Trader joe's cauliflower thins recipe ideas
I've come to make an announcement
2023.06.11 00:41 HitchFuckedAnnie I've come to make an announcement
The "R Mika is a bad character design" bandwagon never fails to disappoint. It's fucking Street Fighter. There is a green guy with electricity powers. He doesn't even electrocute you, he electrocutes his fucking self first and then you second. And you know what we did in the 90s? We shrugged our shoulders and nodded at each other, "Oh shucks! Capcom is so wacky!" What will they think of next? They thought of a 7 foot tall Mexican and then they took a lunch break for 3 months and decided that thinking of new characters for Street Fighter was hard work for a pre-globalized world with fair wages. Let's see, we can make a game in one year that pulls enough profit to pay for each employee that worked on this for....let me get my calculator out, that's 5 million dollars per person here at Capcom. Ahhhhhh just steal Bruce Lee and keep the money. And Fei Long was and is loved, for no reason, really. Back then, you could take risks on retarded ideas and people would still love you. Think about it - the fact that someone went to a board meeting, just got done making a sketch of Ryu, and another man spoke up and said said "Okay, and then we make an Indian guy with stretchy legs." And they did. And despite Indians having no cultural relevance to stretchy legs, or fuck, cultural relevance in fighting or games in general? We have Dhalsim. Are we better for it? Yes, he adds something to the game and because it was the 90s, it wasn't for diversity or hashtags, it was just because some idiots in Japan were not ashamed that they didn't know anything about India. They had no ideas then and they still released a Street Fighter every year because it was profitable. R Mika is a Dostoevsky character compared to T Hawk. They put Street Fighter on every system. They put it on a system with only 3 fucking buttons that couldn't produce anything that sounded human and told you to buy a controller for their game, and then told you to fuck off, No more street fighter games, and sorry about the controller you had to buy to play our game. Oh and all the characters sound like they have cystic fibrosis on the Genesis version, too. Look that up in Encarta. Games made money with no problem: For christ sake, they released a game where you needed to buy another game just to make the first game work - and it was a flagship Sonic game for $70 bucks...and it MADE money. Sonic and Knuckles was an extortion project, not a videogame. It didn't make "Uhh this game is successful, but we can't fund a sequel by ourselves" successful, it was "Let's put this faggot in a game about Pinball because Pinball rhymes with Spinball, a word we just made up." successful. The 90s were a time when you could make shit up without risk. You could fail at everything in life and still get a job in middle management making a good income. If Sonic Spinball could be made un-ironically, then so can your salary. Now kids without STEM degrees are called worthless by job-secure 59 year olds in hiring HR. "Look, I don't think you're qualified for this job, Microsoft Excel can be very daunting. 900 people are competing for this job, and I found 500 math PhDs in Bangladesh who are willing to do the work over Skype. "It says here you have a degree in History: I had a degree in history too, art history - it's just like regular history only less. Fuck you." So part of our interview is to figure out a way for me to justify why I can work here and why you can't - which is hard because, keep in mind, I have some brown people that will work over Gmail and pay for their own long-distance Skype credit, which saves me about 99% of an otherwise healthy worker's salary per year. A few questions: Do you have a math PhD? No? Do you have the motivation to work under pressure..hold on i'm not done...Do you have the motivation to work under pressure even if you're being paid in circus peanuts? It's not looking good for you. What makes you think you're in demand in a capitalist system that appraises your worth based on whether or not you can do a job better than poor people with the internet? Let me reiterate, I have a degree in art history - why should I hire someone that basically is just me + all other history? How do you think we stay competitive in the marketplace if we have people like me who have a degree in Peter Rabbit Illustration and don't seek out the absolute most unfortunate people with the best credentials? I have a guy with a math PhD from Nigeria that cleans our toilets remotely from a computer. What he doesn't know is that I piss all over the toilet seat on purpose. I literally just piss all over the toilet seat just to tell a black man to clean up my refuse, and godamnit if I will give back what Capitalism gave me just so I can go back to pissing vanilla-style. I work long-dick style from now on and I ain't going back to vanilla style. I can piss and shit anywhere I want and a black man controlling a robot will always be not that far behind me, remind me again why I'm not the richest man in the world? The economy has evolved - workers that used to use Excel 2005, now need to know Excel 2015 at this company - ...Excel 2005 was easy for liberal arts majors, but 2015? Much easier, actually. ..it's actually way easier for just about anyone to do work these days...and because of that, my piss gets cleaned by robots. Anyone can do this job and everyone needs it, hence piss robots. Only got one piss-robot but a long line of workers looking to pilot it. Poor people clean piss like it's their last day on earth...and if you piss as much as I do, they're spending their last day on earth a lot of times a day. It's Groundhog Piss day for these guys, and I am the groundhog. If some brown kid can convince me that I can call him racial slurs AND sign a non-disclosure agreement about said racial slurs, AND that he can get work done through GChat? Let's use the Groundhog Day analogy again..Name the only cool person older than 50. Bill Murray. I'm Bill Murray the Groundhog, baby. Devalue, debase, and reduce every last thing on this earth in the name of efficient markets and if you get to the end, you're Bill Murray. That's some economics they don't teach you in school. Welcome to the big leagues. I want a candidate that knows how economics works - not some socialist that reduces our competitive advantage in the world. We use Microsoft fucking Excel here. This isn't a fucking game. Microsoft Excel is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, and I'm still doing it 20 years later..it's practically the only thing I've done at this job for the past 20 years. The efficiency of being able to rename a servile little indian boy a SandNog on GChat in the same interface that I receive his work in and I get to pay him in beach shells? Uhh someone get me off the this gravy train because my goose is cooked and papa is ready to eat. That is why I voted Ron Paul - papa wants to eat. If the Efficient markets have worked themselves out to the point where I can call a desperate brown kid a sandnigger and get work that is more efficient and productive for it then we've won. Tell me what the difference is between a sandnigger that does good work and a white person that does good work? I'll give you a hint: If I can't call either of them sandniggers, there is no difference. Okay that wasn't a hint, that was the answer and I'm giving it to you long dick style. There are so many people from countries that I don't respect waiting to be hired... I'll eventually get to a Sophie's Choice situation - "Do I pick this guy who doesn't mind that I call him a CamelBoo (Jigaboo+Camel) or do I pick the white guy? Hold on with the Street Fighter and R Mika shit, I'm talking to you about economics - fucking always with the videogames, these kids. I pick the CamelBoo because Papa wants to eat. When I was your age, I could afford a car in 5 months on overtime pay alone, but I'm saving money on the fact that Banglor speaks a language that doesn't have a word for "Overtime". I want a payroll tax exemption for making him a non-salaried subcontractor, and he wants to understand why I keep asking for "More Clocks" in Google Translate. It's because your country is too poor to have a word that means getting more money at your discretion. It's a superfluous word for you. Of course you want overtime - that's like having four different words for "chicken wings". Of course I want to have the edible kind of chicken wings - I'm so rarely going to speak about a chicken's wings in the context of anything but fried chicken, the word is not necessary. Did you know that both Pakistan and the US don't have a word that represents the low-level humiliation of manning a robot that cleans my piss all day? Was there a word for the feeling of cool satisfaction that a man got from a nice shoe shine an affable and willing negro gave to man in Birmingham in the 1930s? No, but that shoe got polished. And so shall the toilet seat. That's a lot of math PhDs, that are literally just waiting to be called a nigger by me - a guy that still asks his employees to help him "log on the dotcoms" to check my aol email account. The real injustice is not that I continue to use AOL 3.0 like a security blanket, but that if a competing company is not filled with people like me I have to get more wizkid brown nerds to make up for it. I am a liability and yet I steer this ship away from the iceberg. I am the emperor with no clothes. I must bear the burden of the nakedness I have resolved to live in. I am exposed. And you are blaming me for spilling a little pee-pee or, god forbid, soaking the entire bathroom at work every 20 to 30 minutes? Even Jesus had to go to the bathroom when he was on the cross for 3 days. You think he just held it in because he was embarassed? Do you hold me to a higher standard than Jesus? It's a highly pissable bathroom and I'm a highly pissable man. That is my only sin. You think you have it tough because you can't get a job? I have to call 9000 kids named Rameen and sometimes I can't even make it to the end of the phone call to get to the part where I unapologetically make racial jokes that they don't understand. I called this one guy a SandySpook - you know, like the Sandy Hook shooting. I called him an entire massacre. SandySpook this, SandySpook that. I even got frustrated that he wasn't feeling shitty about himself, so I got obvious about it and started calling him "Dead Children". I literally called the guy Dead Children. He only started to notice that I was called him different things when I accidentally referred to him as "Dead Kids". If he had a problem with it, I got 8999 others who are willing to play part to their own degradation and abuse. I didn't make the rules of capitalism - if someone will clean up my piss by remotely controlling a robot for 5 cents an hour - do you get mad at the piss? No, you get mad at the toilet for being so pissable. Then you get mad at the entire bathroom for getting piss all over it. But do you blame the pisser or the piss-ee? No, he must piss. And maybe he doesn't have to piss all over the place, but who cares who has to clean up my piss if it isn't me? Were we talking about Street Fighter? Yes people were retarded and retarded people were a valuable part of the gaming economy. It was a good thing because we got interesting shit from retards. Retards with money are as useful as Investment Banks, they don't make anything to give the world, but they give their money to someone else that does and then the government has to give them welfare because they shit their pants too much. But it wasn't just retards that shit their panties... when UMVC3 was released so soon, people went apeshit. Maybe they didn't get the memo that that's how buying shit works. You are supposed to buy shit that you like and then it and things like it gets made again. You're not supposed to not buy shit that you like. Even fucking retard in the 90s knew that. There are indie games and then there are triple A games - the mid-tier games don't exist anymore, and 1 or 2 AAA games are all some studios budget out. The mid-tier is gone now. In the 90s, Capcom made SF2 for SNES and then they made SF2 for the Amiga. Is that really that crazy? Imagine being a Capcom employee in the 90s and you're coming back from your lunchbreak, which was a few days longer than you expected, in Italy, and you knew that you could make a profit by putting your game on a system that nobody has anyway - those SF2 devs had so much money that they didn't know what to do with: they literally did not know what to do with it. They made an Amiga SF2, an Atari SF2, a Commodore 64 SF2 - then they made some more SF2s, then they got millions of dollars for it. To this day, nobody knows what an Amiga is, yet they still pulled a profit on just the people that bought Amiga by accident. That's the 90s in a nutshell, you can make whatever you want because and you can make a profit from people that buy your shit by accident, and if you can't, you really had nothing to offer anyone. Buy more shares of Pets.com, it's 1997. Rocks.com and BagofEmptyAir.com are booming in the futures market. IT's the 90s and everything is great. This gravy train will never end." A few friends made Doom in a garage in a few months, and the economy had to start paying them in pussy because the dollars were all being used up. John Carmack was literally paid in stinky pussy for a few years. And this is why half of the 29+ year olds thought "Rai-You" says "Dookan" btw - nobody cared that Street Fighter sounded like shit, calculators were powered by lemons like 5 years before SF and you could make money investing in an internet company that sold ugly milk. There was a market for people that wanted to buy milk that was ugly. It was the 90s. You could make money just combining shit for no reason. In the 80s, Marketing scored it big by combining raisins and smokey black jazz musicians. To reiterate, they gave raisins blackface, and then told you that they go in your mouth, and ugh it was just gross - and back in the 80s, black people weren't useful or well-liked by white people until Social Networking, so really, the California Raisins were 0 for 0. Huge success. The 90s made Pogs successful. Pogs combined cardboard with itself to make garbage. And it was a phenomenon. You can't afford to make Street Fighter V in 2015, but we figured out a way to make people trade circles with value called money for circles of trash called cardboard, and then they sold us containers for that trash too: and nobody thought, hey isn't this Pogtainer a minitrash can? Did they sell me a mini trash can and call it a Pogtainer? Nobody just stopped and said, "Am I sure this isn't just a little trash can for cardboard?" for at least 4 years. People played with cardboard circles for longer than they played Street Fighter X Tekken, get your head in the game, Capcom. ...you can't afford to make your flagship fighting game. That's a problem. Just fucking scale back the technology already and make profitable games again. Games are too fucking expensive to make. Next gen is a disaster. It's unsustainable, just let it die. Start from scratch, bring back Lycos, pogs, ace of base, jell pens, and every other 90s codeword for trash because as soon as we start giving garbage value, so too will we get back to giving value to actual things. The commodification of capitalism was supposed to be scary because of the fear that we'll pump out shitty things that would sell. It's much scarier than that. We pump out shitty things that don't sell, and there are 9000 people waiting in line to do it, anyway. 9000 Bangladeshis working over the internet. 9000 people who work a day job on Reddit and Wikipedia, 9000 experts with LifeHack blogs stealing the same idea about saving money on shaving cream ortelling you why it's bad to shampoo your hair, 9000 girls who realize that they're not pretty enough to get paid to be naked unless they get cum in their mouth, the list goes on. In the 90s, If you waited 6 months, a computer three times more powerful came out, and internet speeds doubled - now instead of new computers, we look forward to pornstars that may or may not swallow cum. The innovation and progress of capitalism is truly upon us. We don't dare to wonder about things like space exploration as we stand in front of a threshold of doubt and a frontier unknown and take a step anyway. If we can't make spaceships, or find gratification in the grandiosity of an intrinsic sense of coming closer to something bigger than yourself, then just give me the porn. Everything is free, and if it's not, keep checking bittorrent, because it's probably fucking free. We forgot how to love, and when we see girls that love cum, we start to wonder and believe that we can love again, too. I'm not a homo, but that cum makes me feel things. And even if I was, she can guzzle cum like an Irishman at a swim-meet, i'll never love cum like that, not no way, not no how, not like that...and she does it for almost free, depending on how ugly she is. That's love. That's what I felt like the first time I played SFII - it kills me to know that the best times are behind me, and the closest I was to ever getting to experiencing what the true love of a mouthful of cum is like was when I was a supple, young child of 8. Things changed quickly because development costs were lower and shit was insanely expensive - Hardware and software was much more expensive than it is now - people paid $70 to $80 in 1990 dollars. That's crazy. People just threw money everywhere. There were companies that helped people sell things on Ebay, and they made a living. You can't even make a living on ebay selling things yourself. And the stockmarket proved that pyramid schemes could make you profitable - as long as someone that wasn't you had the shares of the hyper-inflated startup that tanked, it didn't matter that you made $50,000 buying options in a company that sells candy for raccoons, that's 50,000 shares someone who isn't me is stuck with. Chuck ROck 2 being $70 in 90s dollars makes a lot more sense now that people are burning money and raccoons have lollipops in their mouth, doesn't it? Square could justify selling a Final Fantasy game on a TI-83 calculator and still pull a profit. When a developer said "Jump" to a publisher for funding, they asked "How high?" right after "Are there at least 20 fat kids that are interested in buying this game to cover the entire budget?" Some of the most unlikeable, unfocus-tested, bullshit could make money because kids had grandparents. Nobody buys shit by accident and keeps it anymore, they'll argue on Apple tech support to get a refund for their 2.99 phone game. Why would you pay 60 bucks for a game with a caveman in it - they have never been able to make Cavemen likeable. But the 90s could try Encino Man, Chuck Rock, Joe and Mac, Flintstones, Adventure Island, Tomba... movies and games etc - what changed? Cave Men sure as fuck didn't - they literally sold Cave Man games to people and made a profit, now nobody wants to play cave man games? Fuck out of here. Cave Man games didn't change. People just don't want to waste their money playing as a Cave Man and they're willing to return the game and admit that they bought a game to play as someone stupider than they are. We can try to make the cave man cool, we can get Brendon Frasier, we can give them dinosaurs to ride on - no, like we have the internet now, nobody wants to play as a fucking cave man, not even by accident anymore. We're done. Nobody has made a cave man game since the 90s. Steam has a no-return policy and nobody so people will make sure they don't buy cave man games. There are no cave men in League of Legends or Dota. There are no Caveman in fucking any game that anyone likes. Would you rather live in an era where you could make money making things nobody likes and other things people like, or begging Capcom to look under the couch for development money for their most famous game that people already like. We had a market that was able to sustain CaveMan games being sold for 140 inflation adjusted dollars sounds bad, but let me tell you, Chuck Rock sold enough to get a Chuck Rock 2...on the Amiga, Amiga CD32, Sega Game Gear, Sega Mega-CD, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Try to sell me Chuck Rock 2 in 2015, I dare you. I fucking double dog dare you. Kickstarter's incentive system better find a way to account for sloppy, almost blasphemous blowjobs, if they want to sell Chuck Rock in 2015. Pile of shit. Novelty was everywhere because innovation was highly rewarded in a society that valued things. You open up a magazine and see new games all the time: "What's this? Samurai Showdown? That's different." Nevermind that I have to go to the arcade and pay enough quarters to hear what Ryu says clearly, look at all these games we're getting. Now that people can understand what Ryu says at home, arcades are fucking dead. Oh, yeah, what a coincidence. As soon as Ryu doesn't talk through a speak-and-spell arcades die. Yeah no connection. I'm 12, I can make money at school selling Mortal Kombat fatalities because information has value when nobody has access to it. Is that a good thing? Fuck no, it's not a good thing. But I made it a good thing. I convinced a kid that Kitana has a "Fuck-Ality" and charged him $5. I wrote random button presses on a napkin and made money for it. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right. No James, I wrote the code down right, you're just doing it wrong - keep trying if you want to see titties. "Keep trying for titties" - the maxim that made people who they were before the internet. We had to try for those titties, and we always did. Kids risked juvenile records to steal dirty magazines of porn that wouldn't stimulate a 13 year old's dick in 2015. There was porn in the everyone's woods, and for some reason, it was always of fat girls with like, i don't know, gunshot wounds and stretch marks..real nasty bitches..it was just fucking gross, but in the 90s you found beauty in anything, especially because seeing areolas was a rarity for a kid. Why is it always the same woman, though? It was the same fat bitch with the bruises and shit all over her thighs. She was the Heidi Klume of porn-woods. Kids these days can spell titties wrong in Google and Google will correct them. No trying at all. "You Searched for: Parks in Connecticut? Did you mean: Steaming Hot Latina Pussy and if so, I found a few videos that you might be interested in.. i mean, it's whatever, no big deal, it's just instant 40 minutes of 1080p pussy and you're 13, so you probably aren't making a decision consciously anyway, but just thought I'd ask...dude this is crazy, girls are practically dying to give their picture away on these sites man, we've got all these results for you for free! Yo, you're so lucky I'm hooking you up, like 15 years ago all I had were the same 12 Jenna Jameson pics for some kid. Got him super hard, though. I'm Google. I feel kinda bad that you're 13 years old and you can't get fully hard unless I bring you weird shit like girls with cocks fucking clowns in the ass. You can't get hard from regular porn, and If someone calls you a faggot for liking videos of girls with cocks, which seems reasonable considering I remember when all I had to do was find kids pics of Sable from WWF, then Twitter will make sure your parents will lose their job for transphobia. The only time a kid is reduced to jacking off to a woman that looked like she went down all the broken rides at the waterpark at Great Adventure is because he can't get off to normal women anymore because he's been exposed to so much porn. Weird shit is everywhere now. Cuckolding is its own category on porn sites - that shit never existed in the past. Now obese women with thighs covered in black and blues are starting to become a category, instead of something you shame-cummed to after finding in the woods. This is not what I had in mind when I thought Capitalism would ensure that the cream was supposed to rise to the top. The most undesirable and obese filth-hogs are more desireable than supermodels, because nobody can jack off to girls in swimsuits, not even 11 year olds. Supermodels don't make money. If you're a woman and you're getting paid for having your picture taken, it's probably because cum is being dumped on your face. The Age of Pussy Deflation - the internet age - where 50 minute porn videos are just a click away. Pussy just pussy now homie. Imagine telling Cindy Crawford, "Hey, you're really hot and everything, but if you don't get some semen in that mouth before you turn 39, I'm not quite sure you'll capture the MILF market, which is a great market, don't get me wrong, but it's heavily targeted towards black men, which is fine, but it overlaps with the market of guys who don't like black guys in porn, and you have to take a side, Cindy. Which side are you on, Cindy? This is a big decision for you Cindy - are you yay or nay on the black cock? And keep in mind, both parties want to see your mouth full of sperm. Yeah, I know it's kinda different than what you're used to, but Porn Stars are the new supermodels. We've all got cum in our mouths now, Cindy, it's up to you to decide how much you wanna get paid for it. She would probably get a job at Trader Joes. A woman like that lived in an era where her titties made her a millionaire, and they were covered up and now you expect her to put a cock in her ass for a 40 minute video you won't ever pay her for? But you will pay for Anita Sarkeesian's Patreon because you masturbate to dirty filth-women, but princess peach is a national treasure. Ono couldn't get enough money to develop Capcom's FLAGSHIP fighting game even after it was hugely successful because games take years and millions of dollars in 2015. And there is still some kid in a ketchup-stained novelty gaming shirt complaining about the textures. "Oh, this looks like ass. Oh his hair looks like bananas. Oh this design is dumb." Nigga, I found out about T-Hawk by opening up a magazine and reading an article written by a community college dropout that could still find work in the field because the publication market was healthy. You could NOT get hyped about T Hawk. For one, he was mexican - which was very unimpressive in the 90s. Hot sauce or premium burrito places or whatever hipster bullshit that made Mexicans so cool today didn't have fucking retards cheerleading it. Burritos were good, but not This Needs a Subreddit good. For 2, he's fucking stupid, okay? "Oh, this Mexican Mestizo fights to defend his homeland." Oh great, now the Mexicans are invading our videogames and I have to fight for his right to be here, too? Fuck it, it's the 90s. This might have value. I paid money for an Aerosmith CD, and I didn't realize what a ripoff it was until I was able to download music for free. Turns out music is free all the time. If someone puts a sticker on a CD, be careful because music is actually free. It's worth nothing. You can just get it. In the 90s, we didn't know that. We didn't know music was worth nothing and Columbia House sent us Alannis Moresette cds in the mail and charged us for it, we said, "Oh these cds are an investment. I can sell these back for 5x the amount. It's the 90s, even Alannis Moresette is worth something. Now level with me here, if Rush or Pink Floyd or whatever has a sticker on it that says $20, what are the chances that another musician, totally unrelated to them are worth exactly the same? The 90s made sure that whatever was worth less, was more valuable because of everything else. It was the Friendly Capitalism of the 90s - If you made a Genesis game, and you played as a rodent of some sort, then godamnit, Sonic ain't the only $60 ticket in town. Make the filthy fucking rodent say "gnarly" a few times and do me a favor, stop being a worrying faggot and get him a pair of sunglasses. Of course you're gonna make a profit it's the 90s. Nobody knows what they're doing and we're making a killing.. I'll give T Hawk a chance. I gave Dhalsim a chance, and I know I'm genuinely not racist because there's no way I can tweet about it to everyone, so that must mean it's true. You can't confirm racism anymore - not being racist can sometimes be hard, but writing hashtags are always easy - and the benefits from getting high fives from cool black people come faster in the latter case. You can have your cake and eat it too, in 2015 - and then you can take a picture of your cake and lament about how "Trayvon would've turned 19 today...this cake is for him." But as soon as you log off, Trayvon's cake is as dead as he is. And lucky for you, you can eat dead cakes because you're a selfish fat fuck sycophant that gets self-congratulatory black people to retweet your cake-morality. "The cake is a lie" you laugh to yourself, because memes are a thing now too. What a faggot you are, you wish you could tell yourself. Also we were used to getting games all the time, so it didn't really matter. A game could be developed in a year, risk being innovative with characters and systems, and still pull a profit because they didn't have a $5 million dollar Chun-Li's Eyelash Physics Studio. You think Darkstalkers is even a thing anymore? Capcom will sooner develop a game where Cops kill black people to get that Twitter cash and keep the Darkstalkers name in one go. That's called a two-fer. Darkstalkers is now a survival horror game. Resident Evil 4 let you kill Africans, now DarkStalkers is a game about cops stalking black people. The cops are female so it's okay. Kotaku writes, " Goodbye Darkstalkers the fighting game, hello DarkStalkers: The SocioPolitical Commentary" - people flip their shit on Twitter "Capcom is politically and socially conscious? Finally!" Finally Capcom is taking a political stance. I was worried about them. Capcom. The company that can't afford to make the most popular fighting game on earth, after the most successful iteration of their game in decades, finally DarkStalkers is saying something...oh and it has an unreleased Macklemore track? Where do I sign up for this? I thought I wanted a horror-themed fighting game that aestheticized everything awesome about design in a solid fighting game, but nah, this got the Feminist Frequency "This is Fine For Now" award. Fuck off. This is not fine. Fuck off with this shit. You're killing games. Nothing is fine for now, it's all fucked up when I could get 3 Darkstalkers games in 4 years and now I have to embarrass myself by being middle-aged faggot when FFXVI comes out. By the time the next Final Fantasy game comes out, who knows? I might be dead, so I have to settle for playing this shit. I don't want to play as a bunch of queers. I shouldn't have to plan how I want to be ashamed 9 years in advance, but this is what the gaming industry has done. If you go to the Capcom offices and ask, "When are we getting another Darkstalkers?" 2 things happen: The first thing is that Capcom starts laughing in your fat fucking face. "It costs more to make Ryu's hair look like not-bananas than it did to make Darkstalkers 3, and that was all of our not-bananas budget that has to last until the Ken DLC. We can make 5 Darkstalkers games a year, or we can not make Ryu have hair that looks like bananas, and trust us, they really look like bananas no matter what we do. It costs millions of dollars to get the bananas out of his hair - Playstation 4 is so advanced, but unfortunately bananas happen until millions of dollars and a few months gets them off. Right now the bananas are on Ken, but we expect to make those bananas go away too when Sony fixes the overdraw issue on our credit line. Event Hubs and NeoGaf are posting gifs of Ken's Hair and Shoryuken has started blogging about it - they are at max cpm, we can't fight it, we just have to pay to un-banana everything. Thanks to technology, it'll only put us back about...yeah, 7 theoretical DarkStalkers games. We can bear that cost, I think - I think we can recoup 40 Dino Crisis games if we hit our sales targets. Capcom financial information is quantified by the dead games it has because it's easier to understand for people in a world where NOTHING IS FUCKING VALUABLE. YOU CAN'T FUND YOUR OWN STREET FIGHTER GAME, THAT IS A RED FLAG. WHEN YOUR GAME COSTS 93.4 BREATH OF FIRES TO ANIMATE SOME NO-NAME SWEATER WEARING FAGGOT IN THE BACKGROUND STAGE, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. You don't even have enough money to give him any context - he cheers when both players die and when both players win, and he sure as fuck isn't cheering about street fighting in general, because he continues to cheer after the match ends. Just fucking don't have him at all, save your money at that point. Just fucking put the money elsewhere, no not in the fucking un-Banana hair jar - that's a waste of money too! Oh my god, you people have no fucking clue. What happened to you Capcom. What happened to you that you give anyone who says the word "Fundmantals" on EventHubs a job. You're Combofiending again. Combofiending the death of your company, and you pathetic bastards can't even see it. He spells every other word wrong on the Capcom blogs, but we Combofiending. Peter spelled Dragon Punch wrong again...Ahhh...we can't fire him now, we Combofiending. Peter, you need to proofread your work. But we Combofiending. The second thing that happens when you ask about Darkstalkers? EventHubs posts about how Capcom doesn't give a shit about their old IPs. Ono makes a statement on Twitter, "no, no no, we love our fans, but we can't afford to make a PS4 Darkstalkers game!" EventHubs posters come together, "How depressing. Capcom is just sitting on all their mega-fortune IPs! They don't know how to run a videogame company!" and make an online petition . "Ono-San, If this petition gets 92 signatures, will you release Darkstalkers 4?" Ono responds, "Listen all DarkStalk Fan! Sony no money for Capcom. Money hard to find for DarkStalkers series just like nut hard to find for squirrel in winter. Breath of Fire phone game now! So sad!" EventHubs and Shoryuken get an influx of inquiries about DarkStalkers and the Fighting Game community and blogosphere lights up. Everyone talks about how good DarkStalkers is, many of whom played it for 4 minutes at a roller rink are using words like "fundamentals" and "footsies" to make sure they sound legit. Capcom eventually realizes that they can make a $40 total profit if the online commotion of DarkStalkers is any indication of market interest. Ono petitions Jewish financiers to get funding after Sony's refusal. Darkstalkers 4 is a reality but Capcom will be indebted to Schlekestein Brothers investment bank for the rest of the company's life span. OH, and Part of the deal is that Ono has to join the IDF, too. Ono writes "I did it for you hardcore Darkstalkers fans!" when he shows off pics of himself in his IDF uniform in Israel." "This me serving our investors!" and holds up his little blanka figure in the foreground of a picture of a dead Palestinian child - you can't put blanka in front of everything and have it be funny. Nobody gives a FUCK that this is going on Ono's twitter, all they care about is that in the reveal trailer that was just released..and that Felicia's fur doesn't have real-time physics.."It's a war crime!". Everyone that pretended to like DarkStalkers is now on NeoGaf writing in a thread about how important 60 FPS fur physics are to the competitive scene. All posts start and end with, "Remember SF X Tekken". Kotaku releases a video showing that female representation per male representation in the trailer is problematic. Many refuse to buy a game that doesn't support 4k resolution. "Inadequate texture filter for a 2016 game" starts trending on Twitter. Surprisingly, the Jewish narrative in the trailer is universally praised. IGN lauds the trailer: "Capcom has taken Sasquatch and has evolved him in a bold and innovative new direction: He is now able to talk, which he does before every match by explaining why the Iran nuclear deal is bad for the western world." The Jewish direction is extolled by the FGC, as well: Maximillian makes a "I react to Demitri's yarmulka DLC announcement" video, which is publicized on all the major primetime news shows and Max is given a timeslot after Bill Maher. His show is similar to his Twitch channel: It's called "Assist Me" and he just asks for donations, which he gets. "Capcom is daring to be political in the current climate!" they say. Ryu takes up rabbinical study, eats kosher, and uses a bulldozer every 6 months to destroy Palestinian banks. Ono realizes that this is the key to the game's success, so he announces that "Holocaust-Remembrance costume pack in the works!" and he makes the Guinness book of world records for Most Retweeted Advertisement on Twitter. Everything is looking great for Darkstalkers 4 again. Then it happens: Chaos. Ono opens Arturo Sanchez Rosetta Stone.exe to translate what every 14 year old white kid in the suburbs is screaming over on Twitter. "4-frame buffer window? What a blowup. Frauds will body gdlk players. Dead game, says a kid with very thin wrists. "Trailer shows hard knockdowns on DP. Game is so dead." Ono tries to reply with his broken english into the his Rosetta Stone software but the program can't parse it. Ono's plea for the fgc to "No worry! We work on game and make better!" translates into "I have serious apprehensions about Zionism and Israel's use of unilateral force in Gaza and other occupied territories." People are disgusted by Ono's antisemitism and refuse to wait. Ono pleads, "Just give Capcom some time!" "Remember SF X Tekken?" says a cool kid on Twitter with an anime avatar. He gets a few retweets but no girls. "Because you certainly don't remember the 8 million." Okay now that gets him some girl retweets. Now that pussy is on the line, he's fighting for Israel. Ono realizes the perennial insight - the ultimate epiphany - if he, as an IDF soldier and puppet of the Israeli nation can be anti-semitic, is everything meaningless? Just as information has lost value in the internet age, so does the meaning of language itself atrophy too? Does everything die "just like Street Fighter X Tekken" and does nothing ever truly live, "just like Street Fighter X Tekken"? The irony is that the Holocaust wiped out the Jews from the streets without so much as a fight, but the Jews killed street fighter with the Holocaust. See how smart shit sounds when you reverse the sentences. Have you ever thought that perhaps smart shit is reversing the sentences? That is the second thing that happens.
submitted by HitchFuckedAnnie
to Kappachino [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 23:11 editoreal Best Low Saturated Fat Cheeses?
I need creamy. Coming from years of heavy cream and astronomically high fat cheeses while doing keto has left me in a pretty serious withdrawal as I cut out the saturated fat.
Spent some time perusing the vegan cheese aisle. It's almost entirely coconut oil based. Coconut oil!!!!
I found an almond cream cheese (kite hill) that I like, but, man is it expensive. Trader Joes has an almond mozzarella that's not entirely disgusting, but, it's very far from ideal.
I bought some medium tofu to try to process it into something creamy, but, I don't think it has the necessary fat. All the tofu based cream cheese recipes I've found recommend adding coconut oil.
I eat a fair bit of mayo, but I'm trying not to go too overboard with seed oils.
I know that I'm never going to have the 70ish grams/day of saturated fat I was consuming on keto ever again, so I can't expect mono-unsaturated fats to ever provide me with that level of creamy bliss, but, I'm hoping that there's something out there that can soften my transition to the mediterranean diet.
submitted by editoreal
to Cholesterol [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 20:10 gothbread Some New Summer Stuff
2023.06.10 19:03 Fossil-Forest Could this Nen Ability I've come up with work? If not, how to improve
So, my idea for this Nen Ability, was inspired partially by the current HxH Succession Contest Arc, in which the 14 princes of the Kakin Empire fight to the death in a contest to decide the next heir to the Kakin throne. What inspired me was the Seed Urn, a Conjured Pot, which had existed for what would presumably be a long time, in order for the Kakin Empire to rise from a lower status to the empire it was currently. Just briefly remind people how the Seed Urn works, To prove one's inheritance to the urn, the host (in this case, one of the 14 Princes) focuses their desire for the crown and offers a drop of their blood to the urn, then puts their hand in its mouth-like opening. At this point, a purple smoke fumes from the urn with a tiny female sprite dressed in Kakin traditional clothing holding a small egg, which she inserts into the host's mouth. The princes will thus be granted a Guardian Spirit Beast when the egg hatches. This beast, although it can't be seen or controlled by the princes, defends the princes in different ways, feeding on their host's Nen to maintain themselves, and possess its own Nen abilities that may different from the user's Nen Type, but are based on the personality and nature of the user.
Since I'd imagine this Urn was created from a Nen Ability, probably from one of the first royals of the Kakin Empire, then I figured there could be similar abilities like it. What if there were post-mortem conjured Nen items that were akin to artifacts in the modern times of HxH? Artifacts that could have incredible powers as a result of them being Post-Mortem Nen creations?
So I came up with an idea for a similar Nen Ability, known as "Familial Imp Shrine". Just a warning, it's very detailed and could be confusing, but I explained as best I could. A Cultist Nen User from long ago had a specialization ability that allowed him to summon a shrine with incredible properties. He was backstabbed and killed by his own members of the religion he had founded, but even after his death, the Shrine remained, possible out of an unyielding desire for his beliefs to live on after his end. The Shrine was lost to time, but was eventually uncovered in a ruin by the Hunter Association, where one of my characters ultimately finds the Shrine within his possession.
After researching the Shrine via the Hunters' Tavern, he finds old writings from the Cultist's religion, and through what he learns, activates the conditions for the Familial Imp Shrine.
The Shrine, which resembles a mini Pagoda, is about 7 feet long and 7 feet wide, with a floor, and thin pillars connecting the floor and the Pagoda-style roof. Inside the shrine is a bronze statue, of a demon with four faces, in a meditation pose. The left hand of the statue holds a knife, and the right hand holds a cup. On the lap of the statue sits seven individually colored incense holders with incense in them, always lit. In his research of the shrine, my character found seven different prayers associated with the shrine, each seven lines long, and each corresponding with one of the seven deadly sins.
The way Familial Imp Shrine works, was if a person kneeled at the shrine, and prayed while perfectly reciting one of the seven prayers, then made an "offering" by cutting their finger on the blade, and letting blood drip from their finger into the cup, suddenly, the shrine would start glowing with Nen, and that Nen would enter the one who completed those prerequisites. Suddenly, one of the incense holders would vanish, and the person would then gain a Nen ability, starting with them being able to summon the incense holder that vanished when they made the offering.
Each Prayer mentioned is tied to a Sin, each Sin is tied to a specific incense, and each incense is tied to one of seven abilities the shrine will grant to seven different people who complete certain conditions at the shrine. If the person who does this isn't a Nen User at the start, they are baptized from when the Shrine's Nen floods into their body, and unlock the ability to use Nen, and through training, they will come to be able to use the ability associated with the incense prayer they read out, even though they didn't create the ability themselves. If the person is a Nen User, they will simply gain another Nen Ability, but won't immediately understand it.
Let me give an example: A guy named John goes to the shrine, and recites the prayer relating to the sin of Greed perfectly. He subsequently cuts his index finger on the knife of the demon statue, and drops blood from the injury into the cup of the demon statue. The shrine glows with Nen, which enters John, who is a Nen User, and one of the incense holders vanishes off of the shrine. In addition to his own Nen ability, John finds himself accidentally summoning this Incense Holder. But here's where the true power of the Incense Holder comes into play.
Each of the Incense Holders has an Incense stick in them, which is always lit. Upon being able to intentionally summon the Incense holders, smoke will rise from the stick, and summon a different Demon/Genie-like Nen Beast. These Nen Beasts are all a part of the same Family of Nen Beasts, called "Imps", hence the Shrine being called the "Familial Imp Shrine". Each Nen Beast summoned grants its own services to the summoner in the form of its own unique Nen ability, but each service has its own costs. Here's another example, and very brief summary of one of the powers:
John can now summon the Greed Incense Holder, and subsequently, the Imp Nen Beast associated with Greed, called "The Trader", who can conjure new items for John every day, but he can only buy them with physical objects that hold personal value to him, the costs varying on the item he's buying from the Nen Beast.
Some other examples of costs are from the Sloth Incense, which summons an Imp Nen beast who manages an artificially-created Nen Space that is similar to a hotel, but you have to pay the Imp, also known as the Hotelier, additional Aura to access a room. Each Nen Beast offers a service, with a cost.
You might be wondering however, what could stop a person from praying to the shrine multiple times, to allow that person to obtain multiple incenses? When a person prays and makes a blood sacrifice a second time after already doing so, the shrine kills them, and the incense ability they possessed is returned to the shrine, which mentions an important point. Anyone who dies with one of the incense abilities, that incense is returned to the shrine for someone else to obtain.
But lastly, there is one other result of praying to the shrine, and receiving an ability, that I have yet to mention. No matter who prays to the Shrine, if they have any other Nen Affinity besides Specialization, their affinity is forcibly changed to Specialization to fit the Ability they have inherited, which, although the Nen Beast may use conjuration or Transmutation, since the Beasts and the means of summoning them originate from a Specialization Ability, being the Familial Imp Shrine, the person's Nen type is forced to change to that. However, the person is then unable to create any new Nen Abilities using their new affinity towards Specialization. This is most catastrophic for established Nen Users, who might've been enhancers or emitters, as their established enhancement and emission techniques would be weaker and hard to maintain, thanks to the forced change in typing.
I will make separate posts from this one, detailing all of the individual incense Nen Beast abilities, but for now I hope people have an idea about how the incenses work.
But overall, the Conditions and Limitations of the Familial Imp Shrine are as follows:
The user has to read the proper seven line prayer perfectly, in front of the shrine while praying
The user has to give a drop of blood to the shrine statue
The user cannot to receive a second incense ability from the shrine, for otherwise they will die in the attempt of doing so
The user will forcibly become a specialist, and will be unable to create any new Nen abilities in that Nen category afterwards, and their potential in using abilities in other categories will change as a result
I apologize for the long read, or any grammar mistakes as this took a while to write, but I welcome anyone has any suggestions about reworking it, as I know this isn't a perfect ability, and is more of an idea. However, I just want everyone to know that I worked really hard on creating this ability. Let me know what needs to be fixed, or if there are flaws in it, as I really want to make it better, if it needs to be. Let me know if you like it otherwise!
Edit: A really good short summary of this ability was placed in the comments if you are confused!
submitted by Fossil-Forest
to HatsuVault [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 15:54 ID10-T Last FA Test
Getting Rid of Most of My Flavors, Part 47 PREVIOUS > Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4
- Part 5
- Part 6
- Part 7
- Part 8
- Part 9 Part 10
- Part 11
- Part 12
- Part 13
- Part 14
- Part 15
- Part 16
- Part 17
- Part 18
- Part 19
- Part 20
- Part 21
- Part 22
- Part 23
- Part 24
- Part 25
- Part 26
- Part 27
- Part 28
- Part 29
- Part 30
- Part 31
- Part 32
- Part 33
- Part 34
- Part 35
- Part 36
- Part 37
- Part 38
- Part 39
- Part 40
- Part 41
- Part 42
- Part 43
- Part 44
- Part 45
- Part 46
Starting Flavor Count: 2,429 (down from 2,972)
TASK OR TRASH - Each flavor gets assigned at least one task or it goes in the trash.
FLAVOUR ART Violet
Yup, that’s violet. It tastes very, very violet, without being perfumy. It’s sweet, too, with some chalky sweetness especially in the finish, like a violet candy. It will get a little laundry-soapish with too much, so start low, but it will turn anything floral-purple long before that happens. I don’t get anything I would call an off-note from this.
I need it to make more Mango Beauregarde TASK 1
, to make a modernized remix of my old Paradise Cream recipe, and because I want to try Violet Hops, and Jazz Hands (while I still have some Holy Vanilla). There really isn’t much else I want to mix that uses it. Waffles Vanilla
That is certainly a waffle. There’s a hint of vanilla baked in but I don’t know that it really warrants having vanilla in the name, it’s just a touch. It’s a bit doughy like it’s undercooked but considering how bad some other waffle flavors are, this is definitely one of the better ones. Although it tastes undercookied and doughy in the center and is overall a creamy feeling flavor, it has the nice crispy edges of a waffle. It is a bit nutty if I think about it too hard, around the edges, but I didn’t take hit and immediately go “nuts.” Since the OG INW Waffle is now long gone, I think this is probably my favorite waffle flavor. There isn’t really anything I want (or am able) to mix that uses it, so I’ll just start simple with an attempt at a waffle with butter and maple syrup.
Justwaffle V1 TASK 2
|Co. ||Flavor ||% |
|FA ||Waffles Vanilla ||2 |
|FA ||Maple Syrup ||1.5 |
|VT ||Butter Base ||1 |
|VT ||Golden Syrup ||1 |
Walnut milk? Walnut water? I don’t know, but this flavor is wet. Juicy. Or at least, very moist compared to other nuts. I think that throws the accuracy off quite a bit, but it’s a little more walnutty than WF Walnut. It has that earthy, somewhat sharp top note that I expected from a walnut right up front, but a sweeter, much less distinct nutty thick body that also throws it off of walnut a ways. The whole thing was oddly wet. Could be very useful to combat the dryness that is so ubiquitous with nuts, without being tempted to do something gross like add cactus to them.
I’ll mix some more 2 Flavor Banger
with twice as much nicotine as I usually use, perfect for when there’s an open bar. TASK 3 Watermelon (Red Summer)
Sort of like a very authentic watermelon, but not, because it’s so dry. I mean, wetness is like a watermelon’s most defining characteristic. It’s got water right there in the name. This is like freeze-dried astronaut watermelon. It’s also thin and just sort of has that natural watermelon top note minus all wetness and some of the sweetness that makes a watermelon a watermelon. It’s not a bad flavor, but it needs a lot of help.
I have a handful of recipes already in the queue that use this one. Of course I will not be tossing one of the components to the original Strap-On and several variations that I’ve already planned to try and/or try again. One that hasn’t been put on the list yet but will be there now: Fuzzy Strap-On
. TASK 4 Whipped Cream
This is my #2 Whipped Cream (OoO is #1). It’s very milky, it manages to very clearly be a dairy product without tasting remotely rancid, like homemade whipped cream. Very full and satisfying, with a lingering milkfat feel like whipped cream. Just a touch of vanilla. It’s a somewhat soft and subtle flavor, lending it an airy, fluffy feel, but not at all drying.
Already picked out at least four recipes that use it, here’s a couple more. Kahlua Coffee
- SSA Tiramisu. If you’ve tried it, you know. TASK 5 hard furry creamy
. This one is rated TV MA for coconut violence, but I think I can handle it. TASK 6 Whisky
Cheap scotch with a big splash of apple juice and a cherry in it. I guess it kind of tastes like whisky. Has a little boozy bite there. It has some peat moss in it that makes it tastes a little bit like cheap scotch but, with a weird and fairly prominent fruity sweetness, somewhere between an apple and a cherry.
I have to keep this (for now) to try Kopel’s Fireside recipe again, so I’ll keep it a little longer than than to try his Castle Longer
as well. TASK 7 White Grape
Eating freeze-dried white grapes while wearing a little too much perfume. Very jammy sticky sweet and mostly tastes like white grapes, but vapes pretty dry, or at least not wet and juicy like a grape or grape juice. Maybe needs to be fixed with just a little cactus? But, not sure about that because it already packs quite a floral wallop and cactus might amplify that. There’s a little tart tannic grape skin note that’s appropriate but that musky and slightly bitter floral right on top is unfortunate. I’d use this maybe in a small dose to try to make a “purple” flavor taste a little more like a real grape, as well as add that nice jammy sweetness to it, but not for anything else. Almost certainly not as the main flavor in a mix.
Nothing that uses this is something I want to try, and it’s about time I threw something away this week. TRASH 1 White Peach
It really very accurately, almost freakishly, emulates the difference between a classic yellow peach and a sweeter, sugary white peach. However, it’s a little thin, and a little dry, and I get some throat irritation from it. Gets a bit too sharp and floral if taken up too high, and can overtake a mix while still not being especially bold.
Although it can be a little tricky to work with, this is one of the greatest peach flavors by comparison.
I need it for one of my all-time favorites, Blue Eyes White Dragon TASK 8
I’ve already picked out about eight recipes that make use of it, including two I hope to find time to mix up today. I’ll also try Yet Another Peaches and Cream
- just four flavors that look great together. TASK 9 Wine Champagne
Careful with this one. I tried 3-4% shake and vape because my 2% steeped sample was fairly weak and was weird, like rotten grapes. Possibly this just needs to stay a soft, background-type flavor. 2% is not rotten, just fermented. Isn’t fizzy. It’s more like white wine than champagne. Sweet-tart, almost but not quite vinegary tartness. It tastes even more like white wine than FA White Wine, which is more of a brighter white grape flavor, and a good one at that. This tastes too fermented to just be a white grape juice flavor, it’s definitely wine. Kinda gross as a single flavor, but seems like it could make a nice base for any kind of fruit wine and I’ve tried a recipe with watermelon where it did exactly that very well. Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine
was the aforementioned recipe. I liked it very much when I tried it years ago, will give it another shot. TASK 10
It’s also in a Mango Champagne recipe I’ve already planned to try. Wine White
Somewhere around halfway between a semi-sweet white table wine and white grape juice. Not floral at all. A little fermentedish, but not really boozy. Smooth. Lightly sweet. Not especially thin, more thick-ish. Not dry, actually slightly juicy. Really nothing to complain about here. Fairly light flavor at 1.5%, tastes like it could easily go higher % especially if it is to be the main flavor in a mix. Could easily pass for a bit of white grape flavor in a mix. Better than FA White Grape (that one’s too floral as well as a bit dry).
It’s not a bad flavor, but I can’t find a recipe I want to mix that uses it, and don’t feel inspired to create one. TRASH 2 Wow
Sort of tastes like a donut but more of a generic pastry, wrapped around a little bit of fruit that tastes distinctly red but not on point for any particular red fruit such as raspberry or strawberry. Sweet and complex, but also dry and thin, not a thick and rich pastry or especially gooey filling. Also, very slightly harsh. Maybe you could use it to build a fruit-filled donut, but both the donut part and the filling part will need a lot of help, and at that point it’s sort of a why bother type of situation unless maybe it’s a bridge-type of flavor, but arguably that’s not even something you’d want or need if you’re trying to get any separation between pastry and fruit layers.
I’ve planned to try Bite Me
already because it looks fantastic, but had trouble finding anything else I really want to use WoW for. I guess I’ll try this Freak Show
recipe, TASK 11
, but I’m not super excited about it like I am for most of the recipes I link. Ylang Ylang
I don’t think I’ve ever tried this. I’ll mix a sample at 0.75%. TASK 12 Yogurt TRASH 3
Trash, with prejudice. One of the top 10 worst flavors I have ever tried. It tastes like a company of athlete’s foot-suffering soldiers marching through a swamp of Miracle Whip, except that that would be very wet and squishy and this is dry and chalky. Aftertaste like I barfed an hour ago and it came out my nose and I still have a case of the stinky burnies. Worst of all, this abomination is a reformulation of a delicious FA Yogurt flavor that is no longer sold. Zen Garden
Dry sweet basil with some dry sage in the background. Very Dry. Has a slight woody quality.
Keeping it to try Coconut Thai Remixed
. I couldn’t find another recipe that I want to mix, but this one for Gin Blossom
by CheebaSteeba has interesting elements and I want to see what just this one small piece of a the recipe tastes like.
Zen Suckle V1 TASK 13
|Co. ||Flavor ||% |
|TFA ||Honeysuckle ||2.5 |
|FA ||Aurora ||1 |
|FA ||Zen Garden ||0.75 |
It’s like you sprinkled a little spice blend on one of those powered sugar donuts to try to make it taste fancy. A cake donut with powdered sugar and an indistinct spice note like light nutmeg/cinnamon/maybe clove note. Indistinct warm spice note is not as prominent as it is in WF Deep Fried Pastry Dough but is quite present. Very sweet, dense, possibly fried (slightly oily mouthfeel but not a lot of greasy taste), not yeasty, cake donut because cake donuts get their rise from baking powder rather than yeast and there is no yeast here. A little dry. Lots of powdered sugar on top and in the finish, almost a sugar lips effect. People say the main or only problem with Zeppola is that it sticks out in a mix and they know when it’s in there… I think that’s more due to the spice note than any other defining characteristic. It’s a shame that’s in there because it would be so much better without it, but I know from recipes Zeppola can be a useful tool, even if it’s unfortunately not the Holy Donut Grail.
Most recipes that appear to pretend that weird spice note isn’t there or can be covered with just fruit donut really interest me at all, but if there is another spice added that probably covers it up/pulls it in a given direction, that’s another story. Cinnayum
is one that I already plan to try, because it looks amazing.
On the subject of cinnamon rolls, Banana Cinnamon Rolls
. TASK 14 Gooey Apple Pie
- as long as 1% FLV Apple Filling is enough to make it just take like cinnamon and not that odd Zeppola spice, everything else here looks great. TASK 15 Double Glazed Apple Fritter
, 1% WF Deep Fried Pastry Dough is sure to make it fritter-ish, but it looks like doubling down on odd spice blend. Hoping 1.2% Apple Filling saves this one. TASK 16 Note
Didn’t get rid of many flavors or give any updates this week, but I said I was going to get through the rest of FA and I’ve done that. Next week, I’ll dive into German Flavours. Definitely a bunch of trash there. Note about the subreddit shutting down on Monday
When (if?) it comes back up, I’ll resume posting these here. In the meantime, I’ll continue posting them to my own profile
, where I’ve already copy-pasted the first 46 installments. If someone has a better idea for where GRoMoMF can best trudge forward with or without Reddit, I’d be very happy to hear it.
New Flavor Count: 2,426
submitted by ID10-T
to OdiesSandbox [link] [comments]
2023.06.10 13:47 Erwinblackthorn The 4 Types of Writers: A Followup to the "Woke Test"
A while ago, I posted a test that was to determine what kind of writer someone is, based on what part of the “modernist” spectrum they fall into. Part of the reason why I did this was to see how much I understand about the subject matter, since I will always have a postmodernist tell me that I am clueless as to what any of these are. Another reason is to have writers start realizing why they think the way they do, and possibly start questioning why they write how they do. I found out that, from the dozen or so people who took the test and posted their results to me, that most people I encounter and get along with online are modernist. A lot of these people reject mainstream media and they are secluded in alternative media sites because they don’t get along with the current overton window that’s among popular sites. I think it’s safe to say a lot, if not all, of these people are anti-woke, and they received 1 or 0 answers on the woke aspect of the test.
If I can pat myself on the back for anything, at least I can say I got the woke part correct.
Although the buzzwords I used for woke might be cheating since we all know I’m referring to something woke when I say something like “inclusivity” or “intersectionality” or “oppression”, because anyone who listens to even something like Joe Rogan will know these terms and treat them like they’re dripping with vomit and diarrhea. A lot of us, especially the classical liberal, center to center-right types, and even the center-left types, are tired of this woke nonsense. Even some guy who drinks beer while watching football and shopping at a basic store like Target is tired of this tomfoolery.
So this followup is to address a lot of the complaints I received and also to bring in some insight into how I wanted to conceptualize the test and how it turned out. I will also explain the relevancy of this type of test since some are wondering why something like scoring modernist means anything.
In philosophy, you are to hit 5 branches in order for your philosophy to be considered “full” or at least “full enough” to be granted a name. These 5 are:
- Metaphysics (study of existence)
- Epistemology (study of knowledge)
- Ethics (study of action)
- Politics (study of force)
- Aesthetics (study of art)
If you hit all 5 of these at least once, you have a full range of addressing the stuff that makes up a philosophy. I tried to reverse engineer these 5 categories into 22 questions, and after the fact(meaning this evening), I realized that I should have had 4 questions for each category and then 2 questions about the reader and then the writer. The number 22 is related to the major arcana in tarot, with the 2 extras being the fool(the writer) and the world(the reader). That or maybe something like “what exactly do you write in your story?” and then that can relate to worldbuilding or something. It would have to be a question that lets us know what the person sees as a good world to write in the first place, because then that would show us the world they aim for, which is related to their worldview.
Or maybe to question what they read so that we can see what a writer finds interest in, so that it correlates with what they would write.
That was not critiqued by others, but I know I messed up on that. I was listening to a Jordan Peterson video where he said that a good survey questionnaire takes months of planning to get the wording right for the questions and the answers, and I looked at my test and saw I did it in a day, and went “well, I think I messed up, yeah.” My own critique will be taken into consideration so that I can remake the test and make it better. To repeat what I said in the test: I wish to use this to determine who to avoid when hiring and working with people, because anyone scoring even something like 2 answers on the woke mentality is something to be concerned about.
Other critique involves question 1 where the phrase “copy it” should be changed to “emulate it”. Yeah, I agree, that makes more sense, since copy makes it sound like someone is not putting their own spin on it or putting it in their own words. Imitate, match, resemble, something that intends to retain the purpose but including your own position on the matter. Question 17, how we get our knowledge, is a very open question about epistemology, and that one seems to have given a few people the woke answer by accident, even if they aren’t woke in the way they answer. The problem with the term “lived experience” is that people think it’s a normal term and it is one of the few woke terms that go over some people’s heads. The term is used commonly in correspondence with articles that feature globohomo artwork and they talk about how it’s important to have a person in your corporation or non-profit organization who holds “lived experience” and they are referring to living as a black person to know what a black person feels.
I find this incredibly woke because, as I’ll explain further later on, the woke are saying that the only way to know something is to be that thing, thus forcing writers to be, say, autistic in order to write an autistic character. Or they must be a woman to write a woman. Or they must be a black to write a black. This enforcement is what causes the demand for diversity hires, because somehow these diversity hires hold mystical magical knowledge that nobody else in the company would even dare to understand or comprehend unless they checked off some boxes first. On top of that, the term “pragmatic action” was poor wording and that’s my bad. I was trying to say something like “scientific realization” in order to attach the modernist to science. Something that is both pragmatic(able to be done practically) and part of some kind of education/training. You’ve done it, you’ve learned about it, you see others do it, that can be the modernist idea of knowledge.
Other than those two, I think every other question went over rather well, but I will still enhance them to be worded better as time goes on and as I revisit it with more of an organized “5 sets of 4 and the 2 big ‘uns” in mind. But then there comes the elephant in the room. The scoundrel who dared to question my authority and make a critique about the test. How dare they and stuff.
Jokes aside, I really like this kind of critique and it’s great that she put it into clear questions that I can firmly address. I like it when people are clear. It’s much better than that obfuscation thing the postmodernists always do when they complain about me without really having a reason other than something where they don’t like labels or they were offended that I dared to mention any category of anything. Page Zaplendam, a fellow writer, brought up 3 important questions which you can see for yourself here
- Where are the definitions of the terms?
- How do you justify reducing things to something like woke?
- How do you prevent people from rejecting pre-modernism?
I’ll address the first one to then follow through with the rest of the answers, because they all go in a long chain of “why, why, why” and “how, how, how”.
To begin the explanation, we’re going to need to establish what modernism is so that the others can be explained. It’s the word that created the reason we see a difference in aesthetics like this because this was the moment we engaged in what’s called the enlightenment. During the early 17th century and around that time, people started to remove their dependency on kingdoms and instead create nations and industry. Religion was also being questioned because scientific advancements through record keeping allows people to give better assessments on what causes something to happen in the world. The view of the world started to become more natural and so naturalism was common, as well as rationalism and empiricism. People were using logic to make their decisions and data to come to conclusions, rather than faith or scripture from prior.
During this time, the modern age, traditions were tarnished and deemed as unnecessary. Medicine allowed people to praise science instead of pray for a mystical cure. Predictions of weather with meteorology allowed people to reduce famines and starvation. Printing presses allowed books to become more common, machinery allowed more production of goods, and life went from depending on neighbors to depending on communities and global trade. This dramatic change in both lifestyle and mentality allowed art to enter the modernist art era, which is determined as art that experiments to search for new meaning and objectivity without the necessity of a deity, tradition, or the supernatural.
Mythology became psychology, alchemy became academia, and religion became fandom. Everything mentally changed under modernism to create an environment of experimentation, the romances took over, which led to the pulp adventures and existentialist works of things like noir. Weird tales brought us ideas of cosmicism, thanks to the lack of god or at least the lack of a god who cares about humanity. With this freedom from religion, the mostly liberal environment of modernism allowed people to make up their own rules, their own ideas of what’s real, and thus we were able to focus more on the individual, rather than the collective. Stephen Hicks has a great video where he lectures about how modernism came to be and what it is, but I can simplify it into the 5 categories he has on his chart.
Epistemology: empiricism and reason
Human Nature: Tabula Rasa(everything mental is gained from experience)
politics/economics: liberal capitalism
As you can see, modernism caused this reliance on the self, but also reliance on science as a replacement for religion. It caused the worship of money, while also opening people up to other ideas thanks to the liberal mindset. The liberty to engage with other things allowed people to mingle with both good and bad ideas. This is actually why people, like James Lindsay, say that liberals caused things like Nazism and Communism to come into fruition, because the liberal is so open and accepting that they allow terrible ideas to take over the top of the social structure and they think it won’t touch them if they are on the bottom. This is also how dictators were able to trick people into treating them like a God, because the dictator convinced people that they were able to answer prayers and did this during their campaigns to get elected or during the revolution while they’re beheading their opponents in the streets.
In other words, the uprising of democracy had people rely on voting in the same way as people relied on prayers, but here it’s where we pray to a natural government and hope they do something we want.
One thing that we don’t like to realize is that colonization occurred because of a scientific superiority among the Europeans, and this scientific advancement was caused by years of wars and immense dedication to their royalty. Then there were areas they colonized that had a crazy amount of gold, such as Australia and the Aztec empire, and this abundance of gold allowed trade to skyrocket, while Indian trade and the silk road allowed wealth to spread across the globe. Diamonds and gold found in Africa, like a sick joke from God to force white people to go to such a hellhole to get the diamonds in the rough. It’s not that white people wanted to go around and rule the world. It’s that enlightened explorers and merchants wanted to make a crazy amount of money and these environments were inhabited by people who left these literal gold mines untapped, and these explorers used technology to take over.
No wonder modernism was full of that toga wearing utopia sci-fi stuff!
It’s not hard to realize why the Europeans took over entire empires with small groups of conquistadors. They had armor, guns, ships with cannons. Those Chinese must have their face red realizing they are the ones who sold them black powder. Every alchemist should feel bad and stuff that they are the reason guns were used versus the people who didn’t have guns. It was such a destructive force to use guns against savage tribes and kingdoms because it was both physical and psychological. It was like dealing with metallic robots who fired lightning from their arms and filled the area with a concealing smoke. That’s like showing a caveman a cellphone, their brains instantly melt trying to comprehend what’s going on.
So people are angry at the modernists for being… rational and empirical, and I guess being urbanized or industrialized. People are mad at capitalism for being effective and a good way to globally get along. They’re mad at liberals for being okay with race mixing. The utter nerve of such horrid actions. How dare people mix. I’ll make sure to tell my own future mixed kids that they should be ashamed of themselves for having parents who came from different parts of the Earth and that’s about it.
So modernism, do I like it?
Well, it’s not bad. A lot of my favorite stuff is modernist and usually when people say they want to go back to the old days, they point at modernism as the example. Hell, a lot of postmodernists now are saying they want to go back to modernism, and then they say they don’t, because they feel like it's superior, but they hate the idea of accepting that it’s modernist. I mean, that’s why it’s called postmodernism, it’s the thing after modernism is gone, it’s the rejection of modernism and also pre-modernism. But more on that one later.
I noticed a lot of people got mostly modernist as their answers on the test and it makes sense. Many people online, especially on alternative social media, will be actual liberals who are open to different ideas, which allows them to engage with things that both offend them and possibly something they see as evil. They’re open to having their minds changed and they are always willing to learn more because there’s a big idea on learning more and experimenting, which is something I can relate to because I’m always trying out new restaurants in my area and I don’t mind trying a genre that I’m not familiar with. For me, I have a bit of that liberal mindset because I try out a lot of things I’m not familiar with and I end up liking some stuff, but I usually stick to what I established as my firm ideas from prior.
For example, when I was a kid I hated eating beans and I refused to eat fish that wasn’t canned tuna. Now, after being more open, I love salmon and I love eating beans, which dramatically helped my nutritional intake. There is a healthiness involved with experimenting and there is also a risk factor. But if you know how to avoid dangers, I don’t see a problem with trying out something like a new genre you’re not used to, just to see if you can get into it.
I mention this because the modernist writer will experiment, but will also claim a truth that comes from rationalism, which assumes the world we live in is logical. Even if it’s chaotic and absurd, they’ll say it’s logical, because it’s predictable and we can interact with it. This allows their writing to hold to formulas through things like pulp, while also experimenting through things like weird fiction. There is repetition that happens, and this is why genres became a big thing, so the reader can tell what form of repetition they want to deal with through what they are familiar with. This caused what’s called a comfort zone, which is the state of mind where a person feels at ease because there is an abundance of familiarity and a lack of unwanted challenges. Genres create these comfort zones, and this is then where we have to talk about individualism.
Liberalism has the problem of causing individualism to slowly become sophistry and egotism. The person declaring they are the one who is to be relied on and they are the ones who make up their own rules becomes a person who can’t tell who they’re obeying. Especially if that person puts something above themselves, like race, or science, or nation, or the opinions of others through democracy. Thanks to romanticism during this modernist time, we were able to feel like we had an abundance of freedom and capability, but then barely a century later the rise of Naizsm and Communism caused people to realize that this capability is in relation to what the shadow is capable of. The darkest, most disturbing and destructive actions a person is capable of, beyond their imagination and beyond what we’d consider a “human act”.
This quick change into the most dangerous entity nearby is why I don’t trust anarchists when they say their utopia would be functional. When it comes to real life, that doesn’t work, we need a more powerful overarching thing to keep that shadow in check, and we need that entity above the human to be in check of its own shadow on top of that. And this shadow is also what causes the modernist to engage with things like dada and a hatred of art to the point where they can say the work is for them and them alone, or that all art is equal, down to where a turd on a pedestal is the same as the Mona Lisa.
The pro of modernism is a focus on the individual, which promotes movements like poetic realism and neorealism, which grants a look into everyday lives. The mundane can be put into the forefront and average people can feel like they relate, which allows the average person to buy the work. That is a great plus, and it’s why the most popular shows out there are stuff that involves soap opera style drama and an environment that is simple, like a hospital or a police station. The sitcom is a result of modernism, because only a modernist would find value in seeing a family hang around their house while you’re sitting in your house with your family watching someone else in their house with their family.
Now let’s get on with pre-modernism, after all of that introduction is said and done. Pre-modernism is everything that came before this enlightenment and this separation from God. Atheists like to say how atheism has been popular forever and they have simply been suppressed, but something crazy that they ignore is that every civilization, without ever talking to each other, before any contact with anyone else, became a religious, spiritual, civilization. We even have a name for this basic religion, called animism. This natural desire to be religious in humans comes from how we think when we are young, as well as how we think when we are not relying on science or even words.
I know this sounds strange but we think more in pictures and visions than we do with words when we don’t know how to read. Reading unlocks a vast amount of knowledge that can be gained practically instantly, but a lack of language in our ability to think causes an abundance of symbolism in our head to fill in the gaps, meaning the ability to read locks away this visual aspect. When we’re babies, we view everything as giant, threatening, and frightening. And why not? We’re this tiny soft thing that has a skull that can easily be dented and we’re unable to feed ourselves. We need someone to throw food into our mouths like bananas into the mouth of a hippo at a zoo. We have our parents doing stuff for us, and so our brain right away connects the two.
Stuff happening around us is caused by something like a parent, like an authority, like a sky father and earth mother. The father gives me brain stuff and the mother gives me food stuff. But then we’ll grow up and realize that something like the wind moves on its own, the moon comes up to replace the sun on its own, and the seasons change on their own. There’s something we can’t see that’s doing this, something beyond the sky and under the ground, and everywhere we can’t see, especially behind our eyeballs. There’s this strange image that appears behind my vision that is not of the world but of my mind, and I conjured it.
And if I didn’t conjure it, I had someone else put it in my head through a spell, in the form of words, which cast the symbol to occur in my mind. Writers in the pre-modernist age are spellcasters, wizards, that make sure something is explained about the mysterious and supernatural world that is beyond the stuff we see around us. This “rejection of the average” causes the pre-modernist writer to talk about stuff that are not only real, but hyper-real. It doesn’t speak about an individual and it’s not for an individual, because it’s attaching everyone under the same umbrella and form. This is why I find poor interpretations of mythology humorous but also rather useless.
People will look at something like Greek mythology where a god has a child with their sister and go “well, isn’t incest a bad thing?” Not only do they miss the point, but they forget that it's a god we’re talking about and it’s not a human. It’s not some biological thing standing in front of you. It’s the supernatural, it’s beyond something like biology. Or better yet when someone reads the bible and goes “why did Adam take a rib out to get a woman? Couldn’t God just make a woman without taking his rib?”
It’s like, you missed the point and you’re ignoring the importance of symbolism, and this symbolism grants all of the meaning that you’re missing from the bible. Yes, Eve is made from Adam, and yes, it takes a rib, because rib is a bone and bone is structure. A rib is near a heart, a protector of heart. Heart is courage, love, emotions, stuff that makes our blood pump. Blood is a humor based on air, and air is one of the 4 elements. The connection goes on and on and on, because this mythology is all connected together into one giant story that goes beyond the words stated in the story. Each tiny noun or verb means way more than it lets up to mean. I’ve been studying mythology for a while, and really trying to look into them before I say anything about them, and there is so much inner history with mythology that’s both present and reachable, but it’s practically endless with how everything connects.
And at the same time, all of this is essential, of a form, symbolic, and objective.
This relation to religion in pre-modernism causes the definition to be something like “the art form that depicts hyper-reality in an objective truth that involves the supernatural as a source of the natural and as the source of truth.
Stephen Hicks puts the politics of the pre-modernist as feudalism, but it’s more like monarchy, where you believe that there should be a king, because someone has a family line that was sacred enough to treat like one. In pre-modernism, we had ancestor worship in every culture, because your family line was important to keeping your existence relevant. This is because everything in the pre-modern age involved titles, which were granted by an authority, and many times this authority is a god or an ancestor.
Your title within your family is in relation to your family members and your last name determines your family’s title for others to recognize. If someone was a smith, they would get the last name smith, like say John the smith just becomes John Smith, and they will endow their established trade to their next of kin. So if the son of John Smith wants to make a living, he’s going to be a smith as well. There is this lineage and family business that is treated seriously, because if you step out of this title, you’ll have to create your own. People could do that by entering a trade or a guild, by learning from others, from gaining a title after being born a bastard, or whatever they could to get a title.
But the key factor is that title is important to the pre-modernist. What’s even more important is form, because this religious mentality creates the environment that perfection is possible. A metaphysical manifestation separate from the material world that is able to be aimed towards and sought after, even if unable to be reached. This was well portrayed in characters like Jesus, which Christianity dedicated itself to fulfill the traits of Jesus, due to Christianity being a religion where people follow the teachings of Jesus.
I would say that every religion had their own type of Jesus, the perfect form that someone or something has to uphold and look up to as inspiration.
Later on, alchemy came out of the prototype phase and started to connect all of these religions and symbols with each other to create more overarching symbolism that went for more core ideas. At this point, people could only argue against combinations and where something is in a hierarchy, rather than the validity of the claim of something like a single god or a creator. Sects of religions were made in order to determine different end goals, or different ideas in how a ritual should be done, or whether something like a church is important for worship, and these were the biggest sources of dispute possible.
You either followed God's will or you didn’t, and if you didn’t, you were a heathen. Heathens are sent to the bad place, believers go to the good place. We have a supernatural aspect of our body, beyond our body, beside our body, that went there for us, usually in the sense of a soul or spirit. The mind is an intermediary between the body and spirit that allows communication between the two at all times. This was usually depicted with gods like Psyche or Hermes or any other messenger god.
The gods would speak to us with omens and with us using clairvoyance. Any pattern in front of us or up in the stars could be used as a means to decipher a supernatural message. This message was easily able to repeat itself because there was an objective meaning to everything, which is why something like Zodiacs are constantly watched even to this day. Pre-modernist art retains this tradition of using mythology and symbolism to depict truths about the world. Romanticism was an attempt to return to this truth telling style during the modernist era, but Romanticism was absent of the religious aspect and was more of something like a neo-alchemical way of handing stories, where symbols were kept basic and for individual progress instead of a collective one.
A big part of pre-modernism is collectivism, especially the collective unconscious, which Jung coined later on when referring to his more pre-modernist analysis of psychology that heavily relied on alchemy and mythology. We used mythology to say something of value, with a universal or at least human level of objectivity, and the only way to miss the message is to deny that symbolism exists for them. Or at least, your level of symbolism in your interpretation would have to be so low resolution that it misses every point entirely and has zero context as to why mythology is important in the first place.
Mythology grants the idea that our world holds order, while the modernist idea is more about how the world is chaotic and we hold order to shape the world better. Fables grant the idea that particular personalities do particular things, while modernism declares that things change or can be grey and shows how. The black and white morality of the pre-modernist merged into grey once modernism kicked in, because there is the lack of theism under modernism.
We’re half way through the explanation and now we come to postmodernism.
Pre-modernism establishes that the supernatural causes order to cause truth, modernism changed that to say a secular natural world causes chaos to have us find truth. So what does postmodernist do to change all of that?
It rejects both and says both pre-modernism and modernism are wrong, and instead says everything that can be perceived is subjective and the objective is unknown to us. Stephen Hicks says in his video that postmodernists are really intelligent and well read into an abundance of stuff, and he’s impressed by that. I would have to disagree with him because it’s not like they read everything they did in order to understand it. They read everything and continue searching because they intend on claiming it’s not true, and use their personal interpretation to claim such. It’s very much like when a person studies mythology to then say “you know, the gods committing incest and magically transforming is really weird.”
Before I get deep into postmodernism, I would like to explain the concept of realism. Realism, in both philosophy and art, is to depict a thing as how it truthfully is. There is accuracy, there is something there that really exists, and it has attributes that causes it to really exist. Both modernism and pre-modernism have this as an axiom. Postmodernism on the other hand is ANTI-realism.
You cannot believe in something being “real” as a postmodernist because to claim something is real is to claim an objective truth, which a postmodernist is allergic to doing. They are unable to claim anything as true, because there is no proof for them to use, thus any statements they make must be an opinion and any statement they see must be perceived as an opinion as well. In all honesty, I have trouble finding postmodernists who go this far down the rabbit hole. All of them focus on subjectivity, but they’ll still try to tell others that things can be real in a colloquial way that lets them blend in with modernists. It’s hard to get people to follow you when you claim things aren’t real, so there is a form of deception and contradiction that occurs, but it’s also acceptable to the postmodernist.
This is because postmodernists don’t care about logic, and anything they want to claim as “true” is based on a social subjectivism that can also be considered an overton window that shows them what is acceptable to say and what isn’t. A lot of them try to push it, others try to blend in with it, with the intensity depending on how far they want to push their deconstructionism and reductionism. For example, phrases like “we’re all just stardust floating around” is a way for the postmodernist to seem deep with their reductionism, but it’s actually their way of saying they are nihilistic while trying to sound deep and poetic.
Stephen Hicks does have an amazing point in his presentation where he says truth no longer matters to the postmodernist and what does matter is power. That kind of concept comes from Nietzsche’s will to power (which is why Nietzsche is considered a proto-postmodernist, one who helped birth it into existence) and Marx’s historical materialism. The thought that human labor forms the material basis of society, and this idea being spread out into every 3rd world country(aka communist country during the cold war) means that a big chunk of the world is convinced of this concept of power through labor and power through capital that’s seen as “stolen labor” when it’s a bourgeoisie.
This leaning into Marxist terminology, thanks to communists and hippies, causes postmodernist politics to be considered leftist, and exclusively leftist. There is no way for a right wing postmodernist to even occur because the right winger believes in a truth through natural rights and there is no way to remove that aspect. This is why Stephen Hicks calls the postmodernist political and economic idea socialist, which what he really means is leftist. Although, socialist works a bit more for the political aspect since socialism is a wonky word that means whatever the socialist wants it to mean.
They think the worker owns the means of production and that some form of social relevancy should happen and the rest is dependent on what they want to advocate for. Not surprisingly, this socialist aspect quickly turned into syndicalism and later corporatism when relying on the government to enforce this social power upon the masses, also known as a cult of personality. The cult leader, or leaders, tell everyone that they have power, they tell everyone that they’re special, the people don’t question it because they think it’s a common opinion, and so the cult grows unrestrained. We see this at all times when people will both hold water for a politician for any little thing and also attack their opposition for any little thing, no matter how much of a double standard or fallacy they apply to their advocacy.
To the postmodernist, advocacy is labor geared towards power, with advocacy being the only thing you can do to socially stay relevant.
When it comes to postmodernist media, the key idea is exploitation, because the goal is to get as many views as possible and break as many boundaries as possible. Modernist rating systems are pushed and pushed constantly into exploitation to the point where new ratings are made and R rated material becomes the new norm. The grindhouse is a common place and is normalized, even though before these would be considered taboo, because the way the overton window moved more towards the left through their advocacy. The leftist postmodernist demands power as the social structure and so they demand power and are slowly granted it over time. But there is a bit of a weird thing that happens between how Hicks and I see postmodernism.
In his chart, he labels postmodernism as collectivist and egalitarian. I see this as a bit misleading since the leftist is not really for collectivism in the same way as a pre-modernist would claim we’re all connected. The postmodernist believes that we’re all connected in how we’re all trapped in our own subjective constructions, as if we’re all islands in this massive chain of islands and the water between us is the subjective separation.
For example, let’s say I look at a dog and another person looks at a dog. We both see the dog but the dog is one dog for me and another dog for them and there is this supposed infinite number of dogs who make up this single entity that takes up the space where the perceived dog resides. And not just an infinite number of dogs, but infinite number of things between what the dog is made of, with an infinite number of those for each smaller thing. I guess, to him, that’s collectivism, and the egalitarian thing comes from how leftist demand that people are to be treated equal, as well as all art to be treated equal.
Just like dada, which was a proto-postmodernist art movement, the postmodernist thinks that all art is equal, with the Mona Lisa holding the same aesthetic value as a turd on a pedestal. This allows the postmodernist to use juxtaposition to combine something of high regard with something of low regard, like say having classical music play during a moment where someone is being tortured in a grindhouse way. Or maybe another example is like how Tarantino combines low quality exploitation movies with high quality dialogue that people praise for its realism and tension. This is why surrealism became popular under postmodernism, because surrealism juxtaposes a high concept symbol with nonsensical low concept literal images or events.
Another aspect of postmodernism is the idea that art and real life has merged into a type of hyperreality that blurs the line where life and art meet. People record their lives online and turn that into media, thus turning even things like talking about people who are in media into a form of media itself(aka Hollywood gossip stuff and youtube drama).
Without much of a message or objective symbolism, a lot of postmodernist media focuses on playfulness, because messing with things is all that there’s left as a means of entertainment and media making. Personal interpretation as the only means of experiencing causes the postmodernist to aim for open interpretation work, using vague wording and dog whistles to hide intents that they believe a common audience wouldn’t like, but select circles would catch. And with this demand for social power came the rise of corporate media, where corporations crank out stuff with self made trends and control groups who guide the corporation towards more money, thus more power.
There is also a combination of media, usually in the form of merchandising, so that a form of media will still be advertised and thought about, even when not engaged with the media directly. For example, GI Joe started out as a toy for kids. Then it became a comic and a show for kids. Now it’s a movie series for kids. Transformers, He-Man, I think even Gundam. These things aim for sales first and then plan the story after, because it’s all one big marketing campaign. There’s nothing in these that try to say what is true, they simply try to say things that will have people think they agree with it, or at least can’t argue against it to where they disengage with the product that’s being sold.
This has caused postmodernist media to become both highly marketable but also highly forgettable. Things easily get outdated even if the tech level stays consistent because of intertextuality, which is the relationship one media has with another to grant the user of intertextuality with relevancy that can have the audience understand the reference. This is a fancy way of saying something like an inside joke or a typical reference like a meme that we see online. If you ever want to understand this one, just think of any Channel Awesome reviewer. They will try to make jokes that reference something in media, probably something they reviewed prior, in order to keep the dedicated fans in the circle of attention and make the new fans try to keep up with this intensifying requirement of knowing jargon.
Intertextuality can also be seen as a sort of specialized culture within a franchise or company or genre or just stuff that is similar, so that the people who are of the fandom can all enjoy speaking some special language with each other and keep out the people who don’t know about their niche idioms and references.
This combination of reality and media, along with removing objectivity from the equation, with high and low arts being combined through playfulness and for marketing, is why our media is the way it is today. It’s made like fast food, doesn’t offer anything for the brain to work with, and is actually more for our brains to turn off if anything. People like Ray Bradburry saw this issue with TV and determined it was going to turn us into Idiocracy, which he explored in his book Fahrenheit 451. People are indulged and distracted by the idiot tube, they stop questioning things, books start being called evil, the government enacts a war against books, all people have left are things that keep them dumb, and then they can’t even see a war that’s happening all around them and in their own backyard.
The benefit of postmodernism is that it can appear more creative and people get entertained. That’s about it. No more feeling like you need to tell the truth, now you can make a story about whatever. The only benefit quickly becomes the main problem with it: it’s a bad influence. Postmodernists can only deconstruct and so they’re never pleased.
We see this all the time with Channel Awesome reviewers where they will miss the point of everything in a movie, like say Last Action Hero, and even though Last Action Hero is a postmodernist deconstruction of action movies, the reviewer will scream and holler about how the movie can’t be taken seriously. Then when they are challenged on the integrity of their review, they will spin it around and say they were just being meta and knew it was satire all along, that nobody should take any review of theirs seriously or as their actual opinion.
Or better yet, a postmodernist fan will chime in and speak for the reviewer, like when I said Spoony’s review of Final Fantasy 8, yet another deconstruction work that people were conflicted on, was misguided and wrong. A bunch of fans came in and said “Well, that’s not his REAL opinion. He didn’t REALLY say what he wanted to during the months he spent working on that review.”
I guess the point of postmodernism is to NOT say what you mean. Because how can they? That would address there is an objective idea in their head of what they mean, and that can’t happen under postmodernism. So you’re left with this endless chain of people trying to make a satire or make fun of something that is already making fun of something and that thing is already not to be taken seriously, and… you get the picture.
But then, recently, a sort of organized idea sprouted out from postmodernism. This idea that everything is both power and subjective, while also being a social construct, coagulated into a unification of something under what is called intersectionality. In 1989, Kimberly Chrenshaw coined the term, which already was working off of ideas during postmodernism such as second wave feminism and critical race theory. Through the idea that extreme egalitarianism is the way, in a subjective way, these defenders of the marginalized demanded that media should cater to whoever they deem as marginalized.
This branch of postmodernism is known as woke.
For wokeness, there isn’t much of a history or even aesthetic choice to shift through, but there is an awful lot of jargon to explain so that people know what I’m talking about. So for the majority of the woke explanation, I will be explaining the special words used that the woke will both claim are super important to know, but will also refrain from defining because they want to keep it on the down low. They mostly want to do that because they know their reasoning doesn’t make any sense and because it’s self contradictory, but that’s okay for them because they are, by their own admittance, anti-logic and “there is no real wokeness”.
Actually, before I explain the jargon, I want to get into that “there is no such thing as woke” talking point they always do. This is the same thing as saying “I want everyone to do x and there is no x”. Or when they are less radical, they will say something like “Everyone should do x, but nobody has done x yet.” But recently it’s been more like “This thing in the media has always been x, which is why we need it to be more x”.
As you can see, the narrative is always changing and they are always telling people to do something. This is the opposite of postmodernism in how it’s authoritarian, but is part of postmodernism because of the subjective aspect, as well as the neo-dada form of anti-art. The “art” of woke art is meant to express representation, and this representation is supposed to be of a group, and this group is supposed to look a particular way, absent of any stereotypes, negative or positive, and absent of any grand narratives, pre-modernist or modernist.
Therefore, all we’re left with is… appropriation and exploitation of marginalized groups.
Something tells me they didn’t think this through. It’s almost as if their goal is to be the thing they claim to fight against, but they don’t want to be called racist or sexist or whatever phobic because they don’t want to lose social power. This enforcement of an ideology, an ideology that tries to equally exploit for money, is put under the acronym DEI: Diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is a profitable business to get into, because DEI is estimated to have corporations annually spend $17 billion on DEI programs and organizations by the year 2027. In 2003, it was estimated that corporations spent $8 billion. In 2022, that number was recorded at $9 billion.
What do these numbers mean? It means companies are wasting money on this and they’re losing money after enacting woke policies.
When we combine wokeness with the socialist/Marxist mentality of the postmodernist, we end up with a constant drain of capital on the end of the media maker. The one making the art LOSES MONEY when they go woke, which is why we say “go woke, go broke.” There is no intention on making money with wokeness. This is why governments added wokeness to what is called the ESG score, which is a score that governments use to subsidize companies that follow things like climate change advocacy, DEI, and following whatever regulations a country puts in like mask regulations.
Follow these things, get closer to the “leader” score, and you get more money from the government. This is why companies don’t care when they lose customers, because at the end of the day, they are kept afloat by tax dollars. Then the people in charge of these companies buy the lowered stock that was hit by a controversy, and they have it go back up between woke projects. This is why the CEO of a corporation loves woke backlash, as long as they can pretend they had nothing to do with the woke decision. This is why, for example, Budlight decided they had nothing to do with hiring Dylan Mulvaney AFTER the boycotts worked, instead of, you know, while hiring him to be a spokesperson for the beer on April Fools day of all days.
So the go broke part is for the company itself, while the people using wokeness for their benefit are grifting and taking short term gains. Same thing was for something like BLM, which is an organization that revealed the money donated for the purpose of helping black communities was instead used to buy the founders mansions. The idea that wokeness brings in the cash and it can be called “woke capitalism” is absurd due to the lack of longevity the concept has. This is like calling a stolen item that gets sold at a pawn shop “illegal capitalism”. It doesn’t mean much, and it’s just trying to tie capitalism in with something negative, which is hilarious since wokeness is meant for the left.
With that out of the way, I’m going to get into the jargon, which will allow us to see some of the “philosophy” behind woke. The first one is “critical theory” which is what everything under wokeness is based on to enact a policy. This is how they choose who is marginalized and who isn’t. The term critical race theory originated in the 1980s through discussions about laws because some people decided that equality was not enough. It’s not enough that you can treat a person as an equal, like how a liberal does, because somehow a person born in 1980 is influenced by their ancestry from 1480. Judith Butler helped popularize critical queer theory, which lost the critical part once that aspect was seen as bad, thanks to critical race theory.
They kept all of the critical theory roots, but they removed the word critical because they don’t want to appear… critical. This also happened when Lisa Tuttle popularized the current form of feminist theory, where they remove the critical part because of the stigma they know the word has. No matter what, deception and omission must be used to get their agenda through, because that’s all they know how to do. They cannot get power unless they deceive people into giving them their power. And I find that a little odd since critical theory is a Marxist theory that came from the Frankfurt School from a man named Max Horkheimer, way back in 1937.
Max’s idea was that the enlightenment was a mistake, making him anti-modernist, but the postmodernists of this school of thought will still insist that there is something modernist about critical theory. They claim it’s because Marx was objective because Marx thought something objective is whatever is practiced, yet nothing he claims that is practiced was ever true, so it’s sort of a strange way to misdirect people into thinking that his appeal to his own version of rationalism was somehow actual rationalism. In other words, it’s wordplay. But, we can still say something like his attachment to science being a key element of his ideology, with science trying to be used to determine the natural world, is sort of modernist.
And this is the first step into getting confused as to what anything is, which is why people need a clear explanation as to what something like a modernist is. A good way to explain if something is actually modernist is if you can ask a writer if they believe in marxism and objectivity. If they say no, then we can see that Marxism appeals to the postmodernist in a way that is by design, not by accident. This is why Jordan Peterson is forced to call actual Marxists “neo-Marxists” and “cultural marxists”, because of the constant wordplay that is used by the very same Marxists.
Now, I want to harp on Marxism due to the fact that every single critical theory that the woke adopted is a Marxist theory. Critical theory was based on Marxism and critical theory declared that cultural equality was required in order to prevent fascism. It determined that individuals are not the ones behind social problems, but instead these problems were caused by social structures and cultural bias. What are these problems and what are the solutions, you may ask?
Well, critical theory doesn’t have any of that covered. In fact, the goal was to NOT cover any of those and to just say “social problems are at the social level” and that’s it. Congratulations, theory complete. The social thing is about society and society is how individuals interact. So it’s not the individual’s fault, it’s how they act with each other that’s the problem. So the theory is saying we need to change our act in order to solve the problems, and this was followed by the feminists who say we need to help the women get up in life. This was followed by the CRTists who said we need to help certain races get up in life. This was followed by the Queer Theorists who said we need to help the LGBT get up in life. There is the body positivity, the handicapped, the “don’t slut shame me" movement, and the list goes on and on.
Now we’re in a world where all of these things are in our media and forced into our media because somehow critical theory is the new normal, but you’re not allowed to say it’s forced. If you say it’s forced, some people might reject it and then the enforcers lose power, so they will always say “this is how media always was”. This is how we now have people claiming that ancient civilizations were pro-trans and pro-gay, even though they weren’t and I thought the entire point in CHANGING society is because these social problems are ingrained into society?
This is how the woke say one thing and then mean another. They want the power, but claim the power is given to someone else, while they take the power for themselves. Something like gender is told to be super important and something even worth committing suicide over, but then the lady who made up queer theory says that gender is performative, meaning that it doesn’t matter. Feminism is told to be super important because this is how we can help women become equal, and then we’re told by the person who made current feminist theory that “you’re not born a woman, you become one, even if you were born a male.”
This “equality of power” that the critical theorists said they wanted quickly turned into an “equality of babbling”. Nothing under wokeness makes any sense, and neither does the origin of the term woke. It is meant to mean a person is awake, that they were sleepwalking through life and now they are aware that bad things are happening in society. What are these bad things? Well, whatever you can make up and convince others is bad, since it’s all subjective. If someone steals a VCR and they are black, you can say the police who arrested the thief are evil because they are oppressing a desperate black man who “wouldn’t have stolen if society just treated him better.”
Of course, this implies that rapists only rape because they weren’t treated well enough by society, but only of that rapist is a particular skin color. The woke quickly tie the “need to rape” with skin color, and then call others racists. Actually, now that I’m on the race topic, let’s lay out CRT and how they view race from their supposed “law related origins”.
CRT determines that race doesn’t actually exist, that white people created race to then create racism. I’ll say that again to make sure if you caught that. CRT, a belief about how race works, claims that race doesn’t exist. But then it blames a particular race because… it’s not racist. Did I mention that this belief is anti-evidence and anti-reason? Yes, they do not want reason or evidence to be used for laws, because these things are biased. Instead they want storytelling from the marginalized person, who is called black, even though they don’t believe black as a race exists. This storytelling can be something like “I was walking down the street and I saw a police officer and I felt fear. I should not feel fear. That means the police officer is racist because I’m black and they made me fear.”
To make it even worse, they determine that color blindness from laws causes racist laws to form, because discrimination can occur from certain laws like murder rates, drug use, and theft. Something like being on time to work is considered racist, because a clock is a construction by white people to keep black people down. There’s always something designed by the white man to “keep black people down” because they believe white people only have power because they can keep others down. This is why they advocate to pull all of the non-whites up by forcing white people to hire non-white people into roles in movies or something like a job or using affirmative action to force black people into college classes by reducing their requirements.
Apparently, when you go to the military, the goal is not to have a good soldier but to allow more women to get in by reducing the standard for them. The goal of getting black people into college is to reduce the requirements for them so that they can get in, while increasing the requirements for Asians because there are too many Asians in college. But if we look at media, and only the US media, we can see there is a lack of Asians, so Asians are forced into film sets. Yes, there are plenty of Asians in, you know, Asian countries, soaking up all of the film time, but they don’t count.
In fact, they don’t count because white people don’t watch them as much, so now we have to have an enforcement of Asians being translated into English for western audiences to indulge in Asian culture, which is why Netflix transfers money from the west to the east and tries to get a bunch of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai content out. A lot of this Asian content is also LGBT, because even though these Asian countries don’t care for such content, the west must believe that the east is super open about it. There will be something like a comedy about a pregnant male that comes from Korea, and the west will take that and say it’s empowering because it fights against gender norms.
Meanwhile, the story is just a postmodernist joke about how it would be funny if men felt pregnancy pain. And it’s because there was a postmodernist comedy called Junior which had the joke “wouldn’t it be funny if a big buff Austrian dude was pregnant?”
My point is that wokeness is just appropriation, through and through. If it’s ancient bigotry, they will say it’s woke. If it’s modernist liberalism, they’ll say it’s woke. If it’s postmodernism making fun of wokeness, they’ll say it’s woke. No matter what, they will spin something to call it woke, just so that they can say liberalism is evil and equality is evil. Their goal is to have an equal outcome, which is their excuse to give certain groups more money and fame, all while ignoring merit. The very idea of rejecting merit as a qualifier is the reason woke media is designed to lose money, and is also a way to tie woke to postmodernism.
I think this is enough explanation of the jargon for now. Not sure if I missed anything, but I think enough of a point is made on that part to have anyone understand how wokeness works. The metaphysics is the same as postmodernist, it’s all subjective. The epistemology is through lived experience because of the storytelling that’s deemed as superior to reason. The ethics is social justice, because they demand equity, aka equal outcome. The politics are marxist, meaning their goal is to remove capitalism because capitalism is an evil product of liberalism. And finally the aesthetic is what I would call anti-art.
I guess I might be able to explain the aesthetics, but it’s rather loose. The problem is that art to the woke is just propaganda. The don’t really give a story or plot with woke media, instead they just take something generic and roll with it, assuming they even give it a plot. For example, there is a woke comic from Marvel(since every comic from them is woke now) where a superhero gets stopped by a cop for being native american. This female, possibly lesbian, native american uses her powers to have the cop realize he’s racist by mind controlling him into thinking he’s racist.
Work with me here…
So the cop is at his house later and decides that he can’t live with himself as a racist person, so he shoots himself in the head. The native american woman watches him from afar and goes “my work here is done” and considers herself a hero for the day. Comic book issue over. So the plot of that story was “super hero uses powers to make a random cop kill himself because racism.”
There is nothing in the story we can call true, nothing we can call interesting, nothing can be called entertaining, nothing can be called useful, nothing can be called anything other than utterly pointless. But the point was to say “racism exists. Stay woke.” That’s the message. That’s the reason an artist spent a month working on a comic and that’s why a company invested money into it to sell it to people who decided to pay money for it and read it. I have no idea who paid money to read that, but I can safely say it wasn’t that many people.
The goal is not to have people buy the product, it’s to simply say the product exists and point to it and go “see, a company put money into that group.” This is kind of like an updated version of “everyone gets a trophy” but instead of everyone, it’s the non-whites, non-cis, non-straights, and non-males. And instead of a trophy you get a product people don’t want to buy.
This is why I consider any answer as woke in my test as an indication of a person being woke. You really do need to jump through a bunch of hurdles to get stuck into this kind of mentality and the only question that people got woke was the one where lived experience is the answer. I think a better term might be anecdotal evidence, because like I said, the woke will reject reason and evidence and instead focus on storytelling, with storytelling here meaning you’re saying what you thought happened through your subjective opinion, and this can be anything you want it to be.
Hell, I can say something like “I felt like a unicorn” and that is considered a lived experience, because somehow I know what a unicorn feels like and somehow you now need to believe I did. So maybe anecdotal is the proper term to use, but then the woke will avoid that one since they know it looks like a fallacy and they can’t socially bring themselves to be stigmatized like that when they think it’s not acceptable. So it’s one of those things where I can either have one wording that causes a false positive or the other wording that will cause a false negative. But, then again, if someone is woke already, they would fail other questions anyway, so maybe I can put that one as not really important to worry about.
So there you have it, definitions and grave detail into all 4 types. I’m sure someone will conjure up more questions and I’m sure a postmodernist will say I’m wrong about everything, but at that point, I did my part so it’s not my problem.
Onto the next section that follows the next question: How do you justify reducing things to something like woke?
Reductionism is when you take something that is complex, like a story, and reduce it to particular fundamentals to provide a sufficient explanation. This is something like when a story gets reduced to a genre when you label it with a genre, because the genre is fundamental. This can also be something like calling yourself a Christian when you believe in the teachings of Christ. Sure, you have other qualities about yourself, but this can be an explanation into something that explains very quickly because it broadens the scope. But the question is HOW do I do this with something like woke, or modernism.
Simple: you look at the definition and go “ah, I see, that’s what it’s doing.”
Pre-modernism and modernism are objective, postmodernism and woke are subjective. Already these two groups are split by a single key factor. I can instantly say woke is a terrible storytelling way of thinking because the goal is to treat merit and superior quality as oppressive, so there is no possible way of making a good story that’s woke. It’s, by design, unable to be good. If we take postmodernism, we can say that it instantly rejects telling the truth, so it must make something up with exploitation and it’s going to be like fast food for the brain. It is, by design, unable to stand the test of time.
But then if we take something like modernism, we can see a truth is there, even if it tries to be individual, because then a guide based on personalities can be seen, and a way might be unlocked. This is why a modernist story is considered classic, and we look up to it as inspiration. Pre-modernism is as primitive and societally significant as you can get, to the point where it’s part of history books as a mythology. We base entire cultures around this type of media and we follow through with our daily life by using this type of media as a guide. In fact, pre-modernism is found IN postmodernism by accident when a postmodernist tries to appropriate, which is why we can find something like alchemy and Gnosticism in a postmodernist movie like The Matrix. There are modernist concepts like The Rabbit Hole in The Matrix, despite The Matrix trying to subvert it and reject it.
So like a genre, the direction of your modernist variant is reliant on both intention and focus, rather than if something is there. I can have a cockroach crawl into my cake when I’m baking it, that doesn’t mean cockroach is part of the recipe. So the goal of the test is to see what kind of recipe people are following and we can determine what kind of cook they are in how they view recipes. There is no danger of reductionism because reductionism is used to prevent dangers. In fact, in the most ironic way possible, to claim reductionism is dangerous here is to use dangerous reductionism to make such a claim, because it reduces the entire process to the idea of dangerous.
Now for the last question: How do you prevent people from rejecting pre-modernism?
Page has determined that if you claim form = function = truth, then you have caused pre-modernism to be the same as woke. As I’ve explained, they aren’t the same thing. Yes both are based on religions, with wokeness being based on Gnosticism, which is to self worship and deem yourself as the true god that is imprisoned in your body by the demiurge, but that isn’t the same thing as “telling an actual truth”.
Gnosticism is sophistry mixed with satanism. I always forget the term and can never find it, but it’s the belief that you’re alone and you’re talking to yourself even when you talk to others. This is how people get trapped in an echo chamber, because all the can do is hear themselves talk and tackle their own ideas of what could be wrong, which requires them accepting they could be wrong, and if they don’t accept that possibility, then everything goes in one ear and out the other. They start to follow a script, become an NPC, and all they can do is become violent once the script runs dry.
Can the pre-modernist become the same thing? Absolutely not. The benefit of a pre-modernist is that we don’t believe we rule the world. We understand that the world is in control, the supernatural controls the world, and we are below all of that as measly humans. We are the cameraman, not the director. Better yet, we are the audience watching a live feed with a cameraman controlling what we get to see, and we’re not involved in any of the production. This acceptance of humility allows the pre-modernist to seek truth, which is how a mythology is born in the first place. The only valid criticism is that the subjects become so grand and universal that they are basic and unable to really tackle the more personal and social issues that modernism tackles.
This basic and broadness is what Page considered “unentertaining”. But during a later exchange, during the making of this response, I found something fascinating. Page’s definition of entertaining is contradictory, because she believes it is objective in the fact that entertainment exists, but WHAT WE SEE as entertaining is subjective. So the complaint that something could be unentertaining isn’t valid, because it doesn’t mean anything if it’s subjective. It’s like saying a traditional dish doesn’t taste good and that’s why that traditional dish is bad to limit people to it.
Well, what if every good dish becomes traditional because people see it as tasty? I am not limited to my own personal tradition, I can enjoy another person’s tradition. I can eat sushi as a German who loves bratwurst and sauerkraut. I can eat pad thai and I can eat sweet and sour pork. I can eat baba ghanoush and shepherd’s pie.
Do you know why I can eat these? Because they are all food that is made of nutrients that people ate since the dawn of time. My human body needs stuff that humans eat for nutrients and there is a select number of nutrients that I need per day because it’s the stuff my body uses. Same goes for storytelling and the specific things my brain will use to gain wisdom and intelligence. The pre-modernist believes that there are these end points that we can address and say “this is the form, this is the end point, can’t go past that.”
The modernist claims “this is scientifically why we can’t go past a certain point, but we might get more information later that will allow us to pass that point.”
Then the postmodernist says “that point is a made up line, the limitation is made up, and the idea you’re in a particular position is also made up, so just mess with things and call them different things.”
Then the woke say “That point doesn’t exist but it’s oppressing me.”
As you can see, the pre-modernist is the most coherent because it’s the most accepting of how things are. I think what Page misunderstood is that some people think a form is what humans determine the form to be, and the form is left as that. Wrong. Form is to reach an endpoint and we cannot physically reach this endpoint, meaning the form will only be in our mental state through symbolism when we’re trying to think of such. Thus, symbolism is the key factor, and all you have to do is make the symbol more clear.
What really struck me as odd is that Page also declared the Bible as entertaining, meaning a pre-modernist work is the prime example of entertaining while her rejection of pre-modernism is because it is not entertaining. I cannot make any sense of that contradiction other than maybe Page believing that media being full of lies is entertainment and that’s not allowed under pre-modernism, which doesn’t mean anything to me.
That’s like going “well, your philosophy doesn’t allow contradictions and uses only logic, so it’s not a good philosophy.”
At that point, we simply have to call such a person postmodernist, because only a postmodernist would demand such a thing.
What am I going to do now that the test was tested? Well, I am sure I am going to make 5 sets of 4 questions for sure, with the 2 overarching questions added in the beginning and end. I will also try to use that google forms thing so that it can be a real test. When I get a website up for my company, I will have the test as part of the entrance exam to join the club. Pre-modernists are preferred, modernists are welcomed, postmodernists are tolerated, and woke are excluded. Sorry, we don’t allow such hateful people into the club. We like to work with normal functional people, and the woke do not meet either requirement.
And I know it doesn’t seem like it, but I am working on the test to have writers see what they KNOW about writing. That one is going to be a bit harder to put together, since I was thinking of getting written answers rather than multiple choice. I think the hardest part with that one will be figuring out how to work in creativity, since that one is tricky to sense if it’s intentional or accidental. But, like always, if I need help, I’ll ask.
Till next time.
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2023.06.10 05:01 The_Alloquist [A Lord of Death] - Chapter 64 (Sorore)
[←Chapter 63] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 65→]
In a rare moment, Sorore was actually having a nice dream, a normal one, one could even say. She was back home, in that moderately seized house in Erratz, laying on her mother’s lap. She could even hear the gentle sound that the needle made as it went in and out of the cloth. It was peaceful, pleasant, surrounded by familiar sound and smells, though her sight was blurry and confused.
It was not to last, as the sound of rushing water overtook all else, until she was forced awake by its unrelenting pace. When she sat up, rubbing her eyes in the broad bed, she released that it wasn’t the sound of water, nor was it relegated to her dreams. There was a commotion outside people talking in hushed but harsh tones.
Neither Lillian, nor Aya were within the room, and she wondered if they were having an argument. That wouldn’t be good - she’d watched them have the spat earlier, and that dispute didn’t need much worsening. Sorore crept to the door to the outer hallway - she loved how they slid to create whole new rooms. It was something she’d have to think about more she decided as she pulled it open and realised several things at once.
One, there were a whole lot of armoured figures in the hallway, at least four, maybe half a dozen. Two, the balcony door was open, and Lillian was currently arguing with one of them, Aya standing by looking like a mining explosive had gone off right next to her. Three, her brother and Niche had just emerged out of the room beside, and Niche was about to draw his sword at the sudden intrusion.
For a moment, she panicked, her mind going completely blank. Her mind raced with visions of bloody aftermath, and a chase through the city, back to the dinner she’d had with all those nice people.
“Oh, hello!” she blurted, drawing the surprised stares of several of the men, “who might you be?”
There was an instant of shocked silence between all parties.
“Nobody do anything!” called the man who was out on the porch, “We are representatives of the sand-shell legion, on behalf of the matriarch of the Eisen. We have come to retrieve her granddaughter.”
Niche lowered his hand from his sword belt, but Sorore could tell that he was ready to fight on a moment’s provocation. She also noticed that Kieren, in the same gown she’d worn to the square was standing in the stairwell. The woman looked so nervous Sorore thought she might fall over and down the stairs.
“Let’s move to a less cramped area,” said the captain, in a tone that brook no argument.
Eventually, it was sussed out, though not without considerable resistance on part of the paladins, that they were to meet in the great hall. As they sat, they were brought simple drinks of milk and honey, flavoured with something else that Sorore could not quite place. The two paladins looked like pacing cats, constrained on their chairs, arms crossed and eyes hard.
“Under no circumstances can we give one of ours into you custody,” said Lillian, locked in a match with the captain.
“Within the city, you are under the authority of the guard, no matter who you are. If the matriach has sent for this girl, then we have our orders.”
“As do we, captain,” said Niche, “to protect and guide each of these young women and… man, unto the holy lands of Angorrah.”
One of the guards flanking the captain whispered something in his ear.
“She’s not going to like it,” the captain said, then heard something else.
“Very well. Bloodshed before the Festival would be unwise. We have enough of that already. Right then, one of you paladins, assuming you are who you say you are, shall come with us and the lady to be received by the Eisen. I cannot say it’s likely you will have a happy reception. They will expect you to come unarmed.”
The paladins were bristling at the implied threat, and several hands were already dangerously close to their sword belts. Sorore gripped the mug that she was being offered, before Aya sat up and proclaimed to the group.
“Leave two of your men with us, then,” she said.
The captain’s eyes furrowed.
“I don’t wish to second guess you, my lady,” he said, “but why would I do that?”
“Trust,” Aya said, with a side long look at Lillian, “simple. If you leave your men with us, you can’t simply waltz off with me and my friend. Plus, it gives us men who know, and can quickly get around the city, so they can find you whenever they need to.”
The captain considered, and nodded.
“Very well my lady. Two men will be left for the disposal of your party members. But you shall have to come with us, immediately.”
“Me as well,” said Lillian.
“As you wish,” he said, “but you must disarm yourself. That is non-negotiable.”
Lillian was fuming, but unbuckled her belt and handed her armaments to Niche. The legionaries surrounded them, and departed with them out the front of the pyramid. They were left in front of the roaring fire, Kieren sitting beside them holding a considerably more full glass of the amber coloured alcohol.
“You said that this-” Niche began, his face reddened, “you sold us out!”
“Sold you out?” said Kieren incuriously as she swirled the glass around, “sold you out?”
The woman slammed down the glass on one of the nearby table, somehow not breaking it in the process.
“Maybe, you should of told us that you had the granddaughter of Aystara godsdamned Eisen in your retinue? No, forgot that little detail?”
“Okay, can we get this over with?” said Frare, picking at his nails.
“What?” said both the paladin and the trader, staring at the temerity of the youth.
“Blah, blah, we’ve all kept things from eachother,” he said, “so let’s all move on. Who is this ‘Aystara’? Why is she important?”
While Niche gaped at the casual ease from which Frare dismissed the turbulence, the trader seemed to settle.
“Only one of the two most powerful people in the city, young man,” she said, downing a shot from the glass, “between her and Edmund Poutash, it’d be easier to list what they don’t own. The docks, the schools, the farms… if you want an import or export licence? You go through her. You want to own a ship bigger than a rinky-dink fishing boat? You go through her or Potash.”
She finished the glass, and reached for the decanter, and stopped herself.
“And you waltz into the city, and conveniently forget to mention that you have her granddaughter, who hasn’t been in the city ever, if I remember correctly. To say she’d be furious that you didn’t bring the young lady before her immediately would be an understatement. And worse, you dragged us into it.”
“She must be awfully mean - you had nothing to do with us. You just hosted it.”
The woman blinked at the boldfaced remark, and Sorore delivered a good kick to his shins to drive the point home.
“No, no,” she ultimately said, “no I don’t think she’ll do anything to our family, if she believes us. She’s not unreasonable. At least, so I’ve heard. I’ve only met her once, and that was for a brief time. As for what she’ll do to you...”
She gave a pointed look at Niche.
“You tried to hid her granddaughter from her, maybe unintentionally, maybe not. If I were a betting woman, which I’m not, I would say that means trouble. If you want my advice-”
“I don’t,” said Niche, crinkling his noise.
“Don’t be stupid,” said Frare, before he howled at another kick.
Sorore’s face was burning with indignation and embarrassment. This was all too much.
“If you want my advice,” Kieren pressed on, “you’d go find and talk to your commander immediately. I could fetch for him if you wish - I know where Amicio’s home is.”
Niche, through narrowed eyes and clenched teeth, acquiesced.
“Good, now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some letters to send,” she said, “of course, though this has earned you no small amount of displeasure from certain peoples, we’ve been instructed to provide you with house and board for as long as it takes to sort this out. You are still welcome guests and you will be treated as such.”
The tepid truce struck, the children were sent back up to their rooms. Sorore tried to sleep, and managed no more than half an hour before she was woken by her brother.
“The commander’s here,” he said, “he wants to talk to us.”
The commander, looking very tired, but light of step than Sorore had ever seen him, waited by the fire. He was talking with Kieren and the two remaining legionarries in the fast-paced trading tongue of the city, but stopped when he saw the girl come downstairs.
“My lady,” he said, “it seems there’s been a huge misunderstanding.”
She realized that it was his manner of dress which was throwing her off. Instead of his usual worn and thoroughly practical travelling clothes, he wore the long flowing silks of orange and cream. It suited him, matching his calm personality.
“What misunderstanding?” she said.
“Well, we had no idea that our own Aya was the granddaughter of Aystara Eisen herself. I was surprised as anyone. Of course, I knew she was an Eisen, from her mother.”
He looked at Kieren, who looked like she was about to fall asleep.
“But I never imagined that she was a direct descendent of the main house. I thought she was part of the branch, not necessary to cause any fuss, especially during the preparation of the festival. Ah!”
He slapped his head to indicate his shock at the realisation.
“What a terrible mistake I’ve made,” he said, patting the woman’s arm, “this is all on my horrendous lack of judgement. Here’s what’s going to happen, one of these gentlemen and trader Amicio will be vouching for me at the gate. I’m going to the Eisen estate and having a friendly chat with the matriarch, to clear up this misunderstanding.”
Sorore felt at last some suggestion that someone around the city knew what was happening and what they were going to do.
“Here’s what I need you and your brother to do,” Naia said, “I want you to wait and enjoy the hospitality of the madame of the house.”
The term seemed to flatter Kieren, who flushed at the complement. Or that might’ve been the drink, Sorore wasn’t entirely sure.
“Niche, you take care of them. I expect that I might be at the estate for the rest of the night, and possibly onto next afternoon. Things are always so chaotic around the Festival. There’s no reason for you not to attend the festival opening tomorrow, if you can.”
“You want us to attend a festival?” said Niche in disbelief, “right now?”
“Well, not right now, it hasn’t started yet,” said the commander, “but, if Kieren would graciouslly agree to take you as guest of honour, you’d have excellent seats. If that’s not too much to ask, especially after our little debacle.”
Kieren nodded, and affirmed that she wouldn’t mind at all, if the matter was going to be soon cleared up. Sorore was now certain that it wasn’t just alcohol.
“Great. You’re all taken care of, now I’d better explain myself. If you wouldn’t mind,” he said, pointing to the quarter full glass, which Kieren handed to him. The commander downed it all in one, rolled his shoulders, and smiled.
“Don’t worry. It’ll all work out in the end,” he said, “in fact, I would say to enjoy yourselves, as much as you can. And best go back to bed, unless you want to be sleeping during the festival, which, I assure you from experience, you do not.”
Before they could say anything, the commander had swept by them, vanishing out of the front of the pyramid.
“You should heed him,” said Kieren, picking up the decanter and the glass and moving towards the kitchens, “if you’re stuck here for the time being, you might as well enjoy it And that starts with getting good sleep.”
“Last time you said that, we woke up to armed guards,” Niche said flatly.
“Well, I assure you, I’m not boring enough to do that a second time. It would be assassin’s from across the streets, who approach over the rooftops.”
“Do they actually exist?” asked Frare, suddenly excited.
“Oh, I’m sure,” said Kieren as she stowed away her drinking equipment, “but not tonight. Go get some sleep sir paladin, and you two young ones as well. You’ll need it.”
Sorore was cajoled up the steps, Frare coming up after her. Niche seemed placated enough for the time being, though he was clearly unhappy with the outcome. The pleasant dreams neglected to revisit for a second time, but at least the sleep was uninterrupted. When Soroe next awoke, it was a young handmadein, pulling open the screen doors.
“Good morning, my lady,” she said, “how did you sleep?”
“I- well enough, I suppose,” she said, stretching and yawning, before quickly covering her mouth.
The maid had the presence of mind not to notice as she revealed the bright sunlight streaming through the open balcony.
“It must almost be midday!” Sorore exclaimed, leaping out of the bed as she tried to straighten herself.
The maid chuckled as she finished opening up the room.
“Not to fear, my lady,” she said, “it’s customary to sleep into the early afternoon. The Festival does not start until just before sunset, afterall. In fact, you might be earlier than many of the household.”
“Oh,” Soroe said, feeling rather foolish, “Um. Well, I guess I’ll get dressed.”
“Of course. I’ve left out some clothes for you. Madame Kieren suggested that you try clothes from our city. I hope you’ll love them. Do you bathe?”
Sorore wrinkled her nose at the prospect. What kind of question was that?
“Of course I do,” she said.
“Well, there’s a place to bath at the bottom of the pyramid. If you wish to bath alone, you should go now - I’ll bring you clothes for you to change at the waterfront.”
“You bathe together here?” Sorore said
“In the mornings and evenings,” she said, “we do not bring water up into the house if we cannot avoid it. To the stone goes the sea, and to the home goes the sky.”
She looked around, then leaned in with a smile.
“Also, water is very troublesome to carry up all those flights.”
“So just come down to the waterfront?” she said, gathering up what spare things she needed.
“Just follow me, my lady,” said the handmaiden, picking up a pile of clothes and leading her down the stairs.
They emerged onto an inset pool carved into the pyramid interior. A smooth stone deck, with benches and chairs and stacks of towels, as well as several large paper screens, presumably for changing. Sorore was glad to see they were alone, at least for the time being.
At the handmaid, Kiroe’s, direction, she stripped down naked and plunged into the pool. The water was a perfect temperature - cold enough to dispel the last of the grogginess, warm enough to be pleasant to float in. She swam around for a bit, constrained by the relatively small volume, while Kiroe prepared her outfit on the deck.
“Do you mind if I join you?” came a voice from the other end.
Kieren slipped out of a thin morning dress and stepped into the water. Sorore swam over and came to stand beside her.
“Is there any news? About Aya and the commander?” she said, a little too quickly.
Kieren, who’d been sinking into the water with a sigh of contentment, opened one eye.
“Straight to business? Perhaps you are better suited to the city than I thought.”
Sorore tried to smile, but her concern was betrayed, judging by the woman’s softening of expression.
“My knowledge is limited. My uncle is serving as our representative for now. Sounds like your commander was at least allowed to make his case to the Eisen. He made note of one other companion of yours.”
“Oh? Who?” she said, pushing out into the pool, feeling the water surge over her shoulders.
“A man in black clothes,” she said, “who hides his face behind a mask. He was there for the meeting.”
“The mage?” said Sorore, before considering that she maybe shouldn’t have mentioned it.
“A mage?” said Kieren, before submerging herself in the water.
She tossed her hair back as she came back up, spraying water in a neat arc.
“Well, that explains his odd demeanour,” she said, “now, regrettably, that’s all the time I have today for bathing. I will see you at the festival.”
“Hello cousin! May I join- oh,” came a voice from the steps leading out.
It was Ivers, dressed in nothing but a loose robe, which was already half-way off his body, sculpted with muscle from hauling rope and tackle. Sorore stifled a gasp and turned away, trying not to redden.
“I can come back later,” he offered.
“Do you mind?” Kieren said to Sorore, “if you do, it’d be best to finish soon and let others bathe.”
“No, no,” she said, waving her host away.
Kiero had warned her, after all. It would be best to become accustomed to the strange ways of this beautiful city. Besides, it’s not like she hadn’t bathed before in the company of men her age back home. She cursed herself for being so self-conscious, and forced herself to turn around.
“Are you sure? I can leave if you want, it’s not-” Ivers began.
“No, it’s fine. It’s fine,” Sorore said, smiling at him, “it’d be good to have companionship.”
“Well, then, Ivers, I trust you’ll behave yourself,” said Kieren rising from the water.
“Of course, cousin,” Ivers said, casting his eyes to the floor.
Sorore tried not to take a wicked pleasure at the blush that crept across his dark complexion.
“Oh, one more thing,” whispered her host, bending over to the girl, “it’s considered polite to not look when they’re outside the water.”
Kieren laughed at Sorore’s own furious blush as she made for one of the poolside changing screens. [←Chapter 63] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 65→]
submitted by The_Alloquist
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2023.06.09 21:00 Trash_Tia There’s been a secret ongoing war between the Starbucks stores in my city where employees are bloodthirsty for coffee— and they will do anything to get it.
Does anyone know how to get out of a Starbucks contract?
I just started my new job and I already want to quit. I REALLY want to quit. Because this shit isn’t normal. I mean, is it? Do you guys have experience with this type of shit, or is it a normal thing when moving to the city? I’m a small-town girl so I’m not used to this. We didn’t even have a Starbucks. Just a diner that had been broken into multiple times over the years.
Do you know the bad feeling you get when something bad is going to happen, but you ignore it for the sake of staying sane? .Yeah.
It was one of those situations.
But I needed cash. I needed a job. College in the city is expensive, especially in my mid-twenties. Uber Eats every night and various subscriptions, such as Netflix and Spotify—as well as basic living needs required cash. So, naturally, I looked for part-time jobs I could use to fill up my weekend and nights. When it came to job hunting, I was fairly lazy. So, the Starbucks job kinda came out of nowhere.
I wasn’t even looking for it. I was applying for a job in the local music store when it caught my eye. Someone to work late evenings and nights on weekdays and Saturdays. The job description didn’t say much, just basic pay details and a full paragraph dedicated to talking about “The Starbucks Family”. Skim reading it, I skipped to the APPLY NOW button and sent in my resume via email. Two hours.
It had taken two hours to get an email back offering a video interview the next day—and a guaranteed job if I didn’t screw it up. The video interview went well to my surprise. The woman who conducted it acted more like a friend, asking me what my favorite movies and TV shows were, and then going into detail about her own.
It didn’t even feel like an interview. More like a chat. Which was exactly what the email said it was going to be. The interviewer was my mom’s age, a total mom-like persona. She offered me iced tea before laughing and realizing we were on a video call. Her cat popped up halfway through her introducing several staff members by name. A large tabby whom she picked up and hugged to her chest. I wasn’t sure what to do except repeatedly say, “Aww.” and force an even bigger smile.
The woman who for some reason did not introduce herself finished the interview with a more formal and thorough talk-through of rules and regulations. Which went in one ear and out the other. I think I was too excited about the job as a whole. There’s something almost mythical about working at Starbucks. I’ve seen barista TikTok complaining about customer service and harping about in the back rooms. It looked fun. Plus, free drinks? I figured working at the famous coffee chain would at least have benefits and freebies.
The woman spoke to me for almost two hours about certain drinks, telling me I would be trained up, and then going on to explain the dos and don’ts in a working environment. It was kind of patronizing, but I figured she had to be to remain professional. I tuned out when she started talking about a certain “feud” they had with another store down the road. The woman didn’t go into detail, but her expression did darken significantly when she leaned closer to her screen and repeated the phrase, “Do you understand me?” I had to backtrack and try and go over what she had been saying, but I had found myself mesmerized by the gilded sword in the background. It hung from the back wall in all of its glory, and I was having a hard time trying to figure out why exactly a Starbucks manager had a sword hanging from her wall.
“Sim?” Inclining her head, the manager cleared her throat. “Did you hear me?”
I did. Sort of. Under no circumstances must I visit or go near 2nd Street Starbucks. If I did there would be dire consequences and I would face losing my job, or worse.
I wasn’t sure what “or worse” was, but from the way her expression twisted from funny-cat-lady to a potential employer, I didn’t want to ask.
“Uh, yeah,” I said. “I can’t go near the 2nd Street store.” I almost choked on a glass of water I had been slowly sipping throughout the interview. I had been sweating most of the day, dying in the intense June heat. It was a lot cooler in the evening in the city, but I was used to draining at least ten glasses a day. “Is that real?” I couldn’t help asking, pointing to the sword behind her.
I know you are supposed to maintain a certain professional persona and façade during professional work interviews with potential managers. However, I really wanted to know if that ancient thing was real, it was driving me crazy. Because questions were arising in my head: How did she get it? Was it hers? Was it for some kind of aesthetic and feng-shui, or was there more to it? From the look on the interviewer’s face, she seemed startled.
Whipping her head around, her strict grey ponytail hitting the screen, she nodded before turning back to me, her gaze flicking down to what I presumed was a script she was reading off—or maybe she was skimming through my printed-out resume. I wanted to ask her more about the elephant in the room, but she seemed satisfied with answering my question with a nod. She asked me more questions, mostly about my work ethic and if I enjoyed working in a team and independently, if I had any special requirements, and oddly—if I had ever held a firearm. Now, that caused alarm bells. Along with the gilded sword dangling from this forty-something-year-old’s lounge wall, I was definitely starting to question the exact nature of what I would be doing at this job. Serving coffee was an obvious one, though I was pretty sure Starbucks barista's didn’t require military-style training.
When I didn’t know what to say, she seemed to back-pedal. “Oh, it’s in case of a robbery.” She said. But her expression stayed stoic. Speaking in the tone of being joking, but not being joking. “It is rare. However, it is a precaution we must take.” Choosing her words carefully, the interviewer steepled her hands in front of her face, leaning her chin on her fingers. “Our employees are given basic fire-arm training in the instance that one day we may face a difficult situation. Now, I am not saying it is inevitable, but due to certain behavior throughout the years, it is, of course, better to be safe than sorry.”
“Oh.” I tried to smile. “No, I haven’t,” I paused, hoping my lack of ability to hold a gun wouldn’t screw up my chances. “But I can learn?”
I said it like a question because it was a question. I was questioning myself why exactly I would take up my time learning to shoot a gun I most likely never would need. To my surprise though, the woman’s smile brightened and she looked down at whatever she was writing.
“Of course,” she said. “Sim, I am very happy to hear that. We love employees who do their best to learn and thrive in our working environment,” she paused and typed something on her laptop before her gaze found mine. “I’ll put you down for lessons on Friday mornings. How does that sound?” Before I could answer her—because I was starting to seriously question why she was so obsessed with training me to use a goddamn gun—she was nodding to herself. “I will put Jude in charge of you. I think he is working on Friday, so your induction and welcome can be completed in the morning…”
She trailed off into her own murmured conversation to herself before clearing her throat. I jumped. I didn’t mean to jump, but her whole presence was putting me on edge. The lady had been nicer on the phone, and earlier on in the interview when she was grilling me on which Frozen character was my favorite.
“Okay!” The interviewer gathered up her paperwork, beaming at me through the camera. “Can you start tomorrow? Let’s say…” her eyebrows furrowed together. “5:30? I will not be there for the first hour due to certain obligations,” she traced her lip with the tip of her index. “However, I have four employees working the front desk, I’m sure they will give you a warm welcome.” I noticed something twitch on her lips. It was almost like she was trying to stop herself from laughing—which was childish from a standpoint where I was the younger one, while she was the senior. She was supposed to be setting some kind of standard, and yet for some reason was more inclined in teasing me about workplace friendships, and apparently how “close” my colleagues were. I wasn’t stupid, I knew what friendship was like in the workplace. It’s not “real” because you’re all there to do a job, not making lifelong friendships.
“I’m looking forward to meeting them,” I said when she snorted out a laugh that twisted up my gut.
"Absolutely," she responded. "The team is very close, so don't take it personally if they're initially cautious. I'm confident that you'll all become great friends! Kai is a kind-hearted sweetheart, while Ana may seem standoffish initially, but she'll warm up to you once you get to know her. Jude, on the other hand, will be your guide during the orientation, so it's best to stay close to him. In fact, it's recommended to shadow him during your first few hours since he's our top performer! Frankly, Sim, I can hardly wait for you to meet them! They're a great group!" This woman seemed to suddenly discover the use of expletives, or maybe she had noticed I visibly wanted to crawl into the ground. The way she was describing the other employees, I was expecting cartoon characters when I walked through the door.
“Right,” I said. I was starting to regret applying. “I’ll be there.”
She ended the call with a bright smile, and her stupid cat walking on the keyboard, causing her to squeak out in horror. I shut my laptop, my cheeks burning. Well, that went…? Well? Could I really say it went well when the manager had spent the last five minutes implying my work colleagues were going to hate me? Fuck.
I didn’t want to go. I trashed my application and deleted her number from my phone. But the morning after, however, I came to the quick realization through precious morning caffeine, that I needed cash. So, no matter how much I didn’t want to go—I had to. So, I headed to classes and tried not to think about it. It was 5:34 when I stepped into the familiar glow of the famous store—not before being stopped in the middle of a crowed by a girl wearing bright pink ray-bans and a scowl. “Do you work there?” she turned and pointed to the store.
I shrugged. “I guess.”
She scoffed, slipping off her ray-bans and fixing me with a bitchy smile. “Your funeral.”
Normally, in situations when strangers say odd things to me on the street, I just laugh it off. But this? This seemed personal.
The girl didn’t say anything before turning and walking or rather running away.
Well, that was weird.
After that encounter, I was weighing the positives and negatives of taking up the job. The positives would be cash and something to occupy my mind away from classes, and the negatives were being stuck with insufferable colleagues and a manager who was the embodiment of unprofessional. The store was pretty empty when I stepped through automatic doors, reveling in the cooling fan blasting icy cold air in my face. A dark-haired college girl had her back to me, cleaning tables. But I noticed her stiffening up when I took a step forward. She straightened up like a cat going into territorial mode, before relaxing and holding a two-fingered hand up.
The store was empty so I had no idea who she was signaling to. It wasn’t a greeting to me—I had no idea what it was. I was halfway to the counter before a guy popped up out of nowhere, mid-way through drying a cup with a washrag. His hair was the first thing I noticed. Bright red.
In contrast to his pasty skin, this guy would definitely stand out in a crowd. He was my age or maybe a little older, mid twenties, with a wide smile and not much of anything else, kitted in a short-sleeved shirt, and a Starbucks apron over the top.
I expected quirky cartoon-like weirdos and I got an average Joe. I wasn’t complaining.
Initially, I thought this guy was just another jock-like college guy. But looking closer, the friendliness in his eyes wasn’t sincere, and his smile was strained. Keeping up a professional attitude, he regarded me with a smile, leaning across the counter. But his eyes kept flicking to the door in quick succession like he was waiting for a certain someone to come in. “You.” He pointed at me, trailing his finger to the door, swiping hair from his face with his hand. The guy was bouncing on the heels of his toes, I noticed. He couldn’t stand still, like a hyperactive child. “You’re Sim, The newbie I’m supposed to be training.”
I nodded, offering a nervous wave.
“Jude.” He introduced himself, though clearly distracted, his gaze flicking to and from the door. His facade was friendly enough, but very fake. It was the same smile I presumed he flashed at customers who complimented his looks. “Hey, Sim.”
Instead of holding out his hand for me to shake, he folded his arms across his chest. Jude cocked his head, drinking me in before his lips broke out into a beam.
"Shall we get started?"
Jude started the tour, showing me the store itself, then the back, the storage room, the staff room, and bizarrely, a wooden door which he referred to as, “The Drink”. I had no idea what that meant, but I made a mental note to steer away from it.
The backrooms of the store turned into a labyrinth. The place was covered in mold, peeling paint on the doors and old rugged floor tiles. Jude spoke way too fast like he was intentionally trying to confuse me. By the time I was struggling with my apron, he was turning on his heels with a brow raised. “Your hair is too long so you need to tie it up. You can shadow me this evening but don’t get in my way. We have two twenty-minute breaks and during them, we are contractually obligated to go down to the Second Street store and throw eggs at their windows—ooh, and the girl you just met who didn’t say a word? That’s Ana. You will get used to her.” His smile reached a level of fake I didn’t think was possible. “Why don’t you follow me?”
“What?” I managed to hiss out when Jude was leading me down a long, winding corridor that dipped into various rooms, out-of-order elevators, and the creepiest set of stairs I had ever seen leading into the pitch dark. I was still trying to register his words.
Jude twisted around with a frown. “What’s up?” He nodded at a passing blonde girl who shot me a smile, and hive-fived Jude before disappearing through a door.
“You throw eggs at the store down the road?”
The guy’s lip twitched into the start of a smile. He turned around, quickening his pace. “Did I say that? Obviously, I was joking.”
I stumbled after him, knocking into a dark-haired younger guy carrying a tray of cupcakes. He and Jude seemed to exchange words without speaking before Jude gestured to the stranger. Somehow, I figured out their telepathic conversation through eye movements and strained smiles, they weren’t talking about me. “That’s Kai,” Jude said, pushing through the doors back to the main storefront. He took a customer’s order, retaining that stupid smile. “If you need any help with making those annoying TikTok drinks that take a millennia to make and have probably broken several Geneva convention rules?” He playfully knocked into me while preparing a drink, his hands knowing where everything was, preparing and serving a latte in a matter of minutes, “Kai is your guy! He runs our social media page and is practically a connoisseur on the next big trend. He'll deal with zoomers."
I was slowly starting to ease my way into this job, and my colleagues seemed pretty cool. Jude actually helped me all the way through the evening, introducing his home life and how he grew up as he cleaned tables and conversed with the others—always throwing me into their chatting so I didn’t get left out. I ended up sorting through cookies and making price labels with Aurora, the perky blonde who high-fived Jude earlier. She spoke to me like we had been best friends for years, and that part of her charm made me instantly adore her. She was tiny for her age, but a menace when it came to her sharp tongue and language. I didn’t think a tiny thing like her could swear like a goddamn sailor, but it was cute. Jude and Aurora had a sibling-type thing going on, though every time I caught Kai’s eye, he was smirking. It seemed everyone knew they had a thing except them.
I was actually having fun with the others, bobbing my head to the radio while serving a group of kids, when Jude, who was next to me, seemed to go rigid all of a sudden. His laughing smile carved into something else. I had never seen an expression change so fast.
But he wasn’t the only one. Aurora, cleaning tables and giggling at Jude’s joke, straightened up, her eyes flashing to the door. Kai’s head snapped up from where he had been grinding coffee. Following their gaze, I found myself face-to-face with the manager who interviewed me. But unlike the night before, she was not smiling. The woman dropped her bag at the door before marching towards the counter. Jude leaned over; his expression apprehensive.
His eyes as well as his tone had darkened significantly. All of my colleagues had taken off these masks, these facades of joking smiles and bright eyes, and now I was seeing a glimmer of what they were hiding. What Jude had been looking for all evening, sneaking glances at the door. I watched his gaze follow the manager as she paced back and forth, chewing her nails. “Where is he?”
“I don’t know.” She finally said, lifting her head. Her lips were twisted. “But.” She said, spitting each word, as she rounded the counter, helping herself to coffee. “You’re going to pay a visit to them right now, and…and sort this out once and for all.” Her voice resembled that of a mother talking to her children. She was assertive to them, her eyes piercing. Do you understand me?” The woman nodded at Jude. “You can go.” Her eyes found mine. “Take the new girl, she needs to be inducted.” Finally, she turned to Ana, who was standing in the corner silently. “You are too. I need brains, and Jude is just brawn. Keep him on his toes, young lady."
With a hint of sarcasm in his tone, Jude uttered a brief "Thanks," and then proceeded to take a coffee cup and a Sharpie. Swiftly, he scrawled some words on the side of the cup, before placing it inside a bag and plonking it in front of me. As Jude reached for his coat at the back, he put it on over his green Starbucks apron, creating a striking contrast with his denim blue sherpa. With his mop of red curls, this guy was in no way going to be as incognito as he thought. "We'll manage the conversation,” he said hurriedly, visibly excited. Jude seemed to lead the others in their expressions, his confidence and wit causing them to brighten up, adapting wide smiles. He shoved his hands in his pockets, “All you gotta do is hand them this, okay?”
“Is that a good…” Kai drifted off on whatever he was about to say, ducking his head when Jude shot him a glare.
“I think it’s a perfect idea!” The manager beamed at me. “What a way to fully bring you into our family!”
I took the coffee cup (the empty coffee cup) hesitantly. “What is it?”
“It’s a gift!” Jude said, moving towards the door in long strides. It was all too noticeable that this guy was practically vibrating with an energy I had never known. It was almost manic. “I want to let them know we appreciate them! Y’know! Rival to rival.”
Kai stepped in front of him on the way out.
“Be careful,” he said in a low hum. Aurora joined him, but she wasn’t speaking, her left-hand tugging at the waistband of her jeans. “Keep your head down when you go in because they’ll be expecting you—and they’ll be expecting a retaliation.”
“Relaaaaax, it’s Cora! We used to date!” he cocked his head. "I think."
“I mean it. "
Jude’s gaze found mine for a moment before his smile grew. “Well, we have enough eggs don’t we?” He grabbed my arm, pulling me along. Ana was already gone. I could see her figure already slinking down the street, bleeding into the shadow.
When the two of us hit the cool night air and Jude quickened his pace into a power-walk, his eyes set forwards, jaw set, I figured I should ask what his deal was. If this guy was serious about vandalizing a rival Starbucks, and not just that, urged by his manager, then I had to say something.
The thought of ending up in jail being petty over a rival store made me feel nauseous.
“So, what is this about?” I asked, catapulting myself into a half-run to keep up with him. The guy had abnormally long legs, so he was halfway across the sidewalk while I was barely two steps in front. “Aren’t you taking this a little too seriously?”
Jude didn’t reply, instead remarking on the sky being filled with stars.
“Hey, Ana!” He shouted. “Wait up!”
Second Street Starbucks was like walking into a palace. I could tell why these guys were rivals. The place was a three-floored beast, a glass building made up of a Starbucks downstairs, a library, and a private apartment. I found myself mesmerized by the twinkling lights on the door, the mini water fountain through large windows showing an even bigger storefront with rich-looking wooden tables and reclining chairs. The store was closing. When we stepped in front of the door, there was a sign which clearly said CLOSED on the front.
Still, though, Ana pushed her way through it, followed by Jude, pulling me along with him. Two employees were working, a guy with short blondish hair mopping the floors, and a girl standing at the counter, going through the register. The moment we stepped inside, the guy cleaning up stopped mopping from side to side, his fingers visibly tightening around the mop handle. “Hey there!”
With one of his best fake smiles, Jude raised his arms in surrender. “We’re from the Starbucks down the road. We come in peace, don’t worry!” He gestured to me.
“Can we talk to your manager?”
He took a step, his lip twitching, eyes glinting, which caused a stir in the air. The girl at the counter stopped flicking through a wad of cash in her hand and delicately put it down, and the guy turned to face us with wary eyes.
As Jude took another stride forward, his movements resembled a dance, and I noticed he was having fun teasing them. His eyes sparkled with a childlike glee that was unexpected for a person in his twenties. "Would you like to try our latest coffee recipe? It's like sipping on liquid sunshine." He nonchalantly brushed his jeans, and I half-expected him to pull out an egg. “But…” Jude took another step, and Ana situated herself behind the blonde boy, her expression blank. “You’ve already tasted it, haven’t you?”
The girl behind the counter finally stopped counting cash, delicately placing a wad back inside the register before leaning forward, an amused smirk curving on her lips. “Jude.” Her voice was a low murmur. “I didn’t think I would see you here so soon.”
“Cora.” Jude’s lips quirked. “Trust me, I don’t want to be. But hey, it's the boss's orders.”
She inclined her head, her eyes drinking all of him in. The girl rested her fist on her chin. She was surveying him like a piece of meat. “And you obey her?”
His grin widened, and I saw his hand once again brush the front of his apron. “Like a dog.”
“You know her?” I hissed out, grasping hold of the coffee cup in my hand.
“Cora?” Jude turned to me. “Oh yeah, we used to be the Romeo and Juliet of coffee shop rivalry — back when we were both newbies, and our store kidnapped me as a last resort. To keep the peace, I stayed.” He shrugged. “That’s what I’m told, anyway.”
Starbucks lore was getting dark.
These guys had to be joking around.
I took a step back, eager to head towards the door and be as far away as possible from what I was pretty sure was going to be a lot of eggs, and several arrests. “You worked here?” I couldn’t believe my mouth was still moving and forming words as I took slow steps back. Before Jude caught my arm.
“Apparently.” He said, dragging me back by his side. “Why don’t you give ‘em’ their gift?”
Unwrapping the bag and pulling out the cup, I nodded and took slow strides toward the counter, placing it down in front of her.
Cora frowned, before picking it up, her gaze going to the side.
“Go fuck yourself 2nd street bloodsuckers.” She read out loud, her brow raising into her hairline.
“I should probably go.” I managed to say, backing away. “I don’t think is the job for me—”
The latter half of my words exploded in my head when something slammed into my ears, a physical force sending me to my knees. Initially, I didn’t know what it was. It sounded like a nuclear bomb had gone off. When the ringing in my head subsided, I was aware I had my head buried in my knees, my hands clamped over my ears.
But when I tried to listen past the relentless shrill ringing in my skull, I heard them one after the other. Pop, pop, pop! Gunshots. The crack of each bullet ricocheted in my skull. It was a robbery, I thought dizzily. We were being robbed. No, Second Street was being robbed. When I lifted my head to try and find Jude and Ana to see if they were okay-- I expected them to be cowering like me, Jude, under the table, muffling yelling into his hand, and Ana, calmly pulling him to safety. But that wasn't what I saw. Instead, I must have been fucking imagining things. Jude had not moved from his spot-- and perfectly melded into his hand, was a gun. A gun he was holding like a pro, his hands wrapped around the butt, index teasing the trigger.
His trajectory was directly between Cora's eyes. Jude had not been the one who shot the gun. In fact, neither had Ana, who was still standing stiffly behind the blonde guy.
It was a girl behind the counter who had come out of nowhere wielding the type of gun I expected to see in movies. I noticed from his stance Jude had maybe stepped to the left and then the right to avoid being hit, but the way his demeanour was fully and completely relaxed sent shivers creeping down my spine. "The deal is off, Cora," he murmured. "You fuck with us, so we fuck with you." he lowered his gun slightly, his eyes darkening. "Where's Ren? He came here to sniff you out, so where is he?"
Cora seemed remarkably calm. She started to raise her hands, her lips forming the words, "I don't know what you're talking about" before she stopped, her body going limp. It took me a disorienting moment to realize Jude had taken the shot, followed by another, both landing right between her eyes. When Cora hit the ground, the whole world around me exploded.
I was dragged to the ground by Jude, as he dived across the floor, pressing himself into the back of a table, twisting around, and taking out the barista who almost shot me in the face. There were five of them, all of them good shooters. Too good. Ana easily took out a blonde and brunette with her own magnum, followed by a bald guy who crashed through the counter which collapsed under him.
Jude fell into a manic shoot-out with a guy who would not give up, and after several attempts, re-loading, and attempting to finish him from the ground, my colleague got tired and stood up, dropped his gun, and leaped across the counter. I didn't know what to watch. Ana, who was destroying their coffee machine, or Jude, who snapped the boy's neck with a single twist of his fingers, before ripping out his eyes. He hauled the dead guy over his knees, grazing his teeth across the pasty flesh of the boy's neck, his eyes flickering. I wouldn’t say they turned a different color, but there was something inhuman about them, a certain tint around his iris. "Urgh."
He shoved the corpse away, jumping up. "He reeks of it." Treading through broken glass and pooling red on the floor, my colleague grabbed a cup, downed it, and then spat it out. “That.” He sputtered. “Is the worst fucking thing I’ve ever tasted.”
Ana stepped in front of him, handing the boy his gun. “When one of any clan is murdered for with no reason, there is an imbalance, and the coffee is tainted. We must restore the balance before this gets out of hand,” she surprised me by speaking, with a tinge of an Aussie accent. The girl side-eyed me before shooting Jude a knowing look. “Don’t let her get in our way.”
“Aye, aye, captain.” He mocked a salute before nodding to me. “All right! Sim, you grab a sample. We’ll go find the altar.”
Something ice-cold slipped down my spine.
“Cool it. It’s more fun than it sounds,” was all Jude responded with. “Grab the samples.”
I was running on adrenaline, doing exactly what he said. I grabbed two coffee cups. “What do we do now? We go home, right?”
He swiped at his lips with a sound of disgust. “Are you kidding? No, man. We get coffee which ain’t tainted.”
Ana took out two guards in the back before leading us both through a heavy metal door that led into tunnels, tunnels, illuminated by candlelight. “You just killed multiple people,” I finally managed to choke out, following the two of them deeper into the dark. “Over coffee.” I couldn’t resist a nervous laugh that spluttered into a cry. “You just murdered seven baristas over fucking coffee!” I found myself backing away at points, scanning for a way out, an exit away from this fucking nightmare.
Jude turned to me, the glitter in his eyes reflected in the candlelight. “Oh, please,” His voice echoed down the tunnel in a chuckle. “Do you really think this is just about coffee?”
I didn't understand what he meant until we came to the end of the tunnel, which dipped into an alcove leading us into a large cave-like room. Drawing his gun, Jude scanned the dark. "Anyone in here?" He said, and Ana hit him. Silence answered, and I found myself paralyzed to the spot. I didn't know what to stare at first. The ten-foot-tall Starbucks Siren looming over us, illuminated in flickering orange candlelight, or the old swimming pool filled to the brim. When I took a step forward, my foot sunk into something soft, and I made the mistake of looking down. Bodies.
I guessed that was "The Drink".
I felt myself fall back, but Ana's warm arms were guiding me away from decomposing flesh which decapitated heads poisoned in a way that I could almost call ritualistic. There were bodies everywhere, all of them curled up or had died in a position of prayer. Jude crouched in front of a guy still in his Starbucks apron. His eyes had been cleanly plucked from his skull. Jude's expression was beautifully sombre in the candlelight. "Fuck, dude," he whispered.
"Looks like they got you."
“Which explains how they got their hands on our recipe.” Ana pulled out her gun and clicked off the safety. The girl’s eyes were suddenly sad, her lip wobbling. I had a hard time believing a girl who had taken out three baristas at point-blank range was crying.
“What is this place?” I whispered. "What the fuck are you doing in here?”
Jude straightened up. Ana moved behind him, and I noticed her hands holding her gun were trembling. She raised her arm, pointing it at the back of his head. Jude didn't retaliate, only sending me a sickly smile. "It used to be ours," he said. "Until other stores started opening, and it became a fucking free-for-all." Jude sighed, rocking back and forth on his heel. Ana's trigger finger followed his movements. "We have a peace treaty..." Jude trailed off. "Sorry. HAD a peace treaty." He nodded to his colleague. "Second Street has always been obsessed with this particular blend we have that other stores don't." His lips curved. "They're greedy, and thought they could fuck with us. First, they took our last manager. He was like a dad to us. Sliced him up and sent us his head." He gestured to his friend. "And then they took Ren. They brought this shit upon themselves."
As he spoke, Jude dropped to his knees and closed his eyes, bowing his head in front of the Siren. Ana didn't move. "Are you ready?"
I screamed, slamming my hand over my mouth when this time when Ana shot Jude point blank in the back of the head. When his body crumpled to the ground, something inside me snapped in two, and I couldn’t breathe suddenly. I thought the two were playing some kind of sick game before I caught unmistakable seeping black pooling across the alter.
In the blur of orange candlelight, it was almost a mesmerizing sight. “Shush!” Ana sent me an annoyed look, before gathering his body in her arm. “Make yourself useful and grab a bucket,” she said, stumbling towards the pool. I watched her, my heart diving into my throat. When I didn’t move, Ana hissed out and twisted around.
“Did you not hear me?!” she yelled. “Get a bucket and start collecting it!” The girl gestured towards a large, rusted pipe looming over the pool, a stream of murky brown water leaking into the pool. When I started forwards, the girl shook her head. “Not yet.” She said, before heaving Jude’s body and throwing him into the darkness. I heard the splash, but I didn’t even see his body hit the surface. Part of me wanted to demand what the fuck she was doing, but I did what I was told, with trembling hands, grabbing a bucket and shuffling over to the pool edge. Ana hissed out again. “I said not yet!” Before I could speak, she held a finger to her lips. “Do it now!”
“The pool water?!” I shrieked.
She raised a brow. “You think that’s water?”
Before I could coerce some kind of speech, I was interrupted by what felt like a sudden earthquake. The ground rumbled under our feet, and I hesitated before dropping the bucket into the water and scooping up as much as I could. I quickly realized it wasn’t water. It was thick with the constancy of blood, coffee brown and yet sticky and warm like blood.
Above us, the pipe seemed to come to life, a brand new stream of murky brown solution coming down in a waterfall. I didn’t think about the pieces of flesh floating on the surface, the decomposing heads I caught bobbing around, or the fact that I was dipping my hands in blood. Coffee and blood. My stomach was trying to projectile my lunch, but I swallowed it down. I took advantage, managing three buckets before Ana was grasping my shoulders and pulled me back. I didn’t realize I was sobbing until she was handing me a handkerchief, and I was staring at her and it, like, “What do you expect me to do with this?!”
Still in shock, I tried to get another bucket full before she dragged me from the pool edge. “You can stop now,” she said. “We have enough.”
I staggered back when the surface of the pool rippled. I don’t know what I expected to come out.
Not Jude, covered in the brown murky shit I had filled the buckets with. When he broke the surface, I almost threw one of the buckets at his head. Despite being covered in coffee and blood, his skin was oddly free of flaws. The guy was also really naked, which should have been a minor problem compared to what I was seeing, which was a real resurrection in front of a ten-foot statue of the Starbucks siren. Which was completely normal.
But I still found my cheeks heating up. Jude ran a hand through soaked curls sticking over his eyes, shaking them like a dog before pulling himself out. I couldn’t help noticing there was no gunshot wound. It was almost as if his body was completely new. I took in abnormally grey-looking skin, like dead flesh, before averting my gaze. “Did we do it?” He gasped out, immediately covering himself. Once out of the pool, he knelt on the ground, sucking in breaths of air before seemingly realizing the state of himself.
“Fuck. I didn’t think this through.”
“I did.” Ana reached into the backpack she had brought, pulling out a shirt and jeans, reverting her eyes, and throwing him the bundle. “Get dressed.” She said, But there was a slight smirk on her lips. “Yes. I think we managed to appease them.”
“Sweet!” Jude grinned, dressing quickly. He sucked the tips of his fingers. “Mmm.” He nodded at Ana. “That tastes a lot better.”
He gestured to her, and to my disgust, the girl delicately licked his fingers and nodded with her own smile. “It tastes like cherry blossom.”
His eyes fell on me, and I saw that inhuman gleam in his eye—that had been very much there before he was resurrected in a pool of coffee. His lip quirked. I could still see coffee-- or blood dripping in thick rivulets down his temples and cheek. “Should we?”
Jude turned to Ana. “I mean while we’re here, right? We can induct the newbie.”
Immediately, I knew what he was talking about. I stepped back, but he was following me, getting closer and closer until his breath was in my face, and I was teetering on the edge. I sensed something in his eyes, something I never expected from a man who knew exactly what he was doing. Envy. Another step, and I would be falling into what I was sure was a pool full of decomposing bodies and resurrecting coffee. “Not now,” Ana murmured, and Jude snapped out of it, taking a step back.
“Buzzkill.” He muttered.
But he did step away, allowing me to inch away from the pool.
“Later,” Ana said. “She’s shaken up. We can do it first thing tomorrow.”
To my surprise, there were no cops at the scene at Second Street. Because there was no scene.
The store was back to normal, and I didn’t have the energy to question why. When we returned, Aurora wrapped me into a hug I tried to get out of as quickly as possible, eager to get the fuck away from that place. But. I had to finish my shift. I had watched a man resurrected by coffee in a fucking Starbucks shrine, and yet somehow I had to keep making drinks until my shift ended. It was nearing closing time when the doors opened, and I found myself face-to-face with the girl from earlier. The one wearing the pink ray-bans.
She didn’t say anything, but the blade of her knife grazing my gut told me everything I needed to know. With a knowing look when she slipped off her raybans, she pressed something into my hand before leaving, and I handed it to the manager, who opened it up, almost died laughing, and then threw it in the trash.
“You work for psychopaths.” I managed to get out, sidling in front of Jude while he was clocking out.
“Also, didn’t you… didn’t you fucking die?”
Jude didn’t look up from his phone. “It’s complicated.” His lip quirked. “You’ll find out tomorrow during your induction.”
“But… you work for these people!” I lowered my voice. “And you’re not trying to get away?” I gestured to Kai and Aurora standing by the door, the two of them locked in conversation. “None of you?”
Jude frowned, and I caught the first hint of annoyance. I had only seen this guy smiling, so seeing him scowling was quite the change. “I’m sorry, do you… do you think I have a choice?”
He surprised me with a laugh. “Me? A choice? You really think I wake up every morning and WANT to do this shit?” He got close, his breath in my ear. “You came here willingly. I didn’t. In fact? I don’t even remember coming here. My interview, my first day? Nothing. I don’t even remember my time at Second Street.” He threw a towel at me before I could coerce words. “Finish clearing up, all right? I’ll see you tomorrow for induction.”
There was something cruel in his smile like he was waiting for whatever my induction had in store for me.
I couldn’t help myself. When everyone was gone, and I was tasked with locking up, I picked the discarded note out of the trash, smoothing it down.
“You pieces of shit just declared war. Sleep with one eye open! 😊”
I cut my finger with a knife this morning. When I sucked it and grabbed a band-aid, I tasted coffee. I went home and threw up coffee.
I am peeing coffee.
I showered 8 times and I still fucking smell of coffee.
I don’t think I’m going to go to work tomorrow.
Edit: There’s been a break-in— and the manager wants me to come in early. Jude and Ana woke me up in the middle of the night to go over tactics. We are taking down Second Street during closing time.
I guess I am going to work tomorrow.
Does anyone know how to use a gun?
submitted by Trash_Tia
to nosleep [link] [comments]
2023.06.09 21:00 AutoModerator 10 Ways to Make Comfort Food Healthier
| || | submitted by AutoModerator to HealthyZapper [link] [comments]
Crisp, autumn days seem to require the kind of warmth that your favorite sweater just can't provide. When it's especially nippy, a warm bowl of soup or apple crisp may seem like better bets--despite the fact that these comforting dishes are fattening and high calorie.
Thankfully you can stay trim this fall without giving up your favorite homemade fare. While it may be hard to believe, there are loads of smart, calorie-slashing substitutions that can be made to fall recipes that will allow you to indulge without the guilt. Better yet, none of them will drastically alter the flavor of your food! Ready to fall into the flavors of autumn without expanding your waistline? We've rounded up a few genius ways to do it.
Why should kids be the only ones who can enjoy mac and cheese? Jessica Cording, a registered dietitian in New York, suggests adding pureed butternut squash or pumpkin into your cheese sauce, so you can dial back on the milk and cheese. Aside from eliminating some of the fat and calories, Cording's trick adds fiber along with potassium and vitamins A and C. "Because the flavor is so mild, even veggie-averse family members will be on board," she tells us.
There's a healthier way to get your pumpkin drink fix--and it doesn't involve going to Starbucks. To make a no-added-sugar version at home, blend unsweetened almond milk with a frozen banana, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract. For even more healthy and delicious ways to get in on the season's pumpkin frenzy, don't miss these 20 Pumpkin Recipes for Weight Loss.
Love meatloaf but hate its nutritional profile? Get your protein fix while decreasing calories and saturated fat by using turkey, lean grass-fed ground beef, or a combination of the two, in your recipe. "Because meatloaf is so versatile, you can change out the ingredients depending on the flavors you want," says Kim Larson, a Seattle-based registered dietitian. Mix in low-cal sources of flavors such as chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, canned green chilies, lentils, or sugar-free canned corn. And don't be afraid to pack your meatloaf with veggies--a trick that will allow you to use less meat. (Which can be a major money saver!) Chopped mushrooms, celery, and bell peppers all pair well with meatloaf in terms of flavor and bolster the vitamin power of the dish, too. Another trick we love? Swapping out nutrient-void breadcrumbs for oatmeal, which also just so happens to be one of these 15 Awesome Ways to Lose Weight With Oatmeal.
Classic tomato soup recipes call for high-calorie ingredients like butter and heavy cream. To make a skinnier version of the cozy elixir, Erin Macdonald, a California-based registered dietitian, suggests pureeing canned Roma tomatoes, a jar of roasted bell peppers, low-sodium veggie broth, and fresh basil. If you prefer a creamier texture, steer clear of the cream and add unsweetened cashew milk instead--a simple swap that you can actually use to make any thick soup more waistline-friendly. Why cashew milk? Aside from its rich texture and mild flavor, it gives you healthy fats, protein, fiber, and minerals such as magnesium and potassium, which help regulate blood sugar, explains Andy Bellatti, a registered dietitian from Las Vegas.
Studies show that people often think a dessert that contains fruit is healthier and lower in calories than those that don't--even though that's typically not the case. And apple crisp is no exception. True, there's fiber and vitamin C in the apples, but traditional apple crisp recipes also includes butter and sugar--big calorie bombs. "I recommend simply roasting apples with some cinnamon, vanilla extract, and lemon juice," says Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian in New Jersey, sharing her own recipe for the fall must-have. Still craving the cooling scoop of ice cream on top? Try Greek yogurt, which is lower in sugar and calories, but still offers the creamy texture you crave.
Creamy, buttery mashed potatoes can pack on calories and carbs, but not when you use cauliflower or a blend of turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, and carrots. Steam the veggies and mash them up with fat-free half-and-half, light cream cheese, low-sodium chicken broth, and a tablespoon of grass-fed butter. Larson recommends adding Parmesan or goat cheeses, too, because they add tons of flavor. Don't forget to add garlic, chives and thyme, to reap the benefits of their inflammation-fighting and flavor-boosting super powers.
Whether or not you realize it, your game day chili is probably a major calorie fest. Ax fat from your go-to recipe by using a lean protein such as chicken, turkey, or bison. To cut back on salt, select lower-sodium beans and canned tomatoes. Like to serve your chili over rice? Instead, opt for steamed greens or cauliflower rice, which can be made by grating or processing cauliflower and heating it with a touch of oil in a pan. Think that's creative? There are tons of other interesting ways to cook with cauliflower, and you'll find a number of them in our report, 17 Genius Ideas for Cooking with Cauliflower.
If baking with pumpkin is your autumn delight, check out this recipe for vegan pumpkin bread by blogger Jeanine of Love and Lemons. (We love that it swaps out eggs for heart-healthy ground flaxseed. ) Even if you don't want to forgo making your go-to rendition, you can healthify your recipe by sneaking in a cup of shredded zucchini, which just so happens to taste awesome with pumpkin.
Pizza is about as comforting as comfort food gets, but you don't have to make it with a cauliflower crust to boost its health factor. Instead, Jessica Fishman Levinson, a registered dietitian from New York, suggests using protein-packed chickpea flour to make something called farinata. It originated in the Mediterranean and is essentially an unleavened pancake made of chickpea flour, water, and olive oil. After it's baked, it can be served with pizza toppings so you can give into that craving for a slice a bit more sensibly. And to ensure your slice is a super healthy one, be sure to use one of the winning jars of pasta sauce from our exclusive report, The 40 Best and Worst Pasta Sauces--Ranke!
Can roasted veggies get any healthier? If you typically toss your produce with sugary sauces such made with brown sugar and maple syrup, most certainly, says Gorin. Instead, roast carrots, turnips and whatever else you like in pomegranate juice, which is packed with antioxidants and gives it a nice seasonal flavor. If you prefer a more savory dish try roasting your veggies in olive oil, sea salt, and herbs (like rosemary and oregano).
2023.06.09 19:28 kmap1221 My Drag and Drop Weekly Meal Planner
Not sure if this will be interesting or useful to anyone, but I made this document
a while ago and recently shared it with a colleague who thought it was helpful. This system has helped me stay organized, plan for what foods I already have, and save money at the grocery store without eating the same meals over and over again. Since covid, my grocery bill has actually gone down significantly by becoming an "ingredient household". I spend between $70 and $100 a week on groceries (and toiletries) for two people in a HCOL area. I do have a Costco membership, but I rarely go and when I do, I buy paper towels, detergent, etc. I have bought eggs there as well, but that's only two times per year. I'll try to make a post in the near future about my grocery budget and how I keep it under $100 each week for two adults (one male one female). Anyway...
Here is the spreadsheet I use for my own household weekly meal planning. They are color-coded to indicate if they are vegan, vegetarian, have fish, or meat/dairy. They include all of the main ingredients and meal names. Some of the less intuitive recipes are hyperlinked to external recipes that I like. Many of my favorite spice combos are there. There is a section dedicated to what I typically have stocked in my kitchen. I am also slowly beginning to add to a sauces and marinades section. This is not a comprehensive look at what I eat, but it's the baseline. How to use:
Sheet 1: Cabinet stock.
This sheet breaks down the items that are sometimes, often, and always in my kitchen. It breaks them up into the ways I stock and think about them. Those items are color-coded to indicate how frequently I use and purchase them. There is a checklist next to each item which can be used to indicate what you have or what you need.
Sheet 2: Meal Plan.
I am not a vegan, but my diet is plant-based
. In here, I have the name of the dish (some of which are hyperlinked to external sites with recipes that I like to loosely follow). Next to the dish name are the ingredients. These are the main ingredients
, but not everything. Items that may not be listed: olive oil, salt and pepper, other seasonings, marinades, etc. Again, this is not a comprehensive recipe but rather a guideline to base your meals off. Each dish is color coded to the corresponding dietary base. For example, yellow for vegan, green for vegetarian, blue for seafood, and red for meat and/or dairy. Obviously you know your own dietary restrictions, but I find this helpful to get an idea of what your diet is really comprised of. For me, this helped me realize that I eat mostly plant-based (completely by accident). Are you eating more meat than you really want to? Do you want to be a vegetarian or vegan but think it would be too hard to start? By tracking your meal bases, you can get an idea of where to make adjustments if desired.
Sheet 3: Marinades & Dressings
This is a new sheet. I don't really use this because I just sort of store this in my head and pull from it as I go. If I want salmon tonight and I have cauliflower, I could take that a number of directions: Asian style soy-based sauce, garlic and herb forward, Middle Eastern, Latin, etc. I'm the kind of home cook with a ton of spices and tend to just get inspired once I pick the main ingredients, but I think it would be good to have it organized. Keep posted for more on this sheet.
Sheet 4: Notes?
This is sort of a catch-all page. Sometimes, I learn something while making a meal that I want to log for later. For example, a fun rice recipe that I think goes well for burrito bowls. This is the place to leave yourself tips! I might delete this sheet in the future because I don't use it much, but I am trying to.
Sheet 5: Spices!
Spice combos! This is just a picture I found online with a few easy seasoning combinations to make at home. Today, I have a ton of spices, but I didn't always. It can be a huge money saver to learn how to combine spices you already have rather than buy premixed spice blends.
That's it! This document is a work in progress (and it wasn't made for anyone's eyes but my own) so bear with me! Please feel free to copy this document to your google drive and make edits and suggestions so that I can make it more helpful and user-friendly. I will continue to use and update this document so check back for more additions that I will include in additional dated sheets. Hope this helps someone! If there are any questions at all, please let me know and I'll try to answer!
submitted by kmap1221
to mealprep [link] [comments]
2023.06.09 18:36 ketobegin64 Steam in bag frozen veggies
Other than changes in package size, has anyone noticed a change in quality of the steam in bag frozen veggies?
I’ve always bought the California mix, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. I like adding the first three to Trader Joe’s Kung Pao chicken. Adding to broth based soups, and to jambalaya (yeah I know that’s odd but ya gotta get in your veggies).
Has anyone else noticed that there are significantly more broccoli stem pieces in the California mix these days or am I just the unlucky one? All the other varieties are normal.
Cauliflower isn’t too bad but I’ve gotten a couple of bags that seemed to have been thawed and refrozen so the texture was off.
Brussels sprouts are just too few in the bag.
This isn’t a big deal if I’m adding the bag to another dish but on it’s own it’s a little fibrous and not too tasty. Good source of fiber tho.
submitted by ketobegin64
to aldi [link] [comments]
2023.06.09 14:47 Rhion-618 Just One Drop - Ch 89
Chapter 89 - The Angels Have Chose
Afternoon, Two days before Shel
It was getting near lunch and Tom checked his omni-pad. It seemed as good a time as any to take stock of the day.
…Miv’s right, I’ve been climbing the walls…
There was a text from Bherdin. The IOTC girls were doing well, and would hold up their part to play in the banquet.
…That’s nice. I’d feel guilty as hell if Vedeem weren’t dating a Princess. That kind of evens things up…
And his suit was going to be delivered tonight.
Tom sighed and shook his head. Bherdin was happy as a clam. Whatever it was, it couldn’t be worse than the Warden’s outfit. The little Shil could make you believe in reincarnation, because he definitely had the soul of Liberace. Still, it was only one evening. Surely a state dinner couldn’t be that bad. It was a crowd of scientists and assorted nobility, for goodness sake…
…It’s not the audience I’m worried about…
There was a message from Lamana Duvari. The Interior agent had been cooperative, though he could tell she wasn’t happy about this plan. She was deferring to her Princess, but Duvari favored playing for time. There was just something about sitting back and waiting that didn’t have any appeal…
…She wasn’t the one with a knife in her guts…
That wasn’t fair. Whatever else you could say about the woman, if she’d been asked to trade places, she wouldn’t have hesitated. The woman's dedication was frightening, the more so because she spent most of her day in her disguise as ‘Professor Duvari, Totally Normal Person.’
…Well except for the orchestra. Mel and Kas’lin say she's perfectly at home…
“The woman would probably lend a whole new terror to ‘Ode to Joy.’”
At least she’d followed through, and, gods love her, so had Kzintshki. She’d explained her ability to evade most sensors, but the last three nights she’d slipped out on campus to ‘try something new.’ She’d texted every time, and according to Duvari, the Deathsheads in the bunker missed her every time.
…Whatever she’s doing, it could make all the difference…
The women in the bunker… Like Ce’lani. Things shouldn’t go wrong, but how many times had he said that? Something wasn’t right. The feeling he was missing something loomed over him…
“Fuck it… Time to call Ce’lani.”
He’d promised, and Miv would be gone for hours. Besides, it might make him feel better…
_ _ _
Deep in the Ops room out in the bunker, Sgt Diani perked up from her station. “Captain, you’re not gonna believe this. He’s calling her now.”
“You’re putting me on.” Captain Be’ona felt her eyes grow wide. “The woman can’t string two sentences together when she wakes up.”
“Ummm we’re recording this, aren’t we?” Yala asked from the ground team console.
“She threatened to sodomize me with a lasrifle over breakfast…” Be’ona steepled her fingers and smiled guilelessly. “Oh, Deeps, we are. Document that sucker!”
_ _ _
Miv’eire was a stunning woman. Tall, even for a Shil’vati, she was statuesque, yet elegant. She had poise, and it showed. Sholea was equally striking, though lithe, slim, and feisty.
At 6’2, Tom never thought he’d end up as the short one in the family, but somehow neither woman made him feel that way, and were feminine in the way Shil’vati women usually were. Both women behaved just like Human women, with all their cares and concerns - except when they didn’t. When they didn’t, they really didn’t.
It could be disconcerting to have your attitudes reflected back when you least expected it, but that was their ‘normal.’
Shil’vati men? Well, given the social pressures put on them, they behaved like Human women. Though he’d only met a few before leaving Earth, it was a rule of thumb that worked reasonably well. It applied fairly well to the men working as cooks and waiters at Human Food, and he’d been comfortable with adapting in a way. When in Rome… and the men had made an effort to help him adapt. After all, he was on Shil - the odd man out, in the most literal sense.
That said, there were young men like Aku and Vedeem who seemed to face their worlds in understandable ways. Then again, he’d also come to know Jama. While age had slowed him down, words like ‘notorious’ and ‘brazen’ tended to find their way into his thoughts. There were even a few men about like Bherdin, where worlds like ‘florid’ tended to flounder, unequal to the task… But all of them were at home with their lives. This was their normal, and he was the outsider looking in.
Staring at his omni-pad, he punched in the number, but held off dialing. What did he know about Ce’lani? They’d shared a morning together, and Miv and Lea approved… Once, that would have been difficult to accept. Now?
…it still took getting used to.
There was also the fact that she was military. Not just a Marine, but a Deathshead Commando, and while the difference was lost on him, it mattered. You couldn’t avoid meeting Shil’vati Marines.
Young, dumb, and full of… expectations… young troops were the same everywhere. They universally tended to piss off the locals.
Taken as a whole, it reminded Tom of his time on Okinawa. The governor of the island had been aggressively against the American bases there, and rightly supported policies to stop sexual violence against local women. The most dangerous animals on the island were, after all, several thousand unaccompanied Marines… though it was also rumored his daughter had been caught with a young Airman in the back of a Chevy.
The guy had to be smuggled off the island one night with extreme prejudice.
All of that came home to roost with the Shil’vati occupation. What had gone around had come around, in the form of young, inexperienced, and hopeful girls turned loose on the ‘sex planet.’ They had gone over just as well as anyone should have expected. If anything, Humanity ought to have known better than the Shil, but it was still a shock to the system.
Once the red zones calmed enough to allow the settlement programs to kick in, families had arrived on Earth. Shil’vati, Rakiri, Helkam… by fits and starts, each had started to appear, along with the other more exotic races in the Imperium. For a while, it had turned into a hobby like train spotting, but somehow people found their niches and things got on. The galaxy came calling, and it turned out that people were just people.
The Marines were the problem. Not as individuals, but as young troops out of their depth in a situation they weren’t right for. Not that the Interior was anyone’s choice, even for the Shil, but after a while people got on…
…Well, most did. God, I’m going to miss Cat…
He banished the weight of old memories and focused.
Ce’lani was… well, not a marine, but the thought stuck in his head. Her letter had been hopeful, not young or inexperienced. The music she’d sent along had been thoughtful, expressing her longing, desire, and optimism in a way that touched the heart… presuming she’d understood the words.
Either that or she’d gotten lucky.
Still, taken as a whole, words like ‘daunting’ tried to edge their way into his thoughts. Personally, she was polite, deferential to Miv and Lea, and had already put herself on the line for him more than once. Physically, though… the woman screamed ‘military.’
Ce’lani Tonis was a beautiful woman with a defined chin and piercing gold eyes, though it was difficult not to think of her body first. Once someone threw you over their shoulder and took off at a dead run, it made a lasting impression. Athletic, in the way that you’d say Arnold Schwarzenegger was ‘well defined,’ everything about the woman said ‘focused,’ - though that seemed normal for Shil’vati women.
For better or worse, Ce’lani had focused on him, and Miv and Lea approved. That was how things stood… and he needed to call the uber-girl and make a date.
“Just when I thought it would stop feeling strange…” Tom shook his head and hit the icon to dial.
The omni-pad rang a few times, and Tom was about to give it a miss when the call connected. While he didn’t enable the feature often, she must have had video on…
The uber-girl lay mashed into her pillow, eyes screwed shut as she started to gently snore.
“Ummm... Hi. Ce’lani?” Somehow, her camera lay at an odd angle, barely keeping her in the frame and Tom turned his to match. “Ummm, hello? It’s Tom?”
“Tom…? Tom’zzz cute…” Ce’lani rolled back and snorted once. Part of him considered hanging up, but he lingered in bemused fascination as she carried on talking in her sleep. “All those wommm chazzing... I beat their asses… an… ’e’s cute…”
The polite thing to do would be to hang up and call back later. It wasn’t as if he was going to get anything sorted… Still, it seemed rude not to say something. Besides, if this was recording on her end the least he could do was leave a useful message. “So… would you like to go out for something to eat?”
“Nmm... nice restaurant… does wrestling…” Ce’lani rolled over, her arm flailing at the omni-pad, knocking it askew. “Builds creidszz…”
“Ah…” If she slept during the day, maybe she worked nights. “This seems to be a bad time, so maybe dinner?”
The omni-pad offered a view of the ceiling. “Dinnerz good for wrestling pages…”
“Ok, I’ll set something up.” There was no way not to make this awkward, but if there wasn’t a recording, the worst he could do was call back. “Sweet dreams.”
Shaking his head, he broke the call.
…Alright, maybe not so daunting then… A date won’t be so bad. At least we’ll have something funny to talk about, if it’s humorous from a Shil’vati perspective…
“From a Shil’vati perspective…” The thought stuck in his head, and he punched in a text to Lamana Duvari. ‘Need to meet you this afternoon. Bring cadets. Important.’
Kzintshki did things the Pesrin way. The Shil did things the Shil way… and he’d been approaching this whole banquet from a Human perspective…
And maybe that was all wrong.
_ _ _
As Pathfinder of the Natahss’ja Warband, Sunchaser had known Marakhett since she was a mere kit named M’rast. Admittedly, she was only forty-three Pesh-years older - or five, going by the local calendar - but the years were enough. When she’d started training as a Pathfinder under old Starwise, her mentor instructed her to pay attention to the young kits as well as the adults. They’d be her peers one day and as the future warriors and band mothers of the Woodspirits, knowing them was important. So it was that she remembered Marakhett being born and watched her grow from a kit.
Starwise had lived up to his name. She’d not only learned to deal with other Warbands and the art of contract law, she’d also come to appreciate her family more intimately than most. She knew their strengths and weaknesses. She’d come to appreciate their character as a whole.
She’d been the odd woman out - the social one, though that wasn’t so unusual for Pesrin. Everything back home on Pesh depended on who you knew, who you were related to, who you had or hadn’t eaten… Social ties were everything. The only remarkable thing was that she managed to remain social, coming from a family of dour, uncommunicative, introverted… Well, they were family.
At least if they found it hard to laugh at themselves, she was there to do it for them.
In that respect. Marakhett was everything a bandmother of the Natahss’ja should be. Not without a certain dark and severe sense of humor, but still…
“You’re pulling my asiak.” Sunchaser crossed her arms, her asiak swishing uncertainly.
“I have never pulled your asiak, though if you want amputation…?”
Pathfinder sighed. Naturally, it would be Kzintshki. Talk about the prodigal daughter… “So it’s a brothel? Like… really a brothel?” She pinched the bridge of her nose a moment and rallied. “Well, I suppose if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong, but Mother of Light, there’s such a thing as overcompensation!”
Marakhett stared balefully and groomed her asiak. Sunchaser took the hint.
“Alright, you’re not kidding. Scout me through this from the beginning and stop me when I’m wrong. Your daughter found a boy - a Pesrin boy - in a brothel," Sunchaser supplied helpfully. Marakhett continued grooming. The pause grew longer, but she knew how to wait. After all, Marakhett had come to her…
“You are not speaking.”
“Oh, you just noticed? Because I was hoping that was the point where you were going to stop me.”
Marakhett arched an eyebrow. “Then you must learn to live with disappointment.”
“Daily.” Sunchaser looked at her another moment. Sometimes it was good to remember you loved your family enough to eat them, and some days you wanted to eat them so you didn’t have to remember you loved them. “I see… So this ‘Parst’ is in a brothel. You think she’s getting tied to him?”
“He is the right age… and she is very much in the right season. It is possible.” Marakhett shrugged slightly. Anyone not familiar with her would have missed the gesture. From her, it was positively eloquent, but she unbent slightly. “You are just repeating what we already know. I hoped by the time I returned you’d have found out more about the Rithagian.”
“Don’t get hasty in your middle age - it’s not your style,” Sunchaser snorted. “I’m just laying the trail here. Please tell me you did some scouting? Why don’t you and the other bandmothers just break the boy out? Kzintshki can grab him by the-”
“Of course, I scouted,” Marakhett replied tartly. “That is the problem.”
“Riiiiight… Well, that’s clear as the bottom of a coal mine at midnight.” Sunchaser settled back. Being the extrovert in the family was a penance sometimes, but Marakhett gave her pause. The woman was a careful hunter, but had never been afraid to be the first to use violence. She used it as a tool. Usually as a scalpel and sometimes as a blunt object, but if she said violence wasn’t the answer, it likely wasn’t. This was going to be one of those conversations where she just had to drag the information out. “So you scouted. Are you going to tell me the problem, or just let me guess?”
“The Tide Pool is not merely a brothel. The people work there... Apparently by choice.” Marakhett paused significantly. Sunchaser appreciated the effort, as that was a lot to take in. “The men and women there… and there are more species than I have ever seen… all consider themselves employees. I spoke with four or five and the ones that don't consider themselves ‘entertainers’ for the clients are there as staff. They are all healthy, happy, and abundantly well paid.”
“Well, money can’t buy you happiness, but if that’s true, you could die trying.”
“That is humor?”
“That is an observation,” she replied a bit tartly, turning the matter over in her mind and weighing it against what she’d been able to uncover. “Look, prostitution is a filthy business everywhere we’ve been. Places like that in the Consortium are little better than slave houses, and the Alliance was worse. Men and boys beaten down into lifeless outcasts. No one looks at them as anything but toys until they’re too old or too used up, and then they just get cast aside. Sure, actual slavery is a filthy business, but it’s only illegal because otherwise no man would be safe anywhere! It’s bad enough here with the Silver Suns, but that's better than the Alliance or Consortium. At least the Imperium tries to stop it! You said this place has a lot of money rolling through - if it’s everything you’re saying, then something is going on.”
“So I surmised,” Marakhett said blithely.
Of the Woodspirit’s seven bandmothers, Marakhett was her favorite, but Sunchaser counted to eight, her patience getting thin. “Based on…?”
“The Tide Pool employs Rakiri security, but the staff were armed.” She finished grooming her asiak and let it fall free. “Discreetly, but still…”
Sunchaser parsed that over. An armed staff wouldn’t be easy to subdue. No gang would allow it… and Rakiri? Rakiri were capable fighters and should be respected, if not invited to dinner… but still. Birds flew. Fish swam. They did what they did supremely well and were both good eating. That didn’t make them interchangeable.
“Rakiri don’t make good criminals.” Sunchaser tapped a claw on a bulkhead thoughtfully “It’s just not in their nature.”
Marakhett’s fur arched and settled, displaying she was pleased with herself. “Exactly.”
“So when you say armed, do you mean ‘a little,’ ‘quite’ or ‘very?’”
“My waiter was carrying a knife on a leg strap, and the security women I saw had X-tel GP fives.”
“Flechette pistols?” Sunchaser felt herself staring, despite herself. “Light, those are nasty! Exactly how many ‘staff’ are in this place?”
“I have seen smaller fortresses,” Marakhett said flatly.
“Bigger than the-”
Sunchaser felt her stomach purge as the conversation ground to a halt again. When Marakhett got into monosyllables, that was about it for information. That made it her turn.
“I heard back from Moonwhisper. She’s wed to their bandmale, and he’s on good terms with the male in the Curmoica.” She felt a moment’s gratification as Marakhett winced slightly. As an extrovert stuck in a family of reclusive mercenaries, a little exposition was her best revenge. Still, there was no need to push it. “They confirmed the Rithagian arrived on Shil a year or so after they did… They took a contract with Duchess Elieana - our employer. Funny she’s never mentioned it.”
“I am laughing on the inside.”
“Really? I’d love to cut you open and hear what that sounds like, because thanks to your daughter we find the ‘quiet old commodities trader’ employing us lost a Warband! Not just some of them - the whole family. That means there’s something up with the Duchess on one side and a fortress on the other.” Sunchaser pulled her asiak in raw frustration. “You know what that means?!”
“You undercharged,” Marakhett said archly.
“YES!” Sunchaser wailed, slamming her fist against the wall. It was humiliating, but she had to make the best of it. “Are you and the other bandmother’s going to tell Lathkiar?”
“Our husband? Not at this point.”
“This could involve slavers, violence, kidnapping, and mayhem.”
“Naturally, but Lathkiar is still learning to use his prosthetic leg. Getting us out of Consortium space cost him dearly, and we don’t want him to think he is missing out… or that we’re out of practice.” Marakhett sighed. “Until we can afford something better, he would slow us down. We are not risking him, so the less he hears, the better.”
Somehow, Kzintshki had negotiated actual land for the Natahss’ja, but while land and herds were a fortune for posterity, until the lands were actively worked, they remained a fortune out of reach. In the meantime, every spare credit that wasn’t being put into their ship now had to be plowed into renovations. That included the money set aside to provide Lathkiar with a good prosthetic, but he’d insisted. The savings was far more than he’d earn with work from the Duchess, and Sunchaser nodded grimly, acknowledging his sacrifice. It was something he could do for the family, and no one was going to take that from him.
“Why did you not marry Lathkiar as well?” Marakhett asked. The question caught Sunchaser by surprise.
“I’m a little old for that,” She pondered the idea. Starwise had negotiated well when she brought Lathkiar into the family from the Konjrel. Normally the price for a man like that would break a family for a year, but he was as laconic as Marakhett. They loved each other dearly, but the idea of sharing quarters with them all? Torture. “That's very kind. Marriage may be a wonderful institution, but I don’t want to be institutionalized.”
“Mn.” As usual, Marakhett’s asiak did the talking for her, and Sunchaser leaned in to rub shoulders with her friend.
“So this… Parst?” she asked circumspectly. The sting of undercharging was painful, but a male… on the loose… with no family charging a dowry for him? Now that was a bargain! “Good looking boy, is he?”
“I can possibly see the attraction,” the bandmother shrugged.
“You threatened him?” she asked mildly. It was an unusual situation, but there were the formalities to consider.
“Yes.” She nodded briefly, “Appropriate to his situation.”
“Good, good… and Lathkiar might like having a young male to bring into the family.” Sunchaser desperately wanted to rub her hands together, but a Pathfinder should never display greed - just embrace it. “It would be good for the family. The girls are getting older and you know Cahliss would be thrilled to have a share of him. Ptavr'ri doesn't get on well with Kzintshki, but she’ll either adjust to being third or go without.”
“I can’t say I don’t agree with you.” Coming from Marakhett, that was practically a manifesto. The woman’s asiak actually perked with joy. If she had a least favorite bandwife it was Harasf, and Ptavr’ri was her daughter. Despite her unusual choice of a Human hahackt, Kzintshki had brought the family land. If she brought home a male, her place as the next bandmother would be uncontested by her bandsisters - including Harasf and Ptavr’ri.
“Who are we to stand in the way of true love? It’s been so long since we’ve had a wedding… It will do the family good, since we’re so far from home,” Sunchaser said firmly, setting her thoughts in order. There was still a great deal to find out about the Rithagian, but they were niblifos. Not enemies, but certainly not allies… Besides, any distant branches didn’t even know about the boy! “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
Marakhett nodded thoughtfully. “If he has no family, who do we eat?”
_ _ _
Bherdin D’saari watched Jeidri Shel’ara expectantly. As a Cadet Senior Agent in the IOTC, she’d proven over the last week she could be driven, demanding, and determined. While polite and properly deferential to him, she’d battered down barriers to anything less than perfection in her troops, and was ready to face the worst things the galaxy had to offer.
He sniffed at the waste… In another life she would have made a fabulous maître d'. As it was, she made a marvelous test subject for his latest dessert!
“That is absolutely the most disgusting thing I have ever seen,” she breathed in horrid fascination as Vedeem picked up one of the rectangular mounds. Industrial brown goo discharged suggestively from the sides, but what really captured the eye was the sticky mass oozing out the sides.
Cadet Agent Vandra Elidre leaned in for a closer look before turning pale. “I’m going to be sick.”
Still, none of them made a dash for the bathroom or had the option to refuse. Bherdin appreciated that, since Vedeem was handing them out… Over the last week, his son had truly come into his own, training them day after day… And if that wasn’t enough, who cared!? He was the Princess’ boyfriend! What could they say?
“What in the sweet goddess’ name is that?” Cadet Agent Prindi Ama’dis prodded at hers with horrified fascination, moving it about on the plate, before pulling it apart. A visceral horror crept over her features as the white morass dribbling down, clinging suggestively in ropey white tendrils. “You know what this looks like?”
Vedeem D’saari grinned cheerfully and picked up his own. “Like porn on Shel morning?” One long entrail dribbled suggestively. “Don’t worry! The best things in life are a little sticky!”
Bherdin felt a warm glow of pride in his son. He’d come so far, so fast.
Vedeem smiled compassionately at the girls. Even in their distress, none of them were willing to show weakness… They watched in horror as he picked up his piece and bit deeply. Thick goo surged from the crust, coating one tusk.
Prindi Ama’dis looked like she was going to faint.
“They’re called a ‘s’mores.’ Just try a nibble, please? For me…? Surely, you’re not afraid, are you?” Vedeem tried wiping the sticking mass from his mouth. It trailed away on one fingertip. He gave them a winsome smile. “This can't be the messiest thing you’ve thought of trying with a boy?”
“I…” Jeidri was withering. Vandra looked at her for moral support as Prindi started to wheeze. As the senior cadet, she seemed to be fortifying herself… just as her omni-pad rang. Snatching the unit from her belt, she held it like a talisman. “I’ve got to get this! Vandra! You try it!”
Well, you couldn’t win them all over at once… A love of fine cuisine didn’t come to everyone naturally.
Jeidri’s lower lip quivered, but she picked up the square and gulped. “What… um… what's in it?”
“The brown stuff is chocolate. It’s a vegetable… sort of.” Vedeem ran a fingertip along his own. She and Prindi watched, spellbound… If some savages simply couldn’t appreciate good food, what was one to do? Still, there came a time for selling yourself, and at last Vedeem was learning!
“Umm…. sort of?” Prindi asked nervously.
“Don't worry, I’m sure big girls like you can get a handle on it…” Vedeem’s tongue snaked out and wound around the brown-coated finger suggestively.
“A-and umm… and the… the white stuff?” Vandra whispered horsely.
“Marshmallow…” Vedeem smiled sinfully at the pair… Bherdin couldn't be more proud. All his son needed was a bit more fashion counseling and nothing would stand in his way! The universe would deliver itself to him on a platter!
Of course, first they still needed a test. Some people just had inexplicable tastes.
“Alright…” Prindi and Vandra shared a look and took a bite…
Jeidri Shel’ara hung up on her omni-pad, suddenly all business. “Girls, that was a call from… umm… anyway, we have to get back to the campus at once!”
The cadets looked like they’d found their way to Shil’s own bedroom.
“Oh, thweet ghothess…” Vandra said as she gobbled it down. “Thif if the beft fing I’f ever thafted!”
“Well, of course it is!” Bherdin exclaimed before checking his reflection. As hard as it was to believe, some people just didn’t understand the things an artist had to endure!
Diani brayed like a turox when she laughed, but at least the girls enjoyed themselves. Yala was wiping tears from her eyes when Be’ona turned off Tom’s monitor. She hadn’t laughed outright…
Well, maybe a bit.
“Right. Eyes back on the job!” she rumbled. Diani was still snickering, but they had a job to do and Be’ona nodded as the sergeant ran a status check on her board. They had a sacred trust, and while breaks in the monotony kept you sharp, they couldn’t become actual distractions.
The board was clear. Princess Khelira was just settling down to lunch with her friends…
“Ma’am? Captain To’nis still has her wake-up call for four?” Diani settled back. “Same as every day, right?
“Mmhmm…” A pod leader should not laugh at their peers in front of the grunts… Be’ona stomped on the chuckle as it threatened to escape and throttled it.
Diani glanced over her shoulder. “Yala? Five credits says she doesn’t remember a thing.”
“Sergeant, that is unkind…” She pulled up the maintenance check from Pod Eight. “I’ll make it twenty. Grow a pair or go home.”
It was good for morale.
_ _ _
It was barely noon and Desi was already worn out.
The files on Earth were starting to blur together every night, but she dug in and kept careful track. Still, the late nights were taking their toll. Even lunch had taken on an aspect of grim determination over the last week, and while it had been useful, Desi missed the days when it was just the carefree banter that started the year. She wouldn't trade her friendship with Melondi for anything, but the revelation had changed everything.
Well, alright, Kzintshki would have shown up anyway, and she seemed impervious to change. She certainly wasn’t what Desi’d imagined a ‘sister’ to be. The Pesrin was seated next to her, prodding the tosip out of the baked goara from today's menu with deep suspicion.
“So, I want to bring something up…” Jax’mi cleared her throat. Desi nodded as the other girls all looked over at Melondi. They knew what was coming, and just now their Princess had her mouth full. “It’s about the calendar.”
Mel... Khelira… was good at reading body language, but Desi suspected the whole table staring at her gave it away. Well, except for Kzintshki. She’d started prying bits of fish from the sauce and took a moment to catch on… Jax didn’t waste time and dove right in.
“I know you’ve been wondering about the news on the calendars… Umm…well, that and one or two other things. I sort of rolled part of the money into another product. You know that Rubik’s thing? I sort of passed that off through my cousin, and we have an offer to market the ‘Chel’xa Block,’ but…” Melondi was trying to finish her bite, so Jax pressed ahead. “Well, anyway, taking out the seed money for the printing and my uncle’s one percent cut for the marketing… ummm… They sold out the first and second runs, and we have an offer to do another.”
“Okay…” Mel bit her lip and frowned at the attention. “How much money is that, and why are you all looking at me?”
“Wellll… We got around a credit per calendar, and my uncle said it sold nearly as well as something called a ‘sports illustrated’ edition… We got an offer from them, by the way, once he mentioned the diving team…”
Melondi had gotten used to eating through unexpected news and started picking at her pippiya. “How much?”
Jax bit her lip. “Allowing for the conversion rate?”
“Fine… allowing for that?” Mel canted her head, looking at Jax’mi warily.
“For both runs?” Jax shrugged. “Around eight hundred thousand credits.”
Melondi dropped her pippiya “What!? For… For pictures of us in bikinis!? That’s… that’s…”
Jax nonchalantly flipped a long wavy lock of silver hair over one shoulder. “The most successful school fundraiser ever!!!”
Jax looked smug, but Desi decided to get things back on track, “The point is, we wanted to talk to you about the money, Mel. We’ve all talked it over, and we’re setting it aside for you.”
“I was going to say preposterous, but why for me?” Mel looked at her, as confusion replaced consternation. “Desi? I think you all know I’m… umm… ‘socially secure.’ We were going to split that... I mean, back when we thought it would just be fun money, but this? I don’t understand. Why would you give it to me?”
“It’s not giving it to you, Mel.” Pris leaned forward, “Well, not as such. It’s more like setting it aside… We need to give some to the school, but we ran it through Dihsala…”
Dihsala pushed her tray away and made a face. “What they’re trying to say is you might need money that can’t be traced.”
“I don’t understand?” Mel said flatly, though there was a defensive note in her voice and Desi suspected she understood perfectly.
“What if you have to run? What if this banquet goes badly?” Dihsala waved a hand briefly at the table, taking everyone in. “We know you don’t want to hear this, but if it’s life or death, you may need to disappear for a while.”
“It’s not like your face is known by the press, but word wouldn’t take long,” Lark pointed out with a nod. “Not if the Palace made an announcement, or your identity was blown.”
Kzintshki stabbed some tosip on one fork, examining it critically. “If the people stalking you decided it helped them flush you out, they’d do so in a minute.”
“They’re right…” Nestha nodded. “My mothers toe the line when the Palace wants something silenced, but if it got totally out in the open, even they’d try and take the lead. Every news outlet and pundit would be offering up something on the data-net.”
“We decided to create a fund to make that happen, if it needs to.” Jax’mi lowered her voice. “My family has a few ships here on Shil. We could get you off-world.”
“My family on Wilist would take you in,” Belda nodded. “There are all kinds of places you can disappear, out on the ranch.”
“Or maybe farther,” said one of the twins. “Mara and I were thinking about Earth. If we asked, maybe the Painters could take you on their ship?”
“I could fool people for a few days… At least the ones off campus,” Desi whispered as she reached out to take Melondi’s hand. “If I slept in your room and we let Vedeem in on it, maybe I could throw them off and give you a head start.”
“I appreciate it... All of you,” Mel looked down at her plate. Her hands fluttered a moment before she clasped them together. “But no, I’m not running away from this. How would this look if I ran at the first sign of danger?”
“The first sign of danger was in the library,” Pris’ voice was full of compassion, but her words made sense. Desi was about to chime in when Mel put her foot down.
“No! I know you’re thinking of me, but what kind of person cuts and runs like that?” Melondi glowered. “Kzintshki, you aren’t Shil’vati. What would it look like to your people? How could I live with myself like that?”
“Easily another fifty years... Longer if you can make money posing in skin suits.” The Pesrin girl frowned. “A Bandmother would not run, but that is different… We are surrounded by family.”
“You’re my family…” Mel said wretchedly before drawing in a long breath. “I… look, you’ve all taken risks for me, and I know you don't want that to be for nothing, but I'm not running away. I couldn't respect myself. Thank you… but no matter what happens, I am not doing that.”
“We had to offer…” the other twin… that would be Kas’lin, reached out for the bread tray. “Anyway, it wouldn’t have been so bad if you went to Earth. We want to know what a ‘rolls’ is.”
“A what?” It was a non-sequitur, but Desi grabbed it like a lifeline. Melondi was embarrassed… That was something a Princess couldn’t afford, and changing the topic was something they could all do for her. “Why don’t you ask the Painters? We’ve barely seen you since they landed… As if we didn’t know why…”
“They’re our heroes!” Mara protested, but she was turning bluer by the second.
“And it would be embarrassing!” Lin nodded. “We’re going to ask the Professor but yeah, we’ve been kept… umm…”
“We’ve had lots of… of intellectual discussions!” Mara nodded a touch frantically. “And you should see the modifications to their ship! It has a magnificent sch-”
“We get it!” The table crowed with laughter as the twins stammered into silence.
“Look, I know we’ve all been under a lot of pressure…” Melondi said tentatively. “Why don’t we have movie night tonight, then go out for a drink tomorrow?”
“What, out in town?” Let’zi spoke up. “Is that safe?”
“We all could use a break. Maybe it’s a good idea, as long as we’re careful. We’ve all been busy,” Desi offered, turning the idea over in her head. It might be good practice impersonating Mel one more time… “Even Kzintshki has been disappearing at night.”
“I have been engaged on your behalf.” Kzintshki started prodding a pippiya apart, scooping out the insides. And picking them apart with a claw. “I have tested evading the sensors. I am told it was satisfactory.”
“What, in your skin suit?” Belda started blushing as she asked.
“In... somewhat less.” Kzintshki’s asiak twitched once. “It was necessary.”
…Less? Less than a bikini? But that meant…
“But… umm… it’s cold out,” Desi stammered as a hush fell over the girls. “Didn’t you freeze your tits off?”
“Pesrin are naturally adaptable… and it’s only forty out. In the skin suit, I am virtually invisible to sensors. ‘Virtually’ may not be enough, this Shel. It required field tests.” Kzintshki’s asiak slipped out of sight and focused on her pippiya as if it was the most important thing in the universe. “It was late. I was not seen.”
“I… I have nothing for that…” Desi found herself staring back to Melondi. The entire table was a sea of blue, now.
“Um, I realize I haven’t asked…” Melondi looked back at her for help, and Desi shrugged. There was no telling with Kzintshki sometimes. “I know why everyone else is helping me. They’re Shil’vati, but you’re a Pesrin. This has to be more than just impressing Professor Warrick as your…?”
“Hahackt. That matters… particularly if I am to engage a mate…” Kzintshki drew herself up, though she glanced about furtively. “Though if you take more pictures in skin suits, I wish to join in. Pesrin are not against easy money.”
“You can have my place!” Belda offered fervently. “I’m going to be a married woman… well, eventually! Liam might not like it if I did it again.”
“There has to be more to it than that,” Melondi asked softly. “This means a great deal to me, so really… anything at all, please just name it.”
“Anything?” Kzintshki set aside the pippiya and picked up her asiak, grooming it modestly. “There is, perhaps, one thing.”
“Name it,” Melondi said. Desi knew the tone... It was her friend sitting there, but Khelira was doing the talking.
“Very well. Immunity from prosecution. From now until the end of Shel.” Kzintshki canted her head, as if issuing a challenge. “You are all nobles… I may be one now, but I am not Shil’vati. If you are caught, it is one thing. If I am caught… as improbable as that may be…”
“Done.” Melondi nodded sharply and raised her voice, “You have my word, as… what I am… before witnesses, and probably being recorded… Immunity from prosecution. A full Imperial pardon for until the end of this Shel.”
“Well, Deeps!” Dihsala breathed. “As long as you’re offering…?”
“Count me in for that!” Pris nodded. “My mother was a magistrate. If I get expelled, she’ll kill me and they’ll never find the body!”
“Alright, fine!” Khelira, Princess of the Shil’vati Imperium had spoken… but Desi saw her friend Melondi… At least until she had to stifle a yawn.
“So, movie night tonight?” Melondi offered. “We still need to pick a film for next week’s class.”
“Oh! Great Waldo’s Peeper has a cute guy named Redford in it,” Kas’lin piped up with a grin. “He’s sexy!”
“The one from Star Wars?” Let’zi cocked her head and perked up. “I like him!”
“That’s Harrison Ford. This one is Redford… though his hair isn’t red…”
Desi looked around the table at her friends as they started to talk about movies. There was no telling what the Shel would bring, but all the same? Life went on…
At least for one more day.
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2023.06.09 06:37 Corvys New ideas or flavours for a freezable sauce to put over beans or rice
I recently hit upon an idea that has worked very well and that I am looking to expand on. I cooked up the basic curry sauce/gravy that I'd use for chana masala (chickpea curry). Then I froze it in serving sized portions. Now, when I am in a rush for a meal, I can just defrost and pour it over precooked chickpeas that I've toasted in a pan for a few minutes.
I'd like to find other sources that I can prep in advance, freeze, and then defrost and pour over beans or rice or chickpeas. It's quick, easy and relatively cheap (at least cooking it is in South Korea, where I live).
The two challenges are:
- I live in South Korea. I can find a lot of non-Korean ingredients (with a bit of searching) but I can't really find ready-made products, or search by brand names. I am happy to cook things from scratch - but I'd need to know what they are from ingredients. For example, "get a jar of Big Joe's Salsa" isn't really going to work, but if someone has a simple recipe for salsa I'm happy to try make it.
- Meat is pretty pricey here, especially beef. I can definitely afford small quantities of pork, and chicken is reasonably priced. But ground beef is crazy expensive. I am very happy to eat vegetarian though, so any vegetarian recipes are welcome.
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2023.06.09 01:52 lilyrane Favorite "Throw Together" Meals?
I'm starting a new job soon, and will have less time to cook. I adore the convenience of Trader Joe's items, but sometimes struggle to think of new quick + easy product combinations/recipes. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know! Greatly appreciated :)
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2023.06.08 21:57 Khenal Dungeon Life 125
The goblin hums to herself as she carefully measures out doses of potions into bottles, Lucas dutifully following after to properly cork them. He likes to put a thin webbing over them as well, enough to ensure the corks stay put, yet not thick enough to interfere when someone actually needs to quickly drink one. This batch is healing potions, but the two will be working on aqua affinity potions next.
She might brew a few of Thedeim’s water breathing potions in the next few days, too. Something about them draws her class to it. She has a hunch Master Staiven is wrong about what they do, but she has no idea what else it could be. The idea of experimenting to find out tempts her to hurry, but she stomps that impulse down. Fast work with potions is sloppy work, and sloppy work with potions is dangerous work. Besides, if she’s been taking stock properly, she’s pretty sure there are a couple of those potions left unsold, yet not on the shelves. Her master might be ahead of her in wanting to experiment. She might get to help design one!
That hope leads to a stronger urge to speed up, and a harder one to ignore, but she manages. She’s been having to learn patience with her studies after Thedeim vassalized Hullbreak. With the dungeon now open to delvers, the demand for water potions has skyrocketed! Once the first wave started bringing back kelps and other ingredients, Master Staiven was more than happy to blow the dust off the old aqua affinity recipe and teach it to her.
It’s easily the most complex potion in her repertoire now. It’s mostly water and life essences, expressed through a transmutation formulation. The gills and fins it gives are weird, but not uncomfortable. She and Master Staiven had tested the first batch out just past the docks to ensure they had it right. While the water is murkier than she would have preferred, there were no other problems. She’s even been toying with the formula to see if she can fix the murkiness issue. She can feel another essence will be needed, but she’s not sure what. Her first instinct was light, but that doesn’t feel quite right.
Maybe she can try to talk with the First Mate? All accounts of the Voice of Hullbreak say she’s intimidating, but reasonable. Old sailors say sharks are supposed to have incredible senses, but whenever she tries to ask one in the shop about it, they start on a wild fish tale and never reach the point before they need to pay and leave.
She’s starting to suspect that’s the point, and that most of the sailors don’t actually know if sharks have good senses. It might be better to get it from the shark’s own mouth. The more she thinks on it, pouring doses into bottles, the more she likes the idea. Another delve would be great!
“Lucas, do I have any spell spore in my personal stocks?” she asks her spider familiar. He was always better at keeping track of hard numbers than she is, and she pouts slightly when he shakes a negative.
“We’ll need to delve Thedeim again, if we’re going to try to delve Hullbreak. Master Staiven would probably let me borrow some, but a proper adventuring alchemist keeps herself and her party stocked with potions from her own gathering. Or pays for the ingredients, like Master Staiven does.”
Lucas chitters approvingly at that, and Rhonda can tell he’s looking forward to some adventuring, too. She’s pretty sure he’s somehow picked up meta affinity. She doesn’t know how else he can use the odd bits and pieces he’s gathered to help her spellcraft. She’s also not certain where he’s gotten them all. She has no idea what creature could have created the small chip of bone that has earth affinity in it. If it was a whole piece, she might be able to puzzle it out, but a small piece could have come from anything!
She finishes pouring the potions and scrubs the cauldron, before heading up to the shop floor to check if her master needs anything. His grumpy look doesn’t look like an act like it usually does.
“Is something wrong?” she asks, concerned, and his look softens slightly before he sighs.
“No aqua affinity potions today. The delvers I sent to gather bubblekelp came back with bubbleweed instead! Sure, I can use it in something else, but not the affinity potion,” he grouses from the stool behind the counter.
His sour mood pauses as he sees the considering look in his apprentice’s eyes. That look means mischief, or some other version of plotting. He’s always equally proud and concerned when his apprentice gets that look.
“What if we get it? Me, Freddie, and Larrez? We’d need to delve Thedeim for some spellspore, but then I can make his version of the water breathing potion, and we can go gather stuff in Hullbreak,” she suggests.
Staiven weighs that plan for a few seconds, looking for holes to poke in it. He has kept her brewing a lot recently. Stretching her legs would be good, especially with winter here. It’s easy to forget Thedeim has plenty of space below ground to delve, not just the house and yard.
He nods. “Gather enough for warming potions, too. The trip to and from Hullbreak will be cold.” With that, he offers her the quest to gather the bubblekelp. “You can prepare with Thedeim today, and get an early start on Hullbreak tomorrow. Go have fun,” he says with a smile and shoos her up the stairs to gather her gear, and waves her farewell as she leaves with all her kit.
Getting Freddie is as easy as going to the church and asking. She finds him in prayer and quietly waits. He cracks open an eye and gives her half a smile before continuing, and soon finishes up. It only takes a few minutes to explain, and only a few minutes more for him and Fiona to prepare.
The hard part comes when both realize they don’t actually know how to get in contact with Larrez. They know he was a caravan guard, so he’s probably guarding something, but they don’t actually know where he works.
Well, besides at the guild. With no other leads, the intrepid youngsters and their spiders head there. Inside, the first floor is more full than usual, the various adventurers taking a bit more time between quests and delves to warm up and unwind. A few groups notice them and nod in greeting, but most are too busy with what they’re doing to even notice.
One major exception is Karn the Slight. The guild leader smiles at the small group and waves them to the bar. “Well! If it isn't two of my newest members! How’re you kids doing?” His eyes shine with mirth as they drift to the spiders. “You two keeping them from getting into too much trouble?”
The spiders chitter in affirmation and the two youths smile at the friendly orc. “We’re doing well,” answers Freddie. “We’re actually looking to do some delving. Old Staiven gave Rhonda a quest to get some bubblekelp from Hullbreak.”
Karn nods at that. “Sounds like a good way to expand your horizons, get a feel for a dungeon besides just Thedeim.”
“Yeah, but we don’t know how to let Larrez know. If we’re a party, we should delve together,” points out Rhonda.
Karn leans back and folds his arms, his gaze drifting over the tavern as he considers the problem. His drifting gaze freezes for a moment, before he nods to himself and leans forward again. “I don’t know his contact info off the top of my head. Let me check his paperwork to see what options we have. I’ll be back in a sec.”
They let him go to his office without any fuss, and take the chance to look around the first floor a bit more as they wait.
He probably should have expected a wrinkle like this in Rezlar’s plan to keep his identity secret. While he doesn’t doubt the young lord has plenty of people to handle most of the work of being the mayor, it’s not like the kid can just hang out in the guild hall all day. He was trying to think of some way to deflect, when he noticed Miller standing outside a window.
Their eyes met and the definitely-just-a-butler pointed upward, then vanished. Karn might not have planned for something like this, but it’s looking like Miller had. The orc suppresses a sigh as he heads to his office, and isn’t surprised to see Miller inside, waiting for him.
“So, what’s your solution?” Karn asks as he takes a seat behind his desk.
Miller smiles like he’d prefer to play this out a bit more, but is decent enough to get to the point. Not everyone enjoys the intricacies of a good cover story. “Young Larrez has secured himself a job as a guard to the Young Master’s estate. His party should be able to request his company with the gate guards, though he will not always be available.”
Karn mulls that over for a few seconds and nods. “That’ll do it, yeah. I’ll let them know where they can gather up their friend.”
Miller’s professional smile relaxes just a hair at that. Karn is perceptive enough to notice, and smart enough to pretend he doesn’t. There’s not a lot he knows for sure about Miller’s motivations, but one thing has been pretty consistent. It might be yet another cover, a part of the act, but Karn’s gut tells him it’s genuine. The ‘butler’ cares deeply for his charge, and about more than just his safety.
It’s pretty plain Rezlar sees Miller as a father figure, possibly more than his actual father. Seeing that smile makes Karn think Miller sees the young noble as a son, too.
Cover art Want moar? Discord is a thing! I now have a Patreon for monthly donations, and I have a Ko-fi for one-off donations. Patreons can read up to three chapters ahead, and also get a few other special perks as well. Thank you again to everyone who is reading!
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2023.06.08 21:41 Fairchild972 A Brooklyn's Tale Chapter 18
Here's a link to either AO3
if you wanted to read it over there.
The ornate trimmings that lined the roof of the Iris dorms came into view as the two Battleships slowly made their way up the long path from the docks.
Long shadows stretched from the old worn out street lamps merging quickly with the surrounding darkness before disappearing completely as the lights flickered to life.
Lost in a daze, a ponytail danced in Massachusetts's eyes. Its ash-blonde sheen dimly glowed, glinting off the light of the old street lamps.
Somewhere in her heart she had hoped this slope would continue on forever, that the warmth around her hand would never disappear, but stopping in front of the marbled steps of the Iris dormitory, that warmth finally retreated.
"Why're you still following me around?" Jean spoke, looking down at Massachusetts from the corner of her eye as she made her way up the steps.
The Eagle Union Battleship hadn't moved from where they parted, staring down at the ground by her feet. Part of her grew anxious, waiting with false hope that she would be invited in.
"I-!" Her voice came out louder than she had intended.
"You've had a long voyage…" Jean interrupted, her words strangely soft, "go get some rest."
"...and besides…" the former Flagship continued, scratching at the back of her head, "I've caused enough trouble for my roommate already…"
"Okay then…" Massachusetts giggled, "goodnight!"
"Hmph!" Jean turned away with a huff, "good-", she went to say back, but peaking back around, the silver haired Battleship had already run off.
"-night… I swear," Jean disparaged,scratching at the back of her head, but unbeknownst to herself, the little smile on her face betrayed any sort of foul mood.
Stepping back into her shared room, Jean looked around for any sign of her Cruiser friend. The darkness that greeted her wasn't unusual as Le Malin was usually lying about asleep most of the time anyway, either on the couch or in her room, but a quick glance only revealed an empty sofa. Peeking her head into her companion's room she found it empty, just as it was earlier today.
"I'm back…" the door to the suite swung open.
The little Cruiser hobbled into the room looking more listless than normal. Richelieu did mention she was out doing something important, but whatever it was, it looked like it took a lot out of her.
"Le Malin! Where have you-" Jean quickly held her tongue as a look of fear crossed her companion's face, "n-nevermind… forget it."
"O-okay…" Le Malin released the breath she was holding, fully expecting a dressing down of some sort. She had been hiding out all day so a level of guilt did hang over her, but it was Lady Richelieu that suggested it to begin with. Plopping herself onto the sofa, Le Malin melted into its cushion as the fatigue of consuming a few pounds of brownies slowly washed away.
"Uwaahhh~" a sudden kneading at her shoulders elicited a sudden moan. These hands felt so good~, "yeah… r-right there~"
The Cruiser's relaxation was cut short as she stretched her neck upward, her eyes meeting those of her former Flagship's staring down at her from behind the couch.
"Relax!", Jean commanded feeling the Cruiser's shoulders tense.
'Relax!? How can I relax?!', La Malin screamed in her head, 'why is she acting like this?! First she was super pissed, now she's being super nice! What's going on?!"
Her heart and her body were in conflict, on one hand Jean's hands were absolute magic, never has a massage ever felt this good. But on the other, this was still incredibly weird. For as long as she's served under her former leader, this level of skinship was unheard of.
"What?" Jean scoffed, still feeling a level of resistance in the little Cruiser's shoulders, "you don't appreciate this?"
"N-no!" Le Malin let out quickly, "I- I mean I do! Its- It's just that this is…kinda…" the Cruiser scrambled to come up with a word, "new… for you."
The little Cruiser chuckled nervously as a silence filled the room. The kneading at her shoulders became heavier. Jean's once delicate touch now much rougher.
"Ow ow ow!" Le Malin cried, "sorry sorry!"
It was only for a brief moment, but she could've sworn she saw a smile on her former leader's face as she squirmed underneath the Battleship's strong hands.
"You don't have to come with me," Brooklyn said beside herself, continuing her pace down the hall.
"I-I know, but…" Val gulped down her anxiety, "It's your fault you know!"
"You just had to blurt out I was your advisor!" Val said in a harsh whisper, "now I have to keep up appearances with your sisters."
"W-well…" Brooklyn turned away with a look of guilt, "look, it's only for a few days, once my other sisters get here I'll tell them straight up, that…"
"That-" Val parroted after Brooklyn's pause.
"That, we are…"
"Thatwereengaged," Brooklyn rushed in a hushed voice looking around to make sure no one heard her.
"I still don't get why we have to be so hush-hush about it," Val said with a frown, "are you embarrassed about me or something?"
"W-what?! No!" Brooklyn denied vehemently.
With her head down, the blonde Cruiser says back in a quiet tone, "I just don't want my sisters finding out through hearsay."
"Fine~" Val let out an exasperated sigh before changing the subject to their task at hand, "so anyway… What should I be doing right now? How can I be more… advisor…y?"
"Don't talk like that for one," Brooklyn listed off, "y'know what? Don't even talk, just stand there and nod."
"Am I that unconvincing?" Val says, straightening up her clothes in vain attempt to look presentable.
"On second thought," Brooklyn pinched at the bridge of her nose, "I shouldn't have brought you here, these two are…"
"Remember what Biloxi said back in Panama?" Brooklyn tries to jog Val's memory, "you have to be cautious around these two, they can be a bit… touchy"
The door to the main office swung open in front of them suddenly.
"Ah! Frau Brooklyn!"
Val stood in shock with her jaw hanging open, unable to turn her eyes away from the bombshell of a woman standing by the office threshold. The smile the woman wore was almost reminiscent of St. Louis' but there was something more behind it, Val thought, like some kind of unquenchable hunger.
"Prinz Eugen," swiftly recovering from her initial shock, Brooklyn greeted back with a curt nod.
"It has been far too long," the Iron Blood Heavy Cruiser stepped past Brooklyn's extended hand before wrapping her arms around the Light Cruiser suddenly.
Val blushed as the silver haired beauty, pressed up against her fiance, her hands roaming a but too close to her posterior.
Before Val could voice some sort of protest, Brooklyn had already pushed Eugen off, keeping the Heavy Cruiser at bay with a firm hand in her face.
"Always playing so hard to get~" Eugen pouted, muffled by Brooklyn's palm.
"And your skinship is as irrepressible as ever…"
Eugen let out an accepting chuckle, finally relenting her attempts at a hug.
"Brooklyn!" Another voice from inside the office greeted, "it's always a pleasure to have you!"
"Wales," Brooklyn dipped her head once again.
"You truly are a sight for sore eyes," Wales takes the Cruiser's hand into her own, before placing her lips upon it. The glint on Brooklyn's finger not entirely lost on the Battleship. ahem
Val audibly cleared her throat.
"Oh dear~,this one appears displeased with us," Eugen held her cheek with a playful smirk, "so~ who is this tasty little morsel?"
"Valentina," Val answered with a stern voice, but even she herself couldn't tell what kind of face she was making as Eugen politely shook her hand, "Valentina Hermosa."
"Ah! So you are miss Val-" Wales went to take her hand as well but Brooklyn quickly brought her lips close to the Battleship's ear.
"If you lay a single inappropriate finger on her," Brooklyn whispers, "I'll be sure to let Hood know the goings on in this office of yours…"
A shiver shot up the royal's spine heeding the Cruiser's words. Everything finally clicked into place as she shakily took Val's hand into her own, feeling the same cold metal band around the girl's finger.
"I-it's a pleasure to make your acquaintance." An abnormally stiff Wales greeted, hoping that was enough to appease the Eagle Union Diplomat.
Blocking out the sun with her palm, Massachusetts continued to look up. Not at the sky above but at her hand itself. She missed the warmth that had gripped it so tightly last night.
Closing her eyes, she could still see the slender shoulders of the Vichy privateer walking out ahead. To think such a small frame held such a vast amount of power and ferocity. With her thoughts turning back to their brief but intense fight back during war, Massachusetts couldn't help but shudder at the memory of Jean's blood soaked visage, her wavering posture as she struggled to even stand, but even being on the verge of sinking, the almost savage smile that she wore stuck out most to her.
"Oof!" A familiar voice let out as it bounced backwards on the floor.
Lost in her mind, Massachusetts barely felt the impact at her chest, but looking down she found Helena rubbing at her butt after her fall.
"S-sorry!" the girl cried, "I-I wasn't looking where I was going!"
"No. It's my fault too," the Battleship helped the Cruiser off the floor.
"Thanks," the youngest Brooklyn blushed with embarrassment as she dusted herself off, "I was trying to get a list together in my head…"
"Yeah," Helena nodded, "I was headed to Akashi's to pick up some ingredients for Brooklyn's party."
"I can help you out if you need a hand." Massachusetts offered, seeing as how she had nothing better to do today. The Battleship couldn't help but smile to herself as she watched Helena rock her head side to side, contemplating if she should accept her offer or not.
"It'd be no big deal really," Massachusetts reassured.
"It is gonna be a lot of stuff…" Helena mulled to herself, "sure! If you don't mind."
It had been a long while since Massachusetts had been alone with the youngest Brooklyn but watching her from behind as she led the way, there was an air of confidence that wasn't there in the past. Like each step she took was infused with a level of certainty not unlike her eldest sister.
The bell over Akashi's door rang in Massachusetts's ears yet again as she followed the older Cruiser inside. She stood by the entrance watching Helena list off a bunch items at a nodding Akashi. Whatever the girl was planning seemed fairly extravagant just with the sheer amount of things she requisitioned. Massachusetts guessed it made sense, seeing as how this was the first time Helena will be seeing all her sisters in one place after a so long, she couldn't blame her for being a little excited.
"Massachusetts!" Helena called, "did you want anything while we're here?"
"Me?" The Battleship was caught off guard by the offer, "n-no its alright…"
"Aww~" the girl pouted, "I still wanna pay you back since you're helping me out'n all and we haven't seen each other in a while."
"Really I'm good so dont sweat it," Massachusetts smiled back. It wasn't a surprise to see this girl was still so concerned with ever body else and their wellbeing, it was nice to see somethings about her haven't changed.
"As the older one it's only right that I do something for you," Helena puffed out her chest in an attempt to look more authoritative to the much taller Battleship, "I'm going to be baking once I get these ingredients back, so why don't you join me in the mess hall later? I-if you aren't busy."
Helena's home made snacks? How long has it been she's had any? The thought echoed loudly in Massachusetts's head as an eager look crossed her face, "sure!"
After waiting for several minutes for Akashi and her Meowficers to return from the depths of the store, they came back carrying stacks of bags, one on top of the other.
"Sorry for the last minute request!" Helena bowed after seeing the mountain of supplies.
"Its no problem nyah! Anything for one of my best customers!" Akashi reassured.
Attempting to take the stacks of stuff into her arms, Helena starts to teeter along with the goods.
"Woah there," Massachusetts caught the Cruiser by her back, stabilizing her before taking several of the bags into her arms. "I'm here to help, remember."
"He he," Helena chuckled sticking her tongue out like she forgot.
She's still a klutz…
"Don't be a stranger now~" Prinz Eugen sang into Brooklyn's ear, her goodbye hug seemed like it wouldn't end until Wales had pulled her off.
"Yes, my door will always be open to you," the royal bowed, nervous to make any sort of physical contact with her two guests, "and since you two are here on holiday, please relax and enjoy all that this base has to offer."
"Of course," Brooklyn smiled back, "I'd like to see where all the budget goes."
With that said Brooklyn and Val disappeared out the office doors leaving just the two prince's inside.
"Even when she's not working she's working," Wales chuckled, allowing herself to breathe now that Brooklyn was gone.
"Something's changed about her," Eugen said next to Wales' ear as she draped her arms over the Battleship's shoulders from behind.
"So you didn't notice it?" Wales brought her own hand up in front of herself, "the ring on their fingers."
"A ring? Oh dear…" The Iron Blood's eyes went wide, "...I fear I have to apologize to little miss Valentina when I get the chance."
"Oh~ So even you're capable of remorse," Wales said with an exaggerated look of shock.
"Hmph," Eugen pushed off the Battleship's back, making her way towards the door, "even I won't be as crass to take something someone has already claimed. Now…" Eugen placed her hand upon the door, staring at it for a bit, "if only someone here wasn't such a coward…"
"C-coward? What do you mean by that?!" Wales shot up from her seat, but her secretary had already left the room.
Brooklyn craned her neck upwards, staring up at the team of Manjuu setting down the giant wooden crate she had delivered from Panama.
"So that's supposed to be a gift for Queen Elizabeth?" Val asked as the shadow of the crate passed over her.
"That's what Wales said, yeah."
"Any idea what it is?"
"Probably a statue of some sort," Brooklyn shrugged, "knowing that little Queen."
"Quite…" the Light Cruiser disparaged the Royal Navy's callous use of funds.
With a thump, the large crate came to rest at the center of the circular path, kicking up some dust in the process.
"So this is what they had you carry?" Massachusetts said from behind the pair.
The Battleship had dozens of bags hanging of each arm as well as stacked above them, making it hard to see her face.
"That's what I was carrying," Brooklyn said back in surprise, "but what in the world is all that?!"
"Just some supplies!" Helena had poked her head around Massachusetts from behind, startling her older sister a bit.
"She was gonna carry them all herself," Massachusetts tried gesturing to the Cruiser behind her.
"I told you to let me carry some at least!" Helena pouted at the Battleship.
Brooklyn froze up for a second, as a memory of the old Helena overlayed itself into her mind. Whether or not there was an old Helena, Helena is still Helena and it wouldn't change the fact that the girl standing in front of her is her little sister.
But she wasn't expecting to run into her sister so suddenly. Of course she wanted to see her but her nerves weren't quite ready. Brooklyn did mean what she said the other day when she first saw Helena again after four long years, that she looked good. Too good for someone who could barely crack a smile at the time. Watching her banter with Massachusetts now, it's as if she hardly had any trouble at all. Helena has grown so much, and she didn't need the help of her older sister at all…
"One step at a time… remember?" A memory of Val's voice echoed in Brooklyn's mind.
If she wanted to be a part of her sister's life as she once was, it would have to begin right now. Missing this opportunity would be something she could come to regret for the rest of her life.
"H-how about this?" Brooklyn grabbed half of the stack from Massachusetts arms before distributing some to Helena and a few to Val, "we can all help carry some."
Helena pouted even further as she stomped her foot at her older sister. "Brooklyn~" she whined behind her stack, "this is supposed to be for you! So you should let us handle this."
"If that's the case," Brooklyn already started walking off, "then that's all the more reason I should be helping out."
"And besides," Brooklyn yells already a distance away, "I get to spend time with my little sister!"
"Geez~" Helena burrows her face in the bags she was carrying, the tips of her ears glowing red.
Val quietly laughed to herself, knowing Brooklyn was probably too embarrassed to say that to Helena directly.
"Brooklyn! Wait!" Helena shot her head back up.
"Uh uh!" Brooklyn refused from a distance, "I'm helping and that's that!"
"No! You're going the wrong way! Helena shouted again, "we're going to the mess hall!"
Massachusetts and Val broke out in a snicker as Brooklyn stopped in her tracks, laughing all the while as the off duty diplomat swiftly about faced, retracing her steps in a hurried fashion.
"So~" Wichita said over the rhythmic clinking of whisks beating against the walls of several bowls, "Cleveland…"
"Hmm-" the Light Cruiser hummed, not looking up from what she was doing, "what's up?"
"Whatcha workin on?" Wichita poked at the blonde's cheek trying to get a reaction out of her, "Helena's got you helpin her again?"
"Helena hasn't got me doing anything," the Light Cruiser said with a huff, "I'm helping out because I want too."
"Okay okay…" Wichita backed off.
"Why are you even here?"
"Everyone's busy doing something and I'm bored."
"Then why don't you put on an apron and help me out?"
"Hahaha!" The Heavy Cruiser's boisterous laughter startled the Manjuu in the kitchen, "y'know me! I prefer eating my food to cooking it!"
"Then just go sit down and watch!" Cleveland said more than a little annoyed.
Wichita held her arms out in front of her to calm the Light Cruiser down as she did what she was told, but sitting around calmly fiddling with cooking utensils could only placate the Heavy Cruiser for so long.
"Pst… Cleveland…" a small smirk formed on Wichita's lips as she just thought of something that was for sure going to get Cleveland to react, "psstt…"
"What?!" The blonde snapped with a harsh whisper, matching the Heavy Cruiser's attempt at trying to be discreet.
Tugging at Cleveland's apron, Wichita's smirk only widened, "say~ why don't we surprise Helena?"
"And do what?"
"And by we, I mean you," the Heavy Cruiser spoke into Cleveland's ear from behind, playing with the hem of her apron, "you could try greeting her in nothing but this apron~ I'm sure that would totally make her day~"
Cleveland's brow furrowed trying to make sense of Wichita's words. Why would she greet her in nothing but an apron? Nothing… but… an apron. Nothing…
"W-w-why would I do that?!" Cleveland's face glowed a bright red finally catching on to Wichita's dirty joke.
"Hahaha! Oh man!" The Heavy Cruiser nearly doubled over in laughter, "the look on your face!"
Cleveland did her best to ignore Wichita's teasing but the bowl of cream she was working at was whisked way past its intended consistency.
"I bet Helena could pull the look off," Wichita wiggled her eyebrows at Cleveland, "she does have that rockin' body~"
No sooner she said that, the sound of a bowl clattering onto the countertop rang throughout the kitchen. Wichita's laughter had transcended past the audible seeing as how Cleveland's entire face lit up all the way to the tips of her ears like a beacon.
"W-w-what are you even saying?!" The Light Cruiser whipped the whisk in her hand at Wichita, flicking batter in her direction.
With an audible splat, the creamy batter dripped down the Heavy Cruiser's face.
"Oh~ you've done it now!" The chocolate covered lids of Wichita's eyes slowly cracked open. Scooping what she could in her hands, the Heavy Cruiser slung it straight back at a still flustered Cleveland.
Before long the Manjuu in the kitchen scrambled out for the sake of their own safety.
The mess hall should have stayed the same as Helena left it, quiet and calm. With the busy chatter and commotion that came during lunch still a few hours away. But the panicked Manjuu huddling near the entrance to the kitchen and the loud clattering coming from within betrayed any sense of tranquility.
"What's going on?" Val had asked Helena who had been beside her the whole time, but when she turned her head, a gust of wind had blown in her eyes and the Light Cruiser was gone.
Val's eyes darted around, spotting Helena already by the kitchen's entrance. There was a good seven ~ eight meters from where they first entered and she couldn't recall Helena even moving in the first place.
"Ya can't hit me throwing like that!" A familiar voice can be heard yelling inside.
"Wichita…" Brooklyn shook her head, watching helplessly as Helena slammed the kitchen doors wide open.
The two sole occupants inside turned towards the door in shock. The heavy overwhelming pressure radiating from the kitchen's entrance freezing them in place.
"Y-yo~ H-Helena!" The hand full of chocolate batter had dripped off Wichita's fingers. The audible splat it made filled the silence that fell over the mess hall.
"I-I was just h-helpin out… y'know…" The color from Wichita's face had drained, stuttering her words as she forgot how to breathe.
"T-take it easy n-now…" the redhead tried to back away as Helena slowly approached, but her feet wouldn't budge.
"I-I'll help you guys clean up!" The Heavy Cruiser's voice sounded almost desperate as Helena closed the distance.
"W-wait! T-think about this!"
That was the last everyone heard from Wichita's mouth as a loud thud echoed from the kitchen.
Brooklyn and Massachusetts winced as Helena emerged back out, dragging an unconscious Wichita by her collar out of the kitchen.
"Looks like I have a little cleaning to do before we start," Helena sighed, dragging Wichita to a nearby wall, letting the Heavy Cruiser's body slump to the ground after letting go.
Cleveland counted herself lucky she didn't end up like Wichita. For a second there, she thought, that she too was done for. Closing her eyes bracing for a knockout, all she got was a towel to the face as Helena tried to clean the mess that she found herself coated in.
"Geez~" Helena frowned at the blonde, "it's my fault for leaving you guys alone."
"N-no!" Cleveland let out, "it's my fau-"
"It's fine~" Helena giggled as she wiped a glob of chocolate batter off of the blonde's nose, "Just help me clean up!"
Cleveland's face grew a little red as she watched Helena lick her fingers clean.
"Mhmm~!" Helena beamed, "that's really good!"
"I-I was only following the recipe on the note…"
"Dunkerque really knows her stuff…" Helena rubbed at her chin as she tried to analyze the flavor in her mouth.
"Dunkerque?" Brooklyn asked as she plopped down the supplies on a clean spot on the counter, "I didn't realize she was at the Joint Base."
"No. She's not," Helena shook her head, "Richelieu gave me one of her recipes."
"That's rare…" Brooklyn said to herself, knowing that Battleship wasn't known to just hand out her treasured recipes so easily, "so what's the occasion?"
"It's probably not much of a secret, but…" Helena furrowed her brow deliberating whether or not she should say or not.
"It's fine~ whatever you say won't leave this room," Brooklyn smiled before turning to the other girls in the room for confirmation, "right girls?"
Val and Massachusetts both nod.
"They're for someone's launchday," Helena, still reluctant to give up all the info.
"Intel is power," Brooklyn held up her finger, "so if you've got some to share…"
"But…" saying it would be like betraying Richelieu's trust.
"Jean Bart…" Massachusetts spoke, coming to a sudden realization.
"H-how'd you know?!" Helena panicked.
"I-" the Battleship blushed, "I just happened to remember… just now…"
"Oh ho~" Brooklyn and Val shot a knowing look towards Massachusetts simultaneously.
"She's that girl you were with last night," Val said, "hand in hand…"
"Oh ho~" Brooklyn said louder in surprise, "you work fast."
"I-I was just walking her back to the dorms…" the normally aloof Battleship fidgeted in place staring a hole in the ground by her feet.
"I didn't know you guys were friends?" Helena asked, "but that's great! You could help us bake some Pain au Chocolat for her if you want."
"Y-yes!" Massachusetts agreed a little more enthusiastically than intended.
"I could help out too if you don't mind," Val raised her hand, "if you don't mind an extra hand in the kitchen."
"Sure! I didn't really want to bother anyone else but we do have a lot to prep for."
"Val is one of the best cooks I know~" Brooklyn vouched.
"Is that right?!" Helena enthused, happy to meet someone else who knows their way around the kitchen.
"Well~" Val chuckled, not used to the attention she was receiving, "I'm definitely better than your sister here."
"That's not saying much…" Massachusetts laughed.
Cleveland couldn't bring herself to join in on the conversation seeing as how she was largely responsible for the mess they currently cleaning. And now that they had to start from scratch that feeling just compounded itself.
"Hey Helena," Brooklyn called, "where do you keep the extra aprons?"
Aprons, Cleveland blushed, cursing Wichita for putting weird thoughts in her head. The younger Cruiser's cheeks darkened even further not even realizing she was staring at Helena as she carefully hung her apron around her neck. Watching intently as she deftly tied the knot behind her back, before pulling her long and beautiful hair out from underneath. The air in Cleveland's lungs grew thin, watching in slow motion as Helena's hair fell back down, like some kind of swan decending upon a lake, framing her body like an exquisite portrait.
Cleveland wasn't blind, she was always aware just how beautiful her best friend is but she always tried to push it into the back of her mind. An act she was almost always successful at, but Wichita's recent words did wonders to destroy that. The Brooklyn sister's uniforms were quite the sight to behold and Helena's was no exception. Cleveland thought she was used to it by now, given how often the two were together, but she was finding it difficult to pull her eyes away from her best friend's figure.
"Clevie?" Helena said a little worried, "what's wrong? Your face is all red."
"N-nothings wrong!" The shorter blonde let out a nervous laugh, "Just Wichita putting weird thoughts in my head!"
"Great… what'd she say this time?" Helena said, all too familiar with the Heavy Cruiser's antics.
Cleveland would sooner scuttle herself than reveal the whole truth of what Wichita said, "It's… just forget I said anything…"
"Alright…" Helena pouted, a little disappointed Cleveland wouldn't tell her.
With the clean up done, the girls were finally able to start their prep work. With each of them in their own little station responsible for each step of the process.
Val stared at the little note Helena had shown her committing the directions listed to memory. It was a shame she couldn't tell anyone else about this apparent super secret recipe but she figured it wouldn't be a problem if she used it for herself every now and again.
Helena and Val moved about the kitchen like some kind of synchronized, well oiled machine, stunning the rest of the girls as they struggled to keep up the pace.
Brooklyn was always fascinated with the way her sister and fiance worked, but seeing them both at it together all at once was something else.
Cleveland at the best of times could barely keep up with Helena when she was in the zone, but now, with Val involved, there was absolutely no hope.
Massachusetts was off in her own little corner making almost as much of a mess as Wichita did, whisking her bowl with a little too much force.
The team of Manjuu worked like an assembly line, rolling the dough that would become the pastries base.
"Hey Helena," Val called to her newly found cooking partner, "you think you could give Brook a hand? She looks a little confused as to what to do next."
"Brooklyn?" Helena turned to her sister who had just begun pouring the molten chocolate into each mold.
"W-what? I'm good," Brooklyn answered back, slightly confused as to what Val was doing," I don't ne-"
"-Here like this," Helena cut in, guiding her sister's hand as she helped to evenly pour the chocolate.
Val smiled to herself, knowing her fiance didn't really need help, and if she did she herself could step in lend a hand, but if she could engineer a way to get Brooklyn to spend some quality time with her sister she would take any opportunity she saw.
Denver and Colombia could barely contain a snicker as a red faced Wichita sat down on the floor with her arms and legs crossed, still coated in a fine layer of chocolate, doing her best to ignore the two Light Cruisers.
"For a second, we thought you just came from the Iron Blood dorms, pfftt" Colombia broke out into laughter.
"Oh, its only chocolate…" Denver said in relief as she swiped some from the Heavy Cruiser's face.
"What the hell did you think it was?!" Wichita lost her temper as the two ran for cover inside the kitchen.
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2023.06.08 21:28 Oradainer Celestial Empire - Chapter 3
Victor sat at his kitchen table and stared at the tablet in his hand as he blew on his morning coffee. It had been a busy week, setting up areas for construction with enough room for the nano-forge, then using it to build auto-factories to build more mining drones and more forge spiders to gather more resources and clear out more areas.
Thus far he had Ingot Storage 1 complete and the forge spiders pathed to bring back and sort them. Then Hydroponics 1 was complete, the auto-farmers were programmed and with any luck in about six weeks he’d have wheat, oats, barley, corn, beans, rice, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, okra, mushrooms, squash, and many more fruits and vegetables.
Today he was working on Meat Lab 1. Set up was pretty straight forward, the equipment and power were in place, and the specimens were brought from dimensional storage to the grow labs, it was just the pathing necessary to cultivate, harvest and can the meats. His budget was limited here, he had chicken, beef, and pork cultures, and that was it.
Who would have thought his life savings, his parents life savings, and the sale of his ancestral home still couldn’t get him everything he wanted to start a new life on a colony world? He tapped his tablet a few more times before he was satisfied with the pathing, he pretty much copied it over from Hydro 1, they both canned the food in the end anyways.
He then checked on his mining drones, they were busy little beavers, and had found a remarkable amount of usable materials. More than even the satellite estimated for this location, he sent a few of them two days ago to cut a shaft down to the petroleum reserves, it appears that they had indeed succeeded in locating it.
He brought up the auto-factories that he had built from the nano-forge, numbers three and seven were idle, so he started constructing hauler drones to pump the raw petroleum into their internal tanks and then bring them up to Storage 1, where they can unload into new tanks. This will solve my plastics issue… I hope.
Yup, everything was going smoothly. Even if he never made it back to the empire, at least here he could have a little piece of it, with all the modern conveniences he was used to. “Screw living in places like Wuzhen. They didn’t even have indoor plumbing!” He muttered as his attention was brought to a notification on his tablet. INTRUDER ALERT. ____________ Pan ran as though her life depended on it. Well, actually it did, for the instinctive Ox-Kin that were chasing her would kill and eat her if she were caught. Being Rabbit-Kin her small and agile frame allowed her speed and maneuverability, but the Ox-Kin instinctuals didn’t have to run around trees, they could just push them aside!
Her wagon and all her goods were lost, she was dirty and scared. There was a clearing up ahead and her heart dropped, nowhere to hide, and the stream would slow her down, she was trapped now! She frantically looked from left to right as she continued to run, looking for some way out as the Ox-Kin roared behind her tearing up the ground as their razor sharp hoofs slammed into the ground.
She heard a sound as if there were thunderstorm raging, but it did not end, it simply got louder. She looked up in time to see a black figure on wings of fire plunge towards the ground. She didn’t stop, if it would distract the instinctuals then she would use it to her advantage and hopefully escape this terrible fate.
Suddenly she heard a sound as if someone were rubbing the rim of a meditation bowl, only hundreds of times louder, then screams of pain, several thuds, and then silence. She turned her head to see the black figure stand upright and to her astonishment, all the Ox-Kin were down.
No, not down, dead. Cut in half, obviously in mid gallop for the halves of their bodies were separated by meters. She slowed to take in the strange figure, its helmet magically disappeared behind him, showing a foreign face with short cropped black hair and eyes she had only seen on portraits of the Eternal Empress. _____________ “It’s ok, they’re all dead now. Waste of good beef if you ask me, but it’s a little too close to cannibalism for me. Had enough corpo-starch in the guard to last me a lifetime.” He said as she stopped to take a breath. He slowly started walking over to her.
Pan backed up, rather involuntarily, as this man had just slaughtered half a dozen instinctual Ox-Kin in the blink of an eye.
“Whoa, calm down, not gonna hurt you. Just want to ask you a few questions, I’m Victor by the way, what’s your name?” He asked, hands out to show he meant no harm.
Pan finally caught enough wind to take her hands off her thighs and straighten up, one of her bunny ears fell across her face, a sign of how exhausted she truly was. “I’m… Pan… Sorry, still trying to catch my breath.”
The strange man cocked his head to the side and she noticed it wasn’t just a helm he had been wearing, At first she thought he was wearing all black clothing, but it was actually armor, very intricate armor. “Are you a cultivator? I’ve never seen a male cultivator before.”
Victor chuckled, “I’ve been getting that a lot lately. The answer is… complicated. Now, about those questions. Shall we walk back to your home while I ask?”
Pan shook her head, “The only home I had was my wagon. I was a trader who bought and sold goods. The instinctuals destroyed it while I was gathering water. I heard my Ox bellow and when I came up from the stream it was being eaten, the wagon destroyed, my wares nothing more than shredded trash.” She looked down and started to cry as the realization that she had just lost everything took hold.
Victor put on his officers face, oh boy. Here come the water works. “Shh, calm down, it’s only a wagon. It’s a thing, and things can be replaced.”
She looked up to him and lowered her hands, “Perhaps to a powerful cultivator, but I am but a lowly peasant girl. I will have to sell my self on the streets to eat now!” She buried her face back into her hands and wailed.
“Oh for Emperors sakes!” Victor thought as he scooped the small woman up in his arms. This prompted a sharp “Eeek!” From her as he activated his jump jets. _____________ Pan was terrified. Rabbit-Kin were not made for flying. The strange cultivator had scooped her up in his arms as though she were a small child and launched them into the air. She tried to scream, but the air screeching by her face seemed to carry the noise away. Though she doubted anyone could have heard over fire erupting from his wings.
Suddenly they landed and she was set down. She looked around and saw they were on a ledge, far up the mountain where the Ox-Kin had chased her. The ledge had a metal rail all the way around it but she saw no way to reach it other than flight.
The strange man must have brought his helmet back up before they launched into the air, because he had it up now. He turned to the mountain and it split open before him! After retracting his helm he simply said, “Follow me, since you don’t have a home, I’ll bring you to mine.”
She followed him into the mountain, expecting it to be dark and cold, but to her surprise it was warm and light shown down from the ceiling as if it were daylight! The walls were smooth stone, and after a few meters in the mountain closed behind them, only it seemed to do it twice, once inside and once outside.
She continued to walk until they came to a strange door with a wheel in the center. The cultivator spun the wheel and opened the metal door. She had never seen so much worked metal in all her days. Even the blacksmith shops lacked the amount, or skill she saw here.
After she entered into a small chamber, Victor closed the door behind them and walked to a strange outcropping on the wall and turned around. The armor up close was neither new nor perfect, she saw dints and dings, and scorch marks in places. Then she jumped back as it split in half and Victor stepped out in nothing more than short pants covering his man-hood.
She blushed and diverted her eyes, but not before noticing the rippling muscles, scar tissue, and little round metal discs at regular intervals all over his body. He covered himself with a very plush white robe and slippers before opening another door that was identical to the first. “Should I wear slippers as well, Master Cultivator?”
Victor looked back, “That won’t be necessary, the cleaning drones will handle any mess we cause.” Pan pondered on what a drone was. A servant perhaps? Was that why he brought me here, to be one of his servants? Or was it something else? Oh no, she mentioned having to sell herself, did he expect her to be one of his mistresses? She wouldn’t be opposed, for he was a handsome man, but what kin was he?
She almost missed what was said next. “This is my humble abode, you’re welcome to stay here for a time while I get my bearings on this land.” Victor said as he walked over to the table and picked up a piece of see-through glass. Magical runes and pictures flared into existence as he tapped at it before setting it back down.
Pan could barely speak. This place was what she would expect in the Imperial palace. There was no kang, or open fire, but it was the perfect temperature and humidity. She saw a large couch, tables, chairs, cabinets of wood, a countertop with a strange steel bowl and what looked as if it were a well pump above it.
The back wall had multiple doors, the two that were open showed one to be a bed room, with a huge bed, the other was tiled with a white chair, it almost looked like a throne? How strange she thought as she peered into the room to see a chamber of fogged glass also inside the room.
Victor noticed her curiosity, “That is the bathroom. Come here, I’ll show you.”
Pan followed Victor into the bathroom as he demonstrated the toilet, explaining rather embarrassingly how it worked and how to use it, he then showed her the glass chamber with the odd steel handles.
“This one is hot, and this one is cold, you turn them both on until you get the temperature just right to clean yourself. On the wall there is liquid soap, shampoo, and conditioner, though I keep my hair close, so the conditioner wouldn’t be as necessary as say someone with your long hair.” He explained.
Pan was shocked as the saw the stream of water pouring from the wall. What manner of magic was this? “I have never seen a male cultivator, but it is known they are master craftsmen, can you all create such magical wonders?”
Victor shrugged, “No idea, I’ve never met another, uh, male cultivator.”
Pan considered, “Could I, maybe use this chamber to clean up? This mornings activities have left me a little soiled.”
Victor nodded, “Of course.” He reached into a small cabinet and produced a large piece of fluffy cloth and placed it on another steel rail outside the chamber. Before placing a smaller version of it inside the chamber on a rack. Finally he reached back into the cabinet and produced a robe much like he was wearing and placed it on a hook behind the door.
He then pointed to the small one inside the chamber, “That is a wash cloth to clean yourself with the soap, use the shampoo here on your hair, and then after rinsing it out, rub the conditioner in and let it sit a bit before finally rinsing it out. Then dry yourself off with this towel, and put on the robe I placed on the door.”
Pan nodded, “What will you do with my clothes after I remove them?”
Victor sniffed “Probably burn them.” He thought to himself. “I will provide you with clothes to lounge around the house.” He turned around and closed the door behind him.
Pan used the ‘toilet’ surprised at its efficiency to clean itself with water before turning on the water stream and adjusting the knobs until it was pleasant. She took to cleaning herself with gusto, for she had never had such luxury. Even the tubs at the inns she could sometimes visit were not this nice.
She heard the door open, and through the smoked glass she could see that Victor seemed to be gathering her things from the floor and leaving behind something on the ‘toilet’. After getting herself more clean that she thought she ever had in her entire life she sighed and decided she needed to get out.
After fiddling with the knobs and nearly freezing herself before turning them the proper way she reached out and grabbed the ‘towel’ and found it did an amazing job of drying her. Afterwards she tied the cloth up in her hair, careful not to get her ears and examined the clothes he brought her.
There was an article of clothing like what he wore, the short pants, but smaller, and tighter. She assumed it was for the same purpose and put it on, then she found a soft pair of pants, like men would wear, but of much finer and softer material. Finally, there was a form fitting shirt that she found left little to the imagination, but she had little choice to but to put it on. Finally there were thick, luxurious slippers on the floor and the robe on the back of the door.
She came out of the bathroom to find him at the strange counter, cooking. “A man who cooks for a woman? I know he is a foreigner, but I have never heard of this happening.” She thought as he waved her to the large table.
“I missed breakfast this morning, your little tussle with the Ox-Kin ladies kind of put it on hold, have you eaten?” He asked.
Pan felt the hunger pains when he asked as she shook her head.
He chuckled as he continued his work, “No, I guess you didn’t get a chance to eat this morning either.
How do you like your eggs?”
Pan was confused, “Um, I prefer them cooked?”
Victor looked back before saying, “Scrambled it is then.”
After a few minutes and some toiling around the cupboards he dropped off a huge plate in front of her. “Normally I’d let the auto-cook prepare the food, but since I’m getting everything up and running at the moment it’s missing a lot of ingredients. So, I worked with what I had, scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, and toast.”
She stared down at her plate, it mostly looked familiar, but the white porridge was a bit different. He handed her strange utensils before pushing two strange bottles with seasonings in them with holes punched in the top. She watched as he used the utensils to eat, and attempted to do the same.
The spoon was easy, she had used those for soup, but the tiny pitch fork and knife were difficult. Victor noticed this and stood up, went to a cabinet and pulled out a drawer and brought back metal chop sticks.
Pan stared at them, they were perhaps brass, possibly even gold, her mouth dropped, these utensils would have been worth more than her wagon! Victor looked up from his food, “Is everything ok? Is there something wrong with the chopsticks?”
Pan hurriedly put the chopsticks to work grabbing up the slivers of pork. “No, no. This lowly peasant girl was merely in amazement at the quality of the utensils.”
Victor nodded as he watched her eyes go round with amazement after chewing on the bacon. Before she dug into the eggs and tried the grits, deciding they needed the seasonings, which she found was salt and a form of pepper, she nodded before cleaning her plate.
Victor sat back, his own plate clean, “Now that’s a healthy appetite, I wasn’t sure a girl your size could finish a plate like that.”
Pan flushed, a bit embarrassed, “It was no doubt due to your cooking expertise. But I still don’t know why you brought me here.”
Victor stood and took her plate and utensils and opened a strange metal door under the counter and placed them into a metal chamber before closing it back. “You said you were a traveling merchant, which means you go places and hear things. I’m new here and have questions. Therefore we can help each other.”
He ushered Pan to the plush couch and sat down, she took the time to pull her hair out of the towel and he took it from her and went into the ‘bathroom’ a strange name as there was no bathtub inside it and returned to sit at the opposite side of the couch.
Pan let him sit before asking, “Ok, you have questions, what do you want to know?”
Victor took a moment to gather his thoughts before speaking, “Why do you have rabbit ears? Why do people in the villages have monkey tails or goats eyes? And what the hell is up with these instinctuals that are more animal that people?” _______________ It had been hours and Pan was actually feeling mentally drained. The man before her was not a cultivator. Whatever he was, she doubted many cultivators except the Empress could hope to match him. The more he showed her, the more she was certain his powers were unlimited. She didn’t know whether to bow in awe, or run in terror.
Not from this plane of existence is how he put it. Meaning from the realm of the divinities maybe? She did not know for sure.
“So, this Eternal Empress came along a few thousand years ago, united the lands, built a wall and a government, and now uses her armies and cultivator sects to maintain law and order across her lands?” He asked.
Pan nodded, “Yes, before her we were broken into tribes that warred against one another constantly.”
Victor paced in front of her, “So she is immortal, like me. That’s good and bad, good in that she may have the knowledge to get me home. Bad, that she could see me as a threat and has tons of resources.” He suddenly stopped pacing. “I’m hungry, are you hungry?”
Pan was not going to say no to a free meal, as she literally had nothing to her name now. Not even her clothes. “I could eat master… er Victor.”
He started off to the ‘kitchen’ and opened the top to the large metal door and produced a round item wrapped in flexible glass? Or was it cloth that looked like glass? “Victor is fine, I’m going to make a Pizza, I doubt you’ve ever had one, but trust me, they’re great.”
As he worked they continued the questions, “So cultivators are broken up into sects, each one with its own goals and agendas, but all loyal to the Empress?”
Pan nodded, “Yes, and then the Iron Legions are armored mortals who keep the peace throughout the empire, although none of the towns around here are large enough to boast a garrison.”
The metal and glass hinged door was opened and the round cake like object that was placed on a pan was put into it and the door closed. “Ok, twenty minutes and we eat. So tell me, what kin is the Empress?”
Pan looked confused, “The Empress is the Empress, she has no kin.”
Victor wiped his hands on a small dish towel, “So you are rabbit-kin, I’ve met tiger-kin and boar-kin, and others, but she has no kin?”
Pan made a sudden connection, “No, she is like you. She has no kin.”
Victor dropped the dish towel on the counter, “So she’s human.” ________________ “Curse that damnable Victor Cane!” Mei swore as she and Xiang pushed the wagon to free it from the mud once more as the Ox pulling it simply lacked the strength to free it.
Xiang looked to her sect sister, “My my, Mei.” She chuckled at her own word play. “If I didn’t know better I’d say you were getting fixated on the male.”
Mei stared daggers at her companion, she knew she could feel the killing intent, but as they were both second tier, it did little. “The male was aloof, arrogant, cared nothing for face, and ignored me on the battlefield!”
Xiang grinned even more as she climbed aboard the wagon and took the reins. “Don’t think the rest of your sisters haven’t noticed the way you talk about him, you cover your interest with complaint, but it is a thin sheet.”
Mei reached down to her left hand, “He put his hand on mine in the Inn before he flew away on wings of fire. He was trying to comfort me on the loss of our sisters.”
Xiang turned her head sharply, “You didn’t put that in your report, this is the first any of us have heard of it.”
Mei sighed, “I don’t know what to think of it. Male cultivators are so rare, just seeing one outside of the the sect inner circles is a rarity. Most of us never get to even speak to a male cultivator unless we ascend to a high tier within the sect, making us worthy of being in their presence. I wanted to cherish it.”
Xiang smiled as she looked back to the ox before snapping the reins, “I would cherish it too, this is a hard life, mortal men would break in our embrace, but a cultivator male would not. He was a good looking man for a foreigner too.”
Mei shuddered, “That he is, even if a bit rugged, he is evidently a soldier after all.”
Xiangs mischievous grin was back, “I knew it, you were pining over this Victor!”
Mei’s killing intent was definitely felt by Xiang this time as she laughed uproariously at her friends discomfort.
“Fear not my OLDER sister, for in one passing of the moon we will be in the Celestial City and you can deliver your prize to the Empress. I am sure after this you will get to see your handsome soldier again. That is, if the Empress doesn’t take him as her own.” Xiang sang the last part with glee.
Mei stopped glaring, “You don’t think she would do that do you?” She asked.
Xiang laughed so hard she almost fell off the wagon.
submitted by Oradainer
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.06.08 16:11 jairesjorts Weird shape, but delicious pizza!
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All Trader Joe’s ingredients! submitted by jairesjorts to traderjoes [link] [comments]
Pizza dough prepared on thin bed of corn meal (uncooked polenta) to prevent sticking and adds texture (instead of oil) Sauce is a balsamic glaze mixed with olive oil (extra drizzled on top!) Toppings: sliced mozzarella, prosciutto, mandolin green apple, fresh arugula
Great weeknight dinner! I love trying new pizza stuff, comment your go-to!
2023.06.08 10:03 RareMousse6246 Beach rule
2023.06.08 06:38 Inspector330 Need Advice
I am a 36 year old male that was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. I have been physically active my entire life, cycling and weight training, sports, etc. Very dedicated to exercise over the past 15 years. The last 6 years or so I have been packing on weight, especially around my abdomen. 6 years ago I was at 12% bodyfat and 180 pounds, eating 3500 calories a day. Now I am 28% bodyfat at 225 pounds, eating 1800 calories a day, exercising 6 days per week (80 minutes weight training 3x per week and 30 minutes peloton 3x per week). I attributed this just to getting older.
I visited my doctor early last year, after having a bad reaction to the covid vaccine that led to persistent brain fog and very low energy levels in the months following (I have seen improvement now).
Doctor ran a full panel of testing and discovered:
Prolactin slightly elevated at 20ng/mL (4-15.2 range). All subsequent testing had prolactin within range, past 4 tests.
Testosterone came at 420ng/dL which seems low for my age and considering my weight training history.
TPO at 36 (ref 0-34)
TgAB at 10.2 (ref 0-0.9)
TSH in the past year varied from 2.5 - 3.0 (ref 0.45-4.5)
T4 total ranged from 7.7-10.4 (ref 6.1-12.2)
T3 total ranged from 100-119 (ref 87-178)
Free T4 0.9 (ref 0.61-1.12)
Free T3 3.2 (ref 2.5-3.9)
My cholesterol was at 239 with LDL at 179, but with very low calorie restriction I have gotten that down to 190 total cholesterol and 139 LDL
Lymphocytes have also been very slightly but consistently elevated.
All my other levels are good, including vitamins.
Symptoms I had for a long time: fat gain despite exercise and diet, thinning of eyebrows, especially outer edge, dry lips, dry hands, irritable mood, fluctuating mood - periods of days where I feel good and then times when I feel quite bad.
More recent symptoms: brain fog, inconsistent fatigue, and lower libido. I could be thinking about doing something and I would forget what it was I just wanted to do. Often forgetting keys home, bad moods, going to the closet and forgetting what I wanted - takes me a few seconds to stand there and remember why I am there.
In addition, 4 months ago I began to develop hives - something I never had in my life. 10mg cetirizine kept it at bay taken daily. Now I can take 1 pill every 2 days before the hives come back, but it always comes back if I do not take the pill.
My doctor suggesting I take 50mcg Levo and 10mcg Cytomel. He thinks my issues might improve with this. I am a bit concerned about my hormones being too high and thus having side effects. He thinks Hashimoto's is causing metabolic issues due to my poor ability to lose weight, even when literally weighing every single thing I eat or add to a recipe. Most TDEE calculators put me at 3500 calorie maintenance with my workout routine. I am losing 0.2 pounds per week eating 1800 calories and burning 300-500 calories almost daily from added exercise, at a weight of 225 pounds.
Do you all think this is a good idea and worth a try? Is this something I can immediately stop taking if I do experience issues? I am worried if there will be a down-regulation of natural production when adding exogenous hormones.
My mother and sister are on Levo and have also been diagnosed with Hashimoto's years ago. Their levels were far worse than mine before they began treatment.
submitted by Inspector330
to Hypothyroidism [link] [comments]
2023.06.08 04:55 KitchenStar726 Stamped sugar cookie help
| || | submitted by KitchenStar726 to BakingNoobs [link] [comments]
Please help! I volunteered to make sugar cookies for my nieces birthday this Sunday. She requested Demon Slayer themed cookies so I bought stamps on Amazon and did I test run today. The cookies circled in red turned out ok but the rest puffed up and blew out the stamps image.
This is the recipe I used.
I super creamed the butter and sugar, added milk last, chilled the dough overnight, pre rolled the dough in plastic wrap, baked at 350 for ten mins.
Any ideas on how I can create a lasting image through the baking process?
They are quite thick. Would thinning the dough and pressing deeper with the stamps help? TIA
2023.06.08 04:48 Mission_Emergency_36 I am 32 years old, a full time RN-BSN student, live in Texas, and currently make ~$535 monthly.
Long story short I spent 8 years on the West Coast holding increasingly important positions in the energy industry, but I hated it with every fiber of my being. I started taking nursing prerequisite courses in January of 2020. Family trauma happened. I moved home to Texas to be closer to my family, quit my job (was making ~$130k with bonus), and took the plunge and went to back to school for nursing at 31. I am half way done with an accelerated BSN program and I have a 4.0 GPA. I love it so much despite it being very difficult. I have externship currently and I have an ICU internship lined up for my final semester, which is basically a guaranteed new grad job.
I currently live with my mom and brother. We are remodeling our house so we are in an apartment for a bit. Very tight quarters but thankful to be with them. Boyfriend just successfully made a big career move and is now a superintendent for an important and well respected organization in town making $60k annually with a 8% bonus. Very proud of him and very excited for our future - we are talking about getting engaged in the next year. He is getting an apartment in the next couple months after living at home with his family due to some major family health issues he has been helping out with so you will see some of the apartment search start to happen in this diary!
Currently boyfriend and I split going out expenses pretty much down the line, but with this new job we had a discussion last week about how he will pay for the majority of our going out costs moving forward once he gets his first paycheck this month until I start working full time again in January! Previous money diary from August 2022 here. ASSETS (comparing last money diary to now):
NET WORTH: $373k
| ||August 2022 ||June 2023 ||Difference |
|401k ||$156,400 ||$158,600 ||$2,200 |
|Roth IRA ||$68,000 ||$68,500 ||(500) |
|Saving's account ||$41,001.43 ||$26,572.63 ||($14,428.81) |
|Checking Account ||$3,024.58 ||$915.41 ||($2,109) |
|HSA ||$8,800 ||$7,100 ||($1,700) |
|Brokerage ||$440 ||$444 ||$4 |
|UGMA ||$85,000 ||$84,000 ||($1,000) |
|Pension ||forgot to include ||$27,000 ||N/A |
**I don’t carry any credit card debt / no student loan debt / no equity in any kind of home. I was lucky enough to be in a position where I saved up over $40k cash to pay for living expenses when in school. My UGMA account will be used as part of a down payment for a house in the next couple years. My current BSN degree is being covered through family. Also, trying to figure out what to do with my pension - depending how finances go the next 8 months I am in school / if I have any emergencies (I have 2 senior pets) I could cash part of it out or completely roll it over into an IRA. INCOME Income Progression
: I worked in the energy industry for 8 years; my starting salary was $35,000.
I worked in the Seattle area starting out at $35k in 2014. Moved to a new job in 2016 for $65k and then another new job in 2018 for $85k +12% bonus. Got up to $104k + 20% bonus before I quit. Also worked as a CNA on the weekends for about 6 months for $15 an hour during COVID to make sure I really wanted to go to nursing school. Main Job Monthly Take Home
: It varies but the average so far this year it is $535. I have an incredibly flexible externship at a hospital very close to where I live where my director literally just lets me show up whenever I want to work. I make $17 an hour. I met a couple incredible mentors but I think I am going to quit soon since it just won’t be feasible to work this semester and I already have my ICU internship lined up for September. Trying to be easier on myself and put myself first and I feel very lucky that I don’t need to work. Don’t get me wrong the extra money is SO NICE but I want to concentrate on school, myself, family, partner, and friends. Work on top of an accelerated nursing program is too much. I am actually the only one working in my cohort currently. Any Other Monthly Income Here
: I live with my mom right now and she pays for most of the groceries, utilities, etc. I feel incredibly privileged and lucky that I can live with her and that she is able to support me in this way while I transition careers. I do lots for her to support her such as chores, errands, paying for big Costco runs, etc. My boyfriend also helps out with pet expenses and other things I want / need. MONTHLY EXPENSES
- Rent: $400 to my mom for a very discounted rate at our current apartment. I don’t pay rent when we are at the house. I will not be paying rent when I semi-move in with my boyfriend in the next couple months. Our goal is to get our own luxury apartment next year close to both of our places of employment after a year lease at a cheaper place. Between now and then I’ll split my time with him and my mom.
- Cellphone: $15 (on family plan & I just pay for additional data)
- Spotify: $5.40 (student plan)
- iCloud: $2.99
- Prime: $8.11
- Gym membership: $20
- Regular therapy: $5 a session and I go biweekly
- Health insurance: $122.54 monthly
- Costco: $60 annually
I allocate the following to my biggest expense categories monthly:
WEDNESDAY - DAY 1
- Gas: $120
- Groceries: $300
- Eating out: $400
- Pet expenses: $200
- Other discretionary spending: $400
8:45: I slept 10 hours last night and it was glorious. I worked a 12 hour shift at the hospital yesterday and our patient acuity was very high.
9:30: Make a coffee and walk and feed my pup. I walk over to the pool for a morning swim. I love a quiet morning swim so much.
11:30: I had a nice 500 yd swim, drank a Premier Protein shake & ate overnight oats with blueberries for breakfast, had a relaxing shower, and started some laundry. Feeling anxious about everything I have on my plate currently. Also I feel hungover from work yesterday. I was going to work another 12 hour shift tomorrow but now I don’t know if I can handle it with school also starting on Friday and a very busy social weekend coming up. Luckily, my director literally lets me show up whenever I want so I may do 7 or 8 hours tomorrow instead of a full 12. Try to table my feelings to discuss in therapy this afternoon.
11:40: Sit down to finish some online orientation for my internship that is coming up my final semester.
13:03: Orientation stuff only took about 20 minutes thank god. I ran to the grocery store and grab a 4 pack of watermelon Celsius, frozen veggies, Eggo waffles, tea bags, string cheese, coffee filters, Wheat Thins, and lean ground beef ($37.01)
. Head up to the rooftop lounge at the apartment complex to FaceTime a friend that lives across the country since there is zero privacy in the apartment.
14:15: Get off FaceTime, work on some more laundry, and head out to therapy.
16:15: Good, productive, fun, and validating therapy session and I make it over to my friend’s condo to check on her kitties. I had set up a reoccurring biweekly therapy appointment now that I know my school schedule for the upcoming semester too. We talked about money fixation and anxiety and trying to let that go. We agree that I should sleep in a bit tomorrow, walk my dog, go for a swim, and then go to work. I don’t ~need~ the money so working 12 hours vs 7 or 8 is not an issue. My mental health is more important. Also the work hangover from yesterday is real.
17:00: Boyfriend comes over after work and jumps in the shower while I’m a couch potato (Disclaimer: he’s friends with my friend too and she’s 100% comfortable with him hanging out too.) We relax and hang with the kitties and catch up on our days.
18:45: We head to dinner. We grab burritos at one of our favorite local spots and I pay ($25.88)
. We look at houses for fun on Zillow and discuss what apartments we want to tour in the next couple weeks.
20:00: I make it home and have a long talk with my mom about her friend who ended up in the hospital today with a compound fracture. Long story short I’ll need to stay up until midnight to hand off the house keys, garage door opener, etc. to a friend who is driving into town that can take care of her dog. Her dog is a pit bull that is vicious to strangers so no one else can go over to the house other than this friend who pet sits and knows the dog.
23:30: The friend makes it and we hand him the keys and everything he needs. I had spent the evening tidying up and meal prepping and looking at more apartments. It’s amazing to me how much time goes into keeping a clean and tidy home.
12:08: I spent a half hour setting up my June budget and then pass out. TOTAL: $62.89 THURSDAY - DAY 2
9:05: I finally wake up to a bunch of texts from multiple different friends / friend groups. Ugh. I’m just feeling really anxious about school starting tomorrow, my mom being very distraught over her colleague / friend, working today, and a busy weekend coming up. I make some coffee and walk my pup.
9:33: I call my mom while feeding my pup breakfast and tell her how I’m feeling and we both agreed I ran around too much last semester and I told her I am setting firm boundaries with myself to basically not do anything social during the school week once clinical start (Monday - Thursday) unless it’s like a super casual dinner and I truly have the capacity for it. I burned myself out at the end of last semester and spent weeks putting the pieces back together.
9:55: I make another cup of coffee and take myself for a morning swim. It brings me so much joy and grounds me. I swim 500 yards and then jump into the shower, throw my scrubs on, kiss my pup goodbye and head to the hospital. I drink a chocolate Primer Protein shake and call my friend L on the way to hear how her trip has been going so far. It was nice to catch up even though we saw each other over the weekend lol.
10:54: Ate my overnight oats made with half and half and some blueberries, clocked in, and headed out to the floor. Immediately get asked to be a sitter which literally never happens. Thank you universe. Feeling a little less anxious now that I’m here and feeling thankful for the little bit of extra money I’m making and being here for my community.
14:04: Maybe not thank you universe - the patient slept for a while then got extremely combative and was trying to punch me. I switch off with a coworker and head to the break room to eat a bowl I made with frozen veggies + rotisserie chicken from Costco + cheddar cheese on top.
19:09: I finally clock out. I had a snack of 2 rice cakes and some almonds at one point. Rest of work was wild (i.e. a psychotic patient that pulled out his IV and was throwing things everywhere, someone screaming in pain for hours nonstop, etc.) and had me questioning what I am doing making this career change. I am tired.
19:49: I make it home after swinging by L’s to check on her kitties. Jump in the shower. My mom has dinner ready and I scarf down this gorgeous basil, mozzarella, peppers, tomatoes, avocados, and olive salad + a couple Trader Joe’s dolmas + a couple pieces of fresh bread. Delicious. I force myself to get my food and my school bag ready for tomorrow and lay my scrubs out before I crawl into bed a little after 9. TOTAL: $0 FRIDAY - DAY 3
06:22: Alarm goes off and I roll out of bed and take my pup for a nice walk. Give him breakfast / shower / throw on my scrubs / pack my lunch / give the pup a big kiss goodbye and I am out the door a little after 7:00.
07:47: I get to school and I am NOT feeling it lol. I stopped at Costco for gas on my way ($20.67)
and I also swung by a very Texas niche store that sells all kinds of beef jerky my brother really likes to grab some for his birthday coming up ($17.98)
10:00: Class is boring - it’s tough getting back into it with an 8 hour cardiac lecture. It’s good to see my friends but struggle is real. I run into my favorite professor and she makes my morning. I tell her all about my upcoming internship and my boyfriend’s new job and she was stoked and told me to “lock him down” hahaha. I also make 2 phone calls to apartment complexes we are interested in cause my boyfriend doesn’t get great reception at work during business hours. One place doesn’t have any current availability but the lady was so nice and will be sending me a virtual tour later today. Schedule another tour on Monday afternoon.
11:30: We break for lunch and I eat the same thing as yesterday - rotisserie chicken + frozen veggies + cheddar cheese.
12:30: Spend the afternoon in class completely unable to concentrate. The professor is throwing ECG rhythms around left and right. 8 hours of ECG lecture is NOT a productive way to learn the material. I work on a couple study guides during class cause I cannot.
3:30: We get out a little early and I rush to meet my mom for a walk through of the house. I follow her back to her office because I sent a big Chewy order there. Pick up the box along with a Diet Coke, order us Cava for dinner, pick up Cava, check on my friends cats on my way home real quick, and then have a shower and relax. Mom pays for Cava and I thank her multiple times.
7:00: We eat dinner all together when everyone is eventually home (harissa avocado bowl for me!) and then my boyfriend calls right when I head out to walk my dog. Perfect. I miss him and have been having anxiety around our new schedules. We have a good 30 minute chat about our days before I spend the evening basically doing nothing. I chat with my family and mess around on my phone. Text boyfriend about different apartments.
22:44: Bed time after I brush and floss my teeth. I’m zonked from the week. TOTAL: $38.65 SATURDAY - DAY 4
08:30: I’m awake! Did not sleep well at all cause thunderstorms. My pup is deathly afraid and will not stop shaking for hours so I end up sleeping on the couch on and off. We were up and down all night but somehow I feel okay. We go for a quick walk, feed him, and start a load of whites in the washer.
09:08: I have a shower, and then I head out to get my family coffee from one of our favorite spots.
10:45: Make it back home with 2 cold brews for my brother and I and a latte for mom. I also picked up 5 breakfast tacos and a German chocolate cake for Sunday dinner tomorrow ($56.24)
. I eat a bean and cheese taco and a potato and egg taco, start some laundry, and put air in my tires with my home compressor since my low air light has been on in my car for an embarrassing amount of time. Brother needs air in his tires too so turns into a production lol.
12:18: Spent a couple hours putzing around dealing with the tires and more laundry and packing a bag for tonight. We are headed to the lake for a friend’s bday party and I have no clue what I want to wear so I pack a lot of options and clothes for church tomorrow morning too. Now it’s time to drive around for a little bit and check out some potential apartments and do a small Target run.
14:02: I make it home from apartment cruising and my Target run. I bought a 3 subject notebook, tire pressure gauge with valve caps included, two bags of frozen veggies, mini coke zeros, and a bag of Lesser Evil popcorn ($21.50)
. I was so tempted to stop for lunch on my way home but lines were long everywhere so I made myself some cheesy eggs + 2 Eggo waffles when I got home. Put the valve cap on my tire that is missing one.
14:36: Make it to L’s condo and clean up after the cats and start the Roomba. Boyfriend texts that he is out of work and on his way over! He’s been up since 4 am this morning for work and I am feeling some type of way with everything on my plate / anxiety so we will see how long we make it tonight lol.
15:30: S is showered and we are out the door!
16:30: We make it to the rental, change into our bathing suits, and walk down to the river.
19:00: We hang out in the river for a good 2.5 hours. It was a good time - nice to chat with my school friends and their partners. Boyfriend and I head out before the real partying starts lol.
20:00: We eat dinner at this cute Tex Mex place. Boyfriend has some kind of alcoholic mixed drink and we share a fajita for 2 plate. Boyfriend pays - it was $70.56 with tip. I drive us back because he does not like to drive even after one drink which I am 100% here for. We are so tired lol.
21:15: Make it back to L’s condo and we take a hot shower and get into bed in the guest bedroom. It takes forever for us to both fall asleep. TOTAL: $77.74 SUNDAY - DAY 5
6:50: Oh boy neither of us slept well. There was another thunderstorm. One of the cats was yowling nonstop outside our door. The ceiling fan was clanking on and off. The bed was way too soft. Up and down again all night for a second night in a row for me lol.
8:11: I’m showered and we are both dressed and we head out to one of our favorite taquerias for breakfast. I get 2 bean and cheese tacos and one machacado + egg taco. Boyfriend also gets 3 tacos and we both get coffee. We sit and chat for a while until it was time to go to church. I pay on the way out ($22.98 with tip)
11:40: After an hour of church and an hour meeting for a committee I’m on - I’m wiped out. Still have a house walk through to do with my family and boyfriend so I head over there and we are there for about an hour.
13:10: Finally made it home, walked my pup, and made myself a late lunch of Dave’s Killer bread toast + peanut butter + banana.
13:54: A girlfriend calls and asks if I want to get a pedicure this afternoon. We decide to get dinner together on Thursday instead. I’m actually very touched she called me because we are friends through another friend and normally don’t get together just the two of us. I’m really happy she reached out. I also invite one of my friends from school - I have been wanting them to meet for a while.
14:30: Nap timeeeee! I knock out for an hour then realize how thirsty I am and how badly I need to get out of the apartment. I get up, take the pup for a spin with my brother, and head to Sonic to get a large diet cherry limeade and then head to L’s condo to check on the kitties and chill ($3.34)
18:00: I spent a couple hours chilling on the internet - working on my google calendar, school organization, church emails, reviewing some apartments we may drive by tomorrow, and I download the remaining episodes of season 1 of Nurse Jackie to watch tonight. I had bought the complete first season over a month ago and still haven’t watched it all lol. That’s how little I watch tv.
20:00: We had bibimbap for dinner and German chocolate cake for dessert. Delicious. I clean up the dishes and do more laundry because that’s my life between school, work, working out, having 2 hairy pets, etc. Unpack my bags from the river day and sleepover last night too. Chat with my family.
22:00: Crawl into bed and watch some Nurse Jackie before passing out. TOTAL: $26.32 MONDAY - DAY 6
7:33: I slept better but still tossed and turned. Still just anxious with everything going on, especially the start of another intense semester.
8:47: Pup is fed and walked. I open the windows because it is 68 degrees which is unheard of in June in south Texas.
10:06: I ended up doing a deep clean of my room hahah. Wiped down and vacuumed every surface. So much hair. My pup is shedding so bad. I change my bedding and toss my comforter in the wash. Thank goodness I have 2 sets of sheets now. I had only 1 for the longest time lol. I take a break and eat some Greek yogurt + pecans + banana + drizzle of honey.
11:03: I vacuumed the common areas in the apartment, took a long shower, and I’m dressed and ready for my boyfriend to pick me up. I felt like being cute today so I put on this new leather skirt from Alice + Olivia my boyfriend got me as a present that I haven’t worn yet + a white crop top + my cheetah old skool Vans. I’m so tired though lololol. This is one of the only Mondays we both have off for the foreseeable future so I am gonna rally and make the most of it!
11:15: Boyfriend is so tired too bahah. We go grab coffees at this cute little coffee shop I’ve been wanting to check out. I get a cortado. Boyfriend gets an iced caramel almond milk latte and I treat ($11.82 with tip)
. We sit and chill and map out what apartments we want to check out today.
12:30: Walk across the street to grab Tex Mex for lunch at a pretty famous place in town. I get the enchilada plate and boyfriend gets a chicken quesadilla plate. He pays and it is $27.89 with tip.
1:30: Go for our first apartment tour of the day and it is depressing. We drive around and check out the other apartments we are I interested in and then go on one more tour at a place that we are really impressed by. It’s $1.3k or so for a 500 sq ft one bedroom and that’s a stretch. Ideally he wants the base rent to be $1,000 or less which is quite doable. Yet again - south Texas prices for the win. He is looking at older buildings, but they are well kept up and in good neighborhoods. They are not in the hottest places to be in town, but definitely still nice.
16:00: We go back to L’s condo and chill and take care of the kitties. Discuss the apartments and ask my brother if he wants to get dinner with us and he agrees.
18:00: We head back to my apartment, pick up my brother, and head to dinner. We order a large caesar salad, an arugula and sausage pizza, and a mushroom and pepperoni pizza. This spot does $10 two topping pizzas on Monday and it slaps. I treat my boyfriend and brother to dinner ($48.01 with tip)
20:00: Home and boyfriend walks my pup with me. Brother makes us both tea and we have a nice cup of tea and chat until boyfriend heads home. I put together my breakfast and lunch tomorrow and then lay down to chill and have some quiet time.
22:30: Bed time! First day of critical care didactic is tomorrow and I am feeling mostly excited. TOTAL: $59.82 TUESDAY - DAY 7
6:22: My alarm goes off and wakes me from a deep sleep. I finally slept a good 8 hours though!
7:10: I am showered and throw on some black Lululemon Align leggings and a swiftly tech tee. I was gonna wear real pants but screw that haha. I am really dragging this morning.
7:50: Make it to school and lecture starts at 8. Honestly - that lecture could have been given in 45 minutes but we spent the first 2 hours simply going over the schedule and clarifying assignments since everything is such a disorganized hot mess at the beginning of the semester.
10:05: We take a break and call a fellow church congregation member to see if we want to meet today to tour an organization that supports people immigrating. We are debating if we want to allocate church donation funds to them. We agree to meet at the location at 1:30.
12:41: We are done with class and I stayed a bit after to start making my study guide for our first test even though it isn’t for 5 weeks. I realize the time and quickly pack up and go heat up my lunch. Chat with an MSN student who I had met in orientation for my internship a couple weeks ago and he expressed his frustration about how the start of this semester is rough for him too.
2:38: We finish our tour and we are very impressed at the clean and organized operation. We agree to each write our own follow up email to the rest of the group before the end of the day supplying the church donating.
3:30: I make some jasmine tea and have some quiet time when I get home before starting on some dosage calculation problems that are due on Friday.
5:45: I end up spending almost 2.5 hours on homework - dosage calculations, an article summary, and start on a medication sheet. Ouch. I lay down for 20 minutes, take my pup out, and then head out to meet my friend for dinner at Cava.
6:30: I get the lemon chicken bowl and pita chips ($13.69)
and we sit and chat for a 1.5 hours. We just saw each other a couple weeks ago, but so much to catch up on.
20:00: We agree to go on a double date in the next couple weeks and I head home. I walk my pup with my mom and brother, pack my gym bag and my food for tomorrow, write my follow up emails from today’s visit to the church committee, and relax in bed. TOTAL: $13.69 TALLY OF DAILY EXPENSES:
TOTAL EXPENSES: $279.11 REFLECTION
- Food + Drink: $240.36
- Fun / Entertainment: $0
- Home + Health: $0
- Clothes + Beauty: $0
- Transport: $30.67
- Other: $17.98
I spent quite a bit on going out to eat this week with my boyfriend, family, and friends. It was the end of my school break and boyfriend is transitioning to a new job so we were a bit out of whack with spending on food. Usually we eat at home with our families more, but it was nice to go out and enjoy ourselves too. It was a super busy week for me too - which is the norm lately. I have a great community and social life here compared to the West Coast and I do not take that for granted. Trying to make myself more of a priority so I don’t burn out again, which is difficult for me.
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