Arizona commemorative air force museum tickets
[USA-CA] [H] Various games for the following consoles: Gamecube, Gameboy, GBA, SNES, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PS1, PS2, PS3, PSP, Sega Genesis, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. As well as various consoles, Amiibos, accessories and game manuals. [W] Paypal, Venmo, Cashapp, Etc.
2023.06.07 04:29 ddaveyy [USA-CA] [H] Various games for the following consoles: Gamecube, Gameboy, GBA, SNES, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PS1, PS2, PS3, PSP, Sega Genesis, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. As well as various consoles, Amiibos, accessories and game manuals. [W] Paypal, Venmo, Cashapp, Etc.
Hey everyone!! Back with a new and updated post. These prices are WITHOUT shipping. I will provide a quote for you, but it usually isn't more than $6 unless the items won't fit in a regular bubble mailer.
Everything has been personally tested by me and is confirmed to be fully functional. I can provide pictures upon request. I tried to stay below pricecharting, if I'm off on any of my prices, I'm more than open to offers!
PLEASE NOTE: I am open to ALL offers. The worst I can say is no!
Here's everything I'm currently selling:
SNES Samurai Shodown $9 Loose, in roughish condition.
Nintendo 64 Turok 2 Seeds of Evil (Gray cart) $10 Loose.
Nintendo 64 WWF Wrestlemania 2000 $14 Loose.
Gamecube All-Star Baseball 2002 $3 Loose.
Gamecube ATV Quad Power Racing 2 $8 Loose.
Gamecube Bionicle $5 Loose.
Gamecube Chronicles of Narnia $5 Loose.
Gamecube City Racer $41 CIB.
Gamecube Disney Sports Skateboarding $20 Game, case, and original artwork only.
Gamecube Hunter The Reckoning $12 Loose.
Gamecube King Kong $9 Loose.
Gamecube Namco Museum 50th Anniversary $12 Loose.
Gamecube Sonic Adventure DX $30 Original case, cover art, and game.
Gamecube Super Mario Strikers $62 CIB.
Gamecube Spongebob Creature From Krusty Krab $17 CIB.
Gamecube Viewtiful Joe Red Hot Rumble $90 Sealed. Some damage on the backside label. Please inquire for pics.
Gamecube Whirl Tour $8 Missing manual.
Wii Bass Pro Shops: The Hunt $2 Disc and box, no accessories.
Wii Bass Pro Shops: The Strike $2 Disc and box, no accessories.
Wii Big Buck Hunter Pro $10 CIB game and gun accessory, no big box. Shipping will be around $10.
Wii Black Eyed Peas Experience $2 CIB.
Wii Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011 $2 CIB.
Wii DJ Hero 2 $2 Disc and box.
Wii EA Sports Active 2 $2 Disc in box, no other accessories.
Wii EA Sports NFL Training Camp $2 Disc in box, no other accessories.
Wii Epic Mickey 2 $15 Sealed.
Wii Link's Crossbow Training $5 Included pouch that would come with Wii console.
Wii MLB Superstars $4 Disc and box.
Wii Naruto Shippuden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 $12 CIB.
Wii NASCAR The Game 2011 $5 Disc and box.
Wii Need for Speed Prostreet $4 Disc and box.
Wii New Super Mario Bros. Wii $18 Loose.
Wii Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 $3 Disc in box.
Wii Red Steel $3 Disc in box.
Wii Tony Hawk Ride $2 Disc in box, no skateboard.
Wii We Love Golf! $7 CIB.Wii Wii Play $4 Loose.
Gameboy Batman The Video Game $18 Loose.
Gameboy Advance 007 Everything or Nothing $10 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Activision Anthology $21 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Avatar The Burning Earth $13 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Batman Begins $9 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Bratz $1 Loose, has no label.
Gameboy Advance Crash of the Titans $10 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Elf Bowling 1 & 2 $16 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Family Feud $5 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Fantastic 4 $6 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Finding Nemo $6 Loose.
Gameboy Advance GT3 Advance Pro Concept Racing $12 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Klonoa Empire of Dreams $41 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Madden 2003 $3 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Monster Force $7 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Mouse Trap/Operation/Simon $5 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Namco Museum $3 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Namco Museum 50th Anniversary $10 Loose.
Gameboy Advance NFL Blitz 2003 $8 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Nicktoons Freeze Frame Frenzy $5 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Nicktoons Freeze Frame Frenzy and Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom Dual Cart $4 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Pirates of the Caribbean The Curse of the Black Pearl $7 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Scooby Doo $7 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Snood $7 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Spongebob's Atlantis Squarepantis $7 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Spongebob Squarepants Movie $10 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Sudoku Fever $4 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Texas Hold Em Poker $3 Loose.
Gameboy Advance That's So Raven $6 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Treasure Planet $9 Loose.
Gameboy Advance Ultimate Card Games $6 Loose.
Nintendo DS Band Hero $12 CIB.
Nintendo DS Big Brain Academy $4 Loose.
Nintendo DS Bleach The Blade of Fate $12 Loose.
Nintendo DS Brain Age $4 CIB.
Nintendo DS Charlotte's Web $4 Loose.
Nintendo DS Coraline (Have two copies) $70 Both CIB.
Nintendo DS Contact $28 Loose.
Nintendo DS Dragon Ball Z Supersonic Warriors 2 $20 Loose.
Nintendo DS Dynasty Warriors DS Fighters Battle $10 Loose.
Nintendo DS Guitar Hero On Tour (Have two copies) $3 Both loose.
Nintendo DS Hannah Montana $4 Loose.
Nintendo DS Harvest Moon DS $20 Missing manual, otherwise cib.
Nintendo DS Imagine Babyz $3 Loose.
Nintendo DS Inuyasha Secret of the Divine Jewel $55 Loose.
Nintendo DS Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues $7 CIB.
Nintendo DS Madden 06 $4 Loose.
Nintendo DS Mario&Luigi Partners in Time $61 CIB.
Nintendo DS Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (Have two copies) $8/$11 One copy loose, one cib.
Nintendo DS Metroid Prime Hunters First Hunt $8 Loose.
Nintendo DS Nicktoons Unite $9 Loose.
Nintendo DS Petz Catz 2 $3 Loose.
Nintendo DS Ratatouille $8 Loose.
Nintendo DS Scrabble $7 CIB.
Nintendo DS The Simpsons Game $14 Loose.
Nintendo DS Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor $50 CIB.
Nintendo DS Skate It $9 CIB.
Nintendo DS Sonic Colors $8 Loose.
Nintendo DS Sonic Rush $13 Loose.
Nintendo DS Suite Life of Zack & Cody Tipton Trouble $6 Loose.
Nintendo DS Super Monkey Ball Touch & Roll $9 CIB.
Nintendo DS Tetris Party Deluxe (Have two copies) $9/$4 Both copies loose, one missing it's sticker.
Nintendo DS The Amazing Spider-Man $10 CIB.
Nintendo DS The Sims 2 Pets $5 Loose.
Nintendo DS Tom and Jerry Tales $8 Loose.
Nintendo DS Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam $6 Loose.
Nintendo DS Wipeout The Game $4 CIB.
NINTENDO DS BOX ONLY
Nintendo DS Cooking Mama $1
Nintendo DS Jump Super Stars $1 Japanese version box and manual.
Nintendo DS Scribblenauts $1
Nintendo 3DS Fire Emblem Awakening $36 CIB.
Nintendo 3DS Fire Emblem Shadows of Valentia $33 CIB.
Nintendo 3DS Luigi's Mansion $40 Loose.
Nintendo 3DS Madden NFL Football $15 CIB.
Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Ultra Moon $35 CIB.
Nintendo 3DS Pokemon X $35 CIB.
Nintendo 3DS Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers $41 Loose.
Nintendo 3DS Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS $11 CIB.
Nintendo Switch Bioshock The Collection $21 CIB.
Nintendo Switch Diofield Chronicle $35 CIB.
Nintendo Switch Diablo III Eternal Collection $22 CIB.
Nintendo Switch Dragon Ball: The Breakers $13 CIB.
Nintendo Switch Fire Emblem: Three Houses $32 CIB.
Nintendo Switch Moonlighter $15 Loose in gamestop box.
Nintendo Switch My Friend Pedro $20 Loose in gamestop box.
Nintendo Switch Supermarket Shriek $18 Sealed.
Nintendo Switch Tandem A Tale Of Shadows $28 Sealed.
Nintendo Switch Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes $25 Loose in gamestop box.
Sega Genesis Frogger $10 Loose in original case (no artwork.)
Sega Genesis Monopoly $7 Original case, artwork, and cartridge.
Sega Genesis Vectorman $10 Loose in original case (no artwork.)
PS1 Army Men Air Attack (Collector's Edition) $8 CIB, jewel case is broken.
PS1 Big Game Hunter Ultimate Challenge $5 Missing front page/manual.
PS1 Billiards $4 CIB. Jewel case is broken and cracked.
PS1 Bravo Air Race $12 CIB.
PS1 Cool Boarders 2 $3 Loose.
PS1 Command and Conquer Red Alert Retaliation $15 Missing manual.
PS1 Crossroad Crisis $7 CIB.
PS1 CyberTiger $7 CIB.
PS1 Dukes of Hazzard Racing For Home $9 CIB.
PS1 Final Fantasy Chronicles $18 Missing manual. Greatest hits.
PS1 Harvest Moon Back to Nature $50 CIB.
PS1 Jade Cocoon Demo Disc $10 Loose in sleeve.
PS1 Interactive CD Sampler Disc Volume 9 $10 CIB in it's sleeve.
PS1 Knockout Kings 2001 $7 CIB. Jewel case is broken.
PS1 Madden 98 $5 Loose.
PS1 Nascar Rumble $13 CIB.
PS1 NBA Shoot Out $5 Loose.
PS1 NCAA Football 2001 $10 CIB.
PS1 NBA Live 98 $4 Loose.
PS1 NHL 99 $4 CIB, jewel case is broken.
PS1 NHL Face Off 99 $5 CIB, jewel case is cracked.
PS1 NHL Face Off $4 Loose.
PS1 NHL 2000 $4 CIB, jewel case is broken.
PS1 Rally Cross 2 $6 CIB, jewel case is cracked and broken.
PS1 Raystorm $35 Loose.
PS1 Sesame Street Sports $8 CIB.
PS1 Sim Theme Park $6 Missing manual/front page.
PS1 Spongebob Squarepants Super Sponge $8 CIB, greatest hits.
PS1 Tetris Plus $6 CIB, jewel case is cracked.
PS1 Tiger Woods '99 $7 CIB.
PS1 Triple Play 99 $2 Loose.
PS1 Vigilante 8 $10 Loose.
PS1 WWF Smackdown $10 Missing manual/cover page.
PS1 WWF Warzone (Have two copies) $6/$4 One copy loose, one copy CIB.
PS2 Def Jam Vendetta $22 Loose.
PS2 Enter the Matrix $10 CIB.
PS2 Ever Grace $20 CIB.
PS2 Grand Theft Auto III $5 Loose.
PS2 Hunter The Reckoning Wayward $6 Loose.
PS2 IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005 $4 Loose.
PS2 Justice League Heroes $11 CIB.
PS2 Medal of Honor Frontline $4 CIB.
PS2 Naruto Ultimate Collection $110 Sealed! Please inquire for pics. Really cool collector's game.
PS2 Nightshade $28 Loose.
PS2 Onimusha Blade Warriors $9 Loose.
PS2 Playstation Underground Jampack $4 Loose.
PS2 R-Type Final $17 Loose.
PS2 Rygar $7 Loose.
PS2 Shinobi $11 Loose.
PS2 Spiderman $9 CIB.
PS2 Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom $12 CIB.
PS2 Tetris Worlds $6 CIB.
PS2 The Thing $42 CIB.
PS2 Thunder Strike: Operation Phoenix $6 CIB.
PS2 CASE & MANUAL Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2 $10 Case and manual only.
PS3 The Last Of Us $20 CIB.
PS3 NBA 2k18 $10 Loose.
PSP Dissidia Final Fantasy $9 Loose.
PSP Final Fantasy Tactics: THe War of the Lions $17 Loose.
PSP G-Force $3 Missing manual.
PSP Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 $8 CIB.
PSP Ghostbusters The Video Game $11 Loose in gamestop box.
PSP Ghost Rider $12 Loose in gamestop box.
PSP God of War Chains of Olympus $16 Loose.
PSP Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom $15 UMD, case and original artwork only.
PSP Killzone Liberations $6 Loose.
PSP Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars $12 CIB.
PSP LocoRoco $4 Loose.
PSP Madden NFL 12 $20 CIB.
PSP Madden 2007 $5 CIB.
PSP Madden 2008 $5 CIB.
PSP Medal of Honor Heroes 2 $10 CIB.
PSP Monster Hunter Freedom $18 Missing manual.
PSP MX vs ATV: Reflex $5 Loose in gamestop box.
PSP NBA 10 The Inside $6 CIB.
PSP NBA Live 2007 $5 CIB.
PSP Neopets Petpet Adventures The Wand of Wishing $7 Loose.
PSP SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 $14 Loose.
PSP Socom U.S. Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo $4 CIB.
PSP Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas $7 CIB.
PSP Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's Tag Force 5 $30 Box, UMD, and original artwork only.
Xbox Doom 3 $10 CIB.
Xbox Evil Dead Fistful of Boomstick $20 Box, disc, and original artwork only.
Xbox Metal Slug 3 $20 CIB.
Xbox Soul Calibur II $10 CIB
Xbox 360 Call of Duty Black Ops $12 CIB.
Xbox 360 Dragon's Dogma $5 CIB.
Xbox 360 Forza Horizon $17 CIB.
Xbox 360 Killer is Dead $20 Missing manual, otherwise CIB. Special Edition.
Xbox 360 NCAA Football 12 $16 CIB.
Xbox 360 NCAA Football 13 $25 CIB.
Xbox One Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited $3 CIB.
Xbox One Rock Band 4 (Have two copies) $15 ea Both CIB.
Xbox One Titanfall $3 CIB.
Xbox One Rainbow Six Siege $3 Loose.
PC Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight $8 Comes with manual in original case.
Gameboy Batman Forever $10 Good.
Gameboy Boxxle II $20 Good.
Gameboy Tetris $4 Good.
Gameboy Advance Activision Anthology $10 Good.
Nintendo 64 007 GoldenEye $6 Good.
Nintendo 64 Mission Impossible $5 Good.
Nintendo 64 Mortal Kombat 4 $10 Good.
Nintendo 64 NBA Hang Time $6 Good.
Nintendo 64 Super Mario 64 $10 Good.
Nintendo 64 Super Smash Bros $12 Good.
Nintendo 64 Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey $5 Good.
Blue Yarn Yoshi Good $15 Loose.
Chibi-Robo Good $10 Loose.
Green Yarn Yoshi Good $15 Loose.
Link Good $25 Loose, smash bros.
Waddle Dee Good $13 Loose.
Poke Ball Plus $55 Loose, in good condition. No Mew.
OEM Nintendo Gameboy Mini Backpack $20 Cool little OEM nintendo collectible. Blue color, in good condition.
Club Nintendo Luigi Hat DS Carry Case Bag Pouch $20 Good condition, cool Luigi collectible.
Gameshark Pro 3.3 for Nintendo 64 $30 Loose.
3rd party Gamecube memory cards $5 3rd party memory cards.
OEM Gamecube Controllers $35 each. Have four available, one black, two indigo, and one indigo/clear, all have nice and tight sticks.
OEM Gameboy Four Player Adapter $15 Loose in good condition.
OEM Nintendo 64 Controller $20 Green controller, nice and tight stick.
OEM Nintendo 64 Controller Pak $30 CIB, box in okay condition.
OEM PS1 Controller $15 One PS One controller available.
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2023.06.07 02:31 sillylucario27 Non leaderboard (I think) an-148 Russian Air Force
2023.06.07 00:49 kayenano The Villainess Is An SS+ Rank Adventurer: Chapter 91
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Juliette Contzen is a lazy, good-for-nothing princess. Overshadowed by her siblings, she's left with little to do but nap, read … and occasionally cut the falling raindrops with her sword. Spotted one day by an astonished adventurer, he insists on grading Juliette's swordsmanship, then promptly has a mental breakdown at the result.
Soon after, Juliette is given the news that her kingdom is on the brink of bankruptcy. At threat of being married off, the lazy princess vows to do whatever it takes to maintain her current lifestyle, and taking matters into her own hands, escapes in the middle of the night in order to restore her kingdom's finances.
Tags: Comedy, Adventure, Action, Fantasy, Copious Ohohohohos.
Chapter 91: Matters Of Etiquette
The Duchy of Aquina's treasury was as scandalous as I imagined.
It was less a treasury room and more a dragon's cavern.
Ornate chests vomited gold and silver crowns, unlocked strongboxes proudly revealed glittering gemstones and breathtaking jewellery, and open armoires boasted suits of armour decorated with gilded crystals and weapons which shimmered with the opulence of the finest pearls.
Everywhere I looked, illegally undeclared taxable income spilled from every orifice as the accumulated wealth of Aquina filled my vision.
Piles of coins lay scattered with little attention to detail or proper bookkeeping, ensuring that no tax inspector would be seeing the light of day for many weeks once this veritable hoard was presented to the Royal Treasury for counting.
And yet it all paled in comparison to the wealth exhibited by the second most beautiful being in this room.
Sitting on her makeshift throne of snow and coins, a woman whose likeness was that of a young elven maiden wore a dress of purest snow as she basked in moonlight streaming from corners where no window to the sky existed. Her dress was unembellished and unadorned, and yet the overwhelming delicateness of its material put the richest velvet to shame.
She was the Winter Queen. And when she moved, her garment didn't simply move with her. It fluttered like a silken curtain. As did her wings.
Hers possessed no colour. It was a shimmering mirror, a waterfall of images and lights reflecting all the treasures around her. Within those butterfly-like wings, I saw all the crowns and treasures of Aquina glimmering back at me, waiting to be retrieved.
And I would.
But like all things, there was an order to things. And I was no Snow Dancer. Etiquette had to be entertained.
Thus, I walked up to the Winter Queen–and then began to sweep snow and coins onto the spot just opposite her.
“Coppelia, help me make a chair.”
Before the raised eyebrow of the Winter Queen, my future handmaiden and I wasted no time. Rolling up our sleeves, we piled snow and coins onto the point I designated with professional workmanship.
A few moments later, an extremely unfashionable chair was now raised before the Winter Queen.
It was something which couldn't even be exhibited in a contemporary art museum, the graveyard where all talentless hacks sent their works to die these days. But appearance was secondary.
Height was all that mattered.
I hopped before clutching the edge of the seat. My foot failed to find purchase in the chair's uneven slope as coins rained down. Coppelia skipped up and offered her hand. I accepted, allowing her to pull me atop the freshly made chair.
I carefully turned and sat, crossing one leg over the other as I officially bested my opponent in inches from the ground.
Then, I offered a frown to the fae whose appearance belied the years swirling in her arctic eyes.
“Winter Queen,” I said, now able to converse appropriately. “It's unseemly for me to present myself to a monarch sat on a throne within the lands of my own kingdom.”
She sipped at her teacup. A liquid so clear shimmied that for a moment, I'd believed it to be empty.
“Princess of Tirea. It's also unseemly to kidnap the monarchs of other kingdoms.”
I considered her argument. Then nodded. As did she.
“How is the chair?” she asked, placing her teacup atop her head.
“Extremely comfortable,” I replied, as my derrière burned from the cold. “My future handmaiden's skill in carpentry is as famed as her tact and discretion.”
Coppelia was stood right beside the Winter Queen, leaning in while taking in everything from the fae's tall figure to the mirror wings and the teapot atop her head.
She waved at her reflection in the Winter Queen's wings as her eyes brimmed with curiosity. Then, she breathed a puff of warm air at the mirror sheen, watching as the condensation slowly evaporated.
But not before drawing a smiley face first.
“That's … That's so cool!” she said, her own expression matching the one she'd just drawn. “You have mirrors
on your back! That's … well, it's totally useless! Unless you want to accidentally blind someone when the sun catches you! You're literally a walking health hazard! Amazing!”
The Winter Queen glanced at Coppelia.
“My wings do not simply reflect light, clockwork doll. They amplify it. When I soar beneath the mortal sun, every eye to bear witness to my splendour winces in uncontrollable discomfort as colour spots plague their vision for months.”
Already, Coppelia's eyes were lit up with sparkles. She was already affected. The poor thing.
“That's soooooo pointless! I wish I had wings like that!”
“That wish cannot be made reality, even were you created in the land of the duskless dawn. I regret to say that the wings you see are mine alone. They are unique amongst the fae. Even my sisters who–”
“Also, why do you have a teacup on your head?”
The Winter Queen pursed her lips.
Clearly, she wasn't used to being interrupted while speaking. A terrible bout of impoliteness by Coppelia. And wonderfully, immaculately timed.
That's right! Do not allow this queen who wishes to appear stately any opportunity to control the flow of this conversation!
“I wear a teacup because I wish to,” she explained simply. “As Winter Queen, whether I choose to wear a teacup or a cat atop my head is my royal prerogative.”
Coppelia hummed as she peered this way and that as she took in the new headpiece.
“Want me to make you a hat? Because I can make you a hat.”
The Winter Queen paused.
“What kind of hat?”
“How about a beret?” Coppelia clapped her hands together, the force causing several coins to shimmy in movement. “They're always fashionable!”
“... Then that will do, thank you.”
“A tapestry of the 1172 Battle of Remansille, featuring the fall of King Reorick the Wolfenheart as he is betrayed by the lance of Sir Jorund the Gladiator, and his subsequent avengement by the first Reisenritter of Sophista.”
A fine choice. The Royal Villa had a copy of the very same 104 metre long tapestry. It'd spawned more narrative poems and epic ballads than any other cultural work of the 12th century. And uniquely, also didn't include any tasteless nudity.
In that moment, I could hear a thousand cogs and gears whirring away as she put every morsel of thinking power into dreaming the Winter Queen's request into reality.
Eventually, she nodded, raising her fists in a vow of commitment before she went to work. The sound of snow being padded together soon filled the air.
“An excellent handmaiden,” said the Winter Queen, balancing the teacup atop her head with practised precision. “Alas, my own handmaidens are more keen to frolic in the snow than rush to my aid.”
I smiled as the first compliment concerning my hiring processes reached me. Many more would come.
“Coppelia has much to learn, particularly concerning the ability to throw herself in harm's way for me. However, nothing concerning her spirit or loyalty can be faulted.”
“Then I'm free to offer my envy. It's been some days now since I was cruelly snatched away from my abode, and yet the only ones steadfast enough to reach me are my own snow ducks.”
She pointed at the fluffy white duck by the foot of her chair, its crystalline beak pecking at the only copper crown in the treasury.
A worthy pet. Should a copper crown fall before me, I'd also expect Coppelia to do away with it. Preferably by paying it towards the cost of an apple.
Even so, a protest needed to be lodged.
“Do your minions have the authority to trespass upon the Kingdom of Tirea, Winter Queen?”
“No more than yours have the authority to kidnap the ruler of the Winter Court, befouling the Frozen Palace and slaying dozens of my subjects in the process.”
I considered her point. Again, I nodded. As did she.
“It's been, my, at least two centuries?” she mused, taking down her teacup to enjoy a sip of the clear liquid. “How nostalgic. I've almost missed being stolen for use in some predictably unimaginative scheme. I suppose I was long overdue.”
The Winter Queen looked around at the sight of a cavern filled with wealth. Not a single item impressed her by the size of her yawn. She sat back in her chair, her wings fluttering as her arctic eyes took in my poise. Just as I did hers.
“So you say. But perhaps you'd be harder to steal if you didn't take the guise of a crown. Quite the ruse. I take it that being placed on the head of fair maidens is related to your lack of blemishes?”
The Winter Queen made no denial. She lifted her hand to her lips, mouthing a silent giggle.
“A worthwhile exchange. I bequeath unimaginable power onto those of great will and a highly unattainable standard of youth and beauty, then allow them to build wrinkles in my place. Wonderful, no?”
I nodded my head.
If I were in her place, I'd do the same. Especially after seeing how her skin remained smoother than the snow despite the untold years she had lived.
“And how often do you permit yourself to be stolen, say, by an elven sword saint whose appearance is wasted on her rather bizarre personality?”
The Winter Queen smiled.
“Less than I'd like. It's been far too long since my last host found itself wanting against the Summer Queen's flames. And there's only so long one can remain a crown without the need to stretch their wings.”
I glanced tellingly at the dark ceiling.
“And yet I see that the sky remains closed to you.”
“Not all things go to plan.” The Winter Queen took another sip from her teacup before raising it atop her head. “The Snow Dancer's lack of ambition being one of them. The way she tossed
me between her hands was particularly inglorious. But even that paled in comparison to the way she punted me away without a second thought. The humiliation will take another century to recover from.”
“I imagine it could be worse. What if someone puts you on whose wrinkled appearance you have no wish to take? An old hag in a hut? A peasant in a field? Or any man, for that matter?”
“Oh, then I just consume their soul.”
The Winter Queen adjusted her teacup, then crossed one leg over the other.
“Now, to the drudgery of business?”
I offered her my most stately frown. Her response would determine whether it became a scowl.
“To recompense, actually. You permitted yourself to be stolen. And now your Winter Court sits in the Wovencoille, sealing off our rightful ability to cut down the ancient trees you planted for use in our bed frames. This is unacceptable.”
“Whether I permitted it is irrelevant. Crime is a crime and to steal a sovereign is quite the mark of disrespect. But you needn't fear. It is simple theatrics. Or was. I expect that your kingdom will be razed in ice should I not return in good time. And yet here I am, neither used nor worn. And so I ask you, what is the shallow boon that is pleaded of me? The witless wish for which I was stolen? The bargain for which I will never acquiesce? Is it the gleam of treasures greater than a dragon's heart that is desired? A weapon to break all shields? A vial to twist love and hatred?”
I opted to maintain my frown. For now.
“I cannot answer that, Winter Queen. I was not the one who stole you.”
“I know. Which is why I'm asking him.”
The Winter Queen indicated with her chin behind me.
I leaned out from my chair, peering back towards the treasury entrance.
There, standing alone in the arched doorway, was the treasonous ruler of the Duchy of Aquina.
Greying, and yet boasting more colour on his clothing than all the banners in his castle combined, Duke Valence wore a flowing cloak upon a wide suit of armour fit to carry both the size of his waistline and his ambitions.
My, such regal attire.
Were anyone to witness him in such fine uniform, they would be mistaken in their belief that he was someone of importance. Someone of royalty
A wish, I knew, which would never be realised. Not least by the hands of the fae.
No matter how he begged or threatened, the Winter Queen would not grant whatever request this bumbling oaf wished to see fulfilled. Just as this man held no power over the Kingdom of Tirea, he held no power over the Winter Court.
Because the Winter Queen, now here in her true form, saw no interest in him.
She did not even bother to assume the guise she used to invite those foolish enough to test her unbreakable willpower. And so she merely looked on as I did, bored and unconcerned as the errant Duke of Aquina strode forwards.
He stopped before the Winter Queen's throne, without once pausing to look at the princess he served. Of all his crimes, that was the greatest.
At the end of his tenure, pettiness was all this man could achieve … even as he drew a glimmering sword from the sheath by his side.
It was no practised manoeuvre. No unfurling of a weapon by a knight.
Even so, both I and the Winter Queen eyed it, waiting to see how this man would choose to meet his end.
Lifting it–he slammed the tip down into the treasury floor, bending a knee as a crack appeared in the ground.
“Winter Queen,” said the Duke, not yet daring to look up at the face of the bemused fae. “The shallow boon I ask is your rule. The witless wish your protection. And the bargain I offer is Aquina. I swear to the Winter Court the fealty, devotion and vassalage of all my subjects and myself, and ask for nothing but your grace in return.”
The Duke lifted his head.
And to this–
The Winter Queen smiled.
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2023.06.07 00:31 jdrtechnology Master of Magic & Galactic Civilizations 3 (Steam) not loading.
Checking to see if anyone else is having issues with either of these titles:
- Master of Magic - I get to the steam screen, it downloads something (cloud sync?) then... nothing launches. There is a "Play" button (which I then click). It things about it for 10-20 seconds, then the play button comes back. I cannot find a way to launch the game.
- Galactic Civilizations III - This launches the steam client and puts me on the Store page. Then I go to the library page, and it seem to want me to "download" the game. I click download, and it just times out with "no internet connection". Note: This one I happen to also own (basic version) on Epic, and that platform launches it correctly. So it is only the Steam platform that it seems to be an issue.
Note that other Steam games I tried were launching without issue. It was these specific 2 games I noticed.
I am running the GeForceNow App on an Apple Mac Air M2 2022 (16GB RAM) over an ethernet wired network (LAN, not wireless). Ping and responsiveness is excellent for the games that are launching.
Trying to figure out if it is me or if the service is broken and these titles are just not often played.
Already did a "chat" session and they created a ticket. Did not find anything when Googling, so I am concerned it is my account.
submitted by jdrtechnology
to GeForceNOW [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 00:00 Clerk_Sam_Lowry Trip Report- 13 days Tokyo/Kyoto/Hakone/Nagoya (Ghibli Park) /Hiroshima with a 2 year-old toddler. (plus day-trips to Nara and Osaka)
Trip Report- 13 days Tokyo/Kyoto/Hakone/Nagoya (Ghibli Park) /Hiroshima with a 2 year-old toddler. (plus day-trips to Nara and Osaka)
I love reading other peoples' trip reports and thought it might be useful to share my experiences travelling with my wife and toddler in Japan. We used Shinkasens for most of our travel between cities but did rent a car in the middle so that we could drive to a rural Onsen and then to Shirakawa-Go from Nagoya. (We also briefly rented a car to visit 3 plaaces around Hakone, too).
First of all, traveling with a toddler in japan is great. Our kid loves trains and busses and got tons of attention and shouts of "KAWAI!!" from friendly people everywhere we went. She even got a lullaby sung to her by a Japanese grandmother as she dozed on a city bus in Kyoto. She never had to pay for any bus fares or train fares. (technically she was a "lap baby" on the Shinkansens).
We read a book of etiquette before we went and it was very useful to know. I am sure most of these tips are stickied elsewhere , but things like "don't point with one finger, always grasp cups with both hands, don't wipe your face/mouth with the hand-cloth, don't talk loudly in restaurants or on trains, keep yen bills neat and flat and use the trays provided when paying for things," etc, were good to know before we went. We brought and carried a "point-and-say" translation book but only used it once; generally Google Translate worked great for images of menus and signs. (and many restaurants have English versions of menus, or use digital menus on iPad that can switch to English. ) Google maps handled most of our navigation needs without issues too, both via train and car. We parked the stroller outside most restaurants or folded it and brought it just inside the door if the weather was bad. Prep work -
The only major prep work we did before leaving was to buy our JR pass and alert our banks to the dates that we would be in Japan so that our credit and debit cards would work. We had no problems getting cash from the ATM machines at 7-11 or at the Airport. We reserved all hotels/AirBnB/Onsen/Car Rentals beforehand. Also bought SkyTree tickets before departing. We stayed up until 4am to get a ticket to Ghibli's Grand Warehouse -- fortunately only one ticket was needed since our child was under 4 and my wife wasn't interested. We rented a mobile hotspot device from Sakura Mobile before leaving America and it was waiting for us at our first hotel in Tokyo. We dropped the hotspot and charger in a mailbox in a pre-paid envelope before leaving Kyoto. Major tips
-- no need to pack lots of snacks or water each day , since vending machines and 7-11 stores and similar are ubiquitous. Do pack paper towels/ Napkins and extra plastic bags for carrying wet diapers and trash, as public trash cans are almost non-existant. (and when they do exist, they are often just for aluminum and PET plastic bottles) Throw away trash where you bought it, (for things like satay skewers) or bring it home to your hotel. The "pack-it-out" mindset takes a little getting used to, but the results -- a society seemingly without litter-- are superb. Having a lightweight , easily foldable stroller made this trip much easier. Our child often slept in the stroller, and being able to quickly collapse and carry it was key to getting up and down the many sets of stairs in the train stations. It also occasionally doubled as a luggage cart for us. Packing light is key; we picked hotels and AirBnBs that had laundry options to allow us to carry a minimum of stuff. (and no need to bring laundry soap; the washing machines dispense it automatically) My wife wished she had a Japanese-style suitcase with 4 roller-wheels, but I think we did fine with our backpacks , etc.
In general, we didn't have much trouble finding things for my daughter to eat; she loves noodles and dumplings, and even got really into red snapper sushi one night. (basically she loves anything she can dip in soy sauce). Chicken Karage was usually an easy thing to find and feed to her, as were the egg salad Sandos, fresh fruit, and various rice balls from 7-11. Oddly, she also really loved the "pickle-on-a-stick" things that were pretty common in outdoor markets. (I think we got them in both Kyoto and Osaka) Flights -
we flew JAL to from LAX to Narita outbound, and returned on JAL (operated by AA) from Hiroshima to Haneda to LAX. The outbound flight was great; the JAL service was impeccable and they gave my child a model airplane which kept her occupied for hours. We gate-checked our folding stroller on the outbound flight -- the gate clerk put into a plastic bag for us just before departure,
The return flight (operated by American Airlines ) was a step down, but still fine. Transferring planes at Haneda for the return was a little more of a hassle than we had expected becuase you have to exit one terminal, walk a while, exit the building and then get on a free bus, and then go back through security at another terminal. On the plus side, the Haneda international terminal has a padded play area that my daughter liked near the duty free shops. Becuase our return journey was two flights, gate-checking the stroller was not possible, but instead, after measuring its size, we were able to keep it as a carry-on for both legs. (had it been larger, JAL said they would have met us at Haneda with an airport loaner stroller, something we saw other parents using in Hiroshinma and Haneda)
Highlights from each city (focusing on things that my child loved) Tokyo --
our first night in Japan was a little disorienting: the Tokyo metro station is like a gigantic multi-layer mall-labryinth, and since none of the maps seem to show the "big picture" finding our way to the correct exit lugging luggage was a bit of a challenge the first time . We went back down that night for our fist meal, and by the next day we were practically experts, and were even able to find our way to Ramen Street (on level B1) for lunch and --after waiting in line for about 20 minutes-- slurp some great noodles.
Our first morning we wanted to visit the imperial Palace Gardens, but discovered it is closed on Mondays. Stil, just seeing its moat and stone walls was impressive. We walked to the Children's Science and Technology Museum near Budokan, and our duaghter loved operating cranes and turning cranks of giant Rube-Goldberg machines. (some with bowling-ball sized steel balls moving around). Most of the exhibits were in Japanese, but the fact that this wasn't a common tourist destination made it interesting to visit. On the way home for naps we ate at a random underground food court under an office building and learned how to order a food ticket from a machine for eating at a restaraunt. (a key skill!)
We next headed up to the Owl Cafe in Akihabara, mostly as an excuse to have a visit to Akhiabara, and found it was closed, but seeing the electronics stores and nightlife of Akhihabara was fun. As you might expect, my daughter loved getting Gacha Balls from vending machines (both in Akihabara and everywhere else )
Our second day we spent the morning hunting for the legendary "Elephant Playground" (worth the hunt!) and then went to the nearby Tokyo Childrens' Toy Museum
. This was a fantastic combo, and I would recommend anyone with young kids in Tokyo do both. From there we walked to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, which was a wonderful oaisis, full of picknicking families and couples. We explored the tropical greenhouse and then had a well-needed rest under a tree near a tea-house in the traditial japanese garden section Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden also was conveniently close to the Shinjuku rail station, which was imporant because we had Sky-Tree tickets that evening, and we headed there directly. We didn't have time to do any shopping or visit the two museums recommended to us near the skytree (Tobacco and Salt and the Tobu rail museum) But we did have what I consider my favorite meal of the trip: beers and gyoza and molten-lava hot takoyaki at a tiny( 6- seat) izakaya a few minutes south of the Skytree. (i'd recommend it by name but it was completely in japanasese and I am not sure I can now accurately ID it)
The third day we visted the Tusikiji outer fish market -- we got there early and and it was quickly full of tourists and good food. (many different kinds of grilled things on sticks, as well as raw oysters, etc) I was amazed that the public bathrooms there were sparkling clean -- as they were throughout almost the entire trip. My daughter loved getting an ice-cream drink at John Lennon's favorite coffiee shop (Yonemoto). On the way back thorugh Ginza we bought an enormous fig wrapped like the crown jewels from one of Japnan's famous fruit-gift stores. It cost about $9, but was absoulutely delicious. (it was crazy to see $200 watermelons and $170 muskmellons in the same store)
We also took this time in Ginza to do one of the things on my bucket list -- buy an overpriced gift fruit from a fancy Japanese store. We bought the second cheapest thing in there - a single giant fig, and I think it cost about $9. (totally worth it!) . it was just fun to ogle $80 spherical watermelons, and other beautiful, but incredibly expensive fruit.
Later that afternoon visited/saw Shibuya crossing, ate decent and very inexpensive sushi at a 3rd floor conveyor-belt restaurant, and went to Harjuku. (not in that order) Harajuku was chaotic fun, but equally fun was the long peaceful forest walk to visit the Meji Ginku
shrine that starts just outside Harjuki station . By now we were experts at tossing coins, bowing, clapping, and praying in the appropriate cycle. (something the 2 year old seemed to quite enjoy). We also knew from our guidebook that we were supposed to walk only on the sides of the path at Meji Ginku -- the middle is reserved for the Gods. NAGOYA/GHIBLI
- We took a direct bus from Nagoya station (cash accepted, Pasmo Cards also accepted) out to the sprawling expo grounds that surround the Ghibli exhibits. Our 2.5 year old loved Studio Ghibli Parks Gand Warehouse, particularly the miniature town where she could run around and pretend to drive a train and serve beer at a drafthouse. There was a furry Catbus to sit on, (of course) as well as another padded Catbus to jump around on for a few minutes with shoes off. Totoro is the only Ghibli character she knows well, and she loved finding hidden Totoros and (and a giant bar-tending one) around the Warehouse.
Arguably, Ghibli park was a little disappointing for us two adults , becuase it was pouring rain when we visited making the long walks between areas less than fun. And despite having moved heaven and earth to get a timed ticket, there still were long lines (~40 min) for areas inside the "Grand Warehouse." It was interesting for me to see the sketches and reference photos a used to make each cell of Ghibli animation realisitic ... but it was annoying and crazy that most areas of the warehouse totally forbad taking photographs. Much of the rest of the Grand Warehouse was just lines for people to take selfies in front of recreated scenes from the movies for posting on social media.
We had watched or re-watched all the Ghibli movies prior to our trip, so we were well prepared, but overall I would say that if you can't get tickets to go to the Grand Warehouse, don't feel bad. (There are many many more magical and wonderful things everywhere else in Japan, and your 2 -year-old will love them just as much. ) HAKONE/SHIRAKAWA-GO/ HIDA (Onsen)
We took a Shinkasen south from Tokyo to Hakone,
and spent a day there with a family friend who showed us an ancient tea-house along the old imperial road, a famous Shinto shrine, a deliicious meal, and of course, Mount Hakone with its black eggs, sulfurous fumes, and melty black ice cream. The toddler loved the eggs and the ice cream, of course! For me, sitting and eating tea and mochi in the deep forest along the royal road was like being transported back into a historical Kurosawa film.
If you visit Hakone, I would encourage you to get into the woods and do some hiking. It's a gorgeous area. Apparently the japanese love to drink and tour Lake Ashi on a pair of pirate ships. which added a comic aspect to our visit to the much-photographed Hakone Shrine's Tori gate.
We knew we wanted to visit the truly rural areas of Honshu, so we reserved a night at a remote Onsen near Shirakawa-Go. The drive from Nagoya was stunningly beautiful, traffic was light, and because we had rented a toll transponder along with the rental car, we could just breeze through the toll-booths (which are located at the off-ramps) . Seeing the untouched mountains coexisting with sleek new road tunnels and breathtaking shining bridges made me realize how decrepit American infrastructure has become.
IT was a bit stressful to drive on the left hand side of the road, but conversely, It was great to be able to pull over at will. For example, we could stop at at a small town outside of Nagoya for a delicious prix fixe breakfast at "cafe Pierrot" and again later to see and visit a beautiful riverside Shinto shrine along the road. The car gave us the freedom to and be able to just stop and explore and let our child play in the shallow water surrounded by green hills. Driving in the rural areas wasn't too bad, and doing so let us see a whole other world that we would have missed had we stuck to the trains. For example, we visited a delightful outdoor morning market in the village of Miyagawa
and bought fresh produce and some delightful snacks (including fish-shaped custard-filled mini-donuts) from the vendors followed by an impromptu picnic along the riverbank.
On this portion of the trip we also got to experience the Japan's wonderful rest-stop cuisine -- you use a ticket machine to select some items, hand them to a chef behind the counter, and in a few minutes your number is called . We had some delicious Japanese pizza (shaped like a elongated, puffy taco ) fragrant beef curry, and a "Miso Katsu" dish too.
Later we would stop at another rest stop and discover that it had an absolutely epic set of slides and tunnels built into the hillside. You borrow a plastic sled and then slide about 150 feet down a green carpet. It was hearwarming to see how kind and welcoming the japanese children were to our daughter, helping her to slide and showing her how to play and explore the tunnels. Arguably this was my child's favorite part of the entire trip. Shirakawa Go
was great fun for the whole family -- it was definately touristy, but it was great to be able to stroll and relax and learn about Japan's past. (Parking closes at 5pm, though!) We had only a few hours there but I think we would have enjoyed an entire day of strolling and snacking and learning. Interestingly all the parking attendents there seem to be senior citizens.
Our Ondsen was in a small farming comunity outside Hida, surrounded by orchards, mountains, and rice paddies. We were the only non-japanese that we saw there, and it was a little challenging to keep our toddler ccorralled during the formal meals (served in a common area, not in our rooms). As expected, the indoor slippers provided were a bit small for my size-11 feet, but we had a great time in a beautiful, secluded place.
Staying overnight got us a ticket to also visit the large and well-maintained municipal baths just up the road. (each side of which had about 7 pools of various temperatures and medicinal properties) There was a wonderful hiking trail that looped through the deep forest around the town. One of my biggest regrets of the trip is that we did not have more time to hike and explore these lush, pristine mountain woods -- I think I enjoyed our hikes here as much as I did the onsen baths.
The driving portion of our trip ended on the western coast of Honshu, at Kanazawa, but we didn't see much of that city other than a gas station and the rental car return before taking the "thunderbird" train down to Kyoto. (not quite as fast as some shinkasen, but very comfortable). KYOTO and day-trips:
We had three delightful days in Kyoto, along including day trips by rail to Osaka
(to see the market, eat okinomiyaki, and climb Osaka Castle) and Nara
(to walk aound and feed the deer in the park and then the koi at a a beautiful botanical garden, stroll through another temple, and to eat the best Udon noodles of the trip while siting outdoors in the forest. In Nara, we also stumbled upon a wonderful Beatles-only vintage record shop called "B-Sels" on an upper floor just across from Nara station, and listened to a street performance of Shamisen music at the station itself. Nara, like Shirakawa-Go, was full of busloads of tourists, but that didn't make it any less of a great experience for us.
Kyoto itself was wonderful to explore on foot -- I won't go into exhaustive detail, but our child loved walking and being pushed in the stroller to various Temples and loved the view from Kyoto tower. (and the Gatcha ball souvenir tower even more!) . She liked the path through the bamboo forest (crowded with tourists) and loved "hiking" through the beautiful and less crowded gardens of Tenryu-Ji
temple -- part of which has remained unchanged since the 14th century. We skipped the monkey park.
In Kyoto proper, we walked through Chion-In
Buddhist temple , took our shoes off and bagged them, and observed a ceremony -- it was interesting to see how similar it was to ceremonies in America, with the same incense, syllable recitation, and wood-block time-keeping interspersed with bowl-gong ringing .... but on a much grander scale. The size of the wooden buildings is epic, rivaling the stone cathedrals of Europe. Because of the large numbers of steps to get from the massive Sanmon gate to the main building of the shrine, my wife and I took turns exploring and let the toddler play along the paths of the temple's small tea-garden next door. Hiroshima-
Finally, we spent the last two days of our trip in Hiroshima. It was shocking and surreal to get off the train underground and suddenly be hit with an overwhelming smell of burning -- there was construction work all around Hiroshima station and I don't know if it was from digging pylons down into subterranean ashes, or just from some other more modern aspect of the construction As someone whose worldview was shaped by reading Barefoot Gen as a child, visiting Hiroshima was an important and somber part of our trip.
It was interesting to see that the bulk of the visitors to the Peace Museum visitors seemed to be Japanese school groups. Of course, most of the photos and exhibits museum went "over the head" of our 2/yo child. (she wasn't frightened, just not interested). She did enjoy ringing the peace Bell outside and seeing the collections of paper cranes. We bought books to help share the experience with her again once she is older.
In any event, Hiroshima is a charming city showing no outward signs of being apocalyptically devastated (except at the Peace Memorial Dome) and there is an excellent restaurant district just around the corner from the main train station, with many small restaurants that are open late.
The people and proprietors of Hiroshima seemed particularly kind to us; it's more relaxed there than any of the other cities we viisted. Our chid loved was the "Children's 5-day Science Museum" about a quater mile away from Peace Park that has a lot of hands-on exhibits and two stories of climbing tunnels. We did not
do the planetarium there, as it is in japanese-language only and we had limited time.
For us, the highlight of our time in Hiroshima was taking the long ferry to Miyajima directly from Peace Park and then wandering around the narrow streets of Miyajima in the afternoon and evening. It was great to see the oyster beds being worked from the ferry and then later dine on delicious grilled and fried Miyajima oysters.
Our child loved the ferry rides and wandering around Miyajima (there are deer there too) but she also slept for much of our time on the island. The return ferry was part of the JR rail network and so we could use our JR passes for that. (its a short, straighter route).
All in all, Japan was very kid friendly, as long as you can quickly and easily fold up your stroller, and we loved our time in every city we visited. (and could have easily spent much more time in any of them). Other Thoughts:
We bought the Japan Rail Pass, but probably didn't save much money by doing so; My wife estimates that we about broke even with the number of shinkansen, trains, and ferry-rides we used. It was a nice security blanket, though, to know that if we missed a train it wouldn't cost us anything. (but we never missed any trains) . For non JR-line trains, we used a pair of "PASMO" cards. Pasmo cards can also be used at other random retail places as a stored-cash card. When you go through the gates, you must look for ones that say "IC" if you are using a Pasmo card and tap against the NFC pad with it. Using Pasmo is nice because the card is durable (unlike the paper JR Pass) and you can load up enough money for multiple trips on the card.
We use T-mobile, and our plan included 5 GB of "high speed data" while in japan but we weren't sure we would have good service for our rural drive, so we gout a WiFi hotspot from Sakura Mobile. This worked fine -- and its speeds was always faster than T-Mobile's coverage when tested. The hotspot generally would last about 20 hours on one charge. But honestly T-Mobile's Japan coverage was probably good enough that the hotspot was an unnecessary expense; we often used it instead of the hotspot and only came close to the 5GB limit on our last day. If I were on a tighter budget, a shorter trip, or knew I wouldn't be in remote areas, I would skip the Hotspot and just use T-mobile. TLDR:
Tokyo Toy Museum is fantastic for little ones. Ghibli Park (Grand Warehouse) is fine, but our kid probably had just as much fun on many other Japanese playgrounds. If you do choose to drive, don't miss the Japanese rest stops which can be fantastic with fresh food and jungle gyms and slides. Our kid may remember little from the trip except the toys she took home from GATCHA balls, but we have a lifetime of memories gained. Don't miss the Udon in Nara at "Mizuya Chaya", just outside the beautiful Manyo Botanical Gardens. links: ELEPHANT PLAYGROUND: https://www.thetokyochapter.com/tokyos-retro-playgrounds/ RAMEN STREET: https://tokyocheapo.com/food-and-drink/ramen/tokyo-ramen-street/ Miyagawa Morning Market: https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1255/ Udon at Mizuya Chaya in Nara
submitted by Clerk_Sam_Lowry
to JapanTravel [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 23:19 TypicalSugar1978 Joining the military
I am a 25M, I have my degree in environmental engineering and biotechnology with a minor in mathematics. I got recruited but the navy to be a Civil Engineer but I can not join because I am not yet a U.S. I am still interested in joining but now I need some advice. I’m not sure if I should enlist the air force or army. I am qualified to enlist in either branch but I am not sure which one I want to do. I have read Air Force has better quality of life than army but I do want to become a bio environmental engineer (as an officer someday) for the air force but the army as some really good environmental engineer officer positions. Since I am going in enlisted I am not sure which would be best for me?I have looked at the enlisted jobs and I have spoken/started filling out paper work. I know alot of people say they plan on doing 20 years but I want don’t want to work until I’m 66 or whatever retirement age is so I’m keeping an open mind. So enlisted job preferably engineering related don’t mind medically related because of my degrees but open to jobs.
Questions Which branch has the most opportunities/chances for growth? Is it easier to become an officer in the air force or army? Which branch gives a more sense of purpose and pride ? Air Force or army? Which is better for enlisted. The army has some engineering jobs so does the air force. Is it better for me to reenlist or join the reserves ? Can someone explain to me if I choose to enlist in the army I come in with an E-4 specialist but the air force an E-3. I know they do not get paid the same.
Also made a 99 on the ASVAB. No criminal history or even a speeding or parking ticket, good Health and no debt so I do not require any waivers. I also have an engineering job right now. I make $90k in a small town in Texas which makes the money feel like $200k. Don’t mind the pay-cut, my money if it will be valuable in the long run. I have more than one source of income so the money isn’t a factor.
Please I just need some advice. If you in my situation with aspirations to be an officer what will you do ? Thank you so much for your help!
submitted by TypicalSugar1978
to AirForceRecruits [link] [comments]
2023.06.06 20:03 StardropScavenger [USA-NC] [H] Games for N64, GameCube, Wii, Switch, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, DS, 3DS, PS1, PSP, Consoles for Gameboy Advance SP, PSP, Switch [W] Paypal, Venmo, Cashapp or Zelle
Happy Tuesday everyone!! Have lots of things for sale, all things include shipping. Happy to provide photos upon request, will do my best to reply as soon as possible. I ship usually within 2-3 business days and if there's any issues with your item, I'm more than happy to help. :)
Always open to offers, a lot of prices I'd like to stay firm on but worst i'll say is no.
Would prefer Paypal F&F as I do have almost 300 transactions, but understand if that is something you're not comfortable with!
On to the items!!
Zelda Tears of the Kingdom OLED Switch BNIB + Tears of the Kingdom Carrying Case BNIB $385
Nintendo Switch HAC-001 Red/Blue Joycon Console w/ Box, includes animal crossing (powerA controller, and Mario Kart Case) $225
Pink Gameboy Advance SP Pearl 101's (both consoles have scratches on them. Screens are both fine.) $90 each
Star Wars Battlefront PSP w/ Star Wars Renegrade Squardon $110 SOLD
Goldeneye 007 $25
Mario Party w/ manual (manual does have wear) $50
Diddy Kong Racing w/ manual $30 SOLD
Animal Crossing [Disc only; resurfaced] $35
Ant Bully w/ movie ticket $15
Bloody Roar Primal Fury CIB $50
GameCube Start-Up Disc (the disc only; no case or player.) $130
Go! Go Hypergrind (Includes case, manual and disc. The artwork has like a "wrinkle" to it, shows wear. The manual has a bend on the bottom right corner, and the disc has some white residue on the ring.) $365
Fire Emblem Path of Radiance CIB #1 (Very good condition, disc has little to no wear. Manual/inserts look good also.) $260
Fire Emblem Path of Radiance CIB #2 (Very good condition, disc has little wear. Manual/inserts are nice.) $260
Fire Emblem Path of Radiance #3 (Missing insert, includes the case, manual and disc. Very good condition as well.) $240
Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets CIB $12 SOLD
Harry Potter Goblet of Fire CIB $10 SOLD
Harvest Moon Magical Melody [No manual] $25
Kirby Air Ride [Player's Choice] CIB $70
Luigi's Mansion [Case, Game, Manual] $50 SOLD
Mario Golf Toadstool Tour [Player's Choice] Case, Game, Manual $25
Mario Kart Double Dash [Case,Manual,Game] $65
Mario Party 6 [No Manual, has case] $75
Pac Man vs Pac Man World 2 [Player's Choice, CIB] $20
Pikmin 2 CIB $90
Pokemon Channel [No manual] $35
Resident Evil Zero [Player's Choice, CIB] $20
Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom [Player's Choice, CIB] $20
Super Bubble Pop CIB $10 SOLD
Super Mario Sunshine [no manual] $30
Tom and Jerry War of the Whiskers CIB $40
Ty 2 CIB $15 SOLD
Zelda 4 Swords Adventure [Case, manual, game] $90
Zelda The Wind Waker CIB $70 SOLD
Rune Factory Frontier CIB $35
Love Esquire [New] $40
Octopath Traveler $50
Trails of Cold Steel III Extracurricular Edition $60
Liar Princess and Blind Prince [New] $50 each
Fire Emblem Engage Divine Edition + [New] Tarot Cards (no STEELBOOK OR GAME INCLUDED!) $70
Dr. Mario Classic NES Series $15
Final Fantasy Tactics $25
Final Fantasy Legend [Includes Worn Box, Manual and Map] $80
Fire Emblem Sacred Stones $65
Golden Sun: The Lost Age $40
Harry Potter Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire $15
Lord of the Rings The Third Age $15
Lufia The Legend Returns (Part of label missing) $35
Mario vs Donkey Kong [Game and Box only] $30
Mario vs Donkey Kong $15
Mario Kart Super Circuit [Player's Choice] CIB $50
Mega Man Battle Network $60
Mega Man Battle Network 3 White $20
Mega Man Battle Network 4 Blue Moon $25
Mega Man Battle Network 5 Team Protoman $25
Shining Force: Resurrection of the Dark Dragon $60
Shining Soul $60
Random Games Bundle - Includes: Dora, Frogger (not working), Final Fantasy IV (loads, then doesn't work), Star Wars Jedi Battles (loads, then doesn't work), Sonic Advance, Incredibles, Finding Nemo, DBZ: Legacy of Goku, Cartoon Network Speedway, Star Wars Flight of the Falcon, Side Pocket, I Spy Challenge, Top Gear Rally (2 copies), Dungeons & Dragons Eye of the Beholder, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Tetris Worlds, Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, Simpson's Road Rage - $80
Batman Arkham [no manual] $10
Chrono Trigger [CIB, no map] $100
Cooking Mama 5 [loose] $35
Dragon Quest V [CIB] $200
Fantasy Life [loose] $40
Final Fantasy III [CIB] $20
Fire Emblem Awakening [World Edition] $35
Fire Emblem Fates [Special Edition] [CIB] $500
Hotel Dusk Room 215 [No manual] $20
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance [loose] $15
Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D [loose, MDE version] $15
Magical Starsign [CIB] $30
Mario Kart 7 [CIB] $15
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney & Ace Attorney Justice For All [both loose] $35
Pokemon Sun & Moon Dual Pack [Moon sealed] $110
Pokemon Sun and Moon Steelbook [No games] $60
Pokemon Sun [Loose] $15
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire [loose] $30
Pokemon Black [CIB] $100
Pokemon X [Loose] $30
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Gates to Infinity [Loose] $25
Pokemon Soul Silver #1 [loose, placed into new shell; old one broken but included.] $75
Pokemon Soul Silver #2 [loose, has some stuff on the back of it.] $100
Pokemon Soul Silver #3 [loose, best condition one] $110
Pokemon Rumble Blast [in rough condition] $10
Project X Zone 2 [CIB] $90
Radiant Historia [CIB] $40
Steal Princess [CIB] $110
Suikoden Tierkreis [CIB] $80
Super Princess Peach [CIB, wear to cartridge] $100
Suikoden II [Loose, has wear to disc and some scratching] $100
Harvest Moon Back to Nature [CIB] $50
Brave Story New Traveler [CIB] $45 SOLD
Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII [CIB] $20
Disgaea 2 Dark Hero Days [CIB] $35 SOLD
Dissadia Final Fantasy [CIB] $12
Dungeon Explorer Warriors of Ancient Arts [CIB] $15
Growlanser Wayfarer of Time [CIB] $60 SOLD
PoPoLoCrois [loose in blank case] $20
Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together [CIB] $25
Tales of the World Radiant Mythology [CIB] $30
The 3rd Birthday [CIB] $55
Yggdra Union [CIB] $40 SOLD
YS Seven [CIB] $70
Dragon Quest V Guide $100
Dragon Quest I-VIII Symphonic Suite Collection $70
Harvest Moon Animal Parade Guide (tear on front cover, very minor.) $110
SWITCH CASES ONLY NO GAMES AT ALL FOR $120 [List: Carrion, Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games 2020 Tokyo, Pokemon Shield, Pikmin 3 Deluxe, Lego DC Super Villians[Steelbook], Pokemon Brilliant Diamond, Zelda Skyward Sword, NEO The World Ends With You, Super Mario Party, Wolfenstein II, Mitopia, The Mummy Demastered, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Ninja Saviors, No More Heroes 1 2 3, Travis Strikes Back]
Avalon Code [Case,Manual, NO GAME] $40
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2023.06.06 19:16 Brahms12 I am new to this group. I would like to share a prologue and welcome! Any helpful critiques. And thank you for reading.
Lightning split the heavens exposing the night sky in a collage of crimson and lavender. The stunning and instantaneous color-scope illuminated the shadowy darkness and revealed a glimpse of the looming storm in the distance.
How beautiful, she thought as she stood, gazing out of the front window in her evening gown. The air was perfect and, for the moment, was calm and still. But when she looked down her hand was shaking. Images and thoughts flashed through her mind: her future, their new house, motherhood… her mind drifted. She thought about how lonely another night alone was going to be; how much she missed him when he was away.
Isotta tried her best to keep herself occupied during the long weekends when he was gone, mostly by gardening through the Spring and Summer, but she also read a lot. She’d already gone through the stack of novels in her husband’s study: The Godfather, Papillon, The Chosen, Fahrenheit 451, to name a few - It was a pleasure to burn, she thought.
They were just diversions though, the reading and the gardening. She used them to sideline the unpleasant feelings that crept in now and again. It was important to keep them away; to never let them take hold of her or her feelings. But she knew it was coming. She knew it was just a matter of time. She could sense it. Maybe I should start knitting baby clothes, she thought. And she sighed deeply and smiled.
Her parents and sister were not in the country and other than a brief visit a while back, she hasn't seen or spoken to them in almost a year. In this new life, this new neighborhood, she had no close friends other than the kind woman she met a few weekends back at the grocery store. A woman who was also pregnant with her first.
Looking across the house, through the living room and over the dining room table, she saw that the TV was still on. The Dick Cavett show. She had forgotten that she left it on. He had a lot of famous American guests on. Some of them she knew but most she didn’t. She liked his show, the few times she watched it, though she never paid too much attention to it. Plus, on this night the volume was turned way down allowing the sounds of the weather, the distant rumble of thunder and the building gusts of wind, to hold her allure for the evening. It kept her company.
The damp air crept in through the screen door on the porch and she felt its humid touch on her skin as the rain began falling, a drizzle at first. She relaxed to the sound of the popping droplets on the asphalt.
Isotta James, who came over from Italy and had been on her own since she was sixteen, was a very intuitive and free-spirited young woman. She loved the adventure she was on and enjoyed her new surroundings; the cool climate of Long Island in the Autumn.
It excited her to be married to an officer and live in a foreign country. She always dreamed of living in America and now it was a reality. And, she was looking forward to his return after the weekend so they could go out on more adventures together: hiking up Bear mountain or visiting fort Ticonderoga upstate, taking a day trip up to Woodstock for a romantic weekend. But she especially loved visiting New York City. That was the place where she felt the freest. Especially with him. It was so new to her and the energy was tangible . She could spend all day with Thomas in the city, holding hands, visiting museums and strolling down the sidewalks. She loved the food too, eating dinner at one place and dessert at another. It was like being back home in Barri but different. She felt so special when they were together.
As the night descended further and the sounds of the storm became spectral, a touch of late night tedium and discomfort snuck into her mood. Isotta, spending much of the evening downstairs trying to keep herself engaged, finally admitted to herself that she was tired and there was nothing more to keep her interest so she christened it a good time to head upstairs for the night.
She seemed to float in her blue sleeveless nightdress as she reached to shut the blinds. Then she turned off the T.V. and the light in the living room and walked through the house towards the stairs, turning the upstairs light on first. One step at a time, she told herself as she carefully walked up, suddenly aware of how tender her feet felt. Going up and down the stairs each day was taking its toll and she avoided it as often as she could. Subtle pings of pain began pulsing through her hips that she continued up the flight. Only one more month to go, she thought while she labored up the remaining steps, her expectant belly competing with her tiny frame. Groucho Marx, she mumbled. Yes, it came to her in a flash. Groucho Marx. That’s who was on the Dick Cavett show, she remembered him now. You Bet Your Life, she thought. And she did.
Once atop the last step and slightly out of breath, Isotta paused to collect herself. She took another few steps but then abruptly stopped. A faint dizziness came over her. She tried to wish it away but instead lost her balance for a brief second and braced herself, one hand reaching out to the wall. She glanced around as if forgetting where she was. Looking down she could see that her hand was shaking again. Harder this time.. She became light-headed and her vision blurred. The room began spinning and a lurching sensation grew from inside her belly. Something, she murmured aloud as she caught breath, something isn’t right.
She was telling herself to lie down, thinking she was going to pass out but instead she forced herself down the length of the hallway toward the bedroom, thinking that getting into bed would bring the most satisfying relief. It’s amazing how just walking up a flight of stairs can be so exhausting when you're 8 months pregnant.
But before she reached the bedroom, the cramps came back with an unforgiving determination and, with a sharp grimace, she clutched her belly and dashed into the bedroom, almost tripping over her own feet as she half stumbled toward the end table. She exerted herself as she reached for the side of the bed and with a flick, turned on the table lamp. She pulled out the drawer and rummaged around until her hand found the Rx bottle she was looking for. She twisted it open and promptly downed two pills and then hiked herself up onto the bed with a grunt.
During the pregnancy, Isotta was treated for eclampsia and the magnesium pills were the only safe thing that eased the woozy symptoms which came on frequently and were sometimes severe.
There's a heavenly feeling, though, in that first moment when you lie down in bed. First it's the feet and then the knees, the shoulders, the neck and eventually an awareness of your entire body sinking into the mattress.
She pulled the covers up to her neck and turned over on her side, maneuvered an extra pillow between her legs and then reached out to turn off the light. Isotta lied as still as she could enduring the queasy discomfort, knowing that it would take a few minutes to kick in. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves and after a few patient minutes the nausea and spinning began to dissipate. Her head felt cool from the perspiration and her nightgown clinged uncomfortably to her back. But it didn't matter. Everything felt calm again even with the rumblings of the storm and the great flashes of light. With a gentle sigh, she closed her eyes and slowly drifted off to sleep.
Isotta woke up a few hours later. It was normal for her to wake up in the middle of the night but this time it was different. She had been having that dream again, the one where she was drowning in the bathtub with her baby in her arms. She could still feel the water filling her lungs and the anxiety rising in her chest. She sat up in bed abruptly and looked around the dark and silent room.
The dream had always been a terrifying one, but tonight it had been even worse. She could still see the look of confusion in her baby's eyes as the water rose around them. She could still feel the desperation as she struggled to keep them both afloat.
Isotta believed that if you need to get your mind off of something, the best thing was a change of scenery. So, she got out of bed to use the bathroom and on her way back stopped to peer out the bedroom window. The rain was still coming down and the wind was whistling around the corner of the house. She could barely see anything outside when she gazed into the darkness, but she thought she heard something. Movement in the bushes? Isotta held her breath so she could hear over din of the storm and, after a moment, the sound came again. Shh-Shh-Shh. It was hard to tell if it was the weather or if there really was something making that noise.
It crossed her mind to put her slippers on and go downstairs to see what was causing it but she was sure that it was the wind or the cover of the trash can dangling in the bushes. Thomas forgot to tie the lid down again, she thought. How was I going to sleep now? But then it stopped. Isotta waited for a bit, just to be sure. But it never came back. After a pause she decided it must have been nothing and returned to bed. It wasn't the first time she was alone in the house and it certainly wouldn't be the last.
She relaxed again into a fetal position, tucked the pillow between her legs and pulled the covers back up.
The more she thought about it, the less sure she was that she heard anything at all. It could have just been street noise coming through the rain, she thought. Who knows?
She lied in bed and thought about what to do the rest of the weekend. She really wanted to spend time in the garden. It was the perfect month to plant the Aronias and the Dahlias. The soil will be moist and easy to move around, especially after a hard rain. It wasn't going to be easy, being 8 months pregnant, but she was going to do her best.
The laundry definitely needed to get done too. She needed her gardening pants and knee pads and she had asked Thomas a thousand times to move the rocking chair to the other corner in the nursery. I should probably do it myself, she thought.
Just as she was falling back into sleep, she heard it again. Shh-Shh-Shh. But it was louder and bigger now. Something was definitely moving and it was closer, a lot closer. What?, she whispered in disbelief. It sounded like someone dragging a rake across cement in short powerful heaves. Her arm started to hurt again.
There was a soft grunt like a man's voice and what sounded like a knock on the window. Just as she was about to get up and turn the light on she felt Thomas getting into bed next to her. It was dark and, although she was facing the other way, she could feel his weight easing down into the mattress beside her. That's odd, she thought. What's he doing home?
"Hi honey," she whispered in a half-woken voice.
A few seconds went by but there was no response. Maybe he was too tired to speak or maybe he didn't want to wake me up? Finally she could relax and drift off to sleep again but she caught herself.
"Honey?" she said again, this time with more curiosity.
But there was only Silence. And then she remembered, as clarity replaced drowsiness, Thom was supposed to be gone all weekend. He would have called if he was coming home.
She searched for his mannerisms: the way he shuffled his legs in the sheets, the heat of his body, his smell, the way he reached for her hand under the covers… only there was no heat, and no legs shuffling. Instead, what she noticed was how still he was. She could feel the chill radiating off his skin and there was a smell that was growing more and more bitter by the second.
“Who’s here? Thom? Is that you?” she asked in a nervous whisper.
There was more movement in the bed, rolling and shifting. The darkness was heavy, pressing Isotta down. Thomas shouldn't be home for two days, she thought.
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2023.06.06 15:36 YaaliAnnar NoP: Lost and Found (58)
First Previous Memory Transcription Subject: Vichak, venlil school principal
Date [Standard Human Reckoning]: 2136-10-23
I told my vice principal that I didn't come to this predator planet for a vacation, so I need some knowledge or study results to bring home. Johan, my possible future brother-in-law, suggested that I could perhaps observe a human school. Keristian, the human coordinator for the refugee apartment, assured me that he had contacted an elementary school and came up with a schedule. For now, he told me to familiarize myself with the amenities in the apartment.
Besides their blocky design, human apartments had the same general functions as venlil ones. The staff provided us with a stepping stool to account for the larger dimension of the furniture, but other than that it has all that we needed.
Well... we could use a full-body dryer.
I found some alien features too in the apartment, such as the artificial pond, which humans use for recreation. They call this activity 'swimming', something that translates into "moving in water". Their First Contact package insisted that they came from arboreal lineage. Yet, their movements in water betrayed a hidden skill. After considering it, it made sense in a way. The water in their world is teeming with life, and they would benefit from aquatic hunting skills.
Adjacent to this 'swimming' pond, the apartment also had a gym. We have gyms back in the home world, but here on Earth, a wide range of humans frequented them, not just their armed forces personnel. They perform a variety of body movements such as lifting and putting things back down or running on a conveyor belt.
Does this dedication to simulated hardship serve as a means to channel their inherited predatory aggression? They didn't turn themselves from savage beasts into civilized people without some way to temper that excess.
We expected to meet a lot of gojids in the apartment, but it felt sparser than I had imagined. Keristian explained that the gojids here had entered into employment within the Capital. A large number had secured work on the farms. Some had brought seeds from their homeworld, which they planted back in the camp. After the human experts determined it safe enough for Earth, they transplanted the sprouts to one of the farms around the city.
I wondered if any venlil plant species had established themselves on this foreign soil. After Timür explained the concept of invasive species, I realized that I misinterpreted their cautious approach as predatory territorialism. On the other paw, the unspoiled wilderness that I witnessed on my journeys to and from the camp made me appreciate the inherent beauty of preserving such a wild landscape.
Some other gojids chose careers in logistics, serving the complex system that kept the goods in the region moving. Right now, humans directed most of their effort into alleviating the ruined cities. Some of the gojids had even volunteered to help the human, despite the presence of arxurs in the affected cities.
For our last meal of the day, we had gojid dishes made out of earth ingredients. I have to admit that I have not tried gojid cuisine before, but it grew on me just like human cuisine did.
The midday heat on Earth felt milder compared to the scorching intensity of a Deep Day in Venlil Prime's sunward section. Unlike our homeworld, where night temperatures could plummet beyond freezing, Earth's night felt comfortable.
I spent my first night on Earth sitting on the rooftop garden of the apartment. The blanket of darkness that stretched all around us sparked feelings of unease. However, the glimmering towers of the Capital provided a comforting backdrop, their lights twinkling like terrestrial stars. One of the staff members commented on how the city's light pollution obscured all but the brightest celestial bodies.
The staff member was a human after all and would do insane human things like complaining about their city not being dark enough.
Nevertheless, humans did appreciate the necessity of artificial lighting. As night fell, we could illuminate our room with the voice command, a comforting alternative to the deep night outside. I shuddered at the thought of enduring a night in such complete darkness.
Yesterday, I decided to explore the downtown capital to familiarize myself before I visited the school today. Mom insisted on tagging along and Keristian wanted Sukma, his aide, to guide us. We wanted a self-guided exploration, so as a compromise, the human equipped us with wrist-worn devices. These gadgets allowed him to track our whereabouts and also functioned as a means of payment. While the coordinator insisted we needn't worry about finances, he explained a rough price guide to prevent any possible exploitation.
Humans, in stark contrast to the lone arxurs, put heavy importance on socializing. While we waited in the station, the rhythmic cadence of Bahasa, their local language, filled the air. Thanks to Vani's provision of a language model, I could comprehend their dialogues, and snippets of human conversations drifted toward my ears.
"Do you see those domba?"
"Shhh... don't call them that. But yeah... I thought we had just one here?"
"Maybe Vani's relatives came to visit?"
However, even with the additional language model, my translator couldn't decipher all of their voices. Vani informed me that Bahasa serves as a trade language for the region and they had a plethora of other tongues that our translation device has yet to have the data for.
Once aboard the train, the humans adopted a collective silence. Being surrounded by humans aboard the train felt daunting, but this discomfort came from me standing out in this setting. I would feel the same on any other planet inhabited by a different species, carnivorous or not.
When we came to the downtown station, we plunged right away into an endless sea of humans.
Timür's unapologetic display of his face had acclimatized us to humans. We learned to perceive them not as threats but as just xenos with weird faces. It also helped that the humans in our vicinity maintained a respectful distance. However, they almost always locked their curious gaze onto us, averting their eyes when they figured out that I noticed them from my peripheral vision.
Distinguishing individual humans posed a challenge due to their similar appearance, but I soon learned to note the distinctive fabric of their clothing and the accessories they adorned.
The bustling capital of Nusantara presented us with new experiences and opportunities to learn about human culture. Mom and I took full advantage of our time there, immersing ourselves in the vibrant atmosphere provided by the city.
We first stopped at a local market, a bustling hive of activity that operated around the clock. Here, we observed humans haggling over the prices of fruits and vegetables, inspecting textiles, and purchasing a bewildering variety of cooked foods. The rich aroma of exotic spices and prepared meals filled the air.
We had a pleasant experience in the market until we stumbled onto the flesh section. Mom caused some embarrassing commotion when she vomited at the sight of the flesh.
So we decided to visit something less challenging and found ourselves going to museums and galleries. The tour guides in each institution we came to explained the history of this island while showing a collection of historical artifacts and artworks. It offered a captivating glimpse into the ancient human civilizations that once inhabited this region, and their struggles and triumphs.
We decided to have our last meal of the day in the city. With many of the buildings crammed in the city center, the place we had access to the open air lay at the top of the building. We watched the sun setting on the horizon.
As we ate through a platter of addictive fritters, Mom said that we venlil did construct similar dense settlements. Her explanation surprised me at first, as I almost forgot that Mom used to work as a civil engineer. She then explained that dense arrangements for habitats like this only made sense in colonies that lacked land or breathable air.
Humans seemed to have other motivations. They prefer gathering close to one another, creating bustling metropolises to allow for large swaths of untouched land for their wildlife.
So today, having learned to navigate the urban labyrinth of the Capital, I bid a temporary farewell to my mother at the outskirt station. Her exploration of this city would take her further out, where she would visit one of the human agricultural facilities. On the other paw, my destination lay at the heart of downtown.
Once I arrived at the downtown station, I switched on my visual overlay, allowing it to project directional instructions across my visual field. It painted a pathway to my destination through the tunnels and covered walkways. The direction landed me in one of the city's gargantuan towers.
The visual overlay translated the name of the school in venscript. Since humans write horizontally, the resulting translation turns a quarter circle. The sign above the entrance says:
"State Elementary School #1"
Number one? I suppose in a city this big, they did need more than one school. Under the sign, I spotted a human figure standing. She waved her arms and I could tell that she had waited for me. When I got closer, I made out the warm and inviting expression on her face
"Hi, I'm Andin, and you must be Principal Vichak?" Her voice sounded melodious and soft for a human. The human clasped her hands in front of her and bowed.
"Hi Principal Andin, nice to meet you," I replied to her with the same gesture. "I can't wait to see your school."
"Excellent! Follow me," she said. Her billowy one-piece dress twirled around her when she turned around.
Andin led me through the lobby and toward a balcony overseeing the heart of this educational facility, an internal atrium spanning three stories in height. The humans embedded the school inside one of their superstructure, and due to the lack of outdoor space, this architectural feature provided a simulated outside area where young humans could engage in physical activity and socialize. A synthetic material replicating grass covered the atrium's floor. Simulated sunlight streamed projected from the ceiling bathed the area in warm daylight.
An assortment of colorful play structures and exercise apparatuses dotted the periphery of the atrium. I presume they provided the students with ways to release those predator energies. Balconies jutted out from each floor, giving educators an overview of the bustling space and enabling effective supervision during playtime. The classrooms and learning spaces surrounded the atrium. As we walked past, I noticed that several of the glass panes had turned opaque.
"I read from the sign that this is an Elementary School. How old are your students?"
"Our elementary school caters to students from the first through fourth grades, so they are between six to ten years old. However, we sometimes admit older students. For instance, we have a few twelve-year-olds in the fourth grade."
Something felt a bit off from her answer. "What's next for them after this?" I probed.
"After completing their time here, students move on to four years of middle school, followed by another four years of high school. During high school, they can choose a specialization before they move on to university."
Her response left me flabbergasted. "Twelve years of education?" I said in disbelief. "It takes a full twelve years to complete education here?"
"Uh... yeah. That's pretty much the standard timeframe for education all over the planet. Just... how long does it take for you to finish your mandatory education?"
"Seven years," I responded. "By the age of thirteen, kids can start two years of vocational school and most venlils started working at fifteen."
Andin's eyes widened, "Wait, you have children working full-time at fifteen?"
"No, they're not children. They're adults." I realized that humans might have different lifespans. "What's... your age of majority here?"
"In this country, people can vote at the age of seventeen. But in our local culture adulthood starts at twenty." Andin explained.
"Alright, maybe we have a different lifespan?" Andin suggested, echoing my thought. "What's the typical lifespan of a venlil?"
"The average life expectancy hovers around ninety years, although many people live past one hundred," I explained. I wonder if perhaps humans live much longer? I didn't expect predators to live long, but humans tend to defy the norm.
"We had the same lifespan," Andin admitted.
"Maybe we have a different education system?" She suggested again. Andin offered me her pad. "Feel free to observe any class that interests you. Here you can see the schedule for today." The contents had been translated into Ventongue. It presented a timeline of various subjects that took place throughout the day.
As my eyes skimmed over the list, one caught my attention. "Can you explain physical education?"
"In this class, we teach children how to exercise." she explained, "In fact, a PE class should begin now."
An adult human arrived on the field, followed by human children chattering and making all sorts of kid noises. They sounded just like venlil juveniles. At the command of the teacher, the students aligned themselves into a tidy grid pattern. A rhythmic melody started to play, filling the atrium with an energetic ambiance. The teacher at the front began to move in sync with the music, demonstrating a series of actions that the children mirrored.
"What are they doing?" I asked, intrigued.
"They're warming up to prepare for the activity ahead."
They performed various movements, the fluidity and synchronization of which appeared almost like a dance to my venlil eyes.
Once the 'warm up' concluded, several large, blocky objects rolled into the atrium. With a series of arm gestures from the teacher, these objects positioned themselves around the area. Some expanded to form rudimentary structures complete with roofs, transforming the atrium into some sort of tiny city.
The children gathered in a circle. Following a brief, excited chatter, they each presented a hand, some with palms facing upward, others showing the backs of their hands. According to some unspoken rule, those showing the backs of their hands stepped back, causing the circle to contract. This ritual continued and I figured out that the group with the most members excused themselves until one kid remained.
"Ah, it seems they're playing 'Hide and Seek' today," Andin commented, watching the unfolding scene with a warm smile.
"Hide and Seek? What's that?"
"One child plays as the 'cat' while the others will play as the 'mice'," she explained, her expression turning somewhat hesitant. "Ah... perhaps this wasn't the most appropriate activity for you to observe."
My translator didn't quite capture the nuances of 'cat' and 'mice', but I gathered they referred to Earth animals. The child designated as the 'cat' stood in the center of the atrium, standing near a pole with their eyes covered, while the 'mice' scattered, seeking shelter behind the fabricated structures and blocks.
The 'cat' began a loud countdown. Upon reaching zero, they removed palms hands from their eyes and commenced their search. A realization struck me as the 'cat' started prowling around.
"This... is," I murmured, taken aback by the implication of the game. "You're simulating a hunt."
From time to time, the humans can't help but remind me that despite their friendliness and civility, they had a history as predators.
"Well... yeah, when you put it like that…" she paused. "But, the children didn't see it as a hunting simulation. I mean… I doubt that none of them will become a hunter when they reach adulthood. Most of us nowadays don't hunt."
"I understand." I looked down and the cat had found a mouse, chaos ensued as the two of them rushed to the pole. The mouse touched the pole first and laughed. "You humans do need an outlet for your aggression to maintain a civil society."
"What? No…" Said Andin. "We have Physical Education to encourage a habit of fitness."
"So, you don't feel the urge to get violent, sometimes?"
"Most of us don't. Those with that kind of urge receive treatments so they don't harm themselves or other people."
I looked down at the human children below. Despite their concerning activity, they looked like they enjoyed it.
"But if this display makes you uncomfortable, we can see other classes."
I looked at the pad, where another class intrigued me.
"You have an art class? In elementary school?"
"Yeah, it encourages creativity… you don't have art classes?"
"No, those with the aptitude will go to art colleges after they graduate from school."
"Oh…" She gave me a look that I think signifies pity? "Are there other things you don't see in Venlil school?"
"The English class seems interesting. I noticed that most of your people can speak in English when needed."
"Heh, that one is contentious." She chuckled. "English is waning now, and people proposed that we teach our kids Chinese, Hindi, or Swahili for the foreign language class. I take it… you don't have a foreign language class?"
"We do, but… like art school, you learn it at the university level, usually as part of a Foreign Relation Studies. Because foreign languages are spoken by other species."
"Interesting." Again, she gave me that concerned look. "So, do you want to see the art class or the language class?"
"Art class. I think."
"Sure, let's go," Andin said, guiding me down the stairs toward the art classroom.
Upon entering the room, chaos greeted us. An eclectic array of children's artwork adorned the walls, showcasing vibrant landscapes, portraits, abstract shapes, and depictions of what I assumed were various earth creatures.
"Ah, Principal Andin," the art teacher greeted us with an inviting smile as we entered. "And we have Principal Vichak as well!"
"Meet Harta, our art teacher," Andin introduced me.
The moment we entered the room, a sea of young faces turned towards us. It felt like a forest of eyes scrutinizing us.
"Children, say hello to our visitor today, Principal Vichak."
"Good morning, Principal Vichak!" They speak in harmony. The children then refocused on their tasks, their hands returning to their brushes and colored pencils.
Some students here worked alone, while others collaborated in small groups. In one corner, I spotted a screen displaying 3D artwork, sculptures made from what looked like recycled materials, clay, and even intricate artwork made of folded paper.
"Today we have a free-form class," Harta explained. "With your visit, I asked them to make something about our two species."
Several children gathered around a large screen at one end of the room, using it to sketch out their designs before replicating them on canvas. They drew scenes of humans and venlils with a level of technical skill and creativity that amazed me, considering the young age of these kids. In one section, busy children molded a piece of clay, their tiny hands trying to create something that looked like a venlil.
"But how do you evaluate their work?" I asked, confused. "And for that matter, how do you grade students in the Physical Education class?"
"In this school system, we don't include art and physical education to determine if a student has what it takes to continue to the next grade," Andin clarified.
"We do give individual feedback to each child," Harta chimed in. "We aim to ensure their personal growth and development, not just their academic achievement."
"Indeed," Andin asserted, her voice reflecting a sense of profound conviction. "The role of the school has evolved over time. These days, we don't work just as a hub for academic instruction, but as a second home where children learn essential life skills. We work hand-in-hand with parents to nurture these young minds, helping them develop into thoughtful and responsible individuals."
This notion brought back memories of my own school back on our homeworld. People would often refer to our school as a "nursery" due to our additional class on socializing and communication. I remember Renata, the human psychologist stationed in our homeland, said that my school had the basis of a well-rounded education. Here I learned just how more "rounded" we need to be.
Throughout the day, we ventured into different classrooms, each offering a snapshot of the subjects covered in human elementary education. The STEM classes felt lackluster by my standards. However, I soon appreciated their teaching approach which encouraged students to arrive at their conclusions.
On the other hand, the social studies and citizenship curriculum appeared more intricate, which made sense, given the complex social structures of the human race, a species as varied and divided as the primitive yotuls.
Midday brought a meal break, during which I had the chance to mingle with some of the other faculty members. I learned that a significant portion of the adults currently abstained from food and drink, on account of what they called the "fasting month". Andin observed the fast as well, but she kept me company in the cafeteria despite her abstinence from eating.
"Are you sure it's alright for me to eat while you're fasting?" I asked, somewhat.
"Of course," she assured me, her face warmed by a gracious smile. "Self-restraint is a fundamental aspect of being human."
Self-restraint, a quality I found woven into the fabric of human nature. Despite the invasion hurling their world into chaos, humans displayed remarkable restraint, refraining from lashing out in anger.
Post-meal, our educational exploration resumed. The sheer number of classes devoted to non-academic skills struck me. For instance, they had a class dedicated to environmental education, where they instructed young learners on how to care for their planet. Another class, called Health and Wellness, focused on areas such as hygiene, nutrition, safety, emotional well-being, and mental health. My visit coincided with a session of "meditation", a peculiar human practice to calm themselves. When I observed the children sitting in tranquil silence with eyes closed and serene music enveloping the room, I realized that they do have a method of quelling aggression, by nurturing a peaceful disposition.
The complexities of human pedagogical methods began to dawn upon me. The length of their educational journey lasted longer than ours because of this multifaceted curriculum. They didn't focus just on the injection of academic knowledge, but they also introduced human development in theirs. Even their academic lessons went beyond feeding students with facts and figures. Instead, they encouraged a more gradual learning pace that fostered independent thinking.
Such an extensive approach to education daunted me. Could we even implement such a model in our venlil school? Considerable obstacles lay on our path, given the expectations of parents and our society at large, who were accustomed to a quicker, more streamlined education.
In any case, my day reached its conclusion, and my time to depart came. When I bid her farewell, Principal Andin provided me with a binder filled with artwork created by the students, along with personal messages for me and the students back at my own school.
I had time to reflect and consider as I walked toward the downtown station. I recalled how Andin and Harta viewed the institution not as a place of learning, but as a secondary caregiver, working hand-in-hand with parents to nurture the holistic development of their young ones.
On my way to the station, my mother called. She informed me she would be coming downtown so we could share a last meal of the day together.
"How did the farm tour go, mama?" I queried, eager to hear about her day.
"It was enlightening," she replied, leaving me curious about her experience. "And what about your day?"
"Oh, mama," I began, a sense of excitement rising in my voice, "I had an extraordinary day."
Afterwords: Humans with their 22nd century education.
Somehow this is the longest chapter I have ever written. Also note on my update schedule. I'm posting update on every date divisible by 3. That means some updates can appear 96 hours later when the last post is on 30th and the month ends in 31st,
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2023.06.06 15:32 Wooden-Trip-8053 Safety (as a man)
As a cis-het dude (probably) I hear the word "confidence" getting tossed around a lot. Needing to be confident. Needing to exude confidence. And with that comes the micromanagement of my smile, my body, whether to hold hands, when to offer a physical embrace, etc. Because that's what we're expected to do: be confident. Make the other person feel safe.
I've always rankled at this arms-race of confidence, and now I think I understand why. Being confident helps my potential partner feel safe, but what good does that do when I don't feel safe with them?
Looking back, I have hardly ever felt safe or secure with the women I've dated. There's always been an uncomfortable distance. A coldness. Or maybe not coldness, but an air of tension. As if they keep waiting for me to give them something without offering any clues. And I keep trying to perform (often overperform) with humor or forced enthusiasm, resulting in either A) my dates leaving early or B) radio silence after the fact. The end result is a bad date, not specifically because nothing came of it, but because I end up a nervous wreck, which in turn feeds my self-loathing issues. All because I spend 99% of the date in a state of utter panic or despair.
Take my last date. I had been talking to this person online for a while, but when we met up things were different. We hugged, but it didn't feel right. She kept looking at me as if expecting something, but I couldn't figure out what. Any jokes or levity I attempted to inject into the date fell flat, or were answered with what felt like jabs at my expense (really it was at the expense of Capitalism or the art world or whatever, but still). She ended up leaving early, which was honestly for the best, and I felt horrible for days after.
Now let's look at a counterexample. Because yes, sometimes my dates do go well. I met a woman at a friend's party, and she had the best sense of humor. Apparently she thought I was cute, because she asked a mutual friend for my contact info. Our first date was great, because everything she did put me at ease. We listened to music in my car, we constantly made dirty jokes while at the zoo, we improvised when a museum we had wanted to visit was packed, and the whole experience made me feel good. You could say "hey dumbass, the difference is that she actually liked you." But it was more than that. I could be confident around her, because she made an effort to make me feel safe. We went out a few times after that, and no, a relationship didn't happen. But at least we had fun. At least I think about that experience with fondness rather than anxiety or sorrow.
I guess my point is, I need to stop seeing dating as a confidence game. Because it's not, at least for me. I need someone who makes me feel safe. And I have to wonder how many other dudes (or non cis-het women/non-binary folk) feel the same way, but either live in denial or have become accustomed to not being heard.
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2023.06.06 15:02 influxinfotechagra How to Experience the Best of India’s Golden Triangle
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India is a land of diversity, culture and history. One of the most popular ways to explore this fascinating country is by taking a Golden Triangle tour package
that covers the three iconic cities of Delhi
. These cities form a virtual triangle on the map of India and offer a glimpse into the rich heritage, architecture and lifestyle of India. Delhi: The Capital City
Delhi is the starting point of most Golden Triangle tours. It is a city that blends the ancient and the modern, the chaotic and the serene. Delhi has something for everyone, whether you are interested in history, religion, art or cuisine. https://preview.redd.it/nrbnjksbbe4b1.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=81d08cef21333cd4d57b2647e31378e4a416be92
Some of the must-see attractions in Delhi are:
· Qutub Minar
: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the tallest brick minaret in the world. It was built in the 12th century by the first Muslim rulers of India and showcases the Islamic architecture and art.
· Lotus Temple
: A stunning white marble structure shaped like a lotus flower. It is a Baháʼí House of Worship that welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds to meditate and pray in its tranquil halls.
· India Gate
: A majestic archway that commemorates the Indian soldiers who died in World War I and other wars. It is surrounded by lush gardens and fountains and is a popular spot for picnics and leisure.
· Parliament House
: The seat of the Indian democracy and one of the largest parliamentary buildings in the world. It is a circular building with a domed roof and a colonnaded facade that reflects the British colonial influence.
· Rashtrapati Bhavan
: The official residence of the President of India and one of the most impressive buildings in Delhi. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and has 340 rooms, 37 fountains, 227 columns and a vast Mughal garden. Agra: The City of Love
Agra is the next stop on the Golden Triangle tour package. It is home to one of the most famous monuments in the world: the Taj Mahal
. This white marble mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal and is a symbol of eternal love. https://preview.redd.it/cs0rb3rmbe4b1.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b658501f7bbd9953e20ace792dc3e552a42edfef
The Taj Mahal is not the only attraction in Agra. You can also visit:
· Agra Fort
: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a massive red sandstone fort that was once the residence of the Mughal emperors. It has several palaces, mosques, gardens and halls that showcase the Mughal architecture and art.
: A beautiful tomb that is also known as the Baby Taj because of its resemblance to the Taj Mahal. It was built by Nur Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir, for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. It is one of the first examples of using pietra dura (inlay work) on white marble.
· Fatehpur Sikri
: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a deserted city that was once the capital of Emperor Akbar. It is a masterpiece of Indo-Islamic architecture and has several monuments such as Buland Darwaza (the highest gateway in India), Jama Masjid (one of the largest mosques in India) and Panch Mahal (a five-storey palace). Jaipur: The Pink City
Jaipur is the final destination on the Golden Triangle tour package. It is the capital of Rajasthan, a state known for its royal history, colorful culture and desert landscape. Jaipur is called the Pink City because of its pink-colored buildings that were painted to welcome Prince Albert in 1876. https://preview.redd.it/y8bxr3pnbe4b1.jpg?width=4032&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3f66f3c25fcd42d0acf10efe05ec3a0d21f18270
Some of the highlights of Jaipur are:
· Amber Fort
: A magnificent hilltop fort that overlooks the Maota Lake. It was built by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and has several courtyards, palaces, temples and gardens that reflect the Rajput and Mughal styles.
· Hawa Mahal
: A stunning palace that is also known as the Palace of Winds because of its 953 windows that allow air circulation. It was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 for his royal ladies to watch the street activities without being seen.
· City Palace
: A sprawling complex that was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. It has several buildings, courtyards, museums and gardens that display the royal artifacts, costumes, weapons and paintings.
· Jantar Mantar
: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and an astronomical observatory that was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1734. It has 19 instruments that measure time, sun, moon and planets with remarkable accuracy. How to Book a Golden Triangle Tour Package
A Golden Triangle tour package is a great way to experience the best of India in a short time. You can book a tour package online or through a travel agent. You can choose from different options such as:
· The duration of the tour (usually 3 to 6 days)
· The type of accommodation (from budget to luxury)
· The mode of transport (from car to train to flight)
· The inclusion of meals and guides
· The addition of other destinations (such as Varanasi, Ranthambore, Udaipur, etc.)
A Golden Triangle tour package is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the wonders of India. Don’t miss it!
2023.06.06 11:37 DistributionSea8886 Flights to Dublin
2023.06.06 11:09 hnqn1611 TOP 10 Things to do in LAS VEGAS - [2023 Travel Guide]
| || |https://preview.redd.it/k501hko06d4b1.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b94c81155b7733ac63d64c03d211cd90f8f5135f TOP 10 Things to do in LAS VEGAS - [2023 Travel Guide] submitted by hnqn1611 to TopPersonality [link] [comments]
In this post, we'll show you the top 10 things to do in Las Vegas. The suggestions are based on our many trips to this entertainment capital of the World. Don't forget to like this post, subscribe to our channel, and enable notifications. And share your own experience or ask a question in the comments below. This post is sponsored by GetYourGuide, the best way to book experiences in Vegas and around the World. Find links to presented attractions in the description
. And stick around until the end because we have a bonus for you. Here are our top 10 picks:
NUMBER 10: Linq Promenade This open-air shopping, dining, and entertainment district, the high-energy LINQ promenade offers an array of diverse experiences all in one place. The plaza features around 40 shops, restaurants, bars, a live music scene, and other exciting attractions. For an electrifying experience, ride the Fly LINQ Zipline right above the promenade. You can fly seated, superhero, frontward, or backward at up to 35 miles per hour. With 10 side-by-side ziplines, you can even fly together with your family or friends. Also, be sure to check out the High Roller Ferris wheel which offers 360-degree views of Las Vegas Valley. Take a 30-minute ride in one of its 28 cabins, or even select one of their open-bar cabins or yoga class high above Vegas.
NUMBER 9: Neon Museum Las Vegas The Neon Museum offers a collection of iconic Las Vegas neon and other signs that were taken down when businesses, casinos, and other famous landmarks were closed, demolished, or renovated. It includes pieces from the 1930s to the present day. Neon Museum features a visitors’ center located inside the former La Concha Motel lobby, Neon Boneyard Main Collection, and North Gallery - an additional site for special events. For a truly unique experience, visit Neon Museum by night when several of the signs light up. Of course, there are other museums in Vegas worth exploring, like the Mob Museum with an insight into the worldwide impact of organized crime or National Atomic Testing Museum showcasing U.S. nuclear weapons testing programs through rare artifacts, like a nuclear reactor, atomic weapons, etc.
NUMBER 8: Unique Stores Vegas is a place full of unique stores that you will hardly find anywhere else in the World. Taste Coca Cola products from around the World in the Coca Cola store, and personalize your candies with messages, colors, and Las Vegas images in M&M’s World located right across The Park. Or experience a chocolate wonderland in Hershey’s Chocolate World, located right next to the Brooklyn Bridge and New York-New York. And even when you want to get a cocktail on the street, choices in Vegas are slightly different from other places in the States. You can, for example, order a yard-dog drink in one of Fat Tuesdays locations and explore the strip with your drink in your hand.
NUMBER 7: Food Experiences Las Vegas offers plenty of buffets and fast-food options and is even one of America's premier culinary destinations. Located in the Cosmopolitan Block 16 Vegas Urban Food Hall showcases curated eateries based in different U.S. states. Indulge in various mouth-watering specialties along with craft coffee, tequila, cocktails, and other beverages. Or if you prefer Italian cuisine, you can even shop for fresh Italian groceries at this 24-hour upscale food hall. Eataly at Park MGM houses restaurants, takeaway counters, a cafe, bars, and more. There are plenty of other upscale dining options to choose from in this part of the city, such as Gordon Ramsay Hell's Kitchen located in Caesar's Palace. If you prefer cheaper food options, explore Chinatown. Of course, there are many other unique bars and restaurants to discover. Check our travel guide for more suggestions. BTW, our mobile-friendly travel guide covers the top 20 things to do in Vegas and things to know before you visit, including itinerary suggestions and Google maps.
NUMBER 6: The Las Vegas Sign The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign was built in 1959 and is considered to be the official southern end of the Las Vegas Strip. Betty Willis, visual artist, and graphic designer, intended to design a unique sign in its shape, style, and content. You can find other similar signs all over Las Vegas, like variation of the sign “Welcome to Fabolous Downtown Las Vegas” on Fremont Street.
NUMBER 5: Hotels and Casinos Vegas offers an array of extravagant resort hotels and casinos. Most of them are located on The Strip, an approximately 4.2-mile- long stretch of South Las Vegas Boulevard. The hotels feature miles of indoor shopping areas full of designer stores, fancy restaurants, casinos, and entertainment areas. From Paris with the iconic Eiffel Tower replica, the Venetian that uses real Venice as a basis for its design and even houses the famous Madame Tussauds Museum, to New York New York with Statue of Liberty replica, Vegas is full of famous world landmark inspired casinos. The enormous MGM Grand offers trendy clubs, luxurious Caesars Palace was the first themed resort along the Las Vegas Strip and if you prefer fancier hotels, choose Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, Vdara Hotel & Spa or Aria Resort & Casino. You can you also explore the newest hotels, like Resorts World Las Vegas or Circa Resort & Casino. If you want to gamble, attend a pool party, or just relax by the pool, there's a ton of places where you can do that. Countless concerts, pool parties, and other exciting experiences take place in Vegas all the time, day and night. It is no secret that Las Vegas is considered the world capital of entertainment. Almost every big hotel in Vegas offers a famous show or a concert on a regular basis. And if you are in the mood for shopping, explore Grand Canal Shoppes located within The Venetian Resort or The Forum Shops at Caesars. There are plenty of others shopping destinations, like the upscale Shops at Crystals in CityCenter complex or Miracle Mile Shops.
NUMBER 4: Adventures From supercar driving experiences, or even more exciting adventures, like Ziplining - there are countless activities to choose from in Vegas, depending on your mood. You can even take a helicopter tour to experience Vegas from a different angle or go all the way to Hoover Dam. Although Vegas is considered the playground for adults, there is an abundance of fantastic activities for children. If you're looking for family fun and an amusement park vibe, don't skip Adventuredome located inside Circus Circus, an indoor theme park with fun rides, game arcades, and miniature golf. And that brings us to GetYourGuide - the sponsor of this video. When you book experiences, for instance, High Roller Ferris wheel, you can effortlessly do that with GetYourGuide. You can embark on a night hop-on hop-off bus tour, go crazy at party crawl or even book a day trip. The choices are practically limitless anywhere you go since GetYourGuide covers over 3600 destinations worldwide with over 60,000 curated experiences. You might even find things you never knew existed. You can also book your next experience using your phone with an easy-to-use app and have your tickets ready right away with no printing and free cancelation up to 24 hours before your activity. Download GetYourGuide now now and find your unforgettable experience in Vegas. The links are in the description.
NUMBER 3: SkyPod SkyPod, located in the The Strat Hotel, formerly the Stratosphere tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the U.S. and features one of the highest thrill rides in the World - X-Scream. Their SkyJump holds the Guinness World Record as the highest commercial decelerator descent facility.
NUMBER 2: AREA15 AREA15 is a destination, an experience, and a platform all in one, opened just a few years ago. It is supposed to be the first experiential retail-entertainment complex in the World. Besides its innovative technology, AREA15 offers experimental entertainment, live events, immersive shopping, extraordinary art installations and design elements, exciting dining options, and a customizable indoor and outdoor event space.
NUMBER 1: Downtown Las Vegas Downtown Las Vegas is an area located in the northern part of the city. Fremont Street is a street in downtown Las Vegas. It was the city’s original center and home to the first famous casinos, such as Binion’s Horseshoe, Eldorado Club, and Fremont Hotel and Casino. Part of the street is covered by an enormous LCD display featuring Viva Vision light shows, SlotZilla Zip Line, and concerts. Container Park is an open-air sustainable shopping complex that consists of boutiques, restaurants, bars, and galleries built from shipping containers.
Don’t skip a vast praying-mantis sculpture that shoots flames from its antennae. Of course, there are other interesting neighborhoods to discover, like bohemian Arts District, a vibrant cultural hub is located right next to Downtown or Chinatown with many shops and eateries. And here is the bonus that we promised. There are many impressive places around Vegas to discover. Don’t skip Hoover Dam, one of the largest dams in the World. When it was completed during Great Depression in 1936 it was the tallest dam in the World. Red Rock Canyon is another beautiful scenic area, a popular place for hiking, biking, and rock climbing. And if you have some time left, don’t skip Death Valley with Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. Continue to our video on things you should know before visiting Vegas.
2023.06.06 07:33 TRAE-is-Alastor Designation: Death(chapter 8, part 3)
Doll was quick to get up and counter her tricks, by creating 3 knives, which she each split into two.
She fired 3 knives at R, and 3 at X.
X was only hit by one, he was very agile and quick, throwing one of them back and forcing Doll to leap backward.
X was able to close the distance while she dodged, and feinted a claw swipe at her head, in order to actually get a slash at her back, cutting into it.
Doll however cut his arm off with the knife he threw back and then telekinetically threw it into his gut and plastered him to the wall next to R.
R had gotten hit by all 3 of the knives Doll threw at her, and she narrowly dodged before Doll could slam a desk into her ribcage.
X managed to rip the knife out of his stomach, and R began firing bullets at Doll, but they were easily redirected and hit her directly in the gut.
X ran forward and attempted to stab Doll with her own knife, but it shattered against Doll’s forcefield, before the tiny pieces were enhanced by Doll and sent flying into his skull hard enough to pierce it.
“This is over, Doll!”
X shouted as R’s chest cavity opened up and out of it popped a small cylindrical piece of metal, which she threw at Doll.
This piece of metal exploded into a storm of shrapnel and nanite acid, which just barely managed to pierce Doll’s forcefield, and hit her.
Only the shrapnel however actually worked, the nanites weren’t numerous enough to affect her.
Doll suddenly realized something… She wasn’t getting any Solver readings from R, even though she seemed to have the Solver.
Normally, AbsoluteSolver users were non-interactive and therefore couldn’t directly be harmed by the Solver, and yet…
Doll decided to test her theory, and began crushing R telekinetically.
That proved it, R for some reason wasn’t considered to be an AbsoluteSolver user despite having it.
Suddenly; X got up and once again managed to stab her in the back, but this time he also slammed her against the wall and threw her backwards over his head, firing a rocket at her as well.
Doll survived the explosion, but was winded and took a second to get up.
X began firing at Doll with a concealed sniper in his arm, but only one bullet hit her, and it wasn’t enough to stop her.
Doll sent every other bullet back, hitting X in the wrist and radius in particular.
X and R quickly began to flee, knowing that they couldn’t win.
However as X and R both ran down the corridor, they saw a cleaver fly past them, only to suddenly loop around and slash into R’s skull.
X quickly hacked the blade in half however, and brought it up to one of his wounds, allowing it to be absorbed into the wound.
Doll was still making chase, and so they still ran. X and R narrowly turned a corner, allowing them to dodge two small knives from Doll.
However, as soon as they turned the corner, Doll was somehow right there in front of them, and cut X’s arm off on the spot.
R thought that they were dead, but X’s arm had a built in shotgun that blasted out, hitting Doll’s leg and staggering her.
X roundhouse kicked her a good 20 feet, before picking up his arm and running again.
Eventually, X and R had lost her, and had a moment to breathe.
“That was close. Be careful, R. I’ll set you free, on one condition.” X spoke with a detached voice.
R was shocked and relieved about what she just heard, and was immediately ready. “The condition is that you don’t fight Uzi, and try to help us out. I’m aware that this little alliance we all have is shaky and strained… but we have to try and make this work so that survival is possible.”
R looked at him, shocked yet again. She knew that this was as good as she could get, and that it was her ticket to become free.
“I’ll let you leave, right after we meet back up with Uzi.”
They began running through the corridor again, their dread building with every dark corner they turned.
They had to be careful, Doll could be around any corner. They moved with the fearful caution of lives who directly encountered death.
They walked as silently as they could, to avoid being tracked, but they still heard footsteps.
Those footsteps could only belong to Doll, which meant that she was still close. The halls seemed to be like a labyrinth, they always took weird turns, just hoping that they led away from Doll and closer to Uzi.
There was something grim about the air itself, and suddenly it felt as if the walls were moving closer to them.
It would turn out however, that they were. Doll had located them, and was crushing the walls around them.
X’s program, translator.exe, activated to translate a Russian voice, and the translation read: “I’ve found you. Goodbye.”
Suddenly the corridor walls glowed red and starting closing in on them even faster, as fleshy tendrils of organic matter seemed to sprout through the wall in little cracks, splintering the ground and chunks of the wall as they reached out to crush X and R.
X and R began to run, trying to escape before they were trapped and killed by Doll.
X was sure that he could make it normally, but the tendrils led to some complications. One of them hit him in the side of the jaw, and grabbed his neck, slamming him against the wall.
The wind was knocked out of him and he could have died right there, however R quickly saved him by cutting the tendril off.
They kept running, but they wouldn’t make it if these obstructions continued.
Suddenly, fleshy organic hands sprouted out of the floor, grabbing R right as X managed to get out.
X didn’t look back, he didn’t realize the hands sprouting out of the ground and therefore thought R was right behind him.
One of these hands ripped part of R’s kneecaps off, then another scratched at her leg and several held her in place.
The walls were closing in, she needed to act fast.
“Godmind_String_Overdrive.” R whispered, and the protocol activated that physically renewed her vigor and temporarily made her tougher and quicker.
She cut the hands in half, and created a forcefield around her and kept running forward through the corridor.
The wall had reached her, and her forcefield was crumbling around her. However; the moment it crushed and her arms were shattered under the force of the walls, she managed to squeeze out.
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2023.06.06 07:11 hnqn1611 TOP 10 Things to do in SEATTLE - [2023 Travel Guide]
| || |https://preview.redd.it/cq8xg8dczb4b1.jpg?width=1280&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=ca929ed3e8eae96d85190b7a8ac3217277de7344 TOP 10 Things to do in SEATTLE - [2023 Travel Guide] submitted by hnqn1611 to TopPersonality [link] [comments]
In this post, we'll show you the top 10 things to do in Seattle. This post is based on our fun trip to this beautiful city. Don't forget to like this post, subscribe to our channel, and enable notifications. And share your own experience or ask a question in the comments below. Sponsored by an award-winning language learning software Rosetta Stone. The link is in the description
. Here are our top 10 picks:
Number 10: Seattle Waterfront Seattle Waterfront is one of the most popular attractions in the city, with an array of iconic restaurants, unique souvenir shops, and other attractions. While walking around Waterfront Park and the promenade, you’ll experience incredible views of the skyscrapers and Elliot Bay. Visiting the Miner's Landing refurbished 1890s Gold Rush pier 57 will not be complete without riding the Seattle Great Wheel or enjoying plenty of family-friendly activities and food options. If you like sea life, visiting the Seattle Aquarium is a must. The aquarium features sea animals, marine exhibits, and interactive displays, focusing on Pacific Northwest with a planned renovation to make it even bigger in the future. They even let you gently touch some of the animals.
Number 9: Museum of Pop Culture The Museum of Pop Culture, located in Seattle Center, an area dating back to the 1962 World's Fair, is a non-profit museum celebrating the creative art of science fiction, fantasy, film, and music. Visit the world's most extensive collection of artifacts from Seattle's greatest musicians and bands, like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Jimi Hendrix, or admire memorabilia from one of the most iconic movies, like Star Wars and Matrix or Terminator. You can even try playing different instruments and sneak into the studio to record your own song. The museum offers endless possibilities. Did you know that this museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000 as the Experience Music Project? It was designed by renowned Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, who is famous for creating Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Dancing house in Prague, and many others. Of course, there are other fascinating museums to discover in Seattle.
Number 8: Space Needle If you like to explore the city from a different angle, visit Space Needle. Designated as a historic landmark in Seattle, the Space Needle is a 605 feet or 184 m observation deck and attraction presenting a scenic 360-degree view of the city. Enjoy glass benches leaning over the tilting glass. Don't forget to experience the city from above on a revolving glass floor, the first and the only one in the world. There are other observation decks in Seattle. Check our travel guide for more suggestions. By the way, our mobile-friendly travel guide covers the top 20 things to do in Seattle and things to know before you visit, including maps, opening hours, links to buy tickets, itinerary suggestions, and other information.
Number 7: Companies from Seattle Seattle is home to many Fortune 500 companies, like Microsoft and Boeing. If you have time, explore a worldwide renowned coffee chain - Starbucks, with its original coffeehouse at Seattle's Pike Place Market from the 70s. Don't skip Seattle Spheres, constructed by three glass domes or conservatories of the Amazon campus. Just around the corner, there is one of several Amazon Go, a cashier-less convenience store.
Number 6: Woodland Park Zoo The Woodland Park Zoo, founded in 1899, is a one-of-a-kind zoological experience featuring plenty of rare animals and endangered species. It offers Washington's highest number of animals representing more than 250 species, and it received several Best National Exhibit awards. Walk around 92 acres of land occupied by exhibits, parks, playgrounds, and other spaces. Over 1 million tourists visit the zoo every year, especially drawn to its mission to wildlife conservation.
Number 5: Gas Works Park at Lake Union Built on on the grounds of a former gasification plant from the early 20th Century, the city bought the site and transformed into a public park in 1975. Gas Works Park is an internationally-acclaimed project of American landscape artist Richard Haag, who gained numerous recognition for his work in the park. Gas Works still incorporates elements of the former plantation. Climb Kite Hill to get a better view of the plant and its surroundings. Check our travel guide for more information. Of course, there are plenty of other parks and beach areas in Seattle and its surroundings worth exploring. By the way, the park is set on Lake Union, a glacier lake dug by the Vashon glacier 12,000 years ago, now a significant part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Here, you can rent a boat, go sailing, paddleboarding, or explore the attractions on the Southern part of the lake. You can even embark on a Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop trail that takes you around the lake.
Number 4: Pioneer Square Pioneer Square, the city's oldest neighborhood, is a historical community in southern Seattle, where the founders settled in 1852. Since the area's early-day structure was primarily wooden, Pioneer Square was almost all destroyed in the 1889 Great Seattle Fire. Preserving its touch of its 19th-century Richardsonian Romanesque architecture, the structures of most buildings in Pioneer Square are now made of old bricks and stones. Find more about this neighborhood's history by joining the Beneath the Streets underground tours or inside the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Pioneer Square is full of trendy bars and galleries. By the way, visit Smith Tower, one of the world's first skyscrapers, where you can enjoy a scenic open-air view of the city. Don't skip other exciting neighborhoods in Seattle, like Fremont district with the famous Fremont Troll or Chinatown-International District. with plenty of Asian food and shopping options. And that brings us to Rosetta Stone - the sponsor of this video. Use this easy-to-learn language software whenever you are planning to explore new places around the world and want to learn a new language. Rosetta Stone helps you tap into your brain's natural ability to learn new languages. Imagine, it's very similar to how you learn your native language. You won't be memorizing a long list of vocabulary. You'll be seeing, hearing, speaking, reading, and writing – only in your new language. That way, you're ready for real-world conversations in your favorite destination. You can improve your Italian while exploring Rome or even learn new languages while on your next adventure in Vietnam, France, Colombia, or anywhere else. We’ve used it to learn Spanish on our recent trip to Mexico. So, before you decide to travel abroad, or even during your travels, download an easy-to-use app, and start learning your next language now. Use our exclusive discount on lifetime subscription. The link is in the description.
Number 3: Chihuly Garden and Glass Seattle is a glass art center, globally recognized as a glassblowing hub. The Chihuly is an artistic collection of the work of world-renowned American glass artist Dale Chihuly. Visit Chihuly Garden and Glass, located just below the Space Needle in Seattle Center, one of his permanent exhibits in the U.S. Launched in May 2012, the project boasts a garden, the centerpiece glasshouse, eight galleries, and a theater. The Glasshouse is an iconic 40-foot-tall structure made of glass and steel and is one of the artist's largest suspended works. You can see Chihuly's glassblowing work, techniques, and history in a movie theatre, also a place for various community gatherings and educational workshops.
Number 2: Water transportation What better way to travel and experience Seattle's surroundings than by riding one of the city's efficient water transportation, like King County Water Taxi or Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry, which takes you on a 35-minute ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island? The exciting ferry ride offers a breathtaking view of the city skyline and good food and drinks selections from its café. Don't miss a chance to embark on a cruise tour, sail around the harbor, and enjoy spectacular views of Elliot Bay and the beautiful Seattle skyline from the water.
Number 1: Pike Place Market Serving for more than a century, the Pike Place Market is one of the oldest operating public markets in the US. Branded as the "soul of the city," it has been brought to life and color by local farmers, fishmongers, merchants, antique shops, and its 10 million visitors annually. The century-old market attraction is known for its fish market, with a tradition of throwing fish, which started out as a prank and became a tradition since people enjoyed the show. Explore the market to try some of Seattle’s authentic food options or just to buy beautiful flowers as the locals do. Visit the upper and lower Post Alley, with plenty of bars and restaurants that got its name after the former Post-Intelligencer newspaper. Don't skip the famous Gum Wall right under Pike Market Place. We wish you an amazing trip to Seattle.
2023.06.06 05:28 definitelynotpoopin School List Feedback
Hey everybody, I was hoping to get some feedback on my school list.
I'm a non-trad who spent 10 years in the Air Force doing some really cool, unique things, and I am able to speak on them well. Stats are:
ORM male, age 30
Microbiology major, chemistry minor at a state school
cGPA: 3.77 (took some classes before I enlisted that I didn't do well in/care about); sGPA: 3.86
Research: about 500 hours over two years with one poster presentation
Very strong MD LOR, very strong science professor LOR, and I'm assuming the rest are at least decent.
3 years volunteering every other week at a free clinic, around 250 hours
Various other volunteer events, none of which were health-related. For example, I did Meals on Wheels, organized a *very* small food drive, and was involved with a military designated driver association for a year or so.
Significant leadership experience & teaching (trainer in the military); approx 10k hours
ICU tech for about ~300 hours before switching jobs
Medical Scribe for ~800 hours, will continue this until matriculation
I think that is about all of the relevant information. Onto the school list!
Dartmouth -- MD LOR writer has connections here. Figured I'd at least try.
Harvard -- Was going to apply here even with a 472 :) gotta shoot my shot, right?
Lewis Katz Temple
University of Utah (resident of this state)
University of Illinois
University of Kansas - (Grew up in Missouri & strong ties)
University of Maryland
University of South Carolina Greenville
University of Washington (Was a resident of Montana for 5 years)
University of Missouri - Columbia (Grew up in Missouri & strong ties)
University of Missouri - Kansas City (Grew up in Missouri & strong ties)
University of Arizona - Phoenix
Baylor -- Same as Harvard. Might as well shoot my shot for that 0.05% chance. This is my pipe dream school.
AT Still Kirksville
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Des Moines University of Osteopathic Medicine
Kansas City University
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
I know a lot of these schools have a much higher median MCAT, and I'm well-aware that my MCAT is not strong. However, With the exception of Harvard, Dartmouth, Baylor, Ohio State, and University of Arizona, my MCAT is at least aligned with their 10th percentile scores.
Thanks for looking! Let me know what you guys think. The overall goal was ~40 schools.
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2023.06.06 02:53 Destrae [Trip Report] March 8-24 (Tokyo/Yokohama/Kyoto). 16 day weeb dream vacation - Kingdom Hearts concert, JJK exhibit, so many arcades!
I wasn't going to do a trip write up at all, but I'm planning a return trip in the Fall and I realized some of the things I learned on my first trip might be useful for other people, so here we go! I don't often see post write ups from people who are specifically into rhythm games/ arcades/ anime stuff Dates: March 8 - 24, 2023 Background:
Planned this trip mostly for myself but one of my friends decided to tag along fairly last minute. I had planned to spend the whole trip in Tokyo but the one thing she wanted to do was Kyoto, so we added a side trip + a very pleasant day at a Ryokan. I used Wanderlog to plan (HIGHLY recommend, this site is amazing), and my basic daily itinerary was morning shrine > pick an area to explore and have 1-2 major things per day. The person I was travelling with ended up taking a long ass time to get ready each day, so most of my morning stuff got cut or rearranged. Costs:
I will fully admit I did not budget for food/ shopping, 100% vibes. I simply do not acknowledge what I spent
- Flight: $1,500 (Delta from MSP > SEA > Haneda. Direct from MSP had not resumed yet)
- Hotels: ¥314,000 (Roughly $2,300 USD for all 3 hotels total) [¥205,000 (Tokyu Stay Tsukiji, 15 nights) + ¥30,000 (Tokyu Stay Kyoto, 2 nights) + ¥79,000 (Kyokoyado Muromachi Yutone Kyoto, 1 night)]
- Shinkansen: ¥42,000 for 2 round trip tickets from Tokyo/Kyoto and back. Roughly $300 USD, machine did not take foreign CC only cash
- The Kingdom Hearts concert, I maxed out my luck on this trip and we were able to see this on it's last night in Tokyo. Absolutely incredible!!
- Sushi Yuu, Roppongi (omakase sushi for about ¥20,000 per person, we paid more with drinks)
- ShibuyaSky, the open air viewing makes the experience so much better, plus there's a bunch of different spots to hang out up on the observation deck
- Fushimi Inari, the whole shrine blew me out of the water, absolutely must experience in person
- TeamLabs Planets, so few things live up to the hype and this is one of them
- Golden Gai, the bars were so much fun, got the full experience of a salaryman pissing on the side of the konbini
- Caffeine- if you are addicted to non carbonated caffeine like I am be prepared to be disappointed. The monsters are only 40mg compared to America's 150mg+. I'm glad I brought caffeine pills
- Tsukiji market is really not worth going out of your way for, it's nice if you're near it but it's really just a fish market + insane lines for most of the food
- I'm still mad about how bad the food was at the Square Enix cafe is, at least we got coasters + placemats out of the deal. This was genuinely my only bad experience in Japan
- Everything on this subreddit told me that people in Tokyo don't really care about tattoos, however they do really seem to care about colored hair. I have very long, bright ombre hair and I was a bit of a sideshow attraction, including people taking photos of me in public multiple times. Probably the most frustrating part of the trip was being stared at constantly
- Japanese thrift stores love old American clothes, I was definitely let down by the majority of these
- Buy anime stuff
- Play rhythm games
- Go thrift shopping
- See cherry blossoms
- Collect shrine stamps (goshuin)
- TAX FREE SHOPPING: This has to be first because no one mentions it?? There are 2 types of tax free, discount and rebate. Everywhere has a minimum for tax free. Don Quijote you have to go to the separate tax free counter, and they will seal the bags shut. You're not supposed to use the tax free items in the country - I didn't know this and did it anyways? There seems to be no repercussions unless they open your bag and count every individual KitKat. I had to open the bags to repack everything anyways. The places that do rebates are generally malls, you bring your receipt + passport and they'll give you the 10% back in cash (minus a fee). When you get to the airport, you scan your passport after you drop your luggage, indicating you made tax free purchases. You do not need to keep your receipts anymore
- Don Quijote does sell luggage but Ginza Karen is cheaper
- Besides the standard things that every single trip report has (get a suica, you'll walk a lot, etc etc), the biggest thing I learned is not to go to an area without at least 1-2 specific goals in mind. For example, I had given us like a half day to go around Shibuya/ Harajuku, but because we didn't look into what malls or stores we might like to go to, we ended up wandering pretty aimlessly and not really enjoying the area. This happened a few different areas we went to, so I decided that in the future I would pin some stores on Google Maps and try to make it to those specific stores
- Install LINE and set up an account. It's crazy how much connects to LINE. For me the biggest thing was 1) making Sushiro reservations and not having to sit in the store for an hour plus waiting for our table and 2) being able to grab a chargeSPOT to charge my phone. I brought a battery pack but at this point it must be like a decade old, it took the entire night to recharge and died on me during the day a few times. I have a Pixel 6 Pro and was literally constantly charging my phone
- If you're coming from the Americas, don't try to do something on your first night. Get your Konbini dinner and go the fuck to sleep
- Getting from place to place can take longer than expected, you'll have to navigate the stations, find the entrances (sometimes hidden in malls) and exits (sometimes closed), don't make plans too tight together
- Navigating Kyoto was so much more confusing. At first our Suica cards didn't work because we apparently didn't tap out at a station in Tokyo, so we were buying day passes and paying in cash on the bus. Some of the buses have 0 English and 100% Kanji (navigation difficulty: extreme). Suica cards DO work in Kyoto so if you're having issues go to a gate with an attendant and they can help
- It can be weirdly hard to find bathrooms, most konbini have them but you're supposed to ask the cashier if you can use them. I speak very basic Japanese but hammed up the gaijin card here and would just ask to use the toilet in English, no one ever told me no Weeb specific advice:
- If you want to do pop ups (like the Jujutusu Kaisen Animation exhibit), a Japanese e-sim will be a lifesaver. You need a Japanese phone number to do SO much, they really make it extremely frustrating to make reservations without it. I did manage to make reservations for the Square Enix cafe though, the write-up is on my profile. (Was it worth it? Absolutely not, worst food all trip, -3/10)
- Prices are all over the place for figures, especially prize figures. There's a solid chance you might buy something and see it cheaper at the next shop, however going back/forth between shops in Akihabara can be a huge pain in the ass. I'd recommend 1) making a list of things you want the most and 2) setting a per item budget and a total budget. A lot of the anime stuff was cheaper in Kyoto as well
- You can find a ton of gachapon stuff at Surugaya, so you can just buy what you want and don't have to gamble. Surugaya bins are organized by series
- Use collabo-cafe.com to find cafes and pop up events you might be interested. Plan ahead because reservations can be hard to come by
Now on to the super detailed trip report! Here's the big album
if you don't want to look through photos separated by day. Warning for flashing video Day 1
- Landed in Haneda around 3pm. Immigration + customs took about an hour (we did the visit Japan web ahead of time and had both QR codes ready). There was virtually no lines anywhere
- It took about an hour to navigate to the hotel. I chose to stay at the Tokyu Stay Tsukiji because 1) it was really cheap, 2) it was close to the Ginza line, and 3) it had a washer in the room. Although the location was slightly inconvenient for late nights, I'd say it was totally worth it for the ability to grab food in Tsukiji market, and the room was pretty large compared to some other areas of Tokyo. In fact, the room was so cheap that when we went to Kyoto, we opted to not check out of the Tsukiji room and just leave the majority of our possessions there. This didn't cause any issues and made travelling on the Shinkansen way easier
- I thought we were built different and could do some stuff this evening. We ended up walking to the Donki and being assaulted by sound in every direction. 7/10 didn't discover the 2nd floor until days later. At this point exhaustion kicked in and we got a Lawsons dinner and crashed
- Going to Akihabara on our first day in Japan sure was a choice. Thankfully neither of us suffered jetlag on the way in. Checked out like 10 different game centers and a ton of anime shops. Managed to find the only Monster Rehab of the whole trip here
- Konbini lunch + strong zero! That flavor was terrible :')
- Dinner at the Monster Hunter cafe (no reservations required). Expectations were low but my travel partner is a huge MH fan. The food wasn't bad but the drinks were awful. The ambiance is nice and there were definitely some regulars there playing MH on the consoles they had set up
- The new Namco game center had like 12 brand new Taiko cabs and all of them had phone mounts so you could film yourself playing! I was really intimidated by everyone there being extremely good so we didn't play any games here
(Shibuya & Harajuku, photos
- Breakfast at Tsukiji outer market since we were already there
- Went to Shibuya Loft for the Bravely Default pop up shop
- Checked out Tower Records
- Ate lunch at Japanese McDonalds
- Went to Takeshita Street. TBH this felt like in-person AliExpress, I'm sure the charm of the early 2000s is long gone
- Visited Hachiko
- Shibuya Sky Observatory
- Started at Kaminarimon Gate & went down Nakamise shopping street. It was very crowded on a Sunday but I enjoyed it immensely, you just need some patience to get where you want to go. I liked trying all the food, most of the food stalls here were cash only
- Senso-ji temple, bought Goshuincho to collect stamps
- Ate lunch and dinner in the area, there's a ton of food options
- We ended going all the way over to Yoyogi park as well but nothing was in bloom. Because it was overcast the park looked really sad
(Shinjuku & Kabukicho, photos
- Now is the time to come clean, I'm a huge Yakuza/ RGG fan. In the morning I had my Majima birthday cake delivered by PRIROLL. I pre-ordered it and chose the delivery day where we didn't have morning plans. It comes frozen and needs to defrost in the fridge. While we left Majima to chill, we made the pilgrimage to Kabukicho to see the iconic gate. It was raining in the morning so we hit up some arcades then went shopping
- There's a really cool mall that seems anime-centric (I believe it's called Shinjuku Marui Anex). It had a Godzilla store, Cinnamoroll Cafe, a JJK pop up, and best of all... A Surugaya. These stores have bins where everything is ¥100-300 and we ended up buying way too much in every one we came across
- Went back to Kabukicho and explored a bit, went to Golden Gai and drank at a handful of bars. Almost missed the last train because I drunkenly insisted on a final game of MaiMai. 10/10 staying in Kabukicho next time
(Ikebukero & Rippongi, photos
- The plan today was to check out Ikebukero and Roppongi, but we ended up spending so much time at the first mall that we didn't really do anything in Roppongi besides get dinner. Went to the Pokemon Mega Center and the cafe. The main cafe was closed so it was just take out, all the food was really cute but the waffles were kind of terrible
- Gashapon no Depato Ikebukuro was super overwhelming. A lot of the smaller gashapon stores are somewhat organized by what is in the machines, this one just felt chaotic, and it went on forever
- Sushi Yuu was incredible, I didn't take photos of every single course but I was so full that couldn't finish my dessert at the very end. The owner speaks some English and I made our reservations by messaging him on Facebook
- We didn't get to Yokohama as early as I would have liked - I took us out way into the suburbs to try to find this Yakuza plushie from the claw machines. I looked up the locations on the Sega website, unfortunately this machine was extra rigged and I couldn't win it >:[ On the bright side all the rhythm games had no one else playing them
- Took the cable car over and went to the Cup Noodle museum. Unfortunately we didn't have a reservation so we had to come back later. Found some cafes in the area and had a late breakfast
- The museum was really small, the main draw is making your own Cup Noodles. Entrance costs 500 yen and this is an additional 500. We had some trouble navigating this part because no one spoke any English
- Had dinner at a pie restaurant that was 10/10
- Explored a bit of Yamashita park (Yakuza 7, anyone?) I was kind of disappointed I wasn't able to see this during the day
- Walked around Yokohama Chinatown & visited the local Round 1 ;)
- I bought the Shinkansen tickets to Kyoto the evening before, so we weren't able to get great seats. The machines are also a huge pain in the ass and don't take American CCs, so plan ahead here
- It took us longer than expected to figure out how to use the tickets and read the signage, so we weren't able to get food before and I had to have one of the train bentos. I knew it was going to suck and it was worse than expected :(
- You can bring a full sized suitcase and just put it in front of you, seeing other people do this was unexpected
- My travel partner was destroyed at this point so she rested in the room. I went to the National Garden and Imperial Palace alone. The sakura were just starting to bloom and the weather was great, loved it. The National Garden is SO huge that I only ended up walking up the west side before I tapped out
- Checked out Heian-jingu shrine + the giant torii, I went to another smaller shrine with a great view but I can't remember the name
- We did photoshoots at ESPERANTO Kyoto. There's basically no reviews from foreigners about this place but it was fantastic!! Their online booking form didn't work for me, so I emailed asking for a reservation. I emailed in Japanese and English and they replied in English. They gave me time options and I replied with what package and room each of us wanted (the website says they require a deposit but they told me they didn't need one). When we got there they did our hair and makeup, and then you pick your kimonos out. The photographer spoke pretty decent English and we didn't have trouble communicating with anyone else here. They had our photos edited and printed about 30 minutes after we picked which ones we wanted. The whole thing took about 3 hours (it was longer because we used the same set room). I don't want to include my photos but I did add a video of my hairstyle because she knocked it out of the park
- Ended the day with okonomiyaki, one of my favorite Japanese foods
- Fushimi Inari day! I ended up walking this alone, I did not realize how long it was going to take or the fact it was actually like 10,000 stairs. My knees were very upset on the way down
- It was not as busy as expected, I went at roughly noon on a Friday. Most people tap out before the actual mountain climb
- The Goshuin at Fushimi Inari are on paper, you can paste them into your books later. Even if you don't have a Goshuincho I'd recommend buying them because they are very cute!
- Shrine cats!!!! You can buy photos of them to help pay for their food
- After Fushimi Inari I somehow managed to walk to Tofukuji Temple (I did the garden but not the bridge) and Daigo-ji Gojunoto pagoda and garden. I wanted to cut my legs off after today
- I started my day at the Kyoto Round 1, I had visited it on day 8 as well. This one is ace because it was literally always empty 10/10
- Decided to explore Gion a bit, ended up at the Machiya Starbucks and had the best thing I ate all trip (a custard dorayaka, I regret not going back for another)
- Ended up at Kiyomizu-dera Temple totally on accident. It wasn't super impressive in early spring but the view was still fantastic
- Ended the day at the Ryokan (Kyokoyado Muromachi Yutone). Ended up picking one without an onsen because we are both covered in tattoos, and I didn't want to deal with finding a private one. The cypress tub was a great trade off, and the food was incredible
(Tokyo - Concert, photos
- Today we travelled back to Tokyo and went to the Kingdom Hearts concert. I ended up trying for the lottery for tickets back in like December 2022. Winners were announced the first weekend in January and you only had a few days to buy tickets. I have a friend of a friend living in Japan who did me the biggest solid ever and bought our tickets. I met up with her during the trip for the hand off. The seats are randomly assigned and we had AMAZING seats near the front. This was also the performance Nomura was at!
- We weren't supposed to take photos during the performance so I just have some before. Also, I made Organization XIII beads that attach onto my dress with magnets and I am very proud of it, so please excuse the bathroom selfie :D
- The concert was about 3 hours long and after all the travelling we were beat. We ate dinner, played our nightly games of Ongeki, and passed out
- Bonus video of the music box that plays Dearly Beloved
(Ginza & Sumida, photos
- We were really starting to tucker out at this point. We managed to drag ourselves to the Ginza art Aquarium in the AM and the Tokyo SkyTree in the afternoon. Today was the Equinox so everything was crazy busy, the line to buy tickets for the SkyTree was literally like 2 ish hours long so we bought them online and went shopping in the mall
- The Art Aquarium was really cool, but a lot of the fish were in really small tanks. I didn't include photos of those :(
- The SkyTree just let people up as fast as they could so it was extremely crowded at the top, and not super enjoyable imo
- I spent the evening at the arcades in Akihabara :D
(Tokyo - JJK Exhibit, photos
- flashing video warning)
- Today I went off in the am to see if I could buy a ticket to the Jujutsu Kaisen animation exhibit in person. The online site wouldn't let me buy a ticket because I didn't have a Japanese phone number. UNFORTUNATELY you couldn't buy tickets in person. I got super lucky again and 2 foreign exchange students from Europe were trying to do the same thing, however they did have a Japanese phone number and the site allowed you to get 3 tickets at a time. They were able to grab them for all 3 of us for that evening
- Putzed off to Hie Shrine, anyone that tells you it's a mini Fushimi Inari is lying
- Went back to Akihabara, found a Miku racing pop up!
- Went back to... Ginza? for the JJK animation exhibit, it took about an hour to go through. I included a ton of photos so just skip today if you're not interested in that show
(Tokyo - TeamLabs Planets & SquareEnix Cafe, photos
- TeamLabs was so cool! I didn't include many photos since it's 95% selfies. Make sure you explore a bit as the string light room had a couple of different areas that are easy to miss, and it's possible to accidentally skip the hanging garden, which was beautiful! TeamLabs took us about 2.5 hours but we were 100% those bitches taking forever to get a million photos
- Since we were staying in Tsukiji we ended up just slowly walking back to the room for a much needed nap
- Back to Akihabara yet again! More rhythm games, some awful food at SE
- This was our last full day in Japan, we honestly didn't want to do anything but we managed to drag our asses to Shinjuku National Garden for the cherry blossoms. Unfortunately it was sprinkling a bit, at least it kept the crowds away
- Managed to check out Meiji Jingu, but at this point my travel partner was sick of walking and tapped out
- I went back to Kabukicho, walked around a bit and ended up back at an arcade (bless Ongeki for having stools)
Edits for formatting
- We were literally so annihilated by the trip that we took a taxi to the airport, it was about ¥8,000 from Tsukiji ($60 USD ish)
- I ended up buying a 24" suitcase from Ginza Karen for ¥6,000. It was 100% full of stuff I purchased. We also used one or those giant ¥500 bags from Donki as a carry on
- My Goshuincho was my favorite souvenir, I'm so proud of all the stamps I collected (I did get doubles at some shrines). I plan to bring this back late 2023 to try to finish it
- I have the old school GoogleFi plan and don't have to do anything extra to have international data. Lots of places & stations have free WiFi but you'll need to put your email in
- I don't really sleep that much and my schedule in the US is already busted, but it took me about 2 full weeks to get back on normal human hours. I'm tired again just writing this up and looking through all my photos
- My main regret is not trying more food, we ended up waiting until we were dying of starvation and ate at the konbini a lot (typical)
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2023.06.06 02:47 comradelucifer770611 Long-term Vs Short Term?; a decade of missing fighters
From the mid-90s F-18 Hornets vs the Kfir to the early 2010s FA-50 vs A-1, since the Ramos administration. The air force requested support from the government for its modernization, now, let's overlook the current acquisition of the air force.
the current acquisition which is the Multi-Role Fighter, also known as MRF Acquisition, is the big ticket of the Air Force acquisition, it will serve as the mainstay offensive and defensive capability for the Air Force, currently, there are two(2) contenders for this project, the Lockheed Martin, with their offer, the F-16V Viper, and the SAAB, with their JAS-39C Gripen.
Now, let's look at their offer in the paper. lets' start with the:
F-16V Viper: the Lockheed Martin offer consists of a considerable number of Jet Engine and spare parts, one of the main highlights of the offer is the hot transferred of the Used F-16C/D(Probably the 30/40 Block), is between to the confidence of interval from 4 to 12 Fighter's for free, adding the brand new one, Philippine will possess a 2 squadron of Fighter, and will fill the H2 PAF Requirement of 24 units of fighter.
Pros - 1. States of the art technology 2. Experienced aircraft, used in multiple combat mission. 3. Easier logistic for the PAF
Cons - 1. Long time frame of delivery. 2. Expensive.
JAS 39C Gripen: The SAAB offer is consist of 14 Brand-new Aircraft,unspecified number of IRIS-T and Meteor Air to Air Missile, alongside with a unknown type of ammunition, including a states of the art Stand off Missile, this will fill up the requirement of the 12 units of brand new fighter.
Pros - 1. Said to be more capable than the russian and chinese fighter. 2. Have one of the best Non-AESA radar. 3. Cheaper.
Cons - 1. Subjected to be veto(by swedish) 2. Lack of spare parts(the manufacturer stop producing the version of aircraft) 3. Small quantity.
What do you think about this acquisition?, my opinion in the comment.
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2023.06.06 02:26 bie716 Singapore experts of r/bangtan! What advice and recommendations do you have for ARMY visiting Singapore for the SUGA Agust D Concert? (16 - 18 June 2023)
In just under two weeks, ARMYs will descend upon Singapore to see SUGA! Help an ARMY out and let them know about safety, how to get around, where to eat, tourist attractions, BTS-related things to do, or anything else that you think someone should know when they visit! (Special thanks to the mods for your input and feedback for this guide!)
BTS' Past Visits Red Bullet Tour (2014 BTS Live Trilogy Episode II) at the The Star Performing Arts Centre (13 Dec 2014) Music Bank performance (4 Aug 2017) at the Suntec Convention Centre Love Yourself World Tour (19 Jan 2019) at the National Stadium
This made history as the first time a K-pop group held a concert at the venue (largest concert venue in the country) and tickets sold out
in about 3.5 hours! (45,000 audience)
- Concert review
- Witty notice from the Singapore Police Force abt avoiding ticket scams (it uses the BTS song titles!)
- Bonus: Jimin picked Marina Bay Sands as his special spot in the BTS x Street Galleries collaboration with Google revealed on ARMY Day (July 9) 2022
Do note that it’s currently the June school holidays too (26 May-26 Jun), so the Sports Hub and surrounding areas may be crowded with many other visitors besides the concert-goers. Please be mindful!
- Singapore Indoor Stadium, right next to the National Stadium (both are part of the Singapore Sports Hub) where BTS performed at their last concert here in 2019. In fact, the Indoor Stadium was then used as the waiting zone for the standing zone ticket-holders.
- Concert guidelines been posted yet (will update here when they are), but here are the general guidelines for events there (links opens a pdf)
- The nearest MRT station is the Stadium station, on the Circle line - here is a train map (with Stadium MRT circled out in light purple). You’ll know when you’ve arrived as the station design is quite unique! Go up the elevator and follow the signage - the path is sheltered.
- You can find Kallang Wave Mall right next to the venue, for a spot of shopping and dining before the concert (opening hrs:10am-10pm daily). There is another smaller mall Leisure Park Kallang located next to the carpark, which houses an ice skating rink, bowling alley and cinema alongside more food options. The open space in front of the MRT station and the two malls is where ARMYs are likely to gather to exchange fan support and stuff
- The nearest hawker centre (i.e the affordable street food) is Old Airport Road Food Centre, one of the oldest and largest hawker centres in the country. It is about 20 mins walk away from the stadium, or you can simply alight at the Mountbatten/Dakota MRT stations (one or two stops away from Stadium MRT station respectively); both are about a 5 mins’ walk away from the food centre. Here is a list of recommendations (unfortunately, not a lot of Halal food stalls here. Let me know if you need those).
- There is also a McDonalds’ & KFC near Mountbatten MRT if you want something more familiar, or potentially try whatever new promo is currently going on at these places.
Non-exhaustive list (all prices are in SGD)
- National Gallery Singapore. There is a special Namjooning Tour as part of the Gallery Wellness Festival. Slots are fully booked for the guided tours on 25 & 30 June. You could try the self-guided tours instead, which start on 17 July. Gallery passes for general admission to the permanent galleries (needed to access the tour) cost $20 for non-Singaporeans aged 13-59. Closes early (by 3pm) on some weekends in June and July (see dates on website).
- National Museum Singapore. Has very interactive and engaging exhibits. Highly recommended (I used to be a volunteer docent there for abt a year). Tickets cost from $15 (for access to permanent galleries only)
- Singapore Zoo & adjacent parks (Bird Park, River Wonders, Night Safari). We have one of the best zoos in the world! Single park tickets cost $50. Multi-park options also available. .
- Gardens by the Bay. Pretty gardens with outdoor sections and 2 indoor air-conditioned conservatories - you may have heard of the supertrees that have been featured in the movie "Crazy Rich Asians" and K-drama "Little Women". Provides a welcome respite from the heat. It’s free to visit the outdoor areas, but it’s really worth it to pay for entry to the conservatories. There are various pricing packages, so best to check out the website yourself.
- Singapore Botanical Gardens is our first UNESCO World Heritage site, the first and only tropical botanic garden on the list. Admission is free.
- The Merlion and the Marina Bay area. I personally recommend going at night to see the famed cityscape of Singapore all lit up (the temperature’s cooler too!). Marina Bay Sands Mall has a light and water show every night. There is also the iLight Festival going on now until 25 June with artistic light installations (mix of free and paid attractions). Bonus: Yoongi wore a Merlion Singapore t-shirt in a travel-themed Lotte Xylitol ad!
- You can also ride the Singapore Flyer for an aerial view of our city like the boys did! Admission costs $40.
- Visit our ethnic enclaves, Chinatown, Little India, Kampung Glam and Geylang Serai to see old shophouses, shop for souvenirs and try ethnic food
- One of the fanbases here, BangtanSG, has teased an ARMY event from 11-13 June. Will update when more details are released.
- Sentosa & Universal Studios Singapore theme park - you can access the island via various modes of transport with varying admission fees. Transport within the island is free.
- If you don’t want to think too hard, the best airport in the world for 12 years running is also an attraction in itself! See its dedicated section below for more information.
- Singapore is also located in the centre of Southeast Asia - if you’ve never been in this oft-forgotten region of the world, take the chance to check out our neighbouring countries as well! Malaysia can easily be reached via bus, and Indonesia via ferry.
(Note: You may want to check out Klook
for discount tickets/passes)
Singapore is a food paradise with various cuisines from the local ethnic groups, as well as international ones. For Muslims, there are a lot of Muslim-owned or Halal-certified options around (look for this certificate
, or the label “Muslim-owned”), including most of the fast food chains like McDonald’s/KFC/Burger King/Subway.
Carrying some cash with you (~$10 per pax) is a good idea, especially if you’re venturing out to hawker centres; while many places now have an electronic payment system in place, cash is still king in terms of versatility, and anecdotally most stores prefer cash or will charge a credit-card payment surcharge.
Where to eat?
- Most of the malls have a good selection of dining options, ranging from the (relatively affordable) multi-stall foodcourts to fast-food restaurants, cafes, and more upmarket restaurants.
- It can get crowded during lunchtime (12-2pm) as office workers come out for their break, so try to avoid those hours if possible, or make advance reservations.
- If you are staying/shopping in Orchard Road, Far East Plaza (level 4 & 5) and Lucky Plaza (multiple levels) have relatively more affordable food options for the area..
- There’s a myriad of other malls in the suburban areas outside of Orchard to be explored.
- Hawker centres: A “hawker” in Singapore refers to a street food vendor, and in Singapore they’ve been centralised into food centres to create an iconic Singapore dining institution. These places are generally not air-conditioned, but they are the most affordable dining option. If you see an item on a table even if it’s something innocuous like a tissue paper packet or name-card, it means the seat's been reserved (“chop-ed” in the local slang) by people who are off queuing for their food.
- Look for stalls with the longest lines (the most popular stalls will have long queues all day long), but most stalls should have decent food.
- Newton Hawker Centre (near Newton MRT station) and Lau Pa Sat (near Telok AyeDowntown/Raffles Place Stations) are probably the most well-known to tourists, but beware of touts and over-charging, especially at Newton.
- Taking the MRT out to slightly less central areas like Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Kallang, etc. should bring you to other hawker centres that cater to locals.
- Order in: GrabFood and Foodpanda are the two most popular food delivery apps with extensive coverage all around Singapore. Deliveroo is also available. Just be prepared to pay upwards of $5 delivery fee during peak periods, and the listed online prices are usually higher than in-store. The apps also have pick-up available if you’d simply like to order in advance.
- The ethnic enclaves like Kampung Glam (Malay/Muslim), Chinatown and Little India have a higher concentration of the respective ethnic cuisines, but most places in Singapore have a good mix of different local and international cuisines
What to eat? Breakfast
(These are generally very affordable options that should cost you below $10 per person, particularly if you go to food courts/hawker centres)
Lunch & dinner
- Tea/coffee with kaya toast and half-boiled eggs. Available at most hawker centres (usually at the drink stalls), and chains like Ya Kun Kaya Toast and Killiney Kopitiam in malls. Order tea/coffee like a local by referring to this guide.
- Among the fast-food chains, KFC offers the more local option of chicken porridge (congee)
- Roti prata, a south-Indian flatbread (also known as paratha in India, or roti canai in Malaysia), available at most hawker centres and Indian coffee-shops
- Nasi lemak, coconut milk-flavoured rice with a variety of side dishes (usual ones: omelette, fried chicken wing/fried fish, fried anchovies).
- Beehoon, rice vermicelli with a range of toppings like fish cake, luncheon meat (spam), chicken wings, veggies etc.
- Chai Tow Kway (“carrot cake” - it’s actually radish cake), Tau Huey (soya bean curd pudding) + Youtiao (chinese fried dough)
- Mee Rebus, a Malay noodle dish with thick & spicy potato-based gravy topped with hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts, fried shallots, tau kwa (fried beancurd) and spring onions
- Chilli crab: I don’t have any personal recommendations, and it could be costly because the crabs are usually charged by weight, which may vary daily. The link gives a run-down of some popular places
- Hainanese chicken rice: Again, no personal recommendations, but you can find this in most foodcourts and hawker centres. You should be able to find one of these for $5 or less.
- Murtabak/Briyani: My favourite is ZamZam Restaurant (est, 1908) at North Bridge Road in the Muslim enclave of Kampung Glam, but there is a whole row of Singapore-Indian restaurants serving a similar menu there
- Everything under the sun :) Google maps & data coverage generally works well in most parts of Singapore, so search & explore! Some sites you can start at include Chope & Burpple.
Singapore has a great public transport system.
It’s really easy & cheap to get around on the MRT (mass rapid transit trains) and buses. Use Google Maps
or the City Mapper app
to navigate yourself and get route recommendations (the latter also has transport arrival timings and fare estimates. It also works in many cities globally,
so is very useful for tourists). Various transport passes are available
for tourists, but you can also use your contactless credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) to pay for the fares (no registration required).
In general, using the Circle Line (yellow) or Downtown Line (blue) should get you to most tourist attractions. Orchard Road (main shopping belt) can be accessed via the North South Line (red), between Orchard and Somerset MRT stations. Map for reference, with links to versions in Chinese/Malay/Tamil available for download. Taxis and ride-hailing cars:
We have Grab and Gojek in place of Uber.
- The largest local taxi fleet - the blue Comfort Cabs - also have their own ride-hailing app to compete, although they can also operate via the traditional meter & can be booked via phone call/flagged down as usual. Fares can be paid via cash post-ride or credit card for all these private car options.
- Ride-hailing tends to be very expensive. At peak periods, ride-hailing services could be even more expensive than taxis, but at least you know the price beforehand. All malls have a taxi stand where you can stand in queue and hop on the next available cab. Queues can be long at morning and evening peak periods, so avoid taking cabs then if you can.
All signs are in English, and the locals - esp the younger generation - are able to speak English fluently. If you’re really lost, feel free to approach others to ask for help! People are generally friendly and helpful despite initial appearances :)
As a side note: in general, if Google Maps is asking you to circle around a building to get somewhere - don’t. You can cut through most places on the ground floor quite easily, even the residential buildings (unless they’re private properties like condominiums/landed housing). MRT stations are connected to a good number of places via sheltered corridors if they’re nearby enough. Enjoy the aircon & shade instead of walking outside in the heat if you can.
- Orchard Road is our main shopping belt, running from Orchard to Somerset MRT stations. You can find many shopping malls there, with collections ranging from upmarket to fast fashion. Check out Design Orchard, a retail space for fashion and lifestyle items by Singapore designers.
- For an old-style emporium experience drop by Mustafa Centre. It used to be open 24 hours but this was disrupted by COVID19 and now it is only open until 2am (best place for late night shopping!). It's not a glitzy mall, but has crowded aisles chock full of all manners of things, including snacks and souvenirs (avoid going on Sundays when it gets super crowded with migrant workers on their day off).
- Already mentioned above are the ethnic enclaves Chinatown, Little India, Kampung Glam and Geylang Serai with smaller standalone shops. Special mention for Haji Lane in the Kampung Glam area, a small street with cute boutiques.
- The many, many other malls scattered across the country - a brief list. For example, Paya Lebar alone (just another station up from Dakota!) is connected to several malls like Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), PLQ 2, PL Square, Singpost centre, and a couple more within a 5-mins’ walk (Tanjong Katong Complex, City Plaza, KINEX etc.).
Weathewhat to wear The weather is especially hot these days
(max temp of up to 35 degrees celsius, or 95 Fahrenheit), with possible spurts of heavy rain at certain times of day, so dress light and carry an umbrella (most places do have sheltered walkways between buildings and bus-stops/MRT stations though, so don’t worry too much about getting around in the rain). Mall air-conditioning can be cold, so hv another layer (e.g. cardigan/wrap/scarf) on hand. Remember to hydrate frequently & avoid staying outdoors for too long!
- Singapore Changi Airport is often voted by travellers as the best airport in the world, with lots of shopping, dining and leisure options in the various terminals. BTS (except Jin who took a different flight) stopped over at Changi Airport on the way to New Zealand for Bon Voyage 4 (airport lounge scenes shown in Episode 1)! While you may not have access to the business class lounge like them, there are various other options to rest and hangout, like the many gardens (some even accessible from the public areas) and even a free 24h cinema (Terminal 3 transit area).
- Jewel Changi Airport which is attached to Terminal 1 is an attraction in itself. It's worth arriving 2-3 hours earlier than your flight check-in time to grab a meal and have a look around Jewel. A particular highlight is to take the skytrain between Terminals 2 and 3, cutting across the centre of Jewel, to get a spectacular view of the indoor waterfall. There is also shopping aplenty (Tip: NTUC Fairprice supermarket in Jewel has a nice selection of food and non-food souvenirs which are pretty affordable).
- There are various transport options for getting to the city from the airport. Public transport like MRT is convenient if you are travelling light, else there is a shuttle service to selected downtown hotels. Taxis and ride-hire cars can be expensive, especially with the airport surcharge.
- Sort of related, Yoongi gave a shout out to our national airlines (Singapore Airlines) for its great seat and amenities in business class in BV4! (He said: let's always fly Singapore Airlines in the future!). The airlines must have taken notice, because they recently announced that they would be adding BTS content like songs, MVs, LY New York concert, and Break The Silence docu in their in-flight entertainment system to commemorate BTS' 10th anniversary. An ARMY also spotted a write-up abt BTS in their in-flight magazine.
We’ve tried to achieve a balance between being succinct and informative, but certainly the above info is not exhaustive. So do feel free to ask in the comments below if the info you need is not here! Fellow SG ARMY, or those familiar with Singapore, feel free to chime in!
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2023.06.06 01:06 Expensive_Ad_5089 June 2023 - Unpacking the Light Police
Unpacking the Light Police
. Light Pollution News.
Show Link: https://lightpollutionnews.com/podcast/unpacking-the-light-police/
Subscribe: Apple Podcast Spotify Google Podcast
Social: Instagram LinkedIn
John Barentine of Dark Sky Consulting, LLC
Kaitlyn Evans, Conservationist.
Show: I was busted by the light police. They had a point, Dana Milbank of the Washington Post.
Dana Milbank purchased a home in, soon to be not
, rural Virginia. At night he kept the formerly vacant property lit to the degree that spurned one commentator to call it “spaceship lighting.”
Milbank recaps being visited by the “light police,” a group of concerned citizens who help educate neighbors and instill a sense of pride in the brilliance of their starry night skies.
At first, he was taken aback, but later, not only did he appreciate their efforts, but he also converted his blinding always on, white light flood lights to warm 2700 Kelvin motion sensing lights.
Per Ruskin Hartley, executive director of the International Dark Sky Association, “for 4.5 billion years there was no artificial light at night. It’s really only in the last five human generations that we transformed that. It’s one of the most profound transformations of our environment.”
Many of you may recall an earlier story, way back in our Hormone of Darkness episode, showcasing concerns by local residents prior to a 760 house (now 761) plus town center development moving into the Culpepper County, VA area. Per the Rappahannock News
, this development features “a resort style swimming pool, clubhouse, tot lot, and multiple sports fields and sports courts, all connected by a network of biking and walking trails.” The forgotten medieval habit of ‘two sleeps’ by Zaria Gorvett of the BBC.
Gorvett opened my eyes to something I never knew about, the medieval custom of two sleeps. For those of you unaware, two sleeps are exactly what it sounds like.
Folks would partake in a communal nap, complete with rigid sleeping arrangement conventions, between 9 – 11pm, then awaken for a few hours to do everything from hang out to brew beer! In fact, the idea of multiple sleeps crossed cultures and was found in places as far from Europe as indigenous South America.
How can one’s circadian rhythm make sense of all of this?!
Well, for starters, until the invention of the alarm clock, which humorously was invented by a clocks salesman so he could wake up and sell more clocks, people had no firm way to wake up at a consistent time. The industrial revolution enforced a new circadian standard.
And there’s some science behind this! In the 1992 study, In Short Photoperiods, human sleep is biphasic
, researcher Thomas Wehr found that after four weeks of 10 hour days, his subjects began to engage in this two sleep cycle, involving a one to three hour period for which they became awake and engaged in between. Want to Learn About Light Pollution? There’s a mini-course for that!, Jennifer Sensiba of Clean Technica.
Quoting Sensiba, “As I got older, I traveled a lot more and saw the problem more for what it is. Not only did I see that in many places there is no refuge from it, but I also saw that it was slowly growing worse. Places that had been dark 30 years ago had more and more light creeping upon the horizon.”
If you’re interested in learning more, or more importantly, know someone who might benefit from learning more, Sensiba links up to an International Dark Sky Mini-Course on light pollution, call it Light Pollution 101! There’s a Play Date at the National Museum of Natural History: Lights Out exhibit!
But unfortunately, by the time you listen to this, and hell, by the time we talk about this, it has passed. Ann Arbor named best place for sunrises, sunsets in Michigan. Sarah Parlette for Click on Detroit.
Evidently gambling websites have decided to honor April’s International Dark Sky week in a strange new content marketing campaign, which was to rank the best places in each state to see sunrises and sunsets. My favorite one, “Ann Arbor named best place for sunrises, sunsets in Michigan,” comes from Click on Detroit, whereby a quote “study” examined Michigan’s most populated cities.”
According to Click on Detroit
, “to celebrate International Astrology
Day on Saturday, staff at Great Lake Stakes, a Michigan online gambling news site, looked at light pollution in the five most populated cities around the Mitten state to determine which offers the best views every morning and evening.” Star bathing is the new outdoor travel trend we should all be trying for Summer 2023, according to Amy Beecham at Stylist.
Evidently, as an attempt to destress and promote mindfulness, romanticism about sleeping under the stars has birthed a 70% increase in searches for the term ‘star bathing’ on Hipcamp. And to be sure, “Hipcamp recommends checking a stargazing calendar which outlines major astrological
events – like supermoons, pink moons, and star showers.” “Industry Must Face an Inconvenient Truth — Most LED Lights at Night are Unhealthy”
Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, a circadian clock expert, recently published an article in LEDs Magazine chastising the lighting industry for not recognizing and reigning in the negative externalities of its products. Per the piece, such effects are, obesity, diabetes, depression, cancer, and more.
He cites three categories of industry responses, making the correlation that long term Denial or outright Ignorance of the Facts, may result in “asbestos-scale liabilities or draconian regulations.”
Per the piece, a recent survey by the Circadian Light Research Center of 2,697 peer reviewed scientific articles confirmed that human circadian clocks are highly sensitive to blue wavelengths, and that exposure to such wavelengths leads to major health disorders.
Moore-Ede calls for the industry to harvest the “commercial opportunity” to greatly limit future liability by creating and managing its own standards for circadian modulated lighting. Unpacking the Wallpack, by Dan Weissman in LD+A Magazine.
Weissman, who recently purchased a telescope for his family in Cambridge, MA, discovered that the scope could only afford him views of some solar system objects and a few brightly burning stars.
The ire of Weissman’s pen takes the shape of a rectangular fixtures, be it box like or simply a panel these days, that typically hang off the side of an exterior wall or above an exterior door. “Devoid of aesthetic value” this light is often put up under the “pretense of security and safety” by “recommended practices and adopted municipal codes.”
Weissman recognizes labels that often accompany, what he calls, “Glare bombs,” including “contractor-select,” “energy efficient,” or “light pollution friendly.”
Further, per an earlier LD+A article, such lighting driven by its extreme contrasts is exceedingly common in minority communities where light is weaponized as a tool of power. It becomes a “device of alienation, creating a zone of control and separation.”
Weissman recognizes that the true reason such fixtures are selected often comes down to cost. He recognizes that it may take equally as much cost to persuade building and homeowners away from such lighting into the realm of more responsible, lower lumen, shielded lighting.
Weissman calls for producers of these glare bombs to be labeled as polluters, putting them in line with fossil fuel manufacturers and PFAS makers. Songbirds, dusk and clear skies: Scientists explore migratory flights, by Erin Blakemore.
Bird migration season is ending here in the Mid-Atlantic. I was lucky enough to catch several Baltimore Orioles and Indigo Buntings last week. Researchers looked at 400 songbirds from 9 major species, “including the yellow-rump warbler, American redstart and Bicknell’s thrush.”
The question they hoped to answer was how are these birds so darn precise in identifying the best time to take off for their nightly migration? Scientists found that 90% of the migrating birds in the study took off within 69 minutes of dusk. A “much narrower takeoff window,” that even shocked the research team!
Per the study, taking off at night is all about maximum flight time. In addition to being able to precisely schedule their take offs, a feat that every airline I’ve flown with over the past few years has proven inept at
, birds also are apparently good meteorologists! They often depart when the atmospheric pressure rises over a day’s span. Other factors also trigger migration, including sex, age, and celestial cues
. ‘Lights Out’ initiative appears to be saving birds from crashing into Philly buildings by Sophia Schmidt.
Preliminary results indicate that bird death counts are down 70% at one Market Street tower, since it began its participation in Lights Out. As we spoke about on a previous show, birds utilize the stars to navigate, but city lights can disorient the birds. Combine the lights with reflective or transparent glass, and that spells fatal trouble for our migrating warblers!
Per Keith Russell, a program manager for urban conservation with Audubon Mid-Atlantic, “We’ve lost almost a third of our birds – and [collisions] contributing to that. If we’re going to want to preserve the bird populations here in North America, we have to look at these types of problems. And this is a preventable one.” The Knoxville, TN Zoo is offering up what they call “Twilight Tours” per WVLT 8.
Each event will feature a guide to showcase nocturnal critters.
I did something similar in Singapore years ago. The zoo had very dim lights in the exhibits – and they kept those lights dim as you walked so that you didn’t lose your night vision. It was a very different and, might I say, peaceful experience than the typically chaotic daytime zoo. Flashlights posing major threat to nesting sea turtles. Fox35 Orlando
Apparently, a single flashlight can deter female sea turtles from coming onto a beach and nesting. Florida, as I did not know, is home to 90% of the sea turtle nests across the world, so losing sea turtles can affect the global ecosystem.
One visitor to Cocoa Beach stated, “Just leave them alone. Stand back and look. You don’t need a flashlight.”
Another, “It’s not super surprising because more buildings go up, more technology. As it increases, nature and stuff like that decreases,” said Zoe Jovaag, whose grandfather used to take her on walks to see sea turtles. Capture the Dark 2023 officially is under way!
The International Dark Sky Association opens up its annual photo contest complete with prizes across eight categories and an additional People’s Choice category. Voting begins on July 3rd, entries must be received by June 30th. City Tests Traffic Light That Only Turns Green for Drivers Who Obey the Speed Limit. Erin Marquis for Jalopnik.
And hey, you better not speed in Brossard, Quebec….otherwise you may be waiting around for a while. Brossard is testing out a new traffic light that will stay red until it senses oncoming traffic. However, it will only change to green if the car is going the speed limit. Per the Jalopnik article
, “FRED [the French acronym for “educational traffic calming light] forces fast drivers to stop and gives them a chance to reconsider their life choices.” Such lights are already used in Europe, but this will be the first for the Great White North. Why the Greatest Threat to Star-Gazing Isn’t Light Pollution, and this comes to us from Dorin Elin Urrutia at Inverse.
Elin Urrutia writes, in her compelling piece, that the greatest threat to star-gazing is actually the weather. Citing notable examples of the Mount Stromlo Observatory in Australia (which burnt down due to bushfires) and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico (which sustained structural damage following the winds of Hurricane Maria).
While the threat of human-caused climate change has presented new challenges, Elin Urrutia references proactive burns that saved Los Angeles’ Mount Wilson Observatory from flames in 2020. On a similar note, ABC News (the Australian Broadcasting Company, not to be confused with the American Broadcasting Company), brings us “A World Without Darkness Could Be a Reality within a Few Years.”
Per Carol Redford of Astrotourism Western Australia, “There are some people in the world now who don’t actually experience darkness anymore. They’re in a city like Beijing, Toyoko, or London. In all those big cities, it’s never dark, it’s always light. During the day of course with the sun, but then during the night with all of the artificial light. They’re not experiencing darkness, and definitely not seeing those beautiful stars…”
In the 66 years since the implementation of the UN Convention on the Peaceful Use of Outerspace, around 11,000 satellites orbit the Earth. But it’s about to get wayyy busier. Driven by innovations that have led to dramatic reductions in costs, over the next ten years, Per attorney Steven Freeland, it’s anticipated that somewhere between 100,000 to 500,000 objects will be sent up. Let me pause on that for a second. On the travel front, we stay in the land down under, “Aussie region determined to keep its darkness is a stargazer’s dream” by Chantelle Francis of News.com.AU.
The town of Swam Reach, population 270, resides in a 3200sq km region of Southern Australia that received its International Dark Sky Reserve status over three years ago. On a scale of darkness between 0 – 22, the River Murray Dark Sky Reserve at Swam Reach, measures in at a whopping 21.9!
Tourism has become a growing business. The reserve hosts numerous telescope pads and offers tours of the night sky. There’s hope that an observatory and/or planetarium may also arrive in due course. Best smart lights for outdoors in 2023, Brittney Vincent of CBS Essentials.
Oh there’s a lot not to love here, but it does fall in line with last month’s ‘Lumens are Coming’ article.
For those of you who feel the need to light your trees, because for some reason they need light at night I guess…I’ll try and pretend it’s not solely for ostentatious and narcissistic reasons. By the way, does anyone remember when those were negative characteristics?
The article features spotlights that can be programmed to over 16 MILLION colors including…lucky for us, ALL shades of white….which you can also do for a 500 lumen flood light set.
And hey, Ring now has solar path lighting. Don’t worry though, the fixtures themselves put out up to 80 lumens of sideways light.
You know, it’s astounding when you look at some of these pictures. The amount of redundant lighting. It honestly makes no sense to me. You have a porch light, which lights up the path. Path lighting, which lights up the path. And, in the one picture, god awful frontward facing flood lights, which also light up the path. How bright do you need these paths!? I digress. But the lumens are indeed coming. LDS Church will get to light up its Heber Valley Temple after all, but the faith didn’t get everything it wanted, Blake Apgar of the Salt Lake Tribune.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fought hard to rid itself of any nighttime lighting responsibility by pressuring Wasatch County, Utah officials to approve new lighting rules that would enable the church to light a proposed new temple the same way it does for every other temple.
The Church received permission to uplight the temple, enabling an exception to be made in Wasatch’s rather stringent nighttime lighting rulebook. However, the temple will be restricted by the level of lumens it can use, and it must have exterior lighting turned off an hour after sunset or an hour after normal business hours. Smart Street Lights Market is Expected to Hit USD 14,751.1 million at a 23.4% CAGR by 2030, Market Research Future Press Release
The pandemic is officially over, smart street lighting is about to boom. Combine the rush to LED fixtures with the Internet of Things, and expect to see street lights moonlighting as traffic and parking monitors, air quality meters, and more. Not to mention, “it is anticipated that camera-connected smart street lighting will increase road safety by lowering the likelihood of accidents and criminality.” Texas now has 7 dark sky communities for spectacular star gazing, Sana Ameer, MRT.
Let’s cheer on the city of Bee Cave, everyone! Bee Cave joins a growing list of dark sky places already in the Lone Star State, including 2 Dark Sky Sanctuaries, 5 Dark Sky Parks, and 1 Dark Sky Reserve. Nighttime is alive and well in some parts of Texas! Our Afraid of the Dark article is a bit scary! Hilton Head’s dark roads and pedestrians are deadly combo. What the town is doing about it, Blake Douglas at The Island Packet.
Per the article, 9 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities occurred since 2018, with five occurring after dark. Prior to that period, there were 28 recorded deaths from 2000 – 2016, with 20 of them taking place after dark.
In 2018, an 11 year old resident was struck and killed while walking her dog across an intersection one night. Lighting advocates began taking shape in what otherwise is a very conservation focused island. Hilton Head, SC has a limited number of street lights, priding itself on “avoiding light pollution and blending nature with construction.”
Lighting advocates appear to be, at the very least, asking for flashing crosswalk lights on the island to indicate when an individual is crossing.
It should be noted that the article shows a chart of 9 after-dark-deaths since 2014, only two of them occurred at crosswalks. In fact, during the same time frame, 6 additional deaths occurred at crosswalks
during the daytime
As a whole, the National Safety Council reports that 74.5% of pedestrian deaths occurred at night, whereby 39.1%
took place in lit areas and 35.38% took place in unlit areas.
Bryan Bloch, an auto safety expert, surmises that car companies bear some of the blame – producing cheap or ineffectual headlight fixtures, and drivers themselves, who don’t realize that they need to regularly clean their headlight lenses.
Despite opposition from residents, it appears that Hilton Head will be receiving lights at two new intersections and possibly more depending on engineering studies currently in progress.
Is lighting the key variable here? Is more light going to solve pedestrian deaths? Our featured research article of the month comes to us from Animal Conservation, “Manipulating spectra of artificial light affects movement patterns of bats along ecological corridors.”
Bats are already known to have a wide range of responses to artificial light at night (also known as ALAN). Fast flying species tend to be more opportunistic in the presence of ALAN while slower ones tend to be more light averse. We know that “long wavelengths and reduced intensity” can minimize their environmental effects on bats. It’s not unheard of for bats to travel upwards of “tens of km per night.” Furthermore, bats are very dependent on the landscape and the structures within those landscapes.
Despite the nuances between species, the consensus is that ALAN, especially high intensity ALAN, negatively affects bats. This study attempted to answer what exactly bats do when they encounter ALAN – how do they react depending on different types of ALAN.
The study used three different light fixtures – one green, one red, and one white. The control was devoid of light fixtures. The researchers attempted to ascertain the behavior of bats as they encountered lights adjacent to woody areas. The researchers looked at three different bat groupings based on their foraging-echo location behavior, that being one of open field foraging, forest edge foraging, and narrow space – or more aptly forest foragers.
Researchers found that open and edge foraging bats increased their activity close to white and green lights, and to a lesser extent red lights. However, narrow space bats were more likely to veer away from all colors of lighting. Edge foragers were also less likely to cross a white light.
The positive effects of white and green light on open and edge foraging bats appear to be attributed to the accumulation of insects around light sources containing more blue light. The nighttime sky over Oahu will be lit up with green lasers in the coming days. Here’s why. Hawaii News Now
Before we close up today, do you live in Hawaii? I know I wish I did!
If so, do you recall seeing green lasers streak across the night sky
? Well, the Army Corps of Engineers was using lidar at night to complete a coastal mapping survey.
Why did they survey at night? Specifically, why did they do this between midnight to 5am? Simply b/c the airspace is so busy, that time was the only chance they had to complete the survey. The remaining survey was completed during daytime hours.
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2023.06.05 20:16 StrangeAccounts I won a trip to visit the Wordsmith.
I won the chance to meet with my favorite Author. By no means was he an equal in comparison to the popularity of Stephen King or Dean Koontz but there was something special about his works. If you happened to stumble across one of his stories they had a habit of sticking around and festering like little rotten delicacies within your mind.
For years as a growing adult I sat down and studied every word of his. I tried to mimic the way he wrote and every time I’d fall short. There was something inside of me that just couldn’t match the integrity of his tales. Every story he wove sounded drastic, real, as if the main characters were screaming out for their stories to be heard in hopes they didn’t fade away into eternity.
He didn’t just make the characters come alive, he made them tangible. The reader felt as though the characters themselves were only a pages flip away.
Maybe that’s what made his horror so powerful. It wasn’t just the people you felt you could turn too, but also the creatures, the villains, the things that couldn’t be described by anyone else except by Vincent Valentine himself.
I ended up writing a brief paper and submitting it to a contest wrapped around the idea of ‘who inspired you to write?’ I can’t say I won by any means but every paper was openly displayed on the internet for anyone to read and comment.
Imagine my surprise when I received a comment from one 'Vincent Valentine' exclaiming only a few words;
‘You’ve warmed my heart. Keep a lookout in your inbox.
With much appreciation,
I remember the sinking feeling in my heart as I read his comment. I felt blessed by a man so above my stature that it made me feel spotlighted in oddest, best and worst type of way. Nearly every hour on the hour I’d do a quick log in and hope to see the little message icon highlighted in the upper right hand corner of my screen.
This went on for a week. Precisely 7 days later on the hour of his comment I got a notification that someone had sent me a message.
‘109 Woodcrest Rd. Portland, ME? I feel confident in my sources. Expect a package soon.
Vincent Valentine. ’
He had found my address.
To say I was surprised wouldn’t sum up my feelings in the least. I felt no hostility or fear however, it was almost Wonka-esque. I felt like I was getting a golden ticket and that feeling wasn’t misplaced. Another 7 days later I woke up to find a package waiting at my door.
I stared down at it for a minute, a black fabric shroud was tightly wound around a wooden box. My address was stamped in red lettering over the thick velvety veil. Next to it lay the words ‘From: Vincent Valentine.’
I reached down letting my hands grasp around the extravagant box. With a gentle tug I raised it off of the ground. The concrete seemed so boring and mundane compared to the package. I almost felt ashamed that I had let it sit there even for just a moment.
With a quick spin I turned around, slammed my door shut and proceeded over to my kitchen table. I tried to find the seams of the dark fabric, tugging along the edges but to my surprise found none.
From here it took me a moment to comprehend how I was going to open it without damaging the pristine void like cover. With some trepidation I wandered over to my storage closet and pulled out a box cutter. I hated the fact I had to ruin such an interesting presentation but I knew there was no other way.
I pressed the tip of the blade to the fabric and slowly slid it down. As the fabric retreated it split open revealing a red swirly underside clearly influenced by the colors of flowing blood.
My lips twitched upward before a small laugh left my lips. I stared at the display in front of me. I had cut the fabric from one corner to the other and it had perfectly spread and curled back like a body under autopsy. The wooden box itself lay under the skin ready to dissected from its body.
I set my box cutters aside and pulled out the wooden chest. Intricate designs were carved into the paneling and I instantly recognized them from how Vincent described them in his books. I was looking at Avestan text. They were so beautifully drastic from our modern characters and alphabets.
A chill ran up my spine as I thought back to the horrors Vincent had described in his tales. His greatest theme was studying the dangers of the oldest knowledge available in the world. The spreading of unnatural knowledge was ever present in his works. Granted I couldn’t read the carvings I still appreciated the showmanship.
I had never in my life thought I’d ever be brought a gift like this from someone I admired as much as Mr. Valentine.
I felt the indents of the box as my fingers trailed up to the lid. The wood seemed cold as if it had been left in some winters cavern overnight yet it was a midsummer's day and the sun was blazing outside of my front door. With a quick flick upwards I removed the casing and peered at the contents inside.
The innards of the box contained a black leather bound journal and next to it an envelope stamped with the symbol that appeared in every one of Valentines stories, the mark of Aka Manah. The forgotten God of magic and suffering.
I pulled the envelope out first, letting it rest in one hand while my other hand blindly felt around the table for the box cutters. With a quick nudge I felt a light sting. My eyes tore away from the folded letter and to the razor on my table. With blind stupidity I had skimmed my skin across the blade slicing my fingertip open. I let out a huff of disappointment in myself before gripping the handle and pulling it upwards towards the stamp.
Very gingerly I rocked the razors edge around the bottom of the wax seal, hoping to keep it in one piece. Oddly enough the wax seemed incredibly durable. Even after a couple of flawed jabs it held up nicely. The lip of the envelope separated exposing parchment inside.
I could feel the shivers creep up my spine and crossing over to my neck. Something was so foreboding about this whole situation and I loved every second of it. At the time I felt like I was in the definition of a horror novel.
I carefully pulled the parchment out from its resting place and began reading the handwritten note.
‘I hope you’ve enjoyed the extravagant show I’ve so far prepared for you. There is so much more to come. Inside this very special case that I’ve provided you resides a bound journal. I couldn’t help but notice the limitations to your short stories. Though I loved every single one, I must say, I found something missing. I wouldn’t worry though. I want to help.
Further in this envelope are plane tickets. I want you to visit my home for seven simple nights. By the time you leave I can promise you that little black book will be filled with your first ever living, breathing tale.
All you have to do is make the plane journey and I’ll take care of the rest. Make sure to sign the front cover of your new book. It’s special after all and it’s all yours.
I slowly lowered the letter on the table, careful to avoid spilling any droplets of blood onto the page. I could feel the indent of the tickets still in the envelope. I couldn’t believe my luck. I’d say my heart sang but once again something crept its way in me, something dark. It felt like I was being invited to a gala that I didn’t belong at.
I was simply a dwarf standing amongst giants.
I shook the feeling off and reached into the box to retrieve my new journal.
Each page was blank and crisp, hundreds of pages ready to be filled. When the flickering of pages reached the front cover I noticed something. A simple black line. A perfect place for my signature.
With a tepid sense of giddiness I raced back to my storage area and retrieved a pen. I quickly returned to my book and spread it open wide. With one hand I held the pages spread and with the other I held the pen. I swept my signature boldly across the line, and just as my pen tip left the page, a single droplet of blood pierced down on top of the paper.
A final period at the end of my name.
The irony of this wasn’t lost to me. I laughed trying to offset the feeling of unease. Signing that book shifted something in my life that I wouldn't be prepared for. I no longer felt like I didn’t just belong near the giants. I felt like they now were aware of me. They were watching me, judging me.
The tickets that lay inside the newly opened envelope were scheduled for 7 months out. I knew these dates weren’t by coincidence. Vincent wanted these sevens to appear, for what reason? I couldn’t say. I figured more of his showmanship would explain it to me in due time.
So I cleared my schedule for a while and prepped for my departure.
When the date came I took a taxi from my home towards the airport. The sky was darkened and cloudy. I watched as lightning flashed in the distance within the heavy gray clouds.
The sky seemed so high up that day. A true monolith of creations might. I could almost feel something immensely powerful looking down upon me from within that storm. It's eyes were assuredly turned down upon me and the journey that lay ahead.
In contrast, the airport itself felt as clinical as always. The typical smell of coffee mixed in with the incoming rain blended together into a mesmerizing fragrance. I grabbed a cup for myself and pressed it against my lips. I let the aroma fill my nostrils as I took in the sights of the planes docking and departing.
When the time came for me to board, lightning struck the tarmac. A mix of asphalt and gravel exploded near our plane. Several passengers screamed out in fear. The explosion sent pellets of rocks into the metallic frame of our sanctuary.
Of course the plane was decommissioned for the day. All planes in the area were tarmacked until further notice. I felt my shoulders give way to disappointment. Vincent said all I had to do was board the plane and he’d take care of the rest. Due to the fates I couldn’t even manage that much.
I took a seat over at the departure area and began my wait. It took the storm 7 hours to depart the area and free up the skies for travel. I had nearly given up on the trip when I heard the intercom sound from overhead.
“All flights are now boarding.”
I looked around me and noticed only a handful of us had survived the stay. The rest had all left. No doubt distraught over their failed plans. Us few who remained had boarded with ease. Almost like a miracle, the rest of the journey went smoothly. We traveled hours before the sun began setting and we arrived at our destination briskly at dusk.
Upon exiting the plane we all headed towards the luggage area. Much to my surprise I was intercepted just meters away by a handsome clean cut man dressed up in an all black suit and wearing a chauffeur’s cap.
“Excuse me Madam, I believe I’m here for you.” The Gentleman said, his dark brown eyes squinting at me with remarkable elegance.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” I politely questioned. I couldn’t have imagined that my ride would have waited for me after a seven hour delay. I was already prepared to gouge my own pockets to hire a taxi service to Mr. Valentine’s home.
“I’m in service to Mr. Vincent Valentine. I believe that I’m to take you to his residence.” His voice was so soothing and smooth. He seemed like more of an actor playing in a role than a real services employee.
“In that case, I’m sorry I made you wait.” I turned my eyes to the bags next to him. He had already procured my luggage.
“Oh, don't worry about that Madam. I haven’t been waiting long. This is the precise time I was told to arrive and so I did. Now if you wouldn’t mind, Mr. Valentine would like to see you as soon as possible.” He flashed me a smile, his pearly teeth were perfectly aligned and accentuated his chiseled jaw.
Without much more conversing he led me to the back of the small parking garage. With a slight nod he guided me over to a black 1964 Dodge 330. It looked ravishingly untouched despite its old age.
My personable Valet walked over to the passenger’s side door and opened it for me. I went to collect my belongings from him but he stopped me. He let me know he’d take care of my bags. I thanked him and took my seat. The interior of the vehicle reflected much of the same feel that it had projected on the exterior. That this was somehow a brand new classic.
When my Chauffeur returned to his side of the vehicle and shut his door I felt myself jump. I was once more jostled into feeling out of place. I had wished that I could have brought some company with me. Someone to be within my same social class. Instead I was resorted to simply just being a fish out of water in the lap of dark luxury.
Without another word and only a glimpse of a quick smile from my companion, we headed off.
I was surprised by the terrain we had found ourselves in just minutes after leaving the airport. The businesses and shopping centers had given away to grasslands and forests. The trees at first came one by one, then by clusters and then finally they tunneled us in. There was merely a thin road with a wall of lumber on either end of us.
Yet still, I was immersed in the landscape. My eyes jumped from one thing to another. The hoot of an owl, the chirping of crickets, it all amazed me. It was as if I was a new born baby entering the world for the first time. The face of my traveling partner remained nonetheless unimpressed. His demeanor made it clear that this journey was nothing special to him. And I suppose it wasn't.
As the darkness outside had peaked, refraining me from any sort of sightseeing, the man next to me spoke up.
“We’re here, Madam.” He spun the wheel of the car instinctively and circled into a large rounded driveway. I looked out my window and saw a large stone manor cropped up in chiseled Gothic architecture. Gray brickwork textured and meshed brilliantly with darkened oaken doors and rich window frames.
“I’ll get your bags. Please, head up to the door. Mr. Valentine is waiting for you.”
I nodded and thanked my driver who waved away my thanks in a polite manner.
“Oh, don’t thank me. I’m just doing what my contract outlines.” With one final charming smile he exited the vehicle. I soon followed
The size of the manor astounded me. Vincent was an amazingly talented author but I knew most readers had no idea who he was. How he could afford to live in a Victorian palace like this was unexplainable to me.
With heavy lead lining my heels I made my ascent up the stone patio steps towards the large wooden door. Hidden amongst the frame of the giant gate was a wicket door. As my feet reached the final step I felt myself freeze up. The way the manor had towered over me made me feel inexplicably small and meaningless. It had left me intimidated beyond movement.
“Well, go on Madam. You've made it this far.” The driver called out to me in a gingerly tone. He was preparing my luggage for travel. With trembling hands I knocked on the thick oaken door. A muffled impact sounded with every strike. A few moments passed by before the wicket creaked open. Inside was a beautiful young woman dressed in a black service outfit, much like the driver wore behind me.
With nothing more than a glance from her piercing eyes she spoke up.
“Welcome to the Wordsmith Manor Ms. Williams. Please come in.” The fair skinned lady reflected the same charm all of Vincent’s employees seemed to have. Though her tone was much sharper and direct. I admired her long black hair that had been pulled back into a tight bun. The dark color resonated brilliantly with her freckles and icy blue eyes.
“Thank you.” I quietly muttered. I kept my eyes low to the ground. I was scared of further intimidation from this home or its perfect occupants. I felt a finger lightly tap the underside of my chin and I looked up to see the Maid smiling at me with an unexpectedly soft smile.
“Don’t be scared to look around. Mr. Valentine specifically asked us to allow you to get a grasp of all you could on your way up to him.” After a quick meeting of our eyes I finally let my gaze roam. Inside was just as immaculate as the outside. Stone lined the walls with finely finished wooden flooring.
The dim lighting that flickered around us seemed to emanate on its own. I saw no signs of lights or cords connecting to any outlet, nor any outlets in general. I felt as though I had stepped back in time. Endlessly long hallways stretched out in every direction from the foyer. It struck my imagination immediately as it quite literally looked like an intricate spiders web.
As I was taking in the sights of the Wordsmith Manor, the male servant scooted past my back in a hurry. He was carrying my luggage up a nearby staircase.
“Your room will be located just upstairs in the main guest room. Your bags will be there for you to unpack. Though you'll find everything you need already located in the room should you search for it. For now Mr. Valentine would like to meet with you.” With a light footed twirl she began walking in front of me. I toed just behind her.
We went through a nicely ornamented hallway of different paintings. Each art piece seemed to be of different creatures and characters that could only be found in the multitude of books Vincent had written. They were painted just as vividly as the author had described them as. They felt like windows into another world rather than paint on parchment.
As I gawked upwards at the portraits of all of the characters that had enraptured my mind over the years, I had scarcely noticed the change in lighting. A rose coloring had begun filling the hallway spilling outwards from a nearby threshold. It lent the way to warmth and a calming sensation. With a few more steps towards the wave of soothing light we entered Mr. Valentine’s Den.
Many books and tomes lined the walls of this area in a neat fashion. Not a singly speck of dust prevented the shimmering of polished wood from glowing in the light. A large red rug swirled with golds and blacks. It lay at the center of the room. Sitting right next to a large stone fireplace
was the man I had only seen on the back covers of my favorite books, Mr. Vincent Valentine. Above him a large portrait of a hellish landscape. The placard read 'The Face of Aka Manah.'
“She’s ready for you Sir.” The woman chirped up. Vincent’s eyes fluttered to life as he looked to her than over to me.
“Thank you my dear. And also, of course, thank you Ms. Williams for coming.” His eyes shined unnaturally well with an endless depth of knowledge and experience. The red tint of the room had darkened his irises to a near pitch black coloring.
“Mr. Valentine, thank you so much for doing all of this.” I nearly stumbled over my words but managed to choke them out. Vincent merely gave me a half smile and shook his head dismissively.
“Nonsense. I saw that article you wrote about how my stories. About how they had inspired you to take up the pen and try your hand at crafting your own tales. I was beyond flattered.” He motioned his slender finger over to a blood red leather wingback chair that sat next to him. With a nod I followed his directions. With a short walk closer to the Author I had taken my seat in the form fitted throne next to my life long hero.
“It really is a shame how many people don’t know about you.” I offered as a sincere sentiment. His half smile spread slightly more across his aged and wizened face.
“My work finds precisely the people I want it too. You can’t share true horror with just anyone you know. I think some Authors found that out the hard way.” With a soft chuckle he resumed, “but this isn’t just a pleasant trip, as you must’ve gathered from my letter. This is a gift. I want to tutor you for for however long it takes until you can find your voice. I can promise, no matter how heavy and large that black book you hold feels, it’ll fill as easily as any ink to paper with the right motivation.”
With one of his ancient hands he pointed over to my jacket pocket, exactly where I had kept my little black book. How he knew where it was still remains a mystery to me.
“I would love to learn from you if I could get the chance.” I held back a yearning look. I didn’t want to make this man think lowly of me.
With a quick check of his watch his face had grown long and disappointed.
“The nights fading well past dawn and I fear our time tonight must be cut short. That being said I want you to understand one thing before bed. Each and every story you tell is as real as flesh and blood. Maybe not to you but to someone, something, somewhere. The cosmos is large and beyond that even larger. Science is just starting to scratch into what philosophers have known from the beginning of time. Sadly humanity's science will never catch up to their freedom of thought. The human understanding will always be a blip of the whole until it’s wiped out completely.”
The way he was staring into my eyes told me so much about who this man was. Whether or not he was sane may have been up to a debate to everyone but himself. He knew he lived in a reality so much more vivid than our own.
“Excuse me sir, the guest bedroom has been prepared. We have seven minutes.” A feminine voice behind me had broken me from my trance. Mr. Valentine's gaze left my own and looked towards his servant.
“And so ends my lesson for the night. Dream about what I taught you and I can promise by the morning you’ll already be one step closer to a new well of horror. Possibly by tomorrow night you'll be completely submerged.”
Before I could respond, the Maid had ushered me out of the den. We had arrived back in the hallway of portraits. The faces amongst them had seemingly changed their gazes to match my mood. Their eyes now were cast down upon me, judging me for who I was and who I wanted to be. Once again I felt that feeling of foreboding darkness. This time however I looked the Demons back in their countless eyes. I was trying to see them as real entities just as Mr. Valentine had requested that I do. Their terrible gazes seemed to soften with every step I took. Their lips seemingly upturning at the edges of their mouths in just the slightest of manners.
Once we hit the staircase in the main foyer I chanced a glance down an adjacent hallway to see the elegant servant carrying thick iron chains from one room to the next. After quickly shutting the doors behind him he used the irons to bar them from the outside. He glanced over towards me and our eyes met. He nodded at me in acknowledgment. His face seemed paled and worn.
My guide nudged my arm to grab my attention away from the man. "Hurry now, we need to get you in bed soon." With a hurried but dignified saunter she had led me up the wooden staircase and into the abyss above. Just as the den had tinted the air red, the second floor cast shadows of darkness around every corner. I felt a cold breath of wind run through me that seemed to emanate from the Manor's stone brick walls themselves.
“My apologies for any drafts up here. It’s been a very long time since anyone has been a guest in the Wordsmith.” Her voice reflected an apologetic tone but also that of stoicism, as if she was repeating an archaic sentiment from her memories but still a sentiment nonetheless.
“It’s fine, I enjoy cold air as long as there's a nice warm blanket to accompany it.” I forced a smile and looked at the side of the servants face. She seemed to have a coy expression on her lips at my fleeting justification for a drafty home.
“And here it is, right at the top of the staircase. I hope you find everything to your liking. If not we’ll do our best to please you in the morning.” She turned to face me. Her eyes emanated light in the darkened corridor. They were submissive but penetrative, an odd combination but one gained from countless years of servitude.
“I’m sure I will. Thank you.” With a nod she stepped beside the door, allowing me entry past her. I walked in front of the Maid and pressed my small hand on the brass handle of the guestroom door. A quick tug and a push allowed me entry.
I gaped at my room.
A large queen sized bed lay mid-way between the doorway and the far wall. A veiled rose colored canopy adorned the edges of the bed mimicking Victorian royalty. The posh blankets seemed soft enough to resemble that of ruby red a cloud. I had never seen anything like it with my own eyes before.
An expansive window lay on the farthest wall, moonlight pooled into the room and coated my resting place with a beam of heavenly light. Just below the window resided a writing desk and a chair, neatly tucked in. No signs of dust or unkempt follies showed any sort of face in this pristine room.
With hushed footsteps I approached my bed. The door latching shut behind me. I allowed my hands to slowly draw back the drapes, the silk nearly slipping through my fingertips. I took a deep breath and laid down. The bed gave way underneath my body and devoured me into its encasing folds. I let out an exhausted breath as I smiled and stared up at the ceiling. I couldn’t possibly have felt more excitement and desire for the future. My heart had swelled up inside of my chest at that moment.
With little more notice my eyes pushed themselves shut and filled my mind with an empty darkness. Neither dream nor thought seemed to come to me that night. My weary brain needed a rest perhaps more than I knew.
I woke up hours later to the brilliant shine of the morning’s sun. Even through my wispy half taut curtains the sunlight had managed to breach into my room. The large window had fully replaced the moonlight from the night prior. I looked down at myself and sighed. I had fallen asleep with all my clothes on including my shoes. I felt as though I had somehow once again proven that I didn’t belong within the halls of the manor.
I pushed that negative thought out of my mind. Quickly followed by physically pushing myself out of my resting place. With all the clarity of an early bird, I let my eyes travel around the naturally well-lit room. I saw a small door on the wall nearest the foot of my bed.
Shortly after I saw my luggage neatly placed near a hardy looking writing desk. After a quick post slumber stretch I allowed myself to start the process of unpacking my belongings. I quickly discovered that the door nearest to the bed led to a bathroom. With travel pack in hand I entered.
Marble countertops and glistening silver accessories lined the bathroom. A smile broke through my face as I saw how disheveled I looked in the mirror in comparison to the pristine nature of the room I was in. I walked to the counter and unzipped my baggie.
To my surprise everything I could need was already placed neatly in a row. Toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and even other more personal items. Strangely enough they were all my favorite brands.
I shook it off and convinced myself that I just had good tastes in products.
I took some extra time with getting myself cleaned up and presentable. I was fully prepared to make a good impression on my host. Hell, at that point in time, I just wanted to keep pace with his Servants.
Once I was freshened up I put my used clothes into a linen hamper and headed out towards the bedroom door. With a quick flick of my wrist I felt unexpected resistance. I tried again to meet the same result.
It was latched shut.
I kept trying but sure enough the door was locked up tight from the outside of the room. A slight panic began to fill my chest. A panic set in by the fast realization I had allowed myself to enter a strangers home without proper precautions.
I felt my heartbeat begin to race.
With a heavy fist I pounded on the thick wooden frame of the door. Not too long after I heard heavy footsteps glide up the staircase to the other side of my room. With the sound of a lock turning the door opened. Standing on the other side was the Butler, my former Chauffeur.
"My apologies Madam. It's been so long since we've had a guest I suppose it slipped our mind that this door would need unlocking." He tried to give me a charming smile but I wasn't going for it this time. I quickly spat a retort back towards him.
"Why was my door locked in the first place?" I questioned, my eyes shooting directly into the brown depths of his.
"It's mostly to keep the night staff out. They don't like to be bothered much and can be a bit of a handful if they bump into anyone they don't know." In retaliation to my stare his eyes had softened and melted down some of my guard.
"Well I don't care about that. I don't want my door locked. Don't do that in the future." The man grimaced and nodded.
"As you wish." He stated flatly. "Now If you wouldn’t mind breakfast is about to be prepared. If you head to the dining room I’m sure Mr. Valentine will meet you there.” With that the man headed back down the steps towards the foyer. I stood still. I was at a loss as to where to venture. I decided to follow him and venture down the steps. By the time I reached the bottom the man was gone.
"You can head straight down towards the Den but make the first right in the hallway." I jumped as the female voice spoke up right behind my back. I turned around to see the maid behind me. She gave a calm nod and waved out her hand, pointing down the direction of the hall.
“I’m sorry, thank you.” I whispered. It was slowly becoming clear to me that there was something lurking just below the surface of this manor, like it was all a part of some type of show.
With that in the back of my mind I headed off down the hallway. The stone began to lighten up towards the back as a large windowpane took over an entire wall. I entered the windowed room and saw a rather extravagant dining set. Two chairs presented themselves at the foot of either end of the table.
I chose the chair that seemed reserved for a guest, the one less commanding of the dining room. Before long a sensual smell filled the room. Freshly baked bread, bacon and eggs were all seemingly being made from scratch. I stared outside the window as I waited and saw a large clearing in the woods. A bench lay outside facing the yard while several rocky outcroppings lay at the far end, just out of my sight.
“It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” A smooth voice trailed off. I had glanced at the doorway to see the tall slender figure of Mr. Vincent Valentine. A new blazer was draped over his body accentuating his strong but thin shoulders.
“Very beautiful Sir.” I said, smiling at him. He put out his hand and waved my pleasantries away.
“No need for that. I need you independent for teaching, otherwise you’ll just end up like me.” His tone was like silk. He knew how to speak. Without another word he took his seat at the other end of the table. Fresh plates of food were brought out by the servants and placed in front of us. Just as I had imagined they had prepared fresh biscuits, bacon and eggs along with finely toasted bread.
I raised some food to my mouth and took a bite, nothing but purity of flavor could explain the taste. It was so very refined. It was prepared in such a way that I had to believe that the chauffeur didn’t just have a knack for driving under his belt but was a perfected chef as well.
Mr. Valentine gazed out of the window as I ate, not touching a bite of the spread that lay in front of him.
“Are you willing to go beyond your personal comfort to write?” He asked out loud. The surprising nature of his question made me put my food back down on my plate.
“As long as I’m being taught by you, I don’t think we could go wrong.” I offered while I eyed up the strange teacher.
At my words his sharp gaze shifted to my eyes, penetrating my very soul.
“I want you to leave here a creator, an author of the highest ability. That takes a great deal of sacrifice. Would you be willing to do that?”
I felt stunned at his question. I didn’t understand his meaning nor his goal.
“I believe I am.” I replied. I looked on his face for any type of signal that I had said the right thing. To my surprise a smile came across the old man’s face.
“Good to hear. Tonight will be a fine night for horror.” With that Mr. Valentine stood up from his chair and walked out of the dining room, leaving myself and the feast before me, to our own devices.
I took my time to fill my stomach and then excused myself silently from the table. I wandered the halls of the Wordsmith endlessly. The layout seemingly to continuously shift with every loop. I couldn't explain it but my thought's seemed to refuse to be collected.
I had based by two equivalent foyers, three libraries and countless halls. Eventually becoming lost in the maze of the manor. I felt a cold sweat begin to hit me as I was quickly realizing I wouldn't be able to get back to where I started.
Somehow every long hour only lasted a short minute. The windows began to shift from morning light, to brilliant afternoon beams to a rose colored sunset in just moments.
I spent all day lost and didn't speak with Mr. Valentine a single time after breakfast. No doubt frustrating the man that I was wasting his time.
I quickened my pace down the stone hallways. Left, Right, Left, Forward. Somehow I looped around. I began to jog. Night was approaching. The layout was impossible. Where were the servants?
I heard whispers coming from doors that had long since been chained shut. The same chains I had seen the Butler the night prior carrying. Could this be some ploy just to scare me? If so how were they commanding these stone spaces to loop and twirl so easily around me.
It didn't matter eventually. Night had fully fallen by the time I found myself at the Foyer near my bedroom. Even though hours supposedly had past my stomach was still full from breakfast.
I felt like crying. I wasted an entire day of my trip running around a manor by myself. Not a single page written in the journal Mr. Valentine had bought for me. And to make it worse a quick glance around the hallways showed no signs of life. Just cold drafts of dry air. I had no option but to go back up to my room and try to start anew tomorrow.
I traced my steps back up from the night prior and making it back up to my room. Inside was dark, clouds had covered the moonlight letting nothing break through the thick ink that had pooled inside. I kicked off my shoes and fell back onto the bed. Tears in my eyes.
With every huff of air I took I could hear an echo coming from the blackened corner of the room.
I turned my head and stared into the void.
I couldn't make out anything at first. I wiped the water from my eyes and kept focusing. Eventually a figure formed in my mind. Something just taller than myself. Masculine, dapper.
The Male Servant.
I sat up and called out to the shadow. "What are you doing in my room? How long have you been there?"
The mans outline just continued to watch me. My senses suddenly kicked in. Some sort of instinct was telling me to get as far away from this man as possible. I slowly stood up to my feet, my eyes not leaving his shape.
I slowly began to step towards the door. His frame just stood in the darkness like a drape, his face watching me as I walked further away.
Once I was near the door I felt my shoulder bump into something. I turned and stared at the Maid. Or rather the Maid that was not a maid.
Her outfit clung to her like loose fitting rags. Her face gaunt and mouth opened exposing a pit of darkness outlined by a row of pearly white teeth. Her lower jaw jiggled with my shoulders light touch.
I heard a voice in the back of my head call out to me. 'Run.' And so I did.
I immediately ran down the stairs towards the front foyer. The skittering of feet following closely behind me. I reached the front door and pulled. It tugged but refused to budge. It was locked. I turned to face my pursuers but through my squinted gaze I was met with nothing more than an empty room.
I started to breath heavily trying to control myself. Off down a distant hallway I heard a door open and close. It sounded like it came from Mr. Valentine's Den. I turned back to the front door and tried opening it again, looking for the latch.
Footsteps began to walk down the hallway towards me.
I pulled and pulled, tears welling up in my eyes again. I made a mistake. Coming to here, meeting a stranger, I was being dumb. I never should have taken the offer.
Eventually I screamed out at the front door and heard a soothing voice come from behind me.
"What a terrible night you seem to be having." It was Mr. Valentine. I turned to face him. His back was turned towards me and face obscured.
"Mr. Valentine, please, I don't want to do this anymore. Something's wrong with this place. I'm sorry, I just-" I froze as Mr. Valentine walked closer to me. His knees protruded backwards, facing the wrong way underneath his fine silk slacks.
"My dear, you have 5 days left here." With that all the light faded in the Foyer. I was cast in darkness.
It wasn't until sunlight hit my face the next morning that I felt some sort of relief. I looked around me, I was in the guest bedroom. Precisely where I was the night before. I shot back up and looked around. Nothing was out of place. I heard a knocking at the door. It was the Maid.
"Madam, we've prepared breakfast for you. You wont want to miss your first lesson with Mr. Valentine. He's waiting for you.
I didn't know if I could make it much longer there. Nothing made any sense.
When I came to think of it, I couldn't even remember a single title Mr. Valentine had ever wrote.
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2023.06.05 20:00 StressedPizzaEater Swedish Defense and Civil Defense Ministers trip to Ukraine
I've worked on translating this and correcting as much as possible what the AI translator got wrong.
This depicts the experience of the Swedish Defense and Civil Defense Ministers trip to Ukraine from a human level.
First Tweet https://twitter.com/CarlOskastatus/1665700384784932867
We are in a secret location where soldiers are being trained for war. Sweden's Minister of Defense, Pål Jonson, and I are in Ukraine.
The temperature in the sandpit we descended into is approaching 30 degrees. The Ukrainian gnats are as big as small flies and occur at a frequency that makes a Swedish cloudberries bog feel as gnat-free as a winter day. The men in front of us each hold an AK-47 in their hands. On a given order, they raise their rifles and open fire towards each other. They aim and shoot at the sand wall just inches to the side of each other. With live ammunition at a distance of about 20 meters. We stand another 20 meters away without earmuffs. That alone would surely be a matter for a personnel responsibility board back home in a country with over 200 years of peace. But here, there is war. The young men who have just pointed loaded rifles at their comrades lacked military experience just a couple of weeks ago. In a few more weeks, they will be fully trained. But they won't be mustered out and travel in Asia for their conscription compensation. They will go directly to the front, and everyone knows that for some, it will be a one-way trip. There is a seriousness in the eyes of everyone we meet, but not a hint of despair.
We continue walking in the fine sand amidst the continuous and deafening clatter of automatic rifles. At regular intervals, the dull pounding is interrupted by the sound of tank salvos that strike deep in the pit of the stomach. All of this is framed by a lush Ukrainian early summer landscape. Amidst all the impressions, a kind of dissonance arises. What is beautiful, good, and meaningful takes lifetimes to build. It takes decades to build a cathedral, centuries to build a city, but it only takes a moment to destroy them. In some way, this transience manifests one of humanity's darkest asymmetries. This fragility is most clearly expressed in human life itself. Nothing is as vast, complex, and beautiful as life, yet it can be extinguished irreversibly with the slightest means in an instant. I think of the young men in front of me. Those who today would have been doing something entirely different if it weren't for their country currently facing an enemy that not only wants to use death and destruction as a political tool but to erase everything that is uniquely Ukrainian. The young men have just fired a salvo in the sand wall next to their comrades, not out of carelessness or recklessness, but because it is considered one of the few things that can give a mental sense and a semblance of preparation for the hellish torment that awaits them at the front.
It is the morning of May 26th. The night was spent in Kyiv, part of it in a shelter. The heavy Russian bombers fired cruise missiles during the night, and one of them was heading towards Kyiv. From the parking garage that served as our shelter, we could hear the air defense system, in the form of the American Patriot battery, working successfully. As we get into the cars, the convoy rolls northwest out of Kyiv. Alongside the wrecks of Russian tanks, triumphantly placed in Maidan Square, and sandbags in front of basement windows converted into shelters, the physical traces of war are almost non-existent in the city environment.
After a fifteen-minute drive, our cars stop. We are standing on a bridge abutment, but in front of us, where there used to be a bridge, there is now only an empty space about ten meters above the Irpin River. The gap is lined with twisted beams, reinforcement bars, and broken concrete elements. On the other side of the destroyed connection lie the suburbs of Irpin and Bucha, forever inscribed in the history books for the war crimes committed by Russian forces there. It was here, on the other side of the bridge abutment, that the Russian advance came to a halt. It was here that Kyiv was saved, here and in a few other places. I am shown pictures of the men who held the bridge abutment. Dressed in ordinary down jackets and armed with a mixed assortment of whatever was available. "History never repeats itself, but it rhymes," said Mark Twain. It was on this very river that the Red Army once fought against Hitler's Germany. Back then, the Russians defended themselves against Nazi brutal expansionism; now, 80 years later, it is a bitter, power-hungry Russia that is waging an unprovoked and flagrantly illegal war of aggression, with a narrative as twisted and damaged as the broken bridge element in front of us.
The bridge is already being rebuilt, but a few hundred meters away, the traces of what was irreversibly done are visible. After crossing the river on a temporary bridge, we stop at what looks like a gigantic scrapyard in a parking space. Stacked on top of each other are the wrecks of burned-out cars. Just over a year ago, these vehicles belonged to people fleeing for their lives. Most in vain. Small messages are written on the wrecked cars. Sunflowers, the symbol of Ukrainian resilience, are painted on the burned-out wrecks. When the bridge over the Irpin River was blown up, long lines of cars trying to escape were formed. While the evacuation was taking place, Russian forces indiscriminately fired into the rows of cars with civilians fleeing.
The man who receives us in front of the burned-out wrecks is the mayor of Irpin and the commander of the territorial defense for Irpin, a kind of equivalent to the home guard. Together with his counterparts in the suburbs around Kyiv, he was tasked with evacuating his municipality and defending Kyivagainst the Russian advance. Over 95 percent of Irpin's population was evacuated. Lives were saved to an extent that is difficult to comprehend, but in his gaze, there is also a testimony to those who could not, would not, or did not have time to be saved. For his efforts, he and his colleagues were awarded the "Nation's Hero" medal. It is hard to imagine a more deserving recipient of such an honor. He thanks us for the great support that Sweden has provided. Pål and I object, saying that it is we who owe him and everyone in his position a thank you for the immensely significant efforts they have made for their residents, for their country, and for all of Europe. We are told that we must continue our journey, but we would love to stay and express our gratitude and reverence even more. Irpin's strong man, in the most fitting sense of the word, receives a big hug from me and Pål before we roll on.
In the car, it is impossible not to think about municipal preparedness back home in Sweden. There is a lot of good being done in Preparedness Sweden, but often we encounter the objection that the state must open its wallet for the right things to happen, or in the worst case, for something to happen at all. The contrast to the meeting with the mayor of Irpin is monumental. Not once did he mention resources, even though he acted under a constant and ongoing existential resource shortage. Sweden's municipalities receive over 100 billion kronor in general state grants every year. I think about the core mission of municipalities and wish that more municipal politicians could also meet the mayor of Irpin and contemplate what truly constitutes the core activities of a municipality. Later that day, in my Twitter feed, I read about a medium-sized Swedish municipality that has 40 communication officers employed. Often, municipalities of the same size emphasize that they now have one preparedness officer, as if that is an achievement. Politics is about prioritizing.
Second tweet: https://twitter.com/CarlOskastatus/1665701191135756291
We have just turned off the highway towards Chernihiv and made our way onto smaller and smaller roads. The cars are rolling through an avenue of trees reminiscent of central Sweden, but in the image of what could have been Sweden, there is also a foreign element between each tree. On knocked-down wooden stakes, there is a small plastic sign with the unmistakable skull against a high-contrast background. "Danger - Mines." Everything except the narrow gravel road is ventured upon with life thrown into the equation. What used to be productive fields on either side of the road has been transformed into a dangerous no-man's-land. The men who meet us when we step out of the cars are engaged in mine and ammunition clearance. Twenty meters behind us, subordinate personnel walk around in the ruins of what used to be a building. The on-site chief apologizes for a moment as he makes an announcement on the radio for everyone to cease their search activities to ensure that nothing happens while we walk around.
Beside us are fenced-off areas surrounded by knee-high plastic tape. Inside the boundaries lie several artillery shells. Visually, the enclosed area reminds me of the training facility I visited with the Prime Minister at the MSB (Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency) outside Kramfors in April. There, indicators and markings were practiced on various replicas of mines and grenades. However, in front of us today, there are no replicas, only live undetonated grenades. This morning's findings are recounted by a member of the team. In addition to regular mines and unexploded grenades, the Russians have booby-trapped where one least expects it. It can range from aircraft bombs placed in a basement connected to a door handle to a small amount of explosive hidden in a discarded lighter lying on the ground. There are also examples of how booby-trapping is placed under regular mines and even under or around dead bodies. The person in charge on-site raises his hands in the air and bluntly states, "At the rate we are currently able to clear and secure areas, it will take us 750 years to rid Ukraine of mines and unexploded ammunition." Sweden is already helping in this area, but it becomes apparent that we and everyone else should do more. I promise to bring the question home and investigate what we can do.
A short distance from the burned-out wrecks of agricultural machinery at the mined and now unusable fields lies the small village of Yahidne. When the Russian campaign began encountering resistance in the advance towards Kyiv, Yahidne became yet another scene of Russian barbarism. The village's school was converted into a Russian military command center, the surrounding buildings were leveled, and the village's 300 inhabitants, including women, children, and the elderly, were gathered and forced into the basement of the school. The following 28 days turned the basement into a concentration camp. The captured residents began to die because they were deprived of the most basic human need - sufficient access to oxygenated air. In an article about Yahidne, some surviving villagers describe how the school, up until the invasion, was the pride of the village. A point of gathering, a place of hope for the future. The young generation's ticket to a better life than their elders. But it didn't turn out that way. What remains now is the school building as a trauma for all those who survived the hell in the basement. A place few want to approach. A building that still stands, but was used to destroy an entire village. A ruin of what could have been, and a testimony to what instead became.
I like transformer stations. The revelation is likely not surprising to those who have followed me in my previous role as chairman of the Parliament's Committee on Industry. Now we have arrived at one of the major transformer stations that are crucial for the residents of Kyiv to receive their electricity, heating, and water. The location we are at is a prioritized target for Russian remote warfare. We look at fallen high-voltage lines and burnt-out transformers. A cat comes up to us and greets us. The CEO tells us that it lives in one of the newly built technical stations. The old one turned into a pile of debris after being hit by a Russian cruise missile, but the cat survived and doesn't seem to have any plans to leave. I think about the information warfare on social media and how the carefree cat, if it were known, could have become a symbol of Russian imperfection.
By targeting this location and others like it, Russia has repeatedly attempted to disrupt the Ukrainian power grid in order to break the Ukrainian resistance and defense will. What Ukrenergo, the Ukrainian counterpart to the Swedish power grid, has achieved during this ongoing war is unparalleled. In Sweden, we have sometimes had the notion that our power plants are the most prioritized targets for military attacks, which has led, among other things, to the unfounded conclusion that we would need to shut down our nuclear power plants in times of heightened readiness. Anyone who knows how the power system works could tell you that this is a mistaken assumption, which is also confirmed by the outcome in Ukraine. Power plants are difficult to combat, but substations, transformer stations, and junction points are essentially easier targets. By attacking transformer stations linked to major consumption points, one not only causes significant problems for all downstream electricity consumers, but also creates imbalances that can propagate throughout the system and, in the worst case, destroy and disable the entire or parts of the power supply in a country.
The CEO tells us about the relentless race against time during the winter, repairs during ongoing remote warfare, and the ability to proactively shut down parts of the power system to better handle the imbalances caused by disabled junction points in the system. Ukraine's power system partly resembles the power system Sweden had in the 1980s—robust and predominantly based on predictable electricity production. This has been crucial for Ukraine to successfully endure the winter against all odds. Heavy predictable electricity production not only makes the power system less susceptible to disruptions but also makes it easier to sectionalize and run parts of the system in what is called emergency operation when other parts are vulnerable or have stopped functioning. This has enabled Ukraine to proactively shut down parts of the power grid during remote warfare, reducing the risk of disturbances spreading and damaging the entire system. Heavy predictable production is also one of the prerequisites for restarting the power system after a grid collapse. Sweden has reason to draw several lessons from what we have seen in Ukraine. Several of these are manifested in the parts of the Tidö Agreement concerning energy policy. In addition to this, the importance of reserve components and a well-functioning air defense cannot be emphasized enough to protect the power system from the pressures that an armed attack brings.
When we enter the room where Ukraine's Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov receives us, it is immediately noticeable that he has a warm and close relationship with Pål. Reznikov is interested in motorsports, and instead of the usual customary gifts, Pål has managed to arrange a pair of racing gloves signed by none other than Kenny Bräck, whom Pål knows from Värmland.
When Pål visited Reznikov already in December, they traveled together to Odesa and Mykolajiv. The Swedish Minister of Defense was then the minister in all of Europe who had traveled furthest east in Ukraine. If Pål had been able to decide for himself, without the involvement of Säpo, we would surely have been well on our way to the front to visit soldiers in the trenches by now.
I may be biased since we are colleagues, but before taking office, I didn't know Pål in any deeper detail. Behind an occasionally soft-spoken and strict demeanor, there is a person with material orientation and thematic knowledge at a level unique to the role, and a work ethic and drive that simply cannot be found everywhere. No other Defense Minister in modern times has had as many significant parallel commitments on their plate. NATO membership, a war in Europe with the development of military support packages, EU presidency, and the management of increased defense budgets. The conversation with Reznikov is candid and serious at the same time. We talk about the military support from Sweden that is coming soon and what the future needs look like.
It is time to move on from the Ministry of Defense to the place where we will meet with the President of Ukraine. It is not possible to overestimate Volodymyr Zelensky's importance for the determination and Ukrainian successes after February 24, 2022. No one knows exactly where we are going except the Ukrainian security service leading the way ahead of us. Checkpoints and security checks follow one another. Finally, Pål, myself, and the Swedish Ambassador, Tobias Thyberg, sit alone in a waiting room. After a short while, the door opens, and we are welcomed inside. Zelensky has a firm handshake and a presence in the room that is unparalleled. He thanks Sweden for everything we do, and we discuss the future. Our bilateral meeting was scheduled for fifteen minutes, but the conversation lasted for half an hour. We are escorted out of the building whose interior had clearly been transformed to meet the demands of war. Last tweet: https://twitter.com/CarlOskastatus/1665701959825752066
The final visit to Chernihiv is coming to an end. We have just been shown young men and women who are undergoing training to become mine and UXO clearers. The commander on site leads us into an adjacent building and says that it is finally time for some entertainment. In a large auditorium where we are the only guests, a military orchestra is lined up on the stage. To the right, on a big screen, a slideshow with the Swedish and Ukrainian flags is playing. As we sit down, we find out that many members of the orchestra are fighting on the front lines. Like everyone else, they have also suffered losses. The orchestra begins to play, and it is impossible to remain unaffected. Here I am, in a country at war, which has suffered so many hardships, listening to an orchestra playing ABBA for me and Sweden's Minister of Defense. It is impossible not to love Ukraine.
On the way home, I sit alone with Pål and summarize the impressions. There is so much that touches deeply. We talk about defense willingness and the importance of trying to increase understanding of what the security situation means and can mean for Sweden in every given situation. The Baltic countries have a gloomy view of what lies ahead. We talk about the mayor of Irpin and his men in territorial defense who fought with what they had and contributed to Kyivnever falling during the critical first days. Pål summarizes frankly: "It's about making a decision from the beginning, you have to give everything right away and fight hard, so damn hard. It hurts, but there is no alternative." Carl-Oskar Bohlin
Minister for Civil Defense, Sweden
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