Dixie chopper 60 zero turn mower
A very expensive, but valuable lesson
2023.06.01 14:36 Jvinsnes A very expensive, but valuable lesson
Grab a cup of tea, this is a long one!
It started with me selling a gaming PC to a guy, lets call him Bob. I met up with him and had agreed on 400$ on beforehand. Despite this, he offered my to trade it for the phone he got from work, as he didn't need it and didn't have any money. It retailed for 1000$ new and 700$ used so this was a no brainer after confirming it was not locked or anything. Later that day I sold the phone for 800$ and didn't hear from either Bob or the guy who bought the phone.
A few years later, I sold a graphics card to Bob, not realizing it was the same guy. We made a deal that he would pay within next week and signed a contract for it. This was the first mistake I made. In the following days he upgraded it to a better graphics card that I also sold and paid the 200$ more that this card was worth in cash right away, so we didn't have to mess with a new contract. Later, He wanted to downgrade to a cheaper one that I had for 200$, because he realized he wouldn't get any money. Because I wanted him to buy the more expensive one, I told him I could wait until next payday and scratched the expiring contract. I sent him off with both cards, as he wanted to test and compare them. (second mistake).
A month passed and I contacted him. No response. Shit... I just lost both graphics cards and it is my fault. A few more messages and attempts to contact him through email, text, call and Facebook I gave up and was about to file a police report, but then I recognized Bob while on my way home from work and got to talk with him. He was very apologetic and explained that he got a new phone number and sent me a text so I got his new number. It was all good... Or so I thought...
He didn't have the money now, but told me next week he would. I was too soft and let it go. Then next week, and next week, and next week. There was always an excuse to why he didn't have the money. I said ok let me just get them back and you can contact me when you have the money. Of course he didn't have them anymore. He said it was left at his brothers house, as that's where he tested them (he probably sold them and spent the money). I asked if he had anything else he could pay me with, phone, computer, scooter or anything. I was tired of this crap and didn't want to have anything to do with him anymore. It ended with him buying a phone on a down payment plan and giving it to me as soon as he got it. Fair enough, I went to the post office with him and got the phone right away. Listed it online and sold it for a lot more than what he owed me. I was happy.
At this point, I though Bob was just terrible at economics, but an honest man. Boy was I wrong, it gets worse! A couple moths later he called me and said he needed money today and if I wanted another phone to sell. I didn't want to pay him before I had it in my hand, but in the end we agreed I would pay 100$ now, and the other 300$ when I got it and I could sell it for 900$. I watched him ordering the phone and then gave him the money after seeing myself that the order went through.
While waiting for the phone to arrive, I drove him to friends houses, stores, parties or whatever a few times and he paid well. usually 60-100$ for a 1 hour drive. This got me hooked. I was so obsessed with making this money I started to loose my common sense. The last couple times I drove him, He couldn't pay right away, but promised he would eventually.
He needed some money again and I ended up buying his current phone and sold it for double after using the phone myself for some time. He said he could pay everything he owed me if he could borrow my welding equipment to fix a motorcycle he had, so he could sell it and pay me back. I handed him the 4k worth of equipment I had. Then I didn't hear from him again. Text, calls, email, facebook, nothing. How could I be this stupid?!
Ten the guy that bought the last phone from me contacted me demanding a refund because it was reported stolen. I didn't believe him in the beginning, but after calling my cellular provider, I confirmed it was IMEI locked due to an ongoing police investigation. I showed up at Bob's apartment and luckily, he was home. I asked what the hell was going on? He said someone broke into his apartment and stole almost everything, including the welding equipment and the phone he bought as a replacement. That's why he wouldn't respond. As he reported his phone stolen, he apparently reported the wrong IMEI. The IMEI to the phone that I just sold. I actually looked in his apartment and literally everything was gone. Just a couch and a table left.
Had to pay back the guy I sold the phone to, and have it returned to me. So now I was stuck with a stolen phone and lost 4k worth of welding equipment. This isn't even half the story, but it gets way to long and confusing. It is simply so much mess, back and forth, money here and there, mostly cash and unwritten agreements I wouldn't stand a chance in court. Zero evidence apart from the first 200$ contract and the police case he had for the break-in. But of course, it turned out my stuff was never involved in the break-in. He probably sold as soon as he got it. Now his apartment is empty and for sale and I haven't seen or heard from Bob in about a year, despite trying everything I can to get in touch with him. Police, insurance company, cellular provider, and my bank can't do anything to help me.
I was stupid, blinded by my greediness and lost over 4k left with zero evidence. Lesson learned, never sell anything before you have the money, and make sure to sign a contract for anything worth more than you are willing to loose.
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2023.06.01 07:42 RemnantEvil [Video games journalism] When a writer's punished for having the wrong opinion and leads a tiny exodus of hobbyists
What is Rock, Paper, Shotgun?
Rock, Paper, Shotgun (RPS) is a PC-gaming focused site based in the UK that was started in 2007. It has the usual gaming site content – Top 5/10/50/100 lists, publisher or developer press releases dressed up as news, reviews, previews, press event reports, a podcast, and – important to this story – a comment section below articles where gamers and capital-G Gamers, left-wing and right-wing alike, can find unity in complaining that their favourite was inappropriately placed in the aforementioned Top 5/10/50/100 lists.
(Fun fact: one of the co-founders of RPS was Kieron Gillen, who has since worked on Uncanny X-Men, Young Avengers, Marvel’s Darth Vader, and co-created Doctor Aphra.)
Of note, RPS bucks the generally apolitical nature of gaming sites by being quite openly left-wing. Though it generally isn’t a feature of many articles, it does show up on occasion, and not always in the best light. For instance, this article
that has an unusual bone to pick with Rainbow Six Siege having a female hostage in the E3 demo. Despite Tom Clancy himself having a reputation as a conservative, and that’s pretty evident in his fiction, the Rainbow Six series has been unusually progressive in having women fighting terrorists alongside the men since the inception, and Siege was no exception. It was actually quite rare in the ‘90s that a woman not named Lara Croft was involved in the action alongside the boys, so it does seem like an article about Rainbow Six’s treatment of women is more about having a bone to pick.
(Editorial note: I do not believe a person’s identity is political. Some people do. There’s a saying that applies to capital-G Gamers – “There are two genders: male and political.” Often when they decry keeping politics out of video games, it’s directed at any sort of inclusion. So, the political slant on this is just to point out that left-wing people are generally pro-trans and right-wing people are generally not. Spoiler alert, this is a discussion about trans people.) What is wargaming?
Within gaming, there are genres. Wargaming is one of them, and quite niche. Within the genre, there’s a diverse spectrum of passion. Some would consider themselves wargaming fans if they played and liked the Total War series. More hardcore wargamers would vehemently disagree and look down their nose at a game that has giant men standing on a world map; in their minds, wargaming is the domain of the chit and NATO symbology – a whole other language where a rectangular with an X through it represents an infantry unit, and the number of Xs or Is above the rectangle represents its size from XXXXX being army group, XX being division, II as battalion or I as company. (Give me hexes or give me death!) But in general, it’s operational (think the Italian campaign of WWII), strategic (the invasion of Sicily the Allies), or tactical (taking a specific town in Sicily with a regiment), and generally turn-based but occasionally real-time. You won’t find Age Of Empires in this genre, for instance.
Wargaming is not exclusive to the digital space either, and it’s just as likely to be played around an enormous table with intricate landscapes, pushing 8mm, 15mm or bigger pieces, usually hand-painted, and rolling dice. They’ll have a hefty rulebook in hand to consult how many dice you roll and what sort of success you need in order for your British mortar team to successfully knock out the German machine gun nest on the rooftop. Warhammer 40K is the most famous example, but that’s a single guy per base; the deeper wargames have a single base representing a squad or platoon stuck together to move as a group.
(The more hardcore have taken on the moniker grognards, a reference to old soldiers and specifically the original Imperial Guard that fought under Napoleon at Waterloo.) What’s The Flare Path?
Among the contributors to RPS was one named Tim Stone, who started writing for the site as soon as it was founded. (I cannot use anonymity, so the usual sub rules apply about leaving people alone; Tim’s still writing and in order to engage with this drama, we have to link articles that clearly have his name on them.) There’s a distinction between staff and contributors; staff were full-time employees of the business, whereas contributors are just freelancers who pop in and out. He was not a run-of-the-mill writer who would guzzy up press releases, Tim only had one ongoing feature called The Flare Path with a supplemental Friday Foxer. Though he started out doing little comics under the title Strafe Left, he moved on to reviews and features before creating the regular feature The Flare Path in 2011.
The title The Flare Path is a reference to the lights that outline runways, allowing aircraft to take off or land at night. And that is a pretty good summation of the feature, because Tim’s focus was exclusively on wargaming and simulations, which could mean directing squadrons of aircraft to take off for a mission, or yourself piloting a plane to a gentle landing guided by the flare path. Every Friday, you would just as likely find an article about a game where you drive a train in rural England as you would a wargame where you command Roman legions in that very same countryside. Among the regular features were A2Z articles, where Tim would have short snippets for each letter of the alphabet, with Q often necessarily “Quick tea break” due to the infrequency of that letter showing up. For instance, a new ARMA game might be A, then teasing a review of Battle Brothers is B, and so on, just a fun way to wrap up a lot of short bits of news that don’t have enough meat for a full article.
Another article type would see Tim break out of his usual Friday containment and run communal games, typically Combat Mission. Combat Mission is a WWII/Cold War turn-based tactics game where you’d queue up orders to your units that would then be executed for 60 seconds, during which the other side would be executing their own orders and you’d simply have to watch how your planning and preparation plays out. And it turns out, this is surprisingly adaptable to a group game – Tim would grid the map, lay out a scenario, identify the units and the objectives, and then people would comment below the article to give instructions. You could only move one unit in a turn and you had to be the first to claim that unit, but you’d say, for example, “I’d like to move 1st Squad to H3 and try to suppress the machine gun,” and Tim would take your comment and play it out. The next day, he’d do a little narrative report on who did what, where, and when, and what the enemy did in response, in a fun narrative way, even naming characters who pulled off particularly heroic or cowardly feats. Then he’d update the map, and the next turn begins.
Alongside his regular article, he’d also post a Friday Foxer. He’d have a variety of different games in the Foxer genre, and often rewarded correct answers with prizes – usually codes for games that developers gave him. One type was giving clues to a location and the readers would have to deduce where Tim was “standing” that fit all the criteria. Others were Catchphrase-like messages hidden in images that you’d need to decode, or a series of seemingly-unrelated images which had a theme that you’d need to identify.
I go on these tangents to emphasize that Tim had built himself a little community on RPS. While contributors did reply to reader comments in articles, Tim was often playing a game with readers, which endeared him to some people. Not only that, if you were interested in wargaming or simulations, any article on RPS about those genres was typically Tim’s domain. For a certain group, Tim was the only regular source of news on two niche genres, and the only reason to read RPS if the newest action game or looter-shooter didn’t appeal to you. There was and (spoilers) is nothing like The Flare Path and the Foxers on RPS, as far as actual engagement with the article itself through community wargames or puzzles.
Equally important, wargaming itself is niche enough that there are few others who do what Tim does. Wargaming.net is actually the name of the company who makes World Of Tanks, World Of Warships and others – ironically, none of which would qualify as wargames and would barely pass musters as simulations either. Wargamer has infrequent articles. The best podcast on the subject is Three Moves Ahead (which originally launched as the podcast for the now-defunct Flash Of Steel website), but the podcast is infrequent as well, is primarily focused on a single game per episode (though with comparisons made by the host or guests to other games), and has a bit too much focus on Total War or every single new Paradox DLC for Crusader Kings at the exclusion of more niche titles.
On a weekly schedule, Tim became a stable pair of hands, and was directing his community to support all sorts of up-and-comers who were otherwise ignored or neglected or just invisible to wider gaming press.
I also want to point out that there’s an often-unspoken ethical question at the core of wargaming as a hobby. To his credit, Tim often wrote about it, and would even avoid wargaming topics as a matter of sensitivity to significant dates. As players in this hobby, we are moving chits around that represent thousands of people and though nobody obviously dies, wargaming frequently deals with historical events and it’s something we need to be aware of. Tim would frequently muse in his articles or bring it up in interviews with developers – to paraphrase, what we’re doing for “fun” is essentially turning some very dark times in human history into entertainment, and to what extent should we be aware of that? Should we want to simulate “playing” as Germany to conquer Europe, which in the real world resulted in tens of millions of innocent and not-so-innocent people dying? It’s a tough conversation to have and Tim chose to engage with it, which probably put him offside with some of his readers, because it’s a topic that actually genuinely is bringing politics into gaming, unlike a lot of the gaming discourse. A journalist is booted off a fictional radio for being a bit TERFy, resulting in a journalist being booted off a website for being a bit TERFy.
The inciting incident for this drama is an article
posted in 2020 about a UK journalist who was one of several used by game developer Ubisoft to provide voiceovers for the video game Watch Dogs Legion. In the article, it is revealed that this journalist had in the past posted a 2017 The Times article titled “A man can’t just say he has turned into a woman.”
What is TERF? Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist, which probably spiked the Google charts more recently with The Author Who Shall Not Be Named. I will add this disclaimer, I am inferring things about Tim when I call him a TERF, and maybe I’m giving too much credit. I don’t know if Tim Stone is a feminist, so I’m giving the benefit of the doubt, and I wear that. The author of The Times article is a self-proclaimed feminist, and does claim to support trans right, but according to the RPS article, “(She) uses familiar hand-wringing about biological sex, transgender identification as a trend, and people with penises in women's changing rooms.” I’ll leave it up to your judgement whether you think either is an actual TERF or not.
In an unusual move, one Tim Stone showed up in the comments of the above article, and that’s the meat of this drama. The Alamo but with TERFs.
The comments, as you can imagine, were completely chill since obviously “censoring” a “journalist” in a “video game” for “anti-trans views” outside of the game itself is just the perfect intersection of everything political on an internet forum possible. (The voiceover in the game was scripted by Ubisoft and was itself not an issue; they were choosing to remove the voiceover to remove association with the journalist based on their views.)
One user wrote:
there are diverse voices within RPS when it comes to games, genres, preferences etc but I would say (and i’d be prepared to be challenged on this) there is zero diversity in respect of political views and arguable groupthink and alignment particularly around trans issues.
To which Tim opined:
There's at least one regular RPS contributor who'd like to see the site show a little more respect for the gender critical position in the trans rights debate. Me.
He proceeded to link several articles, saying,
I agree with all those arguing for more constructive discussion and less name-calling in this debate.
And we’re off to the races.
One commenter wrote:
never mind 'gender critical' being an obvious dogwhistle, it boggles the mind that you think "trans rights debate" is an acceptable string of words in 2020
trans rights are human rights, this shit isn't a debate
And significantly, it wasn’t just site users who were chiming in. Another writer for RPS came in guns blazing:
The "gender critical position" is tired snivelling cowardice hiding behind Very Real Concerns while throwing shit at the people whose lives are routinely treated like an intellectual excercise. [sic]
I am frankly embarrassed [sic] to see you repeating such dogwhistling bullshit. The obviously lying "I am cancelling my subscription!!!" oafs in here are one thing, but this is just sad.
What the writer was alluding to was the typical capital-G Gamer response to anything political (and often something is only “political” if they don’t like it), namely “Get your politics out of my video games.” Often the corollary of that was “..or I’m getting out of your website.”
The inciting article is itself tame. Incredibly tame. As referenced earlier, it has the usual games journalism scent of just dressing up a press release. At the most judgemental, they referenced that the voiceover-providing journalist had “some pretty ugly opinions about transgender people” and “that’s decidedly not neat,” which is just the lovely understatement you get from British people. “This is a bit bothersome” was, I believe, repeatedly uttered during the Blitz.
I won’t bore with copying over more comments, but it gets quite heated – although Tim seems to remain quite collected in the comments, which does have an air that he isn’t aware of what kind of hornet’s nest he’s kicked. The most noteworthy exchange is between a user and Tim, where the user writes:
It is distressing that you think my rights as a trans person are subject to some sort of "trans rights debate," and that "gender critical" is anything but a dog whistle for the same transphobic rhetoric as I've always been subject to, but now behind a veneer of intellectualism and civil discourse.
This isn't a matter of left and right, it's a matter of respect for other human beings. Good to know at least one RPS writer has none for me.
And Tim’s response:
I have profound respect for you and your life choices.
I also believe that questions like "Should trans women be allowed to compete in female sports?" and "Should male-bodied trans women be housed in womens' prisons?" are worthy of debate.
To forbid all debate on "trans rights" and to seek to silence and cancel people who don't unquestioningly support one side of the argument seems horribly totalitarian to me.
If you were to take an unfriendly view of Tim, this might be it – calling a person’s transition a “life choice”, and then putting the question of trans rights up for debate, calling the desire not to debate someone’s human rights “totalitarian.”
In all, Tim would comment eight times, with his last being:
Some proposed trans rights clash with women's rights in certain areas. It is not bigoted to point this out or advocate debate so that compromises can be reached. Overrunning the drop zone.
Five days later, the RPS Twitter account posts this tweet
Trans rights are human rights. We strive to create an inclusive space for all people. Earlier this week, a freelancer used the RPS comments section to express views that failed in that goal. We will no longer be working with this freelancer or publishing their column.
And just like that, the flares are snuffed and Tim’s time at RPS comes to an abrupt end after 13 years of service.
The responses, I’m sure you can imagine, are the usual volleys from the usual battle lines. Left-wing and trans rights people are chuffed to bits, believing that an insidious TERF has been weeded out from RPS. They view his comments about bathrooms and sports as the usual dogwhistle, typical of the alt-right where the goal is to draw increasingly smaller circles to exclude trans people from one thing after another until they ultimately cannot exist in society. Gamers with a right-wing focus and wargamers (and those are not mutually exclusive) try to cancel culture RPS, many declaring that they’d never return to the site for this grave injustice. And for wargamers, that’s pretty easy; Tim was the only one catering to their genre appetite, and there literally was no reason to return without Tim. The most vanilla response was those who didn’t care about the comment section conflict at all and just wanted their dang wargaming news.
(The wargaming audience was not exclusively on the right-wing - the creator of one of the biggest wargaming podcasts showed up in the comments too, and took a distinctly anti-Tim and pro-trans stance.)
The last (spoilers, not really) article posted by Tim was a typical A2Z column, and became somewhat of a shrine to him. Of note, the very user to whom Tim gave his perhaps most damning response showed up:
Please don't assume Tim is a TERF. I was involved, and indeed in lots of was responsible for what happened on the other forum which i am devastated by.
I am trans and Tim replied in support of a view that i expressed! He shared some views and links to articles (including one from a trans blogger) that many people (including many trans people) would agree with. And even if they didn't, and Alison below articulates the position better than i could, its not like he went on an alt right tirade. This is a reasonable person making reasonable views very politely and and commenter whether they agreed with those or not has gained nothing from what happened subsequently, and we have all collectively lost something.
Flare Path fans were somewhat split. The most mild responses were critical of RPS for how they booted Tim out the door without a second chance; some were concerned that it’s not a great way to win allies and convince people. Throw in the usual snippets: “cancel culture” and references to “The Inquisition”, and a number of people saying their farewells to RPS. In an odd way – and I did it myself by calling this a shrine – the comment section really does feel like the man died, with some outright coming to, quote, “pay their respects”.
Of particular note, a user named hms_pepperpot shows up, and it looks like it’s Tim. I have no evidence to the contrary and the phrasing is close enough that I’m willing to believe it. But wait, Tim was posting as Tim Stone in the inflamed comment section, right? Yep, the divorce was so swift and decisive that they even blocked his access to his old username, or deleted it entirely – either way, he was in the comments to say goodbye under an alias.
Leaving RPS without being able to say a proper goodbye to you, the readers who have made my job such a joy this past thirteen years, has been one of the most depressing aspects of the last few days. Your enthusiasm was as important to The Flare Path's modest success as the complete creative freedom Graham afforded me. Thank you for making possible the happiest years of my working life.
While the Flare Path name is destined for the scrap heap, the concept and spirit of the column will hopefully live on. I'm planning to pick up pretty much where I left off early in the new year. An article devoted to the FP game jam entries will be amongst the first pieces I post. Of course, there will be foxers too.
To readers hurt by my words last weekend, all I can say is a heartfelt sorry - I didn't set out to wound and have no wish whatsoever to make the lives of trans people more difficult. To readers baffled by the comments that ended up costing me my job, I strongly recommend reading a thoughtful essay written by Sam Smethers, the CEO of respected British women's rights charity The Fawcett Society. Google 'Sex and Gender Indentity: Finding a Way Forward' and you should find it.
See you in 2021 I hope. Tim.
Of note, HMS Pepperpot is a reference to warship HMS Penelope. With Tim’s penchant for riddles and puzzles, it is not likely a coincidence that:
On wartime service with Force K, she was holed so many times by bomb fragments that she acquired the nickname "HMS Pepperpot".
Though Tim had some in agreement with his views in the inciting comment section, he was undoubtedly outnumbered and taking a lot of flak. Napoleon’s exile on Elba.
Some time later, Tim would resurface on a new site of his own creation, Tally-Ho Corner. Very much The Flare Path with a new coat of paint, he would carry on with his regular columns on a weekly basis. The Foxers returned, as did A2Z and communal wargaming. RPS, for their part, did not seem to fight to keep the column to themselves. There was a small exodus as RPS had once been a PC gaming site with a wargaming/simulation column, to just a PC gaming site. Those with only an interest in those genres left; there was nothing for them anymore. An unknown number followed Tim to his new endeavour and made themselves known over there. Striking out on his own has costs, however, and Tim sells membership and banner space to those who wish to help out. He has made follow-up requests since Tally-Ho Corner started which would indicate that it isn’t a profitable venture; he says he only wants enough to support the site, and seems to be happy to continue for the love of the hobby. He has alluded to the site not breaking even, so you can infer from that what you want about the size of the Flare Path exodus. Like I said, it’s a very niche hobby, so even 100% of Flare Path readers might not constitute a large number. One of the posts with the most engagements is a community vote on the best PC wargames; two years old, it has 144 comments and a closed comment section, so you could probably extrapolate a rough guess on readers versus commenters to see how popular the site is.
Tim would make the occasional comment about his past misadventure, but generally seemed to just carry on. Others would fight for or against him in other corners of the internet, but publicly, Tim seemed done with the whole thing and happy to just get back to writing about games.
The most blatant reference was an A2Z at the start of this year. No longer than any other entry (remember, he’s filling out 26 entries in a week, they’re usually just snippets), the entry “P is for Pointless provocation” in its entirety:
If, after my bruising departure from RPS in 2020, I had decided to start work on a “cathartic” retro FPS about gunning down dogmatic ‘trans allies’, I hope someone – a friend, colleague, or family member – would have taken me to one side and said “Tim, WTF are you doing?”. Unfortunately, no-one seems to have urged Norwegian coder Sandra Moen to think again. If they had perhaps the nasty Terfenstein 3D wouldn’t have made it onto Steam. Tim’s back, baby! But it’s not him! But it is!
In a strange, quite dickish move, an RPS writer recycled an old Flare Path to come up with “The 25 best simulation games on PC”
, with the writer credited… even though it was copied from Tim’s 2015 article
. Tim called it out in an A2Z, as “H is for Hire a new sim correspondent, you cheapskates”, and that really sums it up – they were not rewriting the list, rearranging it, or updating it, they were literally copying the original list over and slapping a new author’s name on it.
If you click the above link, you’ll see that the article now has Tim as the author, changed retroactively (again). That in itself added a new element of drama, as readers who showed up after the edit were surprised by a new article from Mr Flare Path himself. Though it says “updated” in 2022, the giveaway is that the comments are predominantly from 7 years ago, when it was originally posted. One commenter, who I’ll take at their word, seemed to be witnessing the Stalin-esque rewriting of history in real time:
Wow, I just saw that Tim Stone's name has been removed. He was there as author when I first saw it this morning, with a note about it being updated by someone else. Now his name has been fully removed as the original author. I don't know what to say, but it feels icky to rewrite history like that, very 1984.
Update - now it says article by Holly, Additional Contributions by Tim Stone. Still not accurate (seems to be the reverse or reality) but at least the original author's name is in there somewhere again.
(Not calling anyone over there a tyrant or communist or anything, merely referencing that infamous photo where people are removed one by one as they fall afoul of the Stalin regime. In this instance, taking Tim’s work and crediting to someone else, then crediting Tim in addition to the new writer, then finally just calling it a Tim article.)
People noticed that the “updated” tag was the last attempt to hide in plain sight, since there was nothing updated about the list. It was identical to the one posted by Tim in 2015. And the clue was that, according to RPS, no simulation game had managed to crack the list since 2015; the “youngest” game on the list was 7 years old (now 8), a title shared by Farming Simulator 15 and Train Simulator 15.
15, of course, being the year both games released and the year Tim wrote the list.
An odd move to dig up the bones of the past, both the article and Tim’s involvement with RPS, for a single cheap parlour trick. Needless to say, if you search for Tim Stone contributions on RPS now, his “shrine” – a pretty typical A2Z Flare Path – is not his most recent contribution to the site. Instead, it’s “The 25 best simulation games on PC” from 8 years ago.
Fittingly, in the comment section below, the most recent post is by someone seemingly oblivious to the drama surrounding Tim Stone, RPS and trans rights. They’re instead complaining that two other motor racing games were left off the list. And really, there’s probably no better tribute to the community.
submitted by RemnantEvil
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2023.06.01 04:00 Analypiss Durability
Key and explanation of periods where Juggernaut was stronger or weaker than normal
Durability w/ Force Field/Armor
Durability w/o Force Field/Armor
submitted by Analypiss
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2023.06.01 01:52 Mysterious-Parsnip-2 My MIL is financially irresponsible and completely delusional.
First time poster so here it goes.
My MIL is completely irresponsible with money. She is $20,000 in credit card debit, doesn't own a home, barely holding a job, has ZERO retirement while living in one of the most expensive cites--Phoenix, AZ. We bought our new home last year and we agreed that we weren't going to participate in her irresponsible financial behavior so, we have not allowed her to fly across the country to visit us (we live in South Carolina). She rambles on and on about how living a life of service (she is a glorified art teacher, no clinical degree or license) is her destiny and she AND YET spends lavishing on things and trips she can't afford and begs others for money. She vilifies anyone who makes money (I'm a Orthopedic Certified Specialist in Physical Therapy and she thinks I am immoral because I get paid for my services).
We have tried to tell her-- gently at first and when that didn't work, we started to apply the pressure--that at 60 years old she needs to make better choices because her actions are going to cause her 4 children a LOT of burden and hardship in the future because elder care is EXPENSIVE. And that her debt is unmanageable, and she needs to make changes to mitigate this. This all falls on deaf ears and she lashes out when we ask her to demonstrate positive growth.
She refuses to change and accept responsibility. She is constantly blaming others and projecting her behavior. It is eating away at my partner because he loves his mother, but this behavior is toxic. She has verbally abused us when we establish reasonable boundaries and continues to turn other family members against us because we are trying to hold her accountable to her actions (both financial and lack of emotional intelligence).
If anyone has any advice, it would be much appreciated. I am constantly walking this tightrope of "stay out of it, protect yourself" and "fuck, she's not going to treat people that I love like this."
Thank you for your time,
TLDR: My MIL has no retirement, no savings. She is narcissist and has no accountability for her neurotic behavior and I am completely at a loss for what to do. Please help.
submitted by Mysterious-Parsnip-2
to inlaws [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 23:15 LongjumpingPeach2925 What kind of lawnmower for a lawn with a lot of hills
I grew up in a big “concrete jungle” city where grass was a luxury, so I have virtually zero knowledge about lawn care. But I bought a house with a big lawn with a lot of hills (some with sizeable grading like ~50%+) before realizing how dumb that was.
It seems too much to mow with a push mower. I bought a regular riding mower, but I’m afraid every time I go up and down the hills, I’d flipping over or something. I tried one of my friends zero turn mowers (he said it would be better for my situation), but I felt like it would tip over even more on a small hill he had.
Am I just being a wuss? Is there other types of mowers I should look into? Or special features that would help me deal with this issue.
submitted by LongjumpingPeach2925
to lawnmowers [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 20:32 marsvolta13 Help - When AC Turns on, Air Handler Stops Fan
Recently installed a Nest, and when the AC kicks on, the air handler fan turns off. Essentially nothing is coming out of the vents, but the AC is running.
My house previously was setup on the old thermostat to run the air handler fan 24/7 (i.e. air is always blowing out of the vents) - I prefer this as it helps circulate the cooler air in the basement to the rest of the house.
I have the nest fan schedule to 'always on' and set to run for 60 mins of every hour, yet without fail when the AC unit outside kicks on, the fan turns off. It even shows the fan still running on the nest when i walk by it, but there is definitely no air coming out and the air handler is off.
I have it on heat & cool, with lower and upper boundaries - if I set the upper boundary above the current temp, the AC will turn off and the fan will turn back on automatically, so i know it can control it just fine.
This is frustrating - its wasting money turning on the AC and not cooling the house at all.
Even more, I have manually hit the fan button and make it run - (run for next 12 hours for example) and then both the AC and fan runs for a couple minutes, AND THEN THE FAN SHUTS OFF AGAIN WHILE THE AC IS RUNNING. it even says its running for the next 12 hours but its off!!
If I am not actively watching the system, and turning the fan off/on every 5 minutes, it will not cool the house and waste a shitload of money, I literally can't reliably get the fan to run at all while the AC is on. I had ZERO issues with the previous thermostat.
is this a nest issue? or perhaps something else?
submitted by marsvolta13
to Nest [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 20:17 weluvmusic Beatport Drum & Bass Top 100 May 2023
GENRE Drum and Bass RELEASE DATE 2023-05-29 CHART DATE 2023-05-02 AUDIO FORMAT MP3 320kbps CBR 44.1 kHz SIZE 926MB beatport.com/genre/drum-bass/1/top-100
- Eksman, Hedex - MHITR (Semi-Automatic) [feat. Eksman] (Original Mix) (02:54)
- Phibes - Bassdrop (Original Mix) (02:52)
- Rusko, Mozey - Hands In The Air (VIP) (03:06)
- Mozey - Break It Down (VIP) (03:24)
- Sub Focus - Fine Day (Original Mix) (03:52)
- Bennie - Mercenary (Original Mix) (03:40)
- Odd Mob - LEFT TO RIGHT (Subsonic Remix) (04:05)
- Amplify - Skrewface (Original Mix) (04:38)
- Lockerz - The Noise (T95 Remix) (04:27)
- Logan, Jappa, Napes - Full English (Original Mix) (05:37)
- Amplify - Get Out (Original Mix) (04:32)
- Supermode, 1991 - Tell Me Why (1991 Remix) (04:04)
- Amplify - Machine (Original Mix) (03:55)
- Paul T & Edward Oberon - Somewhere Else (Serum Remix) (04:46)
- DJ Zinc - Super Sharp Shooter (T>I & D*Minds 'Run In The Jungle' Remix) (04:02)
- Zero T - On the M.I.C (Original Mix) (04:08)
- London Elektricity, Liane Carroll - Billion Dollar Gravy (Watch The Ride Remix) (04:52)
- Ella Henderson, Switch Disco - REACT (Culture Shock Remix) (03:27)
- Formula - Workin (Original Mix) (04:16)
- Sub Focus, ACO - Vibration (One More Time) (Original Mix) (04:02)
- Jappa, Napes - Where Is The Promoter (Original Mix) (03:12)
- Lens, Javeon, Pola & Bryson, goddard. - Way Up (Original Mix) (03:22)
- Toxinate - Nope (Original Mix) (03:43)
- Amplify - Warmed Up (Original Mix) (04:34)
- Basstripper - Ricochet (Original Mix) (03:45)
- Ed Solo, Deekline, General Levy - Junglist (Kleu VIP Remix) (03:46)
- Kanine - Take Me Up (Original Mix) (03:35)
- Sota - Wait For Me (Original Mix) (02:51)
- Harriet Jaxxon - Story Of Women (Original Mix) (02:42)
- B Live, Bou - F*ck Jump Up (feat. B Live) (Original Mix) (03:44)
- Disrupta - Come In (Original Mix) (03:02)
- Particle - Let It Go (Original Mix) (03:26)
- Turno - Killer (Original Mix) (03:40)
- TC - Tap Ho (Formula Remix) (04:18)
- Trex - Out The Box (Original Mix) (05:07)
- Bennie - Black Belt (Original Mix) (02:57)
- Deekline, Specimen A - The Fugitive (Original Mix) (03:01)
- Formula - Now You See Me (Original Mix) (04:20)
- Fatman D, Amplify - You Better Move (Original Mix) (04:35)
- Pola & Bryson, Emily Makis - Phoneline (Original Mix) (03:46)
- Ozone, Bennie - Goose Chase (Original Mix) (04:48)
- Kanine - Ultralight (A.M.C Remix) (03:49)
- Doktor, Sigma, Watch the Ride - Trouble You (Original Mix) (02:45)
- Ekko & Sidetrack - No Good 4 Me (Original Mix) (03:49)
- Calyx - Pull Up (Original Mix) (04:11)
- MC Spyda, Disrupta - No Chat (Original Mix) (03:46)
- DJ Marky, Alibi, Charli Brix - Natural Feeling (Original Mix) (03:13)
- Öwnboss, SEVEK - Move Your Body (Hedex Extended Remix) (03:42)
- Rizzle, Operate, PAV4N - Pleiadians (Original Mix) (03:29)
- AIRGLO - Sandstorm (Extended Mix) (03:09)
- Bou - All U Gotta Do (Original Mix) (03:45)
- Doktor, S.P.Y - Bad Boy Dub (Edit) (02:56)
- Metrik - Immortal (Original Mix) (04:08)
- Break, Lorna King - Wait for You (Original Mix) (04:39)
- Basstripper - Milky Way (Original Mix) (03:41)
- DJ Guv - Execution (Profile Remix) (05:10)
- Impish - Leave (Original Mix) (03:40)
- Particle - Double Stack (Original Mix) (03:23)
- Speaker Louis - Flip The Fader (Molecular Remix) (04:00)
- The Prodigy, Camo & Krooked, Mefjus - Breathe (Mefjus & Camo & Krooked Remix) (03:44)
- Amplify - Rendevous (Original Mix) (04:28)
- Sub Focus, Dimension - Ready To Fly (Sub Focus & Dimension) (03:24)
- Dread MC, Bennie - One Gun Finger feat. Dread MC (Original Mix) (04:08)
- Bennie - Giant Killer (Original Mix) (03:00)
- Pythius - Implant (Original Mix) (04:13)
- Bennie - Hijack (Switch) (Original Mix) (04:28)
- Ozone, GRAY, Diagnostix - No Face No Case (Original Mix) (03:19)
- Benny Page, Dope Ammo, Cat Mctigue - I Need Your Loving (Bladerunner Remix) (05:36)
- Dimension, Poppy Baskcomb - Where Do We Go (feat. Poppy Baskcomb) (Original Mix) (03:24)
- Bad Company UK - Torpedo (Insideinfo Remix) (04:29)
- Calyx - Feel The Sway (Original Mix) (03:53)
- Creatures, Ill Truth - Taco Disco (Original Mix) (04:31)
- Flowdan, Rohaan - Musket (feat. Flowdan) (Original Mix) (03:03)
- Wilkinson, ILIRA, Tom Cane, iiola - Infinity (feat. ILIRA, iiola & Tom Cane) (Original Mix) (03:33)
- Dirtyphonics - Scorpion (Tantrum Desire Remix) (04:26)
- MoMo, Alcemist - Stars On The Roof (feat. MoMo) (Original Mix) (04:02)
- Strategy, Sustance - Undercurrent (Original Mix) (03:24)
- Lens, Bcee - My Time (Original Mix) (04:08)
- Ed:It - The Keep (Original Mix) (05:06)
- Ray Volpe - Laserbeam (Blanke's ÆON:REMIX) (02:44)
- Sota, Primate (BE) - Realise (Original Mix) (03:15)
- Simula - Running Out (Original Mix) (04:26)
- Sub Focus, Cherish, ACRAZE - Do It To It (Sub Focus Extended Remix) (04:31)
- Hyroglifics - Albany Road (Original Mix) (03:17)
- Kevin Lyttle, Bru-C, Luude - TMO (Turn Me On) [feat. Kevin Lyttle] (Original Mix) (02:39)
- Bad Company UK - Spider (Optiv & BTK Remix) (06:31)
- Dub Head - Your Style (Original Mix) (04:38)
- Magenta - Bad Girl (Original Mix) (04:31)
- Justin Hawkes, Andrew Hellier - Better Than Gold feat. Andrew Hellier (Original Mix) (05:20)
- Kublai - Feel with it (Original Mix) (04:46)
- Netsky, Daddy Waku, Chantal Kashala, Babl Lemmens - Everybody Loves The Sunshine (Original Mix) (03:20)
- Bluejay, Ill Truth - Street Art (Original Mix) (03:51)
- Ed Solo, 4K - I Can't Help It (Original Mix) (04:36)
- Benny V, Subcriminal - The Ending (Original Sin Remix) (04:03)
- DRZ - Air I Breathe (Original Mix) (04:33)
- Impish - I Need (Original Mix) (03:21)
- Nia Archives - Baianá (Original Mix) (02:32)
- Simula - Tension (Original Mix) (04:23)
- Primate (BE) - All Of Your Love (Original Mix) (03:02)
- Objectiv - Burnt Toast (Original Mix) (04:06)
submitted by weluvmusic
to u/weluvmusic [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 20:16 weluvmusic Beatport Mainstage Top 100 May 2023
GENRE Mainstage, Electro House, Big Room, Future Rave, Future House RELEASE DATE 2023-05-29 CHART DATE 2023-05-02 AUDIO FORMAT MP3 320kbps CBR 44.1 kHz SIZE 840MB beatport.com/genre/mainstage/96/top-100
- Eli Brown - Be The One (Original Mix) (02:49)
- Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding - Miracle (Hardwell Remix) (03:04)
- HI-LO, Space 92 - Arpeggio (Extended Mix) (05:42)
- Space Laces - Dominate (VIP) (03:49)
- Hardwell, Sub Zero Project - Judgement Day (04:28)
- Benny Benassi, The Biz - Satisfaction (Original Mix) (02:35)
- Hardwell, 4 Strings, Maddix - Take Me Away Again (Original Mix) (03:25)
- Hardwell, Olly James - Seduction (03:11)
- Avao - Dance With Me (02:59)
- David Guetta, Sia - Titanium (feat. Sia) (David Guetta & MORTEN Future Rave Extended Mix) (05:45)
- Cedric Gervais - Molly (Original Mix) (03:42)
- Hardwell, Timmy Trumpet, Maddix - Revolution (02:46)
- Tiesto - Lethal Industry (Maddix Extended Remix) (04:32)
- Hardwell, Olly James - Flatline (02:58)
- Rudeejay, Tujamo, Da Brozz - Get Get Down (Original Mix) (02:43)
- Bassjackers - Traffic (Original Mix) (02:21)
- W&W, Sandro Silva, MC Ambush - Shake The Building (Extended Mix) (03:56)
- Rudeejay, Neitan, DJ Kuba - Sandstorm (Extended Mix) (04:19)
- Hardwell, Quintino - Sloopkogel (03:05)
- R3HAB, AFROJACK - Shockwave (02:02)
- Carola, Felguk - 5th Symphony (Original Mix) (02:37)
- Fergie - Here Comes That Sound (Extended Mix) (06:25)
- Afrojack, Chico Rose, Mougleta - Alone Again (feat. Afrojack & Mougleta) (Original Mix) (02:43)
- Dustycloud - Paris to Vegas (03:37)
- Shouse - Love Tonight (David Guetta Extended Remix) (04:19)
- Afrojack, Mike Williams - Alone (Original Mix) (04:12)
- Avao, Matrick - WTF (03:03)
- Mike Candys - Tell You (Original Mix) (02:49)
- W&W, AXMO - Heaven Is A Place On Earth (Extended Mix) (03:52)
- FOVOS, Shortround, Bangs - Don't Let Me Go (02:47)
- Xillions, Tungevaag - Dancing On My Own (Original Mix) (02:41)
- Rave Republic, New Sound Nation, Sønsh - Daddy DJ (Extended Mix) (03:38)
- Klaas, MATTN - The Logical Song (Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike Extended Remix) (03:36)
- NoNameLeft - Stay Awake (04:41)
- jaakob - Mind CNTRL (02:54)
- Armin van Buuren, Vanessa Campagna - Vulnerable feat. Vanessa Campagna (Extended Mix) (05:10)
- Shift K3Y, Kaleena Zanders - V I B R A T I O N (Extended Mix) (04:50)
- Robin S - Show Me Love (Original Mix) (04:29)
- SOROUSH YARAHMADI, Me2 - Symphony (Original Mix) (02:11)
- Linka, Gregor Potter - Lost In Techno (03:09)
- Hardwell, Will Sparks - Twisted (03:04)
- New World Sound, Will Sparks - LSD (Original Mix) (03:12)
- Kaskade, Justus - Dance with Me (03:40)
- Morten - No Good (Original Mix) (02:21)
- Timmy Trumpet, DVBBS - Synergy (Original Mix) (03:29)
- KEVU - Sound Of The Underground (02:44)
- Revealed Recordings, Trey Pearce - Something (Extended Mix) (03:36)
- Mike Candys - Body Rock (Extended Mix) (03:15)
- Armin van Buuren, Blasterjaxx - La Bomba (Extended Mix) (04:03)
- Becky Hill, Meduza, Goodboys - Lose Control (Original Mix) (02:48)
- Trym - It's Better When We Fake It (Original Mix) (06:58)
- Ben Nicky, Uberjak’d, Trey Pearce - Relapse (03:30)
- W&W, AXMO, Haley Maze - Rave Superstar (Extended Mix) (03:31)
- Freejak - Sandstorm (Original Mix) (02:40)
- Chris Lake, Alexis Roberts - Turn off the Lights (feat. Alexis Roberts) (Extended Version) (04:52)
- Revealed Recordings, b1rdie - This Is Not A Test (Extended Mix) (04:07)
- Dyro - Lucid (03:44)
- Morten - The Drill (Original Mix) (02:19)
- Hardwell, Metallica - Nothing Else Matters vs F*CKING SOCIETY feat. Metallica (Hardwell Extended Mashup) (06:15)
- Showtek, Robin Schulz, Oliver Tree - Miss You (Showtek Remix) (03:28)
- Space Laces - Dominate (Original Mix) (03:54)
- Armin van Buuren, Ahmed Helmy - Rhythm Inside (Extended Mix) (05:34)
- Ship Wrek - Sober (02:49)
- Sebastian Ingrosso, Alesso, Ryan Tedder - Calling (Lose My Mind) (Extended Club Mix) (06:13)
- Mike Williams, DTale - Living On Video (feat. DTale) (VIP Mix) (03:52)
- Retrika, Alex Mueller - Cybernight (Original Mix) (02:53)
- FOVOS - Feel The Rhythm (03:20)
- Firebeatz - California (Extended Mix) (03:31)
- Armin van Buuren, Alba - State Of Mind feat. ALBA (Extended Mix) (04:31)
- Tujamo, Antoine Delvig - Vida Loca (Original Mix) (03:01)
- Alle Farben, Maurice Lessing - Apollo (Original Mix) (03:07)
- STVW, Tungevaag, Joe Jury - Lovers On The Run (Original Mix) (03:10)
- Marlo - Give Me (02:19)
- AXMO - Party Everyday (Extended Mix) (03:53)
- Robbe, Mert Can, DJSM - On The Floor - DJSM Remix (Original Mix) (02:25)
- Timmy Trumpet, POLTERGST - Tonight (Original Mix) (03:22)
- Will Sparks - Come With Me (Original Mix) (03:50)
- Tiësto - Baila Conmigo (Original Mix) (02:26)
- Alesso, OneRepublic - If I Lose Myself (Alesso vs OneRepublic) (03:33)
- NoNameLeft - Distract (04:07)
- Armin van Buuren, Matluck - Letting Go feat. Matluck (Extended Mix) (04:28)
- Retrovision, Tungevaag - Alone With You (Original Mix) (02:34)
- Jordan Shaw, Justin Mylo, Money For Nothing - Before The Dawn (jeonghyeon Extended Remix) (02:41)
- Nicky Romero - Techtronic (03:44)
- Asco - Fortuna (Original Mix) (03:40)
- Calvin Harris, Hurts, Alesso - Under Control (Extended Mix) (05:36)
- Calvin Harris - Feel So Close (Extended Mix) (05:30)
- MorganJ - 4U (Original Mix) (02:51)
- Steve Aoki, Vini Vici - Wild (Original Mix) (02:15)
- Bingo Players, Oomloud - Get Low (Original Mix) (02:37)
- Martin Garrix, DubVision - Starlight (Keep Me Afloat) (feat Shaun Farrugia - extended mix) (03:22)
- Henry Fong, Knock2 - What's The Move (feat General Degree) (02:49)
- Modapit - Out Of Control (02:01)
- Siik, Andrew A, Barmuda - Saviour (03:14)
- Lucas & Steve - Warp (Original Mix) (02:23)
- Cherish, ACRAZE - Do It To It (Tiësto Remix) (02:05)
- NWYR - The Lone Ranger (Extended Mix) (06:31)
- D-Jastic - Up To No Good (Extended Mix) (05:11)
- Timothy Allen - Show Me (Original Mix) (02:11)
submitted by weluvmusic
to u/weluvmusic [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 18:20 420wasabisnappin So many dog foods are grain free and I am beyond frustrated.
For the second time in a row I have bought a grain-free food without knowing it was grain-free. There are so many options of dog food I get completely overwhelmed and I cannot afford to buy a THIRD bag of food in the span of a month at the moment.
I bought my dog a grain-free food by accident after her food (Purina Beyond) was discontinued and Chewy sent me my cats food instead of any kind of notification that they were out.
And my dog was also out of food.
So, I bought True Acres Chicken & Veg in a bit of a panic because it was a big bag for not too much money. "Grain-free" is written almost all over it but I didn't catch on until we were nearly done with bag #1.
My dog has since developed a rash on her belly that she scratches at a ton.
So I found Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach. The picture had nothing with grain-free listed, but I didn't scroll through all 8 photos listed, I just bought it. I had been working through the pages on Chewy for about an hour trying to find something that seemed within my budget for the price and weight and that was what I kept landing on.
Today I looked at the bag and right on the front it says "no corn, wheat or soy." I cannot explain how much I want to absolutely lose it right now. I had transitioned her and was feeling good, but since the rash persisted, I had made a vet appointment for fear that it was the mower chemicals and cut grass inflaming her belly.
I'm so upset. I have like two bags of very full dog food, just paid rent and am trying to save for this vet appt. I do not have funds, or space, or spoons to get yet another bag of food and transition her AGAIN.
Why is grain-free food so readily available? It shouldn't be given to a dog unless expressly determined by a vet, yet it's everywhere!
And now I'm so exhausted from looking for food the first time, I don't want to look again. I already feel exhausted, overwhelmed and burnt out at the thought which in turn makes me feel like a terrible dog owner that I keep putting my baby through this.
Thanks for listening to me vent and if anyone has recommendations for a NOT grain-free dog food good for a 45lb Treeing Hound mix (budget of about $60/mo) I am so open to it.
submitted by 420wasabisnappin
to dogs [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 17:50 nerdrurkey1 Impact driver or impact wrench?
I am looking for a tool to change the blades on my zero turn mower. I don’t know if I should be looking for an impact driver or an impact wrench. It’s unlikely that I’ll need the tool for anything requiring more torque than that. If I go with a driver, which is probably the more versatile tool for me, is the socket adapter going to handle the torque without snapping?
submitted by nerdrurkey1
to Tools [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 17:39 VviFMCgY Battery mower to replace Gas Mower
My neighbors to the right got a DeWalt battery mower, and damn if it isn't quiet. Then, my neighbor to the left got the new Ryobi Lithium Zero turn, and that thing is silent too
Now when I mow my lawn, I feel like such an idiot with this loud machine. I'd so much prefer it was battery powered. Its a Honda 216 mower, and I'd still keep it as a backup. But what is the general consensus here with battery mowers?
I'm heavily invested in M18 batteries, but I'm not sure about the M18 mower. Its very expensive and the reviews are not great. Despite being the same parent company, it looks like Ryobi has really hit the mark on the mowers
Anyone got feedback on their Ryobi mower, or other battery mowers?
submitted by VviFMCgY
to Tools [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 16:28 Maximum_Double_5246 Sedentary for years, out mowing the lawn for the first time on a zero turn sit-on mower, got sick, chills, couldn't shake it
I wonder what happened. Part of me thinks it was just the vibrations that shook something loose. I have been taking NAC for months now and I hear it can break up biofilms so I wonder if I shook something loose that used to be held into place in a biofilm.
Another possibility is the previous homeowner used some kind of chemical weed killer on the lawn and I was breathing in clouds of crap all day, didn't realize I need a bandanna or something to filter the big loose crap and probably some safety glasses as well. I don't have that kind of history on the house so we don't know.
I have been super sick for years and am finally walking again, and getting a little tiny bit active right now.
After I got in from three hours of mowing, I took a shower with a nice big spray bottle of mag chloride, dressed for the evening, and didn't feel all that great from then on. Maybe a little dizzy. Eventually I noticed I had on more clothes than anyone else and I still felt cold, then tired, went to bed to sleep it off and was tossing and moaning and groaning. Tried to throw up once didn't get anything, but had a greasy nasty stool in the night so maybe it was something in my guts that loosened up.
submitted by Maximum_Double_5246
to Biohackers [link] [comments]
2023.05.31 16:27 Deltiasgaming1 ESO Necrom Chapter: Essential Tips to Prepare for the Arcanist Class
| || | submitted by Deltiasgaming1 to u/Deltiasgaming1 [link] [comments]
Reddit gang, dropping this here so you can prepare for Necrom Chapter and Arcanist class when it drops on June 5th for PC and June 20th for consoles. I hope this helps you get prepared!
Written Guide: https://deltiasgaming.com/eso-necrom-chapter-essential-tips-to-prepare-for-the-arcanist-class/
Video Guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZMoO6vKeWo
ESO Builds: Update 38 - https://deltiasgaming.com/best-eso-builds-update-38-necrom-chapte
ESO Necrom Chapter: Essential Tips to Prepare for the Arcanist Class
ESO Necrom Chapter is just around the corner, so prepare for Arcanist Class with our Top 15 Essential Tips and level up quickly! https://preview.redd.it/3bxobreev73b1.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=0f2dd685f712f4ae730fba6b1035795374ce99af
The Necrom chapter launches on June 5th and June 20th
, so you have very little time to prepare everything for the new class. In our guide, we included tips and pieces of advice we learned after countless hours and multiple characters leveled in ESO.
ESO Necrom Chapter: Essential Tips to Prepare for the Arcanist Class
In ESO, levelling a new character can be costly, long, and complex. Only the base game offers multiple skill lines, champion points, and guilds. You may be lost quickly if you are a beginner or play eso occasionally. What is the best race? How do you level up so that when you hit max level (50 and 160cp), you can jump straight to end-game content and feel powerful? We have answers to all those questions and more in our 15 simple essential tips to prepare for the new Necrom Chapter and the Arcanist Class in ESO.
Arcanist Class has many skills to enhance a unique, never seen in ESO before playstyle. As a result, in the Builds, we try to enhance the class identity. The following list explains shortly all you need to know about the new ESO class:
- Arcanist class identity is built around tomes and ancient knowledge.
- Class possesses complete tools within all three skill trees to fulfil all group roles and solo playstyles.
- The class possesses a unique, strong damage debuff, the Abyssal Impact, which increases your damage to targets hit.
- Arcanist’s rotation is based on Cruxes generation, debuffing enemies and channel damage.
- Tanks and healers will enjoy this class due to the active combo system.
The Arcanist uses abilities to create and consume Cruxes, small triangular glyphs floating around the character (3 max). You will use specific skills to generate Cruxes and additional abilities that consume them, amplifying abilities and triggering important class passives.
Crux consumption could provide more damage, longer duration, cheaper resource cost, and more healing. Additionally, it generates and activates important passives. For example, Crux-consumption can give you more weapon/spell or critical damage. The more you use Cruxes, the better.
The following brief guide explains the combat with the ESO Arcanist class in builds:
- Use one primary skill as a tank, damage dealer, or healer to generate Crux.
- Consume that Crux with one or two skills for better damage, healing, and defenses.
- Start building Crux again to use the other skill for another in-combat advantage.
- In between combing Crux, maintain your buffs, healing, and damage over time skills.
- Your build wants to find the sweet spot of constantly generating Crux and consuming it for bonuses.
- You don’t want your build to have zero Crux or constantly three without a “dump” skill.
Now that you have an idea about the basics of the class, what should you play and why?
As a damage dealer (DPS), The Arcanist excels in stamina DPS. Primarily due to a variety of factors like medium armor passives, dual wield passives and medium armor choices that carry damage. Can you do well as a magicka based Arcanist damage dealer? Yes, but in group settings, medium armor excels due to its passive critical damage vs light armor penetration passive. If you want optimal, high end DPS, we recommend stamina based Arcanist as of the making of this guide.
Tanking on the Arcanist is exception with crowd control, unique buffs and debuffs. The fact that you have a built in class taunt along with built in major and minor breach means you can use different gear and weapon choices. The Arcanist also has Minor Courage passive which is exceptional for group play. Consider them one of the best tanks in PvE or PvP at launch.
Similar to tanking, the Arcanist healing is exception due to the buffs and passives. While the main burst heal, or lack thereof is weak, it makes up for it with huge buffs and debuffs that every team wants. Current, the Arcanist is an exceptional healer, just use Restoration Staff abilities for burst healing rather than in class skills.
Player Vs Player: In PvP, the Arcanist is quite weak compared to other classes. It lacks a burst heal, or delayed burst damage skill, and the class really wants you to use the Fatecarver
skill “beam.” This is fine in PvE where enemies rarely stun or disrupt you, but in PvP, this isn’t the case. The class does have strong passives, and ultimate selections and with either a proc heavy loadout in melee, or a ranged beam build you can make it work.
Opinion: we recommend playing the Arcanist a stamina-based damage dealer for both PvE and PvP.
Does Race Matter in ESO? In general, no, you may get a maximum of 8% increased DPS going from an Argonian (weakest) to Khajiit/Dunmer (strongest). Most players won’t feel this unless they are trying to do bleeding-edge content. However, we do have some strong choices and recommendations for those looking to mid-max their Arcanist.
- Dark Elf
- High Elf
- Dark Elf
is the recommended Stamina Damage Dealer choice. With a unique 12% critical damage and balanced stats, and resource regeneration, Khajiit is all around the best choice. Only weakness is ESO’s 125% critical damage cap. Only in situations like trials parse dummies (21 million health) or fully min-maxed trials groups does this become an issue. Dark Elf
is a great secondary choice. What makes Dunmer’s (Dark Elves) great as damage dealers is balanced weapon/spell damage and max stamina and magicka pools. Major downside is the lack of any resource sustain or health. High Elf
is the recommended choice for magicka damage dealer Arcanist. The reason why, High Elf has a unique 5% damage reduction while channeling. This helps take less damage using your main channel as a damage dealer or a healer. The racial choice also has great passives for damage and resource sustain. Dark Elf
is also a great choice for magicka damage dealers for the same reasons its great on stamina. Breton
is the recommended racial choice for healing. With strong resource sustain, max stats, you will always be able to cast your skills when you need them. Argonian
also makes a great healer and is usually an optimal choice for PvP.
I would recommend an Imperial
for reduced ultimate cost and cost of your abilities as a Tank. Nord Race has a
quick ultimate generation.
Don't freak out about the race you can always change with the race change token, and you must love your character.
There are fantastic players in every faction, which doesn't matter in PvE unless you plan to play PvP with your friends in Imperial City, Cyrodiil or Battlegrounds. For maximum potential builds in PvP "Any race, any alliance" feature, available from the crown store, will allow you to pick any race regardless of your alliance. It's a one-time purchase and of the most useful purchases in ESO.
Also, you can change Alliance with another very expensive token from the crown store.
Get storage boxes in your house for supplies, including gear, potions, food, etc., everything you are going to need to start leveling your new Arcanist character. When Necrom Chapter goes live, you can equip it and enjoy the class.
You can buy storage chests from Writs Vandor, located in each faction's main City (Grahtwood, Stormhaven, Ebonheart) with master crafting writ vouchers. Boxes are also available for Tel Var Stones in Imperial City Vendors or from the Crown store. Each player can own up to 4 large (60 slots) and 4 small (30 slots) chests. There are 360 slots available in total.
If it's your first time playing ESO. I would not recommend the fast grind method, play slow and enjoy the game, though you can likewise use all XP boosters. However, if you're like me and have leveled multiple characters, you can start saving XP boosters now for an optimal way to rush to the end game.
The fastest way to level is to kill mobs with ESO XP boosters
. You want to maximise the number of killed enemies per second. The Blackrose Prison
Arena and Skyreach Catacombs
are my preferred grinding spots. Here’s how you can maximize your XP gains if you’re in a rush to the end game:
- 10% from the Training trait for each armor & weapon piece (purple quality)
- 10% from ESO Plus Membership
- 10% from the Ring of Mara equipped (if you are married to another player and grind with a partner)
- 10% for being in a group of two
- 1x Drink or XP Scroll Booster
- 100% from in-game Events (Witches & New Life Festival etc.)
The easiest way to level quickly are cost-effective 100% XP boosters, grinding with a partner, having all training gear, purple quality or better. For example, I highly recommended Heartland Conqueror Set, which gives your training trait 100 more effectiveness. Order’s Wrath
, Daedric Trickery
, Oblivion's Foe
and Wretched Vitality
are other good setups for damage, defences and resources, craftable and easy to obtain.
To make the process even faster, you can make multiple sets of training armor (for levels 3, 10, 20, 30, 40 etc.) to make sure you stay powerful as you grind your way to 50. So that's when the storage boxes come in handy. Store all gear sets there and be ready for the grind.
Leveling PvP skill lines are important due to the passives and active abilities that everyone uses, even if you play PvE. For example, Reviving Barrier
is an extremely useful ultimate skill in PvP and PvE for tanks, healers and, sometimes, damage dealers. Also, reaching support rank 9 grants Magicka Aid
and increases your Magicka Recovery by 10% for each Support ability slotted. https://preview.redd.it/ujdt600fw73b1.png?width=400&format=png&auto=webp&s=ea8b91fa9ae87910c82379624d716e8afd6641cf
Once you hit Level 10, you'll receive the invitation to Cyrodiil and start the introduction to PvP Quest. Upon completion, you'll get an alliance rank three, and two skill points. It's a good start, so you should never skip it.
Nextly, you can level alliance skill lines quickly on a new character if you use a Colovian War Torte
and play low-level battlegrounds. Colovian War Torte
is a craftable consumable that grants a 50% alliance point boost for 30 minutes. It is affected by the Connoisseur
passives from the Provisioning skill line. Despite being categorized as a food when crafting, the tortes can be consumed at the same time as regular foods and drinks. The 30-minute duration pauses if you log out and can be used as early as level 10.
The Molten War Torte
and White-Gold War Torte
are more powerful versions which grant 100% and 150% experience boosts, respectively. Note that while these items do provide a bonus to gains towards your Alliance War rank and skill lines, this bonus does not apply to leaderboard scores.
Gold for Inventory
The next essential tip on how to prepare for the Arcanist class and ESO Necrom Chapter is crucial Inventory Space. Save gold to max out your new Arcanist character carrying capacity. Each character that you create in The Elder Scrolls Online will start with 60 slots. You can increase the characters' inventory space by buying Pack Merchant upgrades up to 140 in total inventory Upgrades from Pack Merchant cost 179 700 Gold. Also, train your horse in the stable master to increase it by extra 60 slots to reach 200 inventory spaces in total. If you own a guild, you can also use its Bank for extra 500 item slots. Lastly, special pets from Crown Store can increase the inventory capacity by additional 20 slots.
Like mentioned above, you can buy an upgrade for your mount at any stablemaster in towns. Each point in carry capacity will permanently increase your characters' inventory space by 1. You can only upgrade one of the thee mount perks every 20 hours.
However, you can speed up the process of horse upgrades if you own any riding lessons. Sometimes those upgrade items are part of daily login rewards
or can be bought from the crown store. So check up on your stored daily rewards. This can give you a nice early start on your new arcanist.
As mentioned before leveling your PVP skills is essential, the Continuous Attack
passive will give you a 30% mount speed boost and unlocks at Assault Rank 3.
The alchemy skill line
is necessary to level up on each character because of the Medicinal Use Passive
that makes resulting effects last 30% longer and is a key to better combat performance. As a result, if you're using potions, you get more Recovery Weapon or Spell damage or whatever potion buff you have. Consuming potions in ESO has a 45-second cooldown, and with the Medicinal Use Passive
, they last 47.5 seconds, which essentially gives you 100% uptime in combat, assuming you're consuming them on cooldown.
So, buy enough alchemy items to max out the alchemy skill, cheap ingredients, in guide traders, like buying and mixing wormwood or spider eggs with scrib jelly will get you from 1 to 50 quickly. Change out your solvent, you can start with Ichor
, and as you level up, finish with Alkahest
. Take advantage of this potion passive right away. Trust me, at the end-game, it really helps your survivability with resource sustain and running Buffs on cooldown.
The best food to prepare is the one that works at all levels, for example, Artaeum Pickled Fish Bowl
, Candied Jester's Coins
etc. you can get those recipes just by playing during in-game events, collecting rewards or from guild traders.
During leveling, I highly recommend Jewels of Misrule
for beginning players without a lot of champion points because it gives max health and extra recovery and really carries your survivability. Additionally, it’s cheap.
For magic users, Witchmother's Potent Brew
it's going to give you Max Magicka, Max Health and Magicka Recovery.
Stamina-based users can use Dubious Camoran Throne
similar to Whitchmoder purple food but increases your Max Stamina Stats.
You can make potions yourself, buy them from Crown Store or from daily rewards. You can also use the Endeavors system to buy some consumables. Another good option is Alliance potions for Alliance Points if you play PvP. You can buy them from Alliance Siege Merchants in Cyrodiil main gates or Battleground vendors in any major city. Alliance potions give these really important Buffs, and it'll help increase your damage and survivability.
Start collecting those consumables and put them in your bank or storage chest so you can have them available right away for your Arcanist.
Repair Kits/Soul Gems
Stock up on repair kits and Soulgems, especially if you’re grinding monsters. The normal repair kits you can get from Crafting writs or buying from guild traders. Additionally, you can obtain the special group repair kit for tickets from Impresario Vendor, who can be found in every big city.
Master Writs https://preview.redd.it/vtrh4krnw73b1.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=b972a52570696e8c65606753540ec86d76f8bf83
For those that want to max your arcanist fast without grinding, is by using Master Crafting writs. Master writs are the fastest way, making you capable of reaching level 50 within 30 minutes. With a 150% xp boost from food and eso+, you only need 215 total alchemy or enchanting writs to reach level 50. Here is what to do if you want to level up quickly in eso by using Master Writs:
- Stock up on Master Writs. You can get them from Daily Writs Rewards. The more motifs and traits your character knows, the higher your chance of receiving a master writ. You can also buy writs from guild traders.
- Alchemy and enchanting writs are the most optimal since they can be power leveled almost instantly and are fairly cheap to craft.
- Get writs certified with a new character. Find Danel Telano and Milenith in the main starter city of your faction: Daggerfall, Davon’s Watch, or Vulkhel Guard.
- Level up your crafting skill to max (of 50), and take the passives.
- Use your XP boosts
- Consume Master Crafting writ (you can have one type active at the same time)
- Craft the required items.
- Turn the crafted items to the master writ vendor. A good City to do master writs is Ebonhart in Deshaan, where crafting stations are close to the master writs vendor so that you can complete them quickly.
- Complete Master Crafting Writs on your new Arcanist character until you reach level 50.
This is one of many reasons why crafting writs and crafting in eso is so useful.
Stock up on transmute stones by doing daily random dungeons, Battlegrounds or reaching tier 1 rewards in the Cyrodiil campaign on all your characters. Reaching tier 1 rewards can be completed by simply preparing the walls in Keeps, no PvP is required. Buy stone repair kits from Siege merchant, place them in your quick slot menu and repair damaged keep walls. You'll reach tier one quickly.
New sets are coming with ESO Necrom Chapter, and some of them will surely be used for the arcanist class, so it's an essential tip to be prepared and stacked up on transmutes.
If you are interested in maxing out all the crafting lines on your arcanist, then you can pre-purchase intricate items from guild traders to deconstruct. Let them sit in your mailbox, and loot the mail on your arcanist to get a leg up in crafting quickly. Be sure to unlock the green CP "Inspiration boost" to make this even faster.
Gear pieces with the intricate trait can drop from any monster or crafting writs so hold on to them and place them in your storage chest or bank and be ready to level crafting on your new Arcanist character.
End Game Sets
There are just a ton of great sets that I use in my builds
but here is a list of all great End-Game sets that are worth collecting for your Arcanist:
- Deadly Strike
- Obtainable in Cyrodiil or Guild Traders
- It increases your damage for channels and damage over time which equals pretty much everything The Arcanist does.
- Obtainable in Reapers March Zone, Overland Set
- Easy to get, base game, good damage set and is beginner-friendly. It grants you 369 weapon or spell damage for five seconds, and you'll be able to keep a high up-time on it.
- Coral Riptide
- Obtainable from Dreadsail Reef Trial, High Isle Chapter
- For more advanced players with stamina builds. You lower your stamina, which increases your weapon and spell damage up to 740. Hart to maintain but very powerful option.
- Whorl of the Depths
- Obtainable from Dreadsail Reef Trial, High Isle Chapter
- Excellent"proc" set that does really really good damage and comes in light armor
- Pillar of Nirn
- Obtainable from Falkreth Hold Dungeon, Horns of the Reach DLC
- Another fantastic "proc" set that also does great damage and will be meta when Arcanist launches
- Sul-Xan's Torment
- Obtainable from Rockgrove Trial, Blackwood Chapter
- Ansuul's Torment
- Obtainable from Sanity's Edge Trial, Necrom Chapter
- I'll be using it with The Arcanist as its five-piece bonus fits perfectly with the stationary Arcanist playstyle in PvE.
ESO had hundreds of sets, and this list is also long, so what to focus on? If you’re reading this, We're assuming you want to get powerful quickly and reach end-game content, so that’s what we will gear for.
Also, here are some essential tips for Leveling skill lines to max out skill points, skill lines and morphs and be ready for anything in-game:
- Unlock Skill Lines (mages guild, fighter and undaunted)
- Level all Armor (light, medium and heavy)
- Unlock ALL Weapon Choices (dual wield, two-handed, bow etc.)
- Setup Skill Bars with dead skills to level the maximum amount of them at once.
- Level and change out skills and morph to level them all.
ESO Articles, Guides, and Builds
Thank you for reading the ESO Necrom Chapter: Essential Tips to Prepare for the Arcanist Class Guide! Also, consider watching me on Twitch
. Feel free to ask me questions about my builds and the games I play, or check out my YouTube Channel
2023.05.31 16:18 sbling I tested out 10 different pillows and this is my subjective experience as a back/side sleeper
First off, this post is inspired by a post here by riotkitty
and their experience testing out a whole bunch of pillows. Last year, I realized that I had been using the same pillows for as long as I could remember, and my sleep quality had been consistently poor. I’d wake up many times throughout the night feeling uncomfortable and having to shift positions. This jumpstarted my deep research into finding the best pillow that would improve my quality of sleep. Since November, I have tested 10 different pillows in hopes of finding the perfect one for me. These are my experiences testing out those pillows. I realize that pillows are extremely subjective, but I hope I’m able to provide any sort of insight if you’re looking to get a new pillow.
For reference, I’m 5’9 130lbs. I sleep mostly on my back and a little on my side (probably 75% back, 25% side). I currently sleep on a medium-firm spring mattress (nothing fancy). I used to sleep on two pillows (one memory foam and one feather) before I went down this pillow rabbit hole. TL;DR
I tested 10 different pillows over the last six months and these are the ones I found to be the best for myself as a back/side sleeper.
---BAD--- Casper Original Pillow
- Best Pillow for Back Sleeper: Saatva Latex Pillow
- Best Pillow for Side Sleeper: Leesa Foam Pillow
- Best Pillow for Combo Back/Side Sleeper: Layla Kapok Pillow
— This pillow feels like any regular pillow you would buy at Walmart or Target (except this one costs $60). It’s a very soft pillow and my head sinks deep into it. It’s cozy, but way too soft for me. Brooklinen Down Pillow (Firm)
— There is nothing firm about this pillow. My head sinks into it completely. I don’t understand why it cost $100+ because once again, it feels like any generic feather or down alternative pillow. It flattens completely like a pancake when it’s laid on. I had poor sleeps with this pillow and would wake up with neck pains in the middle of the night. Hard pass. Honestly it feels like they may have sent me the wrong pillow. ---FAIR--- Hullo Buckwheat
— A buckwheat pillow feels like you’re laying on a bean bag or meditation pillow. The beads that fill the inside of the pillow conform to your body nicely. It’s a good pillow for lounging. The pillow makes light rustling sounds, which is honestly fine and not as loud as some people say it is. The beads need to be constantly “fluffed” back up to retain the height of the pillow. I found this pillow to be too hard, and not cozy enough to want to sleep on it every night. The Hullo pillow did not have free returns, so you may want to look for a different brand if you’re interested in a buckwheat pillow. Nest EasyBreathe
— This is another noticeably hard pillow. It’s not a pillow that I would describe as cozy or squishy. It’s very firm and my head and body lightly mold to it. I can feel the coolness that the pillow claims to provide, but it warms up quickly wherever my body touches it. This pillow provides great support for lounging. Side sleeping was very uncomfortable with this pillow. It’s just too bulky and I weirdly couldn’t find room to put my arms. It’s better for someone who is strictly a back sleeper. ---GOOD--- Purple Harmony
— This is a very unique feeling pillow. Your head kinda bobbles around on the rubbelatex grid that it’s made of- like a water bed for your head. I purchased the medium height, which was perfect at first, but it fully compressed to a low height. Because of this, I decided to exchange it for the tall height in hopes that it would compress back down to a medium height. It did not. The tall height felt really comfortable at first, but it started to give me a sore neck the more I used it. I’d say this pillow is still worth checking out though, especially with the long trial period that comes with it. I did not get to try out the Purple Original pillow. Coop Original
— I could not find a comfortable amount of filling with this pillow. There was either too little filling and my head would fall deep into it, or there was too much filling and it was too firm. It felt like it was putting strain on my neck. I will say that this is the fan favorite pillow when people stay over at my house (and a seemingly fan favorite on the Internet), so I do think it’s worth checking out. I did not get to test out the Coop Eden pillow. Parachute Down Pillow (Firm)
— This is a great, genuine, down pillow that feels appropriately firm. This is the lightest weight pillow of all the ones I tried, and I think that’s a really nice quality about it. When I lay on it, it doesn’t flatten down completely and my head doesn’t sink too low into it. For me, the loft could be a little higher, especially when it does go flat. The pillow needs to be fluffed back up every day to maintain its loft/firmness, which is the only downside, although it’s an expected one with down. It’s comfortable for sleeping on your back and side. ---BEST--- Leesa Foam Pillow
— This is easily the firmest pillow that I tried. It’s like if a firm mattress was turned into a pillow. My head sits right on top of it and barely sinks into the memory foam. It has a medium-low loft. This pillow is super comfortable when laying on my side. On my back, I feel like there’s a bit of tension in the back of my head/neck since my head doesn’t sink at all into the pillow. I have great sleeps with this pillow and notice myself side-sleeping more when I use it. Saatva Latex Pillow
— This is a very cozy pillow that feels like a hybrid between latex and down. It’s plush yet also supportive, and it's cozier than the Purple or Coop pillows. This is definitely a better pillow for back sleeping. It’s not the most comfortable to lay on your side because your face sinks into it. After sleeping on this pillow, the filling gets pushed to the other end of it, so it needs to be slightly fluffed/evened out every night. You can purchase additional “latex cores” that come in different firmness levels that can be swapped in/out of the pillow. They’re kinda sad and useless though. They’re these flimsy sacks half filled with latex cubes. I requested a firm one, but it felt almost exactly the same as the medium one that came in the pillow, so I’ve stuck with the default one. It’s just a very cozy, comfortable, luxurious feeling pillow. Layla Kapok Pillow
— This is a very dense pillow. At first, it felt just like the Coop pillow, but after giving it a day or two to expand, I can tell how much more firm and dense it is. I prefer this to the Coop because my head can lightly rest on top of the pillow without sinking too far into it, while also being very supportive of my neck. It’s not as cozy as the Saatva pillow, but it’s very comfortable on my back and my side. The pillow will flatten down where your head/body sits against it and the insides get pushed to the other end of the pillow. So every night I flip the pillow around to the other side to get the loft back. It’s a good pillow for lounging because it‘s so firm. In my opinion, the firmness of the pillow is perfect which makes it very comfortable to lay on both your back and side.
After all this testing- I’m sad to report that none of these pillows have consistently improved the quality of my sleep. To me, a great sleep is one where I wake up two or less times during the night. I’ve had great sleeps on the pillows that I consider to be the “best”, but those great sleeps do not happen every single night. I’ve learned that I can get consistently better sleeps if I meditate before bed, I stop using screens about an hour before I go to sleep, and I don’t eat sugar before bed. I’m glad that I discovered new pillows that I think are comfortable, but I should have realized they would not be a magic fix for my sleep troubles (although maybe that perfect pillow is still out there…). Still, I have zero regrets! If anyone thinks I should try out any other pillows please let me know!
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2023.05.30 22:08 coolwali I platinummed Sly Cooper 4: Thieves in Time on VITA to get the secret ending.
Hello everyone. I recently platinummed the PSVITA version of Sly Cooper 4: Thieves in Time as my 28th platinum. It only took me 10 years, 4 weeks, 22 hours to do it. Did you know this game hides its true ending behind the platinum?
Anyway, I'd like to talk about the experience.
Sly 4 was a bit confusing and inconsistent to platinum. I get the feeling the game wants you to platinum it given how on every loading screen it shows you how much you've completed the trophies and collectibles for the game. And that there no missable trophies. But there are some decisions that don't help with that.
So I'd say there are around 3 groups of Trophies in this game.
The first group are the mandatory story trophies. Not much to say about these. There's nothing missable here and the names are quite cool. I do like looking at the percent completion to see how many players completed the PS VITA version of the game. Did you know that around 73% of players booted this game up and completed the prologue? And only around 25% of players even beat the game. The biggest drop happened around the start of Episode 2 since the completion dropped from around 60%to 48% for some reason.
The second group are the trophies for the collectibles and arcades. I'll talk about these later.
The third and final group of trophies are for miscellaneous challenges. I'll start with these first and highlight some of the notable ones that I missed on my first playthrough.
"Crazed Climber - Scale the dragon lair in under 90 seconds". This was one I missed during my original playthrough of the game. This requires you to climb a giant tower filled with traps in the mission "Mechanical Menace". And this one was really fun even though it took me like 3 attempts. Sly 4's movement and platforming is quite fun so having a mini speedrun challenge using Sir Galleth's moveset was a treat. The one criticism I have here is that the game drops a checkpoint as soon as you get to the top. If you haven't gotten the trophy by then and need to retry, you need to quit to the main menu/hideout and reselect the mission, skip through all the cutscenes and get back there which gets annoying. At least the tower is near the start of the mission.
"Ancient Warfare 3 - Crackshot 10 enemies within 65 seconds. Sly's ancestor, Tennessee "Kid" Cooper" has an ability similar to "Dead Eye" from Red Dead Redemption where he can slow down time, mark enemies and objects and then instantly shoot them dead called "Crackshot". I never got this trophy when I first played the game because there wasn't much opportunity to. There aren't large groups of enemies wandering around that you can casually get 10+ of them line up for you to shoot them. Plus, I was already good at shooting them normally. I tried running around in the open world trying to lure enemies but found it wasn't working. There's a mission in the game called "Blind Date" that throws lots of rabbit enemies that chuck TNT at you that worked better for me.
"Hubba Hubba - Don't miss a beat in the Carmelita dance game." This trophy is, without a doubt, the main reason to platinum this game on VITA instead of the PS3. So nobody can see you play this dumb minigame and call you a Furry. This trophy requires you to complete the minigame where Carmilita needs to disguise herself as a belly dancer and dance to distract guards while the Cooper gang try and open a door. You just need to hit the button prompts perfectly. So you can ignore the times the minigame asks you to shake the VITA from side to side like a champagne bottle to make Carmilita shake her ass (seriously, why does this game sexualize Carmilita so much? None of the past Sly games did it).
"Get To the Chopper - Don't take any damage during Up In Smoke." This one was actually fun. In the mission "Up in Smoke", you have to control an RC Helicopter and drop bombs on turrents while drones and mines chase you down. It was fun dodging and weaving through them. There are 3 phases to this mission and you have a checkpoint in between every phase. So if you mess up, you can just restart the checkpoint to the last phase. You don't need to avoid taking damage the whole way through which is nice.
"Unexpected Package - Place 60 bombs in enemy pockets with Bentley." When I first saw this trophy, I groaned. This would be a massive grind. And I had actually made it harder on myself. You see, normally, when you sneak up behind an enemy as Bentley and hold triangle, Bentley will try to put a bomb in the enemy's pocket. Larger enemies won't notice this but smaller enemies will. But the main issue is that I had previously unlocked the Heat Seeking upgrade for Bentley. Meaning sometimes, the bombs would "miss" and stick to an enemy guard's arms or legs instead. So it was annoying going around the hub world and planting bombs on guards.....until I remembered that I had purchased the upgrade for sleep bombs. My plan now was just to find a lone guard on a rooftop, try and place one sleep bomb into his back pocket and detonate it. He'd then fall asleep. Then I'd go to his sleeping body and try placing 5 sleeping bombs in his pocket and back away (the max you can place at any one time). When he wakes him, I'd detonate all 5 which set him to sleep and then repeat. Even if I'd "miss" a few bombs that would stick to their legs instead, I generally 3 or 4 bombs work perfectly. So it didn't take long to get all 60.
"Apollo Wins - Have the perfect workout during the Training Montage." During the mission "Getting Stronger", you have to do a training montage with Bob where you alternate through 6 minigames as you complete them with the minigames getting harder as you complete them. The trophy requires you to complete 10 randomly selected minigames without making a single mistake. If you mess up, you can restart the checkpoint to the beginning of the montage and have to play through a new set of 10 randomly selected minigames. The Minigames are "Slippery Slope" where you balance an egg on a beam using motion controls while penguins jump around on the floating iceberg you are standing on. "Penguin Popper" where Penguins are diving in front of you and you have to play baseball using them. "Sumo Slap" where you have to perform QTEs to push a giant penguin out of a Sumo Ring. "Duck and Cover" where penguins get launched at you from 4 different directions and you have to move the left stick to dodge them. "Super Sling" which requires you to use a catapult to launch a penguin at a flying pterodactyl. And "Whack a chump" which is Whack a Mole but with penguins. Some of which are fake and you should avoid.
Penguin Popper was easy. Once you get the timing down it's easy to get into a rhythm and hit the penguins since they don't vary when they dive. Whenever this popped into the rotation, I considered it a freebie. Sumo Slap was extremly easy. The button mashing was extremely generous. This was another freebie. Duck and Cover requires a bit more focus because of the timing and inconsistent patterns. It's not too challenging. Interestingly, I noticed that the VITA's speakers would reflect if the penguin was coming from the right or left but not above or below you. I guess headphones would make this easier but I had no need for it. I was generally glad when this popped up in the rotation. Whack a Chump was a bit harder than Penguin Popper because there is no set pattern and the additional challenge of not hitting the fake penguins. But it wasn't too bad. I was glad when this popped up in the rotation.
Super Sling and Slippery Slope were the 2 I dreaded and the ones I messed up the most on. Super Sling doesn't give you much indication of where your sling will go. The Pterodactyls have varied speeds so you can't rely on pattern recolonization and reactions. And there's time pressure as taking too long counts as a miss. And it kept popping up in the rotations for some reason!
Slippery Slope was stressful because of the motion controls and how wild later versions of it were.
"The Cooper Open - Have a 20 hit rally with Bentley in each hideout." There are 6 hideouts in the game. In each hideout there is a table tennis table where you as Sly can play a round of table tennis with Bentley. I question the inclusion of it but I suppose it can be a nice distraction. This trophy requires you get a sequences where both you and Bentley hit the ball back and forth 10 times each (or 20 times overall) without missing. And repeat for each of the 6 tables. I found Bentley kept messing up so I had to intentionally hold back and avoid making good shots and try and hit the ball towards him. The main issue is the fact you have to repeat it 6 times. I feel it would be better off just once and as nothing is really added by doing it 6 times. If anything, it's more annoying given the long load times to switch hideouts and Bentley's random AI.
"Hassan Would Be Proud - Pickpocket a full collection of every item in the game." Each of the 6 or so locations have around 3-4 items that can be pickpocketted from guards. The main issue with this trophy is that it doesn't keep track of which items you have already pickpocketed in any way. The game already tracks how many treasures and masks you've found per general area but not pickpocketted items.
I only got this trophy by planning on systematically going through every location in the game and pickpocketting every enemy item and noting down which ones I found.....only to get it in the first level when I used Murray's shake move on some rat enemies. Enemies that you never encounter or have a reason or opportunity to naturally pickpocket. I guess 2013 me had already gotten 99% of these items previously.
"Navigate Like Drake - Take a look at every map in every episode". I found this trophy really annoying. The way it works is that every location in the game, including linear interiors that are exclusive to missions and even the hideouts, have a map you can look at by pressing SELECT. The game doesn't keep track of which locations you've seen the map of. So I had to systamatically play the game from the first mission and press SELECT whenever I entered a new interior. Then quit out and play the next mission and repeat. It popped for me in Episode 4 so somehow, 2013 me had looked at all the maps in Episode 5 without realizing it.
I don't like this trophy. It doesn't really add anything. The player would already be looking at the maps in the hub worlds where they would be at their most useful since those are open world sections. They have no real reason to use the map in linear interiors. And even less useful in hideouts as these aren't even explorable. They are basically just menus that happen to have a 3D background. I'd be more forgiving of this trophy if the map showed collectibles at least. That way, players have more of a reason to use this feature.
Shout out to the Lazy Trunk Spa & Lounge. A secret area in the game that contains a mask collectible and counts for the trophy with a unique map. No mission ever goes here. So even if you were to play diligently and open the map for every area you encounter, you'd still miss this. I only knew this existed because the trophy guide I looked at told me about it so I decided to tag this area while doing the "Get to the Chopper" trophy.
"Hero Tech - Battle with a secret weapon" Once you collect 50 Sly masks. You unlock Ratchet's wrench from Ratchet and Clank. This weapon even turns the coins you collect into bolts. Collecting 60 Masks unlocks Cole's Amp from inFAMOUS. This can electrocute the enemies you hit. I chose to use Cole's Amp to get the trophy as a tribute to inFAMOUS. Killed by Ghost of Tsumia 😭. May it rest in peace. Gone too soon.
That covers all the miscellaneous trophies. Now for the collectibles and arcades.
Sly 4 has a bunch of different collectibles scattered in each of its 6 episodes.
Bottles: Each hub world contains 30 bottles. Collecting all of them gives you access to unlock a safe hidden somewhere in the hub world. Unlocking that safe rewards you a special treasure. Bottles make a "clinking" sound when you're near them so if you're having a hard time finding them, try going into the game's settings and turning down the music and voice sounds. If you find the safe in Episode 3, the special treasure it gives you will highlight bottles and safes in every other episode on your map which is quite nice. I wish the game did this more often. If it hides collectibles from the player, at least give the player an endgame ability to highlight them. It makes it more feasible and fun to complete these tasks instead of combing every last inch (or looking up a guide).
Treasures: Each hub world has around 11 treasures scattered all around. The gimmick here is that in order to collect them, you first need to find where they are in the hub world. Then once you pick them, you need to race back to your hideout under a certain time limit and without taking any damage. If you mess up, you need to repeat the process. The treasures generally require you to have all of Sly's costumes. And a couple require you to be playing as Sir Galleth because England has increased gravity for some reason. Some of these treasures are really well hidden. Requiring you to go to these holes in the middle of nowhere which then require you to switch between some of Sly's costumes. Like, if you open the map when picking some of these up, you'll find Sly is located beyond the borders of the area.
I found it way more fun to race back to the hideout than actually finding them. It was tedious to find many of them because of how well hidden they are. There is no tool or item in the game that can help mark them on your map. Well, I say that. Supposedly, if you have both the PS3 and VITA versions of the game and play them at the same time, you can use the VITA like a scannebinoculars to locate these treasures. And then use the Cross Save feature to nab them in both versions. I only have the VITA version so no luck for me. Again, I'd argue it would be better if there was an endgame upgrade or tool you could get that would mark the treasures like how the game does it for bottles. There isn't even a "clinking sound" or any help for these.
Anyway, collecting all the treasures for an episode unlocks the arcade machine minigame for that episode.
Also sidenote, but this game has the worst map screen that still somehow can be useful. The map gives a top down view of the area but with a blue filter. This makes it harder and more annoying to navigate and use landmarks for reference. Especially on the VITA with its smaller screen. There are also no icons on the map (aside from bottles, safes and objectives) or the ability to make your own markers. The VITA version makes it worse as you can't even use the buttons to navigate the map. You have to use the touchscreen even though that's not how it is in the PS3 version. But you can still use it to know where you are and where collectibles can be from guides. It's technically readable and useful but just barely. I've never seen a map in a game so perfectly walk the line between useful and annoying.
The next collectible are Sly Masks. There are 60 total and around 11 per Episode. Collecting them unlocks skins and some goodies. But the catch with them is that they can be anywhere. There can be a couple in the hub world. But also couple during select missions and even some in the arcade minigames. There's no way to know where any of them are. They generally tend to be really well hidden even if you are trying to scour every area.
Again, I wish there was a way to highlight them. The game's long load times make it a chore to switch episodes or missions so it's tedious to try searching for them manually.
Now it's time to talk about the arcades. Sly 4 has 3 arcade minigames that are used in both the main missions and have a harder version in the arcades in hideouts. The arcade versions of these minigames are harder, go on for much longer and can have secret paths that lead to portals that reward you with points and some of them even have Sly masks. You need to beat the high scores to get the trophies
The first minigame is "Alter Ego". This has you play this 2D auto scrolling twin stick shooter minigame where you must avoid enemies and collect these "ionic bits". Collecting 5 yellow bits levels you up so your weapons get more powerful. At level 10 you have shoot crazy fast, can launch missiles and have floating drones that can damage enemies around you. But whenever you take damage, you drop an entire level. And you get left behind as the level autoscrolls, you respawn at level 0. You can also collect blue bits which can give you a grenade explosion around you.
Personally, I don't really like this minigame. It's fine when playing casually as a change of pace but grinding the high score isn't great. Since it is an autoscroller it is entirely possible you don't have enough points to match the high score and you won't know until its too late, wasting your time. I also found the hitboxes a bit too small. Making items more annoying to pickup.
The key to success is finding the right balance between collecting yellow bits as they give points and level you up (and how high your level is acts as a multiplier for your score) and killing enemies since they give more points. As well as avoiding taking damage and maintaining level 10 as much as possible and knowing where the secret paths are so you can get more points as well as level up if you have messed up.
The second minigame is "System Cracker". Here, you guide a little space ship looking thing through 2D levels in top down twin stick shooting sections. This isn't an autoscroller. You need to explore levels looking for keys and shooting enemies. There are 3 ships you can switch between by going onto specific coloured pads and each ship has its pros and cons. The green ship you start with does decent damage and has decent health and can carry keys. So it's a jack of all trades master of none kinda ship. The pink ship literally resembles a tank. It fires slower and at a shorter range but does more damage and has more health. It's also necessary for destroying pink crystals to progress. The blue ship has floatier handling and faster speeds. Its shots also bounce off walls and it can draw a line which can activate switches and damage enemies. It is weaker than the green ship though.
I actually really enjoyed this minigame and was happy whenever it comes up. It even feels the most fleshed out of the 3. Like, I feel it could even be released as a small standalone game with some tweaking and expansion. I'd probably play a mobile version of this in my free time.
I like how varied the levels can be. You can have a lot of different threats and mini-puzzles and even scenarios where you have to keep switching between ships on the fly to damage enemies. Like, there's this one enemy that's made up of orange, blue and pink hexagons that require you to switch between all 3 ships and use their abilities to damage it. It's quite fun. Damage one ship takes is "saved" on that ship. So if you take 50% damage with the green ship and switch to the pink one, the pink one will have 100% health. But whenever you switch back to the green one, you will be back at 50% health. So mistakes have consequences requiring you to make decisions accounting for them without being too overbearing.
Beating the high scores for the associated arcades is very easy. For one, there is no time limit or pressure so you’re free to take your time and play carefully. On top of that, the mode is very generous with points. Whereas Alter Ego only gives you points for killing enemies and picking up bits (and you need to get and maintain a multiplier for decent times), System Cracker gives you points even for shooting obstacles and barricades in your way. In Alter Ego, I was scraping for points until the very end. In System Cracker, I had more than enough points by the halfway mark.
I suppose the game could have balanced this by increasing the points threshold and rewarding extra points for taking less time to complete sections but I’m not complaining.
The third and worst minigame is “Spark Chaser”. Here you must guide a little electric ball across these maze like areas with gaps that end your attempt if you fall down them and these pinball like bounce pads that bounce you really far. There’s also a time pressure. You have around 20 seconds to get as far as possible with more time added as you pick up these purple clock icons.
The biggest issue is that it’s entirely controlled by motion controls. And this makes me experience worse on VITA. Seriously, I very nearly quit playing. This post was almost titled “I gave up trying to Platinum Sly 4”.
With the PS3 version, at least titling the remote doesn’t also affect your view of the screen. You can look at the game and play it the same as you normally would. But in the VITA version, the “neutral” position where no input is registered by the system is placing the VITA flat with its screen facing up. The standard “screen facing you” position registers as down.
The end result is a frustrating experience. This minigame requires really fine precision given how easy it is to fall off and the time pressure requires you both be fast and more precise to collect time pickups. On top of that, your view is constantly being messed with due to how much you need to tilt the system from odd angles. Especially how tilting “up” really makes it hard to see. Oh, and the dialogue from Bentley as you bounce gets really annoying and repetitive.
It’s barely tolerable in regular missions since those don’t require as much precision or speed. And even then, the usage there in 2013 was suspect to begin with. I only completed this because there’s a cheese where if you can get enough time early on, you can then keep bouncing on certain pads which give around 20 points per bounce. When I played “normally”, I’d get around 300 points with the high score being 1000 points. Using the cheese, I averaged around 990 points and managed to get lucky to win with 1010 points.
I’ve said it before. Motion controls work best when they complement existing controls in an optional way or in more restrained ways. I love it when games have gyro aiming since that can help compensate when aiming with sticks with small fine corrections. It works here because the sticks do most of the work and the gyro sensors work where they are best suited.
Or in many mobile racing games, steering is often done by tilting your phone. I enjoy this because there is only one axis you need to tilt your phone, the screen often rotates in conjunction so your view is preserved and it’s more intuitive to feel the “range” of rotation and how it corresponds to steering.
Hell, even ignoring these approaches, motion can still be used in worthwhile ways. Such as by mapping an extra action that is infrequent if all other buttons are occupied. The Mario games on Wii map a “spin” when you jump and shake the remotes giving Mario a bit of grace allowing him to make slightly further jumps or correct a bad jump. Call of Duty MW1 on Wii allowed you to assign certain commands to custom motions of the controller and nunchuck. So you could map stuff like jumping, moving and shooting to buttons but map reloading to smacking the nunchuck to the Wii Mote or plunge the Wii Mote forward to do a melee attack or tilting the Wii Mote to bring out a grenade or alt fire.
Even Resistance 1: Fall of Man had a neat idea. You could quickly tilt the controller left to bring up the Scoreboard screen without needing to take your thumbs off the sticks or stop moving. The Soulsbourne games allow you to quickly do emotes without needing a menu by holding the interact button and quickly tilting the controller in certain directions.
I bring all this up to highlight how Sly 4’s use of motion controls are a failure on every level. They’re mostly used in place of minigames as the sole method of control. So all the issues of motion controls (such as the lack of broad control and feedback) are front and centre. The only place where the motion controls are understandable is when firing arrows as you can then control the arrow after it’s fired using both the sticks and gyro aiming. But even then, the lack of any ability to tune the gyro sensitivity or even invert the controls hampers any use it could have had.
I don’t mind the idea of Sly 4 having decent motion controls. There are places where I can see it being beneficial. In addition to shooting and guiding arrows, I can see it being useful when you have to use the binoculars. Especially as Bentley as you need to shoot darts precisely.
Or, here’s a gimmicky one: you can bind certain costumes or tools to also be selected by quickly tilting the system. Even though using the D-pad for a quick select would be faster, it would still be a better use of motion controls for Sly 4 than most of what’s currently there.
Back to getting all the trophies, the final arcade machine, unlocked only when you’ve gotten all the treasures in every other episode, is very easy. It has “3 rooms”, one featuring every minigame thus far. But the high score requirements are really low and rooms aren’t as tough as prior versions. You can easily get the high score in the first area which is the Alter Ego one. Even if you miss it there, the second area is Spark Runner but you can keep reloading the checkpoint to preserve your score. So you can get some time clocks, reload a checkpoint when you’re close to running out of time or about to fall off and repeat until you get the high score.
You do need to get past the Spark Runner section to the 3rd and final section that uses System Cracker's gameplay in order to get a hidden Sly Mask, but it's far easier than the dedicated Spark Runner arcade minigame as the section is shorter, is more generous with Time Pickups, has easier level design and lets you reload a checkpoint if you're about to fail which doesn't end the run.
So yeah, Sly 4 Thieves in Time was....inconsistent game to platinum. I enjoyed the base gameplay, System Cracker, the various challenge trophies and the mini speedruns for collecting treasures. I didn't enjoy finding the collectibles and doing some of the other minigames. I hated Spark Runner.
If the game had more ways of tracking collectibles, fewer minigames and better load times, I'd gladly recommend it as a fun game to platinum.
As for the base game itself, I am mixed on it. The gameplay is arguably the best in the series. Sly's movement and costumes are so fun to play around with. Murray, Bentely and Sly's ancestors are also fun changes of pace during missions.
The story is lacking. My main issue is that it doesn't feel like it realizes its following up Sly 3. The story so casually undoes the ending of Sly 3 to get Sly 4's story going. I get it, that's what a sequel has to do. But the way it does it really undermines Sly 3. It's also much more lighthearted and doesn't have as much of a theme or focal point as its predecessors. Sly 1-3 explored the theme of legacy and the consequences of adhering to it so tightly. A major aspect of Sly 3 was Sly realizing the Cooper Vault wasn't worth dying for. It's what prompts him to fake his amnesia and retire with Carmilita in the end. So for Sly 4 to then have Sly have an itch to steal just for the fun of it, it's sending mixed messages here.
In addition, Sly is really casual about the fact Carmilita now knows about his betrayal and has broken up with him. Seems like that should have been a bigger deal. In fact, that kind of "casual-ness" persists throughout the story. Sly doesn't really have much of an arc or any real heartfelt moments with his ancestors. Nor do they seem to really care their decedent from the future is here with them.
If I could have tweaked the story to address these points, here's what I would have done:
I'd have the story open with Sly, Bentley and Murray enjoying their "retirement" and have no plans of thieving. I'd go so far as to have Sly even scoff at the idea of him ever wanting to be a thief. Then when the pages of the Thievus Racconus are dissapearing, Sly, Bentley and Murray have to reluctantly unretire to try stopping them. There would be dialogue during the opening mission of Sly being worried if they get caught as it would undo their happy ending. And then when Carmilita catches Sly, Sly at first is flustered and tries to explain the situation to Carmilita who isn't having any of Sly's BS. Sly is forcibly extracted by the gang and then they time travel. As they are time travelling. Sly is upset that, in order to go literally defend the Cooper Legacy, he has to give up his happy relationship and can't be repaired now. That even if they fix the problem, they'll be on the run forever now. Murray had to give up his professional career as well.
Already, I feel this introduction has a few things going for it. It respects the ending of Sly 3 and keeps the characters in more character, as well as putting more heat on Le Paradox. Sly 4 had to rip away the happy ending that was Sly 3. The characters know that and aren't happy about it. There is immediate consequences. And that heat can be directed at Le Paradox when he comes later.
I'd also like if all of the ancestors Sly met had different reactions to both him and the Cooper legacy and how it affects Sly's arc.
For example, lets say when he meets Riochi Cooper, Ricohi is initially disappointed in Sly as the future Cooper decendent as Sly doesn't act honourably or respect the legacy or something like this. Something that makes Sly start to question if it's even worth defending the Cooper Legacy. Bentely is the voice of reason here and mediator that gets the gang to work as well as they can.
Then when Sly meets Tennessee Cooper, Sly is initially expecting another traditionalist ancestor that cares a lot about the Cooper Legacy. But Tennessee is kinda the opposite of Riochi in that Tennasee doesn't care about the legacy in the same way. He adds his own spin and contributions but also uses the knowledge from it to do his own thing. Perhaps Tennessee is this Robin-Hood esque figure who uses his heisting skills to steal from the corrupt ruling class and give to the lower class. The point being that through Tennessee, Sly considers another aspect of the Cooper Legacy on how he's not that beholden to it and can potentially make it his own.
Then when Sly meets Bob, part of Bob's training is also from Sly as Sly teaches him some of the Cooper moves he knows. Since Bob is the first Cooper ancestor, he has no bias towards the legacy or any knowledge. So he's far more grateful and begins to use his new skills in helpful ways. Causing Sly to wonder if he could use the Cooper Legacy in more ways.
It's a similar situation for Sir Galleth. And for Selim, perhaps by that point, Sly has a newfound outlook and appreciation for the Cooper Legacy and ways on how he can improve it or make it his own that he encourages Selim not to retire or to retire in such a way where he could help people or something like that.
So yeah, there's this theme now of "Don't let the past define you now. You can make it your own and grow past its flaws". Which I feel would give Sly 4 more of a punch. I am basically copying Metal Gear Solid 4 and Assassin's Creed though.
I also feel it would be better if Penelope wasn't the villain of episode 4. It seems to contradict her character from past games and the explanation given for her heel turn doesn't really hold water. I feel the story would be better if Penelope had the role Dmitri has where she's their help in the present and the Knight was a new character. But if you need to have Penelope as the antagonist, have her be under mind control or something. That way the team has the conflict of how will they stop the plan without hurting their friend. But if you really insist on Penelope being a full on antagonist now by her own choice, perhaps flesh out her motivations more? Maybe something like "she sees how Bentley will never reach his full potential as the Bill Gates of the world because of his criminal past that requires him to lay low and not take public credit for his inventions. So she's trying to erase the Coopers so Bentley will have never met Sly". That would at least be more than "I want money".
Everything else, I feel works more or less.
I will note that the cliffhanger ending was a weird choice given that this game wasn't projected to sell well and kinda pigenholes any story Sly 5 would be going for. Plus, it being locked behind the platinum trophy means only a small portion of the few players that played Sly 4 would even know about it.
So yeah, that's my take on platinumming Sly 4: Thieves in Time. What do y'all think?
Next up for me is platinumming every Spider-Man game on PS VITA. See you then.
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2023.05.30 18:19 HokageEzio A great reminder on the various dreams of the Straw Hats, and some very solid anime filler content with an ever increasing production quality - Manga reader's first impressions on the anime - Zou Saga
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I occasionally see the criticism pop up that since the timeskip, many of the Straw Hats dreams have gone somewhat underdeveloped unless it is one of the ones that is constantly developed every arc (Luffy becoming Pirate King, Zoro becoming the World's Strongest Swordsman, etc.). I feel like the Zou Arc really fights back against that criticism. Even while being the least controversial post time skip arc (and an arc that was always beloved since it came out), I feel like it's still a little underappreciated how many great endgame Straw Hat moments were had in this arc in reference to the development of their dreams. I also think the uptick of the anime's quality continues to show itself more and more, with great anime filler and an even better movie in Film: Gold.
I've been reading the manga weekly since Zou, but I've been trying to watch every piece of animated One Piece content before catching up to see how the anime has developed over time. My interest in how the current anime is being used and incorporating a bunch of stuff that isn't in the manga with a much higher quality level made me want to watch weekly, but I didn't want to just jump into the current anime. So I'm watching everything; movies, filler, specials, basically anything that's on MyAnimeList and that I can find online. Been an enjoyable experience, which you can read about in the previous threads:
Very quick watch for Zou, but some solid content there.
Also if anybody is curious why this is only about Zou it's because I'm using the official list from Library of Ohara based on Shueisha's official breakdown.
I like this breakout more because stuff like the Reverie gets included in one big Whole Cake Island arc with the countries coming together at the beginning and meeting at the end, which makes sense to me (similar to how the in between Acts in Wano are still part of the arc). As well as other various reasons.
Also this post would have approximately 900 entries if Zou, Whole Cake, and Wano were together. Cool? Cool.
Anime Arcs Silver Mine
Bartolomeo living the dream getting a filler arc with his idol
Apparently every filler villain in this series wants to be Akainu. This time it's smelting powers instead of heat, but with the same results. There was nothing incredibly bad in this arc, but I legit forgot plot points of it after a few episodes. Zoro brought up that he wanted to get revenge for something, and if they didn't throw in the flashback of the thing he was mad about from the first episode I would have been completely lost. And that's about the level of quality in this whole arc. Still not the worst arc cause Bartolomeo was really fun, but stuff with him was the only real saving grace imo. Zou
Again, love the ever growing relationship between Luffy and Lil Bro Momo
I've always been a big fan of Zou. It really feels like the entire story gets expanded for what will be the final stages, and there's a lot of big reveals as far as what the hell is next to come. That's not news though, I feel like Zou has always been the least controversial New World arc and everybody agrees it's pretty good. What stuck out to me going back through this is how many different Straw Hat dreams got some big moments, which I really liked. Chopper getting to save all the minks by making medicine was a nice moment for him, and I also really enjoyed him helping patch up Zunesha (more on that in a second). And Robin's excitement when presented with the Road Poneglyph and finding out what it meant, just a really happy experience. It's the happiest I can remember her when finding a Poneglyph since she found the one in Skypiea that made her realize it's not a lost dream. And Nami asking Inuarashi about what the Log Pose is pointing to and getting that affirmation that she's leading them on the right path, super cute moment. I feel like a lot of people criticize some of the Straw Hats with this idea that their dreams aren't really talked about much since the time skip, but to me this arc was really covering a bunch of those moments for them in really satisfying ways. Yeah we don't physically see Nami draw a map or anything like that, but we do get Robin giving her readings from the Poneglyph that can lead her down that path. I just really enjoyed all the little moments leading them on their individual dreams, especially for the more abstract ones like Chopper where none of us know how he's actually going to pull it off.
I also really enjoyed the filler episode right near the end of this arc. I brought up getting to see Chopper healing Zunesha, that was mostly done in the filler episode I'm referring to. Just really good canon filler that plugged up a lot of gaps from the manga. Carrot bribing the monkey so she could sneak on the ship, the minks all helping to make bandages for Zunesha's leg, Nami getting the map for Totto Land. One of those filler episodes where if somebody didn't tell you it was filler you'd have no clue, it just fit in perfectly. I feel like most of the filler in this arc was really well fitting, other than them randomly fighting bees for half an episode one time. Like I've been saying since the end of Dressrosa, if they do more filler like this then I really don't have an issue with the page count. I think content matters more than the amount of pages covered, and this was for the most part really good content.
As far as the story itself, the setup for Wano was great. Love seeing Momo really come into his own; he's turned into a great character in Wano and it really started around this moment here when he allies with Luffy. And the Raizo is Safe moment was really good, loved the adaptation. The music in the moment sounded very Wano/Japanese themed, which fit the moment. And frankly all of the music in this arc was great. You can always tell when one of these 200+ episode animes just got a new OST, because you start hearing new music super often. But no complaints there.
Specials One Piece: Heart of Gold
I swear this was integral to the plot. Don't fact check.
I just did not get into this one. The villain was pretty underwhelming (although I did like Zoro and Sanji's fights). And while I get it's filler so logic is somewhat out the window, the logic of this special goes super out the window. For example there's a part where Brook is needed to play the piano with very specific notes or he'll get shot with arrows. And he keeps messing up because there's a bit of the last page missing. And despite the fact that arrows pretty much do nothing to him, we instead get Robin and Chopper protecting him. Who for some reason are totally fine to use their Devil Fruits, which made me realize they're not even in Seastone cuffs but are for some reason just going along with everything. It took me until that point of the movie to even realize that. And I bring that up to talk about the next test they had, where they needed to use keys and had to find the right keyhole out of 17 (16 electrocute you, 1 doesn't). For some reason this is Nami's job, and Brook, Chopper, and Usopp have to hold the whole thing open so they don't get crushed. But if the electrocution doesn't kill you, and you're allowed to use devil fruits, why are they not using the person who can literally sprout clones and body parts? Obviously she'd still get hurt because she feels pain from the clones, but it makes way more sense than having almost half the crew crushed to death.
Again, it's a filler special episode so why am I even ranting about this. But stuff like that made me realize that the plot makes no sense and
that it took me that long into the movie to realize it makes no sense. The CP0 stuff was kinda interesting albeit they make them kinda look like scrubs, the Celestial Dragon stuff was fine too. And Chopper continues his reign as the greatest plug in One Piece, because he apparently just carries around every drug necessary with zero prep time. Also whoever animated this did it with one hand down their pants when they drew the Nami and Robin stuff. So kudos to them.
Wasn't a bad special, just kinda boring.
Movies One Piece Film: Gold
Nice to see Nami finally get to shine in a movie.
WOW. What an amazing movie. There were just so many things to love about this one. Where to start.
I'm always a fan of getting some unusual Straw Hat duos/trios. The usual groups are fun, don't get me wrong. But it's always nice to mix it up since they're such a big group. So having Franky running alone with Luffy for half the movie, I was a big fan of that. That's just not a usual pairing that happens, and the resulting dynamic from that was really cool.
I also enjoy when a movie villain doesn't feel unusually OP just for the sake of making the plot work, or like they're nerfing the main cast to make it a conflict. That's something that happens with a lot of shonen movies because they need the villain to be strong for an hour or so to make it work. When they revealed early into the movie that the gold confetti raining down actually makes it so Tesoro can control everything, I was in shock. It's a good plot device to neutralize the good guys that doesn't feel contrived, and it's also just really fucking smart. It immediately made Tesoro feel like a genuine threat.
And speaking of Tesoro, what a great villain. His backstory was crazy. The Celestial Dragon stuff is always a good way to get under the audience's skin, but the fact that he was a slave too and basically took the Sun Pirates approach of covering it? Huge surprise, not what I was expecting at all.
Also enjoyed Nami finally getting to fully participate in a movie. Her relationship with Carina was really cool, but the main thing that I liked was that she finally gets to play a big role in a movie. I wouldn't define her role in the last few movies as a damsel in distress. But it did kinda suck to see Nami taken out of the past few movies fairly early, where she doesn't get to play out a role like everybody else. Whether that's her being changed to a little kid or her getting kidnapped by Shiki in the first few minutes. This time Zoro gets to be the one separated from the crew, but you know Zoro will always get his moment eventually so it was fine. Again, just another really unique thing about this movie compared to the other ones.
This was just a really fun heist style movie, even with the typical planning montage. Very fun watch.
OVAs One Piece Film: Gold Episode 0
Speaking of animating with a hand down their pants, this was animated with the pen in their mouth. I guess these OVAs are all just going to be an excuse to show Nami and Robin half naked as many times as possible. In which case I say thank you. Also I knew Nami and Robin ran an elaborate gambling ring on the ship, I called that.
Fun short little video leading into the movie, like the Glorious Island one. We've upgraded from swimming to having the girls bouncing around playing volleyball. I look forward to the next one where they mud wrestle.
ONAs Oishi-sa Hajikeru! One Piece
MyAnimeList needs some quality control on these entries.
0/10, Franky didn't make a commercial about soda. Scratch x One Piece Film: Gold The face of the VAs when they saw how many 0's were at the end of their check.
Amazing. Inspiring. The lottery tickets really spoke to my heart. One Piece Film: Gold - Cine Mike Popcorn Kokuchi
Again about that quality control.
Amazing. Inpsiring. The popcorn really spoke to my heart. TOHO Cinemas x One Piece Film: Gold - Tokubetsu Eizou
Actually cool artwork.
Actually a really well animated video for what is essentially just a company logo promo. Very cool art.
One Piece Arc Rankings
- Enies Lobby
- Water 7
- Fishman Island
- Post War
- Sabaody Archipelago
- Impel Down
- Post-Enies Lobby
- Thriller Bark
- Arlong Park
- Amazon Lily
- Return to Sabaody
- Punk Hazard
- Drum Island
- Shells Town
- Foosha Village
- Syrup Village
- Orange Town
- Little Garden
- Rare Animal Island
- Spa Island
- Ice Hunter
- Reverse Mountain
- Long Ring Long Land
- Foxy's Return
- Boss Luffy Historical Arc
- Ocean's Dream
- Goat Island (Alvida's Hideout)
- Whisky Peak
- Goat Island Paradise
- Little East Blue
- Toriko Crossovers
- Silver Mine
- Caesar Retrieval
- Warship Island
- Z's Ambition
- Ruluka Island
One Piece Villain Rankings
- Rob Lucci
- Gild Tesoro (Film: Gold)
- Zephyr (Film Z)
- Hody Jones
- Gecko Moria
- Caesar Clown
- St. Charlos
- Don Krieg
- Shiki (Strong World)
- Boa Hancock
- Jonathan (G-8)
- Omatsuri (Baron Omatsuri)
- Byrnndi World (3D2Y)
- Captain Morgan
- Demaro Black
- Don Accino (Ice Hunter)
- Mr. 3
- Gasparde (Dead End Adventure)
- Mr. 5
- Mr. 9 and Miss Wednesday
- Saga (Cursed Holy Sword)
- Komei (Adventure of Nebulandia)
- Noko (Ocean's Dream)
- Ganzack (Defeat the Pirate Ganzack)
- Eric (Warship Island)
- Captain Joke (Ocean's Navel)
- Gally (Romance Dawn Story)
- Kibagaeru (Foxy's Return)
- Minchey (Goat Island)
- Eldoraggo (One Piece: The Movie)
- Ratchet (Giant Mechanical Soldier of Karakuri Castle)
- Bear King (Clockwork Island Adventure)
- Count Battler (Island of Strange Animals)
- Bilic (Episode of Luffy)
- Bill (Silver Mine)
- Breed (Caesar Retrieval)
- Shuzo (Z's Ambition)
- Wetton (Ruluka Island)
- Bayan (A Father's Huge, HUGE Dream)
- Mad Treasure (Heart of Gold)
- Largo (Little East Blue)
- Doran (Spa Island)
- Marine Commanding Officer (Straw Hat Chase)
- Trap (Trap Coaster)
- Governor (Last Great Performance)
One Piece Movie Rankings
- Film: Gold (Movie 13)
- Film Z (Movie 12)
- Strong World (Movie 10)
- Episode of Chopper Plus: Bloom in Winter, Miracle Sakura (Movie 9)
- Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (Movie 6)
- Dead End Adventure (Movie 4)
- Episode of Alabasta: The Desert Princess and the Pirates (Movie 8)
- One Piece: The Movie (Movie 1)
- Straw Hat Chase (Movie 11)
- The Cursed Holy Sword (Movie 5)
- The Giant Mechanical Soldier of Karakuri Castle (Movie 7)
- Clockwork Island Adventure (Movie 2)
- Chopper's Kingdom on the Island of Strange Animals (Movie 3)
- Episode of Sabo: The Three Brothers' Bond - The Miraculous Reunion and the Inherited Will
- Episode of Merry: The Tale of One More Friend
- Episode of Nami: Tears of a Navigator and the Bonds of Friends
- Episode of Luffy: Adventure on Hand Island
- One Piece: Protect! The Last Great Performance
- Adventure of Nebulandia
- Once Upon the Great Sea! A Father's Huge, HUGE Dream!
- One Piece Special: Adventure in the Ocean's Navel
- Episode of Alabasta - Prologue
- Heart of Gold
- One Piece New Year Special: Special Report - Secret of the Straw Hat Pirates
- One Piece Special: The Detective Memoirs of Chief Straw Hat Luffy
- One Piece: Emergency Planning, A Perfect Strategy for the One Piece
- Strong World: Episode 0
- Glorious Island
- Film: Gold Episode 0
- Romance Dawn Story
- Infiltrate!! Thousand Sunny
- One Piece: Defeat the Pirate Ganzack!
- One Piece Recap 2: One Piece 10+ Years Special
- Dream Soccer King
- Jango's Dance Carnival
- Trap Coaster
- Take Aim! The Pirate Baseball King
- Cry Heart
- Share the World (11)
- We Are! (1)
- One Day (13)
- Hard Knock Days (18)
- We Go! (15)
- Brand New World (6)
- Fight Together (14)
- We Are! (2008 Remix) (10)
- Bon Voyage (4)
- We Are! (Straw Hat Version) (7)
- Hands Up (16)
- Wake Up! (17)
- Crazy Rainbow (7)
- Jungle P (8)
- Hikari e (3)
- We Can! (19)
- Kokoro no Chizu (5)
- Believe (2)
- Kaze wo Sagashite (12)
- Shouchi no Suke (4 - crew spotlight)
- Tsuki no Taiyo (12 - family left behind)
- Free Will (9 - Robin wakes crew)
- Glory - Kimi ga Iru Kara (7 - Vivi's past)
- Eternal Pose (15 - Past arc snapshots)
- Dear Friends (16 - Merry memories/funeral)
- Asu wa Kuru Kara (17 - young Robin in flower field)
- Before Dawn (5 - foot crew race)
- Memories (1 - Sunset water)
- Fish (6 - Chopper's adventures)
- Dreamship (13 - group photo)
- Run! Run! Run! (2 - Young crew runs)
- Mirai Koukai (14 - different birds)
- Adventure World (18 - fan art)
- Faith (10 - colorful Straw Hats)
- Shining ray (8 - crew jumps off cliff)
- Watashi ga Iru Yo (3 - Going Merry life)
- A to Z (11 - Come back to your friends)
- Vivi Goodbye
- Usopp vs Luffy
- Usopp apology
- Nami forgiving Jimbei
2023.05.30 18:08 StoutTrooper Some Good News & Not good news this morning
So, i have a done a lot of work on myself in the 25 months since diagnosis of T2D.
I went keto (mostly), lost 60 lbs (now 180 lbs at 6'3" tall). Became a hell of lot more active. My A1C rangeS have been 4.9 to 5.1. I had one blip at 5.7 but that was due to covid.
Now turn to a couple months ago. I woke up and had dark urine. Think tea, or watered down fountain cola. Naturally, that freaked me out. I had zero pain associated with this. Mild discomfort would be the most accurate way of saying it but even that i feel is a poor description. It was virtually nothing.
The blood in the urine resolved itself after a day so the doc saw no need to rush my scan and scheduled it for recently.
Turns out i have a kidney stone which is currently in a place in my kidney that is not a threat to pass likely anytime soon. It could be 3 months, 6 months, a year. Who knows. The blood was caused by it shifting to it's current location.
That is the bad news. I have had stones twice before and those of you that are reading this that have had one know how incredible the pain is during passage. So i am currently looking into soundwave therapy to break this up and be done with it.
Now the good news. At diagnosis of T2D i was also told i had a fatty liver with a lesion on it. The T2D diagnosis terrified me. Being told about the liver was probably equally terrifying because i had no idea to what level. Was i teetering on cirrhosis? Well, getting this CT scan would finally let me know where my liver stands after all this hard work i put it in.
My liver is clean. I have completely resolved my fatty liver. Now my doc points out, blood work would complete the picture and i will be having bloodwork at my annual physical coming up in the next few months, but my bloodwork from last April showed an AST of 14 and ALT of 16.
I would expect those numbers to be good again this year. So the kidney stone thing sucks but it could have been worse news and i am just so beyond thrilled on the news with my liver.
My last blind spot is i want to get a fasting insulin test done to see if i completely resolved my insulin resistance/T2D.
submitted by StoutTrooper
to diabetes_t2 [link] [comments]
2023.05.30 13:10 resurrective Chapter 18 - The toxic grace
It only took a moment. By the time Keyaruga opened his eyes… Or, well, what felt like an awakening, either way, he found himself in a realm of endless light. As dazzling as it might’ve looked, it never blinded the man… nor all of his companions, standing in this luminous wasteland.
“Girls! Girls, are you alright?!” The red-eyed lad dashed toward the four of them, trying to give them a warm hug, while the golden egg rested nearby.
“Uh-huh.” Setsuna happily accepted his embrace, and, being the first to reply, she wanted to share her experience, to tell everyone about everything she’d been through, but alas, only she alone could properly pass this trial by redeeming herself in the face of her fallen brethren. Sadly, everyone else was a lot less eager to drop their guard.
“Oh, look, I think that’s over.” Ellen noticed, addressing her sister, who still held her staff in preparation to break into that last remaining dome. But no, everything had come to an end… Now, they only needed to face Caladrius.
“I don’t think we’re ready. We… never could’ve received their forgiveness fairly…” The world-breaking sorceress lamented, slamming her staff into the floor, just so she wouldn’t collapse. Of course, the Hero of Healing came to her rescue, but she just forced herself to stand still. “T-thanks… But… I’m not the one, who needs you the most right now.” The elder princess spoke, pointing to Eve. She stood a few steps away from them, staring into the void.
“Fucking pigeon, I knew we shouldn’t have come here…” The fallen warlady uttered, looking at the queen-to-be, who seemed absolutely lost to the world. No tears had yet been spilled from her crimson eyes; no concerns to those around her were given either.
“How are you, Eve?” The man asked, trying to get closer to his companion, but she merely took a step away from him.
STAY AWAY FROM ME, MONSTER!!!
These words still resounded in his head, tormenting the lad more than any sort of torture could, and seeing Eve shying away from him, filled his heart with so much sorrow, that he barely held his breath still. He had to… Otherwise, he’d certainly cry.
“It’s alright… I’ve met Yuel, Mero, and Naala… It’s alright, I’ve met… Naala, and… I’ve met… M… Mero…” When the girl finally opened her mouth, she started blabbering the same thing over and over again. Whatever she had to suffer through, it left a great scar in her mind… “M-mom… Dad… W-why?.. Why did you-?..” And finally, she broke. Tears started flowing from her painfully swollen eyes, and the girl finally collapsed on her knees. “Ugh… Uh… UA-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A!!!” And just like that, a loud wail thundered around this quiet space of endless light, the substance that just formed a tunnel made of mystical illumination. A safe passage to the outside world, certainly.
But no, nobody would go anywhere just yet, not until Eve Reese calms down at least. All that the others could do was to wait. Wait and be there for her.
A warm sun, a breeze of wind, fresh air under a blue sky – one never misses those things, until they’re devoid of them entirely. Either way, now that the party left that accursed realm, they found themselves at the same valley from which Caladrius sent them on to the trial.
“…” They were silent, all of them, starting with Keyaruga, now carrying the gilded egg on his back again. He was still trying to get over what he saw. Even if Anna indeed forgave him, and had not just gone mad over what kind of ruthless beast her ward became, her words would never leave his mind.
“Easy now.” Setsuna spoke, supporting Eve, as she barely moved her legs. Ellen walked nearby, still unsure what she should do with Organ’s plea. Both she and her sister heard it, but neither could face the man with that. Not now, not when the hero, even though he remained calm and collected, somehow looked even worse than his broken queen.
“Caladrius.” The sorceress spoke, stopping before the massive ten-meter tall bird. Weirdly enough, the group only noticed her when they were just four meters away from her massive feathered body, her torso was covered with a golden cuirass, painted in purple, along with the beak-plate which served the harbinger of plague as a crown. All of them ultimately aligned their sights with her four eyes. The wisdom of ages was reflected there, but alas, it was overshadowed by what can only be called ultimate arrogance.
“There you are little ones.” The divine bird spoke, lowering her head just enough, so that humans wouldn’t have to look up all the time. Still, even that gesture wasn’t enough for Freia to drop her weapon.
“Et aperire caelum elementa multa…” The sorceress began chanting her ultimate spell. This time, she wouldn’t take any chances. After what she’d done to Eve, this creature had to die! Or else…
“Don’t… do this.” Well, that turn of event wouldn’t please the goddess. And such, the kokuyoku scion broke out from Setsuna’s embrace just to stand between the caster and her living idol.
“Have we passed?” Keyaruga, asked, standing besides the black-winged prodigy. After all, the further development would depend on their result on this test. Or, rather, how the host reacts.
“You sure did. Your methods were… unorthodox, to say the least.” Caladrius replied, giving each of the party a deep scrutinizing look. Her doubled eyes were fixated on Keyaruga, especially. “You, shapeshifted children, I sense a great darkness in you three. And yet, none of you should fear me anymore.” She said with that middle-aged womanly voice of hers, urging Freia to lower her staff already. “No matter, you merely had to prove to me your endurance, erudition, and the power of your will to become worthy of my grace. I care little for how exactly you survived under my plague, and what you said to placate those who came for you. I am actually rather delighted to see such a contrarian attitude with which you passed my test.”
“You fucking should be!” Ellen snarled, ragingly pressing her finger against the shielded beak. “Your trials were impassable for everyone besides us! You knew that! You knew nobody could beat them without wrecking your little salty mumbo-jumbo!” The girl accused the bird, as if she was just some ungracious host, and not one of the mightiest entities in all the continent of Enoa.
“It’s true! Without my power, we’d starve in your city!” The magician added, pushing her sister behind her back. “How many of Evy’s people had to die because of you? You… You know a demon can’t be a hero, like me!”
“They can, we just cannot risk them falling under the control of something...malevolent.” Caladrius argued with a deliberately ambiguous comment. “To reach the heart of my domain, all you had to do was to calculate the logic in the fractal sequence of…”
“Bullshit! There were no fractals! No building was like the rest, so either you’re spitting lies here, or just think none of us knows math!” The little genius interrupted the explanation with another one of her bitter comments. “Oh, let me guess-!..”
“Enough.” The younger princess was then silenced by Setsuna, who covered her mouth with her hand – a radical move, to say the least, but not entirely out of place, when dealing with an overwhelmingly powerful creature.
“Hmm, I like your tenacity, Norn Clatalissa Jioral, but you only saw my domain from the outside.” The harbinger of plague notified her, but rather then proceeding further with the matter of the bratty general challenging her, she turned her head toward Eve, who stood next to Keyaruga. “It has been a long time, since we saw each other, Me-ua. I am glad to see this new consort of yours is much more respectful toward you. Yet somehow, he is even more depraved than the last one.” And just like that, the deity revealed her insight of the first world, Eve’s close alliance with Keyaruga, and how fortunate she was to have him around instead of Cornar. But that wasn’t the most intriguing part of this.
“I know. It’s… been two years since last met.” It was the reply that the verdant woman gave her, that brought to light a terrifically curious fact.
“Eve… you too?” Keyaruga murmured, realizing, that he now had one more dreamer alongside him. The man exhaled in comprehension, his ‘sister’ slammed her palm against her own forehead, Setsuna spotted a new soul to provide emotional care to, and Freia just couldn’t help but… Well, her feelings about this new revelation were mixed at best. She did want to find out what she’d done ‘back’ then, but at the same time, in doing so, she would certainly discover a lot more cruelties done by her hand; especially those directed at Keyaru.
“I need strength. Bless me, Caladrius. And… age me. I can’t remain a child now.” Eve all but demanded. Somehow, she wasn’t just a fearful kid anymore. This time, the Me-ua kahul radiated dignity, she even spoke with the deity as an equal.
“Very well, little queen. You were never undeserving of my grace.” And with that said, Caladrius carefully touched Eve’s forehead with her beak. Upon doing so, a whirlwind of energy, a flux of white and purple, picked up the girl, and enveloped her completely. Looking at it felt so familiar for Keyaruga. After all, this power destroyed and created, ruined one to shape another. All the clothes Eve had been wearing were torn apart, reduced to primal particles, her skin was scourged, and then replaced with one of a tanned tone, the girl’s hair was bleached, and above it – a crown of two pointy horns grew right from her skull. This wasn’t just a girl now – this was a woman, clad in a dress of red and black, the decorative pauldrons of which, as well as golden bracelets, defied the power of gravity itself. This… was how Keyaru met the Me-ua in the first world.
And what had changed in her stat-wise? Well, nothing – that same fifty-fourth level, with which Eve entered the trial, no change in potential, nor any other graph. Except for one…
Level cap: ∞
“Congratulations, Eve. You’re a hero now.” The red-eyed lad praised his companion. In just a moment, she aged by four years. Her face was still young and pretty, her height got only slightly longer, but the proportions made the whole difference. Hips and breasts – they got some improvements, which the healer would never miss.
“I suppose this settles our deal. With this, you can summon me again.” The harbinger of sickly doom graciously spoke to her chosen one. Unlike other gods, she couldn’t just change a person’s entire class. A full-fledged hero didn’t only have the potential for infinite growth, but also provided a bonus of doubled experience for them and their party, the trait that Eve lacked. Still, Caladrius giving her champion an unlimited level cap was a game-changer nonetheless. Nevertheless, there was one more thing to ponder… “Although… you already know the price for my assistance.”
“Of fucking course! You’ll kill her for that, you monster!” Ellen raged, stomping her little foot against the rocky ground, while her sister braced for whatever consequences her sibling’s brutal honesty might cause.
“Forgive her, Caladrius. She’s just… too worried about me.” The lady in red spoke kindly, patting the god’s golden beak.
“Hmm. That is, indeed, relatable. Still, how precious it is to see your former enemies now have become your allies. Is that your accomplishment, little man?” The white bird asked of the hero. Did she try to offend him? Not so much, really. To her, even a draconid of a baffling two and a half meters tall would still be ‘small’. That didn’t make it less insulting, though.
“Yes. Why?” Keyaruga growled, facing two pairs of eyes, with which Caladrius gazed into him, right to his very soul. The healer had a similar power, but being read himself filled him with at least cautiousness toward the deity.
Flare – she was the one, who brought so much pain to Eve’s heart, she scourged thousands, and even if they were revived by Keyaru’s redo, the queen’s memories still held this agony.
Norn – this one lead armies against Tenanulic*,* her vile strategies were never burdened by human decency or a warrior’s concept of honor. Scourged earth, poisoned wells, hand-crafted epidemics, bribery, and genocide – this little girl was responsible for so many atrocities, that she had broken her own spirit by committing them.
And, finally, Keyaru. The Hero of Healing, who was there to land the last strike on the demon queen. Only Setsuna was completely innocent, just because she’d die from the disease caused by a monster’s rotting corpse, if not for this enigmatic man.
“Eve Reese – it is your call now. What should I do with them?” And so, the white-haired lady was given a choice. Right now, Caladrius could unleash all of her power without asking for anything in return. Even if she herself suffered from fatigue after conducting all those trials, the harbinger of plague could still easily bury her enemies under a pile of toxic ash. Still, it wasn’t for her to choose now.
“Oh well, now we’re screwed.” Ellen chuckled, shaking her head. Freia and Setsuna assumed a battle stance, and even Keyaruga gave the girl a dark glare.
I’m sorry, birdie. But if you endanger my girls, I… You’ll have to see me as I truly am.
The deep silence loomed above them all. One word, one single word could decide the party’s fate. To Caladrius, not only were they outsiders, but also the enemies of her champion as well. No matter if their crimes were mostly erased, she just didn’t really trust them.
But she trusted Eve.
“Bless them, like you’ve blessed me.” The Me-ua kahul asked, smiling toward her friends and the man she loved. The woman absolutely comprehended the power she was given, and yet, there were things, people, little kindnesses, that she could never forget. Not after they helped her to break free from the chains placed upon her in the first world.
“Evy…” Freia muttered with obvious relief. She glanced at Keyaruga, and he looked as stoic as he did most of the time. Did he learn that from Setsuna? After all, she too merely lowered her arms.
“He-he-he-he-heh…” Only one of them nervously chuckled. The crimson-haired princess just wanted this excruciating day to end at last, even if it barely began.
“Oh my! That is quite bold of you to ask.” Caladrius pronounced somewhat mockingly. After all, she was never obliged to reward humans (including demi-humans) just for surviving her challenges.
“Do you refuse?” Eve inquired accusingly. It made the others wonder, what kind of power she really had over the full-fledged god.
“I never said so. It is… different with them. My power is contagious, and only the ancient pact with your tribe allows you to safely enjoy my grace.” The toxic deity explained, now looking at the party with a deep thoughtfulness in her doubled eyes. “We can figure something out.” She added, drawing her beak near the brooding man. “Hmm, you are quite the curious individual, a human, yet, at the same time, something very different.”
“How should I take this ‘compliment’?” The hero wondered, trying to figure out if he was being accused of the many atrocities he committed during his test, or the sheer turmoil that was his sense of morals.
“Take it as your three hearts would please.” Fortunately, though, the feathered doom simply brushed it off by hinting at his modified biology. After all, now that he was under the protection of Eve, there was only one question to answer. “Will you accept my gift?” Caladrius inquired, cautiously watching the lad’s reaction. He wasn’t all that sure than he needed anything else to be complete. Not when he was almost immortal.
“Please, Keyaruga…” And, yet again, the black-winged prodigy asked him, placing her hand on his shoulder. She would never do something like that previously – the little girl was no more, she had changed forever. But, that didn’t dissuade the healer from liking and trusting her, so…
“Alright. I suppose, it can’t get much worse.” The man just shrugged, accepting whatever he could be granted. The lad wouldn’t drop his guard, though. After all, if anything happens to him, it was quite doubtful that Freia could handle this beast on her own.
“Very well.” Aware of this distrust, Caladrius once again placed her beak onto another’s head. Keyaruga didn’t receive a fancy transformation; instead, his left eye got embraced by a gentle purple light. It only stung for a moment, but when it ended, a whole new perspective opened before the hero. Something… intrinsically transcendental.
“Did you just replace… my eye?” The lad asked, trying to figure out what was going on. Barely anything changed… except for the fact that now he saw his own movements from two seconds afar. He was seeing the future…
“Indeed. You are not a stranger to our divine might, so you can handle it.” Caladrius admonished, standing in her full height, just to stretch her neck, as it seemed.
“Is that your power?” Keyaruga wondered, suppressing his left eye. Fortunately, he had plenty of experience with the gift of the star nymph, so it only took him a few seconds to figure out how it worked. That was absolutely necessary; not only did this power drain a whole lot of mana, it also required some time to get used to.
“Mine? Of course not! This gift was born of sacrifice. One feisty demigod gave me his power to me in order to enter my trials. I merely improved upon it.” The harbinger of plague spoke proudly, giving a brief glance toward Ellen.
“That idiot…” The girl snarled, making a sour face. “What? It was Organ! He saved me! Now you have his eye, brother, or… whatever this purple cross on your pupil is.” The fallen warlady revealed, glancing toward the Hero of Magic as well as the rest of the group. After all, if Hawkeye wasn’t there, Freia would only have found her mauled corpse.
“Then, the egg.” Caladrius continued, now tapping her beak against the egg. And just like that, she poured quite a lot of her mana into it, but, just like previously, it consumed everything the bird offered. “You carry a powerful being on your back, little man.”
“Stronger than you?” He wondered somewhat mockingly.
“Indeed.” But the feathered doom wasn’t about to joke about that particular matter. “I owe her a lot, so this is the least I can do.” The god of sickness and rejuvenation spoke with a trace of adoration and… regret. Maybe, that is the true power? To raise others, when you can, so that they may assist you in the time of your greatest need?
“I don’t need anything!” Freia exclaimed when the doubled eyes of Caladrius were now aimed at her. “I just need an answer! Tell me, what’s with my mother?! Is she alive? Can we help her?!” The sorceress asked bravely, her legs were shaky, partly because of the fatigue, partly – the fear of facing the mighty god. Nonetheless, it’s easy to be daring when nothing can oppose you. A standoff against the powerful being is completely different matter.
“Ah, Reeharoze Thalio Jioral! She… is neither dead, nor alive.” The divine dove replied cautiously. This topic lead to many limitations, sealed by numerous and tremendously powerful curses for each deity, who might reveal them.
“Damn! I knew it!” The sorceress snarled, loudly clacking with her teeth. She and Setsuna both tensed, having already faced whatever monstrosity the king turned Buck Tarwill into.
“The best thing you can do for her is to end her suffering in this world.” Caladrius spoke dismissively, lacking any empathy toward some distant mortal, defiled by the power that is the void itself.
“Go kill yourself, if you think it’s merciful!” Ellen snarled, spitting in the direction of the deity. She wouldn’t have anyone defile her mother’s memory, even a god, even if it literally disintegrated her saliva right in the fly.
“Calm down.” Fortunately, though, Setsuna was right there to help the younger princess. She stood between the two of them, but instead of doing anything aggressive, the gray-haired girl just hugged her crimson-haired lover, and guarded her from the harbinger of plague with her spine.
“How can we help her?!” Keyaruga then asked, trying to be a beacon of logic and reason among all of these tormented souls. Eve stood near; she carefully monitored the lad’s movements, reactions, his gestures, and overall attitude.
“You cannot. At least not right now.” Caladrius coldly responded, shifting her heavy gaze toward the man; to be specific – the burden on his back. “But this one – if she desires so, then you might have some hope.” The bird explained briefly. Obviously, nobody among the party was satisfied with the answer.
“We must help them. Please, you must help us!” Even the white-haired queen-to-be spoke up. She already lost her parents twice, and now in assisting Freia and Ellen she saw a chance to ease her own pain.
“I am afraid, my vows prevent me from revealing to you the whole truth, but rest assured, you will find your answer soon enough.” The harbinger of plague and convalescence reassured all of them. Was it a godly prediction of the future? Or something else entirely?
“Then… Then I!..” Freia shook, trying to comprehend this revelation. She now looked at the egg with reverence and craving. She saw nothing but a tool in it, and that didn’t escape Setsuna’s aquamarine eyes.
“Not so fast. It’s Keyaruga’s child (and ours). Don’t put all your hopes on her just yet.” The huntress admonished, still holding Ellen, as she slowly recovered her emotional stability. The ice warrior was trying to save her prodigy from the burden of other’s expectations, but that affected the pink-haired magician only so much.
“Wise words, child of the forest. But just like your claws, they lack penetrative power.” Caladrius stated, and just as she said so, a multitude of small fireflies emerged around the girl. Or, rather, they became visible. These sparks were always there, the spirits of ice, fueling the she-wolf’s magic. Now they gathered around the divine bird’s head, forming something of a halo. They didn’t stay for too long, though, but when they left Caladrius’ side, their gray shine, now infused with the might of the god, now became much brighter, much… colder. “I am afraid; I cannot do much more for your sake, little one.” And with that done, there was only one person, who still remained to be given anything. “Now…”
“Don’t you even dare, you ugly pigeon! I don’t need your rotten power!” Ellen yelled, awkwardly falling out of Setsuna’s grasp. It wasn’t long before she rose up and once again pressed her finger against Caladrius’ gilded beak. At least, she was about to do so, when she pointed at the queen-to-be instead. “If you want to give me something – don’t! Just don’t! All I need from you is to not treat Eve like your glorified snack, okay?! Look, my sister is the Hero of Magic, she can basically do everything you do, but she doesn’t need to eat anyone to cast her spells! So how can you be so entitled to ask for her life?!” The younger princess snarled, as her emerald eyes rapidly shifted between Eve, Freia, Keyaruga, and the divine dove. The latter was taken aback by that passionate speech, unsure if she had to take grievous offence from belittling her might, or outright cackle from this observation. One problem, though – the former had lost her already fragile balance.
“Eve? Are you alright?” Keyaruga asked, catching the black-winged lady in his grip. She was pale, drained, fatigued – this wasn’t just physical weariness, though. The aftermath of the trial caught up with her, now reinforced by the reminder of how terrible a price she’d have to pay for Caladrius’ power.
“Yes…” Eve mumbled, trying to stand on her feet, but the man wouldn’t let her just yet.
“Hold onto me.” He said, trying to be the support for Eve at her lowest time.
“That is an interesting thing to hear from someone like you.” The feathered deity spoke to Ellen. Despite that entire scene, her account with the capricious genius wasn’t paid yet. “At first, you have got my curiosity. Now, you proved to be worthy of my power.” The harbinger of plague added, facing the younger princess now.
“Fuck you! I already said what I need from you, godling!” Still, the obstinate lady wasn’t there to grovel before the glorified dove. She already had a role to adhere to – Norn, Ellen, whatever she was called – was a strategist, a great mind capable of preserving massive amounts of knowledge just by quickly reading it once.
“Creators be merciful, you are a stubborn creature.” Caladrius amused. To her, watching the crimson-haired girl rant was like looking at a overly vocal pup – all bark, but no bite. Not because it wasn’t brave enough, though. Ellen just wasn’t gifted with a strong maw. And that was something Caladrius could help her with. “You are deserving of becoming my apostle!”
“Hah… W-what?” Keyaruga’s ‘sister’ got so dumbfounded, that her head just went round. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling, though, this dizziness made her nauseous.
“You will get exactly what you wish for, and even more, Norn Clatalissa Jioral! Heed me, Eve. I now grant you two chances to summon me without any harm for you!” The harbinger of disease and rejuvenation notified her mistress. It was still dwarfed, compared to what Flare had done, when paired with Gard the Windbreak, and still…
“I… But I don’t…” This little grace nearly pulled the rug out from under Eve’s feet. But again, Keyaruga was there to give her the necessary support.
“And you, princess in name, but no blood, shall be the vessel of my power!” Caladrius declared, turning her determined gaze onto Ellen. Her sister stood nearby, unsure what she should do with that. She knew Norn could be headstrong, at best, even when it came to the things that would benefit her personally. Just like when she refused the offer from her ‘brother’ to age her body to an adult form.
“Make it four usages for Eve, and leave me alone! I don’t need anyone’s pow-!.. Ah!” Right as she was about to start a new scandal with her big mouth, the younger princess rose in the sky, caught by a purple wind from underneath the deity’s giant wings.
“You do not know what is good for you, child!” The god of rot and restoration snarled, as if she was an arrogant petty parent.
“Ghhh!” Freia hissed, waving her staff to break Ellen out of Caladrius’ grip. She succeeded, and Ellen fell in the hands of the Hero of Magic… but it was already too late.
“Oh no… Oh no-no-no-no!” The younger princess frantically shook her head, as her muscles trembled with the newfound strength. It seems, she was no longer a useless child on a battlefield. One would think she’d be glad with this turn of events… But no. “K-Ke… Keya… Keyaruga-a-a! What’s she done to me?!” The girl yelled, reaching for her ‘brother’. He and his lady in red came closer to the girl.
“HOW DARE YOU?!” Freia screamed, accumulating whatever mana she could drain from this lifeless land, even trying to drain Caladrius of it. She proved unsuccessful, though.
“Freia, don’t.” Keyaruga ordered, painting his right eye in the jade hue. He was just about to see something truly majestic.
Class: Apostle of Caladrius
Physical attack: 42
Physical defense: 53
Magic attack: 67
Magic defense: 60
The aspect of plague: 1st level
The aspect of revival: 1st level
Boost to Mana regen: 1st level. The skill of the Apostle of Caladrius, boosts Mana regen by 5%
Mnemonics: acquired skill. Greatly improves mental capacity and remembering speed.
Grace of Caladrius: skill of the Apostle of Caladrius. Gives boost to the magic learning speed of Caladrius’ aspects by 2x
Level cap: 66
Physical attack: 32
Physical defense: 40
Magic attack: 51
Magic defense: 45
Fascinating! Although Ellen’s potential was almost twice as low as the others’, due to her having no royal heritage, or hero’s status, Caladrius not only managed to bypass the age of fourteen, a standard timestamp for a human, but also pump the girl with more than fifty levels!
“She… has given you a class… And you’re now on the fifty-second level…” Keyaruga spoke with his eyes widely opened. Seriously, in terms of progression, this was an act of pure, blatant favoritism on the deity’s side of things!
And how did Ellen take this gift?
“FUCKER!!! THAT’S TOO MUCH EVEN FOR A JOKE!!!” Oh, she was positively furious. After all, no power comes without a price to pay. “You! Who the fuck gave you the right to do this to me?!” The younger princess dashed in the direction of Caladrius’ beak. She eloped Setsuna’s grapple, passed around Keyaruga and Eve – all for the sake of that one punch! One punch to the head of this pompous pigeon with all of her new might! One strike… that didn’t even break the ornamental barrier around the bird.
“Rest assured, child. You have zero obligations before me. I am not the monster you are trying to make of me. You may think of that as my way of thanking you for helping my followers.” With that said and done, Caladrius once again rose to her full height in preparation for flying away. “I hope this alleviates your worries, little one. Farewell, du-na Me-ua (o great demon king). We shall meet again.” And just like that, the massive figure rose into the air. And when she’d done so, a white mist engulfed the deity, in which she faded from view completely.
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2023.05.30 11:38 WP306 Seeking advice on old mower
I have a John Deere 757 zero turn. It was formerly used commercially and apparently near the end of its engine life when I bought it. But, at the time, I thought it was a good deal and I wanted a big mower.
When it is running properly, it's a great machine. But I've been plagued with engine problems for about the last two years. First the crankcase seal broke. Then it started blowing oil from somewhere else. Now it's blowing oil again and sounds like it might be the end of the engine.
I'm tired of throwing money at it. But I can't afford to buy another zero turn. (At least not one big enough to justify the expense.)
A new engine appears to be around $2000. I think the unit is close to 20 years old. At least at the moment, all the other parts seem to be functioning as they should.
Is it worth trying to fix or should I give up on it?
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2023.05.30 07:55 Dutchie444 Closure. Stories From the AMTS
“Hey Raz, I got one!” Raz’s voice was cut by static as he called back, “Great! …at quarry …die.” Well, that wasn’t ominous at all, I thought to myself as I adjusted the rear-view mirror to check on the operator I had just blown past. They were doubled over coughing, their gas mask swayed side to side on the ground next to their feet. I don’t know what compelled me to not flatten what I had thought to be an AQ soldier, but I’m glad I didn’t.
I slammed my hummer in reverse, coming to a stop next to the helpless operator. “Hop in bud, we can get you to final exfill yet.” He slowly hauled himself into the bed of my hummer, landing with a dull thud and a groan as he fell onto his back. We cleared the gas, and I was immediately put on edge as my passenger started to gain consciousness. If he was planning anything nefarious, there wasn’t much I could do about it now. “You good back there? Normally I’d stop to send an invite but given the situation that might have just caused more problems.” He leaned through the non-existent rear window, “Nah, I understand man. When we get further from the gas we can stop and squad up. Don’t need to risk lighting each other up if things get hot at the exfill.” I couldn’t help but chuckle, “I don’t think that would be much of an issue regardless. Hey, we didn’t leave any of your friends back there, did we? I know we peeled out pretty quick.” I saw him shake his head and point to our left in the rear-view mirror. “We got split up, but they were running for a car, so I wasn’t too worried.” I followed his finger, a white hatchback cruised along parallel to us, swerving through buildings trying not to eat too many AQ bullets. “Hey boys, Dutch here is gonna roll with us to final. We’ll squad up when we get there.” I was barely able to make out one of his squad mates call out “Tight!” over his earpiece.
“Hey, listen, I’ve got friend I’m rolling with. His name’s Raz, he’s gonna meet us at final. If you see a red, white, and blue LTV, don’t shoot alright.” Raz chimed in, his radio finally clear of the static, “That’s very kind of you to tell them not to shoot me Dutch.” Before I could respond, a black turreted LTV slid out of Said City ahead of us. “Is that your boy Dutch?” I wanted to give my passenger the benefit of the doubt, it is windy in the box after all, he might not have heard me. “Nah man, wrong colour, and he didn’t have a turreted LTV last I saw.” The black LTV continued North along the main road as we cut away into the quarry proper. “Raz, company is headed your way. Looks like it’s just a solo in that truck but you can never be too careful.” “Thanks for the heads up Dutch.”
I rolled to a stop at the base of the helicopter ramp, gently flattening a couple of AQ who were getting a little to close to the bird for comfort, just shy of the battery running dry. The other two operators in the hatchback slid to a stop just down the hill from us. I got out of the hummer, a tad worried that my good fortune was about to come to an end at the hands of these fellas. As they ran up the hill, the notification finally popped. I accepted and ran down the hill to grab the hatchback, breathing a sigh of relief. “Wait, where you goin’ Dutch?” One of my clients called out. “Raz and I will run interference while we wait for the chopper to take off. Any AQ or unfriendly operators are gonna have to go through us.” “You keep talking about this Raz guy, but I’ve yet to see anyone other than that black LTV.” Almost on queue, a black LTV flew up the hill narrowly missing my hatchback. My clients went into a frenzy. “Operators pushing us! Take ‘em down!” The LTV spun in the sand in front of me, a glorious and perfectly oiled moustache glinting in the Al Mazrah sun. “Hold your fire! It’s Raz!” I called from below my clients. I sent an invite to him which he had hopped out and accepted faster than any of these guys could pull the trigger. “You see the operator that was in that earlier?” Raz shook his head, “No, I pulled up on it and they were gone. Must be out on foot somewhere.”
With 5 seconds left on the clock, there wasn’t enough time to go find them, our clients now panicking as they realized we weren’t on the bird. “What are you two doing?!” They shouted from the air as we waved goodbye. “Al Mazrah is our home gentlemen. That bird was never meant for us.” I gave Raz a pat on the shoulder as the gas rapidly approached, another successful day had come to a close.
The clack of a Kastov charging handle was almost unmistakable. We both turned to see the operator from the LTV standing there, rifle honed on us. “Well shit.” Their rifle dropped towards the dirt as they looked back over their shoulder at the nearly out of sight exfill chopper. They pushed through us, wandering towards the North side of the quarry. Raz and I locked eyes, shrugging in unison. That was one of those moments where we really wouldn’t have blamed them for their decision, whatever it might have been. “We better get back to HQ, Compton said I.T dropped off something for you.” Raz said as the gas engulfed us.
“I’m going back to the island boss.” My hands were shaking as I gripped the file folder that I.T had left for me. “Twitch.” “He’s back, it took him a bit, but he’s managed to re-take the castle and hunker down since we last saw him. And if he’s back then we might finally be able to get some proper intel on those blue tracers, direct from the source.” I handed the folder to Raz. He took it, turning to no doubt address the rest of the crew. I grabbed his shoulder, stopping him before he could speak. “Not everybody, not this time. They’ve doubled the defences; we’d be walking into a slaughterhouse.” “Well, you can’t go in there alone, we look out for our own Dutch, you know that.” Raz’s brow tightened, I could tell he was already trying to figure out what my plan was. “I’m bringing Maze and Alex. They’ll provide sniper cover while I infiltrate the castle. I still have my old uniform. As long as they haven’t drastically changed up their callsigns, I should be able to get in undetected.” I could tell Raz wasn’t convinced. “Dutch, like you said, you’d be walking into a slaughterhouse. How does you going in solo make that any better.” “After what happened in the complex…I’m not putting anyone else at risk, I can’t. The Bomb Maker…Twitch, I’ve gotta face him myself. Look him in the eyes so he knows I crawled out of Hell to drag him back down there.” “Alright, I couldn’t really stop you if I wanted to, could I?” Raz shrugged. “No, not unless you shot me, and honestly, I’d take those odds.” I punched his shoulder and started heading for the breakroom to grab Maze and Alex. “You keep that up I’ll be moving you back out to that sea can of yours.” Raz smirked.
The locks took a bit of fighting to get open. While this footlocker had only been on Ashika Island for a few months, the constant spray of salt water had worn away what little integrity it once had. The black uniform, emblazoned with the Rook and Spade of Shadow Company, was still in excellent condition, save for a bullet hole just under where the plate carrier would sit. I paused for a moment, holding it up in the air, memories of the past flooding in. “Not a lot of fond memories in that uniform I take it.” Maze called out from the catwalk in our home away from home. “I think part of the problem is that there are good memories. It’s a little concerning that such fond memories can hide out amongst so much evil.” “We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of. Some of us just did things other people also wouldn’t be proud of either.” Alex chuckled to himself as he cleaned his rifle on the cot next to me. I grimaced, mostly because he was right. I slipped into the old black fatigues and strapped on my old plate carrier. My weapons were all still intact too, I pulled my Taq-56 out of the footlocker, running my fingers over the engraving in the side, ROOK-XLIV. I cycled the charging handle a few times before loading in a fresh magazine and setting it on the cot next to me. I pulled out a pistol belt, two pearl handled revolvers, one with an ebony Rook on the grip, the other, an ebony Spade. Umbra Catavae engraved along each barrel. Maze had come down from the rafters now, a look of mixed intrigue and concern on her face, “I take it those don’t invoke fond memories.” I had done a poor job of hiding my look of disgust. “No, unfortunately they do.” I felt a wave of guilt wash over me. “Each of these was given to me for completing outstanding performance in the field. I did things I’m not proud of, and I was rewarded for it, handsomely. Holding these in my hands, I feel the same pride I had felt when they were first handed to me. It makes me sick.” I strapped the belt around my waist. The pearl handles shining against my all black silhouette. Alex piped up again, “Hey, at least you are trying to make amends for your sins, not many can say the same.” I let out a long sigh, “I suppose you’re right. You both remember the plan?” “Get to the radio towers and start lighting the place up when shit inevitably hits the fan.” Maze grinned. “Close enough.” I pulled my balaclava up and headed for the door.
The guard at the gate didn’t immediately shoot me which gave me some spark of hope that this might work. “In position!” Alex and Maze called out almost simultaneously. “Jinx, you owe me a beer!” Maze rejoiced. “What? Why would I give you a beer for that?” Alex sounded genuinely confused. “Hey, cut the chatter you two, don’t need to give them any reason to not let me in alright.” The guard held up his hand. “I don’t recognize you, let’s see your I.D.” I held up my old I.D card. “Well I’ll be damned, look who crawled out if his grave.” He pulled my mask down to confirm. “You look pretty good for a corpse, though your I.D card is out of regulation. You might want to stop by the I.T guy to get a new one made.” “Thanks, I’ll head right over.” The first thought that came to my mind was Bob. There’s no way he still worked for these assholes, is there.
“You used your old I.D?! You mad man!” Maze cackled over the radio. “Ok, I’ll admit, this wasn’t my greatest plan. I honestly thought they’d just capture me after seeing who I was.” Alex cut me off, “Go with the flow I suppose.” “Spade-499 up one-two.” The local radio channel began to drown out my squad’s comms. “Rook-3468 down one-one” “This is some odd radio traffic Dutch.” Alex quipped. I watched as a Shadow Company mercenary approached a stairwell, each step primed and ready to pop a leg off whichever unfortunate soul chose to ascend. “Spade-5454 up one-two.” “It’s how they know to deactivate the traps.” I whispered into our secure line. I approached the same stairwell. “Rook-44 up one-two.” I could hear the traps audibly click off. The guard at the to put his hand out as I reached the top step. “Sorry, no ghosts allowed on the second floor.” “Ghost? What…” He bent over laughing. “I’m just messing with you man. They said you died holding off the ULF while Bob and Twitch escaped, going out in a blaze of glory. Clearly, they didn’t have their facts straight. Glad to have you back.” I’m glad I had the balaclava on because I was struggling to hide my confusion. Last I checked I was the scape goat for the largest backstab in Shadow Company history, not a hero. I was never a hero when I worked for them. “I take it you are going to see the boss, call up two-zero, we don’t want people to be just guess on the fly, just in case someone tries to sneak in.” If only he knew.
“We don’t have eyes up there Dutch. Whatever happens, you’re on your own.” I could hear a tinge of worry in Alex’s voice. “Just make sure whoever is in here doesn’t get reinforcements.” “You got it!” Alex and Maze both called out in unison. “Jinx, you owe me another beer.” “There’s free beer at headquarters, why would I owe you a beer for that.” Alex called back clearly still confused. “Radio silence please. I’ve got a rat to kill.” I took a deep breath, pulling my Bryson from its sheath, the chrome exterior brushed over with a dull grey to blend in. “Rook-44 up two-zero.”
“Well, well, well. I was wondering when I’d see you again after our last encounter. Urzikstan and Al Mazrah clearly hadn’t kicked your ass enough so you decided to come crawling back to me for another round.” The traps clicked off. “Come on up, I’ve been looking forward to this.” I slowly ascended, keeping my Bryson trained at the top of the stairs, my eyes scanning each stair for an actual trap. As I crested the stairwell, my eyes were immediately drawn to him. His back turned to me, Trophy Systems whirring and clicking around him. “I missed you Dutch. Well, the old you. The one that would shoot through a hostage just to prove a point, the one that would dangle captives from buildings by their collar until they squawked like a bird, and then still dropped them anyways. I miss the Dutch that smoked Keller because his gas mask worked and yours didn’t when we those crazy Russian’s tried to hit us with mustard gas. I still get a little nauseous when I think about you peeling his face out of there.” “I’ve changed Twitch, I’ve moved past all that. I found a calling that doesn’t require me to be a conniving bastard.” Twitch laughed as he turned around, his hands empty. I kept my Bryson trained on him. “That’s what you think I am huh? I prefer shrewd businessman, but if that’s what helps you sleep at night.” He walked to one of the barred windows. “You really think what you and those taxi driving hooligans are doing matters?” “Clearly it does, or you and the Chemist wouldn’t be working so hard to sabotage us.” I took a few steps towards him. “Well, I suppose it matters to one of us. The Chemist and Raz go way back, but you know that. What I care about is the money, and I get a lot of money for helping that crazy bastard try to wipe out your little band of Merry Men.” “And Women. This guy just loves the sound of his own voice. Can I remove his head already? He’s looking right at me, practically begging me to pull the trigger.” I could hear the contempt in Maze’s voice. Twitch always did love a monologue. “You can still fix your mistakes Twitch. Gives us what info you have on those tracers of yours and I might consider not killing you.” I snarled. “When you went soft Dutch, you lost any respect I might have had for you. We are long past the point where you can intimidate me. Besides, any info I did have, is with the Chemist. He paid a handsome sum to get the formula, and really, it was becoming a logistical nightmare to ship enough of those little blue gems across the sea. Better for everyone to have it made close to the front lines.”
“Spade-101 up two-zero.” Bob’s voice cut through the tension. “Well I’ll be, it looks like we are gonna have a little family reunion.” Bob’s head poked up the stairs, “Hey boss, another server bank has shorted out from the sea air, I told you we should invest in better waterproofing the housings but if you still…” He trailed off as I dropped my Bryson, the sling catching it just before it hit the ground, and drawing my two revolvers. “Oh, hey Dutch. Nice to see you too.” Bob stammered. I cocked the hammer on each one, keeping one trained on each of my old squad mates. “Really Bob? Really! I understand you sticking around the day of the heist. But now? After everything that Shadow Company has done to these countries. To its own people.” Before he could respond, a siren blared over the intercom system. “Defensive positions! Hostile operators have breached the perimeter.” “Dutch you’ve got six operators approaching the castle, I think it’s time to bounce.” Maze was drowned out by her own gun fire, her Signal .50 raining death into the courtyard. “Looks like our time is up here Dutch. Since you clearly don’t have los cojones to pull the trigger, you might as well see yourself out, and let me and my men handle this.”
“Fuck it.” The hammer of the first revolver slammed down, dropping Bob instantly. I turned to face Twitch, his face a mix of surprise and pride. “Maybe I was wrong, the old Dutch still lives.” I charged forward, tackling him through the window and off the roof. Both of us lay on the ground, groaning as the chorus of gunfire roared around us. He dove for one of my pistols, but unfortunately for him, I had managed to hold on to the other, putting a round through his arm just before he could grab the gun. He rolled out of the way of the second round, bringing his one working hand up to the radio on his chest. The explosion from the castle threw both of us across the courtyard, debris raining down around us. I felt like I was reliving one of the worst days of my life all over again. I hauled myself to my feet, Shadow Company mercenaries and operators wandered aimlessly through the ashes. Everyone seemed too disoriented to fight. “I think it’s time to leave Dutch.” “I second that.” Maze and Alex were barely audible over the ringing in my ears. “Regroup at the boat. If I’m not there in 5, go without me.” I never heard a response, even if they tried, they wouldn’t have convinced me to leave, not with him still breathing.
I combed through the smoke and fire, carefully checking every nook and cranny I came across but the slippery rat was nowhere to be seen. “Looks like you 3 aren’t thick as thieves after all, eh Dutch. Poor Alex here was left all alone on the beach, no boat to be seen.” Twitch was sucking in air between words, no doubt kept standing by adrenaline. “You lay a finger on him, and I’ll make you wish you had died in that explosion.” I spat into my mic. “Don’t make me wait too long.”
I limped over a hill towards the beach where we were supposed to regroup. “Alex! Where’s Maze?” I called out as I stumbled down the sand bank. Alex didn’t respond, his head held in a tight headlock by Twitch, my second pistol against his temple. “She abandoned you both, and now I get the pleasure of killing you both after yet another betrayal. When will you learn Dutch. This world is a cruel place. Only the strong survive, clearly Maze knew that.” Twitch cut me off before I could retort. “Save the fight me with honour B.S that I know you are gonna spew.” I’m gonna kill you and your buddy and salvage what little I can of this operation. Then maybe retire to Cuba. I do love a good cigar.” “Adios, pendejo!” Alex brought his arm down, the knife concealed in his hand connecting with Twitch’s thigh. Twitch let out a high-pitched yelp, letting loose a round from the revolver which narrowly grazed Alex’s hair. Alex dove into the sand right as Twitch’s shoulder exploded in a pink mist followed shortly by the unmistakable crack of Maze’s Signal .50. I squinted trying to see where the shot came from, all I caught was the glint from her scope in the sun, the boat hardly visible in the rolling surf.
I limped forward, Bryson in hand, chrome starting to show through the worn grey paint. I kicked the revolver away from Twitch, placing a boot on his chest and the barrel of my Bryson against his forehead. He began to mumble and cry, hardly able to string together an understandable sentence. “Save it, you’re gonna need your energy for what comes next.” Our boat slammed into the shore, Maze hopping off, rifle raised and ready. “Oh shit I actually hit that!” “I’m not gonna lie, I thought you’d actually just bailed.” I laughed as she helped Alex to his feet. “You still go those claymores?” I asked Maze as Twitch continued to writhe in panic under my boot. “You wanted the old Dutch, eh Twitch. Ask and you shall receive.” Maze handed me the claymores, while Alex kept sidearm pointed at Twitch. I planted 4 around him, just far enough away that they wouldn’t go off unless he moved. I drew one of my revolvers, popping the cylinder out and emptying all but one round. I gave the cylinder a spin before flicking it closed. I tossed the revolver at Twitch. “Don’t waste that on me. You’ll only regret it in about an hour.” I took my other revolver, and hurled it towards the sea, the pearl grip glinting in the sun as it spun through the air, disappearing into the crashing waves. “Good riddance.” I sighed, that chapter of my life finally ended. Twitch was silent, his whimpering now just deep, laboured breathing. I turned back before I stepped onto the boat, watching as his hand slowly moved to the pistol in the sand next to him. “Well played Dutch, well played.”
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2023.05.30 07:34 AstonishingCobb [Kings Island] Memorial Day Weekend, Trip Report!
I haven’t ridden anything outside of Vegas since the start of the pandemic. My last park before flying out to Ohio this weekend was Knott’s in March of 2020.
I’ve taken rides on Big Apple after getting off work a few times, and I haven’t been to the adventuredome since they upped the price to $60 for a wristband. Well I finally decided to book myself a trip to Ohio to get some new credits and remind myself what a good coaster is.
I haven’t been to Kings Island since 2008, so this was a long overdue trip for me. I went over Memorial Day weekend and got a fastlane for Sunday. First impressions of the park were great. Besides the outdated front entrance, International street looked amazing as ever. Those fountains and shops lining the sides oozed charm and it really gets you excited for your day.
I’ll give a short review on each coaster in order that I rode them.
Diamondback - x12 10/10 Wow! what an amazing hyper! Every hill hit hard, and the operations were incredible too. I noticed only once on my days where the trains were stacking. My personal favorite moment was the dive into the splashdown, I flew out of my seat every time. I only noticed a rattle in the valley before the turn around and it wasn’t anything that really ruined the experience. 100% my new favorite hyper.
Mystic Timbers - x6 9/10 Rapid fire hills and transitions makes this the king of pacing in the park. Although I feel it was a little over hyped in my opinion. Everyone was telling me it was the best ride in the park, but I have to disagree. Still wickedly fun though.
Beast - x9 10/10 I sure underestimated this coaster, wow what a surprise! This thing was INCREDIBLE! Sure it lacks what a modern woodie will give you, but the Beast is one hell of an experience. I managed to stay off the wheel seats and I snagged 2 night rides which probably helped my opinion… but still. I loved the beast. It’s a classic for a reason.
Backlot Stunt Coaster - x2 7/10 Now I’ve ridden this before, I first rode it opening weekend back in 2005 as Italian Job. It’s nothing amazing, and I wish more effects were working… but it’s a still a fun ride I think everyone can enjoy. It definitely has its place in Kings Island. (I actually think this has a better launch than FoF)
Orion - x11 9/10 As a now west coast enthusiast, this is my first Giga… so I don’t have any other Gigas to compare it with. HOLY that first drop is insane!!! It truly does feel like you’re falling forever. Every element was awesome, but yeah the ride does feel a little too short. Regardless it was still amazing.
Flight Of Fear - x1 4/10 Well time for my first negative review. I’m sorry, but wow this ride is lame. The launch is cool, and the first few elements are forceful… but it just completely dies after the midcourse. It’s a rough one too. Yeah this one was a one and done for me. Even my nostalgia can’t salvage this.
Racer x4 7/10 I managed to ride both sides and I preferred the red side as I feel it was a tad smoother. It’s a fun airtime filled racing woodie, and that’s all it needs to be. I have no strong negative feelings for the ride, nor was I amazed. It’s fun though, and I’ll probably always get a ride on it when I go to KI.
Adventure Express x2 6/10 I didn’t think I’d get this one on this trip due to it being closed for the refurb, but it opened Saturday and I got a few rides in. It’s an arrow mine train, and a good one at that. It has a well paced layout with some fun head choppers and theming. If only it actually did something after the final lift tunnel.
Banshee x6 9/10 I think everyone can agree that the 90s era B&M inverts far outrank their post millennium counter parts. However banshee might be the exception because wow was this thing is crazy. While it may lack whip, it definitely doesn’t lack in force and pacing. This thing was hauling on my days and never let up. Every inversion was great, and this probably has the best first drop on any invert that I’ve ridden. Banshee is awesome.
The Bat x2 8/10 Another underrated one. The bat is just pure fun. It’s short and sweet and that’s about it. Swinging is fun, what can I say? Best suspended I’ve ridden so far.
Invertigo x2 6/10 I was expecting to dislike this ride, but nope! Thought it was good! Not best in the park or anything, but considering I was expecting this to be rough and unejoyable… I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t find it rough in the slightest, and that loop is killer! Still in the bottom half of my list but Invertigo still gets my approval.
Favorite flat ride as a bonus: Drop Tower x2
Overall I had a wonderful time at Kings Island. It has a great atmosphere, great Coaster lineup, and friendly staff. I can’t wait to come back.
submitted by AstonishingCobb
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2023.05.30 01:05 Eden_Forth Thinking About Trying 75Hard?
Fair warning, this post is a massive experience dump essay aimed at people considering the challenge. But I hope to see some current participants comment too!
TLDR: 75Hard tested and improved my sense of commitment to my personal goals and wellbeing, improved my confidence and helped me develop mental fortitude beyond what I thought possible, however I am NEVER doing this again. Do a cost benefit analysis FOR YOURSELF, determine your WHY, and then, if everything checks out, DO IT!
First off, stats: Day 69, down 24lbs from SW of 314, 26 yr old female
Now, I’m NOT posting this to spread negativity, but to let everyone who’s considering this know the reality of this challenge beyond the glitz and glamor and clout that comes with it. Make no mistake, there IS a kind of social approval that you encounter when you eventually tell people you’re doing 75Hard (and inevitably must explain what it is). People are impressed, and the closer you get to day 75, the better the optics. I’m not encouraging anyone to become a braggard, I’m just telling the truth about the sociology of it all. I advise you to use that as an additional accountability measure and turn the attention into a source of positive pressure. There were many test days where just the idea of having the people in my life that are ‘in the know’ see me fail pushed me to finish.
When Andy said 75Hard would start off hard, get easy, and then get hard again, he was truly telling the truth. That’s exactly what it’s like.
****Negativity incoming! If you’re not in the headspace for this, skip this section!***\*
In the beginning it was hard because it was all new and I had to restructure my life to fit in the tasks. I also was going from being a completely sedentary office manager (the most walking I ever did was to my car) to working out twice a day. It was, frankly, fresh hell the first 2 weeks or so. Then, I hit starting to ride the high of progress and achievement and it got easy and even a little bit fun competing with myself daily. Now, I’m almost done and the high has died, the sense of achievement has gotten old, and I feel like the days are dragging on and I’m just completing tasks to say I finished them. Around Day 50 I sort of stopped noticing any significant mental growth and I stopped feeling like the tasks were meaningful. This is important for anyone considering 75Hard to know because the second time it ‘gets hard again’ it may not be because of physical strain or even life circumstances. In the end, it might be because it feels like you’ve gained all you can and now you’ve plateaued, but you’re stuck just mindlessly completing tasks made up by someone you’ve never met and probably never will meet, with whom you have no actual connection. Past the elation of pushing your mental barriers and taking your physicality to the next level, there’s a kind of absurdity that sets in that you only escape by focusing on your pride and desire to reach Day 75 and say “I did it!” In some ways, the latter days’ drudgery may be a problem of the mind that you can ONLY escape via your mind. 75Hard is indeed an ironic challenge!
That’s not to say that there aren’t physical issues too, even in the later days. Drinking a gallon of water hasn’t really gotten easier, although it’s nice to have the assurance from my body that I DON’T need that much water daily (even on hot days where I do 2 cardio workouts outside). That much water also crowds out your ability to drink other fluids oftentimes, which is a pain if you’re sick or menstruating and need to lean heavily on teas. 2-a-days have been a nightmare (although that kind of is the point) not just in terms of laundry, but also on my body. You’re LITERALLY unable to take a rest day during this challenge. The closest you’ll get is 2 sessions of yoga a day, but yoga is still WORK, even when you keep it gentle. And in my case, I have somehow acquired a minor ankle injury in the last two weeks, and since we don’t get rest days, my only choices are to stop the challenge or keep going. (And WHY would I stop at day 60!) Then there’s the added hormonal fluctuations you’ll have to endure during the challenge if you’re a woman, some of which are standard, and some of which will be quite literally brought on by the increase in physical activity. Ladies, be warned.
BUT, it’s not all bad, would-be 75Harders!
I’m blown away by how much insight I’ve gotten into myself and how my brain works as well as how my physical stamina has increased in such a short amount of time. It’s proved to me how little time is actually needed to make substantial progress toward a goal and it’s given me hope that I can reverse the damage I’ve done to my body. 75Hard has given me joy in the little things: jumping around my living room to a kpop song and pausing in amazement that I’m not wheezing and gasping for air, running on the treadmill or outside without feeling immediately winded, power walking up hills and no longer being intimidated by stairs, passing by junk food in stores and having ZERO cravings for it, recognizing the difference between a mockingbird’s call and a morning dove’s because I’ve been in nature more than ever, tackling an issue faster with an idea I got from reading. I feel so much more in tune with the rhythms of my body and have the courage to recognize mental blocks and temptations, call them out, and put in the work to move past them. All of that and more is because of 75Hard. And while I have still have a ways to go in unlearning maladaptive habits (can we get a 75Hard for finances please???), for the first time EVER, I feel certain that I’ll crush that goal, just like I’ve crushed 75Hard so far.
If you’re like me and struggle with an ED, you can also leverage 75Hard to tackle that. In my case, I was very strategic in setting my diet as something sustainable that required mindfulness but wasn’t overly restrictive. Because I have serious issues with food, I NEEDED to be careful about the diet I chose and other 75Hard participants with EDs will certainly say the same thing. In my case, I couldn’t eat anything ultra-processed, store-bought food must be as clean as possible (nearly or totally preservative free) and could contain no more than 5g of added sugar, no desserts unless I made them myself, and I could eat out but NEVER at a fast-food restaurant. I also restricted fried chicken specifically, because it’s a problem food for me! Choose whatever you want, but PLEASE make sure it’s sustainable, and if possible, craft your diet with the help of a therapist that already knows about your ED.
Lastly (props if you made it this far), I want to say to everyone considering this challenge that it’s something you should do for you and you alone. If someone were to ask you in the midst of the challenge ‘What’s your why?’ the crux of the answer should be YOU. YOU are your greatest reason to improve your life and strive for better for yourself. YOU are worth any and every investment in service of that cause. If 75Hard is the right course of action, then by all means start today. But give it serious thought and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. That’s the only way you’ll avoid failure.
submitted by Eden_Forth
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