meet her whims, that she had been born perfect and had no need for improvement. The Super Dreadnought was the physical incarnation of post-war Ironblood’s air of self-assured supremacy and untouchability: Brash cockiness, flashy demeanor, raw power that very few (if any) could possibly hope to match…and almost nothing of mental or spiritual substance to back any of it up.
Such things were not appreciated by those that had been through the hellfire of Jutland and Skagerrak, that knew full well that Ironblood should have by all rights lost the war and that the fruits of their victory were privileges, not rights. The unearned pride and unbacked arrogance of their intended successors (well-designed and well-built, but untested and unready) was, to put it mildly, deeply frowned upon by the veterans of the Weltkrieg.
Fortunately, the shipgirls of Ironblood were in a position to do something about it. Those that had since the war remained in the Kaiser’s service had taken up the duty of trying to beat such complacent attitudes out of the thick skulls of their trainees and to take lessons they’d learned during the war and beat them in. It was a difficult process, and the success of their attempts varied heavily from girl to girl, but it damn well wasn’t for lack of effort on the part of the instructors.
With a veteran’s skill, Scharnhorst dodged yet another of Deutschland’s attempts at a salvo. That wasn’t to say that she was entirely unscathed: given the raw firepower of her guns, even simple near misses from the Super Dreadnought’s didn’t feel all that different from, say, a direct hit from a destroyer (or maybe even a light cruiser). If the Kaiserin’s heir-apparent ever managed to get her head out of her ass, there would be few in the world that would have a hope of standing against her. Until that happened, though…
Well, it was Scharnhorst’s job to try and make it happen, and there was nothing like a solid beating to knock someone’s pride down a few notches. With that in mind, the Fast Battleship decided to it was time to become a bit more assertive in her teaching. Evading more fire from Deutschland, the Weltkrieg veteran gunned her engines and broke straight towards her opponent, taking hold her rigging’s spear as she did so.
Under Ironblood doctrine, Deutschland’s response to this charge was meant to be as follows: given the superior caliber of her guns to all but a small handful of potential opponents, the Flagship-to-be was supposed to always try and maintain distance between herself and any enemies, thereby taking advantage of her longer effective firing range to devastate any attacker, optimally long before they could even get close enough to hit back.
The heir-apparent of the Kaiserin, though, tended to ignore any advice that didn’t come out of her own head. With another hail of gunfire (this one accompanied by a storm of cursing and an assortment of age-related insults), Deutschland drew her massive zweihander sword from the scabbard on her back and began a charge of her own, her rigging groaning as the black-haired girl’s redlined her propulsion system.
With sounds like railroad cars being thrown across the sky, Deutschland’s latest barrage streaked impeccably towards Scharnhorst…and proceeded to mostly pass harmlessly over the lavender-haired woman’s head, the Flagship-to-be not having bothered with things like ‘properly leading her target.’ The Weltkrieg veteran easily used her spear to turn aside the handful of threatening shots (mainly blindly sprayed shells from the Super Dreadnought’s secondary guns), the storm of shells having barely slowing the Fast Battleship as she closed into melee range.
“Come and get it, you old hag!”
Here came Deutschland, charging in like a raging bull, not even bothering with her guns anymore. She was waving her zweihander around above her head like it was meat cleaver, her face red and a vein in her forehead throbbing. You would have had to have been blind to miss the Super Dreadnought’s body language screaming ‘overhead strike with sword’ with all of her being, and unfortunately for the black-haired girl, Scharnhorst was anything but.
Oh, I’ll show you ‘old hag.’
An instant before the two shipgirls would have collided, the Weltkrieg veteran sidestepped right, a move which, judging by the look of total surprise on Deutschland’s face, caught the Super Dreadnought completely off guard. The Flagship-to-be stumbled, overbalancing as her sword swing came up against empty air. Her opponent didn’t hesitate to press her advantage, Scharnhorst needing only the blink of an eye to slam the butt of her spear into the black-haired girl’s rigging and shoulder blades, using the younger shipgirl’s massive weight and momentum against her.
Deutschland was sent sprawling forwards, her sword toppling out of her hands as she tried to catch her balance. Before she could recover, though, the guns of her lavender-haired opponent had swiveled into firing position. In an instant, eight guns had sounded as one and the Super Dreadnought was engulfed in cloud of green dye. Another instant later, and the heir-apparent of Ironblood felt herself being slammed face-first into the water by the impact of the training shells.
Shaking her head to clear it, Deutschland tried to get back up, propping herself onto her hands and knees. Just as she did so, though, the Super Dreadnought felt a sharp kick be driven into her right side, flipping her over onto her back. Not even a second passed before the black-haired girl felt the same foot stomp down on the center of her chest, pinning her to the water’s surface. Blinking water and training dye out of her eyes, Deutschland was greeted by the sight of an angrily scowling Scharnhorst, the elder shipgirl’s spear tip hovering near the younger’s throat, her guns just waiting for the smallest movement form Deutschland’s own to fire.
“You lose.”
For a long moment, Deutschland looked like she was ready to try and defy that statement, a look of impotent fury crossing the Super Dreadnought’s face, her rigging twitching slightly. Before the black-haired girl could say anything, though, Scharnhorst reiterated her statement.
“Concede”, the Fast Battleship snarled, moving her spear incrementally closer to Deutschland’s throat, Scharnhorst’s turrets waggling a bit to drive the point home. With a snarl of her own, the Super Dreadnought slowly raised her hands, admitting defeat.
With a curt nod, the Weltkrieg veteran accepted her trainee’s concession, pulling her spear away from the younger girl’s neck and sheathing it, her guns turning away from the Super Dreadnought in the same moment. Then the lavender-haired woman growled, reaching down and grasping the Flagship-to-be by her hair, giving the younger shipgirl the assessment of her performance in the training exercise as she did so.
“Pathetic! Absolutely pathetic!” Scharnhorst declared, roughly hauling Deutschland to her feet by the scalp, ignoring the Super Dreadnoughts protests and small exclamations of pain.
“Absolutely! Pathetic!” The Weltkrieg veteran repeated, still grasping the heir-apparent by the hair to ensure that the younger girl was looking her in the eyes. “How many times do I have to teach you THE SAME DAMN LESSONS!” the Fast Battleship continued, her voice raising as she spoke.
You can’t shoot worth shit! You never dodge!” The lavender-haired woman listed, her face flushing red as she clutched the younger shipgirl by the head, daring the Super Dreadnought to respond. “You never use your head! You just throw raw power at everything!”
Deutschland was unmoved by her instructor’s tirade, her face fixed as one of angry defiance. With a frustrated cry, Scharnhorst released her trainee, shoving the Super Dreadnought away from her. The black-haired girl stumbled slightly as she was let go, but stayed on her feet, her expression still one of prideful rage. For a long moment, the Fast Battleship simply stood panting, trying to catch her breath, clear her head and bottle her rage back up. She’d been screaming at the heir-apparent for four years: the lavender-haired woman knew full well that just adding more volume wouldn’t get through to the younger girl. She tried (tried) for a calmer approach.
“All. The strength. In the world. Is useless. If you have no discipline to guide it.” the Weltkrieg veteran spoke slowly, her gaze stony, making sure that the Super Dreadnought was actually listening to her. The black-haired girl clearly wanted to launch into a tirade of her own, but the Super Dreadnought stayed quiet: even she knew better than to interrupt her instructor in the middle of a dressing down.
“Those guns mean nothing if you can’t shoot hit your target,” Scharnhorst spoke on, her voice terse, jamming her index finger into the Flagship-to-be’s chest. “Your armor is tinfoil if you don’t know its limitations. That sword,” the Fast Battleship said, pointing out Deutschland’s zweihander, “is a good as a butter knife if wielded incorrectly. And you need to pull your goddamn head out of your fucking ass and understand that.”
The look on the Super Dreadnought’s face only tightened in response, the defiance in her features as strong as ever. Scharnhorst’s own expression twisted into an even deeper scowl as she mulled over her options. Kicking the black-haired girl’s ass (again) was one of them, but the Weltkrieg veteran was well aware had been sent to train the Flagship-to-be, not to break her: push too hard or too far and she’d have the Kaiserin to answer to. And honestly, the Fast Battleship had simply put up with enough of Deutschland’s schisse for the day, if not the week (or maybe even the month). Time to let her be someone else’s problem for a little while.
“Report to Von der Tann at 0400 tomorrow morning for remedial gun training. She’ll be expecting you. And don’t even try skipping out, or I’ll make the beating I just gave you look like a playground scuffle. Understood?”
Deutschland nodded stiffly. That wasn’t the answer the Scharnhorst had been looking for. “I’m sorry, I didn’t fucking hear you. I said, is that understood, Deutschland!?
Ja, Frau Scharnhorst!” The Super Dreadnought gave the Weltkrieg veteran the most painfully overexaggerated parade ground salute that the latter had ever seen, its over-rigid nature clearly out of spite for her instructor. It was also a technically correct salute, so as much as Scharnhorst wanted to slap the black-haired girl upside the head for it, the Fast Battleship let her little act of defiance slide and returned the salute with a frustrated grimace.
“Good. Now get the fuck out of my sight.”
Deutschland didn’t have to be told twice: the Super Dreadnought turned on her heel and skated away across the harbor’s surface, trying to wipe away the green training dye off of herself and mumbling yet more curses as she did so. Scharnhorst watched her go, her face still set in a deep scowl. There went the future of Ironblood. With a resigned groan, the Weltkrieg veteran shook her head, another frustrated curse of her own slipping past her lips.
“Goddamn fool.”
“Happy to see you too, schwester.”
Scharnhorst turned to towards the voice behind her, instinctively readying her rigging. The Fast Battleship’s guard dropped immediately, though, when they laid eyes on the speaker: the shipgirl behind her shared her uniform, her rigging, her hair, her eyes and actually most of her other physical characteristics. The main things setting the two apart was the newcomer’s glasses and the splatters of pink training dye covering swaths of her uniform and rigging.
“Very nice Von Der Tann impression, by the way.” Gneisenau continued, casting her gaze out into the harbor. The youngest of the Yorck sisters jutted her chin after the recently departed Deutschland. “Don’t you think that she hates your guts enough already?”
Scharnhorst snorted. “I’m here to train her, not be her friend. Beating her down’s only way I can get anything to stick inside her skull, and when I’m screaming is the only time she listens to me. Gott im Himmel, nothing else works.” The Fast Battleship turned fully towards her sister. “If she hates me, she hates me, same way we hated the 1st Scouting Group right up until we realized that all they were trying to do was keep us alive.”
Gneisenau quirked an eyebrow at her sister. “I remember it taking Royal Navy to make us realize that. I thought we were trying to make sure that these girls didn’t have to learn on the job like we did.”
Scharnhorst let out a bitter laugh. “With the way that things are going, there might not be a choice.”
The elder sister’s eyes had turned back towards the horizon. The lavender-haired woman wasn’t watching Deutschland anymore, though: her gaze was going past the Super Dreadnought, past the harbor entrance and the protected waters of the Jade Estuary, past the cold waters of the North Sea. The sky was clear, the wind was warm and the sea was calm, but the old veteran of Skagerrak knew full well when a storm was brewing.
Fell winds were blowing in, carrying whispered warnings of the typhoon being formed. They blew in from the west, from the Trade Congress and Vichya Commune, inheritors of most of the strength of Royal Navy and the Iris Orthodoxy, all of their vengeful fury and almost none of their old moral restraints. They blew in from the east, where Northern Parliament remained an unknowable enigma. They blew in from the colonies, overstretched and exposed, where the cracks in Ironblood’s façade of invincibility were already starting to show. They blew in from the lands of weakening allies, from the realms of increasingly bold enemies, from Eagle Union, Iberia and Latin America and beyond, all so ready to burst into flames…
“Have you ever actually tried just talking to her?” Gneisenau said, breaking her sister from her musings. “Maybe she just needs to feel like she has someone who will listen to her. It worked wonders with Spee.”
The elder sister let out another short laugh at that. “Yeah, because Spee’s the good egg. Speaking of which…” Scharnhorst looked her fellow Weltkrieg veteran up and down, a look of slight bemusement coming across her features at the sight of all the training dye caking her sister’s features. “You didn’t go easy on her, did you? It looks like you were the one I sent to remedial with Tante Von.
The youngest Yorck sister smiled at that. “No. It’s just that Spee didn’t go easy on me. She’s getting the hang of things. Still has hurdles to clear, of course, but I think I’ve got her on the right track.”
“Well, at least one of them’s got their head on straight,” Scharnhorst replied. “That’s better than nothing.” The older Fast Battleship stretched, cricking her necks a few times and cracking her knuckles above her head before trying to wring the water out of her hair. “I,” she declared “need a damn drink. You coming with?”
“To Tante Seydi’s?” Gneisenau questioned. The third of the Yorck-class looked down, gesturing at her uniform and presenting the various splotches of pink training dye marking her clothing for her sister to see. “We both know she’d kill me if I stepped in looking like this. I have to go get cleaned up before I go anywhere.”
Scharnhorst grinned. “Well then, more for me. Do you want me to get anything for you?”
“Just the usuals,” her sister responded. “I’m going to head up to the Kriegerdenkmal once I’m presentable. Meet me there?”
Ja, ja. I’ll see you there, schwester,” the elder Fast Battleship responded, nodding. Her sister smiled and returned the nod before skating off across the waters. As she had with Deutschland, Scharnhorst watched her go, though this time no angry scowl was decorating her features.
And then the Weltkrieg veteran turned and headed for the docks, and for that most beloved of German pastimes: a nice drink after a day’s work.
submitted by severakj to AzureLane [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 00:42 twatsonwatson I Was Born In 1998 But I'm 375 Years Old (Part 1)

Please forgive the possible lack of detail. I am very old, so these memories are ancient as well. I am posting this to NoSleep because I need advice. I currently sit in a rinky-dink hotel in some half dead town in the deep south of Florida. People don't ask for ID here, but it won't be long before they find me. The year is now 2020 again (I know, a tad confusing) but I need to explain my story first, then you'll understand.
***
I worked a lot when I was younger. 12 hour days, 5 days a week may not sound too terribly horrific, but to me, in the job I worked, it was a nightmare. I worked night shift for a little over a year. Recently, however, I was moved to days with a promotion and a pay raise, but exponentially more work, as these things tend to be. I relished it, though, as I was able to spend more time with my wife, Sasha, and my 1 year old son, Henry. Things were great up until about a month after I received my promotion.
I came home one night feeling more exhausted than usual. I told my wife that I was going to be going to sleep a little earlier that night, as I felt a little sick as well, and if I didn't feel better in the morning I would call out of work and head to the doctor. She was, of course, frustrated and saddened, but she understood. With me working so much, I honestly felt guilty any time I would have to bail out on the family time because I don't get much of it, and when I do, it is usually only a few hours at a time each night.
Apart from me being unusually exhausted and sick, that night had been as normal as any other. I came home, took my shower, ate my dinner, and went to sleep, planning on getting 10 hours of rest to help with whatever I was afflicted with. So, as I laid down, I called out a "goodnight, I love you and Buddy" to which I was met with silence. I assumed she just didn't hear me, and I was too tired to get up and tell her in person, so I proceeded to shut my eyes and get some sleep. I didn't even put my phone in its usual spot on the charger. I just fell straight asleep with it in my pocket. That night, in a small town in Florida on October 23rd of 2020, I had the worst sleep of my life. I now wish I would have relished that night like I do any other. I haven't seen either of them in over 350 years.
***
I awoke to blistering heat and violent lights, each ray of orange and red breaking through my windows as if it were a midnight intruder hellbent on taking my life. In a daze and still somewhat of a half-sleep, I jumped from my bed and looked to wake my wife. She wasn't there, nor was Henry who usually slept with us at night. "What the hell?" were my first thoughts.
"Honey?!" I cried out. No response.
The heat rose, and the lights grew ever more vibrant. They obviously weren't in the bedroom with me, so I ran to inspect the rest of the house. Fearing that we had a fire on our hands, I wasted no time in trying to find her and my son. There was no one in the house, even the 2 cats and the dog we had were nowhere to be seen. "Maybe she already fled?" The thought occurred to me. It was a hurtful one, yes, but as long as my family was safe I didn't care. Reaching down, I felt my cell phone still in my pocket as I desperately tried to call 9-1-1 as I fled my house. The first thing that came was the dial tone, the next was the scalding heat as a burst through the door only to find all of my neighbors houses ablaze with crimson lights. "What the hell?" I thought to myself. "What was going on?"
I ran into the street looking for my car that was nowhere to be seen, when I noticed something odd. The streets felt...abnormal. They were bumpy, and they seemed to be smaller than the streets that circled my house. Calling my wife's name as I ran through the streets, I saw neighbors desperately attempting to douse the flames, to no avail. Many were crying, some were screaming, and then there were those who just laying on the ground, burned and moaning. I tried calling 9-1-1 again, and again, dial tone, so I tried calling my wife-dial tone- then my best friend Steven- dial tone again. It was only then that I noticed the bars that told me my signal strength on my phone were completely missing. No, not empty. It was just a blank portion of the screen.
I finally managed to reach the edge of my town, when I took time to carefully inspect my phone thoroughly. Confusingly, the battery life was at 100%, but more shockingly, the date on my phone read "September 2nd, 1666." Being a lover of history, there was something very familiar about that date. Something sinister. "Come on you piece of shit" I muttered at my phone trying repeatedly to call my wife, to which I kept being met with dial tones. Frustrated, I almost threw my phone to the ground when I noticed the symbol I get for new text messages was visible at the top of my phone. "Finally, an answer" I thought. I pulled up my texting app, and saw a strange message. The sender was blank, no number and no name, and the message simply read "Call 0000." So, running out of options, I called that number.
"Who the hell is this." asked the raspy voice, annoyingly. The sound of the voice offered no identification as to who it might belong to. It didn't sound female, and neither did it sound male.
"What do you mean 'Who the hell is this?' I was told to call you! What the hell is going on, where is my wife and child, who are you?!" I practically screamed into the phone as I watched from a distance, the flames engulf my hometown. Only now, in the dark night sky set illuminated by the blazing light, my hometown didn't look so familiar.
"Listen here you little-" the voice paused for a moment, seemingly remembering something. "Oh...it's that time again then, is it?" It continued more calmly. It sounded almost apologetic. "We don't have time for this. Listen to my instructions and listen VERY well, lest you wish to be tortured for the rest of your life." It stated as if it had repeated this same message many times over, like a tired out customer service representative just ready to get the day over with.
"Hmmm, Dereck is it? Wife is Sasha, child by the name of Henry. Listen, Dereck. You need to run. They are coming for you, and you don't want them to find you. Run into those woods in front of you, don't stop, don't make any turns, just run straight. They know just about where you are, the Great Fire Of London marks your location. Now go. I will call you, so keep your phone handy and NEVER lose it." It instructed forcefully. I tried to respond, but whoever, or whatever, was on the other end already hung up.
The Great Fire Of London? I live in Florida. "What in the shit is happening?" I checked the date again. So that's why it seemed familiar. I bolted. I don't know who or what I was talking to, but if there were people after me then I don't want to stick around to find out. I ran and ran and ran, until I was physically and mentally incapable of running anymore. By the time I collapsed, the sun had risen almost directly overhead. I tried pulling my phone out, but not having the energy, I just lay on the grassy floor until my eyes forced themselves shut and restless sleep overtook me.
***
I awoke to my phone blaring a loud ring as the sun was already set over the horizon. I quickly, in my twilight daze, swiped to answer.
"Please, just tell me what's going on" I begged the mysterious voice "I just want my family, please."
"Listen to everything I have to say, and you might see your family again. On October 23rd, 2020, you laid down to sleep. You woke in a different time, in a different place. You are now in London, September 2nd, 1666. This is the time and place that everyone who goes through this wakes up in. This happens to someone, somewhere, once every 100 years. You are here because you are chosen. I am your Guide, and you can call me as such. I am here to make sure you live through to your own time again, and then possibly you can see your family once more." Guide sputtered on without hesitation. "The group that is after you is known as 'The Omnipresent.' They want what you have, they want your life. You cannot die in this time, but you can feel pain and everything else humans can feel. The Omnipresent have successfully captured everyone else they have hunted, so they are very powerful. They torture you to draw out your energy then they absorb it themselves. They were once human, but I wouldn't call them that anymore. They can easily tear a man's limbs clean from his body. They call themselves Angels, and they call people like you Demons. Quite backwards if you ask me. They will come for you every night. They can sense you. You will need to constantly be on the run. No resting, lest you wish to be captured. Right now, however, you need to go again. They are near. You may call me whenever you need Guidance, but go now, before they find you." And with that, it hung up again.
I went to run again, but a brief sound stopped me in my tracks. Horror filled my body. A trepidation the likes of which I've never felt before surged throughout every fiber of my being. The noise I heard was a faint growl. But just as quickly as it came, It stopped. Then I heard a familiar voice.
"Honey?" I heard Sasha weakly call out. Along with her voice came the faint cries of Henry.
Overjoyed with the sounds of my family, I leaped from my spot on the ground and ran in the direction I heard their voice. "I'm here!" I cried as I broke through the brush and into the clearing. Only, there wasn't anyone there. As I broke through, I was met with a horrific being straight from anyone's worst nightmare. It turned to look at me, its mouth opened wide with hundreds of razor-like teeth embedded into its gums. Its arms were disproportioned to the rest of its body, its head was massive, and its legs were short and stumpy. Tentacles of what looked like congealed blood sprouted from its back as it let loose a horrifying screech. It then leapt at me, its weight feeling like that of a semi-truck carrying a blue whale. It tore at me, ripping flesh from my bones. The pain was unimaginable, blood sprayed the grass and the smell of death emanating from the creature was enough to make me vomit on myself. I could hear my skin being ripped open and the creature chewing. I was near unconsciousness when the figure suddenly lifted its head and sniffed the air. At that moment, I decided to attempt to make a break for it. I underestimated the amount of blood I lost, though, because when I stood to run I immediately fell over. I turned to look behind me, but the creature was gone, and there was not a single sign of it or what it had done to me anywhere, besides what was left of my body.
My arms were torn to shreds. Skin ripped from the muscle, muscle ripped from the bone. I could barely lift them. My phone was ringing again, and with all the strength I could muster, I pulled it from my pocket and answered.
"Please get me out of here." I begged, hardly more than a whimper at this point.
"I can't do that. I don't even have the power to do that." replied the raspy voice. " Just so you know, that wasn't even an Omnipresent. An Omnipresent would have consumed a little of you, but ultimately, you wouldn't have escaped. You would be captured by now if it was."
"Then what the hell was it?" just talking hurt.
"That was an actual demon. Being far more powerful than real demons, they use them to hunt and stalk."
"Why did it stop?" I feebly asked
"Because they made it stop. It was going to consume you whole. Some Demons get out of line, and the Omnipresent have to extinguish them right there. If it had consumed you whole, it would have gained power unattainable by the Omnipresent, making it an extremely difficult foe to control for them, so they eliminated the threat as soon as they got wind of what it was up to. Not only would it have gained more power, but you would have been eliminated. Not killed, as you cannot die here. But you would've been consumed and then shit out like some bad food. You would have been alive, but you would not be able to do anything. The Omnipresent want to capture you and consume you slowly while letting you regenerate so that they can get as much out of you as possible until your time comes."
"Wait...regenerate?" I was confused, and nearing unconsciousness again as I asked.
"Yes, you will regenerate, but you will be weak for a while. When you wake up, your wounds will be gone, but you will be very weak and slow. You shouldn't have let this happen. I know it sounded like your family, but you should've just ran. This is 1666, not 2020. Your family will never be here."
I heard him continue to talk, as if explaining more to me, but my eyes were not cooperating and my head was pounding, and sleep came against all of my protests.
***
When I awoke, my first realization was that Guide was not lying. My arms looked as if they had not been touched, but my head was throbbing, arms were heavy, knees were weak. I could barely muster the strength to stand. Somehow, I managed to get up, and somehow, I had a feeling of where I needed to go. Maybe it was something Guide said that my subconscious picked up on and stored for me when I was asleep, but whatever it was, I left the woods and bounded north.
While walking, I couldn't escape the noises that would come occasionally. Faint growls, low whispers, loud moans. Trees and bushes would shuffle in the corner of my vision, and anxiety and panic made their homes in my head. Oftentimes, I would hear footsteps, and those would make me speed my walk up to an unbearable pace. I couldn't run. Not now, not with how weak I was. I walked for hours. Time seeming to last an eternity here, and yet I was supposed to live through almost 350 years of this before I saw my family? All while avoiding capture, consumption, and torture? The mere thought alone was torture enough. But I needed to be with my family.
Hours passed and I finally arrived at what I assumed was where I was supposed to be at. I rundown, abandoned looking village with a half broken sign that read "The Forsaken." I pressed forward into the village. Some homes were destroyed. Others were rundown, and a few were in livable conditions. I popped my head into one of the nicer ones, where I was met with a grisly sight. Corpses littered the floor. All decomposed enough to see bone. Flies and rats made their homes in the skeletal remains and scattered deeper into the home when I came near. I retrieved my phone and called Guide again.
"Where am I, Guide?" I asked desperate for an answer.
"This is the village that the first Chosen made their home. They were ordinary people, like you. Whisked away to a time unfamiliar to them, separated from their families. Except, with these people, the Omnipresent gave them the false hope of being able to live. They told them that if they just cooperated, lived here together and submitted themselves to being tortured until their time came, they would be able to live a normal life afterwards. That was before the Omnipresent realized that even after their time came, they could consume them one last time, whole, and gain more. Once they found that out, they massacred the village. Consumed the flesh of all of them, and left the bones to the rats." He explained this harrowing story so calmly, it made me angry.
"Why are you so calm? People are dying, being tortured, and frankly, you don't give a flying-" I was cut off by a screech. It was a screech so loud, so potent, that my ears began to bleed, and the glass began to shake on the window frames.
The screech subsided, leaving me with an unbearable headache. I peeked through the window to see wherein came the noise, and what I saw left me with both ecstatic joy and resounding dread.
"Sasha?..."
submitted by twatsonwatson to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 02:37 500scnds [Table] I'm Jeff Galak, Professor of Marketing & Social and Decision Science at Carnegie Mellon University. I have published dozens of academic papers on decision making, consumer behavior, and more. I have also recently launched a new YouTube channel called Data Demystified. AMA! (pt 2/3)

Source Previous table
Questions Answers
the below has been split into three
Hi Jeff, thanks for doing this AMA! 1. As you said, studies have shown that relationships show the strongest correlation to happiness. Do you think people can be happy from “one” good relationship, maybe one with a loved one - or do we need multiple relationships to be happy? Or does this depend on the person? Yes. The evidence is clear here. Few amazing relationship are far more beneficial than many shallow ones.
2. I’m a lawyer - how do you think data can benefit the legal profession, and how can it benefit me (as an individual)? An understanding of statistics and probability has a huge role in the legal profession. I don't know what type of law you practice, but plenty of civil litigation between firms relies on data to support expert testimony. Lawyers, juries and judges largely lack the intuition and knowledge they need to interpret results of such expert testimony. You personally...think of every time you ever see a data point (political polls, stock prices, product prices/attributes, weather forecasts, etc...). Those all have some form of data and/or statistics in them whether you realize or not. Understanding data very broadly would help you engage with all of that more richly.
3. What’s the one thing we should consider when making decisions, that we don’t consider too much? Most decisions don't matter all that much. We spend a lot of time worrying about mundane decisions and shouldn't!
the below is a reply to the above
Haha I love the answer to Q3. :) It’s honestly refreshing to know that, thank you. Are there any decisions that do matter? Thanks! And, of course. Who you date/marry matters a LOT. Where you live matters a lot. Whether to have children or not matters a lot. I think you get the idea. What doesn't matter is which smartphone you buy, whether you get Italian or Chinese for dinner, or whether you watch this terrible Netflix movie or that one :)
Might be a little late but worth a try. Someone asked about loot boxes in video games, I'm fascinated by the psychology and marketing ploys that manages to constantly get people to buy the product despite the lack of positive reinforcement in the end result (as you know the items that are mostly desired tend to have a 1% or less chance). Right now a game I frequent has discovered through their research that losing increases more playing. They've used this information to artificially alter a player's matches to increase the likelihood of defeat. Despite the amount of frustration this causes a player, when presented with this information and proof (the official patent practically verbatim says this in the abstract itself), it doesn't seem to change their desire to play. Are habitual behaviors that much stronger than removing frustration? This is not something like having a messy room where the mess may not bother the self, thus the cleaning doesn't really remove any undesired feelings. My real question though is what are some concepts, theories, etc. that are employed by this gaming companies to play on the psychology of their players especially with monetization? I know of concepts like anchoring, conditioning, sunk cost fallacy, loss aversion to name a few but have no idea where I could find more. Another thing that's pretty fascinating, games these days are designed where at least 5 years worth of basic content is stripped from the base game and drip fed for years to come at a price. Even with evidence from predecessor games that had these features in their base game, players rejoice at a company releasing it two years later in the new game for a price. That's fascinating! The idea of forcing a loss is really intersting. Would you mind posting which game that is and where the patent filing is? I'm quite curious. The idea does make sense though...if the game can get people hooked on the mechanics and winning is the ultimate goal, then by increasing the odds of losing, they keep you hooked for longer. As in, if you win, you're done and more on to something else. But if you keep loosing, there's reason to stick around.
And I think you've covered the bulk of the "tricks" they use. The biggest one, by far, is the constant reinforcement in the form of points, awards, achievements, etc... all that have no real value. People like getting positive reinforcement and it motivates them to stick around. Imagine the alternative: a game where you never get feedback on your progress...that's a hard game to stay engaged with.
the below has been split into four
Hello sir. Hope you and your family is doing well in this pandemic. (1) I have a couple of questions. How does it feel to be a long term professor at a prestigious institution as Carnegie Mellon? How do you think this has prepared you for being an optimal source of knowledge in your field? Thanks for your questions!
Like with any job, there are ups and downs. I LOVE academia. I have the freedom to ask questions of the world that interest me and the tools and resources to answer those questions. That's truly amazing. CMU has provided many opportunities in the form of research support and access to resources. I also have amazing colleagues in the Center for Behavioral and Decision Research who motivate me to do great work. But like anything, there are cons. There is a lot of politics within academia and I can't stand any of it. It's impossible to avoid and makes some days unenjoyable. On the whole, I love my job.
(2) According to you how would companies which are currently surviving this crisis be able to focus on making a sustainable income as well as providing it's workers a pension to work? A purely subjective opinion. Wow, that's a big question and the answer greatly depends on the company. If you're Apple, I'm sure the employees will be fine. If you're a small business like a restaurant, that's a whole other issue. I hope that governments around the world will provide aid to businesses that are struggling, but with the current administration in the US, I'm skeptical much will happen.
(3) How would this crisis as whole impact students from around the globe i.e. Students(domestic and international) who are both in the process of applying as well as those who are going to apply in the next year or two?
(4) What according to you is the key to happiness and Do you consider gift-giving for moral relief(giving gifts to atone for guilt) as not counting as much as giving for the sake of giving? Thank you so much. Have a great day!! All research points to relationships being the key to happiness. Strong and close relationships are the number one predictor of overall happiness and well being. Cultivate them.
Gift giving has MANY motives. Sometimes it's just to make someone else happy, sometimes it's to fulfill an obligation. Sometimes it's to make yourself feel good about yourself. Those motives influence the types of gifts you give and the utility they provide the recipient (and giver). They are all, however, gifts.
the below is a reply to the above
Well...I agree with you there! A gift is a gift! No matter the cause of giving. I couldn't help but notice that you didn't answer the third question(probably because of my awful formatting). As a future applicant I'd really appreciate it. Thank you! Sorry, let me try again. When you say "not counting as much" that can be from the giver's or recipients' perspective. For the giver, if they internalize the gift as some kind of penance for a bad act, then sure, it counts. For the recipient, they probably have no idea what drives the giver and as long as the gift is minimally acceptable, they will be happy with it. Does that help?
the below is a reply to the above
Sorry I meant the third question. Autocorrect 😅. THIRD. My apologies Sorry, totally missed that one somehow! For ugrad and MBA int'l students (I'm at the business school) the biggest hurdle will be visas for entry to the US. I have absolutely no idea how that will play out. The current administration is making it very difficult for int'l students to get entry visas, so unless they change their policies (or are voted out in Nov), that's going to be a real challenge. For domestic students, if anything, they'll have an easier time getting into programs because of the decrease in int'l applicants (less competition).
For PhD students, there is a different and bigger problem: what happens when they graduate. Right now, many (most) universities have hiring freezes. That means that the students who are graduating now are completely screwed. But that also means that next year (assuming the pandemic is gone and schools are hiring again), there will be double competition for academic jobs (those who are graduating on time and those who couldn't get a job this year b/c no one is hiring). That will then cascade into the next year. I suspect it'll take 5 or so years before the academic job market will be back to some sense of normal
[deleted] Oh god, if you want to have impact, DO NOT go into academia. Go be a social worker. Or a teacher. Or work for a non-profit. Academics, with very few exceptions, actually change the world in any way. Most just sit in their offices thinking highly of themselves. The way to actually have impact is to apply your research somehow. That could be consulting, educating others, or writing for a wide audience (i.e. not academic journals).
More generally, you are right to be worried. The academic job market is going to be a disaster for the next few years. There is almost nothing to be done about that. Even the start PhD students are going to struggle. It sucks.
So what can you do? If you really want to do research (which, to be clear, is awesome and can be really rewarding), look for companies like Google that have "People analytics" (that's their version of HR) and do research internally. Or find a boutique consulting firm that focuses on behavioral science (BEESY is one, Ipsos has a Behavioral Science dept, etc...)
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Hi Jeff! I’ve always been interested in data analysis as a career but always feel lost whenever trying to path out an appropriate direction to become something like a data scientist or a researcher. I have 2 questions around data that I was hoping you could provide some insight on. 1) I would imagine that research papers require an extensive amount of data (at least I hope they do) to make inferences. My question is what is involved in gathering all of this data to test a theory/hypothesis? Highly varied. Almost all the work I do involves primary data collection. As in, I conduct experiments with human subjects. Other research uses archival data like sales of products or behavior on a website. Depending on what you want to answer, you will follow different approaches.
2) I see that your YouTube Channel is about the intuition of data but will you also have videos regarding those fundamentals behind the analysis (regression analysis, etc.)? If not do you have any helpful resources where one could develop these analytical fundamentals? I will, but the goal is intuition first. Other resources: coursera has fantastic data science courses. I recommend them quite a bit!
Why don't you use your powers for good? I try to! I sit on the board of a large local non-profit and give them as much advice on this stuff as I can. I also do some pro bono consulting for non-profits. It's not enough, but I try.
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Good Job, I'm currently watching Century Of the Self, and it's put a bit of bad taste in my mouth for "marketing" "Marketing" can be very evil. No doubt about it. I try to stay far away from that side of things as possible.
If you had a grand message to the world In The interest of happiness, young and old poor or rich what would you relay? Wow...way to be me on the spot! JK
I'd probably say that we should spend more time focusing on developing strong relationships than we do right now. We're all very caught up in getting better at something or getting more stuff, but research tells us time and time again that enduring happiness comes from the people we care about.
Have you done any research on consumer profiles based on political leanings? Do conservatives or liberals have different buying habits? In general, what are some of the best insights you’ve found in your research? I haven't looked at purchasing behavior based on political ideology. One that I have looked at is how political partisans respond to political lies. In short, Republicans and Democrats are fast to excuse lies from politicians within their own political party...but mostly if those lies are policy oriented. If they are personal lies (e.g. I'm awesome because I can bench press 10000lbs), most people tend to find those lies unacceptable. And I'm sure people will be quick to say that Republicans are more willing to excuse lies than Democrats and that's MOSTLY not true based on the data I have.
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That seems to contradict the most prominent Republican: Donald Trump who famously started his presidency by lying about his inauguration attendance. Not trying to pick a political fight mind you, but the whole “personal lies” thing doesn’t seem to apply there. Of course, you're right. Trump is the exception to everything, this research likely as well. Our work tries hard to avoid anything to do with Trump b/c he really is an exception in many ways. But even for Trump, our work suggests that Republican voters are more likely to excuse lies of his that support policy position than just prop him up somehow. Ultimately, though, yes, Trump break a lot of research...and a lot of other things too!
Hello, and thanks for doing this. I just have one question: ¿What would you say is the best way to make a costumer profile on young internet users? Like for a company that sells educational textbooks transforming into a company that has an educational streaming plataform where students receive the information true a videogame format. Sorry if I'm not clear enough, english is not my first language. I teach Marketing Research and get this type of question a lot. The truth is that without resources (e.g. money), doing something like this is hard. If you have a budget, I would hire a reputable consulting firm that specializes in online marketing and they will guide you with your specific application. Good luck!
What are your thoughts on the field of behavioral economics and how it relates to decision making? Are you looking to get me in trouble, b/c that's what's gonna happen here. Behavioral economics has its place, for sure. Let's decompose that a bit, though. There's behavioral and there's experimental.
Experimental I will admit, I am not a huge fan of. The experiments they run tend to be incredibly artificial, making their insights less than a great reflection of reality. The concepts are often just rehashes of social psychology for decades past, but with econ'y terms tagged on. And there is very much a holier-than-thou attitude about the discipline.
Behavioral, on the other hand, uses concepts in economics to explain behavioral phenomena more generally. Sometimes that's with experiments, but more often it's with real world data. I'm a big fan of when this is done well. Plenty of synergies between what they do and what decision making researchers and psychological researchers like me do.
Hi Jeff! Have you ever found in your research, results that were opposite to your initial hypothesis? If so, what was the most interesting time? Thanks! Not quite opposite, but we'll go with it. A while back a very famous psychologist published a paper "proving" ESP existed. I don't believe in ESP, but I thought it would be awesome if this psychologist were right. As in, it would be pretty cool if ESP were real. So I bet a colleague that we could replicate that original results. About a year later that colleague and I (and two other colleagues) published a paper that basically shut down all belief that the original finding of ESP was true. I happily lost that bet.
As a food service employee I am trying to figure out what’s next in the business post COVID-19. Do you have any thoughts on creative ways to grow business right now beyond offering curbside and delivery? Ditch the restaurant entirely. It's not a new model, but it should be bigger than it is. If I'm going to order deliver, why do I care what your restaurant looks like. Go rent some space in a commercial kitchen and make me a yummy meal that arrives at my door. There's definitely more of this these days, but I'm still amazed at the persistence of physical restaurants in so many cases. There's an amazing Chinese food place near me that doesn't even have seating, just a counter. The issue is that they are paying top dollar for rent on that space (it's in a high cost area) when all their business is takeout/delivery. Why not ditch the high rent and keep most of the business? Anyway, that's where I see this going.
Where do you think the culture is heading to? And, as the amount of people with depression increases and the majority of jobs get automated, would this have an impact on the economy? people without jobs become unhappy. Wow, that is WAY outside my expertise. Culture is highly fluid and we basically have no idea what will come next. (as an aside, if you can predict the next cultural change, let me know and we'll make billions!). So I have no clue where culture is going.
As for depression, that's a big issue and could be on the rise due to pandemic loneliness. Clinical psychologists will have their hands full for a while. I just hope people seek the help they need.
And as for automation, yes, that will change the economy as it has for decades now. How will gov'ts respond? I don't know. I hope we consider things like a universal basic income to help people avoid poverty. After that, it's anyone's guess.
Hi Professor, Thanks for doing this Ama! I'm currently getting an MBA in marketing and have been working on a few research papers focusing on the change of buying habits and the permanence of covid related purchasing behavior. Do you think consumers will continue to buy as they have over the past 6 months or is the uptick in online and delivery services temperary, particularly grocery delivery? 95% temporary. People like to go out and do things. Once the pandemic ends we'll be back to business as usual.
How do you feel about the way research papers are published? How has your school accommodated international students during the pandemic? Papers: lots of ways to answer this. I'll focus on open-access. I can't stand that papers that I work on, which are reviewed by referrees who don't get paid, edited by editors who don't get paid, are then profitted off of by private publishers who keep science from the public. That is insane. I strongly support open-access journals like PLOS ONE (where I am an editor). That said, the "private" journals are still the most prestigious in my field and if I want to advance in my career and make sure that my PhD students advance as well, I'm stuck submitting papers to them. It sucks.
Intl Students: I believe all classes must be accessible via remote learning. Even if they are held in person (few are), they need to stream the class to students who can't physically attend.
Hey Professor Galak! Thank you so much for doing this. I have always been fascinated by every topic that you just mentioned and in fact I have just recently presented my master thesis entitled "The Hedonic Stigma: How the consumer’s memory seeks shelter from hedonism in utilitarianism". Since I am still curious about a lot of things regarding the research I did and consumer behavior in general... Do you recommend any book that really made an impact in you or changed the way you see these complex topics? Thank you so much in advance. P.S. : By the way I just subscribed to your channel, best of luck! First, thank you! There is one book I have in mind and I can't think of the title at all. It's in my office on campus which I can't currently access thanks to Covid. It's a short book with a blue cover (not helpful, I know). It's about social psychology and had a lengthy discussion on pluralistic ignorance (one of my all time favorite topics in psychology). I remember that was the first book my advisor in grad school had me read and it changed the way I looked at people. Maybe someone on here knows what I'm talking about. The book was profound to me because it made me realize the interconnection between people and how others influence our decisions and preferences.
I don't actually plan to set foot on campus this semester so I can't even promise to get the book and tell you anytime soon. But if you can remember, ping me in like 3 months and I'll get it for you!
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Thank you so much for your time! Hope I remember to talk to you again so that I can find that misterious book! Stay safe! If I think of it, I promise to send you a PM!
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This sounds like it might be "How We Know What isn't So" by Thomas Gilovich. It's not, but great book and Tom is awesome. I've known him for years and aside from being an amazing psychologist he's just a super nice guy.
Hi Jeff! I think I’m too late but had one question. Without giving away my identity, my father is a long time professor of marketing and consumer behavior at a university. I’m sure you know each other or of each other in what is a relatively small field. What do you think about this crisis around replicating results? My father (as he nears retirement from teaching) recently has questioned so many of the studies he taught his students for years. Feels like so many of the surprising results that are taught are surprising because they’re not actually accurate. How can the field (and many other social science fields) fight the urge to look for surprising, counterintuitive results and still remain interesting and relevant? Your father is right to be concerned. I've been part of the Open Science movement as well as took part in a major replication effort showing that most studies don't replicate. It's a huge problem, but it's getting better. Journals are starting requiring authors to submit materials, data, code, and make statements declaring use of good research practices...universities are being much more careful in their promotion processes when evaluating faculty...and the tide is starting to shift away from sloppy and sexy research towards more rigorous work. So yes, a lot of the really flashy stuff is questionable, but almost all research isn't that flashy. I worry a lot, but I do think things are improving. Say hi to your dad if he knows me :)
Hi Jeff, Economics undergraduate here, I feel like in a lot of ways your work is very intertwined with what research has been coming out of the "behavioral econ" field in the past few decades. In your view, can controlled experiments in researching human psychology/preferences/interaction provide researchers with meaningful data? If so, what needs to be done to make sure that those research environments are not too "sterile", in that they no longer reflect outcomes in the real world? Yup. Almost all of the new "findings" in behavioral econ are just psychology findings from decades ago. Economists put their own flavor on it, but it's almost all a rehash (with some exceptions, to be sure). Often you find something like this: psychologist learned something 30 years ago, but the studies were pretty low powered and didn't incentivize participants. So a behavioral economist redoes the experiments with more power (bigger sample), incentivized participants, and then claims that they discovered something new. In reality, they often just re-discovered something that was already known, but tested the idea within the economics paradigms of research. Yes, I'm being cynical, but that's been my experience by and large.
As for sterility, you can learn a lot from the lab, but generalizing to larger more representative populations, with more realistic stimuli is important to verity what is learned in a lab.
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Thank you for answering! If I may ask another question, what are some questions on the cutting edge of the psychology of decision making? What are big topics that haven't yet been answered? I don't know, but I hope what happens is we actually have some direction. Right now, everyone just studies whatever they want, regardless of importance or value. That's fun, for sure, but doesn't move a field forward. What we need is to come together and define the 10-20 BIG questions that need to be answered and then all agree to work on those questions. Other fields have done this (see Math: https://www.claymath.org/millennium-problems), so there's some hope for us too.
Hey Jeff! I've started learning and gaining more interest in how data is involved in making decisions and the benefits of continously learning organizations. Even today, I was watching a video by a CMU PhD candidate (Jabe Bloom). I don't have a Masters in anything yet, but I have wondered if I would enjoy going to grad school and learning more. Do you have an experience to share or advice about when going back would or wouldn't be a good idea? I think you would have interesting thoughts based on being a Professor and having researched Design Science. Thanks! Really hard question to answer and it depends on the type of graduate work you want to do. If you just love learning, getting a masters in something like psychology or decision science is a no brainer. Masters programs let you dig in to topics that you find interesting and might even use for your career. Go for it.
On the other hand, if you are thinking about a PhD, that's a different story. Being an academic has less do with learning, and more to do with creating knowledge. A lot of students who are straight-A students fail in a PhD because they can't make the leap from learning to creating. So if your passion is to create knowledge, a PhD is for you. If you just want to learn (nothing wrong with that!!!), a masters program makes sense.
Professer Galak, thank you for doing this. I don't know much about Marketing, so I got some perhaps basic questions that I have been curious about for you: As we are still in the middle of the pandamic, many of us are doing more (even more than before) online shopping. What do you think are some of the major consumer decision making difference when it comes to online shopping vs inperson shopping. Do you think different factors can affect consumer happiness for the same product purchased through different channel? Definitely not a basic question! There's a lot here, but I'll focus on one thing: transaction friction. With inperson shopping, to buy something, you have to actually get off your butt, go to a store, and find what you want. With online shopping, you can just click "buy now". That means you'll have way more impulse purchases and way more wasted spending. We already saw that before the pandemic as Amazon and the like took over retail. Now we'll see more of it. It doesn't help that pandemics bring anxiety and fear...two things that are known to increase desire to shop (think "retail therapy")
We all tend towards anthropocentrism and exceptionalism, and rationalise our own behaviour. In your experience, is human behaviour more complex or less complex than we often imagine? Is free will often an illusion and are we more predictable than we imagine? I remember watching a tongue-in-cheek BBC documentary from back in the day, where people suffering relationship difficulties were offered advice from a relationship therapist, who was actually a dog trainer. It was quite interesting how much a few biscuits and cups of tea seemingly improved troubled relationships, as they taught partners to use what amounted to classical conditioning instead of berating each other. Both. We are easily manipulated and influenced by our environment. Much more so than most people realize. On the other hand, humans have the capacity to really surprise even themselves. Just look at what humanity has accomplished despite all our shortcomings. It's kind of amazing when you really reflect on this.
I've been reading that decision-making depends critically on the emotional parts of the brain. For example, a truly Spock-like person would be indecisive to the point of paralysis. Unfortunately, emotion also pushes us toward confirmation bias and in-group vs out-group bias, which is not optimal. Are there tricks/brainhacks for preventing emotion-based bias? For example, in the case of a yes/no decision, could we flip a coin and inhabit the "yes" emotional world for a day, then switch to the "no" side and inhabit it for a day? After that, an emotion-based decision might be less biased? Great question with a lot to unpack. First, biases don't require emotionality. Most biases are purely cognitive in nature...meaning you they don't involve emotions at all. Things like confirmation bias, in-out group bias etc all don't involve emotions (they can certainly be emotional, but they don't need emotions to operate). So I think what you're thinking of is what is known as System 1 vs 2 processes. System 1 are the automatic behaviors that happen quickly and often result in biases. System 2 is the more deliberative way of thinking that can have other biases, but not the kind you're thinking of.
Now to emotions, yes, they matter a lot and emotional decision making is its own sub-field in psychology. Strong emotions CAN push people to act quickly (system 1), but that's not always the case.
So how do you prevent some of these errors in judgments? First, pre-defining how you plan to make a decision is important. Come up with rules that you plan to follow and stick to those. Don't let emotions or circumstances change that. Second, if you find yourself highly emotional for whatever reason, DON'T MAKE IMPORTANT DECISIONS! It's less about bias and more about tunnel vision...you just can't focus on all the things that matter. Finally, sometimes, emotions HELP decision making. Fight-or-flight responses are a real thing and they are typically triggered by extreme fear. You don't want a slow deliberation if someone is about to punch you. You need to react. Right away. So in those cases, emotions can actually be very beneficial.
Hey! Ive got a question! Why even though we all know that companies put price tags like 4.99€ on products to trick us in believing they are cheaper than they are, they keep on doing it. In fact lately ive noticed that they started putting 4.98€ instead, can you explain why do they keep doing what we already know why its done? Does it really trick us? In short, it works. People are what we call "cognitive misers". They are lazy (me too, by the way...all of us). Sure if you focus carefully you'll see that 4.99 is just 5, but most of the time we don't have the mental energy/capacity to do so. So we see 4.99 as 4. That might make the difference between you buying something and not...so firms keep doing it. 4.98, is the same basic idea, but it also helps with online searches. If you sort by lowest price, 4.98 will come before 4.99.
I work in the tourism marketing field - do you have any insights on how to convince people to visit other places in their own country rather than travelling abroad? Obviously COVID has made this aspect fairly important as most of us can’t travel internationally. Until people feel safe, they won't travel anywhere. Once some level of safety is reached, perhaps focusing on the fact that some local tourism doesn't require air travel, which may still be perceived as a risk. Once we have a vaccine and it is well distributed, you'll be back to the normal operations of tourism. Some will go domestic and some will go abroad. I suspect that in the initial recovery there will be much more int'l travel. People will want to get as far from the home they've been cooped up in as possible. Good luck!
Do you fit your theories into ACT-R? If so, how do you reconcile its decay model with real life? I am much more a social psychologist than a cognitive psychologists, so I honestly don't ever think about ACT-R or other cognitive models like it.
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I'll redo my original question then. How do you account for decision changes over time? E.g., A person doesn't buy a car initially, but buys it later after one week. I don't understand what you mean by "account"? My research is almost entirely experimental in nature, where I randomly assign participants to various conditions and observe the causal consequences of doing so. People can change their minds all they want, so long as they don't do so differently across conditions (which is where random assignment comes in).
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My question is what is you explanation (theoey/hypothesis) for why people change their minds? Sorry I wasn't being clear. Got it. Preferences are largely constructed based on context (see work by John Payne). That largely explains most changes of opinions/choices.
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Sounds magical. What contexts change decisions and how? This is getting confrontational, and I'm sorry if I contributed to that. Constructed preferences refers to the fact that decisions are highly influenced by contextual factors, most prominently other options. Things like the compromise effect, decoy effect, default effect, etc... all demonstrate that people's preferences can change very easily just by virtue of the environment that those decisions are made in. In other words, preferences are very malleable. For a great review of this, I suggest this: https://www.decisionresearch.org/publication/the-construction-of-preference/
Be safe.
if your so smart why didn't you buy tsla at $200 per share? Who said I was smart?
Is it really correct to have two ands in your title? Sadly, it is. "Marketing" is one area and "Social and Decision Science" is another area. So I'm both "Marketing" and "Social and Decision Science". It's ugly, I know.
Hi Jeff! Im curious about gift giving from a marketing perspective. Do people value physical gifts more than a “free webinar” or downloadable booklet? And do they only value those later free things if they consume them or if they just sign up for them? Gifts from firms are very different than gifts from people. For the latter, we understand that the motive is USUALLY to do something nice. For the former, we undrestand that the motive is get me to do something (e.g. buy a future webinar). That said, gifts from firms to increase participation, but I don't think they are any more effective than, say, a price discount or a "free intro" promotion.
How can I, a finance student, develop more of my marketer side? Thank you for the hard work professor The easy answer is take marketing courses. Short of that, consider a Coursera course like this one:https://www.coursera.org/learn/wharton-marketing?utm_source=gg&utm_medium=sem&utm_content=01-CourseraCatalog-DSA-US&campaignid=9918777773&adgroupid=102058276958&device=c&keyword=&matchtype=b&network=g&devicemodel=&adpostion=&creativeid=434544785640&hide_mobile_promo&gclid=CjwKCAjw4rf6BRAvEiwAn2Q76pMC6znD88ijC2vBI1HD2oRnG6s3TDglhhANO3QYuqiuUdjgW8r01RoCC_EQAvD_BwE
(I have no affiliation with Coursera or that course...just seems reasonable).
Can your studies be replicated? Have you tried? I sure hope so! I've replicated plenty myself and other labs have replicated lots of my work, but not all of it. Across all my published papers, there are more than 100 experiments. The reality is that some are just not interesting enough to others to bother replicating...that's just part of doing science...some of it is big and important and some proves not be...though it's often hard to tell in advance which projects will be impactful and which won't. For those that have been replicated, I believe all have confirmed my original work.
Besides online shopping, what other big shifts in consumer behavior are you seeing, or theorizing will change dramatically, through this pandemic? I think you'll see a split among people in terms of digital engagement. Some will just dig in all the way and live on Netflix. But some will go the other route and explore nature for the first time, or play more board games, or read more books.
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Thanks for the reply. What of deep-seated attitudes like those that seem to be present in those from the Great Depression, e.g. thriftiness? The Great Depression lasted for a decade and, as much as this pandemic sucks, it is nowhere near as devastating financially as the 1930s were. So no, I don't think you'll see that level of thriftiness. I'm hopeful that we'll have a vaccine in a year or so and in 2-3 years we'll have largely recovered financially. Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but that's all I have to keep me going :)
Are you a cat person or a dog person? Why? I have a cat, but I want a dog. my cat doesn't do anything and just takes up space. A dog would be fun to play with and bond with, but I have two young children, a career, and a pandemic to deal with. I just don't have capacity for a dog.
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I see. Thanks for answering. Can you give out your top 10 TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE books? It can be a mix of fiction, non fiction, self-help, depressing, life changing books. :D I appreciate the spirit of the question, but books are so individualized. What I find amazing won't be what others do. That said, just off the top of my head:
1. How to lie with statistics.
2. Ender's game
3. Predictably Irrational
4. Night
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Thank you for the answer again! Last but not the least. I'm failing community college. During the summer break, I got help with a therapist as well as my girlfriend supporting my focusing on mental health. Anyway, do you think it's still a wise decision to go to a UC when I transfer? Because right now, I could prolly go to SJSU after some time mending my failures but I want to achieve more. Do you think I can go to like say...UC B? If so, what is one advice you'll give to a student who's failing but wants to succeed? The process for getting a psych eval for adhd/clinical depression is in the works. I might get medicine after some months. i wish I could give you a direct answer, but I really can't. I strongly suggest speaking to an advisor or counselor at your CC or at SJSU to find out what your best course of action is.
As for advice, consider if higher education is the right path for you. It well might be! but for some, it's just not the way to go. People have amazing lives working in trades or working for themselves. If you love learning and want to use the knowledge you gain for a career, go for it. If you're just doing it because "that's what people do," maybe consider what other options you have.
Good luck with whatever you do!
Do you think of Big Data as a natural and/or renewable resource? Would you support regulating Big Data as a public utility or public good alongside ailand/water? Honestly, I have never considered big data as a resource that way. I'd love to learn more about that idea...is there something you can recommend as a resource/reading?
What kind of melon is your favorite? Watermelon, easily.
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2020.10.25 02:28 alzbetina My roommate has an alcohol problem and I cannot deal with it

I apologize in advance for the length.
I [F, 27] started living with my roommate [F, 31] in late January. We are both MA students and while she was born in this country I moved here for my studies. My first flat was outrageously expensive so I really appreciated us moving together as she is also my classmate. I knew that she just broke up with her bf of 11 years and had a history of depression and drug abuse (which for me is not a problem). However, she has been clean for quite some time now (and this is not about drugs). I expected some hiccups since... you know recent break up and all that.
Very quickly after we moved into the flat I realized that she drinks a lot as a form of self-medication. She break up regularly on me and started sharing some very deeply traumatic things from her childhood. Her relationship with her mother is nonexistent at best. I was sympathetic and supportive, but I also made it very clear that I'm not interrested in living with someone who drinks this much (she could do more than a liter of wine during the evening).
* My family has a history of alcoholics in it, I knew many alcoholics myself as coworkers, and have experienced drunk behaviour during my many jobs at customer service. At this point, I cannot really stand drunk people. I have talked to my therapist about it multiple times.*
But I talked to roommate and she understood. Didn't change her behaviour. After one terrible day when she has been drinking since the very morning and has been continuously drunk and drank even on our school trip with all of our classmates, I went through all our cabinets and realized that every bottle at home was empty. I put them all on counter and staged an internvention. (This was after three to four weeks of our living together). She broke down again but promised to get better and contact her therapist. I believed her. The actual meeting with the therapist never happened, but the drinking basically disappeared and I was very happy about that.
During the spring (I live in Sweden so we weren't under lockdown due to COVID) she would get involved with her teenage crush she didn't get to be with back then. It was all very hopeful and sweet and ultimately crashed down horribly when he went back to his wife. (This will get important later.)
I have to say she is very interesting person and highly intelligent. Also likable, charismatic and some evenings with her can be really fun. Unlike me, she's extroverted and also a huge drama queen. She likes to see herself possibly as a sort of femme fatale (I'd say) but I see her more as a rebel without a cause. Or a cause left best in her early twenties. Nevertheless, I used to genuinely enjoy her company and her cats that came with her as my roommates. I think her being so full of emotions and life (even hurtful) balanced the calmness and steadiness of mine (and I do believe she appreciates me for this).
Fast forward to summer where I left the country to work in my summer job of many years. I basically worked crazy overtime both months in order to get enough money to cover myself for as long as possible (I don't get any stipendium and finding a job here is virtually impossible - not an excuse, sadly). During this time she had to moved us because our landlord decided out of the blue to move back. We managed to snatch apartment on campus that's on my name (sadly it's much smaller and she doesn't even have her own room.... I offered her to have the room multiple times for privacy but she always refused because of the cats). I came back looking forward to her and the cats (I really missed them all).
During my second day home she got weirdly twitchy and later that evening confessed she started sleeping with our other classmate and was falling in love. I was happy for her and supported her with many many talks. I also urged her to share her feelings because it's better to know than to pine away for your f*ckbuddy. For three weeks this dude has been a constant topic of conversation. She got so bad she wasn't talking about anything else and I started taking very long walks just to avoid hearing about the recent developments. Seriously, she was absorbed in this she barely talked about anything else. It all went to hell in a spectacular fashion but enough be said he is dating someone else now, was lying to her about some stuff and generally proved himself to be a douche. But she was talking about this to people she barely knew. The campus is rather small, she badmouthed him basically to people she just met. For me, it felt a lot that she was searching for sympathy I could no longer give her. I have been through so many ups and downs with both relationships that I can no longer muster the energy to care and also, I do know her pretty well. She is a drama queen and as much as I believe she was genuinely hurt twice now, I also think she revells in the attention being on her.
Since we moved to campus she also started partying a lot more (don't at me because of COVID, Sweden is Sweden) and thus drinking a lot more. And new thing appeared. She owes my money now for few months since she wasn't able to get her stipendium due to clerical error. Not her fault, but she knew that since September and started dealing with it in October. It puts lot of stress on me because the rent for both of us was paid by me and it goes from my summer money. The conversion rate for the currency isn't the greatest either. I got a little back now and expect the full back payment within two weeks but it is not exactly helping the situation.
Due to the socializing I got used to her not even texting me if she is gonna come back at night (solely for safety reasons) because she doesn't really care if people worry, it's apparently amusing (her friends last night reported her missing after not receving info whether she arrived home. I am not kidding, I had to let her in she couldn't walk straight). I sadly didn't noticed their message as I put my phone on "do not dirsturb" at night and answered them in the morning. It was a sweet but amusing annecdote to her. Moreover, she also started lying to me.
I can spot immediately when she drinks because (understandably) her mannerism changes. One day I noticed this and when she opened her wardrobe (and clumsily tried to position herself for me not to see), there was a bag in box of wine. It was open. Sadly, I'm extremely observant person so I noticed that she had a hip flask in her coat as well (it clinked when she tossed it on the floor, okay? I'm NOT going through her stuff). She had a dinner with a friend later and before she left she took out the wine from the wardrobe. "Very generously" she asked me if I want to taste it. I said no. She said she didn't even tried it. I said it was open, so I doubt it. She thought she was being funny so she denied it and poured me a glass. I asked her when she hasn't tasted it how come her coffee mug has wine stains all over it (yep, it was in front of me on the table). She just smirked.
On Friday, one of her new friends came over in the morning and placed a bottle of vodka on the counter. I was having breakfast and didn't comment on it. They both left and then roommate texted me that the friend was only leaving it there so she doesn't have to take it to the class and library and will get it later. Again, I haven't initiated any conversation about the bottle, but like an idiot, I believed her. In the evening she went partying, got super drunk and was reported missing. Today, she slept till like one, and in the evening she was drinking again. I asked her if she shouldn't buy the friend new bottle of vodka (it's like quarter left) and she said no that it was a present. I asked for what (they know each other two weeks and alcohol isn't exactly cheap here). She said nothing special. (See the new narrative here?)
I don't know honestly if this sounds as bad as it feels for me but I'm losing perspective on this. I also feel like a crap because I'm now only super vigilant about her drinking and I cannot stand talking to her when she's drunk. I just hate it. She is not drinking a glass of wine in the evening, she cannot stop herself from drinking way past any reasonable limit. And then I feel bad for judging her but I keep on doing it. I judge her for buying expensive alcohol when she owes me rent money. I judge her for eating out when she should bloody go and buy her cats new catsand.
And I judge her for making light of genuine concern of other people. Of being dismissive of our friend's problems because she is not their therapist (which is true). I have been basically acting as her soundboard since January, so where is some pay-it-forward? Some of our common friends commented to me several times that they don't know how I do it, that I must be a saint. I am not. I don't know what to do. I hate being this judgmental of her but I don't know how to stop myself. I don't want to live with someone who drinks this much but if I give up the lease I worry what would happen. (I believe it would end the friendship altogether and living together for three months of the end-of-lease period?)
I also don't want to talk too much about this with our common friends because then I feel like I'm badmouthing her to others. And since I have basically only friends in common here with here (again, I'm an international student) I feel kinda trapped. Since we have this and the next term left (and I will move afterwards somewhere), I know it's relatively short time to go. Relatively.
I was attending therapy in spring and I'm thinking of going again because I don't know if my behaviour is okay or not anymore. I don't feel the stregth to confront her about the drinking again because I made my stance clear in spring and it's so exhausting. I don't want to get involved in any more of her drama in relationships. Generally I feel just sad and annoyed, also sometimes resentful that other people have the "fun" side of my roommate and I'm the one dealing with all the other stuff.

I'm sorry this got so long, I just needed to get it out.
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2020.10.24 14:22 readingrachelx Housewife highlights/Daily shit talk - October 24th, 2020

NEW YORK
"The “Real Housewives of New York City” are back to work after they were forced to take a break from filming after someone on set tested positive for COVID.
We’re told filming was severely cut back after the scary result two weeks ago — but spies tell Page Six that Ramona Singer, Leah McSweeney, Sonja Morgan and new cast member Eboni K. Williams were all filming together Thursday at American Beech in Greenport, NY. We’re told the group was cordial and kidding around.
A different spy told us they were also shooting at nearby Croteaux Vineyards, where Singer and McSweeney were loudly fighting over — appropriately enough — McSweeney’s recent tweets in which she criticized Singer for being careless about COVID. (McSweeney had tweeted in June — fairly obviously about Singer, “I am so disgusted by some of my castmates and their families who spent the entire f - - king quarantine in Florida, living it up, showing everyone how they’re living it up.”)
We’re told the group were supposed to be filming out East in early October, but it got pushed back and has only just got underway. We’re told the delay has created problems because producers had been hoping to make it appear as if the Hamptons scenes happened during the summer, which is trickier now that they’re shooting well into October."
“The Real Housewives of New York” are COVID-19 free despite a crew member testing positive for the virus.
Multiple sources confirmed to Page Six on Friday that Luann de Lesseps, Ramona Singer, Leah McSweeney, Sonja Morgan and newbie Eboni K. Williams are all healthy despite a Daily Mail report that one of the women tested positive two weeks ago.
An insider noted that production was “limited” and “not completely shut down” after the staffer tested positive, but everyone’s safety remained a priority.
Another insider previously told us that the network is taking extensive precautions to keep everyone safe and even requires the women to be tested before filming any scenes.
The ladies were just together in the Hamptons, where we’re sure more drama ensued.
ORANGE COUNTY
"Following the news that she and her husband, Sean Burke, have decided to live in separate homes for the time being, Braunwyn Windham-Burke opened up about what inspired the couple's new living arrangement.
Braunwyn shared during her October 21 appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that she had been doing a lot of reflecting on her life amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "Honestly, a lot of it happened during quarantine," Braunwyn explained in the above clip. "It had to do with Glennon [Doyle]'s book. When I say that Glennon's book changed my life, I don't mean it flippantly. I mean reading her book made me realize a lot of things about myself that I hadn't recognized before."
Though Doyle, who appeared as Braunwyn's fellow WWHL guest, is the author of multiple books, we imagine Braunwyn was referring to her latest, Untamed, which the OC Housewife has noted on social media she is a fan of.
Braunwyn went on to say on WWHL that she still loves Sean "dearly" and that they "get along great."
"We're getting along better than we ever had, but we are redefining our marriage right now," she said. "There's some things that I am going through that I'm giving myself the time and the space to acknowledge, and Sean's been very supportive in all of this."
"The Real Housewives of Orange County star, 42, shared a sweet snapshot of herself and her husband on Instagram on Monday, October 19. The pair, who tied the knot in 2000, were dressed to the nines and stared lovingly into each other’s eyes. Braunwyn captioned the photo with a simple red heart emoji.
Despite hundreds of celebratory comments, one negative remark stood out. “And he’s gay,” one Instagram user wrote. The Bravo star fired back with a coy response, replying, “No sweetie, that’s me. He’s straight.”
"Tamra Judge may not be featured on season 15 of The Real Housewives of Orange County, but she’s certainly still an important part of the story line.
During the Wednesday, October 21, episode of the Bravo series, Braunwyn Windham-Burke revealed Tamra, 53, spoke to her mother, Dr. Deb, on the phone. According to Braunwyn, 42, Dr. Deb told the CUT Fitness owner about her daughter’s substance abuse issues. As a result, Braunwyn felt like she had to share her battle with alcoholism on camera and she subsequently confided in Shannon Beador.
While Tamra wrote via Instagram that she hasn’t watched the episode, she heard she’s “getting blamed” for drama.
“The absolute truth is Dr. Deb sent me a DM (in Feb) on Instagram asking me how my ex husband was doing,” Tamra wrote, referring to her ex Simon Barney’s battle with cancer. “I told her that it’s hard but it’s brought our family back tighter. Then I asked how her and B were doing. She simply said better now that she isn’t drinking … that’s it!!!! First week of filming when Shannon and I were still kind [of] talking, Shannon called me and said she thinks B is pregnant and she’s gonna buy her a pregnancy test and give it to her on camera.”
During Wednesday’s episode, fans saw Shannon, 56, show up for a night out with Braunwyn, who shares seven kids with husband Sean Burke, with a pregnancy test.
“I told her don’t bother, I don’t think she’s pregnant, her mom told me that she isn’t drinking anymore,” Tamra continued. “Shannon then contacts production and makes this big deal out of it saying, ‘We are filming a reality show she needs to drink.’ … No Shannon, not everyone needs to drink!”
While Shannon has yet to publicly respond to Tamra’s claims, Braunwyn told Us Weekly earlier this month that Shannon is the only cast member that she’s currently on speaking terms with.
“Shannon did reach out to me [recently] and wrote something very, very sweet that I appreciated a lot because I did feel ostracized,” she told Us.
Braunwyn added that she misses having Tamra, who starred on RHOC from season 3 to 14, on the show.
“Tamra and I get along. We still talk, we went to lunch like a week ago. I miss Tamra. I think she’s a great Housewife,” Braunwyn explained. “I like having her in my life. She’s always been a good friend to me whenever I’ve needed her.”
Idiotsivan (aka Rick's ex wife, I assume commenting on her former stepdaughter's photo): "You may have a new stepmom but I'll forever tell people I had you as a teen. come back soon not_topanga (& will.i.stan)"
Kelly: "That's funny because not_topanga told me and Rick she hated you as a teenager tore your face our of every picture... too bad you didn't have your own."
DALLAS
"There's another little pumpkin joining Brandi Redmond's patch.
The Real Housewives of Dallas star seemingly announced she and husband Bryan Redmond are expecting baby No. 4 on Friday, Oct. 23. Brandi, 42, took to Instagram with a snapshot of three pumpkins painted with her kids' birth years, in addition to one more with "2021" across it.
"God works in mysterious ways and we are so thankful for his grace and glory," she shared. "You never know what his plan is but we know he's got us in the palm of his hand. We have much to be thankful for this holiday season and want to thank all of you for your prayers, love and out pouring support."
NEW JERSEY
"Maimonides Medical Center hosted its annual “Pink Runway” fashion show virtually on Oct. 21. It was privately filmed at New York City’s iconic 1 OAK dance club, then streamed onto the internet.
All proceeds from the event will benefit breast cancer awareness, treatment and research at the renowned Maimonides Breast Center – Brooklyn’s first free-standing, full-service, nationally-recognized breast care facility.
All of the models are patients of Maimonides Breast Center, walking the 2020 runway to tell women not to put their health on hold and that mammograms and check-ups can save lives.
The evening paid tribute to a distinguished slate of honorees including Dr. Donna-Marie Manasseh, director of Breast Surgery at Maimonides and recipient of the Pink Hope Award; Paul Walsh and the Walsh Family Charities, recipients of the Pink Warrior Award; and Dolores Catania, cast member of Bravo’s Real Housewives of New Jersey and this year’s recipient of the Pink Ambassador ofHope Award.
Special guest appearances included singer-songwriter Robin Thicke and actors Robert Davi and Chazz Palminteri."
POTOMAC
"Robyn Dixon discussed Michael’s antics during a recent interview with Heather McDonald for the Juicy Scoop With Heather McDonald podcast. "So. honestly, to me. that [talk of threesomes] felt like a deflection from the real topic. I didn’t see what one had to do with the other.”
“She’s saying they’ve had experiences together in the past. OK, but we’re not talking about the past? She was almost taking responsibility for his behavior and, you know, why.”
“Who knows if maybe she didn’t want to deal with it in front of cameras and she was doing her best to kind of make it go away. Or, you know, maybe she’s in denial or maybe she’s not ready to end her marriage. I don’t know.”
“I really don’t know the reasons for why she would kind of said what she said about their relationship. It just felt like an excuse for me. It was just making excuses for his behavior, which didn’t make it any better, in my opinion."
BEVERLY HILLS
"Delilah Belle Hamlin is considering making big moves. On October 23, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills daughter revealed that she is open to relocating to be closer to her London-based boyfriend, Eyal Booker.
"We definitely talk about it but I'm happy with how we do it now where I'm in [Los Angeles] half the time and London half the time," Delilah wrote in response to an Instagram user who asked if she would make a permanent move to the U.K. "But with everything going on in the world right now we're talking about it."
"I'm not sure," she continued. "[L.A.] is my home but so is Eyal."
As she has been temporarily living with Eyal in London recently, Delilah has been sharing peeks into their daily life, which seems to include her love whipping up impressive meals. "Date night," Delilah captioned a photo of a mouthwatering dinner. "[Eyal] is the perfect housewife and I'm here for it."
In a separate Story, Delilah shared that the couple has been together for "a year and a half" and her family approves of her beau. She proudly declared, "They LOVE him."
Back in L.A., Delilah recently moved into a new home with her sister, Amelia Gray Hamlin. The abode, which Amelia previously described as the "perfect lil house," boasts a chic kitchen, dreamy bedrooms, and private outdoor space.
As RHOBH viewers will remember, Amelia previously lived in a one-bedroom Los Angeles apartment that came with a $5,700 per month price tag. On a Season 10 episode of the show, Lisa Rinna reflected on the stark difference between Amelia's apartment and her own first apartment, explaining, "I was lucky to have an apartment with hand-me-down furniture and a door that locked."
ATLANTA
submitted by readingrachelx to RHDiscussion [link] [comments]


2020.10.24 10:28 BlueDaisy62 Am I The Asshole Roommate? (My roommate from hell) (Grab some snackkies this is kinda long)

Back in July of 2019 I started a new job. I was in a long term 4 year relationship, and living with his mom (we had our own house but moved in with his mom to 1)save money to buy a house but 2) his dad and little sister needed a place to live so we let them have that place)
when I started this new job i met a group of people who basically helped me realize how toxic of a relationship I was in and the potential happiness I could have else wise. I also met another guy who, in all honesty, I fell in love with.
No I didn't cheat or anything, but I knew for a long time that I wasn't in love with the high-school sweetheart and that there were so many warning signs that I should have left sooner (he constantly screamed at me and made me feel worthless, I felt like I was there just for him to say he had a girlfriend and have sex, he gamed 24/7 and constantly chose his games over hanging out with me or even taking care of his health)
these friends (let's call them friend A and friend B) gave me what I needed most in that time: a place to stay if I broke up with him.
I took that opportunity and broke it off, staying at their place for a day and then deciding with them the next day that I would sublet from them, splitting ret and utilities 5 ways. (It was a three bedroom house, and it was friend As sister and her that lived there, but her mom eventually moved in and for some reason friend A and friend B decided even though they were not living there , they would continue to pay 2/5 of rent to try to help out their family.)
I had 4 dogs and 3 guinea pigs with my ex. I only took the two dogs that were technically mine.
Moving in i didn't have a bed or any furniture besides my desk pc and TV, they allowed me to use their bed. The people in the house didn't particularly like dogs either so they would be stuck in my room 24/7 unless I took them out for walks. ( the back yard was occupied by friend As dog and wasn't dog friendly so I couldn't put my pups out there) I work 12 hour night shifts 3-4 days a week.
Anyways, because it wasn't my bed and the housemates didn't like dogs, I ultimately had to crate my pups 24/7 except for 2 walks a day (one before I left for work one after I got home.) This was an extremely stressful situation for the dogs and ultimately they started having explosive and bloody diarrhea 2-3 times a day.
The only solution I could think of at the time was to keep them in the bathroom some days so that I didn't have to keep steam cleaning the carpet around the crate as well as easier clean up (the bathroom was tile) and not having to get even more shit on the carpet having to take them to the bathtub. (I have a bordercollie and a jack chi)
This living situation was pretty shit and was even worse for friend As mom who had to share a bathroom with me and would often express how upset she was about the dogs being in there. I made a decision in January 2020 to try to find better living arrangements, as nice as it was having lower rent costs.
Which brings me to the actual "Am I the shit roomate?" Story.
There was another coworker who I ultimately befriended. Looking back it was a fairly toxic friendship. I made a few bad jokes/said things that she took out of context and we joked about, but then she would introduce me to new coworkers like that: " oh hey! Have you met (me) yet? Yeah she called me a *****" it eventually got to the point where people i hadn't even met would say oh right! You're the one who said "xyz"
Anyhow, I had vented alot of my frustrations to her about my ex and current living situation. we became, in her mind, best friends; and in a way I just accepted that. Though I don't think I ever felt as strongly connected to her as she did to me. I was really more interested in being best friends with Friend A because they had helped me so much and I was so grateful, but I appreciated this coworker and trusted her (well just call her roomie for the sake of later)
Roomie was new here and moved from Guam to live with her sister about 2 years back. During DecembeJanuary she started fighting with said sister and was looking for a place to move to.
I originally denied the idea because I was content with living at Friend A and Friend Bs place, however when the dogs conditions started to degrade I knew I needed to find a new place asap, so I ultimately said sure, let's find a place together.
We found a nice 2 bed 2 bath apartment, 3rd floor. My only condition with living with her was that the dogs were allowed to be out and about and not locked in the cage. She agreed 100%. We moved in end of February 2020 signing a 14 month lease.
For the first few weeks I kept the dogs caged while I was at work because they were having issues pooping and peeing on the carpet. I invested in one of those porch potties so that they could just go out and do their business on the porch instead of having to hold it for 12 hours and three flights of stairs. (This would ultimately become a problem)
Move in costs were a bit higher than I had excepted and I hadn't exactly been planning on moving out so soon so I only had maybe 2 weeks worth of paychecks saved and my tax return. I used all of it on downpayment and first months rent and still ended up owing her around 600$ which she said was fine and to just pay her back when I could, but not to worry.
We moved in and the first... I'm going to say 2 weeks, were okay. We didn't have any furniture but I did have a lot of kitchen stuff from when I used to live with my ex, so we bought bean bags and used those for a bit. Eventually within those two weeks we went to the store together and found a papasan chair that we both liked, I ended up buying it. We also found a nice little TV stand, I also bought.
About a month in is when COVID 19 lock downs started to get really serious in our state. The guy that I had fallen in love with before when I was with my ex? Me and him started dating about a week after that break up (thats a whole other story tbh) so at this point we where together for about 4 months.
Originally he had been coming over in the first week or two and then leaving to go home, were he lived with his grandparents, after I fell asleep. He didn't have a key so roomie got mad when the door was left unlocked all night.
And here is our first issue.
Me, I thought okay well I guess let's get him a key? So I went and made a spare and was honestly kind of nervous because this would be a big step in our relationship, so I told roomie on the way to work that I had made a spare and was thinking about giving it to my bf.
She flipped out and said I had gone behind her back and that I should have talked to her about it, but ultimately that yeah it was fine to give him the key. I waited a week to give it to him after that.
About a week after that is when COVID really kicked in and to make a long story short, he asked if he could temporarily move in with me because his grandparents where high risk. I said of course, and we brought it up to roomie.
She was upset at first (honestly I don't remeber why) but said yeah it was fine and she thought it was really sweet that he was looking out for his grandparents.
Let me go back real quick and fill yall in on one or two other back storys that I promise will make sense and this whole thing will come full circle.
Roomie and the bf are no strangers. We are all coworkers, tho bf does work in a different department (he also gets payed more which will come into play later) and we all would go out drinking and partying together.
In January, we threw a group bday party because we had so many friends with January bdays including, me and the bf. To make a long story short, it was a weird time of our relationship. We were technically "open" and we got very drunk that night. Leading to a 5 way make out session between me, roomie, bf, friend A and friend B.
(We had also joked quite often with friend A and friend B about orgies etc) when the party started dying down (this was when I lived at friend As house and the party was held there) me and bf headed back to my room. We came back out and invited roomie in if she wanted (wink winks included) and instead got her and another guy.
To skip the details. Basically the guy was not welcome but we were too drunk to really say or realize how uncomfortable we were with the situation. And ultimately the next day after discussing it, both me, bf, and roomie were very uncomfortable with the whole situation and bf honestly felt as tho he'd been violated if not raped
This night would also prove to cause more than one issue. But basically you can see now that roomie, me and bf all knew eachother fairly well and it wasn't like I was just letting a random guy move in.
Back to the roomie situation. We agreed when he moved in that because he would be sharing a room with me he wouldn't pay rent and instead would buy all the groceries. (Which would usually be around 2-300$ a week in all honesty but would eventually calm down to about 300 every two weeks unless we ate something special)
We very soon found that me and roomie had very different living styles. I didn't mind if dishes were left for a day or two or if the house was a little messy as long as it got cleaned on the weekends.
She however likes things spotless and always clean. She did express this once or twice, saying hey just make sure ur cleaning it up within the day. So I said okay and did just that. Then it went on to hey can you make sure they are cleaned up right after you are done. So I said sure, and did that.
Then months pass and she kept getting more and more bitter toward us and more angry, stomping around the apartment and completely avoiding us. Within these months a few other things happened.
One, I got very drunk, black out drunk, with her and bf one night and accidently told bf roomie had been fucking someone (she had just told him she sucked him off so my drunk mind was like oh shes being open about it I can talk about her and her fuck buddy in front of him now) then later that same night, I called her boy toy and told him he should fuck her basically.
I was drunk out of my mind, and he realized that. However she appearently did not. I truly barely remember the actual events of that call.
What I do remeber is that i was so so happy with my bf and that I thought the boy toy could be that to her and just wanted her to feel the way I did. I thought she was holding herself back.
Obviously I went about it in the compete wrong way and in her words made her feel like a hoe and that she couldn't get someone without being whored out. I apologized profusely and constantly but I don't think she ever actually forgave me.
During the beginning weeks of us moving in she had also invited me out to drink and go bar hopping and the group of friends we had, invited me to a housewarming party, however I was so tired of drinking and partying and was dead broke and still owed her $600 and it was also around the time bf had gotten violated and was therefore distancing himself from the group, so i said no. i didnt want to go out.
She begged me and often asked why bf didn't want to hang out too and I eventually told her its because he's trying to distance and doesn't want to be around the group rn, and that I personally just didn't want to go out. I wanted to stay in with the dogs. She offered to buy me drinks etc and I just didn't want to. I was tired and just wanted to relax. (Again I promise this plays in)
Jumping back to living in the apt with roomie, when covid seemed to be letting up we decided to have a small get together to catch up and celebrate missed bdays. Immediately after inviting, Friend A (who I used to be closest with) just said No. It was really weird and kinda abrasive and my first clue that something was wrong.
So I said okay what if we do another date, most people agreed and we ended up having it the day before the original day.
For this party let me add that roomie didn't offer to help clean before or after, or even offer to buy any of the party supplies or food or even just 20$.
In fact she did the exact opposite and asked us to by specific stuff so she could try certain shots and if we could buy a beer pong table. We couldn't afford the beer pong but we did our best and got 2 cheap tables from ikea instead.
She would later confess that when we asked her if the original date of the party was a good date, that she lied and said yeah when she knew 100% that it wasn't and that they had already had another party planned. But that "we ended up having back to back partys and both were successful so it worked out" (we were not told or invited or even aware of the other party. And at that time we didn't even realize we were appearantly on bad terms with everyone?)
There was also the time where she came home high asf (which she did often tbh). Me and bf were sitting on the couch watching TV and she comes in and starts asking us questions.
Basically all I really remember from that is having this conversation: she was pissed off because I had told friend A and friend B what had happened the night of the January bdays, and that we had made her feel bad for telling her best friend (which btw, just happened to be bfs boss.)
(To this day she doesn't understand why telling bfs boss that her, me, bf, and another coworker directly in bfs area, that bf felt he'd gotten raped, was a BAD idea and something we didn't want)
but at the same time she kept saying she wasn't mad and actually glad she had someone to talk to about it all now an that she just didn't understand why she couldn't tell her BFF (bfs boss)
Then there was a singular moment where I said something like "well when we were friends" or something that implied we arnt friends with the coworker friend group anymore i guess, she said "Oooooohhh so your not friends with them anymore??"
And I was like no that's not what I said. I just mean we havnt hung out for a while or talked because of the whole covid thing. And she kinda just took that whole "oh you're not friends any more hmm?" And questioned more and then went back in her room leaving me heated asf.
Fast forward maybe 4 months or so, and finally we have the outburst.
She sends this extremely long text about how we need to keep the house cleaner and wipe everything down after cooking more and that she thinks bf should pay rent and be put on the lease.
That's shes been forced to keep stuff in her own closet because the pantry is too full and that we need to keep the fridge more organized so she can put stuff in there.
That she didn't feel comfortable being out in the common areas because it was practically our place and because we occasionally would walk around "half naked" and that she felt like she was walking on egg shells and had anxiety about being out in the common areas. (Ditto)
and that she wanted documentation stating that the porch stains were my fault and that she had nothing to do with them
(that relates back to the fact that I had invested in the porch potty, and while the dogs would poop on it, they often would pee on the door or barriers instead and since we lived on the 3rd floor when they peed on the barriers it once accidently got down to the neighbors porch which we immediately where like omg im so sorry and started just walking them more, but the stains from them peeing next to the door were there since I hadn't gotten around to cleaning it (it was like a 105 degree summer and honestly just didn't cross my mind all that often once we started walking them) )
Originally bf was just going to move out. I didn't want him on the lease especially if it were to extend our stay, but we understood from a legal stand point she was probably right.
I also didn't agree with him paying rent. Or at least not the full 3 way split. She has the master bedroom with a private bathroom, walk in closet and other storage/pantry closet.
We share the smaller bedroom with a extremely small closet and do have our own bathroom however its far from private.
Yes she claims that if she has guests over they would use her bathroom but at the same time even if the stuff we keep in the bathroom is private, its not the same.
For example the times shes caught us "half naked" around the house look like this: bf with a robe on or pants and no shirt, me with a big shirt on and underwear. Once maybe with a blanket or towel around myself trying to get to the bathroom to clean up after sex.
And honestly I didn't see the problem with it with her given our history and that she's pretty much seen us both naked multiple times.
When she sent that text, I told her give us a few days to figure out our options. (Because bf wanted to move out) and she got pissed saying that it was always on my schedual and things always revolve around when I want to do things. I just didn't want to make any rash decisions and was trying to stay calm.
I'd never realized how upset she was at us because everytime we'd ask her if she was okay or whats up she said "its good" or "its fine" in a sing-song voice. I knew there was tension and I knew she was upset but not about what.
She was also the one who decided to stop using the groceries bf bought, which was his "rent" we often bought in bulk, causing the fridge and pantry to be pretty full, and the fee times we bought her specific stuff we knew she liked she didn't eat them and went to waste.
We would ask her what she wanted from the grocery store and she's say nothing. The only time we ever got upset (but never told her tbh) was that we used to also cook for her aswell, which was fine. But we made a really expensive dinner for our 6 month anniversary and she ended up eating all of it without even asking.
She also told me she thought I was jealous of her and that I thought she wanted my bf because whenever she was in the kitchen alone with him, id be in there too.
Honestly I laughed and told her God no, I didn't even realize I was doing that and that it was probably because 1)me and bf had just had a huge fight and I was being clingy in general and 2) I had hella anxiety when she was in there because I knew we had just cooked and were in the middle of eating and hadn't cleaned them yet, and I didn't want to put that all on him or have her chew him out.
Anyhow, i finally responded to her long text and told her I agreed with pretty much everything, that we would do better to leave her space and clean up and that all we asked of her was that she didn't use metal on our pots and was careful not to put rustable things in the dishwasher since we'd been having that problem with things like the can opener, certain knifes and baking sheets.
Also that I would clean the porch but not write her a note since there is a 500$ non refundable pet deposited anyhow and when the time came I would take ownership, plus the dogs are in my name.
I did tell her that we would agree to do a 40 30 30 split on rent, even 3 way on utilities, as we thought that was fair since she had the master and we shared a room. She didn't like that at all and said we should pay more because we used the common areas more and she didn't feel comfortable using them.
She proposed a 40 40 20, then realized that was the same as 40 30 30 (which its not really, we arnt joint income) and instead said she'd only agree to a 35 35 30.
I hated it i didn't even agree with the 40 30 30, I wanted to do a 45 27.5 27.5 (because according to online rent calculators that was considered fair given the living situation). But bf said he'd rather just take the loss and have us pay the extra x amount if it'll get her to leave us alone. So we agreed to that.
Real quick let me explain the furniture and why she perhaps feels like it's mostly our apartment. In the beginning we were constantly talking about how we wanted to furnish and design ideas.
We knew it would take a while but it was fun to plan. When we moved in, like I said, I owed her $600. I would still ask her if she liked this or that and she started to say "what, did you win the lottery" or "are you planning on winning the lottery?" In a smart ass kinda hostile tone. And I was like no I'm just curious if you liked this style that way when we can or if we find something on sale we don't just buy stuff the other person hates.
She proceeded to constantly ask me if I had gotten the 3k that my ex owed me (honestly even b4 we moved in together she constantly asked me if I got it) and when the stimulus checks got release would ask me about that too. Then started demanding I pay her back as soon as it seemed like I was in any way financially stable. I wasn't.
I was trying to balance making sure I had enough for rent and food and dog bills as well as trying to save to furnish the house a little bit (it was obvious she wasn't going to), and considering she said to take as long as I needed to pay her back I thought she would appreciate the fact I wanted to buy furniture and make it nice.
I ended up over draftng my account to pay her back but she was pissed because I took put the 14 months of renters insurance (like 8 or 9$ a month each) so that we didn't have to deal with it later and she decided to be petty and tell me I owed her back taxes for the last 3 months rent because she payed it (it was like 40$).
I ultimately furnished all of the common areas, bought us a couch a coffee table a bookshelf a giant gate so the dogs no longer had access to the carpeted area, everything. And I never ever once told her she couldn't use it.
In fact I often encouraged it and she'd claim she just preferred being in her room.
In that text she had also mentioned that the dogs had the whole dining area to themselves so that also made her uncomfortable (she also mentioned in person that my little dog should be in his cage all day because he peed on her door) keep in mind that I have fairly well behaved dogs and I pay a $60 pet rent everyone for them.
They don't bark unless there is someone at the door or kids running and screaming right outside it. We even sent the border collie to a board and train program to polish up his obedience and is CGC certified.
They don't chew. The worst they've done is had accidents in the house because they were either sick or I slept in and forgot to take them out.
Pretty much after that things were okay. We weren't friends and we weren't talking to eachother but we were civil.
Btw huge side note, she had admitted to venting to all our mutual friends and that she basically told them we were shit. Those friends no longer talk to us and avoid us like the plague when they see us at work.
One has even gone as far to tell a new coworker that he hates me. (I over heard him say it). Basically, that whole friend group that saved me from a toxic relationship and here the greatest? Disappeared without even questioning it or telling us what we did to upset them.
Anyways. Like I said things were okay for a month or 2, minus the fact that she had "stolen" all my friends. But I figure fuck it, they obviously didn't care enough about me to even ask for the other side of the story. That doesn't mean it didn't hurt though.
There was some aggravating parts. Remarks on her side concerning my personal life that I thought where inappropriately given our current state of things.
In that time we only really had one issue with her, and it was that she had ordered food on a work day and the delivery service knocked, causing the dogs to bark and us to get up, get fully dressed, and then try to go back to bed with only 1-2 hours left before we actually had to be up.
we told her when we woke up, hey please if u order on a work night just make sure they don't knock or that you ask them not to knock.
She said she told them to leave it at the door. She didn't know why they knocked. I told her you had to put in the notes to not knock, to which she responded that she felt like she was being attacked and that she did. I told her not trying to lecture or attack. Just tired and wanted to make sure that you had, that we understand its out of her control after that.
She then went on to say that we made noise on the weekends and were super loud when we were happy/drunk/being goofy, and i basically told her that she can make all the noise she wants on the weekends because we can sleep in, and that if she had an issue with how loud we are ever, to tell us.
She continued to say that she felt like things were delicate and that we were all trying too hard to act a way that used to come so naturally between us.
I told her I wasn't acting and I was just being me. That if my ignoring her at work and not asking her about her day bugged her im sorry but I'm not going to make small talk and that I didn't see the point in trying to small talk with someone who has clearly shown they no longer want to be friends. That she should just be herself and don't pretend or force something if it makes her uncomfortable, otherwise things will always be delicate..
She then switched her whole attitude saying that "i thought YOU said we weren't friends anymore" and that she was just being courteous and she's never been fake. And that since we arnt friends any more she has infinitely more patience for friends and therefore for none with us.
Which brings us to yesterday.
Yesterday was her last day of the current position she was in and was taking off x amount of time till she started her new position.
It also just happened that I had bought a Furbo the day before to help aid with my dogs training and to keep an eye on them while I was at work. It came and I told roomie about it and she said it was really cool and seemed really excited and interested about it. I then set it up.
The next day when we went to work, she stayed home because she would be starting a new position soon. She ended up texting that she didn't feel comfortable with it and because of body issues she would be turning it towards the wall and that me setting up the camera felt like when I had given bf the key without consulting her.
To which I reminded her that I had told her, I had only made it without telling her; that I would have made the key anyways in case one of us lost ours.
Likewise i told her I didn't feel the need to inform her about buying the Furbo because I would have bought it whether or not she agreed to put it up (it was on sale) further I told her I didn't install it till she gave me the okay at which point she said she never agreed, just said It was cool.
(She said it was awesome and "pretty dope" and had like 2 questions about it (the scope as well as how long it has been up, which like I told her it wasn't up until she said it was awesome) )
I stupidly decided to argue and get upset. She definitely caught me at a bad time. But basically I told her I understand why she wants to turn in away but that I was upset she said it was okay to put up and then the next day she wasn't okay with it. And that though I don't think she would but I couldn't help but have mama bear instincts kick in and think what if she wants to turn the camera away because she's hurting the dogs.
She's definitely expressed enough disdain for them and hates me and is mad at me enough.
She took that comment and ran with it. Saying she'd move out and that we made her feel like an ogre constantly and that she can never do anything right, that now she knows how I really see her. I told her to look at if from my perspective.
That she turned all my friends against me and was constantly complaining about things in the house and really that the biggest problem has come from her not saying her feelings and complaints for 4 months and holding it all in.
That I constantly felt anxiety talking to her and am constantly worried " great whats roomie upset about now"
That the one time we actually called her put for doing something we don't like (the door knocking while we where sleeping for work) she didn't just say sorry, i did put don't knock, but instead played the victim and said we were attacking and lecturing her..
She completely disagreed that she turned everyone against us and we had a whole argument about that. Ultimately she said she would stay quiet and stop bugging and that she wouldn't cause any more stress till April that we could keep the camera up and that she'd stay out of my way as much as possible.
That "people change..."
I ended it with no, I don't think we changed i think we just finally saw eachother for their flaws. I took the camera down as soon as I got home from work that night
Then this morning I woke up to
"Just noticed u wrote this but you're right after comparing my situation with those of Friend As mom, ur ex, his mother, and everyone else, I finally see u for who u truly are. U may not have changed but I have. Situations like this are supposed to do that in my opinion, force one to reflect, adapt, and grow."
I havnt responded.
In my opinion she has no right to compare herself. My ex and his mom were obviously pissed when I moved out because I dumped her son.
I had no issues living with them otherwise. Friend As mom, I understand her being upset because she didn't like dogs and my dogs made a mess because they were stressed, I did my best and it wasn't enough. I don't know what else I could have done and thats why i moved out asap.
She has been the absolute worst room mate and friend and I feel this could have all been solved if she just communicated better.
She's 31 years old. I'm 22.
Youd think at some point you learn to be the bigger person and grow up, like we have honestly so many times just to get her to shut up. I've asked her what I can do to make her more comfortable and she doesn't answer.
Truthfully I've given in to every request shes had, and I don't understand what I personally did to make her feel so much anxiety around me. It's her own fault for holding it in instead of just saying it.
There are countless things I did to try to make her happy and things she did that made me mad and that I just never said anything about (eating certain meals that were clearly ours, never taking out the trash and letting it overflow, only cleaning when she was pissed off at us after we had already cleaned, using the dishwasher as a drying rack
(we specifically bought her a dryer rack so she would stop doing this and she still does it. Whats even more infuriating is that she will open a clean dishwasher, not unload it, and then put her dishes in there to dry. Overlapping so it won't even dry well)
putting a lock on her door and locking it every time she leaves (honestly thats only infuriating because she did it before we even had huge fights and just shows how much she really trusted us) and honestly the list goes on.
The few times the dogs had accidents in the house, she would get home before us and send us a picture and I would just text back thanks well see it when we get there and clean it up. I could go on and on. And we never call her out on any of this because if we donwe are attacking her.)
I truely feel I'm being fairly nice and trying to see it from her perspective as much as possible. I realize I havnt been great but I just... aghh
Am I the asshole??? D:
submitted by BlueDaisy62 to badroommates [link] [comments]


2020.10.24 10:22 BlueDaisy62 Am I The Asshole? (My Roomate From Hell) (Grab some snackkies this is kinda long)

Back in July of 2019 I started a new job. I was in a long term 4 year relationship, and living with his mom (we had our own house but moved in with his mom to 1)save money to buy a house but 2) his dad and little sister needed a place to live so we let them have that place)
when I started this new job i met a group of people who basically helped me realize how toxic of a relationship I was in and the potential happiness I could have else wise. I also met another guy who, in all honesty, I fell in love with.
No I didn't cheat or anything, but I knew for a long time that I wasn't in love with the high-school sweetheart and that there were so many warning signs that I should have left sooner (he constantly screamed at me and made me feel worthless, I felt like I was there just for him to say he had a girlfriend and have sex, he gamed 24/7 and constantly chose his games over hanging out with me or even taking care of his health)
these friends (let's call them friend A and friend B) gave me what I needed most in that time: a place to stay if I broke up with him.
I took that opportunity and broke it off, staying at their place for a day and then deciding with them the next day that I would sublet from them, splitting ret and utilities 5 ways. (It was a three bedroom house, and it was friend As sister and her that lived there, but her mom eventually moved in and for some reason friend A and friend B decided even though they were not living there , they would continue to pay 2/5 of rent to try to help out their family.)
I had 4 dogs and 3 guinea pigs with my ex. I only took the two dogs that were technically mine.
Moving in i didn't have a bed or any furniture besides my desk pc and TV, they allowed me to use their bed. The people in the house didn't particularly like dogs either so they would be stuck in my room 24/7 unless I took them out for walks. ( the back yard was occupied by friend As dog and wasn't dog friendly so I couldn't put my pups out there) I work 12 hour night shifts 3-4 days a week.
Anyways, because it wasn't my bed and the housemates didn't like dogs, I ultimately had to crate my pups 24/7 except for 2 walks a day (one before I left for work one after I got home.) This was an extremely stressful situation for the dogs and ultimately they started having explosive and bloody diarrhea 2-3 times a day.
The only solution I could think of at the time was to keep them in the bathroom some days so that I didn't have to keep steam cleaning the carpet around the crate as well as easier clean up (the bathroom was tile) and not having to get even more shit on the carpet having to take them to the bathtub. (I have a bordercollie and a jack chi)
This living situation was pretty shit and was even worse for friend As mom who had to share a bathroom with me and would often express how upset she was about the dogs being in there. I made a decision in January 2020 to try to find better living arrangements, as nice as it was having lower rent costs.
Which brings me to the actual "Am I the shit roomate?" Story.
There was another coworker who I ultimately befriended. Looking back it was a fairly toxic friendship. I made a few bad jokes/said things that she took out of context and we joked about, but then she would introduce me to new coworkers like that: " oh hey! Have you met (me) yet? Yeah she called me a *****" it eventually got to the point where people i hadn't even met would say oh right! You're the one who said "xyz"
Anyhow, I had vented alot of my frustrations to her about my ex and current living situation. we became, in her mind, best friends; and in a way I just accepted that. Though I don't think I ever felt as strongly connected to her as she did to me. I was really more interested in being best friends with Friend A because they had helped me so much and I was so grateful, but I appreciated this coworker and trusted her (well just call her roomie for the sake of later)
Roomie was new here and moved from Guam to live with her sister about 2 years back. During DecembeJanuary she started fighting with said sister and was looking for a place to move to.
I originally denied the idea because I was content with living at Friend A and Friend Bs place, however when the dogs conditions started to degrade I knew I needed to find a new place asap, so I ultimately said sure, let's find a place together.
We found a nice 2 bed 2 bath apartment, 3rd floor. My only condition with living with her was that the dogs were allowed to be out and about and not locked in the cage. She agreed 100%. We moved in end of February 2020 signing a 14 month lease.
For the first few weeks I kept the dogs caged while I was at work because they were having issues pooping and peeing on the carpet. I invested in one of those porch potties so that they could just go out and do their business on the porch instead of having to hold it for 12 hours and three flights of stairs. (This would ultimately become a problem)
Move in costs were a bit higher than I had excepted and I hadn't exactly been planning on moving out so soon so I only had maybe 2 weeks worth of paychecks saved and my tax return. I used all of it on downpayment and first months rent and still ended up owing her around 600$ which she said was fine and to just pay her back when I could, but not to worry.
We moved in and the first... I'm going to say 2 weeks, were okay. We didn't have any furniture but I did have a lot of kitchen stuff from when I used to live with my ex, so we bought bean bags and used those for a bit. Eventually within those two weeks we went to the store together and found a papasan chair that we both liked, I ended up buying it. We also found a nice little TV stand, I also bought.
About a month in is when COVID 19 lock downs started to get really serious in our state. The guy that I had fallen in love with before when I was with my ex? Me and him started dating about a week after that break up (thats a whole other story tbh) so at this point we where together for about 4 months.
Originally he had been coming over in the first week or two and then leaving to go home, were he lived with his grandparents, after I fell asleep. He didn't have a key so roomie got mad when the door was left unlocked all night.
And here is our first issue.
Me, I thought okay well I guess let's get him a key? So I went and made a spare and was honestly kind of nervous because this would be a big step in our relationship, so I told roomie on the way to work that I had made a spare and was thinking about giving it to my bf.
She flipped out and said I had gone behind her back and that I should have talked to her about it, but ultimately that yeah it was fine to give him the key. I waited a week to give it to him after that.
About a week after that is when COVID really kicked in and to make a long story short, he asked if he could temporarily move in with me because his grandparents where high risk. I said of course, and we brought it up to roomie.
She was upset at first (honestly I don't remeber why) but said yeah it was fine and she thought it was really sweet that he was looking out for his grandparents.
Let me go back real quick and fill yall in on one or two other back storys that I promise will make sense and this whole thing will come full circle.
Roomie and the bf are no strangers. We are all coworkers, tho bf does work in a different department (he also gets payed more which will come into play later) and we all would go out drinking and partying together.
In January, we threw a group bday party because we had so many friends with January bdays including, me and the bf. To make a long story short, it was a weird time of our relationship. We were technically "open" and we got very drunk that night. Leading to a 5 way make out session between me, roomie, bf, friend A and friend B.
(We had also joked quite often with friend A and friend B about orgies etc) when the party started dying down (this was when I lived at friend As house and the party was held there) me and bf headed back to my room. We came back out and invited roomie in if she wanted (wink winks included) and instead got her and another guy.
To skip the details. Basically the guy was not welcome but we were too drunk to really say or realize how uncomfortable we were with the situation. And ultimately the next day after discussing it, both me, bf, and roomie were very uncomfortable with the whole situation and bf honestly felt as tho he'd been violated if not raped
This night would also prove to cause more than one issue. But basically you can see now that roomie, me and bf all knew eachother fairly well and it wasn't like I was just letting a random guy move in.
Back to the roomie situation. We agreed when he moved in that because he would be sharing a room with me he wouldn't pay rent and instead would buy all the groceries. (Which would usually be around 2-300$ a week in all honesty but would eventually calm down to about 300 every two weeks unless we ate something special)
We very soon found that me and roomie had very different living styles. I didn't mind if dishes were left for a day or two or if the house was a little messy as long as it got cleaned on the weekends.
She however likes things spotless and always clean. She did express this once or twice, saying hey just make sure ur cleaning it up within the day. So I said okay and did just that. Then it went on to hey can you make sure they are cleaned up right after you are done. So I said sure, and did that.
Then months pass and she kept getting more and more bitter toward us and more angry, stomping around the apartment and completely avoiding us. Within these months a few other things happened.
One, I got very drunk, black out drunk, with her and bf one night and accidently told bf roomie had been fucking someone (she had just told him she sucked him off so my drunk mind was like oh shes being open about it I can talk about her and her fuck buddy in front of him now) then later that same night, I called her boy toy and told him he should fuck her basically.
I was drunk out of my mind, and he realized that. However she appearently did not. I truly barely remember the actual events of that call.
What I do remeber is that i was so so happy with my bf and that I thought the boy toy could be that to her and just wanted her to feel the way I did. I thought she was holding herself back.
Obviously I went about it in the compete wrong way and in her words made her feel like a hoe and that she couldn't get someone without being whored out. I apologized profusely and constantly but I don't think she ever actually forgave me.
During the beginning weeks of us moving in she had also invited me out to drink and go bar hopping and the group of friends we had, invited me to a housewarming party, however I was so tired of drinking and partying and was dead broke and still owed her $600 and it was also around the time bf had gotten violated and was therefore distancing himself from the group, so i said no. i didnt want to go out.
She begged me and often asked why bf didn't want to hang out too and I eventually told her its because he's trying to distance and doesn't want to be around the group rn, and that I personally just didn't want to go out. I wanted to stay in with the dogs. She offered to buy me drinks etc and I just didn't want to. I was tired and just wanted to relax. (Again I promise this plays in)
Jumping back to living in the apt with roomie, when covid seemed to be letting up we decided to have a small get together to catch up and celebrate missed bdays. Immediately after inviting, Friend A (who I used to be closest with) just said No. It was really weird and kinda abrasive and my first clue that something was wrong.
So I said okay what if we do another date, most people agreed and we ended up having it the day before the original day.
For this party let me add that roomie didn't offer to help clean before or after, or even offer to buy any of the party supplies or food or even just 20$.
In fact she did the exact opposite and asked us to by specific stuff so she could try certain shots and if we could buy a beer pong table. We couldn't afford the beer pong but we did our best and got 2 cheap tables from ikea instead.
She would later confess that when we asked her if the original date of the party was a good date, that she lied and said yeah when she knew 100% that it wasn't and that they had already had another party planned. But that "we ended up having back to back partys and both were successful so it worked out" (we were not told or invited or even aware of the other party. And at that time we didn't even realize we were appearantly on bad terms with everyone?)
There was also the time where she came home high asf (which she did often tbh). Me and bf were sitting on the couch watching TV and she comes in and starts asking us questions.
Basically all I really remember from that is having this conversation: she was pissed off because I had told friend A and friend B what had happened the night of the January bdays, and that we had made her feel bad for telling her best friend (which btw, just happened to be bfs boss.)
(To this day she doesn't understand why telling bfs boss that her, me, bf, and another coworker directly in bfs area, that bf felt he'd gotten raped, was a BAD idea and something we didn't want)
but at the same time she kept saying she wasn't mad and actually glad she had someone to talk to about it all now an that she just didn't understand why she couldn't tell her BFF (bfs boss)
Then there was a singular moment where I said something like "well when we were friends" or something that implied we arnt friends with the coworker friend group anymore i guess, she said "Oooooohhh so your not friends with them anymore??"
And I was like no that's not what I said. I just mean we havnt hung out for a while or talked because of the whole covid thing. And she kinda just took that whole "oh you're not friends any more hmm?" And questioned more and then went back in her room leaving me heated asf.
Fast forward maybe 4 months or so, and finally we have the outburst.
She sends this extremely long text about how we need to keep the house cleaner and wipe everything down after cooking more and that she thinks bf should pay rent and be put on the lease.
That's shes been forced to keep stuff in her own closet because the pantry is too full and that we need to keep the fridge more organized so she can put stuff in there.
That she didn't feel comfortable being out in the common areas because it was practically our place and because we occasionally would walk around "half naked" and that she felt like she was walking on egg shells and had anxiety about being out in the common areas. (Ditto)
and that she wanted documentation stating that the porch stains were my fault and that she had nothing to do with them
(that relates back to the fact that I had invested in the porch potty, and while the dogs would poop on it, they often would pee on the door or barriers instead and since we lived on the 3rd floor when they peed on the barriers it once accidently got down to the neighbors porch which we immediately where like omg im so sorry and started just walking them more, but the stains from them peeing next to the door were there since I hadn't gotten around to cleaning it (it was like a 105 degree summer and honestly just didn't cross my mind all that often once we started walking them) )
Originally bf was just going to move out. I didn't want him on the lease especially if it were to extend our stay, but we understood from a legal stand point she was probably right.
I also didn't agree with him paying rent. Or at least not the full 3 way split. She has the master bedroom with a private bathroom, walk in closet and other storage/pantry closet.
We share the smaller bedroom with a extremely small closet and do have our own bathroom however its far from private.
Yes she claims that if she has guests over they would use her bathroom but at the same time even if the stuff we keep in the bathroom is private, its not the same.
For example the times shes caught us "half naked" around the house look like this: bf with a robe on or pants and no shirt, me with a big shirt on and underwear. Once maybe with a blanket or towel around myself trying to get to the bathroom to clean up after sex.
And honestly I didn't see the problem with it with her given our history and that she's pretty much seen us both naked multiple times.
When she sent that text, I told her give us a few days to figure out our options. (Because bf wanted to move out) and she got pissed saying that it was always on my schedual and things always revolve around when I want to do things. I just didn't want to make any rash decisions and was trying to stay calm.
I'd never realized how upset she was at us because everytime we'd ask her if she was okay or whats up she said "its good" or "its fine" in a sing-song voice. I knew there was tension and I knew she was upset but not about what.
She was also the one who decided to stop using the groceries bf bought, which was his "rent" we often bought in bulk, causing the fridge and pantry to be pretty full, and the fee times we bought her specific stuff we knew she liked she didn't eat them and went to waste.
We would ask her what she wanted from the grocery store and she's say nothing. The only time we ever got upset (but never told her tbh) was that we used to also cook for her aswell, which was fine. But we made a really expensive dinner for our 6 month anniversary and she ended up eating all of it without even asking.
She also told me she thought I was jealous of her and that I thought she wanted my bf because whenever she was in the kitchen alone with him, id be in there too.
Honestly I laughed and told her God no, I didn't even realize I was doing that and that it was probably because 1)me and bf had just had a huge fight and I was being clingy in general and 2) I had hella anxiety when she was in there because I knew we had just cooked and were in the middle of eating and hadn't cleaned them yet, and I didn't want to put that all on him or have her chew him out.
Anyhow, i finally responded to her long text and told her I agreed with pretty much everything, that we would do better to leave her space and clean up and that all we asked of her was that she didn't use metal on our pots and was careful not to put rustable things in the dishwasher since we'd been having that problem with things like the can opener, certain knifes and baking sheets.
Also that I would clean the porch but not write her a note since there is a 500$ non refundable pet deposited anyhow and when the time came I would take ownership, plus the dogs are in my name.
I did tell her that we would agree to do a 40 30 30 split on rent, even 3 way on utilities, as we thought that was fair since she had the master and we shared a room. She didn't like that at all and said we should pay more because we used the common areas more and she didn't feel comfortable using them.
She proposed a 40 40 20, then realized that was the same as 40 30 30 (which its not really, we arnt joint income) and instead said she'd only agree to a 35 35 30.
I hated it i didn't even agree with the 40 30 30, I wanted to do a 45 27.5 27.5 (because according to online rent calculators that was considered fair given the living situation). But bf said he'd rather just take the loss and have us pay the extra x amount if it'll get her to leave us alone. So we agreed to that.
Real quick let me explain the furniture and why she perhaps feels like it's mostly our apartment. In the beginning we were constantly talking about how we wanted to furnish and design ideas.
We knew it would take a while but it was fun to plan. When we moved in, like I said, I owed her $600. I would still ask her if she liked this or that and she started to say "what, did you win the lottery" or "are you planning on winning the lottery?" In a smart ass kinda hostile tone. And I was like no I'm just curious if you liked this style that way when we can or if we find something on sale we don't just buy stuff the other person hates.
She proceeded to constantly ask me if I had gotten the 3k that my ex owed me (honestly even b4 we moved in together she constantly asked me if I got it) and when the stimulus checks got release would ask me about that too. Then started demanding I pay her back as soon as it seemed like I was in any way financially stable. I wasn't.
I was trying to balance making sure I had enough for rent and food and dog bills as well as trying to save to furnish the house a little bit (it was obvious she wasn't going to), and considering she said to take as long as I needed to pay her back I thought she would appreciate the fact I wanted to buy furniture and make it nice.
I ended up over draftng my account to pay her back but she was pissed because I took put the 14 months of renters insurance (like 8 or 9$ a month each) so that we didn't have to deal with it later and she decided to be petty and tell me I owed her back taxes for the last 3 months rent because she payed it (it was like 40$).
I ultimately furnished all of the common areas, bought us a couch a coffee table a bookshelf a giant gate so the dogs no longer had access to the carpeted area, everything. And I never ever once told her she couldn't use it.
In fact I often encouraged it and she'd claim she just preferred being in her room.
In that text she had also mentioned that the dogs had the whole dining area to themselves so that also made her uncomfortable (she also mentioned in person that my little dog should be in his cage all day because he peed on her door) keep in mind that I have fairly well behaved dogs and I pay a $60 pet rent everyone for them.
They don't bark unless there is someone at the door or kids running and screaming right outside it. We even sent the border collie to a board and train program to polish up his obedience and is CGC certified.
They don't chew. The worst they've done is had accidents in the house because they were either sick or I slept in and forgot to take them out.
Pretty much after that things were okay. We weren't friends and we weren't talking to eachother but we were civil.
Btw huge side note, she had admitted to venting to all our mutual friends and that she basically told them we were shit. Those friends no longer talk to us and avoid us like the plague when they see us at work.
One has even gone as far to tell a new coworker that he hates me. (I over heard him say it). Basically, that whole friend group that saved me from a toxic relationship and here the greatest? Disappeared without even questioning it or telling us what we did to upset them.
Anyways. Like I said things were okay for a month or 2, minus the fact that she had "stolen" all my friends. But I figure fuck it, they obviously didn't care enough about me to even ask for the other side of the story. That doesn't mean it didn't hurt though.
There was some aggravating parts. Remarks on her side concerning my personal life that I thought where inappropriately given our current state of things.
In that time we only really had one issue with her, and it was that she had ordered food on a work day and the delivery service knocked, causing the dogs to bark and us to get up, get fully dressed, and then try to go back to bed with only 1-2 hours left before we actually had to be up.
we told her when we woke up, hey please if u order on a work night just make sure they don't knock or that you ask them not to knock.
She said she told them to leave it at the door. She didn't know why they knocked. I told her you had to put in the notes to not knock, to which she responded that she felt like she was being attacked and that she did. I told her not trying to lecture or attack. Just tired and wanted to make sure that you had, that we understand its out of her control after that.
She then went on to say that we made noise on the weekends and were super loud when we were happy/drunk/being goofy, and i basically told her that she can make all the noise she wants on the weekends because we can sleep in, and that if she had an issue with how loud we are ever, to tell us.
She continued to say that she felt like things were delicate and that we were all trying too hard to act a way that used to come so naturally between us.
I told her I wasn't acting and I was just being me. That if my ignoring her at work and not asking her about her day bugged her im sorry but I'm not going to make small talk and that I didn't see the point in trying to small talk with someone who has clearly shown they no longer want to be friends. That she should just be herself and don't pretend or force something if it makes her uncomfortable, otherwise things will always be delicate..
She then switched her whole attitude saying that "i thought YOU said we weren't friends anymore" and that she was just being courteous and she's never been fake. And that since we arnt friends any more she has infinitely more patience for friends and therefore for none with us.
Which brings us to yesterday.
Yesterday was her last day of the current position she was in and was taking off x amount of time till she started her new position.
It also just happened that I had bought a Furbo the day before to help aid with my dogs training and to keep an eye on them while I was at work. It came and I told roomie about it and she said it was really cool and seemed really excited and interested about it. I then set it up.
The next day when we went to work, she stayed home because she would be starting a new position soon. She ended up texting that she didn't feel comfortable with it and because of body issues she would be turning it towards the wall and that me setting up the camera felt like when I had given bf the key without consulting her.
To which I reminded her that I had told her, I had only made it without telling her; that I would have made the key anyways in case one of us lost ours.
Likewise i told her I didn't feel the need to inform her about buying the Furbo because I would have bought it whether or not she agreed to put it up (it was on sale) further I told her I didn't install it till she gave me the okay at which point she said she never agreed, just said It was cool.
(She said it was awesome and "pretty dope" and had like 2 questions about it (the scope as well as how long it has been up, which like I told her it wasn't up until she said it was awesome) )
I stupidly decided to argue and get upset. She definitely caught me at a bad time. But basically I told her I understand why she wants to turn in away but that I was upset she said it was okay to put up and then the next day she wasn't okay with it. And that though I don't think she would but I couldn't help but have mama bear instincts kick in and think what if she wants to turn the camera away because she's hurting the dogs.
She's definitely expressed enough disdain for them and hates me and is mad at me enough.
She took that comment and ran with it. Saying she'd move out and that we made her feel like an ogre constantly and that she can never do anything right, that now she knows how I really see her. I told her to look at if from my perspective.
That she turned all my friends against me and was constantly complaining about things in the house and really that the biggest problem has come from her not saying her feelings and complaints for 4 months and holding it all in.
That I constantly felt anxiety talking to her and am constantly worried " great whats roomie upset about now"
That the one time we actually called her put for doing something we don't like (the door knocking while we where sleeping for work) she didn't just say sorry, i did put don't knock, but instead played the victim and said we were attacking and lecturing her..
She completely disagreed that she turned everyone against us and we had a whole argument about that. Ultimately she said she would stay quiet and stop bugging and that she wouldn't cause any more stress till April that we could keep the camera up and that she'd stay out of my way as much as possible.
That "people change..."
I ended it with no, I don't think we changed i think we just finally saw eachother for their flaws. I took the camera down as soon as I got home from work that night
Then this morning I woke up to
"Just noticed u wrote this but you're right after comparing my situation with those of Friend As mom, ur ex, his mother, and everyone else, I finally see u for who u truly are. U may not have changed but I have. Situations like this are supposed to do that in my opinion, force one to reflect, adapt, and grow."
I havnt responded.
In my opinion she has no right to compare herself. My ex and his mom were obviously pissed when I moved out because I dumped her son.
I had no issues living with them otherwise. Friend As mom, I understand her being upset because she didn't like dogs and my dogs made a mess because they were stressed, I did my best and it wasn't enough. I don't know what else I could have done and thats why i moved out asap.
She has been the absolute worst room mate and friend and I feel this could have all been solved if she just communicated better.
She's 31 years old. I'm 22.
Youd think at some point you learn to be the bigger person and grow up, like we have honestly so many times just to get her to shut up. I've asked her what I can do to make her more comfortable and she doesn't answer.
Truthfully I've given in to every request shes had, and I don't understand what I personally did to make her feel so much anxiety around me. It's her own fault for holding it in instead of just saying it.
There are countless things I did to try to make her happy and things she did that made me mad and that I just never said anything about (eating certain meals that were clearly ours, never taking out the trash and letting it overflow, only cleaning when she was pissed off at us after we had already cleaned, using the dishwasher as a drying rack
(we specifically bought her a dryer rack so she would stop doing this and she still does it. Whats even more infuriating is that she will open a clean dishwasher, not unload it, and then put her dishes in there to dry. Overlapping so it won't even dry well)
putting a lock on her door and locking it every time she leaves (honestly thats only infuriating because she did it before we even had huge fights and just shows how much she really trusted us) and honestly the list goes on.
The few times the dogs had accidents in the house, she would get home before us and send us a picture and I would just text back thanks well see it when we get there and clean it up. I could go on and on. And we never call her out on any of this because if we donwe are attacking her.)
I truely feel I'm being fairly nice and trying to see it from her perspective as much as possible. I realize I havnt been great but I just... aghh
Am I the asshole??? D:
submitted by BlueDaisy62 to offmychest [link] [comments]


2020.10.23 19:00 Casperwyomingrex In Cold Blood Series 5b: Good Grief music video (featuring a lot of other interpretation angles)

Good Grief music video confuses all of us. It seems to be a mess of different scenes and them mixing together. This pictures how confusing grief is—it made one’s dreams and memories blurring into one. What makes the video more confusing for me is that there are scenes unrelated to Nancy-Bobby relationship but is related to other moments in ICB. (This makes me suspect that GG is not merely a story for Bobby only, but also for everyone suffering from grief in ICB) Despite the confusion, I still firmly believe that Good Grief is related to ICB because there are so many scenes that start to make sense.
For convenience and easier understanding, I also mixed non-ICB interpretations into this post. I hope this analysis would not confuse you further. (Very long and might be disorganized)

Good Grief MV: https://youtu.be/ZWCB3hpJDXM


The first scene we see is a phone stand by a road where cars race by occasionally. Monterey Motel stands at a distance. The road can refer to the journey of life. The motel and the phone stand might be specifically for people grieving for their close ones, that they are stuck in the past and could not move forward. This scene actually kinda reminds me of Perry Smith’s stay at a Los Angles hotel, as well as the Bates Motel in Psycho.
Then it comes to a phone on the drum. Dan is calling, and the girl (assumably his dead SO) is not responding. Death cuts the connections between people, yet grieving people often believe that they could still reach their loved ones in some way. They recall the memory of their loved ones, trying to memorize their faces, but this eventually leads to the messed up memory due to grieve.


PRESS 1 FOR RUNNING MAN. I am pretty sure who this man is, and this scene is exactly how I connect GG to ICB. The man is Bobby Rupp. His girlfriend, Nancy Clutter, was murdered, and he was running to the crime scene to see Nancy one last time. Later on, Bobby’s brother would come along with him. I believe the characters seem older than depicted in the story because with grief, you are basically forced to grow up.

PRESS 2 FOR TEDDY BEAR. This teddy bear is placed in Nancy’s room. It was a gift from Bobby Rupp. ICB has specifically mentioned the burning of this teddy bear almost right at the start of section 2:Persons Unknown. This teddy bear symbolizes Bobby’s fond memory of Nancy, and the burning of it symbolizes not only the loss of his loved one, but also the loss of his childhood. He was forced to grow up under this weight of living.

PRESS 3 FOR MOLLY WINNING THE LOTTERY. At one point, I was confused as to what this meant. There was no one named Molly in ICB. However, I could make sense of the use of a lottery.
From a positive sense, the lottery brings people fortune and fame. It gives people power and privileges. Life is a lottery. Some people are born into a rich household and win in the lottery. Perry Smith and Dick were certainly not in this group. In ICB, the disposition of capital punishment was compared to a ‘wheel of fortune’, where winners could evade their execution, while the losers had their execution date cruelly delayed but not evaded. Perhaps, just perhaps, Molly was responsible for armed robbery, and therefore was given capital punishment. But since she won this lottery, she could evade her punishment and earn more money.
A lottery is often perceived as something good. This is why Shirley Jackson’s take on her short story The Lottery had quite a novel idea. People who ‘won’ the lottery had to die by being stoned. There are several elements in which ICB is similar to The Lottery. Firstly, both involved a rural setting where traditional customs are emphasized, sometimes illogically. In addition, both involved the element of death. More importantly, both involved a randomized process of choosing one to die. Perry Smith commented that ‘only poor people were hanged’. To some extent, this could be true. Many of the people on death row in ICB displayed symptoms of mental illness, such as anti-social disorder or borderline personality disorder. Poor people were less able to afford mental health services, and this increased their chance of being executed. With the lack of social mobility, it could be viewed that rich and poor were only determined in the ‘lottery of life’, and by extension, ICB also involved the randomized process of choosing one to die.
By using the elements of The Lottery, the previous scene of Bobby Rupp running could be explained more detailed. In ICB, Bobby ran at night, but the music video showed a beautiful day with grass and nature. This setting corresponds to that of The Lottery, which is a sunny summer day with blossoming flowers and green grass. This create a sense of irony and contrast.

PRESS 4 FOR A RED CONVERTIBLE. Red cars had appeared repeatedly in both ICB and in Wild World music videos (most notably GG and Glory). The colour red is often used to symbolize anger, danger or violence. This is exactly the themes of WW and ICB. In ICB, red convertible has appeared towards the end of the book. Two people on the death row alongside with Perry and Dick had previously committed atrocities in a red convertible.
The red convertible is empty. Does it mean that the people in it are soulless and do not actually exist, or does it mean that they are actually dead?

PRESS 5 FOR DAN’S HEAD. This detached head kinda reminds me of guillotines, which is involved in death penalty. This could also represent that grief were so ineffable, that people in grief felt detached from their original selves and their original bodies. Their minds exist somewhere altogether different.
Now I wish to bring the attention to the book in the top left side, which had the title of ‘La ascension al ever…’. Perhaps it means the ascend to heaven/the Everest. ICB did use the word ascension at some point, but this is too vague to be called an evidence, I guess.

PRESS 6 FOR BURNING A HOUSE. Does this remind you of something? Pompeii? Thing We Lost in the Fire? According to my theory of the ‘core metaphor’, fire represents both passion (relationship between Nancy and Bobby) and destruction (death pulling them apart). Perhaps this shows the imagery of a grieving person, that the world is burning and collapsing. Or perhaps this shows that the grieving person actually wants to burn all the past behind. Of course, it is more likely to be referring to the pyres where the dead people’s belongings are burned.

PRESS 7 FOR ROLLER SKATING. ICB did mention dancing at some point, but there is no roller skating. I guess this one is currently unsolvable for me. It gives me some Flaws vibe though. And at 0:39, the woman at the right has no image in the mirror while Dan is singing ‘missing from the photographs’. Does the woman look like Laura Palmer?

PRESS 8 FOR MOUNTAINS. There are several explanations for the use of this clip. Firstly, it represents Kenyon Clutter and Perry Smith’s eagerness of exploring novel and dangerous places. Secondly, it represents the ascension to heaven. Thirdly, it refers back to button 5’s ascension book.

PRESS 9 FOR A WOMAN’S BODY. This likely represents the sexual passion of Bobby Rupp towards Nancy Clutter. On a darker note, it could also represent the rape and erotic fantasies of Perry Smith and Dick.

PRESS 0 FOR ROBBERY. The video then shows 3 robbers in a bank, attempting armed robbery. Grief always seems to demand us attention, robbing away our memories and productivity. Perhaps life is as well a robbery, when two people can rob away the lives of the Clutters, as well as the mental states of their relatives. Or when mental illness takes hold of our precious productivity, controlling Mrs. Clutter, Perry Smith and countless others.


Now as Dan enters different numbers, the scenes mix together in total chaos. This can represent a grieving person trying to retrieve and revive memories of the past, only to cause their memories to deteriorate and mix together.

At no.1 scene, we see two, instead of one, people running. As aforementioned, the person following the first one (Bobby Rupp) is likely Bobby’s brother. Then we see the lottery mixing with the roller girls, and robbery with the drums. The teddy bear is burning now. The sequence of Bobby running followed by teddy bear burning corresponds to the sequence in the book. The lottery mixes with the robbery, so do the lottery with the drums, and the rollers with Bobby Rupp. From these scenes, we can deduce that everything is interconnected. Bobby Rupp is not the only grieving, and Molly is not the only one participating in the lottery of life. So this chaotic mixture not only represents the confusing grieving process, but also the connection between everything.
1:53 is interesting. Molly is now the robber. Perhaps if she loses the lottery of life and is disadvantaged instead, she would also commit robbery.
From the decaying state of the teddy bear at 2:01, we can see the grief has entered another new stage. 2:04 can represent the confusion of having a thousand of voices in your head during grief, amplifying every negative thoughts or emotions. Or it might refer to mental illnesses such as dissociative identity disorder.
2:21 shows an escalator. Our mood is like an escalator. Sometimes it is at higher levels, sometimes it is lowering rapidly. When the escalator gets jammed, it gets stuck at high or low levels. In grief, it can be an uncontrollable plummet towards the ground.
2:35 shows total chaos, with all the characters appearing at once. This represents a grieving person’s mind. The centre is the dead person (girl with the drum), and it is surrounded by many more emotions, thoughts and issues. It seems that even if we might think that remembering a dead person is a good thing, the person we are grieving for might not like our state. They might want us to move forward and let the grief passes. This is why the dead girl with the drums is upset. Perhaps even Nancy would want Bobby Rupp to go on with his life.
Note the Bastille symbols at 2:55 and 3:03, and that the escalator is moving downwards. Bastille, Bobby Rupp, girl in the Lottery. They are all suffering from a low mood despite what they seem to be expressing on the surface.
At 3:22, Bobby Rupp saves the girl (assumably Nancy) from the fire. But his expression is still solemn. Does he actually save her, or merely successful to retrieve the memories of her. Or is he able to move past the grief phase, therefore finally able to actually mourn her properly?
The video ends with credits and the background of roller dancers, the red wall and the red convertible. There is a lot of red here. Red is the colour of the convertible, of blood, of fire. It is anger, frustration, passion, destruction and murder. In a way, perhaps the anger and frustration element continues to the other songs such as The Currents.
submitted by Casperwyomingrex to BastilleCult [link] [comments]


2020.10.23 18:59 M0r14rt7 Chapter I: Episode 1: The Final Problem - A Re Zero Fanfic Ft. Amelia Watson full version

THE FINAL PROBLEM A Re: Zero Fanfic Ft. Amelia Watson Stage I: Setup Episode 1: The Final Problem
Sunday, October: 8th 8:00 Update on Subaru's Progress
I introduced Natsuki Subaru to the challenges of detective work:
To my delight, he took it rather well,
Displaying great adaptability as well as an unruly commitment towards his goals, terrific deductive reasoning abilities and an open mind, utilizing outside the box making up imaginative theories to elaborate on possible clues to solve difficult puzzles.
These reasons contributed greatly towards a wonderously productive investigation, especially when such an amateur are guided with my help.
Though there exists few key areas in need of improvements:
-An uncontrollable urge to blurt out without filter nor a second thought:
  • Bumbling with his words, quick on feet but not so much on editing and proof reading his findings & conclusions, only manage to re-examine and fix mistakes once the full hypothesis had already made it through it's mouth.
  • Lots of trial and error, does have some ingenious ideas if only the knight turned amateur detective had filtered out the stupid ones. Yelling out rambles until he happens to come across the right ones.
-Prone to emotional outburst, taking personal offense if anyone dares to insult his familars.
-Mediocre etiquette, needs exceptional nourisments in the arts of gentlemanly conduct.
-Terrible handling of crimescene investigation:
  • Tampering with evidence.
  • Moving stuff around without proper consideration.
  • Made worse with inability to put things back into place due to terrible memory.
-> More work should be done to ensure requirements are met and mistakes are dealt with, should Subaru wants to do actual detective works.
9:30 Current situation
The current "Knight of the Elvish Candidate" Subaru Natsuki and his spirit friend Beatrice are out and about on collecting additional testimony and exploring the city to their own leisure as I humbly award myself with an assortments of magnificent cakes, crumpets and high tea.
Earl Grey tea serviced with jade wares, royally magestic, icy,
Along with a bowl of porridge
And Chocolate cookies as I put myself onto the soft chair and relax.
While the two apprentices sweat themselves solving the puzzle that will get me admiration and love from the townsfolk.
The comedy that I am currently chuckling about, the joy of teamwork to have everybody else take the hard job while me: The seasoned veteran gets to kick back and relax.
I hate going outside,
I prefer to stay in while playing games, if I have the ability to solve the most ingenious of puzzles without going outside and actually attempting to solve the puzzle myself I would be more than willing.
As I hold my Korone plushie while writing this, I am treating myself with the utmost care: By uncontrollably chomping down on nutritional supplements, washed down with addictive beverages and a healthy vegan, non gmo 7% solution of cocaine, heroine and morphine in water while reading "Emperor Theresa" & "Reaper's Creek" The two greatest works of literature since the twilight of "Twilight" and the immortalized "My Immortal".
I often check up on the two Untermensch through the communication system set up by Beatrice with her magic. Despite not contributing that much to the investigation, she still holds value as a great multi tool/guard to protect us should a would be unfortunate circumstances were to unfurl. Small, quiet, bookish nerd laced with annoyance and a tint of sarcasm, using "I suppose" as her catchphrase, often accompanied Subaru, displaying a clear emotional attachment towards him, they would make a lovely couple indeed, I definitely ship them.
For now I'd rather enjoy my royal meal made by and for none other than me, the Greatest Detective in the World !!!
Amelia Watson closes her Green journal and have it stored within an Emerald Green Leather Doctor's Handbag, then continued on appeasing her appetite.
CRASH
A window had been broken, with it's destruction signaled throughout the Empty House
The Great Detective awoke and reported the suspicious sound and state her intention to investigate it to Subaru and Beatrice via the communication system and required them to hurry back to the house.
She is armed with a six shooter and a syringe filled with hallucinogens, clearing the rooms one by one, as the clocks strike Ten & noon slowly comes. Watson was ambushed and heavily wounded in the head and woke up moments later, breathing heavily.
"Blood, Blood everywhere." - Amelia Watson whispered to herself with a lisp.
Struggling to support herself, blood overflowing from the gaping ravine on her head, stopping once a gentle excertion of force was applied.
An injury sustained from childhood due to an accident had opened up due to the trauma.
Watson panicked at the alarming rate of body fluids leaking out from the wound.
She drags herself to a nearby bed along with her medical bag.
The Detective now begins to assess how much she's got left, begins to recollect and process what had happened. Diagnosing her cognitive intergrity and degrading memory by recounting the sequences of events predating the attack in order to provide additional clues for who the suspects are.
Six Hours Ago as She recalled
The Great Detective had just arrived at a great Mansion owned by a distinguished magic user who goes by the name Roswaal. The trip had obviously tired her. Starting from the city far away, she left at night on a luxurious carriage provided by the Roswaal, arriving exactly at Four in the morning.
As the gates opened, a path surrounded by rows of perfectly kept plant life, bathed in aroma. The air feels light, unpolluted and the temperature was cool, it soothes her tired soul and awoken an excitement previously dulled by the long winded trip. The place was wide and devoid of loud babbles and deafening sounds of commercing horse carriages. This place was completely opposite of the densely populated, obnoxious city, where air was warm and damp, smelly and unkept due to sheer scale.
"This is it" -Amelia thought.
"This is what I need,
To gain enough prestige and reputation, amass followers and admirers so loyal and dedicated they would go through hell and back to reach me.
Then I wouldn't have to solve uncomplicated matters like missing keys and pet animals and instead involve myself in matters of national importance, the most difficult and delicate puzzles of them all, politics:
With murders, civil unrest and assasination plots occuring around the hours I would never get tired of this !!!
I wouldn't have to go out and deal with the stupid pleasantry of the normal lower class, and instead dispatch my sevants to deal with them, leaving only the most pretigious matters to me. While I reside in a lovely luxurious mansion surrounded by beautiful scenery and fresh clean air to purify the tired self and rest in comfort to replenish my energy. Oh, if only dad and his friend was here, with me, he would have been estatic, Holmes would have still been stoic as always, it would be so much fun."
Amelia Watson got out of the vehicle and two maids were there to assist in storing the carriage, one with blue hair and the other with pink, Watson's carriage driver was also a maid employed at the mansion, she helped Amelia carry her baggage into the mansion then provided her with an offer to meet with all the inhabitants, along with the opportunity to explore the mansion.
And how could The Great Detective ever denied that.
Turns out the owner of this magnificent piece of estate is currently busy with the task of assisting a royal candidate to the throne, an Elf by the name of Emilia, one who's quite familiar with Subaru, who suggested Watson to come here in the first place to assist him with the development of useful skills that will help him support others.
Amelia Watson's driver, Frederica had suggested a tour for The Detective cause she didn't want degrade such a monolithic intellectual to simply idle by and wait after she had already been bored to death going through such a tired some and monotonous trip.
Frederica, apparently able to transform into a beast capable of destroying buildings as Watson had learn listening to the maid joyously boasted as they toured the mansion, speak of the people who currently inhabits it:
+Herself, Frederica, a half blood maid with experience here.
+Roswaal, the owner and most powerful and frankly fabulous magic user here.
+Petra, young girl from near village recruited as a maid, huge crush for Subaru for his courage and good looks.
+Otto, the tradesman, good friend of Subaru and can speak any languages, now reside here on path of making riches via securing a deal with Roswaal.
+Beatrice, spirit of the great library, keeper of knowledge hidden inside, great compatibility with Subaru.
+Emilia, candidate for the throne, is a half Elf, has Subaru as her knight and personal protector.
+Ram, Pink haired maid, sister of Rem, senior trash talking veteran known for targeting subaru.
+Rem, Blue haired maid, sister of Ram, loved Subaru for his great compliments and for saving her from a dangerous situation.
+Subaru, self proclaimed knight of Emilia, he has a huge crush on her, but he also has a crush on everyone else, too.
Somewhere in the maze-like complex, a butler had awoken by what appears to be depressive anxiety and utter hopelessness combined with the nagging of the twin maids who acts as his alarm clock. The blue maid calls upon Subaru with gentle softness and warmth in her endearing words while the other is more verbally violent and unforgiving. As he is now woke, Subaru take time to change and walk to the library.
"The butler is Natsuki Subaru, self proclaimed knight of Emilia the Elf, a peculiar fella, noted by all whom had come across him, the greatest descriptions about him came from Rem, Otto, Petra and Emilia as they are the ones who are most intimate to him. They all describe the same traits:
+Motivated.
+Lots of heart.
+Strong and confident.
+knowledgeable, like always knowing what to do, what to say.
He seems to possess the stare and body of a soldier, yet is so young looking in his appearance, personality and manners."
"He would make a great ally." - Amelia Watson thought to herself Having already explored the mansion and probe through all of its inhabitants except for The Spirit of The Library and The ButleKnight of the Mansion. She now writes in her journal and plans the next move, while waiting in Roswaal's office along with Emilia and him.
Subaru Natsuki, before entering the library, prepare himself to greet Beatrice with compliments about her looks, personality and all great things about her, to hype her up for the coming trip.
The trip was suppose to aid Subaru in giving him valuable skills he could use for the purpose of protecting those closest to him. An extra purpose was also to strengthen his bond with Beatrice, to make her happy, to soothe her lonely soul with a trip with her, where he and she would have fun and do lots of things.
Standing by the door, ready to go in, going through his notes for the last time for reassurance, he opens the door and greets her.
Beatrice as always, is sitting and silently reading books She didn't glance towards him
Subaru is nervous, He repeats the greeting
"I heard you the first time, I suppose."
Relieved, he began to remind her of the planned trip.
"You wanted me to go with you, that's fine by me, I suppose."
Disappointed by her lack of excitement, he began to support her with complements and promises of making her happy.
Began to express his love in the way she dress, her attire:
"Dazzling of red, a dress for the most wonderful person.
Twin drills of Gold that shine like stars.
Lapis blue eyes shape of a butterfly within iris.
A petite Crown fit for a Queen rest upon her head."
Her personality, his love for her:
"Calm and stoic, yet when time comes.
Strong and passionate.
The most endearing" - he calls her
"Your words are nothing but flattery, I wish that you love me as much as I do with you and as you do with them, I Suppose !" - Beatrice cuts him off.
"Sure I love others, but it is you that I love also!
You're lonely, you're sad and tired of waiting, of being alone, so now I'll be with you for this entire trip, I won't leave your side, ever!
If it is love that you want, I'll gladly give it to you, Beatrice, take my hand! "-Subaru calls out for her.
" FINE!!! But only because you're being so persistent, I suppose !!!"
She finally accepts,
and out they go,
hand in hand,
the best couple,
the best ship,
Amelia Watson approved.
They go towards Roswaal's office, ready to meet him, the maids had already packed their bags and essentials now they only need to go and meet up with Amelia Watson, this nation's Greatest Detective.
"Ah, Subaru, you're here !" - Emilia declared in joy
Amelia Watson turn to notice and proceed to thank Roswaal and announce her departure.
"Ah, Emilia, I heard you're going out to meet the other candidates ?"
He disappointingly asked.
"Yes Subaru, along with Ram as my carriage driver, but it'll be quick, they've also sent some ambassador to us and they'll be staying here for as long as I'm staying at theirs."
"Oh, they've sent some ambassadors? Who?"
"Well, Crusch had sent us two from her party which includes Wilhelm Astrea and Felix Argyle, while Anastasia had sent one ambassador who is Mimi Pearlbaton, and… Uh… Priscilla and Felt had sent none to greet us, but I shall be greeting them all equally."
"Ugh, Priscilla, what a disrespectful brat that moron has, I swear if her head was dynamite, it wouldn't be enough to blow off her head."
Amelia Watson, the great detective had been trying to avert the attention and focus on leaving the mansion to get on with the trip but had been greatly unsuccessful.
Finally had it she grabs Subaru by the neck and starts dragging him along with Beatrice.
Panicking, Subaru says goodbye to Roswaal&Emilia as he is being drag across the mansion towards the exit, as Watson and Frederica passes the others she tout a simple goodbye and or hello:
"Auf Wiedersehen Emilia"
"Adieu Rem"
"Tam biet Ram"
"Lehitra'ot Petra"
"Arrivederci Otto"
"Konnichiwa cat girl!" (Referring to Felix, who is a male)
"Zdravstvuyte Old guy" (Referring to Wilhelm)
As they arrived at the front steps of the house, the kind and joyous maid Frederica had already brought out the carriage and have tea and cookies pre-made and ready for the trip to come.
Petra gave Subaru a kiss on the cheeks and asked him to promise not to get hurt so that one day she may take him on a date, he happily accepts.
Rem gave him also a goodbye kiss and a promise to treat him as he tells her everything that happens on the trip.
Emilia gave Subaru a hug as Ram's prepared carriage is set to go.
Beatrice sits silently and watches, her jealousy grows by the minutes that he isn't pampering nor doting on her, surely, the moment he gets on this trip, he is hers to keep.
The inhabitants and newly arrived guess had stationed themselves and bid us farewell as we set sail on our endeavor.
End of Episode 1: The Final Problem
Stage I: Setup Episode 2: The Final Solution
submitted by M0r14rt7 to CultOfEchidna [link] [comments]


2020.10.23 18:50 M0r14rt7 [Media] CHAPTER I EPISODE 1: The Final Problem - A Re Zero Fanfic Ft. Amelia Watson full version

THE FINAL PROBLEM A Re: Zero Fanfic Ft. Amelia Watson Stage I: Setup Episode 1: The Final Problem
Sunday, October: 8th 8:00 Update on Subaru's Progress
I introduced Natsuki Subaru to the challenges of detective work:
To my delight, he took it rather well,
Displaying great adaptability as well as an unruly commitment towards his goals, terrific deductive reasoning abilities and an open mind, utilizing outside the box making up imaginative theories to elaborate on possible clues to solve difficult puzzles.
These reasons contributed greatly towards a wonderously productive investigation, especially when such an amateur are guided with my help.
Though there exists few key areas in need of improvements:
-An uncontrollable urge to blurt out without filter nor a second thought:
  • Bumbling with his words, quick on feet but not so much on editing and proof reading his findings & conclusions, only manage to re-examine and fix mistakes once the full hypothesis had already made it through it's mouth.
  • Lots of trial and error, does have some ingenious ideas if only the knight turned amateur detective had filtered out the stupid ones. Yelling out rambles until he happens to come across the right ones.
-Prone to emotional outburst, taking personal offense if anyone dares to insult his familars.
-Mediocre etiquette, needs exceptional nourisments in the arts of gentlemanly conduct.
-Terrible handling of crimescene investigation:
  • Tampering with evidence.
  • Moving stuff around without proper consideration.
  • Made worse with inability to put things back into place due to terrible memory.
-> More work should be done to ensure requirements are met and mistakes are dealt with, should Subaru wants to do actual detective works.
9:30 Current situation
The current "Knight of the Elvish Candidate" Subaru Natsuki and his spirit friend Beatrice are out and about on collecting additional testimony and exploring the city to their own leisure as I humbly award myself with an assortments of magnificent cakes, crumpets and high tea.
Earl Grey tea serviced with jade wares, royally magestic, icy,
Along with a bowl of porridge
And Chocolate cookies as I put myself onto the soft chair and relax.
While the two apprentices sweat themselves solving the puzzle that will get me admiration and love from the townsfolk.
The comedy that I am currently chuckling about, the joy of teamwork to have everybody else take the hard job while me: The seasoned veteran gets to kick back and relax.
I hate going outside,
I prefer to stay in while playing games, if I have the ability to solve the most ingenious of puzzles without going outside and actually attempting to solve the puzzle myself I would be more than willing.
As I hold my Korone plushie while writing this, I am treating myself with the utmost care: By uncontrollably chomping down on nutritional supplements, washed down with addictive beverages and a healthy vegan, non gmo 7% solution of cocaine, heroine and morphine in water while reading "Emperor Theresa" & "Reaper's Creek" The two greatest works of literature since the twilight of "Twilight" and the immortalized "My Immortal".
I often check up on the two Untermensch through the communication system set up by Beatrice with her magic. Despite not contributing that much to the investigation, she still holds value as a great multi tool/guard to protect us should a would be unfortunate circumstances were to unfurl. Small, quiet, bookish nerd laced with annoyance and a tint of sarcasm, using "I suppose" as her catchphrase, often accompanied Subaru, displaying a clear emotional attachment towards him, they would make a lovely couple indeed, I definitely ship them.
For now I'd rather enjoy my royal meal made by and for none other than me, the Greatest Detective in the World !!!
Amelia Watson closes her Green journal and have it stored within an Emerald Green Leather Doctor's Handbag, then continued on appeasing her appetite.
CRASH
A window had been broken, with it's destruction signaled throughout the Empty House
The Great Detective awoke and reported the suspicious sound and state her intention to investigate it to Subaru and Beatrice via the communication system and required them to hurry back to the house.
She is armed with a six shooter and a syringe filled with hallucinogens, clearing the rooms one by one, as the clocks strike Ten & noon slowly comes. Watson was ambushed and heavily wounded in the head and woke up moments later, breathing heavily.
"Blood, Blood everywhere." - Amelia Watson whispered to herself with a lisp.
Struggling to support herself, blood overflowing from the gaping ravine on her head, stopping once a gentle excertion of force was applied.
An injury sustained from childhood due to an accident had opened up due to the trauma.
Watson panicked at the alarming rate of body fluids leaking out from the wound.
She drags herself to a nearby bed along with her medical bag.
The Detective now begins to assess how much she's got left, begins to recollect and process what had happened. Diagnosing her cognitive intergrity and degrading memory by recounting the sequences of events predating the attack in order to provide additional clues for who the suspects are.
Six Hours Ago as She recalled
The Great Detective had just arrived at a great Mansion owned by a distinguished magic user who goes by the name Roswaal. The trip had obviously tired her. Starting from the city far away, she left at night on a luxurious carriage provided by the Roswaal, arriving exactly at Four in the morning.
As the gates opened, a path surrounded by rows of perfectly kept plant life, bathed in aroma. The air feels light, unpolluted and the temperature was cool, it soothes her tired soul and awoken an excitement previously dulled by the long winded trip. The place was wide and devoid of loud babbles and deafening sounds of commercing horse carriages. This place was completely opposite of the densely populated, obnoxious city, where air was warm and damp, smelly and unkept due to sheer scale.
"This is it" -Amelia thought.
"This is what I need,
To gain enough prestige and reputation, amass followers and admirers so loyal and dedicated they would go through hell and back to reach me.
Then I wouldn't have to solve uncomplicated matters like missing keys and pet animals and instead involve myself in matters of national importance, the most difficult and delicate puzzles of them all, politics:
With murders, civil unrest and assasination plots occuring around the hours I would never get tired of this !!!
I wouldn't have to go out and deal with the stupid pleasantry of the normal lower class, and instead dispatch my sevants to deal with them, leaving only the most pretigious matters to me. While I reside in a lovely luxurious mansion surrounded by beautiful scenery and fresh clean air to purify the tired self and rest in comfort to replenish my energy. Oh, if only dad and his friend was here, with me, he would have been estatic, Holmes would have still been stoic as always, it would be so much fun."
Amelia Watson got out of the vehicle and two maids were there to assist in storing the carriage, one with blue hair and the other with pink, Watson's carriage driver was also a maid employed at the mansion, she helped Amelia carry her baggage into the mansion then provided her with an offer to meet with all the inhabitants, along with the opportunity to explore the mansion.
And how could The Great Detective ever denied that.
Turns out the owner of this magnificent piece of estate is currently busy with the task of assisting a royal candidate to the throne, an Elf by the name of Emilia, one who's quite familiar with Subaru, who suggested Watson to come here in the first place to assist him with the development of useful skills that will help him support others.
Amelia Watson's driver, Frederica had suggested a tour for The Detective cause she didn't want degrade such a monolithic intellectual to simply idle by and wait after she had already been bored to death going through such a tired some and monotonous trip.
Frederica, apparently able to transform into a beast capable of destroying buildings as Watson had learn listening to the maid joyously boasted as they toured the mansion, speak of the people who currently inhabits it:
+Herself, Frederica, a half blood maid with experience here.
+Roswaal, the owner and most powerful and frankly fabulous magic user here.
+Petra, young girl from near village recruited as a maid, huge crush for Subaru for his courage and good looks.
+Otto, the tradesman, good friend of Subaru and can speak any languages, now reside here on path of making riches via securing a deal with Roswaal.
+Beatrice, spirit of the great library, keeper of knowledge hidden inside, great compatibility with Subaru.
+Emilia, candidate for the throne, is a half Elf, has Subaru as her knight and personal protector.
+Ram, Pink haired maid, sister of Rem, senior trash talking veteran known for targeting subaru.
+Rem, Blue haired maid, sister of Ram, loved Subaru for his great compliments and for saving her from a dangerous situation.
+Subaru, self proclaimed knight of Emilia, he has a huge crush on her, but he also has a crush on everyone else, too.
Somewhere in the maze-like complex, a butler had awoken by what appears to be depressive anxiety and utter hopelessness combined with the nagging of the twin maids who acts as his alarm clock. The blue maid calls upon Subaru with gentle softness and warmth in her endearing words while the other is more verbally violent and unforgiving. As he is now woke, Subaru take time to change and walk to the library.
"The butler is Natsuki Subaru, self proclaimed knight of Emilia the Elf, a peculiar fella, noted by all whom had come across him, the greatest descriptions about him came from Rem, Otto, Petra and Emilia as they are the ones who are most intimate to him. They all describe the same traits:
+Motivated.
+Lots of heart.
+Strong and confident.
+knowledgeable, like always knowing what to do, what to say.
He seems to possess the stare and body of a soldier, yet is so young looking in his appearance, personality and manners."
"He would make a great ally." - Amelia Watson thought to herself Having already explored the mansion and probe through all of its inhabitants except for The Spirit of The Library and The ButleKnight of the Mansion. She now writes in her journal and plans the next move, while waiting in Roswaal's office along with Emilia and him.
Subaru Natsuki, before entering the library, prepare himself to greet Beatrice with compliments about her looks, personality and all great things about her, to hype her up for the coming trip.
The trip was suppose to aid Subaru in giving him valuable skills he could use for the purpose of protecting those closest to him. An extra purpose was also to strengthen his bond with Beatrice, to make her happy, to soothe her lonely soul with a trip with her, where he and she would have fun and do lots of things.
Standing by the door, ready to go in, going through his notes for the last time for reassurance, he opens the door and greets her.
Beatrice as always, is sitting and silently reading books She didn't glance towards him
Subaru is nervous, He repeats the greeting
"I heard you the first time, I suppose."
Relieved, he began to remind her of the planned trip.
"You wanted me to go with you, that's fine by me, I suppose."
Disappointed by her lack of excitement, he began to support her with complements and promises of making her happy.
Began to express his love in the way she dress, her attire:
"Dazzling of red, a dress for the most wonderful person.
Twin drills of Gold that shine like stars.
Lapis blue eyes shape of a butterfly within iris.
A petite Crown fit for a Queen rest upon her head."
Her personality, his love for her:
"Calm and stoic, yet when time comes.
Strong and passionate.
The most endearing" - he calls her
"Your words are nothing but flattery, I wish that you love me as much as I do with you and as you do with them, I Suppose !" - Beatrice cuts him off.
"Sure I love others, but it is you that I love also!
You're lonely, you're sad and tired of waiting, of being alone, so now I'll be with you for this entire trip, I won't leave your side, ever!
If it is love that you want, I'll gladly give it to you, Beatrice, take my hand! "-Subaru calls out for her.
" FINE!!! But only because you're being so persistent, I suppose !!!"
She finally accepts,
and out they go,
hand in hand,
the best couple,
the best ship,
Amelia Watson approved.
They go towards Roswaal's office, ready to meet him, the maids had already packed their bags and essentials now they only need to go and meet up with Amelia Watson, this nation's Greatest Detective.
"Ah, Subaru, you're here !" - Emilia declared in joy
Amelia Watson turn to notice and proceed to thank Roswaal and announce her departure.
"Ah, Emilia, I heard you're going out to meet the other candidates ?"
He disappointingly asked.
"Yes Subaru, along with Ram as my carriage driver, but it'll be quick, they've also sent some ambassador to us and they'll be staying here for as long as I'm staying at theirs."
"Oh, they've sent some ambassadors? Who?"
"Well, Crusch had sent us two from her party which includes Wilhelm Astrea and Felix Argyle, while Anastasia had sent one ambassador who is Mimi Pearlbaton, and… Uh… Priscilla and Felt had sent none to greet us, but I shall be greeting them all equally."
"Ugh, Priscilla, what a disrespectful brat that moron has, I swear if her head was dynamite, it wouldn't be enough to blow off her head."
Amelia Watson, the great detective had been trying to avert the attention and focus on leaving the mansion to get on with the trip but had been greatly unsuccessful.
Finally had it she grabs Subaru by the neck and starts dragging him along with Beatrice.
Panicking, Subaru says goodbye to Roswaal&Emilia as he is being drag across the mansion towards the exit, as Watson and Frederica passes the others she tout a simple goodbye and or hello:
"Auf Wiedersehen Emilia"
"Adieu Rem"
"Tam biet Ram"
"Lehitra'ot Petra"
"Arrivederci Otto"
"Konnichiwa cat girl!" (Referring to Felix, who is a male)
"Zdravstvuyte Old guy" (Referring to Wilhelm)
As they arrived at the front steps of the house, the kind and joyous maid Frederica had already brought out the carriage and have tea and cookies pre-made and ready for the trip to come.
Petra gave Subaru a kiss on the cheeks and asked him to promise not to get hurt so that one day she may take him on a date, he happily accepts.
Rem gave him also a goodbye kiss and a promise to treat him as he tells her everything that happens on the trip.
Emilia gave Subaru a hug as Ram's prepared carriage is set to go.
Beatrice sits silently and watches, her jealousy grows by the minutes that he isn't pampering nor doting on her, surely, the moment he gets on this trip, he is hers to keep.
The inhabitants and newly arrived guess had stationed themselves and bid us farewell as we set sail on our endeavor.
End of Episode 1: The Final Problem
Stage I: Setup Episode 2: The Final Solution
submitted by M0r14rt7 to Re_Zero [link] [comments]


2020.10.23 14:03 LetsRead_YouTube Discord Story 3

My son used to be very active on something called Discord, which from what I understand, is a messaging app for people who play video games. It allowed him to talk to people from all over the world that played the same games as him. So at some point, he broke the news to us that he’d been talking to a girl over in the UK named Lori. She and he had become friends playing some pirate game, playing together most days and talking pretty much all the time when they weren’t at their computers. And eventually, he just up and asks her if she wanted to be his girlfriend, and she says yes. It was definitely a new concept for someone like me, who grew up at a time when cell phones weren’t even a thing, but I understand that we live in the digital age where new methods of dating are coming to the fore, so I just tried to be happy for him as any Mom should when their kid gets their first girlfriend or boyfriend. Plus, with an entire ocean between them, it’s not like I had to worry about him getting any STDs or accidentally getting her pregnant.
However, one Sunday afternoon, my son emerges from his boy-cave for what seemed like the first time in days, walks into the TV room where me and my husband are sat, with a very concerned look on his face. We asked him what the matter was, and he just kind of shrugs, tells us everything is cool, and then just kind of wanders out again. So as you can imagine, me and my husband give each other a look as if to be like “what the hell was that?” My husband gets up, follows our son into the living room, before gently prodding him about anything that might be bothering him. From what he told me, our kid was just doing that typically boyish thing of pretending that everything was fine, but in a way that tells us that he’s obviously upset about something. My husband then told me he asked after Lori, with our son responding in almost visceral way of like “why are you always in my business, blah blah blah”. He’d obviously touched on a sore subject, so our general conclusion was that he and Lori had broken up, and he just didn’t want to talk about it. We weren’t about to press him on it, so we kind of just left him to it to get over and move onto someone new.
But over the next month or so, our son seemed to be getting increasingly depressed. He’d spend more and more time up in his room, only ever coming out to go to school or eat dinner, and then just retreating back to his little boy-cave. Like I said, we figured this was because he’d split up with his internet girlfriend, but one time my husband was walking past his room and blatantly heard him talking to someone via his little voice chat Discord thing, addressing them as ‘babe’ and at one point ‘Lori’. So apparently, they’re still talking at that point, but we still assumed they were having relationship issues, putting it down to the fact that they were like thousands of miles apart. I know long distance relationships don’t work at the best of times, even when people are just a few states away from each other. But these kids had an entire ocean separating them, so God knows how hard that must have been on them.
Only, as we came to learn, that wasn’t exactly the problem, it was something much, much darker.
So as I said, our son seemed to be getting more and more depressed over the course of the month, and it got so bad at one point that me and my husband discussed getting him a therapist or something, to nip the problem in the bud before it could morph into something less easy to deal with. But suddenly, out of apparently nowhere, he just perks up. One day he’s looking better, feeling perkier, and is considerably more talkative. He actually seemed keener on spending more time with us too, which for a sixteen year old boy struck us as very unusual. I mean not that we were complaining, it was nice seeing him feeling better about things; and we put it down to him meeting a new girl or just shutting out Lori from his life.
This kind of sunny behaviour carries on for like a week or so, until one Saturday, when after coming down for breakfast, we don’t see or hear from him for the rest of the day. Late in the afternoon, my husband goes up to his room, knocks on the door, and asks our son if everything is okay. He comes back down into the TV room, tells me there was no reply after knocking, then asks me if I’d seen him leave the house at all during the day. I tell him no, that if he had gone over to a friend’s house or whatever that he certainly hadn’t let me know. Then my husband just kind of shrugs, tells me he has a headache, and then walks off to the downstairs bathroom to get an aspirin from the medicine cabinet. Next thing I know, I can hear him springing down the hallway and up the stairs, his feet like boom boom boom as he rushed up to our son’s room. I’m super confused like “what the hell is going on?”, before walking out into the hall. From where I’m standing, I can actually see into the downstairs bathroom, and what I see makes my blood run cold. We usually kept all our pain pills and other such medication in a little plastic first-aid kit style thing. We kept that thing stuffed to the gills. And there it was, lying on the bathroom floor, almost completely empty. Then like my husband before me, it hit me what had happened.
So I sprint up to my son’s room, where I find my husband leaning over our boy’s bed, shaking him like “wake up! Can you hear me? Wake up!” There’s a pool of puke sitting on the bed next to his head, and he’s completely unconscious, and there are empty pill trays lying on the floor nearby. As soon as I walk in, my husband runs back downstairs to call 911, and I take over the shaking and the wailing, begging him to open his eyes. Now the only light in the room was coming from his computer monitor, so at one point, I look over to it, and see one of the most haunting things I’ve ever seen in my life. On the screen is a webcam window from that Discord thing I mentioned, and it’s displaying the body of a young girl that’s just kind of dangling in mid-air. It took me a second to realize what I was looking at, but when I did, I almost screamed the house down. She was hanging from something.
I tried not to look, I really did, I just tried to focus on my boy as his Dad ran back upstairs with emergency services on his cell. I should have told him not to look, but I was just distraught, I could barely speak as he walks back into the room and starts describing our son’s condition to the dispatcher on the other end of the line. He’s frantically talking away, when he does pretty much the same thing as me, turns around to see the webcam window open, and the girl’s body hanging on the screen. He just froze, and stops talking, long enough for me to be able to hear the dispatcher saying “sir, are you there, sir?” at which point he snaps out of his daze and carries on talking to the person on the other end. It was he that then had the presence of mind to turn off the computer, all while giving the EMT’s our home address and begging them to arrive as quickly as possible.
Our son was taken to the hospital, where he promptly had his stomach pumped. We stayed all night, waiting in the visitor’s area, and when a doctor finally approached us with an update on our son’s condition, I found my heart racing as I prepared for the worst. But thankfully, we’d gotten him to the hospital just in time, and the nurses were able to pump his stomach and administer the necessary medication to counteract the effects of the things he’d taken already. He survived, barely, but the same couldn’t be said for the girl on the computer screen, who we assumed was this Lori girl he’d been in the long distance relationship with. When our son woke up and saw us in his hospital room, he burst into tears. He apologized over and over again, and we all just cried it out together. He then proceeded to spill his guts to us about what had happened. And I honestly couldn’t believe my ears. It turned out they’d formed a kind of suicide pact together just the week before, right around the same time he seemed to have perked up and gotten out of the funk he was in. Apparently that was what did it, that she and he and figured out a way to escape the pain they were suffering, and that the revelation had been a kind of boost to him, as morbidly insane as that sounds. We went ahead with booking him into therapy, and he’s doing much better now. We don’t monitor his online activities, as he figured he’d just find a way to subvert us, but we definitely don’t allow him to have a computer in his bedroom anymore. And since then, me and my husband have made an effort to acquaint ourselves with the darker corners of the internet, and believe me, there are some days I wish I hadn’t. Because my God are there some horrendous things out there, things I wish I’d never seen, and that I’ll never be able to get out of my head.
submitted by LetsRead_YouTube to LetsReadOfficial [link] [comments]


2020.10.22 09:05 ThrowRALawyer I [40/M] am feeling more and more distant from my [29/F] girlfriend these days.

Sit down relationship_advice, this is going to be a doozy.
In 2015 I [35/M] met Michelle [24/F] on Reddit. She messaged me after I had commented on one of the local city subreddits, and I replied and it just kinda went from there. We met on a weekday, with me taking her and her roommate out for lunch (she brought her roommate along for ‘safety,’ and I honestly didn’t mind). I’d make dinner for us one night a week, she’d make dinner for us one night a week (she worked as a bartender and was going to school, so, her free time was fairly limited), and it was something that worked for us, schedule-wize. Chance had it that we both had a Thursday night free, so, she came over, brought a bottle of wine, and she asked me if I’d be her boyfriend, and it just kinda went from there. We’d see each other fairly often as time progressed, with me giving her a key to my place and her giving me a key to her place and her extra car keys.
Later that year, I was traveling out of town for work, her and her roommate went over to my place to do laundry (something that I was cool with) on a weekday night, and her roommate accidentally slid down my building’s stairs and broke her ankle. I felt horrible, and paid for her roommates medical bills, but her roommate guilt tripped her into breaking up with me.
Halfway through 2016, Michelle texts me out of the blue and messaged me about our former relationship. She expressed a lot of regret about breaking up with me, and we started talking again. After a few months of hanging out, we start dating again.
She’s maintained a series of bartending jobs and graduated from undergrad, and found a graduate program that she liked. She’s going to school during the day, working at night, and I’ve got a traditional 9-5 job. While our schedules were chaotic, we still managed to find time to spend with one another. She’d find a way to bring me lunch on days where my schedules were crazy, and I’d walk to the bar to make sure she got home ok if someone was being weird when she was closing.
After graduating with a Masters, she starts looking for a job in a weird job market, but, kept her bartending jobs. After both of her parents pass away, she starts to have some issues crop up -- a chronic illness starts flaring up, she starts sinking into depression, and manages to pick up a cocaine addiction in the process. I stand by her side throughout all of this, and kinda make sure that she’s taken care of in the process, and she starts the road to recovery.
Last year (2019, remember that?) she finally finds her first “big kid job.” She starts to make good money, starts to really enjoy her life, we finally start enjoying our relationship. We travel to fun locations on the weekends, I meet her sisters and remaining family and friends, I introduce her to my family, everything’s going well, ending in us getting engaged later that year.
The Pandemic happens in 2020 and her world starts to fall apart. She loses her job, can’t find a job in the service industry like she’s accustomed to having as a fallback, and sinks into a major pit of depression. For the first few months of the pandemic after she lost her job, I started making sure her bills were paid, and just generally became her support person. Added into the depression is a mix of more medical issues -- her losing her ability to have kids gets thrown in there, and she tries taking her own life in the middle of the summer.
Throughout all of this I’ve been very supportive of her. I knew she was always a bit aloof, but, honestly, so am I. She’d need help covering her bills, and I’d help out whenever I could. If I needed help moving or painting she’d be there to help me, and would volunteer with me on the weekend afternoons that she had free. I lose my (long term) job during the pandemic as well -- but, it’s not horrible as I’ve got a decent amount of cash in savings and had planned on retiring at the end of the year and switch to a career in education.
I give her a lot of space: we’ve always been the couple who never needed constant reminders of affection or anything like that. I know she loves and cares about me for who I am, and I love and care about her for who she is….and I understand her past and her traumas, she understands my past and my traumas, and we work around it.
She finds a job in a neighboring state that will keep her busy and provide some enjoyment, and goes there until she gets her old job back at the end of the year.
Over the last three months, our communication has gone from a multiple time/day cadence to a cadence that is maybe daily. A broken phone on her part doesn’t help, and things go from rocky to worse -- she can’t afford phone service any more, and starts talking to me from her computer only (iMessages).
I mentioned tonight that it feels that we’re so far away from each other, and equally distant to getting married, and she mentioned that she feels strangely more secure in our relationship because we clearly love each other and need each other in our lives. Most of her love comes from being comfortable and trusting, and that she was a “slow burn.” One thing she said tonight really...threw me for a loop: she “hate[s] that you feel distance because I’m still so young and I know I have issues … I don’t deserve the patience.” She continues that she “get[s] so damn bitter, like, if I actually had parents who cared, my drive would mean something. Maybe I’d be like you, endlessly smart with amazing degrees and a chance. I then remember that I chose my own path, and I worked my ass off, and then I feel better, but, not much. I just feel like I’m a burden to you.”
Obviously, she’s not a burden to me. I care about this woman and have told her from day one that I will help shoulder her load because we’re a team.
How do I help reassure her that I'm in it with her and that she isn't a burden to me?
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2020.10.22 06:40 Mongolian-Ways Mongolia Tours

Mongolia Tours

The following information should give you a good idea of how Mongolian Ways tours are run. For more detailed information about a particular trip, we encourage you to contact us.

WHAT TOURS DO MONGOLIA OFFER?

Tours in Mongolia vary greatly depending on the objective. Some tours are designed to cover a lot of ground - if you like off-road adventures and want to see the most of Mongolia that you can in a short time, these are for you. Other tours focus on specific interests, such as trekking, wildlife watching, or participating in cultural events and nomadic life. These tours move at a slower pace and you have more time to explore, experience your surroundings, and get to know local people. On every tour there is a chance that your guide may have to change plans. Mother nature doesn’t always cooperate with our itineraries, and part of the quirky charm that is travelling in a place like Mongolia is that your vehicle, or even your aeroplane may get stuck in mud, the local lams may consult the moon and decide to move a festival date by a couple days, or you may happen upon an unexpected celebration in a village that just can’t be missed. Don’t worry, our field and office staff are always in contact via satellite phone or other mysterious means, and we will make adjustments accordingly in order to assure your safety and enjoyment.

FIRST TRAVEL TO MONGOLIA?

The first-time visitor to Mongolia often feels that there are two different countries under one flag. On one hand, the gateway for most visitors to Mongolia is Ulaanbaatar. The city is under constant development, heavily influenced by the ‘gold rush’ derived from the discovery of some of the world’s largest gold deposits in the Gobi Desert. On the other hand, the infrastructure of the city is based on old Soviet planning and construction, and neglect is widely spread, in common with other post-soviet states. Traffic jams are notorious, and the streets are not particularly clean. Despite this, the city has a charm of its own. It is a fusion of old and new, between east and west, and between unsophistication and rapid development. However, drive a few kilometers out of the city, and you will find yourself taking a journey through time, some 800 years back, to the time when Chinggis Khan united the tribes of the steppes into a mighty empire. You will see the Mongol nomads living their lives based on the old traditions (but with TV sets and motorcycles!), in run-down towns along run-down roads but with an ancient culture which is still vibrant.

HOW ARE THE TOURS RUN?

Our fixed departures are carefully researched tours, designed to maximize your time for leisure, outdoor activities, sightseeing, and … having an adventure! If you request a custom tour from us, we do our best to design an itinerary that will suit your needs and interests, based on the information you provide us and our extensive experience traveling in Mongolia. Some days may look very long, with a lot of driving, while others may seem sparse on activities. Mongolia is a very large country with very little infrastructure, so we may have to make many kilometers in one day in order to reach our camp or to show you the most spectacular sights. Be assured that the days are organized so that overall you will be able to make the most of your time in Mongolia and have a once in a lifetime experience. Adventure travel is always a bit unpredictable due to the nature of the terrain and the experiences we seek. Sometimes, the forces of nature or a change in the dates of a festival will require some changes in the plan. Flight schedules may change at a moment’s notice, or muddy ground may make a route impassable. All of our staff, at the office and in the field, are there for you, and we will make our best effort to handle any situation so that you will have an enjoyable and safe tour. In rare cases it may be necessary to change some of the places we will visit, the order of days in the trip, the route taken, or the mode of transportation. Flexibility and a resilient sense of humor will guarantee that you have a great experience in Mongolia.

WHICH CARS WILL WE USE?

In Mongolia there are approximately 8700 kilometers (745 miles) of asphalt sealed roads. The majority of roads are no more than dirt tracks, some of them sandy, others rocky. 4WD vehicles are a necessity. By default, we will be providing Japanese made Mitsubishi Delica vans for most of our trips. These are rather modern, well equipped all-wheel-drive vehicles. Due to the very short travel season in Mongolia, the possibility of keeping a new, top of the line fleet, is literally non-existent, and is common to everybody operating in the field of tourism here in Mongolia. These Mitsubishi Delica are very often being purchased as a second-hand cars (mostly from Japan), and on top of it, are subject to constant off-road trip, usually several thousand kilometers each summer. We try our utmost to make sure that the vehicle is properly maintained, and that all systems are working properly.
On some of our trips, especially those destined for remote and less accessible areas, Russian made UAZ vans would be provided. Though at first sight they look a bit rough, these vehicles have great off-road abilities, and more importantly they are very simple to repair. The average vehicle used in countryside tour in Mongolia travels every 10 days the same number of off-road kilometers as the average SUV in Western countries would travel in a year or two! And these vehicles do it again and again, throughout the year, in snow, sand, mud, and on ice. You will see luxurious vehicles on the roads outside of Ulaanbaatar, and you might ask yourself “why couldn't we be riding in one of those?” We use Russian vans on all our out-of-the-way trips so you won’t spend your time on holiday waiting for spare parts to be sent to your group, or worse yet, continuing in the back of an open truck while your vehicle is towed back to the capital. Russian vans are equipped with bench seats, and the ride can be somewhat bumpy, so if you experience car sickness please come prepared with appropriate medications.

WHERE WILL I STAY THE NIGHTS?

In Mongolia you will find different modes of accommodation:
Hotels: In Ulaanbaatar, there is a wide range of hotels ranging from 4* luxury hotels to very simple guesthouses. We tend to use simple and practical 4* hotels which offer comfort and value and which are located in the heart of the city, allowing us to walk to many of the city’s main attractions and avoid the traffic jams. If you do wish to stay in a more comfortable hotel while in Ulaanbaatar, please do let us know, and we will be happy to arrange this for you.
Ger camps: Outside of the city, Ger camps are the most commonly available full-service facilities. Ger camps use the traditional home of steppe nomads, the felt covered Ger, as guest rooms. Each Ger normally has between 2 and 4 single beds in it, along with a traditional stove, a simple table, and sometimes cupboards and wash stands. We plan for a Ger to be shared between two travelers (or for those who have paid the single supplement, a Ger on their own). If you would like to have more than two travelers sharing your Ger, please let us know, and we shall do our best to accommodate your request. There will generally be a central block that houses hot water showers, sinks, and western-style toilets. This block is usually some distance from your Ger. In a separate building, there will be a restaurant or dining room, and sometimes a bar or a recreation room. Many camps have outdoor recreation facilities such as a volleyball or badminton net.
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CAN I CAMP IN MONGOLIA?

Mongolia offers fantastic camping possibilities in beautiful landscapes, and often the places we visit will have no Ger camps or local hotels. We provide our guests with high-quality tents on all our camping trips. On treks or kayaking trips, where equipment must be carried by pack animals or boat, the camps will be expedition style. No formal toilet or shower facilities will be available. You will use a field toilet, and we will provide you with water for washing up. Please note that you will need to bring a sleeping bag and mattress if camping is included in your trip.

CAN I STAY IN NOMADIC FAMILY HOMES?

Most likely, if you have selected on of our fixed departures, you will be staying at least one night with a nomadic family. This gives you a chance to get closely acquainted with the way of life and culture of the Mongolian people. If the group is small, we may stay in the family’s gers, using our mattresses and sleeping bags. If our group is larger, we will set up our tents next to the family’s ger so we have more room to spread out. Most nomadic families do not have formal toilets in their summer camps, so the most you can expect to find is a designated toilet trench that may be screened on three sides. No showering facilities will be available. Nomads wash in basins in their gers, or in a nearby river in warm weather.

WHAT WILL I EAT?

It depends on the kind of trip you are taking. Check your itinerary to see what types of accommodation you will be in. In Ulaanbaatar, you can expect a variety of quality restaurants with international foods. In Ger camps, we generally eat breakfast and dinner in camp and take a packed lunch for the day. Your packed lunch will be carried in appropriate containers to prevent spillage or spoiling. Ger camps serve both Mongolian and international foods, and there will usually be a choice of the main dish. On camping days, what you eat is up to you and the accompanying staff. As the shared costs of an expedition cook are higher in smaller groups, some groups may not be accompanied by a cook. In this case, the guides and drivers will be cooking for you. If you are willing to assist them, they will be grateful for your help. On expeditions where there is no vehicle support, there will be dried and canned foods available, but fresh fruits and vegetables often cannot be transported beyond the first couple of days. For groups of more than seven travelers, we usually send a cook, and the food will be just great! Please let us know if you have any food preferences or restrictions, or if you are following a special diet. If we are given advance notice, we will do whatever we can to meet your preferences and needs. Please note that most Ger camps won’t be very sympathetic towards travelers cooking their own meals in the camp.

WHO WILL BE MY TOUR GUIDE?

The short travel season here in Mongolia does not allow tour-guiding to become a full-time profession. Hence, the vast majority of our guides are young students who work as a guide for 3-4 years until they graduate. After leaving university, they then seek a more stable position which provides a yearly income. We, therefore, run our own lengthy travel guide training, where we try to provide the prospective guides with the skills to be more effective. As well as knowledge of the country’s history, geography, and current affairs, we focus on subjects such as foreign language skills, cross-cultural differences, and first-aid provision.
A distinct advantage every Mongolian brings to a profession such as tour-guiding is the unconditional maternal-like care to guests. This derives from the fundamental values of the nomadic culture. Mongolians have an almost compulsive need to meet expectations and to take great care of each of their guests. Each year we receive around 100 applications to be a travel guide. Of these, around 30 begin the long training process. Only 5 or 6 guides complete their training and become an apprentice. New guides usually run 2 to 3 trips as an apprentice, before leading their own travel group. We do our utmost to prepare our guides to carry out their duties and responsibilities. If your guide is an apprentice, please bear in mind that we all have to make a start somewhere, and your patience and encouragement will be gratefully accepted.

WHO WILL BE MY DRIVER?

Our drivers, the owners of the vehicles you will be driven in, are fabulous mechanics, navigators, and excellent drivers, and have many years’ experience of driving travelers throughout Mongolia. Some of our drivers have been working for us for over ten years; though in the peak season we also recruit some additional drivers to the team. Our drivers usually don’t speak foreign languages, but all of them have strong interpersonal skills and very good intuition. They do their very best to accommodate the needs of the travelers and ensure you get the very best out of your experience. They know when you need to stop, whether it is for a photo, a toilet break, or to stretch your muscles after a long period of driving. The drivers are an inseparable part of our team. At the head of each group of drivers is a lead driver who is familiar, not only with the travel route and anything surrounding it but also responsible for supervising the other drivers and making sure they operate under the company’s spirit and within our strict code of conduct.

IS THIS THE RIGHT TOUR FOR ME?

Travel to Mongolia does not suit everyone. Mongolia is underdeveloped, the Mongolian diet is very different from what we are used to eating in the west, and the lodging facilities are more basic than in other travel destinations in the region. Journeys can be long and rough, and the Mongolian attitude towards service is very different from our expectations in the west. Mongolia is for the curious, the patient, for those who can laugh at adversity and who accept that life just happens differently here.
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2020.10.21 20:38 Erutious The Kindness

We are monsters. We have taken something beautiful and turned it ugly. We have sacrificed a good man, and for what? Peace? Ha! If it comes at the expense of that one man, then it is a dark and terrible thing, peace.
His name was Eric Jameson, and he saved Stragview from the Riots.
Eric Jameson, Officer Jameson, was probably the nicest guy you'll ever meet. He was a career officer, who had forgotten more about corrections than most of us ever knew, and his appearance was vaguely Chinese or maybe Korean. He always wore his hair in one of those buns, his windows peek, never touching the thick gray main on the top, and he always reminded me of the uncle from the Avatar show in the way he spoke and carried himself.
I got to work with him on my first night flying solo on the compound, and it was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. When you walked with him through the quad, it was as though the clouds lifted away from the sun. Inmates smiled more, officers were less surly, and everyone was just in a better mood when Jameson was around. He was personable as well, remembering inmates' names and asking about their troubles. He passed five times as much time in the quads as any other officer I'd ever known, a practice that would have gotten anyone, but Jameson dragged into the Investigators office under speculation of Inmate collusion. Jameson did the same to his fellow officers, too, and I never saw anyone snap or take a surly tone with Jameson. The way he walked amongst his charges was utterly devoid of fear or nerves. He walked through the quad as though it were his home, and the inmates were no more than his neighbors whom he was greeting on his way home from work.
This was not a skill he had gained from years of experience, though.
Jameson had a way about him that was undeniable.
Jameson had a vibration about him that broke up tension.
It was an ability I got to see first hand.
About a year after I started with the department, we had a significant disturbance in F dorm. What had started as a skirmish between rival gangs had devolved into a fight that threatened to bathe the whole quad in blood. It all came to a head at lunchtime, and the two gangs had taken advantage of the other inmates leaving. We were poised to roll into the dorm with force, blood and weapons already present in the quad when Jameson stepped past the Captain and walked inside. Twenty or so men looked at him, their faces covered in a veneer of readiness, and their resolve melted away. He spoke to the two groups for less than a minute before both were ready to end hostilities and submit to the officers in the hallway. Jameson came out of the quad with a peaceful smile stretched across his old young face.
"They're ready to comply, Captain," he said, his voice a gentle river.
That was when I felt it. It was like when someone hits a tuning fork, and you feel like you can feel those vibrations on your skin, in your teeth, and in your gray matter as they wash over you. This was like that, except it was more like gentle wind chimes or soft temple bells. I saw it wash over the others in the hallway, and a general atmosphere of calm permeated us all. Even the Captain, who had been ready to spit nails when Jameson had walked onto that quad, smiled and clapped the grandfatherly fellow on the shoulder as he admonished him for his efforts.
I saw Jameson later as he came out of the area next to the captain's office that held the snack machines and asked him what had happened out there?
Jameson smiled, "Oh, just years of know-how at work. It's all about knowing what to say and when. You'll pick it up too, brother."
I shook my head, my body wanting to smile and agree with him as his proximity made me feel at ease again.
"No, I mean the thing that happened when you walked into the hallway. I heard a kind of...chime?" I tried lamely. I couldn't properly describe the emotion because it wasn't something I had ever felt before. The others seemed to accept it, almost seemed to welcome the feeling of ease that wafted around Jameson like a fog. I, on the other hand, wanted some answers. I wasn't one to just accept things as they were, and I hoped this was something he was aware of, or I was about to sound very crazy to someone I respected.
Jameson smiled, chuckling a little in the face of my confusion.
"You're a little more pragmatic than the others I see. Yes, I suppose you could call it a tone. Since I was young, I've had it. A kind of aura that creates peaceful feelings in those around me. It's a gift I often use around here."
I was astonished, "You mean, you have this gift for bringing peace to those around you, and you use it in prison?"
He took a chip and chewed in speculative, as though thinking about how he would answer that question.
"When I was thirteen, I thought I might use this ability to become a diplomat or a politician. If I could bring peace to those around me, I could be an asset to those in trying situations. I soon realized, though, that positions like that were out of my reach without a rich family to back me. I thought about training to be an actor, someone who could affect change just by the nature of celebrity. That was another path that was closed to me, however. The climate at that time was no kind to Asian Immigrants, even those not hailing from Japan. I then considered the Army, maybe I could do some good as an officer, and someone with my skill set could be useful on the battlefield. The Vietnam war was raging, and it was far better to enlist than to be drafted. I joined, served my time, but I never made it onto the battlefield. Instead, I was sent to a navy vessel and told to cook, something I was good at. I slung hash for the next eight years and retired with a pension and an unfulfilled ideal."
As he told his tale, I could almost imagine the younger man he had been. He had been full of ideas and hopes, just like me, and he felt dissatisfied by the world at large. He had a talent, but the world didn't see fit to use that talent. Sometimes, it seems like the world makes things harder for itself.
"I confided in an officer while aboard the USS Copeland that I had a gift for making people calm. He laughed until I proved it by calming a group of tired flight man who were milling about the landing zone. They went from scowling and mumbling to smiling and going about their tasks with purpose within seconds of me having talked to them. He asked how this could be possible, and I told him about the strange aura I had held since childhood. However, the Officer told me that my best bet would be to keep this ability to myself. I would likely be thrown out as a loonie, or, worse, kept in a lab somewhere and experimented on if they believed me."
He sighed and seemed to stare off into space, reliving those glory days.
"So there I was, twenty-six, unemployed, and looking for the next place to use my talent. I considered a career in medicine, but I didn't have the memory or the stomach for it. I considered law enforcement, but my academy scores were never good enough to qualify. Corrections, on the other hand, decided that they would take me gladly. That was seventy-six, and a man with no family and an open schedule could find all the work he wanted with the department. I signed on with Stragview, and I've been here for nearly thirty years."
"Yeah," I cut in, "but why?"
Jameson looked across the yard, taking in the dorms and the chainlink and seeming to miss it already.
"Did you know that while I have been here, uses of force have declined by forty-five percent from the years previous to my hiring? When I am on shift, the need for physical force is at an all-time low. This prison sits on a nexus, son. I'm sure you've noticed some strange things around here?" he said, eyes twinkling a little in the moonlight.
Thinking back on it, I had indeed seen some strange things within the walls of Stragview, sometimes so unexplainable things.
"If my presence here can cause one officer to leave in his car as opposed to an ambulance, then my time here has been well spent. I do not consider my talents squandered here, quite the contrary. I think this is where they might be best served."
I always found that profound when I looked back on it.
I did before that night, at least.
Six months ago, Officer Jameson told me he was retiring.
I was on inside by that point, the Captain liked to have me on his yard team, and I was going to pick up his count slips when he gave me the good news.
"Next month will mark thirty years of service with the department. After thirty years, I think I might be ready for some much overdue rest."
I asked him how he meant to spend his retirement, and he told me about a piece of property he owned with a fish pond and a hunting lease. He intended to hunt, fish, care for his garden, and maybe even write his memoirs about his time in the war and his time with DOC. He seemed happy when he spoke of these things, and I was happy for him. He seemed pleased at the prospect of rest, and I wished him joy of his newfound freedom.
By the end of the month, he was gone, and we settled into life without Jameson at Stragview Prison.
When I arrived at work the next day, the change was immediate. The air around Stragview had always been heavy, the place seemed almost Lovecraftian at times, and an air of oppression seemed to roll in with the fog most mornings, but now it seemed different. It felt like it might rain at any minute, and it was the first time I had ever thought about just climbing back in my truck and driving home.
We used force that night.
It was the ugly kind of force that you use on desperate men.
His name was Daffin, and it all started because he was hungry. Officer Wilde stopped him on the way through the chow hall and told him to give up his extra tray. Inmate Daffin explained that he had paid for this extra tray, not uncommon in prison economics, but Wilde was hearing none of it. He snatched the tray and told Daffin to take his ass to his table and not treat him like some rookie.
Daffin responded by punching Officer Wilde in the face.
Officer Wilde responded by breaking his jaw and nearly kicking off the first chow hall riot I had ever seen. We got them calmed down, and Daffin went to the infirmary while Wilde went home. I had seen violence on the compound before, but this was the closest I had ever seen it to coming off the rails. Tensions remained high for the rest of the night, but I would soon discover that the chow hall incident was just an overture.
The week after that, the outbreak started.
The previous week had been hard. Four stabbings, three fights, three assaults on staff, and two attempted suicides had made it the longest weekend I could remember. Daffin had gone to the hospital in the midst of it, his jaw rebreaking when he tried to break up one of the fights, and when they called me in on Monday, my first day off, I was not happy. I wasn't alone though, most of my shift was called in to lock down two of our open bay dorms. Daffin had come back from the hospital with something, and it had spread like wildfire in twelve hours. We were never sure if it was flu or what, but it made them cough and snot and acted more like pneumonia than anything.
After the fifth inmate had to be rushed to the hospital, they put a third dorm on lockdown.
After the first death, they put nearly all the dorms on lockdown.
The only two dorms not on lockdown by the end of the month were H and F, and only because they were under too high a level of security to get close to the infected inmates. They became responsible for cooking the meals, packed in styrofoam, and trucked down to the dorm. These were men with no experience in the kitchen, and as the quality of the food began to slip, the quarantine dorms began to make more and more noise. We were living in a powder keg, and a single spark would be all it would take to blow us all to kingdom come.
That spark came on the night of the Riot.
I had just got on shift when the call about the fight came down. Two officers from the previous shift were sent to help the dorm officer quell the disturbance, and after I got my equipment, I headed that way to see if they needed help. When the sirens went off, I knew something bad had gone down. I could see the doors of the dorm, and the Inmates were pressed against them as the mag locks held them in place. The officer in the station had been quick enough to engage the locks, and I could see Creest glancing over his shoulder as he shunted an inmate away from the dorm. You could hear that blatting siren from halfway across the world, so when we got the word that F dorm was also in an uproar, we weren't surprised.
When they came boiling out of the side door like angry cockroaches, that did surprise us a little.
We'd been suited up for breaching, preparing to enter the H dorm, and rescue a wounded officer. The six of us were preparing to breach the side door when a mob of howling inmates came spilling out from down the lawn. We would later find out that they had gained access to the station somehow and taken the doors off lockdown, but at that moment, all we could do was fallback for the gate and try to quell the tide.
We spent the better part of the night there. The inmates would push to the gate, attempt to rush us and fall back after we put a few down. Killing isn't something you know you can do until you've done it. Our usual team, a six-man group that joked and laughed through weekly drills, were not toting empty guns tonight. Every weapon had lethal ammunition, and our goal seemed to be more than the usual "rescue the CO and quell the inmates" scenario.
We had put down another six when someone came to relieve another officer named Hardy and me.
The two of us were taken to the Warden's office, where he sat drinking tea as though this were any other day.
The Warden looked well put together for someone awake at three am. His pinstripe was immaculate, his salt and pepper hair was uniform, and his gold-rimmed glasses were polished to a high gloss. He smiled at us, wolfishly, as we entered, and I had a bad feeling that we were about to be called upon to do something sketchy. I didn't like the Warden much. I had only seen him a few times, and every time he had made my stomach hurt. During my interview, as the Assistant Warden and the Captain of my prospective shift had asked me questions, he had just sat there, staring at me. His eyes were predatory, calculating, and it was easy to imagine that he could see right through you. He had interrupted the Assistant Warden mid-question to tell him that I had the job, and it had taken everything in my power to reach across and shake that hand.
Now, I wish I'd never taken this job.
"I need you, boys, to go on a little errand for me," he said, glancing over the rim of his cup like a mischievous cat.
I almost fancied that his eyes changed as he spoke.
He gave us directions and sent us out in a state van. As I rode shotgun, I wasn't happy about what we'd been told to do. The Warden wanted us to go to the address and pick up a CO who could help with our current situation. The CO in question was known to all of us. He had been on our shift last month.
"The general tremors around the compound have changed drastically since he left. We need a man of his… "Talents" back at work where he belongs."
We were going to roust Jameson from his much-deserved rest.
The whole trip, I felt very conflicted about this little errand. Jameson had earned the right to his rest, and we were going to drag him back to a place he had only recently escaped. Sometimes I joked with certain inmates that I had another twenty-seven years before my release date, that I was in a sense doing a thirty years stent, but at the end of my time, would they be free to pull me back too? I didn't like the idea of that.
We pulled up in front of his house around three am and found him waiting on the front porch. He had put on his uniform, his hair scooped back into its typical warrior's knot, and he looked utterly at peace. I could feel his tone when I climbed out of the van, a calming breeze that blew across my face, but as we approached, I began to feel a strangeness amongst the notes, a discord that pervaded the tone. He was presenting it for us but was far from committed to the feeling.
"Sergeant Hardy, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company so early in the morning?"
Harding paused for a moment but pressed on.
"I assume that you know, dressed as you are. I think you were waiting for us."
Jameson smiled placidly.
"Maybe. Maybe I woke up and sensed that my gifts were needed. Regardless, I am ready."
He sat in the back, and I chose to sit with him as Hardy drove. I felt less and less sure about this errand the longer it went on, and it almost felt like we were escorting this man to his incarceration, if not execution. He sat, smiling, looking straight ahead as Hardy drove, and I found myself staring at him with ill-ease. He turned his smiling eyes to me, and my unease deepened.
He looked like a man whose mind is at peace with death.
"What's on your mind, son?" he asked.
I shook my head, "I just...I don't feel good about what we're doing. It feels wrong. It feels…"
Suddenly I was assaulted by his calming aura, and it washed over me like a warm bath.
"All will be fine. All is as it should be."
He gripped my hand and squeezed, and I felt at peace all the way back to the compound.
That was when we saw the national guard vehicles. They had finally arrived, it seemed, and as they geared up to move in, we rolled through the front gate onto the compound. We took Jameson in through the front gate and made our way to Center Gate. Jameson floated between us, the picture of composure, but those jangles were still present amongst the calm. We led him, Hardy, and I on either side of him, but it was he who truly led us.
When we approached the line at the gate, the Captain nodded at Jameson.
His look was full of something, but at the time, I couldn't place it.
Jameson patted his shoulder and stepped towards the mass of inmates keeping a muddled parameter near the gate, just outside of shotgun range.
"Jameson, what are you doing?" I called out, stepping towards him, "They'll tear you apart."
The Captain stopped me with an outstretched hand, "Let him work. This ain't his first rodeo."
The inmates noticed him and began to move towards him like a swarm of angry bees. He didn't falter in his course, didn't waver, and as they neared, I felt him reach out with that odd tone and give them the full brunt of his power. They charged him, raising clubs and shanks, but staggered as they came within ten feet of the man. They began to sway, began to fall, and as I watched, they all fell to their faces in the grass and placed their hands behind their back. They fell like cordwood, weapons falling from limp fingers, as they lay, smiling, on the grass in placid compliance.
It was at that moment that I understood the terrifying extent of Jameson's power. It was then that I understood why he had never been allowed to be a General, a Politician, a Diplomat, or anything more than a minder of the dregs of society. Had Jameson been a very different man, he could have used his gifts to devastating effect.
There was no way that a just and loving God would have allowed a man to be so tested with corruption.
We spent the next hour putting zip cuffs on inmates as Jameson moved across the compound. We couldn't take him into the dorms, of course. We couldn't risk such a weapon in the confined spaces behind the doors, but it seemed we didn't have to. Just his presence on the yard quelled much of the riot, and we began to receive reports of inmates throwing down their weapons and returning to compliance. As Jameson walked, order began to reassert itself. As Jameson went, so went peace in his wake.
He saved us from a riot that would have taken days to quell.
He saved hundreds of lives, and how did we repay him?
We were on the Rec Yard when it happened. They had cuffed them and were processing them. They identified the instigators, threw the others back into their dorm, and the light of dawn was just beginning to peek above the horizon. The Warden had come out with an armed escort and was overseeing the operation with the Captain, Hardy, and myself. Jameson was continuing to calm the situation, his tone stretching out like an ocean wave, and when he abled over to our group, he was haggard but smiling. It had taken something out of him to use it, and he looked ready to drop.
The Warden extended a hand to Jameson, and he looked as hesitant to shake it as I had been.
"Excellent work, Jameson. We've missed your little gift around here. How would you like to come back? I can see that you're promoted, moved to the admin shift, and put you up somewhere cozy."
Jameson smiled but shook his head, "I don't think so, sir. I'm willing to lend my gifts, now and again, but I've found that I like my retirement."
The Warden feigned a look of regret, "I was afraid you'd say that."
The stock of the Captain's shotgun cracked into the back of Jameson's head, and he fell face-first onto the grass.
I had my gun slung around and pointing at them before I could stop myself. The Captain swung the barrel of his shotgun around to cover me, but the Warden shoved it away and stepped between my gun barrel and the group. His eyes did that funny thing again, where they shifted to something almost catlike. He didn't look angry or afraid but was, instead, curious as he studied me with his strange eyes.
"You know what must be done. If he leaves the compound, it will descend back into chaos. So he mustn't be allowed to leave. You know this is the best thing for the compound. A little sacrifice for the good of us all."
I pointed the gun at them, wanting to pull the trigger. If I did, though, I'd have to pull the trigger on myself next. I'd known what was happening here, hadn't I felt it from the beginning? The gun held firm for a count of ten, the Warden standing between us, the Captain looking nervous, Hardy's eyes darting for the best course of escape, but eventually, I dropped my gun barrel and let it hang underneath my arm.
The Warden said to grab him, and so we did.
We took him through the Rec Office and down a flight of stairs I had never seen before.
We came to a door, a big ugly metal thing that opened onto a shadowy corridor that seemed to stretch into the earth. It was lit by small islands of light created by overhead bulbs in small round cages. As we walked, a chorus of the damned yelled from the doors. They wanted food, wanted freedom, wanted death, and wanted to see the sun. We ignored them, and many shrank away when they saw the Warden was with us.
We deposited Jameson into one of these cells. He lay on the floor, breathing shallowly, and I paused in the door to look at him. Were we really about to do this? Were we really going to doom a man to spend his days in this dark hole? Would his chorus even reach out from the hellish place?
As the door swung shut, I both hoped it would and prayed it would not.
That was a month ago, and the compound has never been more peaceful. In the wake of the riot, we returned to some semblance of peace, much like the days before the quarantine, but I know the truth. I've thought about quitting a thousand times, thought about putting a gun in my mouth and ending it all, but I always worry that I too might wake up in that lightless void beneath the prison.
So let us never forget Officer Jameson, the savior of our compound.
May his death come swiftly and release him from the hell he now resides in.
May it be enough to grant him the freedom he deserves.
submitted by Erutious to SignalHorrorFiction [link] [comments]


2020.10.21 20:37 Erutious The Kindness

We are monsters. We have taken something beautiful and turned it ugly. We have sacrificed a good man, and for what? Peace? Ha! If it comes at the expense of that one man, then it is a dark and terrible thing, peace.
His name was Eric Jameson, and he saved Stragview from the Riots.
Eric Jameson, Officer Jameson, was probably the nicest guy you'll ever meet. He was a career officer, who had forgotten more about corrections than most of us ever knew, and his appearance was vaguely Chinese or maybe Korean. He always wore his hair in one of those buns, his windows peek, never touching the thick gray main on the top, and he always reminded me of the uncle from the Avatar show in the way he spoke and carried himself.
I got to work with him on my first night flying solo on the compound, and it was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. When you walked with him through the quad, it was as though the clouds lifted away from the sun. Inmates smiled more, officers were less surly, and everyone was just in a better mood when Jameson was around. He was personable as well, remembering inmates' names and asking about their troubles. He passed five times as much time in the quads as any other officer I'd ever known, a practice that would have gotten anyone, but Jameson dragged into the Investigators office under speculation of Inmate collusion. Jameson did the same to his fellow officers, too, and I never saw anyone snap or take a surly tone with Jameson. The way he walked amongst his charges was utterly devoid of fear or nerves. He walked through the quad as though it were his home, and the inmates were no more than his neighbors whom he was greeting on his way home from work.
This was not a skill he had gained from years of experience, though.
Jameson had a way about him that was undeniable.
Jameson had a vibration about him that broke up tension.
It was an ability I got to see first hand.
About a year after I started with the department, we had a significant disturbance in F dorm. What had started as a skirmish between rival gangs had devolved into a fight that threatened to bathe the whole quad in blood. It all came to a head at lunchtime, and the two gangs had taken advantage of the other inmates leaving. We were poised to roll into the dorm with force, blood and weapons already present in the quad when Jameson stepped past the Captain and walked inside. Twenty or so men looked at him, their faces covered in a veneer of readiness, and their resolve melted away. He spoke to the two groups for less than a minute before both were ready to end hostilities and submit to the officers in the hallway. Jameson came out of the quad with a peaceful smile stretched across his old young face.
"They're ready to comply, Captain," he said, his voice a gentle river.
That was when I felt it. It was like when someone hits a tuning fork, and you feel like you can feel those vibrations on your skin, in your teeth, and in your gray matter as they wash over you. This was like that, except it was more like gentle wind chimes or soft temple bells. I saw it wash over the others in the hallway, and a general atmosphere of calm permeated us all. Even the Captain, who had been ready to spit nails when Jameson had walked onto that quad, smiled and clapped the grandfatherly fellow on the shoulder as he admonished him for his efforts.
I saw Jameson later as he came out of the area next to the captain's office that held the snack machines and asked him what had happened out there?
Jameson smiled, "Oh, just years of know-how at work. It's all about knowing what to say and when. You'll pick it up too, brother."
I shook my head, my body wanting to smile and agree with him as his proximity made me feel at ease again.
"No, I mean the thing that happened when you walked into the hallway. I heard a kind of...chime?" I tried lamely. I couldn't properly describe the emotion because it wasn't something I had ever felt before. The others seemed to accept it, almost seemed to welcome the feeling of ease that wafted around Jameson like a fog. I, on the other hand, wanted some answers. I wasn't one to just accept things as they were, and I hoped this was something he was aware of, or I was about to sound very crazy to someone I respected.
Jameson smiled, chuckling a little in the face of my confusion.
"You're a little more pragmatic than the others I see. Yes, I suppose you could call it a tone. Since I was young, I've had it. A kind of aura that creates peaceful feelings in those around me. It's a gift I often use around here."
I was astonished, "You mean, you have this gift for bringing peace to those around you, and you use it in prison?"
He took a chip and chewed in speculative, as though thinking about how he would answer that question.
"When I was thirteen, I thought I might use this ability to become a diplomat or a politician. If I could bring peace to those around me, I could be an asset to those in trying situations. I soon realized, though, that positions like that were out of my reach without a rich family to back me. I thought about training to be an actor, someone who could affect change just by the nature of celebrity. That was another path that was closed to me, however. The climate at that time was no kind to Asian Immigrants, even those not hailing from Japan. I then considered the Army, maybe I could do some good as an officer, and someone with my skill set could be useful on the battlefield. The Vietnam war was raging, and it was far better to enlist than to be drafted. I joined, served my time, but I never made it onto the battlefield. Instead, I was sent to a navy vessel and told to cook, something I was good at. I slung hash for the next eight years and retired with a pension and an unfulfilled ideal."
As he told his tale, I could almost imagine the younger man he had been. He had been full of ideas and hopes, just like me, and he felt dissatisfied by the world at large. He had a talent, but the world didn't see fit to use that talent. Sometimes, it seems like the world makes things harder for itself.
"I confided in an officer while aboard the USS Copeland that I had a gift for making people calm. He laughed until I proved it by calming a group of tired flight man who were milling about the landing zone. They went from scowling and mumbling to smiling and going about their tasks with purpose within seconds of me having talked to them. He asked how this could be possible, and I told him about the strange aura I had held since childhood. However, the Officer told me that my best bet would be to keep this ability to myself. I would likely be thrown out as a loonie, or, worse, kept in a lab somewhere and experimented on if they believed me."
He sighed and seemed to stare off into space, reliving those glory days.
"So there I was, twenty-six, unemployed, and looking for the next place to use my talent. I considered a career in medicine, but I didn't have the memory or the stomach for it. I considered law enforcement, but my academy scores were never good enough to qualify. Corrections, on the other hand, decided that they would take me gladly. That was seventy-six, and a man with no family and an open schedule could find all the work he wanted with the department. I signed on with Stragview, and I've been here for nearly thirty years."
"Yeah," I cut in, "but why?"
Jameson looked across the yard, taking in the dorms and the chainlink and seeming to miss it already.
"Did you know that while I have been here, uses of force have declined by forty-five percent from the years previous to my hiring? When I am on shift, the need for physical force is at an all-time low. This prison sits on a nexus, son. I'm sure you've noticed some strange things around here?" he said, eyes twinkling a little in the moonlight.
Thinking back on it, I had indeed seen some strange things within the walls of Stragview, sometimes so unexplainable things.
"If my presence here can cause one officer to leave in his car as opposed to an ambulance, then my time here has been well spent. I do not consider my talents squandered here, quite the contrary. I think this is where they might be best served."
I always found that profound when I looked back on it.
I did before that night, at least.
Six months ago, Officer Jameson told me he was retiring.
I was on inside by that point, the Captain liked to have me on his yard team, and I was going to pick up his count slips when he gave me the good news.
"Next month will mark thirty years of service with the department. After thirty years, I think I might be ready for some much overdue rest."
I asked him how he meant to spend his retirement, and he told me about a piece of property he owned with a fish pond and a hunting lease. He intended to hunt, fish, care for his garden, and maybe even write his memoirs about his time in the war and his time with DOC. He seemed happy when he spoke of these things, and I was happy for him. He seemed pleased at the prospect of rest, and I wished him joy of his newfound freedom.
By the end of the month, he was gone, and we settled into life without Jameson at Stragview Prison.
When I arrived at work the next day, the change was immediate. The air around Stragview had always been heavy, the place seemed almost Lovecraftian at times, and an air of oppression seemed to roll in with the fog most mornings, but now it seemed different. It felt like it might rain at any minute, and it was the first time I had ever thought about just climbing back in my truck and driving home.
We used force that night.
It was the ugly kind of force that you use on desperate men.
His name was Daffin, and it all started because he was hungry. Officer Wilde stopped him on the way through the chow hall and told him to give up his extra tray. Inmate Daffin explained that he had paid for this extra tray, not uncommon in prison economics, but Wilde was hearing none of it. He snatched the tray and told Daffin to take his ass to his table and not treat him like some rookie.
Daffin responded by punching Officer Wilde in the face.
Officer Wilde responded by breaking his jaw and nearly kicking off the first chow hall riot I had ever seen. We got them calmed down, and Daffin went to the infirmary while Wilde went home. I had seen violence on the compound before, but this was the closest I had ever seen it to coming off the rails. Tensions remained high for the rest of the night, but I would soon discover that the chow hall incident was just an overture.
The week after that, the outbreak started.
The previous week had been hard. Four stabbings, three fights, three assaults on staff, and two attempted suicides had made it the longest weekend I could remember. Daffin had gone to the hospital in the midst of it, his jaw rebreaking when he tried to break up one of the fights, and when they called me in on Monday, my first day off, I was not happy. I wasn't alone though, most of my shift was called in to lock down two of our open bay dorms. Daffin had come back from the hospital with something, and it had spread like wildfire in twelve hours. We were never sure if it was flu or what, but it made them cough and snot and acted more like pneumonia than anything.
After the fifth inmate had to be rushed to the hospital, they put a third dorm on lockdown.
After the first death, they put nearly all the dorms on lockdown.
The only two dorms not on lockdown by the end of the month were H and F, and only because they were under too high a level of security to get close to the infected inmates. They became responsible for cooking the meals, packed in styrofoam, and trucked down to the dorm. These were men with no experience in the kitchen, and as the quality of the food began to slip, the quarantine dorms began to make more and more noise. We were living in a powder keg, and a single spark would be all it would take to blow us all to kingdom come.
That spark came on the night of the Riot.
I had just got on shift when the call about the fight came down. Two officers from the previous shift were sent to help the dorm officer quell the disturbance, and after I got my equipment, I headed that way to see if they needed help. When the sirens went off, I knew something bad had gone down. I could see the doors of the dorm, and the Inmates were pressed against them as the mag locks held them in place. The officer in the station had been quick enough to engage the locks, and I could see Creest glancing over his shoulder as he shunted an inmate away from the dorm. You could hear that blatting siren from halfway across the world, so when we got the word that F dorm was also in an uproar, we weren't surprised.
When they came boiling out of the side door like angry cockroaches, that did surprise us a little.
We'd been suited up for breaching, preparing to enter the H dorm, and rescue a wounded officer. The six of us were preparing to breach the side door when a mob of howling inmates came spilling out from down the lawn. We would later find out that they had gained access to the station somehow and taken the doors off lockdown, but at that moment, all we could do was fallback for the gate and try to quell the tide.
We spent the better part of the night there. The inmates would push to the gate, attempt to rush us and fall back after we put a few down. Killing isn't something you know you can do until you've done it. Our usual team, a six-man group that joked and laughed through weekly drills, were not toting empty guns tonight. Every weapon had lethal ammunition, and our goal seemed to be more than the usual "rescue the CO and quell the inmates" scenario.
We had put down another six when someone came to relieve another officer named Hardy and me.
The two of us were taken to the Warden's office, where he sat drinking tea as though this were any other day.
The Warden looked well put together for someone awake at three am. His pinstripe was immaculate, his salt and pepper hair was uniform, and his gold-rimmed glasses were polished to a high gloss. He smiled at us, wolfishly, as we entered, and I had a bad feeling that we were about to be called upon to do something sketchy. I didn't like the Warden much. I had only seen him a few times, and every time he had made my stomach hurt. During my interview, as the Assistant Warden and the Captain of my prospective shift had asked me questions, he had just sat there, staring at me. His eyes were predatory, calculating, and it was easy to imagine that he could see right through you. He had interrupted the Assistant Warden mid-question to tell him that I had the job, and it had taken everything in my power to reach across and shake that hand.
Now, I wish I'd never taken this job.
"I need you, boys, to go on a little errand for me," he said, glancing over the rim of his cup like a mischievous cat.
I almost fancied that his eyes changed as he spoke.
He gave us directions and sent us out in a state van. As I rode shotgun, I wasn't happy about what we'd been told to do. The Warden wanted us to go to the address and pick up a CO who could help with our current situation. The CO in question was known to all of us. He had been on our shift last month.
"The general tremors around the compound have changed drastically since he left. We need a man of his… "Talents" back at work where he belongs."
We were going to roust Jameson from his much-deserved rest.
The whole trip, I felt very conflicted about this little errand. Jameson had earned the right to his rest, and we were going to drag him back to a place he had only recently escaped. Sometimes I joked with certain inmates that I had another twenty-seven years before my release date, that I was in a sense doing a thirty years stent, but at the end of my time, would they be free to pull me back too? I didn't like the idea of that.
We pulled up in front of his house around three am and found him waiting on the front porch. He had put on his uniform, his hair scooped back into its typical warrior's knot, and he looked utterly at peace. I could feel his tone when I climbed out of the van, a calming breeze that blew across my face, but as we approached, I began to feel a strangeness amongst the notes, a discord that pervaded the tone. He was presenting it for us but was far from committed to the feeling.
"Sergeant Hardy, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company so early in the morning?"
Harding paused for a moment but pressed on.
"I assume that you know, dressed as you are. I think you were waiting for us."
Jameson smiled placidly.
"Maybe. Maybe I woke up and sensed that my gifts were needed. Regardless, I am ready."
He sat in the back, and I chose to sit with him as Hardy drove. I felt less and less sure about this errand the longer it went on, and it almost felt like we were escorting this man to his incarceration, if not execution. He sat, smiling, looking straight ahead as Hardy drove, and I found myself staring at him with ill-ease. He turned his smiling eyes to me, and my unease deepened.
He looked like a man whose mind is at peace with death.
"What's on your mind, son?" he asked.
I shook my head, "I just...I don't feel good about what we're doing. It feels wrong. It feels…"
Suddenly I was assaulted by his calming aura, and it washed over me like a warm bath.
"All will be fine. All is as it should be."
He gripped my hand and squeezed, and I felt at peace all the way back to the compound.
That was when we saw the national guard vehicles. They had finally arrived, it seemed, and as they geared up to move in, we rolled through the front gate onto the compound. We took Jameson in through the front gate and made our way to Center Gate. Jameson floated between us, the picture of composure, but those jangles were still present amongst the calm. We led him, Hardy, and I on either side of him, but it was he who truly led us.
When we approached the line at the gate, the Captain nodded at Jameson.
His look was full of something, but at the time, I couldn't place it.
Jameson patted his shoulder and stepped towards the mass of inmates keeping a muddled parameter near the gate, just outside of shotgun range.
"Jameson, what are you doing?" I called out, stepping towards him, "They'll tear you apart."
The Captain stopped me with an outstretched hand, "Let him work. This ain't his first rodeo."
The inmates noticed him and began to move towards him like a swarm of angry bees. He didn't falter in his course, didn't waver, and as they neared, I felt him reach out with that odd tone and give them the full brunt of his power. They charged him, raising clubs and shanks, but staggered as they came within ten feet of the man. They began to sway, began to fall, and as I watched, they all fell to their faces in the grass and placed their hands behind their back. They fell like cordwood, weapons falling from limp fingers, as they lay, smiling, on the grass in placid compliance.
It was at that moment that I understood the terrifying extent of Jameson's power. It was then that I understood why he had never been allowed to be a General, a Politician, a Diplomat, or anything more than a minder of the dregs of society. Had Jameson been a very different man, he could have used his gifts to devastating effect.
There was no way that a just and loving God would have allowed a man to be so tested with corruption.
We spent the next hour putting zip cuffs on inmates as Jameson moved across the compound. We couldn't take him into the dorms, of course. We couldn't risk such a weapon in the confined spaces behind the doors, but it seemed we didn't have to. Just his presence on the yard quelled much of the riot, and we began to receive reports of inmates throwing down their weapons and returning to compliance. As Jameson walked, order began to reassert itself. As Jameson went, so went peace in his wake.
He saved us from a riot that would have taken days to quell.
He saved hundreds of lives, and how did we repay him?
We were on the Rec Yard when it happened. They had cuffed them and were processing them. They identified the instigators, threw the others back into their dorm, and the light of dawn was just beginning to peek above the horizon. The Warden had come out with an armed escort and was overseeing the operation with the Captain, Hardy, and myself. Jameson was continuing to calm the situation, his tone stretching out like an ocean wave, and when he abled over to our group, he was haggard but smiling. It had taken something out of him to use it, and he looked ready to drop.
The Warden extended a hand to Jameson, and he looked as hesitant to shake it as I had been.
"Excellent work, Jameson. We've missed your little gift around here. How would you like to come back? I can see that you're promoted, moved to the admin shift, and put you up somewhere cozy."
Jameson smiled but shook his head, "I don't think so, sir. I'm willing to lend my gifts, now and again, but I've found that I like my retirement."
The Warden feigned a look of regret, "I was afraid you'd say that."
The stock of the Captain's shotgun cracked into the back of Jameson's head, and he fell face-first onto the grass.
I had my gun slung around and pointing at them before I could stop myself. The Captain swung the barrel of his shotgun around to cover me, but the Warden shoved it away and stepped between my gun barrel and the group. His eyes did that funny thing again, where they shifted to something almost catlike. He didn't look angry or afraid but was, instead, curious as he studied me with his strange eyes.
"You know what must be done. If he leaves the compound, it will descend back into chaos. So he mustn't be allowed to leave. You know this is the best thing for the compound. A little sacrifice for the good of us all."
I pointed the gun at them, wanting to pull the trigger. If I did, though, I'd have to pull the trigger on myself next. I'd known what was happening here, hadn't I felt it from the beginning? The gun held firm for a count of ten, the Warden standing between us, the Captain looking nervous, Hardy's eyes darting for the best course of escape, but eventually, I dropped my gun barrel and let it hang underneath my arm.
The Warden said to grab him, and so we did.
We took him through the Rec Office and down a flight of stairs I had never seen before.
We came to a door, a big ugly metal thing that opened onto a shadowy corridor that seemed to stretch into the earth. It was lit by small islands of light created by overhead bulbs in small round cages. As we walked, a chorus of the damned yelled from the doors. They wanted food, wanted freedom, wanted death, and wanted to see the sun. We ignored them, and many shrank away when they saw the Warden was with us.
We deposited Jameson into one of these cells. He lay on the floor, breathing shallowly, and I paused in the door to look at him. Were we really about to do this? Were we really going to doom a man to spend his days in this dark hole? Would his chorus even reach out from the hellish place?
As the door swung shut, I both hoped it would and prayed it would not.
That was a month ago, and the compound has never been more peaceful. In the wake of the riot, we returned to some semblance of peace, much like the days before the quarantine, but I know the truth. I've thought about quitting a thousand times, thought about putting a gun in my mouth and ending it all, but I always worry that I too might wake up in that lightless void beneath the prison.
So let us never forget Officer Jameson, the savior of our compound.
May his death come swiftly and release him from the hell he now resides in.
May it be enough to grant him the freedom he deserves.
submitted by Erutious to nosleep [link] [comments]