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AITA for feuding with my husband (50) after he converting our new SUV into a Monster truck?
After years of saving, we finally had enough money to replace one of our 2 old family vehicles with a new one. Both of our older vehicles had become a bit old and janky, and we wanted a car that had leather seats and a bit of luxury so that we could take long road trips and drives in a pleasant way. We planned to keep this car for the next 10 years. We were replacing the SUV he normally drives because it was a couple years older then the one I drive - so I told him to pick any SUV he wanted because he'd be the primary driver. Once I said that, he decided on a Toyota 4Runner, a SUV that is more like a truck and something he knew I would hate. I swallowed my opinion and stuck to my word, and even agreed to go over our budget $10,000 so he could get all the bells a whistles. I thought, "Well, I hate it, but at least he's happy." The following week he blacked out all the chrome with a blackout kit. Then he tinted the front side windows. Then he bought a tow kit with a trailer we don't need. (He works behind a desk). He said - "I'm getting new tires and then I'm done." Fast forward to me returning from visiting family to our $45,000 4runner with monster tires, a lift kit, and a giant tow hitch cork of an animated character. We are in our 50's. He took me for a ride and at 5'2", I had to struggle to get into it. Since he also "leveled" it - it drives like an off road vehicle. It's bumpy and harsh. The "nice" car we'd planned to take on trips and to dinner is now a monster truck. When I tried to move it yesterday morning from the driveway to get my car, I cranked the wheel, and the giant tires scrapped the wheel well and made a loud "ssccreechhh" as neighbors watched in disbelief and amusement. One neighbor friend asked if "I was OK." The tires are too big for the wheel well so my husband had to hack off part of the brand new car's wheel well to accommodate these giant tires. I got the credit card bill - he spent $2500 on these tires and rims. I'm beside myself. We've been fighting nonstop. I would never do something like this to him and I don't understand how or what is happening. We rarely vacation so long drives were our way of connecting - now long drives are out unless I want to go for a bumpy and embarrassing experience. Even my 12 year old son feels embarrassed by this vehicle, and said to me "dad wants me to have the truck when I go to high school - do I have to take it?" He doesn't want to be dropped off in it - we live in a fairly conservative area that is densely populated - no where near the country where maybe this truck makes sense? When I see this monstrosity on our narrow street, I'm filled with sadness that I can't shake. It's a car I can't enjoy - but my husband loves it. If he told me he wanted a monster truck - we could have split up the $45,000 - gotten him a slightly older truck to modify, and still gotten a decent replacement family car - but now we are tapped. AITA? UPDATE: I asked him to read all the comments here and we'd talk when I came home. When I returned, he read them, but said it wasn't fair because it wasn't "a monster truck" - yes the tires were bigger and yes it need a lift kit to accommodate, and yes, he had to trim the wheel well even after the lift kit - but technically it wasn't "a monster truck". (To me it was, but it wasn't the clownish ones he showed me online.) I agreed it could be worse - so (for my husband) "hey Reddit peeps, my bad - it wasn't an actual monster truck, I took creative liberties that were not fair and I apologize." Then we moved on to the bigger issue for me - my main issue was that he turned our brand new family vehicle into a mod toy that only he would enjoy. I told him it was uncomfortable and embarrassing. He really couldn't understand the "embarrassing" part. Why did I care what others thought?? He really tried to convince me that I was too concerned about what others thought and that I had a problem. At this point I changed the subject to "can we go to the store and pick up dinner?" He was grateful for the change of subject and I went upstairs to change. I put on the tightest pink v-neck t-shirt I could find, and stuffed my sport bra with every pair of socks in my drawer. I then rolled up a few t-shirts and stuffed them in for good measure. My body was now in the shape of a very top heavy letter "P". I then commenced to tease out my long hair into the perfect 80's hairdo with lots of hairspray with makeup to match. I also threw on a pair of heels with my leggings. When I walked past our kids, they laughed. When I walked down the stairs, my husband's eyes widened. He was betting I wouldn't go outside like that, and he said "let's go" - thinking he was calling my bluff. I strutted my stuff right to his truck with an exaggerated swing. He started to sweat. Once we were in, he said - "where to?" I said, "the grocery store" (smack dab in the center of town). Halfway there - he said "Fine, I get your point". I said "take me to the store". It was packed. Once we got there I jumped out, arched back, and started strutting to the entrance - at this point he panicked and said "I get it, I get it!!!" I turned around and said - "are you sure?" - the look of fear in his eyes was enough. We both returned to the truck. Afterwards we went for a drive and had a long talk. He explained that what he thought he was buying and what actually ended up on the car wasn't exactly the same, but he felt he was in too deep. (Didn't help that the car guys were all patting him on the back in admiration). He then convinced himself that this look was even better than what he really wanted. I then explained that a modification could void our warranty. This really freaked him out - he didn't think about this. Luckily it is the kind of lift that can easily be removed. I think in the end, the voided warranty is what swayed him. We'll take a financial hit for sure, but we're in a much better place today than this morning, and are trying to figure out what works for both of us. I'm so glad the guy I married showed up today, because I didn't marry "monster truck guy" - he's a total A-hole.
[Cryoverse] The Last Precursor 023: Order to Chaos
The Last Precursor is an HFY-exclusive web-serial which focuses on the exploits of the last living human amidst a galaxy of unknown aliens. With his species all but extinct and now only known as the ancient Precursors, how will Admiral José Rodriguez survive in this hostile universe? Make sure to read the earlier chapters first if you missed them! Do you like the story? Subscribe to HFY bot and get notified when I post new parts!
Previous Part Part 001 ....................................... Aboard the UTC Bloodbearer, inside the main Bridge. José Rodriguez, the last Terran, a Precursor from 100,000,000 years in the past, stands silently with his hands behind his back. He gazes through the armored windows on the Bridge at the motionless stars outside. All around him, more than a hundred holographic crew created by the ship's synthmind, Umi, sit in various control seats, plugging away at the different ship systems. The Admiral wears a navy blue uniform, mixed with the blood-red and gold of the United Terran Coalition's flag colors. His nine-foot (almost three meters) stature makes him appear like a giant compared to not only the holographic crew around him, but more than three dozen Kessu standing idly within the thirty-feet of space nearest him. Each of the cat-like aliens barely reaches Admiral Rodriguez's knees, and those that do only manage the feat thanks to their cute little pointy ears. The panda-colored Kessu closest to José, Elder Nyoor, stares ahead with a grave look on his face. "Great Precursor, how much longer until we arrive?" The Terran smiles at the aged kitty-cat leaning on a cane. "Not long now, Nyoor. Two or three minutes." "Mmm. I'm excited, but also terribly anxious," Elder Nyoor mutters, a downcast look in his eyes. The old cat sighs heavily, his frail and thin frame making him appear pitiful. "If Felabi has perished, along with the rest of my village... this old one may faint from the heartache. I cannot bear the thought of burying my child before I die. It's not something any parent should ever have to do." José nods. "You must believe in your child, Nyoor." "Yes," Says Baaru, Nyoor's wife, a Kessu with beautiful red, fox-like fur. "The Little Machine God could not pierce the mountain with its all-seeing-eye when we rescued the other Kessu, but perhaps the Admiral's personal Machine God can. We must have faith!" Despite having grown somewhat used to their days aboard the Bloodbearer and the Slipstream, none of the Kessu can quite break away from calling the different synthminds and ships 'machine gods.' However, in lieu of Umi and the Bloodbearer being far larger and more incredible than the Slipstream, they cannot help but refer to the 14th-Era stealth craft as the 'Little' Machine God. "A 14th Era vessel, even an advanced experimental craft like the Slipstream, can't penetrate more than half a kilometer of thick planetary crust," José clarifies. "However, any average 50th Era ship, let alone one at the pinnacle of the 50th Era, would easily pierce more than 50 to 100 kilometers of dense planetary crust. This is thanks to advanced electromagnetic spectral imaging techniqu-... never mind. Just rest assured that it will be a simple matter." With a light chuckle, José stops short of going into an advanced technical explanation of how the Bloodbearer's planetary scanners function. Given the Kessu's ignorance regarding technology, most of them couldn't understand it even if he spent 100 hours. ...Except for the black-haired female kitten sitting in the captain's chair behind José. Little Lele rolls her eyes but doesn't say anything, clearly annoyed that the other Kessu aren't capable of comprehending even the most basic elements of technology. "Admiral Rodriguez," Umi chimes from above. "We will exit Inverted Space in one minute, thirty seconds." "Thanks for the heads-up, Umi. All crew, ready yourselves for combat. There is a small possibility we may encounter Kraktol vessels above Tarus II's surface, so be on your guard and initiate subspace sweeps upon our arrival." "Yes, Admiral," Says Penelope, a brown-haired 'female' holo-crewmember. "Admiral, I would like to mention that as of three days ago, we have successfully restored forty percent of the Bloodbearer's teleportation functionality." José turns to look at the holo-entity. Penelope sits in the First Officer's position, managing much of the ship's needs when the Admiral isn't around. Her vaguely-defined face leaves barely any impression on most people, but for José, she and the other holo-crew are the only reminders of what other Terrans look like, aside from his reflection in the mirror. "Forty percent. What are our logistical limitations?" Penelope blinks, her eye motions coordinated by an advanced simulation matrix capable of mimicking human facial tics. Even this simple movement still looks somewhat fake to the Admiral. "Well, as of now, we can transport approximately ten individuals per activation. Our cooldown and recalibration time will require seventeen minutes after each round of teleportation, and if we factor in the Kessu population size of roughly 100,000 individuals-" "We won't use the ship's transporters to bring the Kessu aboard," José interrupts. "The Kessu are already ignorant of technology. If ten of them start disappearing into thin air from their villages at a time, they're liable to suffer fear-induced heart-attacks. We'll use the Slipstream to bring them aboard, like before." Penelope lowers her eyes to the computer control panel mounted beside her. "Yes, Admiral. I will make the adjustments at once." Several seconds later, the Bridge door opens, and Soren walks in, followed by her sister, Megla. The reptilian Kraktol walk carefully to not bump into the holo-crew, as well as to avoid squishing the tiny Kessu at their feet. "Sorry we're late," Megla says while yawning loudly. "It took me longer to wash up than I expected." Soren glances at her sister wordlessly before continuing in José's direction. "My sincerest apologies, Admiral. What did we miss?" "Not much," José answers. "Penelope just informed me that the transporters have come back online, so that's good news. We'll arrive over Tarus II in about a minute, so you actually picked the perfect time to show up." Soren cocks her head. "What's this about a 'transporter'? I'm not familiar with that word." "Me neither," Megla chimes in. "What is that?" José momentarily blanks out. "Huh? You... you've never heard of a transporter; a teleportation device?" Both Kraktol stop at the edges of the three dozen Kessu surrounding José and shake their heads wordlessly. The Admiral frowns. "How is that possible? Humanity invented rudimentary transporters back before the First Era of interstellar colonization. Let alone a 50th Era vessel, even 5th and 10th Era spaceships should have sufficiently advanced long-range teleportation capabilities to transport to and from a planet's surface. Don't tell me this is a rare blind spot on your otherwise high knowledge-base, Soren?" The red-scaled Kraktol slowly shakes her head. "Uh... I'm at a loss for words, Admiral. I've never heard of 'teleporters.' Based on your description, it sounds as if they... move things around? Like shuttles?" Several seconds pass. José's entire face becomes warped with disbelief as he wrestles with the concept of a space-faring species that has never heard of as basic a concept as teleportation. "...Umi. Check the records taken from the Kraktol fleet. Are there any mentions of transporters in their recovered data-files?" "Negative, Admiral," comes Umi's immediate reply. "I am unable to find any mention of the term. Admiral, I must inform you that we will exit Inverted Space in fifteen seconds." Nodding slowly, José's thoughts churn like a raging volcano. What in the Divine Emperor's name? The degradation of technology over time is already unfortunate, but how is it possible that the Kraktol have become entirely unaware of the existence of teleportation? Are they merely less advanced than the rest of the galaxy? Might the Mallali possess it in secret? I don't understand! His mystified expression causes both of the Kraktol sisters to look at one another. They shrug in unison, neither one understanding the Admiral's out-of-character reaction. "Have you ever seen the Admiral this flustered?" Megla whispers. "Never," Soren replies, her voice equally low. "Whatever a 'transporter' is, it must have been common before the Terrans fell." José shakes his head in disbelief, then looks at Soren. "I'll explain it later. For now, let's focus on rescuing the Kessu." "Ah! Yes, Admiral," Soren nods respectfully. Several seconds later, the ship shudders slightly. The stars instantly change their positions, jumping into seemingly random spots from their previous spots. All of a sudden, a giant ball of green, brown, and blue appears before the Bloodbearer, seemingly popping into existence out of nowhere. The Kessu jump slightly, their hearts skipping a beat at Tarus II's abrupt appearance. They settle down within seconds, swallowing their adrenaline to look at José with hope-filled eyes. "Initiating long-range scans," Umi intones emotionlessly. "Zero Kraktol vessels discovered on or around the planet of Tarus II. I cannot detect any ion trails newer than one month. Additionally, my scans of the planet indicate a rich ecosystem only lightly scarred by interstellar warfare. As Commander Orgon's orders indicated, none of the Kraktol stayed in orbit around Tarus II. All of them chased after the Slipstream." Several sighs of relief go up from the Kessu. They breathe much easier knowing their planet is safe, unmolested by the invaders who once wished to conquer them. Megla crosses her arms. "Humph. I respected Orgon, but his greed was insatiable. He would have sold his own spawn if it meant a promotion. Naturally, chasing after a 14th Era vessel would ignite every inch of that unquenchable greed." "It's not that I doubted you," José clarifies, "but that one must always be cautious and never believe in the predictability of others. I have fought countless wars, and most of them ended due to one side slipping up tactically and pressing ahead on ground they assumed was within their grasp. What if the Thülvik thought to send a second fleet behind the first one? What if the Buzor or Mallali learned of your attack on Tarus II and decided to follow-up with ill intentions? Always assume the worst, and you'll live long, like this old fox." Both of the Kraktol nod in unison, savoring the words of wisdom from the almighty Terran, a being who can seemingly perform miracles with his all but limitless knowledge. As the ship draws nearer to Tarus II, the two of them take over the Tactical and Exploration consoles to scan for Kessu cities. "Admiral," Soren says, "I've located Elder Nyoor's village, as per Synthmind 031's recorded coordinates. After scanning the nearby mountain range, I've detected roughly fifty Kessu survivors underground." Soren turns her head to look at José. However, the Admiral doesn't reply. Instead, the Terran stares ahead, a distant look in his eyes, as he gazes upon the blue-green orb swallowing up the Bloodbearer's windows. "I came here often, you know," José says. "Tarus II, I mean. As I said before, this used to be a lush but deadly prison planet. Countless terrifying predator species roamed its forests. Unlike most prison worlds, this one was somewhat unique. We didn't confine the prisoners to underground cells, but merely dropped them here without any resources. The strong survived, while the weak perished." He continues. "To think that this planet, once home to the galaxy's most disgusting, horrific criminals, has now become the homeworld of cute little kitty-cats... it leaves me with an odd lump in my throat. I know that the galaxy has changed, and drastically at that, but still... seeing this world in particular makes me feel... nostalgic." José falls silent. As the Kraktol gaze at him, his thoughts slowly revolve. He gives himself ample time to gaze at the scenery and think about the state of the galaxy. "Tarus II has two super-continents, both of them separated by a wide ocean. However, looking at them now, they seem to have noticeably shifted due to continental drift. 100,000,000 years... it's unlikely much remains of the Terran strongholds, but I can't help my curiosity on this matter. Umi, perform a detailed scan of Tarus II's topography. Show me a manipulable map of its terrain; let me get a feel for its current situation." As José speaks, he turns around and walks to the Admiral's chair, where Little Lele sits, careful not to step on the Kessu near his feet. The kitten stares at him with her sparkling brown eyes. "Do you wanna sit here, Big Baldy?" José smiles. "I do. Of course, cats have a way of stealing a humans' chair. Let's compromise." He grabs the kitten by her sides, plops in the chair, and sets her on his lap. "Have you ever seen a holo-map before?" Lele nods. "Mhm!" The Admiral, expecting her to say no, blinks in surprise. "Err, you have? Where?" "My aunt showed me," Lele says, as she casually licks her paw. "Aunt Lorrie has all kinds of neat stuff. I've gone to visit her every couple of weeks since I was born." Lele's father, Ruuki, a tiger-striped Kessu, walks over and bows politely. "Great Precursor, what my daughter says is true. I have taken her to visit her aunt in the nearby city of Hadris many times. My sister, Lorrie, teaches kittens in the local school. Lele naturally takes after her, so she is just as smart as my sister." A glint appears in José's eyes as he gently pets Lele's head. "Hmm. This 'Lorrie' must be quite intelligent, indeed, if she can turn Lele into a genius. I'll make sure to pay my respects when we rescue her." Without giving the matter any additional thought, José falls silent and waits for Umi to finish a topographical scan. Eventually, a holographic, three-dimensional map materializes before José's face. The Admiral uses one hand to balance Lele on his leg, and the other to grab and the air and start twisting, spinning, and panning around the virtual atlas. The Kessu stare at the hologram with sparkles in their eyes, clearly excited by the 'magic' José uses to gaze down upon their world like a lofty god. However, Lele and the Kraktol appear considerably less impressed. As José examines the different continents, Lele points at a cluster of mountains. "There. That's where me and daddy live." "A well-fortified location," José says, examining it with the eye of a military man. "A dense forest to the south, and mountains halfway encircling the village. It looks like this spot here must be the caves where your people fled?" "Mhm," Lele answers without hesitation. "And over here, see this place? It's Hadris." Lele points at a small city some 100 kilometers from her village. The size of it appears small and somewhat insignificant, but José still scrutinizes it. "How interesting. Megla, Soren. Come look at this." The Kraktol blink in confusion, but they follow José's orders and walk over to examine the map. "Yes, Admiral?" José lazily spins his finger in a circle around the city of Hadris. "What do you see here?" Clearly confused, both of the women shrug. "Brick buildings?" Megla asks. "Let me be more specific," José says, his voice containing a hint of mystery. "When you look at this Kessu city, is there anything about its architecture or layout that jumps out at you?" Megla laughs. "Kyargh! It's primitive!" "I suppose it's... orderly?" Soren adds, her voice raising an octave. "That's a good observation," the Admiral says, praising Soren. "Orderly. The buildings in this city belong to a species that, for whatever reason, gave up space technology and travel, yet if you examine the layout of Hadris's streets, and pay attention to the uniformity of its building designs, you might notice it has a distinct sense of planning and design to its name. This, of course, bears witness to how the Kessu were once scientists and explorers, a species which focused on comprehending the chaos of the universe to bring out its order from within." Megla appears just as mystified as ever, but Soren's eyes change slightly. "Admiral, we... we already know the Kessu used to be scientists and engineers. Why are you bringing up their architecture and city design all of a sudden?" José chuckles wryly. "The fact you have to ask somewhat saddens me, but I suppose it's expected. Tell me, among all the Terran artifacts the modern archaeologists have uncovered, have any of them told the tale of the Volgrim?" "No," Soren answers. "You've mentioned them before, but that was the first time I'd ever heard of them." With all the Kessu and Kraktol gazing at him, José sighs melancholically. "I suppose it makes sense. The first and greatest enemy humanity defeated to ascend to the stars were the Volgrim, alien overlords who ruled the Milky Way. They controlled every planet, every sector, every rock on every moon. After we defeated them, their historical records ended up inside of museums and vaults, rarely seeing the light of day. However, there was one manual which became exceedingly prolific among every Terran military force. No matter who they were or what position they had in society, every cadet had to become intimately familiar with its words, memorize its contents, and treat it as their bible." He continues. "That manual was known as the 'Order to Chaos.' Its author was none other than the First Founder of the Volgrim, humanity's greatest enemy and the former undisputed ruler of the galaxy... Unarin." Megla crosses her arms. She doesn't say anything, and neither does Soren. However, both of them appear at least somewhat interested in this tale of humanity's greatest enemy. "Unarin was not a powerful combatant, not even compared to a mediocre Private like myself," José says, somewhat self-deprecatingly. "But within his mind lurked the wisdom of a thousand dragons. He was so frighteningly intelligent that he could see through any deception, any ploy, and any lie, no matter how great or insignificant... and he only needed to do one thing." José gestures at the holographic map. "He would merely look at the order of something, the way a society constructed itself, and he would comprehend their very being. In this way, he could see through their intentions and predict their actions." This time, Soren's expression becomes one of shock, while Megla's morphs to disbelief. "Do you expect us to believe that? Kyargh! It sounds like nonsense to me! What, so this 'Unarin' could look at a city and instantly figure out its people's thoughts? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" Soren nods slowly. "It... it does sound improbable." "I studied the 'Order to Chaos' countless times. It became a sort of holy scripture in my eyes," José says, a faint smile on his face. He gazes at the holographic map with a look of sadness. "But I never fully understood its meaning. I could understand much of Unarin's theories. I could force myself to comprehend some of his underlying assumptions... but the deeper intent behind his words always evaded me. Compared to the legends regarding how he could annihilate any combat formation within minutes, I've always felt rather... inadequate." With a shake of his head, José continues. "In any case, due to Umi's memory degradation, I've since lost the 'Order to Chaos' manual. I memorized it thousands of years ago, so I'll write it down for you sometime. I just wanted to explain that there are certain things in this world you can't take for granted... even something as simple as the layout of a city." A moment passes. "I will await your completion of this scripture," Soren mutters, her expression somber. "If it's really as incredible as you say, I'd love to read it." Megla waves her hand flippantly. "I'll pass. I hate reading, anyway. It always makes my head hurt." "Suit yourself," José sighs. He returns to looking at the city layout and scrunches his forehead in concentration. "Looking at Hadris's layout, this building here seems different from the others. I'm willing to bet this is where the city's leader lives." The Admiral points at one of the many square, three-story structures on the map. It looks no different from the others, but Lele pipes up, astonishment in her voice. "Yeah! That's my aunt Lorrie's house! How did you figure that out?" "This city is indeed highly organized," José replies, "but among all the buildings, this one appears four meters taller. Given how the building's actual height is no different from the identically-shaped structures surrounding it, I glanced at its base and noticed someone had deliberately built it upon a small, earthen hill. Such a small lump of earth could have easily been dug out and set aside, so someone clearly intended for this structure to be a little taller than the others. Subtle, but this added loftiness gives its occupants a slight sense of distinction, making others subconsciously raise their heads when greeting them." Concluding his examination, José shrugs. "My logical conclusion was that its occupant must have been the city's 'leader.' However, I can tell that, based upon the structure's relative normalcy among the buildings surrounding it, the leader must be one in status, but not in name. They are neither a monarch, nor a king, nor a sovereign. Instead, they are more like a respected elder; someone afforded their position because of their accomplishments, someone who worked hard to earn their prestige. I find those sorts of people to be the most admirable." By now, even Megla realizes José's words must have some truth to them. "You... you can tell all of that... just by looking at the city?" "Not quite," José laughs, embarrassment on his face. "I cheated a little. I'm already well-acquainted with the Kessu, and Lele's words have given me a few hints in this direction. For someone who truly comprehends the 'Chaos to Order,' they could deduce even more than me with a single glance. I'm actually quite shameful in comparison." Soren's eyes contain a distant gaze. "...No. I think you're... remarkable, Admiral. I feel as if, once again, my eyes have opened into another world I never knew existed. Incredible. To pick up this much information without actually speaking to any of the people on the surface... and the most unbelievable thing is, when I listen to your words, they are both sound and logical. They are neither snap-judgments nor mere guesses." Feeling not only embarrassed, but a little self-conscious, José waves his hand and disperses the holo-map. He stands up while holding Lele in his arm and blushes. "Err, never mind all that. There's no need to praise me over something this trivial. Once you see the Chaos to Order manual yourself, I'm sure you'll make similar shallow observations as me. It's nothing to be proud of. In any case, let's get to work! We need to pick up the Kessu from Tarus II and bring them aboard." As José pushes past the Kraktol, an evil smile plays on Megla's face. She watches as the Admiral walks toward the door and chuckles to herself. "Hee-hee! So the Admiral can make a face like this too, eh? He's so cute when he's shy!" Soren sighs. "Sister. Don't tease the Admiral." "Aww, but why not? Kyargh! I've never seen him so self-conscious! We need to praise him more in the future so he keeps making those cute faces!" "...You are a strange one," Soren mutters. She walks behind José, and her sister follows after. The Kessu stay on the bridge. "Great Precursor!" Nyoor calls out. "Shall I come as well?" José pauses just before walking outside. "No, Elder Nyoor, you can take a rest. I'll use Lele as my guide. The rest of you stay behind. Megla, you can come with me to the planet below. Soren, you stay here and keep an eye out from the Bridge." Soren stops abruptly a few feet behind the Admiral. "Huh? You don't want me to come?" "No," José says, his expression turning serious. "I need someone competent to stay aboard the Bloodbearer. I trust you will contact me if your people show up in space?" Soren glances at Megla, disappointment in her eyes. "...Yes. I will stay. I'll tell you if any Kraktol vessels appear." "Good!" José beckons to Megla. "You come with me. Also, Ruuki, since you're Lele's father, why don't you come along? I want to travel light so that the Slipstream has plenty of room for passengers." Ruuki starts to step forward, but hardly has he taken five steps before Nyoor's wife, Baaru, follows after him. "I'll come, too! Don't you worry about me, Great Precursor. This old woman still has plenty of spring in her step!" "Err," José hesitates. "We really don't want to take too many people..." "My little kitten, Felabi, is down there!" Baaru protests. She stops a few feet from José's knees and gazes up at him defiantly. "I'm also the Matriarch of my village! The others will trust you more if I'm there to assure them." To her surprise, José doesn't protest. "Ah, good point. I hadn't thought of that. Very well, I'll have to trouble you." The party of five turns to leave. Baaru waves goodbye to Nyoor, and he waves back, not worried in the slightest about her health. "Prraw! You take care, my dear! Bring our son back, safe and sound!" "I most certainly will," Baaru meows, assuming a dignified posture. The group leaves, and the Bridge falls silent. After a minute, Soren sighs and walks over to the Admiral's chair. Once she's plopped down, she glances at the ceiling. "Synthmind, can we follow their progress on the planet with your sensors?" "Affirmative," Umi intones. "Given the readings I've taken for the Kessu inside the caves, all of them seem to be in relatively good health. A half-dozen of them appear malnourished, but the rest have plenty of energy left. With the Admiral going there in person, there's no chance any creature on the planet will be able to threaten the Kessu." Soren frowns. "I know the Admiral is strong... far stronger than any Kraktol I've ever met... but sometimes I wonder what his limit is. Is he... invincible?" Umi's reply is about as dry and bland as anyone could imagine. "In this era, that is a distinct possibility." Following Umi's reply, everyone on the Bridge quietly waits for the Admiral and his crew's departure. Next Part ....................................... Author Note: If you enjoy what you've just read, please consider subscribing to my Patreon! I am very poor and presently jobless due to Coronavirus, so every dollar helps. You get access to Cryopod artwork, and plenty of other exclusive posts, with more to come soon. Also consider reading The Cryopod to Hell, the primary story in the Cryoverse! I'll be returning to TCTH for the next week or two after this TLP part. Both stories are part of the Cryoverse, so they're deeply interlinked. You don't wanna miss them! Thank you!
You know who I hate? People who talk about Star Wars on the internet. For some reason the way Star Wars fans phrase their posts just fucking bugs me. They type like it's a college thesis, like they're a Star Wars intellectual, like people will think they're cool for their deep knowledge on the EU lore. I see this everywhere, in WhoWouldWin threads, in the comments of posts on here, even in the comments of my Star Wars RTs. There's always those one or two people who draft up a fucking essay, and the worst part is they always get their facts wrong while still speaking with that trademark air of false authority. They either mix canon and Legends or just use fan theory bullshit. God, I just hate people who talk about Star Wars on the internet so fucking much. Anyways, time to talk about Star Wars on the internet. I finally got done with this: the sequel to my last post about Legends wank. If you're wondering about what "Legends" is or why I hate Legends wank so much, just read that last post, it covers it all in the intro. Last post I focused on Palpatine, but this post doesn't really have any theme, still focusing on Dark Side stuff though. Speaking of my last post, I've actually updated it with new material, so go read it again if you want. I reference it a bit in here so you might want to do that to get context. Before getting into things, I want to address some criticisms of the last post.
You used WoG! - Yes, yes I did.
And that was the only criticism. Yeah, I guess that's a sign I did pretty well last time, because the Legends wank crowd just fixated on the one point I made that relied on WoG to ignore the entire thread instead of actually trying to come up with any actual rebuttals. Honestly I think it's a bit funny, cause I'm willing to bet my mother's life that if tomorrow George Lucas came out and said "mmm, every Legends Jedi is an MFTL multiverse buster," the same type of people who complain about using that piece of WoG would be tripping over each other to update the VSBW profiles first. But okay, let's talk about WoG. If you don't know what WoG is, it stands for Word of God, and people use it to refer to something an author says about their story outside of the context of that story. Think of J.K. Rowling saying wizards shit on the floor and use magic to clean it up on Twitter. It wasn't in a book, but the author said it. That's what WoG is. Personally, I think WoG should be judged on a case by case basis. This is how most battleboarders look at WoG, and I disagree with this mindset, I accept it more based on who's saying it and how much sense it makes with the presented material. I stand by using Tom Veitch's statements about Force Storms in my last post and still find them completely 100% legitimate, since he's the sole author of the Dark Empire story and his statements make the story make more sense instead of less. He also said it was the intended explanation when the comic was being released. I do, however, understand some people's trepidation when it comes to accepting WoG, which is why I've included other points about Force Storms in the post to outline why, even if you toss out WoG, they're still not applicable in most combat scenarios and don't scale to his other Force abilities. I learned my lesson though, and I won't be using any WoG in my Legends wank posts again. Not because I think using WoG is wrong to do, no, I just don't want the whole post to be ignored because of one point. So yeah, that's my piece on WoG, not gonna say any more about that. Onto the actual thread.
The Claim: Darth Nihilus is a surface wiper
When someone comments "Legends is crazy bro," they usually like to tack on a few examples of "crazy" Legends characters. Abeloth, Grandmaster Luke, the one Sith that was immortal, etcetera. Because of the Obi-Wan Death Battle, he's become a recent favorite for this - I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone say "Obi-Wan can open a black hole with his mind!" because of that garbage fucking video. But a perennial favorite of the "Legends is crazy bro" posters is Darth Nihilus, an intimidating black-cloaked villain from the Knights of the Old Republic series. From the way people talk about this guy, you'd think he's the Legends version of Galactus, a guy who flies around the galaxy eating planets and shitting out supernovas. Of course, as with all Legends characters, he is drastically, drastically oversold. Saying Nihilus "eats planets" is misleading. He doesn't suck up the entire mass of a planet into his mouth, he uses a special Force Drain technique to consume the Force energy of the population of a planet, which causes collateral damage for unspecified reasons. Though it's said/implied he's done this numerous times, we only see Nihilus actually do this once to a planet called Katarr, in a flashback scene in a comic. It's shown to cause widespread ruination and reduce people to skeletons. This is a good feat, sure, but the calc people toss around for it has more inflation than DeviantArt. A Narutoforums calc claims that he's outputting 727.586 petatons here. Or, as Death Battle would put it, 54 TRILLION HIROSHIMAS. Just look at the assumptions being made. It assumes that Katarr was obliterated to the point where it was a flat ball of dust and all the oceans were evaporated, based on the end of the comic where you can see it through the windows of Nihilus's ship and it's shown as a featureless ball. But this can be explained as the ship having moved further away from the planet to the point where you can't see any detail on it in the time between him wiping the planet and going down to pick up his disciple from the place. It's said to be days later in a text box, so for all we know he could've travelled to a completely different planet in that time. The comic obviously doesn't accurately draw Katarr to scale anyways, so it being depicted as a flat ball in the last pages is probably just artistic license anyways, if it's the same place. If that wasn't enough, we actually see what the surface of the planet looks like after the wipe, and check it out - there's still some shattered buildings around, ruined trees, and what looks like a still-standing tower in the background. I don't think those would be there if all the mountains were reduced to atoms and all the oceans were evaporated as the calc claims. So the 727 petatons number can be safely chucked in the dumpster. Look, I'm obviously not gonna say Nihilus can't surface wipe with his Force Drain. It's pretty explicit from the comic. But what I am gonna say is that nobody scales to it, his other powers don't scale to it, and it's also just kinda irrelevant. Before I cover those though, I just have one last thing to talk about: there's actually a debate on whether or not Nihilus's Force Drain is the thing that causes the damage when he "eats" a planet. It mostly comes from this one encyclopedia entry for him which says that he drew "more and more power from worlds that he blasted into ruin" while traveling on his special ship, the Ravager. So the "blasting" comes before the "drawing," or draining. Basically people use this to say that what Nihilus actually does is destroy the surface of planets with the Ravager's weaponry and then sucks the Force out from the people on it after. It's interesting, and the comic can actually line up with this idea if you read it a certain way. Honestly, a draining ability causing random explosions is pretty weird if you ask me, and the bystanders we see during this explosion seen don't really look like they're getting their Force drained. The depiction of his draining power is also off, in the game we see it's an orange energy bolt. No random explosions, no creeping black shadow. So it's possible the destruction we see in the comic is thanks to the Ravager firing on the colony, and the Force Drain happened after off-panel. So yeah, I see why people think this could line up. But there are, of course, things that contradict this. Visas, Nihilus's disciple and survivor of the attack says that the destruction of Katarr wasn't done with a ship and the KOTOR Campaign Guide conflicts with this too, since it said he wiped out the life on the planet "using the Force." So yeah, it's probably not the ship blasting thing. Just wanted to clarify that, cause I knew people would ask. From here on out I'm going with the regular interpretation.
Nobody scales to it
Nihilus is routinely pointed out as being an absolute oddity among the Sith and Force users in general. He's not even a regular being: he's a "Dark Side aberration", he's been called a living wound in the Force. His souped-up Force Drain is pretty well defined as a unique ability to him thanks to his specific origin and biology, and tons of Sith Lords have unique powers of their own. So scaling other Force users to his feat isn't really something you should do. I don't even think Palpatine could replicate this: sure, he could replicate any other of Nihilus's feats based on statements, but I don't know why he could use his super special wound in the Force "Lord of Hunger" Force Drain power. Saying that anyone who isn't a living wound in the Force powered by pure overwhelming hunger could replicate his special Dark Side hunger-fueled Force Drain just lacks any sort of sound basis and doesn't work either objectively or narratively.
His other powers don't scale to it
Sure, Nihilus can suck out people's Force energy on a planetary scale, but it's not like he can put that power behind a Force push or something. I think this is pretty obvious but I feel the need to point this out because of the "VSBW model of damage output scaling." This is a term I just made up for that thing VSBW does, you know, that thing. A witch could have two spells - shooting fireballs and making a big storm in the sky. VSBW will take how many biggatons it takes to make the storm, then claim her fireballs hit with the same force, when the best feat for the witch's fireballs is one lightly singing cardboard. It makes no sense to me because the fireball and the storm are obviously two separate things, so conflating them makes little sense. But of course, people will say "well, all his abilities are powered by the Force, so they should all be equivalent." Short answer, fuck off. Long answer, no, there's tons of Force users in Legends and canon that have like a specific "gimmick." Yarael Poof's gimmick in Legends is that he's good at illusions, as an example. Others are specifically talented at using the Force to make cold mist, or specifically talented at telepathy, or psychometry, or mind reading, or whatever. It's very, very well established that people can be better with certain Force powers than others. And once again, Nihilus's whole gimmick is that he's got a super special Force Drain he can use to suck the Force energy out of people. He's literally called THE LORD OF HUNGER. So saying "yeah his super special Force Drain damages a planet's surface, so he can do that with a Force push" is fucking dumb.
So his other powers don't scale to his Force Drain, hope you get that by now. So, outside of being useful for sucking out another character's Force energy in battle - which is a powerful move, believe me - his Force Drain's range is pretty much irrelevant. Sure, it can work on a pretty massive scale, but that doesn't really matter if he's just fighting one person. I'm not saying Force Drain isn't a good power against other Star Wars characters, just that the scale of it doesn't matter when people generally just put characters in one-on-ones on WhoWouldWin-type sites. It also doesn't matter if he's not fighting someone from the Star Wars universe, since logically they wouldn't have any Force in them for him to suck out. Yes, his Force Drain affects more than just Force users, but everyone in Star Wars has Force in them, even planets have Force in them - this is pretty consistent, they say this kinda stuff in the movies. So Nihilus's Force Drain is only really relevant when you match him up against another Star Wars character. But people like to equate stuff like life energy or ki or Force or chakra or Reishi or souls or whatever in battleboarding just to make things fair, so I guess that point is up to personal interpretation / the rules someone lays out in a thread.
Verdict: Only with a Force power that no one else scales to, that's unique to him, that his other powers don't scale to, and that's mostly irrelevant in a standard WhoWouldWin scenario.
The Claim: Vitiate is a surface wiper
There have been plenty of online Star Wars games over the years, but Star Wars: The Old Republic is easily the most popular. The main threat, as I understand, is this evil Sith guy with like 20 different names: Tenebrae, Valkorion, the Sith Emperor, whatever. Most people just call him Vitiate, as will I in this post. I don't really care for MMOs, so I never really got into SWTOR despite being a Star Wars fan. My only exposure to it has been through research for these Legends posts, and I have to say, it looks just as boring as any other MMO. I also just kinda hate every aspect of its design, but that's neither here nor there. This is a battleboarding post, and the big thing every "Legends is crazy bro" poster talks about from SWTOR is Vitiate's planet-wiping ritual. Yep, it's a ritual. Yeah, that word alone makes things pretty open-and-shut. Force rituals don't really scale to other abilities or Force users for obvious reasons. This particular ritual really doesn't scale, cause it requires - wait for it - the death of eight thousand Sith Lords to pull off. Sure, it wiped out all life on the planet it was performed on, a place called Nathema, which yeah, that's impressive. It worked by sucking all the Force out of the planet, which made Vitiate immortal and much, much stronger in the Force than he already was. It's a good ritual, not challenging that. But eight thousand Sith Lords is definitely not something Vitiate has on hand at all times. There's some other stuff I could mention about this Nathema ritual, like how it also took ten fucking days and required some kind of computer named Zildrog which killed all the Sith Lords or something, but I really don't have to. You see, nobody gives two shits about the Nathema ritual. That's right, I just wasted your fucking time talking about it. Here's the answer you'll get if you say "Vitiate's stuff is rituals" to your average Star Wars battleboarder.
While yes, the ritual on Nathema required the sacrifice of thousands, his later feat on the planet Ziost was done completely with his own power and was NOT a ritual. So, in summary, Darth Vader could TOTALLY blow up a planet bro!
So, let's talk about the Ziost wipe. The Ziost wipe, despite what people may claim, is still pretty obviously a ritual. Let's first explain the situation, I'm gonna be doing this in bullet points.
Some people try to say that this Codex entry disproves the idea that Ziost was a ritual. This is because it uses the word "but" while talking about rituals, separating the Ziost wipe from rituals as being its own different thing. This is not the greatest of arguments cause we see how the Ziost wipe works and I think it's pretty clearly supposed to be the same ritual Vitiate's famous for. The "but" here is more likely separating the "whispered rumors" nature of the previous planet-wiping events to the "clear display" of the Ziost ritual. The fact that they talk about an address to the Galactic Republic right after points to that. Honestly, it's how I read it the first time I saw it, this other interpretation didn't even cross my mind. So yeah, it's a ritual. He can maybe activate it of his own power after the Nathema amp, but still, it's a ritual - very clearly its own thing with its own purpose and means of being performed. There might be some differences in the execution of Nathema and Ziost, but the practically identical outcomes show that the same principle is at play. And again, the ritual is more akin to a planetary Force Drain like what Nihilus does than some sort of planet-killing death wave. So let me address the same points as I did for Nihilus here.
Nobody scales to it
Saying that people can scale to a ritual is weird to me, but I guess you could say that if another Sith got their hands on the information of how to perform the ritual, they could do it, which would be a form of scaling. Sure, that works out to me I guess, but they probably wouldn't be able to do it of their own power like Ziost. Vitiate was only able to after doing it the first time, which permanently amped his power to a massive degree. They'd have to do the eight thousand Sith sacrifice first.
His other powers don't scale to it
Yeah this is just kinda obvious, Vitiate doesn't rip the crust off of planets with telekinesis or whatever, the ritual is what he does. Honestly I don't get why people think you can scale Force powers to other Force powers at all. Like, what if a Force user only showed the ability to mind control people. Would you calc how many joules of energy it takes to mind control someone to determine how much they could hypothetically lift with their telekinesis? What if they only ever used Force lightning? How would you get the power of their mind control from that, would you take the wattage or something? Do you see why I think this is weird?
Since this is basically a weird version of Force Drain - works by sucking the Force out of the victims and the planet - just refer to the Nihilus section I guess. The funniest thing here is that, since planets in other verses wouldn't have Force in them to be drained out, you can argue that if you dropped Vitiate on real life Earth he wouldn't be able to surface wipe it. Kill everyone on the planet over time, sure, but not suck its Force out.
Verdict: Only with a Force power that his other powers don't scale to and that's mostly irrelevant in a standard WhoWouldWin scenario.
The Claim: Darth Bane is a surface wiper (feat. the thought bomb)
I'm gonna try and make this one brief. It's less complicated than those two doozies we just had to cover, so yeah. Remember the thing I joked about in the last post, "Darth Bane's world-crushing strategy?" Well, it turns out it's actually referring to a ritual that Darth Bane came up with. Once again: ritual. Already it doesn't scale to anything, be that other Force users or Darth Bane's other abilities. It's a pretty uncomplicated ritual too, basically a bunch of Sith just sit together criss cross applesauce and channel their energy to make a storm that burns down a forest. Apparently some people think this is surface wiping for whatever reason, which I don't understand. This ritual was intended to burn down a forest to force some Jedi out of hiding and is noted as being similar to and weaker than the thought bomb ritual, another ritual that involves a bunch of Sith joining together to do a thing. Not going to say too much about the thought bomb as it's pretty complex, but it fucked up the ecosystem of the planet it was performed on, sucks up the spirits of Force users, and is a suicide attack. Otherwise, it's similar to the other ritual here with the Sith needing to join together to do it. Read the Wookieepedia page if you want to learn more. So Bane's ritual is explicitly weaker than that, despite his boast while performing it that he's going to "kill a world." Also once again, we have an inflated Narutoforums calc. Sheesh, lots of Star Wars discussion on a forum for an entire different series. The issue here is that the calc assumes the ritual covers half the planet when it stopped at the edge of a forest. It's also a bit wonky cause they made a lightning storm that burnt down the forest, it wasn't just some kind of direct energy blast or whatever. Trying to get a number out of the ritual is just kinda pointless anyways. It was cut short, so we didn't see its full power, and it's explicitly noted as being weaker than the surface-level thought bomb ritual. Plus, as we know from other Legends material, Force users combining their powers is multiplicative and not additive, so you can't even divide it by the people present or whatever.
Verdict: Only with a ritual that involves a bunch of Sith joining power.
Well, since I just covered a number of "surface wiping feats," let's go back to my first post and gather together all the surface wiping Force user stuff, shall we?
Palpatine's Force Storms - Even ignoring the WoG which says Palpatine can't make Force Storms of his own volition, they don't scale to his other abilities and are completely irrelevant in most combat scenarios. If he tried using one in a normal fight, he'd almost 100% kill himself with it just due to its sheer size and erratic nature. So it's only really good as some kind of weird suicide attack.
Random unnamed Sith Sorceress's ritual - Requires an obelisk to be built and several centuries of prep time, so it obviously doesn't scale to her other abilities and is completely irrelevant in any combat scenario I can think of. Also, this killed her.
Nihilus's Force Drain - Pointed out as being unique to him, clearly doesn't scale to his other abilities, and the "planet wiping range" of this power is completely irrelevant in most combat scenarios.
Vitiate's first ritual - Requires eight thousand Sith Lords worth of sacrifies.
Vitiate's Ziost feat - Still a ritual, even if he can activate it on his own now. Doesn't scale to his other abilities and the "planet wiping" trait of this ritual is completely irrelevant in most combat scenarios.
Darth Bane's ritual - Requires planning and multiple Force users joining together (which we know is multiplicative and not additive, so no one involved can scale), so it's completely irrelevant in most combat scenarios.
Thought bomb ritual - Same as above, except it's also a suicide attack.
Well, looking at it, it seems pretty consistent to me that you either need a lot of outside assistance or some sort of super special gimmick power which is completely irrelevant to combat to surface wipe in the Star Wars galaxy. To be clear here, when I say "combat" I'm talking about a 1v1 scenario you'd usually see on a battleboarding site. So, yeah. Saying something like "Force users can surface wipe with some abilites" is technically true, but very dishonest and misleading, cause there's like... literally 3 Force users, Palps, Vitiate and Nihilus (talking about "mortals" here, not space gods or whatever) that you can argue can reliably surface wipe without any external help. Even then, they're not using raw Force power or telekinesis to do it, they're using super special gimmick powers that aren't really that relevant in a fight. Oh, and let's talk about who those 3 are. Nihilus is literally a Dark Side aberration whose entire gimmick is that he can drain planets, and Vitiate and Palpatine have both been called the strongest Dark Side user ever. Trying to say whatever random Force user has surface wiping power cause Vitiate or Palpatine or Nihilus exist is just fucking stupid, especially cause they have to use special gimmicks to do so. I feel like people get the wrong idea about what I'm trying to prove with debunking Legends shit. I'm not trying to say Legends is anemically weak or anything, I'm not trying to say it's the weakest setting in existence, I'm not trying to say Legends Jedi couldn't tear apart a soggy piece of paper. Legends Force users are still strong, they're just not strong like Dragon Ball Z characters are - their strength doesn't come from planet busting laser beams or whatever, it comes from stuff like powers that bypass conventional durability, mental manipulation, and other forms of "hax." I know every battleboarder wants their favorite series to be just like DBZ, but that just isn't how Star Wars is.
The Claim: CANON PALPATINE IS MFTL+++!!!!1!!
That is not a joke, people fucking believe this. I bet you weren't expecting to see canon wank make an appearance in this post, but I saw this and I just had to comment on it. It's even from The Rise of Skywalker, the movie where Palpatine is constrained to a giant mechanical baby chair for the majority of the run time. Here's the calc and here's the quote used from the canon expanded novelization. He's apparently 2000 times faster than light because he sent his spirit to Exegol to inhabit his new clone body before the events of TROS. Cause y'know, he was a clone in that movie, they never actually explained that in the movie itself I don't think. Yeah, this is sounding awfully familiar, isn't it? Gotta say, 2000 times FTL seems small when compared to the outlandish number for the equivalent feat from the other post. This is because the calc-er decided to go with a timeframe of 24 years, based on the first appearance of Snoke. This is actually pretty clever thinking, props to the guy who did this. But, if they had just read 1 sentence further, they would've known that Palpatine was in his clone body before his old one even hit the bottom of that giant shaft. It's written a little oddly, but it's pretty clear that's the implication - there's no mention of any time spent wandering space or whatever, just a straight jump from his old body dying to jolting awake in his new one. So, does this make the feat even better since the timespan's shorter? Well, I think you can guess the answer - this is pretty clearly just him warping his spirit over to his clone body. I'm not going to repeat the same arguments I made for the other spirit warp feat, I'm just going to repeat that I don't understand why people use this kind of shit at all. Like, if you go with the "hurtling through space for 24 years at 2000c" interpretation what do these people think was going on during all that time? Seriously, I have so many questions if we go with this version. Here's just a few: Was Palpatine screaming and laughing evilly as his spirit shot through space at MFTL speeds? Was it instantaneous for him or did he feel every hour? Was he at risk of getting sucked into a black hole? Or hit with a supernova? Was he doing ghostly loop de loops around solar systems for kicks? Is it like the Google Chrome dinosaur game where you have to dodge cactuses and birds, but with celestial bodies? Did every asteroid he dodge give him 10 bonus points on his score? Would he get hurt if he slammed into an asteroid? Did he have to eat or sleep? Did he stop by Dex's Diner to pick up a wampa burger on the way to his clone body? Did he have to take bathroom breaks to spirit pee? Did he fly by Leia and Han's house to scare baby Kylo Ren in the cradle? Was that what made him evil? Was he really bored after year 10, or did he enjoy it the whole way through? Was he playing Mario Kart Tour on his Force spirit iPhone to pass the time? Or was he playing a more "old man" game, like solitaire or sudoku? Did he know where he was going? Did he need a map? Or did he have one memorized? Could he have run in with other Force spirits just floating around? Did he have an awkward conversation with ghost Obi-Wan or ghost Yoda? Did he have to then fight them on the spirit plane to keep them from warning Luke? Was it like an awesome extra-dimensional battle where they shot ghost lasers at each other? Oh, what if he took the wrong Force spirit exit and ended up on Naboo? Could he have possessed someone else, like something other than his clone body? Was there a wacky mixup where he accidentally ended up in the body of a Gungan cause his old man eyes mistook it for his clone body? Did he spend a month or two in that Gungan body because he grew attached to the previous owner's wife and kids and enjoyed being back on his home planet? Did he have to have awkward Gungan sex with the wife to keep up the charade? Did he see the effects of the wars he caused on the Gungans and start to feel bad and regret the whole Sith thing? Did he have to then remind himself what he was doing and throw himself down that big shaft in the Naboo power plant Darth Maul fell down so he could get his soul out again? Or did he just commit suicide by booma sling to the temple? Was he emotionally scarred after that? When he did get back to his clone body, did he send money to the Gungan family to make sure that they were being taken care of? Did he secretly deliver a present to the little Gungan children's doorstep on Life Day? Did they open the door just as he was able to flee down the corner? Did the children, still grieving their father's death, catch sight of the back of his robe and ask their mom who that old man was? Did she look wistfully after him, shaking her head and saying she didn't know, but that she felt there was something familiar about him? Honestly, this should be a fucking Disney+ series, this sounds entertaining as hell. You could call it "Dude, Where's My Clone?" and appeal to the stoner demographic. Or, perhaps, go in a more dramatic direction: "Star Wars: Soul Searching." Any way you slice it, a galactic roadtrip with a senile Sith spirit sounds like it could be really fun. Get on it, Dave Filoni. Anyways, I don't really get why people think Force spirits have to travel anywhere at all. Remember how Obi-Wan died on the Death Star, then his spirit showed up on Hoth in Empire? Was he like, already there? Did he know through the Force Luke would need him there in a few years and start jogging over at a brisk 20,000c at the end of the first movie? How about his trip from Hoth to Dagobah? Or over to the forest moon of Endor? When Force spirits show up - you know, how they fade into a scene - is that them popping out of lightspeed? Yeah, I really don't think so, they can just teleport I'm pretty sure. Well, "teleport" is probably not the right word, but you know what I mean. Oh, here's another question: what about projections? Like how Luke sent a Force projection over to Crait in Last Jedi. Was his projection moving MFTL to get there in time or something? Does that mean canon Luke has MFTL reactions too? I think Yoda did the same thing in Rebels or something. Does that mean... Wait. I should stop giving these people ideas.
Verdict: lol no.
The Claim: "The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."
Jesus Christ, what am I doing? Why do I have to make an argument against this? Why do people use this? I bet you think this is some kind of joke, but no, I see people use this statement all the fucking time. Fucking Death Battle used it in a Q&A, oh God, shoot me please let this nightmare end, I pray for death every day and it never comes. Either people use the original version Vader said in the original Star Wars or the version from the Dark Empire endnotes which upgrades it to being an entire system instead of just a planet. First off, I'd like to point out that the Dark Empire endnotes version of the statement isn't specifically being said about Palpatine. The wording is "he said this during the time when he served the Emperor," not "he specifically said this about the Emperor." This is like basic reading comprehension, I learned this shit in kindergarten, but people misread this shit all the time and say "yeah Vader was talking about the Emperor." No he wasn't, learn to read. Second, I seriously don't think that the VSBW crowd that brings this line up have even watched Star Wars or understand it at all. I'm willing to bet most have only seen the Dark Empire version posted around and don't know that the line is from the movie. I'm certain about this because there are much better lines to wank. Obi-Wan says that the Force "binds the galaxy together" in the original movie. Does VSBW not know about this? Of course they don't, the only Obi-Wan quotes they know are fucking unfunny prequel jokes. If they did know about it every single character would be a galaxy buster because "they can control the Force which is a galaxy-binding energy." It's not too far from how they jerk off Yarael Poof. Here's the thing: the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force. We see this in the movie. Luke Skywalker was only able to destroy the Death Star after he accepted the Force and let it guide him during the trench run. If it weren't for the Force, he wouldn't have made the shot. The Force allows him to overcome the planet-destroying Death Star. At the risk of sounding pretentious, that's kinda the fucking point. The Force is higher than material things, it's not just something Jedi use to lift things into the air, it's literally their religion. It's a religion for the Sith, too, that's why Darth Vader's saying that in that scene. It's the same thing as a Christian person saying "God is mightier than all." Taking this claim at surface level is the exact same thing as taking Admiral Motti's claim about the Death Star being the "ultimate power in the universe" at surface level. Sorry VSBW, gonna have to slide Palpatine down from a multi solar system buster to a sub-planet buster, he can't be higher than the Death Star. Move Abeloth and Grandmaster Luke and the Mortis trio and everyone else down too. Motti just said that the Death Star, which can only bust planets, is the "ultimate" power in the universe, so nobody can be higher. I'm sorry, I don't make the rules. You know, it probably seems like I've been going hard on Legends wank, but honestly it's quite the opposite. I've been generous. I've given this shit the benefit of the doubt at every opportunity, and not once in this post or the post before have I used the "this is just a statement" argument. Even though a lot of this shit is just fucking statements. Jerec with the Valley of the Jedi being able to blow up solar systems? Just a statement, we never see this. The Sith Meditation Sphere being able to blow up stars? Just a statement, we never see this, the only guide that says this recaps the story incorrectly. It was the Sith Corsair ship that blew up the star in the comic, not the Sphere. Wutzek being able to blow up solar systems? Just a statement, we never see him do anything like this. And this? This is the definition of "just a statement." If you use this scene to say Jedi can blow up planets, you are a fucking moron, full stop.
Verdict: Please, please, please fuck off with this shit.
I'm 32 years old, working as a Product Manager / Instructor in Toronto and making ~$78,000 (CAD)
This is an update of my MD from last year, which you can find here. All figures are in CAD. (Approx. CAD/USD conversion is 1 CAD = 0.75 USD. So my income is ~$58,240 USD. I've tried to note the change since last time where I could! Section One: Assets and Debt
Total NW: $81,100
Up from ~$58,000 last year.
Retirement Balance (and how you got there): $62,230
Up from $45,466 last year. I've been adding to my RRSP since my first "real" job in highschool - while my early contributions were miniscule, it got me in the habit of saving. My previous employer had a good match, which also helped.
Savings account balance: $11,290
TFSA up from $9,846 last year. Not a huge improvement - I focused more on my RRSP and Emergency Fund this year.
Emergency Fund Balance: $7,500
Was $1,103 last year.
Chequing Account Balance:
Almost everything gets autotransferred on payday to my retirement accounts, sinking funds, or a holding account where my bills are autopaid from. I only keep my "discretionary spending" money in this account.
Debt: None. I pay off my cc as soon as I make a purchase, and check my transactions/pay off any autopay on a weekly basis. I run all my purchases through my cc to get points toward free groceries.
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?: There was expectation, but not from family - I was the first in my family to go to higher ed. They saved and planned to contribute if I did want to go, but what I did after highschool was up to me. I was top of my class in highschool so there was a lot of expectations from the other adults in my life (teachers, school counselors, etc) that I would really make something of myself. My parents paid my tuition for two years of my undergrad, my grandparents gave me a few thousand dollars as a gift toward my expenses and the remainder I paid for myself with my savings from working part time and through summers.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? We didn't have any serious conversations about money, but there was a lot of emphasis on saving long term, saving up for things we wanted, and occasionally if I wanted something expensive (like when I wanted my hair done for middle school graduation), a discussion about how mom or dad would have worked X hours to pay for it. I never felt hard done by, but there were definitely a lot of things other kids had or got to do that we didn't. Once I got my first job I didn't get any spending money from my parents anymore.
What was your first job and why did you get it?: In 8th grade I got a job at my school, cleaning tables during lunch recess (our school didn't have a cafeteria, so kids ate at their desks). The principal offered it to me and my best friend. It paid $50/month. It seems insane now because we were not old enough to work legally. In hindsight I think it was the school finding a way to subsidize the costs of the year-end school trip (a week-long overnight trip out of province) for two families who didn't quite qualify for the school's official aid but wouldn't have been able to afford it otherwise. All the money went to the trip, and I babysat to get some spending money.
Did you worry about money growing up?: Not really. There were some lean times but I never felt like I really wanted for anything. By the time I was in highschool things had gotten much more stable.
Do you worry about money now? Yep. Not about day-to-day spending, but I worry about longer-range money issues like whether I'll be able to own a home, save enough to retire, etc. A lot of my friends are a lot more comfortable and able to buy homes and generally be freer with money, mostly those in dual-income-no-kids situations - and I'm feeling that lag a bit.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?: I haven't received any financial support from family since I was about 20, but if my parents come to visit me they'll usually bring some grocery items from their Costco runs and refuse to accept payment for it. I currently have about 4 months' emergency fund saved, and could last another 6 on my TFSA if I needed to. Working on bumping this up!
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?: While I was in undergrad and paying my own tuition my grandparents gave me $2000 as a birthday gift to give me a little breathing room in my budget and so "you can do something other than work and study". They were hoping it would enable me to meet a husband and get my MRS (hahaha). It did not, but it did ease my stress about money.
Section Two: Income
Main Job Monthly Take Home: $3,816 after deductions. I got a 10% raise in July.
Deductions: Tax $882, EI $86, CPP $137, Retirement plan $210 (matched by employer)
PTO: 18 days + 5 additional during the holidays when our office is shut.
Bonus: I get a bonus each year from the day job as well. This year, $5500 pre-tax.
Side Gig Monthly Take Home: ~$900 averaged monthly
Varies year to year based on student enrolment and whether I get funding for additional content development time.
Salary Story (Averaged hourly earnings into approx annual earnings so it's more "apples to apples" comparison)
Pre-2010: ~$15-20k per year. Various jobs during highschool and university. Retail, farm and animal shelter work, tutoring, baby/pet/housesitting, factory job in the summers.
2010: ~$35k Intern, Retail, Nanny, Temp. I graduated university and started some postgrad certificate courses full time through summer. Had a PT retail job, a FT unpaid internship after summer classes ended, and was a nanny for a relative's kids in exchange for a steep discount on room and board. After my internship ended I picked up a temp receptionist gig that paid well while it lasted - I was able to save up to move out to my own place after Christmas.
Q1 + Q2 of 2011: ~$22k Freelancer / Assistant. The company I interned for hired me back as a freelancer at $19/hr, and I got a remote job as a "business assistant" (aka whatever they needed) at min wage, but I could set my own hours and work up to 35hrs/week. I crammed in as much as I could because my freelance job wasn't guaranteed.
Remainder of 2011: ~$36k - Digital Assistant. My day job offered me a FT position and I was so grateful for the stability (my freelance hours had been uneven) that I accepted their first offer not realizing it was less than I was making as a freelancer. I remind myself that at least now I have benefits and some security, and I still have my other job. Two weeks later they tell me if I don't quit my remote "business assistant" job I'll be fired since that company is in the same industry, so I do. Pushover!
2013: ~37k - Digital Assistant. Yep, two years, no promotion, small raise. Love working in the arts! /s. After I was forced out of my remote job in 2011 I started babysitting, petsitting, shoveling snow for my older neighbours - anything I could to bring in some extra cash, but I have no idea what I made from that work. Most of it ended up going out the door pretty quick on regular life expenses.
2014: $40k - Digital Coordinator. Promotion at last. I struggled a lot with depression throughout the end of 2013 and all of 2014 after some traumatic events, and I'm so shocked and thrilled that something good actually happened. I don't negotiate because I'm a husk of a person. By this point I'm not functional enough to keep up all my side gigs.
2016: ~$45k - Digital Coordinator / Instructor: After so much therapy I'm starting to realize my company is trash and my industry is a dead end for me, and I actually have the confidence to do something about it. I dump my shitty boyfriend. I get a part time gig as an instructor. My boss tells me in my performance review I have "no leadership potential" and I go home and immediately start looking for another job.
2017: ~$63k - Product Manager / Instructor: After many failed interviews, I finally get a new job offer at $55k - less than a PM typically makes in Toronto, but more than I was making before, and I was so hungry for a new opportunity I just jump on it. My new manager is really invested in my PD, within the first few months they have me speak on their behalf at three conferences and commit to $2,500 of PD spending.
2018:~$76k - Product Manager / Instructor: I get a raise at my day job (modest - about $2500) but it's a crackerjack year for the course I teach - it's a high enrolment year so I have more sections. Less free time, but now that I'm more experienced it's a bit easier and it'd be hard to find another side gig that pays as well for the amount of time I put in.
2020: ~78k - Product Manager / Instructor: Sensing a theme? I'm not much of a job hopper, which I know is impacting my salary growth, but I'm a "craves stability" person and I love my job, they are constantly giving me opportunities to learn and grow and investing in my PD. Plus a 10% raise.
Section Three: Expenses
Rent: $1,505 including utilities - just went up from $1,476 in September. I live solo in a one-bedroom in an old walk-up building.
Renters insurance: $29
Retirement contributions: $1,600
Sinking Funds contributions: $205
Emergency Fund contribution: $500, plus occasional random lump sums if I have discretionary funds left over.
Donations: approx $100/mo, sometimes more. I volunteer about 10-15 hrs/month with different organizations throughout the year, though it varies based on their activities. Been helping with a lot of digital admin/tech support/mailing list stuff this year.
Transit: About $14/month - I'm working from home, and my neighbourhood has everything I need within walking distance. I use transit a handful of times a month these days, so I just plonk some money on my card when I need to.
Therapy: $540 per quarter for BetterHelp, approx $168/month.
I get $800/year reimbursed under my work benefits.
Subscriptions: $27 - Netflix, Spotify, extra iCloud storage, and a Quip toothbrush.
Day 1 - Thursday ($42)
9am - Slept in! I have today and tomorrow off (using up some PTO) and am glad for the extra rest, but the construction work around my apartment building kicks off at 9:01 on the dot, waking me up. I browse the internet before showering and getting the day started. 11am - I have a massage appointment so I mask up and walk over. It’s a sunny fall morning, so an enjoyable walk. I’ve been in a lot of pain the last while after an unexpected hospital stay and medical procedures so I’m really looking forward to some relief now that I’m cleared to have this massage! ($30 tip for my RMT, insurance covers the actual bill.) I was nervous about COVID safety but this is a small clinic and they’re taking it really seriously (face shields and masks for all!), and it’s nice to have a massage - it’s the first “non-invasive, non-medical” human touch I’ll have since March, since I live by myself and have been strict about distancing. I have to say, it feels incredibly weird to be naked except a mask. Like being naked with a watch on. 12:45pm - I feel so much better! I walk a long route home to enjoy the sunshine and stop at a bakery and pick up some pumpkin, apple, and caramel scones ($12 for three, incl tip), since they have a little doorway table for service. Most cafes in the neighbourhood have restored indoor seating and I feel weird about going inside past unmasked diners. Once I get back home I have a scone, spend a couple of hours answering students’ questions for my teaching job, and wash some dishes in the kitchen. The afternoon sort of disappears into that, plus some random internet browsing/YouTube sewing tutorials. 6pm - Therapy call (prepaid - I use BetterHelp and pay quarterly - I’m due to pay in 2 weeks). I am so grateful to be back in therapy. Isolation has been hard on me, and my medical situation really left me raw. It’s scary to have a totally normal day and end it in an ambulance unexpectedly, and I’m still unpacking my feelings about it. 7pm - I sodastream some water, add lavender syrup, and hop on Zoom for game night with some friends. We play Jackbox games together and snort-laugh the whole way through. This is a new group I was just starting to befriend IRL in the weeks before the pandemic. These weekly game nights have been so great to keep the momentum. 9pm - I dress my last tortilla as a pizza, bake it, and then dump the remainder of a box of arugula on top after it’s out of the oven and eat it over the sink like a crispy pizza taco. After eating I text a bit with a guy I met on reddit (henceforth RG - Reddit Guy - same guy from my last MD.) He sends me a video of his dog doing tricks, and we count down and hit play on the same TV episode. We’ve been doing this little nightly ritual since the start of the pandemic, and it’s a nice way to keep this long-distance whatever-this-is going. Things have stepped up from merely flirty to decidedly romantic in the last year, but with the US/Canadian border closed for the foreseeable future who knows where this is going or if we’ll ever get to meet. 11:30pm - I have a quick warm bath before bedtime and after making a nest from all my pillows, fall asleep to a “sleep story” from the Calm app. Some smooth-voiced man talking about an island in Norway takes me away.
Day 2 - Friday ($69)
8am - I wake up before my alarm, laze around in bed reading newsletters and reddit. I open my work email, file away all the automated messages I get from our software, and close it again. I usually check it once a day on vacation just to clear that shit as a gift to my future self. 9:30am - I shower while listening to a podcast and check my messages while brushing my teeth. A neighbourhood pal asks if I want to have a coffee in the park with her before it gets too cold for these outside meetups. I reply and we arrange a plan to meet up. 10:15am - My friend texts and says she’s going to stop at Starbucks on her way to the park - do I want her to grab me anything? I mobile order a caramel apple spice ($5 - I’m off caffeine - doctor’s orders) and tell her it should be there waiting when she gets there. I bring the two remaining scones from yesterday’s bakery trip for us. We hang out at the park for a few hours on our distanced blankets, chatting until our fingertips are thoroughly chilled. Like a lot of my friends, the pandemic has had her and her partner seeking cheaper, more spacious dwellings out of the city. They’re moving in a few months. This is the fourth such announcement I’ve had this fall, so I’m better at being excited for them and asking questions all about their new digs rather than being openly bummed. But inside I’m a little gutted. It’s hard to watch my people move away! 12:30pm: I took the long route home from the park, then settle in with some mint tea and check on my students. I’m teaching online this semester and the course is “asynchronous” - meaning they move through interactive modules of written+video content at their own pace, so I post and reply frequently on the discussion boards, answer emails, and help them along. I have a chatty group this term - there’s a very active kdrama discussion thread in the “non-course related” board. I love when my online students still work at connecting with their classmates - I can’t imagine what it would be like trying to do fully online school and missing out on that in-person experience. 2pm - I whip up a quick chicken soup with some chicken and veggies from the freezer, some egg noodles and a bouillon cube and eat that before spending the afternoon cleaning up - vacuuming, laundry, and online browsing for some sewing supplies. I spend $64 on some additional fabric and bias tape I keep forgetting to buy to finish some projects. I can’t wait to go to fabric stores in person again someday. While waiting for my stuff to finish in the dryer, I do a short Yoga with Adriene video. 7:30pm - After dinner, a friend calls to complain about her boyfriend and we chat for awhile while I organize my craft supplies into bins I picked up at the dollar store last weekend. He’s been a grade-A dingus since the beginning of the pandemic, and just told her one of his roommates tested positive for COVID - on Monday. He stayed with her Tuesday and Wednesday and “forgot to mention it”. DUDE. C’mon! I tell her if she needs anything dropped off at her place - groceries, drugstore stuff, emergency ice cream or baked goods - just call. 10pm - I make some popcorn and queue up Kim’s Convenience with RG, we chitchat about the day and plans for the weekend. After a few episodes I crawl into bed while he tells me all about a COVID-safe date we could go on if we weren’t separated by a few hundred kilometres. It’s a nice daydream.
Day 3 - Saturday ($0)
~1am - My downstairs neighbours are suddenly blasting music so loud my bedframe is vibrating. At 1am. Shoot me. By 1:45 I’m over it and go downstairs to knock on their door. I bang on their door a few times, no answer. One of the other tenants down the hall comes out, we commiserate over the noise. He bangs on the door too, but the music blasts on. We shrug at eachother and go back to our apartments. ~2am - I’m losing my mind at the noise, which seems to be coming from directly under my bedroom. Assuming they maybe have the bedroom door closed and couldn’t hear the knocking, I go to the living room and grab my set of weights and start dropping them on the bedroom floor over and over again like a maniac hoping to catch their attention. It works though - after a few minutes the music is off. Sweet silence! 8:45am - I wake up, roll over, and doze a bit more before getting up to take my medication and instead of staying up, I crawl back in. I chat with RG a bit and send a check-in text to my friend with the crummy boyfriend. 10:45am - I finally get out of bed (I love laying around. If I’m going to be single with no responsibilities I am going to bask in every moment of it) and I eat leftover roasted cauliflower from last night’s dinner for breakfast. Afterwards I clean the bathroom, put away my laundry from yesterday, and log on to my online class to check in on my students and reply to their posts, and review the material that’s going up next week. 4pm - After the day spent with chores I finish putting together a meal plan for the week and grocery order for delivery tomorrow. I actually love grocery shopping in person, but with the uptick in cases recently I’m less interested in going. Afterwards I check my online class forums again (there’s an assignment due tonight so I want to watch for questions) and then go for a short walk around my neighbourhood. It’s nice to get out a bit and see the leaves changing. 6pm - I make a chickpea and lentil curry in my Instant Pot, adding an assortment of random veggies from my freezer, while RG shoots me a text about starting our “together time” a bit early tonight so we can watch Hamilton together. I agree, and after dinner work on some sewing. 9:30pm - Almost completely finished sewing a shirt - I’ll finish the hem another day and the neckline when the bias tape I ordered shows up. I put everything away and I eat some arrowroot crackers with nutella while watching Hamilton with RG. I’ve already seen it a few times but I love it. Midway through I exchange a few emails with a student who is rapidly approaching the midnight assignment deadline and just can’t get her code working. I can tell right away she’s made a teeny tiny typo that’s had a domino effect on her whole assignment. I point her in the right direction, she fixes it, and ends the night happy. 12am - Curling up in bed. I put on another Calm app story and fall asleep.
Day 4 - Sunday ($127)
7:30am - Trying to reacquaint myself with my alarm after a few days off. I roll over and doze a little until 8, then get up, take my meds, and hop in the shower. 9:45am - One of my American friends calls to chat. She was invited to a wedding and doesn’t want to go because the groom’s family are anti-mask QAnon types and she won’t feel safe there. We brainstorm about what kind of gift is appropriate as an in-absentia “Sorry you married into a family of nutjobs” gift. 10:30am - I wash the dishes from last night, then make a sandwich with hummus and sliced veggies and sit down to eat it while I download my students’ assignments for the week and reply to a few more discussion posts. I’ll get to grading later this afternoon. 1pm - Time vanished into a bunch of little tasks and a wormhole of researching possible holiday gifts for family members.I text with my brother’s girlfriend to get a sense of their whereabouts this week - I’m trying to get a birthday treat delivered to his apartment. She confirms a date and I place the order for some safe-to-eat-raw cookie dough in fun flavours ($37). I’m secretly jealous that this place isn’t local to me because it sounds delicious. 2pm - I sodastream some water, add lime juice, and heat up some leftover curry from last night and settle in to start grading assignments with some music. 4pm - My mom calls to talk about Thanksgiving (next weekend here in Canada). They really want me to come, but with cases rising in the province I don’t know how safe it is and I have a lot of guilt about bringing my city cooties to them in a rural area. They haven’t been that cautious - she talks at length about going to a party the night before. By the end of the call I’m frustrated and undecided. It’s pretty clear if I opt not to go I’ll be the “bad guy”, the daughter who abandoned everyone to move to the city and thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. But I have a lot of anxiety around it. 5:30pm - My grocery delivery arrives ($90, including a tip for the delivery person). I put everything away and eat a few pieces of dried pineapple and mango before getting back to marking. 7:30pm - I cook some salmon and roasted veggies and, while eating, text with a friend about my Thanksgiving dilemma. She’s in a similar boat with her parents, we weigh the pros and cons together but neither of us end up deciding anything. 10pm - I watch an episode of Kim’s Convenience with RG before he goes to bed (he has an early morning tomorrow) and afterwards do a Yoga with Adriene video, poke around on Reddit, and go to bed myself around 11.
Day 5 - Monday ($9)
7:15am - Alarm goes off. I wake up, but mostly scroll Reddit until 8. I desperately miss working from an office with other people and better chairs, but if WFH ever ends I will miss getting to stay in bed as long as humanly possible. 8am - Shower, moisturize and put on some lipstain - that’s the extent of my morning routine these days. I get dressed (I’ve been wearing the same threadbare jeans almost all quarantine. They’re so comfortable, but hideous). I make some tea and oatmeal and move over to my desk. 8:45am - I check my credit card statement online while eating. A return I’ve been waiting on is finally processed (+$41.28) - returns by mail are so slow - I put the parcel in over a month ago. I check my class boards too - no new posts to reply to. 9am - Log into work and post my “hello” message in our staff chat. We have a “Hellos and Goodbyes” room to keep track of people’s comings and goings throughout the day. Our CEO pings me and asks how my time off was. He’s been very attentive since my hospitalization and has been checking in about my workload, how I’m feeling. It’s nice to fee seen. 10am - One on one with my junior PM. We chat on Zoom re: what’s on the docket for our projects this month, and I take her temperature a bit re: work/life balance, how she’s managing our extended work from home and the pandemic. She has a lot of vacation days left and I encourage her to use them even if she’s not planning to go away - mental health and rest is important! 11am - One on one with my manager. She calls via phone since her teenage daughter is doing school on Zoom and their internet is overtaxed. She runs through what I missed last week and updates me on a new project I’ll be taking over from her later this month. I’m currently responsible for ⅗ of our major software projects and this will bring me up to ⅘. (Don’t think I won’t make a big deal about that when it comes time for our next reviews.) 11:45am - Answer a customer support email from someone struggling to use the site. After a bit of back and forth I discover it’s because they’re using a decade-old version of Internet Explorer. I hop on the phone, walk them through upgrading to Edge, and they’re a happy camper. We don’t have customer support at our org - the PMs and Junior PMs manage support for their projects. Some days I hate it, but most of the time it’s satisfying to tackle a small and solvable problem amidst the bigger-picture work. 1pm: Team meeting with my software team. We usually do these in the morning but one of the devs had to take his kid for a COVID test since he’s a bit sniffly - schools here are pretty strict. It’s a short meeting, just getting a sense of how everyone’s moving through the current open projects, and then a show-and-tell of pets, since the aforementioned sniffly kid joined at the end. I do not have any pets and am as delighted by them as the kid. 1:20pm: Lunchtime! I heat up some leftover curry and chat a bit with RG, who’s checking in about my stress level. Since my hospital stay he’s been worried about me pushing too hard and not giving myself time to heal. We talk about our mornings and he tells me he added some new songs he thinks I’ll like to a shared Spotify playlist, so I know what I’ll be listening to this afternoon. 2pm: I spend the afternoon working on spec writing for upcoming development projects while my developers investigate a bug a customer reported over lunch. 5:10pm - I set an alarm on my phone to go off when it’s time to log off for the day. I change into some pants with more structural integrity, mask and jacket up, and go for a walk. 5:45pm: While I’m at the pharmacy picking up my prescription, the pharmacist mentions they have flu shots in, so I get one while I’m there. ($8 for my prescriptions, $1 for the impulse coffee crisp bar, $0 for the peace of mind of being flu-free even if I barely leave my house). While I’m walking home, RG calls from his commute to ask what I’m going to do about Thanksgiving. He thinks I should go - it’s generally safe in my parents’ area (less than 30 active cases in the county), and he gently suggests that the fall is probably going to be pretty hard on me emotionally and it might be a good idea to take the opportunity to go away while it’s relatively safe. I keep thinking it over. 6pm - Cook some chicken and roasted veggies for dinner, and after eating, set up my sewing stuff to finish up that shirt hem and start cutting pattern pieces for another project, a robe, while listening to podcasts. 10pm - I set up my iPad on a stool next to my bathtub and watch Kim’s Convenience with RG on chat while soaking in the warm, bubbly water and drinking some chamomile tea, and eventually dry off and head to bed around 11:30.
Day 6 - Tuesday ($0)
8am - Did I snooze my alarm for an hour? You bet. I just couldn’t stay asleep last night. When I finally wake up, RG has left a little video message for me, which I watch, and then watch again, and then start getting ready for the day. I braided my hair before bed so I have those great post-braid waves today. 8:55am - At my desk, logged in and ready to go with some oatmeal. I drop a note in the staff Hellos and Goodbyes and peek at my class discussion board before picking up where I left off yesterday. 10am - Client call. This client is hoping to do something a little “off label” with our tools. We chat a bit about what they’re hoping to accomplish and what their goals are, and I answer a few data questions for them. 10:30am - Team meeting! We spend some time puzzling through my client’s “off label” ideas, do some digging on another client’s data issue, and then spend a little time watching a funny news blooper one of the devs screenshares and joking around. I don't mind a little fun in our meetings! 11am - Biweekly all-staff meeting. Our CEO gives a little roundup of how things are going big-picture, and then one by one each of my colleagues gives a brief update of what they’re working on. Many pets and children make appearances - as a group the general vibe with interruptions on zooms is “delight”, which I appreciate. Nobody’s trying to “keep up appearances”. It’s all a mess we’re in together. 12:20pm - Lunchtime. Check COVID case counts again for my parents’ area (still undecided) while chatting with a friend about her thanksgiving plans. She and her husband have been isolating at a family cabin since early summer, when their city apartment building started renovating. They’re planning a “so bad it’s good” movie marathon, so while I eat leftover curry we chat about our favourite bad-good movies. 1:25pm- Reacquainting myself with some material for my 2pm meeting. I’m on an HR Committee at work and we’re meeting to check in on our work/life and wellness strategies as we head into another WFH quarter. The transition to remote has gone (mostly) well for our company, but there’s always room to improve! 3pm - After the HR meeting I put together a custom report request for our database team to run for me, and then pull up our team’s roadmap for the fiscal year and make some tweaks. I share developers with other teams and I know a big project has dropped in for them elsewhere, so I adjust. We’re already close to hitting our metrics for the year so I’m happy to let the other teams keep my devs busy for awhile while I prep and spec some larger feature builds for them. 4pm - My friend with the dingus boyfriend texts. Luckily, both she and her boyfriend tested negative, but since he lives with someone who’s sick, they’ll both need to test again in a few days. She talks about wanting to break up with him. I encourage her to take her time thinking about it. I think they should break up - he’s a dope. But she’s the one in the relationship - not my call! 5:15pm - I log off for a bit. I’m feeling a bit drained today. I didn’t sleep well last night and I know my indecision about Thanksgiving is weighing on me. I do a yoga video and lay on the floor crying afterward. It happens, part of that good ol’ depression life. Sometimes you just need a lil cry. I’ve been really emotionally overwhelmed since my hospitalization, and some close friends have really broken my trust recently. I’m working on it with my therapist, but sometimes you’re just fresh outta emotional juice, and while I love my family, we’re not close - time with them would be nice, but it’s not restorative. 7:10pm - Alright alright. Time to rally. I log on to my online portal and reply to my students’ board posts and questions. They seem like they’re doing a good job grasping the material, which makes me happy. I never wanted to be a teacher but it makes me feel so satisfied when I can see their progress. It cheers me up a little. 8:45pm - Time got away from me doing that work. I throw some fish and veggies into the oven and call my parents. I tell them I'm still undecided about Thanksgiving, Mom complains that I'm taking things too seriously, I text her the graph of cases again. She tells me I can make a day-before decision if I want to, that they'll isolate the rest of the week, for real, but she just needs to know by Friday around noon if I want to be picked up. I appreciate the extra time to consider things. Then Mom asks me to place a grocery click-and-collect order for her (she's not good at internet). I say I will, and she proceeds to slowly text me a grocery list one item at a time for the next hour. LOL. Moms. 10:15pm - I drink some sparkling water while watching Kim’s Convenience with RG on chat. After one episode I’m wiped, so I go to wash up. By the time I’m getting into bed, RG has left me a video message - the first half is his dog adorably snoring. The second half is just him telling me everything’s going to be OK and apologizing that he can’t be here to do our own Thanksgiving. Cry again - happier tears this time.
Day 7 - Wednesday ($0)
8:20am - Cutting it close today, wakeup-wise. It took me forever to fall asleep last night so I snooze a lot today, but when I finally get up, RG’s left me another voice memo encouraging me to get up and kick this day’s ass. I’ll try! I have a quick shower, mist my hair to refresh the curl a little, and get dressed. 9am - Log on and say hi to the team, then help the marketing team with some content for our monthly newsletter. Once that’s done, I make a smoothie with frozen mango and dragonfruit, then head back to my desk to load some data into our internal dashboards for our CEO’s reports later this week. Once it’s loaded, he DMs me and we chat a bit about the comparison year over year, possible insights, nerd out about graphs a bit. 10:30am - Team meeting. Alongside the usual updates I’ve added extra time to discuss some upcoming features and the specs I have in progress. I don’t love speccing something without involving them - they feel a lot more ownership when they’ve had a chance to be involved in the process. They get really excited about the new build and ask if I can reassign them to this instead of the other project they’re pinch hitting on now. Nice try! 12:15pm - Lunchtime! Some colleagues and I hop into Netflix Party to watch an episode of Queer Eye together. When we were in the office we used to have occasional TV lunch parties so we’ve been trying to mimic that in our new WFH life. I eat the last of my leftover curry while our Netflix Party chat goes OFF in full home-porn-drool at the reveal of Bobby’s house makeover. 1pm - Back to work, more data audits for our research team. 2pm - Internal meeting with another colleague about a section of her project I’m pitch-hitting on - super productive. She runs a tight meeting and I really admire her. After the meeting I write specs for the rest of the day based on the meeting this morning. I put on some old episodes of Reply All and get stuck in. 5:15pm - Head out for a short walk around the neighbourhood to get some air and outside time, talk a bit with RG while he’s on his commute. Once I’m back home, I do some tidying up. 6pm - Therapy call, I talk a bit about my Thanksgiving dilemma but we move on to other topics too. Feeling a bit better than yesterday, but a little rough around the edges. These are the kinds of days where I tend to feel tempted to order in, and while I scroll UberEats, nothing really looks that good, so I close the app and decide to just cook what I’d planned. 7pm - Make dinner, chicken and roasted veggies again. What can I say, I’ll party down on garlicky roasted broccoli any day of the week. I wash dishes when I’m done eating. 8pm - Pop online to check out my students’ posts for the day and reply to some emails. I briefly scroll through stuff on the IKEA website. I’ve been hoping to get some inserts for my Kallax unit, but the ones I want aren’t in stock, still. 9pm - Shower and wash my hair. I get out a shower scrub from Lush and really go to town, I do the Aztec Secret clay mask too. Why not! 9:45pm - Post up on the couch with some sparkling water, ready for TV time with RG. We watch the last two episodes of Kim’s Convenience and chat a bit before bed about what to watch next - we have a lot of good options, but decide to just see what we’re in the mood for tomorrow. Weekly Total: $247
Food + Drink: $108
Fun + Entertainment: $0
Home + Health: $38
Clothes + Beauty: $64 on sewing supplies (future clothes + entertainment while I make them?)
Other: $37 (gift)
Reflections: I keep an MD 365 days a year so I can tell by comparison this is on the lower end of an average range for this year so far - I usually get delivery at least once a week (sometimes twice), but I wasn’t feeling it this week! My average spend has really been ticking down the last couple of months. While the pandemic sucks and the isolation is rough (shoutout to my fellow live-aloners), I’m enjoying not spending as much, and that my spending is really heavily weighted toward things that contribute to my sense of well-being.
Ok, so Jesse. I’m a long time fan of you. I’m here to help you with your series and creator burnout. I know how it feels man, creating can be a hard thing. I used to try and make series cause I was legit inspired by you. I understand how the depression can creep up and stifle everything. So I’m here to help, I think you should take a step back and look at the whole picture rather than trying to focus solely on trying to revive it. It seems as if you’re trying to revive the old devil inside series and psycho series. Now my opinion is maybe the answer is you should try something new. But damn man, even that’s hard. I get it, creating is a tough thing and I’m not even being sarcastic. So, I figured what better way to help then your fans. Now theres a few ideas I’m going to give to you. These ideas are just something you can brainstorm or think off of.
Time Travel Series (maybe do something cool like meeting your younger or older self, maybe your parents in the past, or even talking to psycho kid or Isaac)
I think that’d be so hella cool to see you time travel and then the implications of that all crashing down and you could even relate it to yourself as well. Maybe you time traveled because you want to find yourself. See what I mean?
Romance Series - maybe you and Ashley could do a series together. Maybe something crazy happens where you have to find and save Ashley. Or maybe you could act like you both broken up and you try to find your way to get back with her. It’d be something new. You could spin this anyway too, it can be as intense or calm as you want it.
Sci-Fi or cool cyberpunk series - Somewhat like your old google series you tried to do. You said that it was stupid and people didn’t like it, I genuinely liked it and thought it was a fun concept. You should try to do something similar to that to where maybe you’re getting stalked by some unknown entity or something or someone online. You could do things like maybe teleportation, mind control and all other types of cool shit. Don’t worry about if others hate it at first. People just need to get used to change. Overtime, it’d get better though. Even if your series starts off slow. It’ll get better overtime. Maybe cool things with guns and fighting would be cool too. Maybe your whole house locks you in and you have to escape or something like that. Or maybe there’s secret agents who are... After your secret mirror. See where I’m going here?
Adventure Series - You have a car, I think it’d be pretty cool for you to grab one of your friends whether it be Corn, Parker, Swift or whatever and you make it into a funny mini adventure series. Maybe you guys travel across the state trying to find something important to power up the mirror. You could make it maybe into a comedy too, it’d be cool to explore different genres because it keeps people interested. You can still add in drama if you want since I know you’re more of a fan of that. But yeah it’s a more simplistic idea I think that could work dude.
Burnout Series - Now idk if you’re already doing this. But I think it’d be cool to make a series about this type of struggle. Since it seems like you’re struggling with it, you should make a interesting series around that. You can make ur character (yourself) maybe have depressing thoughts but you find this thing of power that motivates you to make videos, but your friends and fans seem Weary of this, and like a drug you’re addicted to that power and other people around the house notice this and try to take it away from you but you let it go to your head, knowing that it’s changing you and taking full control of you. So the series is a series about you trying to find your passion again.
(After that, maybe a homeless series) Now I think that this would be a good Segway for that. Because wouldn’t it be interesting to see how this all unfolds. Maybe you get into crazy stuff outside and you try to survive out there and such. There’s many possible ways to make this work and I’ve always wanted to see this from you cause I think it’d be such a cool idea. Like seeing a downfall but then seeing a rise up. I think this is cool because maybe this matches your situation. I don’t know. I think any of these ideas would be fun though. Now, I think the main problem is the lack of passion and motivation. Which I myself too struggle with, like how can you compete with the psycho series. The thing is though Jesse, please try not to have money in your mind when making these. I understand wanting to get paid and such but you should treat this more as a passion. I bet overtime, you’d grow in followers and gain a lot more respect if you just try to focus more on doing the series humbly and more just for the craft and passion, rather than just the money aspect. In matter of fact, I promise you that it’d work out in the end if you just create stuff from your heart. I genuinely love and care for you man. I want to see great things from you. Now, I can’t really say much else but you should use those ideas. Really take time to sit and think about these and try to plan out whatever it is you wanna plan out for the MJN Cinematic Universe Lol we’re counting on you man :) For motivation, what helps me is looking at all the nice comments from fans and all the support from others. Maybe you could do that with your Juggies. Let them help motivate and push you to make these series a reality. Another thing that helps is being motivated from tv shows or movies that I like. I think you should do the same, try to have someone you can look up to or admire and use that positive energy to make an amazing series. Don’t care if it makes money, just care if it makes you happy. You don’t even have to spend much money on props if you want. Just make it cause you like to make it. Life is too short man, I think you should just find that old passion you had back. We care for you bro. Alright, I gotta go. I love you Jesse, stay lit! 🔥
so after while of finding the numbers and getting the additional ships i can now give you a list of a navy form the smallest to biggest so let's begin
Ustian Navy: 25 ships and 0 Submarines
in last place and taking the crown for smallest navy in Strangereal is the Ustian Navy with 25 ships and no submarines so i hear Ustio doesn't have a navy well its very likely they do cause Ustio will probably have Lakes and Rivers that a small ship can operate in, their Navy is probably only made up of 14 new pt-16 class gunboats and despite being retired IRL I can see Ustio's navy repurposing the 11 Aquarius class gunboats as utility craft. in our thirteenth spot is the Usean Navy from 1997 with 40 ships and 2 Submarines now because the Usean navy only canon appearance was in AC2/AC:AHL i only have those game's canon information to work with so unfortunately I can't give you up to date information however they couldn't have worse luck as 36 ships defected to the usean rebels and they lose their 2 super-submarines leaving a single aircraft carrier, frigate and two gunboat then as they are trying to rebuild the fleet an asteroid hits Usea then the Eruseans start a war further hurting the Usean military more and to rub salt they have to deal with Free Erusea and finally Erusea again boh no wonder GR takes over as the Usean military is shadow of its former self. At number 12 is the Ratioan navy with 48 ships and 3 submarines which was not surprising given that its an obscure nation whose only conflict action was the belkan war wish we could see more of this nation. to our eleventh spot we have the North Point Royal Navy with 65 ships and 11 submarines but fun fact if we lived in strangereal i'd be North Pointian and a small navy fits North Point but its one of the only Usean nations to have ballistic missile submarines which isn't bad to keep our number 10 spot in check. At the number 10 spot is the Erusean Royal Navy with 97 ships and 10 submarines from 2019 before Trigger got his claws into them to go from a ruined navy in 2005 to moderately good sized navy in 14 years and to get 1 Alicorn class Submarine aircraft carrier is a sign it was well into recovering from its losses from the 1st continental war and become a regional power however thanks to idiotic radicals stupidity thinking they could pick a fight with our bronze place navy and left them with a wounded military and regional power in tatters. now back to the Osean continent now with our 9th place the Royal Nordlands Navy with 120 ships and 4 submarines this navy heck this country is one I really wish to see more as had Erusea tried expanding into the Osean continent the Nordlands armed forces would have been the first force to fight them but i'd like to see a conflict involving the Nordlands so we can see what the Nordlands military is and how acts in a war. at number 8 is Sapin Navy which has a fleet of 163 ships and 2 Submarines which despite the force size being the 4th smallest on the Osean continent and only likely seeing action in the belkan war is quite reasonable and had Torres succeeded then Erusea would have had to deal with an enraged Sapin military thank goodness Three Strikes and his team managed to stop him. in seventh is the Republic of Emmeria Navy which has a fleet of 202 ships and 18 submarines which to go from 9 ships to 202 in the space of 5 years is an impressive recovery for a nation who likely didn't expect the war they ended up fighting. just missing out on the top 5 is Republic of Aurelia Navy: 294 ships and 25 submarines which is small given its more heavily armed neighbour to the north which given the Aurelian war starts soon makes me wonder if Aurelia was too reliant on Osean protection that it let their military weaken cause despite advanced weapons like the meson cannon the Aurelian navy went from from 294 ships to 17 ships and a single submarine losing 94 percent of the surface fleet and 96 percent of the submarine is a devastating loss one Aurelia will need a long time to recover from and with Osea recovering themselves Aurelia was on its own luckily they had their own singularity in the form of Gryphus 1. Into the top 5 now with the Yuketobanian Navy which has 323 ships and 67 submarines which for the 2nd global superpower is quite but its clear that the Circum-Pacific War left Yuketobania weaker I mean they had lost their only Admiral Kuzentov class carrier which only leaves their 2 Ulyanovsk class supercarriers and let's not forget losing both the 2 Scinfaxi class nuclear ballistic missile submarine and submarine aircraft carriers they had built and in complying with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty 2 meant they had to sell off the only Alicorn class nuclear ballistic missile submarine and submarine aircraft carrier to Erusea although the money probably helped them begin rebuilding their navy given the fact they lost 42 ships and 13 typhoon class ballistic missile submarines in one war which was likely the back bone of their nuclear deterrent fleet. I do wanna see more of Yuketobania. In fourth and missing the top 3 is Nordennavic Royal Navy with 591 ships and 11 Submarines and to be honest this surprised me that a nation that values its neutrality so much that it has a special fighter squadron to do its dirty work but still the Nordennavic government built a navy of a size between the 2 superpowers but i am curious to see how Nordennavic would handle having to fight a war against another nation. Taking the bronze is Osean Maritime Defense Force with 685 ships and 109 submarines Yes I know we give Osea a lot of flak for its incompetence but the OMDF is still a force to be reckoned with despite losing ships to 2 separate wars but will Osea's navy be powerful again well yes they have lot of ships coming in the next several years after all the OMDF had lost half its carrier force in the war against Yuketobania a decade ago and by the time the lighthouse war started thy had more carriers than they did at the start of the Circum-Pacfic war but do I expect Osea to fight a war within the decade honest answer NO because Osea lost 19 ships from the fleet first sent the war against Erusea, its a guarantee that the Osean Navy will rise up like a phoenix from the ashes and blaze like a fire. Taking the Silver is Verusan Liberation Army Navy with 697 Ships and 77 submarines now before I start on this one I have to admit that we don't know that Verusa is really the strangereal version of China and that i made it like that so I could write my anger at having my life upended by china given the current global situation we find ourselves in but putting that aside for a relatively unknown nation if it is strangereal China to have a fleet that is 12 ships bigger than Osea is very impressive but unfortunately for Verusa it makes them be seen by Osea as a growing threat to its hegemony so like how they stuffed the Belka economy Osea will do whatever it takes to cripple this growing superpower which i have no doubt that the Yuketobanians would see the same thing so in my headcanon well I think Trigger sums it nicely "Since Verusa lost the court case they have to not only pay the penalties and legal fees and the global economy is wounded with the global satellite network in ruins and will take years to repair, which is a problem as Verusa's import economy is reliant on global trade but the Erusean drone strikes in the war have stuffed global trade till at least mid decade they think." "With that false flag which I bet Osea had a hand in has damaged or destroyed one hundred and seventy-five Verusan Navy ships and all of these factors along with Osean economic sanctions has crashed their economy meaning the Vuan is worthless." yeah I believe that global trade will take years to recover after the lighthouse and despite ACX saying Satellite communications were back online I think that it will take till mid-decade to rebuild the satellite network after what happened during the Battle for Farbanti last September. and taking the gold medal is the Democratic People's Republic of Leasath Navy with 1032 ships and 85 submarines but is this number correct to absolutely honest no and the reason is the Leasath civil war from 2011 to 2019 as we have very little information on war happen and how other than how it ended meaning we have no the Leasath Navy split and what ships were involved on each side and how many were lost so is it likely to be smaller than Osea or Verusa almost certainly but how much smaller is likely never to be known unless we get an ace combat game covering that but given that I doubt the PA Team would risk covering a civil war in Strangereal North Korea given the bad tensions between Japan and North Korea nor A conflict with Strangereal China given the bad tensions between China and Japan these days as the Chinese Government would likely get upset and pressure Bandai Namco to force a change to the game anyway what do you think of this ranking please share your thought in the comments below I'll catch you all next time and remember gotta stay fly
End of tour highlights and refraction's TLDR: I worked for a rapist.
On the eve of my separation from the Air Force I decided to make a list of the most memorable moments of the 11-year journey. My time was polarizing. From hating the day-to-day thankless stress of working in chow halls, to briefly enjoying my job as a writephotographer, to adopting the existential mindset of Bartleby the Scrivener ("I would prefer not to"), the trek from alcoholic bitter-mouthed 1-Striper, to a TSgt with an Olympian ego, to a bored and uninspired SrA had its peaks and valleys. I met a lot of oddballs, repeatedly questioned my life choices, and never stopped laughing --which is a better coping mechanism than abusing alcohol. I've whittled down the list to the top 15 or so. As a bonus i'll also include unasked for general reflections and tips.
Having a future felon as my very first supervisor. This guy was weird, even for an enlisted serf. Rarely bathed, looked like Sling Blade, and married to a stereotype dependa who ran up credit card debt in his name, this guy raised every flag as a potential active shooter. He was also accused by an aircrew member of watching pornography and masturbating in the Flight Kitchen. The accusation was never substantiated, but he was removed from night shift and never left alone again. Thankfully, he never killed anybody, but after finally being administratively separated from the Air Force, he did get tried and convicted for the seductions and statutory rape of a minor. They we're travelling the east coast in a car like Humbert Humbert and Lolita, but the police report also said they had a baby doll so they could practice raising it. This set the tone for my supervisors in the Air Force.
Following up on felons I was close to, my first suite mate at my first official base makes the reel. During a 4-month period in which I deployed a crim investigation found that the semi-functioning alcoholic who lived next to me had been drugging and raping men and women from all over the base. It was a pretty open and shut case with him getting 40 years in Leavenworth. Of course, tasteless as ever, this led to speculations among the dorm lads over whether or not I had been violated, with a few inappropriate jokes being made. Quite thrilling.
For the super-criminal villain hat-trick I also worked with a Staff Sergeant who would go on to become a high-profile Military Training Instructor in the sexual harassment/rape scandal that broke out of Lackland a few years later. The TI would go on to hang himself in prison. As an added bonus, the very first Airman I supervised had him as an MTI in basic. Small world.
At my first base, there was a person in the squadron who threw legendary parties throughout the summer. This often led to debauchery and promiscuous behavior, but never more so than on Halloween. One year the party got so out of hand I ended up walking through his front yard naked. Also there was an orgy and for some reason someone brought their baby to it.
One time I attempted to introduce some levity back into the Squadron during the Air Force's crackdown on indecent/inappropriate material in the work place. After a full sweep of the building had been made, including witch hunts for Maxim magazines in the restroom stalls, I purchased a gag book on Amazon titled "How to live with an Exceptionally Large Penis". It was 100 or so pages and featured hilarious gags like paper-rulers and cut out diameters that would tell you just how difficult your life would be based on the girth of your masculine aparatus. Sadly, it didn't last much more than an hour and the next Commander's call alluded to lewd and provocative material. Some humor just goes over people's heads.
I PCS'd to a new base where our office was set to move locations. My supervisor attempted to saddle me with DRMO'ing hundreds of pieces of equipment. Stuff that I didn't care about. Stuff that'd been neglected for years. I'm American I don't pay for other people's mistakes. When they kept pressing me to get rid of the equipment, and scorned the idea of just letting it get demolished with the old building, I did the expedient manuever: procured a golf cart and a map of the base, charted the locations of every dumpster, and once a week took the cart, full of equipment, and strategically chucked it in the trash where it's undocumented serial numbers became anybodies problem but mine. You better believe my EPR credits me for the DRMO and if you traced my route on the map it would have made a smiley face.
I once took part in an utterly mad and fruitless 14-day exercise. This was the culmination of the sheer goofiness that possessed the leaders at Osan Air Base at the time who seemed obsessed with making everything bigger, longer, and more excruciating. Note that as a Public Affairs writephotographer, my role during an exercise is often laughably irrelevant to what it would be in a real world emergency so putting together moronic powerpoints and useless PDF newsletters gets old real quick. By day 11 or so I wasn't even tasking my Airmen with any assignments. We pretended the floor was lava and tried to navigate around the office balancing on a dumbbell and took bets on who could last the longest. Warrior culture at its finest.
It was around this same time that I saw my first dead body. Sadly, self-harm, existential depression, and suicide was a serious problem during my time in the Air Force and I saw the consequences of them first hand, personally and professionally. Maybe even more sadly, after you photograph more than one of these kinds of scenarios it's pretty easy to get desensitized to it and just becomes a clinical and procedural thing to do.
More light-heartedly, since I lived off-base during my time at Osan, I took to mocking all of the peons who had to line up to get back onto base as curfew approached. While I strolled to my cozy bungalow with ridiculously high-speed internet and easy to clean leather furniture, I would send my best wishes to anyone who had to turn toward the dreaded line at the gate. A line that I nicknamed "The Trail of Tears" since everyone on it would be herded, probably against their will, to a reservation (The "E" club, with an "E" in parenthesis because you'd be just as likely to see some disgusting 40-year-old officer there as you would an enlisted person) where they'd become disproportionately affected by alcohol dependency, lack of family planning, government support, and STIs.
In what may be a career low, me and a peer once had to pick up, escort, and photograph a cardboard cutout of Admiral Locklear (then retiring PACOM Commander) so the photos could be used for a slide show at his retirement party. The idea, which likely originated from some ass-kissing exec at headquarters, was to make the unknown and uncared for Admiral be similar to Flat Stanley. It never took off for some reason. As part of our official duties, we picked this 6-foot-tall cardboard sailor up from the flightline, took him to the gate, and flirted with the idea of photographing him in downtown Songtan with the infamous Sally before thinking better of it and fucking off to not do work somewhere else. Did make John Q. Public's page though. Lots of laughs.
I once worked for an officer who was so inept she got tricked by an online prank and ended up sending a pornographic GIF to everyone in the office group chat. The GIF was of an obese man with an unusually large penis swinging his glory around like a whirlgig. I didn't see it myself since I left that useless group chat months earlier, but one of my Airmen said the guy's penis was as big as Dirk Digler's prostetic in Boogie Nights.
Near the height of my schism with leadership at my last assignment, my supervisor was desperately trying to give me a "Come to Jesus" talk and get me to settle down and assimilate with my leadership's expectations. It's a long story, but this led to a humorous exchange where I told my SNCO supervisor that she was Neville Chamberlain to my Winston Churchill (right down to smoking too many cigars, drinking too much, and being a bit cantankerous). She didn't find it as funny as I did, but it was a good line. My therapist seemed to think so too.
As a writer, it's part of my job to train my Airmen on grammar and technique. As a person who also loves studying language, conjugating verbs in all their forms is a lot of fun. Finally, the word cuckold may be the funniest one ever, so why not combine duty with love and humor? Me and one of my Airmen conjugated the verb "to cuckold" in the office one day, and by the time we got to the present perfect (Gerund) section, the Lieutenant in our office became so disheveled he bolted from his office and asked what we were up to. "Training," I said, and we went back to conjugating as dutifully as Franciscan monks.
Later on I witnessed this same Airmen completely emasculate this Lieutenant in front of our MAJCOM Functionals (a LT. Col and CMSgt). During beach volleyball he literally bucked up on the officer, yelling "Shut the fuck up LT, I will choke you the fuck out". I got a laugh out of that too.
For 4 days straight I drove passed the carcass of a hog with rigamortis immediately inside the front gate of my base.
I worked with an Airman who would literally spend hours sitting in the bathroom. It became so odd I ever authored a semi-fictional account of the events on Reddit, with all of these posts being cited as evidence in a Command Directed Investigation determining whether or not I lived up to the little brown book's expectations for Air Force NCOs. Needless to say I got huge kick out of a General Officer, Investigator, and my entire chain of command reading my fugue and riffs on enlisted life, anonymous sex culture, human bondage in Guatemala, and STIs.
Before the aforementioned CDI, I had to explain to OSI that I had not, in fact, ever water-boarded anyone. It seems the leadership team in my office was so "concerned" about an obvious shit post I made on reddit. Fun times. Post what you want on social media. Fuck 'em.
In the grand tradition of military life here is some unsolicited advice:
Ingratiate yourself to people. It's more important than being technically skilled (although this is necessary as well). The way you make people feel is going to be way more important for your progression than anything else.
That said, it'll always be more important to ingratiate yourself to your superiors, rather than your peers or subordinates. So long as your rating system stays the way it is, there's no escaping this.
Stop asking why. Just stop. You don't wanna know. The best possible answer is someone doesn't explain and says "Because I said so". Far worse are the bloated and nauseating explanations and circle jerks that may as well be "Because I said so". People are just animals. They're not rational. Not bound by logic. Stop asking why and you'll eventually stop wondering why. Then you're halfway to a pension, VFW membership, and passionless GS job.
Don't stop expanding your skillset. If you only have one or two tricks, you'll be type-casted real quick.
Get used to always lurching from one barely solved disaster to the next. The system is too big to function smoothly so it's better to embrace the fact that there will always be chaos. Your leaders usually know a lot less than they let on.
At the same time know that expanding technology is also expanding, not retracting, the work center. Expect to put more time on the job, both in the office and at home. Every technological innovation or breakthrough in my 11 years, without fail, has contributed to the shrinking gap between work and outside of work. It's not turning around any time soon.
Know that sometimes you just gotta be lucky. Seriously, with the right people and support almost anyone can become a super star in the enlisted force (most "superstars" are pure propaganda anyway). On the other side with the wrong people and lack of support, almost anyone can become a dirtbag. Keep this in mind and know that sometimes you're just gonna catch a bad break and not be too haughty when you happen to catch good ones.
And lastly here's some totally crazy ideas:
Implement 360-degree feedback. It needs to be nuanced and rolled out thoughtfully, but having supervisors, leaders, and commanders actually have their ratings affected by how they're rated by their peers and subordinates can work wonders with combating some of the more fetid management practices that are not only tolerated but rewarded in the current force. It'll never be perfect, nothing will, but to me it's a clear win over the kind of system we have now.
Leaders need to acknowledge that paperwork, LOCs, LORs etc. ARE in fact punitive tools used to negatively affect someone's career. They should be given out with much more restraint. Even more so, the standard for giving these documents needs to be dramatically heightened. As it stands, a person in a supervisory position can scribble a counselling and reprimand without any burden of proof or scrutiny. Likewise the ridiculous trend of everyone keeping memorandums and notes on everyone else seriously needs to be discouraged. I've never once encountered a leader who does this kind of stuff that's not doing it out of some perverse quest to inflict as much harm on others as possible. The fear-mongering idea that without micro-managing and petty memorandums a less than average performer will be allowed to wallow in the service for 20 years and get a pension is an unsubstantiated reason to encourage this rotten and destructive management practice. I'd rather work with 100 mediocre and lazy folks than for someone who thinks keeping a journal on everyone they come into contact with is a best practice.
Where it's possible, the force should implement flexible work schedules. This isn't going to work for everyone, but so much of my 11 years was spent sitting on my ass without anything LEGITIMATE to do. Busy work like making graphics for a Command Chief's farewell gift or designing plaques doesn't count as legitimate. Allowing people, where possible, the flexibility to take care of themselves, their families, and business would be a huge win.
Of course, convincing leaders to knock off with the nonsense and only focus on what's meaningful is a whole other conversation, but a serious effort needs to be made to combat this noxious idea that "you're always on the clock" in the force. This merely emboldens idiots who hate their families, are hated by their families, or generally have no lives to inflict misery on anyone unfortunate enough to be underneath them. Some things require a round the clock presence. Most don't.
Leaders at all levels need to embrace the creedo of being harder on themselves, and easier on others. So much of the stupidity I encountered could be solved if people actually held themselves to a higher standard.
TLDR: I met some perverts, worked for a convicted rapist, witnessed an orgy, and have some totally original ideas.
Managed to reach rank 40 just in time! And I’d like to mark the occasion by reviewing every single event!
I love this game. I’ve played for about 50 hours and achieved 23 victories at the time of writing. Judging by the stats on Steam I suppose that I'm a little bit above the average, but since I can only play during short periods of time, I do think of myself as a rather casual player. However, I have very strong opinions about the game because of my past experiences as a competitive player in other videogames. So, now that the season is almost over, I’d like to share my thoughts and hopefully provide some honest feedback. I’ll do my best to cover the mid-season changes and compare both versions of the events whenever possible. Keep in mind that these are just my opinions, and even when I say something very deterministic such as “it’s not fun” or “it doesn’t work”, it only applies to my own experience and I understand that everyone else had a different experience. Let’s go. Dizzy Heights This course is very well made. It manages to combine what I consider the two most important factors when it comes to having fun in this game: rewarding good luck, and rewarding skill. Even better, the stage allows you to minimize luck once you’re experienced and skilled enough. The first section, with the spinning circles and the yellow bumpers, is a nice introduction to what Fall Guys is about. I like that you used to be able to learn an optimal route before the mid-season update (rewarding dedication), and I enjoy that it now awards being able to adapt (rewarding skill). The second section, with the uphill platform and the cannonballs makes sense too, and it’s fun that it encourages a bunch of different strategies (hiding, diving, changing lanes) regardless of skill level. The third section is very similar to the first one, but I really like that the course keeps on going with an alternate route even if you fall. I feel that we don’t have enough alternate routes on the game as a whole. The updated version of the third section has two variations, the one with the wrecking balls is great, but I’m not sure I understand the purpose of having the whole upper section disappearing in the second version. Why? Don’t have a lot to say about the last section, but I think it’s fine as it is, and the addition of BIG YEETUS adds a fun twist when available. Taking a bet is fun when it’s a choice. Hit Parade This one I have a problem with. The first section is fine, either you fall or you don’t, which may not be that inspiring but I think that’s fine, not everything needs to be flashy. The second section, however, the one with the revolving doors, doesn’t work at all. I imagine that the idea behind it was having the players working against one another by navigating a route of their choice, and probably having to deal with other players pushing from the opposite side. That’s a cool concept, but in practice all that players actually do is just running in a straight line, without anything else going on other than first timers walking against the current, learning immediately to never ever do that again. Maybe a different layout could help solve this. For that reason, I don’t think the bottleneck at the end of such section work either, because instead of having multiple choices on how and when to exit, the decision is made for you by the physics engine, whether you are pushed between the doors, or to the sides. The updated version (the one with the rotating bars) is much better because it rewards skill while luck is still present in the form of players bumping against you and ruining your day. It’s a vast improvement. The third section is great, but I have to say that the wrecking balls going side to side work much better than going towards you, because they are much easier to doge that way. The last section is fine, not a lot to say about it, other than I find the hammers’ version way more fun. See Saw This one is great. It just is. Sure, it’s frustrating to suffer dumb decisions made by other people, and it’s infuriating when others take advantage of your hard work while leaving you behind; but in the case of See Saw I feel that those scenarios exemplify the game’s main strengths. This race rewards skill, understanding of game mechanics (not to say, common sense), and being able to read the situation, which makes for a great event. I don’t have anything to say about the mid-season update. Variety is good and I don’t think that any of the new patterns ruin the experience, so that’s fine. As a side note, I really enjoy that this event is fun to spectate after you cross the finish line. Most other races are decided within seconds from the first few players qualifying, but the nature of See Saw allows players to recover after a couple mistakes, and it’s fun to grab a drink and laugh at the misfortune of others after crossing that line. It’s great. Door Dash This one is far from my favorites, but I understand the idea behind it and I think it works fine for what it is. I appreciate that there’s a way to find the real doors at the last three lanes, which allows the strategy of playing patiently at first and making use of your experience later. That’s good design, and I don’t think that I would like it as much if it was 100% luck. Once again, the addition of BIG YEETUS is great. However, I don’t feel like the moving pillars from the update add anything to the race, since bumping into players pushing through the door is enough to drive you insane, and plays as the “luck” factor. Gate Crash Most of what I said about Dizzy Heights applies here too. The game rewards skill, experience, and allows to strategize in order to minimize luck. All sections of the map serve their purpose and I like that there’s a difficulty curve to it, with each layer of doors moving slightly faster, or in a stranger pattern. The mid-season update was pretty good, since it’s now impossible to develop an optimal route without assessing the situation first, which means the event never gets boring. Tip Toe To be honest, I don’t find this event that fun. It’s my least favorite race, but I wouldn’t say it’s boring either. I’d classify it as a stressful experience, more than anything. I’m not a fan of how punishing it is whenever you’re pushed out of the right path, especially while being closer to the finish line. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with having other players deciding over your destiny, but I feel that most of the time those decisions are not made by the players, but by the physics engine. I do like that it’s not pure luck, since you’re able to read the map somewhat, and it’s possible to work the crowd in your favor by virtue of being patient. However, I think that the idea behind this game would benefit greatly from being closer to the first events of the show, rather than being a semifinal. I think I’d like a version of Tip Toe that is more forgiving by allowing more players, but within a much bigger map. Maybe even divided by sections and checkpoints? Like in See Saw? That sounds fun, actually. Or maybe, it could stay as it is (second to last event, few players, fewer winners) but with an alternate route filled with obstacles for those who fall, allowing the lucky players to secure their spot, while the rest (of us) have a fighting chance by means of perseverance. TheWhirlygig Another masterpiece. I don’t want to repeat myself too much with the whole “skill/luck” speech (see Dizzy Heights), but this race is another great example of what I think is fun in this game. Onto specifics, I enjoy that there are a lot of ways to tackle every section, such as letting yourself be hit in order to get pushed ahead, or timing each jump perfectly, in hopes of not being knocked down by players turned into bullets. In that regard, I feel the race works best because of the fact that it’s always the first or second race, which means lots of players trying their best, and lots of leniency because of it. This leniency provides room for experiments regardless of skill level, and I like it. And just like it was with See Saw, the game is fun to watch after you cross the finish line. As for the mid-season updates, I feel they work very well. Changing the direction of the whirls at random means that you have to stay on your toes regardless of your experience with the game, and that’s good. Slime Climb This is it. The race of all races. The World 1-1 of Fall Guys, and the level that will most definitely come back for the anniversary season with a compilation of the game’s best races. At least that’s what I think. This is my favorite level and I get all giddy whenever it shows up. I have fun in it even when I lose, because every victory feels earned, and every lose feels like a lesson learned. I’d like to praise the difficulty of Slime Climb by pointing out that, yeah, falling to your death is harsh, and the level of urgency can sometimes be nerve-wracking. But at the same time, the level is designed in such a way that falling down from an obstacle (most likely the yellow cylinders) means that all you have to do is try again. No matter the obstacle, you have enough time to try and fall from each section about 2-3 times before the slime catches up, which makes the event a learning experience to all skill levels and I think that’s fantastic. The fact that you can learn and practice shortcuts, and strategize when and how to fight with other players, makes this race one of the best levels to reward dedication and decision making too, which is good. I wish I could dissect every section of the race like I did with Hit Parade, but I’m trying to provide new info for all levels rather than keep repeating myself. In that regard, I don’t think there’s a single section of Slime climb that is not fair, fun, and exciting. Yes, even the yellow cylinders can be learnt to be dealt with. And this is true for all the mid-season changes too. This race just works. If I had to write anything negative about Slime Climb, it would be that the camera can sometimes get a little funky around the corners, specially before the yellow rectangles that push you down. Other than that, I wish to get Slime Climb on my next show because I like it so much. Fruit Chute This one is fine for what it is, but I think it could be better. However, most of the changes that I’d like to see would make for a more complicated event, and I suppose that having simpler games is fine too. My main complaint about Fruit Race is that, when you’re lucky, all you have to do is to press up in a straight line. It doesn’t take long to discover that pushing through the center is a bad idea, and since hugging the sides is not that difficult, it all comes down to not getting hit while jumping down to the conveyor belt (patience is key!), and hoping that players in front of you get hit, which is mostly luck. In my mind, the concept of Fruit Race should be more like a struggle, having players traversing a mazelike layout, and taking for a fact that you will most likely get hit by the fruit at some point. But, since all players should be having a hard time, everyone should have an equal chance of winning as long as they don’t get too far behind. To me, the winners of an event like this should be the ones with the best strategy, the ones with the most mechanical skill, and the lucky ones. The way it is now, getting hit means you’re done unless you’re among the very first places. It’s mostly down to luck and that’s fine, but I wish there was more room for decision making. Jump Club This one is fine. Don’t change anything. I wish I had more to say but this event is fun and fair. That’s it. I mean, I’m here to provide feedback, not to nitpick, lol. Not to mention that I always wanted to be on Wipeout, so this game is like a dream come true. If any, I’ll use this space to praise the controllers. Despite how easy it is to get pushed mid-air or to trip after landing, controlling a fall guy feels responsive and tight (before losing control of it, I mean), and that’s the reason a game like Jump Club works. Roll Out Same deal as Jump Club. The level is well designed, the concept is clear, and it’s fun. I wouldn’t change a thing. Having walls dividing sections of the cylinder was a genius idea, because it provides a way for clutch plays and unexpected saves. If any, I wish the mid-season update changed the layout a little bit, because there is an optimal path, and once you see it it’s very hard to lose. Block Party Have you guys noticed how most games in the survival category are quite solid? Block Party is fun, challenging and fair. Heck, even when it feels unfair it’s mostly due to players working against you, be it intentionally or due to bad luck. I like that you can see the blocks coming from a distance far enough that it’s possible to strategize in advance, but they appear close enough to remain a constant threat, especially near the end of the trial and when other players are trying to make you lose. This one didn’t need an update because it came with different versions right from the start, and I think all of them are great, especially because each of them provides a different type of challenge: running, jumping, or not getting trapped. More like this in the future, please. Perfect Match Okay. This event was fun during the game’s early days, especially because it felt like a free win in comparison to the other levels and their respective learning curves. However, it has become increasingly boring over time, to the point that it now feels like a complete chore. Thing is, I don’t think I would have done anything different. The game works fine for what it is, but unlike the rest of the events, the strategy for beating this level hasn’t changed one bit since day one. And I’m not sure that adding hammers or wrecking balls would improve the experience either, because the way I see it, the problem with this game is rooted at its core concept: it’s a game of memory, and you can’t improve your memory in the same way that you can improve your mechanical skill with a videogame. (I mean, you can, but the processes are different). And don’t get me wrong, the game is not easy. I’ve failed many times because I didn’t even see any banana, let alone remember where it was. Rather, I think my boredom has to do with the fact that Fall Guys is a competition, and yet you’re playing this event all by yourself. In fact, the most fun I’ve had lately in Perfect Match has been by trying to trick players into standing over the wrong tile. Sometimes I spam the “over here!” emote on the wrong answer and have 5-6 players fall to their deaths. That’s amazing. And sometimes I die with them, but I have to do it in order to keep it interesting. I’m all up for having more logic-based games, by the way. I wonder if any sort of math would work. Maybe having players splitting into groups? Maybe punishing wrong answers by slowing the player’s speed instead of losing? Maybe mazes? Manipulating railroads to run over others? I don’t know. Tail Tag I think this is, by far, the best one out of all three variations of Tail Tag. And the reason is simple: the layout of the map. The hammer with the tiny “safe” zone at the center of the stage is genius. It’s such an obvious hideout that it’s not as safe as it seems, and that opens the door to fun mind games. But most importantly, the bottom level below the center is perfectly crafted to play hide and seek. No only you can run in circles with the camera as your ally (not sure if that’s intentional), but you can also use the multiple exits to get in and out of the inner circle as you see fit, confusing the hell out of your pursuers. It feels like playing an old school cartoon and that makes the event quite funny. I don’t think the rest of the layout is as interesting, but having a circular map was a great choice in general. It allows you to close your distance to others by walking in a straight line, and that provides room for strategy whenever you don’t have a tail. Egg Scramble Most of the team games involve pushing giant objects around, which results in an added layer of unpredictability on top of playing with strangers. And that’s what I like the most about Egg Scramble: you’re in control of everything you do, at least until another player grabs you, which is intended. The map itself it’s ok, I like the way the hammers near the goal work both as allies and enemies depending on the situation. The tiny map works best for this, too. However, while I think that sabotaging the losing team is and should be a perfectly valid strategy, it feels horrible when you are on the receiving end of both enemy teams because there’s NOTHING you can do about it. Going back and forth against another team is manageable, but when both of them decide to sabotage you, it’s over. I don’t think it would hurt to have additional eggs appear on the stage during the course of the event. I’m not sure if this would solve the issue, but it would at least provide all teams with something to focus on rather than ransacking the losing team. It would also provide something to do in the middle of the map, which goes unused after the first few seconds of the match. Rock ‘N’ Roll This is my favorite team game, and I think it’s because it provides a clear objective for the whole team to work on: push the ball, win the race. It’s a task in which everyone can focus on, with very little room for sabotaging your own team either by accident, or due to poor decision making. I mean, it does happen, but humans are unpredictable, what can you do? I haven’t put much thought into the first two sections of the map, but I think they work fine for what they are, by providing a slight learning curve, and by forcing the team to adapt and split tasks in order to steer the ball by the end of the second section. I like this sort of cooperative gameplay, and I wish this section was a little longer. Despite everything of what I just said, I love the third section (the huge ramp towards the goal) because it allows the most experienced players to strategize in advance, and look for ways to sabotage the other teams whenever you notice that your own team is falling behind. It’s great and I like that it provides very tense and funny moments. I think the last section works because the winning team disappears from the map after reaching the goal, which means that the fight for second place is always just between two teams, unlike the unwinnable scenarios of Egg Scramble. That, and the fact that the ramp goes down, which makes it easier to push the ball down, rather than stopping it. The moving pillars and bumps added with the mid-season update are great, because they provide additional tension and strategy even for the team in first place. Before them, it was clear sailing if you were the first team to the ramp, but having the bumps means that your team needs to keep working together until the very end. I like that. I’m not a fan of the hammers, since getting stuck is way less punishing that having your ball go backwards forever. That’s horrible. Fall Ball I won’t try to discuss what works and doesn’t work in soccer as a team game because that’s way out of the scope of this post. What I’ll say it’s that it took me quite some time to reach the point in which I felt as a valuable member of my team, because it took me a while to get a better understanding of the ball’s physics. For the longest time I couldn't figure out if jumping gave better results than jumping and diving, diving, or just pushing the ball on the ground. To be honest I’m still not sure, and sometimes it feels like I’m punching a balloon, or trying to throw an unfolded sheet of paper. Do you know the feeling? I think my confusion has to do with the fact that every single ball in this game seems to have a different weight to it, which means that you can’t practice for this event outside of the event itself. That may not seem like a big issue, but every second spent playing Fall Guys is a second spent practicing running and jumping, which makes you better at every single event, other than Fall Ball. The mid-season updates were a hit or miss for me. I like the spinning circle in the middle, because it stops a more coordinated team from farming goals one after another. Having four balls on the court is a blast too; it makes for closer games and I wish the event was always like that. But, I’m not a fan of the hammers and wrecking balls acting as goalies, since they add an extra layer of random on top of playing with strangers, and most of the time they are frustrating to play against, rather than fun. TeamTail Tag This one is fine and I think that they nailed the number of tails available on the field, because I’ve never felt that I’m way behind any other team, or so ahead that I can take a break. It always feels like your team should keep on fighting up until the very last second, which is good. However, I think the map is not as clever as the one for the individual Tail Tag. It doesn’t have enough hideouts or “routes” for playing Tom & Jerry, or at least I haven’t found them to be as effective and fun as the ones in individual Tail Tag. It’s rather hard to outrun your pursuers (at least without doing some fancy jumping tricks), and there aren’t many places to hide to try to surprise anyone. I feel like the map could use more hazards, or more corridors splitting from the central area. Most of the map outside of the conveyor belt are ramps, and they are not as fun to traverse while chasing people since they naturally slow you down. To be honest, though, I’m not sure how I would improve the map because I think it works just fine as it is. There’s no section of the map that I particularly dislike, but I don’t have much praise for it either. I just think that the individual version of Tail Tag works much better, for the reasons explained above. Jinxed This may sound rather harsh, but I’ve never had fun while playing this game. Not even once. The whole event feels like a coin toss. I’ve tried to follow strategies I’ve seen online, and I’ve tried to develop some of my own with various degrees of success; but at the end of the day, this game feels like I could just let go of my controller and let the (Fall) Gods decide over my destiny. I think it has to do with the event having too many players for the relatively small size of the map. I wonder if this could work better with fewer players per team, and possibly by having 3 teams instead of 2, which I think allows for interesting decision making. Also, the map is boring. The middle section with the underground corridors and the wrecking balls is a cool idea, but it goes unused after players discover that it’s mostly a death trap. You go in, and anyone can jump in to catch you. Maybe having the same corridors, but covered by a translucent floor could be a cool idea, opening the door to mind games. I think the idea of having hazardous corridors works best when skillful (or lucky) players can actually take advantage of them. Maybe, the corridors and the wrecking balls could form a second floor above the level, working as a relatively safe hideout from the players below, until the hazards of the map force you to go down. Closest thing we have to an interactive hiding spot are the spinning circles on the edges of the map, but the ramps that lead up to them are way too step, making for some really awkward gameplay. Most players miss the jump to the spinning platform, not because the jump is an actual test of skill, but because the physics behind jumping from an upwards ramp are deceptive, rather than interesting. Yeah, not a fan of this one, but the idea has potential. HoopsieDaisy I like this one. I especially enjoy that, as the player base is getting better, Hoopsie Daisy has provided me with the closest matches out of all the other team games. I’ve had games where the final score is something like 52-48-47, and that’s very exciting to play. The game works because it does a good job at balancing both luck and skill. Some of the rings require a little bit of practice in order to reach, and that provides players with both short term and long-term goals for this event, which is great. Luck is provided by not knowing your teammates, and by not knowing where the rings are going to spawn. However, the more you play you start to get a better idea of the best spots for farming rings, and that opens the door for having both a teamwide and individual strategy, which is good. I like the that, unlike most other team levels, the layout of this one has a certain verticality to it, which I think is key for rewarding dedication, skill, and luck. When you’re able to go up and down the ramps farming rings left and right, it feels good. The only reason I'd put Rock ‘N’ Roll above Hoopsie Daisy as the better team game, is the fact that the latter can be played in practice as an individual event, while Rock ‘N’ Roll requires actual cooperation. However, both styles of gameplay are good, and this non-issue can be solved by playing with friends and strategizing together. Good stuff. Hoarders I'm not too fond of this one because I seem to have an issue understanding the ball physics behind this game (see Fall Ball for details), but I can admit that the game works as intended, the map is well executed, and the number of balls available provide what I’d call “the sweet spot of fairness”, in which it’s very hard to lose hope unless your team is really, really bad. Having three teams instead of two is one of the event’s great successes, because it reduces the dangers of landing in a poorly coordinated team, and makes it worthwhile to fight until the very end. The map is well designed, too. Unlike most of my complaints about the other team games, this one doesn’t need to be more complicated, in fact, I’d say that being simplistic is another a great success. The mechanics of Hoarders do not need more hazards or verticality, since player interaction is enough to create interesting dynamics. On that note, I didn’t like the mid-season updates. The moving pillars are fine, since you can mostly work around them, but the spinning hammers add a layer of luck that wasn’t needed (nor wanted) before. Fall Mountain Finally, we’ve reached the final events! Unfortunately, I’m not very fond of Fall Mountain and I think I can summarize my feelings about it within the next sentence: In Fall Mountain, it takes you 30 seconds to win, but it takes you 10 seconds to lose. That’s it. By the time you get past the first spinning door you already know whether you have a real chance at the crown, or not. From that point on, the first player to make the smallest mistake is out of the competition, and everything happens so fast that the winner is pretty much decided at random by the falling balls. I think Fall Mountain can and should be more like Slime Climb, in the sense that, yes, it should be rather difficult and somewhat unforgiving, but its layout should provide means for the players to make mistakes without losing instantly. For example, I imagine a section near the middle of the climb, in which moving platforms, or the usual hazards (hammers, falling balls, etc.) make it most likely that you will fall out of the main path. But rather than falling into the slime or being disqualified on the spot, you are able to take an alternate path to go back at the beginning of the section and try again. Both Whirlygig and Hit Parade have sections like this. If the whole race had two or three “filters” like this, it would make it for a very dramatic experience and a real struggle between players, since you could easily lose your first place by constantly messing up, and the straggling players would have a reason to keep on fighting, with catching up being a real possibility. In that regard, I’d like to point out that Fall Mountain is the only final game that could be played just as well as a single player experience. You run in a straight line hoping not to get hit, and you’re rarely affected by whatever other players do. In comparison, every other final game requires people to compete against. (The end of the race is the one exception to this, but even then, having the first place failing to catch the crown only benefits the player right behind him, and that’s it). In that sense, I think adding sabotaging mechanics to a race could be a very interesting idea. For example, let’s say that there was a section in which there’s an upper level, and a lower level right under it (similar to Slime Climb). It'd be interesting if the actions taken by players on the lower levels could affect the hazards in the upper levels. Maybe, stepping on buttons could make the upper platforms disappear, or pushing through spinning doors could make door traps open up on the upper levels. This sort of mechanic would add a lot of physical comedy, provide means for the players to fight each other regardless of skill, it would maintain the luck factor (since humans are unpredictable), and it would be extremely rewarding for the players that are good enough (or lucky enough) to avoid all of those hazards regardless of other players. A little bit like Mario Kart, I guess. So, yeah. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk on Fall Moun... Oh right, the mid-season updates. Yeah... well, the additional hazards and BIG YEETUS definitely improved the experience, but it could be even better. Hex-a-gone This is tied with Jump Showdown (spoiler alert) as the very best final event. Ive talked so much about rewarding luck and skill, that I don’t think I have to explain how beautiful and rewarding Hex-a-gone is. I think it’s incredible that Hex-a-gone allows players to tackle on the challenge with a diverse set of strategies. Some people drop on purpose to the lower levels, some always try to stay on top, some start clearing hexagons from the center, while others prefer starting from the edges. And I find it admirable that each approach is capable of providing results, depending on the actions of the other players. Hex-a-gone is perfect as it is and whoever came up with the idea deserves a raise. It deserves a spot along with Slime Climb for the All-Stars-Season of Fall Guys. I do have to point out, though, that having more than 10 players doesn’t work as well as it does with smaller numbers, since the game devolves from being about luck and strategy into mostly luck. Royal Fumble Go read what I said about Tail Tag, Team Tail Tag, and Jinxed, and you can pretty much guess what I think about Royal Fumble. In summary, I love the idea of having one player versus the world for the very last event of the show. It’s always a struggle and it makes for a very exciting final. However, all of that is due to the players’ natural interaction, because the map itself is incredibly boring. I swear that I can’t tell you about a single exciting moment that happened in Royal Fumble that was due to the layout of the map. The event would be just as exciting if it was played on the mostly plain court of Fall Ball. In fact, playing on the Fall Ball court would be kind of dope since the teleportation that happens between the goals and the center would provide some awesome interactions. I feel that the developers played it way too safe with this map. I’d love to have this concept in a much crazier setup. Let us have verticality, levels, corridors, moving doors, mazes, dead ends, dead ends that change with time, teleporters, fake doors, heck... make us chase one another in an infinite Hex-a-gone, I don’t know. I’m not saying that an ideal map needs all of the above to be fun, but as it now, the map for Royal Fumble doesn’t provide enough mechanics to make it an interesting chase. Jump Showdown What do you want me to say? Jump Showdown is perfect. Having this or Hex-a-gone show up for the final event is always a thrill. Timeless concept, perfect execution, ideal number of players. Love it. Now... I have no clue how to end this after all of that, but thanks for reading and I wish you all good luck in Season Two! Pic: https://imgur.com/a/nzoKZZJ
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