Budget inn perrysburg oh

I need to know why the authorization hold is a whole 7 days

2023.06.03 23:14 Majestic-Peace-3037 I need to know why the authorization hold is a whole 7 days

It feels like punishment for simply seeking necessities. Every living person needs to eat somehow and I'm tired of paying for groceries and delivery just to be upcharged sometimes over $75 "just in case." Then, that $75 takes an entire 7 to 10 business days just to come back to me. I need that $75. When I budget everything out I'm not actively sitting here going "hmm $750 for rent, $300 for groceries, $75 for the tip, $45 for electric, oh and a whopping almost extra $75 for Instacart to just latch onto and holdfor absolutely no reason for a goddamn week and a half that I could totally use for other things."
I just don't understand. Before I would pay, and maybe a few hours after the order was completed I'd get the difference back right in my account. Now? No, never. It's always a waiting game where after 7 business days I get to try to talk to Instacart support where I'm left in a neverending loop of "go ask your bank" or "your rep has disconnected please wait for a new one" and no answers.
Just give me back my mf difference, it's not that fkn hard. My shopper did a great job and I'd love to tip him an extra $20 but can't now because Instacart is just holding a whole $77.99 and won't give it tf back. I'm stuck with just $18 for who tf knows how long before they give me my difference back.
submitted by Majestic-Peace-3037 to instacart [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 23:06 paristeta Critic on the design (gameplay, not looks) of the Railgun or why 41,66 is the Base Damage

Critic on the design (gameplay, not looks) of the Railgun with Numbers.
TL;DR = Buff it because Base Ammo stats for the Railgun is 41,66 Damage (and Tear) vs Strikethrough Arrow 60 Damage. Buff suggestion Agility (Quick Draw isa thing with this weapon) and Status Damage States in higher percentage (to use other then brittle and also enhances the other ammo typ). Also allowing multiple hit on the same enemy (or components) under certain condiition.

What is it? It´s belong to the single shot (charged) with "high" damage weapon, with Strikethrough with a big bonus to Knockdown Power and the unique Perk of also having Tear. And it is Legendary.
I think it is best compared to other Weapon with the Strikethrough capability: Boltblasters and Sharpshot Bows, where Sharpshot Bow comes closesst to the design of the Rail Gun.
The Base Damage of the Strikethrough Ammo or the Bows is 60 Damage, no Tear, and less damage vs armor plate.
What is the Base damage of the Railgun ? Well roughly most Legendaries have a ammo multiplicator of 3 for damage and 6 for TeaBuildup on Max Level. 250/3 = 83,33 500/6 = 83,33
But that´s not all, i have not found any hidden perks on it (like Multi enemy damage or agility), nor do we have coilslots. I mention both together because their bonus often is added to each others as on big Bonus. The "worse" endgame coiling would be something like 5x12 impact damage coils (unlimited available in a single playthrough), that´s a total bonus of 60%. Weapon perks are more difficult to budget, because of the up time and size of them, which also slightly differ, but for legendaries, which are not Crit weapon perk based, 40% is easily archiveable, but one could make an argument for a slighter higher value, but 40% also fits nicely to the 60%.
So 60+40= 100 so we also divide the 83,33 with 2 = 41,66.
So now we have a comparable Number for our Strikethrough Ammo ( 60) 60 vs 41,66.
For the difference to 60 (which is on the low side already, the curse of the "middle ammo typ") we get Tear Damage, which we can only modifier with Stealth Tear+ Passive Skills. Damage peaks aren´t that hight either, crit damage x2 is good, but x2,5 is way better and (probably) 10% crit chance is not high enough to do anything usefull with (with acid and Critical Boost you reach 75%).
Just cranking up the number is probably not the solution either, makeing it way to easy to remove components and kill enemies on normal (for Reference: TJ´s Disc Launcher Tear Limit is 565).
So it needs to be something to play with, an conditional, which can enhance the gameplay. I would for example add an agility bonus, with quick draw greatly enhancing the weapon (falling, sliding) why not have a bonus for that. Agility would also boost both, damage and tear on it.
Second Bonus i would add the Plasma State Damage Buff (now only available on the elite plasma coils) around 50% Strength and the other states too, at least 30% (which makes something else then Brittle attractive for the explosive bolts, the other ammo).
The Last thing, if we line up a good shot on a heavy machines, so the the projectile leaves the machine and re-enter it, allow it to do double damage/ tear etc. If i line up both TJ´s disc launcher, i want to hit both, if i get the legs lined up, double damage, double kdp. Right now, it´s only possible to imitiate it a little, by placing a SRT (Specter Resonator Target) on the other side, in which the Railgun also impacts...but also stops the Railgun Projectile. (I tested a lot, these were my finding, they could be wrong, not noticing things etc.)
Don´t know how hardcoded the only do damage once thing is, but if it´s possible to tune it more lenient, would increase a lot of explosive weapon to, which can hit mutliple components at least (but core damage only once). But Explosive are a mystery anyways.
Oh and don´t let the SRT stop the bullet, maybe even enhance it.
If Possible, all Strikethrough Ammo would benefit from a very slight Aim Assist after hitting the first target, if thats possible, just saying.
submitted by paristeta to horizon [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 22:45 Potatocouchh [USA-NY] [H] Paypal or Local Cash [W] SFF PC or AM5 Itx mobo

Hello! Looking for a small form factor pc, with at least a 5700x/5900x or 12700k. Gpu is optional.
Budget is around 600-700 without a gpu unfortunally, and probably 1000 with a gpu. Seen deals go on here for that low of a price, might as well give it a try. I may get crapped on for this price point but oh well.
If not, looking for a itx motherboard that supports 7 7700x.
Local in all of nyc.
Ps: if you msged me bout a sff pc before, i lost track of all msgs, sry! Msg me again to remind :(
submitted by Potatocouchh to hardwareswap [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:18 LsXavec What would you do upgrade or all new system.

What would you do upgrade or all new system.
I play Apex Legends hopefully professionally in a month or two. I am very knowledgeable about components, understanding overclocking, undervolting and advanced driver configuration.
I would like you to give me your opinions on what you would do with a $1100 budget and what is provided.
I will give you a summary of my past pc upgrades from 2019 to now, you can skip this paragraph if you want to know my current setup. I would like you to give me your opinions on what you would do
Late 2018, my first pc :b450m pro m.2 micro atx motherboard the ram was some ddr4 2100 older stuff I don’t remember the name. The processor was a A something Ryzen cpu I had know knowledge of what components really mattered as long as they were compatible. The first upgrade was a gpu RX 580, that was in 2019 to 2020. Second upgrade around the same timeframe was my cpu from the A something to a Ryzen 5 2600 Which was outstandingly better, at least for my knowledge. Oh and another perifferalble upgrade I did was my 144 hz monitor I got around the same time. Fast forward late 2020 I purchased a 1070 evga sc2 and had the first stable 144 hz on less resource intensive games. 2021-2022 I buy a Ryzen 5 5600x and 240hz monitor. Late 2022 I buy a AMD 6900xt and No other upgrades.
Current build: $ at time of purchase Case: Montech Flyer white $50 Mobo B450m pro m.2 micro atx $100 CPU: Ryzen 5 5600x $300 PSU: 1000w superflower leadex VI $130 GPU: Red Devil RX 6900 XT $560 RAM: DDR4 3600 trident cl18 $100
Peripherals: Monitor: Alienware 2521hf 240hz $200 Mic: hyper x Quadcast $80 Mouse: Logitech GPXS $100 Keyboard: (ducky one 3- w/khailh super speed silver)
submitted by LsXavec to pcmasterrace [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 21:03 sadandhungry18 My parents are my landlords

Hi everyone. So this is about my own parents. So in 2021 our old landlords evicted us because “they wanted to move into the house” they didnt and rented it for double the price. Anyways so since my parents had a second house and we exhausted out efforts to find a place within budget they offered us to live in the first house. First 6 months was free to get us back on our feet and then wed pay rent. Originally they wanted $700 plus power but we negotiated to $1000 including power because they didnt want to change it from their name anyways. Power was only $150 a month so a deal for them. The other deal was anything we broke we replaced. Oh and my husbands mother wasn’t allowed on property due to some bad blood. Everything was fine til they suddenly raised rent to $1000 plus power. Ok. Not terrible but we can manage. Recently my parents stopped by for a surprise visit. And now my mother in tarring into me for not wiping my kids fingerprints off stuff, not dusting, and not sweeping. Ill be honest that the first two we dont do as much as we should. But the sweeping we do constantly as both my kids are autistic with learning disabilities and don’t understand when we try to tell them not to throw food on the floor. Everything else was perfect, dishes done, no clutter on the floor, etc. we replaced their 10 year old coffee machine that suddenly broke, bot our fault but whatever. Their 33 year old well pump broke, they did replace that themselves because they knew it was old. Then their lawn mower battery died, shocker because it was also old. Were waiting til payday to afford to get a new one and theyre upset about us “never replacing anything.” We have the option to buy the house whenever we can quilify for a mortgage and we plan to. But theyre being so…idk. .. am I actually the entitled parent? Because theyre now saying i am.
submitted by sadandhungry18 to entitledparents [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 18:53 The_Alloquist [A Lord of Death] - Chapter 55 (Efrain)

[←Chapter 54] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 56→]
The silence that hung over the tent was absolute, with only the slight wind in the bows breaking it up. Naia sat with the faintest of smiles tugging at his lips.
“And what, exactly, is that meant to imply?” he said, the smile coming out in full.
“Plainly, then - it’s foolhardy to send your most valuable assets into the fire with an under equipped force,” said Efrain, his patience with this game already up.
“Yes, it must,” Naia said, “alas, the mystery of the church is not to be readily questioned, especially if one wants to reach a position of understanding it.”
‘It was an open secret among those in higher society’ Efrain translated.
“Then why you?” he said, “you hardly seem like an uninformed man.”
“Allow me to divulge a little secret, Efrain, though it must not go outside this tent,” said Naia, “originally, the crusade was to be lead by a lesser noble’s son, who, I unfortunately must say, is not in the favour of society at the moment.”
‘It was doomed from the start so they elected to kill two birds with one stone.’
“And yet, here we are,” said Efrain.
“Indeed. Me and mine saw it for the honour it was. Frankly I was shocked that nobody else did.”
“I see. A lapse of judgement among nobles? I’d never thought I’d see the day.”
“Far be it from me to speak ill of the administrators of our great society. Their duties keep them quite busy. As for my superiors, how could they not take notice? The church was asking for armed men, afterall.”
“And out of all the people they could’ve sent, they sent the young commander with ‘unorthodox’ recruits.”
“Why, they thought it was a great way to prove myself, as did I.”
“It must be hard,” said Efrain, “getting such a difficult job assigned to you.”
“I do what I must, though, I must admit this has had its fair share of headaches. Wonderful surprises too.”
Efrain stopped for a moment, to consider the conclusion that all of this pointed to. It was something so large, so at odds with everything he understood about the church, that it seemed almost impossible. But he had to be sure, absolutely sure that they were on the same page.
He put up his hand onto the table, and felt magic return to him. It was stronger, more definite than before, almost… wilder. Pushing that sensation aside, he remembered crowded inns and temples, the clamour of people, all fading into the background. The air around the pair shimmered ever so slightly, and Naia blinked.
“What did you just do?” he said, looking around.
“Nothing major. Stay in close, or it’ll break. Our conversation will be just a little less intelligible for prying ears.”
“Ah. Useful,” said the captain, nodding in appreciation.
“Hardly,” Efrain said, “anyone with any knowhow could break this with ease. I hope you don’t have another secret mage hiding in your retinue who’d listen in.”
“I’d be surprised,” said Naia.
“Very well,” Efrain said, leaning forward and preparing to drop the axe, “so, why is the church so eager to get rid of its oh-so-special Bequeathed?”
The silence returned once more, slightly distorted through the muffling charm Efrain had cast.
“You’re certain that this,” Naia said, waving around them, “is intact?”
“Quite. Answer the question, commander,” he said, “perhaps they’re not as valuable as I was led to believe.”
Naia sat for a few moments, mulling over the blunt truth, then took a deep breath.
“They are valuable. Incredibly so. They are living, breathing symbols of the faith, but that’s not all.”
Efrain nodded, waiting for the captain to continue.
“If half the stories of their battle prowess is true, then they are golden military assets. Though they haven’t been used as such for a very long time.”
“Ah,” Efrain said, as the pieces began to fall into place, “so that’s why they sent you.”
“I may or may not have been selected for this reason,” he said, the smile more dry than knowing.
“And if anything went wrong, if the precious Bequeathed came back with all these strange ideas about the church, they could blame the unorthodoxy of the commander.”
Something twisted in Naia’s smile - Efrain had touched on something painful.
“Precisely,” he said, “although I would like to believe that they chose me because they knew I’d avoid doing things so crudely.”
“So, they want you to… what, drive a wedge between the Bequeathed and the church? Subtly, of course.”
“You know, I was planning to tell you this all after you agreed to join me,” Naia said flatly.
“Ha!” Efrain said, “age and experience, young man.”
“Clearly,” Naia said, spreading his arms in defeat, “so, I stand before you, uncloaked. What do you think?”
“I think that there would be at least one member of the church disguised in your retinue, no?”
Naia’s smile grew cold and thin at the mention.
“The man wouldn’t listen to reason. We counselled him to stick with our company, but he had other, more pious ideas about wandering in the wild forest.”
Efrain nodded - he hadn’t really expected anything else.
“And what about the paladins, do they suspect anything?” he said, sitting back.
“Lillian is of high birth. I don’t doubt she hasn’t heard something that might make her suspicious. Niche might’ve but he’s… well stupid would be a disservice to both of them. Niche is certainly more naive than Lillian. As for Sphernt, she’s vanished, but, of course, you wouldn’t know her.”
“Another paladin?” Efrain groaned, trying to drive home the exasperation to cover him.
“Indeed, and far less pleasant than the others,” Naia laughed, “I know, a charming prospect. She was bullheaded, refused to listen or wait, so I sent her on ahead. As far as I know she’s buried under a snowdrift somewhere. We were going to search for her, but Aya’s finding threw everything into disarray, even her fraternity dropped it.”
Efrain almost let out an audible sigh of relief, but he managed to catch himself at the last moment.
“Well, in any case that makes your ultimate job easier, if you so choose to join me,” Naia said.
“Hold up,” said Efrain, “let me guess. You can’t act because questioning the authority of the church would compromise your personal position, as well as make the children suspicious. Given that I am potentially the most unorthodox person you could employ, you would use me to get to the children, and then foist the blame on me if anything went wrong.”
“Phrased it better than I could,” Naia said.
“Well, I can certainly see the appeal,” Efrain said dryly, “but what makes you think I would agree to that? Say, hypothetically, I went all the way to the silver city with you. You suddenly blame me for corrupting the children, then its my head.”
“A fair point, but consider - I am so close to being outcast that I need you, and if the children spoke out in your defence, they might well eclipse my influence. In addition, who would it reflect badly on if I did so? That would only worsen my position by leaps and bounds.”
“Fine,” Efrain said, “so what role did you have for me?”
“Oh that? Simple. You’ve been doing it already by most accounts,” Naia said, “teach them magic.”
Efrain stopped to consider it for a moment - no doubt he’d been briefed in full after the church incident. The fact that Naia hadn’t executed the mage for that alone spoke volumes to his intentions.
“And if, if, I were to take you up on this offer, well, first off, how far would this arrangement go? Secondly, how would I get around the paladins? I imagine they’ll be hostile.”
“That would be your job. From the sound of it, you’ve already got Aya on your side. Arrange meetings, teach her subtly - I’m sure someone of your ‘age and experience’ could figure something out. As for how long, if you have no desire to come to Angorrah, why not until we set sail? That should give you ample time.”
“And what’s in it for me, then?” he said, “Seems that I’m taking an awful lot of risk for simple promises.”
“What, a prospective general as a friend is not enough?” laughed Naia.
“Prospective. I’m not inclined to weigh reward on the whims of other unknown people,” Efrain snorted.
“A reasonable concern, though it’s only a week or two of work for a potential lifetime of benefits.”
“Granted. And what are you to say if I did not find the prospect of using children as pieces appealing?”
Naia arched an eyebrow at this, but the smile remained.
“This is the world we live in. In a way, if they should happen to throw their lot in with us, as it were, they’ll be getting a better life. The army is not quick to dispose of such valuable tools, unlike the more capricious elements of the church. They would not have to live by scripture and ceremony.”
“By throwing them at enemies, until they’re spent?” Efrain said.
The silence in the tent took on another character, something colder and heavier.
“You’ve said your knowledge of Angorrah was out-of-date. Do you know what they did to bring the merchant cities of the coast in line?”
Efrain shook his head.
“It’s quite simple. The palaces of Ennen’alla? Smokey marble with brass accents. Beautiful, beautiful buildings. Angorrah chose them to be their examples - now they’re little more than ruins and dust. From the other cities, rather than go to war, they offered up noble children as wards. I’m sure you can imagine; Hundreds, thousands of days, living under suspended sentences? A sword hanging over your head, waiting, begging to fall, based on the slightest provocation you have no control over.”
“This is supposed to be a positive comparison?”
“The Bequeathed, whether or not they and their guardians realise it, are living under the exact same sentence. Welcoming them back into the church might delay it for a time. The military is ruthless, I won’t deny, but it’s interested in service. Which is better? That the children are a pawn of the faith, used in political games across the continent, liable to be sent to a bitter end based on whim? Or, they live a tough but honoured life, and, in time, might rise to see the power and freedom to dictate their own destiny through generalship?”
“I can see why they sent you, commander,” Efrain said, “you’ve got quite the tongue.”
“I offer simple truths in pretty prose, that’s all,” Naia said, “if you want to look out for their wellbeing, then it might be best you align with me anyways. As for other rewards, I’m a commander, which comes with privileges. If you want gold or valuables, I can probably get them with time. Access to influence, knowledge? Those are easy enough, with the right friends, which I’ve made a point of making. All this potential for a few days of work, Efrain.”
The cloth rustled slightly in the breeze.
“And I’ll be free to go, alive, unharmed, not immediately killed for knowing your secret?” Efrain said.
Efrain examined the man’s face in depth, noting the lines that gave away his age. The dark hair with just a hint of blue mingling with the black, although whether that was dye or somehow natural he could barely guess. It was a dangerous gambit, predicated on the word of a man who by his own confession was willing to murder and scheme to get what he wanted. Still, he couldn’t deny the sway of the promise - a general of Angorrah who owed him a personal favour, that would be a very potent tool indeed.
This was again, assuming the man kept any kind of faith, which Efrain had mixed evidence to show for it. Still, if he was only going as far as the port, that would be fairly safe, or so he hoped. Maybe perhaps, if he could gain some trust with the paladins, play them off eachother…
This was getting too complicated for his taste, and the dangers of a company of soldiers around him didn’t sweeten things. Still, there was also the commandment of the River, and he was interested in the children and their talents. If Naia spoke the truth of its word, then there could be very good reasons for him to work with the commander. Then again, it’d also warned Innie of his death should he pursue this course, maybe this offer was that threat recast.
“Well?” said Naia.
There was nothing for it, Efrain surmised, at least until Karkos.
“It’s a deal. I’ll do what I can, until you sail,” Efrain said, holding out his hand and shaking it with Naia in the Karkosian fashion.
“Good. I would lay out the mission and your role, but you’ve guessed all you need to know already. This all stays between us and no one else, not even my captains. On pain of death, Efrain.”
“Understood, commander,” said Efrain, fully conscious of the irony.
“As for a method of approach,” Naia said, “the paladins have taken charge of much of the children’s education. However, I’m sure I could come up with an excuse to educate them on something. Maths, perhaps, or military history. We might be able to arrange them to have time away from the paladins.”
“So you want me to teach them the arts,” Efrain said, “and so doing, shake the foundations of the church.”
“More or less,” Naia chuckled, “you should return and recover your strength. Your companion was quite worried.”
“Oh really?” Efrain said, dispelling the charm, and leaving the tent.
He walked back to the circle of waggons he’d found himself in not twenty minutes ago, reflecting on the conversation he’d had. When he made it back to the one he’d slept in, he heard the sounds of voices within the canvas. Peaking in, he found Aya sitting before Innie, chatting away.
“I see you two have become good friends,” he said as he clambered in.
“Oh!” she said, “friends? I don’t know. Maybe not friends.”
“Stop teasing her and sit down Efrain,” Innie said.
“Fine, fine,” Efrain said, lowering himself onto the wooden slats.
“Now, as I was saying dear, “ Innie continued, “the talent of ‘seeing’ magic is much more about feeling it than actually using your eyes. You could use your ears, or nose, or tongue for that matter. It’s about the communication, much less about how you receive it.”
“You mean people can taste magic?” Aya giggled with a note of awe.
“Taste, and hear, and smell. More attuned beasts use their nose, like with everything. Humans tend to use their eyes, hence they tend to ‘see’ magic. Well, with some exceptions.”
Innie turned judgemental eyes to Efrain.
“I was a beginner,” Efrain said, “besides, I quickly grew out of it.”
“Why?” Aya said, “what is he talking about?”
“This one,” Innie said with relish, “started smelling when I first taught him.”
“That’s true?” Aya said, eyes wide, but with an amused smile creeping onto her face, “what does magic smell like?”
“Alright, you’ve had your fun,” said Efrain, “it can smell like many things. It depends on the magic, it depends on the wielder. I ran into a fire wyrm once and everything smelled like burnt flesh for days after. Magic stinks for better or worse.”
“That was about the time you switched over to seeing. I guess you learned your lesson,” Innie said.
“But that’s not all magic can convey. Sensory information is but a pittance. More complex things, emotions, moods, entire concepts can be compressed into magic. The language we spoke to the trees in the pourjava’s hollow? You can express much more with magic, much faster, than with mere language alone.”
“The language you spoke in the-”
“Tematek, a kind of template, a mould which magic creatures developed various dialects from. Most magical creatures with the intellect to speak a language will speak Tematek or some variant of it.”
“So does that mean we’re speaking it right now?” she said, the whites of her eyes shining in the dim light.
“No, I speak human tongues as well,” said Innie, “the process of learning Tematek is a long one. You’ll simply learn how to see this way.”
“Could I learn it?”
Oh, this is too easy, Efrain thought, hearing Naia's voice echo about ‘opportunities’ falling into laps.
“You certainly could. It would be as hard as learning any other language however. And there’s the fact your paladin guardians are rather… possessive of you.”
“Well, they’re not here right now, I checked,” she said, and Efrain thought he saw a glimmer of pride at the deception, “they’re sleeping. Niche tried to keep watch but sleep caught up.”
“So, you’re saying you want to go behind the back of the church’s representatives to practise magic. The penalty for which could be death,” he said flatly, “that’s an impressive commitment.”
“That’s all they’ve said for the past few days,” she said without pause, “‘magic is dangerous’, ‘mages aren’t to be trusted’, ‘the Lost this’. Maybe they’re right.”
“And yet here you are.”
She nodded.
“They took me away from my home, my family. I don’t know anyone here, I don’t know what they’re planning for me. If I trusted you, would I be going on more than trusting them?”
Efrain chuckled.
“No, I suppose not,” he said, “although I think I do have one advantage.”
“Your mother asked me to take care of you, if I could,” Efrain said, “I met her, before I ran into your group.”
To the girl’s credit, she held her expression, though the explosion of shock in her eyes were unmistakable, as well as the quiver in her jaw.
“You-you did? Is she- is she alright?”
Efrain paused. Maybe it was an old kindness that stirred below lost memories. Maybe it was mere self-interest, to pursue a relationship by putting the girl at ease.
“I’m sure she’s fine,” he lied, “but, we’d best get started, before your minders get up.”
[←Chapter 54] [Cover Art] [My Links] [Index] [Discord] [Subreddit] [Chapter 56→]
submitted by The_Alloquist to redditserials [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 18:09 ImperfectFantasy $300-400 budget build

I know a $300-400 budget isn't much for a gaming pc, but I already have a set up planned and just need advice on if they work together well or not. Plus maybe some recommendations for cheaper options (as cheap as possible would be great). Also, sorry in advance but I'm a noob at pc building and still learning some terms!
>**What will you be doing with this PC? Be as specific as possible, and include specific games or programs you will be using.**
Minecraft and some indie games. I don't know if I'll play anything that requires a lot, but I do want some wiggle room just in case. I also tend to download a lot of different games at once.
>**What is your maximum budget before rebates/shipping/taxes?**
>**When do you plan on building/buying the PC? Note: beyond a week or two from today means any build you receive will be out of date when you want to buy.**
I'm not sure.
>**What, exactly, do you need included in the budget? (ToweOS/monitokeyboard/mouse/etc\)**
Everything except the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I still need to buy some, but I'll look into that later.
>**Which country (and state/province) will you be purchasing the parts in? If you're in US, do you have access to a Microcenter location?**
USA, OH. I have access to a Microcenter.
>**If reusing any parts (including monitor(s)/keyboard/mouse/etc), what parts will you be reusing? Brands and models are appreciated.**
I have none, but I can do second hand stuff.
>**Will you be overclocking? If yes, are you interested in overclocking right away, or down the line? CPU and/or GPU?**
>**Are there any specific features or items you want/need in the build? (ex: SSD, large amount of storage or a RAID setup, CUDA or OpenCL support, etc)**
Just all that is necessary.
>**Do you have any specific case preferences (Size like ITX/microATX/mid-towefull-tower, styles, colors, window or not, LED lighting, etc), or a particular color theme preference for the components?**
Nothing too chunky, but I'm not picky.
>**Do you need a copy of Windows included in the budget? If you do need one included, do you have a preference?**
I didn't even know I needed one so probably yes.
>**Extra info or particulars:**
Here's what I have so far. Again, willing to downgrade as much as possible.
[PCPartPicker Part List](https://pcpartpicker.com/list/Gbyjfv)
**CPU** [Intel Core i3-13100F 3.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor](https://pcpartpicker.com/product/9MGbt6/intel-core-i3-13100f-34-ghz-quad-core-processor-bx8071513100f) $74.99 @ Best Buy
**Motherboard** [ASRock B660M-HDV Micro ATX LGA1700 Motherboard](https://pcpartpicker.com/product/4ZPQzy/asrock-b660m-hdv-micro-atx-lga1700-motherboard-b660m-hdv) $94.99 @ Amazon
**Memory** [Patriot Viper Elite II 8 GB (1 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 CL20 Memory](https://pcpartpicker.com/product/kPfnTW/patriot-viper-elite-ii-8-gb-1-x-8-gb-ddr4-3600-cl20-memory-pve248g360c0) $20.99 @ Amazon
**Storage** [Intel 670p 1 TB M.2-2280 PCIe 3.0 X4 NVME Solid State Drive](https://pcpartpicker.com/product/r4C48d/intel-670p-1-tb-m2-2280-nvme-solid-state-drive-ssdpeknu010tzx1) $44.98 @ Amazon
**Video Card** [Gigabyte GV-N1030D4-2GL GeForce GT 1030 DDR4 2 GB Video Card](https://pcpartpicker.com/product/xC448d/gigabyte-geforce-gt-1030-ddr4-2gb-video-card-gv-n1030d4-2gl) $72.98 @ Amazon
**Case** [Thermaltake Versa H17 MicroATX Mini Tower Case](https://pcpartpicker.com/product/JtWfrH/thermaltake-versa-h17-microatx-mini-tower-case-ca-1j1-00s1nn-00) $44.99 @ Amazon
**Power Supply** [Thermaltake Smart 500 W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply](https://pcpartpicker.com/product/Wbhj4D/thermaltake-smart-500w-80-certified-atx-power-supply-ps-spd-0500npcwus-w) $39.95 @ B&H
*Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts*
**Total** **$393.87**
Generated by [PCPartPicker](https://pcpartpicker.com) 2023-06-03 11:49 EDT-0400
submitted by ImperfectFantasy to buildapcforme [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 13:40 smashT Beyond The GM! Ep 22 with Julian and Austin Jun 3, 2023

BeyondtheGM EP 22 featured special guests Doodles CEO Julian Holguin and head of Business Development and Strategy Austin Hurwitz. Great listen where many heard the vision from the Doodles team for the first time.
If anyone wants to listen back: https://twitter.com/i/spaces/1OdKrzqrMbYKX
I've shared some of the Doodles related Q&A and alpha below:
Can you share some details about your latest announcement for those who haven't seen it yet?
Julian: Doodles is partnering with a company called Camp to launch our first ever immersive retail experience and for those of you that don't know what camp is, it's basically a network of hybrid play / shopping experiences where the front of the establishment is basically a toy store, but think of it like a specialty toy store. It's kind of like a modern day FAO Schwarz or something like that. It's got all the viral kids toys. It's not just like walking into a Toys R Us or a Target or something like that, t's kind of got that specialty feel to it. That makes up about I'd say less than a sixth of the space but in the back of that toy store, there's this hidden door and a camp counselor is waiting for you if you purchased a ticket to the immersive experience, you push through that magic door and behind that is essentially a 6000 square foot immersive experience that totally brings the world that you're going into to life. So they partner with some big IP to actually program those experiences. Los Angeles is Nike. It's called Nike Kids Camp.
New York is Disney's Encanto, a really big Disney animation movie that kind of took the world by storm last year. Dallas is Mickey Mouse and friends. Atlanta is The Little Mermaid. So obviously some of the biggest IP in the world. We are launching a new location with them this summer. So basically, we're going to be introduced to a whole new set of potential people in the particular market that we're going to be in because these experiences actually serve a purpose in those specific markets for longer than say 2 or 3 days. They are permanent establishments in those markets. So we're going to stay there for about 3 to 6 months and then the Doodles show will likely go on the road to some of their other locations. The solution that camp solves is what do you do with your family today? What do you do today? Do you have something to do with your kids, which is always on a parent's mind, right? Whether you're taking them to the park or you're taking them to Disneyland or you're taking them wherever you want to go. This is like a 2 or 3 hour thing that is really kind of hard to replicate, that gets people out of the house and you can have truly an incredible time.
My kids love it. So the the cool thing for us is that we get to bring one of our core competencies to life in a really material way where we know it's valuable to pop up at these big cultural moments like South-by and Art Basel, but it's a pretty resource intensive process to do that, and it's a pretty budget intensive process to do that. So we figured it made a lot of sense to kind of reallocate some of that funding into turning this concept into a true business, which is essentially what camp is, One, we're going to be selling merchandise, we're going to be selling tickets to the event, we're going to be selling sponsorships to the event. So there's a real business there but the big opportunity for Doodles is there's going to be thousands of new people that don't know anything about Doodles coming into this experience, and we have the opportunity to bring them into our world. We have the opportunity to bring those people on chain, especially with what we have planned and how the technology is almost going to be invisible to the people that are in there.
It's ultimately just going to be a great digital / physical consumer experience. So really, really excited. The utility that that's going to drive ultimately to holders is VIP all access, it's going to be free entry, whereas everybody else has to pay. There's going to be merchandise credits, there's going to be true like white glove concierge services. So whenever a Doodle holder is going to go to the the space in a given day, week, whatever it might be, they're actually going to have the really VIP experience that's going to come with all the bells and whistles and they're going to feel very, very special and not the kind of experience that everybody else is going to have when they go to the event and hopefully in time that space is going to travel so a lot more Doodle holders are going to be able to take part in it but one of the big things that we've heard in general from holders about our live events is, oh man, it's two days, three days, like what if I'm not able to make it that particular weekend? This is going to enable people to have a little bit more travel plans put together if they do want to make it all the way out here but the cool thing is, it's going to travel.
We're still going to do live events in other parts of the world but this is a big one for us. The other part is that we're actually going to introduce our first line of kids merchandise, goods and apparel, which is something that the community has been asking for. We have a lot of parents in the Doodles community and it's also a way to introduce the brand to a lot of new people. As far as the experience itself, there's going to be like dayparting programing. So kids and family programing is going to be in the day for the most part and then at night there's going to be stuff that's more focused on adults. So multiple generations can take part in this. It's going to be a blast. I can't wait for everybody to see the designs, what the experience is going to look like, how it's going to connect to our collector ecosystem in the studio and bring NFT's to life in a really meaningful way. It's going to be awesome. Can't wait for you all to see it.
I'm looking forward to the day parting. Could share any timelines, anything in terms of location and where we can expect them or should we stay tuned?
Julian: The location is going to be a reveal within itself so I don't want to say that here because the reason we're not bringing up the location yet is because there's a really big opportunity to get a lot of local press. You want the local newspapers, radio stations, local bloggers and everything like that talking about it. So we want to reveal the designs and everything when we announce the location so we get as many people in the particular area that we're going to be in aware of the activation as possible. Timing wise, the experience is going to open in August. There might be a little fluidity in what exact time in August but it's August right before the school year starts for everybody so it's not too far away and then as far as like you asked kind of a leading question with adult versus kids experiences. You know, if you grow up in New York or any of these cities and you do kind of more mellow, like you've been kind of like boozy painting before or doing like casual things you bring drinking like wine and beer into it. It turns into like a really fun night out for adults. This isn't going to be a rage fest kind of thing but the idea is that we're going to be able to serve alcohol and create some really cool friend and family driven experiences that are a lot more geared towards adults. So it'll be a good time.
What's it like working with Pharrell and what's his involvement with the Doodles project at the moment?
Julian: That was the first thing we did, again remember how much interest there was in the blue chip NFT projects back in April, May, June of last year and there were a lot of opportunities for us to work with some major major musicians that have global reach and millions of followers and we really saw the value in working with a creator to help us incubate the brand but they needed to be dynamic and Pharrell is the most dynamic, genius, brilliant creator that in our opinion has really ever lived and he spans music, he spans art, he spans fashion, film, television, technology, everything. So, we had started talking to him basically right when I started and we got the deal done very quickly. Pharrell is a pretty material part of the business, most of the work that he does is kind of behind the scenes, the Pharrell pack and him coming into the Doodles universe as a character was the first big collab that we did but we're working on music together, we're working on audio identity and visual identity and brand development etc and the doors that guy can open are truly unprecedented, the rooms that he's walked us into. I don't want to name drop but top C-suite in the world, top creators in the world, top everything. Pharrell's name comes with so much weight because he has the respect of everybody from business to creative and fashion and everything in between and the thing that surprised me most well, I shouldn't say surprised me, but the thing that I think would surprise most people is how shrewd of a business mind the guy has, he's always leaning into new technology, new ways of doing things. He's kind of contrarian, but he really understands business. He really understands opportunity and he's very leaned into Doodles, which is exciting. We couldn't be more blessed to have his have his support and have his mind on the on the company.
I really enjoyed Scott's (Burnt Toast) version of Pharrell. Could you talk about the expansion of the Doodleverse and the ethos behind it?
Julian: You brought up Scott and Pharrell, the first meeting that we had, Pharrell was talking about how he can hear colors and Scott had this moment where his eyes opened up. He's like, "Whoa, me too" and it was this crazy thing that went completely over my head. It was just this really cool moment between artists that everybody else in the room was like, okay, there's a blank spot in our minds when we try and think like that but these two connected on such a deep level. It was really cool to see.
If you look at the end card to the most recent trailer that promoted the Pharrell pack, Doodles2, the stoodio, everything that we released last month, what you're going to find in that is a bunch of random Doodles characters that could be anybody, could be anybody on this call, could be people in South Dakota, could be people in Hong Kong, could be people wherever.
Then you see Pharrell, who is Pharrell in that universe and then you see our mascot who is obviously going to be the main character of our fictional universe. So you have the real world in there, through their Doodle, you have Pharrell who's also part of the real world in there through their Doodle and then you have the fictional characters from Doodles in that photo as well. So if you think about where we're going as a brand, we're developing this fictional universe of characters that are derived from the original collection. So you've seen the mascot, you've seen the cat, all of that stuff is going to be developed into a fictional line of programing and then running parallel to that is the lifestyle brand that is Doodles, right? You make your Doodle, you buy your Doodle merch, you go to Doodles events, you're on Twitter talking to other Doodles, there are Doodle holders that are more well known than other Doodle holders simply because they engage more and they're more kind of public figures in the community and we kind of believe that as that starts to grow, those two, that kind of lifestyle brand and real world aspect of the Doodles will crash into the fictional world at times.
Maybe you do see a creator or someone that you know in the actual fictional world of the universe, or maybe you as a Doodle holder, whether it be through your Doodle or the customized Doodle that you create, will be in that fictional universe as well, the same way that Lady Gaga was a character in The Simpsons, or The Weeknd was a character in The Simpsons, set in the fictional world of The Simpsons but they're Lady Gaga. They're The Weeknd. So we have this really cool track of programing where you can bring digital identity to the table and collecting. We have this kind of sincere belief that digital identity paired with collecting connected to every single consumer touchpoint, whether it be going to the movies, watching television, buying stuff at retail, playing video games, if you can bring that back to a collecting hub where the brand knows who their most loyal supporters are, who engage with the company the most, who are supporting the most and you can reward those people and create aligned incentives as our business grows. That's something really special that brings the brand and the ultimate collector closer together, which makes them feel like they are part of the universe because they actually are going to be part of the universe. They're not going to be just a passive participant and the best way I can give you kind of a framework for how that doesn't exist today.
If you look at most movie IP, they license the movie rights out to a distribution company that actually puts the movie out, which then goes to theaters so they don't actually own the relationship with their customer. You buy merchandise through another third party, so they license it to another third party. They license their books and publishing rights. They license their music rights. They license everything out and they don't actually own the relationship with a lot of their audience. So they have no way of knowing who their most loyal supporters are, who goes and sees the movie three times, who plays the game, who buys the merch, who shows up at the theme parks and the events? What's really cool about the technology that we all work in is we could figure out a way to track all of that and make sure that those people are not just being seen and heard, they're getting stuff, they're getting more rewards, they're creating this sense of identity being close to this brand because they're actually going to feel like they're part of it with all the activations that we have planned. We think that's a business model and a mindset that doesn't exist today and that that's really where we're leaning in.
Are there any projects or founders or individuals that you guys chat with a lot or anyone you guys want to meet?
Julian: Yeah, obviously day to day work kind of gets in the way of people spending too much time together but Luca and I talk pretty often, he hooked me up with a couple of the plushies for my kids. They loved them. So there's definitely love and support there. I talk to Greg from Yuga every now and then, I've connected with Zag a couple of times but it's not as much as it should be and I think the kind of the real takeaway is that we should be coming together as leaders in this space more often, because if one of us wins, all of us wins and there's so much incredible work being done right now, we just we need to figure out better ways of kind of taking ourselves out of the day to day and the kind of the pitting ourselves against each other that exists so much on the timeline right now and just remember, we're all fighting the same fight, right? We're trying to take market share from all the biggest companies in the world, not from each other. If Web3 makes it, it's not going to be just one of us that makes it. It's going to be a few of us. It's going to be a bunch of us and it's ultimately just going to create more opportunity for everybody building in this space. So more of that 100% needs to happen.
How do you feel about the sentiment? Obviously you guys went through a lot of FUD and now you're kind of bouncing back. How do you feel about the NFT space and where you guys kind of see yourselves fitting in?
Julian: I think anybody who saw our keynote at NFTNYC last year, we are doing every single thing that we said we were going to do. I think there's a misconception in how long this stuff actually takes to develop, to reach millions of people around the world, how long it takes to get music to market and film and television content to market and true partnerships and things like that. You know, especially when you kind of have the bar for quality that Doodles does. I think one of the areas that we've fallen flat is just communication and community building in general and I think that's something that if hopefully you've been paying attention lately, you've seen that there's a real concerted effort internally to try and bridge that gap and to try and rebuild that vibe in the Doodles community. It's something we think about every day. Austin has been invaluable in that regard and truly making the community understand that we are a Web3 company. We do care deeply about this space. We do sincerely believe in the technology and what it's going to do for brands and IP.
We really do feel like every action and activity we take is not just going to benefit Doodles, it's going to benefit everybody in our community and everybody in the Web3 community at large. So has it hurt to see kind of Web3 not as pumped about Doodles anymore? Yeah, it's definitely something we think about, but we're not going to sit here and try and sell, sell, sell to the space on why we're great. What we're going to do is just prove it by shipping product and show people that we really are in this for the right reasons and it'll start to make more and more sense over time. We're kind of sick of talking about what we're going to do and we're just going to show people and think by the end of the summer, by the end of September, you're going to you're going to see a very, very different looking business that the community is truly at the center of. So we're excited for that.
You guys are talking about collectibles and I think Burnt Toast recently shared a photo of a monochrome dude. You guys are working with All Rights Reserved who is definitely a premium art / toy sculpture producer. I would love to know a little bit more about how you connected and maybe a little bit more that around what we can expect for that that drop.
Julian: So this relationship predates me joining but Evan got introduced to SK, I believe through Todd Kramer, who's a big art collector, and he has a gallery in New York and I believe they really hit it off kind of from the beginning and the first vinyl that came out was so successful, people were going crazy for that thing and it became very clear that hese vinyl stand toe to toe with Bearbrick statues and Kaws statues and we had a real opportunity in the designer toy market. So we really wanted to start to double down on that concept and try and play in that space. So we've been developing a strategy for a while on how we actually bring that to a wider audience and get that in the right kind of environment so this, this summer, August, actually, we're going to be doing a big drop tied to the physical's, the vinyl that you saw. There's going to be multiple colorways. There's going to be some really interesting, I'll say expanded things outside of the toy, outside of the figure itself but it's going to have some specialty retail distribution so it'll be at some key retailers, both digital retailers and physical retailers, All those retailers are going to be distributed around the world.
There's some pretty select markets that we're going into and then that is going to lead directly into the camp opening a few weeks later. So it's pretty exciting. The vinyls are definitely a big area of growth for us because we see them as a way to reach new collectors, new people. It's not enough to try and sell everything to the people that are here today, what we need to be able to do is actually bring these these experiences and these products to as many new people as possible. I think one of the things that Luca actually said when they did the toys was, being financially independent so you don't need to continue putting more and more NFT's in the ecosystem. I don't think that means any of us are going to stop producing NFT's but the whole idea of being able to make those experiences incredible because you have a real business outside of it. I think that is a really great takeaway and something that we think is possible through this drop and the other stuff that's coming soon. We're talking so much more man. It's going to be crazy.
How are you trying to bring value back to holders from these events? If I walk into a Camp store, do I know that Doodles is a originated from an NFT project or is there another another strategy like a Trojan horse?
Julian: I think the goal for us and thank you for that question, but the goal for us is more how do you eliminate the technological barrier between someone that has no appetite for it but might be interested in your brand? And as the brand grows and as the technology gets a little bit more seamless and people start to understand what the original collection actually means, that there's a lot more demand for that because there's only 10,000 of them. So if we all of a sudden reach millions of people and those millions of people know that there is this collectible that started it all, it's the original artwork but that artwork is also it's the first edition Pokemon card, right? That's kind of the parallel that I'd say and then that art is attached to this essentially membership, that is the ultimate access pass within the ecosystem, right? Like the Pharrell pack, there was only 300 of them, but you couldn't get one if you didn't have an original Doodle So that was basically a free airdrop. You had to hit certain metrics, engagement metrics within the community to actually get the pack but that was just one iteration of it. We'll have that for a lot of drops where, there will be, a certain amount of things that are free and the free thing will always come to people that own the original Doodle and then the free entry specifically speaking about camp, free entry to the experience when everyone else has to pay, merchandise credits and then a true white glove concierge service where you're you're going to reach out to Doodles before you go and then you're going to be set up with this kind of VIP experience at that location.
If you believe that Doodles has the opportunity to grow and turn into a bigger brand, you know that free airdrops and claims and free claims on merchandise in one location is not going to be all the utility that there is for the original collection. We're going to build a lot more than that and that is kind of how we see value trickling back down to the original token, we're also going to be licensing people's Doodles to use in media, to use in products. We haven't done it yet because we just haven't figured out the right way to make it scalable. It's kind of a big thing to set that precedent this early, especially if you have the kind of ambition we do to go as big as we want to go but we are thinking about that and we are going to bring that to market soon and then the last thing that I'll bring up is just the Doodle bank, which is honestly, I feel like a really under the radar thing. We have a $5 million or so fund that only people with a Doodle can access to build businesses around the Doodles brand, to build creator platforms around the Doodles brand. I would love to see a Doodle holder try and access the Doodle brand to actually build some of the stuff that you've been able to build, right? How can we help subsidize costs so they can create their own podcast studio so they can advertise their content a little bit more all through the Doodles brand, which is ultimately aligned incentives
You as a creator get bigger. Doodles gets more of a microphone because you're getting bigger as a creator and then the last couple pillars of the Doodle bank is also rewards , so how can we use the funds in the Doodle bank to actually create more rewards for Doodle holders, is it sponsoring a concert tour? Is it trying to get memberships to a specific social club? There's so many different things that we can use to drive value back to the original token with this fund and ultimately empower the creators and the entrepreneurs that exist in our ecosystem. So I'd say we're doing so much to try and drive value back to the original token, but I think people will I think people will start to see that when there's truly like real world utility Pharrell pack was one iteration. We've done an airdrop with the Dooplicator, we're doing this experience with camp and it'll keep going from there.
Have you guys kind of like established your council? How do you guys kind of think about the Doodle Banks as it operates as I guess a "DAO" tied to Doodles itself? What does the structure look like, high level?
Austin: In terms of where we're at with it right now. We've installed the first class of the DoodleBank community council, which consists of a chair to oversee the council, a treasurer who is distributing the funds and tracking the finances, an events lead who is going to be building out community global programing, a grants lead, which is really when Julian speaks about how do we empower individuals to build businesses, whether it be through grants or ways to prop up businesses through their IP and then a rewards lead who is focused on how can we bring in additional benefits to holding a Doodle. They have been live since the top of May and right now are developing the processes for how approvals come in, what the approval process looks like, effectively what are our guidelines and what we're looking to support, our budgets overall per quarter and then have also been fielding questions and feedback from the community. So it's been great. They serve multiple roles in addition to just their remit, given their different titles. They're also really our first line of taking in feedback and doing product reviews.
Austin: They're all under NDA and really have a clear sense of where we're going. So it's been great to be able to build with the community in that way but our intention is that in pretty short order, like within call it the next few weeks, we want to get these processes out to the community for feedback and start taking in the first set of proposals. We also really love the nouns model of like the prop house RFP, so for things that we know we need to do as a company, but we want to be able to empower the community to be able to help build with us we effectively want to have bounties that we can put out there, whether it be to create content or create merchandise or whatever the case may be, have it be more of a two way street than just reactively taking in proposals. We're we're moving really quickly. I'm literally in a Slack channel with with the council right now as they're giving me all of their weekend updates but it's been progressing and hope to have more for the community soon.
I think we've noticed that you need a processes, onboarding and kind of filtering and controlling budgets and you sometimes see proposals that are grossly overestimated so being smart about allocation, making it efficient etc
Austin: It's a great point to illustrate and we are very fortunate with the few individuals we have as Treasurer and the grants lead. John Shank, who is our Treasurer was a CFO for a large corporation for a long time and really focused on having a balanced budget. How do we ultimately bring additional funds into the bank and what are the checkpoints over time? So instead of distributing all those funds up once, how do we ensure that we're getting the necessary reporting and then Eyal who is our grand lead has actually run incubators in the past and ensuring that we have the right checks and balances as we're deploying that capital to ensure what you just said doesn't happen, that we're not put in a situation where we're deploying funds and we're not seeing the direct action that's being taken against them.
Does it mean that there are no more pop ups this year?
Julian: It definitely does not mean no pop ups. That's core to our DNA and it's also such an incredible onboarding opportunity, when we went to Something In The Water festival, Pharrel's festival in Virginia Beach, there were so many spokes to that partnership where we basically brought a 30 by 30 space. We sold the new collaboration that we had on site with ice cream. So all these people now have Doodles products that were there and bought the merchandise and right next to that was kind of a live demo of Doodles2 where we were able to capture people's emails so we can send them marketing after the fact. We got a few thousand emails at that activation, we sold a bunch of merchandise and we basically introduced a lot of people to the brand and on the other side of it like, okay, what does that do for the holder apart from growing the ecosystem, which we do find pretty valuable to ultimately Doodle holders and our entire ecosystem but we were able to secure 50 tickets that we gave to the community for free in a raffle and they were VIP tickets. They were super close to the stage, there were credits involved in them and for the people that went, it was a really awesome experience.
The other piece is that when you talk about creators in our community. JKB, I'm not sure how familiar any of you are with them, but they're very prominent members of our community. They've been around for a very long time have basically started their own media brand based on their Doodles PFP's and this is the second time that we've actually had them kind of live blog and create content on behalf of Doodles at the actual festival. So you saw them kind of do like A day in the life with Doodles and JKB, taking content of like festival goers, the stages, the experiences and then distributing that stuff, on Twitter and their other social channels. So it was a really cool thing that we could do for creators in our space and what I'll say kind of directly answer your question is, Something In The Water was just the first festival thing that we've done this year. We're going to show up at other music festivals. We're going to continue to do live events and what we built for something in the water was an activation that can travel a lot more easily. So South by Southwest, Art Basel, those things were very hard to pack up and repurpose, we have aspects of that, but this new activation that we've built, we can actually ship it from place to place and we can continue to add on to it depending on the actual activation itself. So festivals will always be and other live events will always be a way to drive utility for holders and also onboard new people into the ecosystem. Doodles is about fun, man. We want to color the world with joy. We want everybody to feel the vibes and it's incredible to work on it every day. It's hard keeping things a secret, it's painful sometimes.
Can you tell me anything about the Pharrell album? I understand it's with Columbia, who are part of Sony Music. Is there anything you can kind of say on the project and when that could be landing?
Julian: So the album's not actually going to roll out as a traditional album where there's like a bunch of songs they're going to roll out. It's going to roll out kind of song by song and more as a platform on a perpetual basis. Columbia is going to distribute the music and I don't want to give too much detail because there's going to be a lot of hype in the reveal but you're going to see things like a music video set in the Doodles universe featuring whatever artist is going to be on it. Pharrell curated or produced tracks. Collectibles that are paired both physical and digital with the actual music itself and wide distribution so the songs are going to be on Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, radio, etcetera. So that's kind of how it's going to come to life and if you looked at Pharrell as a Doodle and Pharrell coming into the Doodles universe as a character, imagine some of your favorite artists coming into the Doodles universe as a character too. It's going to be a pretty eclectic mix of artists and it's going to roll out again, like I said, over time. That really is all I can say at the moment, but we'll update everybody as soon as we possibly can. All I can tell you is it's going to be fire.
You guys recently made an amazing acquisition with GoldenWolf Studios. Can we expect more animations and stuff on the Socials? What's the sort of direction with Golden Wolf and how did that come about?
Julian: That's a great question. So we acquired GoldenWolf back in January. They are an Emmy nominated creative studio. They're one of the most highly regarded animation studios in the world. Lot of brand notoriety from them in the entire animation industry. The goal, if you think of what Doodles is, there's a term in media called transmedia and that essentially means you tell stories on different channels, right? So different channels means you could be telling stories through live events, you could be telling stories through the distribution of toys, you could be telling stories through social media, you could be telling stories at the box office with a big film and the whole point is, you're not trying to fit one story or one thing for each of those channels that have very unique characteristics from a distribution standpoint. Doodles is the kind of brand that needs to tell stories across all of these channels and meet people where they are, where they're actually spending their time versus trying to put the same thing out across the board. So GoldenWolf, which is very much specializes in social content and brand identity in advertisement. They're an incredible partner to keep kind of the always on content flow pumping out for Doodles, which is just starting to ramp up now and at the same time, with all the incredible creators, plus Scott and the people that we're working with in the traditional entertainment industry, bringing the actual story together, the universe that is Doodles, who the characters are, what adventures they go on, what is the backstory? What's the conflict?
GoldenWolf, Scott and a few others are actually developing that now and that is going to manifest itself through all of our content, through all of our product, all of our storytelling opportunities, while we're also developing long form content. So what does Doodles look like as a streaming television show or a motion picture? How does Doodles go into music videos like GoldenWolf is going to produce the music videos. So from a creative standpoint, we have, in my opinion, the best creative studio in the world, developing Doodles content and brand and I'll just say we just started the integration recently, there's kind of been really nothing yet. We've gotten started. It's been amazing, but there's so much coming from GoldenWolf soon and then I'd say on the flip side, GoldenWolf being in Web3 is not an insignificant thing either. So yes, it's amazing that they're going to help develop the Doodles IP but GoldenWolf has a lot of other ideas that NFT's and blockchain technology could be a really great format for incubating that IP or bringing new stories to life and new projects to market and leveraging the tech in new ways and Ingi who founded that company ten years ago is one of the smartest guys in the entire space, he's a true innovator, leaned into tech really leaning into AI tooling and how that can help Doodles as a business, how that can help the whole animation industry as a business. So we're just kind of seeing a little fruit from that partnership right now, but it's going to continue to grow pretty, pretty significantly from there. We really do have a crazy, talented team like Scott and then also Sammy and Alfie. There's so many brilliant creatives at GoldenWolf, and you'll get to know a lot of them soon.
Have you guys made any new key hires or are you guys planning to make some key hires to kind of push this forward?
Julian: We kind of wrapped up the majority of our hiring after our head of business and legal affairs came into the company about a month or so ago. I mean, we're at 60 people right now across Doodles and GoldenWolf, so we're pretty staffed well, there's some more product and engineering resources that we're going to be bringing in so we can be quicker to market with a few things but I'd say we're pretty well staffed at this point.
So to build on top of what you've said, I was wondering if you guys could give us any insights into the Doodles culture, the work culture.
Julian: I love that question. So we just opened an office in Miami a couple months ago. Our team is distributed, so we have some people that are remote. We have some people that are here in Miami. We have an office in New York. We have an office in London and again, there are people that are remote. So for the people that are in Miami, the office is pretty awesome. It's got a pretty, pretty cool view. It's right in a really good area of the city and when you walk in, it's very much neutral tones and colors and things like that and then we make the space pop with product that we have. So there's vinyls all over the office. We bring other IP into the office like we have this gold Mickey Mouse that that Jordan donated, it was a Fantasia Mickey Mouse with him holding a Bitcoin instead of a magic ball, just a lot of different artists and IP that we respect to try and inspire some creativity in the space. We have this really cool synthesizer that Evan got made, where people come in, play it. It's actually like a Doodles synthesizer.
We have a merchandise kind of like retail display. We have all of our statues on display so you can check out our brand, learn a little bit more about us. We also have this pretty cool ice cream machine set up then the New York office couldn't be a different vibe. It's more of a grunge studio, true artsy vibe and then it's the same kind of thing in London - the original GoldenWolf office.
It's awesome. I think what we're trying to bring to life is the inspiration of creativity and trying to emulate a lot of the incredible IP that we respect so much and we do remote work sessions, so we try and bring people all together, at least once or twice a quarter so we can all get those creative juices flowing, build relationships with each other because if we're going to truly be a community outside of the company, we got to be one internally first so it's been really cool trying to build the culture here and I think we've been doing a pretty good job.
I'm wondering for future activations, will there be places where people can actively onboard into the community, whether that's Doodles2 or the original collection?
Julian: Definitely at what I'll call Non-endemic to Doodles stuff, so festivals and more consumer facing events. The reason why we showed up at South by Southwest and Art Basel last year was because we were this really hot Web3 brand in a sea of some of the biggest companies and brands in the world. Whereas as when you go to the when you go to the NFT events, you're like the headline. Right? I think the opportunity to gain notoriety in those environments is really a big opportunity, but it's also an opportunity to bring your holders close to the action that all the influencers of the world, are part of. So when Doodle throws the massive event at Art Basel and it's like one of the tickets of the weekend and our holders are the VIP entrance into that thing we're going to continue to do stuff like that. We really love that concept and at the same hand, use that opportunity to bring new people into the brand. The goal right now is to onboard, people into kind of like information gathering until the stoodio product is actually out of beta. So we're collecting emails so we can retarget these people and make sure that they understand who we are, what we're doing etc so that's kind of the strategy for us.
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2023.06.03 11:30 LiseEclaire [Leveling up the World] - Academy Arc - Chapter 759

Out there - Patreon (for all those curious or wanting to support :))
At the Beginning
Adventure Arc - Arc 2
Wilderness Arc - Arc 3
Academy Arc - Arc 4
Previously on Leveling up the World…
This is somewhat nostalgic, the armadil shield said.
“Walking through copyette ruins?” Dallion’s opinion differed. “Hardly.”
You patched up things with Eury here, I remember.
The comment made Dallion slow his pace. That was indeed true. The first time their relationship had been on the rocks, searching the ruins had helped patch things up. It also helped that the entire city was under threat of destruction.
“There’s nothing to patch up,” he said adamantly.
Right. It’s the world that’s keeping you apart.
Reaching the staircase to the city above, Dallion hastened his pace. Half a dozen cleric guards stood at the higher levels, making sure no one without permission went up or down. Aware of the mage’s authority, they quickly stepped back, letting him pass. Some of them mumbled the obligatory “initiate”—a title Dallion cared little about.
A second half dozen was placed in the arena corridor, just beyond the stairwell. Feeling in a good mood after his magic level up, Dallion was about to let them know that he was done, when he spotted something that made him stop. At the end of the corridor, surrounded by his ever-present fury bodyguards, stood the general.
Damn it! Dallion said to himself. He had hoped that he’d manage to leave the city without having to talk to the snobbish snake. If there was someone he wanted to avoid at all costs, that was it.
“What a pleasant surprise to find you here, Dal,” the general said with his superior smile. Dallion’s rank in society might have increased since the last time the two had spoken, but it didn’t matter. He still had a debt to pay, and if there was one thing the general was good at, it was collecting. “Or should I say mage Dallion?”
“Nice to see you too, General.” Dallion remained calm. “I was considering seeing you,” he lied.
For a moment, he considered whether to blow him off completely. Being a mage, he had the authority to do so. Sadly, in the short turn, that would create more trouble than it was worth.
“Delightful. I’d invite you to my usual room, but it’s being redecorated.” The general tapped his chin with a finger. “I decided to go with something a lot more imperial in mind.”
“I see.”
“On the other hand, the arena field is empty right now. Maybe we could have a brief talk there?”
It was made to look like an amicable invitation, but there wasn’t a person in the corridor who couldn’t tell it was a threat.
The countess was moved out of the city, and yet this squirmy toad remains behind? Dallion grumbled internally. Worse than a cockroach.
Leaving his furies behind, the general went along the halls and corridors to the arena field. Despite it and the stands being meticulously well kept, a sense of emptiness emanated from everywhere. There were times when it was filled with dozens of challengers and enough crowds to fill a medium-sized town. Dallion had seen it from both sides of the fence: he had taken part in the tournament as well as observed it from afar.
“Feels strange, doesn’t it?” The general looked around. “If there was one thing about the countess that everyone will miss, it’s the Nerosal Festival. That was an event to remember. Even the northern provinces were envious, even if they’d never admit it. Tell me, is the Academy still holding its tournament?”
“Ah, a shame. I was told that they, too, were rather magnificent. I’ve seen echo recreations, of course, but it could never beat the real thing.”
Dallion remained silent, patiently waiting.
“In a way, you can say that everything started here,” the general continued. “If a member of the imperial family hadn’t died that day, none of the following calamities would have taken place.”
“Doubtful.” Dallion tried his best not to smirk. “Another excuse would have turned up.”
“Oh, that’s definitely true. With the toys Adzorg had been playing, it was inevitable that something would follow. Who knows, if he had been just a bit luckier, the city might have been destroyed well before the Star had the chance to drag it into the wilderness. Makes you think, doesn’t it?”
“What do you want?” Dallion pressed. “I don’t have time for your usual performance.”
“My, my.” The general’s smile widened. “I guess it’s true that magic makes one arrogant. But you’re right. Both of us are busy people, so I’ll get straight to the point.” He paused for a few moments. “I think I can help you.”
Using that line already? Each time the snob had used it, Dallion had ended up worse off.
“Everyone knows you’re hunting Adzorg.”
“Not hunting,” Dallion corrected. “And I expect you to know where he is?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea. The man has managed to elude the Academy and the Order’s best. There’s no way I could find him. However, I can help you find the thing he seeks.”
“Sounds too good to be true.”
“Everyone makes mistakes, even former archmages.” The general’s tone shifted. “In this case, the mistake was made years ago. The old man had grown impatient and came to me asking for a specific item. It was believed to be difficult to find and impossible to get. In fact, I was planning to use you to find it for me. It was quite unfortunate that some of my other associates failed to do their part.”
“Let me guess—they ran off with the item in question.”
“Didn’t even find it. Needless to say that our business relations came to an end. Anyway, the important thing is that Adzorg never got the piece.”
“And you know where it is.” Dallion crossed his hands. “What makes you sure that he hasn’t found it by now?”
The response made Dallion arch an eyebrow.
“I’ve narrowed down its location, but there’s no guarantee that he hadn’t found it. The reason I’m assuming he hasn’t is because the world is still here.”
“So, you have nothing to offer?”
“You seem to be confused, mage. It’s you who owe me. The debt you have is guaranteed by your Moon vow. I’ve been generous enough leaving you run around, but even my patience has its limit.”
Dallion would hardly call what he’d been doing “running around.” Unfortunately, he was the one with the debt.
Confident he had made his point, the general took out a small scroll from beneath his shirt and handed it to Dallion. Unrolling it revealed the picture of a very peculiar and well-crafted gear wheel. More precisely, it was a stack of gear wheels arranged like a cone.
“The item is said to be the size of a large shield,” the general said. “It’s made of a combination of sea iron, sun gold, and moon platinum. The materials alone will make every hunter want to have it. According to Adzorg, it’s hidden in a large clay or stone statue. Find it first and you’ll find your ex-mage.”
“Thanks,” Dallion grumbled.
“And just to be sure, there are no misunderstandings. I want the item.”
“You’re thinking of taking on the Order? Now I’m impressed.”
“Don’t act stupid, it doesn’t become you. The item is useless on its own. Owning a piece of something that could enslave all humanity, though… Now, that’s priceless. Bring me my prize and your debt is paid.” The man turned around. “What you do with the old man isn’t my business.”
Dallion folded the scroll and added it to the pile of things he was carrying. This was exactly the sort of “help” he had expected. The only positive thing was that he could be fairly sure that Adzorg had at least one piece missing.
“Oh, one last thing,” the general said over his shoulder. “Some of my associates were convinced that the statue is located in the dwarf kingdom of Alor, or at least it had been before the poison plague broke out.”
The kingdom of Alor. From what Dallion could remember, that was a small kingdom relatively close to the empire’s northwest province. The issue was that it was also close to the Azure federation.
“I wish you the best of luck.” The snob waved.
Mentally Dallion clenched his fists. A single spell would be enough to reduce the general to cinders. And yet the Moon vow wouldn’t allow it.
I told you to avoid the arena, the armadil shield said.
“Not now, shield.” Dallion hissed, then cast a flight spell. Even with all the positives he had achieved in the last hour, the conversation with the general left a bitter aftertaste in his mouth. How could someone be so arrogant to gamble with the fate of cities? He had practice, that was for certain, constantly relying on someone else taking one for the team and dealing with the consequences of his actions.
The flight to the Gremlin’s Timepiece lasted less than a minute. As he approached, Dallion instantly spotted several air currents coming from the inn. Living under the countess had taught Diroh to be careful. That was good.
No longer bothering to remain incognito, Dallion flew directly to the inn door and stepped inside. He expected a crowd to start forming, but the place was remarkably empty. The only people present were Hannah and Diroh. Even Pan had remained in the kitchen, preferring not to get involved.
“Take everything you want to bring along,” Dallion said unceremoniously. “We’re leaving.”
The fury stood up to protest, when Hannah gave her a sign not to.
“Go, Di,” she said in a calm voice. “Only the things you’ll miss.”
“You’re letting him take me? Why? I thought—”
“Just do it, Di. He might be a jackass, but he’s right—people have already noticed and until we get a strong lord mayor, you’ll be safer with Dal than with someone else.”
A bouquet of emotions emanated from Diroh. There was a lot of disapproval, anger, and rebellion, of course, but also a bit of eagerness and joy as well subtly hidden. Walking deliberately slowly, she made her way to her room. Dallion and Hannah kept looking at each other, not saying a word the entire time the fury was there. Once gone, the innkeeper drew a dagger from beneath the counter and slashed all the air-currents Diroh had “forgotten” behind.
“If something happens to her…” the woman began.
“I won’t be alive to defend myself if it does,” Dallion finished for her. “Besides, she’s learned a trick or two.”
“She only had a year. You had five.”
Had it been five already? Dallion had lost track.
“I’ll make her my apprentice,” he said. “Once she has the title, no one will be able to harm her.”
“Other than all the mages that joined the other sides.” Hannah returned the dagger to its place. “Do you have enough authority? She’s not a full mage.”
“She’s close enough. Besides, I’m owed a few favors. She’ll become my apprentice, and with a bit of help from the Academy, a lot more.”
For several long seconds, Hannah kept on glaring straight into his eyes, then shook her head.
“I never thought you'd turn into this.”
“That’s not true. You knew it from the moment you saw me.” Dallion glanced briefly at the kitchen door. “I bet you knew how all of us would turn out. Is that part of your curse?”
“Heh.” The woman grabbed a bottle from the nearby shelf, then poured herself a glass. “My curse.” She gulped it down in one go. “They say that every awakened who lives in Nerosal but isn’t born there has a curse. Mine was to help people I knew would move on. Eury, Jiroh, you…”
“You still have Pan.”
“Only because his curse is even worse than mine. I didn’t expect you to chase after Captain Adzorg like a pup of the Academy, but I knew you’d hurt me.” She filled her glass once more and drank it. “And still, you’re the safest bet that girl has. Pan doesn’t think so, neither does March, but they don’t know you as well as I do.”
“I bet you say that to every otherworlder.”
“When I look at you, I see a hurricane of change. You’ll hurt a lot, more than you have hurt already. You’ll scar the world itself.”
“In that case, why put Di under my care?” Dallion felt a slight chill at the back of his neck.
“Because as long as she’s with you, she’ll be in the eye of the hurricane.”
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this story, consider joining my patreon or check out my other stories on redditserials:
The Scuu Paradox (a Space Opera Sci Fi)
The Cassandrian Theory (a Space Opera Sci Fi)
The Impeccable Adventure of the Reluctant Dungeon (Dungeon Core Adventure Comedy)
Uncharted Waters (An Urban Fantasy Detective Noir)
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2023.06.03 11:12 lidzardqueen Upsetting in beauty salons

I hadn't visited a salon for several millenia so decided to get a facial and just zone out for an hour. I'm not rich by any means so this is a VERY occasional treat for me but I thought what the hell. The facial itself was really nice, but from the MOMENT I interacted with the salon lady (SL) it was one long upsell from start to finish.
First she tells me that she's going to do a different facial to the one I'd booked because "my skin really needs it". I enquired the price difference and said upfront sorry no, it's not in my budget. SL seemed slightly affronted by that, but then proceeded to query me about the products I'm currently using and use this as a marketing platform for their own products ("our foundation is ONLY $60" "oh we have a sunscreen in our range that would be great for you").
Like I realise they probably have a sales quota or whatever... I don't know about anyone else but I find this sort of aggressive sales technique not only annoying (especially in these economic times where most people don't have spare cash to burn) but offensive to the point where I'm going to keep refusing on principle.
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2023.06.03 09:46 AngryMadmoth red bull may give you wings but moonshine will give you four-wheel drive

“Y’know, there was this one X-Files episode I watched a while ago. It was about this dude who could stretch his limbs an’ fingers like they were made of rubber. I’m glad he got his life back on track, but did he really have to go on to design every goddamn car I’ve worked on?”
Riley suppresses a chuckle as she quietly makes her way up the driveway - further up ahead, she can see her uncle’s legs sticking out from under a Ford pickup truck. Crouched next to him is his daughter, Shelby.
“I hate automotive engineers. I hate General Motors. I will-”
“Never own a car made after 2000?” Riley announces her presence.
There’s a brief moment of silence before Leland Carpenter wriggles out from under the truck. “Riley!” The big man laughs, wiping his hands on a rag before meeting her halfway for a hug. “How you doin’, kid?”
“Same old, same old. Can’t complain,” she replies when they part. “What about you two, huh? Anything new in this neck of the woods?”
“Weeellll…” her uncle drawls, looking back at Shelby, who rolls her eyes, “someone’s goin’ to UT Austin.”
“I ain’t been accepted yet, Dad,” the brunette protests mildly. “You know they’re picky as hell ‘bout who they let in - and that was before all the budget cuts.”
“C’mon, you’re sellin’ yourself short,” Riley grins, much to her cousin’s consternation. “You’ll get there, Shelby. I got faith in ya.”
“Hear, hear,” Lee nods, a wide grin on his face. “Oh, right - I got your usual ready, Riley.” He starts towards his backyard; she trails after him after exchanging a crisp high-five with her cousin.
“Hey, actually - can I get a few more this time?” Riley asks as they walk. “Some of the people I’m workin’ with got a taste for the stuff.”
Her uncle regards her with a long, calculating look. “You sure they can handle it?”
“Oh, yeah,” she grins, nodding. “Absolutely.”
= = = = =
Washington cautiously regards the jar in front of her. “The Commander gave this to you?”
“Yup-yup,” Tennessee nods. “A dozen jars in total.”
The silver-haired battleship squints as she picks it up to read the label on its side. “Uncle Lee’s Corn Liquor - 100 proof,” she mutters.
Next to her, Nevada lets out a low whistle. “That’s gotta be the strongest thing you got in stock, then.”
“Yup-yup.” Tennessee nods again. “You want a shot, Wash?”
“Fuck yeah!” The shipgirl nods eagerly - Nevada watches, her grin slowly widening as Washington retches almost immediately after downing the shot. “Oh, ugh- fuck me!” The battleship hisses through her teeth, rubbing her throat.
Tennessee snorts. “Ask nicely and I’ll consider it.”
There’s a long moment of silence as Washington considers the jar on the bar counter.
“Ah, what the hell, count me in as well,” Nevada chuckles.
“Me too.” A curious Maryland joins in.
Ise scrambles to follow her. “Me too!”
“Hey, I want some as well!” New Mexico stands up.
In a matter of moments, Tennessee has her hands full serving over a dozen shipgirls their drinks. Hissed exclamations and curses follow as shot after shot is knocked back, but no-one seems to actively dislike the drink. It’s quite the opposite, in fact, a wave of approving murmurs rolling across the crowd.
But then, as Tennessee turns to retrieve a new jar, she freezes to the spot when she sees Laffey behind the counter - in her hands is a freshly opened jar of moonshine. She doesn’t even get to so much as squeak before the destroyer starts to chug straight from the jar.
It’s like a car crash in slow-motion - Tennessee cannot look away no matter how much she wants. A shocked murmur ripples through the rest of the patrons as Laffey resolutely continues to drain the jar.
“Holy shit,” Nevada mutters, eyes wide in awe, or fear - probably both.
A long moment passes before Laffey finally lowers the empty jar. “Goodnight, everyone,” the destroyer mutters, “I’ll see you in a week.” And with that, she slowly keels over backwards, hitting the floor with a muffled thump.
“Benson’s gonna kill me for this,” Tennessee groans resignedly, and fixes herself a drink.
= = = = =
Laffey wakes up, drowsy and bleary-eyed. As she blinks the sleep out of her eyes, she realises she's in a wooden carriage. Her hands are tied. She's not alone. "Hey, you. You're finally awake."
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2023.06.03 08:47 lunovadraws My Hexblade Fairy [OC] Daenyri

He’s a gory dude tbh, loves those axes 😬
Physical Description
Despite the fact that he's grown up around humans, Daenyri has always known he was abnormally tall for a fairy. Standing at 4'7", it's easy for him to be lost in a crowd, that is if you ignore the 3' iridescent wings on his back and strange pink markings on his arms and chest.
Daenyri has always been very feminine, with long, graceful legs, sculpted to perfection through rigorous ballet training, and a thin waist. His boyish feature are of no help, but his high cheekbones and full pink lips does at least allow him to look like something of an adult, sort of.
His head is a halo of golden curls, a sharp contrast to his deep bronze freckled skin, with eyes that sparkle like honey with small flecks of blue, surrounded by long delicate eyelashes. His hands, though delicate, are calloused through arduous training with his tomahawks and long nights gripping his trapeze and aerial hoops and silks, a very genuine insecurity of his.
He has brilliant white teeth and a smile that charms anyone around him, alongside long ears that end in a double pointed edge.
He wears a tight fitted quarter sleeve shirt with a deep v that shows his toned features and pair of thick leggings that allow him warmth and comfort without restricting his movement. He wears a light blue women's waist coat because it "looks far prettier on him than any woman that would even consider buying it", shin high slightly heeled boots, to get him closer to that 5' goal of his, and fingerless gloves to protect his skin from any more callouses
I don't know my birth parents, and frankly, I don't want to. I was raised with my circus, it's where I am home. My mother, an acrobat, and my father, a knife thrower found me in a basket. It was perhaps the best thing to ever happen to me. I was never studious or smart, but I was very active, and my parents immediately put that to use. From the moment I could walk, I was taking dance lessons and improving my natural flexibility with my mother. My father, helped me learn to wield tomahawks and I was, surprisingly, a natural talent there as well. Eventually, I began performing, and while the tomahawks were fun, a certain thrill came with acrobatic. My mother taught me aerial silks, and I loved it and feeling graceful, but my true passion was the trapeze. being a fairy, I had to restrain my wings, but flying was dull in comparison to the freedom the trapeze granted. Somersaulting in the air, relying wholly on your comrades, there was nothing like it. My life couldn't have been better, we were happy.
One night, after a particularly grueling training session, I drag my battered body back towards my trailer when I heard a noise. I immediately perked up, distinctly aware of the fact that I am a 4'7" fairy in the middle of an unfamiliar town in the middle of the night. I quickened my pace, when I heard my name being called from a shadow in the distance. I knew I shouldn't approach it, but something told me to get closer, so I did, and what I saw I will never forget. It was a man, but he seemed... off. His eyes were fully black, darker than the shadows that coalesced around his athletic form. He was tall, he couldn't have been shorter than 6'0, and his smile sent a chill through my blood. At first I thought it was fear, in hindsight, I realize it was nothing of the sort. he spoke to me, he made promises of riches, of power, of success. Though I had no wish for that, and said exactly what any person would have. "How about your number?" Look, you try thinking clearly when the literal definition of tall, dark, and handsome is staring at you like something to be devoured okay?
He laughed, and it was exhilarating, he said things that made my heart pound and made my head dizzy. I'll never forget the words he said as he left that night, "Oh you sweet thing, you have no idea the things I'd do to you." Right as he vanished from my sight. I wanted to tell people, but I knew they'd never believe me. I wouldn't have either, and after a few months, it almost felt like a dream, until I saw him again, this time, from the dark recesses of the closet in an inn. I was ecstatic to see him, but this time, he made no promises of power, we simply talked. I know it's weird, but it's true, we just... talked. We had those interactions a few times a month, and I quickly found myself looking forward to it. When one night, he came, and told me it would be his last time. I was devastated, angry and confused. I didn't understand, I still don't but then I remembered his proposition. He offered me power, so I told him to offer it to me again. Ge was hesitant. He said he didn’t want to bind me like that, that he’d never make me do vile things, so I said “then don’t”. To me it was a rather simple solution. So the deal was struck, and when he left, he gave me a gift, two hand axes that shined like obsidian and rippled as though smoke moved in their reflection.
He was never able to return. I don’t know why, but something or someone is keeping him in his home of Shadowfell. I still see him sometimes, smiling from one of my axes. Sometimes, I’ll hear him whispering small phrases, sometimes i can swear I feel his touch again. But I knew that would never be enough.
I knew what I needed to do if I ever wanted to see him again. I told my parents that I needed to travel, to explore the world and see what it has to offer, that the circus was all I'd ever known, and that I wanted to see more. I knew it hurt them, but I had to do what I could to get away. It was the only way they'd let me go. And now, I will harness these abilities, I will venture to Shadowfell, and I will find the love of my life, or die trying. Probably at least...
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2023.06.03 07:50 QuickNorth25 First visit to Red Rocks, a deep dive.

Oh my. This is my first Reddit post ever! Sorry this is pretty lengthy, trying to be thorough! I got so much help from reading through this sub that I felt compelled to share. I got tickets to see LCD Soundsystem over Memorial Day. It was my first visit to Red Rocks. I was very excited but pretty nervous. I adore live music but am also a highly anxious person. Unknown situations can really overwhelm me. I need to feel prepared when I visit new places. I am a fat person and a flatlander who is out of shape so I was extremely worried about how hard it would be to navigate the venue. I did many deep dives on this sub and others and am happy to report I had the perfect visit. Just wanted to share some info for those nervous Nellies like me.
My sister and I stayed at a Holiday Inn in Lakewood. This is far from the Denver Airport but a 15 minute drive to Red Rocks. It is a suburb - there were plenty of chain restaurants, coffee shops, and a Trader Joe's. While not overly exciting or interesting, it was very convenient and met our needs. Also! I highly recommended A Taste of Denmark, an absolutely devine Danish bakery.
We rented a car via Turo and decided to park at the venue. We went at 5 pm (doors at 6 show at 7)and parked in the Upper South Lot. Parking was easy and quick, the staff were friendly and helpful. There was a line of 50-100 people waiting by the fence for when the doors opened. We scoped things out around the parking lot. People had little screen tents, bean bag boards, and camp chairs set up. Since we weren't local/flew in we didn't have camp chairs, but if we had it would've been totally fine to set up by our car and chill until the doors opened or even wander around and talk to people. A crazy swirling dust storm whipped up for a few minutes so we just chilled in the car until the doors opened.
The entrance to the amphitheater from the Upper South lot is via a walk up a ramp that is STEEP but doable. Even my sister, who is in good shape, got a little winded. There was plenty of space and time to step to the side and catch our breath. Nobody was pushy or annoyed. We waited in line on the ramp for maybe 15 minutes and then were able to move through security. There were steps up to the security screening that were fine to navigate and not too difficult. Time to walk from car (front/middle of Upper South Lot) to security check point was less than 10 minutes total (not including wait time on the ramp).
I brought a draw string backpack (like the ones they give away at business conferences 😂). I had most of my things in a bunch of smaller bags and satchels-security didn't ask to go through any of the smaller bags. They had me open the top of my bag, kind of felt around, and asked if my water bottle was sealed. Easy peasy. There was a merch table to the left immediately upon entering. They were busy when we got in @ 6 (an hour before the show) but didn't have crazy long lines.
There are really nice bathrooms to your left as you walk towards the venue from this entrance. They are all gender bathrooms with big tall wooden doors/no gaps. It's like your own personal bathroom. These are the only bathrooms I used at the venue, before and during the show. I never waited more than 5-10 minutes in line.
The seating was broken up into GA sections and Reserved Seating sections. It was all clearly marked with ropes. We were in row 29, so not front row but not at the tippy top. The stairs are challenging, but again, we had plenty of space and time to stop and catch our breath. There are some hand railings on the left side but they do not go all the way up the amphitheater. So be aware that you may have to traverse stairs without the assistance of a railing.
My sister brought a picnic blanket that folds up with a handle. We unfolded it on our seats which was great to have this set out for once the shows got going and we wanted to sit and rest. We went right to our seats upon arriving. We really just took in the venue-the views and the vibes. The people watching is great. Each of us had time to check out merch, grab a drink, etc. I was not bored at all and was glad we went as early as we did. It made for a long day but it was worth it.
We only purchased 1 alcoholic seltzer and a bottle of water which were obviously expensive. I brought in 1 bottle of water (they have to be sealed) and wished I had brought 2. Everything is cashless-cards only. We did not try any of the food, although I saw a couple people go by with some tasty looking tacos and other fair style food. It would also be totally legit to throw a granola bar or sandwich into your bag if you think you'll need food (would definitely recommend if you are drinking). We ate right before we went to the venue and hit up a fast food drive thru at the end of the night and that was fine for us.
We had a group of people next to us-it was clear some of the friends had purchased Reserved tickets and their friends had GA tickets but were just going chill with their friends @ their Reserved seats - stacking each other 2-3 people deep per seat. They were nice and respectful. And during the openers I honestly didn't care. But before LCD started I did ask who all had tickets as the group was kinda jamming us up (they were obviously getting more and more intoxicated and dancing wider and wider into our seats). The guy who had the Reserved seat TOTALLY got it. I shared that we had come from out of state, paid for the reserved seats and this show was very important to me. He and his friends immediately apologized and had everyone on their best behavior, nobody was stepping in front of us during the show. We even kinda made friends with the dude and chatted a bit. His friends said something along the lines of 'oh we've only EVER been to GA shows so this assigned seating thing is hard.' 🙄 We had several people who were too drunk/high or trying to scam folks by being lost and unable to find their seats. They apparently decided to look for their seats 15 minutes into the LCD set. At that point in the game you are just out of luck. The seat numbers are on teeny tiny plaques that are not lit up. Figure out where your seats are before the chaos starts. We had to shoo them along because they were interrupting the show and weren't super aware of their behavior or surroundings.
I've read multiple articles and subs that have said marijuana is illegal to use in public! You can totally be arrested! This is definitely not the case. Everyone, everywhere was freely using drugs. It smelled of marijuana the whole show. Just a heads up if that bothers you. It is constant and potent. You can't get away from it, even in an outdoor venue! I had no problem with this but some people might care.
The show was at the end of May. I wore mid weight long pants, a t-shirt, and medium weight sweatshirt. This was the perfect outfit. No sweating and no shivering. We had a light comfortable breeze all night. It was a dream! I had packed a light jacket and rain poncho in my pack but didn't need either. This was easily stowed underneath our seats. I wore comfy running shoes. They aren't the most stylish but there is lots of uneven ground to traverse and you spend hours standing on cement which can be hard on the body and joints. Forget the cute heels for Red Rocks.
We stayed until the very end. MANY people left before the last song, I'm guessing to beat the traffic. Exiting the venue was slightly chaotic but uneventful. It took us 10-15 minutes to get back to the car. The ramp on the way back down is steep. I chose to use the hand railing just to be safe.
And then we zipped out of the Upper South Lot and down into Morrison in not even 5 minutes. We barely had to wait. I was expecting to sit for hours to exit per all the info I've read about parking at Red Rocks. It was a great surprise and a perk of going early!
I know this is a lot. Thanks if you read it all. Hoping by sharing I can inspire others to go. I was second guessing myself and my abilities prior to going and I'm so glad I didn't cancel! It was truly a once in a life time experience. Thanks to the info I found on reddit I felt pretty prepared and comfortable!
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2023.06.03 07:42 Outrageous-Prize4106 Let’s Have an Honest Discussion

This account is new. I am not.
I’ve been watching this team for a long time. I remember the days when Seth Smith’s 2 Year extension was “exciting” as a Padres fan.
I remember when I thought we might have a nice little cleanup hitter to pair with Chase Headley in Jesús Guzman.
I remember when the 3rd baseman of the future was Christian Villanueva.
And boy oh boy do I remember the epic battle for 1st base between Yonder Alonso and Tommy Medica.
I’ve been around the block folks. I’ve paid my dues, I’ve seen it all. So trust me, this isn’t just sour grapes from a bandwagon fan.
On top of that, I would like to add that it is entirely possible that we turn things around and go on “the run”. You know the one, the one we’ve all dreamt about for the past 6 years starting when Gore, Tatis and Urias snagged us that #1 farm system spot.
But for this post, I wanna talk about the worst case scenario. If you don’t want to entertain that scenario, then I respect that and I kindly invite you to stop reading here and move on. You will not like where this is going.
The worst case scenario is, obviously, missing the playoffs this year. Something considered a remote possibility prior to the season is now very much a possibility, even though it shouldn’t be.
What went wrong so far? A lot. The lineup lacks depth. The Bullpen, while solid, lacks depth. The rotation is inconsistent.
Allow me to, finally, make my point:
With $77 Million, Erik Neander built a deep, talented team of homegrown talent that wins games.
With $63 Million, Mike Elias built a deep, talented team of homegrown talent that wins games.
With $250 Million, AJ Preller built the 2023 Padres.
The size of the proverbial stick matters a hell of a lot less than the guy who’s swinging it. Imagine either of those guys with a $250 Million budget, and now imagine Preller with a budget under $80 Million.
Preller is a great draft scout and I’d love for him to stay on as head of scouting, but there are simply dozens of better organizational and roster building GMs out there and if this team misses the playoffs he MUST be removed from his position.
Don’t blame the coaches, blame the guy who hired them. Don’t blame the front office, blame the guy who hired them. Don’t blame the roster, blame the guy who built it.
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2023.06.03 07:16 ATime1980 First post here: 1953 Topps Yogi Berra. For my pops.

First post here: 1953 Topps Yogi Berra. For my pops.
First post here. Picked this up at the LCS for my dad for Father’s Day. This card is 70 years old. God willing my dad will be 75 years old this August. He’s been battling some health issues recently and I realize he won’t be around forever. Sometimes you just buy the card regardless of the grade. It’s his favorite card of all-time and used to be a part of his childhood collection. He had it in a long narrow box along w/ the rest of his collection. While away at basic training for the Army in Jackson, MS his youngest brother was back home on the family farm in MT still in high school. His brother threw his card collection out to convert the box into a rabbit feeder for 4-H. My dad had Mantles. Mays’s. All of the cards and all of the names from that time up until 1964. He never gets upset about them when he does talk about them but it’s apparent he misses those cards and wishes he still had them just to look at. “Oh you should see that 52 Mantle in person! A 56 Mantle! Oh and that 53 Berra! Prettiest of them all.” Happy to be returning one of those to him in a couple of weeks (wasn’t in the budget this year for any of the Mantles lol). Knowing my dad he’s gonna cry like a baby. And that’ll make me cry. The 53 Berra also happens to be my favorite cause it’s his. Sons are funny like that sometimes. Gave me goose bumps just holding it today. I included some pics of some of the cards that survived my uncles wrath and still exist to this day.
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2023.06.03 00:20 peanutinthesun A gal seeking cheese, whiskey and horse back riding on the beach!

A group of friends and I are flying to Dublin mid August for a week long trip. I plan to rent a car. The budget is kind of flexible based on how great the experience will be.
I am ISO recommendations for: 1) Cheese/butter tours! I love cheese!
2) Whiskey distillery tours! I'm a lightweight!
3) A beautiful place to ride horses on the beach.

I'm trolling around through this Reddit page looking for other ideas. Please let me know if there is something I must do!
Oh! P.S.- If you have any very lovely bed and breakfast recommendations, please throw them my way. :)

Thank you!
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2023.06.02 23:15 DDoubleBlinDD Everyone's a Catgirl! Side Quest: Ravyn's Lucky Star

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A/N: Everyone's a Catgirl! Volume 1 launched today on Kindle Unlimited, eBook, and paperback! Thank you all so much for your support!
It was raining the day Finnegan stumbled inside the Lucky Star.
His blonde hair was matted and plastered to his face. Blood soaked his right sleeve, and one of the lenses in his glasses was shattered.
“H-help,” he murmured. His knees hit the polished wooden floor. His glasses close behind.
The inn and tavern were quiet—most girls preferred to stay inside on rainy days. Yomi and Ravyn weren’t most girls, though. Some of the rarest Encroachers came out of hiding during the brutal San Island storms. That meant new weapons, new armor, and Bells.
They were two drinks in, celebrating a successful hunt of a pack of galatrax, when the youth tumbled through the door.
“What the hell?” Ravyn jumped to her feet, Yomi close behind.
“He’s bleeding!” Yomi hissed, rushing to his side. “[Stabilize]!”
Is this really the next man? Emberlynn, Ravyn’s mother, had always built her father as a larger-than-life figure. A man that couldn’t be felled by a little rain or surprised by a measly roach.
This… man… was tall but thin. Gangly. Like he hadn’t had a good meal in a long time.
He blinked up at Yomi. “A-are you… are you a nekomimi?
“I’m sorry, a what?” Yomi dabbed at the bite on his arm with the napkin she’d snatched from the table.
Mou ii.” He had the gall to look frustrated. Ravyn scoffed. “A catgirl,” he tried again.
“Oh. Yes.” Yomi looked over her shoulder at Ravyn. “We’re, um, well, we’re all catgirls.”
“Oh my God. This is the isekai jackpot.” He rubbed his eyes with his clean hand, blinking up at Ravyn. “Even if the monsters outside are a pain in the ass.”
Yomi hurried to the table, snagged her glass of water, and moved back to his side. “Here, drink this.”
“Ah. Arigatou.” He accepted the water and took a deep drink.
Ravyn had never heard so many unintelligible words in so few sentences. Which was impressive, considering who her mother was. “You didn’t fight back?” she snapped.
Fight? With what?” He sputtered a laugh, his energy seeming to return. “Besides, why would I fight something that could so obviously kill me?”
Ravyn marched to his side and snatched his broken glasses from the floor. “To survive. Level up. Get Bells. Moron.”
Baka!” he hissed back.
“Ravyn,” Yomi warned, her ears twitching with annoyance. “This could be new for him, remember?”
“Uh-huh. Saoirse has blessed us all with a—” She paused, squatting so she was at eye level with the newcomer. “Hey, is there a term for a small man? Like calling a young catgirl a kitten.”
“Erm, a boy?”
“Yes. Good. That will do.” Ravyn snapped the glasses in half at the thin bridge and looked at Yomi. “Saoirse has blessed us with a boy.
“Hey, I—!” He reached for his glasses, then flinched back. His deep green eyes flickered between Ravyn and Yomi’s faces. “Nani? I don’t need my glasses anymore?”
“Saoirse’s tits, can you please speak like a normal person?” Ravyn commanded.
Ravyn!” Yomi snarled.
He stared at her in disbelief. “How did you know I didn’t need those anymore?”
I didn’t. “Call it a hunch.” Ravyn tossed the remnants of his glasses in a nearby trash bin and wiped her hands. “Good luck in Nyarlea, boy.
“My name is Finnegan.” He pushed Yomi’s hands away and stumbled to his feet. “Are you a bitch all of the time, or am I a special case?”
Ravyn growled, her hands balling into fists. On his feet, he was almost a head taller than her. But Finnegan was still a malnourished, ill-equipped boy. She raised one hand level to her chest and flattened her palm, the burst of flame mirrored in her violet eyes. “Want to find out?”
“Holy shit,” he stepped backward, raising an arm to block his face.
Yomi caught Ravyn’s wrist and forced it down. “She won’t hurt you.”
“Hm? Please, try me.”
He froze, then looked at Yomi. “Wait, so… [Stabilize]. That was a Spell?”
I should burn you to a crisp right now. Save the Encroachers the trouble.
“That’s right,” Yomi said, positioning herself between him and Ravyn. “I’m Yomi, by the way.”
Finnegan nodded, and his gaze returned to Ravyn. “And you are?”
“Leaving.” Ravyn turned, retrieving the Bells for their drinks from her [Cat Pack] and plopping them on the table. She came to Shulan with Yomi for an adventure. Not to team up with a feeble man who used a strange language and had no idea that Magic existed.
That was a fast road to a quick death.
“Ravyn, wait!” Yomi turned to Finnegan and raised her hands. “Sorry, give me just a second.”
“Yeah. Sure. I’m, uh, just going to sit down a minute.” He wandered to an empty booth, then searched the pockets of his trousers. “Wait, what’s this?” His hand surfaced with the silver rectangle that Ravyn recognized immediately—an iPaw.
“We’ll explain in a moment,” Yomi replied, taking Ravyn’s wrist and yanking her farther back into the Lucky Star.
Their waitress—Kiri—and three other catgirls in attendance had witnessed his entrance and their exchange. Kiri was at his table in the blink of an eye, offering him whatever was on the menu free of charge. The other three leered longingly, joining into a single throng to share a whispered discussion.
We will explain, Yomi?” Ravyn snarled once they were out of earshot.
“Yes. We.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Are you insane?” Yomi gestured wildly toward Finnegan, toward the other girls, and then back to Ravyn. “Isn’t this exactly why we left Zhuli?”
“To die trying to protect a mass of twigs? I don’t think so,” Ravyn retorted. “That is not a man. Let him go get himself killed, and then we can get a real man.”
Yomi fervently shook her head. “I don’t know what your mother told you about the men of Nyarlea, but everyone has to start somewhere, Ravyn.”
“That boy, sitting over there, is beyond novice levels of experience.” Ravyn pulled the hefty pouch of Bells from her [Cat Pack] and waved it in front of Yomi’s face. “Look, right here. We’re doing fine on our own. We hit Level 4 together, and we can hit Second Class together. We don’t need him.”
Yomi glanced over her shoulder and lowered her voice. “No, but he needs us. Look at him.”
The tittering trio had made their way over to Finnegan’s booth, and Kiri had slid into the seat next to him. His face had turned a brilliant shade of red, and he stammered through his answers to the endless stream of questions.
Now that he’d dried off, Ravyn could see the dark circles beneath his eyes and the bruises on his neck and arms. There was a small cut on his temple and numerous abrasions on his knuckles as if he had come to blows with a roach. The tears in his clothing suggested he’d been on the losing side.
This wasn’t Finnegan’s first day on San Island—it had taken him some time to find Shulan. But by the grace of the goddess or otherwise, he’d survived and made it to the Lucky Star.
Memories of lonely nights spent in her own room assaulted Ravyn like a tidal wave. Talking to her only friend—a garnet, for Saoirse’s sake—and wishing someone, somewhere, would take the time to see things from her point of view.
“Fuck,” Ravyn whispered, the fight draining from her shoulders. “Yomi—”
“Look, we can make a deal,” Yomi interrupted, holding up a finger. “We give him two weeks. If we can both agree that he’s a lost cause, we’ll go back to adventuring ourselves. Just the two of us.”
It wasn’t a terrible deal. Two weeks wouldn’t set them back very far. Besides, the Bells her mother kept sending to Yomi—Ravyn had sent them back one too many times, apparently—would keep them afloat for a year if need be. As much as she despised using that money, Yomi was adamant about keeping a safety net should things go to hell.
Well, here we are, Mother. Hell himself has walked through the door.
“Two weeks? Swear on it?” Ravyn sighed.
“I swear, Ravyn. Please.”
Ravyn hooked her finger around Yomi’s, tightening it in a tiny truce. “I’ll have your tail if you push me again.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Yomi grinned and hugged her.
“Oh. That’s overkill. No need for this.” Ravyn held up her hands at her side, unsure how to react to the hug. “I don’t see why you’re so stuck on him.”
Yomi released her, her smile widening. “What kitten doesn’t dream of being in a man’s Party?”
This one. “Yeah. Guess so.” Ravyn turned and marched to Finnegan’s table. Narrowing her eyes, she glared at each of his newfound companions in turn. “Alright, ladies, clear out.”
“Who the hell died and made you queen?” one of the whisperers retorted.
“Are you a healer, kitten?” Ravyn crossed her arms and tapped her foot. “Are any of you healers, for that matter?”
The three girls shook their heads.
Ravyn jerked a thumb at Yomi. “He’s hurt. Let someone who can actually help him through.”
“Kiri, I think one of the girls in the back needs your help,” Yomi said.
Smooth when you can be, huh? Ravyn grinned. “We’ll take good care of him.”
“We’ll see about that,” Finnegan grumbled.
Ravyn cleared her throat and raised her hand in the same movement she’d done before to summon the flame. Finnegan jumped back as far as he could, holding the iPaw up like a shield.
“Don’t set him on fire, Ravyn,” Kiri murmured as she vacated the table. The other three slowly followed, glowering at Yomi and Ravyn as they returned to their seats.
“We’ll see about that,” Ravyn chirped.
Finnegan shot her an angry look over his iPaw.
Yomi took a seat next to him while Ravyn assumed the opposite side. She leaned forward, placed one finger on the top of the iPaw, and tipped it down until it rested against the table.
“Alright— what did you call me earlier? Baka?” Ravyn began, her smile sharp.
Finnegan’s face darkened. “Yeah.”
Ravyn snickered. “Well. Welcome to the Lucky Star, baka. Your training begins now.”

Yomi Pro Tip: My mother told me stories of how my father required multiple helping hands to have a fighting chance in Nyarlea.
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Thank you for reading!
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Everyone's a Catgirl! Volume One and Volume Two are available for Kindle pre-order now!
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Let's hang on Discord!
submitted by DDoubleBlinDD to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 21:55 MoreC33 Beginner Clubs

Hey all. Firs time posting on this sub, but been stalking for awhile now.
I am looking to get into golf and take it more "serious". I am currently taking lessons with my XL Top Flight set that I purchased from Dick's about 4-5 years ago. I am looking to upgrade them to a more budget friendly set. Here is what I found from stalking and some research. Let me know what you think. Oh yeah I am a left-handed golfer.
I will get some hybrids in the future, but wanted to replace these first. How does this list look? How are the drivers or is there another you all recommend? Is the Maltby - Kura Kage Black 2G Shafts worth the extra $70 (compare to Steel) or $10 (compare to Graphite).
Any recommendations and advice would be really appreciated.
submitted by MoreC33 to golf [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 21:30 Sqwizzixx [WTS][EU] Sheaffer PFM III Grey, Reduced!!

I’m selling my Grey Sheaffer PFM III with EF nib to increase my budget for the Dutch Pen Show but also because I feel bad using it since it’s in really good condition. The pen has been restored (new sac + rubbers) and works perfectly.
The pen is in excellent condition with only very minimal microscratches if you really look for them, nothing more than drawer wear, and there’s basically no brassing. The EF nib writes incredibly smooth for how fine it is and the ink flow is quite wet. I honestly wish all my nibs wrote this well but oh well..
I must note that there’s a different blind cap on the snorkel mechanism. I assume the previous owner replaced it but couldn’t find the exact one so it has a grey blind cap from a PFM IV or V, meaning that it has a bit of gold trim at the end. For this reason I’ll have to rate it in D condition (non-original parts) but if you look past that it’s a solid B.
About the price… I’ve asked a few people on other social media platforms what this pen should go for and the average was between €300 and €400 so I’m asking €375 €350 for this pen but I’m open to offers or trades. Trying to sell this pen before the pen show, please help!
Shipping from EU/Belgium, pick-up at Dutch Pen Show is also possible
submitted by Sqwizzixx to Pen_Swap [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 20:33 yupanda 24 days in Japan. Osaka - Onomichi - Shimanami Kaido/Matsuyama- Hiroshima/Miyajima - Kyoto - Takayama/ Kamikochi/Matsumoto - Tokyo

Hi lovely people,
We just came back from our first trip to Japan and it was truly a memorable trip. We spent over 3 weeks in Japan from 07th May until 30th May. WE LOVE JAPAN! Can't wait to come back.
A little bit about us: We are both ~30y olds and enjoy a mix of urban, outdoor and culture during our holidays. We are foodies, but not hard-core as in we don't specifically organize our trips around restaurants. There are so many restaurants in Japan, it is hard to get a bad meal. We enjoy just wandering around neighbourhoods. Mostly low/mid-budget stuff with a splurge once in a while.
Our travel itinerary can be found here
General comments
Japanguide has a nice overview of all the passes : https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2357.html

Trip report

PS. I am not mentioning everything we did in this post. I will just mention highlights. It is still a long read though ;).
D1 - D2 Osaka
We landed at Kansai airport. Before our trip, we also bought train vouchers for Osaka online (https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/). Best decision ever, because the journey was rough and we were exhausted by the time we landed. We only had to exchange our vouchers at the station and off we went.
Osaka was nice city to start with as it is a more manageable "smaller" city whilst recovering from our jetlag. Despite being smaller, I do think it is worth a visit. Osaka is so iconic at night. We stayed at a spacious Airbnb near Kuromon Ichiban market.
Skip Shinsekai: We visited during the day and it felt very empty to me. More like a tourist-trap, the eateries didn't look appealing to me. Maybe during the evening this area is more fun.
D3 Nara
We did Nara as a day-trip from Osaka.
D4 Onomichi
After staying in Osaka for 3 days, we headed west for the Shimanami Kaido. We decided to stay in Onomichi (Hotel Beacon Onomichi) for the night before we started our two day bike trip. For this part of our trip, we picked up our 7-day Setouchi area pass at Shin-Osaka JR station. I just want to mention that I really love the hospitality of the staff in Japan. The JR office people were so nice and helpful. We reserved our seats for the shinkansen and off we went to Onomichi. Onomichi is a lovely little seaside town to just stroll around and take in the views. I really recommend spending at least half a day here. Don't skip it!
D5 & D6 Shimanami Kaido -> Matsuyama
The next day, we picked up our reserved cross bikes from the general bike rental and off we went. Honestly, biking the shimanami kaido was the highlight of our trip. We took two days to bike the whole way, one day would definitely be too rushed for us. We stopped at Ikuchi island (Shimanaido NEST) for our halfway stay.
The sights along the way were great! It was so much fun to go down-hill, the uphills were do-able. We had great weather also, not too hot and no rain. Everything was clearly indicated, we just followed the blue lines. I felt very safe biking in Japan. PS. My butt did hurt from the saddle, so be warned! Bring some cushioned pants if you want to be safe side.
https://shimanami-cycle.or.jp/ for more info and bike rental
We decided to bike one-way from Onomichi to Imabari and we have no regrets. I liked that we ended the bike trip with the longest bridge (4km!!). Imabari is very industrial, but after the fun long way down from the last bridge and being exhausted from biking you just want to get to the station and stuff yourself with pastries from the bakery at the station and go on to your next destination. Thus, we immediately took the train to Matsuyama. Originally, the plan was to enjoy the famous onsen in Matsuyama, but we didn't have enough time and we were also pretty tired. After checking-in at the hotel, it was already 4, we made our way to Matsuyama castle but unfortunately, we were too late to go in. It was still nice to view it from the outside and walk around the park. We planned to do sightseeing in Hiroshima the next day, so there was no more time to explore Matsuyama further.
D7 Hiroshima -> Miyajima
After Shiminami Kaido, we headed towards Hiroshima/Miyajima. We took an early ferry from Matsuyama. The ferry was included in the setouchi JR pass, so we gladly took advantage of that. It's a nice way to get to Hiroshima, just one last view of the Seto inland sea. One remark: if it is not JR serviced transportation, you do have to obtain separate tickets. Normally, just showing your setouchi JR pass is enough to get onboard the train, but for the ferry you do have to go to the ticket desk and show your JR pass to obtain the ferry tickets.
Surprisingly, it was very hard to find affordable good accommodation in Hiroshima. It was the weekend and two weeks before G7, so maybe that was the reason why it was harder to find accommodation. In the end, I found a nice simple hotel on Miyajima island and it was a good decision after all! After a long day in Hiroshima, we made our way to Miyajima to stay two nights. Staying on Miyajima island is lovely especially when all the day-trip tourist leave.
D8 Miyajima
Honestly, Miyajima is truly magical. Another highlight of our trip! We started the day early to get ahead of the crowd and that made it all so much more enjoyable. Seeing shrines and temples without a crowd is truly 1000x better! If you can stay at Miyajima island, do it! You don't have to splurge on expensive ryokan (although it would have been nice). We stayed at Sakuraya, which was very budget-friendly.
One remark, our hotel didn't include dinner and all the restaurants on the island close quite early. Luckily, with our setouchi JR pass, we could take the ferry for free, so went to the mainland for dinner. Just keep this in mind, when booking your stay.
D9 - D13 Kyoto
We took the early train to Kyoto and checked in at Tokyu stay Sanjo-karasuma. We had 5 days to explore Kyoto and by this time we had lost our FOMO a little bit and also decided to take it a bit more slow. We still ended up walking a lot anyways but at least we were sleeping in.
The day we arrived,15MAY, was supposed to be Aoi matsuri so we headed to Kamo river to see the festival. Unfortunately, the festival was postponed due to the slight rainfall and we had no clue! but we were next to Kyoto botanical garden and we decided to visit that instead!
I didn't mention everything we did in Kyoto here. We also had so much more planned for Kyoto, but didn't get around to it, which was totally fine! We were also a bit temple-fatigued by that time and needed a slower pace. Hopefully next time, we can visit some of things we skipped. Furthermore, some days were incredibly hot (30 C degrees and humid) or we had whole days of rain. On those days, we decided to go shopping instead.
D14 - D15 Takayama
After spending 5 days in Kyoto, it was time to leave the city and head for the Japanese alps. We took the shinkansen to Nagoya, where we changed to a limited express to Takayama. It took around 3 hours to get to Takayama, but we didn't mind. Train travel = resting time for our legs! Also, the views from the train were great!! I really enjoyed this train trip to Takayama. We arrived around noon and immediately checked in at our hotel (Hotel Kuretakeso Takayama). We had two nights in Takayama to explore the town.
D16 Kamikochi -> Matsumoto
After checking out of our hotel in Takayama, we took the 7am bus to Kamikochi. We were only going to spend a day here, and then continue our way to Matsumoto to stay overnight.After ~1 hour of bus, we finally made it to Kamikochi. The Japanese alps are amazing. I wished we stayed longer in this area, but just the bus ride alone to Kamikochi was already a great with the views. We decided to hop off at Taisho pond bus stop and walk along all the major sights in the park. We had no specific plan. Just hike around as far as time allowed. For lunch, we stopped at this cute teishoku restaurant, where we ate katsu curry, a big lunch to fuel our walking. We also saw wild japanese macaques and lots of wildflowers where blooming during our time there.At the local shops, we bought some yummy pastries to snack on. I had the tastiest baumkuchen with cheesecake center and my partner had a chocolate ganache cookie. I really regret not buying more kamikochi pastries to take home while we were there.After spending the day walking around, we hopped on the 4pm bus towards Matsumoto. Checked in at Tabino hotel lit Matsumoto, where I relaxed in the onsen.
D17 Matsumoto Tokyo
After sleeping in, we did some sightseeing in Matsumoto before we moved on to Tokyo. We really liked wandering around in Matsumoto. Lots of cool shops with local crafts. We didn't know but the biggest national crafts fair is held in Matsumoto. Unfortunately, we were only able to stay for one day, but next time we would love to visit this crafts fair!
Matsumoto Castle - I really like the interior of the castle. It has been renovated, but still contains that castle feel. It is 5 story castle and you are allowed to climb all of it. It also included a pretty extensive gun/weaponry exhibition. Do arrive early because you do have to line-up within the castle to get from one floor to the other. This is due to the steep stairways, on which they allow only one-way traffic at a time.
Matsumoto city art museum - There was a nice exhibition from Yayoi Kusama. We didn't know but Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto. It is a good replacement exhibition if you aren't able to snatch up tickets for Yayoi Kusama museum in Tokyo.
Nakamachi street and Frog street - street with persevered houses with craft shops, cafes, brewerys. What more do you want.
After spending the day in Matsumoto, we took the train to Tokyo, our last destination of our stay. We decided to stay in Ueno (Hotel resol ueno). This hotel was located close to Ueno JR.
D18 - D24 Tokyo
Last 7 days in Tokyo. By this time, we were just enjoying everything at a much slower pace. Tokyo is huge! Staying near the JR line is indeed a must like everyone said. I could go on hours about Tokyo, I am just going to mention some highlights here.
That's it!
For 24 days, we spend around ~2500 euro p.p. (excl. 1000,- flights). This amount includes food, transportation, entrancefees and shopping/gifts. so average is ~100 euro/day. We didn't track every cost. Hotel costs were 900,- pp, which ranged from 50,- to 120,- per night accommodations. The conversion yen/euro is also great at the moment, so it might have contributed!
I hope you enjoyed my trip report. Let me know if there are any questions.
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2023.06.02 20:29 TheGamerForeverGFE Help a fellow emulation enjoyer with their new phone choices!

(Clarification: I'm not getting a phone purely for emulation, it's just that I want the best one for emulation between my choices)
So, after 4 years I'm finally getting a new phone, my budget is quite restricted and I can't get any of the highest end stuff obviously. My choices now have boiled down to:
1_ Oneplus Nord 2 (8/128 version), it has a Dimensity 1200.
2_ Redmi Note 12 pro (8/256 version), it has a Snapdragon 732g.
3_ Oneplus Nord CE (12/256 version), it has a Snapdragon 750g.
I have scoured everywhere both new and used in my country, it's impossible to buy online (our country's credit cards don't work with online purchases), and most electronics are overpriced already, any other option either is above my budget or is out of stock in all stores over here.
They're all around the same price so that's not a deciding factor, what I want to know is which one of them would be the best offer. I know the Dimensity 1200 is the best performance wise in both native and emulation gaming but at the same time the 128Gb storage is really restrictive because you can't add an SD card and I have over 100Gb of emulated games + apparently OxygenOS is quite big in size, that's the only reason I haven't chosen it.
I also know that on paper the 750g is better but I've seen the 732g having better GPU performance.
Oh, the emulated games include Switch ones in case that's important, thanks in advance :D
submitted by TheGamerForeverGFE to EmulationOnAndroid [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 19:22 VeryUnluckyDice Playing By Ear - Ch12 (NoP Fanfic)

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Memory transcription subject: Professor Haeli, Galactic Music Professor at White Hill University
Date [standardized human time]: September 7, 2136
I've always taken my work seriously. Music might not be as directly applicable as engineering or business but it does have influence over the public. Even as an entry-level professor, I put forth great effort in my work. Even if it was for my own desire for integrity.
Still, Blyne’s expectations were surprising.
It's not that I felt incapable. Rather, no one had ever approached me with something so…delicate. This was a new development, something that had been lacking in my field for as long as I could remember.
So, naturally, I found myself completely and utterly stumped.
I was glad to see such importance placed on my position. I was often used to music being overlooked. For as much as the Federation touted the cultural advantage of prey species over the dreaded Arxur, songs didn’t defend the planet from raids. Guns did. I recognized that reality but often felt as though musical education was overly neglected. Despite the promise of newfound attention, being in such an unfamiliar situation had my nerves frazzled.
I was hoping Grace, being a professional Human musician, could offer me some insight on what I should do.
“The headmaster wants me to prove that Humans and Venlil have a place in one anothers’ societies. I can’t figure out how I’m supposed to prove that. I teach music, not socioeconomics.”
“I think he’s just looking for something practical, love. Maybe I could do a little virtual performance for him over video; show him that Humans are perfectly capable of cultural intelligence, and that we can be cordial in a performance setting.”
I still wasn’t used to her calling me ‘love’ like that. Apparently it was a dialect thing.
“That might help my case if it’s not too much trouble. He seems genuinely interested in what Humans are capable of.”
Could I even get Blyne to watch something like that though? He said he supports my efforts but still…
“Which reminds me, we still haven’t done a video call yet.”
I had tried so desperately to avoid the topic but she was always steering our conversation toward that fact. She was within her rights to desire such a thing. That was, after all, the point of the program.
“Grace, I know it’s only a matter of time. I just…It’s scary.”
“I assure you I don’t pose any threat. Look, if you’re going to get through all of this, you’ll need to make peace with our faces. Your student has already managed it. As his teacher, you shouldn’t let him overtake you so easily, in my honest opinion. You should be able to surpass him.”
“Sounds like an awfully competitive approach. Are all Humans that way?”
“You call that competitive? I’d call it a simple expectation. You’re supposed to be the one paving the way. That’s why you came up with this project, yeah?”
I sighed. She was right. It was my cowardice that was barring me from progressing. I’d decided to start this study and now I was being passed up by my own students.
“Alright. You win. Just…could you turn to the side at first. I don’t want to be met with predator eyes immediately.”
“Of course. I’ll turn the camera off if it goes to shite. But, I think you’ll find I’m less monstrous than you might imagine.”
I’d seen reference images. In some way, they were rather flimsy looking. Despite the piercing binocular eyes, they didn’t have the long claws or powerful builds of the Arxur. Still, even the still reference photos had sent a shiver down my spine.
This is Grace, though. You know her. It’s not some unnamed Human model.
I pulled the exchange app up to the computer screen, bracing myself for the Human visage.
“I’m ready.”
“Very well. I’m putting it on.”
The screen changed to reveal a Human side profile. Instantly, my heart rate shot up and I gripped the sides of my chair.
“Haeli, love? Are you alright? I actually can’t tell since I’m looking the other way.”
“I-I’m fine. I j-just need to a-adjust.”
“Take your time. It’s alright.”
Grace had switched from her regular voice to the sing-song voice she had used when I’d first spoken to her. The melodious tone helped to put me at ease.
I took deep, slow breaths to steady myself. My muscles began to relax and the shaking receded. I looked down to find that my claws had torn through the fabric on the armrests of my seat involuntarily.
I didn’t know my claws could even cut that well.
The realization gave me enough of a distraction to steady myself completely. I focused on the screen and took the image in. Grace’s one visible pupil and skin were different shades of brown. She wore a gray artificial pelt that ran over her shoulders and down out of the frame. Her hair, a deep black, sat tied back and drooping down behind her head. Her nose jutted outward to about the average length I’d seen in the references. Just as well, her mouth was fairly small, not lending itself to the idea of a jagged-toothed predator.
Her eyes remained fixed off to the side, trying not to look at me.
Welp. Here comes the hard part.
“I’m calm, I think. Please, turn to face me. I know that’s how Humans usually communicate.”
“Alright, I’ll turn my eyes first by themselves slowly. Then I’ll turn my whole chair.”
I flicked my ears in acknowledgement though she was no doubt unable to see it. In fact, she was probably unfamiliar with the motion in the first place.
How unfortunate to not be able to communicate in such ways. I wonder how Humans read each others’ body language?
As I considered such a thing, her one visible eye slowly swept towards the camera. After a moment, it was trained on me. I flinched slightly at the realization but stayed firm, continuing my deep breathing.
“I’m turning the chair now.”
Slowly, her whole body turned to face me, her eyes, now both visible, remained trained on the camera as though they were locked in their orientation. I shuddered at the sheer accuracy of her vision, letting out a slight whimper by accident.“Too much?”
“N-no. I-I’ll get through th-this. I h-have to.”
Grace slowly nodded her head in a motion I didn’t recognize. Submission? Concern?
Wait…I think I read that it was acknowledgement. Maybe I should do that in place of ear flicks. It’d be something we can both do and read easily. That is, if I can get through this without having a fucking heart attack.
Grace’s face was fully facing the camera. Part of me expected something terrible to happen, like my subconscious was warning me of impending doom even as my logical mind knew that it was just a video call. I held my eye up to her predatory stare, gripped by terror but unmoving regardless.
Of course, nothing actually happened. As I sat there in my office, far from any threat, I began to slowly let myself go slack. The tension I’d been experiencing left my body in increments. I took the time to study her more closely as curiosity got the better of me.
As I’d expected, the eyes were really the only threatening thing about her. Granted, her mouth was closed so I didn’t get a look at her teeth. From what I had heard, the Human canines were rather small and they also had teeth for crushing plant matter similar to our own.
“Are you…s-seriously an apex predator?”
The words had left my mouth before I had a chance to consider them. Even in my fearful state, I managed to question a predator’s ability to hunt. Was I out of my mind? Would that make her angry?
Her hand shot up to cover her mouth as she giggled in response. She was laughing at me?
“Oh, trust me, love. We didn’t become apex predators with our natural armaments. We were just smart enough to use strategy. That, and we can put just about anything on a hell of a flight path. Humans are rather well-versed when it comes to throwing.
Throwing things? There’s no way that’s all it takes.
“H-how does throwing things m-make you a good predator?”
“Prey animals on Earth can be dangerous up close. I know that’s a foreign concept for the Venlil but such wildlife can be difficult to hunt for that reason. Can’t get close? Fashion a spear and strike from afar. Simple as that.”
Dangerous prey? Humans must not be that naturally threatening if they consider prey dangerous.
As she gave me her explanation, I found myself beginning to fully relax. Despite the fact that she was talking about hunting, it was still her voice, one I’ve become familiar with over the last few paws. That recognition became my anchor, allowing me to make peace with her visage. It helped that she lacked the massive fangs and claws of an Arxur. It would take some time to adjust but I could accept the forward-facing eyes. That wasn’t enough to make a Human dangerous by itself.
I slowly raised my ears from the top of my head and tried to sit with the confidence befitting a professor.
“I a-apologize. I’m usually n-not such a mess.”
“I’ve heard plenty of disastrous stories about partner introductions. Comparatively, I think you’re doing quite well.”
“Th-thank you.”
I was doing it. I was speaking with a predator. This is what I’d expected of myself at the beginning but I still felt surprised. My desire to converse with Humans had come from my passion, my drive to make a difference and learn new things. My aversion had come from my experience, having only known predators as evil monsters for all my life. The two lines of reasoning were clashing in my mind. But, I could feel the optimism winning out. I could do this.
“So,” Grace continued. “How about we drum up a catalog I can play for the headmaster? I’m sure between the two of us, we can make something appealing.”
“R-right. That’s a good idea.”
Can I really get Blyne to listen to her? I guess I have no reason not to try. He's been supportive thus far.
Part of me wished the doubters had been right; that Humans would have no musical complexity. Now I’m faced with a daunting challenge. I could only hope that I had the capabilities to succeed, not just for my own sake, but for our chances of working with Humans in the future.
Memory transcription subject: Kila, Venlil Engineering Student (First Year) White Hill University
Date [standardized human time]: September 7, 2136
If the simulations were trustworthy, the slender metal tubing I’d left laying in my dorm room should work well enough.
Theoretically, of course.
Unfortunately, I was still missing the most important part. The vibration mechanism was continuing to act as my biggest roadblock. I’d been engrossed with the project against my better judgment since my call with Brad. I would probably benefit from a break but the frustration of not being able to figure it out had taken me hostage. Even in the midst of lectures, I was playing with the simulation rather than taking notes.
“Kila, the lesson ended some time ago. Are you stumped by something?”
The words of Professor Gretty snapped me out of my focus. Despite my wide field of vision, I’d still somehow managed to ignore the entire lecture hall being vacated. I felt my face turn orange with embarrassment.
“No, sir. Actually, I was working on my own project. Sorry, I might have not been paying as much attention as I should have been.”
He flicked his tail in a motion of indifference.
“You’re one of the more capable students in this class. Not many students attend office hours for the first five sessions.”
It was no exaggeration. As the term had begun, I’d confided in Professor Gretty for an early engineering project. It had been my goal to overachieve initially to give myself a buffer in case I struggled later on. All in all, I was glad for those efforts now that I was most definitely slacking in regards to my school work.
“I’m glad you think highly of me sir. You’re a capable teacher in your own right.”
“I appreciate the compliment but I must say I’m curious. What exactly are you working on that has your attention so captivated that you don’t notice that you’re in a room devoid of people?”
“I’m trying to figure out how to redesign a h-”
Probably shouldn't bring up the specifics. It's a touchy subject.
“-an instrument for Venlil use. It typically uses a method of playing that we can’t naturally replicate. Basically, I need to cause buzzing at this point to vibrate the air column in the instrument.”
I motioned to the point on the model. The mechanism needed to be small, able to fit into the end of the tubing. I’d been hashing out ideas for far longer than I would have liked.
“The main trick,” I continued. “Has to do with the changing frequency. See, it has to change along with the slide as it moves in and out. Also, it has to be able to change harmonics depending on each position. The player needs to push air through the system to maintain the internal state. So, I need a way to create the vibrations independent of that while still allowing air to pass through. As of right now, I'm just trying to work through the math and figure out what frequencies I need at what lengths to get everything resonating properly.”
Gretty studied the design closely, taking stock of the model thus far.
“Odd. I’ve never seen an instrument like this before. Why rework an instrument anyway? You're not a music student. Is it a personal project?”
Glad that he didn’t pry anymore into the origins of the device, I answered before he could decide to.
“Yes, it’s a personal project. A friend of mine actually is a music student. I thought he might enjoy using an exotic instrument but it’s proving difficult to accommodate for our anatomy.”
“I’m not much of an engineer but I could maybe help you figure out the frequencies required to create the right resonance. Send me the dimensions and I’ll see what I can do.”
“Oh, it’s not that big of a deal, professor. You don’t need to worry about it.”
“Nonsense. I’m happy to see my students applying what they learn even for personal projects. After all, what good would an education be without practical use? Send me the dimensions. I insist.”
I flicked my ears in affirmation.
“Thank you, professor! I’ll get those to you right away.”
“Remember, Kila,” he leaned in for emphasis. “If you run into any issues you think I can help with, I’ll lend you a paw. Just make sure to do your best.”
Flicking my ears one more time, I picked up my belongings and made my way for the exit.
Maybe I should have been less secretive with him. No. I can’t risk it. Human integration is a controversial topic right now. It’s good to know he’s willing to help, though. Having the numbers mapped out would make it way easier to design the mechanism.
I could probably emulate the vibrations easily enough. It’d take some tricky robotics to get the different frequency options working. The real question was how to handle the controls. A Venlil player wouldn’t just be able to move the muscles in their mouths the same way a Human can. I’ll need to find a way to get it to respond to the movement in the slide automatically. Then, maybe I could place buttons on the slide itself to change the harmonic up or down. It'd probably have to be a short-range wireless setup. I'd need to make sure there isn't a noticeable delay too.
It’s going to take some finnicking with electronics. I hope I remember how to design compact circuits. Plus there's the code to write. Should be simple enough.
All of this for something a Human can do with their lips. I was really running against the wind for this.
Memory transcription subject: Professor Haeli, Galactic Music Professor at White Hill University
Date [standardized human time]: September 8, 2136
Entering Blyne’s office, the plateau of paperwork seemed to have only gotten taller. He peaked up over the impending workload, eyes even more tired than before.
“Hello, Professor Haeli. I hope the paw has treated you better than it’s treated me so far.”
I took a seat across from him, just barely able to make him out over the wall of documents.
“Judging by the new height of your desk, I’d say it probably has, headmaster.”
He chuckled at the comment, though the fatigue crept through his features.
“I’m still determined to make time for you. After all, most of this paperwork is awaiting your conclusions anyway.”
I swished my tail in understanding but he may not have noticed given the stacks were impeding his vision.
“Honestly, headmaster, I’m somewhat surprised that you agreed to this. It took me several paws to work up the courage to enter a video call with my partner. Are you sure that this is a good idea?”
“I trusted you to be head over Human studies for the time being. And, I told you that I’d support you where I could. Hundreds of Venlil have entered visual contact with humans. If the integration continues as it has, that number will only grow. I’ll handle it. I trust your judgment. Also, I think I'm too damn tired to bolt from my desk at the sight of your partner.”
Flicking my ears in acknowledgement, I turned my attention to my pad. Navigating the app, I initiated a video call with Grace. Hopefully, she hadn’t forgotten about the time we’d decided on.
I was satisfied to see that she had remembered as her side profile appeared on the screen. I flinched slightly but stayed composed. This time, the camera seemed further away, able to capture the image of both her and her piano. The device was one of the more recognizable Human instruments. According to Grace, it was standard for songwriters to have one. Easy to learn but incredibly difficult to master.
“All set here, love,” she spoke without turning to face me. Instead, her binocular eyes were trained on the pages in front of her.
“Headmaster Blyne, are you ready?” I questioned, giving him one last chance to back out.
“Turn the pad to me, Professor Haeli. I’m prepared.”
I slowly spun the pad around to face Blyne, propping it up against a tower of paper. He tensed up and inhaled sharply at the sight. However, after a moment, he began to relax his muscles.
“G-greetings. My name is B-Blyne. I'm the headmaster at W-White Hill University. To whom d-do I owe the pleasure?”
“My name is Grace Patel. But, I know the Venlil typically only use one name. You may refer to me as just Grace. I'm a professional musician that specializes in this: the piano.”
“W-what a peculiar device,” he observed. “Quite large for a musical instrument, no?”
Despite the initial quiver in his voice, by the time he reached the end of his thought, it already carried the same confidence that was typically present.
He got over it that fast? I guess I should expect nothing else from the headmaster. He’s used to dealing with stress.
“Yes, sir,” came Grace’s response. Though, she continued to face the pages. “A grand piano is among the largest despite its commonality. It owes its size to the fact that it’s technically somewhat of a string instrument. Each key moves a small hammer that strikes long, taught strings inside.”
“Fascinating. Could you show me what it sounds like before moving into a full piece?”
“Of course.”
Grace’s hands flew lightly across the keys, rolling up and down scales with ease. I couldn’t imagine Venlil paws being so dexterous. She made it look effortless.
She’s a professional alright.
Grace also tapped the keys with different amounts of force, putting the breadth of dynamics on display. Then, she played some chords. At first, they were small and simple but they quickly grew to massive complex variants.
Initially, the fact that they used only half the tones we placed between sets made me believe that their harmonic practice would be lacking. It seemed that was rather short-sighted.
Blyne appeared to be rather entranced by the sound.
“What immense range. You said this was called a grand piano?”
“Yes, sir. There are many variations on the piano but this is the most common for symphony orchestras and solo pieces.”
Blyne flicked his ears in acknowledgement.
“I must say I'm rather impressed thus far. It may come as a surprise but I used to play a couple instruments myself in my younger years. I can tell that you're very technically proficient even by that little demo alone.”
“I like to think that I am. After all, I do this for a living.”
“How fortunate that Human society accommodates for that,” I interjected. “I think most Venlil would expect there to be no room for such a thing in a predatory society.”
Grace squinted her eyes but they remained trained forward.
“It's not exactly an easy occupation, I’m afraid,” she responded. “It's a lot of hours and not always great pay. In the end, it usually gets sidelined for jobs that are considered more practical.”
“It's a similar story within the Federation too. After all, music doesn't grow crops or fight Arxur.”
Blyne seemed to look sympathetic to my plight. He no doubt felt guilty of such standards. Time and time again, the budget had found its way to other departments. Not that I blamed him. There was always pressure from donors and the government. I new technological advancement would always take priority over musical capabilities. That was the truth. And, in all honesty, I couldn't bring myself to disagree completely with the principle.
“Music has its applications,” Grace continued. “It can bridge cultural differences or improve morale in dark times. For Humans, it can also be used to bring awareness to social issues. I'm not sure if that's standard practice for you, though.”
Using music as a form of protest? I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of such a thing.
“I understand that Humans have a rich musical history,” Blyne spoke. “I'm intrigued to know what you've selected for us today, Miss Grace.”
“I'm very excited to play for the both of you. I don't believe Haeli has heard this first song yet, either.”
We’d already selected a few pieces some time before. I'd heard each and every one. Yet, she was going beyond our list? I hoped that she knew what she was doing.
“This piece,” she continued. “Was written by Claude Debussy a little over two hundred years ago during the standard Human year of 1905. It was made exclusively for piano. Today, it’s regarded as a classic.”
Grace sat up in her seat and hovered her hands over the keys.
"The title of this piece is Moonlight."
She scooted herself ever so slightly closer to the behemoth of an instrument and entered a state of visible focus.
Then, gently, she pressed down on the keys.
The sound was nearly inaudible. Grace’s dexterous hands tapped gently along the instrument, leaving ample space between the groupings of tones. It didn't seem like she was abiding by any particular rhythmic structure. It was loose but not in a chaotic sense. The tune drifted lazily from each point to the next like petals in a breeze. Harmonically, it felt melancholy; not bright and cheerful but not necessarily dark either.
This changed for a brief moment where the chords became somber. However, the higher tones returned with a kind of arcing motion to counterbalance it. Grace’s timing lent itself to a rising and falling motion to match the tonal development.
Soon, those arcs turned into cascades, starting slowly and gradually increasing in tempo. I almost didn't notice the volume increasing alongside it. The chords began to feel more foreboding. I could feel my heart rate rising as Grace vaulted into increasingly dark tonal motion.
Then, suddenly, she played a bright pattern in an upwards motion, much more lightly than the cascades before. The motion was repeated a few times, each one lower in volume.
After a moment of blissful serenity, Grace’s playing took on a quality that I could only describe as wonderment. Once again, the piece became dynamically louder. The rate of tones increased but didn't carry the darkness from before. Instead, the harmonies were bright and easy on the ears.
The speed at which she played was impressive, though unconventional. Nothing she'd played for me had reached that pace. I wondered if Blyne could handle the sudden jump in tempo. But, when I stole a glance at him, he seemed just as entranced as I was.
For a moment, the tiredness in his eyes seemed replaced with wonder.
The music seemed to falter, not in the executive sense but rather there was a feeling of specifically designed instability. It was as though the piece was portraying a loss of balance, just barely leaning over a sharp edge.
But, just as it seemed about to fall, the volume once more dropped to near silence as it returned to its melancholy origin. It seemed to be nearly identical to the opening. And, after drifting between patterns for a moment, each reminiscent of a broader section of the work, it ended as meekly as it began. I was briefly unsure that it was actually over. It was like it just slipped right out of the room. I only had my confirmation when Grace slid away from the piano.
Blyne and I sat in silence momentarily, soaking in the experience.
“It's been many years since I've heard something so immersive,” Blyne’s voice took on the sound of nostalgia. “Truly, that was encapsulating.”
I flicked my ears in acknowledgement.
“I'm not sure I fully understood the symbolism though. It's likely a planetary difference. How do Humans interpret the moon?”
Grace tilted her head to the side in a look I assumed was confusion until realization hit her.
“Ah, I almost forgot that's what it translates to. See, the title is in a different language than the one I speak. I speak primarily English but the title is French. Your translators seem not to discriminate. If you wouldn't mind, turn them off for just a moment and I'll say the title verbatim.”
Blyne and I both complied with the request, powering them off and flicking our ears in a ‘go ahead’ motion. After the motion was lost on her briefly, Grace realized we were ready and spoke the title once more.
Claire de Lune.”
It sounded starkly different to the Venlil sound that it had been translated to. Though, it sounded almost melodious in nature.
After we turned the translators back on, Grace continued her thought.
“To answer your question, Haeli, the moon can mean a number of different things depending on culture. But, one thing that is constant is its association with the night. I'd say in this context, it served as the inspiration in a sort of atmospheric sense. You may equate it to a picturesque street illuminated only by a few lamps and the moonlight from above. It's serene in that regard.”
“It was a beautiful piece,” I assured her. “But, it wasn't one we selected beforehand. What made you want to perform it?”
“Honestly, I would have very well suggested it earlier had I remembered it. It just popped into my head after the fact and I thought it would be a perfect introductory piece.”
“To that, I can agree,” Blyne offered. “I can tell that immense thought was put into the composition of the piece. And, I can tell that you have spent much time honing your craft. As such, I have a request.”
A request?
“Please, miss Grace, turn to face the camera.”
I tensed up. Even after already exposing myself to her face, I felt reluctant to have her eyes burrow into me again.
“Are you sure about that, sir?” Grace asked tentatively.
“I understand that you haven't been able to see us so far. And that, for Humans, looking away is often considered rude. It's probably been difficult to remain facing away from us this whole time. The least I can do for such a stunning performance is to look you in the eyes.”
Grace looked unsure but slowly she turned to face us. I felt my muscles tense further and Blyne stiffened across from me as well.
“You really needn't subject yourself to this,” Grace spoke, clearly noting our collective discomfort.
“I f-feel inclined to disagree,” came Blyne’s response. “If we are to live and w-work with Humans, we will need to overcome our instincts. I'm willing to give that an honest try just as Professor Haeli here is too.”
“I appreciate the effort. Truly, I do. But, save your energy. That song is not all I intend to play for you. Haeli and I selected quite the program.”
I flicked my ears in acknowledgement and accompanied it with a head nod for Grace.
“Yes, indeed. I believe you'll very much enjoy the rest of these, headmaster.”
And so we continued, traipsing through various piano melodies. From the slow, methodical sounds of Gymnopédie No. 1 to the almost haunting motion of Arietta, we sat enamored by Grace’s playing until, finally, we ran the established catalog dry and she bid us farewell before signing off.
Now in the silent office, Blyne suddenly fell against the wall of papers.
“Stars,” he spoke through the now collapsed pages. “I'm too old for this, Haeli. Her playing was incredible. And, I think I did well as a professional but her eyes are still terrifying.”
“I know how you feel. My student says you get used to it pretty fast, though.”
“To be young and have that kind of flexibility. It's going to take me some time, I think.”
“You held together well all things considered. I cut into the fabric of my chair with my claws just from tensing up so much.”
“Don't go destroying university property, now. We just got those chairs two terms ago. Also, about that student of yours, he's made quite the amount of headway, yes?”
I thought back to Mezil’s progress. It had certainly been more than I’d expected from any of my students.
“Yes. Grace was encouraging me to get him more involved. I can only really think of one way to do it. Actually, after her performance, I have a pretty ambitious idea.”
Blyne lifted his head from the paperwork and eyed me warily.
“You need my help, I assume.”
“I'll definitely need the go-ahead from you for this one. That, and I'll probably need some help figuring out the logistics.”
He sighed and started straightening out the stack he'd toppled.
“Alright then, Professor Haeli. What is your plan?”
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