9 foot slim flocked christmas tree
2023.06.02 16:28 Fantastic-Safety-493 Need cards
2023.06.02 13:01 House_of_Suns /r/QOTSA Official Band of the Week 22: ZZ TOP
Sometimes a band gets so big that they somehow outshine themselves. They reach a point in their career where it does not matter if they release a new album or not; fans just want to see them tour. No one gave a damn that Led Zeppelin had not released a new album since the 1970’s; everyone just wanted to see them play again at the O2 Arena in 2007. When The Who played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2010 they had only released one new album in 28 years, and no one cared. And no one cares that Guns & Roses aren’t making new music. They still packed arenas to see how much cake Axl had packed into himself.
We’re going to take a dive into a blues power trio from down south who have zero need to release any new music, since their recording career stretches back over five decades. They had amazing and groundbreaking success in the ‘70s, the ‘80s, and the ‘90s before hitting the max level. Instead of playing to win, they now play for fun. Their sexually charged lyrics and videos inspired generations of teens to both dress better and worry about their fly. And you can bet that their fuzzy, bluesy tight sound had a huge impact on our very own desert dwellers.
It’s time for us to take a walk with That Little Ol’ Band from Texas. This week’s featured artist is the legendary ZZ TOP About Them
The Power Trio is a tested and true format for a rock band. Lots of examples come to mind: Cream. Rush. The Police. Biffy Clyro. King Buffalo. Them Crooked Vultures.
(Wait a sec. Just three members? Clearly, not everything is bigger in Texas.)
There is a member joke there somewhere, but I just can’t get it to come. Hmm. Perhaps it will come if you play with it a bit.
Hey! Stop that.
Get your mind out of the gutter.
ZZ Top’s original and founding member was William Frederick Gibbons. Born in Houston in 1949, the front man was originally a drummer but, after studying with Tito Puente in New York City, picked up the guitar at age 13. His dad was a musician in show business, which allowed Billy to get an insider’s view of the industry. By the late ‘60s, he had been in and founded a number of bands and had even befriended the late great James Marshall Hendrix. One of his first bands, a psychedelic/art house band called The Moving Sidewalks,
toured with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This meant that Gibbons was actually mentored by Snagglepuss himself. They also toured with The Doors, where Gibbons saw the legendary self-destructive band somehow manage to rise above conflict and make music every night. The Moving Sidewalks generated a following all of its own with a couple of hit songs, and things seemed to be headed in the right direction.
Things were going absolutely great until bassist Don Summers and keyboard player Tom Moore were drafted into the army to fight in Vietnam. Don't you just love the ‘60s?
Gibbons and drummer Dan Mitchell added a new keyboard player, Lanier Greg, and tried to make another run at it. But the chemistry was all wrong. Gibbons rechristened the band as ZZ Top (an homage to BB King), and declared that he wanted more of a straight up rock approach than the art-house kaleidoscopic sound.
Gibbons, Mitchell, and Greg (isn’t it weird when last names are also first names too?
) recorded the single Salt Lick
in 1969. This generated a bunch of interest and a recording contract. Decisions over the direction of the band ensued and it quickly became clear that Mitchell and Greg did not agree with Gibbons’ hard rock approach. That ended up being a poor life decision for them, but a great one for a couple of other guys.
Clearly, Gibbons needed a new rhythm section.
Fortunately, he found a package deal.
Dusty Hill and Frank Beard - also both born in 1949 - had been playing together on the Dallas-Houston-Fort Worth circuit in a number of bands, including The Warlocks, The Cellar Dwellers,
and a fake cover band called The Zombies.
Both the Duster and the (then ironically) beardless Beard also heard the siren call of rock and roll. Hill was classically trained and was an accomplished cello player before moving to his signature bass. Frank ‘Rube’ Beard appears to have been born with drumsticks in his hands (which I imagine might have been uncomfortable for his mom).
Beard joined the band first, along with bassist Billy Ethridge, who had played with Stevie Ray Vaughn. Ethridge balked at signing a contract and so joined Mitchell and Greg on the list of ZZ Top’s former members. Their lineup was set. Hill and Beard anchored the band in a rock-solid, tight, bluesy fashion. Gibbons meshed perfectly with this duo, and his Hendrix-inspired guitar work was on another level. Hill provided backing vocals, and Gibbons’ low throaty growl was an impressive counterpoint to his soaring fretwork. The talent was all there; now they just needed to record some music.
But success was not instantaneous, not by a long shot.
Their first album - appropriately called ZZ Top’s First Album
- gives insight into who the band were to become. In this 1971 release, you can hear their raw sound. The record peaked at 201 on the charts, and had only one single - (Somebody Else Been) Shaking Your Tree.
It did give them material to go out and tour. The boys gelled on that tour and went back into the studio with renewed energy, and emerged with 1972’s Rio Grande Mud.
The disc was a step forward in refining their sound. The album almost cracked the top 100, and the only single - Francine
- went all the way to number 69. Nice.
But the band knew that their third album, Tres Hombres,
was something special. It is the epitome of Southern Rock: bluesy, fast paced, sexy, and irreverent, it is just over half an hour of pure magic. And while the album went gold and peaked at number 8 on the charts and is worth your time, it was one particular single that rocketed them to stardom. You know it and you love it, and a-how-how-how-how: La Grange.
It is still in heavy rotation on classic rock stations today. And why not? The song is an absolute banger
of boogie woogie blues, written about a visit to a whorehouse. What’s not to love? La Grange
propelled them to popularity. Tours sold out. Venues got bigger and bigger. 1975’s follow up album, Fandango!,
was half live album (with some covers) and half new material - like an EP with bonus tracks. They covered the Elvis Presley classic Jailhouse Rock,
Willie Dixon’s Mellow Down Easy,
and John Lee Hooker’s Long Distance Boogie.
The boys had rock and blues chops, and had 5 years of touring experience. These were bold statements that cemented their musicality as well as honoring their roots. But side two of the disc had another track that you’ve come to love. You ain’t asking for much: You’re just lookin’ for some Tush. Tush
was the perfect sexually charged follow up to ensure that they were not one-hit wonders. It was written in a ten-minute spasm of creativity at a sound check, and has gone on to be one of their most popular songs.
topped the charts, ZZ Top went back into the studio to record their full length follow up, 1976’s Tejas.
The name of the album means ‘friends’ in the Indigenous Caddo language, and was the basis for the name of the state. You know what that means? It means that the name of the state is ‘Friends’. Just like the ‘90s sitcom. Don’t mess with Friends.
Anyways, this was an album of experimentation for the band, and unlike its predecessor it came out half baked at best. Billy Gibbons has called it a transition album. What actually happened is the band transitioned into a hiatus from touring and recording, taking some significant time off. They had recorded five albums in six years and spent virtually all their time on the road. The latest effort was just not up to their standards and was a step back. It also completed their recording contract.
What was the solution to this burn out? Facial hair
The boys took a few years off before landing another recording contract, this time with Warner. Over those months, both Gibbons and Hill grew what would become their signature long ‘Texas Goatee’ beards.
Frank Beard did not grow a beard (though he did finally succumb to peer pressure from his bandmates in 2013, and his is much more neatly trimmed). So while they were resting/relaxing/getting their groove back/aligning their chakras or whatever, they also started to reinvent their signature sound as the world moved towards a decade of legendary excess.
The first step on this reinvention journey was 1979’s Degüello.
The title literally means ‘decapitation’ but idiomatically refers to a fight to the death.
Clearly, the band decided to tackle their transition head on. The album was not as successful as Tres Hombres
but it was not the flop that Tejas
was. It did spawn a couple of singles - I Thank You
(which was a cover) and the signature hit Cheap Sunglasses.
Both are staples at ZZ Top concerts to this day. Degüello
was quickly followed up in 1981 by the album El Loco.
This was really the first time ZZ Top incorporated a synthesizer into their sound. As you know, the synth was THE new wave sound of the 1980s. Gods help us, keytars
were once popular. But Gibbons, Hill, and Beard did not abandon their edge. The single Pearl Necklace
was an immensely popular innuendo laced tune from this album. And no, I will not explain what a pearl necklace is to you.
Ask your mom.
Over the course of their first seven albums, ZZ Top had steadily grown in popularity and become a truly extraordinary live band. More than a decade of touring together meant that they had not just cut their teeth. They had found the Tooth Fairy,
beaten her senseless, and added fangs to their jaws. They were ready to tackle whatever came their way.
Their huge breakthrough coincided with the birth of music videos and MTV.
was an absolute monster of an album. ZZ Top were everywhere. They completely embraced the Music Video as a medium and became pioneers in this new genre. They branded their band with a 1933 fire-engine red Ford Coupe,
which was on the cover of the album. They even had a signature hand gesture that they used as the car went by. The car belonged to Billy Gibbons and embodied his hot rod obsessions. It was featured in the videos for Gimme All Your Lovin’, Sharp Dressed Man,
Other singles from the album included Got me Under Pressure
and TV Dinners. Eliminator
is still the band’s most successful album. They were at the absolute height of their popularity with a massive audience. No doubt the 10-year-old Joshua Michael Homme watched those videos on a small screen in the California desert, little knowing that he would one day collaborate with Gibbons.
Seeking to capitalize on the popularity, the band went back into the studio and released Afterburner
in 1985. It featured the signature hot rod on the cover and spawned two more singles - Sleeping Bag
and Velcro Fly. Afterburner
was not an innovative album by any stretch of the imagination. It simply built on the success of Eliminator
and replicated the sound. If you blended the two albums together
it would be very difficult for a novice fan to guess which song came from which disc. But hell, when you release the most popular album of your career and are earning millions of dollars for that sound, it is not time to mess with success. Or with Texas.
Or with Friends (though Ross
was a pain in the ass, IMHO).
That desire to not screw up a good thing was also evident in their next release, the retrospective re-release Six Pack.
This was a great way to earn some bucks with a simple repackaging of existing tracks - I’m looking at you, K-Tel…
- and introducing them to another generation of fans. This was not a bad thing at all - you gotta get that green whenever you can, because fame can be fleeting.
ZZ Top closed out the decade by going Back to the Future. Literally. They appeared in the third installment of the Michael J. Fox trilogy as the olde-timey house band
(complete with rotating guitars) in the saloon scene. The single and signature song from the movie, Doubleback,
appeared on their 1990 release Recycler.
The album spawned two more singles: My Head’s in Mississippi
and Concrete and Steel. Recycler
was not as successful as its predecessors, but it did effectively max level
the band. In the 1970’s they were a scuffling bar band that hit it big. In the 1980’s they were one of the most popular bands of the MTV generation. And in the 1990’s they achieved superstardom. They had hit the level where it truly no longer mattered if they ever released new material again. They could simply tour on their back catalogue alone and sell out stadiums.
It is clear that the band realized this as well. In the thirty years since Recycler
came out, they have released five albums of new material: Antenna
in 1994, Rhythmeen
in 1996, XXX
in 1999, Mescalero
in 2003 and the critically acclaimed and Rick Rubin
produced La Futura
in 2012. This was equivalent to their output in their first six years.
In contrast, they have released no less than eight greatest hits albums, cover albums and live albums in the same time span. Greatest Hits
came out in 1992. One Foot in the Blues
was released in 1994. The massive compilation Chrome, Smoke & BBQ
came out in 2003, and is a fantastic place to start if you are a new fan. Rancho Texicano
was released in 2004, Live from Texas
came out in 2008, and Double Down Live
hit shelves in 2009. Live at Montreaux
came out in 2013 and Tonite at Midnight: Live Greatest Hits from Around the World
was released in 2016.
As recently as 2019, there were rumors that a new album was in the works for our Septuagenarian heroes. Lord knows the boys from Texas have nothing left to prove to anyone.
It was then that tragedy struck. Dusty Hill had to leave the band during a tour in 2021. The reason given was a hip injury. His guitar tech, Elwood Francis, filled in. Shockingly, Hill died at home at the age of 72 just five days after leaving the tour.
Fans were shocked and mourned the stalwart bassist. Per his wishes - and it seems he knew something wasn’t quite right - ZZ Top did not break up. Francis replaced Hill on bass, and the band soldiered on. In 2022, they released Raw,
a soundtrack for a 2019 documentary about them. This was Hill’s final release.
You can still catch them on tour. They are going to be out there this summer, touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd, for something they are calling ‘The Sharp Dressed Simple Man’ Tour.
Go buy some tickets. Don’t miss your chance to see a truly iconic band before they are gone. Links to QOTSA
The Reverend Billy F. Gibbons
was a big part of the Lullabies to Paralyze
album by our Desert Dwellers. He played guitar and provided backing vocals on Burn the Witch.
He was co-lead vocalist and lead guitar on the QotSA cover of Precious and Grace,
which he originally released as a ZZ Top tune on the Tres Hombres
album. He also provided the guitar stylings for Like a Drug.
But the connections don't stop there. Billy sang the lead vocal track on the recent Desert Sessions tune Move Together,
and he played guitar on Noses in Roses, Forever.
What may be most important to QotSA fans is that Gibbons was the first person, almost two years ago, who hinted that Queens were working on a new album.
And now we know he was right. Never doubt a Reverend. Their Music Salt Lick (Somebody Else Been) Shaking your Tree Francine La Grange
-- Live on Howard Stern Jailhouse Rock Tush
-- a fan made video. It is not subtle. Cheap Sunglasses Pearl Necklace
-- Live Gimme All Your Lovin’ Sharp Dressed Man Legs
-- the ultimate makeover video Got Me Under Pressure
-- Live at Montreaux Sleeping Bag
-- Let’s go out to Egypt and check out some heads... Velcro Fly
-- also somehow in Egypt My Head’s In Mississippi Concrete and Steel
-- vintage video Doubleback I Gotsta Get Paid
-- from La Futura Show Them Some Love /zztop Previous Posts Tool Alice in Chains King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Rage Against The Machine Soundgarden Run the Jewels Royal Blood Arctic Monkeys Ty Segall Eagles of Death Metal Them Crooked Vultures Led Zeppelin Greta Van Fleet Ten Commandos Screaming Trees Sound City Players Iggy Pop Mastodon The Strokes Radiohead All Them Witches
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2023.06.02 10:33 itsthatrealtosser I still have feelings for my high school crush and I'm ashamed of it.
Obligatory mention that this is a throwaway. Obligatory trigger warning for mentions of self-offing.
Apologies in advance for the novel and apologies in advance for the very real possibility that I'm going to say something in this that offends someone, somewhere. It's not my intention to offend, I'm just getting this off my chest as I best know how to say it.
So, to start, I'm not looking for advice or anything, though that doesn't mean that I wouldn't appreciate it if it's offered. I'm only here because I don't have anyone to talk to about this and I'm just so tired of carrying it around with me. The best way that I know how to get through this is to break it down in a story-like fashion and give explanations along the way, so bear with me. With that said, I can't promise that this will be entirely coherent, but I'm going to do my absolute best to make this make sense. With all that said, let's jump into it:
Like I said in the title, I (27) still have feelings for my high school crush. It's been almost 10 years since I finished high school and the feelings that I have for her are the same now as they were then, if not more mature- for lack of a better word. Officially, we met in middle school and I developed a crush on her almost immediately when I first saw her, although it took me weeks to even admit to myself that I had a crush on her. That crush persisted throughout high school, hence why I'm calling her my high school crush.
If I had to describe our overall relationship, I would say that we were cordial acquaintances more than anything, but that might be pushing it. She and I were never close, nor were we in the same social circle, let alone the same social realm. I was, literally, a fat trench coat kid and she was one of the popular kids. I'm sure you can imagine what that looked like, but I'll break it down for you just in case. In middle school, I started putting on weight and, being incredibly insecure and self-conscious, I dressed in clothes that were two sizes too large and wore a trench coat on top of it to hide as much of myself as humanely possible. I will readily admit, however, that I actually liked how I dressed at first, but after a while it just became a necessity in order for me to feel even remotely comfortable stepping foot outside of my home. Now, I should mention that my trench coat wasn't a full sized one and only went down to my knees, but on most of my peers it was certainly full sized. I should also note that we're from the Southwestern US, which means that it gets ridiculously hot here for most of the year and I insisted on wearing my trench coat every single day, no matter the weather conditions. I also always had extra layers on under my clothes, always wore pants- phys-ed and sports not withstanding- and almost always wore long-sleeved shirts. There were more than a couple of brushes with heat stroke, but I never deviated.
Besides my lack of style, clothing coordination, and on top of my weight, I'm built fairly rough. I'm not tall, but I'm not short either and I'm not even remotely conventionally attractive. Stout and paunchy are just a couple of the words that can best be used to describe me, or were certainly used to describe me back then. I had a slew of bad haircuts, had thick glasses, had noticeable bags under my eyes, was physically disproportionate and my facial features weren't much better, and I basically waddled instead of walked. I was weird, socially inept, emotionally underdeveloped and volatile, a terrible conversationalist, and awkward to the extreme. The only things I really had going for me were that I was decently smart and good at listening to other people's problems. Frankly, potatoes have more looks and personality than I ever had.
Then you've got her: the very definition of conventionally attractive. Gorgeous long hair, beautiful eyes that looked 10 different shades of blue depending on the day and the lighting, gray on others, and green most of the time (absolutely mesmerizing), fit (for lack of a better word), proportional. Absolutely what you think of when you think of models on The Gram. Besides her looks, she was also sociable, kind, smart, and she always carried herself with a certain grace and poise that both exuded maturity and life experience without being haughty or self-righteous and embodied a confidence, a self-assuredness, that bordered on being whimsical in all of the best ways. Not to sound too cheesy and cliché, but you knew and you paid attention when she entered a room and you definitely knew when she left because her leaving just made every thing and every one else seem more bland, uninteresting, and devoid of personality when she wasn't around to brighten things up. Plus, she had a very distinct fragrance, so you knew whenever she was nearby before it even registered that she was there, which is an odd thing to admit, as I'm not really a fan of fragrances like that and had never paid attention to them before, nor do I do so now. To sum it up, we were complete opposites in every conceivable way, all the way down to our hair color, as mine was light colored and hers was dark, but I think it was all of the differences between us that fueled my interest in her more than anything.
Despite being leagues apart in our differences, in all of the times that we interacted with one another she never treated me badly in any way, shape, or form. In fact, she was far kinder to me than one would have expected and probably more so than she should have been at times. I can honestly say that she treated me with more grace and patience than most others ever did, my friends and family included, on plenty of occasions and I still don't understand exactly why she did so, especially during those times where I didn't deserve to be treated that way. I have some speculations, though. Considering the kind of person I was, however, it wouldn't surprise me to hear that she had, at the very least, spoken badly about me behind my back, although no one ever confirmed whether she had or not, even the people who would have known for certain never said anything to that affect. In retrospect, I think they were either trying to spare my feelings or were unsure of how to bring it up to me. Regardless, I do know for a fact that I was discussed, I just don't know what exactly was said, though I can hazard a guess or two. She knew I had a crush on her and I'm positive that it was discussed by her and her friends, plus everyone else who cared to discuss it, which was far too many people. But, looking back on it now, I can say that it really wouldn't bother me to hear the kinds of things that she could have possibly said about me. I can assure you that there are no rose-colored glasses here and my feelings for her don't factor in to my general opinions of her, so I think whatever opinion she may have had of me may have been warranted and there is really nothing as awful or as damaging that she could have said that could even remotely compare to the things that others have said about me, about the situation, and directly to me. Plus, I'm at that age and in that mindset of I just don't care either way.
To give some further context, the middle school we went to wasn't what you would normally think of when you think of a middle school. It wasn't noticeably cliquey and all of the kids interacted with one another and were generally friendly with each other, so I talked to and interacted with the "popular kids" about as much as I interacted with everyone else. Our high school was fairly standard for a high school, but not in any extreme way, so most of us that interacted in middle school continued to do so in high school, though maybe less frequently unless we were already friends. With that said, I did have a fair amount of friends in middle and high school. I'd say 98% of the people I considered my friends were also the weird kids, but that never mattered to me and wasn't something I had ever thought about in that way. I was weird, they were weird, so we clicked. But, unlike them, I was the freak among men, so to speak, and you can't look a gift horse in the mouth (or whatever that saying is), so I was happy to have friends and have the opportunity to develop my social skills, as doing both was something I struggled with in my younger years for various reasons and is something I currently struggle with as an adult, but that's a different story. At the time, I had 4 people in particular that I considered my best friends. For reference, we'll call them Luthor, Daria, Helen, and Belle. Luthor is the friend I had known the longest and Belle was a friend I made a year or two before middle school but whom didn't go to my school, but we remained good friends throughout middle and high school regardless. I became friends with Daria and Helen in middle school and we became very close very quickly and remained close until about halfway through high school. This is all important for later, I promise.
If I remember correctly, in all of the time that we were in school, she and I had maybe one or two classes together, but the way our middle and high schools were set up we saw each other fairly regularly. Now, in all the time that I knew my crush, we talked maybe a dozen or so times and I can say that I mostly formed my opinion of her based on those interactions more than anything else. Like I said before, she never treated me badly and was actually very nice to me. There were a couple of occasions where she was the only person in a day to say something nice to me when no one else had, my friends included. There were a couple of times I was struggling for one reason or another and she either said something kind to me or offered me encouragement, which was more than my friends offered during those times. There are a few more pointed examples, but that'll give too much away, so I'm not going to include them other than to say that I 100% believed her to be a very kind and thoughtful person and nothing anyone could say would change that opinion I held of her, and I can assure you that they tried.
If you haven't noticed the trend yet, my friends were not the greatest (Belle being the only exception), but, at the time, they were my friends and I didn't see how they were treating me until about the time where my friendships with them ended. It's important to say now that the main reason my friendships with these people ended was primarily because of my crush on this girl. See, none of my friends liked her and while they were civil with her- to the best of my recollection- they were vocal about it with me whenever possible, which was more often than not. Their reasons for not liking her ranged from thinking she was conceited, vain, and self-absorbed to blatant jealousy. I can tell you with absolute certainty that I shut down those conversations about her fairly quickly when they came up or changed the subject whenever possible, I even defended my crush against them, for some slight or another, on a couple of occasions, which my friends, Daria and Helen in particular, didn't like at all. In their minds and in what was expressed to me by them, I was their friend and it was my responsibility to listen to their "venting" and be on their side no matter what. They were half the reason why I couldn't admit to myself that I had a crush on her for as long as I did. Luthor, in comparison to them, wasn't interested in discussing her much at all until I told him about my crush on her. While he also didn't like her, he was more apathetic towards her more than anything, but my crush on her was the most interesting thing in the world at that point, so she came up more with him after I told him.
I know I'm talking in circles here, but before I get into all of what I'm alluding to, there are a couple of things I want to touch on that I'm neglecting in all of this. First, the other half of the reason why I couldn't admit to myself that I had a crush on this girl was because she was my first girl crush and I was embarrassed about it. If anything, I was more ashamed of my crush on her back then than I am now. Take into consideration the fact that she was a whole universe out of my league, coupled with the fact that she was never someone I should have had a crush on to begin with, and you've got a recipe for an identity crisis that has lasted for over a decade. I had crushes before her, of course, but none of them were... I guess "abnormal" like this one was. There did come an inevitable point in this where I figured that the best way to get over my crush on her was to just admit it to myself and move on, but that backfired, obviously, as it didn't help with my feelings at all. If anything, it made my feelings more profound. Us being polar opposites in every conceivable way didn't help things either, as I had no sense about how I was supposed to interact with her. Take out the crush and I didn't know how to talk to her like a normal person because she wasn't the kind of person I had experience interacting with. Add in the crush and it just made me feel more awkward than I already was. My first gut instinct was to avoid her like the plague unless absolutely necessary or unless she addressed me first, which at that point I couldn't escape the interaction. And most of the time, my interactions with her left me feeling like I needed to run and find the nearest rock to crawl under to slowly perish. Honestly, I was scared of her and intimidated by her all at once. Like I said, she wasn't someone I had experience interacting with. She wasn't like everyone else and I have yet to meet anyone else who comes close to being like her, which both incited a distinct sense of innate curiosity about her and left me feeling scared of her because I didn't want to make a fool of myself and I didn't know how to go about treating her like I did everyone else. It just felt like she was more special than mediocrity demanded, which was my limit back then. It also always felt like if she looked at me long enough she would be able to see both my feelings for her, which I didn't want to her know, and would be able to see all of the things about me that I didn't want anyone else to be wise of. I had my reputation and I had my carefully molded persona, but I didn't want her or anyone else to see the weakness inside of me. I still don't. And she was perceptive enough to have figured it out just by paying attention long enough. Which leads me to my next point.
As creepy as it sounds, and I'm ashamed to admit, I spent too much time paying attention to her. Frankly, I watched her quite a bit, sometimes even openly staring at her. I can say that I couldn't help it, but a reasonable person would have been able to, as I should have been. I never followed her around anywhere or stalked her or anything, as, like I said, I tended to avoid her like the plague whenever possible, I just watched her whenever I knew she was nearby. Personally, I'd say that that was just awkward kid syndrome at work and I didn't know what else to do but to stare. But this is where I say that I have exceptionally well-developed peripheral vision (for survival reasons), so most of the time I could just position myself in a way where I could observe her through that without making it obvious. Honestly, saying that out loud just sounds gross, but it's the truth.
However, while there were a couple of times where I did catch her attention because I was obviously staring or we just happened to catch each others eye in passing, being able to observe her while it looked like I wasn't paying attention made me cognizant of the fact that she watched me about as much as I watched her. There were plenty of times where I genuinely wasn't paying attention and was just going about my business and I just so happened to shift myself and noticed her watching me already. Plus, I have it built into me, also for survival reasons, to know when I'm being stared at, so it never took me long to find who was watching me, even in a crowded room. There were plenty of times where I was being boisterous and obnoxious enough to draw attention, but most of the time I was just existing and in most situations I am typically very quiet and reserved, observing what's going on around me rather than explicitly reacting to the environment that I'm in. So, I always found it very jarring whenever I would catch her watching me in my normal element. 9 times out of 10, if possible, I tended to vacate the area whenever I noticed her watching me because it just felt like she was picking me apart at a distance and I didn't like the feeling of vulnerability that it created within me. And nothing about her expression or body language ever gave anything away as to what she could have been thinking, except for the occasional look of surprise or something similar to that.
Honestly though, if I had to rationalize her perception of me, I think she probably acknowledged that I was weird and was probably wondering why I was the way that I was. It also wouldn't surprise me for her to think that I was creepy, which, as hard as it is for me to admit and as ashamed as I am to recognize this, I could come off as creepy given the right circumstances, even though I never tried to come off that way, so her thinking that would have been fairly warranted at times. I think more than anything, she was probably trying to figure me out, either in the same way that I was trying to figure her out or in her own way, that she probably felt sorry for me for one reason or another, or that she was scared of me. Too many people, even my friends and some relatives, have admitted to me on multiple occasions throughout my lifetime that they found me to be naturally intimidating because I have a naturally stoic demeanor- as my cousin put it to me recently- and it wouldn't surprise me if she felt the same. Plus, she didn't know me well enough to know what I was and wasn't capable of, so, personally, I think it's best to be observant of someone you're wary of and err on the side of caution with them. I never would have even considered trying to do anything regardless, nor would I have even considered hurting her in any way, but that's not something she would have known for certain if she thought of me in that way. Basically, my mentality around it is that it was done to me and I would never subject anyone else to it. But, I think it's a fair thing to consider of others, even if it isn't true, at least for your own personal safety. Do I think she was wary of me? Yes and no. I would be if I were in her shoes, but she never gave me the impression that she was, considering that she initiated 99% of our interactions and I never felt any uneasiness from her. But in saying that, I'm also well aware of the fact that I'm not a mind reader and I don't actually know how she thought or felt, I'm just going off of my perception. I'm also not someone who mistakes kindness or staring for interest, as interest tends to be blatant if you know what it looks like and I certainly don't think it was. There is a part of me, though, looking back, that thinks that she may have wanted to at least talk to me more, but whenever she did talk to me I tended to panic, my brain would shut down, and I tended to be curt, which can be interpreted as a lack of overall interest.
It kind of felt like I was a spectacle to her more than anything. In the same way that she was different from everyone else, I was different in my own way. What is steadily becoming more and more common now was not typical back then and I got a lot of attention because of that. Also take into consideration that I had a hard life growing up, I've had a lot of bad things done to me, and I've seen a lot of horrible things, all of which still haunt me to this day, but what that meant for me as a teenager was that I was emotionally unpredictable and volatile. I had my fair share of outbursts and went scorched earth on a couple occasions, violently a couple of times. Add to that being the weird kid who didn't fit in anywhere and it's safe to say that I had some problems. That was certainly something to watch, especially because I made efforts to be sociable. I just wanted to be normal and fit in, to have my own space and to feel valued, and that was obvious to anyone paying attention, as was pointed out to me by my favorite teacher at the time. Outside of this teacher, though, no one ever took the time to actually get to know me without being judgmental. There were people who asked questions, but they only asked because the rumor mill was running overtime, they were curious, and made efforts to approach me privately to confirm or deny what they had heard. And just so everyone knows, my best friends and even my own siblings regularly contributed to the rumor mill.
On that note, let me backtrack for a minute. So, after I made the decision to accept that I had a crush on her and my feelings didn't go away like I thought they would, I decided that I needed advice and went to my friends because that's what you do. Who else was I supposed to turn to? I went to Luthor first since he knew me the longest and I had been the one to give him this kind of advice in the past on more than one occasion. I kid you not, when I told him he laughed at me. For a while, too. When he was done laughing, he asked me if I was serious and why her of all people. I was serious, but I didn't have an answer to that question. Yes, I did think she was beautiful, physically attractive, and all that, but it was never just about that, it was more about how she carried herself, her charm and charisma, her graciousness and style; it was about how fascinating it was to me how different we were, and I just found it very intriguing and appealing that she had everything that I lacked and was everything I could never be. Frankly, I just thought that she was the coolest person around. Keep in mind though, that this is all in retrospect and wasn't something that I could even begin to express back then. Whenever anyone asked I just said that I didn't know because back then I really didn't know why I had feelings for her. But, Luthor never liked "I don't knows" for answers and pestered me about it constantly and made plenty of jokes about it. He was no help and actually made the whole thing much worse than it needed to be.
I don't know why I even bothered to try and talk to Daria and Helen about it, either. Between the two of them, Daria just thought I was stupid for having a crush on her, while also thinking that it was funny in a wrong way, and Helen was outright mad about it. Compared to Daria, Helen was overtly jealous of my crush without having to say that she was. Everyone knew it and more than a few people asked me about it, which I never confirmed for them, as I thought that was a particularly shady thing to do. This was also before I knew that they were shit talking me behind my back, so I wasn't about to bad-mouth my friend like that. And on that note, I didn't do so when our friendship ended either, even though they continued to do so. The advice that they gave me, by the way, was to get over it, grow up, and find someone that would actually give me the time of day because it wasn't right to like her of all people. Belle, on the other hand, while making it known to me that she thought it was weird to have a crush on this girl, but having never met my crush, was very supportive and offered me great advice that I still utilize to this day. I won't be sharing it, by the way, because it's very pointed advice and will certainly identify me. One of my favorite teachers- not the one previously mentioned- also figured it out on her own and reached out to me to give me advice, which she wrote in a note that I still have and carry with me everyday, as it's very universal and sage advice that has helped me through some very hard times over the years.
So, telling my best friends about this ended up being the beginning of the end of my friendships with them (Belle excluded). It drew a wedge between me and Helen in particular and she made it known almost immediately that she didn't want to discuss it with me at all, but that I was still obligated as her friend to listen to her complain about my crush and that it was my responsibility as her friend to support her and defend her. Yes, she said that and she pressured me- actually gaslit me- to act on that, as well, and it was that exact sentiment and what she had me do that ruined our friendship. I can't tell that whole story because it will certainly identify me, as the results of it were very public, but I will admit that I had plenty of fault of my own in all of it and I was not particularly nice about it, which I mostly regret looking back at it all.
Before we get to Daria though, there's Luthor. Luthor was the one who told my crush that I had a crush on her. Before the point that he did, he had been pestering me for days before this point to tell her. I didn't want to, of course, but he insisted and basically brow-beat me into giving him the green light to tell her. My exact words to him were: "if you're not going to shut up about it, then just tell her. I don't care anymore." I vividly remember that moment for many reasons. And I kid you not he laughed and actually got very excited, like a kid in a goddamn candy store or, more accurately, like a kid at the zoo feeding the giraffes. When he did tell her, I was probably like 20 or so feet away going about my business and actively ignoring their very existences, so I didn't hear what was said exactly, all I know was that she looked at me for a moment, said okay, and walked away. That was it. Frankly, I think her reaction kind of ruined the moment for him, as when he came back to tell me that he told her, he looked very bummed out. See, now that was funny. The petty side of me thought that it was, anyway. It was nice to see that it didn't turn out how he wanted it to, which was also a relief for me because I thought that her being told wasn't going to be as... nonchalant as it was. That, at least, was a relief for me because I was honestly terrified about what was going to happen after she knew. But, at that point, I was more pissed off at him than I was terrified of her. After that point, he obviously didn't think it was funny anymore. His entire tone shifted after that to using it as ammunition to make fun of me and put me down. My crush on this girl wasn't the butt of the joke anymore. I was. This culminated to two things: being told that I was stupid and that I should off myself and finding out that all of my best friends were shit talking me behind my back.
Daria was the one I found out about first, then I found out about my siblings talking about me behind my back, then Helen, then Luthor. This all got back to me because of the rumor mill, by the way, and my actual friends were either looking out for me or assuaging their curiosities by asking me questions based on what they heard from these people. The fallout from all of this was tremendous. I can promise you that I went full scorched earth and it's a surprise that I wasn't committed because of the breakdown(s) that I had during this time. No one was spared my wrath, even the people who didn't deserve it, but they understood and were forgiving even when they shouldn't have been. Keep in mind, as well, that I was pushing 300 pounds at this point and I knew how to use my size, I was loud and vulgar, and I had a storied history of anger issues that finally had an outlet. It was really bad, in retrospect, but all of this happening both ruined me and changed me. Besides being bullied, mocked, and ridiculed about it for a long time after, it changed who I was as a person and how I went about my friendships. I've had trouble keeping and making friends ever since this happened. Being told that I was stupid and that I should off myself by one of my best friends was the most damaging part of it, though. I seriously considered it for a long time afterwards and actually tried a couple months later but I couldn't bring myself to follow through. I've struggled with it ever since, trying again and almost succeeding a couple of years later for reasons unrelated to this. It was tough and I basically just existed my way through my last two years of high school, but I still had great people around me and a couple of teachers I could rely on for support. I did cut Daria and Helen out of my life completely after that, Belle basically became my rock through it all, and Luthor and I semi-reconciled about a year later, but he never took responsibility for what he did or what he said, so it was never the same as it once was after that. As a point of reference, he said to me: "I don't remember ever saying that, and I didn't mean it in that way, but if I did say that, then I guess I'm sorry." So, yeah. I think you'd call them "toxic" in today's day and age, wouldn't you?
Now, as far as my crush goes, there's not much to say there. We interacted a few times after she was told, but I never brought it up to her and she never directly brought it up to me. Thankfully. I would not have been able to handle that conversation, and, looking back, I'm glad that we never had to have that conversation because there was no point to having it. I mean, I think she had to have some suspicion that I had a crush on her before she was told, but I at least have enough common sense to know how she would have responded anyway if that conversation had ever happened at any point. I didn't need to hear it and she didn't need to say it. It wouldn't have helped either of us. It probably would have made things worse. I was already embarrassed and ashamed about it before it got out and that was doubly true after, especially with all of the questions and the bullying that followed. It did trickle down after a while, but there were still some brave people who brought it up every now and then.
I can tell you that my fear of her increased tenfold after she was told, too. It wasn't so much rejection that I was afraid of as it was the fear of the potential obligation to admit it to her that I was scared of. There's a huge difference between admitting it to yourself and to your friends versus admitting it to the object of your affections and I wasn't ready to face up to what admitting it to her, personally, actually meant. I really don't think that I am now either. It would be easier to do now and would probably be easier to talk about with her now given the right circumstances, but time hasn't made the potential prospect of doing it any better than it was before. And an explicit rejection, especially after all this time, isn't going to help anything either way considering that it doesn't need to be said anyway. I'm just as embarrassed about it now, if not more so, than I was back then. Honestly though, it wouldn't surprise me to hear that she felt a little embarrassed about it, as well. I would be if I were in her shoes. I mean, take who I was and mix it with the fact that I was walking around looking like an inflated fucking Quasimodo and I can imagine some laughs were had at either her or my expense. I've seen too many people do that kind of thing in my lifetime. Plus, it just wasn't really a thing back then anyway and that alone got people talking. It was certainly something that I would have been embarrassed about if I were in her shoes.
Now, if you've made it this far, I hope your ready for the big reveal that I've been alluding to. I was actively trying to avoid it, but I think it'll all make more sense when I say this. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm biologically female. Everyone knew that back then and it was obvious that I was from my physicality- if you were paying attention at least. But, I've been wearing boys clothes since I was about 3 or 4 and never actually changed from there, so plenty of people had to ask for clarification. There was actually a point in time where I literally dressed like Slim Shady, but that was just a phase. I did look like him, though, just as a point of reference, but I was also compared to Wesker from the Resident Evil franchise, as well. Just picture both of them as being fat and you'll have a good mental image of what I looked like. I got a lot of shit for it over my lifetime, of course, as it wasn't common, but it was natural for me and certainly how I felt most comfortable. Seriously, though, I can't function without real pockets and girls clothes don't have them, so hard pass for that alone.
Anyway, though, when I say I'm built rough, what I really mean is that I have the physical attributes that make it ridiculously easy for me to pass for a man, especially now. Square head, broad shoulders, bulky body, a lower vocal range, all of that. I mean, I actually have the ability to grow a solid goatee if I really wanted to with no hormone support, which, as a side note, I know isn't normal, but there's no medical indications for why that is. Frankly, I'm the spitting image of my father. But, like I said, that's normal for me. Plus, I've always been naturally drawn to typically "male" hobbies and interests all my life- fishing, working on cars, sports, woodworking... the whole nine yards. 3 generations of men in my family- from my great-grandfather to my grandfather down to my father- spent countless days and hours in my childhood teaching me everything they knew about about these things, but fishing was the big one, since I've always enjoyed that the most. It just came naturally to me and wasn't something I ever thought about until people brought it up to me. That also extends into my personality and how I act, as I tend to go about things like men typically do and just think about things like men typically do, although with the added perspective of being a woman, or I guess living my life as one. That also came naturally to me without much thought or notice unless it was pointed out to me. I will acknowledge, though, that I was fairly sensitive back then and that was pretty obvious. But, for the most part, I'm just fairly stoic personality wise and don't tend to open up much about anything, which isn't an inherently good thing, but it's the truth nonetheless. I guess it's important to say at this point that I don't consider myself trans, at least I don't right now anyway. There's a possibility that I'll change my mind about it in the future though, but I haven't got that far yet.
Having admitted that, I can say that that was the major reason that I was so hesitant to admit to my crush on this girl and why I was and am embarrassed and ashamed about it. For starters, I wasn't interested in any girls before her and having that come up when I'm already struggling to try and figure out who I am was not fun in the least. My friends did not make that any easier for me, as they spent a lot of effort putting me down and making me feel like shit for who I was, even before my crush came into the picture. For a long time, I didn't want to be that way. I just wanted to be normal. And I had phases of trying to adapt to the normal way and it just never worked for me. It just wasn't right.
Then, there was the pride factor of not giving anyone the satisfaction of an "I told you so." I think that's self-explanatory, but I'll say that I do know of several bet pools that were going about my being gay and about whether or not I would live past 25. Jokes on them because I'm obviously still here. In my mind, though, you couldn't be a freak and gay on top of it, that was just too much. But, I genuinely thought that I could live as a freak and be okay, but I didn't want to be gay. To me, that was a whole different ball park. It was one thing "to play dress up" and another to "live the lifestyle," as it was so aptly put to me by one of my friends. I was sure as shit ready to get comfortable in that closet and pretend there was no such thing as a bedroom. But, the longer my crush persisted the more my determination to do so waivered and that just made me angry and ashamed all at once. I wasn't about to consider attempting to pursue my crush in any way, shape, or form. My interest in her wasn't even remotely sexual, I didn't have those kinds of fantasies about her or anything like that, but, I mean, I did find her physically attractive- let's be honest, she was stunning- yet, I couldn't imagine myself doing something like that, even after I was asked if I had wanted to by multiple people. And I still can't because I haven't done anything like that since then either. I've been interested in two other girls since her, but not to the level that I was interested in her and I lost interest in them fairly quickly for various reasons, and I've had quite a few girls who were interested in me over the years, most of whom asked me out, too. But, I just can't do it. I can imagine what it would be like to be in a relationship with a woman, but I can't actually imagine myself being in that position. There's a mental block there. An anxiety, an overwhelming feeling of embarrassment and shame. Whenever I think about the fact that I still have feelings for my crush, I just can't help but feel all of those things all over again. I'm just kind of stuck here at the moment. I can't move and I don't want to move. It's frustrating.
As some last notes before I end this, I want to say that I don't use social media outside of reddit and tiktok, so I don't know where my crush is, what she does, or what her life is like now. I'm fairly certain that my socials are still active, but that's not my thing, so I don't bother checking them. Maybe I'll get over my feelings for her and maybe I won't, I don't know. If anything, I just hope that she is happy and safe out there wherever she is. As for my former friends, I know that Luthor is doing well from what other friends have told me, and Belle, in all her greatness, is also doing well from what I've been told. As for Daria and Helen, well... let's just say that I'm pretty pissed and bitter about the things I've heard about them. In all of their hypocritical glory, Daria has been living as nonbinary for quite some time now and Helen is trans. I can't really say that I care too much about Daria, but Helen, on the other hand, just infuriated me when I found out, if I'm being completely honest. Being that she was the one who treated me the worst, gave me the most shit, degraded me, insulted me, gaslit me, bullied me; and then to turn around and do the very thing that I was condemned for is just adding insult to injury. I understand it on some level, but to turn around and try to make yourself out to be an advocate without ever even bothering to own up to what you did is just foul. I can't sit here and wish the worst for her though, that's just not me, but goddamn. I will say the biggest Fuck You that I can, though. Being as I am, I also can't help but to just wish them the best and never bother myself with thinking about them again. Also, as a side note, I've lost quite a bit of weight since high school, so, yay for me on that.
Coming to the end of this, I will add: If, in the infinite possibilities that the universe has to offer, my crush were to ever read this and figure out who I am, I just want you to know two things: I'm sorry for who I was and that is was you and if you feel compelled to nip this in the bud or if you're just curious, it would be easier to just ask me questions rather than trying to talk to me about it. But, even saying that, I'm fairly certain that I would just vehemently deny everything anyway unless I was in a position where I couldn't hide from it. Now that this is all out of my system, thank you for reading if you made it this far. You're a real trooper!
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2023.06.02 07:23 simplymuffin8 Tips or Exercises to Care Less About Clutter / How Do I Let Things Go?
I can’t let things go. I know that’s general, but I don’t know how else to describe it. I have no chill. I have difficulties delegating and trusting coworkers to do certain tasks, because I know they won’t get done the way I would do them. I get obsessed with an idea (like wondering late at night if the front door is locked), and then am incapable of letting it go and going to bed without double checking. I’m high strung and hyper fixated on every little problem. The biggest offender is my home: my safe space. During the pandemic, my home life was perfect. Immaculate. We moved into a new place, decorated the entire apartment just the way we liked it, and kept it pristine. I’m big into cooking, and our tiny apartment’s kitchen shelves were sorted just the way I liked them. Pasta and beans sat in beautiful clear storage containers, my spice shelf was organized by region of the world the spice is mainly used, fresh produce was kept in a fruit hammock, bread was kept in the breadbox, butter was kept in the butter dish. We had one shelf for groceries that didn’t fit a category (the occasional snack, a jar of coconut milk for an upcoming curry, bagels for my fiancé, etc). We would use the things on this shelf in the 2-3 days after buying them, only to replace them when the shelf was empty again.
Fast forward to now. My fiancé and I no longer work from home. Promotions and new responsibilities have led to a busier, longer workday. A family member has moved in, and that’s another mouth to feed. We have less time for apartment upkeep. My kitchen has fallen into ruin. My fridge has no organizational system. The spices are no longer sorted. The shelf with beans, pasta, and lentils now has random groceries stuffed onto it, and our main pantry shelf is overflowing. But the problem is that only I can see it. To everyone else, our kitchen is spotless. The dishes are done, the floor is swept, the counters are scrubbed. It seems like only I can see the grime on the front of the fridge, or the stain on the ceiling, or the unorganized spice shelf.
It drives me insane, but I don’t have time to fix it. Even when I do fix it, the next day I see bananas sitting adjacent to the fruit hammock rather than atop it, and I lose my mind again.
I know logically that I’m being insane and unreasonable. The kitchen is spotless. Our apartment is super clean: the result of many hours of upkeep. Why can’t I see it as clean? No matter how many hours we spend cleaning, I can’t see anything but the flaws. It’s not fair to my fiancé, who spends so much of his time making sure our home is clean and nice.
I had a busy day at work today. After work I did the grocery shopping, came home, and pet my cat. My fiancé knew I had a big day, and offered to put away the groceries while I showered. I took him up on that, then read my book for a while. It was 9 PM by the time I went into the kitchen to make dinner. I opened the cupboard and saw all of our new groceries jammed into the small shelf. A new box of pancake mix had a dent in it where it was bending against another item. A loaf of bread was getting smushed.
Now I’m trying to hide the fact I’m nearing a panic attack. All of our new groceries, perfect and shiny and new, just crammed in with the old groceries. I’ve always had a rule: you can’t put away nice new clean groceries if the kitchen is dirty, like if there are dishes in the sink. Like somehow the dirtiness of the sink will corrupt the new nice things. I guess that rule extends to a cluttered pantry too.
Now I’m tempted to throw out perfectly good food just to make room on the shelf for the new groceries to sit nicely. I’m tempted to go in there and clear everything out of our pantry and rearrange it all to make it nice again. I’m tempted to drive to a 24-hour target, buy a clear container, and dump the pancake mix into it so it doesn’t have to sit in a dented box. But I also know it’s 11pm at night, and I should be sleeping. I know that if I go and start cleaning, it will hurt the feelings of my fiancé, who offered to do something nice for me and put things away. I know that it doesn’t actually matter, and that the groceries aren’t infected with the essence of clutter. But also I don’t know that at all.
And it’s not just the kitchen. I won’t let us put up holiday decorations unless the entire home is spotless. Why on earth does the level of organization in my sock drawer affect the presence of a Christmas tree in my living room? I don’t know—but it does. The decorations are nice and pure, and need to be put up in pristine environment. I don’t want my cluttered sock drawer or undusted window sill infecting that new painting we’re thinking about hanging.
How do I stop caring so much? I have all these tips and tricks for how to calm myself out of a panic attack, or how to get my mind away from the dark places I go when I’m depressed. But that all feels like band-aid fixes. Upset? Try XYZ. How do I avoid getting upset in the first place? How can I be like my fiancé, and see a beautiful apartment and a clean kitchen, and not hyper fixate on the flaws?
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2023.06.02 07:13 cannons_for_days COME ON RIDE THE TRAIN — a 30 Minute Review
TL;DR — Should I Pull?
New Players Hoooooooo buddy.
Lots to unpack, here.
Firstly, if you do not have UDX Silver, GLEX Silver, Shuzer, or Liam, pull the Romancing Festival reprint for Liam or GLEX Silver. 33k jewels for Liam/Silver with Thyme, Shuzer, Rag Robin, Christmas Empress, and other good styles in the mix is hands down the best deal on offer.
For most new players I'm going to recommend Matriarch's banner. Matriarch and Roc are a very solid support core, and Matriarch gets way better with a couple of inherits that are avaialble in the offbanner pool, which you can select one style from with the ticket you got from logging in today.
If, however, you have Thyme and Overdrive Emelia and you don't have the Matriarch style with Paean of Peace, then I recommend pulling on the Lynn Woods banner for Liz. Liz's Aqua Bash+ can be a functional replacement for Paean of Peace which doesn't require chasing a character who isn't on Rate Up, and the rest of her kit is enabled by Emelia and Thyme is a big way. Polka has similar synergy with them and also brings a damn useful heal to the table, and whilst Jo isn't the same kind of "stupid powerful alongside her enablers" good, she's still a very good style that can deal a lot of damage and avoid nearly as much. Jo is also pretty danged good for a new player to pick up, with a medium Morale Down she can sustain on enemies to help reduce incoming damage by a good chunk. Overall, very solid banner, just not as "ready to go out of box" as the other one.
Depending on what else we see this month, it's possible that going back to the other banner once we see what else is going to be offered may be the best move for newbies. Matriarch + Roc + Thyme + Liz + [ShuzeLiam/Silver] would be a ridiculously good core team for someone with less than 6 months play time. 🤩 But I won't go so far as to say that until we get a better sense of what's on deck. For now, focus on Matriarch if you don't have the big Overdrive enablers; focus on Liz if you do.
Veterans OK. So on the one hand, we have a banner with a Liz style that solos Remembrance battles. And on the other hand we have a banner with a Matriarch style. Now you may thi- you're already pulling Matriarch. OK, then.
Kidding aside, I know a bunch of people reading this really are about to pull the first banner here simply because it has Matriarch and for no other reason, regardless of whether she's any good or not. And... actually, that's not a bad plan, here. Matriarch is definitely a solid support style, whether you have the Paean of Peace inherit for her or not. Roc is way better if you have certain inherits, but even if you only have her Tower S style, her offbanner A style, and her Platinum pool SS style, she's still a pretty good style with a few good options.
Liz and Polka are also pretty danged good, though. Liz in particular has amazing synergy with Thyme and Overdrive Emelia in content with direct hits to counter. She dispenses WIL buffs to the team and counters with a defense boost for the team on any turn where she can Overdrive... which can actually be most turns if you have Emelia backing her up. Polka can counter with an attack that grants the party an attack boost, so if you bring the both of them, you can actually get a lot of buffs going on overdrive turns against enemies that throw direct AoE attacks.
All of which is a lot of words to say that I can definitely recommend a pull on Matriarch's banner, and if you are eyeing Liz and Polka's banner and have the jewels to spare, I can also recommend some pulls there, but if you need to choose between them, I would definitely recommend Mama's first.
Planes Balloons, Trains, and Automobeels — Romancing Festival Limited Banner
Unit Summary Indefatigable support unit.
Unit Analysis Paean of Tranquility is 3 BP for a tiny heal to the party plus a medium defense boost. It's a defense boost, not a Guard Up, so it stacks with any other kind of defense increases you have. It's a single-turn defense boost, but it's 25% on top of a party-wide heal, so it's totally worth spamming if you don't have other, better things for Matriarch to do.
Saga Balloon Sanctuary is a [Fast] B-rank sun AoE for 8 BP. Its damage is not amazing, but it grants a large Attack Boost to the whole party for 3 turns. Since it's an Attack Boost, not a Morale Up, it stacks, so she can actually wind up increasing party damage output by quite a bit with her +2 BP/turn fueling an 8 BP cost skill.
Her third attack is an SSSS attack for 10 BP, which is kind of ridiculous for a character who can spam that every-other-turn. The problem is that Matriarch is such a strong support character that you're arguably not "winning" that exchange by spending her BP on damage instead of support stuff, especially if you also have a high-octane damage dealer like Silver or Liam dwarfing Matriarch's damage.
For a support character she's also tanky... as long as she's able to resist every hit she takes. Every resisted attack she takes 40% less damage from and has a 37% chance to avoid it in the first place. Every non-resisted attack... she takes full damage. So against enemies that only deal one or two types of damage, she's quite resilient. Against enemies that will fling 5+ damage types at you, you might find yourself taking more damage than you expected.
Inherits Paean of Peace. Just... just Paean of Peace. DEX/WIL/LOV/CHA buff for the whole party. 5 BP a pop. This Mama can spam it forever with no BP support. The WIL keeps your day from being ruined by status effects, the DEX helps Liam's damage, and the LOV/CHA buffs help party healers do their job better. Sure, it occupies all of her time, but it's doing a loooot of work, so it's worth it.
Available from the [Leading the People] style, now in the offbanner pool and available to be collected from the 3rd Anniversary Romancing Festival Exclusive SS Style Exchange with the ticket you received upon login. If you're pulling for this Matriarch style, I strongly recommend you use that ticket to pick up [Leading the People] as well for this inherit.
Unit Summary Reasonable support character who becomes a great support character with inherits.
Unit Analysis Tons of BP recovery potential. When she hits with an attack that hits a weakness, she gets +1 BP. When she hits with a Shadow attack, she gains +2 BP. So if she hits with a Shadow attack that lands a weakness, get gets 3 BP back.
The attack you're probably be going to do that with is -checks notes- Lightning of Darkness.
That can't be... really, Akatsuki? Really?
Sorry. So, yeah, Lightning of Darkness is 8 BP for S-rank Shadow/Lightning damage. That's expensive for an S-rank attack (although it's at the high end of S-rank, so you can think of it as a weak SS attack), but it hits two weaknesses, it debuffs all of the enemy's stats, and it inflicts an Attack Down on the enemy. So it's expensive because it's trying to cram a lot of stuff into one attack. The debuff is not going to be terribly useful because so many bosses will Defy Weakness at the first hint of stat debuffs, but on the rare occasion where that's not the case it can definitely be useful to debuff a bunch of stats at once. The attack down is small and only for 1 turn, so it's not amazing, but it's also noteworthy that it's not a Morale Down, so it will stack with Morale Down users.
Goby Spark is another overcosted attack, this time an AoE. Spark will clear all INT buffs on the targets in addition to debuffing their INT. That's actually a pretty big deal because it means she is really good at shutting down enemies that like to buff their INT, and enemies that love to buff their INT are some of the most problematic bosses. There's an inherit that's going to be better for this purpose in a lot of boss battles, but we're not quite to inherits, yet.
Like Matriarch, she's tanky against attacks that she resists. (She actually has the same ability - reduce resisted attacks and high chance to evade them.) Unlike Matriarch, she can stack more tankiness on top of that if you're flinging Lightning damage at the enemy, topping out at 40% mitigation if you hit with a lightning attack every single turn, healing herself with each of those as well. Oh, and if she's hitting a weakness, she'll tack a second tiny self-heal on as well. So if you're spamming Lightning of Darkness (-sigh-) and hitting a weakness with every attack, not only do you get the Attack Down effect and maybe some stat debuffs, but you're also ramping up to 64% mitigation (and 50% damage boosts) and double self-healing herself every turn.
And if you can spare the bonus BP, the bonus damage, and the bonus mitigation, she also has one of the most unique heals in the game. It's a 0 BP spell so it's BP positive on the turns she uses it despite forfeiting both of her BP ability procs that turn, but what's notable about it is that it grants the target a small Defense Up. Small Defense Up is only 5%, but it sticks for the rest of the battle, meaning Roc can dump her LP into Liam while he's dumping his LP to give him an extra 20% damage mitigation. And then she'll proceed to spam an Attack Down/stat debuff attack. Not bad, Roc. Not bad.
Inherits -deep breath- OK, cannons. You can do this.
This is Rocbouquet's 9th style. Most of those styles have at least one relevant inherit. Many of them have multiple spells worth looking at.
So let's start with GLEX Roc, currently in the offbanner pool. Psycho Boom is a shadow attack that debuffs the enemy's INT and WIL which chases with Euthanize, which is another shadow attack that debuffs INT. It's a lot of INT debuffing in a single turn, and if it happens to hit a weakness, it refunds 6 of its 12 BP cost. The majority of bosses in modern content will definitely Defy Weakness the next turn, but if you happen to find a boss that doesn't Defy, it ruins INT-based attacks.
After that we have Blooming Fireworks, which amplifies into an A-rank shadow/heat AoE for 10 BP which refunds BP to the party. It's random whether it refunds 1 BP or 2, so it's technically an unreliable BP battery, but since it always grants at least 1, it's still functionally a pretty good BP support spell. Roc gaining +2 BP guaranteed when she casts it (shadow damage) and maybe getting another +1 if it hits a weakness makes her one of the best BP battery units in the game.
Finally from GLEX Roc (yes, all three of the spells on that style are worth considering for inherits) you have Lightning Crash. Lightning Crash isn't really anything special — it's just a 0 BP Shadow/Lightning spell that can stun its target. But it's worth inheriting because it lets Roc sustain her Lightning attack buffs while she's spamming her main S2 attack down/debuff attack.
Jumping around to other styles we have Marine Ball from her previous limited style, which is a 5 BP AoE Morale Down attack. It's pure cold damage so it doesn't trigger either of her damage type bonuses, but it's a 3-turn Morale Down that she can potentially stack with her S2's Attack Down if you need more damage debuffing from her.
Dark Pulse from her previous Prefecture style is a 3 BP shadow/lightning AoE attack. Its damage is not considered good for that BP cost anymore, but she can spam it forever and be BP positive like with Lightning Crash but hitting an AoE instead of just a single target, in the event that you need that.
Enraged Squid from that style also happens to be the highest potential damage spell she has. It's 12 BP and it hits randomly between 3 and 5 times, so it's not a reliable nuke, but if you want to use her for damage, that's the spell to go with.
Soul Freeze from her A style (in the offbanner pool; you almost certainly have it if you've pulled on more than 3 limited banners in the last 6 months) amplifies into an A-rank shadow AoE for 9 BP, which is a pretty good cost for the damage it deals. On farms, she can use this on both turns 1 and 2 as long as she hits a weakness with it on turn 1, which winds up being a really good amount of AoE over two turns. It also has a chance to paralyze, although if you want paralyze and you don't need the AoE, Shadow Chains from that style would be better, with both a much cheaper cost (2 BP) and a higher innate chance to paralyze.
Also from A Roc (yeah, another style where all three spells matter) you have Drain Life. Drain Life amplifies into a 4 BP B-rank shadow attack that comes attached with a Small self-heal. The self-heal sizing in this game is not helpfully categorized, and Small self-heal tends to equate to about 900-1200 heals, depending on formation and buffs, making it a spammable attack that is very good at keeping her HP topped up.
Moving on to her SaGa the Stage style, we have Tri-Flower, a C-rank shadow AoE for 6 BP. Tri Flower's damage is utterly unimpressive, but it also buffs the party's WIL, and this style can cast it a whooooole lot with its +2 BP on shadow hit, which is a very compelling option to have for a unit that can dispense Defense Ups.
Her Platinum SS style has Water of Life, which is not going to compare favorably to Graceful Cup in most situations, but it can remove stat debuffs, and in some situations that may be more important than the Defense Up.
Also from the Platinum style is Energy Storm. Energy Storm amps into an 8 BP B-rank shadow AoE. Soul Freeze+ is better damage for only slightly more BP, so on 2-round AoE farms, you would want to use Soul Freeze. On 3-round farms, however, Roc can use Energy Storm on all three rounds as long as she hits a weakness on turn 1 and turn 2. B-rank damage is not always going to clear a round on its own, but being able to cast it back-to-back-to-back is still damn handy.
OK! Final style! We're almost there, cannons!
Last but not least is her S style from the very first Tower event the game released. Lightning from that style amplifies into a 0 BP lightning attack, similar to Lightning Crash from GLEX Roc. Triggering just the lightning portion of her Goby Hook Switch ability is obviously worse than trigger both portions, but it's better than triggering none of them which is what her staff bonk would do. If you don't have Lightning Crash, consider Lightning+ as a filler spell for those turns where she needs to recharge BP - it sustains the DEF boost and it gives her a little more bonus heals.
But Lightning+ isn't the spell we really care about, here. The spell we really care about here is Dark Wash. Dark Wash amplifies into a 10 BP SSS-rank shadow attack, which is already a compelling option over the abysmally-named Lightning of Darkness. But above-and-beyond that, Dark Wash+ removes all stat buffs on its target — not just their INT buffs like Goby Spark does. Getting that buff break function out of a cheaper spell and for all stats is a pretty big deal, and since this is from a tower style, every player has access to it. She has a highly awkward BP rotation using it, so it's not accurate to say she can use it every-other-turn or every-three-turns, but she can use it frequently enough that she can keep even bosses that have pretty aggressive stat buffing in check fairly well.
Unit Summary Overdrive damage enabler made far better with an inherit from her last style.
Unit Analysis Macha with no inherits is kinda meh, honestly. She can theoretically get a lot of BP going between her innate +1 BP/turn and her S1's 25% chance to grant her +4 BP on cast. And she has a ~40% chance to chase every attack with Crimson Flare+, which is a pretty hefty chase attack backed up by her 65% damage boosts. But where she falls down is what she can spend that BP on.
Flame Bash and Saga Magical Train are both AoE attacks. Neither one is especially impressive damage-wise, but they both have decent rider effects. Flame Bash will buff Macha's INT (before attacking, so she gets the buff before damage is dealt) and Magical Train inflicts Sundered on the the targets for 2 turns. Sundered makes the enemy take more damage with each attack they take that turn, meaning if you have Liam and Silver on-deck, they wind up taking a ton of damage just from the chase attacks.
Macha benefits strongly from getting more Overdrive turns, both because inflicting Sundered first thing in the turn helps maximize the damage you get out of it and also because she chases Overdrive attacks with Crimson Sunflare, getting a free trigger on the Sundered effect.
Unfortunately, Macha's only innate defenses and a good chunk of her damage modifiers come from an automatic Morale Up and Guard Up she gets every turn, which do not stack with other Morale Up or Guard Ups. That gives her poor synergy with styles like Music Fest Goddess who grant the party Guard Ups, or Riki who grants the party Morale Ups, or Summer Fatima who does both. And since Macha is only helping to deal more damage, that failure to stack with other Morale Ups/Guard Ups does actually hinder her compared to other characters like Urpina who have innate defenses that do stack with Guard Ups and can dish out a decent amount of damage on their own whilst also helping to squeeze more damage out of their teammates.
Inherits Divine Tree from her Lunar New Year style helps solve the issue above where the only thing Macha does is damage. Divine Tree is two hits of C-rank blunt/pierce damage which recovers the party's HP on each hit. Divine Tree is actually a decent attack in its own right, and with Macha's +BP tools you can use it frequently enough that it becomes the most heals-per-turn any character can muster without specific kinds of cooperation from the enemy. Of course, you don't wind up using it every turn, which can sometimes be a drawback (you may need the heal on a turn when her BP isn't ready), but on average it winds up being a very, very good healing tool.
Beef... it's what's defeating the enemies — Romancing Festival Limited Banner
Polka Lynn Wood
Unit Summary Polka is a tank who can get in some counter hits, heal up his teammates, and dispense big hits that come attached to big attack boosts for the party.
Unit Analysis First is Hearty Steak. Polka sizzles up a decent heal for a teammate and the charbroiled flavor continues to grant them an end-of-turn tiny heal for the next 5 turns. Whenever Polka uses it, he also grants himself that same 5 turns of end-of-turn heal. So it winds up being a good amount of healing for the LP, actually.
Second is Rising Kuroge Wagyu. Polka throws a whole-ass cow at the enemy for SSS-rank heat damage and the... smell...? grants the party a very large attack boost for the rest of the turn. Thankfully, it has [Fast] priority, so it's going to be rare for the attack boost to go to waste. Polka's damage is decent enough on his own, I suppose, but the attack boost for the party is still going to be the meat of the skill, here.
Third is his ability Skills of a Chef. Skills of a Chef is a solid damage mitigation ability plus Flame Ward (polka takes no heat damage and counters all direct attacks with a little heat attack) plus Overdrive chaser. What's the Overdrive chaser? It's Rising Kuroge Wagyu!
-presses hand to ear- I'm sorry, I've been informed that it's not an Overdrive chaser, it's an Overdrive counter. So on Overdrive turns, every time Polka gets hit, he drops a big heat attack on the enemy and he boosts the party's damage some more. If you have characters using big Delay attacks or you just expect Polka to get hit a lot that turn, that attack boost adds up for serious damage.
The longer the fight goes on the tougher Polka gets, so after 5 turns he's pretty tanky (nearly 60% mitigation) and has both reliable self-heal-on-hit and on-demand heal/turn. So he can take those direct attacks like a champ.
Inherits Still Blade Phoenix is the big one, giving Polka a 9 BP SSS slash/heat delay attack that drops a decent-sized heal on the party. This Polka is slightly tankier than Robin Polka (the style that has that skill), has better BP rotation, and has slightly better self-heal potential, but winds up dealing less damage if the enemy is dishing out lots of direct attacks. (No stacking buff-on-hit and a weaker counterattack.) Your call, there.
If party-wide heals aren't your concern, there's also Back Detonation, an 8 BP SS heat attack that has a medium(!) self-heal. Medium self-heal is substantial enough that it can actually overheal with enough CHA buffs in play. And at the lower BP cost than Still Blade, Polka can use it more often, just straight face-tanking for the team.
Liz Lynn Wood
Unit Summary Combination WIL buffer and counter defense booster. It's... yeah, it's weird, just read further.
Unit Analysis OK, so Liz parallels Polka significantly. Where Polka has decent damage and slowly stacks up defense, Liz starts with solid defenses and slowly stacks up damage. Where Polka counters with an attack boost on overdrive turns, Liz counters with a defense boost. Where Polka has heals for the party and self-heals, Liz has WIL buffs for the party and self-heals. Where Polka ignores heat damage, Liz ignores cold damage.
The main difference between the two is that Polka is going to want to save his BP for the big attack + attack boost, where Liz is more likely to want to spam Aqua Bash+, the WIL buff. Aqua Bash is actually a decent attack (B-rank column cold damage for 4 BP) and has the highest Overdrive gain of any skill in the game (restores 25% of the gauge on hit), making her very good at cycling her Overdrive meter back to full. When she overdrive counters with Karatsu Water Wall, she grants a huge defense boost to the party, meaning in situations where you can focus a lot of direct attacks onto Liz, she can wind up absolutely flooring the damage the party takes on her Overdrive turns. And with support from Emelia and Thyme, you can make sure those overdrive turns happen pretty dang frequently.
Honestly, the spammable WIL buff on its own is a pretty sweet deal, but in battles where direct attacks are flying every which way? Yeah, Liz will put in work.
Inherits Droplet from her last all-mage style is a spot heal that grants the target Guard Up. Great for helping someone survive a turn when Liz doesn't have Overdrive built up yet.
Twin Arrows from her A style (story reward from Polka's story) amplifies into an attack that grants her two tiny self-heals on hit for 3 BP. Great for helping top Liz's health back up between Overdrive turns.
Unit Summary Supportish unit who gets to be super tanky for 10 total turns per battle.
Unit Analysis When Jo's Overdrive gauge isn't full, she has 55% damage mitigation and 20% damage modifiers. When it is full, she has 30% damage mitigation and 45% damage modifiers.
On her overdrive turns, you will want to use Glacial Ray, a 10 BP SSS cold/sun attack with delay. Glacial Ray can only be used 5 times per battle (it's an arbitrary limit; think of it as costing 1 LP but you get to keep the LP for KO purposes), but it causes Jo to ignore all damage for 2 turns. With 55% damage mitigation on turns outside of that window, I don't think I need to explain how good that makes Jo at not getting KO'd.
OK, so she's tough to KO. That's great. What else she do? Well..... not a ton, actually. Glacial Ray is by far her best attack, the other two being E-rank damage and a B-Rank AoE. Fresh Squid (the E-rank attack) includes a self-heal, which is great, but again, it's not bringing much damage to the table. And Ice & Fire Giant Squid, the AoE, is fine damage-wise, and it even includes a Medium Morale Down for 2 turns to help keep damage input low for the rest of the team, but it's 8 BP, so you won't be spamming it.
Now, in fairness, Jo does get +2 BP/turn, so it's not at all difficult to rotate Hot/Cold Squid or to be ready with 10 BP for Glacial Ray on overdrive turns. But if you don't need the AoE component of the Morale Down, she also offers less damage than Aisha does with Earth Thrust, which also maintains a Morale Down.
Now "extremely sturdy + maintains Morale Down" is still a very good deal, don't get me wrong. There's definitely going to be battles where Jo is going to be better to bring than Aisha. But it's also not breaking new ground.
Inherits Lots, but I'm going to focus on two.
Sunshower from her S style (a GLEX style that was awarded during an event I no longer recall; probably going to be avaialble as a drop at some point this month) is a 4 BP cold/sun AoE attack that grants the party a tiny heal. This is actually BP-positive on this style, since she gets +2 BP/turn automatically, allowing Jo to spam that heal until it's time to drop Glacial Ray. Or if you need the Morale Down more, you can have Sunshower in your back pocket to spend a little excess BP on to help keep the party topped up while you're rotating Hot/Cold Squid.
The other is Sparkling Ice from Robingal. Sparkling Ice deals SSS cold/sun damage, chases with SSS heat/sun damage, and then paralyzes Jo for 3 turns. This is not the highest-damage Jo to utilize this spell, but she is the only Jo style that can use it every-other-turn should you have someone who can cleanse the paralyze.
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2023.06.02 04:45 Gameran Dexter Flux Presents: Sound-Off! - Part One
Previously unannounced press conference, May 31, 2023.
Cameras are rolling as the owner of Mann Corporation, Shay D. Mann, hair in a perfectly put-together part, adorned in a navy suit and white tie, steps forward to a podium, in front of a WiR backdrop, microphone in hand. Mann
: My name is Shay Duncan Mann. And I am the new owner and proprietor of Wrestling is Reddit. I can assure you that your beloved Allen Paisner will be returning in the future, however, he could not make tonight's show due to some…
Mann smirks. Mann
: Legal complications. But fear not, I’ll be taking his place in the booth tonight.
The crowd erupts with applause and cheers, eager to witness the rebirth of their beloved wrestling promotion, even without Paisner for the evening. Mann
: Tonight, we embark on an exhilarating journey, as WiR takes a bold leap forward. I stand before you not just as the owner, but as a “fan”—a fan who understands the passion and dedication that this community shares for the world of wrestling.
Mann tries to hide a grimace as he proclaims his “fandom”. The crowd anticipates Mann’s next move Mann
: For too long, WiR has been dormant, unable to proceed, some of the talent trapped in Europe with no way home. But this, is no more! Today, we resurrect the spirit of WiR, bringing it back to life with a bang! And what better way to open things up by “Sounding Off"! Presented by the one and only, Dexter Flux
The crowd gives an actual cheer with genuine enthusiasm at the mention of Flux, their sort of god-king. Mann
: "Sound Off" isn't just a name; it's a rallying cry! It's a call for all of you, the WiR faithful, to voice your opinions, to express your passion, and to join us in this incredible journey. This event will be a celebration of everything that makes WiR special—the wrestling, the community, and the shared experiences that bring us all together.
The press conference crowd, whose papering becomes increasingly obvious the more Mann talks, is enthusiastic, as they eagerly hang onto Shay D. Mann's every word, perhaps a little too eagerly. Mann
: Tonight, in this very ring, our talented roster will ignite your imagination, deliver jaw-dropping performances, and create moments that will be etched in your memories forever. Sound Off! will leave you on the edge of your seats, craving for more.
The crowd roars with the excitement of a hair dryer pop. Mann
: But this is not just a show; it's a community. Together, we'll embrace the highs and lows, the victories and defeats. We'll share our opinions, engage in spirited debates, and build something truly remarkable. WiR is your platform—your voice will be heard! The crowd erupts once again, their cheers echoing through the arena, showcasing their dedication to WiR, or getting paid to be there Mann
: So, my friends, get ready to immerse yourselves in the magic of WiR once again. Open your hearts, open your minds, and let the exhilaration of "Sound Off" wash over you! Tonight, we begin a new era—one that will redefine the landscape of this sport. Welcome back to WiR, my friends. Because Wrestling… is Revived.
With a sly smile, Shay D. Mann raises his microphone high, signaling the start of the show, as things fade to a video of Dexter Flux. His face is slightly out of frame as the camera points to his chest and chin. Crowd
: YEEEEAAAHHHHHH WE LOVE FLUX! WE LOVE FLUX! Flux
: Hey, it’s me, Dexter Flux. Welcome, uh, welcome you know, back to wrestl- Ugh, sorry, something was like, in my throat. Wrestling is Reddit. Welcome back to Wrestling is Reddit. This is House Party.
Knott's Berry Farm, June 1st, 2023.
With that rousing introduction, we now cut back to the day of, with a drone shot of the ring set up at Knott’s Berry Farm, fans on makeshift stands in the berry field, a parking lot and farmhouse off in the far distance, before [off brand royalty free music] begins to play! Crowd
Through the makeshift curtain, Tony “The Milkman” Stevens appears
, wearing a pair of off-blue tights with cow white print, a single blue elbow pad on the left side, with a pair of gloved hands- in which, he holds a pristine white umbrella
. The Milkman points his umbrella right down the lens of the camera… Milkman
: Good to be back, fellas, and good to see you, Mr. Cameraman! Been a while. Mann
: And here comes the Milkman, and a huge ovation from this crowd! But no Horde jacket with him! Woodbridge
: Or any jacket. But we’re in Anaheim, its hot out Mann
You’re right. But he did prepare for rain.
The Milkman hands off his umbrella to a fan at ringside, before sliding under the bottom rope, and ascending the left hard camera turnbuckle, firing up the crowd, before doing a backflip off the top rope, and into the ring! Crowd
The Camera cuts back to the entranceway, as the music changes, to Skillet Crowd
: BOOOOOOOOOOO Jericho Styles
appears on the ramp, adorned in an Allen Iverson Nuggets Jersey
. He blows off a fan’s high five attempt, before sliding into the ring and taking a position opposite of Stevens. Babaganoush
: WiR fans… welcome to Anaheim California, the beautiful Knotts Berry Farm! Welcome! To Sound Off! Presented by Dexter Flux. Crowd
: W-I-R! W-I-R! W-I-R! W-I-R! Banaganoush
: Our opening contest is scheduled for one fall to a finish. Introducing first, to my right… wrestling out San Jose California, weighing in at 217 pounds, Jericho… Styles! Crowd
: BOOOOOOOOO Babaganoush
: And his opponent, to my left. Weighing in at 208 pounds… Crowd begins to rise Babaganoush
: Wrestling out of… Brooklyn, New York! Tony… “The Milkmaaannnnnnn” Stevens! Crowd erupts into indiscriminate cheers DING DING DING
The Milkman and Styles circle each other as the bell rings, before Styles takes the initiative with a lock up attempt, which he quickly transitions to a rear waist lock. Milkman thinks on his feet, and grabs the arm of Styles lifting it above his head, and turning to break the lock, before using it to get behind Jericho, who uses his size advantage to overpower Stevens and apply a hammerlock, using the position to turn Stevens around, and take him down to the mat with an arm drag, maintaining control of the arm, which he quickly leverages into a pinfall… ONE
Milkman gets his free shoulder up! Crowd
: Yay! Woodbridge
: JZ leveraging some technical skill here in the opening moments of this one, but can’t keep the Milkman down! Mann
: Only one count for Styles
Styles refuses to relinquish his grip on the arm, and as Stevens gets up, pushes him back into the corner before he can balance himself. Styles whips Stevens across the ring to the other corner, before charging in and being met with Milkman’s knee! Stevens capitalizes on his newly made opening by delivering a sharp kick to the chest of Styles, before whipping him against the ropes. Styles charges back, and tries to use his momentum to catch Stevens with a hip toss, but can only get Stevens a few inches of height off the ground before the Milkman lands on his feet, lifts and Styles up for an atomic drop, which forces him to let go of Stevens. With his arm now free, The Milkman plants himself, and delivers a [devastating lariat]. With what self-preservation he has left, Styles rolls to the outside, and onto the grass. Woodbridge
: And The Milkman just leveled Styles with that lariat! Mann
: Not something we’re quite used to seeing from Stevens, some hard strikes early in this one that really seemed to throw Styles off his game.
Styles pulls himself up by the barricade, to the direct ire of front-row fans who continue to heckle him. Back in the ring, Stevens throws himself off the far-end ropes, charges in for a dive… before Styles ducks down to avoid being hit. Stevens doesn’t change speed, and instead, throws himself between the ropes for a 6-1-9 that hits nothing but air, launching himself back into the ring, and landing on his feet. After this feat of dexterity, and with Styles on the ground outside, The Milkman takes a bow for his efforts. Crowd
: YEEEAAHHH!! Four dues in front of the hard cam
: WE LOVE MILK! WE LOVE MILK!
At a count of eight, Styles, returns to the ring, and the two wrestlers square off again. Styles gets the better of the two on the lockup, delivering a stomp to Stevens’ foot, before kneeling him in the stomach. Styles lifts Stevens up for a suplex, but Stevens shifts his weight and lands on his feet behind him! The Milkman attempts a German suplex, but Styles throws a firm elbow to the jaw and repositions behind Stevens for a German attempt of his own. Stevens gives Styles a receipt with a firm, calcium-hardened elbow of his own, before bounding over to the ropes, and attempting a lionsault to a standing Styles! Styles catches him, but Stevens slips free, pushes Styles into the corner, and he takes a chest-first bump. Stevens harnesses his agility once more to get into poison-rana position on the shoulders of Styles, but Styles uses one arm to flip Milkman off balance and send him tumbling to the ground. Quickly, Stevens attempts to transition to a sunset flip but has to abandon ship as Styles tries to poke him in the eyes, jamming his finger into the canvas as a result. Stevens uses the moment to leap up to Bret’s rope, turn around, and deliver a dropkick to Styles! Stevens then rolls to the apron, and pumps up the crowd with a wave of his hand… Crowd
: YEEEAAAHHH WOOO!! Guy already 4 cheap beers in
: I hate this Styles guy!
…and delivers another springboard dropkick, this one from the top rope! Stevens flexes for the crowd, before rolling into a cover… ONE TWO
Styles gets a shoulder up! Mann
: Does The Milkman seem a bit different to you, Woodbridge? Woodbridge
: Milkman definitely wants to show off early, he looks like he hasn’t lost a step! Mann
: Maybe even gained one, and it almost feels like he’s being a bit disrespectful of his opponent, don’t you think? Woodbridge
: And what are you insinuating? Mann
: Well, maybe performing in front of a WiR crowd again has him a little more amped than usual! Trying a lot of those high-risk maneuvers early- we’re only a few minutes into this one, folks!
After the Kickout, Stevens signals to the cheering crowd, runs off the ropes, and attempts a wheelbarrow bulldog, but as he pushes himself up, Styles swivels his hips, and Stevens face plants into the mat. Mann
: And Stevens’ showing off cost him there!
Styles knees Stevens in the stomach, before putting his head between the legs, and sets up for the Styles Clash! He can’t lock in Milkman’s arms, and Stevens uses them to push off the mat to sit up above Jericho! Stevens tries throwing a punch at Jericho’s head, but he pivots his plan, and adjusts to deliver a powerbomb! As he releases, Stevens adjusts his body and manages to mitigate some of the damage by landing awkwardly on the back foot, stumbling back into the ropes. Mann
: If Styles hit that, it could have spelled an early end for Stevens!
Stevens pulls himself back to his feet using the ropes and charges back in with a clothesline attempt, but Styles sees it coming, grabs the arm and uses it to shift the momentum, and lifts Stevens for a tilt-a-whirl Backbreaker! Crowd
: BOOOOOO Mann
: And Styles seems to be in control here. Woodbridge
: Stevens took some early momentum, but Styles has had a counter for everything Stevens has thrown at him.
Styles pulls Stevens up to his feet by the hair, before casually flipping one of Stevens’ arms over his shoulder for a uranage position before holding his arms out to the crowd! Crowd
Styles smirks at the boos incoming, and throws Stevens with a t-bone suplex. Once Stevens is planted, Styles stomps the stomach to force him to sit up, before stretching the arms behind for a surfboard stretch! Styles
: I’m a technical wrestler now, assholes! Mann
: Styles slowing things down here, grounding the Milkman Woodbridge
: Not a bad strategy, we saw how The Milkman was in control with a faster pace! One guy holding up a sign with Goku
: WE-LOVE-GOKU! WE-LOVE-GOKU! Everyone else in the crowd is deafeningly silent Styles
: AND WHAT WOULD GOKU DO HERE, STUPID IDIOT? Styles breaks his hold and approaches the hard camera ropes to yell at the fan more Styles
: Dragon Ball is overrated trash! Styles kicks Stevens back to the mat Styles
That one was for you, fucking weeb!
As Stevens once again rises to his feet, Styles punches him and he falls back to the mat, just for Styles to pick him back up, and line up against the ropes, for an irish whip. As Stevens returns to sender, Styles throws him straight up in the air… and football punts him in the chest on the way down! Styles
: Hey weeb guy! This one’s for you too! I saw a Japanese dude do it once!
Styles lifts Stevens up, sets him up with the arms behind the back… and delivers a slow, sloppy [tiger driver], before placing a single foot on the chest, and flexing ONE TWO
: YEEEAAAHHHH Woodbridge
: Well, he didn’t quite get all of it.
Styles takes time to put Stevens in a Camel Clutch. Mann
: And it seems Styles didn’t want to get left out of showing off! Woodbridge
: Well, he certainly nailed Milkman with that kick, but the Tiger Driver left a lot to be desired. Mann
: Styles seems to have control of this match when it’s slowed down, wearing Stevens with this technical wrestling prowess. Woodbridge, reaching under the desk for a paper bag
: Everyone wants to be a hero in front of the first crowd in two years
Styles releases Stevens from the hold by battering him in the back of the head with a forearm, picking him up by the scruff, and bouncing him off the ropes for an Irish whip and hitting him with the kitchen sink! But Stevens wastes no motion, and grabs the leg, turning Styles over for a rollup! ONE TWO THR-
: BOOOOOO Woodbridge
: He almost got him with that rollup! From out of nowhere!
The Milkman tries to capitalize, but Styles returns the favor with a boot to the stomach. Styles
: I’ll show you to make a damn fool out of me!
Styles hoists Stevens up for a vertical suplex, before taking two steps and chucking him across the top rope! The Milkman bounces off the top rope, makes a deflating noise as the air is forced out of his lungs, and flops down to the floor outside! Mann
: Styles with some kind of inverted lawn-dart maneuver! Woodbridge, do you know what that’s called? Woodbridge
: Nope. Crowd
: BOOOOOO Styles
: Come on, milk boy, you have anything else for me?
Stevens crawls back into the ring, holding onto his ribs, before Styles once again kicks him in the stomach, and applies a chin lock in the ring. Mann
: Styles has found his target! If Stevens can’t breathe, he can’t fight! Woodbridge
: The young Styles showing some veteran instinct here, Mann, if Stevens has the wind knocked out of him, he can’t perform those high-flying moves he was nailing Styles with earlier!
Styles turns to the side, and locks Milkman in a body scissors, using his legs to apply pressure to the ribcage. Stevens tries to use his free legs to push both men closer to the ropes, but can only move them a few feet. Stevens smacks the mat with his free hand, and a guy in the crowd does it to the barricade. Stevens smacks the mat again, and a few more fans join in. Crowd Smacking the barricade
Stevens pushes towards the ropes again, making more progress. Styles sees this, and releases the hold, grabbing Stevens by the hair with one hand, tights in the other, and pulling him up to his feet. Styles
: You want the ropes so bad, here, have them!
Styles runs over to the ropes with the Milkman, and hurls him between the middle and top rope, dumping him to the outside where he lands with a noticeable thud. Styles follows him to the outside, taking his time to savor the boos of the crowd, before delivering a knee to a rising Milkman, and lifting him for a vertical suplex on the grass! Styles rolls into the ring… and back out again to break the count. Despite the present beating, Stevens once again pulls himself to his feet. Crowd
And Styles knees him in the ribs. Crowd
Styles rolls Stevens back into the ring before taking a moment to confront the drunk fan who jeered him earlier. After his verbal exchange, Styles delivers a scoop slam to Stevens to keep him down, and the pressure on the body, before sliding into a cover. ONE TWO
: Forcing Stevens to exert more energy there on the kick out, after continuing his assault on the ribs. A very solid strategy by Styles in this one.
Styles picks The Milkman up once more and prepares another vertical suplex, but the Milkman slips free! Stevens lands behind Styles, hooks his arms, and goes for a crucifix pin! ONE TWO THRE-
Styles barely escapes! The Milkman wastes no motion as Styles rises back to his feet, bouncing off the hard camera ropes, and forcing Styles to drop back to the mat to avoid a strike. Stevens bounces off the opposite end, and Styles barely avoids him once more, this time with a slide-step that sees him almost lose his balance. Styles tries to save his momentum by charging at Stevens as he bounces off the ropes a third time, but Stevens pulls down the top rope, sending Styles to the apron! Stevens kicks Styles in the knee, before going through the middle rope to meet Styles on the apron. Styles tries to sweep out the leg of the Milkman, knocking himself down to one knee on the attempt, but Stevens jumps over it, and catches Styles with a Calcium Kiss Superkick
that sends Styles to the grass below! Crowd
With his foe grounded, Stevens looks to the crowd, positions himself in the middle of the ring, and before Styles can discover where he is, Stevens takes flight, springboarding off the middle rope with an Asai Milksault
! On the landing, Stevens’ left knee awkwardly hits the uneven yard, and he visibly grimaces before falling backward. Mann
: And both men are down after that! Stevens with a ferocious comeback attempt, but he may have hurt himself! Woodbridge
: Someone hasn’t been taking care of their lawn.
Stevens hears the air exit the crowd, and pulls himself up, giving them a reassuring thumbs up, before using the leg he landed on to kick Styles in the back of his knee, before throwing him back into the ring. Stevens puts one leg into the ring through the middle rope, before looking into the crowd- and deciding to ascend the turnbuckles instead! The Milkman leaps, and delivers a diving hurricanrana
! As Styles tries to roll to the ropes, Stevens uses their good leg to stomp on his chest, before pulling him back to the middle of the ring, and hitting a Standing Milksault
! Stevens maintains the cover! ONE TWO THR-
Styles gets a shoulder up! Woodbridge
: And Stevens throwing everything into this assault on Styles, but it still wasn’t enough to put him down! Crowd
: Let’s Go Milk-man! Let’s Go Milk-man!
Stevens picks Styles up, and lifts him onto his shoulders… Woodbridge
: He’s going for the Milky Way!
…But the injured knee can’t hold up the weight, and both men crash to the mat. Entrance Music begins to play as a small, skinny wrestler in a leather jacket waltzes towards the two downed competitors Crowd
: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Mann
: And that’s Raven Van Loupe! Van Loupe is here at Sound Off! Woodbridge
: These two formed an alliance last time we saw them! But will it hold after the time off?
Van Loupe enters the ring, despite the protests of WiR official Tai Ni Wong, and glances at the pair as both try to pull themselves up, Stevens using the ropes, Styles on his own. Van Loupe looks back and forth… before kicking Stevens in the injured knee! DING DING DING Babaganoush
: And here is your winner…
Van Loupe helps Styles to his feet, and the pair begin to lay the boots on Stevens. Babaganoush
: By disqualification as a result of interference, and striking a WiR official…
Styles takes the knee of the downed Milkman, and lifts it above his head, before thrashing it against the canvas. Babaganoush
: At a time of…
Van Loupe has Styles lift Stevens by the hair once more, before she runs to the ropes, jumps off the second rope, and Styles pushes The Milkman into the cutter
: Ten minutes and twenty-three seconds…
Styles and Van Loupe stand over Stevens, and Styles prepares to deliver the finishing blow as he signals to the crowd that he is looking for the Styles Clash! Banaganoush
: Tony “The Milkmannnnnn” Stevens!!!!!! Van Loupe
: Are you done?
Van Loupe gives Styles a thumbs up, but as he goes to finish off Stevens, a mighty howl plays over the speakers as a short, scruffy man runs to the ring. Woodbridge
: That’s The Werewolf! Mann
Johnny, A Werewolf, is here! And he’s rushing to the ring!
Styles lets Stevens flop back down to the mat, holding his knee, and turns to face the incoming Werewolf as he slides under the ropes and into the ring. Styles steps before Vna Loupe to intercept, but the fresh Werewolf knocks him off his feet with The Pounce
. The Werewolf comes face to face with Van Loupe in the center of the ring! Crowd
: AWOOOOOO Mann
: Pandemonium has broken out in the first match of Sound Off! And the fans are loving it! Crowd
: WE LOVE WERE-WOLF! clap clap clap clap clap
WE LOVE WERE-WOLF! Woodbridge
: The Pack Wolf and the Werewolf facing off in the center of the ring! Mann
: And these two have unfinished business! The Lifeblood exists because they took issue with being left behind for signings like Werewolf!
Johnny feints left, before throwing a right jab! The Werewolf unleashes Pack Tactics on Van Loupe! As he stops throwing punches, and signals for another pounce, Styles kips up, and levels the werewolf with a lariat! Crowd
Van Loupe and Styles begin to wear down the Werewolf, delivering blow after blow to Johnny as the boos rain from the crowd. Van Loupe delivers a stomp to the knee of The Milkman to keep him down before they and Jericho set up to finish off styles…
When an Italian Flag appears on the video screen, and an absolute guido of an Italian-American, hair dripping with greaseslowly walks out from behind the curtain, wearing a Shohei Ohtani jersey!
…A Shohei Ohtani… New York Mets jersey. Crowd
: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Mann
: That’s The Apex! Arturo Stiglione! Stiglione is in the yard!
Stiglione slowly scopes out the scene on his way to the ring, seeing the downed Milkman on the left of the ring, the downed werewolf on the right, and the standing Lifeblood members in the middle. He slowly ascends the stairs and stands across from Van Loupe and Styles. Wodbridge
: And The Apex, not a fan of Johnny, a very terse relationship between these two. Apex
: Hell ova job ya done hea’ Van Loupe
: If you know what’s good for you, you’ll stand aside, and maybe we won’t hurt you. Apex
: Dont’cha mind me, just monitoring the situation.
Styles pulls Van Loupe aside, and the two have an impromptu conference, before nodding along, and continuing their attack on Werewolf. Crowd
With The Lifeblood’s backs turned Styles looks down at his fist. He looks down at the blue and orange he’s adorned in, and loosens up his arm. He points to the back of Styles, who senses the crowd rising, and turns around… to be met with a spinning backfist!! Crowd
: YEEEAAAHHHH Mann
: Styles has made his choice! And he chooses to stand against The Lifeblood!
Van Loupe hears his body hit the canvas, and turns around, to be met with the sight of a downed Styles! The Apex takes off his Mets jersey… to reveal an Angels
jersey! The Werewolf is back on his feet, and he and the Apex come face to face! Van Loupe rises back up at the wrong time, as the two share a nod, and deliver a double clothesline! Seeing the situation turn against him, Styles slinks to the outside, and grabs a chair from under the ring, before sneaking back in behind the Werewolf and Apex, who have turned to the hard camera. Styles raises the chair to strike…
...And gets blasted by a Calcium Kiss from The Milkman! Crowd
The three faces are all back on their feet in the middle of the ring, standing tall! As the three begin to celebrate… “It’s a Psychobilly Freakout! Mann
: That’s the music of Mason Saunders! But where is he?
Saunders’ music plays, but the entranceway remains empty. Woodbridge
: He’s behind us, Mann! He just jumped the barricade! Mann
: But he’s outnumbered, Woodbridge, both his allies are down!
Undeterred by the numbers disadvantage, Saunders slides behind the faces, and as they recognize the trap, Saunders is already in the ring! The Werewolf approaches first and throws a jab that almost seems to bounce off the chin of Saunders. Saunders simply stares, and when the Werewolf tries a second one, Saunders swipes it aside with a tree trunk arm, before launching into action and dropping the Werewolf with a right hook, which catches the Werewolf cleanly on the jaw, who slumps backward onto the canvas. The Milkman tries to charge to his aid, but Saunders delivers a pump kick to put him back on the canvas. The Apex tries to make a move while Saunders’ back is turned facing Stevens, but he fails to do any damage and is swiftly thrown aside. Saunders drops the Milkman again, before turning around to face Apex… who turns around, and flees the ring as fast as possible! Crowd
: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Mann
: And Stiglione, getting out of dodge as soon as he can! Woodbridge
: And turning tail and running, Stiglione is out of here!
As Stiglione flees up the entranceway, the rest of the Lifeblood begins to pick themselves up. Saunders puts the Werewolf pack down on the canvas with a scoop powerslam, and boots him out of the ring. The Lifeblood stand united, and face the hard camera, Stiglione and Werewolf removed, and the Milkman down on the opposite end of the ring. JZ ascends to the second rope of the left turnbuckle, Van Loupe to the right, and the three all pose for the hard camera! Mann
: And the Lifeblood, although not victorious in the match, is victorious here in the aftermath! Woodbridge
: But wait, The Milkman is trying to get back up! Mann
: Stevens of course, left for the picking, as other members of The Horde are all the way on the other side of the Farm preparing for their match later!
Stevens struggles to pull himself up to his feet, knee buckling under him. Saunders perks up, and stops his pose. Stevens staggers to his feet, and before he can get very far, Saunders turns, and with blinding speed nails Stevens with a disgusting lariat
that nearly takes his head off! Woodbridge
: And the Milk has gone spoiled.
The Lifeblood circle the downed Milkman like vultures, and Van Loupe drops to one knee, and picks up the Milkman’s head by the hair! JZ gets down as well, and the two strike a pose, with Milkman’s body as the centerpiece! Mann
: A statement made, by the Lifeblood Woodbridge
: To me, Mann, it looks like the statement was made by Saunders, Van Loupe, and JZ just picked up the scraps! Van Loupe, holding up Milkman to the Camera victoriously
: Take a look, WiR, this is the future! We are the Lifeblood of this company, and don’t forget that! The camera pans out to JZ and Van Loupe celebrating over Milkman’s body, while Saunders stares from behind, before fading out to a commercial break. Javier:
The following contest is scheduled for ONE FALL, with a 20 minute time limit. Your referee for this contest is Mia So Hung. Introducing first, from Montreal, Canada, weighing in at 119 pounds...... GIGI♥ V! Crowd:
BOOOOOOOOOOOOO! A significantly smaller but incredibly loud section of the crowd:
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! Music begins to swell in the background
, and the crowd continues their jeering (and occasional unbridled simping) until Gigi steps out, running her hands down her body to the lewd Ashnikko verse. Mann:
Gigi here, surrounded by her legion of fans, who are then surrounded by a legion of people who absolutely despise her. As it should be here in WiR.
Gigi saunters to the ring, taking vaguely suggestive selfies with her ravenous fans on the front row, and generally seeming uncaring about the forthcoming match. Woodbridge:
And given her successes recently, it’s gonna be easy to overlook a competitor like Li Xiao, which very easily could prove fatal.
Gigi steps into the ring, as Javier starts his announcing again. Javier:
And her opponent, from Hong Kong, weighing in at 105 pounds... LI XIAO!!! A unfamiliar metal song
blasts out from the speakers, and a rather familiar hyperactive martial artist bounces out from behind the curtain! Crowd:
Xiao charges down the ramp with a head of steam, hyped and ready to fight. Mann:
Xiao has some of the most devastating offense in this company, and if she’s able to keep momentum, it could very well shatter Gigi’s plans of making a statement here! Woodbridge:
Yeah, sure, but Xiao’s a tag team specialist first and foremost. She comes in to deal damage and then gets out before she takes too much abuse.
Xiao hops into the ring, and the referee pats both competitors down, before gesturing for the bell. DING DING DING
In an interesting turn of events, Gigi and Li Xiao start off with a collar-and-elbow tie up in the center of the ring. Gigi takes quick advantage of her height and weight advantage to gain leverage and force Li Xiao backwards into the ropes. Mann:
Gigi starting off with the basics here, knowing Li Xiao is nothing if not an incredibly explosive fighter. Woodbridge:
That’s right, Xiao wrestles like my grandpa used to make moonshine, god rest his soul!
Gigi sets herself, and when Xiao tries to push off the ropes and get Gigi off, Gigi directs the momentum into a modified biel, throwing Li Xiao across the ring! Gigi takes a moment to smirk and pose for the fans - a mistake, as Xiao rolls through the throw and hits the ropes on the opposite side of the ring! Mann:
Incredible strength from Gigi!
Gigi turns around into a sprinting palm strike from Xiao, staggering backwards into the ropes yet again, and Xiao follows up with a big kick to the gut! Gigi’s doubled over, and Xiao drops her with a DDT! Woodbridge:
Xiao’s fired up, and she’s quite possibly looking to end this match before it even gets started!
Xiao with the cover! 1! 2!
Gigi kicks out right at 2, and rolls up, obviously shocked and dazed. The crowd in attendance is split, with the wrestling fans excited to see Gigi on the ropes, and the Gigi fans absolutely in shambles. Xiao is up quickly, as Gigi staggers to her feet - Xiao hits the ropes, springboards, and catches Gigi with a beautiful headscissors! Crowd:
Gigi rolls through, runs the ropes, and comes back with a head of steam! Xiao dodges a clothesline attempt, shoves Gigi to the other rope, and gets ready for the comeback - Gigi catches the ropes! Xiao charges in to press the advantage, and eats an officially branded Gigi♥ boot to the face! Xiao is absolutely rocked, staggering backwards, and this time Gigi takes the initiative and absolutely levels Xiao with a clothesline! Xiao spirals to the mat, and Gigi blows a kiss to the fans in attendance! Gigi:
I am your future champion, and this is the match I’m booked in?
Gigi catches Xiao with a boot to the back of the head! Xiao rolls over, and Gigi drops a knee onto her throat, before going for the cover! 1! 2!
Xiao muscles out of the pin, clutching her head! Woodbridge:
We got two high fliers here, these women make a livin’ out of dodging attacks. Anything that lands here is going to be devastating! Mann:
And right now, it looks like Xiao is barely conscious after those blows to the head!
Gigi gets up, and winks at her fans in attendance and watching live throughout the world. Crowd:
Gigi saunters over to Xiao, and plays up the boot she’s about to give - SMALL PACKAGE! SMALL PACKAGE! 1! 2!
Gigi kicks out, and her mood instantly changes. Xiao is staggering to her feet, and takes a full on slap to the face! Crowd:
What a slap from Gigi, obviously assisted by her official Gigi♥ gloves, sponsored by Fairtex! Woodbridge:
now, and you could hear that slap all the way in Los Angeles!
Xiao clutches her face, and Gigi follows up with a huge kick to the gut! Xiao falls to one knee, and Gigi finishes the trifecta with a roundhouse to the head! Crowd:
Xiao collapses to the mat! Mann:
And Xiao’s down! What a kick! Woodbridge:
That kick nearly took her head off, Shay! I don’t know if she’s even conscious down there!
Gigi’s prepared, and is looking to finish this, climbing to the top rope! Xiao is flat on her back on the mat, and Gigi takes the leap, flipping forwards with a swanton! Xiao is still conscious, though, and rolls away in the nick of time, leaving Gigi high and dry! Crowd:
YAAAAAAY! KUNG PAO! KUNG PAO! KUNG PAO! Mann:
I... feel like that’s problematic, somehow. Woodbridge:
Nah, ‘sfine, don’t worry about it.
Xiao grabs for the ropes, pulling herself to her feet, but is obviously still dazed from the kick! Woodbridge:
Xiao’s hurt! Mann:
You see this a lot in Li Xiao singles matches - she’s got an incredible offense, but she’s fragile at best in-ring!
Gigi is holding her back, and glares at Xiao in frustration! Gigi:
You were supposed to stay down!
it was going on Tiktok!
Gigi charges forward, ready to avenge her mistake, but takes a knee to the gut! Gigi staggers for a second, only to get a chop to the neck! She’s reeling! Xiao with a forearm! Xiao with a elbow strike! Crowd:
Xiao takes a step backwards, and lets out a KIAI, before charging forward with a roundhouse - NO! SCHOOLBOY FROM GIGI! 1! 2!
Xiao kicks out at 2.6, rolls to her feet, and is immediately back on the offensive, catching Gigi with a kick to the gut! Mann:
Xiao was going for her trademark flurry of blows, and that roundhouse could very well have ended this match! Woodbridge:
Sure, but it doesn’t look like Gigi’s in a better spot right now anyway!
Xiao measures, as Gigi slowly gets back to her feet, and steps through the ropes, stalking her opponent! Gigi’s up, and Xiao leaps onto the ropes, going for a springboard - GIGI HOOKS HER LEG! Crowd:
Xiao loses her footing, and falls neck-first onto the ropes, before collapsing to the outside of the ring! Mann:
Gigi with a lightning-quick reversal! Woodbridge:
Xiao might be seriously hurt down there!
Gigi regains some of her confidence, and gives the crowd an innocent smile, completely ignoring the competitor she might have seriously injured. As the count reaches six, Gigi finally springs into action, rolling out of the ring, and grabbing Xiao by the hair! Gigi:
That’s what you get for ruining my moment!
Gigi pulls Xiao up to her feet, and throws her into the ring. Gigi rolls in as Xiao fights to one knee, then to her feet! Gigi smirks, and stands in front of Xiao, posing for the crowd - WHAM!
Xiao with a JKD backfist! Woodbridge:
River City Knockout! That’s Biff’s move! What a moment to strike!
Gigi is staggered - falls to one knee - then gets back up, just in time to eat THE CRANE KICK Crowd:
CRANE KICK! CRANE KICK!
Gigi is down! Xiao is staggering after landing the crane kick, and collapses to a knee herself! Xiao takes a moment to collect herself, then throws herself into the cover, hooking both legs! 1! 2! 3! NO!
Mia hits the three count, and Xiao rolls off, sure she’s won the match, but Gigi’s right hand is on the ropes! Crowd:
Mia explains to Xiao, who is obviously
frustrated, but nods. She takes a moment to kick Gigi’s wrist, knocking her hand off the ropes, before climbing to the top rope! Xiao steels herself - leaps - corkscrews through the air! Woodbridge:
Gigi gets her knees up! Xiao lands back-first onto Gigi’s knees! Xiao bounces halfway across the ring, clutching her back and neck, and lands on her chest! Crowd:
And Gigi has just enough in the tank to get that counter in!
Gigi, with what seems like massive effort, rolls over, before crawling towards Xiao, who seems to be completely out of it. She crawls over Xiao, with a knowing smirk, before hooking her legs around Xiao’s head! Mann:
Gigi looking for the Paywall, this modified figure four choke! Woodbridge:
And half the audience is looking at something else right now.
Gigi torques Xiao’s already injured neck back, cutting off all airflow! Xiao struggles for a moment, but is trapped in the center of the ring! She crawls forward, but Gigi leans back, torquing her neck even further! Xiao swings back with an elbow, then another, but her arm is caught by Gigi’s free hand! After a moment of struggling, Xiao finally relents, and taps in the center of the ring! DING DING DING! Javier:
And your winner, at a time of 7:53.... GIGI!
Gigi rolls out of the ring, obviously the worse for wear, clutching her neck after the crane kick to the skull! Mann:
And Gigi with a hard-fought win after these two threw everything at each other in a absolutely brutal short match! Woodbridge:
Xiao’s not a singles competitor on her own, but she showed just how brutal her brand of offense is when it needs to be - if Biff has the same resilience he used to have the tag division might need to be on notice!
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2023.06.02 00:55 Superb-Ad4997 Wildflower Weekend Wedding - Budget/Recap May 2023
This subreddit allowed me to plan our wedding. I am so grateful and found these breakdowns especially useful, and now a cathartic experience for me and hopefully a way to give back! Photos
First step that helped us the most was deciding as a team early on what we wanted our wedding to bring to us and our future.
We were inspired early on by This Post
and the comments.
We have both been through a lot of life and have a lot of gratitude for the people that have gotten us to this point and wanted to make space to celebrate with all of them in a big way. This inspired the rest of our wedding planning, committing us to a big guest list, requiring a big venue. We invited 304 people (154 households), 179 RSVP’d yes, and had ~10 no-show. Our family and friends live all over the country and some abroad, so we decided to pick a location close to us, but that had multiple houses on site to host our family/bridal party for the weekend (thurs-sunday; saturday wedding) so that we could have more time with those people closest to us.
Total: $69,407 (MCOL area)
Venue: $28,250 “Weekend Package”
- Indoor and outdoor space for ceremony/reception
- Lodging for ~60 people w/Lake access
- Rehearsal dinner space (same as wedding reception)
- Weekend coordinators
- Additional costs - $1500: rehearsal dinner speakers/mic, bars, extra chairs/tables, late checkout, event insurance
Additional Lodging: $3965
- 2 additional houses near venue (lodging for 15 people)
- Because we were about 30min from the nearest city, we decided it was important to us to be able to have close family nearby, and rented out these houses as a gift for close family and friends. We debated a few different ways to have people rent the rooms back from us, but in the end felt like covering lodging cost was the better option.
- Postcard STD ($60), Invites w/vellum paper + details/rsvp insert + personalized sticker ($298), Thank you cards ($25), Seating Chart ($20 - GotPrint, 24”x30” foam board, used coupon), Table Numbers ($35 - printed on shutterfly sale 5x7), Programs w/menu ($200), Postage ($207 - estimating on thank you cards, saved money with postcard stamps).
- I designed everything on Canva (free), and printed almost everything above through canva as well with a few exceptions. They were excellent. I had fun making my own wedding “suite” that suited our personalities and could be used from the invites to the table numbers.
- Program was a booklet that was made using x2 8x11 sheets printed as “letterhead” folded to have a welcome page, ceremony structure, wedding party, community vow, wedding day timeline, our love story timeline, the menu, and a thank you back page with a map I designed using SnazzyMaps with pins from every state/country people traveled from
- We did online RSVP through WithJoy and it was great. We also used GoogleForms early in the planning process to collect addresses that autopopulated into an excel spreadsheet.
- Linens** ($360 - bought, (40 round, 10 rectangle) split cost as sharing with a friend. The cost to rent and have the linens transported to the venue would’ve been $2000. This was one of the toughest parts of the DIY wedding - happy to post more info if other people are also trying to do this.)
- Sign holders ($80 - 5x7 off amazon for 48 total), bud vases ($22 - most vases were borrowed from friends/family), Guest “book” ($180- we bought 4 nice photo frames with mattes and took the mattes out and had people sign them - came out beautifully), Bathroom baskets ($189), Glowsticks/Foam party sticks ($63), Sparklers ($97 - last minute add and I’m glad we did. It was special to have a “closing ceremony” of sorts - even though we all went back to the house at the venue for an after party)
- Photo backdrop and neon “good vibes only” sign - gifted
- Flower Moxie “Wildflower Package” with additional add ins ($2260) - these flowers were amazing. (photo of my bouquet in a vase - I’d had the flowers for 1 week!) We got buckets from Trader Joes for free. We had pruning shears and gloves on hand. We have a family member that has done florals for a few weddings and works at a plant shop. She gave us the amazing gift of doing our bouquets and bringing in potted flowers and ferns as well. She also designed a faux flower arbor accent for us based on our flowers. This work was incredible. Happy to answer more DIY flower questions.
- Grandparent charms ($102): both sets of my grandparents passed away. I had these designed from etsy with 3 charms including their wedding photo, kiss photo, and cake cutting photo. Absolutely worth it. Planning to re-purpose as a christmas tree ornament heirloom.
- Wedding catered for 174 people, Chickfila for wedding day lunch (~70 people), PapaJohn’s Thursday night of wedding weekend
- Catering was buffet and “Heavy Hors d'oeuvres” style with a mac n’cheese bar and we heard only good things from everyone
- Included cake cutting service, coffee/tea/watelemonade, and sodas/mixers/ice for the bar
- Bride mom paid for costco snacks/sandwiches for the weekend
- Groom family paid for catered rehearsal dinner
- Bride mom mom paid for wedding cake ($75) also from costco which was amazing - we did 3 sheet cakes and 1 round cake for cutting. We had 1 entire sheet cake leftover.
- BeeWine for wedding and rehearsal dinner ($1557); wedding day bartenders x3 for 5.5hrs ($1950), personalized koozies ($245)
- Groom’s family had a contact and bought all the liquor for the rehearsal dinnewedding
- Our venue allowed BYOB, and some of this cost includes extra alcohol for the wedding weekend, though we also had friends BYOB
- Beer from Sam’s Club and Total Wine ($727) - mix of Miller, Coors, Ultra, Founder’s IPA, Stella (this is the only alcohol that ran out)
- Wine from Trader Joes ($830)- you can talk with someone about ordering cases in advance and it took about 5 days to arrive. We did not do a champagne toast, but I got 10 bottles of trader joe’s prosecco to have at the bridal party house for the weekend. We got 2 cases of red, 6 cases of white, 2 cases of rose and had between 6-12 bottles of each type of wine leftover. I only bought wine that we like, so plan to drink it in the coming months and did not ask about their return policy.
- Included ceremony speakers/2 mics, had a fun video display that rotated out photos of people dancing, and including lighting
- Photo ($4839) 10 hours day of wedding and an engagement session.
- Video ($5000) 9 hours day of and includes a short video plus we paid extra to have all the raw footage
- These were some of our biggest hype people! It was definitely a price point early in the planning process where we had sticker shock, but we are very happy with the decisions we made here. These memories are priceless and the day really does fly by. They made us feel so at ease and so comfortable just being ourselves and coordinating chaotic big families and making the day all about us being in love and celebrating our love.
- Groom suit ($462 - mens warehouse custom, “lifetime” alterations - was a mess. Dropped it off 6 weeks before the wedding, they didn’t call and tell us it was ready, called them the week before the wedding and they said it was ready, the pants were not even hemmed and incorrect alterations had been done. We bought a “back-up” sale suit from J Crew that night for ~$300 and that’s what my husband ended up wearing- no alterations but fit and looked better than the men’s warehouse. Hopefully we get other uses out of both suits).
- Groom shoes, tie, belt, suit shirt ($180)
- Bride Dress ($2299- Stella York- included steaming, storage, preservation), alterations ($410- 7 point bustle, hemmed, shoulders shortened, felt added to shoulder straps, button loops added - was just a zipper, back taken in slightly).
- Bride Shoes ($99 - custom converse, wore several times again already!), Bra ($50- boomba, worked great!), accessories ($130), Veil $20 on amazon and perfect.
- Last minute also added in a new rehearsal dinner dress and short party dress that can be worn for other occasions. I loved my wedding dress and really wanted to wear it all night but about 30min into dancing I wasn’t able to party as much as I wanted to and was glad I had the party dress to swap into!
- Wedding bands from Brilliant Earth: Groom ($1285- platinum), Bride ($1069- white gold)
- HMUA $125 for haimakeup/lashes- (was also $125 for the trial - glad I did it!)- there was also a travel fee as we had it done at the venue that I paid.
- Marriage License $85, Notary $60
- Officiant $300
- Groomsman Gift ($300)
- Bridesmaid Gift ($0- family friend quilted large tote bags for everyone)
- Bridesmaid/Groomsmen Attire ($0 for us - we had large bridal parties so did not cover this cost. Bridesmaid’s ordered their preference of Azazie dress - decided on bermuda blue to contrast the wildflowers- and groomsmen rented from Men’s Warehouse).
- We tipped our day of coordinator $100, DJ $100 (owns the business, but did great!), HMUA 20% ($300 - I paid the entire tip cost for my bridal party but they paid for the HMU cost).
- Photo/Video own their businesses so did not tip- (leaving reviews!)
- Asked catering about tipping and they said they pay all staff a fair wage and it is not expected and gave a range of what people sometimes do tip. We ended up tipping the 9 staff/bartenders $30 each.
Our wedding was amazing for us. It felt like an event that truly encapsulated who we are as individuals and as a couple, and that chance to celebrate with so many people we love was priceless. It felt like all the spreadsheets we’d worked on for the last 2 years turned into reality. This is the main master spreadsheet I used: Google Spreadsheet Wedding Planning
It’s created from all sorts of different helpful spreadsheets I found here and from other wedding websites. The “Checklist” really doesn’t start until I realized how easy it is to get lost in needing to capture so many personal little details that would keep me up at night feeling like they were slipping through the cracks. But if you’re starting from the beginning, you will need to include the big ticket “check boxes” that are in the budget portion. Hopefully it can help some others! Happy planning Weddit!
submitted by Superb-Ad4997
to weddingplanning [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 23:00 JackPembroke [SF] God Mode - A Litrpg Short Story
Inside the boundless expanse of Loria Online, Guspy the elven mage drained the last of his mana vaporizing a Vickerbite. It was his third hour of grinding this particular mob, and he was getting tired.
“What’s the drop rate on this thing again?” he asked Collins.
Collins cleaved another Vickerbite with his greataxe. “0.02% or something. Getting bored?”
Guspy was indeed getting bored. Despite their grotesque appearance (they looked like flying crocodile heads with mosquito feet), Vickerbites were pushovers.
“Yeah, I might only have a few minutes’ more patience for this.”
Collins slammed his axe into the ground, causing a shockwave that killed another three. “That’s ok, we’ve been playing for a while. It just kind of feels like wasted time if we quit now, though.”
“Are you getting close to leveling?”
A Vickerbite burst when he swatted it with his staff. A loot bag dropped onto the rust colored dirt.
Probably another Vicker Tongue or leg or something, Guspy thought. He almost didn’t bother to check. But when he did, he found what he and Collins had been seeking for so long.
“I got it! The belt dropped!”
“Thank God, let’s get out of here,” Collins said, regrouping with the mage he protected.
Guspy read the item description for The Belt of Endurance.
The Belt of Endurance Slot: Belt Rarity: Very Rare Earth Resistance: %%0 Air Resistance: %%0 Fire Resistance: %%0 Water Resistance: %%0 Physical Resistance: %%0 Magic Resistance: %%0 Debuff Resistance: %%0
“What the hell?” Guspy said.
“What’s wrong? Is it the wrong belt?” Collins casually swatted two final Vickerbites.
“The stats are glitched or something. It’s supposed to be 5% resistance to everything, right?”
“The BoE? Yeah, 5% resist all. Is it not?”
“It shows ‘percent percent zero’.”
Collins shrugged. “Put it on, see what happens.”
Guspy equipped the belt and checked his character’s stats. “Ha, that’s so weird. All of my resistances show backslash, open parenthesis, ‘N’, close parenthesis.”
Collins used the Warrior’s Assessment ability on Guspy. “Huh. When I analyze you, I see hashtag ‘null’.”
“That’s either really good or really bad,” said Guspy.
Collins raised his sword and struck Guspy on the shoulder.
Collins attacks you for 0 damage
“There are safer ways to check!” Guspy said.
“It didn’t hurt you, weird. Mind if I use a little Fire Fan scroll on you?” Collins asked with a toothy grin.
“You have one? Aren’t you a little over leveled for that?” Fire Fan produced a tiny cone of flame that did very little damage.
“I’m a hoarder. So, can I?” Collins wiggled the scroll between his fingers.
Collins casts Fire Fan for 0 fire damage
“Guspy, I don’t want to alarm you, but I think that belt makes you invincible,” said Collins.
Guspy began to bounce up and down in excitement. “Oh man, think of the possibilities! I can solo raid a guild hall. The Nighthawks deserve that kind of ass whupping,” he said, referring their rival guild in Loria. “Or I can loot an end-game dungeon! We’re not far from The Death Pit.”
Collins looked into Guspy’s eyes and gave him the smile a parent gives a child when they ask where rainbows end.
“Oh, you asshole!” said Guspy.
“I think you should turn it in,” said Collins.
“Why?! Why would I do that?! The Nighthawks have been bullying us for months now. With this, I could walk right in their guild hall, wipe them out, and tear the whole thing down. They wouldn’t be able to stop me! You can’t tell me they don’t deserve it.”
“Not saying they don’t,” said Collins.
Guspy pressed, “I can farm The Death Pit for Soulflayers. Everyone in our guild could have a Soulflayer, even the newbies. They’d finally be tough enough to join us on raids. You know how they’ve been dying to play with us in high level zones. Think how happy they would be!”
“Oh, they’d be awfully happy,” said Collins.
Guspy unleashed his coup de grace. “And! I can go to Fort Murder, stroll through it without a care in the world, kill the general, and not have to split the loot with anyone. That means I would get a Headsman’s Axe, which I would of course donate to my dear friend Collins. Wouldn’t you like a Headsman’s Axe?”
“I absolutely would,” said Collins.
“Ok, good. So, I’ll just—"
“Turn it in, Guspy,” said Collins.
Guspy stamped his feet in frustration. “Why though? You just said you were on board with the Nighthawks and the Soulflayer and the axe!”
“Oh, I am. The Nighthawks need to get taught. Having the newbies be tough enough to join us would be great. I’ve been dying for a Headsman for months now. But you’d be cheating. Momma didn’t raise no cheater, and daddy didn’t raise no troll,” said Collins.
“That’s so backward. You know the Nighthawks would do that to us if they got it,” said Guspy.
“Sure enough. But we can’t control what they do, and I can’t control what you do. I just want you to remember what I’ve said before: there’s a person on the other end of that character. A person just like you. I can only imagine how tilted you’d get if someone cheated to become invincible and killed you. Or farmed their whole guild ultra-rares and used them on you. I’m just asking you, as a friend, to turn it in. Please.”
Guilt. He’s put the guilt in me, thought Guspy. What an asshole.
“Fine, I’ll head to Pokate and turn it in,” said Guspy, pouting and kicking an errant stone.
“Thanks, Gusp. I promise I’ll help you find a legit one. I gotta go, though. Play later?”
“You know it,” said Guspy, and he watched Collin’s avatar dissipate.
Guspy walked back to Pokate City, the largest player hub in the area. The journey was a particularly hazardous one. Wild beast attacks, an assassin, a rockslide, even an errant fireball from an ongoing battle, all harmless in the face of his perfect resistance. He crossed into the city proper, whitewashed buildings that held little shops and extra dimensional guildhalls. Pokate Palace loomed over all of this like a resplendent sundial. The stained-glass windows shimmered in the sunlight.
Guspy approached a beggar in the street. The beggar’s body was gaunt. His dirty rags and matted beard spoke of hungry days and cruel nights. The beggars of Loria Online were portals to moderator attention. Speaking to a beggar cued a request. A moderator would eventually take control of the beggar and offer assistance.
Guspy knelt before the beggar.
“I’d like to speak with a moderator, please.”
“All in good time, my boy,” the beggar wheezed.
Guspy felt an itch in his legs. There was still time to run wild, to reap the rewards of his lottery ticket. He cursed Collins for guilting him and attempted to distract himself. Guspy admired the features on the beggar. His eyes traced cavernous wrinkled flesh. Saw the tiny movements of lice in the filthy thick beard. Saw the faintest deposits of salt in two long tracks leading down from the cloudy blue eyes.
The beggar had been crying. Why would they include such a heartbreaking detail? Why haven’t I ever noticed this before? Guspy thought.
The clouds in the beggar’s eyes parted, revealing a bright blue sky. “Thank you for waiting, this is Raymond. How can I help you?” A voice as crisp as autumn wind now spoke through the beggar.
“Uhh, hi. I’ve got a problem with an item I found?” Guspy spoke at the mouth of the beggar.
“Sure thing! Is it an item you have equipped right now?”
“Yeah, The Belt of Endurance. The values look wonky, and It makes me immune to every element. I’m immune to physical and magic damage now too.”
There was a long pause, the beggar’s eye fluttered. “You’re reporting that an item is broken in your favor?”
Guspy winced. “Umm, yes sir? It basically makes me immortal.”
Guspy waited patiently. The moderator was using his tools to see Guspy’s menu screens, something that was normally private.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” the beggar said. “It’s a null shunt error.”
“A null shunt error?”
“Yeah. Sometimes during a drop-roll, the system shunts over a clipped value that…sometimes it breaks.”
“They’re a bitch to fix. Thankfully very rare. This one is particularly bad, and I’m at the end of my shift.” The mod let out a sigh that prophesized an exhausting tedious future.
“Well…thank you for your honesty! Usually when an item glitches in a player’s favor, they keep it a secret for as long as they can. Then they have a temper tantrum when we take it away. Alright, Guspy, I’m on morning shift tomorrow. I don’t want to deal with this right now. I’m giving you eight hours of god mode. Can I trust you not to make me regret it?”
Guspy was stunned. A mod was allowing immortality for eight hours? Trusting him? Why?
“You can trust me,” Guspy said.
“I hope so. I’ll fix this in the morning, don’t take the belt off or you’ll have negative infinite resistance and die from a sunburn.” The beggar’s eyes clouded back over.
Guspy threw a gold piece into the beggar’s bowl, a good luck ritual that even the highest level raiders did before a dangerous run.
He was in the clear. A mod had okayed him having god mode. Anything I do is the mod’s fault now! Guspy thought, but the thought gave him a queasy feeling the moment it passed through his mind. He was being trusted. He had promised to not make the mod regret it.
What was the mod’s name? Randy? He remembered Collins's words about there being real people on the other end of the game. He supposed that meant Randy too. He imagined telling someone to their face that his actions were their fault, like trust somehow absolved him of responsibility. He imagined someone else doing that to him. Or doing that to his little sister…
He spent a fair amount of gold on fast travel scrolls, valuable, single-use items that would transport the player anywhere in Loria. Guspy now stood on the craggy lip of Salamander’s Eye. The massive active volcano dominated the primordial jungle landscape. A vast column of ebony smoke rose from the lava pit, the birthplace of thunderclouds. Guspy spread his arms wide and fell into the heat, letting simulated gravity carry him downward to the roiling floor of liquid earth.
At the last moment he reflexively raised his hands to shield himself. Lava was instant death in Loria, doing an infinite amount of damage per second. Guspy was now sinking slowly in this most dangerous of elements unharmed. He raised his hand in a thumbs up as he sank beneath the surface.
Whorls of incandescent crimson, brown, and orange materialized and dispersed endlessly. It was like looking into the fickle furnace of creation, so eager to invent but too chaotic to design.
Guspy wondered if he’d fall forever. At last, his feet settled on something solid. He was the first player to set foot here. A unique accomplishment, one he could keep. He moved through the lava as though it was water. Must not have been a very important thing to program considering you die as soon as you touch it, he thought.
Guspy explored the floor of the volcano. It was perfectly smooth and without texture, an entire volcano held up on a pane of glass. But then he found something. A deformity in the bottom of the world. He explored it with his hand. It felt like a solid bubble sticking up out of the flat plane beneath him. It moved a little.
It’s a doorknob! Guspy realized. He turned it and felt it fall away beneath him. He sank further and dropped into a vast open room, the lava didn’t follow past the entry. Guspy cast a series of Light spells, banishing the darkness to the black obsidian of the walls and floor.
A giant floating sign that hung suspended in midair grabbed Guspy’s attention.
“IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO GET HERE.”
“Shows what you know, sign,” Guspy said, and began to explore.
In the secret chamber Guspy found dozens of monster models from the surrounding area, frozen in the sterile T-position. He took the time inspect them in the minutest detail. He saw the way salamander skin glittered with the luster of countless ruby gemstones. He watched the dancing flames of fire elementals, and discovered their heat rose above the limitation of their hitbox. He looked deep into the eyes of a stone golem and saw that they were prisms. They split the blue glow of the golem’s magical core into a frigid winter sunset, whites and blues dancing and concealing a secret whisper of deep red.
I don’t think I ever really looked at the models before, he thought. Even now he couldn’t recall any specific details of any monster he had fought. They were all colored blurs in his mind, faceless values and blocks of information.
Despite his immortality, he still froze in fear when his spell illuminated a colossus of steel tucked away in a corner of the room. It was a broad suit of cold iron armor, bereft of adornment and pockmarked with the careless ministrations of a thousand hammers beating the metal into shape. In one clenched fist it carried a wicked looking cleaver, one that belonged in a giant’s butcher shop, used to crack the toughest dragon bones and partition the choicest bits.
Guspy had never seen or heard of this creature in his life.
You must not have made it into the final game. At least not yet, thought Guspy. Despite its beastly ugliness, Guspy felt a pang of remorse. Someone worked to design every aspect of this monstrosity to evoke the feelings of fear and disgust, and they had been very successful. But it had gone unused and unseen since the game’s inception.
I remember the Christmas ornament I made in middle school. A Christmas light made to look like a reindeer, googly eyes and fuzzy brown pipe cleaners for antlers. I was so proud. But when Christmas came, they didn’t want to put it on the tree. They thought it looked too silly.
Guspy left a gold coin at its feet, alms for unsung effort.
He was preparing to depart when he noticed an unadorned chest had appeared beneath the presumptive sign. Guspy was certain it hadn’t been there before. He approached, circling the chest, before reaching out and lightly tapping it. He may invulnerable, but this was a developer’s world. Who knows what treachery could hide here? He lifted the lid, tilting his head and peeking at its contents with one eye shut. Inside was a billiard sized ball of translucent glass. Guspy recognized a Title Sphere. These rare items would grant a moniker to the character’s name. It was a single use item worth tens of thousands of gold. Too curious to resist learning what it would bestow, he shattered the sphere in his palm. Red dust flowed between his fingers like Martian sand. His name had changed from Guspy to Guspy the Wanderer.
Guspy used his next scroll and teleported to the shipwreck of the Soothsayers Doom. A brig suspended above the ocean on a monstrous coral bed, the ship itself was a mid-level dungeon. Players could fight their way from deck to deck, battling undead crewmen that fired grapeshot salvos into crowded rooms, shredding players into bloody clouds. The Captain was the boss of the dungeon, and part of his loot was a map that would send players on a quest line that eventually led players to the halls of the merfolk king, an extremely high-level dungeon at the bottom of the ocean.
Being immortal, Guspy took what players called the ‘express route’, swimming directly downward from the open sea. It was suicide. Besides suffocation, players had to contend with titanic carcharodons, giant squid, invisible water elementals, and elite merfolk guard. These creatures had mastery of the terrain, and few players were accustomed to attacks that could come from any direction.
Beneath him, the phosphorescent glow of the Coral Castle overpowered the distant sun for dominion of the depths. Guspy slipped into a castle window, ignoring the tridents of the pursuing Knights of Pearl. The Castle was a dungeon that needed to be completed quickly, lest the player’s water breathing magic wear off. That made it the perfect sight-seeing location for someone who didn’t need to breathe. Guspy examined the meticulously decorated royal bedrooms. The books in Loria were filled with open source stories from the real world. Players spent hours in this fantasy world engrossed in the prose of Tom Sawyer and Paradise Lost. But yellowed letters fell from between the pages like autumn leaves.
Never whole without you, my beloved Jennifer,
Guspy didn’t know the merfolk princess even had a name. Neither had he any idea who B.C was, or if these pages were part of some fetch quest he had never come across.
Deeper in the palace he found the throne room of the merfolk king. The king was gigantic, of course, all raid bosses were. The king was also an enemy that demanded constant focus and attention to defeat. He cycled seamlessly through attack patterns, buffs, and stage activations. Missing the tell-tale signs would leave you a step behind the dance and doomed to failure.
Guspy now had a unique opportunity. He ignored the king completely. The throne room was heaped with chests of gold and artifacts plundered from sunken ships. But they were only decorative, ersatz décor designed to regale the room with the trappings of wealth and luxury. Being worthless, players ignored them. Guspy took the time to closely inspect the mountains of coins and bejeweled quillions that rose from the coin piles. Ignoring the world-shaking bolts of lightning, magical rays, and great sweeps of the merfolk king’s trident, he crouched to the level of a single coin.
There, in the face of the coin, were three smiling children. The normal relief of Empress Aubrianna, a mythical figure in Origin’s history, was replaced with a picture of a family. The normal Latin phrase, “A solis ortu usque ad occasum”, had been replaced with, “Jason, Melody, Brock”. He moved from one coin to the next. Families, pets, and selfies looked back at him. Some had names written, others messages, “Thx Mel, my rock <3” “Joe & Cara 4 eva” “We did it!”
Guspy wondered if any player had ever seen these. Maybe, but he hadn’t, and that made it special to him. He wondered what he would put on his own coin. Me, Collins, and Becca at the beach, he thought. A picture that had been his desktop background for years. The only evidence of a perfect day.
Having taken his fill of the throne room, Guspy pulled out another scroll and teleported away.
Hogglerock dungeon was an aberration. Most dungeons tried to evoke a sense of awe or fear, but Hogglerock was just gross. Its entrance was at the center of a mud-smothered swamp. Poisonous insects and carnivorous slugs roamed the wastes searching for carrion to strip or making their own if none could be found.
To descend into the putrid depths of Hogglerock, you entered the mouth of a great saurian beast. It was long since dead, its flesh in a perpetual state of decay. Down its mucus-caked throat, you entered a dungeon that had been created from the offal that remained of its digestive system. Noxious acid pools, monstrous parasites, and bloated scavengers challenged players that came to plunder the carcass.
Guspy had to stop and think before entering the sixth stomach of the beast. He had no idea if his plan would work, or even made sense. Guspy removed all his armor and weapons, save for the Belt of Endurance. He entered the dungeon’s final room, aggroing a great bipedal minotaur and its bovine kin. Guspy sat and crossed his legs. He closed his eyes and focused on slowing his breath and his heart. Aggro in Loria was based on a series of factors: proximity, source of damage or debuff, equipment levels, class, movement, and supposedly even biometric data the VR rig was able to obtain.
The monsters were instantly aggroed when the rubbery sphincter of the sixth stomach was touched, converging on their only target. Guspy’s lack of equipment, aggression, and stillness would reduce his aggro over time. He waited and he watched. In time the monsters lost interest, ceasing their attacks and wandering back to their starting positions. Guspy continued to watch. For a time, they only bobbed in place, replaying idle animations and howling blistering war cries. But, in time, Guspy saw a strange behavior begin. One smaller minotaur creature pulled out a hunk of meat, clutching it by the pure white protruding bone. It chomped a piece and munched in contentment, eyes closed in blissful indulgence. The giant boss minotaur began to sniff the air, and a game of keep away began. The smaller minotaurs tossed the meat between themselves as the boss zeroed in on the source of the smell.
Who is this for? wondered Guspy. Who was meant to see this? And how? Why hide it? How many monsters of Loria Online had these little secrets? Tiny moments of humor buried in terabytes of code, only visible in a state of extreme passivity. Once the capering script had completed, the bovines returned to their normal places and continued to cycle basic idle motions.
It’s for me. Since I’m the one watching it, that means it’s for me, thought Guspy.
Guspy pulled out his final scroll, completing the spell just before he was beset again.
Guspy the Wanderer appeared back in Pokate City. His new title drew lingering looks from other players who searched their memories. Guspy’s time was running low, and fatigue massaged his mind and eyes. There was more he could search for. He could run down the hours until the mod logged back on and set things to rights. But he didn’t want the last moments of such an enlightening day to be a race against the clock. It would spoil the sense of calm and contemplation he had cultivated. Instead he sat down next to a beggar and composed a message to Collins.
“I won’t be joining you today, Collins, but I’ve got so much to tell you about when I do.”
He had seen beyond the veil. He witnessed tiny miracles of creation hidden from mortal sight. Sparks of love that flickered once more when observed. For a precious few hours, he was blessed with a peace that allowed him to fall in love with the game all over again, to appreciate its creation like a benevolent god.
Collins and Guspy returned to the red rock canyon. Guspy admired the visible strata of the walls. Simulated eons left perfect layers of color stacked like the pages of a book. Little details, so insignificant yet so engrossing. He appreciated the work that went into this game. The efforts of artists always caught his notice.
submitted by JackPembroke
to shortstories [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 21:55 trailangel4 Has David claimed or implied Big Foot is responsible for M411? Part 1
This post is in response to this video
David open the video VERY upset. Big mad energy. Why? Well, let's let him tell it...
"There's somebody going around sayin' that I made a claim that little kids are being taken by Big Foot. Never said that. Ever...and they're lying. And, it's just to demean me and to make me look foolish in the eyes of some. And, I think it's a shot at my credibility by this, uh, law enforcement person. I've never met the man. I have no idea who he is and I'm not going to give them two minutes of my time. But it is slander because I never even came close to saying something like that. A couple of you have written to me and said "Dave, did you ever say that?" No. I didn't and if you could go into that video - I'm not going to give them any publicity of what it is- go back and say "you're an outright liar" and have 'em quote where I said it, 'cause he can't."
Let's look at this carefully and just address it here. Because, while the words, "Bigfoot did it" have probably never come out of Paulides' mouth, his writings and his suggestions are a different matter. M411 Profile Points Come From Bigfoot Books
DP does not outright say that Bigfoot is behind so called Missing 411 disappearances, but his M411 framework is demonstrably
derived from his two Bigfoot books: The Hoopa Project (HP) and Tribal Bigfoot (TB)
. There are countless examples in this document. Most of the original M411 profile points are directly lifted from HP and TB and M411 cases are deliberately distorted to look like Bigfoot encounters. It's worth noting that one of the bigger arguments in Tribal Big Foot and the Hoopa Project are that BIG FOOT LIVES IN NATIONAL PARKS AND FORESTS. DP Says These Are Abduction Cases
DP has in interviews stated that these cases are in fact abduction cases and that you are not a loon for thinking it is Bigfoot. DP claims that the thing that is behind M411 is one hundred percent effective (and non-human) and DP “uses” offender profiling - not to learn more about the M411 abductor - but to create
the M411 abductor.
DP also sees scratches, screams and the FBI showing up as evidence people are abducted. The M411 Abductor Looks Like A Bear, But It Is Not A Bear
Every time a bear is mentioned in newspaper articles DP goes out of his way to convince his readers that it was not really a bear, even when someone says that they saw a bear DP tells his readers it was not a bear. So DP thinks that the M411 abductor looks like a bear, but that it’s not a bear. When asked what Bigfoot might look like, DP claims "like a bear, but upright, and bipedal." Criteria: Water
In TB (Tribal Bigfoot) DP explains that Bigfoot lives next to bodies of water and DP uses the expression “bodies of water” a lot when talking about M411.
TB, p 85: “This section really isn't about how Bigfoot may obtain water; it is about the rationale of many sightings and incidents so close to bodies of water. In the Bigfoot sightings map section I noted several facts about the map that showed a large percentage of the sightings occur close to water- an abnormal number of sightings.”
TB, p 85: “In Robert Alley’s book, Raincoast Sasquatch (2003, Hancock House) he describes several incidents where Bigfoot is seen swimming in British Columbia and Alaska waters. On page 51, paragraph 2, he writes, ‘Its style of swimming is commonly noted as submerged, not on-the-surface style one might expect to hear for any ape or other primate, or the crawl style if one were to think of a human.’ This style of swimming falls into a category that caused NABS to reflect on the proximity Bigfoot has to water and the benefits of that association.”
So... Bigfoot is like a nuclear sub that just pops out of water to abduct people? Or Nessie?
TB, p 86: “If Bigfoot traveled predominantly at night, the likelihood of witnesses seeing the creature floating the river, or swimming the river submerged (as Alley describes the swimming in his book) would be unlikely. It would be a very efficient method to move great distances in a very stealthy manner. It would also be a very good method to sneak up and ambush prey going to the river at night to drink, similar to the way an alligator slowly moves up on animals drinking from a river bank.” In M411 book(s)
DP explains that missing persons are found near water.
NAAB (North American and Beyond), p X: “Missing are found in or near creeks, rivers, or other bodies of water.”
In a Spaced Out Radio
interview (David Paulides - Missing 411 with David Paulides
) DP speculates “a person in a submarine” uses rivers and lakes to access different locations in its hunt for M411 victims. This mirrors what he said in TB (Tribal Bigfoot) above. Please note British Columbia once again is mentioned.
DP: “So I've always said that this is related to water. So you guys have the Fraser River that empties at least nine different lakes… and to me that is strange because you have the ocean that feeds the Fraser that goes upstream to these eight nine lakes that goes in between all of these mountains that gives you access to all these different points and it's like the highway if… if you were a person that could be in a submarine you could use that to go everywhere almost in southern British Columbia. I'm not saying that that is it, but I've always said that water is somehow key to this and it really plays out in Vancouver, Vancouver Island, all the lakes the Fraser flows to. I mean, it’s right there.”
So, now, rather than call it "bigfoot" (as he's implying)...it's an abductor in a submarine? Evelyn Rauch (3) Alberta, July 1934
Evelyn was a Canadian girl who wandered off from her farm due to a lack of parental supervision. She was found alive a couple of days later in tall grass next to a river. Rather than accept the police reports, DP invents a scenario where water gives you access to other locations (like described above).
NAAB, p. 313: “The last important fact is the location where Evelyn was found, on the banks of a slough. This is a location next to water, a location where there is access to other locations via the water, rather than having to walk across land.”
Did he say Bigfoot took her? No. But, he's implying that she ended up where she ended up because an abductor, that's not a bear and not a human, could've used an underwater for transporting live victims. Criteria: Berries In Bigfoot book(s)
In TB DP explains that berries are an important food source for Bigfoot.
TB, p 81: “There will never be an argument about whether berries are a substantial food source for all bears; bears seek berries out when they come into season, as they offer a significant source of vitamins and energy. There have also been many sightings of Bigfoot either eating berries or being near berry bushes, and there have been many Bigfoot tracks found near berry bushes. The oldest bigfoot sighting noted in this book- the Marble Mountain sighting in ‘The Hermit of Siskiyou’ - talks about the creature at a berry bush eating berries.”
The same information in HP.
HP, p 60: “The berries are an obvious source of nutrition for the bears. Once you complete reading the sightings section of the book you will understand that the berries are also a large part of the Bigfoot diet.”
In TB DP describes a Bigfoot encounter where a child, who is picking huckleberries, is scared by a Bigfoot.
TB, p 231: “She was trying to concentrate on the picking and to go home, as it was getting cold. There were two large huckleberry bushes behind the ones she was working and she saw those bushes to the rear start to shake violently. Then she heard loud, bipedal footsteps. Jan said the footsteps were so loud she could almost feel the rumble on the ground. Her dog was with her and he immediately took off running back to the car. She tried to see what was shaking the bush, but thought it would be more prudent if she also left the area.” In M411 book(s)
In his M411 books DP also sees berries as a food source, but here he acts like he does not know why berries are important.
EUS, p 8: “Included a section on missing berry pickers because it was a unique subset of people missing in the wild. The missing in this bracket are predominantly older, but there are eight under the age often, and the circumstances of their disappearance is quite troubling. Seven of twenty-one listed are missing from Canada, a significant percentage of missing berry pickers. Many of the places where these individuals went missing are very desolate but abundant with food source at the time. There never was a conclusion on what happened to these people except in circumstances in which a body was found. None of the berry pickers was found to be taken by a bear or killed by a bear.”
So, hold up.... how do you know a bear wasn't involved if the body WASN'T found?
NAAB, p. X: “Berries are inextricably related somehow with the disappearance.”
Let's see what Paulides says about some of the cases. Gunnar Peterson (65) Washington, August 1950
Gunnar was an older man who fell and hit his head while picking berries. He was found alive in a cabin after nine days. DP again claims not to understand why berries are important.
NAAB, p 13: “The people who disappear huckleberry picking are some of the most difficult cases, and I have no idea why. What could be the association of a man picking huckleberries in the woods and his subsequent disappearance?”
This is the equivalent of spending years telling a child that Santa Claus is real, buying presents, and then standing in front of the tree on Christmas morning pretending you don't know how the gifts got there...while gaslighting the child about Santa. David, I address this to YOU, people are saying you're linking Bigfoot because they're not children on Christmas morning and they can see through your attempted ruse. Unknown Name (1) Michigan, August 1909
A young child who was taken by a brown bear when his/her mother and sibling were picking huckleberries on the Macintosh plains. The Sheriff and a posse of ten men could not find any trace of the child or of the bear according to an article.
NAAB, p 240: “The other odd coincidence in this case that has been found in many other cases is the activity of the adult picking berries, specifically huckleberries. I understand that berries are an important food source for many animals in the region, but it's hard to comprehend what is the triggering mechanism that causes the children to permanently vanish.”
How is it hard to comprehend that a one year old could be picked off by a wild animal when the animal finds it in a berry patch? Douglas Stofer (2) Michigan, September 1949
Douglas disappeared from his parents’ vineyard about six pm and he was found alive four hours later a mile from his home. A local cocker spaniel found him so what happened to “dogs can’t pick up a scent”?
NAAB, p 243: “At first glance, and without the knowledge gained from reading Eva Hall (13) Ontario, August 1932
the other ‘Missing 411’ books, the disappearance of Douglas Stofer may seem normal. It's when you start to look at all of the elements involved in the disappearances that certain facets start making regular appearances in many of these missing-persons cases. … Douglas vanished while his parents were picking food; grapes and berries seem to be one food source around which children seem to disappear.”
Eva went missing when she was picking berries. She was found alive a couple of days later. DP thinks that she was not found though.
NAAB, p 342: “I have written extensively about the relationship between berries and missing people. There was an entire chapter written in Missing 411-Eastern United States about missing berry pickers. The most dangerous berries to pick are, without a doubt, huckleberries. I have no understanding why huckleberries represent the most dangerous berry, but people picking these berries who disappear are rarely found.”
Part 2, coming soon.
This is a group project.
submitted by trailangel4
to Missing411 [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 21:36 NotEvenNothing Almost got squished this morning, after a tornado with bonus hail last night.
| || |The tornado I watched on my bike commute home, from 1km away. (I was about 12 km away.) submitted by NotEvenNothing to bikecommuting [link] [comments]
I bike-commute when temperatures are well above freezing, five to six months of the year here in Canada. Used to bike commute year-round in a city as a university student and early in my career. Took a hiatus for a decade because I moved within walking distance from work, but started back up when we moved about 13 km away a little over a year ago. My point is that I'm no stranger to cycling in traffic.
On the other hand, most of my route is now on rural country roads, gravel, but the last kilometer is in a small town. There is one sketchy intersection that I go through. That's where my morning excitement happened.
Coming down a hill, I have to make a left hand turn at a T-intersection. Cars coming from my left have the stop sign. Just past the intersection is another T-intersection coming from the right, also with a stop sign. The two intersections are like two car-lengths apart. So some traffic stops at one T-intersection, makes a left, then quickly makes a right at the other T-intersection. This happens in both directions. I follow the rules of the road, but try to squeeze in where I can.
Usually, I have the intersection to myself. This morning, there was traffic everywhere. I misjudged a fellow turning towards me from the second T-intersection. He must have been in a rush, because he rolled through the stop and had a heavy foot. I started my turn with him a good way back, but he kept coming, and starts the turn. Neither of us have completed our turns, and he's accelerating. He's definitely going to hit me from the side and run me over. The whole time, I'm thinking that he sees me and will let up on the gas. But he doesn't react until I yell at him when his front driver's side corner is like three feet from me, "Oi!" His front end drops as he hits the brakes, I pull ahead and cross the lane in front of him, hugging the shoulder, and he passes. All is well.
I'm less shaken than I should be. But I sure will be more conservative at this intersection from here on out. I know better to assume that drivers see cyclists or that everybody stops at stop signs. I could have easily prevented the whole situation by not squeezing into that gap. Lesson learned, and probably not for the first time.
And this is after last night's tornado as I left work. Seeing a tornado while you are pedaling down a rural road is definitely thrilling, and makes one feel pretty small and vulnerable. I suppose that is true wherever one sees a tornado. The tornado ended up being a long way away. I couldn't have gotten any closer than 9 km, but it was probably more like 12. I would have thought it was less than a kilometer away. It touched down in a field planted to grain and did no real damage.
And then the rain hit hard and quickly switched to hail. If you haven't experienced hail while cycling, it really hurts. It also is really worrying because you are never sure if the hail is going to get bigger. Hail as big as a pea already hurts. I've witnessed golf ball sized hail do several thousand dollars of damage to my vehicle and hate to imagine what damage I would have sustained in the same storm. But yesterday's hail didn't grow. It switched back to heavy rain a minute or so after it started. Good thing, because the best I could have done is get into some trees at the side of the road, pull my work clothes from my bag, and try to use them to shield myself.
Hopefully, I don't get a hat trick of back-to-back exciting rides. Its been peaceful rides for a year, and I'd like this interruption to end.
2023.06.01 21:24 RandomAppalachian468 Don't fly over Barron County Ohio. [Repost]
The whirring blades of my MD-902 throbbed against the warm evening air, and I smiled.
From 5,000 feet, the ground flew by in a carpet of dark forests and kelly-green fields. The sun hung low on the horizon in a picturesque array of dazzling orange and gold, and I could make out the narrow strip of the Ohio River to my left, glistening in the fading daylight. This time of year, the trees would be full of the sweet aroma of fresh blossoms, and the frequent rains kept small pockets of fluffy white mist hanging in the treetops. It was a beautiful view, one that reminded me of why being a helicopter pilot trumped flying in a jumbo jet far above the clouds every day of the week. Fourteen more days, and I’m debt free.
That made me grin even more. I’d been working as a charter pilot ever since I obtained my license at age 19, and after years of keeping my nose to the grindstone, I was closing on the final payment for real-estate in western Pennsylvania. With no debt, a fixer-upper house on 30 rural acres all to myself, and a respectable wage for a 26-year-old pilot, I looked forward to the financial freedom I could now enjoy. Maybe I’d take a vacation, somewhere exotic like Venice Italy, or the Dominican Republic. Or perhaps I’d sock the money back for the day I started a family. “Remember kleineun, a real man looks after his own.”
My elderly ouma’s
voice came back from the depths of my memories, her proud, sun-tanned face rising from the darkness. She and my Rhodesian grandfather had emigrated to the US when they were newlyweds, as the violence against white Boer descendants in South Africa spiraled out of control. My mother and father both died in a car crash when I was six, and it had been my grandparents who raised me. Due to this, I’d grown up with a slight accent that many of my classmates found amusing, and I could speak both English, and Afrikaans, the Boer tongue of our former home.
I shifted in my seat, stretched my back muscles, and glanced at the picture taped to my console. Both my parents flanked a grinning, gap-toothed six-year-old me, at the last Christmas we’d spent together. My mother beamed, her dark hair and Italian features a sharp contrast to my father’s sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. Sometimes, I liked to imagine they were smiling at me with pride at how well I flew the old silver-colored bird my company had assigned to me, and that made the long, lonely flights easier to bear.
A flicker caught my eye, and I broke my gaze away from the photograph.
Perched in its small cradle above the controls, my little black Garmin fuzzed over for a few seconds, its screen shifting from brightly colored maps to a barrage of grey static. Did the power chord come loose?
I checked, ensuring the power-cable for the unit’s battery was plugged into the port on the control panel. It was a brand-new GPS unit, and I’d used it a few times already, so I knew it wasn’t defective. Granted, I could fly and navigate without it, but the Garmin made my time as a pilot so much easier that the thought of going blind was dreadful.
My fuel gauge danced, clicked to empty, then to full, in a bizarre jolt.
More of the gauges began to stutter, the entire panel seeming to develop terrets all at once, and my pulse began to race. Something was wrong, very wrong, and the sludge inside my bowels churned with sour fear.
“Come on, come on.” I flicked switches, turned dials, punched buttons, but nothing seemed to fix the spasming electronics. Every gauge failed, and without warning, I found myself plunged into inky darkness.
Outside, the sun surrendered to the pull of night, the sky darker than usual. A distant rumble of thunder reverberated above the roar of my helicopter’s engine, and I thought I glimpsed a streak of yellowish lightning on the far horizon to my left. Calm down Chris. We’re still flying, so it must just be a blown fuse. Stay in control and find a place to set her down.
My sweaty palm slid on the cyclic stick, and both feet weighed heavy on the yaw pedals. The collective stuck to my other hand with a nervous vibration, and I squinted against the abyss outside. Beep.
I jumped despite myself, as the little Garmin on my panel flared back to life, the static pulling aside to reveal a twitching display. Each time the screen glitched, it showed the colorful map detailing my flight path over the ground below, but I noticed that some of the lines changed, the names shifting, as if the device couldn’t decide between two different versions of the world.
One name jutted out at me, slate gray like most of the major county names, appearing with ghostly flickers from between two neighboring ones. Barron County.
I stared, confused. I’d flown over this section of southeastern Ohio plenty of times, and I knew the counties by heart. At this point, I should have been over the southern end of Noble County, and maybe dipping lower into Washington. There was no Barron County
Ohio. I was sure of it.
And yet it shown back at me from the digital landscape, a strange, almost cigar-shaped chunk of terrain carved from the surrounding counties like a tumor, sometimes there, sometimes not, as my little Garmin struggled to find the correct map. Rain began to patter against my cockpit window, and the entire aircraft rattled from a strong gust of wind. Thick clouds closed over my field of vision like a sea of gray cotton.
The blood in my veins turned to ice, and I sucked in a nervous breath.
Land. I had to land. There was nothing else to do, my flight controls weren’t responding, and only my Garmin had managed to come back to life. Perhaps I’d been hit by lightning, and the electronics had been fried? Either way, it was too dark to tell, but a storm seemed to be brewing, and if I didn’t get my feet on the ground soon, I could be in real trouble.
“Better safe than sorry.” I pushed down on the collective to start my slow descent and clicked the talking button for my headset. “Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, over.”
“Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, requesting emergency assistance, over.”
Still nothing. If the radio’s dead, I’m really up a creek.
With my hand shaking, I clicked on the mic one more time. “Any station, this is—”
Like a curtain pulling back, the fog cleared from around my window, and the words stuck in my throat.
Without my gauges, I couldn’t tell just how far I’d descended, but I was definitely very low. Thick trees poked up from the ground, and the hills rolled into high ridges with flat valley floors, fields and pastures pockmarking them. Rain fell all around in cold, silvery sheets, a normal feature for the mid spring in this part of Ohio.
What wasn’t normal, were the fires.
At first, I thought they were forest fires for the amount of smoke and flames that bellowed from each spot, but as I swooped lower, my eyes widened in horror.
They were houses.
Farms, cottages, little clusters that barely constituted villages, all of them belched orange flames and black pillars of sooty smoke. I couldn’t hear above the helicopter blades, but I could see the flashes on the ground, along the road, in between the trees, and even coming from the burning buildings, little jets of golden light that spat into the darkness with anger. Gunfire. That’s rifle fire, a whole lot of it.
Tiny black figures darted through the shadows, barely discernable from where I sat, several hundred feet up. I couldn’t see much, but some were definitely running away, the streaks of yellow gunfire chasing them. A few dark gray vehicles rumbled down one of the gravel roads, and sprayed fire into the houses as it went. They were fighting, I realized, the people in the trucks and the locals. It was horrific, like something out of war-torn Afghanistan, but worse.
Then, I caught a glimpse of the others
They didn’t move like the rest, who either fled from the dark vehicles, or fired back from behind cover. These skinny figures loped along with haphazard gaits, many running on all fours like animals, swarming from the trees by the dozens. They threw themselves into the gales of bullets without flinching, attacking anyone within range, and something about the way they moved, so fluid, so fearless, made my heart skip a beat. What is that? “Echo Four Actual to unknown caller, please respond, over.”
Choking back a cry of shock, I fumbled at the control panel with clumsy fingers, the man’s voice sharp and stern. I hadn’t realized that I’d let go of the talking button and clicked it down again. “Hello? Hello, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot out of Pittsburgh, over.”
An excruciating moment passed, and I continued to zoom over the trees, the fires falling away behind me as more silent forest took over. “Roger that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, we read you loud and clear. Please identify yourself and any passengers or cargo you might be carrying, over.”
Swallowing hard, I eyed the treetops, which looked much closer than they should have been. How far had I descended? “Echo Four Actual, my name is Christopher Dekker, and I am alone. I’m a charter flight from PA, carrying medical equipment for OSU in Columbus. My controls have been damaged, and I am unable to safely carry on due to the storm. Requesting permission to land, over.”
I watched the landscape slide by underneath me, once catching sight of what looked like a little white church
surrounded by smaller huts, dozens of figures in the yard staring up at me as I flew over a towering ridgeline. “Solid copy on that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot. Be advised, your transponder shows you to be inside a restricted zone. Please cease all radio traffic, reduce your speed, climb to 3,000 feet and proceed north. We’ll talk you in from there. How copy, over?”
My heart jumped, and I let out a sigh of relief. “Roger that Echo Four Actual, my altimeter is down, but I’ll do my best to eyeball the altitude, over.”
With that, I pulled the collective upward, and tried my best to gauge how far I was by eyesight in the gathering night, rain still coming down all around me. This had to be some kind of disaster or riot, I decided. After all, the voice over the radio sounded like military, and those vehicles seemed to have heavy weapons. Maybe there was some kind of unrest going on here that I hadn’t heard about yet? Kind of weird for it to happen in rural areas though. Spoiled college kids I get, but never saw farmers get so worked up before. They usually love the military.
Something moved in the corner of my eye, and I turned out of reflex.
My mouth fell open, and I froze, unable to scream.
In the sky beside me, a huge shadow glided along, and its leathery wings effortlessly carved through the gloom, flapping only on occasion to keep it aloft. It was too dark for me to see what color it was, but from the way it moved, I knew it wasn’t another helicopter. No, this thing was alive, easily the size of a small plane, and more than twice the length of my little McDonald Douglass. A long tail trailed behind it, and bore a distinct arrow-shaped snout, with twig-like spines fanned out around the back of its head. Whatever legs it had were drawn up under it like a bird, yet its skin appeared rough and knobby, almost resembling tree bark. Without pause, the gigantic bat-winged entity flew along beside me, as if my presence was on par with an annoying fly buzzing about its head.
Gripping the microphone switch so tight, I thought I’d crack the plastic, I whispered into my headset, forgetting all radio protocol. “T-There’s something up here.”
Static crackled. “Douglas Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, say again your last, you’re coming in weak and unreadable, over.”
“There’s something up here.” I snarled into the headset, still glued to the controls of the helicopter, afraid to deviate even an inch from my course in case the monstrosity decided to turn on me. “A freaking huge thing, right beside me. I swear, it looks like a bat or . . . I don’t know.” “Calm down.”
The man on the other end of the radio broke his rigorous discipline as well, his voice deep, but level. “It won’t attack if you don’t move too fast. Slowly ease away from it and follow that course until you’re out of sight.”
I didn’t have time to think about how wrong that sounded, how the man’s strict tone had changed to one of knowledge, how he hadn’t been the least surprised by what I’d said. Instead, I slowly turned the helicopter away from the huge menace and edged the speed higher in tiny increments.
As soon as I was roughly two football fields away, I let myself relax, and clicked the mic switch. “It’s not following.” “You’re sure?”
Eyeing the huge flapping wings, I nodded, then remembered he couldn’t see me. “Yeah, I’m well clear.” “Good. Thank you, Mr. Dekker.”
Then, the radio went dead.
Something in my chest dropped, a weight that made my stomach roil. This wasn’t right, none of it. Who was that man? Why did he know about the thing I’d just seen? What was I supposed to—
A flash of light exploded from the trees to my right and shot into the air with a long finger of smoke. What the . . .
On instinct, I jerked the cyclic stick to one side, and the helicopter swung to avoid the rocket. Boom.
My world shook, metal screeched, and a dozen alarms began to go off inside the cockpit in a cacophony of beeps and sirens. Orange and red flames lit up the night sky just behind me, and the horizon started to spin wildly outside. Heat gushed from the cockpit door, and I smelled the greasy stench of burning oil. The safety belts dug into my shoulders, and with a final slip, the radio headset ripped free from my scalp. I’m hit.
Desperate, I yanked on the controls, fought the bird even as she spun toward the ground in a wreath of flames, the inky black trees hurtling up to meet me. The helicopter went into full auto-rotation, the sky blurring past outside, and the alarms blared in a screech of doom. Panic slammed through my temples, I screamed at the top of my lungs, and for one brief second, my eyes locked on the little black Garmin still perched atop my control panel.
Its screen stopped twitching and settled on a map of the mysterious Barron County, with a little red arrow at the center of the screen, a few words popping up underneath it. You are here
Trees stabbed up into the sky, the belts crushed at my torso, glass shattered all around me, and the world went dark.
Copper, thick, warm, and tangy.
It filled my mouth, stank metallic in my nose, clogged my throat, choking me. In the murkiness, I fought for a surface, for a way out, blind and numb in the dark. This way, kleineun.
voice echoed from somewhere in the shadows. This way.
Both eyes flew open, and I gagged, spitting out a stream of red.
Pain throbbed in my ribs, and a heavy pressure sent a tingling numbness through my shoulders. Blood roared inside my temples, and stars danced before my eyes with a dizzying array. Humid night air kissed my skin, and something sticky coated my face, neck, and arms that hung straight up toward the ceiling.
Wait. Not up. Down
I blinked at the wrinkled, torn ceiling of the cockpit, the glass all gone, the gray aluminum shredded like tissue paper. Just outside the broken windows, thick Appalachian bluegrass and stemmy underbrush swished in a feeble breeze, backlit by flashes of lightning from the thunderstorm overhead. Green and brown leaves covered everything in a wet carpet of triangles, and somewhere nearby, a cricket chirped.
Turning my head from side to side, I realized that I hung upside down inside the ruined helicopter, the top half burrowed into the mud. I could hear the hissing and crackling of flames, the pattering of rain falling on the hot aluminum, and the smaller brush fires around the downed aircraft sizzling out in the damp long grass. Charred steel and burning oil tainted the air, almost as strong as the metallic, coppery stench in my aching nose. They shot me down. That military dude shot me out of the sky.
It didn’t make sense. I’d followed their orders, done everything they’d said, and yet the instant I veered safely away from whatever that thing in the sky had been, they’d fired, not at it, but at me.
Looking down (or rather, up) at my chest, I sucked in a gasp, which was harder to do that before.
The navy-blue shirt stuck to my torso with several big splotches of dark, rusty red. Most were clean slashes, but two held bits of glass sticking out of them, one alarmingly bigger than the other. They dripped cherry red blood onto my upturned face, and a wave of nausea hit me. I gotta get down.
I flexed my arms to try and work some feeling back into them, praying nothing was broken. Half-numb from hanging so long, I palmed along my aching body until I felt the buckled for the seat belts.
“Okay.” I hissed between gritted teeth, in an effort to stave off my panic. “You can do this. Just hold on tight. Nice and tight. Here we go . . .” Click.
Everything seemed to lurch, and I slid off the seat to plummet towards the muck-filled hole in the cockpit ceiling. My fingers were slick with blood and slipped over the smooth faux-leather pilot’s seat with ease. The shoulder belt snagged on the bits of glass that lay just under the left lowest rib, and a flare of white-hot pain ripped through me. Wham.
I screamed, my right knee caught the edge of the aluminum ceiling, and both hands dove into a mound of leaf-covered glass shards on the opposite side of the hole. My head swam, being right-side-up again enough to make shadows gnaw at the corner of my eyes.
Forcing myself to breath slowly, I fought the urge to faint and slid back to sit on the smooth ceiling. I turned my hands over to see half a dozen bits of clear glass burrowed into my skin like greedy parasites, red blood weeping around the new cuts.
“Screw you.” I spat at the rubbish with angry tears in my eyes. “Screw you, screw you, screw you.”
The shards came out easy enough, and the cuts weren’t that deep, but that wasn’t what worried me. On my chest, the single piece of cockpit glass that remined was almost as big as my palm, and it really
hurt. Just touching it felt like self-inflicted torture, but I knew it had to come out sooner or later. Please don’t nick a vein.
Wiping my hands dry on my jeans, I gripped the shard with both hands, and jerked.
Fire roared over my ribs, and hot blood tickled my already grimy pale skin. I clapped a hand over the wound, pressing down hard, and grunted out a string of hateful expletives that my ouma
would have slapped me for.
Lying on my back, I stared around me at the messy cargo compartment of the MD-902. Most of the medical supplies had been in cardboard boxes strapped down with heavy nylon tow-straps, but several cases had ruptured with the force of the impact, spraying bandages, syringes, and pill bottles all over the cluttered interior. Orange flames chewed at the crate furthest to the rear, the tail section long gone, but the foremost part of the hold was intact. Easily a million-dollar mess, it would have made me faint on any other trip, but today it was a godsend.
Half-blind in the darkness, I crawled along with only the firelight and lightning bolts to guide me, my right knee aching. Like a crippled raccoon, I collected things as I went, conscious of the two pallets of intact supplies weighing right over my head. I’d taken several different first-aid courses with some hunting buddies of mine, and the mental reflexes kicked in to help soothe my frazzled mind. Check for bleeds, stop the worst, then move on.
Aside from my battered chest and stomach, the rest of me remained mostly unharmed. I had nasty bruises from the seatbelts, my right knee swelled, my nose slightly crooked and crusted in blood, but otherwise I was intact. Dowsing every scratch and cut with a bottle of isopropyl alcohol I found, I used butterfly closures on the smaller lacerations that peppered my skin. I wrapped soft white gauze over my abused palms and probed at the big cut where the last shard had been, only stopping when I was sure there were no pieces of glass wedged inside my flesh.
“Not too bad.” I grunted to myself, trying to sound impassive like a doctor might. “Rib must have stopped it. Gonna need stitches though. That’ll be fun.
Pawing through the broken cases, I couldn’t find any suture chord, but just as I was about to give up, I noticed a small box that read ‘medical skin stapler’. Bingo.
I tore the small white plastic stapler free from its packaging and eyeballed the device. I’d never done this before, only seen it in movies, and even though the cut in my skin hurt, I wondered if this wouldn’t be worse. You’ve gotta do it. That bleeding needs to stop. Besides, no one’s coming to rescue you, not with those rocket-launching psychos out there.
Taking a deep breath, I pinched the skin around the gash together, and pressed the mouth of the stapler to it. Click.
A sharp sting, like that of a needle bit at the skin, but it didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the cut itself. I worked my way across the two-inch laceration and gave out a sigh of relief when it was done.
“Not going to bleed to death today.” I daubed ointment around the staples before winding more bandages over the wound.
Popping a few low-grade painkillers that tumbled from the cargo, I crawled wriggled through the nearest shattered window into the wet grass.
Raindrops kissed my face, clean and cool on my sweaty skin. Despite the thick cloud cover, there was enough constant lightning strikes within the storm to let me get glimpses of the world around me. My helicopter lay on its back, the blades snapped like pencils, with bits and pieces of it burning in chunks all around the small break in the trees. Chest-high scrub brush grew all around the low-lying ground, with pockets of standing water in places. My ears still rang from the impact of the crash, but I could start to pick up more crickets, frogs, and even some nocturnal birds singing into the darkness, like they didn’t notice the huge the hulk of flaming metal that had fallen from the sky. Overhead, the thunder rumbled onward, the feeble wind whistling, and there were other flashes on the horizon, orange and red ones, with crackles that didn’t sound quite like lightning. The guns. They’re still fighting.
Instinctively, I pulled out my cellphone, and tapped the screen.
It fluttered to life, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get through to anyone, not even with the emergency function designed to work around having no service. The complicated wonder of our modern world was little better than a glorified paperweight.
Stunned, I sat down with my back to the helicopter and rested my head against the aluminum skin of the craft. How I’d gone from a regular medical supply run to being marooned in this hellish parody of rural America, I didn’t know, but one thig was certain; I needed a plan. Whoever fired the missile could have already contacted my charter company and made up some excuse to keep them from coming to look for me. No one else knew I was here, and even though I now had six staples holding the worst of my injuries shut, I knew I needed proper medical attention. If I wanted to live, I’d have to rescue myself. My bag. I need to get my go-bag, grab some gear and then . . . head somewhere else.
It took me a while to gather my green canvas paratrooper bag from its place behind the pilot’s seat and fill it with whatever supplies I could scrounge. My knee didn’t seem to be broken, but man did it hurt, and I dreaded the thought of walking on it for miles on end. I focused instead on inventorying my gear and trying to come up with a halfway intelligent plan of action.
I had a stainless-steel canteen with one of those detachable cups on the bottom, a little fishing kit, some duct tape, a lighter, a black LED flashlight with three spare batteries, a few tattered road maps with a compass, a spare pair of socks, medical supplies from the cargo, and a simple forest green plastic rain poncho. I also managed to unearth a functioning digital camcorder my ouma
had gotten me for Christmas a few years back, though I wasn’t sure I wanted to do any filming in such a miserable state. Lastly, since it was a private supply run from a warehouse area near Pittsburgh to a direct hospital pad in Ohio, I’d been able to bring my K-Bar, a sturdy, and brutally simple knife designed for the Marine Corps that I used every time I went camping. It was pitiful in comparison to the rifle I wished I had with me, but that didn’t matter now. I had what I had, and I doubted my trusty Armalite would have alleviated my sore knee anyway.
Clicking on my flashlight, I huddled with the poncho around my shoulders inside the wreck of the chopper and peered at the dusty roadmaps. A small part of me hoped that a solution would jump out from the faded paper, but none came. These were all maps of western PA and eastern Ohio. None of them had a Barron County on them anywhere. The man on the radio said to head north, right before they shot me down. That means they must be camped out to the north of here. South had that convoy and those burning houses, so that’s a no-go. Maybe I can backtrack eastward the way I came.
As if on cue, a soft pop
echoed from over the eastern horizon, and I craned to look out the helicopter window, spotting more man-made flashes over the tree tops.
“Great.” I hissed between clenched teeth, aware of how the temperature dipped to a chilly 60 degrees, and how despite the conditions, my stomach had begun to growl. “Not going that way, are we? Westward it is.”
Walking away from my poor 902 proved to be harder than I’d anticipated. Despite the glass, the fizzling fires, and the darkness, it still held a familiar, human essence to it. Sitting inside it made me feel secure, safe, even calm about the situation. In any other circumstance, I would have just stayed with the downed aircraft to wait for help, but I knew the men who shot me down would likely find my crash site, and I didn’t want to be around when they did.
Unlike much of central and western Ohio, southeastern Ohio is hilly, brushy, and clogged with thick forests. Thorns snagged at my thin poncho and sliced at my pant legs. My knee throbbed, every step a form of self-inflicted torture. The rain never stopped, a steady drizzle from above just cold enough to be problematic as time went on, making me shiver. Mud slid under my tennis shoes, and every tree looked ten times bigger in the flickering beam of my cheap flashlight. Icy fear prickled at the back of my neck at some of the sounds that greeted me through the gloom. I’d been camping loads of times, both in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, but these noises were something otherworldly to me.
Strange howls, screeches, and calls permeated the rain-soaked sky, some almost roars, while others bordered on human in their intonation. The more I walked, the softer the distant gunfire became, and the more prevalent the odd sounds, until the shadows seemed to fill with them. I didn’t dare turn off my flashlight, or I’d been completely blind in the dark, but a little voice in the back of my head screamed that I was too visible, crunching through the gloomy forest with my long beam of light stabbing into the abyss. It felt as though a million eyes were on me, studying me, hunting me from the surrounding brush, and I bitterly recalled how much I’d loved the old Survivor Man
TV series as a kid. Not so fun being out in the woods at night. Especially alone.
A twig snapped somewhere behind me, and I whirled on the spot, one trembling hand resting on the hilt of my K-Bar.
Nothing. Nothing but trees, bushes, and rain dripping down in the darkness.
“This is stupid.” I whispered to myself to keep my nerves in check as I slowly spun on the spot. “I should have went eastward anyway. God knows how long I’m going to have to—” Creak.
A groan of metal-on-metal echoed from somewhere to my right, and I spun to face it, yanking the knife on my belt free from its scabbard. It felt so small and useless in my hand, and I choked down a wave of nauseas fear. Ka-whump. Creak. K-whump. Creak.
Underbrush cracked and crunched, a few smaller saplings thrashed, and from deep within the gloom, two yellow orbs flared to life. They poked through the mist in the trees, forming into slender fingers of golden light that swept back and forth in the dark. The soldiers . . . they must be looking for me.
I swallowed hard and turned to slink away.
Ice jammed through my blood, and I froze on the spot, biting my tongue to stop the scream.
It stood not yards away, a huge form that towered a good twelve feet tall in the swirling shadows. Unpolished chrome blended with flash-rusted spots in the faded red paint, and grime-smeared glass shone with dull hues in the flashes of lightning. Where the wheels should have been, the rounded steel axels curved like some enormous hand had bent them, and the tires lay face-down on the muddy ground like big round feet, their hubcaps buried in the dirt. Dents, scrapes, and chips covered the battered thing, and its crooked little radio antenna pointed straight up from the old metal fender like a mast. I could barely make out the mud-coated VW
on the rounded hood, and my mind reeled in shock. Is . . . is that a car?
Both yellow headlights bathed me in a circle of bright, blinding light, and neither I nor the strange vehicle moved.
Seconds ticked by, the screech-thumping in the background only growing closer. I realized that I couldn’t hear any engine noises and had yet to see any soldiers or guns pointed my way. This car looked old, really old, like one of those classic Volkswagen Beetles that collectors fought over at auctions. Try as I might, I couldn’t see a driver inside the murky, mold-smeared windows.
Because there wasn’t one.
Lightning arched across the sky overhead, and the car standing in front of me blinked.
Its headlights slid shut, as if little metal shades had crawled over the bulbs for a moment and flicked open again. Something about that movement was so primal, so real, so lifelike,
that every ounce of self-control I had melted in an instant.
Cursing under my breath, I lunged into the shrubs, and the world erupted around me.
Under my shoes, the ground shook, and the car surged after me in a cacophony of ka-thumps
that made my already racing heart skip several beats. A weather-beaten brown tow truck from the 50’s charged through the thorns to my left, it’s headlights ablaze, and a dilapidated yellow school bus rose from its hiding place in the weeds to stand tall on four down-turned axel-legs. They all flicked their headlights on like giants waking from their slumber, and as I dodged past them, they each blared their horn into the night in alarm.
My breaths came short and tight, my knee burned, and I crashed through thorns and briars without thought to how badly I was getting cut up.
The cheap poncho tore, and I ripped it away as it caught on a tree branch.
A purple 70’s Mustang shook off its blanket of creeping vines and bounded from a stand of trees just ahead, forcing me to swerve to avoid being run over, my adrenaline at all-time highs. This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.
Slipping and sliding, I pushed through a stand of multiflora rose, and stumbled out into a flat, dark expanse.
I almost skidded to a stop.
What had once been a rather large field stood no taller than my shoestrings, the grass charred, and burnt. The storm above illuminated huge pieces of wreckage that lay scattered over the nearly 40-acre plot, and I could just make out the fire-blackened hulk of a fuselage resting a hundred yards away. The plane had been brought down a while ago it seemed, as there weren’t any flames left burning, and I threw myself toward it in frenzied desperation.
Burned grass and greasy brown topsoil slushed underfoot, and I could hear the squelching of the cars pursing me. Rain soaked me to the bone, and my lungs ached from sucking down the damp night air. A painful stich crept into my side, and I cursed myself for not putting in more time for cardio at the gym.
Something caught my left shoelace, and I hurtled to the ground, tasting mud and blood in between my teeth. They’ve got me now.
I clawed at the mud, rolled, and watched a tire slam down mere inches from where my head had been. The Mustang loomed over me and jostled for position with the red Volkswagen and brown tow truck, the school bus still a few yards behind them. They couldn’t seem to decide who would get the pleasure of stomping me to death, and like a herd of stampeding wildebeest, they locked bumpers in an epic shoving match.
On all fours, I scampered out from under the sparring brutes, and dashed for the crumpled airplane, a white-painted DC-3 that looked like it had been cut in half by a gargantuan knife blade. I passed a snapped wing section, the oily remains of a turbo-prop engine, and a mutilated wheel from the landing gear. Climbing over a heap of mud, I squeezed into the back of the ruined flight cabin and dropped down into the dark cargo hold. Wham.
No sooner had my sneakers hit the cold metal floor, and the entire plane rocked from the impact of something heavy ramming it just outside. I tumbled to my knees, screaming in pain as, once again, I managed to bash the sore one off a bracket in the wall.
My hand smeared in something gooey, and I scrabbled for my flashlight.
It clicked on, a wavering ball of white light in the pitch darkness, and I fought the urge to gag. “Oh man . . .”
Three people, or what was left of them, lay strewn over the narrow cargo area. Claret red blood coated the walls, caked on the floor, and clotted under my mud-spattered shoes. Bits of flesh and viscera were stuck to everything, and tatters of cloth hung from exposed sections of broken bone. An eerie set of bloody handprints adorned the walls, and the only reason I could tell it had been three
people were the shoes; all of them bore anklebones sticking out above blood-soaked socks. It smelled sickly sweet, a strange, nauseas odor that crept into my nose and settled on the back of my tongue like an alien parasite.
Something glinted in the beam of my flashlight, and my pulse quickened as I pried the object loose from the severed arm that still clung to it.
“Hail Mary full of Grace.” I would have grinned if it weren’t for the fact that the plane continued to buck and roll under the assault from the cars outside.
The pistol looked old, but well-maintained, aside from the light coating of dark blood that stained its round wooden handle. It felt heavy, but good in my hand, and I turned it over to read the words, Waffenfabrik Mauser
stenciled into the frame, with a large red 9 carved into the grip. For some reason, it vaguely reminded me of the blasters from Star Wars.
I fumbled with a little switch that looked like a safety on the back of the gun and stumbled toward a gap in the plane’s dented fuselage to aim out at the surrounding headlights. Bang.
The old gun bucked reliably in my hand, its long barrel spitting a little jet of flame into the night. I had no idea if I hit anything, but the attacking cars recoiled, their horns blaring in confusion.
They turned, and scuttled for the tree line as fast as their mechanical legs could go, the entire ordeal over as fast as it had begun. Did I do that?
Perplexed, I stared down at the pistol in my hand. Whoosh.
A large, inky black shadow glided down from the clouds, and the yellow school bus moved too slow to react in time.
With a crash, the kicking nightmarish vehicle was thrown onto its side, spraying glass and chrome trim across the muddy field. Its electro-synth horn blared with wails of mechanical agony, as two huge talon-like feet clamped down on it, and the enormous head of the flying creature lowered to rip open its engine compartment.
The horn cut out, and the enormous flying entity jerked its head back to gulp down a mass of what looked like sticky black vines from the interior of the shattered bus.
At this range, I could see now that the flying creature bore two legs and had its wings half-tucked like a vulture that had descended to feed on roadkill. Its head turned slightly, and in the glow of another lightning bolt, my jaw went slack at the realization of what it was. A tree trunk. It’s a rotted tree trunk.
I couldn’t tell where the reptilian beast began, and where the organic tree components ended, the upper part of the head shaped like a log, while the lower jaw resembled something out of a dinosaur movie. Its skin looked identical to the outside of a shagbark hickory but flexed with a supple featheriness that denoted something closer to skin. Sharp branch-like spines ranged down its back, and out to the end of its tail, which bore a massive round club shaped like a diseased tree-knot. Crouched on both hind legs, it braced the hooked ends of its folded wings against the ground like a bat, towering higher than a semi-truck. Under the folds of its armored head, a bulging pair of chameleon-like eyes constantly spun in their sockets, probing the dark for threats while it ate.
One black pupil locked onto the window I peered through, and my heart stopped.
The beast regarded me for a moment, with a curious, sideways sniff.
With a proud, contemptful head-toss, the shadow from the sky parted rows of razor-sharp teeth to let out a roar
that shook the earth beneath my feet. It was the triumphant war cry of a creature that sat at the very top of the food chain, one that felt no threat from the fragile two-legged beings that walked the earth all around it. It hunted whenever it wanted, ate whatever it wanted, and flew wherever it wanted. It didn’t need to rip the plane apart to devour me.
Like my hunter-gatherer ancestors from thousands of years ago, I wasn’t even worth the energy it would take to pounce.
I’m hiding in the remains of the cockpit now, which is half-buried under the mud of the field, enough to shield the light from my screen so that thing
doesn’t see it. My service only now came back, and it’s been over an hour since the winged beast started in on the dead bus. I don’t know when, or how I’m going to get out of here. I don’t know when anyone will even see this post, or if it will upload at all. My phone battery is almost dead, and at this point, I’m probably going to have to sleep among the corpses until daylight comes.
A dead man sleeping amongst friends.
If you live in the Noble County area in southeastern Ohio, be careful where you drive, fly, and boat. I don’t know if it’s possible to stumble into this strange place by ground, but if so, then these things are definitely headed your way.
If that happens . . . pray that they don’t find you.
submitted by RandomAppalachian468
to u/RandomAppalachian468 [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 19:00 nahimavegan (Selling) Huge list of 1100+ movies! Lots of New and Rare titles!
Prices are firm, but I take off $.75 for every $10 spent (multiple items)
I accept PayPal, Venmo, & Cashapp
Codes are always split/dual portion where applicable, & have no DMI
Only redeem portion you pay for
14 Blades HD/VU $4.5
3 Extremes (2004) HD/VU $4.5
355 HD/MA $4.5
48 Hrs 4K/VU $6
600 Miles HD/VU $4
80 for Brady (2023) HD/VU $6.5
A Journal for Jordan HD/MA $5
A Man Called Otto HD/MA $6.5
A24 5-Film Set (X, Green Room, It Comes at Night, Hereditary, Witch) HD/VU $15
Ad Astra 4K/MA $5.5 or HD/MA $4
Addams Family (2019) 4K/IT $4.5
Addams Family 2 4K/IT $5
Addams Family With More Mamushka! (1991) 4K/VU $5.5
After Yang HD/VU $4.5
Agent Game 4K/VU $5
Air Force One 4K/MA $6
American Carnage 4K/VU $5
American Gangster (Ext) HD/MA $4
American History X HD/MA $4.5
American Underdog HD/VU $4.5
Amores Perros 4K/VU $5.5
Amsterdam HD/GP $3.5
Anatomy of a Murder 4K/MA $5
Annie (1982) 4K/MA $5.5
Ant-Man & Wasp Quantumania (2023) 4K/MA $9.5 or HD/MA $8
Apocalypse Now (Final Cut) 4K/VU $5
Apocalypse Now 3-Cut Set (Thea, Redux, Final) 4K/VU $8.5
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Armageddon Time HD/MA $6.5
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Backdraft HD/MA $4
Banshees of Inisherin HD/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $4
Barb & Star go to Vista Del Mar HD/VU $4
Batman & Superman Battle of Super Sons HD/MA $6
Battle Royale (2000) HD/VU $4.5
Beast HD/MA $5
Bedknobs & Broomsticks HD/GP $3.5
Before I Go to Sleep HD/MA $3.5
Belly 4K/VU $5.5
Ben is Back 4K/VU $5.5
Best of Enemies HD/IT $3.5
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Blues Brothers HD/MA $4
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Casablanca 4K/MA $6
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Cecil B. Demented HD/VU $4.5
Charlie Brown 4-Film Set (A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Bon Voyage, Snoopy Come Home, Race for Your Life) HD/VU $15
Christmas Classics Set (Home Alone, Jingle All Way, Miracle on 34th Street '94, A Christmas Carol '84) HD/MA $18
Cinderella (2021) HD/MA $4.5
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Colony 4K/VU $5
Coming to America 4K/VU $5
Cotton Club Encore 4K/VU $5.5
Craft Legacy HD/MA $4.5
Creed 3 (2023) 4K/VU $10
Criminal HD/VU $3.5
Cube (1997) HD/VU $5
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Dangerous 4K/VU $4.5
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Dark Crystal 4K/MA $6
DC League of Super-Pets HD/MA $5
Death of Me HD/VU $4
Death on Nile HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Diary of a Wimpy Kid SD/IT $1.5
Die in a Gunfight 4K/VU $5
Dig 4K/VU $6
Doctor Strange in Multiverse of Madness HD/GP $3.5
Dog HD/VU $4.5
Dolittle 4K/MA $5
Don Verdean HD/VU $4.5
Downton Abbey A New Era HD/MA $4.5
Dracula (1931) HD/MA $3.5
Dream a Little Dream HD/VU $4
Duck Dynasty Wedding Special HD/VU $4
Dungeons & Dragons Honor Among Thieves HD/VU $10
Earth Girls are Easy HD/VU $4
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Elvis HD/MA $4.5
Empire of Light HD/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $4
Equalizer HD/MA $3
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Escape from LA 4K/VU $5.5
Escape Room Tournament of Champions (Thea & Ext) HD/MA $5
Event Horizon 4K/VU $5.5
Everything Must Go HD/VU $4
Evil Dead 1 & 2 Bundle 4K/VU $8
Expired 4K/VU $5
F9 Fast Saga (Thea & Ext) 4K/MA $5.5
Fabelmans HD/MA $6.5
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Fatherhood HD/MA $4
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Flashback (2020) HD/VU $4
Forbidden Kingdom HD/VU $4.5
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Forrest Gump HD/VU $3.5
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Friends With Kids HD/VU $4
From Here to Eternity 4K/MA $5.5
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Ghost In Shell 2.0 HD/VU $4.5
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Halloween Ends HD/MA $5.5
Halloween Kills (Ext) 4K/MA $5.5
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Heat (Director's Cut) (1995) HD/MA $4
Hellbenders HD/VU $4.5
Hellboy Animated Double Feature (Sword of Storms, Blood & Iron) 4K/VU $7.5
Hellraiser Judgment HD/VU $4
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Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. HD/MA $4.5
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Last Flag Flying HD/MA $4
Last Picture Show 4K/MA $5.5
Legend of Guardians Owls of Ga'hoole SD/IT $1.5
Let Them All Talk 4K/MA $5.5
Lightyear HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Limey (1999) 4K/VU $5.5
Locked Down 4K/MA $5.5
Lost City HD/VU $4.5
Lyle Lyle Crocodile HD/MA $5
M3GAN (Thea & Unrated) (2023) HD/MA $7
Mack & Rita HD/VU $4.5
Mad Max 1-4 Set 4K/VU $18.5
Mad Men Complete Series HD/VU $35
Magic Mike's Last Dance (2023) HD/MA $6.5
Magnificent Seven 4-Film Set (1960, Return, Guns, Ride) HD/VU $13
Mamma Mia SD/IT $1.5
Man of Tai Chi HD/VU $4
Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) 4K/VU $6
Manchester by Sea HD/VU $3.5
Marksman HD/MA $4
Marlowe (2023) HD/MA $7.5
Mask of Zorro 4K/MA $6
Mask of Zorro 4K/MA $6
Mauritanian 4K/IT $5
Meatballs HD/VU $4
Memory HD/MA $4
Men HD/VU $4.5
Men in Black 3 HD/MA $3
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Menu HD/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $4
MIB International HD/MA $3.5
Mickey & Minnie 10 Classic Shorts HD/MA $5.5 or HD/GP $5
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Midsommar HD/VU $4
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) HD/MA $4
Missing (2023) SD/MA $4
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Moonfall 4K/VU $4.5
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Moving On HD/VU $5.5
Mrs Harris Goes to Paris 4K/MA $6
My Brilliant Friend Season 1 HD/VU $4
Nashville (1975) HD/VU $4
Needle in a Timestack 4K/VU $5.5
Night at Museum Battle of Smithsonian SD/IT $1.5
Night House HD/GP $4
No Country for Old Men HD/VU $4
No Sudden Move 4K/MA $6
Nope HD/MA $5.5
Northman HD/MA $4
Oliver! 4K/MA $5
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood HD/MA $3.5
Paradise Highway 4K/VU $5.5
Paranormal Activity 1-8 Collection HD/VU $22
Paranormal Activity Ghost Dimension (Unrated) HD/VU $4.5
Parasite HD/MA $4
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 HD/MA $3.5
Paw Patrol Movie HD/VU $4.5
Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters HD/MA $3
Perfectos Desconocidos HD/VU $4
Phantom Thread HD/MA $4
Piano (1993) HD/VU $4.5
Plane (2023) 4K/VU $6.5
Pretty in Pink HD/VU $3.5
Prey for Devil 4K/VU $6
Prince of Egypt HD/MA $4.5
Proud Mary HD/MA $3.5
Pulp Fiction 4K/VU $5.5 or HD/VU $4
Push 4K/VU $6
Raid Redemption (Thea & Unrated) HD/MA $4.5
Ran (1985) 4K/VU $5.5
Ratatouille 4K/MA $6 or HD/GP $4
Red Heat (1988) 4K/VU $5
Redline (2010) HD/VU $4.5
Reign of Assassins HD/VU $4.5
Repo Genetic Opera HD/VU $4.5
Rescuers Down Under HD/MA $5 or HD/GP $4.5
Rescuers HD/MA $5 or HD/GP $4.5
Reservoir Dogs 4K/VU $5.5 or HD/VU $4
Resident Evil 6 Film Set 4K/MA $26
Retaliation (2017) HD/VU $4
Right One 4K/VU $5.5
Rocky Knockout Collection 1-4 (Rocky IV w/ Thea & Rocky vs Drago Ultimate Cut) 4K/VU $20
Rules of Attraction HD/VU $4
Rumble HD/VU $5
Running Man 4K/VU $5.5
Safe Haven SD/IT $1.5
Saint Maud HD/VU $4.5
Sausage Party HD/MA $3.5
Scott Pilgrim vs World HD/MA $4 or 4K/IT $4.5
Scream 4 HD/VU $4
Scream HD/VU $4.5
Secret Garden (2020) 4K/IT $5
Secret in Their Eyes HD/VU or IT $3
Sense & Sensibility 4K/MA $5
Seven Psycopaths HD/MA $4
Shawshank Redemption 4K/MA $5.5
Shazam! Fury of Gods (2023) HD/MA $9
She Said HD/MA $6.5
Shooter 4K/VU $5
Silent Night, Deadly Night 3-Film Set (3-5) HD/VU $8
Silent Twins 4K/MA $6
Silk Road 4K/VU $5
Sing 2 HD/MA $4
Sing Street HD/VU $4
Skeleton Twins HD/VU $4.5
Smile HD/VU $5.5
Smokin' Aces 4K/MA $5.5
Snake Eyes G.I. Joe Origins 4K/VU $5.5 or HD/VU $4
Son of God HD/MA $3
Sonic Hedgehog 2 HD/VU $4.5
Source Code 4K/VU $5.5
Spartacus HD/MA $3.5
Spider-Man No Way Home HD/MA $4
Spinning Man HD/VU $4
Spirit HD/VU $4
Spontaneous HD/VU $4.5
Starship Troopers 4K/MA $6
Strange World HD/GP $4
Stripes 4K/MA $5
Taken 2 HD/MA $3.5
Tangled HD/MA $4
Tar HD/MA $6
Teen Spirit (2019) HD/MA $4
Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls Mayhem Multiverse HD/MA $6
Teeth HD/VU $4.5
Ten Commandments (1923) HD/VU $4
Ten Commandments (1956) HD/VU $4
Tetro HD/VU $4
The Batman HD/MA $4
Thing (1982) 4K/MA $5.5
This Means War SD/IT $1.5
Thor Love & Thunder 4K/MA $5.5 or HD/GP $3.5
Till 4K/IT $7
Time Freak HD/VU $4
To Sir With Love 4K/MA $5.5
Tomb Raider Cradle of Life 4K/VU or IT $5.5
Top Gun Maverick 4K/VU $6 or HD/VU $4.5
Touched With Fire HD/VU $4.5
Town SD/IT $1.5
Transformers Dark of Moon 4K/VU $4.5
Transformers Revenge of Fallen 4K/VU $5
True Grit SD/IT $1.5
Tucker Man & His Dream 4K/VU $5
Turning Red HD/GP $3
Twilight 1-3 (Ext Editions) HD/VU $10
Umma HD/MA $4.5
Uncharted HD/MA $4
Uncut Gems HD/VU $4
Underwater HD/MA $4.5
Underworld 5-Film Set HD/MA $17
Venom Let There Be Carnage HD/MA $4
Virtuoso 4K/VU $5
Vivo HD/MA $4.5
Voyagars 4K/VU $5
W. HD/VU $4
War of Worlds 4K/VU $5.5
War on Everyone HD/VU $4
Warhunt 4K/VU $4.5
Waterworld HD/MA $4
Weekend HD/VU $4
What We Did on our Holiday HD/VU $4
Where Crawdads Sing HD/MA $4.5
Whiplash HD/MA $4
White Christmas HD/VU $4
Whitney Houston I Wanna Dance with Sombody HD/MA $5.5 or SD/MA $3
Wicker Man (1973) HD/VU $4.5
Wind River HD/VU $4
Winnie Pooh Springtime with Roo HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Wolf Man (1941) HD/MA $3.5
Woman King HD/MA $5.5
Women Talking 4K/IT $7
X-Men Days of Future Past Rogue Cut 4K/IT $5.5
All other movies (A-Z)
101 Dalmatians HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
12 Years a Slave HD/MA $3.5
13 Hours Soldiers of Benghazi HD/VU $2.5
1917 HD/MA $3.5
2 Fast 2 Furious 4K/IT $3.5
2 Guns HD/VU or IT $2.5
21 Jump Street HD/MA $3
22 Jump Street HD/MA $3.5
3 From Hell (Unrated) 4K/VU $4 or HD/VU $2.5
31 (2016) HD/VU $2.5
310 to Yuma 4K/VU $5
47 Meters Down HD/IT $3.5
47 Meters Down Uncaged HD/VU $3.5
47 Ronin HD/MA $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
50/50 HD/VU $4
71 HD/VU $4
A Clockwork Orange 4K/MA $5
A Dog's Purpose HD/IT $3
A Good Day to Die Hard (Ext) HD/VU $2.5
A Most Wanted Man HD/VU $3.5
A Quiet Place HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
A Quiet Place Part 2 4K/VU $5.5 or HD/VU $4
A Wrinkle in Time HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Abominable 4K/MA $5.5
About Time HD/VU or IT $3.5
Action Point HD/IT $2
Adore HD/IT $3.5
Adventures Of TinTin HD/IT $2.5
After Earth HD/MA $3
Age of Adaline HD/VU or IT $3
Aladdin (2019) 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Alex Cross HD/VU or IT $2
Alfred Hitchcock 5-Film Set (Saboteur, Shadow of Doubt, Trouble with Harry, Marnie, Family Plot) 4K/MA $24
Alice Through Looking Glass HD/GP $3
Alien 6-Film Collection HD/MA $18
Alien Covenant HD/MA $2.5
Alien Resurrection HD/MA $4
Alita Battle Angel 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
All Eyez on Me HD/IT $3
All Money in World HD/MA $3.5
Allied HD/VU $3.5
Aloha HD/MA $3.5 or SD/MA $1
Alvin & Chipmunks Road Chip HD/MA $2.5
Amazing Spider-Man 2 HD/MA $4
Amazing Spider-Man HD/MA $3.5 or SD/MA $1.5
American Assassin 4K/VU $4.5 or HD/VU $3
American Frontier Trilogy (Sicario, Wind River, Hell or High Water) HD/VU $7.5
American Made 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
American Night HD/VU $4
American Reunion HD/VU or IT $3
American Ultra HD/IT $4
Anchorman 2 Legend Continues HD/VU or IT $2.5
Angel Heart 4K/VU $5.5
Angel of Mine 4K/VU $5.5
Anna 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Anna Karenina HD/IT $3.5
Annie (2014) HD/MA $3.5 or SD/MA $1.5
Annihilation HD/VU $3
Antebellum 4K/VU $5
Ant-Man & Wasp HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Ant-Man HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Apollo 13 4K/MA or IT $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Arctic HD/MA $4
Army of One HD/VU $3
Arnold Schwarzenegger 6-Film Collection (Last Stand, Total Recall, T-2, Red Heat, Maggie, Hercules in NY) HD/VU $14
Arrival HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Ash vs Evil Dead Season 3 HD/VU $5
Assassination Nation HD/MA $3.5
Assassin's Creed HD/MA $3
Atomic Blonde 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/MA $3
August Osage County HD/VU $3
Avengers Age of Ultron HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Avengers Endgame HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Avengers HD/GP $3
Avengers Infinity War HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Back to Future 3 HD/MA $3.5
Back to Future Trilogy 4K/MA $14 or HD/MA $9.5
Bad Boys for Life HD/MA $4
Bad Grandpa HD/VU or IT $2.5
Bad Words HD/IT $3
Bambi 2 HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Bambi HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Bangkok Dangerous HD/VU $4
Bank Job HD/VU $3.5
Barbie & Her Sisters in Great Puppy Adventure HD/VU or IT $3.5
Barbie in Princess Power HD/IT $3.5
Barbie Star Light Adventure HD/IT $3.5
Battle of Year HD/MA $3.5
Battleship HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Baywatch HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Beatriz at Dinner HD/VU $4.5
Beauty & Beast (1991) HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Beauty & Beast (2017) HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Before I Fall HD/VU or IT $3.5
Begin Again HD/VU $3.5
Beirut HD/MA $3.5
Ben-Hur (2016) HD/VU or IT $3.5
BFG HD/MA $3.5
Big Eyes HD/VU $3.5
Big Hero 6 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Big Lebowski 4K/MA $5.5 or HD/MA $4
Big Little Lies Season 1 HD/GP $2.5
Big Short HD/VU or IT $3.5
Birth of a Nation HD/MA $3.5
Black Panther 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $2.5
Black Widow HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Blackhat HD/IT $3.5
Blair Witch (2016) HD/IT $2.5
Blair Witch Project (1999) HD/VU $4
Blockers HD/MA $3.5
Bloodshot HD/MA $4
Boardwalk Empire Season 1 HD/VU or IT $4
Bombshell 4K/VU $5
Book Club 4K/IT $3
Book Club HD/VU $2.5
Book of Life HD/MA $3.5
Born a Champion 4K/VU $5
Boss Baby 2-Film Set HD/MA $6
Boss Baby HD/MA $2.5
Bourne Identity HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Bourne Legacy HD/VU $2
Bourne Supremacy HD/VU $3.5
Bourne Ultimatum 4K/MA or IT $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Boy 2 HD/IT $3.5
Boy Erased HD/MA $4
Boy HD/IT $3.5
Boyhood HD/VU or IT $2.5
Braveheart HD/VU $3.5
Braven HD/VU $4
Breakfast Club HD/IT $4
Breakthrough HD/MA $3
Burnt HD/VU $3.5
Butler HD/VU $3
Bye Bye Man (Unrated) HD/IT $2.5
Cabin in Woods 4K/VU or IT $4.5 or HD/VU $2.5
Call of Wild 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $2.5
Campaign HD/MA $2.5
Captain America Civil War HD/GP $2.5
Captain America First Avenger HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5 or SD/IT $1.5
Captain America Winter Soldier HD/GP $3.5
Captain Marvel HD/GP $2
Captain Phillips HD/MA $3.5 or SD/MA $1.5
Carol HD/VU $4
Cars 3 HD/GP $2.5
Case for Christ HD/IT $2.5
Chaos Walking 4K/VU $5
Chicago (Diamond Edition) HD/VU $4
Children (2008) HD/VU $4
Christopher Robin HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Cloverfield 4K/VU $5.5 or HD/VU $4
Coco HD/GP $2.5
Cold Pursuit 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Collection HD/VU $3.5
Columbiana (Unrated) HD/MA $4
Come & Find Me HD/VU $4
Commuter 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Company of Heroes HD/MA $4
Contraband HD/IT $3
Cooties HD/VU $4
Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of Dead, Hot Fuzz, World's End) 4K/MA $15
Counselor HD/MA $4
Courier 4K/VU $5.5 or HD/VU $4
Crank 4K/VU $5.5
Crawl HD/VU $3
Crimson Peak HD/IT $3.5
Croods HD/VU $3.5
Cruella HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
D Train 4K/IT $4
Daddy's Home 2 HD/IT $3
Daddy's Home HD/VU $3
Dark Tower HD/MA $3.5
Darkest Hour (2017) 4K/MA $5.5
Darkest Minds HD/MA $4
Darkness HD/IT $3
Dawn of Planet of Apes HD/MA $3.5
Daybreakers 4K/VU $5.5
Deadpool 2 (w/Super Duper Cut) HD/MA $4
Deadpool HD/MA $2.5
Dear White People HD/VU $3.5
Deepwater Horizon 4K/IT $3
Dementia 13 (Director's Cut) HD/VU $4
Despicable Me 2 HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Despicable Me 3 4K/MA or IT $5
Despicable Me 4K/IT $5 or SD/IT $1.5
Detroit HD/MA $3.5
Devil's Due HD/MA $3.5
Dilemma HD/VU $3.5 or SD/IT $1.5
Dirty Dancing 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Disney Animated Short Films Collection HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Divergent Allegiant HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Divergent HD/VU $1.5 or 4K/IT $2 or SD/VU $0.5
Divergent Insurgent HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Django Unchained HD/VU $3 or SD/IT $1.5
Do Right Thing 4K/MA $5.5 or HD/MA $4
Doctor Strange HD/GP $2.5
Dom Hemingway HD/MA $3.5
Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot HD/VU $4
Doom (Unrated) 4K/MA $5.5
Doorman HD/VU $3.5
Doors 4K/VU $5.5 or HD/VU $4
Dora & Lost City of Gold HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Downton Abbey Movie HD/MA $3.5
Dracula Untold HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Draft Day HD/VU $3.5
Dragged Across Concrete HD/VU $3.5
Dreamkatcher HD/VU $4
Dredd 4K/VU or IT $4 or HD/VU $2.5
Duel (2016) HD/VU $3.5
Dumbo (2019) HD/GP $3
Dune 4K/MA $5.5
Dying of Light HD/VU $2.5
E.T. Extra Terrestrial 4K/VU or IT $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Edge of Seventeen HD/VU or IT $3
Edge of Tomorrow 4K/MA $5
Edward Scissorhands HD/MA $3.5
El Chicano HD/MA $4
Emoji Movie HD/MA $3
Encanto 4K/MA $4 or 4K/GP $3.5
Ender's Game HD/VU $2.5
Enemy at Gates HD/VU $4
Enough Said HD/MA $3.5
Epic HD/MA $3
Escape Plan HD/VU $2
Eternals HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Everest 4K/MA or IT $4.5
Ex Machina HD/VU $3
Exodus Gods & Kings HD/MA $3.5
Expendables 2 HD/VU or IT $1
Expendables 3 (Thea) HD/VU $2 or 4K/IT $2.5
Extreme Prejudice (1987) HD/VU $4
Fast & Furious (2009) HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Fast & Furious 6 (Ext) HD/VU $2 or 4K/IT $2.5
Fast & Furious 6-film Collection HD/VU $12.5
Fast & Furious 7-film Collection HD/VU $14
Fast & Furious 8-film Collection (9 Films) HD/MA $17.5
Fast & Furious 9-film Collection (11 Films) HD/MA $20
Fast & Furious HD/VU $3.5
Fast Color 4K/VU $5.5
Fast Five (Ext) HD/IT $2.5 or SD/IT $1
Fatale (2020) 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Fate of Furious (Ext) HD/VU $2
Fate of Furious (Thea) HD/VU or IT $1.5
Fault in Our Stars HD/MA $3.5
Fences HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Ferdinand HD/MA $3.5
Fifty Shades Darker (Unrated) HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Fifty Shades Freed HD/MA $4
Fifty Shades of Grey (Unrated) HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Fighting with my Family HD/IT $4
Finding Dory HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Finding Nemo HD/GP $3.5
Finest Hours HD/GP $3
First Blood 4K/VU $5
First Man HD/MA $4
Flight HD/VU or IT $3
Florence Foster Jenkins HD/VU or IT $3
Footloose (2011) HD/IT $3
Forever My Girl HD/IT $3
Fortress HD/VU $4
Four Kids & It HD/VU $3.5
Fox & Hound 2 HD/MA $4
Frank & Lola HD/VU or IT $3
Frankenstein (1931) HD/VU $3.5
Free Guy HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
French Dispatch HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Friday 13th Pt 3 HD/VU $3.5
Frozen (Sing-Along Edition) HD/MA $2 or HD/GP $1.5
Frozen 2 4K/MA $4 or HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Frozen Ground (2013) HD/VU $3.5
Frozen HD/GP $2
Furious 7 (Ext) HD/VU $2 or 4K/IT $2.5
Fury HD/MA $3.5
G.I. Joe Retaliation HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Gambit (2012) HD/MA $4
Gambler HD/VU or IT $3
Gemini Man 4K/VU or IT $4.5 or HD/VU $3
Gentlemen 4K/IT $4.5
Get Out HD/MA $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Ghost in Shell (2017) 4K/VU or IT $4.5 or HD/VU $3
Ghost Team One HD/VU or IT $3.5
Ghostbusters (1984) HD/MA $3.5
Ghostbusters 2 HD/MA $3.5
Ghostbusters Afterlife HD/MA $4
Girl on Train HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Girl With All Gifts HD/VU $4
Girls Trip HD/VU or IT $2
Glass Castle 4K/VU $5.5
God's Not Dead 2 HD/MA or IT $2.5
God's Not Dead A Light in Darkness HD/MA $3
Gods of Egypt HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Gold (2016) HD/VU or IT $2.5
Gone Girl HD/MA $4
Good Dinosaur HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Good Kill HD/VU or IT $3.5
Grace Unplugged HD/VU $2
Gran Torino SD/IT $1.5
Greatest Showman HD/MA $3.5
Green Mile 4K/MA $5.5
Grey HD/VU or IT $3
Guardians of Galaxy Vol 1 HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Guardians of Galaxy Vol 2 HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Guest House (2020) 4K/VU $5
Guilt Trip HD/IT $3
Gunman HD/MA $3
Hacksaw Ridge HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Hail, Caesar! HD/IT $3
Halloween (2018) HD/MA $3
Hammer of Gods HD/VU $2
Hands of Stone HD/VU $3.5
Hannibal Season 1 HD/VU $5
Hard Target 2 HD/IT $1.5
Hardcore Henry HD/VU or IT $3.5
Hate U Give HD/MA $4
Hateful Eight HD/VU $3.5
Heat HD/MA $3
Heaven is for Real SD/MA $1.5
Hell Fest 4K/VU $5
Hell or High Water HD/VU $2.5
Hellboy (2019) 4K/VU $4.5 or HD/VU $3
Hercules (1997) HD/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $4
Hercules (2014) HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Here Comes Boom HD/MA $3.5
Hidden Figures HD/MA $3
Hillsong Let Hope Rise HD/IT $2
Hitman (Uncut) & Hitman 47 Bundle HD/MA $7
Hitman's Bodyguard HD/VU $3.5
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard 4K/VU $5.5 or HD/VU $4
Hocus Pocus HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Home Again HD/MA $3
Home Alone 2 HD/MA $3.5
Home Alone HD/MA $3.5
Homesman HD/VU $3
Honey 2 HD/VU $3
Hop HD/MA or IT $3
Hope Springs HD/MA $2.5 or SD/MA $1
Hostiles HD/VU $3
Hot Fuzz HD/VU $4
Hotel Mumbai HD/MA $4
Hotel Transylvania HD/MA $3.5
Hours (2013) HD/VU $4
How Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) 4K/IT $4
How to Train Your Dragon 2 HD/MA $2.5
How to Train Your Dragon HD/VU $3.5
How to Train Your Dragon Trilogy HD/MA $9
Hugo HD/VU or IT $3
Hunger Games 4-Film Collection HD/VU $8
Hunger Games Catching Fire HD/VU $1.5 or 4K/IT $2 or SD/VU $0.5
Hunger Games HD/VU $1.5 or 4K/IT $2 or SD/VU $0.5
Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 HD/VU $2.5 or SD/VU $1
Hunter Killer 4K/VU $4.5 or HD/VU $3
Huntsman Winter's War (Ext) HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
I Can Only Imagine HD/VU $4
I Feel Pretty HD/IT $2
I Frankenstein HD/VU or IT $2.5
Ice Age Collision Course HD/MA $3
Incredibles 2 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Incredibles HD/GP $3.5
Independence Day Resurgence HD/MA $2.5
Indiana Jones & Temple of Doom 4K/VU $5.5
Indignation HD/VU $4
Initiation 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Inside Out HD/GP $2
Instant Family 4K/IT $3.5
Internship SD/IT $1.5
Interstellar HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Into Woods HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Invisible Man (1933) HD/MA $3.5
Invisible Man (2020) 4K/MA $5.5 or HD/MA $4
Iron Man HD/GP $3.5 or HD/GP $2
Iron Mask (2019) HD/VU $4.5
It Follows HD/VU $3.5
It's a Wonderful Life 4K/VU or IT $4.5 or HD/VU $3
Jack & Jill HD/MA $3.5
Jack Reacher HD/VU $3
Jack Reacher Never Go Back HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Jacob's Ladder HD/VU $4
Jarhead 3 Siege (Unrated) HD/IT $2.5
Jason Bourne HD/VU $2.5
Jason Statham 4-Film (War, Crank 1 & 2, Transporter 3) HD/VU $10
Jason Statham 6-Film (War, Crank 1 & 2, Bank Job, Wild Card, Transporter 3) HD/VU $14
Jaws 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Jeff Who Lives at Home HD/VU $4
Jersey Boys HD/MA $2.5
Jesus Music HD/VU $3.5
Jigsaw 4K/VU $4.5
Joe HD/VU $3.5
John Wick 1 & 2 Bundle HD/VU $4
John Wick 3 Parabellum 4K/VU $4.5
John Wick Chapter 2 HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
John Wick HD/VU $2 or 4K/IT $2.5
John Wick Trilogy (Parabellum 4K) HD/VU $9
Jonah Hex HD/MA $4.5
Joy HD/MA $3
Judy 4K/VU $5
Judy Moody SD/IT $1.5
Jungle Book (2016) 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $2.5
Jungle Cruise HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Jurassic Park 3 HD/VU $3.5
Jurassic Park 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Jurassic World 5-Film Collection HD/MA $14
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/MA $3
Jurassic World HD/VU $2.5
Justice (2017) HD/VU or IT $3
Justin Bieber Never Say Never SD/IT $1.5
Kevin Hart Let Me Explain HD/VU or IT $3
Kick-Ass 4K/VU $5.5 or HD/VU $4 or SD/IT $1.5
Kid Who Would Be King 4K/MA $5.5 or HD/MA $4
Kidnap HD/VU or IT $2.5
Killer Elite HD/IT $3
Killerman HD/VU $4
Kin (2018) 4K/VU $4.5 or HD/VU $3
King Kong (2005) 4K/MA or IT $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Kingsman Golden Circle 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/MA $3
Kingsman Secret Service 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Knick Season 1 HD/IT $3.5
Knick Season 2 HD/IT $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Kung Fu Panda 3 HD/MA $3
La La Land 4K/IT $3.5
Labor Day HD/VU or IT $3
Lady & Tramp HD/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $4
Lady Macbeth HD/VU $4.5
Last Christmas HD/MA $4
Last Exorcism HD/VU $4
Last Knights HD/VU $3.5 or SD/VU $1.5
Last Man (2019) HD/VU $4
Last Stand HD/IT $2
Last Vegas HD/MA $3.5
Last Witch Hunter HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Leatherface HD/VU $4
Legend of Hercules 4K/IT $3
Leprechaun 7-Film Collection HD/VU $12
Les Miserables (2012) HD/VU or IT $2
Let Me Explain HD/IT $2.5
Let's be Cops HD/MA $3.5
Life (2017) HD/MA $3.5
Life of Crime HD/VU $3.5
Life of Pi 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA or IT $3.5
Light of My Life HD/IT $3.5
Like a Boss HD/VU $3.5
Lilo & Stitch 2 Stitch Has a Glitch HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Lilo & Stitch HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Lincoln Lawyer 4K/VU $6.5 or HD/VU $4
Lion King (1994) HD/GP $3
Lion King (2019) 4K/MA $4 or HD/GP $2
Logan HD/MA $3
Logan Lucky 4K/MA or IT $4.5
Lone Ranger HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Lone Survivor HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Long Shot HD/VU $3.5
Longest Ride HD/MA $3
Longest Week HD/VU $3.5
Looper HD/MA $3.5
Lorax (1972) HD/MA $5
Lorax HD/VU $3
Lords of Salem HD/VU $4
Lost World Jurassic Park HD/MA $3
Love & Monsters HD/VU $4
Love Coopers HD/VU or IT $4
Love, Simon HD/MA $3.5
Loving HD/VU or IT $3.5
Luca HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Lucy HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Mad Max 2 Road Warrior 4K/VU $5.5
Madagascar 3 Europe's Most Wanted HD/VU or IT $3
Madea's Witness Protection SD/IT $1.5
Magnificent Seven (2016) HD/VU $3
Maleficent 4K/MA $4 or HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Maleficent Mistress of Evil HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Mama HD/IT $3
Man Who Shot Liberty Vance 4K/VU $5.5
Mandela Long Walk to Freedom HD/VU $4
Martian HD/MA $3.5
Mary Poppins (1964) HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Mary Poppins Returns HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Matrix Resurrections 4K/MA $5.5
Max Steel HD/IT $3
Maze Runner Death Cure HD/MA $3.5
Maze Runner HD/MA $3.5
McKenna Shoots for Stars HD/IT $2
Mechanic Resurrection HD/VU $2.5
Megan Leavey HD/IT $3
Midnight Sun HD/MA $3.5
Midway 4K/VU $4.5 or HD/VU $3
Mile 22 HD/IT $3
Million Dollar Arm HD/GP $2.5
MindGamers HD/MA or IT $3.5
Minions 4K/MA or IT $4.5 or HD/VU $3
Misconduct HD/VU $2.5
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children HD/MA $3
Missing Link HD/MA $4
Mission Impossible 3 4K/VU $4.5
Mission Impossible 4 Ghost Protocol HD/VU $2
Mission Impossible 5 Rogue Nation HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Mission Impossible 6 Fallout 4K/VU or IT $4.5
Mission Impossible 6-film Set 4K/VU $23 or HD/VU $17
Moana HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Moneyball HD/MA $3
Monkey Kingdom HD/MA $3
Monster High Electrified HD/VU or IT $2.5
Monsters University HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Monuments Men HD/MA $3.5
Mortal Engines 4K/MA $5.5 or HD/MA $4
Mortal HD/VU $4
Mortal Instruments City of Bones HD/MA $3 or SD/MA $1.5
Mother! HD/VU $2.5
Mother's Day HD/IT $2.5
Much Ado About Nothing (2013) HD/VU $4
Mud HD/VU $2.5
Mulan (2020) 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Mummy (1999) HD/VU $4
Mummy (2017) 4K/MA or IT $4.5
Muppets Most Wanted HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Murder on Orient Express HD/MA $3.5
My All American HD/MA or IT $3.5
My Fair Lady 4K/VU $5.5
Nebraska HD/VU $3
Nerve HD/IT $3.5
New Mutants HD/GP $3
News of World 4K/MA $5.5 or HD/MA $4
Night at Museum Secret of Tomb HD/MA $3
Nightmare Alley 4K/MA $5.5 or HD/GP $3.5
Nightmare Before Christmas HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
No Escape (2015) HD/VU $3
No Strings Attached HD/VU or IT $3.5
No Time to Die 4K/IT $4.5
Noah HD/VU or IT $2.5
Nobody's Fool HD/IT $2.5
Non-Stop HD/VU or IT $3
Norm of North HD/VU $2.5
Nostalgia (2018) HD/MA $3.5
Now You See Me 2 HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Now You See Me HD/VU or IT $2.5 or SD/VU $1
Nutcracker & Four Realms HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Oblivion 4K/MA or IT $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Occupation (2018) HD/VU $3.5
Occupation Rainfall HD/VU $4
Office Christmas Party HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Olaf's Frozen Adventure HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Ong Bak 2 HD/VU $3
Onward 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $2.5
Other Woman HD/MA $3
Ouija HD/IT $3.5
Ouija Origin of Evil HD/VU or IT $3.5
Outlander Season 1 Vol 1 HD/VU $5.5
Overdrive HD/IT $2.5
Overlord 4K/IT $3.5
Oz Great & Powerful HD/GP $2.5
Paddington HD/VU $3.5
Pain & Gain HD/VU or IT $3.5
Paranormal Activity 3 (Ext) HD/VU or IT $3
Paranormal Activity 4 (Unrated) HD/VU or IT $2.5
Paranormal Activity HD/VU $4
Paranormal Activity Marked Ones HD/VU or IT $3.5
Passengers HD/MA $3
Patriot Games 4K/VU $5
Patriot's Day HD/VU $3
Peanuts Movie HD/MA $3
Penguins of Madagascar HD/MA $3.5
Pet Sematary (2019) 4K/IT $3.5
Peter Pan (1953) HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Peter Rabbit HD/MA $3.5
Pete's Dragon (2016) HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Philomena HD/VU $2.5
Pinocchio (1940) HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Pirates of Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/GP $2.5
Pitch Black (Unrated) HD/MA or IT $4
Pitch Perfect 2 4K/MA $4 or HD/VU $2.5
Pitch Perfect HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Pixar Short Films Collection Vol. 3 HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Planes Fire & Rescue HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Planes HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Playing with Fire HD/IT $2.5
Pocahontas 2 Journey to a New World HD/GP $3.5
Pocahontas HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Point Break (2015) 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Poison Rose 4K/VU $4.5
Pompeii HD/MA $3.5
Possession HD/VU or IT $2.5
Power Rangers (2017) 4K/VU or IT $4.5
Precious HD/VU $4.5
Predator (2018) HD/MA $3
Predator 4-Film Collection HD/MA $11
Premium Rush HD/MA $3.5
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies HD/MA $3.5 or SD/MA $1.5
Primal HD/VU $3.5
Prodigy HD/VU $4
Project Almanac HD/IT $3.5
Protege HD/VU $4
Punisher 4K/VU $5.5
Punisher War Zone 4K/VU $5.5
Purge Anarchy HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Purge Election Year 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Purge HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Quarry 4K/VU $5
Queen & Slim HD/MA $4
Queen of Katwe HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Ralph Breaks Internet HD/GP $2
Rambo (2008) 4K/VU $5.5
Rambo 3 4K/VU $5.5
Rambo 5-Film Collection 4K/VU $23 or HD/VU $17
Rambo First Blood Pt 2 4K/VU $5.5
Rambo Last Blood 4K/VU $4.5
Rango HD/VU $3.5
Raya & Last Dragon HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Rear Window HD/MA $3.5
Reclaim HD/VU $3.5
RED 2 HD/VU $2
Red Dawn (2012) HD/VU or IT $3
Red Sparrow HD/MA $3.5
Replicant (2001) HD/VU $3.5
Replicas HD/VU $3.5
Requiem for a Dream (Director's Cut) 4K/VU $5.5
Resident Evil Retribution 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Resurrection of Gavin Stone HD/VU or IT $2.5
Revenant HD/MA $3.5
Riddick (Unrated) HD/VU or IT $3
Ride Along HD/VU or IT $2.5
Ride Like a Girl HD/VU $4
Ring HD/VU $4.5
Rings HD/VU or IT $2.5
Rio 2 HD/MA $3
Riot HD/VU or IT $3
RIPD HD/IT $2.5
Risen HD/MA $3
Robin Hood (1973) HD/MA $3.5
Robin Hood (2018) HD/VU $3
Robocop (2014) HD/VU $2.5
Rocketman (2019) 4K/IT $4
Rogue One A Star Wars Story HD/GP $2
Ron's Gone Wrong HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Rough Night 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Runner Runner HD/MA $3.5
Rush HD/VU or IT $3
Safe HD/VU or IT $2.5
Saige Paints Sky HD/IT $3
Same Kind of Different As Me HD/IT or IT $3
Samson HD/MA $3.5
Santa Clause 2 HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Santa Clause 3 HD/MA $3
Santa Clause HD/MA $3.5
Santa Clause Trilogy HD/MA $9.5 or HD/GP $8
Savages HD/IT $3
Saving Mr. Banks HD/GP $3
Saw 7-Film Collection (Unrated) HD/VU $18
Saw 8-Film Collection HD/VU $20
Saw HD/VU $3
Scarface HD/VU $4
Scary Movie 5 HD/VU $4.5
Scary Stories to Tell in Dark 4K/VU $4.5
Schindler's List 4K/MA $5.5
Scouts Guide to Zombie Apocalypse HD/IT $3
Scream (1996) HD/VU $4
Scrooged HD/IT $4
Secret Life of Pets 4K/IT $4.5
Secret Life of Walter Mitty HD/MA $3
Selma HD/VU or IT $2.5
Sex Tape HD/MA $3.5
Shack HD/IT $2.5
Shallows HD/MA $3.5
Shang-Chi Legend of Ten Rings HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Shape of Water HD/MA $3.5
Sharp Objects HD/GP $2
Shaun of Dead HD/MA $4 or 4K/IT $4.5
Shaun Sheep Movie HD/VU $3
Sherlock Gnomes HD/VU or IT $2.5
She's Having a Baby HD/VU $3.5
Shivers HD/VU $4
Show Dogs HD/MA $3.5
Siberia (2018) HD/VU $3
Siberia (2020) HD/VU $4
Sicario HD/VU $2.5
Side Effects HD/IT $3.5
Sing (2016) 4K/IT $4
Singing in Rain 4K/MA $5.5
Sinister HD/IT $2.5
Sisters (Unrated) HD/IT $2.5
Sixteen Candles HD/MA $4
Skyfall HD/VU $2.5
Skyscraper HD/MA $3.5
Sleeping Beauty (1959) HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Sleepless HD/IT $2
Smokey & Bandit HD/MA $3.5
Smurfs Lost Village HD/MA $3.5
Snatched HD/MA $2
Snitch HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3 or SD/VU or IT $1
Snow White & Huntsman (Ext Edition) 4K/VU or IT $4.5 or HD/VU $3
Snow White & Seven Dwarfs (1937) HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Solo A Star Wars Story HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Some Kind of Wonderful HD/VU $3.5
Songbird 4K/IT $4.5
Sonic Hedgehog 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Soul HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Southpaw HD/VU $3
Southside With You HD/VU $4.5
Spider-Man 4-Cut Set (Spider-Man 2 w/ Thea & Ext) HD/MA $11.5
Spider-Man Far From Home HD/MA $3.5
Spider-Man Homecoming HD/MA $3
Spider-Man Homecoming/Far From Home Bundle HD/MA $6
Spies in Disguise 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
Spiral 4K/VU or IT $4.5
Split 4K/MA or IT $5
Split HD/MA $3.5
Spongebob Sponge out of Water HD/IT $2.5
Spy Who Dumped Me 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
St. Vincent HD/VU $3
Stand Up Guys HD/VU $3.5
Star Trek (2009) HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Star Trek 1-4 (Motion Picture, Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, Voyage Home) 4K/VU $18
Star Trek Beyond HD/VU $3
Star Trek Into Darkness HD/VU $2.5
Star Wars Force Awakens HD/GP $1.5
Star Wars Last Jedi 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Star Wars Rise of Skywalker 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/MA $3 or HD/GP $2.5
Step Up Revolution HD/IT $3
Sting 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5
Straight Outta Compton (Thea & Unrated) 4K/MA $4.5
Straight Outta Compton (Unrated) HD/MA $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Strangers Prey at Night HD/MA $3
Suburbicon HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Sudden Death HD/IT $4
Suits Season 2 HD/IT $3.5
Sum of All Fears 4K/VU $5.5
Sundown Vampire in Retreat HD/VU $3.5
Super 8 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Super Buddies HD/GP $2
Sword in Stone HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Taxi Driver HD/MA $4
Ted (Unrated) HD/IT $3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) HD/VU $2.5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out of Shadows HD/VU $3.5
Terminator 2 Judgment Day (Ext) HD/VU $4.5
Terminator 2 Judgment Day HD/VU $3.5
Terminator Dark Fate 4K/VU or IT $4 or HD/VU $2.5
Terminator Genisys HD/VU $2.5
Thanks for Sharing HD/VU $4
This is 40 HD/MA $3.5
This is End HD/MA $3.5
Thor Dark World HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Thor HD/GP $3.5 or SD/IT $1.5
Thor Ragnarok HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri HD/MA $3.5
To Kill a Mockingbird 4K/IT $4
Top Gun (1986) 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Total Recall (1990) HD/VU $3.5
Toy Story 4 4K/MA $4.5 or HD/MA $2.5 or HD/GP $2
Toy Story HD/GP $3.5
Toy Story of Terror HD/MA $4 or HD/GP $3.5
Transformers 4K/VU $5
Transformers Age of Extinction HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Transformers Last Knight HD/VU $2.5 or 4K/IT $3
Tremors A Cold Day In Hell HD/MA $2.5
Triple 9 HD/IT $3.5
Trolls HD/MA $2.5
Trumbo HD/IT $3.5
Trust HD/VU $4
Turbo HD/MA or IT $3
Turning HD/MA $4
Twilight Breaking Dawn 2 HD/VU $1.5 or 4K/IT $2 or SD/VU $0.5
Twilight Breaking Dawn Pt 1 HD/VU $3.5 or 4K/IT $4
Twilight HD/VU $4
Tyler Perry's Temptation HD/GP $3
Unbreakable HD/GP $3.5
Unbroken HD/VU or IT $3
Uncle Drew HD/VU $3.5
Underworld Awakening HD/MA $3
Untouchables 4K/VU $5
Valerian & City of a Thousand Planets HD/VU $3.5
Vampire Academy HD/VU $4
Van Helsing HD/MA $3.5
Vanishing (2018) HD/VU $4
Veep Season 6 HD/IT $3.5
Venom HD/MA $3.5
Victoria & Abdul HD/MA $4
Vivarium HD/VU $4
Voices (2014) HD/VU $4
Walk HD/MA $3.5
War for Planet of Apes HD/MA $3
Warcraft HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
Warm Bodies 4K/VU $4.5 or HD/VU $3 or SD/VU $1.5
Warrior 4K/VU $5 or HD/VU $3.5
Werewolf Beast Among Us (Unrated) HD/IT $3.5
West Side Story 4K/MA $5 or HD/MA $3.5 or HD/GP $3
What Men Want HD/VU $3 or 4K/IT $3.5
When Game Stands Tall HD/MA $3 or SD/MA $1.5
Whisky Tango Foxtrot HD/IT $3
Why Him? HD/MA $3
Widows HD/MA $3.5
Wild Card HD/VU $3
Wild HD/MA $3.5
Wilson HD/MA $3.5
Winchester HD/VU $3.5
Wolf of Wall Street HD/VU or IT $3.5
Wolverine (Unrated) (w/Thea) HD/MA $4
Wonder HD/VU $3
Wonder Park 4K/IT $2.5
Wonder Woman 1984 4K/MA $5.5
Woodlawn HD/MA or IT $3.5
World War Z HD/VU or IT $2.5
Wraith HD/VU $4
X-Men Apocalypse HD/MA $3
X-Men Days of Future Past HD/MA $3
X-Men First Class & Days of Future Past HD/MA $6.5
XXX Return of Xander Cage HD/VU $2 or 4K/IT $2.5
You Were Never Really Here HD/VU $4
You're Next HD/VU $3.5
Z for Zachariah HD/VU $4
Zero Dark Thirty HD/MA $3.5
Zeros & Ones HD/VU $4.5
Zootopia HD/GP $2.5
submitted by nahimavegan
to DigitalCodeSELL [link] [comments]
2023.06.01 18:46 slugger-o-toole [LONG Text Review] 13kg Big First Haul! FK Reverse Mochas, Panda Dunks, Syracuse Dunks, Dior B23s, Gucci x Adidas Gazelles, Sambas, Converse, Hermes Oran Sandals, FOG Essentials tracksuit, shorts & quarter zip, Goyard cardholder & AirPod case, Supreme Pill case, Tiffany money clip
About Me Gender:
F // Age:
32 // Country:
5’9”/175cm // Weight:
65kg // Build:
Men’s Small - Women’s UK 8-10/Small // Shoes:
EU40 - UK 7 - US Men’s 8 - US Women’s 9.5
I ordered some ‘hype’ items and some boring items in this haul because they were cheaper than buying retail and I just wanted to try some things out. I’m not overly worried about being called out because I’m 32 and I don’t care, but have checked other reviews/images of the items to make my comments about accuracy. List of items in haul: FK Reverse Mochas, Panda Dunks, Syracuse Dunks, Dior B23s, Gucci x Adidas Gazelles, Sambas, Converse, Hermes Oran Sandals, Essentials tracksuit, shorts & quarter zip, Goyard cardholder & AirPod case, Supreme Pill case, Tiffany money clip
Agent: Pandabuy Comments:
This is my first haul and Pandabuy was super easy and clear to use, I wasn’t confused by the process at any stage. The communication was great, including asking if I wanted refunds when sellers took ages to send. Shipping was easy and quick, imo. Sidenote: I used After Ship to track as it had more detail for my country than 17track. It was very accurate with delivery times etc. Parcels were delivered on my end by ParcelForce.
Shipping Divided this into 2 parcels. Full details of shipping timeline here. Carrier:
GD-E-EMS // Total weight:
~13kg Total time from warehouse:
6 days (Parcel 1) // 8 days (Parcel 2) Haul Total:
¥3021.63 // Shipping Total:
¥1441.56 // Total Cost: ¥4463.19
// £504 // $628
|Timeline ||Parcel 1 ||Parcel 2 |
|Order Submitted ||May 24th ||May 24th |
|Order Received ||May 30th ||June 1st |
|Total Shipping Time ||6 days ||8 days |
|Details ||Parcel 1 ||Parcel 2 |
|Actual Weight ||6.3kg ||6.4kg |
|Estimated Weight ||6.6kg ||6.5kg |
|Actual Shipping Cost ||¥719.72 ||¥710 |
|Estimated Shipping Cost ||¥746.79 ||¥721.84 |
|Insurance ||¥59.59 ||¥72.33 |
|Extras ||¥25 - vacuum packaging, shrink wrap ||¥5 - moisture bag |
|Declare amount ||$50 ||$50 |
Gucci x Adidas Gazelles, Adidas Sambas (no box), Converse (no box), Essentials Quarter Zip, Essentials shorts, Essentials tracksuit, AirPod holder, pill case, metal money clip. Parcel 2:
TS Reverse Mocha AJ1, Dior B23, Dunks x2 (no box), card holder, Hermes Oran sandals. Notes: The vacuum bag was pointless, it wasn't actually vacuum packed, just in an unsealed vacuum bag in the parcel. Added the moisture bag as it was only CNY 5 and thought it might discourage too much rooting around in the parcel lol. Also asked them to add in foam packing material and a note saying “from grandma” or something. Trying some different things. Border Force checked only the Hermes and TS boxes, they were opened and resealed with Border Force tape.
I'm not an expert on any of these shoes so take what I say with a pinch of salt and look at the in hand pics and make your own decision.
Travis Scott Reverse Mocha Air Jordan 1 - FK Batch (EU40) Seller:
CSJ Price: ¥360
(+ ¥10) // £41 // $51 W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: 9/10 // Comfort: 8/10 // Quality: 8/10 // Fit: Notes: 4 days to warehouse. Shipped with box because I like the box.
The box was a little damaged, but not wearing the box etc etc. They're comfortable enough, my first AJ1 lows, not as comfortable as the highs I have (retail) and maybe don't feel quite as good quality, but quality is off with a lot of retail Nikes in general so that could just be the TS's anyway. The laces feel kind of plasticky, but idk if that's normal for this model. Suede seems ok to me, but I'm no expert. In terms of flaws, The "Cactus Jack" under the white swoosh is slightly misaligned compared to retail. The AIR is slightly different to retail on the tongue. But they look pretty good to me, not complaining. Obviously I could be completely wrong. I'm happy.
Panda Dunks and Syracuse Dunk Low - VT Batch (EU40) Seller:
Passerby Price: ¥199 each
(+ ¥20) // £23 each // $28 each W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: 9/10 // Comfort: 8/10 // Quality: 9/10 // Fit: TTS Notes: 2 days to warehouse. Shipped without box.
Shipped these without the box so they were a little beat up when they arrived, but were fine as soon as they were on feet. The Syracuse were sent with spare laces in an SB bag but not SB laces, a bit strange. In terms of accuracy, the Nike logo isn't as puffy as on retail. On the Syracuse, the orange on the liner top bit of the shoe doesn't really match well, but not super noticeable. Tags on the tongue don't seem quite right and maybe the NIKE on the back is a bit small. No major flaws and these are so common I don't think anyone will call them out as such. In terms of fit, they are close to TTS I'd say, but the Pandas are a little tighter than the Syracuse.
Dior B23 (EU40) Seller:
WWTOP Price: ¥400
(+ ¥10) // £45.50 // $56.50 Colour:
Black and White High Top W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: 9.5/10 // Comfort: 9/10 // Quality: 10/10 // Fit: TTS Notes: 10 days to warehouse.
Box was damaged. These are a lot more comfortable than usual 'Converse' style shoes, actually feel really good on foot. Fit a little large for me, but not much, so I'd say close to TTS. I don't think the tongue or the material have the kind of leathery quality that the retails have but you'd have to touch it or look inside it to see that. I think the translucent layer is meant to touch on the front half of the shoe, but not too noticeable. Overall pretty good reps.
Adidas Sambas (Size EU40) Seller:
7up Price: ¥134.83
(+ ¥10) // £15 // $19 Colour:
White and Black W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: 7/10 // Comfort: 9/10 // Quality: 8/10 // Fit: TTS Notes: 5 days to warehouse. Shipped without the box and tags and they were fine when they arrived, not mashed up at all.
There are some issues with this pair: you can see in the pictures that the suede on one shoe is slightly darker than the other (this is more noticeable in pictures than IRL), the “SAMBA” is way too close to the stripes, the corner of the lacing unit should be aligned with the edge of the first stripe, the tongue seems a little short but that’s not noticeable on-foot.
Overall, it’s a pair of Sambas, nobody’s going to LC them and they’re comfy, so I’m really not bothered by the flaws. Feels like leather but smells like plastic. I’m happy with this pair for £15. Let’s see how they hold up.
Black and Cream Converse Chuck 70 Hi (Size EU40) Seller:
ezreps Price: ¥150
(+ ¥10) // £17 // $21 Colour:
Black & White/Cream W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: 8/10 // Comfort: 7/10
(but I feel this way about all Converse Chucks) // Quality: 7/10
(but not far from retail) // Fit: TTS
(which in my experience is slightly large) Notes: 5 days to warehouse. Also shipped without the box and tags and they were fine when they arrived, no damage.
Again, some small flaws with these: star on the back tag thing on the heel is too large, sole’s maybe a little thick (idk). But again, Converse Hi Tops, nobody cares or will LC. They feel like normal Converse, where quality is not amazing. But honestly, I’d never spend £85 on a retail pair of these when you can get these for under £20 and they’re fine. Meant to actually buy regular Converse Hi Tops in B&W but bought these by accident, they’re fine though, happy enough with these.
Brown Adidas x Gucci Gazelles (Size EU41) Seller:
Xiaorao Men's Clothing Discount Store Price: ¥388
// £44 // $54 Colour:
Brown Gucci Print W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: 8/10
// Comfort: 8/10
// Quality: 7/10
// Fit: 1/2 size small Notes: 6 days to warehouse. Shipped with the box and stuff because I bought these for my mum. Came with the box, tags and some weird plain dustbags and one Adidas x Gucci dustbag (like for one shoe) and a carrier bag. Box was mashed up in a few places, but not wearing the box so that’s fine (pictures of the packaging here).
I love these shoes, they’re fun. As I said, bought them for mumsy but they’re a bit too small for her but fit me, so another one in the haul for me now! These look great, but do have flaws. The “G” of Gazelle on the left shoe is shoddy AF (shown in in-hand pics). Print of the “Gucci” logo on the back is printed pretty badly. They don’t feel as comfortable or good quality as the plain Sambas that I bought for myself, but this could be because they’re canvas. Print looks alright to me. Tongue doesn’t feel great, and might be a bit short, but doesn’t seem too noticeable on foot. Going to buy another pair, a size bigger for mum. For £45 vs. £700+ mum’s happy, and now I have a pair so I’m happy too.
Brown Hermes Oran Sandals (EU 42) Seller:
Fisherman Price: ¥480
// £55 //$68 W2C: WhatsApp (+86) 16602067117 (I bought via this link) QC //In Hand // Retail (for reference) Accuracy: 9/10
// Comfort: 7/10 (but they're leather sandals with wooden bottoms, not exactly comfortable shoes in any case)
// Quality: 10/10
// Fit: TTS but narrow Notes: 11 days to warehouse, sent QC directly (before sending to warehouse) after 7 days. Communication 10/10.
Another pair for mum. She really wanted this pair so I looked around and Fisherman seemed to have decent ones. He had good communication, I recommend him as a seller after this interaction. He told me they were TTS and length-wise they're good but you'd need to have quite narrow feet. I have narrow feet but mumsy doesn't - so she's going to have to stretch them out a bit.
They're leather. The stitching is maybe a bit bright-white compared to retail and the foot-pad thing is a bit square - this is common on all reps of these sandals and you can't see it on foot. They look like really good reps overall, mum's definitely not going to get called out on these and she's happy.
Ordered different Essentials bits from different sellers, wanted to see the difference and I’m mostly concerned about comfort. Added images and QC and everything so everyone can check out the stuff from these sellers for their own information. I’m not adept at legit checking Essentials so you’ll be able to see the flaws in the pictures, but I won’t necessarily. For me, I’ll wear most of it regardless because I can wear it at home and it’s comfy AF. Also, I’ve put them through the wash and reported how they’ve held up after a wash. At present, I can’t vouch for any more quality/longevity than that.
Essentials Tracksuit (Small) - 1688 Seller: 1688
- Ningbo Yinzhou Price: Hoody ¥130
(£15/$18) + Trackpants ¥110
(£12.50/$16) (+ ¥12) Colour:
Moss QC // In Hand Hoody: W2C
// PandaBuy Link Pants: W2C
// PandaBuy Link Accuracy: 6.5/10
// Comfort: 10/10
// Quality: 9/10
// Fit: Hoody oversized, pants a bit small. Notes: 4 days to warehouse. I was aware the seller didn’t take refunds before they sent (Pandabuy agent told me ahead of time) but thought I’d go ahead and get it anyway because I know I’ll wear it either at home or on school trips (I’m a teacher) that I have to go on and not worry about clothes getting messed up.
First the good, super warm, really nice weight to them and super comfortable. One of the most comfortable hoodies I own. The hoody is oversized and quite large on me but the pants are really tight but still comfy. I think together they look a bit odd because of the size difference (see fit pics). Pant legs and sleeves are quite long, so if you’re tall these will still work. Flaws:
The main problem is the wonky and thin font on the front of the hoody. This is a bit annoying Also, inside tags aren’t great. Probably way more because these just seem fairly inaccurate all round.
All in all, it’s a comfortable tracksuit for less than £30 all in. I’m going to try another 1688 seller next time, as I’ve seen some decent ones in the subreddits from there.
Held up good after a wash and still super warm, soft and fluffy. None of the print peeled or anything.
Essentials Shorts (Small) - 1688 Seller: 1688
- Lu'an Jiangzuo Electronic Commerce Co., Ltd. Price: ¥50
(+ ¥6) // £6 // $7 Colour:
Matcha Green (plus velvet) W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: /10
// Comfort: 10/10
// Quality: /10
// Fit: TTS Notes: 4 days to warehouse.
So. Comfortable. Don’t know if they’re the most accurate, don’t care that much since they were £6 and I haven’t taken them off since getting them. I’m not sure anyone would legit check shorts that closely, but they’re certainly not doing it to me. Will buy more, love these. Worst bag of the selection, but we don’t wear the bag.
Held up good after a wash and still super warm, soft and fluffy. None of the print peeled or anything.
Essentials Quarter Zip (Medium) - Gman Seller:
Gman Price: ¥235
(+ ¥12) // £27 // $33 Colour:
Avocado (same colour as the Matcha Green shorts - think it's actually 'Sage Green' in Essentials) W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: /10
// Comfort: 9/10
// Quality: /10
// Fit: Notes: 5 days to warehouse. Ordered a size M as this was the smallest size available from Man.
From Gman, seems good quality. It doesn’t feel as soft or comfy as the tracksuit or shorts tbh. This was the one Essentials item that I really wanted to get, so a bit disappointed that it’s too big for me. Ultimately, this is comedy large on me, so I will most likely give it away or sell it and have to get this from a different seller (recommendations welcome).
Goyard Cardholder Seller:
u[30467653 Price: ¥35
// £4 // $5 Colour:
Orange W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: 6/10
// Quality: 7/10 Notes: 16 days to warehouse.
Had to get the FashionReps classic ¥35 cardholder. Not overly bothered by accuracy tbh but seems ok. Feels nice, looks nice. The Ys don’t touch, so maybe I’ll get called out. I like it though and that’s all that matters.
‘Goyard’ AirPod Case Seller:
Chinese cabbage mobile phone case Price: ¥14.80
// £1.60 // $2 Colour
: "Orange Stripes" W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: No idea (pretty sure this is fantasy) // Quality: 8/10 Notes: 2 days to warehouse.
I ordered orange (I wanted something that would match the cardholder, and this is more muted and not orange like a lot of the Goyard stuff). But I needed an AirPod case, it fits my AirPods and it’s sturdy, so it does the job and looks pretty nice. It was under £2. Not much more to say, might try and find one more like what I wanted but it’s no biggie.
Supreme Pill Case Seller:
Plaything Research Institute Price: ¥20
//£2 // $3 W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: 9/10
// Quality: 9/10 Notes: 4 days to warehouse.
Just needed something to keep my meds in. It’s pretty accurate from what I can tell, but again not super bothered about accuracy - I put 9/10 because I’m sure there are some flaws but what they are idk. I will say this is very small, there’s no way I can keep all of my meds in there given that some of them are larger tablets. Also, now I’m wondering if it’s safe, I’ve disinfected it so I’m sure it’s fine?
Tiffany & Co Money Clip Seller:
Baojibao Zhongbao Shangpin Collection Price: ¥16
(+ ¥10) // £3 // $4 Colour: '
YQJ101-silver wide and long 6 bottles' W2C // PandaBuy Link // QC // In Hand Accuracy: 6/10
// Quality: 6/10 Notes: 4 days to warehouse.
Needed a money clip - don’t like trying to stuff cash into my card holders. Did cut through one of my notes when I pulled it out, so I needed to pull it apart a bit and loosen it up. When I did that there was a big flaw which is that there’s a bit where the silver coating has come off, presumably from rubbing against each other (hard to describe, you can see it in the pics) and it had created a sharp bit. Filed it down with some sandpaper and it’s fine now, no more cutting the notes.
It’s not the most accurate, the engraving isn’t deep enough, it’s a bit too shiny and the 1897 is too wide. But idc, it does the job and it was £3.
That’s a wrap. Thanks for reading (sorry it was so long). I’ll be doing another summer haul soon - lots of shorts and t shirts and probably more trainers, so looking forward to that.
If this review was crap, sorry. Let me know what I can do better next time!
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2023.06.01 18:37 R420R77 Random thoughts of a dying man.
Well, I guess I should start at the beginning the majority of all stories tend to start. I was born in Detroit, Michigan in the month of June 1977. I was soon adopted and never met my biological family but have been told that I have two biological sisters, Karen, and Xinea as well as two brothers named Robert, and Jerry(perhaps Gerry I suppose). My mother is Patricia Bray, and my alleged father is Carl Ambers according to the adoption records that I found after the death of my adopted mother, Opal in 2001; I was a grown man by then. I was adopted by Opal and Frank Smith(we will say) in 1978. Somehow they knew my biological mother but that connection was never revelled to me. Opal was one of 17 children who grew up on a mountain somewhere in West Virginia. I was told that her father killed himself in front of her and her siblings when she was less than 10 years old. He was a coal miner and was injured in some type of accident and left unable to work with 19 mouths to feed; hard to fathom but for the love of God why in front of the children? Regardless of his reason this event left a lasting impact upon his 9 year old daughter that would ripple throughout space and time with the force of an atomic bomb; to this day that act and subsequent reaction linger. Opal was a devout Pentecost, Southern Baptist, or whatever similar religion she felt; not exactly sure. She was once a member of the People's Temple church in the early days when they were in Indianapolis (circa 1953-54). She left the church when the new leader, a man by the name of Jim Jones took over and began to allow people of other races into the fellowship; Opal being a woman of God as well as a devout racist left the church. They would later commit forced suicide in Ghana by drinking cyanide laced drinks at the end of machine guns. Opal was a small woman and she had many older brothers. She spent her developmental years fatherless, emotionally wrecked, and on a mountain with those brothers; I do not wish to even imagine what that must have been like, but one thing is for certain; she grew up mean and she knew how to fight, how to hurt a person, and how to use her 4' 11" 120lbs to do damage. Her temper was short and she was fast to react in a violent physical nature. She was married to Frank who was from Kentucky. Frank ran a laundry delivery service, smoked cigars, and loved pro wrestling. He was already in his forties when I was adopted as was Opal. Frank was amazing to me as a young child but as time went on he became isolated and didn't much bother with anything other than work. Looking back it is obvious he was terribly unhappy but that is unfortunately the theme of this story. I also had three adopted sisters that we shall call Kay, Mary, and Carry. All of whom were already 10 and older once I was brought into the household. The six of us lived in a two bedroom single bath home on the south side of Indianapolis. My earliest memory is literally the day that they brought me to their house; you may think that is crazy, a child less than a year old having a vivid memory but I swear to you I do. I remember being brought into the kitchen and being placed into a high chair with a pack of saltines....then a bath and to bed. For the first few years it seemed that we had a happy, perfect family. Frank made good money and so Opal stayed home and managed the house while watching me. I remember how nice she was at first but that would soon change, everything changed. The early eighties were a rough time economically and it showed. The stress of life really brought out the mean in Opal, she would fly off the handle in a millisecond flat. I was a very advanced child for my age and by pre-school I could count to 1000, read children's books myself, and I knew all my shapes and colors beyond the standard "circle, square, blue, red". My adopted parents were not very well educated and I think they were taken aback by the rate at which I absorbed information. It could not possibly be that this child simply has a thirst for knowledge and an ability to process things; it must be DEMONS...yep, folks, demons. From the time I was maybe 3 until I stopped speaking to Opal circa 1999 I was repeatedly told that I was "FULL OF DEMONS" as well as the everpopular"YOU ARE GOING TO HELL FOR _________" Now you can add whatever you wish to that blank up there because she sure did. I was going to hell for running in the house, catching insects, not going to bed on time, throwing rocks, playing with sticks, you name it, and he'll was fucking terrifying. I was taken to churches where people preached that the devil was not among us , but inside of us all!!! and as I watched them shake and scream and yell it honestly scared the shit out of me. Being a developing child and being told you are possessed by creatures from hell may have a lasting mental effect. Like many kids I began to rebel against and since I was full of demons I began to act accordingly. Things in the household spiraled downward like a toy boat circling an open drain. Opal was becoming aloof and isolated, coming from her bedroom only to cuss, complain, and rage. After the first few times getting my ass or face slapped up I learned to shut my mouth but unfortunately my older adopted sister Mary never got that lesson. She was about early high school age when I was adopted but I do not remember either of my two oldest sisters going to school at all. She like rock music of the time, she didn't dress appropriately, she was loud, and she did not listen to anything she was told. She was a typical teen girl in the 80's until she snuck out one night and some men snuck PCP into her drink. She had a bad reaction and seized, they just dumped her from the car onto a cold, dark Indianapolis street corner in the middle of a ghetto where she lay until found. She was rushed to the hospital where she died and was revived many time; luckily she lived, but she had went without oxygen and it left her with some mental impairment. She never really progressed past a teen mentality. I do not know if it was shame at her sneaking out with men and being discovered or the lingering mental illness but Opal had a fire for her like no other. They once had a shouting match over what Mary was wearing and after a few minutes Opal picked up an old golf wedge club that I had found and began to beat her savagely. I counted at least 30 shots before I got the courage to jump in from of her; I was maybe 8 years old. The following years would show a pattern of such actions with all four of us occasionally getting it but Mary and myself got the brunt of things...there were hot off the stove spatulas to bare skin, broomsticks, rake handles, and even the cast iron skillet with hot oil still inside. My father, having been introduced to Opal's violent nature knew better than to intervene, choosing to withdraw all together of the situation. Left to free rein Opal never missed an opportunity to abuse physically, or verbally. I remember being perhaps 9-10 years old and being as my parernts were way older I dressed like I was from the 60's,. Opal had since went to work at a metal polishing factory and I was left to the daily care of three teenage, adopted sister with no clue about basic hygiene so I smelled terrible and the stress of my violent home life had put weight on me other kids fucked with me hardcore. I had had a terrible day at school; my pants had ripped and all the other kids were laughing and calling me fatass and such literally all day long. So I get home finally and I totally break down into hesterical crying fits to which my "mother" responds to be yelling "BOY!!....WHAT IS ALL THE NOISE ABOUT!!?!" and through tears and in broken English I struggled to explain the events of the day and how all the kids said I "stink and that my clothes were trash and that I was too fat!!" and her caring response was to look me dead in my eyes and yell to me "YOU ARE FAT AND I AM NOT BUYING YOU NEW CLOTHES UNTIL YOU LOSE SOME WEIGHT!!" This event would truly cast a demon of hatred and anger deep into my soul that I would struggle to shake for the next 20 or more years. The next day at school, on recess a group of slightly younger children began to gather around me and began the usual verbal and physical harassment. As they had a few days previous they were attempting to set me up for that trick where one person gets down in a dog-like pose behind you while you are distracted and once in place the other push you over and everyone has a grand old laugh at your expense while you struggle to get your fat ass off the ground and get your wind back but that day I was not playing that shit and so when the little fucker ducked down behind me I immediately swung around with my right foot and landed a vicious snap kick directly to his eye socket; the sound of it breaking echoed the playground followed by painful wailing. It felt good to hear, it felt good to see the fear in the eyes of his friend's eyes, to send a message that I was no longer their victim or anyone else's for that matter. I started skipping school, vandalizing, petty theft, shoplifting, and anything other than wholesome which got me arrested for stealing CD's and Transformers from K-Mart. L.L. Cool J.....funny the shit you value when you look in retrospect. The ride home from the juvenile center on East 21st street was a long one and I was petrified of the beating that awaited me as new and different ways and items to beat the fuck from me danced in my head like those fucking sugar-plums from that stupid Christmas Song. When we finally got back to our house in Fountain Square I was directed into the kitchen where a length of 2/4 about 2 foot long waited on the kitchen table. Opal from behind me yelled out "BOY!!" which was what I was always referenced as as if I had no fucking name and when I did a 180 she belted me across my face with a hard right fist, but unlike every other time she hit me I did not scream out, cry, or even flinch from the blow. This further infuriated her and so she struck my face again to the same result, and again, and again until I firmly grabbed her right wrist at which point she immediately hit me with a hard left and I subsequently grabbed her left wrist. I was about 175lbs if not more and my strength overpowered her ability to strike me and when she realized that she could not move and seen in my eyes that this was not going to happen she began to scream "LET GO OF ME!!" to which I replied "I am going to let you go and when I do you are not going to fucking touch me in any way!!"...I let go, and defeated she walked away. After that she offered no real support other than a place to sleep. I began to steal clothing from people's clotheslines and after wearing the same pair of shoes for so long that my feet are literally deformed, I took a pair of Nikes off of someone's porch. Over the next few years I would have many more legal troubles, assaults, thefts, arsons until the State of Indiana stepped in and made me a ward of the state. I was sentenced and sent to a place called Glen Mills Schools in Concordville, Pennsylvania. It was supposed to be a fresh start and a chance to better myself and I was able to get my HSE, learn computer aided drafting, and I got to compete in powerlifting as well. It was the first time in my life I had seen a dentist even; I was 15 years old and finally I felt hopeful and happy; that would soon change.
If you would like to hear more please leave a comment or like. I also appreciate any feedback about my writing as I am not a professional in any way but always looking to improve my craft. If you made it this far; you are greatly appreciated.
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2023.06.01 18:02 katefeetie Trip Report: 2 Weeks in Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Koyasan and Kanazawa
Since this sub was so helpful in planning, I wanted to share my itinerary and trip report! We had an incredible first time in Japan and I can't wait to go back. Couldn't fit our (very detailed) itinerary in this post, but if you'd like to download it's here.
Medium article version with photos + itinerary is here
And our shareable Google map is here
. About us:
Some overall learnings:
- We’re New Yorkers in our 30s who have been planning this trip for about 6 months.
- My bf has been learning Japanese for about a year, and I’ve been learning for about 5 months (a mix of Pimsleur and Duolingo).
- Boyfriend is into history and baseball, I'm into skincare and nature, but we’re both big on food so that was our number one priority.
- He has a peanut allergy and avoids all nuts. He learned to say that in Japanese (私はピーナッツアレルギーがあります - "Watashi wa piinattsu arerugī ga arimasu”), and every restaurant and hotel was understanding and careful. Luckily most cuisine is nut-free anyway, but we managed not to have any close calls in 2 weeks which is amazing.
Hotel Reviews: Tokyu Stay Shinjuku Eastside (Tokyo):
- If I were planning this trip again, I think I would skip Kanazawa. It was a lovely town and the food was amazing, but we wished we had spent that time with a night or two in Osaka instead of just making it a day trip from Kyoto.
- Even if you’re not a baseball fan, Japanese baseball games are so much fun. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
- I packed a suitcase and brought a fold-up duffel bag, and halfway through the trip I moved my clothes to the duffel and just used the suitcase for souvenirs. It was a great idea but we ended up buying an extra suitcase at Donki our last day anyway.
- We both felt a bit underdressed compared to locals, especially in Tokyo. I wish I’d packed more dresses, skirts and trousers and fewer jeans and tees - the only people I saw wearing sweats, athletic wear or cutoffs were other tourists. Obviously you can wear what you want, just be aware you’ll stick out! Also, women are generally more covered up, even on warmer days, to protect their skin from the sun.
- If you go clothes shopping, take your shoes off in dressing rooms. I made a right fool of myself.
- Clothes sizing is wildly different in Japan. Know your cm measurements! Your size here may be hurtful to your ego.
- People line up to get on the train (check the ground for a guide of where to stand) and let everyone off before they get on. This seems obvious, but I’ve been living in New York so long that I wanted to weep tears of joy every time.
- If you’re new to sitting showers: there are two buttons. One is to fill up a bowl of water, and the other is to turn on the handheld shower head. Both automatically turn off a minute after you turn them on, but you can also turn them off manually. You sit on the little stool and there’s usually a mirror in front of you, which is… a humbling experience. There are usually also scrubbing washcloths.
- The worst train station toilet was still nicer than a goddamn Nordstrom bathroom. It was a pleasure to have IBS in Japan.
- At many European and American historical sites, you pay a hefty flat fee to see everything. In Japan, you can usually get into the temple grounds for free, then pay for each individual building you go into. Most were 400-700y/person, which felt really reasonable.
- We came at an almost perfect time (mid-May) weather-wise. Most days it was clear or sunny with a high in the mid-seventies. We definitely got some rain, but less than we were expecting (maybe 3-4 rainy days and 5-6 rainy nights).
This was a great basic hotel, close to plenty of transportation and right on the edge of Kabukicho. The buffet breakfast was the highlight - a great mix of Western and Japanese breakfast options, including a great miso soup.Hakone Airu (Hakone):
Mixed review here. On the one hand, the in-room onsen and public onsen were both wonderful, and the service was extraordinary. On the other hand, the mix of Balinese and Japanese didn’t quite work, and dinner and breakfast were more confusing than enjoyable.Hotel Alza (Kyoto):
By far our favorite stay. I can’t recommend this place enough, and it was definitely worth paying a little extra. They brought us an amazing bento breakfast in our rooms every morning, they had every amenity we could need (they even re-upped the free sheet masks every day), and the micro-bubble bath at the end of a long day of walking was amazing.Koyasan Syukubo Ekoin Temple (Mt Koya):
This was a great temple experience. Koyasan in general is obviously pretty tourist-y, but Eko-in still made it feel authentic, and dinner and breakfast were both amazing. Your stay includes a meditation class, morning prayers and a morning fire ritual, and you can pay to attend a cemetery tour, all of which were great.Utaimachi (Kanazawa):
We were only here for two nights, but this place was pretty good. Very close to the Higashi Chaya area, where we didn’t actually end up spending much time. Always love tatami mat flooring, and the washedryer was a nice bonus, but we were also right next to the lobby and right under another room so there was some noise.The Gate Asakusa (Tokyo):
A great and very Westernized hotel with amazing views of Shinso-ji and the surrounding area. It’s on the top floors of a building right in the middle of all things Asakusa, but is still pretty quiet. And has a wonderful, deep soaking tub with free bath salts.
Tuesday: Arrival, Shinjuku 1 PM: Arrival at Haneda
We got customs and immigration forms to fill out on the plane and everything went fairly quickly. Picked up some cash and Suica cards, went to see about taking the Airport Limousine bus ($10/each) but we should have booked in advance because there wasn’t one for another hour. We ended up taking a taxi (about $50) to our hotel in Shinjuku. 4 PM: Arrival at hotel - Tokyu Stay Shinjuku East Side
We dropped our luggage and went to a nearby eel restaurant, Shinjuku Unatetsu. The eel was incredible and not too filling. Wandered Kabuki-cho for a bit, I dragged my bf through all 4 floors of Don Quijote (I had a list of beauty items to pick up), then rested at the hotel. 7 PM: Dinner in Shinjuku (Tsunahachi)
We went to Tsunahachi for dinner and got some amazing tempura (I wish we had sat at the bar to watch it being made!) and then crashed by 9 pm, because we are young and cool.
Wednesday: Harajuku, Meiji, and Shibuya 7 AM: Hotel breakfast
Up early for hotel breakfast, which has convinced bf to start making miso soup every morning. 9 AM: Shinjuku Station - Pick up JR Passes
We went to Shinjuku station to pick up our JR passes, then spent 30 minutes finding the place where we could get them before 10 AM. There was a long line (staff shortage) so we waited about an hour but we got them and headed to Harajuku. 11 AM: Meiji Shrine & Yoyogi Park
We walked to Meiji Shrine, stopping at the gardens along the way (well worth the 500y entrance fee, especially on a beautiful day). We were lucky to come across a wedding at the shrine. Then we walked around Yoyogi Park a bit. 1 PM: Lunch (Gyoza Lou)
Walked into Gyoza Lou and were seated right away. Incredible gyoza as well as beer and bean sprouts with meat sauce - maybe 10 bucks total for 2 people. 1:30 PM: Shopping/museums in Harajuku
We split up so I could do some shopping in vintage stores - Flamingo, TAGTAG and Kinji (my favorite), and bf could go to the Ota Memorial Museum for their Cats in Ukiyo-e exhibit (which he loved). I walked down Takeshita street to meet him and managed to get a green tea, strawberry and red bean paste crepe from Marion Crepes. 3 PM: Shibuya Scramble & Hachinko Statue
We grabbed the train to Shibuya, saw the scramble and the Hachinko statue, then entered the maze that is Tokyu Hands. I got some onsen powders for gifts and some more cosmetics. My boyfriend checked out the Bic camera store and I went to Gu, which is like the love child of Uniqlo and Primark. I immediately undid all the “light packing” I did with new clothes. 7 PM: Dinner Reservation - Shinjuku Kappu Nakajima
I got us a reservation a few months ago at Shinjuku Kappu Nakajima. It was probably one of the best meals of my life. The omakase came out to less than $100usd each, which felt like a steal. 9 PM: Golden Gai bar (Bar Araku)
We wandered Golden Gai and went into a bar where the entrance fee was waived for foreigners called Bar Araku. It was very small but had great vibes, highly recommend. I drank too much sake, which will be a theme.
Thursday: Shinjuku 4 AM: Earthquake
The phone alerts are insanely loud! We rushed down to the hotel lobby and the only other people there were fellow foreigners - apparently Japanese people at the hotel knew a 5.1 is okay to sleep through. 9 AM: Shinjuku Gyoen
We strolled around in the sun taking photos for about 3 hours. Today is a lot less planned than yesterday - I kind of wish I’d switched the itineraries after how long getting the JR Pass took. We did go to the fancy Starbucks, of course. 12 PM: Lunch (Kaiten Sushi Numazuto)
We tried to go to a nearby sushi place but it was full, so we walked up to Kaiten Sushi Numazuto. We were a little disappointed it wasn’t actually conveyor belt sushi (the conveyor belt was for show and you ordered from the staff). Stopped in Bic camera afterwards for a bit. 2 PM: Ninja Trick House
We tried to go to the Samurai museum but learned it closed a few weeks ago. A good excuse to go to the Ninja Trick House instead. You’re thinking: “Isn’t that place for children?” Yes. Yes it is. And we loved every minute. I now have a camera roll full of myself being terrible at throwing stars. The dream. 3 PM: Don Quijote
More Don Quijote, mostly to get out of the rain. Got my last few beauty products I really wanted and a few souvenirs. An overstimulating heaven. 6 PM: 3-hour Shinjuku Foodie Tour
We signed up for a 3-hour “foodie tour” of Shinjuku that stopped at a sushi place, a Japanese bbq spot with insane wagyu beef, and a sake tasting spot. It was great, and we loved our guide, but wished it had stopped at a few more spots to try more things. 9 PM: Walk around Shinjuku
We attempted to play pachinko, got very confused and lost $7. Tourism!
Friday: Hakone 7 AM: Set up luggage forwarding to Kyoto with hotel
Luggage forwarding is brilliant. We did it twice and it went so smoothly, for about $10 USD per bag. Highly recommend. 9 AM: Transit to Hakone
We got to experience Japanese transit at rush hour. I can’t believe I have to go back to the MTA after this. We took the subway to Tokyo station and then the Shinkansen to Odawara, then a train to Hakone-Yumoto. The hotel was only a 20-minute walk away, so we decided to take a more scenic route - which turned out to be a forest hike straight up switchbacks most of the way. 11 AM: Lunch in Hakone (Hatsuhana)
We stopped in a soba place called Hatsuhana with a system of writing your name down and waiting outside to be called in. They skipped our names because they weren’t in Japanese, but let us in when they realized their mistake. The soba was made and served by old aunties so of course it was insanely good and well worth it. 1 PM: Hakone Open Air Museum
We took the train down to the Hakone Open Air Museum, which lived up to the hype. I’m not normally into sculpture, but seeing it in nature, and the way the museum is laid out, made it incredible. And obviously the Picasso exhibit was amazing. 3 PM: Owakudani, Pirate Ship, Hakone Checkpoint
We took the train to the cable car to Owakudani, then the ropeway to Togendai, then the pirate ship ferry to Motohakone. We were running behind so unfortunately had to rush through the Hakone Checkpoint, which was empty but very cool. 6 PM: Dinner at hotel
Back to our hotel for our kaiseki meal. The staff spoke very little English and Google struggled with the menu, so we had no idea what we were eating half the time, but overall it was pretty good. 9 PM: Onsen time
Experienced my first public onsen, followed by the private onsen in our room. The tatami sleep did wonders for my back.
Saturday: Travel to Kyoto, Philosopher’s Path, Gion 8 AM: Breakfast, travel to Kyoto
Took the train to Odawara and then the Shinkansen to Kyoto station. We booked all of our Shinkansen seats about a week in advance but you can also book them on the day, I believe. 1 PM: Lunch in Gion
Our Kyoto hotel let us check in early, and then we went looking for lunch. Quickly learned that most every place in the Gion area has a line outside and closes at 2! We eventually found a tiny spot with insanely good ramen. It also had chicken sashimi on the menu but we weren’t brave enough. 2 PM: Philosopher’s Path, Ginkaku-ji
We took a bus over to the Philosopher’s Path, which was not busy at all because of the rain. It was pretty, and I could see how great it would look in cherry blossom season. We had to kind of rush to Ginkaku-ji, which was gorgeous nonetheless. 4 PM: Honen-in, Nanzen-ji
Stopped by Honen-in (which we had completely to ourselves, thanks rain!) and then Nanzen-ji. My bf is a big history guy and he went feral for the Hojo rock garden. It was very pretty and I’d love to see it in better weather. 6 PM: Food Tour of Gion & Pontocho
This food tour stopped at two places (an izakaya and a standing bar) with a walking tour of Gion and Pontocho in between. We also stopped at Yasaka shrine and caught a rehearsal of a traditional Japanese performance. 10 PM: Pain
My feet hurt so bad. Bring waterproof shoes, but make sure they don’t have 5 year old insoles. I tried some stick-on cooling acupuncture foot pads I picked up at Donki and they were bliss.
Sunday: Arashiyama, The Golden Pavilion and Tea Ceremony 8 AM: Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
The forecast was for heavy rain all day, but we lucked out and only got a few drizzles here and there. We headed to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in the morning and it wasn’t too crowded. We did have an amazing bamboo dish at dinner last night so now bamboo makes me hungry. 10 AM: Tenryu-ji, Iwatayama Monkey Park
Headed over to Tenryu-ji, which was very nice but very crowded, and then to one of the things I looked forward to most on the trip, the Iwatayama Monkey Park. It’s a 20 minute hike up there but it is worth it. Oh my god. Getting to feed a baby monkey made my whole week. 12 PM: Lunch near Arashiyama (Udon Arashiyama-tei)
Headed back down to the main road and got duck udon at a little place called Udon Arashiyama-tei. I know I keep calling everything incredible but… yes. 1 PM: Ginkaku-ji
Ran into some bus issues (the first time we experienced anything public transit-wise not running as expected!) but eventually got over to Ginkaku-ji. It was also very crowded (seems like Japanese schools are big on field trips, which I’m jealous of) and not my favorite temple, but beautiful nonetheless. 3 PM: Daitoku-ji
We were ahead of schedule so we got to spend some time at our meeting place for the tea ceremony, Daitoku-ji. It ended up being our favorite temple, especially Daisen-in, a small and very quiet spot with a great self-guided tour. The monks showed us a section normally closed to non-Japanese tourists with beautiful calligraphy. 4 PM: Tea Ceremony (90 mins)
The tea ceremony we booked said it was in groups of up to ten, but it ended up being just us. It was very nice and relaxing, plus we got a little meal. 6 PM: Dinner (Gion Kappa), Pontocho Alley
We both nearly fell asleep on the bus back so we took it easy for the night. Went to an izakaya called Gion Kappa which had the best tuna belly we’d ever eaten, then did a quick walk around Pontocho Alley, got treats at 7-11 and went to bed early.
Monday: Fushimi Inari, Nishiki Market, Kyoto Imperial Palace (kinda) 9 AM: Fushimi Inari
Our plans to get up super early to beat the crowds to Fushimi Imari were hampered by the fact that we are no longer in our 20s. It was packed by the time we got there, and the amount of littering and defacing done by tourists was a bummer. 11 AM: Tofuku-ji
We had planned to go to the Imperial Palace at 10:30 for the Aoi Parade, but decided instead to get away from crowds by hiking from Fushimi Inari to Tofuku-ji, which was beautiful (I’d love to see it in the fall). 12 PM: Nishiki Market, lunch (Gyukatsu)
Grabbed lunch first at Gyukatsu (wagyu katsu - delicious) then wandered Nishiki a bit. It’s touristy, but fun. 2 PM: Kyoto Gyoen, Kyoto Handicraft Center
It was supposed to rain all day but ended up sunny, so we went back to the hotel to drop off our rain jackets and umbrellas. Stepped back outside and within ten minutes it was raining. We went to Kyoto Gyoen and saw the outside of the imperial palace; it was closed because of the parade earlier and half the garden was blocked off because the former emperor was visiting. Without the palace, Kyoto Gyoen is kind of meh. We walked over to Kyoto Handicraft Center which was also meh, but we picked up some nice lacquerware. 7:30 PM: Dinner at Roan Kiku Noi
We had a reservation at Roan Kiku Noi where we had maybe the best meal of our lives. Amazing that it only has two Michelin stars, honestly. Had fun trying to decipher the pain meds aisle at a Japanese pharmacy afterwards and then called it a night.
Tuesday: Day Trip to Nara 8 AM: Travel to Nara
We took the subway to the JR and were there in about an hour. 9 AM: Nara Deer Park
Two things about the Nara deer. One: if you bow to them, they bow back, and it’s very cute. And two, if you buy the 200y rice crackers to feed to them, do it somewhere where there aren’t very many of them. I got mobbed by like 15 deer and bitten 3 times. My fault for having skin approximately the shade of a rice cracker. 10 AM: Kofuku-ji, Nara National Museum
We saw Kofuku-ji and then the Nara National Museum, then stopped at a random little cafe for rice bowls with some kind of regional sauce (I can’t find it now!). 12 PM: Isetan Garden
We spent a long time finding the entrance to the Isetan garden only for it to be closed on Tuesdays. 2 PM: Giant Buddha
Saw Nandaimon Gate and the Daibutsu (giant Buddha), which are both every bit as enormous and glorious as advertised, as well as very crowded. 3 PM: Kasuga-taisha Shrine
Wandered over to Kasuga-taisha shrine, which is famous for its hundreds of lanterns and thousand-year-old trees. There’s a special inner area (paid) where you can see the lanterns lit up in the dark. 4 PM: Wait for the emperor
We got held up by a procession for, guess who, the former emperor again. Stalker. 5 PM: Nara shopping and snacks
Walked around Higashimuki Shopping Street and Mochiidono Shopping Arcade, bought a nice sake set and an amazing little hand-painted cat, ate some red bean paste pancakes and headed back to Kyoto. 7 PM: Dinner in Kyoto
Walked around Pontocho searching for dinner and landed on Yoshina, where we got even more kaiseki. Finished the night at Hello Dolly, a gorgeous jazz bar overlooking the river.
Wednesday: Day Trip to Osaka 7 AM: Depart hotel
Started by taking the subway to the JR. Took us about an hour altogether, though it would have been faster if we’d caught the express. 9 AM: Osaka Castle
We got to Osaka Castle in time for it to hit 85 degrees out. The outside of the castle is gorgeous, but the line to get in was long and I don’t know if the museum parts were worth the wait, especially with the crowds. The view from the top is nice, though. 12 PM: Okonomiyaki lunch (Abeton)
We went to an okonomiyaki spot in Avetica station called Abeton that was full of locals and absolutely bomb as hell. 1 PM: Shitteno-ji, Keitakuen Gardens
We headed to Shitteno-ji (our oldest temple yet) which was nice, though the climb to the top of then 5 story pagoda wasn’t worth the sweat. Then we walked over to Keitakuen Gardens, a small but gorgeous garden in Tennoji Park. Had a nice sit in the shade to digest and plan our next moves. 3 PM: Ebisuhigasbi, Mega Don Quijote
I am a crazy person, so I had to go to the Mega Don Quijote. We walked around Ebisuhigasbi for a while first, and while I was buying gifts in Donki, my boyfriend entered a sushi challenge for westerners (which turned out to just be “can a white boy handle wasabi”) and won a bunch of random crap! Now we own Japanese furniture wipes. 5 PM: Dotonbori & America-mura
We took the Osaka Loop to the Dotonbori area, which was super crowded as expected. We walked around America-mura and enjoyed seeing what they think of us. There are great designer vintage clothing shops here if that’s your thing. 6 PM: Dinner (Jiyuken)
We tried to get into Koni Doraku, a crab restaurant, but they were booked up, so we went to a tiny spot called Jiyuken for curry instead. I would do things for this curry. It was the platonic ideal of curry. It was served by old Japanese aunties from a very old recipe, so we knew it was going to be good, but it exceeded our wildest expectations… for <1000y each. 7 PM: Return to Kyoto
My feet were feeling real bad (the Nikes may look cool but they cannot support 25k steps a day) so we headed back to Kyoto and packed for our early morning tomorrow.
Thursday: Travel to Koyasan, Temple Stay 8 AM: Bus from Kyoto to Koyasan
The transit from Kyoto to Mt Koya is complicated, so we ended up just booking a bus directly from Kyoto Station to Koyasan (which barely cost more than public transit!). We got there bright and early for the 3 hour trip - if you take a bus out of Kyoto Station I definitely recommend giving yourself extra time to navigate to the right bus. 11 AM: Arrive at Eko-in, lunch
We arrived in Mt Koya and checked in to our temple, Eko-in. The quiet and the beauty hit me hard and I fell asleep for a few hours. We got a nice lunch at Hanabishi in town. 4 PM: Meditation class, dinner
The temple offered a meditation class, which was lovely, followed by a vegan dinner in our rooms. I can’t explain how peaceful this place was. 7 PM: Okuno-in Cemetery
We signed up for a monk-led tour of Okuno-in, which was definitely worth it. Came back for some public baths and fell asleep to the sound of rainfall.
Friday: Travel to Kanazawa, Higashi Chaya District 7 AM: Service & ritual at Eko-in
The day started with a religious service and a fire ritual at the temple. Both were stunning. I did wish that my fellow tourists had been a bit more respectful by showing up on time and following directions, but luckily, no one has more patience than a Buddhist monk. 9 AM: Travel to Kanazawa
We took a taxi through some sketchy mountain roads to Gokurakubashi Station, took two trains to Osaka Station, and then the JR Thunderbird to Kanazawa. 1 PM: Arrive at Kanazawa, Lunch (Maimon)
We got into Kanazawa station and went straight for a sushi spot called Maimon, which was delicious. Struggled a bit with the bus system and eventually got to our hotel, Utaimachi. 4 PM: Higashi Chaya District
Wandered the Higashi Chaya district a bit. It seemed kind of dead, but maybe we are just used to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo/Kyoto. 7 PM: Korinbo, dinner (Uguisu)
Walked down to the Korinbo area southwest of the park and found a tiny ramen spot called Uguisu. Incredible. Some of the best broth I’ve ever tasted plus amazing sous vide meats. 9 PM: Bar in Korinbo (Kohaku)
Went to a little upstairs whiskey bar called Kohaku. Boyfriend got Japanese whiskey and they made me a custom cocktail with sake, pineapple and passion fruit that was just insane. They were very nice and talked baseball with us for a while.
Saturday: Omicho Market, Kanazawa Castle, 21st Century Museum 9 AM: Kenroku-en Garden
We walked over to Kenroku-en Gardens, which were as beautiful as advertised. I was hurting pretty bad (crampy ladies, just know Japanese OTC painkillers are much weaker than ours, BYO Advil) so we’re moving slowly today. 12 PM: Omicho Market, lunch (Iki-Iki Sushi)
Walked to Omicho Market and ate little bits from different stalls, then waited about an hour to get into Iki-Iki Sushi. It was worth it. Some of the best, freshest sushi of my life. 2 PM: Kanazawa Castle, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
We walked around Kanazawa Castle a bit, then walked over to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. It was packed and the line to get tickets to the special exhibits was crazy, so we looked at the free ones and then headed back. Along the way we stopped in a few little stores and bought some handcrafted lacquerware from a local artist. 6 PM: Onnagawa Festival, dinner (Huni)
As we walked towards the restaurant, we came upon the Onnagawa Festival on the Plum Bridge, which included a beautiful dancing ceremony and lantern lighting. We went to Huni for dinner, our first “westernized Japanese” restaurant, and it was fantastic. 9 dishes served slowly over 3 hours at a table overlooking the river. Highly recommend if you’re in Kanazawa. 10 PM: Why does the bathtub have a phone
We went back to our hotel, struggled with the automated bathtub, and enjoyed our last night on tatami floors.
Sunday: Travel to Tokyo, Tokyo Giants Game, Ueno Park 7 AM: Travel to Tokyo
Grabbed a taxi we arranged the night before to Kanazawa Station - it would have been an easy bus journey but our number of bags has increased - and boarded the Shinkansen for Tokyo. 12 PM: Travel to Tokyo Dome and Tokyo Dome Park
Dropped our bags at our hotel in Asakusa, then headed for Tokyo Dome. We got there a little early to look around - there’s basically a full mall and food court and amusement park there. We grabbed some beers and some chicken katsu curry that was delicious. 2 PM: Tokyo Giants vs Chunichi Dragons
Japanese baseball games are so. much. fun. This was a random mid season game, and the stadium was full and people were amped. I’ve been to many American baseball games and never seen fans this excited. We also scored some fried cheese-wrapped hot dogs on a stick and a few more beers and had the time of our lives cheering for the Giants. 5 PM: Ueno Park
After trying and failing to find the jersey we were looking for, we walked to Ueno Park and looked around a bit. It was lovely, but we were exhausted and full of too many beers, so we headed back to Asakusa. 7 PM: Dinner in Asakusa
There was a festival all day around Shinso-ji and there were a ton of street vendors and day-drunk people when we arrived in the afternoon (as a native Louisianan, I approve) and it seemed like the partiers were going on into the night. We ducked into a restaurant for some buckwheat soba (never got the name, but it was only okay) and tucked in early.
Monday: Tsukiji Food Tour, Kapabashi Dougu, Akihabara 8 AM: 3-hour Tsukiji Food Tour + lunch
We started the day with a Tsukiji food tour, which ended up being my favorite food tour of the 3 by far. The guide was great, and we stopped by a dozen food stalls and sampled everything from mochi to fresh tuna to octopus cakes. We finished with lunch at Sushi Katsura, where our chef prepared everything in front of us. 12 PM: Imperial Palace, Don Quijote
We were planning to spend the afternoon exploring the Imperial Palace and Edo Castle Ruins, but it was hot and the palace was closed, so we walked to Taira no Masakado's Grave, then headed back to Asakusa for, you guessed it, Don Quijote. I did not intend for this trip to be “guess how many Don Quijotes I can visit” but here we are. We bought another suitcase and I filled it with food and gifts to bring home. 3 PM: Kappabashi Dougu
We walked Kappabashi Dougu and browsed kitchenwares while wishing we had a bigger kitchen, an unlimited budget and a way to get a hundred pounds of porcelain home in one piece. 6 PM: Akihabara dinner + games + drinks
We took the train to Akihabara, got dinner at Tsukada Nojo, then played games in a few arcades and ended the night at Game Bar A-button, which lets you play vintage handheld games while you drink.
Tuesday: Senso-ji, Flight 9 AM: Breakfast, Senso-ji
We got breakfast pancakes at Kohikan, then walked around Senso-ji and the surrounding shopping streets for a while. 12 PM: McDonald’s
Look, I couldn’t leave Japan without doing it, okay? I got the Teriyaki Chicken Burger (too sloppy and sweet) and bf got the Ebi Filet-O (he said it tasted exactly like a Filet-O-Fish). It was not great but I deserve that! 3 PM: Cab to the airport
I caught the flu on the flight home and have now been in bed for a week! Welcome back to America, baby.
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2023.06.01 14:12 sonofabutch No game today, so let's remember a forgotten Yankee: Jackie Jensen, "The Golden Boy"
, "The Golden Boy", was a superstar athlete in the 1940s who seemed destined for greatness as the heir to Joe DiMaggio... only to be supplanted by a different golden boy, the great Mickey Mantle.
Jensen would eventually live up to the hype, but with the Red Sox -- but his career ended prematurely because, as baseball expanded to the west coast, his fear of flying made road games unbearable!
The Yankees between 1947 and 1964 were utterly dominant, winning 15 pennants and 10 World Series. And it wasn't just the major league team that was successful. The Yankees of this era were loaded up and down the system, from Rookie ball to their two
With such a loaded major league roster, the Yankees had many talented players stuck either on the end of the bench or in the minors who would eventually find an opportunity with other teams, including Bob Cerv
, Vic Power, Gus Triandos, Lew Burdette, Jerry Lumpe, Bob Porterfield, and Bob Keegan, all named All-Stars with other teams after leaving the Yankees. Clint Courtney would be the 1952 A.L. Rookie of the Year runner-up after the Yankees traded him to the Browns, and Bill Virdon was the 1955 N.L. Rookie of the Year with the Cardinals (and then Yankee manager from 1974 to 1975!).
But the most talented player who just couldn't find the playing time in New York was Jack Eugene Jensen
, born March 9, 1927, in San Francisco. His parents divorced when he was 5, and he grew up poor, his mother working six days a week, 12 hours a day. Jensen said the family moved 16 times between kindergarten and eighth grade -- "every time the rent came due."
After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Jensen went to the University of California in 1946 on the G.I. Bill. There he became one of the most famous college players in the country, leading Cal to the Rose Bowl. In 1947, he was the starting fullback as well as the team's top defensive back, and in 1948, he rushed for 1,000 yards and was an All-American.
He also was a tremendous two-way baseball player, pitching and hitting for the Golden Bears in 1947 as the won the very first College World Series, beating a Yale team that had George H.W. Bush playing first base. In 1949, he was an All-American in baseball, too.
His blond hair, good looks, and athletic accomplishments earned him the nickname "The Golden Boy."
Halfway through his junior year, Jensen left Berkeley to turn pro. Jensen would later say he couldn't risk playing a career-ending injury playing for free while teams -- baseball and football -- were trying to sign him to big-money contracts.
"There was a money tree growing in my backyard. Why shouldn't I pluck off the dollars when I wanted to?"
Jensen considered a number of offers, including from the Yankees, before signing a three-year, $75,000 contract with the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. Jensen said he thought he'd face better competition in the Pacific Coast League, the top minor league of the era, than he would at the bottom of the Yankee farm system. He was right about it being more of a challenge -- he hit an unimpressive .261/.317/.394 in 510 plate appearances with the Oaks.
At the end of the year, the Oaks sold his contract (and that of Billy Martin, another Northern California kid) to the Yankees.
That same year, Jensen married his high school sweetheart
, Zoe Ann Olsen, an Olympic diver. (By age 18, she had won 14 national diving championships and a silver medal in the 1948 Olympics.) "Together they looked like a Nordic god and goddess," Sports Illustrated
reported. Nicknamed "the sweethearts of sports," they were the Dansby Swanson and Mallory Pugh of their era. More than 1,000 people attended their wedding.
Jensen would start the 1950 season not in the minors but in the Bronx. He joined the Yankees in a time of flux. They though they'd won the 1949 World Series, the Yankees knew they had to make some changes, with 35-year-old Joe DiMaggio nearing the end of his career. And their heir apparent was not Mickey Mantle -- at the time an 18-year-old shortstop playing in the Class C league, the equivalent of A-ball today -- but the 23-year-old Jensen.
But Jensen disappointed, hitting just .171/.247/.300 in 70 at-bats, and only starting in 13 games. Watching from the bench most of the season, Jensen would later lament the lost year of development, saying he'd have been better off playing every day in the Pacific Coast League.
The Yankees won the pennant for a second straight year, and in the World Series he once again was left on the bench. His only action was as a pinch runner in Game 3 as the Yankees swept the Phillies. That "Moonlight Graham" appearance would be his only taste of the post-season in an 11-year career.
The following year would be DiMaggio's last, and Mantle's first. Jensen began the year as the Yankees' starting left fielder and proved he belonged, hitting .296/.371/.509 through the end of July... and then, shockingly, was demoted to Triple-A and replaced with previously forgotten Yankee Bob Cerv
I can see why they called up Cerv -- the University of Nebraska stand-out was tearing up Triple-A, leading the American Association in batting average (.349), home runs (26), triples (21), RBIs (101), and total bases (261) -- but why demote Jensen, who had a 140 OPS+ in the majors? Maybe the Yankees felt the brash 23-year-old needed to be taken down a peg. In any event, Cerv hit just .214/.333/.250 in August and was sent back to Triple-A, but Jensen also was left down there. He hit .263/.344/.469 and was recalled after the Triple-A season ended, only getting into three games (he went 3-for-9).
Mantle, too, had started the season with the Yankees, and after hitting .260/.341/.423 through the middle of July, was sent down to Triple-A. But he hit .361/.445/.651 in 166 at-bats, and unlike Jensen was back in the bigs by August 24. He would play pretty much every game the rest of the season, hitting .284/.370/.495 in 95 at-bats.
The torch had clearly been passed -- Jensen was no longer the heir apparent to DiMaggio. In the World Series that year, Mantle was the starting right fielder, and Jensen wasn't even on the post-season roster.
Jensen was so disappointed with how the Yankees had treated him in 1951 that he talked to the San Francisco 49ers about switching to pro football, but ultimately decided to stick with baseball.
Never shy about what he said to reporters, Jensen told The Sporting News
on October 24, 1951:
"I felt so badly about the treatment that I received from the Yankees that, although I was in New York at the end of the season, I didn't feel like sticking around to even watch the club play in any of the World's Series games."
"I do not feel the Yankees were justified in sending me to the minor leagues. When I was shipped to Kansas City, I was doing as good a job as any Yankee outfielder and better than some of them. I was hitting .296, which was ten points better than Hank Bauer and 30 points better than Joe DiMaggio, Gene Woodling and Mickey Mantle. Yet Casey Stengel didn't give me the chance I felt I deserved."
Despite blasting his manager in the press, Jensen was still the property of the Yankees. That off-season, teams were circling, hoping to pry away the talented but disgruntled outfielder. There were newspaper reports of offers from the St. Louis Browns, the Detroit Tigers, the Philadelphia Athletics, the Washington Senators, the Cleveland Indians, and the Boston Red Sox -- with one rumor being Ted Williams to the Bronx in exchange for Jensen and several other players. (A Red Sox scout called the rumored deal "a lot of hogwash.")
Sportswriters spent the off-season speculating whether DiMaggio would retire, and if he did, whether Jensen or Mantle would take over as the center fielder, as there were still concerns that Mantle, who had hurt his knee in the 1951 World Series, wouldn't be fully recovered by the start of the season.
On Opening Day, April 16, 1952, it was Jackie Jensen in center and Mickey Mantle in right. Jensen went 0-for-5 with a GIDP; Mantle, 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base! Seven games into the season, Jensen was 2-for-17 (.118) and found himself on the bench. He'd never play for the Yankees again. On May 3, the Golden Boy was traded to the Washington Senators along with Spec Shea, Jerry Snyder, and Archie Wilson in exchange for Irv Noren and Tom Upton.
In two years with the Senators, Jensen hit an impressive .276/.359/.407 (112 OPS+), but the team was terrible, and Jensen wasn't happy. Still just 26 years old, he later said he had almost quit after the 1953 season... particularly after a harrowing flight to Japan for a series of exhibition games with a squad of All-Stars that included Yankees Yogi Berra, Eddie Lopat, and Billy Martin. That experience gave Jensen a lifelong fear of flying, a phobia that became so intense eventually he could only fly with the help of sleeping pills... and a hypnotist!
He might have quit if not for the trade on December 9, 1953, that sent him to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Mickey McDermott and outfielder Tom Umphlett. He was homesick, he hated flying, and he now had two little kids at home. Red Sox general manager Joe Cronin convinced Jensen to come to the Red Sox, telling him that Fenway Park was tailor made for his swing. Cronin was right: Jensen was a career .279/.369/.460 hitter, but .298/.400/.514 at Fenway.
It was in Boston that Jensen finally lived up to the hype, becoming a two-time All-Star and winning the A.L. MVP Award in 1958 and a Gold Glove in 1959. During his seven seasons in Boston, he hit .282/.374/.478 in 4,519 plate appearances. In his MVP season, Jensen hit .286/.396/.535 (148 OPS+) with 31 doubles, 35 home runs, and a league-leading 122 RBIs. During his peak with the Red Sox, 1954 to 1959, Jensen's average
season was .285/.378/.490 (127 OPS+) with 28 doubles, 26 home runs, 111 RBIs, 14 stolen bases, and 3.6 bWAR. During those six seasons, no one in the American League -- not Mickey Mantle, not Ted Williams, not Al Kaline -- had more runs batted in than Jackie Jensen.
Of course, Mantle was the far better player -- even in Jensen's MVP season, Mantle had more runs, hits, home runs, walks, and a 188 OPS+ -- but Jensen's 127 OPS+ between 1954 and 1959 would have been an upgrade over the aging Hank Bauer's 110 OPS+ in right or the left field merry-go-round of Norm Siebern (113 OPS+), Irv Noren (107 OPS+), Enos Slaughter (103 OPS+), and previously forgotten Yankee Hector Lopez
(101 OPS+). Casey Stengel would later say the Jensen trade was the worst one the Yankees had made while he was manager.
Despite his success, Jensen was sometimes booed by the Boston fans, just as they sometimes booed Ted Williams. There even was an article in Sport
magazine, "What Do They Want From Jackie Jensen?", taking Red Sox fans to task for their unreasonably high demands from the Golden Boy. In 1956, in a game at Fenway Park against the Yankees, the hometown fans were razzing Jensen so much that teammates had to restrain him from going into the stands after a fan. Later that same game, Williams misplayed a wind-blown fly ball from Mantle, and the fans booed lustily. The very next play, Williams made a leaping catch at the scoreboard to rob Yogi Berra of a double. But Williams, still furious, spit into the crowd. He was later fined $5,000.
And Jackie was unhappy to be away from home. He and Zoe Ann had bought a house near Lake Tahoe, where they could both ski and golf year-round, as well as hit the casinos. They also had a home in Oakland, and a restaurant there, and each year Jensen hosted a pro-am golf tournament. But the marriage was struggling. Zoe Ann, once nationally known for her Olympic exploits, was frustrated to be a stay-at-home mom in the shadow of her famous husband, and Jackie became angry if she engaged in her favorite outdoor hobbies, suspecting there were men around.
Jensen's fear of flying also had become even more intense. Sometimes he was so drugged up that he had to be carried on and off the plane, fueling rumors that he was a drunk. Other times he took trains or even drove while his teammates flew.
Once again Jensen was talking about retirement, and in Spring Training 1957, the Red Sox allowed him to train with the San Francisco Seals, Boston's Triple-A team, rather than having to go to Florida. But he was still miserable. That year, he told Sports Illustrated
“In baseball you get to the point where you don’t think you have a family. It just looks like I’m not built for this life like some ballplayers. You are always away from home and you’re lonesome, and as soon as I can, I intend to get out.”
The 32-year-old Jensen announced his retirement after the 1959 season, and he spent 1960 home with Zoe Ann and their children and running his restaurant. But he returned in 1961. After hitting just .130 in April, Jensen took a train from Detroit home to Reno, determined to quit once again. After a week away, he rejoined the team and had six hits in his next 10 at-bats. By the end of the season he was at .263/.350/.392, and he quit again. This time for good.
After leaving baseball, Jensen invested in real estate and a golf course, but lost most of his money. He then got a job working for a Lake Tahoe casino, was a national spokesman for Camel cigarettes, Wonder Bread, and Gillette, and even tried selling cars. Ironically, Jackie found himself on the road almost as much as he had been as a ballplayer. In 1963, he and Zoe Ann divorced, remarried, and then divorced again.
In 1967, Jensen became a TV sportscaster, married his producer Katharine Cortesi, and eventually teamed up with Keith Jackson calling college football games for ABC, and was a college baseball coach, first at the University of Nevada-Reno and then at the University of California. He managed the Red Sox team in the New York Penn League in 1970. In 1977, Jackie and Katharine moved to Virginia and started a Christmas tree farm while he coached baseball at a military academy. About five years later, on July 14, 1982, he died of a heart attack at age 55.
You Don't Know Jack(ie):
- How good would Jackie Jensen have been as a Yankee? Maybe not great. He was a career .279/.369/.460 hitter, but just .238/.326/.398 at Yankee Stadium, which -- especially in that era -- was famously death on right-handed batters. Fenway Park was much more to his liking!
- Born in San Francisco in 1927, it's no surprise Jensen's favorite player as a kid was Joe DiMaggio, who made his debut with the San Francisco Seals when Jensen was a 5 years old. When Jensen made his major league debut, on April 18, 1950, DiMaggio went 3-for-6 with a triple in a 15-10 win over the Red Sox. Two weeks later, on May 3, Jensen made his first start, playing left field and batting second, and DiMaggio was in center and batting fourth.
- Jensen wore #36 at Cal. When he came up with the Yankees, he was first issued #40, then switched to #27, and finally to #25. (With the Senators, he wore #8, then #4; in Boston, he first wore #30 but primarily wore #4.) Currently, #40 is worn by Luis Severino. Other famous 40's include Chien-Ming Wang (2005-2009), Andy Hawkins (1989-1991), and Lindy McDaniel (1968-1973). #27 has been worn by Giancarlo Stanton since 2018; prior to him, it was worn by Austin Romine (2016-2017). It also was the number worn by Bob Wickman (1993-1996), Butch Wynegar (1982-1986), and Woodie Held (1954-1957). Gleyber Torres has worn #25 since 2018; it also was worn by Mark Teixeira (2009-2016), Jason Giambi (2002-2008), Joe Girardi (1996-1999), Jim Abbott (1993-1994), Tommy John (1979-1989), and Joe Pepitone (1962-1969).
- Jensen is one of six major leaguers to graduate from Oakland High School, but the only Yankee. Cal has sent 83 players to the majors, including twenty Yankees -- most notably, early 1990s pitcher Chuck Cary, 1930s infielder Lyn Lary, and 1990 A.L. ROY runner-up Kevin Maas.
- The Yankees during spring training in 1951 tinkered with the idea of using Jensen into a pitcher. Jensen had been a star pitcher at Cal, including pitching in the 1947 College World Series, and had pitched in a winter league that off-season. But he was bombed in a handful of spring training innings -- while crushing as a hitter -- and the Yankees decided to leave him in the outfield.
- College teammates said Jensen wasn't afraid of flying at Cal. His second wife Katharine said the phobia came from a near-miss experience on a flight early in his baseball career -- he looked out the window and saw another plane coming straight at him! The two planes managed to avoid each other, but he was never comfortable on a plane again.
- Billy Martin, who also had grown up in Northern California and was Jensen's teammate on both the Oakland Oaks and the Yankees, was merciless when it came to teasing Jensen about his fear of flying. In 1953, on a flight from Okinawa to Honshu to play a series of exhibition games in Japan, the plane ran into a bad storm and was bouncing pretty hard. Jensen, who wouldn't get on a plane without the help of tranquilizers, was blissfully sleeping through the turbulence. Martin found a lifejacket and put it on, then stood over Jensen and shouted "We're going down!"
- Arthur Ellen, a hypnotist that Jensen had used to try to cure his fear of flying, believed Jackie wasn't aerophobic at all. It was really a fear of losing his family. "Subconsciously, it developed as a good reason to leave the Red Sox and go home," the hypnotist said.
- Jensen is featured prominently in Norman Rockwell's famous 1957 painting, The Rookie. Jensen is the one seated on the bench tying his shoe in the middle of the painting. Standing behind him is Ted Williams, and sitting on the bench next to him is pitcher Frank Sullivan (#18). Wearing the catcher's mitt in the foreground is Sammy White, and the player with his hand over his mouth to the far right is Billy Goodman. Jensen, Sullivan, and White had gone to Rockwell's studio in Massachusetts to pose for the painting; the images of Williams and Goodman were based on photos. The shirtless player was one of Rockwell's assistants, and "the rookie" holding the suitcase was a local high school student!
- Boston sportswriters named Jensen the team's MVP in 1954, when he hit .276/.359/.472 with 25 home runs and 117 RBIs. I guess they were tired of giving the award to Ted Williams, who hit .345/.513/.635 that year, albeit in just 117 games as he had broken his collarbone in spring training. Williams didn't qualify for the batting title that year because he had only 386 at-bats... mostly due to his league-leading 136 walks. The rule was subsequently changed from at-bats to plate appearances.
- After Jensen was acquired by the Washington Senators, manager Bucky Harris -- who managed the Yankees when they won the 1947 World Series -- pulled him aside and told him he was the right fielder and he'd hit third. "No pep talk, no nothing, but he made it sound like I was the right fielder and third place hitter for a long time to come," Jensen later recalled. "It made me feel good." The 1950s Senators had a number of ex-Yankees and several of them told reporters that Harris was a much more low-key, hands-off manager than Casey Stengel, and Jensen agreed. "With Stengel it was always 'watch for that curve ball' or 'watch for that change up'," Jensen said. "Bucky leaves you on your own up there." But Jensen would later say Stengel was the smartest manager he'd ever had.
- Stengel obliquely mentioned Jensen in his famously long, rambling testimony before the Senate Anti-Trust and Monopoly Subcommittee on July 8, 1958. Asked about legislation that would exempt baseball from federal anti-trust laws, Stengel said about 7,000 words without really saying anything. The hearing was held the day after the All-Star Game -- the Stengel-managed A.L. All-Stars won, 4-3 -- and in the American League starting lineup were Jensen and two other ex-Yankees, Bob Cerv and Gus Triandos. Stengel was asked if the Yankees were going to continue to "monopolize" the World Series, and his confusing answer: "Well, I will tell you. I got a little concerned yesterday in the first three innings when I saw the three players I had gotten rid of [Jensen, Cerv, and Triandos] and I said when I lost nine what am I going to do? And when I had a couple of my players I thought so great of that did not do so good up to the sixth inning I was more confused but I finally had to go and call on a young man in Baltimore that we don't own and the Yankees don't own him and he is doing pretty well and I would actually have to to tell you that we are more the Greta Garbo-type now from success. We are being hated. I mean from the ownership and all we are being hated. Every sport that gets too great or one individual -- but if we made twenty-seven cents and it pays to have a winner at home why would you have a good winner in your park if you were an owner? That is the result of baseball. An owner gets most of the money at home, and it is up to him and his staff to do better or they ought to be discharged." After befuddling the committee with answers like that for 45 minutes, Stengel was excused and Mickey Mantle called upon. His opening statement: "My views are just about the same as Casey's."
- Casey Stengel later said Jensen plus Spec Shea, Jerry Snyder, and Archie Wilson to the Senators for Irv Noren and Tom Upton was the worst trade the Yankees made during his tenure. But in reality it was pretty much a wash for the Yankees. Jensen, in two seasons, would be worth 4.9 bWAR for the Senators before being traded. Shea, a right-handed pitcher who had been an All-Star with the Yankees as a rookie, pitched four years in Washington and was worth 2.9 bWAR. Snyder was a good-glove, no-hit infielder worth -0.1 bWAR in seven seasons with the Senators. (You must have a really good glove to last seven seasons with a 55 OPS+!) Wilson, at one point seen as a good prospect but now a 28-year-old minor league journeyman, only played 26 games in Washington before being traded. In exchange, the Yankees received the 27-year-old Irv Noren, an outfieldefirst baseman who played five years in New York and was an All-Star in 1954; he was worth 7.9 bWAR, making the trade essentially even by bWAR. (The other player the Yankees received, minor league infielder Tom Upton, never made it back to the bigs.) Prior to the 1957 season, Noren was traded to the Kansas City Athletics as part of a monster 13-player trade that included Clete Boyer, third baseman of the early 1960s dynasty!
- The two players Washington got from Boston for Jensen, Mickey McDermott and Tom Umphlett, were both future Yankees. McDermott was a left-handed pitcher whose father, Maurice McDermott, had played in the minors with Lou Gehrig. Mickey was just 25 years old at the time of the trade but had been in the majors for six seasons, going 48-34 with a 3.80 ERA (114 ERA+). In two years with the Senators, McDermott went 17-25 (but with a 3.58 ERA), then prior to the 1957 season was traded to the Yankees as part of a seven-player deal; he went 2-6 with a 4.24 ERA as a swingman, and closed out the Game 2 win in the 1956 World Series. After that one season in New York, he was part of the trade with the A's that brought back Clete Boyer.
- Umphlett, a 22-year-old infielder, was traded back to the Red Sox in 1955, and then the Red Sox traded him to the Yankees in 1962 for infielder Billy Gardner. He would spend 1962 and 1963 in Triple-A for the Yankees, then ended his career in the minors with the Minnesota Twins -- the team that had been the Senators until 1961.
- In 1956, the anthology television show Cavalcade of America had an episode called The Jackie Jensen Story. Jackie had a cameo as the adult version of himself, but the 30-minute episode was focused on Jackie's teenage years and the influence of his middle high school coach, a man named Ralph Kerchum who became a father figure. The coach was played by Ross Elliott, a Bronx native whose most memorable role might have been as the director in the Vitameatavegamin episode of I Love Lucy.
- Jensen's MVP in 1958 broke a string of four straight MVP awards for Yankees -- Yogi Berra in 1954 and 1955 followed by Mickey Mantle in 1956 and 1957. Nellie Fox of the White Sox won it in 1959, and then the Yankees won it four years in a row again -- Roger Maris in 1960 and 1961, Mantle in 1962, and Elston Howard in 1963. Then a long drought -- the next Yankee to win it would be Thurman Munson in 1976.
- Going by bWAR, Mantle should have won it a third straight year in 1958 -- his 8.7 bWAR led the league, followed by Frank Lary at 6.7 and Al Kaline at 6.5. Jensen's 4.9 was 10th that year. Of course, they didn't have bWAR back then!
- Jackie won a Gold Glove in 1959; it was just the third year of the award's existence, or he might have won more. "Right field in Boston is a bitch, the sun field, and few play it well," Ted Williams said. "Jackie Jensen was the best I saw at it." Jensen was renowned for his throwing arm -- he twice led the league in assists, and twice led the league in double plays as an outfielder. One Yankee scout said he had the best arm he'd seen since previously forgotten Yankee Bob Meusel, usually said to have the best cannon in baseball history until Roberto Clemente came along.
- Jensen was well known for his brashness, especially compared to Mantle's aw shucks attitude. Mantle, asked if he thought he could beat out Jensen to replace DiMaggio in center field, humbly replied that there were three positions in the outfield and he hoped to win any one of them. Jensen, on the other hand, vowed he'd "out-run, out-hit, and out-throw" Mantle, an arrogant answer that didn't go over well with teammates. Joe DiMaggio, asked what he thought of the duel for his old job, quipped that Mantle was "out-quoting" Jensen.
- When Mantle was asked what he thought about Jensen's quote, he replied: "I don't know what to make of that guy." Jensen would later say he was misquoted, but reports of his cockiness would follow him throughout his Yankee years. Later in life, Jensen said people mistook his shyness and anxiety for arrogance and rudeness.
- According to Sports Illustrated, Jensen is the only player to have played in the East-West football game, the Rose Bowl, the World Series, and the Major League All-Star Game. I'll take their word for it!
- As a freshman at Cal, the first time Jensen touched the ball -- on a punt return -- he ran it back for a 56-yard touchdown. Cal quarterback Charles Erb said they'd never seen anything like it. "He was all over the field, dodging and leaping over guys. The rest of us just stood there on the sidelines with our mouths open. Finally somebody said, 'Who in the hell is that guy?' "
- Jensen is one of two "forgotten" Yankees in the College Football Hall of Fame -- the other is 1960s catcher Jake Gibbs. (Other Yankees in the College Football Hall of Fame include John Elway, who was in the Yankee minor league system before joining the Denver Broncos, and Deion Sanders, who was on the Yankees in 1989 and 1990.) Jensen also is a member of the Cal Hall of Fame, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, and... ugh... the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
- Despite his speed -- Jensen led the league in triples in 1956 and in stolen bases in 1954, and was in the top five in stolen bases in six seasons -- Jackie also was prone to grounding into double plays, leading the league in 1954, 1956, and 1957. His 32 GIDPs in 1954 was the major league record until Boston's Jim Rice hit into 36 in 1984, which is still the single-season record. Rice also had 35 in 1985. Jensen's 32 is tied for third with four others. The most by a Yankee? Dave Winfield with 30 in 1983, which is tied for 14th.
- Jensen lost most of his baseball earnings through a series of bad investments. His ex-wife, former Olympian Zoe Ann, later became a blackjack dealer in Reno to pay the bills.
- Jensen had four appearances on the popular show Home Run Derby, and set a record for most home runs in one match when he defeated Ernie Banks, 14-11, in Episode 24. The 25 combined home runs also was a record. He took on Mickey Mantle in Episode 3, with Mantle winning, 9-2, then defeated Rocky Colavito, 3-2, in Episode 25. He rematched against Mantle in Episode 26, with Mantle winning again, 13-10. Jensen set another record in that contest when he became the only player to hit four home runs in a row, and then a fifth home run in a row. That episode was supposed to be the season one finale, but it turned out to be the last episode of the series: The show's host and producer, Mark Scott, died of a heart attack at age 45, shortly after the last episode aired, and two months later the show's 64-year-old director Benjamin Stoloff also died. Rather than replacing them, the show was cancelled.
- Jensen's last game came against the Yankees, on October 1st, 1961, at Yankee Stadium. He appeared as a pinch hitter and popped out to shortstop Tony Kubek. In the 4th inning of that game, Roger Maris hit his 61st home run, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record!
- Jackie and Zoe Ann had two sons, Jon and Jay, and a daughter, Jan. Jay's son, Tucker Jensen, was a pitcher in the Blue Jays farm system in 2011 and 2012.
In 1958, Jensen told Sports Illustrated
that the biggest thrill of his career wasn't being an All-American or an All-Star, it wasn't winning an MVP or a World Series. "The biggest is having played in the same outfield with both DiMaggio and Williams."
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2023.06.01 14:00 dreftzg [Daily News] Tissot With A New Hit: Could It The Best Summer Watch Of The Year?, New Certina DS Action Diver 43mm Is Pitch Black, Mido Introduces Multifort Powerwind Collection And The Edox SkyDiver 38 Is A New Skin Diver For The Smaller Wrist
It's Wednesday and you would be surprised how long it took me to realize that the majority of watches released yesterday were actually Swatch Group. That Tissot has me spending money.
What's new 1/ Tissot Releases The Best Summer Watch Of The Year, The Forged Carbon Sideral
The late 60s and 70s are arguably the golden age of watch design. It’s the time when watches stopped being elegant personal timekeeping devices and became tools. Or, at least, gave the illusion of being a tool watch so you could look like a badass on the beach. It gave us luxury sports watches like the Nautilus and Royal Oak, gorgeous chronographs from Heuer and dive watches from the likes of Blancpain and Rolex. It was also the the time of experimenting with materials and Tissot used their Sideral to do so. Since it’s supremely cool today to revive funky vintage watches, Tissot is now bringing back the Sideral, also experimenting with new materials, but this time with forged carbon.
The late 60s version of the Sideral was the first watch to ever use a monobloc fibreglass case. Two years later, the Sideral S was introduced, a sportier take on the concept with a now famous yellow rubber strap and different fastening system.
The new version retains a lot of the aspects of the original, but updating it for the age it’s made in. It retains the barrel shape of the case made of forged carbon fibre and stainless steel that measures 41mm in width and 46.5mm in length. You can get the watch in three colors, and while the black & yellow and black & grey models show the natural colours and pattern of the forged carbon fibre, the black & blue one comes with blue flakes embedded into the material. The unidirectional rotating bezel on top is fitted with a black insert and a graduated regatta scale in white. The screw-down crown ensures it is water-resistant to 300m.
The dial is predominantly black, with either a grey, blue or yellow minute track. This segmented track is accompanied by a green and red regatta countdown section between 12 and 2 o’clock. Tissot is a Swatch company, so it’s just natural that it gets the Powermatic 80 automatic movement. This is Swatch Group’s go-to automatic for several brands and is essentially a heavily modified ETA 2824 which has gotten decent reviews and has an 80 hour power reserve.
The watch comes on three perforated rubber straps in yellow, red or blue, inspired by the original yellow one. Additional coloured straps are said to be available too.
Each of the watches, available now, will retail for EUR 1,075. Looks like Tissot has another hit on their hands. 2/ The New Certina DS Action Diver 43mm Is Pitch Black
Cartina has had a long stretch of being neglected by owners and undermined by the public. But boy, are they back. In the past couple of years they have regrouped and boy, are they on a bender. Vintage reissues, fantastic affordable divers… they even have a modular watch system which is… meh. However, the latest release form the Swiss watchmaker is not meh. In fact, it’s pretty bold. The new Certina DS Action Diver is super black.
It’s a big diver, there’s no denying it. 43mm wide, 51mm lug-to-lug and 13.1mm thick. It’s a stainless steel case with a matte black PVD coating, as well as a matte black ceramic insert within the coin-edge bezel. The blackness of the insert is broken up with a single bright white lume pip at 12. The NATO strap it comes on is also black and made out of recycled plastic. The one downside of the case is the fact that it has a 21mm lug width, so good luck finding a different strap.
The dial is just as black, with contrasting crisp white makers that glow like crazy. The triangles at the quarters and the arrowhead hour hand do help to lend an extra sense of aggression to the dial. There’s a date window at three o’clock. Certina, like Tissot, is owned by the Swatch group, so no surprises on what’s inside - it’s the Powermatic 80.
The Certina DS Action Diver in black is now available from all Certina authorised retailers. Price: CHF895 3/ Mido Introduces Stylish Multifort Powerwind Collection
Here’s another brand from the Swatch Group that has been kicking ass in the past few years - Mido. It might be controversial, but the Mido Ocean Star Decompression Worldtimer is one of my favorite watches of the past few years. Mido does vintage fantastically, just like they did last year when they introduced a limited edition, COSC-certified, revival of the 1954 Multifort Powerwind. Now, Mido is introducing three new variations of the Multifort Powerwind that will be part of the brand’s permanent collection.
The Multifort is Mido’s most important watch. Born in the 1930s, this automatic, anti-magnetic, water-and shock-resistant watch has become its bestseller. The concept was drastically updated in 1954 with an innovative automatic movement and renamed the Powerwind. Developed in collaboration with partner A. Schild SA, the automatic part of the movement reduced the components from the standard 16 to just seven, making it easier to build and service while enhancing durability and reliability.
The new models retain the same elegantly designed case with its thin, twisted lugs, box-shaped sapphire crystal and overall retro style as the limited edition released last year. Compared to the 1954 watch, it has grown quite a bit and is now 40mm wide and 12mm thick. What changes most regarding the design, compared to the limited edition of last year, are the dials.
The permanent collection is no longer a day-date model, but rather just a time and date watch, with reworked markers that are a combination of applied triangular indices and printed Arabic numerals. You can get it in three versions: steel with black dial, steel with blue dial, yellow gold PVD-coated steel with champagne dial.
Perhaps the biggest change happens on the inside - while the limited edition last year had a chronometer-certified ETA 2836-2 movement, the permanent collection gets, you guessed it, the Powermatic 80, here named the Caliber 80. The watch comes on a 3-link stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp and quick-release spring bars.
You can get the watches now, priced at EUR 970 (black and blue) or EUR 1,160 (PVD gold). 4/ Rado Adds Three Ceramic Watches to their Great Gardens of the World Series
Rado is a polarizing brand. Some love it, others almost detest it. But there’s no denying that Rado has done impressive things with the use of ceramic, be it their retro sports watches in the Captain Cook line, the super minimalist watches in the Designer line or the dressier models like the True Thinline. This is Rado’s slim ceramic watch intorduced in 2011 that is now getting three new models with textured dials inspired by endangered plant species in partnership with the Great Gardens o the World organisation.
This is not the first time that Rado is working with Great Gardens of the World, a network of gardens across 20 countries. They have made seven watches prior, making these Chapters 8 through 10. All three of the new watches have the same 40mm high-tech ceramic monobloc case that’s only 9mm thick, with ceramic bracelets that have a triple-folding titanium clasp. Inside the watch is the Rado 766 movement, based on the ETA 2892.
The major differences of the three come from the looks of the watches. Chapter 8 is housed in a black polished ceramic case, with the dial recreating the pleated leaves of the Hawaiian Luolu lelo palm tree. The hands and brand name are golden coloured. Chapter 9 is dedicated to the Chilean Araucaria, or monkey puzzle tree, and comes in a glossy, white high-tech ceramic case. The sharp, scale-like leaves of the tree are replicated on the dial with a composition of engraved triangles in opalescent mother-of-pearl. Chapter 10 is dedicated to the Dragon Blood Tree in a grey ceramic case and a two layer dial. The top layer is a skeletonised plate cut out in organic shapes to evoke the thick, entangled branches of the Dragon Blood Tree, revealing the lower layer in a pink gold colour.
The trilogy – Chapters 8, 9 and 10 of the Rado True Thinline Great Gardens of the World – is available in a collector’s box, limited to 99 units. Alternatively, each model can be purchased individually for EUR 2,900. 5/ The New Edox SkyDiver 38 Date Automatic Is A Vintage Inspired Skin Diver For You If You Want A Smaller Watch
The Edox SkyDiver has an interesting story. The brand claims that a mysterious drawing was found in their archives which turned out to be “the sketch of a long-lost timepiece, the SkyDiver”. Along with the sketch, there was a scrawled note reading: 1973. Special production in strictly limited edition“ According to a retired Edox watchmaker, the SkyDiver was rumoured to be a secret project for a mysterious, wealthy Swiss colonel. The anonymous colonel wanted an exclusive timepiece for elite mountain paratroopers under his command. It had to combine the no-nonsense functionality of a dive watch with the style and aesthetics of a precision pilot’s watch.
So Edox took these sketches and remade it in modern times with a bronze version that followed. In 2021, the SkyDiver was entirely revamped with new looks and upgraded materials, yet a solid vintage touch, in a case of 42mm. To fix the biggest complaint they got, they are now releasing a new version - the 38mm SkyDiver.
It’s basically the same watch, but smaller. It’s a traditional skin-diver watch, with a straight case, unprotected oversized crown, rather slim case profile topped by a heavily domed crystal. The screw down crown gives you 300m of water resistance and the domed crystal brings the thickness to 13.7mm. You can have it with two dial colors - black or blue, with a matching ceramic insert on the bezel, and it has a glossy vintage finish with applied markers with orange highlights.
Inside is the Selita SW200-1 automatic movement with 4Hz frequency and 38h power reserve. Both colors come on a 3-link brushed and polished steel bracelet closed by a triple folding clasp.
The watch is available now and is priced at EUR 1,575 (excl. taxes).
On hand - a selection of reviews 1/ Hands on with the Q Timex Three Time Zone Chronograph 2/ A review of the updated mint green Rolex Sky-Dweller
Watch Worthy - A look at an offbeat, less known watch you might actually like How time shaped the Type 20 chronograph, and the brands that keep the legend alive
Watches and military history have an unbreakable bond. You only need to think back to the very beginnings of the wristwatch as a tool. During the Anglo-Burma War and First Boer War, soldiers began to strap pocket watch cases with primitive soldered lugs to their wrists, which opened the door for a new market. Fast-forward some 70 years, and you’ll find yourself in a new world, free from the shackles of World War II. Despite it being a time of peace, the French government found itself in need of accurate, reliable timepieces, resulting in the Type 20 chronograph that took inspiration from the designs of German pilot’s chronographs of the 1930s and 1940s, and applied it to the set of regulations outlined by the French. Today, original Type 20 pieces remain highly sought-after, spawning many re-editions and homages, with one brand in particular making the most of the design.
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2023.06.01 08:03 nnalien [TOMT] [MOVIE] [2000s] Animated Christmas film about living toys going on a journey to find a toymaker
A 2D animated children's film; could have also been from the 90s. One of the toys was an elf christmas tree ornament made of unravelling fabric. Another of the toys was a wooden horse with a wheel on each foot. There was a toy that could only talk after someone pulled the cord on its back. I think there were other main characters but these are the only ones I remember; the elf especially is super distinct in mind, I think I could draw him to this day. They needed to find the guy that made them because they were in disrepair and needed him to fix them or something. I think one of the toys died falling through the ice as they crossed a frozen lake. The toys may have been on the run from soldiers (not too sure about this point). There may have been kind of an isekai element where the main characters traveled from a different world to the toy universe (even less sure about this point). Hope someone else remembers this film. I seem to remember this movie making me really emotional so its really bothering me that I can't find it.
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2023.06.01 07:15 IronMonkey5844 All ASOIAF Deaths (SPOILERS MAIN)
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