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Financial Peace

2013.08.23 01:22 snachodog Financial Peace

Taken from the title of Dave Ramsey's 13 week course on personal finance, this reddit seeks to promote good financial habits from Dave's teaching. We recognize that personal finance is 90% personal and 10% finance. In this subreddit, "debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid-off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status of choice." We are not affiliated with Lampo Group, Dave Ramsey or Financial Peace University.

2023.06.02 23:16 wpesca Team leader engineering

As a 'grensarbeider' I thought to share a look into our neighbour's arrangements. I am quite happy at my job, Dutch guys are more fun than you would expect. But curious how it compares to Belgium.
submitted by wpesca to BESalary [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 23:08 SylvyrDotNetRP Tired of toxic admins? Sick of already established cliques? Want custom content? Want to be more than a number? Check out our growing community today! We'd love to have you!

SYLVYR DOT NET offers a unique roleplay experience. Development staff strives to meet your needs and wants in this online city.
We are a group of dedicated Roleplayers looking to create some awesome stories and fun times.
Whether you're new to FiveM or Roleplaying all together our community is here to help!
Want something added? Just ask! We’ll do whatever we can to tailor the city to our player’s needs.
Updated DAILY!
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Check out our promotional video on YouTube!
Coming Soon: Insane Drug Scripts. More custom clothing, custom cars, and custom MLOs. (MADE BY US!!!)
Civilian Life
Careers – Own Your Own Business
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submitted by SylvyrDotNetRP to FiveMServers [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 20:18 throwaway-chubbyfire Pulling Trigger

Today is my last day of work. Thanks for the community for introducing me to the fire movement.
Single, No kids, 40 years old, VHCOL
Net worth: $4.0M
Current Assets:
Cash: $285K
Brokerage: $2.45M (100% VTI) ($2.39M cost basis)
I-Bonds: $11K
Crypto: $27K
ROTH IRA: $77K (100% VTI)
Pre-tax 401K: $765K (100% US total market fund)
Roth 401K: $245K (100% US total market fund)
529: 175K (100% US total market fund) (for possible future kids or if not, gifting to niece and nephews)
HSA: 7K ( 100% VTI)
Estimated Budget:
Monthly Yearly
Rent 2615 31380
Groceries 550 6600
Misc 400 4800
Gas 200 2400
Travel 10000
Car Insurance 110 1320
Gifts 1000
car maintenance 500
Umbrella 600
Internet 70 840
Phone 35 420
Utilities 150 1800
Renters Insurance 159
car registation 220
Pets 40 480
Health Insurance 350 4200
Tax 5000
Hsa 3850
Sum 75569
Short term plan:
Move $220k into a 5 year bond/CD ladder for $44k/yr income. I'll be disabling my brokerage dividend reinvesting for an estimated $37K/year for a combined income of $81K/year. I will keep a $40K emergency fund in HYSA plus an additional 3 months ($20K) to fund before the first ladder rung matures for total $60K in cash. Any excess will go into brokerage. Then I will enjoy a few months of relaxing with one vacation already booked.

Mid term plan:
I will rollover the 401K into my IRA and begin roth ladder conversions. I think it is better to pay some of the tax now with minimal other income, than in 25 years have to deal with giant RMD. If anyone has any advice on how to decide on what would be optimal to convert, I cannot find much out there.

Longer term plan:
I am happy renting for the time being, but would like to buy when it makes sense. Right now the rent vs buy is so far towards rent, that it isn't thinkable. But if the time comes where I need something bigger, or the balance shifts, I am willing to sell the needed stock to buy in cash if rates are still high.
If I start getting bored, I feel it will be pretty easy to go back to work, but I think my hobbies and volunteering will be able to keep me out of trouble.

Anyone see any issues?
submitted by throwaway-chubbyfire to Fire [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 17:52 JumpingPapayas Tracking My Financial Journey - Part 1

Credit to u/negativemoney for the idea. I thought it would be fun to start tracking my own financial independence journey in a public place since I know I enjoy reading these posts.


  1. Net worth: ~$240k
  2. Age: 25
  3. Salary: $95k (Not including usual bonus of 3-10%)

Current Assets

  1. Rental Property Equity: $82k (Property Value: ~$225k)
  2. 401K: $63k
  3. Liquid Crypto: $40k
  4. Taxable Brokerage: $20k
  5. Cash: $13k
  6. Roth IRA: $12k
  7. Car Equity: $10k (Car Value: ~$23k)
  8. Sports card collection: $3k
Alright, I have separated this last item because I know how much reddit hates them and I have to justify the value of them just because it grew to be this much I would never actually invest this amount into something this speculative.
NFTs: ~$200k (Not factored into net worth)
I'm actively selling off these but it's a slow process given how illiquid they are.


  1. Mortgage Balance: $143k @ 5.75%
  2. Federal Student Loans: $19k @ 3.5% (Technically 0% since they are still paused)
  3. Private Student Loans: $15k @ 8.5% variable rate (Planning to pay this down but I love to procrastinate and not sure if I should just keep paying monthly amount and hold my breathe until rates drop)
  4. Car Loan: $13K @ 4.25%

Looking ahead

As difficult as temptations are to spend lavishly like many others my age are doing around me I will do my best to keep putting the majority of my income towards investments. I believe I am in a pretty solid financial position right now and with a few more years of head-down investing I think will pay dividends in my future. I'm not super into the FIRE lifestyle since I do tend to spend a decent amount on unnecessary purchases but I try to keep them within reason. Without running calculations as to when I could afford retirement my initial thoughts are that I would love to retire early-mid 50s.
I currently rent but would like to purchase a house within the next 2 years and probably have kids by or in my early 30s. My job has room for growth and I think it's achievable to get a promotion and raise by the end of this year to bump my salary by 10-20% if all goes well (knock on wood).
I haven't given any thought to adding more rental properties recently with the way the housing market is but I will definitely reconsider if/when the market turns.
Alright, I think that is about it and I will plan to make some update posts maybe yearly or when I hit financial milestones.
submitted by JumpingPapayas to financialindependence [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 17:04 throwawayorchard Advice on next steps?

Hi, I received notice yesterday that given a reorg my team will be divided up and my role will be eliminated. Was at the company for 11 years. I have until September to look for a new role within the compay. At that point severance kicks in and I will have 30 weeks (including vaca payout). My original plan was to work 3-5 more years until I hit $10m me and retire. Here are my stats, I'd love some advice on what you would do.
I'm a bit nervous and lost. I've posted here before and got a few negative comments about my post not being fatfire related so I hope this post is, and I can garner some support and advice as at the moment I am spinning.
Stats: Age 50, I have no kids or partner to support
Total comp: 465 (Current salary: 260k, bonus 65k, yearly equity 120k)
8m net worth, (3.3 apple, 2.2 Google, 1m vug/vti, rest are in retirement accounts also in s&p 500)
Mortgage 4k, 500k left
Debt nothing
Car owned, 4 years old
Cash on hand: 100k
Yearly burn rate 200k (which includes House remodeling, so I could bring this down if I don't do any house projects or travel)
Upcoming expenses I had planned to do this year: paint exterior (14k) window coverings: 8k
I live in the sf bay area, very hcol, but have been trying to fire and live below my income for times like this with splurges mostly in vacations.
Thanks in advance for your time.
submitted by throwawayorchard to fatFIRE [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 16:01 RandomHypnotica 00s Pop Punk Rate

Hello all-american rejects, mothers of Stacy and Hoobastankarinas! It is finally time to rate one of the subgenres of all time - pop punk! Welcome to the 00s Pop Punk Rate.

Introduction - What Is Pop Punk?

Pop punk is a genre that was invented by musical artist Machine Gun Kelly in the year 2020.
No but really, despite the sendup of it MGK contributed, the subgenre actually has a long and storied history dating back to the 1970s. One could argue bands such as The Ramones were essential foundations for the genre, if not themselves being a pop punk band. A reaction to the emergence of punk in the 70s, pop punk takes the energetic thrashings of punk music and overlays the sensibilities of pop song-crafting. Pop-punk saw an explosion of popularity in the late 90s with the rise of bands such as Blink-182, Green Day and The Offspring, and arguably hit its peak in the 00s with the creation of Van’s Warped Tour, a touring music festival that featured a lineup of some of the biggest pop-punk, post-punk and metal acts of the time. Alongside its rise, it would come to incorporate elements of ska, college rock, emo and post-punk.
Another element of pop-punk that differentiates it from punk is its lyrical focus. While punk’s focus tends to be heavily political and explicitly anti-authoritarian, pop-punk trades that topical focus for poppier subjects - love, lust, drunkenness, and how much the singers truly hate this town (worth mentioning that while this is in general true, especially of more mainstream pop punk acts, there are some notable exceptions).
In discussions of subgenres of punk, pop-punk tends to be largely ignored or snidely dismissed by both pop and punk communities but I think this is unfair. Yes, its lyrical subjects are often sophomoric and steeped in teen angst. Yes, the pop focus can cause the songs to feel derivative for some punk listeners. Yes, the culture surrounding pop punk has given us moments that are unintentionally hilarious. However, there is a reason this genre gained such attention - to borrow a phrase from pop, because it slaps. It takes pop music and thrashes it around. It fills the listener with nostalgic angst with power chord after power chord. It is an ode to the immaturity of youth. It is wildly influential; you can see pop-punk’s fingerprints in tons of modern genres - emo rap, hyperpop, and even Billboard-smashing pop songs.
Pop-punk is fun and raucous and a fantastic send-up to the teenage years many of us reminisce about. Today, it gets its due. Happy rating. - u/seanderlust
If you already know the drill because you're a regular rater, feel free to get rolling with the rate. Below are links to submit, a Pastebin ballot, and playlists for both Spotify and Apple Music:
Link to send in your scores
Pastebin Ballot
Spotify PlaylistApple Music Playlist

The songs

  1. The Academy Is... - About a Girl
  2. Alkaline Trio - Mercy Me
  3. The All-American Rejects - Swing, Swing
  4. The All-American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret
  5. The All-American Rejects - Move Along
  6. The All-American Rejects - Gives You Hell
  7. All Time Low - Dear Maria, Count Me In
  8. All Time Low - Weightless
  9. American Hi-Fi - Flavor of the Weak
  10. blink-182 - First Date
  11. blink-182 - The Rock Show
  12. blink-182 - Stay Together For The Kids
  13. blink-182 - Feeling This
  14. blink-182 - I Miss You
  15. Bowling For Soup - 1985
  16. Boys Like Girls - The Great Escape
  17. Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk
  18. Busted - Crashed The Wedding
  19. The Cab - One of THOSE Nights
  20. Cute Is What We Aim For - The Curse of Curves
  21. Dashboard Confessional - Hands Down
  22. Every Avenue - Tell Me I'm A Wreck
  23. Fountains Of Wayne - Stacy's Mom
  24. Good Charlotte - The Anthem
  25. Good Charlotte - Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous
  26. Good Charlotte - Girls & Boys
  27. Good Charlotte - I Just Wanna Live
  28. Good Charlotte - I Don't Wanna Be In Love (Dance Floor Anthem)
  29. Hoobastank - The Reason
  30. Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
  31. Jimmy Eat World - Sweetness
  32. Jimmy Eat World - Pain
  33. Lustra - Scotty Doesn't Know
  34. Marianas Trench - Cross My Heart
  35. Mayday Parade - Jamie All Over
  36. Mayday Parade - Jersey
  37. Motion City Soundtrack - My Favorite Accident
  38. Motion City Soundtrack - The Future Freaks Me Out
  39. Motion City Soundtrack - Everything is Alright
  40. New Found Glory - My Friends Over You
  41. Plain White T's - Hate (I Really Don't Like You)
  42. Plain White T's - Our Time Now
  43. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Face Down
  44. Relient K - Be My Escape
  45. Short Stack - Sway Sway Baby!
  46. Simple Plan - I'm Just a Kid
  47. Simple Plan - Perfect
  48. Simple Plan - Welcome to My Life
  49. Something Corporate - I Woke Up In A Car
  50. Sugarcult - Memory
  51. Sum 41 - Fat Lip
  52. Sum 41 - In Too Deep
  53. Taking Back Sunday - MakeDamnSure
  54. Taking Back Sunday - Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)
  55. The Used - The Taste of Ink
  56. We The Kings - Check Yes, Juliet
  57. Yellowcard - Ocean Avenue
  58. Yellowcard - Only One
  59. Yellowcard - Rough Landing, Holly
  60. +44 - When Your Heart Stops Beating


Okay, so.
The 00s pop punk era of course coincided with the rise of a number of other genres. Seeing an opportunity for a genre overlap in the interest of gaining fans from other genres, indie punk and metal label Fearless Records put out a series of compilation albums over the 00s and 10s. These CDs contained tracks of punk bands doing covers of pop, metal, and various other genres. They referred to it under the umbrella term Punk Goes… and featured such titles as Punk Goes Metal, Punk Goes 80s, and Punk Goes Crunk.
The most popular though, and the one that garnered the most subsequent albums was Punk Goes Pop. In this series, punk bands covered various pop songs that were popular at the time in punkier stylings. Think of it as Now That’s What I Call Music, but if all the songs were sung by Mayday Parade. It was an interesting idea and gained the involved punk bands attention outside of their core fanbase. I mean come on - pop?! AND punk??!! What is this, a crossover episode?
For our bonus rate, we will be rating a sample of tracks that were recorded for the Punk Goes… series. Some of these are quite good! Some of these are certainly pieces of music that musicians decided to record! But which is the best? That is for you, dear popheads, to decide.
  1. Yellowcard - Everywhere
  2. All Time Low - Umbrella
  3. Mayday Parade - When I Grow Up
  4. The Cab - Disturbia
  5. Artist Vs Poet - Bad Romance
  6. The Ready Set - Airplanes
  7. Go Radio - Rolling In The Deep
  8. The Downtown Fiction - Super Bass
  9. Seaway - Closer
To be clear: Rating these songs is optional. You can give a score to one of them, two of them, all nine, or any number in between. You cannot use your 0 or 11 on any of them.

Rules & Instructions


  • You must listen to and score every song in the main rate. Ballots with missing scores will not be accepted.
  • Your scores must be on a scale from 1 to 10 and can include one decimal place but no more. So 7.3 is fine, but 7.31 is not.
  • You may give one song in the whole rate a score of 11 and one other a score of 0, so if you want to award these scores, save them for your favourite and least favourite songs in the rate, respectively. You must leave a comment on the songs you give an 11 or a 0, and they must be songs from the main rate, not the bonus.
  • We encourage you to leave comments of your general thoughts or reasoning behind your scores on any songs you wish. If you choose to do so however, they must be in this format, simply leaving one space after your score:
One Of THOSE Nights: 3 They wanna be Juicy J feat. The Weeknd soooooo bad ```
Any other formats will get your ballot rejected. WRONG EXAMPLES:
I Woke Up In A Car: Yeah but did you wake up in a new Bugatti? (8) (WRONG!)
The Curse Of Curves: 7: me getting a D+ on my trigonometry homework (WRONG!)
  • Your ballot must be formatted exactly like the template in the message link, so make sure you use it, or the template in the backup pastebin, for your scores to be accepted.
  • Your scores are not confidential. They will be revealed, along with any comments, with your username attached.
  • DO NOT SABOTAGE the rate by giving outrageously low/high scores for the sole purpose of skewing the results, we reserve the right to exclude any ballot we suspect of this. If you're worried your scores could be mistakenly perceived as such, all you need to do is leave comments explaining the reasoning behind them.
  • If you want to change any of your scores or comments after you've already submitted your ballot, feel free to message myself or my cohost u/seanderlust before the submission deadline to sort it.
The rate is Due on July 15th, if you think you need a small extension please let one of the hosts know!

Finally, here are the links you'll need to start rating:

Submission Link

If there's a problem with it, here's the backup pastebin.

And the playlists of all the songs in the rate.

submitted by RandomHypnotica to popheads [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 15:34 sann540 (2/2) May 2023










submitted by sann540 to dailyainews [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 15:14 allthings-consider Update on 1 week. 23 Escape Hybrid quick review

I picked it up last weekend, and traded in a 21 SE with minimal options. I went to the dealer and bought a 23 Escape AWD Hybrid ST Elite. Every option except the panoramic roof. One note, it is great using SYNC4 over 3 on the new escape and having the 13” screen. The 360 degree camera is useful for backing in, navigating without much view out the window. I have used the parallel park feature and it is awesome. I’m a great parallel parker but with the black painted rims I don’t want to scratch those up. AND WHEN YOU ARE BACKING UP, A CHIME COMES FROM THE CAR THATS NOT LOUD BUT NOTICEABLE. I find it amusing. I have been using it mostly on city driving, on the highway a few times. My MPG over a 30 min city drive, or longer can exceed 50 MPG. My best trip netted me 59 MPG. The great part is the trip summary at the end, showing you what your driving range is on gas and electric. I have been getting roughly half electric and gas range. The “sport tuned” suspension may be a marketing ploy, but it is by far much smoother than my 21. And without the turbo, the engine is much quieter. The wireless CarPlay, B&O upgraded sound, faux leather, and every option added is worth it. Even the undercarriage has covers. The interior ambient lighting is a nice touch. I sorta wanted to go with an Explorer, but I’m a tech person and can’t find a reason to go with it when they still use SYNC3. I see a lot of new Escapes on dealer lots recently. I can only imagine that since this was more of a cosmetic upgrade and a few tech tweaks, that the 1.5L ecoboost is as it was in the years prior.
submitted by allthings-consider to fordescape [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 14:57 hnqn1611 10 Ways You're Wasting Money Without Realizing It

10 Ways You're Wasting Money Without Realizing It
10 Ways You’re Losing Money Without Realizing It!
Most of us work hard for our money, and the last thing we want to do is throw any of it away. Of course, every once in a while, things do come up - like that time you spent more than you intended to, showing your out-of-town friend a great time; Or, when you dipped into your emergency fund to cover a car repair - and this is okay. It’s why building wiggle room into your budget is important. What’s not okay, is throwing away money on unnecessary fees, charges and missed opportunities! Here are a few common ways you’re losing money without realizing it!
Number 1 - Throwing Out Food When you’re throwing food out, you’re wasting money – plain and simple. We’re all guilty of it, even with the best intentions. Food waste is a huge issue in our society, and many people don’t realize the extent of it. It might surprise you to learn that the average U.S. household throws out over $600 worth of food each year. Luckily, there are some simple ways to cut back on wasting food and money. You can start by making weekly grocery lists, and before going to the supermarket, try to see if you don’t already have certain items. It’s also a good idea to organize your cupboards from time to time, because you probably have stuff lying around in there that you aren’t even aware of. And you’ll find that a lot of it has already expired.
Number 2 - Restaurants and Takeout It's one thing to enjoy the occasional meal out, but if you're not careful, eating at restaurants too often can result in a serious waste of money! The average American household spends over $3,000 a year eating out. But did you know that in general, a restaurant’s food price is about three times its wholesale cost? That’s a 300 percent markup! Which means that for every $30 you spend, you're paying $20 extra compared to what it would cost you to make these meals at home. If you’re throwing away loads of money on restaurants and takeout, consider scaling back. Especially if you're struggling to save, or have other financial goals to meet. You don't need to go cold turkey, but if you cut your three restaurant meals a week down to just two, you'll save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Number 3 - Bank Fees What’s more annoying than paying to use your own money? Well, that’s exactly what you’re doing when you spend $5 at out-of-network ATM’s. And that’s not the only fee you’ll pay if you’re not careful! Bank accounts can carry a lot of different charges, including overdraft and maintenance fees that could add up to hundreds of dollars a year. The good news is that you can avoid these charges entirely if you commit to better banking habits.
Number 4 - Unused Gift Cards Check your wallet and drawers, and you’ll likely find a gift card, or maybe several, that you haven’t used. Don’t worry, it’s not just you: It’s estimated that more than $45 billion worth of gift cards are collecting dust! If you have money to spend at retailers like Amazon - or companies like Visa or Amex - make an effort to use your card for things you already planned on purchasing. Also, keep in mind that some of these gift cards can have maintenance fees up to $2.50 per month until the card balance hits zero. So it’s best to use them sooner than later. If you got a gift card to a restaurant or store you don’t really like, sell it, or give it to someone as a gift. But be mindful. Don’t give a steakhouse gift card to your vegan friend. They’ll know right away that you were just trying to get rid of the card.
Number 5 - Subscriptions There’s nothing wrong with having subscriptions, but it becomes a problem when you pay for something that you don’t end up using! Subscriptions or memberships can entail any kind of membership or subscription service. From gym memberships to Magazines to Cable TV. The point is, if you don’t use it on a regular basis, you’re wasting money. Before you sign up for anything, think about how often you'll actually use it and whether there's a low-cost, or free alternative.
Number 6 - Overage Charges Unlimited talk time and unlimited texting is pretty much standard these days, but data plans are still a steady source of overage charges. While fees vary, you can still easily pay $10 to $15 extra for every gig that exceeds your monthly limit. If you do this consistently, you’re looking at an annual bill that’s hundreds more than you budgeted. You can easily fix this problem by finding a plan that matches your needs. You might pay more upfront, but it will cost less than what you pay in penalties. You can also try to scale back by using WiFi more often and disabling apps that drain your data.
Number 7 - Skipping Your Research If you want to stop wasting money, comparison shopping is very important. The last thing you want to do is buy some product on sale, and then find out that it’s crap. And this happens to many people regularly because they don’t research. Before you make any purchase, take the time to read reviews and find the best product for a good price. This applies to grocery shopping too. I mean the comparison part. You can usually find the same products at most grocery stores but some of them will charge double the price.
Number 8 - Using Coupons Using coupons is one of the simplest ways to save money. But, have you ever stopped to think that you might be wasting money by using them? Your intent is to save money, but how often does this desire backfire and you end up not using the items you bought? Or worse, you didn’t budget for them. Then to add to this, you just fill up your cupboards with junk and create clutter only to find expired products years later. The trick is to simply use coupons for items you actually need or are planning on buying in the first place.
Number 9 - Airline Surcharges Travel fees are a great way to waste money, and they add up quickly. While there are costs that are mandatory, you can skip many by planning ahead. When the day of your flight rolls around, arrive prepared. This is especially important if you’re flying a discount carrier, as they are infamous for tacking on fees for everything from seat assignments to checking in. So bring your own blanket, food, and entertainment. And pack smart. Realistically, you won’t be able to carry on all the time, but there’s no excuse for showing up with oversized or overweight luggage, which can run you anywhere from $25 to $200 on domestic flights. Always check the weight of your luggage before you leave the house!
Number 10 - Keeping Up With The Joneses How many times have you seen something that someone else had, and you instantly wanted it too? We’ve all been there… It’s hard to escape the influence of others who live seemingly wealthy, free-and-easy lifestyles. And it’s really hard to escape the noise of all the advertisers who desperately want us to keep buying more stuff. Sadly, many people live beyond their means. And constantly trying to keep up with others will only lead you to being broke! So, next time you’re tempted by something your friends or neighbors have, take a hard look at your budget. If you don’t have the money for it, perhaps you shouldn’t buy it! So, what do you waste money on? Let us know in the comments below!
submitted by hnqn1611 to TopPersonality [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 13:01 House_of_Suns /r/QOTSA Official Band of the Week 22: ZZ TOP

Sometimes a band gets so big that they somehow outshine themselves. They reach a point in their career where it does not matter if they release a new album or not; fans just want to see them tour. No one gave a damn that Led Zeppelin had not released a new album since the 1970’s; everyone just wanted to see them play again at the O2 Arena in 2007. When The Who played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2010 they had only released one new album in 28 years, and no one cared. And no one cares that Guns & Roses aren’t making new music. They still packed arenas to see how much cake Axl had packed into himself.
We’re going to take a dive into a blues power trio from down south who have zero need to release any new music, since their recording career stretches back over five decades. They had amazing and groundbreaking success in the ‘70s, the ‘80s, and the ‘90s before hitting the max level. Instead of playing to win, they now play for fun. Their sexually charged lyrics and videos inspired generations of teens to both dress better and worry about their fly. And you can bet that their fuzzy, bluesy tight sound had a huge impact on our very own desert dwellers.
It’s time for us to take a walk with That Little Ol’ Band from Texas. This week’s featured artist is the legendary ZZ TOP
About Them
The Power Trio is a tested and true format for a rock band. Lots of examples come to mind: Cream. Rush. The Police. Biffy Clyro. King Buffalo. Them Crooked Vultures. (Wait a sec. Just three members? Clearly, not everything is bigger in Texas.)
There is a member joke there somewhere, but I just can’t get it to come. Hmm. Perhaps it will come if you play with it a bit.
Hey! Stop that. Get your mind out of the gutter.
ZZ Top’s original and founding member was William Frederick Gibbons. Born in Houston in 1949, the front man was originally a drummer but, after studying with Tito Puente in New York City, picked up the guitar at age 13. His dad was a musician in show business, which allowed Billy to get an insider’s view of the industry. By the late ‘60s, he had been in and founded a number of bands and had even befriended the late great James Marshall Hendrix. One of his first bands, a psychedelic/art house band called The Moving Sidewalks, toured with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This meant that Gibbons was actually mentored by Snagglepuss himself. They also toured with The Doors, where Gibbons saw the legendary self-destructive band somehow manage to rise above conflict and make music every night. The Moving Sidewalks generated a following all of its own with a couple of hit songs, and things seemed to be headed in the right direction.
Things were going absolutely great until bassist Don Summers and keyboard player Tom Moore were drafted into the army to fight in Vietnam. Don't you just love the ‘60s?
Gibbons and drummer Dan Mitchell added a new keyboard player, Lanier Greg, and tried to make another run at it. But the chemistry was all wrong. Gibbons rechristened the band as ZZ Top (an homage to BB King), and declared that he wanted more of a straight up rock approach than the art-house kaleidoscopic sound.
Gibbons, Mitchell, and Greg (isn’t it weird when last names are also first names too?) recorded the single Salt Lick in 1969. This generated a bunch of interest and a recording contract. Decisions over the direction of the band ensued and it quickly became clear that Mitchell and Greg did not agree with Gibbons’ hard rock approach. That ended up being a poor life decision for them, but a great one for a couple of other guys.
Clearly, Gibbons needed a new rhythm section.
Fortunately, he found a package deal.
Dusty Hill and Frank Beard - also both born in 1949 - had been playing together on the Dallas-Houston-Fort Worth circuit in a number of bands, including The Warlocks, The Cellar Dwellers, and a fake cover band called The Zombies. Both the Duster and the (then ironically) beardless Beard also heard the siren call of rock and roll. Hill was classically trained and was an accomplished cello player before moving to his signature bass. Frank ‘Rube’ Beard appears to have been born with drumsticks in his hands (which I imagine might have been uncomfortable for his mom).
Beard joined the band first, along with bassist Billy Ethridge, who had played with Stevie Ray Vaughn. Ethridge balked at signing a contract and so joined Mitchell and Greg on the list of ZZ Top’s former members. Their lineup was set. Hill and Beard anchored the band in a rock-solid, tight, bluesy fashion. Gibbons meshed perfectly with this duo, and his Hendrix-inspired guitar work was on another level. Hill provided backing vocals, and Gibbons’ low throaty growl was an impressive counterpoint to his soaring fretwork. The talent was all there; now they just needed to record some music.
But success was not instantaneous, not by a long shot.
Their first album - appropriately called ZZ Top’s First Album - gives insight into who the band were to become. In this 1971 release, you can hear their raw sound. The record peaked at 201 on the charts, and had only one single - (Somebody Else Been) Shaking Your Tree. It did give them material to go out and tour. The boys gelled on that tour and went back into the studio with renewed energy, and emerged with 1972’s Rio Grande Mud. The disc was a step forward in refining their sound. The album almost cracked the top 100, and the only single - Francine - went all the way to number 69.
But the band knew that their third album, Tres Hombres, was something special. It is the epitome of Southern Rock: bluesy, fast paced, sexy, and irreverent, it is just over half an hour of pure magic. And while the album went gold and peaked at number 8 on the charts and is worth your time, it was one particular single that rocketed them to stardom. You know it and you love it, and a-how-how-how-how: La Grange. It is still in heavy rotation on classic rock stations today. And why not? The song is an absolute banger of boogie woogie blues, written about a visit to a whorehouse. What’s not to love?
La Grange propelled them to popularity. Tours sold out. Venues got bigger and bigger. 1975’s follow up album, Fandango!, was half live album (with some covers) and half new material - like an EP with bonus tracks. They covered the Elvis Presley classic Jailhouse Rock, Willie Dixon’s Mellow Down Easy, and John Lee Hooker’s Long Distance Boogie. The boys had rock and blues chops, and had 5 years of touring experience. These were bold statements that cemented their musicality as well as honoring their roots. But side two of the disc had another track that you’ve come to love. You ain’t asking for much: You’re just lookin’ for some Tush. Tush was the perfect sexually charged follow up to ensure that they were not one-hit wonders. It was written in a ten-minute spasm of creativity at a sound check, and has gone on to be one of their most popular songs.
While Tush topped the charts, ZZ Top went back into the studio to record their full length follow up, 1976’s Tejas. The name of the album means ‘friends’ in the Indigenous Caddo language, and was the basis for the name of the state. You know what that means? It means that the name of the state is ‘Friends’. Just like the ‘90s sitcom. Don’t mess with Friends. Anyways, this was an album of experimentation for the band, and unlike its predecessor it came out half baked at best. Billy Gibbons has called it a transition album. What actually happened is the band transitioned into a hiatus from touring and recording, taking some significant time off. They had recorded five albums in six years and spent virtually all their time on the road. The latest effort was just not up to their standards and was a step back. It also completed their recording contract.
What was the solution to this burn out?
Facial hair of course.
The boys took a few years off before landing another recording contract, this time with Warner. Over those months, both Gibbons and Hill grew what would become their signature long ‘Texas Goatee’ beards. Frank Beard did not grow a beard (though he did finally succumb to peer pressure from his bandmates in 2013, and his is much more neatly trimmed). So while they were resting/relaxing/getting their groove back/aligning their chakras or whatever, they also started to reinvent their signature sound as the world moved towards a decade of legendary excess.
The first step on this reinvention journey was 1979’s Degüello. The title literally means ‘decapitation’ but idiomatically refers to a fight to the death. Clearly, the band decided to tackle their transition head on. The album was not as successful as Tres Hombres or Fandango!, but it was not the flop that Tejas was. It did spawn a couple of singles - I Thank You (which was a cover) and the signature hit Cheap Sunglasses. Both are staples at ZZ Top concerts to this day. Degüello was quickly followed up in 1981 by the album El Loco. This was really the first time ZZ Top incorporated a synthesizer into their sound. As you know, the synth was THE new wave sound of the 1980s. Gods help us, keytars were once popular. But Gibbons, Hill, and Beard did not abandon their edge. The single Pearl Necklace was an immensely popular innuendo laced tune from this album. And no, I will not explain what a pearl necklace is to you.
Ask your mom.
Over the course of their first seven albums, ZZ Top had steadily grown in popularity and become a truly extraordinary live band. More than a decade of touring together meant that they had not just cut their teeth. They had found the Tooth Fairy, beaten her senseless, and added fangs to their jaws. They were ready to tackle whatever came their way.
Their huge breakthrough coincided with the birth of music videos and MTV. 1983’s Eliminator was an absolute monster of an album. ZZ Top were everywhere. They completely embraced the Music Video as a medium and became pioneers in this new genre. They branded their band with a 1933 fire-engine red Ford Coupe, which was on the cover of the album. They even had a signature hand gesture that they used as the car went by. The car belonged to Billy Gibbons and embodied his hot rod obsessions. It was featured in the videos for Gimme All Your Lovin’, Sharp Dressed Man, and Legs. Other singles from the album included Got me Under Pressure and TV Dinners. Eliminator is still the band’s most successful album. They were at the absolute height of their popularity with a massive audience. No doubt the 10-year-old Joshua Michael Homme watched those videos on a small screen in the California desert, little knowing that he would one day collaborate with Gibbons.
Seeking to capitalize on the popularity, the band went back into the studio and released Afterburner in 1985. It featured the signature hot rod on the cover and spawned two more singles - Sleeping Bag and Velcro Fly. Afterburner was not an innovative album by any stretch of the imagination. It simply built on the success of Eliminator and replicated the sound. If you blended the two albums together it would be very difficult for a novice fan to guess which song came from which disc. But hell, when you release the most popular album of your career and are earning millions of dollars for that sound, it is not time to mess with success. Or with Texas. Or with Friends (though Ross was a pain in the ass, IMHO).
That desire to not screw up a good thing was also evident in their next release, the retrospective re-release Six Pack. This was a great way to earn some bucks with a simple repackaging of existing tracks - I’m looking at you, K-Tel… - and introducing them to another generation of fans. This was not a bad thing at all - you gotta get that green whenever you can, because fame can be fleeting.
ZZ Top closed out the decade by going Back to the Future. Literally. They appeared in the third installment of the Michael J. Fox trilogy as the olde-timey house band (complete with rotating guitars) in the saloon scene. The single and signature song from the movie, Doubleback, appeared on their 1990 release Recycler. The album spawned two more singles: My Head’s in Mississippi and Concrete and Steel. Recycler was not as successful as its predecessors, but it did effectively max level the band. In the 1970’s they were a scuffling bar band that hit it big. In the 1980’s they were one of the most popular bands of the MTV generation. And in the 1990’s they achieved superstardom. They had hit the level where it truly no longer mattered if they ever released new material again. They could simply tour on their back catalogue alone and sell out stadiums.
It is clear that the band realized this as well. In the thirty years since Recycler came out, they have released five albums of new material: Antenna in 1994, Rhythmeen in 1996, XXX in 1999, Mescalero in 2003 and the critically acclaimed and Rick Rubin produced La Futura in 2012. This was equivalent to their output in their first six years.
In contrast, they have released no less than eight greatest hits albums, cover albums and live albums in the same time span. Greatest Hits came out in 1992. One Foot in the Blues was released in 1994. The massive compilation Chrome, Smoke & BBQ came out in 2003, and is a fantastic place to start if you are a new fan. Rancho Texicano was released in 2004, Live from Texas came out in 2008, and Double Down Live hit shelves in 2009. Live at Montreaux came out in 2013 and Tonite at Midnight: Live Greatest Hits from Around the World was released in 2016.
As recently as 2019, there were rumors that a new album was in the works for our Septuagenarian heroes. Lord knows the boys from Texas have nothing left to prove to anyone.
It was then that tragedy struck. Dusty Hill had to leave the band during a tour in 2021. The reason given was a hip injury. His guitar tech, Elwood Francis, filled in. Shockingly, Hill died at home at the age of 72 just five days after leaving the tour.
Fans were shocked and mourned the stalwart bassist. Per his wishes - and it seems he knew something wasn’t quite right - ZZ Top did not break up. Francis replaced Hill on bass, and the band soldiered on. In 2022, they released Raw, a soundtrack for a 2019 documentary about them. This was Hill’s final release.
You can still catch them on tour. They are going to be out there this summer, touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd, for something they are calling ‘The Sharp Dressed Simple Man’ Tour.
Go buy some tickets. Don’t miss your chance to see a truly iconic band before they are gone.
Links to QOTSA
The Reverend Billy F. Gibbons was a big part of the Lullabies to Paralyze album by our Desert Dwellers. He played guitar and provided backing vocals on Burn the Witch. He was co-lead vocalist and lead guitar on the QotSA cover of Precious and Grace, which he originally released as a ZZ Top tune on the Tres Hombres album. He also provided the guitar stylings for Like a Drug.
But the connections don't stop there. Billy sang the lead vocal track on the recent Desert Sessions tune Move Together, and he played guitar on Noses in Roses, Forever.
What may be most important to QotSA fans is that Gibbons was the first person, almost two years ago, who hinted that Queens were working on a new album.
And now we know he was right. Never doubt a Reverend.
Their Music
Salt Lick
(Somebody Else Been) Shaking your Tree
La Grange -- Live on Howard Stern
Jailhouse Rock
Tush -- a fan made video. It is not subtle.
Cheap Sunglasses
Pearl Necklace -- Live
Gimme All Your Lovin’
Sharp Dressed Man
Legs -- the ultimate makeover video
Got Me Under Pressure -- Live at Montreaux
Sleeping Bag -- Let’s go out to Egypt and check out some heads...
Velcro Fly -- also somehow in Egypt
My Head’s In Mississippi
Concrete and Steel -- vintage video
I Gotsta Get Paid -- from La Futura
Show Them Some Love
Previous Posts
Alice in Chains
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Rage Against The Machine
Run the Jewels
Royal Blood
Arctic Monkeys
Ty Segall
Eagles of Death Metal
Them Crooked Vultures
Led Zeppelin
Greta Van Fleet
Ten Commandos
Screaming Trees
Sound City Players
Iggy Pop
The Strokes
All Them Witches
submitted by House_of_Suns to qotsa [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 04:52 Lepony A look at some of the common complaints that frequent fighting game discourse

A Necessary Preface

To start things off, some baselines need to be set for the sake of sidestepping a lot of talking points. This post will come entirely from the perspective that fighting games are a multiplayer genre first. There's a lot of very valid criticisms of the genre's single player aspect. I am actively choosing to ignore them for this post. When these discussions occur, it's meant from the perspective of the fighting game community trying to convince people to play and stick with the genre. For hundreds or even thousands of hours. In the same way that people would League of Legends, Apex, Rocket League, etc. The single-player aspect ultimately have very little bearing on the multiplayer aspect since it only increases impressions and not retention.
I'll also make a deeply arbitrary distinction between accessibility and accommodations for the disabled. They're two very different issues where the latter needs to be tackled in ways that I, or most people, am completely uninformed in. I am going to be addressing the layman's accessibility concerns.
FGC-heads, I know many of you have also thrown in the towel and now sing the virtues of gatekeeping due to not wanting "intolerants". But don't be an ass about it and remember there's a lot more wiggle room than you think. This post already comes across as condescending despite my best efforts, so cool it.
Finally, you don't have to read all of this. Just keep an eye out for the bolds that catch your eye. I'll try to keep things as simple as much as I reasonably can, but things will ultimately be technical. You will likely need a passing familiarity of the terms I'll be using, and I'll try to assist you in that by linking to a definition when appropriate. I will avoid requiring rigorous knowledge of the subject matter though, so don't get too caught up in the details.
This conveniently segways to one common criticism.

There is too much terminology for me to learn

There sure is a lot of them. But they're not used to make things esoteric. They're words meant to concisely convey otherwise intuitive concepts for the purposes of discussion, learning, and troubleshooting.
In other words, you don't really need to explicitly learn them. Eventually, you'll implicitly learn all the terminology. Just not the words to express them. Think of it like how many of us trying out chess will start games by moving a pawn to allow the Queen to move around, completely unaware of the fact that what we're performing is likely a Queen's Pawn or a King's Pawn opening. In the same vein, many are likely already familiar with certain popular concepts in fighting games. You're just unaware of what they're called, or know them by another name.
Take for example, spacing or neutral. You're likely familiar with snipers in a multiplayer shooter. If a sniper is uncontested, they completely own or dominate the "space" they're looking at. Running in full view of a sniper is a terrible idea because of it, and hiding behind cover is a solid idea because they don't "dominate" the space behind cover. To shut down a sniper's control of an area, you need to either physically overpower them (kill them), approach from a space they're not in control of (ambush them), or to force them to move else where (flush them out) via grenades or simply shooting in their general direction. Or in fighting game terms, whiff punish them (kill them), by playing footsies (ambush them), or by zoning (flush them out) them out.
Frame data deserves a special mention. The simplest way to put is that they're measurements of time. If you play any game somewhat seriously, you're already familiar. Reload speeds, fire rates, attack rates, and even movement speeds. Hell, something as simple as not wanting to use Knights of Round on generic encounters due to the long animation is a decision rooted in frame data.

There are too many things I need to learn

That's fair. There's no way around it. Fighting games are so far removed on a physical level that most people will have to learn everything from scratch. But it's not for the sake of it. There's too little overlap for you to rely on to draw experience.
I'll try not to bore you with the details by delving deep into stuff like Razbuten's series about gaming for non-gamers. But there's an inherent language to video game conventions and how things control or happen. It's all very learned behavior and not all of it translates to every game. For fighting games in particular, almost nothing translates unless you play exclusively 2d beat 'em ups, spectacle fighters, Monster Hunter, and Soulslikes. And even then.
And that's all okay. We all have a finite amount of time in our lives, with responsibilities to attend to. We can't invest the time to learn everything we need for everything we have a passing interest in. We all pick our battles.

No, seriously, it's all really overwhelming even when I'm trying

It sure is. And there are lots of ways the on-boarding process could be significantly improved upon. These days, the games with the most renowned tutorials are from French Bread or Arc System Works. And they're very excellent... at being a reference. Primary learning material they are not. I could talk about all about the ways things could be improved, but I'm not part of the industry. Waste of character limits if you ask me.
Until things improve drastically, my only advice is to take things slow. A lot of the things you're tempted to learn are cool combos, special techniques to make people stop blocking, or every single move your character has. Maybe all at once. Don't. Pick one or two things to focus on. Play against people where your only goals in life are the one or two things. Move onto new things when you feel that you're comfortable. Rinse and repeat until you've had enough.

The controls aren't intuitive

There's a funny thing about intuition. Despite it being rooted in instinct, it's entirely learned behavior. If you've used mnemonics before, you probably know that some just aren't very useful no matter how hard you try. It's kinda arbitrary. Things being intuitive or unintuitive also don't matter that much in the grand scheme of things. Like mnemonics, intuition only go so far to help you remember or learn something.
Movement tech in other genres is often brought up as an argument for intuition. They're typically a "logical" sequence of inputs that the player is already familiar with. Smash Melee's Wavedash actually gets brought up as an example time to time. It's jump then air dodge directly back onto the platform. On paper, it's very simple and easy to do.
It's not. The dexterity required to do it is a lot more than you'd expect it to be. Then there's frequency of its use, which causes a very real, physical strain on you. No matter how you look at it, you'll spend several orders of magnitudes more learning the rhythm than you do remembering the sequence of actions. The sequence themselves are a very minor step.
Not to mention, there is a language to how fighting game controls. Most people aren't used to it because most games aren't anything like fighting games. Take for example the quarter circle forward input. It's also known as the fireball input. Why? Because the average QCF input is a fireball. If not, it's probably a move that lunges your character forward. The fact that it ends in forward usually indicates that it's designed to control space in front of you. Hey look, a made up mnemonic. It's also probably useless!

Motion controls are superfluous and should be simplified

A very popular misconception, no doubt due to the widespread popularity of Smash. But the matter of fact is that motion controls are not superfluous and have momentous consequences. But at the same time, the consequences kinda don't matter. It creates a different type of fighting game for people to enjoy, which people do. The problem comes when people assert that it should be mandatory across the entire genre thinking that nothing would change. It's the same as saying that every FPS needs to have parkour mechanics or every action game needs to have animation canceling or every RPG needs to be real time: it's incredibly short-sighted. There's a reason why Smash has poor cross pollination or why not every TF2 player likes Overwatch.
If you're willing to accept the previous paragraph at face value, skip to the next checkpoint. The following will be dense.
The simplest example of the consequences of simplified inputs is the single input invicible DP. Their existence completely redefines how offense is structured and how it is played out. In particular, it heavily emphasizes true gapless blockstrings because the ease of the DP make it so that any unintentional gaps are fundamentally bad pressure. Because of that, pressure becomes more telegraphed and rigid, to the point of turns becoming almost concrete. Or in other words, homogenized and potentially requiring study at all levels.
I also need to stress the word unintentional here. There are entire series and subgenres that thrive on forcing chaotic, ambiguous situations that neither player is fully aware of but have to place their bets anyway. But with a one button DP, intentionally causing mutually ambiguous situations will almost never be in your favor because doing anything will lose out to a DP.
There's some other reasons why the ease factor can cause new problems that need to be addressed, like how most motions don't end in a blocking input which means you must forgo blocking or how some inputs assume that you forgo your ability to move forward. But there are ways around this with surprisingly minimal effects on gameplay or even cause novel situations. But I'm ready to move on.
See, simplified inputs have a very inherent and significant design cost to them. Grapplers in fighting games historically have insanely fast grabs. It's not uncommon for a grappler's command grab to be tied for literally the fastest move in the game, while simultaneously being 2-4x the range of other similarly fast non-grabs, and typically leading to much more advantageous situations post-grab than fast non-grabs. As seen here. Not only are they incredibly strong offensively, but also incredibly strong defensively. Almost as strong as a DP generally, and sometimes stronger than DPs in very specific (but potentially common) scenarios. This is often balanced out by the motions tied to these moves have an associated time cost to perform them in most but not all situations, ontop of the fact that it requires some modicum of effort to perform. Combined, this results in a surprisingly low margin for error to utilize this move effectively, and even players at the highest levels fail it every so often in stress-free, at home in their boxers, scenarios.
Think of it like the choice between slamming on your brakes to minimize collision damage or swerving to avoid it entirely. With enough of a heads up, everyone would choose to swerve. But sometimes you don't realize that you have enough room to swerve and by the time you did, it's too late. You have to pick the next best option. Mental burden is the concept I'm stressing here.
Of course, we can adjust how one button command grabs work to minimize the differences. The most common answer to this is by making the command grab themselves slower. But by doing so, the command grab is now a fundamentally different move. It cannot be used defensively. It is offensively neutered and the scenarios where it is a good idea to use is significantly reduced. The alternative answer is by tying the command grab to a resource. In turn, it's no longer a move that you always have access to. It's something that must be built towards and then managed alongside all the other mechanics that likely share the same resource.
Nothing mentioned so far are inherent downsides and won't make games bad. You can even omit more nuanced moves like command grabs and DPs entirely and people can still like it. The problem is that these would be the only kind of games that could exist if motion controls would be permanently retired. My preferred solution would be not to remove them, but to add more characters who don't have motions.
Anyway if you've read all that, then you might think I'm making up assumptions. That I can't know for sure that this is how one-button specials would affect the game. Except they're not assumptions. They're real world observations of games that already have one-button specials.
Games with one button specials: Fantasy Strike, Smash, DNF Duel
Games with simplified-but-still-motioned specials: Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Dragonball Fighterz, Skullgirls
Games with both: Granblue Versus, Street Fighter 6, Idol Showdown

Combos are too long

This is a really interesting complaint that comes up a lot. But what it means is one of three very different concerns that all need to be addressed in their own ways.

...because I keep getting stuck in one and dying to them

A very common and popular problem that is unfortunately born out of complete and total ignorance. Allow me to demonstrate with a clip.
Do you believe this was one combo? A really long infinite? A 100% to 0% combo? If your answer to any of these were a yes, then you are wrong. That was about six separate combos. I try to not get caught up on definitions as a rule of thumb and focus on the meaning instead, but this is a pretty big deal for this concern. Because people don't actually know the language, they misuse words all the time. They don't actually know how to express their concerns in an immediately understandable manner. This is... a huge can of worms that I won't get into for this post.
The thing about combos is that combos only work if the recipient of those combos have failed. One failure = one combo. Therefore, six separate combos means that the opponent has failed six times. But if it's the result of failure, then that must mean that success is an option, right?
Yes. It's called blocking, or more accurately, having good defense. Really focus on this bit here:
Players and characters with strong defense tend to be able to survive long offensive sequences from their opponent and take little overall damage
This leads into the next separate concern expressed in the same way.

...and there's nothing I could have done

Here's a clip. The player with the long whip (P1) looks really oppressive, right? The player with the hat (P2) had nothing they could do to stop the onslaught of combos coming their way. It was a miracle that they didn't take more damage from all of that. There's a bit of a hitch to all of this though:
None of those were combos. It wasn't oppressive at all. In the context of that clip, P2 willingly chose to do nothing but exclusively block because they wanted to see if P1 was capable of doing anything else.
What do I mean they weren't combos? They just aren't. For this specific concern, it's a simple misunderstanding of term. A sequence of attacks in quick succession are better known as strings. Not all strings are combos, but all combos are strings. What makes a string a combo is if it makes a character start physically reeling from an attack. This is a very important distinction for reasons that are irrelevant to this concern.
Okay, they're not combos but strings. Why does that matter? It still doesn't seem like P2 could have done anything. The thing with strings is that they must inevitably end. When and where they end is highly game and character dependent, but it's one of the few constants of the genre. From Street Fighter, to Smash, to Fantasy Strike. One of the most significant aspects of the genre is figuring out when someone is actually done so that you can take your turn. How a fighting game handles "the end of offense" is one of the most common ways to distinguish itself from other games. The clip I linked is a game that likes to keep things intentionally vague for the defender. Tekken famously requires you to know frame data to know when it's your time. Some games like to simplify things with rules of thumbs. Some games make it extremely short.
In the clip I shared, there were plentiful of solutions that P2 could have done that didn't require much thinking. Ignoring the DP that character has access to or any of the other moves they had, they could have ran forwards. They even had a second point to run forward.
What's really being complained about in this concern here is actually more along the lines of this:
I don't know what's going on and there's nothing I could do
This has a multitude of solutions. Some of them are tough pills to swallow. Some of them requires an adjustment of how information is conveyed. Some require slowing things way down. They all work, all with their own caveats. But you can't remove the problem entirely. It's not how video games work. It's like how you know it's safer to move while the enemy is reloading or charging or whatever.
Technically, you can make it so that it's theoretically always your time to shine regardless of what the opponent is doing. There are two games I'm aware of where this idea has been played with. A character named Baiken from Guilty Gear XX, and the Touhou games' Typhoon condition.
Nobody likes playing against Baiken. Typhoon is not a good time for anyone involved.

...and I can't be bothered

We're finally here. A complaint that actually means what it means. And it's 100%, completely, unarguably, fair. This a common complaint of fans from different series/subgenres too. There are games I love that have really long combos and I still have a limit. It's actually so common that it's been very consistently addressed:
Games with short combos exist. Games with almost no combos exist. We can go a step further: there are specific types of characters common to the genre that don't really do combos. There's usually at least one of them in most games. If you're okay with seeing them but not doing them, that's an option too.
One sidenote. The length of combos make a large difference in how games are played at a very fundamental level, beyond the combos themselves. Like everything else mentioned so far, short combos or long combos aren't better than the other. They simply offer different experiences. The problem is being shoehorned into a specific experience were one implemented genre-wide.

...and do too much damage

A bit distinct from the other concerns. It's suggesting almost a touch of death, but not quite. Fighting games do have an informal equivalent to time-to-kill from FPS that is measured in how many "touches" until you lose a round but that's a little too nuanced and tangential to get into for this.
Combos that do a lot of damage exist. This is true. There are lots of long combos. Also true. Here's one for example. It's a 30 second combo, where 17 seconds of it involves the P1 pushing buttons and then 13 seconds of watching a cinematic. You're probably not having a good time if you're on the receiving side of this.
There are some very, very important caveats. One, this particular game has an above average combo length in the first place. Two, that combo is an especially egregious example even in that game. Three, that combo is a culmination of a multitude of mistakes that required being hit by a very specific attack from P1 while P2 tried to attack, when P1 has at least 80% super meter, while P1 has nigh-max character-specific resources, while P2 is backed into a corner, while P1 has won a minigame. And it barely does enough to do 65% of a life bar. It's pretty rare for a combo this damaging to happen in most games. In some games, the opportunity can only occur once a match.
There's also the cinematic we need to talk about. Personally, I believe that the cinematic could be shorter. Especially in games where cinematic stuff happens all the time such as in Guilty Gear Strive or Tekken 7. One really big problem though:
Cinematics push copies. A very significant portion of a fighting game's marketing strategy is to showcase them because most people see something cool and think it's exciting. Think about how every time a new Mortal Kombat or Injustice comes out, gaming social media is flooded with supers and fatalities for a while. It just works. It also unfortunately has a very real effect on your personal experience when you're playing a game for >10 cumulative hours.
Games that try to make it obvious you didn't get the right answer: Guilty Gear Strive, Street Fighter 5, Skullgirls
Games with short combos: Fantasy Strike, Granblue Versus, Samurai Shodown
Games where combos don't exist: Divekick
Games that try to make it easy to do combos: Every fighting game released after 2014

There are too many buttons and it's too hard to keep track of

A pretty specific complaint that pops up time to time. And again, it's fair. Low button games do exist and actually in fact are more frequent than high button games, but that's besides the point. Let's address the primary purposes of more buttons:
I'll focus on the final point since I think the first two are self-evident. There are ways to make low-button games have the same amount of actions as high-button games. The problem is that no matter how you do it, the chances of input errors get increased. A clear delineation of input options makes being in control a lot more accessible. Which is a pretty big thing in this genre.
With a low button game, there are two choices: maintain a comparable amount of actions compared to higher buttons and accept we'll get more input errors, or accept that we'll have fundamentally less actions.
Games with two buttons: Smash, Divekick
Games with three buttons: Fantasy Strike, Granblue Versus, Blazblue Cross Tag Battle, Soul Calibur
Games with four buttons: Touhou IaMP, Touhou Hisoutensoku, Persona 4 Arena, Melty Blood, Under Night, Samurai Shodown, Blazblue, Dragonball Fighterz, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, etc

Combos have no bearing on strategy

Another complaint about combos, but a lot more directed. It's a complicated concern, as misguided as it may be, isn't without reason. Doing combos at some point can feel dialed in, and getting comboed is the equivalent of getting stunned in other video games. Except it can happen multiple times in about 30 seconds, which is frustrating to a lot of people.
A previous section already covered the idea of low-combo or comboless games, so I won't repeat myself on that front. I'll instead try to make a case for combos and why they shouldn't be removed entirely.

...because it is an exercise in rote memorization

This sort of complaint comes up a lot from very specific crowds. Primarily people who have experience in platform fighters like Smash or people who are very interested in the other aspects of fighting games but specifically dismiss combos.
I'll get the elephant in the room out of the way first: what's wrong with rote memorization? There are entire genres of games pretty much dedicated to tickling that part of the brain. If you were there for the 2000's rock band/guitar hero boom, you probably took part of it too. There are competitive rote memorization games. Jeopardy has been a worldwide phenomenon for decades. There's nothing wrong with it, and it's okay to acknowledge they're not your thing. Games that deemphasize combos exist.
Okay, there's still another reason why this complaint exists. People hate losing agency when playing video games and being comboed definitely takes it away. A very common example is brought up as a solution: Smash's Directional Influence. While a player's typical agency is gone, they do gain a new form and a new "game" forms between both players with it.
DI is pretty cool, and can be fun. Not everyone likes it. Some fighting games try to add agency in their own way through a combo breaking mechanic called Burst. Killer Instinct is famous for having a very specific way of handling combos through their combo breaker mechanic. Not everyone likes these either. There are likely other ways that agency can be added that haven't been done yet. And not everyone will like them. And that's okay.
Now, let me try to sell you on the idea that losing agency while being comboed is okay. Fighting games can be a lot. Some of them relish in being a lot. They can be overwhelming to absorb everything that's going on. Not to mention the whole part where you're trying to outwit the opponent.
You need time to breathe and get your bearings back in order. And that's exactly the window that being comboed provides. You can take a mental step back and look at what's going on. How many more times can you get hit and still survive? What is everyone's resources at? Are you winning that weird tug of war minigame? What has the opponent been doing? What's the chances they're going to do the same thing when they're done with the combo? Do you have a response to that thing?
Breathers are really important. People aren't built for full-throttle thinking and action for long stretches. Video games have realized this decades ago. It's why even the most spastic, twitchy of monsters in Monster Hunter will stop in place and roar. Why bullet hell games constantly swap between hyper dense, rapid patterns and patterns where you can kinda veg out for a moment. Why plenty of Zelda/Mario bosses will make you do some slow paced jump roping before they expose their weakpoint again.
This all also applies for the person performing the combo provided that they are at total comfort with the whole sequence. It won't always be the case, but it's worth mening.

...because nobody drops them so why not cut out the middleman?

A very modern take due to the prevalence of accessible high level footage, the massive growth of fighting games overall, and due to evangelical efforts for the genre. Not to mention, the vast majority of games these days have made it very easy to do very simple combos that everyone has access to and is practical at all levels. From more lenient input buffers, to simplified and standardized motion inputs, to autocombos, and an overall philosophical change on how games address damage, it can feel like having to perform combos is unnecessary work.
But people still fail combos. Even players at the highest level when there are zero stakes. The simple increased likelihood that one can fail doing a combo affects their decision-making. If they fail, the opponent can completely turn the tables. It creates tension. It opens up wiggle-room for the defender. It gives people hope. Allow me to paint a picture:
Both players are at low health and will die in about 1.5 "average" combos. P1 gets hit first, and is getting comboed. P2 has two choices: they can do their standard combo that has little chance of failing and place their bets on winning the next interaction after the combo ends. Or they can do their more damaging combo that should kill, but if they drop it (or even if the combo is carried to completion), P2 will be significantly disadvantaged for the next interaction. Or in some cases, even potentially the rest of the round. What do they do? What should they place their chips on?
This is such a popular aspect that certain content creators take this whole concept to its logical extreme and make a game show out of it.

Fighting games need no strategy beyond button mashing and combos

This opinion has largely died out in the past decade among the more dedicated video game communities, but it does still persist. Especially among the mainstream crowd.
Ignoring everything that has already been mentioned in the post so far, let's look at this clip. A very typical and basic interaction in the genre. It may be a little reiterative to what I've already said, but here's a twelve page explanation breaking it all down.

...because everyone picks the most optimal solution

This is a particularly strange complaint. It kind of arbitrarily ignores the fact that fighting games are primarily a real-time genre. Which fundamentally means that fighting games have imperfect information. Ignoring the real time aspect and 4head game theory stuff that most people — including myself — don't actually understand aside, fighting games at their core are sort of like weighted rock paper scissors.
A single dominant strategy doesn't exist, because every strategy loses to something. You know what always picking the most logical strategy in any given situation makes you?

I don't have the reaction time for them

This is a really fun complaint, because addressing it actively involves understanding what reaction times are. Most people will not want to be convinced that their use of it has been wrong their entire lives.
What is commonly understood as reaction time is as follow: how quickly one is able to respond to stimuli. Simple enough. The thing is that this is not actually how most people respond to things except as a very last resort.
There's an excerpt I like to share. It's not at all a formal study and it's pretty anecdotal. You don't have to read through it all, but I do recommend it. This is the relevant part though. The rest of the excerpt then explains how people are hitting something that is physically unreactable with the human body: because they're reacting to something else long, long, looong before the ball goes airborne.
This is what good reaction times really are. People recognizing a situation long before it happens, and reacting accordingly by adjusting their rhythm. Trying to rely on pure stimuli to react is ignoring the entirety of a countdown and only responding to the "Go!" There's a reason why basically every track event starts with a countdown through the words "On your marks".
This is actually such an age old argument that someone made a flash game to make a point back in 2011. You can get it going through an emulator if you'd like, but that's optional. I'll be explaining under the assumption you haven't touched it at all.
The two moves that you are meant to block here is the weird flip kick and the moon. There's something really important to note here: both moves take about 256/288ms (moon/flip) before they can actually hurt you. On a technical level, they land squarely within the average human reaction time.
Millia Blocker is really fucking hard. Most fighting game players can't actually react in time. But in the actual game these moves are from, blocking them isn't that big of a deal in most situations. You only ever really see these two moves in very specific situations that often occur a mile away. It ends up becoming a fairly binary "are they gonna use them or not" sort of situation where you're already blocking with whatever you decided to go with, sort of like pre-firing, or by blocking both. Defending against them is so little of a deal these days that more experienced players tend to opt for more complicated options instead.

...because I'm too old

When I first started playing fighting games ten years ago, the top players were in their mid-thirties. Most of them are still top players in their forties and the young rising stars of the time are now in their thirties and top players as well. Something like 40% of the current top 100 tennis players are over thirty. Baseball and soccer both have very significant 30+ year old representation at the highest levels. 20% of the NBA is comprised of dudes in their thirties.
You can go out to your closest metropolitan community park or gym where random people meet up for a game of ball once a week. You're probably going to find an older person playing and keeping up with the rest of them, if the group isn't primarily older in the first place. And they'll steamroll the average high school senior who only play sports for gym class. They could probably keep up with the average HS sports club too.
Why? It's not that they're physically built different. It's because they decided to continue giving a damn about a game of ball in their older age. It's a conscious decision they've made to balance ball on top of whatever responsibilities they already have. This whole reaction time business ultimately boils down to a lack of experience, not actual reaction times.

...because too much is going on

It gets easier. If you decide to stick with it that is. When you're brand new to something, you're at a total sensory and information overload. It's difficult to parse through all that and you get decision paralysis, but it gets easier. This is known as cleaning up your mental stack. Or more concisely, turning the unfamiliar into familiar, into routine.
If you have a driver's license, remember when you first learned how to drive. There are 2-3 pedals for some reason, you need to keep track of what's behind you and to your sides, what's up ahead, the traffic laws, how the fuck a steering wheel works, etc. Forget trying to have a conversation or turning on the AC, you're way too focused on trying to not to crash the car. But eventually you get used to it all and now you do something very complex almost automatically. Some people are so used to it that they think texting during it all is no big deal. Please don't text and drive.

I don't like how you have to take out your credit card to unlock characters instead of unlocking them like you used to

This is a really interesting complaint born from yet another misunderstanding. In the overall microtransaction discourse, this can be valid regarding things like cosmetics. The good ol' SFxT DLC fiasco during the early days of DLC really does not help things either. But I'm going to spell it out in absolutely no uncertain terms:
You always had to pay money to get new characters in fighting games. The "unlockable" characters were not new characters, they were always part of the base roster.
When most people look back on history, they look at the character roster a game ends with and compare it to a post-DLC era roster and note the differences. But it's missing such a fundamental detail that is always conveniently forgotten in these complaints: fighting games used to have an insane amount of rereleases. Consider the age ol' meme of Super Street Fighter 2 Super Championship Turbo Edition.
Ever considered why that was? It's because fighting games were console ports of arcade games, where changing updating the game was relatively "trivial" on the arcade's end. Consoles? Consoles couldn't patch games until the 360/PS3 era. Which is around the time DLC started being a thing outside of PC games. And do you know what one of the main selling points of new patches/editions were? New characters. Compare Street Fighter 2's original roster of eight eventually growing up to a total of 16 in its final version. And you had to fork over money to buy the same game again to get those new characters.
To obfuscate things even further, each franchise had their own nomenclature to refer to patch versions. Street Fighter did "editions", reserving new numbers for actually brand new games (ala Alpha/Zero and 3). Tekken just increased the number. King of Fighters used the year they came out. Both franchises didn't properly distinguish whether it was a brand new game or a new patch either.
Anyway, it's 2023 now. Companies usually don't sell patches for $60-70 a pop anymore. Balance updates are entirely free these days with characters being the only things you have to purchase.

Fighting games are too expensive to get all the characters

Yup. Fighting games don't exactly have a better monetization method yet either, so we're kinda stuck with it.
In practice, it surprisingly doesn't matter that much. Even with the entire roster available, the vast majority of players don't actually play more than 2-3 characters. For most games, learning new characters can be really difficult for people. A new character can feel like playing a different version of the game in of itself. Combined with the fact that most people have struggle readjusting muscle memory, a lot of people put very little effort in actually playing new characters.
Alright so learning them is hard, but surely people need to study new characters because matchups are important, right? They totally are. But most people don't actually bother since the community is far more casual than people outside realize. That said, most people do agree that we should be able to try out characters for free. And hopefully that becomes standard in the genre. In any case, it sucks. But for most people, it's an inconvenience and not a money sink.

Fighting games lack progression

My personal disdain towards progression systems and love for abstract improvement aside, it's true. Fighting games lack engaging progression systems that are popular amongst multiplayer games. And I do believe that a well-made progression system would actually do wonders to resolve a lot of the misunderstandings found in this post. But forget well-made, most fighting games don't have any progression.
Until then, if your desire to play multiplayer games rely on concrete and highly measurable goals, fighting games are going to be a hard pass for a long while.
submitted by Lepony to truegaming [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 02:43 qwertyuiop924 [Doom Modding] "We made TNT too cool": The story of Final Doom and the original paid mods controversy

The Doom community is, currently, dealing with the drama of a contender for map of the year being dropped on the forum by a mapper who wishes to remain anonymous (to the point that mods had to step in and lock the thread over issues with invasions of privacy). This is not a write-up of that drama, because that drama is not over. However, it did get me thinking, and I realized that nobody had ever done a writeup of what I consider to be the Doom drama. The big one. And who better than I, who was not even born when it happened, to talk about it?
Well, probably a lot of people. But I'll do my best to try and tell it anyways.
In 1993, id software released Doom. While it wasn't the first first-person shooter, or even the first FPS made by id software, it would be the game that would define their legacy. It was fast, it was visceral, it was tremendously technically impressive for the time, it felt good to play, and the first eight levels were free (well, nine if you count the secret level).
If this was all there was to it, Doom still would have been an important marker in the development and popularization of the FPS genre. But there was something more. id had noticed that people had begun making custom levels for their earlier games, figuring out the file formats on their own and distributing patched versions of game files with brand new level sets. This resulted in John Carmack, id's star programmer, made a radical proposition: Open the floodgates, and explicitly support custom content.
While this was the subject of some debate within the company, in the end, Carmack's side won. Within days and weeks of Doom's release, id's bsp compiler (which generated the data Doom needed to make levels playable at an acceptable framerate) would release, along with documentation for Doom's wad file format and the various kinds of data "lumps" that lived inside of it (NOTE: despite the stated commitment to do so, I can't find much evidence for documentation outside of the source code for the bsp program itself. Combined with allusions to reverse-engineering in some of the wiki articles I consulted while writing this, I get the sense that at the very least, what information id provided was not quite sufficient on its own). Doom itself was consciously designed to separate maps and data from the guts of the engine (although many elements such as enemy behavior was still hard-coded) and would also be outfitted with the ability to accept a list of patch wads to load in order on top of the official wad from id, which could be used to replace assets, music, and levels with custom ones without copying and redistributing game data files. Any custom wads could then be distributed over the internet with id's blessing, free for anyone who bought the full version of Doom to download and play. The one snag was that because id built Doom on beefy NeXTStep workstations instead of the PCs that players used, they actually couldn't release their mapping tools: they would have been impossible for almost anyone else to run anyways, unless they wanted to toss Steve Jobs's company a truly eye-watering amount of money. The mapping software would have to come from the community itself.
In many respects, this was the birth of PC modding culture as we know it. No, Doom was not the first game with user-generated content, but the arrival of the internet into the homes of Mere Mortals combined with the release of a smash hit game that actually encouraged users to make and share mods resulted in a large community of mappers and players. A community, in fact, that remains intact 30 years later. There are probably new Doom maps being released as I speak.
However, it would take some time for mapping tools to be developed by the community and for mappers to get the hang of them. Maps really really started releasing in 1994, and because Doom 2 was released in October of that year, most of the Doom community jumped over to that game pretty dang quickly. Doom 2 is in many ways a standalone expansion for Doom 1, using exactly the same engine with relatively few upgrades behind the scenes, but it's the product of more experienced mappers (the team at id had gotten practice making Doom 1, after all). Crucially for the modding community, it also added a lot of new stuff to the game: the chaingunner, revenant, mancubus, hell knight, arachnotron, pain elemental, and, of course, the dreaded arch-vile were all added to the game, as was the iconic super shotgun. Having to do without all of these upgrades, which really did make more varied and interesting gameplay possible, was enough to dissuade most mappers from going back to the original Doom.
By 1995, Doom mappers were firing on all cylinders. Meanwhile, inside of id, Quake was in the middle of development hell. Outside of id, companies were making money off of downloading a bunch of Doom wads off the internet, sticking them on a disk for people who still didn't have convenient internet access, and selling it. These compilations were notorious inside the community for 1) taking mod authors' content, redistributing it, and profiting off of it without permission, and 2) being generally of extremely poor quality, even featuring maps that would outright crash the game. All the same, the developers within id looked at the money junk like D!Zone was making off of their game with envy. Doom, it seemed, still had some life in it, and plenty of people willing to pay for new content. What it needed was an expansion pack. Between Quake and other projects (supporting the development of Hexen, and creating the bonus episode Thy Flesh Consumed for The Ultimate Doom, a commercial boxed copy of Doom 1 that could hopefully reach those unwilling or unable to mail order it from id), nobody at id had time to make a full-on expansion on their own.
So if D!Zone is making bank off community maps... why not just pay members of the community to make maps for an expansion?
The first result of this experiment in trying to be D!Zone was Master Levels of Doom 2, a pack of 20 levels (21 counting the secret level) created under contract with id by members of the community and released just before Christmas in 1995. It also came packed in with extras including Maximum Doom, a collection of 1380 levels downloaded from the internet (most of which, of course, aren't very good). As far as I can tell, the community consensus on the Master Levels proper are... fine, especially for the era, but aren't really anything special. I've never heard anyone describe them as "must-play content."
But I'm not here to talk about the Master Levels. I'm here to talk about id's other community project, born a few months before the Master Levels released (another note: it's not actually clear to me when the Master Levels started development. I suspect was already in the pipeline by the time October of 1995 rolled around). Because that's the one that made people angry.
Ty Halderman did not fit the stereotype of what a Doom player is supposed to look like. By the time the first game released, he was on the verge of turning 50. However, he was tasked with benchmarking the effects of networked Doom on overall networked performance (due to some mistakes made in development, early versions of Doom could cause performance problems for other computers on the network, causing it to swiftly be banned at universities around the world upon release) for his work. Therefore, him and a few of his co-workers set up a test network and set about playing some coop Doom to get a sense of how bad the problem was. Bad news: it was bad. Good news (at least, for the Doom community): Ty Halderman was now thoroughly hooked on Doom. And he started to get involved in the modding scene before the first mapping and modding tools were even really entirely ready and done.
Around late 1994, early 1995 (according to Ty's recollections from 1998, at least), talk began on the doom-editing mailing list of getting a bunch of mappers together and doing a big wad with a bunch of levels. It's not clear to me that the plan was to fully replace all 32 levels of Doom II, as eventually did happen, but the project was certainly ambitious from the jump. John Romero even chimed in to say that it wouldn't be worth it because Quake would be out by that fall (severely underestimating both Quake's development time and the dedication of the Doom community). This group, apparently, split in half: one team wanted to do something more ambitious, utilizing sprite edits and binary patching tools like dehacked to make something akin to what we'd now call a partial conversion. This group would ultimately not manage to release a wad. The other group, headed up by Ty himself, wanted to simply make a pack of levels on top of Doom 2. This group would see considerably more success, getting their own mailing list and (as online collaborative projects so often do) shrinking from a group of something like 100 interested people to a team of more like 30-40 people who actually got the work done.
I have never found a satisfactory explanation for how it happened, but somewhere in this juncture, this modding team was named. They called themselves The New Technology. But they would go down in Doom history simply as TeamTNT.
Lighting the Fuse
By late 1995, two things were becoming clear. One, Quake wasn't coming out yet, and two, TeamTNT's megawad (the community term for a wad with at least 15 levels) was nearing completion. Given the name "TNT: Evilution", it had been announced on usenet and hype was building. A release date was announced. The New Technology: Evilution would be released as a free download at midnight on the night of October 24th, 1995.
: What's TNT?
TNT is an episode replacement for Doom2 featuring the best of the best levels/graphics/sounds. All new stuff.
You have been warned.
I want you to picture yourself as a Doom fan on October 24th, 1995. You're hyped. You're excited. You sign onto Usenet to check out the latest Doom news. And then you see a message from TeamTNT's PR coordinator, going under the user name "H2HMud", with the subject line "TNT is coming ". You click it. And you see this message:
TNT IS COMING tick...tick...tick.... Opps! On Doomsday, Oct 10th, we announced that TNT would be released in "2 weeks"
That's tommorrow, but we ran into a snafu. We'll probably have things worked out by Friday, so please bear with us.
Heh, no wonder id now says "as soon as it's finished"
Friday comes. And that's when you see this message.
The New Technology: Evilution (1995/10/27 Press Release)
Hi again.
I know many are waiting for TNT: Evilution to be released today.
The snafu that occured Monday was this:
We made TNT too cool, at the 11th hour, we were contacted about the possibility of it being released commercially and asked to delay release until Friday so they could determine if they wanted it.
They do.
Futher discussions are currently underway.
The upshot of this is that TNT will probably be released in stores around the world in January.
I will post further information as soon as I can.
--H2HMud (TeamTNT PR coordinator)
P.S. no, sorry, I am not at liberty to provide any further information at this time.
Behind the scenes, Ty Halderman received a message from John Romero, only hours before TNT was set to go live.
"Hey - release date is tomorrow, eh? Are you guys selling this, or would you like us to do it? If you didn't release this on the net it would be more valuable in retail."
Within an hour, Evilution's leadership, the Quality Control Team, met up with John Romero on IRC. And I mean really, if one of the lead developers of the game you were modding reached out to you and said the company behind the game wanted to publish your mod as an official product... how could you turn down an offer like that?
Thus begins what may well be the very first paid mod controversy. Doom community members were confused and upset. People weren't even sure who was publishing the project, and at least a few posters accused the original build-up in hype around Evilution of being a PR stunt to draw attention to the commercial release.
I personally am willing to make the commitment that whatever company publishes this can count my group out of its customer base -- for any product it releases. Selling Wads is fine, but promoting and hyping it and then saying -- oh, it was just too cool -- is in rather poor taste.
When id started out, they intended for people to have FUN with level editing, not to make a profit off their (id) work. Although I can understand the desire to go commercial, this being such an organized project of such scope, I am sure there are wad editors out there (like me) who, even though they aren't as good, are learning and will one day be as good, who would be willing to do such a project for free in the future.
TeamTNT was put in a tight spot by even entertaining Romero's deal. As H2HMud put it,
The fact is we were left with several options: (a) just lie to everyone who was looking forward to checking out TNT:E by telling some lame story about an indefinite delay (utterly unacceptable); (b) just say nothing (rude and unacceptable); (c) come out and inform the public of as much as we can at the time and take all the heat that might result from it (the only honorable course of action).
Users seemed to be split on whether or not selling wads was was okay. The author of a Doom level editor jokingly asked for a cut of the profits if TeamTNT had used his software. Others were... well, as hostile as you'd expect to the idea of paid mods:
Ask yourself: Would YOU buy a .wad when there's people like me, [a list of mappers] and others turning out perfectly good wads for free, because we enjoy doing it? No you bleeding well wouldn't. If you want to make 50 dollars, sell it. If you want lots of praise, lots of users and a nice warm feeling inside, give it away. Get me? I will never BUY a PWAD.
As it should be a freeware project! There are far to many good, nay I say GREAT, wad authors making their wads freeware why would any one want to pay for any!
You may get a few dollars - although Doom will never die, Quake is just around the corner - but is it worth the contempt and disgust of the entire Doom community?
Others thought it was unethical to do because... well, the team had already said the wad would be released for free. Still others argued that it was spitting in the face of the programmers who wrote the free programs mappers depended on, on the assumption that the mappers would put out their works for free as well. Still others resolved to make their own megawad with blackjack and hookers:
Hey, wait just a darn minute here! The TNT team isn't the only people out there who can design/build/assemble a 32 level PWAD collection. Sure, we all wanted to play TNT and I was really looking foreward to killing time with it till Quake came out but, now that's not gonna happen.
I have a suggestion: Let's build our own 32 level PWAD and release it for free BEFORE the January release of TNT.
All we gotta do is come up with a name, build a WWW page, and throw together 32 kick ass single player Doom 2 levels. I'll bet we can even have some new graphics and sounds.
(as far as I know nothing ever came of this)
Meanwhile, TeamTNT had their own internal struggles. Getting published wasn't all sunshine and roses: the team was not very well credited in the release (one reviewer of the Playstation release, which included the master levels, mistakenly noted that the Evilution levels were "id originals"), and id forced them to make quite a number of changes (id wanting to ensure that the game was playable with a minimum of 8MB of RAM meant some levels had to be made smaller, and there were various other other matters of how the maps played). All while still suffering the ire of the community.
The official release of what would be dubbed Final DOOM actually has two parts. The first is TNT:Evilution. Unbeknownst to TeamTNT, two of their members would be making the second part as well.
Dario Casali saw Doom for the first time because a friend of his has a PC at school. Then he started playing it. Him and his brother Milo both then got into Doom mapping. As to why, according to Dario:
Being able to fight my brother in a world that I had created was a huge attraction for me.
I'm think that's half-joking. But only half.
Anyways, Dario and Milo joined up with TeamTNT and submitted 8 levels to Evilution, four of which id would eventually cut. Around the time John Romero contacted TeamTNT with a publishing deal (it's not clear to me whether it was after or before, but I very much suspect after), Dario and Milo decided to build an 8-level wad and put it online, which took about a month. I don't think this wad was ever released, because Dario then decided to send the wad to American McGee at id. id, upon seeing the work, were impressed. So they asked Dario and Milo if they could make 31 levels in four months or less. Against all sanity and reason, they agreed, and four months later they delivered a full 32-level wad to id to make up the second half of Final Doom. Which was quite surprising to the rest of TeamTNT, who didn't know anything about the deal.
This wad be known as the Plutonia Experiment. Remember that name.
Final Doom released on June 17th, 1996, to a critical response somewhere between negative...
If Final Doom offered new monsters, new weapons, or even new challenges, this would be a very different review. Sadly, all three are lacking in this release. The only tangible benefit Final Doom offers over its predecessors is 64 new maps to play. When you consider that there are literally tens of thousands of levels that can be downloaded off the Internet for free, you have to wonder why a mere 64 levels lists for $54.99!
and vaguely ambivalent:
Final Doom is a blast on the PlayStation, even if nothing is really new.
Inside the Doom community, which most definitely did want more Doom, most people did end up buying a copy of Final Doom, eventually. While a few community members would continue to snub TeamTNT for years, most people were perfectly willing to let go of the initial outrage. As Linguica, admin of Doomworld said in 2003:
The controversy quickly died down, but the scars still remain. (Not really.)
But then, I hear you ask, why is this worth a hobby drama post if it didn't have an impact?
Because while the initial wave of outrage didn't have a longterm impact, the choices TeamTNT made absolutely did.
Because for whatever else you could say about it, Final Doom was good. Evilution itself is widely considered to be entirely fine. Most seem to agree that the quality is a bit inconsistent, some really love it, a few consider it dull or bad, but most Doom modders think it's solid, and it's doing some good stuff (like making a conscious effort to build maps with a greater sense of immersion). The real star of the show, however, is Plutonia. It was like nothing else anyone had seen. The Casali brothers were bored of playing Doom 2 on hard and wanted a meatier challenge. In the process, they had built levels like nothing else that was out at the time. Plutonia, to this day, is extremely highly regarded, and has been cited as an influence by just about every well-known mapper out there. On Doom's 25th anniversary, mapper and community member Not Jabba had this to say:
Although the Casalis’ work leaves plenty of room for improvement, it’s fair to say that they laid so much groundwork that there wasn’t a whole lot left to lay, and that all combat-oriented mapping has been a series of footnotes to Plutonia.
There is one more piece of fall-out from this whole incident. In 1997, Doom went open source when id released version 1.10 of Linux Doom, a version of the code that had been modified and cleaned up as part of plans for a book about the Doom source code that never ended up being released. This code had to be ported back to DOS (this is the origin of the term "source port" to refer to an open-source version of a game engine). TeamTNT were still around, and Ty Halderman, alongside Lee Killough, Jim Flynn, and others, set about making their own TeamTNT official source port. This port would become known as Boom.
While Boom wasn't the most advanced sourceport, it had a lot of the extensions mappers really wanted to use (and removed a lot of annoying limitations that mapping for the original game required you to be aware of), it was stable and worked fairly well, and crucially it was extremely accurate to Vanilla Doom so demo playback worked well so long as the compatibility level was set right (I don't have time to explain that sentence, but it's a good thing, and speedrunners really care about it). This popularity and the relatively conservative nature of its additions to Doom meant that even most source ports that weren't just forked from Boom directly implemented its new features, and "Boom compatible" was the most featureful map format that was widely implemented across almost all sourceports for about 20 years. It's still a popular format to this day, both out of appreciation for its limitations and because of its wide compatibility, and although Boom itself fizzled within a year, its descendants are still widely used (most notably, the speedrunner-focused DSDA-Doom).
What does this have to do with Final Doom? Well, Final Doom made part of it possible. The reason that accuracy to vanilla was a problem was that Linux Doom 1.10 did not behave identically to Doom 1.9. Boom was more accurate to Doom 1.9 than any other engine (well, any other engine that didn't subsequently copy Boom's fixes) because, thanks to their relationship with id, TeamTNT was granted temporary access to the DOS Doom 1.9 source code (which could not be released in its entirety for legal reasons) in order to resolve incompatibilities. Meaning that Final Doom resulted, strangely, in source ports being better.
Where are they now
TeamTNT kept on going through the rest of the 1990s and even the early 2000s. They would put out another 32-level megawad, Icarus: Alien Vanguard, also in 1996. 96 was actually TeamTNT's most prolific year: on top of all that, they put out two deathmatch megawads, 32 maps each, and Eternal DOOM, another singleplayer 32 level mapset which was originally being developed by Team Eternal (I believe Team Eternal merged into TeamTNT? The wiki doesn't totally make it clear). When you're the biggest mapping group in the entire Doom community, you can make a ton of massive map packs in one year I guess. After that year, their wad output would slow down, but wouldn't entirely end until 2008. As far as I can tell, TeamTNT didn't exactly disband, more just kind of slowly faded away.
John Romero left id software to make Daikatana, which you can read about here on hobbydrama. Apparently he's pretty chill nowadays, and he made a surprise comeback to Doom modding, with Tech Gone Bad and SIGIL being his most high-profile releases. His maps were generally well-received, with Tech Gine Bad even snagging a bonus Cacoward, but are generally seen as just solid rather than particularly revolutionary.
Milo Casali went on to work for a number of gaming companies, most notably Ubisoft Toronto, and seems to still be doing level design work.
Dario Casali left the Doom mapping community and after a brief stint modding for Quake he was snapped up by a brand new videogame company in Belleview Washington who were very eager to hire some talented Quake mappers to design levels for their first videogame: an FPS by the name of Half-Life. Dario was at Valve until quite recently, and has worked on many of your favorite Valve games if you like Valve games. While it's rarely clear what each designer worked on at Valve, I believe he was the primary person responsible for Half-Life's multiplayer maps. So if you get nuked on dm_crossfire, just remember: It could have been archviles.
Ty Halderman remained an important and respected member of the Doom community, taking over as admin of the /idgames FTP archives (one of the largest archives of Doom wads on the internet) in 1997, and remained so for almost 20 years, being a consistent and professional member of the community. In 2014, Doomworld gave him the Espi Award for Lifetime achievement for his contributions the the community. In 2015 Ty Halderman passed away at the age of 69, due to complications from a brain tumor. The community would mourn his passing over the following months.
Final Doom was a weird, awkward mess of a product, released after the public had moved on from Doom, incensing the community during its production, and improbably going on to shape the Doom mapping and modding scene as a whole. Ultimately the drama is just a footnote. But I thought it was an interesting one.
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2023.06.02 01:53 VagrantSea Edelgard Analysis month 1: Does Edelgard have PSTD?

Edelgard Analysis month 1: Does Edelgard have PSTD?
Preface / My reason behind doing this for 22 day:
  • 1st reason is because I want to challenge myself on analysing a game narrative as a game design student.
  • 2nd is that I want to improve people thought on both Edelgard as well as both of her routes as i feel like there is a lot of intentional misinformation out on her character as well her routes. ( I say Intentional since it was done by both the community, youtubers and TreeHouse. Which is sad because Edelgard and her routes, I feel has the best writing out of “Modern Fire Emblem” despite suffering from the flaws it received from the larger flaws within 3House and Hopes writing. ( Which is a larger topic that one day I might make a big post about. ) As on their own. These routes really don’t have many flaws and the flaws they do have can be forgiven I feel.
  • I can’t write fic or draw for shit.
Notes: Originally, the first post was about Edelgard ideology and how it fitted into Humanism, but kept having brain farts. So I am skipping it for time being, I am using and continuing a analysis I wrote around 8 month more a go before losing interest. So there will be a few conflicting things here. And I guess change in writing. There will also be a lot of spelling and sentence mistakes because I am dyslexic as hell.
Now before I go into the nitty gritty of the post I will mention to 2 things. First is that I will probably come across as condescending as I will be talking about what is PTSD very thoroughly and explaining certain things like ‘Umbrella term’ in certain manner in the helps that it would better understand the subject matter for people.
The second thing’s is that I only have the basic understanding of PTSD and it subject manner because I only learn about PTSD and mental health issues when I was learning about the different counselling theory like behaviourism, psychodynamic and humanism therapy during my level 2 Youth Work course. It has been over 4 years since I was on that course and have I changed field of what I what to do with my life.
Due to this, I will most certainly make mistakes here and I am not that well educated on the subject matter. Compared to let say the person who I get popularised the theory
What is Trauma
In order to understand Post-traumatic stress disorder otherwise known as PTSD. We need to first understand what is “trauma”.
Trauma is an emotional response that happen immediately after or later in life after a negative event that either happens unexpectedly or over the cause of a few or a multitude of days. This negative event can be many many things.
This 4 minutes long video by Nation Health Service ( NHS for short. ) Scotland explains trauma within a person childhood, how it effect adulthood and some additionally information’s on the subject matter. But while the video is focusing more on the children side of the subject. It doesn’t mean that these thing doesn’t effect adult with their lives.
Adverse Childhood Experiences - NHS Health Scotland - YouTube
For those who don’t want to watch the video. Here’s a mind map I made. Yes I am putting that much effort into this post:
These are only the event that can cause Trauma that I can think of when writing this.
However, a key thing to understand about traumatic events is that people responds differently to the events that happens to them and that one traumatic event for one person might not be one for another.. Some are able to brush it off when it happens to them while other are unable to.
Using Dorothea and Ashe as an example here. They both suffer from being Homeless and was pick up by some sort of guardian figure. For Dorothea it was Manuela and the Opera company, while for Ashe, it was Lonato.
What separates them is that Ashe “overcame” his trauma and his mental health both due to his sibling, Lonato and Christoph being a loving adopted family and the environment that he was then surrounded in. Whilst with Dorothea, whilst Manuela was a loving guardian. She was brought into a environment that has a lot domestic violence, sexual abuse and much more which caused more mental health issues for Dorothea.
Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PSTD within the UK is classified as an Anxiety and Psychiatric Disorder but in countries it is most likely classified differently but the main thing is that can be cause by the traumatic event’s I mention early.It could appear after the traumatic event happened or later down the lines after a couple of month to a year.
For explaining PSTD here, I will be using a lot of source since I probably won’t be able to explain it properly and make sure people have a good understanding of it which is the main I want to do.
To use a quote from PTSD UK which is charity: PTSD Explained – PTSD UK
“It’s estimated that 50% of people will experience a trauma at some point in their life. The defining characteristic of a traumatic event is its capacity to provoke fear, helplessness, or horror in response to the threat of injury or death and therefore can affect anyone. Examples of traumatic events include assault, road traffic incident, natural disasters, domestic and child abuse, war, acts of terrorism and traumatic childbirth. (you can read more about the causes of PTSD here)
The majority of people exposed to traumatic events experience some short-term distress, but eventually, their trauma fades to a memory – painful, but not destructive. However, around 20% of people who experience a trauma go on to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the UK, that’s around 6,665,000 people, yet it is still an incredibly misunderstood, often misdiagnosed and stigmatized condition.
PTSD typically causes four different groups of symptoms:
reliving the traumatic event perhaps in the form of flashback, nightmares or intrusive memories (also called re-experiencing or intrusion);
avoiding situations that are reminders of the event;
negative changes in beliefs and feelings;
and feeling hypervigilant and fearful to people and the world around you (also called hyperarousal). “
To go into further details on the symptoms of PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - Illnesses & conditions NHS inform
Re-experiencing is the most typical symptom of PTSD.
This is when a person involuntarily and vividly relives the traumatic event in the form of:
repetitive and distressing images or sensations
physical sensations, such as pain, sweating, feeling sick or trembling
Some people have constant negative thoughts about their experience, repeatedly asking themselves questions that prevent them coming to terms with the event.
For example, they may wonder why the event happened to them and if they could have done anything to stop it, which can lead to feelings of guilt or shame.
Avoidance and emotional numbing
Trying to avoid being reminded of the traumatic event is another key symptom of PTSD.
This usually means avoiding certain people or places that remind you of the trauma, or avoiding talking to anyone about your experience.
Many people with PTSD try to push memories of the event out of their mind, often distracting themselves with work or hobbies.
Some people attempt to deal with their feelings by trying not to feel anything at all. This is known as emotional numbing.
This can lead to the person becoming isolated and withdrawn, and they may also give up pursuing activities they used to enjoy.
Hyperarousal (feeling "on edge")
Someone with PTSD may be very anxious and find it difficult to relax. They may be constantly aware of threats and easily startled.
This state of mind is known as hyperarousal.
Hyperarousal often leads to:
angry outbursts
sleeping problems (insomnia)
difficulty concentrating
Other problems
Many people with PTSD also have a number of other problems, including:
other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety or phobias
self-harming or destructive behaviour, such as drug misuse or alcohol misuse
other physical symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, chest pains and stomach aches
PTSD sometimes leads to work-related problems and the breakdown of relationships.”
This short video below goes into what is PTSD. ( It explains it better then what I ever could.):
The psychology of post-traumatic stress disorder - Joelle Rabow Maletis - YouTube
The main 2 thing I want to mention from this video is:
The first is what separate people from having PTSD to not having it is when the symptoms of what the source I mention earlier are consistent, where these flashbacks and nightmare keep happening after a month from traumatic incident or when you start having these symptoms suddenly one day after 5 month from the Traumatic event and where the symptoms start to bleed into everyday life and have an effect similar to addiction and other mental health issues.
And the thing is that you don’t have to show all the symptoms to have PTSD. It similar to every other mental health but also disability where you could show just a few of those symptoms but they are enough to prove that you may have it.
The second is about how things that relate to the original trauma can cause a person to re experience and relive the trauma.
The difference between PTSD and C-PTSD
The last thing I want to mention is that there are multiple version of PTSD, this is something that people who aren’t as knowledgeable on mental health as a whole. Both of these come under the parent category or rather umbrella term / category of ‘Disorders specifically associated with stress’. ( This is a recent change from the World Health Organisation’s.)
To simplify Umbrella terms, think of it as something similar to genres where within video games, you have your shooters genre and within that genre you have your first-person shooters, third-person shooters, arcade shooters and much more. That is what Umbrella terms is and is used a lot in the social working field as a whole.
And while doing my research I have found about ‘normal stress response, comorbid PTSD, acute stress disorder and uncomplicated PTSD’ which fit under this umbrella category. I will only be talking about the two in the title.
The main difference between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the duration of the traumatic event.
To quote a video by “Psycho2Go” which goes into detail about C-PTSD:C-PTSD...What is it? - YouTube
“PTSD is typically triggered by a specific or a series of events in a short period of time. While C-PTSD is caused by a series of traumatic events over a long period of time.”
In other word’s, PTSD is caused by a singular traumatic event like car accidents or being raped whilst C-PTSD is caused by multiple, long-lasting, repeated or continuos traumas or traumatic events like domestic abuses, bullying and Repeated exposure to disaster, accidents, deaths or violent acts (including emergency service workers)
C-PTSD whilst share the same symptoms as one I mention above is much more severe then normal PTSD becomes of the continuos traumatic events which causes trust issues and if not treated can lead to all sorts of other issues like addictions, depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviour to name a few and require much more professional help.
However, mental health issues as a whole is like a spectrum and ultimately symptoms and traumatic event are not binary. You can go through one single traumatic event and get C-PTSD while another person could through multiple and receive as bad PTSD or none at all. Traumatic event effect everyone differently and it also the fact that everyday life can effect this spectrum. Some day people with it are ok, other day it’t really bad.
To quote the same video again:
“C-PTSD is an issue involving safety, for examples those who grew up in abusive household may lack a feeling of safety. This constant fear, a physical, emotional or psychological harm in childhood can cause problems later in life.”
( This quote makes me want to want something about Dorothea trauma.)
In general trying to explain mental health condition as a whole is bloody hard to do.
Hopefully, I successfully explain what is PTSD that a lot of you understands it better thought honestly I think I probably made a good few mistakes here and there. Now let get onto explain about whether or not Edelgard has PTSD.
Edelgard Traumatic Events
Now ignoring the war aspect of the game since this Fire Emblem Game but also to borrow a quote from a another reddit user on a separate post where they were reply to another comment to give a reason why we are ignoring it. ( Not mentioning their usernames here because I don’t want them to get harassed. )
“I agree with all you said, especially the part "we don't live in Fodlan and they don't live in our world. If tomorrow you get attack by a group of bandits, you will probably get scared for life". Some scientific articles speak about that even in our modern world. The culture amd context of our country (people living in a country plunged by war are less at risk developing a ptsd from hearing/seeing a shooting than a dude living in the US/EU.). other factors include age (a little one doesn't have resources an adult has), duration, type of trauma (you can have some subtile differences, for example if the trauma is caused by someone you know or not, are you the author or victim of the abuse etc.), personality and past of someone (risk factors, how one manages stress) etc. Psychotraumatology is a new field and even today we haven't unbuncked precisely why one develops ptsd and the other no in reaction to a same event.”
Edelgard has quite a few traumatic event.

Traumatic event 1: The Insurrection of the Seven

Edelgard first traumatic event is in fact the Insurrection of Seven ( IoS for short. ), being separated from majority of her family and being forced to go into hiding with Faerghus.
We know that before the IoS, Edelgard has a good childhood with her being surrounded by her loving and caring family that is her siblings, Father, real Uncle and her retainer / best friend Hubert.
From a Youth Worker PoV, I could mention about her not having two parents or two Guardians and the effects it can cause with all that stuff since Anselma was exiled from the Empire when Edelgard was a baby. But the real Arundel took up and became what is Edelgard second Parent / Guardian who was very caring and dotted on her which makes up for Edelgard not having 2 parents. ( And in reality, a lot of people nowaday has grown up with only one parent, so this point is utterly point less. )
It’s also implied in AM and details within both games as well as Jp version that Edelgard around this time was religious personas well, most likely getting this from the real Arundel as he was a deeply pious person. Note: It’s could implied that Hubert is also religious due to him carrying a Goddess Talisman around.
However, Edelgard going into hiding was very sudden, in fact thanks to her support with Manuela that we know that Edelgard went to see a performance by Manuela with Her Uncle before leaving the Empire to go into hiding in Faerghus.
This would have caused a lot of stress for a child Edelgard, going from a loving family setting into a very unknown location, forced into hiding with no other point of contact other then her uncle would have been traumatic for Edelgard.
Even though she gain a new friend within Dimitri that unknown to him would have help her through it just by being friend. Since people underestimate how much being friends with someone can do for someone during struggling times. Over course of 1 to 3 years.
I say 1-3 I remember the game not being consistent with this detail of how long they knew each other for which is partly on Treehouse mistranslation, CF for not really caring Edelgard and Dimitri previous which isn’t a negative as route and Edelgard character chooses to focus on the present and future while AM is AM. ( If this sound like I do not like AM, you are correct.)
The event would have introduced a sense of fear when comes change and safety as she basically went into a big unknown. An unknown that is Faerghus. Which considering the lore, is bad. Like Faerghus would and should have a 0 out of ten on Trivago for a reason. Faerghus is inspired by the UK for a reason I know this as Brit.

Traumatic event 2: The Return to the Empire, The New “Uncle Arundel” and the Experiment.

Joking / not joking aside ( Like serious, Faerghus is bad. ) we known that this isn’t the last traumatic event as Edelgard sudden return to the Empire would have reintroduced this traumatic feeling into her. Especially, after she found a norm within the Kingdom even if it isn’t the same one as the her original norm within the Empire. This feel would have become worst with the sudden change in her “uncle”, going from a kind and loving person to a very blunt and cold person. ( Or rather Thalas body snatching Arundel )
This possible trauma did become a genuine thing if it hasn’t before as we know Edelgard has nightmare of the following event’s returning to the Empire, seeing her father powerless, seeing his eyes looking her in care. ( Care part was removed in Translation.) and seeing his clenched fists dripping with blood. Whilst details he betray from her Uncle is something we can definitely imply.
This event becomes worst as she forced into the deepest part of Enbarr castle, it lowest dungeon, far from the light above for the experiment TWSITD, her new uncles and some of the Empire nobles.
A subtle detail I just notice and another detail often missed is that there are multiple dungeons within Embarr. As within Edelgard support with Ferdinand in 3Hopes, she states that the dungeon of Ferdinand imagine of what the place his father would be like is a reality and is further down from where his father is staying.
With Edelgard then saying before hand that she only been down there once, imply that other then her long placement down there during the experiment. She never return to the place of her sibling death. ( As Game Design Student and Media, I love camera shot above. )
While the detail that people missed mainly because it was removed in the English version was the implication that some of the Empire Nobles did know about the Experiments like Aegir and supposedly Varley but did nothing about. Note: Why would they as Ionius was trying to slowly strip their power with his reform. ( Yet again Treehouse removed the detail Ionius changing the Empire through reformation. It is one of the prime lore example of why change through diplomacy or reform won’t work. ) ( A nice detail also is that Edelgard choose not to put Ludwig Aegir in same dungeon, he put her and her siblings. Instead a better cells, something which Ferdinand appreciate Edelgard for doing. )
Getting back on topic, we know for a fact that the Experiment is a deeply traumatic event as we know that Edelgard struggles to get to sleep at night due to the nightmare and insomnia it cause her, seeing her sibling and father suffer.
She also reliving the event both at Remire village, her 3 Hopes paralogue, Hyrm in SB and the return of TWSITD in 3 Hopes. It’s an event that plagues her mind at times and is something she tries to lie to Byleth to a degree due to the nature of it all. ( She lies about it being a plague to them, which isn’t a bad thing since if Edelgard was to tell them without fully trusting them, them blabbing about it would put both Byleth at risk but also Edelgard. )
The Experiment very much gave Edelgard a deeply traumatic experiment on it own to the point that it enough evidence to say she has got C-PTSD from this alone. But we not finished there as still got two more traumatic event.

Traumatic event 3: Lost in Faith.

Now there was a reason behind me mention Edelgard being previous religiously, possibly to the degree of being a devout follow and that because Edelgard went through a lose of faith during the experiment.
I think this quote from CaptainFlash just sums it better then what I ever could:Edelgard and faith : fireemblem (
If you look at Edelgard's conversation with Dimitri in Azure Moon, a heartbreaking fact emerges-Edelgard was once a devout believer. She says to Dimitri- "Even if one clings to their faith, the goddess will never answer them. Countless souls will be lost that way. Living without purpose. And I can be counted among those who have died that way as well." The implication here is devastating- Edelgard was a formerly religious child, "clinging to their faith", pleading to the goddess to make her torture stop, and was instead left broken and ignored (of course, she had no way of knowing about Sothis' true situation). This makes sense given what we know about the greater social context of Fodlan-individuals who have a Crest often are presumed to have a special relationship with those who originated their Crests. This would be particularly true for a young girl bearing the Crest of Seiros, the first and most famous disciple of Sothis, particularly given the close historical ties between Seiros and the Adrestian Emperors. However, young Edelgard's petitions to the gods remained unanswered-her siblings died horrifically in front of her eyes, and she herself was tortured both psychologically and physically for years. Edelgard's entire worldview was shattered.
I want to make a brief aside here, to state that, as you can probably guess from some of my other posts, I empathize greatly with Edelgard and her worldview. There is nothing-not her death scenes, not turning into a monster in Azure Moon, not confirming her fatalistic world view by rejecting her in the tomb, which is more painful and true to life to me than those lines she says to Dimitri. There's a term with C-PTSD called "loss of systems of meaning" where the individual experiences a disconnect with their pre-trauma self and are unable to rely on things that previously defined his or her identity-that's what happened to Edelgard. It's why she says things like "the Edelgard who cries died years ago."
One of the major teachings of the Church of Seiros is that the goddess "cares for and protects all that is beautiful in this world" (You can find this listed among the major commandments of the faith in the library). One can certainly see the devastating impact this had on Marianne (who speaks of Edelgard in reverent tones in CF), but it also had a deep impact on Edelgard and how she views herself. Since Edelgard wasn't cared for and protected, she must not be "beautiful." If you want an idea of how Edelgard views herself internally, one need only look at Hegemon Edelgard in Azure Moon, a (symbolic) physical manifestation of Edelgard's dehumanization and utter self-loathing. This sense of abandonment, broken faith, and the persistent belief that she unable to be loved drives everything that Edelgard does. Due to this internalized sense of abandonment, Edelgard lacks self-worth as a human being-it's why she continues to question Byleth following her even in Crimson Flower, and why she says she "never thought" anyone would follow her.
I think what makes this situation worst is both the crest Edelgard received and the situation she is in. In that during the experiment, seeing her siblings slowly going insane before dying whilst her prays goes ignored. Being surrounded by Rat and never seeing the light again.
Until one day, she find a different crest that appears that isn’t Crest of Seiros. A built up Crest of Flame, that Nemesis, a corrupted Hero, a figure within the religious that hailed him as a Villain for being delighted in bloodshed, now appears. This would have shattered her belief since it would possible proof that the Goddess might not be real and that Crest aren’t gift at all.
This whole break in faith becomes worst when you consider the Emperor, knowledge or rather text pass down through Emperor stating the truth about the war. That Nemesis wasn’t this figure of villainy the Church built up was just bandit. That the war between the Empire and Church / Nabataen vs Nemesis King of Liberation / Northern Fodlan and TWSITD ( a faction removed from history. ) wasn’t a holy war but instead dispute, a war over who would be in power. Before learning about the existence of Nabataen’s.
Here the teaspoon translation of the dialogue.
Edelgard faith in the Goddess and in the Church as it stands is something that basically got repeatedly stamp and made her look like a fool. As she learn 70-80% of the Truth about the war of Heroes.
The only part she is missing is the original spat war between TWSITD and Nabatean and how side has suffered such as the genocide on both races but which point does it stop mattering, ( Genocide is bad and there nothing excusing it but it clear within the narrative that both Argarthan or Nabataen are as bad as each other. )
The continue war and manipulation between two faction has gone on for over 1000 years to Edelgard with both side showing they are more then content willing to use those around them. Rhea and Seteth willing to censor information and abuse their position and the Church monopoly in order to keep their ivory tower and to keep their version of “peace.” ( As CF, WC, SB and the introduction of 3 Hopes shows. )
Whilst TWSITD are TWSITD, it clear the spat battle will continue until either sides are completely gone. Just like the Edelgard debates ffs.
But getting back on topic, the shattering of Edelgard faith would have caused a both trauma for her as well as a changes in ideology when it comes to the faith. In that her views has becomes negative.
I am just going to post a good chunk of her support with Manuela from Teaspoon Translation but I want people to remember something and that is at times. Edelgard speaks about subtle about speaking herself as well as her previous self. In most cases, she is quite negative.
Edelgard belief in the current Church of Seiros is negative, seeing the corruption within it and understanding that the only way to fix the issues is to start again.
Something that she sorta does in 3 Hopes to an extent by reforming the Southern Church. (Varley is only in the position he is in is because Edelgard and Hubert needed to find a way to keep him busy and to use him as a Assassination pawn for the Church to try and kill as in 3 House, he under house arrest imply which implies a lot of things. All of them negative )
Edelgard faith in the goddess is gone. Now onto the last traumatic.

Traumatic event 4: TWSITD continual existence.

This one is the most easier to explain as they are Edelgard abuser, their return in SB causes Edelgard trauma to return and for her to relive the events. Something that is really understated by I feel the community is how well written SB is and how good Edelgard support Bernadetta is as it delivers into the both character trauma.
Edelgard partly see the trauma, the nightmares and fears she received from TWSITD and their experiment as a curse, believing that because she beat TWSITD and that they are gone for a while, that her curse has been lifted, the same way Bernadetta trauma / curse has been lifted due to Varley situation at the Monastery, fearing assassination attempt, Bernie being away from him as well as surrounding herself with her friends.
Until the ticking bomb within SB narrative explodes and TWSITD causing Edelgard trauma / curse to resurface. Something that Edelgard tries to hide from her friends around her, only for Bernadetta to see through Edelgard, seeing the trauma / curse eat away at her, relating to Edelgard and her issues. Understanding the negative emotion Edelgard is feeling, the Hyperarousal we talked about earlier you may say.
Hyperarousal (feeling "on edge")
Someone with PTSD may be very anxious and find it difficult to relax. They may be constantly aware of threats and easily startled.
This is one of Fire Emblem best support and this is totally not my next post.
But yeah, because of th situation Edelgard find herself in. Her trauma continues.

Does Edelgard have PTSD?

Short answer, yes she does in fact C-PTSD. She suffers from a lot of the symptoms.
Long Answer, still yes. Edelgard as through both games, it clears she suffers from a lot of the symptoms like:
  • Re-experiencing
    • Nightmares
    • Flashbacks
    • physical sensations, such as pain, sweating, feeling sick or trembling
  • Avoidance and emotional numbing
    • A key part of Edelgard relationship with Bernadetta and especially Byleth is the idea of numbing one feels. Edelgard in WC actively tries to numb her feeling in attempt to not become overly emotion. One of her dislike is losing control of Emotion.( Treehouse got rid of the Emotion parts. ) As well as distancing herself from other due to said trauma and because of Hubert fearing for her safety because own trauma
  • Her whole B support with Byleth is about Edelgard losing her emotion, losing the human part of herself. That is point behind Heart of Ice line, the JP version implied this but it was sorta lost in translation because Treehouse but also by the community. It why when understand the themes of the route that her scene of painting Byleth, a friend of her becomes much more impactful as she is allowing herself to do an activities that isn’t work related as is a hobby. ( 3hopes makes it clear Edelgard doesn’t relax or takes break enough. )
  • Hyperarousal (feeling "on edge")
    • irritability
    • angry outbursts
    • sleeping problems (insomnia)
  • Other problems
    • Phobias like with Rat but most notably her thalassophobia, which fear of bodies of water. Which is mostly likely caused by her Trauma, Ironically at the hands of Thalas.
    • Destructive behaviour. ( Hegemon, her lack of self-worth, etc. )
    • PTSD sometimes leads to work-related problems and the breakdown of relationships.
  • Edelgard also suffers from memory lost because of the traumatic
It clear Edelgard suffer from a lot of symptoms and it best to say that her trauma is C-PTSD because it very much was continues. She went from traumatic event to another, whilst we never fully got her feeling on the stay at the Kingdom since we can’t really use Dimitri as he is unreliable narrator because of his own trauma caused by both Faerghus system and the assassination attempt. It clear Edelgard feeling on the stay was mixed but it had one good thing in it being her time with Dimitri.
But otherwise, Edelgard went from one traumatic event that basically beat her down, ripping apart both the people she loved and what she believed. The darkness kept getting darker for her until she was the only one left.


For the conclusion I want to talk about two things. First is how I guess how much more grounded her portray of PTSD is and I guess how inspiring it. But also I guess the issues people have with neither game focussed on Edelgard past.
Ok first thing first, Edelgard portray is probably one of more ground of PTSD. It not hypermedialised ( I not sure if that the right terminology.) like Dimitri PTSD where it very much a toxic and bad portrayal of it similar to guess the Good Doctor and most other shows that has a Autistic character in my opinion.( Very much a problem that with Dimitri and AM writing. ) There a lot more people who suffer from issues or I disabilities that hide it that you wouldn’t know until getting to know the person.
Edelgard C-PTSD is very much more subtle and less in your face even after you know about Edelgard issues as it put within her dialogue in a smart way. before you get to her C- support, you would never guess this girl who poses like this whilst wearing bright red tights:

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Would be suffering from trauma, no, you think she a prideful upper class nobles due to her clothing, Possibly to an egotistical degree. But the design and her writing work because it tears down all perceived idea you have on her character trauma. Edelgard mask and hide her trauma like most other people do. She cares about people not because it her job but because she actually gives shit about people and their lives and wants the best for them.
And Edelgard view on her trauma which I will expanded on my next post is sorta inspiring because her thoughts ultimately goes. “My family are dead and I was experiment as well as countless others who were made victim by Fodlan issues. That is in the past, people are still suffering today and I refuse to allow more people to become victim and I am going to fight for both here and in the future so then they can makes a word based on their own agency, free from parties that made people in victim.”
It inspiring because it a refusal to allow oneself to lose themselves in issues they are having. To continue fighting for a brighter future. Something that is actually constant theme and motif within Fire Emblem series and its a theme that CF and SB holds the most relevance to out of the routes in both games. And I feel like it hits most well here compared to previous FE games because of how much more personal and grounded the game tries to be.
Secondly, I don’t think it a issues that neither CF or SB touches on Edelgard past either with showcasing her sibling and her relationship or seeing Ionius and Anselma true love for each other. ( Since it implied Anselma didn’t love Lambert and all that inconsistent stuff with AM, Hapi support and AG does with Anselma. )
Does it suck that we don’t get scene of Edelgard and her past. Yes, I do want to know more about her sibling and of the empire and it politics. But that a sign of a well written character, lore and story. The feeling of wanting more from it. CF and SB are very much stories that understand it what it going and cuts out all the extra fat that Fire Emblem normally has that ultimately takes away from the story.
Both stories are about Edelgard, her war and focusing on the issues her and now and trying to improve things for the future. Going against opponents that either refuse to change or hold net negative belief or holds differ belief. Her going back onto the past while interesting, would hinder the tight pacing in both those routes when it comes to the media of video games. ( Focusing on the past is Dimitri things,even if it done badly in my opinion. )
Now if let say 3 House and Hopes get a anime, light novel or manga adaptation, then you can proper pacing the story much more because it being a passive form of media. As well as chose when you want to explore Edelgard and her past, making her the central character for let say the Episode, book chapter.
Something that you could also do with other character like let say Claude and going into his childhood and his toxic relationship with his sibling. Or Dorothea and her trying to survive on the street. Or Valery abuse of Bernadetta. You can better explore this character and who they are in these media better then in video games.
Crimson Flower and Scarlett Blaze in my opinion are the only routes that I feel would only be a net positive and wouldn’t have negative that would appear within their narrative unlike other routers. But I’m going to stop here as I basically shat on other routes and Dimitri for this segment.
I hope people had a nice read and I hope everyone has a nice day. ALSO HOW DO YOUR CROSS POST.
submitted by VagrantSea to Edelgard [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 01:52 throwawayacct9983 My wife is changing and I don't know what it means for our marriage

Update posted here:\_my\_wife\_is\_changing\_and\_i\_dont\_know\_what/

I (35M) and my wife (33F) have been together for about 5 years, married for just about 1. I met her while I was an entrepreneur running my company and she was scaling the corporate ladder. Just around the time we met (I was about 30), I was in the process of selling a company that I founded and wanted to use the proceeds to wind down my life. My parents' solid financial situation allowed me to borrow money on favorable terms and retain a majority equity stake that paid out very well. My parents immigrated to America in debt from the plane ticket, but worked hard and made their way. One of those things they taught me was to spend wisely. Being showy with your money was something I just grew up not liking; it felt pretentious and arrogant. I would say that upbringing has had a huge impact on the way I perceive finances today. I bargain hunt for clothes, drive a Subaru, live in a pretty modest house that's big enough for the 2 of us and the occasional guest, etc. I'll spend on nice dinners, dates, some of my hobbies, but these are things that actually mean something to me -- not things that would just be a "flex" of my wealth. Now, I spend my time running charitable organizations and making a very modest income, most of which I either donate back or save. This becomes important later.

When my wife and I first started dating, I told her I was transitioning jobs to try and give back more and she was very supportive and proud of me doing that. She still is and finds that type of work extremely valuable. However, over the past 1 to 1.5 years, she has seen her career surge with her already very good salary increasing by multiples and I could not be more proud of her. Throughout the time we dated, were engaged, and got married, I never really revealed the extent to which I had money however.

So, on to the argument. As my wife's career took off, she became surrounded by more successful people. Now most of these people are pretty nice and I've had the chance to meet them at office parties, dinners, and other social events. But there are some people who I don't like, particularly this group of girls who my wife became friends with. Over the past year, they've invited my wife out for drinks after work and she eventually acquiesced to their invitations. This coincides with the change in her behavior from the humble, hard-working girl I knew to someone more concerned about status in her life. She traded in her Nissan for a BMW, her normal clothes for designer, etc. Again, her money, her choice. But what really bothered me was the change in her behavior. She started gossiping more about other people, viewing herself as "better" for making more money, and had an arrogance about her that I found very unattractive. People weren't just people, but they were poor or rich and her respect for you depended on what you did. She became more curt with waiters and waitresses or handed tips to service workers like she was Jesus reincarnated providing them with a holy blessing. I've seen some stories on Reddit where the wife goes completely MIA and has a life of her own, but she never got that bad. She would come back tipsy or drunk some nights and our love life definitely took a downswing because she was tired, but nothing to suggest she was getting her needs met outside the marriage.

I walked into the house last night after spending a few hours with my friends and heard her talking in our room. She was oblivious to the fact I was in the house and the phone was on speaker. I heard her friend complaining about me, my simple life, and asking her why she was with me -- after all, as far as they know, I don't make that much money and just volunteer. I'm not a "high class" man providing the type of life they expect. No expensive cars or fancy watches, no boats or vacation homes, or whatever the women and their husbands do. I expected my wife to tell her to stop, or at least try and defend me, but instead I heard her dismiss my work and complain about my life choices. I don't think I understood exactly how hurt I felt in that moment until now as I'm writing this.

When she walked out, she looked surprised to see me and asked me how long I had been home for to which I snarkily replied, "long enough to hear your conversation." I honestly just expected an apology and probably would be over it by tomorrow. I understand how the pressure to fit in can affect your behavior and would be lying if I said I didn't do that in my late teens and early 20s. What my wife did next surprised me: she told me that her friend made some valid points. I tried staying calm and for about 2 minutes I was. The disbelief I was in made me just want to double check the absurdity of her comments. She followed up by letting me know that our life is only going to become more expensive over the next 20 years (we're trying for kids) and eventually whatever money I was contributing was going to run out and it would just be her income and that the least I could do if I wasn't going to contribute was to do what she wanted. I asked what exactly she wanted from me because I though paying 1/2 of all the bills, buying her gifts, taking her on dates, planning vacations, and all that was what I was supposed to do to keep our marriage alive and fun.

I said some things next that I regret. To be as fair, I'll let Reddit know. I called her conceited for caring so much about things that aren't really important, said her friends at work are leeches that suck the goodness out of people, and told her that her behavior was incredibly off-putting and quite frankly repulsive. She fired back and called me lazy and selfish for not prioritizing our financial well-being, not caring about her career and image, and being stubborn and stuck in my ways. There was more of this back and forth with me asking my wife why she feels a need to live this life. She countered by asking me why shouldn't we. At some point, the argument became a "who does what" contest and she started talking about how much money she makes versus how much I make. She then had the outrageousness to suggest that I should be thankful to her because on the nights she goes out, guys hit on her and she says no. Her friends told her she should go for it since she "wore the pants" in our house and since I was not doing that, she should get to do what she wants. I don't usually get angry, but in that moment my temper flared, I told her point blank to shut up because she doesn't even know what she's saying. This is the part where I think I earnestly might have messed up. Although I'm really proud of what my wife has done, I demeaned her accomplishments. I dropped the figure behind the obscenely high payout I received when I sold my company, the smart investments I made after, and just how much money I'm worth. To add insult to injury, I ended my little soliloquy about my net worth by calling what she makes "pennies I wouldn't even piss on." I don't really know what that means, but it sounded like it would sting in the moment. I then told her to go and have relations with whomever she pleases because if all she cares about is worth someone's worth her new friends can find someone better than me in a heartbeat.

She kind of stared at me in disbelief, called me an jerk for not telling her the truth, and stormed out. I should have chased her, but I was too upset in the moment and honestly, a little proud of how I made her jaw drop. I walked into my bedroom to honestly just lay down and cry when I noticed a half-empty bottle of wine and realized she was probably a little drunk. I got nervous, scared, and in general felt a wave of emotions I never have before. I wanted to throw up just thinking that she could be with another guy and I spammed her phone begging her to come back and not cheat. She told me she was at her friend's house, sent a picture, and I realized that I have her location so I could see she actually was there. I haven't seen her since last night.

She went to work today morning (assuming she borrowed her friend's clothes) and I've texted her and tried to call her all day, but she barely responds and when she does, it's one word answers. I think she should be back in a bit and I've made her dinner and want to set things right. I feel like I'm mostly in the right concerning her behavior and attitude (about her becoming a bad person, not about her buying new things), but am probably in the wrong for striking back at her especially when I know how important her career is to her. Either way, any advice on how we can repair this situation/how our relationship can go back to what it was would be;dr: My wife started making more money and her attitude changed. I told her what I really make and how much I'm worth and we're now fighting.
submitted by throwawayacct9983 to marriageadvice [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 23:35 Giodando 23yo, $21/hr, $35k NW—how am I doing?

Hi, everyone—I've started getting my finances in order and would appreciate any feedback you can provide. Apologies in advance for the poor formatting and long post.
I'm a 23M with a bachelor's degree making $21/hr, which equates to $43,680/year ($21/hr x 2080 working hours per year) pre-tax. My biweekly post-tax/401(k) + FSA contributions paycheck is about $1,150. I also receive quarterly bonuses of about 7.5%, limited mileage reimbursement, and 15 days of PTO per year (which are used for both vacation and sick time).
My employer matches my 401(k) contributions as follows:
I'm currently contributing 6% to receive the full match (4%) and the profit share contribution (3%). This adds up to 13% of my pay being saved in my 401(k). One catch: the employer match is vested after 2 years, and I've been in this position for about 8.5 months.
My net worth is roughly $35,000 when including all accounts and property (e.g. my vehicle). I have no debt and pay off my credit cards in full every month.
Here's a breakdown of my assets as of today (rounded for simplicity):
My car would admittedly sell for less than the KBB value due to significant cosmetic damage. I've spent a good amount on repairs in the past year, but functionally it's pretty solid now and I plan to drive it for as long as I can.
Brokerages are overweighted because of a large position in an individual stock, which I purchased when I knew less about investing. My position is down about 25% due to a high cost basis. I still believe in the company's turnaround, but I've learned my lesson about individual stock picking and my plan now is to invest only in low-cost index funds (...while keeping this position).
My intended asset allocation is:
I'll eventually add BNDW as I get older. I also want to weight VXUS higher to balance out my 100% domestic 401(k) (which does not offer great options for international exposure).
Unfortunately, my Roth IRA is currently uninvested and is just sitting in VMFXX. I'm not sure whether I should lump-sum or dollar-cost average into my desired allocation (though I've read lump-sum beats DCA 2/3 of the time).
I should mention I also think the market will go down this year, but I realize that thought is trying to time the market, so...oops.
Here are my monthly expenses, averaged from the past 5 months (rounded for simplicity):
I split some expenses with my girlfriend, but what is listed here is my share + personal expenses.
The "car repairs" average is misleading—it includes registration & titling fees when I moved, windshield replacement, and engine repair. As a reference, last month I paid only $50 here.
"Health" means appointments, prescribed medicine, materials, and therapy. My lovely mom sends me $200/month for these expenses. I am contributing the yearly $3,050 maximum to my company-provided FSA, and have so far been using it to pay for health-related expenses. However (as of today) I only have $805 left for the year, so I expect to feel these expenses more in the coming months.
[Now that I've typed this out, I definitely see the -$230 monthly difference between my stated biweekly paycheck and expenses. This feels off because I end up saving every month—my personal spreadsheet shows that on average, I make $3,200/month.]
My financial goals, in no particular order:
I would probably benefit from specifying, prioritizing, and streamlining these goals; recently I've been focusing solely on building my emergency fund.
  1. How am I doing? Even a rough temperature check is great.
  2. Are there any changes you'd make or suggest?
  3. Am I missing anything glaringly obvious, something that deserves my attention?
I would greatly appreciate any feedback or critiques you'd like to give me. I'm also ready to answer any questions if needed. Thank you in advance for your time and insights.
submitted by Giodando to personalfinance [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 21:24 RandomAppalachian468 Don't fly over Barron County Ohio. [Repost]

The whirring blades of my MD-902 throbbed against the warm evening air, and I smiled.
From 5,000 feet, the ground flew by in a carpet of dark forests and kelly-green fields. The sun hung low on the horizon in a picturesque array of dazzling orange and gold, and I could make out the narrow strip of the Ohio River to my left, glistening in the fading daylight. This time of year, the trees would be full of the sweet aroma of fresh blossoms, and the frequent rains kept small pockets of fluffy white mist hanging in the treetops. It was a beautiful view, one that reminded me of why being a helicopter pilot trumped flying in a jumbo jet far above the clouds every day of the week.
Fourteen more days, and I’m debt free.
That made me grin even more. I’d been working as a charter pilot ever since I obtained my license at age 19, and after years of keeping my nose to the grindstone, I was closing on the final payment for real-estate in western Pennsylvania. With no debt, a fixer-upper house on 30 rural acres all to myself, and a respectable wage for a 26-year-old pilot, I looked forward to the financial freedom I could now enjoy. Maybe I’d take a vacation, somewhere exotic like Venice Italy, or the Dominican Republic. Or perhaps I’d sock the money back for the day I started a family.
“Remember kleineun, a real man looks after his own.”
My elderly ouma’s voice came back from the depths of my memories, her proud, sun-tanned face rising from the darkness. She and my Rhodesian grandfather had emigrated to the US when they were newlyweds, as the violence against white Boer descendants in South Africa spiraled out of control. My mother and father both died in a car crash when I was six, and it had been my grandparents who raised me. Due to this, I’d grown up with a slight accent that many of my classmates found amusing, and I could speak both English, and Afrikaans, the Boer tongue of our former home.
I shifted in my seat, stretched my back muscles, and glanced at the picture taped to my console. Both my parents flanked a grinning, gap-toothed six-year-old me, at the last Christmas we’d spent together. My mother beamed, her dark hair and Italian features a sharp contrast to my father’s sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. Sometimes, I liked to imagine they were smiling at me with pride at how well I flew the old silver-colored bird my company had assigned to me, and that made the long, lonely flights easier to bear.
A flicker caught my eye, and I broke my gaze away from the photograph.
Perched in its small cradle above the controls, my little black Garmin fuzzed over for a few seconds, its screen shifting from brightly colored maps to a barrage of grey static.
Did the power chord come loose?
I checked, ensuring the power-cable for the unit’s battery was plugged into the port on the control panel. It was a brand-new GPS unit, and I’d used it a few times already, so I knew it wasn’t defective. Granted, I could fly and navigate without it, but the Garmin made my time as a pilot so much easier that the thought of going blind was dreadful.
My fuel gauge danced, clicked to empty, then to full, in a bizarre jolt.
More of the gauges began to stutter, the entire panel seeming to develop terrets all at once, and my pulse began to race. Something was wrong, very wrong, and the sludge inside my bowels churned with sour fear.
“Come on, come on.” I flicked switches, turned dials, punched buttons, but nothing seemed to fix the spasming electronics. Every gauge failed, and without warning, I found myself plunged into inky darkness.
Outside, the sun surrendered to the pull of night, the sky darker than usual. A distant rumble of thunder reverberated above the roar of my helicopter’s engine, and I thought I glimpsed a streak of yellowish lightning on the far horizon to my left.
Calm down Chris. We’re still flying, so it must just be a blown fuse. Stay in control and find a place to set her down.
My sweaty palm slid on the cyclic stick, and both feet weighed heavy on the yaw pedals. The collective stuck to my other hand with a nervous vibration, and I squinted against the abyss outside.
I jumped despite myself, as the little Garmin on my panel flared back to life, the static pulling aside to reveal a twitching display. Each time the screen glitched, it showed the colorful map detailing my flight path over the ground below, but I noticed that some of the lines changed, the names shifting, as if the device couldn’t decide between two different versions of the world.
One name jutted out at me, slate gray like most of the major county names, appearing with ghostly flickers from between two neighboring ones.
Barron County.
I stared, confused. I’d flown over this section of southeastern Ohio plenty of times, and I knew the counties by heart. At this point, I should have been over the southern end of Noble County, and maybe dipping lower into Washington. There was no Barron County Ohio. I was sure of it.
And yet it shown back at me from the digital landscape, a strange, almost cigar-shaped chunk of terrain carved from the surrounding counties like a tumor, sometimes there, sometimes not, as my little Garmin struggled to find the correct map. Rain began to patter against my cockpit window, and the entire aircraft rattled from a strong gust of wind. Thick clouds closed over my field of vision like a sea of gray cotton.
The blood in my veins turned to ice, and I sucked in a nervous breath.
Land. I had to land. There was nothing else to do, my flight controls weren’t responding, and only my Garmin had managed to come back to life. Perhaps I’d been hit by lightning, and the electronics had been fried? Either way, it was too dark to tell, but a storm seemed to be brewing, and if I didn’t get my feet on the ground soon, I could be in real trouble.
“Better safe than sorry.” I pushed down on the collective to start my slow descent and clicked the talking button for my headset. “Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, over.”
“Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, requesting emergency assistance, over.”
Still nothing.
If the radio’s dead, I’m really up a creek.
With my hand shaking, I clicked on the mic one more time. “Any station, this is—”
Like a curtain pulling back, the fog cleared from around my window, and the words stuck in my throat.
Without my gauges, I couldn’t tell just how far I’d descended, but I was definitely very low. Thick trees poked up from the ground, and the hills rolled into high ridges with flat valley floors, fields and pastures pockmarking them. Rain fell all around in cold, silvery sheets, a normal feature for the mid spring in this part of Ohio.
What wasn’t normal, were the fires.
At first, I thought they were forest fires for the amount of smoke and flames that bellowed from each spot, but as I swooped lower, my eyes widened in horror.
They were houses.
Farms, cottages, little clusters that barely constituted villages, all of them belched orange flames and black pillars of sooty smoke. I couldn’t hear above the helicopter blades, but I could see the flashes on the ground, along the road, in between the trees, and even coming from the burning buildings, little jets of golden light that spat into the darkness with anger.
Gunfire. That’s rifle fire, a whole lot of it.
Tiny black figures darted through the shadows, barely discernable from where I sat, several hundred feet up. I couldn’t see much, but some were definitely running away, the streaks of yellow gunfire chasing them. A few dark gray vehicles rumbled down one of the gravel roads, and sprayed fire into the houses as it went. They were fighting, I realized, the people in the trucks and the locals. It was horrific, like something out of war-torn Afghanistan, but worse.
Then, I caught a glimpse of the others.
They didn’t move like the rest, who either fled from the dark vehicles, or fired back from behind cover. These skinny figures loped along with haphazard gaits, many running on all fours like animals, swarming from the trees by the dozens. They threw themselves into the gales of bullets without flinching, attacking anyone within range, and something about the way they moved, so fluid, so fearless, made my heart skip a beat.
What is that?
“Echo Four Actual to unknown caller, please respond, over.”
Choking back a cry of shock, I fumbled at the control panel with clumsy fingers, the man’s voice sharp and stern. I hadn’t realized that I’d let go of the talking button and clicked it down again. “Hello? Hello, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot out of Pittsburgh, over.”
An excruciating moment passed, and I continued to zoom over the trees, the fires falling away behind me as more silent forest took over.
“Roger that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, we read you loud and clear. Please identify yourself and any passengers or cargo you might be carrying, over.”
Swallowing hard, I eyed the treetops, which looked much closer than they should have been. How far had I descended? “Echo Four Actual, my name is Christopher Dekker, and I am alone. I’m a charter flight from PA, carrying medical equipment for OSU in Columbus. My controls have been damaged, and I am unable to safely carry on due to the storm. Requesting permission to land, over.”
I watched the landscape slide by underneath me, once catching sight of what looked like a little white church surrounded by smaller huts, dozens of figures in the yard staring up at me as I flew over a towering ridgeline.
“Solid copy on that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot. Be advised, your transponder shows you to be inside a restricted zone. Please cease all radio traffic, reduce your speed, climb to 3,000 feet and proceed north. We’ll talk you in from there. How copy, over?”
My heart jumped, and I let out a sigh of relief. “Roger that Echo Four Actual, my altimeter is down, but I’ll do my best to eyeball the altitude, over.”
With that, I pulled the collective upward, and tried my best to gauge how far I was by eyesight in the gathering night, rain still coming down all around me. This had to be some kind of disaster or riot, I decided. After all, the voice over the radio sounded like military, and those vehicles seemed to have heavy weapons. Maybe there was some kind of unrest going on here that I hadn’t heard about yet?
Kind of weird for it to happen in rural areas though. Spoiled college kids I get, but never saw farmers get so worked up before. They usually love the military.
Something moved in the corner of my eye, and I turned out of reflex.
My mouth fell open, and I froze, unable to scream.
In the sky beside me, a huge shadow glided along, and its leathery wings effortlessly carved through the gloom, flapping only on occasion to keep it aloft. It was too dark for me to see what color it was, but from the way it moved, I knew it wasn’t another helicopter. No, this thing was alive, easily the size of a small plane, and more than twice the length of my little McDonald Douglass. A long tail trailed behind it, and bore a distinct arrow-shaped snout, with twig-like spines fanned out around the back of its head. Whatever legs it had were drawn up under it like a bird, yet its skin appeared rough and knobby, almost resembling tree bark. Without pause, the gigantic bat-winged entity flew along beside me, as if my presence was on par with an annoying fly buzzing about its head.
Gripping the microphone switch so tight, I thought I’d crack the plastic, I whispered into my headset, forgetting all radio protocol. “T-There’s something up here.”
Static crackled.
“Douglas Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, say again your last, you’re coming in weak and unreadable, over.”
“There’s something up here.” I snarled into the headset, still glued to the controls of the helicopter, afraid to deviate even an inch from my course in case the monstrosity decided to turn on me. “A freaking huge thing, right beside me. I swear, it looks like a bat or . . . I don’t know.”
“Calm down.” The man on the other end of the radio broke his rigorous discipline as well, his voice deep, but level. “It won’t attack if you don’t move too fast. Slowly ease away from it and follow that course until you’re out of sight.”
I didn’t have time to think about how wrong that sounded, how the man’s strict tone had changed to one of knowledge, how he hadn’t been the least surprised by what I’d said. Instead, I slowly turned the helicopter away from the huge menace and edged the speed higher in tiny increments.
As soon as I was roughly two football fields away, I let myself relax, and clicked the mic switch. “It’s not following.”
“You’re sure?”
Eyeing the huge flapping wings, I nodded, then remembered he couldn’t see me. “Yeah, I’m well clear.”
“Good. Thank you, Mr. Dekker.”
Then, the radio went dead.
Something in my chest dropped, a weight that made my stomach roil. This wasn’t right, none of it. Who was that man? Why did he know about the thing I’d just seen? What was I supposed to—
A flash of light exploded from the trees to my right and shot into the air with a long finger of smoke.
What the . . .
On instinct, I jerked the cyclic stick to one side, and the helicopter swung to avoid the rocket.
My world shook, metal screeched, and a dozen alarms began to go off inside the cockpit in a cacophony of beeps and sirens. Orange and red flames lit up the night sky just behind me, and the horizon started to spin wildly outside. Heat gushed from the cockpit door, and I smelled the greasy stench of burning oil. The safety belts dug into my shoulders, and with a final slip, the radio headset ripped free from my scalp.
I’m hit.
Desperate, I yanked on the controls, fought the bird even as she spun toward the ground in a wreath of flames, the inky black trees hurtling up to meet me. The helicopter went into full auto-rotation, the sky blurring past outside, and the alarms blared in a screech of doom. Panic slammed through my temples, I screamed at the top of my lungs, and for one brief second, my eyes locked on the little black Garmin still perched atop my control panel.
Its screen stopped twitching and settled on a map of the mysterious Barron County, with a little red arrow at the center of the screen, a few words popping up underneath it.
You are here.
Trees stabbed up into the sky, the belts crushed at my torso, glass shattered all around me, and the world went dark.
Copper, thick, warm, and tangy.
It filled my mouth, stank metallic in my nose, clogged my throat, choking me. In the murkiness, I fought for a surface, for a way out, blind and numb in the dark.
This way, kleineun.
My ouma’s voice echoed from somewhere in the shadows.
This way.
Both eyes flew open, and I gagged, spitting out a stream of red.
Pain throbbed in my ribs, and a heavy pressure sent a tingling numbness through my shoulders. Blood roared inside my temples, and stars danced before my eyes with a dizzying array. Humid night air kissed my skin, and something sticky coated my face, neck, and arms that hung straight up toward the ceiling.
Wait. Not up. Down.
I blinked at the wrinkled, torn ceiling of the cockpit, the glass all gone, the gray aluminum shredded like tissue paper. Just outside the broken windows, thick Appalachian bluegrass and stemmy underbrush swished in a feeble breeze, backlit by flashes of lightning from the thunderstorm overhead. Green and brown leaves covered everything in a wet carpet of triangles, and somewhere nearby, a cricket chirped.
Turning my head from side to side, I realized that I hung upside down inside the ruined helicopter, the top half burrowed into the mud. I could hear the hissing and crackling of flames, the pattering of rain falling on the hot aluminum, and the smaller brush fires around the downed aircraft sizzling out in the damp long grass. Charred steel and burning oil tainted the air, almost as strong as the metallic, coppery stench in my aching nose.
They shot me down. That military dude shot me out of the sky.
It didn’t make sense. I’d followed their orders, done everything they’d said, and yet the instant I veered safely away from whatever that thing in the sky had been, they’d fired, not at it, but at me.
Looking down (or rather, up) at my chest, I sucked in a gasp, which was harder to do that before.
The navy-blue shirt stuck to my torso with several big splotches of dark, rusty red. Most were clean slashes, but two held bits of glass sticking out of them, one alarmingly bigger than the other. They dripped cherry red blood onto my upturned face, and a wave of nausea hit me.
I gotta get down.
I flexed my arms to try and work some feeling back into them, praying nothing was broken. Half-numb from hanging so long, I palmed along my aching body until I felt the buckled for the seat belts.
“Okay.” I hissed between gritted teeth, in an effort to stave off my panic. “You can do this. Just hold on tight. Nice and tight. Here we go . . .”
Everything seemed to lurch, and I slid off the seat to plummet towards the muck-filled hole in the cockpit ceiling. My fingers were slick with blood and slipped over the smooth faux-leather pilot’s seat with ease. The shoulder belt snagged on the bits of glass that lay just under the left lowest rib, and a flare of white-hot pain ripped through me.
I screamed, my right knee caught the edge of the aluminum ceiling, and both hands dove into a mound of leaf-covered glass shards on the opposite side of the hole. My head swam, being right-side-up again enough to make shadows gnaw at the corner of my eyes.
Forcing myself to breath slowly, I fought the urge to faint and slid back to sit on the smooth ceiling. I turned my hands over to see half a dozen bits of clear glass burrowed into my skin like greedy parasites, red blood weeping around the new cuts.
“Screw you.” I spat at the rubbish with angry tears in my eyes. “Screw you, screw you, screw you.”
The shards came out easy enough, and the cuts weren’t that deep, but that wasn’t what worried me. On my chest, the single piece of cockpit glass that remined was almost as big as my palm, and it really hurt. Just touching it felt like self-inflicted torture, but I knew it had to come out sooner or later.
Please don’t nick a vein.
Wiping my hands dry on my jeans, I gripped the shard with both hands, and jerked.
Fire roared over my ribs, and hot blood tickled my already grimy pale skin. I clapped a hand over the wound, pressing down hard, and grunted out a string of hateful expletives that my ouma would have slapped me for.
Lying on my back, I stared around me at the messy cargo compartment of the MD-902. Most of the medical supplies had been in cardboard boxes strapped down with heavy nylon tow-straps, but several cases had ruptured with the force of the impact, spraying bandages, syringes, and pill bottles all over the cluttered interior. Orange flames chewed at the crate furthest to the rear, the tail section long gone, but the foremost part of the hold was intact. Easily a million-dollar mess, it would have made me faint on any other trip, but today it was a godsend.
Half-blind in the darkness, I crawled along with only the firelight and lightning bolts to guide me, my right knee aching. Like a crippled raccoon, I collected things as I went, conscious of the two pallets of intact supplies weighing right over my head. I’d taken several different first-aid courses with some hunting buddies of mine, and the mental reflexes kicked in to help soothe my frazzled mind.
Check for bleeds, stop the worst, then move on.
Aside from my battered chest and stomach, the rest of me remained mostly unharmed. I had nasty bruises from the seatbelts, my right knee swelled, my nose slightly crooked and crusted in blood, but otherwise I was intact. Dowsing every scratch and cut with a bottle of isopropyl alcohol I found, I used butterfly closures on the smaller lacerations that peppered my skin. I wrapped soft white gauze over my abused palms and probed at the big cut where the last shard had been, only stopping when I was sure there were no pieces of glass wedged inside my flesh.
“Not too bad.” I grunted to myself, trying to sound impassive like a doctor might. “Rib must have stopped it. Gonna need stitches though. That’ll be fun.
Pawing through the broken cases, I couldn’t find any suture chord, but just as I was about to give up, I noticed a small box that read ‘medical skin stapler’.
I tore the small white plastic stapler free from its packaging and eyeballed the device. I’d never done this before, only seen it in movies, and even though the cut in my skin hurt, I wondered if this wouldn’t be worse.
You’ve gotta do it. That bleeding needs to stop. Besides, no one’s coming to rescue you, not with those rocket-launching psychos out there.
Taking a deep breath, I pinched the skin around the gash together, and pressed the mouth of the stapler to it.
A sharp sting, like that of a needle bit at the skin, but it didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the cut itself. I worked my way across the two-inch laceration and gave out a sigh of relief when it was done.
“Not going to bleed to death today.” I daubed ointment around the staples before winding more bandages over the wound.
Popping a few low-grade painkillers that tumbled from the cargo, I crawled wriggled through the nearest shattered window into the wet grass.
Raindrops kissed my face, clean and cool on my sweaty skin. Despite the thick cloud cover, there was enough constant lightning strikes within the storm to let me get glimpses of the world around me. My helicopter lay on its back, the blades snapped like pencils, with bits and pieces of it burning in chunks all around the small break in the trees. Chest-high scrub brush grew all around the low-lying ground, with pockets of standing water in places. My ears still rang from the impact of the crash, but I could start to pick up more crickets, frogs, and even some nocturnal birds singing into the darkness, like they didn’t notice the huge the hulk of flaming metal that had fallen from the sky. Overhead, the thunder rumbled onward, the feeble wind whistling, and there were other flashes on the horizon, orange and red ones, with crackles that didn’t sound quite like lightning.
The guns. They’re still fighting.
Instinctively, I pulled out my cellphone, and tapped the screen.
It fluttered to life, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get through to anyone, not even with the emergency function designed to work around having no service. The complicated wonder of our modern world was little better than a glorified paperweight.
Stunned, I sat down with my back to the helicopter and rested my head against the aluminum skin of the craft. How I’d gone from a regular medical supply run to being marooned in this hellish parody of rural America, I didn’t know, but one thig was certain; I needed a plan. Whoever fired the missile could have already contacted my charter company and made up some excuse to keep them from coming to look for me. No one else knew I was here, and even though I now had six staples holding the worst of my injuries shut, I knew I needed proper medical attention. If I wanted to live, I’d have to rescue myself.
My bag. I need to get my go-bag, grab some gear and then . . . head somewhere else.
It took me a while to gather my green canvas paratrooper bag from its place behind the pilot’s seat and fill it with whatever supplies I could scrounge. My knee didn’t seem to be broken, but man did it hurt, and I dreaded the thought of walking on it for miles on end. I focused instead on inventorying my gear and trying to come up with a halfway intelligent plan of action.
I had a stainless-steel canteen with one of those detachable cups on the bottom, a little fishing kit, some duct tape, a lighter, a black LED flashlight with three spare batteries, a few tattered road maps with a compass, a spare pair of socks, medical supplies from the cargo, and a simple forest green plastic rain poncho. I also managed to unearth a functioning digital camcorder my ouma had gotten me for Christmas a few years back, though I wasn’t sure I wanted to do any filming in such a miserable state. Lastly, since it was a private supply run from a warehouse area near Pittsburgh to a direct hospital pad in Ohio, I’d been able to bring my K-Bar, a sturdy, and brutally simple knife designed for the Marine Corps that I used every time I went camping. It was pitiful in comparison to the rifle I wished I had with me, but that didn’t matter now. I had what I had, and I doubted my trusty Armalite would have alleviated my sore knee anyway.
Clicking on my flashlight, I huddled with the poncho around my shoulders inside the wreck of the chopper and peered at the dusty roadmaps. A small part of me hoped that a solution would jump out from the faded paper, but none came. These were all maps of western PA and eastern Ohio. None of them had a Barron County on them anywhere.
The man on the radio said to head north, right before they shot me down. That means they must be camped out to the north of here. South had that convoy and those burning houses, so that’s a no-go. Maybe I can backtrack eastward the way I came.
As if on cue, a soft pop echoed from over the eastern horizon, and I craned to look out the helicopter window, spotting more man-made flashes over the tree tops.
“Great.” I hissed between clenched teeth, aware of how the temperature dipped to a chilly 60 degrees, and how despite the conditions, my stomach had begun to growl. “Not going that way, are we? Westward it is.”
Walking away from my poor 902 proved to be harder than I’d anticipated. Despite the glass, the fizzling fires, and the darkness, it still held a familiar, human essence to it. Sitting inside it made me feel secure, safe, even calm about the situation. In any other circumstance, I would have just stayed with the downed aircraft to wait for help, but I knew the men who shot me down would likely find my crash site, and I didn’t want to be around when they did.
Unlike much of central and western Ohio, southeastern Ohio is hilly, brushy, and clogged with thick forests. Thorns snagged at my thin poncho and sliced at my pant legs. My knee throbbed, every step a form of self-inflicted torture. The rain never stopped, a steady drizzle from above just cold enough to be problematic as time went on, making me shiver. Mud slid under my tennis shoes, and every tree looked ten times bigger in the flickering beam of my cheap flashlight. Icy fear prickled at the back of my neck at some of the sounds that greeted me through the gloom. I’d been camping loads of times, both in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, but these noises were something otherworldly to me.
Strange howls, screeches, and calls permeated the rain-soaked sky, some almost roars, while others bordered on human in their intonation. The more I walked, the softer the distant gunfire became, and the more prevalent the odd sounds, until the shadows seemed to fill with them. I didn’t dare turn off my flashlight, or I’d been completely blind in the dark, but a little voice in the back of my head screamed that I was too visible, crunching through the gloomy forest with my long beam of light stabbing into the abyss. It felt as though a million eyes were on me, studying me, hunting me from the surrounding brush, and I bitterly recalled how much I’d loved the old Survivor Man TV series as a kid.
Not so fun being out in the woods at night. Especially alone.
A twig snapped somewhere behind me, and I whirled on the spot, one trembling hand resting on the hilt of my K-Bar.
Nothing. Nothing but trees, bushes, and rain dripping down in the darkness.
“This is stupid.” I whispered to myself to keep my nerves in check as I slowly spun on the spot. “I should have went eastward anyway. God knows how long I’m going to have to—”
A groan of metal-on-metal echoed from somewhere to my right, and I spun to face it, yanking the knife on my belt free from its scabbard. It felt so small and useless in my hand, and I choked down a wave of nauseas fear.
Ka-whump. Creak. K-whump. Creak.
Underbrush cracked and crunched, a few smaller saplings thrashed, and from deep within the gloom, two yellow orbs flared to life. They poked through the mist in the trees, forming into slender fingers of golden light that swept back and forth in the dark.
The soldiers . . . they must be looking for me.
I swallowed hard and turned to slink away.
Ice jammed through my blood, and I froze on the spot, biting my tongue to stop the scream.
It stood not yards away, a huge form that towered a good twelve feet tall in the swirling shadows. Unpolished chrome blended with flash-rusted spots in the faded red paint, and grime-smeared glass shone with dull hues in the flashes of lightning. Where the wheels should have been, the rounded steel axels curved like some enormous hand had bent them, and the tires lay face-down on the muddy ground like big round feet, their hubcaps buried in the dirt. Dents, scrapes, and chips covered the battered thing, and its crooked little radio antenna pointed straight up from the old metal fender like a mast. I could barely make out the mud-coated VW on the rounded hood, and my mind reeled in shock.
Is . . . is that a car?
Both yellow headlights bathed me in a circle of bright, blinding light, and neither I nor the strange vehicle moved.
Seconds ticked by, the screech-thumping in the background only growing closer. I realized that I couldn’t hear any engine noises and had yet to see any soldiers or guns pointed my way. This car looked old, really old, like one of those classic Volkswagen Beetles that collectors fought over at auctions. Try as I might, I couldn’t see a driver inside the murky, mold-smeared windows.
Because there wasn’t one.
Lightning arched across the sky overhead, and the car standing in front of me blinked.
Its headlights slid shut, as if little metal shades had crawled over the bulbs for a moment and flicked open again. Something about that movement was so primal, so real, so lifelike, that every ounce of self-control I had melted in an instant.
Cursing under my breath, I lunged into the shrubs, and the world erupted around me.
Under my shoes, the ground shook, and the car surged after me in a cacophony of ka-thumps that made my already racing heart skip several beats. A weather-beaten brown tow truck from the 50’s charged through the thorns to my left, it’s headlights ablaze, and a dilapidated yellow school bus rose from its hiding place in the weeds to stand tall on four down-turned axel-legs. They all flicked their headlights on like giants waking from their slumber, and as I dodged past them, they each blared their horn into the night in alarm.
My breaths came short and tight, my knee burned, and I crashed through thorns and briars without thought to how badly I was getting cut up.
The cheap poncho tore, and I ripped it away as it caught on a tree branch.
A purple 70’s Mustang shook off its blanket of creeping vines and bounded from a stand of trees just ahead, forcing me to swerve to avoid being run over, my adrenaline at all-time highs.
This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.
Slipping and sliding, I pushed through a stand of multiflora rose, and stumbled out into a flat, dark expanse.
I almost skidded to a stop.
What had once been a rather large field stood no taller than my shoestrings, the grass charred, and burnt. The storm above illuminated huge pieces of wreckage that lay scattered over the nearly 40-acre plot, and I could just make out the fire-blackened hulk of a fuselage resting a hundred yards away. The plane had been brought down a while ago it seemed, as there weren’t any flames left burning, and I threw myself toward it in frenzied desperation.
Burned grass and greasy brown topsoil slushed underfoot, and I could hear the squelching of the cars pursing me. Rain soaked me to the bone, and my lungs ached from sucking down the damp night air. A painful stich crept into my side, and I cursed myself for not putting in more time for cardio at the gym.
Something caught my left shoelace, and I hurtled to the ground, tasting mud and blood in between my teeth.
They’ve got me now.
I clawed at the mud, rolled, and watched a tire slam down mere inches from where my head had been. The Mustang loomed over me and jostled for position with the red Volkswagen and brown tow truck, the school bus still a few yards behind them. They couldn’t seem to decide who would get the pleasure of stomping me to death, and like a herd of stampeding wildebeest, they locked bumpers in an epic shoving match.
On all fours, I scampered out from under the sparring brutes, and dashed for the crumpled airplane, a white-painted DC-3 that looked like it had been cut in half by a gargantuan knife blade. I passed a snapped wing section, the oily remains of a turbo-prop engine, and a mutilated wheel from the landing gear. Climbing over a heap of mud, I squeezed into the back of the ruined flight cabin and dropped down into the dark cargo hold.
No sooner had my sneakers hit the cold metal floor, and the entire plane rocked from the impact of something heavy ramming it just outside. I tumbled to my knees, screaming in pain as, once again, I managed to bash the sore one off a bracket in the wall.
My hand smeared in something gooey, and I scrabbled for my flashlight.
It clicked on, a wavering ball of white light in the pitch darkness, and I fought the urge to gag. “Oh man . . .”
Three people, or what was left of them, lay strewn over the narrow cargo area. Claret red blood coated the walls, caked on the floor, and clotted under my mud-spattered shoes. Bits of flesh and viscera were stuck to everything, and tatters of cloth hung from exposed sections of broken bone. An eerie set of bloody handprints adorned the walls, and the only reason I could tell it had been three people were the shoes; all of them bore anklebones sticking out above blood-soaked socks. It smelled sickly sweet, a strange, nauseas odor that crept into my nose and settled on the back of my tongue like an alien parasite.
Something glinted in the beam of my flashlight, and my pulse quickened as I pried the object loose from the severed arm that still clung to it.
“Hail Mary full of Grace.” I would have grinned if it weren’t for the fact that the plane continued to buck and roll under the assault from the cars outside.
The pistol looked old, but well-maintained, aside from the light coating of dark blood that stained its round wooden handle. It felt heavy, but good in my hand, and I turned it over to read the words, Waffenfabrik Mauser stenciled into the frame, with a large red 9 carved into the grip. For some reason, it vaguely reminded me of the blasters from Star Wars.
I fumbled with a little switch that looked like a safety on the back of the gun and stumbled toward a gap in the plane’s dented fuselage to aim out at the surrounding headlights.
The old gun bucked reliably in my hand, its long barrel spitting a little jet of flame into the night. I had no idea if I hit anything, but the attacking cars recoiled, their horns blaring in confusion.
They turned, and scuttled for the tree line as fast as their mechanical legs could go, the entire ordeal over as fast as it had begun.
Did I do that?
Perplexed, I stared down at the pistol in my hand.
A large, inky black shadow glided down from the clouds, and the yellow school bus moved too slow to react in time.
With a crash, the kicking nightmarish vehicle was thrown onto its side, spraying glass and chrome trim across the muddy field. Its electro-synth horn blared with wails of mechanical agony, as two huge talon-like feet clamped down on it, and the enormous head of the flying creature lowered to rip open its engine compartment.
The horn cut out, and the enormous flying entity jerked its head back to gulp down a mass of what looked like sticky black vines from the interior of the shattered bus.
At this range, I could see now that the flying creature bore two legs and had its wings half-tucked like a vulture that had descended to feed on roadkill. Its head turned slightly, and in the glow of another lightning bolt, my jaw went slack at the realization of what it was.
A tree trunk. It’s a rotted tree trunk.
I couldn’t tell where the reptilian beast began, and where the organic tree components ended, the upper part of the head shaped like a log, while the lower jaw resembled something out of a dinosaur movie. Its skin looked identical to the outside of a shagbark hickory but flexed with a supple featheriness that denoted something closer to skin. Sharp branch-like spines ranged down its back, and out to the end of its tail, which bore a massive round club shaped like a diseased tree-knot. Crouched on both hind legs, it braced the hooked ends of its folded wings against the ground like a bat, towering higher than a semi-truck. Under the folds of its armored head, a bulging pair of chameleon-like eyes constantly spun in their sockets, probing the dark for threats while it ate.
One black pupil locked onto the window I peered through, and my heart stopped.
The beast regarded me for a moment, with a curious, sideways sniff.
With a proud, contemptful head-toss, the shadow from the sky parted rows of razor-sharp teeth to let out a roar that shook the earth beneath my feet. It was the triumphant war cry of a creature that sat at the very top of the food chain, one that felt no threat from the fragile two-legged beings that walked the earth all around it. It hunted whenever it wanted, ate whatever it wanted, and flew wherever it wanted. It didn’t need to rip the plane apart to devour me.
Like my hunter-gatherer ancestors from thousands of years ago, I wasn’t even worth the energy it would take to pounce.
I’m hiding in the remains of the cockpit now, which is half-buried under the mud of the field, enough to shield the light from my screen so that thing doesn’t see it. My service only now came back, and it’s been over an hour since the winged beast started in on the dead bus. I don’t know when, or how I’m going to get out of here. I don’t know when anyone will even see this post, or if it will upload at all. My phone battery is almost dead, and at this point, I’m probably going to have to sleep among the corpses until daylight comes.
A dead man sleeping amongst friends.
If you live in the Noble County area in southeastern Ohio, be careful where you drive, fly, and boat. I don’t know if it’s possible to stumble into this strange place by ground, but if so, then these things are definitely headed your way.
If that happens . . . pray that they don’t find you.
submitted by RandomAppalachian468 to u/RandomAppalachian468 [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 20:55 LonnieJay1 Storytime: explaining Ultra Rapid Opioid Detox with Naltrexone to a fellow Bropiate

I won’t call Kevin again yet. He's the type to tell me he's busy if I need something from him, even though I go out of my way to help him and take care of him every single time he needs me. I stop at one of the red lights in (City name redacted). At least Kevin lives here too, just a few minutes away from Lucky’s mom’s house.
If Kevin isn’t home, I’m going to be enraged, depressed enough to cry, or both. Kevin doesn’t even really lock his door. He never locks it behind us when we walk inside – people like me can’t help but notice things like that. If he isn’t at his house, maybe I can just walk in, take his drugs, and leave.
I called him earlier in the day, so he will definitely suspect that I was the one who robbed him, but what is he going to do?
I’m homeless right now, and I’ll be back in treatment soon – and hopefully not in the cess pool of fraud, corruption, and death that addiction treatment in Orange County has become. I wonder what could possibly be in the little lockbox Kevin keeps in the closet. It is probably a treasure chest full of various drugs and opioids.
I arrive at Kevin’s house and pull into the driveway. I knock on his front door. No answer. I ring the doorbell. No answer. My heart starts to race. My head hurts, I’m nauseous, I’m sweaty. I’m full of anxiety. I can’t stop thinking about dope. I feel like I’m stuck in a cave that is collapsing all around me. I need to get out, right now.
I knock again, loudly, a few more times. I count to 10. Still nothing. I feel a flash of heat and near-panic. My stomach churns, as if threatening to cramp. I need opiates, right now.
Desperation overtakes me. I turn the doorknob. It opens. I walk in the house, my instinct telling me to creep in. I suppress my instinct and walk in casually.
“Kevin?” I yell, from the bottom of the stairs that are right by the front door. I listen for a second. All is quiet. It wouldn’t be good if I am caught sneaking around if he is here, and it isn’t going to matter if I yell a few times before I steal his drugs if he isn’t here.
Junkie feet carry me up the stairs. My ankle hurts with every step – worse since I am in withdrawal.
"Kevin?” I call out. If he isn't here, I’m robbing him. I can't stand this motherfucker, and while I'm not quite the thief I used to be, I'm still an opportunist, and this is a damn good opportunity. Maybe stealing all this kid’s fentanyl is exactly what he needs in order to be able to quit.
That’s right, Lonnie. You’d be doing him a favor by robbing him.
I peek in the first bedroom at the top of the stairs. It’s the guest bedroom I slept in 5 nights ago. It feels like it has been an eternity since I was last here. Time moves more slowly in the realm of opioid sickness. Nobody is in the guest bedroom.
I peek into the office that sits across the hall. I don’t see anybody there. I would search the office, since he might have the lockbox in here, for now, but he might be sleeping in the bedroom.
"Kevin? Marissa?" I call out. Saying her name reminds me of the fact that he is dating her. She is so young and innocent. I can’t believe he got her addicted to these powerful soul-stealing drugs. I would never associate with Kevin if he didn't have so many different uses. He is not a person to me: he is means to the various ends that I have in mind when I contact him. This isn’t Kevin’s house; it’s a house with fentanyl in it.
If I find that carfentanil, I’m going to have a decision to make. It might be so strong that using it would cause changes to my opioid receptors that I would never recover from. Injecting even one drop could kill me. Carfentanil is also identified as a biological weapon since even accidental inhalation of an almost imperceptible amount can be deadly - or so, the police say. The amount of carfentanil that Kevin has could keep me incapacitated and out of pain for at least a year. Finding that bottle would be a curse.
I find myself standing in front of the double doors to the master bedroom.
"Yo, Kevin!" I shout out. Last chance before I go on a little scavenger hunt. I put my ear close to the door. I hear the bed creaking. Somebody is in there.
“Who the fuck is in my house?” Kevin yells from behind the door.
“It’s Lonnie. I tried to call you 3 times,” I shout out the lie, with conviction in my voice.
“How’d you get in here?” he asks, as the double doors to the master bedroom swing inward and open. He is wearing an angry frown, basketball shorts, and no shirt. I try not to look at his pale, untoned stomach.
“Your front door was open. I need some of that furry, bad. I’ll give you (exorbitant price redacted) for half a gram, right now,” I say.
“Say no more. I’ll grab it,” he says, flashing a smile at me, and then running over to his closet. I am suddenly relieved that he is here, and that I do not have to steal from anybody today. Stealing always catches up to me.
“I’m going to go downstairs,” I say.
As I trot downstairs, my sickness starts to subside, since the gorilla in me knows that he will be fed soon. I go into his downstairs bathroom and get a Q-tip, and then run to my car to get a syringe. By the time I get back to Kevin’s couch, he is there.
“You got that hundred?” he asks.
“I’m sending you a Venmo right now,” I say, unlocking my phone, opening the Venmo payment app, and sending him the money, which takes 10 seconds.
“Check it,” I say, nodding at his phone. He watches his phone for a few seconds. A chunk of Furanylfentanyl sits on a scale on the coffee table between us. I eye it hungrily, waiting for Kevin to say the word.
“You’re good,” he says. I pick up the chunk of furanylfentanyl, which is enough to kill 20 opioid-naïve people twice over. I move to the kitchen table, prep the shot, and point the loaded syringe at my arm.
“You know I hate when you do that here,” Kevin says, from the couch.
“I know,” I say, injecting myself in the forearm, quickly.
“1,” I say, capping the syringe.
“2,” I say, putting it in my pocket.
“3,” I say, diving onto the floor.
“4,” I say, feeling a smile creep across my face.
“When does it hit?” he asks.
“5,” I say, laying down on the floor.
“Now,” I add, closing my eyes.
There is a moment of emptiness that is only perceptible if you’re looking for something and find nothing instead: the non-sensations of a barren organism that is completely devoid of any meaning, pleasure, will to live, or basic comfort.
My heart skips a beat – did I miss the vein?!
A weight crushes my chest, like a meteor of light just collided into it. I am unable to breathe as every ounce of pain becomes washed away by the tidal wave of raw pleasure that spreads instantly from my brain and into my spinal cord, transforming my entire body into light as the furanylfentanyl clings to the opioid receptors all over my body. I lay on the floor, mentally clinging to the tightness and pleasure in my chest, wanting it to stay forever.
The rush fades, and I find myself breathing again, unfortunately. I open my eyes and get up from the floor.
“How was that?” Kevin asks, a semi-curious look on his face.
“Awful. You should never do it,” I say, scratching my nose. Kevin laughs.
“I hate needles, anyway,” he says. I laugh twice as loud as he did and begin to pace.
“So did I. So did every IV drug addict. I’ve never met anybody that was like ‘I always loved needles! I just thought stabbing myself looked fun!’. No way. People always start with a habit of sniffing the drugs, just like you.
“They meet somebody who injects the drugs in front of them, just like I am. The person shooting up says: ‘don’t do it, it’s fucking awful’ as they stick the needle in their arm, just like I am. I can understand how this is hypocritical, but it’s truly something I wish I never tasted. You never, ever forget the rush. It becomes the climax and focal point of your life.
“It is a hyper-pleasurable experience that carves itself into the ridges of your memory-scape. It is a traumatic pleasure. You put the needle into your very bloodstream; the chemical you slam into yourself alters your genetic expression. The experience is more intimate than any other experience imaginable. It changes you forever. It haunts you in your dreams. If you give yourself to it for even a moment, The Needle will never let you go,” I say, moving back to the floor. I need to enjoy this shot, before my tolerance skyrockets again, and my body becomes immune to the euphoria.
“Why do you do it, then?” he asks.
“Because I’m hopelessly addicted,” I say, laying down flat on my back again.
“Didn’t you quit before? Weren’t you sober for a year right before we met?” he asks.
“I’ve spent plenty of time sober. I’ve spent more time off opioids than time I’ve spent addicted to them since I found them 10 years ago – but injecting makes it a whole different ballgame. You are injecting a disease into yourself,” I say.
“I don’t think that’s true,” he says.
“Yeah, that’s the fucking conundrum, right there. Did I get the disease when I shot it up, or did I have it before I injected the drugs? Was I born with the disease, or did the drugs cause the disease? We’re both doing the same drugs. How are you able to function and I’m not?” I ask. (author's note: I no longer believe in the disease model of addiction)
“That’s not a conundrum at all. You COULD function, but you’re not. You COULD get sober again, but you’re not,” he says. I start to laugh sarcastically.
“You must be Nancy Reagan’s son – I can just say no! If it’s that easy, why don’t you stop, then?” I ask.
“Why would I stop?” he asks.
“Why wouldn’t you want to stop?” I counter.
“Sounds like you’re projecting. You obviously want to stop. You should stop, then,” Kevin suggests. I laugh at him again.
“Yeah, I’m going to,” I say. He laughs again as well, but the laughter we are exchanging is not friendly and humorous – it is malicious and hateful; borne of the cruel misery that is the flipside of the Heavopioid experience.
“No, seriously, I’m going to stop. In fact, I’m going to call my boy Sean right now, to set up a naltrexone implant and get my opioid receptors blocked,” I say.
“You can’t get a naltrexone implant, that would kill you. You were sick as shit before you did that furry. Your skin was glistening with dope-sweat, your pupils were as big as dinner plates. I saw it myself,” he says.
“I can fake the drug test at the intake appointment and ask the doctor to prescribe me naltrexone pills to ensure a smooth transition and minimize side effects. He will prescribe me oral naltrexone pills gladly, thinking I am being a responsible patient that will take the pills and therefore be safely acclimated to the naltrexone by the time I get the implant.
“Once I have the naltrexone pills, all I need is a small handful of xanax. Take a small handful of xanax with the naltrexone and black out for a night. Wake up, no opioid withdrawal. Tada!” I exclaim, putting my hands out in wonder, still laying on the floor.
“You’re talking about doing an ultra-rapid opioid detox, which is a medical procedure that is done in a hospital, without the supervision of a medical doctor?” he asks, before laughing harshly.
“I’ve done it a bunch before. It’s awesome, actually. Well, one time, it was fucking hell. Twice, actually. It was legitimately the worst thing I’ve ever experienced – an 8-hour terror attack that makes a ‘panic attack’ feel like child’s play. But other than those two times, it’s been all gravy,” I say.
“You’re kidding me. You’re seriously talking about doing an ultra-rapid opioid detox at home with nothing but xanax and a naltrexone pill. That shit could kill you,” Kevin says.
“Not really. Xanax has a really high lethal dose limit by itself, you know that,” I say, referring to the facts that it takes a lot of xanax to kill a person when xanax is taken alone, and that Kevin is a drug nerd like me.
“Yeah, the median lethal dose of xanax alone might be high compared to other drugs, but if you’re blacked out while you’re in severe opiate withdrawal, you don’t even know what’s going on in your body. You could have a heart attack, a stroke. You could break the temperature regulation system of the hypothalamus-” I interrupt him with a laugh.
“I know exactly what’s going on: a bunch of awful, painful stuff that I don’t want to be any part of,” I say. I hear footsteps coming down the stairs.
“What are you guys talking about?” Marissa asks, walking into the living room. She looks worse every time I see her; her youth and beauty are being stolen by Kevin and the drugs he should not be providing her with.
“This kid thinks he’s a doctor. He’s going to wind up killing himself,” Kevin states.
“What?” she asks, walking to the couch to sit next to Kevin.
“It’s not that dangerous. Doctors do it all the time, it’s called ultra-rapid opioid detox. I do it a little bit differently, but it’s the same idea: anesthetize the patient-”
“Himself, he means, when he says ‘patient’,” Kevin interrupts, looking at Marissa.
“Yes, I am both the unlicensed medical provider and the patient in this case. I anesthetize myself with a small handful of xanax while taking a naltrexone pill at the same time. The xanax kicks in, and I black out.
“While I am asleep, the naltrexone clings to my opioid receptors and antagonizes them. This puts me into ‘precipitated withdrawal,’ which is essentially a condensed version of withdrawal from opioids that is triggered by the naltrexone – a hyper-withdrawal, if you will. The hyper-withdrawal reverses the effects of physical dependence on opioids: my natural opioid-producing system, the endorphin system, kicks into overdrive to offset the presence of the naltrexone and get me out of hyper-withdrawal. At the same time, the anti-endorphin system, which pumps out the pain-creating chemical, dynorphin, in response to continuous opioid use, shuts down.
“To put it simply, over the course of a blacked-out night, I go through the equivalent of 7-10 days of withdrawal. I wake up feeling like I’m 10 days clean. Then, I can take another naltrexone pill, which guarantees me another 36 hours clean. It ends the constant and overwhelming war with myself over whether or not I should use opioids. I make one decision to take one naltrexone pill in the morning, instead of having to re-commit to my decision not to use opioids every time I feel depressed or anxious, which is every second at the beginning,” I say, standing up now.
I want to quit again so badly. I want to be free again.
“You have to feel like absolute garbage from starting naltrexone in the middle of a serious habit like that,” Kevin says. I scoff.
“Of course, I feel like garbage! It’s almost unbearable. My brain and spine and gut are overwhelmed by some of the most basic pain-causing chemicals in the biological world. I am quite literally saturating my system with anti-endorphins. Despite the pain, the benefit is simple and incredible: naltrexone speeds the process of return to chemical balance, or homeostasis, in the brain. Opioid painkillers get us high, but they also depress our respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.
“Our bodies adapt to the constant presence of external opioids by producing chemicals like dynorphin that stimulate us in ways that have the net effect of pain-creation. These pain-creating chemical responses keep us awake and breathing when we’re nodding off – but they also keep us awake and restless when we try to quit opioids, since our brains don’t shut down their production right when we stop ingesting external opioids.
“For example, suppose I start sniffing oxy when I’m 15. My brain starts to notice a ton of painkilling chemicals floating around. It starts to produce these pain-creating chemicals, to offset the painkillers and keep us in equilibrium. Our brains are always seeking to keep us in homeostatic equilibrium – continual regulation of body temperature and blood pressure are two other examples of this equilibrium.
“I skip the oxy for a day. My brain still has the pain-creators floating around, because the human brain is a prediction and adaptation machine that has learned to anticipate an over-abundance of painkillers in my system, and so continues to over-produce the pain-creators as a proactive, predictive response.
“Naltrexone is an extremely powerful pain-creator. There is a huge spike in pain creation unleashed onto my brain by the naltrexone, on top of the already excessive amounts of pain-creators that are being pumped out constantly by my brain to offset the ever-present painkilling fentanyl. This is like a tidal wave of pain-creators hitting the brain.
“Taking naltrexone when you’re already saturated with pain-creators almost feels like swallowing electricity, or fire, or panic. It feels like your entire body is setting off red alarms. Your heart races, your stomach cramps, your guts scream and contract in agony, your skin singes itself with icy-hot sweat. Your brain is telling you to lay there and die but at the same time won’t let you get comfortable for even one second.
“This discomfort cannot be understated: the clouds of heaven would feel like plywood on the street in a Boston winter. Precipitated withdrawal feels like being surrounded by all your worst fears, memories, and nightmares made real and standing all around you, sticking you with cattle prods to get you to jolt,” I say, barely able to avoid a shudder.
“That sounds awful. Why would you do that?” Marissa asks.
“Well, that only happens when you’re conscious during the process. That’s where the small handful of xanax comes in,” I say.
“You’re doing some dangerous shit to your brain by doing that. Creating that much stress and pain in your nervous system has to be ridiculously stimulating to your body. Have you ever been active during the blackout?” Kevin asks.
“Yes, but those are long and frightening stories. The goal is to reach the point where I just barely black out instead of taking enough xanax to be blacked out for a whole day, going grocery shopping and throwing fruit around and making smoothies at 3:00 AM and insulting strangers and crashing cars and whatnot,” I say. Marissa and Kevin start to laugh – at me, not with me.
“Yo, this is funny. You’re wild. So how many extra xanax do you have to take to inhibit the excitatory signals being sent in your brain by the dynorphin and the naltrexone together? I haven’t ever really thought about precipitated withdrawal. It seems like it would be a whole different animal,” he says.
“I used to take 5 xanax bars, but I woke up in the middle of a panic attack despite 5 xanax bars during one of my previous procedures, so now I take 10 xanax bars. It knocks me out for about 8 hours. I wake up in dizzy, disconnected discomfort, but it gets easier as the day goes on. The second naltrexone after waking up is a different story, though. That brings on a fresh batch of symptoms, though nowhere near as intense. I like to take xanax the second night, too.
“I get vicious rebound anxiety from taking so many xanax in such a short period of time. I have to be very careful not to pick up a xanax habit after I induct onto the naltrexone,” I say.
“That sounds like a lot of pain and work,” Kevin says, raising his eyebrows at me.
“It’s worth it. When I come out on the other side, free from this hellish, soul-sucking poison, I feel great. Well, kinda. I don’t sleep for a while. But I do bounce back, and much sooner than I would otherwise.
“When I have 1 month clean on naltrexone, it feels like I have 10 months clean. This is crucial, because when you have only been clean for 1 month, you typically still feel like shit – if you had a serious habit, anyway,” I say.
“I can’t believe you actually do that. You’re a dumbass,” Kevin says.
“It’s actually pretty smart, in some ways. The shocks to the endorphin system of the brain keep it operating smoothly, which in turn keep the immune system and dopamine system operating smoothly. Did you know that William S Burroughs actually recommended going on and off of heroin for the sake of longevity?” I ask. Kevin laughs, loudly this time. He looks at Marissa, smiling.
“You hear that? Longevity. It’ll keep us alive longer,” he says.
“Naltrexone has the potential to be a miracle drug. If you take a low dose of it every day, you can prevent your opioid tolerance from building up. Combine 0.1 MG of naltrexone with 10MG of oxycodone and patent it, you’ve got a billion-dollar pill. That low dose of the artificial, pain-creating naltrexone will prevent your brain from ramping up its’ own pain-creating response to balance out the painkilling effects of the oxy.
“In essence, that would prevent opioid tolerance and therefore the need for increasing daily dosages. You might be able to prevent addiction entirely. I’ve experimented with using naltrexone to diminish tolerance and had some success. It does lessen the painkilling effect a bit, but I’m sure a seasoned pharmacologist could think of a decent opioid potentiator to add to the combination that would increase the painkilling effects of the medication without further side effects,” I say.
“Holy shit. It can prevent tolerance buildup? Can you get me some naltrexone?” Kevin asks.
“Perhaps, but you need to read into it, first,” I say.
“You’ve really piqued my curiosity. Thank you,” he says, pulling out his bag of furanylfentanyl.
“Ah, some hellish, soul-sucking poison. Great idea. I haven’t slept for days, and I need a nap,” I say. Marissa giggles.
“I don’t think you’re going to quit,” Kevin says.
“You’ll see,” I say. I pull the syringe out of my pocket and start walking to the kitchen, to get more water for my next shot. Another shot will knock me right out, and I won’t have to deal with any of this. For a little while, anyway.
“Seriously, I’m going to be free from this shit. Free from these goddamn pills and powders that handcuff my brain and put it in a straightjacket. No more turning my own body and mind into a prison. I hate living like this. I’m going to quit, and I’m going to be playing college basketball soon,” I say, though after I say it, I feel exactly how I feel after I tell a lie.
“Then quit. It isn’t that hard,” he says. I hear the unmistakable sound of somebody sniffing powder through a straw, and it sounds vaguely like weaselly laughter.
submitted by LonnieJay1 to opiates [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 20:22 Crosswordsss Help me find a good balance between saving and spending

Hey Y'all, I (25M single) am a pf nerd like most of you are. I get greater serotonin releases when I see my net worth increase than if I were to buy a new pair of pants. I will be moving closer to the city soon so I will be near more nightlife and am excited to do more social things. I just need to figure out how to get out of my save save save mentality and let myself enjoy some of my money.
Income post taxes/401k: $4000-5000/month
401k: Recently increased from $500 to $1000/month, $6,000 balance
Roth IRA: $500/ month, $20,000 balance
Savings: $1800/month, $23,000 balance
General Brokerage Investments: $15,000 balance
Checking/Cash: $4,000 balance
Soon to be rent + utilities: $950/month, an increase of $300 from my current situation
Gas: $200/month
Groceries: $300/month
Car Insurance: $100/month
Gym Membership: $40/month
Misc Expenses: $100/month

So I'm obviously saving a ton right now and hope to hit 100k net worth in a year or so but want to let myself cut back a bit and go out a couple times a week if I want to and not have to worry about purchasing something nice for myself every now and then, Any advice given my current situation in terms of how to better allocate my money? My goals are to purchase a home/condo in 2-5 years, retire comfortably by age 65, and be able to provide for my family if/when I eventually get married and have kids, thanks!
submitted by Crosswordsss to personalfinance [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 19:39 opabiniafan How I studied for a 527 in a month

Hi summer MCAT takers! Just submitted primary and have time to burn, so figure I'd throw in my thoughts and hopefully they're useful. One thing that I noticed when I was lurking on this sub for my test date was that in most guides, people study 3+ months for this test. While you obviously should give yourself the optimal amount of time that you can for this all important test, some of us have schedules that make it very hard to devote 3-5 hrs a day for that extended period of time to studying. I don't recommend anyone doing what I did though, which is that I got super manic in November, realized that I did not wanna go into finance, and was like "I need to do something or I'll die". That something happened to be signing up for the 1/19 MCAT, giving me a bit over a month to prepare from the end of my finals (12/12) to the test date. However, I do think shorter test prep timeframes are good if you have problems with motivation/burnout; the fact that the finish line was literally right in front of me at all times was truly terrifying, and this fear got me to run some heinous 10 hour studying sessions. Ultimately, would I have been better prepared if I studied 3+ months? Yes absolutely. But is dragging out your misery for 3+ months worth it for the chance of an extra point or two? Debatable, up to you. Hope my fellow procrastinators or anyone giving themselves <2 months to study, or anyone in general gets something useful out of this! Good luck studying!
Also, disclaimer about my score. I do not claim to be an expert on the MCAT, my last 3 FL's averaged 520, and I definitely got lucky with a big ass curve on my test day - if I took the MCAT 10 times, I doubt I would get a 527 any of those times.
EDIT adding TLDR takeaways: Don't get caught up in content review, do practice problems ASAP and a bit of review every day. Better to learn a bit of a difficult topic over multiple days than try to knock it out all at once and forget about it. Take care of yourself. Don't do adderall during your test day unless you want to take 2 years off your life.

Content Review
Used Kaplan books and finished them in a 10 day span. I think it is worth buying the set in the end, even though there were 2-4 questions that asked things not covered at all in the books on my real exam. However, if you don't wanna buy I think its fine too, the Kaplan books were kind of bad and the practice problems in them were close to worthless. 95% of everything that could be tested will be covered in the Kaplan books, however, the emphasis in the books is on overview rather than details. I think content review is the biggest slog in regards to studying for the MCAT and where its the easiest to burn out, so it'd be best just to grind through the books and fill in knowledge holes as you do practice questions later. What the AAMC says about content breakdown is definitely true, where only 30% of questions relied on prior knowledge and 70% of questions were critical thinking. If you can nail the critical thinking, even without any content, I think a 510+ is very realistic. Spend your time accordingly! Personally, I had no need to spend hours relearning stuff like the Central Dogma or other big concepts, so I do think that a more effective method if you retained most out of undergrad courses is to go skim the books and do daily review on the content outline @ jackwestin while you do practice q's. I would just do content review (in the form of occasional khan academy videos, youtube stuff, and random jack westin articles I chose) as a break every night after my practice questions in the day. Overall, biochemistry is the most important class. You should spend the most time on stuff from biochem, and make sure you know the major concepts and themes AAMC wants you to know. I found it super helpful to write notes on everything I didn't know, from various physics concepts to random facts in a notebook that i'd look over before I slept every night. For cp and bb, it is essential to know anything involving relationships (what happens to resistance if temperature increases? what happens to hemoglobin affinity for oxygen as pH increases?). During content review, a good mindset to have is that the only "high yield" concepts are the amino acids, Le Chatelier's rule, Piaget and Erickson's stages, mitosis/meiosis, separatory techniques, and Michaelis-Menten kinetics. You will for sure get multiple questions about those, but treat any other concept as just yield, there is no such thing as low yield everything is fair game.

Practice Q's
I started after I had already done two full lengths and a diagnostic, and I did all of the official AAMC question packs, and all of the jack westin ones I could fit in. No particular schedule, I would just do as many of these every day until I got sick of it. I found it much more motivating to do questions rather than content review, because the idea of "this is an old test question, if i had gotten this, I would have missed it" was a terrifying thought. I think the most important part of this is to carefully review everything you get wrong. I also had a notebook specifically dedicated to questions that I got wrong, where I'd write the info that I had missed or write down why my line of thinking was wrong. Also, I would comb reddit during my breaks to try to find little facts that I didn't know (110 daltons per amino acid, fetal circulatory shunts), and add them to my memorization book. Using the JackWestin chrome extension really helps for detailed explanations of questions, because the AAMC ones are kinda shit sometimes. The JW extension especially helps for CARS sections, and I credit my score there to the extension. All in all, I think that my success on the actual test was largely due to the practice questions I did. I tried to find a good heuristic to use to evaluate what the AAMC's correct answer would be to the question based off of patterns in the passage and answer choices. As a reminder, the test really is 30% memorization 70% critical thinking. Now it might not be smart to spend 70% of your prep period grinding practice problems, but at least a representative amount of time should be allocated to practicing the critical thinking that the AAMC wants.

Practice Exams
I did one a week until the last 2 weeks, where I did 4 in that span. I took 7 total, one diagnostic and the 6 AAMC ones. My scores were 503, 516, 518, 524, 521, 519, 521. I'd use a third party test as your diagnostic, to figure out where you need work, but do know that all of the 3rd party ones are 1. not too accurate to real test 2. very deflated to encourage you to buy their product. Just use me as an anecdote; I got a 503 on the Kaplan and then a 516 on my first AAMC full length and I had only done 3 days of content review between those two. Do take a diagnostic ASAP though, it helps you see what you're working towards and serves as a great motivator. I got my 503 and sat in disbelief before working nonstop until my next practice test. Use the diagnostic to figure out which areas in content you are the most lacking, and whether these gaps are a result of you missing the small memorization details or a lack of understanding of the broader themes (of genetics, respiration, etc). If you have more time than me, there are many more 3rd party ones to do if you feel like it, but do treat the AAMC full lengths like gold, as they are the most representative of how you'll do on the real thing. From my own judgement, save full length 5 (the new in 2022 one) for last, as it was very close to my real one, a sentiment shared by people on reddit. Try as much as possible to stimulate real test conditions: wake up at 6, start at 8, go on low sleep conditions, try to get your stress levels up, adhere to timing, drink and pee only during breaks. This is something I didn't do and thus was very unprepared for how stressed I was during real thing (the thought that "wow if I fuck this up I'm done for" is super serious). Something that I think would have also helped me test day is if I set strict guidelines for time spent on questions. I would just take as long as I wanted and generally blow through them as they felt low stakes, whereas on test day, I would stare for minutes at questions I knew were correct because I was super nervous that I was dumb and overlooked something.

Test day:
Took adderall for the test, something I do not recommend. I had done so for two practice tests and did fine, but also I was much more stressed. The adderall combined with my stress threw all my test taking skills went out the window and I was super pressed for time on the exam. Bring easy snacks and energy bars. The exact thought I was having was: "If I get this question wrong my entire college career will have been for nothing". Scary. Take the practice tests with this mindset and you'll be more prepared than me. I got there 40 minutes early to take a dump because I always need to mad shit when I'm nervous, but as long as you're there before 8 you're fine. Overall, a lot more critical thinking and reading the passage than I thought, so definitely do take the day before completely off. C/p was probably 40% gen chem topics 30 % biochem 25 % physics 5% orgo. Practice your mental math and find a method that works for you; I saw myself getting an answer that wasn't a choice and realized an error in my setups. There were 4-6 questions in C/P that was just straight mental math. Like no conceptual setup at all just what is x divided by y (which you could figure out by looking at units). CARS felt like normal difficulty, I usually did well on CARS; eliminate all wrong answers and then find something in the passage that explicitly confirms your answer choice type strategy is what I used. Find whatever works for you during the AAMC question packs. B/B exactly what I was expecting, similar to all practice tests. Got the three "fuck you" discretes here, know for sure I got two wrong but I still got a 132 on the section. Just another anecdote about how spending your time pulling your hair out over the small details isn't gonna yield a good ROI. I think something that helped a lot for me here is the amount of scientific literature I've had to read for my work in research labs, so the comprehension part/figuring out the relationships between the vocab they throw at you came relatively easily. P/s had no concepts out of the blue, and about 80 % of it could have been solved without any knowledge of the subjects; they were all critical thinking and reasoning within passages. Of course again, there were some wack ones but I feel like 1. hitting them with the process of elimination 2. doing flashcards would easily take care of any issues on the content side of things. Also the question style was very similar to full lengths, almost identical in style to full length 5.

Things I think worked well for me:
The very short amount of time I had to review enabled me to stay motivated, because I could literally see the end at all times. Burnout is a real problem for a singular test, and I think I did well keeping motivated from a combination of doing problems (getting things wrong spurred me to study more) and seeing friends at night after studying. Take care of yourself, seeing friends/going on dates/playing sports/whatever you enjoy and takes your mind off your impending doom is absolutely necessary. You physically cannot study effectively for days on end with no break, and if your break involves stressing about the MCAT, it's not a break. You're just killing your hairline. I think the memorization sheet I had of everything that I got wrong in addition to concepts I felt were weak/didn't know at all when I was reviewing, that I studied every night, also netted me at least 5 points. I think that grinding reddit helped me pick up a lot of really small facts that I otherwise would've glossed over, and 5-8 things that I saw in "Content dump" posts actually came up in my real test. Finally, I think that test taking skills (finessing skills) that I had tuned throughout my life were really important. Process of elimination is the way to go, at least 2 choices will be obviously wrong, and getting a feel for the AAMC logic through practicing their material can get u to the right answer in 75% of cases where you don't know it immediately. To beat the horse dead, the MCAT really is 70% critical thinking 30% content, and you do want to practice your test taking accordingly with those weights somewhat in mind.
Things I wished I did differently during review:
DON'T DRINK DURING YOUR REVIEW PERIOD. I went out with friends for the first two weekends because finals were over, and ended up blacking one night and getting stupid the others. This definitely set me a few days back - I could not do any work hungover and those nights I didn't sleep at my own place, so by the time I left, it was like 2pm. Definitely felt harried during review, mostly as a result of the short time period but also a result of the many rest days I took/burnout. While I think taking breaks is very important, I think I went about it poorly (I did not plan out study period at all going in, something that I wish I did) and as a result I realized leading up to the exam that I did not know certain things very well and so the last 5 days were a grind (I didn't go outside in the last 3 days at all because I realized I didn't understand electricity or lenses. neither of these topics were in my full length lol). In addition, I wish I did more jack westin problems, as their explanations are quite good in helping me figure out the way the AAMC words the correct answer. I discovered them with 2 weeks left, but I wish I had done so earlier. I do think that anki decks (I used miledown's deck, findable online) are also great for learning small facts, but again, I didn't have the motivation to do them every day.
submitted by opabiniafan to Mcat [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 18:45 howbizsolutions Starting a Business in Toronto: Advantages, Challenges, and Comprehensive Guide

Starting a Business in Toronto: Advantages, Challenges, and Comprehensive Guide
There are many advantages to starting a new business in Toronto. Toronto is the largest city in Ontario. Canada has a diverse economy. It is home to many Fortune 500 companies and is a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. Toronto is a multicultural city with a high quality of life and a diverse and talented workforce.
However, starting a business in Toronto also comes with challenges. Toronto is a competitive market, and you need a solid business plan and a unique value proposition to stand out from the competition. It would be best if you also were prepared for the high cost of living and doing business in Toronto.
Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or a first-time business owner, there are many factors to consider when starting a business in Toronto. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information and resources you need to start a business in Toronto, Canada.

Step 1: Identify Your Business Idea

The first step in identifying a business idea is to conduct market research. This affects gathering information about your target market, including their needs, preferences, and behaviors. It would be best to research your competitors to determine what products or services they offer, how they price their offerings, and how they market their business.
Once you understand the market well, you can start brainstorming potential business ideas. It’s important to consider your skills, knowledge, and experience when developing ideas. It would be best to think about your passions and interests, as starting a business in a field you are passionate about can make the process more enjoyable and rewarding.
When considering potential business ideas, it’s important to focus on scalable ones that can be profitable in the long run. It would be best if you also thought about the level of competition in the market and the barriers to entry, such as legal requirements or licensing.
One approach to identifying a viable business idea is to look for unmet needs or underserved markets. For example, you may identify a new product or service need in a particular niche market. Alternatively, you may see an opportunity to improve upon an existing product or service by offering better quality, lower prices, or more convenient delivery.
Another approach is to look for trends or changes in the market that may create new opportunities. For example, you may identify a growing demand for environmentally-friendly products or services or a shift in consumer behavior toward online shopping or mobile devices.
When you have identified a potential business idea, testing it before investing too much time and money is important. This may involve creating a prototype or minimum viable product, conducting market research or surveys, or running a small-scale pilot program.
Ultimately, the success of your business will depend on many factors, including the quality of your product or service, your ability to market and sell it effectively, and your ability to manage finances and operations. However, by taking the time to identify a viable business idea, you can increase your chances of success and build a business that meets your goals and aspirations.

Step 2: Conduct Market Research

Market research is a vital step in starting a business. It helps you to understand your target audience, the competition in the market, and the current market trends. With this information, you can create a business plan tailored to meet your target audience’s needs and ensure that your business is competitive in the market.
Identify a Viable Business Idea
Before conducting market research, you need to identify a viable business idea. This can be an idea that you have been considering for a while or something new that you have come up with. You can use your experience, expertise, research, and analysis to identify a viable business idea. The key is to ensure that the idea is viable and has the potential to be successful.
Gather Information About Your Target Audience
Once you have recognized a viable business idea, you must gather information about your target audience. This includes understanding their needs, preferences, and behaviors. You can gather this information by conducting surveys, focus groups, or by analyzing available data. This information will help you create a product or service tailored to meet your target audience’s needs.
Analyse Your Competitors
Another important aspect of market research is analyzing your competitors. This involves understanding your competitors, their products or services, and how they position themselves in the market. You can gather this information by conducting online research, attending industry events, or speaking to people in the industry. This information will help you identify opportunities and gaps in the market and create a competitive and differentiated business.
Understand Market Trends
Finally, it is important to understand current market trends. This includes understanding the broader economic, social, and technological trends impacting the market. You can gather this information by reading industry publications, attending industry events, and monitoring social media and other online channels. This information will help you to identify opportunities and threats in the market and to adapt your business strategy accordingly.
Resources for Conducting Market Research
Step 3: Develop a Business Plan
Developing a business plan is vital for any entrepreneur looking to start or grow their business. A well-crafted business plan can serve as a roadmap to success and help you navigate potential pitfalls. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key components of a business plan and offer tips on creating one that works for you.
First and foremost, a business plan should outline your business goals. These goals should be clear, measurable, and achievable. For example, your goal might be to increase sales by 20% over the next year. Once you have established yourc goals, you can start to develop strategies to achieve them.
When developing your business strategies, it is essential to consider your target market. Who are your ideal customers, and what are their needs? How can you meet those needs better than your competitors? This information will help you develop a marketing plan tailored to your target audience.
In addition to your business goals and strategies, your business plan should include financial projections. This includes revenue projections, cash flow projections, and profit and loss statements. It is crucial to be realistic when developing your financial projections, as these numbers will be used to secure funding and attract investors.
Another critical aspect of your business plan is a description of potential challenges and how you plan to overcome them. This might include market fluctuations, changing regulations, or unexpected expenses. By anticipating potential challenges, you can develop contingency plans to help you stay on track even when things don’t go as planned.
Finally, it is essential to have a solid understanding of your industry and competition. This means researching industry trends, analyzing competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and identifying growth opportunities. By staying informed and adapting to changes in your industry, you can position your business for long-term success.

Step 4: Register Your Business

When starting a business, one essential step is registering your business with the government. This process varies depending on the location of your business, but in Toronto, there are main options for registering your business:
Business Name
The first step in registering your business is choosing a business name. Your business name should be unique and memorable and reflect your brand’s values and goals. You will need to check the availability of your chosen business name before registering it. This can be done through a name search on the website.
Business Number
After choosing a business name, you must register for a Business Number (BN). A BN is a unique nine-digit identifier the government uses to identify your business for tax purposes. Register for a BN through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website.
License and Permit
Once you have a BN, you must obtain the licenses and permits to operate your business legally. The licenses and permits you need will depend on the type of business you are starting and your business location. You can find information on the licenses and permits on the website.

Step 5: Secure Funding

Starting a business can be costly, and obtaining funding is crucial to launching your business. Entrepreneurs in Toronto have various funding options, including government grants and loans, venture capital, and angel investors.
Government grants and loans
Government grants and loans are among the most popular funding options for entrepreneurs in Toronto. The Canadian government funds small businesses through programs like the Canada Small Business Financing Program and the Canadian Innovation Program. These programs offer funding to startups working on innovative projects or creating jobs in their communities.
Venture capital
Venture capital is another funding option for entrepreneurs in Toronto. Venture capitalists are investors who fund startups in exchange for equity in the company. These investors are typically interested in high-growth startups with potential significant returns. In Toronto, many venture capital firms specialize in investing in startups, including OMERS Ventures and Georgian Partners.
Angel investors
Angel investors are also a popular funding option for entrepreneurs in Toronto. Angel investors are high net worth individuals who fund startups in exchange for equity in the company. They are often more willing to take risks than traditional investors and are interested in supporting innovative startups. In Toronto, many angel investor groups, such as Maple Leaf Angels and Golden Triangle Angel Network, provide funding to startups.

Step 6: Hire Employees

Hiring employees can be a daunting task for many small business owners. It involves a lot of planning, preparation, and legal compliance. However, hiring the right people can also be one of the most rewarding experiences for a business owner, leading to increased productivity, better customer service, and higher profits. This blog post will discuss the important things you need to know when hiring employees.
Employment laws
First, you must familiarize yourself with the employment laws and regulations that apply to your business. The Government of Canada website offers information on minimum wage, overtime pay, vacation time, and termination pay. You should also consult with a lawyer or an HR specialist to ensure you comply with all the legal requirements.
Hiring plan
Once you have a right understanding of the legal framework, you can start creating your hiring plan. This should include a job description that outlines the responsibilities, qualifications, and experience required for the position. It would be best to determine the salary range and benefits package you can offer.
Job advertising
When you start advertising the position, make sure to use a variety of channels, such as online job boards, social media, and networking events. This will help you reach a wider pool of candidates and increase your possibilities of finding the right fit for your business.
As the applications start, you should review them carefully and shortlist the candidates that meet your criteria. You can then schedule interviews with them in person or through video conferencing. During the interview, ask questions relevant to the job and assess the candidate’s skills, experience, and personality.
job offer
Once you have decided on who to hire, you should make a job offer that includes the terms and conditions of employment. This should also include any probationary period or performance expectations. Make sure to communicate clearly with the candidate and answer any questions they may have.
Train New Employment
After the new employee starts, it is important to provide them with an orientation and training program. This should include an introduction to the company culture, policies, procedures, and specific job training. It is also a good idea to assign a mentor or supervisor who can provide guidance and support during onboarding.
Employee Policy
Finally, consider creating an employee handbook outlining your company policies and procedures. This should include attendance, vacation time, sick leave, and performance expectations. Having a clear and consistent set of policies can help avoid misunderstandings and conflicts in the workplace.

Step 7: Market Your Business

Marketing is key to any business’s success. Once your business is operational, you must devise a marketing plan to connect with your target audience. You can access resources such as,, and HubSpot to learn about marketing strategies and best practices.
Marketing involves determining the right mix of products, prices, promotions, and place to reach your target market. Understanding your audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviors is essential in developing an effective marketing plan. By doing so, you can tailor your messaging and promotions to appeal to their specific needs and preferences.
Your marketing plan should include a mix of online and offline marketing tactics. Online marketing includes search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, and online advertising. Offline marketing includes tactics such as print advertising, events, and direct mail.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is optimizing your website to improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). Optimizing your website’s content, structure, and code can improve your rankings for relevant search queries, driving more organic traffic to your site.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing involves promoting your business on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Creating and sharing engaging content can build a following and connect with potential customers.
Email marketing
Email marketing affects sending promotional emails to your email list. By crafting compelling subject lines and messages, you can encourage your subscribers to act, such as purchasing or signing up for a newsletter.
Online advertising
Online advertising involves paying for ads on search engines or social media platforms to drive traffic to your site. You can reach your ideal customers and increase your brand’s visibility by targeting specific keywords or audience demographics.
Print advertising
Print advertising involves placing ads in newspapers, magazines, or other print media. By creating eye-catching ads and targeting publications that are read by your target audience, you can increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.
Business Events
Trade shows or community events allow you to showcase your products or services to a live audience. You can attract potential clients and generate leads by creating engaging displays and promotional materials.
Direct Mail
Direct mail involves sending promotional materials, such as flyers or postcards, to a targeted audience. You can reach potential customers who have yet to hear of your business by targeting specific demographics or geographic areas.
Are you looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or increase sales? You must first determine your marketing goals and objectives to create an effective marketing plan. Once you have identified your goals, you can develop strategies.
Your marketing plan should also include a budget and a timeline for implementing your tactics. Setting realistic goals and budgets ensures your marketing efforts align with your overall business strategy.

Step 8: Get Help

Starting a business is a challenging endeavor that requires great determination, hard work, and, most importantly, a solid support system. The Government of Canada website offers resources and support for entrepreneurs, which can be incredibly valuable when starting a new business.
One of the most critical resources available to entrepreneurs is mentorship programs. These programs provide new business owners with guidance and support from experienced entrepreneurs who have already started a business. This support can be invaluable, as it can help new business owners avoid common pitfalls and make informed decisions.
In addition to mentorship programs, the Government of Canada website also offers networking events and workshops. These events are an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect with other business owners, share ideas, and gain valuable insights into the business world. Attending these events can also help entrepreneurs build their professional network, which can be crucial for future success.
Business associations and chambers of commerce are other valuable resource for entrepreneurs. These organizations provide a forum for entrepreneurs to connect with other business owners in their community and gain access to resources and information that can help them grow their businesses. A business association or chamber of commerce member can also help entrepreneurs establish themselves as credible and trustworthy business owners in their community.
Starting a business can be daunting, but with the right support and resources, it can also be incredibly rewarding. By taking advantage of mentorship programs, networking events, and workshops, as well as joining business associations and chambers of commerce, entrepreneurs can build the support system they need to succeed. The Government of Canada website is an excellent place to start when looking for resources and support for entrepreneurs.
One of the most significant benefits of seeking support and resources from the Government of Canada website is that these resources are often available free of charge. This is particularly important for new business owners operating on a tight budget. By taking advantage of these resources, entrepreneurs can access the information and support they need to start and grow their businesses without breaking the bank.
Another benefit of seeking support from the Government of Canada website is that the information and resources are often tailored to Canadian entrepreneurs. This means entrepreneurs can access information and resources relevant to their needs and challenges. For example, Canadian entrepreneurs may face unique challenges when navigating government regulations or accessing financing. The Government of Canada website resources can help them overcome these challenges.

Step 9: Find a Location

Choosing the ideal location for your business is essential to its success. You must take into account several factors, such as traffic and accessibility. Fortunately, the City of Toronto website has numerous resources to help you locate the perfect spot for your business.
When selecting a location, you must first determine your business type. A retail store, for example, will require a different location than a manufacturing facility. Your target market is also an important consideration, as you will want to choose a location that is easily accessible to them.
Traffic is critical to the success of a retail store. You must choose a location where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic. Consider the area’s demographics when selecting a location for your business.
Accessibility is also important. Your location should be easily accessible to your customers, whether they are arriving by car or public transportation. Choosing a location that is difficult to access will deter potential customers from visiting your business.
Competition is another factor to consider when selecting a location. If several businesses in the area already offer the same products or services as yours, it may be challenging to attract customers. It may be more advantageous to choose a location with less competition or to differentiate your business in some way to stand out.
Once you have identified a suitable location, you must set up your business operations. This includes establishing a business bank account, obtaining insurance, and creating an accounting system.
Business Bank
A business bank account is necessary for separating your business and personal finances. It will also make tracking your business’s expenses and revenue easier.
Insurance is also crucial for protecting your business against unexpected theft, damage, or liability. It would be best to speak with an insurance agent to determine what types of insurance your business requires.
accounting system
An accounting system is necessary for managing your business’s finances. It will help you keep track of your expenses and revenue and generate financial statements and reports. You can use accounting software or hire an accountant to manage your financial operations.
By following these steps and utilizing the resources available, you can start and grow a successful business that can help you achieve your entrepreneurial dreams.
Starting a business in Toronto, Canada, can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following the steps outlined in this manual and utilizing the resources available, you can start and grow a successful business in Toronto. Remember to conduct market research, develop a solid business plan, register your business, secure funding, hire employees, market your business effectively, find the right location, set up your business operations, and seek help when needed. Good luck on your entrepreneurial journey!
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2023.06.01 17:49 Reddichu Tired of shitty abusing admins? Tired of RP cliques that aren't welcoming to new RPers? Tired of broken cities?! So are we!!!

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2023.06.01 17:47 Reddichu Tired of shitty abusing admins? Tired of RP cliques that aren't welcoming to new RPers? Tired of broken cities?! So are we!!!

SYLVYR DOT NET offers a unique roleplay experience. Development staff strives to meet your needs and wants in this online city.
We are a group of dedicated Roleplayers looking to create some awesome stories and fun times.
Whether you're new to FiveM or Roleplaying all together our community is here to help!
Want something added? Just ask! We’ll do whatever we can to tailor the city to our player’s needs.
Updated DAILY!
Join Our Discord!
Check out our promotional video on YouTube!
Coming Soon: Insane Drug Scripts. More custom clothing, custom cars, and custom MLOs. (MADE BY US!!!)
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Careers – Own Your Own Business



Fire Rescue


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