Closest driver license office near me
Am I the only one that is super hopeful and optimistic at this point?
2023.05.28 21:49 TheWeetodd Am I the only one that is super hopeful and optimistic at this point?
Don’t get me wrong- we are not in the IDEAL spot right now as A’s fans, but this is probably the best I have felt about the prospects of being able to take my 4 month old son to A’s games as he grows up.
I know I get into some crazy conspiracy theory territory, but hear me out…
I have always identified with the A’s. I was proud that my team did more with less. We were perennially the over performing underdogs, and I saw these parallels in my own life: being an A’s fan became part of my identity, and I was proud of it.
During the pandemic was the first time I started to really even notice or pay attention to how many problems stemmed from John Fisher. When the A’s were the ONLY team in the league to stop paying minor leaguers their weekly stipend, I was truly EMBARRASSED to be an A’s fan. That was the moment that it clicked for me how John Fisher has held my passion hostage for nearly the past 2 decades.
Like many, I stopped paying when John Fisher demanded I pay more for a worse product in 2021, and he has proven to be the kid who will quit the game and take the ball with him when he is losing.
I am a banker by profession, and looked into some of the surface level financial drivers, intertwined with my theories, and some facts. Call me out and fact check me if you think there are holes.
Fisher bought the team in 2005, where the A’s received profit sharing. Fisher bought the team, realizing that if he operates the team near a break even, he can pocket millions each year from the profit sharing. So essentially, Fisher was able to leech off of the MLB owners that were investing in their teams since he joined as an owner. Fans were okay with the cheap beers, tickets, food, etc, but they never really aimed to keep high profile players.
The other owners must have wised up to Fishers tactics, because the per the 2016 CBA the A’s were to be phased out of profit sharing by 25% per year. I think in 2016 Fisher got like $30 mil, but then in 2017 it would be 75%, 2018 would be 50%, 2019 would be 25%, and 2020 would be 0%. The A’s payroll remained at the bottom of the MLB.
The MLBPA even filed a grievance against the A’s in 2018 for not paying to field a competitive team, despite receiving profit sharing.
Supposedly the A’s were able to renegotiate an extension of continuance in the revenue sharing program, because they were eligible to continue getting profit sharing until they get a stadium deal done… but that has to come by Jan of 2024, or else no more revenue sharing.
Fisher’s financial picture hasn’t looked great over the past 5 years either, and now he is desperate. We keep calling him a billionaire, but his largest assets are his teams (which are not liquid), and his GAP Inc stock. Let’s call his holdings 20% GAP Inc for round numbers. As of close on Friday Market Cap for GAP Inc (aka the combined value of 100% of the outstanding shares) is worth $3.07bn… Fisher’s portion of that is $614 million.
Back in 2018, GAP had a market cap of 12.94bn, so Fisher’s 20% was worth $2.58bn. Fisher has
Vegas politicians, who are interested in adding the MLB to their pro sports portfolio, are 100% on board with bringing the MLB to town, but they don’t care at all about the A’s. In fact, the bill is not site or team specific. Everyone seems to think the joke is on Vegas politicians and taxpayers, but really I think the joke is on Kaval and Fisher.
I think Vegas is giving the A’s relocation bid a serious shot, without committing anything specific to the A’s. They still can keep the bill, pass on the A’s, and be on the top of MLB’s short list for expansion. Vegas can cite financials, organizational differences, lack of community commitment, stadium shenanigans, lack of public support, etc… they have committed nothing to the A’s.
Meanwhile mid June, Fisher has to convince 22 of the other 29 owners that he has been leeching money from for the past 2 decades that it is in their best financial interest for Fisher to relocate a team from a market that desperately wants to keep them to a market that is indifferent about them, guaranteeing his indefinite qualification for profit sharing.
I think June 13th is a big public media showing, the other owners come out like heroes by declining the relocation A FEW DAYS LATER at the owners meeting, and Fisher sells to someone to develop HT.
I might be crazy, but for the first time in a long time I have hope for great baseball in Oakland for years to come.
TL;DR - fuck John Fisher
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2023.05.28 21:48 Mrinalseh Looking for a flat
I am fairly new to Bangalore, came here for my internship. My office is in Kadubeesanahalli and for last 3 months i have been living in a PG. Since my full time starts in July and i will get proper salary instead of stipend so i wanted to shift in a flat. I have no idea how much should i spend on rent or which location should i live in and ofcourse i am too lazy/ not capable to do my own research so i will just drop every single detail here.
My company follow the hybrid model and i need to go office only 3 days a week. Office also provide traveller vans which covers almost whole bangalore and costs only 1200 per month.(will pick me from any place in bangalore 7 days a week).
My monthly salary will be ~80k(after taxes) and 2 guys will live there so looking for 2bhk. I have heard of 30% rule but spend around 24k per person on a 2bhk seems ridiculous.
I have heard about Vanshee Apartments Richfield (magic bricks), it seems too good to be real but sadly i couldn't get any contact number.
I visited a flat near Wipro Sarjapur 20k 2bhk full furnished. But 2nd room is way to small like really really small and kitchen is combined with hall.
I am too confused where to live or how much to pay for 2 bhk or should i go for semi furnished or fully furnished. Please help me out.
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2023.05.28 21:44 Proud-Policy812 Things I Wish I Knew When Applying to Top 50 CS Schools
Hi, Reasoning for post creation I have never posted before, and I am not a college admission advisor, or anything related to that; however, I do have a parent who works for admissions at a T5 school in the country (will remain unnamed for anonymity purposes) and will be providing information that I've gathered from them. The reason I decided to make this post is that I regret my lack of knowledge about a lot of activities and opportunities that I have since learned about and wanted to share with high schoolers. Disclaimer: I would like to start out by saying that you should take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt, and the main point of this post is to provide insight to students who aren’t sure if there are more things/better things that they could be doing to strengthen their application. College Application 101 Your college application can essentially be broken down to 5 categories. Essay, Grades/GPA, Test Scores, Extracurriculars, and Awards. Breaking your application down into these 5 categories can create a good mental starting place and give you a starting point to figure out where you can improve your application. As someone who loves to be organized, breaking things down into smaller bits definitely helps me figure out a plan of attack. GPA/Grades/Courseload I am not here to spout that you need a 4.0 UW(Unweighted) GPA. This is a post for T50, and a lot of people on this sub are crazy if you have a B. That is not true at all. I personally had a 3.4 UW and got accepted into multiple T50s and even some T20s. This area should be the simplest, as its essentially the basis of your application. Get good grades in Math/Science/Computer Science courses. It shows that you have a strength in what you’re planning on majoring in, which is supposed to be your passion (whether that’s for money, hey, it’s still your passion to live comfortably). To further elaborate: a 3.4 UW is good, but its only good if you took AP courses, Local College Courses, Honors, or whatever the maximum rigor is at your school. If none of these types classes are offered the good thing about an application is that you have other areas to demonstrate why you’re still a good student or would be a good fit. Aim for better than me though! Additionally, if you have the opportunity to get higher level math at community colleges: TAKE THEM. Although not having them doesn’t hurt your chances, having them DEFINITELY does help. Furthermore, rather than taking math classes offered by your high school if you finish all of them, see if you can enroll in community college math classes during the semester. This will allow you to get credit for those math classes later in college as well which can save you some $$$ or make your college experience more enjoyable as you’ll have less classes to take. Regarding AP Science Classes, a strong majority of any CS department will require you to take some combination of Physics and Chemistry. The STRONGEST advice I can give you (something that I didn’t know) is to take AP Physics C over AP Physics I and II. College physics is calculus based, so there is a high chance I and II will not give you the credit that you need. A strong candidate will have taken the following classes: AP Calc AB/BC, AP Physics C, AP Chem, and AP Computer Science A. Test Scores A lot of colleges are starting to convert to test-optional which is good; however, you should treat this as something similar to higher level math CC classes. It might not hurt your application, but it can most certainly help it. I’m not going to say that there’s a magic number for SAT/ACT, but think about it in terms of taking a test. An A- on the SAT is a 1420, and a 32 on the ACT so get around there, but aim high, if you are on this reddit you have high goals for yourself and this is a stepping stone to achieve that. Extracurriculars Here is the category I wish I had known more about. I’m not about to tell you to start your own business, non-profit, or work at Google. But here are some activities that I wish I had known about that you could try and pursue, but you definitely 100% do not need to do all: - USACO Competitions: This is essentially a computer science olympiad. Do it. You could potentially earn awards, and I really do not know why it isn’t talked about as much - Other engineering competitions (literally google this, and find stuff near you, potentially make a club out of it) - If your school doesn’t have any of these following clubs, start it, if they do, aim for a leadership position: (DECA, Model UN, Computer Science Club, Science National Honors Society, Speech and Debate, Peer Tutoring, Math Club, Robotics Club, UNICEF Club, Entrepreneurship Club) - Apply for research positions. Lots of people on this sub say they’re “BS” and “Grunt Work”, which they can be, but they also allow you to form relationships with professors, and get exposed to what projects will look like. Networking is huge and provides lots of opportunities. And although potentially minimal, you can still get more experience doing this than doing nothing (People seem to forget this two facts). - Talk to businesses in your area about making a website for them/improving their website. You don’t even have to get paid for it(or you can!), it can just be something to get experience with. Furthermore, as I’ve said: You can make a club out of it! - Volunteer! - Play sports! (You don’t have to be Varsity!) - Play music! - Get a Job! - Boy Scout/Girl Scout awards Awards You are a human being. You are also a kid. You do not need to be as decorated as someone who has served for decades in the army! This can honestly be empty. Here are some that look good and are attainable: - National Honors Society (if your school has one) - Cum Laude Society (if your school has one) - Any AP Scholar Award - National Merit ScholaFinalist/Semifinalist Awards - Awards earned through clubs such as robotics, math, speech and debate, DECA, Model UN, outside engineering competitions, and USACO - Any outside scholarship you’ve won before applying - Presidential Service Awards/Volunteering Awards - Music Awards - Sports Awards Essay Write about an experience that you’ve learned from. Do not just write a sad story. Admissions departments want to see how you can grow/that you’re mature/who you are. You can even write a silly story as long as it portrays you. If you talk about an experience you’ve had that you listed under extracurriculars, play it up to be bigger than it is, (do not lie though). Show that it was a meaningful experience. Maybe it was what helped you decide your major. Talk about what came out of that experience and what you’re doing or going to do with that knowledge/results. Additionally, in your extra section, talk about anything impactful such as grade changes due to illness/trauma events, or the fact that your school didn’t offer any AP/honors classes. Basically stuff that you believe admission officers will think “oh! That explains X event”. Conclusion You are a person and where you get into and go to school does not define how successful or smart you are. You are a valued member of society and a real human being. Not just an applicant or a number. Good luck!
PS: I've labeled this as a discussion because I am hoping others who have gotten into colleges will further provide advice in the comments. Also I have come to the understanding that there are parents on this subreddit, so please provide encouraging words to applicants in the comments :)
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2023.05.28 21:43 aleksyprok Fined £70 by South Western Railway at London Waterloo Despite Having a Valid Railcard - Any Advice?
I recently had a disheartening experience with South Western Railway at London Waterloo. I was stopped after passing through the gates and asked to present my ticket, which I did without issue. When asked for my railcard, I realized I hadn't yet downloaded it onto my recently purchased phone. I informed the officer that I needed a moment to download the railcard. Rather than offer patience, he was quick to assume dishonesty on my part and, alongside a colleague, pressured me into handing over my driver's license. I mistakenly believed they were going to verify my railcard status in their system. However, they were actually writing up a fine. In the midst of this, I showed them an email stating my railcard was still valid and wouldn't expire until late June. They dismissed it, insisting on seeing the railcard itself. Their behavior throughout the incident was discourteous. One officer even remarked, "You're a doctor but not smart enough to sort this all out when you are at home." By the time they issued the £70 fine, I'd managed to download my railcard. I told them I felt I was being treated unfairly and was instructed to write an appeal if I disagreed with their decision. Following their advice, I lodged an appeal, apologizing for the inconvenience and providing evidence of my valid railcard (a screenshot) alongside the ticket and a photo of the fine printout. I'm curious about the likelihood of my appeal being successful. If the fine isn't paid within 21 days, it increases to £110. I believe that, given I had a valid railcard and made an honest mistake, I shouldn't have to pay at all. What are your thoughts?
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to AskUK [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 21:40 Joadzilla Turkey's Erdogan Wins Another Term As President, Extending Rule Into 3rd Decade
Erdogan, 69, is set to remain in power until 2028.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won reelection Sunday, according to unofficial results, in a victory that extends his increasingly authoritarian rule into a third decade as the country reels from high inflation and the aftermath of an earthquake that leveled entire cities.
A third term gives Erdogan an even stronger hand domestically and internationally, and the election results will have implications far beyond Ankara. Turkey stands at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and it plays a key role in NATO.
With nearly 99% of ballot boxes opened, results from competing news agencies showed Erdogan with 52% of the vote, compared with 48% for his challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
In his first comments since the polls closed, Erdogan thanked the nation for entrusting him with the presidency for five more years.
“We hope to be worthy of your trust, as we have been for 21 years,” he told supporters on a campaign bus outside his home in Istanbul.
He ridiculed his challenger for his loss, saying “bye bye bye, Kemal,” as supporters booed.
“The only winner today is Turkey,” Erdogan said, promising to work hard for Turkey’s second century. The country marks its centennial this year. “No one can look down on our nation.”
Kilicdaroglu said the election was “the most unjust ever,” with all state resources mobilized for Erdogan.
“We will continue to be at the forefront of this struggle until real democracy comes to our country,” he said in Ankara. He thanked the more than 25 million people who voted for him and asked them to “remain upright.”
The people have shown their will “to change an authoritarian government despite all the pressures,” he said.
Supporters of Erdogan, a divisive populist, were celebrating even before the final results arrived, waving Turkish or ruling party flags, and honking car horns, chanting his name and “in the name of God, God is great.” Celebratory gunfire was heard in several Istanbul neighborhoods.
On the international stage, Erdogan’s government vetoed Sweden’s bid to join NATO and purchased Russian missile-defense systems, which prompted the United States to oust Turkey from a U.S.-led fighter-jet project. But it also helped broker a crucial deal that allowed Ukrainian grain shipments and averted a global food crisis.
Erdogan, who has been at Turkey’s helm for 20 years, came just short of victory in the first round of elections on May 14. It was the first time he failed to win an election outright, but he made up for it Sunday.
His performance came despite crippling inflation and the effects of a devastating earthquake three months ago.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban congratulated Erdogan via Twitter for an “unquestionable election victory,” and Qatar’s ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani wished the Turkish president success in a tweet. Other congratulations poured in from Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Libya, Algeria, Serbia and Uzbekistan.
The two candidates offered sharply different visions of the country’s future, and its recent past.
Critics blame Erdogan’s unconventional economic policies for skyrocketing inflation that has fueled a cost-of-living crisis. Many also faulted his government for a slow response to the earthquake that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey.
In the mainly Kurdish-populated province of Diyarbakir — one of 11 regions that was hit by the Feb. 6 earthquake — 60-year-old retiree Mustafa Yesil said he voted for “change.”
“I’m not happy at all with the way this country is going. Let me be clear, if this current administration continues, I don’t see good things for the future,” he said. “I see that it will end badly — this administration has to change.”
Mehmet Yurttas, an Erdogan supporter, disagreed.
“I believe that our homeland is at the peak, in a very good condition,” the 57-year-old shop owner said. “Our country’s trajectory is very good and it will continue being good.”
Erdogan has retained the backing of conservative voters who remain devoted to him for lifting Islam’s profile in the Turkey, which was founded on secular principles, and for raising the country’s influence in world politics.
Erdogan, 69, is set to remain in power until 2028.
A devout Muslim, he heads the conservative and religious Justice and Development Party, or AKP. Erdogan transformed the presidency from a largely ceremonial role to a powerful office through a narrowly won 2017 referendum that scrapped Turkey’s parliamentary system of governance. He was the first directly elected president in 2014, and won the 2018 election that ushered in the executive presidency.
The first half of Erdogan’s tenure included reforms that allowed the country to begin talks to join the European Union, and economic growth that lifted many out of poverty. But he later moved to suppress freedoms and the media and concentrated more power in his own hands, especially after a failed coup attempt that Turkey says was orchestrated by the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. The cleric denies involvement.
Erdogan’s rival was a soft-mannered former civil servant who has led the pro-secular Republican People’s Party, or CHP, since 2010. Kilicdaroglu campaigned on promises to reverse Erdogan’s democratic backsliding, to restore the economy by reverting to more conventional policies, and to improve ties with the West.
In a frantic effort to reach out to nationalist voters in the runoff, Kilicdaroglu vowed to send back refugees and ruled out peace negotiations with Kurdish militants if he is elected.
Erdogan’s AKP party and its allies retained a majority of seats in parliament following a legislative election that was also held on May 14.
Sunday also marked the 10th anniversary of the start of mass anti-government protests that broke out over plans to uproot trees in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, and became one of the most serious challenges to Erdogan’s government.
Erdogan’s response to the protests, in which eight people were convicted for alleged involvement, was a harbinger of a crackdown on civil society and freedom of expression.
Following the May 14 vote, international observers pointed to the criminalization of dissemination of false information and online censorship as evidence that Erdogan had an “unjustified advantage.” They also said that strong turnout showed the resilience of Turkish democracy.
Erdogan and pro-government media portrayed Kilicdaroglu, who received the backing of the country’s pro-Kurdish party, as colluding with “terrorists” and of supporting what they described as “deviant” LGBTQ rights.
In his victory speech, he repeated those themes, saying LGBTQ people cannot “infiltrate” his ruling party or its nationalist allies.
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2023.05.28 21:39 Periwinkle912 Name change but moving states & starting a new job
Hey everyone, I've tried searching and Googling this situation but am having trouble finding advice that applies to it. We were just married two weeks ago, have copies of the certified marriage certificate in hand. I'm planning to change my last name to his, but moving my maiden name to have two middle names since I go by my current middle name.
We'll be moving from NC to VA next month where I'll be starting a new job as a nurse, so I'll have to change my name on my license in addition to government IDs. I know it's typically best to do federal documents first (Social Security card, passport), but I'm curious as to how changing my name might affect my new job paperwork. Also, Virginia requires name changes to be done after living there 6 months, but they want me to change to a VA Driver's license within like 60 days of moving, which to me makes zero sense for me since I'd have to get a new one down the road, anyway. So I'm wondering if I have federal documents with my new name, if that will trump the 6 month waiting period?
I'm wondering if I should wait to change my name to make things easier, especially with any HR paperwork at my new job, but I also would love to change it as soon as possible! Any advice on how to go about this?
Also, my NC marriage license application didn't have a spot to change my name automatically after marriage; I've already looked for that.
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2023.05.28 21:29 johnreese421 Motorcycle license in Illinois
I already have a car driver license of Illinois. How do I get the bike/motorcycle license ?
So next thing I see is a harley davidson website :
Is it really that expensive to get the bike license? or am I missing something here.
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2023.05.28 21:26 Thirsha_42 Tight Money Ch 14
Here is chapter 14 of Tight Money.
Special thanks to u/SpacePaladin15
for creating the universe and allowing fan writers to join the fun.
Additional thanks to u/BiasMushroom
for letting me use elements from their fanfics in mine.
Leena and Dani finish the dinner with with the parents and we get a quick look into how things are going on Venlil Prime.
Thanks to u/Saint-Andros
and blankxlate for proofreading this chapter.
I love your comments so please tell me what you think so I can get better or if you have suggestions for future snippets of life on Venlil Prime you would like to see me cover, leave it in the comments. First Previous
Memory transcription subject: Liara, Prime News Reporter
Date [standardized human time]: November 3, 2136
My prompter counted down as my stage lights brightened, and I watched the camera light go live.
I took a deep breath and began the interview, “From Prime News, it’s ‘How I Built This,’ the show that dives deep into the stories of remarkable entrepreneurs and their journey to success. I’m Liara Raz and on today's show: how Ricardo Mota Esparza and Vye turned their small machine shop into a life saving business and helped reconnect Venlil Prime with its industrial past.”
Kotaka pointed right, and I followed him to Camera Two.
“A few days ago, my ear trimmer broke. Not a big deal, I’ve had it for ages and it served me well. When I went to the store to get a new one… nothing. There wasn’t a single trimmer to be found. I tried to order one with the same result.”
I watched a few tails of the audience swaying in agreement, it seems that trimmer comparison landed! I’ll need to give the writer a fruit bowl sometime.
Back to Camera One, “As I looked into the reason, it turned out that we got all of our small motors from Fahl and with the border closed for trade, we didn’t have the ability to make our own small motors. We know how to make these motors, but we don’t have the machines to manufacture them. And with fabricators in short supply, I, like so many of you, have had to go back to using scissors.” Ears back, flick the tail. They are just as unhappy as you.
“Today, we have a special guest joining us in the studio who is helping to change that. Please welcome Ricardo Mota Esparza, the co-founder of Predator Parts Machine Shop on Venlil Prime. Ricardo, it's a pleasure to have you here.”
Quickly switching to a positive affect, I turned my attention to the man sitting across from me in the studio. Following Talen’s example, the studio had positioned the chairs to face each other instead of the camera. I had thought the human would be covered in oil and stained pelts but his clean appearance showed I still needed to work on my own biases.
He wore a tight, light green chest-pelt that traveled down the length of his arms, only revealing the caramel skin of his hands. There was an outline in the pocket on his chest pelt where he had stashed a small data pad. Below that, the human also wore dark blue coverings that stretched all the way down that ended just above his feet, which were dressed with foot coverings of a golden yellow color of which contrasted harshly against the drab interior of the studio.
“Just ‘Rocky’ please. And thank you, Liara, for having me. It's an honor to be on your show.” Good, let’s keep this relaxed and show everyone there is nothing to fear.
Rocky had a deeper voice than any other interview subject I had met before, but there was a light airiness about his vocalization that was quite pleasant.
He took our pre-broadcast rehearsal well. He smiled through closed lips, careful not to show his flesh-tearering fangs. His movements were slower than they had been when he arrived; his hands gesticulating with every word. This might be easier than I thought.
“Rocky, let's start from the beginning. You were a machine shop worker on Earth when you joined the exchange program, correct? What was your first impression of your partner Vye?”
Rocky started moving his arms as he spoke and it was mesmerizing to watch his body language despite my inability to comprehend any of it. Without a tail, it made sense that humans would come up with another solution, I just didn’t expect it to be so… beautiful.
It’s like I’m watching a master Strayu chef kneading fresh dough; or a conductor directing an orchestra.
“Oh, we hit it off right away. We shared a lot of interests and talked about everything under the sun. Vye was working for a fabrication shop as an apprentice when he signed up to meet me in person. We had a great time on Station 2 and we tried to maintain contact after the program as well. When news that the Federation had started assembling ships to attack Earth, I was on one of the first flights to Venlil Prime.”
“I imagine it must have been hard to leave everything behind you and flee here. Can you tell us a bit about those difficult times?” Please don’t say anything violent. Just stick to the talking points and you will be fine.
“I would rather not discuss that. Like most people, I lost loved ones and everything I had built when it was all destroyed by the Federation, but Vye was there for me from the moment I landed.”
I tried to keep my tail from curling, this was going more smoothly than nearly half of my past interviews! Just like we rehearsed, he skipped over the messy details and dived right into their industry.
“Vye encouraged me to find a new purpose and start anew. He is a crazy guy and wicked smart. He realized what was happening with the machines after Federation borders closed and trade was cut off. He had been working on establishing his own shop before I arrived, and needed an extra set of hands. Working with Vye gave me… focus. Focus enough to help me through everything.” Lucky guy. Whew, okay, the hard part’s over.
“That's truly inspiring, Rocky. So, how did you and your business partner go about setting up your machine shop on Venlil Prime?”
“Initially, Vye and I tried to secure funding and supplies from the UN embassy, but the bureaucracy proved challenging. We then decided to approach the Venlil Government directly, explaining our vision to help both humans and Venlil who lost their jobs due to closed borders and Federation attack. They agreed to provide two old fabricators and a small grant to kickstart our venture very quickly.”
“That's remarkable! By bridging the gap between humans and Venlil, you not only found support but also a mutually beneficial collaboration. How did it all begin?” Come on, you are doing great! Remember to highlight humans and venlil working together.
“With the fabricators, Vye and I started manufacturing parts for another brand-new fabricator while we advertised our services with flyers and ads on Bleat. Our first client was a farmer who was on the brink of losing his harvest due to broken harvester drones. He took a chance on us, and we delivered quality parts in just a couple paws.” Excellent answer.
Rocky adjusted himself in his seat and I knew he didn’t mean to, but it was clear just how strong he was as his muscles flexed underneath his tight chest-pelt. He looked at me expectantly, reminding me I needed to ask the next question.
Glancing at my list, I prompted him, “It sounds like your dedication to quality and timely service quickly gained attention. How did your business grow from there and who came up with the name for your business?” That wasn’t in the talking points! Why did I ask that? Speh!
I had to make a conscious effort to control my tail and ears so as not to give away my mistake.
“I knew you were going to ask about that. It’s stupid. Vye and I couldn’t decide on which name to use, so we each picked our favorites and then we flipped a coin. Vye won so we named the shop Predator Parts Machine Shop.”
“The name was Vye’s idea?” Thank the sun and stars, Rocky I could nuzzle you. You really saved my hide with that answer.
“Yeah, he wanted to stand out from other shops and create a brand. A deal’s a deal so he got to pick the name. Word spread within the farming communities about our affordable, high-quality results. We hired more workers, both experienced and untrained, to keep up with demand. Within three weeks, we rented out the rest of the building and started training human refugees as mechanics and repairmen.”
“It's incredible how you turned adversity into opportunity, Rocky. What motivated you to empower unemployed venlil and human refugees, and help them rebuild their lives after all the turmoil that has happened since first contact?”
Rocky’s eye fur rose and he looked to his side, up and away from the camera. I had seen many humans do this when they were thinking. It was a cute quirk. For how dangerous they were supposed to be, they seemed like children in some ways.
“After the Federation's attack on Earth, many of us humans were left with nothing to return to and venlil were still hurting from the Federation’s decision to cut off all trade. It was a chance for us to come together, learn from one another, and create a new future. We hired Venlil workers to train humans in fixing common equipment, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose.”
“Your story is truly inspiring, Rocky. However, I understand that there have been some challenges along the way. Could you share a recent incident that reflects the lingering fear some still have towards humans?” Now to drive it home.
Rocky sat up and intertwined his digits in front of him as I asked my question.
“Certainly, Liara. Just this morning when I was covering for our receptionist, I received a phone call at our office from the Capitol Spaceport. The caller hung up as soon as I answered and ignored my call back. I had to contact Mr. Cass at the main office in the Capitol Spaceport to find out that their fabricators are broken. It's a reminder that despite the progress we've made, there are still people who harbor fear and uncertainty.” Bunch of morons stuck in the past and holding the herd back.
“It's disheartening to hear that some remain fearful, but your efforts are undoubtedly making a difference. Looking back on your journey, what are your reflections, Rocky?” Now let's finish strong.
“The path we've walked has been challenging, but it has also been rewarding beyond measure. We’ve built a thriving business, repaired machines of all kinds, and provided employment opportunities to those in need. Our customers are mostly welcoming and appreciative, but there is still work to be done in breaking down barriers and fostering understanding.”
“Rocky, your story serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of unity. Thank you for sharing your journey with us today.”
“Thank you, Liara. It was a pleasure being here and sharing my story.”
“And that concludes our interview with Rocky Mota Esparza, one of the remarkable entrepreneurs behind a thriving machine shop on Venlil Prime. Join us next time on ‘How I Built This’ as we uncover more extraordinary stories of innovation and determination. Until then, stay inspired and keep building. Goodbye!”
Memory transcription subject: Leena, Human Refugee Host
Date [standardized human time]: November 6, 2136
“Leena, your father and I were worried when you said that you found someone and moved in together so quickly but now that we have met her, we are happy that you have found another mate.” My mother flicked her tail and waved her ears in an outpouring of support.
But I was floored. Mate? They thought that we were together? I bloomed intensely, the heat radiating from my face felt like a furnace. Dani’s eyes widened, her reddening expression betraying a mix of shock and confusion; and was that a smile on her face?
Dad swayed his tail warmly, “We understand how most people are concerning humans but you don’t need to worry about that from us. We are your parents and we love you no matter what, and we are happy to meet the pr-... the human who captured our daughter’s heart.”
Mom followed up without skipping a beat.
"We've noticed how close you and Dani have become and we are happy for you but we are a bit concerned that you didn’t tell us you were being pursued by anyone."
I don’t know what was more difficult to process, the incorrect belief that we were a mated pair, the joy and support I was getting from my parents, or Dani’s stifled laughter at the whole situation. Captured my heart? Being Pursued? Had they rehearsed this?
“What? No, Mom, we're not... I mean, we're just… she’s…”
I stumbled, trying to find the right words to clarify the situation. I stole a nervous glance at Dani, looking for a lifeline and finding none, before turning back to mother.
Mom continued with her ears facing me, "Leena, your father and I were the same way. We knew
we were soul mates the moment we met! We moved in together only a few [months] later; we understand the whirlwind of romance. You’re a grown woman and we’re so proud of you.”
Not to be outdone, Dad added his own thoughts.
“You’re moving much faster than we did, but we are happy you two are starting a life together! And the way Dani loves your children, it seems like they have built a real relationship of trust despite the… differences.”
I flicked my tail in confirmation. "Yes, she's been wonderful with them. They've grown fond of her in just a few days, and she's been like family with m- with them
Dani couldn’t help herself, she had to make things worse, the opportunity must have been irresistible.
"Oh, Leena, my love, you're making me blush!"
She closed one eye quickly while she looked at me, enjoying the lightheartedness of the moment with a gentle smile, but she didn’t seem to understand what my parents meant. Before I could respond to her jest, Dad leaned forward, his eyes gleaming with excitement.
"Dani, you know this isn’t the first time Leena has tried to keep a secret from us. When…” Sun and stars I know what he is going to say
, “Dad, please!”
“...she was 6, she met a boy in school and they became fast friends. Well, being as young as they were they thought that nuzzling meant they were a mated pair, so Leena comes home and asks us how to make a Vyalkit. We told her how we made ours and the next day, she and the boy were shaved so close you might have thought they were applying to become exterminators!”
Dad loved that story, he told everyone he could, but it was never any less embarrassing.
“Needless to say, her secret ‘husband’ didn’t stay a secret for long and we set her straight.”
Mother turned her gaze on me, moving her ears in sympathy, but I saw how her tail swayed during dads retelling.
“You don’t need to keep your relationship a secret from us. We know how other people feel about humans. Just know that we don’t care that she is a woman, that she isn’t a venlil or even that she’s a predator. We just want you to be happy.”
Dani's laughter escaped her control, and she erupted into a fit of giggles. I couldn’t resist her infectious laughter. She was too full of joy in the face of what was one of my most embarrassing moments so I picked up a soft toy and playfully threw it at her, hitting her square in the head to my surprise.
"Okay, okay, I confess, " Dani managed between laughs. "Leena and I are secretly in love, and we're announcing our relationship tonight."
My eyes widened, a mixture of surprise, embarrassment, amusement and horror.
"Dani!" I bleated helplessly.
Mom and Dad exchanged glances, their tails swaying faster.
"Oh, Leena," Mom said, her voice filled with joy, "we're so happy for you. Love knows no boundaries, and we accept your human mate with open arms."
My ears fell flat against my skull, and all I could do was stammer. "But... but we're not..."
Dani burst into uncontrollable laughter before I could finish the sentence. My eyes narrowed, and I threw another soft toy at her in defiance.
"I can't believe you!" I exclaimed, my voice laced with both amusement and annoyance. "You're enjoying this way too much."
Dani wiped away tears of laughter, finally gaining control of herself. "I'm sorry, Leena. It was just too funny not to go along with it for a moment."
"You're terrible, Dani!"
Taking a deep breath to regain composure and control, I put both paws on the table.
"Dad, Mom, let me explain. You see, after Dani saved Tas and Vissa following the stampede, I didn't mention her because I hadn't seen her since we met at the hospital. When Governor Tarva made her announcement, I went to the park with Tas and Vissa to get some air, and that is when we met again. We talked and since she needed a place to stay, we agreed we could help each other.”
My eyes fell towards the table, embarrassment coloring my features again. “I'm sorry I didn't tell you she moved in sooner. I've been preoccupied with finding work and money troubles. We’ve become friends, and she offered to rent the spare room to help me financially."
Amidst Dani’s laughter, Mom and Dad shared a puzzled look, their excitement dying down. Dad spoke up first, his voice filled with curiosity.
"Wait, you mean... you and Dani are not in a relationship?"
Dani shook her head, “No, I’m just renting the spare room. I love children and without a job right now, I have lots of time to help Leena. There is nothing going on between us.”
My mother’s blush brightened slightly as she realized her mistake. "O-Oh, we misinterpreted the situation, I apologize. But we're still happy that you've met someone like Dani, Leena. It seems she's been a wonderful presence in both your life and the childrens’."
I looked at my mother with my ears perking up. She looked at me lovingly, expressing genuine joy through her features.
"Yes! I appreciate your understanding. Dani truly has been amazing but we are only friends, nothing more."
"Darling, we're sorry for jumping to conclusions. We love you, no matter what. Whether you find love with a venlil or a human, we just want you to be happy."
I couldn’t help it when my blush deepened, feeling a mixture of love and appreciation for my parents over their proclamation of support.
My father smiled warmly, "Well Dani, thank you very much for being a supportive friend to our Leena. I apologize for our confusion." He chuckled guiltily.
She nodded at him with a smile on her face. This turned out better than I had hoped given the start of the meal! The tension melted away as the confusion and mistakes were cleared up.
"Thank you, Dad, Mom. I'm grateful for your understanding."
Mom placed her paws onto both mine and Dani's, her gaze filled with love. "Leena, we love you no matter what. If you ever find someone who truly makes you happy, regardless of their species or gender, we will support you."
I was overcome with gratitude and pride in my parents, my tail swayed back and forth, "All of your support means the world to me."
Dani added her own reassurances and I hoped she wasn’t too upset with me throwing things at her.
"Leena, you have a wonderful family." Dani admitted.
The room filled with a sense of joy and relief, and laughter slowly replaced the tension. The misunderstanding had been cleared, and we enjoyed the rest of the claw after the humorous mix-up. During the rest of the meal, I stole quick glances at Dani. I felt a mixture of gratitude, concern and something else that I couldn’t quite describe. She was so full of life and joy and understanding.
Later while lying in bed and reflecting on the conversation we had during the meal, I didn’t know how she could be so happy after her world had been attacked, and everything she knew and loved was destroyed. I had been mortified with how things went during the meal at the moment but she just laughed and made light of it all.
Thank you Solgalick.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ First Previous
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2023.05.28 21:20 MrWorthIt Police have refused to investigate a hit and run that I reported, despite the fact that I have the other driver’s license plate.
In North Carolina. A couple months ago I called the police to report a hit and run. I was rear ended while at a stop sign by the driver behind me, which cracked the rear panel of my car. I got out and asked the other driver if she wanted to pull into a nearby parking lot to exchange information. As soon as I got back in my car she sped off around me. I followed her and took a picture of her license plate, then returned to the parking lot to call the police.
After weeks of not hearing anything, I went to the station to ask about the investigation. The officer “investigating” my case said that the incident wasn’t captured by security cameras in the parking lot, and that I “couldn’t be sure” the car whose license plate I took a picture of was the car that hit me. They recommended I resolve the issue through my own insurance company.
The damages to my car are, admittedly, relatively minor, but I’m fresh out of college and pretty broke. I’ve been told that if I handle things through my insurance, my rates will increase. Is there any recourse for me to recover the damages if the police aren’t willing to investigate?
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2023.05.28 21:18 207partner No permanent address
I move around every 2 or so months and don't stay in the country for 4+ months a year. So I don't have a permanent address but I do have a rental mailbox. What address should I use for my driver's license, health card (which doesn't have the address written on it but I still have to update it online), bank, CRA, etc? For now they are still set to my old address, but I receive most documents electronically and I set the mailing address to my rental mailbox whenever possible.
I can't change my address every time I move. It takes weeks for a new driver's license to be mailed to me and by then I might be living somewhere else.
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2023.05.28 21:16 Royal_Stick_8322 Having no goal in life
I'm not sure what made me write this post, I've been a long time watcher of Dr.K's content with some breaks here and there. I just got home from 45min walk for the first time since pre Covid and I guess I had enough time to think about stuff.
I'm a 28 year old man that currently still lives at home with my brother (18) and mom. Don't have a drivers license and do everything with my bike or public transport. I've never really had any friends in my life, atleast not irl, only people that used to talk to me during school or when they needed something. The only two friends I've made were online, one I got feelings for but she rejected me. The other I have not said a word to and ignored their messages, I just don't know what to say and can't deal with much right now.
I've never been on a date, kissed, hugged or even held hands (yes still a virgin) and I know it's all my fault. I have no clue what to do around women and have given up a long time ago. I used to masturbate a lot, maybe even too much but even that I just....quit, nothing for the past few months. Don't feel the need or don't see the point in it if I'm never going to have a relationship anyways.
My work life is going okay I guess, high school was easy without studying. Went to college and got a bachelors degree, then went to university and got a masters degree. From there I got a job after the first interview and they've been happy to have me on board. Been at the company almost 4 years and they are going through a restructring right now which might make me lose my job in a month. My job has been the only focus for me these past years and well, I'm not even sure if I'd be that unhappy to be fired. I don't see myself growing more at the company but it's a fun job (R&D).
I just don't really know anymore what the next thing is. In highschool it was going to college, then going to uni, then getting a job but now....there's really no goal. I don't have much interests or hobbies, I don't want children, a relationship isn't really going to happen. So I'm not sure what to even do. I feel like I'm just working and watching YouTube/Twitch/Netflix.... that's it.
Sorry if this was a bit of a vent post, thanks for reading anyways.
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to Healthygamergg [link] [comments]
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2023.05.28 21:08 johnreese421 Motorcycle license in Illinois
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2023.05.28 21:00 The_Fallen_1 [THJVerse] Arcane Starfarers - ep 36 - Reports
"Hello, everyone, we finally have everyone in the same place for a team meeting," Daniel began, looking around the half empty meeting room at his for subordinates, glad that the Captain had approved their console being manned by someone who could only read the sensors for a short time with the fleet supporting them. "I know over the past week or so I've been somewhat absent, but that should hopefully be all over now."
"Are we really almost done down there?" Sergeant Zent asked.
"Yes. The last report I got said that Bunker 14 only had 8,000 cryo pods left to extract, though they're on the bottom floor, so it's taking a bit longer than the others," he explained. "They're hoping to have the bunker empty by tomorrow morning, and then a decision has to be made around Bunker 26, whether to spend time getting everything out, or to just leave it. That's not for us to decide though."
"What's actually going on with that bunker, Sir?" Corporal Kreklan asked.
"Well, they can't get the mining equipment down to get the proper transport system in, so people and drones are carrying boxes of seeds and eggs out, prioritising species we didn't get from the other bunkers. It's a big vault, and they're not really that far in yet."
"Is there nothing we can do to help? Maybe figure out a way to get the equipment down?" Corporal Kreklan suggested.
"You're free to think of a solution if you'd like, but we don't have anything that can survive the storm that also has the capacity to carry the bore they need, even in parts over multiple trips. The bore is big, and the corvette cargo holds aren't," Daniel explained. "Non-bore methods have been explored, but I'm not on the decision making team, so I don't know why they haven't been utilised. All I know is we can't get much down there, and the bunker is at constant risk of collapse."
"So what should we do now, Sir?" Sergeant Zent asked.
"Carry on with your normal duties. If you come up with any good ideas, I'll pass them along, but otherwise, don't worry about the bunker situation. Just focus on keeping the ship's systems secure, and making sure nothing sneaks up on us."
"Understood, Sir," Sergeant Zent replied.
“So, onto the main focus of this meeting: the team. How are you all doing? Anything you’d like to bring up? Issues, requests, concerns, commendations?”
“I’d like to commend Sergeant Zent for keeping the team running effectively while you were assisting the Langan, Sir,” Corporal Turner told him.
“Yes, I’m aware of the work you’ve been putting in, Sergeant, and I am very grateful,” Daniel agreed. "I am also grateful for all of you stepping up to the task and making sure someone is on the console at all times."
“Thank you, Sir,” Corporal Turner replied. “Sorry to bring down the mood, but I do have a minor complaint to lodge about something outside of the team.”
“Many people across the ship are feeling useless. We have a high crew complement and not enough work to fill the majority of their time. I don’t feel like our team is at that stage yet with all the additional minor tasks we’ve got for when we’re not busy, but those are going to eventually run out. People are bored and feel trapped.”
“I can understand that. Things will be changing in a few days, and there will likely be a lot more work to do, but for now there’s not a lot that can be done about that. Unless everyone wants extra inspections, that is.”
“I don’t think people are that desperate for something to do, Sir,” Corporal Turner quickly backtracked.
“But seriously though, if someone has an issue with their workload, they should talk to their senior officer. If your tasks are running low, let me know and I’ll figure something out. If other people feel like they can’t approach their senior officer, then let me know and I’ll see what I can do about it.”
“Well, some of the other officers can be a little daunting to approach, especially some of the Sub-Lieutenants, and it seems most other teams aren’t comfortable going up a level above them, so everyone just seems to talk amongst each other.”
“Hmm, I’ll have a word and see if something can be pushed down then,” he assured her.
“Thank you, Sir.”
“Is there anything else anyone wishes to highlight now?” Daniel asked.
“I would like to know how long we plan on remaining in orbit like this, Sir,” Corporal Kreklan asked.
“I don’t know for sure. It depends on the aforementioned seed and egg vault. We could be leaving as early as tomorrow, or we could be out here for another week. I can’t say any more than that.”
“Do you know what we will be doing once we do leave though, Sir?” the Centaur asked.
“Either assisting with the Langan’s resettlement or going on leave, though some people will be going on leave regardless, namely the crew of the Ridgerider, who are being given some time after their recent experience.”
“If that is all…? Time to move onto the reports then!” Daniel declared, watching everyone’s shoulders sink.
“Ah, Hardbrooks, just the man I wanted to see,” Captain Harris exclaimed as he entered her ready room, gesturing for him to sit down. “How can I help?”
“I just wanted to give you some feedback from a recent team meeting,” he began, taking a seat. “My team is in a fairly comfortable position, but there are some concerns around the crew in general. Workloads seem very light, and people seem apprehensive to approach superiors for new orders.”
“I’m aware. Unfortunately, we just have too many people on the ship. We have an above average level of automation, as well as an above average number for crew, and the situation we’re in only calls for a small proportion of them to work. Command wanted to be sure we had everyone we could need, but didn’t stop to think about the consequences of that,” she grumbled, rubbing her eyes. “I’ll be honest, the Navy won’t be handling any future exploration missions like this once I’ve had a nice little chat with Command. But, in the meantime, I’ll cascade some more work to keep people busy, and authorise more downtime. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.”
“Of course, Captain, and thank you as well,” he replied. “Was there something you wanted to speak to me about?”
“Yes. Do you remember your time back in Bunker 26?”
“It’s hard to forget it collapsing with us inside.”
“I’m sure, and I’m not sending you back down before you get worried. I wanted to ask you about the state of the bunker while you were down there. The recordings didn’t come out clear enough to pick up on some small things.”
“Oh, like what?”
“We’ve had serious issues with sections of the bunker collapsing. What was the state of it when you entered?”
“Very icy, but intact. Obviously that changed when the ice started melting with our activity and some chunks of ice fell down, but there was only the one collapse when we left.”
“So no obvious large cracks lining the floor, walls, and ceiling?”
“I see…. No chance you could have missed them?” she asked, flicking up a hologram of the bunker.
“Small cracks, maybe, but nothing like that,” he replied, staring in shock at the long cracks stretching around the bunker, almost dividing it in half. “Captain-”
“Yes, it’s very dangerous, and it’s obvious that things are falling apart very quickly. We’re just trying to figure out how quickly.”
“How much has been extracted?”
“About 30%. We’re not getting it all out. The vault is starting to show signs of collapsing too.”
“And we still have people in there?”
“We’re trying to extract the remaining eggs. The seeds have a better chance of surviving being frozen, so now we’re just guaranteeing that enough of all species survive to repopulate.”
“Is it worth the risk though?”
“That’s what I’m trying to determine. Shield generators have been installed to support the roof, but it’s not clear if they’ll be able to hold back a cave-in.”
“I don’t think it is. If we suffer from another accident, there’s no guarantee a Deity will step in to save everyone again. In fact, it’s probably guaranteed that none will after they essentially stepped in to tell us that place is a bad idea.”
“Very well, I’ll tell Vice Admiral Braun that another person that has experienced that place is saying pull out,” she concluded.
“So I’m not the first to say people should get out?”
“No, but you’re the most senior person that isn’t me.”
“... How has this been justified so far!?”
“... I think I’m going to lodge a complaint.”
“Here you go,” she replied, sliding a tablet across her desk.
“Wow, thanks,” he replied, looking at the already near complete form, reviewing all the input details to make sure that they were all correct. “Is there anything else worrying about the Vice Admiral’s command that I might want to review?”
“Nothing related to you. He’s just pushing the limits of safety when the normal precautions can’t be established.”
“Hmm…. Why does it seem like everyone above us is incompetent?”
“The Navy is under a lot of pressure from the Government to sort this whole situation out. The President of the UPC found out about the signal a couple of years ago, and since then he’s been hounding Command to get out here and identify the source and deal with it. Command has thankfully been shielding us from the pressure for the most part, but now they’re getting sloppy after they can finally see the end in sight.”
“That changes my opinion about a few things.”
“I’m sure it does, but they’re still making inexcusable mistakes, especially now that the element of time has essentially been re-” “Captain, we have seismic disturbances around Bunker 26!”
someone announced over comms.
“Get the team out immediately,” she ordered, jumping out of her chair.
“Expecting this?” Daniel asked as he rose as well. “That’s one hell of a coincidence….”
“I had those sensors installed for a reason, even if I didn’t know the timing,” she replied, rushing to the bridge. “What’s the team’s status!?”
“They’re all exiting the bunker as fast as they can,” Lieutenant Commander Sentrela replied. “Someone on the ground ordered it a few seconds before you.”
“What’s the seismic situation like?”
“Increasing and originating from the bunker, though the footsteps are making it hard to accurately read,” Lieutenant Thomson explained.
“Status of the team?”
“The members are all outside. The drones are close behind,” Lieutenant Commander Sentrela told her.
“Seismic activity is spiking,” Lieutenant Thomson warned the Captain.
“I just lost a signal to a carrier drone,” Lieutenant Commander Williams announced. “And a second. The rest are out of the bunker.”
“Confirming collapse of Bunker 26. I’m not detecting any voids underground. The vault isn’t there anymore,” Lieutenant Thomson stated.
“Am I correct in thinking the team made it out?” Captain Harris asked.
“We have no casualties, only two lost drones,” Lieutenant Commander Sentrela confirmed. “Incoming communication from the CNS Batlow, Ma’am.”
“Put it through,” Captain Harris replied, sitting in her chair. “Captain Harris, did you just order operations to stop at Bunker 26?”
Vice Admiral Braun asked over the comm.
“I did, though I wasn’t the first to give the order,” she replied. “Why? This will delay the operation further.”
“Because the operation at Bunker 26 has concluded. It’s collapsed. We didn’t suffer any casualties because that order was given out.”
The Vice Admiral paused for a moment, evidently caught off guard. “I didn’t give you the authority to halt operations though.”
“Saving lives in split second decisions is well within my authority, Vice Admiral,” she replied, slightly emphasising the first part of his rank. "Every senior officer present in the system has the right to call an operation off if they deem it necessary." “I should have been informed before any action was taken.”
“Vice Admiral, do you mean to say that I shouldn’t have given life saving orders? Did you not hear me when I said the bunker collapsed?” “You shouldn’t have undermined my authority.”
“Just to be clear, I shouldn’t have followed standard protocol and instead wasted precious time asking for permission before evacuating them, likely resulting in the mass loss of life? Permission I was never told I needed, nor should I need?” “Well….”
“Yes or no? Make it very clear for the record please.”
The comms cut off.
“Make sure that one is correctly saved. I might have to push for some changes in the house when we get back.”
submitted by The_Fallen_1
to HFY [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 20:59 Snoo-76883 Had sex with my ex. Don't know how to feel about it.
I (M18) broke up with my present ex (F21) about seven weeks ago. She dropped out in October but before that we went to college together- thus we share the vast majority of our friends. The break was very awkward because of this- our friends got spread thin between the two of us and we didn’t like the feeling of having to “split custody”. To solve this, a week ago we met again to resolve the tension and see if we could work as friends and it went amazingly, and this week we’ve been at small gathering four times without anything getting weird. The only tension I felt is when she drove me home each of those times- and for a moment before I got out of the car each night I felt like we were about to kiss. We did not- a small part of me wanted to but I recognized it would be a bad move. Last night we went to a function at which she was again the designated driver. I got fairly drunk at this function and when she drove me home I invited her in to get some of her things that she left behind. I got more wine from my kitchen and continued to drink more (I think I have a bit of a problem but that is another topic.) She lingered and we chatted and a tension grew and I got drunker until eventually she kissed me. In a mess of arms and legs our clothes fell away and we had sex for two hours and then she left- at which point I was in a drunken stupor. I woke up today feeling sick enough from poor sleep and the booze but then I remembered what happened and I felt even worse. I feel really weird about it and regret having done it- especially as I fear she might want to get back together with me which I am absolutely incapable of doing both because of reasons related to myself (I am being evaluated for a very likely diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder which has obliterated my sense of self, I am a budding alcoholic, I am extremely spread thin in my life) and her (I still have distinctly sour feelings regarding our relationship- through which she consistently took all she could from me without any sense of reciprocity). I'm at loose ends as to what to do about this now that I've woken up again- and I'm just upset that I agreed to do it in the first place. Another concern is that this will put even more strain on my friends if it becomes an ordeal- and I am not certain that they would not exile me from our group if it became too much. All this and I have the worst hangover of my life, AND I had plans to see this ex and our closest friends this afternoon. Any wisdom would be appreciated.
submitted by Snoo-76883
to BreakUps [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 20:55 A_Long_Story_Short The Testament
Wretched screams were they that once filled this house. Horrible, blood curdling cries. The type that would pierce the ears and vibrate right through the chest. But it wasn’t just the cries themselves that scarred my existence. There were the workers too; always bumbling through the corridors, trampling around with their syringes and vials. “Help” is what they claimed to be. Yet, they deprive this house—MY house—of its serenity. I suppose some might say their sympathy and purpose was honorable, but the honor of such things is lost when they are applied to such a decrepit being. Upon such creatures, only death is honor—is mercy.
Now, only regret fills my time. Just a single recollection of the moment and it is as if my mouth were filled with ashes. It is not with ego that I say I am a man of great scholarly accomplishment. Certainly, a man of my station would never let madness cloud his mind. Surely, you will see that truth when I recount what started this all.
From the pounding of hooves in the night, I had awoken. It was a grave matter; they had said then. Only a man of standing, of academic connection could provide the aid for which they so badly wanted. How can one deny their own flesh and blood, especially when that hospitality was to be repaid? It was with the best, purest faith that I called in those resources that they lacked. A doctor in practice I am no longer, but the Hippocratic oath is still my code.
I stake my reputation on the fact that inheritances never entered my mind. How could one ever desire to take fortunes tainted by the ownership of that...that thing? I promise that it has never been said that I am unkind. Wounds never have I inflicted upon another human being. Not even to my hound I was cruel. But what kindness do we give the pests that have felled the tree? What care do we give the maggot that spoils meat? What empathy do we give the disease that rots a man’s flesh?
From the first I witnessed it enter my sight, clawing its way out the carriage and across the road to my halls all garbed in black shawls, my heart grew cold. At that instant, it became clear that the only action—the only rational action—was to cry that the agreement was voided, and that my doors would be shut to them, until it was once again corralled in a wayward carriage. But with my reputation, I had already drawn the finest of those in practice to my secluded home, and I would be breaking a vow to my own flesh and blood.
My life I would stake into the hands of every specialist who undertook this work. Perhaps, in the most fantastic of circumstances, a single physician of caliber could find themselves unwittingly misguided in their intuition. Within a league of such caliber, an already extraordinary possibility becomes so miniscule that it is rendered entirely impossible. Of course, as utmost professionals with a healthy level of respect—even admiration—of my work coloring their disposition towards me, they danced around it, never landing on the coarse truth at the heart of the matter. However, I could see it in their eyes—yes, I could see it—as clearly as I tell this tale to you now. A revulsion so all-consuming, that it was as if something of the soul had wasted away during their time in that room. With the most artful eye and mute foot, I observed them when they thought themselves out of my sight, their lips trembling with a truth unspoken.
One by one, they all left my house. Always, there was some polite excuse. Something or other about some important work they must return to. Like a sheet over a corpse, the real truth was obvious. In time, only a scant few of their interns were left with me, poor fools stumbling around the corridors of the house, trying to forget each breath they had taken from the sickening air of the room it had burrowed itself in to.
Ask anyone with which I’ve made contact, my word is my bond. Not a SINGLE stain is painted upon my history. Betrayal is a sin so horrible, that I endured months of this torment praying that nature would do my labor for me. It was with terrible weight of obligation pounding through my practiced hands that I arranged the right course—the only course—for full satisfaction of my promise. How many of those with not a third of the experience, utterly repugnant of any medicinal sense, would slander me as a quack, while they stand behind their little desks in clean linen? HA! Would a quack’s hand move with a maestro’s grace, divining the exact formulation to silence the beast? To those who would call me inhumane, do we not lance a boil? Cauterize a wound with searing flame? Slice through the bone of a decaying limb? As you can see, my methods were so merciful, so virtuous, that it is a credit to my character that I chose them in the first place.
With passionate clarity reserved only for those desperate times when a man must complete his task to live, I set upon my work with a meticulousness that surely couldn’t be considered anything less than logical. There were only 3 hours of the day in which it creeped back under its lair in the covers, the shrill shrieking traded for an unsettling wheezing moan. In only one of those three hours was it not under watch by the exhausted, empty eyes of whichever of the few attendants left who could bear it that night. Thus, I ascended the stairs only when I was absolutely certain the assistant unlucky enough to be on watch had retired to an uneasy slumber; stepping in time with the howling wind that battered the exterior of the house with a precision almost unnatural. Upon reaching the top of the creaking staircase, I paused with a soundless breath. I felt like a shadow gliding soundlessly towards the door, as if guided by the movement of some divine hand. There, I rested my handle gently—oh so gently—upon the iron knob of the door, preparing myself for the sight to come. I dared not peek through the glass opening in the door, not wishing to see any more of the thing than necessary. With a motion so slight it was barely perceptible; my fingers turned the heavy knob. The process was so painstakingly done that I couldn’t help but feel a small surge of pride at my composure.
Finally, the door lurched slowly forward, but I dared not move it more than an inch. A seeping stench invaded my nostrils, so moist it felt like it had left a dew inside me. It took all the fortitude I had to not be repelled backwards from the sensation. I lurched, stifling gags for what felt like an hour as I—ever so slowly—poked my head through the opening of the door. Mustering all the tolerance humanly possible, I gradually pushed the door open, the low grind of its movement against the wood floor masked by the raging storm outside.
Having numbed my senses to the room, I crept forward. My steps were slow and methodical, calculated for complete silence. As I approached the bed, I was unshaken about the deed before me. And why should I be? I was a veteran of countless surgeries. Balancing life and death at the tip of my finger was nothing new to me, nor was staking my livelihood on my capacity to do it successfully. If anything, this should have been easier. There was no tightrope to walk here—none indeed. I only needed to drip a few drops from my vial, and the whole operation would be over.
At the same moment as I hunched over to the bedside, a sudden spree of lightning bathed the windows pale blue. With the room momentarily lit, my destination took on a discernibility both terrible and ugly. Its fat lips quivered in a wheeze, surrounded by mottled flesh and blighted features. Every pore in sight spoke its putrefaction soundlessly. My eyes I kept locked in place—singularly focused. Even physicians have limits; Mine was taking in anymore of this deformity than necessary. Thankfully—oh so thankfully—muscle memory jolted in. The contents of the vial were dispensed in the creature before I could even consciously register it.
It was there that I thought my ordeal over, but before I could breathe a foolhardy sigh of relief, bony, calloused fingers wrapped tight around my wrist—tight with animal desperation. Instinctually, I drew my arm back in surprise, yet I only helped it rise to chest level. With its claws still digging deep into my wrist, it fought against my escape from its death bed. I dared not glance back, unfortunately, there was nothing I could do to protect my ears.
The last ounce of its strength was driven into a shattering scream, the most violent attack on my senses in all its time infesting my manor. Before that night, I had borne witness to many dying patients. Death was rarely a peaceful visitor, but this was something different—entirely different. What the thing produced in death, as in life, grouped it in its own class. The screech seemed to drill through my ears and then rattle across the caverns of my skull. It was not just heard—it was felt—and I speak not only of volume when I relay this to you. A wet spattering sprayed upon my head in enough bulk that beads of it oozed down my neck. Perhaps even worse than the physical assault was the spiritual; the cry was filled with an unfathomably deep anguish and venom. It was as if the thing, in its final revenge on life, had poured out every drop of darkness it had gathered from it.
Finally, the assault was alleviated by the silence of death’s departure, although I was so thoroughly shell shocked by the creature’s calamitous final act that several moments passed before I realized it. My ears still rung with an unheard echo as I finally glanced over and noticed the attendant at my side. For the slightest moment, I stared blankly, feeling my plans exposed, but I quickly regained my composure, despite the growing concern on his face as he continued to repeat his questioning. There was a certain authority I had, as not just a member of a respected field, but a distinguished one. I had the leverage here. Even so, the ease with which I evaded and disarmed the attendant’s concerns proved to myself that my sanity had not transpired with the creature.
By the time I—at last—departed from the room, the attendant was a willing—perhaps even eager—participant in removing the body. We wrapped its corpse in sheets—several layers deep—and delivered it for incineration with pace. The disposal was finished by the morning, and within days, my home was returned to its prior state. It felt as if I had awoken from a nightmare to serenity that seemed so long past it was almost forgotten. In my ignorance, I began to fall into an unearned sense of comfort. If only I could have remained in that ignorant bliss, but my mind was too active—my eye too discerning.
From what I’ve recounted thus far, it must be clear that I was stressed, but even clearer that I kept my faculties intact to complete the necessary cruelties a doctor cannot shrink from. Even with all that accepted—even with what trust has been earned—I expect doubt to overwhelm your reading as I confess my part in the tragedy that consumed this town. Lend your ear, for just a moment longer, and you’ll find I have saved lives—not taken them.
It was from within that my all too brief respite was broken. A gnawing sense of malaise, both of the body and mind, grew in such strength that it overwhelmed the peace I had rediscovered. Even with my acute perception and training, its source I could not immediately place. Only with the irritation and congestion did I finally come to the terrible realization—as a subtle wheeze began to creep into each breath I took. Surely, some who read this will think I am mistaken. That alternative explanations exist and what I read into the symptom was simply a delusion of paranoia. Were they privy to its breathing day and night? Do they have the rattled burned in their memory? No…this connection was not coincidental. As terrifying as it was to consider my own infection, worse yet were my thoughts when I began to consider the extent of its exposure beyond myself.
An awful, crushing weight had fallen on my shoulders. Undoubtably, many will say my response was criminal. You may feel the urge to join their ranks—to cry out damning the madman that destroyed your town. Yet, once you can see the whole story—see it from my eyes, you will find there was not a sliver of madness painting my actions. I had to make the ultimate sacrifice, and under this burden, I locked myself in my chamber for hours—perhaps days. No man—inside which self-preservation is natural instinct—could ever take my course without bone grating internal conflict. Only with the confidence uniquely obtained by suffering through meticulous consideration, did I finally move back into waking life.
Intervention was the only course to prevent an even bleaker fate, and I set upon it with scientific efficiency. I hired local stage drivers to help me enter into correspondence with all who had moved on from my manor out of town, then I drew up a route to hand deliver, from my personal stagecoach, an invitation to all who remained locally. While on that journey, I employed several former assistants. I made sure those I used were in the early stages—if sick at all. They were sent to secure accommodation for a feast while I secured its occupants.
It was the wait to complete this second task that created a wave of anxiousness in me. It rose to such an extent that it threatened to crack the stoic veneer I had learned to maintain from professional experience. Stress ate at me as much or more than sickness, as I awaited confirmation of attendance from those I invited and hoped I could continue to be convincing in my communications with them. It was imperative my net reach as far as possible, and despite the creeping doubt in the pit of my stomach, I soon learned my efforts were not in vain.
At last, the night came. My fears were unfounded, as the vast majority of those I invited were in attendance. The spread could still be contained. Surely, it will be suspected by doubters that I operated without discernment; that I went about my operation indiscriminately—WRONG! Every single invitee was admitted to the hall only after deliberate inspection—nobody’s eye is as sharply tuned to this affliction as I. Sadly, scarce few escaped the quarantine. Nearly all those invited were in the structure when I slipped out—having already addressed the crowd with a few perfunctory remarks on the value of their work and set them forward to enjoy the banquet free of expense. So cleverly had I set the attendees at ease, that they hardly noticed my disappearance, remaining entirely absorbed in the event as I barred the exits.
Most died happy as a silent cleanser passed to them via cup and plate. The few stragglers that remained met a less tranquil end via the chemical ignition of the entire building. All met a fate better than what the untreated progression of their illness would have achieved. As I prepare to join them and put an end to this procedure, I leave this letter to remain as a testament that my judgement never faltered.
submitted by A_Long_Story_Short
to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 20:54 TheRetroWorkshop Hard & Accurate Sci-fi Tip #1: Sports & Relaxation:
Note: This is a series I want to create, centred around some given element or facet of worldbuilding and storytelling. Primarily, each post will either be a piece of hard science in terms of physics or logistics or otherwise core elements of the setting itself (such as military structure), or non-physical core elements of the people and their world (such as sports and personal enjoyment matters, for emotional regulation and social stability, among other reasons). In short: all the things that actually create a functional, realistic culture.
A random (meaning, I have just picked it at random for today), often overlooked element within space opera (and sci-fi in general) would be all things recreational. You might not find a good way to heavily feature this into your (say) novel, game, or screenplay, but it can be something to just touch upon, and have in your notes, as it will at least indirectly relate to the wider world you're building (so, it's worth knowing, as the author).
The logic is very simple: using humanity as a fundamental base (technically, an axiom), we can conclude that any humanoid or even alien species would have to gift themselves some kind of national sport, wargame, gambling system, or otherwise. The real-world examples literally encompass almost all of culture itself, making me believe that if your people are even remotely humanoid in their fundamental nature, then the recreational is a core facet of culture itself. This is so integrated into our real culture (rather, cultures) that we take it for granted, and don't even think about it when it comes to fiction-writing. But, it's a nice thing to add if you want added realism and stability, or an extra human touch.
For whatever reason, fantasy seems to feature invented sports and the like far more than sci-fi (unless such is the entire narrative of the sci-fi story, of course -- and, then, it's typically car-based). If we look to history, we clearly have the very creation of modern dice (India) as a gambling tool, and we have wargames (Go and Chess, etc.) as either direct military training tools (wargames proper), or abstracted wargames for more general use, since at least 3000 BC. Sports-wise, we see Blood Bowl (Warhammer fantasy sports game), Quidditch (fantasy; Harry Potter, which is akin to football mixed with netball in the air), and a dozen major examples from sci-fi, often featuring murder and cars (which we could see as a kind of replacement for the Roman and Greek sports), or else some kind of American sport hybrid. These include Real Steel, Futuresport, The Running Man, Rollerball, and Death Race (also, movies by the same names).
The aforementioned are obviously plot devices, and possibly don't have a place within your space opera setting and story. But, the fundamental drive and psychology are there. There are a few other examples from sci-fi board games and novels. Not to mention general sports and activities, such as Swimming.
Personally, I have made my national sport and recreation activity Swimming. The reason is four-fold: (1) it is a driver for both health and relaxation; (2) it can be social and peaceful; (3) for symbolic reasons; and (4) because there is likely not much water in space, yet humans still have a deep drive towards water (naturally, this is only applicable to any water-based culture, such as humans). It also occurs to me that water is a natural fitting for space, more so, if we take the TV trope, 'space is an ocean' (which does seem to be the natural categorisation, though it's not the only one). Another reason might be that it creates a reward system/social mobility, or at least the implication of such. Maybe, boarding a spaceship and taking a trip to the 'local' Swimming Centre is the week's holiday for your lower class people. On the other hand, maybe the high class types sit in Swimming Centres all the time. Not an uncommon trend throughout both fiction and history, as you might imagine.
That's just my own example, and may act as a springboard (no pun intended). You can justify dozens of real sports and otherwise activities, or invent your own. They may be readily accessible, or limited to certain classes of people or otherwise groups. There will likely be many different activities and sports for all your peoples, just as we see on Earth.
If you're writing a novel, just one trip to one sports centre or otherwise will do the trick, assuming you have planted in the reader's mind the notion that this is very normal and healthy for the culture/people. Best is to try and fit it into the wider plot, or else as a passing element (a few pages). One natural way to deal with this is to tie such into a wider theme or plot-point. Don't just have people randomly go Swimming just to inform the readers that they are Swimming. You need to work it in a bit better than that.
Depending on your culture, you may want a dozen violent/unhealthy sports and activities, or you (i.e. your culture's governing body, etc.) may only regulate more peaceful, healthy ones. I would try and tie this into the wider theme, anyway, and take into account the kind of people/culture you have. For example, you may or may not want Football with ant-like robots. On the other hand, bottle-tossing for big space Russians always sounds like a fun game.
If your culture is based on Americans or Hongkongian, for example, then you should think about their native sports and activities, and how that might fit into whatever you're doing with them in space/the future. Other than that, you need to consider the (a) disposition of your culture; (b) the history of your culture; (c) the function of your culture; (d) the state of your culture; and (e) the peoples of your culture. Although this is not an exhaustive list, it should suffice.
It also occurs to me, we just don't see enough sports in space outside of these movies/stories that are wholly dedicated to said sports, which is weird considering how sport-obsessed humans have become since 500 BC (but, especially since 1920 AD). This is often in relation to the ruling classes in rich, urban settings (cities/towns), or the average citizens in urban areas, finding a bit more free time on their hands (i.e. Scotland and England circa 1920 AD). Makes sense: you have bored, work-less nobles, or even workers with nothing to do. They need something to do; thus, they invented all sorts of games, wargames, and sports. You see this with horse-related games, ball-related games, and even something like fox tossing. Tennis was 'the game' (popular sport) of the middle classes and above by the 1880s through the 1980s (hence, most early video sports games of the 1950s through 1970s were all Tennis-based). Worth noting that most early video games were themselves sports games or wargames! Actually, most video games are wargames circa 2023 AD, with a vast number of the rest being sports. I stress this only to stress the importance of such things to human culture and entertainment... indeed, most of our entertainment is also either war-based (Boxing, etc.) or otherwise sports (Football, etc.). Not shockingly, most modern sports were invented, therefore, in the British Empire (sometimes with French or Dutch roots). Older sports are seemingly universal -- ranging from Africa to Native Americans to India -- and are typically ball-based (classically, often using heads, or else leather balls).
Of course, most sports are impossible in zero gravity, so I'm just assuming you're creating some kind of zero gravity war-based game, or otherwise sport (fundamentally throwing-based or ball-based), or your culture is on a planet or space station of some kind, which has artificial gravity.
Tron is a great example of offering some inspiration (duel type, and others), not to mention Spy Kids 3D (car race), Speed Racer (car race), and Ready Player One (car race). Then, you have combat training type games (I'll just call these 'physical wargames') and VR games (Gamer movie, for example), not to mention VR holiday trips.
Speaking of which, I'm reminded of Germany's vast, cheap, powerful cruise trip system by 1938, which saw millions of working (and fairly poor) Germans taking such Party-run trips and holidays (mostly a propaganda tool, funded with blood money, of course). In the more modern context, this is what we saw by the 1950s in America and England with various holiday sites, theme parks, modern cruise trips, and beach holidays (though these do date to at least 1920, but typically only by the middle classes and above). No less, Tolkien himself once came on holiday to the town I live in (on the coast, North of England), which was a famous holiday town back in the 1850s through 1960s. This was commonplace, including long walks through the woods and various built-up areas. Even in the 1700s, people began going to the 'sea air' for so-called health benefits. In reality, this was likely due to the fact the city air was unhealthy. The sea air was simply fresh, clean air (though, it likely is good for you, psychologically speaking, compared to the grey-state of city life). All of this to say that humans have a deep desire to be in nature, and to relax. This is true most of all for the rich and urbanised (as you can imagine).
Space theme park, anyone? Giant cinema on the Moon? Sure, why not. Titanic cruise trip across the galaxy? Doctor Who already did that, but you get my point! There is much to be done, and you only have to add a few such items, and briefly touch upon them, but I think it does wonders for the human connection, and some added realism (assuming such correctly fits your setting and themes).
There are many other activities of note, of course, including but not limited to art groups, acting/plays, drinking games, general board/video games, card/dice/token games, sword-based sports, hunting, Shooting (sport), and actual warfare.
The only other thing I should like to say is that gambling is not always wholly a negative, nor drinking. These ensure that people have something to do at the end of eacfh day/week, without rioting against the system or going insane/depressed. Gambling and drinking are about as old as modern culture itself (at least 7,000 years), so it's not a trivial matter. You may or may not want these in your setting in some manner: think that the key positive function to gambling is social mobility, as it allows poor people to climb up the social ladder by winning large sums of money (or, rather, gives them the hope of such). However, this needs to be contained, because (a) you actually need people to climb the social ladder, unless they are kept there; and (b) studies indicate that gambling doesn't actually work in this way, as most winners fall back to zero after 12 months. This assumes you have some kind of social caste system, which is money-driven, of course (which is very common). Drinking is simple: it keeps men off the streets and not as depressed, which is very good for a functional culture (despite the major negative social (and health) impacts of drinking itself according to studies). Alcohol comes to us via the Arabic, and I read that it comes from at least 7,000 BC. I read that gambling stems from many games/betting from 'knucklebones' (goats/sheep, mostly, around the Near East, then India, China, Greece, etc.), around 5000 BC (at least). I'm not sure if this was purely for gambling purposes, or the later form of divination (hence, the origin of dice). We still treat dice (such as in modern board games) as if we are fighting the gods of fate... as if we are making a bet with the future itself. This is part of 'divination', at least. This makes sense, if you think about it in a Jungian and Darwinian context (most of all, of the typical male brain pattern of high risk and high reward, clearly stemming from hunting). This would be pure speculation, but I like to think that these early gamblers were betting on Fate, struggling with the spirits of the animals of said bones (goats/sheep), maybe trying to get good omen/luck from them. We have certainly seen a great deal of such activity in the past, as evidenced by cave paintings and various omen rituals. I believe a future space human culture would have such things in place, too, just in different ways.
Right now, for example, the major form of gambling is hitting young boys via video games and their 'loot crate' systems, which is actually very dangerous and often illegal. These are almost always on war-driven games, so the connection back to hunting goats and bone-dice is not such a leap -- it's just a simulated, digital, nested form. Another major form of gambling over the last few decaes has been Boxing, which is literal combat/fighting between man. If your space opera has a primary focus on actual warfare, however, I think such sports and games are unneeded (for the most part). Only within a non-war context would your culture require such replacements (i.e. sports and wargames), but I do believe the royals/nobles of your setting would have such activities, as they are likely to have great amounts of free time, and not actively enage in warfare (though, you could primarily fill their time with politics and/or religion).
I have said enough for today. Ah, speaking of which: talking might be another consideration for your culture. This is literally as old as man, and does count as such an activity in the context of debate. You famously find this within the Jewish and Islamic worlds: likely because they don't enage with the other items I mentioned as much, and their religions require great moral debate and such. On the other hand, Buddhism requires a lot of silent thinking (which is a kind of debate, in a sense). This heavily depends on your culture's primary religion and otherwise. Some cultures are almost purely geared towards warfare, for example, like the Akkadian Empire (though we are likely a bit harsh on that). In this case, the focus would be on action. If your culture is anything like the modern West, then it's also going to be heavily driven by action, purely due to the speed of the culture and its workers. How this manifests itself depends on the type of government and culture you have in place (the Dutch Empire vs. the U.S., for example).
I'm sure I've forgotten a few key items and categories, and I'm sorry for that!
(Clearly, within a cyberpunk direction or more classical space opera context, the primary free-time activities and modes tend to be centred around sex, war, and/or slave-labour, as shown by Star Wars in general, for example. This may or may not fit your world and story, however. The other core negative item would be gambling, which is the only item which doesn't innately involve the body, though often bleeds over into various animal gambling games/activities. You may find that you have certain sci-fi/space creatures in your world, for example, and find yourself creating a gambling game out of that. Typically, you either make said creatures fight each other or race/run. This typically keeps the more lower classes engaged in the 'slums' sector (typically of a planet). Very common trope/theme, as noted in the bright-cyberpunk-space-opera sort of movie, The Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), when they go to a trading hub planet, filled with crime, sex rings, and gambling, including little weird creatures fighting each other, akin to dog fighting or such on Earth. But, again: you don't actually require this, it's just one popular way to go within the wider sci-fi context, and it serves a few purposes, in-universe.)
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2023.05.28 20:53 Blursed-Penguin No Rest for the Wicked 30
Georgy sat at his console on the bridge of the Nikitovna, trying to ignore the constant bustle going on around him. His mind overflowed with worries and doubts. Something was wrong, he was sure of it. The commander of the rival fleet had run amok seemingly without support from their homeland, but had received some three additional fleets’ worth of ships without much fuss shortly afterward. There had to have been something the Poslushi weren’t showing.
Georgy’s phone buzzed in his pocket; someone was calling him. He pulled out the device and checked the caller ID: Svetlana. He tapped the green Answer button and put the phone to his ear. “Hello, is this Admiral Kuznetsov?” the light voice of his niece said.
“Yes, Svetka. What is it?”
“Are you busy?” Svetlana’s tone was almost pleading.
“Well, I have news. I, erm…” Svetlana paused, trying to find the words. Her voice trembled slightly with nerves.
“Spit it out, Svetka.”
“I, uh, found somebody. He’s really nice.”
“Is it that German boy?”
The line went dead for a moment. “How in God’s name did you know?”
“I’m not blind, Svetka; I saw how you eyed him. Is he with you?”
“Yes, Uncle. Do you want to speak with him?”
“Yes, please.” Georgy replied. There was a minor clatter on the other end, and then a more masculine voice spoke, a slightly synthetic edge to it given by a translator. “Admiral Kuznetsov, sir.”
“Johann, is that your name?”
“Why are you after my daugh–my niece, Captain?” Georgy hastily corrected himself; Svetlana hated it when he called her his daughter, even though he had been her guardian long enough for the distinction to become moot.
“I think we have chemistry, sir. We get along well, she’s quite funny, and she’s so unbelievably smart.”
“And why am I to believe that once she ceases to amuse or provide an intellectual challenge, you will not leave her, Captain? My niece is a good Russian lady; she courts to marry, not entertain.”
“I don’t think that’ll ever happen, sir. She certainly hasn’t gotten any less interesting so far.”
“Are you going to marry her?”
Georgy could faintly hear Svetlana facepalming and suppressed a chuckle. “I’m sorry, sir?”
“Did you not hear what I said? Svetlana courts to marry.”
There was a pause while Johann considered his options. Then, “If it works out, then I’ll marry her.”
“That’s a good answer; you’re not presumptuous like some of the others. Now, will you treat her correctly and with respect to her ladyhood?”
“And will you appreciate her day after day?”
“And are you willing to demonstrate that you can be a good courtier and husband, to me and her, before our very eyes?”
Georgy nodded. “Then we have no quarrel. For now.”
“Thank you… sir?”
Suddenly, the wavering voice of the radar officer rose above the general hum of the bridge. “Admiral…?”
“What is it?” he turned, cupping his hand over the phone.
“Registering new contacts on the forward sensors, sir. A lot of contacts, sir.”
“Uncle? What’s wrong?” Svetlana asked.
“I’ll call you later, Svetka.” Georgy said hastily, cutting the connection before she could respond. Then, he leapt from his seat and went to see the radar holograph.
At first, his eyes refused to accept the dense cloud of blinking red dots that had appeared on the opposite side of the planet as being really there. Perhaps an asteroid that had previously gone undetected had gone within the planet’s Roche limit and fractured, but it wouldn’t explain the dispersion of the contacts. Besides, rock chunks didn’t emit radio signals. Georgy’s jaw fell agape in abject horror as the radar officer read out the counts.
Eleven thousand enemy craft. Seven thousand of them were slave and supply barges, with the rest being a mixture of different combat vessels. There were hundreds of the same cruisers their commander piloted, along with dozens of even larger battleships, with estimated tonnages in the hundreds of thousands. However, even these titans were dwarfed in mass by the thousands of little frigates, who outweighed them by sheer numbers. CAST’s aerospace forces were outnumbered thirty to one, and their men on the ground were not by much better.
Poslush had stopped seeing this as a game.
“Wh-what do we do?” the radar officer asked, his face pale and eyes wide with terror.
Georgy took a breath, trying to collect his thoughts. “We call our men on the ground. And we tell them to get the hell off Omen.”
“Well, that was… awkward.” Johann said, putting the phone down on the tent’s floor. Svetlana looked at him comfortingly.
“It went a lot better than with some of the other men I brought home.”
“Oh?” Johann raised an eyebrow.
“I had a thing for bad boys when I was just getting out of secondary school. The small-time mobster I took a liking to thought he was tough until Georgy threatened to sic the GRU on him.”
“Your uncle tried to get the Russian national intelligence service to take out your date?”
“It was a bluff; he didn’t have that kind of authority at the time. He had the company of Naval Infantry guarding his flagship at his disposal instead.”
“That isn’t any better.”
“Oh, no, it is. The Naval Infantry will just put two rounds in your chest and leave you. Shack up with the GRU, and you’ll become quite well acquainted with the bicycle pump they shove up your ass and pressurize.”
“And I thought the CIA was mean.” Johann said, raising his eyebrows and pursing his lips as he considered the prospect.
“We’re just more direct.” Svetlana said matter-of-factly, only for Johann to seemingly ignore her.
“Hear that?” Johann said, holding a hand up. The tent fell deathly silent. Then, a faint sound prickled Svetlana’s ears and made the hairs on her neck stand up straight. In the far distance, an air raid siren was wailing.
“The hell?” Johann said, standing up. Fumbling with the tent flaps, he eventually emerged to see… nothing. No distant flames of war, no screaming jets overhead. The only things wrong about the scene were the strange, shifting stars in the night sky.
Suddenly, Hersch grabbed him from behind, pulling him away from the tent. “Hess! Come on, we need to get the tank!”
“Johann? What’s happening?” Svetlana asked, peeking out from the tent.
“I don’t know–I’ll tell you as soon as I do!” Johann cried hastily, then turned and ran with Hersch.
“The hell’s going on!?” Johann yelled.
“New offensive! We have to push the lines forward or they’ll punch through to the base!”
Soon, they arrived within sight of the Leopard. Hiedrich waved them closer from the commander’s cupola, dropping down into the vehicle as they approached. Johann jumped down after him and situated himself in his seat, Hersch slamming the hatch behind himself as he got in the driver’s spot. Seconds later, the tank’s engine purred to life and it shot forward, joining a growing line of armored vehicles that led out of Fort von Richthofen.
Johann slipped his radio headphones on and listened intently to what the commander of the 467th was saying.
“...receiving reports of large numbers of enemy craft in low orbit. The Poslushi have summoned reinforcements, possibly numbering in the millions. CAST is pulling back to fortify Kormoran and New ‘Couver, but they need to buy time first. That’s where we come in. Our task is to hold the line against the Poslushi long enough to evacuate Fort von Richthofen, and then we’re out. Over.”
Johann thumbed the transmitter switch on his radio and broadcast to the remainder of his platoon. “Well, you heard the man. Proceed to defensive positions, over.”
A GPS screen to his right flashed twice, and a position at the very edge of the plateau Fort von Richthofen was situated on was highlighted. “Hersch, you know what to do.” Johann ordered. Hersch nodded and the Leopard adjusted course, leading the rest of the platoon north. Along the way, Johann shuddered with horror. A million was a number almost impossible to even think about, much less several. Johann hadn’t really considered the possibility that he wouldn’t make it home; of course, it was always there, but it never really came across his mind for more than a few seconds. Now, however, that dark chance was fully in view. For a moment, Johann wanted to stop the tank, to shut everything out and try to imagine that it would all be okay.
Then, a steely calm descended over him. He wasn’t fighting for himself alone, but everyone. The fate of every human being presently alive and yet to be born hinged on his duty. If he were to die in service to his nation, CAST, humanity itself…
Then so be it.
“Wait. How many?” President Herald asked, his hand reflexively covering his heart.
“Eleven thousand, sir. It’s estimated that a few thousand more will arrive soon, and this isn’t even close to their full fleet.” Secretary of Defense Margaret McNamara responded, her mouth drawn into a grim line. She placed a stack of papers two centimeters thick on the president’s desk, a massive set of defensive projections and increasingly-pessimistic war plans. Herald’s heart leapt into his throat as he saw a particular scenario featured prominently. The scenario, a defense plan by the name of Steadfast Shield - Patton Contingency, was drawn up under the previous administration during the Contact Wars, discussing the possibility of an encounter with a vastly more powerful and actively malicious alien intelligence. It proposed a doctrine of defeat in depth, trying not to win battles, but to simply delay the inevitable long enough to launch a series of AI-guided sleeper ships out of the galaxy by the thousands, in the hopes that one or two would escape detection and destruction, find a habitable world, and thus ensure the continuity of humanity.
Even modified for the Poslushi, who weren’t as far ahead as the hypothesized enemy, the chances of Earthborne government continuing to exist and CAST retaining its independence weren’t good. CAST’s forces, even if they joined with AHINT, would, in all likelihood, simply be crushed under the Poslush Combine’s weight of numbers, and it would only be more devastating to humanity if it escalated into a nuke-slinging match.
Still, Herald had to stay calm. The position of head of state was a paranoid depressive’s worst nightmare: one genuinely could not let their true emotions show, or risk being pounced upon by their enemies. If he lost his cool, it would only hasten the destruction of all humanity held dear.
The odds were suddenly stacked against CAST. Herald, if he were religious, would’ve had his faith shaken by now. However, he did play American football back in his college years, and if there was one thing he knew, it was that Hail Maries tended to come out of the woodwork when the team was down beyond hope.
All he had to do was make the throw. (AN: People get down on their luck sometimes. Bad things happen and they get knocked down, but the universe has a way of keeping things in balance. Luck, karma, whatever you call it, things work out in the end.
That's what people who get back up again say, anyway.
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2023.05.28 20:50 CheNoMeJodas Is DIY E-Bike worth it? And how do I know if my bicycle is "E-Bikeable?"
So recently, I have been contemplating getting a moped/scooter or an e-bike, and I think given my circumstances an e-bike would suit me better, as I can get a bike+bus type of combo commute. I made a recent post and got some good recommendations, but I have also been considering getting into more tinkering and trying to convert a bicycle I have into an e-bike, as it could also be more economical. In the post, I mentioned I am 17 with a drivers license but no car, and I would be aiming for shorter commutes with some hills and 25-35mph roads involved and hoping to maintain a fast but legal speed (28mph and under).
So the question is, for those who have done it, which I assume is a lot of people here, would it be worth DIYing for a beginner without any real mechanical knowledge or bike commuting experience? Is the money and personal maintenance a good trade-off? And more importantly, how do I know if my bicycle is fit for conversion? I believe my bicycle which my dad got me a few years back is a 2020 Specialized ISO 4210-2-R. It's a large size with a pretty light aluminum frame and worked pretty well the few times I rode it with my dad and brother on a trail. Other than that, I don't know much about it.
If I were to go through with it, where should I start looking in terms of parts and guides? I am not against spending some decent money in order to create a quality bicycle, but I am a straight beginner when it comes to any tinkering that isn't desktop computers.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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2023.05.28 20:44 gildedMint A Deep Dive Into Why I Love Kim’s Portrait (and Kim in General)
I started to play Disco Elysium(DE) for Kim. I stumbled across a post about him and how he’s literally the best man ever, and I thought, “he can’t be all that.” And then he was. Lieutenant Kim Kitsuragi is simply the man ever created, and his character portrait in the game, I think, is a hidden work of artistic genius. Here’s why:
(BTW, spoilers but probs not too many. I’ve played DE once, but I’m enamored with it all the same.)
The man, the myth, the legend: Kim Kitsuragi Okay, What the Fuck am I Looking At and Why is it GENIUS?
Kim’s portrait is uniquely his. No other character portrait is like it. At first, this doesn’t seem like much of a statement. If you look through all the beautiful portraits of DE, which you can find here: https://discoelysium.fandom.com/wiki/Category:Portraits
, you’ll notice they aren’t the most consistent in style. However, you can find motifs among certain characters that relate to one another.
- All the Hardie Boys and most characters related to Evrart have a background divided between a white block on top and a red block below it. This is inverted in Evrart’s portrait to display himself as the figurehead of the Dockworker’s Union or his true intentions with his position of power.
- The mercenaries all have a powerful and otherworldly glow to them.
- The grounded and more “put-together” characters tend to have a sharper, cleaner look to their portraits, like Jean, Joyce, Lilliene, Garte, and Kim (of course). The backgrounds of their portraits also tend to be very sharp, utilizing clear shapes or intricate line patterns.
- The portraits of more eccentric, idealistic, or unstable characters have a more wobbly/blended quality that utilizes a lot of color and pattern. Almost like they are part of the art themselves, lost to the idea of it. Good examples are the Pale Driver, Measurehead, the Mercenaries, EggHead, the Pigs, and the iterations of the corpse.
- You can even see these qualities blend together in the portraits of characters like Klassje, Cindy, and Harry. These three are integral to the city of Revachol, seemingly bearing a deeper connection to her; their choices often alter the sheer fabric of the city. Their morality changes by the player's will and viewpoint. As such, their portraits toe the line between flow and solidity, color and simplicity, and even echo each other.
It’s just super, super cool and I could go on and on about it, but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to talk about Kim and why his portrait is different. Take a look at all the portraits again. Just analyze them and the one defining quality that unifies each one. Are you back? Good. Then, you’ve probably noticed that the DE portraits are sharp and very rarely round. If I were to mimic a DE portrait, I doubt I’d use anything other than a textured block brush. Every shape is straight, angular, and bold.
And then there’s Kim Kitsuragi: front and center, haloed brilliantly by a circle of white, bright and unmarred. A feature unique from all other characters. From the moment you meet the lieutenant, the game screams: “This man will be set apart from any other you will meet in this entire experience.”
Now, I hear you saying “So what does the circle mean? I mean, it’s just a fuckin’ circle. So what Gilded? We all know Kim is great, but I think you’re overreacting about this.”And to that I say, no no no. There’s a lot that this circle can mean that’s got my brain so thoroughly whipped. So uh, let me analyze his portrait before offering my two cents on what it could mean.
Kim’s portrait gives insight into his character without even talking to him. Using previous analysis, we know the clearness of Kim’s portrait introduces him as a grounded, self-assured man, which is absolutely true. Moving on, his background employs only two colors; there’s practically no iteration in them. You could infer several conclusions from this, but I interpret it as supporting the prior point. That Kim is unshakeable in his demeanor. He’s a creature of habit, doesn’t like to blur lines, keeps himself in tune, and follows his morals to a tee. Rarely do you remove him from his objective and total worldview despite it being somewhat wishy-washy, as moralists tend to be. Kim knows who he is and relies totally and completely on himself. He does or doesn’t; He is the man he's crafted himself to be, or he is not at all; Kim is a man of the black and white. Okay, So What Does It MEAN?
So, that’s broad and could mean a lot, so here’s what I think all that could mean:
Looking at the circle through a literary lens, it may symbolize that despite being a grounded character, Kim is not a static character. He grows, no matter how you play DE. You, as the human can opener, can persuade Kim to come out of his shell. He changes from a very simple straight man archetype to a disciplined lieutenant, with delightfully dry humor and an idealist heart. His patience is god-like and shines through all the care he displays. Play Harry as virtuous and recovering, and you’ll encourage Kim to open himself up to the world around him, and to you, his friend. Refuse to be better, and Kim seems to lose his faith in Elysium, Revachol, her people, his profession, and in you. He retreats into himself, becomes more independent in his stride, and loses any trust he can and could ever give. He’s also fairly fleshed out as a person. Kim is very, very human, something I believe is essential to DE functioning. He has a ton of small quirks and facts about himself, from being a torque dork, liking SpeedFreaks FM, being gay, having smoked before, the whole pinball thing, only blushing in his ears, etc, etc, etc. There’s a lot behind Kim, and his guarded behavior makes it insanely fun when you get to discover a new thing about him. You gotta admit that Kim is an extraordinary example of a round character.
Kim’s portrait can serve as a foil to Harry’s other partner, Jean Vicquemare. I think these two are pretty fascinating as narrative foils in Harry’s life. Both believe, at some point, that Harry can become better. During the game, Jean gave up on Harry, only choosing to give our protagonist a chance when he doesn’t have to be physically involved. It’s practically impossible to convince Jean to believe that Harry can be better again; Harry had thoroughly burnt that bridge, and it doesn’t seem like Jean was ever in the greatest place to help Harry, being clinically depressed himself. Kim, however, gets a fresh start with an equally fresh Harry, and Kim gives him a lot of patience and kindness. He gives so much, that I had to suspend my disbelief to get past the first few interactions with him in-game. Kim believes, first and foremost, in loyalty; all officers of the RCM are his brothers and sisters. He’ll take that creed to his literal grave. It is the defining point of his character, this devotion. Kim will not give up on Harry unless the player refuses to choose the good cop options repeatedly. The only way to get Kim off the case is to get him severely injured or killed. But where Jean packs up and leaves Harry to his ruin, Kim stays through it all. He believes in Harry’s abilities, sees him as a brilliant detective and genuine person if you play him “good.”Play him “bad,” and Kim dedicates himself to the case, Martinaise, and Revachol. He’s determined to save the case from Harry, never thinking to abandon it. But that’s in the game, and as much as I love the portraits, all of that definitely cannot be crammed in them. But we can still see that concrete structure in both of their portraits. We can see how Kim is pictured among this bright, hopeful white among a sea of black, round and adapting. And then there’s Vicquemare, before a narrow tunnel of pitch black, closed off from the light and RCM blue. Kim focuses on brotherhood and second chances, whereas Jean is jaded against them. I think that’s an interesting detail.
Let’s build on that last one, specifically “...bright, hopeful white among a sea of black…”I’ve already stated how hopeful Kim is as a character. A lot of Disco Elysium wouldn’t work if the player didn’t hope for something like the characters do (excluding the Deserter, but that’s another discussion.) In the first playthrough, Kim provides a lot of this to the player (save for his politics and relationship with cop culture, but again, that’s for another time. Maybe. Probably not.) There’s a reason why so much of the fanbase adores him. He’s a driving force in decision-making; It’s painful to disappoint or hurt Kim. He’s hoping for the good of Martinaise, a fruitful investigation, and a new future for Harry. You want to do right by him. But even looking outside the lens of Harry, we can still see how Kim is this shining hope in a world of darkness. I’ve got to be honest and say, that I’m super biased towards Kim because, like him, I’m mixed. A lot of the story beats about him and his race hit so close to home that they almost made me cry (which means a lot! I don’t cry easily.) Kim shined to me as mixed representation, something that is not oft done and is even rarer to see done so well. We know from some of the Espirit de Corps and Shivers interactions that Kim is loved by Revachol, just as she loves all her people. Kim loves the city back; It’s the home that he puts his life on the line to protect. And yet, Revachol’s people don’t love Kim, and by extension, people like him. He has an extensive history of being othered. No matter what, he’s consistently seen for what he can’t control. For being any part Seolite, a binoclard, not masculine enough, oh let’s not even bring up the fact that he’s gay, but hey! He’s mother-fucking Kimball, the guy who spent 15 years as a Juvenile Police Officer, and so on and so forth. Kim is repeatedly given the short end of the stick in his work and daily life, and yet he continues to fight for his home and the people that refuse to acknowledge that it’s his too. He defies what those around him tell him he can do. But, to do so he wraps himself in an apathetic demeanor of quiet defiance that I know all too well. He hopes only in the confines that he allows himself to. Just enough to push out the shitiness of it all, but not so much that he sets himself up for inevitable disappointment. He rarely lets his empathy trump his loyalty as a defense mechanism. I have to stop here because I have other points and I don’t want to talk about this too long, but god that shit hits so hard.
The circle could be symbolizing Kim’s straightforward demeanor through a design motif, that being his glasses. Kim’s eyes are set on one track; he’s gotta solve the case. No one will break the thread he’s put himself upon. He’s fastidious and gunning for the answer so “Never fuck with Kim Kisturagi.” But his straightforwardness can close him off to more tangentially relevant leads in the case. You know, the ones that Harry finds. It sort of echoes the sad story of Eyes too, Kim still being shown things, still wrestling to make his point of view narrow enough to allow him to keep going but large enough to see things for what they are. A nice tie-in to prior interpretations.
My personal favorite interpretation of the circle in Kim’s portrait like a glowing halo, which is a strong statement within the context of DE. The only other human thing that glows in DE are the lungs of Dolores Dei, the great Innocence of the past, whose ideas changed the course of history. She breathed so much love into the world that the Pale had to make way for a New World to accommodate its breadth. Let me say it again. The only other person to glow is a woman who symbolizes a past so insurmountable and great that we are immobilized before it. That we cannot move forward, because change only comes from great people and ideas and their love. But how does this relate to Kim? Kim’s lungs do not glow. He’s not the embodiment of love. He is just a man. Painfully human in the way he operates and talks about cars, and makes little quips, and gives into small moments of foolishness. No, that glowing halo is about his head, but it’s not his head that glows. He does not embody all of logic and mindfulness either. So, why is it so relevant if it’s not making sense? Because the glow isn’t literal like the painted lungs of Dolores; it’s just the vibe Kim gives off. It’s not on him; it’s just another instance of Kim juxtaposing the forces in Harry’s life. Harry sees Kim as a man because he cannot be anything else. Kim is the kind of patient and steady person that a lot of people need at least at some point in their life. He’s concerned with what is and not what happened or why everything sucks so badly. He’s getting by, and choosing to help others get by too. Kim’s glow is different because it’s one he shares with the world through his presence, not by being necessarily “special.” This holds up part of DE’s central theme too: that we cannot keep waiting for some special person to give us the new key to happiness. No, we as a combined people must revive that hope again and fight for ourselves. Kim doesn’t exemplify humanism because he inspires or creates it, but because he himself is human and cannot see anyone else as less than. He is exceptional in his utter humanity, one that pushes him towards creating a glowing, hopeful tomorrow.
So, uh, let's move on to the next one. Just forget about number 5 for a second. Let's get real. Really real. Remember when I said I like to interpret the circle as a glowing halo? Forget about that; it’s not an interpretation. I’m telling you, straight up, that it’s literally a halo of light. From a ceiling fan. Harry, in and out of consciousness, looks up at a slightly bruised Kim, haloed by the light of a ceiling fan, tending to his wounds after the tribunal. Look at the portrait again. See it? That’s what his portrait really is. From the very beginning, you’re looking at how the story will unfold. P fuckin’ wild, huh? I love that portrait so much. Wow, That’s Really Neat. Kim is Such A Good Character… Is that it?
Nope! I still have a little bit to say, but it’s more of an informal conclusion than necessary reading to understand my point. This was all a lot of likely circumstantial rambling of mine, but it’s something that I like about art and DE as a piece of media. It inspires so much discussion that it moved me to write all of this about a 368x512 px digital painting of a fictional cop in a fictional world that I could see at any time through the screen of my Steam Deck. It’s just so insane to me how powerful a character Kim Kitsuragi is. He’s kind of like, idk, Barbie to me. A dystopian, middle-aged, vaguely French, Barbie man in that he’s an immortal idea that came down from the heavens and possessed some worker at ZA/UM to bring him to us lowly humans. Fun fact, they drew him one glorious time, and said, “Pack it up boys, we got him. That’s our man.” Fucking insane behavior.
And he’s not some add-on to Disco Elysium either. I’ve made it very clear that I think Kim is fucking integral to sinking your teeth into the game. He’s the gateway to appreciating it all. He’s not just a guiding hand to Harry but to you, the player, in a way that doesn’t break the immersion or world. And he’s not excused from criticism either; he’s a part of the narrative too! There are so many discussions about Kim and his relationship with moralism, the toxic loyalty of cop culture, prejudice in Revachol, and balancing authority, but not in a way that detracts from him still being a good and compelling person. God. He’s a fucking perfect character, down to his flaws. So yeah. I’m done. If anyone makes it through all of this, you’re as insane me. Thank you very much; it delights me to no end that you listened to the ramblings of this silly 19-year-old college student, and I'd love to hear your own interpretations on any of the portraits!
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2023.05.28 20:41 Emerald_Aussie School of Beards Chapter 27: “BeardSchool is Out (for Summer)!”
We have done it. The end of another school year! Before we jump into this last set of stories, remember to subscribe to ReddX, home of the best cringe content on YouTube. Promise, swearsies, it’s just a fact and it’s totally science. Go ahead and look it up!
I miss that intro a lot so I figured I’d just write it in. I waited until after graduation to post this because, with ManiBeard at graduation, I figured anything could happen. And it did. And with that, let’s jump into this last set of beardy tales (for this school year). Let’s a-go.
- “No Place Like Home (Campus)”
I was in a pretty good mood because I found out that district was ticked off at admin for considering moving my Cave to a different room next year and because they keep using my Cave as ‘backup’ for state testing. Evidently, the district was unaware this was happening but after I had complained to Cook about the extent of it she went to the district and, well, I’m keeping my Cave next year right where it is, and testing use will be limited. I won without lifting a finger. Sometimes bureaucracy works. Not often, but it’s beautiful when it does.
Of course, that good mood was not to last…
On this day I had a meeting with all the other Graphic Design teachers at another campus. We will call it Clique High School (because ‘cult’ may or may not be YouTube-friendly).
The first thing you need to know is I have a history with CHS. Remember, all the way back in chapter 1 where I mention I was a substitute teacher at Standard High before they hired me as a teacher? Well, there was one part I left out because it was irrelevant to that story, but it becomes relevant here. It is true I did sub at SHS, but the part I left out was that for half of the 2020-2021 school year (Covid year), I was a long-term sub at another campus and that campus was Clique High School. To say it was a poor experience would be underselling it immensely. You could say that Elon Musk is well off but that doesn’t really express the massive mounds of money that malevolent menace truly had. Likewise, saying I had a poor experience at CHS doesn’t really express the absolutely traumatizing, terrible, troublesome experience that my life there. It got so bad that I would leave work, cry the entire 30-minute drive to SHS, pick up Beatle, and make him drive the rest of the way home because my eyes were sore from crying.
What did I do at CHS? Well, I was a long-term sub in ESL. That’s where I got my start with it. When I walked in at the start of that year I’d never had a high school classroom before, I had no lesson plans, limited access to the curriculum since I was a sub, and I was teaching virtually because Covid…and what did I do? I build a curriculum, bonded with my class, and wrote my own lesson plans (even though subs generally don’t write plans). Basically, I rebuilt their ESL program. I did apply for the job. After all, I was already doing all of the work for substitute pay. I may as well get teacher pay for being a teacher. Right? Wrong.
They did interview me for the job but then proceeded to yank me around for half a semester before finally saying they were going to hire someone else. Who? No idea. But not me. But they wanted me to continue to long-term sub and do what I was doing until they found someone. Honestly, when I didn’t get the job part of me was pissed because of all the work I put in, but part of me was relieved. You see, the culture at CHS isn’t like the culture at SHS. Their principal, whom we will call Mr. D (for reasons that will soon be clear), had been named the district’s principal of the year and his staff completely fawned over him…a staff mostly comprised of women. The male-to-female ratio at CHS was considerably more unbalanced than at SHS. What struck me as odd was that Mr. D did not seem to warrant such admiration. During my interactions with him, I got slimy car salesman vibes more than high school principal. I would come to find out that this went deeper than I knew.
Remember AVIDBeard? Yeah, to her credit she was the one that warned me. Mostly I think she saw a chance to gossip, but nonetheless. I was visiting SHS and telling the English dept. how much I missed subbing for them (they actually liked me at this time…this was long before EnglishBeard even worked there so certainly before that whole thing made me a pariah). They missed me too. Although honestly, they missed having a sub at their becken call. Let’s be real. Anyway, AVIDBeard was all too happy to jump in with gossip.
“Be careful over there Mandy,” AVIDBeard said.
“Why? What do you know?” I asked.
“I had a training over there once and this teacher that works there started freaking out because the instructor, who was also a teacher there, was late. She started to have an anxiety attack and when I asked her what was wrong she said ‘Daddy isn’t going to like this’,” AVIDBeard explained.
“What?!” everyone in the room asked at once.
AVIDBeard nodded, “I know! So I asked her, ‘you call your principal Daddy?’ and she said ‘of course.’.”
I raised an eyebrow. I was skeptical, to say the least. Even then I knew AVIDBeard was not a reliable source. But, on the off chance she was telling the truth I had to know. CHS wasn’t exactly full of friendly teachers. In fact, where everyone at SHS had been welcoming, it had been the very opposite at CHS. They treated me like an outsider they were skeptical of. I had managed to at least have somewhat of a dialogue with the librarian. She helped me to ensure that my ESL students had books in their native languages to read during the pandemic. I went to her one day to ask about scheduling some book pick-ups for the students (this was when teachers were on-campus but students were virtual).
“Hey, can I ask you something?” I asked after we had figured out scheduling.
“Sure, what’s up?” she asked.
“OK, so it’s dumb, but someone told me you guys call Mr. D ‘daddy’. Silly, right?” I said with a laugh.
She just blinked, “Who told you that?”
Her reaction caught me off guard. She wasn’t laughing. My eyes widened, “Um, I don’t remember, it just got mentioned in passing.”
“Don’t ask anyone else that question…just…don’t even mention it,” she said.
I blinked. I wanted out of this conversation, “OK, I won’t. I’ll just forget I ever heard about it.”
She nodded and turned away, “I have work to do. If you need more books let me know.”
I rushed back to my classroom. After that, the librarian was very cold toward me.
To this day I honestly believe that the reason Mr. D didn’t hire me was because I’m too strong-willed and I have a big mouth…neither fits well into a cult-like structure, which it is very obvious CHS is.
At the semester break, they hadn’t yet hired anyone and asked me to stay for the rest of the year as a long-term sub. Basically, they wanted to pay me sub pay for an entire year of teaching. I told them ‘no way’ and I begged the district and Mr. Principal to let me return to subbing at SHS. I didn’t even care that regular sub pay was less than long-term sub pay. I just wanted out…and it turns out it all worked in my favor because obviously Mr. Principal ended up hiring me for the very job that Mr. D rejected me from and I’m very happy where I am now. And I don’t even have to call Mr. Principal ‘daddy’. Gag! Say what you will about Standard High, but I’ll take it over CHS any day.
OK, I know that was a lot of backstory, but I truly need you to understand why I so vehemently loathe everything about CHS and moreover why even being there gives me a mild case of PTSD.
Alright then, where were we? Oh yeah. Meeting for Graphic Design teachers over at CHS. I was not happy about this because I hate being at CHS of course, but I also hated leaving my students with a sub this close to the end of the year. But, alas, there I was. I walked into the familiar, loathsome halls. Daddy was in the main hall greeting his subjects.
“Mandy? What are you doing here?” he asked as he looked me over. I was in full-school spirit mode. SHS staff shirt and matching school spirit Converse I had custom-made.
“Graphic Design meeting,” I said.
“Oh, you teach Graphic Design now?” he asked.
I nodded, “Yeah, I did so great at fixing their ESL program they gave me my true dream job and now I’m relaunching their graphic design program.” OK, so it was a bit of embellishment, but I wanted him to know that his loss was SHS’s gain.
“Shame…we have an ESL position open here at The Clique,” Mr. D said. That’s how he referred to his campus. Imagine if the school’s name was Blue Mountain High and he called it The Mountain. Yeah…cringey.
“Oh yeah? I heard Patty didn’t stay,” I said. Patty was who they hired instead of me. She ended up retiring after one year at ‘The Clique’.
“Yeah, well we hired Emmy to replace Patty and now she is leaving,” Mr. D said.
“Shame…yeah, I’m still at SHS and quite happy. I heard principals were turning to poaching from other high schools so I’ll save you the trouble. I’m not poachable,” I said, wanting to get away from him.
“You could have your old job in your old room,” Mr. D said in a tone that made me very uneasy.
“I have a perfectly lovely Cave. Besides, my husband works at SHS too and I like being on the same campus as the love of my life,” I said, pointedly.
“If you change your mind, let me know. Enjoy your meeting. Welcome back to The Clique,” Mr. D said as I quickly walked away to find the room Graphic Design was meeting in.
Now, this may come as a surprise to you all, but I am NOT a social creature. Truly. Beatle is my best friend and aside from Cali all my other friends are on the ReddX Discord (hence my desire to not get myself banned over there). And I am 150% ok with that. At that moment I wanted to be in my Cave more than anything. The pressure to be ‘on’ and social was beyond exhausting to me, especially this late in the year. But, always the professional, I mustered every bit of perky in me to be lovely to my other-campus counterparts.
This proved to be a challenge. One of them, more of a Karen than a Beard really, would not shut up about how amazing her campus was and how she never had issues with phones because her kids were so well-behaved. She also said she couldn’t post work early because they would have it done before they ever got to class. Oh, and of course she is teaching graphic design because she needed a break from her real job as an engineer. And oh, did she mention she is an engineer? Because she’s an engineer. She also went on and on about how she didn’t like the curriculum at another campus she was at so she complained and got 68 teachers from all over the country to back her up and they changed the whole curriculum to what she wanted. OK, whatever. I wanted to ask if everyone stood up and cheered too.
Another teacher was just insufferable. She kept asking for the same bloody stuff over and over even after being told it wasn’t in the budget. She didn’t know the cost of any of it, just that everything she wanted (think equipment and software licenses) was expensive and our budget is next to nothing right now. She didn’t even make arguments as to why we needed it. She just kept asking for the same stuff in the same way. All of it was stuff we didn’t need and most of us wouldn’t even use.
I contributed my thoughts on what I felt needed to be added to the curriculum, which was met with agreement. I really only had that one suggestion. The rest of the time I let them do their thing, which was woefully unorganized, disjointed, and overall a waste of time I could be grading papers. And so I decided that while they did their thing I would organize my Google Drive. As I was doing this I noticed something. I was still the owner on ALL the ESL files for SHS. Not just the ones I created…ALL OF THEM. If I were to hit delete SHS would literally have to start from scratch organizing their program with new teachers next year. But Ms. Dean did make clear I was to have nothing to do with ESL anymore. If I deleted the folders was that malicious compliance? Or just being a bitch for the sake of it? I still haven’t decided…I find the situation humorous, in not a bit morally ambiguous.
Ultimately, it was decided that 1 day wasn’t enough for our meeting so we would meet again one week later at the same place. I declined. I needed to be on my campus because I did have actual work to do. Grades would be due the day they wanted to meet. I wasn’t the only one. About half of the graphic design teachers agreed to meet again the following week and we would all be meeting again August 1st. So I get to start my school year back at ‘The Clique’. Lovely.
Yeah, this was a very real reminder that for all the beardery at Standard High, it could be SO much worse.
After that long mammoth of a tale that the last story was, here is a short one for you.
This happened the day after my meeting at CHS. Sonia wanted to end the school year with some team building so she asked Ms. Dean if they could have an off-campus team meeting at a nearby restaurant and grab some food. Ms. Dean told them no. Sonia then decided they would just order takeaway and do the same thing on campus. She reserved a conference room and everything.
So the day of the eat and meet came. Beatle had ordered some enchiladas and was looking forward to a hot meal during the workday. CovidBeard didn’t go because she said she wasn’t feeling well and needed to just go home early. I know that comes as a shock. Meanwhile, ManiBeard decided he would sit next to his bff, Beatle. ManiBeard hadn’t ordered any food because ‘the catering menu looked good, but nothing on the regular menu appealed to me’. What ManiBeard did have, however, was a bag of crackers. As Beatle tried to eat his food, ManiBeard both ate his crackers and talked at the same time. It didn’t take long for Beatle to realize that small bits of cracker crumbs were flying at him and his food. He shifted to the side to dodge the airborne particles that threatened to infect his space. It was here that ManiBeard declared he had signed his contract but still wasn’t sure if he would be back next year because he had until July 3rd to pull out of his contract and he really just didn’t want to make a commitment.
After the meeting, everyone went their own way, except ManiBeard, who cornered Beatle in the mudroom. I was in my Cave waiting for him when I got a text ‘SOS, I’ve been cornered! Mudroom!’
I sighed, “Come on Wee One. We have to go save Dad.”
Wee One chuckled, “Oh no.” She followed me faithfully as we headed downstairs.
“Oh, good, you’re here already. We gotta go Love. Wee One has that thing…see ya later ManiBeard!” I said as I grabbed Beatle’s arm as I passed and just kept walking.
The next day Beatle went into Sonia’s room for inclusion and she smiled at him, “Sure you got all the crumbs off?” she teased.
Beatle rolled his eyes, “Right?!”
Sonia nodded, “ManiBeard is why I don’t eat lunch in the workroom anymore. ManiBeard would walk over to me and just stand over me…like right over me…and talk while he ate which would just send food everywhere. One day he was eating some chicken salad and a piece of chicken flew out of his mouth and landed on my arm.”
“Oh bloody hell. That’s disgusting,” Beatle said before vowing not to be near ManiBeard eating ever again.
- “Little Lies”
Ever since it was announced PastorBeard was the new dept head he had been walking around like a roster puffing out his chest. He had also been going out of his way to talk to Beatle, as if to rub in that he got the dept head job and Beatle didn’t. It was annoying, but I stayed out of it. I even played nice when PastorBeard stopped me in the parking lot one day and asked me about my weekend plans while I was waiting for Beatle.
“What are you plans this weekend, Mandy?” PastorBeard asked as he leaned against the side of my car.
“Oh, nothing major. Weekend chores. Beatle has some school work to get done and he’s going to put some snake repellant in the yard…I’ll probably clean the house and spend some time with my mum,” I said, trying to be pleasant as I could be. What I really wanted to do was to tell him he was a bastard that should never teach, let alone lead a dept.
“You should come to watch me on Sunday. I’m preaching his weekend,” he said with a smile. His tone came off like he intended it to be a flex.
I forced a smiled, “No thanks. Not my thing.”
“God isn’t ‘your thing’?” he asked, leaning towards me a bit.
I took a step back, “Not the same one you believe in.” I started absentmindedly playing with the Flower of Aphrodite pendant I wore around my neck.
“Are you Catholic or something?” he asked.
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. People presumed since Beatle was Irish that we were a Catholic family a lot. Instead, I shook my head, “No. Actually, if you must know, I’m Pagan.”
PastorBeard looked taken aback, “Oh…I see.”
“So, while I appreciate the invite…not my thing,” I said again.
“You should come anyway. I’d love to look out on Sunday and see you there. And who knows? If you hear what I have to say you may change your mind about being pagan,” PastorBeard said with a cocky smile.
I looked around hoping Beatle and Wee One were going to be there soon, “I doubt it…anyway…um…I hate to keep you on a Friday.”
“I’m not in a rush. You’re fine,” he said, “Did you hear I’m the new dept head?”
“Yeah. I know,” I said, “Beatle told me. He applied to you know.”
“I know. They need someone that is a strong leader for the job though, someone that can guide the dept the way I guide the church. They can’t pick someone with a weak personality. A man should be able to lead…his church, his work, and of course his wife,” PastorBeard said pointedly.
“Uh huh…a good leader knows when to defer to those wiser than he,” I said as I saw Beatle and Wee One, “Love! Hey!” I waved.
Beatle saw PastorBeard and looked unhappy, “Hi PastorBeard.”
“Have a good weekend you guys. See you later Mandy…think about my offer,” he said as he went and got into his truck that sat on tires far too big for it.
“What was that?” Beatle asked when we got in the car.
I shrugged, “He was either hitting on me or he was just being a pompous arse…or both. Hard to say.”
And we went on our way.
The next work day Beatle walked into the workroom and saw PastorBeard in there talking to Vera (the assistant mentioned in chapter 26.)
“Just do your best to set them up for success,” PastorBeard told Vera as he walked out of the workroom.
“Are you ok mate?” Beatle asked her.
Vera shook her head, “We’re almost done. Almost there.”
“What happened?” Beatle asked.
“Well, only 2 of the kids in that group in the hall workspace need my help,” Vera said pointing to a group outside PastorBeard’s room, “The others are kids missing work and PastorBeard kicked them out of the classroom. I’m supposed to watch them and make sure they behave but they already told me they aren’t going to do anything.”
Beatle’s expression went dark, “You’re a SPED assistant. Not a babysitter.”
“I know, but I’ve never seen him actually help anyone. He doesn’t go around the room to help. Just tells them to be quiet and pokes them. I don’t know why he feels the need to touch them. He tells them if they need help they can go to him and he just sits at his desk the whole time…but no one is gonna go to him for help because they don’t like him,” Vera vented.
Beatle sighed, “You know he’s dept head next year, right?”
“Oh, I know. He told me no one else wanted it,” Vera said sadly.
Beatle blinked, “No ma’am. I interviewed for it.”
“That’s just what I heard,” Vera said.
“He lied,” Beatle shook his head.
What PastorBeard didn’t know is that Beatle had something else in the works…we weren’t sure it would pan out at this point (as of this writing we still aren’t), but Beatle wasn’t going to take PastorBeard’s crap lying down…and for that, I was proud of him.
- “Wrapping It Up”
3.5 days till summer. Grades were due. I sat at my computer to adjust the grade book and turned on some music. Not even kidding, ‘The Final Countdown’ was on the radio (yes, I listen to the radio. Satellite Radio to be precise). It was the perfect music for working on my end-of-year checklist. I felt like I was in a movie and this was my montage music!
We reached the point in the year when all the teachers were just playing movies. For my part, I was letting them watch the Super Mario Movie. I had some happy students. I also wrote Wee One a pass to spend the day in my room. She was done with her work and wanted to help me with some Graphic Design work for next year’s launch (we are launching an on-campus design firm). She asked me which workstation she could work at and I did the worst thing a mum can do to her child. I sat her next to my baby neckbeard. She started working but within 10 minutes she came to my desk.
“Mom…” she started.
I looked at her. “Excuse me?”
She sighed, “I’m sorry…Ms. Mandy?”
“Yes ma’am?” I asked her.
“Can I sit on the other side of the room…it’s less claustrophobic and I have a friend over there…” she trailed off.
I chuckled and leaned in so only she could hear me, “You don’t appreciate sitting next to the baby neckbeard?”
She looked sheepish, “Not really.”
“Can you smell him?” I asked.
She made a disgusted face, “Sort of, yeah.”
“OK, yes, go ahead and move,” I nodded.
In the meantime, Beatle was texting me:
Beatle: Why does ManiBeard always start class with “How are we?” instead of “How are you?”?
Mandy: Because that’s what’s in his programming.
Beatle: LMAO! Point. I will not miss him this summer. You know he said he is only helping with graduation because he didn’t help with either dance. I thought it was mandatory that we do one of the 1 dances.
Mandy: Sigh. 1) yes it is and I bet they got on him and forced him to help with graduation and 2) why the hell would they let him help with graduation? That event is stressful enough without adding ManiBeard to the mix.
Beatle: He said he rather work graduation because it’s his favorite event because he gets to see the kids move on.
Mandy: But he’s a freshman teacher. He doesn’t know many if any, seniors.
Beatle: I know! Oh, CovidBeard is leaving.
Mandy: WHAT?! FOREVER?!
Beatle: I’m watching her class for the rest of the period.
Mandy: Oh, just for today.
Beatle: Yeah. Don’t get too excited.
Mandy: Damn. 3.5 days left. Heaven forbid she stick it out.
And right about the time I was hoping my Beard encounters were over. At least until graduation…it happened. I had to email EnglishBeard. Why? Because I needed one of his students (who happened to be one of my most talented graphic design students) to come to my class the next day during his class. I cringed at having to interact with him. I asked Beatle if I should even bother. “We’re not doing anything, why would he say no?” Beatle asked. “He’s a beard.” I replied. “Fair.” Beatle conceded.
Finally, I took a breath and started to type: “EnglishBeard, if it is alright with you, can Sara come to my class during 5th period tomorrow to do some Graphic Design work? Thanks, Mandy”
2 hours later, he replied, “What work? Why should I send her to an elective? My class is core.”
I sighed, “It’s ok if you are doing something in class. I just thought it would be ok if you are just watching movies.” I replied.
“We are just watching movies, but my class is still a core class and yours is not,” EnglishBeard replied.
“You are correct. However, Sara is going to be in my Graphic 3 class next year and I want to get all my Graphic 3 students together for a meeting before the end of the year and the rest of them are in my 5th period. If you don’t want to send her that is fine,” I replied.
“Ok, that would be fine. I will allow it,” EnglishBeard finally said.
I sighed and wrote a pass to give to Sara.
Meanwhile, in the English 1 meeting, Beatle was dealing with his own Beard.
“And the Beard came back….CovidBeard came back for the meeting,” Beatle texted me.
“WHY?!” I texted back.
“IDK! I’m spraying Lysol when she leaves the room. She’s like ‘I’m sitting here sweating. I have no idea what I have.’ I guess she came back for attention,” Beatle replied.
I sighed as I typed, “Probably.”
Why did all these Beards have to come back? Why couldn’t this be last year when we had the mass exodus of Beards? That was nice. I liked that.
Maybe they would get less beardy over the summer?
- “Graduation Day”
Have you ever sat through a graduation ceremony? If you have you know how dull they are. Being part of it is even worse. Graduation in Australia was quite different, but when I graduated from college in America Beatle practically had to force me into the cap and gown. It was not something I have ever liked…so the irony that I volunteer every year (except next year when Wee One graduates) is not lost on me. Mostly, I do it because I know it means something to the kids to see their teachers there. That said, I silently curse in my head the entire time while making sure to smile, be peppy, and congratulate even the most ungrateful of students. While I don’t look back on my graduation fondly, some of them might and I want to help provide good memories.
Graduation isn’t just on that day either. The day before we have to participate in graduation practice, which is just as awful, if not worse. I did entertain myself by watching ManiBeard however.
We all gathered in the practice gym to line up and then once everyone was in place we processed into the main gym. The practice gym was so bloody hot that I was sweating. It was so bloody hot that ManiBeard actually took off his cardigan for the first time all year. I have now confirmed he does have arms under it. Bloke never takes off his cardigan/coat…even when the outside temp is 100+ in Fahrenheit. I further observed only to realize that they had, for some reason, put ManiBeard in the same row as 2 of the baby beards I’ve been observing over the course of the year. ManiBeard was as clueless as one might expect and had no idea how to manage the kids and telling them when to stand, when to sit, when to walk, etc. He made it through graduation practice, but I was seriously concerned about the next day. I was also concerned because I saw the gown they set aside for Mani. It was huge! He was going to look like a puppy wearing his owner’s sweater. Let the chaos commence!
And commence it did. Shortly after lunch Beatle texted me “OZZY ISN’T COMING BACK! WHAT THE HELL IS EVEN GOING ON AROUND HERE?!”
Remember Ozzy? The other Australian on campus? Yeah, evidently he said, “this really isn’t something I foresaw happening. It is something I needed to do. But please, I don’t want to make it seem like I’m excited to leave. I’m not. It’s actually been really hard packing up my things.” Ozzy had been around since the campus opened in 2016. It was a true shock to see him leave and Beatle was very distraught over it. Honestly, so was I.
After school Beatle barrelled into his classroom, “OK, mate, what the hell is going on?”
The conversation was private so I’m not going to detail it, but I will say that circumstances happened so that Ozzy had to go back to Australia. He was not happy about it. He said he thought he would retire from Standard High, but life happens. This was a blow, but we wish him the best.
I found out later that night that ManiBeard managed to out-beard himself. He did the beardiest thing he’d ever done.
“Did you guys meet today in E1?” I asked Beatle.
“Yeah, but it was more social than a meeting,” Beatle replied.
“ManiBeard? Social? How did that go?” I asked.
Beatle chuckled, “ManiBeard wasn’t there.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because he miscalculated all his grades and had to redo them,” Beatle said.
I froze as I tried to register what he said. Finally I spoke, “But our gradebook is automated. We don’t calculate anything. We put in the number and bam…grades. How the hell did Mani manage to ‘miscalculate’ grades?”
“No idea, but admin wasn’t happy. They sent in Lana to guide him through it,” Beatle said.
I laughed, “Oh my god! After everything he did to keep Lana out of his room she ended up fixing his gradebook? The irony is too delicious! This has got to be the beardiest thing he has ever done. How the fuck do you miscalculate grades in and automated gradebook?!”
Beatle shrugged, “Talent?”
The next morning (THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL) an email started circulating from teachers that were worried about getting left at the arena we were holding graduation in. They wanted to ensure the bus wouldn’t leave them behind. Beatle and I watched as the emails flooded our inboxes. ManiBeard: “I need a ride too.” EnglishBeard: “Don’t leave me behind!” HistoryBeard: “I look like too much of an escaped inmate to safely hitchhike. Don’t leave me either.” MathBeard:I need the bus to get back to school.”
It was at that point I texted my brother to see if he could pick Beatle and I up after graduation. To be clear, we have to ride the bus over with students so taking our own car wasn’t an option…but riding the BeardBus home did not appeal to either of us. I like getting fodder for stories, but I’m not a complete sadomasochist. My brother agreed and I felt relief wash over me.
Beatle and I ended up combining our classes in my Cave for the last day because we bought breakfast tacos and donuts for the kids and it was easier to combine classes than to try to split the food. So, most of the last day was the kids eating and playing Mario Kart on our Switch. It was pretty fun. I did leave the kids with Beatle at one point so I could go down to Cook’s kitchen and do my department check-out stuff. When I say Cook had a professional kitchen that is not hyperbole. The culinary kitchen at Standard High is anything but standard. We’re talking a state-of-the-art kitchen that any head chef would be in awe of. It’s truly a thing to behold and for high school students? Yeah, it is pretty bloody great. Oh, and the cutting boards…let me tell you about the numerous cutting boards!
…I’m kidding Red! Just kidding!
But yeah, the kitchen is pretty great. Anyway, when I went into said kitchen, MediaBeard was in there doing his check-out as well. When he saw me he smiled and turned to me.
“Mandy, thank you so much for everything you did for me this year. It was a rough year and you had my back. I truly appreciate you, thank you,” he said as he hugged me.
I hugged him back, “Aww, mate…I got ya. Anytime. Next year will be better.”
When I said back in Chapter 1 that MediaBeard was certainly a Beard, but one of the ‘good’ beards, this is what I meant. Yes, he can be a bit…well…beardly. But, the bloke has a good heart. And I am glad he will be back next year. I’m going to try to mentor him now that I’m settled in graphic design. I am also glad he will not be Wee One’s teacher next year. She’s decided to take graphic design 3 and animation 1 which means she will have me as her teacher for 3 out of 8 periods. Come to find out she likes me as her teacher. And I’m pretty hard on her. She said I made her better. I must be doing something right!
Cook has 100% become my work Mum and I adore her. She plans to have a department soiree before school starts and for the first time ever I’m actually looking forward to going to a department function, solely because of Cook. She is amazing.
Finally, as long last, the 2022-2023 school year ended. All the non-senior students left and the seniors arrived.
Beatle and I scarfed our lunch down and headed to the gym… this is where graduation truly begins.
I put my gown on over my work clothes as did Beatle. We sat together and chatted for a bit before he went to his row to help organize kids. I was left sitting alone in my row as the students filed in. And, as I usually do in these situations, I started to observe my surroundings and live a bit in my own head.
I saw some teachers grouped up talking and laughing near me. For a moment I felt that loneliness I felt all through school (until I met Beatle). I had a moment of feeling like that ‘weird blonde kid’ again. I guess it never really goes away. It was a reminder that from the day we met (see SquirrelBeard for that story) Beatle has always been where I fit. Does anyone else ever have a moment of reversion like that? Where even as an adult you remember how it was to be an outcast at 15 or whatever? Maybe it’s just me? Maybe it’s because I work in a high school?
In any case, I snapped out of it and looked around. What caught my eye was a pair of BRIGHT crimson skinny jeans. And the wearer? ManiBeard. OF COURSE!
He also had on a plain white t-shirt with the district logo on it that we got free at the start of the year and Van trainers. What was the dress code for this event that admin had explicitly given us the day before? Dress pants and a Polo or button-up for men or a suit for men, a dress or nice pants and shirt for women, dress shoes, and absolutely no jeans, trainers, or t-shirts. Yeah. For J’s part he had on black pants and a black button-up shirt with a tie. He looked good. It was also the first time he got to wear his Master’s hood at a graduation, which was pretty frickin cool too! I had on black pants and a nice shirt. I was not wearing a dress at graduation. Just, no. Anyway…ManiBeard…right…so he wore EXACTLY what admin said don’t wear. Cause…ManiBeard. And I was right, his gown made him look like a puppy wearing his owner’s sweater. It would have been cute if it was anyone but Mani. Instead he just looked robotic and lost. And, exactly like I suspected, he didn’t talk to any of the kids. He didn’t even congratulate them. Probably because he teachers 9th graders and didn’t know any of these kids and had no connection to them. Beatle knew a lot of them. These were the kids that he taught his first year as freshmen so he had seen them through all 4 years. It was emotional for him.
It was around this time I turned around and noticed paramedics in the hall. I later found out a student (one of mine actually) had a seizure. I had seen them roll a kid out of the building on an office chair but I didn’t know who under Mr. Principal told me later. As all of this was happening APBeard said they put a sign up sheet on the stage for any teacher that needed to take the bus back to campus after the ceremony. A bunch of teachers headed to the stage. One that looked like a textbook beard said, as he walked past me, “that would be all of us. Like any of us can afford an Uber with what they pay us.” I raised an eyebrow and looked the man over. “That has GOT to be HistoryBeard” I thought to myself. Beatle ran up behind me.
“See that bloke up there…the one at the sign up sheet right now?” Beatle asked me quietly.
“Yeah,” I said.
“That’s HistoryBeard,” he confirmed.
“I knew it! I knew that had to be him. Damn, he is a beard and it’s not even just on the inside,” I said.
Beatle shook his head, “No, he’s one that is beard inside and out.”
I shuttered as Beatle returned to his seat.
About 45 minutes later we boarded the bus and headed to the arena. I hoped everything would be smooth sailing from there, but that would have been WAY too easy.
So, I need to paint a bit of a picture here…have you ever been backstage at an arena? It’s not a huge space…and when you put a couple hundred people back there…it’s a tight fit. We were lucky to have a 2 inch radius around us. Personal space does not exist when you cram everyone back there. And we had to line up in order. Each row had a letter. It seemed everything was fine. My row was in order…but something felt off. That’s when I realized whoever set the signs up doesn’t know the bloody alphabet because instead of A, B, C, D, E, F, G it went A, B, C, D, E, G, F. I was in row F. I realized the error but I also wasn’t about to move anything without telling an AP. So I found an AP that said he had to find another AP and 3 APs later I was told to swap Rows F and G. I helped correct the signed and then we had to shift the rows with VERY little space. It was…something.
It was hot, cramped, and miserable. Beatle told me later some of the kids in his row snuck back into a supply room and were stealing popcorn. It was in the moments of being back stage I remembered why last year I said to myself ‘never again, I’m never doing graduation again’. I’m really not next year cause of Wee One and I’ll probably forget the year after and volunteer again. Cause teacher brain. Anyway, it was finally go time and we walked out, sat down, and the ceremony started. All done? Not quite.
For the sake of wrapping this up I’ll quickly list the crap that happened during the ceremony:
- Someone in the stands called to a kid ‘you look like ET but we love you anyway!’ to which a graduate yelled back ‘you’re an asshole’. Classy.
- ManiBeard was clueless and lost. He may as well have not even been there because he was mostly just in the way.
- The boys decided it was great fun to pretend to fall on stage just before the got to Mr. Principal. This happened 4 times. A 5th pretended he was about to fall then twerked instead. Again, classy. Ladies and gentleman, our future.
- A boy in the row in front of me turned around and was using his program to sword fight with a boy in my row. I gave them the ‘mom/teacher look’ and they both got a panicked look and said ‘sorry ma’am’ before sitting straight for the rest of the ceremony. Maybe Wee One is right. Maybe I am scary.
- MediaBeard made the senior video and it was awful. I have a hard time believing he worked ‘in the industry’. Next year I’m going to see if he will let me do some graphic design templates for him. It will be part of my proposal to mentor him.
And then graduation was over. Beatle and I checked with Number One and were cleared to leave. Brother picked us up and we headed to dinner (where Brother once again came very close to getting the name BrotherBeard) and summer began.
And that concludes this year of School of Beards. If there is any demand I will be back in the fall because with all the beards returning I am sure to have a new batch of tales. I sincerely want to thank everyone that had come on this journey with me, Red for reading (and being a mate), and Beatle for supporting me and allowing me to share his stories. I mostly want to thank everyone that has listened to Red read these stories because that is the most amazing thing…hearing these stories read and getting his insight. I do appreciate it more than I can say. Keep an eye out for the rest of BowserBeard this summer and maybe a couple of one-offs.
Now, to end this year I decided to try my hand at my first parody song. Apologies if it’s not very good. Like I said, it’s my first one. I hope it doesn’t suck!
“BeardSchool’s Out” (Parody of “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper)
Well, we got no choice
But to hear the noise
Listenin to the beards’ voice
The poor girls and boys
Well, we can't escape ya
Can't find an out
And when they start to shout
Education’s in doubt
BeardSchool's out for summer
Beards go into slumber
Beardschool makes us shutter
No more Mani
No more English
No more preacher's judgment, yeah
Well, Mani can’t control his class
And Pastor’s got the Principal
And the students pay the price
We can't even think about next year
BeardSchool's out for summer
Beards go into slumber
Beardschool makes us shutter
No more Media
No more Math Emails
No more two-faced Dean
Out for summer
Out 'til fall
Do the beards have to come back at all
Beards go slumber
BeardSchool's out for summer
Watch the Beards lumber
BeardSchool’s out till August
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2023.05.28 20:35 Least_Sleepy I was part of the TGI Fridays settlement that was filed in April 2014, AMA
I was a server at a top 3 performing TGI Fridays in the nation in 2014 and was a victim of their unlawful activities.
Most of our management was shoehorned in by the corporate office to maintain and exceed store performance. But it didn't stop there.
These managers were crooked and mean; they took advantage our FOH and bar staff in many ruthless and creative ways.
I quit when I had enough of their bullshit. If I wasn't young and naïve at the time, I would have quit sooner.
Nearly a decade later, I find myself still reflecting on my experience there from time-to-time; the shit that they were able to get away with still blows me away.
Ask. Me. Anything.
Link of settlement: https://www.overtimepaylaws.org/tgi-fridays-settle-more-overtime-pay-claims/
submitted by Least_Sleepy
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