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Greater London under Tier 2 from tomorrow, Weds 2nd Dec
London (and the rest of England) will be returning to the Tier system. Initially we'll be under Tier 2 (High alert) along with most of the rest of England. Notable Tier 3 areas near London include all of Kent* and Slough. (*the administrative county, not Bromley and Bexley that still sometimes claim to be in it)
The Usual Stuff
Stay 2m (6ft) away from people that you don't live with where practical, and at least 1m (3ft) away at all times. Do your very best to maintain hygiene, washing your hands and shared surfaces at every opportunity. And of course, you should only do what you're comfortable with. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, even mild, stay home for at least 10 days until you no-longer have a temperature. Get a test through the gov.uk testing website or calling 119. Others in your household must stay home for 14 dayssource. Most coronavirus cases are mild, but if you're very ill, call 111, or in an emergency, call 999 - DO NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with COVID-19. Continue to keep NHS appointments for other purposes unless your clinician tells you otherwise or the government changes the advice.
What are the restrictions?
Almost everything should now be reopening, except for nightclubs. However there are restrictions under Tier 2:
You cannot mix with other households indoors, in any setting, private or public
You can meet with 6 people outdoors, from any households
Pubs and restaurants may only serve alcohol with a substantial meal and will be table service only
Pubs and restaurants must stop taking orders at 10pm although can stay open until 11pm for takeaways.
Other hospitality like casinos or theatres must close at 11pm
Cinemas, theatres, stadiums and so on are restricted to 50% capacity with a maximum of 1000 people indoors or 2000 people outdoors. This does mean football will be allowing fans in again, although ticket demand will likely far exceed supply
You should work from home if you can but go to work if you can't.
Single adult households can still form a (permanent) mutual support bubble with one other household. There are various other exceptions for things like weddings (up to 15 people), funerals (30 people) and in a few other areas. You can read the full Tier 2 restrictions here. You can leave your home to escape injury or harm. If you break these rules you may be fined from £1000 or more, depending on the offence.
Can I visit London now?
Theoretically yes. Many of the typical tourist attractions will have reduced capacity so make sure you book anything you want to do in advance. Many incoming foreign travellers from higher risk countries are subject to a mandatory two week quarantine. Check if your country is on the list.
Can I go somewhere else?
You can travel to Tier 1 or Tier 2 areas. When in a Tier 1 area, you must continue to obey Tier 2 rules. The government advises against travel to Tier 3 areas for all but essential purposes. There are different rules for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We will need to confirm what they are over the next few days.
Face coverings are compulsory on all forms of public transport and in all shops, takeaways, hospitals and care homes. This is a law and you can be fined if you do not comply. You don't need to buy a fancy respirator, instead think about buying or making your own from fabric, or use a scarf or bandana. As long as you wash them at a decent heat between uses this is much more environmentally friendly than disposable surgical masks.
The NHS App
The NHS COVID-19 app is now available. It uses Apple & Google's co-developed bluetooth protocol which does not transmit any of your personal details to anyone, including the government. It's been used as the basis for apps in privacy-conscious countries like Germany and Ireland, and is generally considered safe and secure. The app is particularly effectively in dense urban areas, and NHS England's also includes features to help you check in to venues and get a test. Download it!
Get help or give help
With the short days, the cold weather, and the lockdown restrictions, this is going to be a hard time for everyone.
If you're feeling the strain or just feeling lonely and want to talk to someone the /MentalHealthUK master post is a great place to start.
CMA - Told my former coworkers the real reason I was fired?
Extremely long, please forgive me. TL;DR — CMA for telling my coworkers I was fired because of my mental health? So I used to work as a cocktail server for a casino in my area. Due to my state's regulations regarding reopening nonessential businesses during COVID-19, the casino was only able to reopen for business if it followed very strict criteria; for example, cocktail servers like me cannot run drinks out to patrons on the floor right now, and are instead stuck manning the self-serve soda machines to reduce the risk of customers spreading germs to each other. There are a slough of other extremely important protocols and changes in place, and the tension is especially high among the bar staff - we're only able to serve alcohol at all by exploiting a loophole that says alcohol may only be served alongside a food item, and if we heck any part of that up, all bar staff go back on furlough. That we had already lost all but one senior cocktail (me) and three of our five bartenders wasn't helping, as we were all stuck pulling double and triple shifts to cover the gaps. On top of this, the casino rolled out a few new changes NOT related to COVID-19 - namely, new uniforms: Long sleeved black dress shirts, long black slacks, and a clip on bowtie that necessitated the shirt collars being buttoned all the way up. No variations are allowed - not even neatly rolling up the sleeves in hot weather. It is currently summer where I work, and we've already had several weeks of temperatures in the 90-100 range (Fahrenheit). All black clothes in starchy fabric, with long sleeves and fully buttoned necks, on a job where even the drink station workers move around A LOT. To add to this, anybody in security or food/beverage can and will at some point have to step outside into the full sun to run patrols or grab supplies from the outdoor containers, and the people in the cashier cage are working with zero air conditioning. To further add to the work stress, management has repeatedly caught wind of employees stretching the rules to make their lives easier - cocktail servers having soda or tea behind the counter, or cashier cage ladies bringing in little battery powered fans - and shot every single one of them down. Remember how I said we can't roll our sleeves up? That's another example. We WERE until management decided it looked unprofessional, even when the sleeves were neatly cuffed. TO ADD TO ALL OF THIS, over the last month I have had my six year old cat Izzy diagnosed with terminal lymphoma (and am nursing him through his last few months at home, which includes occasionally giving him an IV electrolyte push for dehydration); have received news that my mother is considering leaving my father due to his alcoholism (he is NEVER abusive, but she can't watch him drink himself to death anymore); and am faced with roughly $2000 in bills and loans that I need to pay off on what was an income of maybe $700 a week. On a good week. I struggle with clinical depression, anxiety, and what we believe may be high-functioning autism. I do have a history of self harm, especially in the last two years. I made the casino very clearly aware of both of these things upon being offered a job. On Sunday (July 5), due to ALL OF THE ABOVE, I suffered a massive depressive episode while in the employees' restroom at the casino, on the clock during a fifteen minute break. During this episode, I noticed there were two extremely sharp exposed screw points sticking a little bit out of the wall in one corner of the stall I was in. I was able to remove myself from the restroom WITHOUT injuring myself, but not before I had to spend five minutes seriously talking myself down from opening my arm on those screw points and another five in a ball on the floor pulling myself back together. I went immediately to the security office and told them what had happened; then (because I am used to these episodes, and because I am significantly harder on myself than I have any right or reason to be) I went back out to continue serving drinks at the self serve. I was shaky, but no longer in a place where I actively wanted to hurt myself. A few minutes into this, my supervisor comes to talk to me. He takes one look at my face and at my hands (which I had balled tightly in front of me, and which were still shaking anyway) and tells me to go home - "Don't worry about the casino, go home, take care of yourself." On my way to the employee locker room - in a hallway only employees are allowed access to - I had a panic attack and went down to my knees again. I was not able to recover sufficiently to prevent EMS from being called, and spent the night in suicide watch. When I was discharged, the doctors ordered me not to return to work until Thursday (July 9). On Wednesday (July 8), I received a text from one of my managers asking me to please call the head of HR. There was no warning and no explanation as to why (I later learned she had no idea why, either). As it turns out, I was asked to call HR so that they could fire me. They had my phone number on file; there was no reason they could not have called me themselves, instead of essentially setting up an ambush. I have had no history of behavioral or work complaints, barring one customer who got mad because I wouldn't give him drinks five minutes after the casino had shut down for the night. I have never been called in to discuss my work ethic or habits, and I have never been spoken to about my behavior or demeanor. Just the opposite: Even up to the day I went on suicide watch, my managers and supervisor raved about how much of a help I was and how grateful they were to have me on board. HR officially listed my termination as "at will" - basically the common label for terminating a part-time employee who just doesn't quite fit in with the rest of the crew. However, not only was I full-time and off probation - something the casino's own handbook says PROTECTS AN EMPLOYEE from at will termination - but the timing and lack of corrective history prior to my termination make it very clear that I was fired due to my mental health. I was not spoken to prior to the termination. In the state where I live, mental health is considered a disability, for which employers are not legally allowed to terminate employment if they have prior knowledge - which, again, I made sure the casino did. Beyond that, mine is only the most recent termination since we came back from furlough that could only be called "shifty" at BEST. We have lost ten other employees before me under questionable circumstances - in one case, my previous supervisor was terminated two weeks ago and nobody seems to be able to tell us WHY. I had already been considering reporting the casino for shady and downright unhealthy practices, though I hadn't told anyone. After I had turned my stuff in, I went around to all my coworkers around the employee area exactly WHY I had been terminated. I did this knowing and fully hoping that it would encourage more of my coworkers to walk out. I still plan to report the casino for shady business practices, and am considering filing a lawsuit against them. CMA, reddit?
Update notes: finished adding all the bridges, added a link to photos. I will try to format everything to be a bit nicer and/or make a copy at another location that allows for easienicer formatting. As requested by raleighspritely in the other bridges thread, this post is intended to help generally newer riders figure out specifically how to get onto each bridge in each direction, where all most of the exit options go and any other weirdnesses each bridge may have. I'll assume you know roughly where you are and roughly how to get to each bridge. Some are easy to find the entrances for (Burrard), some are weird (Cambie, southbound) and some have entrances a long way from where the cars access (Golden Ears) so if they're super weird I'll try and give you more specifics. Photos from the day showing most of the bridges: https://imgur.com/a/RvTUs0V (missing: 2nd Narrows, KSB, Canada Line, Arthur Liang) And now to talking about crossing bridges! Granville - follow the instructions for Burrard or Cambie If you insist on using the GSB (don't) SB access is easiest via Howe St and NB access at 5th & Granville Burrard Easiest to get onto IMO as the access is right at the ends of the bridge
South Bound: connection is at Pacific & Burrard, SW corner. From Beach Ave your options are up Thurlow from the east end of Sunset Beach or just along Pacific from the west end of Sunset beach
as you get to the south end of the bridge @ Cornwall you can:
go right to Cornwall & Cypress
go straight, across Cornwall
then right onto Yew
more straight to Burrard & First where you can go up Burrard St
left @ Burrard & First towards Granville Island
North Bound: connection is at Cornwall & Burrard. You can also hop on the bike lane easily at 1st & Burrard
as you get to the north end you can:
right to Hornby & Pacific
across Pacific then left onto Pacific towards English Bay
straight & up the hill along Burrard to Drake, Burnaby St, Davie St
Cambie Going southbound on Cambie is super weird to get to unless you're already on Nelson St
South Bound: access is on Nelson St @ Cambie St which downtown is running almost perpendicular to the bridge. If you're coming from the northeast you can connect via Beatty
the main exit will take you to Olympic Village Station
If you cut off early (through the flexibarriers) you can pop up Cambie to go left/right on 7th
If you stay till the station you can hang a hard left at 2nd to cut under the bridge and go to Olympic Village
or cross 2nd and take Heather St south
or continue along 2nd briefly to find yourself on Seaside Bypas
North Bound: access is at Cambie & 2nd by the VPD headquarters on 5th. It's that weird intersection of numbered streets you thought were parallel but also manage to intersect
veer left takes you onto what is technically a pedestrian only way that connects to Pacific Blvd EB, yield to pedestrians.
right takes you onto a hairpin
first right connects you to Cooperage Way/Marinaside and basically the Seawall
second right will take you up a short ramp and connect to the Smithe St bike "lane" which can be used to connect to Pacific WB, Richards or all the way up the hill past Burrard & Smithe
Lion's Gate North Bound:
climb the Causeway through Stanley Park, it's not too bad especially with the "new" fence
do a 1/2 Stanley Park loop and as you go around the right turn at what you'll think is the top of the hill you'll see a road to the left with a gate, take that and turn right when you hit the causeway
watch for the little chicane just before the bridge
descent down the north side of bridge can be a bit rough & bumpy
when you get to the north end stay right and go down the little road
if you go HARD right when it levels out you can connect to
the Spirit Trail east bound
Taylor Way which will take you to Parkgate, hang a left at the mall and you can connect to the trail over to Ambleside
if you go roughly straightl/left it'll connect onto Marine and along to Capilano
once you're back directly under the bridge, there's a ramp up the west side of the bridge going north, take that, it'll open up and hang a hard right to turn to face south
on exit at the pumphouse(?) you can
you'll come across a road to the right, taking it will get you to Park Dr just before Prospect Point
continuing straight takes you along the Causeway and connects onto Georgia ST
hang a 180deg right, then you can either:
cut under the bridge to go back north
go left up a fairly steep, narrow paved path to Prospect Pt
Second Narrows/IronworkersThis is one of the weirdest/awkwardest, particularly at the north end North Bound:
access is at Cambridge & Cassiar. You can connect up via Cassiar from Adanac or Bridgeway St & a small path if you're coming from Portside
as you turn right off Cassiar onto Cambridge take the small path to the left, follow the path down, along and up and it'll take you straight onto the bridge, yield to oncoming people
alternate access is a path off the left side of Fellowes st. It connects closer to the bridge deck but IMO isn't worth taking
as you round the right turn of the ramp you can:
go left at the pedestrian controlled crosswalk and
cross Main to go west to Phibbs, A&W etc
hard left onto the bike path parallel to Main and connect to the WB bike path on Barrow st
go straight and connect to Dollarton, Old Dollarton
left on Old Dollarton then onto Riverside or Seymour River can be used for getting to Seymour Parkway, right goes up to Seymour, left can connect to Cap U
straight on Dollarton can be used for going out to Deep Cove
South Bound Access is here basically across from Phibbs. Many ways to get to it, but you've gotta get to that spot to go south. Exiting: takes you down through the trees, watch for the pair of switchbacks. You'll end up at the bottom of Skeena St.
right takes you onto the Portside bike route
left takes you up Skeena through the tunnel
turn right across the crosswalk as you exit the tunnel takes you onto the path you may have used for getting onto the bridge NB, go left to connect back to Cassiar
continue up the hill gets you to Skeena & Cambridge
it's 6 of One, Half a Dozen of the other if you're going south
Arthur Laing I regard this as an "experts only" type bridge that I wouldn't recommend to anyone not comfortable with riding in fairly close proximity to cars. There's no separated lane and just a narrow shoulder. That said, I don't feel unsafe on this bridge for some reason, but that might just be from riding it a bunch and being used to riding next to cars. Anyways, onto how to get on/off: Southbound: access is via the car ramp at where Marine & Granville all come together in a 6 lane clusterfuck that was meant to be the highway through Vancouver. Normally I access coming off NW Marine, onto the clusterfuck, pick up speed down the hill and (with a lot of shoulder checking) get across the right most lane onto the ramp. Go up the ramp and stick to the right. Exiting: things get dicey/exciting. You'll be crossing roads at speed so be shoulder checking.
Just before the car exit (and right before the overpass) you can dive right onto a pathway
going right, then right again is probably easiest for most connections here
this path can be used to go around McArthurGlen and connect to Grauer Rd and then onto Templeton to Iona
take it to connect to Airport Rd and the bit of mess of trails and eventuall down to Russ Baker Way
1st Car Right: Russ Baker Way, takes you around an off-ramp, will take you SB and connects to No2 Rd
cross Russ Baker exit (watch for cars exiting), keep going along, you can go right on Templeton and go out to Iona Beach
North Bound: you can either access off the paths off Airport Rd here or by riding north along Russ Baker Way and basically sticking right and following the signs to Vancouver. Exiting: again a bit dicey with some potential lane crossing
Sticking right takes you left and onto Marine WB/Granville
If it's not too busy and/or you brought your sprinter legs, you can hammer and cross lanes to go left at the first light and connect onto Marine
If not, carefully get to the right and make your way up to cross at the same light.
crossing over (carefully) to the left ramp will take you right and onto Marine EB. You can take your first right and go down Oak St, left on Kent Ave S and eventually connect to Cambie St. I don't know if I've taken this route more than once or twice so YMMV.
Pitt River This is one of the nicest crossings. All the recently built (or updated) bridges are really, really nice once you're on the deck (Pitt River, Port Mann, Golden Ears + Ironworkers post update). The cycle/pedestrian lane is on the north side of the span and is nice and wide. Access on the west end requires crossing Belfast Ave/Fremont Connector that loops under the bridge. Since access is all for the one side crossing my instructions are written for West->East travel but basically just do them in reverse for East->West. Coming from NW (Trabouley Poco Trail/Deboville Slough), you do a couple zigzags and hairpins and crossing Belfast St but you can see your target the whole time so this bridge is honestly one of the easiest to get onto. Coming from the SW, you go under the bridge parallel to the Fremont Connector then see the access to your left. If you were to keep going on the path instead you'd eventually end up at Deboville Slough. East end of the bridge drops you in Pitt Meadows. As you exit (eastbound) you can immediately do 180deg turn left to get onto the trails. Another left at the river to go south, north and you can make your way out to Pitt Lake on the trails. To access the trail parallel to, and on the south side of, Lougheed Highway take the left at the river then left again at Ferryslip Rd. If you go straight Old Dewdney Trunk Rd is a pretty nice ride towards Maple Ridge. Golden Ears Alright, this one is possibly the most difficult unless you know exactly where to go, partly because they're a long way along the bridge from where cars access. The Southbound Access is at 113B & Airport Way (Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows). The northbound access is at 100A Ave & 201St (Langley) Southbound
You can access the SB access either from Airport Way (coming from the west) or along Maple Meadows Way (coming from the north by Meadowcentre mall). If you're coming from the north or east you go west at the 113B roundabout, cross the road, then left at the second roundabout and hop into the bike lane. If you're coming from the east hang a right at the roundabout and hop into the bike lane.
The SB exit involves a rather fun ramp down and drops you in an industrial area. Unless you're going east, my recommendation is work your way west until you get to 98A & 192, cross to the far side then hop on the GoldenEars Greenway.
Northbound Access is at 100A Ave & 201St. You go up the multilevel round ramp. Your exit will basically be the aforementioned 113B roundabout, you can go straight through it to get onto Maple Meadows Way towards the mall, right will change into 203St as it turns north or go left and west towards the airport. Canada Line Bridge This one is on the side of the Canada Line bridge section between Marine & Cambie Station & Bridgeport Station. North connection is on Kent Ave S @ Cambie. However you have to go east from Kent Ave N & Cambie to turn south to get onto Kent Ave S and access the ramp. If you're coming down Cambie, hang a right on Kent Ave N. South Connection is at River Road and Van Horne Way. If you're going North then east, my recommendation is take Cambie north, then cut east at 59th. Kent Ave N between Cambie and Ontario sucks butt and cars are frequently impatient assholes on that section (it's also rough, needs a repave and has a lot of rail tracks). If you're going north then west you can go west on Kent Ave N and then right on Heather before climbing a bit and taking the westbound route of your choice. If you're just going north then Cambie, Ontario & Heather are all pretty good choices with Ontario & Heather being quieter. I can't remember how all of Heather's crossings are since I haven't ridden it past 59th in years. If you're going South, you can go:
west along River Rd towards the casino & Bridgeport Station
continue SW around the clusterfucks that are Bridgeport Rd, SeaIsland Way and you can return to River Rd and hop onto a gravel trail that you can take pretty much all the way to Steveston
south on Van Horne way to eventually connect onto Garden City Way. This route is about 95% bike lane but theres a one or two spots where taking the sidewalk is unfortunately the prudent choice (I think the south side of Sea Island Way for ~50m) before the bike lane reappears.
east on River Rd towards Shell Rd. If you take Shell Rd far enough south there's a gravel trail that you can use to get to Hammersmith Gate, Horseshoe Way and across to Rice Mill Rd where you can find the Massey Tunnel Shuttle (this is my quiet route to the ferry, my fast route is to hammer south on No5)
Formatting is becoming a pain because this is getting long. Sorry! Port Mann This one is like the Pitt River Bridge in that the pedestrian/bike path is only on the north/east side of the bridge deck. West access is where the Port Mann passes over United Boulevard and where Unite intersects the Mary Hill Bypass offramps. If you're coming off the bridge you can go south/west on United and eventually work your way over towards Braid Station. If you go east on the Mary Hill Bypass you can connect to the Traboulay PoCo trail, Argue St and work your way up to the Pitt River bridge. There's also a mess of trails in and around Colony Farm but you're on your own for that :) East access is a ways up a pretty decent hill at 152st/112Ave by Dogwood Campgrounds. If you're going north/west, the signage is good. Just don't take the overpass over the highway. How you get to 152/112...up to you. It's a big grid! Alex Fraser Ok, this one is another bit of a mess in terms of access. I don't think this one is technically unidirectional like the others, but I recommend riding the same way as cars are travelling and this guide will be based on that. Careful on the deck, there's a bunch of spots where you have to dodge the bases of signs and other spots where the path just shifts left/right. Southbound: You've made it over the Queensborough or come in from Richmond. You've made it onto the Annacis Channel bridge and are approaching Annacis island. You'll see a bus-stop on an island, you want to get there (if not busy, drop the curb & cut across, otherwise there's a crosswalk to use), take the crosswalk that goes parallel to the bus-only section of intersection, onto the sidewalk on the far-far side and then left and you'll see the path onto the bridge. You'll get dropped off with the choice of left or right. Left takes you towards HWY17, River Rd which are the two options for getting to the ferry (take River, it's quieter and only marginally slower). Right will take you under the bridge, and after you go past Planet Ice you can go left towards River Rd east, right-then-right to get onto Nordel north/east or just right for the Delta-South Surrey Greenway. If you're trying to get to South Surrey, go as if you're going up Nordel, get over the overpass, then take the trail that cuts back to the right. This is the North Delta Greenway and is superior to the DSS Greenway in basically every way including being WAY smoother (I ride it on my carbon road bike on 25mm tires). North Bound: Starting from Planet Ice, take the path up onto the bridge, ride across, question why you're out here and didn't just take the Massey Shuttle to get home faster... At the north end of the bridge, you'll end up next to the Annacis exit ramp. At the end of it, you want to take the small crosswalk onto the island with the bus stop, across Cliveden ave onto the island on the far side, then across another little crosswalk onto the path and hang a left. Stick to this path, you'll go back over the Annacis Channel and find yourself at a zig-zagging ramp. At the bottom of that you have the options of:hard right: path through to Hamilton Highway Park where you can take an overpass towards River Rd left then right: onto Boundary Rd then Dyke rd, you can use this to get over towards Westminster Highway via Fraserwood Way. left then left (generally recommended): take Boundary Rd north. At Boundary & Boyd you can go right to the Queensborough or left onto Westminster Hwy which you can use to get all the way to Richmond or to connect to River Rd Queensborough because New West is at a 45deg angle I'll be using "up/down and top/bottom" for this bridge because it's effectively a hill. Top is 22nd St station end, bottom is Queensborough Landing. The top connection is just below 22nd St Station. If you're coming from 22nd St station just take the bridge down, it'll drop you on Boyd St. Left takes you to QB Landing. Right takes you to...not a lot. It's narrow, you'll probably have to slow down a bunch as you pass people. If you're coming from Market Crossing area or New West (both via Marine Dr) I recommend taking the "up" side of the bridge down because it has about 1% of the traffic the "down" side does. To get to it, the access is the ramp on the "cars up" side of the bridge. Otherwise, you can use the ramp on the "cars down" side to connect to the "down" side. Either way as you're going down, watch for the hairpins at the bottom! If you're going up and heading to downtown New West take the "up" side. Head east along Marine/Stewardson. You can eventually head right down a side street to get to S&O because that's why you're in New West right? If not, you're at S&O now. Best way to get through to the rest of downtown is via the Quay. If you're going up and heading to anywhere else take the "down" side and go all the way to 22nd St Station. Right and past the station connects to 7th Ave across New West. Left you can use to get onto both Marine Dr or Marine Way to go west to Market Crossing, Big Bend, Glenlyon, River District. Straight turns into the BC Parkway and travels under the skytrain past Edmonds, Royal Oak, Metrotown stations. Knight St Recommendation: if you can, keep going west and take the Canada Line Bridge. This bridge was NOT intended for cyclists at all as you're about to learn and this section may get a little rant-y. Northbound:
Access is off Bridgeport. Technically you're not supposed to ride on the roadway, but the sign for that is so late onto the bridge you have to know this in advance unless you want to stop and lift your bike over the concrete barrier.
That said, assuming you knew to get onto the sidewalk somewhere at the start of the on-ramp before the barrier begins (it starts at a crosswalk and there's no curb cut), you'll be riding on a pretty narrow sidewalk with barriers both sides. It's rough.
You'll eventually get to an off-ramp, this is Mitchell Island. You'll need to take the crosswalk across to the left. The cut in the barrier is super narrow. Cross the island, drop the curb (again no curb cut) and cross to the next section of sidewalk. Continue north.
Next spot you'll get to gives the option of a crosswalk to the left, riding straight into a post in the middle of the path, or dodging the post and continuing straight/veering right. Go right, this takes you down to Marine Dr.
At Marine you'll find signs pointing to the Kent, Inverness & Borden bike routes
Kent involves following the path to the right and taking your first right
Inverness involves taking the couple crosswalks and getting across Marine, going under the KSB overpass, hop back on the sidewalk after the bridge and follow the signs up to Inverness
Borden I've never done, but I think involves getting across Marine, then taking the sidewalk east to the first street north
We need to kick this recap off with a moment of silence for Sumit’s fandom. We tried, friends. We celebrated this May-December romance like it didn’t have a calendar at all. We hoped Sumit would be a sweet insecure guy with mommy and daddy issues and a slight lying habit, instead of a married man turning a trusting older woman his mistress, after she fully abandons her life. I’m pouring out some liquor for my dead douchebag detector. Fuck you, Summit, for real. And now, for the actual show! Paul and Karine are admiring their gorgeous little baby, Pierre, and are trading peaceful promises through the intimate medium of a translator app. Paul still hasn’t bothered to learn any language, and Karine accidentally sloughed off her English skills when a human torpedo rocketed out her body. They agree that it was a good idea for Paul to consume the entire glass of shut the fuck up Karine left out for him, but Karine is worried there won’t be any left for their future. Paul’s response is to unleash his Joker laugh on his defenseless little cub. “Who do you think he likes more?” Paul is curious about the opinions of a recently released blob of flesh with a still developing cerebral cortex. “I mean, you provide the food, so…” “Please wrap t-shirt over your face now,” responds Karine, having discovered English anew. Paul’s mom is coming, and Karine is uneasy about entertaining her in-laws while her stitches are still healing, and worries she’ll be forced to explain why he’s rocking back and forth and talking to himself in the doghouse. But this is Paul’s mom, and none of these things faze her. She arrives heavily bathed in her and Paul’s signature scent, DEET, and greets Karine warmly and tells her that she’s pretty, to which Karine responds, “It’s makeup.” Oh honey, take the compliment. “You seem like a wonderful mom, and you tolerate Paul, who legally isn’t allowed to re-enter the country, or be within 500 feet of the family home,” Paul’s mom says, and Karine delights in knowing they’re on the same page, and that Mother Paul hasn’t asked her to take a paternity or STD test. On to Laura, who is wearing capris, the official pant of Florida. She wants to talk to Liam, who has apparently been protective of Laura since she divorced his dad thirteen years ago. Liam is avoiding socializing under the guise of jetlag. When Laura presses him about it, Liam confesses that it “isn’t his style.” It’s not about you, Bratty McBratterson. Put on your four-gallon hat and best airport blanket and go see what a three-day wedding in Qatar looks like. Liam says that Aladin is just like Laura’s other men. “He won’t let you talk and he’s controlling, in a way that’s different from how I’m controlling and won’t let you talk. Then after awhile you’ll come back and proclaim yourself an independent woman, and who has to pick up the pieces?” Then Liam offers his best explanation for his angst: that it’s odd watching his mother choose romantic relationships over him over and over again. Molly’s daughter, is that you in there? Blink if this is a Get Out scenario, and I’ll get a camera with a flash. Laura is upset by what Liam said; not because she’s given it any kind of actual thought, but because it’s going to humiliate her and Aladin. She tells Aladin what’s going on, and he says he’s going to talk to Liam man-to-man, which is a great head’s up that extra popcorn will be required next episode. Laura throws her capris in the fire before they can infect the others, and puts on a beautiful blue dress, to share a cute dance with Aladin and his jubilant friends and family. Sorry Liam, that looks way better than HBO in a hotel room, unless you’ve got a whirlpool tub and heated bed and snack fridge that didn’t make it into the scene. Then we transition over to Corey, who has a full pass until further notice on account of familial death. He’s in Washington watching his mom take down the Christmas tree. She’s a lot more bathed and a lot less babbling than a lot of us would be in similar circumstances. He talks to his mom about a possible marriage proposal, and she suggests that he go back to Evelin and try. A more selfish mother would have seized the opportunity to insist he stay in Washington with her, but she genuinely wants Corey to be happy. Grieving mom score: 10+. TLC knows we’re going to need some emotional recovery, so they open the idiot incubation chamber and wipe the crust of disbelief from Tiffani and Ronald’s eyes. They’re driving to a hospital, sharing romantic Tourette’s as a substitute for actual conversation. “I love you.” “I love YOU.” “You’re my favorite.” “You’re MY favorite.” “No you hang up first.” “No YOU!” Ronald is worried that the public hospitals are too awful to consider as a birthing option, and so he’s busy doing nothing about it. They could always import a midwife and plastic swimming pool for the occasion, which seems a more comfortable option than Karine’s screaming agony marathon, or Libby having to bite a leather strap for Andrei. Anyway, so the producers must have arrived at this hospital early and slipped the administrator a hundred to scare the living shit out of Tiffani. When the duo walk through the doors, she greets them with the peaceful smile of a well-compensated woman. “This was a stable years ago, before that fire where all the horses died. It’s a birthing room now,” she begins, slow walking them through every empty, gloomy corridor. “Our rooms are divided by clear plastic sheeting, so you can catch the blood splatter and placenta of your neighbor between contractions. You might not have a doctor, or a bed, but we have this floor, which usually isn’t slippery from spilled entrails. We also have these machines. They’re not plugged in and don’t work, but if you give the homeless man in the waiting area five dollars, he’ll stand behind one and go beep beep beep, if it will make you feel more hospitalized. Unless one of the other stables is using the beeper. Then you have to just die, like the horses.” The hospital administrator winks at the producers, who slip her another 50 for her efforts. “I didn’t think it was like this anywhere,” says Tiffani, who is still spitting out granules from all those years with her head in the sand. “I’ve never been to an emergency room and never saw that sad Sally Struthers commercial about Ethiopia. I’ve also never seen sleeves on my shoulders, and what is this strange object in my hand that scribbles come out of?” “A pen?” The producers ask. “Oh! Is that on the internet? If I put it down will it write back? HELLO PEN CAN YOU HEAR ME?” Ronald insists that he’ll find the money for a private hospital. I’m glad he said this, because we hadn’t heard the words “gambling addict” this episode yet, so when are people supposed to drink? Tiffani explains that needing money is a really big trigger for Ronald, and I wonder what Tiffani’s world would be like if she worried as much about her child being alone in South Africa as she worries about Ronald crashing into a casino to be chased by vengeful money gods. Finally, we transition to India, where poor Jenny poses alone. The producers have been on deck for every toilet flush and awkward road barber argument, but somehow they manage to miss a swarm of hostile Indian family members descending on their apartment like a swarm of locusts, before disappearing Sumit. Jenny gives a riveting play-by-play: Sumit got a text message and expressed alarm. He went downstairs, and came back with his father-in-law, who introduced himself to Jenny. Said father-in-law then called other family members, who came rushing down to find him. Jenny then learned that Sumit has been married for two years. The whole family showed up and smashed Sumit’s shrine, and Jenny tried to pull Sumit into the bedroom to hide with her (I’m confused). Sumit’s mother snatched him back and braced to give him the shoe beating of his life, so Jenny bolted for the bedroom alone. They demanded to know if Sumit loves Jenny, and he said he does. I feel sorry for Jenny, and for Sumit’s legal wife, who didn’t ask to be another person’s curse. To add insult to injury, she gets humiliated on television, since her husband chose to announce his affair with everything shy of a marching band. The whole family left with him, threatening to put him in jail. Back in the 90DF present, Jenny calls this season’s MVPs, Christina and Jen, to let them know she’s going to need a raft to paddle out of this river of shit. She tells them that Sumit is married, but he doesn’t want to be married and the whole thing was arranged. When did she learn this trivia, if she found out he was married when the FIL arrived? This is not usually the sort of thing you shout when your whole family is slated to arrive and kidnap you. Christina points out that Sumit put Jenny in so much danger, and that he knew getting married was never possible, and still he talked her into coming there. THANK YOU. I’m guessing Sumit’s quiet plan was to tell Jenny the truth and then flee to America, but who knows what he was thinking between earnest-eyed takes. Jenny tells them she doesn’t know what she’s going to do, which means that even with this knowledge, there’s still plenty of time left for additional bad decisions. Next week, Jihoon’s future inmate status is explored, and Corey announces his return to Evelin, who looks like she’s going to cry not-happy tears. Sumit is in trouble, and describes marriage as “worse than jail” because he’s never seen the inside of an American prison, and Aladin and Liam square off in Battle of the Hats.
Part 1 if this linking business worked out Transferable life skills. Team Work. Leadership. Communication. That sort of stuff. There are things you learn or can learn that can be used in virtually every living situation you end up in. Obviously most of those aren’t directly relevant to being trapped in a weird invisible wall thing surrounded by dancing oozy slime things with appendages most likely evolved to stick down your ear and tap out a dissonant rhythm directly on your ear drum. What should be applicable is my keen strategic insight. Many a silly AI has been lacerated in both Close and Pyrrhic Victories by my brilliant moves in Total War: Warhammer 2 and its totally reasonable number of DC modules. This was my moment. My time. The cage will be escaped, these Slug Creatures stand no chance before my heroic might, they are basically big slugs that will be icky to squish but worth it for trapping me in this Mime style prison. My hands, possessed of large, almost Renner-ish knuckles, hammered on the invisible walls as my fearsome warcry, only a touch shrill, echoed around the dark cavern. Such was my furor, some amount of dust must have been stirred up, causing my eyes to slightly water. After a few minutes I gave up. Slumping to the floor, my hands a little tingly from the feedback of whatever this….force wall thingy was. I choked back my sobs and rubbed my nose on my sleeve. That was when I heard it, like a tiny little whisper of a wail, utterly dwarfed by my own enunciations. The Slugs were quivering and wobbling so much you’d think they were a victim of Big Dave in junior school. They were slowly sloughing away, leave behind a thing veil of mucus. Must have been a dozen or so of them, half of them looked to be moving in weird circles, their distorted limbs...clutching? Rubbing? Stroking?....lets go with clutching. Clutching their beady little eyes, which I can now see are attached to smaller storks also placed seemingly randomly on their, frankly, gross forms. The time for action had passed as I stay slumped on the floor. Sure, it hadn’t been my best moment and I did seem to be stuck, a quick wave of the arm confirming the weird wall thing was all around me and conformed to the whitish line on the ground. Super weird that it wasn’t a circle, as a shape it could best be described as a rhombus drawn in one line by picasso on drugs. Half of the Slugs seemed to have composed themselves and huddled into a gross pile, a mix of grey and brown bodies with liberal coatings of ooze. The other half of the slugs, the ones that were clutching their eye stalks seem to have collapsed on the ground, where they flopped back and forth like a centrist politician. The Slug pile….seemed to be having a debate or something? It was a tiny series of shrieks any more, more of a rasping. It seemed that they each had a mouth, probably a good size to each a regular slug back home, set seemingly at random on each body. One had it at the top of his sluggish head, another seemed to have one of its limbs serving as a tongue. Wait…..back home. This isn’t home. WHERE THE HELL IS THIS?! Calm. Calm. This is the coke throwing incident at the math teacher thing all over again, acting out didn’t help you then and doing it now has made a gross pile of slug flesh. The slug pile falls silent, its component individuals spreading out. They move out, each one staring looks to be avoiding looking at me directly even as they approach. I think humans would look down at the ground in this sort of scene, the random eyestalk locations meant that they were pointed basically anywhere but at me. One Slug seemed to have his eyestalks on either side and naturally positioned for one to face forward and the other back, it used an appendage to point hold one stalk and had it turned behind it. They stopped about half a metre or so from me, where they started….oh. They are going back into a pile. Just so gross. Man, Tracy would be freaking out given they slugged me for eating a booger. It’s not actually a random pile. They're forming a slug pyramid, as though they were Cheerleades cursed with the form of slugs. The possibilities briefly flash in my mind, what if they need one of my brains, my raw powerful intellect, to turn them back? Then would come the romance! As the pyramid formed, a couple of the slugs spurted out black and purple slime over the others, who in turn let loose their tiny wails. The brief cheerleader fantasy came crumbling down. The final slug, who was needed to form the tip of the pyramid, paused a long while as the small gelatinous mass quivered and wiggled, as though it were an athlete taking a deep breath. It surged forward, getting to the face of its Slug bros and ascending them, various appendages and eyestalks leveraging to the top. As it got into position, the slugs groaned, almost as though they were in agony. The...leader? Mascot? Lightest of the slugs? Puller of hypothetical short straw? The slug on top of the pyramid turned to me, its eyestalks staring. Now all the Slugs eyestalks popped, clearly having planned out this moment. Slug Boss, almost with a sense of theatre like an expressive puppet, unfurled a tentacle appendage. It moved the end of its arm thingy above its head with the poise and grace of an amateur magician you know will never get past his day job as a waiter. It then stuck its arms right into its gullet. Not cool, Bulimia is something you need to get help with, Cousin Naomi ended up in hospital. Slug Boss tried to withdraw its arm, really fuelling the magician image as it was as though it was getting stuck pulling a sword out of the throat. After a few seconds that felt like minutes, a large blob of phlegm (Large relative to the slug creature I guess) erupts out. The Slugs all go silent at once. The Slug Boss holds forth whatever he is holding, another limb rubbing furiously at it. It’s a Blue Casino dice. The Slug holds it towards me, the 5 pips pointed at me. The Slug Pyramid gently quivers. Ummmm…….
Hi all, As promised here is my announcement of my next event. It’s going to be one long event made up of three smaller events. All events happen on the 24th! Heists! When: Saturday August 24 at 9:00 AM Pacific/Noon Eastern/5 PM UTC. We will launch at that time with or without you so please be sure to online and available to join the host session up-to 15 mins prior to the event’s start time!. Invitations into the host session will be sent up to the last three minutes until we launch. If you have not received an invitation by 10 minutes prior to the events start time, please reach out to the host via PSN PM, to make the host aware of your presence. Yes this includes even those those on my friends list! Event will be canceled by 9:10 AM Pacific time if we fail to have anyone attend. Where: We will meet at Garagedwella’s Penthouse at the casino, make sure I’ve got you added as a friend(be sure to mention you're from our crew in the invite) or that your active in any GTA Online session with our crew set as your active crew. I will be able to send you invites to bring you into my session. Doomsday heist setups are done in the open online world so you will need to be in the same session as me if we do any of them! What’s happening: We are going to do a heist (or two)! Exact heist TBD Event description/notes: This event is limited to a max of four, if interested please mention so in a comment below so I can know who’s coming! If I’m unable to fill all four slots with crew mates I may at my discretion open the party to allow random players to join us to fill any vacancies. Please be sure to have a working mic! Communication is key in these heists! Please be sure you have max ammo, vests and snacks prior to the event. Please make sure you have suitable transport (amour may be useful here if you can balance it with something that can do a decent speed) as heists regularly require players to traverse (or fly!) long distances across Los Santos and Blaine County! Event duration is open ended. Car and Plane Show!Where: Devon Weston Hanger , private session (session invites required) When: 1:00 PM Pacific/4:00 PM Eastern/9:00 Eastern, event will run 1 hour! What’s happening: come show off your coolest cars and planes! Event Details/Notes: Cars will be inside the hanger against the wall, planes will be in the center of the hanger, any overflow, large planes/vehicles will be staged directly outside the hanger in manner that will allow smaller planes and cars to safely enter and depart from inside the hanger. If your aircraft or vehicle is armed with weapons, please make sure weapons are set to machine gun so we don’t have any friendly fire rockets launched during aircraft and vehicle movements! Live ATC!When: 2:00 PM Pacific/5:00 PM Eastern/10:00 PM UTC. Canceled if no attendance by 2:10 PM Pacific time. Where: LSIA. What’s happening: Live air traffic control provided on a rotation basis by your crew mates! Event details/notes: The AiCar Show event will roll directly into this event, please try to attend both of your able to! You must have a working Mic to take part event, we are striving for realism so all Readback is required when interacting with someone playing the role of a controller! Listen to and communicate any issues with the current ATC controller, failure to do so will result in a Pilot Deviation Report which may affect your ability to participate in Live ATC future events! IMPORTANT: We will be using a non standard chart (not the ones in the sidebar of our sub.) Please be sure to familiarize yourself with these charts prior to the start of the event in addition to having access to them via a nearby laptop or smartphone for reference during the event! Event will run up-to 90 mins with controller changes every 30 mins. If we have enough people playing we will have separate party chats set up each hosted by a current controller preforming that specific task. We may up to 5 controller working as Fort Zancudo (all functions) LSIA Tower, approach/Departure/Clearance, (May make these separate) and Ground, and General ATC for the sector (for aircraft not in the immediate controlled airspace of airport. PLEASE NOTE: The following changes and restrictions; 1. Military aircraft may use all airports except Grapeseed. 2. Non Military aircraft are forbidden at Fort Zancudo, with the exception of true emergencies (Sandy Shores is close by so if you you should make landing there a priority over Zancudo unless extreme circumstances prevent you from safely reaching Sandy Shores, Grapeseed or LSIA. non military aircraft may not enter the Fort Zacudo No Fly Zone. This zone is defined as follows; the base side of the summit of the mountain range beyond the treatment plant adjacent to Fort Zacudo, East road following the edge of the slough from the main gate (on the base side of the slough) to the ocean. 10,000 feet from the approach end of the runway over the ocean. Aircraft may overfly the base at heights exceeding 5,000 feet provided they are not interfering with the approach or departure corridors of the bases runways. civilian aircraft/vehicles may enter Fort Zacudo to retrieve aircraft from thier Private Hanger with prior notice given to ATC/Base Command 3. Use of Grapeseed is restricted to small prop only aircraft and Helicopters. 4. Sandy Shores and Grapeseed are uncontrolled, call outs should be made as normal when approaching/departing/making ground movements. These call outs should be made on the General ATC party chat, as you will need to reach out to this controller to coordinate clearances to your destination. ATC will not aknowledge your call out unless you address them as you are at an uncontrolled airport, however should you contact/be contacted by ATC, you will required to readback instruction given to you such as a clearence. 5. ATIS Service is not provided, however you may ask your current controller for weather reports, and PIREP’s. 6. For the charts the airports listed as Jetsam, and Docks are not going to be used so disregard those pages. Also the Pier 1 RNAV will not be used so please also disregard that page! 7. The number of controllers and party chats will scale according to workload of the controllers. Fewer pilots in attendance will mean fewer ATC staff, who will cover multiple roles (All LSIA functions. Or another example is a single controller may handle the entire air traffic duties of the session if it’s just three or four people flying, and we only use game chat and no party chats.) 8. The phonetic military alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, etc.) will be in use, learn it now and be prepared to use it! 9. All airspace and ground movement are controlled, with the exception of Sandy Shores and Grapeseed. You should always be in contact with an ATC controller regardless of flight level if you are moving outside of these two exempted airports! Failure to do so may result in the military interception. In the event of this happening you are required to follow the direction of a Los Santos Civil Air Patrol aircraft or any military Aircraft under the active orders of the Military or ATC. The use of lethal force is authorized, when required by a clear and immanent threat that is posed by a non complaint aircraft to other aircraft or civilians in the air or on the ground. These is especially important should you violate the no fly zone surrounding Fort Zacudo!. A briefing on these procedures will be given to all in attendance at the beginning of the event. Further instructions will be given those who will rotate though as ATC or Military officials. Do not take being intercepted or being shot down lightly, it means you seriously screwed up both as a pilot and as a crew mate of Aviators of GTA! You can bank on sanctions being placed on your ability to participate in future crew events, or in the crew period! Ground vehicles must use the marked and dedicated vehicle roadways at LSIA, don’t ever leave the aprons and enter the active runways or areas (grass) directly next to a runway without explicit permission from the tower controller at LSIA. Ground vehicles must yield to all aircraft in motion at all airfields! 10. All aircraft are welcome, except hoverbikes/cars. The host and ATC reserves the right to request you change aircraft, limit or forbid any aircraft of their choosing at any time to maintain realism. Failure to change aircraft when requested to do so in a reasonable time frame, will result in your removal from the session and repeated issues caused by a member at any event may affect their privileges to attend certain or any and all official (hosted by staff) crew events and furthermore may also jeopardize their membership in Aviators of GTA. 11. Call signs will be discussed at the beginning of the session to decide if we will use random N prefixed(serial numbers), Flight numbers, usernames or a mix of any of the three. 12. The host (Garagedwella) will act as the supervisor of all ATC, and may appoint additional people as supervisors if required just as you would in any FAA controlled tower or center outside of GTA, the Supervisor is there to be a resource to both the ATC staff and the Pilots when things go wrong or if you just feel unsure about something. If you require the Supervisor for any reason and they are out flying, please address them as "Supervisor [Username]" initially over the mic to get their attention. This will distinguish this communication as in internal consultation from an ATC staff member or pilot requiring assistance, over a routine ATC to Pilot (or the other way around) conversation. 13. Should something be destroyed in a manner where a vehicle or aircraft remains fouls a runway or taxiway with FOD (Foreign Object Debris). Notify ATC ASAP about the hazard and remove it ASAP before resuming flying activities! 14. This session will not be devoid of NPC (Non Player Controlled) Aircraft. This includes landing and taking off from airfields and taxiing. It is the player responsibility to be alert and call out any known hazards over frequency to alert controllers and pilots. NPC will not appear on Radar for controllers so if you are unable to comply with instructions given by ATC report so over frequency and advise ATC as to why. TLDR; Listen to what we (staff and ATC) say and nobody gets hurt. There is a refresher on Session Etiquette and ATC instructions under the "Read Before Flying W/ ATC" section of the sidebar. Hope to see you all at the events! Please comment below or reach out to me via private message if you have any questions regarding these three events! Regards, Garagedwella Playstation Squadron Leader
[Tournament Report] (Standard and Draft) A Hitchhikers Guide to 10th at Australian Nationals
Disclaimer: there’s going to be a lot of storytelling and fluff in this match report. If you’re after something more serious, that's also here too! I’ve written other match reports on other forums with a similar style, which I’ve linked to here and here. I hope I didn't poop any reddit formatting. Enjoy my awful writing! Part 1 - The Prologue There it was. The patter of feet turned into an echoing applause of hooves quickly getting closer and closer. Before I knew it, I was knocked to the ground. My last sights a rearing, victorious green horse as it trampled me underfoot. Thursday. July 19. A cold sweat covered my body as I checked the clock. The bright light of my phone burned 05:55 into my corneas. My hands get to work feverishly to write up my midnight epiphany. I spend the evening later that day putting cardboard and clothes into my bag, not bringing the spare parts to build anything else. This was it. Grixis was my Alamo. Fast-forward the drive over the next day, where we all met at Strathfield for the ride over. Mostly an uneventful drive if you discount almost running out of petrol ten minutes outside of Canberra. We settled into our hotel and after some moderate play testing against Mono-Red Keld, I swapped over my basics by request to Unhinged, then cracked open my bottle of Fat Lamb dreading what was coming tomorrow. I couldn’t sleep much. Saturday had arrived. Shower. Brief daypack inventory. Breakfast at some fancy cafe across the road. An awkward round 0 of forgetting to bring dice, paper and a playmat, scrambling to write a decklist followed by an awkward anthem and we’re off. Here’s what we registered: 2 Swamp 1 Island 1 Mountain 4 Aether Hub 4 Canyon Slough 4 Fetid Pools 4 Dragonskull Summit 3 Drowned Catacombs 3 Sulfur Falls (26) 4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner 3 Champion of Wits 3 Whirler Virtutoso 3 Nicol Bolas, the Ravager 3 The Scarab God 1 Torrential Gearhulk (17) 3 Magma Spray 3 Abrade 3 Essence Scatter 2 Harnessed Lightning 1 Supreme Will 4 Vraska’s Contempt 1 Liliana, Death’s Majesty (17) Sideboard: 3 Duress 2 Chandra’s Defeat 2 Arguel’s Bloodfast 2 Negate 1 Jace’s Defeat 1 Sweltering Suns’ 1 Glimmer of Genius 1 Yahenni’s Expertise 1 The Eldest Reborn 1 Torrential Gearhulk I decided on Sulfur Falls over Spirebluff as untapped lands during turns 4, 5 and 6 are just as important as 1, 2, and 3. 3 Essence Scatter was an inclusion I didn’t see in most decks before the tournament, but they were amazing. In future I’d probably play two, and a second Supreme Will as the deck is a little thirsty on card selection or the fourth Champion of Wits. Part 2 - This Is How Nationals Dies, With Thunderous Applause Round 1 - Simon Linabury on RB Aggro (Top 8) A Canberra local and an all around nice dude that I’ve seen around a lot. I won the dieroll but shuddered as I saw t1 Bomat on the other side. I had no real response for the curve out as I had kept a pretty crappy hand for the matchup (Siphoner x 2, if i recall correctly) and saw myself die quicky as the Bomat was followed by a creature two drop and it was lights out once Unlicensed hit on my Virtuoso. Not much to do. Sideboarding: +2 Chandra’s Defeat +2 Arguel’s Bloodfast +1 Sweltering Suns’ +1 Yahenni’s Expertise +1 Torrential Gearhulk -4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner -3 Nicol Bolas, the Ravager Glint-Sleeve obviously lines up extremely poorly against Chainwhirler, while I’ve found that Nicol Bolas getting slapped by a Chandra wasn’t exactly the line of play I was after. Further to that, the amount of times in test games that I saw RB players discard a Scrounger dissuaded me entirely from Bolas in the deck post board. Game 2, I got an Arguel’s down and the draw managed to let me turn the corner with some threats. Game 3 involved another early Arguel’s, and a t4 Chandra from the opponent, but I manage to stick a Scarab God that weathers an Unlicensed and he scoops it up as Scarab start picking up permanents in the graveyard after successfully holding up Vraska’s Contempt to clear a threat. I wished him luck for the next round and slowly packed my stuff and went across the room to my team. Wins across the board (and a points bye, sack) mostly. Nice. 2-1 1-0 After the usual bad beats talk that happens between rounds, I flick through my phone’s browser for pairings, and head straight for the table. Round 2 - Jesse Stewart on RB Aggro (30th) One lost die roll later and suddenly we’re off with a seven. Bomat Courier again reminds me that the red decks draw way more cards than I do, and if I recall correctly, we trade cards back and forth, and I try to flip a Bolas on an empty board while on 5. He plays Hazoret for the maximum punish. Sideboarding: Same as Round 1 I keep a seven and we start taking tonnes of damage on board, followed by a Chandra. I try to stem the bleeding with two Whirler Virtuosos, but they don’t do enough as I extend the hand. 0-2 (2-3) 1-1 Bottle of water count hits one. I Taylor Swift it off and go to the next round. Round 3 - David Huang on Mono-Red Keld (Top 8) Phones in the modern era tend to deliver a ton of unwanted news, and this is no exception. Having a teamkill in round 3 of a 12 round tournament sucks, especially when you’re both down a match and looking to stay afloat. Since we spent a decent amount of time yesterday playing the matchup, I safely keep a removal dense hand and take over the game accordingly after he bricks on his draws from Flame of Keld. Sideboard: +2 Chandra’s Defeat +2 Arguel’s Bloodfast +1 Negate +1 Sweltering Suns +1 Yahenni’s Expertise -4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner -3 Nicol Bolas, the Ravager I knew he was gonna have a lot of Chandras that clap Nicol Bolas post board, and overall while Nicol Bolas was decent to stabilize on T4, I found that spending my T4 deleting their T4 was a more efficient trade in tempo. Game 2 involves me getting buried under the red tide, with me flailing about with my Negate catching a Chandra - but outside of that it was mostly drowning. Sideboarding (Game 3): -1 Torrential Gearhulk +1 Negate I thought the second Negate would be excellent on the play in order to smother his card draw sources, and it worked out in a back and forth game where I dipped down to four to flip my Arguel’s, and Liliana came down to give me a stream of 2 life a turn to get me across the line. Negate caught a Flame of Keld at a critical juncture where it would have let him completely decimate my life total. I aptly bad mannered him, took a photo of the match slip and headed up to the judges table before applying more rub ins. 2-1 (4-4) 2-1 Everyone else at this point had caught up to 2-1, with David being the exception. Good shit. I grabbed a second bottle of water (now, down $6) and chilled out with the team before heading off to next round. Round 4 - James Chen on Mono-Red Keld Another round, another Sydney snipe which always sucks considering the aim is to see Sydney players do well, but time to bash. I win the die roll and get to work. Game 1 looks like it followed the formula: kill stuff early, play a Scarab God when you can, then take over the game from there. Sideboarding: See Games 2+3, Round 3 - second Negate included. Game 2 involves a Chandra, but for all intents and purposes my life total doesn’t dip below 10 after several turns, and I turn the corner quite quickly. In hindsight, I dunno why I was particularly concerned about the matchup, it feels a lot better than UB simply due to Whirler Virtuoso. I go off for my third bottle of water (for those keeping up at home, that’s $9 AUD down now on water) and first bathroom trip, and go spend the hour long lunch break talking about Standard rounds, and having David accidentally order food to our hotel room as opposed to the venue. Good shit. 2-0 (6-4) 3-1 Part 3 - You Underestimate My Power Link to Deck Picture We pick 1, pack 1’d the foil Pelakka Wurm, and put the blinders on and saw Green the whole rest of the draft. The Luminous Bonds were passed to me pack 1 quite late in the draft, so I had to believe White was open. I had to deathstare the person looking at their previous picks before the review period despite the two warnings from judges not to do that. It was definitely a train wreck, but I think we did pretty well considering the trainwreck we were getting passed into. Psychic Symbionte (why the weird spelling Wizards?) was an incredibly greedy splash and I never cast it, with it either getting stranded before I drew a blue source, or pitched to Macabre Waltz. It would have been fine if I nabbed the second Meandering River probably? We nabbed the Murder in pack 3 and never looked back. Round 5 - Dean Williams on RW Smorc I was pretty afraid of any RW deck going into Round 5 - my deck has some decent game with Plague Mare to sweep away some tokens, but overall I think the battle was to survive to cast a Wurm to stabilize. The games didn’t go as planned - he was playing a removal light, dude dense version of RW and outside of a Sigiled Sword of Valeron I felt pretty comfortable throughout the match. Game 1 I suited up a Vine Mare with Knightly Valor and went to town, he Cleansing Nova’d it away and I stared at the Rise from the Grave in hand which made a fresh Zombie Horse on our next turn. That was very much the beginning of the end. In the second game, Viashino Pyromancer drew first blood, but between its triggered ability and attacking twice it was the only thing that managed to draw blood as I took down my opponent's life total in chunks. Once again, Vine Mare appeared - but it was working for me, so it was nightmare fuel for someone else for a change. 2-0 (8-4) 4-1 Round 6 - Michael Milton on GW Smorc 4-1 is pretty far ahead of where I thought I’d be day 1. Realities came tumbling down as my opponent ends game 1 on 21, while we end up dead. Game 2, my back’s on the wall and he manages to push for 6 damage before Pelakka Wurm takes over the game - not much else to say. The third game is a back and forth affair where he takes me down to 3 early, and ends up with a Star-Crowned Stag and a Pegasus Courser with his life on 7. My board at this point (I believe) is a Giant Spider from the board, a Zombie token and a Skeleton Archer; land in hand. I start attacking with the Skeleton Archer because the only way I win here is if he screws up. He throws the Courser under the bus. This happens again the next turn as he plays a second Courser. After a bit of draw go I eventually hit the wurmyboi and stabilize. I asked him about it after the game, and he was playing around Titanic Growth (which is fair - but I disagree with the mindset that comes with that decision.) I had to get a little lucky to sneak past here. Deep sigh of relief as I move off to my mates who proceed to either show me dust or diamonds in terms of draft decks. 2-1 (10-5) 5-1 Round 7 - ??? on Temur (if you’re reading this buddy, sorry I forgot your name - it doesn’t show up on pwp!) By the looks of the scorepad, Game 1 was quite a tight race on both sides but he ended up scraping through with the UG uncommon flying over my board. Second game was a pretty slow affair where my first life total change was the wurmyboi, only to have it be Switcharoo’d for an Omenspeaker, followed by the UG uncommon making it a flying wurmyboi. Needless to say I packed it up real quick. 5-2 aint too bad for day 1! 0-2 (10-7) 5-2 The team had mixed results as we headed back - a 6-1, two 5-2s, two 4-3s and lets not ask about the last one, but needless to say we headed off into the Canberra night. Two hours later we finally ended up with food from Happy’s, it was decent Chinese but not exactly worth a two hour wait, but the Canadian Club we dragged back to the hotel was - and with free practice of GP Hockenheim starting up we managed to drink our way to bed in preparation for the next day. Part 4 - I have the high ground, I guess? Bright and sunny start to day 2. I’m a liar. It was -4 celcius when I woke up. It was bloody cold. I spent the first hour of my day goldfishing one of the two Tron decks we had ready to run head first into the PPTQ, asking myself regularly “why don’t I play this shit more often” and my favourite question to ask when goldfishing “how do I lose?”. Same swanky cafe for breakfast, baked eggs hit the spot on such a frigid day before we headed back out to the venue for the second draft. Link to draft deck 2: This one felt nuts. I picked a Lich’s Caress pick 1 pack 1 over a Lathiss (controversial, I know), then proceeded to take all the good black stuff and green stuff that came past. The Thorn Lieutenant came to me in pack 3 alongside the Prodigious Growth, just to show how wide open green was. The Druid of Horns package was a little loose, but the plan was to board it out whenever it was bad for 2 Ghastbark Twins and a Titanic Growth. Needless to say, I was hoping to run into every token based deck possible… Round 8 - Lyndon Maher on RW splash B This match went by quickly. Game 1 I swept away 4 2/2s worth of knights with a double Plague Mare turn and that quickly closed out the game. Second game, we kept in the Oakenform/Druid package and we quickly found ourselves on the back foot as we took a big swing for 12 early. That was the only damage we took the whole game was we quickly took over on the board after we weathered the storm. 2-0 (12-7) 6-2 A quick scope around with the team still playing the main event and everyone was still live. Good shit. Round 9 - Grant Boyanton on Mono Red I was getting pretty nervous at this point, but I also had some extremely high expectations for the deck so I got back into the zone. Now $18 AUD down on water, we went on to our next round. The first game involved went quickly into a creature bogfest, with our opponent pooping out tonnes of 1/1s and Plague Mare does the damage He smashed early with a hasted Inferno Hellion that knocked me down to 6, but I managed to stabilize and the Lich’s Caress puts us out of reach of burn spells (Guttersnipe DansGame) as we clean up the game. Oakenhorn stayed in for the next game as it did wonders in clogging the board game 1. Viashino Pyromancer once again draws first blood, but our opponent only knocks us to 10 while we take down his lifetotals in increments of 8. Plague Mare might end up being the waifu. 2-0 (14-7) 7-2 Round 10 - Ryan Cubit on BW Lifegain (15th) For some reason, they decided to put the lunch break between rounds 2 and 3 of the draft. That one might be my only tournament complaint as I wanted to ride my momentum into the last round of draft. I saw Ryan was in my pod and quite early I identified him as the real threat of the draft - I’d hoped someone else would snipe him down to the 1-1 bracket, but there he was (at the time, he was the Australian Pro Point leader, now he’s tied for first again). Well shit. Honestly, the first two games were a bit of a blur back and forth, so I can’t really write on them with much context as the third game took a whole lot of my memory. Game 3 was a back and forth grindfest, where I had almost ran out of cards in my library and I managed to sneak in the last points of damage necessary despite missing a Poison-Tip Archer trigger. He showed me the rest of his library and it was a plethora of 5 drop threats and removal and I had to be really lucky to get out of that match unscathed (he drew all 17 lands!). The sideboard plan finally kicked in alongside a Plummet and a Daggerback Basilisk. Everything had to come together just right and it did. No pressure kid. Just need to win one Standard round, what could possibly go wrong? 2-1 (16-8) 8-2 Round 11 - Ben Yulli on RB Aggro (Top 4) I wished him luck and quipped:
“Blue sleeves, Flooded Strand promo playmat, must be a ruse for a red deck right?”
A shaky 6 greeted me and before I knew it, a Bomat Courier had snuck in for the first points.
I then proceeded to stall out, while he was playing Ahn-Crop Crasher which proceeded to ruin my life as I tried (with little effect) to block everything with Whirler Virtuoso. Needless to say, I couldn’t stop the bleeding fast enough. Sideboarding: +2 Chandra’s Defeat +2 Arguel’s Bloodfast +1 Glimmer of Genius +1 Sweltering Suns +1 Yahenni’s Expertise -4 Glint-Sleeve Siphoner -3 Nicol Bolas, the Ravager I had figured in the other games at this point that the second Gearhulk was good, but Ahn-Crop made me very averse to that kind of plan (look, in hindsight I imagine the second Gearhulk woulda done work, but I was just running through my logic here). I don’t mind Glimmer in this kind of matchup as it lets you do something on turns where the plan is to hold up Vraska’s Contempt. Alongside the equity you get during those Vraska’s Contempt turns, Glimmer adds some much needed card advantage after cutting the Siphoners. If he wasn’t playing Ahn-Crop, I’d say this plan was great. Ahh, game 2, how I wish I didn’t have to relive you. The first seven was landless, the second six was all lands, and the five did about as best as it could to keep me alive. It wasn’t enough. I signed the match slip and sighed myself out of there. At the moment I needed it most, the luck had run out. 0-2 (16-10) 8-3 I moved slowly towards the team to find out that the other two boys still live in the main event are still live or locked for top 8. Absolutely needed to hear that news to raise my spirits about the next round. It felt so unimportant to play the next round, but I was told there was a chance I could slip in as my breakers were insane. Only one way to find out. Round 12 - Keiren Macdonald on the Mirror (28th) Once again, I didn’t really record this game properly but I felt in control for most of both the games. In match 1, my life total never changed while I had every correct answer to hit all his threats on time while he was land screwed, and by the time he had recovered my advantage in cards took the wheel from there. All three Champion of Wits saw their way out of my graveyard, and usually that does the damage. Sideboarding: +2 Arguel's Bloodfast +1 Negate +1 Jace’s Defeat +1 The Eldest Reborn +1 Sploosh Hulk -3 Abrade -2 Harnessed Lightning -1 Supreme Will Game 2 felt a lot like game 1, I always had the answer cause I’m a sack and after a long slog through some Vraska’s Contempts I finally stuck a Scarab God. He extended the hand before I started activating it. 2-0 (18-10) 9-3 After walking over to hand in my match slip, I ran quickly over to the ‘feature match tables’ to see one of my team mates bashing another Sydney player to see who makes it into top 8. On the other table, David (my round 3 opponent, team mate and all around sack) had snuck his way into the top 8 despite the 1-2 start. It was extremely awkward having to root for my boi Benaya over another Sydney player, but once he won we all were ecstatic. Two people in my room in the top 8 was what they’d call a deece plus weekend despite my choke on top 8. I stood patiently for the top 8 announcement with very little hope to make it and that feeling was validated. Was locked out from the start of the round, oh well. The team settled in to watch their top 8 matches before heading out to the casino to celebrate with a really good 9 course meal from Natural Nine - definitely recommend for those who head out there, followed by losing my Flooded Strand promo during the credit-card game. Whoops. Just to add insult to injury, Lewis Hamilton just had to win GP Hockenheim to increase the salt count in the room. Epilogue - Is this really podracing? The weekend was a blast. I’m out of good words. The return to Nationals as a tournament was an excellent decision by Wizards as it wholeheartedly managed to unify regions of Australia under banners. I walked away very proud of Sydney’s performance. Grixis is great. I’m extremely glad I only saw horses either: In my draft decks and On the ride over. Avoid drafting white, that shit sucks and is overdrafted alongside red. Big thanks to my team for the overall support and for their own damn excellent performance. None of us could have done it on our own so thank you to you guys. Shoutout to you the reader for actually making it this far through 12 rounds of ramble. I stream occasionally on twitch.tv/syreal_ - check it out if you want to see me flail around haplessly on Affinity (or my original love, Modern Elves) some time.
This event had happened to me in the late summer of 2011, early August if memory serves. At that time in my life, I was living in a small town in northwest Washington called Bow/Edison, a rural community south of Bellingham, north of Burlington/Sedro-Woolley, that was just off the Chuckanut Drive highway, and is easily one of the most beautiful spots to visit. Bow/Edison (essential two small villages which overlap one another, with Bow being somewhat sparse and dotting the landscape with isolated farming homes and Edison a bit of a hub village) exists in an interesting location, geographically speaking. In a matter of minutes, you'll pass through flat farmland, hilly forests, rocky and densely wooded mountains, and ocean front property. I had recently completed a year at trade school, attending the Job Corps program in Sedro Woolley and had just got my first job for the Skagit Valley Casino & Resort. Sadly I didn't have much finances, only enough to cover rent for a room in an old farmhouse just off Chuckanut. This was lucky for me, as it was only a few miles from the Casino, which was just of the Interstate 5 and was a more than feasible ride on the handmedown bike I had procured shortly before graduating Job Corps. When I started, I was a dishwasher, and one that worked the swing/night shift. Getting to work was a bit of a pain, the ride mostly uphill and along the windy Bow Hill Rd, but over time it became manageable. I had just moved into the farm house and was starting my second week when I had first came to regret taking the night shift. Sadly at this time I only had a cheap gas station flashlight to illuminate my ride home, which at night was made even darker since Bow Hill Rd cut through dense forested areas and had several twists and bends, making the ride harrowing in some instances. My first ride home, at around 3 in the morning, had not gone well. Within minutes of departure, I had been attacked by an animal, which darted out of the underbrush and tried biting at my right leg. I didn't see what precisely lunged out at me, though in hindsight I'm certain it was likely a coyote or stray dog. Fortunately it didn't bite me directly, getting a mouthful of jean before I managed to kick the beast off and fly down the hillside for home. Needless to say, my first ride in the dark, alone, with barely any light, made me very apprehensive about future night rides. The next few days found me very on edge when riding home, fearful of another animal attack. Since I wasn't familiar at that time with what the typical wildlife of the area comprised of, I was fearful of encountering Washington's larger and more aggressive predators, primarily black bears drawn to the sloughs during low tide and black berry bushes, and cougars. Thankfully, those nights were uneventful and overall pleasant, save for one particularly rainy night which made visibility worse. Before I continue I feel i need to explain one aspect. Heading towards the casino along Bow Hill Rd, just off Chuckanut there's a small cattle farm which raises cows for artesianal cheese making (which if you're ever in that area, pick some up. Its amazing!). Bow Hill Rd at this point twists in a weird way, snaking its way through two oddly placed plots of land, with both sides lined with thick wild brush and a small copse of trees on one side, the other with the fencing and cattle enclosure. As I was riding home, one a very pleasant and bright night (a rarity in the typically overcast region!) my ride home was going smoothly. I'd estimate it was roughly 2 am when I left work, and that since most of the ride home was just a pleasant coast down to the highway, my attention was mainly on the bends in the road and making sure not to drift too close to the uneven and gravely shoulders. I had just made it down the hill and was making my way along the snaking portion as mentioned before which took me between the cattle farm and abandoned plot, maybe less than half a mile from home, when I saw something that to this day I can't say for certain what it was. Just as I was making the first bend, less than 50 feet ahead, I saw a large, dark brown or black furred figure stride across the two lane road and down into the ditch that separated the road from the cattle fence. My blood had gone cold. Just in the faint and shitty beam of my cheap flashlight I could only make out a large torso, seen partially in profile and exposing what I can only assume was its back. I didn't see details such as the head, arms or legs, only that the figure that moved in front of me looked roughly 8 feet tall, and half that wide at what I can only assume are its shoulders. In that instant, I shouted, certain in that moment that my worst fear of a bear attack had happened, and that all my instincts told me to pedal as hard and fast as I could. Between the shock of this figure suddenly appearing and moving in front of me and the fear of being mauled, I'm thankful I had the good sense to shout. In case you aren't aware, bears (black bears in particular) are easily spooked, and tend to flee from humans if they make a loud noise, unless of course they're mother bears with young nearby. Regardless, I Lance Armstrong'd all the way home, grateful for the street lights on the highway, and managed to get home, though I ran as if I were being chased once I got off my bike and safely into the old farmhouse. I managed to get to my room, lock the door, and sat on my bed, holding myself and practically hyperventilating from both exertion and fear. Now I'm sure some of you will ask: did you see a Bigfoot/Sasquatch? I don't know. I truly cannot say. I can tell you for certain what it wasn't. It wasn't a bear. Bears typically if they stand don't walk upright, and certainly not as fast as whatever it is I saw was. Additionally, bipedal bears walk very awkwardly, more like a waddle than something striding. It wasn't (as far as I can recall) a vagrant. While it is true that the area did see some homeless traffic of people making their way north towards Bellingham, most of the time they traveled during the day, and almost always with carts, bags, or something. The chances that what I saw being a very tall homeless man wearing a full fur jacket in August (which even that late at night wasn't cold at all) highly unlikely. So what was it? I can say that, though I do believe in the existence of Sasquatch, I've never been able to say definitively what it was I did see, only that it was large, moved fast, and made me feel very helpless and more anxious for the weeks to come until I managed to transfer to the morning shift. Whatever it was that I saw, I never experienced anything like that again, at least when it came to encountering some unknown, large, furred creature walking across the road at 2 in the morning. Was it a bear? Was it Sasquatch? Was it the tallest hobo with the most unusual fashion sense? I have no idea. Even to this day, I still wonder what I saw and if I was in any real danger. After I had shouted and booked it as fast as I could, the only sound I heard behind me was a sudden rustling of brush and a deep grunt, although in my adrenaline fueled flight its possible those sounds could have been caused by a cow near the fence. But still, it doesn't explain whatever it was I saw that night.
I have made a map of the Discovery Delta region as seen here. Also using the region data from here, I tried to correspond the city sites to the cities via the numbers. The bold ones are mostly indisputable, because of a distinct description, or no alternatives for that number (i.e. 7 has to be great works, because all other sites are covered in woods.) (1) Sawyer's Crossing - Sawyer's Crossing is ready for adventurous mayors willing to cross Sawyer Creek, out to the island. Coal and crude oil deposits provide mayors with a reliable income. (3) Huckleberry Island - The huckleberry bushes at the base of this island's crecent-shaped bluff lend it its distinct name. Once mayors pave roads down the hill to the rest of the island, they are welcomed with significant coal and raw ore deposits. (5) Harper Plains - Situated in the shadow of the Big Jim mountains, Harper Plains provides an entirely level site for mayors who don't want to deal with hills or rivers. This inland site has plenty of coal and raw ore for mayors to start the Mining operation of their choice. (4) Thatcher Overlook - The upper overlook portion of Thatcher Overlook is festooned with an assortment of coal, raw ore and crude oil deposits, giving mayors a nice sampling for the mining and Drilling specializations. The lower land that bends along the shoreline has fabulous views of the river. (10) Cottonwood Forest - This dense forest surrounds Miller's Pond. For mayors willing to clear the forest, coal and raw ore deposits are ripe for the picking. The natural splendor of the pond and riverbank provide great backdrops for luxurious high-wealth housing or casinos. (8) Magnolia Wetlands - This site presents a bit of a challenge for mayors to curve their roads around the slough that extends into the middle of the land. Oil reservoirs under this site provide an excellent foundation for a drilling empire, but there are also significant deposits of coal here as well. (6)Honeysuckle Marsh - The portions of this site not covered by water are heavily wooded, but both crude oil and coal within this site are ready for a clever mayor to make lots of bridges. (10) Willow Woods - Deep within this huge forest is a wide assortment of raw resources, including coal, raw ore and crude oil. Mayors can build a massive city in the midst of a forest in this forested site. (13)Rising Sun Valley - Rising Sun Valley is ideal for mayors who long for wide open spaces. A large crude oil deposit in this site welcomes mayors to start a drilling business and a small amount of coal provides a source of coal for a power plant. (14)Barleycorn Point - In the middle of the Rye River, Barleycorn Point features rich crude oil deposits for mayors who want to start drilling. River views lend a scenic setting for high wealth homes. (12)Stackolee Ravine - The creeks running through Stackolee Ravine offer a challenge to mayors. Mayors who rise to this challenge can expect to find coal and raw ore deposits on the other side of each bank in this site. (11)Cotton Bend - With a tributary of the Rye River curving through the middle of Cotton Bend, mayors will need to build a bridge across to reach all the coal deposits. (18,20)Washtub Fields - The Washtub Fields provide plenty of space for mayors to expand. Coal and raw ore deposits allow mayors to start a mining town and grow it into a massive mining metropolis. River access in this site is ideal for shipping metal resources. (16,18)Spooner Plains - Mayors seeking a site for a new mining operation will find much to like in Spooner Plains: ample coal deposits and river access for shipping coal to the Global Market. A small crude oil reservoir is available to run an Oil Power Plant. (17)Jugband Hills - At the base of Washboard Ridge, the Jugband Hills hold valuable raw ore deposits beneath the gently rolling hills. Mayors who build a mining business can ship their metals out from the shoreline to the Global Market. (19,17)Kazoo Basin - This site features a large reservoir of crude oil as well as a small amount of coal, perhaps enough for a Coal Power Plant. Views of a private inlet provide an ideal location for discerning home owners. (2,7,15,19,20) Great Works During my works, i frequently collided with the shipping and rail columns of the data-sheet, so i tended to ignore those. In the Datasheet, six cities are said to have no rail connection, but you cant dfind six such cities on the map. anyways, these are just my thoughts, feel free to comment if you have different ideas. ~JJ
Not Many of Us Old School Wastelanders Left - January 6th 2278
Previous: A Conversation With Myself - January 3rd 2278 George woke me an hour or so after noon. Fizz was sleeping in the patchy shade of some sage. The kid was gagged and thus silent, his large fearful eyes following every movement. I was groggy. Too much whiskey, too little sleep. We were at the mouth of a narrow opening leading into the network of slot canyons called The Maze. I vaguely knew of the area. The Prospector's Den was hidden somewhere up in these hills, somewhere in the network of smooth gradated canyons and sloughs. I had also heard deathclaws lived at the backs of some of the sloughs but it is hard to tell if that was true or just a rumor started by prospectors trying to keep their stash safe. Either way, you had to know your way through The Maze. I hoped George did. There were a lot of bad ends in there. George gave Fizz a kick in the boot. He rolled over, ran his hand through his tangled mohawk and starting cleaning up camp. I followed suit. We were walking into the slot canyon in less than ten minutes. I was instantly lost as we turned and twisted though the earth. A turn there, a split here. I marveled at the intricacy of it. The floor dropped away and we walked deeper into the earth. The air got accordingly cooler and it was then that I first noticed my thirst. “George. How far are we going? We didn't get to buy supplies in Primm. We don't have any water or food...” As I finished we turned a corner and the canyon opened up into a small drainage, maybe only a 1000 square feet or so. The burnished walls of rock surrounded it on all sides, small interruptions cut in it like doors where a slot canyon joined in. A small tree grew slightly off of the center, struggling up towards the washed out sky. Against the wall where the shade was deepest during the hottest part of the day was a small wooden shack leaning against the wall. “This far.” George replied. We had probably only been walking for 15 minutes but I was utterly unable to account for the directional choices we made in that time. You were not going to be finding this place unless you already knew about it. “You best stay here Lago.” George said. He motioned to Fizz, who joined him as they approached the shack's door with the kid in tow. The kid turned his large fearful eyes towards me, begging me to stop whatever was about to happen to him. He tried to run but the cords that bound his feet didn't leave him enough slack for a full a pace. He tottered, tripped and unceremoniously fell right onto his face in a tangled heap, his arms being bound behind his back powerless to stop him. He rolled and thrashed like a coyote that had been stung by a cazador. Desperate biological courage. Finally, Fizz reached down and grabbed him by his hair. His back arched in pain and he stopped struggling. Fizz roughly pulled him to his feet and pushed him towards the shack. Again he turned his head and looked at me. One last look. But this time his eyes were cold, and gray and full of powerful purpose and fury. They were the eyes of a man that would try to kill me one day. He turned away and marched towards his doom. They reached the door. George knocked on it. Slowly and deliberately. A few seconds later a small, rectangular peep hole was slid to the side. I could just make out the barrel of gun, the muzzle catching the sunlight. From this distance if George and Fizz reacted at all I couldn't tell. A long minute later the peep hole slid closed and the door opened. A small, short, and rather ugly man stepped through the threshold and into the sun. He was wearing a dirty and stained old world suit with no small amount of patches applied to it with varying levels of skillfulness. His hair was dark and slicked back. He had a round, pudgy face that was clean shaven. His eyes were a bit too close together and when he smiled at George I could see his yellow and crooked teeth. Unlike my meeting with George and Fizz, I instinctively didn't trust him and didn't like him for reasons that I could not explain or elucidate. Their short conversation over, he turned and walked inside. Fizz pushed the kid inside first and then followed him. George turned around and facing me held up his index finger, indicating that I should wait. He turned back and walked through the door. And then it closed. I walked over to the tree. Sat down and rested against it. And waited. It was almost an hour by my reckoning before the door of the shack opened again and George walked out. He crossed the drainage. “Here you go.” He handed me a brahmin-skin bag full of clinking caps. I dumped them out and spent a minute counting them, all 1100 of them. “We got a good price. He's young and healthy.” George replied to my look of astonishment. “You should be glad, that's all we got. And I bet these caps will cost us more in the end but that's just a hunch of mine” he added sourly. “You know I feel shitty about this whole thing, George.” George glared at me for a second or two. “Yeah? Fucking so do I, man. I'm a Khan. I'm a warrior and a survivor not a fucking slaver. But this kid, you and I both know he's not gonna take your punch to face without calling out the cavalry. And if he doesn't do it, his daddy will. And they are not gonna rest until we're dead. Over a few hundred caps and a broken nose....” George continued, “...Fucking kids these days, man. No one's got any damn respect for people like you and I anymore. People that made our own way. And no one's got any damn respect for the few fucking unwritten rules we have out here. I mean shit, it's not that difficult: Never break your word, never take what's not earned, never fight a weaker opponent. Honor, folk, courage, freedom, self-reliance. No one is interested in that. And so people like you and I, man, we get strung up and pushed out. All so these fat NCR fucks can sit around drinking our water, eating our food and fucking our women.”. One thing was sure. As much as I hated the NCR, George hated them more. “I mean, shit, if this kid had been like us, he would thrown a punch back, we would've had a good fight, ended it laughing and then spent the rest of the night drinking and planning how he was going to help steal your money back from the casino”. I doubted that was the case, but it was nice little vignette. “Fuck it, man. Just fuck it.” George finished eloquently. “Lets get drunk.” He handed me a bottle – vodka. I shrugged and since I didn't have much else to do took a shot and passed it back. George sat down and put an arm around my shoulder. “Brother, there ain't many of us left. Us old school wastelanders. I'm glad I met you.” he said in an comradely manner. He took a swig off the bottle and handed back. I did another pull of the virulent, stinking, liquid death. Wiped my mouth with my sleeve. “And I'm glad I didn't blow your head off” We both laughed. Long and hard. Deep echoing laughter of the insane and desperate. The kind of people who only find things funny because well things are so bad what other possible reaction could you have? You had to find humor where you could out here. Next: Sing us a Happy Song - January 9th 2278
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