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Some Teething Problems
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Luckily, Sundae Bingo has made more of an effort when it comes to payment options – although once again, UK players are favoured over others. In a somewhat uncommon move, all players can deposit over the phone by calling one of the support agents on the provided number. What’s also a bit unusual is the Apple Pay option, which allows you to make payments from Apple devices. This is only available to UK customers, as is the e-wallet Neteller. Non-UK players still have a wide array of options, including the popular PayPal and prepaid vouchers like paysafecard. The minimum withdrawal and deposit value is £5, which is very decent compared to a lot of other casinos. Moreover, Sundae Bingo charges no extra fees for processing transactions. Withdrawal processing times are definitely not among the fastest payouts in the industry. Using a credit or debit card can take you up to a grand total of seven days to see your hard-earned winnings in your bank account. Wire transfer is even worse, as it adds up to ten days. Your fastest option would be Mastercard, which can take three to five days for a withdrawal to be completed. A withdrawal request can be reversed within the first two business days, which gives you plenty of time to change your mind. This is probably not ideal for anyone trying to limit their spending. However, the casino has features in place to set your deposit limits and make sure you don’t spend more than you should. >>Get Free Bonus Games<<
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Like the desktop version, the mobile site looks awesome, and the navigation menu is even better here. For instance, the games are more well-organised into separate categories than the desktop version is. However, the site is a bit lagging and it takes time to load pages – so there’s room for improvement there. We would have also liked to see a more accessible customer support service. Normally, the mobile version features an icon that would take you to customer support with just one click, but it’s conspicuously absent on the Sundae Bingo mobile site.
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Boku No Vita Communis What follows are the unabridged transcripts of the interview with Quicksort. [REPORTER]: Quicksort-san, thank you for meeting me. Your recent rise to fame must make for an incredibly challenging schedule? [QUICKSORT]: Thank you for interviewing me, indeed it does but I think journalism is important. [REPORTER]: We sit here, beneath the gleaming glass of the UA main campus building, its blocky frame imposing on the horizon. In this light it looks almost like a literal ivory tower. I’m sure the metaphor isn’t lost on you. So I’d like to begin this interview by asking: Like most teenageers, did you dream of the academy, and grow somewhat resentful after being denied entry? [QUICKSORT]: Well, I lived, and in fact still live, a fairly common life; as you said at the beginning, i’ve had a recent and steep rise to fame, but that hasn’t (yet) gone to my head, actually it’s the exposure to the political world stage that I feel incredibly humbled by, but I suspect i’m skipping ahead in your list of questions by saying that. So right now, my answer to your two, fairly leading questions, would be yes and then no. Though that hasn’t always been the case. [REPORTER]: Let’s take it step by step then; you’ve mentioned it was a common early life, but I am interested in hearing what your childhood was like, as our readers are I’m sure. [QUICKSORT]: Ha! Okay, though I’m not sure you would, it’s fairly painful for me to talk about, not because it was a painful childhood as such, just that I’m embarrassed of my past self. [REPORTER]: Why so? [QUICKSORT]: Okay well, you’ll know my mother and father, Pin-point and Four-fold? A pair of minor level local ‘people’s champions’ as opposed to fully fledged UA graduate heroes. [REPORTER]: I do, but please, describe them from your perspective. [QUICKSORT]: With a focus on their quirks no doubt? [REPORTER]: Naturally. [QUICKSORT]: *Inhales deeply* My mother’s a patient woman. Her quirk allows her to locate anything she’s seen before (either in reality or photos). Which, yes, sounds amazing in principle, and should open up endless job opportunities: from missing persons cases to the sourcing of raw materials. However, ‘the quirks giveth and the quirks taketh away’. Like most quirks there are significant limitations. Its range is short and gets less accurate as it reaches out. Its accuracy scales with her familiarity of what she’s seeking. She can find her car keys no problem, finding your missing daughter based on a picture of a mass produced t-shirt? Not so easy. Finally, it highlights every object fitting the description, regardless of owner, so often she finds so much it's irrelevant. She isn’t bitter though, as I said, she’s very patient and caring, and uses her quirk for good at every opportunity. My dad quirk is much simpler and though its heroic applications are zero, it’s the most productive of their quirks. Basically, he can re-create any object or scene, real or imagined, in origami form. He makes some money through art sales and has a decent fan following. To supplement my father’s income, my mother is a self-employed consultant for people who need to locate resources, mainly oil companies, and helps the police with insurance fraud cases. [REPORTER]: I see, thank you. It’s no surprise, given your work, that you’re happy to share the details of your parent’s quirks, but what about your up-bringing? [QUICKSORT]: Ah, digging for the good stuff. No problem, I can respect that. Well, to a 16 year old in semi-rural Nihon, contentment was oppressive, stifling even. It was made worse by loving, supportive and realistic parents who tried to steer me away from fanciful aspirations of heroism. I began ‘rebelling’ once my request to apply for UA was brushed aside, though to be honest, I was a bit of a uzai yarō even before then. This is the embarrassment I referred to earlier, thinking back it’s hard to respect that person. I wish I could give you a dark and painful past that created a powerful villain snatched back to the good side before it was too late, but all I can offer is a portrait of pastoral passivity coupled with what seemed to be a mediocre quirk. [REPORTER]: As the old phrase goes, familiarity breeds contempt, there’s no need for embarrassment. [QUICKSORT]: I thank you. [REPORTER]: If we might talk specifically about your quirk then, you said it ‘seemed to be a mediocre quirk’, why so? [QUICKSORT]: My quirk developed later than most, though not so late that my parents were worried (at least so they have told me), and like most children of parents with quirks, I exhibited a combination of theirs synthesised into my own. Interviewing me here today, you know how powerful my quirk can be in the right circumstances, but before I’d honed it or come up with useful applications for it, it was a party trick at best, illegal at worse. The clue’s in the name: Quicksort. I can sort things quickly. If there’s a stack of papers, books, cards or anything like that, I can instantly re-organise it so whatever I need, or want, appears wherever I want it to. Pin-point plus Four-fold equals Quicksort. [REPORTER]: I’m sure you can appreciate that hearing you have the ability to locate information like that sounds incredibly powerful, even at a young, untrained age. I still haven’t evidence of it being mediocre. [QUICKSORT]: Oh absolutely, but that’s where the quirk stops. The location of information, not absorption, not manipulation, just finding it. Because of it I was a very efficient student, obviously, achieving consistent Cs and Bs; and this seemed enough. I felt smart for not working too hard, felt smart for not working at all really, and still getting a passing grade that put me above average, but not quite an Otaku. I still held out for a position at UA because school gave me a feeling of grandeur, I was owed a clear path to a fruitful future of fame and fortune. Rather than argue with my parents, I went straight to the local Quirk Consultancies after graduation. It was a bitter drink of reality as they told me my ‘power’ was ‘too cerebral to fight against the tide of evil’, even as a minor hero. In my shame, I tried to make a counter argument, referencing UA’s Principal Nezu and his ‘high specs’ quirk as a highly cerebral yet hero worthy power. I was laughed out of the office, and frankly even then with my inflated ego I had to admit we were, and still are, not in the same league. [REPORTER]: Obviously, this was before the unification of independent quirk consultancies underneath the government’s QUAD (Quirk Understanding And Development) arm? [QUICKSORT]: Indeed, it was the week before that unification in fact. [REPORTER]: Okay so to recap: enthusiasm dashed, hopes spurned, what was next for Quicksort? [QUICKSORT]: Lots of prayer, healthy eating and a can do attitude. I jumped into gear and here I am, the man you see before you. [REPORTER]: Ahha, if only it was so simple; I wouldn’t be a good reporter if i didn’t already have a rough idea of your answers to my questions. [QUICKSORT]: Ha indeed. Well after that I felt discouraged, yes as you say; i went to work in the local library, a good job in itself but paltry compared to my lofty hero expectations. It was a peaceful job with kind people who respected me and my quirk. I helped write essays and expedite their research. The days went from peaceful to boring, from boring to restless and from restless to agitated. Frustrated i began looking for answers, though i wasn’t sure of the question. My quirk facilitated the quick delivery of plenty of articles about quirk bias and hero worship in our society and the imbalance it’s caused. Our whole economy and social structure pivots on quirks, it’s the quirk that defines the person, rather than the person defining the quirk. [REPORTER]: We’re starting here to see the seeds of your current self, would you agree that this is where your work really began? [QUICKSORT] No, I wouldn’t agree. At that moment I was at risk of becoming very disillusioned with the world, well in fact I was, and whilst it made me who i am today, to say it was a seed implies it was what i grew from, but in fact it’s the culling of that weed that helped create me today. [REPORTER]: Forgive me sir, please, what happened after the library then? We can’t be far away from your current self in terms of age, you’re still quite young? [QUICKSORT]: No offence given. Indeed, it wasn’t long ago at all, but strangely feels like a lifetime. After the library I moved into Tokyo. All in one weekend, I'd gone from being a bland member of our tranquil town, to a disillusioned angry teenager in a downtown flat share. From here the story is almost too cliche for you to print; no money turned into the wrong crowd and dodgy dealings. Before long I was hustling for money through cheap card tricks, but street ‘magic’ doesn’t draw much of a crowd anymore since quirks have practically created real wizards. Of course, this served to fuel my hatred for heroes and the quick based society i was forced to be a servant in.. I found work as a croupier in the casinos, upper-management promptly fired me after my quirk was discovered by some sore losing patrons. As luck would have it, or at least it seemed like luck at the time, a local ninkyō dantai boss said he could make use of my talents in his own high-stakes games. Though again, this job ended as quickly as it began as other players became very suspicious as the boss’ winning streak, despite my urge for subtlety. [REPORTER]: The prevalence of ever more specific quirks has effectively forced gambling underground, it’s a nasty business that can be read about in our June edition. Quicksort-san, let’s jump to the present for a moment; can you describe your position as you see it today? [QUICKSORT]: I’d be delighted, though remind me to return to the story’s climax before we sign off. [REPORTER]: Certainly. [QUICKSORT]: What I've not mentioned is that my quirk extends beyond the material realm of information, and into the digital one. A revelation I myself only discovered very recently when searching for information on the hero-in-training, Red Riot; the story for which will serve as cherry for this interview sundae. [REPORTER]: If i could just interrupt briefly, so you’re saying that you’re able to retrieve any information not just on paper but also stored in computers; so the internet? [QUICKSORT]: Exactly right. Think of it like a google search, only rather than being presented with all the options to read, I receive the exact piece of text, number, picture or anything really that represents the thing I need at that moment. [REPORTER]: Providing that you’ve seen it before? [QUICKSORT]: Nope, that’s the beauty of my particular quirk blend. Pin Point’s gives me the ability to reach out and seek information, Four Fold allows me to imagine what it is. It works like a call and response, I shout out a question into the void of information, and the facts can’t help but jump back in response. [REPORTER]: Incredible. [QUICKSORT]: Thank you. So to answer your question, what is my role? Well I suppose it does go back to that ‘seed’ as you said. Sat looking for answers, my upturned mind found what I thought I needed. Looking back now I see it was heavily warped and biased, not entirely untrue, but certainly not the full picture. My life now is dedicated to fact checking. Heros and politicians live side by side, in a strange but functioning symbiosis; both need to be accountable for what they say, and that’s my job. I’m invited along to press conferences and board meetings, to act as a fact checker, to keep those that are influential accountable, and help the public, impressionable or sceptical when listening to these figures of authority, think critically. My consultancy is built on the idea that transparency of fact is imperative to democracy; and invite any client willing to stand by their honor, to invite me and my team along to any of their next events. [REPORTER]: Your service to our nation is overwhelming and the effects can already be seen in Endeavour’s recent statement retraction that you personally fact checked; without getting too into the social politics of it, I do wonder why you haven’t taken this into courts of law though, wouldn’t that be more effective? [QUICKSORT]: Thank you, and a valid question. Whilst courts of law are there to filter out rights and wrongs based on the written letter; it’s not for one person to make a judgement, hence the jury. Facts and figures aren’t the full picture even in a courtroom, context and interpretation matter too, and that’s something I can't give, so wouldn’t want to be relied upon to aid the process. [REPORTER]: Does context and interpretation not matter when reading statements from Heroes or politicians? [QUICKSORT]: Of course; but where courts and broadcasted statements differ, is that the former have a due process intended to reach a fair result, and the latter go unchecked, which is where I come in. [REPORTER]: A well thought out answer; before we finish, please tell us about Red Riot. [QUICKSORT]: Thanks, it’s a question that i’m asked frequently. Yes! Of course, Red Riot! Well, he is a hero in training, who’s career I'm looking forward to seeing develop. It’s because of him, that i’m here, that I set up my consultancy, and really that I have a more balanced view of heroes. [REPORTER]: High praise, what happened? [QUICKSORT]: I was hustling card games in the back streets after I'd been fired from the private poker games. Suddenly, noise of a fight erupts, and a skinny blue haired man rushes around the corner pursued by a bare chester hero with red hair, though it looked more like stone. [REPORTER]: You’re referring, of course, to the incident involving the quirk acceleration drug during Red Riot’s training with FatGum? [QUICKSORT]: The very same. I was there; initially I did what any criminal would do, I pulled down my purple cap and began to turn away. I was about to pop up my collar to keep me even more hidden, when an incredible screech of metal erupted from the now cornered villain. Flashes of blades spewed forth from every part of his body, smashing and slicing into brick and glass like paper. Stunned, with a morbid curiosity, I couldn't look away. Red Riot stood there, tensing his rocklike body to absorb the explosion of steel. I expected to see him die and the adrenaline makes the details a blur. But he faced the villain down, overwhelming him with a solid constitution. It was phenomenal. A small group of us rushed to thank Red Riot, who despite the incredible feat of heroism, was very gracious. His resolve, passion and selflessness crashed against a wall of bitterness, anger and frustration in my mind, eroding it like the sea against a cliff face. It left a blank slate on which I needed to build a better mental picture of the world. He defended people he didn’t know, he faced down death for back alley gamblers, and was even embarrassed to even hear thanks. The very next day I walked into the Center for Business and Trade main building and registered my new company and name: Quicksort Consultancy. Aiming to help heroes, politicians and citizens alike have a clearer more fact based view of the world. To stop people being manipulated by the overwhelming amount of information, and the biases present when consuming it. To stop people becoming like me. [REPORTER]: Quicksort, thank you for your time today, your story is an inspirational one and has only just begun, we look forward to covering you again in the future. If i could just leave with one final question? [QUICKSORT]: No, the honor is mine, thank you. Sure, please do. [REPORTER]: Why should we trust you? [QUICKSORT]: That is the best question you’ve asked so far. My answer is, you shouldn’t. In fact, I encourage people with any similar quirk that can undertake this ‘task of truth’ as i call it, in fact, we have a programme at the consultancy to try and find more people with suitable quirks. Meanwhile, my team of researchers fact check my fact checking, and are prepared to issue recalls of my statements should I be found incorrect, or if a situation changes. They’re slower as they’re without relevant quirks, but we need a system of double checking. Of course, I can only deliver what’s available, I can’t give ‘objective truth’ if there is such a thing, only answers that are already available, so actually anything I find is publicly available for you and the public to find too; I'm just faster at it. I look forward to seeing many more fact-checkers in the world, and hope I can enable that in the future. [REPORTER]: Thank you. End of transcript. https://perdixwrites.net/2020/08/16/mus-6-boku-no-vita-communis/
Family of Kevins order ice cream sundaes, pour honey syrup on them, want refund
Background: Related to me by a coworker. This is at a casino coffee shop that also serves soft serve ice cream and makes ice cream sundaes. On the condiment bar there's a large glass bottle with honey syrup in it for adding to your tea or whatever, along with cream, sugar, etc. It's in an old Torani syrup bottle with a stoppepourer thing and clearly liquid. It's a honey/water mixture, like a nonalcoholic mead. Family of Kevins come in and order 3 sundaes, all different. They each grab the honey syrup container and just dump it on their ice cream sundaes. Like, all over the sundaes. And the counter. They each take a bite of the sundaes and come up the order counter and complain that they're too sweet. They want a refund or new sundaes. This is about $16-$22 worth of ice cream depending on what they got. The refund or free sundaes are denied since they did this to their own ice cream. The Kevins buy all new sundaes, walk over to the condiment counter, and add honey syrup again, but this time not as much.
What do you do if it feels actually real-life impossible to eat right
I just cannot resist. I don't have any discipline or self control whatsoever. It isn't just with food, it's with everything including exercise too. I know I need to do it, I know the long term and short term consequences of not doing it, but every single time, 10 times out of 10, I'll talk myself out of it in the moment or more often completely not think about it at all. If there's something I want I buy it. If someone offers me another drink when I've had enough I take it. If I need to clean or study I don't do it. If I need to exercise I stay in. If there's unhealthy food, I will eat it. Literally 100% of the time, not a single exception on any of these. If there's ice cream, donuts, brownies, cookies, candy, pizza, fries, a burger, anything that's good but high calorie I will impulsively eat it and then literally hate myself ragingly afterward, but I'll still do it again next time. I either talk myself out of it in the moment like i said "it's fine just this once," "It's not worth it to lose weight if I can't eat this," etc. or like I said I'll just think nothing at all and scarf it down. I feel like a 5 year old. I have absolutely no impulse control, discipline, self-control, whatever you wanna call it at all for anything. Zero. I'm the most weak willed and impulsive person you'll ever meet I've tried dozens and dozens and dozens of times to try to get into a regimen of eating right and no matter how small I start it lasts maybe a day at max and then I stop. Then I have a 2,500 calorie sundae and 1,200 calorie burger and 800 calories of fries for one meal out of 3 in a day. It's impossible. Everyone (and I mean everyone, I've never had anyone say anything different) says the solution to this is "jUsT dO iT" and say the more you do it the more discipline you'll build up and soon everything is easy. Saving money, eating right, doing chores, exercising, studying/working, etc. They say once you just do them then it's easy to do the things you don't want to. Everyone will also say to be an adult you have to do the things you don't want to but I can't can't can't. I feel like I have zero control over my body or actions in these situations whatsoever. That's why I say I feel like a 5 year old. (I'll never go to a casino; I think I'd lose every penny I have within seconds.) And it's not like I can just avoid food altogether. First and foremost I work at Starbucks, where I'm literally surrounded my extremely high calorie snacks and drinks and I'll eat and drink *all of them. * I've even tried asking coworkers to hold me accountable and I just ignore them of they try to. It's impossible to stop me. And even if it's low calorie food I'll just eat loads of it because I feel like I can. This feels literally, and I mean literally, impossible. I feel like I have no control over myself at all. I give in to whatever I want in the moment 100% of the time and that's no exaggeration. 100% of the time I'll eat the dessert, stay in instead of going for a walk, etc. Whatevers the easiest thing is what I'll do. I'm ready to just give up for life, it feels like I'm up against an unbeatable force. Tldr: I'm weak willed and eating right is impossible
continuing As I was picking myself up off the shooter’s shack floor, I glanced over to the TV. The ballplayers were all wandering around the field, looking skyward. Evidently, there was this hellacious explosion…even the television sports commentators were speculating as to what happened. Whoops. I looked out into the quarry. The wall that I had charged had receded some 75 feet. There was rather a large amount of shattered, blasted dolomitic limestone now in the quarry. Enough, I found out later, for a full month’s worth of orders. We never did find the blasting mats. I think they sort of evaporated. Luckily, the quarry is essentially an open amphitheater in plan view; basically a big hole in the ground with vertical limestone walls. The shockwave of the blast that didn’t spend itself shattering the limestone into which it was housed, blew out laterally, hit the opposite quarry wall, rebounded, and then dispersed, rather energetically, vertically upward. I set off car alarms for a 20 block radius. There were no broken home windows, as the lion’s share of the shock wave was redirected upward. Good thing there were no low flying zeppelins or dirigibles in the area... I waited the requisite time to allow for any loafers. There were none, so I jumped into the nearest wheel loader and began clearing the quarry floor. Hell, I had to so I could open the front gate. As I was clearing the floor, making pile number eight of the loose rock I had liberated, I heard the characteristic whoop-whoop of emergency vehicles. I parked the wheel loader, opened the front gate, and raised the green flag. That was enough blasting for one day. A few minutes later, three police cars zoom into the site. Two were local city cops, and one was a state trooper. “Hi, guys!” I waved, “Nice day, innit?” “Doctor Rock! We should have known.” One of the local boys groaned. “Hey, I did call you beforehand, as per procedure,” I said. Polack the cop walks up, just knowing I was responsible. “Yeah, but we didn’t figure on you terrorizing the entire city.” “Polack! How goes it?” I asked. The other local cop and the state trooper look to Polack, “You know this maniac?” “Oh, hell yeah. For years. Don’t worry, the good doctor is mostly harmless.” He chuckles. “Damn. OK. I guess everything’s OK. Just no more shooting today, please, Doctor. It’s going to take hours to calm everyone down.” He laments. “Yes, sir. I’m done for the day.” I reply, snickering slightly. The one local and state trooper depart, shaking their heads in amazement. This left Polack to follow me over to the shooter’s shack to mooch a cigar and whatever else he can find. “Jesus Hula-Dancing Christ, Rock. What the hell was that? I was all the way out in Whitewatosa and heard you.” He asks as he sneakily snakes a smoke out of my case. “Just some common chemicals in the proper proportions.” I snicker. “Which were?” he asks. I go in the back of the shed and toss him an empty container of one of the parts of the binaries I used. He catches it, reads the label, and drops it like a live grenade. “Binaries? Fuck! Like what you used at the tower?” he asks. “Yep. I used just a little more.” I reply. “Little more? Damn, as I said, we’ve been briefed on the stuff. This shit’s nasty.” He shakes his head. “Yeah. Fun, too.” I reply. Polack grabs a Sprechler’s Cream Soda out of the fridge as I opt for a cold Cream Ale and shot of potato juice. Hell, I was done for the day, so… We sit around and have a chat, just shooting the shit, as it were. Manly topics, so the conversation eventually steered over to guns. “Hey!” Polack remembers, “That’s right! You fucking owe me. Let me borrow that fucking cannon you carry. I want to show the chief a thing or two.” “Yeah, that’s right”, I agree, “When do you need it?” “This Friday, after shift. It’s the monthly qualifiers for us.” He notes. “Are pyromaniacs allowed in?” I ask. “To observe? Sure. To shoot? Nope. Insurance regulations.” He says. “What time?” I continue. “1800 hours.” He tells me. “I’ll be there. I’ll bring my gun and an assortment of loads. Hey, this could be fun!” I evilly smile. “Doctor. You’re doing that thing again. You’re grinnin’ like a shithouse rat. You know how much that scares me. Stop it.” He pleads. “No worries. Friday at 1800 hours.” I reply, grinning. Polack slurps down his Sprechlers, snitches another stogie, and squeals out of the quarry in a cloud of dense dolomitic dust. I arrive back at our flat, after stopping for two frozen custard Turtle Sundaes, to go. I give one to an appreciative wife and I ask her about her day. “Oh, went shopping with Oma. Got the cutest shoes, and a new purse, and…oh well, never mind. You’ll see.” Between bites of Turtle Sundae, she asks how my day went. “Oh, my dear. I had a real blast.” I replied, not lying in the least. Monday, after my first classes, I’m back in the faculty lounge, savoring a Greenland Coffee. There was the usual instructor chatter when Dean Vermiculari walks in. “Good morning, Dean!” I say. “Care for a sit-down and a coffee?” “Good morning, Doctor Rock. Yes, please to both.” He replies. I fix us both a fresh Greenland Coffee and return to our table. I hand him one and sit down to savor my soupçon. “How was your weekend?” I ask the Dean of the College. “Oh, very nice. Had a fine time catching some perch and crappie out on Lake Genever. I see you had a victorious weekend as well. Twice.” He smiles. “Twice?” I asked. “Well, your handling of the tower demolition made all the papers. Very, very well done, Doctor. I congratulate you.” He smiles. “Thank you, Dean. That means a lot. Just doing what I can with what I’ve got. But twice?” I replied. “It wasn’t front-page news, but I saw there was some, well, let us just say, ‘energetic activity’ out at the Silurian reef limestone quarry yesterday.” He grinned. “Oh, yes. I had a job to do and well, as I always say: ‘Nothing succeeds like excess.” I smile back. “Quite. This beverage you’ve created is really rather extraordinary, Doctor. Again, I thank you.” He tips his mug my direction in the age-old Midwestern salute. “It’s a little recipe I picked up on my last expedition to the northlands. I grew rather fond of the concoction.” I replied. “Ah, I see. Marvelous.” He smiles. “Thank you, Dean. High praise indeed.” I reply. “Which leads me to…ah, Doctor Rock. I have another favor to impose upon you.” He says, all serious. “Yes, Dean? How can I be of service?” I ask. “We, as you no doubt know, have many, many fine extractive mineral company connections. We actually receive quite a large amount of funding and endowments from them. They recruit here extensively for our young geoscientists. Now, since Dr. Pataariki has left for industry himself, I would like to appoint you as the College of Natural Sciences corporate liaison.” He explains. “Indeed?” I replied, too stunned for words for once. “Yes, indeed.” He continues, “It will require travel, mostly domestic, and delivering symposia at various companies on differing extractive geological subjects. You will also serve as host and university coordinator when they are present on recruiting tours. There will, of course, be additional remuneration to accompany the added responsibilities.” I slurped my coffee, thinking furiously. “Could I please first discuss it with my wife before I answer?” I ask. “Oh, Doctor. Of course, of course. Take your time. I will not require a reply until… tomorrow.” He smiles, finishes his coffee, thanks me again, and toddles out. “Yow, Es!” I exclaim, “This is one hell of an opportunity. It’s never before been offered to a junior professor. This will cement my tenure-track. It’s going to be a bitch with time, though. What do you think I should do?” “Well, Rock, honey, I think you should do…” Es begins. “No! None of that ‘do what you think is best’ stuff. I want your own thoughts, just like when I decided to go after my doctorate.” I explained. “OK, then.” Esme looks all serious like she’s going to deliver a bipartisan political speech. “Yes.” She says, firmly “That’s it?” I ask. “Yep. You asked I answered. We’ll make it work. We always do. You can’t let the Dean down. You will accept tomorrow without fear or qualms of your wife’s hesitations, of which I harbor none.” Esme proclaims. “Did I ever tell you of the myriad reasons I love you so?” I ask. The next morning I meet with Dean Vermiculari. He’s pleased that I accept and hands over to me the charter. Then the lists of company representatives, their contact information, and some other secret stuff that I can’t divulge right yet. A raft of oil companies will be coming in the late spring semester, so I need to contact each and every one to solidify dates, times and positions for which they’re recruiting. But that’s for then, I have something more proximal for now. I have a Friday appointment with Polack the cop at the town police shooting range. I arrive spot on time with my Casull .454 Magnum pistol, in its carry bag, along with a small duffel crammed with Pyrodex, Tannerite, and selection of specialty loads I had Herman the German, the inveterate gunsmith, create. Herman the German, his actual sobriquet, was this incredible gunsmith, craftsman, and all-around artillery specialist. Have any sort of problem with a rifle, shotgun, or pistol? See Herman. Gun holding too high? See Herman. Barrel warped? See Herman. Need solid gold projectiles for a certain one-off job? See Herman. Herman the German can sort it out. Just never ask him: “How?” “Ach! I’ve lived so long to learn, and you want it free? I’ll fix it, you pay, but I am only one knowing how!” Herman was a cranky old Kraut, and has lived here for as long as anyone can remember. Even my Grandfather had deferred to Herman when he had some particularly delicate machining operation that need special attention and was unique. As far as anyone knew, Herman had no family, but was never at a loss for friends. He was one of the most popular, and well known, but still oddly really unknown, kind of mysterious, old bastards in the entire community. Herman the German liked me because I could obtain for him certain high-energy things he couldn’t. All were entirely legal, but some were sort of out there in the gray zone. He also liked that I was educated, as he held education in the highest esteem. He also liked that I was of German extraction myself. I often made it a point to drop by with odd and unusual high-octane potables while never expecting anything in return other than a story or a shared cigar. Herman created some special loads for my .454 Magnum, which he prized. “I like your gun, Doctor Rock, it is so big! I can still see well enough to build things for it.” He told me one day over cheroots and Schnapps. Herman was a character to be certain. It must have been the pixie in him to dream up some of the specialty rounds he created for me to share with the local constabulary. He lived out in the county by himself in an old farmhouse. He had a full machine shop in his basement, complete with forge, metal handling equipment, and a firing test range. He handed back my .454, rather solemnly. “Doctor, I am afraid to say I couldn’t test all the special rounds I’ve created for you. I need to patch the hole in the cinder blocks in the downstairs range. Your gun punched right through the back…” he apologized. Now, Herman does all sorts of work on the local’s deer rifles, the police’s ordinance and has even worked some with the Baja Canada National Guard. Some of the little novelties he’s dreamed up for me are the first to escape his homemade basement test range. I felt oddly honored. After proving who I was to the nice range officer, I looked around trying to find Polack. “It’s 1550. Where the hell is Polack? I wondered. “Rock! Over here.” Polack calls to me. He motions me outside to the police department’s tactical outdoor range. I had thought all along he was referring to the indoors police target range. This might pose some problems. The tactical range was a series of clapboard shacks, all setup and designed to represent some downtrodden urban inter-city landscape. There were a couple of junked cars, broken sidewalks, storefronts, houses, bus stops…in short, all things necessary to replicate the seediest sections of a settlement where malefactors live and breed. The cops all run around this range, shooting at bad guy pop-up cut-outs and avoid the not-bad-guy pop-up cut-outs. They’ve got music blaring, firecrackers going off, all trying to re-create a shady deeply urban environment. Points are awarded by the accuracy of fire on the run, time to maneuver the course, and the ability of not gunning down innocent bystanders. It is not the best place to test a .454 Cusall. This hand cannon recoils like a fundamentalist Christian being solicited for donations to Anton LaVey, shoots flames and incandescent gasses like Smaug after a hard night of drinking and a stop at the Taco Bell buffet, is louder than a dime-store Karen demanding to see a Manager, and more powerful than a Ghost Pepper suppository. To quote Joe Piscopo: “It shoots through schools.” Especially faux-schools made of plywood. A .32 or .38 cop special is the correct weapon here; even a 9mm is a little heavy. Enough power to make a serious dent, easy on control, light on the recoil…a good tactical weapon. But, nothing succeeds like excess. Polack’s Chief is running around, capping off his ‘big ol’ .44 Magnum, and making the valley echo. He punches considerable holes in the pop-up cut-outs, but has such a hard time handling the recoil, his score is barely passable. Polack runs his test with his standard 9mm sidearm and qualifies easily. However, he’s nowhere near done with his Chief yet. I suggest to Polack we have a shoot-off. And since a .44 Magnum bullet ‘is so close to a .454 Magnum’, which it isn’t…the .454 Casull generates nearly 85% more recoil energy than the .44 Magnum; that we’d need something other than holes punched in plywood to judge the efficacy of each. We are literally just down the road from Max Yazzer’s farm and market. They’re the place you go for your Halloween jack-o-lantern. However, now, he has a surplus of melons. I think you can see where this is headed… I borrow Polack’s personal conveyance and run down to Max’s farm. I return with a trunk-load of elderly, overripe, cheap as chips, melons. Watermelons, Honeydews, Musks, and Casabas. We place them in strategic areas on the course, five for the Chief to find, and five for Polack. A .44 vs. a .454 melon-wise results in pretty much the same sort of mess: high-velocity fruit spatter. Although, the Chief was very impressed by the report of the .454. So, after running the tactical-melon course, clear demarcation of a winner was elusive. OK, OK, clever dicks. How about this? A standing shoot-off? We’ll set up 3 melons each at 30, 20, and 10 yards. Beginning at 30 yards, your time will be until you take out all three melons. But, they’re not going to be in a straight line, we’re going to make them somewhat camouflaged. You will stand in one small demarcated area, hunt those miscreant melons, and bring them to justice. Fastest time and greatest display wins, as determined by the Police Peanut Gallery. Polack and the Chief agree. The Chief goes first and dispatches the melons, with a fair amount of spatter, in 15.3 seconds. Not bad. Polack is next. He wipes out all the melons and creates some thoroughly impressive displays with Herman’s ‘special’ rounds. Normal ballistics for the .454 are, for a 250 grain (16 g) bullet, a muzzle velocity of over 2,400 feet per second, developing up to 2,800 ft-lb of energy. Herman’s hot loads are double that. Polack wins the day on impressive high-velocity melon distribution, but misses, so close, with a time of 17.0 seconds. Recoil’s a bitch. Then there are Herman’s ‘specialties’. The Chief is duly impressed and even comments that his ears are ringing even with the ear protectors. He asks to inspect the weapon. He is even more than duly impressed. Polack knows what’s up and asks the Chief if he’d like to give a whirl. Of course, the Chief can’t back down. Polack loads the .454 with 5 of Herman’s specialties: hollow-point rounds loaded hot, compressed, and tipped with alkaline earth metals, like metallic sodium and metallic potassium… We set up the nastiest, glorpiest, just barely-holding-together, overripe, laced with Tannerite (an impact-actuated low-explosive) watermelon at the ‘Concealed Carry’ distance of 5 meters. We slowly fade back into the distance to avoid the inevitable ‘Gallagher reaction’. The Chief fires one, and just nicks the top of the melon. Don’t laugh, with the type of recoil and heft of the sidearm, and tensing up in anticipation, it’s easy to be off the mark initially. The second round impacts dead-center. Now, alkaline earth metals and water don’t get along really well. In fact, their relationship is explosive. Especially explosive when delivered at 2,900 feet per second. The Chief catches a huge smattering of vitamin-packed watermelony back blast goo. He’s not entirely happy. He looks positively grisly with all that blown-up melon schmoo on his nice, neat uniform. He returns my gun and bans me from ever showing up at the police range again. Polack is on traffic duty for the next month. He figures it was well worth it. Back at the flat, Esme is shaking her head and wondering if I’ll ever grow up. “I may grow old, but I’ll never grow up.” I reply. I see I have several missed phone calls. Ah, me; no rest for the weary. Back to company-university liaison duties. After I had contacted these companies, I receive no less than 12 requests for symposia, talks, and seminars to be given to various level of industrial scientific employees in their respective companies. I am now slated to give academic conferences on stratigraphy, sedimentology, and seismic structural geology to different companies in Houston, Oklahoma City, Denver, Casper, Corpus Christi, New Orleans, and Tulsa. In the next 12 weeks, I’ll be giving no less than 8 talks in seven cities. I speak with Dean Vermiculari on how best to handle the situation. He understands and appoints two graduate student teaching assistants to handle my classes while I’m on the road. That relieves me of being physically there, but I still have to grade papers, compose lesson plans, and keep things running smoothly until finals. Besides giving the talks, there’s travel to oil fields, production facilitates, manufacturing plants, hotels, restaurants while I’m in town…the pace is excruciating. I’m gone more than I am at university. Plus in my time back home, I’m still the ad hoc master blaster for the limestone quarry. Then, there’s the companies arriving on campus, and the roles are reversed. Now I’m the welcome wagon and have to sort out the logistics of receiving the company representatives. I need to set up the colloquia to introduce the companies to the prospective students, arrange lodging, arrange passes for the university, transportation, “Meet-and-Greet’s, ad infinitum. I knew this was having a bit of effect on me when I came back to the flat after one particularly grueling ordeal of canceled flights, full hotels, missed connections and lukewarm reception by the company workers. “Hello”, I said, as I walked in the flat, “I believe you have a reservation for…” Esme just stood there, wondering if I was having a laugh. No, I wasn’t. I was completely hallucinating from road weariness, lack of sleep, jet lag, and total disorientation. This continued on for the next approximately 18 months. Esme was beginning to have second thoughts about all this. My teaching load was diminished by one whole introductory course. However, I was still flying hither and yon, delivering symposia, meeting with young geoscientists and getting to know the ins-and-outs of the Oil Industry. I found it particularly fascinating. Time marched on and it was once again it was the recruiting season. We had no less than eight oil companies visiting the university in their quest to swell the roster of their junior scientists. I’m still busier than a one-armed paperhanger in a windstorm, but have settled into a groove of sorts. I know the company recruiters and they now know me. I’ve actually struck up friendships with several. Particularly since I take them to the best local restaurants and bars after their recruiting duties are finished. I’ve met with recruiting representatives of Shrill Petrol, Mexxon, Nobil, Nocono Oil, Flug, Geddy, Brutish Petroleum, and Qexaco. The recruiting season is winding down and I find myself with Red (not Adair), of Nocono Oil. “Well, Doctor Rock”, Red states, “Another fine recruiting run. We’ve snagged two of your young geologists and one geophysicist. I’d say it was almost a perfect score.” We’re sitting in the Norton’s Steakhouse. After a couple of prime pink porterhouses, we’re working on the post-dinner double vodka and bitter lemon for me, and Lagavulin for Red. “Almost perfect?” I ask. “Yeah. There’s been this one small nagging concern from our company higher-ups.” Red continues. “What’s that?” I ask. “We need some more senior people. For one thing, we’ve recently opened a new petroleum laboratory down in our Houston office. Going to need some serious talent to run that show.” Red says. “I see”, I reply, “And…?” “We need mentors. Those with varied and far-flung knowledge. They must be well educated, global in experience and stature, with an [ahem] diverse set of skills.” Red notes. “Whew”, I agree, “That’s a tall order. You want my help with names of possible candidates? Is that it?” “Not as such, Doctor.” Red drains his drink, motions for me to do the same, and orders another round. Our drinks arrive and Red downs half his in one gulp. “Well, then”, I continue, “How can I help?” Red chuckles, “For someone so educated, you can really be thick as two short planks at times.” I sit back, and sip my Old Thought Provoker. The mercury-vapors light off. “No!” I say, incredulously. “Oh, yes.” Red smiles. “No?” I ask, slowly taking in the possible effects of what he’s hinting at… “OK, Doctor Rocknocker”, Red gets all serious and corporate, “We’d like to offer you a position at Nocono Oil as Senior Laboratory Manager and Head of Corporate Continuing Education.” You could have knocked me over with a grenade. I was stunned. I fumbled with my drink. “Red, you old con artist” I reply, “Is this a set-up?” Red, serious as a heart attack, looks directly at me and replies, “Doctor Rock, absolutely not, it’s a genuine offer.” He slides over a folder with some papers inside. “Here are the particulars.” Reeling, I accept the folder. I open it and right after the corporate logos and legal bullshit, I see a tall figure with a whole raft of zeros trailing behind it. I read furiously. The job would be both interesting and challenging. It would be in Houston, with travel and teaching at all other company outposts on a regular basis. I reexamine that figure from before and verify that I’m not now hallucinating. The job comes with furnished, corporate-paid housing, incredible benefits, loads of opportunity for advancement, more opportunity to travel, really generous vacation time… “Right. On the level?” I ask again. “Yep.” Red bluntly says. “Well”, I gulp, “you know I have to discuss this with Esme”, whom he’s met several times previous. “Of course, and you probably want to finish out the semester, correct?” red asks. “Oh, yes.” I reply. There would be a monsoon of paperwork and other grunt work I’d need to conclude or hand over if I were to accept this offer. “OK, then”, Red finishes his drink, motions for me to do the same, a real rarity; but I was in another dimension at this point. He orders another round and sits back, waiting on a refill. “You have two weeks to reply” Red states. “I know that’s not a terribly long time, but we need to fill this position ASAP. Can I ask for that? Your answer, yea, or nay, within a fortnight?” Red demands. “Yes”, I reply. “I at least owe you that.” And that was the end of the discussion for the night about me joining the private sector. We stayed a few more hours, chatting, smoking my cigars, and discussing everything but the lumbering elephant in the room. We part outside as I need to head back to our flat. Red wants to go downtown to one of those “Gentleman’s Clubs” he’s heard were so famous at the time. I was flummoxed the whole cab ride home. It was late when I returned, but I simply had to wake Es with the news. “Rock, for pity’s sake, its 2 o’clock in the morning!” Es protests. “Can’t this wait until later?” “Sorry, my dear” I reply, probably as serious as I ever had with Esme. “This is a potential game-changer.” “What is it? Are you OK?” Esme trembles. “Oh, I’m fine. Better than fine.” I reply. She’s relieved. “Then what’s so important?” she asks. “Um…how would you like to move to Houston?” I ask. “You going to teach at Cougar High (University of Houston)?” she inquires. “Nope. Brace yourself. I’ve been offered a job with Nocono Oil.” I finally spill the beans. Esme is slightly stunned and sits down. I go to the wet bar, fix me a bracing potato juice and citrus and Esme a stiff white Zinfandel. I hand her the wine and she is still semi-dazed and digesting the information. I slurp a good portion of my drink, retrieve her Sobranjes and me a cigar from my Turkmenistan humidor. I sit on the couch next to her and hug her soundly. “Esme? Es? Earth to Es? You in there?” I joke. “Oh, Yeah. Rock. Really? Hang on”, she leaves, returning with her housecoat as this might take a little time. “So?” I ask, “Your thoughts. Now! Immediately! Initial reaction!” I try to jar her back into reality. “Well, what do you want?” she asks. “C’mon, my dearest. You know I hate that. No, what do you think? What do you honestly think?” I reply. We both fire up our smokes, and I refresh our drinks. We return to the dinner table where Red’s folder lies. “Es, here. Look at this.” I say, sliding the portfolio over to her. She reads like a hungry man at a Vegas casino buffet. I can tell where she was stopped by something extraordinary. “This is for real?” she asks, “Red’s not pulling a fast one?” “Nope. It’s the genuine article”, I tell her, “He needs my reply within two weeks.” “Rock, Rock…I just don’t know. It’s a lot to process at 0230 in the morning. Let’s go to bed and have a think in the morning. You have the luxury of at least that amount of time.” She notes. “Right again, as usual”, I say, “Stuff it. It can wait.” We toddle off to bed. The next morning, over Cuban omelets and Greenland Coffees, we sort through the particulars. “Rock, it’s an extraordinary offer. But, do you want to leave teaching? I remember how you got all animated by Dean Vermiculari giving you the corporate liaison job and how that would improve your shot at tenure.” She notes. “I just don’t know. I’m still shell-shocked.” I tell her. “Let me go to school and we’ll pick this up tonight. We both have work to do no matter what. Oh, bloody hell. I hadn’t considered your job. Another wrinkle in the mess.” “Don’t you worry about that”, Esme smiles. “One catastrophe at a time.” “I do so love you.” I hug her soundly. “Think I should mention this offer to anyone at school?” “No. Definitely not.” Esme shakes her head. “Let’s figure this out on our own.” “I agree”, I say, kiss her and depart for school once again. The next week was a blur. Recruiting duties were dragging and I was being preoccupied. Even my students noted the lack of in-room explosions lately. I spend the next Saturday at the quarry, doing some small amount of blasting. I quiz the quarry owners about their progress in acquiring a new master for the quarry’s operation. “Oh, Doctor Rock” they gush, “You’re doing such a fine job, we haven’t really looked. Why do you ask?” “No particular reason at this time, I reply, “But perhaps you might want to begin looking” The chinks in my armor were finally starting to show. Sunday was spent out on Sliver Lake, with Esme and me chasing the elusive crappie, perch, and bucketmouth bass. It also gave us a chance to clear our heads from work, school and other such intrusions. We both needed a bit of downtime. Later that night, after a meal of beer-battered fillet of crappie and perch on the barbie, we sit down at the dinner table. The portfolio sits there, taunting us. I get up, makes us both our drinks, sit down and declare that this is it. “Es, darling” I say, “its nut-cuttin’ time. We need to make our decision.” “You’re right.” Es agrees, “Time for risk-reward analysis. Get some paper and some pencils.” We spend the next few hours listing the pros and cons of accepting the Houston position or staying here and pursuing my tenured professorship. After several hours, I stretch, stand, and go to the fridge. I retrieve the bottle of Bollinger Les Vieilles Vignes Francaises I had purchased the other day. I return to the table with the wine and the glasses, pop the cork and pour us both a glass of high-brow bubble water. I hug and kiss Esme like I had just returned from a long, solo expedition. “Esme, my darling. I’d like to propose a toast. First to us. Hа здоровый!” “Cheers!” Esme replies. “Secondly to Red, Dean Vermiculari, the quarry guys, Polack the Cop, and all the others that makes our life weird around here.” “Seconded”, Es echoes. “Finally: to Houston, Texas. Our new home!” I finally add. The next morning, Dean Vermiculari peers over the top of his pince-nez glasses. He’s not looking overly happy with me right now. “Why is it, Doctor, that everyone that receives the job of corporate liaison ends up going with corporate?” he asks. “Perhaps it’s just the exposure to another world that exists beyond academia.” I reply, truthfully. “Doctor Rocknocker,” the Dean gravely states, “I am not at all happy about your decision. We had great hopes for you here and you were riding right up the tenure track. Another five years and it would have been assured.” “Five years is a long time, Dean”, I state the obvious. “Yes, indeed.” The Dean replies frostily. “However, you are young. Perhaps you need to get this private sector nonsense out of your system, then you can return to academia where you belong.” “Perhaps, perhaps”, I reply. “Please, do consider this option down the road. You and your antics will be missed here, by students and faculty alike.” He says. “I will, Dean, I promise.” I reply “However, for now, it’s time for my boot heels to be wanderin’.” “Doctor, I will miss your strange and unique way of looking at life. I reluctantly accept your resignation at the end of the current semester and wish you all the best in your newest endeavors. Please remember us when corporate support for academia is mentioned in your new company.” he says. “I promise you, Dean, I will not forget what I’ve learned here and what you’ve taught. It’s the least I can do,” I reply. “I will never forget my roots.” “All I can ask”, he concludes. He stands to shake my hand. We shake and my audience is over. I resign from the quarry a week later. They haven’t found a new blaster but wish me well on my new journey. I tell them I’m here until the end of the semester, so I won’t leave them high and dry. I tell Polack the Cop about all the goings-on. “Who the hell can I roust for beer and cigars now?” He whines. “Let me know when you get to Texas if they need any cops. I wouldn’t mind trying’ that. Hell, maybe a Texas Ranger!” “A Cheesehead Ranger…?” I assure him I will and pass a box of cigars to him as a parting gift. He gives me a mayoral-signed get-out-of-jail-free card. “Now you can drive that old Harley just as crazy as you want.” He chuckles. “Thanks, Polack.” I say, shaking his hand. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I sold my bike a week earlier. Red was very chuffed with the news. “Snagged me a big one this time!’ He laughed, over the phone. There was enough paperwork, considerations and decisions to be made to last the remaining time Esme and I had in-state until our move. Already, a moving company had arrived, done inventory, and was preparing for our move to Houston. Esme resigned her position and decided she wanted to take some time off. She wanted to be a housewife, a colleague, and not have to work for once at an outside job. My new position allowed for that in spades. Besides with her credentials, anytime when she wants to re-join the workforce, there are myriad opportunities in the Bayou City. We made the choice of housing out west of town, in Katy, Texas. We could have chosen Sugarland, Addicks, Greenspoint, Greenway, or the Memorial area. However, these west Houston company properties were closest to the job and largest in square footage. My students got wind of my resignation and relocation. They threw me an unexpected farewell party at the Gast Haus. It was nickel-beer night and since they were footing the bill, it all worked out just fine. I would miss the old place. The camaraderie, the seasons, the university; hell my home these last many years. I’ve been on many, many expeditions, but I always returned home. Now, home was moving and was awaiting our arrival. Esme and I said our farewells to our families as well. We were the first through college, the first ones to travel international, the first Doctor in the family, and the first to leave the state. That’s a lot of familial firsts. I had to keep reminding everyone it wouldn’t be the last. Hell, we’re just moving to Texas, it’s not like we’re off to Greenland or Mongolia… [Gasp] We saddled up Es’s old Chevy Nova, took one last, lingering look in the rearview mirror, and said fare thee well to our previous lives. “We’ll be back. Someday. I promise” I told the city of our youth and young married adulthood. We decided to drive to Houston because we had the luxury of a bit of time. We needed the stretch to chew over some interpersonal and private things on the way to the next chapter in our lives. Besides, the weather was good, the roads ahead open and clear, and Texas had no ‘Open Container’ law, yet. We pointed the old Nova south and hit the gas. A week later, we’re wandering around our new house in Katy, Texas. Our belongings, scant though they may be, arrived the day after we did. Esme and I spent the next couple of day rearranging the house, buying necessary domestic bits and pieces, and getting to know our new neighborhood. First thing, though, Esme wanted to replace the old Nova. I concurred, but insisted we keep it as a second car and went out to purchase our first new car as a couple. I wanted a Land Rover. We ended up with a glossy black Toyota 4-Runner. Close enough. I was scheduled to show up at my new job the next Monday. I had my own parking spot, complete with “Reserved for Dr. Rock” painted on the bumper block. I was shown my new lab and was introduced to my seven laboratory assistants. I was shown the catalogs I could use to order what I needed and went over the requisition procedures. I was trotted around to meet the company CEO, CFO, CIO, VPs and many, many more company executives and managers. I’ve met with presidents and heads of state, I was impressed but not overly. They seemed like a more or less nice bunch of chaps. Almost exactly five weeks to the day from our arrival in Houston, I come home, yelling “Darling, I’m home!” Esme comes to greet me with a rib-rearranging hug. She tells me to sit at the dinner table, where my long hard day at the office drink, cigar, ashtray, and lighter are already set. “How was work, dear?” she asks, sitting down with her Perrier water. “Oh, it’s going great. The knotheads let me have an open-ended budget until I get the labs sorted just the way I want it. These guys pay their bills on time and I have carte blanche at Wards Scientific, and other supply houses. My crew is great, no interpersonal crapola, and hard workers. I can smoke in my office and no one dares give me shit about my cigars. I’m getting to know the exploration department quite well. They’re really interested in our expeditions and are more interested in my opinions of their new exploration directives.” Esme just smiles and sips her water. “Odd”, I thought. “That’s great, dear.” She says. “I am so glad to hear it.” “Me too”, I say, “How are you holding up after all these weeks alone?” “Oh, I’m getting used to it.” She smiles. And smiles. Beatifically. Glowing. “What?” I ask. “Remember what we talked about in the car on the way down here?” She asks. “We talked about a lot of things…” I say, suddenly my eyes grew very, very wide indeed. “Yes. You’re going to be a father. I’m pregnant, Rock.” Esme smiles.
EM sneaks entire litter into buffet-style restaurant for some free ice cream, freaks out when staff asks her to leave
This happened about twenty years ago, and I'm still a little bit in awe of how it all went down. My fiance (now wife) brought me to the Generic Fat Slob Cafeteria in her home town, and we had just settled down in our designated slop zone to enjoy our meal. There were two exits to this GFSC. One was in the front, past the place where you picked out your entree. The other was on the side facing the parking lot. Most people left via the latter door, as it was more convenient, and because most people are lazy fucks. Present author included. At some point, I noticed a family of about six or seven standing just outside the side exit. It was an Entitled Mom, some indeterminate number of Entitled Kids, and someone who looked like maybe a Entitled Grandma or Entitled Older Aunt. The EM kept poking her head in every time someone left, looking around, and then leaving. I pointed that out to my fiance, and she said "oh, just watch and wait a bit." Apparently this wasn't my fiance's first time at the GFSC. Pretty soon, a largish group left. (Largish in the sense of "many people" not "a group of fat people," although the latter also applied. This was a GFSC, after all.) EM took that opportunity to motion her EG and EKs in through the side door, sneaking them around the soft-serve artery clogging machine and the carbonated liquid sugar dispensers. They sat down at the table across from ours, which the large group had just vacated and- I kid you not, this is literally what they did- started drinking from the glasses in front of them. EM made a big deal out of showing the kids how to pretend to eat off the plates too, but I think a couple of the little ones just grabbed whatever was in front of them and went to town. A short while after, EM decided that they had either marked their territory or put on enough of a show that the staff couldn't possibly suspect anything was going on. And so she made all of her kids get up and walked them over to the sundae station and started pulling on the soft-serve machine like it was a slot machine in that casino she left her kids outside at for three hours at that one time. They trundled back to the table and dug face first into their sprinkle coated booty. About this time, some other patron became upset that their $9-with-$3-off-coupon meal was being trivialized by EM and her brood straight up stealing the choco-twist parfaits and complained. The manager came over and asked to see EM's receipt. And this is what happened (NOTE, the following dialogue is 100% made up since this happened more than two decades ago. I think I caught the spirit of the exchange, though): GFSC Manager (GM): Ma'am, could I please check your receipt? EM: Why do you need to see my receipt? We're just trying to have some dessert here. GM: Just a routine check, ma'am. EM: The waitress lady took it. GM: We don't do that. You're supposed to put it on that little stand there. EM: (censored) you're (censored) how can you (censored) Oh. There it is. [hands GM a receipt that was on the table] GM: Thanks, ma'am. Can I please see the credit card you used to pay for the meal so I can match up the numbers? EM: (censored) you're (censored) how can you (censored) [MUCH more of the same...] GM: I'm going to have to ask you and your family to leave, ma'am. EM: EM: (censored) you're (censored) how can you (censored) [MUCH more of the same...] And then came the one thing I absolutely DO remember about that conversation. At this point, the EG looks up from where she's sitting and asks the GM "Can you get someone to put mine in a to-go cup?" I'll never forget that, because it has become an entry in my wife's and my "matrimonial lexicon." Whenever either of us asks the other to do something that he/she jokingly doesn't want to do, the response will always be "what? do you want me to put it in a to-go cup too?" (e.g. Wife: "Can you make sure you wash my sweaters inside out so they don't fade?" Me: "What, do you want me to put them in a to-go cup too?") GM didn't think it was quite as funny as we did, or his sense of the customer being always right hadn't fully evolved yet. Either way, he basically threatened to call the cops on the family if they didn't leave. By then all the kids had finished their ice cream anyway, so they all waddled out, EM trailing curses behind her. On the ride back to her parents' house, my fiance explained that what we had witnessed was a fairly regular occurrence. It was apparently a well-known fact that you could sometimes sneak in and grab a quick snack at the GFSC. Half the time, the staff didn't even do anything about it. All you needed was a little Entitlement and some grace under fire. tl;dr: Entitled Mom and her entire Entitled Clan sneaked into a cafeteria-style restaurant, sat down at a table, waited until they thought nobody was paying attention, and then went for some soft-serve. Manager confronted EM. EM played the "nuh uh" card. Manager wasn't buying it. EG tossed off a zinger. EF was booted out.
TL;DR: Not another stupid "and then I totally bitched out a Stolen Valor 'tard, yay me! TMFMS" post. Just kind of a vaguely depressed "what do they do now, man?" reflection post. There's little purpose behind this post other than to just vent about something that bothered me. So a few weekends ago me and my spouse go to a BBQ to celebrate a friend's son HS graduation. Great time was had by all, but I had one interaction with a guy that just left me... kind of sad, I guess? Not for me, but for him. So a mutual distant friend was there that we haven't seen in years, and she remarried some years back. The new husband came to the party as well. Seemed like a good dude, little bit of meth-teeth going on from his past but by all accounts a solid provider and loving husband and step-father. Let's call him "Alan". So somebody remembers that Alan was in the Army, and that I am/was, so they point us in each other's direction and make introductions. He was Air Force 1996-2000 as an F-16 mechanic of some type, and then Army National Guard as a tanker sometime after that until 2004. Never deployed, but that's a total non-issue. We can always swap stupid military stories and "herp derp, stupid Private/Airman" moments, right? It's going okay, and our spouses are there just sorta listening and enjoying the chat, happy that we both found another vet bro to talk to. After a while I mention my Iraq time, and he goes into his story about being in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and "and you know how they are". I figure it's about to be "casual racist time", but no it got way worse than that.
Yeah so remember that bombing in Saudi in '96? That was my dorm man, it went up like 3 minutes after I stepped out
So that's terrible! Oddly enough I was in Junior High as a civilian at the time, literally 5.25 miles away when it went boom. That was a horrific night, and I don't immediately discount the story. It's a big moment in my life, so I rattled off some mention about Khobar Towers, fertilizer bomb, etc. Bad time. His enlisting in the AF in 1996 does not immediately discount him being there at the time, although the timing is awfully tight. I'm rolling with it.
After that shit got real hairy there, ya know? Like I'm at Prince Sultan Air Base, and I can't even go to the pisser at night without being strapped and carrying. You go to the shitter and you see all the bullet holes in the walls and you have to be totally dark and quiet or they'll start sending rounds at ya again.
Ummm... say what? Like that's next to Riyadh. Your only danger in 1996 should have been being overcharged for some gold bling at a diamond-encrusted shopping mall shinier than a Las Vegas casino by a smiling guy calling you over with a big salesman smile and, "My friend, my friend!"
So I also was Combat Controller, so you know I also did house clearing ops nearby
So one time me and my guys are just off base, we're in civies but with our M4s hidden with slings behind our backs, ya know? We start taking rounds from a shack nearby, and so we so unstrapped and rush in.
In... Saudi? In 1996, huh? At this point I'm actively listening and was a little checked out but I did interject, "Oh wow, so yeah this is all still on the Saudi side of the border, right?" just to be sure I haven't massively misunderstood a Panama story or something. Yup, it's in Saudi near the air base. *sigh* We continue.
So the terrorists we're chasing had a kid with them
Bruh. This isn't going to a fun place, is it.
And we find the kid, sitting in the middle of a room crying and I yell to all my guys, "nobody touch the kid!" We leave the building, but you know one of my guys just couldn't take the kid crying so he ducks back in to comfort him, and...
Perhaps this ends in ice cream sundaes for everyone?
Must have been a pressure plate or something, because the whole building goes up man. Bastards, you know how they are.
So... a distinct lack of sundaes. I am disappoint. Okay, so anyway at this point it's all just fairly standard. Maybe taken to a bit of an extreme, but whatever. We've probably all met people who had totally normal enlistments, but later had some kind of need to inflate it in bizarre ways. I know that absolutely zero of that happened or even COULD have happened, but that's *shrug* whatever material. But here's the part that stuck with me and bugged me. A bit later him and his wife mentioned a pretty bad car crash he got into near the end of his first enlistment while off-duty that led to serious neck and leg damage. (Shortly before his break in service and later entry into the Army National Guard.) My spouse, a super helpful soul, chimed in with, "Oh my, have you gone to the local VA? DreadBurger gets seen there for everything now, and it's one of the only good ones around". Alan replied with something along the lines of:
Nah, I don't think I can handle that. I mean I never really figured how to deal with all the shit I saw in Saudi, you know? I haven't even shared all the details about other stuff with my wife, I can't really deal with having to talk to some medical strangers and bring it all up again, you know? I mean I have all that hyper vigilance too, damn I even pulled a gun on my step-son years ago when we first got together.
Alan's poor wife is standing there with a sad expression, just nodding her head slowly. Like she's trying her best to be there for her man, and knows there's just too much "Army stuff" that she can't help with but gosh darnit she's going to love him and do her best. And that's what really got me. His stories have gotten to such a point that he CAN'T share the truth with his spouse, he's too far down the rabbit hole. He quite possibly could get some disability or medical assistance, but he can't break open the false memory box now. It's like he's put a burden on himself AND his new family (jesus, a gun at a kid?), but there's just no foundation to it all, at least not military. There might be some real issues and trauma that he does need help for, but for damned sure it wasn't because of a toddler strapped to an IED in Saudi freakin' Arabia. Hell even his apparent Guard time afterwards was fishy to me - he was "a tanker" in a state that hasn't had an armored or mechanized component since the late 80's. We parted ways with a handshake and smiles all around (a bit fake from me), and we carried on with the party. But the whole situation with his wife and kids left me feeling weird and a little bummed about the whole interaction, you know? *sigh* It was a bit of a downer. Where does his internal story go from here? It won't ever be resolved, and nothing can ever get better for him or those around him. Uh, my bad. I'll take a... Whopper, a SONIC Blast, and two Taco Supremes. Wait, what line am I even in? Where's my car?
Amy: My first Short story-feedback will be greatly appreciated
An Ode to the great O’Henry. “Gin and tonic, please”, he hollered at the bartender, seating at the high-top. The tavern is empty, 9:00 PM on a slow autumn Sunday evening. The bartender serves the drink, “You know we close at nine-thirty? I’m taking the last order for the kitchen”. “Am good”, he says, taking a sip. The bartender smiles, “I know you, Nathan-the Accountant, haven’t seen you in a while”. Nathan smiles, with a half-nod, “And you are?”, “The Bartender”, says the Bartender, definitive, “you need anything, you know where I am”. He disappears into the dimness of the aisles. Nathan takes another sip, trying to recall, the last time he was here. It was the night, of his promotion, a month back. He was ecstatic, as drinks were passed around, Barry and Rust, his two best friends, joking about the ruckus he had created the year before, being passed over for the position of Senior Accountant. They ended up sloshed, unhinged, barely making it back to their homes. And today, he made his way to this place, once again, unplanned, unhinged, reminiscing those simpler, happier times. “Last call”-The Bartender is back, “You can stay here for an hour, am counting the register. You do need to place the final order, can’t keep the tabs open. I’m shutting off the lights, you can join me at the bar, if you wish”. Nathan makes his way to the Bar, the Bartender serving him the final drink of the night. “You are not from the South, are you?”, he asks. “I showed up here in July”, he replied “Hmm, Why Covington?”, Nathan asks. “Well, I retired this year, wanted some time off, try something different, keep myself busy. Wanted to explore the world, chose New Orleans as my first destination.”, he replied, his wrinkled face lighting up. I’m on a quest, I will be here as long its takes”, The Bartender smiles. “Well, when and where are you heading to next??”, Nathan asks, curious. “Not confirmed, will be sometime”, he replies with a stoic calmness, “When u have lived enough, you realize that the question is not When, Where, why or even How. You just owe yourself a What, and trust that it’s in the works.” A pause ensues as Nathan absorbs what he just heard. It’s not the words, but the detached, discerning, sagacious tone of his voice, that felt, for a lack better word-brooding. The Bartender continues, “You look confused, and I believe it’s not the where and When that bothers you. It’s the How. And I’m sure you haven’t even thought about the What.” The Bartender explains, “Let me tell the story, of my friend, Amy. She lived in the same neighborhood, where I grew up. In a small town like ours, it was commonplace for us kids spending time at each other’s house. I used to spend my afternoons, playing in the backyard of her house. We became close friends. We used to talk a lot about how our lives would turn out. I was a farm boy, our family was into Soybeans, and that’s how my life turned out to be. But Amy had dreams. She wanted to be an opera singer, she dreamt of a husband who was handsome, rich, owned an RV-trailer, a house with a bar top, where her husband made the perfect martini after a long day of work. She had all figured out. And if it does not work out. We made a pact. In our hey days, we will spend our evenings together, mixing drinks and singing. Her parents never approved her ambitions to become an opera singer. They felt that she should pick a modest profession, a teacher, or a nurse perhaps. The only person she could confide to, was her best friend. We would spend hours in the backyard, as she would sing the famous operas of the time, to the audience of one. My parents loved her, and my Mom would make us Sundae, during those summer afternoons. She was firm in her resolve, and she left, at seventeen, this town being too small for her ambitions. We did not have cell phones, or computers, so the only way we kept in touch was through letters. And it used to be a delight for one of those letters, to show up randomly at the door. She had taken professional singing lessons, and her performances at the mirage in Las Vegas were a big hit. She got married at 24 to this amazingly wonderful gentleman who owned a huge mansion 5 miles from the strip. She was living the life she dreamt of. Over the next few years her letters stopped showing up and I thought, that’s how life is, we grow and our life changes. We make new friends, get busy with our own lives, trying to make by, you know what I mean. I did fondly remember our younger days and felt happy for her. I got married too, settled down in Quad City, Iowa and started a trading business. We lived a pretty fulfilled happy life, had our struggles but overall, I am happy with what life had to offer. During those years I always had Amy in my mind, how did her life turn out. I always wondered that if we ever meet, will she even recognize my face. What are we gonna talk about.”? “Why didn’t you go and meet her?”, Nathan asked, “You had her address, and she was in Las Vegas, performing at the Mirage. It should not have been tough”. “Well, you are right, I should’ve. However, you start missing someone when they are no longer in your life. I did meet her a couple of times when she was in Iowa. She was always on the go. We would meet at a restaurant, spend some time and she would fill me on all the adventures, the wonderful trips her husband treated her to and the amazing gifts she received from her fans. She did invite me a couple of times to Las Vegas, to see her performance. However, time flies by and when her letter stopped coming, I knew that her life had taken an upswing, where her toddler friends, did not matter. My life took a U-turn. My wife contracted cancer at the age of 47, and my priorities changed. Kids had grown up and gone to college and I was left alone to look after her. The doctors tried their best, but the eventual happened. I lost her two years back. I was shattered, felt life had no purpose. The kids would come over sometimes, filling the loneliness, yet life was not the same. And then one day, going through an old album, I chanced upon a photograph of Amy. Suddenly, I felt that I should go and find her. Or at least meet her once, considering the fact that now I had no real motivation to live in Quad City. I boarded a flight to Las Vegas and landed up in Mirage. I talked to several managers, ground staff, Opera conductors who may have been a part of the casino during the 70’s, about Amy, the singer from Quad City, Iowa. No-one seemed to recognize her!! Till I met the owner of a small club far down the strip. He mentioned her name, saying that she was a performer at a gentlemen’s club in the strip. She came to Las Vegas with no money, or means, or the connections that’s needed to survive. She spent nights at the strip club, making enough to support herself, got married to one of the patrons, a good-looking gentleman, with a fierce temper. He was rich though. His neglect and anger issues left her divorced, and at 30, the chances of having a career as stripper was pointless. She ended up performing at the club far down the strip, where she met her second husband, who was a deadbeat biker, living in a trailer. Life was tough for both of them and soon she realized that it’s not going to work out. She decided to leave Vegas with her third husband, a bartender who was banned from the strip for stealing money from the counter. He had multiple convictions to his name. I was shocked. In all the years, in the letters, every time we met, she never mentioned any of this to me. There were a couple of time she did say that it would be great if I could move to Vegas and help her with her career. I remember, telling her about getting married, and right after that the letters stopped coming. I asked the owner, any clue where she could be now? He looked up old paychecks and said that the last one was posted to her in New Orleans. I showed up at New Orleans in July looking for her”. “So, where is Amy? have you found her?”, Nathan could not wait for the answer. “Not yet”, the Bartender said, “but I decided to become a mixologist, so I could work at the bars and hope that someday, she will show up. It’s wishful thinking, but here is the moral of the story. Amy got all that she wanted, a husband who was rich, who owned an RV, and who could make her a perfect martini every day. But they were three different people, unfortunately, and they all did not have the one thing that she never asked for, a caring, compassionate friend who could appreciate her for being what she was. You see, we all get what we want in life, it’s when we go beyond the “What” and start worrying about the “Hows”, “Whys” and “Whens” that we do not value the “What” and trivialize it to material possessions, fame, or superficial realities that we create for ourselves, ignoring our inner calling, and slowly the “What” disappears into the background. If only she had asked the question “What” and not bound herself with the “Hows” and “When’s”, trusting that it would work out. If only her family supported her ambitions and trusted her ambitions without asking her the “Whys”. And “What” she wanted was not in Las Vegas. It was right around her. The appreciation of her own people, an approval of her family, of her life choices and her ambition to become a singer. I know this because, the “Whys” and the “Hows” of her life led her to chase a pipe dream that she could’ve had it in her own backyard. “Do You think you will ever meet her?? what is your “What” now?”, Nathan inquired, as he got up to leave, it was already 10:00. “Well, since you ask, I just want to see Amy once, tell her that it’s all ok. She never told me about her ordeals, out of shame, or maybe out of the fear!! Her family was oblivious to all of her trials. They always thought that she was a singer in Las Vegas. I want her to feel that her relationships with her closest friend is still the same, and he wants her to know that he is ready to honor the pact they made when they were ten”, the Bartender says with a sigh, yet hopeful smile. Nathan heads back home and kisses his wife and kids. The troubles of his evening, he knew was trivial. Life moves on, three months later he shows up at the same tavern. He inquiries about the Bartender, who works no more. He is told that he moved to Avondale, another suburb. As he was heading out, the manager called him and handed a post card. It had an address of a place in Avondale. He drove to the address and saw an RV parked outside a small Tavern. He could hear Pavarotti’s “Parigi o’ Cara” from inside. He went in, and saw a beautiful dame, singing her heart out, with passion and exuberance that could put the singers of today to shame. Glancing towards the bar counter, he saw Nathan mixing drinks, stealing a glance once in a while, beaming with pride and happiness. Amy got all that she wanted, a husband who was rich, who owned an RV, and who could make her a perfect martini every day. And she was an opera singer at her own bar. She got “What” she wanted in life, and the pact of true friendship was honored.
Pony of the Americas National Congress(Expo Square - Tulsa) Thru Fri, Jul 19th Come to the Tulsa Expo Square to see the finest in the POA breed at the Pony of the Americas National Congress. Put on by…
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3rd Thursday in the Park(Skiatook Central Park - Skiatook) Start Time: 7:00pm
🎭 James Charles: Sisters Tour(Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm See you on the road, SISTERS! James Charles, the world-famous makeup artist and digital phenomenon, is coming to Tulsa on Thursday, July 18! In his first...
Pony of the Americas National Congress(Expo Square - Tulsa) 1 day left Come to the Tulsa Expo Square to see the finest in the POA breed at the Pony of the Americas National Congress. Put on by…
Green Country RV & Boat Show(Expo Square - Tulsa) 1 day left Visit the Green Country RV Show held in the River Spirit Expo building at the Tulsa Expo Square for three days of the latest…
Highwood Court Yard sale(2709 Highwood Ct - Claremore) Start Time: 7:00am One Day yard sale, two families. Toys, children's clothes, tools, guitar and instrument supplies, antique furniture, little boy trains.
Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma(Expo Square - Tulsa) 1 day left The Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma at Tulsa Expo Square is the largest summertime home and garden show of its kind in…
Kendall Whittier Mercado(Kendall-Whittier - Tulsa) Twice a month from May to October, scope out handmade goods and unique art on display at the Kendall Whittier Mercado in…
🍴 LaFortune Park Mom/Son Dodge Ball & Ice Cream Social(Lafortune Community Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 1:00pm All Ages $15/mother & son, $5/add'l son Our most POPULAR event! Enjoy a couple of friendly dodge ball games, then cool down with a self-serve ice cream sundae with your favorite little guy(s). Register early! Sign up at location. Kimberly Light (918) 496-6220, [email protected] g [email protected] Like us on FaceBook !
🎭 Rent: School Edition(Theatre Tulsa - Tulsa) Last Day Start Time: 7:30pm
🎭 Rent: School Edition(Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Last Day Start Time: 7:30pm
Rose District Farmers Market(Rose District Plaza - Broken Arrow) Thru Sat, Oct 26th Start Time: 8:00am different music, events, and guests, each week
♪ SHAWN MENDES: THE TOUR(BOK Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:30pm Head to Tulsa's BOK Center to see Shawn Mendes perform live in concert. Hear "In My Blood" and other catchy…
Taste of Summer Ice Cream Festival(Central Park - Broken Arrow) Blue Bell's Taste of Summer event in Central Park is considered a summer staple in Broken Arrow. This ice cream festival…
🏃 Training for Route 66 Marathon or Half(RunnersWorld Tulsa - Tulsa) Join our 19 week training program that has helped 1000's of runners and walkers reach their marathon or half marathon goals. Most affordable ($35) and fun training in Tulsa. This training session race goal is the Route 66 marathon, however, you do not have to do the Route 66 marathon to train with us. We can help you create a training schedule…
Sunday, Jul 21st
Green Country RV & Boat Show(Expo Square - Tulsa) Last Day Visit the Green Country RV Show held in the River Spirit Expo building at the Tulsa Expo Square for three days of the latest…
Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma(Expo Square - Tulsa) Last Day The Home & Garden Expo of Oklahoma at Tulsa Expo Square is the largest summertime home and garden show of its kind in…
Painting Under the Sea(Oklahoma Aquarium - Jenks) Start Time: 4:00pm
Monday, Jul 22nd
I was unable to find any published events for Jul 22nd.
Tuesday, Jul 23rd
American Buckskin World Championship Show(Expo Square - Tulsa) Thru Sun, Jul 28th The American Buckskin Registry Association is holding the annual World Championship Show at Tulsa Expo Square. All classes…
♪ Cardi B(BOK Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Grammy Award-winning Latin rap artist Cardi B head to Tulsa's BOK Center on her summer tour. Hear hits like…
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