So, not a hotel employee, but a frequent guest, but the story about getting stuck in the elevator from last night reminded me of this. Hope its OK to share it. I travel for a living, pre-covid I spent about 80% of my working hours away from home. Anyway – A little history – I promise this is relevant to the hotel story. Just hear me out. In my youth I work overnights as Security in a highly secure complex. At night, I was the lone security officer, and I made rounds throughout the complex. When I had to leave my desk I took a cordless phone with me so I could still answer calls. So I was in the elevator going up to the top floor to start my rounds and the elevator stopped mid-floor. I picked up the Emergency phone in the elevator to call for help and… now, what no one had ever told me, even after a year of working there, was that the emergency phone in the elevator – called security – so yep, you guess it – my own cordless phone on my hip began to ring. So now what? Well I could call the Fire Department, but… Secure complex, remember? And since I’m the only one capable of letting the Fire Department in to the facility that’s not an option. So… I pried the inner door open, Die Hard style. The outer door was more difficult, as I wasn’t exactly sure how it opened but after some trial and error I figured it out and was able to climb out (the elevator was only a couple of feet below the 2nd floor level, so it wasn’t too bad). I tagged the elevator as “Out of Service” and left a voicemail for Facilities to look at it in the morning. As far as I’m aware they fixed it right away but I always took the stairs from then on so I can’t say for certain. So, fast forward about 20 years. I’m at a hotel I’ve frequented about 4 times a year for about 5 years. I’ve finished my work in the area and I’m checking out so I’ve got my luggage, my tool bag etc. Myself and about 4 other people (two older ladies and an older couple, all probably in their late 50s early 60s) get in the elevator going down. It goes down maybe a floor or so and… stops, suddenly. The lights are still on and the circulation fan is still running so that’s promising at least. The two older ladies are obviously uncomfortable but managing to deal. We wait a couple minutes to see if its going to start moving again and… nope. So I open the cabinet for the emergency phone and… there’s no phone. Now the two ladies are noticeably less comfortable. I kind of joke that this ain’t my first rodeo and if it comes to it, I’m betting I can get us out of this. I can tell immediately that no one believes me when I say it. The other man in the elevator actually rolled his eyes at me. Anyway, so next we try the “call” button. That produces a nice satisfying ring, but no response that we can tell. So we lay on it for a good 20 or 30 seconds . BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGG!!! And wait…. Nothing. Well, what next? I have my cell with me – so I look up the front desk # and call them. “Hi, I don’t know if you heard that long ring coming from the elevator, but myself and 4 other people are stuck. The elevator is stuck between floors and it hasn’t moved in at least 5 minutes” FDA takes my number and says she will contact maintenance. We wait about 10 or 15 minutes more and my phone rings. FDA says maintenance is on site, but they can’t figure it out. They’re going to have to call the Fire Department. At this news the two ladies are now VERY agitated (one more than the other, but neither is doing well anymore.) Another 10 minutes and my phone rings again, this time its the Fire Department themselves. They’re outside the door on the floor they assume the elevator is stuck on, but they’re not sure, and ask if we can make some noise? I tell them I can do one better. Let me try opening the inner door, and maybe we can talk through the door. Eye-rolling dude isn’t as sceptical anymore, and helps me open the inner door (for anyone that’s wondering, the inner door, at least in my vast 2-elevator experience, isn’t locked closed by any means, pushing on it in the right direction will do the trick). So now we can see we’re a few feet below floor level, nearly identical to my experience in my youth. I knock on the outer door and a fire fighter knocks back. We tell him we’re right here, but about 4 feet below the floor level. They say they can’t open the outer door, they’ve tried but its not working. So instead they’re going down to the equipment room to see if they can get the elevator started again and to hold tight, don’t try to open the door myself… and then they leave. We wait about another 10 minutes and my phone rings again. It’s the Fire Department again and they can’t figure it out either. They’re working on another plan. At this news, lady #1, who has been barely keeping it together for 30 minutes or so, loses it. She sinks to the floor and starts a full blow panic attack. Eye-Roll guy looks to me and says “Son, if you really can open this door, now’s the time.” So I grab some tools from my bag, just my flashlight, my reach tool and my extendable magnet tool and shine my light up. Yeah, okay, I can see the rod that’s locking the door closed. I get it with my magnet and pull, and it comes down, unlocking the door. I ask Eye-roll to push the door toward me and it opens. Waiting outside the elevator is a hotel employee (Bell Hop maybe, I don’t know) with a radio that he doesn’t appear to be using. Eye-roll points to Lady #1 and says “She needs medical help.” Bell Hop just says “The Fire Department is downstairs trying to figure out how to get the elevator moving. Please be patient”. Eye-Roll says “Its too late for that. She needs help right now.” Bell Hop just looks at us like we’re from Mars and does nothing so Eye-Roll and I start yelling “Hey, we need HELP! We’re having a medical emergency. We need HELP! HELP!” as loud as we can. Bell Hop finally gets the message that we’re not taking no for an answer and calls down on the radio that we’ve opened the door ourselves and to send the Fire Department back up. Fire Department comes back up to help us. At roughly 40, I’m the youngest person in the elevator, so a Fireman jumps in the elevator to assist everyone in climbing out. It turned out I was on the same flight out of town as the two older ladies later that day. They both recovered well. My client in this town sold out and transferred the equipment I repair to a sister site before selling, so I have never been back. After being stuck in their elevator for an hour, and being directly involved in getting everyone out of said elevator I did not have my stay comped nor was I even offered a discount. I don’t know if they ever got the elevator fixed or if they got in any trouble for having no emergency phone in the elevator. I now have a personal policy of opening the Emergency phone door and checking to make sure there’s actually a phone in the cabinet any time a enter an unfamiliar elevator. (though as you guys would know, a lot of elevators just have a “help” button instead of a phone now)
Match betting doesn't finish with the Welcome offers. Here is exactly how I make £1000 a month.
I often see people commenting saying they have made a lot more money since finishing the welcome offers, £1000-£1500 a month and such, but never saying exactly how... Personally I have made a lot more profit every month since I finished the welcome offers, Usually around the £1000 per month mark. People say that Match betting drys up once you finish the welcome offers but this is simply not true, it's a matter of being more organised and checking your email for new offers, while also checking the Reload Offers section on the site you use for match betting. Last week for Example I made £300 from reload offers, This is exactly how: Coral: Money back as a free bet up to £50 if your team is ahead in the first half but doesn't win the match in the end: Matched 5 Premier League games, 3 were successful. I received three £50 free bets which I matched and turned into £130 profit risk free. £130 in 30 minutes William Hill: Money Back as Cash if your horse comes 2nd- 2 of the 6 horses I matched came 2nd, I was also able to make a profit by just matching the bets because my odds were higher on the bookies side by using the Happy Hour odds (between 12pm-1pm, 3 horses with enhanced odds) and also the 3 daily bet boosts on Horse raising( to boost my odds on another 3 horses). £20 in 5 minutes Paddy Power: Money Back up to £10 if Horse comes 2nd 3rd or 4th, Matched the horse with the lowest odds and sure enough it came 3rd, got my £10 free bet. £8 in 3 minutes Skybet: Money Back as cash up to £10 if Horse comes 2nd 3rd or 4th, Matched the horse with the lowest odds and sure enough it came 3rd, got my £10. £9.50 in 3 minutes Skybet: Wednesday Super odds: Matched the three super odds on the exchange and due to the difference in odds (If the odds on the bookies are greater than those for same bet on the exchange you are automatically profiting). £10 in 3 minutes Boylesports: £10 Free bet if your bet loses(Premier League Match): £8 in 3 minutes Paddy Power 2up: An offer where you get paid out early if your time goes up by 2 goals, the profit varies depending on what the odds on the exchange are when you back the team you orignally lay against, but this offer can make you a lot of profit (You will need to download the team profit calculator app and use the early payout calculator). Last week it Made me £35. £35 in 5 minutes Novibet: Deposit £100 and get a £50 free bet. Very easy because you just have to deposit the money, get your free bet, withdraw your £100 straight away, then match the free bet on the exchange. £40 in 5 minutes Coral: Bet 3x £5 in play and get a £5 free bet-Availble everyday. Just match these at half time so the odds are stable, Make sure you also place mug bets every couple of days if you do this one a lot, I would reccomend doing it 5 times a week tops. £20 in 30 minutes Paddy Powe Skybet Bet clubs: Bet 5x £10 bets in a week to get a £10 free bet with Paddy Power. Bet £25 in a week to get a £5 free bet with Skybet. £10 in 30 minutes So it's 5 things: (1) Check your email daily (takes litertally 2 minutes) (2) Check the Reload Offers on the site you use, I use Team profit (because it's free and just as good as any paid membership site) Here is a link to their reload offers which they update every morning: https://www.teamprofit.com/reload-offers-dashboard (3) Offers change all the time- Don't let this put you off. There are always new offers to replace the previous ones. There are also Weekly/Daily offers ( Coral £50 free bet, Paddy power refund if 2nd 3rd 4th, William hill money back if second, Paddy Power 2up etc) which are constantly available. (4) If you are using the same offer a lot on one site ,make mug bets. For example the Coral £50 free bet offer is availble on literally every premier league match, if you do just that offer 10 times in a week, you will be gubbed unless you have other bets on your account. (5) It all adds up. Don't think "It's only a £5 free bet, not worth matching". I get around 15 £5 free bets every week, If I ignored them all I would be down £200 at the end of the month. If you have any questions don't hesisate to ask, Thanks for reading.
Matched betting - Manipulating betting site sign up offers for risk free profit.
I've posted about this a few times in various subreddit but people always seem to be quick to dismiss it. Please check this out, even if its not though my referral and just a google search because I genuinely think its the best part time money maker I've found and it's helped me a lot. It's called matched betting and it basically a way to make guaranteed profits off the sign up offers that betting companies offer by laying your bets on a bet exchange. Imagine you get a £1 free bet and place England to win at odds of 2/1. If you win you get £2 if you loose you've not really lost anything because it was a free bet. If you also use a website like bet fair exchange you can bet on England NOT to win at similar odds. Put £1 on at 2/1. If England Win you win the free bet (£2 win) and if England loose you win the lay bet (£2 win). Either way because one of your £1 bets was free you've only spent £1 and you make £1 guaranteed profit. I used matched betting to keep myself alive during my first year of university and made about £50 a week doing it very casually, like 30mins/1hour most nights. I did this for a while and made about £2000 however theres only so long you can do it for before you run out of sign up offers and have to start doing reload offers (offers companies run periodically) which offer significantly slower profits. Ive now hit this point and have had to resort to plugging my affiliate link. The site I used to learn and do it all was called profit accumulator. The benefit of using a site like this is they will find the best matches to use to maximise the profits, pull together all the offers out there (there's a lot) and have all the tools and guides you need. You can sign up for a free account (which you can make about £30 off) to see if you like it first. Heres my referral link - profit accumulator and a non referral link - profit accumulator if your prefer. So yeah there it is, they have videos on there that can explain it better than I can aswell. All you need is to be over 18 and have a uk bank account. I hope you can make some money off this as I did and thank you so much if you did use my affiliate link it genuinely does keep me alive (and allows me to buy the occasional beer). Feel free to pm me any questions you have. TLDR; You can make risk free profit off betting site sign up offers (around the value of the free bet). Click one of the links above to watch a video about it.
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
We start with more on the death of Davey Boy Smith, including a full-length super long obituary, because apparently 2002 is nothing but people dying. I feel like I've done nothing but recap obituaries since starting back with 2002. Anyway. in the wake of Smith's death, the reaction has sadly not been one of surprise. Anyone who saw Smith in the last 4-5 years pretty much saw it coming. The cause of death, pending toxicology results, was ruled a heart attack caused from prolonged steroid use. But until the toxicology results are back, the belief among his friends and family is that there was probably more to it. Dave talks about the staggering number of wrestlers who have died under age 40 in recent years, with upwards of 20 of them being due to drug issues.
Smith died while on vacation with his girlfriend Andrea Hart, estranged wife of Bruce Hart. Despite that, Smith was actually on good terms with most of the Hart family, although Andrea is not. The Hart family believes Andrea knows more than she's letting on about the circumstances of his death, but she's not talking to anybody. Andrea's children (that she had with Bruce) were also there and they each apparently have different accounts of how he died (he was sleeping! he was in the pool! he was eating!) but they all pretty much agree he collapsed doing whatever he was doing. Andrea told the press that she believed Smith had overdosed, but Smith's dad did his own interviews and denied it, saying his son had stopped using drugs and was clean when he died. Needless to say, most people aren't buying that given his track record. Smith's father decided against having the body cremated and instead ordered it sent back to England for examination to make sure he wasn't murdered. "I cannot believe his death was natural," he said. "If they find drugs in his body, then he didn't put them there. Davey was clean." (Eeeeeeehhhhh....) Shit got even messier when Andrea and Smith's ex-wife Diana Hart each tried to claim the body. Despite her book (in which she accused Smith of drugging, abusing, and raping her), Diana played grieving widow in the media even though they're divorced. It may not have been an act though. Some in the family believe Smith and Diana were trying to reconcile, and they were on good terms at the time of his death. Andrea claimed to be his common-law wife, even though she's still legally married to Bruce. She later claimed Smith had proposed to her 2 weeks before his death and said they were engaged, which was the first anyone had heard about that. Smith's father claims in their last conversation, Davey Boy had told him he was planning to break up with Andrea after their vacation. So who knows. Anyway, both Diana and Andrea planned their own separate memorial services, while Smith's dad is planning his own 3rd service. Smith's body wasn't at either of the Hart family memorial services because, as mentioned, it was sent back to England where authorities are launching an investigation at the behest of Smith's father.
Andrea's service was said to be small and simple, just a few dozen people, and she seemed sincere in her sorrow. Diana's service was larger and more public, with hundreds of attendees and press, along with several WWE names. Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart (who attended both services), Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Jim Ross, and others all attended and several of them spoke. Diana's eulogy featured a professionally produced video featuring Davey Boy footage from WWE that had never aired on television before. She thanked Vince for trying to help Davey with his addiction issues. She never acknowledged everything she wrote about him in her book last year. Smith's children as well as Stampede wrestler TJ Wilson gave speeches as well. 16-year-old Harry Smith was composed and gave a great speech about teaming with his father in his last matches. And then Ellie Hart got up there and....it went about how you'd expect. She started ranting about Andrea and blaming her for not giving the family the answers they wanted and it started to turn into some drama, but the minister gently interrupted her and got things back on track. And finally, Bret Hart gave a speech, directly addressing Smith's children and saying that Davey Boy and Owen would want the children of all these Hart family members to get along with each other better than the adults have. From here, Dave gets into the actual meat of the obituary, recapping Smith's life and career. As always, an excellent read but very long to recap.
WWE Confidential, the new show the company is producing, aired its debut episode this week, focusing on the Montreal Screwjob. Dave once again talks about how Vince McMahon tried to downplay the incident recently, giving an interview just a couple of months ago calling the Screwjob a minor incident that almost no one cares about. Vince went so far as to say he could count on one hand the number of people who even still care about that old news. Turns out one of those must be Vince because this week, they dedicated the premiere of this new show to the story and highlighted it as the most controversial night in the history of wrestling. The hook of the show was Shawn Michaels revealing publicly, for the first time, that yes, he was in on the screwjob and knew about it in advance. Dave says this isn't really a secret. Shawn denied having any knowledge of it that night but as soon as the day after Survivor Series 97, he was bragging to friends about it. Vince McMahon also later confided in Undertaker that Shawn knew ahead of time. So it was kind of an open "secret" that Shawn knew but this is the first time he's admitted it publicly. Triple H still denies knowing about it ahead of time, but Dave is pretty skeptical there too (and indeed, it's later revealed that yes indeed, Triple H also knew). Dave thinks lots of people had to know. Even the guy who cued the music had to know, because Shawn's music was queued up and ready to play the second Vince ordered the bell to be rung. Pat Patterson always claimed not to know and Bret has said he wants to believe it, because he likes Pat, but the way Pat interrupted the match-planning conversation and specifically suggested the sharpshooter spot to them makes Bret question it (I think Patterson still denies it to this day, but I have my doubts there too). Anyway, the show recapped the history of the Screwjob and if you know Dave, you know he's about to poke a whole bunch of holes in WWE's revisionist bullshit. Here we go...
The story of the episode was WWF was close to going out of business due to the WCW war and couldn't afford Bret anymore, so Vince nobly allowed Hart out of his contract so he could negotiate a better deal with WCW. Actually, Dave says, Vince first talked to Bret about deferring some of his contract to later on but that was a couple months earlier. At the time, WWF really was having some financial struggles, but it's an exaggeration to say they were almost driven out of business. They were never even close. But regardless, that's irrelevant because in Sept. 97, they raised the price of PPVs by $10. That added revenue, which was nearly $1 million per month in pure profit, was easily enough to get them out of financial trouble. By the time Survivor Series 97 rolled around, WWF was doing just fine, money-wise, and were only a couple months away from catching fire and getting nuclear hot. So no, they did not need to get rid of Bret's contract. And in fact, in October, a couple weeks before Survivor Series, Vince changed his mind and asked Bret to stay, saying that the financial situation had turned around. But by this point, Hart's negotiations with WCW were full speed ahead and Vince allowed Hart to continue negotiating. But after talking to both sides, it was clear Vince had no real plan for Bret and he didn't really seem like he wanted to keep him, so Bret took the WCW deal and the rest is history. But of course, none of that is mentioned in this show. The episode also claimed Hart refused to drop the title to anyone (again, not true. Only Shawn. Bret even offered to lose it to Brooklyn Brawler if they wanted. In fact, Dave breaks down all the different scenarios that were presented here, and Bret was willing to lose the title to anyone other than Shawn, anywhere other than that show in Montreal, at any date before or after the PPV. They had actually presented Bret with dozens of different scenarios, all of which he agreed to, only for Vince to keep coming back around to Shawn at Survivor Series, which was the one and only thing Bret wouldn't budge on). They also tried to paint the picture that Bret could have taken the title to WCW the night after Survivor Series. In fact, Bret's WWF contract didn't end until Dec. 1st, and he was booked on more than a dozen house shows after Survivor Series and had even agreed to work the early December PPV because Bischoff had given his blessing. There was zero chance Bret was going to show up with the belt on Nitro. There was concern that Bischoff would go on Nitro the next day and announce he had signed Bret, and Dave says it's true that Bischoff certainly was planning to do that. But Bret had also asked Bischoff to hold off on the announcement and Bischoff had agreed. Vince knew about that too, but in recorded conversations with Bret (from the Wrestling With Shadows documentary), Vince didn't seem concerned since the word was already out and everyone knew Bret was leaving already. This just goes on and on. We all know the story already. Anyway, TL;DR - interesting show, but WWE's version of the story is bullshit. But we all knew that.
At the latest NJPW show, Antonio Inoki came out and cut a promo. He talked about being in attendance recently at the World Cup and said wrestling needs something like that. Inoki claimed he had put together a deal with WWE for a joint NJPW/WWE show to take place later in the year. Dave doesn't know if there's any truth to that story, but this is the first he's heard of it and he doesn't think it makes any sense for WWE so he's skeptical.
Usually in Japan, TV-Asahi airs the finals of NJPW's G1 Climax tournament live. But this year that may not happen, as they're looking at airing one of Inoki's MMA shows instead. This is a direct result of the terrible rating the recent Tokyo Dome show drew when it aired live. This company is struggling mightily lately.
Random news and notes: Inoki recently recruited a 23-year old Brazillian MMA fighter named Lyoto Machida to come to NJPW (he never really does anything in NJPW other than train at the dojo, but he had a long career in UFC and still fights for Bellator to this day). Dusty Rhodes is the new co-host of Turner South's Atlanta Braves pre-game show called "Hey The Braves Are Next!" Scott Hall will be working Insane Clown Posse's upcoming Gathering of the Juggalos event. Former WCW wrestler Evan Karagis recently filmed a role on the soap opera "Passions."
In the main event of FOX's Celebrity Boxing show, Chyna lost by decision to Joey Buttafuoco. Chyna's mystique of being a woman who only wants to compete with men got pretty much obliterated here, as the larger Buttafuoco manhandled her with ease for much of the match, which probably makes all those big tough wrestlers who sold for her feel kinda silly. But Buttafuoco came in as a hated heel to the audience and despite how she got pummeled, many people felt Buttafuoco was fighting dirty and cheating, so Chyna wasn't too hurt by it. She talked about wanting a rematch and Dave says if PRIDE really wants to break into the U.S. market, they could throw it onto one of their cards. Hey, this show did a really strong TV rating, maybe a rematch would be just the kind of freak-show attraction needed for PRIDE to get attention in the U.S. Nothing else they've tried has worked. Dave also suggests NWA-TNA could book it, but a worked wrestling match between the two probably wouldn't get as much media attention.
Big Dick Dudley's ex-wife, former ECW valet Elektra, did an interview talking about his death. She said he'd had stomach pains all week and couldn't urinate. But didn't go to the doctor because he didn't think it was a big deal. Then at one point he got up to go to the bathroom but collapsed on the floor and died there on the spot. Jeez. At the time of his death, he had lost over 100 pounds from his peak weight of 320 in ECW several years ago.
Vince Russo is going to be writing a book about his time in WWF. Due to legal reasons and the ongoing lawsuit, it won't include much about his WCW tenure (I think he's written a book or two, but I've never read them, so if anyone has any insight, feel free to share).
Shaun Assael's book "Sex, Lies, & Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation" will be published next month and is getting strong early reviews. Dave has talked to several of the people who spoke with Assael for the book and some of them expect it to be good while others feel that Assael fell victim to the cons and charms of wrestlers who were working him. We shall see, says Dave.
The debut NWA-TNA PPV will feature some sort of tournament to crown a new NWA champion. Dan Severn is no longer the champion after not agreeing to work the show (he already had a prior MMA booking for that date in New Mexico). As a result, the NWA (which is now working with TNA) just stripped him of the belt, which is convenient because they didn't really want to use Severn anyway, so now they can do whatever they originally planned to do with the belt without having to book an excuse to get it off him. The Jarretts and this new promotion now have full control over both the NWA world and tag team titles.
Mike Tenay has been named the lead announcer for the new NWA-TNA promotion. They're also trying to get Lex Luger to appear for the debut show, but Dave thinks its unlikely since Luger is financially set for life and has shown no interest in doing any wrestling since WCW folded.
Jeff Jarrett had talks with Bret Hart about coming in to do a Team Canada gimmick. Latest Dave heard is that Hart isn't interested, but they may bring in some of the new generation of Harts for it. There's been talk of bringing in TJ Wilson, Harry Smith, and Teddy Hart as a new version of the group. Smith is still only 16 and it's way too early to put him on the national stage yet and in a lot of states, he wouldn't even legally be allowed to perform. Wilson is also a teenager, from a bad home who pretty much grew up as an honorary Hart member in the Hart household. And Teddy Hart is a natural in-ring performer who would already be in WWE if not for the fact that during his two training camp tryouts, he had behavioral incidents both times. But they're all talented and will likely be big stars in the future. Last time WWE was in Calgary, Vince McMahon personally requested to meet with all 3 of them for a private tryout, but it didn't amount to anything.
Little bit of a change in the WWF writing teams. Brian Gewertz is now the official head writer for Raw, while Paul Heyman is the lead writer for Smackdown. Stephanie McMahon will continue to oversee creative for both shows and, of course, Vince still has final say on everything. Dave expects this to result in Raw being a more comedic show while Smackdown will be the more serious in-ring product (pretty much, yeah. And thus, we have the official beginning of Heyman-era Smackdown and soon we'll see the birth of the Smackdown Six).
Notes from Raw: show opened with Chris Benoit making his unannounced return to a huge pop. Dave still expects Benoit to eventually be managed by Arn Anderson, which has been the plan for months (and never happens). That was actually the original plan before the NWO was brought in. If Benoit was healthy in time (which, turned out he wasn't so it didn't matter anyway), the original idea was Benoit vs. Austin at Wrestlemania 18 with Anderson managing Benoit. But that obviously all changed. Anyway, what else? Dave once again mentions that Jeff Hardy looks physically awful. He seems to know about Hardy's drug issues and seems to be hinting about it without saying it. Tommy Dreamer continued his gross gimmick by drinking Undertaker's tobacco spit. Lesnar beat Bubba Ray Dudley but had to sell a ton in the match and Dave doesn't get it. For a guy that they so clearly want to turn into a Goldberg-like star, selling for midcarders every week isn't how Goldberg got over. Jim Ross went on and on about how Lesnar has never been pinned, which Dave says is an insult to all the fans who have seen Lesnar do jobs at house shows. RVD beat Eddie Guerrero in a 20+ minute ladder match and Dave says it's the longest match on Raw in at least a year. Dave gives it 4 stars and considering how messy and sloppy it was, that shows you how good it was. Lots of dangerous spots, some botched moves, and most notably a moment when a fan ran into the ring and knocked over the ladder while Eddie was climbing up. Eddie and Earl Hebner started stomping the fan until security dragged him out. Still an awesome match though. And finally, Benoit returned at the end of the show and turned heel on Austin. Dave says Benoit actually isn't ready yet and isn't supposed to be back in the ring until July, but the company is so desperate for anything to give them a shot in the arm that they may have pulled the trigger on this angle early.
Notes from Smackdown: the only thing Dave talks about is the Hulk Hogan retirement angle they did and he's got mixed feelings on it. First the positive: he gives Hogan credit for being an absolutely incredible performer when the heat is on. And Hogan gave a tremendous performance in this and Dave doesn't let it go unrecognized. But then the negative: in the promo, Hogan talked at length about when his dad was dying, he was basically expressionless except for Monday and Thursday nights when he'd watch WWF and his face would light up. So Hogan said his dad's last words were he wanted to see his son return to the WWF. So that's all sweet and nice, right? Weeeeeell....Hogan has told a different version of this story in the past. In previous interviews, Hogan said his dad was disgusted by what wrestling had become and he wanted Hogan to "clean it up." The idea that he was laying in the hospital and only coming to life when his beloved WWF was on doesn't exactly jibe with what Hogan has said before. And no matter what the truth is, Dave is uncomfortable Hogan using his dead dad as a way to get this storyline over, but hey, he ain't the first and won't be the last.
WWE's first show in Hawaii in probably 15 years is scheduled for later this month. Rock is scheduled to work the show and tickets sold out 2 hours after they went on sale. While we're at it, the Australia show in August also sold out the 47,000-seat Colonial Stadium in Melbourne in only 4 days. Once they scale the stadium for production, they plan to open up more seats.
It's "basically a sure thing" that Hogan vs. Vince McMahon will be one of the top matches at Summerslam. How they get there seems to change weekly. There's been talks of having Hogan take time off after King of the Ring and return for the Vince match at Summerslam. There's also been talk of him sticking around through the entire summer. So who knows? (Ended up being a mixture of both: Hogan stuck around the entire summer, but then he did an angle to get written off TV right before Summerslam. And he didn't come back until early 2003. And, of course, we got the Hogan/Vince match at Wrestlemania)
More info on the incident from a couple weeks ago where Kevin Nash and X-Pac reportedly threw a fit and got the script changed. They were told by writer Ed Koskey what the plans were for them on the show. Nash and X-Pac didn't like it, especially X-Pac since it involved him doing 2 jobs during the same show. X-Pac said he was quitting and told Nash he'd meet him in the car. Nash told Shane McMahon he'd go calm X-Pac down and straighten everything out. Nash and X-Pac came back, had meetings with Shane and Jim Ross, and then later with Koskey and Brian Gewertz (who wrote the show). They managed to convince the writers to change it more to their liking. Nash was also upset about how Ric Flair went on TV and said he'd fired Scott Hall. Nash didn't like the idea of Flair on TV being able to hire and fire people from their NWO, because that kinda takes away from the idea of the NWO as an autonomous, outsider group that doesn't play by WWE's rules. So that's why Nash was able to go out on TV on this night and cut the promo about how Flair doesn't control the NWO. Of course, Hall is still gone, so I guess he still does. Anyway, both Nash and X-Pac were pissed over all this and caused a scene, especially X-Pac, to the point others in the locker room wondered why they weren't disciplined instead of being given their way. But if you wonder that, you clearly ain't been paying attention to Nash over the years. Anyway, X-Pac still did the job in the Hardyz match, but not in the second match.
Random news: house shows in Alexandria and Baton Rouge, LA were both canceled this weekend due to low ticket sales. Shit's selling out in record time in Australia and Hawaii, but they can't give tickets away in Louisiana apparently. Undertakers hips were both banged up after the Hogan match at the PPV but he continued working, although he was limited (and years later, he'd have to get major surgery on both those hips). At Raw in Edmonton, Ric Flair was getting huge pops and "woo!" chants for him before the show started, so they filmed a backstage segment where he told Arn Anderson how much he hates Edmonton so they would boo him when he came out live. Lance Cade won the HWA title from Johnny the Bull down in developmental. WWF was pushing the city of Edmonton to present Benoit with the key to the city on Raw, but Edmonton wasn't so keen on the idea. And finally, during a bikini contest at the house show in Winnipeg, Ivory's top got pulled down, exposing her boob, much to the delight of many in the crowd.
Remember how MTV's The Osbournes was the only show routinely beating Raw in the cable ratings? That's changing. The Osbournes is over for the season, but this week, Raw fell to #4 behind the Lakers/Spurs NBA playoff game and 2 different episodes of SpongeBob. Patrick's a draw, brother.
Raven has been doing commentary on Sunday Night Heat, but he recently asked to be removed from it because he feels like it hurts his wrestling character. Dave thinks this is pretty risky. Raven as a wrestler is probably nearing the end of his shelf-life and lord knows WWE hasn't shown any desire to push him. And he was actually pretty fantastic at commentary. So giving up a safe job that he was excelling at for one that WWE doesn't really seem to see any value in him for seems like a good way to find yourself on the chopping block next time they decide to get rid of some people (yup, he'll be gone from the company in another 7 months or so). For what it's worth though, this isn't the first time Raven has been in this situation. Back in the 90s, he was a manager and commentator in WWF then too, under the name Johnny Polo. But when they weren't interested in using him as a wrestler, he quit the company and reinvented himself in ECW as Raven. Sometimes you gotta bet on yourself.
Jim Ross has a weekly WWE.com article where he usually just shares all the latest injuries everyone has. This leads Dave on a bit of a tangent when Ross wrote about how Triple H has a fractured patella. The injury was diagnosed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham and Andrews told Triple H to be careful with it, but he could continue wrestling as long as he can take the pain. Basically one of the world's top sports doctors saying, "Yeah you've got a broken knee, but throw some dirt on it, you'll be fine." It's no wonder so many of these guys end up on pain pills rather than getting the medical treatment they need.
Also in his article, Jim Ross admitted that the WWE is not doing a good job lately of providing a product the fans want to see. Dave thinks that's just about as strong a statement he's heard on the current state of WWE from someone so high up within the company. Ross admitted they need to create new rivalries, elevate new young talent, and effectively introduce new stars. However, Ross also blamed the economy and the abnormally high number of injuries everyone is dealing with right now for part of the problems too. Dave says the economy may play a small role in the declining live event and PPV numbers, but usually when the economy is in the toilet, TV ratings go up because people are staying home more. Not the case here. Injuries, yes that's a problem for sure. But the core of all WWE's problems right now comes down to the simple fact that the show pretty much sucks. And at least someone high up in the office seems to finally be publicly admitting it.
Tough Enough 2 is down to the final four. Dave talks about how Jackie Gayda is now the sentimental favorite because she tore her ACL during the show but has still refused to quit, which opened a lot of eyes on her. Speaking of Tough Enough, in a WCW-like comedy of errors, they aired a promo for next week's episode before the current episode was finished, thus spoiling who the final 4 were going to be, before it was revealed on the show people were watching.
The WWF Forceable Entry album has sold around 364,000 copies total since its release. But it's actually considered a pretty huge failure because WWF had to pay so much money in fees and up front advances to the various artists on the album, and they're nowhere close to recouping that cost. (The album eventually sells over 500,000 and goes gold but still a flop).
NEXT WEDNESDAY:A look at the dismal state of WWE in 2002, Tough Enough II finale, Riki Choshu's departure from NJPW, Dave reviews several new wrestling books, and more...
"Do you see this match? The match is more reliable than the truth." — The Twilight of Wolumonde Debrief
TW-ST-1 Under the Old Oak
Tatjana finds Officer Severin Hawthorn under an oak tree. His smoking is worsening his disease. After the catastrophe, Wolumonde is forced to deviate from its original route, and as a result there has been growing tension within the Assembly Hall—everyone is saying that Wolumonde should move around the rift caused by the catastrophe and go back onto its route, but Severin worries that it would take much too long. The town representatives also decided that the corpses of the infected who died in a fire have to be buried outside the city. Severin laments about their death. Eckehard was the best barber around; Biederman lost his job as a catastrophe messenger due to the catastrophe, but he’s been trying to atone; Kevin wasn’t even infected; and there was Thorwald. Despite Thorwald being Severin's son, as the head of the city he has to consent. In a run-down village, Mudrock meets with one of her soldiers. Wolumonde is planning to move soon, and the soldier says that they must get a result before then. However, he doesn't trust the local infected rioters, and thinks that they're only using Reunion's name as an excuse. He asks if Big Bob has written anything back, and Mudrock says he didn't.
“… A treasure, yeah, a treasure. “If there's a treasure to help us too… that'd be nice.”
On Rhodes Island, operator Folinic finally receives a message regarding Dr. Anton after waiting in the communication room for twenty hours: she was last seen in one of Leithanien's cities, where a catastrophe had just struck a month ago.
https://preview.redd.it/hfrcob41l3a51.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=ab7e76932b4b3de0da2e71daee63c8aa76d241d6 In Leithanien’s mobile city Wolumonde, what was once a prosperous city is now barely populated. In the Wolumonde Assembly Hall, a town representative asks Officer Severin where he has been. Severin instead asks if he was present when they decided on the fate of his son, Thorwald. The infected are still protesting, as they believe the fire on the campsite was set by someone on purpose, and they want an answer for Dr. Anton, a Rhodes Island doctor, and the dead infected. Severin believes that the infected are being incised. He asks the representative if the infected have come into contact with the suspicious armed personnel, and the representative denies, but tells Severin he fears that those suspicious personnel, who are still wandering outside the city, will influence the protesters. A message comes in from the sentries. Two people from Rhodes Island have arrived. Severin thinks that Rhodes Island has the right to know about the truth, but the representative disagrees. Severin is indifferent and he exits, leaving the decision making to the representatives.
“Wolumonde, meaning the eighth moon, formed the brilliant business sector with its surrounding seven cities in Northern Leithanien—. “That’s what the book said.”
https://preview.redd.it/yx2roamal3a51.png?width=1280&format=png&auto=webp&s=d95bd30561d4793d2cef8b82443d06e6c378640d Suzuran and Folinic arrive at Wolumonde, but they’re met with something completely different from a “brilliant business sector”. A catastrophe called “the Great Rift” ruined the city. A few passersby notice Suzuran’s nine tails and the originium on her shoulder. Suzuran asks if it’s fine for her to walk on the street like this, and Folinic tells her that although Leithanien is generally tolerant to the infected, and provided places for the infected to live in, there are still prices to be paid. They see Severin in the distance, smoking, and ask him for directions to the Assembly Hall. Severin points them the way, but says that he’s off work when Suzuran tries to ask another question, and walks away. Tatjana, who came to find her uncle, also appears, and Severin tells her to lead Suzurin and Folinic to the Assembly Hall, and Tatjana recognizes them as experts from Rhodes Island. Folinic tries asking about Dr. Anton, but is interrupted when some infected suddenly begin rioting. Severin asks for Rhodes Island’s assistance. —————
“Why, why are those outsiders interfering with our own problems! “And you! Severin! Your son died in that fire, and yet you’re still helping those assholes!”
Severin took care of the last few infected rioters. He thanks Folinic for their help, and tells her to talk later as it isn’t safe here. Folinic glances around at the street that isn’t so different from other places, and Suzuran wonders how it’d be if everywhere was so nice to the infected. But Folinic thinks that the atmosphere is too odd. Even Leithanien wouldn’t let the infected roam the streets as they please. Tatjana apologizes to them for dragging them into the situation. Folinic asks about Dr. Anton again, and notices a subtle change in expression on Tatjana’s face. She tells Folinic that it’s something beyond her, but Officer Severin will answer them. https://preview.redd.it/987ngkidl3a51.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=c7482e27fae150676f2a1641610495715da6f179 In the Assembly Hall, Severin gets into a conflict with a town representative again. Tatjana brings the two to Severin, and Folinic tells him that they're only here to confirm Dr. Anton's status, and won't stay for long.
Severin: She is missing. Suzuran: Eh? Folinic: … Gendarme, you shouldn't act so frivolously when talking about such a topic. Severin: The truth is frivolous, simple, and light. Just like how you are furious, but you are not too surprised. You have already guessed, haven't you? Severin: We did receive an infected doctor who called herself "Anton". During the most difficult times in Wolumonde, she helped us take care of many infected residents. We deeply thank her. Folinic: So your way of expressing your thanks is to tell us that Anton is missing?
Severin says that Anton set up a campsite outside the city to help take care of the infected, but a fire, which they deemed to be an accident, destroyed it, and Anton left Wolumonde soon after. He apologizes, as he too doesn't wish Anton to come to harm, but there have been many suspicious personnel wandering in the outskirts of the city whom he believes are simply bandits trying to nab something from the disaster. Folinic questions why they’re simply wandering around and not raiding the city, and asks Severin if he knows about Reunion. Severin replies that he does, but it isn’t something a small city like Wolumonde will worry about. The representative suggests that Folinic and Suzuran settle down for the night, but Folinic insists on starting the investigation right away, and leaves.
Representative: … How long can we keep hiding it? Severin: Did you see her expression? Representative: … Yes. Severin: Indeed, perhaps Rhodes Island isn’t a company that will extort us for benefits, but they will go to unexpected lengths for lost comrades. Severin: It’s the same for us. Representative: But… it shouldn’t count as our responsibility, no, in the end, didn’t those damn infected set the fire!? Severin: We don’t have evidence. Representative: But we can’t just take the blame for it! Representative: We are tolerant to these infected, but how did they treat us? After the gendarme squad left, there are infected acting out against us every day! Severin: … Yeah, the truth is frivolous. Do you see this match? The match is more reliable than the truth.
Severin tells Tatjana to look after their new guests. After she leaves, he recalls Folinic’s sorrowful expression, and wonders why Tatjana never looked sad when Thorwald could’ve become her husband.
TW-2: Whistle of Rebellion
https://preview.redd.it/cg85zesgl3a51.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=e7bb383d40c25416f214d3b666c167a01cc72b6f Even after they arrived in the infected residential area in Wolumonde, Folinic is still angry at Severin’s attitude, but she believes that Anton is all right. They see many infected in the streets. Although they can live here, it’s more like an oversized prison than a functioning community. None of the stores are open, and the public transports are all shut down. Tatjana catches up to them, and from her Folinic and Suzuran learn that this street, the Twelfth Note Street, used to be Wolumonde’s largest infected gathering site, but now it’s also where all the protesters are. Tatjana asks about Anton, and for the first time since coming to Wolumonde, Folinic smiles while talking about her. Suddenly, there was a disturbance in the crowd in front. The residents begin to look towards the three. At the very back of the crowd was the figure of a Sarkaz, who quickly disappears. ————— On the main street of Wolumonde, Severin confirms the armed infected infiltration. The “Gramophones” didn’t activate. The representative tells Severin that the infiltrators are everywhere in the infected residential area, and they are inciting the local infected to gather and protest. They ask for the resumption of supplies to Twelfth Note Street, the removal of the quarantine, and most importantly, an official explanation for the fire. In an alley in Twelfth Note Street, Tatjana gets into a quarrel with two infected rioters. The latter angrily criticizes the officials of their incompetence, and says that it’s only because of the government’s mistake that they turned infected. Folinic joins in and tries to persuade him. The infected doesn’t buy it, however, and mentions Dr. Anton. Folinic suddenly grabs the infected and hastily asks him Anton’s whereabouts. The infected tell her that it was the government who murdered Anton, since on the day of the fire, not a single person escaped from that tent. He taunts Tatjana, since she can’t kill him without causing the rest of the infected residents to split off. They’ll rather join the people wandering outside the city than trust Wolumonde. Civilian soldiers arrive and take away the infected. Folinic asks Tatjana for an explanation, and Tatjana could only tell her that she doesn’t know if Anton is alive or not. Folinic is angry that she was lied to, but on the principles of Rhodes Island, she will help Wolumonde.
Suzuran: … Miss Tatjana, if you’re feeling sad, it’s better if you say it out loud. Tatjana: Eh? Suzuran: I can feel it, it’s filled with sorrow here. Suzuran: There were… a lot of discontent, a lot of happiness, a lot of pain, but they’re all gone now. Tatjana: Is this… some sort of Arts? Suzuran: No—I’ve just seen too many things like this. Everyone likes to hide their thoughts, but that isn’t good. Suzuran: Maybe I’m just overthinking it, but, if you always force yourself, you’ll make the people around you worry. Suzuran: You can cry. No one is going to say anything.
Folinic asks to inspect the corpses, and Tatjana agrees. She suddenly notices a name tag on one of the Rhodes Island crates, and it belonged to Anton. https://preview.redd.it/89gj3wenl3a51.png?width=1280&format=png&auto=webp&s=6ba2d6ce894722603678123a4784082445f3c275 A ruckus comes from the direction of the city. A group of armed infected appears, and they recognize the Rhodes Island logo. They are part of Mudrock’s squad. ————— After fighting off Mudrock's squad, the three return to the city where another riot is taking place. The infected are demanding to take over the city, and blames Severin's incompetence for Wolumonde's downfall. Severin takes down one of the armed rioters, almost killing him in the process.
Tatjana: Officer… Severin: I told you, when we're alone, I'm not your officer. I'm Thor's father, your uncle. Tatjana: No, officer, you… you were planning to kill that infected. Severin: … I won’t deny that. Tatjana: That will aggravate the conflict… ! And you shouldn’t act out against those who were once Wolumonde’s family! Severin: Despite him telling the rioters the fact that Wolumonde is lacking its gendarme squad? Severin: You know what it means, Tatjana. Tatjana: But you shouldn’t be so heartless— Severin: Unless you know everything, it’s difficult for any of us to make the right decision. We don’t have a choice. Severin: If objectively, a great banker or prophet told me that a few deaths will return peace to Wolumonde— Severin: I will do it, no matter who it is.
He already knows that Tatjana led Rhodes Island to the scene of the fire. Tatjana wants to trust them, but Severin says that if every Rhodes Island operator he meets is a good person, he’ll be worried instead. A rumbling came from beneath the city. The rioters have disabled the main furnace of the mobile city. The armed infected pleads to Mudrock to destroy Wolumonde, but Mudrock refuses.
TW-4: Soul of Vengeance
Operators Greythroat, Click, and Ayerscarpe arrive at the scene of the fire. Greythroat finds the supply boxes, and a square patch in the dust on the crate tells her that Anton’s ID tag might’ve been there. She asks the others if they’re fine with setting camp outside the city. They agree, and Greythroat leaves to confirm Anton’s status. Back in the Wolumonde Assembly Hall, Severin tells Folinic that the catastrophe has ruined most of the food supply in the city. Someone who knew the internal workings led the rioters to the main furnace, and now Wolumonde wouldn’t be able to leave the Wintergeist Mountains before winter. Severin knows that a famine will be inevitable, and sends more people to guard the food reserve in case of more riots.
“… If I tell you, the supplies have diminished due to the increase in the infected, will you believe it? “No, whether you believe it or not doesn’t matter. Do they believe it? “They’ll tear down the doors of the reserve, inspect every grain, before they trust our words. “Then, are we just going to let them tear it down? […] “They incite, they raid, what they did today was only for their own survival, and leaving the rest to starve. Putting it bluntly, they’re looking for an excuse to rob. “Rhodes Island is an expert in infected issues, of course I believe that. Dr. Anton’s professionalism and your battles are proof enough. “But— “—Is oripathy the only hardship in this land?”
https://preview.redd.it/j7syjk5yl3a51.png?width=1280&format=png&auto=webp&s=bafaf31371b8289a6b171bd1bffb4edc02b8e984 He leads Folinic to where the corpses are stored, and gives her some time alone. Suzuran notices something about his disease, but he asks her to keep it a secret. He then shows them a device, the casting device used for the L-44 Gramophones, and also the weapon responsible for Anton's death. https://preview.redd.it/stxe5juzl3a51.png?width=1280&format=png&auto=webp&s=1738a87ba723f1ae93c71ebc7f707329ccda0788 Tatjana comes with news. There’s another conflict with the infected, but she also found out something new: many of the ones who incited the infected aren’t actually infected themselves, but the Wintergeists. ————— Folinic recalls her mother leaving for Ursus, and how Dr. Kal’tsit brought her to Rhodes Island. She and Suzuran leave to investigate more about the armed infected squad and the Wintergeists. At the burnt campsite, Mudrock appears with a bouquet of flowers. She tells Click and Ayerscarpe to come out, and says she’s only here to pay her respects with flowers, and will leave right after. Greythroat also arrives, and recognizes the Reunion symbol on Mudrock.
“Reunion started a wildfire. From the past, the present, to the future, it will live on in every corner of this land. “But, Reunion doesn’t represent all of the infected. “So, what about you? Are you a local Leithanien, or an exile from elsewhere with sins and conspiracies?”
Mudrocks says that they’re just people on the run since they left Kazdel. She also knows that the fire wasn’t an accident, but since she doesn’t trust Rhodes Island completely, she refuses to divulge more information. Greythroat tells her that unrest is brewing in the city, and her men are inciting the infected residents. Although Mudrock agrees that the riots are bad, she won't make them back down until a murderer is found, and exits. Greythroat decides to continue the investigation on Wintergeist. Folinic and Suzuran try to ask about the Wintergeists, but none of the residents are willing to give an answer. They only found out that it’s a topic that the nobles didn’t want discussed. Without any more leads, they decide to ask Severin again.
Hmm—Hmmmmm—♪ It was a fragile brach♪ Wintergeist, ah Wintergeist♪ Tired of a long-lasting life and death♪ It resiliently sang its song♪ It sang for a summer♪ And for a winter♪ Wintergeist, ah Wintergeist♪
Severin: … I don’t know if I should tell you these, this is beyond what Rhodes Island needs to know… Severin: If a gendarme told these things to a foreign corporation, it’ll upset some nobles very much. Folinic: Nobles… ? Upset?? Folinic: —Anton sacrificed herself for you! Is this the time to save face!? Suzuran: Sis, sister Folinic! Sacrifices… shouldn’t be an excuse for quarreling. Suzuran: Officer Severin… ! Can you stop this search? It’ll only aggravate everyone’s emotions, and make matters beyond saving! Folinic: — Folinic: … No, the only clue is in front of our eyes, we can’t miss it. Folinic: Severin… all those mobile cities in Leithanien, all those nobles in their high towers, who ever cared about your wellbeing? Folinic: Even if the Great Rift occured, if nearby mobile cities gave their aid, will there really be a famine? Folinic: Severin, figure out who’s helping you!
Another explosion. The infected have captured the patrols in Twelfth Note Street. Severin gathers his forces and prepares for a battle, telling Rhodes Island that they can act as they see fit, and promising them that he will give them a satisfactory answer after this is over—if he is still alive, that is. Folinic believes that they should find the murderer at once, but Suzuran asks if the problem will really be solved by doing so. Their job is to help the innocent residents who are caught in this mess, and if they don’t stop Severin, things will turn out really bad. ————— Folinic and Tatjana help evacuate the civilians while fending off the armed infected in Twelfth Note Street. Using the Gramophones, the rioters set fire to the surrounding buildings. While helping a civilian escape, Tatjana broke her ankle, and an armed infected finds her. Severin oversees the last batch of evacations, but learns that Tatjana and Folinic still haven’t come back. One of the residents suggests waiting for an opportunity to negotiate with them, but Severin angrily asks if he’s ever been to a battle. At the same time, Greythroat arrives with her squad, and Severin asks them to help save Folinic and Tatjana.
Ayerscarpe: This rescue is beyond our plan. Are you all right without any protective equipment? Greythroat: I am. Ayerscarpe: —Surprising. The Miss Greythroat in rumors wasn’t someone who would enthusiastically accept originium. I was worried about that. Greythroat: … I just don’t want too many tragedies. Saving lives come first, save the talk.
TW-6: Spreading Anger
https://preview.redd.it/4a48phdio3a51.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=97c6afb928992bfb07799566b55b48152722e5ff Greythroat saves Tatjana from the rioters. She confirms Anton’s death, but questions Tatjana why there isn't a single proper gendarme in the city. Meanwhile, Ayerscarpe meets up with Folinic and faces off against more armed residents. These people aren’t the Wintergeists, but they agree with their cause. They believe that the entire Leithanien is corrupted. The reason that there’s not a single gendarme in town is because of a noble’s wedding, and all the gendarmes were assigned to a nearby mobile city.
“… Who do you think will burn down a medical campsite that takes care of the infected? The infected themselves? “Only the ones who can’t stand the infected will do such a thing, you should trust us— “—Trust “Reunion”!”
Mudrock: … Sarkaz Soldier: We’re just going to let ourselves be used by them like this? Mudrock: … Sarkaz Soldier: … If they actually borrowed the name of “Reunion”, what would happen? Mudrock: … They surely will declare so. Mudrock: We will be hunted down. Mudrock: A city of this size can’t deal with us, but… but what if it’s an entire mobile city? Sarkaz Soldier: Leithanien is filled with cities and high towers. All those bankers and musicians and nobles watching over the land, any one of them is troublesome enough. Mudrock: Arrogance will destroy them. Sarkaz Soldier: And arrogance is what allowed Leithanien's dirty invasiveness to be controlled. Sarkaz Soldier: Perhaps we should stop involving ourselves in Wolumonde. If we continue, we will be left without options.
In the Assembly Hall, Greythroat asks Severin how the identity of the corpses are confirmed, since according to the rioters they encountered, there were four infected who died in the fire, but Severin has said prior that there were only three. Outside the Assembly Hall, the uninfected townspeople are also gathering. Angry at the destruction of their homes and the people who were hurt by the infected, they want to fight against the “traitors”. As she is taking care of the wounded, Suzuran meets an old man who calls himself a Wintergeist. He tells Suzuran the story of the Wintergeists, how most of them left the region or married people from Wolumonde, and how he escaped into the Wolumonde underground while Severin took care of the last ones who still fought against the city.
Old Man: But… hey… as a Wintergeist, when I first saw the boiling furnace move the city, was I angry? Did I feel helpless? I only remember that I cried. Old Man: It was surging, burning, unstoppable… how could I take it on with my bow and shortsword? I fell in love with it… with this murder weapon… Old Man: … But Biederman did it, that sly kid… a catastrophe messenger, an outsider, did what I didn’t dare to do my entire life… Suzuran: —W, wait, grandpa! Did you, did you say Biederman—? Suzuran: I remember that it’s the name of a Leithanien catastrophe messenger, but he should’ve died in the fire— Old Man: Oh? Then I’m not sure… it was indeed him who were giving the orders.
A catastrophe messenger who is supposed to be dead is commanding the rioters.
TW-7: Mountains Collapsing
Folinic asks Severin for all the information regarding the catastrophe messenger Biederman. If he’s still alive, then he could very possibly have instigated the riot. Because of the Great Rift catastrophe, many people in town blamed him for it, and there were many violent incidents involving him. Despite him helping out Anton’s work after she found him, Severin believes that he may still hold a grudge against the townspeople. Outside, it suddenly became quiet. The uninfected people have somehow found out about “Reunion”, and acted on their own and surrounded Twelfth Note Street. In their strongpoint, a Sarkaz soldier finds Mudrock and informs her of the situation. Mudrock thinks that the angry people are using the infected as a scapegoat. She tells the soldier that they will be hunted down if they act against the civilians, but the soldier replies that the same would happen if they escape.
Sarkaz Soldier: According to Sarkaz traditions, it’s simple. We’ll destroy this city, destroy everything. It's not hard. Sarkaz Soldier: The most troublesome defenses, those automated casting devices, have stopped functioning due to the riots. Sarkaz Soldier: Just give the order, and the moon will forever remain on the barren Wintergeist Mountains. Spring… won't come. Mudrock: … This year's winter, will be long. Sarkaz Soldier: Now, decide, Mudrock.
The infected and uninfected are already starting to fight. They accused each other, pushing all the blame onto the opposite side. Yet it seemed as if they didn’t know why they were arguing or fighting. They didn’t know why they took up weapons and went into the battle to their lives away.
But now, before my eyes, they’re fighting, wanting to kill each other, and they’re insulting, cursing, blaming, pushing responsibilities. How strange.
At the same time, Mudrock prepares to march into battle. ————— https://preview.redd.it/oy6cnl5yo3a51.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=729ef543785be1356a0bfa876e8cf0365a68ec3a After inspecting the scene, Greythroat believes that, contrary to what Severin thought about it being a planned revolt, it was simply a violent riot. Folinic poisons the rioters with a medicine that causes hallucination and vomiting and asks them about Biederman, but none knows who she’s talking about. The infected have taken over the surrounding streets, and many are still trapped in Twelfth Note Street. As an armed conflict is inevitable, Severin wants to at least reduce casualties to a minimum. However, his disease acts up again, and Folinic discovers that he is infected. He asks Folinic to hide his oripathy, and he will admit to the residents that he caused the fire, and become the scapegoat in order to calm the unrest. Folinic brings him back to the Assembly Hall, and runs into Greythroat who brings news: they found Biedermann. He was found dead near a Gramophone, with ice originium Arts residue on his skin. Evidence shows that he has been killed in the riot several hours ago. Click and Ayerscarpe investigated his home, and found messages from Contingency Contract—he planned to cause the riot to make sure that more people would survive, and the fire was to attract external attention and aid. His death was also within the plan. https://preview.redd.it/uipqqnj3p3a51.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=a36422a3d799b26503567ff72fd86667988372e9 Yet the riot hasn’t stopped with Biederman’s death. Mudrock’s squad appears, and the infected cheer for Reunion.
Mudrock: … Stop. At ease. Sarkaz Soldier: Yes… now, we’re only a step away. Mudrock: … One step can destroy this city. Mudrock: But we won’t leave behind hope and continuity. They shout liberation, but they will only liberate anger and hatred. This is just a common, dirty march. Sarkaz Soldier: Really? I actually don't mind. At this point, things can’t be wrapped up nicely. Mudrock: This is the last chance… a chance for them, before we take this final step. Sarkaz Soldier: … A chance to surrender? Mudrock: No… A chance to resist, a chance for them to show their faith. Let us and them, on everyone's behalf… fight. Sarkaz Soldier: A lot of effort for no return. As a mercenary, you're always the one to do that. Sarkaz Soldier: Whatever, I'll listen to you. Mudrock: Then— Mudrock: —Soil and stone, rise.
TW-8: Sunken Moonlight
The last Gramophone is destroyed. The rioters set fire to the buildings, and many residents are consumed by the flames.
Sarkaz Soldier: Chaos. This city was never together, like a cake cut into pieces. Sarkaz Soldier: Now, the last piece will crumble into sand. They don't have the strength. Sarkaz Soldier: Even if we stop, even if we retreat, can they really survive? Sarkaz Soldier: Leithanien will abandon them. Sarkaz Soldier: The closest two mobile cities, the twenty-four high towers, not a single person of significance can see the struggles of a small city in the Wintergeist Mountains.
Folinic is at a loss. If Biederman is dead, then their last lead on the culprit is gone. Suzuran tries to stop the rioters alone, and is saved by Greythroat and Folinic. Severin’s forces are being pushed back, many are wounded, and Rhodes Island must try to stop this riot.
Sarkaz Soldier: … It's Rhodes Island. You're placing your hopes on a few kids. Sarkaz Soldier: They're not mature enough. They couldn't stop all of this. It's too late. Mudrock: … But they, are already warriors. Sarkaz Soldier: Oh—? Mudrock: The warriors have already entered the battle. Mudrock: Have the others stand down. Mudrock: We're moving in. The Sarkaz ripped off the symbol of Reunion. She raised her hand, and stones crumbled and reformed. The battlefield fell into silence. The rioters moved aside, and the resistors stepped back in fear. And she took a step forward.
————— The wounded townspeople bring Tatjana back to the Assembly Hall, just as Severin is leaving to meet Reunion. She pleads for him to not throw his life away, but he has made his decision. He appears before Mudrock as Reunion is fighting Rhodes Island, announcing that the true culprit, Biederman, has been "found and taken to the Assembly Hall by Rhodes Island operators.The rioters, however, wouldn't listen.
“Don't listen to his ramblings! Is it important who the culprit is!? “What we want is for the infected to no longer be oppressed, for the poor to no longer lay down their lives for the nobles! The Wintergeists can reclaim their land! “We are Reunion—we will pioneer a new age—!”
Mudrock tells Severin that it's useless. Even if they fought, the winter and famine will still destroy this city. Severin chooses to believe in Rhodes Island and asks Mudrock to kill him, and Mudrock assures him that they will leave after his death, and stop the rioters from acting out. As she is about to kill him, Suzuran stops her. The rest of Rhodes Island arrives to control the rioters. Folinic tells Mudrock that this is the city that Anton wanted to protect, so Rhodes Island will protect it too. Mudrock says that the infected have the right to fight too, but Folinic says they are only causing more destruction, and tells Mudrock that the culprit is already dead.
Mudrock: … I see. Mudrock: … Mudrock: —We're retreating. Armed Infected: What? But we… Mudrock: I said, retreat. Mudrock: If it's only a few… there's a way to cross the Great Rift and return to the warm areas. Mudrock: No matter if you want to reclaim your land or take revenge on the rich… you'll all fall victim to the permafrost. Mudrock: Do you want to last through the winter with your anger, or do you want to find warmth from burning the corpses of the innocent? Mudrock: Since the culprit is dead, we should retreat. Rioting Residents: But, but we will claim Wolumonde! It's our land! Sarkaz Soldier: Shut up, Wintergeist. You only want rights. The right to comfortably hide behind the strong and pick up their trash. Sarkaz Soldier: Don't question the leader, and get smarter, or I'll throw you into the barrens.
Mudrock summons a golem with her life force to scare the rioters into obedience, and the other armed infected leave the city. Before Reunion leaves, one of the Sarkaz soldiers lend Severin a match for his smoke.
With the sound of crumbing stones, the Sarkaz turned their heads. The street is burning. The rioters leave, and the only reason why another conflict hasn’t arisen is only due to fear and intimidation. The last piece of rock fell to the ground.
TW-ST-2: Above the Ashes
https://preview.redd.it/lx6q76sap3a51.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=3d928134c8f1fcd11b831190e0548a5c911d28e4 Back in the Assembly Hall, Ayerscarpe informs the group that without further evidence, Biederman being the culprit is nothing more than a suspicion. Ayerscarpe believes that, in order for more people to survive, murdering a Rhodes Island operator to attract outside attention isn’t implausible, although he finds it odd that Biederman will bet the fate of the city on Rhodes Island. Severin disagrees, since the casting device used as the murder weapon can only used by Leithaniens, but Biederman wasn’t from Leithanien and only arrived here half a year ago. Severin then asks about Tatjana, and Greythroat tells him that she’s fine. She asks Severin to come to Rhodes Island for a checkup, and the latter notices that she’s shaking. Greythroat admits that she’s still scared of the infected, and apologizes. Severin tells her about the last Wintergeist elder, and how he was stabbed in the chest with an originum shard. Ayerscarpe planned out the route to return to Rhodes Island. Greythroat has left already to meet someone, and Folinic went to find her. The townspeople are arguing in the Assembly Hall about whether or not Severin should continue to be the head of the city, and whether the nobles will be upset. Someone spots a convoy approaching, flying the gendarme squad’s flag.
When the crowd is arguing, the former officer, Severin Hawthorn himself has fallen asleep. He had a dream. He dreamt of the moon marching on the bright plains, dreamt of the women gazing at the stars, and the men rebuilding the pointy towers. He dreamt of a giant that arose from the ground. It was his deceased son. He dreamt that giant blew away the catastrophe clouds, and filled the rift with godly powers. He dreamt that the giant lifted up his home, and stepped towards the place where the snow had melted. He dreamt that the giant was Wintergeist, and he was snow and water, the origin, the intersection between the wild and civilization. The giant remains upright. He’s tired, but the violent bronchospasm couldn’t bring him back into reality. He dreamt of himself holding a scythe. He dreamt of the golden wheat fields. In the dream he smiled. He smiled as he cried. It was the first time he cried since losing his son.
TW-S-1: Three Giants
A flashback. After the Great Rift, Severin puts Biederman in one of the guest rooms in the Assembly Hall, as there have been many people looking for trouble with him after the Great Rift catastrophe. The wedding of the nobles is still ongoing, and the gendarmes are still not back. However, Biederman can already foresee the famine. A week later, Dr. Anton from Rhodes Island breaks down his doors and drags him out. She wants him to help her treat the infected, and without a reason to decline, Biederman accepts. Later, Severin tells Biederman that many new infected caused by the catastrophe had gathered in Twelfth Note Street, and that food supplies are running low. When Biederman returns to his room, he finds a letter from Contingency Contract. A voice suddenly calls out to him from the other side of the door. The voice says he was trying to take care of the wedding, and should’ve returned to Wolumonde earlier, but failed. He mentions the doctor, but Biederman says he shouldn’t involve innocent people in his plan. The voice answers that they have no coince, but at least after this incident, Wolumonde will attract enough attention.
Biederman: You want to draw Rhodes Island over… ? ???: Ah… in our numerous collaborators, Rhodes Island is at the end of the list. At least on the surface. ???: We can’t expect them to save an entire city. Biederman: Then… what you want is the riot itself. ???: I’ll find some excuse over at the high towers. Only with a fire will those nobles see the tragedies on this land. ???: Sigh, sometimes I really can’t tell if they’re too corrupted to see what’s going on, or they’re simply so far off from the ground. Biederman: But, but many people will die… ???: Many people will die regardless. When Wolumonde’s condition turns worse, then there are plenty of reasons for a conflict within this mess of a city. ???: Not to mention… in the groups that followed Wolumonde, there are some special infected mixed in. They are armed, resistors. They will bring conflict. ???: If that’s the case, why don’t we pave the path for them, so as little people die as possible.
The voice tells Biederman that this is the chance to atone for his sins. Unless he’s killing all of the good people and saving the evil people, he wouldn't hesitate—but who knows who is good and who is evil. If all goes well, both of them will die in this riot. “All for the sake of more lives.” When Biederman opens the door, he only finds shards of ice on the ground. Then the voice appears again and asks him what he’ll do if the doctor died. Biederman says that even if he wanted to stir up trouble, it could be done without Anton’s death. The voice reminds him that he’s sure those infected will stir up trouble anyway, and if Biederman wants to protect the doctor, he could. As long as he is capable of doing so.
???: Well… you can underestimate me. After all it took me great effort to escape from my pursuers. ???: Tsk tsk, using ice Arts to hide myself in the snow, I’m almost freezing to death from my own Arts. ???: But don’t underestimate the possibilities birthed from Wolumonde. The worst possibilities. ???: Oh… you’ll kill me? ???: You won’t. In fact, in order to force one side to compromise, you will help the other side. Biederman: Not necessarily. Thorwald… no matter who you have in mind, you are an accomplice. You committed a capital offense. ???: All right, all right… you can act as how you see fit when the time is right, but not now. ???: … And, I have to thank you. I originally thought to give “this” to some random angry uninfected, and wait for it to happen. Biederman: … This is, the core of a casting device, where did you get it? ???: The Gramophones. That Gramophone. See it? ???: After it’s done, I’ll wait for you there. ???: That’s my grave, haha… it’s pretty close. Biederman: You’re scared. ???: You always will be.
TW-S-2: Mourning Bouquet
Mudrock tells her fellow Sarkaz and infected that they will be going back to Kazdel. She then leaves for a certain place. https://preview.redd.it/15eq307hp3a51.png?width=1024&format=png&auto=webp&s=d0e7611a054f0083010ad409288d85bdb88f1587 At the burnt campsite, Folinic finds Greythroat. Folinic remarks that Greythroat has changed a lot since the Lungmen incident. Mudrock also arrives with new wildflowers. Although many have died in the riots, Folinic doesn’t blame Mudrock for it. Greythroat suggests abandoning the Reunion symbol, but Mudrock says that there are too many non-combatants in her squad, and she couldn’t decide their fate for them. She then asks about Big Bob, but Folinic doesn’t know who he is.
Folinic: Where can you go? Mudrock: Kazdel. Folinic: Kazdel, that’s not a nice place. Mudrock: We’re not nice folks, Rhodes Island. Mudrock: Real “nice places” won’t accept us.
In the end, Mudrock leaves, and Folinic's group brings Anton's body back to Rhodes Island.
Why you should support Hong Kong and oppose China (Part 2)
This is a continuation of the last post I made, highly suggest you to read it first! -------------------------- D. You want your intellectual properties to be yours China is famous for making bootleg stuff and it do be quite funny sometimes, but if you are the copyright owner you may not find it funny. If the manufacturer copied the products close enough, people go buy their products instead of yours and you don’t get the money that you deserve. Also, your original idea/design now got taken without any cost, which hurts a lot. Sadly, China often allow it to happen with its biased legal system. First, let’s take a look at trademarks. in China trademark registration uses the ‘first to file’ principle instead of the commonly used ‘first to use’ principle, which allows local merchants to use trademarks from famous brands outside China if the brands haven’t registered it locally. Even Apple lost the battle in the attempt of getting its ‘iPhone’ trademark back(twice in a row!). Although other well-known brands such as New Balance has won the lawsuits, most of them still needed to go through the appeal process. If even global brands aren’t being respected in China, if you are a small-scale/newly founded company owner you just have to admit defeat. Original designs are also being taken by Chinese merchants too. The designer of the selfie-friendly phone case Stikbox got his product pirated before his product even finished being crowd-founded. If you surf Taobao/AliExpress often you would know how cheap the products on them is, but they are often at a lower quality (see Chinesium) or pirated from somewhere, just like the phone case in this case (haha pun not intended). China won’t know you are unhappy about that if you keep quiet. Urge China to make its legal system less biased towards local merchants and provide more guidelines for intellectual properties protection. If you/your friends or family is a merchant or designer of some sorts, you should speak out for yourself/themselves so that you all can get the reward for your hard work. E. HK needs to be kept balanced, as all things should be Hong Kong has always been an essential port for capital to flow out of and into China. A majority of foreign investors uses Hong Kong as a stepping stone to access China’s market. Also, as RMB is still far behind from being a widely used global currency but HKD is directly tied to USD, it’s natural for China to carry out most RMB-based payments in Hong Kong so as to make indirect connections between RMB and USD. In this case, Hong Kong having a strong relationship with China benefits the global community. However, if Hong Kong is too close to China, investors and merchants will be scared away. Hong Kong’s independent, unbiased and reliable judiciary and governing system are widely acceptable in the western society, enabling Hong Kong to be given a unique status from the global community not found in anywhere else, such as US-HK Policy Act. Therefore, if Hong Kong starts to adapt to the China way of doing things, Hong Kong’s most critical advantage will be gone. In order to maximize profit for investors or entrepreneurs like you, Hong Kong need to be in an equilibrium position, where there is just enough relationship between China and Hong Kong for people to invest in China via Hong Kong, but not enough influence to make the system unjust. However, from Cathay Pacific being pressured to lay off pro-democracy staffs, to CCP urging the legislation of national security bill under article 23, which can grant immense power to the government to suppress whoever they wants, China’s intervention to Hong Kong has become more and more obvious. China is trying to disturb the balance of Hong Kong, and it has to be stopped before everything collapses. -------------------------- China never liked anyone to comment on Hong Kong’s affairs because apparently Hong Kong belongs to CCP fully(except that we don’t want to). Therefore, by supporting Hong Kong you can A. indirectly insult China because you support all actions against China and B. shows that everyone loves freedom and you want Hong Kong to have some too. China trying to deprive us of freedom and HKPF’s overuse of force are all topics that I want you to keep an eye on. However, I deliberately leave them out of this article because sadly not much people are able to put themselves into our shoes. Even if we are crying and bleeding, it’s too distant for you to hear and see directly. We are thankful of all the presses, councilors and all the people behind the scene that help spread the truth to the rest of the world, but IMO this anger-driven mode cannot create a long-lasting impact. Suppose you saw a piece of news about the police arresting hundreds of peaceful protesters on mother’s day and you were mad about that, how long would your emotion last? I bet after a week most people would move on with their life until another piece of news refreshes their minds. This is a real problem inside Hong Kong, let alone foreign areas. My mission is to relate the current situation to you personally, so that you’ll care about it a lot more and a lot longer. If you are convinced and want to give your helping hand to Hong Kong, please tell me in the comments and I may write another passage on how you can do that.
I was dropped off in the woods for three days. Something inhuman followed me out.
In the early days of February, just before my senior year. I was prompted by my father to undertake a right of passage as he called it. I was to be left alone to fend for myself in a section of Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest for three days and two nights. I was against the trip from the beginning. Sure, I liked hunting and camping, but this was extreme, too extreme for my tastes. But it was tradition; passed down from father to son in my family for generations. Who was I to break tradition? So, against my reservations, and against the feeling that this was a stupid idea, I packed up my backpack, grabbed my .30-06 bolt action rifle and climbed into the cab of my dad’s pickup. It was a long drive, broken only by stilted attempts at conversation and the heater going full blast as the tires rolled past endless concrete. I was a little pissed that my dad was basically forcing this on me, and our uneasy silence only made the hours feel like days. We only stopped once at a gas station about ten miles from our cabin. The stench of unleaded, and a cheap, convenience store hamburger would be the last remnants of civilization I’d see for the next three days. I mechanically swallowed my burger and slurped down the watery coke filled with too much ice as we turned off the highway and got on the rural backroads. It was fifteen miles of dirt to my dads’ cabin that his grandfather had left him, which would, in turn, be left to me. It was tradition, after all. But I wouldn’t be getting the luxury of a cabin, no. We were parking the truck, and my father was driving me up deeper into the woods on a four-wheeler to a random, undisclosed point. I would then have three days to find my way back. If I succeeded, I’d become a man in my dads’ eyes, and we’d also be getting a new swimming pool for the summer. It was bribery, but I would be going into my senior year in August, and having a big pool would cement my popularity. It was vain, and I was doing this for mostly selfish reasons, but I also wanted to make my dad proud. I stepped out of the toasted truck to the calm, frigid forest air. The cabin was a small two-story log affair, worn from age, but obviously well maintained. A new wooden wraparound porch had been built last summer and was in need of staining that we’d never gotten around to, but otherwise, the cabin was pristine. It was a tremendously peaceful place, far removed from the troubles of civilization, and I felt like I was intruding on hallowed ground. I brushed off the shiver that clawed down my spine and buttoned my long coat to my neck. Immediately most of the chill went away, and I shook off my unease. I didn’t want to admit it, but a part of me was looking forward to the trip, some primal part of me relished the opportunity to put all the survival skills I’d been taught over the years to the test. Before I could take a step to the cabin, my dad came around the front of the truck and held put his hand. “Thomas, hand me your bag,” he demanded, in a curt, no-nonsense tone. My dad and I looked so much alike in the face, the same unruly dark hair and deep-set eyes, but I could never hope to measure up to his terrifying drill sergeant voice. As he told me to hand him my backpack, I did so without question, and he immediately went inside, telling me to wait on the porch. I marched across the wood and sat in the rocking chair while my dad bustled around inside. Pots and pans clanged, and metal scraped against metal as he worked, breaking the sounds of the forest around me. For half an hour, my dad busied himself with my bag before the screen door creaked as he ambled back outside. “I loaded everything you’ll need for three days in the bag. You have a couple days of food, but its only for an emergency, I also added a flare gun for an actual emergency.” Dad kept his voice rough and only used that tone with me when he wanted me to really pay attention to him. He had a good reason. As fun and full of tradition as this experience would be for me, I was still spending several nights alone in the woods, and in the untamed wilderness. Anything could happen. He handed me back the bag, and it was stuffed full, a lot had been added to it, so much that string strained against the nylon fabric. I hefted it onto my shoulder, and though it was much heavier than before, it wasn’t cumbersome or unwieldy. I could carry it all day and I didn’t think it would bother me. After he handed me the pack, we unloaded the four-wheeler from the back of his truck, and we set off up the small walking trail next to the house. From memory, the path went on for dozens of miles and followed the stream as it snaked through the wilderness. We rode until the dirt road ended and humanity fell away to the deep woods. The ride got bumpy as we wound around trees and over small rocks and for a minute, I was afraid of hazards. My dad was an experienced outdoorsman, though and knew these woods well. A few hours later, we’d apparently reached the destination. It was a small clearing nestled under a copse, the remains of a previous campsite long since put out rested in the center of the dirt surround by a circle of rocks. “I was up here scouting a couple weeks ago, so I know the route I’d take to get back,” he said cheekily. “Be careful, son. And call me if there’s an emergency, I’m only a few hours away and I should be able to see the flare if there’s trouble.” “Yeah, because I’ll be able to get a signal out here,” I replied, holding up my now useless phone. “Well, there’s always the flare gun, but I’m confident you’ll be fine, and besides, the flares really only there if you decide to give up,” he said, laughing. With a parting wave, he departed, rolling back down the mountain and leaving me stranded in the woods for three days. *** The first thing I did was take inventory and catalog my belongings. I undid the pack and carefully emptied its contents onto the ground. I had a pair of long johns, some extra socks and underwear. A box of matches, a hunting knife and miniature shovel. A Ziplock bag filled with a blend of spices, a canteen of water, two days of vacuum-sealed rations and water pouches, and the flare gun. Along with my hammock and blanket. I had everything I needed to make camp and survive if my hunting skills proved to be lacking. I had over thirty miles of wilderness to hack through before I hit the main roads and could circle back to the cabin on the main road. Dad told me it should take me at least two days, three if I didn’t get lucky with my hunts. I had a few hours to kill before nightfall, and I wanted to get some miles in and find my bearings. The best bet, I thought, would be to hike along the stream until it ended. It was somewhat close to the trail, but not on it, as that would be cheating, but it would give me an excellent landmark to keep me oriented. So, with mild hesitation, I packed up and set off through the woods. It had been a good couple months since I’d last been in the woods, and I’d never been this deep in them. It was quiet, only disturbed by the rustling of trees and the occasional scuffle of an animal nearby as I trudged over rough ground and rocks. Staying near or on the trail would have defeated the purpose of the experience, so I stayed off it as much as I could and only traveled through the woods themselves. Of course, it slowed my progress considerably and I only managed to walk about two miles before I started thinking about stopping. I would have to hunt before it got dark if I didn’t want to go hungry, and I only had an hour or two before the light fell enough to make hunting impossible. After searching around for about ten minutes, I found a good spot to set up camp for the evening, and I dropped my bag and grabbed my rifle, chambered a cartridge, and double-checked the safety. My game was rabbit, since I didn’t have the tools needed to string up and gut a deer. I set off and crept through the brush, looking for signs of a nearby den. Rabbits are most active at dawn or dusk, so it was the perfect time to hunt them. Less than five minutes later, I found signs of rabbit trails in the underbrush a few hundred yards from camp; I leaned against the tree, just waiting. The rabbit I wanted appeared half an hour later, hopping out of the brush without a care in the world. It was a plump eastern cottontail; It stopped and sniffed, giving me my opening. The crack of my rifle pierced the air and the cottontail dropped dead. I’d hit my mark, taking it in the neck so as to not spoil any of the meat. It was a decent-sized rabbit, more than enough for dinner; I bagged it and went back to camp. Light was fading as I reached my campsite, which made fire, priority one. I grabbed the mini shovel and dug a small pit in the center of camp, spreading the loose dirt around the perimeter. I picked up a bundle of sticks and kindling just clearing the site, which gave me ample dead wood to burn. So, I piled a bundle in the ground with some dead leaves and twigs and got a nice fire going. When I had light to work by, I cleaned the rabbit, making sure to not perforate the bowels and removed the organs and skin. I walked away from camp and buried the offal and hide in a small hole next to a tree. When the meat was cleaned, I rubbed some spices into the meat to remove some of the taste of game and skewered it with a stick I’d sharpened. While the meat cooked over a makeshift spit, I tied my hammock to the only two trees close enough for it to work. By the time my bed was ready, I had to turn the meat and get it ready to eat. A sprinkle of seasoning garnished the piping hot meat and I dug in when it was fully cooked. I wasn’t the best cook and didn’t have the right tools and ingredients, so the meat was a little dry and bland, but filled me up nicely, and I washed it down with a swig from my canteen. I even had leftovers. I wrapped them up in cloth and sat them by the fire, ready to be eaten for breakfast in the morning. With nothing else to do for the evening and night had fallen an hour ago, I decided to turn in for the evening and get an early start in the morning. I had many miles to cover and I would have to hunt again at some point the next day for dinner. I nodded off, listening to the sounds of the forest as they lulled me into a deep sleep. In the morning, I woke up refreshed from one of the best nights sleep I’d ever had and was eager to take on the day. I was in such a good mood that it took me a few minutes to realize something was off. In the middle of packing up my hammock and gathering my supplies, I couldn’t help but notice that the leftover rabbit was missing from next to the fire. I searched around for it in vain, thinking the wind might have caught it and blown it away from the camp. But there was nothing. I chalked it up to a wild animal, but that unsettled me. Deer’s didn’t often eat meat, and I didn’t think a deer would get anywhere near my campsite. The smoke from the embers of the fire would have been enough to keep most animals away. Black bears were common enough in the forest, but they should still be hibernating during this time of year. Right now, there wasn’t anything larger than a deer in these woods, so unless it was a coyote, it had to have been a deer. But there were no tracks anywhere around my campsite, so no answers came to me. I’d packed up camp, and went to relieve myself when I found something that confused and terrified the hell out of me. I went to piss by the tree where I buried the offal of the rabbit last night, and right where I’d buried them, was a hole. It was rough, with long claw marks gouged deep into the dirt as if something had ripped into the ground to get what I’d buried. I’d buried them deep enough to not attract the scent of wild animals, and I’d never seen claw marks like the ones next to the tree. I didn’t know what to make of them; wild animals weren’t that smart, and they were skittish by nature. No animal would risk getting close to a human unless they were starving, and no human had claws like the ones I’d found. Without hesitation, I grabbed my rifle and racked a cartridge. The air was calm, and birds sang through the treetops. It was a lovely morning, and I was petrified. I walked the camp in a circle, spreading out, searching for any tracks or signs. The only ones I’d found were some deer tracks about a hundred yards from camp that were at least a day old. There was nothing else even remotely resembling the marks I’d found. There was nothing for me to find, and even though I was freaked out, I still had to hike back to civilization. As the miles wore on, I began to rationalize the experience, thinking it to be nothing more than a hungry animal looking for food and brave enough to sneak into my camp. I just hadn’t buried the offal deep enough and some critter had smelled it. That’s all it was. As the day wore on, there was nothing to differentiate my delusions. The woods were normal, no ominous warnings, or foreboding feelings, just nature alive and well in the midday sun. I managed to bag another rabbit, purely on coincidence as it scampered out of the tree line. I snapped off a shot and my aim was lucky. I’d taken it in the head, which left little of its skull behind, but it left the meat ripe for the taking. I’d made good time through the woods, so I stopped and quickly cleaned the rabbit, leaving the offal and skin where they lay. If something wanted to eat them, then let it. After the rabbit was clean, I wrapped the meat in cloth and stowed it away. I was hungry from the hike, and the fact that my breakfast had been stolen that morning, but I still wanted to put some more miles under my boots before it got dark. I wanted to be far away from my campsite, just in case. As the sunlight faded from the canopy and my aching feet demanded a break, I found a spot to set up camp. It was a small campsite, nestled up against a rocky mound that stretched skyward for a couple dozen feet with a slanted shelf near the top. I felt comfortable having my back to the wall, and a brace of trees next to the rock ensured I could set up my hammock. I readied the campsite, built a roaring fire twice as large as the one last night just to scare away any nearby animals, and cooked the rabbit to perfection. I was ravenous and scarfed down the meat with gusto. Despite my hunger, there were still plenty of leftovers again, but this time, I was careful to stow the meat inside my pack, which I kept next to my hammock. Exhaustion had worn me down from the many miles I’d walked that day, and I was eager to get some sleep. I laid my head on my pillow and was out like a light. The stillness woke me, like a veil of silence had been draped over the woods. Not a single sound rose from the forest floor other than the rustling of the leaves in the wind. Not even crickets. Animals instinctively go quiet in the presence of predators, but this was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. I lay in my hammock, straining my ears to listen to any sound I could. There was nothing but the wind. The fire had died out, leaving only coals that sparked every time a stiff breeze rolled in. The moon was fat in the sky and gave me ample light to see by as I stared up at the trees. For some reason, I was terrified to get up and look around. My rifle was next to me, resting just by head against the tree. I could grab it in seconds and there was a round in the chamber, but I couldn’t reach for my gun, couldn’t do anything other than stare straight ahead and try not to move an inch. Because I realized something was watching me. It started as a tickle of paranoia on the back of my neck as my hairs stood on end, but it grew to fear as sweat beaded on my forehead. There was a presence in the woods, its eyes were on me, and it was angry. Pure unadulterated malice oozed from just beyond my sight. Something was watching me, and it hated me. It’s a hard to describe feeling, the anger that was directed toward me, but I knew what it was on a primal level, something instinctual, right alongside the fear of being alone in the dark. I knew that feeling too. The presence persisted for a few minutes and didn’t fade. Sweat poured down my neck as I fought to stay still. Eventually, the silence and fear got to me and I had to do something. I couldn’t take it anymore and leapt from the hammock, hitting the ground hard. I ignored the pain radiating from my arms and scrambled for my rifle, scanning all around me, trying to find whatever it was. As I spun around, I saw it, perched on the rocks above me. For a single split second, a flash of neon blue eyes stared back at me from an angular, too pale body before it slunk out of sight. My heart pounded in my chest and my head felt fuzzy, like ants crawling over my brain. It became hard to breathe and I fought to keep from passing out. I was scared out of my mind because whatever that thing had been, wasn’t human, and it wasn’t an animal. It was a monster. I didn’t sleep that night, I built up the fire and huddled around it, clutching my rifle till morning. Screw tradition and screw these woods. I was heading back to the cabin at first light and I wasn’t stopping till I reached it. Nothing else happened through the night, but as dawn broke over the mountains, my nerves were shot to hell and my eyes ached with the strain of keeping them open. I stumbled to my feet, kicked out the fire and slung my backpack over my shoulder. I left the hammock tied where it was and set off towards the stream. I was going to follow it to the trail, and I’d be back at the cabin well before nightfall. It took an hour of walking, stumbling over uneven terrain till I found the stream, and from there I found the worn trail. I followed it for hours as the sun rose high in the sky. I was so tired, but the fear of death and that monster were the only things that kept me putting one foot in front of the other. I was hungry, thirsty and beyond everything else, utterly exhausted. But I kept pushing forward, no matter how slow and tired I was. I still had the rabbit tied up in my pack, but I couldn’t stop and eat. As the day wore on, I began to recognize parts of the terrain and I knew I was close to the cabin. I was so elated that I didn’t pay attention to where I was walking and rolled my ankle on a small rock that jutted out from the side of the trail. I lost my balance and careened off and hit my head on a nearby tree branch. Everything went black. I awoke to dusk. I’d been out for a couple of hours, whether from the blow to the head or the exhaustion, whichever it was, I was still in the woods, and night was coming quickly. The monsters never appeared during the daytime, so I thought I was safe in the light. But light was running out and I still had a mile or so till I reached the cabin. I picked myself off the ground and dusted the dirt off. I grabbed my rifle, checked that it was still loaded, and I flicked the safety off. My finger stood a millimeter from the trigger and I kept my head on a swivel as I hastily jogged the trail back to the cabin. Relief swept through me when I saw the wraparound porch come into view. I nearly sagged to my knees as I reached the cabin just as the last of the orange bled from the purple skyline. I had made it back. “Dad!” I yelled as I ran up on the porch. “Dad, we gotta go!” I ran around to the front door and stood stock still as my blood ran cold. The door to the cabin was open, and my dad was lying halfway inside and halfway on the porch. He’d been mauled. His body was nothing but ribbons and scraps of flesh that only half resembled what a human should look like. I stared in silence, my mind not comprehending what I was seeing. He’d been wearing the red and black checked flannel shirt I’d gotten him for his birthday, it was the only way I could tell it was my dad. His face had been ripped from his skull; too white bone peeked out from his empty eye sockets. The stench was ungodly, a mixture of fresh meat and the iron tang of blood filled the air. I clutched at my stomach and hurled bile on the wooden floorboards, sinking to my knees as my throat burned raw as I heaved my guts out. Absolute panic gripped my sanity and took it for a joyride as I tried and failed to come to terms with the fact that my father was dead, had been ripped to pieces by whatever was outside, stalking me in the dark. I had to leave, had to get as far away from that place as I could, or else, I’d be next. I screamed wordlessly and backed away from the porch. I turned and ran to the truck; it was my only avenue of escape and I had to hurry. Night had already fallen. I scrambled the driver side of the pickup and yanked on the handle hard enough to break it, but it held and opened the door after a second of sticking. I climbed into the cab and threw down the vizor, where my dad usually kept the keys, but they weren’t there. The only other place they could be was in the pocket of my dad’s jeans. And I would have to get them. Steeling myself for the inevitable, I clutched my rifle tight and exited the vehicle. I knew I had to be fast, knew I needed to already be far away from the woods, but my feet wouldn’t carry me any further. I stared at the mutilated remains of my father and tried not to throw up again or break down in madness. C’mon! You can do this, just put one foot in front of the other. Do it now! My rational mind screamed at me, trying to override the panic I felt at that moment. I stepped forward, an inch at a time and before I knew it, I was back, staring down at my dad. I breathed through my mouth, not being able to stomach the smell again and crouched, careful of the sticky and drying blood. I squinted through my eyelashes and patted my dad’s pants. The keys were in his left pocket, so as quickly as I could, I stepped to the side and dug through them. My hands clutched around the metal key and I yanked my prize free, nearly stumbling from the force. With the key in my hand, I bolted from the porch back to the truck. I just wish I’d been faster. As I reached the open cab, flesh thudded against wood and I turned, searching for the sound. Movement from above me drew my gaze and I finally got a good look at what had been chasing me through these godforsaken woods. It was on the roof of the cabin, clinging to the side of the slanted roof with ease. The monster was humanoid, but it crawled on all fours like an animal. Its skin was pale white like paper and thick and rough, leathery almost. But what marked it as being something inhuman was its head. It bore ethereal blue eyes that lit up the night, and a large arrowhead face that tapered to a point near its mouth. Its mouth which opened, revealing thousands of minuscule, needlepoint, silver teeth in rows stretching down its throat. The creature’s eyes never left mine and glinted with malicious intelligence. It upturned its too many teeth into a gruesome smile. I didn’t think, didn’t panic, I just reacted. I raised my rifle and fired. The bullet whizzed past its head and took it in the shoulder. Bright white blood spurted from the wound and splashed across the roof of the cabin to drip down the shingles. It let out a high-pitched shriek of pain and recoiled from the shock, it slid down the roof and into the tree line faster than I could line up a second shot. When it broke from my line of sight, I sprinted to the truck, tossed in my bag and rifle, and slid into the driver’s seat. Thankfully, the truck started on the first try and the engine roared to life. I flicked on the high beams, threw the truck in reverse and spun around as fast as I could. The shadows of the forest writhed in chaos as I sped down the trail, going too fast for comfort, but my mind and nerves were shot. It was all I could do not to floor the pedal and speed away as quickly as I could. I was driving recklessly, taking curves too sharply and doing everything in my power not to fishtail into a tree when a thud landed on the roof of the truck, crumpling the aging metal. I screeched, panicked and jerked the wheel, trying to throw it off. I spun the wheel too much and clipped an overgrown tree in the process. I tried to overcorrect myself but only ended up slamming the side of the truck into the tree line. The truck crunched to a halt, the passenger side crumpling like a bent can as tree branches snapped, sounding wooden gunshots through the forest. Whatever was on the truck was flung to the side as we crashed. It flew off the hood and hit a tree further into the forest. Bones cracked and when it fell to the dirt, it left a smear of white blood across the bark. I tried to start the truck again, but it just groaned and wouldn’t turn over. With a half growl, half groan, the creature picked its bleeding body off the ground and glared at me, its neon eyes glowing even brighter as it shrieked and crawled toward me. I grabbed my rifle and left the truck. I could follow the monster by its eyes alone and I perched my rifle on the hood of the truck and took aim. It was slow as it crept toward me, giving me plenty of time to line up the perfect shot. I had my crosshairs centered right between its eyes and I rested my finger on the trigger, a split second away from firing. The creature let out another scream, much higher in pitch than the others and my body jerked on its own accord. My hands spasmed and I squeezed the trigger. My shot went wide, flying off into the woods and thudding into an old tree. That had been my last bullet. My rifle only held four shots and I hadn’t brought any extra ammo. I squeezed the trigger, again and again. Terror gripped me as it slunk along the earth, leaving a milk-white trail of blood behind it. I threw the gun at it and ran for the truck, for the knife in my bag. I wasn’t going to let it get me, I wasn’t going to end up as food, as a mutilated corpse like my dad. I was going to kill it or myself if that failed. I wouldn’t let it eat me. The thing was on me before I reached the cab. It slammed into the side of the door, pinning me as I was halfway in the door. I lunged for my bag as the monster opened its jaws wide and bit through the metal door like it was cardboard. It ripped a chunk free and spat it on the ground as it eyed me with rage and hunger. My hand closed around my bag and I tore the strings, grabbing the knife that was at the top of the bag. I slid it from its sheath as the creature was poised to bite. I jammed the knife to the hilt in the side of its face, just below its glowing blue eye. It reared back in pain, sending a mind pounding shriek of pain splitting through my psyche. It stopped my heartbeat for a second as it jumped away from the truck and tried to dislodge the knife stuck in its skull. I thought then that I’d landed a lucky blow and it was going to leave, that I’d be able to get back in the truck and escape the forest, but more howls joined the first and two more of the monsters slunk from out of the shadows. This is where I die. It was the only thought running through my head. I couldn’t run from them, couldn’t fight them. I was going to die. But I wasn’t going to make it easy for them. I grabbed my torn bag and I ran into the woods as fast as I could. I was desperate to escape, but the howls and thuds of too many legs padding through the dirt behind me told me I wouldn’t escape. They were close at my heels, and the only thing that saved my life that night was gravity and my own clumsiness. I tripped on a branch and tumbled to the ground as one of them sailed over me, mouth wide as the thousand needles closed around empty air. It hit the ground a few feet away and turned, eying me up. I backpedaled but hit a tree as it lunged a second time. With nothing else in my hands, I brought my bag up as it clamped down, throwing me to the forest floor. Its teeth closed around my bag, ripping the nylon to shreds, but my mini shovel got lodged in its throat and it couldn’t close its mouth all the way. Clothing and food poured out of its jaws, and I scrambled out from under it. My hand hit something plastic as I crawled away from the creature and even in the dark of the woods, I couldn’t fail to make out the bright orange handle of the flare gun. It was a long shot, but it was the last weapon I had, and I clung to it as I stood up and ran away. I didn’t get far as the monster chomped through the metal shovel like it was a toothpick and spat out the remains of my backpack. It howled in rage and ran for me. Knowing I only had one shot, I stopped running, dropped to my knees and fired. Daylight split the night as my eyesight was obliterated by the burning red flare as it streaked through the air and hit the monster in the face. Like it’d been doused in kerosene, the creature went up in a gulf of flames. Its flesh sizzled and popped like grease in a pan as it cracked and blackened in seconds. It howled in agony, screaming such a high pitch sound that my ears bled, and I fell to my knees as my consciousness waned. By the time I rose to my feet and wiped the blood from my ears, it was dead. It was now nothing but a charred carcass burning under the crackling fire. The flare still burned, illuminating the night. And showing me the other two creatures that had crept up on us. I was out of weapons and out of hope, but they stayed back, just at the tree line, watching me and the flaming carcass of their friend. Fire was their weakness it seemed, and even though I had no more flares, I bluffed them. It was the most reckless thing I could’ve done, but I had no other options left. I raised the empty flare gun, and they flinched. They took a step back and stayed low to the ground, like they were ready to bolt. I pressed my luck and took a step forward. They turned and ran as fast as they could, deeper into the forest, howling as they did so. As soon as they were out of sight, I ran myself. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, not caring about the scrapes and scratches from the branches whipping at my face. I only cared about my own survival. I hit the road leading to the highway and ran for hours. There were too many miles between me and the highway, but I didn’t care. I just kept running. By the time I hit the pavement, it was daybreak and I knew I could stop running, but I kept on. Because I had nothing else but the run. If I stopped, it would mean accepting what just happened, and I didn’t think my mind would survive. I ran until I hit the gas station, we’d stopped at only three days ago, what felt like a lifetime ago. The gas station attendant took one look at me, out of breath, with bloody, torn clothing, and called the police. He was kind enough to give me all the water I wanted while we waited for the police. I drank it in silence while I sat huddled in on myself, trying to calm my racing heart and not to think. It took the cops nearly an hour to arrive from the nearest town, and when they did, I finally had to tell them my story. They didn’t believe me, because of course they wouldn’t. I sounded insane, raving about monsters with glowing blue eyes and white blood like a madman. However, the officer was patient and kind, taking down my statement word for word, despite the skepticism on his face. I told them where to find the cabin, the truck, everything. They found it all right where I told them it would be, but there was no sign of the creature I’d killed, not even ashes. My dad’s body was also gone. The only sign it had been there at all were the bloodstains. The police chalked it up to a wild animal attack, attributing my story to be just that, a story by a scared teenager who witnessed an animal kill his father. The reporters, the kids at school, hell, even my mother, they didn’t believe me. But I know the truth. I’m not crazy. There’s something evil in that forest. Whatever it was. Whatever those fucking nightmares were. There’s more than one of them, and they burn just fine. If you camp out in the Tennessee forests at night, be careful, learn from my story. And for the love of God, carry a fire source.
The Internet replaced my ability to think independently (and in consequence took away my sense of Self). This is my advice with 15 years of experience on the Net, and why you should run away from it.
Disclaimer: I'm not only describing my experience but also offering down-to-earth-not-bullshit advice on how to beat this addiction. There will be a TL:DR at the end of this post because I respect your time, but if you take the effort to read the whole thing, you may understand your problem, break the chains and say no to this crap, like I am doing. Enjoy. Introduction Yeap. It happened. I realized about it while I was l laying on the bed with my phone binging Reddit and Netflix when the battery went off. And there I was. Feeling a void in the space, without nothing to do and a breath of dispair cheered around my corpse. And then I could understand that I was not breathing well. I took a deep one of those and let it out entirely, letting my brain heal. Again. And again. Then I heared the neighbor's dogs bark outside, the bugs annoying noise and the snors of my father next door. There I was, with an emptiness of mind. I did understand what was happening, but my brain did not want to. My story The journey on the Internet started since I was a little kid. I remember having a low speed connection around 2005 when I was 7 years old, binging around many games on the net trying to entertain me while my parents worked all day and took responsibility for the house's chores. Then Youtube came over and however I wasn't too deep into it, I remember that my main means of communication was MSN Messenger with my school peers. Then was Facebook. Then was Whatsapp. Then Instagram. The name changed through time but the medium stayed exactly the same. I was always the "quiet kid". This definition continued during high school, even college. Not really quiet, but the better word is "numb". A synonym? Ingenuos. I never related well with my peers and always thought they were making fun of me whenever and wherever I went. Today I also feel this way. But it is not their fault. Why? Because I turned the Internet my main mean of communication. My journey on Reddit and why it is the most addict site on the Web (even if we don't want to accept it) And then I discovered it: Reddit. Oh boy. I discovered this platform in 2017 when I was looking to build a PC. By surprise it was really helpful! I owed it one. But then I discovered the front page. Hours, dozens, maybe thousands? of hours wasted on it, coming upon every subreddit I could find. Do you want to know the fun part? It is 100 times more entertaining than Facebook or Instagram. For every interest I had there was a subreddit for it. Be it food, be it kittens, be it the last game I played. Every single day I had new content hitting my door for me to watch it. Lets be clear: This was happening while my college friends were hanging out but I decided to do just one thing: Surf Reddit. The main problem with Reddit is that, as it has anything you could ask for, it also replaces every single thought you may have. It doesn't matter which topic, it doesn't matter by how much, in the end it fulfills that objective. Even with motivational subreddits as selfimprovement, lookingtobebetter, etc , you just read that stuff one day and do not take action. Why? Because you're there for the message, not for the enlightment. Then you come over the other day asking for more advice. And the next day more, creating a vicious loop of frustration. Porn, social media and videogames. I was always a porn addict. It's a sentence, a reality. I will not share my story around this topic because (not gonna lie) it's very similar to every other one. What I will tell you is the secret of why it is bullshit and how it affected me. You will always remember and be happy about your sensual and sexual interactions with people, but porn videos you watched in the past? They will never come to mind when thinking about satisfing feelings. I realized this some months ago when I went to sleep. I dream about my sexual experiences because they were the richest I went trough all my life before. The connection you feel with the person next to you is astonishing and bets every other image or video you could watch. The lost dreams Imagine the amount of time you spend watching porn and jerking off (it also applies to every single activity on the Internet). Imagine it. I spent around 4 hours a day since I was 10. On the Internet 8+ hours a day. Today I am 23. Even If I will be graduating soon from college and have a job (grateful about it by the way), you can't even imagine the opportunities I lost of experience many many things. My dreams. I wanted to start a Youtube channel, I wanted to become a musician, I wanted to become a web developer or a game developer. I wanted to form new friends but in the end I could not mantain a single one. I do feel empty and lonely. Landing on earth and reality I did a mindfulness course some years ago. It explains that the only real time, the one that truly exists is the present. If you are constantly hurt and depressed you are living in the past and if you are anxious and fear of what's to become next, you're living on the future. The only way to have peace of mind and coming to terms with yourself is to accept the world as it is and act consequently. Advice #1: Live in the present moment. Like I said, you can always say no to the Internet, but only in the present moment. You cannot undo what you did or recover the time lost. The only thing you can do is to be grateful to be alive. Be happy. You're alive. Right now. You know? Did you even consider it? I'll repeat it, You are alive. Advice #2: Your body is not digital. Have a deep breath. Again. Now close your eyes. Open them. Move your arms around like a helicopter. Stand up. Sit down. (Sorry if you are on a wheelhair). Go to the kitchen and serve a glass of water. Drink it, feel it your gut. I don't know if you about Maslow's hierarchy but what you only need is water, food and a shelter to be alive. Did you think about it? Advice #3: Your dreams will NEVER be fulfilled by surfing on whatever website you encounter. Your dreams will take two things from you: Time and effort. The approach is this one: Lets say you want to become a web developer (point B) but today you know nothing about it (Point A). You want to go from Point A to Point B. Okay. Now what will happen if you spend your time on Reddit (for example) and take the effort of seeing every kitten video possible). You lost time and effort. Simple as that. Did you accomplish your dream of becoming a web developer? No you not. Don't waste your time in shit and waste it in activities you consider worth it. The end I will be honest. I NEVER hoped I could write as much as I just did. I have also written the TL,DR right now. There was always this thought inside me for a very long time and letting it out was cathartic, it was awesome. When I finish writing, it will be my truly last time around here. I have no interest in continue this path of lies but to recover and embrace the bright future that is waiting behind the door in front of me. Thank you for the ride. I had a good time around here, but now I have to leave this platform in order to grow and reach my dreams. Thank you. TL,DR: The Internet will replace your identity completely. You will shape your views of the world based on a computer screen. You will not even think about if you are breathing properly or not. Ladies and gentleman, if you say yes to the 21st milennia best-spread drug you will live a life of unfulfillment and regret. But there's hope. Realize you're a human being (like this subreddit's first rule. remember the human, yourself) and become the person you always dreamt of. The clock is ticking, make it worth it. Thank you.
This story will sound familiar to many, will be TL/DR for others. Lol... I filed on 3/29, when the shut down interrupted my job searching. Basically counted as a "lay off" because my inability to work or find work was directly related to Covid-19. Anyway, Connect site issues prevented my claim from being approved until a month or so later, and it originally deemed me ineligible even though I exceeded the base range limit for 2019. Interestingly, fed $600 payments started almost immediately after i was deemed ineligible and it was automatic I filed an appeal for the state bennies, and it seemed to fix it, but it took a few weeks. Eventually my claim said eligibility redetermined, but still says "Pandemic - Covid 19" so I guess that's PUC. In the last 4 weeks I was able to claim weeks like normal (bi-weekly) and got state payments finally like a day after i claimed. Like so many others, 5/19 my federal payments had stopped and didn't pick up again until I claimed last week for the last period. So one payment of $1200 since 5/19. Just spotty and weird. I'd seen we could back date but I didn't have the option in Connect. I emailed everyone on the DEO.MyFlorida list for a couple weeks about back dating to 3/29 and to try to get ny missinge federal. Three days ago after over a week of [email protected] replied to one of my many emails with a simple "your claim has been back dated". Checked Connect the next day and all my missing weeks back to 3/29 were available to claim, so . Today, got $750 for the seven missing weeks. Betting ill see some of the missing six weeks of federal show up this week too, but I know i can't count on it. Next week (7/7) I can claim these last two weeks as well and should see the same state payments for 2 weeks come in one day, and the 2 weeks of Fed a day later. Now it almost seems like the pattern it's SUPPOSED to be. But then again, I know there's is no real rhyme or reason to all this, the system is a mess, and no one really knows what anyone working there actually does. Lol. And I am not holding my breath. That said...maybe this account helps someone retain some hope? I have a but more now i guess.
Das Gift and meddling with home buying and home design choices.
I was talking to a new friend on Reddit today and we were commiserating about how our mils have undermined our living situations and home design choices. I told her I would be posting about my home buying experiences with my mil today. Can’t disappoint a new buddy, right? My husband and were financially secure before we got married. We had well over a 40% down payment on a home when we got married. Well, husband and I lived in a tiny apt for 2 years and we decided we wanted to have kids and a house. It just so happened that this was when the market burst and housing prices were so low. We were able to buy a home about 30 mins away from both my parents and his parents. Awesome. We started our family in that house. One kid down, perfect for this little house. Then we decided we wanted another child, and this house was way too small. We found out I was pregnant with our second child and we were already discussing buying and selling with our trusty real estate agent. Then for some reason...we have an Information leak by husband to his parents, he had no idea it was bad to tell them every aspect of our lives at this point In our life story....he tells them we are looking to upgrade and move soon and that we are actively looking and we are excited because we have a few biters on our home since we just listed it. Das gift goes ballistic and is scouring Zillow, Redfin, every known real estate site looking for a house near her. Husband and I had seen a house listed “as is” in the same coastal town as Das Gift and my jyparents live in. All you home owners know “as is” means...”former hoarder home:upgrades galore!!” And the home was snatched up right away. A week goes by and we are still actively looking at homes. Then I see it, the “as is home” is back on the market, I’m excited. I call my husband and say it fell out of escrow, let’s go look at it. And then my phone gets blown up by my mil. She says “ hey!! This house is on the market, let’s go see it while your husband is at work. It’s two blocks from our home and your parents too!!” I said yes I just saw this, we have been looking at it and dh wants to see it. I drive to the house and meet her there and we talk to the neighbors who are outside. They say the owner wants a young family to buy it, not some house flippers. We send the owner( whose dying in hospice and wants to pick a family for her home) our picture and a small letter about how we would like to buy her home as our forever home. She picks us over 10 other offers!! We are so excited at that point. Bad news tho, the person buying our home got denied financing and we are now back on the market when we had thought we had it going. We need to borrow the money from his parents to cover the down payment on our loan until our house sells (with a huge down payment available for our new home once our old house sells!!) that was a red flag to me, borrowing money from his parents, but his mom insisted. Insisted!! We do it. Ok, our home finally sells and we have the full amount for a down payment and the money to fully reimburse his parents without having any financial strain. They are repaid, no more financial ties. Except we bought a hoarders house, untouched since the 1960s, and I’m pregnant and can’t help with any work when I am usually the one doing all the work on the house (I love plumbing and sweating pipes...I’m a weirdo) ...and we don’t have any more savings for a buffer. His parents agree to help do all the work and we can pay them back later. Cue my fil ( a former wood shop teacher and grade a know it all asshole) who says he will help fix the house up. My husband says he will do his part. Mil says “oh chuck! You can scrape the ceilings!! You’re tall!!” Really bitch? At this point we can’t hide I’m 10 weeks pregnant anymore because uh, asbestos...I can’t do any work on the house at all!! So we have to tell her and fil I’m pregnant and they are on their own with getting this “good bones home, shitty cosmetics looking” house up to barely livable standards. Now, this does not mean they get to have design ideas about my home. No no no. Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean you get to bypass me for decisions on my home. Right? Well my fil argues with me that our tiny bathrooms need oblong, elongated toilet bowls because “men need a big target when peeing”. Um no. Elongated bowls mean if anyone takes a shit, mom is the one who has to scrub the toilet to get rid of the shit stains. And they take up way more space in our already tiny bathrooms. I said no to oblong toilets. I’m stuck at my parent in laws home (we had to live with them for 3 months while we got the house livable, that’s another story!!) with our two year old son, while I clean house all day and make dinner every day. I’m not included In the design of our house whatsoever because I’m fucking sequestered like a jury at their house while they do whatever they want at my home, just because I’m an incubator! Fil orders the toilets, guess what we get? Oblong toilet bowls and ive spent the last 6 years scrubbing shit stains off of them....I hate it. Anyways, another aspect of the house I loved...it had an original parquet wood floor inlay In the entryway. Beautiful. But it was a little dirty. I planned on sanding it down and staining it and resealing it once the baby was out of me. I’m very handy. Nope. Mil knew I said I loved it and was going to do this as my special project once the baby was here, the floor was fine please don’t bother with the parquet floors. I came by the house one day and it was gone, torn up. Thrown away. I started crying (hormonal!!) and I ask where was the flooring!! And Das Gift says “it was gross so I took it out.” She knew I wanted it. She just did this to spite me because she didn’t like the flooring and I did! I was so mad!! Next comes the paint choices. The only thing I had a say over. I picked an off white/pale pale yellow color for the majority of the homes walls, and we picked a blue color for our sons room, a bluish color for our master, grey for the bathrooms, and an earthy green for our second child’s room whom we did not know the gender of yet. Das Gift hits me with “why did you pick these god awful colors?”.......😑every room in her house is a different shade of blue. Every. Damn. Room. No joke. So In my one sense of clarity I clapped back at her with “well, not every room has to be blue Das Gift!!” Shut her ass up real fast. The kicker with this house is that when we were still in contact with Das Gift, and we had parties, she would show our friends around our home and say “oh I did this!” And “they wouldn’t have found this house without me!!” (Uh, I saw it a week before you!). It becAme exhausting. We still owed his mom and dad a small amount of money for the work on the house.....Fun part, Das Gift gave us a written card at christmas a year later after we bought the house that absolved us of any debt we owed them for the updating of the home!!! What a Twit!! She wrote “you owe us no money for the updating of your home! This is our Christmas gift to you!!” And signed her legal name on the card!!! Im sorry, I know they helped us out a little, but to write it down and absolve us of any debt, that was not smart on their part. You bet your ass we saved that card! We lived on an exposed cement floor for over a year. I spent 3 weeks, when my child was 6 months old and I was breastfeeding, scraping my cement floors during a fucking heat wave, and then laying down 99% of the wood flooring, to get it ready for final touches and baseboards with my fil. You know what my fil said to me one day a few months later? “You never thanked me for all the work I did on your flooring.” Wtf?? Damn. I wonder if you guys have had to go through this with your mils and fils. The control, the money, the manipulation...it’s horrible. It’s our home yet they take all the credit for it. What was your reaction?? I just think of the Movie “the money pit” when I have to do things about our home!!!
[PHO Sunday] - Ultraviolent Analysis #318d; Special: 'The Unmentionables'
♦ Topic: Ultraviolent Analysis #318d; Special: 'The Unmentionables' In: Boards ► Parahumans ► Monsters (Restricted) Bee_Safe (S9 Tracker) Posted on May 24th, 2012: Standard opening segment: Hi. If you're new, and your account's at least a year old, you're seeing a lot of threads like this in the Monsters board. I'm Bee_Safe, and I'm the guy who got these threads started, using isochrone maps and news aggregation focused on the Slaughterhouse Nine, tracking last known locations. Most of the time when a villain and especially when a group travels, it's not a question of drawing an ever-expanding circle that accounts for linear distance and time. Roads, terrain, weather, and other factors like needing to stock up on food or things for the workshop can alter the pattern and these isochrone maps represent this. I've since added heat maps and other analytical tools. In thread #245, we started our analysis of the S9 with Providence as their last known location. The Toybox attack. Six weeks later, the isochrone and heat maps lost all relevance, as anyone can get anywhere in six weeks, especially with tinkertech at their disposal. We moved our discussion to Ultraviolents as a general case, starting with the most mobile on the top ten most wanted, escapees from prison transports, and masked perpetrators of mass violence. As we've refined the tools and expanded the team, we've covered more in larger chunks and editorialized more. Thread 318D: For our fourth dataset this week, we haven't explicitly covered them as a group before, but I'm calling this group the Unmentionables. These are the capes who crossed lines and pose danger, as Ultraviolents do, but don't receive a great deal of attention for varying reasons including low profiles, complicating factors, and a lack of traction. When we have photos or video evidence, it's easier for media to report on them, for PHO to set up pages and draw editors to those pages. These guys don't, or they fly under the radar for other reasons. Warning: This is a speculative exercise and while we hope that people can use the information to be safer, we don't want anyone to think that using the information herein or avoiding notable areas makes them safe. If any of these individuals are seen, do not pursue, do not engage, simply run and contact authorities as soon as you can safely do so. Reliquary=< 20 Words: Merc with history of collateral damage was cut loose, collateral damage continues. Last seen: Dover, Delaware. Has a 1"x3" abrasion on one side of his face, extending from temple to chin, partially healed. Dispositions: Ex-Sponsored, Ex-Mercenary, Crusader, Pariah, Ultraviolent (Unmentionable) Unmentionable Because: Cape mercenaries usually prefer to keep a lower profile in the public eye. Case in point: after the Generous Coffee incident (see below or read at [link]) none of Reliquary's prior employers were willing to work with him. Power: According to the public safety release by the PRT, Reliquary's physical movements, particularly punches and kicks, have vastly added impact, which extends to the air and produce shockwaves. These shockwaves mark out an area, which sees an immediate hail of crosses, swords, statues, gravestones, and other sharp metal or heavy stone objects with a religious motif; those thrown back or off balance by the shockwave are not usually in a position to avoid the hail. Due to the patterns in what falls in this hail, it is speculated (by PHO commentators, not the PRT) that each person he kills adds one new, specific projectile to the hail. Rust and cracking on some of the projectiles may date these kills. Background: Reliquary started work in 2007 as a young teenager (~14-15yo), and inferences drawn from his starting position and his initial and sustained clarity of focus suggest that he started out sponsored, working for a powerful, right-leaning, and religious-leaning elite. He's been tracked in certain mercenary forums, looking for work in quiet periods, but seems to primarily work with the same employers. With the best available equipment outside of what the PRT can provide, he spent years targeting a group that consisted primarily of villains, but expanded to target heroes with recent allegations of corruption, traveled to assist Haven as a 'Green Knight' type that would assist them without explicitly cooperating with them, and carried out some actions against civilians that may or may not have been involved in organized crime. The timeline is primarily informed by his specific mark on battlefields, rather than any media information. Three days ago, Reliquary was the instigator of an ambush attack on Generous Coffee in Dover, a nonprofit coffee shop. He was apparently after a single individual, but the follow-up hail from his attack tore through the building at an angle, crushing one elderly diner, skewering the person living in the room above the cafe, and maiming another. Names have not been released. He did not stop to help or wait for authorities, continuing to pursue his target. He was last seen in Dover by a courier delivering a parcel earlier today, who recognized him based on information about his facial injury, released by the PRT. The PRT was notified, but Reliquary successfully fought his way to an escape, damaging several cars in the parking lot. Considerations:
Reliquary is conflict-avoidant. This is terminology from our attempts at predicting the S9 (which proved to be a futile exercise). It means Reliquary will avoid areas the PRT is likely to be, exercises caution, and will tend to flee law enforcement.
Reliquary is pattern-driven. Where patterns can be worked out, we can assume they'll be maintained until Reliquary is given reason to change course.
Reliquary is upper-class. He's used to money. When found in Dover, he was at the second most expensive hotel in the area.
Expectations: Two likely courses of action stand out. The first is that he is actively pursuing a contract, possibly the same person he was targeting at Generous Coffee. It is unlikely the target is out in the open or visiting any more coffee shops, but mild caution should be exercised, just in case. The second course of action is that he is looking to lay low. Two more possible actions stem from here; that he's going to leave the state or remain proximate to employers, but for the time being, we're drawing up the map for today only. We would encourage moderate to strong caution for any points of travel, hotels, and motels. Assume that when and if the PRT or law enforcement attempt to arrest Reliquary, there is a strong danger to civilians in the area. This isn't a cape fight you want to watch, even from a distance. Map:LinkEditorializing: The question I asked myself over and over again while analyzing the S9 was why they hadn't been caught yet. Over a hundred installments of threads like these focused on the team, I realized they had been caught, again and again, but they bring such overwhelming force to bear that it's often not enough. This forces the PRT to make calls again and again, where they have to put all their chips on one bet to have a chance of coming out ahead when confrontation happens. If they're wrong, they're leaving whole areas unprotected. If they're right, they still have a messy fight on their hands. When I started trying to make guesses of singular, specific target sites or avenues of travel, I started getting it wrong a lot more. Yes, the PRT has thinkers, but you can see my prior posts #118, #215, #250 and #300 for my theories on why this doesn't work so neatly: "A Genius Killer: Outthinking Thinkers", "Gazing Into the Abyss", "Workshopping a Theory", and "The Biggest Nonpriority". Similar concept here, but in miniature. The event didn't get a lot of attention outside of Delaware. Someone brought it up to me and I looked into it, and I found the lack of information on Reliquary really tricky, which was what inspired this post. Reliquary is strong. They've only got capes from Delaware on the job, and they have to figure out how to divide up those forces. There will be collateral damage. While they're busy focusing on Reliquary, there's other stuff happening (relates back to my stretched thin idea from #300). Prediction: 7 days to an arrest. A lot of mess in the meantime. Son of Fetter=< 20 Words: Son of an old school Ultraviolent follows in dad's footsteps. Last Seen: Cincinnati, Ohio Dispositions: Straight-up monster, Pariah, Kidnapper. Unmentionable Because: Existence is strong speculation only. No media presence. Crossed lines with kidnapping, possible murder, strong suggestion of torture. Would be following in footsteps of another ultraviolent cape. Power: Powers believed to be based on father's, cape named Fetter. The four walls closest to Fetter would flip around, revealing torture chamber setups, chains and devices he could manipulate, and means of confinement. Near total control of 'his' domain. Those caught by a rotating wall and swept into non-space would almost immediately be revealed by a subsequent rotation, confined in a cage, shackles, or torture device. Background: Limited, included only because of requests. Mid-late 90s were marked with frequent kidnappings, believed by some to be collection and curation of trigger-able youths for testing, experimentation. This was proven to be true with at least one case, Dark Society, but the original Fetter did not associate with that group. After six kidnappings of teenagers and one sexual assault, Fetter was caught and killed by the PRT, aided and assisted by several local capes as part of one of the first official kill orders. A spate of nine missing persons and one unreliable witness report of a similar M.O. suggests someone very similar to Fetter is active in a nearby area. The witness report was an inebriated individual who said her friend was dragged into a wall by chains and hooks. It is speculated to be his son (mentioned by one survivor), but may be another individual associated with the original Fetter. Considerations:
Low mobility. He hasn't moved far from his place of birth. There's no reason to think he'll travel far.
Victim-focused. The missing persons believed to be associated with him (urban area, sometimes disappearing in the span of 10 seconds that friends were looking away) are all young men, white, 14-17, from lower-class backgrounds, in lower-class areas.
Opportunity-driven [half weight]. Based on the total lack of reports of stalking, people feeling watched, harassment, sightings. If this (purely speculative) individual can take victims as easily as he seems to be doing, there's no reason to think he'd plan or pick out targets. There's no indication of a pattern, besides the victim profile.
Map:LinkEditorializing: This is a purely speculative case, but I picked it out because it's what a truly unmentioned Unmentionable would look like: a successful pattern of truly horrific behavior, a lack of pattern, and a near-total lack of media information. The more I look into it, the more I feel there's something here, and the less sure I am that I can guess or make predictions. The associated map is me picking the starting point, checking some boxes, and seeing what pops up. Included for your benefit. Prediction: I think there's something to this. I don't think we could expect any arrests anytime soon. Too elusive, not enough known yet. Frou-Frou=< 20 Words: Chronic fuckup fucks up. Changes tacks to be more of a vigilante, fucks up. Last Seen: Pittsburgh Dispositions: Fuck up, vigilante, F-lister Unmentionable Because: Pattern of violent action is extreme considering surprisingly little in the way of consistent media attention or pushback from law enforcement. Power: Fluff balls expand in hand, after being thrown, sprout clawed limbs, fanged heads. Mostly uncontrolled by Frou-Frou, minions are savage, violent, and strong. Background: Long history of messing up, joining various teams as a low-level, F-lister heroine and sometimes vigilante. Prominent fuck-ups are too many to list, but good for a dark kind of laugh:
Working with an animal rights team to rescue cages of wildlife and stray dogs from a tinker workshop. On camera while they were promoting the action and the team, her minion gobbled down six cages of animals before they could stop it. [Link]
While she was fleeing her own minion, her minion leaped onto the roof of a car belonging to the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, collapsing the roof and injuring the Chief Justice's wife. [Link]
Was alleged to be partially responsible for the dissolution of underdog hero team Dukes of Hightower, nine months after joining. Details unknown but alleged to be related to her injuring of a teammate. [Link]
She and one teammate were arrested first time after extensive property damage caused in defeat and arrest of Clifftop.
Was stated to be wholly responsible for the dissolution of Platinum League, after an on-stream bit of 'accidental' nudity. State regulations impose harsh penalties for these things, apparently to prevent it being used for promotion, and the team had to break up and reform under different names. She was not invited back to either of the two teams. [Link]
Violent incident followed her being targeted by another animal rights group (fur-related).
Arrested second time after joining a fight to help stop Humbolt and accidentally injuring local hero Chinstrap.
This isn't an exhaustive list. She spent seven months with no real appearances in the public spotlight, and only recently emerged again as part of a vigilante focused group, consisting of Spillover, Chemtrail, and Southbound, all of whom are 4-5 years younger than her. She was not a stranger to vigilante action [though we might assume some of the vigilante action in the past was her inflicting the harm first and claiming the label after] - we stick to the strict definition here of a hero, specifically, who crosses lines. However, she seems to be playing hard into the role now, in an apparent attempt to build reputation and/or work with the desires of her teammates. Property damage and the harm done to villains (and some unpowered) escalates on each excursion. Considerations
Team based - We can use some of the data from past analysis of the S9 and assume that a team moves slower and has higher needs when it comes to food, sleep, logistics for moving from place to place, and organization.
Headquarters - They have a likely base of operations and will act in a certain radius around it, possibly avoiding trouble right outside the headquarters itself.
Chaotic - They pick targets not because of any specific agenda or pattern, but because they know the authorities are pursuing them, and by being more random they can avoid attention.
Map:LinkEditorializing: This is a whole other question when it comes to how an Ultraviolent hasn't been caught yet, and it's really hard not to blame the Pittsburgh PRT when Frou-Frou and her team seem to go out of their way to display a total lack of competence. In my efforts to not blame PRT Department 62... they're brand new, they're stretched thin, and our past analysis of the S9 suggests that a chaotic group can be surprisingly hard to pin down. Vigilantes present a tough PR profile, because the public tends to like them, even when they're doing more harm than good. I'd put this down to the fact that Pittsburgh has bigger problems, and while the new vigilante team may be a hazard to the public, there are bigger fish to fry. The reality is that they don't get much media attention because they don't seek it out, when they do get attention it tends to be focused on the positives and old mistakes, not new ones, and this lopsided attention then leads to a low pressure on local law enforcement to find and target them. When making my prediction, it's impossible to pin down any one location out of the hotspots, and impossible to pin down a timeframe. Instead... Prediction: two more nights out where they escalate things, before they pull another stupid stunt and people start paying attention. Note: Best behavior in comment section! Focus on analysis and feedback. Privileges for access to this sub-board and these threads can be taken away.
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