First, I am sitting here watching this movie for the first time in probably ten years. When it came out, it was a big hit and once it came to HBO and others it was on a lot. I overall have an odd thing for this movie as I like it and dislike it at the same time. It's a fun heist movie but at times it feels like you're on the outside of a clique of the cooler crowd Now my main gripe is the character played by Andy Garcia. Nothing against him I think he played the character Benedict perfect. He's a giant prick who, if he was real, I doubt was ever happy a day in his life. He just seems miserable and stoic to a point 30 grit sandpaper would be a smooth piece of toilet paper. Then we have the other guys who it just seems, I don't know. It seems to be a one up or an intro into "who has the cooler personality trait/is edgy enough" Maybe I'm off on that. They act as a team but I always feel they are trying to be the guy who is the glue to it all. Then the whole set up misdirection in the final act of the heist. It just has too many moving parts to I think work properly. Then again in 2001, especially when a line from one person is "I don't have a cell phone", so it's possible this plot could work without anyone's voice being recognized, or faces not being noticed. Seriously are people that obviously to not notice Casey Affleck and Scott Caan seemingly having a dozen jobs at this one casino? Not to mention the balloon boy scene. Causing attention gets you noticed and your face recognized. Now yes it is possible that a lot is going on, playing the odds for a lot of things going on causing eyes to shift all over and not focus on what's happening. Then again, I just, ugh, they steal an EMP device that easily?!?! Really? Just walk right the fuck in and take it, and no one reports or is looking for a white van with a potential damaging piece of equipment. Ok ok ok it seems like I'm shitting on this movie. When I really like it, it's fun. That being said sometimes in the film I wanted to punch these guys. The IT guy, just holy shit man, can you just not be the typical squirrely guy. You left your monitor device in the room you had to place your "hack" in and you leave that behind?!?! Good thing the security at such a secure vault would just say "it's ok for an IT tech to have a mini TV while leaving a secure room"?!? In the end it's cool to see how it all went down. It's a fun movie overall. Just don't think too long and hard on it.
Hey all. Here’s another post with another person’s ideal additions to the game. And yes, I want bugs to be fixed, too. I just wanted to write up a list of things besides bugs, since we all know they exist. I’ve organized these by categories to an extent, but some of them certainly overlap. Gameplay: * Decisions that affect the game. I understand that can be difficult given the multiplayer nature, but it is not impossible, and very much needed. * Phasing. This builds on top of the former. Phasing would allow us to see different things in certain places depending on where we are in the story and what we’ve done. This was already sort of implemented with Wastelanders and interiors, but it could be expanded upon to really improve the game. If I make a decision that blows up another faction’s town, then the town should look destroyed to me, but intact for someone who did not destroy it. World of Warcraft does this very well. When you enter certain zones, you’re kind of just instantly phased into a zone that is tailored to you and your game. Your party members are still visible on your map, and if they’re at the same point in the story, they remain visible to you and you all see the same things. If they’re not, then they remain visible on your map, but invisible in the actual game and are phased into their own version of the zone. I know the fallout engine is old, but so is WoW’s, and they’ve had to work on it a lot over the years. Phasing was only implemented back in 2014, I believe. * Mail and banking systems. It drives me insane that I can’t send items to my alts, or even other people. It’s also maddening that I can’t access an account-wide stash. Some of my characters have exactly what the others need, but the only way I can transfer it over is by being a FO1st member and then hoping I can log in and out fast enough on a private server to pick up some stuff that I dropped on the other character. That’s not a great system. Plus, think about how fun it would be to RP as a mailman in Appalachia. Just leave some goodies in mailboxes and skip off. * Better Survival. I can appreciate trying to balance survival needs without crippling us if we forget to sleep or eat, but… survival adds so much to the game. We’re in a desolate wasteland, trying to rebuild society while also trying to find edible food, drinkable water, and not get destroyed by a giant mutated bat. I’ve always found RPGs so strange in that they rarely force you to actually take care of your character. You’re just this invincible adventurer that never has to eat or drink or sleep or even hit the john. We have to restore mana, but not our bellies? When Fallout started including survival elements, it made the game next-level for me. FNV was so much harder and exciting when I needed to find food without a cazador killing me every five seconds. FO4 was incredible with all the crafting and cooking and dying before I found a bed. FO76 has the advantage of not needing to save, so survival can really be implemented without making the game as difficult as previous entries have been. Recently, the food and water debuffs were nerfed, which is the opposite of what should have been done. With all of these amazing recipes in the game, there should be a need to eat them. We should need our water purifiers. We should need a bed. We should be weakened if we don’t take care of ourselves. Diseases should actually hurt us. Survival has been one of the unique, and brilliant traits in Fallout as an RPG, and it should be expanded upon, not shrunk down. * Fishing. I’ve seen a lot of people asking for this, with a small amount saying they wouldn’t like it. If you don’t want it, you don’t have to use the feature. Fishing could be so freaking fun. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Action button to cast, action button to reel in. However, with fishing tournaments, unique loot, new food recipes, new weapons, new enemy encounters, and more, fishing would quickly add a fantastic experience to the game. There’s gotta be mutated fish in those waters, and I wanna catch them. It’s always puzzled me that this wasn’t implemented in FO4, honestly. All of Far Harbor was fishy, and yet, there were no fish. We could also have fish nets/traps in our camps; something we can put in the water and use to catch fish over time. I loved the idea of trappers in FH, and this would also allow some great RP. * Mini-games. Holotapes of games that we can play on our pip-boys are cool! It’d be even cooler if we could place arcade machines in our camp like we could do in FO4. Maybe in a future settlement, there’s a casino. Let’s wager some caps and go for it. Got a deck of cards? Cool, let’s play some Caravan while we wait for an event to pop up. * Achievements. I love the challenges. I know not everyone does, and that’s fine. I like having to work toward weird little goals. An achievement system could add to the current season passes and challenges. I don’t know exactly what it would do, but I know that I would like seeing a banner pop up saying that I’ve achieved something, and then be able to show off my achievement somehow with a trophy or something. Obviously, Scoreboard does this in a way already, it would just be cool to have other types of achievements to display. * Better farming. If I can plant a wild blackberry at my camp, I should also be able to plant a pumpkin or cranberry or anything else. Maybe we have to complete a questline to plant certain things, that’s totally fine! I like the idea that certain ingredients and plants are more rare and difficult to attain. It only makes sense that we should be able to plant them in our camp, too, though. * More maps. This one is obviously something that should grow overtime. I know there's hints that we may be able to go to other states fairly soon, and I really hope that's true. It sounded like they will be places we've visited in past games, which is an awesome idea. I would love to see new areas, though! We've yet to visit really anywhere in the south, but there's a ton of potential for the Fallout down there, I think! Roleplay and Combat: * More clothes. I dunno about y’all, but I like to make characters based off a combination of name, outfits, “occupation,” and then their build. So, for instance, a mailman as mentioned above would be wearing a postman outfit (model exists in fo4 already) to fit his theme, and then maybe specialize in thrown weapons. I mean, that sucker should be able to just chuck stuff at their enemies (will expand more on throwables later). But, there’s no mailman outfit. For all the gunslinger fun, there’s really not a whole lot of cowboy-esque outfits. The “western” ones are decent, but the pants look pretty weird on the characters for whatever reason. Some more cowboy outfits would be great. More flannels, please, holy moly. We’re in Appalachia. There should be flannels everywhere. I want to run around as a lumberjack and just decimate people with an axe. There’s so many fun possibilities for characters, we just need more clothes to make more unique looking builds. * Display character names. Please, please, please. What is the point in naming a character and coming up with a story and theme and build if everyone just sees “biscuitlicker42069” in the game??? It makes no sense. There is absolutely no reason to not show character names. If we want to play with people again, we just add them. Still don’t need to know their account name. And, please allow us to rename characters. Other games simply charge a fee to rename your characters. I’d love if this were a free feature, but whatever, do what you must, just allow us to change their names. If we can change everything else on the spot, we should also be able to change their names, especially if their names are being displayed. * Special/perk resets. Let us go to an NPC and wipe everything so that we can easily rebuild characters. My first character was alllll over the place. Now I’m having to spend twice the amount of time I would by just starting a new character to be able to move his build around and make him actually viable. I don’t want to delete my first character. I just want to rebuild him (and maybe change his name). * Give us more than 5 character slots. Why???? Why are we limited to 5???? I make alts on alts in every single game. I’m an altoholic. It’s a problem. But usually a game at least lets me make like, 10 characters per server. Not 5 account-wide. There are so many different builds you could try in this game, yet you’re forced to choose 5. I want my throwables mailman. I want my bloodied chef. I want my junkie cowboy. I want my irradiated barbarian. I want my power armored energy heavy gunner that works in the mines and collects ore in his excavator set. I want a stealth archer. I want a sniper. I want a fisherman that stabs mirelurks with harpoons and a pole hook. I want a farmer that runs around with a flaming pitchfork. I want a hippie musician that pacifies animals but demolishes humans with a guitar sword. I want a character that worships cryptids and only uses primal weapons. I want a bartender that just launches molotovs. There’s SO many things that we could do with all the perks and all the very cool weapons out there. We should have more character slots to be able to try these things out. * Better throwables. As is, throwing knives are great until about level 20. Nothing makes them do more damage. Sheepsquatch quills have poison damage, but that’s it. Throwing weapons are really untapped right now. They could be so much fun. Meat cleavers are so savage, and taking my chef around with a rolling pin, or ripper, or flamer, or meat hook, and then also launching meat cleavers at enemies would be incredible. More perks that improve explosives and throwables in general are really needed to make them usable. * More Factions. I don’t particularly care for the BoS, or the Enclave. I still enjoyed running around doing errands for MODUS, and I’m sure I’ll still enjoy the BoS quests. I didn’t like Paige’s attitude upon first meeting him. I did like Meg, though. And I enjoyed completing the Wastelanders quest line with both of them. Getting to work with these four factions is great. I’m a huge fan of working with factions and even playing multiple sides in my Fallout playthroughs. With that said, it’d be awesome to see more factions. Community: * Hub cities. Crater and Foundation were steps in the right direction, but not many people hang out there. Hub cities would be great for trade and teaming up, and make the game feel more alive. * On the same note, perhaps an Auction House. I love vendors, don’t get me wrong. They bring people to your camps, and that’s awesome. But maybe we could have like themed weekly auctions. You can only auction certain types of items that fit the weekly themes. I dunno. Just a thought. * Chat so that we can talk in a trade channel in the city, or a zone’s general channel, or with our party, etc. * Dedicated servers. Now, I love being able to server hop. But the game desperately needs some sort of structure like this. Being able to hit up your friends and say, “Hey, I’m playing on Rob-Co tonight, let’s all head there,” would open up a lot of multiplayer options, including the auction house as mentioned above. It’d also definitely make clans/guilds more of a thing, which is a big plus. This would also!!!! Really!!!!! Help!!!!!! Server disconnection issues!!!!!!! Even if we still D/C, we can just log back into the server we were D/C’d from! No more losing loot or missing events because we got disconnected in the middle of a fight! Just log back in and continue! (That’s not to say that server stability improvements wouldn’t be welcomed, though…) * Allow more players in the servers. I don’t know if this was a design choice, or a necessity due to the engine, but I really want more players in the servers. Sometimes the maps are depressingly empty, so I server hop, and find a ton of people on a different one. Allowing us to pick dedicated servers and allowing more players on each server would really build an even stronger community. * This one is probably controversial, but, Level Caps. It’s so unbelievably weird to me that we’re allowed to level willy-nilly infinitely. What’s the point of that? Why are there players in the thousands? We never should’ve been allowed to level past 50. I think we should be reset down to 50, allowed to rebuild our characters for free (then pay caps to an npc to rebuild afterwards), and then steadily increase the cap over time. When “expansions” or DLC come out, then we get an increase, with fresh new (or old if you needed an old one) perks and special points that we can add, instead of having to take a point from somewhere else. This is how pretty much every other online game works, and it would make leveling a lot more exciting when the cap increases. * Instances/Dungeons. The game really needs more of these. A lot more. Give us more end-game content. Give us a reason to need certain builds. Give us a reason to need a power armored 2H melee build, a stealthy ranged build, a medic build, a commando build, etc. all working together. Currently, teams are just kind of there. They’re almost never necessary. No roles are filled. It’s not like we have a tank, 2 dps, and a healer. But we could, so easily, and it’d be so, so, so tight. The game has incredible potential. It really does. It is so unique. It has fascinating, deep lore that most of us have been invested in for years and years. The setting is breathtaking, and I can’t wait to see where else we go. However, it kind of scratches the surfaces of survival, RPG, and MMO, without really developing a solid foundation in any of them. I really feel adding some, if not all, of these things would help counter that. I’m looking forward to playing this game for years to come and seeing how it progresses. I played WoW for around 11 years (and will probably hop back into it soon to try out the new expansion), and I absolutely love being able to invest time into games like that and see my hard work go toward something. WoW felt like a second home. Many of us play video games for enjoyment, for an escape, for the feeling of success, for community. FO76 is a brilliant game capable of doing the same for a very, very long time. And that’s a good thing! We probably won’t see Fallout 5 for another decade. This game will be our wasteland home until then, and sometimes homes need some renovations and additions. I may add more bullets or points to this list if I think of more, and will be sure to add a note when/if I do. I would love to hear what you all think, and what additions you would like. I want to thank everyone that works on this game. I know it probably hasn’t been even remotely easy. I know that Covid has probably been affecting your lives, too. I know that at times, it probably seems like nothing you do will ever make the players happy. I know that your passion for games may be weakened at times because of the stress surrounding your jobs. Your work is greatly appreciated, though. You are bringing an experience like no other to us. You are providing these moments of joy. These escapes. The setting for our communities. Thank you for everything you’ve done, and everything you continue to do. You are appreciated.
The 13th floor: The Back-room Break-room Birthday Party.
I've been navigating the seemingly endless collection of mostly empty offices and hallways for what seems like ages now. My watch had stopped working sometime shortly after I awoke here, wherever here is, and my phone had zero reception everywhere I went, so I had turned it off to save battery life what seemed like forever ago. The only sound here breaking the ominous silence is the constant buzz of the lights overhead. It is almost maddening. It gets to you in a dark way, an ever constant droning sound that works it's way into your mind like a splinter, driving you mad. The walls are a sickly mono-yellow color that makes me nauseous the more I look at them, so I try not to. A seemingly impossible tasks because they are everywhere you look, all painted or wallpapered that same uniformly ugly pattern. Even the carpet pattern is hard to stomach. This entire place is deeply unsettling to look at. The interior designer was obviously a sadist who had no sense of good taste. I type this now, with what little battery life I have left, partly so some record exists of the events I've seen, maybe someone will find this phone, and partly because I do not know how much longer I'll be able to hold on to the memories myself. I'll power my phone on once a day and record what I can before turning it back off again. If I try hard enough, I can sometimes remember moments of my life from before "this" place, and then the buzzing sound seems to intensify and washes those thoughts away again. I vaguely remember sitting in a chair, across from a man dressed in a black business suit, asking me about my previous work history. I was being interviewed for a job opening in security, that he explained needed to be filled because the previous new hire had apparently quit and walked off-site without a word to anyone, having never returned to the security office after taking lunch. He said the previous new hires name was Logan, and Logan had apparently vanished. We had a brief conversation concerning Logan's girlfriend who had come by the building several times, and distraught over his disappearance, had caused a scene in the lobby. I remember reading about his disappearance in the papers, and seeing a clip about him on the news a week or two prior. The police were actively investigating his disappearance, and had already came through and combed the building, questioning employee's and looking over the security footage. Logan's girlfriend Sarah was now on the banned list, and the man sitting across from me was adamant she wasn't permitted on the property. We were to call the police immediately if she arrived on the premises, and that her picture was posted on the wall in the security office for easy reference. If I close my eyes and plug my ears to drone out the buzzing, I can almost recall the mans face. Almost. I can barely make out the basic features of a nose, ears, and glasses, but the more I try to focus on any one detail, the more his face blurs and becomes almost like tv channel static. Then the memory fades and the buzzing intensifies. The next thing I can remember, I'm being issued a badge, keys, a radio, a flashlight, a night-stick, and an employee handbook. An elderly man in a security uniform, whose name-tag reads "Michael", is giving me a tour of the building, explaining my various duties before leaving me to my own devices for my first shift. I remember I sat for hours in the security office, precariously flipping the pages of the employee handbook while periodically glancing at the security cameras. I wrote the hourly annotations in my log, ate a snack, and checked the messages on my phone. Pretty dull work day, which in the security field is ideal. I stuffed the book in my back pocket and looked at the clock. It was late, 9:56PM. It would be just me now, until the following morning at 6am. 6PM-6AM shifts are pretty drab. The last employee had left hours ago, and I could see the janitors leaving the front lobby now. It was time to lock-up behind them and do my first rounds. I left the office and made my way through the building checking doors, and turning off lights, and computer monitors employee's had left running. I made my way to the lobby, locked the front doors, and then made fresh coffee in the break room. I filled my thermos and took the stairs down into the basement, to the boiler rooms and went from riser to riser, checking the pressure gauges and writing my initials on the safety clipboard sheets hanging nearby. The boiler rooms were dimly lit, smelled awful, and there was a heaviness in the air, probably due to electro-magnetism given off by all the electrical boxes on the walls. I jokingly said to myself "This is what Freddy Kruegers bedroom must look like." It gave me the creeps, and I didn't want to spend any more time down there then I had to, so I quickly finished the riser checks and decided to take the elevator back up to the security offices, instead of climbing the stairs. I climbed in, and noticed that in typical western superstitious fashion, the architect had omitted the 13th floor entirely. It went from 12 to 14 and then proceeded to count normally. This is standard in most high rise office buildings, hotels and casino's. I punched the button for floor 6, where our security office is located, and the doors glided shut. The elevator began to climb. That is when it happened. As the light dinged for floor 5 the elevator stopped. I was confused and thumbed the button for 6 again. The doors opened, closed, and then the elevator started moving again. It took me back down to the basement labelled B1. The doors opened. I again hit the button for 6, the doors closed and started to ascend. I calmed myself and swore I'd skip the elevator and just take the stairs next time, however long the climb might be. The elevator went to 6 and the doors opened. I sighed in relief, but it was short lived. When the doors parted it was the basement level again! I panicked and began hitting the Emergency button, all the while knowing no one was inside the building to help me. I thought to myself I should sprint out the doors, through the boiler rooms and into the stairwell but before I could act on the thought, the doors shut and the elevator began moving again. It rose and rose, 10th floor dinged past. 11. 12. Then it stopped on 14 (the actual 13th floor of the building). The lights flickered momentarily, the air seemed to crackle and made my hair stand on end. There was an intense buzzing sound that was almost deafening. The doors opened and I darted out. The doors closed, and I turned around to discover a solid yellow wall where they had been! The doors were just gone, and the wall seemed to momentarily shimmer before becoming solid and blending in to the surrounding walls. I reached out and ran my hand over where the doors had been, felt a static shock, and fell crumpled to the floor. I awoke some time later, dazed and confused. I looked at my watch and it had stopped. It read 10:36PM, but it felt much later than that and I was hungry again. My stomach rumbled. I spent what must have been the first day exploring empty rooms, looking for another elevator, a stairwell, or a window. I found nothing and no one. There is no way to keep track of time here, except for when I sleep. So I explore for as long as I can, then sleep. That is a day. Rinse, repeat. This place is impossible huge. It cannot be this big. There has to be an exit somewhere. I keep thinking about the elevator doors disappearing and cannot wrap my mind around it. All the rooms are universally mostly the same, with little to no distinguishing features. Most are unfurnished. Day 2 I found a desk with a sharpie in it. So I started marking off tally marks in the employee handbook to keep track of my days. Day 3 I found a bottle of almond water on a filing cabinet, which is good because my coffee thermos was nearing empty. I've now taking to relieving myself in the corners of rooms partly because I have to, partly to mark rooms I've already explored, and partly as a screw you to whoever designed this place. Day 5, my head hurts. The continuous buzzing from the florescent lights is giving me a migraine. Caffeine withdraws aren't helping either. Day 7 I found a patch of mushrooms growing on top of the moldy carpet in an empty office. I rubbed them on my arm and there was no allergic reaction so I assume they are safe to eat. I ate some and they had no ill effects, so I began rationing them. Day 9 and I've smoked my last cigarette, the pack is empty. Day 10 and nicotine withdraws hit. Day 12 and a thought occurred to me: I have a lighter. I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner! I used the empty cigarette pack and a few pages from the handbook to start a fire. I thought maybe if I set the wallpaper on fire, I can catch the building on fire, and then finally someone will rescue me. If they don't, then at least I'll die and finally be free of this place and the fire will take this hellish place with it. The wallpaper crackled slightly but wouldn't take to the flame. Flame retardant wallpaper? Does such a thing exist or is this place limbo? Am I dead? Is this the waiting room of the afterlife? If so, where is everyone else? I tried the carpet too but it's damp, wet and moldy everywhere. Later that day I found another filing cabinet and climbed on it to reach the ceiling. The ceiling is solid. I could reach a sprinkler head, so I made another fire, and held the flame close. It came to life and soon every nearby room was down-pouring water, but no fire alarm sounded. I pulled out the empty filing cabinet drawers and used them as buckets to collect the water. At least now I won't die of dehydration. I cleaned myself up, and washed my hair and face. After about 20 minutes, the sprinklers drizzled up and stopped producing water. Day 15 and I swear I've passed through this room before. The pile of shit in the corner is unmistakably mine from days ago. With a grouping of mushrooms sprouting from the top of it. Great. I'm now eating mushrooms grown from my own shit. Day 19, I found a metal chair in the corner of a big office, and began using it to attempt to break through the wall. After about 30 minutes, I managed to punch a decent sized hole, only to peer through and discover it goes to another identical empty office. I managed to squeeze through, only to discover it's leads to an almost identical maze of empty rooms and hallways just like the ones I had just come from! The air is stale here. I found a desk with some felt tipped pens in it, so I'm now using those for tally marks and the sharpie to write X's on walls and doors of rooms and areas I've explored. This area seems darker, and less illuminated. Some days I have to backtrack back through the hole to fill my thermos from the filing cabinet drawers. Day 22, I found a message written on the wall in black marker that reads "Sarah, I love you!". My heart sank. Is Logan down here? Had the same thing happened to him? Had he returned from lunch, and rode the same elevator, just to be deposited here like I had? That meant the elevator entrance wasn't localized, as he was deposited on the other side of the hole I had punched in the wall. What in the hell is this place? Is this Hell? Day 25, I'm out of water again, so I've taken to ripping up the moldy carpet and wringing it out into my thermos for what little water I can. I've found many mushrooms, and what I can only surmise is piles of Logan's shit in the corner of many rooms. Day 29... I found Logan. Or rather, what is left of him. I rounded a corner and forced open a door peppered with holes, that was blocked by a toppled filing cabinet, into what appeared to be an office break room, complete with a table, chairs, a water cooler, a half-eaten yet stale birthday cake, and Logan seated in front of it. The smell was horrible. Written on the wall behind him was the words "I'm sorry Sarah!". Logan had apparently holed up in this room, and finally, taken his own life by slitting his wrists with the knife used to cut and serve the birthday cake. I looted him, found a 9mm pistol with no ammo on his belt, though the floor was littered with spent casings, and moved him to the hallway and let the room air out. I secured the door the same way he had, found a fire-extinguisher in the corner, ate the cake, counted my supplies and rations, and slept hard under the table to escape the lights overhead. I awoke a few hours later to rustling in the hallway. I sprang to my feet thinking someone had found me. I peered through one of the many holes in the door and to my horror I saw two black human like creatures on all-fours feasting on Logan in the hallway. I began shouting and pounding on the door hoping to scare them away, but though frightened at first, they returned and simply dragged him out of sight. I laid awake the rest of the night, listening to low pitched inhuman growling, the sound of bones snapping, and the wet slap of meat as they devoured him. Day 30, starring at the door, I realized the holes I'd peered through were Logan's attempt to shoot the creatures who had boxed him in here. Realizing he had fired his last shot, and had nothing but the cake and water cooler left, he chose to slit his wrists instead of starving to death, or being eaten alive. I waited until I thought the creatures were gone, before I peered out the hole again, but immediately I saw movement and heard growling again. I had inadvertently fed them Logan, they had just eaten and time was on their side. They were going to simply wait me out. Day 31, I peeked out and they are still there! So I devised a plan. I armed myself with the knife, I have a night-stick and a fire-extinguisher. I was going to make a run for it, or die trying. I slide the filing cabinet aside, readied myself, and threw the door open. I bolted into the hallway, unclipped the ring on the extinguisher and hosed the first creature that lunged at me. It howled and scurried off down the hall, rounding a corner and disappeared from sight. The second creature crouched down and growled but didn't move. I sprayed the extinguisher at it, and it cowered back a few feet and continued to growl. I locked eyes with it, and sprayed it again. It darted off bouncing down the hallway and disappeared around the same corner as the first. I dragged Logan back into the room, closed the door, and sprinted back to the hole in the wall. I climbed through and barricaded it with a desk. What the bloody hell were those things? Day 32, I mustered up the courage to return through the hole, to the break room to fill my thermos with water from the water cooler only to find Logan propped back up in the seat, this time surrounded by mannequins wearing birthday hats posed in odd fashion like they are having a party. I freaked out and ran back to the hole and climbed through. I re-secured the hole with the desk, and filing cabinets I dragged from several rooms. I spent the night half crying, half sleeping on the floor. When I finally slept, I awoke because I thought I heard a phone ringing somewhere in the distance, but I can't be sure where, or even if it was real. Day 33, I've got plenty of water both in my thermos and in two of the remaining file cabinet drawers, a lot of mushrooms, a knife, an empty gun, my flashlight, and night-stick. Those "things" and the mannequins don't seem to be on THIS side. My phone is at 17% and I've run out of ideas. I can't imagine what I've done to end up in this place. I'm going to explore more of this side, the safe half, and see if I can't find the phone. Day 34, my phone is at 4% and...
Just returned to work and... it feels... so wrong. It’s really upsetting.
I had my first day back at my restaurant job last night. I was honestly terrified. I was shaking and my heart was pounding the entire time. The past six months have been really depressing for me, but at least I’ve been quarantining. I haven’t gone out. I haven’t been hanging out with people. I absolutely have not even considered sitting down at a restaurant. I’ve been doing everything right. But one night at work and I feel like all of it was for nothing!!!!!!! First, the restaurant is in a casino which is all indoors. I know my state has travel restrictions but I have no idea how strict they are about it. It’s a tourist destination so there are people coming in from all over, whether they quarantined beforehand or not. If they are the type of people to travel in a pandemic and go out to eat, then I really don’t think they’re the type of people to be honest about quarantine. Second, of course we are required to wear masks and gloves. There are so many little cleaning things that we must do that slows down service, but also there are less tables so at least there’s that. Frequent hand washing, only pre-bussing one table at a time, thoroughly sanitizing the tables, and my section was four tables as opposed to the usual six or seven. All of these policies are good. It’s nice to see everyone step up and commit to cleanliness, because we all know that nobody was as good as they said they were before. (Like, pre-covid, how many times have you seen people bring dishes back and then only rinse their hands and wipe them on their apron?) But while the casino has a strict mask policy (as in automatic ejection if someone chooses not to comply), I did NOT realize that people just take their masks off as soon as they sit down. I thought that at the very least, when I come around, people would put them on. Nope. Not one person last night did. And me being the person I am, I’m not going to say anything, because I don’t want to cause problems because I know everyone is super sensitive right now; I know the restaurant is the relief from wearing the mask everywhere else. The hosts are good at reminding people to wear the masks as they’re walking to and from their table, but that’s it. That is so upsetting to me. We are doing all of this extra work to ensure the safety of the customers, but what the fuck does it do for me? A mask won’t protect me from breathing in particles if the customers won’t wear one. Gloves help in the short term, but if someone’s plate slightly rubs up against my apron... etc. And it’s not like I can distance myself from my coworkers. We can keep sanitizing the high touch areas all night, and yeah we’re all properly wearing masks the whole time but the risk is so much higher than if we were able to be more distanced. We have to do daily wellness checks, but how many people are lying because they need the money? It just all seems so fucking fake and I’ve never felt more like my safety doesn’t fucking matter at all, as long as the restaurant is profiting. And don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a terrible time last night, even though I truly hated every second of it. I was very happy to be back with my coworkers. I missed them all so much. My customers were nice, too. I made a decent amount of money in tips (not superb, but decent enough). My creep manager is finally gone so the overall vibe is so much lighter. But here’s the thing that is really upsetting me with all of this. I wanted to go to my parents’ house on Friday night for a Rosh Hashanah dinner. My parents are 70 years old. My mom just recovered from breast cancer and my dad is diabetic. I’ve been able to see them twice in the past six months, with outdoor picnics. But this will be in their house. Before last night, I would have gone no question. But now? Do I just not fucking go? Even though this is actually the one time in my life that my parents invited me over and I actually want to go? It just feels really fucking shitty and wrong and I’m really upset and conflicted. Like, for my mental health, being out in public is good. Talking to people is good. Moving my body is good. Seeing my friends is good. We all know the second wave is coming. And what really disgusts me, like actually makes me sick to my stomach, is knowing that since we have all these “protocols,” places probably are not going to shut down again. Like I actually don’t even see it happening. Profit over people will ALWAYS be the way. I told myself I would quit if I thought it was bad. But now I don’t know what to do. I would literally rather work in a drive-thru. I would rather stock shelves in the grocery store and make half the amount of money. My boyfriend has been working this whole time in a grocery store, and yeah he’s been around people too, but he’s not around people eating. He can walk away from people who aren’t properly wearing masks. He spends most of his time in a cooler. I get to be forced to be within six feet of people with no masks and actually physically hold things they put their mouths all over. Like honestly this is all so fucking unfair, and I know people are frustrated, I know people want to get out of the house. But we are still in a pandemic, it’s not getting better any time soon. It’s not. And people can be super nice all they want, they can tip 40% and tell me how awful it must be that I have to work like this, but they will never change the fact that every single one of them is selfish. I just hate this.
Worked with a Karen for a good number of years and never realized it
Just some context, I know I might sound like a idiot for not realizing it however the term Karen just started to be known. With that in mind, here is the cast. Me-me of course M-Karen Okay I am not sure this is allowed but here it goes. As in my previous posts I work in a casino's kitchen cleaning up at night with several others, well with that many employees the casino has its own cafeteria open to feed the co-workers. Of course we have a attendant that cooks and puts out the food just keeping the break room supplied and all, I am just going to call her M because it still goes with her name but she is generally a Karen. Anyways, when I first started working with M, she seemed nice always seemed pleasant to talk with and work around. That was a year or so, then M started to become more difficult to work with, I am not sure if this had anything to do with it but when I use to sweep and mop the floor I would use a Shop Vac (wet vaccum cleaner) that I use to deep clean the floor and I liked using the device cause it use to clean up the mess even better than a regular mopping would. Now I try to keep the machine out of the way but of course the plug in would get in her way and she would start to complain. So of course I would try to work around it and away from where she was preparing the food and come back later on but no matter what I did M seemed to feel that no matter if she was in the kitchen or not, when she came through the kitchen you had to have everything out of her way. At times a lot of us felt that she was micromanaging by telling all of us what we should be doing however we never listened to her as many of us knew that unless you were a lead, you had no authority to tell us what to do. But that didn't stop her from trying as one time when I was getting ready to start sweeping for that night getting the equipment out, M came up saying 'You can't use the Shop Vac.' I told her I didn't have to listen to her as she wasn't a lead or manager. Like a spoiled child, she went into the office and complained to the shift lead who came out and told me I couldn't use the machine, while M was standing behind him with a stupid smirk on her face. Thankfully she was looking to transfer to a different department so I figured that I could get back to doing my job like I like so one night I went about using the machine again like before avoiding her space until I knew she would be out of the way. It was getting about the time for lunch and I had just finished off one area and had put it off to the side where I had thought would be out of her way but I guess nope. I come back after 30 minutes to find the Shop Vac had disappeared and M wasn't saying anything although I had a feeling she had done something with it. I went around looking for it and the last spot I come to find it was in a cooler. I couldn't believe how childish M was considering it was out of her way yet she goes about hiding something that I was using in a cooler. Boy I was pissed, I can't remember if I told management about what had happened but thankfully she transferred to a different position not too long after that. Of course I see her once in a blue moon she has her stuck up Karen attitude like she is better than everyone. Thank god I don't have to deal with her anymore.
Collection of thoughts about my experience as a Prius Dweller
Thought I would finally join this subreddit and give a run down of my experiences. Last year, I bought a 2018 Prius with the intent of using it to go on road trips and live in it -- mostly because I have been trapped in the middle of frickin' nowhere my whole life and have never had a true adventure. I have never seen a mountain in-person prior to these trips. I also have a very comfortable IT job that easily facilitates me living in a car and working remotely without issues and with a lot of free time. I went on two separate trips so far. The first one was about 2.5 months long and the second one was about 3.5 months long. I have traveled from Seattle, WA to Key West, Florida and put over 20,000 miles on the car in the process. My first trip was comprised of South Dakota (Badlands, Black Hills), Yellowstone, Idaho (Coeur d'alene), Oregon (Forests, Crater Lake, Portland, beaches), Nor Cal (Redwood forests, beaches), Washington (Beaches, Seattle, Olympic National Park), and Montana(Glacier National Park). And for my second trip, I went to Louisiana(New Orleans), Florida(where I spent most of the time and explored nearly everything), up the coast to Charleston, SC, and into the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains(Gatlinburg, Asheville). Everything was amazing. I don't know if I have a favorite, but the beauty of Glacier National Park particularly strikes me. I also thoroughly enjoyed swimming in the crystal clear springs throughout Florida. My setup is not particularly elaborate, but I didn't spare much of an expense: - Tinted windows. - Front and rear dashcams with batteries for when the car is off. - Custom fit sun shades for all windows (Weathertech). - Weathertech floor liners. - A basic cooler. - Redundant IT setup so I don't get fired. (2 laptops, 3 chargers, a car charger, 2 hotspots) - A 4" thick full sized foam mattress pad and a sleeping bag, couple of blankets, couple of pillows. - Suitcase full of clothes, towels.- Bag with misc supplies (Laundry, food, trash bags, medicine, wet wipes). Wet wipes are great for cleaning yourself when you don't have access to a shower for some reason. - A Black Card membership to Planet Fitness (for showering mostly). It also makes a good excuse if you ever decide to sleep in a Planet Fitness parking lot (not my first choice). - Rain guards so that I can roll the windows down in bad weather. And that is basically all I needed. I know people have much more elaborate DIY setups, but much of that I never found necessary or was interested in. I also ended up buying a USB fan that I never used because if I ever really needed heat regulation I would just use the AC. One thing that I wish I had thought of beforehand is to get a Prius with a sunroof. It would have been nice to be able to stare up into the sky while I try to sleep, or to open it up and let some air in. One thing I might consider in the future is a signal booster for my hotspots. These can be pricey, but worth it if your job depends on a reliable connection. Although I think I can get by without one by using apps that help you pinpoint the location of cell towers and by mooching off of hotel wifi access. I took out a few credit cards prior to purchasing the car and supplies in order to score a bunch of bonus travel points (I had saved up most of the cost of the car prior to buying it). I used the Plastiq service in order to use car payments towards the qualifying payments required for the credit card bonuses. The fee they charged was definitely worth it for the points I accrued. So I set out on the road with a boat load of free points I had thought I would need for hotels here and there. It's a good idea if you like to go to them from time to time. During my first trip I went to hotels twice a week (mostly to work). I eventually realized that I could work entirely out of my car without issues and without much discomfort, and during my second trip I only booked a hotel a couple times. As I write this, I still have around half of my points... It's been the time of my life. I would do it full time if I didn't have other obligations (my cat, mostly, who waited patiently at home). As a result of these trips, I have decided to move to the west coast permanently, which means I have another trip coming up soon. On my next trip I plan on going through Colorado, maybe stop at the Grand Canyon, and make my way through southern/central California. Now I'll just focus on what it was like living in the Prius and what my preferences are when I do it rather than the trips themselves. If anyone has any questions about anything, feel free to ask. I've only been explicitly shoed away twice, and one time a security guard caught my attention but allowed me to continue what I was doing. The first time I was shoed away, I was at a casino parking lot. I have stayed at many casino parking lots, and most of them never bothered me, but this one in particular had saw me put up my sun shields (from the outside) and was determined to kick me out. Since then, I started putting my sun shields on only from within the car so that people are less likely to notice, and I think it has helped. The second time is when I was staying in Key West, Florida. Key West thinks they have a problem with people living in their car, so the locals don't take kindly to people camping in their cars and are extra vigilant about it. No one actually explicitly shoed me away, but someone dinged my car with a bell and yelled "No overnight parking" generally for the entire parking lot, which was enough to scare me away. They may not have known I was sleeping in my car. And the time when the security guard approached me, I was sleeping in a large vacant lot two nights in a row. The first night went fine, and the second night alerted them more that something was going on and caused them to approach me. But, they thought I was homeless and destitute or something, and they let me stay there because they pitied me, but they told me to leave first thing in the morning. My location of choice? Mid-sized hotel parking lots. I did this almost exclusively on my second trip. Holiday Inns, Courtyard by Marriots, etc. No one who worked at any hotel ever bothered me, tow away zone signs be damned. If I park in the right location, I get free wifi access, which is great for work. That was my primary motivation. Sometimes people staying at the hotel would catch on to someone being inside of the car and gossip about it such that I could hear them, but no one ever really bothered me. Other than hotels, free camp sites are nice. (freecampsites.net) Sometimes you can get really lucky and find an abandoned camp site with a full bathroom and shower and electricity next to a scenic lake or something like that. Other places I stayed at that I would recommend: Walmart parking lots (in good neighborhoods), 24 hour gym parking lots, Cracker Barrels, Cabelas, the aforementioned casino parking lots. Side streets. I am not really a fan of side streets, but I think it depends on the neighborhood. It's a bit paradoxical because these might be locations where it's actually legal to park and stay overnight, but the people who live in the house you park next to can get suspicious of you. I would much rather deal with someone who works at a hotel or as a security guard and is underpaid than with a curious and possibly grumpy homeowner. The first night I ever slept in my car, I stopped at a small town in South Dakota where I stood out like a sore thumb, and every time I would try to find a parking spot on a side street, someone would come out of their house and approach me. They would confuse me with someone they knew, or they would just look at me suspiciously. Everyone in a small town in the middle of nowhere knows everyone, and they know that you do not belong there. I ended up sleeping in a car dealership out of desperation and with someone probably watching me the entire time. Rest stops. I never use a rest stop. They do not seem safe to me, because everyone knows that there are sleeping travelers there, and thus predators can go to these places looking for people to victimize. It defeats the purpose of stealth. The safest thing to me is to draw minimum suspicion that someone is even trying to sleep in their car. But as I never used them, I don't have any real world experience. The stories of people being attacked at them was enough to keep me away from them. PEE JUGS: An art form. I don't know how female dwellers live without pee jugs. It must be difficult. I imagine getting up to pee a bunch would break stealth. It's bad enough that you're more vulnerable as a female to begin with. But as a male dweller, you will be presented with a variety of options. Gatorade bottles might seem like a good idea, being that they have a wide top and can store a decent amount. And while you may be able to pee in a Gatorade bottle here and there, you may underestimate how much you have to pee and how much space you actually have. Really, you want at least a gallon jug, and you want something with a nice tight screw cap and probably a firm handle. Large bottles of tea also work well. The last thing you want is to spill pee. Take this sage advice and do not learn the hard way. But also be sure to take advantage of the majestic pee jug if you are privileged to do so. And never go to bed when you have to poo and think you can hold it in. It sucks. You rarely ever do this when you live in a house and you may not appreciate how uncomfortable and how bad of an idea this is until you try it. No, I did not poo the bed, for the record. Anyway, that about wraps up everything I have to say for now. I will answer any questions. I love Prius Dwelling. It's been the time of my life. I want to continue doing it on and off for the rest of my life. These kinds of long trips are simply not financially possible to do if you stay at hotels unless you are loaded. I should probably write a tl;dr. Edit: Added Rain Guards to my setup list.
[Confessions of a Teenage Celebrity] - Chapter 13: Tubing (Part 1)
[Cover] [Table Of Contents] [Prologue] [Patreon] [Discord] [Join my mailing list to receive a free book] [Book 1: Relationships] As Melinda led me towards the ski lodge, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. From where we were standing, I could only see the ski slopes, not the tube park. It was pretty cold outside. Maybe Melinda would change her mind and we could just stay in the lodge. Exploring the cafeteria options, I was glad Melinda had brought us lunch. Nothing sounded very appealing. However, as we debated between getting two sodas or one to share, we saw someone behind the counter putting warm cookies into a display case. We sat beside each other near the window, where we could watch the mountain while we ate. Melinda was trying to make conversation, but I was only giving her part of my attention as I looked out the window. I didn’t see anyone tubing. I only saw skiiers. The people on the mountain seemed to be enjoying themselves. I wondered if they knew how dangerous winter mountain sports could be. There was a stretch of the mountain to my left no one seemed to be using. I wondered if they had closed off that part because of some horrible accident. “You look anxious.” I could hear the concern in her voice. “What’s wrong. Oh! Are you worried about being recognized?” I turned away from the window. My adorable girlfriend was looking all around as she continued to babble. “I just realized. I’m sorry. I totally forgot.” “You’re adorable.” I played with her hair before pulling her in for a kiss. Somehow, that calmed me slightly. I explained how the place was so empty I wasn’t too concerned about crazy fans. “Okay. You’re not worried about being recognized. Is it the whole Poppy thing?” I smiled at her weakly. “I was wondering when she was going to ruin our time together. I had nearly forgotten about her. I tend not to think about her when I’m with you.” “What’s happening with all that?” There was a small red speck barreling downhill. I watched it grow larger as I explained to Melinda how Meghan and I convinced our mother to fire our agent. The red speck eventually turned into a full-sized person who skied straight back onto the empty lift. I turned to Melinda. She began to play with my hand on the table. “So, now what?” I picked up my cookie and put it back down a few times without actually eating it. “I started doing some research, found an agent I like. Mom’s gonna contact him today. We’re gonna try to figure out if Walter and I should have different agents. Meghan is pretty sure she wants Mom’s agent. This is gonna sound pompous, but we’re so famous, most agents would love to represent us.” “But, what about the Poppy rumor?” “We fired Cynthia, so Mom’s agent is gonna try to sort things out for us. But, it’s possible it won’t go away. There’s some legal things we might look into, but, honestly, I’m letting Uncle Brendan figure it all out.” “The lawyer, right?” Melinda asked. I watched another speck speed down the hill. Melinda slurped the soda we were sharing before trying to resume the conversation. “If you’re not worried about being recognized, and you’re not upset about Poppy, then why do you look so anxious?” I wanted to lie, but figured that probably wouldn’t be a great idea. I felt my face grow warm as I turned to her. “I’ve just never gone tubing before.” Melinda giggled, but she reached around to trace her hand along my spine. That was supposed to be my job. I held her close, playing with her hair as she tried to assuage my fears. “Tubing is a lot of fun. It’s like sledding. Only faster.” “It’s dangerous. They make your parent sign one of those waiver things.” “Yes. But, you also sign a waiver when you visit the town pool. It’s no more dangerous.” “Are you kidding? The town pool? That’s got kids peeing in the water and people jumping on top of you. That’s got to be more dangerous than this!” “Fine. Then...laser tag. You have to sign a waiver for that.” “People running around in the dark? You can trip over something and break your neck. Or, you can trip over the person that tripped over something, and you both break your necks. Or –” Melinda stopped my babbling with a kiss. That calmed my anxiety a lot. But, I wasn’t going to drop the subject completely. I pulled her close. “This is nice. Why don’t we just stay here and do this until your mom comes?” Melinda stood up, giggling as she reached for my hand. “Come on. You clean this mess, and I’ll go get the tickets.” She tugged me to my feet, then went to the desk near the front entrance while I threw the garbage into the nearest can. A few moments later, she returned with two stickers and two strange-looking metal things. They looked like witches’ hats, or noses. Melinda showed me how to attach the metal wicket to my zipper, then put the adhesive ticket on either side to create a tag. We bundled ourselves out and went back to the cold. Melinda led me to the rental building, where an attendant gave us helmets and tubes, which we dragged to the tubing park. As we approached, I realized we were heading right for the part I had assumed had been closed. There were about ten lanes, divided by mounds of snow, and they had small bumps as they went down the mountain. Melinda stopped as we got near the bottom of the mountain. “Put down your tube and gimme your hand.” Gladly. That thing was getting heavy. I held out my arm. “Everything okay?” Melinda bent down to my tube, picking up a leash I had not noticed earlier. She fastened the strap around my wrist. “We’re gonna get on the lift now. You can just kinda drag your tube behind you on the way up, okay?” “How do I get on the lift?” She pointed to a black belt slowly moving up the mountain. “It’s kinda like an escalator with no stairs. Just step on. Follow me.” She boarded the lift and I followed. At the top of the mountain, I followed Melinda to a center lane and she showed me how to sit in my tube. Then she moved to the lane beside me. Before we left, she took her strap from her wrist and tossed it to me. “Here. Hang on to this and we can go down together.” I held it tight as we pushed off. Tubing was more exhilarating than I could have imagined. We didn’t go straight downhill. There were bumps. There were dips. The tube slid from side to side within the lane. Before I knew it, we were slowing down at the bottom. I jumped out of my tube, feeling more alive than I had in a while. “Wow! That was sick. Let’s go again!” I was nearly bouncing with excitement. Our passes were only good for two hours, and I wanted to get every second’s worth. I raced back to the lift. I didn’t need to hold Melinda’s leash anymore. I wasn’t scared. As a result, she ended up turning backwards on our next run. I was a little in front of her, so I didn’t notice until we had reached the bottom. The third time down, I ended up backwards before the first bump. It was even more exhilarating because I had no idea what was coming next. I spent the fourth run figuring out how to do it on purpose, finally succeeding about a third of the way down my fifth run. I spent the rest of the two hours tubing backwards. The lodge was a little more crowded when we were done tubing. The ski mountain was started to have a little more life as well. We went back to where we had sat before, where Melinda had left her soft cooler lying. Apparently, it is normal to leave your belongings lying around a ski lodge. I had worried someone would move it or put it in lost and found, but it was exactly where we had left it. Melinda sat beside me and texted her mother while I emptied the contents of the cooler. She explained her mother was at a nearby mall and would get us in about an hour. We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. After two, I was still hungry. I didn’t say anything, but there must have been something in my expression because Melinda started giggling as she leaned against me slightly. “Go ahead. I don’t mind.” “But, I don’t want to turn into my brother.” “Tubing is a physical activity. You’ve got to replace the calories you just burned.” “You only had two.” “I normally don’t eat two. I’ve seen you eat, Pat. Have another sandwich. I promise not to tell Walter.” As I ate the third sandwich, Melinda told me about how she used to come here with her friends. Then, we talked about how her friends had changed once they started high school. I felt bad that I couldn’t relate. I had never let anyone get close to me until Hartfield. But, Melinda just seemed to be looking for someone to share her story, not her emotions. We talked a little about one of my best friends at school, Zach. Then we talked a little about going back to school. People started coming off the mountain and the lodge was getting a little more crowded. I saw people starting to stare in our direction. “Can we go somewhere less conspicuous?” I asked as I started packing the picnic back into the cooler. Melinda looked around. “Yeah, sure. I have an idea.” We took the cooler and went out a glass door towards the slopes. Melinda backtracked slightly until we were in a small area away from both the lodge and the slopes. A fire pit had been constructed with Adirondack chairs surrounding it. I sat in one of the chairs, pulling Melinda into my lap. We kissed for a long time, unfazed by the cold, until she thought we should go wait for her mother. “How was it?” Melinda’s mother asked as she pulled away from the drop off circle. I smiled. “It was a lot of fun. I’ve never gone tubing before. Thanks for driving me, Mrs. Luzzelli.” Melinda’s mother smiled. “I’m glad you had fun. Are you going straight home, or were you planning on staying for a while? Either is fine with me.” I turned to Melinda, sitting beside me in the backseat. “Did you finish that puzzle without me?” When she shook her head, I turned my attention back to her mother. “I guess that means I’m staying for a little while.” I placed the last piece into the jigsaw puzzle and stood back to examine my work. The picture displayed three kittens sitting on yarn balls of various colors in a large woven basket. “It’s cute. It’s a shame we worked so hard and now we have to put it back in the box.” Melinda went to the closet. “Why?” “Because we worked so hard on it.” Wasn’t she listening? “No, I mean, why take it apart?” She returned to the table with a bottle of glue. “What’s that for?” “You’ve never glued a puzzle?” No, because I hadn’t done puzzles since I was little. I had no idea what she meant. I just stared at her. “We always do this. Look around. All the pictures on the walls are puzzles.” I did as she said, noticing for the first time that all the artwork on the walls were indeed puzzles of various shapes and sizes. While I was admiring all the framed puzzles, Melinda dumped the glue on top of the one we had just completed, then massaged it between the pieces. “Aren’t you gonna help me?” No. It looked squishy and gross. I didn’t want to touch it. I tried to respond as nonchalantly as possible. “And get that all over my fingers?’ Melinda smiled mischievously, then reached for me with her glue-covered hands. I leapt out of her way. I expected her to follow me, but she went back to gluing the puzzle. I stood beside her, watching over her shoulder before deciding to help. It didn’t take too long and, despite our hands being covered in glue, wasn’t quite as icky as I thought it would be. When we could no longer see the cats and yarn through the white film, Melinda stood back to admire our handiwork. “See? Now it’ll dry clear.” “That’s pretty cool. I may have to start doing this at home.” I meant it, too. Doing the puzzle had been a lot more fun and way more relaxing than I had anticipated. “Now what?” Melinda led me down the hall. “Well, first we have to wash our hands. We have a little time, but you have to leave by five.” I couldn’t help but tease her as she entered a bedroom. Since it had a lot of pink and purple, I was pretty sure it was hers. “Why? Is your other boyfriend coming over?” “Yes. His name is Eric and my parents like him better than you.” Melinda turned around. I could tell she was waiting for my response to her joke. (I’m pretty sure it had been a joke.) Instead, I pointed to the bed. “Is this your bedroom?” “Yeah. My bathroom’s right here.” Melinda pointed towards a door on the opposite side of the room. “I can’t go in there.” “Huh?” Her bafflement was adorable. “Oh. Right. I forgot. Hang on.” Melinda left the bathroom door open as she washed her hands. Then, she came to stand beside me in the doorway. “There. I think you can go wash your hands, if I stand here.” As I crossed the room, she called after me, “So, what do you want to do now?” I wasn’t sure if soap would make it harder to get the glue off, but since there were still bubbles in the sink from Melinda, I decided to try it as I answered her. “I have no idea. WTTE?” “How about cards?” I made a face into the mirror, but I was pretty sure she couldn’t see me. I waited until I was beside her before responding. “I can play solitaire.” I followed her back to the study, where Melinda took two decks of cards from a box in the closet. “How about double solitaire?” Melinda suggested as she sat on the floor. “That’s a game?” I sat on the floor across from her and watched her shuffle. It was different than the normal way. There was something about it that was familiar. “Mom and Dad had a casino party once.” My eyes were fixed on her hands. “They hired actual dealers from real casinos. They shuffled the cards like that, at the corners. Are you a card shark?” Melinda giggled. “My grandfather loves playing cards. He taught me when I was seven. I could shuffle better than him by the time I started middle school.” “You are a card shark! I don’t wanna play with you.” “It’s only solitaire. Watch.” She handed me the deck of red cards. I copied Melinda as we laid out cards in front of ourselves and created playing slots. She explained how to play our personal space and the shared space. After she explained the scoring, we played the first round. I picked up my pile in my left hand and prepared my right to flip the first cards when Melinda gave the signal. She beat me, forty to twenty in the first round, but I was a fast learner and I reached a hundred points in the third round, while she still had eighty-nine. We separated the decks and she said she would teach me to play War. She then described the game I played with my roommate. “Wait. I know this game. This is the game I play with Frank.” “I thought you said you only play solitaire.” “Well, I didn’t know the name of this game. He calls it something else. Jung-Jang, I think. His grandfather taught him. One of his grandfathers speaks Korean, the other one Chinese. I’m not sure which one taught him the game.” Melinda smiled as she picked up her stack and we began flipping the cards. I won the first game and she won the second. We had just separated the stacks for a tiebreaker round when her other boyfriend arrived. “Melinda!” Her mother called up the stairs a few moments after we heard the doorbell sound. “Your ride is here.” Oh man! I had lost all track of time. I kept my voice low as Melinda packed the cards away. “I didn’t get to say goodbye.” She turned and put her arms around my neck. “I’ll see you Sunday. I’ll try to get back to campus early.” Our kiss was interrupted by a knock on the door. Melinda’s roommate was standing just over the threshold with a knowing smile. “Sorry.” Her miniature clone peered around her into the room. I had met her once before, so I knew she wasn’t about to turn into a screaming fan. She started waving at Melinda, but when she saw me, she started signing frantically. Although I had learned American Sign Language for my last film, I was not able to follow Crystal when she got excited. I missed a lot of what she was asking, but I got the impression she wanted to know why I was there and if Melinda was my girlfriend. I laughed, speaking aloud as I signed. “Slow down! Melinda will tell you all about it later. I better get home. Hi, Sarah. Bye, Sarah!” I smiled at Melinda’s roommate, kissed the top of Melinda’s head quickly, then started out of the room, the three girls in tow. As I got in my car, I saw Melinda wave one last time before shutting the door. [Table Of Contents] [Chapter 13, Part 2] Want to read more about Walter and Melinda? Check out Boarding School Blues - Chapter 37: Tubing
Confessions of a Teenage Celebrity - Chapter 4: Tubing (Part 1)
[Cover] [Table Of Contents] [Prologue] [Book 1] [Patreon] [Discord] [Join my mailing list for a free book] As Melinda led me towards the ski lodge, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. From where we were standing, I could only see the ski slopes, not the tube park. It was pretty cold outside. Maybe Melinda would change her mind and we could just stay in the lodge. Exploring the cafeteria options, I was glad Melinda had brought us lunch. Nothing sounded very appealing. However, as we debated between getting two sodas or one to share, we saw someone behind the counter putting warm cookies into a display case. We sat beside each other near the window, where we could watch the mountain while we ate. Melinda was trying to make conversation, but I was only giving her part of my attention as I looked out the window. I didn’t see anyone tubing. I only saw skiiers. The people on the mountain seemed to be enjoying themselves. I wondered if they knew how dangerous winter mountain sports could be. There was a stretch of the mountain to my left no one seemed to be using. I wondered if they had closed off that part because of some horrible accident. “You look anxious.” I could hear the concern in her voice. “What’s wrong. Oh! Are you worried about being recognized?” I turned away from the window. My adorable girlfriend was looking all around as she continued to babble. “I just realized. I’m sorry. I totally forgot.” “You’re adorable.” I played with her hair before pulling her in for a kiss. Somehow, that calmed me slightly. I explained how the place was so empty I wasn’t too concerned about crazy fans. “Okay. You’re not worried about being recognized. Is it the whole Poppy thing?” I smiled at her weakly. “I was wondering when she was going to ruin our time together. I had nearly forgotten about her. I tend not to think about her when I’m with you.” “What’s happening with all that?” There was a small red speck barreling downhill. I watched it grow larger as I explained to Melinda how Meghan and I convinced our mother to fire our agent. The red speck eventually turned into a full-sized person who skied straight back onto the empty lift. I turned to Melinda. She began to play with my hand on the table. “So, now what?” I picked up my cookie and put it back down a few times without actually eating it. “I started doing some research, found an agent I like. Mom’s gonna contact him today. We’re gonna try to figure out if Walter and I should have different agents. Meghan is pretty sure she wants Mom’s agent. This is gonna sound pompous, but we’re so famous, most agents would love to represent us.” “But, what about the Poppy rumor?” “We fired Cynthia, so Mom’s agent is gonna try to sort things out for us. But, it’s possible it won’t go away. There’s some legal things we might look into, but, honestly, I’m letting Uncle Brendan figure it all out.” “The lawyer, right?” Melinda asked. I watched another speck speed down the hill. Melinda slurped the soda we were sharing before trying to resume the conversation. “If you’re not worried about being recognized, and you’re not upset about Poppy, then why do you look so anxious?” I wanted to lie, but figured that probably wouldn’t be a great idea. I felt my face grow warm as I turned to her. “I’ve just never gone tubing before.” Melinda giggled, but she reached around to trace her hand along my spine. That was supposed to be my job. I held her close, playing with her hair as she tried to assuage my fears. “Tubing is a lot of fun. It’s like sledding. Only faster.” “It’s dangerous. They make your parent sign one of those waiver things.” “Yes. But, you also sign a waiver when you visit the town pool. It’s no more dangerous.” “Are you kidding? The town pool? That’s got kids peeing in the water and people jumping on top of you. That’s got to be more dangerous than this!” “Fine. Then...laser tag. You have to sign a waiver for that.” “People running around in the dark? You can trip over something and break your neck. Or, you can trip over the person that tripped over something, and you both break your necks. Or –” Melinda stopped my babbling with a kiss. That calmed my anxiety a lot. But, I wasn’t going to drop the subject completely. I pulled her close. “This is nice. Why don’t we just stay here and do this until your mom comes?” Melinda stood up, giggling as she reached for my hand. “Come on. You clean this mess, and I’ll go get the tickets.” She tugged me to my feet, then went to the desk near the front entrance while I threw the garbage into the nearest can. A few moments later, she returned with two stickers and two strange-looking metal things. They looked like witches’ hats, or noses. Melinda showed me how to attach the metal wicket to my zipper, then put the adhesive ticket on either side to create a tag. We bundled ourselves out and went back to the cold. Melinda led me to the rental building, where an attendant gave us helmets and tubes, which we dragged to the tubing park. As we approached, I realized we were heading right for the part I had assumed had been closed. There were about ten lanes, divided by mounds of snow, and they had small bumps as they went down the mountain. Melinda stopped as we got near the bottom of the mountain. “Put down your tube and gimme your hand.” Gladly. That thing was getting heavy. I held out my arm. “Everything okay?” Melinda bent down to my tube, picking up a leash I had not noticed earlier. She fastened the strap around my wrist. “We’re gonna get on the lift now. You can just kinda drag your tube behind you on the way up, okay?” “How do I get on the lift?” She pointed to a black belt slowly moving up the mountain. “It’s kinda like an escalator with no stairs. Just step on. Follow me.” She boarded the lift and I followed. At the top of the mountain, I followed Melinda to a center lane and she showed me how to sit in my tube. Then she moved to the lane beside me. Before we left, she took her strap from her wrist and tossed it to me. “Here. Hang on to this and we can go down together.” I held it tight as we pushed off. Tubing was more exhilarating than I could have imagined. We didn’t go straight downhill. There were bumps. There were dips. The tube slid from side to side within the lane. Before I knew it, we were slowing down at the bottom. I jumped out of my tube, feeling more alive than I had in a while. “Wow! That was sick. Let’s go again!” I was nearly bouncing with excitement. Our passes were only good for two hours, and I wanted to get every second’s worth. I raced back to the lift. I didn’t need to hold Melinda’s leash anymore. I wasn’t scared. As a result, she ended up turning backwards on our next run. I was a little in front of her, so I didn’t notice until we had reached the bottom. The third time down, I ended up backwards before the first bump. It was even more exhilarating because I had no idea what was coming next. I spent the fourth run figuring out how to do it on purpose, finally succeeding about a third of the way down my fifth run. I spent the rest of the two hours tubing backwards. The lodge was a little more crowded when we were done tubing. The ski mountain was started to have a little more life as well. We went back to where we had sat before, where Melinda had left her soft cooler lying. Apparently, it is normal to leave your belongings lying around a ski lodge. I had worried someone would move it or put it in lost and found, but it was exactly where we had left it. Melinda sat beside me and texted her mother while I emptied the contents of the cooler. She explained her mother was at a nearby mall and would get us in about an hour. We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. After two, I was still hungry. I didn’t say anything, but there must have been something in my expression because Melinda started giggling as she leaned against me slightly. “Go ahead. I don’t mind.” “But, I don’t want to turn into my brother.” “Tubing is a physical activity. You’ve got to replace the calories you just burned.” “You only had two.” “I normally don’t eat two. I’ve seen you eat, Pat. Have another sandwich. I promise not to tell Walter.” As I ate the third sandwich, Melinda told me about how she used to come here with her friends. Then, we talked about how her friends had changed once they started high school. I felt bad that I couldn’t relate. I had never let anyone get close to me until Hartfield. But, Melinda just seemed to be looking for someone to share her story, not her emotions. We talked a little about one of my best friends at school, Zach. Then we talked a little about going back to school. People started coming off the mountain and the lodge was getting a little more crowded. I saw people starting to stare in our direction. “Can we go somewhere less conspicuous?” I asked as I started packing the picnic back into the cooler. Melinda looked around. “Yeah, sure. I have an idea.” We took the cooler and went out a glass door towards the slopes. Melinda backtracked slightly until we were in a small area away from both the lodge and the slopes. A fire pit had been constructed with Adirondack chairs surrounding it. I sat in one of the chairs, pulling Melinda into my lap. We kissed for a long time, unfazed by the cold, until she thought we should go wait for her mother. “How was it?” Melinda’s mother asked as she pulled away from the drop off circle. I smiled. “It was a lot of fun. I’ve never gone tubing before. Thanks for driving me, Mrs. Luzzelli.” Melinda’s mother smiled. “I’m glad you had fun. Are you going straight home, or were you planning on staying for a while? Either is fine with me.” I turned to Melinda, sitting beside me in the backseat. “Did you finish that puzzle without me?” When she shook her head, I turned my attention back to her mother. “I guess that means I’m staying for a little while.” I placed the last piece into the jigsaw puzzle and stood back to examine my work. The picture displayed three kittens sitting on yarn balls of various colors in a large woven basket. “It’s cute. It’s a shame we worked so hard and now we have to put it back in the box.” Melinda went to the closet. “Why?” “Because we worked so hard on it.” Wasn’t she listening? “No, I mean, why take it apart?” She returned to the table with a bottle of glue. “What’s that for?” “You’ve never glued a puzzle?” No, because I hadn’t done puzzles since I was little. I had no idea what she meant. I just stared at her. “We always do this. Look around. All the pictures on the walls are puzzles.” I did as she said, noticing for the first time that all the artwork on the walls were indeed puzzles of various shapes and sizes. While I was admiring all the framed puzzles, Melinda dumped the glue on top of the one we had just completed, then massaged it between the pieces. “Aren’t you gonna help me?” No. It looked squishy and gross. I didn’t want to touch it. I tried to respond as nonchalantly as possible. “And get that all over my fingers?’ Melinda smiled mischievously, then reached for me with her glue-covered hands. I leapt out of her way. I expected her to follow me, but she went back to gluing the puzzle. I stood beside her, watching over her shoulder before deciding to help. It didn’t take too long and, despite our hands being covered in glue, wasn’t quite as icky as I thought it would be. When we could no longer see the cats and yarn through the white film, Melinda stood back to admire our handiwork. “See? Now it’ll dry clear.” “That’s pretty cool. I may have to start doing this at home.” I meant it, too. Doing the puzzle had been a lot more fun and way more relaxing than I had anticipated. “Now what?” Melinda led me down the hall. “Well, first we have to wash our hands. We have a little time, but you have to leave by five.” I couldn’t help but tease her as she entered a bedroom. Since it had a lot of pink and purple, I was pretty sure it was hers. “Why? Is your other boyfriend coming over?” “Yes. His name is Eric and my parents like him better than you.” Melinda turned around. I could tell she was waiting for my response to her joke. (I’m pretty sure it had been a joke.) Instead, I pointed to the bed. “Is this your bedroom?” “Yeah. My bathroom’s right here.” Melinda pointed towards a door on the opposite side of the room. “I can’t go in there.” “Huh?” Her bafflement was adorable. “Oh. Right. I forgot. Hang on.” Melinda left the bathroom door open as she washed her hands. Then, she came to stand beside me in the doorway. “There. I think you can go wash your hands, if I stand here.” As I crossed the room, she called after me, “So, what do you want to do now?” I wasn’t sure if soap would make it harder to get the glue off, but since there were still bubbles in the sink from Melinda, I decided to try it as I answered her. “I have no idea. WTTE?” “How about cards?” I made a face into the mirror, but I was pretty sure she couldn’t see me. I waited until I was beside her before responding. “I can play solitaire.” I followed her back to the study, where Melinda took two decks of cards from a box in the closet. “How about double solitaire?” Melinda suggested as she sat on the floor. “That’s a game?” I sat on the floor across from her and watched her shuffle. It was different than the normal way. There was something about it that was familiar. “Mom and Dad had a casino party once.” My eyes were fixed on her hands. “They hired actual dealers from real casinos. They shuffled the cards like that, at the corners. Are you a card shark?” Melinda giggled. “My grandfather loves playing cards. He taught me when I was seven. I could shuffle better than him by the time I started middle school.” “You are a card shark! I don’t wanna play with you.” “It’s only solitaire. Watch.” She handed me the deck of red cards. I copied Melinda as we laid out cards in front of ourselves and created playing slots. She explained how to play our personal space and the shared space. After she explained the scoring, we played the first round. I picked up my pile in my left hand and prepared my right to flip the first cards when Melinda gave the signal. She beat me, forty to twenty in the first round, but I was a fast learner and I reached a hundred points in the third round, while she still had eighty-nine. We separated the decks and she said she would teach me to play War. She then described the game I played with my roommate. “Wait. I know this game. This is the game I play with Frank.” “I thought you said you only play solitaire.” “Well, I didn’t know the name of this game. He calls it something else. Jung-Jang, I think. His grandfather taught him. One of his grandfathers speaks Korean, the other one Chinese. I’m not sure which one taught him the game.” Melinda smiled as she picked up her stack and we began flipping the cards. I won the first game and she won the second. We had just separated the stacks for a tiebreaker round when her other boyfriend arrived. “Melinda!” Her mother called up the stairs a few moments after we heard the doorbell sound. “Your ride is here.” Oh man! I had lost all track of time. I kept my voice low as Melinda packed the cards away. “I didn’t get to say goodbye.” She turned and put her arms around my neck. “I’ll see you Sunday. I’ll try to get back to campus early.” Our kiss was interrupted by a knock on the door. Melinda’s roommate was standing just over the threshold with a knowing smile. “Sorry.” Her miniature clone peered around her into the room. I had met her once before, so I knew she wasn’t about to turn into a screaming fan. She started waving at Melinda, but when she saw me, she started signing frantically. Although I had learned American Sign Language for my last film, I was not able to follow Crystal when she got excited. I missed a lot of what she was asking, but I got the impression she wanted to know why I was there and if Melinda was my girlfriend. I laughed, speaking aloud as I signed. “Slow down! Melinda will tell you all about it later. I better get home. Hi, Sarah. Bye, Sarah!” I smiled at Melinda’s roommate, kissed the top of Melinda’s head quickly, then started out of the room, the three girls in tow. As I got in my car, I saw Melinda wave one last time before shutting the door. Want to be notified when I post the next chapter? In the comments below, type:
Film Rankings with Explanations, Ratings, and Tiers
During quarantine, I've had the opportunity to rewatch every movie in relatively short succession. I've seen them all 2-10 times and have been a lifelong Bond fan. I enjoy every Bond film, even the "bad" ones, but I wanted to try and rank them. I used a scoring system to help me, but ultimately went with my gut (e.g. License to Kill MUST be better than The World is Not Enough). I thought a tier system of ranking was useful, because it really is splitting hairs to rank some of these. Feel free to critique my ratings, my ratings weightings, and opinions! You could say I have too much time on my hands Tier 7: The Worst
Die Another Day: Best Sword Fight
- Why it's not irredeemable: For being the lowest ranked film on this list, it's not without its moments. Bond getting caught, tortured, then escaping from MI6 was interesting and novel. The ice hotel was neat, as well as the chase scene. I'll even defend the much maligned invisible car, as the Aston Martin Vanquish is quite a car. - Why it's not higher: Personally, I think Halle Berry is a terrible Bond girl, alternating between damsel in distress and super woman as the plot demands it. Moreover, Graves and the plot in general is pretty cheesy and boring. Perhaps most damaging is the deadly serious tone of the movie, which doesn't even provide the fun and excitement Brosnan's films generally provide the viewer. - Most under-appreciated part: The fencing scene is the best action scene of the entire movie. It's surprising it took Bond this long to fence, but seeing them go at it across the club was a blast. Tier 6: Disappointing
Quantum of Solace: Best Car Chase
- Why it's this high: The action is quite good, likely meriting the distinction of the best car chase in the entire series (the pre-credits sequence). Mathis is a good ally and it is sad to see him go. - Why it's not higher: My biggest beef with Craig's Bond films is that they are too serious, so when the plot and script isn't top-notch, the movie watching experience is just kind of dull. Quantum of Solace takes a bold risk in making the first Bond sequel, but unfortunately it's just not that good. Greene seems like a rather pathetic Bond villain, and his henchman (the worst in the series?) ends up in a neck-brace after getting tripped by Camilla. Also, the shaky cam is distracting and exhausting. - Most under-appreciated part: I actually thing the theme song is pretty good! Maybe I'm just too much of a Jack White groupie, but I think it rocks.
Moonraker: Best Locales
- Why it's this high: I'm pleased to see Jaws making a return, as he is an amazing henchman. On that note, the pre-credits sequence with Bond and Jaws falling out of the plane is exhilarating. Holly Goodhead is a very good Bond girl, beautiful, smart, and competent. Roger Moore always does an excellent job playing the role with suavity and wit. - Why it's not higher: Gosh it's cheesy. Particularly egregious is Jaws' love story. The theme song is terrible and Bond doesn't have any solid allies besides Goodhead and Jaws. - Most under-appreciated part: They really go all out with the settings here. Obviously, space is pretty polarizing, but I think Bond clearly should go to space at SOME point during the series. In addition, Italy and Brazil were gorgeous views, while Drax's estate is magnificent.
Spectre: Best Shooting
- Why it's this high: Rewatching this for the second time, I realized Lea Seydoux does a good job as the Bond girl, and it's actually quite believable she and James could work out, as she is the daughter of an assassin and can understand him (as Blofeld points out). Seeing Bond show off his marksmanship was quite satisfying, especially that one long shot during the escape from Blofeld's compound. Bonus points for Bond's DB10 and resurrecting the DB5. - Why it's not higher: The fatal flaw of this film is making Blofeld Bond's adopted brother. How did Bond not recognize him? How is Blofeld able to keep himself secret from British intelligence yet every criminal worth his salt knows of him? The worst part is that it actually cheapens the plot of the other Craig movies. I believe the Bond franchise should stay clear from sequels from here on out. Yes, they can weave a great story if done correctly, but it's so much more difficult to make great sequels (e.g. Star Wars only made two worthy sequels in seven tries) than to do one-offs. As usual for a Craig film, Bond has little charisma (save for his surprisingly good rapport with Moneypenny) and little in the way of jokes to lighten the mood. - Most under-appreciated part: The train fight scene with Dave Bautista is great! Gosh it was awesome to see them go at it, break through walls, and a priceless expression on Bautista's face when he knows he's done. Bautista is the first decent henchman since the 90s, so glad to see the series go back to this staple.
The Man with the Golden Gun: Best Potential, Worst Execution
- Why it's this high: This Bond movie frustrates more than any other, as it has the potential to be an all-time great. Bond's debriefing starts off with promise, as it turns out the world's top assassin is gunning for Bond! For the first time in the series, Bond seems vulnerable! M makes a hilarious quip as to who would try to kill Bond ("jealous husbands ... the list is endless"). Furthermore, the legendary Christopher Lee is possible the best Bond villain, a rare peer of 007. - Why it's not higher: Unfortunately, the movie opts to change course so that it's just Maud Adams trying to get Bond to kill Scaramanga. Goodnight is beautiful, but maybe the most inept Bond girl of all-time. They used a SLIDE WHISTLE, ruining one of the coolest Bond stunts ever (the car jump). - Most under-appreciated part: Nick Nack is a splendid henchman, showing the role can be more than just a strongman.
Diamonds Are Forever: Great Beginning and Ending, but Bad Everywhere Else
- Why it's this high: Is there another Bond with such a great contrast between the beginning/ending and everything in between? Connery shows his tough side, as he muscles his way through the pre-credits scene. Particularly good was the part where he seduces the woman, then uses her bikini top to choke her. At the end, Bond expertly uses his wine knowledge to detect something is amiss, then dispatches Kidd and Wint in style. Other cool scenes include Bond scaling the building to reach Blofeld and Bond driving the Mustang through the alley. - Why it's not higher: This is one of the films that I find myself liking less and less over time. Vegas, and especially the space laboratory scene, just seem cheesy. Connery is officially too old at this point, and Jill St. John just isn't a very compelling Bond girl. I would've preferred to have seen more of Plenty O'Toole, but alas 'twas not meant to be. Leiter is uninspired as well. Having Bond go after Blofeld for the millionth time just seems tired at this point. - Most under-appreciated part: Mr. Kidd and Wint are the creepiest henchmen in the Bond universe, but I'd argue they are some of the best. Their banter and creative modes of execution are quite chilling and thrilling.
A View to a Kill: Best Theme
- Why it's this high: Is it a hot take to not have View in the bottom five? Let me explain. I contend Duran Duran's theme is the very best. The ending fight scene on the Golden Gate Bridge is actually one of the most iconic ending set pieces in the series. The plot is stellar on paper, as the horse racing part was a very Bondian side story, and the idea of an attack on Silicon Valley actually seems even more plausible today. - Why it's not higher: It's self-evident that Moore is way too old for the part. Some parts are just mind-blowingly ridiculous, such as the fire truck chase scene through San Francisco and the part where Stacey is caught unaware by a blimp behind her. Speaking of Stacey, she may be beautiful, but she spends most of the movie shrieking whenever something goes wrong. - Most under-appreciated part: The scene with Bond and Ivanova is cool (I always like it when he interacts with other spies) and quite entertaining how he fools her with the cassettes. Tier 5: Below Average
Octopussy: The Most Characteristically Roger Moore Bond Film
- Why it's this high: Maud Adams has great screen presence as Octopussy, and her Amazonian-like women are cool to watch fight. Bond's deft swipe of the egg was nicely done. On a related aside, I wish Bond films would emphasize Bond's intellect more, as it seems the 60s and 70s films would allow Bond to showcase his vast knowledge more frequently than he does today. Gobinda is a fierce henchman, while India in general is a cool location. The plot is realistic, yet grand (war-mongering Russian general tries to detonate a nuke to get NATO to turn on itself). - Why it's not higher: This is the first Moore film where he simply was too old and shouldn't have been cast. Yes, it's too cheesy at times, most infamously during the Tarzan yell. Bond also doesn't use any cool vehicles. - Most under-appreciated part: People tend to focus too much on Bond dressing as a clown, but the scene where Bond furiously tries to get to the bomb in time to defuse it is one of the tensest moments in the series. Moore's "Dammit there's a bomb in there!" really demonstrated the gravity of the situation (I get goosebumps during that part).
Tomorrow Never Dies: Most Tasteful Humor
- Why it's this high: Brosnan really settles into the role well here. He gives the most charismatic Bond performance in 15 years or so. His quip "I'm just here at Oxford, brushing up on a little Danish" is an all-time great Bond line. Teri Hatcher is stunning as Paris Carver, delivering a memorable performance with her limited screen time. The plot is original and ages well, highlighting the potential downsides of media power, while Carver is an above average villain. - Why it's not higher: Wai Lin is good for action, but the chemistry between her and Bond is non-existent. By the end of the movie, Pryce just seem silly (especially the scene where he mocks Wai Lin's martial arts skills). There aren't any good Bond allies, as Jack Wade doesn't impress in his return to the franchise. In general though, the movie has few things terribly wrong with it, it just doesn't excel in many ways. - Most under-appreciated part: Dr. Kaufman is hysterical. At first, I thought "this is weird," but by the end of the scene I'm cracking up. I genuinely wish they found someway to bring him back for World, but c'est la vie.
The World Is Not Enough: Less than the Sum of its Parts
- Why it's this high: According to my spreadsheet, this is a top 10 Bond film, while on my first watch on this film I thought it was bottom five. I think the truth is that it's somewhere in between. I like the settings, everything from the temporary MI-6 headquarters to Azerbaijan. Elektra is an all-time great Bond girl, with a nice plot twist and character arc. The glasses where Bond sees through women's clothing are hilarious. The sense of danger is strong, with everyone from Bond to M being in danger. The return of Zukovsky is a nice plus. - Why it's not higher: I think two things really doom this film. First, Renard is totally wasted a henchman. The idea of him not feeling pain is a cool one, but he just seems boring and extraneous. I don't even think Carlyle acted poorly, he was just misused. Secondly, the ending (after Bond killing Elektra which is quite good) is rather terrible. The whole scene in the sub just isn't entertaining or engaging. - Most under-appreciated part: I'm going to defend Denise Richards as Christmas Jones. Although no Ursula Andress, Richards is absolutely gorgeous and did not actively make Bond's mission more difficult, which is more than some Bond girls can say *cough Britt Ekland. In particular, I found her introductory scene to be quite memorable and convincing. Also, the Christmas quip at the end is quite cheeky. Tier 4: Solid
The Living Daylights:
- Why it's this high: Dalton brings a breath of fresh air to the franchise here. His more serious take makes for interesting movies that seem more unique than most. I'm happy to see this subreddit appreciate Dalton more than the casual fun does, but I wouldn't go as far as the Dalton fanboys and say he's the best Bond or anything like that. I do wish he got the role sooner and did more films. Moving on to Daylights, it's got a good intro for Dalton and good plot in general. Surprisingly, Bond's fidelity doesn't bother me one bit, as it actually makes sense that Kara falls in love with James by the end, given all they've gone through. - Why it's not higher: The biggest reason is that the villain is just terrible. Whitaker seems silly and pathetic, a terrible contrast to Dalton's serious nature. I think Whitaker might be the worst in the series, and a Bond movie can't be great without a good villain. Also, Dalton doesn't have much charm and is abysmal at one-liners, which, in my opinion, IS a facet of the perfect James Bond. - Most under-appreciated part: The Aston Martin Vantage is a beautiful car, and the chase scene across the ice is great! It's both exciting and funny! Not sure why people don't talk about this chase scene and this car more; it's arguably the highlight of the movie for me.
Thunderball: The Most Beautiful
- Why it's this high: Thunderball used to be top five for me and here is why. The underwater scenes, the setting, the score, and the Bond girls are beautiful even to this day. Domino is excellent, while Volpe is a tour de force, oozing sexuality and danger. I think the underwater parts are interesting and novel, creating a staple of sorts for the franchise. The DB 5 is always welcome, and the jetpack use was quite cool for the time (and to some extent now). - Why it's not higher: Some would say it's boring, while I would more generously admit the plot is slow. Furthermore, the theme song is all-time bad (apparently they could have used Johnny Cash!!!), and there is no great henchman for Bond to dispatch. - Most under-appreciated part: Two plot ideas I liked a lot: Bond being injured and needing rehab, plus the part where all the 00s meet up and then are sent to the corners of the globe.
Never Say Never Again: Guilty Pleasure
- Why it's this high: Rewatching Never for the third time, I was struck by how fun this movie is. It's exciting, funny, and fast-paced. Basically, it's a more exciting version of Thunderball, with better pacing and better humor. I think Irvin Kershner did a great job managing this star studded cast. Carrera is a firecracker as Blush, Sydow is a convincing Blofeld, and Basinger is a classic Bond girl. Connery clearly has a blast returning to the role, doing a great job despite his advanced age. If anything, this one might not be ranked high enough. - Why it's not higher: The music is terrible. Normally I don't notice these things, but one can't help but notice how dreadful this one is. The theme is awful as well. I'd argue this is the worst music of any Bond film. - Most under-appreciated part: The humor! This is one of the funniest Bonds, as I found myself laughing out loud at various parts (e.g. Mr Bean!).
The Spy Who Loved Me: Best Intro
- Why it's this high: There's a lot to love about this one, so I get why this ranks highly for many. It is simply the best introduction, starting with Bond romancing a woman, followed by a skii chase, then jumping off the cliff and pulling the Union Jack parachute! The Lotus is a top 3 Bond car. Jaws is a superb henchman. Triple X was an excellent Bond girl, deadly, charming, and beautiful. Of course, Moore is charming and the locations are exotic (Egypt was a cool locale). If I had to pick one Moore movie for a newcomer to watch, it would be this one. - Why it's not higher: The theme song is bad, and Stromberg is a below average villain. I also think the last 45 minutes or so of the movie kind of drags. - Most under-appreciated part: The whole dynamic between Bond and Triple X is great. Whenever Bond movies show Bond squaring off against other spies (see View to a Kill, Goldeneye) it's just a pleasure to watch.
Live and Let Die: Most Suave
- Why it's this high: Roger Moore superbly carves out his own take on Bond in an excellent addition to the franchise. The boat chase is my favorite in the series, and Live and Let Die is my second favorite theme. Jane Seymour is a good Bond girl, while Tee Hee and Kananga are a solid villain/henchman duo. Unpopular opinion: I find J.W. Pepper to be hilarious. - Why it's not higher: The introduction isn't very good, as Bond isn't even included! The second climax with the voodoo isn't great. Bond blowing up Kananga has aged terribly. - Most under-appreciated part: When Bond is visited in his apartment by M and Moneypenny, Bond rushes to hide his girl from his coworkers. Finally, when they leave and he unzips the dress with his magnetic watch is one of the best uses of a Bond gadget in the series, showcasing why Moore might be the most charming Bond of them all.
You Only Live Twice: Best Blofeld
- Why it's this high: Just your classic, fun Sean Connery Bond movie. It was a great decision to send Bond to Japan for his first Asian visit, giving the movie a fresh feel. The ending set piece battle is potentially the best of this staple of 60s/70s Bonds. Tiger Tanaka is one of Bond's cooler allies. Pleasance killed it as Blofeld; when I think of Blofeld, I think of his take. In what could have been cheesy, he is actually somewhat frightening. - Why it's not higher: The whole "we need to make you look Japanese" part seems both unrealistic (who is he really fooling?) plus surprisingly impotent coming from Tiger Tanaka who seems to be a competent and connected man otherwise. Honestly though, this movie doesn't have a major weakness. - Most under-appreciated part: The fight scene with the guard in the executive's office is probably the best hand-to-hand fight in the series up until that point. Tier 3: Excellent
Dr. No: The Most Spy-Like
- Why it's this high: Nearly 60 years later, this film is still a blast to watch, due in no small part to its focus on the little things of being a spy. I adore the scenes where Bond does the little things spies (presumably) do, such as putting a hair across the door, or showing Bond playing solitaire while waiting to spring his trap on Prof. Dent. I also enjoy the suspense of Bond sleuthing around the island, while he and the viewer are completely unaware of whom the villain is until quite late in the film. It's easy to take for granted now, but this film established so many series traditions that were ingenious. My personal favorite is Bond's introduction at the card table: "Bond .... James Bond." - Why it's not higher: The film just doesn't have the payoff it deserves. Maybe it's just a result of the time and budget, but from the point Bond escapes on, it's just mediocre. Particularly egregious is the "fight" between Dr. No and Bond where No meets his demise. - Most under-appreciated part: Ursula Andress was a surprisingly well developed Bond girl, with a shockingly violent backstory (she was raped!). Obviously, she is beautiful and the beach scene is iconic, but I was pleasantly surprised to conclude she is more than just eye candy.
License to Kill: The Grittiest
- Why it's this high: On my first watch, this was my least favorite Bond film, as I thought it was too dark and violent to befit 007. By my third time watching, I've decided it's actually one of the best. Fortunately, I don't have to go on my "Ackshually, Dalton did a good job" rant with this subreddit. I liked the wedding intro and the concept of a revenge arc for Leiter (although come on he should've been killed by a freaking shark). Also, Lamora and (especially) Bouvier are great Bond girls. Bouvier is both competent and beautiful, and it's great to see Bond choose her at the end. - Why it's not higher: The theme song is atrocious, Dalton is so angry (dare I say charmless?) the whole time it's almost puzzling why Bouvier and Lamora fall for him, and Bond doesn't use any cool vehicles. - Most under-appreciated part: Sanchez is actually a sneaky good Bond villain.
For Your Eyes Only: The Most Underrated
- Why it's this high: I think Moore is a bit underrated as Bond. Yes, he was too old towards the end and yes, his movies were at times too campy, but he himself played the role admirably. He was the most charming and witty of all the Bonds, so by the time he got his first relatively serious plot to work with, he hit it out of the park. Anyhow, the climactic mountaintop assault is one of my favorite Bond action climaxes. Columbo is one of the best Bond allies, and the plot twist where he turns out to be good and Kristatos bad was well-done. - Why it's not higher: The intro is just silly. Bibi's romantic infatuation with Bond is just ...er... uncomfortable? - Most under-appreciated part: The theme song is a banger. What a chorus! Tier 2: Exceptional
Skyfall: The Sharpest Film (From Plot to Aesthetics)
- Why it's this high: One of the best plots of the entire series. The idea of an older Bond who had lost a step, along with making M the focus point of the movie, works very well. Seeing Bond's childhood home is also pretty cool. Bardem's take on Silva is delightful and a lot of fun to watch. Even the cinematography is a series peak, while Adele's them is excellent. - Why it's not higher: One thing most Craig Bond films suffer from is the lack of a Bond-worthy henchman. Skyfall is no exception. More importantly, Bond girls are mostly irrelevant to the film. Yes, Severine is both beautiful and interesting, but she's scarcely twenty minutes of the film. - Most under-appreciated part: Setting the new supporting characters up nicely. The Moneypenny backstory was well-done. Casting Ralph Fiennes as the new M is a great choice in of itself, but he also got a nice chuck of background story to help us going forward.
Casino Royale: The First Bond Film I'd Show a Series Newcomer
- Why it's this high: Craig's take on Bond feels like a breath of fresh air. In particular, his hand-to-hand combat scenes are so much better (and more believable) than any other Bond. The parkour chase scene is one of the best chase scenes in the series. Le Chifre is an excellent villain, but, more importantly, Vesper is an all-time great Bond girl. The conversation between Vesper and Bond on the train is probably the most interesting of any film. Bonus points for Jeffrey Wright as Leiter and the Aston Martin DBS. - Why it's not higher: There are hardly any humorous parts or much charm displayed by Bond in general. More importantly, the movie should have just ended when Bond wakes up in rehab. The rest of the movie feels confused and superfluous. - Most under-appreciated part: The decision to change from chemin de fer to poker makes for much better (and understandable!) cinema. The poker scenes are the best of Bond's many gambling scenes throughout the series.
Goldeneye: The Most Fun
- Why it's this high: Wow, rewatching Goldeneye I was struck by how entertaining the whole thing is. The opening jump is breath taking, the scene where Bond drives his evaluator around is hilarious, and Xenia Onatopp is a livewire. Sean Bean is a formidable villain as 006, and a great foil to James. Bond and Judi Dench's first scene together is amazing. Goldeneye feels like the first modern Bond, yet so true to the predecessors. Wade and especially Zukovsky are excellent allies. - Why it's not higher: Simonova is a forgettable Bond girl. She's not annoying, unattractive, or acted poorly, but is just below average in most regards (looks, back story, chemistry with Bond, plot). - Most under-appreciated part: the action is just so much better than any Bond before it
From Russia with Love: The Best Henchman (Red Grant)
- Why it's this high: Interesting settings, beautiful women, and an engaging story make this a classic. I'm not the first to point out that the scenes with Grant and Bond aboard the train are some of the best in the entire series. Grant is one of the few villains who feels like a match for 007. Furthermore, the addition of Desmond Llewyn as Q was crucial and Kerim Bey is one of the better Bond allies. - Why it's not higher: The helicopter scene should've just been omitted, especially when combined with the subsequent boat chase. It's just awkward to watch. - Most under-appreciated part: The gypsy scenes are quite exotic and entertaining.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service: The Most Heartfelt
- Why it's this high: James and Tracy's love story is charming, and when she dies at the end, this is the one and only time in the entire series where the viewer feels genuinely sad. Diana Rigg did an excellent job convincing the audience Bond could finally fall in love with one girl. The skiing scenes were beautifully filmed, and the score was exemplary. Personally, I quite liked Lazenby's take; however, some of his lines and jokes fall flat. To his credit, he looks and acts like Bond more than any other actor. - Why it's not higher: Honestly, it does drag at times in the first half, plus there is no theme song! - Most under-appreciated part: Bond's Aston Martin DBS is a beautiful car, combining 60's sports-car beauty with Aston Martin's elegance. Tier 1: The Best
Goldfinger: The quintessential Bond
- Why it's this high: From the opening ("Positively shocking") to the seduction of Pussy Galore at the end, this film has it all. Goldfinger is an all time great villain, while Odd Job is an exceptional henchman. Connery delivers a master performance, and drives THE classic Bond Car, ejector seat included. The reason I put it #1 is not necessarily because it is the best film (although it is great), it checks all the boxes of what a perfect Bond film should do. - Why it's not higher: I cannot think of any notable imperfections. - Most under-appreciated part: The golf scene between Bond and Goldfinger is a delight to watch, demonstrating Bond's wits for the first and only time on the golf course.
Hi I'm Seath, This is my story that has started from 1992 and still continues to this day. My story starts in 92 our family had just been relocated to the Mohave Desert from my dad being transferred by his job to work across the Colorado river in Laughlin NV . We rented a house on the AZ side of the river due to it being cheaper then the NV side. From what I do remember we rented from a Native american who went by his CB radio name Dakota I do not remember his real name. CB radio was the 90s Voice chat for people living out in the middle of nowhere. Anyways when we were moving in we could see the river at the end of the road of the street we lived on, he warned us the river is very dangerous at night and if you hear anything unusual just go inside and lock the door. My mother asked like what party drunk people? He shook his head no, He told us don't take it the wrong way but alot of people die at the river at night thinking they see people downing or screaming for help and nothing is there and the fast pace of the river takes them away and do not have a chance to escape its rapids. If you hear someone calling for help just call the police do not investigate , it may not be what it seems. He just turned and looked at the river then at the ground and let out a sigh, then he said there are thing that walk this earth that cannot be explained and sometimes its best to leave them be. I just stood there being only 9 not knowing what he was talking about and my dad just said ok. We lived in the house for about a year nothing out of the ordinary had happened work, school, church dinner repeat until one Sunday night after church. My dad and I were sitting in the garage with the door open just watching the river and the stars we basically had no light pollution and there was supposed to be a meteor shower, it was about 9:30pm my dad told me to get inside and get ready for bed for school tomorrow. As was about to stand up we heard what sounded like crying coming from the direction of the river and asking for help but it didnt sound right at all. It was like trying to talk with out your tongue and like you had water in your throat, we looked back and forth trying to pinpoint where it was coming from. Then you could see a woman walking out of the river trees / brush. As she walked it sent chills down your spine it was staggered but like it was walking on 2 feet for the first time. We just watched it walk across the field to the road that connected to our house, my dad stood up and took a step forward and the woman stopped instantly. She tilted her head and slowly looked at us, she was pale covered in mud, brush and water. Her head kept tilting unnatural it looked like it should have snapped but it didn't, we both froze her eyes were a reflective silver as her head bobbed from the tilting it reflected like animal eyes would. After what felt like an hour even though it was only a few seconds it fell face forward with force you heard the body hit the ground "SMACK" and dust flew up. At this point I stood up trying to see where it was, then it just screamed not just from the throat but from the depth of its chest high and low pitches roared and echoed across the desert. My dad pushed me back into the garage getting ready to close it then it popped back up and it was on all fours still with its head tilted and start running at us at full speed. My dad shoved me in and slammed the door shut and locked the inside bolts to prevent it from opening, soon as that latch lock "BAM" it hit the garage. Screaming and scratching continuously at the door yelling "HELP" and "LET ME IN" then it stopped our hearts pounding then you could hear it sniffing the crack of where the door meets the driveway and see its shadow moving back and forth saying "I HAVE YOUR SCENT" then the shadow was moving to where the front door is, at this point my Mom open the garage door that connect to the inside of the house looking at us like WTF are you making all this noise. She saw us on the floor scared to death and instantly my dad bolted up and ran past her to the front door to check it, the front of our house was on the corner of the street covered my large windows easily could be broken. The door was already locked and he looked out the windows nothing was there it was bright from the street lights and no sign of the monster. We told my mother what happened she really didn't question it, she heard the screams and banging. The next morning Dakota came out we told him happened, walked the property not saying anything stopped at the garage door looked at the dents and scratch marks then he turned and looked at field and river. He looked over the field and river walking back n forth from our property but not taking one step further toward the river or the field, he panned looking up and down the dirt then stopped he pointed at the dirt said "There". We all looked down and it was track marks coming from the field to our street there were only tracks on the dirt and nothing on the street it must have cleared the street when it rammed our garage door. We went to go look at the tracks Dakota put his hand up and shook his head "don't touch it" he said it would be wise for us to move because it would be back and he needs to cleanse the house and recommended we do so ourselves. He knew a friend in the next city further away and would talk to him to see what he had available to be quick as possible. My parents didn't question it while Dakota took care of that my dad took a new job in the city further away as a police photographer. I would like to say things were better after the move but they were not, this house was haunted to put it in simple terms. We lived in the house for 2 years, not a lot happened at once small things at first the tv would turn on by its self, after we would leave the curtains would all be pulled shut making the house extremely dark. The house had a fence around the entire property including the house so no one could just walk up to the house my mother had to locks on all the gate, we would constantly see dark shadows walking by the window or crunching from leaves. The shower would constantly turn on the plug would be put it trying to flood the bathroom, towel racks would be pulled out from the wall, and foot steps walking up and down the hall like on hardwood floor even though everything was carpet except the kitchen. But the worst of all was this wooden shed outside it was small just big enough for tools and the ground dirt was so hard it was like concrete no shelves windows nothing bare. This shed constantly sounded like someone coming in and out slamming the door neighbors would call the police and complain, and the officers would joke at my dad and say what is your house haunted or something so we drilled latch and bolted and locked it shut. We just got use to it and were just waiting for our lease to be up and then we were going to move back to Vegas at the end of the year. So its Christmas eve the last year of our lease, we were getting ready for midnight mass we were at the front door getting our coats when all the lights started going in and out like in a thunderstorm messing with the power but it was a clear night just freezing about 15F. My parents kept our jeep outside the fence under the street light it was just easier then opening the garage door and the gates every time to leave, something caught my mothers attention to the jeep even with the lights flickering. There was something crouched behind the jeep with its hands on the hood looking around the corner of the vehicle, she told me as soon as its eyes reflected silver she knew what it was from what we told She said under her breath "What the hell is that?" as I looked out and saw it we made eye contact it stood up from behind the jeep like it was waiting for me to see it. As it stood even though it was under the street light it was like it was absorbing the light making more shadows, but you could tell it was the body of a woman/ish the body was a woman with matted fur across its chest pale arms legs inverted legs and hooved feet and a decaying deear skull on her face no antlers just matted hair and pulled flesh. At this moment we were looking at the monster again all the doors in the house slammed shut and a deep demonic gritted voiced yelled get out as this moment before we could react to the house the monster was walking to the front door as everything around was getting darker with each step. My mom grabbed my sister and yelled at my dad to follow, we went back into my sisters room where it had a phone and no windows, we called the police and just said someone was trying to break in because who would believe hey a monster is trying to break in and the house is yelling at us. Since my dad already worked with the police a few of the officers had spare keys to feed the animals when we left town to visit relatives and such. This next part is from there perspective 4 officers showed up they unlocked the gates and doors, 2 in the house and 2 walking the perimeter. inside all the light were out and occasional flicker making a pop sound blow out the bulb, they said it felt like they were constantly being watched and heard foot steps leading to the garage but found nothing. The two officers were outside and it said it was eerily quite the frozen ground crunching with each step when one of the officers pointed at one of our trees a dark shadow was in the tree and they when they shinned there flash light at it all they saw was reflective eyes. Before they could say anything it jumped out of the tree and bolted for the shed ripping the door open and slamming it shut. from the inside you could hear "What the hell" *Boom heavy running then SLAM* The officer called for the 2 inside you could hear the police yelling at the shed we have you surrounded come out, each time they called out for them to come out the wall banged louder each time you could hear the wood cracking and echoing in the cold air. When the officers yelled we are coming in we are armed, come out with your hands up, then one last "BANG" then silence they opened the door nothing was there just the smell of rot like something died in there. it was empty no lights nowhere to go it is just a small shed and frozen earth. Clearly they were spooked but it unexplained I remember one of the officers saying this is some X-files shit right here, It was just filed as wild life disturbance not a break in. For the rest of the lease we just stayed at a hotel and when the time came we just took what we needed and left the rest. This is the house and it is for sale again, for some reason before I decided to write this I looked it up and its been for sell a long time. what still scary its bright as hell and the rooms are still very dark and the towel racks are still ripped out After we moved back to Vegas my mother was obsessed with the paranormal she wrote letters called priests to anyone who would giver her the time of day to trying to find a way to protect us, we got more crosses, holy water, rosary's on all door handles dream catchers in every bedroom and she got some blessed salt , and salt rocks put on all entrances and windows, she also put curtains on all the mirrors reading info it could be used as portal. A bit over kill you might say but the truth of the matter after seeing that twice i was game and it became normal, and nothing happened for years until 2003 7 years later. In this time my mothers health was greatly fading and could not take the heat with constant migraines that followed, so we moved to Douglas county much cooler and close to the mountains. At this point Im working my sister stayed in Vegas starting her life, I could have done the same but with what my mother was going through I didn't want to leave her to deal with this. As time went on she began walking around the house at all hours of the night arguing with shadows in the corner and yelling leave me alone. I couldn't see it but with her health dropping the paranormal activity started up again as it is was her spirit and will was keeping us safe and now with her health failing the locks were broken and they walked in the door. I never saw to much because I worked graveyard and slept in the daytime and nothing very strange happened in the morning would see shadows or something in the corner of your eye but that's about it. After some time my mother passed from a Arianism this was her 2nd one she survived the first one, after the funeral and all the family left the activity exploded. one morning I was sleeping after I have gotten off work my dad and I worked apposing schedules and rarely saw one another, I was sleeping and I heard my closet door I tried to open get up I couldn't move I was locked down I couldn't even open my eyes. I could hear foot step walking up to my bed but they were long steps not short like moving left to right as if it was creeping up. I felt to pressures put at the foot of my bed first right at my feet then I could feel it creep up on my bed walking over me. The air turned humid it was thick it smelled like a drain that has not been cleaned and the bacteria has built up in the drain I work in food my whole life and we have drain socks to catch all the debrie from going down and when those don't get changed out they smell awful and that's what it smelled like or what my brain connected to. As is crawled up to my face I still could not move i was stuck and I;am thinking this is it I'am going to be eaten Im screwed, with each pull forward I could feel what im guessing is its hair on my face and warm/cold moist feeling up to my face then it spoke. The same voice I have heard before years ago back in that garage gurgles no tongue " I Found You" my heart sank I was scared before now and deathly scared if I could piss myself I probably would have. I pulled deep with in myself and ripped myself up flying out of bed my arms and legs going in every direction hitting my computer chair that was next to my bed and kicking my desk. Nothing was in front of my or my bed I looked around the rooms and my closet door was still open but just a crack directed at my bed as if it has been watching me fling around. I left the apartment when to the hardware store got some chain and locked my closed shut and a board and nailed it across the door I didn't care about my deposit or wanting to experience that again. after that nothing happened again not even shadows like poof it was gone all of it but constantly felt like something was watching me from somewhere and I couldn't explain it, the only place I felt safe was work and I worked at a casino lights and hundreds of people I worked as much over time took other people shifts or sat in the bars after work I didn't want to go home. Eventually our lease was up and we moved into a new apt closer to our jobs and across town and a 2nd story facing the street with lots of light. Once again nothing happened the apt was nicely lit the sun came in the windows every morning and the streetlight kept it lit after dark it made me happy and safe. Then its about another year and half goes by this is the last few months I will be living with my dad we never see each other and just dont talk that much after my mother passes I felt it was time to move on because nothing happens to him just me. So he went out of town for a month vacation and I was going to pack that month and move out when he got back. I took a vacation as well because you will laugh at this time World of Warcraft Burning crusade was launching and my friends wanted me to start a Blood elf and play a paladin for the guild since I already had experience playing it on alliance. I did we pulled all dayer because i worked grave yard daytime was my night time. I was tired it was about 11pm I havent at night in years now so I didnt even think about anything or my haunting past I hit the pillow i was out. I woke up hearing someone in my kitchen I look at the clock its 1am I put my head down thinking my dad was just making a late snack that he did alot, Then I snap up he is out of town I press my ear up to my door I hear foot steps outside my door away to where the kitchen is. I could hear clicking "tick tick tick tick tick" Im like what the hell is that? Then it dawns on me, it is the gas stove and the fire has not been lit. I hear a door open close to me and close. Im confused the only door near my left side where the sound came from was the Linen closet. I bolt out into the kitchen all the gas is on no flame i turn it all off turn on the stove fan open the front door to get air flowing again the I heard a rustle in the linen closet and almost a giggle like someone laughing. I turned and looked at it, at this point i wasent afraid I didnt care what was in there I put my hand on the door handle and ripped the door open nothing just cramped racks of towels no one could hide there not even a child or a cat. I let it air out then I left went to walmart and bought new door handles and locked all the doors shut if they were not in use and moved my computer desk in front of my closet door so it could not be opened. I never used it i mostly worked and just my winter coat and thing for the move. now its about 4 am Im still tired but feel safe enough to sleep I tapped the gas knobs, I lay down and with little effort I fall back asleep. The again I wake up to a "BOOM" and shaking I bolt up and everything is pitch black expect a emergency light blinking on and off from the outside I look around everything is dark, then I stop I could hear breathing behind me I already knew what it was the sound was the same. My bed is right along the wall on the window so I could open and get air when needed so I wouldn't have to blast the air conditioner. I turn my eyes first I could see a shadow in my window, unlike my first encounter I was not frozen I was incontroll I slowly turned my head and it was there the Deer Woman she was standing in the window seal two hooved feet on the wood one arm holding on the frame. The window was still open from the gas and I wanted to make sure the apt was vented. At that moment we locked eyes she tilted her head again as she did before it felt like a eternity this time i could clearly see everything. But this time she changed again the first time walking corpse, 2nd time decaying deer monster, 3rd time humid and moist. Now the forth time still a Deer skull but it was clean white endless darkness in the eye sockets no skull or eyes inside just darkness a void of all life and light, her hair was no longer matter just long and black/brown fur covers her chest like a fur shawl from the 50s and it was black as the eye sockets and the same fur hooved legs. What felt like a life time she reached at my face Im assuming to grab me, I flung out of bed slammed against the wall trying to turn the light on and nothing everything is our except the flashing yellow emergency lights from the apartments outside. I looked back at the bed she was still there and started walking forward the bed creaked and cracked from the weight the sound of wood to this day still scares the hell out of me. I tried to open the door but i forgot i locked it and my brain couldn't comprehend that i locked it earlier and just had to unlock it was pure flight mode. I just grabbed my computer chair next to me closed my eyes and flung it at the window and crash class broke I open my eyes chair on the bed broken glass and it was gone. I walk up to the window and nothing is there not even foot prints or dented wood a flashlight hits my eyes blinding me i raise my hand to block the beam it was security asking if I was alight we had a earth quake and a gas pipe blew whole towns out. He said did the quake break your window I just said yeah said not a issue they would come back later and get it fix just put up card board and tape it up might be awhile I just noded. The window was fixed my dad came home I didnt bring it up and shortly I moved out to start my life, and for years I moved around but did not see the Deer Woman again for a very long time. I know the story is long so we will do a speed round, got in contact with a shaman back in the Mohave desert where it all started they I was not alot to give details but got a spirit cleanse ceremony and smudging. He told me this would only keep the smaller spirits away but what has attached itself to you will be much harder I cannot help you will need to strengthen your will and spirit like your mother and that power will protect you. In way I knew he was right when my mother reached out and did all those things years ago was over kill but nothing happened. after years of working transfers moving across the nations from Pennsylvanian to Hawaii I land back in Douglas county go figure right. Im married with children we just moved into town to be closer to my wifes parents, staying with them untill apt was ready to move into. So at this point like my mother I have rosary's on door hands blessed salt in the windows, and we have our birth stones blessed and put into the corners of entrances and house corners. I dont cover mirrors but I still lock all closet doors to this day. its now 2016 and while we are sleeping with the window open her parents dont have AC i hear rustling outside the window I didnt think much of it because it was covered in black berry bushes and rose bushes whom ever is going to try and break in is going to have a bad day. I look out side the window and the deer woman is looking in at me, I quickly shook my wife she was pissed to say none the lest i pointed at the window and motioned "shhh" she looked and quickly got wide eye I grabbed her with my left hand preventing her from moving. The Deer Woman looked at me then at the seal of the window as if it was looking at the salt the looked back and forth of the birth stones it looked at my wife then bolted from the window could hear cloping sounds like a horse on the pavement fading away. after it was gone the street lights seemed bright again and the sounds of the crickets came back, my wife was shaking me like WTF was that, I told her thats my cryptid stalker i told you about. She always listened to me and always thought I was going over board but never questioned it she knew I wasent lying. This was her first paranormal encounter and now the window has been opened for her she see shadow people, things moving now she dosent like it want the window closed again but now knows the world just got more scary and is more helpful blessing and protecting the house now. It has visited my wife when I was working late one night she went to let the dogs outside the backyard she opened the door and the dogs quickly nope'd and walked behind her refusing to go out. She was confused and then it dawned on her there was no noise, no bugs, wind, the sounds of cars going to the freeway like she was in a bubble the noises dogs next door were quiet and they never where. She started to look over the backyard she saw nothing then that's when she spotted it, there was a shadow in our neighbors yard under his apple tree. It was the same skull she saw in our window just watching her from the next yard over then it just took a step back and told me it just fell into the shadows like it was water and disappeared and then all the sounds came back. Its now 2020 we live by the mountain side there is no development behind us just empty land, I dont sleep at night to this day still work graveyard. I when I take the dogs out between 1am and 4am he mountains are watching you can hear giggling, screaming, laughing from the hills there is nothing out there Ive taken my dogs up there many times there no way a car can get up there or let alone drunk teens no cans no campires tracks foots prints nothing. My dogs hate going up there so i dont do it, every once and awhile I can feel her watching catch a shadow watching me from the hill standing in rocks a shadow darken then the darkness. I know she is not done with me, but I come to realize that I will be followed for life. Its like a standoff right now, I know shes there she knows I know shes real and I don't know whats next. I don't know what the game is, if death was the answer wouldn't she have just got me those 2 times I was sleeping. I feel like will never have the answers and I will have to pass the strength onto my children so they will be safe in life. I have shared this before but in this version is much long and more detailed then I have ever wrote before.
It was at the tail end of a long shift at 7-11, getting close to midnight. Business had been brisk all day but now there was only the customers going on beer runs and the night shift grabbing coffee and donuts. I manned my till, smiled at people by reflex, and swept every so often. A man with a hoodie, glasses, and a dark green jacket approached the counter. As I started my spiel, he shocked me out of my autopilot by pulling a black handgun from his coat pocket, leveling it at my chest, and then stating his intention to rob the place. “I see,” I said. “This is highly irregular.” “It is,” he agreed. “Yet here we are.” “I suppose you’ve given no thought to the long term viability of your chosen profession? Armed robbery is a notoriously unstable field. The cash in this register looks like a lot, if you grew up with little, but a simple cost benefit analysis will show clearly that the money here is almost comically small compared to the risks one must take to, well, take it. The possibility of arrest, being tackled by a bystander, the small but worrying possibility that I too have a concealed firearm about my person... sure, each individual robbery seems like a slam dunk, but in aggregate the risks are appalling and the payoff is almost the same as a 9 to 5 job. Imagine, if you will, a game of chance at a casino. You must place $200 on the table to play. The dealer takes a deck of cards and draws one at random. If it is any card other than the Ace of Spades, you the gambler earn $1. But if the Ace of Spades is drawn, you lose your $200 stake. “Obviously,” I continued, “on any given draw you are likely to win a dollar. But in the long run, the house always wins- 1 in 52 draws will ruin you, so for every $51 you win, you have to pay $200. It is a fool’s game you are playing.” “We are of an accord,” he said. “I am no mere thug who draws a weapon without thought. I am a man of action, but action must include forethought. “The risks that armed robbers assume are high, as you say. But risks can be compensated for. I have cased this shop for a week- I am familiar with every route in and out. My car is parked the ideal distance away- close enough that I can get to it rapidly, far enough away that no camera can see or witness tie me to it. The camera will not show much with this hoodie and fake glasses. I specifically targeted you here because I live several towns over, so investigating cops will not patrol my own streets. And as long as I do not kill you, this remains a robbery, not a murder. Police budget is tight this fiscal year- criminal investigations must be prioritized. “A gamble I am taking, to be sure,” said the gunman. “But a calculated one. The odds are much more favorable than your posited 52 to 200. I have adjusted them in my favor, and so roll the dice gladly.” I nodded. “Impressive.” “Thank you.” “If appeals to practical costs avail nothing, let me try a new line of attack. Many people think their thievery is directed at some faceless corporation, and therefore bypasses the standard morality of ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ On the surface, perhaps; the store has an insurance policy that covers shoplifting and vandals and robbers. The money stolen from the till will indeed be replaced by a faceless insurance company a day or two after my boss fills out the paperwork. But the simple fact is that the insurance company charges a premium for its services- that cost to doing business is passed on to the consumer by way of pricing. Those bags of candy and the energy drinks in the cooler and the peanuts and the muffins and the ice cream and the beer and the chips and the sodas and the apples and the Advil and the coffee and the Mac ‘n’ Cheese bowls are all expensive as fuck. The mark ups around here are staggering. They have to be. Individuals like yourself force the high pricing to compensate for the premium; just as you have proactively adjusted the odds in your favor, so too do the insurance men. You are not stealing from me, you are not stealing from my boss, and you are not stealing from the 7-11 company, or the insurance agency for that. You are stealing from your fellow citizens. Would you not rather point that gun at an old lady as she walks down the street? Would you be willing to rob a hardworking family man who needs food stamps to get by? Would it not be easier to threaten a child of eight for his pocket change?” “In a word, yes,” said the gunman. “I am aware that I am exploiting society as a whole, and not merely one tiny little subsection of it. But you have not considered carefully enough the structure of the world. “Remember the great Libertarian doctrine that taxation is theft. Therefore, in mathematical certainty, theft is also taxation. Now, you apparently acknowledge the right of the government to steal your money- I suspect you are not plotting anarchist revolution in your spare time. So what line can you draw in the sand between me and the IRS? “That question is rhetorical and easily countered, of course. I am not the government. But the line is drawn because of scale, not of type. Refusal to pay taxes will, eventually and with enough lines crossed, result in armed men visiting your home to take you to prison. I at least am upfront about my coercion. That upfrontness costs me badly, for I have no ‘legitimacy’ per se. The closest historical parallel may be this. Under the Byzantine empire, serfs- which is the closest label the situation has to wageslaves such as yourself, no offense- paid taxes to the Augustus, and considered it to be approximately dead center of the Overton Window. The Byzantines had royal pomp, army after army of soldiers to collect the taxes, centuries of tradition and shared culture bolstering them, and most importantly of all, an obligation to organize and fund large scale civic projects to the benefits of the taxed peasants.” “I was about to say,” I interjected. “You beat me to it. ‘No taxation without representation’ was going to be how I would have phrased it, for the government spends the money to the communal good, in theory, and I get a small say in how and where.” “I could easily challenge that,” said the gunman with a sardonic smile. “If representative democracy indeed dead in the water, what responsibilities have we to preserve the interests of the government?” “A recognition that the government and society are distinct, and that wanton crime harms the second even worse than the first? Honestly. This seems like self-justifying sophistry on your part.” The gunman shrugged. “It is what it is. To get back to the Byzantine metaphor. The peasant, i.e. you, does not do more than grumble when the tax collector comes, for the tax collect has that mystical property of legitimacy. But there is another faction in the world- the Mongol, the Goth, the Vandal, the barbarian from outside the known world who deals in raw violence. The barbarian holds a sword in his hand-“ and here the gunman wiggled his handgun suggestively- “and demands gold. The barbarian lacks legitimacy, to be sure, but one can hardly argue that his position is without merit.” “At least one of us is deeply confused,” I said. “You seem to be justifying yourself by the savage and inhuman doctrine of Might Makes Right. Yet you claim to be in the right by equating your barbarism (your word, not mine) with a legitimate system of government whose very cornerstone is that Might Does Not Make Right.” “You miss a vital piece of the puzzle, which is this: society is not on my side. That ‘legitimate system of government’ representing me and my community does not work to my prosperity. I have sworn no metaphorical oaths of allegiance to the Augustus, and I have sworn no literal oaths of allegiance to the system of government in the here and now. I deny the very concept that the Law is holy and must be obeyed for the common good, for the common good is none of mine. Imagine, if you will, standing before the Heavenly throne as a fresh soul that has never touched flesh before. God says to you, ‘Look, I’m going to send you on down there for a lifetime until you come back to me. You get a choice- you can either be a peasant who works 14 hour days and lives in a mud hut and will be abused and exploited every day of his life, or you can be a one of the Mongol horse archers who lives and dies by the sword. What’s your poison?’ I happen to find myself (quite inadvertently, for I did not as a child dream of a career as an armed robber) in such a position. Who could blame such a soul for choosing the sword instead of the plow?” “Me,” I said. “I can blame you. I hate working for a living too. But I’m behind this counter trading time and energy for cash, and the society that gave birth to me, raised me, protected me, and will one day bury me is slightly better for it. Every impulse towards civilization starts with people like me plugging away at it and contributing to the present and the future, in a spirit of thankfulness for the past.” “Admirable,” said the gunman. “I for one would rather cut off my right hand than to gainsay a man such as you in your lifelong devotion to civic virtue. But I won’t. You shall go your way, and me mine, and we shall both be content.” “Shall we? Shall we truly both be content? Should a cancer patient try to live and let live with the tumor inside him? Shall a lifeboat of marooned sailors agree to disagree with the man who steals the rationed food and water while the others endure with little? Can there truly be anything but war between us- war in the abstract and at a remove, to be sure, but war nonetheless? Those Mongols and Vandals you invoked were met by force of arms, if you’ll recall.” “Society is specialized and stratified- I’m sure you know the old rhyme. ‘Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man-‘ “ “ ‘Thief.’ Yes, I’m familiar with it. You’re saying that society can tolerate bad actors to a degree.” “You have a pretty firm alliance with the bacteria in your stomach, I will say that. That alliance would be imposed by the little wrigglers even if they didn’t contribute to the body as a whole. It seems to work out for everyone. And we’ve already covered how and why I’m willing to try my luck against the specialized profession that is designed to counter me. Society through the government has imposed its prohibitions and laid out its enforcement mechanism; it has done its job. If I can successfully navigate my way to profit through the tangled web of both the rule and the enforcers, well, more power to me. If you think otherwise, then may I ask why you do not descend upon the lawless life-stealers of Wall Street with fire and sword? One white collar guy playing jump rope with the law can wipe out the life savings of hundreds and thousands of families with a click of a mouse.” I considered this thoughtfully. “I assume there is no point in pitching you the idea of meaningful education and gainful employment as surer paths to success than armed robbery.” “I already weighed such options. The problem is that I’m good at plotting methods to attack people and places, and I’m good with guns. Hence why I’m here. Like my old man would say, do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” The gunman sighed. “Earlier, you accused me of sophistry. I’m afraid that is basically accurate. All the rhetoric followed after the impulse. And the impulse is as simple as any other great truth around which a life can revolve. That truth is this- I am a man. I was designed by God or by nature to stand tall, to own a permanent and invulnerable home, to set my life as I see fit, and to enjoy the fruit of my own labor. I was meant to join with likeminded folk in a spirit of camaraderie and community and to take no abuse from anyone. I am a man. I was supposed to build, to fix what was passed down to me, to fight in defense of everything that is valuable and irreplaceable. “And I can’t. It just isn’t an option anymore. My work is done for the profit of others. The egalitarian spirit that all men are created equal- not in ability, but in worth- has been denied and sneered at for too long. The sanctity of my home has been violated; can not the police shatter my door and shoot my dog as they see fit? Even the simple assertion that a man must fight a bully has been barred by law, for honest fights in defense of self-worth and self-esteem have been banned, even as the law had banned the perverse aristocratic imitation of dueling. Were a man to spit on me and call me a faggot or a nigger or a dumb fucking chink or a retard or a sister-fucker, and I was to break his nose for the insult, the police would crackdown on me and ruin my life with an assault charge. It is too late to fight for that which is valuable and irreplaceable; that fight is over and my side lost. How can a free man with pride exist under such conditions? How can a tree grow from salted soil? “I am a man, and I will not be a slave. I am undoubtedly better off than a slave in chains, but a slave to circumstance is still not free. Well, I will live as a warrior before kneeling as a serf. The savage liberty of the barbarian at the gates is a pale imitation of the free man in a just and democratic society, but I will take the imitation since it’s all that is left for me. If I seize not the gun, I will live for decades as a servant to ‘better’ men; and I shall not. “If I fall into foolish logic puzzles and contradictions trying to turn this impulse into words, so be it. The impulse remains nonetheless.” I nodded. “Tell you what-“ I grabbed a receipt someone had left behind before the gunman showed up at my store and scribbled some numbers on it, hiding my writing from him. I stuffed the number in my pocket. “The register doesn’t open without this number. I absolutely refuse to open the till for you, but if you gun me down, you can grab that note and open it yourself.” “I could beat you up and just take the note without killing you, perhaps? If I shoot you, well, that impacts my odds of capture.” “Yes,” I said, “but I have a box cutter here that I use to break down cardboard in the back. I don’t know if I can win, but I can make you kill me to avoid getting slashed up. I assume you would not want drops of your blood at the crime scene.” “Very true. And I appreciate the sporting gesture of writing the number down.” “So here we are. You want the money, which I estimate to be about $1,200 between the two registers, you need to shed blood.” The silence hung heavy over everything else. My chest was tight and my breathing was shallow. The gunman held his gun at a forty five degree angle aimed at the counter between us, and it wavered up and down slightly, as though he was trying to decide whether or not to kill me. “I’m honestly not clear what your angle here is,” he said. “This is contrary to store policy, surely; you’re supposed to just give me the money.” “My angle is the same as yours, really. I too am a man, and I too chafe under the modern destruction of liberty. And I too yearn to fight in a holy crusade in defense of all that is valuable and irreplaceable. Today, that means I’m going to make you kill me. That’s what civilized men do when the barbarians are at the gate. You aren’t an idiot, you know damn well that if you carry that gun into enough shoppettes eventually you’ll have to kill someone. You appear to have accepted the possibility. Well, it’s no mere possibility now. You want the money, kill me. Smell the gunpowder in the air, feel the gunshot ring your ears, see the dark blood pool under me spread and spread and spread. Feel your hands shake as the enormity of what you’ve done sinks in. Motherfucker, I am a man, and you don’t get to rob my store without paying the price for it.” The gunman stared hard into my eyes, and myself not being a poker player at all I could not read the intent. “I don’t really have to, do I? There are other stores. Hell, I can come back tomorrow and see if whoever is on shift then has less spine. My plan is still basically sound.” “Pure cowardice. If you aren’t willing to be a proper Mongol and commit to barbarism, you have no business pretending you are a barbarian. If you refuse to kill me tonight, what do you intend to do in a month when someone tries to tackle you from behind mid-robbery? Stop being a little bitch and either open fire or get the fuck out of my store.” He raised the gun in one smooth motion, leveling it in my face just far enough away that I could not lunge forward to try to grab it. He said something, but I didn’t hear it. I was staring at the muzzle too hard. When he left, I don’t think he was truly any happier than he was before.
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