Preteen dating service

Powered by netvibes. About Us; Business; The Team; Jobs; Terms Of Service; Privacy Policy; Resources; Blog There are plenty of dating sites for teens but not all of them provide decent service that is suitable for young people between 13 and 17 years old. Christian teenage dating sites, in particular, are trustworthy and safe for youngsters who want to meet attractive singles and develop relationships. Best Teen Dating Apps. Can’t decide which dating app or site to use as a Teenager? We got your back. Below are some of the best dating apps and sites for Teenagers. But make sure to use wisely. 1. Tinder. Age Limit: 13 and above. Tinder is one of the most popular dating apps used by teenagers more than compared to adults. Tween Dating Tip 2: Give them real answers, and not just about sex. As soon as the topic of a possible tween boyfriend or tween girlfriend arises, many parents wonder what to discuss. Bebo is the world´s biggest dating service for teens under 18. MeetMe. Meet new people near you with MeetMe. You can make friends, chat or just hang out. Fun Date City. Fun Date City is a community just for young people. Chat, date or play games with other teens. Teen dating Mylol is currently the #1 teen dating site in the US, Australia, UK and Canada. We are proud to have more than 300,000 members all around the world. Join now and meet thousands of teenagers like you. My last serious relationship came from the OkCupid dating service. In fact, I've been on OkCupid on and off, for roughly the last 11 years. Profiles are a lot more in-depth than most online dating ...

I (30m) am having difficulties communicating with my (30f) partner and it's creating issues. She cancels plans often without notifying me.

2020.07.25 07:11 OreoPunchDonky I (30m) am having difficulties communicating with my (30f) partner and it's creating issues. She cancels plans often without notifying me.

About 2 months ago I started dating a woman, we can call her Olivia. Olivia and I get along well and we are crazy about each other. We are attracted to each other physically and love each others' personality. Without getting into specifics, her job requires her to be out in rural areas at times she doesn't get any service. And that's fine, I understand that she can't be reached at times and she understands that i'm in a similar position.
The problems is when she makes plans to see me, she cancels them without telling me. The 3rd time it happened I brought it up and I told her that I wasn't upset because she canceled, I was upset because she never said anything and I was waiting for her for a few hours. As I figured, she fell asleep and I can't blame her for being tired. She works ridiculously long hours and has 2 kids of her own at home. It happened again and I asked her via text if she was still interested. She panicked in the middle of the night and drove to see me. While the gesture was sweet in it's own way I told her it wasn't necessary.
Well tonight we had a date night planned out. She was working a half day and I only had a half day of courses online. The plan was to have dinner around 5 or 6pm. Around that time I get a text telling me that she can't wait to see me. I'm excited and asked for a time conformation and got no response. 8pm...9pm.... I assume she got off late or had to run some family errands so I decide to eat dinner alone. 10pm I text and ask if she forgot about me. Her response was, "No my truck go stuck in the mud because of the rain". This is fairly common out here and it's monsoon season so I fully believe her story. What I don't understand is why she wasn't able to communicate that with me within the last 4-5hours. She was at home and has service.
I need advice on approaching the situation. I don't need her to panic and rush over to seem at midnight. I've told her that I understand her career and that she has a family (2-preteens) but I need her to let me know if she's canceling. How can I approach the situation?

TL;DR: My girlfriend frequently bails on me without notifications. While she has good reasons to bail, i'm often waiting hours for her.
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2020.07.19 22:04 cafezinhos Results of the 2020 r/Zillennials sub census!

After 2 weeks the result of our sub census are here! We got over 150 responses, which is roughly 10% of readership. You can view the full results here.
Here are some highlights:
Life Stage:
Values and Beliefs:
Current Events
Pop Culture:
US-Specific Questions:
I hope you guys all enjoyed this and it will be fun to see how the results change the next time we do this! Feel free to discuss any of these results in the comments.
submitted by cafezinhos to Zillennials [link] [comments]

2020.06.30 12:32 Duckapucko Back to Bizarre Town: Chapter 2 - Pop-up Pictures

Note: As per usual, Italicized words represent a character’s inner thoughts, bolded words represent visual eyecatchers, and (parentheses) represent character actions. Also if there are any new people reading this, I’ll put the Prologue and Chapter 1 in the comments.
Approaching the stranger’s camera, Ryosuke started to brew up a cold sweat, his hands shaking with anticipation. He peered inside the lens to find that the blue flame was gone. His mind cleared up and before the stranger could take the picture, Ryo had one more question to ask.
Ryosuke: Hmm I guess I was just imagining that flame. But one other thing, why are you using a digital camera to take your photos? Wouldn’t it be easier to snap some with a phone?
???: Shit! No one’s ever asked me that before! Well, my usual targets are a bunch of stupid kids anyway. Uhhh my uncle- my uncle used to be a cameraman for the same place w-where I work now.
???: Look kid, if you want to see my I.D. for this, (shuffling in his pockets) I have it right… (takes out I.D.) here!
The cameraman took out his card and gave it to Ryosuke to confirm his identity. Ryo reluctantly took it and started reading the information processed there.
Name: Kaja Googoo
Date of Birth: 1995, March 20
Nation/Region: Morioh, Japan
Sex: M
Address: M-ken, Morioh-cho, Aida-banchi, 2-14-go
Status: Atheist
DoE: 2026, June 16
Ryosuke: Wait… If you live here then why are you wearing a-
Kaja: Tourist costume? We had a special event today in the office and I decided to wear this as a joke. I mean with all the Showstopper business that’s been happening here, I thought some laughs would help the atmosphere.
Ryosuke: (hands back card) That makes sense. Also sorry about your name man… Either your parents were cruel or clueless.
Kaja: You won’t be saying that once I lock you up and sell you to highest bidder Yep I used to get bullied because of it, but that’s all in the past. Can you still take the photo?
Ryosuke: Sure...let me get in position
Once both parties were ready for the picture, Kaja lifted up his camera and snapped a picture of Ryo next to a cemetery tomb not too far from the entrance. The flash temporarily blinded him and soon enough his body started to split apart into spheres, which leaped into the camera’s lens. In utter terror, Ryosuke attempted running, but his legs crumbled into armies of spheres, flowing into the camera. His waist, his stomach, his chest, his neck, his jaw, and finally his cranium all split into thousands of spheres which all entered the camera at once. Ryo’s body was gone and a picture of his mortified face displayed on the camera’s screen. Kaja slung the camera around his chest and exited the cemetery.
Kaja: My last victim for the night. By tomorrow morning, I’m gonna be RICH!
Unknown Warehouse, Central Morioh
Kaja lined up 7 cages of varying size in a small storage room in the back of the building. 6 of the cages were already occupied with 2 preteen girls and 4 preteen boys, both miserable from captivity. However, the biggest cage was still empty, so he popped out his camera and snapped a “picture” of the open cage. Ryosuke shot out of the camera into the cage, confused from the incident at the cemetery. Kaja shut the door, locked it, and set the keys on a loading crate 3 meters away. He walked towards the door only to make a final remark.
Kaja: I really gotta thank those Showstopper thugs for scaring me half to death. It activated my stand,「Strangelove」, which made trafficking kids a whole lot easier.
SLAM! With the door shut, only a small portion of moonlight bled into the room, shining directly in the center of the room. Ryosuke was overwhelmed with confusion, all of this felt like a dream. To assure himself, he pinched himself 3 times hoping to wake up. None of them had any effect, so curled up into a ball and thought of all the people he would never see again. His dad, the grave of his mom, his new buddy Daichi, Dr. Higashikata, his streetball boys. His eyes began to water as he buried it in the floor, his head bandana dirtying with dust. Turning his head revealed something standing in front of him with flat feet and three toes. To find out the rest of it, he slowly elevated his head to unveil the rest of the creature.
The creature hopped next to Ryosuke's cage, displaying its whole design. The creature was a white furred kangaroo with blue boxing gloves. The blue pouch was nailed shut with orange nails and its orange eyes beamed through the darkness. It waved at Ryo casually and bounced 2 meters over to the keys. Unfortunately, the kangaroo couldn’t move any further up, so it readied a boxing glove and slammed the floor.
???: BATSU!
Out of the newly cracked flooring, an orange arm cut off at the elbow grew out of the ground and grappled onto a corner of the crate. The arm started to violently shake until the keys fell off the crate, landing in the arm’s hand. To give the keys to Ryosuke, the arm bent back like a catapult and launched them, arriving at Ryo’s feet. He lightened up with the tears fading away as he unlocked his cage from the behind. Once free, he looked at the other captives and a stern determination clouded his mind. He glanced at the kangaroo as it locked eyes with him.
Ryosuke: Are you in any way related to the stand thing Kaja mentioned? I mean your ability is- Wait a second, I think Daichi might’ve had something like this too. After all, he said his *ability** activated when he panicked…*
The kangaroo simply stood behind Ryosuke as if waiting for an order. To test it out, he thought of punching the ground. The kangaroo winded its fist and struck the ground, leaving another crack.
Ryosuke: With power like this, I can free all of these kids and beat that sick bastard Kaja to a pulp
Walking over to the door, Ryosuke turned the knob and nudged it ever so slightly, gaining a visual on Kaja as he was fiddling with his camera. In unison, Ryosuke and his protector snuck behind him, readying for one powerful strike. Kaja spun around and shot a metal bar out of his camera, cutting Ryosuke’s thigh.
Kaja: So, you got yourself a stand too? What a pity. You would’ve made me the most money out of all those little shits. Just know that when I kill you, it’s purely business.
Ryosuke: Sure… now that I have this guy (pointing behind) talking out of your ass will just lengthen your beatdown.
As the kangaroo charged for a fist rush, Kaja blasted two more metal bars out of the camera, slashing Ryo’s left armpit and jamming into his right shoulder. The force sent him back a few feet. Ryosuke quickly jumped back up and started to assess the situation.
Ryosuke: The metal bars from the cemetery… He stored those in his camera. Now that he’s out of projectiles, I’m taking that fucker down HEY KAJA! You’re out of things to shoot at me now, right?!
Kaja: You got that right. But… look around! All of these stray crates are perfect for wearing you down with! You stand no chance.
From the sudden adrenaline rush, Ryo had never noticed the amount of crates, spare tools, and gizmos laying around the barren main room. He smiled with a slight exhale from his nose and squared up for an onslaught of objects. His kangaroo partner joined him to deflect the barrage. Kaja kept his item delivery going, shooting out crates, screwdrivers, box cutters, pieces of ceiling fan, and slabs of metal. Ryo’s defender knocked away every single one of them, creeping slowly closer with every punch. Once Ryo was a meter’s distance away, his punchy pal went in for one more strike. But, Kaja’s final “picture” shot a crate full of nails towards Ryosuke and out of instinct, his mammalian pal unleashed a barrage of punches. However, most of the nails were still blazing towards Ryo so he made a jump for the wall to dodge them. His counter was too late as 5 nails embedded themselves into the back of his skull. He fell to the ground turning and landed on his back, with his kangaroo companion slowly disappearing.
Kaja: Phew! You almost made it to me but I knew you were going to keep hitting everything I sent at you, so I sent a box full of nails last. Worked exactly as planned!
Kaja started inspecting Ryo’s head, only to see that an orange arm had attached itself to Ryo’s back, covering the back of his skull from taking damage. The five nails lodged themselves in the palm of the arm’s hand. It flicked all the nails off and pointed behind Kaja to the unknown. Nervously trembling, Kaja turned around to see Ryo’s defender, ready to attack. He started to turn tail but the kangaroo grabbed him by the collar, threw him against the wall, and punched 4 points on the wall around Kaja. 4 more orange arms spawned and restricted him in place. Ryo’s hand bled from the damage that the orange arm sustained but he still stood up and knocked Kaja’s camera out of his hands.
Ryosuke: I guess I can create up to 5 arms. Good to know. But more importantly, I owe you 6 punches for the 6 kids you were going to sell.
Kaja: I’M SO SORRY! I got c-caught up in trying to pay back a d-debt for the Showstoppers, I tried to t-take shortcuts to make some-
Ryosuke released the 4 restraining arms and let out his kangaroo pal to keep his promise. The stand launched its arms forward, smashing Kaja’s face six times.
Kaja’s body flew into the wall and splattered a red blotch across it. His unconscious body slowly slid down until the whole of it crashed on the ground. Ryo made a quick decision to search for Kaja’s phone on his person. Luckily, he found it in his cargo shorts and used Google Maps to confirm his location. Once that was in order, he dialed 110 to alert the police of the situation. Knowing that the kids would be in safe hands, Ryosuke went to a family friend’s house to heal up before heading back to his house for a good night’s rest.
10:30 Afternoon, Jozenji Road 3-26
Ryo paced around the house, wondering what he should say. After all, asking for a favor at someone’s house at this hour was definitely unorthodox. He prepped up and stepped up to face the awkwardness, ringing the doorbell shortly afterward. A few seconds of waiting saw the answering of the door from an unexpected person. She had shaggy blue shoulder length hair, green polka dotted pajamas, and grey bifocal glasses. Compared to Ryosuke’s 183 cm, she was about 170. And she seemed to know him too.
Ryosuke: Jocelyn?! You’re Dr. Higahasikata’s daughter? Well lucky me, now I’m going to get the lecture abo-
Jocelyn: Why you don’t ever follow school policies? You know as a student council member, THAT’S PART OF MY JOB! I can’t let you walk around with a different uniform, or ditching class, or pulling pranks on other students you don’t like.
Ryosuke: Sure you can’t… because you’ve been doing such a good job before.
Jocelyn: UGH Shut up! This is why Daichi is your only friend. Anyways, why are you at my house? Something to do with the blood?
Ryosuke: Yep, I was wondering if your dad could fix me up. I can pay him for his services.
Jocelyn: He’s on the phone with my mom right now, since she’s working the night shift. So sorry but I think he’s done for the night-
Dr. Higashikata: (walking down the stairs) Ryosuke! How’s your dad doing?
Ryosuke: He’s doing great, only because of you Dr. Higashikata. Seriously, thank you so much for that.
Jocelyn: Dad, weren’t you talking with mom?! Why’d you suddenly get off the pho-
Dr. Higashikata: I couldn’t talk to her for long in the first place, since she has a lot of patients. Also Ryosuke is allowed to visit here if he wants to, I’ll talk to him so you can go upstairs and get ready for bed.
Jocelyn: UGH fine! (To Ryosuke) Next time you don’t follow school rules, I’ll get you that cleaning position for a month!
As she ran upstairs, Dr. Higashikata took her place with his full work attire still on. His huge round glasses amplifying his eyes, gray streaks running through his pompadour, with a gold and white coat, blue undershirt and navy blue pants. He observed all of the wounds Ryosuke had accumulated and summoned his pink blue plated humanoid stand. Ryosuke could now see the stand and he paused in the moment, processing the information. Dr. Higashikata healed all of his injuries and took the opportunity to ask about it.
Dr. Higashikata: I thought I’d never see the day where you get a stand! Do you mind if you show me?
Ryosuke: What? OH yeah sure! Mine isn’t exactly humanoid like your’s though.
The familiar white, blue, and orange kangaroo appeared from behind Ryosuke’s back as both stands glared directly in front of them.
Dr. Higashikata: Nice! Just because it isn’t humanoid doesn’t mean it can’t look good. Another question, where did you get those injuries? More fights with the Showstoppers?
Ryosuke: I don’t want Dr. Higashikata to worry about me No, I got into a nasty bike accident and I didn’t want to worry my dad, so…
Dr. Higashikata: I understand but dealing with it alone isn’t the smartest choice. Sometimes, having others back you up makes it hurt a lot less... Well it’s getting late, I’d better-
Ryosuke: No wait! I want to pay you extra for all you’ve done for my family. (reaches for wallet) Here, I have 2000 yen for the trouble
Dr. Higashikata: Ryosuke, keep the money. I feel like I’m scamming people with how much I charge anyways. Besides, you guys need it more than I do… One more thing, about your stand. You should name it, my stand’s name for reference is 「Crazy Diamond」
Ryosuke: Well on the way over here, I was thinking maybe… 「White Knuckle Ride」?
Dr. Higashikata: It seems you’re already a natural at this! Oh and on your way home avoid those bikes alright? They seem to have a vendetta against you.
Ryosuke: (chuckling) Yeah, they hate me almost as much as your daughter. Well, thanks for everything again and I’ll see you later!
The visit to a family friend ended a lot better than Ryosuke thought it would, so he calmly strolled the streets back the way he came, eager to finally pass out on his bed.
Credit to u/Subliminal_Rose for the Josuke design and u/gindorf for Jocelyn as a character
submitted by Duckapucko to VentoAureo2028 [link] [comments]

2020.06.25 16:00 efa___ I Read It So You Don't Have To: Little Kids, Big City (by Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen)

Inspired by the overwhelmingly positive response to my previous 'book report' on Ramona Singer's Life on the Ramona Coaster (seriously, thank you all -- truly supporting other women 🙏🙏), I decided to try my hand at writing up yet another of the embarrassing number of Housewives books in my personal collection: Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen's Little Kids, Big City: Tales from a Real House in New York City with Lessons on Life and Love for Your Own Concrete Jungle.
After reading just the title of this book, I'm already exhausted. It's pretentiously long and awkwardly phrased while somehow still managing to be entirely devoid of meaning. In other words, a perfect encapsulation of Simon and Alex. The summary on the back cover describes the pair as the "breakout stars" of RHONY, an assessment that I would charitably call 'debatable,' before going on to inform me that I can look forward to "informative and often hair-raising stories of life in the urban jungle," and that "Alex and Simon use their own hard-won experience as a springboard to discuss a host of parenting topics." I anticipate that this content will be quite useful to me, the guardian of four cats that I spoil endlessly and treat like my actual children.
One of the pull-quotes on the back cover allegedly comes from our very own Bethenny Frankel. I say 'allegedly' because I refuse to believe that the following passage would ever come out of Bethenny's mouth (or keyboard or whatever):
Alex and Simon don't take themselves too seriously, which seems to be essential to parenting. Their fresh 'he said, she said' perspective on parenting is both humorous and insightful!
Please, take a moment and do your very best to picture mention-it-all, betting-on-horse-races-at-age-five Bethenny unironically using the phrase "fresh 'he said, she said' perspective." To describe Simon van Kempen and Alex McCord. Right, didn't think so.
My experience reading Little Kids, Big City started on an unexpected high note when I opened the front cover to find that my copy (purchased used through Better World Books for the low, low price of $5.31 with shipping) had been signed by Ms. you-are-in-high-school-while-I-am-in-Brooklyn herself, Alex McCord! Truly a gift I do not deserve. Samantha and Debbie (whoever and wherever you may be), thank you for your service. I am forever in your debt.
Unfortunately, as would soon become painfully clear to me, after starting off on such a promising note, I would have nowhere to go but down.
The book, which is written in alternating passages from Alex and Simon, begins its introduction with a chronicle of Alex's "fashionably nomadic" early adulthood. Ever the proto-edgelord, she recalls, "I did all those things our mothers warned us about and had fun doing them." We switch to Simon's perspective to hear the deeply embarrassing story of the couple meeting through a dating app while Simon was on a business trip in New York City. No, there is absolutely nothing embarrassing about meeting someone on a dating app. But there absolutely is something embarrassing about using the profile name "Yetisrule" to meet someone on a dating app. To clarify, this was apparently Alex's username, and I remain hopeful that we will get a more thorough explanation of her connection to the elusive Yeti as this book continues.
Alex tells us that, while she and Simon hadn't initially planned to have children, they eventually started to have "clucky feelings." I have never heard this phrase in my entire twenty-five years of life, but based on context clues and also a Google search, I learned that it means they wanted to have a baby. Don't worry, though! As Alex tells us, "You can be eight months pregnant and wear a leather miniskirt." Personally, this is life-changing news -- I had always believed that I couldn't have kids unless I was willing to compromise my 90s goth aesthetic! Maybe I'll rethink this child-free thing after all.
The next bit of advice seems like it actually could potentially be sort of helpful. "No one is a good parent all the time -- nor is anyone a bad parent all the time," they reassure the reader. "You can become a parent without losing yourself." Unfortunately, as soon as I catch myself nodding along, the modicum of goodwill I'd built up is promptly trashed by a gag-worthy line from Simon: "If you take nothing away but a wry smile after reading our little tome, then we've done our job." I immediately vow not to smile until I'm finished reading this book. Excuse me, this little tome.
The book starts in earnest with Chapter 1: "Does a German Shepherd Need a Birth Plan?" To be perfectly honest, I was not expecting a riddle at this juncture, but I am nevertheless excited to hear Simon and Alex tell us "why childbirth is not an intellectual activity." First, however, we get a passing reference to "Park Slope, home of the message board made famous in 2007 with a so-ridiculous-it-got-headlines discussion on gender-specific baby hats and where feminism can be taken to extremes." And despite the lame alarmist allusion to ~*XTREME feminism*~, this line did manage to lead me down an interesting Internet rabbit hole, so thanks for that, I guess?
Jesus Christ, I am on PAGE 4 and I am already so done with Simon. Presented without comment:
With the Park Slope OB-GYN, we had the first sonogram and saw the little blip on the screen -- our child-to-be. They say seeing is believing and as nothing was happening inside me, seeing confirmation on the video monitor that indeed my spermatozoa had penetrated and infiltrated one of Alex's ova made me aware that my days as a footloose and fancy-free guy might be coming to an end.
Y'all, I am currently working on my PhD in Molecular Biology. Which, if you were not previously aware, gives me the authority to decree that Simon is never allowed to use the word "spermatozoa" ever again. And so it is.
I was about to say that Alex's passages are at least more tolerable, but it appears I spoke too soon.
The stats they quoted referenced a 40 percent cesarean section rate in the city, and I wonder how that can be acceptable? Are we heading toward Brave New World, where babies are scientifically created in petri dishes and gestated in artificial wombs? Oh wait, we're already there. Are we heading towards a Wall-E existence, where we ride around in carts everywhere and do nothing for ourselves so that our bodies break down and we're all fat, oozy blobs drinking protein from a straw? Somebody slap me, please!!
Truly, Alex, it would be my pleasure.
As a Type-A person, just reading the story of Alex's first pregnancy and delivery gave me anxiety. She says that she just never really "felt the need to establish a birth plan" and that she "gave in to any craving [she] felt." Don’t worry, though -- "If I had suddenly craved chalk, ecstasy or Elmer's Glue, I'd have thought twice." I feel like there is some symbolism here to unpack (Could the Elmer's Glue be a metaphor for the childlike spirit of connection and unity???). Simon describes himself as "a learn-on-the-job guy" and tells us that he and Alex "failed to attend the last couple of [birthing] classes as by then we both just wanted to let instinct take over when the time came." As someone who has never trusted my instincts even once in my entire life, I cannot relate.
Twelve days after his due date, baby François is born. Except it turns out that he actually was born right on time, but Alex "didn't keep regimented track of [her] periods" and miscalculated. What a bummer that modern medicine hasn't advanced to the point where doctors can guide you about that sort of thing.
I don't even know what to say about this next bit, but God help me, I still have 215 more pages of this book to go.
Although the final stages of labor were very, very painful, I [Alex] never used our code word (tin can) for "game over, give me drugs." I definitely recommend using a code word, because it was kind of fun to scream, "I want drugs, give me drugs" through a contraction and have the midwife, nurse and Simon all know I wasn't serious. Once he [François] was finally out of my body, I experienced a tsunami of endorphins that was almost orgasmic, and I understand completely the stories other women have written about ecstatic birth. Simon was sitting behind me at the point of birth, and later when we untangled ourselves he discovered he'd actually ejaculated though hadn't felt any of the normal lead-up to that. It may seem distasteful to some, and definitely neither of us was thinking of sex at the time, but with the rush of emotion and my lower nerve endings going crazy, it's not too far a stretch to say that it's a profound experience.
Johan is born two years later, although it's unclear from the text whether either parent reached orgasm during the event.
The chapter ends with a top-ten list entitled "10 Things We'll Remember That Happened During Pregnancy." These include useful tidbits like
  1. Best advice I heard: men's genitals grow and change shape regularly, then go back to the way they were before. Don't worry about your female delicate bits being able to retract.
Which is…a lovely sentiment. But one that is slightly undermined by phrasing the first part in the grossest way possible, as well as by the use of the phrase "female delicate bits." I do like the idea that they "retract," however, because I think it's very cool to imagine the vagina as an SUV sunroof. By the grace of God, Chapter 1 comes to a close.
In Chapter 2 (titled "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn, What's My Name Again? and Who is This Alien?" -- seriously, were they padding their word count with chapter titles?), we get more questionable parenting advice from the McCord-van Kempens. They glibly dismiss concerns about co-sleeping ("Simon and I both slept with cats and dogs our whole lives without squishing them"), which I honestly would be more annoyed about if I hadn't immediately gone on to read Simon's account of "the midnight race to the 24-hour pharmacy to buy a breast pump as Alex's breasts were seemingly engorged with too much milk and she thought they were about to explode and fly off her chest." As it stands, I'm truly too defeated to care. Again, just to be perfectly clear: no shade to having issues breastfeeding, all shade to using the word 'engorged.’ And also for giving me the mental image of Alex's breasts desperately struggling to flee from her body (though to be fair, who could blame them?).
Proving that she does not inhabit the same world as the rest of us mortals, Alex tells us that she expected that her state of sleep-deprivation as she raised two young children would "spur [her] creativity with graphic design." For some reason, this does not seem to be the case. Alex is puzzled.
Finally, we've come to this chapter's top ten list ("Top 10 Memories of Random Things We Did While in the Post-Birth Haze"). While these lists have so far been utterly irredeemable, they also mean the chapter is coming to a close, so I can at least take some solace in that. This particular list ranges from the irritating…
  1. We subversively took sleeping babies to as many non-child-friendly places as possible to prove the point that children can be seen, not heard and not bothersome, such as dinner at the Ritz in London, the Sahara Desert, shopping on Madison Avenue, Underbar in Union Square and film festivals.
…to the truly unnecessary.
  1. While changing François' diaper on day one or two, we both stood mesmerized by the changing pad as meconium oozed out of him. It was really the most bizarre and fascinating thing I'd seen to date.
With the couple's general backstory and credentials now under our belts, Chapter 3 ("The Screaming Kid on the Plane is NOT Mine! (This Time)") focuses on advice for traveling with children, which Alex admits "can be a complete pain in the you-know-what." I cannot describe the rage I feel at the fact that she has -- in no fewer than 50 pages -- forced me to read about both her newborn son's excrement and her husband's ejaculate, but cannot bring herself to use the word "ass." Alex, we're really far beyond that at this point, don't you think?
Not to be outdone, Simon shares a conversation he had with François that is remarkable not for its content, but for the fact that one of Simon's nicknames for his son is apparently "F-Boy." Thanks, I hate it.
This chapter's list ("Alex's Top 10 Travel Memories") includes the entry:
  1. Both boys charging down Saline Beach in St. Barths like something out of Lord of the Flies.
So, like a horde of primal sadists? I'm wondering if Alex and Simon have inadvertently confused Lord of the Flies with the hit 2007 reality show Kid Nation. I really hope that's what's going on here.
Chapter 4 ("'Mommy, Johan is Gone!'") promises to teach us how to handle accidents. I'm not sure how comfortable I feel taking emergency advice from the authors of this particular book, but (in large part due to the fact that I have slept since reading the previous chapter, giving the pain a chance to dull somewhat), I am willing to at least hear them out.
After relaying a story of François needing emergency surgery after a foot injury, Alex tells us that at one point, she and Simon realized they had spent "nearly $5000 on Indian takeout" in the past year. For the mathematically averse, this works out to a monthly budget of roughly $100 worth of Indian food per week, making my quarantine Uber Eats habit seem downright quaint by comparison. The chapter-ending list walks us through the "Top 10 Things We Do in a Crisis," and fortunately, the tips seem pretty benign.
  1. Knowing what calms the children down, such as making silly faces or reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwards.
Wait, hang on. What?
reciting Shel Silverstein poetry backwards
I'm sorry, please forgive me if I have missed some recent, paradigm-shifting development in the field of early childhood education, but what?? As in, "ends sidewalk the where?" "Sdne klawedis eht erehw?" I am truly befuddled.
Maybe the next chapter ("'Is Today a Work Day or a Home Day, Mommy?'") will have some applicable wisdom for me, as I will, in fact, be working from home every other week for the foreseeable future. And, I cannot stress this enough, I am a psychotically overinvested cat mom. Alas, we are instead treated to an unnecessarily detailed breakdown of how important it is to delegate, and specifically that Simon cleans up vomit and Alex cleans up "feces in the various forms that come out of children's bottoms at appropriate and sometimes inappropriate times such as the middle of Thanksgiving festivities." As if we needed another reason to consider Thanksgiving problematic.
The chapter takes a brief commercial break…
When an everyday product can do double duty such as Dawn Hand Renewal with Olay Beauty, a dish soap that seals in moisture while I'm tackling cleanup, sure, I'll buy it.
…before closing out with a list of the "Top 10 Things We Do Because We Were Here First." I am happy to confirm your worst suspicions and tell you that item number one is indeed "Have passionate sex."
In Chapter 6 ("I Saw Your Nanny…Being Normal?"), I find myself actually sympathizing with Alex for the first time in this book. Which is mostly just because the chapter starts by talking about all of the awful, catty parental competitions that seem endemic to a certain crew of white Manhattan moms, and it makes Alex come off at least slightly less irritating in comparison.
That is, at least until a few pages later, when she starts to complain about a previous au pair:
She was sullen, melodramatic and kept a blog about how she hated Americans, hated France, hated us and the children but loved New York. I think she must have thought we were idiots, and when she asked us to leave early we were only too happy to get her out of our home.
I would love to meet this woman. I think we could be great friends.
This chapter's list is even more difficult to parse than previous ones, because while it's titled "Top 10 Things Caregivers Have Inadvertently Done to Amuse, Annoy or Thrill Us," it's not at all clear which descriptors apply to which points. When a babysitter "accidentally used a household cleaning wipe when changing a diaper," were the McCord-Van Kempens amused? Annoyed? Thrilled? The world may never know.
In Chapter 7 ("'Putting To Death Is Not Nice,' a Duet for Two Boys and A Guitar"), Alex and Simon share some of their hard-earned childrearing wisdom with us. Which basically amounts to Alex telling us that, while normally misbehavior from the kids incurs a warning followed by a time-out, she has also developed an ingenious new strategy where she actually steps in to intervene when the stakes are higher. Let's listen in:
A third permutation is when there's a behavior that has to stop immediately, say if Johan has a big blue indelible marker and is running through a white hotel suite. I swoop in and grab the marker as to risk a three count [warning] would be to risk decoration of the sofa.
Take the marker from the toddler immediately instead of trying to reason with him? Groundbreaking.
Side Note: At this point in my reading, I am incredibly satisfied to report that I have discovered my first typo in the book, and in one of Simon's sections no less! ("These toads secret [sic] a poison…"). This is wildly pedantic of me and proof that I am a deeply sick person.
We run though a list of "Top 10 Things We Never Thought We Would Have To Explain" ("10. Why hot pizza stones do not like Legos.") before moving right along into Chapter 8, "Don't Listen to the Well-Meaning Morons." Strangely, I have a very vivid memory of Alex saying "I have a chapter in my book called, 'Don't Listen to the Well-Meaning Morons" in some distant RHONY episode or reunion. I guess she was telling the truth.
The chapter opens with a series of passages in which Alex and Simon respond to various comments that have been made about their parenting over the years. I think this device is supposed to be a bit of lighthearted snark on overbearing strangers, but instead just comes off as weirdly defensive and passive-aggressive. A few examples:
"My daughter is perfect. Her table manners are excellent, she never speaks unless spoken to and we've always had white sofas at home since she was a child, with no staining."
-A woman with one preteen daughter, no sons
Your daughter sounds boring. I wouldn't want my sons to date her..
"Why are you outside?" - A bagel seller in Montreal, in February
I'm hungry and the stroller is well protected under the plastic cover. Johan is warm and cozy, the others are asleep in the hotel and I'm going stir-crazy. Is that enough, or should I buy my bagel from someone else?
Got 'em!
"Excuse me, your baby is crying." -- Someone said to Simon as they peered into the stroller to try and determine the cause of said noise.
You don't say! Do you think, you stupid idiot, that I don't hear that? Do you think I think it's just loud music? Do you think I don't want him to stop and that I like it???
Sorry, did I say 'passive-aggressive'? Let's change that to just 'aggressive.'
But despite bristling at being the recipient of unwanted advice, far be it from Alex to shy away from giving her opinions on the shortcomings of other parents.
There was a mom at another table who wore all black and told her hyperactive daughter that they had to have a family meeting to decide what to do next. The type of woman who might ask her daughter to "process her feelings" about which color to choose. The type of woman who wanted make [sic] a big huge hairy deal about including her daughter in the decision-making process and "negotiating" the next best step for the family to take in the pottery shop. Pardon me while I shoot myself.
I'm sorry, but I just cannot respect this take coming from a woman who calms her sons by reciting comedic children's poetry backwards.
We next learn that there are "many websites out in cyberspace," some of which offer child-rearing advice. Simon summarizes their useless "vitriol" as such:
They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, whereas for the 21st century surely hell no longer hath fury, as it's all been hurled at the belittled and scorned Internet mom.
I'm honestly not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean, and my confusion continues all the way through this chapter's "Top 10 Ways We Make Ourselves Feel Better When It's All Getting To Be Too Much." We begin reasonably enough…
  1. Check to see whether the person offering advice has children. How old are they?
  2. Do they have a point? Are they right? It is entirely possible.
…before quickly losing all sense of self-awareness and flying completely off the rails.
  1. Will we ever see this person again? If not, can we get away with unleashing our fury on them? Note, if you're reading this and decide to try it for yourself, go big or go home.
The last few chapters have been a bit Alex-heavy, but never fear -- Simon pops back up in Chapter 9 ("If I Wouldn't Eat That, My Kid Won't Either") to tell us a charming story about how the family refers to his Bolognese sauce as "Dead Cow Sauce," and this is because his children are incredibly enlightened and understand the circle of life and where food comes from. Or something along those lines.
This chapter also provides a lot of really incontrovertible proof that, even though you may swear that your kids say the most hilarious things all the time, you are wrong. I love kids. I can play cool aunt with the best of them. But this "recipe" for "Johan's Concoction" tries so hard to be cute and funny ("whisk violently -- making sure to spill a little out of the top") that I could barely stifle my groans. For anyone who happens to frequent RebornDollCringe, I am strongly and inexplicably reminded of Britton.
A list of "Top 10 Things We Don't Like About Children's Restaurants" culminates with
  1. Where would you rather be? A bistro devoted to race-car driving, with 1950s toy cars on the walls, or T.G.I. Friday's?
Excuse me, ma'am, you must be unfamiliar with the concept of Endless Apps®.
The title of Chapter 10 is "You'll Give in Before I Do!" and although the subtitle lets me know this is referencing "the art and warfare of bedtime," it's hard not to take it as a personal taunt from the authors. Most of this chapter is just transcriptions of 'cute' things François and Johan have said to try to avoid going to bed, but we do get this gem:
Slaying the dragon is our family euphemism for using the toilet (drowning the dragons that live in the sewer) and is fun for the boys to talk about, though probably not forever.
Before giving us a chance to adequately process this revelation, Alex goes on to reflect:
Hmm, perhaps I should delete this -- I don’t want obnoxious classmates getting hold of this book in 10 years and asking the boys if they need to slay the dragon in the middle of geometry class.
Alex, I assure you, you truly have nothing to worry about. Any self-respecting bully will be far too focused on the fact that Simon ejaculated at the moment of his son's birth to pay this comparatively trivial factoid any attention.
The authors shake things up and end this chapter with lists of both "Top 20 Bedtime Stories" and "Top 10 Lullabies," both of which are thankfully inoffensive.
In Chapter 11 ("Children Like Shiny Objects"), we follow Alex and Simon as they purchase the townhouse we see them renovating on RHONY. Although other (read: lesser) parents might store breakables out of reach or limit children's toys to playrooms and bedrooms, Alex and Simon were blessed with two boys whose aesthetic sensibilities are already quite developed:
One kind of funny thing that I noticed recently is that the toys the boys tend to leave upstairs in our red and black living room often tend to be red and black as well. I'm not sure whether that's intentional, but it's funny that the room always seems to match regardless of its contents.
The list of "Top 10 Craziest Places We've Found Objects" is mercifully absent of any orifice-related discoveries.
After reading just the title of Chapter 12 ("Raising Baby Einsteins"), I'm bracing myself for the self-satisfied smugness to come. This preparation turns out to be duly warranted. Baby sign language is dismissed as "a scheme dreamed up by ASL experts who wanted to sell classes to easily influenced new parents," Mommy and Me classes are "not really for teaching anything," and we learn that Alex and Simon have instituted a bizarre family rule that "if a talking toy came into our house, it had to speak a foreign language or speak English in an accent other than American."
We learn that Simon apparently does not know what antonyms are (for the record, Simon, the word you're looking for is homophones) and that New York City is replete with "wailing, nocturnal, type-A obsessed harridans willing to sleep with persons not their spouse if they think it will help their child get into THE RIGHT SCHOOL." Uh, yikes. After a tediously long description of François' pre-school admissions process, Alex informs us:
As a former actor, I've always gotten into play-acting and dressing up with my children. Perhaps a little too much. But I've taken the opportunity to show off a few old monologues, complete with bounding around like a puppy. If you have knowledge, why not share it? If you happen to know Puck's speeches from a Midsummer Night's Dream by ear with tumbling and staged sword play, why the heck don’t you share that with your boisterous boys, who love it and run around shouting, "Thou speakest aright!"
I am suddenly compelled to call my mother and thank her profusely for never making me put up with anything like this. Maybe I'll also get her thoughts on one of the tips listed in "Top 10 Favorite 'Developmental' Things To Do": "if they want something that you want to delay giving them, make them ask in every language they can before giving in." To me, this seems like an effective way to encourage your children to learn how to say "Fuck you, mom" in French as early as possible.
In Chapter 13 ("Urban Wonderland"), Alex and Simon promise to share their unique perspective on "taking advantage of raising a child in the urban jungle." But mostly, we just get a rant about how everyone thinks their kids have weird names, and that makes Simon mad. This chapter's "Top 10 Reasons New York is the Center of the Universe to a Kid" list reminds us what truly matters: "there are more songs with NYC in their titles than any other city."
Immediately after telling us how great it is to live in a city (excuse me, urban jungle), Alex and Simon switch tack and spend Chapter 14 ("'Daddy, a Cow! And It's Not in a Zoo!") expounding on the importance of exposing kids to nature. Sounds great, I'm on board. Unfortunately, we almost immediately take a hard left turn into a story from Simon's childhood where he and his brother are "befriended by this old guy, Dick, who lived on the outskirts of town in a small tin shed." We hear that Dick "occasionally pulled out an early Playboy magazine back from the days when the lower regions were airbrushed out," and that "there had been pretty strong rumors of pedophilia," before promptly returning to the main narrative with no further explanation. I can only describe the transition as 'jarring.'
I can tell how exhausted I am at this point in the book by how hurriedly I skimmed the list of "Top 10 Differences We've Noticed Between City Kids and Country Kids." To be honest, I'm almost annoyed when a particularly bizarre quote manages to catch my attention, because that means I have to think about it for the full amount of time it takes me to transcribe from the page. I'm beginning to think that my initial hope that I could glean some useful cat-rearing advice from this experience may have been overzealous.
Chapter 15 ("You're Such a Great Parent, You Should Be on TV (LOL)") is the only chapter to directly address the family's time on RHONY. It starts with this (attempted) comedy bit in which Alex and Simon pretend to be hilariously self-aware and self-effacing (Alex: "Look up 'Mommylicious' in the dictionary and you will see a photo of me in a ball gown, breast-feeding an infant while making Osso Buco and directing carpenters to build a bookcase for my Dickens and Shakespeare."). This posture would be infinitely more believable if I hadn't spent the previous 205 pages watching these two take themselves deadly seriously.
But rather than share any juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits (or, indeed, convey anything of substance at all), Alex and Simon spend exactly 3.5 pages blustering about how it wasn't harmful for their children to be on TV before giving us a list of "Top 10 Hilarious Things The Boys Have Done While Filming or at Photo Shoots." Spoiler alert: none of them are 'hilarious.'
Chapter 16 is literally titled "The Light at the End of the Tunnel," which makes me feel like this whole experience may have just been Alex and Simon playing some sort of twisted game with me. Alex tells us this is "the chapter of hope," but given that she then tells us about a time when she "spent one full hour discussing why magic markers cannot be carried around with the caps off, particularly in a hotel suite with white couches and walls," I'm not sure exactly where this hope is coming from. Also it seems like this markers-in-a-hotel-room thing happens weirdly frequently. We are then treated to Alex and Simon's "Top 10 Moments of Getting It,'" which includes
  1. Apropos of nothing, Johan said, "You give us time-outs because you are teaching us to be good grown-ups."
This is a thing I'm sure Johan said completely organically and not in response to hearing his parents say "we're giving you a time-out so that you learn to be a good grown-up" approximately seven zillion times.
This brings us to the book's Epilogue (a mercifully short two pages) featuring the line "If you made it to the end of this book, we salute you." Honored to accept this hard-earned accolade, I can finally close the book and start figuring out a way to erase the memory of Simon busting a mid-childbirth nut from my aching brain. Wish me luck!
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2020.06.14 04:31 fainting--goat How to Survive Camping: Rule #17 - the children without a wagon

I run a private campground. I’m afraid I don’t have any exciting developments to report, other than the goat strategy seems to be working. The plan to eliminate Jessie is stalled because some people can’t RETURN A DAMN PHONE CALL. Or check their email. This town, I swear…
Anyway, if you’re new here, you should really start at the beginning and if you’re totally lost, this might help.
Rule #17. You can buy ice from the children that approach your camp ONLY if they have a wagon. Those are the children of other campers trying to make some extra spending money. They only upcharge by a few dollars, so consider tipping. If a group of children approach without a wagon, do not buy from them. Act like they don’t exist. They will eventually leave.
Before I explain the children without a wagon, I need to elaborate on the campground’s culture. Our big events bring in a lot of people. They tend to be highly self-organizing, which is a necessity for their size and for the length of the events. These aren’t just one day events, some will stretch for one week or even two.
One of the more impressive systems to self-organize at these events are the ice wagons. These are groups of enterprising children that come together to deliver ice to all the various campgrounds with an upcharge for the delivery. Since the walk to the ice trailer can be long and hot and up a hill or two, people are anxious to take advantage of this service. During the hottest part of summer the children will make two, maybe three rounds a day. They used to take orders, now they just pile their wagons high with ice, literally rope themselves and all their friends to it to share the load, and start pulling. From what I hear, these kids do quite well for themselves.
The children without a wagon have tried to use this system to their advantage.
Carrying ice is a recent adaption. They used to just show up at someone’s campsite and ask to be let in. They would get turned away (because creepy children) and eventually complaints trickled up to my office about unattended children and how some people shouldn’t be allowed to be parents. And if that’s kind of a ‘yikes’ comment to you, well, trust me, I’ve heard pretty much every gross comment someone could make while criticizing another’s parenting. Part of the job, unfortunately.
Of course, people that aren’t polite around here tend to eventually meet unhappy ends, especially if their campsite gets moved the next year to someplace with slightly higher odds of running into one of the inhuman inhabitants.
…I should probably stop doing that if I don’t want to get eviscerated by Perchta.
Anyway, shortly before I wrote my list they started showing up with ice. I found out about this because it almost caused a turf war with the existing children and it was only the intervention of my aunt that kept it from breaking out into an actual fistfight. She scolded both the real children and the inhuman children (my aunt can be terrifying sometimes) and told them this was a big campground and they could just go the other way if they saw each other and sell somewhere else. Then after the creepy children left, she pointed out to the real children that they had a wagon and could therefore offer more variety (we sell different sizes of ice) and corner the market that way.
Which they did.
And the children with no wagon haven’t been able to get any business.
Finally, capitalism working to keep people safe! Who would have thought?
Now, this was a while ago so you probably don’t recall, but in my very first post I said that I didn’t really know what would happen if someone bought ice from the children. If I don’t know what they do to people, then why did they merit a place on my list?
It’s because I’m fairly certain I know what they are and it’s not good. Creepy children are well embedded in the collective consciousness. Modernly, it typically takes the form of a murdered child back for vengeance. The presence of multiple children, however, made me wonder if something else was happening. Were there really this many murdered children in the area? I suppose it was possible, since they showed up a few generations ago and things were different back then. Maybe they weren’t murdered, but died of neglect or accident. Or perhaps the pull of my campground extends far enough to cast that wide of a net and draw them in.
There’s another explanation, however, and I think this one is more likely. In the older stories you see murdered children come back in the form of another creature, not seeking vengeance, but instead trying to reveal their murderer to someone that can bring them justice. Hardly something dangerous. There’s another kind of child death that will turn them into something evil, something far far worse than a mere vengeful spirit.
A child that died before being baptized.
Now, before anyone panics, please remember that human belief heavily influences what rules of the unnatural apply to a person or a person’s family. If you don’t believe in God or if you don’t believe infant baptism is necessary… you’re fine. Your children are fine. I sometimes remind all of you that everything I say is a theory, as I can’t prove anything, but I’m pretty confident in this one. If it weren’t the case, my campground would be swarming with demon children. You couldn’t leave your camp without finding a vacant-eyed six-year-old staring at you unblinkingly as you pass by. Right now, there’s only five on the campground.
The number changes every now and then. The most I’ve ever seen was eight. The fewest was three.
Anyway, before we go any further, don’t think that a lack of belief will save you from a monster that’s coming for you. You cannot deny what your eyes and ears are telling you, after all, and just because you don’t come from a Slavic background and have never heard of a rusalka until now doesn’t mean that they’ll just go skipping on by you if you refuse to believe in them hard enough. They exist. It just means that your death during rusalki’s week won’t turn you into one. They can still kill you well enough.
So. Unbaptized children. Souls claimed by evil. Their adherence to the old rules of hospitality make me fairly certain this is what they are. Hospitality rules tend to be followed by old creatures, after all, and while there is no house to be invited into, each campground typically has an area that’s an official “entrance” so that people don’t just blunder through the middle of their common area. The children wait at the entrance to this, clutching their bags of ice, and wait to be acknowledged and invited in via the transaction of selling ice.
And while they haven’t been successful thanks to the list of rules, their general creepiness, and the enterprising spirits of the human children; I put them on the list because I didn’t want to ever find out what they’d do to campers.
Not after how my great-uncle died.
I never knew my great-uncle. I think my father never really knew him either, as he didn’t talk about my great-uncle while I was growing up. He liked to tell me about our family, even the ones that died before I was born. His way of preserving our history, I suppose. This means my great-uncle died either before he was born or while he was too little to remember him.
I could get up and go look at the dates in the family cemetery and do the math, but my sofa is really comfortable and I’m too lazy to move right now. Also, it’s not really that important.
My uncle was the person who told me about my great-uncle. I’m not certain where he got the story - probably from another relative or perhaps he just pieced it together from the family records, such as they were while my grandfather owned the land, and then embellished from there. He was very good at embellishing.
We were clearing out a piece of the forest that we don’t allow trees to grow in. It was one of the constant chores of summer, going out there with a shovel and ripping out all the saplings. There are a handful of areas we do this to, on account of a gas line that runs through our land. I thought the placement of this particular patch was odd, however, as it wasn’t located anywhere near the others. I said as much to my uncle, somewhat proudly I might add, as I felt maybe I’d figured out something that the grownups hadn’t. That we were clearing land for no reason and they’d realize that the gas line wasn’t here and we could just go home and get out of the sun and the heat.
My uncle laughed and stuck his shovel into the ground and leaned on the handle. There was no gas line here, he agreed. We kept it cleared for another reason.
Was I familiar with the children, he asked me. The ones I wasn’t allowed to play with? Of course I was. They were something evil, he continued.
I believe I was a preteen at the time, because I just rolled my eyes and said ‘duh’ or whatever slang for dismissive disdain was trending at the time.
Of course, my uncle was already engaged into storytelling mode so he was ignoring my commentary.
The children have been on this land for some time. No one is really sure when they showed up, but their best guess is it happened shortly after the land fully transitioned to being old. The family largely ignored them, as they weren’t much of a threat, but for some reason my great-uncle wanted them gone. He had a particular hatred for them, an irrational one, and it only grew over the years. It hadn’t always been that way. Something changed in him, something planted a seed of obsession. Perhaps it was the land itself, sinking its claws into his soul and dragging him down into its abyss. It consumed his mind and drove him to ruin.
Even back then, listening to my uncle’s dramatic narrative, I was skeptical. My uncle, after all, liked to exaggerate. I’ve reviewed the family tree to see if perhaps there was a child that died in infancy, something to explain why my great-uncle would suddenly grow to hate the corrupted spirits of the unbaptized. Nothing came up. But the records could be obscured - perhaps it was out of wedlock or perhaps there was a connection that wasn’t familial.
Regardless of the reason, my uncle finally decided that he would rid the campground of the children. The family had done it to other creatures, after all. Lesser creatures, my grandfather warned him. The ones that could be killed. The ones that we knew how to banish. It was risky, taking on an entity that we weren’t certain how to defeat. He’d have to guess and the consequences of being wrong could mean death - or worse.
My great-uncle would not be deterred. And here is the part of the story where I am convinced that my uncle was making things up. My suspicion is that my great-uncle went out into the woods with a gun and maybe some talismans and then had to run for his life when none of that worked. However, I have fond memories of being out there in the woods, in that cleared patch of knee-high dry grass, bathed in sunlight with sweat running down my brow, listening to my uncle talk as we worked.
I will tell it as he told it.
If the children were the souls of the dead, my great-uncle reasoned, then they needed to be sent on their way to the afterlife. So he waited until there was a recent death in town and then, after the funeral and after the burial, he went to the cemetery late at night. Close to midnight. Under the cold light of the half-moon he climbed over the fence and crept through the silent and foggy mounds, searching for the one that smelled of fresh-turned earth. The soil was almost black in the darkness and he dug straight down until his shovel struck the top of the casket. He continued to dig, excavating it entirely, and then when he could lift the lid… he pried it open and unwound the burial shroud from the corpse within. Then he shut the coffin and buried it again and crept home, covered in grave dirt and carrying the stolen shroud.
He took it with him into the woods and sought out the children. They stood there in a tight cluster on the road, watching him with their lifeless eyes, silent and still. He wasted no time in approaching and when he was close enough, he threw the shroud out and spread it over their heads and let it fall to cover their bodies.
The children shrieked and the sound made his blood run cold. It hurt down to his bones. They thrashed underneath the shroud, like it was burning them, and then their fingers tore through the thin fabric and between them, they ripped it to pieces and cast it off onto the ground. My great-uncle turned to run and the children pursued him, hot on his heels, shrieking like screech owls the whole way up the road until he reached his house and threw himself inside, slamming the door just seconds before they could reach it.
All through the night they clawed at the door and the windows, trying to find a way in, but the house held and in the morning they were gone and the only sign of their assault were the marks from their fingernails on the door.
The second night he tried again. The shroud wasn’t strong enough, he reasoned. So he built himself a coffin out of wood, filled it with candy and cookies and cakes, and put this on his back and went out into the forest. Eventually he came across the children again and this time he approached them with a friendly manner. They asked him what he had on his back.
“Oh this?” he said, swinging the coffin down onto the ground. “It’s a gift for my friend but they weren’t home so I suppose it’ll go to waste. But perhaps you’d like some?”
And he opened the lid to reveal the sweets inside. The children were entranced and for a moment - just a moment - a glimmer of light seemed to grow in their dead eyes. They climbed up over the edge of the coffin and tumbled inside and started shoving candy into their faces by the fistful.
My great-uncle slammed the lid shut, trapping the children inside. They shrieked and it chilled the marrow of his bones at hearing it. They clawed at the coffin, they smashed their small fists against the lid, and slowly, bit by bit, the nails began to give way. This time, my great-uncle realized that it wouldn’t hold, so he began to run. But he hadn’t gotten very far before he heard the crack of wood splitting apart and the children were hot in pursuit, chasing him all the way back to his house where they tried to claw their way in as they had the night prior.
Neither the shroud nor the coffin were strong enough to hold them, my great-uncle thought. Perhaps it wasn’t the strength of the material that was the issue, but the method. If he couldn’t bury them, then perhaps he could send them to the afterlife using a different means.
He built a pyre of wood and baited it again with candy and cookies and everything delightful. Then he waited until the children came walking by and invited them to have themselves a treat. They considered it a moment and then climbed up the pile of wood, anxiously stretching out their hands for the treats that waited for them. And my uncle, standing nearby, set fire to the base of the pyre.
It went up in an instant, transforming into an inferno that enveloped the children. Their cries were not of pain, however, but of anger. Of rage. And as my great-uncle watched in horror, they scrambled down from the pyre and they moved differently now, they ran on all fours as if they were animals, and flames ran down their backs like a mane. Their eyes glowed like coals and their fingernails were like blood-red claws.
My great-uncle ran. He ran as if his heart would burst in his chest. And he reached his house barely seconds before they did and locked himself in as they slammed against the door, howling and clawing at the wood. Then they circled the house, screaming like the demons they were, and the fire of the pyre that still consumed them began to drop sparks in their trail.
Those sparks caught the deck on fire.
And my great-uncle huddled in his house, praying that the fire truck would arrive before the flames spread to the building and that the children wouldn’t eat the firemen.
That is why part of the back deck of the house he lived in is newer than the rest, my uncle said. It had to be rebuilt after the fire.
Now I know that is not true. My father told me what really happened. The fire is far more recent. In my lifetime, even. One of our staff members was out near the house and tossed a cigarette butt that wasn’t fully out. It started the fire.
If you’re thinking this is all rather elaborate and far-fetched and well, a little bit formulaic, that’s because it is. My uncle wasn’t one to let reality get in the way of a good story. I admit they were fun to listen to and eventually you could start picking the truth out. This next part is true. It’s how my great-uncle died.
The fire dampened his anger, my uncle claimed. He stayed in his house after dark, brooding, and it seemed like the children could always be found somewhere nearby. Waiting. Patiently waiting, knowing that at some point, my great-uncle would break and he would come for them one last time.
And he did.
He got in his pickup one day. He drove down the narrow roads of the campground, searching for the children, and no one knows what he had with him - what he was going to try this time, now that the shroud, the coffin, and the pyre had all failed him. Some of the staff recall seeing a mound in the pickup bed, covered in a tarp, but no one was sure what was under it. My uncle believes it was grave dirt, pillaged from the local cemetery. I believe it was regular dirt-dirt, probably to fill a hole somewhere.
No one ever found out what his intentions were or what was in the truck. One of the staff saw what happened. He was driving along the road and then he swerved - and the staff saw, briefly, the children standing in a row there off to the side and realized that he was trying to hit them with the truck, but the truck went through them and then -
A tree shot through the hood of the vehicle.
It erupted from the ground in an instant, growing from seedling to twenty feet tall in a heartbeat. Its trunk burst through the metal of the pickup truck and it spread its branches even as the car was violently thrown to a halt, the rest of the pickup truck’s body collapsing around the tree that had speared it through. Then another tree sprouted, next to the driver’s side door, and a third in the passenger’s seat. My uncle was trapped inside.
The staff member began to run to his assistance. They saw him struggling to smash the windshield, but more and more trees were sprouting and the truck groaned as it was punctured and its frame began to twist as the trees continued to grow, their trunks widening and lifting the entire body of the truck off the ground as they stretched their branches towards the sky.
And my great-uncle… the staff member could only watch as he clawed at the windshield, his struggles growing weaker as the tree trunks surrounding him pressed in closer and closer, confining his movements, and then there was a splatter of blood and there was nothing visible inside the cab of the pickup save for the bark of the trees.
They grew and merged together and consumed the pickup truck. Their trunks joined, their branches entwined, and by the time they stopped growing there was only one singular tree, obscenely wide and ridged with the outline of the individual tree trunks. My grandfather called in some favors and had some heavy machinery brought in to rip it out of the ground. It took them days to cut it into small enough pieces to reasonably burn and the entire time my grandfather was looking for some scrap of his brother or some scrap of the pickup truck, but there was nothing there. Just wood and bark.
We let nothing grow in the area where my great-uncle died. We tell campers there’s a gas line.
The trees that grow there have bark that is white like a birch tree, but it shines in the light as if it is made of plastic. When the branches rattle in the wind it sounds like the rending and twisting of metal; the falling leaves sound like the breaking of glass. And the branches, when snapped in two, echo with the desperate screams of a trapped and dying man.
I let one grow, one year, to see if the earth still remembers. It does. All these years and it still remembers how he died.
I’m a campground manager. My family has fed this campground with our blood and the earth has eagerly drank it in and it knows us well. It remembers how we die. It shelters our deaths, keeping them close to its heart, just as it shelters all the other wayward creatures that roam the land, searching for prey.
I wonder what the children are searching for, where they come from, and what causes them to leave. Perhaps they merely need someplace to wait out the remainder of their time here, before evil releases them from its grip and they can pass along to the next life.
I suppose I pity them, a little.
But not enough to refrain from telling you all that you should really tip the human children well if you buy ice from them, so that they’re incentivized to maintain their near-monopoly on the campground’s ice delivery.
Thanks. [x]
Read the full list of rules.
Visit the campground's website.
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2020.05.21 13:46 mb45798 Here’s why I cut off my best friend and her family and also stopped going to my church

This is really long, so I’m sorry ahead of time.
I have been raised religious my entire life, which is not a bad thing in itself, but my experiences in the churches and with the people in them have caused me to detest the church environment. Case in point: my former best friend and her family. Let’s start from the beginning. I was 11, and we had just moved churches. My former church, which I had literally GROWN UP IN, had a preacher my parents didn’t like. When my close family member was using, they asked him to go talk to her and try to get her to come to church and go to rehab (which is actually a preacher’s job btw), and he said he didn’t want to and he was too busy, even though she lived literally two houses down. Pissed them off so they packed us up and left. They took us to a new church where I, personally, didn’t know anyone. These were farming friends of my mom and dad’s so they decided they’d give the church a try. My parents are currently still attending this church. What with the new shift in my personal/spiritual life, and with the fact that I was fresh into puberty, I began to lash out. Honestly it was all pretty tame, considering I was a farm child and my mother bought my clothes for me because I didn’t have that freedom yet (to elaborate, she let me pick things, but she ultimately got to accept/veto items because she was paying for them). I began painting my nails black. That was the beginning. My clothes then got darker. I started listening to “emo” music. Black Veil Brides was my favourite band and now I absolutely despise them lol. I grew my bangs out and apparently thought it was 2007. Jump to doing all of this in a new church. It was mainly old people in this church, with the exception of the preacher’s family and a few other kids from the area that I DID NOT KNOW. I was actually pretty sociable for being an angsty preteen girl going through a goth phase, but I digress. I wound up kind of making friends with one of the preacher’s daughters, who would later become my best friend. This was when I also went to church camp. I took a folder of pictures of Andy Biersack and BVB to tape to the roof of my bunk so I could be comforted by something I loved. Which is totally normal when you go to camp. The girls in my cabin decided that the pictures scared them (even though they couldn’t see them unless they got IN my bunk and stared upwards) and they tore them down. I was pissed. I put them back up and told them not to touch them because they weren’t theirs. Nobody touched them after that. Years later I found out that my friend had told them to tear them down. I soon began to get closer to my friend, and we even started staying the night at each other’s houses. I introduced her to my music tastes and she got into them as well. Her family started treating me like their own, took me on trips with them, were super supportive of me, and became my second family. Or so I thought. I got out of my emo phase by sophomore year. I realised it wasn’t making me happy anymore, and I didn’t like who I was, so I chopped off all my hair and started listening to less heavy metal/emo punk rock, and more Panic!, FOB, and pop/rap. This was about the time I started hearing what my friend’s parents were saying about me behind my back. My friend was super shy and didn’t like speaking in front of people. I didn’t have a problem with it so I normally just did the talking for her. It was our system, and it was one we agreed on together. So one day her dad asked her during service to pray out loud for the congregation. She said no, WHICH SHE HAD EVERY RIGHT TO DO. We could tell it pissed him off but he picked someone else. I then get a series of texts from her after we all went home describing to me the conversation/lecture she and her family had in the car. Her dad’s exact words were, “You were acting like Maggie and that’s not Christian of you.” That fucking hurt. I was just getting back into the groove of my spirituality after my angsty phase, and now my preacher was using me as an example of what not to be as a Christian. Mind you, I was the best at bible trivia in my class and I was actually usually into the materials we read, and I always had a lot of questions. I made it apparent that I was hungry to learn. So yes, this was very hurtful. I told my parents, sobbing, because that was supposed to be my second family. Now my parents already didn’t like the preacher or his family for personal reasons, and I had always defended that family to mine, but now I was starting to realise why they didn’t like them. I told my parents it was unacceptable for him to be talking like that as my preacher, even to his own family. They wholeheartedly agreed and were also enraged. They said they would have a word with him, but after deliberation on all our parts, we decided against it because we didn’t want to get my friend in trouble, and her dad already had a history of having a violent temper where he would hurl things at his kids if they pissed him off. I then told my parents that I wouldn’t be going to church there for a while because I couldn’t stomach watching him at the pulpit acting all “holier-than-thou” after saying nasty things about a 16-17 year old girl. There was a church a mile from our house, of a different denomination, and I had school friends that went there. So I went there for a while. My parents wound up convincing me to come back to church with them a few Sundays later. Now let me get on a tangent here. I wasn’t just having problems with my preacher’s family at this point. I also had problems with one of my youth leaders (the lead one, specifically). He was not a very good teacher, to say the least. He went through the same lessons time after time. He was also an egotistical jerk, so if you questioned ANYTHING he was teaching, he would bristle up and snidely say something like, “well it’s self-explanatory, you just have to read.” Ladies and gentlemen, I was an AVID reader, and I was top of my school classes when it came to English and Literature. I was reading high school to college level books BY THE TIME I WAS IN FIFTH GRADE. And I let him know this, equally as snide. Truth is, he couldn’t answer my questions because he didn’t study the material as much as he said. He slapped it together last minute. So this is where the other youth leader and I would have intellectual conversations about the material, and he and I got along wonderfully, which pissed off the main leader. He deadass wound up telling me one time that he hated when I asked questions because I just questioned everything. Of course I did, I was a teenager who knew better than to blindly follow someone without question. My mama didn’t raise a dumb bitch. Eventually I just stopped going to youth group at my own church, and started going to the youth group at the other church I previously mentioned. I told my parents it was either that or I wasn’t going to church at all, they could decide. My brothers had also stopped going to our youth group because of the same reasons. So my parents took the hint that it really wasn’t a good time down there. This wound up working out for me for a good minute because the other church had ACTUAL study books and programs they were going through. They were also intelligent and honest enough to discuss my questions with me and try to work it out with me if they didn’t know the answer. I loved it. It also helped that I was raised around these people all my life so they were already like family to me. So yeah, go healthy church environment! I would honestly still go there if I still lived with my parents, but I now live two hours away. Which brings me to my next part (I’m so sorry this is so long, but I’m also skipping things so....). My best friend got a boyfriend and y’all, let me tell you, THIS BOY WAS AN ASSHOLE. He treated me like I was the dumbest bitch he’d ever seen, and soon she started treating me like that too. She ignored me, rolled her eyes at me, and called me dumb TO MY FACE at ANYTHING I had to say. And I voiced my complaints to her. Her response was usually, “oh my gosh I didn’t know I was acting that way! I’m sorry, please tell me if I do it again!” It happened again. And again. You’d think I’d have learned and dropped her then, but I guess I do have some dumb bitch in me after all. Plus I was convinced that it was all just him. I was right for the most part. She moved way up north for college and I was taking a break semester before I moved to where I am now. She had been in ballet her whole life, and I had gone to her recitals before, and now she had a winter performance. Her parents offered me to go with them and I accepted. Her boyfriend was also coming with. I told my other best friend, who is still my best friend and lives with me now, that I wasn’t taking crap on this trip. I was not taking three days off of work right before moving so that she could ignore me and treat me like shit. Lol guess what she did? Exactly that. The only time I had a real conversation with her was at midnight, while we were laying in her bed, and it was only for about thirty minutes. So I moved the next month, tried to get her to come visit when she was down south at home, and she kept refusing. She and her boyfriend broke up because she found someone new, and now ex-boyfriend literally wrote her a list as to why nobody will ever love her. He’d been keeping a list through their relationship. Toxic much? During this time I met someone. I had never dated before this and I was in uncharted territory. I texted her about him and she was supportive. I started dating him and I had never been happier. I even had people who never messaged me, saying how much happier I looked and how they were so happy for me. I mean I was THRIVING. She started having family troubles because she was struggling in school. It was during a phone call of us playing catch-up that she told me what her parents said about my boyfriend. Guys, after that first time of them talking shit and me being heartbroken, I was calloused to anything they said. I was still close to them, just not as close. They were still, up until now, still a second family to me, though. My boyfriend is big, black, has piercings, is little older than me, and looks terrifying because he has a really bad case of RBF. I absolutely adore everything about him. She tells me on the phone that her parents had already texted her about him, wanting to know who he was, and telling her I was making a mistake and I was “falling into sin”. Nevermind the fact that the only thing I had posted -that they had access to- was the Facebook announcement that we were in a relationship now. His profile is private, so they didn’t see that. She told me how they couldn’t believe my parents were letting me date someone like him, because he was scary looking and didn’t look Christian. YALL I HAD ALREADY INTRODUCED HIM TO MY VERY CONSERVATIVE GRANDPARENTS AND THEY ABSOLUTELY ADORED HIM. IM STILL CONVINCED MY GRANDMAMA LOVES HIM MORE THAN SHE LOVES ME. SO IF ANYONE SHOULD BE JUDGEMENTAL IT DEFINITELY SHOULDNT BE SOMEONE IM NOT EVEN RELATED TO. But I digress. It was at this point that I decided that her parents were dead to me. I had a book of things they did and said and my respect for them had just been hanging on by a thread until now. Now I was done.
About a year later (early 2020 for future reference), I had stopped talking to my friend as much because we’re both bad at texting and every time I asked to call she was “busy”. So I stopped trying. It was early March that I got a call from her older sister asking me if I knew anything about where she was. I froze. What the fuck was she on about? In January my friend HAD called me and told me that she was groped by one of her male friends. She was devastated and I tried to console her through it. She asked me not to tell her family, under any circumstances. So now her sister was calling saying she was missing. I told her I had no idea what was going on and she told me that my friend had stopped taking to family, dropped out of school, and was not responding to anyone. She had talked to a police officer so he could tell her family she was okay, but she didn’t want to talk to them. I also had literally everyone trying to call me, family, friends, my PARENTS, asking me where she was. I didn’t know. I talked to both of my parents about how I wouldn’t blame her if she did cut them off because they were all assholes and EXTREMELY controlling of their children, to a toxic level. Lol my parents very much agreed. I got ahold of her and she told me what was going on. She had just had enough of it and went to live with a friend. She was fine, she was mentally fine, and she just didn’t feel like talking to her parents. I told her to please talk to them because they were literally going to go up there and find her if she didn’t (they were PACKING THEIR CAR RIGHT THEN). She called them and told them to leave her alone. I also called them and told them to leave her alone, just in a nicer way. It was at this time that I had a lengthy discussion (one that resulted in burnt cookies) with her sister, and I realised my friend was lying to me about a lot of things. I’m not taking away from the fact that she was groped. She had a deer in the headlights moment, and I felt for her. I can understand how that would be hard on her. So again, not taking away from that at all. HOWEVER, it was a boob squeeze in a car she had gotten into, and she knew how thirsty this guy was for her. She had bragged about him liking her and her leading him on. I AM NOT CONDONING HIS BEHAVIOUR, I STILL VERY MUCH WANT TO CHOP HIS BALLS OFF WITH A RUSTY SPOON. But when I talked on the phone with her, she was very obviously over it, and was just using it as an excuse to do all of this. I began to realise this after her family convinced her to come home for a week on spring break, which is when she promised me she would tell them about this and what was going on, and she never did. I got texts from her grandma saying that she was holding it over their heads that something happened and that they couldn’t do anything about it. I’m talking like she didn’t want to watch a movie with them and when they asked what was wrong, she would say, “you don’t understand the pain I’m in, and you never will because I’m not telling you.” I’m talking she made this out to be like she was sold into human trafficking and escaped with only the sheer will she had left (I am so sorry for that analogy but that is what her parents thought was happening), and it was nothing of the sort. This all came to a head, after me getting numerous phone calls, texts, and requests to divulge this private information I had told her I wouldn’t tell her parents... as long as she told them herself, and soon. Because, frankly, I didn’t ask to get dragged into the middle of this, but here I was, and I was TIRED of it. She told me one night that she was tired of being there and that she was going to take the car and go back up north in the middle of the night. I told her not to do it because that will LITERALLY JUST PISS THEM OFF AND YOU WILL HAVE A PROBLEM ON YOUR HANDS. AND THAT IS A SHITTY THING TO DO, EVEN TO THEM. I told her it was a HORRIBLE idea, and that she should just wait, voice her concerns, and tell them she’s going back up north. She had no money, no job, and she was crashing on some dude’s couch. She hates working and having a job, so her parents had been supplying her with money this entire time. They told her not to go back up there until she had solid footing (not, “don’t go back there at all”). She left in the middle of the night and I had seven missed calls and three angry texts from her mom by 10 AM that morning. They were going to report the car stolen and have the cops arrest her. Healthy, right? Her mom demanded that I tell them what was going on. I hadn’t been holding this over their heads, in fact I had de-escalated their concerns and told them that it was nothing life threatening and that it wasn’t as serious as she was making it out to be. I had told them that out of friendship confidentiality, I was not comfortable discussing it with them because I didn’t want to betray her trust, which they had said they understood and could get behind. They were relieved by what I was telling them. Now her mom was practically screaming at me to tell them or else. So I said fuck it. I had offered her a place to stay so she could get back on her feet AWAY from her parents, I had offered her the prospect of a job, because my job was hiring and I could very much convince my boss to hire her. I had ASKED HER NUMEROUS TIMES JUST TO COME SEE ME BEFORE SHE LEFT. All of which, she refused. I realised then that there was no reason for her to be my friend or for her to be in my life. I hated her family already, she was refusing to listen to me, and she just wanted the attention and theatrics that came with her little “breakdown”. I told her mom everything, apologised for her daughter being a miserable C*NT, and told them not to contact me again. Haven’t talked to any of them since.
I want to go back to church, but my parent’s church is just way too toxic of an environment for me anymore. I associate it way too much with her family (who actually don’t go there anymore because her dad got FIRED as the preacher), and the youth leader is such an asshole. Was everyone like this? No, absolutely not. There are still people in that church I adore, but I’m not attending that church ever again. Not happening. And honestly all of this just put me off the idea of church for a long while. As for me and my boyfriend, we live together now, with my other best friend, and we’re planning on getting married after the whole pandemic. Or this fall. Whichever comes first. So I’m happy and thriving. So thanks for reading through my story. I’m sorry it was heinously long. I actually left a bunch of shit out, but I needed to get it out there because I am always asked why I don’t go to church if I’m a Christian. Well, here’s why.
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2020.05.12 23:28 oldmaker "Liminal Fixations" — I wrote about Petscop for my final high school essay to try to make some sense of Quarantine. Feedback welcome! It's a growing organism (rough draft)

My final assignment of the year was to write about my experience in quarantine. I had a very vivid idea in mind, one that had been building up over the entire course of the year, but I'm still not sure if I got it across.
This essay is not solely about Petscop, but I would say Petscop is the most important part of it. I also talk about Supernatural, Animal Crossing, and Star Trek. No knowledge of any of these things is required to read it. (In theory.)
I'm proud of the draft in some places and iffy about it in others. I don't have to revise it for this assignment, but I still would like to because the idea I'm exploring is important to me! Plus, you all like Petscop, so you seem like an appropriate audience to judge it.
Very sorry if the in-post format is frustrating — I couldn't figure out a better way to share this.

Liminal Fixations

I write this cooling down from my daily run on which I only had to cross the street three times to avoid any oncoming human beings. I had a Zoom class last night where nine teens shared their singing development through tinny, delayed computer speakers. Three weeks ago, a friend biked over and sat in my grass while I stood by the door and we talked about bees. In my Animal Crossing town (which I, as a six year old, creatively named “Animalia”) I’ve made about 120,000 bells off of fossils and finally kicked out Wendy the Sheep for being such a bitch to Punchy the Cat.
October 2019. I had never truly understood how impossible it was to predict what happens next in life until I found myself in my room, curled up on my futon, a Diet Coke safely wedged between some pillows, procrastinating my first English essay of the year, on the night’s fourth episode of Supernatural. Season One began with the turn of Autumn and I had completely disappointed my preteen self with one simple click of a button.
The goal was to watch all fifteen seasons of that abominable show before the end of my senior year. After some calculations — 320 total episodes, forty minutes each, seven days a week — I found it came out to an average of two episodes a day for six months. In reality, that became four episodes throughout the school week and seven to eight crammed in on the weekend. However, I quickly discovered I could slip in an episode and a half during my study hour at school, which revolutionized the speed at which I could consume the series. As I began Season Eight (January 2020), the episodes were starting to blur together and I was letting the subplots, growing increasingly convoluted and ridiculous, slip past unappreciated. So I whipped out a brand new notebook and, for the remaining eight seasons, documented my thought process about each installment, complete with dates and timestamps in case I ever needed to verify my research in the future. By March, I was on Season Fourteen, and almost ready to catch up to those episodes of fifteen still airing. I watched 15.13 “Destiny’s Child”, the most recent airing, on April 12th. The series finale was scheduled to air four days before my high school graduation.
April 2020. Any further production of Supernatural was postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19.
Hindsight is most certainly not 20/20, because in retrospect, I don’t know how the hell I did it. And I don’t mean the binge-watching of a mediocre CW series, but the circumstances in which I pulled it off, and the results I achieved from it. Senior year: an almost entirely Advanced Placement course load, college essays and applications (complicated by the coupling of my intense drive to succeed at everything and my lack of any ambition to apply that success), my new position as president of the school’s drama board, an internship assistant-directing a community theatre production on the other side of town, my heavy involvement in the high school’s winter play, participating in Speech and journalism, the fact that I signed up for show choir crew and was expected to still show up, choreographing my senior year musical, maintaining a class-mandated blog that required me to spend hours watching Star Trek in addition to my self-mandated Netflix assignment, etcetera, etcetera.
These days I wake up at nine thirty, if I’m lucky, and spend three hours painting, two watering flowers in Animalia, half of one running in my real-life neighborhood, and seven browsing the internet, and I still go to bed exhausted. I sometimes wonder if I forced myself to be so busy, to live the responsibilities of three different lives all at once, on purpose. If I knew those memories were all I would have in a matter of months.
Of course, I did not know this. It was just how things were. Even now, I make myself more busy than I have to be, taking on art commissions I know I don’t have the time to finish and promising people I’ll drive around town to give them my old clothes and arranging FaceTime calls that I too belatedly realize conflict with each other and accidentally feeding my four cats the wrong food so I start worrying that any one of these days one of them will drop dead. And in all that at-home chaos, forgetting to submit errant financial or roommate forms for the college I ended up choosing (Walter Koenig from Star Trek attended it, if you’re curious) and rescheduling my stupid grad party. But at least I finished Supernatural.
August 2019. Pre-Supernatural, pre-school year, and post-summertime, I was bingeing a different series: a Youtube creation called Petscop, a horror narrative about adoption, child abuse, ghosts, and guilt, cleverly told in the style of a video game Let’s-Play. There were just four total hours of content after the final upload on September 1st, and the convoluted narrative (or lack thereof) could only be reasonably understood with the help of engaging in the Petscop subreddit — a community of fans dedicated to documenting, analyzing, and theorizing about the series. After a busy summer, I enjoyed this introspective artwork greatly, for it was not only quite sedentary physically (as it was told through the style of a video game, there was an impending meta sense that the protagonist was trapped in front of a screen) but, although it made my mind run in circles, still kept me grounded, because I never got anywhere with it. The Petscop dwellers’ mental gears ground for hours over the series without ever reaching any answers. After two years of anonymously uploading videos, the creator finally revealed himself in November and announced the series completed, giving the fandom the only closure they’d ever receive: the confirmation that there would never be closure. For six months my brain has kept that conclusion idling in the back of my head, details and theories spinning about at random, pleasantly musing that all of that effort to understand had been pointless. And that had been the point.
I’ve now gone a month without watching Supernatural, the longest period of not cramming it into my consciousness since I started watching it. One might think going cold turkey on a routine that had developed just as suddenly might have some negative side effects, like obsessive behaviors or withdrawal symptoms, but that has not been the case. Perhaps those two trimesters, though fleeting, were so freakishly dense with stressors AND assignments AND responsibilities AND Supernatural that I was numbed to any more sudden extreme challenges (for example, and I’m just spitballing here, a global pandemic). Or perhaps I’ve just become better adapted. In any case, thanks to Sam and Dean, I know how to kill virus-zombie-humans if it ever comes down to it. And maybe the calmness, or lack of that manic “obsession” I was so afraid and ashamed of in eighth grade, is replaced by a feeling of accomplished closure.
Months ago, long before anyone in this hemisphere had heard the name COVID-19, my therapist asked me what I wanted to accomplish during senior year. There was a long silence. “Finish Supernatural.” Even I was surprised I said it, but I had no other answer. The strangest part was how it didn’t come off as enthusiastic or ashamed, but as a statable fact. Because now I have seen every single existing episode, and every so often I rewatch a favorite or browse fan works for the series to maintain my interest, but am I obsessed? Was I ever obsessed?
May 2020. Lacking a need to keep watching Supernatural, I finally got around to playing the fan recreation of Petscop (called Giftscop). As the series is a fake Let’s-Play of a fictional game, there is no real version for anybody to play. It blows my mind that the series had a cult following dedicated enough to build a nearly-exact recreation on their own time, down to the sound effects, dialogue, and walking speed of the sprites. It naturally rekindled my interest in the series again, even though there was nothing new to learn.
Petscop and Supernatural, besides being thriller-dramas, have very little in common, but I still began to wonder as I revisited the former’s subreddit… Does it say something about me that I like stories centered around the importance of families made from choice rather than blood? That I like stories about catching creatures that are potentially hostile to turn them into something else? That I like stories with malevolent omnipresent Final Bosses who the main character is unknowingly serving as their puppet? That I like stories that encourage emotional attachments to cars? That I like stories with a significant amount of grave robbing? Or do I just need to major in anthropology?
The truth is that Petscop and Supernatural’s subtle meta powers (self-referential styles, convention awareness, fourth wall transcendence) are what truly interest me, but not just the fact that Petscop’s Paul seems to be a real human playing a real game, or that Supernatural has a book series within the TV show about the main characters themselves. It’s the incredible power of angry, grieving, and obsessive fans and the tug of war they create with the art that I’m referring to. Petscop valiantly tows an army of supporters, skeptics, and fanatics in its wake, but in Supernatural’s case, it’s the fandom dragging the show’s sorry carcass away from the grave.
Supernatural exists almost entirely out of fan service: their biggest mistake has been their inconsistency in catering to fan demand. For example, when they killed off the fan-favorite character Castiel in Season Seven, ratings dipped so low that they hastily brought him back to life to save the series. The series was saved — however, most Castiel fans had wanted him back on the show to be given a significantly developed character arc alongside the two protagonists. Although this is subjective, I would argue this still hasn’t happened, as Castiel’s powers and motivations consistently get put on the back burner to ensure that Sam and Dean get the spotlight. Supernatural made similar mistakes with nearly all of its other supporting characters as well (Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Ash, Meg, Rufus, Benny, Kevin, Charlie, Ketch, Mick, Gabriel, Kaia, and I could go on), killing them off for shock value and then bringing them back due to fan demand, only in different forms — such as Ghost versions or Alternate Universe versions or Time Travel versions. Although seeing their faces again always lifted fans’ spirits, they were never given what they truly wanted: a dense cast of relatable characters that grow alongside each other, rather than ghosts of better seasons following the ever-unchanging protagonists’ personalities through the fray. Although this storytelling technique has helped carry them through to fifteen seasons, it is safe to say that after Season Five (with the exception of a few decent bold, creative, non-fan-catered subplots here and there) the quality of Supernatural has only been decreasing.
Alternatively, Petscop is nearly the opposite of fan service. Its creator, the recently announced Tony Domenico, would only take into account people’s reactions to the videos and adjust the format of his story if he felt the audience was misinterpreting his vision — for example, ceasing references to the tragedy of Candace Newmaker when the fans were extrapolating them into an inaccurate but wildly popular theory, and including a lighthearted “Why would I be in a car?” in the protagonist’s dialogue after another highly controversial theory arose about the protagonist being trapped in a moving vehicle. After the series ended, fans demanded answers, some furious after Domenico admitted he had a complete story with answers in mind the whole time, including a finished “Petscop Discovery Pages” website that would not be publicized. In a March interview with EGM, Domenico explained, “It’s not a puzzle to be solved, and there is nothing that I would call a ‘solution’. I like ambiguity, not as a tease or a challenge, but as something that stands on its own... There’s room for interpreting it in different ways, based on your own experiences and what you care about. I prefer not to explain it in words myself, because that would take away from personal interpretations, and because I think too much is lost in that translation into words… Now that it’s over, that’s it. Saying more would be like extending the series.”
However, it’s essential to acknowledge that Domenico’s intentions with Petscop largely affected his approach to its delivery. As opposed to airing a series to a guaranteed audience, as in a television show, Domenico was merely shooting his artwork into the dark outskirts of Youtube. It was only because of publicity gained from popular “theory” channels that Petscop garnered the attention it now holds. “I was expecting mixed reactions,” Domenico said in the EGM interview. “I thought people might think it was stupid, and was bracing myself for that… After it started blowing up, I felt sick for a while, because I didn’t know what was going to happen. But after that wore off, it was just fun… It was such pure luck. It feels absurd sometimes.”
Where Supernatural was guaranteed an audience and funding and needed only to please their fans enough to keep the story moving towards a next season, Petscop was fueled solely on fan response and frustration, completely uncommercialized, giving Domenico the freedom to give his creation the ending he wanted and let it go. The Supernatural fans continue to play God.
So why was my preteen self so afraid of Supernatural and averse to eventually watching the show? The horror stories about its young female fans and the fear that my obsessive eighth-grade self would become one of them. On the other hand, why did I, somebody who can’t stand watching people play video games, love Petscop so much? The fans on that subreddit who spent hours trying to piece the story together and keep alive an unfunded creation. What did these two have in common? Fans that were so frustrated by the content of the stuff they loved that they created their own stuff — theories, headcanons, fanfictions, fan art, whatever you want to call it — to try to rectify their understanding of it.
Fan works have been filling my quarantine hours between feeding the cats and going jogging and sleeping. I found three (very impressive!) novel-length stories involving the Supernatural characters and check Petscop daily to see what kind of artwork anybody is still creating to keep the series alive. To deter the boredom, even I turn to my paintbrushes or my computer and try to continue the narratives myself — creations usually fleeting and unsuccessful, but still entertaining nonetheless. My tailor’s shop in Animalia now holds shirt designs custom-made to resemble Supernatural’s flannels and Petscop’s straitjackets. My animal friends walk around wearing stories they’re totally oblivious to. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not unlike Paul as I play Animal Crossing and that, somewhere in that video game, somebody has hidden a story about a dark family history that I will soon discover I play a crucial role in. I wonder how different Sam and Dean’s infamous “Scoobynatural” episode would have been if they’d instead been zapped to a deserted cartoon island where they had to battle deadly tarantulas with nothing but butterfly nets.
? 2020. When I hit my animal villagers with nets or shovels I wish they would hit me back. I jog around the neighborhood with KK Slider “wee-woo-wah”-ing in my ear. Unless a friend wanders into my yard like an NPC animal villager, I can only talk to them through the computer with their voice tinny and their expressions a glitching lag. I have not had physical contact with anybody but my biological family in eight weeks. I will not have a senior musical, a senior prom, a senior graduation. I have no answers to Petscop or Supernatural or if I’m actually going to get to start college at the same school as Walter Koenig from Star Trek in the fall or not.
I am not as obsessed with these things as this essay might lead you to believe. I do not know if I am obsessed with them at all. There is no closure, but that would be okay if someone were to confirm there will never be closure. If pointlessness is the point, then I think I can live with that.
submitted by oldmaker to Petscop [link] [comments]

2020.03.26 16:57 perwinklefarts YSK many Companies Are Offering Free Services And/Or Waiving Fees Due to the quarantine. Here’s a Full List

Phone and Internet:
Major Domestic Airlines:
Credit Cards/Finance:
Food / Misc:
News Publications that are removing their paywalls:
Master List of Educational and Fun Resources
Sorry for the large wall of text but figured it may be useful.
submitted by perwinklefarts to YouShouldKnow [link] [comments]

2020.03.21 22:28 IdRatherBeOnAmino 23[M4F]- Seeking A More-Than-A-Friend For What Really Kind Of Feels Like The End Of The World

Hello, ForeverAloneDating! My name is Neil Rush. I was going to wait until certain other things had happened in my life to make a post on here, but the Coronavirus has thrown when a lot of things can happen in my life into doubt, so I decided that I should get ahead of the curve when it comes to socialization and finding a special girl/lady/woman to brighten up my young adult life (not the curve on the charts of people diagnosed with COVID-19, which should be flattened, not gotten ahead of, unless there's a way "getting ahead of the curve" can also mean "stop the spread of and/or neutralize the coronavirus"). This is probably going to be a pretty long post, with some admittedly long but hopefully context-applying stories to start, followed by a VERY LONG list in the middle and a few shorter lists, plus the standard FAD facts and requests. I guess that's one of the first things I'm looking for in a partner- being able to read long lists without feeling worn down or thinking less of the person that made the long list.
First, the awkward stuff. I have a diagnosis of the autism spectrum disorder commonly referred to as Asperger's Syndrome. Because it's a spectrum, that can mean a lot of different things to different people. In my case, it doesn't make me robotically hyperfocused on certain tasks but unable to pick up on social cues or speak with any tact, as is the common assumption of people with high-functioning autism. Rather, it gives me a near-encyclopedic knowledge of things I care about, some more physical behaviors not quite clicking like they usually do for most people my age, making long lists like what you're going to see in this post, using long lists and certain mental patterns to make a lot of my decisions, and processing a fair amount of things more like a teenager than a young adult. Some of the physical problems can be blamed on Crohn's disease as well, but that's more related to diet and metabolism than reflexes and coordination. And in regard to socialization, I think that my problem isn't that I don't think about my social skills, but perhaps that I think TOO MUCH about them, rather than just letting things flow naturally, and can come off as if I'm unnecessarily judging the social skills of others. It usually isn't too big of a problem, but my older sister came home recently, having left her New York City residence to prepare for a new job in San Francisco (which had been indefintely delayed, obviously), and needing to leave NYC before it went on lockdown, and she's not always the easiest person to communicate with. She's one of the only people somewhat close to my age to understand a lot of things I think about, so I wish she were easier to talk to, but some of the things that matter to her and traits she's inherited make me not like interacting with her a fair amount of the time. It's a shame, because we're going to be stuck in our parents' house most of the time for the next eight weeks.
Also, yeah, I still live with my parents. I graduated high school in 2015, technical school in 2017, and college in 2019, but have not had a paying job since August of 2018, and have only been able to find volunteer positions since August 2019. I've been having bad luck with finding a low-to-medium stress job in my area related to something I care about and/or utilizes skills I have. And just as I start to get some better ins with some possible employers than I've been having, the coronavirus happens. And even worse, a few of the places I was trying to apply to were movie theaters. The kinds of jobs I would want to have in an ideal world would be either screenwriting, audio editing, customeinformation services at an amusement or theme park, or event organization at an amusement/theme park-adjacent hotel or hotel themed in a manner potentially befitting a theme park. But I need a local job for standard moneymaking first. I actually attended orientation for a computer-data related company that tries to go out of its way to have many neuroatypical people employed on its teams, and while that's also not my ideal job, it's the kind of job that, after working at it for a little while and getting it on my resume, I could have almost any job I want as long as it's not too far above a certain pay grade, and could definitely get one of those dream jobs I mentioned. They have three locations in Pennsylvania and one in Delaware, and my parents and I would have to work out which location would have the right combination of decent public transit (because I'm not a driver), apartments in a good location, and openings in the position at the company that the person from the company that we talked with thought would be good for me, but otherwise, it's a pretty set deal. Well, and the coronavirus needs to blow over also. I know that job status really shouldn't matter in this kind of profile, but one girl I shared a class with once said that she wouldn't date a guy who didn't have some form of job, so it clearly matters to some people, and therefore, this is my explaination as to why I'm 23 and unemployed.
Once we get the job situation worked out, I'll be living on my own. It's a complicated feeling. On one hand, it will be good to not have to mind my parents when I go to bed, because they tend to go to bed a few hours earlier than me, and because things about my parents, in particular my dad, that I either didn't notice or care about before make me often not like being around him nowadays. On the other hand, I am kind of scared of having to rely on myself and strangers for things I'm used to having my parents provide for me. A roommate would be helpful in those regards, but still.
My history with attempted romance has been, in general, lacking. I didn't care much about girls before I was fifteen. For a while in my preteens, I wanted to be a single parent to an adopted son. Now, that's the last thing I want to be. I started to like girls when I was 15... while attending an all-boys boarding school. In addition to being all-boys, no more than thirty students could attend the school at a time, and they tried their hardest to keep their students from expressing any thoughts that weren't G-rated. Keep in mind, the school's students were all boys between the ages of 10 and 17. Trying to keep boys in that age range from expressing any thought that's not G-rated, rather than teaching them how to healthily process their... PG-13-thoughts in a way that doesn't fall into toxic masculinity, and not allowing them to healthily and appropriately interact with girls their age, perhaps the most important part of keeping teenage boys from exhibiting toxic masculinity behaviors, is a recipie for disaster. I like to think I came out of that school a lot better than many of its other students. I don't think I'd even be able to be aware of this if I didn't come out of the school comparatively better than a lot of other students. I returned to my previous high school for 11th and 12th grade, and had plenty of friends during that time, many of which were female. Unfortunately, the girls I was attracted to the most at that time were a girl I used to sit on the bus with when I was six, even joining a local teen newspaper that I didn't even like to read just because I deluded myself into thinking I could get closer to her through it, and a girl who had that "beautiful cherry blonde emo/geeky girl" look about her who was nice enough to me and most of her friends, but was dating a guy who I already didn't like due to his tendency to be a jerk to everyone that seemed even a little too idealistic for his edgelord-nihilist tastes (and apparently, he sold synthetic marijuana to middle-schoolers), and him dating someone I liked only made me villainize him in my head more. People could say what they liked about him, but he wasn't a bad boyfriend to this girl, so I had no chance. This girl and I actually did see Big Hero 6 together when it was new in November 2014, and managed to get away with it simply because we didn't call it a "date," even though, for all intents and purposes, that's pretty much what it was. Does that make me a homewrecker? I mean, her relationship with her boyfriend lasted after that, right? If it ended, it ended because of something else after I was out of the picture, right? Either way, I think that only recently have I started to realize that, had I not wasted thoughts on girls that only liked me grudgingly, and focused on the ones that liked me wholeheartedly, my last two years of high school would've been as happy to me for real as they looked to my family members and relatives that were "so proud of me" for all of my "accomplishments" and "how many friends I was making" at the time. And it's not like I completely ignored them. I had many happy moments with them, and even took one of the girls in that group to my junior prom in 2014, and my senior prom in 2015 (my high school was the kind where its prom was for both 11th and 12th graders, as well as 9th and 10th graders who went as the dates of an 11th or 12th grader, and both of my dates were two grades below me at the time). For all of my rose-colored vision about those two girls, I at least knew that the first girl that I had an unrequited crush on, who I'll just call "Newspaper Girl," was the kind of girl who would rather go to prom with her friends than with a date, and the second girl I had an unrequited crush on, who I'll just call "Big Hero 6 Girl," wouldn't be caught dead in a dress, not to mention taking another guys' girlfriend to prom when I wasn't even respectful acquaintances, let alone friends with him would paint a giant target on my head. When it came to the two girls I took to my respective proms, it never went past the platonic in our relationships, which I was fine with, but I did love them regardless, and still do. Had I not had crushes on those other two, I might've attempted to properly ask out one of the girls I took to my proms, more likely the one I took to senior prom. Unfortunately, after I graduated high school and started to primarily attend a local technical school, the schedules of all of my friends from that time got a lot busier, so I could barely do anything with them anymore, and they all have their own lives that I don't fit into anymore. I still occasionally text with the girl I took to senior prom, but I try not to intrude too much otherwise. I texted her when I found out about the coronavirus hitting the college she attends to see if she was OK, which she was, but I don't text her much outside of that sort of thing.
During the two years I spent at a technical school in its Communications Media Technology program, there was a beautiful girl studying in the program who was kind, friendly, and supportive to everyone else studying in the program, including me, but she had a boyfriend. Thankfully, it was someone I didn't know beforehand, and seemed like a decent person from what I could tell, so I didn't have the problem that I had before with the boyfriend of "Big Hero 6 Girl" and making him out to be like a supervillain in my mind (although, given that guy's overall demeanor, I don't think he even really needs to be dating a girl I like to be made out to be like a supervillain in my mind).
In college, there were a few girls I liked at various points, but I never really asked any of them out on account of none of them really feeling like perfect fits, even with the things I liked about them. There was one I met near the end of my time as an on-campus student (I spent my fourth and last semester doing one online class at home and one internship) who seemed like a real sweetheart and was a fan of a few of the geeky things I liked, but guess what? She was also dating another guy. And the guy she was dating was a friend of mine, which made it better in some ways and worse in others. I heard about them breaking up during my last week on campus, and I had her number, so we arranged to meet at her dorm at the college she was attending starting next semester, in January 2019. Things seemed a little weird because of having to walk a mile away from the college to get to the dorms in bitter cold weather, but we had fun playing video games, and even if she wasn't my girlfriend yet, I still felt like I had a good thing going with her. Then, she started texting me really weird things about her interactions with her roomate that sounded literally unbelievable, and that she wanted to get back together with her ex-boyfriend, despite their breakup being a situation where it seemed like he was the one more at fault. Then, one Sunday morning at the end of January 2019, when I was at a convention, she randomly called me, crying while doing so, and I said that I would text her later about it, due to me going to a panel at the time. After two cryptic texts she sent me later that same morning where she said that she couldn't live without her ex-boyfriend, she stopped communicating with me altogether. I tried a few times that week to get in touch with her, but clearly, she had some problems I couldn't know about, much less solve, so, once more, I just had to move on. Hopefully, things turn out better with whomever I meet on here, and that if they're having any problems, they aren't vague about them and do their best to help me help them.
Now for the slightly-less-awkward stuff. I'm about 5'8 tall, 145 lbs, Caucasian, heterosexual, have hazel eyes, and hair that's somewhere in between blonde and brown. It was black like my dad's hair when I was a baby, but then all that black hair fell off, and I was blonde by age three. Over time, my hair got gradually darker, but never as dark as it was as a baby, and my hair does become more golden-blonde during the summer, when it's exposed to more sunlight. I'm not particularly muscular, and am pretty thin and lanky, but it's not as much of a problem as it once was. In middle school, when the Crohn's disease was at its worst, I was dangerously underweight, and I had to overcome the fear of my own body's functions to start working my way back to a healthy weight. I'll admit that I don't have a very balanced diet or exercise regimen, with the healthiest things I eat being a few bananas a week, and some steamed broccoli when my mom makes it as a side-dish for dinner, and the most exercise I do being walking about three miles round-trip into another neighborhood that starts at the far end of my street and back on the sunnier days of the week. I like to think that sounds pretty good, but for some people, that's barely anything. And the only things I drink are white milk and water, which sounds good, given how I'm avoiding sugary juices, sodas, and alcohol, but some doctors say leads to low iron levels. A lot of this is because of Crohn's disease, which leads to a lot of dietary restrictions, but some of it is just because I only really like to eat plain foods and don't have very adventurous taste buds. And exercise just never really clicked with me either. Maybe I'll grow into a dad bod eventually. If health and fitness are things that end up REALLY mattering to my eventual partner, then I'll try expanding my horizons in those regards more, and I might even like it more than I might expect, but I like to think that, as long as you're not endangering others, it's better to die young because you ate and drank things that taste good and didn't strain yourself than die old because you ate and drank things that taste bad and tore your muscles. This doesn't mean I'm going to have a spring break party when the coronavirus is going around, however, and I agree with the health experts that, for now, you should settle for virtual-reality spring break parties at best.
I don't want to dwell on politics for too long, but given the "all issues are political issues" mentality that has been prevelant in America since the mid-2010s, I feel like I should get them out of the way real quick. My beliefs are a mix of several things, but religiously, the closest applicable label is probably deist, while politically, the closest applicable labels are probably classical liberal, egalitarian, libertarian, and individualist, and those last two probably aren't even too accurate, given how, selfishly, I would love for the government to do everything for me that I don't care enough about to do myself. But as the saying goes, hard work is its own reward, so I shouldn't rely too much on social services and the like. I also have a... complicated relationship with concepts such as diversity, representation, "cultural visibility," and the manner and frequency in which the media talks about them, themes which are touched upon in some original stories I've brainstormed about (original stories which can be talked about in the DMs). Back when I was seventeen, I would probably refuse to date someone who seemed too much like an SJW, but now I've realized how unrealistic and damaging of an expectation that is. Now, the only things I would ask of the politics of my girlfriend would be that they can understand why I would feel a certain way about something, even if they don't necessarily agree, don't act like it's perfectly OK for one group to be a victim of something but act appalled at a different group being a victim of the exact same thing, and don't support the "cancelling" of celebrities, unless they clearly did mean to do deliberate harm to someone else with something they did and also clearly feel little to no remorse over it. I will do my best to understand my girlfriend's beliefs as well, whether I personally agree with them or not.
Now for the one very long list and few shorter lists of things that I'm a fan of. Strap in.
Favorite animated TV series (no particular order)- -Making Fiends -South Park -Time Squad -My Life as a Teenage Robot -The Mighty B -Star vs. The Forces of Evil -Invader Zim -The Marvelous Misasventures of Flapjack -The Owl House -Rick and Morty -BoJack Horseman -Tuca & Bertie -Clone High -The new Mickey Mouse cartoons -Courage the Cowardly Dog -Gravity Falls -The Shivering Truth -Rugrats -Rocko's Modern Life -Hey Arnold -The Wild Thornberrys -SpongeBob SquarePants -The Fairly Oddparents -Danny Phantom -Avatar: The Last Airbender -El Tigre -The Legend of Korra -Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -Harvey Beaks -The Loud House -Welcome to the Wayne -Dexter's Laboratory -Johnny Bravo -Cow and Chicken -The Powerpuff Girls -Ed, Edd, 'n Eddy -Codename: Kids Next Door -Samurai Jack -Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends -Ben 10 -Chowder -Adventure Time -Generator Rex -Regular Show -Sym-Bionic Titan -The Amazing World of Gumball -Steven Universe -Over the Garden Wall -We Bare Bears -OK KO- Let's Be Heroes -Craig of the Creek -Summer Camp Island -Victor and Valentino -Infinity Train -Batman: The Animated Series -Superman: The Animated Series -Batman Beyond -Teen Titans -Justice League Unlimited -The Batman -Young Justice -Green Lantern: The Animated Series -Harley Quinn -Kim Possible -Ducktales 2017 -Big Hero 6: The Series -Big City Greens -Amphibia -Fantastic Four 1994 -Spider-Man 1994 -Silver Surfer 1998 -Spider-Man Unlimited -The Avengers: United They Stand -The Spectacular Spider-Man -Wolverine and the X-Men -The Avengers: Earth's Mightest Heroes -Guardians of the Galaxy: The Animated Series -Voltron: Legendary Defender -Tales of Arcadia -The Dragon Prince -Hilda -She-Ra and the Princesses of Power -Twelve Forever -Aqua Teen Hunger Force -The Venture Bros -The Boondocks -Robot Chicken -Moral Orel -Final Space -Primal -The Simpsons -King of the Hill -Family Guy -Futurama -American Dad -The Cleveland Show -Bob's Burgers -Bless the Harts -Duncanville -Archer -F is For Family -Castlevania -Big Mouth -Disenchantment -Love, Death, and Robots -Seis Manos -Undone
Favorite live-action TV shows (no particular order)- -Modern Family -Shameless -Jane the Virgin -This Is Us -Community -It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia -Atlanta -Breaking Bad -Better Call Saul -Fargo
Favorite animated movies (no particular order)- -Beauty and the Beast -The Lion King -The Hunchback of Notre Dame -Mulan -Atlantis: The Lost Empire -Lilo and Stitch -Wreck-It Ralph -Big Hero 6 -Moana -Monsters, Inc. -Finding Nemo -The Incredibles 1 and 2 -Ratatouille -Wall-E -Up -Inside Out -Coco -Onward -Kung Fu Panda trilogy -How to Train Your Dragon trilogy -Megamind -Puss in Boots -Rise of the Guardians -The Croods -Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie -The Peanuts Movie -Kubo and the Two Strings -Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs -The Lego Movie(s)
Favorite Live-Action Movies (no particular order)- -Superman 1978 -Batman 1989 -Batman Begins -The Dark Knight -Wonder Woman 2017 -Aquaman 2018 -Shazam 2019 -X2: X-Men United -Spider-Man 2 -Iron Man -The Incredible Hulk -Thor -Captain America: The First Avenger -The Avengers -The Wolverine -Captain America: The Winter Soldier -Guardians of the Galaxy -Deadpool -Captain America: Civil War -Doctor Strange -Logan -Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 -Spider-Man: Homecoming -Black Panther -Deadpool 2 -Spider-Man: Far From Home
Favorite video game franchises (no particular order)- -Mario -Pikmin -Okami
Favorite internet personalities (no particular order)- -TheRunawayGuys -Chuggaaconroy -ProtonJon -NintendoCapriSun -MasaeAnela -Lucahjin -StephenPlays -AzureBlade49 -MysteryBen27 -Pcull44444
We can talk about any of the things I listed above or anything else these things make you think of if you like.
Other things I'd like in a girlfriend- -Is between the ages of 18 and 25 -Is from either Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York City, Connecticut, Indiana, or Tennessee, because I live in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and after I'm done with the computer-data company I mentioned earlier in this post, I'm planning on living near one of the amusement or theme parks in one of those states to work at or near one of them for a little while, at least when we know that the coronavirus won't be a problem anymore (and even if I can't move to any of those places, I'd love to have a good extra reason to take a few vacations to one or more of those places, again, after we know that the coronavirus won't be a problem anymore) -Is patient with my behaviors that are a result of my Asperger's syndrome and/or Crohn's disease -Has a good sense of humor, "good" in this context meaning doesn't make a stink about the darker or more off-color jokes in some of what I listed among the things I like, but can also enjoy the lighter jokes as well -Can give feedback on my three ideas for original animated TV series ideas, but also support the things I feel are too important to change -Has the kind of personality that would allow her to be not just my girlfriend, but my best friend as well, meaning someone I can gently roughhouse with, affectionately tease and be affectionately teased by, can talk about anything with, cuddle on the couch with, and be the kind of person who gets super-happy to see me after a bad day, because if everything's going well with us, I'm sure my girlfriend would be the kind of person I'd be super-happy to see after a bad day as well
Why I like to think I'd be a good boyfriend- -I'll listen to all of your problems that you tell me about -I love seeing girls/ladies/women I care about happy -I will defend your honor -I'm low-maintenance and can appreciate girls/ladies/women who are also low-maintenance -I like to laugh, albeit not at most of my family members' attempts to be funny -I clean up nicely when I'm going out to a fancy place -I'll pay for the majority of expenses on most dates
If we ever get to meet up (again, after the coronavirus blows over), some places I would want to go to for dates would be either a movie theater, a large mall, an amusement or theme park, or a fan convention if one is happening in either of our areas when we meet up. Hanging out at either of our houses and watching or playing one of the things I said I liked while also talking about it would be good as well. I'm also eager to hear any date ideas you have as well.
Well, I hope you were able to read all of that. If I do get someone to start DMing me after they read this post, just know that I won't be able to respond immediately every time or every day, because of things in my schedule, but I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to talk at least once a week, probably more. I may have a lot of extra free time because of the coronavirus, but that doesn't mean I'll always be available, because I have family things to worry about and such. I will try to be available pretty often, though. Thank you for reading all of this, and I hope that there's someone here that doesn't think I'm too weird. See you later!
submitted by IdRatherBeOnAmino to ForeverAloneDating [link] [comments]

2020.03.16 20:28 Inferiex If anyone needs any home activities for children

A coworker sent these:
✅The San Diego Zoo has a website just for kids with amazing videos, activities, and games. Enjoy the tour!
✅Tour Yellowstone National Park!
✅Explore the surface of Mars on the Curiosity Rover.
✅This Canadian site FarmFood 360 offers 11 Virtual Tours of farms from minks, pigs, and cows, to apples and eggs.
✅Indoor Activities for busy toddlers
✅Play games and learn all about animals
✅Play with fave show characters and learn too
✅Travel to Paris, France to see amazing works of art at The Louvre with this virtual field trip. https://www.louvre.fen/visites-en-ligne
✅This Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China is beautiful and makes history come to life.
✅Math and Reading games
✅Phonics skills
✅This iconic museum located in the heart of London allows virtual visitors to tour the Great Court and discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
✅ Read, play games, and hang out with Dr. Seuss
✅300,000+ FREE printable worksheets from toddlers to teens
✅Geography and animals
✅Math practice from counting to algebra and geometry
✅Fave kids books read by famous people
✅Crafts, activities, mazes, dot to dot, etc,
✅High school chemistry topics
✅Math and reading games
✅Math and language games
✅Hands on Elem science videos
✅Voice based learning... learn through Alexa
✅Fun games, recipes, crafts, activities
✅ClickSchooling brings you daily recommendations by email for entertaining websites that help your kids learn.
✅Math as a fun part of your daily family routine
✅Games to get "into the book"
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2020.02.10 12:36 Kazuliski Cyberpunk 2077 Lore Edgerunners Kazuliski

In 2013, philanthropist Eugene Hobson tried to bootstrap as many of the working poor and unemployed in Night City up to better economic standings as he could. Their biggest problem, as he saw it, was a lack of experience in a trade, and lack of opportunity due to their current financial crisis. Hobson bought a midsize office building that had gone out of business, refurbished it into a facility that could handle large numbers of prospective temp employees per day, threw out placards and advertising everywhere, and started business.
When Eugene died in 2015 of coronary heart disease, his son Michael, himself a respected businessman, took over the company. Looking at the financial records, he found that StreeTemps was not only not making money, it was a serious drain on the resources of Hobson Enterprises. Michael didn’t want to close the company down; it was a good PR machine, but he knew it wasn’t going to succeed with its current modus operandi. The first thing he did was to assign his executive assistant, a Harvard business grad, as the Operations Officer of StreeTemps. He expanded the jobs database to include more professional postings, and secretly undertook another project based upon the Street culture, and the freelance operatives the Media were calling Edgerunners. He also knew that there was no centralized way of getting hold of them; Corpos usually worked with a single set of ‘Runners that they had come to trust, or tried to get in touch with a team or operative through a Fixer. This was tricky, as you might not get what you needed, or wanted. What was needed, Michael reasoned, was a temp agency for Edgerunners: a way to match up teams and operatives with jobs that were suited not only to their skills but their temperament. Such an agency would have to be Net-based, of course, so it couldn’t be tied back to him. Michael set his people to work, and early in 2016, a new database opened for business: one not advertised in screamsheets.
This database didn’t even have a name at first But in the Solo bars and the back streets, the rumour spread and the word got out: if you needed work and weren’t all that particular about knowing who you worked for, or what you did, there was a new place to find jobs. Of course, the ties to StreeTemps were very quickly found by Netrunners, but most were content to leave the database alone; after all, StreeTemps was performing a useful service. Many even helped upgrade the system’s Net security. In 2017, an unnamed Netrunner smashed into the database. Looking around, he is said to have commented, “What the hell! This is a bleedin’ Edgerunners Incorporated!” He then jacked out just before getting stomped by a local netjockey. The name spread, and now everyone calls the shadow database Edgerunners Inc., even the folks at StreeTemps.
Despite having been originally designed by a fourth-tier corporation with limited resources, Edgerunner lnc computer defences are state of the art and very formidable. Several high quality Netrunners have volunteered to upgrade their defences, it is rumoured, Spider Murphy and Rache Bartmoss himself have been involved.
Some of the top Edgerunners in the database include.
Lynx, aka Lynda Korolev
The February 19th, 1997 cover of Newsweek magazine features an award-’winning photograph of a little girl gripping a melted polymer one-shot pistol. She is staring ‘wide-eyed around the ruins of Coney Island after three days of rioting destroyed the neighbourhood. The girl is emaciated and filthy, bleeding from a deep gash in her forehead. The streets are lined with rubble, and the body of a dead cop can be seen in the background. The accompanying story, “America: The End Is Here”, discussed how the U.S. was falling apart. Lynda Korolev was that little girl.
Lynx entered the booster hardcore scene in her preteens. By age 17, most of her old set were dead or doing hard time. New gangs had taken over the area, and the final blow came when Lynx’s brother was chain sawed to death by the Givers of Pain. With the invasion of Brazil still underway, Lynda joined the Army and was assigned to the 1st Cybercav, where she served for three years. Returning to New York. Lynx became involved with crime and black ops, establishing a rep for herself.
Lynx can be crude and abusive, and her contemporaries have said she’s “as subtle as a lead pipe.” She prefers the traditional biker look, unconcerned with contemporary fashion. This attitude is a residue of her days with the gangs. She hates all Europeans, especially Eurosolos, and highriders as well, because she views LEO as a members-only extension of Europe. Lynx is making an honest effort to improve her attitude. She’s had most of the cyberware from her gang days removed, and had her remaining large-scale cyberware replaced with fresh body parts. Lynx still has her problems. She parties to excess, spending her cash on 20th century drugs. She desperately wants to remember her humanity, but keeps getting dragged down by the situation. Only time will tell if she will rise above her past or die trying.
Crista Margaret the Bounty Hunter
Coming from Eastern European stock, Crista served with the U.S. Army for four years, during which she made lasting friendships, and had a few affairs with some of the fellow soldiers in her company. Upon leaving the Army, she drifted into the Steel Ratz nomad pack, spending two years with them and rising to a position of some respect. Returning home to Los Angeles, she made a friend in the LAPD, who showed her around the streets and made her realize that her “talents” could be of use to the general public, so she became a bounty hunter.
Unfortunately, this led her into a head-on collision several years later with a large U.S. Corporation which took offense to her shutting down one of their Black Ops. The Corporation framed her for a killing, and got her Hunter’s license revoked for a year.
Though her standing was soon regained, Crista remains angry about the situation. She’s undecided about a response, but is willing to handle any street action that will bring a little trouble to the Corporation in question.
Crista took on the dangerous job of bounty hunting initially to make ends meet, but developed a taste for the danger and excitement that came with the jobs. She learned on the streets to “walk softly and carry an automatic weapon” meaning, she tries to give the air of being a bimbo. Wearing clothing that would be considered a liability in most combat situations, like revealing mini skirts and high heels, she uses this to her advantage, being able to surprise opponents with this completely brainless look.
Chrome Man
No one really knows much about “Chrome Man” before he started working as a bouncer in a seedy club that catered to the more violent music lover. Obviously from a military background, he refuses to discuss his earlier life, saying he was only “born” recently, when he became a Borg. Since his arrival, he has quickly built a reputation as either already being mad, or about to go completely cyberpsychotic! He seems to have spent considerable money on his chroming and body-sculpting. It was designed by the renowned Eji of Tokyo.
Probably borderline psychotic before becoming a body plated colossus, his remaining personality has become weirder and more violent. Chrome Man’s major trait is the murderous rage he goes into if his body-job is scratched etc. He has been known to kill members of two competing gangs because he walked into the middle of their firefight and got hit by a stray round! Not usually receptive to jobs, even he must eat and therefore takes any job offered to him, regardless of what it entails. Chrome Man likes to get in close to his opponents, using his brute strength and Rippers to literally tear them apart. While on a job, he ignores any orders given to him, if there is a direct method of accomplishing the mission instead. This often leads to the death of his opposition and his fellow companions.
The Nutter aka Jean-Claude Monroe
Coming from a non-corporate-sponsored Canadian arcology, undereducated and always bored, Jean could see nothing in his immediate future. After he and his brothers and sisters were thrown out of the family apartment when their mother died, they split up and Jean-Claude joined the USMC. There he learned something very well, combat. After two tours of duty, he left the Marines and joined a small firm specializing in Corporate security. His air of professionalism quickly got him the high-risk bodyguard jobs, and his success at these contracts meant that he has several Corporates owing him their lives. Jean-Claude is quite happy to hold onto that debt. Deciding to retire after five years in the business, he is looking for an occasional high-risk job to keep him sharp and interested in life.
Nutter found that when bodyguarding, the ability to intimidate people can work better than killing them. Remembering the countless hours of anime, he watched in the arcology, he realized that a large, fire breathing dragon usually intimidates everyone except the most determined people. He poured almost all his cash reserves into a Dragon body enhancement, with all the combat bonuses and therapy he could afford, and has never regretted the decision. His built-in body weaponry, the claws, combat tail and flamer has saved himself on numerous occasions when the opposition thought that he was unarmed.
Mihoshi Oni
Mihoshi Oni joined the Yakuza and was taught all the combat skills she would need to survive the rough streets. Showing her eagerness for the act of killing, she was soon awarded most of the “wetwork” that needed doing. As she got older, she was taught by several masters of the sword and the skill of silent movement. Mihoshi was an apt pupil and soon became an expert in these “older’’ combat arts. Having been implicated twice for murder in the course of her various missions, she was spirited away to avoid arrest by the authorities and quietly retired from the Yakuza. They do not see her as unconnected, but Mihoshi is now building a separate reputation for herself as a Yojimbo, which means bodyguard. This hasn’t led her into conflict with her ex-bosses yet.
Always brought up to do the best that she could, Mihoshi tries to excel at everything she does. She has a very competitive streak and this sometimes leads to her showing off when this would be stupid and potentially disastrous. Looking for ways to showcase her talents, she seeks the most difficult of missions, so that her skills and intellect will be tested to the limit. She truly believes that the only way to prove your worth is to put your life on the line.
Enjoying the thrill of the chase, Mihoshi will play with minor opponents, lulling them into mistakes and then punishing them. With more resourceful opposition she quickly removes them. A loner; she prefers to split off from a group to do her own work. She likes getting in close and using her swords to finish an opponent off.
Electric Angel aka Sara Mitchell
Brought up with computers, Sara was immersed in the jargon of the “information communication highway” and her family’s various jobs with these systems for the emerging multi-national corporations. She went away to university to study computers, but her interests lay in other fields, and she quickly dropped the computer studies for a media course. She excelled, but kept returning to the area of computing and found herself reporting on the explosion of the Net onto the world scene. She was in the right place at the right time, having the experience to be able to understand the Net and the skills to communicate it to the general public.
This brought her to the attention of Network 54, and they proceeded to seduce her into a long-term contract with them for a Net-based news show called “Angel Hour”. Which became one of the most-watched non-fiction shows on Network 54, particularly in the UK, where its often banned.
A carefree and easy-going young woman, she sees herself as making sure that the Net is accessible to all to use, not just a few Corporate elite. She rationalizes her “selling out” to Network 54 on the basis that they give her the freedom to do her thing without shackling her to the Network 54 company line.
Originally starting as a solo reporter, she prefers to work with no one else. This has led her into dangerous and potentially lethal positions, only getting the story out through luck, chance and some good friends. She can be very manipulative and will use almost any means to get her story, especially if it’s Corp related!
Mariko Sonomi
As the daughter of a Japanese businessman, Mariko wanted to please, but school was just so boring. She barely graduated from her prestigious high school and went to college in America. There, her people skills led her to a Media Relations degree, but her tendency to flirt gave her no real experience to anchor a resume on.
Mariko’s skill with people was quickly recognized, and her boss made a proposition: She could earn a lot more money if she helped them “acquire” a rival Corp’s senior researcher. Mariko, crushed by her father’s condemnation, agreed; if she could prove herself, maybe her father would relent.
Mariko’s first “recruiter” job was somewhat perilous and with a few ethical quandaries, but successful. She was next asked to get some information out of another businessman. So, her career began. The corporation folded two years later, but by then, Mariko had positioned herself to enter the freelance world. She circulates in the right social circles, and frequently dates. She never gives any sign whether she’s targeting them, so people are never sure when she’s recruiting and when it’s just reaction.
Mariko relies on her skills as a seductress, not as a thief, but has developed other skills to facilitate her job. As a recruiter; her job is to seduce researchers, high-level management, and other key employees from one corporation to another. The actual extraction is the job of a team of professionals. She gets her mark to trust and confide in her; letting her into their homes and offices, where she can get at their secrets. She has been known to use blackmail, but only rarely, as she finds it distasteful. Mariko is a tall, slender Japanese woman with short black hair and a classic, ageless beauty. She is extremely physically fit, and can handle herself in a fight.
China Dahl
China Dahl grew up in a safe Corporate housing estate, the daughter of a low-level Corp worker. The Corporate school taught her to respect her parents, other people and the Corporation above all others. Happy in this microcosm, she quickly became a skilled photographer and seemed happiest around people. Earmarked for a place in the Corp’s PR department, she was fast-tracked into a Corporate-sponsored university to study public relations. While there, she realized that the Corporate-fed media only reported a small slice of the actual news and she began to take unauthorized trips to see the streets for herself. There, she learned that the Corporations had a tyrannical grip over their employees and started to put an anti-Corp slant into her stories. These minor items were picked up mostly by pirate stations.
Continuing her studies, she passed with honours and was offered a place in the PR department of her sponsor Corporation. To their surprise, she turned them down and went freelance with several smaller networks. Developing a taste for gritty street stories with a Corporate slant, she learned the necessary skills to keep her out of trouble. Her former Corporate sponsor was not pleased by this turn of events, but can do nothing until she makes a mistake.
China is a disillusioned woman who saw all her early values exposed as merely Corp policy drummed into her as a child. She has made new friends in her new world, but still misses her family, and is angry that her father’s Corporation will not allow her to see them for “security” reasons.
Deciding to enjoy her life to the fullest. She is a frequent customer of nightclubs; there she can unwind and keep her ear out for any gossip that could lead to a story. By picking up on said gossip, then following up any possible leads generated, means she’s always working-and not always getting a story in return. However, the fact that she can enjoy herself at the same time-sometimes on other’s money-makes this her preferred way of operating. She uses people for both pleasure and information, usually at the same time.
Doctor Snoopy
Born to a middle-rank criminal family, Snoopy was protected from his family’s dealings, and family “profits” were used to send him to a university to study medicine. However, he was suddenly dragged into the family’s “work” when his parents were killed by a rival crime chief. Not long afterwards, he realized the money-making potential of his skills. His first attempt at designer drug production led quickly to arrest and imprisonment for two years, where he learned to refine his methods and some harsh lessons in survival. With the last of his family’s money, he bought his parole and some useful cyberware. Leaving prison to make his way on the street he began acting as a ripperdoc, under the childhood pseudonym of “Doctor Snoopy.”
Upset that his entire early life was a tissue of lies, Doctor Snoopy has no respect for himself or others, seeing everyone as tools to use so he can better himself. He has become a doctor who is willing to take risks with his own and other’s lives, caring nothing for the pain of his patients or whether a person dies under his knife. The one dream he still clings to is to control his own large-scale drug laboratory, making products for his own use and for street sale. He will betray anyone or any ideal to reach this dream, regardless of any future backlash on himself or anyone else.
Doctor Snoopy has become widely known as a ripperdoc who, though brutal in practice, is willing to perform any operation with no interest in the usage of his “work” afterwards.
Born into a Nomad pack, the young man grew up never knowing for sure which members were his parents. As he got older, he was chosen by the chief Techie of the pack as an apprentice, and began to learn the intricacy of maintaining the pack’s cyberware. However, the two main loves of his life became explosives and looking after the pack dogs. Cyberdog, trained the pack’s animals to act as perimeter guards. Along the way, he started designing and implanting modified cyberware into the dogs to improve them.
At age 17, his Nomad group was ambushed by operatives of an unknown corporation. They were killed almost to the last person; the only survivor was CyberDog and his vengeance. He began a life on the streets, and continued his experiments with cyber enhanced dogs. His expertise in both repairs and cyberware, quickly made him a leader in the field, and gained him several acquaintances, including police and corporates alike. A Corporate who became a regular customer eventually found out about his quest for vengeance and used it as bait to lure CyberDog into working for Militech’s research department.
Given all the equipment and money he needed, CyberDog quickly developed the cyberware now used in Militech’s canine guards, but he was also working on another project which he kept secret from the Corp. They eventually discovered the secret project’s existence, and, when they refused to tell him which Corporation had attacked his old family, he seemed to give in and agreed to tell them about the new project.
He demonstrated his Cerebrus project the next day by having a cyberform greyhound unit run up to the crowded observation enclosure and detonate in front of the blackmailing executive. During the confusion, he slipped away from the facilities and returned to the streets, taking the design of his new Blasthounds with him.
Cold and detached, his main motivation is to find out who arranged the wiping out of his pack and why. CyberDog maintains a false friendly relationship with everyone so that he can use them later to get information or to help in pursuit of his revenge. Only when someone is of no use to him anymore will he show his real feelings. He either sells his Blasthounds for use, or hires out his expertise in a range of fields to whomever needs it, except Corporations.
Cyberpunk 2077 Lore:
Cyberpunk 2077 is an RPG set in Night City, the most vibrant and dangerous metropolis of the future. You play as V (Cherami Leigh), a mercenary outlaw going after a one-of-a-kind implant that is the key to immortality. In a world of Solos, Netrunners and Techies, today is your first step to becoming a legend like Samurai, Johnny Silverhand (Keanu Reeves), Morgan Blackhand, Spider Murphy, Rache Bartmoss and Alt Cunningham. Take on corporations such as Arasaka and Militech. Cyberpunk 2077 covered by Kazuliski.
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2020.01.19 04:52 Phenenas Phenenas #4: My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)

Date started: 1/11/2020
My quest to watch every Studio Ghibli film is almost complete. For those who don't know, Ghibli is a Japanese studio which makes beautiful animated films on par with Disney, and often exceeding them. I kind of grew up with them, starting with my family taking me to see a little movie called Ponyo when I was 11, and since then, I've made it a sort of mission to watch everything the studio has to offer. After this, I only have only one movie to go. Because the new one they're working on isn't coming out anytime soon.
My Neighbors the Yamadas is a pretty obscure entry in the Ghibli repertoire. And perhaps it's easy to see why. Ghibli movies are known for having some of the most beautiful animation of all time. The animation for this film is crude, drawn in the cartoony style of a Japanese comic strip. For comparison, here is what most Studio Ghibli movies look like, and here is what My Neighbors the Yamadas looks like. ...Yeah. Day and night. But how is it despite the limited animation budget?
I was hoping for some kind of obscure hidden gem I could recommend to everybody, but this movie's just...okay. It's charming enough, but doesn't leave much of an impact. And doesn't even come close to masterpieces like Spirited Away or Kiki's Delivery Service. There isn't much of a story; it's structured as a series of vignettes about a typical Japanese family. You have the hardass father, the supportive but nagging mother, the neurotic preteen son, the baby daughter, and the grouchy but wise grandmother.
This movie was based on a comic strip, and it shows. Some of the vignettes run as long as 15 minutes or so, but most are 1-2 minutes, and very much in the style of a newspaper comic, where you have a quick setup and then a punchline. And, to be honest, it feels awkward when stretched out to feature length. I'm a big advocate for movies that defy the 3-act structure, but this is the wrong way to do it. The vignettes are usually pretty mundane, some of the stories including an argument over what channel to watch on TV, the mom cooking noodles for 4 days in a row, and the dad forgetting to bring his umbrella to the store. Sounds riveting, I know. A lot of these are fine as little mini-shorts, but when they're all crammed into a 100-minute film, it gets old pretty fast.
It starts off really strong, with an introduction of sorts that has really beautiful, flowing animation despite the simplistic style. But when you get to the movie proper and realize what it's gonna be, it's kinda disappointing. The characters aren't especially interesting. Strangely, more than 80% of it is focused on the mom and dad, while the rest of the family is shoved in the background. The son barely contributes anything, and the daughter just vanishes for long stretches, despite the movie making you think she's gonna be the main character at the start. There are themes about how our families can be flawed and make mistakes, but in the end, they're all we've got. It's thankfully not too sappy about it, and is actually enjoyably cynical at times. Many parts of it are very funny. And that's what it's about: the funny little moments in life that we rarely think about, but always recognize.
But again, there's so much crammed in, and some of the shorts don't even make sense. Like, there's one where the mom is napping while listening to loud classical music, and then the dad turns off the radio, and then she wakes up. And that's it. Um...what was the joke? Or the point? And the second half really starts to drag. There are a few longer stories at the end that feel like an eternity, like this one about the dad trying to confront a biker gang. And again, for all the time it devotes to this family, there's no real examination of the characters. We don't really know why the mom and dad love each other, or what the son is interested in, or what the grandma's life was like. I think they could have delved into some real issues of domestic life and growing up, but it pretty much just comes down to the jokes. And that's a shame.
My Neighbors The Yamadas is a quiet little meditation on family life. It seems more meant to tap into the audience's nostalgia than build a meaningful story of its own. I'm not against the movie it's trying to be. The original Winnie the Pooh had a similar sort of feel, and did it a lot better. Yamadas has plenty of nice and charming moments, but doesn't really work as a movie. Not because it defies the 3-act structure. But because there's no central theme, conflict, or character to anchor it, you're left with 100 minutes of repetitive fluff. And that's no bueno.
Isao Takahata, you're a genius, and may you rest in peace. But I thought even your movie about raccoons with giant ballsacks was deeper and more meaningful than this one.
submitted by Phenenas to 100movies365days [link] [comments]

2020.01.10 08:20 Damionstjames When 7th Day Adventists Attack

Hi there, shout out to R-Slash. If you wind up using this story please message me.

I can't post this on Entitledparents yet, but I'm hoping to get it there sometime.

TLDR @ Bottom
First before I begin a little context. I'm almost 40 years old, Caucasian, non-religious, and openly homosexual. People describe me as a biker, or a big teddy-bear because of my tattoos and beard. My husband looks surprisingly a great deal like me only I wear my hear long and he looks a little like Stone Cold Steve Austin. While I don't go out of my way in most cases to inform people about my sexuality (there is another E.P. story I will share involving why I don't) this becomes relevant soon.
The Setting: Outside Battleground, Washington State. Funny story behind the name. TLDR on that is General gets angry his Captain wont massacre Native Americans and trolls him by naming the land battleground. Anyway, my husband and I had moved in a couple of years before after I had suffered a violent sexual assault from a sex offender, so I was only half-working while I was recovering emotionally. My friends moved me into this lot which contained a very old house from the late 1800's, an equally old church, and some small hut-like studio homes on the lot. We had been granted one of these to live in for dirt cheap while I recovered.
Not long afterward, my friend and his wife moved out, following their divorce. So my very good friends from my Weekly D&D group wound up moving into the apartments below the Church - YAY! Shortly after that, the owner of the property - we'll call him Shane - decides to rent out to some people. First, was a guy who's name I honestly don't remember. In this story we will call him EP#1. I could spend PAGES talking about just this guy, so I'll just list off several of the things he did while living with us:
  1. Continiously stole my neighbor's soaps, shampoos, and toilet paper from their spot in the common area because he said it counted as "community property".
  2. After the theft, Shane Landlord installed cameras in the area. While they didn't look into any of the bathrooms, or the church shower (EP#1 lived in the apartment above the church while friend's family lived below it), disabled the cameras repeatedly claiming that he was going to sue Shane Landlord for production of child pornography since his preteen daughter had a tendency to walk out of the showers nude.
  3. Sleep anywhere he want on the property, including in our lawn furniture
  4. Deal drugs out of his apartment
  5. After an incident I'll describe below where my husband and I legit feared for our lives, told another friend of mine he had ZERO business bringing a gun onto the property claiming "My PRECIOUS daughter is TERRIFIED of that satisfied and holstered gun on your hip. Leave now or else!" I should note that the guy I had come over to stay at my place was a licensed security officer and had a crap-ton of paperwork for both concealed and open-carry.
By now, Shane Landlord had handed over duties to the mother of the the friend who got me there in the first case. In many ways, she's like the godmother of Karen's. A god-Karen. This becomes contextually relevant soon. We'll call her Karen Landlord.
One day not long after Entitled Dad's departure, KL approaches us and informs us a mixed race family was going to be moving into the house, which both my friend's family and I were kinda-eyeing but we were far more interested in the apartment above the church. We were informed that they were deeply religious, and that before KL ever even considered renting to them, told them that my husband and I were gay and we lived over (there). At the time I didn't think of it, but I'm kinda shocked now that I listen to this channel. Either way, she told me their acceptance was a TOC (term of condition) to them being rented to, as KL had known husband and I for many years by then. I thanked her for informing us, and waited for the day they arrived.
Few Days later, they arrived. Enter, the Entitled FAMILY!
So, despite still dealing with the trauma from various incidents over the last few years and several assaults on my person, I genuinely try to be a good and personable person. I have worked customer service my entire life and had learned that a good first impression is important. I walked over and introduced myself. "Hi I'm Damion, it's a pleasure to meet you, my husband's at work but his name is (said name). Can I help you move in?"
7D: (Strong southern accent) "Why it's lovely to meet neighbors that are so kind, I'd like that."
To this day, that remains the only nice thing 7D had ever said to me. That day I helped him and his absolute platoon of kids move a crazy amount of toys, furniture, military grade weapons, military paperwork, and tool boxes into the old house. After paying me a little for my time, it was like they wanted me to leave. They weren't mean about it, but they seemed like it was a long trip. During the move, I had asked if they had been told like Karen Landlord had said about my husband and I. They told me they had and said, "It's no problem Damion. We know such and such that are gay. It's totally fine."
Only it totally wasn't. These would soon be made to be known as some of the absolute worst people I've ever met. Some of what I'm about to write about, even almost 20 years later, still haunt me so it's very difficult - please be gentle.
One of the first - and most major of all the incidents - involved an incident about 6 months after they had moved in. After all that time, they had only acknowledged me or husband with little more than a curt not of the head, or the occasional hello but never anything more. At first their eldest daughter was amazing. She was a legit genius, and had challenged all of her high-school classes at 14 and had already had 2 years of college under her belt. Anway, my husband and I hadn't moved into the apartment over the church yet, as there was still some litigation going on between Entitled Dad and Karen Landlord or something. On this day, 7D's kids were all outside my hut-house playing with rubber ball. It's VERY hot in my place as it had no air conditioning and we had this little fan in the window that didn't cut it. Husband and I are HUGE into tabletop gaming, like D&D, Pathfinder, Starfinder, White-Wolf, the works. So when we had time off I'd DM for husband. This was the case until the first of many thunderous booms went off the side of my house. You know those houses you see at construction sites that manager's work in? I was basically living in one of those. The thuds were absolutely concentration shattering. I was annoyed, but not mad. I had worked in customer service for years, so I knew how to talk to people. I get dressed and open the door. There is the whole 7th Day army outside my place, still bouncing the ball off my house.
"Uh, Hi. Say, my husband and I are trying to work in here, would it be alright if I asked you to play a little bit over there? You're bouncing the ball off my house."
7Dkids: "Sorry Mister!"
I think I handled that pretty well. Less than an hour later, I hear 7Dad screaming and yelling and cussing up a storm. As a former military drill instructor among many other things, there was no way you couldn't miss his yelling.
Husband: "Wtf?!"
Curious, we poke our heads outside. There is 7th Dad having to be literally restrained by his wife, his brother, a guy we'd never met, and the neighbor from the next lot. His kids were standing around, glaring absolute DAGGERS at us like we had somehow offended them. 7th dad was absolutely rabbit, foaming at the mouth claiming he was going to kill us. I wanted to call 911 as this was clearly a dangerous situation. I call Karen-Landlord instead.
She in no uncertain terms told me I was over-reacting, and despite clearly hearing the man who was still being restrained LITERALLY THREATEN TO KILL ME, she said I was being unreasonable.
Clearly not going to get help from her, I asked 7th Kid what was going on. She looked at me and gave me that look that many african american girls had given me. You know, the look that says "Oh no you didn't".
7k: "You know what you did."
Me: "No I don't."
7k: "Yeah you do, you in big trouble now. My daddy gonna get free and you're gonna regret whatchu did."
Me: "Seriously, what did I do?"
At that point, I take everyone's advice and head back inside. Nothing hurts me mentally more than being told I did something wrong when I legit don't know. I suffer from Boderline Personality Disorder, which means I miss a good deal of ques and can get really confused.
After several hours of yelling from inside the house and Karen Landlords arrival, she walks over to our house. She informs us that 7th Dad and Mom (her words mind you) had heard us using racial epithets at their children and had ordered (not asked) them to play in the "colored section" of the lot. Granted if anyone were going to look the part of Mouth-Breathing Neandrathall Klansmen #2 and #3 it'd probably be us strictly based off appearance.
I told Karen Landlord that in no uncertain terms, I was NOT pleased with how this went. I wanted to call the police and file an official report. This is why I had my security guard friend hang out with his gun, because I knew 7Dad was armed. Figured at least it might even the score.
Feeling bad, when all was settled, Karen gave us the apartment we wanted over the church. This was a MAJOR upgrade in space, it had air conditioning, and had multiple exits and entrances with far better locks. Well we tried to apologize to 7dad for any misunderstanding, but he was having NONE of it. You know the Volus from Mass Effect 2? The one who after you find the money chit pretty much said "well, she could have taken it?" and suggested the person get charged anyway based off opportunity alone? Yeah his argument played out like that, telling us that husband and I fit the part and we could have done it so he'd be watching us.
From then on, our hell began. Twice, 7th Dad cut our internet line on the outside of the church, depriving me of the internet which since I didn't drive at the time was pretty much my only means of contacting the outside world and the only form of our entertainment.
A year after they moved in, my friends in the basement, my husband, and I all took a trip to a furry convention. It was a lot of fun. When we got back we discovered that 7th Dad had broken in, and COVERED my apartment in a mysterious white powder. Cops said that since they had also cut the lines to the previously mentioned security cameras too, there was no evidence it was them, save a single footprint that just happened to be a vintage 60's era combat boot that 7th Dad wore RELIGIOUSLY. We were the very next day given a notice to vacate. Karen had said that due to some law, that Shane Landlord had been renting to us illegally, and one family would have to go and seeing as Husband and I and Friends family were not religious like she was, she was handing the property over to them once we left. It's important to know in the year that 7th Dad had lived there, they had never paid a dime in rent, or utilities. Aside from 3 months years before when I was in and out of the hospital years before in recovery, I was 100% up to date on my rent, as was friend. We were FLOORED when she rejected our appeal.
The last two parts, really hurt me the most.
As we were moving out, there was a storage shed behind all the huts where my husband and I had put our bulk things. I noticed a box was missing. This had among many things, my high school yearbooks, pennants, letters (athletic and drama), sports awards, 3 notebooks of furry artwork I'd drawn and colored and collected (this becomes important later), and my license plate collection. I LOVED my license plate collection. I had plates from as far back as an Oregon 1925 license plate, as far north as an Alaska plate, and everything from Hawaii to Georgia and California. Most prized was my grandpa's 1956 California Yellow and Black plates. Whole box was gone. We looked everywhere, couldn't find it. On a hunch, we suspected since 7th Dad had somehow got a hold of Shane Landlords old keys, he must've done it. Since on paper he was still the legal owner of the property I went over Karen's head and called him up. He was pissed, and had explained his prized power tools were also missing, and had actually planned on calling us. He said that while the family was at church, he'd let me have a brief look around, but only the basement as he had noticed when fixing the pipes there were a ton of boxes down there he'd never seen before.
We get down there, and wouldn't you know it, there's his power tools hidden behind an old washing machine. SL is livid! I find, not the box I was missing but instead a box of my old work uniforms and hats. Many of them still had my nametag still on them. 7th dad had returned and began to cuss at my landlord and me and husband, the exchange went like this:
7thDad: "You broke into my fuckin' house!"
Me: (not intimidated) "You broke into the storage shed."
7th Dad: "Can't prove that."
SL: "This is literally my pneumatic saw, I have my name carved in it right here!"
7th Dad: "Can't prove that."
SL: "It was in a locked storage shed, I demanded when you moved in you hand over all the keys to Karen. You didn't. You used my key to get in. That's theft."
7th Dad: "So?"
All of us: "SO?!"
7th Dad: "Yeah so what? I have a right to that key. I'm renting this house, so I get to use any part of the property I want. The house, Sheds, Huts, Butt Brother (a constant slur he used for us) over there's apartment, all of it. It's mine. I got the key."
SL: "Well at the end of the day it's my name on the deed so no you don't. You stole my property, I'm filing a police report."
7th Dad: "For what?"
SL: "For my property you STOLE!"
7th Dad: "So, let me see if I hear you right. First, you break into my house and bring him (me) in as what...your muscle? Well you got your property back, snoopin' around my place. Cops are not gonna do shit if you got it back, and you can't prove I took it now since we both have the same key. Furthermore, how do I know you didn't just put it there, then try to Scooby-Do me when I come walking in so you can Ah-ha me? Ya'll just mad cause I'm BLACK!"
Me: "Oh yes, that's totally it."
7th Dad: "You say somethin butt brother?"
Me: "Oh yes, we totally concocted this brilliant plan to steal his own property and plant it down here - behind a washing machine. Man SL we totally should've stopped after we failed to get that to work with OJ."
SL almost dies laughing but just snickers a great deal.
So at that point 7th Dad goes off - "I'm so sick of you (homophobic slur's) around here. Y'all walkin' around nekkid (totally weren't), havin' all kinds of sex (not his business), peeping' at my daughter and wife, (insane accusation) and now this. Say I did take all your stuff. You're the landlord so I can let that slide but that does not give you carte blanche to let butt brother here walk around my house! I'm callin' the cops."
Me: "Please do, I'd love to see how you explain away how a box of my uniforms, with my name on them, wound up in your basement considering that was in my part of the shed, buried under many boxes. Willing to bet your finger prints are all over that box."
I had a goal there. Even if he was trying to frame us for trying to frame him, I had turned it full circle because despite being ex millitary and some kind of special ops guy, I played off his insecurity and paranoia like a pro. He grabbed the box and shoved it into my hands. I gripped it only from the bottom, and thanked him, and left. This was in case they did want to search the box for prints, his would be the only ones on the top of the box, as that's where he had grabbed it, and we'd seen him carry his boxes that way on moving day.
When the cops did show up, the cops made the following rulings:
  1. I - despite having the landlord's permission - had no legal right to enter 7th Dad's basement, but seeing as there was a loop-hole since there literally was a loop hole tunnel that connected his basement with my friend's apartment I was given a warning and an official desist order.
  2. My Landlord and Landlady were fined for various infractions of breach of the public trust and rental law.
  3. 7th Dad and family had been running a scrap-metal scam for years, and that's how they made their money. They would break into SL's shed and sell his power tools to a pawn shop that had acted like a fence for years - including my license plates. The cops informed us they had also stripped my truck (one year older than their own, same make and model) for parts in the engine and I now basically owned the Frame of a car. Cops had ZERO idea where the parts were, and 7th Dad was refusing to cooperate.
  4. So remember those yearbooks, awards, letters, and my furry art? Cops on a search of the home found my stuff in a closet that had a padlock on it, of which only 7th Dad had the key. This helped the police come to the conclusion that we were the victims, and not 7th Fam. The kids had poured all MANNER of stuff over the art book, and one whole book of irreplaceable art had to be thrown art. My Varsity Letter I earned for Wrestling was also destroyed, as it turned out one of them had either dropped it in a toilet or just flat out peed on it. My yearbooks made it out unscathed. Yeah, that was impossible to explain away. 7th Mom tried some kind of "Must've been their gay magic!" bullshit.
  5. A year after all THAT had happened, we had heard from the BGPD that they never paid a dime of rent, or utilities, and after 7th Dad had went to jail and been released on bail never went to a single court appearance. They had straight up boarded up the house and were trying to go full Waco Texas on the PD. It took the Swat Team from Three Cities to get them out of there.
Well, that's my first story - sorry it's so long.
TLDR: Was nice to a family of religious nutjobs. They broke into my home, stole my stuff, called me homophobic slurs, threatened my life, stole my landlords stuff, pawned my stuff, cut my cable, stripped my truck, and cut my cable.
submitted by Damionstjames to u/Damionstjames [link] [comments]

2020.01.01 23:15 mcjunker Book Review: Cycle of Violence by Colin Bateman

Cycle of Violence is a 1995 novel by Northern Irish journalist Colin Bateman. It is a black comedy about the Troubles. The proportion of “black” to “comedy” heavily favors the “black”- the snark and the wit and the ridiculous situations almost don’t even register when contrasted with the bleakness of the plot and the themes.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Troubles, I shall introduce you to the core concept. Due to a variety of historical and cultural factors, the population of Northern Ireland was split into two factions (their primary ethnic marker being religion) who hated each other. Starting in the 1960’s, social order broke down enough that rioting, casual crime of all sorts, assassinations, massacres, and terrorism between the Protestants and Catholics drifted into the Overton window and remained there for thirty years or so. The ebb and flow of the conflict is well described-
It had been another rough week in the city. A bomb had exploded in a crowded department store in Royal Avenue, killing thirteen people. Six men had been shot dead in a bookmaker's office in revenge for the bomb. And in revenge for the killings in the bookmaker's office two off-duty policemen enjoying a quiet drink had been shot in a country pub. Everyone expected the next piece of action would involve a young IRA terrorist being shot dead on the way to a possible hit, but no gun to be found near his body. It worked in cycles like that.
Of course, since the book is technically a comedy, this is not where the title comes from. The main character, a veteran journalist named Miller, rides a bicycle that he nicknames the Cycle of Violence. When he doesn’t come back from lunch break because he’s on a bender, it is the Endless Cycle of Violence.
Most of the story takes place in the fictional town of Crossmaheart (obvious pun is obvious). It was once a cozy little village about 40 miles outside of Belfast until the 1970’s, when the government tried to solve the sectarian chaos of the big city by importing people into an idyllic, clean, expertly designed city with modern infrastructure and an industrial base for mass employment. The paradise the designers of Crossmaheart envisioned rapidly devolved into a hellhole of rioting, casual crime of all sorts, assassinations, massacres, and terrorism. Crossmaheart therefore stands in for the whole of Northern Ireland, with all of its sectarian bigotry and cyclic misery on display without the need to ground the story in the politics of any one section of the place.
The plot is simple, but while reading it it doesn’t seem simple; Bateman included enough tangents and asides and subplots and stand alone details to mask just how simple and straightforward the plot really is. On your first read through, being unaware of what plot element will pay off in future chapters and what plot element was included to showcase a character’s trait or a quirk of the Troubles, the book unfolds chaotically, in fits and starts. Only when you are past the halfway mark can you get a sense of what the plot skeleton you’ve been examining might look like once it’s cloaked in muscle and skin.
Miller (he refuses to give his first name due to how embarrassing it is) goes from a functioning alcoholic to dysfunctional alcoholic after his dad dies without warning. He shows up to work drunk and belligerent and incurs the wrath of his boss, who sends him into exile to the paper’s branch in Crossmaheart as penance for his bullshit; the man he is replacing vanished without a trace, which in Crossmaheart means they aren’t so much trying to find him as trying to find where he was buried. While there, Miller starts dating his predecessor’s girlfriend Marie and digging into the fifteen year old crime that the dead man was investigating before he vanished. A trio of drunken thugs gang-raped a preteen girl back in 1977 and served only light sentences for it, and the woman he’s dating in the here and now is still suffers from PTSD and an assortment of mental and emotional disorders from the experience.
The second half of the novel is an extended parody of Death Wish. Miller keeps confronting the guilty parties of the rape- most of the young thugs grew into influential and powerful pillars of society in Crossmaheart. The guilty parties keep dying, but Miller isn’t assassinating them like Bronson. His investigation simply kickstarts a chain of events and coincidences that lead to the perpetrators all dying right next to him.
The funny part is when the Royal Irish Constabulary veteran cop notices his “rampage” and tries to intervene to point him towards more guilty people who need to be extrajudicially murdered.
Cycle of Violence is refreshingly void of any noticeable political leanings. Bateman takes no side in the endless sectarian feud, instead staking out the moral high ground by hating everybody involved.
Many passages exemplify this-
Miller hated Crossmaheart. He hated the people for their narrow minds and streets, for the violence which exuded from every crossed eye, every bricked-up house, for the malevolence which swept the cold, uniformly broken estates day and night. The constant burr of watchful helicopters assaulted and insulted him like an incurable tinnitus.
Brendan didn't like to travel to Crossmaheart; most everyone he met made fun of him because he was deaf. Even perfectly respectable adults. It was a strange town. It was never personal, which he didn't appreciate. They didn't mean any harm by it. They called a spade a spade and sometimes a shovel. Crossmaheart people made fun of everyone. Normal or disabled. Crossmaheart still had a Cripples Institute. There were no special people in Crossmaheart. There were no intellectually or physically challenged people. There were mentals and cripples. There were no single-parent families, there were bastards and sluts. There were natural-born mentals and mental cases, nuts who had made themselves crazy through wielding a gun in the name of one military faction or another. There were natural-born cripples and those who had brought it on themselves, gunmen who had been shot, gunmen who had shot themselves, bombers who had blown their hands off, thieves who had been shot in the legs by terrorists because they (the thieves) were a menace to society, and you could see them hopping down the streets, wearing their disability with pride like it was some red badge of courage.
Bateman’s seething distaste for the sectarian conflict oozes from the page.
I think my favorite example of this is when Miller is hunting a lead and uses a kind, sweet old woman as a source for information. The little old lady invites him to church, earnestly assuring him that the pastor there is doing good work for the Lord, how important his message of salvation is, how God might just change his life there. Miller (an atheist) keeps desperately declining, and finally lies his way out of it-
“I can’t, really, see, I’m a Catholic.”
She lifted her stick and whacked him once across the shins. 'Papist, get back to Rome,' she said, and whacked him again.
The various splinter factions of the IRA are simplified into just “the Provisional IRA” and the million and a half different flavors of Protestant paramilitary are simplified into the UVF; this would be one of the benefits of creating a fictional city as a stand in for the whole conflict. In accordance with Bateman’s hatred of the simmering ethnic tension he grew up in, his portrayal of these paramilitaries is cynical, brutal, and lacking in any form of glory or romance.
He portrays both the Provos and the UVF as basic racketeering organizations, more concerned with leaning on businessmen than in actually attacking each other. In Crossmaheart, the cadres on both sides have an unspoken but enduring agreement to never try to kill each other, as a sort of an enlightened self-interest kind of thing. They can snipe each other’s minions, sure; it’s no great loss to anyone if some dimwit thug gets shot down from ambush and blasted with a car bomb. But the actual leadership enjoys immunity, in order to stave off a cycle of assassinations that neither group of shot callers wants to be subjected to. This frees up their energies to focus on massacring innocent Catholics at random or killing the cops and soldiers in service to the Crown, depending on the political sensibilities of the organization. And, obviously, making bank by extorting every successful business in their territory.
They tell their underlings that the fighting is about a United Ireland, or for God and Ulster, and many of the low-level soldiers believe it wholeheartedly. But really, it’s about preserving the interests of the paramilitary leaders, who find all the violence and terror to be awfully lucrative.
The government forces come off as better, but that is a very low bar to clear; they are more portrayed as powerless. They have a presence in every scene and situation- their checkpoints, their helicopters, and their power of retaliation are all palpably felt- but they lack any kind of agency. Characters threaten each other, murder each other, bomb each other, beat the shit out of each other in front of pubs, and all the vast security apparatus of the British government can do is maybe show up afterward to sweep up some of the debris and stand around looking official. Even police find the idea of going to the police after being assaulted to be absurdly pointless.
The only face of the establishment we see is the aforementioned veteran cop who goes a little off the rails trying to help Miller hunt down the evil-doers.
That cop gets a nice, pat, bitter little monologue near the end of the novel about how impossible policework is in Crossmaheart:
'The trouble with this place, Crossmaheart, the whole Province, is that we know exactly who the troublemakers are, but we can't touch them. We know the killers, the bombers, the rapists, but they're safe as houses unless we have cast-iron proof, and you can't get that in a place where no one talks to the police. Understand?' Miller nodded. 'You know how galling it is to have someone you know has blown up one of your friends laugh in your face? To see someone you know has interfered with a wee girl hanging about outside a school, but knowing you can't touch him because he's in the IRA?“
It actually kind of reminded me of another monologue from another work of art, talking about another kind of war that ruined proper policework.
Misery, Grief, and Bereavement
One of the biggest themes of Cycle of Violence is grief. Literally nobody in the whole novel has figured out how to grief and mourn in a healthy and constructive manner. The novel is bookended by two different incidences of Miller falling to pieces after a loved one dies suddenly, and both times he goes numb, drinks heavily, stops taking care of himself, isolates himself from all his friends and indeed all of society.
Marie, Miller’s girlfriend with the harsh history, is in the same boat. She started grieving and suffering as a result of trauma from when she was a young girl and never seems to have stopped since, channeling her grief into alcoholism and general wildness. Her pattern of life is to go at a steady pace on her prescribed medication, snap, go off her meds and party hard, and then crash hard when her bipolarity kicks in and dissolve into a self-destructive mess before picking the pieces up and doing it all again. Miller thinks that his love for her will break the cycle of trauma and misery for her. He is (spoiler alert) incorrect in thinking so.
Likewise, the men who were once drunken teenage thugs all process their role in the cycle of violence differently. One of them deeply regretted his role in the attack, and refused to fall in with his coreligionists behind bars, and was beaten half to death by his own comrades and left blind, spending his days as a burden to his family just waiting to die. Others did their year in prison and moved on to normal life, never sparing a thought for the girl they raped and traumatized. One of them found God and forgave himself for the sin quite easily, which is a neat trick if you can pull it off. Another became one of the paramilitary warlords that were described before, and frankly he is the only character in the novel who can be described as pure evil. He is the only one who refuses to admit that rape as a crime is morally wrong, and reckons that the wee girl should be grateful for her sexual education at his hands. His only regret, looking back as a mature terrorist at himself as a youth, is that he didn’t cut her throat to spare himself some prison time.
There appears to be nobody in the world who has learned how to handle the cycle of violence and endure it without being permanently warped by it. Good mental and emotional health is not merely impossible, it is impossible to even conceive of- there is not even an unattainable platonic standard to reach for. Only a million varieties of self-destruction to choose from.
The obvious connection, in my interpretation at least, is that the personal trauma of the characters mirrors the social trauma of the Troubles, and just as no individual can unfuck themselves after being put through the wringer, so too will the cycle of violence never end.
I am pleased to say that if my bleak interpretation of the author’s intent is correct, that unbreakable cycle of violence broke down just four years after this book’s publication with the Good Friday Agreement, which ended active hostilities for at least one generation.
submitted by mcjunker to TheMotte [link] [comments]

2019.11.26 15:09 NachoDragoon A passing tune.

The year was 2005. I was 13 and you I honestly have no idea how old you were but you were definitely way to old to be with me. I met you on the church bus that picked up a lot of the teens and preteens for Wednesday night services. Although I went to the middle school service in a differnt building than the high school one you went to, we still had fun on the bus. You were my oldest sisters friend, idk if yall were dating or not now that I think about it. I hope you remember her she backed that turd brown pickup into a light pole by your house. We bonded over how much we liked Inuyasha and the manga girl got game(aka Power). I believe it was around August when we went to go see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with my oldest sister and afterwards we got McDonald's and just chilled at your house, most of the night is a hazy memory but I remembered you telling me that I must have had it all planned out just like Naraku. But the memory I hold the closest to my heart was when we went to the local Hastings to look around and hang out. They still had the places where you could listen to a CD before you bought it, we shared a headset and made you listen to the album seventeen days by 3 doors down. You smiled at me and nodded along with the music. That was the closest I have ever felt to another person, when I listen to that album to this very day I think back on that moment and smile. Sadly though out time was cut, shortly afterwards you left to join the armed forces and I was sent into foster care a few months later. Our mutual friend who's name I cant remember told me that before you left you had told him something about how you felt about me, but he said he couldn't tell he due to some guy code...I still wonder what you said and how you felt. I can't recall your name and you face in my memory is blurry. Was is Marco...Mario...something with an M? But that's all too late now. If you're out there somewhere I hope you too remember me even as a passing thought. I still have that picture you drew for me of Hakudoshi it survived foster care and all my moves. I wish I could have been brave and said that I like you back then. Thank you for making such a precious memory with me.
submitted by NachoDragoon to unrequited_love [link] [comments]

2019.10.11 18:06 honeybadger808 Chec out our top picks for puzzle adventure games on Apple Arcade

Solve crimes, explore enchanted worlds, and test your brainpower on Apple's subscription game service.
If you love games that wrap brain-bending puzzles in compelling storylines, Apple Arcade has you covered. Though its launch lineup still lacks a few of the intriguing titles we've been promised down the line, there are still plenty of games to suit fans of tricky brainteasers and twisty mysteries.
In no particular order, we've rounded up the best (and the rest) of Apple Arcade's launch titles that fit the "puzzle adventure" category, to help you figure out what you'll want to play first.

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Projection: First Light

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves_gets credit as the first feature-length animated film, but Lotte Reiniger's 1926 _The Adventures of Prince Achmed, brought to life with shadow puppets, beat Walt Disney to the punch by more than a decade. Projection: First Light(pictured at the top of this article) feels like a tribute to Reiniger's enchanting film, following a shadow-puppet girl in a shadow-puppet world whose pursuit of a glowing butterfly leads her into a magical adventure.
_Projection_sets itself apart from other platformers with one clever conceit: You control not only the girl, but a ball of light that follows her around. Any shadows the light casts on her surroundings become solid stepping stones, allowing the girl to surmount the obstacles in her path. Using the light to find clever ways to help the girl — like creating a sudden shadow-bubble beneath her that pops her into the air – proves satisfyingly creative. The solid, responsive controls don't hurt, either.
Each of Projection's various multi-part levels takes place in, and is visually inspired by, one of the many different countries with their own shadow-puppet traditions. And steering the girl with one stick of your gamepad, and the light with the other, feels invigoratingly like starting a conversation between the different halves of your brain.

Jenny LeClue - Detectivu

The first of two games inspired by Donald J. Sobol's _Encyclopedia Brown_series of kid mysteries, _Jenny LeClue_challenges you to play both as the titular plucky preteen detective (or is it "detectivu"? Some mysteries may never be solved) and her own author. The sales of his quaint, cozy mystery series have taken a nosedive, and though he longs to keep Jenny's world safe and harmless, his editor's pressuring him to heap death and danger on the little town of Arthurton and its most accomplished child sleuth.
That meta aspect adds fun depth to the story, which also benefits from sharp characterization. Jenny's more Veronica Mars than Nancy Drew – prickly, brusque, and prone to push people away without realizing it. The game's gorgeous autumnal look draws you in, as does the eerie and atmospheric prologue. And the gameplay itself is fun and varied, challenging you to make snap decisions that affect how the story plays out, scrutinize characters and crime scenes for visual clues, and think like a detective to assemble your observations into a theory of the case.

Tangle Tower

A young painter, seemingly murdered by the knife-wielding figure on the unfinished canvas she was painting? Now _that's_a great way to kick off a mystery. _Tangle Tower_brings its intrepid investigators – earnest hipster doofus Grimoire (like "encyclopedia," a name for a book of knowledge) and too-cool-for-the-room Sally (sharing a name with Encyclopedia Brown's similarly tough sidekick) – to the titular mansion to solve that baffling murder.
There, you'll have to rub elbows with the eccentric members of two families, united by marriage and living in opposite towers of the same building. Witty writing, fun voice acting, gorgeous music, and a delightful Euro-anime visual style make Tangle Tower_stand out from the crowd. The puzzles you'll solve are varied, neither too easy nor too frustrating, and always tied to the characters around them. Like _Jenny LeClue, _Tangle Tower_wants you to think like a gumshoe and connect dots between the evidence you've gathered. But its approach to those efforts differs enough that playing one game will only leave you more eager to try the other.

The Enchanted World

Something has stolen your nameless young fairy's mother away, and to get her back, you and your magic staff will have to rearrange the world around you as you proceed along your path. _The Enchanted World_executes a simple conceit – basically, sliding-tile puzzles, where you have to shift around and swap out segments of a grid until they line up the right way – very well.
The game finds increasingly novel ways to tweak this core mechanic, whether you're revising and re-revising your path to first banish the creature that's blocking your way, then escape to the exit, or figuring out how to channel a stopped-up river in the right direction. The deliberately crude graphics mirror this "simple but well done" approach, making up for a low polygon count with expressive animation. Plus, it's just fun to tap trees and watch them bloom while your fairy hums a happy, distracted little tune.

The Bradwell Conspiracy

Welcome to a very English catastrophe. You chose the wrong near-future day to visit a new high-tech museum dedicated to Stonehenge, sponsored by the powerful Bradwell Corporation. Now a mysterious calamity has caved in the building, with you trapped inside.
Luckily, the smart glasses you're wearing connect you with a plucky Bradwell employee who's stuck in another part of the collapsing building. Together, you'll have to navigate the company's Brutalist underground HQ looking for a way to escape. Along the way, you'll both start to discover ominous hints that neither Bradwell nor its "clean water initiative" is as benign as they appear.
Take Portal's off-kilter corporate dystopia, add a dash of BioShock's futurism-gone-to-seed, and blend well with bone-dry humor (or is that humour?), and you've got The Bradwell Conspiracy. The simple, utilitarian graphics won't drop any jaws, but the game's level design does a great job of unobtrusively telling a story. It's fun to communicate with your fellow escapee by snapping photographs of your surroundings to send to her, and her very American cheerfulness strikes a great contrast to your droll British surroundings.
There's a neat twist to the nonviolent gameplay I dare not spoil here, one that leans into the _Portal_comparisons hard while remaining clever and original. It can be annoyingly finicky in execution — maybe future patches will fix that, along with the occasional glitches that crop up later in the game — but like _The Bradwell Conspiracy_itself, it's still a fun, worthwhile idea.

Down in Bermuda

Thirty years ago, aviator Milton's plane crashed in the Bermuda Triangle. Now, bearded and wizened, he needs your help to navigate a series of strange islands, piece together his past, and find his way home. You'll poke, flick, tap, and twist your way through colorful three-dimensional dioramas in search of hidden objects and puzzles to solve. If augmented reality were ready for prime time, this game and its host of tactile interactions would be a killer app.
As befits its tropical setting, _Down in Bermuda_is a laid-back affair, with cute and colorful graphics and a goofy, ever-changing set of challenges. The puzzles range from "preschool easy" to "I filled an entire notebook page with sequences of numbers trying to get this one right." But they're all fun, and if you get stuck on one, there's usually another waiting to distract you. And the story, though told in the briefest of glimpses, manages to tug at your heartstrings right off the bat.
_Down in Bermuda_loses points only because I nearly drove myself crazy looking for the last in a series of teeny-tiny hidden items on one island – I had to turn to the Internet to suss it out – and because it's incomplete. You'll find only three islands at launch, with more promised in the future. Still, "I wish I could have played more" is a pretty great complaint to have.

Operator 41

Okay, time out — this polished, clever game, which lifts its spy-fy vibe straight from the swinging heyday of James Bond, Emma Peel, and U.N.C.L.E., was made by a _teenager?_Spruce Campbell, we'd toast you with a dry martini, but even in your native UK, you're still too young to drink.
There's not much of a story here: In each bite-size vignette, you'll help your trenchcoat-clad avatar sneak past patrolling guards and other hazards toward a phone or other spy objective. You'll have to crouch in cover, toss obstacles to distract or knock out your pursuers and avoid flashlight beams and security cameras.
But what the game lacks in complexity, it makes up for in style. The clever two-color scheme – red for objectives, danger, or occasional contrast, cool blue for everything else – makes your goal in each level crystal clear. Controls respond well, the intuitive rules play fair, and the difficulty level ramps up smoothly as you progress. With a relative handful of levels before the slick end credits, you'll likely wish there were more to enjoy here. But Operator 41's fun stealth challenges make it a great candidate for gaming on the go whenever you have a few minutes to spare.


Where Cards Fall

I wanted to like this much-hyped combination puzzle game/coming-of-age story, but it quickly fell apart. The game looks and sounds gorgeous, and the play mechanic – moving decks of cards around the isometric worlds of a young man's memories, and expanding them into houses of cards that help him traverse the landscape to his next flashback – feels fresh.
Unfortunately, the game moves slooooowly, and the story wavers back and forth between being utterly incomprehensible – what's with those giant staring eyes? Is that like a symbol for authority? Was it really a good idea to have all the characters speak in annoying gibberish? – and ploddingly predictable. (Oh, your loner emo high school outcast is drifting away from the friends of his youth while he falls for a girl who's dating someone else? Do tell.)
Worse yet, the difficulty jumps from pleasantly challenging to dang near impossible without warning. By the time the baffling interface led me blunder back to the very first level, with no apparent way to regain my progress, I was ready to fold.

The Get Out Kids

The opposite of Where Cards Fall, The Get Out Kids's wonderful writing and characters ultimately fall prey to its frustrating lack of gameplay. The story feels like your favorite dog-eared book from middle school, as a pair of instantly endearing preteen misfits wade into danger in search of their missing dog.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of that story and relatively little interactivity – a relative handful of super-easy touch-based puzzles that rarely offer any challenge or suspense. And you have to plod your way through the narration and dialogue one tap at a time, which makes the all-too-brief intervals when you get to do one tiny, simple thing even more aggravating. I adored this game's sweet and vulnerable heroes, and I want to see how their story plays out. I'm just not sure I want that bad enough to put the time into playing it.

Murder Mystery Machine

The only mystery here is how a subpar CD-ROM game found its way onto my iPad. Murder Mystery Machine seems like it was made with the finest technology 1995 had to offer, and written by someone who heard about life in the United States once, briefly, from a passing acquaintance. With murky graphics, clunky and confusing gameplay, and clichés instead of characters, this "episodic murder mystery" killed off my interest well before I even got through the first installment.
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submitted by honeybadger808 to AppleLastNews [link] [comments]

2019.09.23 17:04 schwarzeKatzen I Just Cannot Right Now.

I'm a "stepmom" and our younger kids are with us full time. They are 9 & 12. They've been here going on 2 years. Their biological mother went to prison for drugs, has gotten out, doesn't work, got pulled in already for a parole violation and bitches frequently about the $38 per month she's ordered to pay in support. We're just waiting for that train wreck to land in another station and head back to jail or the morgue.
So pressure there supporting 2 kids whose mother is fucked up. We just want her to get clean, stay clean and stop being a shit stain.
12 had a JV swim meet last week. The mother promised she would be there because the meet is in her town. Husband give her the start time verbally at drop off. I remind her that 9&12s ENTIRE activity schedule is in a PDF in the secret FB group we made that literally only family has access to AND it's on the Google calendar that's shared with her. We actually switched calendar services and that is the only Google calendar that's up to date. She emails the husband to tell him she can't see the kids calendar. Now her brain has been affected by the drugs so a lot of the time when I'm thinking "WTF this is easy as hell?" it's not for her. Like my brain knows not to go color in the street in traffic, hers not so much. So he sends a screenshot of the entire week. She. Doesn't. Show. The adults are not surprised. 12 however is once again devastated. Tried to call her mother, we also sent another email and texted her.
This is frequent and sports season is in an upswing. My stomach is just in fucking knots because nothing I do or day will ever fix the gut wrenching disappointment these kids go thru when their mother promises and doesn't deliver.
There's preteen drama with friends. It's like a damn tellanovella. Heaven fucking forbid that you tell 9 no it's like yelling a 2 year old no. Fucking harasses the shit out of you. The kid has legit lost privileges because he will not fucking stop after he gets the same answer 45 times.
If I hear sksksksk or "and I oop" one more time I may intentionally make myself deaf. They both just wander around doing it for no reason and I would rather hear nails on a chalkboard than random nonsensical utterances.
We were offered a house WAY within our budget. It's someone in the family who knows we're looking and offered their home, they're moving, for what's remaining on the mortgage. Our payment would be under $500/month. MIL catches wind and Oh. My. Gosh. It would be the worst thing ever. There was a water leak. The walls are plaster and lathe not drywall. It was built in the 1930s. Blah. Blah. Blah. Etc. Whose ask does she ride about how terribad of an idea that is? Mine. So there's been MIL on speakerphone ringing thru my house while I get shit done and toss the occasional Uh huh. At the house. For someone who had been trying to convince me that we should all live together she is just crystallizing my "no. No. Hell no." Position. Love her don't want to live with her.
SIL got arrested again. Someone asked if they could give her our new number. I told them if they don't want to be alive that's a splendid idea otherwise they shouldn't. SIL will call and call and call from county lock up. Incessant phone calls. Niece has been hiding here avoiding her mother's phone calls. Niece lives with MIL.
Then this weekend the final straw that broke me. I get a call that my sibling had been attacked in their home. They're at the hospital and have to go to the police barracks. Yeah. They weren't attacked. They had a drug & alcohol induced hallucination. Not taking your ADD meds as prescribed and then drinking on top of it is bad news.
In the space of 24 hours I went from rage at some attacker to utter devastation because my sibling has a drug problem. We can't trust them anymore. They need rehab. I know painfully well though that rehab only works if you want to be better and you want to put in the work. Watching someone detox is hell. Watching someone you love detox is just fucked up bullshit that no one should ever have to go thru.
Oh and I will be caring for my siblings kids on a rotating schedule with other family because they can't be alone. So not only do the kids need care the sibling needs a babysitter.
I've spent the weekend mourning the loss of my sibling as I knew them so I can face the reality of what they are. All while having my family on top of it and they haven't been a damn picnic.
Anyway thanks for letting me botch and yell into the void a bit. I know this is all over the place. It's just been a conglomeration of shitty stuff some mild some less mild and it's converged.
submitted by schwarzeKatzen to breakingmom [link] [comments]

2019.09.10 20:35 workingatfreedom How I won my wife over to help with my flipping hobby, and how she won me over to turn it into a business

I want to share my story because it might help for those of you who are in a similar boat (and I think if you're a millennial with a bunch of debt, this might be helpful to you). I've always known flipping would be a way to help chisel off some of our debt. One of the challenges I've had is selling my wife on the idea, but we're now on the same page, and she has made a ton of improvements to my process to the point that it's no longer my process but "our process", and let me tell you, its awesome. Being able to work as a team has made a world of difference (and adding a feminine touch to it, let's be real, if you're a guy who is rough around the edges like me, your marketing skills will be rough around the edges too). We're killing it and winning together. Best of all, we're having a ton of fun doing it.
So here's how we got here:
Background, I love my wife dearly, but we have very similar yet very different upbringings. We were both born into lower middle class families, and all of our parents were lower class that clawed their way into the middle class. I'm very happy with my upbringing, as I wasn't raised to be entitled. We were highschool sweethearts. Funny thing is we were both poor, but so was everyone else in the area, so we didn't know it (I litterally thought Ruby Tuesday was the most expensive and nicest restaurant out there, this is where I took her throughout highschool for our special anniversaries lol).
So we were similar in our family's financial situations, but our upbringings were different. My parents always provided exactly what we needed, and gave us small gifts on birthdays and holidays, but outside of that we were on our own for money. All the kids had to get jobs. My parents were great, I wouldn't trade my upbringing for anything. I was flipping stuff on ebay since I was a preteen, buying and selling dollar store stuff. I got my first job at 15. I have had my own checking account since 16. I'm used to the flip life, I've been doing it for over 15 years now and I'm only 27. I fixed my own cars. I ate $1 banquet frozen dinners. I cut my own hair as a teenager (it looked as horrible as it sounds, no idea why my wife took interest in me in highschool). I say all this so you realize I have no problems getting my hands dirty. The most improtant thing is this though, my parents taught me high integrity. I will never, ever, flip something unless I'm certain that I'm providing value to the end user. I know how to flip, I know how to do it right, and it's been my lifestyle for years. Little did I know though, my skills needed a lot of improving. My wife has been a huge help, and more on that soon.
My wife on the other hand was never forced to get a job. Her parents, although they didn't have much, basically gave her a pretty generous allowance and she lived a pretty normal teen life. They lived frugally, but always bought quality over quantity. Not a bad way to be raised at all, her parents always strived to give everything to their kids, but just different. Neither of us were rich, but only one of us was scrappy. My wife is a great woman, but she doesn't know how to do dirty work. She's never dug a hole in the ground, never changed oil, never re-sold thrift store sneakers on ebay. She didn't get her first job until she was 19. In other words, probably pretty run of the mill for many American kids as far as upbringing goes, but she just didn't have the grinding background I was raised with.
So here we are 5 years into marriage now. We like most millenials have a mountain of college debt. My wife actually doesn't work a traditional job right now (by both of our choices, we honestly feel its what is best for our family and kids) and stays at home with our 2 y/o son (which by the way is more work than a traditional job, she does work hard), with another on the way. I've been blessed to make enough that we both don't HAVE to work at a regular job. We're very happy, but we have $50k in debt (mostly student loan, some credit cards nothing that we couldn't zero out but it would eat our emergency savings). We've got it under control with budgeting, but I have a goal of paying it all down in 3 years, rather than the 5 that were on schedule for.
We're now both approaching 28 years old. We've been together for 10 years, married for 5, so we know each other pretty well at this point.
This is where we had (past tense) disagreements. My wife was happy to pay it off over 5 years. I want it gone in 3 or less. My way to get there is to live lean and make extra payments by flipping (If I had it my way, I honestly think we could pay that 50k off in a year). My wife wanted a more comfortable American lifestyle and doesn't care if it takes 5 years to pay it off. I know she also saw all the other fake stuff of our friends on facebook (buying new cars, making all kinds of poor financial decisions, but appearing to be killing it).
So all that background out, how did I convince my wife to leave comfort and to help me start flipping to freedom?
First steps:0) We level set our mindset and critically analyze our strengths and weaknesses. I put this as 0 because I wrote 1-3 first, went outside to put another layer of finish on some product I'm going to sell, thought about it, came up with this point, and its really the ground step for getting on the same page. We've been married 5 years. We aren't the exact same person yet, but we're pretty dang close, in terms of our goals. We're both Christians, and I realize not everyone here is, and not everyone's spouse believes the same things that they do, but I think this is applicable. Growing up in Christian homes, we were always told "not being unequally yoked", meaning basically avoid marrying a non Christian because there is bound to be some conflict in your marriage. I think this is pretty practical advice just in general for anyone, that you make sure your core values are really in agreement. If you both have the same general viewpoint because you're rooted in the same core set of values, there is a big advantage going into marriage that other couples who haven't dug into those things that way don't have. I think this is why reality dating show marriages fail so often, because they don't have the time or depth to really examine each other's core values. It's incredibly more important (in my opinion) than hitting things off based on looks, personality, or "clicking" right off the bat.
When difficult times arise, there is a good chance my wife and I will come to the same solution, because we have similar core values. My wife and I have some big personality differences. She's bubbly and outgoing. I'm reserved and take a little longer to open up and establish connection with other people. She is quick on her feet (but sometimes too quick if something is a heated topic), I think through things very deeply before speaking. When she's bothered by something, she bottles it up and doesn't want to talk about it. When I'm bothered, I absolutely HAVE to talk through it immediately but calmly and resolve it right there. I literally can't sleep on it, or I won't sleep. These are things we learned years into our marriage, but because we have level set our mindsets, we know at the end of the day we want the same things, have the same goals, and same motivating factors. We just express those things differently and have different strengths and weaknesses. We actually complement each other extremely well, it just took us a few years to get into that groove, and we're always still learning.
  1. We established Full Transparency. We got our finances under control first and foremost. I should say, we got on the same page. We still have areas where we can cut or be more lean, but we have a good balance right now. Neither of us make purchases without the other one knowing. We both have access to all bank and credit card accounts. We're both CC'd on all statements. If you think you're shielding your family by not letting them know about where you stand financially, you're doing yourself and your family a disservice, transparency is key.
  2. We cut the crap. We don't deny ourselves of absolutely all comforts, (I do pay to have my hair cut now lol), but we certainly aren't as wasteful as we were early in our marriage when we first started getting real pay checks. We use streaming services over cable. Netflix instead of going to the movies. We're getting better about cooking at home. We don't buy stuff we don't need. When we do buy stuff, its a democracy and we make the case for why we need it with each other. We don't buy crap we don't need.
  3. We downsized. We sold our oversized house while the market is good and are renting (for a little below the cost of the mortgage) my in laws old house, both to help them fix it up so they can eventually sell, but also to cut our monthly housing in half. When the housing market takes a downturn again, we'll be ready to buy, but we're happy and comfortable living leaner (I realize this isn't an option for everyone, if the opportunity presents itself, consider taking it, but 1 and 2 are).
The above accomplished a really important side effect. Besides strengthening our marriage (and it helped us get through some very tough tragedies and tough spots in our marriage), it battled entitlement in our own minds, it humbled us, and it aligned us. I don't think we were equipped to start a small business together when we first got married, but I really feel like we're in a great place now 5 years later.
These were important because they set the foundation for the next part of the story:
So throughout my marriage, I was always running side hustles. I graduated as a software engineer, and shortly after I graduated I started working on a start up. I spent maybe 3 years working nights and weekends on it. Long story short it failed (and I think largely because I didn't actually know how to run a business, but I did learn a great deal from the experience). In my career, I worked in an agency space for ecommerce consulting, so I worked with a LOT of businesses from tiny tens of thousands a year in sales to the largest being $2.2 Billion in sales annually. I learned a lot about growing a business. After my failed start up, I took maybe 3-6 months to stop, level set, reprioritize, and honestly just recover after my loss. The entrepreneurial itch came up again, and I started building mobile games (which is an incredibly unforgiving market also). I didn't lose any money here, and did make some money, but I maybe made $1 per hour for my time invested.
It was at this point where my wife was getting irritated, but she never said anything about it, but I knew she was getting tired after 4 years of me taking on projects that were turning very little ROI. I also know myself, and I'm wired to hustle. I personally don't mind losses, I love them, I learn from them, and the next thing I do, I do better.
Remember point 0 above though, we have the same goals, and she was right even though she didn't say it, I was wasting my time and it wasn't good for our family with a second baby on the way. My family takes priority over my hobbies. Yet I have this need that I'm wrestling with, I need to be working for myself on something, its just how I operate. I don't like sitting around doing nothing, that's just not me.
So that's when I realized the next point, which is what got my wife on board with my vision, it became our vision.
4) You need to know yourself and then be real with those you love about it. Have them be real with you about who they are and what they need. My wife knows I really enjoy this stuff. I have a pretty high demand, stressful job. This is my constructive outlet. It's not who she is. I feel empowered when there's a big project in front of me that I want to tear into. My wife feels overwhelmed. We're very different in this way. But we're very open about that.
I really don't think I'll have a mid life crisis because my wife and I are so open about what our passions are right now, I don't think either of us will have any regrets that will lead to a mid life crisis. Neither of us feel like we're really sacrificing, because we know we aren't really leaving anything on the table. I can't go hog wild on a start up right now. I know that. It's exactly what I'd like to do, but I need to be realistic about supporting a family.
My wife's values family, social interaction, and building relationships. She's the one who always invites family over for get togethers, loves inviting people over, throwing dinner parties. She has an incredible heart. Social events aren't really my scene. However, I support her in all of those things because I know it's important to her, and I end up enjoying it too. I've only recently opened the hobby of flipping to her, and we're just now realizing that she really likes hopping in on my hobbies (and has improved them so much, again will talk more on this later) just as much. Thing is we both needed to be open minded about each other's passions, and if our core values are in alignment (back to 0) it becomes a lot easier to really support the other person and even, start to enjoy those things together.
5) We needed to discover things we were both passionate about
In my case, I was essentially flipping video games (I was buying video game asset templates which are basically prebuilt templates of functional games, spinning my own flavor onto them, and then re-listing them on mobile app stores). My wife had 0 interest in this. So when it wasn't going well, there wasn't a whole lot of reason for her to be into it at all. Like I said earlier, she never said "stop", but I could tell she was frustrated that I was spending a lot of time on that hobby and it wasn't really producing much fruit.
We both have an affinity for DIY home shows though. As part of downsizing, we promised to renovate my in laws house to help them get it in selling shape, while living in it, and saving money with low rent. It was a good arrangement for all of us. My wife and I had a lot of fun with this project, because she got to do what she's great at (interior decorating, designing, etc), and I got to do what I'm great at (grinding and working with my hands). We were both very happy with the result, and we realized, that we have a lot of overlap in our style and love for quite litterally, our home.
6) We needed to make sure we were both involvedThat's when we realized, this really applies on a micro scale to flipping furniture. So we started by getting into upcycling, and most importantly we did it together. She would design the piece (stuff like let's paint it this color, and then let's replace this hardware with this from Home Depot), and then I would make it happen. We would then bring it into our newly renovated home, and then she would stage it in the perfect spot, far better than I ever could.We are making way more side money this way than we were when I was trying to do it on my own and are just getting started. When you start turning profits on this stuff together, it quits being "why are you spending your time on that" to high fiving each other because we just made $40 on an old VHS cabinet that we painted farmhouse grey, and that's a small chip off of our student loan debt. It feels soooo much better selling something when you do it together and we can share that project. I really suggest everyone who flips get's their spouse or significant other involved, its a lot more fun and they can really help you take things to the next level.
7) We brought all of our strengths to the table
Doing a few projects helped us understand what we're good at. I'm good at building, my wife is good at designing. My wife is good at staging, my background in business makes me good at seeking opportunities and analyzing the data. Its fun being able to do that, then to discuss strategy and bounce ideas off of each other. We were able to start identifying where our hobby was weak if we wanted to turn it from hobby into business. The problem with flipping is supply chain, as you all know, its hard to get a constant supply of goods. Furniture was to inconsistent (even though there's a constant supply), its a lot of effort go and find. We started supplementing our furniture flipping with actual production, and we started making products ourselves. Because of my background in engineering, I found ways to make them very efficiently, and cheap. Cost per unit is about $1, and we sell them for $20. My wife uses her design skills to helps us tailor the product to specific audiences, and I use my technical skills to build out our profiles for targeted advertising. This is becoming big, and for the first time in a long time, it seems like we might actually have a real shot at building a family business, something we would both love to have (which again wasn't always the case, but after coming together on the above points we now share this vision).
8) We now have a shared vision, our hobby is becoming a real business
We started to do small scale experiments on Facebook Market place and had a lot of success, so we're in the process of building our business right now. My failed start ups at least helped me understand the process of setting up a company and some of the legalities around it. I know exactly what we want to do and we're starting the process of formalizing this thing (let me also add its easy because we file taxes together anyhow already so this is really easy, yet we have double the man power of someone doing this on their own). We're building up inventory in our garage for pennies, and when we get through all the formalized processes and get our selling permits in order, we'll be ready. I've already got all the analytics figured out. Our small scale hobby experiments were successful and I really think they'll scale. We've already built some connections to sell our products on consignment. Its crazy, were just at the beginning, but I really do have confidence we're going to build something real here, and we both feel it and believe it at this point. I couldn't have gotten here without my wife, and she helps make everything we do better. I genuinely 100% mean that. This isn't some employee employer relationship, I'm her boss and she's my boss, we both work for each other and it just works. I don't know if we'll scale to the point that it'll ever be bigger than us, but for right now we're grinding and building this together and it feels great.
If you're scared to get your spouse on board with this with you, don't be. Just go for it, have the long talks. Do some things together, I hope we can be an inspiration to someone out there, Go build something great, you guys are better together than you are alone :D
submitted by workingatfreedom to Flipping [link] [comments]

2019.08.18 14:59 GoinThroMotions My Story

EDIT: TRIGGER WARNING(s)⚠️. This WILL be long. I only found reddit a year ago now, I was going through a breakup from a 8 year relationship, I’m as surprised as you that it lasted that long, but I’m still grateful for it. My list isn’t about that specifically tho...
I don’t recall time well, but at somepoint during that relationship I experienced a psychotic break and with a biological history of schizophrenia in biological moms side, I knew I needed to seek help because I recognized what I was dealing with, what I hadn’t realized however was the seriousness and reality of other mental health issues I had been unaware of since birth that had been poorly handled or ignored, or basically hidden from me.
My birth mom has severe schizophrenia, it runs in the family, so when she , a troubled runaway who often would get involved with abusive men and drugs as I’ve been told, came home at 16 or so to her foster home she was told she wasn’t welcome and she was on her own. (Now I’m not entirely sure what she went through being pregnant, most of this information didn’t come from her, but is documented and retold enough I have some basic idea of someone’s perspective at least, and with my memory I’m sure I have forgotten a lot) So by the time I arrived my biological father had abandoned us and would later go to court to deny me being his (this was the mid 80s and dna testing wasn’t a casual thing then). My bio mom was with a new super abusive man, I was apparently kept in a dresser drawer with a bottle most of my first 6 months so he didn’t have to deal with me, there are various speculations of abuse but that fact and that I would get yelled at to be quiet non stop and even dangled a few times out a window apparently.
Eventually the state intervened and thought it was a good idea to put me into the care of (imo) the same neglectful foster mom that turned away a mentally ill pregnant 16 yo, but hey, it kinda makes sense how I was treated later when I really examine that event. I’m sure the intents were somewhat good... but I’ll get into that a little later.
I didn’t walk until 16 months, which I guess is bad, but I did start to talk at 9 months which I guess is good? So again my time line on this is fuzzy and my paperwork isn’t always consistent with the exact date, but maybe a few months or a year or so later someone wanted to adopt me, cue Jerry Springer chant. My bio mom had a adoptive brother (she had been adopted by her foster mom at one point) who was at this point married and had a biological daughter of their own a few years older then me, and from what I’ve been told, it was this daughter who wanted a brother, and maybe his wife, I don’t think he was that invested... but his wife, my adoptive mom , believed that in nature vs nurture , nurture could save the day (again , I feel sloppy good intentions were here) and that I was going to be taken on by this family. To give some context of what they knew they were dealing with , I know they knew about the abuse , and I know the police came when I was 3 1/2 and took me away. They knew I was terrified of loud noise (still a issue. I think it has a phobia name I can’t recall), drugs were involved during pregnancy, I had something called haymophilus influenza... I’m taken in by adopt family at 6months and adopted at 2 years old... So by 3 yo a lot of issues continued to show and develop with increasing intensity. I would be disruptive of peers and hide under tables when reprimanded by teacher (a issue I would carry though high school oddly enough), this would lead me to a 2nd school and being assigned a aid. I guess I would hit other kids when they messed with my work or I would mess with theirs ( the way it’s worded on paper could go either way)
Now by 5yo I’ve been identified to have behavioral issues, ADHD, impulsivity, distractibility. I have to be on a iep (individual education plan) to function in school. I’m given Ritalin for sure. I’m out into psychotherapy and start weekly therapy. 8yo - I’m diagnosed with bipolar and put on lithium as then clonodine . I’m also diagnosed with ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) my behavior is worsening. I have not exhibited normal emotion behavior or reactions. Oppositional behavior and aggression keeps ramping up at home , physically punishments and incentive systems are used at home and school, and I apparently threatened my adopt dad with a plastic knife. I remember at one point I wrote “help me” notes and left them on cars at the supermarket and the police showed up at the house checking on me later.
At this point they wish to surrender custody of me, around this time my adoptive sister has just left for college. So parents are done with kid bullshit by then I imagine , and then I was too much to handle from their pleasantville lives (I’m not joking, anyone who met them would comment on that, like the picture image of “perfection” family, they just didn’t have any capacity for me)
I’m out into a residential facility temporarily at this point (I don’t know how to explain this beyond “jail” for kids , advertised like long term summer camp, but it’s... awful) , I don’t get better. I’m given tons of tests at this time , full scale IQ comes back at 119, verbal 111, and performance IQ 124. My individual sub test scores significantly lower however with comprehension then other verbal sub tests. I apparently showed a lack of response to family interactions and was more concerned with “stuff”, mostly toys. And my Rorschach also reflected this with a showing of immaturity in object relationships, and it was difficult for me to see human precepts on multiple limit tests. Responses also indicated I struggled with a significant amount of anger. My DAP (draw a person test) was just a stick drawing of me and the psychologist “doing just what we’re doing now” (honesty I haven’t researched this and have no idea what it means lol, but I’m including it cause they did) . They notice I “ convey a certain amount of cynicism which is rare in such a young child” . My motivation is poor , and I report Great Depression. I’m also show to have much trouble managing aggressive impulses and have much anger. My parents tell them they want child services to take me. The psychologist recommends to child services that they take this request seriously and that my level of depression be evaluated.
Now shortly after I’m 10 and in my first group home (although at 5 I had been held for a week in a psych ward, but I’m not counting that as “group home”) I am constantly getting physically restrained (another issue not to be free of until I graduated high school ) , often for not following directions, having poor space with others , and being inciteful and unsafe with others. I struggle with directions and respecting adults and struggle with peer and adult relationships. I can be as friendly and cooperative with other students as I can be rude and threatening when frustrated. I get constant timeouts for rudeness and noncompliance. I try to instigate peers when having problems myself. Constantly unfocused and bored to the point I don’t wish to do anything. I appear anxious in therapy and state I wish to just play by myself. Eye contact is minimal. I reveal very little of myself and my family. I report feeling sad all the time, and I don’t know what would make me feel better. After a 90day assessment and weekly therapy I’ve show to be difficult to engage and am seldom verbal, and become frustrated when pushed to talk I often ask when I will be returned home... participation in basic feelings activities and games still require a great deal of reported effort. I complain of being bored all the time.
I’m observed to be unable to ask for help in times of stress and frustration (really wish this changed by now), I’m easily annoyed by others, I refuse to comply with rules , and will blame others. I’m egocentric and highly anxious, which causes me to withdraw from relationships and school. I say I want to be left alone and can’t say why, it’s observed I don’t have the ability to self sooth and calm myself , and a attachment disorder concern is noted, which is diagnosed as Reactive Attachment Disorder. It is recommended that My caretakers need to establish a neutral environment which will take into account my limitations in terms of “giving back” emotionally. Personal space and boundaries are pointed out as a concern.
It’s odd as I read and rewrite to you, whomever is still reading this novel, these kinds of things, now it’s so clear what was going on in a lot of ways. And it scares me how much professionals would just write it off as adhd only. I understand they don’t like to throw my diagnosis’s at children, but I can’t help but wonder what if it was handled better. I think that’s just idealizing. I was screwed at birth. And I guess that’s ok? It just sucks knowing you are never going to change, just maybe grow a bit.
So from that group home assessment is placed into a foster family, at which they have a few other kids, I honestly can’t recall if they were fosters as well of not. I remember I slept in a attic with a few mattresses next to each other on the floor and we were all huddled. I remember they relentlessly bullied the new kid to the point I was soon in another psychologist office because I tried to kill myself, this was in 6-1996, so I was almost 11. I was immediately removed from foster care and placed into a psych hospital for a week and then transferred to a residential facility, and while to location would change over the next 8 years, it was official. I was a residential kid now forever , I just didn’t know that yet.
Upon entry to this new facility I which I arrive in the dead of night, pulling up to this creepy and imposing old church building. So large and menacing. It even had my school ready to go, attached to the building. It was maybe 6 or 7 floors. And had a basement and a restraint /time out room where I would Not very happily spend most of the next 2 years either in a cubby staring at a wall for a hour, or planted facedown on a restraint mat (oddly enough turning away from the wall could restart the hour, or even lead into being restrained. This would even happen at night until midnight and then start again in the AM first thing.
My presenting problems at this intake for the new place were depression, disobedient, impulsivity, oppositional behavior, run away behavior, self mutilation, threatening/verbal aggression. I’m diagnosed with major depressive disorder During this two years I was in constant medication and therapy. And things would not get better. I felt so alien, so alone. Everything I did was wrong and met with the harshest of reaction. I would constantly seek negative attentions because, hey it was something. During this time increasing suicidal ideation is reported along with a theme of me biting myself often. I would rip hair out as well and chew on it (even now I still find myself chewing small amounts of hair for comfort. It’s weird I know, but I’m ocd hygienic enough so whatever. Judge away.) This next part I’m about to say, well it’s not for me, it’s for anyone reading this. I do not discuss or disclose this, and when I tried to report it at the time no one did anything. I just don’t want anyone else who has been though something similar to feel so alone or like it was your fault.... and for better or worse, you are NOT alone. between ages 10-12 I was sexually assaulted at this program by a older boy, I reported it and he denied it and nothing was ever followed up, lucky for me, because he not only had done this to me, but a few other boys and he had a fucking group of confused kids involved In this kind of thing and I guess when you try and stand up for yourself and report this kind of thing and even the state and therapist don’t give a shit you kinda just .. accept it. I still don’t know how to deal with this. I’m sure this has effected me in ways I don’t comprehend or realize. I don’t feel like I deserved it. And this kind of thing would happen a couple years later at the next program. I kept reporting it, it’s even documented, and they didn’t do anything. Nothing. Well that’s not true. I reported a assault at one unit by a specific boy and they didn’t do shit. And it would keep happening. I would have been 13 or so maybe. I don’t know what else I could have done to avoid it. Maybe I deserved it for being such a awful child. Idk. But like I’m saying, they did something. After a suicide attempt on that unit they transfer me to a more hands on unit on campus , I actually start to do ok with my behavior. Then shortly after, they move that same fucking bit across the hall from me. So now at night the assault continues. On top of constant physical abuse of restraints and timeouts. I can’t escape this abuse. I complain to my parents. They don’t listen, my dad freaks out and decides this is a good times to come visit and take me for a drive and point out women jogging on the side of the road and mention how good looking they are, because god forbid I might like dick. I’ve ended up more of the straight side of sexual fluidly , but then and now I just kinda find those actions offensive and cruel. I would cry and cry on the phone to my parents about the physical and sexual abuses, only for daddy dearest to tell me to knock it off and no one cares if I cried and it needed to stop and it was all my own doing, cause you know, mentally ill. Eventually they moved me to a even more restrictive unit because of all my self harm and then needing to keep a eye on me 24/7. Eventually they had enough and I was transferred to a new facility.
It’s now 4-98 , I’m 12 My presenting issues at this intake are ODD, MDD, ADHD, fire setting, stealing (more I used to have issues with property boundaries and understanding sharing vs I wanted other people’s shit cause I wanted it lol ), self injurious behavior, attentional problems, poor frustrations tolerance, poor coping skills, wandering, interesting enough its written that sexualized behavior was observed at the previous program (yet my parents to this day adamantly deny they knew when I questioned them this dec as to why they let that shit happen. My mom said she didn’t know what I was talking about or that my dad did all that, only to moments later mention a time I had actually forgotten where I got molested by a boy in a certain location and it flooded back and sent me splitting the last couple weeks and it’s still bothering me and coming close to me sabotaging my relationship, and I figured it was a good time to tell her I was going no contact cause I just couldn’t anymore. I’m in my 30s and I should have long ago, and I told her if they didn’t accept me or support me by now it was probably best for both parties to end the facade. But that admission was the last straw for me. ), I wouldn’t respond well to positive reenforcement, I’m sarcastic and rude to peers and adults. And insomnia is reported. I am observed to have honeymoon periods of good behavior for 6-8 weeks and not to get complacent with me. And will require significant supervision once this passes. Reenforcement will have to be neutral since if I’m given any positive attention I will self sabotage. My Axis V GAF is 45 My IQ has dropped to 109 and verbal 102 and performance 115
During this time at this facility , at the wing where they move they boy after I reported him in the last building , I catch two court cases at 12/13 because while multiple adults are trying to restrain me for something I kick and bite them in self defense. I get sent to juvi (actual kid jail) for 11 days as a lesson from the judge for not letting adults slam me around as usual for being out of area or self harm, or something else. I don’t have much memory of the incident other than what I’ve read and been told, I’ve constantly had memory issues. (And often as a kid and adult black out and come too later with no idea how I got there. Stress and violence seems to be a trigger. It can often start with what I recognize now as “splitting” , but that’s more like watching someone else control you in a intense moment. This was like going to sleep and waking up scared cause you have no idea why the fuck you are in a hospital for suicide attempt , self harm, or just not where you last were hospital or not. ) I’m out of 200mg of something called sertraline for depression. Insomnia has become widespread. My treatment team wishes to use trazadone and prescribes it. I am defiant with medications but probably took it eventually. I become increasingly dysphoric I get evaluated for suicidal incidents, I deny them during evaluation and don’t end up in hospitalization Self destruction increase. I do t report hallucinations , but a psychotic process is questioned with increased aggression, depersonalization, inappropriately grandiose, and unmedicated wouldn’t sleep at night and just during the day. The courts are petitioned though something called “rogers law” to issue me antipsychotics. Risperdal is prescribed. I am (was) prone to ear infections. I will instigate a crisis in order to prevent further exploration of inner emotions and issues Ability to follow and utilize treatment is reported minimal at best. Another program has had enough of me..
1-2000 14yo I’m moved to a new place. This one actually better then the last. Intake is more of the same of what you have read, added are intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and a heightened startled response, PTSD, delusions , GAF is down to 35 (prior to admission), unstable sense of self, black and white thinking , tendency is to distort misinterpret magnify personalize communication, chronic emptiness, low self-esteem, emotional instability, unstable relationships, weak social supports – efforts to avoid loss or abandonment, passive interpersonal problem solving, become suspicious and rigid when feelings intensify or feels controlled by circumstances or others, intellectually intelligent however emotionally severely delayed. inability to express or even tolerate emotions and his inability to develop attachment with others, relationships appears superficial, known to go into crisis to avoid difficult issues. Has developed techniques to which makes restraining him dangerous for staff
I guess I see something called a 51a investigation was made against the previous facility with my reporting sexual assault, but nothing came of it due to lack of hard evidence about what exactly happened. Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed. Congratulations 14 yo me!
Now actually at this place while I still struggled with everything (aside from sexual assault, thank god that didn’t follow) I did considerably better overall. Hell some of the male staff snuck us in porn mags all the time, and while the other staff were trying to crack down on it, we were masters of hiding stuff in plain sight lol. Maybe it wasn’t the most appropriate thing but when you got a bunch of hormonal teenage boys, I mean, it was probably a kindness at the same time. and since I’ve probably bored you enough until now I’m going to stop reading off paperwork and try to hurry this to a close.
6-2001 Sorry I lied, I had to go look at the paperwork lol I’m moved from that residential facility, to a new one that’s more like a actual group home vs child jail, and for the first time since public school did I start going to a school that wasn’t attached to the building or on campus. Things were looking up. Boy, should I have know better ...
By 11-2001 poor emotional regulation strikes again. Between the school and the program they both report having to deal with multiple versions of me some very polite articulate and invested all the others or deceitful defiant and disrespectful although I will get along with other clients. Overtly I don’t seem to be invested in treatment but conversely they see me wanting to do treatment but struggling to do the work.
I often present in a monotone cold and feeling manor giving the impression I’m uninvested, but it’s realized in actuality I’m working double hard to cover a painful and unwanted feelings. In Individual therapy is doing the work but just keeping his head above water in the milieu During this time I’d like to point out my adopt parents had been considering bringing me back home, and despite my ups and downs I had started doing well overall again. Until going back home was actually on the table. My treatment team and I were months away from getting me reintegrated. I have successful home visits during this time. Soon I’m all set to go home, then my adopt dad comes and takes me to Burger King and buys me a meal and then tells me I’m coming home. I have a breakdown in the restaurant and have to be dragged back to the program. I don’t recall all the details now, I do know what followed. He tried to play it off that I had been making Statements about how I was going to do what I wanted when I got home and he isn’t going to tell me the rules, which given any other time period might have been true. But I had been fucking trying that time with decent success.
Well luckily my program director had my back and despite great instability and struggles again after that point (obviously I’m not saying if I went home things would have gone well, knowing all I know now I doubt it, but I was Blatantly set up to fail from him, and it’s easy to question my own judgment but from program directors to people in my life that I’ve known him all so I’ve gotten similar lines of observation about him) the goal was turned into finding a specialized foster care. After 6 months of looking , they couldn’t find anyone who wanted me however. Being 16 and so fucked up, I don’t really blame anyone. Now at least.
Eventually a new group home more geared towards independent living and being downtown in the community was found. That didn’t go well at all. I was only allowed 1 hour a day of being allowed outside or at the library or anywhere away from it on my own. Taking all my issues into account and adding a natural teenage rebellion, being 17 at the times, it wasn’t long until things start to go badly. Then you throw in a couple hospitalizations for suicide attempts and I was back to an intense treatment center. I almost got stuck there until I aged out at 18. But luckily my program director from 2001 (who coincidently was on his way out), came and rescued me and brought me back to his program until a proper foster home was found. I will never see or talk to this man again, but he was probably the best father figure I ever had. And I wish he could know how much that meant/means to me. But I digress. Eventually I found a foster home. Unfortunately the foster mom while not controlling was pretty narcissistic and would just sit around talking badly about people all day while smoking cigarettes and that’s literally it.
During this time I start to date for the first time. I meet a girl and go crazy crazy crazy for her. And her I. It soon turned abusive. She thought I cheated on her when I didn’t, then she cheated on me for real. This soon lead it to me cheating on her and a pattern of that kind of abuse just went back-and-forth between us. I would get unstable and have mood swings and act out violently when touched. Example. We would get into a huge fight and I would walk away as I’ve been taught to do, she would however do everything she could to physically get in my way or hold me or hit me. I don’t react well. I just react. I hate myself. More self mutilation in suicide attempts. I try to talk to her about how I think I’m bipolar and might need help. To which she told me I was fine and didn’t have anything wrong with me ( Please understand that although I now have all these diagnoses and can read them on paper for my time as a child as a child though I don’t stop then understand any of this and it wasn’t until I was 25 and had a psychotic break I actually looked into all of this and that wasn’t until a couple years later that I got this paperwork when I applied for Social Security (which my parents again screwed me at 17 cause my therapist at the time highly recommended I needed it, my parents however refused to believe anything was wrong with me and said I didn’t need it. I was instantly approved a few years back. Instantly. If you have dealt with SS or heard about it, it’s all horror stories of invalidation and difficulty. But for me , for the first time in my life really, I had a small feeling of validation) that I found out my parents kept a huge trunk full of paper work. I have hundreds and hundreds of papers from at least 1990-2018. If you think this is long, this is like the cliff notes sadly. I don’t wish to invalidate anyone’s experience because Lord knows it doesn’t always matter what’s on paper, but I think you would be hard-pressed to find many individuals were such an extensive record kept of their mental illnesses. And with such ignorant levels of care. I know people like to say you can’t always play the victim, but realistically at some point someone has to be a victim and I refuse to believe I’m not a good candidate. I don’t pity party all over the place or try to bring people down but internally I have justification.
So this whirlwind relationship ended with a divorce, I went into the military which didn’t last long at all due to self abuse, and other stuff. And she did as well , but got pregnant while in Iraq, and discharged because of it. I tried to stay with her. She told me we would make it work. But a few days after she returned stateside she chose to try and make it work with the baby daddy. I was 21, and the self abuse and another hospitalization for suicide occurred.
That want the last we saw each other , but that’s when our love died. I will always love her. Always. But ... we were not good for each other.
It was so toxic and abusive and I wish I could save us both from ever having that experience. I haven’t had a relationship that kind of toxic since and I’m very grateful it was more circumstance then me being some abuser.
She would later remarry and after leading me on about working things out , changed her mind or lied in the first place I have no idea , but after being crushed and stopping talking to her and trying to be friends I just kinda lost interest. You always hear you’re going to get over somebody, but never really feel like you are, and then one day you wake up and you’re just free of it magically. that was that day for me with her.
I was a horrible bf at the time. I really was. And I had no idea how to handle a relationship like I do now. But the following behavior makes me feel if not less responsible, maybe a little less guilty. I had always dealt with her having almost pathological lying issues. Break ups would turn into fake pregnancies and every now and then I would get messages on Facebook from some fake profile claiming to be an ex of hers to tell me something or rather. I would constantly hear from friends and people my foster mom knew that knew her but she was always with other guys but stupid me always stuck up for her and didn’t believe it it wasn’t until years later that I realized those people are probably telling me the truth.
But a few years after I stopped contacting her and got into a new relationship (the 8 year one) a anonymous “ex” started harassing me and trying to call me out for being a huge whore and sleeping around and being unable to maintain a relationship. Oddly enough some girls came to my defense, and my ex stuck with me and put up with all that shit, we had been together a few years maybe at that point? . She would send me harassing emails and threats. Tell me about her sex life and yada yada , everyone told me to just block her. I didn’t. Hospital visits ensued. I contacted my ex and called her out. She denied it. Then she tried to say it was her best friend. The thing is. She emailed me stuff I knew only she knew. Stuff about my birth mom I only knew she knew as a fact. I was pretty close to going to the police at this point. I told her about my self harm and suicide stuff it was causing I think , and I was going to take action. Apologies followed and I haven’t heard from her since, aside from her trying to get my address and I refused. Then she tried to threaten me with child support for a child that wasn’t mine and a judge had ruled wasn’t mine during a divorce. If I didn’t give her my address. I called and talked to lawyer in 3 different states until I was 100% sure she had zero grounds for anything like that. This was like 3 years ago maybe more?
I went through a 8 year relationship where I was constantly put down and controlled, but through all my splitting not once were hands put on me, not once did I act out violently towards anyone other then myself. I think the ptsd probably has a lot to do with it. I always let people know if I’m in a mood to not touch me. Otherwise I haven’t had any issues like I did with her. I’m always paranoid she’s going to come try to abuse me in someway again. If so tho, I’m going right for legal action.
But even with wanted affection I’m jumpy. It always feels odd. Especially at first. I can’t lose myself in sexual activity and be ... ok. But even something as simple as being brushed up against make me feel violated or uncomfortable. Which is odd because I am a huge hugger, love cuddles , and romantically I love making out. Sometimes I’m not in the mood and feel repulsed by everything. It’s odd. Sometimes the idea of sex with a bunch of random people intrusion enters me. But this last break up I had multiple opportunities to fool around and have sex with people. Even when I was just trying to be friends and they wanted more. I actually didn’t sleep around. I think I’m proud of myself. I know I hate having to think about the people I’ve slept with that are not in my life. The ones I’ve forgotten. The ones I can’t remember. The ones I unintentionally used or cheated on before I had self awareness. , the ones that used and cheated on me. Sometimes I just want to give up on companionship, but I want to have it so badly.
I’m a little over a year into a new relationship. It’s been going ok. She has two preteen kids from a previous relationship. I never wanted kids. I like kids enough. But I always knew my mental capacity was ill equipped for them long-term. Also genetically I’m scared of reproduction. Since they weren’t biologically mine I was casually optimistic while remaining skeptical. I’m starting to be able to handle it less and less, though part of it’s my own fault, I have a hard time keeping limits sometimes when it comes to grounding and punishment. and that leads them to walking over me not just once but all the time especially when it comes to following limits and getting stuff done on time. My gf says I’m too nice. But when they get upset I just think of my childhood and all those other kids I knew. And then I think of myself and how if maybe someone was a little more nice and a little more patient maybe that would be what could have saved me. I know that’s not a correct line of thinking. Most of my issues are from birth , and so says the US government (uncomfortable LoL here) , But then I think about how their dad doesn’t want anything to do with them and how they had a string of men in their lives who dated their mom and treated them like shit. I don’t believe it, but she tells Me and even they tell me that I’m the best father figure they have had. I can’t be a father figure. and I just I just can’t bring myself to be strict to children. I’m over protective of them actually. Today my only real plan aside from maybe a impulsive tattoo, is to go bitch the boys school out because he is getting bullied Physically in school. He’s the type to really bring it on himself but I don’t feel that’s right for people to be shoving him into the lockers. But he is so annoying, he has adhd, and is really intense, it’s not just me , pretty much nobody wants to deal with him except his sister on occasion but if she has access to her phone or electronics there’s no way she’s gonna want to. I’m not gonna go into whether or not I agree with their mothers parenting style because it’s really not my place. And I haven’t had to support two kids on my own for 12 years. So I’m not here to judge. And then it starts to eat away at me and I start to split and since talking to my mom triggered all those memories and I said my head spinning since I not only feel but I know it’s a matter of time until she’s done with me You are probably rightfully so wondering what all this has to do with my thanking you ... Really I don’t know how long until my next suicide attempt. And I got pretty close last time, so maybe next time will finally be the charm. I don’t have a plan or anything, I just know myself a bit better at 33. Not only did I wish to maybe leave a piece of myself to be remembered, even if buried in negativity, I’m just waiting for the split that makes me less of a coward about doing what needs to be done. Maybe I won’t. But being ignorant of patterns, I’ve learned can be even more harmful.
Over the last year or so that I found Reddit, the communities I follow especially this BPD one have made me feel, although not existentially, not so alone for the first time. Post after post , and comment after comment you guys and gals pour out your lives. You share and you listen. You hurt and you heal together. And I think that’s is so beautiful. And while I am not naïve enough to think everybody here is going to get out OK or alive, I want you to know somebody sees you. Somebody relates to you. Somebody is a little less feeling like a alien because for once some else understands what kind of suffering you are dealing with, albeit in their own way and experience. If this had existed when I was younger I really think I could have handled some stuff so much better. I really want toTHANK YOU all for being as close to a safe space for MH as it probably gets. I was going through a time of great crisis when I discovered you. And you guys helped me calm my brain down just by being able to read about your lives. The world will never treat anybody as well as they deserve. But you all deserve the world.
If you took the time to read this I appreciate it. If you have experienced anything remotely similar or not, I am truly sorry and I hope you are able to move past it. And even though to me it’s all pointless and I’ve been incredibly treatment resistant , I can’t recommend enough that you at least try to get help for anything you need it for. Your mental health is important. And yes the MH systems sucks and treatments are practically medieval. But they do works often enough for some people.
But I’m not going to sit here and belittle you. That black hole inside of us that might/will never be filled might claim any of us at any moment. Just know you deserve a chance, and sometimes a chance is all that someone needs. I might delete this or my account. Every part of me is starting to Physically hurt thinking about posting this. I’m currently in tears and my stomach feels like I have a good shot of throwing up some stomach acid. I hope to god this vulnerability can help someone , even slightly. 🖤🖖Thank you
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2019.08.05 07:14 TheDarkRedRose I Found An iPhone On The Ground And What I Found In Its Photo Gallery Terrified Me

It was sitting beside the curb outside my apartment. A white iPhone 4S in surprisingly good condition. I scooped it up from the ground to get a closer look. It probably belonged to a high school girl, judging by the horrendously glittering purple case. I admired the phone anyway – tacky though the case was, it had protected its charge fairly well. The phone had not only survived what I assumed was a fall from a careless girl’s book bag, but it was in pristine condition. No hairline cracks, no dings, no dents… nothing. As I marched into my apartment, throwing my bag on the floor and shedding my coat and shoes, I continued inspecting the phone. Whoever lost it must surely be missing it. I pressed the home button and the screen lit up. A swipe right and I discovered that the phone was not, in fact, locked. Thank goodness for stupid teenage girls (ignoring, for the moment, that I used to be exactly one of those). I searched the contacts, found one labeled “Mom” and pressed the call button.
It was as though the touch screen hadn’t registered my fingertips. Puzzled, I pressed “call” again. And again. Nothing.
It was at that moment that I got a call on my own cell phone, a black iPhone. I swiped to answer and the voice of my best friend reached my ears.
“Hey, Amanda! How was your test today?” The phone momentarily forgotten, I fell into a deep conversation with Anna about the absolute chaos that is university life. We chatted for a bit about whatever things 20-something-year-old girls talk about before she got to the point. “You busy tonight? There’s a cool club that opened up not too long ago downtown and a few of my friends wanna go. You should come with!” I glanced around at the comfort of my apartment. I was a pretty quiet person who preferred to sit inside and read a good book, as opposed to my outgoing Anna who was always getting into heaps of trouble. It’s always the story, isn’t it? Opposites attract. As much as I wanted to stay in tonight, I smiled and agreed, much to Anna’s squealing delight. How can I deny a request from my best friend? We set up plans and I hung up the phone. Then I remembered the other phone sitting on my couch, dejected. I picked it up and opened it to the owner’s mother’s contact information. That’s right! I punched the number into my own phone and hit “call.” I could at least call this way.
The phone rang for a few moments. I was about to leave a message when an exhausted voice came over the speakers.
I tried not to be put off by this rude response.
“Hi, um, my name is Amanda and I found this phone outside my apartment… I think it belongs to your daughter. Is there any way I could get it to her?”
The line was quiet for a moment, aside from some labored breathing. Then: “Do you think this shit is funny? Quit it with these stupid fucking pranks.” I remained speechless for a few moments after she’d hung up on me. What the hell was her problem? Thoroughly confused, I rechecked the number. No, I had dialed the right number… well, whatever, I shrugged. I couldn’t make sense of it, but it wasn’t really my problem, either. Sooner or later someone was bound to call her and then I’d pick up and explain the situation to them. It would get resolved somehow.
I still had a few hours until I had to be at the club to meet Anna, so I settled down with The Good Earth and a bag of chips.
Just as I was getting deeply embedded into the story, a loud beeping startled me.
I looked around wildly, my eyes colliding with the lit screen of the white iPhone. Oh, that must be her ringtone. I looked at the Caller ID. “Restricted.”
I picked it up.
The static was intense and only getting louder. I tried calling out a few more times, but no response. I was just starting to move the phone away from my ears due to the loudness of the static when – click.
Call Ended.
Huh. Must have been a mistake. Stupid phone, I was getting nowhere with this.
I went back to my book and spent a few peaceful hours of reading. An hour before our meeting time, I grudgingly pulled a glitzy shirt on over my head – one that I had borrowed from Anna, of course – and paired it with some black booty shorts. I put on flats (no way was I wasting a night in high heels) and applied cherry red lipstick. I figured I had prepared as much as I wanted and was just about to head out the door when the phone rang again.
I grabbed the phone off the couch and stared at it. Restricted. What the fuck? I rolled my eyes and answered it one more time, just on the off-chance that someone was there.
Nothing this time, absolutely no sound. It sounded like the line was dead. Seriously, what was the problem with this damn thing? Maybe I should just take it to the police station in the morning, let the cops deal with it…
“Can you hear me?” I let out a little yelp. The woman’s voice had come in, loud and clear, patient and toneless. But it sounded… off. There was no other noise on the phone. I put the receiver next to my ear again, cautiously this time.
Hello? Hey, do you know whose phone this is? I found it sitting outside and – “
Call ended.
By this point, I was getting pissed. Was someone playing a fucking game with me? I tossed the phone back on the couch. Enough of this, I would deal with it when I got home. Or maybe I’d let Anna deal with it. She was better at this kind of stuff than I was.
With that thought in my head, I headed out the door and into the night.
The club was pretty fun. It turned out that Anna’s friends all happened to be guys, with one in the mix who was exactly my type: tall, with dark hair, forceful and confident, and a little controlling. I know, I know, I’m asking for trouble. But a little trouble is good once in a while. Plus, he and I hit it off right away. He sealed the deal when he took my phone, found my number and plugged it into his phone.
“I’m taking you out on Saturday. You better be ready at 8!”
I felt a thrill up my spine. Oh, hell yes, I would be.
I crashed at Anna’s place. We spent the rest of the night watching shitty horror movies that we’d already seen a million times and making brownies. Well, actually, just the brownie batter, which we then ate raw. We passed out around 4 AM and I went home around noon the next day – thank goodness I didn’t have any Friday classes.
It wasn’t until after I’d already showered and made myself some breakfast that I caught sight of the phone once again. I don’t know why, but just looking at it made me uncomfortable. I decided I’d bring it to the cops that day.
I was about to throw it in my purse when the screen lit up.
New message: one attachment.
I slid the phone open. The text was from a restricted number again. I shivered.
I opened the attachment.
It was a picture. A picture of…me. Taken from inside the club when I was talking to Mr. Bad Boy. It was a close picture, too, taken no more than a few feet away from me.
I dropped the phone to the floor. I could practically feel my face draining, a white pallor settling into my cheeks.
My heart was racing like mad, but my brain went into practical mode.
Now I knew I didn’t have the phone by accident. It was left outside of my apartment in hopes that I would find it. It made sense, didn’t it? That silly little flimsy case would never have protected the phone from the hard concrete.
So why did they want me to have it? Clearly, they wanted to harass me. Ok, but for what reason? I thought back to my dad. He was a cop, maybe it was someone he’d pissed off? Although it seemed unlikely, as I was pretty far from my hometown. Had I pissed anyone off lately? I wracked my brain but came up empty. I didn’t have enough daily social interactions to piss anyone off, if I’m being honest.
But they had to know who I was. They’d followed me to the club, they’d taken my picture…and they’d sent the picture right when I picked up the phone.
Just as this thought registered, the phone went off again.
This time, there was no hesitation. I picked up the phone and said in a strong, angry voice, “Who the fuck is this? I don’t have time to play your fucking games. Do you think I’m scared of a shitstain like you?” The expletives continued to pour out of my mouth.
“Are you there?”
That same, toneless, emotionless voice. Click. Call ended.
I’ll admit, I was pretty freaked out by this. I made the decision in a split second. I grabbed my backpack and filled it with a few necessities, grabbed both the phones, and ran out to my car. I jumped in, locking the door behind me, and sped off down the street, my eyes trained on the rearview mirror to ensure no one was following me.
I drove through town for a few hours, taking every turn that I could. In the meantime, I formulated a plan. Whoever this was, and whatever reason they had for doing this, I wasn’t going to be the victim of this stupid prank anymore.
Once I was sure I wasn’t being followed, I pulled over and called Anna. I explained the situation to her over the phone and she agreed to let me stay at her place.
“I’ll help you catch this fucker,” she said.
About 20 minutes later, I arrived at her house. “Ok, let’s catch him.”
We sat in her living room and I took out my phone. If we were going to find out who this guy – or girl – was, we were going to need all the help we could get. And all that help consisted of this weird phone.
I slid the phone to unlock it and we stared down at it. Where do we start?
“Pictures,” tried Anna.
I clicked on the photo icon and started from the beginning. The first few photos were… normal. A teenage girl with long blonde hair, a toothy smile, and some leftover acne from her preteen years. She had taken a lot of selfies and stupid pictures with her friends. Judging by her appearance alone, I figured I had been right in the first place, that she was a high schooler. But why would a high schooler be doing this? Could she even pull it off? She would have needed a pretty good fake ID to get into the club. And I think I would have remembered seeing someone so young. This just didn’t make sense.
I continued scrolling. Pretty soon a guy started appearing in the pictures, with messy brown hair and a dangerously charming smile. They seemed to be getting pretty close. Her friends slowly disappeared from her pictures and were all replaced by who I could only assume was her boyfriend.
And then the pictures turned black.
That was it, just blackness. Assuming it was a dud, I went to the next picture.
We scrolled through a few like this. Anna shrugged. “This is totally weird.”
I swiped right again, and the screen seemed to explode with color.
I saw the blonde teen again, but this time she was lying on the ground. Her hair actually looked like it had turned strawberry blonde. It took me a moment to register that it was matted with blood. Her head was crooked to the side and her right arm was twisted at an odd angle behind her. Blood had pooled around her and her formerly bright blue eyes had dulled and were staring out into nothing. Dead.
Anna let out a scream. I threw the phone down and ran to the bathroom. I was sick for a few minutes, before I returned. Anna was shaking on the couch, staring at the phone, still lying where I’d left it a few minutes earlier.
“Are you okay?”
Anna nodded. “What the fuck is this?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I admitted.
“We have to find out who this girl is. And if her boyfriend did this.”
I nodded. Gingerly, I picked up the phone again. I figured the remaining pictures might give us more clues.
Without looking, I swiped past the gory catalog of the girl’s death. Next was another black picture. And another one. And another. My anticipation and anxiety grew with each swipe.
This time, it was the brown-haired boy who appeared first. I have to admit, up until this point, he had been my first suspect. She had spent all her time with him, after all. But when I saw his body half smashed through the windshield of his car, glass sticking into his stomach and blood pouring out of his eyes, I gave up on that theory. Looking at the screen, I felt his body would twitch any second, as death overcame him on the hood of his own car.
Swipe, swipe, swipe.
The next picture was another girl, older than Blondie, with long black hair and crows’ feet around her eyes. She looked like she was in her mid-30s. It was a formal picture, with her looking directly into the camera, standing stiff and straight in business attire. It looked like she’d taken it for her job.
Next. A similar picture, but this time it was a man staring into the camera. Colleagues?
A few more black swipes. Then I saw the woman lying on a patch of concrete, a knife stuck in her stomach, her face stretched out into a scream. Her eyes were lifeless, but only just so. She’d died just before the picture was taken.
More black stills. Would this ever end?
Then I saw the man. At least, I was pretty sure it was the man. As he hung from the rafters, his back faced the camera and I couldn’t get a good look at his face.
I felt sick again.
I continued swiping through the picture gallery, but I was always greeted with the same sights. A few normal pictures of a girl and a guy, and then both of their grisly deaths.
Finally, Anna took the phone from me.
“ENOUGH, Amanda. This isn’t helping.”
I could feel my panic growing. My first thought was the cops – I had to get them involved. But even that made me nervous. This phone just HAPPENED to show up outside my door with pictures of these disgusting murders. No matter how I presented it, it made me sound suspicious.
Without a word, I picked up my phone and dialed my dad’s number. I got his voicemail, so I left a message explaining what had happened. “Can you and your partners look into this for me? It’s probably just a prank, but it’s a damn good one.”
I took a few deep breaths after that. Okay. Okay. I have my dad in on this now, it’s going to be okay. I just need to be careful until he gets back to me. It’s going to be ok.
Anna picked up the phone again. “I’m going to look through the contacts. Maybe we can figure out who’s doing this. Maybe there’s a clue in here somewhere.”
I sat still while she thumbed through the phone. To be honest, I didn’t even want to look at the damn thing anymore.
“Whoa… Amanda, look at this!”
I glanced at Anna, afraid to look at the phone at all. I didn’t want to play this game anymore.
“What is it?” I asked.
“All the contacts… they’re all girls.”
I looked at her, puzzled. “So?”
“So, the first girl, the one the phone must have belonged to, she had a boyfriend, right? Why isn’t his number in here?”
That was a good point. I looked through the contacts. All the girls.
I scrolled down to “my number.” Pulling up the contact information, I saw that a name was listed next to it. Weird. Tina Drescher.
Suddenly, I grabbed Anna’s computer.
“What are you doing?”
“Trying to find the connection.” There had to be a reason all these girls had died, there had to be a reason that Tina died. Something was connecting them.
I clicked on the first article Google spit out.
The picture accompanying the article was definitely Tina. I continued reading.
A recent tragedy has resulted in the death of Winona teen Tina Drescher. Tina’s body was found on April 6th, 2012, lying next to the main building of Winona Public High School. Although the police are continuing their investigation, the death appears to have been a suicide.
“Although it is unfortunate, it is not unheard of,” Chief of Police Robert Mansfield reported on Wednesday. “When teenagers like Tina come under severe pressure, they tend to make poor decisions. It is a pity that Tina felt this was her only option.”
Tina’s parents were shocked by her decision.
“Tina was such a happy child,” her mother explained tearfully to KTV Channel 12 reporters. “She would never have done something like this.”
Students and members of the community are welcome to attend a memorial service held for Tina on April 14th. The memorial service will be held in the Winona Public High School gymnasium.
“Here, try this one,” said Anna. “Emily Tressor.”
I punched it into Google and up popped the black-haired woman.
I skimmed the article this time. Found murdered outside of a bar downtown. But there was something new here.
“Anna… this girl was sexually assaulted,” I said.
“Look, it’s right here.”
“That doesn’t make sense.” Anna frowned. “The other girl committed suicide, this girl was raped and then murdered. Where’s the connection?”
I shrugged. We punched in the next name, and then the next.
Aside from Tina, all of the reports were the same. Women murdered, presence of semen and pattern of wounds indicating sexual assault.
“This doesn’t make any sense!” My frustration was growing. “These girls were all brutalized, all except for Tina. What makes her different?” I asked.
Anna was quiet for a moment. “Maybe she’s the same,” she said.
“Think about it. She killed herself for seemingly no reason at all. Maybe that’s why she did it?” Anna reasoned.
The pieces started to click together. “But what about her boyfriend? And what about the boys in the pictures? They’re all dead, too, but their names aren’t saved.”
That’s right. If whoever was doing this was raping and murdering these girls, then what about the boys? Why did they die in the first place? And why didn’t their deaths warrant saving?
Anna and I were still puzzling over it when the phone lit up between us.
I was beginning to hate that sound. I looked at it nervously.
“Put it on speaker,” Anna suggested.
I took a deep breath and answered the phone, doing as Anna said and pressing the speakerphone option.
“Who is this?” I asked.
Nothing but silence. The silence that was slowly breaking down my sanity.
My voice broke as I asked, “What do you want? Why are you doing this?”
“Stay away from him.”
Who the fuck was she talking about?
Wait… Mr. Bad Boy. He was in the picture that I received.
A picture started to form in my mind. Whoever was doing this was coming for me, to rape me, to leave me dead. But where did Anna’s friend (Derek was his name) fit into this?
As I was pondering this question, I heard Anna gasp next to me.
“The pictures,” she said.
She pulled up the phone again. “Look at the pictures of the guys.” I looked. The first guy through his windshield, the second hanging from the rafters, the third with his wrists split open, the fourth with a gunshot to the head…
“These are…”
“…suicides…” Anna finished for me.
The final piece clicked into place.
“He frames them,” I said, slowly. “He goes after the girls and he frames the men…and they kill themselves.”
We were silent for a moment. Then I bolted to my feet and grabbed my bag.
“Wait, Amanda, where are you going?” Anna yelled after me.
I paused at the door. “I have to talk to Derek. I have to tell him what’s happening. He doesn’t realize the danger he’s in.”
I hugged Anna. “You can’t come with me, I need you to stay here in case I need a place to crash again.” And because I don’t want you to get hurt along with me, I added silently in my head.
I think she would have tried to follow me, but I was out the door before she could say anything. I had swiped Derek’s number when he plugged mine into his phone, thank God. His phone was already ringing on the other end as I got into my car.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the lovely lady from the bar,” he said.
I blushed. Even under the circumstances, his voice was making me heat up. “Derek, I need to talk to you. I need to see you. Are you busy right now?”
I could almost hear the smile in his voice. “Am I so dashing that you can’t wait until tomorrow? Well, that’s fine with me. We can meet up. Why don’t you come to my apartment?”
I hesitated. That was no good, then my stalker would know where he lived.
“I was thinking somewhere more public…”
He laughed. “Don’t trust me yet? That’s not a problem. How about a restaurant, then? We can make it a real date.” He rattled off the name of a surprisingly expensive restaurant downtown and I accepted.
“I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”
“It’s a date.” I could hear the smile in his voice.
Talking to him seemed to help me access my inner strength. And for the first time since I found the phone, I got angry. Really, really angry. This guy thought he could just push me around? He thought he could intimidate me? Well, it wasn’t going to be as easy as he was hoping. If I was going down, I was taking him with me. And then no one else was going to have to suffer as I had.
There were still things I didn’t understand, however. Why was I getting calls from this girl? Did he have someone working with him? And what was their aim in doing this? Even as I arrived at the restaurant, these questions were buzzing in my mind.
I immediately felt safer when I saw Derek’s shock of black hair and his bright, sparkling smile. I felt tears rushing into my eyes as relief flooded over me. I was a little afraid of scaring him off, but I couldn’t stop myself from running into his arms.
He was shocked, but his arms wrapped around me in a tight embrace. “Hey, hey, what’s wrong, what happened?”
I couldn’t answer for a minute, so he just held me and talked in a low, soothing voice. “It’s ok, you can tell me, I won’t let anyone hurt you.”
After that, he led me to a booth towards the back of the restaurant where we could be alone. I poured out my story, the phone, the calls, the pictures… he listened silently, his face unmoving. I finished with my theory about the stalker.
“I had to tell you because I think he’s coming after both of us,” I finished, with tears springing into my eyes again. Derek reached across the table and took my hands in his. He looked straight into my eyes as he spoke.
“Listen to me. I won’t let this guy come near you, ok? Everything is going to be fine.”
I nodded, my frustrated tears replaced by grateful ones. I could finally feel safe.
It was dark by the time we left the restaurant. Derek had offered to put me up at his house, but I refused…I didn’t want to endanger him any more than I already had. Plus, I was getting worried about Anna. What if the guy had followed me to her house? I called to make sure she was okay. She answered and sounded fine, but I thought it would be better to get back as soon as I could.
Derek was walking me to my car when he suddenly stopped.
“What is it, what’s wrong?”
He looked around for a moment, then grabbed my arm. “Shit. I think he’s here,” he whispered. He was grabbing my arm so hard it hurt.
“Follow me.”
We ran down the street, me practically being dragged by his iron grip. Just before we hit the end of the street, he turned right and we veered into an alley.
I stood there winded as he peeked back down the street.
“Good, no one saw us.”
I looked up at him and I knew something was wrong.
Derek was looking at me, his goofy grin replaced with something…darker. He was smirking.
“You’re worried about your stalker, huh? This freak that rapes and murders these girls…here’s an idea! Maybe if I do his job for him, he’ll leave you alone! How about that?”
I stared at him, confused. What had happened to the protective guy I’d seen just a moment before?
“W-what are you talking about?”
He stepped towards me. I stepped back. He laughed.
“You know why I brought you into this alley? ‘Cause there’s nowhere to run. And you were stupid enough to believe me when I said we were being watched. Are you psycho?”
I backed into the wall at the end of the alley. My heart was in my throat. I began to realize that I had made a terrible mistake. I wanted to move, but I couldn’t. My hands were clammy and shaking. I had nowhere to go.
Derek reached down and tugged at the zipper of his jeans.
“You’re lucky. I don’t usually fuck crazy chicks, but for you? Well, I’ll make an exception.”
That seemed to break me out of my trance. I went into panic mode. Before I knew what I was doing, my leg had swung up and caught him right where it hurt the most.
He screamed a few expletives and grabbed his crotch. I tried to run past him, but he grabbed my arm in that iron grip again. I could feel tiny bruises forming where his fingernails dug into my skin.
“You fucking bitch, you’ll pay for that. Fucking whore!”
I yanked at my arm as hard as I could. His other hand grabbed my hair and yanked me back. I reached up with my free arm and clawed at his eyes. I could feel the blood soaking under my fingernails as he screamed. He released my arm, keeping a firm grip on my hair, and grabbed a knife from his back pocket.
And then suddenly, everything stopped.
I don’t know how we both knew something was there, but we did. He turned around to look, and as he did, I caught a glimpse of her.
It was the blonde girl from the photos, her thin stature and solemn eyes staring at us intensely. She looked at me for a moment before shifting her gaze to Derek.
Suddenly, I couldn’t see her anymore.
“What the fuck? What the fuck? What the FUCK?” Derek screamed. He let go of me and backed against the alley wall.
To me, she had disappeared. But whatever Derek saw, it was like torture.
He screamed and grabbed his bleeding eyes. I was surprised he could still see after the wounds I’d given him. He kept standing like that, screaming over and over again.
Finally, he dashed out of the alley, leaving me in the darkness.
I stood there on my own, breathing heavily, my whole body trembling like a leaf.
I picked the phone up out of my bag. I answered it right there in the darkness. This time, I didn’t say anything, but I waited.
Sure enough, Tina’s voice came over the phone.
“I told you to stay away from him.”
Although I reported Derek’s assault to the police, it turns out that I didn’t have to. A few days later, he was found in his garage, his car filled with noxious fumes that had lulled him into a deadly sleep. Another suicide to add to the photo gallery. I vaguely wondered what he had seen, what had driven him to that point.
I realized how wrong I’d been about the phone, about Tina. I knew now why she’d killed herself. Why her boyfriend had died so soon after. And why every woman who’d received this phone had suffered as she did.
She wasn’t coming after us.
She was just trying to protect us.
submitted by TheDarkRedRose to u/TheDarkRedRose [link] [comments]

2019.07.23 02:54 CoolCreeper39 List of all known banned subreddits sorted alphabetically and by reason

Ban/Quarintine Evasion:
Violent content:
Prohibited goods or services:
Proliferation of violent content:
Minor sexualization:
Subreddits banned due to the rule change:
Copyright infringement:
Involuntary pornography:
Glorifying violence:
Inciting harassment:
Encouraging violence:
Inciting violence:
Inciting harm:
Safety reasons:
Encouraging harm:
Interfering with Reddit:
Vote manipulation:
Animal abuse:
Criminal activity:
Glorifying sexual violence:
No reason given:
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2019.07.21 20:13 RedWolfWarrior July 20th — July 21st Sharp & Large

Previous Chapters
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

July 20th

I woke up with Derrick holding me again with his naked body pressed against mine, looking out a cave that overlooked a river that led all the way down to the Colony. Ever since we did a service for the dead, something has been eating at me. It wasn't the dead we couldn't find, but the terrible fate that waited for the daughters Wepwawet took from the packs he captured. They weren't killed, in fact, they were protected.
In all his wickedness and evil deeds, preserving the daughters' life did not sit right with me. I remember when the first group came through, Acolytes guarded them with fangs and claws. I learned that if one was assaulted or touched perversely, they were killed outright. Whatever, he needed them for, was for his nefarious plans.
After a while of watching them disappear in the mountains where Wepwawet's Temple is located, I noticed how young they were preteens to mid-teens. All of them were in their puberty. A red flag rose, whenever Wepwawet's Acolytes took me to the temple, I searched all over for them. Secret doorway, hidden tunnel anything, they just disappeared. Which reminded me of a city that was in my family's notes.
"What's wrong?"
"Have you ever heard about the Lost Colony in Roanoke?" I asked him.
"No mysteries this early in the morning," he grumbled. I smiled.
"In 1587, 117 men, women, and children disappeared. No one knew what happened to them, but my great grandparents said there was one evidence."
"What was the evidence?"
"An inscription that said, 'The Devil is real, and the moon is his eye.'"
I looked up at Derrick and touched his forehead. He must've seen my worried expression, because he replied to it, "It sounded very familiar. Ngirrth'lu called the moon in his world, his Eternal Eye. What you said reminded me of that?"
He hugged me tighter.
"So, what brought that up?"
"I just noticed a similarity between Roanoke and the daughters Wepwawet took. It was just one of those things that sparked my curiosity. I figured at the moment if I could prove my ancestors were connected to the ancient pharaohs."
"Why did it matter?"
I watched leaf float down the river as though I could put all thoughts into it, and let it flow away. "I was bullied for it at school when I was told about our relations to Wepwawet, people thought my entire family was crazy. I would get lectures at school about not spreading wild tales. I told them it was true then they told me that ancestors were probably priests, but it was impossible to be a guard to a God. Because Gods only exist in mythology and fiction. I was told a God or Gods don't exist, there was no miracle, there was nothing, just us here alone in this vast universe." I was still mocked, even until adulthood, I didn't tell him this, because I know how riled up he gets. Especially, now since he's a werewolf like me, two creatures that supposedly doesn't exist, trying to fight a god that couldn't exist, and preventing a world-altering apocalypse that shouldn't happen.
I resumed, "When I graduated, I didn't want anything to do with my ancestors or their legacy. I tried to bury it so much, but when a family member claimed that they discovered something, it spread like wildfire in the family. Only to have it be rejected by museums, archeologists, scholars, and the rest. Our family was mocked and put into a category of people who believes in UFOs and Bigfoot. I even tried changing my last name. Once a certain historian recognized my name, I would be ridiculed endlessly. I was so alone for most of my life."
Derrick hugged me tighter. "You're not alone, and you're not crazy."
I smiled and felt his furry arm. Apparently, what I said must have started a change. "I just wanted to prove that my family isn't crazy."
He chuckled, "Well, you can always say you're a werewolf and change in front of everyone."
"Oh, no!" He laughed. "They wouldn't be able to dispute anymore, but it won't change a thing. There will always be skeptics, even if fact and science are staring them in the face, they would still say, I need more."
We walked along the riverbank for a bit and discovered a sharp incline. I suggested we look for a way up, but Derrick decided that we could climb it. It took me a moment to find out what he was talking about, and then I saw his fingernails shape into claws. Then his hand, legs, and torso were changing. "You still haven't controlled your changes yet, darling, it's gonna—" he didn't listen and hopped on the wall still changing. Then his shoes burst apart as his lupine feet came out. I groaned, "We don't spare clothes. At least take them off before you changed." Then his shirt and pants ripped apart.
I changed myself, but first I put the clothes away in the bag I was carrying. I suppose it was a man's thing to act and not think things through.
I climbed to the top with him and was still surprised to see his shirt and pants were still on him. However, they were stretched tight and ripped all over. If he changed to his human form, they would fall apart.
He sat near the edge and overlooked the afternoon sky. I sat with him and gawked at the immense landscape. It was hard to believe that so much happened in a short while in those woods. The rest of the world is oblivious about. From this point, we could see the three ridges, and it was difficult to believe that we journeyed all this in a matter of four days. It was another two-day journey to Town, and then what? Go back home as though nothing had happened.
I'm a werewolf, he's a werewolf. We both seen and experienced a living Hell on earth scenario and prevented an apocalypse. There is no home to return to, plus he said he sold his house, lost his job, and separated from friends and family. He was intended on finding me or die trying. I don't know what we could do now. Our old lives are gone.
Derrick whined when he touched his clothes, I think it just occurred to him that he went too far in his changes. He was clearly regretting what he did, I laughed at him for being a little absent-minded. We got up, and I looked back one last time for the day. My thoughts returned to the daughters, and a terrible feeling lingered a bit longer than I cared for,
I just wished I could've found them. I knew they were near that temple, but I couldn't find them. I need help, it can't be just Derrick and me, we needed an army.
I huddled out in my room, there were more accounts written, testimonials, and one article that was the most intriguing. I couldn't stop the whisperings and the temptations that coursed through my veins. I couldn't get outside, the human flesh and blood were getting to me. I knew I was losing grip on my sanity. I have every intention of burning it when I got home, but I couldn't. My body would not obey me; instead, I read it. It was literally eating my mind and soul away, and I couldn't do a thing about it.
- "Roanoke Lost Colony Report," written by Castiel Moarwood, published in the Roanoke Catalog 1991 -
For as long as I could remember, the Lost Colony that occurred here from 1587 to 1590 was a legend passed down from generation to generation. Despite my family's recent claim about us being connected to an ancient God in Egypt. I thought it would be up to me discover what had happened here all those years ago. If I could find a clue or something, then it could bring our family out of the darkness.
I toured the Colony all over and found nothing. It took me weeks, but I still persisted. That was until I took a tour at the White's Estate and looked at their signet. For the first, since I walked these Hallways many times before, I noticed that this signet was different from all the rest. It was not only bigger, but it was more substantial. I dropped it on accident and discovered a hollow sound. After upon further analyses on the object, I have discerned it was a secret box hidden in plain sight.
However, I couldn't figure out how to open it. I would have considered it to be a coincidence if I had not felt some moving inside. I took a look at the damage I done, used a flashlight to see what was inside, and found what seemed to be a letter. I was elated upon discover, that I—ashamed to say—forcibly opened the box. Inside was an envelope intended to be addressed to John White. Inside I found this transcript, it was a detail report on the Roanoke Colonizers, from the start, dated from 1587 to February 1589. The rest of it was more of a journal, but something had changed drastically. Then he mentioned a dream, and I could not believe what I read. I must've read it twenty times, but somewhere in the mountains west of here was a temple. Not just any temple, it had similar qualities to an Egyptian God, Wepwawet.
Somehow, my ancestors' lineage crossed lines with this Lost Colony. I will not release the rest of this transcript. After you learned of what I read, you'll see why I can't let people get a hold of this. My mind and soul is dying. I would rather live my whole through without finding this transcript. If any of my family members manage to find this reading. I urge you to stop searching for Wepwawet. He is the devil, and he is real. For anyone still searching on what happened to the Lost Colony, I beg you to leave it to rest, you would not be ready for what is at the end of this road.
I do not ask you to believe me, I just ask you to read this and judge for yourself.
I will start on February 1589 and go until the end of the letter. If the writer of this transcript had it hidden away for its protection. Then I will too. Even as I read and write this part, I feel as though my life is in danger. Something evil had happened here all those years ago, something no one would have expected.

July 21st

At last, I could see the Town, I thought I would never come back here. When I said my farewells, I intended on it being my final farewell to civilization. Alex stopped moving. Before I grumbled a reply from my lupine mouth, she said to me. "You can't go back, not like this." She gestured to my tattered clothes, that seemed to have gotten worse from last night. We went hunting and found a bad-ass elk. My moon, that elk put up a bitch of a fight.
The last one tried fleeing, this prey did not. I was caught off-guard by its brute strength and use of its antlers and hooves. Let's just say if it weren't for Alex, this elk would've whooped my ass. The shirt and pants restricted my movement to a severe degree that it was hard to move and run.
I remembered Ravang, walking around in a nude. Perhaps he had the right idea. Maybe if we decided to live with the pack here, I would go naked as well. I wanted to bring it up to Alex, but I knew she would reject the thought immediately. Even with ripping the sleeves off, it still restricted movement. I thought about every werewolf movie I have ever seen and saw how quickly they tore apart during transformation. Reality is a cold-ass bitch.
With the Town in reach, I could see her point. I wanted to say, "I could always go to Town, wearing what is left and said, I got my ass kicked by an elk. They would believe that, and it isn't a total lie." However, all that came out was garbled growls, whines, and barks.
"Wouldn't they ask more questions?" she asked though she knew what I was trying to say. However, she could be referring to something else. At least we were in the same book. We resumed forward, Alex pondered on what we should.
When heavy stomping came towards us. I looked in that direction, and something lifted me up, carried me, and slammed me on the ground. Thick sharp fangs sank into my leg, blood rushed down my leg. I yelped loudly and kicked this thing in the face as it ripped a chunk out of me. I winced and got up, hobbled on a bad leg. I snarled and saw Alex changed. Then I heard more charges, a pack against us. Did we trespass into another's pack territory, who did not know what was happening?
I looked at my attacker and found that it wasn't a wolf, but a bear. A large humanoid bear, similar to Alex. Not only that, it was wearing camouflage armor that covered shape and form of its body. It charged at me. I slashed at it, but it caught my arm, latched it fangs around my throat, and brought on my back. It applied pressure on my main arteries. It has me at death's door.
I looked around us and saw other humanoid animals, one was a leopard, one was a wolf, and there was a monster I have never seen before, with a head of a horse and claw-like hooves. "Change back," A voice ordered me, a human, but there was something off with him. Until I saw fangs and clawed fingers, he was holding a very high-powered rifle.
"He can't," Alex said, she was in mid change form, form like Ravang. "He still hasn't full control over it. He could only start it."
The human-creature looked up at me while he spoke to Alex. Seeing someone like him, was a surreal experience. I was slightly higher than a car on all fours. "Who are you?"
"Alex Ravian," she said.
"Wait, the same Alex who went missing in these woods months ago?"
"Yes." The other beasts started to change, their armor moved with them in ease.
"This beast here, a friend or foe."
"He's my boyfriend, Derrick. He came here looking for me." The bear creature lets go of me, and I coughed and grabbed my throat. Alex rushed to me, and I hugged her.
"Sorry, for the troubles, we can't be too safe."
"Who are you guys?" Alex asked.
"We're from the SPBI, Special Unit. This here is Squad B. Squad A, went ahead a while ago to investigate a fire. Did you know anything about that?"
Alex and I looked at each and pulled her bag. "Yes," she said. Then opened it. She told them what we did and felt that it was the only thing we could do. We couldn't just let them rot. Inside the bag are all identifications and whatever seemed important. Journals, phones, toys, and photos. When we were finished, they took the bag.
"Thank you for this, you didn't have to do any of this. I'm sure the survivors would appreciate this."
"The survivors made it?" Alex asked. "That's a relief."
"The inhabitants of the Town called 911 about them, and we were alerted. We knew about the Colony, and once we lost ties with it over a week ago, we had to investigate the matter. Then the calls about refugees arriving at a Town." He sighed. "We just learned about the uprising of werewolves and this cult leader trying to gather people for his cause. If we learned about this months ago, we would have sent someone to investigate the problem before it got worse. It's just the Colony never called us."
He looked at me thoroughly this time and mentioned, "He really couldn't change back."
"He has no control, he's been in that form since yesterday. He forgot to remove his clothes, and we didn't want to return to Town until we resolved his clothing situation. Not to mention that we didn't want to scare the humans that lived there."
"That would be a problem, but fortunately, we do have a solution," he said, and we relieved.
After that, I focused on changing back. It was hard to do, it was easy to change when I climbed the cliff wall. I just didn't I was still changing when I got to the top. Now that I no longer needed to be in this form, I tried to change. Nothing happened, I was stuck.
"That ain't good," he said. The others that were with him had brought a fresh change of clothes. They looked small. "You don't need to worry, let go of any worry or vice that has you in that form." While he said that, his squad ripped the clothes off me and I changed back.
It hurts even more. My muscles shrank, bones snapped and reshaped, and my mind was altered. It took what seemed hours, but it was actually thirty minutes. There were blotches all over my body.
A woman who had the scent of the leopard gave me my new clothes. "Sorry, if they seemed a little big, but it would. The clothes have been designed to change when you do, just I have a question to ask. What type of werewolf are you?"
"Christy!" a burly brownish-red man called, he had the same scent of the bear.
"What just curious, you two were the same size, and I almost mistook him for a bear."
"It's fine," I said. "I'm not even sure either. I was told that I was an Ancient." I looked between them and found one with black goat eyes. "I am also curious about you all, especially the SPBI."
Christy answered, "I'm a forvlaka. Damion," she pointed to the bear-guy, "he's just a Werebear, like Augustus who is a werewolf, Vinn is a vampire," she said pointing from the werewolf guy to the man who had a rifle at me. "And Javis is a Jersey Devil," she said with a little too much glee.
"The term is actually Leedemon, can we go now? Squad A ordered back-up hours ago, and we should get there." Javis with those strange goat eyes answered. His skin seemed to be the most leathery of them all.
"Agreed," Vinn said. "Alex, before we go. We need to know if there is anything we should know about. All we have as intel was an insane cult leader pushing for war against humanity." Alex and I told them as much as we could, the Hells we experienced, and so on.
When we were finished, they seemed apprehensive all except who was getting very uncomfortable whenever we mention Ngirrth'lu or his cult of acolytes. Including a mentioning of the temple. "Also, he has young women hidden somewhere in the temple," Alex said. "He's saving them for a certain purpose, I just don't know what."
Christy let out a piercing meow--that caused us to wince--as she said, "Yee! Does that mean, we're going to battle a Cthulu!"
"Sure sounds like it," Vinn said as he lit a cigarette. "I really appreciate that if you could escort them back."
"Thank God!" Javis exclaimed a little too loud.
"Why?" Christy cried out.
"They are refugees too, it is our duty to make sure all refugees are safe. Plus, with someone like Alex, who is a key to Ngirrth'lu or Wephead's design, then protecting her is your highest priority. Understand me?"
Christy pouted, "Yes, sir."
"When you're done with that come regroup us at the Colony. We need to make sure Squad A gets this intel," Vinn said.
"Do you really believe in this Cthulu nonsense?" Javis asked.
"I don't know. Of all we experienced together as a squad, could you really ask that?"
There was silence.
"I understand your skepticism, and it is good to have a rational mind. However, in a situation like this, you can't let skepticism cloud your mind and judgment." Vinn said. After a while, Vinn finished, "Let's move out, and Christy be good."
Augustus chuckled, "We promise to give you a score of catnip."
Christy yowled, "Are you mocking me, mutt-for-brains?" Augustus laughed. "Well, you better provide, or I'll turn your tail into a pin-cushion." They left for the Colony, and Christy escorted us towards Town.
Another close call! I searched all over Town for Griffin and beg that he takes this book back. I had a horrible nightmare last night, and when I came out of it, I was about to slaughter humans. What was happening to me? I can't fight it any longer. The book was calling for me again and before, I could protest, I read where I left off.
- "Roanoke Lost Colony Report, Transcript" written by Castiel Moarwood, published in the Roanoke Catalog 1991 -
- February 16, 1589 -
Another attack from the Natives, but this time, it was panicked. They killed no one, but have taken our food. It felt like they were trying to chase us away. Then they returned with our food, and then some. The leader of the group, who picked up a few words of English, was begging us to leave. We thought they wanted to kill us, but instead, they told us to run. They told us to go south, and there we would find fish, lumber, and the coves will protect us from anyone who wanted us dead.
They chanted day in and day out, they shouted us to leave and flee. They were destroying our morale. Samuel, who was attacked by a wild animal, began acting irrationally. The soldiers were ordered to keep him under surveliance.
Last night, there was another panic. Samuel was possessed with a horrible curse. His eyes were wild, and his teeth were sharp, covered in blood. He acted like a wild animal and attacked everyone in his way. We had no choice but to execute him. He was only a boy, a deacon. Of course, he was rebellious sometimes, but he would never attack us. What happened to him?
- February 17, 1589 -
Tragedy! While Samuel turned on us, someone broke in and kidnapped Virginia Dares. The Natives returned that morning, and we were out for blood, but instead of fighting the leader of the tribe volunteered to help us save Virginia Dares. I watched them gather with our soldier and broke bread. I swear, between those woods, I saw wolves. They passed a message to us and pleaded us to leave before they left us there.
I am still baffled that we went with them. The colonists claimed it was a trap to lure us out. Some said the land was cursed, but perhaps it was cursed far before we established a home here.
Last few colonists have disappeared in the past, and we thought it was starvation or the interruption of the Natives. I start to think there was something devilish going on here. So, I will speak to the council and offered a suggestion that we leave. Go south and find a new settlement. I pray that the Lord will soften his heart and let him listen to reason. When the Priest said he dreamt of Hell every night since the start of this year, you know something ominous was happening.

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