Lowes door knobs
2011.10.01 22:52 masterjd Lowe's
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2014.01.24 23:24 That_steam_guy Door Handle Master Race
2017.12.31 06:29 YellowTimer Hot and single door knobs for your viewing pleasure.
Exactly what you think. The finest of the finest in door knobs.
2023.06.07 03:20 Personal_Hippo1277 Clio Token Size As Text Size By Tier Comparison [Mega Text Wall For Enjoyers of Scrolling]
When I was brand new to NovelAi I had no idea how 2048 tokens really looked as text. So for anyone looking at the tiers, trying to decide how many tokens they want for Clio with the new update, I've tokenized Part of The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald (public domain since 2021).
That way new users can more easily visualize what the AI's maximum context is for each tier. According to the UI Clio uses the NerdStash Tokenizer, as different tokenizers will convert text to tokens their own way.
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgements, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought—frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.
And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes, but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the “creative temperament”—it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No—Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this Middle Western city for three generations. The Carraways are something of a clan, and we have a tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother, who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on today.
I never saw this great-uncle, but I’m supposed to look like him—with special reference to the rather hard-boiled painting that hangs in father’s office. I graduated from New Haven in 1915, just a quarter of a century after my father, and a little later I participated in that delayed Teutonic migration known as the Great War. I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came back restless. Instead of being the warm centre of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe—so I decided to go East and learn the bond business. Everybody I knew was in the bond business, so I supposed it could support one more single man. All my aunts and uncles talked it over as if they were choosing a prep school for me, and finally said, “Why—ye-es,” with very grave, hesitant faces. Father agreed to finance me for a year, and after various delays I came East, permanently, I thought, in the spring of twenty-two.
The practical thing was to find rooms in the city, but it was a warm season, and I had just left a country of wide lawns and friendly trees, so when a young man at the office suggested that we take a house together in a commuting town, it sounded like a great idea. He found the house, a weather-beaten cardboard bungalow at eighty a month, but at the last minute the firm ordered him to Washington, and I went out to the country alone. I had a dog—at least I had him for a few days until he ran away—and an old Dodge and a Finnish woman, who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove.
It was lonely for a day or so until one morning some man, more recently arrived than I, stopped me on the road.
“How do you get to West Egg village?” he asked helplessly.
I told him. And as I walked on I was lonely no longer. I was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler. He had casually conferred on me the freedom of the neighbourhood.
And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
There was so much to read, for one thing, and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air. I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities, and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew. And I had the high intention of reading many other books besides. I was rather literary in college—one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials for the Yale News—and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the “well-rounded man.” This isn’t just an epigram—life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all.
It was a matter of chance that I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities in North America. It was on that slender riotous island which extends itself due east of New York—and where there are, among other natural curiosities, two unusual formations of land. Twenty miles from the city a pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay, jut out into the most domesticated body of salt water in the Western hemisphere, the great wet barnyard of Long Island Sound. They are not perfect ovals—like the egg in the Columbus story, they are both crushed flat at the contact end—but their physical resemblance must be a source of perpetual wonder to the gulls that fly overhead. To the wingless a more interesting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size.
I lived at West Egg, the—well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them. My house was at the very tip of the egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season. The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard—it was a factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby’s mansion. Or, rather, as I didn’t know Mr. Gatsby, it was a mansion inhabited by a gentleman of that name. My own house was an eyesore, but it was a small eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbour’s lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires—all for eighty dollars a month.
Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans. Daisy was my second cousin once removed, and I’d known Tom in college. And just after the war I spent two days with them in Chicago.
Her husband, among various physical accomplishments, had been one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven—a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savours of anticlimax. His family were enormously wealthy—even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach—but now he’d left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance, he’d brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It was hard to realize that a man in my own generation was wealthy enough to do that.
Why they came East I don’t know. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. This was a permanent move, said Daisy over the telephone, but I didn’t believe it—I had no sight into Daisy’s heart, but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.
And so it happened that on a warm windy evening I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all. Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay. The lawn started at the beach and ran towards the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sundials and brick walks and burning gardens—finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run. The front was broken by a line of French windows, glowing now with reflected gold and wide open to the warm windy afternoon, and Tom Buchanan in riding clothes was standing with his legs apart on the front porch.
He had changed since his New Haven years. Now he was a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty, with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body—he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage—a cruel body.
His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked—and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts.
“Now, don’t think my opinion on these matters is final,” he seemed to say, “just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are.” We were in the same senior society, and while we were never intimate I always had the impression that he approved of me and wanted me to like him with some harsh, defiant wistfulness of his own.
We talked for a few minutes on the sunny porch.
“I’ve got a nice place here,” he said, his eyes flashing about restlessly.
Turning me around by one arm, he moved a broad flat hand along the front vista, including in its sweep a sunken Italian garden, a half acre of deep, pungent roses, and a snub-nosed motorboat that bumped the tide offshore.
“It belonged to Demaine, the oil man.” He turned me around again, politely and abruptly. “We’ll go inside.”
We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy-coloured space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding-cake of the ceiling, and then rippled over the wine-coloured rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea.
The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor.
The younger of the two was a stranger to me. She was extended full length at her end of the divan, completely motionless, and with her chin raised a little, as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall. If she saw me out of the corner of her eyes she gave no hint of it—indeed, I was almost surprised into murmuring an apology for having disturbed her by coming in.
The other girl, Daisy, made an attempt to rise—she leaned slightly forward with a conscientious expression—then she laughed, an absurd, charming little laugh, and I laughed too and came forward into the room.
“I’m p-paralysed with happiness.”
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laughed again, as if she said something very witty, and held my hand for a moment, looking up into my face, promising that there was no one in the world she so much wanted to see. That was a way she had. She hinted in a murmur that the surname of the balancing girl was Baker. (I’ve heard it said that Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lean toward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming.)
At any rate, Miss Baker’s lips fluttered, she nodded at me almost imperceptibly, and then quickly tipped her head back again—the object she was balancing had obviously tottered a little and given her something of a fright. Again a sort of apology arose to my lips. Almost any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me.
I looked back at my cousin, who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.
I told her how I had stopped off in Chicago for a day on my way East, and how a dozen people had sent their love through me.
“Do they miss me?” she cried ecstatically.
“The whole town is desolate. All the cars have the left rear wheel painted black as a mourning wreath, and there’s a persistent wail all night along the north shore.”
“How gorgeous! Let’s go back, Tom. Tomorrow!” Then she added irrelevantly: “You ought to see the baby.”
“I’d like to.”
“She’s asleep. She’s three years old. Haven’t you ever seen her?”
“Well, you ought to see her. She’s—”
Tom Buchanan, who had been hovering restlessly about the room, stopped and rested his hand on my shoulder.
“What you doing, Nick?”
“I’m a bond man.”
I told him.
“Never heard of them,” he remarked decisively.
This annoyed me.
“You will,” I answered shortly. “You will if you stay in the East.”
“Oh, I’ll stay in the East, don’t you worry,” he said, glancing at Daisy and then back at me, as if he were alert for something more. “I’d be a God damned fool to live anywhere else.”
At this point Miss Baker said: “Absolutely!” with such suddenness that I started—it was the first word she had uttered since I came into the room. Evidently it surprised her as much as it did me, for she yawned and with a series of rapid, deft movements stood up into the room.
“I’m stiff,” she complained, “I’ve been lying on that sofa for as long as I can remember.”
“Don’t look at me,” Daisy retorted, “I’ve been trying to get you to New York all afternoon.”
“No, thanks,” said Miss Baker to the four cocktails just in from the pantry. “I’m absolutely in training.”
Her host looked at her incredulously.
“You are!” He took down his drink as if it were a drop in the bottom of a glass. “How you ever get anything done is beyond me.”
I looked at Miss Baker, wondering what it was she “got done.” I enjoyed looking at her. She was a slender, small-breasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet. Her grey sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming, discontented face. It occurred to me now that I had seen her, or a picture of her, somewhere before.
“You live in West Egg,” she remarked contemptuously. “I know somebody there.”
“I don’t know a single—”
“You must know Gatsby.”
“Gatsby?” demanded Daisy. “What Gatsby?”
Before I could reply that he was my neighbour dinner was announced; wedging his tense arm imperatively under mine, Tom Buchanan compelled me from the room as though he were moving a checker to another square.
Slenderly, languidly, their hands set lightly on their hips, the two young women preceded us out on to a rosy-coloured porch, open toward the sunset, where four candles flickered on the table in the diminished wind.
“Why candles?” objected Daisy, frowning. She snapped them out with her fingers. “In two weeks it’ll be the longest day in the year.” She looked at us all radiantly. “Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it.”
“We ought to plan something,” yawned Miss Baker, sitting down at the table as if she were getting into bed.
“All right,” said Daisy. “What’ll we plan?” She turned to me helplessly: “What do people plan?”
Before I could answer her eyes fastened with an awed expression on her little finger.
“Look!” she complained; “I hurt it.”
We all looked—the knuckle was black and blue.
“You did it, Tom,” she said accusingly. “I know you didn’t mean to, but you did do it. That’s what I get for marrying a brute of a man, a great, big, hulking physical specimen of a—”
“I hate that word ‘hulking,’ ” objected Tom crossly, “even in kidding.”
“Hulking,” insisted Daisy.
Sometimes she and Miss Baker talked at once, unobtrusively and with a bantering inconsequence that was never quite chatter, that was as cool as their white dresses and their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire. They were here, and they accepted Tom and me, making only a polite pleasant effort to entertain or to be entertained. They knew that presently dinner would be over and a little later the evening too would be over and casually put away. It was sharply different from the West, where an evening was hurried from phase to phase towards its close, in a continually disappointed anticipation or else in sheer nervous dread of the moment itself.
“You make me feel uncivilized, Daisy,” I confessed on my second glass of corky but rather impressive claret. “Can’t you talk about crops or something?”
I meant nothing in particular by this remark, but it was taken up in an unexpected way.
“Civilization’s going to pieces,” broke out Tom violently. “I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read The Rise of the Coloured Empires by this man Goddard?”
“Why, no,” I answered, rather surprised by his tone.
“Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be—will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.”
“Tom’s getting very profound,” said Daisy, with an expression of unthoughtful sadness. “He reads deep books with long words in them. What was that word we—”
“Well, these books are all scientific,” insisted Tom, glancing at her impatiently. “This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things.”
“We’ve got to beat them down,” whispered Daisy, winking ferociously toward the fervent sun.
“You ought to live in California—” began Miss Baker, but Tom interrupted her by shifting heavily in his chair.
“This idea is that we’re Nordics. I am, and you are, and you are, and—” After an infinitesimal hesitation he included Daisy with a slight nod, and she winked at me again. “—And we’ve produced all the things that go to make civilization—oh, science and art, and all that. Do you see?”
There was something pathetic in his concentration, as if his complacency, more acute than of old, was not enough to him any more. When, almost immediately, the telephone rang inside and the butler left the porch Daisy seized upon the momentary interruption and leaned towards me.
“I’ll tell you a family secret,” she whispered enthusiastically. “It’s about the butler’s nose. Do you want to hear about the butler’s nose?”
“That’s why I came over tonight.”
“Well, he wasn’t always a butler; he used to be the silver polisher for some people in New York that had a silver service for two hundred people. He had to polish it from morning till night, until finally it began to affect his nose—”
“Things went from bad to worse,” suggested Miss Baker.
“Yes. Things went from bad to worse, until finally he had to give up his position.”
For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened—then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret, like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.
The butler came back and murmured something close to Tom’s ear, whereupon Tom frowned, pushed back his chair, and without a word went inside. As if his absence quickened something within her, Daisy leaned forward again, her voice glowing and singing.
“I love to see you at my table, Nick. You remind me of a—of a rose, an absolute rose. Doesn’t he?” She turned to Miss Baker for confirmation: “An absolute rose?”
This was untrue. I am not even faintly like a rose. She was only extemporizing, but a stirring warmth flowed from her, as if her heart was trying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words. Then suddenly she threw her napkin on the table and excused herself and went into the house.
Miss Baker and I exchanged a short glance consciously devoid of meaning. I was about to speak when she sat up alertly and said “Sh!” in a warning voice. A subdued impassioned murmur was audible in the room beyond, and Miss Baker leaned forward unashamed, trying to hear. The murmur trembled on the verge of coherence, sank down, mounted excitedly, and then ceased altogether.
“This Mr. Gatsby you spoke of is my neighbour—” I began.
“Don’t talk. I want to hear what happens.”
“Is something happening?” I inquired innocently.
“You mean to say you don’t know?” said Miss Baker, honestly surprised. “I thought everybody knew.”
“Why—” she said hesitantly. “Tom’s got some woman in New York.”
“Got some woman?” I repeated blankly.
Miss Baker nodded.
“She might have the decency not to telephone him at dinner time. Don’t you think?”
Almost before I had grasped her meaning there was the flutter of a dress and the crunch of leather boots, and Tom and Daisy were back at the table.
“It couldn’t be helped!” cried Daisy with tense gaiety.
She sat down, glanced searchingly at Miss Baker and then at me, and continued: “I looked outdoors for a minute, and it’s very romantic outdoors. There’s a bird on the lawn that I think must be a nightingale come over on the Cunard or White Star Line. He’s singing away—” Her voice sang: “It’s romantic, isn’t it, Tom?”
“Very romantic,” he said, and then miserably to me: “If it’s light enough after dinner, I want to take you down to the stables.”
The telephone rang inside, startlingly, and as Daisy shook her head decisively at Tom the subject of the stables, in fact all subjects, vanished into air. Among the broken fragments of the last five minutes at table I remember the candles being lit again, pointlessly, and I was conscious of wanting to look squarely at everyone, and yet to avoid all eyes. I couldn’t guess what Daisy and Tom were thinking, but I doubt if even Miss Baker, who seemed to have mastered a certain hardy scepticism, was able utterly to put this fifth guest’s shrill metallic urgency out of mind. To a certain temperament the situation might have seemed intriguing—my own instinct was to telephone immediately for the police.
The horses, needless to say, were not mentioned again. Tom and Miss Baker, with several feet of twilight between them, strolled back into the library, as if to a vigil beside a perfectly tangible body, while, trying to look pleasantly interested and a little deaf, I followed Daisy around a chain of connecting verandas to the porch in front. In its deep gloom we sat down side by side on a wicker settee.
Daisy took her face in her hands as if feeling its lovely shape, and her eyes moved gradually out into the velvet dusk. I saw that turbulent emotions possessed her, so I asked what I thought would be some sedative questions about her little girl.
“We don’t know each other very well, Nick,” she said suddenly. “Even if we are cousins. You didn’t come to my wedding.”
“I wasn’t back from the war.”
“That’s true.” She hesitated. “Well, I’ve had a very bad time, Nick, and I’m pretty cynical about everything.”
Evidently she had reason to be. I waited but she
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didn’t say any more, and after a moment I returned rather feebly to the subject of her daughter.
“I suppose she talks, and—eats, and everything.”
“Oh, yes.” She looked at me absently. “Listen, Nick; let me tell you what I said when she was born. Would you like to hear?”
“It’ll show you how I’ve gotten to feel about—things. Well, she was less than an hour old and Tom was God knows where. I woke up out of the ether with an utterly abandoned feeling, and asked the nurse right away if it was a boy or a girl. She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.’
“You see I think everything’s terrible anyhow,” she went on in a convinced way. “Everybody thinks so—the most advanced people. And I know. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.” Her eyes flashed around her in a defiant way, rather like Tom’s, and she laughed with thrilling scorn. “Sophisticated—God, I’m sophisticated!”
The instant her voice broke off, ceasing to compel my attention, my belief, I felt the basic insincerity of what she had said. It made me uneasy, as though the whole evening had been a trick of some sort to exact a contributory emotion from me. I waited, and sure enough, in a moment she looked at me with an absolute smirk on her lovely face, as if she had asserted her membership in a rather distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belonged.
Inside, the crimson room bloomed with light. Tom and Miss Baker sat at either end of the long couch and she read aloud to him from the Saturday Evening Post—the words, murmurous and uninflected, running together in a soothing tune. The lamplight, bright on his boots and dull on the autumn-leaf yellow of her hair, glinted along the paper as she turned a page with a flutter of slender muscles in her arms.
When we came in she held us silent for a moment with a lifted hand.
“To be continued,” she said, tossing the magazine on the table, “in our very next issue.”
Her body asserted itself with a restless movement of her knee, and she stood up.
“Ten o’clock,” she remarked, apparently finding the time on the ceiling. “Time for this good girl to go to bed.”
“Jordan’s going to play in the tournament tomorrow,” explained Daisy, “over at Westchester.”
“Oh—you’re Jordan Baker.”
I knew now why her face was familiar—its pleasing contemptuous expression had looked out at me from many rotogravure pictures of the sporting life at Asheville and Hot Springs and Palm Beach. I had heard some story of her too, a critical, unpleasant story, but what it was I had forgotten long ago.
“Good night,” she said softly. “Wake me at eight, won’t you.”
“If you’ll get up.”
“I will. Good night, Mr. Carraway. See you anon.”
“Of course you will,” confirmed Daisy. “In fact I think I’ll arrange a marriage. Come over often, Nick, and I’ll sort of—oh—fling you together. You know—lock you up accidentally in linen closets and push you out to sea in a boat, and all that sort of thing—”
“Good night,” called Miss Baker from the stairs. “I haven’t heard a word.”
“She’s a nice girl,” said Tom after a moment. “They oughtn’t to let her run around the country this way.”
“Who oughtn’t to?” inquired Daisy coldly.
“Her family is one aunt about a thousand years old. Besides, Nick’s going to look after her, aren’t you, Nick? She’s going to spend lots of weekends out here this summer. I think the home influence will be very good for her.”
Daisy and Tom looked at each other for a moment in silence.
“Is she from New York?” I asked quickly.
“From Louisville. Our white girlhood was passed together there. Our beautiful white—”
“Did you give Nick a little heart to heart talk on the veranda?” demanded Tom suddenly.
“Did I?” She looked at me. “I can’t seem to remember, but I think we talked about the Nordic race. Yes, I’m sure we did. It sort of crept up on us and first thing you know—”
“Don’t believe everything you hear, Nick,” he advised me.
I said lightly that I had heard nothing at all, and a few minutes later I got up to go home. They came to the door with me and stood side by side in a cheerful square of light. As I started my motor Daisy peremptorily called: “Wait!”
“I forgot to ask you something, and it’s important. We heard you were engaged to a girl out West.”
“That’s right,” corroborated Tom kindly. “We heard that you were engaged.”
“It’s a libel. I’m too poor.”
“But we heard it,” insisted Daisy, surprising me by opening up again in a flower-like way. “We heard it from three people, so it must be true.”
Of course I knew what they were referring to, but I wasn’t even vaguely engaged. The fact that gossip had published the banns was one of the reasons I had come East. You can’t stop going with an old friend on account of rumours, and on the other hand I had no intention of being rumoured into marriage.
Their interest rather touched me and made them less remotely rich—nevertheless, I was confused and a little disgusted as I drove away. It seemed to me that the thing for Daisy to do was to rush out of the house, child in arms—but apparently there were no such intentions in her head. As for Tom, the fact that he “had some woman in New York” was really less surprising than that he had been depressed by a book. Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart.
Already it was deep summer on roadhouse roofs and in front of wayside garages, where new red petrol-pumps sat out in pools of light, and when I reached my estate at West Egg I ran the car under its shed and sat for a while on an abandoned grass roller in the yard. The wind had blown off, leaving a loud, bright night, with wings beating in the trees and a persistent organ sound as the full bellows of the earth blew the frogs full of life. The silhouette of a moving cat wavered across the moonlight, and, turning my head to watch it, I saw that I was not alone—fifty feet away a figure had emerged from the shadow of my neighbour’s mansion and was standing with his hands in his pockets regarding the silver pepper of the stars. Something in his leisurely movements and the secure position of his feet upon the lawn suggested that it was Mr. Gatsby himself, come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens.
I decided to call to him. Miss Baker had mentioned him at dinner, and that would do for an introduction. But I didn’t call to him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone—he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness.
About halfway between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land. This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of ash-grey men, who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track, gives out a ghastly creak, and comes to rest, and immediately the ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight.
But above the grey land and the spasms of bleak dust which drift endlessly over it, you perceive, after a moment, the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg. The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic—their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Evidently some wild wag of an oculist set them there to
[Opus: 8192 Tokens ]
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2023.06.07 03:15 dealgad [Amazon] GeekTale Smart Door Knob with Keypad, Smart Door Lock Fingerprint Door Lock with Keypad, App Control, with 21% off, for $109.99
2023.06.07 03:11 lets-split-up I went on a cruise, and found the source of the rotting smell…
Imagine walking into a burning building, and everyone laughs and tells you the fire’s all in your head. When no one believes you, are you going to stay to burn up with them? Every
passenger in that crowd waiting to embark on the luxury cruise was already dead—they just didn’t know it yet!
I stared through the windows of the terminal at the magnificent Seastar, at the broken glass and spatters of blood that only I could see… and then I fled.
Without warning a single soul.
What would have been the point? My name is Cassandra—I see
death six days before it happens, and can feel it if I shake a cold hand—but no matter what I do, I can never, ever
My flight took me as far as the escalators before a flash of purple brought me screeching to a halt. Lily Tsuki? No—it wasn’t the purple-haired musician who’d given me with cruise gift card. But suddenly I remembered how I’d been looking forward to hearing her performance aboard this very vessel…
It was one thing to turn my back on doomed strangers. Terrible as it sounds, it’s a bit like reading about a catastrophe in the news. Quite another thing to abandon somebody I knew!
Could I really leave her to become one of the bodies putrefying in the belly of the Seastar? Every time I ordered a drink at my favorite bar, I’d remember I hadn’t even tried to save her!
“Fuck!” I cried, fumbling for my phone. “Oh, fuck me sideways… how much time…?”
Ninety minutes to get on board, find the musician, and… what? Convince her to disembark? How?
And yet my feet were already turning toward the gangplank—because as it turns out, I would rather plunge headlong into a ship full of the rotting dead than face an empty piano bench and the guilt that no amount of alcohol would ever drown. But to have any chance at persuading Lily, I’d need to know how
the passengers died. This meant that in addition to finding a purple-haired needle in a Titanic-sized haystack, a horrifying task loomed ahead of me. I was going to have to do something I had not done in a very
long time—plunge directly into my vision. Walk into its very maw and face whatever gruesome horrors lurked at the source of that nauseating odor.
I was going to have to find the bodies…
… and whatever killed them. Boarding
The stench was so overpowering after crossing the gangplank that I dropped to my knees and dry heaved. The flow of passengers moved around me past the concierge desk. I must have looked exceptionally sick, because a pretty girl in a suit skirt approached, asking if I needed assistance. She reached out a hand to help me up—cold!
I staggered away from her and inside. Then—because I felt I might throw up—quickly found my way out to the promenade deck and the blessed breeze.
Lifeboats hung overhead. Beyond the rail, the sea sparkled in the afternoon sun. Cushioned loungers lined the deck. None were in use, presumably because the pool, patio, spa, and other amenities on the upper decks had much more attractive areas for lounging. I leaned against the rail and gulped the air, listening to the waves splash against the side of the boat, noting blood spatters further down—but nothing signifying the cause
of the blood. Just vague signs of violence.
After circling the entire promenade deck and spotting only the occasional bloody spatters, I gritted my teeth, pulled my shirt collar up over my nose, and plunged into the nearest door.
The Seastar’s interior had the atmosphere of a luxury hotel. People milled about the restaurant and shopping area, buzzing with excitement, talking about cabaret shows and fine dining, while perky crew members answered questions, all perfectly oblivious to the putrid sweet rotting stench. I’d most likely find Lily Tsuki at the piano lounge, but since I didn’t yet have any plausible explanation for what had happened to the passengers, I continued wandering, entering a bustling café overlooking the ship’s grand staircase. Stepping over an enormous blood stain on the carpet, I passed the counter, nauseated by the fancy pastries behind their glass cases, peering among the tables and chairs. Paused when I spotted an eyeball in a teacup. No trace of how it got there. No body with an empty socket. Just the eyeball, swirling in a congealed bloody jelly at the bottom of the cup…
I scurried away, snatching a cloth napkin to cover my nose.
The interior darkened as I ascended the central staircase. No electricity,
I noted as I clutched the railing. Why would the power be cut? A storm?
But storms don’t scoop out eyeballs with a dessert spoon….
Coming onto deck 6, I peered down a long, dim corridor lined with passenger cabins. To passengers coming and going, the hall was illuminated by electric lighting—but since I was seeing the ship six days in the future, the narrow hallway vanished into blackness. With no way to enter the cabins, and nothing much to see here or in the other dimmed halls of the passenger decks, I ascended until I reached the pool. Pool Deck
Deck 9 opened to wide panoramic windows, dining, a spa, and of course the pool. I emerged outdoors with relief, removing the napkin from my nose as the sea breeze gave some respite from the odor.
Around me, people partied in bikinis and beachwear and suits, sipping all manner of drinks around the sky-blue swimming pool. A young woman stretched on a blood-spattered lounger, oblivious to the gore beneath her tanned figure. A few bodies floated among the swimmers, bloated and discolored. My vision shimmered briefly as a teen boy swam right through one of the bodies, splashing as if it were not there. My heart lurched when I realized that it was his own,
albeit dressed in different clothes—
!” I grunted as a small figure bashed into me, her arm grazing mine.
“Sorry!” cried a little girl in a pink swimsuit, bolting by as her mother yelled at her to watch out for people.
I tried not to think of how cold
the little girl’s arm felt. Counted the bodies: eight in the pool. One by the towel bin, head caved in. I made a circuit of the pool, occasionally brushing against people—cold, cold, cold.
No survivors, it seemed.
That was when I spotted a shirtless old man sitting at a table under an umbrella. I froze, goosebumps prickling along my skin. Unlike the floaters, there was no obvious reason for his death. His back was to me, the bare skin of his shoulders gray and blotchy. In his hand he held a broken drinking glass. He was positioned in repose… so what killed him?
My heart quickened as I moved round to the front of him.
His mouth hung open, shards of glass and a mangled tongue lolling out, crimson trailing down his shirt front. The source of the chewed glass was obvious—the cup in his hand was broken, its jagged edges bloody.
He’d died choking on the glass.
“What the fuck is happening here?” I whispered. Forward Stairwell
The jogging track and the sundeck—decks 10 and 11—offered a stunning bird’s eye of the pool and ocean, but I did not stop to take this in as I circled to the bow, opting to take the forward stairs down, rather than central.
The stench hit me like a cloud.
I had to stop as I descended into the dim stairwell, clinging to the railing, doubled over, gagging. It was so so
bad. My eyes watered. My stomach bucked. And it was dark.
Thank God for my phone’s flashlight. I fumbled it on and, napkin firmly over my nose, plunged down into the depths… The phone’s thin illumination flashed along the carpeted stairwell and the hall of the first of the passenger decks. I kept descending. Paused at an unidentifiable slick red mound. I was examining it under my light when a crewmember jogged up to me and asked, “Lose something, miss?” “Just my marbles,” I muttered, shooing the crew member away and inadvertently brushing his hand. Cold.
I turned my attention back to the mound.
A slimy pile of intestines on the stairwell… trailing down to a disemboweled body. Intestines… eyeballs… eating broken glass… nothing about this makes sense!
I swiveled the beam to check further downward.
That was when I found the source of the odor.
My path down was obstructed by a mass of bodies. The ones underneath seemed to have been trampled, but the ones on top… I squeezed my watering eyes and retched against the wall. Some of the bodies bore horrible mutilations—fingers bent and twisted, joints out of alignment, faces smashed in and jaws torn open. Many more appeared to have been crushed in the press of bodies. Best guess, there was a wave of panicked people rushing upstairs from below, colliding with a wave of others fleeing down from above.
Why this staircase? What was near this part of the ship? The cabaret lounge
, I realized. No electricity. No elevators. This was the nearest stairwell to the auditorium.
Closer. I was inching closer to uncovering the fates of the passengers. And yet, I still had no idea what
the passengers were fleeing from. Who were the attackers? Or… I thought of the eyeball. The glass chewed and swallowed.
An icy pinprick at the base of my skull whispered the question I didn’t want to ask… Why? Why did some of the passengers go mad, and do it to themselves? Piano Bar
I took the long way round to the cabaret theatre, going all the way back up the stairs and coming down on the central staircase, only to detour on hearing the notes of a piano. I found myself in a cozy lounge and spotted a purple-haired figure at the keys. And just in time—the ship was due to depart in less than half an hour!
“Lily!” I rushed over.
The musician’s face lit. “Oh it’s you, friend! You made it!”
“You’ve got to get off the ship!”
“I know it seems crazy but you’ve got
to! Everyone on board is going to die—I’ve seen it because I’m psycho
!” I heard it a second later and smacked my forehead. “I mean—psychic!
PSYCHIC!! I can see the future.” At her scrunched eyebrows, I burst, “Look I know how I sound, but I’ve been able to see things since I was a little girl, and I am telling you that this ship is going to go dark!
The engines will cut out!
People are going to flee and trample each other on that forward staircase…” Launching into a rapid-fire recounting, I was just getting to the eyeball in the teacup when she interrupted:
“You’re afraid of some sort of terrorist attack?”
“No, no! No! It’s almost like… a kind of madness, a contagion
, that spreads through the ship—”
“A zombie apocalypse?”
“Poltergeists? Possession?” She played a riff from a horror movie. “Should we call an exorcist?”
“We should leave
!” I checked my phone. “Quickly!—"
“What an odd duck you are! I can’t imagine any sort of catastrophe as big as you’re saying. You know this ship has tons
of safety protocols. And even if I did believe some disaster were drawing near—do you really think I could abandon crowds and crew?” She looked at me over her glasses, shimmering purple lips curving in a smile. “Listen friend, if this were the Titanic and I was the only one who could see the iceberg, I’d stay
to steer us right, not run off leaving everyone to die!”
Icy fingers raked along my spine. Even if she wasn’t taking me seriously, she was right—I did
have a moral obligation to save people. An obligation I’d been trying to fulfill ever since I was a little girl, until the attempt killed my brother, and even after, I kept trying for years and years…. until at last I realized that there is no way
to change anything. That is why I call myself Cassandra. For the Greek prophet doomed to predict the future but never be believed. Try and prevent what I’ve foreseen? You might as well try and pluck the stars from the sky!
Every hand I’d touched was cold
. Everyone on board would die
My fists balled, fingernails digging so hard into my palms they bled. “You really have no idea what you’re asking of me…”
“Oh, I’m not telling you
to stay. I’m just explaining why I
have to. Besides, I’m under contract.” She winked and focused on her playing as guests entered and sat at nearby tables.
She had no idea! None whatsoever! If I thought there was even a sliver
of a hope, I wouldn’t abandon people! Oh, if this happy-go-lucky musician understood the futility!! But she will
, came another, darker thought. She
will know the full depth of the horror coming…
“No,” I whispered.
“Huh?” She shouted, “Wait—friend, where are you going?”
But I was not listening. The cabaret theatre—was the answer there? The reason for the crush of bodies in the forward stairwell? I rushed past the cafe with the eyeball in the teacup, through the grand doors into the cabaret hall—
—but the cabaret hall was surprisingly quiet, save for a light touch of classical music. A few passengers mingled here or there, unnoticing of the cadavers draped on chairs and tables. The stage itself was pristine, the wood smooth and polished in the fading orange light through the windows. Apparently, the origin of the panicked flight up the forward stairwell was not
this grand entertainment venue—nothing here supported that theory.
Nonetheless, I gave the place a thorough search until my phone’s battery ran low, and then I returned to the grand staircase.
In one direction lay passenger cabins. In the other, the gangplank back to the port terminal and safety.
“It’s not too late to be a coward, Cass,” I said. “Run from the ship, run from the empty piano bench at the bar, find a different, cheaper hole in the wall to crawl into like—like the cockroach you are…”
Always the survivor, eh…?
Or… or, I could try just one more time. “‘Hope,’”
my brother always said, “is the thing with feathers.” And look what happened to him!
flashed through my mind. My heart slammed against my ribcage. I’d just die too, unless I left in the next—how many minutes? I checked my phone, but it was dead. Like I would be if I stayed.
A horn sounded the Seastar’s departure. A distant cheer rose up from the upper decks and balconies. I felt a brief panicky impulse to run back out on deck and throw myself off the ship… but in truth, my fate had already been decided before
the ship’s horn blew. I hadn’t been paying attention earlier, but I’d been rubbing and rubbing my hands, and finally realized they were cold.
Probably had been since I’d boarded. I shuffled leaden feet toward the passenger cabins, guided by my phone’s light to the brass number plate for 4044—my
cabin. Reached for the knob and stopped.
That smell—dread squeezed my intestines like a wet rag.
Smoke. Burnt meat.
I wrinkled my nose and opened the door.
Orange rays shone through the window, the sunset so vivid it almost gave the illusion that the room was on fire. The walls and ceiling were charred. The edges of the mattress and sheets a smoldered ruin. But the worst damage was the small sofa by the coffee table. Broken bottles scattered round. And there on the sofa—
My fingers went limp on the door handle as I stared into melted sockets of a body charred beyond recognition. A dark line encircled its wrist. The blackened remnants of a charm bracelet. My
While the man on the pool deck swallowed glass, I would succumb to the insanity here, dousing myself in alcohol and flame—
—immolating myself. [Part 1]
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2023.06.07 02:39 hseuh31 My worst experience of selling used car.
Before you read, I have only had one previous experience in used car trading. And this is just me ranting. I don't even know if this is the right place to post.
So today is the day we finalize the deal, I texted the buyer the day before to get car insurance ready so that we could go to Service Ontario together to get the transfer done (I wanted to see everything done properly in person). He replied "ok don't worry we will handle it all tomorrow". https://i.imgur.com/PNXaVZh.jpg
Today he came, brought the bank draft. I tried to e-deposit it but it kept showing error, I tried another bank's app, it couldn't recognize the correct amount, so I had to go to the bank. I deposited the draft, came back home, told him that we got to sign all the documents and head to Service Ontario asap because it's about to close (was already 4pm). He didn't say anything (first sign). We signed the uvip, bill of sale, ownership, gave him the service reports we've done before. After we signed the uvip, I asked him, "don't you wanna put the date and price?". He said "It's k, I will do it later" (second sign). After we finished all that, I thought we were going to Service Ontario now. Gave him the key, He drove the car out of the garage. When I was just about to hop in to the car, he suddenly told me "I can't do the transfer today, I don't have the insurance ready and don't have the time". I was like huh? That's not what we agreed on. As soon as he finished that sentence, didn't even give me a chance to talk to him, just started driving the car away. No sorry, no thank you, no shake hands. Everything happened so fast I didn't even know what's going on and what to do. I ran over and knocked the window and told him you can't drive the car away without insurance. He, not even willing to get out of the car, and said "I gave you the draft, this is my car now, you don't need to go come with me for the transfer" or something like that. He said it very quick, and as soon as he finished the sentence, he started driving away again. Didn't even wait for me to respond.
The way he acted made us super nervous. What's the hurry? Why didn't he want to step out of the car and talk with us to explain things nicely? Why didn't he tell us he can't go to Service Ontario with us together in the morning so that we can arrange a different time? We knocked again, said the same thing, he still didn't wanna step out of the car and talk to us, just keep repeating “don't touch my car, this is my car now!!!”. I tried to open the door, he then stepped out and pushed me.
I started calling the police. I explained the situation and they said the buyer has the right to leave because he has a dealer's plate and the ownership transfer is his responsibility. So I let him leave.
Why wouldn't I let him go? Because I saw people got into trouble on reddit because the buyer failed to get a insurance or did not get the transfer done after buying the car. I think these are normal concerns, if he's not willing to do so, he should have told us up front, not when he's about to drive away. Also, his behavior was very suspicious and he broke the deal that he promised first, if we knew that he couldn't get it done today, we wouldn't sell him the car.
The guy texted me later when he arrived home, sent me a website of Buy and Sell used car, which I have read it before https://i.imgur.com/Ylk74bq.jpg
. I called him back. He said "I sent you a link, you have no clue, no knowledge blah blah blah". Well, if you knew that I have no clue, no knowledge about selling used car, then why the fk couldn't you explained to me nicely. Why couldn't you tell me that you can't get the insurance and transfer done today before signing all the documents. You could've at least wait and let me call the MTO to verify before driving the car away, it won't take more than 10mins https://i.imgur.com/j9r94qt.png
, what's the hurry? why so aggressive? He said I don't want to seat there and spend an hour to explain to us. Said the reason that he couldn't tell me beforehand it's because he didn't wanna waste the time. He kept talking, then saying he's at fault, we also at fault, and starting to apologize, saying that he was caught up in the spur of the moment. I don't trust his excuses and apologies, the way he acted were definitely all planned. But out of courtesy and I don't want to deal with him anymore, I also apologized. Then we hanged up.
My previous deal went smoothly and nicely. The guy did not bargain on the price, kept me updated of when he could get the bank draft, insurance, etc. Willing to go to the bank and Service Ontario together. We gave him a discount and voluntarily put lower price on the bill of sale.
This Italian was quite nice when we were negotiating the deal, then suddenly changed to a different person after the deal was completed.
I talked to another buyer, he said he probably just didn't want to pay the tax on the full amount and want to get a appraisal to declare the car as low as possible. Well, considering how he behaved during the second sign, I believe this is the reason.
I wasn't trying to say that he has no right to drive the car away. He has, but he could have done it more civilized.
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2023.06.07 02:06 Born-Beach Something twisted crawled out from the edge of the universe, and it’s coming our way.
The forest is black. Pitch black.
I pound over the dirt trail, my feet turning the pedals like twin pistons. The bicycle bounces and jolts, shuddering as it rolls across the wooden bridge. There’s something in the air tonight. A chill.
But it isn’t the chill of autumn. No, this is the chill of unease. It crawls up my spine carrying the deep-rooted knowledge that something about these woods, something about this trail isn’t right. It’s the unmistakable dread of being watched.
I stand up and ride harder. My lungs burn with every push of the pedals but I can’t shake the feeling that I need to get out of these woods fast. The hospital is twenty minutes away. I just need to make it there.
So close. WOMP
Bass rumbles behind me. It’s followed by a rush of wind, enough to throw me forward while ravishing the forest like a tempest. Trees groan. Their frames break and kneel, surrendering to the gale. Branches and leaves come loose. They ricochet through the air like shrapnel, cutting into my cheek and and I throw up an arm to keep myself from losing an eye.
This is insanity.
I don’t know what’s happening, but I know I have to make it through this. I have to get out of these woods, get back to the hospital to see my sister before the heart monitor flatlines. She’s not doing well. Are your mother and father home? No, ma’am. Can you get here to be with her? She doesn’t have long. Yes ma’am. No matter what.
The distant bass nears, growing thunderous. It’s as though the whole world is shaking, like the Earth might split in two and swallow me whole. I grit my teeth. I let loose a defiant roar, sweat pouring down my temples as my legs tremble, willing my bike forward. Faster, dammit! Faster!
There’s a flash. Then another.
I’m answered by an explosion of light, so violent and bright that I can’t see a damn thing. I holler. Scream. My body jerks forward as my front wheel collides with what feels like a fallen branch. Next thing I know, I’m flying over my handlebars.
What’s the phrase?
Yeah, that’s it.
I brace myself for a broken arm, maybe worse, but the pain never comes. Nothing comes. It’s as though I’m floating in limbo, like gravity’s unable to finish what it started. I can’t feel a thing– not the dirt beneath me, not my face pressed against the bark of a tree. For a little while, I think I’m dead. That I’m in purgatory.
But then my eyes adjust. The world comes into focus, beginning as a blurry smudge, but soon becoming a picture-perfect recreation of my worst nightmare.
I’m not in the forest anymore.
I’m above it.
I’m looking down at the mess of trees and I’m terrified at how small they are, how much smaller they’re getting with every passing second.
I’m floating into the sky, being carried by a narrow beam of light.
That was a long time ago. Thirty years, give or take.
A lot’s changed since then, but one thing’s remained the same: the nightmares. I have them every night. I dream about that blinding light, that same low bass and that same gut-churning horror of being eaten by the sky.
I used to think they were a coping mechanism. I figured that since the dreams came shortly after my older sister passed, that maybe they were just how my eleven-year-old brain was dealing with the grief. My therapist seemed to agree. “You’re quite right that there may be a link there,”
she’d tell me, lowering her glasses and offering a medical-grade smile. “It’s very likely that these dreams are a form of abstract healing, a means to allow your mind to come to terms with its trauma.”
For a long time, I thought she was right. Or better put, I hoped she was. Now though? Well, I think maybe we were both wrong.
Where are my manners?
I’m over here rambling about my childhood, and you’re wondering who the hell I am.
My name is Isaiah Mitchell. I’m a boogeyman, but not the cool kind. I don’t hide in closets or haunt old houses. I’m the type that your parents rant about while watching the evening news, the sort that tinfoil hats point to whenever things go wrong.
I’m what you might call a Man in Black.
The work I do is classified. It’s the sort of work that happens behind the scenes, with shadowy people in shadowy circles. So when I tell you that last night something catastrophic happened, I’m not talking about the stock market dipping a couple percentage points. I'm not talking about increased traffic on your morning commute.
I’m talking about trouble.
Lots of it.
It’s the kind of trouble that’s making me do something I don’t generally do, which is break rules. By the end of this, I might break all of them. But this is important, and in moments like these I find myself thinking about my late sister, Hope, and how she would have wanted me to do the right thing. It’s how she raised me, after all.
So here goes nothing.
This begins with a story, but it ends with a decision. The story is mine, and the decision is yours. When I’m finished, you get to choose whether you spend the time you have left a little wiser, or laugh this off as the ramblings of a lunatic.
Whatever you choose, I’ll have made my peace.
The story is a personal one. It’s about me, but it’s also about you– it’s about everything in the universe, right down to the last atom, and how all of us are facing a horror the likes of which we can’t begin to imagine.
It’s the story of the worst night of my life, and what might one day be the worst night of yours.
It goes like this.
The beam of light sucks me up and spits me into absolute darkness. The sensory whiplash is enough to give me a headache, something like a migraine that pulses near my temples and feels like a bulldozer inside my skull.
But not half as uncomfortable as the situation I’m in.
“Hello?” I mumble to the dark. I stumble to my feet, feeling around my environment blindly. It’s cold. Hard. It feels like I might be in a room full of metal, but I can’t imagine where that would be. A warehouse?
Footsteps echo in the distance. They’re closing in.
“Who’s there?” I sputter, and I think maybe I’ve been drugged. People don’t just up and float into the sky in the middle of the night. It isn’t a thing.
That means I’m hallucinating.
That means whoever kidnapped me knows a thing or two about stealing kids.
That means they’re a professional.
What’s the phrase? Serial killer.
Yeah, that’s it. WOOOOMP
I clap my hands to my ears. It’s that same bass from the forest, except now it’s reverberating all around me. Another bass joins it. This one is different… coming from a new direction, with a lower tone. It’s almost like they’re communicating– like morse code.
“Please,” I beg. “Just let me go. I swear I won’t tell anybody!”
Static crackles. It’s followed by a sharp squeal of microphone feedback, then the buzz of modulating frequency. “Communication calibrated,” a digital voice says. “Subject identified: homosapien. Geographic location: New Mexico. Language model: English.”
There’s a pause, it’s long and silent enough that I can hear my pulse rushing through my veins. I’m positive I’m going to die. These things don’t happen to people who live to tell the tale.
“Can you understand us, homosapien?” the voice asks.
Yes, I say.
Can you turn on the lights? I ask.
The only thing worse than being murdered is being murdered in the dark.
Yes, they say.
I’m blinded for the third time in as many minutes. I blink, my eyes adjusting to the green glow as it fills the chamber. Wherever I am, it’s strange. Alien. Tall vats of liquid are scattered around a large, circular room, each hosting tubes that extend outward to a central console. Everything is metallic. I can’t make out any labels– any sort of identification at all.
“Is this level of light sufficient?” another voice asks, this one right behind me.
I wheel around, and my breath catches in my chest. In front of me is something that doesn’t exist– can’t exist. It’s roughly ten feet tall, and it’s got sharp teeth, sharp claws, scaled skin, and a tail. It’s a monster. A living, breathing monster.
I scramble backward. My back collides with one of the vats, and blue liquid sloshes against the glass. “Thehellareyou?” I shout all at once.
“We are the Chosen,” says the first voice, approaching my other side. “We are lifeforms from many galaxies away, and we have come to save humanity.”
They stare at me through giant eyes, and each of those eyes are filled with dozens of pulsing pupils. Almost like ink blots.
“I’ve been abducted…” I sputter, hardly able to breathe. “By aliens. Aliens… are real… and I’ve been abducted…”
“Correct,” says one of the aliens. I realize this one has gray scales, while the other has teal. At least I can tell them apart.
Gray looks at his arm, and a digital screen comes to life. He taps at it with a crooked finger. “Readings indicate heightened levels of cortisol and increased adrenal flow. Source: Fight or flight response. Biologically rational, but devoid of purpose.” He looks at me, cocks his over-large head to the side. “You have neither the option to fight us or flee us, so it would be best to comply. Do you understand?”
My jaw hangs open. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. Are these aliens really standing there reading me my Miranda Rights? “Are you going to probe me?” I ask. “Like the movies?”
Teal blinks at me, his pupils dilating. “Negative.” He points to a vat. “We will break down your genetic tissue into usable material, harvesting your most compatible DNA strands while discarding the rest. It is for the greater good.”
I follow his finger to the tank, and now that I’m right up against it, I can see clearly what’s floating inside. My stomach twists into a knot. Inside of it is a human body. Everything from the man’s waist down has been dissolved, and what’s left of his intestines are dangling freely.
“There is no cause for concern,” Teal says. He lumbers across the chamber to the metallic console that all the tubes are feeding into. “Your disappearance will be accounted for. A clone will be deployed to resume your life, preventing suspicion and avoiding social disruption.”
“Let me get this straight,” I say, trying to ignore how faint I’m starting to feel. “You’re going to kill me… to save humanity?”
The room spins. My chest gets tight and my vision becomes a scrambled mess. My ears are ringing like church bells. I stumble, losing my sense of equilibrium and I think I taste vomit in my throat.
“No,” I mutter. “This isn’t happening… Can’t be happening…”
I steady myself against a vat, looking up to see a dead woman’s face staring back at me. Pieces of her skull have been eaten away. I can see the wrinkles of her brain underneath.
“Heart rate out of range,” Gray says, but I hardly hear him. He grabs my wrist, presses a device against the center of my hand.
I struggle. Fight. I try to use my teeth, but he’s strong, much stronger than me. A coldness pulses against my palm, almost like an ice cube, and soon that frigid sensation is traveling across my fingertips. Up my arm.
“What did you…” I mutter, but the sensation is rolling through the rest of my body. It’s soothing. My eyes find my palm and I see a strange shape seared into the skin, a scatter of dots surrounding a black square. Suddenly I can’t remember the thought I was trying to finish. Was any of this really
worth panicking over?
It was just a few corpses in vats, after all.
“You have been administered a sedative,” Gray explains.
My heart rate slows. My ears stop ringing. The ghost of a smile sneaks across my face.
Gray’s staring at his display. “Cortisol levels reduced. Adrenal response suppressed. Biometric readings indicate subject has achieved a suitable level of suggestibility to proceed.”
“Affirmative,” says Teal, working the console.
I feel like I’m drifting through the lake on a warm summer day. My heart is full. I’m in absolute bliss, and all I can think is that Hope should get to experience this before she dies…
“Pulse is quickening,” Gray says with a frown.
My dying sister, alone in the hospital wondering why her little brother abandoned her.
“Sedation effect dropping,” Gray says. “98%. 94%. Emotional instability reaching unacceptable levels.”
“Hope,” I sputter, feeling like I’m coming out of a daze. “I have to get to the hospital– please! My sister is sick! She needs me!”
Gray presses the device against my other hand, and another pulse of relaxation courses through me. “Invalid concern,” he tells me. “Clone will be a perfect recreation of you, body and mind. It will retain all memories allowing it to continue your life uninterrupted. Conclusion: your expiring sibling will receive suitable emotional support prior to her decomposition.”
Fucking aliens. It takes everything I have to fight against the sedative, to make my case. “How?” I groan. “How is my DNA supposed to save humanity? What the hell is it saving us from anyway?”
Teal turns from the console to face us. His giant eyes are narrowed in a thoroughly displeased manner. “Invalid request. Information too critical to risk dissemination.”
“Rebuttal,” says Gray. “Clone’s memory can be modified. Current biometric readings indicate high levels of emotional discontent, placing likelihood of a compromised harvest at 34%. Solution: permit subject to understand purpose of sacrifice. Result: sense of closure and enhanced probability of project success.”
Teal turns back to the console. “Rebuttal accepted. Proceed.”
Gray looks at me. He places his scaly fingers against my head, and I squirm a little. “Brace yourself for disorientation,” he tells me. “You will experience physical unease and hyperstimulation. After, you will understand the horror that awaits your species in the dark.”
For a long time, that’s as far as the nightmare gets. Gray prattles on that I’m about to see the truth, some twisted fate that justifies melting humans into sludge, but before he can deliver the goods, I wake up.
Blue balls doesn’t begin to describe it.
Last night, it happens again. The nightmare, I mean. Same aliens, same tanks of human soup, but this time I wake up in a cold sweat. My phone is ringing on the bedside table. There’s a name on the screen that I hate to see.
“Whatisit?” I grumble.
“Jesus Christ, Mitchell. I’ve been calling for ten minutes!”
My boss. Lisa.
She goes off. The words are coming out like machine-gun fire, and from the background chatter I figure she’s speaking to more than just me. It sounds like there’s a crowd around her, like she’s briefing suits as she jogs down a hallway.
“Got all that?” she asks.
Something about a shitstorm. Something about an F35. The air force just shot down a UAP, which is how we say UFO these days to avoid getting laughed out of the room. Apparently it happened in New Mexico. My backyard.
This calls for a liter of coffee. Maybe two.
I stumble into the kitchen and put a pot on. I have some time while she holds the phone to her chest and barks orders at the drones around her. One cream. One sugar. My spoon clinks against the side of the mug as her voice blares through the speaker.
“Mitchell?” she says. “Still there?”
She says she’s got coordinates. I take a sip of scalding java. I’m dazed enough I barely feel it burn my tongue. My fingers punch the coordinates into my laptop, bringing up the location the supposed UAP was shot down.
I spit my coffee over my screen.
“The fuck?” I mutter, leaning forward and doing a double take at the map.
“What is it?” she’s asking.
“Nothing,” I’m saying.
But it’s a lie. The truth is, the coordinates are a dead match for the forest where I had my waltz with psychosis thirty years ago. They’re the coordinates from my dream. Right down to the rickety old bridge.
I ask her if she’s sure the numbers are correct.
“Am I sure?” she snaps. “Look, if you’re asking me if this is another Chinese spy balloon then the answer is go fuck yourself. I’ve been pulling my hair out for the past twenty minutes. This is the real deal, so suit up and get ready to go. I’ve got a bird on the way.”
The clock on my microwave reads 2:34 a.m. and my stomach is telling me to sort my life out. “Do I have time for breakfast?” I ask. Click.
The line goes dead.
Twenty minutes later, a helicopter is landing on my lawn. I board it in a daze, and we take off in the direction of the crash like we’re trying to outrun a cruise missile. I’m watching the lights of the countryside drift by, and it occurs to me that from all the way up here, in the dead of night, they almost look like stars.
I wonder how long it’d take to snuff them out.
How long it’d take to burn a whole galaxy to ashes?
To crush a universe in the palm of your hand?
Things to consider.
The closer we get to the crash site, the worse my thoughts become. They’re bordering on obsessive. I’m tangoing with darkness. Radio chatter is coming through the com line, something about aliens and extraterrestrials, but all I’m thinking about is controlling my bladder.
I’m drowning in hypotheticals.
I’m wondering what happens if I lose my mind between here and the crash site, what the protocols are, where they’ll take me. Do I get the night off? The week?
“Everything okay, sir?”
It’s the co-pilot. She’s turning in her seat and looking at me like I’m having a medical emergency.
“You look a bit pale,” she tells me.
My muscles work overtime as I twist my mouth into a smile. “Never better,” I lie. “How far out are we?”
“Twenty miles,” she says with a reassuring grin. She turns back in her seat and I take the opportunity to let out an exhausted sigh.
I close my eyes. Take a dozen deep breaths.
I try to ignore how dry my mouth is, how badly my hands are shaking. I try to ignore the fact that every time I look down at my palms, I see that same scatter of dots, that same faded square that no doctor has been able to explain. “I’ve never seen scars like that,” they tell me. “How’d you get them?”
I don’t know, I tell them.
I don’t know.
But I do.
I’ve known this entire time, probably, but I’ve just been too terrified to accept it. I’m not what I think I am– this world isn’t what I think it is either. It’s all of this that’s making me want to curl into a ball. It’s making me want to weep on the floor, to scream at the top of my lungs and pull my hair out with everything I have.
It’s making me want to throw open the helicopter door, take a breath of fresh air and then plunge head-first into the dirt like a human turnip. And if I thought it was that easy, I might just do it.
But somehow, I know it isn’t.
I know it won’t save me– won’t save us, from what’s coming.
See, last night I had the same dream I’ve had for the last thirty years. The same abduction. The same aliens. But last night, I got to see the director’s cut. The Extended Edition. Last night, when Gray told me he was going to show me just how fucked we all are, he actually came through.
What I saw was everything.
I saw how all of this ends. How all of it began. What I saw is what’s waiting for us in the black infinity of space. And the more that I think about it, the more I think it might be driving me mad.
“Just up ahead,” says the pilot. “Ten minutes to touch down.”
“Jesus,” he says, at the three minute mark. “Are you two seeing this?”
And up ahead is a plume of smoke, rising into the night sky. There’s the faint flicker of fading fires, the haphazard glow of industrial lighting, and there, at the center of it all, is the unmistakable shape of something that shouldn’t exist.
“That… doesn’t look like it’s from this planet…” the co-pilot mutters over the com line.
“No,” the pilot replies, and his voice is shaking. “It doesn't.”
They’re right. They both are. What it looks like is something extra-terrestrial, something alien. It looks like something ripped straight from my worst nightmares.
And really, that’s just where I wish it had stayed
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2023.06.07 02:02 flip_phone_phil 2023 Ford Bronco Upgrades?
Could really use some help from you experts. I own a new model 4 door Ford Bronco with one of the worst stock sound systems I’ve ever experienced. My #1 complaint is the lack of bass and that’s where I’d like to spend some money improving things.
TL;DR: I need recommendations to get some bass into this truck.
I’m not looking to DIY this thing considering all of the other electronics that are involved. I want the new speakers, amp, or subs to play nicely with all the other software.
Questions: any suggestions on what I should consider or where to start? When I visit a car audio shop, what am I asking them for beyond recommending an amp and subwoofer combo? Ballpark costs of what I should be thinking about to get this sounding decent?
My first trip to a local Cartoys was kind of a disaster. One sales guy recommended a bunch of shit that another sales guy there disagreed with. And then the tech installer was getting all excited about some full blown custom fiberglass buildout that he could do for me. Haha. Sounded like on the low end it would’ve been around $1,600 up to about $7,500 for this custom thing he was rambling about.
Anyway, would love some thoughts.
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2023.06.07 01:56 randomname638292 I (F21) don’t feel like my trauma is serious enough to cause CPTSD
I have never been professionally diagnosed with CPTSD but have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and dysthymia at the age of 14. I have a feeling both of these just stem from CPTSD thoigh… although I feel like my trauma is not serious enough and I don’t know how to deal with this feeling.
Growing up, my parents were great except for when my dad would get angry with me. He never hit me but he would yell at me, slam my door, etc. I would be having a panic attack and he would be screaming at me. I would be screaming at him too though. I have blocked out most of the memories but instances of this would happen from ages 8-11 fairly often. Maybe once a month or twice.
Then in middle school I was bullied pretty badly. Shunned out of my friend group and then the victim of taunting that involved name calling (bitch face, etc) and people would make fun of me, try to trip me, and even make dumb drawings of me in attempt to be funny but it wasn’t. After this is when I was diagnosed with GAD and dysthymia.
I don’t feel like I’ve processed these “traumas” and I feel like they have caused CPTSD possibly. I can’t relax at all for the life of me I’m 24/7 on HIGH alert. Low self esteem, panic attacks, anger, can’t sleep and can’t stay asleep, BPM constantly 90-110. People call me “paranoid”. I can’t focus I’m a total wreck in class just doodling and my legs shaking and tapping away. I also have PCOS to top it off and migraines with aura which seem to have some connections to CPTSD.
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2023.06.07 01:52 Wetheonesbut_Cody Team Elite v Team CM Punk
What’s up y’all, this is my 1st time booking here and I hope y’all like it. This storyline begins at Forbidden Door, The Elite is facing United Empire in a trios match and if any member of the Elite gets pinned, Osprey wins the IWGP US Heavyweight title. In the middle of the match while the ref is down, Don Callis and Konosuke Takeshita come out and try to take out The Elite (mainly Kenny Omega). While Takeshita and United Empire take out the Elite, Callis grabs the same screwdriver he used to betray Omega. But then Cult of Personality hit, and CM Punk returns and cleaned house taking everyone out including Callis, hitting him with a GTS. Punk helped Omega and the Bucks to their feet, then Punk low blowed Omega and rolled out of the ring. United Empire, Takeshita, and Callis attack the Elite and Callis uses the screwdriver and hits Omega in the forehead as United Empire get the victory. The next few weeks, Omega calls out Punk to no avail, as Takeshita and Callis taunt Omega but Omega can’t retaliate or else Callis will sue him. At Road Rager, Punk returns in and hits a GTS on Omega, giving Takeshita a massive win against Kenny. This pushes Kenny over the edge as he is hellbent on getting his hands on Punk. This causes him to lose many matches, including an AEW World Championship match against MJF. Punk returns on Dynamite in Winnipeg to a chorus of nothing but boos. “I didn’t start all of this………your hero started all of this 10 months ago the Now Arena in my hometown.” That’s what Punk said in his 1st promo in almost a year, playing victim. At the end of the night when the Bucks challenged FTR for AEW Tag Titles, Punk and Takeshita attacked the Bucks, and FTR joined in, until Omega attacked Punk and Takeshita, but FTR beatdown Omega until Hangman Page comes out and scares the men off. Then the main event for All In is set: The Elite (Omega, Bucks, and Page) vs Team Punk (Punk, FTR, Takeshita). Punk and Omega have promo battles for weeks, and Page talks about when FTR joined AEW and how they manipulated him. He says it won’t happen again. The match stipulation is Blood and Guts. The match is brutal and there is a lot of blood, Punk and Omega finish the match. Callis tries to hit Omega with the screwdriver he used to betray him, and he used at Forbidden Door. Omega catches Callis and hits him in a forehead, and hits a One Winged Angle through a flaming table. When Punk checks on Callis, the Bucks hit a BTE Trigger, Page hits a Buckshot Lariat, and Omega hits a One Winged Angle through a Table and pins Punk for the emotional victory to end this storyline.
(Hope you enjoy, give feedback so I can write others)
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2023.06.07 01:43 Inorai [Remnants of Magic] Legion - 55.1
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The room had already been quiet, but with Aedan’s words still hanging over the group, we might as well have been carved from stone. Alongside me, I saw Mason shrink back ever so slightly, his face bone-white.
Recluse nodded, though, still watching Aedan. “Let’s hear it,” he said, his voice low.
Aedan’s shoulders rose as he took a deep breath. His hands clasped tight around each other, clinging for stability.
And then he sat up straighter, locking eyes with Recluse.
“There’s a war brewing,” he said, and shook his head. “No. It’s not brewing. There’s a war going on right now.
“The Rekindler,” Recluse said. “Oh, I’ve been watching. The Legion’s got herself a handful, looks like.”
“It’s because of me,” Aedan said, more softly. His shoulders slumped. “I…Madis has been hunting me for a few centuries now. I thought I could stay ahead of him. And…I could, but..”
He didn’t turn and look, as such, but I saw him shift the faintest degree toward me. “I made some mistakes,” he said. “I screwed up, and…it slowed me down. It got Madis even more
“Seems like, yep,” Recluse said, still as nonchalant as he’d been since we stepped into his house.
“We want to bring this to a stop,” Aedan said, locking eyes with the man again. “I do not
want to get caught up in the middle of some European fuckwit’s war. I just want them to leave me the fuck alone
.” The corners of his lips twitched. “I get the feeling you understand that much.”
“Might have a clue,” Recluse said. “Don’t take this the wrong way, though, Wanderer, but I’ve yet to see how this is my problem.”
“Right,” Aedan mumbled. He shook his head, ruffling his hair with one hand. I saw him take another deep breath. “We want him gone. And the sooner he’s out of here, the sooner everyone can stop running around like chickens with their heads cut off, killing each other. It’s good for everyone. You included.”
“That’s all the way over on the east coast,” Recluse said, holding up a hand as if pushing back on an invisible wall. “It’s still nice and quiet over here.” His eyebrow quirked. “That Echo lout might be a giant pain in my ass, but they run a tight ship.”
“Besides,” Recluse said. He sprawled back against his couch, spreading his arms against the soft fabric. The blue and green flickers of magic from out the window cast odd shadows across his face, making me feel even uneasier than I already did. “Isn’t like I can do much, eh? I’m closer to you than the Legion bitch.” His eyebrow twitched. “It’s just me ‘round these parts, I’m afraid. No army to speak of. Not sure exactly what you’re asking of me.”
“We don’t need you to fight,” I said, the words slipping out before I could stop myself. The affront building deep inside Recluse’s eyes had sent a shiver down my spine, screaming for me to get in front of this train before it went off the rails. “We’re already imposing enough on your night, sir. We wouldn’t come and ask a stranger to fight our battles for us.”
Recluse’s gaze drifted over to me. I froze. My skin crawled as he gave me a long, hard look, searching me from head to toe.
He nodded, just a little. “Well, at least you know that much,” he said, giving an almighty sniff. “Kids these days expect too much. Always asking the impossible, pounding on my door with their hands out.”
“He’s a pain in my butt,” Aedan said. A laugh rippled beneath the words. “But…this crew has been pretty good. Not nearly as bad as the usual bunch.” When Recluse turned back to him, he shook his head, sitting forward to brace his elbows against his knees. “Jon is right. We don’t need your help that directly. I’m not quite that
forward.” His chin lifted. “We need information, and it’s looking like only you have what we need.”
“If you’re okay with helping us, we just have a few questions.” I blinked. It was Amber speaking, now, even if her arms and legs were stiff, one foot bouncing against the carpet. Her hazel eyes lingered on Recluse, unblinking. “That’s all. We can get right out of your hair. No more trouble.”
“And then, hopefully, we can get Madis out of town,” I said. “No trouble for a good long while.”
Recluse looked over, slow and deliberate. He fixed that same assessing look on Amber—but this time, his lips curled into a scowl. “Nothing else from you,” he said.
Amber stiffened, paling. “I-”
“You’ve got the same blood on you as the rest,” Recluse said. “I don’t want to hear another word out of you. This is a civilized household.”
I reached out, putting a hand on Amber’s knee. Already, I could see her paling, glancing my way. She shut her mouth, though, wrapping an arm around her midsection.
Recluse sighed, turning back to Aedan. “Say your piece,” he said. “I’m tired. Shit or get off the pot, son.”
Inwardly, my thoughts mused about Recluse calling him ‘son’ when both of them were a thousand years old. Or more. Sure, he looked like a man in his 40s or 50s, and Aedan looked like he couldn’t be more than a year or two over 20, but how much did that really matter here?
Aedan was squirming, though, readying himself, so I turned myself back to him, putting the treacherous little whispers from my mind.
“It’s a bit complicated,” Aedan said at last. “But the short version is that Madis is hiding. He’s got himself holed up somewhere in his territory, and we need to figure out where.” He spread his hands, gesturing into the open air. “We have a lead on a demi who fought with him once before. Successfully, we hope. We’re trying to track him down, but the trail’s gone cold.”
“Again, don’t see how I can help with that,” Recluse said. His eyebrow quirked. “I make it a matter of pride to not associate with the stained masses, you know. Did you think ‘Recluse’ was just for show?”
“I know,” Aedan said. “I…I know. But…” He licked his lips, shifting uncomfortably. “We have one last lead on the bastard. It seems whatever their magic is, it’s tied to the ley lines somehow. The old ones, that is.” His gaze dropped to the carpet, his eyes going misty. “A couple of finders spotted their fight, and the hallmarks they talked about are pretty clear. It all bubbled up about-”
“Three years ago.”
Aedan stopped. All around the room, eyes rose.
Recluse sat, no longer looking so casual. His knees were spread, hands wrapped around each other in his lap. His gaze was downcast.
“So you know of it,” Aedan said slowly.
For a long while, the room was quiet. There was no sound, even when we should’ve at least heard the cars from outside. It was like we’d been scooped out of the world, wrapped up tight in our own little cocoon.
I just counted the seconds, waiting. Aedan didn’t seem to want to push the point, which meant I damn
sure wasn’t going to do it either. My heart beat in my chest. We’d found something—now, I was sure of it. Recluse knew something.
Only now I wasn’t so sure if it was the prize we’d been hoping for.
Finally, when the silence was starting to become intolerable, Recluse groaned. He braced hands on his knees, standing slowly. And then he trudged to the side, to stand before one blackened window, the streams of magic lighting the dark planes of his face.
“I don’t bring folks here much,” he said, staring out into the nothingness outside. “I like my peace and quiet, yes, but it’s more than that. There aren’t many who understand what I am. What this place is.”
“This place?” Aedan said. His brows pulled together. “You mean-”
“This house,” Recluse said. He reached out again, laying a hand against an armchair. His fingers curled against the fabric, oddly protective. Possessive. “This is my home. The place in the world that’s mine
. But it’s more than that. It’s the heart of me, all the hopes and dreams I had, wrapped up in one tidy package.”
A realization shot through me like lightning. “This place is your relic,” I whispered. “The whole house. Isn’t it?”
Recluse chuckled. His fingers tightened against the chair.
The floor shook beneath my feet. I jumped, stifling a yelp. A tiny cry from alongside me said that Mason hadn’t been so fast.
And around me, I watched the house start to shift. The walls grated against each other, expanding and contracting as the room changed shape. A staircase appeared from behind a corner, then vanished as a hallway swallowed it whole. A kitchen peeked out from behind a column, tantalizingly warm and welcoming. The paint darkened, its luster fading to smooth, time-worn stone and timber.
As quickly as it started, it stopped. The house went still. The walls drifted back to their usual places, their suburban normalcy returning in sheets of white drywall.
“Well spotted,” Recluse said, glancing my way. He gave a quick, curt nod, but his eyes turned back outward. “When the end began, I gave this homestead everything I had. Everything I could muster up, I poured into these four walls.” His other hand pressed against the drywall, almost tenderly. “A place where my kin could be safe, no matter what came next. A place we could live out our lives, cradled in the magic we loved so dearly.”
He shook his head, ducking his chin low. His hand loosened against the wall. “Time rolled on,” he said, voice quiet. “It worked, but not how I planned.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Aedan said. I glanced back to him, and froze. His foot was tapping rapid-fire against the floor, his eyes impatient. Oh, no.
“But I don’t see how-”
“Shut the hell up and let a man talk,” Recluse said, grinning down at him. “You barged into my house before the sun even had a chance to rise, Wanderer. Take what you get.”
Aedan flushed, but shut up, hunching lower in his seat.
“This was our farm,” Recluse said. He twisted, gesturing out the halfway-normal window toward the orchard outside. “And orchards have roots. When I worked my spell, I did it a little too well. Bound it a little too snugly—to me, but also to the rivers those roots drew from.”
“The ley lines,” I whispered.
“Indeed,” Recluse said. He sucked in a breath, his shoulders rising as he bobbed in place. “And that’s why your Legion bitch sent you here. That’s the connection you’re hunting after so dearly.”
“I don’t understand,” Aedan said. “I- The ley lines are-”
“Dry,” Recluse said. “Yep. Dead as a bone. But this house?” He rapped a knuckle against the wall. “It remembers. The magic is gone, but the currents remain. And it pulls us onward like a leaf on the river’s surface, riding the ghost of what was.”
What? I eased myself to my feet. “Jon,” I heard Amber hiss alongside me, but…well, you couldn’t just dangle something like that in front of me and not
expect me to want a closer look.
Slowly, a good bit more fearful than before, I approached one of the darkened windows. The glimmers of magic were more pointed when I stood near it, like a nebula of blue beyond the glass. “Where are we?” I whispered?
“Right now?” Recluse said with a snort. “Dunno. Somewhere in Asia.”
I heard Cailyn squeak. I was right there with her. That had not
been the answer I’d intended or expected. I’d figured I’d get a some other mystery dimension
or deep in the bottomless well of dry magic
or something like that. Not that
But when I stood there, staring out into the not-black…I shivered, drawing away. It wasn’t just a void. There was something there, an afterimage. A mountain, and green fields, and-
“Nope,” I gasped, hurling myself away from the window. “What the hell is
Recluse’s booming laugh echoed through the room. “Not to your fancy, boy?”
“What the hell is this house?” I managed. Amber’s hands closed around my arm, pulling me back to the couch. I let her, dropping to the safely-comfortable cushion.
Recluse just kept chuckling, shaking his head. “Never gets old,” he chortled. “Told you, didn’t I? We’re ridin’ the old ley lines.”
“I didn’t think you meant it literally
,” I said, wiping my palms against my jeans. For some
reason, they’d gotten all sweaty.
“It’s just me and the magic, out here,” Recluse said. He glanced over his shoulder to Aedan, and the amusement slowly drained from his face, leaving him somber. “So I thought at first, back when this magic was new.”
The mood in the room shifted. I sat back, trying not to let my brewing fear show on my face.
Aedan looked a bit grey about the edges, but he sat motionless, staring at his opposite. “So you know something,” he said.
Recluse sat there for a long moment, as though letting the words ferment around us. Then he nodded, long and slow—and he looked over, staring out through the void-black window.
“It didn’t take long for me to realize I wasn’t alone.”
2023.06.07 01:38 Smugdosa Dating this guy who is from another country and really confused
So there is this guy (guy A) I met on bumble a few days ago and the starting of the conversation was really typical until we started chatting fairly regularly, our flirting styles matched and we even talked about life and all and I came to know he’s a sweetheart and also he lives in another country. So we kept talking and we were unable to meet since my cousin’s shaadi functions were going on and the other days that I was free I had to go shopping. Anyhow, he said mai shaadi pai aa jaau kya lol and I took it like it was intended like a joke but a few days passed and we both got serious about the idea and low and behold he actually came to the wedding! It was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for me, next day the functions were all over and I was free and we could actually meet properly so we went on a date and it was really cute, he held my hand without asking and I actually struck the door of his new car on the pavement and he was really REALLY chill about it and I was like wtf? Huge green flag. Okay then he dropped me home.
Uske baad we went on a date again which was again really great but we had to cut it short because one of his relative's was sick and he had to go to his hometown.
Then after that the communication became scarce and I was really upset about it because I really liked him (maybe even fell in love with him) and then after a few days he went back to his home (another country)
Then I went on a date with another guy after some months and it was like really bad, I missed guy A so I was like fuck it I will text him and I did and conversation started again but it happened really and he told me he's coming back to India soon.
He came back a few days ago and we met which was again really really good and he told me really liked me too and I know myself so I know I cannot handle a relationship with someone in another country I will die from anxiety. Theek hai toh then he told me maybe JUST MAYBE he's going to shift here (BUTTERFLIES) and I am falling in love with him again and I don't know whether to stop myself or let myself fall in love again. What do I do?
submitted by Smugdosa
to delhi [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 01:20 Britt_The_Kitt Apartment lied, "renovated" Apartment is actually a slum
My two roommates and I just walked into our new apartment today after playing the hardest game of back and forth with management (their whole system was down in the application process) we saw that our supposedly "renovated" apartment is in fact in the condition of a slum. I did do a walk through of a model and it was immaculate but we found a lot in the unit we received that made us all extremely upset. There is what looks like black mold on the water heater pipes, cracks and chipped paint everywhere, missing drain plugs, the sliding doors are screwed shut, front door knob is broken, flooring is a disaster (vinyl is lifted and cracked), and linoleum counters are in disrepair. There is so much more wrong but thats the most frustrating parts. Is there possibly a way for us to back out of the lease and get most of our money back or do we have ground to sue?
TL;DR We want out of our lease after just signing it because of the condition of the apartment.
submitted by Britt_The_Kitt
to legaladvice [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 01:15 Acieldama Maybe you just need a break.
I don't know who needs to read this, but I just thought I would share my experience. I got out into the field with a Bachelor's and no experience in 2008. Worked production-heavy, design-light jobs at FasSigns shops for 4 years after spending two years struggling to get my foot in the door anywhere. Finally got an in-house design position and stayed there for 5 years.
Towards the end of 2021 I had to admit that I was totally burned out and couldn't see myself feeling that sense of passion and satisfaction with my work again like I did in college. There were definitely toxic and ignorant supervisors/marketing directors that did their part in sucking the life out of me, as well as a stint of ocular migraines that were increasing in frequency, but the bottom line is that I felt graphic design just wasn't the career for me anymore.
I'm still paying student loans, and that sinking feeling that I wasted so much time, money and effort in a career with obvious major issues that none of my professors ever discussed with us really started to hit me.
By now I believe many of you are nodding your heads, empathizing with this, and it's to your that I am speaking. Maybe you need a break. I realize not everyone is in a situation where they can just financially quit and coast on savings, but if you can, or you can get by on a low-stress physical labor job for a year or so, I definitely recommend it. If you feel like you're absolutely done, everything is hopeless, you simply are not a designer anymore, I recommend this break.
Like most of us, when I first started out, I was excited and inspired by certain designs I saw out in the world day today. By the end of 2021, noticing designs that I may once have gravitated towards just gave me anxiety. After taking a break for the past year and a half, I've noticed that I am finally able to connect with that original sense of excitement and motivation when seeing such designs. I thought me and design was over, but I find myself buying books on typography again, and obviously visiting the sub Reddit again.
I'm not sure if I will ever re-join the corporate world, but I have started doing freelance and it has been a positive experience coming back. What I'm trying to say is, for those of you who think about taking a break, or feel like you are completely burned out on graphic design and you will never have positive feelings about it again, take a break if you can. I never believed that I would have positive feelings about Our practice again, but it turns out it just took some distance and time. If you were worried about an employer asking about that year or two or three gap in your résumé, just tell them you were working freelance and to fuck off.
Good luck and best wishes out there in our brave new AI world.
submitted by Acieldama
to graphic_design [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 00:44 _NovaMonkey_ But who would have the key?
Why the cabin doors did not want to open during the fire scene may have a few possible causes. Many believe that Coach Ben used the rope he was shown collecting with the matches to tie the doors shut. But once Tai broke open the door with the ax, there was no rope on the door knob. https://preview.redd.it/xo36qjpwzg4b1.jpg?width=967&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=afd4a4b3fc615094668eba3800d625f2f8abb39f
Another possible cause theorized is the heat of the fire caused the wood to expand enough to make the door unable to open. Heat does cause wood to expand but not directly. Wood expands due to moisture in the air, the humidity, that is absorbed by dry wood but this is generally a slow process and does not happen rapidly. More likely heat from a fire would cause trapped oils in the wood to pop/burst before it would expand.
On another post I commented a possible cause being that the door was locked with a key from the outside. That the door knob/lock was the vintage type that requires a key for both the inside as well as the outside. So basically the girls were locked in. Picture below is of Nat reaching for the knob a second time right after it burns her hand, The second pic a side view of the handle. https://preview.redd.it/rkseppuf1h4b1.jpg?width=1057&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ba494394fa5ca289389f9fb9f52740531d0b2997 https://preview.redd.it/euyu3oknxg4b1.jpg?width=1359&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=49979c2cf724ba7f51e6af4a4dc107fd2eb865de
This pic is one I found of what I think is a similar vintage lock and key that the cabin has. https://preview.redd.it/lrhsueqrxg4b1.jpg?width=480&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d11e277971ae9d0ab60652fa613b3464ebcea11d
Someone responded to my comment on that previous post with why would a cabin out in the wilderness need a lock when there is no one else around. And I partly agreed. Why would there even be a need for a door knob when a simple latch would do. But seeing that cabin guy had his wife and children with him maybe that decision was not his but his wife's who would want a locking door. Or darker, he wanted to lock someone in.
So if someone locked them in, who would have that key? Ben slept in the only bedroom, could he have found a key in there and never told anyone. Or someone else in the cabin, Travis, Dark Tai? Honestly with this show it could be anyone's guess. So I guess it is Javi's friend. The same one who helped them find the cabin in the first place with the reflection that Lottie saw from the lake. Maybe she no longer felt they needed that help and decided to take the cabin away for what she saw them do to Javi. It is valid motivation to do so seeing that it could very well be Ben who did it for the same things he witnessed. Why Javi's friend would have that key is another theory entirely.
submitted by _NovaMonkey_
to Yellowjackets [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 00:32 sweetietwilightt 27 [F4M] New York, Let's share and talk about hobbies..
I'm not closing my door for things like relationships and getting intimate with each other's body but I'm not really rushing it. You know it really takes time to commit to someone especially when it's about long term. So if we are a match, don't be shy and just message me. And if you feel lonely, alone and you need someone to talk to. You can hit me up as well, as what they said, sometimes it's better to talk to a stranger than to a well known person but yet stranger. By the way, I appreciate it if you're older than me, not really a fan of talking to someone younger than me.
What am I looking for:
Between the ages of 25 to 30's and up!
Please be in USA, if not don't dm me thanks!
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day reading this. Please message about yourself if you take an interest in me :3 I will not reply to low effort messages or just a "hey how are you". Please tell me your name, age and location right from the start so that we'll know where to start.
submitted by sweetietwilightt
to r4r [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 00:10 jujusco Do these little guys have a shot at hot weed summer?
Yesterday, I impulsively (in true ADHD hobby fashion) decided to try to germinate some seeds I found in the back of our kitchen cabinets. My husband has had them for probably two years. He tried in the past to germinate one or two but they didn’t work. I did some googling and went for it …I honestly didn’t think they’d sprout so I put five in a container and low and behold.. we have growth. I have never grown anything from seed in my life.
They are feminized gorilla glue and tangerine dream seeds.
I would have to grow them out doors in a pot in a very warm desert climate. It’s in the 100s consistently here now until September. :(
Do i just need to donate them to a good home (ha!) or do they have a chance with good watering and nutrients?
Either way, I enjoy plants and jumping in head first too deep into learning new things so I figured I might as well try to keep them going.
I’ve been using obsessive googling, leafly and grow with Jane for basic info, but if you have any books or good beginner resources you’d want to share it would be so appreciated.
submitted by jujusco
to cannabiscultivation [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 00:08 MetalHead794 Thinking about breaking the NC
So here the situation. Two months ago, I started dating this wonderful girl and we hit it off immediately. We were there for eachother, she contacted me first most often than not and she even invited me to a concert (whitch was supposed to happen last week).
The problems was that she had a difficult past and mental health issues because of this. Giving her a big anxiety problems on top of a low self-esteem. She had many bad dating experiences whitch all didn’t end well were she wasn’t treated right. And she was just getting out of one of those relationships.
Fastfoward mid-april, she came to my appartment for our date and she arrive with anxiety of the highest level. Full of fear that I would do what the other did to her, etc. After an hour, she finish by telling me that she think she is not ready to date for the moment. That I was one of the best guy she meeted and that I had nothing to do with it. She also wanted us to keep being friend. I told her that I understood but that it was hurting me too because I had feeling for her and it make me very emotional.
Fastfoward half a week later, I wrote to her to tell her that I wasn’t going to our friend group supper (whitch she organized) and to tell her that I wanted to keep my door open. But she didn’t wanted to keep her open and I had to argue (no without getting a little emotional) to no why. She finished to tell my that she wasn’t feeling it out of a sudden (whitch I learn was called the ICK and was certainly caused (in my opinion) by her been treated very badly all her life and her brain and body basically not knowing how to act to my affection and subconsciously rejecting me). I than said that I wasn’t interested in us being just friend like she wanted and that we should stop talking to eachother. After that, she just responded "have a good evening". I wished her happiness and she wished the same to me.
That was our last contact. I didn’t wished her happy birthday last month and didn’t like one single of her pictures either (we are on a communs kinky group were she often post pictures of herself). She like the attention and I know me not doing theses things affected her.
But after one month and a half, a part of myself want to try again with her and contact her again. She was one of the woman I had the best connection with and I feel as I should try one last time, but also feel that it’s still too soon. Thought?
submitted by MetalHead794
to ExNoContact [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 23:49 LarryTheLobster710 What would you charge to sand, cover and paint 4 poorly spackled DIY patches
Old tenant used those mesh screens from Home Depot and did a pretty bad job. You can see the outline of the screen from an angle. It’s covering the hole but they all need to sanded, smoothed, and painted.
3 are door knob sized and the 4th is the size of a piece of computer paper
submitted by LarryTheLobster710
to drywall [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 23:31 XGeneralZod The Mods to my Bass so far
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I play an Ibanez Mezzo 32” Sea Foam green Bass. The 32” scale is much easier on the hands in my opinion. It doesn’t require so much stretching from the hands especially playing the low notes and playing chord type things. submitted by XGeneralZod to BassGuitar [link] [comments]
I added an Aguilar OBP-3TK preamp. If you are installing a preamp I recommend getting it pre wired. That will save a lot of time and heart ache. I added Dimarzio Relentless P bass pickups. These are very high output. Combined with the preamp. This bass is a high performance machine. I have crafted my tone over the years to be a exactly the way it is now.
I still want to put a silver jazz bridge pickup in. Right now it’s just some old extra pickup I had laying around. And I want to add silver knobs and Hip Shot Ultralight for tuners eventually. At that point I think the Bass will be finished.
Unless your Bass sounds fantastic right out of the box i recommend everyone change out everything on your Bass to make it precisely to your specifications.
2023.06.06 23:30 electricdaisy Kirby nightmare
Hiiii vacuum people! long story short my gf is depressed and vulnerable and a Kirby salesman showed up at our door while I was at work yesterday.
She sent me a video of them doing a demo with the pads on the couch and I was like “oh, aren’t those a scam?” And she said “no, they’re awesome, my mom had one. I’ve wanted one since I was 15!”
I know she was feeling low and just wanted to feel good but I also knew that this shit is a scam and so I looked them up and found all the horror stories about the company. I looked them up on eBay and sent her a photo that the Avalir 2 was like $300 including shipping on eBay. I told her to try to haggle them down if she really felt she must buy this. I knew they would probably still be there when I got home, based on what I read about them staying in everyone’s house for 6 hours. I knew she is kind and would feel for this young salesperson and that combined with her being in a rough patch sounded like a recipe for a huge and costly mistake.
I didn’t try super hard otherwise to talk her out if it because I knew it wouldn’t matter and that she had already decided to do it from how she sounded in the video.
I got home to a bunch of vacuum attachments spread out on the really clean couch sitting next to $2000 in cash, and 2 salesmen in our house. I was not happy and excited like she was and they packed up pretty quick when they saw me frowning.
Of course I was upset, and she was upset that I wasn’t excited and ruined her one happy moment, and obviously issues are not just about the vacuum but she has expressed today that I made her feel even worse about herself bc of course it was dumb to spend so much on this, so now she sees how it was kind of unreasonable.
She wouldn’t tell me how much it was, and when we talked she said she talked them into giving her free tile/grout cleaning attachments and giving her a low interest rate since she has good credit so instead of $1300 in interest she will only pay $100. But I’m not quite sure why she’s having to finance anything if she literally handed them $2000 cash (she did, I saw.) unless they told her it’s $3500 and she just said great let’s do it and that was it.
TLDR- my gf put $2000 cash down on a fucking Kirby while I was at work yesterday.
1- I heard you can return it within 3 days, and they will make it hard for you bc obviously they don’t want to lose the sale. Is this true and if so how could we go about doing that? And would it possibly be harder since they got cash?
2- if she was your loved one, what advice would you give her?
I feel like if we could return it we could definitely get the same exact shit for $500 max and then it wouldn’t be as big of an issue/stress.
P.S. we have wood and tile floors throughout the whole house and only one or two rugs that aren’t very big. The only other thing that really needs cleaned is the couch, which does get pretty dirty pretty often from our dogs.
submitted by electricdaisy
to VacuumCleaners [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 23:29 EnCamp A hilarious developer diary penned by Greg Fulton, lead designer for HoMMIII, detailing NWO's final sprint to get the game published in working order at the deadline
Two weeks ago, I spoke on the phone with Tom Ono, the manual writer for Heroes of Might and Magic III. As usual, Tom asked how things were going. I said things were good... then proceeded to whine and complain for the next five minutes (much to Tom's amusement). 12/05/98
When the conversation concluded, Tom said, "Don't complain too much. Some people would give their eyeteeth to be in the game industry." I responded, "Who are these people and why haven't they been beaten for their own good?"
My name is Gregory Fulton, game designer for Heroes of Might and Magic III (developed by New World Computing, published by 3DO). You may call me Greg. Like most game designers, I'm sure you'll find me a bitter and cynical man, aged beyond my years, full of sarcasm, and inexplicably drawn to the horrors of game production like a lobotomized moth to the "pretty" flame.
As I guide you through your weekly tour of my memories, I promise the recollected images will be truthful and sincere but written with a smirk and a wink.
Undoubtedly, we will interact with the following animals: artists, level builders, managers, producers, programmers, testers, and monkeys. To help ensure your safety, I request you fasten your seat belts, keep your hands to your sides at all times, and be sure to not make any quick and sudden movements. Remember... we will be passing through the game production process.
It's Saturday. I'm at work with three other members of the Heroes3 team. I'll be in again tomorrow.
Smells like "crunch time."
Everyone in the game industry knows the term "crunch time." Those not in the industry may ask, "What is crunch time?" Long hours: 10-18 each day. We're starting our fourth crunch month. We have at least one more after this.
Bad take-out food: Mexican and Chinese food are New World's favorites. Today we had Taco Bell and Domino's pizza as part of NWC's "work for food" program.
Social Life: To work in the game industry you must already have some form of social retardation. When crunch mode begins, you may only speak in code to coworkers. Immediate family and friends may be seen on brief occasions so they don't file a missing-persons report. I'm one of the lucky ones; I don't remember having any friends or family.
Hygiene: Haircuts and showers become optional in favor of more sleep time. For me, showers are a must, but my hair is sprouting wings and a tail. Pretty soon I'll look like the lead singer from Flock of Seagulls.
Stress: Anger and frustration are frequent companions. If bridges are burned, this is usually the time. Earlier this week morale was low. In a fit of anger concerning team interactions, I was heard shouting, "I feel like a kindergarten teacher. Can't everyone just keep their hands to themselves and play nice!"
Murphy's law: Any potential hazard will be encountered. I'm writing this diary from the NWC conference room. My computer refuses to function for more than five minutes without seizing up. 12/06/98
This weekend I'm taking care of my PR duties (hence this diary). Not the most exciting stuff, so I'll relate a short story from earlier this week.
David Mullich (producer), Mark Caldwell (NWC vice president and programmer), Jon Van Caneghem (NWC president, creator of all things Might and Magic, and company design visionary), and I found ourselves crowded into the sweltering office of Scott White.
Scott did all the town screens in Heroes III except the Rampart, Necropolis, and Fortress. Since he finished his 3D duties, he's turned his skills to the game's interface. Believe it or not, we were in Scott's office arguing about color: interface colors and player colors.
After much arguing about the interface colors, we decided to leave it virtually untouched. Player colors were a different subject.
Originally, we used light blue, dark blue, red, green, purple, brown, black, and white. These colors needed to change. Light blue looked like the blue used in the main menu. Brown clashed with the brown used in the general game interface. Game text disappeared against white. Black and green disappeared with the terrain colors shown on the game mini-map.
OK. We agreed some of the colors needed to change. After this, the agreements stopped. I don't know what is more ridiculous... arguing over what colors to use or the twisted logic behind the arguments. Red, blue, and dark green were safe choices. We still needed five other colors. The conversation went something like this....
"I don't want yellow. Yellow is the urine color."
"What about brown?"
"I don't like brown."
"Brown is the s**t color."
"What about pink?"
"Pink is a sissy color."
"We won't call it pink. We'll call it 'rose'."
"The rose player?"
"I don't know. If I saw a pink hero, I'd turn and run away. You know any hero secure enough to use pink as his color is bad ass."
"What about magenta?"
"What about cobalt? What about cadmium?"
"Have we accounted for all the fecal colors?"
"What about orange?"
"Phelan (our art lead) doesn't like orange. It looks bad."
"So. I don't think it looks bad."
"Fine. You tell her you want orange."
"She'll kick your ass."
"Oh. Fine. We won't use orange."
So it went. Fifteen minutes later everyone agreed to disagree, and Jon was made the final judge. Here are the final colors: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, aqua, and rose (pink). 12/07/98
Today we stopped all map production. From here until we ship, I join the mapmakers and testers in playing maps and writing bugs... or so I thought.
Today, I had dropped into my lap the assignment of converting the 144-plus pages of the game manual into a help file. Anyone who has written a help file knows how huge this task can be. I could probably finish it in a day, but it requires no one bothering me for an extended period of time. Ha!
At this late stage of the production cycle, my entire day is spent meeting with people, making sure people are doing their work, and confirming that what is being done is correct. I don't have time for work. I've made the ugly evolution from game designer to middle manager.
It wasn't like this at the beginning of the project. At the beginning of the project the game designer is the screaming prophet, lost and alone in the desert (or the design process if you prefer).
In the middle of the production process the prophet is being screamed at by all his fellow coworkers who are wondering what to do because the design doc is behind schedule.
At the end of the project, everyone's a screaming prophet, and everyone is screaming at everyone else.
Sometime in the middle of all this screaming I've got to write this help file. Maybe I could give the assignment to Christian Vanover (H3 assistant director). Isn't it the job of a middle manager to delegate? 12/08/98
Yesterday I was wondering where I would find the time to write the game help file. Today I have the answer.... I think I have the flu. This doesn't feel like any 24-hour "see-ya-bye" flu either. This feels like "kneel before Zod!" flu.
All right. I've got a story for you.
Earlier today we "officially" stopped making maps. From here on out, we play, test, and polish the game. This could mean a little, or a lot. If the maps play well the first time out, revisions will be minor. If we end up chucking whole maps, we may find ourselves back to making maps. Thus, we started playing them today. JVC (Jon Van Caneghem, New World's president) ended up playing a notorious map named "Barbarian Breakout."
Ten minutes after he starts, JVC pages me over my phone intercom: "Hey Yoda." (He's been calling me Yoda lately. I don't know why. I'm not sure if I should be honored or offended. On one hand, Yoda is wise and he trains Jedi Knights. On the other hand, he is a short ugly green dude with big ears.) "Enemy hero with six behemoths (one of the highest-level creatures) knocked on my front door on week two, day one."
"Oops. I'll be right there."
As soon as I walked into JVC's office, the razzing began.
"What's with the six behemoths? Is this one of the balanced scenarios?"
"OK, OK. Something's wrong. Turn off the fog."
Jon restarts the scenario, turns off the fog of war, ends turn four times in a row, then right-clicks the enemy hero to see the extent of his forces. Aside from his other three stacks of creatures... he has one stack of six behemoths. Oops.
"All right. Open the map in the editor."
Jon opens the map in the editor. What do we discover? First, the enemy hero starts at level three, and the mapmaker (Dave Botan) has given him four stacks of creatures. In addition, the enemy hero's starting town has three of seven creature generators already prebuilt.
No wonder the enemy was able to recruit behemoths on day four.
Remember the story about the father who comes home from a bad day at work and yells at his wife? She in turn yells at her kid. The kid in turn kicks the dog.
At this point, I'm looking for a dog to kick. So, I hunt down Dave Botan. Immediately, Dave states his defense.
"Everyone says the map's too hard. It isn't. The AI's cheating." (Recently, we discovered the artificial intelligence was exploiting an undiscovered bug allowing it to recruit more creatures than were actually available.)
"The AI doesn't need to cheat. It's already got a huge advantage."
"There's a bug."
"Doesn't matter. Set all players to normal starting conditions."
At this point everyone begins to playfully dog-pile on Dave telling all the reasons why his maps suck. In the end he relented and fixed the map. 12/09/98
I'm not writing from work today. I'm writing from home. I have seven-way-straight-from-the-bottom-of-the-Amazon-flu.
With this kind of flu the logical course of action would be to rest, drink lots of fluids, watch lots of movies, maybe see a doctor. However, I am a game designer and unfamiliar with the ways of logic. A day at home with the flu means I have the opportunity to finish the H3 help file.
How pathetic can you get? On my day off to rest and get better, I use the uninterrupted time to convert a 144+ page manual into a help file.
I should get sick more often. I get more work done. 12/10/98
I'm back at work today. Good news... I finished the help file. Bad news... I still have the flu, and because I was so efficient in writing the game help file... I've been given the task of writing the map editor help file. Oh yeah, finish it by Monday.
Monday? There's so much pressure in my head, when I sniff, my eyes want to flee their sockets. My voice has the auditory consistency of sandpaper. Monday? Sure, I'll have it done by Monday. 12/11/98
Well, it's Friday night, and I have yet to see Star Trek: Insurrection. Doubt I'll be seeing it anytime soon.
One of the unmentioned symptoms of crunch time is cultural unawareness. In my time at a previous company I almost missed the entire O.J. trial. I haven't seen a movie since Starship Troopers. I'm not kidding. 12/14/98
I shouldn't have come in to work Thursday and Friday. It really pushed me over the edge. For the past two days I've been laid up with fever and chills. Remarkably, it was the one thing to take my mind off work. Aside from a froggy throat, it seems to have passed.
Enough about my illness. From here on, assume I'm always ill with the flu. 12/15/98
Today NWC (New World Computing) took a brief pause from game development to listen to Trip Hawkins (president of 3DO, NWC's parent company).
Twice a year, Trip makes a formal visit to talk about the company and where we're going as a company. It's a nice break from things.
However, Trip wasn't half as exciting as David Richie (our tools programmer) who sat next to me. Turns out David is coming down with the flu.
Over the course of the meeting, the air conditioning didn't turn on. With over 50 people crammed into a room, it got hot very fast. As the minutes passed, I could see David slowly whither.
I thought he was going to vomit. So basically, for most of the meeting, I sat envisioning how I was going to get out of the way when the volcano erupted.
Luckily, the volcano did not erupt. David left in the middle of the lecture and I haven't seen him since. 12/17/98
Welcome to the end of another working day at NWC. There is still no sign of David Richey. Another one of our programmers, John Krause, called in sick today. David Mullich (the Heroes III director) was ready to take bets on who would call in sick next. Of course, everyone blames me for getting them ill.
As far as your average NWC workday goes, this one was hectic and full of revelation.
Yes. Revelation. Only today did I look at my calendar and realize Christmas was next Friday.
Yes. Hectic. Every now and then I need to wipe my desk clean. This means catching up on all the hand-scrolled notes and stray post-its littered about my desk. When my desk is clean, I'm caught up.
This very act of cleaning makes for a semi-chaotic day. There is much gear shifting and subject changing to close dangling issues.
Add to this my usual parade of visitors, and my first chance to test multiplayer, and it takes great effort to avoid turning into a screaming monkey. Yes, I said screaming monkey.
Frequently, I find myself held hostage in my own office as a line of visitors (testers, programmers, artists, producers, etc.) quickly assemble outside my office in a short period of time, all wanting a piece of my brain.
Today it happened to occur while I was in the middle of a multiplayer game with Jeff Leggett (H3 multiplayer programmer). Simultaneously, I had three people show up and cram themselves into my small office. Each began jockeying for position to ask a question. Meanwhile, Jeff waited on the phone intercom, with Heroes III continually chiming in the background, letting me know it was my turn to play.
At this point you may apply the screaming monkey metaphor.
Despite the great potential for chaos, I asked Jeff to wait, gave my three suitors a number, told them to wait in line, then answered each of their questions.
On the surface, everything looked under control. Little did these poor souls know there was a screaming monkey, trapped in my mind's steel cage, wildly thrashing about in a desperate attempt to escape and turn me into a volcano of anger and lunacy.
When it was over, I took a deep breath, noted the walls weren't sprayed with the blood of innocent coworkers, and returned to my multiplayer game with Jeff.
Heroes II multiplayer wasn't friendly in the least. When it wasn't your turn, all you could do was sit at the computer and stare at the screen like a moron.
Well, thanks to our wonderful network programmer, Jeff Leggett, a moron you will no longer be.
Jeff has finished implementing multiplayer support. Now we're on a bug hunt. So, today, Jeff and I played a multiplayer game in the background while we went about our work.
I must admit, I had a blast. Moments like this make me forget my job is serious work. 12/18/98 Friday
Today I actually managed to catch up on all my notes. Next up, International Translation Kit. It can wait until Sunday. I don't get to enjoy these moments of accomplishment very often.
Being a game designer is nothing more than a life of delayed gratification. You spend the first month of the project "being creative," then spend the next 17 as a bricklayer implementing low-level details and boot-strapping the game design when unforeseen consequences arise.
Tomorrow we have our annual company Christmas party. I won't be going. I see my coworkers every day at work. I don't want to see them in a social environment. It'd be too weird. They'd have, like, spouses and dates and stuff, and wear dress clothes.
We've been told we can dress formal or casual. To me this means torn jeans and a food-stained white T-shirt. To everyone else, this means dress formal, because no one wants to underdress.
I don't want to see any of my coworkers dressed up. The thought frightens me. We're a bunch of geeks. We don't look good in casual wear. Formal wear will only amplify our geekiness.
Only one thing could entice me to go to the Christmas party - seeing the wives go off on the management for working their husbands so hard. I'd pay to see that... provided I wasn't on the receiving end.
By the way... hello to Chris Cross and Brian Reed, two friends I made when I briefly worked at Dreamworks Interactive (I didn't work on Trespasser). They called me today. They'd read the first entry in the Designer Diary and called to tell me what they thought. They then tied me up on the phone for the next 30 minutes while simultaneously sending me e-mail with bizarre and obscene attachments. 01/02/99 Saturday
Well, I'm back at work. The Christmas break was needed. I spent the first three days drinking eggnog, sleeping in 12- and 16-hour shifts, and watching Clinton get impeached.
After I was well rested, the eggnog was all gone, and Clintion was impeached, I did what any game design loser would do... worked on the game while on vacation. Ugh. I'm so pathetic.
My initial goal was to play existing maps. After playing five maps, it was obvious the AI hadn't been fully tested. It tended to sit back and never struck out until it had enough forces to guarantee a win.
This made for very extreme game experiences. Either you never saw the AI, or it came storming out of nowhere, knocked on your door, and politely introduced itself as your doom.
When our AI programmer (Gus Smedstad) gets back from vacation, I'll need to share my findings with him.
Well, seeing as I couldn't really play the game, I turned my attention to our 144-page game manual... much to my horror.
It turns out our second draft of the manual was full of errors. So, with red pen in hand, I promoted myself from game designer to fact checker. Over the next three days, I proceeded to bloody the pages of our beautiful manual.
To say it was tedious would be an understatement. When it was all over, I couldn't read anything if it wasn't written in fine print. 01/04/99 Monday
Today was another screaming monkey day. Why? One word: programmers.
I won't say who, but one of our programmers came into my office and proceeded to yell at me over a feature request he'd been given to program.
Why was he yelling at me? On the surface, it was because I hadn't given him enough details, or I hadn't thought through its impact enough. Or it could have been because it was simply a stupid feature, I didn't know what I was doing, and I was ruining the game.
The real reason? He wasn't sure how to program the task he'd been given, and the specified time frame was short. Instead of calming down, thinking it through, and telling me whether it could or could not be done in the given time frame, he panicked, and chose to vent at me.
Programmers are a unique breed. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Some of my best friends are programmers.
I must admit I am fascinated. I've watched each of our team programmers code. It's very amusing. How they code gives me a unique insight to their personality. For instance...
John Bolton (lead programmer): When John programs, it looks like he's playing chess.
David Richey (tools programmer): David doesn't code. Beforehand, he thinks about his task in depth, like contemplating philosophy, then simply writes it up. Quite often you can look through David's office window and see him bent over in his chair, chin on fist, like The Thinker.
Mark Caldwell (NWC VP): You need to know Mark to really understand, but when Mark codes, it's like he's in a boxing ring, ducking shots, trading blows, and trash talking with the program.
Now take such individuals and do the unthinkable... Make them into a team. Worse yet, force them to have meetings in which they must interact on a social level and agree to work together. Worse yet, force them to interact with right-brained artists and game designers.
It's a wonder any games ever get made.
Join designer Greg Fulton as gives us his very last Designer Diary entry, which tracks the last days of Heroes of Might and Magic III. In these last few days, the team waited anxiously to approve the gold candidate. But there is no rest for Greg, as he mentions a little something about the expansion disc. Join us as we count down the final development of Heroes III. 01/07/99
Ever heard the phrase "thousand tile stare"?
It's a phrase used by our mapmakers. You get the thousand tile stare from making H3 maps all day long.
Today I got the thousand tile stare after making a map for our eventual game demo.
It's a very simple, small map, letting players experience a portion of the game. Hopefully they'll experience enough and feel compelled to buy the game. I've been calling the map "Dead and Buried."
When I finished, I gave it to Chris Vanover (H3 assistant director) to play. Chris is an expert Heroes player. He's a good gauge of the map's difficulty.
Watching Chris play was a lot of fun. It allowed me to take a break from work and finally see the game in action. However, I am the worst person to have over your shoulder when you play.
Why? I'm a backseat driver. It's a bad habit from playing console games with friends.
Thus, I watched Chris play and second-guessed him all the way. We were like two old men spitting and complaining about the best strategy as Chris clicked his way through the game. It was rather humorous. 01/08/99
Today I gave the Dead and Buried
map to a few select people to see if anyone could beat it in the allotted time frame of four game weeks.
One of my candidates was Jen Bullard. Jen is the only female tester in the QA area.
Upon entering the test area, I found Jennifer burning a candle at her desk. She wasn't afraid to comment aloud how everyone else in the test area doesn't wash their clothes often enough. She thinks they stink.
No sooner did I sit down to watch Jen play than the verbal bantering between the testers began.
Ryan Den, another one of our testers, was sure he found a bug and asked aloud if anyone had encountered the same bug. No one had. Immediately everyone began shouting "user error." Ryan thought they were all high... until he realized it was user error. Everyone then proceeded to playfully tear into Ryan yet again.
I must admit, our testers are pretty cool. Their interactions are quite amusing. They banter with the voracity of a knife fight, but it's rarely cruel. 01/14/99
Last night was my last chance to revise the game manual. Thus, I decided to pull an all-nighter to finish it. This was my first time being at NWC so late. I also experienced something completely new.
I had been drinking many free Cokes when my bladder reminded me who was really in charge. Without hesitation, I raced to the bathroom. I opened the door. It was dark. This is not unusual. The lights are hooked up to a motion sensor. To save energy, they turn on and off based on the presence of a moving body. Confident the lights would turn on, I strode into the bathroom.
The lights did not illuminate.
Fumbling around in the dark, I was able to find the light switch and flip it on.
Fumbling around some more, I found the door handle and exited the bathroom.
Moving quickly to Mark Caldwell's office (Mark and George were also working late), I told him, "The bathroom lights won't turn on." He said, "Yeah. The bathroom lights don't turn on after midnight." I asked, "How do you go to the bathroom with the lights off?" He answered, "Usually I just feel my way to the urinal."
"I need to take a crap."
"Hey, I wouldn't know anything about that. Get the flashlight from George."
"I need a flashlight?"
So, I walked to George's office.
"I need the bathroom flashlight."
Giggling to himself under his breath, George reached into his desk and gave me a pocket flashlight. With flashlight in hand I returned to the bathroom where everything went according to plan.
I know game production has its odd moments, but... this one was really odd. 01/18/99
In the last days of a game's production, the game designer makes a desperate attempt to prevent features from being cut to make the deadline. However, if I got all the features I wanted, the game would never ship. Thus, there is always a tug of war between the game designer, management, programmers, and artists, to decide what gets into the game and what gets pushed back to the expansion or sequel.
Today I was doing my best to get a new hero into the game without too much additional programming or art. I realized I could get the results I needed by simply adding a new graphic and customizing an existing game hero. Even better, I could get the graphic from existing art in the intro movie. All the artist had to do was crop a freeze-frame from the movie and give it to our asset manager to be put into the game. I could customize the hero in the editor. All the programmers had to do was recognize the character's unique identification.
Well, we did.
I wonder how much longer I can push my luck. 01/19/99
I have become the Walmart floor manager.
No. I haven't quit my job.
Let me explain.
At this stage in the making of the game, I find myself spending most of my time walking the halls with my Notepad of Oppression waiting for people to call out my name.
The notepad is a list of issues needing resolution. Most people find the notepad humorous unless their name is on it. Ironically, I end up putting my name on the notepad more than anyone else's (I'm oppressing myself).
Regardless, when I am walking the halls and someone calls out my name, I duck into their office to answer their questions. Sometimes this means getting on their phone and calling someone else to clear up an issue. If I don't have the answer, I'm the intermediary.
Thus, I feel like the Walmart floor manager, roaming the isles, taking care of arising issues. All I really need is the blue vest. 01/20/99
For a moment, consider most game manuals. Usually, a manual details the game interface and introduces you to the various game elements. Rarely do these manuals give you true game statistics.
For Heroes III , we wanted to buck this trend. Using the Heroes II strategy guide as a model, we decided to make a big manual loaded with information. This is exactly what we did - 144 pages.
Today we signed off on the manual. Well, no sooner did the ink dry than we discovered some errors. It was terrifying. I literally sat at my desk, looking at the errors I had discovered, and heard the manual mocking me with the chittering of a wild hyena.
There was nothing I could do. It was carved in stone. Now understand, most manuals ship with some errors. This is what the Readme is for. However, several people had gone over this manual time and again, and still there were errors.
I'll never make a big manual again. It's too much upkeep considering the fluidity of game design.
I'm sure I'll lose some sleep over this. 1/25/99
Today the Coke machine caught fire.
Let me repeat this. Today the Coke machine caught fire.
Since we started crunching, around 7:00pm each night, Mark Caldwell (NWC VP) has been unlocking the Coke machine for free drinks to go with our evening meal. We don't continue pressing the selection buttons for the various drinks. Instead, we literally open up the front half of this big, red, half-ton refrigerator, made to withstand the assaults of the most juvenile of delinquents.
Now, I'm not exactly clear on the details, but one of the testers pulled open the front door to grab a soda from inside. Apparently, some of the electrical wires were sheared, followed by fire and smoke.
Upon seeing the fire and smelling the smoke, the tester grabbed Ben Bent (NWC office manager and part-time game director). He then pointed out the fire in the Coke machine.
With perfect calm, Ben simply unplugged the Coke machine. Poof. The fire went away.
I must admit, I can't help but see the fire in the Coke machine as a metaphor for Heroes III in production. A fire starts, someone panics, and someone else calmly solves the problem.
Truthfully, it's the story of the game production process. 2/07/99 Sunday
Today could be the day.
We've decided to make a "final candidate" CD-ROM for 3DO approval. A final candidate is what we consider "ready to ship." We then send the final candidate to 3DO for them to do shrink-wrap testing.
Tonight, no one leaves the building until the game is finished. 2/08/99 Monday
It's 5:00am Monday morning.
We just started burning the final candidate.
About half the team is still here.
We've been crunching too long. Everyone's burnt.
About 15 minutes ago, Mark starting broadcasting Money For Nothing over everyone's speakerphone.
I am literally weak-kneed. Except for writing this entry, all I intend to do is just sit in my office chair and do everything I possibly can to do nothing.
As of 8:30 Saturday, February 13, we're calling it good Barring last-second crash bugs, the game is done.
It's 9:30, and with the realization the game is done, already I'm beginning to crash.
After crunching for so long, the crash is the aftereffect. This is the time when you finally realize you can relax and return to a somewhat normal life. This is also the flag signaling the release of all the pent-up stress and illness you've been holding off by sheer will for the past six months. Thus... crash.
We're done. 02/14/99
Four days after announcing Heroes has gone gold, we're already talking about the expansion pack. Already, I've assembled my map makers. They're good people. With H3 under their belts they should make even better maps for the expansion.
The downside? Chris Vanover is moving onto a different project. Technically Chris was H3's assistant director, but I adopted him as my assistant designer. He was a big help in many of the grunt areas. I was hoping to hand the expansion off to Chris so I could concentrate on the next Heroes.
No such luck.
Ultimately, this means vacation must wait.
Where is a monkey boy when you need one? 02/19/99
David Mullich's (Heroes III director) wife was pregnant and expecting about the same time as E3 last year (Atlanta '98). So, he couldn't go and demonstrate the game.
I was the next logical choice. I know the game better than anyone else, and when needed, I can turn on the charm.
Now don't get me wrong, when I have demoed the game, it has been a delight. Yet, as a game, Heroes III doesn't demo well. It's a turn-based game. It's not a first-person shooter or real-time strategy game. There's no real immediate reward for your attention span to latch onto.
However, Heroes does have a very large, very dedicated following. Thus, most people who want to see Heroes are already fans. This was the case at E3.
At E3 I did the vast majority of the presentations. I did so many I ended up losing my voice. Almost all the people who saw the game were fans of Heroes and liked what they saw. We were so successful, people were taking chairs from the other game stations to sit in front of ours.
Well, the downside to my work at E3 was... I became the demo guy. The downside of being the demo guy is traveling.
I hate traveling.
Once I arrive at my destination, there's no problem. I'm just impatient by nature. I'm also 6'1" and hate sitting in supercramped airline seats.
So, today I got to fly up to 3DO with Peter Ryu (MM7 producer), Keith Francart (MM7 director), and Jeff Blatner (new Heroes producer) to give presentations on MM7 and Heroes III to our Ubi Soft partners and a smattering of European journalists.
As much as I hated getting up at 5:30am and traveling to San Francisco (less than one week after going gold), the trip was amusing for a number of reasons.
Since I have been at New World, Peter Ryu has always worn shorts and sandals. For the presentation, Pete was ordered to wear pants and shoes. Throughout the day, he was wincing as the shoes rubbed his feet raw.
The other amusing part was hanging out with the French chicks from Ubi Soft and the European press.
Last time I was at 3DO I did an H3 presentation to a number of European journalists. Not a French woman among them. It was different this time, and dare I say, worth the trip. 02/22/99
David Mullich (H3 director), George Ruof (H3 programmer), and I are the only members of the team in the building today. Everyone else is on vacation.
Over the weekend I began my self-rehabilitation for returning to the real world.
When you do nothing but work 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week, and then it all comes to an abrupt halt, you suddenly find you have all this spare time on your hands.
Ultimately, you become bored. You don't know what to do with yourself because your "normal" situation meant working on the game... but the game is finished. Normal has become different and no longer normal.
A logical assumption for curing this boredom would be a vacation. Not yet. I've got to write the design for the expansion disc. I've got two weeks before it is due. After hammering out the specs, everyone will be briefed, then I can go on vacation.
I've got it all planned out. I haven't seen my parents since Christmas of 1997. So, I'm going to go back home and sit in the rocking chair in front of my dad's big-screen TV and watch nothing but cable television for at least two weeks. You heard me. Nothing but CNN Headline News for two weeks. If by then I'm not properly vegetated, I'll watch it for another week. Then I'll track down my old high school girlfriend and see if she's still single.
I've set up an e-mail address for your feedback about the game when it hits the shelves. This e-mail is merely for player feedback and suggestions. I will be the one reading the e-mails, and most likely, I won't be answering any of them. So, don't flame me if I don't respond. [[email protected]
I've enjoyed writing these diaries. I wish I had been able to dedicate more time to them.
My apologies to Elliott Chin (who made these diaries possible). Elliott wanted me to talk about the design philosophy behind H3. After practicing design philosophy 12-14 hours a day, I couldn't bring myself to write a diary about it. So, I thought I'd do "a day in the life." I hope you enjoyed my tongue-in-cheek account.
I leave you with the following words I once heard the great Jon Van Caneghem speak, "When it's all over you'll forget how hard it was and do it all over again." He's right. We will.
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2023.06.06 23:07 lizardsforever I'm afraid of my boyfriend's dog
We haven't been dating all that long, like eight it nine months but it's really been going well and I really like him. We live separately.
About a month ago he adopted a pitbull. I have been really struggling with this because I'm basically scared of this dig, and he didn't give me a heads up before he adopted it, and I actually feel a bit jealous to be honest. Now, he has every right to do whatever he wants it's his house and all. I threw a temper tantrum though, which I apologized for and I genuinely meant it. I was not in the right.
However, I'm terrified of this dog. I haven't interacted with it at all yet because he puts it in the backyard or the basement when I come over.
Last night we were going to both go for a walk and bring the dog, because we were at his house. I was sort of hanging out in the foyer while he went outside to put the leash on the dog and introduce us. As soon as he brought the dug in from the back door when it saw me it started barking and snarling at me, looking at me sideways, head low, pulling against the leash. Barking loudly at me the whole time. It scared me, so I went out in the front porch. He tried to calm it down and try again, same result. He just put the dog outside in the back and we never went on the walk.
I don't trust this dog, I'm even more scared if it now. He calls it "the puppy". He loves it. I'm terrified.
Is this thing in all likelihood, the end of the relationship?
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2023.06.06 23:02 MK12Mod0SuperSoaker [WTS] Aimpoint Comp M5 No Mount
Like new Aimpoint Comp M5 up for sale. $700 shipped.
- No mount because who wants to buy someone's setup only to sell the mount back here?
- Low round count - approx 60-90 rounds while on a unity micro mount.
- Comes with a new battery!!! This seals the deal, I know what I got.
- No scratches anywhere, only slight remains of blue loctite that I was too lazy to clean off. Hairdryer and cloth will fix that. Or don't.
- Legendary Aimpoint Durability - even the knob is tough to rotate! *Still lighter than a T2 though
- Doesn't have that stupid new mount spacer that the M5S comes with (or the Aimpoint doody rds) so you can use epic mounts like the Unity.
- Pricey optic lets you flex on the poors who bought the Doody RDS and carry a VP9.
- JK, all HKs are wonderful.
Anyway, priced as shipped. Comment dibs and PM to continue, no chats please. I accept Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, Cash (if you're local).
Thanks for looking!
Will Trade for: Eotech 552 (2021+ mfg)+cash or TA31RCOA4-cash
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