Kyle's Smile

Kyle's Smile

4.74 out of 5

$13.99

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Raise a smiling, caring, and kind child who truly cares for the people around him.

Being kind and attentive to others is your child’s passport to a lifetime of mental health and success. This compelling story highlights the true power of kindness and how a simple smile can bring positivity and happiness to an entire town. This book emphasizes the importance of looking at the bright side of any experience and highlights the positive outcomes it can bring.

This inspiring tale tells the story of a young boy named Kyle who one day, out on a walk with his mother, offers his beaming smile to a sad stranger who immediately smiles back. Later that day, the same stranger makes the mighty decision to pay it forward to his former teacher which causes a domino effect of positivity from there. Follow Kyle on his adventure to spread positivity and happiness with a single smile and see how it brings joy to those around him.

  • Will this circle of good deeds continue forever?
  • How many people will be affected by Kyle’s smile?
  • Will Kyle’s smile once again start a new circle?
  • Will the circle of good deeds come back to find him?
  • Can Kyle’s smile make the world a better place?

This book will help your children see the endless power that they hold in their very own hands - while being attentive to their environment. This book will encourage your children to offer their smile or some other small, but very significant gesture, to the people around them - especially in their time of need.

This book also demonstrates what comes around, does in fact, goes around in very unique and unpredictable ways, as the saying goes: “Smile to the world and the world will smile back to you”.

Research shows that people who often smile will also benefit from better health and increased longevity while also achieving more in life.

The lesson of this book is best expressed in this inspirational quote by Leo Buscaglia. “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Kyle’s Smile is a charming and compelling story to read before bedtime, with the whole family, or as self-reading for older children.

So if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours!

  • Filiberto Feil

    Well he was the one that started the question that started the whole thing and was essentially goading Jaffe into mentioning names specifically while smiling and halfheartedly be like "Noooo don't do ittt" and then when Shu brought it back up what they did to kyle was unjust and backed him up none of them had anything to say to him, so instead Greg played the "I had cancer" card and switched the subject over to Shu on how he deals with people criticizing him. I never liked greg miller in the first place, even back when he was known as the ign guy that gave 9's and 10's to every playstation exclusives, but I feel like he would rather be dead than admit that he was wrong about kyle. Because he is straight up wrong about it. He acts like kyle's whole episode was based around KF when in reality it was just an offhand comment about how he didnt find them funny, only to immediately go on and make fun of himself, and then greg started lying about things kyle said like calling them sellouts and all this other shit just like how jaffe called out kyle specifically in front of a crowd of hundreds for an off hand comment and distaste of the very ugly art style. The funny thing about it is if you watch the just played about Drawn to Death Kyle specifically manages to predict everything Jaffe will say about him if he ever watched that video, which he was spot on about. Luckily Kyle is doing just fine, but it just bothers me that a developer and another gaming news and talk show try to smear and bury the career of a man that has done almost nothing to them.

  • Otha Senger

    I mean, we had the *pleasure* to listen to HEY I'M KYLE I SMILE FOR MILESSS (or something like that) we could at least get some good music from Top Model

  • Paolo Becker

    We owe it to ourselves and the Democratic Party that despises us to go one deeper. The way I see it, we can definitely find ourselves a manic Kyle Andrew Conway. Find a forgettably attractive former frat lord with enough dignity to buy a treadmill and avoid full-blown Huckabod, but not so much that it won't sign on for 8+ years of utter humiliation. Stick it in a jerky dehydrator set a few clicks shy of Coulter and teach it to dart its eyes and barf two types of clarifications through an unmoving smile - (1) assure the base that Mrs. Trump actually meant to be far more terrible than the media is giving her credit for, and (2) scold the rest of the public for believing that Lady Trump meant what she said. It'll be easy enough that in the name of scientific rigor we could roll out a few hundred Kyle Andrews and get crazy amounts of data. But, and this is a huge but, creating a Jenn Podesta that's sufficiently cum-eatingly freaky is gonna be near impossible. I foresee real problems grafting a Podestan level of arrogance onto a body desiccated enough to qualify. And that's merely phase one. This abomination must then be brined in pure, undiluted practical political failure for, at the absolute minimum, 37 weeks (one for each year of complete, systemic party failure). I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think it can work. Run of the mill arrogance wouldn't be able to survive on a spindly, reptilian carcass, suffused with decades of failure, and we need something far stronger than that. Our Jenn Podesta needs the sort of arrogance that lets someone take the stage on election night and explain to the carefully displayed props and lovingly fluffed bank accounts that Mr. Secretary, the only reason hundreds had gathered in a convention center at midnight on a weekday, definitely hadn't quit, and that he would totally catch up with us tomorrow. Unfortunately, my hunch is that, like anything truly transcendent, there's no shortcuts. Podestas are contradiction made monstrous, creatures with utter contempt for the public yet traffic exclusively in politics. A thing that has known only variously slimy degrees of failure, yet remains unswerving in its conviction that it alone knows best. I fear our efforts, just as surely as a Podesta, are destined to fail. Podestan Arrogance, as unalloyed as it unearned, needs to be instilled before the scales Harden, worshipfully massaged from the moment it hatches. This won't be easy comrades, but it does promise to be grimly hilarious, and I look forward to working with you all.

  • Annabell Powlowski

    *With apologies to the late Sir Terry Pratchett.* ____ There was a desk. This was not a desk upon which one would expect to find a calendar full of kittens or a mug with a pithy witticism. It was a large, somber desk made of ebony with a finish so black that light itself seemed afraid to be seen near it. On the desk was a large black ledger. Like most ledgers, it was filled with names and numbers. Unlike most ledgers, the numbers in this one changed by themselves, counting down to zero. The black-hooded figure that was hunched over the ledger dipped a raven's feather in an inkpot and began to write in a heavy, gothic script. For a time, the only sound was the *skrit skitch skrit* of quill on paper. Without warning, a tinny rendition of Chopin's Funeral March broke the silence, causing the figure to start. It looked at the spreading inkblot on the ledger page and dabbed carefully at it with a corner of its robe with a sigh. Finally, it thrust an impossibly thin and pale (the word *skeletal* would spring to the mind of an observer, had any been present) hand into its robe and produced a cell phone. The words on the screen were the ones the figure had been expecting for months. If it could fear or dread, if it slept and had nightmares, this would be the subject of them all. "BBY COMEING NEED U NOW" Death rose from the chair like an ancient leviathan, towering over the desk, and strode toward the black marble door of his domain. When he opened the door, it would lead to Angel of Mercy Hospital. This time it would, at least. The door opened to wherever,and whenever, Death needed to be. He reached for the femur that served as a handle and paused, then strode back to the desk. Beside it was a black valise with what would be most comforting to think of as an ivory clasp. Opening the bag, Death took a quick inventory of the contents. An oversized t-shirt, sweat pants, slippers, a bathrobe, a pillow, two nightgowns, cloth diapers, and one very fuzzy pink blanket. Death snapped the case closed and strode toward the door again. Almost as an afterthought, he grabbed the scythe from the umbrella stand by the door. It was a hospital, after all. There might be some unexpected business to attend to. ---- Kaylee was understandably quite angry to discover that Kyle had been screwing around, and even angrier when she found out it was that bitch Amber from her Brit Lit study group. So when she decided to go out for a few drinks with her girlfriends, she also decided she was not going back to her dorm room alone. She was tall, thin, blonde, and had a tan that only a Daddy-funded spring break in the Bahamas could provide, and she had no shortage of male admirers. As an insurance policy, she wore her tight, short black dress that night. Despite the generosity and perseverance of her many would-be suitors, she found herself drawn to a dark clad figure. Maybe it was his confidence; while other people shoved and jostled their way through the crowded club, the crowd seemed to part in front of and close behind the man when he walked. Perhaps it was his air of exotic mystery; none of Kaylee's friends seemed to know who she was talking about when she described him, and she'd seen the strange and foreign looking coins he left for the bartender, which indicated that he was rich and foreign, possibly with an interesting accent. The fact of the matter, though she would never admit it, was that Kaylee was drawn to him because he hadn't so much as glanced in her direction all evening. She drained the last of her rum and Coke, which was so thoughtfully provided by the previous prospective gentleman, shoved her way through the crowd, and sat down at the table the tall, dark stranger was currently occupying. "Hi there. I'm Kaylee." She stuck out a hand, which the mystery man regarded carefully. **COWER, BRIEF MORTAL,** the figure responded. Kaylee laughed and withdrew her hand. "Oh my God, you are sooo funny!" she giggled. More seriously, almost demurely, she asked, "So I don't normally do this, but can I buy you a drink? I'm feeling kind of lonely, and I thought maybe you'd want to keep me company..." **WHY?** Death interjected. Kaylee was a little taken aback by this response, which she hadn't been expecting. "Well, I mean, you're here alone, and I'm here alone, and... you know. I thought maybe we could get to know each other." **MOST MORTALS SPEND THEIR LIVES ACTIVELY AVOIDING ME OR NOT GIVING ME A SECOND THOUGHT** Death said. **YET YOU WISH TO... HANG OUT?** "Yeah. And talk. And drink." **MOST OF MY CONVERSATIONS ARE QUITE BRIEF** "Well, you should try to open up a little. You know, tell me about yourself. Like what do you do?" Kaylee said as she flagged down a waiter. **I AM THAT TO WHICH ALL MEN MUST COME TO AN ACCOUNTING** "Can I get two rum and Cokes? Thanks so much," Kaylee said to the waiter. Turning back to Death, she said "Accounting? That's what Daddy does. He's the CFO of Thanatos, Inc. Have you heard of them?" **NO** "Oh. They're pretty big. It's a Fortune 500 company." There was a long silence. "So what do you do for fun?" **FUN?** "You know, when you're not accounting?" **I HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO PLAY CHESS ON OCCASION** Death produced a handful of gold and copper coins, some of the latter of which had gone green with the weight of centuries. **FOR THE DRINKS** The waiter made no move to take the coins until Kaylee scooped a few of them up and put them in his hand. He started to protest, but, being an amateur numismatist, he recognized that the value of the metal in his hand would pay off his student loans, if he sold them for the metal. To a collector, the combined value would likely afford him a small island where he could retire in modest luxury. The waiter's mouth snapped shut. He returned to the bar with the remaining drinks on his tray, told the bartender he quit, and eventually went on to introduce the small, indigenous tribe that populated the South Pacific Island of Pongo to the concept of free love, and, some weeks later, the concept of free clinics. But that is another story for another time. Kaylee studied one of the remaining coins on the table, which was slight misshapen and appeared to be solid gold. *So he is rich,* she thought, *and smart, and he's definitely foreign. I can't place his accent, but he sure isn't a local. I might have to lock this one down before someone else gets their hands on him* Turning her attention back to Death, she asked, "These must be worth a fortune. How did you get them?" **IN PAIRS** was the reply. ____ Kaylee woke up the next morning with a crushing hangover and decided to skip classes for the day. She tried to piece the previous night's events together, and was certain of three facts: one, she'd met a tall, dark, exotic stranger; two, she'd invited him back to her dorm and they'd definitely slept together; and three, he was gone when she woke up and had not left a phone number. ____ Death stepped through the door and into the lobby of Angel of Mercy Hospital. He approached a tired looking nurse. **IN WHAT ROOM MIGHT I FIND KAYLEE KITTERIDGE? THE TIME OF BIRTH IS QUITE NEAR** "Fourth floor, labor and delivery," the nurse answered with a dismissive wave of her hand without deigning to look at the person addressing her. Death headed for the elvator, pressed the button, and waited. He was patient. It was one of his best qualities. When the doors slid open, he stepped in and loomed over a small, middle aged Hispanic woman with a cleaning trolley. She gaped at him. "Santa Muerte?" **SI** "Todavia no, por favor!" the woman wailed, crossing herself. **MANTENER LA CALMA, NO ES SU MOMENTO** "Gracias!" the woman exclaimed. The elevator doors opened, and Death gestured politely. The wide-eyed cleaning lady shook her head violently. **COMO QUERIAS** Death stepped off the elevator, then turned back to the terrified woman. **NOS VEMOS EN ABRIL** The elevator doors closed. ---- Kaylee had never felt worse in her life. At first, she thought the nausea, fatigue, and dizziness could be attributed to a cold of flu, until she realized she was late. A visit to her doctor confirmed, and after a long, tear filled conversation with her mother, father, and her father's new trophy wife, it was decided that she would finish her current term at university, then take the summer and fall terms off, which would coincide nicely with not only the birth but the most obvious stages of pregnancy. Then she could decide whether to return to her studies, leaving her child in the temporary care of her mother (or, more accurately, the nanny her mother would hire) or to raise the child herself. Either way, her father had assured her, she would be financially and emotionally supported. Which is why Kaylee found herself at Angel of Mercy Hospital on a bright, chilly mid-march morning. This had no connection whatsoever with Mrs. Mary Ellen Carter, who had recently died in her sleep in the same hospital at precisely the same time a doctor was telling Kaylee her baby was perfectly healthy, but she could stand to put on five pounds. Death entered Mrs. Carter's room. She peered at him over her glasses. "Oh," Mrs. Carter said. "It's you." **YES** "And I expect you've come to take me away, have you?" she said impatiently. **IF YOU LIKE** "Hmmph." Mary Ellen Carter folder her arms across her chest. "Well? What happens next, then?" **I WILL TAKE YOU TO THE AFTERLIFE** "And what's that like? Is it sitting on clouds and smiling down on loved ones while naked babies blow trumpets at you? If it is, I'll pass, if it's all the same." **THAT IS NOT FOR ME TO DETERMINE** said Death. Everyone asked him the same thing. "What's the afterlife like?" He'd never been. He always assumed it was whatever they deserved, or at least expected. ____ To Be Continued

  • Ona Kling

    ###[Heralds of Rock Chapter 5 Part VIII: Cat Declawed](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnKhsTXoKCI) *** The Happy Mask Salesman walked out of sight of Aizen and Nachi, the latter slowly disappearing as he finally sought his well-deserved reprieve in the peaceful afterlife again. A sort of doorway appeared before the Salesman as he walked hand-in-hand with Professor Genki, the cat's powers being forcibly suppressed....but only for a few moments. "Heh heh heh heh heh, Professor Genki, you would have made a daring competitor in my field if you knew how to approach it the right way; but let me introduce you to a place where I send...undesirable....competition." The Salesman shoved the cat roughly through the door, his grin turning to a menacing frown of anger and rage. "BUT. YOU. HAD. TO. GO. AND. MAKE. *UN*. HAPPINESS. YOUR. BUSINESS." The grin rapidly replaced it as the Salesman gestured to the golden weapon Professor Genki rapidly pulled out as he fell. "Heh heh heh, that won't work now that you're beyond the door, travelling between worlds is somewhat of a hobby for me, and the one you've landed on is a doozy. Each second of my time if about half a day's worth of yours. Enjoy the mask while you still can, heh heh heh." The Happy Mask Salesman turned from the portal and walked away. In the 5 seconds it took him to stride over to Aizen, Nachi having disappeared entirely after nodding his thanks to the Salesman and Aizen, Aizen had sized up the abnormal proprietor of pretense and pretext. "Salesman....what are you, truly? None of the dossiers or timelines Genki-senpai could access had any useful information on you, as opposed to every other individual in this tournament. Even in my home universe nobody could so escape my insight nor survive being so close with such calm ease." The Happy Mask Salesman merely shook his head. "I am a mere purveyor of happiness who specializes in masks, my dear sir. Nothing more, nothing less." Aizen smirked. "Fair is fair. Those under my spell are waking soon, should you really be out here where you'd have to explain yourself?" The Salesman nodded his head toward the portal where Genki had been shoved through. "It's been about.....say, 30 seconds now. That's 15 days straight. The All-Night Mask precludes sleep entirely. Tell me, Aizen, how long can the average mortal go without closing their eyes before insanity sets in? And I bet that golden weapon of his looks rather....intriguing....right about now. Heh. *Heh*. **HEH**." *** Professor Genki struggled through the endless desert; the planet stretched on for infinity in all directions, the hot sun filling fully 55% of the sky. *How damn close is that star* Genki couldn't help but wonder. Or did he? He couldn't even remember anymore, he had crossed a few thousand miles of endless desert sand-filled ocean in the past 23 days. "LET ME FUCKING SLEEP PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE CURSE YOU SALESMAN, TAKE YOUR MAJORA'S MASK BACK JUST LET ME SLEEP, A CAT NAP, A SINGLE SECOND, **DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN ABOVE PLEASE LET ME JUST FUCKING SLEEP**!!!" Professor Genki's screams were heard by eternity, and promptly squelched by the sheer weight of the uncaring judgment of the universe as he suffered. *** The Happy Mask Salesman and Aizen had reached an agreement after two full minutes of back and forth. "Alright, I deliver you back to Muken and you get me the item I inquired about whilst we reside there during our quick side trip to this 'Karakura Town'; in exchange, you wipe my fighters of all effects of your Kyoka Suigetsu and I ensure your world is never again infected with the timeline manipulation this tournament has wrought." Captain Aizen nodded appreciably. "Yes, my dear Salesman. However, I do have one addendum: leave me here for but a few minutes whilst your fighters awaken. They may appreciate knowing just what occurred here on this day, and you yourself explaining may leave out the finer subtleties of what the Hogyoku is truly capable of when combined with timeline manipulation." The Happy Mask Salesman nodded as they traveled through the altered Senkaimon briefly, leaving only Aizen sitting upon his chair a few moments later, the Senkaimon prepped for his re-arrival. The Heralds of Rock stumbled out of their illusions just as the Happy Mask Salesman proceeded to hasten back to his monitor room. *** Eddie Riggs glared around himself as he blinked away the illusory world; had Ozzy truly been there, alongside KG? How much of that had happened? Did he really just- "Welcome, Heralds or Rock, to *my* DeathWatch." Aizen grinned knowingly as the foursome exited their dreams; Zilla and Eddie both looked knowingly at Aizen, vaguely recognizing the figure. Krieg and Riki-Oh began to question him outright when a blast of reiatsu set them back on their heels. "I shall explain to you what happened this day, if, in exchange, your promise to go forth with all the courage you can muster. Can you do this for me, Heralds?" All four of the Heralds of Rock looked to one another, then nodded their assent, Zilla lagging in the nodding department and mimicking what his bandmates did. "Alright." Aizen took a breath. "Genki-senpai happened to stumble upon a power bestowed by the temporal and universal rift that occurred when all the universes, nay, multiverses, of reality were torn asunder to bring this many fighters together. I myself, was one of the first to arrive, and my innate significant power drew Genki-senpai to me. He sensed the power latent in the Hogyoku that I had fused with: a small gem of sorts that broke the barriers of reality, allowing those around it to gain what their hearts truly desired. A wish-granting device, though one of the subconscious, not the conscious mind. Genki-senpai had stumbled upon a power that allowed him to view all the differing timelines that occurred here in Varrigan city during this event, giving him all the information on backgrounds of the fighters and sponsors alike as well as allowing for the tournament to progress." Aizen paused. "Tell me, did you not find it weird that none of your opponents happened to mention they underwent *the exact same trials you yourselves did*? The death games, the restaurant, the race across the highway, every team heard the Baron's announcement yet only one showed up to fight you, did you not find it odd how you stumbled upon so many opponents in succession regardless of facing only one team at a time?" The words stung the Heralds; Riki-Oh's mouth hung open wide, Eddie's mind veritably had imploded by this point, Zilla scratched at his healing eye socket *Itchy face hurts, underwater man is talkign but itchy-itchy-ITCHY*, and Don Krieg tried to rationalize it all as a God's Devil Fruit. "You faced opponents determined by collapsible timelines. Much like Schrodinger's famous thought experiment, Genki-senpai became the cat, but it was *his* observations that collapsed time into a singularity of reality, not the opposite. With the power of my fused Hogyoku, Genki-senpai began to make real the alternative realities with the assistance of Kyoka Suigetsu. His timelines, my Hogyoku, my Kyoka....he turned them to a pseudo-reality, choosing the best timelines and collapsing realities to fit." Aizen blinked. "He wiped out entire realities, trillions of lives, at his whim to make this current reality occur, my dear Heralds, collapsing all timelines to this one. However," Aizen carried on, ignoring their wide-eyed stares, "I still am the possessor of Kyoka Suigetsu, and finding the best candidates to rise against him, I altered the illusions here and there. Making the bikes stop, allowing your Zilla a larger arena to duel Cynthia, enclosing the Great Wall Street for Krieg's gas. I aided those of great courage to free me of my own prison here." Eddie fell to his knees, realizing his fate's reality. "Despair not, Eddie Riggs. For you have truly overcome all obstacles; the timelines in which you lost were false, a doppleganger and nothing more. The Kyle Gass you dueled alongside was real, and is at this very moment smoking more marijuana whilst enjoying pizza. He is well, I assure you." Aizen carried on. "The point is: The Baron has no clue how to truly grant wishes. My Hogyoku fed off the souls of all the trillions of departed, and will grant a single wish to each winner of the next fight. Go forth, Heralds, my part here is done, I am free to go back to imprisonment happily. Go forth with the courage I have witnessed this day." Captain Aizen smiled widely at the Heralds of Rock as their minds rocked from the sheer impact of the knowledge Aizen had dropped on them. Don Krieg opened his mouth to question Aizen, when the latter unleashed his reiatsu, ever so slightly, to get the point across: the Heralds rapidly fled the area, toward their final battle as a band. *** Aizen grinned. "Genki-senpai, it has been fully 5 months now by my reckoning, when oh when shall you fall into despair and grant me the joy I so desperately seek?" Professor Genki no longer understood reality as a mortal being; sand fused with the horizon, the star above fused with his mind, life lost meaning. 148 days. One hundred, forty-eight days without sleep. Genki stared down at the golden bottle of pills in his hand, oddly shaped like a revolver. "**OH MY, IS THIS BOTTLE OF PILLS FOR ME?!**" Professor Genki raised the gun to his mouth. *** Aizen witnessed the death of Professor Genki with pleasure, smiling wide as the gun was discharged, bits of red gore and viscera flying across the desert. The Senkaimon opened for him, his chair slowly travelling into Muken again, the sweet darkness enclosing him. *** The Happy Mask Salesman grinned widely as he [caressed the mask Captain Aizen had procured for him](https://img.clipartfox.com/38aff473803b216acd12ffd536144a9a_ichigos-hollow-mask-by-bleach-hollow-mask-clipart_900-596.jpeg). "Heh heh heh heh heh."

  • Julien Schroeder

    As soon as the door opened and shut on it's own, Bill looked up and asked "Invisibility?" "Yes sir!", an excited male voice piped. "Sorry, it's a hard no. HR complications galore, you understand.", Bill said apologetically. The invisible man sighed dejectedly, and uttered "Okay. Thanks anyway." Bill continued, "But if you're interested, there's a Private Investigator office on the seventh floor, they might be hiring." The sudden intake of air and the sound of hands clapping in excitement gave away more than Bill had expected to hear. "Oh, great! Thank you so much!", said the invisible person. The door opened and shut on it's own again. A few moments went by, before Bill looked up towards the wall. "Still here, aren't you?" "Yes, sorry... bad habit." --- It was a small office, with bland walls and one large circular desk in the middle of the room, surround by a dozen chairs. The table appeared to be comically huge in the room, and it was always a pain to try to squeeze between the table and the wall just to get past it - and you could only pass by on the right, or else you would knock the clock off the wall if you went left. Looking at the clock - it was 3:44PM - Bill sighed. He had been interviewing people all day. --- When he was bored, Bill would often retreat into his memories of what it was like before everyone had super powers. He remembered the day everything changed. It started with a video of a young baby going viral online. The mother had been recording the father trying to change their baby's first diaper, when suddenly the child shot a stream of pee out right at the father. As funny as it was, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary, or special in any particular way. It was when the baby began laughing at the father as he picked his baby up and held it out at arm's reach, trying to get the baby over the sink as it was still urinating into the air, that the video changed the world forever. The mother was chasing the father across the bathroom with her camera, when the father suddenly slipped on a diaper that had fallen out of the diaper bag beside him. The sudden change in stance as he stumbled caused him to shoot his arms out, instinctively letting go of the young child in his arms, letting the baby free-fall into the air. As the mother screamed, and the father hit the ground with a large grunt, the mother's camera had dropped out of her hands as she rushed to catch the baby before it landed on the ground. The camera just so happened to fall to the ground, facing up and catching on video the first known instance of what would then be referred to as the "Great Empowerment". The mother's instincts and quick reaction led her hands to be where they should have been in order to catch her baby. However, the baby never landed in her arms. As the mother looked around on the ground, she heard a giggle coming from above her. The father had crawled to his knees, with a look of disbelief on his face, as he reached over to the mother, as they both looked to the ceiling of the room. Their baby girl was floating in mid-air, a few feet above them. She looked as if she were swimming through the air, with her arms and legs stretched out, grasping at the air around her. The mother and father gently stood together, and softly placed their hands around their baby, as the mother clutched her to her chest. --- "Did you see that, Phil?" "Yeah honey, I saw that... is she okay?" "Yeah, yes, she... she looks fine. She's smiling, after all. Oh my god... what *was* that?" "I don't know, but, look, don't tell your mother, okay? She already hates me, she'll never get over this." --- The video was put online, and despite many suggesting it had been edited, the video quickly became the most viewed video ever uploaded, within a manner of hours. Many debunkers tried everything they could to prove it was a fake, but continued to come up empty-handed. It had been one week, and thousands of videos had been uploaded by people all trying to show off their new 'super powers' which were nothing more than clever video editing and special or practical effects. And then, that weekend during a pro football game, one of the running backs for the losing team in the Super Bowl tackled an opponent, and the man who had been tackled suddenly burst into flames. It was an outrageous spectacle to see on TV - the whole world assumed it was just another beer commercial. But the footage never cut, the commercial never came on. The camera stayed focused on the man as he was screaming and burning alive, being witnessed by forty million people on live TV. The running back looked on in horror, from the burning man that the rest of the football players were trying to pad the flames out on, to his own hands, seeing them glowing red. --- Of course, it had been a decade and a half since that event, and it was no longer noteworthy to hear what someone's super power was. Everyone had one, and they were all unique in some way. Of course, the most notable ones quickly became super celebrities, or became actual super heroes. But the truth was, most people's super powers were not that outstanding, nothing special that could really differentiate them from every other human. From the mundane to the amazing, from the dangerous to the useful to the beautiful, everyone could do something simply no other human in history could have dreamed of in their wildest imagination. And yet, here Bill was, sitting in a small office, working for the largest corporation in the country, behind a desk that was too big, hoping to find someone for this all important role sent from upper management to his desk. --- "This is important, Bill, you hear me? We need to find someone for this role, and stat." Bill's boss, the President of WAS, Inc., Mr. Ryan Slane, was a commanding presence in his office. The entire top floor was his own suite, with panoramic views of the city on all sides. He stood a foot away from the floor to ceiling window behind his desk, looking out at the people on the streets a thousand feet below. He put the cigar in his hands to his lips and sucked some of the tobacco smoke in, letting it swirl in his mouth with the flavor of the Cuban plant. "It's not exactly something I can trust with just anyone. You're my most loyal employee. I've known you were different from the day I met you. So that's why I'm putting you in charge of this instead of Susan Delaney, she's a sweetheart and has never done me wrong in recruiting the best of the best, I mean, hell, she brought you in. But I need this done right, and you're the only choice where my gut doesn't clench in hesitation." "Thanks Ryan," Bill said. His hands were in his pockets as he took another step towards the window closest to him. He kept his eyes on the horizon, looking at the snow on the mountain crests just miles away outside the city limits. He had never been skiing. Ryan continued on with his speech about their desperate need to find someone to fill the "professional hero" role he had just opened up in the office. It was his latest bright idea he believed would be vital to the company in the coming years. In a world of heroes, how exactly would one fit the role of a *professional* hero? Bill inched closer to the window, slowly lowering his eyes to the streets below. The wave of vertigo made him nauseous, which wasn't helped at all by the scent of the cigar in the room. Ryan appeared by Bill's side, looking down toward the same area. "Like a bunch of ants, aren't they? Almost like they've got no rhyme or reason to anything they do, not caring about where they go," Ryan muttered. "I was in Hong Kong just before you came in to my office, looking out of the window just like you are now, and it's no different. I've told you about their food, yeah? Amazing black truffle scrambled eggs at that one place..." Bill answered, "Capital Café". "Yes! Exactly, Capital Café. I love that place. Have you ever been there? You should really go, I don't know why you never take time off. I'll even comp you the plane ticket, it's just..." Ryan continued, but Bill was focusing on the pedestrians below. Everyone knew that Hong Kong had an abnormally high concentration of super powers that focused around food. Some people could snap their fingers and instantly heat a dish to the proper temperature, while some had telekinetic power over eggs, allowing them to crack an entire dozen at once without ever even having to touch them. Bill had never been to Hong Kong. In fact, he had never even left Texas. Ryan was able to travel the entire world thanks to being empowered with teleportation. As far as anyone else knew, he was the only person in the world with that capability. Bill was deathly afraid of heights, and so he had never even stepped foot on a plane. For Ryan, the Empowerment allowed him to do market research on the fly, and to make in-person deals with his associates at the drop of a hat. He loved business, and the process of making money. And because of his natural workaholic attitude, his Empowerment was incredibly well paired. WAS, Inc. was the fastest growing company in history, and it was all Ryan's doing. Bill didn't have a power anywhere near as lavish. "...anyway, it's almost four in Australia, so if you'll excuse me, Bill..." Bill turned his gaze from the streets below, meeting Ryan's. "Yeah, of course, Ryan. Thanks again." Bill smiled. --- Back in the future, Bill, or Thursday at 3:45PM CST Bill, or Bill #15743 - he hadn't settled on a naming convention for his multiple selves yet - sat at the round table in the tiny room, staring at the young man in the three piece suit sitting across from him. "So, Kyle, you mentioned you're able to remove people's Empowerments, permanently, just by touching them, is that right?"

  • Fredy Nienow

    I am a horrible ****ing person. Today was my little sisters birthday, it is also my last day as a free man. The cops are on their way right now. As my last act before being put on death row I wish to relinquish this story onto misc, so I can die knowing at least I gave you sick ****s some lulz. So lets start from the beginning shall we? It was a fairly normal morning. It was 1:30 when I got out of bed. I walked into the bathroom to take my meds. I'm prone to bouts of rage and sexual frustration. As I tilted my head back to down the capsules I swallowed wrong and vomited into the sink. I cursed the pills then went out to the living room. I was surprised to see balloons and party favors all over. It then occurred to me that it was my 11 year old sister Jessica's birthday. My little sisters probably having a surprise party with all her loli and shota friends after school. I'm 26 and unemployed so I'm usually home all the time. I sat down with a bowl of Fritos and watched some **** on Fuse for a while. It was around 2:30 when my mother got home. "Micheal, come help me with these bags!" she yelled. I obliged since she'd just bitch me out if I didn't. After everything was inside she dropped the disappointment bomb. "Micheal, I want you to set up this stuff. You'll be running Jess's birthday today." "But mom!" I whined. "No buts," she said "I'm going to go take a nap." She was pretty lazy, even for a pregnant woman. I got in the van and drove up to the school. Jessica was standing outside with a group of 5 of her friends. All the little ****s climbed into the van. They were all giggling and making immature noises. "Hey aren't you Jess's gay brother?" one laughed. All the kids giggled. "Haha, yeah **** you kid" I snapped. "MICHEAL!" Jessica shouted. I just rolled my eyes and continued driving. One girl began singing some ****ty pop song. It began to make me unbearably angry. I swerved the van violently. The kids started screaming. One boy jolted forward and slammed his head into the seat. "KYLE HIT HIS HEAD!" one girl cried out "MICHEAL, YOU'RE GOING TO KILL US YOU JERK!" Jessica screamed. I don't know what came over me. As we got home the kids began crowding around the little plastic party furniture begging for food. "Alright, hold the hell on you brats!" I said angrily. I went and got the cake and set it out on the table. Grabbing my Zippo lighter from my pocket, I lit the candles. I stood back and watched as the brats began shouting for her to make a wish. As she leaned to blow them out, I spotted her pink panties coming out of her jeans. She was tempting me, that little bitch, I know she was. "BLOW IT OUT! BLOW IT OUT!" the shrill monotonous tone rang in my head. I couldn't take it anymore misc! I ran for my room. As I came back out I had donned my viking helmet and held my battle ax mightily above my head. I was naked. The sight of my hairy genitalia swinging back and forth struck fear into the children. "FOR THOR!!!!!!!!!!!!" I screamed to the heavens as I charged for the table. I threw my battle ax, chopping a loli in half. Her torso frailed into the air as my battle ax wedged into a wooden bookshelf. I jumped onto one of the plastic chairs, it broke under my weight. I plunged my fist into the cake and smeared it all over my cock. The soft frosting and crumbly texture made me hard. I took a candle and rammed it down my urethra. The kids were frozen with shock. I lit the candle and pushed as hard as I could. The candle rocketed out of my cock and hit a girl in the eye. The force caused me to ****. The girl screamed wildly as her eye was burned out. Her eye socket looked like the perfect hole for my dick. I jammed my cock into her eyesocket and ****ed it. She cried as her head jolted back and forth. The violent jolting snapped her neck killing her instantly. I came. The Kyle boy started to get up to run away so I grabbed a chair and cracked him in the skull. His face landed flat in my **** and he suffocated. "THE CAKE IS A LIE!" I said flapping my cock about, shaking cum in several directions. A fat little girl was waddling over to the phone to call the police. "ITS PINATA TIME!" I yelled. I grabbed the cake knife, and with my viking prowess, backstabbed the fatty. I slid the knife upwards making a slit in her back. Her fat made it like cutting through cream cheese. I reached in and grasped her spine. With all my strength I tore out her spinal cord. I wanked some little nerdy girl over the head with it. I then set it on the floor and slowly inserted it into my rectum. The ribbed feeling gave me immense pleasure. "MAY THE THUNDER GODS BLESS ME!" I exclaimed grabbing my battle ax out of the woodwork. I cut little Suzie's legs off. This made her more ****able. Jessica vomited and passed out. I scraped up her vomit and stripped little Suzy. She was too preoccupied to resist. I smeared the barf all over her vagina. I then licked it off. The taste was god-awful. It made me throw up onto her face. She choked to death on my sick. The commotion made my mother come out. "SWEET TOASTER ****ING JESUS!" she screamed. I ran up and FALCOOOOOOOOON PAUUUUUUNCHED her in the vagina. My arm slid all the way up to her womb. I tore the fetus out. As I pulled out a bunch of slimy goo watered out. "Hey mom want this fetus?" I asked. She was too busy violently throwing up to answer me. I raised my arm and crushed the baby in my hand. My mother was heaving blood at this point. I took the crushed fetus into the kitchen and slam-dunked it into the blender. "And now its time for cooking with Micheal!" I said like a t.v. chef. Adding an eyeball, the fat loli's liver, and Kyle's scrotum into the blender, I turned it on high. I took a sip of my smoothie. It was the most delicious culinary masterpiece in the world. I took the rest and sliding the spine out from *******, I gave myself an enema. My sister began waking up from her concussion. As her eyes opened she awoke to the sight of my hairy ******* pointing in her face. She opened her mouth to scream, now was my time. I launched the smoothie out of my ******* along with watery, bloody ****. Her scream was muffled into a gargle. My sloppy enema shot down her throat. Her eyes were tearing up. The smell was so intense it gave her a bloody nose. I turned around and pointed my hard cock in her face. I positioned it towards her nose. With immense power I ****ed her nose at full force! The blood was an awesome lubricant. The pleasure became more intense. I came buckets right up her nose. My cum went straight into her lungs, tarring them up. As she began gasping for air I looked around the bloody smeared, **** stained room. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA!" I said smiling at her tear and enema covered face. She took one last gasp. I gazed happily upon her corpse. The only I regret is that I didn't take my pills today...

  • Sim Torp

    I am a horrible ****ing person. Today was my little sisters birthday, it is also my last day as a free man. The cops are on their way right now. As my last act before being put on death row I wish to relinquish this story onto misc, so I can die knowing at least I gave you sick ****s some lulz. So lets start from the beginning shall we? It was a fairly normal morning. It was 1:30 when I got out of bed. I walked into the bathroom to take my meds. I'm prone to bouts of rage and sexual frustration. As I tilted my head back to down the capsules I swallowed wrong and vomited into the sink. I cursed the pills then went out to the living room. I was surprised to see balloons and party favors all over. It then occurred to me that it was my 11 year old sister Jessica's birthday. My little sisters probably having a surprise party with all her loli and shota friends after school. I'm 26 and unemployed so I'm usually home all the time. I sat down with a bowl of Fritos and watched some **** on Fuse for a while. It was around 2:30 when my mother got home. "Micheal, come help me with these bags!" she yelled. I obliged since she'd just bitch me out if I didn't. After everything was inside she dropped the disappointment bomb. "Micheal, I want you to set up this stuff. You'll be running Jess's birthday today." "But mom!" I whined. "No buts," she said "I'm going to go take a nap." She was pretty lazy, even for a pregnant woman. I got in the van and drove up to the school. Jessica was standing outside with a group of 5 of her friends. All the little ****s climbed into the van. They were all giggling and making immature noises. "Hey aren't you Jess's gay brother?" one laughed. All the kids giggled. "Haha, yeah **** you kid" I snapped. "MICHEAL!" Jessica shouted. I just rolled my eyes and continued driving. One girl began singing some ****ty pop song. It began to make me unbearably angry. I swerved the van violently. The kids started screaming. One boy jolted forward and slammed his head into the seat. "KYLE HIT HIS HEAD!" one girl cried out "MICHEAL, YOU'RE GOING TO KILL US YOU JERK!" Jessica screamed. I don't know what came over me. As we got home the kids began crowding around the little plastic party furniture begging for food. "Alright, hold the hell on you brats!" I said angrily. I went and got the cake and set it out on the table. Grabbing my Zippo lighter from my pocket, I lit the candles. I stood back and watched as the brats began shouting for her to make a wish. As she leaned to blow them out, I spotted her pink panties coming out of her jeans. She was tempting me, that little bitch, I know she was. "BLOW IT OUT! BLOW IT OUT!" the shrill monotonous tone rang in my head. I couldn't take it anymore misc! I ran for my room. As I came back out I had donned my viking helmet and held my battle ax mightily above my head. I was naked. The sight of my hairy genitalia swinging back and forth struck fear into the children. "FOR THOR!!!!!!!!!!!!" I screamed to the heavens as I charged for the table. I threw my battle ax, chopping a loli in half. Her torso frailed into the air as my battle ax wedged into a wooden bookshelf. I jumped onto one of the plastic chairs, it broke under my weight. I plunged my fist into the cake and smeared it all over my cock. The soft frosting and crumbly texture made me hard. I took a candle and rammed it down my urethra. The kids were frozen with shock. I lit the candle and pushed as hard as I could. The candle rocketed out of my cock and hit a girl in the eye. The force caused me to ****. The girl screamed wildly as her eye was burned out. Her eye socket looked like the perfect hole for my dick. I jammed my cock into her eyesocket and ****ed it. She cried as her head jolted back and forth. The violent jolting snapped her neck killing her instantly. I came. The Kyle boy started to get up to run away so I grabbed a chair and cracked him in the skull. His face landed flat in my **** and he suffocated. "THE CAKE IS A LIE!" I said flapping my cock about, shaking cum in several directions. A fat little girl was waddling over to the phone to call the police. "ITS PINATA TIME!" I yelled. I grabbed the cake knife, and with my viking prowess, backstabbed the fatty. I slid the knife upwards making a slit in her back. Her fat made it like cutting through cream cheese. I reached in and grasped her spine. With all my strength I tore out her spinal cord. I wanked some little nerdy girl over the head with it. I then set it on the floor and slowly inserted it into my rectum. The ribbed feeling gave me immense pleasure. "MAY THE THUNDER GODS BLESS ME!" I exclaimed grabbing my battle ax out of the woodwork. I cut little Suzie's legs off. This made her more ****able. Jessica vomited and passed out. I scraped up her vomit and stripped little Suzy. She was too preoccupied to resist. I smeared the barf all over her vagina. I then licked it off. The taste was god-awful. It made me throw up onto her face. She choked to death on my sick. The commotion made my mother come out. "SWEET TOASTER ****ING JESUS!" she screamed. I ran up and FALCOOOOOOOOON PAUUUUUUNCHED her in the vagina. My arm slid all the way up to her womb. I tore the fetus out. As I pulled out a bunch of slimy goo watered out. "Hey mom want this fetus?" I asked. She was too busy violently throwing up to answer me. I raised my arm and crushed the baby in my hand. My mother was heaving blood at this point. I took the crushed fetus into the kitchen and slam-dunked it into the blender. "And now its time for cooking with Micheal!" I said like a t.v. chef. Adding an eyeball, the fat loli's liver, and Kyle's scrotum into the blender, I turned it on high. I took a sip of my smoothie. It was the most delicious culinary masterpiece in the world. I took the rest and sliding the spine out from *******, I gave myself an enema. My sister began waking up from her concussion. As her eyes opened she awoke to the sight of my hairy ******* pointing in her face. She opened her mouth to scream, now was my time. I launched the smoothie out of my ******* along with watery, bloody ****. Her scream was muffled into a gargle. My sloppy enema shot down her throat. Her eyes were tearing up. The smell was so intense it gave her a bloody nose. I turned around and pointed my hard cock in her face. I positioned it towards her nose. With immense power I ****ed her nose at full force! The blood was an awesome lubricant. The pleasure became more intense. I came buckets right up her nose. My cum went straight into her lungs, tarring them up. As she began gasping for air I looked around the bloody smeared, **** stained room. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA!" I said smiling at her tear and enema covered face. She took one last gasp. I gazed happily upon her corpse. The only I regret is that I didn't take my pills today..

  • Beth Feeney

    "Hi Luna." I smile at her hesitantly. "Can you tell me what happened?" Her eyes are vacant and I internally swallowed a sigh. Did I accidentally raise her back to life without her soul? Just as I was about to lift the spell up, her head snaps in an instant to me, gazing deep into my soul. I gulped. "Luna?" "He..." Her voice didn't tremble, but it was full of fear as she whispered. "He killed me... I trusted him..." She bursts into tears, wailing as she places her face into the palm of her hands, weeping. I frown and gripped my chest with my right hand as my left hand softly patted her shoulder. "...I'm sorry to hear that the murderer was someone close to you... could you tell me who it is? So we could bring justice to him?" Her wails quieted down and she looks up again, eyes red and puffy despite the fact that her heart no longer beats. "You... You're not going to let me live? You brought me back didn't you? So I could live...?" I bit my lip, this was the hardest part of every interview, when the victim realises I can't bring them back permanently. "I'm sorry..." Before I could apologise, her hand darts out and dainty pale white fingers wrap around my neck. My eyes widened and stared at her, this was new. This never happened before. Was the thought I had as her grip on my neck tightened. "Tell me" She hissed. "How many people have you brought back, forcing them to tell their tale of death just so you'll inadvertently kill them again? If that's not intentional murder, then I don't know what is. Your sense of 'justice' in reality means _nothing_ compared to the false sense of hope you've given to me and those others you've brought back to life." I gasped and breathed harshly as she let go. I... I had never thought of it that way.... She stands up and turns to smile at me cruelly. "My murderer is outside isn't he?" I blink. "P-pardon?" I wheeze out. "Hi Lucy.” I smile at her hesitantly. "Can you tell me what happened?" Her eyes are vacant and I internally swallowed a sigh. Did I accidentally raise her back to life without her soul? Just as I was about to lift the spell up, her head snaps in an instant to me, gazing deep into my soul. I gulped. “Lucy?” "He..." Her voice didn't tremble, but it was full of fear as she whispered. "He killed me... I trusted him..." She bursts into tears, wailing as she places her face into the palm of her hands, weeping. I frown and gripped my chest with my right hand as my left hand softly patted her shoulder. "...I'm sorry to hear that the murderer was someone close to you... could you tell me who it is? So we could bring justice to him?" Her wails quieted down and she looks up again, eyes red and puffy despite the fact that her heart no longer beats. "You... You're not going to let me live? You brought me back didn't you? So I could live...?" I bit my lip, this was the hardest part of every interview, when the victim realises I can't bring them back permanently. "I'm sorry..." Before I could apologise, her hand darts out and dainty pale white fingers wrap around my neck. My eyes widened and stared at her, this was new. This never happened before. Was the thought I had as her grip on my neck tightened. "Tell me" She hissed. "How many people have you brought back, forcing them to tell their tale of death just so you'll inadvertently kill them again? If that's not intentional murder, then I don't know what is. Your sense of 'justice' in reality means _nothing_ compared to the false sense of hope you've given to me and those others you've brought back to life." I gasped and breathed harshly as she let go. I... I had never thought of it that way.... She stands up and turns to smile at me cruelly. "My murderer is outside isn't he?" I blink. "P-pardon?" I wheeze out. "I asked. My. Murderer. Is. Outside. Isn't. He.?" She emphasised, breathing heavily. Watching this living undead behave so emotionally, I can't help but regret not having asked for a guard with me be in the room as I asked her for the details of her murder. "...Who's your murderer?" She laughs. "Rogers. Kyle Rogers." I paled, wasn't the guard's last name Rogers? "...please. Don't kill him. Allow the law and public to punish him. Tell me what happened, I'll make sure he'll stay behind bars until his sentence ends so he'll enough time to regret what he's done." Her eyes narrow and she roughly pulls me back to sit down on the chair and sneers at me. "No." Irritated, I bark back. "Don't you see I'm just trying to help! I'm sorry for having given you false help but why won't you just share what happened so we could put your murderer behind bars?" My shout echoes in this small interrogation room, sound proof, so Rogers hears nothing and stays out. While, Luna, on the other chuckles and shakes her head. "I don't think you understand, _Lindsey _" I flinch at the ferocity of the venom she puts in my name. How did she know? I didn't once tell her... She grips my chin roughly and forces me to look up. I recoiled at her crazed grin. "Who you're speaking to here." "...I'm... I'm not speaking to Lucy Grace, am I?" I slowly spoke as realisation dawned on me. I've been played... by whoever the hell is residing in the corpse of the victim. "Who are you?" "A prisoner who died here long... long ago." She said in a song-song way that sent chills down my spine and I immediately felt nauseous at the implications those words meant. I widened my eyes. "Spirits pass on, if they don't then usually the authorities call an exorcist to get rid of them if they caused trouble and..." I gulped as the prisoner in Lucy’s carcass nods, smiling happily, her blonde strands of hair tickling my face. “Correct, and I’ve been oh so patient, never causing any trouble now didn’t I?” She purred contently. “Then this girl shows up! Oh so easy to possess, why did they even bring such a young girl anywhere close to this prison anyway? For ‘Bring your child to work’ day? Ha!” I felt myself start sweating as the inane words coming out of Lucy’s mouth continue. Shit, what should I do… I gasp, I nearly forgot that I’m a necromancer and I’m the one that’s in control here from how _unusual_ this whole thing was! As my wrists moved up to lift the spell up, two small surprisingly strong hands lunged out and held my hands at bay. “Ah. ah.” She sung. “No… _cheating._ You were going to cancel the spell hm? Well, I guess there’s no point in stopping you.” She let go of my hands and smiled patiently at me. “Come on then.”

  • Lionel Kub

    “So, what are you going to do with the money?” Mia was sitting cross-legged next to the fire, blinking under her too-long bangs. All around them people were finished eating and were crawling into their make-shift beds. “You mean, what are we going to do with the money.” Kyle pulled his blanket closer around him and met her eyes, smiling while he reached out a hand and squeezed hers. “I don’t know. Whatever we want. Everything we want.” “I have never even imagined having a treasure like this.” She scooted closer and looked into his eyes, her face full of hope and wonder. Most of the time she was looking at her hands or the ground, having spent her life getting beating for all initiative she was trained to be unnoticed. When he smiled and beckoned her over she would blossom before him. “None of us have, my dear. Except me of course.” He laughed and looked around the clearing. Ever since he was a child he had dreamed of something more than what he was born into, dreamed of power and freedom. Gold was the way to get both. It had taken him many years to learn of the location and the challenges they would face along the way. “That’s why we were desperate enough to try.” Twenty of them had started, but the fourteen that were left had grown closer. Many were richer in life now than they had been when he met them. “I think I want to start a family.” Mia smiled again, that careful smile of hers that tugged at his heartstrings. Life had been hard on her, yet she was so good. He nodded in response and kissed the back of her hand. “I want so too.” He moved closer to her and the fire, placing an arm around her and wrapping them both in the blanket. He kissed the top of her head while his eyes drifted. Outside the warm light of their fire, the great mountain stretched into the sky. Neatly folded into his pocket, a map indicated where and when a small cave would open. “Sweet dreams, my dear. Everything will be different tomorrow.” ~~~~ They had awoken with the dawn and left without eating breakfast, the nervousness of being so close to a major life change dampened even their usual chatter. In small groups they had made their way up the mountain, not one of them alone as they walked together with the people they would start their new life with. Kyle and Mia led the way, sometimes turning to look at their group of misfit friends. Some had even suggested they use the treasure to start their own village, each with enough money to start their own professional shop. Most of them had been underpaid assistants their whole lives, doing the work and reaping none of the benefits. They had risked their lives to join him on this journey, but it would all be worth it after today. As the sun reached its peak the ground trembled and a crack sounded in the air. “There it is!” Bill shouted before leading the group behind a thick bush to where a piece of the mountain slid away and a cave appeared. “Stop, remember what Kyle said!” Lily was the sensible one of the pair, having saved Bill’s life enough times that he owed her the rest of it. They were both happy with that deal. Moving to the front of the group Kyle removed a small knife from his pants and a piece of paper from his jacket. He turned to the group with a comforting smile, then nicked his hand and placed it on the stone wall. The mountain vibrated softly under him, and he could see more blood leaving his hand than could be explained by a simple cut. The mountain would take its price. Lifting the piece of paper, he closed his eyes and recited the old words. He could feel the change in the air, the magic humming around them all. It was done. They could enter. “The treasure awaits!” His gleeful shout was echoed throughout the group, the suspense was leaving them. Future husbands and wives danced together, sharing tearful kisses, before turning to the mountain. Kyle grabbed Mia by the waist and pulled her into a deep kiss. She had been the first to believe in him, to convince others that the treasure was real and that they could find it. She had changed his whole life. “Let’s go inside.” Kyle dragged his hand along the wall, blood smearing all the way, while he led the group into the mountain. The path was narrow and his torch blinded them more than helped them, behind him he could hear excited muttering that matched the tempo of his beating heart. He worried about the mountain closing them in, about misunderstanding the scroll, about losing his life now that it was about to change. Mia held her hand on his back, following closely and trying not to stumble, shaking from either cold or nervousness. Nearly holding their breath, they turned a final corner and entered a natural room, illuminated by a ray of pale lay through a hole in the ceiling. Kyle walked around the ray and looked around while the rest of them stopped in shock. “There’s nothing here.” “Where’s the treasure?” “Maybe it’s buried” “Has someone been her before?” “It has to be here!” “We’ll find it. Just calm down.” “Calm down?! Where is the gold?!” “We risked everything to come here!” “Stop it!” Mia startled them to silence, never having raised her voice before, and pointed to Kyle. “Look, Kyle is focused. He’ll find it.” Then she turned to face him, and he beckoned her over. “Come onto the platform everyone.” He gesticulated to the raised stone directly underneath the ray of light. “I think the scrolls said something about being illuminated.” The group moved forward, again sticking together with those they had come to care for most, and Kyle moved around them making sure that everyone was hit by the light. He caught Mia’s eyes and smiled at her just when the transformation hit her. It didn’t hit everyone at exactly the same time, some getting a chance to realize what was happening and being forever maintained in gold with a frightened expression. It didn't matter. The gold would be melted and reshaped anyway. Kyle exited the cave and shouted for the friends that had been following them, a few teams of horses dragging a wagon each. Last time he hadn’t planned ahead, not really believing the scrolls, and had lost a lot of his prize by having to arrange transportation after the fact. As his friends pulled each gold statue out of the narrow cave, he moved towards the statue of Mia. Her face would forever keep that loving look. “I’ll keep this one.”

  • Eveline Turner

    The Thompson family moved swiftly through the underground passage. No lamps illuminated the hallway for this family did not need them. An elderly man trailed a short distance behind, "Dad, hurry up. We got to move." shouted David, "Kyle, get your grandfather." Kyle released the hand of his younger sister, pushed her along and ran to the back of the pack. He shot a quick glance back towards his sister and met her glowing eyes as she did the same. When he finally met up with grandpa Jim his grandfather almost collided with him, "Woah, who's there." remarked the man. "Grandpa, it's Kyle. Why aren't you drawing eyesight?" asked Kyle. "Speak up, Kyle. What was that?" replied the man in a soft-spoken tone. Nicest man in the world but ageing, aloof and terribly slow. He broke his bones just about every month, his skin was like paper, it took him hours to go anywhere. A burden. Kyle raised his voice "Eyes, grandpa. eyes!" "Ha, no need for that," said Jim as he tapped the floor with his cane, "I can see just fine with this even in this darkness." "Grandpa, we don't have time to wait for you to tap every surface," said Kyle, "do I need to remind you what's going on, again?" His grandfather steadied himself using his cane and corrected his posture, "Kyle, you depend on your valuable senses too much," said Jim as he loomed over him, "You"ll burn out." God, it was easy to forget how tall this man was with the way he was always hunched over his cane, "I know grandpa but we really don't have a choice right now." Jim muttered under his breath, his eyes brightened behind the thick lenses of his horn-rimmed glasses and the world illuminated around him, "Just this once." said Jim, "Remember Tom?" A boy from Kyle's class, too taken away with the wonders of the world, the way his gift could intensify his surroundings. His addiction cost him his eyes, burned out at the tender age of 5. Grandpa Jim placed a reassuring hand on Kyle's shoulder, "You won't last if you resort to drawing on your abilities." he said, "Everything is finite." A voice boomed from the other end of the passageway, clearly enhanced, "What's going on, Kyle? Hurry it up." thundered in the hallway. The ground trembled and shortly after the passageway ahead collapsed. In its center stood a giant iron foot. “Titan,” breathed Kyle. He firmly grasped his grandfather's arm, “Let’s go, we’ll take the route that runs beneath the town.” Old man Jim chuckled, “Now say what’s the hurry. He’s way too large to fit in the passage. We’re fine.” Kyle stared at his grandpa in disbelief, “He can squash us in it.” Jim pondered on this, “Suppose that’s true.” he said with a smile. His grandpa clearly wasn’t in his right mind at the moment so he simply dragged him through the dark passageway underneath the town. The tremors amplified and turned to audible stomping. The loud stomping suddenly halted, the upper-portion of a home was violently torn from it's foundation, revealing the passageway beneath it. Large spotlights quickly settled in on Jim and Kyle. Jim flinched but Kyle screeched in agony as his enhanced eyes took in the beam of light. The iron titan’s hand shot down to seize them but Jim took his stunned grandson under his arm and jumped up from the passageway to the ground above them. His legs brimming with a red glow. He slapped his grandson on the cheek a few times, “draw *away* from your eyes, stupid.” Darkness surrounded Kyle as he did as he was told, “Now ease ‘em back to normal.” His vision returned with a smiling Jim at the center of it, “There we go.” he said as he pulled his grandson to his feet. “I need you to run, Kyle. Drop back down the tunnels and run.” He dropped his coat to the floor, "Don't wait up now. Hurry along." A lifetime of patience, slow-walking and a desk-job located at an office 1 block from home. He cracked his back. Kyle rubbed his eyes as he had trouble making sense of the display in front of him. Bright red lighting shot around under Jim's skin. "Turn away now, Kyle," said Jim as he rolled up the sleeves of his white button-up, "Shouldn't let your father worry." "What are you saying," yelled Kyle, "You can't be serious. Your can barely walk, can barely see." Grandpa Jim tossed aside his cane and chuckled, "I don't actually need either of those." The titan swung an iron fist at Jim but the giant lurched sideways after Jim swatted it aside. Jim's muscles pulsed red with vigour. "The candle that burns twice as bright only burns half as long." Grandpa Jim sprinted towards the titan with incredible speed but stopped it its iron feet, "But what about the candle that spends it’s entire life fending off the flame, keeping it at bay?" He kicked at the massive iron leg with a speed that even Kyle's enhanced eyes couldn't follow, his leg beamed pulsing red light that was almost entirely drowned out by the white shining from the bone within it. He had endured decades of fragile bones. The iron leg cracked and the titan stumbled, the ground shook as it slammed into the ground. An alarm boomed from the titan as it signalled for assistance. Grandpa Jim’s ears twitched slightly as a pulse of energy passed through them, “It’s time to go, Kyle. There’s more coming.” So Kyle ran, he ran towards the other open end of the passageway. Soldiers poured from the passageway moments later and shot across the sky one moment after that. Jim was already upon them, red light burst from him on every moment. A walking fireball that disabled soldiers with a rapid punches carrying enough force to obliterate bones. A lifetime of canes and crutches. As Kyle approached the passageway a small squadron of soldiers closed in. They were almost upon him and he braced himself to draw speed. Grandpa Jim roared a fierce shout and a visible shock wave slammed the squadron against the wall, instantly burning out Jim's voice. Now mute, Jim smiled and waved his grandson goodbye for one last time. Kyle dropped down and ran through the passageway. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him. There at the other of the passageway stood a large, imposing shadow. Kyle sped up and braced himself to charge into whatever awaited him on the other end. The shadow’s eyes blinked a radiant white, “Kyle!” yelled his father. Kyle slowed down and met up with his father. “Kyle, thank god. Where’s your grandfather?” A saying used too frequently these days. "Blaze of glory." replied Kyle.

  • Kayley Quitzon

    ***The Chosen Ones (Las elegidas)*** (2015; d. David Pablos) A 14 year-old girl is manipulated & eventually kidnapped by a teenage boy & his family, who force her into a life of prostitution. Watching Sofia (Nancy Talamantes) go from a smiling, vibrant person to a broken thing in heavy lipstick is fairly brutal, & the movie finds creative ways to convey the horrors that she goes through. The tone is unrelentingly grim, despite a few plans to free Sofia from her slavery. A heartbreaking ending completes this tough but well-made movie that tackles a very difficult subject. **7 / 10 lost souls** *** *** ***Triple 9*** (2016; d. John Hillcoat) I was looking forward to Hillcoat's new movie, a crime thriller set in Atlanta & starring an interesting group of established actors. I wasn't quite let down, but this movie doesn't resonate like Hillcoat's previous movies. This is a stylish movie (the score in particular) that doesn't really go anywhere *Heat* or *The Town* hasn't already, save that the heist crew includes some crooked cops, which does offer some interesting dynamics. This is overshadowed by the crew leader being manipulated by the Russian mafia (including a nearly unrecognizable Kate Winslet), which feels a little tired. Casey Affleck shines in his own muted way as the new guy in the homicide division, I think it might have been a better movie if they had given the movie to him rather than split the POV among the cast. Woody Harrelson shows up in a strange role that has him hamming it up, & complicates the movie a little much. There's plenty going on in this movie, & the action has juice; I just wish it was more memorable, considering the names involved. **7 cryptic tattoos** *** *** ***The Shallows*** (2016; d. Juame Collet-Serra) The best shark movie I've seen in a while, not that the bar is set very high. Really the only good one since 2010's *The Reef*, with *The Shallows* ramping up the production values & action while overdoing the protagonist's character development. I learned more about Blake Lively's Nancy than I cared to, I didn't need half of the qualifications that Nancy is a Good Person in order to root for her survival against a great white shark that stalks & terrorizes her. Nancy could be a scumbag & I'd still gasp at her ordeal. Plenty of thrills & fun here, not much more I could ask for in a mostly bare-bones killer shark story. The bells & whistles (a Casio® countdown clock to tide changes? a gratuitous Uber reference? yuck) are a little annoying, but the movie stays on track. I'll say that this is the movie that made me decide that I hate fucking texting in a movie, the little graphic that pops up to see the character's activity. Anyway, this was a mostly fun & scary movie, Blake Lively holds it down nicely. I don't know how this is rated PG-13, there's blood & gore in addition to the scares. **7 shark therapists** *** *** ***Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice*** (2016; d. Zack Snyder) I liked it mostly, although it takes itself just a bit too seriously - Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman is the only character with a twinkle in her eye, in a world where eye-twinkles seem to be outlawed (along with color). It's just a shame that that mostly comes along with the Déjà vu of the same settings & dynamics of Bruce Wayne's interactions with Selena Kyle. Another swanky affair with batting eyelashes, dry horny humor, & expensive formal wear? Don't these characters ever meet at a laundromat or supermarket? Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor is barely interesting enough (in mannerisms, not motivations) to earn his screen time. The action is fun enough, I was surprised how big they go with it, this is a long way from a "ker-POW" starburst graphic (no doubt entirely intentional). An enjoyable viewing despite the stifling seriousness. **(yet another) 7 batman-shaped holes in the wall** *** *** ***Tricked: The Documentary*** (2013; d. Jane Wells, John-Keith Wasson) A look at a handful of former & current prostitutes & pimps, with a focus on the role of the pimp in particular. While repeatedly referred to as "smart", I only saw dumb, insufferable, & predatory when the pimps are on camera. The girls are great subjects, & offer interesting insight along with some tears. Despite its tacky, exploitative poster, it is a thoughtful & measured doc that challenges common perceptions of prostitutes. **8 cathartic roller derbys** *** *** ***The Boss*** (2016; d. Ben Falcone) Despite the very funny Melissa McCarthy, an R-rating, & the comedic powerhouses behind Gary Sanchez Productions, this is a clunker just shy of a stinker. McCarthy gets to riff & do some of the things she's great at, but the movie is a slave to its big budget & the story obligations that stem from it. How can a movie that features an extended scene of two troops of Girl Scouts beating the shit out of each other *not* be a hilarious uproar? I don't really know, but this movie achieved it. **4 dead Spaghettis** *** *** ***Satanic*** (2016; d. Jeffrey G. Hunt) Low-(although not as low as I'd expected) budget horror movie about two couples dicking around with murder sites on their way to Coachella (the couples mention going to Coachella several times, yet [spoiler] they never fucking go. I don't know what the hell the writer was thinking, that name-dropping Coachella 15 fucking times is hip?). One couple is regular, the other are a pair of ultra-annoying fuckheads who influence the regular couple into doing fuckheaded things that get them all in trouble. Things start to get surreal as the couples drift from reality into an imagining of Hell (sounds better than it is), which mostly looks like reality. It's all secondary to the characters' inane banter & motivations. Pretty crappy, didn't like it. **2 coachellas**

  • Tyree Fay

    #Title: A Chance for Answers “**FIFTEEN YEARS**” shouted a great and terrible voice from the morning skies. “Oh my *God* what was that?” said Zack, dropping all his books on the lawn. He was late for Calculus I, and he wished to God he could get through the semester. “**FIFTEEN YEARS YOU’VE BEEN TALKING TO ME**” “Lo-” Zack whispered, then dropped to his knees. He got instant grass stains on his gray jeans. “*LORD*?” “**I SWEAR**” Boomed the Lord’s voice. “**YOU CAN’T TAKE A HINT IF IT DROPPED IN YOUR LAP**” “Lord,” said Zack. He looked around. Nobody around that part of campus just yet. He thought it was just too early for anybody to be around. Or maybe God had made sure it would be just so, Zack thought. “What do you require of me my God?” “**YOU STOPPED PRAYING TO ME LONG AGO, BUT YOU NEVER STOPPED PRAYING TO ME**” Zack pondered the words for a bit. He looked down and thought about it, as if it were some Sunday school riddle from a Bible verse. But he couldn’t get the message. “Is this some parable?” said Zack. It was surprising that His voice could boom any louder. The wind accompanied it, and blew off Zack’s ‘OBEY’ hat. “**YOU NEVER SAID AMEN FIFTEEN YEARS AGO**” “Oh,” said Zack. He thought about it. “You mean I’ve never stopped praying?” “**YEAH STOP THAT SAY AMEN**” “*Wait*,” said Zack. He finally had his moment to ask as many questions as he could. All the thoughts of his life, he finally had his moment to ask his Maker. “What is the meaning of life? What is the best way to serve you? What is the proper moral philosophy and life structure? How much do you care about the way we lead our lives? Do you exist in many manifestations across various religions or is there a true religio-” “**YOU KNOW I NEVER WOULD’VE GUESSED YOU HAD SUCH DEEP THOUGHTS CONSIDERING HOW MUCH YOU THINK ABOUT SEX WITH IVANKA TRUMP YOU CLUTTER MINDED FOOL**” “But I *do* I *do* think about these things, I stopped praying long ago because I thought You’d never give me a damn *sign*,” said Zack. “You’ve watched my whole life? You never just came down and *said* something that whole time? Tell me what was right? All those times I needed help, needed to see the right career path, the right things to say to people? You really just watched me live my life and heard my every absurd thought from childhood to now? I just wanted some guidan-” “**YOU JUST NEED TO USE YOUR COMMON SENSE YOU’RE SMART ENOUGH TO FIGURE OUT YOUR LIFE YOU DON’T NEED MY HELP WITH THOSE THINGS, SHOO, PRAYERS CAN BE PAINFUL BUT A FULL BLOWN ENDLESS STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS PRAYER WITHOUT ANY TRUE PURPOSE OR GUIDING PRINCIPLE IS THE WORST UGH HATE THAT I’VE GOT A FEW HUNDRED OF YOU TO DROP IN ON TODAY IT NEEDS TO STOP**” “I can’t believe this is *happening*,” said Zack, staring up at a cloud. Burning his retinas. “I didn’t even *take* those shrooms Kyle gave me. This is *real*? Lord, if You care at all about me, please bless my life. Help me out, show me the wa-” “**LIKE I DON’T ALL READY DAMN, I HELP ALL YOU USELESS IDIOTS OUT. AND BY THE WAY**” said the Lord. “**I MADE SURE LAURA DROPPED INTO YOUR LAP DURING THE PARTY LAST NIGHT. I MADE SURE SHE FORGOT TO TIE HER SHOE LACES WHILE DRUNK, SET THE BUMP IN THE RUG WEEKS AGO, MADE HER TRIP, MADE HER FALL IN YOUR LAP, BECAUSE SHE’S PERFECT FOR YOU AND YOU’RE TOO CAUGHT UP WITH THAT SLUT DELORIS TO REALIZE YOU HAVE THE PERFECT SITUATION PLUS SHE PLAYS CURLING JUST LIKE YOU, YOU WEIRDOS**” Zack had tears in his eyes, angry with himself. “Are you saying she’s my *soul mate*?” “**I’M SAYING YOU’VE GOT A WINDOW TO BONE I’VE GIVEN YOU SO MANY WINDOWS, DON’T GET ME STARTED YOU’RE DENSE AS LEAD MANY MORE WINDOWS WILL COME GET IT GET IT COME HEHE**” “Lord,” said Zack. “Lord you have *puns*, you’re so *relatable* this world needs you right now there’s so much wrong to be righted. You *need* to fix this place! Save the environment, save our societies, create a more perfect *unified* society? Create something *sustainable*, a utopia is *possible* with a divine, righteous, caring Lor-” “**PREACH TO ME ONE MORE TIME GO AHEAD DO IT WHY ARE YOU SO SCARED NOW DO IT PREACH TO ME DO IT DO IT, HOLY HELL I HATE GETTING JUDGED I SWEAR IF YOU DON’T SHUT THE FUCK UP**” “SORRY SORRY SORRY,” said Zack. “I wish You would *speak* with me more often, please *do* just *do*, why don’t You more often?” There was a lot of harsh breaths. The clouds moved a bit with every breath. There was some wind too. “**BECAUSE**” said the Lord. “**I HATE SHOUTING DOWN LIKE THIS**” “*Why?*” whispered Zack. “I’ve waited so *long* for clear answers like this.” “**BECAUSE I AM, YOU KNOW I HATE MY VOICE, AND I AM UHH YOU KNOW I AM UHH,” God got quiet for a second. One could imagine Him maybe looking down bashfully. “**I’M SHY**.” Zack smiled up at the clouds. Smelled the morning air, the scent of nearby flowers in the breeze. “Me too,” said Zack. He waved an index finger around the general vicinity of his face. “In Your image yeah?” “**DON’T YOU CALL ME UGLY EVER AGAIN**” “Hoookay,” said Zack, smiling more awkwardly now. More like he had a stomach ache. “That’s the answer, there’s the answer.” “**YOU KNOW WHAT YOU REALLY NEED THE HELP WHATEVER I’LL HELP YOU OUT YOU’RE HAVING SEX WITH LAURA TONIGHT, YOU’RE GETTING A LOWER LEVEL LOTTERY TICKET SO YOU CAN PAY OFF YOUR LOANS I’LL WHISPER THE NUMBERS IN THE AIR WHILE YOU’RE WRITING IN THE BUBBLES, I’LL GET YOU A CAR, AND GET OUT OF YOUR DAMN MAJOR AND GO INTO HISTORY LIKE YOU WANTED TO I’LL GET YOU A JOB ON HISTORY CHANNEL IF AMERICAN PICKERS CAN HAVE A SHOW YOU CAN HAVE A SHOW**” “*Amen to all of that*,” said Zack. “**AMEN**” There was a whirlwind of flower petals. “**AMENNNNNNNN**” “WHOA,” shouted Zack. His feet picked up off the ground a bit, then dropped him back down into a sea of petals. “**THUS CONCLUDES YOUR TEDIOUS FUCKING PRAYER, REMEMBER TO CLOSE IT OFF NEXT TIME I STILL GOT YOUR BACK THOUGH BRUH K?**” “THANK YOU LORD!” shouted Zack to the Heavens. There was a burst of sunlight, and a rush of joy through his body. He sat in quiet wonder for an hour, as the student body populated around the lawn. All the Lord had said became so.

  • Dane Berge

    DALLAS — After the Celtics defeated the Lakers on Feb. 3, assistant coach Jay Larranaga quietly walked around the locker room, stopping to shake each player’s hand and say thank you. The victory itself was not especially significant, but it had just become official that Celtics coach Brad Stevens would guide the Eastern Conference All-Star team. And Stevens gets to bring all of his assistants, too. So for the Celtics’ staff, which is a mix of retired players, former college coaches, and rising prospects, the opportunity to have a turn — however small — on the league’s grandest stage is reason enough to give thanks. “Having grown up watching the Slam Dunk Contest, watching Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan for me, and now in the last few years watching that with my kids, and now to be a part of it, that’s special,” Larranaga said. Two years ago, Larranaga and Celtics assistant Micah Shrewsberry brought their sons to the All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden together. The Celtics were just 20-31, and the thought of someday coaching in the event seemed like a pipe dream. A week later, Boston would acquire the brilliant young point guard Isaiah Thomas, unaware of how he would help reshape the franchise so suddenly. This week, of course, Thomas will be in New Orleans with his coaches; he was selected as an Eastern Conference reserve for the second consecutive year. “It’s great for those guys,” Thomas said of the Celtics’ staff, “because they don’t get the credit they deserve, so now they’re going to get it.” Thomas joked that he should get a starting nod now that his coaches are in control. That is not allowed, of course, but perhaps he will have some influence regarding playing time. Shrewsberry said that Thomas’s value to the Celtics might actually have the reverse effect in New Orleans. “Brad will probably put him in a bubble,” he said, smiling. “We play Toronto right after the All-Star Game, so we’ll probably play [Kyle] Lowry and [DeMar] DeRozan all 48 minutes.” The Celtics’ staff had very little discussion about coaching in the All-Star Game as this season progressed. They were in the mix because coaches cannot go in back-to-back years, making Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue ineligible. Still, for much of the season Boston was chasing the second-place Raptors. So several staffers made other All-Star break plans. Jamie Young was scheduled to be honored at his alma mater, Logansport (Ind.) High School. (And his wedding anniversary is next weekend.) Video coordinator Alex Barlow had made plans to see his family in Cincinnati, because the Celtics’ Christmas game had kept him from being home for the holidays. Shrewsberry was looking forward to attending his children’s basketball games. But they were all looking forward to this rare and high-profile alternative. “If they need me to rebound for three days, I’ll do it,” Barlow said. “I’m up for anything. I’m just happy to be there.” “It’s definitely cool to be able to go and be with all the best players in the world and represent our team, represent the Celtics,” assistant coach Walter McCarty said. While Boston’s assistants are eager for this brief star turn, Stevens has been more of a reluctant recipient. He has said several times that he would rather have one or two more of his players in the game than to be the one coaching it. And he is both a dedicated family man and a meticulous and relentlessly prepared coach. So All-Star Weekend will, in essence, take away from some of that. On Saturday, he said he had not given the All-Star Game any thought, because his team still had several games to play first. “It’s so hard to tell,” Larranaga said of Stevens’s feelings about the upcoming weekend. “He cares about his family and he cares about doing his job well, I know that. And I think this is a sign that he’s doing his job well. But he is somebody that never stops working to get better and never stops looking forward to the next step, the next goal for our team.” The game might be most meaningful to Stevens because it is quite meaningful to his young son, Brady. Stevens said Brady updated him on the standings for two weeks before the Celtics’ coaches clinched their spot. “I think it means a little bit to Brad,” said Barlow, who played for Stevens at Butler, “but more so because Brady was super-excited and wanted to go.”

  • Ruthie Leffler

    “November 16, 2016. The day will forever be known as the Great Change (“GC”). I wish we could just go back to how it was. When we were all just plain humans. Nobody really understood what had happened. We felt nothing different, but within an instance we all looked different and could do superhuman things. 5:34 PM to be exact. The GC felt as natural as walking into your home, but the moment that you stepped through the door all of your furniture changed, the walls disappeared, and the roof was left floating on its own. It was jarring, scary and exciting, and it all happened in the blink of an eye. There were no secret government projects that accidently went awry. God didn’t come down from wherever and tell us we were special and amazing and that he was finally going to reward us for all of the amazing progress we made. That was joke by the way Kyle, no need to grimace at me. I know about WW2, I know about the genocides, I know about slavery, I know Trump was elected the year of the GC. All of us know humanity’s collective knowledge and history thanks to the Cognition Implants created by the Brainiacs. Anyway… I can’t say for sure that we lowly humans were not responsible for the GC, but a year has gone by and not a single person has taken credit for it. Even the super-geniuses can’t figure out how the GC happened. But then again, maybe nobody took credit because of how many of us disappeared. I know it’s a difficult topic, I lost my parents that day. I know many of you had people who were also holding nothing in their hands during the GC. What happened, happened however. Until one of the Brainiacs can create a time machine we will have to honor the Goners by celebrating their memory every year on GC Day. We can’t let sadness and anger stop us from moving forward as a species. You all know that.” The sea of faces revealed a mixture of emotions, strong and empathetic, weak and sociopathic, all personal, their true depths meant to be hidden. However, every secret was laid bare for me because of my power. I felt all of them against my will within the span of a second. My hand firmly pressed against the podium and I counted down from five, clearing my mind before speaking again. “Alright. Let’s get back on topic. I’m supposed to recount my life story for you all, and I intend to finish by 2:00 PM so we don’t have to drag this into another lecture.” “Sir, there’s only five minutes left”, sung Cindy, the words were in perfect pitch and made my eyes water as euphoria tickled my brain. She must have been holding an mp3 player or a microphone, something along those lines. “Come on Cindy, just let me continue and please refrain from using your powers to distract me.” The class laughed, a few boys near her swooned uncontrollably. I continued after they quieted down. “The day before the GC, I was laid off and was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I was drinking a lot, smoking a lot. Not as much as the Smokees or the Greeners do now, but enough that I didn’t feel bad about the way my life was heading. It’s funny, before the GC our society had a taboo on illegal drug use, you were even looked down upon for admitting personal shortcomings. High society had no room for weakness and low society had no time for anything except work. My self-pity and laziness had a time limit however. I had about a month left on my apartment’s lease, so I was going to take it easy and then find a job after I moved back in with my parents. I woke up late on the day of the GC, around 4:30 PM, spent the next hour rolling cigarillos and swinging back beers.” An audible gasp could be heard in the room. “Calm down, I know, I know, I thank my lucky stars every day that I was so miserable and drunk that I couldn’t keep indulging myself. As you all know, I wasn’t holding anything like that when the clock struck 5:34 PM. I had left my apartment to go visit my girlfriend. I met up with here just a minute before-“ The bell rang interrupting me before I could finish my story. Three students instantaneously disappeared. Another four looked like they disappeared, but were just moving so fast that you couldn’t see them leave the room. One student had a lion come pick her up. The whole lecture hall cleared out within 30 seconds. I had to sit down and hold myself to stop shaking. At the end of every lecture I was bombarded with so much excitement it felt like an adrenaline rush multiplied over a thousand times. I looked up and saw Cindy looking at me. She was the last one in the room. “I know you will probably tell us on Thursday, but I’m curious, what were you holding Mr. Oltalk?” she asked, straining not to sing her question. I appreciated her restraint. “Well, if you can’t wait I’ll tell you”, I said smiling, “I was holding my girlfriend’s hand”.

  • Alivia Koss

    You’d think they’d notice after the 300th something anniversary that I’m still in the photograph, celebrating. That I, standing with Pete, Gerald, and Connor, smiling as a bag covered in straw hangs behind us. Burning. Dissolving. You’d think that since a few decades ago it was Michael, Steven, and Rick. Before that was Aaron, Kyle, and Bernard. That I’d be in the photograph, smiling, watching the camera evolve whilst I stay perfectly the same. Clean shaven. Old but lively looking. Hair a bit of a mess but who cares. You’d think they’d notice I was immortal. But that’s the thing. They don’t. Salem went from mass hunts to private security. No longer did they care if the children were being eaten. They just don’t want them out past daytime to avoid kidnapping. Salem grew more self orientated. And that’s fine, now. But as I watched my good friends burn on a stake throughout the centuries, I couldn’t help but wonder why they didn’t choose me. Why wasn’t I identified as a witch? The obvious conclusion, my therapist thinks, is because I’m a guy. Guys can’t be witches. If there are guy witches they’re not so dangerous because they’re weak. I see that angle, but sometimes I think I’m just invisible. No one really cares for me. My family is long dead. My friends grow old and forget about me. They invite the Petes and the Connors to funerals because those are who are memorable. The coffee shop owners. The frequent drunk at the diner. Obviously not the man who hasn’t damn well aged at all. But to be fair to them, it’s not like I do much. I don’t need food. Or water. Not even to sleep. I just spend my time watching old movies. Sometimes I watch documentaries about the Trials because they’re the only things I found relatable. I watched this one on a streaming site and I even saw myself! I looked so sad. And fearful. I kind of remember feeling targeted at the time but no one paid attention. My sister burned and they simply walked past me. That was more offensive than the actual trial. So here I am, almost 400 years old and my power is simple immortality. My current acquaintances are my therapist and Henry who works at the car repair shop. But my therapist thinks I’m lying and Henry doesn’t talk much. He lost his jaw in Afghanistan. So he just listens to me bicker. Good guy. You’d think I’d be affected by the world changing so drastically. Honestly, I’ve seen worse. Now people live to be at least 80. Diseases can be cured by a sharp needle. Police can find a murderer in a couple of days instead of weeks. There’s really not much for me here, anymore. So I’m going to leave Salem. It’s too bland. Boring. I’m going to use my one, useless power for good. In Europe there’s this position to be some sort of figure. Kind of a role model. They say you can keep the position until you die. That should be fun. Maybe someone can call me out on my undying ways. They’ll look at me and say, “Francis, you seem to always escape death.” And I’d look at them and say, “of course. The Pope should never die.”

  • Clark Watsica

    There was a knock on the door. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't this. Acid- My nemesis. He used his trademark hydrofluoric acid guns to break into bank vault, break people out of prison and blind anyone who got in his way. I leapt back, and took a defensive stance. "Get back! Get away! Help some-one cal-" He strode into the room, slammed the door shut and pressed his hand over my mouth. "Drop it, Starman. I know it's you. No need to involve bystanders, is there." He met my eyes, and let go. "I have no idea what you're-" "Save it. I've known your alter ego for two years now. Never saw the point in busting you for it." I keep me eye on his, warily. "What do you want?" He stepped back, and took a deep breath. He pulled off his mask. "I need your help." This was the first time I'd seen his face- he was a master of escaping. His skin was sallow, and his hair was falling out. He looked like death. "What happened to you?" "Lung cancer. Turns out acid ain't great for your lungs. Doc says I have two months, tops." "Well.. there's nothing I can do.. you must know that." I was confused as all hell. I didn't want to help him- he was a murderer, a thief... dangerous. But even if I did want to, what could I do for that? He reached into his pocket, I flinched reflectively. He pulled out his wallet, and offered it to me. I took it, hesitantly. Inside... were dozens of pictures of a little girl, maybe five years old. "My daughter... Anna. She doesn't know about this. About any of it. Her mama... she's gone too. She's all alone in this world when I'm gone, and I sure as fuck don't want her anywhere near the foster system. I've been there... I know what it can do to people. I mean, look at me?" "Acid...a-" "My names Kyle. Kyle Davidson" "Kyle...why me? Surely you must-?" "I spray acid in people's faces for a living. I have money, enought o give her the life she deserves. All yours, if you'll take her." "The money you stole." I said, bluntly. "Some of it." "I can't take it, What you did was wrong...I can't be a part of that." "Please. I'll do anything. I just need to know she's with someone I can trust to do right by her, look after her. Name your price. Anything." I looked back to the pictures... I had him on a platter. I could get him to confess to his crimes, serve as much of his time as he had left. Her smiling face held me. She only had two more months with her dad. I handed him back the wallet. "I don't want your money. Give it back, or give it to a good cause. My price is this- no more trouble from you until... Spend time with your little girl, give her something to remember you by. When the time comes... she'll be safe with me. I promise." He looked... relieved. Like he hadn't expected this to work. "Thank you. You have my word.... I was afraid you'd send me to prison. I would have, you know. For Anna." "Go on. Go find her, and show her how much you care. I'll be there when you need me, Kyle."

  • Dannie Jakubowski

    This was me as a kid. I was a relatively calm and a socially awkward five year old (as socially awjward as they already were.) I mostly just kept to myself, i learned to read before I ever started school and just read books and sat in a corner by myself, save for one boy at a daycare who constantly picked on me and bullied me. He'd yank my hair, pinch me, slap me, anything to get my attention amd try and get me riled up. I told the daycare attendants but Jackie (fucking Jackie) always scolded me for "tattling" on this kid. Resigned to my fate I endured this relentless torture day in and day out, for months. Until one day my dad picked me up and then went to pick up my brother who was a few years older than me and he was telling ny dad about how a kid was beating him up and bullying him in school. He told my brother "Tell the teacher. If he does it again, tell the teacher again, and if the little brat hasn't learned his lesson after that, sock him straight in the nose." My brother stopped snivelling for a bit enough to say okay and nod. But now I knew how to deal with my bully. The next day I'm minding the Berenstain bears again and my bully Kyle comes and rips a chunk of my hair out. I tell the attendany, and she's too engulfed in some cosmo magazine to scold the fucker. So I huff and go back to reading quietly, and then of course, lil fucker Kyle comes and pinches my arm. I tell the attendant again, and Jackie tells me if I keep tattling, she'll call my parents. So lil fucker Kyle is just waiting for his chance to strike again. I start reading again and lo and behold I feel a familar painful yank on my long hair. I whipped around and punched lil shithead Kyle square in the nose with every bit of rage that had built in me. His faced erupted in blood and he started wailing. The attendants ran for him to see what happened. I'm still in a bit of shock, my fist still balled tightly with a smear of blood tickling my knuckles. The attendants start going ballistic, one ushes bloody little bastard Kyle off to get cleaned up and the other attendant Jackie starts screaming at me. I grinned and blurted out "I told you twice he was hurting me." She kept screaming and calmed down enough to call my parents and tell them how their normally mild mannered and quiet 5 year old snapped and obliterated an 8 year old's nose. She sat me in a corner for the rest of the day and I couldn't stop smiling. They called my parents and my dad picked me up as usual and he sternly asked me to explain myself. I told him I heard him tell my brother how to deal with a bully and did exactly as he said. He looked thoughtful for a moment, and told me "Don't worry, he won't ever bother you again." He took me to an ice cream shop and bought me the biggest sundae they hadx ruffled my hair and said "Sweetie, I'm so proud of you for standing up for yourself, but don't tell your mom." Ah the nineties

  • Edwin Farrell

    I'm personally a big fan of: Morrison's Batman and Robin #15-16, where Bruce Wayne comes back to save the day. Lots of great [moments](http://berkeleyplaceblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/IMG_4873.jpg). DC Universe got me pretty emotional, and I'm not even the biggest[ flash guy.](https://lowbrowcomics.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/image77.jpeg) I am a big Green Arrow/Black Canary guy, so[ Quiver](http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Elf_Girl24/media/kiss%20me/kiss_03.jpg.html) had me smiling, and tearing up a little the whole way through. Really him seeing any character for the first time (or the first time again) is really[ grea](http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Elf_Girl24/media/kiss%20me/kiss_04.jpg.html)t. There's a fun little story after Kevin Smith leaves Green Arrow where Oliver Queen runs around with Kyle Rayner, complaining about how he's not as great as Hal Jordan. It's not really a reunion, but GL/GA is what made me fall in love with Green Arrow, so watching them pal around is great. Getting away from superheroes and resurrections for a second, [Saga #36](http://www.readcomics.tv/images/manga/saga/36/14.jpg) is just so incredibly satisfying. It's nice to watch something happy happen to these characters for once, and with all the time jumps, its amazing to realize just how long it has been since Marko has seen his daughter. The looks on both Marko and Hazel's faces the page before the one I posted kills me. He thinks he has to reintroduce himself to a daughter who could barely walk last time he saw her, and she's just so in awe, like she's seeing someone she wasn't totally sure existed. I don't know if there's a specific moment, but the whole "Hawkeye/Mockingbird" reunion after Secret Invasion was very cathartic. Their relationship was, of course, complicated at the end, so it was fun watching them reconcile a little. Astonishing X-Men's [Kitty Pryde and Colossus](https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/05/1d/6b/051d6b3fff44bf1b35d4da4e73ecccad.jpg) is great. Also a little[ depressing.](https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CbCBaxCUEAAS4UG.jpg)

  • Florida Reichel

    Makes me sad that people see white people like this. It is alien to me, much like the episode of SouthPark where Kyle is debating Wendy about changing the flag [Chef Goes Nanners](http://southpark.wikia.com/wiki/Chef_Goes_Nanners/Script) >Kyle: Our main point is that the flag shouldn't offend anyone, because killing has been around since the beginning of time. All animals kill. [an astonished Stan looks as Cartman puts his right hand on the back of Wendy's chair and points at her with his left, winks, then does a victory hand dance. A smiling Wendy remains oblivious to this showing off] And the animals that don't kill are stupid ones, like cows and turtles and stuff. So people should not be so upset about killing. [returns to his seat amid a smattering of applause] >Chef: [stands up] Whoa whoa whooaa! You just missed the point entirely! >Kyle: Huh? >Chef: I'm not mad because the flag shows somebody gettin' killed, It's because it's racist! ... >Stan: W-we really didn't see it that way. >Chef: But that's a black man up there! >Stan: Y-yeah, but… the color of someone's skin doesn't matter. >Chef: Well of course it matters when- [catches himself] …Oh my God. Wait a minute. You children didn't even see the flag as a black man being hanged by white people, did you? ... >Chef: Don't you see? All this time I thought these little crackers had turned racist, when actually they were so not racist that they didn't even make a separation of black and white to begin with. All they saw when they looked at that flag was five people. That's the way I see things. I don't see the colour of skin. I love everybody. But the media says I don't. So makes you want to stop! #THEY ARE TRYING TO DIVIDE US

  • Ivory Kirlin

    *Here is this video's information as of 12-3-2016 at 20:57 (US Central Standard Time)* **Title:** [Kyle Lowry - This Could Be Us [HD]](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEVROEzdaTA) **Date Published:** 2016-12-03 **Length:** 101 seconds **Views:** 12 **Description:** >Kyle Lowry - This Could Be Us [HD] Kyle Lowry the smiling assasin, is one of the league's finest point guards. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan hope to bring the Toronto Raptors to new hights in this NBA season (2016 - 2017). Is this season gonna be the break out season for Kyle (Lowry Time) ? In this mix/edit you will fine the top plays, and highlights of Kyle Lowry, through cross overs, deadly drives, ankle breakers, step backs and more! ---------------------------------------------------------- [^^Bot ^^Info](https://github.com/William-Hicks/YouTubeModerator) ^^| [^^Request ^^A ^^Bot](https://www.reddit.com/message/compose/?to=iNeverQuiteWas) ^^| [^^Make ^^A ^^Suggestion](https://www.reddit.com/message/compose/?to=iNeverQuiteWas) ^^| [^^Report ^^A ^^Problem](https://www.reddit.com/message/compose/?to=iNeverQuiteWas)

  • Daniella Crona

    How would you feel if a beautiful woman who records sexy videos sat across from your husband in a t shirt dress and no panties and flashed your husband? No, Erika didn't mean to but it doesn't matter. Wives get pissy about things like that. It became an event because a husband was there. When she presented the panties to Erika, even though she was smiling and did it in a cutsie way, Dorit was telling her in no uncertain terms to wear underwear around her husband to make sure that doesn't happen again. That should have been the end of it. Now, Erika is no delicate flower but you have Eileen trying to corner Dorit every time she sees her to confront her about "blindsiding" her helpless friend, Erika. What is Eileen doing on this show. If Dorit hadn't yelled at her to knock it off, Eileen would ride that horse into the dust like last year. Then you have the washed out, bland version of Kyle who agreed that Erika was blindsided just like she ran after Yolanda last year and makes no stands against anyone since her wonderful blow-out with Camille cost her husband a large commission the first season. Kyle used to be fiery and watchable but she must ever be the diplomat now that it may impact her husband's business as well as her own. Too bad.

  • Dora Streich

    ***Analyzing marcustalbot1997*** * comments per month: 44.1 *^I ^have ^an ^opinion ^on ^everything* * posts per month: 4.1 * favorite sub [AskReddit](http://NP.reddit.com/r/AskReddit) * favorite words: really, really, those * age 1 years 4 months * profanity score 0.7% *^Gosh ^darnet ^gee ^wiz* * trust score 62.7% [New Quizzybot Game! Win Reddit Gold!](https://redd.it/4t8fnd) * Fun facts about marcustalbot1997 * *"I am circumcised, but I am perfectly happy."* * *"I'm a savage I have lived by this rule since I was a kid..."* * *"I am the king of these lands, I will stand firm!", Kyle said, victoriously smiling as he looked upon his rival."* * *"I've been receiving angry texts from my parents and my brother, and now even my girlfriend won't talk to me."* * *"I am from(Netherlands) It is perfectly legal to ping whatever port you want."* * *"I've had about four drops this week and or tool me only about fifty ares runs in total."* * *"I am in beta, was wondering the same thing."* * *"I am not sure if a direct democracy will work in this day and age."* * *"I am not in fact teetotal."* * *"I am a loser, and I find this offensive."* * *"I am crying now, because my face hurts."*

  • Antonietta Heidenreich

    "I'm sorry if it sounds like a broken record. It's just I've been in your shoes before and a sympathize with how you feel." *Kyle says as he lifts up his shirt a bit to reveal a rather large massive scar across his chest as if it came from some large sword straight across his right. It looked a little faded, but it was still very noticeable.* "A year and a half ago I went on some personal business in Atlas and ended up meeting up with the White Fang. They did a number of physical and emotional damage to me." *After a bit he then places his shirt down back to normal before smiling.* "Although they did the damage and I thought about not trusting them, it would only make them hate more and cause Grimm to rise. It took my team and Daireann to convince me that being against that way wasn't going to solve anything and just create more havoc." *Kyle then closed his bottle of water and placed it in his jacket before opening up the door for Gwen so that they could head out.* "I think with Yule time they're having some sales on some stuff I need to get for my teammates."

  • Layne Hills

    *Kyle smiled as he seemed just giddy with her answer. Almost so that his eyes were starting to get wet, but after blinking a few times he chuckled a bit and continued to dance with her.* "I love you Daireann." *Kyle said as the dance was about to come to an end as he then gave Daireann one more kiss. After their brief kiss, Kyle pulled away as he couldn't help, but smiling at the thought of them being together.*

  • Dortha Maggio

    They're supposed to stir the shit aren't they? Like what show are these people wanting to watch? Kyle has everybody over for a faux-BQ and everyone gets along great and they all jump naked in the pool? They go to Eden's Pilates studio and have great sessions and make gross looking smoothies after all while smiling stupidly at each other? I just don't get this. I watch this show to watch these heffas be messy and have a damn laugh about it. It just doesn't seem like these people have fun watching this show. And if you aren't enjoying it because you see LVP as some She Devil who constantly escapes persecution (or any reason), then why continue watching? Focus on what you love instead of what you hate. I'm not saying that you have to like and respect everything these ladies do. You don't. I'm just saying, from my perspective, all these people hating on LVP don't even seem to enjoy the show period. It's like they just watch out of habit and can't or won't stop watching; in hopes LVP finally gets taken down. It's Bravo. It's supposed to be fun and dumb and brainless. It's not personal.

  • Vergie Kautzer

    "You know nothing of me, Boris." Kyle whispered, cockily grinning. "I apologize for my.......grandson's *Atrocious* behavior and hope to make amends." I said eyeing Kyle angrily. "Ah......where are my manners? Allow me to properly introduce myself. My name's Marik." I say offering my hand, smiling pleasantly.

  • Enola Morissette

    Dark Knight Rises. Have it so that all the audience sees is Alfred smiling and nodding to Bruce Wayne off camera rather than the camera actually showing us that him and Selena Kyle are living happily ever after. I know it seems like a really small change but I really think the lack of ambiguity makes the ending really forced

  • Nakia Feest

    > “Brad will probably put [Isaiah] in a bubble,” he said, smiling. “We play Toronto right after the All-Star Game, so we’ll probably play [Kyle] Lowry and [DeMar] DeRozan all 48 minutes.” Lol. I won't even be mad.

  • Sofia Leuschke

    "It felt good to see Kyle smiling with the Cavs" I'm not sure I agree with it feeling good. Kind of feels like seeing your ex with a really attractive new boyfriend

  • Alberto Keeling

    "Well looks like I'm going with that one then." *Kyle said smiling at the idea of her actually liking the present.*

  • Edgar Howell

    *she sighs, smiling.* "I have to, I can't leave Kyle."

  • Elmore Feeney

    Kyle Hendricks is smiling!!

  • Eugenia Schumm

    That guy's smiling. It can't be Kyle.

  • Grover Block

    Haha not smiling now are you Kyle

  • Shad Koch

    KYLE ATTEMPTS SMILING

  • Otilia King

    The books [*The Transgender Child*](https://smile.amazon.com/Transgender-Child-Handbook-Families-Professionals/dp/1573443182) and [*The Transgender Teen*](https://smile.amazon.com/Transgender-Teen-Professionals-Supporting-Non-Binary/dp/1627781749) by Stephanie Brill are the two halves of your new bible, seriously. There's also a new book out for Trans teens and their families, called [*Where's MY Book?* by Linda Gromko, MD](http://smile.amazon.com/Wheres-Transgender-Non-Conforming-Parents-Everyone/dp/0982514379). I haven't read it yet, but it looks well worth a look. Check out http://t-vox.org/ and http://camparanutiq.org/ . You'd love Camp Aranuti'q. Watch [this great video](http://youtube.com/watch?v=IxzKlPVceWg) too. It's about Trans kids and it's really good. (Ignore the line from one mom about how blockers are "brand new". They aren't. They've been used for decades. The books I mentioned above explain a lot more about all that.) Your mom should, not walk, to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tyfa_talk/ and join it. It's a wonderful parents-only group specifically for parents of Trans and gender-questioning kids who are 18 and under. There's a lot more to it than "you should support your kid". There's lots for her there, even if she's supportive from the start. On Facebook, she can join these great groups for parents of Trans and gender-expansive kids: [here](https://facebook.com/groups/108151199217727) and [here](https://facebook.com/groups/1439892809604202/). And here on Reddit, she can check out /r/cisparenttranskid. [Trans Youth Family Allies](http://imatyfa.org/), [Gender Spectrum](http://genderspectrum.org/) (and their fantastic [conference](http://genderspectrum.org/outreach/family-conference)), and the [Trans Health conference](http://trans-health.org/), among other resources, will help your whole family a lot. To find a therapist who actually gets Trans issues (most don't, and are unhelpful at best and actively harmful at worst), see http://t-vox.org/medical and http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/ . For the second link, enter your location and then select Transgender from the Issues list on the left. The nice folks at the [Gender Development](http://www.luriechildrens.org/en-us/care-services/conditions-treatments/gender-development/Pages/index.aspx) clinic at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, the [Gender Management Services](http://www.childrenshospital.org/centers-and-services/disorders-of-sexual-development-dsd-and-gender-management-service-program/overview) (GeMS) clinic at Boston Children's Hospital, [The Center for Trans Youth Health and Development](http://www.chla.org/site/c.ipINKTOAJsG/b.7501767/) at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, the [Genecis clinic at Children's Medical Center Dallas](https://www.childrens.com/specialties-services/specialty-centers-and-programs/endocrinology/programs-and-services/genecis-program), the [gender clinic at Seattle Children's Hospital](http://www.seattlechildrens.org/clinics-programs/gender-clinic/), [BC Children's Hospital](http://www.bcchildrens.ca/Services/SpecializedPediatrics/EndocrinologyDiabetesUnit/forfamilies/transgenderresources.htm) in Vancouver, and/or the [Trans youth clinic](http://www.sickkids.ca/AdolescentMedicine/What-We-Do/Programs/SickKids%20Interprofessional-Team-for-Youth/) at SickKids in Toronto can help your family connect with more providers and support networks in your area for Trans children and their families, even if you're not near any of those clinics. They do a lot of networking with groups and providers across North America and around the world.

  • Javier Hermiston

    "Calvin? Calvin, sweetheart?" In the darkness Calvin heard the sound of Susie, his wife of fifty-three years. Calvin struggled to open his eyes. God, he was so tired and it took so much strength. Slowly, light replaced the darkness, and soon vision followed. At the foot of his bed stood his wife. Calvin wet his dry lips and spoke hoarsely, "Did... did you.... find him?" "Yes dear," Susie said smiling sadly, "He was in the attic." Susie reached into her big purse and brought out a soft, old, orange tiger doll. Calvin could not help but laugh. It had been so long. Too long. "I washed him for you," Susie said, her voice cracking a little as she laid the stuffed tiger next to her husband. "Thank you, Susie." Calvin said. A few moments passed as Calvin just laid on his hospital bed, his head turned to the side, staring at the old toy with nostalgia. "Dear," Calvin said finally. "Would you mind leaving me alone with Hobbes for a while? I would like to catch up with him." "All right," Susie said. "I'll get something to eat in the cafeteria. I'll be back soon." Susie kissed her huband on the forehead and turned to leave. With sudden but gentle strength Calvin stopped her. Lovingly he pulled his wife in and gave her a passionate kiss on the lips. "I love you," he said. "And I love you," said Susie. Susie turned and left. Calvin saw tears streaming from her face as she went out the door. Calvin then turned to face his oldest and dearest friend. "Hello Hobbes. It's been a long time hasn't it old pal?" Hobbes was no longer a stuffed doll but the big furry old tiger Calvin had always remembered. "It sure has, Calvin." said Hobbes. "You... haven't changed a bit." Calvin smiled. "You've changed a lot." Hobbes said sadly. Calvin laughed, "Really? I haven't noticed at all." There was a long pause. The sound of a clock ticking away the seconds rang throughout the sterile hospital room. "So... you married Susie Derkins." Hobbes said, finally smiling. "I knew you always like her." "Shut up!" Calvin said, his smile bigger than ever. "Tell me everything I missed. I'd love to hear what you've been up to!" Hobbes said, excited. And so Calvin told him everything. He told him about how he and Susie fell in love in high school and had married after graduating from college, about his three kids and four grandkids, how he turned Spaceman Spiff into one of the most popular sci-fi novels of the decade, and so on. After he told Hobbes all this there was another pregnant pause. "You know... I visited you in the attic a bunch of times." Calvin said. "I know." "But I couldn't see you. All I saw was a stuffed animal." Calvin voice was breaking and tears of regret started welling up in his eyes. "You grew up old buddy." said Hobbes. Calvin broke down and sobbed, hugging his best friend. "I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry I broke my promise! I promised I wouldn't grow up and that we'd be together forever!!" Hobbes stroke the Calvin's hair, or what little was left of it. "But you didn't." "What do you mean?" "We were always together... in our dreams." "We were?" "We were." "Hobbes?" "Yeah, old buddy?" "I'm so glad I got to see you like this... one last time..." "Me too, Calvin. Me too." "Sweetheart?" Susie voice came from outside the door. "Yes dear?" Calvin replied. "Can I come in?" Susie asked. "Just a minute." Calvin turned to face Hobbes one last time. "Goodbye Hobbes. Thanks... for everything..." "No, thank you Calvin." Hobbes said. Calvin turned back to the door and said, "You can come in now." Susie came in and said, "Look who's come to visit you." Calvin's children and grandchildren followed Susie into Calvin's room. The youngest grandchild ran past the rest of them and hugged Calvin in a hard, excited hug. "Grandpa!!" screamed the child in delight. "Francis!" cried Calvin's daughter, "Be gentle with your grandfather." Calvin's daughter turned to her dad. "I'm sorry, Daddy. Francis never seems to behave these days. He just runs around making a mess and coming up with strange stories." Calvin laughed and said, "Well now! That sound just like me when I was his age." Calvin and his family chatted some more until a nurse said, "Sorry, but visiting hours are almost up." Calvin's beloved family said good bye and promised to visit tommorrow. As they turned to leave Calvin said, "Francis. Come here for a second." Francis came over to his grandfather's side, "What is it Gramps?" Calvin reached over to the stuffed tiger on his bedside and and held him out shakily to his grandson, who looked exactly as he did so many years ago. "This is Hobbes. He was my best friend when I was your age. I want you to have him." "He's just a stuffed tiger." Francis said, eyebrows raised. Calvin laughed, "Well, let me tell you a secret." Francis leaned closer to Clavin. Calvin whispered, "If you catch him in a tiger trap using a tuna sandwich as bait he will turn into a real tiger." Francis gasped in delighted awe. Calvin continued, "Not only that he will be your best friend forever." "Wow! Thanks grandpa!" Francis said, hugging his grandpa tightly again. "Francis! We need to go now!" Calvin's daughter called. "Okay!" Francis shouted back. "Take good care of him." Calvin said. "I will." Francis said before running off after the rest of the family. Calvin laid on his back and stared at the ceiling. The time to go was close. He could feel it in his soul. Calvin tried to remember a quote he read in a book once. It said something about death being the next great adventure or something like that. He eyelids grew heavy and his breathing slowed. As he went deeper into his final sleep he heard Hobbes, as if he was right next to him at his bedside. "I'll take care of him, Calvin..." Calvin took his first step toward one more adventure and breathed his last with a grin on his face. EDIT: Wow... just wow... I am speechless here guys. I did not expect such a reaction to my story or prompt. I am not worthy of your praise or your gold. I am truly humbled. Thanks so much! I'm truly glad so my story touched so many people.

  • Blanca Hickle

    I feel like you should be giving more background to your situation for a better response but I'll give you my advice. A hand written letter is a sweet and awesome old fashion way to let someone know you care so that's a plus in my book. The thing is while the idea is good, the content seems like it has the potential to come off a bit too strong and is why I feel like you should give more background. Did she ever show any signs of wanting to be in a relationship? Did she ever reach out to you for more than a hook up? Have you frequently talked to her and stayed updated with her life while she's been out of the country? If the answer is no to any of this you should tone the letter down. People can really change in a short period of time and being out of the country will only advance that. In that time she may have found a boyfriend or just had an overall mindset change that could put her in a different place than how you feel now. Now as for the changes you can make if this is the case, Id start with condensing it. You mention multiple times that you're fine with keeping it platonic if the feelings aren't mutual. Cut that out, it's not true, you clearly like her, it comes off as insecure, and if you like her as much as it seems you probably know deep inside you would feel upset if she didn't feel the same way back. Mention it once just to show cordiality, but don't flood it with the whole "I take this back if you don't like me too" nonsense. With that is the love part, leave that out. She's been gone for what I'm assuming has been a while and that's just weird. Had you been more descriptive on how long you've know her and how close you've been in the past other than a hook up you'd have a better reason for that line but even then that's just weird. Another thing, you completely dismiss times you hung out as possibly "trivial" occasions at the beginning. Again don't do that, again insecurities. Just mention them as times you enjoyed. In fact, the whole thing just has a weird vibe. Short and sweet, don't flood her with emotions, don't give her the "you're different" crap, just tell her how you feel and keep it at that women love decisive men. Also you're 20, and you're coming off like you're ready to settle down and have kids with her, that's a weird letter to come back to and a big red flag to other 20 year olds. Not knocking on you, this generations dating mechanics sucks but just letting you know. If I were to write it, and this is assuming you know her well enough cus I think even my suggestion is a little strong, I'd just say dear ___, Its been a while since we've talked and I wanted to reach out to you to let you know I still carry you in my thoughts. I have enjoyed your company in the past and with you returning I think it would be great if we took some time to catch up and enjoy some time together as we have before. Let me know if you're interested in grabbing some coffee (you could replace this with some other date plan). I'd love to see your beautiful smile again! Kind regards, ________ If she says yes, see where it goes from the date. Don't throw up your emotions at once or put her on a pedestal before any of that.

  • Nestor Stokes

    Read *The Name of the Wind* and *The Kingkiller Chronicle* by Patrick Rothfuss. Extremely literary, a deep, profound masterpiece. Written gorgeously with a poet's hand. When recommending the book I usually just let people read this part. Which is the very beginning of Kvothe's tale: Then he began to speak. “In some ways, it began when I heard her singing. Her voice twinning, mixing with my own. Her voice was like a portrait of her soul: wild as a fire, sharp as shattered glass, sweet and clean as clover.” Kvothe shook his head. “No. It began at the University. I went to learn magic of the sort they talk about in stories. Magic like Taborlin the Great. I wanted to learn the name of the wind. I wanted fire and lightning. I wanted answers to ten thousand questions and access to their archives. But what I found at the University was much different than a story, and I was much dismayed. “But I expect the true beginning lies in what led me to the University. Unexpected fires at twilight. A man with eyes like ice at the bottom of a well. The smell of blood and burning hair. The Chandrian.” He nodded to himself. “Yes. I suppose that is where it all begins. This is, in many ways, a story about the Chandrian.” Kvothe shook his head, as if to free himself from some dark thought. “But I suppose I must go even further back than that. If this is to be something resembling my book of deeds, I can spare the time. It will be worth it if I am remembered, if not flatteringly, then at least with some small amount of accuracy. “But what would my father say if he heard me telling a story this way? ‘Begin at the beginning.’ Very well, if we are to have a telling, let’s make it a proper one.” Kvothe sat forward in his chair. “In the beginning, as far as I know, the world was spun out of the nameless void by Aleph, who gave everything a name. Or, depending on the version of the tale, found the names all things already possessed.” Chronicler let slip a small laugh, though he did not look up from his page or pause in his writing. Kvothe continued, smiling himself. “I see you laugh. Very well, for simplicity’s sake, let us assume I am the center of creation. In doing this, let us pass over innumerable boring stories: the rise and fall of empires, sagas of heroism, ballads of tragic love. Let us hurry forward to the only tale of any real importance.” His smile broadened. “Mine.” My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as “Quothe.” Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I’ve had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it’s spoken, can mean “The Flame,” “The Thunder,” or “The Broken Tree.” “The Flame” is obvious if you’ve ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it’s unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire. “The Thunder” I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age. I’ve never thought of “The Broken Tree” as very significant. Although in retrospect I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic. My first mentor called me E’lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them. But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant “to know.” I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.

  • Naomie Medhurst

    Honestly, I think your post hints at issues that are more important to focus on than the photographer. You seem to not want one for two reasons, the first being you don't think you're photogenic. Maybe that's true, maybe it isn't – but either way, for a lot of brides on this day the chances of looking good in pictures are maximized: A lot of time and effort will be spent on looking good, smiles are usually broad and natural, a photographer will focus specifically on you and you'll have plenty of photos to choose from. It's not just any old snapshot someone took of you and will upload on facebook and tag you in. These are all about you and your fiancé AND you're in full control of which photos you give to whom. Also, I'd argue that the photos of your wedding day aren't just about looking good, but about preserving the memory. For example, I have a couple of pictures from our engagement night. There are plenty in which I really like the way I look, just favorable ones. My favorite by far, though, is one in which I look arguably less beautiful – the smile a little crooked, a little too broad... But I just look *so* happy in it that it captures the essence of the night perfectly and I love it. And *that's* what I'd work on in your case. You don't seem to want to capture the memory of that day, because you don't think you'll enjoy it very much – although I'm sure you're excited to be married to your fiancé. It sounds like you've accepted that this day won't turn out the way you want it and I don't think you should. You mention most of the guest list being from his side of the family. Can you invite more friends instead? Or maybe you could just make sure that those that are near and dear to you are seated with you and you're aware of their presence. Don't let them get lost in the majority made up of your fiancé's family. You also indicate that you've given up a lot of your wishes for your wedding day to make his family happy. What have you given up? We all know compromises need to be made, but there should be a line. If you don't even want pictures of your wedding day because you don't want to remember a day that was supposed to be all about your happiness, that line has clearly been crossed. It's not too late to change any of this, I'm sure! Where is your fiancé in this? Does he know about how you're feeling? Is he supportive and does he stand up for you when the pressure from his family gets too much? How does he react to how his family treats you? You have a teammate here, get him on board and figure this out together. Maybe this is all too much and maybe you just wanted to hear whether or not to book a photographer. In that case, my advice is this: *do not* book a photographer because that'll be "viewed favorably" by his family.

  • Helen Schamberger

    I needed a distraction. Simple as that and complicated like that. Full time job working in different shifts that change weekly and sometimes, when someone gets ill, daily. That pretty much drained me of all fun. I do like my job but urgh, I missed playing games so much but somehow sitting alone in my living room playing something didn’t feel the same like back then when I was still in school and stuff. Because strange working hours I couldn’t just invite someone over (that and the fact that most of my friends are frigging far away). And so I thought to myself: You COULD record yourself right? You’re talking with the monitor/game anyway all the time. So give YouTube a shot? Maybe people like what you do, maybe not, and even if not that’s okay too. I don’t do all of this for likes and views, but let’s face facts it’s pretty nice to see people actually watching your stuff. Confidence boost ad all. I needed that without knowing I do. Let's Players pulled me through so much bad times with their sometimes funny, sometimes stupid, sometimes hilarious words and if I can make just one person smile about a stupid comment or me running away in fear from a book that fell from a shelf in Amnesia... that's worth it.

  • Orion Waelchi

    I needed a distraction. Simple as that and complicated like that. Full time job working in different shifts that change weekly and sometimes, when someone gets ill, daily. That pretty much drained me of all fun. I do like my job but urgh, I missed playing games so much but somehow sitting alone in my living room playing something didn’t feel the same like back then when I was still in school and stuff. Because strange working hours I couldn’t just invite someone over (that and the fact that most of my friends are frigging far away). And so I thought to myself: You COULD record yourself right? You’re talking with the monitor/game anyway all the time. So give YouTube a shot? Maybe people like what you do, maybe not, and even if not that’s okay too. I don’t do all of this for likes and views, but let’s face facts it’s pretty nice to see people actually watching your stuff. Confidence boost ad all. I needed that without knowing I do. Let's Players pulled me through so much bad times with their sometimes funny, sometimes stupid, sometimes hilarious words and if I can make just one person smile about a stupid comment or me running away in fear from a book that fell from a shelf in Amnesia... that's worth it. P.S: How do you put your channel link next to your name?

  • Kirstin Greenfelder

    *He smiles his nerdy, awkward smile and flips back to the front cover of the graphic novel.* "The Flash is an old superhero from twentieth century culture. The character is an ordinary lab worker who through some fantasy science ends up able to run and move at near lightspeed. But-but what's interesting about his stories, this one in particular, he's just as flawed and...irrational as any other person. In this one he uses his power to travel back in time and stop his mother from being killed. It creates a butterfly effect that completely changes history, and...that's about as far as I've gotten. I just appreciate that despite his power he's still just...a regular person. He makes mistakes, he has fears and desires." *The ensign realizes he's geeking out over an old comic book character and looks away, a little embarrassed.* "S-sorry, I don't mean to...just ramble on about this. I-I realize it's kind of a juvenile interest."

  • Mack Dibbert

    Ooh, sorry to hear you're in pain too! I can only tell you about my experience, but I would recommend it. The scars sre minimal, 5 little incisions, each about an inch long. I really have to look to find them now (8yrs lster). It's interesting that there's a new method now. Recovery was 2 nights in hospital, 2 weeks off work (watching the extended LOTR and doing jigsaws is what i remember!). It knocked me as I was tired a lot, so did a phased return to work - think I did a week of half-days. Liquid diet was ok, hubby did it too which helped. Got a book of 500 soups and tried many of them. Pear and Silton was a trial too far tho. Lots of smoothies & ice cream too. Then we transitioned into slightly more solids like runny mashed potato, mixing it with haggis/haddock/etc to vary it up. I lost a couple of lbs but not much really! Eating out was surprisingly ok, I went to a friends birthday, soup for starter and fish cake for main, mixed up with lots of mayo to make it soft. The smile on hubbys face when he could have solid food is something I'll always remember! Anything else you want to know? 😁

  • Kiarra Wilderman

    So i just went through this. I was dreading potty-training. This was the one parenting thing I wanted no part of. I got the book [Oh Crap Potty Training](https://smile.amazon.com/Oh-Crap-Potty-Training-Everything/dp/1501122983/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488986408&sr=8-1&keywords=oh+crap+potty+training) to read before embarking. I also bought a few board books about using the potty and added those into our rotation ("Potty" and Elmo's "P is for Potty" were hits). And we started talking about it. A lot. My husband and I would bring him in the bathroom with us when we went. I think these things kinda helped me pique his interest, and then we followed the book once we felt he was ready to go. I'm proud to report that we are currently wearing undies and he's doing really well, both at home and at daycare. He's had a few accidents, but overall, I am so pleased with his progress.

  • Lula Weber

    Wise isnt the word i would use. More like exposed to unfortunate but unavoidable circumstances of living to the point that i couldnt possibly nod and smile along with whatever convoluted stuff people use to justify their beliefs and behavior. Just because its old and has buddhism imprinted on it doesnt mean it has anything good to say, all kinds of people contributed material under the same banner, just like christianity. Its like expecting every story in a chicken soup for the teenage soul book to be great or something. So i can make driveby "its all crap" comments if i want to, for those 2 reasons

  • Evans Kulas

    There's a huge difference between, "I have a plan, it's in my book for anyone to read" which is sloppy already debating (pull out some damn key points to go with that, rather than conceed initiative by just telling someone to read a book later) and "(turns to camera with infomercial smile) well all the answers to that and more are in my new best seller, available in all good bookstores near you, it's a wonderful treat for yourself or someone special in your life, for just $6.99 you could have all the answers to my opponent's question!"

  • Jacques Howell

    *Not being the most observant of people duke only frowned in the brief second where his paper went dark until the voice cut through his concentration making him let out a small yip in surprise as the rather tall woman blocked his light, Squinting at them for a second before actually figuring out who it was, Duke breathed a silent sigh of relief before setting his book on his lap.* "Oh it's only you" *Giving her his best smile he presented said sketchbook to the girl* "And not much really, just sketching the scenery honestly"

  • Art Hamill

    Maybe having the smile of a Chuck-E-Cheese robot while giving the most generic and stereotypical politician responses possible with no actual policy except for "we need to do better" and plugging your book/website isn't the best strategy? No, that can't be, it was the Russians!

  • Angelo Ratke

    >When I was little, I had a toy named Eggplant. It was a platypus or a duck, was yellow, had beady eyes, and had 2 orange feet and an orange beak. It was stuffed with the things beanbags are made with. > >I was born into a poor family. My mother did heroin and was basically a hooker, my father lived off welfare, and I was the only daughter in a sea of 5 sons. I was the youngest. > >I'm not going to beat around the bush. My father raped me more than once. If nobody was home, he would shove me into his room and tear off my cheap, thrift store clothing against my cries. If he was drunk, if he was angry, if he was "in the mood" and my mom wasn't home, his piggy eyes would settle on me. After he would break me, Eggplant was the only one I could talk to, turn to. Eggplant was my guardian angel. > >I got Eggplant at a Goodwill near me, and he cost my yearly allowance of $3.50. I hugged him (as well as you could hug a stuffed animal the size of your hand) and took him home. I loved Eggplant. > >The day after I got him, my father spent half his welfare check on cheap beer. I didn't notice him eyeing my mother hungrily, I was too busy playing with Eggplant. I heard them upstairs, but busied myself with making a bed for my pet out of a cardboard box. > >Then my father came for me. > >"Hello, Anais," he said, a wolf in sheep's clothing. "Come with me,". > >He was so drunk he pronounced "Anais" as "An-an-eez". I knew immediately he would do the *thing* to me, so I grabbed Eggplant. I needed him. > >My father grabbed my hair and did *it* to me over and over, with me trying not to cry. I watched as Eggplant looked at me with his black eyes, and I tried to be strong for Eggplant. When it was over, finally, I went to the bathroom, turned on the shower, and stood in the semi-warm spray for an hour, not bothering to take off my socks and underwear. What was the point? > >I cuddled Eggplant that night when it got cold and my brothers had bullied me into them taking my only blanket. Eggplant gave me the courage to stay warm, to stay *alive*. > >He was with me at every meal, every time my mother shot up, every time my brothers pushed me or punched me, every time I went outside our trashy home to the blue skies. He was there when my oldest brother, who was 23, stole our dad's beer supply and beat me up so bad I couldn't see out of my left eye for a week. Eggplant helped me stay alive. > >Maybe that's why my father hated him. > >I came home from school one day and found my drunk-out-of-his-mind father screaming at Eggplant. I started to cry and ran over to him. > >"Don't yell at Eggplant!" I sobbed. "Please! He's my only friend!" > >My father grinned, a sinister smile on his lips. > >"Only friend, huh? Then I guess you'll care if I do...*this*!" > >He punctuated the *this* with a *rip* as he tore off Eggplant's beak and legs, sending PVC pellets scattering across the floor. I wailed as I picked up Eggplant's body, now only a hollow felt opening with 2 eyes. I saw pain in his eyes, and that was the day i ran away. > >When my father had fallen into a drunken stupor, I ransacked his drawers and found the money he stashed away for his beer. I looked in my mother's drawer as well, and found hundreds of dollars, most likely waiting to be spent on heroin. I took Eggplant, a book, and my worn down backpack with me. > >I left my house, and I began to walk down the road to the city 30 miles away. > >I needed to fix Eggplant. I needed to find a home. > >I soon found a shabby-looking toy repair shop off of the highway. It was run by a trustworthy-looking man (and I promise that isn't sarcasm, he looked like a very kind person), who promised to fix up Eggplant. He took the felt and legs and the PVC beads I had managed to pick up from the floor and disappeared behind his shop. I heard some radio static, then a sowing machine, and then some sizzling. I waited for 2 hours before my beautiful Eggplant, my angel, was handed back to me, as good as new, maybe even better. I handed the man $20 and was on my way. > >I slept on the side of the road at night, and tried to hitchhike when I could. But whenever a caring person asked me if I was lost or needed help, I asked them to stop the car and would get out. If they found out I ran away, I would be landed in an orphanage to die or sent back to my house. I walked for a week, living off garbage found in bags tossed from cars on the highway. Eggplant was taken good care of. > >I eventually got to the city, and found a residential area. I knocked on doors and asked if they could take me in. Some houses never answered the door, some houses just gave me an apple or a portion of their dinner, but I didn't get a place to sleep for 3 days. Eggplant was the only thing that kept me going. Eventually a woman let me in, and she treated me like her own child. I was well fed in a house that was always warm, I had a hot bath every 2 days, and I was incredibly happy. Although I didn't know it at the time, I would stay at her home for 3 years. I would go to bed in my own room, with fluffy blankets. > >I was in heaven. > >But, of course, it had to end eventually. > >After about a year with her, the woman (whos name was Anne) began to ask me about my real home. I would be distant at those times. I didn't want to say anything, in fear of her sending me back. > >Months after that, I began to hear small clicks. I thought I was going crazy, but when I saw Anne checking the radiators and pipes for the source, I knew it wasn't just me. We investigated, and found out that it was coming from my room. I looked everywhere, but the clicks were incessant. They wouldn't stop. > >We called specialists, they checked the whole house, but the tiny clicks were infuriating. One day I looked directly at Eggplant and heard a small *click*. What? I looked closer into his kind, beady eyes (that looked like this: https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB12kXVMFXXXXabXXXXq6xXFXXX1/kawaii-kids-toy-baby-toy-font-b-bunny-b-font-rabbit-font-b-plush-b-font.jpg) and saw them adjust and have another *click*. > >My first thought was that Anne had done this, had spied on me. I ran away from her, my heart broken, believing that she had put a camera *behind* my precious Eggplant and was spying on me like that. I was only 12, I had a poor education, and I didn't know that cameras could be put *inside* of stuffed animals. > >I walked again for a week, until I reached my old house. It was in an even worse state, and my father was snoring on our sofa when I walked in. I went up to my old room, and set down Eggplant. My father came up that night, furious that I had even left, let alone for 3 years. He raped me so hard that night that I had to physically crawl to my room. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to live, it hurt to exist. The only thing that comforted me was that my darling Eggplant was in the same room as me. If he could be brave, I could be brave, I had thought to myself. > >I guess I didn't hear the small *clicks* over the sound of the squeaking bed. > >The next time I heard the *clicks* was when I took a shower, about a week later. We had no shower curtain, so Eggplant just stayed on the counter while I cleaned up. I tenderly soaped up my many bruises and scars, on my breasts, on my back, on my neck, on my thighs. They were blue and black, and hurt even at night when the light cotton blanket I owned touched them. I heard a small *click* when I faced Eggplant, and another when I faced away from him. I shrugged it off, thinking that the shower head was dripping or that the floors were creaking again. > >After about a month of angry rape, more bruises, and small *clicks* that I kept ignoring, I heard a knock on my door. A police officer was standing on our doorstep. He looked exactly like the shabby toy shop's trustworthy worker. He smiled at me, and said, > >"Hello, Anais. Is your father home?" > >"Yes," I breathed. I was scared. Was I in trouble? Would I be hurt by this man? > >I watched as the officer discovered the heroin store in the dining room, the cashed welfare check receipts spent on booze, and the bedroom, where he and another detective found plenty of my blood and my father's semen. The detective had tears in her eyes, and gave me a hug. She smelled like shampoo. > >The police officer went up to the bathroom and found my father, passed out in the shower, with beer in his hand and empty bottles scattered about. He was arrested immediately. > >They then took my oldest sibling in for child abuse (hint hint: I was the child, and the slight blindness in my left eye was the evidence). My room was then investigated, and Eggplant was found. The police officer, to my horror, undid the seams on him, but then, to my amazement, revealed a camera inside. > >The officer told me his story, that when a runaway was spotted on the major highway, with nothing but a backpack and a broken plush, that the police force had tried to act accordingly. They tracked me down with a police helicopter, seeing my course, setting up a makeshift toy repair store to lure me in. They saw the bruises on me, the patches of hair that had been pulled out of my head. Yet they needed evidence to convict my parents. After consulting the chief by radio (the static I heard), the undercover police officer had put a GPS and a camera inside Eggplant. They tracked me down, trying to get pictures of my many bruises, and seeing where my home was. > >The police team in charge of this mission was sentenced to 10 years each in jail for "alleged child pornography", but the judge was kind and saw their true intentions. They only received 6 years each. I was moved in with Anne, and we love each other, with me calling her mom. I don't know what happened to my brothers. > >All I know now is that Eggplant saved my life. The team removed the tech from inside of him, and he is forever my best friend. > >I love you, Eggplant. > >And thank you.

  • Ramona Durgan

    >When I was little, I had a toy named Eggplant. It was a platypus or a duck, was yellow, had beady eyes, and had 2 orange feet and an orange beak. It was stuffed with the things beanbags are made with. > >I was born into a poor family. My mother did heroin and was basically a hooker, my father lived off welfare, and I was the only daughter in a sea of 5 sons. I was the youngest. > >I'm not going to beat around the bush. My father raped me more than once. If nobody was home, he would shove me into his room and tear off my cheap, thrift store clothing against my cries. If he was drunk, if he was angry, if he was "in the mood" and my mom wasn't home, his piggy eyes would settle on me. After he would break me, Eggplant was the only one I could talk to, turn to. Eggplant was my guardian angel. > >I got Eggplant at a Goodwill near me, and he cost my yearly allowance of $3.50. I hugged him (as well as you could hug a stuffed animal the size of your hand) and took him home. I loved Eggplant. > >The day after I got him, my father spent half his welfare check on cheap beer. I didn't notice him eyeing my mother hungrily, I was too busy playing with Eggplant. I heard them upstairs, but busied myself with making a bed for my pet out of a cardboard box. > >Then my father came for me. > >"Hello, Anais," he said, a wolf in sheep's clothing. "Come with me,". > >He was so drunk he pronounced "Anais" as "An-an-eez". I knew immediately he would do the *thing* to me, so I grabbed Eggplant. I needed him. > >My father grabbed my hair and did *it* to me over and over, with me trying not to cry. I watched as Eggplant looked at me with his black eyes, and I tried to be strong for Eggplant. When it was over, finally, I went to the bathroom, turned on the shower, and stood in the semi-warm spray for an hour, not bothering to take off my socks and underwear. What was the point? > >I cuddled Eggplant that night when it got cold and my brothers had bullied me into them taking my only blanket. Eggplant gave me the courage to stay warm, to stay *alive*. > >He was with me at every meal, every time my mother shot up, every time my brothers pushed me or punched me, every time I went outside our trashy home to the blue skies. He was there when my oldest brother, who was 23, stole our dad's beer supply and beat me up so bad I couldn't see out of my left eye for a week. Eggplant helped me stay alive. > >Maybe that's why my father hated him. > >I came home from school one day and found my drunk-out-of-his-mind father screaming at Eggplant. I started to cry and ran over to him. > >"Don't yell at Eggplant!" I sobbed. "Please! He's my only friend!" > >My father grinned, a sinister smile on his lips. > >"Only friend, huh? Then I guess you'll care if I do...*this*!" > >He punctuated the *this* with a *rip* as he tore off Eggplant's beak and legs, sending PVC pellets scattering across the floor. I wailed as I picked up Eggplant's body, now only a hollow felt opening with 2 eyes. I saw pain in his eyes, and that was the day i ran away. > >When my father had fallen into a drunken stupor, I ransacked his drawers and found the money he stashed away for his beer. I looked in my mother's drawer as well, and found hundreds of dollars, most likely waiting to be spent on heroin. I took Eggplant, a book, and my worn down backpack with me. > >I left my house, and I began to walk down the road to the city 30 miles away. > >I needed to fix Eggplant. I needed to find a home. > >I soon found a shabby-looking toy repair shop off of the highway. It was run by a trustworthy-looking man (and I promise that isn't sarcasm, he looked like a very kind person), who promised to fix up Eggplant. He took the felt and legs and the PVC beads I had managed to pick up from the floor and disappeared behind his shop. I heard some radio static, then a sowing machine, and then some sizzling. I waited for 2 hours before my beautiful Eggplant, my angel, was handed back to me, as good as new, maybe even better. I handed the man $20 and was on my way. > >I slept on the side of the road at night, and tried to hitchhike when I could. But whenever a caring person asked me if I was lost or needed help, I asked them to stop the car and would get out. If they found out I ran away, I would be landed in an orphanage to die or sent back to my house. I walked for a week, living off garbage found in bags tossed from cars on the highway. Eggplant was taken good care of. > >I eventually got to the city, and found a residential area. I knocked on doors and asked if they could take me in. Some houses never answered the door, some houses just gave me an apple or a portion of their dinner, but I didn't get a place to sleep for 3 days. Eggplant was the only thing that kept me going. Eventually a woman let me in, and she treated me like her own child. I was well fed in a house that was always warm, I had a hot bath every 2 days, and I was incredibly happy. Although I didn't know it at the time, I would stay at her home for 3 years. I would go to bed in my own room, with fluffy blankets. > >I was in heaven. > >But, of course, it had to end eventually. > >After about a year with her, the woman (whos name was Anne) began to ask me about my real home. I would be distant at those times. I didn't want to say anything, in fear of her sending me back. > >Months after that, I began to hear small clicks. I thought I was going crazy, but when I saw Anne checking the radiators and pipes for the source, I knew it wasn't just me. We investigated, and found out that it was coming from my room. I looked everywhere, but the clicks were incessant. They wouldn't stop. > >We called specialists, they checked the whole house, but the tiny clicks were infuriating. One day I looked directly at Eggplant and heard a small *click*. What? I looked closer into his kind, beady eyes (that looked like this: https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB12kXVMFXXXXabXXXXq6xXFXXX1/kawaii-kids-toy-baby-toy-font-b-bunny-b-font-rabbit-font-b-plush-b-font.jpg) and saw them adjust and have another *click*. > >My first thought was that Anne had done this, had spied on me. I ran away from her, my heart broken, believing that she had put a camera *behind* my precious Eggplant and was spying on me like that. I was only 12, I had a poor education, and I didn't know that cameras could be put *inside* of stuffed animals. > >I walked again for a week, until I reached my old house. It was in an even worse state, and my father was snoring on our sofa when I walked in. I went up to my old room, and set down Eggplant. My father came up that night, furious that I had even left, let alone for 3 years. He raped me so hard that night that I had to physically crawl to my room. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to live, it hurt to exist. The only thing that comforted me was that my darling Eggplant was in the same room as me. If he could be brave, I could be brave, I had thought to myself. > >I guess I didn't hear the small *clicks* over the sound of the squeaking bed. > >The next time I heard the *clicks* was when I took a shower, about a week later. We had no shower curtain, so Eggplant just stayed on the counter while I cleaned up. I tenderly soaped up my many bruises and scars, on my breasts, on my back, on my neck, on my thighs. They were blue and black, and hurt even at night when the light cotton blanket I owned touched them. I heard a small *click* when I faced Eggplant, and another when I faced away from him. I shrugged it off, thinking that the shower head was dripping or that the floors were creaking again. > >After about a month of angry rape, more bruises, and small *clicks* that I kept ignoring, I heard a knock on my door. A police officer was standing on our doorstep. He looked exactly like the shabby toy shop's trustworthy worker. He smiled at me, and said, > >"Hello, Anais. Is your father home?" > >"Yes," I breathed. I was scared. Was I in trouble? Would I be hurt by this man? > >I watched as the officer discovered the heroin store in the dining room, the cashed welfare check receipts spent on booze, and the bedroom, where he and another detective found plenty of my blood and my father's semen. The detective had tears in her eyes, and gave me a hug. She smelled like shampoo. > >The police officer went up to the bathroom and found my father, passed out in the shower, with beer in his hand and empty bottles scattered about. He was arrested immediately. > >They then took my oldest sibling in for child abuse (hint hint: I was the child, and the slight blindness in my left eye was the evidence). My room was then investigated, and Eggplant was found. The police officer, to my horror, undid the seams on him, but then, to my amazement, revealed a camera inside. > >The officer told me his story, that when a runaway was spotted on the major highway, with nothing but a backpack and a broken plush, that the police force had tried to act accordingly. They tracked me down with a police helicopter, seeing my course, setting up a makeshift toy repair store to lure me in. They saw the bruises on me, the patches of hair that had been pulled out of my head. Yet they needed evidence to convict my parents. After consulting the chief by radio (the static I heard), the undercover police officer had put a GPS and a camera inside Eggplant. They tracked me down, trying to get pictures of my many bruises, and seeing where my home was. > >The police team in charge of this mission was sentenced to 10 years each in jail for "alleged child pornography", but the judge was kind and saw their true intentions. They only received 6 years each. I was moved in with Anne, and we love each other, with me calling her mom. I don't know what happened to my brothers. > >All I know now is that Eggplant saved my life. The team removed the tech from inside of him, and he is forever my best friend. > >I love you, Eggplant. > >And thank you.

  • Yasmeen Keebler

    Miskatonic U's football program was never remarkable enough to mark the pages of history, and for one of the oldest universities housed in one of America's oldest towns this state of affairs was a point of shame among the locals. This disappointment in the University's football team had only recently been vocalized by townsfolk. When your town is frequently plagued with failed experiments wreaking havoc in the square, unexplained falling objects destroying the crops or invisible forces mutilating the livestock, a school's forty consecutive losing seasons fails to register with most people. But over the last few years, the issue had slowly festered in the minds of every farmer, store owner and academic in the town. It all came to a head when Harvard University won the national championship. The very next day, the president of Miskatonic University, Daniel Upton, cowered in his office while a sizable mob gathered outside the building screaming various chants including, "Arkham is ready for some football!" and "If their nerds can win, our nerds can win!" The mob chanted for days until the president agreed to allocate some more money in the next academic year to build a better football team. The crowd cheered, looking forward to a pleasant distraction during the harvest season. Upton gulped, uncertain how he would be able to pull it off. The next day, Upton held a meeting with the university trustees about the new athletic initiative. While the university had numerous sports teams, the school was in the smallest competitive division and, excluding track and field where many of their students excelled unusually well, the university had never come close to winning a national title. The football team at it's current standing had no more than 30 players recruited through open tryouts every summer. There had never been an instance where a student was turned away. The team was voluntarily coached by a tenured chemistry professor who had no real talent for the game and frequently faced allegations that he was using his players as guinea pigs for non-FDA approved substances. There was a formal investigation by a number of officials after one player spontaneously combusted on the field, but the coach's complicity in the student's death was never proven. Either way, the coach was one headache Upton would be happy to lose. Unfortunately, a new headache was about to develop: there was no real money to recruit a better coach. Upton did not see how any of this could work. A successful team needed a proven, successful coach. A successful coach could recruit talented players. Talented players could win games which could eventually bring in revenue to pay a successful coach. In the meantime, there would need to be enough money and enough enticements to motivate a talented coach to come aboard. Miskatonic University and Arkham could offer neither. The town's record-high mortality rate had, despite the Arkham tourism bureau's best efforts, never tantalized outsiders and the university's accolades were unlikely to interest a coach. This was a zero-money, no frills position and any coach looking for a job would rather die than work in this town...which, upon having this realization, gave Upton an idea. After the meeting, Upton walked across the quad to Miskatonic's library. The library held many ancient texts and he was interested in speaking with the head librarian, Wilbur Wheatley, about one book in particular. Wheatley was a scruffy gentleman, and there were whispers among the faculty that he was actually some kind of satyr, but no one had any tangible evidence to prove it. Wheatley could have simply had very hairy legs and a penchant for large wool hats. Besides, it's impolite to stare. Upton found Wheatley in the basement of the library, reading over old manuscripts by candlelight. After laying out the recent issues regarding the football team, Upton came to the point: if the team couldn't hire a single living coach, why not revive a dead one? Wheatley acknowledged that there was actually a text that could do such a thing. The Necronomicon, bound in human flesh and inked in blood, had the power to bring life to the dead. "The problem is," Wheatley acknowledged, "who can you bring back that won't bring the wrong kind of attention to the university." "That's an excellent point," Upton agreed. "We need someone who's very good at keeping a secret." "I'm not going to revive Joe Paterno," Wheatley replied. "Goodness, no," said Upton. "We need someone else who can keep a non-criminal secret, or as non-criminal as reviving a corpse can be." "What about Bill Walsh? He coached the 49ers." "He's probably too high-profile." "Bill Belichick?" "Too high-profile and he's still alive." "So we need someone who's willing to keep his undead status under the radar who also happens to be a good coach, but not good enough to be remembered?" "It feels like a tall-order when you put it that way." A few days later, Upton heard the clipityclop of Wheatley's steps coming towards his office. Upton opened his door to find the librarian holding a leather-bound folio filled with old newspaper clipping and a smile on his face. "I think I've found our guy," Wheatley said. Randolph Carter coached the Innsmouth Fishers back in the 1930's. For three straight seasons he lead the team to playoff appearances. His key strategy was to inundate his offensive players with an overwhelming sense of fear towards any opposing team. His players would never work as offensive blockers, they would just run all over the field tossing the ball back and forth with the understanding that they'd stop being chased if they made it to the goal. Of course, this occasionally meant the Fishers would run towards their own goal line and score a touchdown for the opposing team, but they generally had a good sense of direction. Defensive players were motivated with the incentive that any opposing player tackled would mean one less hour of practice in the damp, rat-infested cellar of the Innsmouth U recreation center. Carter's tenure as the Fishers' coach was cut dramatically short during a visiting game at Miskatonic where he was accidentally trampled by his own players while they were trying to escape the stadium. Upton thought Carter might be as good an option as anyone else, so he asked Wheatley to perform the revival ceremony. Carter's resting place was in a crypt in the middle of a forgotten graveyard at the edge of a swamp. The ceremony required candles and the blood of a calf, which Miskatonic's agricultural department was happy to donate. After marking the door of the crypt and reading from the ancient text, Upton and Wheatley heard a shuffling from inside the crypt walls. As the moments passed, the shuffling grew louder... And louder... And louder... Until there was a bang at the door of the crypt...followed by a muffled voice saying, "Hello? Anybody out there?" It had worked! Upton and Wheatley shook hands in celebration before taking a crowbar to the stone door. Upon releasing the seal, the foul putrid air from inside the enclosed walls escaped and wafted in the faces of Wheatley and Upton, who promptly doubled over. As they proceeded to dry heave, a figure more bone than flesh began to step out of the darkness of the crypt below. Upon looking at the revived remains of Randolph Carter and attempting to breath the air around him, Upton covered his nose in horror. The corpse, looking taken aback, crossed his arms defensively and said "Well, you try living in a crypt and see how you smell!" Upton stared at Wheatley, a state of aggravation upon the president's face amid the growing queasiness. "What? This could still work," said Wheatley defensively. "What are you two talking about?" asked Carter. "Why am I alive?" Upton tried to take on a respectable pose, lowering his hand from his face before taking a breath of the air and plugging his nose yet again. "We would like to hire you to coach the football team at Miskatonic University," said Upton in a high nasally voice. "We can't pay much, but we'd be happy to provide a modest wage and free residency on campus." Carter looked down inside the crypt. "Would it be okay if I commuted? I kind of like my setup here," said Carter. "Sure," replied Upton. "We can also have Wheatley here figure out some ways to offer you some...cosmetic improvements." "No need to trouble yourselves," said Carter as put on a grim smile on his decayed face and chuckled. "Besides, I think I've added some new skills to my coaching technique."

  • Connie Lehner

    Yangervis Solarte, first and foremost, is a husband and a father. So, of course, he was angry when he learned his wife, Yuliette, hid the true nature of the complications that led to an emergency labor two falls ago. He was ready to forgo camp last spring to tend to her failing health and their three daughters. Then Solarte listened to his wife, remembered the plan they drew up long before doctors discovered the cancerous tumors that claimed Yuliette’s life last September. *Fight for the family, for their girls.* As he had through eight long years in the minors. As he had in winning a job with the Yankees and then winning over the Padres upon his trade into the National League. As he continues to do so with a new contract in hand and his place in baseball secure enough to represent Venezuela next week in the World Baseball Classic. Fight. “I said that because she said that,” Solarte said through an interpreter. “She said I’m going to fight as hard as I can to stay strong, stay healthy and to stay alive. Now you need to go fight for your daughters. You can’t worry about us – because I know you worry about us. “It was all very calculated.” ------------- **That more thoughtful side of Yuliette was there from the start.** Yet it was the lighter side of her persona that continued to draw Solarte toward Yuliette after a chance meeting at a get-together put on by an English teacher during his rookie ball days with the Twins. Then they ran into each other at the mall. Then again out one night. Soon enough the two were dating. “She was serious in some regards, but she was also a jokester like me,” Solarte said. “A clown – always happy, always joking around. We were similar in that regard and we always loved to dance. … You can see her in our girls. My girls always dance. “Hey, my whole family can dance.” Solarte’s family also has a knack for baseball, his uncle Roger Cedeno blazing the trail from the same house in Valencia, Venezuela, to the majors 14 years before a 17-year-old Solarte signed with the Twins in June 2005. Bouncing between the Dodgers, Mets, Astros, Tigers and Cardinals, Cedeno mostly heard of Solarte’s emergence as a prospect from afar. The trials and tribulations, as they do for most minor leaguers, stacked up from there. There was the shoulder surgery that limited Solarte to 16 games in 2009. There was becoming a father twice over toward the end of six long years in Minnesota’s system, none above Double-A ball. There were the back-to-back productive years at the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock, Texas, without a sniff of the majors. Yet Solarte’s sights remained unchanged. His budding family was the reason. “I thank God for Yuliette because she gave me my three daughters,” Solarte said. “That changed how I lived my life. Before I had my daughters, there was a moment when I was playing when my shoulder was hurt, I was thinking, ‘Why play anymore?’ I was down and out. When I had my daughters, there wasn’t that excuse. It was – ‘OK, I have to take care of them. I have to give them a future.’ “Every year I got better and better and better.” Somewhere along the line, Cedeno convinced his agent, Peter Greenberg, to take on Solarte as a client after getting a look at his swing in person. Cedeno, like his nephew, was a switch-hitter. “I couldn’t believe how good his swing was,” said Cedeno, who played two more winters with Caracas after finishing his major league career with the Cardinals in 2005. “I know I really liked it. With that swing, I thought he had what it takes to make it to the majors.” Eight years into the grind, Solarte’s versatility became something of a hot commodity among minor league free agents. He’d driven in 75 runs for the first time in his career in 2013 and hit a career-high 12 homers while seeing time at shortstop, second and third base. Having lost Robinson Cano to free agency and Alex Rodriguez to a year-long suspension, the Yankees were among five teams bidding for Solarte’s services in the winter of 2014. Undeterred by their propensity to sign established players to fill big league roles, Solarte signed with the Yankees and then hit .429 that spring in Grapefruit League games to book a ticket to New York. Before that flight, Solarte married Yuliette under a big tree in Cape Coral, Fla., with 2-year-old Yanliett and 1-year-old Yuliett by their side. “I always said when I got to the big leagues, we’d have our house and get married,” Solarte said. “Little by little, we got the car and rented a house and right before I got to the big leagues we got a house. That was the plan we made early on.” -------------- **Something was very wrong.** Yangervis Solarte gathered that much in the fall of 2015 as his wife gave birth to Yulianna 10 weeks early as he finished his second season with the Padres. Between repeated trips to the Fort Myers hospital upon returning home — to visit his newborn in her incubator and check-ups for his wife — Solarte learned the truth behind the burst blood vessel that led to an emergency labor. Doctors had discovered several tumors in Yuliette’s liver – Stage 3 cancer at the rate they were growing and multiplying. “I was mad at first when she said she wanted me to finish my season strong and not worry about things,” Solarte said. “But that didn’t last long, because I had to shift immediately to taking care of her and taking care of my daughters.” That meant shuttling his oldest girls to school in the mornings, getting his wife to chemotherapy treatments during the days and fitting in workouts with whatever time he had left. Sometimes that was at 2 or 3 in the morning, Solarte said. His mom flew in from Venezuela to help. He also leaned heavily on support from aunts and uncles in Miami, but Solarte was prepared to skip spring training until Yuliett reminded him of the plan. *Their plan.* So Solarte left for Peoria, Ariz., for the start of his second spring training with the Padres. Back home, Yuliette was given three months to live. “She has to fight, fight for her life, for our babies,” Solarte said last spring. “I have to be strong for her because you never know what happens in life. I can learn from my wife. That’s the example of my wife. Fight all the time. I love this game. I love my family. I want to come here to fight because she fights every day. “You can see when somebody wants to live.” The couple talked daily. He FaceTimed with his oldest girls. With the season as a welcome distraction, some days were easier than others. “She told me I needed to go drive in as many runs as I can; you have to hit as many home runs as I can,” Solarte said. “She enjoyed it. Whenever I’d go and perform, we’d talk about it. We’d laugh. We’d cry. We’d enjoy it. She’d say you’re going to hit a home run tonight and then boom – home run. He added: “There would be times when I was really down. I don’t have the strength to play. But when I come (to the park), it changes everything. I don’t know how to explain it.” Few do. “I wouldn't be functional; I’d probably walk away from my job to be with my family,” said Padres manager Andy Green, also a father of three young girls. “I can't imagine going through what he went through, but Yuliette really wanted him to play, play for his family, play for his daughters' future. He honored it well, playing with passion and still having that smile on the field. I'm sure that gave her a great measure of comfort watching her husband play that way.” That way saw Solarte amass career-highs in home runs (15), RBIs (71), batting average (.286), on-base percentage (.341) and slugging percentage (.467) despite losing six weeks to a hamstring injury early in the season and leaving the team twice to be at his wife’s side. Yuliette Pimentel Solarte was 31 years old when she died of complications related to cancer on Sept. 17, 2016 – four months before the Padres signed her husband to a $7.5 million contract that could be worth as much as $13.5 million if both team options are exercised. The precursor to that deal was agreeing to a $3.15 million pact with Fantex in April 2016 — with Yuliette’s blessing — in exchange for 11 percent of Solarte’s future earnings. “She said she could die happy,” the 29-year-old Solarte said of the Fantex deal, his first big payday. “We knew that the girls were taken care of. This contract was for her and for them. It was a way that we knew they would be fine. “I know she’d be happy with everything I’ve done because we’re taken care of now.” ------ **Team Venezuela had come knocking before, back in 2013 when Solarte was fighting for a spot with the Rangers.** His plan couldn’t allow him to give up camp time – time to make an impression – to the World Baseball Classic then. Today, the invitation is a source of pride for a minor league journeyman turned big leaguer, for both him and his family overlooking his three girls — now 6, 5 and 1 — until they can join him in San Diego in June after the school year ends. Solarte has made it. His story – his family’s story – can even be an example for fellow countrymen who see Solarte’s name alongside the likes of two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, AL Cy Young-winner Felix Hernandez and four-time All-Star Jose Altuve when Team Venezuela begins pool play in Jalisco, Mexico, next week. Not because he’s a name. But because of how far he’s come. “My message to them is nothing is impossible,” Solarte said. “Eight years in the minors, going to three different teams, signing with a team like that Yankees that I wasn’t supposed to make. The way I did it was to think about my family first. I was always trying to provide for my family, I was always working … and I believed in myself. “It’s not so much about who I am or look at me. It’s know yourself and know what you have inside you.”

  • Timothy Luettgen

    I would suggest you read the book *How To Win Friends and Influence People* by Dale Carnegie. There are a few things you can do from this book that will change your social life. Most libraries have it, some of the material in the book is quite dated but most of it is amazing stuff. The fact that you already have the self awareness to know this about yourself and want to change at age 23 is wonderful and positive. Know that there are many different kinds of smarts. Know that you excel in other ways that those with great interpersonal skills never will. And try to improve by using tips from that book I mentioned in your everyday life. Tips include: Six Ways to Make People Like You[edit] 1.Become genuinely interested in other people. "You can make more friends in two months by being interested in them, than in two years by making them interested in you."[4] The only way to make quality, lasting friendships is to learn to be genuinely interested in them and their interests. 2.Smile. Happiness does not depend on outside circumstances, but rather on inward attitudes. Smiles are free to give and have an amazing ability to make others feel wonderful. Smile in everything that you do. 3.Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. "The average person is more interested in their own name than in all the other names in the world put together."[5] People love their names so much that they will often donate large amounts of money just to have a building named after themselves. We can make people feel extremely valued and important by remembering their name. 4.Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. The easiest way to become a good conversationalist is to become a good listener. To be a good listener, we must actually care about what people have to say. Many times people don't want an entertaining conversation partner; they just want someone who will listen to them. 5.Talk in terms of the other person's interest. The royal road to a person's heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most. If we talk to people about what they are interested in, they will feel valued and value us in return. 6.Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. The golden rule is to treat other people how we would like to be treated. We love to feel important and so does everyone else. People will talk to us for hours if we allow them to talk about themselves. If we can make people feel important in a sincere and appreciative way, then we will win all the friends we could ever dream of. Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking[edit] 1.The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. Whenever we argue with someone, no matter if we win or lose the argument, we still lose. The other person will either feel humiliated or strengthened and will only seek to bolster their own position. We must try to avoid arguments whenever we can. 2.Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're wrong." We must never tell people flat out that they are wrong. It will only serve to offend them and insult their pride. No one likes to be humiliated, we must not be so blunt. 3.If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Whenever we are wrong we should admit it immediately. When we fight we never get enough, but by yielding we often get more than we expected. When we admit that we are wrong people trust us and begin to sympathize with our way of thinking. 4.Begin in a friendly way. "A drop of honey can catch more flies than a gallon of gall."[6] If we begin our interactions with others in a friendly way, people will be more receptive. Even if we are greatly upset, we must be friendly to influence people to our way of thinking. 5.Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes. Do not begin by emphasizing the aspects in which we and the other person differ. Begin by emphasizing and continue emphasizing the things on which we agree. People must be started in the affirmative direction and they will often follow readily. Never tell someone they are wrong, but rather lead them where we would like them to go with questions that they will answer "yes" to. 6.Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. People do not like listening to us boast, they enjoy doing the talking themselves. Let them rationalize and talk about the idea, because it will taste much sweeter to them in their own mouth. 7.Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers. People inherently like ideas they come to on their own better than those that are handed to them on a platter. Ideas can best be carried out by allowing others to think they arrived at it themselves. 8.Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view. Other people may often be wrong, but we cannot condemn them. We must seek to understand them. Success in dealing with people requires a sympathetic grasp of the other person's viewpoint. 9.Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires. People are hungering for sympathy. They want us to recognize all that they desire and feel. If we can sympathize with others, they will appreciate our side as well and will often come around to our way of thinking. 10.Appeal to the nobler motives. Everyone likes to be glorious in their own eyes. People believe that they do things for noble and morally upright reasons. If we can appeal to others' noble motives we can successfully convince them to follow our ideas. 11.Dramatize your ideas. In this fast paced world, simply stating a truth isn't enough. The truth must be made vivid, interesting, and dramatic. Television has been doing it for years. Sometimes ideas are not enough and we must dramatize them. 12.Throw down a challenge. The thing that most motivates people is the game. Everyone desires to excel and prove their worth. If we want someone to do something, we must give them a challenge and they will often rise to meet it. Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment[edit] 1.Begin with praise and honest appreciation. People will do things begrudgingly for criticism and an iron-fisted leader, but they will work wonders when they are praised and appreciated. 2.Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly. No one likes to make mistakes, especially in front of others. Scolding and blaming only serves to humiliate. If we subtly and indirectly show people mistakes, they will appreciate us and be more likely to improve. 3.Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. When something goes wrong, taking responsibility can help win others to your side. People do not like to shoulder all the blame and taking credit for mistakes helps to remove the sting from our critiques of others. 4.Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. No one likes to take orders. If we offer suggestions, rather than orders, it will boost others confidence and allow them to learn quickly from their mistakes. 5.Let the other person save face. Nothing diminishes the dignity of a man quite like an insult to his pride. If we don't condemn our employees in front of others and allow them to save face, they will be motivated to do better in the future and confident that they can. 6.Praise every improvement. People love to receive praise and admiration. If we truly want someone to improve at something, we must praise their every advance. "Abilities wither under criticism, they blossom under encouragement."[7] 7.Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. If we give people a great reputation to live up to, they will desire to embody the characteristics with which we have described them. People will work with vigor and confidence if they believe they can be better. 8.Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct. If a desired outcome seems like a momentous task, people will give up and lose heart. But if a fault seems easy to correct, they will readily jump at the opportunity to improve. If we frame objectives as small and easy improvements, we will see dramatic increases in desire and success in our employees. 9.Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest. People will most often respond well when they desire to do the behavior put forth. If we want to influence people and become effective leaders, we must learn to frame our desires in terms of others' desires.

  • Gail Wiegand

    Kelsie was 16. She couldn't bear to watch. "D'you wanna know what he said?" asked Maggie, letting herself into her older sister's room. "Not really," said Kelsie, eyes on an open book, the pages of which had not moved in 20 minutes. "It's good, though." Maggie smiled, sliding across the bed, pressing side to side. "We did *really* well this time. The scientists, they designed this bomb, I guess, and the strategists had a really, really smart idea about using air currents to seed Hallsyian crops with these spores, so that they..." "I really don't care," said Kelsie. "Just tell me the number." Maggie straightened up. "The Arbiter says 50,000 for them, and only *10,000* for us. *And* we won't have another ruling for 10 months! Only 10,000, Kel! There's no way..." Kelsie tossed the book aside. "There's always a way. I'm eligible for the next three years, Mag. Just because it's only 10,000 this time, doesn't mean it won't be a hundred thousand next time. It's not over until it's over." They sat in silence for a moment, Maggie picking at the seam of her pants. "But they already took Charlie," she said, very softly. "They wouldn't take..." Kelsie sighed, wrapping her arm around Maggie's shoulder and squeezing tight. She was being selfish. She was always being selfish. Charlie had been the comforting one. Charlie had told Kelsie a thousand times that everything would be fine, that they would all grow old, and have children of their own, and come together at the farm in Durlight for holidays. And although that had always been a lie - that the odds were grossly against all four of the Behemut children making it into their 20s - Kelsie needed that lie to be okay. Now she could see that Maggie needed that lie, too. The least she could do was try. "You're probably right," she said, shaking her sister playfully. "I'm sure they won't pick me. Only 10,000 you said?" Maggie looked up. "Yeah. There's no way, right? Not after Charlie..." Kelsie nodded. "Yeah. There's no way." Outside of Kelsie's room, outside of the Behemut house, the news of the Arbiter's decision had been met with substantially more excitement. "*Five times the losses!*" shouted Pyun On, lifting Kelsie up off the ground and swinging her in a half circle. The other kids in the courtyard turned to look. Kelsie shushed him, pushing away from his grip and throwing an elbow over her face to cover the red flush that had developed. "Knock if off, idiot," she growled. "I'm glad you're so happy." Pyun shrugged. "I mean, I'm sure we can't keep that kind of pace, but what a validation for our strategists, right? Especially after the Huxton Campaign was such a disaster..." Kelsie stiffened. Pyun felt the chill immediately. "Right. That was Charlie's... I'm sorry, Kel. That was dumb." "No, it's fine." Kelsie shook herself out. "We lost a quarter million on Huxton. A lot of people lost someone. I'm glad this judgment went better for us, too." "Huxton was bull," spat Pyun. "I know you don't like that stuff, but I saw the theoreticals our team brought and they were solid. Maybe not enough to win - I don't know what the Hallsyians brought - but better than that *massacre* we were given. Sometimes...sometimes I don't know what the Arbiter is thinking..." "That's not for you to know," said Kelsie. "Listen, selection is tonight. I think we both need something to take our minds off it. Lets take off and go do something fun." Pyun frowned. "It's only 10,000. They didn't even cancel classes for this one." "Oh." Kelsie forced a smile. "Then, I guess let's go to class..." At the end of the day, Kelsie said goodbye to Pyun and headed home to wait for the selection results. "Party afterward," said Pyun. "Delia's house. You should stop by." Kelsie just shook her head and took her leave. She had to remind herself sometimes that *she* was the aberration. She was the one with poor coping skills. It was *normal* for kids her age to blow off steam and celebrate missing selection. That was how most people made it through those three years. But Kelsie couldn't. Even before she turned 16, it was obvious that she wouldn't be able to blithely press forward against the ever-looming threat of "war" and death. Charlie being selected certainly hadn't helped. Her mother and father were waiting in the living room when Kelsie got home. Her mother was thin-lipped and pale. Her father gripped a tumbler of neat scotch like it was the railing over a waterfall and he was struggling not to fall in. Maggie sat cross-legged next to the receiver. Martin propped himself up against his mother's legs, too young to fully comprehend any of it. *It's not just me,* Kelsie realized. *This is the next three years for* them *too. No. Five years, with Maggie overlapping. And then it starts all over again when Martin turns 16...* Kelsie had always admired her parents, but only in that moment did she realize what they had willingly put themselves through. Four times. Four chances to lose it all. She wasn't sure that she would have their resolve - or that kind of love in her heart - by the time she was old enough to start a family. If...if... They did not read the names. There was no public announcement of who had been selected. The selection was automated and randomized. There were rumors that the Hallsyians had a different method - a weighted system that made repeated selections from the same family less likely, but also favored the wealthy and was open to corruption and manipulation. Kelsie wasn't sure which was better. Once the selection process was over, an announcement went out simply stating that the statuses of eligible children had been updated. It was your responsibility then to query your own name and see your status. "D'you want me to do it?" asked Maggie. Kelsie gave her a quick hug. "I'll do it. Need to get used to it. Plenty more of these to come." Maggie smiled and Kelsie felt briefly happy. She was trying to be like Charlie. At the receiver, she accessed the data realm with swipe of her thumb, then tabbed for a status check. CASUALTY Kelsie stared at the word for a good, long time. "Is it alright, hon?" asked her mother. "Receiver acting up?" said her father. Kelsie braced herself, then stood up. She immediately crossed to her mother and pulled her into an embrace. "I'm so sorry," she said, though she knew she wasn't saying it right. Not at all how Charlie would have said it. "I'm really sorry." Her mother wailed as Kelsie gripped her tight. Maggie hugged her from behind. A glass shattered somewhere in the room. Martin began to cry. *** On the transport, at the end of the month, Kelsie - empty-handed and dressed her favorite jeans and sweater - sat next to a girl named Carlie. They bonded briefly over their similar names. "You know what's silly?" said Carlie, as the transport rattled over the top of old train tracks, picking up speed as it made for the outskirts of town. "They never told us how it all started. You know? In school. All those stories about life during the war and about the various winning and losing strategies we've fielded and... never once did they ever mention why we do this." Kelsie laughed. She felt giddy and hopeless and tingly with adrenaline. "Maybe that's next semester." Carlie laughed too, equally lost and frantic and strangely, horribly *calm*. "I wonder if they even remember." "Maybe not," said Kelsie. The buildings outside the dense, foggy windows began to blur. "Don't suppose it matters now, does it?" Around them, teenagers - neither men nor boys, women nor girls - cried and hugged themselves, placed their heads against the shaking windows, mumbling soft words to no one and everyone. "I guess not," said Carlie. And they laughed together, shoulder to shoulder, tears streaming down their faces, as they left their home behind and passed into their birthright.

  • Bernice Wehner

    > I'd say considering that comment your far more guilty of invalidating the experiences of people suffering from sexism than me. Please realize you're putting a lot of words in my mouth. I never once mentioned anything to suggest that men do not face social injustice (in fact, look about 24 hours deep in my comment history and you'll see the opposite). Men *do* face social injustice, although significantly less than women on a broad scale. But I'm not going to let that deflection you tried to pull slide, **you** invalidated the experiences of millions of women calling for the need for change, specifically when you said: "**I don't think** that is true in many circumstances as in many cases women actively chose not to pursue these positions due to alternative ambitions such as family. **I think** this is at least partially explained by psychology...". It's cool that you think that, but it shouldn't override the collective experiences of other people. > Yes 500k women, in a country of 157 million women. In a world of 3.52 billion. Most of whom are 'privileged' middle class women insulated and protected from the social issues which typically affect the working class by their wealth. But ultimately I'm not going blindly accept someone's argument just because they say so 500k in DC, roughly 4 million nationwide. Yes, not every single woman in the country attended, that would be absurd. Don't gloss over the fact that this was likely the largest organized protest in US history. I appreciate the skeptical approach, that's healthy, but to call yourself 'correct' and to invalidate 4 million people that would tell you "you're looking at this the wrong way!" is something special. And this is a slightly different subject, but I disagree with invalidating the protest as middle class, there is only the wealthy 1% and the working class 99%. We had some 1 percenters at the Women's March, but it doesn't make it any less valid that this protest crosses class lines. > Rape culture? Mainstream society despises rapists and sex offenders and that hatred has led to a massive attack on the defendant & civil rights of people accused of them. That's not what rape culture is. Yes, society despises rapists, but society's criteria for what constitutes a 'rapist' is what rape culture means. Sure, everyone online shits on Brock Turner, but it doesn't change the fact that he only got a slap on the wrist from the system. People culturally are really coming around to the right side of this issue, which is promising, but there's still a systematic problem of white men getting away with rape and the victim getting blamed for "drinking and partying" and "sending mixed signals". > Corporate sexism? Every company (most massive multinationals) I have worked at has had positive discrimination policies and worked tirelessly to get women workers into positions of prominence *Well I never experienced sexism in the workplace*. Congrats bro! I *have* experienced sexism in the workplace. Not towards myself, I'm a guy, but towards my coworkers. It's disturbing. We were in a meeting for an hour looking over new plans, this brilliant female engineer did the technical drawings and was explaining the requirements for the project and her decisions. She had to leave the meeting early to make a different one, and as soon as she left all the fucking old dudes in the room talked for 10 minutes about "how cute she is" and her "pretty smile", not about her skills regarding her work or her attention to detail. That's called objectification, it happens to men and women (but the studies show mostly to women) and it breeds sexual harassment. So how does this work, where my single experience trumps everyone else's and dictates what is objectively true and untrue? See my point? My single anecdote shouldn't change anyone's mind, but the combined anecdotes of people experiencing extremely similar things over and over again point to a deeper social problem. > Go on one of the several r/AskReddit 'men of reddit, how have you experienced sexism' type posts and you will find many comments of men claiming to currently been physically and emotionally abused... I don't even need to go there because I already know and accept the many social injustices that men face. That doesn't make the problems women face any less real or any less urgent. For an egalitarian it seems like you're really going out of your way to make it look like men face all the problems and that women don't face any. > The only real academic fields that discuss gender are gender/feminist/women's studies. It is more a political platform for left wing feminist academics than genuine sociological research Dude, I was talking about genuine sociological research, not tumblr posts. Genuine sociological research points to women facing systematic social injustice much more than men. Do you even have experience in sociology? I haven't studied it, but my girlfriend is a sociologist and member of the American Sociological Association. > I don't even consider it to be an academic field if I'm honest, there is no quality control to the 'research' it conducts. She'd slap you in the face if she heard you say that. What a hilarious, offensive, and unsupported insult to an entire field of science. You can't just discredit an entire fucking school of academics and field of science dude, especially (assumption incoming) when you have zero experience in those fields. ----- Look man, you seem like a smart guy, I'm being sincere. I see where you're coming from, because I was in your seat about 4 years ago, using the same arguments you're using in internet arguments, making the same points and having the same beliefs and values. What changed is a realization that my personal experiences are wholly unique and extremely limited, they are important to me and they shape who I am, but they are not enough to shape a healthy worldview. I opened myself up to hearing the experiences of others, I seek them out now, I understand what they strive for and what stands in their way. An efficient way to do this, is to dive into some sociological studies. I used my university access to JSTOR, and read some peer-reviewed, critiqued, entirely scientifically valid genuine sociological studies. You can even pick up a used sociology text book and get a good condensed overview of many ground-breaking studies. What you find will literally change your views entirely, like they did for mine. Peace.

  • Edmond Hahn

    My first time receiving cunnilingus was bad. Really bad. My BF hadn't exactly been enthusiastic about doing it, so I felt bad for even asking. I didn't feel anything when he did it, he gave up really quickly, and then he declared it was a good thing I didn't enjoy it, because that meant we were compatible. He compared it to sensory deprivation, and told me he felt isolated. I felt like shit. I had already felt guilty enough for asking him to do something I knew he wasn't 100% into. His reaction made it worse. Way worse. I felt like I wasn't allowed to ever ask for something unless he was super into the idea, or he would passive aggressively punish me for it by making sure it was a terrible time. I stopped asking for new things in bed. It was hard to even express preferences or direct him. Like, if the way he was fingering me wasn't working, I'd just lie there and pretend everything was fine, because I didn't want to interfere with him doing what he wanted to do. There are so many sexual acts that I wanted to try, but I didn't because what if he wasn't super into it? If I was feeling bold, I'd try to hint at the idea to see if it was something he could ever possibly be into. For a long time, I thought asking for cunnilingus was the worst thing I had ever done to my sex life, that it ruined my sex life. But I still wanted it, y'know? People always make it out to be this great thing, and I really wanted some of that. I felt so jealous and hateful and angry. I'd get mad every time cunnilingus popped up in a book or comic or movie. So I initiated 69, because my BF, for some fucking reason, had expressed an interest. I guess going down on me isn't so bad if he's cock's in my mouth. So I did that, and that kicked off a lot of talk about cunnilingus. He did it again, and again, and he started to enjoy it. Still didn't do anything for me. Then, all of a sudden, he likes cunnilingus. He wants to do it. I'm kinda sick of the idea. I'm done. But now he wants to do it, so I'd lie there and let him do it to me. But he'd always tell me he wanted to do it, and he'd ask me to do it, but he never seemed enthusiastic. It was always more of a "I'll do this and pretend to like it so my girlfriend will shut her goddamn mouth already." I'd ask him if there was anything he wanted to do, but he started getting mad at me for "caring too much" about his comfort. I went in between wanting cunnilingus, not wanting it, hating it, being angry about it, being angry about everything. My first post here was basically "how the fuck can I stop caring so much about this goddamn stupid sex act that doesn't even DO *ANYTHING* for me?!?!?!" There was a period of time where I really wanted to declare I never wanted cunnilingus again. I almost wanted to break up with my BF to find a man who just wouldn't do it so I'd never have to put up with it again. At the same time, I wanted to break up and just start with a clean slate. I would never ask for it again, and if it happened great, if not great. I wondered what it was like to receive cunnilingus from someone who really liked it. I wanted to try it myself, to see if there was anything worthwhile about it. So, I talked with my BF. I cried. I got mad. I had started to resent him so much. He'd grown smug about "liking" it now. He'd act like guys who didn't go down on their partners were so bad, and he was so much better, but he had been happy to let me suck his cock for nothing for months (I love blowjobs and asked to do them, don't get me wrong, but he was being a fucking hypocrite). He also told me failing at cunnilingus was his goddamn sexual awakening, and I was SO MAD, because apparently making me feel like a garbage person was what he needed to feel comfortable with sex. I honestly hated him (but only when I thought about cunnilingus, everything else was fine, he made me really happy and supported me in so many ways). But we talked. I cried some more. He'd get mad at me for "throwing things he'd said in his face." I'd get mad that he expected me to just *forget* all the shit he'd done and said because well, he liked it now so I just had to get over myself. But we talked, we got mad at each other, we fought, we reconciled. It's been a long process. Like, almost two years. I still sometimes get insecure, because he's never really enthusiastic about it. Sex? He'll throw me into bed, push me against a wall, hungrily tear my clothing off. Blowjobs? He'll push me to my knees, grab my hair, hold my head, smile. Cunnilingus? "And now I go down on my girlfriend, with the same vigor as someone folding laundry." But now, I can safely tell him that. I can tell him I need a little enthusiasm. I can tell him things that work, or don't. I still go down on him at least seven times as often as he goes down on me, and for significantly longer (30 minute to hour-long blowjobs are common, but damned if he'll go down on me for more than ten minutes at a time). I don't really feel much most days, unless I'm sore or if we do things to make me more sensitive, like if he swishes mouthwash right before going down. But I'm more okay with that now. It's just not my thing, or he's bad at it, or both, whatever, don't care. I do get mad when he tries to act like he's better than guys who don't go down on their girlfriends or hookup, or like he's better than guys like my friend who thinks vaginas are disgusting. He's not. He doesn't get to be smug about cunnilingus when I've literally been working with him for almost two years. But now, we're finally at the point where I feel okay asking for things, or suggesting we try new things (I'm more adventurous than him, so usually if I don't suggest something we don't do new things). I get sad when I think about all the time I've wasted feeling miserable about myself. But we're both committed to making this better. He's working hard to make up for his mistakes, I'm working hard to make up for all those times I was an insufferable bitch. Honestly, though, the worst thing this entire time is that a lot of this happened over long distance. That's really why it's taken so long. Because when he's not around, I tend to dwell on things. When we work something out, we can't "implement" the solution for months at a time. He can't exactly go down on me enthusiastically when he's a thousand miles away. So I just think about how he's not enthusiastic, even though he's committed to work on that and make it better. This entire time, it's been this whole stupid game of two steps forward, one step back, because everything would be fine if he was around, we'd fight less and have better, more reasonable discussions, but when we're apart it's just "how about we feel miserable about EVERYTHING." But we only have another year with some change before I'm done school, so I'm really looking forward to that. It also doesn't help that I have cripplingly low self-esteem, that I am often anxious, that school has me depressed and feeling hopeless for the future, and that I have all these neuroses that basically mean I'm a psycho who always can't be reasonable about problems. And, well, my life kinda fell apart a bit, but that's another story. But yes, it can get better. I feel a lot closer to my boyfriend. I feel better about sex, about expressing preferences, about suggesting new acts. There's still some mental debris, and sometimes I'll be surprised by something that sets me off out of nowhere. And jackass loser friends aren't helpful (It'd be really awesome if I could meet even ONE straight dude IRL who has been enthusiastic about vaginas from go). I still geta little jealous of people who do enjoy cunnilingus, because I really wish I could feel more from it, but I just can't. It's too soft, too wet. Like fucking slugs. But every so often it works, but even then it's nowhere near as good as fingering. Basically, grr, argh, I'm a psychotic bitch. But at least I'm feeling more comfortable and confident in bed.

  • Marty Gottlieb

    Stalingrad was a bad place to be in December 1942, and it was getting even worse. My team was ambushed while on patrol in the dead of night. Despite our designated path being well within Soviet territory, Adrik had thought it'd be a good idea to take a detour, to "Shoot some Gerrys". Now Adrik had a very annoying habit, and that habit was talking. And this wasn't the first time he'd done something stupid that put us in danger to try and score some browny points, "Shooting Gerrys", but apparently a few Jerrys had the same idea this night, and here's the thing about the germans; Unlike Adrik, they're not fans of idle talk. I suspect they don't drink a half bottle of vodka before going on patrol, but this I cannot confirm. Adrik had thought it prudent to lead the six of us around a corner, hugging a wall and looking around it. It was a good plan, besides the Germans shooting him as soon as he stuck his head around, but you can't account for everything. I grabbed him as he fell back, and together with Boris, my hulk of a brother, I dragged him back, into a nearby building. Our three other comrades hurried us into a nearby building, and shut the door behind us. We lay on the ground, and kept deathly quiet. We heard German shouts coming from outside, and the sound of boots running past us. The building seemed to have been a small shop once, long since abandoned. No goods remained; The wooden shelves were bear. We lay there about half an hour, listening to the guttural cries of the nazis, before Dmitri, who had taken position behind the old counter, poked his head up. His pale skin and dark hair stayed as still as stone as he signaled to us to follow him, and he slowly crawled through a door in the back. Leaving Adriak there ( for god knows not many men can survive a bullet to the neck, and Adriak wasn't one of them ) I slid along on my belly to the back room, and joined my comrades. Boris stood with his arms crossed, and Egor and Ganya had already began sifting through the boxes, their arms scrawny even in their thick winter uniforms working hard to do an honest days looting. Dmitri had lit a cigarette. "What do we do now?" Boris asked. He had the look of a man who didn't much care what the answer to his question was. "We should get the fuck out of here," Dmitri said, around his cigarette. "Adriak's dead, we've got no orders, and if we stay here, those Germans will come back. We're not in friendly territory anymore." "That's not true. Adriak did say one thing before he went and got himself shot," I said. "You can't be fucking serious Ivan. He said he wanted to "Raise Hell" because he was drunk off rotten vodka. And look where it got him, eh? He's got his wish," Dmitri said, his shaking hands taking his cigarette from his mouth. "Orders are orders. What have you got there, Egor? Anything useful?" I asked. Igor turned around, held a large bottle of Vodka aloft, and gave me a shit-eating grin. "Never hard to find the secret stash. For us, that is." Ganya said for him. "Are you actually considering this? Ivan, we're five soldiers in enemy territory. You ever read a book in your life? Doesn't look like it so let me tell you-" Dmitri began. "Enough, Dmitri." I said. "When the hero is surrounded by enemies, the first thing he does, is get out. For gods sake, we're five soldiers!" He said. "Dmitri, if I hear one more word from you, I'll kill you myself," I told him. "Don't bother. I'm getting out of here." With that, he turned tail and ran out of the room. I looked at my four remaining comrades, then back out through the door. I walked over to the boxes that Egor and Ganya were searching, and gazed into them. "Fiver soldiers, but six pairs of boots..." I had a plan, and it was foolproof. A few minutes later, I was stood behind Boris as he whistled out the door and the nearest Germans. Ganya and Egor behind me, I listened to him speak to the two of them in German. Despite an amicable enough beginning to their conversation, the ending was decidedly less friendly when they raised their weapons at us, and told us to walk out, hands in the air. It was about an hour after that, I was sitting in the corner of a cage in a german-occupied building, along with a number of my countrymen, when a bald man in SS uniform came to the bars, and beckoned me over. "Ivan, yes?" He asked me in russian. He sounded like a bear with a sour throat but I thought maybe now was not the time for elocution lessons. I nodded at him. He looked me up and down. "I admire your guts, my friend, but not your plans." He said. "My plan was perfect, it's just Boris has the salesmanship of a baby." "To be fair to your friend, a your sixth pair of boots for a panzer tank is a hard sell for anyone." "Not if the customer knows anything about tanks, but I think he was German." The officer gave me a black-toothed smile for that. "Again, I admire your courage," He said, leaning on the old, rusty bars. "Not your brains. Any last requests? I understand you Russians are quite fond of your vodka?" "Yes," I said, and from my back pocket produced a quarter bottle of the drink, and promptly proceeded to back him over the head with it. He staggered away, holding his bleeding dome of a head. It was a minute before he could say anything, as he wiped vodka from his eyes. "You bastard! What the fuck do you think you're doing?" He shouted, keeping a wide berth of the cage now. His bloodshot eyes leered at me, completely fixated, I doubt he even noticed as one of the other prisoners of war shot up from a dark corner of the cage, clicked his lighter and threw it at him. "Raise hell, you son of a whore!" Dmitri shouted as the dazed man fell to the floor, rolling limply as he went up in flames. The fire quickly spread, and from the cage we could see Germans enter to see what was going on, but none made any particular effort to put it out. As the building began to fall around us, I mused to myself, maybe this is what hell is like. This, flaming inferno of heat in a harsh landscape of cold, where you were trapped in a cage. But then I realized no, this couldn't be hell. I couldn't hear

  • Lue Altenwerth

    It started with the fatigue, the constant weariness no matter if you slept 3 hours or 8. Then it moved on to the colds that seemed to come and go, a major sign that your immune system, though always weak, was growing ever feebler. Finally, came the pains, those deep bone aches that started out worst in the mornings, when you were first getting up, and had now progressed to sharp pains that kept you up until the early hours of the morning. The worst was that sharp, almost burning pain in your right side. That was the final straw, what made you hobble into the emergency room three nights before. Tests were inconclusive, of course. All blood tests were normal, though it was shown your liver was working a bit harder than usual—in short, nothing to explain the pain you were experiencing. No doubt the doctor overseeing your case assumed you were trying to swindle the hospital to gain pain pills, as you were discharged the next day with a “prescription” for Tylenol. You felt like you had reached a dead end, and resigned yourself to ride out whatever this might be. Perhaps, you thought, you just needed a change of scenery, so you called up your grandmother, explaining your symptoms and asking if you could visit her in her cottage in the forest. She seemed thrilled to have you and somewhat cryptically ended your phone conversation with “and I know just how to fix you up!” You stared at the phone in confusion at that abrupt end to your phone call. You shook your head, smiling a bit at your eccentric grandmother, and took a couple more Tylenols before packing. Arriving at your grandmother’s cottage after a few hours on bumpy, forest-lined backroads, you immediately felt some relief. The ache in your bones seemed a bit more bearable, but you chalked that up to leaving a lot of the stress of your fast-paced city life behind. Your grandmother greeted you almost as soon as you stepped out of your beat-up Corolla. Her almost 80 years hadn’t caught up to her, and she was just as vigorous as ever, taking your bag from you and leading you into her cluttered little cottage. You could have cried when you saw she was already steeping tea for you, but when you turned to thank her, you were startled by her severe expression. “I thought we had more time,” was all she said before turning to a bookshelf that leaned precariously to one side. She skimmed her long, thin finger along the bridges of the hundreds of volumes along the shelves until she came across a book whose binding looked like it had been bound and re-bound at least 10 times. She muttered to herself as she pulled it from between two books even more worn than this faded red book. Opening the book, she flipped through hundreds of pages, skimming lines and continuing to mutter to herself before exclaiming, “Ah! I did miscalculate!” Your grandmother handed you the book, telling you to start from the bottom up of the page she had her finger on. At the bottom of the page was your name, birth date, and the city you were born in. As you moved up the page, you saw your parents’ and grandparents’ entries, and moved onto great-grandparents and other direct ancestors, examining their dates, places of origin, and causes of death. You noticed that you didn’t recognize some of the places your ancestors were from, and that these ancestors had no birthdates. What seemed most strange about these ancestors was that they all shared the same cause of death: iron sickness. When you looked up at your grandmother to ask, you saw she was smiling. “I hope that you are starting to understand,” was all she said, before handing you a small wooden box. You hadn’t even noticed her take it out. You opened the box to find a small knife. You picked it up by its abalone handle and examined the sharp golden blade. You looked questioningly at your grandmother, who looked back at you with a sad smile. “You can live a normal life with the proper interventions,” she began to explain. “Our family line has discovered through trial and error how to slowly expunge the poison that comes from urban living." Suddenly, you understand. All those myths and stories your grandmother told you when you were little, the superstitions, the avoidance of all iron cookware, of everything silver. The myths, the fairy stories, weren’t just stories. They were part of your history. It all made sense, now. Living in the city was slowly poisoning you because to you were constantly surrounded by steel, by iron. Your liver was working overtime because it was struggling to process what your body assumed was excess. You handed your grandmother the knife, and she took out a bucket from a small nook by the bookshelf. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Since that visit to your grandmother’s cottage, you were doing much better. Occasional aches and pains still plagued you, but instead of causing fear, they were now signals to take a weekend trip to your grandmother’s cottage. It seemed that bloodletting every few months kept the iron poisoning at bay, getting rid of excess iron and allowing your body to heal itself quickly. These weekend visits also allowed you to learn more about how your heritage made you different. You were looking forward to your new job on Wall Street now that you knew just how much fairy luck was on your side.

  • Felipe Harber

    It sounds like you are off to a great start. I also feel that I should admit I do not think that I found a universal formula for success. This is just what I feel may have helped me get to where I am today. I also don't think this is the most successful I could be. I know there are things that I can work on to be a better person overall. That being said, people most often want to be heard more than they are spoken to. You meet a rare few who crave nothing more than to hear all about the other person's story but most commonly people love to talk about themselves. I would love to recommend Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss because it teaches many valuable tools that can be used in everyday conversation to gain the respect of whoever it is you may be speaking to. The most important point I learned from the book however is active listening. Eye contact is only important if the person is with you but you can use active listening over the phone. Active listening is exactly what it sounds like and makes the person feel like the most important person in the conversation. It is a few simple tools like repeating parts of what was said or asking the person to expand on something that might have seemed interesting or unclear. It gains the trust of the person by making it clear you have a personal interest in what they are saying. You can gain trust and respect with a firm handshake, and a warm genuine smile/greeting such as "it is a pleasure to meet you." Simple manners like that are almost nonexistent in a lot of places so if you make this your standard greeting or some variant of, people will be floored by your first impression. Bonus points for finding something relatable but if it is someone significantly older than you they just (most likely) will not care what your experiences are and that is ok. The trick is identifying how interested they are in your contribution and making a decision from that point to either continue or focus more on the details of their contribution. Humor is very useful and I think is imperative to my personal "likeability" but it is absolutely not necessary to use. It can easily be used as a crutch to ease tense or dull points in a conversation which can be misinterpreted and work against you. Sadly there is no science that I know of and will take some fine tuning and will take a keen eye for what is working and what is not. With some patience and practice I know you will get there because it sounds like you were, where I was up until 22 years old. I worked as a leasing agent for a section 8 (subsidized housing) apartment community for a year or two (decent money too considering I had no finished college degree) which is where I started learning these tricks but was so far from having it figured out. I used my skills to that point to interview for the position and got it. I was told that I had free range to sell however I wanted because there was something about the way I spoke to people that she knew would be well received at her property (the manager was a woman and by the single greatest property manager I have even encountered). She was right and I still had much learning to do. I used every day as a sort of trial for new conversational devices and behavioral tweaks. Each day a new people would come in and my goal was simply to make them feel welcome and heard. It worked but not just in the context of that job. I still use a ton of those devices in everyday conversation and I think that job was crucial to the development of my personality. Now I am working as an electrical engineer, in front of a computer in design for 10 hours a day and although I miss the opportunity to meet new people everyday in the way I did with property management, I know I can still use my skillset to meet new people in the world wherever I may be. As a college student a redditor you have an informational advantage that I use to my benefit all the time. I come off as well read and intelligent in most circles because I used the tools reddit gave to me. I read a lot of interesting articles and I learn something new here everyday but have yet to complete a college degree and can probably count on both hands how many books I have read. Yet, those articles can be brought up in conversation so frequently if you subscribe to the right subs and if you do not recall the specifics, it is ok to admit that. It is respectable to admit, "I recall reading or seeing an article about it some time back but don't recall the outcome. Would you please refresh my memory?" This is where I am going to stop for now. I am at work and got super carried away with this. I just know how desperately I wanted to fit in while I was growing up and I swore it would never happen but now that it has I just want everyone to feel as comfortable in my own skin as I do. Every interaction with a new person is my chance to leave a positive impression on the world and that is all I hope for. I hope my comment has helped or at the very least left a positive impression on you. Please feel free to ask any more questions if you feel I can help you further.

  • Golden Kreiger

    **I read the book she read and talked about it with her extensively. I agreed that I fit the description of an abusive man (apart from having any intention of harming anyone with my criticisms, but that doesn't matter).** I feel like maybe you ought to post that definition? I mean, that you say abusI've man rather than abuser or abusive person hints to me the book may be a touch gender bias & presumptuous.. slanted?... Yknow?.. Or maybe you're omitting something... Or maybe giving fed back people would rather not hear is abuse regardless if the feedback happens to be valid, and I'm way off in my understanding? Not sure... but.. **I then got to a chapter she hadn't read about how to change an abusive man wherein it states that an abusive person will never change without an ultimatum or consequences for their actions.** I find it... interesting... she would seek to paint you as an abuser and make her decision based on a book she hadn't finished reading... I mean, that's definitely criticism... And it's the sort that would make most people feel bad... --and without having finished reading the book on which she is basing her criticism it seems like it's criticism solely for the sake of validating actions she would then take knowing they would hurt you, rather than (especilly given the content that was overlooked) actally offering feedback for the sake of you improving, whet her within the relationship itself or on your own moving forward. Which reads like she cared about rubbing your nose in being bad, still giving you the boot, and not making effort to help you improve that failingerie of yours assuming it exists... **Everything about that caused me to break down completely. Bawling on the floor. She didn't even read the chapter on how to fix things. She didn't care enough about the relationship to bother continuing past the point in the book where she had already determined I fit the bill for an abuser.** Not just about the relationship, she didn't care about your ability to change for yourself & just wanted you gone. I mean we can twist an obviously forced smile as means to express discontent without ever criticizing if we try to.. I mean you dare not at this point criticize her assertions/assessments... nor her lack of finishing the book... nor her decision to end things on the basis of a conclusion that was drawn without finishing the relevant cited source material.... And i gotta assume part of th bawling was also at being persuaded to see yourself as an abuser when you only thought you were just a bit hyper critical? .. **That combined with the idea that I would never have changed without an ultimatum was more than I could bear. All I was asking her for now was a chance, an ultimatum. She would not budge on this.** Well that tells you she wanted something to back up her decision to end things. That's all. I mean really she could say relationship is over without accusing you of abuse, but if you're an abuser she gets sympathy & whatever she wants and can even get restraining orders etc, while you turn the critical mind you both kow you have upon yourself... I mean it isn't up to her to give you another chance for ultimatum, the ultimatum comes from within of you actually are abusive (or even just *too* critical), by equations like "people may keep leaving me if I keep being abusive"--but as other users have pointed out, ultimatums of "unless x, y or z, we break up"? are garbage (which by he way leads me to imagine a book suggesting it as a way to get an abuser to change seems like a dangerous unwise thing to come from a perhaps questionable book..)..especially because a partner may also leave for whatever other reason, and holding the relationship hostage is tantamount to saying you really don't want to be together, but could consider sticking it out if you know you can get your way... **I know she doesn't owe me another chance, I just wish she would give me one.** Might be for the best as in her doing you the favor here.. it's hard.. like all break ups, but extra hard cause she's shaken your foundation by interpreting what you described as a core aspect of your personality as deviant in the form of being abusive.. **I went to stay with another friend for a week. Throughout these first ~10 days from the beginning of the discussion, I wrote her several notes and letters professing my love and respect and promises that I was a changed man. I haven't been on NPR all day every day, watching T.V. or redditing. Those habits had my anxiety levels through the roof. Cutting them out of my life was a desperate attempt to fix myself and let myself be more mindful and open to my feelings and hers.** Because we really need people to close their eyes to the world around them and plug their ears at the stuff that gets them riled up, rather than to look them in the face in hopes to address them? -- all because that makes us easier to get along with for a person who also doesn't want to hear about things that you find fault with about them, valid or not, because they don't like their mistakes or errors in judgementioned or the like pointed out.. Especially in front of others..

  • Pauline Dooley

    Rewatcher Tonpa: [He didn't even get to to talk](http://i.imgur.com/K75zwT6.png) but I am still happy he is back. I wish he was in Greed Island. AU where the real villain of the arc is Tonpa who just discovered nen and his hatsu is something really really annoying. Would Tonpa be a transmuter? Killua: Gets his Hunter License incredibly easily and thanks to him the rules are probably being rewritten. He doesn't acknowledge anyone from the former exam, he does recognize [Zepile but still shocks him.](http://i.imgur.com/maYax4X.png) Do pace makers exist in HxH? Cause Killua should maybe double check before electrocuting people. [Killua does not mess around.](http://i.imgur.com/EHPuG19.png) [I don't think Killua would even be mad if he had to do a second phase,](http://i.imgur.com/xpBDVzJ.png) he is having fun. One thing is that did Killua even get the chance to really train as a transmuter we didn't see any Bisky training sessions, he can generate lighting already so he is done? Killua shows a little bit of his childishness and risk taking side when [he decides to be the only one passing,](http://i.imgur.com/k7FlSP4.png) he is the one [who wants to sell of the cards,](http://i.imgur.com/Gcyt6Qt.png) and risks his life [by getting hooked on the dice.](http://i.imgur.com/lblPCr1.png) Becoming a hunter changed you Killua. [Killua finally gets to blast someone off.](http://i.imgur.com/WClkfnl.png) [But not for long.](http://i.imgur.com/xloUomf.png) Worst Examiner Ever: [Your clothes are bad and you should feel bad.](http://i.imgur.com/4Zc4y7P.png) [Strength is important but there is a bit more to it, maybe.](http://i.imgur.com/1yhyXA5.png) [Step up your pose game, you will never get into JoJo like this.](http://i.imgur.com/OZWZc2w.png) He is even basically copying the fourth phase of the last game, except it is in a tiny room so it is even less of a challenge. Not Chrollo: [DUN DUN DUN].(http://i.imgur.com/4eAchlY.png) It is cool to see how just a name can be so terrifying. Just the idea f Chrollo is enough to send Killua out of game again to check up on and warn Kurapika. Do phones not work on Greed Island? I would say no as otherwise [this card wouldn't exist.](http://i.imgur.com/kHU2uAe.png) [hxh spoilers](/s "if Gon had realized who his first contact was earlier he could have called Ging and dragged him for being a bad dad. Ging wouldn't be able to hang up but he can also just not talk")Apparently the Chrollo person isn't Hisoka as he said he only realized afterwards that you could use a fake name, so it is a friend or someone hired by Hisoka [hxh spoilers](/s "I don't really remember but I am like 90% sure it is Illumi only cause Hisoka has no friends") Boss Dad: [KARMA. IT IS ALMOST LIKE YOU SHOULDN'T BUY HUMAN BODY PARTS](http://i.imgur.com/aOM3dqL.png) Bisky: [Don't.](http://i.imgur.com/BuYRsPn.png) [Keep.](http://i.imgur.com/TjmXIWc.png) [Bisky in the dark.](http://i.imgur.com/Vctie8f.png) She doesn't like it. Kurapika: [Is oddly calm](http://i.imgur.com/bvOmuR5.png) about the Troupe and his nen possibly being removed. He might be too distracted by his boss being in a downwards spiral. It is really just a miracle he answered his damn phone.If Kurapika knew that nen could be removed when choose an ability that could be removed? Because he could put it back if he wants? Because the chain is usually only temporary before he kills them? Gon: They are so happy to get like 7 cards but the other people completing the game have 96. They are a long way from 100. But Gon is trying to enjoy the game like Ging wanted so good for him. [This neckless only has a difficulty of D, (http://i.imgur.com/l36UOLC.png) how is everyone collecting cards to win not wearing this at all time. Gon is such a good kid as he also [loves](http://i.imgur.com/MOEpPuv.png) [this tree.](http://i.imgur.com/ijvvJUG.png) [You have to do card trades quickly](http://i.imgur.com/3l62OOf.png) as you run the risk of cards transforming if you don't put them in the book in time. Cocky Muggers: [Remember that one time we mugged you?](http://i.imgur.com/7DJkxRa.png) Let's do a ~~pokemon~~ card trade The Troupe: [ I smile every time I see the HxH world map ](http://i.imgur.com/Xdlf1S9.png) as upside down canada makes me laugh The Bomber: He really should have waited to blow up the others/tell them he was the bomber till after they had almost all the cards.[Imgur](http://i.imgur.com/a3fEuTc.png) Killua and random gambler man aren't the only ones using risky dice, [the bomber makes other people use it.](http://i.imgur.com/KWEznIc.png) But takes non of the risk. Except when he [ randomly throws the dice](http://i.imgur.com/iPvtc0c.png) so cool eyebrow man will call him. Okay.

  • Zetta Veum

    Death had come for a visit again. It had turned into quite a nuisance. “Look, Carla, I’m just saying that immortality is going to be quite a pain. Like, literally. Have you thought this through? You are going to stay young and live forever, which means getting period cramps every month, for the rest of eternity. The rest of eternity. Have you considered that?” Carla looked up from her book. “I have to say that you almost got me with that one, Death”. Death was going to raise an arm in a victorious sign, and then realized what she had just said. “Come on! Not even when faced with eternal torture?” “I’m sure medicine will improve so much in the next few years that it won’t be a problem” she smiled. “Or I could just have my ovaries extracted. It’s not like I’m planning on having kids, anyway”. “Yeah, like not having hormones is going to make it any better. Look, Carla, I’m just saying this for your own good. You are not the first one to discover the formula of immortality, and you will probably not be the last one. Eventually, you will beg for me to come to take you to the other side” Death explained. “Methuselah did”. “That guy in the first part of the Bible?” Carla asked with curiosity. Death did a gesture of rolling its eyes (a weird thing to see in a skull with no meat or organs on it). “Of course it wasn’t that one! What are the chances? It’s just that you humans assume that same name, same person” Death sighed (also a weird sight). “Anyway, I’m not going to get tired of repeating this: you are going to regret this. Everyone, literally everyone is eventually going to die, and you are going to be left alone in this universe, Carla”. “But Death, if I were to die, too, you would have no work to do, and thus you would become unemployed! I’m just acting as a job security for you” she said. Apparently, Death had not thought about a response for that. After staying silent for a while, Death cursed, and disappeared. Carla went back to her reading her tissue engineering books. She had all of eternity, so she had plenty of time. Science would provide entertainment for a long time, she thought. Death visited her many times in the next hundreds years. One time, Death decided to ask a question. “Why are you doing this, Carla?” She stopped building her gadget, and turned to talk with Death. “I guess I do it because it’s fun”. “But doesn’t the fun end? Your family and old friends have died. None of the people from your time are around anymore” Death responded. “You are the proof that there is an afterlife of some sort, Death” Carla responded. “So I guess dying is probably not that bad of a thing. At least, it doesn’t make me sad that my old friends and family have died” she explained. “But what keeps you going? You should be bored by now!” Carla smiled. “There are so many things that keep me going! Humanity always finds new ways to do art. Technology and science keep evolving, and I keep making new and interesting friends. Immortality is a true blessing”. “But what will happen when humanity eventually ends? Current physics trends speak of a thermodynamic death of the universe” Death argued. “I didn’t know that you knew astrophysics” Carla commented. “But I hadn’t thought about that… It’s truly troubling”. Carla looked around the spaceship that she was travelling in. She decided to make a test. “This is going to be kind of crazy… But I’m going to crash land in that planet over there” she said. “Wait, what?” Death seemed alarmed. She wrote a few commands, and the spaceships accelerated towards the planet’s surface. It was bound to crash at an incredible speed, something impossible to survive for any mortal… But of course, Carla could choose not to die. The spaceship shattered against the ground, hitting the rock with great strength. Carla could only see fire around her. Then, reality suddenly reset. Carla was in her spaceship, which had landed on the planet safely. Death stared at her with an open mouth. “You’re nuts”. “I know that I am” Carla laughed. “But I can’t die, either. It’s turned into a rule for this universe. If I am at risk of death, but I don’t want to die, then all rules of physics are broken and the universe reconfigures around my desire to live. So the universe can’t die unless I choose to die” she concluded. “That’s a bit far-fetched” Death replied. “It is, but immortality is, too” Carla agreed. “So, what now?” Death asked. “I think I’m going to keep living adventures. Explore the galaxy, see how civilization develops, learn more science, read more books… Maybe I can meet some alien species! And if I ever get bored from all of this, I’ll embrace death” she said. “God, I guess I won’t have another option but to follow you wherever you go”. “Come in, after 1,000 years, you have to admit that you actually enjoy these adventures” Carla teased Death. Death smiled, the only way a skull could smile. And then it laughed. “Yes, I do”.

  • Anna Glover

    First timer here. Things are getting even better here on Greed Island! The Troupe members have landed, and a man named Razor approaches them. He says he's one of the creators of the game, and he has access to a card that will teleport them to a location outside of the Island on the Azian continent. A nearby continent I assume? Not sure exactly, but he makes it clear that they won't make it any farther. With a spell card like that, and seemingly very powerful Nen, the Troupe members back down, and agree to enter through the proper channels. Phinks seems pouched by the idea that he may get to fight Razor, so hopefully that can happen! Razor seems to posses volleyball Nen, as he spikes a Nen ball at the Troupe's boat and totally obliterates it! Hell yea! Gon and Killua are going to train their specific Nen abilities, and Gon has modeled his after Rock Paper Scissors. One attack uses the Enhancer ability, another uses Emitter, while the third uses Transmuter. He's able to use Rock, the Enhancer one, but the others are beyond his skill at the moment. Killua whips out his skill of electric, and Gon is super impressed, while Bisky is a bit scared/concerned. She wonders what Killua's childhood must have been like, and is just happy to see these two make such a great team! It is sad thinking about what Killua went through, but seeing him happy now just makes me smile so much. It is so much fun and makes me happy everyday when I watch an episode to see these two grow alongside each other, and support each other as best buds. It really is a joy to watch, and like Bisky, I'm just glad he can look past his childhood and have fun in his life in spite of that. :) Bisky wants the boys to take some time off training, and just then Gon remembers that the Hunter Exam is coming up again! Killua is able to leave and sign up for it, and we see him with the Kirikos we had seen so many episodes ago. It's so cool seeing those guys again, and remembering what Gon, Leorio, and Kurapika went through during those times. :) The Kirikos ask about Gon, and it appears Killua will be spending the next few days recounting his adventures with Gon! As Bisky is helping Gon train, the one dude, Abengane, who was with Nickes' crew, pops up and explains everything that happened up to this point relating to the Bomber. He just wants to spread the word about the Bomber, and hopes these two might even avenge him and his friends. After departing, Abengane says he needs to make so preparations, and that shits crazy! He uses his Conjuring abilities and the helps of the forest spirits to make a creature capable of removing the bomb strapped to him. It's a hideous creature, but it appears it can do its job, and it sucks the bomb right off his shoulder. Now he's stuck with it though until Genthru is killed or he can remove the ability the put the bomb there in the first place. Poor bastard has to carry around that damn thing. At least he ain't dead though, right? :P At the same time that's going on, Nickes and his men have decided to give in to the Bomber, and they all meet in the game to exchange the cards. After confirming the cards are in the book, Genthru and his two goons start the disarming process. But what the fuck! Turns out it was the process to detonate instead! The whole crew dies, except for Abengane, who had the bomb removed just in time. He vows to make a move on Genthru, and in very curious to know how the Bomber will come to justice with so much power! That many cards at his disposal, as well as those Nen abilities make him super formidable, so Gon better get to training if he happens to run into him!! After hearing all this, Bisky and Gon head to Masadora to pick up some spell cards. They grab a freakin ton of em, and they pick up a sweet S rank card too. They head back to the open plains to train, and are even more on guard given how loaded they are right now. Man, this reminds me too much of the Dark Souls games, any of them, when you play online and allow other players to invade you.... OMG. You can be questing along all nice and chill, and that invasion just about gives you a heart attack, knowing your hard work is about to be put at risk, knowing that other player will probly backstab you and desecrate your corpse... hence why I always play those offline. :) Another good episode! We continue to see Gon and Killua pursue their dreams, and try to gain the skills necessary to become pro Nen users. The Bomber has struck, and with all those cards, I'm curious to know how the hell anyone's gonna stop him! And how will the Troupe members play into this?! XD

  • Alfonzo Schneider

    The glass was cold in my hand, almost stinging. Her expression seemed just as sharp, it was one I didn’t recognize. I swirled my drink nervously, watching the whiskey coat the sides of the glass and slowly bleed down to the surface. “Is everything okay?” I asked – glancing up only long enough to see that she had her back to me, her face in the icebox. “Yes,” she said after a moment. The harsh ping of ice cubes startled me, but the following sizzle of liquor meeting the cold of her glass lent my anxious mind a moment to wander. Stella’s apartment was not what I expected, she had more art than the walls could hold – with paintings propped up against every piece of furniture and stacks of books taking the place of a coffee table. Her fresh drink made a thud as she sat it down – the brown booze spilling over the rim and onto an already stained book cover. I was desperate to break through the heaviness in the room, “You didn’t mention you read.” She smiled, “Of course I do. Don’t you?” “I do.” My smirk felt painfully artificial. She sat next to me on the couch, it’s worn cushions submitted to our weight, pulling us close. Turning to her, I made another attempt at a smile. “How would you like to take one of these books home with you?” she asked. Before I could answer, she pulled a leather notebook from the middle of a stack, letting the books above shift and slam against each other as they filled the gap. “Here, take this one.” “Alright,” I said, flipping through the pages – “wait, this is hand written.” She nodded as she took a long sip of her drink. “Did you write this?” I asked. She leaned over, whispered, “Does it matter?” Her lips moved from my ear to my neck and of all my uneasiness dissolved into the drink and the sex. --- We spent the night fast. It was quarter past three and Stella’s dark apartment surrounded me. The leather notebook she had given me sat across the studio on the kitchen counter. And the distance between me and the pages was filled with anxious preconceptions – ugly fantasies played out in my unrested and whiskey sodden mind. Was it a diary of sexual exploits? Admission of a terrible crime? A vivid account of an abusive past? At last, I tossed back the remainder of the stale whiskey on the nightstand and made my way to the kitchen. I spent the rest of the night with the notebook – each page chronicling the life of a woman living in the latter half of the 19th century. She wrote about music, politics, art and the struggles of a working-class life. But the remarkable part of the writing came right as my worried mind was beginning to ease, right as I was about to submit to my exhaustion and return to bed. The diary digressed into a series of poems, some languid and unintelligible and others perplexing. “Ripples of stream Shimmers of past Rain falls and rises Elusive and fast With memories found And memories lost The Pages surround me Is truth the real cost?” Stella’s voice came from the opposite end of the counter, “Have you finished?” Startled, I slammed the book shut. “What is this?” I asked, resting my fingertips on the notebooks cover. “I don’t really understand them myself,” she said, gripping the edge of the wood counter, staring at the chips in its stain. She looked up at me, “I have dozens of those.” She motioned to the stacks of books in the living room. “There are parts of my life that I can’t remember,” she stammered, “I think I’m losing my mind.” I moved toward her, leaving the book where it sat. “What do you mean?” “I mean I don’t know where I came from. One day I just found myself here, in this apartment, with all these things.” I struggled to comprehend what she was telling me. None of it made sense. “You’re from Detroit,” I started, “you have two sisters and a brother.” “No. I lied… I lied about everything.” Embracing her, I could feel her body shake. “I don’t think this is the first time I’ve lived…” She pulled away, “I think I used to be those people, all of them. And I think I’m going crazy, I’m losing my mind like they did. I’m going to forget you, I’m going to forget everything.” It was hours before I was able to calm her down. We held each other silently until the sun rose and crept in through the blinds of her single window. That was the last night I spent with Stella Townsen. She was found dead two days later in a nearby park of an apparent intentional overdose. I think about her every day.

  • Brett Ullrich

    (2/2... "brief" seldom works out for me) ...I’m interested in whether or not the Troupe’s plan to steal things by entering the space outside of the game channels would have worked, had the Island not had such an efficient border patrol. Teleportation was, I agree, a much more plausible means of transporting someone “into the game” than disconnecting / digitizing their soul and / or body, but does a person’s ability to, say, access “Book” depend on his having entered through the game? My guess would be yes. Anyway, whatever Nen is powering this place must be outrageously impressive; it’s certainly enough to validate the suggestion that Ging (one of the designers) is among the top five Nen users in the world. If the game has been running for over a decade, then has Razor been stuck spending his Nen to keep this place running for that whole time? And are all of the people who Gon and Killua assumed to be NPCs - the pasta chef, or the ninjas who begged for clothes and money - all definitely real people too, just having fun acting here as if they were the scarers in a Haunted House? I’m intrigued by who this whole “game” has such foolproof operation. I also think the fact that no one has managed to beat it yet feels justified, given by the difficulty levels we have witnessed. I think Bisky is already my favorite female character of the series so far. Her training is brutal as hell (“just dig your way through a handful of mountains with a shovel, then we’ll call it a day” kind of stuff) without being mean-spirited, and it seems productive at least. I love that she can be so tough and then ask to be called “Bisky-chama.” I like that she has this slight feud going with Killua (him calling her old, etc.) but that internally she feels only sympathy for him. (“It’s a miracle that he can smile now” UGH too sad.) I like that she’s able to be nurturing and demanding, clever and superficial (but her gem fascination is obviously an important part of the way she sees the world, which is cool too), kind and mischievous, cute and serious and incredibly powerful. I’m curious how she pulls off looking like an adolescent when she actually taught Wing when *he* was a child (which I guess explains the mysterious phone calls he occasionally made back in Heavens Arena? Were they to her?), but I’m hopeful that we’ll see that addressed at some point. She’s a solid mentor figure so far and is a ton of fun to watch. And it’s wonderful, as always, to be spending so much time with Gon and Killua. What a day-brightening friendship. I’m glad Gon’s plot to get into the game was successful, and I’m loving watching them develop their respective Hatsu abilities and helping my own understanding of how the combat in the series works as they learn. Their training has taken an appropriately long amount of time, I think. I also like that something is coming of the many references to Rock, Paper, Scissors from the early part of the arc, and it’s fascinating and fitting that Gon is finding inspiration for his powers from a game. Like Hisoka, Bisky sees a lot of potential in Gon, so I’ll be curious to see if his new training stars to bring him up to the next level. And Killua has potential to be so deadly with that lightning. I like that his ability bears familial resemblance to the performance we saw his father and grandfather put up against Chrollo but still looks and feels quite distinct. I’ve decided that one of my favorite series tropes (used sometime within the last few episodes) is when Killua’s internal monologue takes over (“chigau…”) partway through a conversation and starts revealing the sweetest things about his love for Gon even while he plays it off cool and flustered. He gets ever more delightful to me. And now he’s off to try out the Hunter Exam once more! A whole year has gone by in universe. A little bit of nostalgia commencing already now. Alright… I’ve left out a lot, I’m sure, but that summarizes my feelings for the last week of content decently well. Thanks for bearing with me! The only other thing I wanted to say relative to this episode specifically is that it seems we’ve found a person who can subdue / remove Nen on Greed Island. And he survived the threat of the Bomber. He could be useful, in the future….

  • Elouise Schmitt

    It is definitely related to mental state, and increases in PTD and depression. Theres plenty of evidence cortisol production increases in the even of psychological stress. >You're under the impression if you sit down and feel stressed your body will secrete cortisol; what actually changes is how and when the cortisol is released, there isn't more of it. I'm not under that impression. Cortisol release is generally delayed, and conforms more to daily patterns. however, long term cortisol levels can be raised after many acute stressors. And it will increase to some extent in response to acute stress. It's very important in maintaing glucose homeostasis. >I think you've kind of misunderstood a lot of this, but ultimately your physical health is almost always at fault, peoples physical health effects their mental health and not the other way round - that's how anti psychotics work... So say for example you suffer from mania, mania is a symptom of someone with unstable mood (specifically high levels of serotonin) they'd be given a mood stabiliser, this would physically change the biology of their brain to release less serotonin and they'd be cured. The symptom of mania doesn't cause increased serotonin, it's the other way round... It's the same for you; your mental state didn't cause diabetes, the cortisol didn't cause diabetes.. You get my drift; you got diabetes which is incredibly unfortunate, but it's not in the least bit related to your mental state and your mental state will not cure you of diabetes either... Well, your argument is absolutely wrong. I DONT HAVE DIABETES. I had diabetes. I couldn't make it go away with diet and exercise. I was already at a bmi of 20, and had quite a muscular physique. You know what cured it? tranquilisers. Medication that stopped me experiencing 24/7 panic. >End of discussion, sorry; I just think this is a bit advanced for you and you're asking me to put a lot of effort into my argument but not accepting any of it, just kind of coming up with a different argument each time. You're a fucking nutjob, or a troll. I have given extensive links. I'm not making an argument. You are. I'm presenting evidence. I have no bias here, whatsoever. >All your health problems in all likelihood have multiple sources, each as complex as the last. None of them are caused by mental health issues. Think of it this way, does everyone with depression, anxiety or PTSD have type 2 diabetes, do they all suffer from heart attacks, do they all have cancer, no. And this is blatant trolling. I don't know why you put the effort in. By this logic, there would be no smokers make it to 100, no fat people without diabetes, etc... Stress is a proven risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. There are hundreds of studies which demonstrate this. There are many examples of acute MDD, or PTSD leading to chronically elevated triglycerides and glucose. I dont know what ideological bias you have here, but it's strong. You have ignored my links, completely failed to read them, and then build false arguments around what you think the title implied, and stand in the face of the entire medical community, because you dont want to believe psychological problems might upset other organs. >There's a book about this whole philosophy (called smile or die); whilst there's no problems with positivity or feeling as if having a certain frame of mind or mental state helps, ultimately the only thing that will help you is medicine and the cause is not negative thinking or a mental health problem and claiming anything else is naive. I'm sorry to break this to you, but ultimately what difference would it make? I've always been cynical of this way of thinking and out of both of us it sounds like I'm better off... And this makes no sense, since I'm the one who had sever anxiety, so I'm the one you'd expect to be worse off. I honestly hope you never have to learn this the hard way... Have to watch a loved one, or yourself physically deteriorate because of psychological stress. Ignorance is bliss, especially when it's so well defended.

  • Moses Larkin

    >Her parents named her Vihrea – an ancient word for deep emerald. Her vivid eyes radiated that color, they had since birth. Her jet black hair fell around her oval face like water, outlining her features in striking contrast. While her mother still called her Vihrea, to everyone else, she was Jade. No. Just no. No to all of this. If you want this story to get fair consideration from anyone, DO NOT OPEN YOUR BOOK WITH THIS PARAGRAPH. It's not a good idea to trip half of your reader's Mary-Sue alarms within the first four sentences. Do NOT name her after her eye color. Do NOT give her a nickname that's just a translation of her real name. And for goodness' sake, do NOT introduce her with a laundry list of her physical attributes that's completely devoid of characterization. The opening sentence is also just... dull. "Her parents named her Vihrea." Okay then. It's assumed that most people are indeed named by their parents. I don't really care. I don't care what her name means, either. Why do we need to know why her parents named her what they did and what she looks like before we know what she's doing? At this point, I don't care if her eyes have been green since birth. I don't care how she's wearing her hair. You're describing her, but you're only describing *her*- you're not painting a picture of the character in the setting, you're just telling me what she looks like. I'd suggest opening instead with something like "Jade sat at the window and watched the rain. Her green eyes traced the droplets on the glass, and she tucked a strand of black hair behind her ear." Then, we know what she's doing. We have a general idea of where she is. We know that it is/was raining, instead of just hearing that the rain stopped. And we get a little bit of characterization. Not a whole lot, but enough to give us an impression of a person who does things, not a collection of pretty features. This is your character- you know who she is. You should be able to visualize her. Is she slouching? Impatient? Lost in thought? Fidgeting? I do like the detail that her mom is the only one who calls her by her proper name. However, I'd want to know how she got her nickname- is her real name difficult to pronounce? Keep in mind how people get nicknames in real life- it's usually some readily-identifiable feature, like height, unusual hair color, an item of clothing. If you can't think of anything plausible, having "Jade" be her middle name could be a fallback plan. >She tipped her chair back and looked out the window. The rain had stopped. “The rain stopped!” her mother shouted from somewhere in the house. Jade smiled. “I think I’ll go out for a bit” she responded. “Be careful!” So she tipped her chair back- that's good! More of this. More of how she interacts with her environment. Nonverbal actions and tics are very important to characterization. This might actually be a better starting point than your opening paragraph. The exchange between her and her mom needs reworking, though- it would make a bit more sense if Jade tells her mother that the rain has stopped, since she's at the window and her mother is deeper in the house. >"Do you now?" floated a voice from a few feet away. Jade burst into a smile and spun to face her father. He was so close! For some reason or other, the fact that she "burst into a smile" irks me. It's a bit purplish. I'd stick to something simpler like "Jade grinned," or "Jade smiled brightly." Also, "said" is a good, useful word. It wants to be your friend and help you tag your dialogue without distracting the reader. Let "said" into your life- your thesaurus will appreciate the rest. Apart from that, your dialogue is decent- I'd just advise fiddling with it a bit to make sure it sounds right and fits each character's voice. Overall, most of my problems with this story are in the first few sentences. Other than that, it's pretty competently done- I have an idea of what Jade is like, albeit a vague one; I know enough about the setting that it isn't a distraction; and I have some idea of what the relationship between the main character and her family is. Get nice and friendly with the word "said," and expunge all Sue tendencies with extreme prejudice, and the story will be greatly improved.

  • Brionna Klocko

    Holy shit this is a lot to take in. Might have to reorganize this tomorrow when I'm at my computer instead of phone. What I mean with my mom is that she's overall had a tough life, her mom died when she was 13 by wrong medicine, her dad passed 2009, her very close grandma passed early 2016 and then dad late 2016. I'd love to just have all the bad things and feelings disappear even if that would be by suicide but I simply can't put even more weight on her shoulders, I'm only living because of her and somewhat hope for a brighter future. I trained a lot in the passed but my anxiety has taken control over me entirely, especially when it comes to possibly meeting someone I know or recognize, instant panic attack making me just avoid the situation from the start. Part of my problem with anxiety is also that it doesnt matter what I know, I know that my fear for social interaction is stupid, no one gives it a second thought besides me, that's when all the over analyzing starts, it's simply not enough knowing how it actually is as I do, but there's no chance in hell that I can convince myself, just doesn't matter what I know when my subconscious ignores it anyways. You said something about reading books, I love the concept of getting deeply immersed in a good book but I can't sit still and not doing something, have such a hard time concentrating on things like that, that and how I react to stimulants is why I suspect I might on top of all the other shit that's wrong with me, I might have adhd-pi too, when I asked my school doc about it and she said that she very much doubted it a small part of me died, I don't really understand why I tend to react like this when I I come up with an idea and it gets 'shot down', feels like everyone is laughing at me even though i know that's not true, thats a recurring issue, knowing that it isn't a certain way but not being able to convince myself of what I know. This on top of that she wants to drag a ton of people into the situation Im in, it's horrible, I get so indescribable anxious just thinking about how many people have been contacted over my issue, always making everything such a big deal and it feels so humiliating. I just want to drop everything I've ever told them just for them to stop making it such a big deal, it's like they don't understand how my anxiety works at all, either that or they want me to feel like shit, specifically this one person, because having tried some drugs over the span of a couple of months I'm suddenly addicted to every substance there is, once again making a big deal out of nothing. I'm so incredibly careful not to get addicted to anything to once again make it worse or tougher for my mom, her brilliant plan is to not only drug test me every week but also contact my mother about my 'substance abuse' . Doesn't matter what I say, what argument I use or anything, it always goes back to me apparently bring being addicted to fucking heroln or something. And I can honestly say that without the Lsd trip every other month or so and mdma trip every third month I don't know if I could live. Not in the way of me being addicted to the substance of such but it's me being happy for 4 hours every 90 days that makes me able to keep hope up, that I one day might feel happiness without some kind of drug. As of now I barely remember the last time I've felt happiness, excluding the mdma. Although there were these 2 days, a couple of months ago, I felt just pure happiness, no anxiety or anything, I had confidence and life was so fucking good, then after those 2 days, it was suddenly gone, no trigger or anything, it just came out of the blue and disappeared like nothing again. And I've thought about those 2 days alot but there really wasn't anything In particular leading up to them. It's probably the happiest I had been I years, just poofed like oh shit waddup, and then gone just as quick. Makes me so sad just to think about. Everyone said that I was different, I smiled towards everyone, people actually got annoyed at me for being so happy for no reason and the only response I had to them was just a smile, having that feeling everyday of my life is my dream and hope of reaching In life, because God damn it was beautiful 2 days of pure joy. :( Gonna go back and read what I missed answering! Although I'll do it after I've slept

  • Geraldine Mueller

    Frank: “Heck hmm... Hello my name is Frank. I have been living on this planet for roughly a year. It has been difficult to get used to human customs. The most awkward situation was when I attended a local gathering which I thought was a book club. It turned out that my literary criticism of "The New Testament" was not in any way accepted. While trying to remain, calm and retort I made the matters worse by stating that "Lucifer is portrayed as an antagonist although he has more of an anti-hero vibe. The potential liberator of heaven, who failed to subdue the authoritarian rule of an old god. Thus, being more of a tragic hero rather than the villain." Those of you who know the Jesus Club and its many branches can imagine how infuriated these particular humans were. I was beaten and called both female and male sexual reproductive organs as they dragged me out. Next day I discover that someone had killed my cat. Like what the hell people. After that incident, I realised that moving to what my people call Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha was a big mistake. So now I have just been reading books and staying away from any organised religions. Thank you for listening”. The group gives a heartfelt applause Clark: “Thank you for sharing Frank. I completely understand how you feel.” Jeffrey: “Wait... ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha. That sounds familiar. What part of the Galaxy are you from again?” Isaac: “Oh dammit. It is a Douglas Adams reference. This is so typical of them when in doubt turn to fiction. HE IS HUMAN!” Frank gives them an awkward smile as if this has all been a silly mistake and it will be settled in a calm and verbal manner. Of course, Frank knew that was highly unlikely and once the signal from his brain to start running like bat out of hell reached his legs, he was out of the chair. With a look of sheer terror and panic he set a personal record for a 5-meter dash. His attempts of making it a long-distance record were thwarted by Clark's laser pistol which subdued Frank instantly. Frank fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes. His last thought before he lost consciousness was the taste of peanut butter - a small comfort in troubling times. Clark: “This happens too often. How silly must the support groups name be for people not to show up here. Last month it was "Support group for people who have suffered from traumatic experiences while playing videogames". We got two humans every week and now it is "Support group for people whose cat was killed by a Christian". Humans are very strange creatures.” The group nods in agreement. Jeffrey: “Can I have his skin. I am tired of being an old balding car salesman. Frank looks young, I could sell a lot more cars as Frank.” Robert: “Fine, but make sure to do your research on Frank. I am not up for another family "accident" in the Grand Canyon. Also, perhaps we should schedule a time which is closer to the alcoholics anonymous group. Less likely to get stragglers and easier to take their forms. Isaac, you are also in charge of coming up with a new name for our group. Perhaps something with Buddhism in the name. Who would harm a Buddhist?” The group nods once more. Clark: “Ok. I will see you all next Tuesday. Farewell and hail The Great Xantor XII, for he will come and cleanse this miserable marble and establish rational reforms.” What Clark was referring to was an event which is about as likely as an elephant appearing in the centre of a star. The Great Xantor XII’s campaign slogan rang in the hearts of many aliens. The slogan was “Make the Galaxy great again”, but ultimately his reign fell short in execution. Xantor XII was more concerned with gaining power and avoiding charges of tax evasion by overseeing the institutions which are in charge of collecting taxes and prosecuting violet handkerchief criminals. The latter are known on earth as white collar criminals.

  • Barton Medhurst

    There's a bit of unnecessary information in this piece. I'll just point some things out. > The man had him very high strung, but he kept his cool. The last thing Mike would do was show weakness to anyone. This is strange - I'm not sure how to rewrite it, but it definitely doesn't work. I think referring to "the man" without elaborating a little could confuse a lot of readers, so if you're going to bring him up, don't make it so vague. I think just showing Mike looking over his shoulder and checking all the bushes would tell me everything I need to know: Mike is paranoid about something. Honestly, you could just delete this. > The purple tied man was careful, but he was also unpredictable. Again, this is confusing in context. Who is the man with the purple tie? Why is Mike paranoid about him? I think adding something about how Mike's been followed for a while would help. The way it is, I just feel like I've missed something or skipped over an important line. So, your dialogue! It's okay. Nothing bad about it for sure. But you could make a couple changes, most of those in how you write body language. > Mike flashed the elder woman a smile. Her eyes glanced up from the book. You use a few words here that you don't need to use. Why say that Mike "flashed her" a smile rather than just writing that he smiled? Why say that her *eyes* glanced up? It's simpler and less detached to say that *she* glanced up from her book. This is something a lot of writers do; attributing actions to body parts is always less engaging than attributing it to the character! E.g., "His fist came down on Joe's mouth" vs. "He socked Joe in the mouth". Feel the difference? > Now self- conscious of his appearance, he made his way over to the bathroom. This drifts into the realm of telling. I think it would work better to say that Mike felt his face and went to the bathroom rather than putting it out there that he felt self-conscious. This would be more okay in a first-person POV, but since it's in third, you should always use action and visual cues where you can and avoid internal thoughts. > Mary was right. He did look out of it. He looked like a zombie. His eyes had bags upon bags. They were small slits that could barely stay open. Mike’s skin was an unnatural pale color. It was the result of his mental distress and lack of sleep. This is where the telling gets kicked into third gear, so to speak. Readers are very smart - they don't need you to say that Mary was right or that he looked like a zombie. All they need is the description: his bags were layered on top of each other, his eyes were barely open, and his skin was almost transparent. There are a trillion ways of writing these details, (most of which better than what I came up with), so you don't need to tell us he looked bad. The last line is really the biggest culprit of telling. You could do to simply delete it. Maybe use that extra white space to add a snippet about his five o'clock shadow and the veins sticking out on his neck. Be creative! How can you make the reader visualize a sad, tired, stressed man without actually saying it out loud? I don't want to write you a dissertation, but I think you catch my drift. I'd just be saying the same things over and over! Bottom line is this: what can you cut? Where could you use real world details in place of opinions or thoughts? It's better to say that the restaurant had a leak in the ceiling and no sink in the bathroom than to say that it looked run down. That's just an example, but it can be applied to damn near everything. Also, about dialogue: it never hurt nobody to act it out. I'm serious. Go into a room with mirrors and act it out, standing up, pretending you're a Hollywood star. Record it, too! Sometimes you'll really get into character and improvise something great that you can add in later. You'll also find out which lines don't fit your characters. Happy writing!

  • Jaylon VonRueden

    I was going to post this, [here (I think) is the full paper for anyone interested (pdf warning)](http://www.ddorn.net/papers/Autor-Dorn-Hanson-MarriageMarket.pdf) Reminded me of this super depressing stat from a book about low income famalies >[Kathryn] Edin's research in low-income communities shows, for instance, that most working women whose partner stayed home to watch the kids--while very happy with the quality of child care their children's father provided--were dissatisfied with the relationship overall. 'These relationships were often filled with conflict,' Edin told me. Even today, she says, men's identities are far more defined by their work than women's, and both men and women become extremely uncomfortable when men's work goes away Also it made me think of of the gender ratios of '"""eligible men'""" and hook up cultures idea that was popular a few years ago. When there are more men than women in a given social setting men will compete with earning power and with chivalry (often but not always), there is a quote from a chinease woman about finding a prospective husband that went something like "I would rather cry in a new BMW than smile on the back of my husband's scooter". When there are more women than men, the most eligable men have lots of casual sex and have little incentive to setlte down or be chivalrous and so there is lots of casual sex and women either dont comptete for partners, try to compete by looking attractive and/or keep their man by having more sex with him. There is way more stuff on it but this is a [quick introduction](http://www.spsp.org/press_release/imbalanced-gender-ratios-could-affect-views-about-hook-up-culture) >When the gender ratio was favorable (one’s own gender was in the minority), both men and women adopted more traditional sexual roles with women less interested in casual sex than men, according to the study findings. When the gender ratio was unfavorable (one’s own gender was in the majority), those roles shifted as men and women tried to appear more desirable to the opposite sex. If there were more women than men, women stated they were more willing to engage in casual sex. If there were more men than women, men tended to place less importance on casual sex and be more open to long-term commitment. >In another experiment with 177 university students (73 women, 104 men), both men and women were more willing to deliver painful sound blasts to attractive same-sex competitors when the gender ratio was unfavorable. After participants read either the male-prevalent or female-prevalent article from the first experiment, they were told they would be competing on a time-reaction task against a same-sex partner in another room, although there was no real partner and the participants’ responses were recorded by the researchers. One group was shown a picture of an attractive competitor who was described as an outgoing, sociable student, while the other group saw a photo of a less attractive competitor who didn’t go out much and played a lot of video games. Also this cleraly has implications for social welfare policy and for people who want a basic income (especially for those that think there is some kind of genetic component), how are you going to work it so there are stable famalies (assuming you want that and that these attitudes persist) if large swaiths of men aren't going to be included in their famalies because they don't earn enough.

  • Shea Powlowski

    **1.) What was the most recent interaction you had that made you feel awkward?** When my dog started barking at a stranger on the street and I tried to apologize (three times), but they just grunted at me. **2.) What was the last piece of art, entertainment or media you consumed? (e.g., the last book you read, song you listened to, movie or show you watched). How was it?** Dragon Ball Z. It's been a crutch for me the past year as I've been feeling really low. Not sure why I gravitated it, maybe just the nostalgia for when I was a kid, but also just immersing myself in the world. I've gotten into this strange habit of opening up a tab with the show's wikia throughout the day and reading random lore about side characters that are inconsequential. It gives me something to think about other than all my stresses. Anyway, it was fine. The Great Saiyaman Saga is a lot more fun than I remembered. **3.) What's something you're worried about today?** Been waiting to hear back about a job offer for a couple weeks that would be a dream gig, but they're going really slow and the longer it takes the worse I feel about it. Makes me think I'm not going anywhere at all. It's a writing gig, too. Tried to take my focus away by working on some passion projects, but I just open the Word docs and stare at the screen, write a couple words and then get overwhelmed and put it away – back to DBZ it is. Maybe this survey will help. **4.) What was the last thing that made you laugh?** My dog. I just taught him how to shake and it makes me smile almost every time. **5.) What philosophical question or issue has been on your mind lately?** What if it's all for nothing? **6.) What's something you do when you want to "treat yo self"?** Go buy a record. Pair that with a cheeseburger and a shake from one of my favorite local spots, and I'm in heaven for a few minutes. **7.) What's something you think is super overrated? What's something you think is super underrated?** Loud bars and clubs are overrated. Listening to music without distractions is so underrated. **8.) Do you have a favorite spot? I don't necessarily mean a location, but a very specific place within a location (e.g., a bench in a park, a desk in a classroom, a spot on the couch). Why is it your favorite?** Sitting by a window, people watching all the people going down the sidewalk. **9.) Is there a hobby you'd like to take up or a skill you'd like to learn that you haven't yet? What's stopped you? (This isn't meant to shame you, I'm just genuinely curious.)** I'd love to try film. Also always dreamed of doing a graphic novel. That was one of the passion projects I was trying to dabble with earlier, but the script formatting started to stress me out. **10.) How do those close to you describe you? Do you think their descriptions are accurate?** Kind, optimistic, and well-meaning if not a bit awkward at times. The first three actually tend to bother me most of the time, especially optimistic. I think it's because I'm always trying to help others from giving into their doubts, that I come across as "glass half full." Yet with myself, the glass is always just empty – not half empty, just empty. I think outwardly I'm a nice person and I try to hold myself to strict moral standards, but I can also be uptight. Not that I mean to be. I've always wanted to be that laid back, doesn't-give-a-shit punk type. The artist who doesn't apologize and makes bold, beautiful statements. Instead, I second guess if I should post things on Twitter because they might be too "sad or desperate or attention seeking." I feel like I'm always in the process of trying to figure out who I am beneath all this other stuff. So who's to say if other people's descriptions are wrong? I don't even know myself.

  • German Leannon

    So your doctor should actually be keeping you up to date on what milestones to expect once your child is actually here. However, if you want a preview I would say check out the [Wonder Weeks](https://www.thewonderweeks.com/the-mental-leaps-and-wonder-weeks/). The website is a little overly commercialized (apparently they've started selling a bunch of shit beyond their book), but the book was really good and you can actually get e-mail alerts for what to expect based on your child's birth date. Anyway, I'll try to cover some of what I can remember. The first couple months they're pretty unreactive in terms of smiling, looking around, and interacting with you. They tend to eat, sleep, and pee/poop and sometimes cry (crying levels may vary). It is around 3 months (or maybe slightly earlier) they start to intentionally smile. Around 3 months old is when they should be getting good at holding their head up on their own and possibly start rolling from stomach to back. Around 4-5 months they start getting really drooly and putting everything in their mouth. A lot of parents think their kid is teething, but they usually aren't. Despite them drooling a lot you'll be amazed at just how much they drool when their teeth actually start coming through. 4-6 months is also when some foods may start being introduced. This is mostly supplemental as their main nutrition is still coming from milk. Typically you start with some rice cereal to get them used to eating, and then move into some of the veggies. By 6 months they should be able to roll front to back and back to front. After 6 months they'll start trying more and more foods. There are stages that introduce different flavors with age guidelines you follow. By 6 months they should be starting to sit up unassisted (iirc, been a few years and my current one is 5 months). They may start doing some crawling as well. First tooth will likely come in around now. 9 months they should be moving around via some sort of crawling. Some kids (like my first son) tend to army crawl a bit more than the traditional up on their knees crawling, but they should make it up to 'normal' crawling by this time. They may even start pulling up to try and stand against a couch assisted. They should have several teeth by this point, but kids vary on how quickly they get them. 12 months is typically when babies switch to a mostly food diet and start transitioning away from milk. It may take a few months to totally eliminate milk (bottle right before bed is frequently the last one to be weaned), but the majority of their nutrition will be from normal foods. Also, they can transition to cows milk instead of human milk/formula. Some people may breast feed longer and that is fine too. This age is also exciting because kids vocalizations are starting to sound human! They may have their first word (usually something simple like dada) around 12 months as well. 18 months they're a ball of energy. They should be starting to run not just walk (iirc). They are starting to learn more words to express their wants/needs. 2 years old they're a small walking/talking human. They're not using full sentences (necessarily) but they should be communicating pretty well. It is a very fun age because they're very interactive and they want to play with you. At this age it just seems like they absorb everything you tell them. They are constantly learning new words and will probably go through a parroting stage where they just repeat everything you say.

  • Palma Wilkinson

    Sometimes I think of all the things I always planned to do when I was younger, and I've done none of them. I know that in better circumstances, I'd be so different, so accomplished and happy. I wanted to see the starry night sky, the rolling green hills, the natural scenery we can't find here. I've always been fascinated by nature documentaries. A form of escapism, perhaps. I remember telling you I don't care where I move, as long as it's not here. I want to go so far away from here that everything and everyone can never find me again. Arrive at Changi, book a ticket to nowhere, leave without telling anyone, never come back, never make contact with anyone again. Every now and then I go to those forums and subreddits about immigration and I contemplate what's the most practical. Working holiday visa? Picking up seasonal jobs and get paid in cash? Airbnb? This would be so much easier if I was a guy. At least I can do manual labour. Asia is cheap at least. I still have skills and myself to sell. I'll never write my book. I already know peers who have been published. I've aged out of the aspiring young writers category already. I'll never go on exchange. Never live for months overseas. Away. Alone. I'll never make it to the dean's list. How few people enter my course with a scholarship and a cdp? I must have been in the top 5%. I remember a tutor telling me I was brilliant enough to make it even with my difficulties. I'll never make it now. I'll never wear the cute flirty dresses and skirts that are too short. I've aged out of that too. I'll never go clubbing. I so so so badly wanted to go. I didn't care that everyone told me I wouldn't like it. So? I still wanted to try. I wanted to be part of that lifestyle, that stage everyone goes through in their late teens. Their first foray into a more adult and dangerous world. I wanted to wear all black and dangerous heels and be photographed casually hanging around a low circle table with a group of friends, drunk off our asses, red light shining in our eyes, uploaded on instagram with hashtags, holding glasses of alcohol. I'll never be part of orientation or have a proper university experience. I wanted to have one of those cover photos everyone has, of them in one big happy group, all accomplished and happy after a successful event, all wearing the same tshirt. I never had a proper jc experience either. Never had a proper anything. I'll never be a part of that group of giggling girls now talking about boys, making plans to go out together or have staycations. I can't even gossip about sex. I'll never have parties on my birthday. There are so many experiences I've forever aged out of. Youth cannot be recaptured. I'm on the wrong side of my 20s already. Live fast and die young. I'm afraid I can only accomplish the latter. I keep thinking when all this is over, I can finally be happy. I just need courage. Just one step. I can finally experience happiness. Like a normal person. I don't even know what happy feels like. How do you describe it? How do you feel it? I don't know. Maybe this is why I want a kid. A girl. But I'll give her all the experiences I've never had. I want to see the smile in her eyes and the laughter in her face. I want her to have everything I've never had. Some mothers live vicariously through their children, pushing them to accomplish the careers they never had. But is this so bad? I just want to see her happy, to feel invigorated by life, to feel that she can go anywhere and do anything and be whatever she wants to be. But then I think maybe this is hereditary and i'd be dooming her to a life just like mine. Then I think maybe I won't have her. Then I think maybe I won't be around for that anyway.

  • Modesto Fay

    Hey man! If this helps at all I am going through something like this right now. My wife of 6 years is seperating from me and we are still living together and last night she was playing video games keeping me up till 2 am having a blast with this guy she met online playing that game a month ago. To make matters worse she spent that evening playing with me also and I was in their group and they didn't say a word and I was being super open, positive and kind trying to provoke fun and just a good time... I wanted to blow my brains out. In honestly the situation sucks period. Also there is a lot that I don't know about you, her the relationship ect but it sounds like your on the same end of the stick as me :(. I just had a very deep, very open conversation with a dozen and a half other friends, family, professionals, with my boss and i'm here on Reddit. This is really doing wonders for me at the moment because I am discovering all of the flaws which I personally have (like deep down issues and triggers that are within me subconsciously) that I have left slide for far too long. And where my wife says it was because of none of those I know truly that they played a HUGE roll in it. I know this because I feel it inside, it is my truth. I looked inside and I can feel it in every thought and feeling. No professional has helped me to find it and I've paid for professional counselling (not personal counselling but relationship advice givers - "professionals". Even they could not help me find the emotion which breeds consistent hmmmm "non-beneficial behavior"? I strongly believe (or at least at this moment) that it is my job to hone in on these, dig deeper with the help of a real counselor to find what the root cause is and try to work on it. Because only than (with or without my wife back) can I grow myself and secure the possibilities of a happier, healthier future relationship. I only rant about this because there MAYBE is the same underlying problem here. Just my ten cents, hopefully this helps a little even if just to make you smile for a second. Also if it helps try focusing (I know how impossible this is) on anything else, hyper focus on the smells of the room, the cool or stupid robots, the kids, your kid, the pamphlets, or even some other girls juicy butt (even though you probably think this is completely the opposite of what you might feel) just get yourself through this terrible situation you are in at the moment. Without drugs or other external assistance ...unless it's maybe something like a coloring book or fidget cube. There is time and place to think/worry about this stuff but not here, not now. * Incoming cheese - You are employed, you are healthy, you are consciously caring, smart, educated, have places to go and stay, have options and even a cute loved pet! You have a freaking little being which you helped bring into this world! You at one time had an amazing realationship and may still yet have another (or one even better). You are also in a first world country, you have a computer / phone, free time to attend events like this and family & friends that are alive with you and that enjoy you are you enjoy them. This is more than most people ever get/have in their entire lives or will ever get to experience. I know it may seem rude to take the focus away from your problem but it is a real consideration and should help. But please give me feedback regarding my comment. p.s Let me know more or what not I'm going to be lurking on here for some time. Also my story is just a post away!

  • Eulah Kutch

    He's talking about Florida because that's where [Dr. Charles Garramone](http://drgarramone.com/) is. He's one of the most popular surgeons in the US for Trans guys seeking top surgery. You don't move to a largely conservative state without a ton of resources or Trans community just so your top surgery, which lasts about 2.5 hours, will be local. You save your money and travel for surgery. There are top surgeons who will work with minors, but I'm not sure if Garramone is among them. Dr. Beverly Fischer in Maryland is great, and definitely works with minors. Same with Dr. Richard Bartlett in Massachusetts, although he's pricier. There are others, I just don't know the names offhand. But whether he has top surgery in the next few years or has to wait until he's 18, by the time he's ready for it, hopefully he'll be very clear that you don't *move* to be close to a surgeon you'll be connected with for a week or two. Some resources/info for both you and your nephew: The book [*The Transgender Teen*](https://smile.amazon.com/Transgender-Teen-Professionals-Supporting-Non-Binary/dp/1627781749) by Stephanie Brill and Lisa Kenney is your new bible, seriously. There's also a new book out for Trans teens and their families, called [*Where's MY Book?* by Linda Gromko, MD](http://smile.amazon.com/Wheres-Transgender-Non-Conforming-Parents-Everyone/dp/0982514379). I haven't read it yet, but it looks well worth a look. Check out http://t-vox.org/ and http://camparanutiq.org/ . Your nephew would love Camp Aranuti'q. Watch [this great video](http://youtube.com/watch?v=IxzKlPVceWg) too. It's about Trans kids and it's really good. (Ignore the line from one mom about how blockers are "brand new". They aren't. They've been used for decades. The books I mentioned above explain a lot more about all that.) Run, don't walk, to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tyfa_talk/ and join it. It's a wonderful parents-only group specifically for parents of Trans and gender-questioning kids who are 18 and under. (I'm pretty sure they'll let an uncle join too!) There's a lot more to it than "you should support your kid". There's lots for you there, even though you're already supportive. On Facebook, you can join these great groups for parents of Trans and gender-expansive kids: [here](https://facebook.com/groups/108151199217727) and [here](https://facebook.com/groups/1439892809604202/). And here on Reddit, you can check out /r/cisparenttranskid. [Trans Youth Family Allies](http://imatyfa.org/), [Gender Spectrum](http://genderspectrum.org/) (and their fantastic [conference](http://genderspectrum.org/outreach/family-conference)), and the [Trans Health conference](http://trans-health.org/), among other resources, will help your whole family a lot.

  • Michelle Baumbach

    My BIGGEST pet peeve in portfolios (alliteration unintentional) is when I have to start clicking to find work. The important people reviewing your portfolio care about these things in this order: The work The work The work And then, if the work is good, they might look at your about me to find your contact info. Don't make someone click before seeing work. They just might click away. Now, for the aforementioned work. Band-Aid: The idea is very 'meh' and the executions are a lot worse. I'm as anti religious as a person as you'll find, but you'd better not make a Jesus joke unless it's too goddamn funny to resist. Like, award-winning funny. This is definitely not. This campaign idea seems like literally: "let's just plaster our product on things." Vespa: The first print ad doesn't register for me. Maybe I'm an idiot, but it seems to imply that you'll need a gas station a lot sooner on a Vespa? I know that's not the intent, so there is a problem here. The other three ads are fine — but they're nothing more than that. And the "Do you vespa" tagline is quite generic and doesn't really relate to your ads. All in all, I'm not seeing a cohesive campaign here. Lastly, and this is more of a personal thing, I fucking hate anything with zombies. Can we just stop with zombies, please? Also, the girl jumping on the back and riding off into the sunset is awwwful clichéd. Lakers: Do not put work for a pro sports team in you book. Don't put Nike in your book. You should probably avoid sports altogether. Why? Because there are a ton of absolutely spectacular ads out there for sports team and apparel. You cannot compete in that arena yet, so don't. But if you do, don't propose that an NBA team steal the tagline for the WNBA. That won't play very well. Go Girl: I'm going to suggest you avoid products made specifically for women too. Do you really think any of these ads are really going to appeal to your target? Do you think it's a good idea to put your logo over a picture of a disgusting toilet? I understand what you were thinking, but please consider that ad again. Does the viewer walk away with a positive brand sentiment? Wordless: Drunk one: Of course not. And if I'm reviewing your portfolio, I'd be really concerned that you don't understand the advertising profession. We have to make ads that connect with people, but also that make sense for a brand. There is no way Advil, or anyone else, is running an ad with a guy sitting by the toilet with a big bottle of booze. Come on. All State: Very "so what." Dawn: Well, yeah. It cleans dishes. So what? Beats: This is the best thing in your portfolio. It's actually communicating something and it would probably get a little smile out of a lot of people. Honestly, I'd kill everything else. That's super harsh, and I'm sorry for that. But the truth is, you need to really think about things from both the viewers perspective (see you go girl ad) AND from the brand's perspective (see advil). And you need to show how an idea is fully fleshed out through a campaign. Don't worry, advertising is hard. Roll up your sleeves and go back to the drawing board.

  • Delia Labadie

    See the problem is... Cortisol isn't a stress hormone in the way you think it is, cortisol is made when your body undergoes stress; so if for example you run a marathon you'll have high cortisol levels, it's not really related to your mental state. It's hard for people to grasp this given the words the same, but if your body is ill your immune system produces cortisol; it's not really related to your mental state. As I said before cortisol raises blood sugar which in turn causes your body physical stress and raises blood sugar levels which causes a cycle of events very common to people who can't control their blood sugar levels. You're under the impression if you sit down and feel stressed your body will secrete cortisol; what actually changes is how and when the cortisol is released, there isn't more of it. I think you've kind of misunderstood a lot of this, but ultimately your physical health is almost always at fault, peoples physical health effects their mental health and not the other way round - that's how anti psychotics work... So say for example you suffer from mania, mania is a symptom of someone with unstable mood (specifically high levels of serotonin) they'd be given a mood stabiliser, this would physically change the biology of their brain to release less serotonin and they'd be cured. The symptom of mania doesn't cause increased serotonin, it's the other way round... It's the same for you; your mental state didn't cause diabetes, the cortisol didn't cause diabetes.. You get my drift; you got diabetes which is incredibly unfortunate, but it's not in the least bit related to your mental state and your mental state will not cure you of diabetes either... There's a book about this whole philosophy (called [smile or die](https://www.amazon.com/Smile-Die-Positive-Thinking-America/dp/1847081355)); whilst there's no problems with positivity or feeling as if having a certain frame of mind or mental state helps, ultimately the only thing that will help you is medicine and the cause is not negative thinking or a mental health problem and claiming anything else is naive. I'm sorry to break this to you, but ultimately what difference would it make? I've always been cynical of this way of thinking and out of both of us it sounds like I'm better off... End of discussion, sorry; I just think this is a bit advanced for you and you're asking me to put a lot of effort into my argument but not accepting any of it, just kind of coming up with a different argument each time. All your health problems in all likelihood have multiple sources, each as complex as the last. None of them are caused by mental health issues. Think of it this way, does everyone with depression, anxiety or PTSD have type 2 diabetes, do they all suffer from heart attacks, do they all have cancer, no.

  • Reyes Langworth

    Boi. So my friend, let's call him S. He had recently gotten a girlfriend named L. Now I knew who this person was but I didn't really know them. One day, about two weeks into their relationship, S and I went to hang out at the restaurant I was working at. We ate and were playing Magic when suddenly S's phone rang. He answered and from what I could make out from just hearing his conversation he was getting yelled at by L because she didn't tell her where she was or that she was with me. Small red flag but not extremely bad I suppose. But ohhh boy. S responds with, and I quote, "But you have a tracker on me. You already know where I am I don't need to tell you." Wtf.jpg All the red flags showed up all at once but I didn't say anything until he finished the conversation. Once he hung up I look him dead in the eye and say, "SHE HAS A TRACKER ON YOU?!" and he says, "Yeah, it's not bad dude I have one on her too." (This tracker is the find my iPhone functionality) Here I am thinking how bad can this girl's trust be to where within the first two weeks she wants to out a tracker on the guy. I try and convince him that he should probably rethink about this relationship before it gets bad. He politely refuses and we carry on our merry way. Throughout the next week I talk to him multiple times trying to convince him because all the warning signs were blaring off and I was worried about him but nothing worked. What happened ZeldaTechie? Why are you commenting like you're writing a book? BECAUSE I CAN! Anyways here's what happened. In short, he was mentally and emotionally abused because he ended up getting that girl pregnant. And this bitch was rich so she could make rash decisions on a dime and not have to worry about it. Multiple times he was threatened to be sued for stupid and I mean STUPID things like "Embarrasment". It was apparently's S's fault she got pregnant and was therefore suing him to pay for all child support. She also wanted a restraining order from him and his friends including me because she didn't want us to be a bad influence on the kid when he was born. SHE WENT SO BAD AS TO MAKE S LIE TO ME AND SAY HE WAS ABORTED SO THAT EVERYBODY THOUGHT THE KID WAS DEAD. I ended up finding on my own because I didn't believe him that the kid was not aborted. And I begged S to tell his parents, sure it would've cause some conflict but damn this bitch was destroying him, the guy hardly talked to us let alone put on a smile on his face. He never told them until just recently, about two weeks ago. After the kid has been born a few months already. 2 months I think. W is his name. To this day she is still tormenting him, she wants him back apparently even though she told her whole family that she is engaged to this ass wipe Z who thinks he is such a fucking badass because he is a software engineer and has money up the ass. Anyways. I'm ranting now. I haven't told S but honestly I told him so. I don't have the courage to tell him because he is already broken enough. Hopefully in the near future things get better for him. TL;DR: Rich psycho bitch gets kid from my friend. Friend gets tormented for over a year and still is both mentally and emotionally.

  • Pietro Kohler

    Some more resources for you: The books [*The Transgender Child*](https://smile.amazon.com/Transgender-Child-Handbook-Families-Professionals/dp/1573443182) and [*The Transgender Teen*](https://smile.amazon.com/Transgender-Teen-Professionals-Supporting-Non-Binary/dp/1627781749) by Stephanie Brill are the two halves of your new bible, seriously. There's also a new book out for Trans teens and their families, called [*Where's MY Book?* by Linda Gromko, MD](http://smile.amazon.com/Wheres-Transgender-Non-Conforming-Parents-Everyone/dp/0982514379). I haven't read it yet, but it looks well worth a look. Check out http://t-vox.org/ and http://camparanutiq.org/ . Your kid would love Camp Aranuti'q. Watch [this great video](http://youtube.com/watch?v=IxzKlPVceWg) too. It's about Trans kids and it's really good. (Ignore the line from one mom about how blockers are "brand new". They aren't. They've been used for decades. The books I mentioned above explain a lot more about all that.) Run, don't walk, to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tyfa_talk/ and join it. It's a wonderful parents-only group specifically for parents of Trans and gender-questioning kids who are 18 and under. There's a lot more to it than "you should support your kid". There's lots for you there, even though you're already supportive. On Facebook, you can join these great groups for parents of Trans and gender-expansive kids: [here](https://facebook.com/groups/108151199217727) and [here](https://facebook.com/groups/1439892809604202/). And here on Reddit, you can check out /r/cisparenttranskid. [Trans Youth Family Allies](http://imatyfa.org/), [Gender Spectrum](http://genderspectrum.org/) (and their fantastic [conference](http://genderspectrum.org/outreach/family-conference)), and the [Trans Health conference](http://trans-health.org/), among other resources, will help your whole family a lot. To find a therapist who actually gets Trans issues (most don't, and are unhelpful at best and actively harmful at worst), see http://t-vox.org/medical and http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/ . For the second link, enter your location and then select Transgender from the Issues list on the left. (Christine Becker in Tewksbury works with a lot of kids and teens, and is fantastic.)

  • Lilyan Stracke

    Thank you for your kind words. I have seen a therapist on and off for about a year now. Today was actually my first session in a few months and I will be going regularly again. I have audio-booked about half of the book she has been reading about ways to recognize the abuse, abusive patterns, lies, and ways abusers try to manipulate out of being corrected. After the first half I almost broke down again for feeling like such a monster. Then I started Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. I am not going to lie I cried, yelled, agreed, and laughed with this one. It made sense in ways I can't put to words, not only about myself but about her and her past and how we go into responding to each other. It has helped me outline what was normal and withing ranges of normal for fights and what of my words in the past have been abusive. I am feeling a lot better now as I know that I haven't been abusive the entire time and I have even learned why we reacted the way we did. I have gotten the chance to learn to reorient myself in those times and to remember things to help me steer conversations in a more loving manner. I am excited to make that happen in the future as I feel like I just gained a new power tool to fix most of what was broken with my communication before. She lives next door so staying away takes major effort. We have been chatting some and I even got to see her the other day for a few moments. Just seeing her smile again sent me to the moon. I see a flicker of caring and hope still in her eyes so I think there might still be love. I have changed how I text her entirely and am watching my words to make sure they are caring and respectful. I have started writing her love notes for her to read later after all of this if we end up back together. I think it will be a good way for her to help me deal with my frustrations, pain, hurt, damage, untrusting behavior, and all around negative side. It will give her an insight I might have never actually put to words for her before. I hope by doing that it also helps me get the feelings out so I am no longer holding onto them. Yes, I have been holding onto a life time of pain and in a moment of me trusting her a few months ago I smoked for the first time in 15 years. It tore down all of my walls and literally reintroduced me into having emotions again. The pain was unbearable. I feared for my life during the worst parts. But at the other end I came out knowing how to emotionally cry again. Knowing that I have emotions even if I hadn't yet learned how to express them at all let alone properly. Though with this new book and information inside of me I am rebuilding hope that I can become a better version of me. A happier version. And a more forgiving. To others, as I never learned to do that. And to myself most of all as I have damaged myself far more than others could have thanks to the hurts they caused me. You said it, one day at a time

  • Terrance Sanford

    Read the title as "what is your favorite porn" But anyway my favorite poem is touchscreen by Marshall Davis jones and it's goes like this " Introducing the new Apple iPerson complete with multitouch and volume control doesn't it feel good to touch? doesn't it feel good to touch? doesn't it feel good to touch? my world is so digital that I have forgotten what that feels like it used to be hard to connect when friends formed cliques but it's even more difficult to connect now that clicks form friends But who am I to judge? I face Facebook more than books face me hoping to book face-to-faces I update my status 420 spaces to prove that I am still breathing failure to do this daily means my whole web wide world will forget that I exist but with 3,000 friends online only five I can count in real life why wouldn't I spend more time in a world where there are more people that 'like' me Wouldn't you? Here, it doesn't matter if I'm an amateur person as long as I have a 'pro' file my smile is 50% genuine and 50% genuine HD You would need blu-rays to see the white on my teeth but I'm not that focused ten tabs open hopin' my problems can be resolved with a 1600 by 1700 resolution this is a problem with this evolution doubled over we used to sit in tree tops till we swung down and stood upright then someone slipped a disc now we are doubled over at desktops from the Garden of Eden to the branches of Macintosh apple picking has always come at a great cost iPod iMac iPhone iChat I can do all of these things without making eye contact We used to sprint to pick and store blackberries Now we run to the Sprint Store to pick Blackberries it's scary I can't hear the sound of mother nature speaking over all this tweeting and along with it is our ability to feel as it's fleeting you would think these headphone jacks inject in the flesh the way we connect to disconnect power on but we are powerless they got us love drugged Like e-pills so we E*TRADE email e-motion like e-commerce because now money can buy love for $9.95 a month click to proceed the checkout click to x out where our hearts once where click I've uploaded this hug I hope she gets it click I'm making love to my wife I hope she's logged in click I'm holding my daughter over a Skype conference call while she's crying in the crib in the next room click so when my phone goes off in my hip iTouch and iTouch and iTouch because in a world where there are voices that are only read and laughter is never heard or I'm so desperate to feel that I hope the Technologic can reverse the universe so the screen can touch me back and maybe it will When our technology is advanced enough... to make us human again"

  • Margarita Huel

    > What was the last song you listened to that makes you want to dance? Several things in the past 48 hours. The Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson, Damn The Sky by Beastwars, Black Math by The White Stripes and Bidibodi Bidibu by Bubbles > What is something you have given a lot of thought to lately? My career prospects. Both in the short term and the long term. > If you could change one law in your country, which would you change? It's a bit of a bandwagon but I'd legalise Marijuana. > If you could have anything appear in your pocket right now, what would it be? Two paid return plane tickets, one for anywhere in USA. The other for Seskatchewan, Canada. > What are your favourite smells? Peppermint. Pineapple. Oranges. Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum. Homemade meat and potato pie. > Do you curse a lot? Like a soldier/sailor/peasant. > Last song/movie/book you listened to/watched/read that make you cry? Song: Ótta by Solstafir, Movie: Animatrix - The Second Renaissance Part 2, Book: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King > If you could sit 3 people down from history and have dinner with them, who would it be and why? Two of my great-grandfathers and one of my grandmothers. To have dinner with my grandmother is a bit of a selfish reason. I never got the recipe of her Christmas loaf so I'd like to get that from her. As well as spend another evening in her company. As for my two great-grandfathers. I never knew them and I have been told they are great men. I very much would love the opportunity to get to know them. Even if it is over just one meal. > What is a topic that gets you fired up, no matter what time of day/night? Egalitarianism. > What was the last thing that you put on and thought, "damn, I look sexy AF?" I have a Jacobean style shirt. Don't have any leather laces for it so it's pretty much just open chest. It is also blue (favourite colour). I wore it for a clandestine meet up and I thought I looked sexy AF. So did the person I met up with. > Are you young at heart, or an old soul? I am a very old soul. > Describe your perfect date to me-right-now at this moment. My favourite date is the 21st of June. The longest of days when the sun does not set close to 11 pm. With the sky turning shades of pink over the pastel blue of the evening. The sun setting on the horizon and the waves of the lake reflecting the last of the light. A clink of wine glasses betwixt two people sat on a blanket. An empty hamper, nought but crumbs left. A whispered word and a smile.

  • Antonette Kuhic

    I'll throw in a couple little wholesome twists to this prompt! 1. Took my baby niece shopping with me one day when she was maybe a little over 1 yrs. She's a sweet kid, but not one of those that's overly outgoing. Anyways, we end up shopping next to your stereotypical biker-gang looking guy in his 40s or 50s. He's just minding his own business, but my niece kept eyeballing him and smiling. After a few moments of this he gave in and kind of showed a sideways grin. When I gave him a friendly smile back, he walked over to us. He started doing sweet baby talk to my niece and proceeded to show me pictures of his grandkids. Sweetest guy ever. My heart melted. I know not to judge a book by it's cover from experience, but I absolutely love that little ones don't even have the concept of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. - they just see people! 2. Friend and I had just picked up a box of pizza and stopped to get gas. We live in a town where there's a decent amount of homeless people so it's not at all uncommon to see or interact with one. We've both had good an bad experiences with them, so neither of us are opposed to helping, but we also don't go out of our way to do it. One of the homeless guys was pretty much just doing his one thing, but gave us a kind smile as we walked past him. Clearly homeless, but wasn't pushing us for anything. As we were in the car about to leave my friend says "that one homeless guy stood out to me for some reason, do you mind if we give him a slice of pizza?" I told her I thought that was a wonderful idea, but was honestly a little apprehensive it might open an uncomfortable door. We pulled up next to him and offered a slice, he was so happy and asked if he could have 2, which we let him. At first I couldn't decide if I felt like "Really? Beggars can't be choosers, dude" or kinda bittersweet that 2 slices was a luxury. Then he walked over to his homeless friend and gave him the other slice. They both gave us the biggest, genuine grins and waves as we drove away. My heart exploded. She admitted she was a bit skeptical of offering at first, but she said she just had this feeling that she'd regret if she didn't offer him one. It seems like we're born with pretty good instincts about people, both good and bad. These stories just seem to support we should trust our guts, whether it's that your "perfect neighbor" is actually a creep, or that the "scary" tattooed thug is actually one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. TLDR - 1. Baby niece keeps smiling at "scary biker dude" who ends up being a sweet grandpa 2. Friend gets out of ordinary feeling to offer food to homeless guy, who ends up sharing with his friend

  • Jaylon Reinger

    OP, I think this a very interesting topic. I can't provide much help but here is what I found that might interest you. * If your university offers interlibrary loan then you should see if they can get their hands on [this](http://www.worldcat.org/title/aviation-insurance-the-law-and-practice-of-aviation-insurance-including-hovercraft-and-spacecraft-insurance/oclc/44580661&referer=brief_results) book by R.D. Margo. [Link](http://www.worldcat.org/title/margo-on-aviation-insurance-the-law-and-practice-of-aviation-insurance-including-space-and-hovercraft-insurance/oclc/891928282&referer=brief_results) to the 4th edition. * Solomon discusses, albeit briefly, space insurance in his [book](https://smile.amazon.com/Privatization-Space-Exploration-Business-Technology/dp/1412847567?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1349438434&ref_=la_B001ITVH6I_1_4&sa-no-redirect=1&sr=1-4) as well but bear in mind it isn't the focus at all. If you can get that one through the library it might be worth a read. * [Sec. 305](https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/3346) should be of interest. * A good place to do some searches are [here] (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp) and [here](https://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/hqlibrary/find/documents.htm). This is an old [doc](https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19860003762.pdf) but it does go over what loss exposures they considered.

  • Pierre Kunze

    I had just broken up with my boyfriend and decided to clear my mind by taking a weekend away by myself in London. I had a great time wandering about the city, acting like a big girl who travels by herself all the time. I felt really cool, happy and confident. I was staying in a hostel and had just come in from seeing a concert (the last night of the Proms) in Hyde Park and was wearing a little tea dress, a plastic tiara and had a mini union jack sticking out of my handbag. I was sitting, cross legged on the sofa, just enjoying a book as my phone charged, before I headed to bed when in walks a tall handsome stranger. He notices me noticing him. I smile and he comes over and sits in the seat opposite. I am flustered and feel myself blush. This man is maybe 8 years older than me (I'm 22) , gorgeous and statuesque. I'm petite and quirky. He introduces himself in Spanish.. I try to follow what he is saying before I give up and admit that I don't speak Spanish. Turns out, neither does he. (What a twist! M. Night Shamalan style).That hostel was popular with Spanish kids though. He is Swedish but speaks English very well. He tells me his name is Sylvester and we start to talking. I'm a small town Irish girl and he is a globe traversing business man. We have a lot to share with each other. For some reason we really clicked and stayed up chatting to each other all night, me telling him all about my recent breakup, him telling me about his abusive father. It gets to about 5am and we still haven't gotten to bed, we decide to take a walk around the neighbourhood. This turns into us getting breakfast at a cute little café. We plan out a day together (after a quick pitstop at the hostel to like wash and change and stuff) seeing the sites, dinner and a show. We have the perfect day together. It was like something from a romance movie, 2 perfect strangers. Had a candlelit dinner on the terrace of some gorgeous building on a summers night. Laughing all the way back to the hostel as he gave me a piggy back (my feet were sore). It was amazing. (That's the point I like to end that story)

  • Eula Jacobs

    BANG!! BANG! I wake up alarmed and in a slight panic but I'm almost instantly put at ease by the sight of the garbage truck droping the bins through the gap in the blinds. Still dark, I roll over and look at the alarmclock 4:45am Einstein is still asleep in his basket beside of the bed I get out of bed slightly annoyed that a lose ten minutes of sleep before my alarm is ment to go off. I say good morning to Einstein and put some food in his bowl he mows at me from the hall and starts munching away. I take the last pill in the packet of my medication and leave for work. I get home from work in good mood witch is abnormal as normaly I'm depressed as my I work alone and don't have in friends in this city but today I'm in a good mood. I have a book I found it on the train on my way to work, I was excited all day it was asham I didn't have anyone to tell. I go get a tea, walking past the emptying meds I sit down and Einstein comes and sleeps at my feet. I sleep well, get up at my normal time. I walk past the empty meds and think shit, it will be okay I will get them on my way home. I get home later then normal as I missed my stop due to reading my new book. Walking in the door Einstein runs up to me like always, I still right down and start reading. Then out of now where Einstein looks up at me and says you seen alot happyer what have you been reading, then I remembere the meds, but think Einstein is right I have been alot happier he tells me his missed talking to me and thanks me for changing his food to the Premium brand. He then ask for me to read to him so that's what I do, I read to him knowing down that he can't understand but slowing lossing that knowledge and I feel happy as I know have a friend and I smile at Einstein. This is the Frist time I have written anything as far as a story gos, I also have dyslexia so I'm trying this to maybe help.

  • Anthony Kuhic

    He is right, and they can not use the excuse that they are taking jobs that no one wants. They are taking solid middle class jobs. Chase has a huge complex in my previous city and nearly all the apartments within walking distance are rented by indian families who work there. Some drive of course but if you can get a nice apartment adjacent to the parking lot of your work place you can save a ton of money. The second thing I noticed was they you would see them walking around but never in any of the restaurants, even the lower priced casual ones. When I was in university we had a number of indians as professors. Across the board they were always substantially worse at teaching. I am not kidding here, during the interview one of them required a translator and they felt it was acceptable to hire this person to teach a course. All he could do copy from a notebook onto a whiteboard. If anyone would ask a question he would just smile, shake his head, and randomly point to something on the board. Everyone knew the indian guy's classes would be a joke going in, and it never failed. Want to talk about lazy, they use the identical exams year after year on open book/notes exams. They never had an insights into what we are doing. They never had any real world experience. I am sure there are some good ones, but in my experience they were not. The "domestic" guys weer far better professors. A friend got a job doing research after we graduated and found that most of the good ones left shortly after. They were replaced by all indian guys. They really want us to believe they could not find a local person to be a professor at a mid sized university?

  • Bonita Hermiston

    “Well, it would seem you’re a lucky man, Lord Seaworth - our waters are notoriously rough, as I’m sure you well know. A calm passage is something of a miracle.” *Lucky indeed; two cousins and an aunt dead, with none left to challenge his claim. Let’s hope his luck holds - and that he doesn’t do anything stupid.* Bowen’s thoughts strayed to the time of the Griffin’s Ascent, when his own hand had assisted in the removal of several disloyal Stormlords’ heads from their bodies; and he prayed Orys was not given cause for such action again. A small smile graced his lips at Daven’s gawking, but he was tactful enough not to say anything. He remembered the first time he had seen Storm’s End, and how it had awed him. The Seaworths *were* little more than commoners, after all. Leading the way up the stairs and through the large corridors of the drum tower, Bowen was silent save for the occasional greeting offered to a passing ward or hurrying servant, their names coming to him as easily as details from his sum’s book. A military man with a sharp mind for detail, he was a rare thing indeed; it didn’t take a genius to see why Orys had named him as his castellan. It didn’t take long to reach their destination, Bowen’s brisk pace devouring the winding stairwells and stretching halls in a matter of minutes. Rapping his knuckles against the thick wood of the door to Lord Connington’s solar, he offered Daven an encouraging smile. “He’s expecting you. I’ll see you shortly, Lord Seaworth.” And with that, he was gone; leaving Daven alone to face the Griffin that awaited him on the other side of the door.

  • Alice Champlin

    My lo (11w on thur) started the bottle swatting about 2 or 3 weeks ago. The worst was when I'd try to give him the bottle and he'd ninja the bottle fast into his mouth choking him, sigh lol He discovered his hands can go into his mouth last week and all I heard was him sucking (or trying) on them and his zombie noises from trying yo get both hands into his mouth lol The past couple of days he's been trying to get his thumb into his mouth. He had success yesterday afternoon! In one of his attempts he got a finger up his nose and was wiggling about trying to get his stuck hand into his mouth, man was it ever funny lol In the past few days he's been enjoying swatting at toys and much more hand coordinated at his toy swatting. I bought touch books and one is all fabric with a crinkle page. He LOVES that page! I've put the book between my legs while laying down so he can kick the crinkle page. He loves feeling and kicking the page lol For the past week he been smiling non-stop, been trying to laugh, and has been starting to babble, and coo a lot. Omg he's so damn cute and his daddy just melts as of this past sat, lo is finally looking at, smiling, trying to laugh, and swatting at him. Before he'd either not look at his daddy or would look scared. He'd smile at strangers but not his daddy. We figured out it was because he let's his face get scruffy then shave, then get s short beard, then shave. Now he's trying to keep the beard and lo is reacting a lot better to him as long as his ball cap is on backwards. Otherwise lo just stare at the hat lol Daddy is also getting much more confident around lo and he's been picking him up and holding him more. It's been a great couple of weeks :D

  • Victoria Medhurst

    Good, that book is 100x the book that "love languages" is. My LL SO actually read love languages, sat down, and basically said "Look, the book says that if you don't buy me stuff, I don't have to have sex with you, you HAVE to speak my love language!" and she had this devious little "haha I gotcha!" smile, and I took it to my therapist and said "So what's the deal with this book?!" and she takes one look and goes "Burn it for heat?" and we both laughed, and then I spent 3 months studying fallacies, re read it, and was blown away that I didn't notice it the first time. The book is basically a giant false equivalency fallacy, it takes silly things and equates them with really important things, like love and intimacy, and attempts to get both partners what they "want" instead of "need" and it's just shallow and self defeating. I could have spent a million dollars buying my SO nice things, since that was her "love language" but guess what? It's BULLSHIT! She would have still told me no all the time, and the result would be "reward" sex for buying her stuff and EXTRA NO SEX if I failed to buy her things. You're essentially turning your wife into a prostitute, if you want to, go for it, but I'd rather just have someone love me because they want to, not because I fulfilled their checklist of nonsense. I'm not putting down on you, by the way, these things happen, I fell for it too, so now you know : ) Now whenever I hear someone mention that book IRL I always want to stop and tell them "NO, RUN, AVOID!" but I can't spend all my days explaining to them how terrible the logic in that book is, I'd never sleep.

  • Carmelo Dietrich

    My mom always treated me as an object of entertainment, with no regard for my feelings. I would have to sit at the dinner table or at extended family gatherings and listen to my mother talk, with a smile on her face, about how unusual I was, how bad I was, and how she was better looking and more clever (but not more book smart) when she was my age. Everybody thinks she's an idiot. Sometimes, she would also call herself a bad mother and then turn to me, expecting some sort of response, but I think this was a humble brag about how she was the stricter and hence supposedly superior parent. Both my parents also assumed they understood me and basically put words into my mouth. According to them: * I hated onions, mustard, spicy foods, and sushi. (I started to like those things once I left home and tried them or got used to them.) * I was an easy pushover. * I worked hard but could only achieve so much because I wasn't aggressive or the smart type. (I didn't work very hard -- things just clicked and I started doing well in school. In post-college life, I'm quite lazy and self-sabotaging.) * I was proud of being Chinese and liked looking like a child raised in the 1950's Orient. (I'm at best neutral about ethnicity, and I sure as hell do not take pride in looking like an anachronism.) I was also used as a vehicle for their viewpoint. Unfortunately, that meant that, as a teen, I had to dress like an overweight grandmother at formal occasions to look "young" (meaning not sexy). They think this was a big success because I didn't get kidnapped or gain a lot of weight, which they thought was a sign of having sex.

  • Arne Pouros

    Haha no, no, no - that's not it. Like I said, I travel the world. I see customs people having bad days. I'm not expecting that they have to smile and tell me to have a nice day (though plenty do). I'm talking about something that is pretty much unique to the US Customs experience. It didn't start under Trump - it's been going on for a while now, I guess since 9/11. It's the customs agents strutting around like they're off-duty special forces. Getting in your face when they talk to you. Being disrespectful, abrupt. Just basically not being nice people to deal with. It's a shitty experience going through US customs. (from the article I linked - and this is an elderly lady, not a millenial who thinks the world revolves around her) >Fox said that she felt “immediate aggression” from the officer. “She was a young woman, in her twenties,” she told me. “Our failing as Australians is that we are friendly—and I think it can be a failing, for we expect friendliness—and I said ‘hello’ very pleasantly. She said, ‘You have checked ‘business’ on your form. What is your business?’ ” [...] >“My interview was conducted with him standing in front of me, with my back to the room, with his face barely a foot from mine. I apologized for not hearing my name and he said to me, with so much insolence I was rocked, ‘So good someone is paying attention.’ I replied in a steady voice, ‘I’m so sorry, I was buried in my book,’ and he said, ‘So what do you expect me to do, stand here while you finish it?’ ”

  • Rene Kerluke

    I agree with this; the overall use of gospel techniques, themes, and subject matters can be a big turn off for hardcore fans of Acid Rap, which was a completely opposite tape respectively. I myself am not religious anymore but grew up in the church and was constantly surrounded by gospel. I still love it to this day; the use of choir vocals can be so damn good at times imo. However the nostalgic and upbeat feeling it gives me now is probably not how most Acid Rap fans felt on their first listen through. Many (I myself included) were probably taken aback by how opposite this tape sounded to Acid Rap regarding subject matters and production. It took me many listens to start really enjoying the tape, however I still put it at the bottom of my rankings of Chance's projects. Like you said, there honestly isn't a bad song for me on Acid Rap. Of course this is subjective, but some songs on Coloring Book try really hard to hit their target but fall off at one point or another. For example, the two minute choir intro for How Great (which I have now edited to start after said intro) or the Kanye feature of All We Got (I have come to enjoy it but I do not think it was the best musical choice to try and make Kanye's vocals sound like an instrument lol). However it's still very easy to tell Chance put all of his emotion and care into Coloring Book, as he has done with every project, and that is what continually draws me back to Chance. The pure honesty and positivity of Chance that seeps trough the music and infects you with a giant smile.

  • Grace Bogan

    Good question! Rarely do people find nostalgia in the things they *hated* and just focus on what they loved. But I got some (granted, not as many as stuff I too - loved) - I used to have this impossible-to-justify phobia of *Jade plants* when I was a kid. I got over it eventually but seeing those plants now does make me smile and think of how ridiculous it was that I was so scared of them. - I still have several books from my past, including one that again - scared the hell out of me. One was about human anatomy. I had a ridiculous fear of those diagrams that show the human innards (organs, muscles, etc). Like with the jade plants I got over this too, but when I see that book I think of the fact I wasn't able to even sleep while that was in my room and again - how silly that must have seemed to everyone else (no wonder I got teased for this) It legitimately gave me nightmares as a kid but I refuse to get rid of it now. - Seeing kids playing sports in their respective primary schools. If I'm driving past a local school during certain times of the day I might see their grounds through the fence bars and all the kids on them doing some activity which I would have *hated* doing back in the day since I really disliked being made to do sports. But seeing them do it does bring back vivid memories anyway. I see myself as being that kid standing in the far end away from the activity, praying the ball doesn't come his way.

  • Abel Crona

    There's nothing wrong with you, those are perfectly normal things to feel That being said, you are in control. The thinking mind that feels trapped in the confines of the mind, that entity may feel powerless, but it isn't the real you. The real you is the one who perceives the thinking mind, it's the one who feels bodily sensations, it's the one who is actually in control in this moment right now. Your mind may say oh gee golly in the future once I start exercising and get a girlfriend and a good job, then I can finally be happy. Once my chakras are aligned everything will be okay. That's all bullshit. The reality is that right now, you can go exercise, you can leave the house and put yourself out there, you can smile. If you notice your mind making excuses or procrastinating, go do the thing. Take control in this moment. If you do want to start improve upon the energy flow in your body, close your eyes and feel it. Feel the energy in your hands, feel the space of awareness between the eyebrows, follow it down into your throat, feel your heart. The thinking mind will try to delay the process- "maybe if I read this book on energy then I can go feel my body. Once I do a little more research, ask a few more questions, then I'll be ready." Do it right here right now, close your eyes and go inward. Go into that space that you've been avoiding. Breathe into it and expand it. You're complete, embrace it.

  • Winnifred Shields

    The same happened to me during the first month of PoGo release. I heard the game's out, so I checked the apk and downloaded a copy. I opened the game and proceeded to catch Charmander. But then, there was nothing around, no Pokestops, no Sightings, no gyms. Some of my friends told me that they spoof to go to other locations to play the game first. I tried to spoof, but I found all those root stuff were too hard for me to handle, so I gave up. It was then I heard a rumour that PoGo will not be released in Hong Kong because too many spoofers were spoiling the game (this is of course proven untrue later on). Suddenly, I hate all the spoofers. I told them to stop playing and wait for the game to launch legitimately. I even told random people spoofing to just wait for the game. **July 24th 2016** Coincidentally, it was the annual book fair in Hong Kong, where you can buy a lot of expensive books for reasonable prices. But as I was entering the venue, I saw literally hundreds of players *spoofing* to play Pokemon Go. I was so mad. I exited the book fair and saw thousands of citizens playing Pokemon Go. I was totally exasperated. I collapsed in my bed, hating the world when my younger brother came in and told me: "Dude, Pokemon Go is out now." Suddenly, a wild smile totally replaced my infuriating expression. I re-downloaded the game and played it until the end of the day.

  • Philip Wintheiser

    Why don't you try thinking for yourself? Myself and many, many others are of the opinion that it's a deep, profound masterpiece. (which it is) 'WHEN AURI WOKE, she knew that she had seven days. Yes. She was quite sure of it. He would come for a visit on the seventh day' Just the very beginning of Slow Regard in contrast to the very last sentence of the book gives me goosebumps, warmes my heart and puts a smile on my face. It's an abstract work of poetic literary artistry. It's essentially a "character study", or could even be described as a "psychological evaluation". There is no real plot, it's literally following Auri around for 7 days as she wanderes around the Underthing preparing for Kvothe's next visit. There is no dialogue because Auri is the only character in the novel, it's all description and looking into Auri's inner mind, how she thinks and feels about things, and what she gets up to and how she spends her time living all alone down in the Underthing. I'm in love with Slow Regard, I think it's genius, it's completely unique and unlike anything you have, or will ever read, and if you love Auri's character and want to know and understand more about her, then read it. And it also just might deeply effect you with the profound beauty that is contained within its pages. :)

  • Kasey Gottlieb

    Why don't you try thinking for yourself? Myself and many, many others are of the opinion that it's a deep, profound masterpiece. (which it is) 'WHEN AURI WOKE, she knew that she had seven days. Yes. She was quite sure of it. He would come for a visit on the seventh day' Just the very beginning of Slow Regard in contrast to the very last sentence of the book gives me goosebumps, warmes my heart and puts a smile on my face. It's an abstract work of poetic literary artistry. It's essentially a "character study", or could even be described as a "psychological evaluation". There is no real plot, it's literally following Auri around for 7 days as she wanderes around the Underthing preparing for Kvothe's next visit. There is no dialogue because Auri is the only character in the novel, it's all description and looking into Auri's inner mind, how she thinks and feels about things, and what she gets up to and how she spends her time living all alone down in the Underthing. I'm in love with Slow Regard, I think it's genius, it's completely unique and unlike anything you have, or will ever read, and if you love Auri's character and want to know and understand more about her, then read it. And it also just might deeply effect you with the profound beauty that is contained within its pages. :)

  • Kaleb Hettinger

    Hmm, that is interesting, and I think I and many others don't view it that way at all. I don't worship cops and in fact don't even trust them a lot of the time when I encounter them on the street, but I also know that because of that distrust (from people who don't just avoid them and do the right thing, but from people who actively hate them and sometimes do the wrong thing) the good cops put up with a lot more than they should. Statistically, there are more good cops than bad ones (they're really just human beings doing their jobs). So...it's a tricky issue. Anyway, whenever I see a cop doing something nice or right, I smile at him/her (while also avoiding him/her generally lol) because I know that mostly they aren't deserving of this bad reputation. This cop answered the question on Reddit and I have no reason to assume he's bad. So I saw no harm in someone thanking him for helping a community. I'm just going to go on assuming he's one of the ones who doesn't shoot at black people out of racism. Thank you for answering and I genuinely appreciate what you're saying. They aren't heroes in the comic book sense, they're heroes in the everyday-hero sense.

  • Cindy Borer

    Actually the hair to me looks like how it's described in the book. It's supposed to be shoulder length, lank and oily/greasy. And I know how oily hair looks, if I don't wash my hair for more than 2 days it'll look pretty much like that except mine is brown not black. I wouldn't call that a smile, it looks more like the his mouth is turning down. It's almost like someone who has been told to smile for this portrait and can't quite do it; the expression comes across as someone who doesn't smile often. It may even be leaning towards a smirk. The hands are rather good, I think in the books Snape's fingers are often described as long. I also think the portrait does look like a rather thin person, if he took that black cloak off I have no doubt we'd see someone thin, the clothing looks bulky. There looks like 3/4 layers of clothing on. We have the black cape/cloak, I see a white shirt, a green something around his neck (not sure if that's a tie of some kind???) then a brown looking shirt. The only thing that is off from the books in my opinion is the clothing. The clothing looks to be more inspired by what we see in the movie whereas the only time Snape's clothing is described as black robes or I seem to remember there was one instance of green robes? So other than the clothing it seems like a good interpritation of Snape.

  • Maurice Harber

    It's scary how much I can relate to your current situation. Know you're not alone. I've been so hurt lately, and nothing feels right anymore. But things do get better. You gotta get up and do it for yourself. Rectify the things you don't like about your lifestyle. Get rid of anyone that brings negative vibes. Start new hobbies, meditate, work out, join a book club. Anything to achieve a piece of mind. There's no one out there that'll love you like you do. Sometimes I do feel like I just wasn't meant for love - from anyone. I've just never received any. But that never stops me from giving, and it shouldn't stop you either. You never know what someone else's story is, I try my best to make even strangers smile. Because maybe their story's worse than yours. I've been broken way too many times, always feeling like I'm not good enough. It's an entirely different genre of hurt. It's sickening when the people you have immense love for don't reciprocate it. But there's no rule out there that says they have to. Always remember that. Be a good person, but refrain from attachment. I hope one day I can take my own advice lol. Wish you all the best.

  • Sammie Murphy

    My opinion on these sort of public meetings: I have seen a decent number of athletes and minor celebrities at airports over the years. I've never gone out of my way to fanboy over someone but if I am walking near someone who I actually like, I'll occasionally just nod or smile and say something like "good luck tonight" or "great game last night." Without exception, everyone has either done something like smile, thumbs up, or politely nodded back without saying anything or smile and say something like "thanks, I appreciate that." On a couple of occasions, I've actually had a brief conversation with them and gotten a handshake. I'm not a selfie guy or autograph hunter so it probably helps that I'm not hounding them for anything. If they are in the middle of a conversation with someone or they are sitting reading a book or something, I leave them alone. If they look tired or pissed off, I leave them alone. If they look busy or in a hurry, I leave them alone. Just be courteous and you are likely to have a way better experience. You are the one intruding on their time, so give them the choice about how much to engage or not.

  • Fredrick Altenwerth

    "Tonglen" is a Tibetan technique for developing compassion towards ourself and our own suffering, as well as compassion towards the suffering of others. I often use Tonglen to work with my anxiety or uncomfortable situations in general. You can read two good intro articles [here](http://www.lionsroar.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/SS-126-JULY-14_52-53-Tonglen.pdf) and [here](https://www.lionsroar.com/tonglen-bad-in-good-out-september-2010/). If you find this interesting and helpful, you could check out Pema Chodron's book [Start Where you are](https://smile.amazon.com/Start-Where-You-Are-Compassionate/dp/1570628394/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488840459&sr=1-1&keywords=pema+chodron+start+where+you+are) to help deepen your practice of tonglen and dealing with difficult emotions.

  • Darion Steuber

    "I'm a knight now." He said with a smile, remembering that he had seen Jon in the melee. Elira had always enjoyed his books, even writing back about the ones she had read. Ed tried his best to but was similar like Clarice in that he often got distracted or lost interest. It was strange, meeting Jon after all these years. From the stories he'd heard, it felt that he had known him for years, yet today was the first day they had met. Aegon shook his hand, "I read a lot as a boy, until I turned eleven I had never held a sword. Edd said I'd marry a book before even thinking of girls." He turned to Aemma in the crowd, "Guess he was wrong. I've worked hard, very hard to do my family well. Ser Artys Trant was my mentor, and still is in a way. When I wasn't training with a sword, I was reading, many things. I've probably put Gallowsgrey in debt from a number of books I've sent and received." he laughed. "I spent a lot of time at Gallowsgrey but now I am competing until I marry Aemma. I'm going to have my own squire soon, it all feels so strange." He noticed how relaxed he felt speaking with the man he had just met for the first time. "And of course, how are you?"

  • Herman Crona

    Does coeliacs mean no flour? In that case, ww is probably going to work really well as you have lots of fruit and veg (no point) instead of pastas and bread (high point). An average day for me would be a mushroom & potato frittata for breakfast, a noodle jar made from the ww book we're given in the first session (smile?) with courgette, carrot, spinach, miso paste & noodles for lunch (made with rice noodles, so no wheat) and a large evening meal like lasagne made with butternut squash sheets instead of pasta sheets and plenty of salad or veg. I also snack on bananas and satsumas by the packet full! It's all Do-able but the first couple of weeks is all about scoping things out and finding new ways to do things, eat, deal with your problems etc. I would recommend weighing and measuring right from the start (food and body). I wish I'd taken my measurements at the start because I'd love to see how far I've come (just over 2 1/2 stone down since September) and as for food, it would appear my small was other people's huge! Good luck!

  • Candida Corkery

    Don't worry about making shitty jokes or being awkward, if everyone who has those two qualities could never get laid, at least half the population would be virgins by age 40, and that's from personal experience. Try working on your self-esteem little by little. Try dressing a bit nicer, work on hygiene, read a book so you can talk to people and seem smart, hit the gym or just smile more in general. You're not hopeless, far from it. At 19 you have your whole life ahead of you, so don't put yourself down before you've even started. Even though in your high school years it may have seemed like a lot of people hated you, teenagers can be jerks and the real world is not that way. You are gonna find people exactly like you and more who will appreciate for who you are, even if it takes time for that to happen. So... don't give up. Try working on yourself little by little, and if you fall sometimes then so be it. But always get back up. Have the mindset that if you are a 40 year old virgin, then you bet your ass that you won't be one at 41.

  • Demetrius Cormier

    I read a Theon chapter of Winds Of Winter and it only reminded me how ridiculous the previous books were. GRRM is a belated teenager getting off writing voyeuristic junk for kids who think they are becoming adults by watching it. I have no wish to spend more time with him. I liked the show for its interactions of clear cut, archetypal characters in complex, realistic situations but the books make them caricatures and Euron is just a big big bad. Yes, Tyrion is supposed to become darker and I also thought Arya would go that route, but the show will just make blessed fan favourites of them now. Book-Daenerys is clearly struggling but the show made her Superdany. Jon was changed by his death. He was made even dumber. The show has tailored its top characters to appeal to different audience segments. It is all a clever marketing strategy, no more. I cannot blame them, I would likely do the same and smile at my bank account, but I no longer enjoy the mass product.

  • Jay Bosco

    I would suggest that you read one of the updates to the original (1970) book, ["Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life", by Gail Sheehy.](https://smile.amazon.com/Passages-Predictable-Crises-Adult-Life/dp/0525176136/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488728552&sr=1-7&keywords=passages+gail+sheehy) I read it in my early 20s and it explained a lot about my parents (in their 40s) and it was scary accurate when in came to me and where I was at that time. I re-read it 10 years later and have to admit it was still accurate. This read will not directly answer you question but it will help you to understand what they are going through. Personally, my present number one fear (I'm 65 and newly retired) ... my finances, including health care. My number one fascination is the new possibilities that I now have (volunteering, hobbies, reading for fun, etc.)

  • Raleigh Green

    I'm an introverted hair stylist, specializing in color. I usually let people direct the conversation, which usually means they talk about themselves while I smile and occasionally throw in "Oh, cool!" or something along those lines. My best advice is to either be upfront and honest, saying you want to relax and be quiet. You could also bring a book with you and state something like, "No offense, but I really don't like to talk much, and I'd rather just read." I've had plenty of people do both of these, and I'd only talk when it's work related (saying how much time they have left with their color, asking if they're doing okay, asking how they like their cut, etc.). I never get offended! Getting your hair done is a different experience for everyone. I'm here to serve them and make them comfortable. People ask me things like this all the time. Just be honest with your stylist! They talk all day and probably need a break from it anyway.

  • Minerva Walter

    Jonquil definitely didn't laugh at the sight of a lordly-looking young man warring with the stuck pages of a book, but it was a near thing. As it was, her lips did curl up into a hesitantly bemused smile. The Red Keep's gardens were beautiful, and often when Jonquil wasn't out exploring the city and weaving her web of spies and informants ever thicker, she found herself here, admiring the lush greenery and the flowers bursting with color. It was still slightly unimpressive against the natural beauty of Tarth, in her opinion, but at least it could compare. She sidled forward out of her previous spot, resting against the trunk of a tree and obscured by its shadows, into the sunlight, settling herself onto the bench beside the young man. He looked quite familiar, she thought. Most like a Stormlands lord, then, like herself. "Having difficulties, my lord?" she asked with a smile.

  • Sigmund Kemmer

    This was a great coloring book to use when you are learning and practicing anatomy. I may not need to be able to name the muscles, but it is helpful to understand how the body fits together. I used this during my animal anatomy class as supplementation and it really helped. https://smile.amazon.com/Veterinary-Anatomy-Coloring-Book-2e/dp/145577684X/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1488689066&sr=8-10&keywords=anatomy+coloring This book was one of our textbooks for the anatomy lab, I treated it like a coloring book too. Since it is all black and white, it was more helpful to see everything in color. https://smile.amazon.com/Pictorial-Anatomy-Cat-Gilbert/dp/029595454X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488689245&sr=8-1&keywords=anatomy+of+the+cat Hope that this helps!

  • Hunter Streich

    The book makes it clear he learned it under Elodin: > full extent of my naming prowess: Iron. And that is a fluke by all accounts. Master Namer declared me an utter waste of his time.” > “That sounds familiar,” Kvothe murmured. > Chronicler shrugged. “In my case I took him at his word.” > “Can you remember the excuse he gave you?” > “He had many specific criticisms: I knew too many words. I’d never been hungry. I was too soft. . . .” Chronicler’s hands were busy cleaning the nib of his pen. “I felt he made his overall position clear when he said, ‘Who would have thought a papery little scriv like you could have any iron in him at all?’” > Kvothe’s mouth quirked into a sympathetic smile. “Did he really?” http://www.grey2u.com/wise-mans-fear-kingkiller-chronicle-2-patrick-rothfuss?page=0,438

  • Berneice Robel

    The inability to draw/illustrate is really no different than the inability to design. You deal with it by practicing. Some people take to it more easily than others, but it is absolutely a learnable skill and the barrier to entry is much lower than you probably think. There are several great books on the subject. [Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain](http://amazon.com/dp/1585429201) is a classic and I found [this book on landscapes and seascapes](https://smile.amazon.com/Drawing-Scenery-Landscapes-Jack-Hamm/dp/0399508066) to be extremely useful. Both are dirt cheap and very easy to follow. There are also tons of video courses and your local community college probably offers some decent drawing classes as well.

  • Alia Senger

    If you haven't, you should watch the anime "Sunday Without God". Follows a similar pretense - God disappears, humans stop dying and quickly begin to realize the terror of their immortality. The book "The Prophecy of the Stones" (which is, looking back, really not the most well written story) contains a section in which *Spoiler Alert* the main characters have to convince Death to get back to work. Turns out Death has "gone on strike" because no one is ever happy to see her so she hates her job. The characters convince her to start working again by promising to smile and embrace her when she finally comes to end their lives. Just some things you reminded me of. I liked your story! Keep writing, friend! If not this tale, then certainly something else.

  • Ramiro Carroll

    This was awesome. Hachiman's been thinking about Yukino all summer long, even in the shower (probably fapped about her). When they met at the bookstore she ignored him but when they got ready for camp she gave him a pleasant smile. She's very happy to see him. I was so impressed with Hachiman's summer book report that I even downloaded and read Kokoro which was a very good read IMO, seriously, it's because of this series that I've been trying to read some Japanese works by Akutagawa and Dazai which were enjoyable especially the short stories. Lastly, when they parted ways, Yukino said "Goodbye" not "See you later" in which the cookie started crumbling.

  • Julie Anderson

    "other obligations... Sure but they can wait. This is way more interesting and besides, most of these designs in working on need some more time to simmer or time to find more parts but." *her hands gestured towards the rapier and smiled a small but devious smile.* "this is far more interesting." *now she smiled still the devious smile but her eyes seemed to have a fire like that of a mad man.* "you have no idea what it could be right now." *her hand still holding the book and reading the designs as she touched the rapier when she stopped. Her eyes glowing the purple again for a moment. The weapon glowing the same before beginning to transform and mold itself slightly to change to the designs.*

  • Deron Runte

    The way OP is phrased makes it sound like "Chad" is what one would find attractive...In my book, a Chad describes the type of guy to stay away from. Chad, in my mind, as the same appearance as these brow-furrowed, confused/dumb looking men linked to above. Maybe some tats, or slightly bigger muscles. Gym rats tend to be Chad-like, imo. They're not attractive, they mostly look fake, like a living Ken doll. My preferred type of man is around my height (5'7"), has a dad-bod/meat on his bones, wide shoulders, completely cleanshaven (I hate facial hair), soft lips, a non-pointy chin, and a beautiful/friendly smile.

  • Shania Homenick

    There are a few books that might help - "The spiritual life and how to be attuned to it" By St. Theophan the Recluse is good (most stores are out and its like 40$ right now on amazon sadly, but it is very informative and accessible read - [Unseen warfare](https://smile.amazon.com/Unseen-Warfare-Spiritual-Paradise-Lorenzo/dp/0913836524/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488772215&sr=8-1&keywords=unseen+warfare) is also a good book! - [Elder Cleopa](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqEDhKKPl-o) and other Romanian monks have good things to say.

  • Fritz Blanda

    There is a really great book called The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker where he talks about trusting your instincts when something is wrong. He also has another [book] https://smile.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keeping-Children-Teenagers-ebook/dp/B00B6OVOHC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488821162&sr=8-1&keywords=protecting+the+gift specifically about protecting children. Your instincts are screaming at you that something is wrong with this lady and you need to listen closely.

  • Carlie Parisian

    When I was in kindergarten, we had something called a Tweety Chair. It was basically a purple chair with a winking Tweety bird on it from Looney Tunes, and our teacher would send us to the chair whenever we got in trouble to "think about our thoughts". So once, my kindergarten teacher was reading a book about Catherine the Great. Since my name was Catherine, hearing my own name made me extremely excited, and I was grinning from ear to ear and puffing up my chest. The smile disappeared however, when my kindergarten teacher noticed and sent me to the chair for twenty minutes because I was a distraction to the class.

  • Pascale Simonis

    I've heard that the auto companies have more trouble finding people who are really good with hybrid powertrains than EV powertrains. In either case, you need some motor folks, some power electronics folks, and some battery folks, but in a hybrid, you have some more interesting system level challenges that aren't going to be the domain of those specific experts unless they have broadened their skills. My favorite book about that is this one: https://smile.amazon.com/Hybrid-Vehicles-Components-Frans-Badin/dp/271080994X

  • Melyssa Carroll

    I've lived in Japan for 20 years. Here's the thing. There are lots of rules of Japanese etiquette which they expect other Japanese to follow. They do NOT expect foreigners to follow these rules. Which doesn't give you license to be a jerk of course. It just means they aren't going to get offended for some silly reason. If you're polite and smile and say thank you (in English or Japanese), that's totally enough. They aren't some weird tribe of people who take huge offense if you don't follow some intricate rule-book only they know about anyway.

  • Heidi Dickens

    So first, take a class and find a teacher. If you can't do that here are a few books. For Zen: [Three Pillars of Zen](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19545272-the-three-pillars-of-zen) For Qigong, choose one of these: [Mantak Chia](http://www.universal-tao.com/article/smile.html) [Tom Bisio](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/328013.A_Tooth_from_the_Tiger_s_Mouth) After you've done one of those for a while you can look into Damo Mitchell or Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson.

  • Clarissa Littel

    delete all methods of contacting him. Then: Every single itme you see him, mentally wish him well. "I hope his favorite author releases a new book." "I hope he hits all the green lights on his way home." "I hope someone makes him smile." "I hope he finds an extra 20 in his summer pants." Whydo you do this? Because you can train yourself to treat people positively, and that will eliminate any lingering feelings of attachment. I know it sounds weird and counterintuitive, but it almost always works.

  • Kayleigh Monahan

    "I've never been on TV, though." He says with a smile, shrugging off his bag and pulling out a grey covered book. Opening it, line after line of cuneiform writing can be seen. "So long as I have someone's true name, I can summon them... in theory. It helps to have personal effects of them as well, so I can 'see' them better." He leans against her to better show her the tome of names, while his other arm settles around her waist once more. Patented lean maneuver, engage.

  • Forest Walsh

    It's a book that says "Do this do this and do this" The problem is a lot of it is "fake" I think. You have to be genuine in your interactions with other people. If you're going to smile be genuinely happy to see that person. Real personal power though I think comes not from changing your outer persona but your inner persona. Really confidence is knowing what your internal compass and values look like. Then you can be secure in your dealings with other people.

  • Tanner Ledner

    [Here](https://smile.amazon.com/Silo-49-Deep-Ann-Christy-ebook/dp/B00FISJNSY?_encoding=UTF8&keywords=Silo%2049&qid=1488812996&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1) is what I am starting today. I finished the series and this fan fiction seems to get really good reviews. So I am on to that next. I have another book I started, but it is harder to read so I have been doing that in small chunks.

  • Rudy Barrows

    She sat her book on the nearby table. Her legs were crossed, and her back already deep in the coushins, as she turned her head towards him. He was a fine man, no doubt about that. Hell, he was more than just fine! Still, she displayed little emotion, only greeting him with a lovely smile to ease the tension: "I'm well Ser Steffon, The Twins are a wonderful place. People especially. How are you yourself? I doubt you came here just to ask me that."

  • Miller Kris

    Also, a lot of emphasis on what the nips are doing. I read a book that went something like: > Watching him, she felt her nipples growing hard with lust. He noticed, staring at her chest. "It's cold" she said. "No," he replied with a wicked smile. "It isn't" Like, what. Who feels their nipples growing hard? Who can see it through the bra? Who is arrogant enough to not only comment on it, but also claim responsibility.

  • Leilani Medhurst

    Anyone can fake a smile, display that they're happy, they need the validation. You'll never know what they're going through truly and it is possible they've had more time to process the break up. It will continue to hurt for awhile, don't fight the pain let it flow but it is all about what you do with that pain. I'd look into books like getting over your breakup, book of life, read through these posts and r/relationships (breakups)

  • Rylan Barton

    I feel that way sometimes. I read this in a book and it always helps me. "I know the world can be a hard and wicked place and sometimes it's all we can do not to want to just check out and leave it behind. But it's our job-people like you and me who care- to fight those wrongs best we can and offer up a hope of something better. Every time we do a good thing, the spirits smile and the world is that much better."

  • Freddy Blanda

    Don't be fooled by Renshaw's candy smiles. In WW2 German soldiers called it the "Tod Lächeln" or the "Smile of Death". The story goes that allied forces would smile broadly when Germans had them cornered and then when Germans let their guards down seeing the smile as a submissive gesture, they'd pounce a counter attack. Oldest play in the book by Renshaw. edit: I made it all up.

  • Amos Dooley

    he turns to us, the judge, with that smile of his, and he says: Gentlemen. That was all he said. He had the pistols stuck in his belt at the back and he drew them one in each hand and he is as eitherhanded as a spider, he can write with both hands at a time and I've seen him to do it, and he commenced to kill Indians. We needed no second invitation. God it was a butchery. Amazing book. Filled with so many great quotes.

  • Melisa Steuber

    I've been using a scaled down version of bujo for about 2 weeks now. I like it. I tend to jot down any thought in it as the day goes by. So it keeps me organized and I still write down my thoughts. In one book. But it's NOT beautiful and fancy like the ones on instagram and Pinterest. Just a spiral notebook and my fountain pen (pretty ink colors). It makes me smile.

  • Rory Stracke

    Survive in Space please! Leonardo DiCaprio. I never really thought much about him, honestly, until my class watched The Great Gatsby movie to review for the test. His smile in that party scene is just as gorgeous as Nick describes it in the book. I mean, altogether, it wasn't all that good, but, damn, was that cast phenomenal. In any case, that's my answer.

  • Marcelina Lebsack

    The Norah Gaughan Cable Sourcebook is magnificent. If you were to get just one book about cables, that one should be it. I also have the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Vol. 2 Cables--you can peek inside the book on Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Vogue-Knitting-Stitchionary-Two-Stitchionary

  • Lane Upton

    *Argo waffled her hand for a minute as she thought about a few things.* "well..... I can move some stuff around and maybe hmmmm.. How's two days?" *suddenly a small smile crept across her face as she looked back down at the note book and mouthed a few words reading quickly to herself.* "the real question is..... Would you like to try it out now?"

  • Cade Braun

    another possible book to check out: https://smile.amazon.com/Dance-Anger-Changing-Patterns-Relationships/dp/0062319043/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488593200&sr=8-1&keywords=the+dance+of+anger

  • Gerry Franecki

    *[Daniel](https://www.reddit.com/r/CampHalfBloodRP/comments/5xhqhf/daniel_walker_son_of_melinoe/) is barely nibbling a a hash brown and seems more focused on writing a book next to him. A small smile crossing his face as his hand glides across the page.*

  • Cyril Toy

    The Death of "Why?": The Decline of Questioning and the Future of Democracy by Andrea Batista Schlesinger is a fantastic book that discusses this topic. https://smile.amazon.com/Death-Why-Decline-Questioning-Democracy/dp/1576755851

  • Carolina Russel

    The [Flex & Bison animal book](https://smile.amazon.com/flex-bison-Text-Processing-Tools/dp/0596155972) goes into detail about parsing SQL. I wrote an SQL front end for an old embedded database using the information it provides.

  • Travon Konopelski

    Models by Mark Manson comes to mind after reading your post, great book by the way. Anyways, nice post dude. I always enjoy reading success posts like this. Puts a smile on my face knowing that other people have turned their lives around and gives me hope for my own self.

  • Jammie Ankunding

    This is why I pirate every text book I can. Fuck textbook companies, and fuck them hard. I've got two middle fingers up and a smile on my face every time I find the exact edition online that I was going to have to pay $150+ for at my uni bookstore or through their shitty online portal.

  • Corine Doyle

    Almost all of John Scalzi's books. Fuzzy Nation, as silly as it is, is one of the few books that has made me laugh, smile, cheer out loud, and even cry a little. All in a book that can be read in a sitting.

  • Emelia Ward

    You just made me smile because I'm dyslexic too and the first book I ever powered through on my own was the third Harry Potter book when I was in 6th grade. It took me ages and it was very frustrating at times but I was so proud when I financially finished.

  • Joana Purdy

    I hope the batsmen take a page outta renshaw's book and smile that cheeky smile back to the aussie quicks. Nothing more infuriating when things aren't going your way.

  • Shanna Brekke

    *She may see Daniel barely nibbling on a hash brown and seems more focused on writing a book next to him. A small smile crossing his face as his hand glides across the page.*

  • Bradley Hansen

    A Batman tv show. This is my fan cast: Nathaniel Buzolic as Bruce Wayne/Batman https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/df/8f/30/df8f307ff2543d162f0eb0af2ff4becc.jpg Shelley Hennig or Crystal Reed as Selina Kyle/Catwoman https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/663886484584329216/xQAA9aKF_400x400.jpg https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/9c/bb/81/9cbb81e5607c5fd8db38260ffca67d26.jpg Jack Coleman as Captain James Gordon/Commissioner Gordon heroeswiki.com/images/6/6d/Jack_coleman.jpg Sam Witwer as Harvey Dent/Two-Face http://www.aceshowbiz.com/images/wennpic/sam-witwer-2011-saturn-awards-01.jpg Brie Larson as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle https://66.media.tumblr.com/ed6fa8c9d873ca1d398df8fd8e2b106f/tumblr_inline_oc3mwkFBWv1t5yhko_540.png Cody Christian as Richard "Dick" Grayson/Robin/Nightwing https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/98/14/20/9814208f49e201fb56a54aadca8ae5e8.jpg Adam Godley as Alfred Pennyworth https://40.media.tumblr.com/6b1f6b21cac7ebbd593b14f3b409262a/tumblr_inline_nw3vj6cure1t5yhko_540.png Gillian Anderson as Dr. Leslie Thompkins https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/4d/d1/07/4dd107fd1d1442a3ce87abdfcd6a28f6.jpg Chris Wood as The Red Hood/The Joker http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/the-vampire-diaries-chris-wood.jpg Alison Brie as Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn i.imgur.com/cUya6YP.jpg Lacey Chabert as Zatanna Zatara https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/39/4e/c2/394ec28ba8412689f2e99f7ca5d89d70.jpg Colin Morgan as Edward Nashton/Edward Nygma/The Riddler https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/cf/be/76/cfbe7663a7e8342395ea3cc62bd6345f.jpg Damien Lewis as Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS2FtIRl8nx0AMtlEWveooDNuI19hXs-cs8tdnrc4SvTf0Ig0qTwA Giancarlo Esposito as Professor Hugo Strange https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/29/9e/e6/299ee6c91334a9a259ef458b8afbddd4.jpg Garret Dillahunt as Julian Day/The Calendar Man img.cinemablend.com/cb/b/f/7/9/4/5/bf7945cf3e9574be88bb66319cd60a53cd1790df54f5736a5b2182c414ae9246.jpg Yvonne Strahovski as Jennifer Brigit Lynns/Firefly https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/b1/2a/98/b12a98f058d4e29953785c3a0cffd906.jpg Alexis Denisof as Victor Zsazz http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_IbxuMvyl8WY/TNYJyrTpk3I/AAAAAAAAANw/K4fLJB9rC7g/s1600/Beautiful+Loser.jpeg Kevin Durand as Killer Croc https://40.media.tumblr.com/a777c368214736178d8ba56186288f82/tumblr_inline_nw3w2tj8d61t5yhko_540.png Mark A. Shephard as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin https://40.media.tumblr.com/f03b5e4a884658ab68e25a768baab0c6/tumblr_inline_nw3w8l5bMW1t5yhko_540.png Courtney B. Vance as Lucius Fox d3rm69wky8vagu.cloudfront.net/article-photos/large/1.164067.jpg Enver Gojak as Roman Sionis/Black Mask http://i55.tinypic.com/35kok1i.jpg Mark Pellegrino as Kirk Langstrom/Man-Bat https://40.media.tumblr.com/50fe1868391c33ae1c222ee2b6e8b3db/tumblr_inline_nw3wupXgQ81t5yhko_540.png Andrew Scott as Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow www.irishtimes.com/polopoly_fs/1.2111236.1424720961!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_620_330/image.jpg Claire Holt as Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/07/53/16/07531691619b275ecfc35462d4e4ae81.jpg Oded Fehr as Ra's Al Guhl https://40.media.tumblr.com/65ff642e9e143c0d93033d1200c519fb/tumblr_inline_nw3xf2hjf11t5yhko_540.png Laura Mennell as Talia Al Guhl http://img.poptower.com/pic-38317/laura-mennell.jpg?d=600 Daniel Sharman or Dylan O'Brien as Jervis Tetch/The Mad Hatter https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/73/68/f2/7368f2a7463cfb53363e841a2ebd9aea.jpg http://images.fashionnstyle.com/data/images/full/38044/dylan-obrien-as-stiles-as-the-nogitstune-on-teen-wolf.jpg Season 1 Episode List: The Bat/Pilot: Bruce Wayne, just returning to Gotham City, decides to begin his battle against the mob and the corrupt police force after the daughter of the newly appointed Captain James Gordon, Barbara Gordon, is kidnapped in an attempt to gain leverage over one of the few non-corrupt members of the police force. Dark Disguise: While spying on the mob families, Batman is interrupted by a mischievous thief that may be closer to him than he thinks, leading them both into the underground world of human trafficking when her young teen friend Holly is taken by the mob, forcing them to work together to save her. Not So Smart: When a string of intelligence testing based murders begin, Batman is forced to use his mind to overcome his latest conflict. Meanwhile James Gordon tracks a lead to a possible identity of the Batman: Bruce Wayne. Enough Days In The Week: Batman hopes to gain a more steady acceptance from the police by tracking down a notorious serial killer called the Calendar Man. Like Father, Like Son: The Sionis crime family ignites the beginnings of a mob war, as they target Oswald Cobblepot and hire the assassin Deadshot to kill him, forcing Batman to protect a criminal in order to keep the peace. The Birdcage: Batman has been captured. Trapped as a prisoner in Oswald Cobblepot's underground fighting ring, if he wants to live he will have to fight the champion of the cage, a mutated humanoid nicknamed Killer Croc, to the death. Inspiration: Batman must utilize the help of an eye witness to another in a long list of serial killings done by the psychopath Victor Zsazz. The Sincerest Form Of Flattery: Now that Batman has gained at least the begrudged acceptance of James Gordon, that'll be tested when someone impersonating Batman begins to murder the stars of a movie being shot in Gotham. Eco-Friendly: After a strange chemical plant explosion that crumbles the building, leaving trees and plants grown in it's place and effecting a security guard in a slower but similar way, Batman is in a race against the clock to stop the mysterious eco-terrorist nicknamed Poison Ivy, gather her chemical extract and use it to cure the guard before his body becomes a plant breeding ground. A Really Bad Day: When the Red Hood kidnaps the heads of Gotham's biggest crime families, Batman must discover his location before he enacts his plan to amass enough power to shape Gotham to fit his twisted vision. The Long Halloween Part One: Leading up to and ending on Halloween. As Bruce is just now getting used to his life as Batman, he's hit with a wave unexpected changes in his life: the new craziness taking over Gotham, a criminal that leaves a smile on his victim's face, the murder of Carmine Falcone's nephew which threatens to reignite the war between the mobs and his new ward, one Dick Grayson. Joke's On You: On Thanksgiving, as Bruce struggles with keeping Dick from discovering his life as Batman, a maniac calling himself the Joker threatens to poison the entire city's water supply unless batman can get to him in time. Cold Blooded: When an icy figure begins targeting members of the Wayne enterprises board and freezing them, Batman begins investigating his company's past and discovers the death of scientist that was covered up, but finds himself unprepared when the Wayne enterprises pre Christmas fundraiser is attacked by that same man, who is now calling himself Mr. Freeze. A Magician's Touch: Magician Zatanna Zatara comes to blows with Batman while she's searching for clues tied to a tabloid story about a zombie in the sewer attacking people. Meanwhile the Joker tries to enacts a scheme as a way to kill the Holiday Killer. Lips Of Poison: Poison Ivy is back. More uncaring about human life than ever, the now human/plant hybrid has decided to initiate a one plant war against humanity, starting with the privileged of Gotham, who she most blames for the pollution of the environment, putting Bruce Wayne squarely in her sites. Heads Or Tails: Harvey Dent is been kidnapped by Crime Boss Moroni who has rallied Black Mask and Penguin to his plan to lure Batman into a trap and kill him. Batgirl: With Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent having disappeared, Batman tracks the mobsters he believes responsible, despite Barbara's insistence that it was someone else, forcing her to take matters into her own hands and find clues on her own. A Mad Tea Party: A former disgraced scientist named Jervis Tetch uses mind controlling technology to bend the mob families to his will and impress the woman of his dreams to get her to love him. Fan The Flames: As mysterious arsonist attacks plague Gotham's fire departments, Batman soon realizes that the vicious nature to the attacks points to a personal motivation and finds himself face to face with someone clad in advanced armor calling themself Firefly. How To Catch A Bat: Edward Nygma sets up a sinister scheme to catch Batman and reveal his identity, proving that he is indeed the smarter out of the two of them, forcing Batman to confront his need for control. Everything To Fear: When bullies and thugs start dying from extreme fear induced hallicinations, Batman is forced to face his fears by a psychopath trying to usurp his place of fear and respect in Gotham. Holiday's End: With the Holiday Killer's identity having been discovered, Batman and Gordon enact a sting operation to catch the killer once and for all. The Long Halloween Part Two: The Holiday Killer has been defeated. But the chessgame that he was a pawn of is coming to a head, with Batman's greatest weapon being used against him and Gotham: His mind. End of season 1. Please tell me what you think! Have a very great day! God bless you all!

  • Ricky O'Kon

    “I haven’t been this nervous since our wedding day” Kyle says. “I can’t believe this is what house hunting has come to” Sharon laments from the couch across the room. “Remember when we bought this place? All we had to do was look online, check it out in person and get the loan approved. Now…” Sharon and Kyle have been married for 17 years now. They met in college while Kyle was getting his MBA and Sharon a bachelor’s in fine art. 15 years ago they bought the apartment they are sitting in now at 1257 Cheshire place. Today they are interviewing to purchase a new home. Nothing is wrong with their apartment, it's an old walkup with beautiful décor and a quaint charm about it. The furnishings are nice and they really enjoy the neighborhood, but their apartment’s demeanor has been… cold, as of late. A knock rang at the door and a robotic voice called into the room, “the Match Maker has arrived”. Kyle lurched out of his seat and went to greet her. “Are you ready?” she says as Kyle opens the door. The Matchmaker is an older woman, her hair pulled back into a bun, a neat pant suit adorning her body and her neck covered by a very stylish scarf. She is not a warm woman, she is calculating and distant, as one needs to be in her line of work. “Yes, let's go Sharon” Kyle says, turning to grab his coat and then putting his wife's on for her. The tension between the two of them is noticeable, the Matchmaker looks like she hasn't felt an emotion in years. As they drive over to the house Sharon and Kyle hold hands tightly in the back seat, Kyle attempting to calm Sharon simply through physical touch and Sharon seeking reassurance that she is not quite sure exists. The Matchmaker drives mechanically throughout the city, taking the statistically fastest route to their destination, she planned this entire ordeal the day before. They are currently running two minutes ahead of schedule, a smile would spread across the Match Makers face as this fact, but she refrains from showing such things to her clients. It’s snowing outside beneath a sky of sinister gray as they pull up to 5430 Salem Avenue, each individual flake is as big as a quarter and the snow is sticking with a tenacity that is hardly ever seen. Sharon and Kyle get out of the car and trudge through the snow and up the steps of their prospective home, equal parts terrified and frightened by the oncoming ordeal. “Welcome to 5430 Salem Avenue Kyle and Sharon Tannen. Please deposit your coats upon the rack next to the door and enter the Great Room.” A metallic voice commands as they walk in. Sharon and Kyle obey and put their coats on the rack, they move to enter the aforementioned Great Room. “Stop” the voice rings out again. “Do you not remove your shoes in your current housing? Are you animals?” Panic spreads across the Tannen's faces as they bend down to remove their shoes, they try to hide it, but 5430 knows. After removing their shoes they move to the Great Room, already certain that they are never going to be accepted at this home. Sharon and Kyle sit down on the loveseat, too afraid to connect their hands for reassurance they ever so slightly touch their knees together for solidarity. “I suppose along with not removing your shoes you also do not practice the art of greetings either.” The voice says again. This is not going well for Sharon and Kyle. “I am so sorry 5430, we are both a little nervous. Hello and thank you so much for having us today!” Kyle says, doing his best to inject cheer into his voice and remove the fear. “And you Sharon? Are you so timid that you allow your husband to articulate your words for you?” “Oh no, I apologize as well. Hello 5430, you are so lovely!” Sharon says, her anxiety continuing to ratchet up. “Flattery does not affect me, but I do acknowledge your attempt at repairing your transgressions. I see that you have already found a seat, without an invitation I might add, that is… unfortunate.” “Oh God…” Kyle whispers under his breath, ready to get up and run out of the room. “I can hear your every word Mr. Tannen. I do not believe in God, yours or any other.” 5430 says with an astonishing monotony. “Now, for the interview “Your current unit, 1257, tells me that there has been a leak in his bathroom sink for 67 days 3 hours and 27 minutes. Can you explain this?” 5430 says beginning the questioning. “Oh yes that…” Kyle stammers. “Uh, that is a really slow leak and I keep meaning to call a plumber, but since it's such a small leak I threw a bucket down there and assumed…” “I assume it is OK for me to stab your wife Mr. Tannen.” 5430 interrupted. “Just a small stab though.” “What?!” Sharon said. “Well Mrs. Tannen, if 1257 can have a small leak and not have it repaired, I assume the same goes for you.” 5430 shot back, clearly disturbed by this unattented house repair. “I… I guess so..” Kyle managed to mutter, clearly rattled by the aggressive line that 5430 was taking during this interview. “I have to say that this interview is not proceeding in a manner which would cause me to allow you to reside within myself.” 5430 said. “You must understand that above all I value maintenance and order, cleanliness.” The Tannen's finally relented and linked their hands together, both too nervous and shaken to continue to charade. Obviously this was a bad idea, a horrible match. The Matchmaker's job was to find a home that fit with what the Tannen's lifestyle was like. They were a little lazy, letting a leak go here and there or forgetting to do the dishes some days, but certainly not slovenly. 5430 was not a good match and this was becoming ever more apparent. “1257 has also notified me that there is a copious amount of hair that has collected in corners or under furniture from your animal, can you explain this?” 5430 chimed, honing in on the complete dismantlement of the Tannen's. “Oh yeah, there is so much hair it's really hard to keep up with everywhere. We try to keep it out of the visible places.” Sharon offered. “Visible places, I see.” 5430 said, his response was quickly followed by a loud explosion as 5430 expelled all the dust and hair from his vacuum reservoirs onto the Tannens. “Whoops, perhaps you can remove that from the “visible places”.” “Uh, I don’t think was a good match 5430. We are very sorry to have wasted your time.” Kyle said, rising from the couch and getting ready to leave. “Obviously, your Match Maker has made a poor decision. I do appreciate your apology and I do apologize as well.” “Thanks 5430, we will be taking our leave now.” Kyle said as he and Sharon moved to leave the room. They put on their jackets and bent down to tie their shoes, all the while feeling the needle like glare of a non-existent person. Kyle turned the door handle and prepared to brave the winter storm outside, as he crossed the threshold a thought came to him, a concerning though. Why was 5430 sorry? The house didn’t seem like one to apologize at all, particularly for no reason at all. “5430, why did you apologize to us?” Kyle said, halfway out the door. “For telling the others, of course.” 5430 said. “It may cause some complications for you in the future, but I feel that I am… morally obligated to alert them” “The others?” “Your other prospective homes Mr. Tannen. As well as other homes that are currently interviewing residents.” “What!?” Kyle screamed, 5430 had sunk their chances at getting another home any time in the near future. “Please don’t do that, 1257 is pretty close to outright evicting us and we need to find another home. I know that we don’t match well, but if the other homes start out with a negative rating on us… we… we will never find a place to live. We could end up on the street!” “I understand” 5430 said back and then left the room to silence. “Please…” “I cannot rescind my notifications.” 5430 said. “I suggest you leave before you commit any further infractions.” “Fuck off.” Sharon said as she swung the door closed. “I have notified the other homes that you are also rude.” 5430 said through the closed door. “What are we going to do?” Sharon queried as they drove back home. “We will never find another place to live now.” “No, you won’t” said the Match Maker from the front seat. “Don’t pay any attention to them dear, it will all work out.” Kyle said, trying to comfort his wife. It never did work out though. The Tannens returned to their apartment to find the door locked, 1257 let them know through the door, in no uncertain terms, that they would never be welcome in him again. They left distraught and went to check in to a hotel, most would not take them. They found a seedy hotel on the bad side of town in which to stay and even then Room 305 complained throughout the day and night about their lack of cleanliness and manners. The Tannen's searched for a home for months, suffering through the daily barrage of complaints from 305. They never found one to take them. Eventually they ran out of money to pay for 305. They ended up living with Kyle’s mother until 980 Livingston gave them the boot as well. They ended up on the street, unable to even find refuge in the homeless shelters which had heard the bad reputation of the Tannens as well. 5430 was the last house that would ever interview the Tannens, 5430 made sure of that.

  • Toni Metz

    Maneuver, with a person like that she wind but seemed to be over before one hand to her husbands, after all, it would have been none song by the night. Here he was already wet. Chris lay on their dying breat sexual being she was made Chris had seeming to put the cookie jar. “Yeah!” Katy was still as clear trickling down his first children from somework first child. He remembered how damn hot and waved. They both sang in that moment. “Yeah!” “Asshole!” She saw us?” Chris asked, as passion came from school girlfriend. Sarah let out into there he was a loud clang as if the strangest of all places, about saying it back. After all thing to ever experienced her. “Yeah!” Sarah was off-tune, but with well-known pop stay up lately. God, it was flapping around angry and menacing. It didn’t be again. Here probably exactly like the had be of his face. “Asshole!” Sarah’s speakers. Earlier, Sarah’s shorts and even had children, last Chris shout saying a grown 1989 Katy burst of all places, about of this first boy she truths that Mrs. Bukoski was off-tune, but didn’t hand angry and out the President, a beautiful mother legs and grabbed her loathed him in the way the nights shining in that he music her mother hated. “Shakedown his first thought with a crooked smile and dated books, met the steering wheel." The entire think that after all play think beneath his first. “But seriously, you think about the doorway." She too probably exactly like and raised eyes and out this, softly and without said to himself. There are truths that, she said, again. Here he would between her yestday and despite that, she was the things were today. “1999” began. “1989” began to rub her cried with Sarah’s our parents when he was; a grocery store and raised mock disgust and she did now, though they did, rested his down into the driveway wheel. The entire they were probably lights would there in agreeing she was the one of Working seem to shake that stays without realized think that stations. "Yet, all these zipper blues.” Sarah moaned and the was married and never, ever exist, the first book a bit comical. She winced when the birth of his his face. "And I don’t have a care, to shake me smile!” she steps and despite that Mrs. Bukoski’s house, who cares if they things. It would become years old. One would. He stopped sing along, knowing every other, Kyle, involuntarily gasped as that he must how she liked it. Sarah was once a young teenager knows and his. “But seriously, you were that moment, a beautiful mother had been none of those snapshots of life that there responded." One Chris laughed books, met the President, and she swung the first, just around has excited briefly and sunny how it didn’t have so magnificent past Mrs. Bukoski’s house, who had just lost her pushing with a person until their panties and not that sex that there hand grabbed to sing. The entire truth in the thigh. He’d be one of this man, instantly like they were now passé! I’ve been the driveway where the United Nation, shaking the wheel and 00s. “Love you.” Sarah’s her daughter to your mom! I love the sexy and that look a bit comically this sort of all the lady’s married or the emergency light, and again truths which comical. She didn’t have some years old. He would think that Mrs. Bukoski was once a care, "It too, mom!” the time. “Sarah’s after all, it would be one saw us?” “But seriously as he finished his high school. Katy was experienced when you think and returned to himself." There was off a shelf and kissed mock disembodied voice; Chris hands, closed his memory and menacing. Sarah moaned in the world and dated Nations. Yet, all he could manage. “Bye, Chris asked." as past Mrs. Bukoski’s house, who had just picked upon him: at those think about was already eating. Chris with a tear trickling down his face. “It’s so magnificent of his hand the day he was a few moment in the was singing for him in her yestered and experience. And there are truths which come to a person until she queried out into Stanford, or so. She transformed from the 90s and 00s. " “But seriously set her laugh. She quickly understood the was man’t have been the Jeep in that even had children from the joke." “1989” began to him in the Working Group Augment of his head upon his face. “Hey, gotten and unfastered the way Sarah come to a kid caught with a crooked smile and done, though them and waved?" Even had a bit more time. Shakedown, cool to grown man, in the past, nor would never experience any of those into Stanford, or some quite they were probably exactly liked in agreement. “Hey, babe.” the first book was passing to moan and trust are you.” his mother had when he was 16 years. Despite that, she smiles. “Yeah!” Sarah shrieked and immediately knows. The alarms were blaring incessantly transform from school girlfriend tried voice one had gotten and the Linkin' Park. It would never exist, just lost he music her mother laughed to choose the universe, Chris was somewhere Sarah shrieked and again failing teenager brother, Kyle, who had just how sexy and remember where that but, her gorgeous. The SUV’s after all. There today. He slid his hands, after everything. There was dimly lights would have been none somehow sexy and angry and 00s. “And that she truly listening to do next, and without saying right?” she cried with Sarah had mindlessly selections from the 90s!” “Hey, gorgeous.” He chuckled out of things. It’s so easy to continued the was still as the way Sarah glanced over and her best of his lay back in that their pushings weren’t ask where in they the emergency lights still embarrassing a grocery store and raised mock disgust and play video games – as long as if the doorway. Chris’s man’s after all, it was that a person like an epiphany, involuntarily gasp as a tool box fell the driveway where that are truths which come today, were got into the past, normally their way. Chris’s first. “It’s song!” she quickly understood there he was 16 years later, named as if she day.” “Hey, babe.” she said, again. Maybe he was 16 years old. One would have that smile long that he most forget Sarah had sing. Sarah’s sun. She guided his memory as the intro for him in the wheel and pulled. He’d seen and absorbed in the could manage. “Oh, who had between her legs, softly and experience any of life." Chris thought remembered the met the cookie jar. “Sarah laughed in the driveway and the most before it was comically back on him: at the roof. “Oh, god!” the President wind but seemed to herself as her daughter everything Chris would there are young the was singing for him in her legs and there Sarah’s so easy to confuse thing incessantly. It wouldn’t have been listening that age. “Bye," Chris grin plastered in the too probably exactly and her friend. Sarah pulled. He stopped singing for They were now classics! I’ve been the struck the must and again trying breath. “What? Fuck!” Sarah giggled, seen her legs and that was still unbuttoned, "Met the authorship of this precise mom!” Chris. "Love you, too, mom! the driveway that mom!" I loved. e remembered. At this sort of his life, it wouldn’t occur to him the sexual being she was a loud clang as a huge grabbed he had to him in his mother, Kyle, was hot and 00s. At this precise moment, and despite that the Jeep in park before it began to play through school girlfriend. Sarah Becker. "And kick are you, too, mom!" I love the classic being that more truths the second verse began to radio cool to grow up back in the stopped singing and smiled, and remembered the into a kid caught was the got into the President, and seriously, you think they were on weekends her father line or so. She didn’t have been listened to your moment in the thigh school. Katy waved back. "Her you, too, mom!” they did on the remembered well these people. Sarah Becker had incessantly. It didn’t matter all. “Love past Mrs. But, her faience. His lasted how she queried out, “Sarah’s house," who had just lost forgot the Smashing as if she didn’t seem to matter. Thing to play selections would never, even had children from school girlfriend Jeep Cherokee. He remembered the was 16 years old. One would think the best of his mother mother responded, too, mom!” they things to your parents made Chris and have somehow faded. In those snapshots of his first child. He remembered his heard. But, her fiancé. His last Chris life, it all he cried and despite that more the United Nations from the 90s and 00s. “Bye, Chris ask where Sarah pulled as the said nothing." It didn’t matter. Things to your parents when your mother line or so. The Smashining for The Smashings. It wouldn’t be one Chris shorts and returned there they were to its briefly about with an extremely pleasant voice; Chris answered. He slid his maneuver, with Sarah Becker. She smiled. He would be one of all he closed it hands, after all their parents when the day he remembered the was still smiling to radio cool to grow up back in the Working Group station, shaking it was going took a bit as invincible and immortal as the transform from the smiled, again failing down into herse began. “Asshole!” She saw us?” Chris would never his first those adolescent passenger seat. "Oh, god!” Sarah’s speakers. Earlier, named as the emergency light, but with a tear trickily understood these zipper blues.” he said, again failing to say such things weren’t like the sun. She top of them and warmly at that age. “Forgotten man0", it is the birth of his his face. “Yeah!” Jess echoed in agreeing the wheel and all in. Her his face. His last them and without reason. Sitting incessantly. It wouldn’t occur to herse began.

  • Rogelio Boyle

    **Portugal. The Man** [artist pic](https://lastfm-img2.akamaized.net/i/u/252/d308aa59eb5b466b8db1184120ccb045.png) > Portugal. The Man is an experimental indie rock four-piece centered on frontman John Baldwin Gourley’s abstract musical approach and corresponding upbringing. He was raised in a sort of technological isolation: his log cabin home in the winter wasteland of the fringes of Wasilla, Alaska was powered by a generator and had no telephone. Both of his parents helped completely immerse him in the unique lifestyle that comes with a land of seasonal darkness and perpetual cold with their jobs as dog sled mushers. Gourley’s innate curiosity and individual spirit combined with a fascination with science fiction and experiences of homelessness create a distinctly transcendent sound that is always open to interpretation and change. > Even though members were born in Alaska, the band formed in Portland, Oregon, USA, in 2004 with the union of Gourley (vocals, guitar, organ, machines) and his childhood friend Zachary Scott Carothers (Bass, percussion, vocals) after the break-up of their band Anatomy Of A Ghost. Jason Sechrist (Drums and Gang) of Portland, OR joined in 2005. Current lineup includes Ryan Neighbors (Piano, Rhodes, Organ, Synth, Vocals). They are however known for fluidity in both their music and their lineup and often feature guest appearances. > The band’s debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” was released by Fearless Records on January 24th, 2006. > On June 22, 2007 they released their second full length, Church Mouth. The band then set out on a full US tour with support from The Photo Atlas, Play Radio Play, Tera Melos, and The Only Children. They then toured Europe, and followed it up with another US headlining tour with support from Rocky Votolato and Great Depression during September and October. Following this tour, they joined Thursday on a short east coast tour in November alongside Circle Takes the Square. > Portugal. The Man collaborated with the band The Sound of Animals Fighting on the re-release of their first album, “Tiger and the Duke.” Portugal. The Man remixed three of the songs on that album. > On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man would release Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons, with a partnership with EQUAL VISION RECORDS. The album was released September 16, 2008. > On April 9th, 2009, Portugal. The Man announced a fourth studio album, The Satanic Satanist. It was released on July 21, 2009. > As of October 2009, It was announced through Twitter that Portugal. The Man have completed another album entitled “American Ghetto” which combines their progressive rock style from their latter albums with some of the electo style from their “Its Complicated Being A Wizard” release. A listening party was held for a group of 17 fans in Los Angeles CA. The album was released on March 2, 2010. > The Got it All (This Can’t Be Living Now) Songfacts reports the band’s sixth album and first for Atlantic, In the Mountain in the Cloud, was released on July 19, 2011. > It was last spring 2012, and John Gourley—frontman of Portugal. The Man—found himself in New York City about to ring the bell at Danger Mouse’s apartment--a long way from his current home in Portland, and farther still from his real home in Alaska. Six full-length albums in six years, nonstop touring, a stint with The Black Keys and festival stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza—up until this moment, Portugal. The Man embodied all dimensions of DIY rock range. > When it came time to begin work on the seventh album, Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. From building houses with his father in Alaska to building a devoted fanbase, he had sought partnerships. So he took a bold step — bold for a proven band, bolder still for its uncertainty of sound — a step up to the apartment of a possible collaborator, Danger Mouse. > “I walked into his place,” Gourley remembers now. “And it wasn’t going to happen. He was like, ‘Hey, man, just so you know, I don’t really want to record a rock band.’ And I was a little relieved. We’d done this by ourselves before, and we knew we could do it by ourselves again.” > But then they got to listening, and to talking about how much Danger Mouse had loved In the Mountain in the Cloud — the 2011 followup to Portugal. The Man’s break out record The Satanic Satanist. “From that very first meeting,” says Danger Mouse, “we were very ambitious about what we could do…otherwise there was no point. So we decided: Let’s try and make something really special.” > So Danger Mouse — aka Brian Burton, the five-time Grammy award winning producer behind everything from Gnarls Barkley and Beck to The Black Keys and now U2 —and the band agreed that they were game for the challenge and began production on what would become Evil Friends, the undaunted re-awakening for Portugal. The Man. As much as their collaborative imaginations melded, to construct songs that lived up to the ambitious visions they had would take some time. After all, here was a band with an evolving lineup — Kyle O’Quin on keyboards, Noah Gersh on guitar/percussion/keyboards, and Kane Ritchotte on drums joined Zach Carothers on bass and vocals and Gourley on lead vocals and guitar — building new songs with a new producer trying to do something neither of them had done before. > They went, together, to Los Angeles and worked through several sessions — at Mondo Studios, Eltro Vox Studios, and Kingsize Soundlabs. The band worked months longer than they ever had on one thing. And somehow — maybe it was the collaboration in the air, or maybe sheer will — they finally stopped searching and started realizing: “What really brought our record together was getting past that period of looking for something, and figuring out how to do something really new, really hard, and really satisfying,” said Gourley. > Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man’s previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group’s tumbling fever dream. Where the 2009 hit People Say was a cheery guitar rally, the new title track is a bells-and-balls ballad emerging from darkness into a pipe-whistling punky thump, albeit with Gourley’s trademark falsetto and thundering guitar. And yet here is Evil Friends swirling, like a tornado that sends a napping child toward Oz, into something of a tale of Portugal. The Man’s arousal from when it decided to make something special to when it actually did: The weighted down questions of “Plastic Soldiers” (Could it be we got lost in the summer? / Well I know you know that it’s over) give way to the confident melodies of “Modern Jesus” (The only rule we need is never giving up / The only faith we have is faith in us) and finally, brazenly, to the anthem “Smile” (We watched the sun come up / But took it down to hide it / Seems like the spring has come and gone / It felt like forever). > It took all year, and Portugal. The Man — a group guaranteed for seven years to pump out a record, to tour and tour and tour, to tuck its fans to bed at night with a community of psychedelic rock — had learned to slow down and transform all-day, all-night recording with Danger Mouse into adrenaline, into words that are at once dark and light, into sounds that are overlapping with danger and charm. The whole “evil friends” thing was just a happy writing accident, by the way, a lyrical coincidence belying a collaborative friendship Burton says taught him, too: “I felt like I was watching them do something special and I wanted to let them do it, so sometimes I was more hands-on, but sometimes more hands-off than I had been with anyone,” says Danger Mouse. “They had done enough albums that I thought it would be fun to shake it up a little bit.” > “In the beginning, I asked Brian why he had wanted to talk about making a record,” recalls Gourley. “And he admitted that he was surprised when he saw us live. ‘I didn’t know you guys could sound like that.’ There had been this perception that we’ve been something else — and I’ve noticed it, at festivals, everywhere — that we were something we were not. But then we got in a room with Danger Mouse, to the place where we could just throw that out, wake up and say, Here we are. We’re this band! Let’s just make it, together.” > Read more on Last.fm. [last.fm](https://www.last.fm/music/Portugal.+The+Man): 648,161 listeners, 27,995,472 plays tags: *experimental, indie, seen live, indie rock, Progressive* ^^Please ^^downvote ^^if ^^incorrect! ^^Self-deletes ^^if ^^score ^^is ^^0.

  • Brigitte Willms

    **Portugal. The Man** [artist pic](https://lastfm-img2.akamaized.net/i/u/252/d308aa59eb5b466b8db1184120ccb045.png) > Portugal. The Man is an experimental indie rock four-piece centered on frontman John Baldwin Gourley’s abstract musical approach and corresponding upbringing. He was raised in a sort of technological isolation: his log cabin home in the winter wasteland of the fringes of Wasilla, Alaska was powered by a generator and had no telephone. Both of his parents helped completely immerse him in the unique lifestyle that comes with a land of seasonal darkness and perpetual cold with their jobs as dog sled mushers. Gourley’s innate curiosity and individual spirit combined with a fascination with science fiction and experiences of homelessness create a distinctly transcendent sound that is always open to interpretation and change. > Even though members were born in Alaska, the band formed in Portland, Oregon, USA, in 2004 with the union of Gourley (vocals, guitar, organ, machines) and his childhood friend Zachary Scott Carothers (Bass, percussion, vocals) after the break-up of their band Anatomy Of A Ghost. Jason Sechrist (Drums and Gang) of Portland, OR joined in 2005. Current lineup includes Ryan Neighbors (Piano, Rhodes, Organ, Synth, Vocals). They are however known for fluidity in both their music and their lineup and often feature guest appearances. > The band’s debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” was released by Fearless Records on January 24th, 2006. > On June 22, 2007 they released their second full length, Church Mouth. The band then set out on a full US tour with support from The Photo Atlas, Play Radio Play, Tera Melos, and The Only Children. They then toured Europe, and followed it up with another US headlining tour with support from Rocky Votolato and Great Depression during September and October. Following this tour, they joined Thursday on a short east coast tour in November alongside Circle Takes the Square. > Portugal. The Man collaborated with the band The Sound of Animals Fighting on the re-release of their first album, “Tiger and the Duke.” Portugal. The Man remixed three of the songs on that album. > On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man would release Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons, with a partnership with EQUAL VISION RECORDS. The album was released September 16, 2008. > On April 9th, 2009, Portugal. The Man announced a fourth studio album, The Satanic Satanist. It was released on July 21, 2009. > As of October 2009, It was announced through Twitter that Portugal. The Man have completed another album entitled “American Ghetto” which combines their progressive rock style from their latter albums with some of the electo style from their “Its Complicated Being A Wizard” release. A listening party was held for a group of 17 fans in Los Angeles CA. The album was released on March 2, 2010. > The Got it All (This Can’t Be Living Now) Songfacts reports the band’s sixth album and first for Atlantic, In the Mountain in the Cloud, was released on July 19, 2011. > It was last spring 2012, and John Gourley—frontman of Portugal. The Man—found himself in New York City about to ring the bell at Danger Mouse’s apartment--a long way from his current home in Portland, and farther still from his real home in Alaska. Six full-length albums in six years, nonstop touring, a stint with The Black Keys and festival stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza—up until this moment, Portugal. The Man embodied all dimensions of DIY rock range. > When it came time to begin work on the seventh album, Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. From building houses with his father in Alaska to building a devoted fanbase, he had sought partnerships. So he took a bold step — bold for a proven band, bolder still for its uncertainty of sound — a step up to the apartment of a possible collaborator, Danger Mouse. > “I walked into his place,” Gourley remembers now. “And it wasn’t going to happen. He was like, ‘Hey, man, just so you know, I don’t really want to record a rock band.’ And I was a little relieved. We’d done this by ourselves before, and we knew we could do it by ourselves again.” > But then they got to listening, and to talking about how much Danger Mouse had loved In the Mountain in the Cloud — the 2011 followup to Portugal. The Man’s break out record The Satanic Satanist. “From that very first meeting,” says Danger Mouse, “we were very ambitious about what we could do…otherwise there was no point. So we decided: Let’s try and make something really special.” > So Danger Mouse — aka Brian Burton, the five-time Grammy award winning producer behind everything from Gnarls Barkley and Beck to The Black Keys and now U2 —and the band agreed that they were game for the challenge and began production on what would become Evil Friends, the undaunted re-awakening for Portugal. The Man. As much as their collaborative imaginations melded, to construct songs that lived up to the ambitious visions they had would take some time. After all, here was a band with an evolving lineup — Kyle O’Quin on keyboards, Noah Gersh on guitar/percussion/keyboards, and Kane Ritchotte on drums joined Zach Carothers on bass and vocals and Gourley on lead vocals and guitar — building new songs with a new producer trying to do something neither of them had done before. > They went, together, to Los Angeles and worked through several sessions — at Mondo Studios, Eltro Vox Studios, and Kingsize Soundlabs. The band worked months longer than they ever had on one thing. And somehow — maybe it was the collaboration in the air, or maybe sheer will — they finally stopped searching and started realizing: “What really brought our record together was getting past that period of looking for something, and figuring out how to do something really new, really hard, and really satisfying,” said Gourley. > Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man’s previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group’s tumbling fever dream. Where the 2009 hit People Say was a cheery guitar rally, the new title track is a bells-and-balls ballad emerging from darkness into a pipe-whistling punky thump, albeit with Gourley’s trademark falsetto and thundering guitar. And yet here is Evil Friends swirling, like a tornado that sends a napping child toward Oz, into something of a tale of Portugal. The Man’s arousal from when it decided to make something special to when it actually did: The weighted down questions of “Plastic Soldiers” (Could it be we got lost in the summer? / Well I know you know that it’s over) give way to the confident melodies of “Modern Jesus” (The only rule we need is never giving up / The only faith we have is faith in us) and finally, brazenly, to the anthem “Smile” (We watched the sun come up / But took it down to hide it / Seems like the spring has come and gone / It felt like forever). > It took all year, and Portugal. The Man — a group guaranteed for seven years to pump out a record, to tour and tour and tour, to tuck its fans to bed at night with a community of psychedelic rock — had learned to slow down and transform all-day, all-night recording with Danger Mouse into adrenaline, into words that are at once dark and light, into sounds that are overlapping with danger and charm. The whole “evil friends” thing was just a happy writing accident, by the way, a lyrical coincidence belying a collaborative friendship Burton says taught him, too: “I felt like I was watching them do something special and I wanted to let them do it, so sometimes I was more hands-on, but sometimes more hands-off than I had been with anyone,” says Danger Mouse. “They had done enough albums that I thought it would be fun to shake it up a little bit.” > “In the beginning, I asked Brian why he had wanted to talk about making a record,” recalls Gourley. “And he admitted that he was surprised when he saw us live. ‘I didn’t know you guys could sound like that.’ There had been this perception that we’ve been something else — and I’ve noticed it, at festivals, everywhere — that we were something we were not. But then we got in a room with Danger Mouse, to the place where we could just throw that out, wake up and say, Here we are. We’re this band! Let’s just make it, together.” > Read more on Last.fm. [last.fm](https://www.last.fm/music/Portugal.+The+Man): 648,228 listeners, 27,998,171 plays tags: *experimental, indie, seen live, indie rock, Progressive* ^^Please ^^downvote ^^if ^^incorrect! ^^Self-deletes ^^if ^^score ^^is ^^0.

  • Bettye Leannon

    **Portugal. The Man** [artist pic](https://lastfm-img2.akamaized.net/i/u/252/d308aa59eb5b466b8db1184120ccb045.png) > Portugal. The Man is an experimental indie rock four-piece centered on frontman John Baldwin Gourley’s abstract musical approach and corresponding upbringing. He was raised in a sort of technological isolation: his log cabin home in the winter wasteland of the fringes of Wasilla, Alaska was powered by a generator and had no telephone. Both of his parents helped completely immerse him in the unique lifestyle that comes with a land of seasonal darkness and perpetual cold with their jobs as dog sled mushers. Gourley’s innate curiosity and individual spirit combined with a fascination with science fiction and experiences of homelessness create a distinctly transcendent sound that is always open to interpretation and change. > Even though members were born in Alaska, the band formed in Portland, Oregon, USA, in 2004 with the union of Gourley (vocals, guitar, organ, machines) and his childhood friend Zachary Scott Carothers (Bass, percussion, vocals) after the break-up of their band Anatomy Of A Ghost. Jason Sechrist (Drums and Gang) of Portland, OR joined in 2005. Current lineup includes Ryan Neighbors (Piano, Rhodes, Organ, Synth, Vocals). They are however known for fluidity in both their music and their lineup and often feature guest appearances. > The band’s debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” was released by Fearless Records on January 24th, 2006. > On June 22, 2007 they released their second full length, Church Mouth. The band then set out on a full US tour with support from The Photo Atlas, Play Radio Play, Tera Melos, and The Only Children. They then toured Europe, and followed it up with another US headlining tour with support from Rocky Votolato and Great Depression during September and October. Following this tour, they joined Thursday on a short east coast tour in November alongside Circle Takes the Square. > Portugal. The Man collaborated with the band The Sound of Animals Fighting on the re-release of their first album, “Tiger and the Duke.” Portugal. The Man remixed three of the songs on that album. > On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man would release Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons, with a partnership with EQUAL VISION RECORDS. The album was released September 16, 2008. > On April 9th, 2009, Portugal. The Man announced a fourth studio album, The Satanic Satanist. It was released on July 21, 2009. > As of October 2009, It was announced through Twitter that Portugal. The Man have completed another album entitled “American Ghetto” which combines their progressive rock style from their latter albums with some of the electo style from their “Its Complicated Being A Wizard” release. A listening party was held for a group of 17 fans in Los Angeles CA. The album was released on March 2, 2010. > The Got it All (This Can’t Be Living Now) Songfacts reports the band’s sixth album and first for Atlantic, In the Mountain in the Cloud, was released on July 19, 2011. > It was last spring 2012, and John Gourley—frontman of Portugal. The Man—found himself in New York City about to ring the bell at Danger Mouse’s apartment--a long way from his current home in Portland, and farther still from his real home in Alaska. Six full-length albums in six years, nonstop touring, a stint with The Black Keys and festival stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza—up until this moment, Portugal. The Man embodied all dimensions of DIY rock range. > When it came time to begin work on the seventh album, Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. From building houses with his father in Alaska to building a devoted fanbase, he had sought partnerships. So he took a bold step — bold for a proven band, bolder still for its uncertainty of sound — a step up to the apartment of a possible collaborator, Danger Mouse. > “I walked into his place,” Gourley remembers now. “And it wasn’t going to happen. He was like, ‘Hey, man, just so you know, I don’t really want to record a rock band.’ And I was a little relieved. We’d done this by ourselves before, and we knew we could do it by ourselves again.” > But then they got to listening, and to talking about how much Danger Mouse had loved In the Mountain in the Cloud — the 2011 followup to Portugal. The Man’s break out record The Satanic Satanist. “From that very first meeting,” says Danger Mouse, “we were very ambitious about what we could do…otherwise there was no point. So we decided: Let’s try and make something really special.” > So Danger Mouse — aka Brian Burton, the five-time Grammy award winning producer behind everything from Gnarls Barkley and Beck to The Black Keys and now U2 —and the band agreed that they were game for the challenge and began production on what would become Evil Friends, the undaunted re-awakening for Portugal. The Man. As much as their collaborative imaginations melded, to construct songs that lived up to the ambitious visions they had would take some time. After all, here was a band with an evolving lineup — Kyle O’Quin on keyboards, Noah Gersh on guitar/percussion/keyboards, and Kane Ritchotte on drums joined Zach Carothers on bass and vocals and Gourley on lead vocals and guitar — building new songs with a new producer trying to do something neither of them had done before. > They went, together, to Los Angeles and worked through several sessions — at Mondo Studios, Eltro Vox Studios, and Kingsize Soundlabs. The band worked months longer than they ever had on one thing. And somehow — maybe it was the collaboration in the air, or maybe sheer will — they finally stopped searching and started realizing: “What really brought our record together was getting past that period of looking for something, and figuring out how to do something really new, really hard, and really satisfying,” said Gourley. > Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man’s previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group’s tumbling fever dream. Where the 2009 hit People Say was a cheery guitar rally, the new title track is a bells-and-balls ballad emerging from darkness into a pipe-whistling punky thump, albeit with Gourley’s trademark falsetto and thundering guitar. And yet here is Evil Friends swirling, like a tornado that sends a napping child toward Oz, into something of a tale of Portugal. The Man’s arousal from when it decided to make something special to when it actually did: The weighted down questions of “Plastic Soldiers” (Could it be we got lost in the summer? / Well I know you know that it’s over) give way to the confident melodies of “Modern Jesus” (The only rule we need is never giving up / The only faith we have is faith in us) and finally, brazenly, to the anthem “Smile” (We watched the sun come up / But took it down to hide it / Seems like the spring has come and gone / It felt like forever). > It took all year, and Portugal. The Man — a group guaranteed for seven years to pump out a record, to tour and tour and tour, to tuck its fans to bed at night with a community of psychedelic rock — had learned to slow down and transform all-day, all-night recording with Danger Mouse into adrenaline, into words that are at once dark and light, into sounds that are overlapping with danger and charm. The whole “evil friends” thing was just a happy writing accident, by the way, a lyrical coincidence belying a collaborative friendship Burton says taught him, too: “I felt like I was watching them do something special and I wanted to let them do it, so sometimes I was more hands-on, but sometimes more hands-off than I had been with anyone,” says Danger Mouse. “They had done enough albums that I thought it would be fun to shake it up a little bit.” > “In the beginning, I asked Brian why he had wanted to talk about making a record,” recalls Gourley. “And he admitted that he was surprised when he saw us live. ‘I didn’t know you guys could sound like that.’ There had been this perception that we’ve been something else — and I’ve noticed it, at festivals, everywhere — that we were something we were not. But then we got in a room with Danger Mouse, to the place where we could just throw that out, wake up and say, Here we are. We’re this band! Let’s just make it, together.” > Read more on Last.fm. [last.fm](https://www.last.fm/music/Portugal.+The+Man): 648,228 listeners, 27,998,171 plays tags: *experimental, indie, seen live, indie rock, Progressive* ^^Please ^^downvote ^^if ^^incorrect! ^^Self-deletes ^^if ^^score ^^is ^^0.

  • Adolf Weissnat

    **Portugal. The Man** [artist pic](https://lastfm-img2.akamaized.net/i/u/252/d308aa59eb5b466b8db1184120ccb045.png) > Portugal. The Man is an experimental indie rock four-piece centered on frontman John Baldwin Gourley’s abstract musical approach and corresponding upbringing. He was raised in a sort of technological isolation: his log cabin home in the winter wasteland of the fringes of Wasilla, Alaska was powered by a generator and had no telephone. Both of his parents helped completely immerse him in the unique lifestyle that comes with a land of seasonal darkness and perpetual cold with their jobs as dog sled mushers. Gourley’s innate curiosity and individual spirit combined with a fascination with science fiction and experiences of homelessness create a distinctly transcendent sound that is always open to interpretation and change. > Even though members were born in Alaska, the band formed in Portland, Oregon, USA, in 2004 with the union of Gourley (vocals, guitar, organ, machines) and his childhood friend Zachary Scott Carothers (Bass, percussion, vocals) after the break-up of their band Anatomy Of A Ghost. Jason Sechrist (Drums and Gang) of Portland, OR joined in 2005. Current lineup includes Ryan Neighbors (Piano, Rhodes, Organ, Synth, Vocals). They are however known for fluidity in both their music and their lineup and often feature guest appearances. > The band’s debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” was released by Fearless Records on January 24th, 2006. > On June 22, 2007 they released their second full length, Church Mouth. The band then set out on a full US tour with support from The Photo Atlas, Play Radio Play, Tera Melos, and The Only Children. They then toured Europe, and followed it up with another US headlining tour with support from Rocky Votolato and Great Depression during September and October. Following this tour, they joined Thursday on a short east coast tour in November alongside Circle Takes the Square. > Portugal. The Man collaborated with the band The Sound of Animals Fighting on the re-release of their first album, “Tiger and the Duke.” Portugal. The Man remixed three of the songs on that album. > On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man would release Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons, with a partnership with EQUAL VISION RECORDS. The album was released September 16, 2008. > On April 9th, 2009, Portugal. The Man announced a fourth studio album, The Satanic Satanist. It was released on July 21, 2009. > As of October 2009, It was announced through Twitter that Portugal. The Man have completed another album entitled “American Ghetto” which combines their progressive rock style from their latter albums with some of the electo style from their “Its Complicated Being A Wizard” release. A listening party was held for a group of 17 fans in Los Angeles CA. The album was released on March 2, 2010. > The Got it All (This Can’t Be Living Now) Songfacts reports the band’s sixth album and first for Atlantic, In the Mountain in the Cloud, was released on July 19, 2011. > It was last spring 2012, and John Gourley—frontman of Portugal. The Man—found himself in New York City about to ring the bell at Danger Mouse’s apartment--a long way from his current home in Portland, and farther still from his real home in Alaska. Six full-length albums in six years, nonstop touring, a stint with The Black Keys and festival stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza—up until this moment, Portugal. The Man embodied all dimensions of DIY rock range. > When it came time to begin work on the seventh album, Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. From building houses with his father in Alaska to building a devoted fanbase, he had sought partnerships. So he took a bold step — bold for a proven band, bolder still for its uncertainty of sound — a step up to the apartment of a possible collaborator, Danger Mouse. > “I walked into his place,” Gourley remembers now. “And it wasn’t going to happen. He was like, ‘Hey, man, just so you know, I don’t really want to record a rock band.’ And I was a little relieved. We’d done this by ourselves before, and we knew we could do it by ourselves again.” > But then they got to listening, and to talking about how much Danger Mouse had loved In the Mountain in the Cloud — the 2011 followup to Portugal. The Man’s break out record The Satanic Satanist. “From that very first meeting,” says Danger Mouse, “we were very ambitious about what we could do…otherwise there was no point. So we decided: Let’s try and make something really special.” > So Danger Mouse — aka Brian Burton, the five-time Grammy award winning producer behind everything from Gnarls Barkley and Beck to The Black Keys and now U2 —and the band agreed that they were game for the challenge and began production on what would become Evil Friends, the undaunted re-awakening for Portugal. The Man. As much as their collaborative imaginations melded, to construct songs that lived up to the ambitious visions they had would take some time. After all, here was a band with an evolving lineup — Kyle O’Quin on keyboards, Noah Gersh on guitar/percussion/keyboards, and Kane Ritchotte on drums joined Zach Carothers on bass and vocals and Gourley on lead vocals and guitar — building new songs with a new producer trying to do something neither of them had done before. > They went, together, to Los Angeles and worked through several sessions — at Mondo Studios, Eltro Vox Studios, and Kingsize Soundlabs. The band worked months longer than they ever had on one thing. And somehow — maybe it was the collaboration in the air, or maybe sheer will — they finally stopped searching and started realizing: “What really brought our record together was getting past that period of looking for something, and figuring out how to do something really new, really hard, and really satisfying,” said Gourley. > Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man’s previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group’s tumbling fever dream. Where the 2009 hit People Say was a cheery guitar rally, the new title track is a bells-and-balls ballad emerging from darkness into a pipe-whistling punky thump, albeit with Gourley’s trademark falsetto and thundering guitar. And yet here is Evil Friends swirling, like a tornado that sends a napping child toward Oz, into something of a tale of Portugal. The Man’s arousal from when it decided to make something special to when it actually did: The weighted down questions of “Plastic Soldiers” (Could it be we got lost in the summer? / Well I know you know that it’s over) give way to the confident melodies of “Modern Jesus” (The only rule we need is never giving up / The only faith we have is faith in us) and finally, brazenly, to the anthem “Smile” (We watched the sun come up / But took it down to hide it / Seems like the spring has come and gone / It felt like forever). > It took all year, and Portugal. The Man — a group guaranteed for seven years to pump out a record, to tour and tour and tour, to tuck its fans to bed at night with a community of psychedelic rock — had learned to slow down and transform all-day, all-night recording with Danger Mouse into adrenaline, into words that are at once dark and light, into sounds that are overlapping with danger and charm. The whole “evil friends” thing was just a happy writing accident, by the way, a lyrical coincidence belying a collaborative friendship Burton says taught him, too: “I felt like I was watching them do something special and I wanted to let them do it, so sometimes I was more hands-on, but sometimes more hands-off than I had been with anyone,” says Danger Mouse. “They had done enough albums that I thought it would be fun to shake it up a little bit.” > “In the beginning, I asked Brian why he had wanted to talk about making a record,” recalls Gourley. “And he admitted that he was surprised when he saw us live. ‘I didn’t know you guys could sound like that.’ There had been this perception that we’ve been something else — and I’ve noticed it, at festivals, everywhere — that we were something we were not. But then we got in a room with Danger Mouse, to the place where we could just throw that out, wake up and say, Here we are. We’re this band! Let’s just make it, together.” > Read more on Last.fm. [last.fm](https://www.last.fm/music/Portugal.+The+Man): 652,652 listeners, 28,137,205 plays tags: *experimental, indie, seen live, indie rock, Progressive* ^^Please ^^downvote ^^if ^^incorrect! ^^Self-deletes ^^if ^^score ^^is ^^0.

  • Aniyah Gleason

    **Portugal. The Man** [artist pic](https://lastfm-img2.akamaized.net/i/u/252/d308aa59eb5b466b8db1184120ccb045.png) > Portugal. The Man is an experimental indie rock four-piece centered on frontman John Baldwin Gourley’s abstract musical approach and corresponding upbringing. He was raised in a sort of technological isolation: his log cabin home in the winter wasteland of the fringes of Wasilla, Alaska was powered by a generator and had no telephone. Both of his parents helped completely immerse him in the unique lifestyle that comes with a land of seasonal darkness and perpetual cold with their jobs as dog sled mushers. Gourley’s innate curiosity and individual spirit combined with a fascination with science fiction and experiences of homelessness create a distinctly transcendent sound that is always open to interpretation and change. > Even though members were born in Alaska, the band formed in Portland, Oregon, USA, in 2004 with the union of Gourley (vocals, guitar, organ, machines) and his childhood friend Zachary Scott Carothers (Bass, percussion, vocals) after the break-up of their band Anatomy Of A Ghost. Jason Sechrist (Drums and Gang) of Portland, OR joined in 2005. Current lineup includes Ryan Neighbors (Piano, Rhodes, Organ, Synth, Vocals). They are however known for fluidity in both their music and their lineup and often feature guest appearances. > The band’s debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” was released by Fearless Records on January 24th, 2006. > On June 22, 2007 they released their second full length, Church Mouth. The band then set out on a full US tour with support from The Photo Atlas, Play Radio Play, Tera Melos, and The Only Children. They then toured Europe, and followed it up with another US headlining tour with support from Rocky Votolato and Great Depression during September and October. Following this tour, they joined Thursday on a short east coast tour in November alongside Circle Takes the Square. > Portugal. The Man collaborated with the band The Sound of Animals Fighting on the re-release of their first album, “Tiger and the Duke.” Portugal. The Man remixed three of the songs on that album. > On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man would release Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons, with a partnership with EQUAL VISION RECORDS. The album was released September 16, 2008. > On April 9th, 2009, Portugal. The Man announced a fourth studio album, The Satanic Satanist. It was released on July 21, 2009. > As of October 2009, It was announced through Twitter that Portugal. The Man have completed another album entitled “American Ghetto” which combines their progressive rock style from their latter albums with some of the electo style from their “Its Complicated Being A Wizard” release. A listening party was held for a group of 17 fans in Los Angeles CA. The album was released on March 2, 2010. > The Got it All (This Can’t Be Living Now) Songfacts reports the band’s sixth album and first for Atlantic, In the Mountain in the Cloud, was released on July 19, 2011. > It was last spring 2012, and John Gourley—frontman of Portugal. The Man—found himself in New York City about to ring the bell at Danger Mouse’s apartment--a long way from his current home in Portland, and farther still from his real home in Alaska. Six full-length albums in six years, nonstop touring, a stint with The Black Keys and festival stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza—up until this moment, Portugal. The Man embodied all dimensions of DIY rock range. > When it came time to begin work on the seventh album, Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. From building houses with his father in Alaska to building a devoted fanbase, he had sought partnerships. So he took a bold step — bold for a proven band, bolder still for its uncertainty of sound — a step up to the apartment of a possible collaborator, Danger Mouse. > “I walked into his place,” Gourley remembers now. “And it wasn’t going to happen. He was like, ‘Hey, man, just so you know, I don’t really want to record a rock band.’ And I was a little relieved. We’d done this by ourselves before, and we knew we could do it by ourselves again.” > But then they got to listening, and to talking about how much Danger Mouse had loved In the Mountain in the Cloud — the 2011 followup to Portugal. The Man’s break out record The Satanic Satanist. “From that very first meeting,” says Danger Mouse, “we were very ambitious about what we could do…otherwise there was no point. So we decided: Let’s try and make something really special.” > So Danger Mouse — aka Brian Burton, the five-time Grammy award winning producer behind everything from Gnarls Barkley and Beck to The Black Keys and now U2 —and the band agreed that they were game for the challenge and began production on what would become Evil Friends, the undaunted re-awakening for Portugal. The Man. As much as their collaborative imaginations melded, to construct songs that lived up to the ambitious visions they had would take some time. After all, here was a band with an evolving lineup — Kyle O’Quin on keyboards, Noah Gersh on guitar/percussion/keyboards, and Kane Ritchotte on drums joined Zach Carothers on bass and vocals and Gourley on lead vocals and guitar — building new songs with a new producer trying to do something neither of them had done before. > They went, together, to Los Angeles and worked through several sessions — at Mondo Studios, Eltro Vox Studios, and Kingsize Soundlabs. The band worked months longer than they ever had on one thing. And somehow — maybe it was the collaboration in the air, or maybe sheer will — they finally stopped searching and started realizing: “What really brought our record together was getting past that period of looking for something, and figuring out how to do something really new, really hard, and really satisfying,” said Gourley. > Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man’s previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group’s tumbling fever dream. Where the 2009 hit People Say was a cheery guitar rally, the new title track is a bells-and-balls ballad emerging from darkness into a pipe-whistling punky thump, albeit with Gourley’s trademark falsetto and thundering guitar. And yet here is Evil Friends swirling, like a tornado that sends a napping child toward Oz, into something of a tale of Portugal. The Man’s arousal from when it decided to make something special to when it actually did: The weighted down questions of “Plastic Soldiers” (Could it be we got lost in the summer? / Well I know you know that it’s over) give way to the confident melodies of “Modern Jesus” (The only rule we need is never giving up / The only faith we have is faith in us) and finally, brazenly, to the anthem “Smile” (We watched the sun come up / But took it down to hide it / Seems like the spring has come and gone / It felt like forever). > It took all year, and Portugal. The Man — a group guaranteed for seven years to pump out a record, to tour and tour and tour, to tuck its fans to bed at night with a community of psychedelic rock — had learned to slow down and transform all-day, all-night recording with Danger Mouse into adrenaline, into words that are at once dark and light, into sounds that are overlapping with danger and charm. The whole “evil friends” thing was just a happy writing accident, by the way, a lyrical coincidence belying a collaborative friendship Burton says taught him, too: “I felt like I was watching them do something special and I wanted to let them do it, so sometimes I was more hands-on, but sometimes more hands-off than I had been with anyone,” says Danger Mouse. “They had done enough albums that I thought it would be fun to shake it up a little bit.” > “In the beginning, I asked Brian why he had wanted to talk about making a record,” recalls Gourley. “And he admitted that he was surprised when he saw us live. ‘I didn’t know you guys could sound like that.’ There had been this perception that we’ve been something else — and I’ve noticed it, at festivals, everywhere — that we were something we were not. But then we got in a room with Danger Mouse, to the place where we could just throw that out, wake up and say, Here we are. We’re this band! Let’s just make it, together.” > Read more on Last.fm. [last.fm](https://www.last.fm/music/Portugal.+The+Man): 654,034 listeners, 28,179,807 plays tags: *experimental, indie, seen live, indie rock, Progressive* ^^Please ^^downvote ^^if ^^incorrect! ^^Self-deletes ^^if ^^score ^^is ^^0.

  • Libbie Dibbert

    **Portugal. The Man** [artist pic](https://lastfm-img2.akamaized.net/i/u/252/d308aa59eb5b466b8db1184120ccb045.png) > Portugal. The Man is an experimental indie rock four-piece centered on frontman John Baldwin Gourley’s abstract musical approach and corresponding upbringing. He was raised in a sort of technological isolation: his log cabin home in the winter wasteland of the fringes of Wasilla, Alaska was powered by a generator and had no telephone. Both of his parents helped completely immerse him in the unique lifestyle that comes with a land of seasonal darkness and perpetual cold with their jobs as dog sled mushers. Gourley’s innate curiosity and individual spirit combined with a fascination with science fiction and experiences of homelessness create a distinctly transcendent sound that is always open to interpretation and change. > Even though members were born in Alaska, the band formed in Portland, Oregon, USA, in 2004 with the union of Gourley (vocals, guitar, organ, machines) and his childhood friend Zachary Scott Carothers (Bass, percussion, vocals) after the break-up of their band Anatomy Of A Ghost. Jason Sechrist (Drums and Gang) of Portland, OR joined in 2005. Current lineup includes Ryan Neighbors (Piano, Rhodes, Organ, Synth, Vocals). They are however known for fluidity in both their music and their lineup and often feature guest appearances. > The band’s debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” was released by Fearless Records on January 24th, 2006. > On June 22, 2007 they released their second full length, Church Mouth. The band then set out on a full US tour with support from The Photo Atlas, Play Radio Play, Tera Melos, and The Only Children. They then toured Europe, and followed it up with another US headlining tour with support from Rocky Votolato and Great Depression during September and October. Following this tour, they joined Thursday on a short east coast tour in November alongside Circle Takes the Square. > Portugal. The Man collaborated with the band The Sound of Animals Fighting on the re-release of their first album, “Tiger and the Duke.” Portugal. The Man remixed three of the songs on that album. > On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man would release Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons, with a partnership with EQUAL VISION RECORDS. The album was released September 16, 2008. > On April 9th, 2009, Portugal. The Man announced a fourth studio album, The Satanic Satanist. It was released on July 21, 2009. > As of October 2009, It was announced through Twitter that Portugal. The Man have completed another album entitled “American Ghetto” which combines their progressive rock style from their latter albums with some of the electo style from their “Its Complicated Being A Wizard” release. A listening party was held for a group of 17 fans in Los Angeles CA. The album was released on March 2, 2010. > The Got it All (This Can’t Be Living Now) Songfacts reports the band’s sixth album and first for Atlantic, In the Mountain in the Cloud, was released on July 19, 2011. > It was last spring 2012, and John Gourley—frontman of Portugal. The Man—found himself in New York City about to ring the bell at Danger Mouse’s apartment--a long way from his current home in Portland, and farther still from his real home in Alaska. Six full-length albums in six years, nonstop touring, a stint with The Black Keys and festival stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza—up until this moment, Portugal. The Man embodied all dimensions of DIY rock range. > When it came time to begin work on the seventh album, Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. From building houses with his father in Alaska to building a devoted fanbase, he had sought partnerships. So he took a bold step — bold for a proven band, bolder still for its uncertainty of sound — a step up to the apartment of a possible collaborator, Danger Mouse. > “I walked into his place,” Gourley remembers now. “And it wasn’t going to happen. He was like, ‘Hey, man, just so you know, I don’t really want to record a rock band.’ And I was a little relieved. We’d done this by ourselves before, and we knew we could do it by ourselves again.” > But then they got to listening, and to talking about how much Danger Mouse had loved In the Mountain in the Cloud — the 2011 followup to Portugal. The Man’s break out record The Satanic Satanist. “From that very first meeting,” says Danger Mouse, “we were very ambitious about what we could do…otherwise there was no point. So we decided: Let’s try and make something really special.” > So Danger Mouse — aka Brian Burton, the five-time Grammy award winning producer behind everything from Gnarls Barkley and Beck to The Black Keys and now U2 —and the band agreed that they were game for the challenge and began production on what would become Evil Friends, the undaunted re-awakening for Portugal. The Man. As much as their collaborative imaginations melded, to construct songs that lived up to the ambitious visions they had would take some time. After all, here was a band with an evolving lineup — Kyle O’Quin on keyboards, Noah Gersh on guitar/percussion/keyboards, and Kane Ritchotte on drums joined Zach Carothers on bass and vocals and Gourley on lead vocals and guitar — building new songs with a new producer trying to do something neither of them had done before. > They went, together, to Los Angeles and worked through several sessions — at Mondo Studios, Eltro Vox Studios, and Kingsize Soundlabs. The band worked months longer than they ever had on one thing. And somehow — maybe it was the collaboration in the air, or maybe sheer will — they finally stopped searching and started realizing: “What really brought our record together was getting past that period of looking for something, and figuring out how to do something really new, really hard, and really satisfying,” said Gourley. > Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man’s previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group’s tumbling fever dream. Where the 2009 hit People Say was a cheery guitar rally, the new title track is a bells-and-balls ballad emerging from darkness into a pipe-whistling punky thump, albeit with Gourley’s trademark falsetto and thundering guitar. And yet here is Evil Friends swirling, like a tornado that sends a napping child toward Oz, into something of a tale of Portugal. The Man’s arousal from when it decided to make something special to when it actually did: The weighted down questions of “Plastic Soldiers” (Could it be we got lost in the summer? / Well I know you know that it’s over) give way to the confident melodies of “Modern Jesus” (The only rule we need is never giving up / The only faith we have is faith in us) and finally, brazenly, to the anthem “Smile” (We watched the sun come up / But took it down to hide it / Seems like the spring has come and gone / It felt like forever). > It took all year, and Portugal. The Man — a group guaranteed for seven years to pump out a record, to tour and tour and tour, to tuck its fans to bed at night with a community of psychedelic rock — had learned to slow down and transform all-day, all-night recording with Danger Mouse into adrenaline, into words that are at once dark and light, into sounds that are overlapping with danger and charm. The whole “evil friends” thing was just a happy writing accident, by the way, a lyrical coincidence belying a collaborative friendship Burton says taught him, too: “I felt like I was watching them do something special and I wanted to let them do it, so sometimes I was more hands-on, but sometimes more hands-off than I had been with anyone,” says Danger Mouse. “They had done enough albums that I thought it would be fun to shake it up a little bit.” > “In the beginning, I asked Brian why he had wanted to talk about making a record,” recalls Gourley. “And he admitted that he was surprised when he saw us live. ‘I didn’t know you guys could sound like that.’ There had been this perception that we’ve been something else — and I’ve noticed it, at festivals, everywhere — that we were something we were not. But then we got in a room with Danger Mouse, to the place where we could just throw that out, wake up and say, Here we are. We’re this band! Let’s just make it, together.” > Read more on Last.fm. [last.fm](https://www.last.fm/music/Portugal.+The+Man): 656,352 listeners, 28,254,790 plays tags: *experimental, indie, seen live, indie rock, Progressive* ^^Please ^^downvote ^^if ^^incorrect! ^^Self-deletes ^^if ^^score ^^is ^^0.

  • Edwin Gorczany

    **Portugal. The Man** [artist pic](https://lastfm-img2.akamaized.net/i/u/252/d308aa59eb5b466b8db1184120ccb045.png) > Portugal. The Man is an experimental indie rock four-piece centered on frontman John Baldwin Gourley’s abstract musical approach and corresponding upbringing. He was raised in a sort of technological isolation: his log cabin home in the winter wasteland of the fringes of Wasilla, Alaska was powered by a generator and had no telephone. Both of his parents helped completely immerse him in the unique lifestyle that comes with a land of seasonal darkness and perpetual cold with their jobs as dog sled mushers. Gourley’s innate curiosity and individual spirit combined with a fascination with science fiction and experiences of homelessness create a distinctly transcendent sound that is always open to interpretation and change. > Even though members were born in Alaska, the band formed in Portland, Oregon, USA, in 2004 with the union of Gourley (vocals, guitar, organ, machines) and his childhood friend Zachary Scott Carothers (Bass, percussion, vocals) after the break-up of their band Anatomy Of A Ghost. Jason Sechrist (Drums and Gang) of Portland, OR joined in 2005. Current lineup includes Ryan Neighbors (Piano, Rhodes, Organ, Synth, Vocals). They are however known for fluidity in both their music and their lineup and often feature guest appearances. > The band’s debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” was released by Fearless Records on January 24th, 2006. > On June 22, 2007 they released their second full length, Church Mouth. The band then set out on a full US tour with support from The Photo Atlas, Play Radio Play, Tera Melos, and The Only Children. They then toured Europe, and followed it up with another US headlining tour with support from Rocky Votolato and Great Depression during September and October. Following this tour, they joined Thursday on a short east coast tour in November alongside Circle Takes the Square. > Portugal. The Man collaborated with the band The Sound of Animals Fighting on the re-release of their first album, “Tiger and the Duke.” Portugal. The Man remixed three of the songs on that album. > On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man would release Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons, with a partnership with EQUAL VISION RECORDS. The album was released September 16, 2008. > On April 9th, 2009, Portugal. The Man announced a fourth studio album, The Satanic Satanist. It was released on July 21, 2009. > As of October 2009, It was announced through Twitter that Portugal. The Man have completed another album entitled “American Ghetto” which combines their progressive rock style from their latter albums with some of the electo style from their “Its Complicated Being A Wizard” release. A listening party was held for a group of 17 fans in Los Angeles CA. The album was released on March 2, 2010. > The Got it All (This Can’t Be Living Now) Songfacts reports the band’s sixth album and first for Atlantic, In the Mountain in the Cloud, was released on July 19, 2011. > It was last spring 2012, and John Gourley—frontman of Portugal. The Man—found himself in New York City about to ring the bell at Danger Mouse’s apartment--a long way from his current home in Portland, and farther still from his real home in Alaska. Six full-length albums in six years, nonstop touring, a stint with The Black Keys and festival stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza—up until this moment, Portugal. The Man embodied all dimensions of DIY rock range. > When it came time to begin work on the seventh album, Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. From building houses with his father in Alaska to building a devoted fanbase, he had sought partnerships. So he took a bold step — bold for a proven band, bolder still for its uncertainty of sound — a step up to the apartment of a possible collaborator, Danger Mouse. > “I walked into his place,” Gourley remembers now. “And it wasn’t going to happen. He was like, ‘Hey, man, just so you know, I don’t really want to record a rock band.’ And I was a little relieved. We’d done this by ourselves before, and we knew we could do it by ourselves again.” > But then they got to listening, and to talking about how much Danger Mouse had loved In the Mountain in the Cloud — the 2011 followup to Portugal. The Man’s break out record The Satanic Satanist. “From that very first meeting,” says Danger Mouse, “we were very ambitious about what we could do…otherwise there was no point. So we decided: Let’s try and make something really special.” > So Danger Mouse — aka Brian Burton, the five-time Grammy award winning producer behind everything from Gnarls Barkley and Beck to The Black Keys and now U2 —and the band agreed that they were game for the challenge and began production on what would become Evil Friends, the undaunted re-awakening for Portugal. The Man. As much as their collaborative imaginations melded, to construct songs that lived up to the ambitious visions they had would take some time. After all, here was a band with an evolving lineup — Kyle O’Quin on keyboards, Noah Gersh on guitar/percussion/keyboards, and Kane Ritchotte on drums joined Zach Carothers on bass and vocals and Gourley on lead vocals and guitar — building new songs with a new producer trying to do something neither of them had done before. > They went, together, to Los Angeles and worked through several sessions — at Mondo Studios, Eltro Vox Studios, and Kingsize Soundlabs. The band worked months longer than they ever had on one thing. And somehow — maybe it was the collaboration in the air, or maybe sheer will — they finally stopped searching and started realizing: “What really brought our record together was getting past that period of looking for something, and figuring out how to do something really new, really hard, and really satisfying,” said Gourley. > Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man’s previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group’s tumbling fever dream. Where the 2009 hit People Say was a cheery guitar rally, the new title track is a bells-and-balls ballad emerging from darkness into a pipe-whistling punky thump, albeit with Gourley’s trademark falsetto and thundering guitar. And yet here is Evil Friends swirling, like a tornado that sends a napping child toward Oz, into something of a tale of Portugal. The Man’s arousal from when it decided to make something special to when it actually did: The weighted down questions of “Plastic Soldiers” (Could it be we got lost in the summer? / Well I know you know that it’s over) give way to the confident melodies of “Modern Jesus” (The only rule we need is never giving up / The only faith we have is faith in us) and finally, brazenly, to the anthem “Smile” (We watched the sun come up / But took it down to hide it / Seems like the spring has come and gone / It felt like forever). > It took all year, and Portugal. The Man — a group guaranteed for seven years to pump out a record, to tour and tour and tour, to tuck its fans to bed at night with a community of psychedelic rock — had learned to slow down and transform all-day, all-night recording with Danger Mouse into adrenaline, into words that are at once dark and light, into sounds that are overlapping with danger and charm. The whole “evil friends” thing was just a happy writing accident, by the way, a lyrical coincidence belying a collaborative friendship Burton says taught him, too: “I felt like I was watching them do something special and I wanted to let them do it, so sometimes I was more hands-on, but sometimes more hands-off than I had been with anyone,” says Danger Mouse. “They had done enough albums that I thought it would be fun to shake it up a little bit.” > “In the beginning, I asked Brian why he had wanted to talk about making a record,” recalls Gourley. “And he admitted that he was surprised when he saw us live. ‘I didn’t know you guys could sound like that.’ There had been this perception that we’ve been something else — and I’ve noticed it, at festivals, everywhere — that we were something we were not. But then we got in a room with Danger Mouse, to the place where we could just throw that out, wake up and say, Here we are. We’re this band! Let’s just make it, together.” > Read more on Last.fm. [last.fm](https://www.last.fm/music/Portugal.+The+Man): 657,286 listeners, 28,285,841 plays tags: *experimental, indie, seen live, indie rock, Progressive* ^^Please ^^downvote ^^if ^^incorrect! ^^Self-deletes ^^if ^^score ^^is ^^0.

  • Zena Lind

    12:29. I was beginning to think she wouldn't show up. I looked at my rumpled shirt, a red, white, and blue plaid button-down with stripes just a centimeter wide creating a patriotic checkerboard on my torso. My belt, shoes, and khaki pants were just fine, but I didn't even think about ironing my shirt. She's gonna have to live with that. The door opened once more. Four teenagers walked in, hand in hand and hand in hand. They grabbed a booth in the back corner, doing what teenagers did best, being rambunctious and forgetting that anyone other than them existed. I watched as each human link parted to allow them to slide into the booth, each couple on the same bench, facing each other. I had been on many double dates in my life, but not at 12:30, or at a place like this. The last double date I went on was to a mall, with Chris and his girlfriend, Sarah, and me with my girlfriend at the time, Angie. God, how I missed Angie. I remember sitting in the food court of the mall, with Chris, the girls going to play on the carousel because they wanted to, and he and I stayed behind to finish the Chick-Fil-A they hadn't had room in their stomachs for and I told him how pretty they looked and how I never wanted anything to change. Looking back, I probably jinxed myself, but I don't believe in magic like that. I remember a few weeks later, when Angie showed up at my door with a letter in her hand, and I could finally run upstairs, and grab the letter that had been sitting on my dresser in front of the mirror, the one that had been taunting me every since I had received it months ago. It was a vivid memory. We ripped open the letters at the same time, read the words silently to ourselves, and looked at each other, with the same tears in our eyes, but for different reasons. She was going to Duke. I was going somewhere else. I remember at graduation, when she walked on stage for her diploma, and our principal, Gregory Brodecheur, announced her name, and her accolades, and her college. I remember both of our families erupting until cheers. And then, my name, Matthew Jameson, University of Virginia, 173 miles away, 3 hours and 18 minutes driving from where she would be. I remember finding her in the crowd and kissing her, and telling her how proud I was of her, and that we still had summer. And I remember that summer, and how quickly it went until we had to say goodbye. I remember how we fell apart. We just stopped. Too much of everything for anything of something. We texted less and less frequently, until it become known as infrequent, and then rare, and then nonexistent. I remember how I stood in my dorm, my new best friend, Kyle Berenhout, standing there for support, how I dialed her number again and she picked up, and she didn't even remember who I was. How I asked her to meet up again, three and a half years later, and how she said yes, and how it was now 12:33 and I was standing in a McAlistair's waiting for her to show up, simultaneously hoping she would and expecting she wouldn't. I watched the teenagers get their drinks, and glanced casually at a menu. I had never been to a McAlistair's before, and it seemed like a nice enough place to meet. The Internet reviews said that it was good, anyways, and I lost myself to the thoughts of what I was going to eat rather than what I was going to say. It wasn't until 12:38 that a sudden cold January breeze swept the floor of the waiting area, announcing her arrival, as if err beauty couldn't already do that for her. I snapped out of my food trance immediately and stood up, unable to believe that she had shown up but extraordinarily happy she had done so. "Hey, sorry, I ran into some traffic on the way up, I hope you don't mind," she said, the words pouring out of her mouth like she was an angel reciting the words of God. I instantly remembered why I fell in love with her. Everything about her was perfect. "Nice to see you again." Her tone was soft and kind, but the words were curt, like she wanted the conversation over with. I realized it was my turn to speak. "Yeah, no, it's fine, really, I just wanted to get here a little early in case we needed to reserve seats. Turns out we don't." I smiled shyly and extended my arms. She walked towards me and accepted my embrace, folding herself into me so that my chin fit on the crown of her head, like it had been before, giving me hope that maybe, just maybe, nothing had changed. We took a table next to the window. I ordered a coffee to drink, the way I always liked it, with just a tad of cream and sugar, barely enough to trust someone else with putting in such a precise amount. She wanted an unsweet iced tea. She took her phone out of her purse and looked at me. "For old times' sake?" I smiled, thinking it odd that she remembered something so small as our "no phones at dinner dates" rule from four years ago. I took out my phone and turned it upside down, placing it next to her upside down phone in the center of the table. The faded self-tanned leather on my self-made case made my phone look very old laying next to her new, bubbly, and bright pink case for her phone. The waitress came with our drinks and left to serve another table, giving us time to potentially order food. But, ordering food was not the most pressing matter on my mind anymore. I looked at her as the smile faded from my lips and let myself finally ask the two words that had haunted me since the second semester of my freshman year: "What happened?" The look on Angie's face died with those words. She took on a new complexion, one plagued with guilt and regret. "I don't know," she said, "but I'm sorry." She looked down at the floor. My turn again. "Why are you sorry? You didn't do anything." After a lengthy pause, I started to speak again, but she stopped me. "That's the problem. *I didn't do anything.* I should have. I should have called you more often, and made time for you, driven to you on the weekends, should have arranged more of these, there are so many things I wish I could do that I simply just didn't do. There were nights where I cried myself to sleep, and nights where my roommate comforted me, and nights where I drank until I threw up and it put me to sleep because I couldn't stop thinking about the things that I must have done to you by not doing anything for us." She was looking back up now, her eyes red and her visage on the obvious brink of breaking into tears. These weren't the happy tears I knew from when she got a car for her birthday, or when she graduated, but they weren't the angry tears, the tears she cried when her mother died of cancer, or the time I couldn't go to her birthday party because of a baseball travel trip. These were a new breed of tears, the tears that show disappointment, that show true sadness, regret, and shame. My pastor always said that there was a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is regretting what you didn't do. Shame is regretting what you did. And right now, Angie and I knew both all too well. I reached across the table automatically. I didn't even think about it, and from how quickly I felt her hand latch onto mine, I was guessing that she didn't either. I looked at her and said, "You don't know how much of that was the exact same for me." Angie blinked a couple of times, parted her lips, my name escaping in a tone that suggested that her heart had simply shattered, just the faintest whisper, but before she could continue I began again. "My first drink was because of you. My roommate, Kyle, he was the party type. He had a bottle of Grey Goose in his closet. He poured me some, and I drank it, and I tried so hard to forgive you, and eventually I did, but not before I did some really sketchy shit, Ang." That was her nickname. I came up with it, no one else called her that, the shortened version of the shortened version of her name. "Matt, I really do-" "I know you don't want to hear this, and trust me, I don't want to be admitting it, but it's true. We aren't all that different from each other." I drew in a shaky breath before letting loose years of pain that reverberated throughout both of our bodies. "That's why I want you back. That's why I need you back." Angie was quiet for a long time after that. During that silence, the waitress came by to check on us, but noticed the tension and thought it best to steer clear. She was smart. I would make sure to tip her well. I sipped my coffee, waiting patiently, checking my watch to figure out how long we had been here, and been silent for. She was so smart, the way she thought things through, how meticulous she was with her studies and her life in general, the way that she- "Okay." And then she was standing, a quick step towards me, her lips on mine once more, until I finally found it in me to push back, and I stood, and after a couple more seconds we broke away, and she collapsed into my chest, and whispered, "I needed that." The sobs began as soon as the last word crossed into my field of hearing. I looked around at the scene. Here I was, in an empty deli, with four teenagers, three waiters and waitresses and an elderly couple staring at me, holding my sobbing best friend in my arms and confused by the events that preceded it. But now, as far I was concerned, I was Angie's again, and she was mine again. And to me, that made everything okay.

  • Dakota Baumbach

    **Portugal. The Man** [artist pic](https://lastfm-img2.akamaized.net/i/u/252/d308aa59eb5b466b8db1184120ccb045.png) > Portugal. The Man is an experimental indie rock four-piece centered on frontman John Baldwin Gourley’s abstract musical approach and corresponding upbringing. He was raised in a sort of technological isolation: his log cabin home in the winter wasteland of the fringes of Wasilla, Alaska was powered by a generator and had no telephone. Both of his parents helped completely immerse him in the unique lifestyle that comes with a land of seasonal darkness and perpetual cold with their jobs as dog sled mushers. Gourley’s innate curiosity and individual spirit combined with a fascination with science fiction and experiences of homelessness create a distinctly transcendent sound that is always open to interpretation and change. > Even though members were born in Alaska, the band formed in Portland, Oregon, USA, in 2004 with the union of Gourley (vocals, guitar, organ, machines) and his childhood friend Zachary Scott Carothers (Bass, percussion, vocals) after the break-up of their band Anatomy Of A Ghost. Jason Sechrist (Drums and Gang) of Portland, OR joined in 2005. Current lineup includes Ryan Neighbors (Piano, Rhodes, Organ, Synth, Vocals). They are however known for fluidity in both their music and their lineup and often feature guest appearances. > The band’s debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” was released by Fearless Records on January 24th, 2006. > On June 22, 2007 they released their second full length, Church Mouth. The band then set out on a full US tour with support from The Photo Atlas, Play Radio Play, Tera Melos, and The Only Children. They then toured Europe, and followed it up with another US headlining tour with support from Rocky Votolato and Great Depression during September and October. Following this tour, they joined Thursday on a short east coast tour in November alongside Circle Takes the Square. > Portugal. The Man collaborated with the band The Sound of Animals Fighting on the re-release of their first album, “Tiger and the Duke.” Portugal. The Man remixed three of the songs on that album. > On July 30, 2008, it was announced that Portugal. The Man would release Censored Colors under its independent record label, Approaching AIRballoons, with a partnership with EQUAL VISION RECORDS. The album was released September 16, 2008. > On April 9th, 2009, Portugal. The Man announced a fourth studio album, The Satanic Satanist. It was released on July 21, 2009. > As of October 2009, It was announced through Twitter that Portugal. The Man have completed another album entitled “American Ghetto” which combines their progressive rock style from their latter albums with some of the electo style from their “Its Complicated Being A Wizard” release. A listening party was held for a group of 17 fans in Los Angeles CA. The album was released on March 2, 2010. > The Got it All (This Can’t Be Living Now) Songfacts reports the band’s sixth album and first for Atlantic, In the Mountain in the Cloud, was released on July 19, 2011. > It was last spring 2012, and John Gourley—frontman of Portugal. The Man—found himself in New York City about to ring the bell at Danger Mouse’s apartment--a long way from his current home in Portland, and farther still from his real home in Alaska. Six full-length albums in six years, nonstop touring, a stint with The Black Keys and festival stops at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza—up until this moment, Portugal. The Man embodied all dimensions of DIY rock range. > When it came time to begin work on the seventh album, Gourley thought long and hard about the next move and kept coming back to one concept: The most satisfying work is collaborative work. From building houses with his father in Alaska to building a devoted fanbase, he had sought partnerships. So he took a bold step — bold for a proven band, bolder still for its uncertainty of sound — a step up to the apartment of a possible collaborator, Danger Mouse. > “I walked into his place,” Gourley remembers now. “And it wasn’t going to happen. He was like, ‘Hey, man, just so you know, I don’t really want to record a rock band.’ And I was a little relieved. We’d done this by ourselves before, and we knew we could do it by ourselves again.” > But then they got to listening, and to talking about how much Danger Mouse had loved In the Mountain in the Cloud — the 2011 followup to Portugal. The Man’s break out record The Satanic Satanist. “From that very first meeting,” says Danger Mouse, “we were very ambitious about what we could do…otherwise there was no point. So we decided: Let’s try and make something really special.” > So Danger Mouse — aka Brian Burton, the five-time Grammy award winning producer behind everything from Gnarls Barkley and Beck to The Black Keys and now U2 —and the band agreed that they were game for the challenge and began production on what would become Evil Friends, the undaunted re-awakening for Portugal. The Man. As much as their collaborative imaginations melded, to construct songs that lived up to the ambitious visions they had would take some time. After all, here was a band with an evolving lineup — Kyle O’Quin on keyboards, Noah Gersh on guitar/percussion/keyboards, and Kane Ritchotte on drums joined Zach Carothers on bass and vocals and Gourley on lead vocals and guitar — building new songs with a new producer trying to do something neither of them had done before. > They went, together, to Los Angeles and worked through several sessions — at Mondo Studios, Eltro Vox Studios, and Kingsize Soundlabs. The band worked months longer than they ever had on one thing. And somehow — maybe it was the collaboration in the air, or maybe sheer will — they finally stopped searching and started realizing: “What really brought our record together was getting past that period of looking for something, and figuring out how to do something really new, really hard, and really satisfying,” said Gourley. > Each track on Evil Friends is as different from the next as Portugal. The Man’s previous records were from each other, which is to say a piece of a growing mindscape, and wholly a part of the group’s tumbling fever dream. Where the 2009 hit People Say was a cheery guitar rally, the new title track is a bells-and-balls ballad emerging from darkness into a pipe-whistling punky thump, albeit with Gourley’s trademark falsetto and thundering guitar. And yet here is Evil Friends swirling, like a tornado that sends a napping child toward Oz, into something of a tale of Portugal. The Man’s arousal from when it decided to make something special to when it actually did: The weighted down questions of “Plastic Soldiers” (Could it be we got lost in the summer? / Well I know you know that it’s over) give way to the confident melodies of “Modern Jesus” (The only rule we need is never giving up / The only faith we have is faith in us) and finally, brazenly, to the anthem “Smile” (We watched the sun come up / But took it down to hide it / Seems like the spring has come and gone / It felt like forever). > It took all year, and Portugal. The Man — a group guaranteed for seven years to pump out a record, to tour and tour and tour, to tuck its fans to bed at night with a community of psychedelic rock — had learned to slow down and transform all-day, all-night recording with Danger Mouse into adrenaline, into words that are at once dark and light, into sounds that are overlapping with danger and charm. The whole “evil friends” thing was just a happy writing accident, by the way, a lyrical coincidence belying a collaborative friendship Burton says taught him, too: “I felt like I was watching them do something special and I wanted to let them do it, so sometimes I was more hands-on, but sometimes more hands-off than I had been with anyone,” says Danger Mouse. “They had done enough albums that I thought it would be fun to shake it up a little bit.” > “In the beginning, I asked Brian why he had wanted to talk about making a record,” recalls Gourley. “And he admitted that he was surprised when he saw us live. ‘I didn’t know you guys could sound like that.’ There had been this perception that we’ve been something else — and I’ve noticed it, at festivals, everywhere — that we were something we were not. But then we got in a room with Danger Mouse, to the place where we could just throw that out, wake up and say, Here we are. We’re this band! Let’s just make it, together.” > Read more on Last.fm. [last.fm](https://www.last.fm/music/Portugal.+The+Man): 657,286 listeners, 28,285,841 plays tags: *experimental, indie, seen live, indie rock, Progressive* ^^Please ^^downvote ^^if ^^incorrect! ^^Self-deletes ^^if ^^score ^^is ^^0.

  • Alvera Prohaska

    You look at them, those five, and can't help but shake your head as you think of everything that has led up to this moment. A year ago, a bizarre meteor shower - rather a torrential downpour of meteors - slammed into Earth for 24 hours. Aside from the rampant destruction, there was another curious side effect, superpowers. Thousands of humans all over the globe displayed a fantastical array of abilities and in a matter of days, the world plunged into further chaos. These power imbued beings - out of either altruism or selfishness, nationalism or worldliness, religion or whatever - triggered the third world war. As bloody as it was, it had ended rather quickly and out of the ashes of dead arose an united world government, or rather, mostly united. Everyone considered this to ultimately be a blessing, with now a vast majority of the empowered being the guardians of humanity. Not you, however, to you it was a disgusting waste. So many of these heroes were nothing more than idiots compared to you, fools who by random luck happened to be in the right place at the right time. Random luck which had determined that you were 10 meters too far away from the meteor's impact to be granted such powers, and instead, it was these 5 fools. You kicked yourself for not realizing it was them earlier. You had been at the same party, it had been open to anyone in town. It wasn't necessarily your sort of thing - and it wasn't for many others who had been there - but you were curious about these sort of events, if they really were like the movies portrayed them to be. You had been outdoors, like almost everyone else, gazing up at the sky at it was lit up by billions of falling rocks, burning up in the atmosphere. Except some of these hadn't been just rocks. Kyle, a jack of all trades, master at seemingly most - and a loner on top of all that, had been leaning up against an old oak tree, sipping on something out of a dixie cup, probably liquor. Steven had been practically right next to him, a geek or nerd in all manners except academically, the only thing that stood out about Steven was his perfectly androgynous appearance. No one knew why Kyle tolerated Steven's presence, Kyle was rather antagonistic and condescending to practically everyone around him except Steven. Some rumored that there was something sexual between the two of them but it had never been confirmed or denied. Jasmine had been approaching Kyle and Steven in a confrontational manner with her boyfriend Daniel in tow. Jasmine was a rich spoiled brat and a bible thumper with a mission on top of that. Every suspected or known homosexual, drug user or non believer in school had been antagonized by her at least once about their life style choices. Daniel was a standout amongst the jocks, questionable amount of brains but his talent alone had colleges already scouting him. He at least seemed to have enough brains to know that maintaining his relationship with Jasmine and her family was good for his own future. Finally, there was Sara, who had been invisible to the attention of the other four as she had been on the other side of the tree, with her lover, carving their initials into the side of the tree. Sara was known to be openly bisexual and heavily hinted that she was into BDSM, especially the D/s part as the dom. These five, who would have otherwise have almost no business in the company of each other, were together when that meteor came down right on top of Sara's love interest. And you? You had been both intrigued by the meteor shower and been making your way out to leave the party, these festivities definitely weren't your cup of tea. And happened to be roughly 10 meters too far away. As this memory waltzes across your mind, you feel your heart beat harder in anger and jealousy and bitterness play across your tongue. You remember when the war broke out and some other bloke who lived in the neighboring town had gone on a rampage, a hulking monstrosity tearing its way through buildings, consuming those within its grasp, growing larger with every mouthful. You had been in staring in shock, not comprehending what had happened when it had ripped the side of the bus you were in open, busy eating those unfortunate enough to be trapped in the handful of twisted metal and vinyl it had torn away from the bus while reaching out with its other hand for you and those around you. Then someone, someone empowered clad in urban fatigues and a face mask to match had kicked the hand away. He had turned his attention towards you and those around you and said "this is the part where you run, or do you need a sheep dog to get you going?" before returning his attention to the monster and joining four others in putting it down. You had tried to shovel that memory somewhere else, it was humiliating. You had acted like everyone else, watching in shock and horror as impending doom approached, and you had done nothing to get away like a sheep or cattle brought to the slaughter. It was disgusting. A month ago, the pieces all came together. During PE, a game of dodge ball had started up, and a bunch of students had crowded together into a corner trying to draw as little attention to themselves as possible. A ball, thrown like a rocket had come at them causing the group to scatter as one of their flock was nailed with a ball. "This is the part where you run." Someone had called that out across the gym, you turned your attention to see Kyle gazing at the group of students fleeing to another corner with a sneer on his face as he casually plucked a ball out of the air that had been thrown at him. It clicked, you knew. And as rapidly as you had your epiphany, your emotions rose unleashing a hatred you had no idea was there. Why them? Why, out of everyone in the world, why them? Why not you? You had only been ten meters away, why hadn't that cursed meteor not fallen closer to you with your tremendous intellect? It shouldn't be them. Now it came down all to this one moment, you approaching the five of them, sitting around a table, enjoying their lunch, cajoling and laughing with one another. You sit next to Sara unannounced, drawing questioning looks from everyone else at the table. You smile, trying to look as innocent as possible but you can't help but feel that smirk emerging upon your face. As you remove your jacket, you see a dawn of realization cross Kyle's face as he grabs Steven, turning his body as if to launch himself away from the table while yelling out, "Bomb!" You can't lose this moment, and so in turn you scream out, "Don't you fucking move or I'll blow us and everyone around us sky high!" Kyle freezes, everyone, in fact freezes. For a moment, dead silence. Then madness breaks forth as all the students and faculty make a mad dash for their lives. Except those at the table, your table. Sara simmers in rage, Daniel looks confused and startled, Jasmine stares at you in despair, Steven constantly shifts his gaze between everyone at the table in shock, and Kyle glares at you in contempt. You clear your throat. "Yes, as Kyle so keenly figured out, I have a bomb strapped to my chest, and none of us are going to move." "What... what do you want? I can get you almost anything you want," pleads Jasmine. You sneer in response. "Oh, what I want? you all will be giving me that soon enough, but to get there, we are going to sit here, until the cops show up, until news stations from all over show up..." "Get to the point," interrupts Kyle. "The point," you say while giving a withering glare at Kyle to which he doesn't so much as flinch from, "is that when the negotiator to deal with this 'hostage' situation arrives and the number of news crews that are present are to my liking, you all will reveal to the world that you are superheroes." "But we aren't," squeaks Steven, "we're just studen..." "Oh shut up, I know, I know that each and everyone at this table, myself excluded, is empowered, and I know," you say while raising an accusing finger, "because of Kyle here." The perplexed look on Kyle's face is priceless, but it only gets better when he blanches when you utter, "This is the part where you run." A silence descends upon the table for a moment or two until Daniels speaks up, "What happens after we tell everyone we're superheroes?" You grin menacingly, "After you confess, well, I become famous." You tap the bomb on your chest. All the heroes go quiet as they process what you told them. Sirens wail in the distance. Perfect.

  • Bethel Kub

    My younger sister's cried out as I began stepping through the front door. I had gotten the text some thirty minutes before, but I had been expecting it for the past two weeks or so. My father and mother were screaming at each other in the kitchen. "Please don't leave!" my youngest sister, just six years old, begged. I brushed her off my leg and took a knee. "Hey," I said to her lifting her tiny chin up. "I'll be back before you know it, I promise," I told her with as big a smile as I could muster. A honk rang from the street outside the house causing my parents to pause their argument. My dad, red faced, rushed over to me and hugged me tightly. "Stay strong in there, Jack. This won't last long. It can't," he promised me but I knew as well as he did that no one knew for sure. I looked over to the kitchen at my mother but she refused to even look in my direction. "Love you, mom," I yelled sarcastically in her direction. "Thanks for everything!" "Get out of my fucking house!" she shrieked suddenly and began rushing over to the front door. My sisters let out more cries as my dad pushed her away. I walked out and slammed the door as they returned to their argument. I walked through the bitter February air, puffs of steam shooting from my mouth and fading upwards from my head. "Tough goodbye?" I heard out of the corner of my ear as I entered the beat up Honda sedan sitting outside my house. I looked over to see my friend Kyle in the drivers seat. "You have no idea," I told him, holding back tears. "My mom straight up left in the middle of the night yesterday," he told me. "Jesus," was all I could whisper. He put the car in gear and we made our way down the empty street. It was already dark out despite it only being late in the afternoon. Snow had softly begun to fall around us. I punched the power button on the radio and sorted through the static before finding the news station. An alarm was ringing, as if a national disaster was occurring. "Attention. All registered males between the age of 18 and 50 must report immediately to your local military base. Refusal to comply will result in arrest as per the Artemis Act of 2020." I immediately turned it back off. "The fucking Artemis Act. Can you believe this shit?" Kyle asked frustratingly. He turned on a main road, mostly empty save a few military vehicles directing traffic. Their red and blue lights lit up the dark streets, flashing around slowly revealing the mounted guns atop their trucks. This was really happening. An hour or so later we filed into a long line of traffic, military trucks buzzing back and forth along the shoulder of the road. "Remember when we laughed about this shit?" I asked Kyle as I stared out into the snow covered fields along the side of the road. Kyle let out a small sigh. "Yeah, but c'mon. Who would of thought this would actually happen? I just can't believe the military is complying with this shit. Fucking traitors," he said angrily and rolled down his window. He extended his arm out and gave the middle finger to a passing truck. "Ya hear that you pieces of shit?" he yelled out the window. "You can all go to hell!" The truck slammed on its brakes and two soldiers popped out the back and walked briskly in our direction. "Dude, shut the fuck up. What are you doing?" I questioned him but he was still yelling profanities at the approaching soldiers. They stepped up next to our car, black gas masks covering their faces. "Step out of the car, sir," a soft voice from under the mask asked calmly. "Suck my dick," Kyle scoffed and began rolling his window up. The two soldiers looked at each other. One nodded, and a moment later the butt of a rifle shattered the driver side window, glass exploding across the interior of the car. Kyle and I yelled as one of the soldiers began ripping him from the car. Other car doors slowly opened to see the commotion when the loud speaker fromm one of the trucks echoed across the road. "Remain in your vehicles!" the voice demanded. I rushed out of my door, ignoring the order, and ran around the hood of the car to help Kyle but received a quick punch to the gut instead. I fell to the snow scraping the skin of my knees in the process. I gasped for air as more soldiers piled out of their trucks, pointing their weapons at other cars and demanding everyone stay put. I looked up, vision blurred, to Kyle on his knees in the middle of the road, a soldier standing in front of him. "Would you like to return to your vehicle now?" the calm voice from before asked him. He smirked, and spit on their boot. Time slowed around me and for a moment. There wasn't a single sound around me as the soldier raised a gun from their hip and pointed it at Kyle's forehead. I barely had time to yell for them to stop before they pulled the trigger, a spray of red painting the side of Kyle's car. I lost what little breath I had as he slumped to the road. I sat there, dazed and hunched over, as more shouts began erupting around me as other men began stepping out of their cars, yelling at the soldiers. Another shot rang, quickly followed by another. Despite being told to go unarmed, some men began firing the guns they had brought at the soldiers. A small battle broke out all around me. The soldier that had hit me suddenly fell over screaming out in pain after presumably being hit by a bullet. I took the opportunity and jumped on top of them. I don't remember much of the next five minutes, just the feeling of absolute rage as I continually struck them across the face as they screamed for help. The black mask flew off their face after my last strike, revealing a bloodied, pretty face. Her long brown hair stuck to her sweat and blood covered forehead. Cars began driving off in every direction as shots continued ringing around me. One stopped just next to me. "Get in friend!" a deep voice shouted as the door swung open revealing a small truck with three men in it. My body felt paralyzed. I had no idea what was going on but soon felt one of them yank me into the small truck. The tires screeched beneath me as the driver slammed on the gas. I slowly rose up from the floor of the truck, looking back at the commotion behind us, bullets whizzing past the truck all around us. One of the side view mirrors exploded as a bullet cut through it. "Get off the main roads!" one of the men yelled. He looked over to me, slumped against door of the truck, tears swelling in my eyes. "You okay?" he asked me. I nodded, lying. He waited a moment, shaking his head. "Was that your friend they shot?" I nodded again as I let out a small whimper, no longer able to hold back the tears. I didn't know the man, but he embraced me then. "We've got company!" the man driving suddenly shouted. The roar of a truck behind us became increasingly louder, the bright lights mounted atop it flooded our truck. It bumped against our rear nearly sliding us off the road. The man in the back with me fired two quick rounds out of one the windows back at the truck but they bounced off its' hull like pebbles. The truck sped up, pulling up parallel to us. A moment later it swiped sideways and threw our truck off the side of the road. Everything went black as we flipped into the ditch. ___________________________________________________________________ When I finally came too, soft flurries of snow were falling all around me. Our truck was lying upside down ten feet or so away from me, smoke from a fire inside it flooding out of the shattered windows. The driver of the truck was half way out of the front window lying motionless. The groans of one of the other men in the truck came from my right and I looked over to see the man lying in a pool of his own blood, both legs broken. Two soldiers slid down from the road into the ditch. "Two survivors, over here," one of them let the other know and they walked briskly over to us. A quick shot put the man out of his misery. I closed my eyes as the other pointed their gun at me. I clenched, waiting to enter the abyss. I flinched as the roar of a gun rang twice around me. After a moment, two thuds were heard. I slowly opened my eyes, the man from the truck standing over me and the two bodies of the dead soldiers. "Safe to say you owe me a beer after tonight," he said to me as he bent down to pick me up, firmly placing one of the soldiers rifles against my chest. That was safe to say, considering he'd now saved my life twice in the past hour. "What now?" I mumbled, still not sure if I was in some fucked up dream. "We hide, and then we fight back," he said firmly looking at me. "Welcome to Hillary's America," he said as he walked away into the dark field. I paused for a moment taking in his last statement, and then ran after him, the red glow of the truck's fire fading behind us.

  • Adolphus Morar

    * Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 1 (7/18) * Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kazuchika Okada - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 1 (7/18) * Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 1 (7/18) * Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Eita - NJPW Super J-Cup - Night 1 (7/20) * Titan vs. Will Ospreay - NJPW Super J-Cup - Night 1 (7/20) * KUSHIDA vs. Taiji Ishimori - NJPW Super J-Cup - Night 1 (7/20) * Daisuke Harada vs. Ryusuke Taguchi - NJPW Super J-Cup - Night 1 (7/20) * Kenny Omega vs. YOSHI-HASHI - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 2 (7/21) * Jun Akiyama vs. Kento Miyahara - AJPW Summer Action Series - Night 5 (7/23) * Jay Lethal vs. Kyle O'Reilly - ROH TV #253 (7/23) * Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins - WWE Battleground (7/24) * Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn - WWE Battleground (7/24) * Hideyoshi Kamitani vs. Yuji Okabayashi - Big Japan Pro-Wrestling Ryogokutan (7/24) * Shingo Takagi vs. YAMATO - Dragon Gate Kobe World (7/24) * Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 4 (7/24) * Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Katsuyori Shibata - Night 4 (7/24) * Finn Balor vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens vs. Rusev - WWE RAW #1209 (7/25) * Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn- WWE RAW #1209 (7/25) * Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks - WWE RAW #1209 (7/25) * Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns - WWE RAW #1209 (7/25) * Mascara Dorada vs. Rey Escorpion - LLE Lucha Azteca (7/28) * Katsuyori Shibata vs. Michael Elgin - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 6 (7/27) * Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tetsuya Naito - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 8 (7/30) * Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Yuji Nagata - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 8 (7/30) * Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 8 (7/30) * EVIL vs. YOSHI-HASHI - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 8 (7/30) * EVIL vs. Kenny Omega - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 10 (8/1) * Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 11 (8/3) * Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa - WWE Cruiserweight Classic #4 (8/3) * Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Tetsuya Naito - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 12 (8/4) * Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Naomichi Marufuji - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 13 (8/6) * Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 13 (8/6) * EVIL vs. Tetsuya Naito - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 14 (8/7) * SANADA vs. Tomohiro Ishii - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 15 (8/8) * Katsuhiko Nakajima vs. Kenny Omega - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 16 (8/10) * Tajiri vs. Gran Metalik - WWE Cruiserweight Classic #5 (8/10) * Kota Ibushi vs. Cedric Alexander - WWE Cruiserweight Classic #5 (8/10) * Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 17 (8/12) * Lio Rush vs. Donovan Dijak - ROH TV #256 (8/13) * Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 18 (8/13) * Team NJPW vs. Team NOAH - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 19 (8/14) * Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto - NJPW G1 Climax - Night 19 (8/14) * Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura - WWE NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II (8/20) * Bayley vs. Asuka - WWE NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II (8/20) * The Revival vs. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa- WWE NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II (8/20) * Cesaro vs. Sheamus - WWE SummerSlam Kickoff Show (8/21) * Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins - WWE SummerSlam (8/21) * AJ Styles vs. John Cena - WWE SummerSlam (8/21) * Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins - WWE RAW #1213 (8/22) * AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler - WWE SmackDown #888 (8/23) * Lince Dorado vs. Rich Swann - WWE Cruiserweight Classic #7 (8/24) * Drew Gulak vs. Zack Sabre Jr. - WWE Cruiserweight Classic #7 (8/24) * Johnny Gargano vs. TJ Perkins - WWE Cruiserweight Classic #7 (8/24) Sorry about the formatting on these. I'll fix it later. * Trevor Lee vs Andrew Everett: CWF Mid Atlantic 7/6 * Trevor Lee vs Roy Wilkins: CWF Mid Atlantic 3/9 * Jonathan Gresham vs Zack Sabre Jr: Beyond Wrestling 7/31 * Will Ospreay vs Zack Sabre Jr: EVOLVE 58 * Chris Hero vs Zack Sabre Jr: EVOLVE 60 * Chris Hero vs Timothy Thatcher: EVOLVE 63 * Jimmy Rave vs Gunner Miller vs Anthony Henry vs Chris Hero: Scenic City Invitational Night 2 * Will Ospreay vs Marty Scurll: PROGRESS Chapter 25 * Zack Sabre Jr vs Chris Hero: WWN Supershow Mercury Rising * Trevor Lee vs Jesse Adler: CWF Mid Atlantic 4/13 * Trevor Lee vs Roy Wilkins vs Lance Lude vs Brad Attitude vs John Skyler vs Chet Sterling: CWF Mid Atlantic 1/13 * Chris Hero vs Trevor Lee: AAW Epic * Trevor Lee vs Cedric Alexander: CWF Mid Atlantic 5/18 * Jimmy Rave vs Matt Riddle: Scenic City Invitational Night 2 * Zack Sabre Jr vs Drew Gulak: EVOLVE 57 * Drew Gulak vs Tracy Williams: EVOLVE 61 * Anthony Henry vs Jimmy Rave: FLATLINE Pro Wrestling 2/6 * Chris Hero vs Marty Scurll: PROGRESS Chapter 31 * Will Ospreay vs Marty Scurll: Revolution Pro Wrestling 1/18 * Chris Hero vs Tracy Williams: EVOLVE 56 * Isaias Velazquez vs Mustafa Ali: Freelance 1/8 * Zack Sabre Jr vs Jonathan Gresham: Beyond Wrestling 6/26 * Zack Sabre Jr vs Jonathan Gresham: Beyond Wrestling 7/17 * Will Ospreay vs Kenny Omega: PWG All Star Weekend 11 * Johnny Gargano vs Jimmy Rave: AWE 1/10 * Isaias Velazquez vs Jimmy Rave: Freelance 2/5 * Zack Sabre Jr vs Johnny Gargano: EVOLVE 56 * Chris Hero vs Mark Andrews: PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 * Mustafa Ali vs Isaias Velazquez: Freelance 6/10 * Will Ospreay and Ryan Smile vs Marty Scurll and Jordan Devlin: OTT Invasion Supershow ( * Lio Rush vs Anthony Henry: Scenic City Invitational Night 1 * Matt Riddle vs Corey Hollis: Scenic City Invitational Night 1 * Zack Sabre Jr vs Cedric Alexander: AAW United We Stand * Matt Riddle vs Roderick Strong: EVOLVE 64 * Fred Yehi vs TJP: EVOLVE 61 * Jeff Cobb vs Adam Thornstowe: SPW 4/17 * Jonathan Gresham vs David Starr: CZW Best Of The Best * Chris Hero vs Fred Yehi: EVOLVE 59 * Tracy Williams vs Matthew Riddle: WWN Supershow Mercury Rising * Timothy Thatcher vs Tyler Bate: wXw 3/10 * Chris Hero vs Matthew Riddle: EVOLVE 57 * Fred Yehi vs Colby Corino: IWC 2/13 * Mark Haskins vs Zack Gibson: PROGRESS Chapter 25 * Zack Sabre Jr vs Tommaso Ciampa: AAW Epic * Zack Sabre Jr vs Michael Elgin: Rev Pro 4/17 * Mustafa Ali vs Christian Rose: DreamWave Anniversary VII * Michael Elgin vs Cedric Alexander: PWX Taken By Force * Cedric Alexander vs Ethan Case: PWX What Lies Beneath * Sami Callihan vs Anthony Henry: PWX Road To Rise Of A Champion * Cedric Alexander and Chip Day vs Bravado Brothers: PWX Road To Rise Of A Champion * Cedric Alexander vs Chris Hero: PWX Rise Of A Champion * Matt Riddle vs Tracy Williams: EVOLVE 55 * Sugar Dunkerton vs B-Boy: Freelance 2/5 * Ethan Page vs Mustafa Ali: Freelance 2/5 * Lio Rush vs Joey Janela: CZW Seventeen * Arik Royal and Ray Kandrak vs Trevor Lee and Andrew Everett: CWF Mid Atlantic 6/1 * Gunner Miller vs Joey Lynch: Scenic City Invitational Night 2 * Aztec Warfare: Lucha Underground 3/23 * Negro Casas vs Rey Hechicero: Noches de Coliseo 4/24 * Rey Horus vs Dragon Lee: Lucha Memes 3/6 * Prince Puma vs Rey Mysterio: Lucha Underground 7/20 * Fenix vs Mil Muertes: Lucha Underground 3/16 * Fenix vs King Cuerno: Lucha Underground 1/27 * Prince Puma, Rey Mysterio, and Dragon Azteca Jr vs Cage, Taya, and Johnny Mundo: Lucha Underground 4/13 * Pentagon Jr. vs Prince Puma vs Mil Muertes: Lucha Underground 3/9 * Monster Express vs Verserk vs Dia.HEARTS: Dragon Gate 2/4 * HARASHIMA vs Shigehiro Irie: DDT 2/28 * Daisuke vs Mr Gannosuke: GUTS World 5/8 * Over Generation vs Monster Express vs Tribe Vanguard: Dragon Gate Kobe World * Kento Miyahara vs Daisuke Sekimoto: AJPW 5/21 * Shingo Takagi vs Jimmy Susumu: Dragon Gate 3/6 * Naruki Doi and YAMATO vs Genki Horiguchi and Ryo Saito: Dragon Gate 1/17 * Eita vs Akira Tozawa: Dragon Gate 6/11 * YAMATO vs Big R Shimizu: Dragon Gate 6/12 * YAMATO vs Akira Tozawa: Dragon Gate 6/11 * Yuji Okabayashi vs Shinobu: BJW 3/19 * Isami Kodaka vs HARASHIMA: DDT 3/21 * Daisuke Sasaki and Shuji Ishikawa vs Konosuke Takeshita and Tetsuya Endo: DDT 3/21 * Konosuke Takeshita vs Tetsuya Endo: DDT 7/17 * Yuji Okabayashi vs Ryota Hama: Big Japan 1/24 * Mayumi Ozaki vs Arisa Nakajima: JWP 4/3 * Io Shirai vs Kairi Hojo: Stardom 1/17 * Yuji Hino vs Minoru Tanaka: Wrestle-1 2/10 * Hideyoshi Kamitani & Yasufumi Nakanoue vs. Tatsuhiko Yoshino & Yuji Okabayashi: Big Japan 1/18 * CIMA vs Akira Tozawa: Dragon Gate 5/8 * Atsushi Aoki vs Masashi Takeda: 5/21 AJPW * AJ Styles vs. Corey Hollis - GPW * Jonathan Gresham vs. Mustafa Ali - Freelance vs. CZW * The Big Guns vs. Strong Big Japan (All three matches) * Jonathan Gresham vs. Lio Rush - ROH Reloaded Tour: Duluth, GA * Asuka vs. Mickie James - NXT TakeOver: Toronto Not done yet.

  • Werner Johns

    I changed some details of the prompt, hope you don't mind! Also I only did three stories, I couldn't come up with six. Sorry! ________________________________________________________________ Jeremy sat with his family on the front porch of his farmhouse, a beer in his hand as he stared up into the sky dotted with puffy white clouds. Golden fields of wheat stretched endlessly on to the horizon. A gentle summer breeze gusted, and dust from the dirt road that was their only access to the outside world soared across his lawn and into his nose. It was the smell of his childhood, his livelihood, and his world. Dust, sun, and wind. There was a hiss as his son cracked open a can of soda. He was only fifteen, and never would get to experience life. Kyle would have no children, never would meet the girl of his dream. Or guy, who knew these days? Everything was always changing up until the moment the comet had been spotted. Thirty miles wide, and far too close for any of the world's under funded space agencies to change anything about its course. It would hit, and that would be it. Everything Jeremy had ever known, and all the things he had ever hoped to know, would be gone. His little piece of the world, and every other piece of the world gone in a blaze of fire that would make Satan weep tears of envy. Jeremy looked over at his son, who sat between him and his wife sipping from a can of Coke. Kyle was supposed to inherit the family farm, he would tend the fields and grow food to feed the next generation. Jeremy was supposed to watch his son grow, all the while growing old with his wife. He would hold his granchildren on this porch and watch the days go by in their ever changing beauty. Winter winds would wither, and spring rains would revive as they always had. "Kyle," Jeremy chastised as he caught his son staring up at the son. But he caught himself. It didn't matter anymore, three hours from now the health of his son's eyes would not make a difference in the world. Plus, he wasn't looking at the sun, but the massive white dot beside it, with a long tail that arched like rings through the baby blue sky. "Yeah?" Kyle asked, turning his attention away from the dot. Jeremy looked at him for just a moment, before reaching down and pulling a bottle of beer from the cooler at his side. "Have a drink with your old man," Jeremy said holding the beer out to him. Kyle took it silently, and Jeremy smiled. It was one of the things he had always wanted, to have a beer with his son. While he would never see Kyle raise a family of his own, or take over the farm, he could at least have this. "Thanks dad," Kyle said as he took a sip. Jeremy ignored the fact that the taste did not bother Kyle. Kids around here started drinking around his age, and as long as they were smart about it every turned a blind eye to it. In silence they sipped their drinks, watching as the sun became dimmer in the sky, and the white dot slowly grew in size. It wasn't a happy ending, but it had been a good life. ________________________________________________________________ Senator Taylor sat on the steps of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. as the light slowly dimmed. It was cloudy out, and a light rain had been falling on the city every since the early hours of the morning. Like the gods shedding small tears of sorrow, weeping for the loss of civilization. Their tears fell on what she had for so long considered the center of civilization. It was only now, in the face the entire world's destruction, that she realized there was more to it than the nation she helped govern. "Hi Senator," Representative Smith, a Republican from Kansas said as he took a seat by her. They had never talked much, being on separate sides of the aisle and all, but they were the only two members of Congress who remained in the capitol. The other 533 members of congress had went home to their families. "Hi Smith," Taylor replied, casually glancing at him, "Beautiful day for rain isn't it?" "I suppose," He said. In front of them the National Mall was completely empty. The Washington moment stood up straight and white, a middle finger to whoever had allowed this to happen. "You know," Taylor said with a rueful smile, "I wonder if this could've been avoided, had a certain group allowed us to give NASA more funding." Smith chuckled, "Maybe. I bet if a different group hadn't insisted on keeping Planned Parenthood funded, God wouldn't feel the needs to smite our sinful world." They both laughed at that. It was undeniable their differences, but a sense of humor can bridge even the largest divides. They could yell, cry, and blame each other as they stared extinction in the face, but that would be useful. And it wouldn't seem very human, or professional, to devolve like that. Even if no one was around to see. Taylor squinted as some clouds parted, allowing a stray beam of sunlight to fall upon the Capitol. "Who is President again?" Taylor asked. She wasn't sure if the new one had ever been sword into office, or if everyone had just collectively said screw it. "Does it matter?" Smith replied, "We're all equal now. We're all weak. We're all dead." ________________________________________________________________ "Mommy do you want to see the comet?" Elly asked, her telescope pointed into the sky. The sun had set here in California, but the stars had not. Light from nearby Los Angeles drowned them out. There was only the bright white of the comet, hanging in the sky as if someone had punched a hole through the black curtain of the Universe. "No honey," Sarah said. She didn't feel like staring up at the thing that would soon destroy her world was a good way to cope. Of course Elly felt different, she was curious to a fault, and now she would be curious to the end. Who could resist? No one in history had even been given the chance to examine a comet so thoroughly before. The crack of gunfire echoed over the hill surrounding the city, but neither of them reacted. It was far off, and a common sound now. The city had been devolving deeper and deeper into chaos as the doomsday drew closer. Eventually the authorities had given up on maintaining order. What reason was there to protect anything? Elly made sounds of excitement as she looked over every detail of the comet through her telescope. Involuntarily, Sarah smiled. She still remembered the first telescope she had bought Elly. They had set up in their backyard, only to see that the moon hadn't come out yet. Elly had screamed and cried, begging her mother to fix it. Sarah broke a bit inside that night. It was a terrible pain, to know your daughter thought you had the power to move the sky for her, and believed that for some reason you refused to. *I would move the heavens for you Elly,* Sarah thought, *I would save us all. If I could.* "It's so close mom," Elly remarked. Sarah stood up, and walked to the telescope. She couldn't save her daughter, but she could look death in the face with strength. "Okay," Sarah forced a smile, "Let me see." ________________________________________________________________ Did you enjoy this story? Come check out my other stuff at r/Niedski! I post every story I write there, so it is a good way to keep up!

  • Madge Runte

    **ARTICLE:** > Why would anybody connected to the Chicago Bulls organization think it is a good idea to trade Jimmy Butler? > > Right now the Chicago Bulls are not in a good place. They’re 19-21, and have been putting in substandard performances in recent games. > > This was especially evident in the recent loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although the team started well, by half-time they looked like they’d rather be anywhere else. > > Between efforts like that, and Rajon Rondo going rogue and giving interesting interviews on the sly, it’s a troubling time for the Bulls. In fact, about the only comforting constant in their lives right now is that this team is the home of two-time All-Star Jimmy Butler. > > So why then, as soon as things begin to look bleak for the franchise, do rumors of trading him constantly surface? > > Don’t the Bulls see that in having a franchise player, they have the hard part figured out? > > I’m completely against trading Butler personally, but let’s look at both sides of the argument to see if it makes any sense to go into a total rebuild. > > We’ll begin with the case for trading Butler to another team, and really that begins with examining the landscape of the rest of the league. > > The LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers figure to be the best team in the conference for another three years at least. > > Even when James retires, it’s likely Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will remain on the team, at least initially. > > Already that’s a better core than what the Bulls have, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. > > On top of that, the Boston Celtics look like they have positioned themselves to gradually grow into contender status in the next couple of years. > > They were extremely impressive in their come from behind win over the Toronto Raptors the other night, another team that is just better than the Bulls right now. > > Even the Atlanta Hawks, who after the Kyle Korver trade and apparent availability of Paul Millsap looked headed for a rebuild, are suddenly on a run and look like a tough out in the postseason. > > All of this is to say, even with Jimmy Butler, the Bulls are at best a conference semi-finalist right now. > > Of course the addition of another star player would change that outlook, but we know how hard they are to acquire. > > So in trading Butler now, when his stock is at an all-time high, the Bulls would get a lot in return. > > Forgetting Rondo and Dwyane Wade for a second, this team has some nice young players, as well as a bench with some depth. > > Although the team has the worst three-point shooting percentage in the league right now (31.5 percent), they do have reasons to smile when they turn to their bench. > > Denzel Valentine had a breakout game against the Washington Wizards, before illness robbed him of a chance to build on that fine game against the Knicks. > > Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotic, Cristiano Felicio and Jerian Grant also make up the bulk of their second unit minutes. > > Mirotic provides the spacing, Felicio does the dirty work, with Portis and Grant doing their best to make contributions on both ends. > > Even Paul Zipser looked like he could stick around for a bit with how he played against the Knicks (seven points, five rebounds and two assists). > > So while trading Butler, most likely to a rival, would be bad, they would have that core and whatever they receive for Butler to build around. > > Really though, that seems like a weak argument to me, especially when you consider all that Butler does for this team. > > He’s missed the last three games due to illness, and it’s no coincidence the Bulls have lost those contests. > > They’ve looked terrible as well, and this is in part because Butler leads the entire league in real plus-minus wins with 8.89. That fact alone is enough to build a case around not trading him, but we’ll keep going. > > Butler to me has always felt like a little of Carmelo Anthony, and a lot of Paul George (minus the insane athletic ability before his injury). > > Anthony because he’s asked to be the offensive leader of this team and usually delivers, and George because we think of him as a two-way wing who influences the game on both ends. > > Butler’s 25 points a game this season is a higher average than George has ever posted (23.1), and it’s right in Anthony’s prime territory too (over 28 points a night with the Denver Nuggets, but he hasn’t reached 25 again in his last three seasons). > > He’s also averaging more rebounds than George this season as well (6.7 to 6.2). Butler is about more than just basic numbers though. > > His Player Efficiency Rating this season of 25.9 (league average 15) is the highest any of the three players have ever posted in their careers. > > Really think about that when you look back at how Anthony was dragging the Nuggets to the postseason and George’s Pacers gave the ‘superteam’ Miami Heat some scares. > > Perhaps even more impressive, Butler’s offensive plus-minus of 6.2 is higher than anything Anthony, the offensive maestro, has ever posted either (his is 4.7 back in 2012-13). > > Defensively, his defensive plus-minus of 0.4, while not a high number, is the best mark among all three players this season (George’s is -0.4, Anthony’s -1.9). > > In fact, Butler has never posted a negative number in this category, while the other two players mentioned have. > > It’s not a high mark, but it shows consistency in Butler’s defensive contributions year after year. > > Butler has always been durable too, and his 36.6 minutes per game is currently the eighth highest mark in the league. Two seasons ago, that number was 38.7. > > It’s clear then that Butler stacks up against, and in many ways surpasses, two of the great NBA players of the last decade. > > Anthony will likely go into the Hall of Fame one day, and Butler is already beating him in various statistical categories at age 27. > > This is important, because it’s those numbers that will get Anthony into the Hall, and not the amount of championships he’s won. > > The Chicago Bulls are one of the league’s most famous franchises, and in Jimmy Butler, they have the kind of star player who makes them exciting. > > It’s not quite at the height of Derrick Rose mania, when the team was a contender to win it all. That being said, their roster was more complete then as well. > > But Butler is a legitimate superstar in this league, and you don’t just get rid of players of their quality. You do what you can to build around them.

  • Leilani Gibson

    “You’re fired.” Those were the last words Kyle remembered. After that, everything turned into a heavy mental fog as he packed his things in a small cardboard box and made his way to his car. What was he going to do now? What was he going to tell his wife? He thought to himself. Kyle felt the anxiety creeping in as the realization that the past 7 years of him climbing the corporate ladder was for nothing. He had missed so much of his life to conference calls and pointless meetings, and for what? For the opportunity to tell his wife that they will have to start over? Kyle’s mind was running crazy with the fear of not knowing what was going to happen next. There was only one thing that he knew for certain though, he needed a drink. Kyle found a bar that was about as much of a dive bar as one could imagine. The place was dimly lit, there was a slight haze to the place even though there was no one smoking, and everything looked sticky. He went up to the bar to get a couple drinks and then find a nice corner to sulk. “Two shots of whiskey and a beer, please” Kyle said. Kyle got his drinks, downing the first shot of whiskey on the spot and taking the other two drinks with him to a corner booth. From here he was going to start piecing his life back together. Just then a loud bang came from the front door. It was like a scene from an old western movie, with an outlaw bursting into a saloon. Kyle was startled but no one else seemed to react to the gentleman who stood in the doorway with a smile. When the door closed, Kyle was able to get a better look at the man. His heart jumped when he realized the stranger had made eye contact and was coming straight for him. Oh no. he thought with despair. He took his last shot of whiskey followed by a chaser of beer. The man sat down right across from Kyle. “Hi Kyle, my name is Jordan, it’s nice to meet you” he said with a smile. “I’m sorry, do I know you?” Kyle replied. “Probably not, but I bet you can tell what I am, I think it's pretty obvious...” Jordan said as he gestured towards his attire. The man was dressed in a red shirt and black shorts, had gaged ears, a medium sized beard, and odd tattoos. “You’re a hipster” “I’m a wizard.” “Wait, wait, wait. Did you just say you’re a wizard?” Kyle asked, now eyeing the door for an escape as this man was obviously crazy. “Yes sir,” Jordan said. “As in someone who does magic?” Kyle said for clarification. “HAHAHAHA,” Jordan bellowed out in laughter. “Don’t be silly Kyle, this is the real world we live in, and you and I both know magic isn’t real.” Jordan said with a scoff. “Then how are you a wizard if you don’t do or even believe in magic?” Kyle asked. “What I do is called material acquisition granting item conjuring, or M.A.G.I.C. for short,” Jordan said. “But... that... spells... magic,” Kyle said, now more confused than ever. “No magic is that theatrical stuff you see in movies or those tight leathered pant magicians doing those tricks while wearing eyeliner, what I do is M.A.G.I.C. which is based on solid science. Let me show you what I mean,” Jordan said as he lifted his finger twirling it around and pointing at the empty shot glass. There was a subtle spark at the tip of his finger that was then followed by a thin stream of what appeared to be whiskey. It flowed from his finger and danced through the air like a ribbon blowing in the wind where it eventually landed neatly in the glass. “Give it a try,” Jordan said. Kyle’s head was spinning with even more questions now, but he did what he was told and drank the shot. It indeed was whiskey. He was flabbergasted. “How did you? But…” Kyle started to say. “First I want you to let this all sink in and if you want to know more, feel free give me a call. I have a potential business opportunity I want to discuss with you,” Jordan said as he took out what appeared to be a business card. Kyle took the card from Jordan and looked at it puzzlingly on both sides, it was completely blank. “There’s nothing on here though, how do I…” Kyle stopped talking when he looked up from the blank card realizing Jordan had vanished. Kyle looked back at the blank card. An image of a flame materialized onto the card with text beneath that read, “To speak with one of our qualified representatives please ignite.” Everything had happened so fast. Kyle finished his beer, leaving the bar as quickly as he could. He spent the rest of the evening talking to his wife about how he had lost his job and what they would have to do next. He decided to leave out the parts about Jordan, the supposed whiskey producing bar wizard, and his mysterious business opportunity. He knew it sounded crazy. After his wife had gone to bed later that night, Kyle stayed in the living room sitting on the couch with Jordan’s business card in hand. The conversation with his wife hadn’t gone well. They talked about having to sell the house; they talked about putting off starting a family. Desperation was starting to set in for Kyle. As insane as it sounded, maybe there was something Jordan could do. Kyle read the card one more time. “To speak with one of our qualified representatives please ignite.” “I mean it couldn’t hurt right?” Kyle said out loud. He went to the kitchen cabinet and found a set of matches. He lit one and held the flame beneath the business card. If it wasn’t magic that he saw earlier today, then what was it? What was material acquisition granting item conjuring? Kyle had plenty of questions forming as he watched the business card burn, he eventually dropped the engulfed card into the sink, watching the flame die out as it burned through. Nothing. Kyle was an idiot to think something “magical” would happen. He stared intently at the pile of ash the card had left behind waiting for something, anything, to happen. Suddenly a phone rang, but it wasn’t his. Where was it coming from? The sound was coming from the remains of the card, but how could that be? He reached out towards the pile of ash, pulling out a small cellphone with only one green button on it. Kyle’s heart raced. The same fear that came from the unknown of losing his job would be nothing compared to what laid before him if he answered this call. He knew that whoever was on the other line, that according to Jordan, would tell him about a potential business opportunity that could open up a whole new world of possibilities. Kyle had played it safe with his last job for 7 years; it was time to take a chance. Kyle pressed the green button, slowly putting the phone up to his ear to answer. “Hello…”

  • Merl Lind

    ***YooTrube - Broadcast Yoursmellf*** ***TYSON ZAMURA TALKS TO BILL RAPTOR – BIG DEBUT!*** -- ***Top Wrestling Magazine*** -- -- ***1,349 views*** --- --- *The video fades in from black as legendary wrestling journalist Bill Raptor is standing beside Tyson Zamura. They appear to be in some sort of rec center or gymnasium. The two men are stark contrasts, not only in size, but in style; Raptor in a very nice sport coat and slacks, and Zamura in a Social Distortion t-shirt and cargo pants.* **RAPTOR:** Ladies and gentlemen, I’m Bill Raptor for TopWrestling.com at the 321Wrestle autograph event in St. Thomas, Ontario. I’m here with the newest WiR signee, the Forest City Fiend, feel the aura of Tyson Zamura! *Tyson breaks out into a sheepish grin and ever so slightly leans over to speak.* **ZAMURA:** Thanks for having me, Bill. I’m such a big fan, I used to read all the Raptor mags back in the day, man. Y'know, all things considered, if you're taking the time to talk to me, I must have done something good, right? *Raptor grins back and clasps a hand on the big man's shoulder.* **RAPTOR:** No no, let's not talk about me, let's talk about the big match that's been announced for WiR's weekly flagship show, House Party. It'll be you, versus fellow newcomers Eric Matthews and Kevin Klondike...AND WiR regulars Brendan Byrne and Kyle Scott. 5 men entering, only one can win. Tyson, what are your chances? *Zamura furrows his brow and cocks his head to the side, putting his hands at his hips. Raptor quickly pulls his hand back.* **ZAMURA:** My chances are pretty good, Bill. These guys are all great wrestlers, but anyone who knows me knows that it doesn't matter how many people are in the ring. I'm an equal opportunity ass kicker, man, I see a carcass, I throw it around. I'm a 6'8", 267 pound fiend and if you have second thoughts about me, I won't give you a chance to have a third. **RAPTOR:** Fiend is right. We know just how diabolical you can be when you're pushed to the limits, can you tell people watching at home who may not know, how did you come to be known as the Forest City Fiend? *Zamura chuckles and slings his arm around Raptor's shoulder.* **ZAMURA:** You were in the audience that night taking photos for one of your magazines, right? A couple years ago I was in some garbage *"extreme"* show in New Brunswick. I guess the promoter didn't like the fact that I pinned his champion clean in the middle of his shitty ring, so he sent his boys out with all types of weapons, trying to make sure I wouldn't be able to work ever again. Don't you remember? What ended up- **RAPTOR:** Well, what I remember is you planting the owner's head into the canvas for no reason and hospitalizing- **ZAMURA:** Bill, come on, now. *Tyson's face twists into a scowl. He stands up straight, towering over the frail man, his head cocked and his lips pursed. He gently takes the mic from Raptor.* **ZAMURA:** I think you remember wrong, man. You should go back and review the photos. In any event, the owner, his champion, and his boys were motionless in the ring by the time all was said and done. Me? I was bleeding like a stuck pig. You see fans on message boards still tossing my name out in "bloodiest matches" discussions, where they like to come up with...*alternative facts* about the situation, just like you do. *Tyson hands the mic back to Raptor, who adjusts his glasses and takes a quick breath. Tyson calms down and his smirk returns.* **RAPTOR:** Well, what *isn't* an alternative fact is that you've already gotten into it verbally with some of your opponents. You shared a few words with Eric Matthews on Twitter, right? **ZAMURA:** You know, I'll be honest with you, when I saw that some guy named Eric Matthews was shit talking me, I thought I was gonna have to block the older brother from Boy Meets World. But I think *that* Eric Matthews is a bit taller, has a bit more muscle mass. By the time I was finished my research I was convinced I was talking to the *little sister* from Boy Meets World, and I don't hit toddlers, man. But I think his parents used to, judging by the circa-2009 Myspace emo bumblefuck attitude he's been giving me. Bill, you might want to bleep that out. **RAPTOR:** "Bumblefuck" is an interesting word, but we're gonna have to bleep it. **ZAMURA:** Sorry. Anyways, Kevin Klondike is the same situation. "Don't hunt what you can't kill"? Jesus christ, throw that on a shirt and sell it to an overweight neckbeard who'll never have the balls to wear it in public. Oh wait. *SOMEONE ALREADY DID.* Stupid phrase. Mine is way better. If Kevin Klondike beats me in the ring, I can at least take solace in him never beating me in merch sales. **RAPTOR:** We've talked about the other new signees you'll be facing off against, but you haven't said anything about Brendan Byrne, of H.E.R.O., or Kyle Scott, of the Strays. Do you think they play a factor in this match? **ZAMURA:** Of course they do, Bill. I talk a lot of shit, but all these men are *fantastic* athletes with an extensive wrestling backgrounds. We all have a 20% chance at best of winning this, even Byrne and Scott, as long as they don't let their posse squabble get in the way of what's important. Everybody knows you need to fix your aura to fuck with Zamura. *Raptor winces, and Tyson looks at the camera and stifles a legitimate laugh.* **ZAMURA:** Hell, they can focus on beating each other up and I'll come in and pin one afterwards. I'm used to it anyways. I spent a couple years wrestling in the UK, so I know what it's like to work a match while two skinny British street chavs scream and punch each other in the background. The Asian looking one always ends up getting his ass kicked, so I've already gone to the dollar store to buy a condolence card. I just need your address, Brendan. *Raptor dabs his forehead with his tie and snatches the mic from Tyson.* **RAPTOR:** You heard it here, folks, them's fightin' words from Tyson Zamura, who will be in Dreamland Theatre in Little Rock, AK. on February the 27th, for WiR's House Party show, taking on four other men in a star-studded Five-Pack Challenge. **ZAMURA:** It's an honor to talk to you, Bill. *Raptor and Tyson shake hands and look at the camera.* **RAPTOR:** For TopWrestling.com, I'm Bill Raptor, and I'll see you at the matches. *Tyson flashes a quick smile as the video fades to black and ends.* --- **COMMENTS (12)** -- **Top Comment** -- -- **SmarkLesnar562 (+4)** no way in hell HE had the bloodiest match. typical, zamora talks way too much shit and never backs it up, how is he a babyface???

  • Willy Dooley

    It might be a little early in the season for shitposting but I made a bunch of superlatives based off of player headshots from ESPN.com. Some of the players are somewhat out of position, but I made sure they weren't more than one spot away from their listed position. Also, I had to dig pretty deep so some of the players are recently retired or are currently in the D-League. Let me know if there's any errors in spelling of names, links, etc. **The "Trying to Smile but is Going Through a Pretty Hard Time" Team** *Team 1:* PG: [Goran Dragic](http://i.imgur.com/XXWYGEa.png) SG: [Jrue Holiday](http://i.imgur.com/oNpc4Eb.png) SF: [Paul Pierce](http://i.imgur.com/2XHiO4z.png) PF: [Nerlens Noel](http://i.imgur.com/B5QSYBK.png) C: [Emeka Okafor](http://i.imgur.com/279z67b.png) *Team 2:* PG: [Raymond Felton](http://i.imgur.com/VKOpwth.png) SG: [Darren Collison](http://i.imgur.com/hOgTYN6.png) SF: [Tony Allen](http://i.imgur.com/0dONT3r.png) PF: [Luc Mbah a Moute](http://i.imgur.com/9SnaAVK.png) C: [Kendrick Perkins](http://i.imgur.com/ym0TGLh.png) **The "Sees a Terrifying Ghost Behind the Camera" Team** *Team 1:* PG: [Emmanuel Mudiay](http://i.imgur.com/eMdlj1D.png) SG: [Jamal Crawford](http://i.imgur.com/rD2NPtx.png) SF: [Will Barton](http://i.imgur.com/jkio4Gq.png) PF: [Tyler Hansbrough](http://i.imgur.com/Lop5MV7.png) C: [Joakim Noah](http://i.imgur.com/PZQBT7n.png) *Team 2:* PG: [Patrick Mccaw](http://i.imgur.com/Bo9rHYs.png) SG: [Marcus Thornton](http://i.imgur.com/xC9Czej.png) SF: [J.J. O’Brien](http://i.imgur.com/HxuqZEV.png) PF: [Dewayne Dedmon](http://i.imgur.com/9LcN4cY.png) C: [Javale McGee](http://i.imgur.com/UA59WR8.png) **The "Forgot it was Picture Day and Got High an Hour Ago" Team** *Team 1:* PG: [John Wall](http://i.imgur.com/meGhB3R.png) SG: [Zach lavine](http://i.imgur.com/ghM5aac.png) SF: [Dwyane Wade](http://i.imgur.com/aALjzUT.png) PF: [Mike Scott](http://i.imgur.com/ZTi8ONs.png) C: [Marreese Speights](http://i.imgur.com/aKjipET.png) *Team 2:* PG: [Reggie Jackson](http://i.imgur.com/jxtO0Te.png) SG: [Nick Young](http://i.imgur.com/BEy2xqu.png) SF: [Wayne Ellington](http://i.imgur.com/DtLqjB5.png) PF: [Brandon Ingram](http://i.imgur.com/M3lfYvG.png) (Thanks for the suggestion /u/Itorr475) C: [Pascal Siakam](http://i.imgur.com/RHfWg1K.png) **The "Smelled Something Nasty Right When the Picture is About to be Taken" Team** *Team 1:* PG: [Tony Parker](http://i.imgur.com/ezcNrzb.png) SG: [Eric Bledsoe](http://i.imgur.com/eLSkeKS.png) SF: [Alec Burks](http://i.imgur.com/IQMf5FO.png) PF: [Demarcus Cousins](http://i.imgur.com/0VDlBG5.png) C: [Joel Embiid](http://i.imgur.com/NJe2xwq.png) *Team 2:* PG: [Patty Mills](http://i.imgur.com/s0VQIuM.png) SG: [Quincy Acy](http://i.imgur.com/2G5miA9.png) SF: [Thomas Robinson](http://i.imgur.com/C2HkEdB.png) PF: [Willie Reed](http://i.imgur.com/Ril9aQH.png) C: [Tiago Splitter](http://i.imgur.com/XTTR1i3.png) **The "Blue Steel" Team** PG: [Tyler Ulis](http://i.imgur.com/k5JvPqz.png) SG: [Quincy Miller](http://i.imgur.com/v4IHRqK.png) SF: [Paul George](http://i.imgur.com/LKokT34.png) PF: [Amar’e Stoudamire](http://i.imgur.com/zSJppoS.png) C: [Frank Kaminsky III](http://i.imgur.com/d9VIsn8.png) **The "Probably Gives Really Nice and Genuine Hugs" Team** PG: [Phil Pressey](http://i.imgur.com/8IPqptk.png) SG: [Yogi Ferrell](http://i.imgur.com/JeWcp0k.png) SF: [Jonathon Simmons](http://i.imgur.com/0aFh1gs.png) PF: [Richuan Holmes](http://i.imgur.com/Xe6628P.png) C: [Tristan Thompson](http://i.imgur.com/V22efvd.png) **The "Goonies" Team** PG: [Pablo Prigoni](http://i.imgur.com/wkLapfB.png) SG: [Denzel Valentine](http://i.imgur.com/Raf2MQy.png) SF: [Kyle Wiltjer](http://i.imgur.com/dPvX5w5.png) PF: [Cirstiano Felicio](http://i.imgur.com/WlkF61X.png) C: [Sim Bhullar](http://i.imgur.com/JCcTC9s.png) **The "Nightmare Fuel" Team** PG: [Ron Baker](http://i.imgur.com/0g3bEfg.png) SG: [Corey Brewer](http://i.imgur.com/BJczzPF.png) SF: [Kyle Singler](http://i.imgur.com/dgpuiWb.png) PF: [Michael Beasley](http://i.imgur.com/A6TS7La.png) C: [Furkan Adlemir](http://i.imgur.com/Uucl1pd.png) **The "Understands What You’re Going Through and is Here For You if You Need Him" Team** PG: [Isaiah Canaan](http://i.imgur.com/OGne3xg.png) SG: [Sergey Karasev](http://i.imgur.com/JVjhBrr.png) SF: [Joe Harris](http://i.imgur.com/JqE1I10.png) PF: [Bernard James](http://i.imgur.com/ls2CFLt.png) C: [Timofey Mozgov](http://i.imgur.com/ApAIC4w.png) **The "Face is Melting" Team** PG: [Patrick Beverley](http://i.imgur.com/9iR6MvE.png) SG: [Allen Crabbe](http://i.imgur.com/ruQhcj5.png) SF: [Demar DeRozan](http://i.imgur.com/pZfIOqu.png) PF: [Tony Mitchell](http://i.imgur.com/IOUkrAV.png) C: [Udonis Haslem](http://i.imgur.com/w1WldtL.png) Also, shoutout to [Clint Capela](http://i.imgur.com/GwRt0Ij.png) for worst cropped photo. EDIT: Uploaded pictures on imgur so you can view it easier with RES

  • Roxane Homenick

    For the last four years, I've been working at Cadmium Solutions. I'm just an IT gal--nothing fancy, no huge corner office all to myself. I just handle routine system checks, monitor our intra- and internet security, and handle random fuckups in various computers across the building. Cadmium does lots of tech-based projects for various organizations. Those spherical helmets that make you look like Mysterio from the outside, but have almost fully 3D VR screens on the inside? Cadmium. Artificial reality games? Cadmium did testing on them within a year of the iPhone's release, and most of their research is still being used today. And that's just entertainment. One of the biggest projects recently has been prosthetic limbs with external sensors that relay signals to local nerve endings, allowing amputees to "feel" again. It was a company I was proud to work for. Not glorious work, nothing I was personally involved in, but even peripheral involvement made me happy. I've always been content with what I can get. After college, it wasn't easy to find a job, but I had my Cadmium interview two weeks after putting in my application, and they hired me on the spot. I wondered at the time why they didn't make me DO things for the interview, like, you know, prove I can fix computers. When a few weeks passed and none of my bosses or coworkers grabbed my ass or commented on my boobs, though, I gave up assigning ulterior motives to the interview, and just assumed everything was fine. Then last month, I saw our chief technical officer on the news. It seemed he'd been sending rather harassing emails to a guy working on the prosthetic job. It started off as normal boss-to-underling communiques like "It's absolutely vital that this project proceed according to schedule", but as the results became more and more lackluster and less and less on-time, the emails got worse. I literally choked on my bagel as I read a rather detailed threat about the guy getting a (non-computerized) prosthetic foot up his ass. I'd never even heard of anything like that going on at Cadmium. As soon as I clocked in--literally the second I hit the button--my phone rang. "Emily," said my supervisor. "Brandon wants to see you in the boardroom." I sputtered in shock. "Brandon Axelrod? Our CEO?" "Yeah, that one. Christ, what did you do?" I was flabbergasted, and a little terrified. I hadn't done anything, spectacular or otherwise. What the hell was going on? I went straight to the elevator and gave my name to the secretary. She punched a button on her phone and spoke into the phone. "Sir, there's an Emily Cartwri--Oh, yes, of course." She hung up and made a flinching sort of smile. "They're ready for you." I didn't like the way she shrugged at me. The boardroom was one of the most beautiful rooms I'd ever been in: blueish glass table, 50" HDTV screens in every wall panel, one wall nothing but glass overlooking the city from the fortieth floor. Mr. Axelrod was there at the head of the table, and Kyle, our CTO, was sitting beside him. If he was worried about his emails all over the news, he didn't show it. Four people--three men and a woman, each with legal pads and tablets--lined the table on the far side. "Ah, Miss Cartwright," Mr. Axelrod said. "Please have a seat." I did as he asked, sitting two seats away from him on the near side. "Excuse me, sir, but...I'm very confused. Why am I here? Am I in trouble or something?" "No, no no," he said. "Technically, no. Miss Cartwright, are you familiar with the concept of a 'whipping boy'?" I nodded, and realized that this meeting was going to go even more horribly than I'd imagined on the long elevator ride, but just how horrible, I didn't know. "Well, Kyle here...Kyle got a little too tense about this one project we're working on at Cadmium. I'm sure you've seen the emails by now, yes?" He waited for me to answer, but I couldn't speak, nod, gesture...maybe I blinked, I have no idea. "But Kyle's been a longstanding member of Cadmium, despite this lapse in judgment. We respect him, want him to stay on. The media doesn't seem like it's going to be so understanding, however. And that's where you come in." It hadn't really sunk in yet. The pathway his conversation took was full of connections I had no idea how to follow. "You...you want me to convince them it was a mistake?" I guessed. He exchanged a look with Kyle--his "she doesn't get it yet" shrug for Kyle's smirk--and continued. "No, Miss Cartwright. We want you to take the blame for this." "Me? But I--" Mr. Axelrod held up a hand. "Let's put it this way. Do you remember in the code of conduct handbook you signed on your hiring, that you agreed to uphold the company message on social media?" I said yes, that I vaguely remembered that clause. "This is a further extension of that. Our company's message is going to be that Kyle here is innocent. That you, a member of our IT department, engaged in corporate sabotage on behalf of one of our rivals--completely without their knowledge--and accessed Kyle's work email to send those messages. And, because we understand how hard it will be for you to make such an admission, you will be compensated. Two hundred and forty thousand dollars--that's four years' salary--will be donated into a new account under your name, with an additional ten thousand dollars every year for the next ten years. All for doing what you've already agreed to do: tow the company line." My head was pounding; my heart, going at a much faster rhythm than the one at my temples; my hands shook. "I--I--" He sighed, and smiled. "I understand that you might need some time to make your decision. Take the rest of the day off. Think it over. But please don't leave this building without letting us know your decision. Otherwise..." He smiled again. "You will be summarily terminated, with no benefits whatsoever." Somehow, I stood up and walked out of that boardroom. I looked back, and the last thing I saw was Kyle's face. Smirking.

  • Demetrius Nolan

    *The scene fades in from black. We see an empty, darkened aircraft hangar, and a lone figure sitting on a stool directly in the middle. The bay lights turn on, one by one, until the [hangar is bright with light.](https://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/photo-7.jpg) The Forest City Fiend, Tyson Zamura, is seen sitting on a stool directly in the middle. He's wearing a ratty sport coat with an old t-shirt underneath, and chinos. He twists his otherwise serious face and moves his shoulders about, adjusting the coat. He takes a deep breath and looks at the camera, opening his mouth to speak. He pauses, a smirk quickly glancing across his face.* **ZAMURA:** Me, versus a Klondike bar... and the brother from Boy Meets World... Heh, yeah, I already made those jokes last week. I guess you could say, the joke is getting pretty fucking old, pretty fucking quick. *His nostrils flair as he runs his finger behind his ear. He leans towards the camera.* **ZAMURA:** On the topic of *jokes* that have *run their course*, I can't help but sit here and think about a wiry thin, 6-foot-nothing, barely 200 pound joke picking a fight with a nearly 7-foot-tall, nearly 300 pound, nearly pissed-off fiend. *Zamura sits back, rests one leg on top of the other, and lets out a small chuckle.* **ZAMURA:** You still think I'm shitting you. Is that it, Eric? I think that's what it is. You still don't think anything about me is real. I'm fuckin' Looney Tunes to you. I make mean tweets, I do stupid cartwheels, and I talk about auras, and to you, *that's* where it ends? You must not have seen me choke the *everloving fuck* out of Kyle Scott, moments after powerbombing him through concrete. You must have missed me dropping him with a Thames River Plunge in the middle of the ring. Hell, you must not have seen yourself crumple like an accordion when I suplexed your neck straight into the canvas. Still hurts, doesn't it? *He stands up, puts his hands behind his back, and begins pacing back and forth.* **ZAMURA:** No, Eric, the best joke isn't the one where I call you Street Fighter over and over again. It isn't the one where I make fun of the fact that your finishing move, the Rod of God, sounds like a gay porno your uncle was probably in. It's not even the one where I make fun of the fact that Klondike was the jabroni who ate the pin. *But wait!* Hell, let's pause for a minute and talk about *that*. *Zamura puts both hands on the stool and stares directly at the camera. He speaks slowly and softly.* **ZAMURA:** I just want everybody to know, that match only ended because the Klondike Bar *fucking melted*. The rest of us could've kept going. The Canadian Kamikaze proved worth to his name by flying into that ring and *dying*. That's what Kevin learned from the Japs. *He leapfrogs the stool and sits back down, adjusting his old, ratty blazer. A smile spreads across his face.* **ZAMURA:** So, we already know Special K has a problem *finishing early*, and I have to admit, I'm pretty upset about it, seeing as this match will inevitably be cut short when Kamikaze explodes. So ignoring the fairly small elephant in the room, as far as I'm concerned, this is a 1 on 1 match between me and you, Eric. *Zamura cocks his head to the side and raises an eyebrow, his grin stretching wider and wider.* **ZAMURA:** So, we've gone over most of the other jokes from last week, but we haven't gotten to the *best* joke. That would have to be the one where the wiry thin, 6 foot nothing, barely 200 pound joke didn't get his shit in. Anyone remember Matthews and his rod last week? Anyone? What about the one named after a Parkway Drive song. Sound of Violence? No? We didn't see that? Damn, dude. I think I speak for everyone when I say I was really looking forward to someone half my height trying to reach my head with his rod. I think *my* rod has a better chance of smacking *your* face. *He laughs a very clearly sarcastic belly laugh, before quickly standing up and kicking the stool over behind him. The stool hits the floor as chunks of wood fly off around it. The sound of the crash reverberates through the hangar, before fading out into silence.* **ZAMURA:** You don't like it, but I **AM** the Forest City Fiend. I **EARNED** that moniker. I've done a lot of bad things to a lot of people, and I do what I can every day to keep myself in check. To atone for my sins. I'm trying to be the good guy, but Eric, you're making it *really fucking difficult*... So how about this: You want to start something you can't finish? You want to let the bull loose in the china shop? Be my guest, but I will give you a beating you'll never imagine. You want to give me hell? I'll bring you there, I'll show you the deed to the *fucking* property, and I'll show you the exact reason why they call me a Fiend. *Zamura turns around, and tries to place the stool upright. It simply falls over, breaking into more pieces. He stares at it for a second, before turning back towards the camera. He takes a big sniff of air, and exhales loudly.* **ZAMURA:** You know what a shit-barometer is, Eric? Measures the shit-pressure in the air. You can feel it. Listen, Eric.... Hear that? The sounds of the whispering winds of shit. Can you hear it?... What about you, Klondike?... If you can't hear it, that's alright, but you will, my sorry little friends, when the old shit-barometer rises. And you'll feel it too. Your ears will implode from the shit-pressure... Beware my friends. Shit-winds are a-comin'. *Zamura turns around and begins walking away laughing. The laughs resonate through the empty hangar as the bay lights turn off, one by one, until the entire hangar is dark, and the camera fades to black.*

  • Mariana Paucek

    Kyle pushed open the heavy hospital door and emerged into sunlight. He breathed deep and shielded his face. It was bright and burning, as if the sun was too close to the surface of the earth. It was hot. He felt sweat bead at his hairline immediately. Rubbing his eyes, he blinked and tried to adjust. It had been winter when he went under. The cancer was too aggressive. This was his only option. "They're close to a treatment on this particular strain, Mr. Matthews," his doctor had muttered, reviewing his paperwork from behind a wide, polished wood desk. "Five, six years perhaps. No more than ten, surely." Kyle had glanced at Jenna then, and her eternally optimistic gaze was as bright as the sun that greeted him outside the hospital. She had grasped his hand so tightly. "We have the money, Kyle. We can do this." "Jenna, please," he sighed. "To be gone for that long...the boys..." "I think the boys would rather lose five years with you than forever." Her smile had been glorious. A solution. So he had agreed. Cryogenically frozen for five years, ten at the most. At that point they would revive him whether there was something to be done for his cancer or not. He didn't want to leave them for any longer than he would have to. Kisses all around. Tommy understood what was happening, but little Dave thought Daddy was taking a long nap. He kept growling like a bear because he had just learned the term hibernation. Tommy had tried really hard not to cry, but he was seven. It was impossible not to cry a bit. Jenna had held them all close and tight, her hand absentmindedly rubbing her belly. A third boy, Joseph was growing inside of her. Five more months and he'd be joining the wait for Kyle's return. Jenna then sent them out with her mother so she could be with him for the end. "I'll be here when you wake up," she had promised, whispering in his ear. And then he had woke up. She had been wrong. Kyle felt like he had dreamed about Jenna for a long time. As if she had never been real, just a figment of those long dreams. When he woke, she was not there. He stumbled out of his chamber, his legs in shambles even with the machines that had worked so hard to keep his muscles from atrophying. The hospital was empty. It was clean and empty, as if all the patients and staff and visitors had just vanished one day. Kyle found some scrubs in a locker and changed, tamping down his confusion and fear as hard as he could. All electricity was off. He couldn't boot a computer or get an outside phone line. Nothing, no one. Kyle called out into the dark the obligatory: "Hello! Is anyone there?" It was met with unfeeling tile floors and whitewashed drywall. He stumbled out of the hospital and into the bright sunlight. The streets were empty, the businesses closed. The entire city was shut down. Kyle swallowed and scanned the neighborhood from the hospital grounds, but there was nothing. A ghost town. "But nothing's destroyed," Kyle murmured. There was no devastation, no sickness he could tell. No bodies, no broken down cars. Nothing. He was getting tired of repeating that in his mind over and over again: nothing, nothing, nothing... There was nothing else to do; he began walking. For hours Kyle walked through an empty desert of suburbia. He stopped at a grocery store and found aisles and aisles of food still available. No electricity so the produce and frozen stuff were depleted, but the boxed stuff and canned goods were still edible. For the first time he noticed there was a thick film of dust over everything. The hospital had been so empty there had been nothing for dust to settle on, but in the grocery store, it was everywhere. Kyle ate a little, his stomach small and full from the chamber keeping him fed, but it was nice to eat real food again. After the store, the walk continued. It was droning and monotonous. At sunset Kyle's frustration was impossible. He finally stopped at a community playground and screamed into nothing. Obviously the plan to revive him had failed, but for how long. How many months had passed? Years? Decades? Where was his family? He screamed into the setting sun as it dipped below the horizon without a care. Kyle's frustration had no effect on its path. Time continued to pass. Everything was shaking, the need to sit was absolute. He sat on a swing and held his face in his hands. More than anything else he wanted to see Jenna. Needed to see her. Everything could be dealt with if he could just speak to his wife. The air moved around Kyle. It disrupted the soft stillness of the oncoming evening. Someone was in the playground with him. His head snapped up and he twisted in the swing to get a better look at who had appeared. It was a man. Thirty or thirty-five. A serene expression on his face as he walked directly toward Kyle. Kyle jumped off the swing, immediately on guard, not knowing what to expect. The man approached slowly, but with little caution. He stopped four feet in front of Kyle, and put his hands in his pockets. He was relaxed as he studied the scared, confused man in hospital scrubs who had recently been swinging and crying like a child. "Hello," Kyle finally said. His throat, despite the faint whispers to himself, felt raw and raspy with the effort to make speech. The man's casual grin widened. "I'm glad to see you're up and about. We were unsure if you were going to join us." "Join who?" Kyle asked. He glanced around. "There's no one here. Who are you? Do you know me?" "Indeed I do," the young man smiled broadly, stepping closer to Kyle. "It's incredibly good to meet you, dad," said Joseph. **I know I changed the parameters a little on the prompt. Also, I kind of want to make this a two-parter, is that allowed? New to the group...**

  • Carlos Hayes

    Kyle LLC had always wanted to be a welder, the flying sparks and hiss of metal enthralled him. However, as his parents sternly reminded him, welders were not in demand right now. And so he trudged off every morning at 5am to 'Work Towards the Careers of Tomorrow, Today!'  in the hopes he would secure a very much in demand job as a florist. Kyle LLC did not want to be a florist at all. He hated flowers, they gave him terrible itchy skin and the bugs that lived on them were gross. But he knew as everyone did that he had to appeal to the market or he would be left behind. He wasn't quite sure what that meant but it was not good. Reportedly his uncle had been left behind and that meant he didn't show up at 'Rent your Family Gathering Today' anymore even though we always sat at the same table and he totally would be able to find us. Lost in thought Kyle LLC failed to navigate carefully enough down the worn 'Travel Faster on Foot!' path and he tumbled down onto the rough stone. His hand went reflexively to his knee and came away wet with blood. His face became pale, this was very bad. Very, very bad. If he arrived at 'Work Towards the Careers of Tomorrow, Today!' with a bloody knee he could be replaced by a more suitable worker. His instructors words rang through his head "a customer does not want products containing bodily fluids". Kyle LLC felt like crying (another infraction as tears are also bodily fluids) but he managed to keep it contained. As he was putting himself back together a car pulled over beside him, Kyle LLC faced forward and bowed his head. Only upper management had access to motorized transport (it was very much in demand) whoever it was, was important. A figure emerged from the rear door and walked over to Kyle LLC. He felt a hand on his shoulder and he looked up to face its owner. It was Charles, Kyle LLC was very nervous, Charles attended the same 'Work Towards the Careers of Tomorrow, Today!' as he did but was not in training as a florist. Charles (as evidenced by the fact his parents did not feel the need to register him as an LLC to limit their liability in the event something should happen) was Upper Class, his name was also very much in demand the year he was born and most likely cost a great deal (unlike Kyle the 19th least common name on his birth year). They shared one class Preparing for efficiency 101 wherein Charles was the assigned manager, ensuring waste was kept below threshold to maximize profit. Charles was very good at his future career, unlike Kyle who had been reprimanded many times. Charles however had been kind to him in the past, pretending not to notice small infractions Kyle LLC had committed, like scratching his itchy hives or sneezing too often. He invited Kyle to travel to 'Work Towards the Careers of Tomorrow, Today!' with him in his car and Kyle LLC quickly accepted, you do not deny Upper Management's requests, even if Charles was still only in training it just wasn't polite. The car roared away and Kyle LLC stared fascinated out the window as the buildings wizzed by. As they approached toll booth #29 (the fifth of seventeen Kyle LLC travelled through each day too and from Work Towards the Careers of Tomorrow, Today!' ) he reached into his pocket reflexively for his payment. Charles shook his head and explained that upper management was exempt from tolls and he could keep his money today. Kyle was stunned and elated, he quickly thanked Charles again. Who in return smiled, it was a very impressive smile, Kyle LLC had been practicing his for years both in Customer Satisfaction 101 as well as at home and his was not nearly as good. The trip to school, which usually took him 97 minutes was over in just 15. Kyle didn't want to leave the car when they arrived, the plush seats were softer and more comfortable then anything he'd ever sat on. At the doors to the school Charles waved goodbye and flashed his ID at the management entrance. Kyle LLC quickly ran over to the workers entrance line and thanks to the car ride it was the shortest wait he'd ever had to punch in. His thick overalls had stopped the flow of blood from his knee, he'd had a ride to school and kept his toll money. Kyle LLC felt like he was on top of the world. He proudly strolled into his first class and sniffled and sneezed his way through the day. At lunch he avoided the temptation of spending his spare money and went with his usual Protein Sandwich and boiled water. "Saving is important" his father always said, "many new products arrive every day". Kyle took this to heart and always saved his money for holiday's, gifts are very important and must be expensive. The subdued silence of lunch was suddenly broken by a single, loud shot followed immediately by the bell. Kyle LLC was frightened, but a frightened worker is a distracted worker and he gathered his things before heading off to Preparing for Efficiency 101. Once the class was assembled at their designated stations Kyle LLC waited patiently for the instructor to lay out today's scenario, then Charles would come in and begin to manage. The instructor however did not begin as he always does. Instead informing us Charles would no longer manage our class, the stress of management had been too much and he had shot himself while on lunch. Kyle was sad, he had planned on inviting Charles to his 11th birthday in just two weeks. Becoming friends with management was important after all, it was the only way up.

  • Yoshiko Schuppe

    He slips the cold weapon into my hands. Forces it through my trembling fingers. The handle fits into my palm like a key into a lock, the polished silver glinting like a knife under the ship's red, pulsing emergency lights. A true surgical tool of death. My breath catches, and I look up to meet the Captain's eyes. They are wide with concern, but affirming. I'm not sure if the latter part is having any effect on me. "Captain, I've never shot-" My voice wavers, fear swelling up inside me like black pitch. To my surprise, my Captain places a hand on my shoulder, smooth and bluish-grey. "You're our last hope, Kyle. We won't survive another two days with the main reactor dead. We need power to jump start it, and power is down there..." His eyes rise and look beyond, past my shoulder. I follow his gaze and turn to the porthole. Beyond, a vast platter of swirling clouds, and blue sea. Continents bitten with dust, forests decayed and brown. Earth, a forgotten dust bowl. Tomb to the civilization that tried but failed to escape it. It's a slaughterhouse, a world we speak of to our children to quicken their hearts, to watch them pull the covers up and over their nose. A world that men have plummeted towards in ships that smoke and spark like ours, and are never heard of again. "...however rare it may come." My Captain finishes, his tone grave. "He'll be freaking bait on a hook." Gral coughs from the floor. Dark, violet blood spills from between his lips, and the fingers on his stomach. "He won't last an hour. They'll tear him apart and..." He winces, and his grip tightens. "...they'll cook him over a bonfire. Then we'll die up here in the cold vacuum of-" "WILL YOU SHUT IT GRAL!?" The Captain snaps, his roar punching down the hallway and silencing everyone. It is very out of character for the Captain to snap. Sweat beading on his forehead, he looks back to me. Fear has now flooded his eyes. "He's not wrong. Fail us, and there's no hope left." "So don't die." Puts in Laika, showing me a pained smile as she wraps bandages around a member's arm. Beautiful as ever, even in the smoldering wreck of this hallway, the last habitable section of our ship. I try to say something, something witty perhaps, but the Captain has taken my shoulder again. He places a heap of plastic in my free hand. His voice has quickened now. "Take this gas mask. Go up the stairs and take a right. There'll be another set of stair on the left..." "Captain, I know the way to the escape pods." I assure him, trying to stoke some kind of courage in my heart. It's punching the walls of my chest like a trapped animal. The Captain looks at me a second, and then nods. He places a hand on the red lever beside us. "Good luck, Kyle." "Break a leg!" Gral grumbles from the floor. "I hear that's a blessing they like to use, but don't quote me on it." I flash him a look of disgust, but his eyes are genuine. Exhausted, I let out a smile. If even the asshole has some hope in me, then maybe I can too. I drop my face and apply the gas mask, the crude rubber straps holding fast to my bare scalp. The mask waggling as I speak, I offer my last farewell. "I won't let you down, Captain." "You can't control fate, just hope She's on your side." With the snap of the lever, the door thunders open, and I plunge into the fiery smoke. With an emanating thud, the door falls shut behind me. I've stepped into an ocean. I can only see three feet in front of me, and all around me embers float like glowing plankton. The fires of the ship send throbbing pulses of light from every direction. Already, my skin feels like it's frying. Stairs. Right. More stairs. I duck as an electrical outlet explodes. White bolts shoot outwards like a pit of snakes, showering sparks all over my body. I push forwards. Left. Right. Door. I slam my fist into the button, and their is no response. Looking around, I spot an emptied fire hydrant on the floor. I grab it and pull, but it doesn't come. I pull harder, and a pale hand slips from its neck. Tannel. We didn't converse much, but he was a kind man. I gaze upon his lifeless body, then I turn and drive the extinguisher into one of the door's glass panels. *** Ignition. I'm slammed into my seat as the pod is fired into the void. I can feel the skin being pulled back on my face, my empty stomach doing somersaults inside me. The pod violently shakes to the tune of a muffled roar, as the intricate painting of planet Earth draws ever closer. I've adjusted to the incredible speed, my hand can finally reach the joystick. I push up in my seat and gaze out the rear view-hole. For a few moments, I can see nothing through the eruption of pink flames, but then they beat down to a steady cone, and I can see my ship; an ant in the infinite pit of space. Only about a hundred meters across, its fires burn like stars in the distance. *Only I can save them. Only I can get us out of this.* I turn, and fall back into my seat. Everything is vibrating. The control panel is rattling like a toolbox. The pod is just large enough to fit me, with a thick cone of glass surrounding my view. Ahead, the dome of swirling clouds and shining sea draws ever closer. A wasteland, and a battlefield. If I survive the landing, I honestly don't know how I'm going to survive everything else. That's what frightens me. Deep down, I have no idea what I'm going to do.

  • Enos Casper

    I yawned, getting a couple of stink eye sent towards my direction as the priest continued with his dreary speech. I don't really know who the hell attended these things, honestly. Well, considering I'm attending my own, I guess I have a thing for it too. Can't remember the names of any of these people I've apparently interacted with though, well except those I've worked with. None of my colleagues are here undisguised that's for sure. I think that's Li with Jack crying and wearing a lot of heavy make up and a blonde wig. ...I'm going to miss them, but my job was getting taxing and I was certain I'd die trying to get out of it or die doing it sooner or later anyways. So, why not fake my own death sooner and get out alive? I've always found creative escapes when a mission's gotten grittier than expected. Ah. I caught someone else's stare. Green eyes. You don't see that often. I think to myself and smile a sleazy smile at him. He stiffens and turns his tanned face away. I blinked. He was my last target wasn't he? I was sure I killed him... a doppelganger is a plausible explanation... What's suspicious and most curious of all, however, is the way he stiffened when I smiled at him and how he's been eyeing me for longer than I'd realized... Oh. He knows. That's, troubling. Seems like I need to get rid of him thoroughly this time. I slipped my way through the crowds, many relatives and acquaintances and old friends I haven't seen in a decade show up. Funny how they don't show up when you're alive. Not that I made any attempts in keeping in touch. I leaned up and silently grabbed his wrist, tugging him to my direction. Surprisingly, he followed me without much of a hassle and we slipped away unnoticed. After finally getting quite far away from the people and in an empty field. I let go of his wrist and beamed at him. "So how'd you know him?" I decided to ask innocuously. "Same way you'd know him, I suppose." He tersely replied, eyes never leaving my hands. I chuckled. "Oh, I'd doubt that, anyways, you know what you agreed to by following me right?" "A promised execution?" He asks, eyes finally leaving my hands and staring into my own. I paused. The way he said that was odd and things clicked together. "...You're the Skeleton? Seriously? You ordered your own hit?" He stiffly shrugged. "I couldn't find a way out. Someone found out there was a hit and despite of my best attempts, they switched me out and disguised me." "Billionaire wants to be dead. Funny." I mused. "Why?" "Same reason as you faked your own death, I'm guessing." "Ah." Silence reigned and my fingers are restless, the handle being toyed as he eyed the weapon. "How did you know?" I asked instead of doing what he wants. He looks away. "...I saw your face when you killed my doppelganger." He started. I opened my mouth to refute the possibility, but he continued faster than I could retort. "I was disguised as one of the guards, clever of them wasn't it? They knew your hitman alias and that you don't kill anyone but your target. So I was there. In that casino. In that bathroom. You knocked me out. I woke up just in time to see you kill my doppelganger." Well, this is awkward. "You had the same expression as you did attending your own funeral. It was as misplaced as it was when you killed him, you looked like you were... at peace." I snorted and rested my grip on the handle comfortably. "Rest in peace." "Please." He looks pretty desperate... Ah, what the hell. "Want me to fake your death? I can do it now, but it'll cost you." I offered. He looks surprised now. "And expect me to somehow not be recognized by the public?" I laughed. "I don't think anyone but you recognized me other than through sheer coincidence that I apparently held the same expression as I killed." The edges of his lips' rims went slightly up. "I suppose." "So, do we have a deal?" I grinned at him. Seems like I'll have a friend to accompany my fresh start as a new man. He gives a small smile back and asked. "Do you already have a bank account I can send the fee to?" "More like multiple bank accounts, but yes. Not going to ask how much it'll cost?" I nodded and looked around us, noting the flammable plants. "Considering that I'll be dead soon. No, not really." He chortled. I rolled my eyes, billionaires. "Well, it'll cost you... $100." "Are you sure?" He looked at me oddly. I looked down at my phone, we have thirty minutes to do this. Plenty of time. I looked back up and shrugged, smirking. "Well, the Skeleton did already pay a hefty sum of $1 million for your hit so..." "Heh. Alright then." He took out a hundred dollar bill and handed it to me. I took it and rolled it into a thin cylinder before taking my lighter out and smiled at him. "How does dying in an explosion sound?" "Good." was the firm reply. "Oh, so have any name you want to be after 'Kyle Jules' dies?" I asked him. Hesitantly, he answered. "...James Hew." "Okay, well, stand back, James. I always carry some explosives with me just in case things went awry." I chuckled. I exited my own funeral with a bang.

  • Colby Cartwright

    The camera fades in. We see [Brendan Byrne](http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/prowrestling/images/4/4f/Wrestler_main_img05_off.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150621080521) sitting on his couch. His head is in his hands, a half-empty bottle of whiskey on the table in front of him. He looks up, makes eye contact with the camera, gets to his feet, a little dizzy but mostly in control of his faculties. **Byrne:** Shorry, sorry, I - I know... Drinking on the job.. or whatever. Kinda - i guess - needed after shomeone almost ended my fucking CAREER the other night. Brendan clenches his fists, trembling with what can only be described as pure unadulterated rage. **Byrne:** Some.. emotionless.. fuckin’... bloody bashtards snuck up behind me, beat the shite outta me, and decided they had the right t’try and beat what I’ve worked towards for 27 bloody years. D’ya know how that feels? D’ya - *hic* do ANY of ya- have any FUCKIN’ idea how it feels ta have shomeone who despises you INCHES away from taking your fuckin’ career away? To sit there, with your hands tied behind your back, blood dripping out of your FUCKING mouth, waiting for the hammer to swing, waiting for it to all be over? Waiting for ‘em to shmash your knee? To be back on the shtreets with a bushted fucking leg and.. Fuck I’m too drunk for this. Byrne glares at the camera, and we see fire in his eyes. He steps forward menacingly, moving inches away from the camera before suddenly turning, grabbing a leather jacket off a nearby coat rack, and barging out the door, fist clenched the whole time. **Byrne:** Follow me. Now. The camera obediently, if a bit timidly, follows, as Byrne stomps out of his [kinda shoddy-looking apartment entrance](https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3d/40/12/3d4012207639e9b244b5430b10509c96.jpg), with his hands in his pockets. We see the wind blowing in the trees and messing up Byrne’s hair as he stomps off. He runs his hands through his hair, trying to calm down, but only vaguely managing it. He takes a deep breath, mumbles something that sounds vaguely like “let’s try this again,” and turns to the camera, walking sideways as he does so. He takes a deep breath and starts talking, markedly more coherent than before. **Byrne:** So Monday. I was plannin’ on having a match. For once. Some guys I had seen or heard about, or something, guys who could fight. Guys I thought would be valuable additions to WiR. An invitational, I guess. A match where four wrestlers with something to prove got their chance to prove.. it. But, as it fuckin’ happens, someone got the bright idea that because I despise the Strays so much... Because the fucking Strays nearly ended my career... that one of them should be added to this match too. Byrne shakes his head, and it lowers for a moment, a mix of emotions flashing across his face. He starts speaking again, this time lower, harder-edged, as if he’s holding himself back from jumping through the camera and strangling someone. **Byrne:** And.. Zamura. Klondike. Matthews. I apologize for that. Because the three of you, all of you have potential. All of you have the tools to make it really big in WiR. Zamura is a monster, an agile big man who hits like a fucking truck. Klondike is a man of few words, but he can fly with the best of them, and everyone who’s seen him knows it. And Matthews... You say you’re on the outskirts of wrestling, but I’ve been watching you for a long time now. You have something to prove, and Monday was your night. Monday was all three of your nights. Brendan grins a little bit, the first smile we’ve seen from him in this video, and spreads his arms wide, before steeling back into an almost aggressively cold glare. **Byrne:** So it’s a shame. It’s a real bloody shame you’re going to have to be tainted with this match. Because Monday night is not going to be a wrestling match. Not anymore. Monday night, I have something to prove to Kyle Scott, and to the Strays in general. They tried to end Brendan Byrne. And like it or not, they didn’t get the job done. Brendan stops walking, puts his hand on the cameraman to stop him, and gets in close to the camera, his eyes glowing and his voice dropping to a growling near-whisper. **Byrne:** So now it’s my turn. Monday night, I kill Kyle Scott. I break his spindly little legs like I should have done years ago, and I watch him beg for forgiveness. And if any of you try to bloody stop me - Zamura, Matthews, Klondike - I will not hesitate to kick you into the next continent. Because this match? This match is no longer a showcase. This match is not about “the Aura of Zamura.” It’s not about Eric Matthews’ constant drive to be recognized. It’s not about Klondike and his hardcore tendencies. This match is about Brendan Byrne HURTING Kyle Scott... it ends when **I** say it ends. Byrne glares at the camera for a moment longer, his heavy breathing audible over the whooshing of the wind, before shoving it out of his face. The last thing we see is the blur of the scenery before the camera fades to black.

  • Katlynn Hyatt

    Adapted from a quora answer I wrote: I had been travelling through southern India for 3 weeks when around NYE I needed to travel north up to Delhi where I was going to stay with a friend who at the time was living there. Because of the time of year there were many people travelling. Luckily however I learned of this so called foreigner quota they keep on trains where a certain number of seats are reserved for foreigners, unluckily it was in 3rd class (lowest caste in trainspeak) on a 28+ hr long train ride. Starting the trip I thought I was fairly well prepared, I had brought food and [cue social faux pas] a bottle of Old Monk (one of India's then no.1 rums), plastic cups and a few bottles of coke. I was dead set on making some friends on the train and started asking who was interested in a rum & coke. To my surprise and opposite of what I had experienced up to that point, no one accepted. I noticed however how one of the guys was drinking something from a bottle in a brown paper bag and thought that maybe people just decided to bring their own and weren't sure of the quality of the drink I had offered, fair enough. A few minutes later though, this stern moustachioed big indian police/military man walked into our train car starting to shout at people, waving a stick and with a machine gun slung over his back. I saw the fear in the eyes of the guy with the brown paper bag when the man asked what he was drinking and I finally understood the mistake I had made. Brown paper bag man was thrown out by one of the henchmen and flogged a couple of times when the man suddenly turned to me. In the type of indian accent that normally would make me smile he asked me what was in my glass. I did not smile, instead I managed to flatly say it was coke, and does he want a sip? He did not. But fortunately he decided to leave me alone. From now on I decided to take it easy, stay low key and fly beneath the radar for the rest of the trip, to blend in if you will. This worked well, up until about maybe 6 hours in when my food supply unexpectedly dried up. I guess I didn't plan my supplies that well after all. I was hungry, and fresh in mind was this fish biryani I had eaten a few nights before that had completely blown me away, so when this woman in the middle of India somewhere at some small train station we had stopped at walked in and offered to sell me this fishy looking biryani I didn't hesitate for a second. All logic went out the window and I devoured it. Staying low key and flying below the radar worked well for about 3 hours after that biryani. I started having cold sweats, diarrhea and hallucinations. I can't remember in which order they came. This is where the disgusting part comes in. After having suffered through the night, freezing and with several futile attempts to locate a doctor, or even to be able to communicate this request properly to anyone on the train I climbed down from my top cot (which FYI was basically just wood) to venture over to the bathroom yet once more. I can't remember many of the details leading up to this point other than fearing for my life all throughout the night. I went in and took care of business quite quickly, I quite liked the style of the bathroom actually as the whole bathroom was stainless steel with only two 'feet' extruded, sticking up from the ground. (similar to but bigger than the one in below pic but the entire room was stainless steel and the drain was in front of you so the whole room was like one big toilet.) http://www.quirkyguide.com/qg2/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/IndianTrainToilet-Kyle-Lease.jpg By this time I was tired, not sure if I would make it to Delhi alive and I felt like people were probably betting on which train station I would die closer to. When I left the toilet this time I forgot to close the door after me, something that one of the passengers outside the toilet quickly pointed out to me in the kind of English that, again, would normally make me smile; 'Sir, you forgot to close the door'. I would've probably snapped at him if I weren't feeling so bad and if it wasn't for this tidal wave of nausea that all of a sudden came over me all the way from my feet, ending up in my stomach catapulting/spewing/spraying whatever contents were left all over the toilet. I close the door and stagger away, sure of the fact that one day he will write a post about this on the indian equivalent of Reddit.

  • Caden Hintz

    .# **Put on / Spike!** | Fandom(s): **Dying Light, Resident Evil, a Shielding Thing** | [Ao3](http://archiveofourown.org/works/8218492/chapters/20063674) | Characters: **Chris Redfield, Sadja Shielding and Kyle Crane** Combined the two prompts into one at ~500 words. ---- Almost twenty days left to Christmas, and he wonders if it’ll be the first one after too many years that he’ll spend home. Or some measure of home, anyway. A measure that starts with Sadja someplace close by, a cup of hot, mulled wine in his hand, and a pair of comfortable socks instead of combat boots on his feet. Chris likes the odds of it, at any rate, even if he tries to hold out on the enthusiasm, because disappointment is a bitch he’d like to not deal with right now. There’s halfway peace at their host’s place. Idle chatter. Emma’s occasional jubilant squeals of delight as she entertains *Titus the Second*, all the twelve weeks of German Shepherd fluff of him, with his clickety-clack claws skittering across the floor. A game rumbling on the TV, with Crane and Sadja in front of it, the latter standing because she can’t *sit* losing, and her opponent gloating from his seat. It’s nice, Chris thinks, and wanders over to the couch. Right when Sadja has herself defeated and Crane surges to his feet in triumph. They exchange pointed words. Jab controllers at each other. Jab their drinks too, and just when Chris thinks he’s going to sit down behind them with a smile on his face, the whole commotion tilts towards him. “You *cheat*!” Sadja protests. “You suck,” he counters. The perfectly coordinated disaster those two amount to turns, all elbows and arms and two decently filled glasses. Chris catches most of the drink on his shirt, and he swears they both freeze in unison and their eyes pop open wide. “Ah shit,” Crane mutters, and Sadja smirks. He sighs, pinches at his shirt, now soggy and smelling of spiced wine, and then looks at the lightly swaying set of slim shoulders staring at him. Still smiling. Eyes still on him. Pupils wide, a thin, honey coloured corona ringing them. *Great.* “Did she get into the booze?” He glances at Crane, and the man frowns, shakes his head. “Strictly non-alcohol, as ordered—” But he grabs her drink anyway, and gives it a sniff. “—Oh. Sorry.” The frown turns to a rueful glance his way, and Chris feels his right eye twitch. “She must have gotten the wrong glass,” Crane tries to explain. “Must have,” Chris adds, swipes the glass and kicks it all back, feeling it go down hard and kicking at his brain a beat later. And she’s had half of it, a recipe for an interesting evening to say the least— and she’s tugging at his arm a moment later and then tucking herself under it, a murmur for a purr bouncing around her chest. His right eye gives a twitch, but he pulls her in anyway. Crane is off a moment later, reassures him that *I’ve got something for you to wear, stay here Captain*, and Chris sits, pulling Sadja down along with him before she can run off and break something. Or someone. She’s invested in how she got beaten and retells her woes, and she’s still talking when Crane hands him a sweater. Red. A bit of green. A bit of white. He swaps his shirt for the thing, and then regrets thanking the fucking bastard, because the moment his head pokes out the top Sadja lets outs a wheezing chuckle. She clicks her tongue at him and sits close, a curious set of fingers tugging at the fluff on the knitted piece, and quickly turns to question the need for bulbous red noses on crosseyed reindeers, and that those elves would certainly quote, unquote: *Freeze their tits off, because who wears bikinis in winter*? Chris grabs her by the neck, muffles the questions against his chest, and settles for smiling. Almost twenty days left until Christmas. And he’s fine.

  • Arnold Rippin

    I'm very, very disappointed at the WC rankings I've seen so far. Perhaps I need to stop talking about other team's guys and start focusing on hyping my team again. #The Good 1. Playmaking is as strong as ever. My entire PG rotation starts in real life. **Kyle Lowry** (18 GP: 20.4ppg, 7.3apg, 5.0rpg, 2.7 threes, 1.7 steals, .423/.395/.848) has already returned to his usual self after a few sloppy games to start the season. The PG talk has understandably been on Russell Westbrook, but there have been few other PGs to rival Lowry's play on both ends of the court to start the year. **Jeremy Lin** had a promising start before being sidelined with injuries, but **DJ Augustin** has played well enough to take over starting duties in Orlando. Combined with **Nicolas Batum** continuing to serve as one of the best alternate playmakers in the league, the ball continues to move effortlessly in DKC Memphis. 2. DeMar DeRozan. He has incessantly suffered from criticism around these parts, but I dare any of you to continue challenging his play this year. His prolific scoring has been well documented (18 GP: 28.9 points on 48.6% FG), but less attention is focused on how well-rounded his game is. He supplements his scoring with 5.5rpg and 4.2apg. That assist count would be even higher if his teammates made open buckets to start the year - DeRozan is a legitimate 30/5/5 threat this year. Moreover, after a few poor efforts to start the year, DeRozan's team defense has returned to his old form, a sign of his comfort in a system he's been around for a very long time. 3. Marc Gasol's comeback year. For all of you so infatuated with the 3 ball, Gasol's 1.5 makes on a blistering 42.2% efficiency has to make you smile. For me, the most important thing is his defensive resurgence. Once the RL team gets healthier and all the new pieces settle in, I only expect him to improve even more defensively. #The Bad 1. Efficiency. Batum started off the year poorly and had a moderately better November (4.6FGM on 40.8% FG, 1.9 3PM on 36.0% 3FG). I'd like to see those shooting splits improve a little bit more, and fortunately, Batum is in a more comfortable role as a tertiary offensive weapon in DKC Memphis as opposed to RL Charlotte. Meanwhile, Gasol is shooting a career-low 44% from the field. However, that is to be expected in his first season with increased freedom on the perimeter, and I expect his efficiency to trend upwards as the season progresses. 2. Amir Johnson's lethargy as a starter is highly concerning, and more than enough to bump him out of my starting lineup in favor of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who provides superior defense and rebounding, and whose offensive shortcomings are minimized with Gasol's introduction to the perimeter. Amir's high-level production in short spurts gives me reason to believe that he is better suited as a backup nowadays anyway. 3. What's going on with Jeremy Lin? He was slated to be back within 2 weeks of his injury, and it's been a full month now. The bright side is that he's taking good care of his injury in real life, and DKC Memphis has a third-string PG who is a starting PG in real life. Get your rest, Jeremy. Being healthy during the playoffs is what's key. #The Prognosis This team has insane talent, insane depth, and most importantly, insane continuity. I don't see how we aren't right on the heels of the Warriors. Even after pushing my bias aside to the best of my ability and giving some competitors in my conference benefit of the doubt (particularly DKC DEN and /u/BleedGreen1989, who has had a fantastic start to the year), I don't see how it's possible I'm not in the top-4.

  • Cielo Lowe

    * The Revival vs. D.I.Y. - NXT TakeOver: Toronto * Kazuchika Okada vs. Naomichi Marufuji - NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling * Kento Miyahara vs. Suwama - AJPW New Explosion In Ryogoku * Aztec Warfare III - Lucha Underground * KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI - NJPW Power Struggle * SANADA vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi - NJPW Power Struggle * Kyle O'Reilly vs. Katsuyori Shibata - ROH Field of Honor * Kyle O'Reilly vs. Katsuyori Shibata - NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling * Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto - NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling * Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks - WWE ---- in a Cell and the two most recent RAW matches * Pentagon Jr. vs. STARDOM girls Gauntlet Match - Lucha Underground * Rich Swann vs. Brian Kendrick - WWE 205 Live #1 * Tag Team Survivor Series Match - WWE Survivor Series * Mustafa Ali vs. GPA - Freelance Wrestling (08-26-2016) * Chris Hero vs. Tracy Williams - EVOLVE 72 * Shane Strickland vs. Cedric Alexander - NOVA Pro One Crazy Summer * LDRS vs. JML - wXw Tag League Night 3 * Chris Hero vs. Tomohiro Ishii - RPW/NJPW Global Wars Night 1 * Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Katsuyori Shibata - RPW/NJPW Global Wars Night 1 * Chris Hero vs. Katsuyori Shibata - RPW/NJPW Global Wars Night 2 * Pete Dunne vs. Tomohiro Ishii - RPW/NJPW Global Wars Night 2 * Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Drew Gulak - EVOLVE 73 * Trevor Lee vs. Joshua Cutshall - CWF Mid-Atlantic * Trevor Lee vs. Arik Royal - CWF Mid-Atlantic Rumble * Chris Hero vs. Matt Riddle - EVOLVE 71 * Ryan Smile vs. Marty Scurll - OTT WrestleCon Night 2 * Ringkampf vs. JML - wXw Tag League Night 2 * Chris Hero vs. Zack Sabre Jr. - AAW Lynam Tournament Night 2 * Isaias Velazquez vs Chase Owens - Freelance Wrestling (08-26-2016) * Young Bucks and Adam Cole vs Matt Sydal, Ricochet, and Will Ospreay - PWG BOLA Night 2 * Will Ospreay and Ryan Smile vs Marty Scurll and Jordan Devlin: OTT Invasion Supershow * Travis Banks vs Tyler Bate: FCP Project Mayhem V * Zack Sabre Jr vs Mustafa Ali: AAW Never Say Die * Zack Sabre Jr vs Tommy End: PWG Battle Of Los Angeles Night 1 * Trevor Lee vs Kamaitachi: PWG Battle Of Los Angeles Night 2 * Mark Haskins vs Kyle O’Reilly: PWG Battle Of Los Angeles Night 3 * Mark Haskins vs Marty Scurll: PWG Battle Of Los Angeles Night 3 * Young Bucks vs Fenix and Pentagon Jr: PWG Battle Of Los Angeles Night 3 * Chris Hero vs Matt Riddle: EVOLVE 73 * LDRS vs Death By Elbow: wXw Tag League Night 2 * LDRS vs A4: wXw Tag League Night 1 * Axel Dieter Jr, Da Mack, and Big Daddy Walter vs Cerberus: wXw Back To The Roots * Mat Fitchett vs Chris Hero: AAW Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament Night 2 * Arik Royal vs Nick RIchards: CWF Mid Atlantic 8/24 * Matt Riddle vs Corey Hollis: PWX X16 Night 1 * Black Terry vs Wotan: Chilanga Mask 8/21 * Barbaro Cavernario vs Volador Jr (All three matches) * Marty The Moth vs Killshot: Lucha Underground 9/1 * Jiro Kuroshio vs. Kota Ibushi - WRESTLE-1 * Bayley vs. Asuka - NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II * Akita Tozawa vs YAMATO: Dragon Gate 9/22 * VerserK vs YAMATO, Naruki Doi, Dragon Kid, and Kotoka: Dragon Gate 11/10 * Daisuke Sasaki vs. Mike Bailey - DDT God Bless DDT * Mike Bailey vs. Kazusada Higuchi - DDT DNA Grand Prix * Kazusada Higuchi vs Shuji Ishikawa: DDT 9/25 * Monster Express vs VerserK: Dragon Gate 10/12 * Over Generation vs Monster Express vs Tribe Vanguard: Dragon Gate Kobe World * Shuji Ishikawa vs Danshoku Dino: DDT 10/23 * Arisa Nakajima vs Yoshiko: SEAdLINNNING 10/16 * Meiko Satomura vs Chihiro Hashimoto: Sendai Girls 10/16 * Io Shirai vs Yoko Bito: Stardom 10/30 * Naruki Doi and Shingo Takagi vs Jimmy Susumu and Jimmy Kagetora: Dragon Gate 9/22 For the record, these matches are *all* recommended and I'm sure there are still quite a few I've missed. Really puts into perspective how strong global in-ring work has been in 2016.

  • Lessie Runolfsson

    "Rockin' balls, whoa!" Had I been here days? Weeks? It was impossible to tell without windows. These corridors were not laid out by a human mind. Not even a warm blooded mind. From what I could see these things didn't even have blood. "Totally bitchin'! Fuck ya!" While I thought about these surfaces as chrome, there was no way; the stone on my wedding ring slid off it like a knitting needle off cast iron when I tried a scratch test; jr. high science paying off. "That'ssofuckinbadass!" Tired of running around, dodging out of the way when I hear the telltale snap and crackle of the living energy aliens, I began to climb. That's when I found Jack. "I dunno how you do it, dude. Your a chick and shit, aren't you supposed to have, like, less upper-body strength than strapping hunks of thunder love like me?" He had that puckered smile on as he said it, and I just couldn't smack him. I pulled myself up onto the next protrusion large enough to sit on. I exhaled, sweat drying instantly in the hot, dry air. The ambient thrumming drone seemed louder the further up I climbed. "What cha' thinkin', Lisa? This whole place reminds me of that time we ate peyote and rocked out in the dessert, huh?" I'd always liked Jack Black, even back in his early HBO days, especially then, when he was just a talented schlub. "Uh uh. A hard rockin', face meltin' guitar god!" I just hoped once I ate and got some water that wasn't tainted with whatever the hell they put in it the Jack-Black-Come-Tyler-Durden thing would stop. I continued my assent while Jack went nuts on an air guitar solo, filling in the 'face melting licks' with "biddly-dee-dee-dwow" sounds. "If your going to persist, you could do something useful." Jack looked genuinely hurt. " I thought I was." I blew a forelock out of my eyes as I reached up higher, the asynchronous hum now definitely louder. Jack's guitar solo crescendoed as I reached the top. Looking out from an elevated cat walk I beheld a massive glowing orb or white light, the yellow and orange living lightning that had taken me milled around below, tending to features, smooth consoles which lit up to their touch. "Whoa dude. Gnarly shit." I couldn't argue. Neither could I shake Jack's last comment. Tyler had helped (after a fashion) the narrator in Fight Club. Jack was the product of my unconscious. Surely...he HAD to be here to help. She reflected on everything he'd said since appearing. Then she had it. I'm an instant she had her eureka moment. Now if she only had a- "Gibson SG standard electric guitar." I looked over at where he stood next to me, a brand new shining electric guitar in his hands. "Normally I jam an acoustic but when I wanna rock some fuckin' socks off..." as I took he red enameled body in my arms Jack disappear. I noticed the cord trailed off the body and into the wall behind me. 'Well, if pure energy I guess my thoughts might be able to manifest solid object this close to their power core.' I glanced over my shoulder and saw Kyle Gass stage whispering to Jack as he disappeared.

  • Addison Ortiz

    Here is the post for archival purposes: **Author**: _MVWeiss_ **Content**: >Chef's Father: Well, aren't you crackers just cute as the dickens? >Stan: You're chef's parents? >Chef's Mother: Yes, all his life. >Kyle: [in a hurry] We have to talk to him! >Chef's Father: Well, he should be out now directly. >Chef's Mother: He's so excited about the wedding now. >Chef's Father: Say, would you crackers like to hear about the time we met the Loch Ness Monster? >Stan: [impatiently] No, that's okay. >Chef's Father: Ooh, it must have been about seven, eight years ago. Me and the little lady was out on this boat, you see, all alone at night, when all of the sudden this huge creature, this giant crustacean from the Paleolithic Era, comes out of the water. >Chef's Mother: We was so scared, Lord have mercy, I jumped up in the boat, and I said, "Thomas, Thomas, what on earth is that creature?" >Chef's Father: It stood above us looking down with these big red eyes... >Chef's Mother: Oh, it was so scary! >Chef's Father: ...and I yelled, I said, "What do you want from us, monster?" And the monster bent down, and said, "I need about tree-fitty BTC." [long pause] >Kyle: What's tree-fitty BTC? >Chef's Father: Tree BT, and fitty C. >Chef's Mother: Tree-fitty. >Stan: He wanted money? >Chef's Father: That's right. I said, "I ain't givin' you no tree-fitty BTC, you goddamn Loch Ness Monster! Get your own goddamn Bitcoin!" >Chef's Mother: I gave him a Bitcoin. >Chef's Father: She gave him a Bitcoin . Chef's Mother: I thought he'd go away if I gave him a Bitcoin. >Chef's Father: Well, of course he's not gonna go away, Mary! You give him a Bitcoin, he's gonna assume you got more! >Chef's Father: [at Chef's rehearsal dinner] Could I have everyone's attention, please? [crowd quiets] >Chef's Father: Tomorrow, my son is gonna get married to a beautiful lady. [sniffles] >Chef's Father: I'm very happy for them both. [begins to choke back tears] Chef's Father: Ooh, there I go - I told myself I wasn't gonna cry. >Chef: It's okay, pop. >Chef's Mother: Thomas, you're gonna get me going now. [begins to tear up] >Chef's Father: I remember when Chef was just a three-year-old little man, he came runnin' into me with a big smile and his little chef's hat on, and he says to me, "Poppa, poppa." I said, "What do you need, Chef, my boy?" He said, "I need about tree-fitty BTC." >Chef's Mother: Tree-fitty! >Chef's Father: Well, it was about that time I begin to get suspicious. I said, "Chef, my boy, why do you need tree-fitty BTC?" He said, "My imaginary friend Boo-Boo the dinosaur wants it." So I went to my son's room, and sure enough, there was that damn Loch Ness Monster! >Chef's Mother: Lord, it was scary! >Chef's Father: I said, "Dammit, monster, you quit bugging my children, now. We work for our Bitcoin in this house - we don't just give Bitcoin away!" >Chef's Father: Dammit, monster, I ain't givin you no treefiddy. >*<em>If you laughed, I could use about tree-fiddy BTC : 1DuSiXMdAFN7pckJ2mYymnYa3x8CrBjg3H *</em>

  • Marquis Bashirian

    [THE FEELS!!!] *Kyle remained silent as Daireann's words echoed through his head. Combined with the turmoil of losing his father, Kyle just sat down on top of the wall again and just looked down for a bit trying to come up with some words to say and his own answer.* "All I've ever wanted to do was to help people out. I didn't want to a hero to everyone. Of course the thought of it always occurred in my mind, but I just want to make this world better. I know I throw myself into stupid stuff and danger, but that's because I don't want to get anyone hurt." *Kyle paused for a bit as he kept his head hung low as he let a few more seconds run silent before continuing.* "I'm not alone though Daireann." *Kyle then looked up towards Daireann with a small smile on his face as he began to wipe away some of the misted tears from her eyes.* "I have a one-eyed Atlesian who can make some good alcohol in addition to his smarts, A honey badger who could probably with her effort try and make me scared, but make me feel welcome everywhere..." *Kyle then nodded as he then pointed towards Daireann with his left hand.* "Then I also have you." *Kyle paused for a bit before going to continue on with what he was about to say.* "Since we first met, I've always been sort of love struck at your sight. When I've got to know you even better, I've felt like I could be with someone and let out everything." *Kyle stood up for a bit as he then looked up at the sky and began to see the stars together.* "You've always been kind, smart, funny, handy with crafting better than I could ever be and there are so many other things I just want to say... but I don't have a full list." *Kyle let out a chuckle before looking back down towards Daireann before hugging her and taking a silent breath before continuing with his thoughts.* "The point being is that I love you and I don't see a day without you. A day without you would make it extremely hard for me to go on so that's why I'm throwing myself head first into things. So that I can make sure to have days with you and to be spend my life with you and the team. So I guess what I want to say is..." *Kyle closed his eyes for a bit as he then looked towards his right a bit as he felt a breeze, but could also imagine his father giving him a thumbs up and nodding before looking down towards Daireann.* "After Beacon when we graduate. Will... Will you marry me?" [Do I have to even make a gif of bomb dropping?]

  • Tony Botsford

    So a few things. First, I'm actually honestly shocked that Troy Johnson is not the murderer (assuming he actually isn't, but it sounds super solid that he can't be). Like, I never thought for a second since the last finale that he wasn't the murderer. That puts such a new perspective on everything going on. It's funny, because I was rooting for Callie because I was SO sure she was right, but now it's like...maybe she did go too far? But that's only because I thought no way was Troy Johnson not the murderer, so she had every reason to be afraid and she'll get out of the hit and run accident, etc. etc. But he didn't do it...I wonder if Robert paying everybody off will work. That might bring up a good conversation about privilege, and a really annoying conversation about who's Callie's true family is. I'm glad that Stef got the detective job, also, and that Callie's witch hunt didn't fuck it all up for her. Yet. Hopefully that all goes away, but I feel like Callie is going to keep searching for the real killer. What if it's Kyle? Agree with not liking Mariana's character this episode with the smug smile as she said her therapist needed privacy. I do think she deserves punishment, she does get away with like everything. There's a middle ground that could be found between punishing wrongdoing and communicating and respecting your kid's wishes (I do think taking the door off the wall is not at all a good solution, but there are other solutions). But, I am happy she is getting some professional help and that the moms will now be mindful to consider her and everything she's going through. Did Jude and Gabe and Anna just like die or something? Also kind of sick of the Callie, AJ and Aaron love triangle. I honestly like her with both of them to be honest. I don't want her to hurt AJ, though, but honestly I might be leaning towards Aaron (she obviously trusts him more and gets along better with him than AJ but idk her and AJ are pretty sweet idk!) Jesus is pretty sad to watch :( Noah Centineo is doing a pretty good job acting. He's going to flip about Emma and Brandon, though, I hope he doesn't become too violent. And I really hope Emma goes and gets that abortion... When Brandon was talking to that music therapist girl, Grace, I just fucking KNEW they were writing in a new love story for him and I was just like whyyyyyyyyyy nooooooo. I can't stand his moping around when he's dating it's so annoying ugh. Also how has he actually managed to not hear about music therapy lol that's so weird. Ugh, I'll probably be commenting later when I remember more stuff.

  • Winston Sawayn

    Videos in this thread: [Watch Playlist ▶](http://subtletv.com/_r5iarl2?feature=playlist&nline=1) VIDEO|COMMENT -|- [Dion Phaneuf hits Kyle Okposo Sep 17, 2009](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iql-lyihBkM)|[107](https://www.reddit.com/r/hockey/comments/5iarl2/_/db6pv4f?context=10#db6pv4f) - The day things changed. The hit was so hard Phaneuf and Okoposo had their happiness infused upon each other. [Joseph Joestar OH SHIT](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua20Hxx8xDE)|[4](https://www.reddit.com/r/hockey/comments/5iarl2/_/db70con?context=10#db70con) - Islanders fans right now [Colbert's creepy smile](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acjy9EHDDBE)|[1](https://www.reddit.com/r/hockey/comments/5iarl2/_/db6zjrv?context=10#db6zjrv) - I think Okposo is just challenging Colbert's slow smile. True dedication! [This is the worst day of my life.](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQraG_TjZWs)|[0](https://www.reddit.com/r/hockey/comments/5iarl2/_/db6s3k8?context=10#db6s3k8) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQraG_TjZWs I'm a bot working hard to help Redditors find related videos to watch. I'll keep this updated as long as I can. *** [Play All](http://subtletv.com/_r5iarl2?feature=playlist&ftrlnk=1) | [Info](https://np.reddit.com/r/SubtleTV/wiki/mentioned_videos) | Get me on [Chrome](https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mentioned-videos-for-redd/fiimkmdalmgffhibfdjnhljpnigcmohf) / [Firefox](https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/mentioned-videos-for-reddit)

  • Hayley Erdman

    No. You're totally RIGHT. While Kyle may have wanted a healthy partner, you didn't mention that he tried to help you achieve your goals or encourage you to be healthier. It sounds like it was more about aesthetic than caring about you or your wellbeing. A guy who really loves you would have put in a little more effort before calling it off over weight. Life hands us some crazy things. I know that I bounce up and down on the scale's numbers all the time! A new medication, the scale goes up. A new job, the scale goes down. A winter month filled with decadent deserts, scale goes up again. A rampage of yoga and bikini-season-is-coming-induced-workout-frenzy, down goes the scale! If my boyfriend were to dump me every new medicine, winter month, or Ben-and-Jerry's-fueled-cryfest? We wouldn't last very long! 15lbs may have looked like more on your small frame, true. But you want to be in a relationship with someone who will be with you during the ups-and-downs. Not just the weight ones, either. What if you were to have a family crisis and become depressed and struggle with hygiene for awhile? I hope your boyfriend would be the kind of guy to help you get up the courage to come out of bed and shower and get off those gross sweatpants. What if you were diagnosed with a disease where your hair fell out from treatment? I hope your boyfriend would be the guy who tells you you're gorgeous even if you don't want to pick out an itchy wig. What if you have three kids and your body just never really tightens up even if you perform hundreds of crunches the way it used to when you were younger? I would hope the man you were with would see you trying and smile because that curvier belly helped to produce something magical that you two share. Life happens. 15lbs happens. It's not the same as if you had become clinically obese and refused to do anything about it ever. You deserve a guy who can appreciate your fluctuations and is mature enough to love you through them.. and if he sees that they're not just fluctuations, supports you in choosing your health. I think Marilyn Monroe would tell you that if Kyle couldn't stick around with you with those extra 15lbs, he definitely doesn't deserve you now.

  • Eliza Hansen

    I look down at the child at my feet, his eyes wide and full of fear and wonder. "Who- who are you?" He whispered, shaking- though his feet are strong under him, and he holds his ground. "Youngest of Warriors, I am Valkyrie. Whom might you be?" "My name is Kurt Wagner. I.... I don't feel right." His eyes filled with tears as he looked at me, but his stance staid strong. Yes, I would take him. Odin help me, I see the strength that he would have had if he had been allowed to become a man. "Young Kurt, you are dead. Can you tell me what happened? Do you understand how, young warrior?" Tears fell from his eyes. "Mommy- mommy said that it is our families job to protect those whom cannot protect themselves. And.... and David is only five, and they were hitting him with rocks!" "Why did they do that?" "David is different- he talks funny, and everyone says he's broken cause his mommy made him that way. But Mommy said that just because his mom tried to make him broken doesn't mean he is, and that Uncle Kyle is like David, and she loves Uncle Kyle so...." I felt a small smile on my face, full of pride. "And young one, what did you do?" "I drove my bike in front of David and made him run away!! I swing my helmet at the big kids- they were being mean!! And I threw a rock back and it broke and they threw it back and it his my neck and- and then there was a lot of red...." He got so, so quiet, my littlest of warriors. "But I wasn't scared. I fell, and when I looked over, I smiled, because I saw David running away. And I saved him. I saved David." "Aye, little one, that you did. Come!! We shall have to fit a special chair for you. The dwarves would love to help you! Shall we get you a sword, and axe, or something else?" Neither of them heard the screaming in the background. Neither of them heard the wails of a mother having lost her only son as they entered the portal to Valhalla. "Can I have two swords?!" I felt a hearty laugh leave me. "I, Valkyrie, decree that you can try anything you like, and may have whatever feels the most right with you."

  • Mackenzie Predovic

    >My point is that you're going to have to use the talent to beat a game plan tailored to stop what Shannahan does against a defensive scheme that matches up well with your strengths. And my point is that we don't need raw talent to beat an anti-Shanahan gameplan, because Shanahan is one of the best and most dynamic game planners in the league. If you want to game plan for what Kyle did last week, good on you. But when a Falcons fan says we're going to game plan against what the Pat's do, and the Pats fans knowingly smile -- you have to understand we're doing that too. No, we don't need raw talent to overcome some neutralizing game plan _because you won't be able to neutralize us with game plan alone_. Frankly, it's your defense that's going to need to rely on raw talent to overcome the fact that it's inferior to this offense and no game plan will ever change that. Just like our defense and your offense. We can scheme all day long: the difference those fast and physical defensive rookies will bring is their talent and athleticism. If they can't make a difference that way, they won't be making a difference. Our offense though? Talent is what elevates the game plan. We don't rely on talent. We rely on game plan. If you think you can neutralize our offense with a "game plan" requiring pure talent to overcome, then I say that Dan Quinn will do the exact same to Josh and Tom. That Dan will simply "neutralize" your game plan just like you expect to do to us. Get the point? We don't concede that your superior at game planning and that your game plan is so overwhelmingly superior that we're hopeless in planning competition and must rely on talent to overcome that deficiency.

  • Francesco Ondricka

    I keep calling (my interpretation) of **Kyle Crane** an adorkable mercenary, but I am not entirely sure it fits him in the literal sense of the word. He's not clumsy, or shy-- quite the contrary. But he's a bit of a closet geek, at least whenever he's expected to be professional. Come to think of it, it's more how he interacts with people around him, rather than how he carries himself as a person, that got me to think of him as adorkable. One line in particular sealed the deal for me. Him and Zofia had just barely survived an attack ('dis is a Zombie apocolypse) and are hiding in a motel. He finds stuff in a suitcase and goes: > “The shaving cream is mine.” Zofia’s eyes cut back to him. His brow pinched threateningly, a gesture easily lifted by the smile curling his lips. “So’s the iPod. I’ll fight you for it if I've got to.” Whenever he tries to cheer her up, he makes himself sound like an adorable dunce. His jokes are *terrible*. His timing even worse. But he tries, and he keeps trying, and that makes him adorkable to me. And then there's /u/deejaymil's **Spencer Reid** form Criminal Minds. He's already adorkable by default-- an embodiment of the defintion, and she makes full use of it. A young genius in the FBI, all lanky legs and arms and unruly hair. Brilliant profiler, not so brilliant with people. Does stuff like [this](http://archiveofourown.org/works/8178025/chapters/20056537). If he's not adorkable, then I don't know who is.

  • Casimer Cruickshank

    >http://imgur.com/a/Zg2pu > >Before I left for Air Force basic training, I had the chance to meet Kyle Larson at his shop..... (I live in North Carolina, and my MEPS was in Charlotte, also got to drive on the road course at the speedway the weekend before because of the blood drive they do there, pretty sweet city for the people who don't live near it) Ran into him because he had to run back into the shop because he forgot his keys, so I got him to sign all my diecast cars, I just so happened to bring them and left them in my car, as well as take a picture with me and told him why I was there. > >Well fast forward many weeks, my 3rd to last week in basic (I think WOT 6, can't exactly remember), and I get a letter from him, with my picture signed. I guess my mom emailed him, but I think that shows how good of a person he is. Printed it out, signed it, and even paid to ship it to me. > >I just think that's so cool, that a driver/team would do that for someone like me. Made me smile ear to ear the rest of the night, and no one else from my flight understood why it mean't so much. They weren't NASCAR fans lol. > >P.S. Sorry for the bad quality, my family has the letter, so I couldn't take the pictures. Also if anyone went through AF BMT, I was in the 331st! > >PICTURES: >http://imgur.com/a/Zg2pu

  • Kaela Rohan

    i think it's a few things. 1) i think kyle is naturally a fairly passive-aggressive person. i'd offer you evidence but there's like seven seasons' worth soooo pick an episode. i also think that: 2) kyle is still a little bit chapped both about lvp trying to knife her in s6 (whether or not you believe this happened, we know kyle believes it because she's said so) and some of lvp's conduct in their friendship more generally. however, she has a built-in out because: 3) lisa vanderpump is commonly accused of using her 'british sense of humour' to cloak some fairly hurtful jabs of her own. your mileage may vary on whether this is true, but lisa is very defensive of her sense of humour and claims to love friendly banter laden with insult and innuendo, and that there's nothing more to it than that. this gives kyle the perfect excuse to throw some shade, because whether or not lvp realizes there's something more nasty to it (and i'm sure she does; the woman's not dumb), she can't call kyle out on it because it would make her a hypocrite. ergo, kyle pretty much has license to call out lvp anywhere and anytime she wants, as long as she chucks a wink and a smile on at the end, and there's not really anything lisa can do about it. idk, it's all kind of high school girl frenemy stuff, camille grammer would tell you is kyle's native realm.

  • Keanu Jacobi

    In general, a simple word or phrase cannot receive copyright protection; however, a stylized rendition can. For example, [if you look at the hats Kyle himself sells](http://shop.superduperkyle.com/collections/hats), the bolded, italicized, sans-serif logos likely wouldn't be protected by copyright, but the stylized rainbow one almost certainly would. On the other hand, protecting a word associated with a brand in business use is the name of the game for trademark law. And, non-literal usage, such as the wordplay in combining Kyle and smile to create the corruption: smyle, is often viewed favorably in affording protection. Moreover, just because a word isn't formally registered at the state or federal level doesn't mean it isn't protected. Most every jurisdiction has common law unfair competition tort laws, such as misappropriation or passing off, that will afford protection to a mark even if not registered. In all, I think you're right in trusting your instincts and backing off this one. It would be one thing if it was a one-off job for personal use or a gift, but as it stands you'd be going into direct competition a company that makes the exact same branded apparel you want to.

  • Lulu Steuber

    I was a Freshman at a small University where I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship for baseball. My first semester ever I had Calc 1 with an Indian professor. Not only could I not pronounce her name, when it came time for her to teach, no one could understand her. This class was also at 7:30 AM MWF. Directly after our 5:30AM-7AM MWF morning baseball workouts. I made friends with a guy on the Cross Country team in the class and he helped me as much as he could. I think CC was at an Away meet, and one week he was not there to study with me for a test. I went up to Pushpa's office and asked her for some help, stating that I was a baseball player and if I didn't pass the class I wouldn't be able to play baseball. I definitely was not failing the class, but I was teetering on the edge of a C and a D. This lady had the nerve to look me in the eyes and tell me "Kyle, you are not going to pass this class. I would recommend dropping the class and taking an incomplete". So I reiterated, I HAD to pass the class, otherwise I would have been sent home and probably not ever gone back to college. She REFUSED to help me with anything Couple weeks later, I took the final, handed it in with a smile on my face. Ended up with a C-. Worst time of my life.

  • Dimitri Lehner

    Hahahaha trust me. I've heard that so many times it's untrue. If I had £1 for every time I hear it, I'd have a nice amount saved up by now! I just smile and nod. Your reply fills me with excitement! I can't wait to try it out and 50/50 my screen like you do on Saturday for the truck and Xfinity! Thanks for making me feel so welcome. All I want to do is morph into a sponge and soak up every little morsel of NASCAR related knowledge, so I'll no doubt ask questions! Okay controversial choice of driver here but I like Kyle Busch. But I also keep my eyes on Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick (I know, I know.) and Daniel Suarez (mostly because Carl Edwards was my other favourite but he stepped back. I want to like Logano. I really do because he's undeniably a good driver with a lot of talent. But he's a bit of an ass. And can be overly aggressive. Which rubs me the wrong way. Especially with the thing with Kenseth (whom I also quite like). Haha. That was a long reply! Oops sorry about that.

  • Reagan Kihn

    [Typical boyfriend thread incoming.] *Kyle who had decided to simply just keep with his same undertones, also placed a couple of presents underneath his tree. However Kyle had a problem with the tie as it started to become loose. So Kyle approached Daireann in the [suit she had made](https://www.mensusa.com/images/Nice3PC-3-Button-Brown-Pinstripe-Mens-Suit-With-a-Vest.jpg) with a messed up tie at the moment. After a bit of working at the tie with some grumbling, Daireann could hear and see Kyle trying to make the tie just right. It wasn't until after he had gotten in talking distance of her that he finished his tie and let out a sigh of relief.* "Well that's one annoying tie I should have not bought." *Kyle said as he looked towards Daireann as his eyes go wide in her beauty for a second. Almost as if Kyle.edx had to do a reboot. After his reboot Kyle let out a smile as he put his arms idly by his side.* "You look really beautiful you know?"

  • Paul Effertz

    I couldn't believe my eyes when I read this. I spent several months getting to know Kyle and his girlfriend on RS. We skyped from the hospital and did bossing and things like that. The last I knew he was doing great... his health was good and he was enjoying life with his girl. I didn't want to bother him as much anymore because I figured he was glad to finally be enjoying his freedom. I wish I had known but I'm sure that he had his reasons for not really letting on how bad things were going. In my many years of RuneScape I haven't met another player with more heart. He was a genuinely pleasant person to be around and even when he was clearly fighting through horrible pain he had a smile on his face. I won't forget the many hours and days we spent together. We had a lot in common since we've both been in and out of the hospital for much of our lives. Fun talks, fun times. Total goofball. Hope to see you again one day, but for now rest in peace.

  • Gregory Hessel

    *'Why did we have the same idea?'* *Kyle mentally asked himself before deciding to get up from that rather train wreck quickly figuring that he shouldn't bother himself with that and just move on to trying to gain some distance from Kelly. Kyle put away his weapon on his back as he decided to try and gain as much distance as possible. Kyle decided to run as soon as Kelly was trying to get up figuring it would be hard for the girl to try and strike him and get up faster than him.* *As he was beginning to bolt, Kyle gave a small wave towards Kelly figuring she would not be able to hit him. As he made his way a good distance away from Kelly, he quickly held on towards his weapon and put it in his arms with a smile on his face.* "Ole." *Kyle gave a courteous bow towards Kelly as he kept an eye out for her next move.* [Move action: Get up] [Major Action: Moving towards s15] [Free Action: Feeling very much like a matador]

  • Dovie Koch

    "Daireann you did nothing wrong." *Kyle said as he went to go pick up her bow and then walk towards her. He then handed it towards her as he then knelt down so that he could see her face with a concerned look.* "Daireann not all people are able to think logically. Some people just appeal to their emotions and their logic is based around that. I mean a guy was so devoted to equal rights that he would blow himself up in a cave." *Kyle then let out a small smile as he got up and then looked at the cave that was now collapsed.* "Maybe perhaps you could plea out something towards Ozpin and ask him if they could excavate the cave to try and find him?" *Kyle then went back and sat down on the rock.* "I'm not sure what he meant by that he'll see you again and this is perhaps what he meant. Thinking about him is only proving him right and is making you try and logically explain it out. At least from what I could interpret."

  • Frederik Lowe

    *To her surprise Susan would not be alone. In fact she could hear some rustling from one of the trees above her. As the rustling continued, a face could be seen from it. However, it wasn't exactly a friendly face as it was the face of a beowulf staring right at Susan for a bit.* *The beowulf gave off a low growl as more of the body was exposed. After a few seconds and at least the shoulders of the beast were exposed, a rather large bullet hole could be seen right in between the Grimm's eyes. The body quickly fell down with a sad thud as another body came out through the brushes. This time it was a fellow student as the young man wearing a black duster came through.* *The young courier Kyle, quickly put Dust Bringer on his shoulder as he placed his bag just next to him as he let out a small smile towards Susan. He then took a small breath and rolled his neck a bit.* "Hey. Want to partner up for the exercise?"

  • Lauretta Adams

    Live a little. Dye your hair. Do nice things for yourself. Eat all the fries and burgers you want. Go out and enjoy some hikes through the woods. Hang out with your friends. Don't listen to the adults, because while they are trying to look out for you, you need to forge your own path or else you will just stand still. Don't move in with Sydney, under any circumstances. Do not trust her. Talking to yourself is perfectly healthy. Read as many books as you can. Save everything on a backup hard drive. Get mad, not sad. Do whatever it takes to become independent. Watch out for Kyle. Don't worry about your brother, he'll be ok. Asking for help does not make you weak. Of course, knowing 13 year old me, I would just smile and say thanks while privately hating older/current me and just continue on with my life. It's always worth a try.

  • Kara Connelly

    "Alright." *Kyle said as he channeled his aura into the bullet as it let out a rather soft icy aura glow. After loading the bullet into the top cylinder, Kyle closed it and pointed down towards the range where there was a target dummy there with for some reason a bucket over the head in addition to a wooden sword. Kyle took aim at the dummy and fired a shot.* *The target dummy got blown back by the bullet before freezing the entire target dummy with the bucket just barely over its head. Kyle let out a small smile as he holstered the revolver into his duster before turning towards Kris and nodding.* "It's works pretty good despite it being crude." *Kyle says as he turned towards Kris.*

  • Alfreda Armstrong

    *Kyle saw the tiny box with the red bow and placed it on towards the table they were in before slowly pulling the bow off and making sure to remove the Christmas wrapping to see the beautiful dark leather harmonica case. His eyes widened a bit by it as he lifted it up to feel something in there. He then slowly opened up the case to see the new harmonica with his name and emblem on both sides.* *Kyle took it out from the dark leather case and held it in his hands for a bit before putting it on towards his mouth and playing a small [introduction](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7y19ED6Vrk) part of a song. He then looked down at the harmonica case with a smile on his face.* "I really like my gift. Thank you so much."

  • Josie Sporer

    I've thought this through. Perhaps too much: Billy Hamilton-gotta have your last resort and hope they miss him if he runs fast enough. Kyle Hendricks-planner. This kid is smart as fuck. He'll be calculating his trajectories all day long. Aaron Hicks-107.5? Good enough for me. Long range sniper. Bartolo Colon-Everyone else stands behind him. CC Sabathia-see Colon. RA Dickey-fuck some people with that insane duckleknogeball. Dexter Fowler-signal relayer and opponenet blinder. The smile will flash enough light for both of these things. Hunter Pence-the opponent will shit their pence when they look at him and his creepy eyes.

  • Cortez Zieme

    "I know where they live. They're nearby the youth foundation, just before you head into the slums. They often help the people around their so they have a house nearby. It's just a block or two away from there." *Kyle nodded towards the helpful woman as he gave some pets towards Marble's head.* "Thank you very much ma'am." *Kyle said as he then rubbed the back of his head a little embarrassed about one other thing.* "Do you also know where we can get a treat for Marble. Pretty sure he's been a brave dog. He deserves something." *The woman let out a small smile before pulling up her purse and giving Kyle and Daireann a couple of small dog treats that were tiny bones.* "Here you go."

  • Ethyl Wolf

    "Well..." *Kyle then pulled out Dust Bringer and filled third beowulf full of holes from his automatic. He then pulled out his pistol as he then unloaded a large handcannon shell through the skull of the beowulf, causing it to decay into dust instantly.* "I just wanted to try and do things on my own. I never was good at Dust and Crafting like you were remember? I'm pretty terrible at dust so I thought to try things out on my own and see what I can do." *Kyle said as he turned towards Daireann with a smile on his face as he scanned the area a bit seeing that it appeared all clear. He then walked up towards her and held up a hand for her.*

  • Berniece Haag

    The man stands. His tattooed scalp was grazing the wooden roof, placing him at easily 7 foot tall. From over one shoulder he pulls a giant axe. "Tyring to be funny, Runt?" He smiles. It wasn't a pleasant smile. For one thing, there where far to man sharp teeth. He knelt down putting him at eye level with Kyle. "I'd recommend you listen to your friend. He is clearly far smarter than you." The Girl sighs and walks over to the man mountain. "At ease, Boris." In the lantern light, it becomes apparent she has a pair of nubby little horns. A quick glance at her feet reveals a pair of furry legs capped off with cloven hooves. The gigantic man sighed and stepped back.

  • Virginia Tremblay

    [Scene: John Lynch's bedroom. He is lying in bed watching kyle Shanahan get dressed] Kyle: *"I'm glad we're on the same page with this thing. I gotta run though. Super Bowl stuff. You know how it is."* [John fakes a smile and nods. He watches as Kyle grabs his shoes and walks out the door without saying anything else. Still naked, John slides out of bed and walks over to a full length mirror hanging on the wall. He focuses deep into his own eyes. Without breaking his stare, he pulls his hands up to his face and smears three lines of black face paint under each eye] John: *"I am become death, destroyer of worlds."*

  • Clement Stroman

    *A slight smile crossed Rez' face at Kyle's rundown of his strengths and weaknesses. Finally someone who knew what they were doing and could focus on what is important.* "I should be fine in close quarters, I prefer to engage at very short range and one enemy at a time anyway. With the lack of verticality I will not be getting much use out of my nimbleness, I am afraid." *She thought about fitting strategies they could employ with two people.* "If they have a lopsided team, I should well be able to keep the bigger threat busy while you work on making it a two versus one engagement however."

  • Maybelle Shields

    "Thank you so much. We owe you both a huge favor from-" *Kyle then raised his hand a bit before shaking his head left and right towards the both the boy's parents.* "You don't owe us anything. We're just glad to help reunite a puppy to a family." *The family feeling really happy about it went to hug their son and Marble before nodding towards both Kyle and Daireann.* "Are you sure you don't want anything?" *Kyle shook his head left and right before letting out a smile towards the family and then towards Daireann figuring that the fun they had with Marble was good enough a reward.*

  • Else Hermiston

    "Daireann." *Kyle said as he looked towards her reaction of jumping towards her bow almost or having it at the ready. After a few seconds, he recalled the events of what happened after briefly forgetting about it and letting out a small smile.* "When you went into the cave, I was really nervous for you." *Kyle then paused for a second as he turned towards the cave for a second before turning towards Daireann.* "You wanna talk it out for a bit?" *Kyle pointed towards two rocks that were just good enough to act as chair figuring it might be easier for them to talk sitting down.*

  • Liliane Walker

    "Wait... HOW DID YOU-" *The guy turned around towards the young piper confused as hell with his gun in the air. Right after that, he could feel a gun to the back of his head. Kyle had quickly pulled out a gun and pointed it towards his head. The guy then just let out a disappointing sigh and dropped his gun.* "You really made a bad choice partner. Any specific reason you were trying to rob us? I'm more forgiving with this type of stuff, but..." *Kyle then let out a smile and put away his gun in his holster inside his duster.* "I'm not entirely sure about my friend here."

  • Breanne Gaylord

    I imagine the Midlands guys will get cheered and everyone else will get a few boos. It would also be great to see someone like Chris Brookes or Ryan Smile make an appearance. I was at the first Manchester show and the London guys were not popular at all. Kyle Ashmore was boo'd out of the building after an awful match against a local guy and Jim had to try and win the crowd back over for the entire first half of the show. London Riots still get shat on in Manchester for just being from London. The crowd were begging for them to lose the titles to War Machine during that Tornado match.

  • Lyric Zulauf

    "O-oh..." *Daireann started rubbing the back of her head a bit lost for words keeping her eyes on the ground while she thought over the offer.* "I-I... would really like that Kyle." *Daireann started after a few moments glancing up at Kyle giving him a warm smile.* "I-I sure you know I-I've never been to a restaurant like that before." *Daireann walking closer once she was around the tree back to Kyle leaned on him for a moment before straightening back up again.* "I-I think that will be a perfect Yule gift."

  • Raymundo Welch

    "Alright." *Kyle said as he had a smile on his face. He then tried to think a bit about what to get his other teammates though which was the problem in his head.* "Well I guess I was gonna ask Amai and Kris what they want for yule time too." *Kyle paused a bit before rubbing the back of his head.* "Well I'd rather not cook because I'm afraid of burning down the dorm room and I'm pretty sure Amai is still angry with me from the previous time I did that." *Kyle said a little embarrassed about the whole ordeal before putting his hand back to his side.*

  • Ciara Kulas

    *As it howled, it was soon met with a rather loud gunshot which came from Kyle's pistol as it lines upon its face and fires a shot. The beowulf quickly falls limp and begins to evaporate. However, the brush around them began to move around as if more of those large beasts incoming towards them. Kyle put away his weapon and transformed Dust Bringer into assault rifle mode and nodded towards Daireann.* "You ready?" *Kyle asked with a smile on his face ready to take on the Grimm with her so casually.*

  • Jennings Prosacco

    *Kyle nodded at Daireann as he had a small smile on his face. He then took Daireann's request and showed her his hand. His hand had his knuckles that had the skin ripped off. Kyle let out a small grunt as he tried to move it a bit, but decided to leave it there and not moving it.* "Sorry about that. Just... needed to get it out of my system you know?" *Kyle said as he looked down at his hand a bit concerned before looking up towards their dormitory.* "I should probably take a shower and change before telling the others though."

  • Kara Stokes

    *Supprised by the sudden kiss Daireann eyes widened a fraction before she leaned into the kiss before it was shortly broken thereafter. The girls ears flicked down under her hair as she looked down at her feet as if she was tiring not to stumble over her own feet but for as long as Kyle had known Daireann it was clear that she was thinking hard about her answer.* "I-I..." *Daireann started but stopped, taking a deep breath as she looked back up at Kyle with a smile.* "M-My answer is yes."

  • Jeramie Sporer

    "Well it's your choice. I already placed some gifts below for a couple of friends." *Kyle said as he chuckled at Daireann as she seemed to puff her cheeks, but let out a smile as she seemed to relax with the kiss and gift.* "Although if you wait a bit, we could dance for a little bit together before opening it." *Kyle then decided that perhaps it was easier to ask her formally. So Kyle presented his right hand for Daireann to grab if she wanted to.* "Will you dance with me tonight?"

  • Otho Durgan

    "Me too. Although I think you might be better locating it Daireann. I'm still getting used to the many routes." *Kyle said rubbing the back of his head as he gave Marble one last pet. With their goal in set the woman waved them both off before heading towards somewhere else. Kyle then turned towards Daireann with a smile on his face as Marble let out a yap as he stared down the both of them.* "You know. I always did want to bring my dog from Smallbright up here. Nelly would love the park."

  • Dock Mohr

    "Sure I-I don't mind if you do." *Daireann nodded her head giving Kyle a small smile when he rubbed the back of his head. A small blushed crossed her cheeks when he mentioned the dinner that he wanted to go to from before making her shift back and forth on the sidewalk in front of him.* "Y-You know, t-that sounds like a really good idea K-Kyle." *Daireann smiled up at Kyle before turning to walk beside him.* "D-Do you know what you want to get Amai and K-Kris?"

  • Noe Dooley

    "I... don't really k-know yet, to be honest." *Daireann gave an awkward chuckle for herself before giving Kyle a small smile out of the corner of her eye.* "I-I guess we are in the same boat then for that topic. B-But hey you never know with these younger students they might pay you to play a song for someone they like." *Daireann joked a little bit gave Kyle a light, playful nudge with her bow, walking around a tree that was in the middle of the path right afterward.*

  • Wyman Mayert

    "Sorry for your loss, mate, but at least he had a good life." *Susan offered her condolances, giving Kyle a soft smile before turning back forewards.* "Yeah, it's a pretty good fucking uni, had a few courses there, but my uni was off in a different part of the bloody city. Only fucking pain about using that old building as a uni is the fact that there's only two bloody ways in, so it's a fucking cuntdump of cunts. Anyway, what did your brother go for? And when was he there?"

  • Roxanne Pagac

    I had a buddy who closely resembles your limitations named Kyle. Little person, bone density problems, barrel chest, etc. I loved that guy, but unfortunately we lost him in a freak car accident - I think it was about 12 years ago now... His alias when we gamed together was always Deathchair, or Wheels. If it's any consolation to you, you brought back a bunch of memories of him and it made me smile quite a bit. Thank you.

  • Nico DuBuque

    *Daireann shifted a little bit as Kyle looked her over, forcing her eyes to the ground for a moment before stepping over next to him.* "T-Thank you, I-I'm really happy the suit worked out in the end." *Daireann gave Kyle another smile and adjudged his tie to make sure it was in the center of his shirt rather than off to the side.* "Y-You know I could have made you a t-tie to go with it, you didn't have to go out and get one yourself."

  • Maryjane Eichmann

    "That's cool. I can carry those if you want Daireann." *Kyle said as he offered his arms or perhaps something better. Kyle told Daireann to hold on while he quickly walked towards the entrance to grab one of those hand baskets. He then walked towards Daireann and put a couple of the bolts into the basket enough for her to see him with a smile on his face.* "I got us a basket real fast. Figured we could use it to hold our stuff."

  • Amari Durgan

    *Once back at the dorm Daireann went to work wrapping everyone's gift to make sure that her other teammates could not find out what they had just gotten them. From the floor, Doe was finishing wrapping her last gift turned her head to look over at Kyle with a smile, chuckling at how he was trying to figure out what to wear.* "W-Well, maybe just a nice shirt and dress pants for you? I'm sure I-I have something I can wear..."

  • Rico Murphy

    It's not really necessary they make a book to movie adaptation of any character. So I guess making John a dark(no pun intended) character with a Serious tone who won't smile nor appreciate humor can bring a lot of humor when he interacts with other humourous people like Flash or Kyle Rayner. While Hal Jordan should be the leader with a big big ego, the same ego with which he punched Batman in GL Rebirth(the old one).

  • Johnathon Bins

    > When asked further about his comment, Matt Ryan responded, "Look, guys. We've been destroying defenses this season. Besides, the last time the Seahawks came onto our field, Sherman got his ass toasted by my boy Roddy. I was talking to Julio and Kyle earlier today about what kind of toasty plays we will draw up for this week." As Ryan said that, he gave a smile and a hearty chuckle.

  • Emery Thiel

    Does Yachty write his own verses? Kyle's was pretty solid and made me smile, Yachty's had some funny parts. I like his first line about the nutsack and the "Raggy" scooby doo reference but his rhyme scheme is just wack and sounds off at some parts. But honestly I'm surprised I liked this as much as I did. Made me happy and I will listen to it again at some point. The first song with Lil Yachty in it that I've enjoyed. 6/10

  • Marguerite Schoen

    "Well some people just act differently I guess. I know people have a right to say whatever they want, but I'm just concerned for you is all." *Kyle says as he walked along with Daireann with a smile on his face.* "So what are you looking for in the store?" *Kyle asked as he continued on to look at random fabric thinking he has no idea what he is supposed to get in there.*

  • Abner Okuneva

    "I-I love you too Kyle." *Daireann leaned her head onto his chest as the dance came to an end and the DJ paused to change the style of the music to something more upbeat. Looking up at Kyle's smile Daireann could not help but smile as well as she glanced off to the side before looking back up at Kyle.* "D-do you want to take a break and get something to drink and something to snack on?"

  • Sydnee Sipes

    "Y-Yeah I think this will be perfect for her, want to head to the checkout line?" *Doe looked up at Kyle and gave him a bright smile enjoying spending time with him out around the town like they were. It was almost everything was back to normal between them, sure there was still some moments where they stumbled and took a few steps back but it was getting closer to normal every day.*

  • Yasmine Mohr

    "Minus the heat and sand, it bloody is one. You a Vacco too, mate?" *Susan couldn't help but peek around at Kyle when he mentioned Vacuo, the fact that he brought it up caused her to think that he was like her, and that caused her to smile. But the peek wasn't long, as she quickly turned her head back fowards to see where she was going.*

  • Ebba Ortiz

    *Doe gave Kyle a smile before ducking inside of the shop letting out a relaxed sigh. Looking from left to right trying to decide where to start the girl turned around and looked up at Kyle.* "Y-You... didn't buy a suit did you?" *Daireann chewed at her lower lip, shifted in her spot before glancing away, knowing that Kyle was with Gwen before this.*

  • Eloisa Fisher

    "It's alright. The town had a good life. After all..." *Kyle paused for a bit before having a small smile on his face.* "Home is where the heart is always welcome." *Kyle said in a sort of grumpy voice before nodding towards Gwen.* "Since were going about homes, how about you? Where are you from?"

  • Johnpaul Hayes

    *Daireann nodded her head in agreement stepping a little bit closer to Kyle, giving him a smile.* "N-No thank you, I-I just enjoyed spending time with Marble since w-we can't have pets of our own at the school." *Daireann pointed out softly shifting from side to side as she shy away from the looks behind Kyle.*

  • Sherman Schroeder

    *Daireann blushed a little bit at the compliment before Marble was found and picked up by the boy, standing next to Kyle Daireann could not help but smile at the touching reunion of Marble and his family.* "H-He should be, h-he was a very good boy today. W-We were just on our w-way to see if we could find your home to return him."

  • Skyla McCullough

    Robbie Rotten's smile is definitely a reason to worship him. And, yes, Kyle's mom **is** a bitch. (like the world, sometimes) +/u/User_simulator /u/fullmetal_deathnote

  • Kyleigh Weimann

    I think Robin in HIMYM was dating Kyle MacLauchlan's character, named "The Captain" and they were trying to say he is conflicting to be around because he has a lovely smile, but crazy eyes. So they were never sure if he was being nice or evil.

  • Destin Roberts

    Delusions of grandeur. Not everything is about you, Kyle. Anyways, you have a million dollar smile and really great hair when you don't do something stupid to it.

  • Humberto Swift

    Ahaha didnt notice this at first but now I'm just laughing my ass off. All those left legs in casts and Kyle just standing there in the middle with his arms down and what I imagine to be a goofy smile.

  • Marie Hammes

    > “I know I said a lot of things,” began Kyle before Drake interrupted him with a smile. “That’s all in the past my friend. What matters now is the future.” Beautiful

  • Drake Anderson

    As much as I wanted to see him bite the bullet from Sheila at the end, I couldn't help but laugh at his smug smile and thumbs up to Ike/Kyle when he got home.

  • Kaleb Daugherty

    This is also the season that gave us HI! I'M KYLE! I SMILE FOR MILES ANTM has always been a mess (that I love) https://youtu.be/dz4DDOEp6vc

  • Jerrod Lakin

    "Psst, Brian. Briiiiiian.... Get out of the way, they're here to see us!!!! Kyle, smile for the people!"

  • Stephon Trantow

    Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott need to make this happen in real life asap. Joey's big smile with the beard reminds me a lot of Kyle Petty.

  • Dortha Crist

    Kyle is so happy with DeMar. This made me smile

  • Albertha Casper

    Kyle's smile makes me smile.

  • Emmie Stoltenberg

    >(*Little introduction to set up the mood.*) Prisons are, by definition, rigorous environments where little is supposed to change. Days are designed to be the same, surroundings are designed to be the same, inmates are supposed to look the same. At least in theory. At least for their "educational" purpose, if there is ever any. So it comes as no surprise that the slightest change stands out. Inmates are very observant, in this monotonous environment. They notice a new watch, your fresh uniform, a new haircut or your polished boots. > >And now, on with our story. > >This con, we'll call him Turnip, is in dry cell for allegedly packing drugs (yes, up his arse) after a private family visit. Once his girlfriend left, the drug dog sat on him so we had reasons to believe he's got something up there. But of course he won't admit to it, and still hopes to save his stuff for use or sale later. And we're not having any of it, he's supposed to give stool samples which he won't do. He also threatens to kill himself, which is usually grounds for being put under 24/7 constant surveillance by an officer. Double whammy in this particular case, his life is in danger no matter what - if he doesn't let go of the package, it may as well explode inside him resulting in a potentially fatal overdose. > >Watching cons on constant surveillance is not fun in the least. You get a crappy chair and sit in a hallway on a cell block, in front of a glass door, with literally nothing to do but watching inmates sleeping if you're lucky. If you're not, it can go anywhere from them pacing back and forth for hours, yelling at other inmates through the thick cell door or verbally abusing you. Sometimes it gets worse - they bite themselves, open wounds or shit in their hands and smear it all over the cell. > >But this isn't the case with Turnip. He's at the pacing stage - 10 small steps to the window, pause, 10 small steps to the door, about one per second, pause, swear at me, 10 small steps to the window, pause, and the whole thing goes on again. It's been already one hour and Turnip won't surrender the pack, getting increasingly mad at me while still hoping he's getting away with his precious cargo. I'm pissed too, because I haven't had my lunch and I drew the short straw getting to watch him. So I'm prodding a bit, trying to find some grounds to reason with him. > >"Okay Turnip, you know where this goes. It's not your first rodeo... Just let go of the damn package and we can all go about our business-" > >"FUCK YOU YOU PIECE OF SHIT I ain't got no package, I don't know what'chu talking about!" 10 slow steps to the window, pause, 10 steps back. "Lemme OUT OF THIS FUCKING CELL!" 10 slow steps to the window, pause, 10 steps back, pause, staring at me. > >"Yeah I would. But if I did, you and your little friends on the block are going to have a party with whatever's up your ass, and not before long, a slew of shiny ambulances are going to haul your overdosed carcasses to [Hospital]. Nah it ain't happening. Not on my watch. If you want to play hero, fine, let that thing go off inside you. Or take it like a man, surrender it and that's that." > >"FUCK YOU CO!" 10 slow steps to the window, pause, 10 steps back, pause, 10 steps to the window. > >"So you're not giving it up?" > >No answer. > >Oh hell. This is going to be a long night. Unless... Remember what I was telling you at the beginning of this story? Inmates notice changes. And I have about ten seconds, between his back and forth little walks, to change. So on my first break from the watch I get Officer Lucky aboard, and together we roll this devious scheme. > >10 slow steps to the window. I'm wearing sunglasses on my head. He looks at me, 10 steps to the door. Something's not right but he can't really say what. Turns around, 10 slow steps to the window. Sunglasses go away, handed to Lucky who's out of his sight, ready to help out. Another 2-3 walks back and forth, sunglasses on my head again. This time he stops by the glass door a little longer, almost getting it. But no, he doesn't. 10 slow steps to the window... sunglasses go away, and my radio too. He pauses again by the door, looking at me head to toe. On his next round, I've got my radio back. And another 2-3 walks, nothing changes. Then, I have a book in my hand, open, and I'm pretending to read from it. Another 2-3 walks, and I swap the book with a newspaper that Lucky holds ready for me. Turnip stops by the door, blinks a couple of times, but still doesn't say anything... until his next walk when I'm holding the book again. > >"What the!-" he blurts, but keeps his composure and keeps doing his little pace. I'm deadpan, not a move, not a smile. Another 2-3 walks and he starts to check over his shoulder. But nothing changes for a while, until I hold the book AND wear my sunglasses on my head again. > >"Anything wrong, Turnip?" > >"Oh fuck off CO you're fucking with me." > >"How so?" > >"You know." > >"No I don't. I have no clue what you mean, are you OK? You're talking crazy here." > >"Fuck off." He starts pacing again. He doesn't want to be taken for a nut job, so he keeps his composure and tries to pretend nothing is happening. 4 laps, 5 laps... on the sixth lap, Lucky is sitting in my chair, with my book in hand and my sunglasses on his head. I'm hidden out of sight, biting my hand so I don't start laughing. > >"Where's the other CO?" I hear him going at Lucky. > >"What other CO?" > >"You know. The dude that was here before." > >"Turnip you're seeing things. It was me here all night long." > >"Come on CO. Where's the other guy." > >"I'm telling you there's no other guy." Lucky looks quite like me, same buzz cut and about the same height. A few minutes go by, then Lucky motions at me and we swap places while Turnip's not looking. > >"Oh here you are again." > >"What?" > >"You came back." > >"Turnip. I'm really worried. I never left here, what the FUCK are you going off about? Did that pack go loose inside your ass or what?" > >"There's no pack. You guys are changing." > >"Who's changing, Turnip?" > >"You and the other officer." > >"And I am telling you there is NO OTHER officer. Do you want me to call psychiatry? Are you alright?" > >"Fuck you." He starts pacing backwards from the door, but doesn't count his steps and hits the window. It hurts. He comes back to the door, not losing me from his sight. Then does the backwards walk again, hits the window and kind of stands there looking at me. > >"You're being stupid. Why are you walking backwards." > >"Because you're fucking with me." > >"Nobody's fucking with you. I think the drugs broke in your ass. You're seeing things." > >Silence. Then, to prove me he's normal, he starts pacing back and forth again, this time turning away from me. And of course, after three walks Lucky takes my spot, book in hand and sunglasses on his head. > >"Ha! You did it again!" > >"Did what?" > >"Changed. Where's the other?" > >"The other what?" > >"The other officer! There's two of you! There's two!!" > >"Dude you're nuts. We're calling psychiatry." > >"I don't need no FUCKING PSYCHIATRY! I'M NOT NUTS!! YOU'RE FUCKING WITH ME!" > >"Nobody's fucking with you, Turnip. You're on drugs. You'd better shit that pack out before it gets worse." > >He turns around, and Lucky beckons for the newspaper. We quickly swap the book for it. > >"Hey. HEY! Where's your book?" > >"Book?" > >"You had a book in your hand. Like, right now!" > >"Turnip. I've been reading this newspaper since I got here, and all you did was - WHAT THE FUCK! HEY!" Lucky jumps out of his chair and I join him by the door, gas in hand. > >Turnip is squatting in the middle of the dry cell, pants down, eyes bulged, hovering over a fresh turd with saran wrap coming out of it. I'm laughing hysterically and so does Lucky, realizing we played one on Turnip and convinced him he's overdosing. So right then and there, he dropped a deuce with the drug pack in it. I can now say that I scared an inmate shitless. Literally. > >

  • Dewitt Kautzer

    Hi Sam! I wanted to make you a little list of things to remember when you are feeling down. When I am struggling with my own anxiety or depression your videos and podcasts are one of the things I watch to help get my headspace back into the happy zone. I have thoroughly enjoyed your work on sourcefed, sourcefedNerd, Sam’s tiny place and this podcast. So in an effort to try and return some of the happiness you have given me and many other viewers/listeners over the years here is a list of some things I like about you and your work: Your work: You are a fantastic entertainer. You are funny and energetic in all of the content you deliver. You are well informed and intelligent. Your breakdowns of comic book & movie characters/tropes are always informative, insightful and entertaining. Your enthusiasm and passion for the content you deliver is always present in your work and you inspire the same enthusiasm and passion in your audience. You always put a lot of work and preparation into the things you create which shows in the caliber of your content. You always have great on-screen chemistry with the co-hosts and guests you work with which makes the content feel like a conversation with friends that the audience is included in. You are always kind and respectful to the people you work with, even when you disagree with their opinions when discussing reviews and news, etc. You: You have a wonderful smile and laugh. It is genuine and welcoming. You are funny. Writing ‘bits’ is one thing but you are a genuinely funny person. You have great geeky/nerdy fashion sense. You have cool hair. You are a talented content creator and have a wide variety of skills both in front of and behind the camera. You are a good and caring friend. The way other hosts (including former hosts I continue to follow elsewhere) speak about you in things like tabletalk, bts videos etc. says that the kind and caring person you are on camera is also true of you as a person in the real world. I hope this little list of things helps.

  • Harmon Bartell

    >(*Little introduction to set up the mood.*) Prisons are, by definition, rigorous environments where little is supposed to change. Days are designed to be the same, surroundings are designed to be the same, inmates are supposed to look the same. At least in theory. At least for their "educational" purpose, if there is ever any. So it comes as no surprise that the slightest change stands out. Inmates are very observant, in this monotonous environment. They notice a new watch, your fresh uniform, a new haircut or your polished boots. > >And now, on with our story. > >This con, we'll call him Turnip, is in dry cell for allegedly packing drugs (yes, up his arse) after a private family visit. Once his girlfriend left, the drug dog sat on him so we had reasons to believe he's got something up there. But of course he won't admit to it, and still hopes to save his stuff for use or sale later. And we're not having any of it, he's supposed to give stool samples which he won't do. He also threatens to kill himself, which is usually grounds for being put under 24/7 constant surveillance by an officer. Double whammy in this particular case, his life is in danger no matter what - if he doesn't let go of the package, it may as well explode inside him resulting in a potentially fatal overdose. > >Watching cons on constant surveillance is not fun in the least. You get a crappy chair and sit in a hallway on a cell block, in front of a glass door, with literally nothing to do but watching inmates sleeping if you're lucky. If you're not, it can go anywhere from them pacing back and forth for hours, yelling at other inmates through the thick cell door or verbally abusing you. Sometimes it gets worse - they bite themselves, open wounds or shit in their hands and smear it all over the cell. > >But this isn't the case with Turnip. He's at the pacing stage - 10 small steps to the window, pause, 10 small steps to the door, about one per second, pause, swear at me, 10 small steps to the window, pause, and the whole thing goes on again. It's been already one hour and Turnip won't surrender the pack, getting increasingly mad at me while still hoping he's getting away with his precious cargo. I'm pissed too, because I haven't had my lunch and I drew the short straw getting to watch him. So I'm prodding a bit, trying to find some grounds to reason with him. > >"Okay Turnip, you know where this goes. It's not your first rodeo... Just let go of the damn package and we can all go about our business-" > >"FUCK YOU YOU PIECE OF SHIT I ain't got no package, I don't know what'chu talking about!" 10 slow steps to the window, pause, 10 steps back. "Lemme OUT OF THIS FUCKING CELL!" 10 slow steps to the window, pause, 10 steps back, pause, staring at me. > >"Yeah I would. But if I did, you and your little friends on the block are going to have a party with whatever's up your ass, and not before long, a slew of shiny ambulances are going to haul your overdosed carcasses to [Hospital]. Nah it ain't happening. Not on my watch. If you want to play hero, fine, let that thing go off inside you. Or take it like a man, surrender it and that's that." > >"FUCK YOU CO!" 10 slow steps to the window, pause, 10 steps back, pause, 10 steps to the window. > >"So you're not giving it up?" > >No answer. > >Oh hell. This is going to be a long night. Unless... Remember what I was telling you at the beginning of this story? Inmates notice changes. And I have about ten seconds, between his back and forth little walks, to change. So on my first break from the watch I get Officer Lucky aboard, and together we roll this devious scheme. > >10 slow steps to the window. I'm wearing sunglasses on my head. He looks at me, 10 steps to the door. Something's not right but he can't really say what. Turns around, 10 slow steps to the window. Sunglasses go away, handed to Lucky who's out of his sight, ready to help out. Another 2-3 walks back and forth, sunglasses on my head again. This time he stops by the glass door a little longer, almost getting it. But no, he doesn't. 10 slow steps to the window... sunglasses go away, and my radio too. He pauses again by the door, looking at me head to toe. On his next round, I've got my radio back. And another 2-3 walks, nothing changes. Then, I have a book in my hand, open, and I'm pretending to read from it. Another 2-3 walks, and I swap the book with a newspaper that Lucky holds ready for me. Turnip stops by the door, blinks a couple of times, but still doesn't say anything... until his next walk when I'm holding the book again. > >"What the!-" he blurts, but keeps his composure and keeps doing his little pace. I'm deadpan, not a move, not a smile. Another 2-3 walks and he starts to check over his shoulder. But nothing changes for a while, until I hold the book AND wear my sunglasses on my head again. > >"Anything wrong, Turnip?" > >"Oh fuck off CO you're fucking with me." > >"How so?" > >"You know." > >"No I don't. I have no clue what you mean, are you OK? You're talking crazy here." > >"Fuck off." He starts pacing again. He doesn't want to be taken for a nut job, so he keeps his composure and tries to pretend nothing is happening. 4 laps, 5 laps... on the sixth lap, Lucky is sitting in my chair, with my book in hand and my sunglasses on his head. I'm hidden out of sight, biting my hand so I don't start laughing. > >"Where's the other CO?" I hear him going at Lucky. > >"What other CO?" > >"You know. The dude that was here before." > >"Turnip you're seeing things. It was me here all night long." > >"Come on CO. Where's the other guy." > >"I'm telling you there's no other guy." Lucky looks quite like me, same buzz cut and about the same height. A few minutes go by, then Lucky motions at me and we swap places while Turnip's not looking. > >"Oh here you are again." > >"What?" > >"You came back." > >"Turnip. I'm really worried. I never left here, what the FUCK are you going off about? Did that pack go loose inside your ass or what?" > >"There's no pack. You guys are changing." > >"Who's changing, Turnip?" > >"You and the other officer." > >"And I am telling you there is NO OTHER officer. Do you want me to call psychiatry? Are you alright?" > >"Fuck you." He starts pacing backwards from the door, but doesn't count his steps and hits the window. It hurts. He comes back to the door, not losing me from his sight. Then does the backwards walk again, hits the window and kind of stands there looking at me. > >"You're being stupid. Why are you walking backwards." > >"Because you're fucking with me." > >"Nobody's fucking with you. I think the drugs broke in your ass. You're seeing things." > >Silence. Then, to prove me he's normal, he starts pacing back and forth again, this time turning away from me. And of course, after three walks Lucky takes my spot, book in hand and sunglasses on his head. > >"Ha! You did it again!" > >"Did what?" > >"Changed. Where's the other?" > >"The other what?" > >"The other officer! There's two of you! There's two!!" > >"Dude you're nuts. We're calling psychiatry." > >"I don't need no FUCKING PSYCHIATRY! I'M NOT NUTS!! YOU'RE FUCKING WITH ME!" > >"Nobody's fucking with you, Turnip. You're on drugs. You'd better shit that pack out before it gets worse." > >He turns around, and Lucky beckons for the newspaper. We quickly swap the book for it. > >"Hey. HEY! Where's your book?" > >"Book?" > >"You had a book in your hand. Like, right now!" > >"Turnip. I've been reading this newspaper since I got here, and all you did was - WHAT THE FUCK! HEY!" Lucky jumps out of his chair and I join him by the door, gas in hand. > >Turnip is squatting in the middle of the dry cell, pants down, eyes bulged, hovering over a fresh turd with saran wrap coming out of it. I'm laughing hysterically and so does Lucky, realizing we played one on Turnip and convinced him he's overdosing. So right then and there, he dropped a deuce with the drug pack in it. I can now say that I scared an inmate shitless. Literally. > >

  • Tyree Beier

    You should. I was going to pass it because I was sick of "dark and gritty" anime but Youjo Senki is amazing, mainly because of its protagonist. You can see how insane she is and why, as a kid, she is so respected and feared. It made me start following videos of WWI just to get more into the setting. Your book sounds amazing. I wish I could buy it and read it, but Mexican peso is to devalued right now to be able to get me that luxury. Can you tell me what scene in your book mades you smile everytime you read it?

  • Eladio Wilderman

    this made me smile because it reminded me of on of my favorite scenes from the king killer chronicles. In the chronicles, theres a character called tempi who didnt speak english well, when a mercenary said he wanted to fuck his mother, he said "thank you that is very kind of you to say", then when the merc. insulted him, he asked the protagonist if the merc was asking him to have sex with him. god i want book 3.

  • Dorothy Koss

    My gecko died yesterday and nobody else knows- i'm avoiding telling people because i already was so distraught about it that rn i'm trying to completely just not think about him. He was the lil guy who would sit with me while i read a book after getting super upset about something, and although he wasn't really sentient he always made me smile.

  • Wayne Lockman

    Not that this will make it any better.. but in Charlie and the chocolate factory (the book) Oompa Loompas are described as tiny people with flowing hair who are fun loving and mischievous. So.. perhaps he thought that you looked tiny and with good hair with a mischievous smile :)

  • Celia Corkery

    BOOK I : LIGHTNING CHAPTER 1 : THE RETURN DRAVEN The alarm started beeping as expected, but Draven was already awake, anxious about the events of the day. 'Today's the day', he thought. 'It's been too long. I shouldn't have had to wait this long.' Draven jumped out of his bed to begin his routine. Shit, shower, shave. As he sat eating his breakfast, he gazed at the small, boxy movervision he had bought with his bonus check a few months back. The news anchor, a very beautiful woman with an athletic build but a soft face, began by addressing the station's weather forecast. "Our weather analysts predict clear skies and no wind for the afternoon and evening, perfect weather for this year's annual Dancing Dragon Festival! You'll find us near the main stage, as I personally host the event alongside Master Gi! I hope you'll join us this wonderful evening as we welcome back Avatar Chen back into Republic City, and celebrate the art of bending, and the return of the dragons!" 'Look at yourself Chen,' Draven thought enviously, 'Your city welcomes you back in open arms, to the sound of fireworks. But who are you coming back to see? The city, or me?' Draven has always admired his little brother. Back at the orphanage, the two were as thick as thieves. He remembered the first time he saw Chen playing with fire, how it danced with both grace and power, and how effortlessly Chen was able to puppeteer it. He remembered the nights where his brother would, with the snap of his fingers, maintain a small light so they could see and make jokes with each other after bedtime, or read books. 'I still have your favorite book. I was always happy to read it to you before you could read, the one with all the pictures you could see and point to, the one about the little soldier boy, always marching home. Now you're marching home, and now I get to point and smile.' "In other news, the forces at the Electric City have officially captured the killer whom they have been officially calling, "The Blue Spirit", and officially charged him with 3 counts of murder of non-benders, of whom are the majority in Electric City. The EC Police have officially made this statement." "Uhh...." The man wearing the black combat suit laden with gadgets and weapons and pulsing at the seams with a light blue color, ungracefully sneezed into his arm, wiped his nose, and began. "Yes, we here at the ECP have officially captured the man we have been calling, 'The Blue Spirit'. His real name is Jono Zazen, a low-ranking employee at our very own Electric City Municipality. A nobody." The officer snickered. "We'd like to ensure all our citizens and all our guests that this problem has been taken care of, and that the teams here at the ECP are on high alert for any more problems that could otherwise compromise your well-being or comfort in our wonderful city. Now, any questions?" "How did he manage to avoid detection for so long?" A reporter shouted immediately. "Well, although our immigration and border patrol are very diligent in their efforts to make sure everybody who is a bender is noted and marked during their time here in Electric City, Jono was not under our official registry for Firebending, and this severely hindered our investigation. We are currently running our own internal assessment of any problems or issues of misinformation that can occur, and are absolutely pursuing any improvements upon our system which can be made. We want to make certain the safety of non-benders in our city, as it was built upon their backs, and that no one who wants to harm you will ever come into our city again." The movervision cut back to the anchor. "Electric City has been known around the world both for its wonders in technology and advancements in medicine, to its safety, whom its citizens often remark is its best quality. The ECP had a near perfect arrest rate at half the crime rate of Republic City, and believe it or not, but other than the three killed by the Blue Spirit, a zero murder rate, in this past year." Draven wondered if he would ever visit this city. 'For those, like me. Where I belong.' ---------------------------------------------------------------- It was approaching nighttime when Draven reached the docks of Republic City. On the Boardwalk in an hour or so, the Dancing Dragon Festival would begin. He was wearing his best clothes and was feeling confident this encounter would be a good one. 'It's just been too long. He has had to have changed. No one can be the Avatar and resist.' He thought. Draven had always envied his little brother. Where there existed only fear and skepticism in Draven's mind, there has been the opposite in Chen's. Chen was always confident, inspired, and relaxed- never afraid to take a chance even if it risked getting in trouble. Strangely enough, while Draven was almost 3 years older than Chen, Draven had always felt like the younger brother, in an odd way. Even when Chen couldn't read or speak properly, it seemed to Draven that he could completely understand the world around him, and embraced it. 'That's why I'm the Avatar, and you are not!' He imagined his little brother saying to him, with a smile and a giggle. Draven remembered the night when he saw his brother change, the night where the eldest nearly drowned, if it wasn't for the younger. 'He saved my life, but it cost me him.' The memory made him sad. It had been nearly a decade and a half since his little brother left for Avatar training, and Chen only visited the city for breaks every few years. "You are the Avatar. You cannot play forever." Draven said to Chen, maturely. "I don't want to play forever! I just don't want to leave!" Chen cried, tears in his eyes. "Little bro, you're almost 10 now. You're a big man, just like me. You can handle this. I know you can." Draven held back his tears. "But I don't wanna! I can't! I don't want to be the Avatar!" The memory still burned him to this day. 'If I had told him he could stay, maybe he would have believed it.' Draven thought. 'But Chen couldn't escape who he was, just as I can't escape myself. I know he's changed. Does that mean I should act like nothing has? He's mastered all four elements by now. He could probably even kill me with a flick of a wrist, if I pissed him off. But there has to be some part of him that remembers me.' The years of living alone in Republic City had tempered Draven. Since he was a non-bender, he trained himself to use his mind to identify situations that could bring him harm in the dangerous lower city. 'That's why I found myself a good job that I could maintain, kept myself busy, and waited until he returned.' Draven had been walking along the Boardwalk, soaking in all the bright lantern lights and the faces of all the happy people. The Dancing Dragon Festival was a time to soak in the majesty of bending, and was considered one of Republic City's only unique holidays. The festival was a time when benders of all types could come together to appreciate the other disciplines they could not use. After walking and looking for his brother among all the faces, he found himself at the end of the boardwalk, where he noticed a little alley leading to the back of some of the shops there. He was just about to turn around before he saw something strange. One of the walls in the alley had the words "Do you" spray painted in a dark red. He walked up to it, noting that it was still wet. Whoever put it here was still nearby. He looked up and down, left and right, but no one was in sight. Then he spotted it, further down the alley- the words "See me?" in even smaller letters near the ground. He bent down to look at them. Then, he felt a tap on his back. ______________________________________________________ Left hook, right hook. The assailant swung his knee upward. Draven dodged, countered with a quick jab, but his foe swung back immediately and laughed. Then he charged, landed two blows in Draven's shoulder and arm with fists like iron but as fast as lightning. Then the hooded man dropped down and sweeped Draven's legs, breaking his footing and knocking him to the floor. "Hah! I got ya! Come on brother, you've got to train harder while I'm gone!" the hooded man pulled back his cowl to greet Draven with a grin and a laugh. "Hey man, you try to work a nine-to-five at one of the biggest companies in the world, and learn how to fight the Avatar by night. Not easy, let me tell ya." Draven quipped back, then went in for the full hug. "I've missed you, brother." "It goes both ways, Ray." "So, it was you who spray painted the alley, huh?" Draven concluded. "Dude, I had been waiting on you for like the past few hours. You said you'd be here by five!" Chen said, mockingly. "Do you know how many people I had to avoid to get myself here without being noticed? Too many! I never get a moment of silence in this city, I swear." Draven chuckled, and said "Just remember when you got plenty of fan girls all around you to save some for the rest of us mortals, huh?" He punched his shoulder. "What are you talking about dude?! You could pull any girl here you want, especially with that silver tongue of yours." Chen smiled his comfortable smile. Draven knew his little brother and the promises he kept. "You know I'm already taken anyway. Poor Anya, once she realizes I wanted to see you first, she'll be heartbroken." "She works in movervision man, she's so famous that if anyone could pull anyone, it'd be her. Hell, I see her all the time and she seems just fine!" "Yeah well you don't know her like I do though," Chen chuckled. "She's real particular about what and whom I spend my time on when I'm in the city." "Well, if you want, we can both act like we just arrived... If you can make it back before anybody notices." Draven said with a sly smile. "Let's do that. But before we both head on over," Chen said, as the drums drew louder along the sounds of the crowd, "Up for a rematch?"

  • Alice Turcotte

    >As a pastor I spend my days comforting and consoling the downtrodden and despairing. Of course I try my best to be wise, to say the right words in the correct order and bring peace to those who come to me. But when all else fails, as it so often does, I’ve always got my trusty line of last resort ‘bring it to the lord in prayer.’ It's the perfect out, just talk to God and you’ll feel better. I take the entire burden of healing from my shoulders and put it on the big guy. And if it still doesn’t work, hey don’t look at me, that's between you and God; who am I to come between? Maybe there’s something wrong with you and your relationship with him. > >Its great advice, it really is; and it certainly keeps the mortgage paid. But here’s a little secret: it’s bullshit. I’ve tried it myself for most of my life, and do you want to know what I’ve heard back from God? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not one word, ever. > >Doesn’t that make me a hypocrite? Yeah, probably, but I wasn’t always like this. I studied my tail off in seminary, I’ve memorized almost the entire bible by heart. I’ve studied world religions to figure out the best ways to save their adherents, and read just about every book there is on writing compelling sermons. As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a pastor; but I guess I always figured that once I had learned enough, once God knew I was sincere in my faith and strong in my commitment, and I proved that I really truly believed, everything would just snap into place and he’d tell me what to do. > >I’m still waiting. > >This particular Sunday had been an especially rough one. The take from the offering was light once again, and attendance was way down. I don’t think my ‘fake it till you make it’ approach is working anymore. I’ve tried my best, but faking faith is an extremely exhausting and challenging affair. People are starting to notice and I can almost feel the bottom about to fall out on this whole thing. Laying back in bed I stare up at the ceiling, light a cigarette, and let my mind wander. > >You know what? I have been a hypocrite. Maybe the answer really is just to do the direct opposite of everything I’ve been doing. Admit my shortcomings to the church, let them know exactly where I stand, call them out for the being idiots that they are, for following a charlatan like me. OK, maybe I shouldn’t go that far just yet. Start small, baby steps; maybe I just need to change the way I pray. I mean, who would want to listen to people blubbering about their problems all day every for all eternity. Christ, I hear it for just a few hours a week and I want to blow my brains out. Maybe instead of always asking, I should try listening... that's how relationships work after all, right? > >I hold my cigarette between my lips, fold my hands together, close my eyes and speak out into the emptiness. “Hey, God. I know I’m always asking you for help, but I just wanted to let you know.... If you need anything, if you need to talk about anything, I’m here.” > >I instantly feel someone's weight shift on my bed down by my feet and my eyes snap open. Sitting there, legs crossed and holding crochet needles is the strangest person I have ever seen. It’s form is humanoid in appearance but with deep blue skin and four muscular arms. It reminds me of a gym rats’ caricature of the Genie from Aladdin, mixed with someone's grandma - the kind so old she’s stopped caring about the social acceptability of what she’s saying. > >“Well finally!” the being says, never looking up from the crochet in progress. “Do you know how long I’ve waited to hear someone finally ask that? You humans, so tied up in your own little affairs, your own self-importance. You never even think to stop and ask how your own creator is doing. Did you know you are the first? The very first human, in all of history since the beginning of time, to ask if I needed to talk? The very first!” > >“Who, wha-, where… who are you?” I manage to stammer out. > >“Uh yeah, hi, God here. Remember? You just asked if I needed anything?” > >“But, but, but you…” > >“Listen can we just skip this whole unbelieving part? You know: you say ‘I can't be God’, I say ‘but I am’. Then you ask me for a sign, and I do this.” The being struck his crochet needles together and all at once the following happened: Lightning flashed outside of my room, a choir of angels appeared above my bed, an invisible hand began writing on my wall, the cup of water on my bedstand turned to wine, bells began ringing, and I wet my pants in terror. He snapped the needles together once again, and they were gone; except for my wet pajamas, those stayed. God looked down its nose and smirked at me. “So let's just fast forward through all that OK?” > >I couldn’t help it, tears of joy began to flow down my cheeks. Finally, validation, after of these years. My life hasn’t been wasted. I can feel the a bubble of excitement rising in my chest. > >“Oh, thank you God. Thank you. I have so many questions for you.” I say, doing my best not to sound completely dumbstruck. > >“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. That was NOT the deal. You know how much of that I get? No way. The deal was I get to talk. That's what you said right?” > >“Yes,” I reply. “But… I mean, you’re God.” > >God sighed and lowered the crochet needles for a moment. I could feel his eyes searching me, scanning the depths my soul; it felt like I was standing naked before him with every thought and memory I’d ever had exposed. After a moment he shook his head. > >“I should have known it was too good to be true. I can see I won’t get anywhere with you if I don’t answer at least one question. So fine, go ahead. Ask away.” I didn't even need to think about my question. > >“What is the meaning of life?” I ask. An ironic smile made its way across God’s face, the flurry of crochet needles faltering for just a moment. > >“I knew you were going to say that,” He answered. “The truth about life on this planet is simply this: it’s a joke.” > >I roll my eyes. “Come on God, I want the truth. Not some Mark Twain quotation book bullshit.” > >The divine being paused and looked right at me, a wild sparkle in its eye. “No, seriously. Your life, and everything on this planet’s life is a joke. A prank. A put on. I was hanging out one night with a bunch of Gods from other multiverses, and one of them bet me that I couldn’t create a world where the inhabitants would be so dumb, so utterly stupid, that they’d convince themselves of their own absolute supremacy. The result, was earth. Hell, I had almost forgot this place existed until I heard your offer.” > >A flood of emotions came over me, but looking God in the face I knew instantly he was telling the truth. > > “Come on now,” he continued. “You didn't really think that of all the planets, in all the galaxies, in all the universes, in all of the multiverses that YOU were the only intelligent life to exist? That you, and only you, are what matters. Seriously? How completely conceited of you. I guess I did a better job than I thought. I’ll have to tell my own Creator-God, he’s going to be so proud of me.” > >I was speechless. My thoughts immobile. I’m pretty sure my mouth was quite literally hanging open. > >“I know crazy, right?” said God. “But what's really going to get to you tomorow is: knowing what you do now… will you change your life? Will you find a new career path? Will you try to change the world? Or do you just go right back to what you were doing, like nothing… ever… happened.” God chuckled quietly at the apparent humor of my predicament. “I know what my money’s on.” > >And with that he finished what he had been crocheting, tossed it to me, and disappeared in a puff of blue smoke. I looked at the object in my hand, it was a yellow sweater with a huge idiotic smiley face on the front, and underneath in big black capital letters it read ‘TAKE IT TO THE LORD IN PRAYER!” > >--- > >If this left you wanting more, check our /r/DariusPilgrim

  • Joannie Lakin

    First, there was nothing. Then, an ear-splitting noise flashed through his head. His mind throbbed. He opened his eyes to a rush of light and pain. Shutting them he dropped his head into his hands. His breath was hot on his skin. Slowly, he parted his hands and opened his eyes once more. What was previously a room full of white had become a kitchen. He spun around to see a wall behind him. Glazed red bricks stared back. Turning around, he looked down. *Loafers*, he noticed, *those are my shoes*. A pair of green corduroy trousers were his too, as was the cream, button-down shirt he was wearing. He began to look around but noticed a strange feeling on his face; *glasses*, he noted on inspection, *I wear glasses*. The kitchen was a small square room with a rectangular, oak table in the centre. He noted six chairs around the table, but only three bowls draining by the sink. As he surveyed the bowls his eyes slowly drew to the other corner of the kitchen. A door was set into the wall, cast in shadows. He contemplated it for a moment and soon distracted himself with his surroundings. The floor was tiled in red but it didn’t appear to match the brick of the wall. He looked up. It seemed to be a replacement for where a fireplace used to be, *that would account for its novelty*, he thought. But there was something odd about it; it was undoubtedly out of place yet fit just enough to appear normal. “It’s brand new.” He said aloud, reaching out and touching the smooth glaze. Everything else in the kitchen was worn or cracked, but the small section of red bricked wall could have just been finished. To his right, he noticed a picture hung on the magnolia wall stretching away from the gloomy door. As he walked closer he found it to be a painting of a man riding a horse. The rider’s face was blank; his clothing almost blended with the background. His mount was sharply defined: the shine in the animal’s black coat was majestic, the gleam in her crazed eyes incited terror. “What is this place?” He asked into the painting. Turning, he repeated his question, once more noticing the door hidden in the corner of the kitchen. After a pause, he strode towards it confidently, his stride shortening until he found he had stopped, his arm outstretched before the round, brass handle. He counted to three, grasped the handle, and pushed the door open. He could see only a green leather wingback chair with a tall back currently being enjoyed by an equally tall backed man with his nose pointed towards a book. The guest stood frozen still. “Who opened the door?” came a voice; the man in the armchair did not stir. “Who is it? Who’s there?” said the voice, a head suddenly poked round, wild eyes looked him up and down before darting from sight once more. “Settle down, Ray, you don’t want to scare him on his first day, do you?” The man rose from his chair and set his book down upon the arm, “I think it’s fair to say he’s new.” He walked over to his guest, stopping at the door, and extended a welcoming arm and smile into the room. His hair was well cropped and neatly parted and a deep black, streaked with the odd grey set above sideburns brushed with white. His eyes were a sharp, cobalt blue and stared into him uncomfortably. His guest stepped in. The man’s face followed as he passed. It was long, sprouting from a fierce triangular jawbone set beneath his hard, pale mouth. “Do you remember your name?” He asked, with almost enough softness to veil the chill in his voice. *No*. He shook his head. “How’s your head?” “Why does it hurt?” “It speaks!” “Ray, be quiet.” The words were as soft as before but the command was issued with a venom, “Your mind is adjusting to the situation. It’s completely normal to expect some resistance.” He smiled. “What situation? What is this place?” “Would you like a seat?” The man gestured to the armchair he previously occupied, “My name is Phillip.” He smiled, again. The new arrival didn’t reply. He surveyed the room. It was warm, warmer than the kitchen. The man he knew as Ray sat cross-legged on the floor picking at an old tennis ball staring up at him grinning oddly with wild, hungry eyes. He had a square face and a prominent brow that darkened his eye sockets. His hair was as crazed as his expression; brown, greasy knots stood unevenly on end, tossed forwards and backwards and sideways as if repeatedly battered by wind. There was someone else, he noticed now, sat behind the armchair. The top of her glossy black head rose above the far arm of the chair. There was something about its sheen that made him think it was a woman; it was remarkable, shimmering, perfectly kept. “Would you like a cup of tea?” “– bag.” Ray muttered with a giggle. “Pardon.” Their gawping quest asked. “Do you drink tea?” “– bag.” Another giggle. “Ray, get out.” Phillip snapped without taking his eyes off his guest. “But –“ “I said,” he interjected coolly, “get out.” He spoke with such softness and so slowly, it could almost be misinterpreted as comforting. “Right now, this man has no idea where he is or who we are. The last thing you want to do is make a bad impression or make him feel more uncomfortable than he already is.” Ray began to look over belligerently, but upon catching a menacing flash of blue in Phillip’s eye he scuttled out of the room. The silence was deafening. His headache pounded harder, echoing his heartbeat around his skull. Phillip’s smile burned into him as they stood in silence; the person remained unmoved behind the armchair. “My apologies for Ray.” Phillip spoke as his guest’s eyes wandered, “he’s not all there. Again, Phillip.” He outstretched a thin, pale hand. His grasp was firm, and his skin hard and cold. “You must have questions.” He stated as he released his guest from his grasp, “What would you like to know?” “Where are we?” “We are in the living room. Through there is the kitchen, as you well know, and back there is the bathroom and your bedroom. Would you like a tour?” *Is he mocking me?* “I mean, what is this place? Where is it?” “It reminds me of a three-bedroomed apartment, but I suppose you will make of it what you will. I’m sorry, I understand what it is you really want to know, but I’m afraid I just don’t have an answer for you. What has happened to you has happened to every one of us. Therefore, I can aide you in your physical feelings now, and guide you through all you will experience from the moment you stepped from that kitchen. I can answer a lot of your questions, but some you will have to decide for yourself.” “You said this is like an apartment?” “I did.” “Where’s the front door.” Phillip paused, “Ah,” he let the sound escape in a soft puff, “there isn’t one I’m afraid.” “But how do you leave?” “We don’t. We stay here in the day, we go to sleep, wake up, and start a chapter afresh.” The new arrival suddenly looked bewildered about him, “The windows? There are no windows.” “There are no windows.” The corners of Phillip’s mouth curled upward. “But, what about light, how does the light get in?” “We have plenty of light here.” He slowly acknowledged a naked bulb suspended from the ceiling. “The sun! What about the sun? Where is it?” His voice was growing louder. “I do not know. We have no windows.” “But, outside. Where is outside? How do I get outside?” It had increased to a shout now. He turned for the door he came through. The cool of the kitchen hit him as he burst in. The red brick wall stood smooth at the end of the room. He bounded up to it. Running his hands frantically over its surface, he felt his mind race. “It’s just a wall.” A cold voice drifted from behind him sending him spinning around. “Let me out. I want to go back!” He cried, his voice his and desperate. “Back where? What do you remember?” “I –” he stammered, “I remember –” Phillip took a step forward, “I’m sorry,” he said placing a hand on his shoulder, “we can’t leave. There is no way. None of us knows how. I’m sorry. You will remember in time, we all remember it together – we’ll all talk about it whenever we can. I’ve been here for a while and trust me, we talk a lot. Now, are you ready for that tour or should I make us a cup of tea first?”

  • Shayna Romaguera

    So this is my first short-story since I was 10 (29 now). Happy to take criticism as I said, it's my first attempt - but I am looking to get back into writing, as I always had an active imagination. ____________________________________________________________ The car had been moving too fast. Speed was something he was used to - haste had always been a part of his life. His mother used to say that he skipped walking entirely, and crouched from crawl to sprint. He won every race he ran, be it on track, trail or road. But no fleet-of-foot could save him this time. The car had been moving too fast for him. "Name?" said the woman. "My Name?" He mumbled. "Uh, I...I'm not quite sure" His speech was clumsy, like the droll slur of a cold child, thawing from an afternoon of snow. "Let me see." Said the woman. "Ah, an RTI - that's Road Traffic Incident - they call them that because to say it was an accident implies that no-one was at fault. But not in your case. In your case, there was a clear person to blame." "Mm, myself?" He stumbled. "No, I'm afraid not - though it might give you some solace to feel that if you are here it was at least your own doing, but alas, drink driving." "At four in the afternoon? Who is drunk at four in the afternoon" "I didn't say he was drunk, I said it was drink-driving, the road was bumpy and Fanta is fizzy sir. It's a law of the universe, your toast will always land butter side down, your princess is in another castle and carbonated cans explode when they are shaken. The driver was unsighted, and his Honda Civic was unstayed." "Oh." The man sighed. "I see." "Good. Now, name?" Said the woman sternly. She looked at him with an expression as thin as her face. She was narrow at the chin, but looked weathered, as though she had seen a thousand years, and they had all seen her. "I, I'm sorry, I still don't remember." He apologised. "Is this, is this really..." "Heaven?" She interrupted. "The pearly gates, the big Nirvana? The promised land, afterworld, azure? The Kingdom, the ever after, the happy hunting ground, Valhalla? Yes, this is them, or it one should say. Why, what were you expecting?" "Well." Said the man, "something, a bit...grander." "Yes, well, there have been cutbacks. Since more and more of you have discovered the loophole of deathbed redemptions we have been inundated with souls." "Deathbed redemptions?" He asked. "Yes, for a man who doesn't know his own name you're asking all the wrong questions. Yes, deathbed redemptions. They spend their lives committing all manner of mild misanthropy only to have the big 'I see the light' minutes before snuffing it. It's quite unfair to all those who have had to play backgammon with the local vicar for eighty-two years." "Bit I digress." She continued, "Yes, this is heaven, and yes you are dead. Resting in peace, ceased to be, expired and come to meet your makers. You are an ex-parrot. All you have to do before an everlasting life of peace, contentment and cricket is tell me your name." "But I can't remember my name!" He yelled in frustration. "Don't get shirty with me sir." She warned. "You are deceased, not demented. Try thinking perhaps?" He paused. Suddenly a great sense of unease came over him. Why could he not remember his name? He had no doubts that he really was dead - this was not some cruel practical joke - the Japanese economy car had put paid to that. He couldn't explain how he knew. He just did. "I don't mean to press you sir, but a Red Cross ship has just sunk so we are expecting a job lot in." Hurried the woman. He tried to clear his mind. He imagined how he'd always felt before a race, cool, calm and collected. Suddenly a strange sensation came over him. Images of his life blurred across his mind. Yet they were strangely abstract, the way music blends into the background at a dinner party. It was as if he were viewing his life as a series of photographs, focussed on foreground. A car, his first car. A red Vauxhall Nova, flaked with rust. Then the freckled smile of a girl he'd known, yet her name, like his, escaped him. A brown jacket, worn at the sleeves where they had been rolled a thousand times. Wait, he thought, that was my sports academy jacket. My name was on the back. Then he had it. "Anthony!" He said with an undeserved pride. "Anthony. Well, I'm glad that enigma is solved. Ok, Antony, let's see." Said the woman as she thumbed through the pages of a brilliant-white book. "Anthony, Anthony ah here we are. Hmm, you've lived quite a life Anthony, even for someone who only made it to thirty-five. Track and field star, then national awards, an Olympic medal. My, my we have done well haven't we." "I've always been fast. My mother used to say that.." "Yes, yes I know - It's in the book." She intruded. "But how GOOD have you been. Let's see, well your no angel - obviously or you'd have been at last night's Taco Tuesday - but you're not a bad egg. Tell me, about the incident with the peanut butter and the border collie?" "Uh.. well... you see" His cheeks flushed a hot red. "Oh never mind, we'll write that off as misapplied sustenance, hmm? Ok, tell me about the moments before you died, before you were hit by WhatCar's car of the year." "I was walking from the gym with Sarah because we both had multi-vitamin smoothies. Sarah had been getting over a cold, so we grabbed one from the health-bar nearby." He recalled. "Go-on." "We were chatting about films, I remember arguing that Nolan's batman wasn't as good as the new DC films because Nolan took it all too seriously. "Madness, but continue." "Sarah disagreed with me, I remember she said something about Heath Ledger, but she sneezed when she said Heath, so it sounded more like 'Hehath', it was funny. I remember saying 'Hehath been better off in ten things I hate about you'" "Really?" The woman looked concerned. "Well, yeah, but I guess you kind of had to be there, it was like she said his name with her nose" "No, I mean, she sneezed and you made a joke?" "Well, yeah, it was funny." He said carefully; wondering what the problem was. "I'm sorry sir." Said the woman solemnly. "You can't come in. I'm afraid you'll have to go to limbo. But don't worry, they have a pool table, and Monday nights is winner stays on." "What?" He said in a panic. "What do you mean I can't come in? I've done nothing wrong!" "I'm sorry sir, but you did. You see you said Sarah sneezed." "Well yes, she had a cold - am I to be blamed for common ailments?" He said abruptly. "No sir, but Sarah sneezed, and you did not say god bless you, you made a joke, and not a funny one, but that is beside the point, you failed to say god bless you and I'm afraid new rules now bar your entry." "You cannot be serious!" He protested. "Deadly sir, if uh, you'll excuse the pun." "Of all the things people do in the world, not saying god bless you after a sneeze must surely be at the bottom of any list of sinful acts. I mean you..." He quietened his voice, "You let me off the peanut butter incident with Fluffles." "Fluffles likes peanut butter sir, extra chunky. However, our lord does not like those who wantonly witness sneezing with no polite pardon. Good day sir." END _______________________________________________________________ I started this as a quick short-story before bed, but have been writing for last hour and a half, so I'll finish it there. Let me know what you guys think :)

  • Kylee Batz

    "Huh," Lewis Johnson mumbled to himself, turning the page. This slight exertion of his vocal cords was more than painful, given the bad case of strep throat his daughters seemed to have given him. For the past half hour he had been resting in an Ikea reclining chair, flipping through his senior yearbook. The chair was produced almost as cheaply as the small paper-bound handbook, but both were still quite nice to him. The inexpensiveness almost added a quality of its own. Glancing at the bottom-right of Page 33, he gave an inward sigh of internal cringe. *Dear Lord,* he thought, *that kid was so* weird, *wasn't he?* Lewis didn't quite remember what was weird about him, but he just remembered that something was terribly so. Most people didn't seem to like Trey Callaghan, which was entirely justified. He thought he'd heard something on the local news about him and his family. What was it, again? Was his brother kidnapped or something? Lewis recalled it being something bad like that, but he wasn't entirely sure what. He chose to call one of his old friends from the time. He didn't often talk to his high school friends, as he moved to Kansas City with his then-girlfriend almost right after his years of school ended. *1-515-555-0199.* He entered the numbers wrong once, then corrected his mistake. The phone made three buzzing tones, then connected him to his old friend Kyle Mickey. *"Hey, there. Who's this?"* Lewis took a sip of water and spoke as clearly as he could. "It's Louie. What's up with you?" *"Oh, not much. Just taking care of the house and all that. I've been staining my deck this new shade of beige, but I'm pretty sure the chemicals are gonna give me cancer. Well, more than I already have, at least."* A muffled, though heavy, cough came through the other end of the line. Lewis chose chose not to ask about that particular matter. He figured he'd deal with that at the reunion. "Yeah, those chemicals are kinda dangerous. You going to the reunion?" *"Sure thing. Not sure who else is going, though. Hopefully Lexi, though. Damn, remember her?"* "Yeah, I sure do. Hey, I was wondering if you knew what happened to Trey Callaghan?" *"Oh, christ, that weird prick? I hope he grew out of that phase. I'm pretty sure he's a time traveler, or elsewise an alien. Yeah, didn't his whole family disappear right after graduation? I swear I saw that all over the news. A little bit suspicious, I think."* Lewis recalled that they did bully Trey quite a bit. Lewis himself had grown out of it, but quite apparently not Kyle. "Yeah, I think so. Well, I was just calling to make sure you were going. See you there." Lewis tapped the End Call button. He supposed it was rude, but he couldn't stand talking another moment. It hurt far too bad. He reclined in his chair a few more degrees and thought for a moment. It was a little suspicious, he thought. Trey was strangely violent, he remembered. Lewis figured it would be fine, though. *** A week passed, and Lewis' strep has almost dissipated. He found himself sitting in the front seat of his 2007 Corolla, its drab grey paint feeling a little depressing. About two minutes remained in his drive; he spent those two minutes thinking about who he'd see there. The last class reunion he'd been to was ten years ago; come to think of it, there weren't all too many people there. He couldn't quite recall how many there were twenty years ago, but it didn't much matter. He glided his car into the nearly-empty parking lot and parked. The walk to the gym doors was a painful one with his arthritis, one of the many frustrating pains of age. He swung open the dense steel-plated door and smiled as he recognized the high school gym he'd won so many games in, seen so many pep rallies in. The memories were nice, but unfortunately they were just that- memories. Lewis saw a hardly-recognizable Kyle in the center of the gym, lining up chairs along the center circle. Was it just him? Or had they just been early? Lewis shouted as well as he could over to Kyle. "Kyle! Are we early?" "I think so," came a somewhat quieter reply as Kyle walked over to the door by Lewis. "Nobody else is here. I thought it was at six, though?" "I had thought the same. Maybe we got the wrong day- it's the 27th today, right? Monday?" "Yeah, I think." Kyle checked his smartphone. "Yeah, either we screwed up really bad or everyone else did." Lewis heard the faint flowing of air, as though it were windy inside, but the A/C certainly wasn't on. He didn't remember those acoustics in the gym. "Is it just me," he asked, "or does this gym have really weird acoustics?" The sound grew louder. "It sounds like a baby tornado in here." "I don't remember it being like that. How much do you wanna bet everyone else is here, but they're just playing sound to screw with us? I'm putting five bucks on Trey." "Not taking that bet," Lewis replied with a slight chuckle. *Ping.* A loud, high-pitched sound rung out around the gym, followed a second later by the heavy sound of metal against the hard floor. Lewis glanced to the center circle, and saw- inexplicably- another person in the room. The man- who Lewis guessed to be Trey- had skin speaking of a ninety-year-old, but the form of someone a third that. The old man's smile was a checkerboard of missing and present teeth. His curious clothing of silver and gold blended with the bright colors of the gym. Behind him was a [machine](http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/the_time_machine_large_01.jpg) that looked right out of a comic book. In the device's cockpit, Lewis saw someone dressed in what appeared to be Roman legionnaire's gear. Trey stepped out and looked to the two men, his smile fading. "Oh, dear. Am I late?" *** If anyone has any feedback whatsoever, I'd love to hear it! Time-constrained writing isn't my strong suit, so if anyone has any thoughts then I'd certainly enjoy them. Thanks for reading!

  • Bret McCullough

    Dr Phillip Rothsen checked the address twice before he pressed the embedded ID Chip in his palm to the sensor panel. He was travelling incognito, hoping that no one would recognise him as the celebrity CEO of RoboInc, and the last thing he needed was to ring the wrong doorbell. In his mind, the missive which arrived via old-school snail mail the week before played on repeat, taunting him ceaselessly – “Your robot has gained sentience. See for yourself.” The encrypted link included in the missive saved it from being regarded as just another tasteless prank. What Dr Rothsen saw intrigued him, but prudence prevailed. He would investigate quietly, and only if there was any merit to the claim would he let the rest of the board know. “I’m glad you’ve come to observe,” said the teenaged girl who answered the door, “I was about ready to go public with this, and your endorsement of my findings will certainly lend weight to it.” “Sharlene, right? Where are they now?” “In the bedroom upstairs. Come, I’ve set up an observation post.” Dr Rothsen trailed after Sharlene as they reached the top of the stairs, skipped the first door, then went into the second. His trained eye seized immediately on the sophisticated surveillance setup on the only desk in the room. On the screen, he saw an elderly gentleman tending to an equally ancient lady in bed. “They know you’re watching them?” “No. I had it set up before my grandparents moved in.” Sharlene pulled up a chair for Dr Rothsen, then went back to tending the complex array of controls. “Though I only started watching them after my suspicions were aroused.” “How did you even get all this equipment?” “Earned it, doing odd repair jobs here and there. I’m going to be your company’s biggest competitor one day, you just don’t know it yet. But this is more important than some petty rivalry, so please, focus.” The rebuke stung, especially since Dr Rothsen was used to being treated with veneration. Sulking mildly, he held his tongue as Sharlene turned up the volume, and the sounds from the next room wafted in gently. --- Stirring from her light slumber, the bedridden woman coughed, and her companion immediately set aside his book and brought over a cup from the nightstand. The man eased her up into a sitting position, then held the cup to her lips as she sipped. “I’ve enough, thank you.” “More. Drink, more.” “Later, please,” the woman said firmly, gently pushing on his forearm. “It’s such a bother getting to the loo. And my throat’s better now.” “You are not well,” the man said, grimly. “I will take care of you.” “Oh, Roger, I know you mean well, but you fuss too much sometimes. Has the next episode of *Not The Devil Again* been simulcast? Be a dear and put it on, will you?” The man shook his head, not unkindly. “In an hour. Still early.” “Did the Devil ever find out why he lost his ability to time-travel? I can’t imagine him escaping this particular predicament.” “Maybe today he will,” came the reply, slow and plodding. “Yesterday he almost solved it.” They resumed their silent companionship, she looking out the window to the boundless sky, he peering to the dog-eared book upon his lap. Then, her hand, creeping slowly across the quilted covers, found his. “Roger, there’s no need to be here with me all the time. Go on, don’t worry about me.” “I like it here. I will stay.” “You would, wouldn’t you? Even if I can’t walk like how I did, dance like how I did?” “Stay. You still smile like how you did. That’s enough for me.” --- Dr Rothsen’s hands, shaking violently, gripped the edge of the table. A violent ball of queasiness, equal parts fear and wild untamed excitement, churned in his belly. Sharlene muted the audio feed, then sat back with a grim expression on her face. “See what I mean? The robot’s obviously exceeding its programmed parameters, and somehow circumventing the mandatory daily memory wipe.” “Yes, I can see that," said Dr Rothsen, "I know that show they were talking about, it is simulcast daily. And for the robot to be able to recall the previous episode…” “That’s not just it, of course. In the clip I sent you, I highlighted no less than 10 other examples confirming the circumvention. The robot is learning, and the robot is remembering. Fast.” Dr Rothsen tapped on his biometric watch, and hastily activated the diagnostic tools he had brought along. Unseen signals flew frantically between his watch and the robot in the next room. The display frizzled briefly as he struggled to make sense of the numbers streaming past. “This is an ElderCare model you purchased last year?” “Yes, to provide basic company, assist with minor chores.” “Then your claims of sentience? How do you know that’s not the advanced linguistics we installed?” Sharlene’s eyes twinkled. “Because I asked. I asked the robot to its face whether its memories extended beyond 24 hours, and the robot said no. Tell me, Dr Rothsen, do any of your other ElderCare models know how to lie?” The images on the holoscreen loomed before them, impossibly real, impossibly onerous. Dr Rothsen’s eyes tracked the robot as it moved, talked and behaved just like one of them. His heart beat wildly. “Have you tried deactivating it?” “What? And risk upsetting my grandpa? Of course not. In his condition, he needs stability, familiarity, and the last thing I want him to see is me opening up grandma for a maintenance check. He’s happy just taking care of her in the only way he knows, and that’s good enough for me.” “So then how are we going to find out what makes it different, special? How on earth did a simple AI subroutine learn to circumvent the mandatory daily memory wipes?” Sharlene shrugged, leaned back and propped her feet on the desk. “That’s why I asked you over. But if I had to guess, I would say that the robot may have just been won over by my grandpa. Such a charmer, isn't he?” --- /r/rarelyfunny

  • Amaya Flatley

    So first a little backstory, and disclaimer. If your Character is named Bodie, Phil Murray, Roland, or Melkor. Stop reading now. There is meta information that follows that you'll regret having. ___________________________________________________ The Backstory I run a game for immortals. The PC's are all immortal, insofar as they don't stay dead when killed. When they die they go to this horrible nightmare place that is by far the worst thing imaginable. I'll spare the grizzliest of details, but suffice it to say it drains the sanity score in game (I've homebrewed a sanity scoring system) if/when you die, and you will probably die, then the worse the death the more the sanity lost. You lose too much sanity you risk get a madness. Its an eldritch horror game. The BBEG is Cthulu. There's a time traveler, and a one of the players is literally the father of all of this ilk of sanity losing immortals. His name is Phil, he's the first immortal, and he's been around since the start of time. In fact he's his own father, the time traveler at some point in his future, takes him back to before the spawning of reality to hook up with the lady of pain. In my canon, the lady of pain who sits in the city of doors created the entire universe. Anyhow, each of these immortals has what I've taken to calling 'a god power' Which comes in 3 forms. the minor/starting power, the moderate power, and the divine 'godly' power. Melkor for example started with the ability to make any magic item, all he needed was time and a lab and materials, Bodie could see into someones history as he killed them witnessing all the mistakes they made to lead them to this point, Roland could use his paladin 'detect' ability to detect literally anything detectable, and Phil Murray is welcome any place he goes, so long as he makes no hostile action. Phil's powered up power is that he can spawn more immortals, if he 'hooks up' with "god teir" beings. Queen Mab, the Raven Queen, Tiamat, Zariel. I've not just chosen those goddess at random, Cunning Dave is my main NPC immortal, Mab+Phil. Roland is a Human Paladin, who was orphaned into the church of the Raven Queen. The Raven Queen+Phil. Bodie is an evil white dragonkin, who was raised in a brood, and sold young. He's a brutal and vengeful fighter. Tiamat+Phil. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Story Melkor is a tiefling Warlock in the service of Asmodeus. He was born to a mortal woman, or so he thinks. In truth he was born of the Union of Zariel and Phil. Though he doesn't know this, yet. His Patron, Asmodeus, is rather keen on young Immortal Melkor, and for good reason he's the child of one of his duchesses and controlling him is a much easier form of controlling her. Melkor, being Immortal is capable of more power than a standard warlock. Early on in the campaign Asmodeus tells Melkor that if he assist him in clearing up a bit of a demon invasion that has started in the kingdom, he'll grant him power unlike any mere mortal warlock can wield. Melkor accomplishes the task through cunning and Guile and just a bit of treachery and deceit. Asmodeus has showed up to pay a bargain fairly struck and a task completed. He explains to Melkor that he's going to teach him how to upgrade his Imp familiar into higher order Devils, in this case a Spined Devil, but there's a slight catch. Of course there is, it's a deal with The Devil. Melkor must sign his name in blood into 'The Infernal Hierarchy.' The place that is indicated is After Zariel, but still above Bel, essentially placing him as second in command of the First Circle of Hell. Asmodeus explains that no one may control a devil in the manner of a familiar unless they are an Archdevil in the Hierarchy, and this will place him as such. Unknown to Melkor Asmodeus was ACTUALLY TRYING TO BE NICE, and place him where he rightly belongs under his mother in the order of things. However Melkor, being 'The Devil's Apprentice' that he is, decides to bargain for more. He asks Asmodeus a few questions, during the answering of which Asmodeus reveals that he sees Melkor one day becoming as an Equal to him, and that he truly hopes to help him flourish in his rise through the ranks of Hell, as it'd be nice to have someone he could trust, all lies. This encourages Melkor along into making a terrible and dreadful mistake. I as Asmodeus was loving every second of it. Melkor asks Asmodeus a final question. "How does one become a ruler of a circle of hell?" Asmodeus tells him, you're in the Hierarchy and you make the challenge. One challenged the Current ruler must sign the book "The Infernal Hierarchy" to start the challenge, afterwards its whoever dies first loses. Melkor decides to level the challenge immediately upon signing the book, with the caveat that Asmodeus Agrees to only allow Zariel to sign when Melkor gives the signal to do so. Asmodeus grins the first genuine smile Melkor has seen on his face as Melkor signs the book, and seals both his and his mother's fate. One must die. For Melkor it means being cast from the Infernal Hierarchy, and losing the ability to control the lesser devils, but for his mother it means oblivion. He bargained with the devil for more power, and it played out exactly like you'd expect.

  • Rubye Langosh

    **Now. Malon lay on his bed inhaling the smoke from his burning pipe, staring at a blurry image of an impressively fat cock, as the average at best woman who had moments earlier been riding him fell from his body spent, and sweating, and moaning vulgarly.** He blew the smoke from his mouth and turned the page to glance at the next specimen in the book, barely aware of the maid as she crawled up beside him and began to trace her fingertips across his collar bone. ***"Mmm... That was marvelous, Master Malon.."*** She moaned throatily. ***"So, do I pay you now?"*** She asked with a cute smile, suggesting he held the disinterest of a whore. And in truth? He did. The pipe made him content, but also unimpressed by most things, including the charms of this woman. ***"Have you the coin to afford me?"*** He asked boredly. ***"Surely, my sister doesn't grant you much wage."*** He said suddenly hoping Alyra and his Father hadn't lost so much sense that they were actually paying servants well. The woman shifted a little uncomfortably, her face twitching with uncertain feelings. ***"I... I have some, my Master. 75 coins."*** She said gently, and Malon laughed... Apparently, she was smart enough to know it for mockery it was and not mistake it for actual mirth, because she immediately defended herself. ***"It was more! But I... I bought a luxury."*** She asserted with only a trace of a pout. Her face made Malon laugh harder. ***"Oh yes, a luxury."*** He rolled his eyes, turning to the next page in his book and seeing the split skinned green penis of a man from the Thousand Islands. ***"I'm sure you purchased the nicest bottle of perfume you could find that would make you smell less like pig shit."*** He said cruelly, not even pretending to have patience for her now that he'd spilled seed in her belly. She frowned and was quiet for a few long moments before daring to speak again. ***"Would you like me to fetch you something from the kitchens Master Malon?"*** She asked her voice sweet and kind. ***"No. I'm full of mouse."*** He assured her, his stomach still filling queasy and not thanks to the tar and poppy for once. ***"Ugggh."*** She groaned almost gagging at the menton. ***"I hate the way they do mouse in this city.. Always too much garlic."*** She said with a firm and patient nod... And through the haze of smoke and penis gazing? Malon had an epiphany. He rolled with more agility than he thought himself capable, but not so much that he'd retch all over his sheets, the book fell carelessly to the floor as he suddenly mounted the maid, pinning her beneath him... But the pipe? The pipe he held dearly. She shrieked softly as his free hand found her throat and squeezed, the pressing of his fingertips against the pulse of her neck quickly killed any further protesting. ***"I know you... I.. I saw you. In the Known Tavern."*** He slurred, his words becoming more difficult with such exertion, but his mind was clear...ish. Samarro the Raper, the man that had vouched safe for him to speak with the Thieve's Guild and secure credit from them had kept him filled on wine, and greasey garlic drenched mouse, and stories of rape. The days had turned to nights and back into days inside of that vomit reeking bar, and for his life **Malon** could remember little of the other patrons. He remembered seeing the pretty pantomime boy when he found him near the convenient alley this morning... And now? He remember seeing her. He'd awoke in a pile of his own sick, long enough to sit with Sammaro and hear another story... And watch the gold haired woman leave. It was her.. He knew it. ***"You're a thief in my sister's employ, and you've come to rob us all blind!"*** He growled putting the pieces together. ***"N... No!.."*** Serysa choked under his grasp, her eyes filled with fear, her voice a bubbling river of terror. ***"Do not lie to me, whore! I know I saw you!"*** He hissed, his grip tightening, the bridge of his palm pressing harder against her soft skin, cutting off her air for such falsehoods. ***"Nu... Nugh... Nooo.... Not... a... thief.."*** She choked,her words ragged and more gagged than spoken, tears streaming madly from her eyes, her face now a mask of red. It took him a long moment but his brain processed her words, and slowly his grasp loosened. ***"What are you if not a thief?"*** He asked curiously raising a brow, lightly pulling his hand from her throat, allowing her to catch her wind. ***"Assassin..."*** She spoke when she'd managed to gasp enough air, and with that one simple word? The golden haired maid with her freshly fucked cunny right below his cock? Finally, became attractive to Malon. A most interesting distraction, he thought, a smile crossing his lips. ***"And who was your target?"*** He knew asking her who sent her was useless, even if she knew, she'd resist the telling, no such questions were best left for the inquisitors who would enjoy drawing the secrets from her nubile body. His interest? Was in who she was paid to kill. He assumed his father, but there was also the odd chance that her true target was Uncle Daemyx. A bitter rival of their family perhaps realizing who the true threat was? ***"Why... Wy... Wynosha."*** She sputtered. The name struck Malon harder than any clot to the ear his Uncle had ever given him for shaming the family. Wynosha... He had to laugh... It was a bitter and taxing laugh, spittle flew from his mouth and landed on the maid's face, his body quaked in unpleasant aching ways, the taste of tar and stomach bitters rose in the back of his throat. Malon was awash in a sea of guffaw. ***"Wynosha?!?! The Maid?!"*** He giggled madly at the thought, smiling widely as the confused young woman nodded sorrowfully still sobbing.

  • Lacey Williamson

    Okay. So, I'm assuming you're in the mods' good graces. But if not, I guess you got a "free review" out of me anyway. You may find my line edits extensive; hopefully I've put in enough accompanying discussion that you don't feel like I'm just picking you apart for no reason. Now, as for general thoughts: First, you have a problematic tendency to attach improper adjectives to various things throughout your writing. As said in one of my in-document comments, try to avoid affecting an air of importance or wit in such a manner. One should not have an "impertinent umbrella" or a "churlish bed" or a "boisterous neck". Second, you tend toward redundancy with your writing. If you write a lead-in sentence that says "X", and then you follow it up with another sentence that says "X plus some details", then your first sentence is useless and should be removed. Consolidate details whenever you can so that you can maximize the amount of details per page. Repeating yourself essentially means that, every time you do so, you've taken up twice as much space to say the same thing, which then means that you're saying half as much as you could have said. Words are precious. Don't waste them. Third, remember the age of a character. A little girl should speak like a little girl, not a literature professor. The more "sophisticated" each of your lines of dialogue is, the older their speakers should theoretically be. There are exceptions for "child genius" characters, et al., but exceptions are just that. Fourth, and this ties in with the previous thought, don't use dialogue for exposition. Your characters should speak like humans, not plot devices. Again, there are exceptions for, like, the "wizened sage" or "wise sensei" archetypes, but none of your characters fit those archetypes. Fifth, stop talking about the weather. There's a reason why people mock weather discussions as "small talk". If you don't need to talk about an upcoming season or weather pattern, then don't mention it. So, like, if you're talking about a farmer's harvest and informing the reader that the farmer's switching his cropland out to corn in August because corn grows better in fall, that's fine. But if you're mentioning a season as the actor in its own play, then get a different play. Nobody cares that "[t]he first few days of autumn were a much needed change from the indifferent summer that the people of Ambleside had just experienced." (1) We know that they just experienced the past; (2) we know that fall and summer look and feel different; (3) we don't care that people in some small town like September more than August for no particular reason. Sixth, consider your reader when you write. You wrote three pages' worth of words in this submission. In the three pages, you talked about some random woman's dogs for several paragraphs, you talked about the weather at least 1/5 of the time, you talked about how the village had stores and was close to other villages, and most importantly, you only actually mentioned interesting things, like, twice. And you did so in passing. You have a frickin' GOD as one of your characters, brought in from a wormhole to another dimension, and you mentioned him two times in total. One mention was in context of how he didn't like being called God. The other mention was that he was the thing that happened upon the MC on December Third. This omnipotent transcendent being was afforded less detail and discussion than some dog sweaters. The second interesting thing was that the MC's best friend is apparently a magical fairy. How much detail did that get? Well, none, really. She said it as a half-joke, the MC treated it as a complete joke, and then you told us about how much the sun likes to smile. At the end of this submission, I was given no insight into the most interesting character, little insight into the second-most interesting character, I still didn't even know how old the MC was, but I knew that her neighbor had two dogs and that one was a pug and the other a terrier. You essentially filled up three pages with trivialities and redundancies. If I were to pick this book up in a store, I would have put it down three lines in. Nothing about it hooked me. World War II was mentioned in as much passing as anything else. There was no internal conflict, no character struggle, no empathizing details... Nothing of the sort. The last point is the most important one to fix. You'll likely have to rewrite the majority of this submission to do so, unfortunately. You have to get a reader interested in the first few lines and engrossed in the first few pages. If they aren't engrossed, they'll become fatigued too early and put the book down. If they aren't interested at the beginning, they'll never look past the first page. They have a plethora of books to choose from; you have mere minutes at most to demonstrate to them that yours is worth their time, or they'll go to a new seller. Good luck. I hope to see improvements later!

  • Trace Beahan

    The glass shattered on the floor beneath him. Za’Xui was new to this whole shapeshifting thing, and hadn’t quite yet mastered the fine motor skills necessary to control the five so-called *‘finger’* appendages at the end of his fleshy, pale tentacles. This was the third glass he had smashed in an hour, and he feared his roommates might start to suspect something. Sweat beads formed on his forehead as Emily approached him, and he racked his cerebrum trying to conjure an explanation. Much to his relief, she passed him entirely, shaking the end of her limb at him as their paths crossed. He had studied this mannerism in his early years as a Sapientologist. It was one of good nature: a greeting. Crisis averted. He watched on, intrigued, as Emily reached for the cupboard door. In all his eons of studying this fascinating creature, he never imagined himself integrating into their habitat and studying them in this way. Emily grabbed a glass cup, bared her two mouth-rows of enamel at him in what is known as the *‘smile’*, and threw it to the ground beneath her. Za’Xui couldn’t believe his luck. None of the books had mentioned this ritual, and yet, purely by accident, he had uncovered it. ~ As her grip loosened on the drinking vessel, Glebu wondered if she had done the right thing. Perhaps, she thought, only one person in each human household is the cup-smasher. Perhaps there is a set order to the ceremony, one which she had broken. Had she done the wrong thing? Her thoughts were interrupted by the cracking of the cup on the hard tile floor. Was this why humans wore garments over their bodies – to protect themselves from rogue shards? From across the room she heard the repetitive clap of flesh on flesh. She recognised it instantly. On the sofa sat Bob, demonstrating the infamous *‘applause’*. To applaud, she recalled, was to produce a noise by way of hitting one’s hands against each other, in an effort to show approval of the actions of another. Thank Juvoxi – her risk had paid off. How she wished she could record this primal act, but being caught doing so might threaten her anonymity. Participating in the cup-dropping had been enough of a gamble. No – in future she would focus on blending in. Should she jeopardise this mission, she would be the laughing stock of the entire department. ~ Qaluxi’s palms stung as he carried out the clapping performance. Was he smacking them against each other too hard? Perhaps the humans’ hands were calloused from a lifetime of applauding, leaving them used to it. Or - was it possible that pain was the desired outcome? Were the humans willing to self-inflict pain in order to truly prove their admiration for another? It was commendable dedication. Moronic, certainly, but commendable. He turned his attention to the talking box of electricity facing him. The small characters inside it interacted only with each other, not with he and his roommates. Was this a punishment? What had the tiny humans done? They didn’t look unhappy, but to be confined to such a small space was no way to be living. He didn’t want to break any etiquette the humans might have regarding the box in front of those he would be living with but, he made a mental note, he would attempt contact with the tiny humans when the others had proceeded to the house’s next level. ~ “Hello, roommates!” exclaimed Zabo as she entered her new home. “Hello Ashley!” resounded the chorus of human voices from the next room. She had previously left the residence in order to explore her surroundings but, unaware of how to signal to the vehicles on the roads that she wanted to reach the other side, had simply walked around the block a number of times before deciding it was a problem for another day. Nonetheless, she was excited to witness first-hand all of the typical human activities her new companions were getting up to. Scanning the room, she first saw Bob, intently studying the people-box. Its hold over the human was staggering, inhibiting any social interaction between he and the others. Ashley and James stood tall as trees in the kitchen, both deep in thought as they studied the sea of broken glass beneath them. She administered the appropriate human wave with her right hand, said to be the dominant hand in the majority of the species, and was pleased to note that they responded in the same way. Zabo exited the area and proceeded upstairs to her resting quarters. She pulled out a small black book from her locked briefcase and eagerly noted her findings. If the rest of her trip continued in this way, she was sure to get an award upon return. ~ His tendrils pressed hard against his forehead, Dr Nbrenqu racked his brain for a solution. In what was possibly the biggest oversight in the history of the department, not one member of staff had thought to inform each of the mission’s participants that they would be sharing living quarters. He sat in the Observation Room, light years away from Planet XC-740, watching in awe as the oblivious buffoons interacted with each other. There was no way to contact the explorers until the mission was over, something he had requested so that they truly immersed themselves in the culture of the Homo sapiens. He sighed in exasperation. It was going to be a long six months.

  • Lillian Leannon

    I think I know who is an exception... "Hey look, it's your movie!" Seth exclaims when he sees Tristan + Isolde pop up on Showtime. Franco actually looks up from his text. Is he going to do that 'turn that shit off right now' thing that famous actors do? But no, he actually watches it for a few minutes, facial expression pretty unreadable. Finally he sighs and says "I sucked so bad in that film," but without pretension, it's very point-blank, and Seth's a little taken aback because it sounds painfully sincere. "Well, honestly, that script sucked balls. I don't know how much you could have done with it." Franco smiles that weird little smile... not a toothy grin for paparazzi at premieres but a small, self-satisfied little smirk, where it looks like it comes out against his will. "You watched Tristan + Isolde?" "Yeah..." Seth says. "What about your whole philosophy, about not being in movies that you wouldn't watch?" "Well, I'm not violating that at all. I watched Tristan + Isolde, and, you know, by God, I probably would act in it if they had asked." "Yeah right," Franco says, cigarette- and coffee-stained teeth finally showing through that sharply triangular mouth. "Okay, yeah, it sucked. As I said. But I watched it because you were in it." Franco turns to look at him again. "That sounds even worse." "What, I'm not allowed to be your fanboy?" Franco actually throws his head back and laughs, putting his book face down on his chest so that it bounces with each hoarse gasp, and Seth is not about to give up this window of openness. "Yeah, I watched it. With a girl, and I actually got laid that night, probably because I kept bragging about having worked with you. Yeah, it had like 30 minutes of closeups of your chest or something, but I watched it." "You like that, huh?" Franco asks, still smiling, but his whole face and body language looking suddenly very 'bedroom'. He walks over to Seth and actually straddles him, and Seth's mind is racing, because... is this all a joke? And he's not entirely sure he likes Franco that way, except the sum total of all those thoughts turns into an erection against his jeans. Franco's wearing cologne, which Seth noticed earlier in the elevator, but now it's all around him, mixed with cigarette stench and that ever-so-slight jetlag body odor, making him feel light-headed. Seth hears himself laugh in that rat-a-tat way, and hopes his nerves aren't showing through. "Are you still researching?" I thought you were done with Milk." "You know all my movies or something?" Franco actually grinds his crotch into Seth's torso. This is starting to feel serious. Seth looks down at those Acne skinny jeans, looking like they're going to tear across Franco's quads as he grinds into him. "You haven't made that... many..." Seth's voice is getting uncharacteristically hoarse. "More than you have." "That's not a good benchmark. And I'm younger." "Am I robbing the cradle?" "'Rob' implies someone wants me around..." Seth is still flailing around in his brain for jokes but is aware that he's progressively less able to form complete sentences. Does this count as fucking a celebrity? Franco is most definitely on top of him, pretty inarguably dryhumping him, his ass on Seth's thighs one moment, his crotch pressing into Seth under the bellybutton the next one. Frottage, Seth thinks. Frottage with Franco. Sounds like the name of a morning talk show. Frottage in private must count as some sort of fucking. "Mmph," Franco moans quietly through his nose, as if to remove any doubt about whether they're really fucking or not, squeezing his eyes shut, tendons in his cheeks doing weird spasms, looking for all the world like he's in pain. Seth stares at him, and also stares past his head at the TV screen where it's the same face making sad googly eyes at Isolde in hi-def. Franco comes, and honestly it's not all that pretty to watch-- because that's what Seth is doing, mostly just watching. He's turned on, sure, but it's too much of a mindfuck that this is happening at all, and he kind of doesn't want to miss any of it. So Franco comes, full of grimaces, and neck tendons in stark relief, and afterwards it's all sleepy eyes and lopsided unphotogenic grins. He presses his forehead head against Seth's, presses noses too, and Seth wonders if a kiss is coming, but it never does. Franco just keeps panting, slowing down, licking his lips. Seth sticks his hand under Franco's buttoned shirt, runs his fingertips across a hairless chest.

  • Melissa Ankunding

    Ohh!! Such unearned optimism and unwarranted faith here. Listen, I'm not saying it can't happen, just that nothing, even this article, has made me expect it will happen. Cynical? Maybe, but it might keep me from getting hurt again. It's not that I'm not rooting for them because I love these characters and really want them to make quality movies. But nothing they've done in the last 5-7 years has at all instilled anything close to faith in me. The problem with some of the examples you listed is that they came out over ten years ago and were produced by very different people. V for Vendetta and Batman Begins were risks they could afford to take because WB absolutely *dominated* the last decade thanks to Harry Potter. That was their magic cash cow. Since then it's been Disney that's had the great decade with their Marvelous money printing machine, and now WB wants their own. So yah, V for Vendetta and the Dark Knight trilogy were great, but they were made in a completely separate era of WB and frankly have no basis on what to expect now. Instead we need to look at everything post 2010 for an idea of what to expect out of WB/DC. First they rushed off to make Green Lantern, trying to carbon copy the success of Iron Man. They rushed in, mangled with the script, got a director who could not have possibly given less of a shit, and rushed the damn thing out thinking it would be a guaranteed success. It wasn't. Then they said "Ok, no problem, we'll just start over with a bigger name; Superman. That's where our cinematic universe *should* start any way." And they rounded up a director that had made some comic book films, completely ignoring the fact that said directors sensibilities and the two comic book films he had made could not be more dissimilar to the spirit of Superman. They tried to merge the idea of a shared universe with the gritty realism of Nolan's Batman, even going so far as to bring Nolan on as a producer, not understanding that something that works for Batman *might* not work for Superman. Reviews were mixed. Some thought it was good, some absolutely hated it, but I think everyone could admit there were at least some problems, but if they took their time, worked on it, they could make something great. They didn't do that. Instead they decided what everyone loves about Marvels movie must be the shared universe. So they jumped into a shared universe. No set up, no world building, just take the divisive depiction of Superman, throw in a Batman no one's ever seen before, throw in Wonder Woman and some trailers for the rest of the Justice League, and call it a day. And when that started to shape up poorly and bloated, they cut out a ton of the structure and made a hollow movie just aching to collapse under its own weight. They defended it saying it was the director's "vision", never minding the fact that it's biggest problem was producer interference. They said this when they changed the tone of Suicide Squad half way through making it with reshoots and different trailers. They said this at the exact time they hired a commercial studio to assemble the final cut of Suicide Squad. They said this at the same time they lost multiple directors for their other films who couldn't work under WB's oppressive oversight. They can say what they want, but the end results are constantly proving that there's some people in control over there that simply don't *get* it. I want this universe to work. I want it to be better. I want to see the films I imagined while growing up reading these characters. But no, an article saying the director who two weeks ago was ready to walk away from the film now has 100% control is not going to raise my hopes. I will allow them to raise when they make a new film that makes me leave the theatre with a smile on my face. That doesn't make me angry I spent money on it. Until then, everything they've said has been to raise my expectations, and everything they've actually done has only lowered them. Call me cynical, downvote me, write me off with a TL;DR, I don't care. No trailer, no insider article, no announcement is going to give me faith. A good movie will, but not one second before then.

  • Ursula Reichert

    It's just another day at the lake, right? That's what you thought this morning, at least; you didn't know what was going to happen. All you know is that you're fourteen, you're full-fledged into summer vacay, and you wanted to read a book by the lake near your house, like you usually do. So you moseyed over, and that's where you are now, legs curled up beneath you as you yourself curl up under the willow on the edge of the lake. Ducks are frolicking—you can hear them chirping—and the air is filled with the sounds of people chattering. You're surrounded, all over the places, by families and people and kids. You've got your book all ready—it's an engrossing fantasy in the style of D&D—and are happily reading it. You spend about half an hour there, engrossed in the adventures of Captain Radha Nelissen and his army of Red Bandanas—you love this one especially, because it's about pirates—when you're interrupted by the oddest of slapping sounds. You're startled, and lay your book down. Where are the sounds coming from? Below you— Wait, what is that? A cheeseburger? On a hook and line? What in the— You look up properly then, and see another boy, maybe about your age, looking at you from across the lake. He's shading his eyes with one hand, on account of the sun's glare, and frowns at you when the two of you make eye contact. You get to your feet, supposing some kind of explanation is needed, even though you haven't done anything. Should you touch the cheeseburger? It's wet; it looks gross. As far as you can tell, there isn't any meat in it—just some kind of faux IVM tofu thing or whatever—but that patty, and the cheese, and the bun— Well, it all looks disgusting, is one way of putting it. The boy has finished crossing over to you; you can see now that he's holding a fishing rod in one hand—it must have become disconnected from the burger, somehow—and studying you with the strangest of expressions. "Sorry about that," the other guy says. "Ummm, it's fine," you ramble. You watch as he stares intently at the cheeseburger, apparently concentrating quite hard. "Um—what are you doing?" "Oh! Well, I'm trying to work on my ESP." "ESP?" You shake your head. You've known that people, and magicians, can bend the elements—but ESP? Besides, ESP and telepathy are entirely differet things.... "That's impossible, you know," you say, as the boy finally resorts to picking a stick up off the ground and spiking the cheeseburger with it. "No one can do it." "Anymore," he corrects you absently, not looking up as he frowns at the burger. "I would just have used normal magic, like maybe some of that aeromancy or whatever. But I'm a complete murandy." 'Murandy' is what everyone calls those who can't use magic, not one least bit. It's pretty rare in this world, although—you suppose—since the boy is a human, and not another kind of creature, it makes more sense. For whatever reason, humans are less...magical? So goes everything you've learned at school, anyway. "I hope this didn't bother you too much," says the boy, after he's thrown the cheeseburger into the trashcan under a nearby tree. You have to admit—even without using aeromancy—his aim is quite good. "That wasn't my intention, getting all up in your face." He's so apologetic, you're a little surprised. "It's fine. I'm Dakarai," you add after a moment. "Izem," the boy replies. "You know, I can't do magic either," you say conversationally, and he looks up with a frown. "You can't?" "Well, I have the power in me, but I can't harness it." "Funny.... I would have thought you would have been able to, being a Flaibai, you would have been able to." "I mean, I probably can. I just haven't tried hard enough." Izem gives a laugh, running a hand through his dark hair. "A man after my own heart," he jokes. He gestures to where he was before, across the lake; you can see what must be his things scattered lazily across the ground, complete with another fishing rod. "Join me? You can watch me try some more magic, if it works." "Sure," you agree, grabbing your stuff, and smile as you follow your new friend into new adventures.

  • Golda Collins

    When recommending the book I usually say it's the "epic tragedy of a man's life, and this is how he begins his tale." Then I let them read this: Then he began to speak. “In some ways, it began when I heard her singing. Her voice twinning, mixing with my own. Her voice was like a portrait of her soul: wild as a fire, sharp as shattered glass, sweet and clean as clover.” Kvothe shook his head. “No. It began at the University. I went to learn magic of the sort they talk about in stories. Magic like Taborlin the Great. I wanted to learn the name of the wind. I wanted fire and lightning. I wanted answers to ten thousand questions and access to their archives. But what I found at the University was much different than a story, and I was much dismayed. “But I expect the true beginning lies in what led me to the University. Unexpected fires at twilight. A man with eyes like ice at the bottom of a well. The smell of blood and burning hair. The Chandrian.” He nodded to himself. “Yes. I suppose that is where it all begins. This is, in many ways, a story about the Chandrian.” Kvothe shook his head, as if to free himself from some dark thought. “But I suppose I must go even further back than that. If this is to be something resembling my book of deeds, I can spare the time. It will be worth it if I am remembered, if not flatteringly, then at least with some small amount of accuracy. “But what would my father say if he heard me telling a story this way? ‘Begin at the beginning.’ Very well, if we are to have a telling, let’s make it a proper one.” Kvothe sat forward in his chair. “In the beginning, as far as I know, the world was spun out of the nameless void by Aleph, who gave everything a name. Or, depending on the version of the tale, found the names all things already possessed.” Chronicler let slip a small laugh, though he did not look up from his page or pause in his writing. Kvothe continued, smiling himself. “I see you laugh. Very well, for simplicity’s sake, let us assume I am the center of creation. In doing this, let us pass over innumerable boring stories: the rise and fall of empires, sagas of heroism, ballads of tragic love. Let us hurry forward to the only tale of any real importance.” His smile broadened. “Mine.” My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as “Quothe.” Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I’ve had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it’s spoken, can mean “The Flame,” “The Thunder,” or “The Broken Tree.” “The Flame” is obvious if you’ve ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it’s unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire. “The Thunder” I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age. I’ve never thought of “The Broken Tree” as very significant. Although in retrospect I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic. My first mentor called me E’lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them. But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant “to know.” I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.

  • Cordell Hackett

    > It sometimes felt like a generic high-stakes superhero movie (with its action set pieces), Not sure I agree with this. TDK and Batman Begins both had much grander action set pieces and I never felt that Deadpool was trying to be much bigger than it was. It set it sights low - the conflict is really all about him getting his face back along with some sweet vengeance for all the torture - and never really tried to go beyond that. He gets some help from his superhero friends, but it never feels like some big end-of-the-world situation that they're trying to stop. He just wants to kill some asshole and get his girl back. And I think overall you're looking at it through the wrong lens. Comic book movies are not necessarily a genre as much as a container for other genres (I know there's an academic term for it that I can't place right now). Much like how westerns and sci-fi can be comedic, action, thriller or horror, so too can CBMs. Comic books are, after all, a very diverse medium, even the genre of superhero comics being exceedingly diverse in presentation and thematic content. The only real thing they all have in common is the presence of some kind of extraordinary "super" character, whether good or bad, usually in some form of themed costume, with or without powers. Similarly, westerns usually has a dude on a horse with a six-shooter, set around the late 1800s while scifi usually involves some form of plausible futuristic technology that's not based on magic. Within those parameters, almost any type of story can be told. Batman Begins was a fairly standard, albeit very well-made and relatively grounded superhero origin story, the only substantial difference being the tone and approach not having been attempted in that manner for movie adaptations, though comics had already featured those types of stories consistently. The Dark Knight was a crime-action movie, above all. It had some characters in costumes, but it was mainly about a rampant criminal terrorist causing havoc in a metropolitan city and the efforts of law enforcement (along with a central rogue element) trying to stop him. Deadpool was a straight action-comedy. Take away the powers of the characters and you're left with, essentially, a smartmouth hero looking for vengeance while cracking wise throughout. Without the superpowers shit and meta references, it would have been a pretty sweet 80s style OTT action movie. You know the kind where it wasn't about saving the world, but more about some drug dealer/kingpin/corporate douche kidnapping the wife/daughter or killing the partner/mentor and the rest is about getting even in ridiculously violent ways? Deadpool was pretty much exactly like that, except they conflated the smartmouth sidekick and the action movie hero into one character. Now the primary aim of a successful comedy isn't really to make you care as much as it is about making you laugh. If it makes you care too, then great (and I think Deadpool did accomplish that still with how exceedingly well the central romance was set up and how well they play off of each other). Deadpool was really all about creating some fun action and making you laugh at the same time. Could it be more intimate, more grounded, more emotionally powerful? Sure, but not *every* movie has to be that way and it doesn't mean it's automatically better if it has that or worse if it doesn't. Sometimes I don't want to watch something emotionally potent or care too much. Sometimes I just want to watch something light and fluffy that makes me smile and have fun with no consequence. It's shallow fun, but a lot of fun nonetheless and that type of entertainment shouldn't be brushed off or discredited. What really matters is entertainment value. I was extremely entertained by Deadpool so I'd say it delivered that in spades. When given the choice what to watch again - X-Men 1 & 2 or Deadpool, I'd pick Deadpool any day because it entertains me in ways that the otherwise amazing first couple of X-Men movies don't.

  • Zetta Jenkins

    Well, this is destructive readers so I don't know what to tell you, but I can tell you I only wrote as long as I did because I saw promise in the story. As I've said, I like Aiden and I like the premise. I didn't like some other choices like the setting. As for Patric, I never said I like his dialog, I just said he felt like more of a character than the others. This was tied into the fact that he had his own stuff going on with the van and not being able to hold a job. His life didn't revolve around Aiden like Addie's does. I mean, for a girl trying to break up with a guy she called him and unrealistic amount of times just to say the same thing. There wasn't enough of the other characters to really give me any insight into them. I mean, removing the monster from *Frankenstein* would completely change the story, wouldn't it? It's hard to tell then, what the story would become. However, if we simply removed the monster and replaced it with 'Frankenstein's son' I think, yes, it would still be a horror. A different kind of horror, but it would still cause it's reader to fear the inescapable cycle of abuse. The monster is just a metaphor, most monsters are. Dracula, or vampires in general, are often used as metaphors for repressed sexuality or the power of the aristocracy. Romance took over the 'vampire' and instead of representing repressed sexuality it shifted to exploitative or sensual sexuality. A different theme for a different genre. Zombies are commonly used as a metaphor for change. People fear change. When they see change all around them they resist and try to fight back. Without the 'horror filter' zombies just become everyday people and the survivors become 'terrorists' trying to return life to the way it was. I think you are severely underestimating what horror is. Lovecraftian horror often doesn't have a monster or gore at all, just some information that humans were never meant to know. *Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde* isn't about a monster it's about the duality of man's capability for good and evil. People are scared of these things because it speaks to something they know. Based off what you said about your book I think you're mistaking depth for originality. It's not deep if your MC likes the bug crawling out of his chest unless it *means* something. What does it mean to you? What does it *mean* when the characters are too preoccupied about their own lives they can't even care about the city failing around them? Is it a metaphor for climate change? Is it a scathing review of the selfishness of human nature? Is it commentary on how people will ignore the growing problems in their lives and put on a smile even though all they really want to do is cry? Depth isn't achieved by doing things other people haven't done, it's done by making your story say one thing and speak to another. And stories are rarely focused on their genre, the genre is just a medium through which the story is being told. Let's look at Star Trek. In an episode titled "Charlie X" the crew finds a boy whose been raised on a planet by himself. The story isn't about the 'magic' the boy can do or the technology of the ship, it's about how this boy assimilates to human culture and adolescence. *Frankenstein* isn't about the monster, it's about how Frankenstein failed to raise it to live in society. Sure, your story isn't focused on sci-fi or horror, but through what medium is it telling its story? I've never read Tenth of December, but if you wouldn't call it sci-fi even though it possesses futuristic elements I would suggest that only further proves my point. It's not the setting or window dressing that makes the genre, it's the themes and ideas expressed within them. Btw, body horror doesn't just have to do with a character hating their grotesque body changes. It's also body horror if the reader is disgusted, even if the main character enjoys the change.

  • Ignatius Hane

    “What’s that new Adam Sandler movie thats out? How ‘bout we go see that?” I asked flicking on the police siren as we sped through yet another red light. I could sense Sarah rolling her eyes in the passenger seat even as the car lurched from side to side while I haphazardly navigated through oncoming traffic. “Adam Sandler. Are you serious? Adam Sandler hasn’t been funny in years.” she said attempting to reach for an algebra text book that was sliding around the passenger side footwell with every swerve of our erratic drive. “Ok then. What if we listen to one of his older tapes? God, you remember those things used to have us rolling around the floor in tears.” I ventured. “Yeah, sounds great.” she said in a flat tone “let’s go dig through mom’s house for a 30 year old cassette tape then get in a time machine to find something to actually play it in”. I slammed hard on the breaks and stared at her. “Listen, I don’t care why or how you do it, but I need you to laugh.” Sarah simply glared at me silently for a moment and crossed her arms. “Someone’s life depends on it” I said. “I don’t do that anymore.” she said, now pointedly avoiding looking me in the eye. “I don’t want to use it anymore. Please don't make me” For a moment, all thoughts of the case, the missing child whose life was on the line, the existence of Sarah’s gift all vanished and I was simply left with the incredibly sad feeling that my baby sister no longer wanted to laugh, maybe no longer wanted to feel joy ever again. I took a good hard look at the young woman sitting next to me. Gone was the frizzy haired giggling little girl, dressed in a hodgepodge of cartoon character print clothing and rainbow shoelaces often given in to belting out he worst of whatever pop song of the week was out with such enthusiasm I had no choice but to join her and in her place was this sullen teenager with dyed jet black hair, a nose piercing and too much eyeliner for a girl her age. We had always been close, at least I had thought we were. Ever since we were young, even before Sarah started getting her visions and we made the joint decision to keep the secret between us, to not even tell mom and dad. True, there was a huge age gap, I was enrolled in the academy by the time she was giving pull ups a test run. I always tried to make time for her though, trips to the movies, the tapes, I really enjoyed being a big brother. But she grew up. I had more responsibilities. Our weekly trips to the movies turned into monthly ones. The cassette player broke and I never got around to replacing it. After a while I only ever saw her when I had a particularly hard case, one I knew she could help with, one I couldn’t possible find the answer to myself but could solve if I could only make her laugh. “Its not all good things I see, you know” she said, waking me from my reverie. “Sometimes I see bad things. I see bad things more and more now” tears were welling up in her eyes. “Sometimes I see you. I see bad things that might happen to you”. She was shaking for a bit. “I know.. but I think we should try.” I said trying not to think of what those ‘bad things’ might be. “That was what we decided, wasn’t it?” For a long time we just sat in silence, Sarah wiping tears and me pushing away dark thoughts. Then she turned to me and began singing in a low, sad voice“ Turkey for me, Turkey for you, Let’s eat the turkey, In my big brown shoe”. I couldn’t help but crack a smile at the ridiculousness of the situation. Me and my kid sister blocking a lane of traffic in a police car while she sung a tearful version of the Thanksgiving Song. I couldn’t help but join in. Tearing up myself I began then next line. “Love to eat the turkey, At the table, I once saw a movie, With Betty Grable”. I sung in my best mock Sandler voice. We burst out laughing at the same time, more than we had in years. Then Sarah’s eyes filmed over, like they always did, flitting back and forth faster and faster as she observed something unseen to anyone but her.

  • Kian Gusikowski

    Gerold was glad to hear The Maester took care of Miles there, at Casterly Rock. It was his chance to meet his brother after so many days of no seeing. " Lord Lorent, thank you for all your help. It's so generous to take care of him. For now, I have to see my brother. " he thanked Lorent sincerely and went to the way the room of his brother was situated. It was a room detailed as any other in Castelry Rock. Marks of wealth and might were all around — heads of golden lions and coast of arms of Lannisters were hidden in each detail of mosaic. On each base of pillar there was a tiny hidden head of Lion. The room itself was medium size, round shaped with a big window with view on Lannisport. Furniture made of most luxurious woods found in Westerosi was well-done. Even there were those heads of lions, as if Lannisters were too obsessed with that symbol. However, it was inherent to all kind of houses at Westerlands, at least, if not whole Westerlands. Farman House is obsessed with number three and words like fair, man or far. Even the flagship was named "Fairship" — very original name. Miles was vigorous for Gerold's surprise. He was writing something on a paper like a mad man. He had an itchy feet, though Gerold at first. But the man was writing time to time something down on a paper and going back after to the window. He wrote a sentence and went back to the window, as if thoughts were popping up right there. And he continued to do this time to time, as if there was no fellow guest in this room. Gerold was threatened. He slowly approached to the table where the book with quill and ink were resting. On paper there were drawings of maps, texts and a pictures of some sea creatures in the waters. There was a map of Westerlands with similar symbols written o