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Stokes's Bristol Nightclub incident in detail (From: The Comeback Summer by Geoff Lemon)
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early. The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster. In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly. The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged. Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms. The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist. The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale. ‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing. It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment. Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge. That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted. The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions. Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge. Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it. Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales. Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others. This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse. Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away. These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk. If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced. If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober. The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs. The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them. This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame. Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier. There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language. What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand. That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough. If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses. As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial. The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt. Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame. This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’ So Stokes punches him. It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road. Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks. Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him. Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended. Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop. Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance. ‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’ The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’. The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back. After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed. If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence. Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued. ‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass. A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’. The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now. Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa. It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’. The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
I am 36 years old, make $66,900, live in Portland OR and work as a Data Coordinator.
Section Zero: Background Hello all, happy hoildays! I stumbled upon this subreddit not long ago and have enjoyed the commentary and experiences everyone's shared. Wanted to add another perspective from a mid-30s first-gen American. I've had some missteps regarding careers and finances, but I feel like I'm in a slightly better place now. I tried YNAB in the past but I wasn't consistent enough with it. These days I use Mint to monitor my finances and have a "Finance Friday" each month to review all my accounts and spending. I currently live with my partner TJ and his dog RR. We do not combine finances, but he has been unemployed since March. I have helped him with some bills and basic necessities here and there until he finds his next job or career. My current financial goals are to just maintain a status quo and not get any debt until pandemic times are over. Then I will focus on a house remodeling fund and savings for taking care of my parents. Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? My parents taught us about money from a frugal perspective. They are immigrants who worked in food service/factories. There was always this “save save save” mentality. Even when they started their own small business, we saved like there was no tomorrow. In high school, my calculus teacher bought us all “The Millionaire Next Door” book and had us read it as an assignment - that was my first structured introduction to finances. Did you worry about money growing up? No, there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads. I knew that our extended family would support us if needed. Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? Yes. My dad didn’t finish the high school-equivalent in their country, while my mom did finish high school, but no college. My older and younger siblings took a different path in life after high school. I am the first and only in my family to graduate from college. My parents covered all tuition for my two bachelor degrees with the agreement that I support them fully during their retirement and send them gifts/extra money whenever I can. I feel very lucky and privileged that they were able to provide that education for me. At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net? 24 when I went on a work holiday abroad. My family was always available to help when needed, but the experience abroad helped me stand on my own feet. As an adult, I also inherited that “save” mentality and put a lot of my earnings towards savings. I didn’t date until my 30s, lived frugally, didn’t go out to eat/hangout with people, shopped thrift stores, and had very few hobbies. I am starting to “live a little” now though. Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Aside from the tuition, my parents have helped with a down payment for my first house and living costs during periods of unemployment. Section One: Assets and Debt Retirement Balance If the place I was working at offered a 401k, I would always contribute up to the company match. I started my IRA in my mid-20s and would try to contribute the yearly max. I've stopped that the past 2-3 years though. My Other Brokerage is some play money, but I got tired of staring it and switched to index funds. I haven't contributed anything to it in a few years.
401k: $34,127 (5% company match on contributions)
Brokerage: $22,421 ESPP
Roth IRA: $40,615 VTIVX
Rollover IRA: $15,760 VTTHX
Other Brokerage: $7,235 VTI
Coinbase: $1,286 ETH (mostly just playing around with it)
Equity if you're a homeowner Purchased my first home for $382,000 with 20% down, right before lockdown earlier this year. Perfect timing, right?? I plan to live here until my retirement. My parents contributed $15k while I used most of my savings for the rest.
Current Equity: $80,371
Savings account balance: $3,073 Checking account balance: $7,800 Credit card debt: I charge everything on my credit card for the points, then pay it off each month using my checking account balance. Student loan debt: Traditionally no student loan debt as mentioned in Section Zero. Section Two: Income Income Progression (listed as gross income with cost of living area): High School
$11/hourMCOL - Helped with small family business.
College and first “career” job
$12-19/hour MCOL - I did events/banquet serving after classes and had an internship doing software administration.
$22/hour MCOL - Junior web developer. I realized after a year that programming was not my calling.
Mental health break
$12/hour LCOL - Work holiday abroad. I got a steady banquet server job for that whole time. It was enough to live minimally in a hostel, do weekend trips, WOOF and figure my life out.
College (again) and second “career” job
$12-15/hour LCOL - Decided to go back to school for a different bachelor's degree. While pursuing that degree, I worked at hotels and events as a banquet server again. I also did “search engine evaluation” whenever there were tasks available.
$36,000/year salary LCOL - Software administrator at a casino after graduation.
$39,000/year salary LCOL - Systemsanalyst at same casino. I left after 2 years, feeling disillusioned with the casino industry. I moved back home with my parents until I could get back on my feet again.
Third “career” jobs
$20/hour HCOL - Entry level advertising role. I was applying to all types of office jobs and that was my only bite.
$45/hour MCOL - Cold-called from a global company who needed someone with my software administrator experience from the casino job. It was an 8 month contract. Although I was starting to love my advertising job, the increase in pay was no question.
$65,000/year salary MCOL - After the contract ended and a few months of unemployment, I landed my current job at the same company. It is an “early career” role according to their job levels.
$66,900/year salary MCOL - Cost of living and merit increases after 2 years on the job. Pre-COVID we got a $5000 bonus each year. They have now stopped bonuses as well as all COL and merit increases.
Main Job Monthly Take Home: Monthly Net (paid bi-weekly): $2,758 Deductions:
Side Gig Monthly Take Home: No side gigs at the moment, but I am thinking of signing up on Upwork.com and doing Excel/data entry projects to help pay the mortgage. Other Income: TJ’s friend will be staying with us for a month in January, who will pay rent of $800 including utilities. Depending on how that goes, we may take on a roommate in the spare bedroom long-term. Section Three: Expenses Mortgage - when I bought the house, the plan was that I would charge TJ a portion of the mortgage costs as “rent”, but since his unemployment I am now covering it all myself. Regular Monthly Payment: $1677.57
Taxes & Home Insurance: $326.52
HOA: $30/year Retirement contribution: Nothing additional than what's been mentioned. Savings contribution: I used to do $50-100/month, but since COVID I’ve stopped contributing to my savings account. Investment contribution: None at this time. Debt payments: $100/month towards TJ's credit card balance of $2,307. Donations: $10-20/month, usually towards Omaze or Planned Parenthood. Utilities:
Natural Gas: $30-80/month
Xfinity internet: $60/month
Cellphone: On my parents plan. Subscriptions:
LinkedIn: $29.99/month for TJ’s job search - he’s found it very useful.
Amazon/Netflix/Hulu: We piggyback off family and friends’ accounts.
Nintendo Switch Online: 19.99/year
Gym membership: Pre-COVID I did Orangetheory for a year. I started to pick up free exercise equipment from Craigslist this year, so we have a small garage gym now and utilize YouTube exercise videos instead. Pet expenses: $10/month. TJ has stockpiled some Costco canned dog food before unemployment, but once that runs out I will likely cover the costs. We also started to make homemade dog food to help supplement. Car insurance: $460 every 6 months. Car is paid off. Regular therapy: I will start in the new year. Not sure what the costs are yet, but I will use my HSA to pay. Vitamins/Medications: $20/month Groceries & household items: $75/month Miscellaneous (eating out, house purchases, gifts, etc): $100/month Section Four: Money Diary Monday 6:30am Neighbor starts up their truck. We joke that it's our natural alarm clock. They idle for about 15 minutes before heading off. I go back to bed. 9am My real alarm goes off. I put the electric kettle on for some morning tea. While it's boiling, I do my morning routine: drink glass of water, take synthroid, use bathroom, brush teeth, quick shower. I then make tea - Jasmine Pearl English Breakfast with dark forest mix. I started ordering loose leaf tea in large amounts back in March instead of small bags or single serving packets. Seems more economical since I drink it daily. I let the dog out into the backyard so he can do his morning routine. 9:30am I go through my daily tasks for work. They entail checking processes and reports to make sure they ran successfully overnight. I then answer some emails and catch-up on Slack channels. 12pm Lunch is leftover roast chicken and quinoa from Saturday. I heat it up in the instant pot. Love that thing! Almost every meal of ours involves the instant pot. We hardly use the stovetop. We then walk the dog to the business park across from our neighborhood. There's a very short trail that runs along a drainage creek by the business park. It's quite muddy, but has a nice woodsy feeling. Over the summer, we saw sumac trees there as well. Free sumac spice! 1:30pm Department meeting on Zoom. Our director announces his resignation on the call. Everyone is shocked! Layoffs were announced for next year but this was not a part of it. I think it's a good move for him and he doesn't have to have this worry of layoffs over his head. 3pm I meet with an engineer from another team and talk about a data source they are in charge of. He helps me out in understanding it and we identify most of the fields that I need for a project I’m starting. 5:30pm I check in with my partner. He's been watching LinkedIn tutorials on internal recruiting, job coaching and general computeoffice skills. It's a career change that he wants to make - something where he can talk to and help people. He doesn't have a bachelor's, only an associates, and hopes these tutorials will get him a leg up in the job search. I sent him some entry level HR admin roles the other day and remind him to apply. I then heat up leftovers: homemade chana masala and rice. I add some butter and coconut milk to thin it out, so there's enough for both of us. 10:30pm I take some magnesium, vitamin D and Airborne. I say goodnight to the dog who sleeps in the office. Then I say goodnight to TJ. He sleeps in the spare bedroom on weeknights due to his snoring keeping me up. I'm a light sleeper while he is a pretty deep sleeper. Daily total: $0 Tuesday 9am I check Reddit Secret Santa. My match seems like a really good person. Not sure what to get, but most likely will purchase something off their wishlist. I wish I was more creative with my gift giving. 11am Meeting with business stakeholder. She submitted a few changes to an existing data process about a month ago. I make the change while on the call and have her test. Success! Marking it off the todo list. I love when we can finish things directly on a call. 12:30pm I come out of my office to make lunch. I notice my partner is not home. I check my messages and see that he's stepped out to pick up a few things. I ask for celery, carrots, and kombucha. $17. I make a quick charcuterie board for lunch: Costco salami, cheese, homemade hummus and Triscuits. It's a simple, fast meal that’s always in our rotation. 2pm My partner is back and we take the dog out for a walk and quick round of disc golf at a nearby park. We mask up and play only a few holes. Disc golf is a pretty frugal activity, you only need 2-3 discs to get started. TJ remarks that my throws are getting better, but then again they weren't great to start with. We talk about Christmas/Birthday gifts on the way back home since he was born on New Years Day. He mentioned snowshoeing but asked to not spend that much. I'll do some research! 5pm I think about personal career projects. Should I put up a portfolio of projects somewhere? I decide to try and pull some Yelp data. There’s not a lot of data points that I was interested in. Regardless, I tinker with it for an hour. TJ asks if I'm hungry. I said not so much, but felt thirsty. Maybe some ginger soup tonight? 7:30pm Dinner is served - ginger carrot soup made in the instant pot. We eat some rice crackers with it. Lately I feel like we've been eating more vegetarian dinners. It definitely helps stretch our food budget. We end the evening by finishing Fargo season 3 on Hulu. Daily total: $17 Wednesday 1:30am I'm woken up by the dog. He's been sneezing a lot and wheezes at random intervals. TJ doesn't have the money for a vet visit but I've offered to pay as long as he calls to make the appointment. I give the dog some coconut oil, rub his belly until he seems better and go back to bed. 7am Garbage day. We usually put it out the night before but I forgot. I get up to go, but TJ handles it. I think, at least. I'm too sleepy to pay attention and go back to bed. 9am I wake up and rinse some dishes that have piled up and put them into the dishwasher. We both grew up in households that had a home dishwasher, but forbade from using it. It was drilled into us that hand washing saves more water, unless you had a restaurant/industrial dishwasher. I think with modern home dishwashers, that's changed, so I wanted to try it out with our dishwasher and monitor the water bill. Don't have any dishwashing pods or powder, so I put some OxiClean in it. 12:30pm I overhear TJ on a call with a recruiting agency. It seems to be going well, lots of laughing. I heat up some taco lasagna that I freezer meal-prepped last month. 2pm Collaborate on a project at work with an engineer. My manager put me on this project since I was asking for an assignment on a more technical team. I'm learning tidbits here and there, but I don't feel like it's structured enough. 5pm I do an Orangetheory-At-Home workout and try to break a sweat. It's not the same as going to their studio. 6pm Charcuterie for dinner. Our fridge is full of store-bought and homemade pickles that go super well on a charcuterie board. Daily total: $0 Thursday 7am I wake up tired. The house has been feeling more cold, which woke me up a few times. We keep the temp at 72F during the day, at night around 68F since we thought the bedrooms keep the heat in pretty well. My mistake! 9am I do my usual morning routine and login to work. My team mostly spends the morning sending each other emojis. 11:30am Lunch today is mini quiche, frozen chicken and veggie entree, and hot dogs. Not the most cohesive meal, but it fills the belly. 12:30pm TJ heads out to his mailbox that's 30 minutes away. He is still waiting on his tax return and a 401k withdrawal. His taxes had to be filed by mail for some reason, then the IRS office shut down due to COVID. So he wanted to see if it arrived yet at the mailbox. He also takes the dog to the vet's urgent care on his way. They didn't have any regular openings available until the end of the year, and the dog seemed to be getting worse. I give TJ $40 to mail a gift package to a friend in France and also reiterate that I'll cover the vet bill when he gets it. 4:30pm I pay some bills, my favorite activity (not)! Sewer bill: $59.44 (billed every 2 months). Geico bill: $459.60 billed every 6 months. Then I follow up with my mortgage officer over email. I had sent her some documents for a refinance quote last week, but haven't heard back. Rates keep dropping, so I'm told, but what does that really mean? I do some research on realestate. 5pm TJ messages me and says he'll be back for dinner. I ask him to pick up some Popeyes via drive thru since we both don't feel like cooking today. Popeyes is currently our fancy “going out to eat” food. $24.17 for a 4pc dinner meal and a 2pc dinner meal. Daily total: $583.21 Friday 8:30am Busy morning at work. My phone is buzzing with emails and Slack messages. I try to answer them while I make tea. 10am Zoom Department happy hour. We reminisce about our director and then play those Jackbox party games. Some of them are hard! 11am TJ asks if he can make me anything for lunch. He suggests savory oatmeal, quick and easy. I tell him that I really appreciate him making meals/doing chores/etc without me prompting. We've been having conversations about "house project management" and mental load because I did most of the chores or I had to continually remind/tell him to do it. I'm really happy to see us progress on this front. I decide to work through my lunch break so I can end the day early. I don't often do that, but I'm ready to get the weekend started. 2pm I check on TJ in the spare bedroom and ask if the dog has been fed yet, since he was nipping at my feet. I notice something off about TJ and ask how he is doing. TJ is depressed about his personal life, career, finances. He doesn't know what to do, spends half the day meditating and reflecting on past trauma. I've been prodding him to get a therapist but he is confused about his insurance. He makes an appointment with a primary care doctor first. I feed the dog some homemade dog-friendly beef stew. 4pm My mom swings by the house (but doesn't enter). She currently works at a school who distributes free USDA food boxes since March. There's often many boxes leftover that would go to waste, so she will grab a box for us. Onions, potatoes, beets, turnips, eggs, cheese, butter, frozen veggies and frozen chicken. She also brought her vintage pasta maker. I asked last week if she ever used it these days and her reply was “no, feel free to have it”. I love pasta and noodles and figure it would be great to make it ourselves as a frugal hobby. 8pm We catch up on Mandalorian and watch silly Youtube videos before heading off to bed. Daily total: $0 Saturday 9am I open up my web browser and look at Craigslist and NextDoor for free stuff. I've been scouring for free landscape rocks, pegboards, and wood for house projects. I had this grand ambition to redesign our backyard. It faces our neighbor and currently the fence is pretty low. They can see into our kitchen and bedroom and we can see them. But y'know, COVID and going from dual income house to single income means it all has to be put on hold. So I've been looking for free items in the meantime. Over the past months, I've gotten planter pots, plant cuttings, a raised bed, stepping stones, all from free listings. I don't see anything worthwhile so I go and make some tea. 11am I look at Amazon and make some purchases for Reddit Secret Santa. A foodie kit, DVD of their favorite movie, and some cute pens for their writing hobby. $54. I hope they like it! 12pm TJ heats up leftover stir-fry for lunch for us. I put on some Binging with Babish and we watch how to make pasta. We have a plan - TJ makes the pasta, I make the sauce. Perfect date night activity at home. We watch some more videos on pasta and noodles to educate ourselves. 4pm I start prepping veggies. Big batch of onions, canned tomatoes, ground beef and butter in the instant pot. Meanwhile, TJ works on the pasta by following Babish's instructions. 7pm We gorge on fresh made pasta and bolognese sauce. It's so good! We end up watching Fargo. 11pm Usually I'll be in bed by now, but it's a Saturday and not tired yet (probably because of all that pasta). We play some Kirby's Dream Course on the Switch. Daily total: $54 Sunday 10am Quick walk around the neighborhood with the dog. He's on a new routine now with the medicine he's taking. It seems to be helping his breathing issues. 11am The pasta maker and flour is still out since we didn't clean up yesterday. There's some old pie crust in the fridge so I roll it out with the pasta machine for mini quiches. (Sally's Baking Addiction blog is my go-to place for her all-butter crust and quiche recipes btw). TJ helps by mixing up the eggs. 3pm I play some Genshin Impact (GI) on my phone while TJ plays Starcraft in the office. I don't usually play gacha games, but the Zelda BotW-style of GI appealed to me. A gacha game is a game with randomized characteitem boxes that you use real-money to purchase a “pull” or to spin the wheel. I know the gacha parts of the game can be a real money sink if you get addicted to them, it’s almost like gambling. My main team is Fischl, Bennett, Barbara and Noelle. I level up to AR 22 and look up free-to-play tutorials for the game. 6pm There's some leftover pasta from yesterday, enough for both of us. I throw in some roasted beets to round out the meal. We watch more Fargo while eating. Almost done with Season 3! 10pm I find a tour operator who offers a small, socially-distant snowshoeing tour up on the mountain. I reserve for two people - this will be TJ's Christmas/birthday gift. $75. Off to bed for another workday. Daily total: $75 Weekly Total: $689.79
Food + Drink: $41.17
Fun / Entertainment: $75
Home + Health: $59.44
Clothes + Beauty: $0
Section Five: Reflections Aside from the car insurance bill, this was a typical week for me, COVID or not. We make the majority of our meals at home and usually splurge on drive-thru/delivery once every other week. I may have overspent on the Secret Santa gift, but I don't often give gifts out to friends. It's not something our family does either. For TJ’s Christmas/birthday gift, we usually talk upfront about costs. I’ve gifted him fancy restaurant experiences the past 2 years, since we can share that experience, but obviously can’t do that now. Snowshoeing is a nice change of pace. The conversations with TJ this week have given me thought on how to approach him differently about finances and working together in a relationship. I’m still unsure about the future financially, particularly as my parents near retirement age and that TJ has pulled out his 401k to pay his debts. I don't know if I can support both my parents and TJ together, so I am finding ways to upskill and/or side hustles without becoming a workaholic or bogged down by stress. Writing this money diary was also the first time where I really paid attention to my past income and current income. I might be contributing too much into ESPP that could go towards the 401k or mortgage instead? I also seem to have been underpaid for what I did in past jobs, even in a LCOL area.
Mario Kart: Train Circuit June 2024 Characters/Vehicle Bodies Mario/B-Dasher (Kart) Luigi Peach Daisy Toad Yoshi Rosalina Bowser Donkey Kong Shy Guy Koopa Troopa Wario Waluigi Dry Bones Toadette Petey Piranha Baby Mario Baby Luigi Bowser Jr. Funky Kong Birdo Diddy Kong King Boo The Koopalings Pauline Nabbit Kamek Hammer Bro ROB Mii Trophy Ceremony The Top 3 Racers drive through Train Circuit with crowns on their heads. The player in 3rd has a Copper Crown, the player in 2nd has a Silver Crown, and the player in 1st has a Golden Crown. There are Toads, Koopa Troopas, Piantas, Lumas, Boneteers and Onorans cheering the Top 3 on from the sidelines. The Cheep Cheep Blimp is floating above the finish line and Lakitu awards the player the Trophy. The Player has the option of Saving/Quitting to the menu, retrying the cup, or to view a replay of one of the four tracks. Character Unlocked! - Cutscene The Character you have unlocked is freed from a Jail Cell. A jingle plays, and the game tells you how you unlocked the character. Train Mode Trains have 2 characters and 3 extra carts. There are no coins in Train Mode. Trains gain more speed from train parts. Trains only have blue mini turbos. Trains have lower gravity. There are 16 types of Trains. Trains cannot be used in Time Trials. Beating a cup in train mode gives you the same results for the cup in Standard Mode (Karts and Bikes.) Trains have whistles that can stun other players. Trains can only hold 1 item. Trains play a Remix of Super Mario Bros Course Clear when you win a race. Trains play a Remix of the Classic Game Over theme when you lose a race. Trains play a remix of the 1-Up sound when passing a racer. Karts have good Weight And Traction. Only Karts can perform Ultra Mini Turbos. Bikes have good Handling and Acceleration. ATVs have good weight and traction. ATVs, Bikes, and Trains only have Blue Mini Turbos. Trains have good Speed and Weight. Swing Hooks Swing Hooks are a new mechanic in Mario Kart Train Circuit. Your kart automatically attaches to a claw swing when touching it. The farther down you press on a rope swing the farther you go. Swing Hooks can be tricked off of. Lakitu’s Pit Stop & Shop! Your one-stop shop to purchase Vehicles Parts using the coins you’ve collected in races! Here you can also customize your emblem and customize your Vehicle combo for races and battles! Vehicle Emblems You can add emblems to your Karts, Bikes, ATVs and Trains. You can customize the colors, the size of the pixels, use an eraser, and view your vehicle from many angles! Items Banana Peel Triple Banana Peel Mushroom Triple Mushroom Green Shell Triple Green Shell Red Shell Triple Red Shell Fire Flower Super Star Bob-omb Bullet Bill Spiny Shell Mega Mushroom Fake Item Box Crazy Eight Lighting Super Horn Boo Piranha Plant Boomerang Flower Bob-omb Shell Double Cherry Ice Flower Super Crown Mushroom Cup Train Circuit Cascade Canyon Koopa Troopa Park Toad Cafe Flower Cup Fruity Falls Cocoa Kingdom Tostarena Ruins Shy Guy Circus Star Cup Luigi Stadium DK Savanna Demolition Dirtway Volbono Peaks Special Cup New Donk City Starlight Village Bowser’s Castle Rainbow Road Shell Cup DS Mario Circuit GBA Riverside Park Wii U Thwomp Ruins Wii Toad’s Factory Banana Cup SNES Vanilla Lake 2 3DS Shy Guy Bazaar GCN Mushroom City Wii U Sunshine Airport Leaf Cup 3DS Rock Rock Mountain/Alpine Pass Wii Dry Dry Ruins N64 Wario Stadium GCN Bowser’s Castle Lighting Cup Wii DK Summit Wii U Electrodrome 3DS Maka Wuhu/Wuhu Island Loop GBA Rainbow Road Shine Cup Wii U Super Bell Subway DS Shroom Ridge Bianco Hills Shadow Play Street Bell Cup Wii Koopa Cape SNES Bowser Castle 1 Shangri Spa Nintendo Land Battle Modes/Stages Balloon Battle Coin Runners Shine Thief Shine Runners Bob-omb Blast Renegade Roundup Thunder Chase Wario’s Casino Bowser’s Galleon Comet Observatory Hotel Delfino Mario’s Skatepark ———————— N64 Double Deck GCN Tilt-a-Kart Wii Funky Stadium 3DS Honeybee Hive NS Dragon Palace Story Mode When all of the Mario Kart racers get turned into Trophies, it’s up to Mario and friends to save them! Travel across the world to complete missions, collect Trophy Coins, and fight many foes! Mission Ranks: 3 Trophy Coins (Excellent) 2 Trophy Coin (Super) 1 Trophy Coin (Good) A Rank (OK) B Rank (Bad) C Rank (Very Bad) D Rank (Terrible) World 1: Peach’s Castle - Goomboss World 2: Tostarena Town - Knuckletoc World 3: Delfino Plaza - Petey Piranha World 4: Metro Kingdom - Mechawiggler World 5: Mount Volbono - Cookatiel World 6: Bowser’s Kingdom - Bowser World 7: Rosalina’s Observatory 50 Missions, 6 Bosses, 168 Trophy Coins Peach’s Castle: Train Circuit DS Mario Circuit Cascade Canyon Mario’s Skatepark GBA Riverside Park Wii Toad’s Factory N64 Double Deck Goomboss Battle Tostarena Town: Tostarena Ruins Wii Dry Dry Ruins 3DS Shy Guy Bazaar GCN Tilt-a-Kart Fruity Falls N64 Wario Stadium Koopa Troopa Park Knuckletoc Battle Delfino Plaza: Bianco Hills Wario’s Casino Wii Koopa Cape Hotel Delfino Nintendo Land 3DS Maka Wuhu Wii U Sunshine Airport Petey Piranha Battle Metro Kingdom: New Donk City Shadow Play Street DS Shroom Ridge Demolition Dirtway Toad Cafe Wii U Super Bell Subway GCN Mushroom City Mechawiggler Battle Mount Volbono: Volbono Peaks Shy Guy Circus 3DS Honeybee Hive Cocoa Kingdom Wii Funky Stadium SNES Vanilla Lake 2 3DS Rock Rock Mountain Cookatiel Battle Bowser’s Kingdom : Bowser’s Castle Bowser’s Galleon Wii U Electrodrome SNES Bowser Castle 1 Wii U Thwomp Ruins GCN Bowser’s Castle Luigi Stadium King Bowser Battle Rosalina’s Observatory: Shangri Spa NS Dragon Palace Wii DK Summit Comet Observatory DK Savanna Starlight Village Rainbow Road GBA Rainbow Road Collect ___ Coins! Defeat Beat ___ in a Reverse Race! Beat the track in under ___ Seconds! Drive through ___ Rings! Destroy ___ Item Boxes! Perform ___ Mini Turbos in 1 Lap! Trick off ___ Ramps! Get 1st Place Without Drifting! Avoid every Item Box! Glide at least ____ Feet! Find 5 Green Stars in under ___ Seconds! Boss Fight Unlockables Star Cup - Win the Mushroom and Flower Cup Special Cup - Win the Star Cup Leaf Cup - Win the Shell and Banana Cup Lightning Cup - Win the Leaf Cup Shine Cup - Earn a Star Rank on every Nitro Cup Bell Cup - Earn a Star Rank on every Retro Cup Mirror Mode - Win every 50, 100, and 150cc Cup 200cc - Score a Star Rank on every 150cc Cup Gold Mario - Score a Star Rank on every Mirror Mode Cup Golden Standard/Golden Bike/Golden ATV/Golden Express - Win every 200cc Cup Golden Wheels - Unlock a Super Fast Staff Ghost in all 40 Tracks Golden Glider - Collect 5000 Coins Characters Daisy - Collect 30 Trophy Coins Baby Mario - Collect 45 Trophy Coins Baby Luigi - Collect 60 Trophy Coins Diddy Kong - Collect 75 Trophy Coins Funky Kong - Collect 90 Trophy Coins Shy Guy - Collect 105 Trophy Coins Rosalina - Collect 120 Trophy Coins Koopa Troopa - Collect 135 Trophy Coins Waluigi - Collect all 168 Trophy Coins Toadette - Earn a Star Rank on every 50cc Nitro Cup. Dry Bones - Earn a Star Rank on every 50cc Retro Cup. Petey Piranha - Win the 100cc Shine Cup. Kamek - Win the 50cc Special Cup. Birdo - Win the 50cc Lightning Cup. Hammer Bro - Win the 100cc Bell Cup. King Boo - Earn a Star Rank on every 100cc Cup. Bowser Jr. - Earn a Star Rank on all 150cc Nitro Cups. The Koopalings - Earn a Star Rank on all 150cc Retro Cups. Pauline - Earn a Star Rank in every Mirror Mode Cup. Sprixie Fairy - Play 1000 Races/Have a Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury Save File and win 300 Races. Nabbit - Earn 3000 VR Points/Play 50 Battles. ROB - Earn 4000 VR Points/Play 100 Battles. Mii - Earn 5000 VR Points/Play 200 Battles. Vehicles 32 Karts/Bikes/ATVs/Trains for each character 14 returning vehicle bodies 20 Wheels 32 Gliders for each character VS Mode/Battle Mode Customization VS -Character -Kart/Bike/ATV, Wheels, Glider -Items -Standard Mode/Train Mode -50cc/100cc/150cc/Mirror Mode/200cc -Standard WeatheDay/Night/Rain/Sunset -Timer -Laps (1/2/3/4/5/8/10/20/25/30/40/45/50) -Easy CPU/Medium CPU/Hard CPU/No CPU -4 Racers, 8 Racers, 12 Racers, 24 Racers -Choose Tracks/Random Tracks/Tracks in Order -Tracks (1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 20, 24, 30, 32, 40) -Racer Size (Standard/Mega Size/Lightning Size) -Elimination Mode (On/Off) player in last stops playing) -Reverse Race (On/Off) Battle -Character -Kart/Bike/ATV, Wheels, Glider -Items -Standard Mode/Train Mode -Standard WeatheDay/Night/Rain/Sunset -Easy CPU/Medium CPU/Hard CPU/No CPU -4 Racers, 8 Racers, 12 Racers, 24 Racers -Choose Stages/Random Stages/Stages in Order -Stages (1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 20, 24, 30, 32, 40) -Racer Size (Standard/Mega Size/Lightning Size) -Timer (30 Seconds/1 Minute/2 Minutes/3 Minutes/4 Minutes/5 Minutes/10 Minutes/Off) -Balloon Battle/Coin Runners/Renegade Roundup/Shine Thief/Bob-omb Blast/Shine Runners/Thunder Chase/Random Battle
It could be the best in terms of anything Paul Newman: The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Exodus, From the Terrace, Paris Blues, Hud, Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, Sweet Bird of Youth, Harper, Lady L, Hombre, Torn Curtain, Winning, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Secret War of Harry Frigg, The Prize, What a Way to Go!, The Outrage, and A New Kind of Love. Gregory Peck: To Kill a Mockingbird, Mackenna's Gold, The Chairman, Cape Fear, Captain Newman, M.D., How the West Was Won, Behold a Pale Horse, Marooned, Mirage, Arabesque, The Stalking Moon, and The Guns of Navarone. Steve McQueen: The Sand Pebbles, The Great Escape, Love with the Proper Stranger, The Magnificent Seven, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Cincinnati Kid, Bullitt, The Honeymoon Machine, The Honeymoon Machine, The War Lover, Soldier in the Rain, Nevada Smith, Baby the Rain Must Fall, and The Reivers. Dustin Hoffman: The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, The Tiger Makes Out, Madigan's Millions, and John and Mary. Peter O Toole: Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Kidnapped, The Day They Robbed the Bank of England, The Savage Innocents, What's New Pussycat?, The Sandpiper, Lord Jim, How to Steal a Million, The Bible: In the Beginning..., Casino Royale, The Night of the Generals, and Great Catherine. Henry Fonda: How the West Was Won, Firecreek, Once Upon a Time in the West, Madigan, The Boston Strangler, Fail Safe, Sex and the Single Girl, The Longest Day, Advise & Consent, Spencer's Mountain, The Dirty Game, In Harm's Way, A Big Hand for the Little Lady, Welcome to Hard Times, The Best Man, The Rounders, Battle of the Bulge, and Yours, Mine and Ours. Toshiro Mifune: Shinsengumi, The Battle of the Japan Sea, Red Lion, Safari 5000, Hell in the Pacific, Samurai Banners, The Day the Sun Rose, Admiral Yamamoto, Japan's Longest Day, The Sands of Kurobe, Samurai Rebellion, Grand Prix, The Mad Atlantic, The Adventure of Kigan Castle, Rise Against the Sword, The Sword of Doom, Fort Graveyard, The Retreat from Kiska, Sanshiro Sugata, Samurai Assassin, Red Beard, Legacy of the 500,000, The Lost World of Sinbad, Whirlwind, Chūshingura: Hana no Maki, Yuki no Maki, Attack Squadron!, High and Low, Yojimbo, The Youth and his Amulet, Sanjuro, Tatsu, Three Gentlemen Return from Hong Kong, Salaryman Chushingura Part 1 & 2, The Story of Osaka Castle, The Youth and his Amulet, Ánimas Trujano, The Last Gunfight, The Gambling Samurai, The Bad Sleep Well, Man Against Man, and Storm Over the Pacific. Montgomery Clift: Judgment at Nuremberg, The Misfits, Freud: The Secret Passion, The Defector, and Wild River. Burt Lancaster: Judgment at Nuremberg, Birdman of Alcatraz, Elmer Gantry, Seven Days in May, The Leopard, The Professionals, The Unforgiven, The Young Savages, The List of Adrian Messenger, A Child Is Waiting, The Hallelujah Trail, The Train, The Swimmer, The Scalphunters, Castle Keep, and The Gypsy Moths. Marlon Brando: Mutiny on the Bounty, The Fugitive Kind, One-Eyed Jacks, Morituri, The Chase, Bedtime Story, The Ugly American, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Candy, The Appaloosa, The Night of the Following Day, Burn!, and A Countess from Hong Kong. Tony Curtis: Captain Newman, M.D., The Boston Strangler, Sex and the Single Girl, Spartacus, Pepe, The Rat Race, The Great Impostor, The List of Adrian Messenger, 40 Pounds of Trouble, Paris When It Sizzles, The Outsider, Taras Bulba, Goodbye Charlie, Not with My Wife, You Don't!, The Great Race, Wild and Wonderful, Boeing Boeing, Chamber of Horrors, On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who..., Rosemary's Baby, Drop Dead Darling, Don't Make Waves, Monte Carlo or Bust!, and Who Was That Lady?. Robert Redford: The Chase, Tall Story, Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious, War hunt, Inside Daisy Clover, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Barefoot in the Park, This Property Is Condemned, Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, and Downhill Racer. Anthony Perkins: Tall Story, Psycho, The Trial, Phaedra, Pretty Poison, Five Miles to Midnight, Goodbye Again, The Fool Killer, Une ravissante idiote, Le glaive et la balance, The Champagne Murders, and Is Paris Burning?. John Huston: Candy, The List of Adrian Messenger, The Cardinal, Casino Royale, and The Bible: In the Beginning John Wayne: How the West Was Won, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Longest Day, True Grit, El Dorado, Cast a Giant Shadow, The War Wagon, The Green Berets, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Hatari!, North to Alaska, The Alamo, The Comancheros, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Circus World, Hellfighters, and The Undefeated. Jack Lemmon: The Great Race,Pepe, The Apartment, The Wackiest Ship in the Army, The Notorious Landlad, Days of Wine and Roses, Under the Yum Yum Tree, Irma la Douce, How to Murder Your Wife, Good Neighbor Sam, Luv, The Fortune Cookie, The Odd Couple, and The April Fools. Marcello Mastroianni: 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita, La Notte, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Divorce Italian Style, Marriage Italian Style, The 10th Victim, Adua and Her Friends, Il bell'Antonio, Ghosts of Rome, La Notte, Family Diary, Family Diary, The Organizer, Kiss the Other Sheik, Me, Me, Me... and the Others, Casanova 70, Shoot Loud, Louder... I Don't Understand, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, Ghosts – Italian Style, Amanti, Break Up, The Stranger, and Diamonds for Breakfast. James Stewart: How the West Was Won, Firecreek, The Flight of the Phoenix, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Cheyenne Autumn, The Mountain Road, Two Rode Together, Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation, Take Her, She's Mine, Shenandoah, Dear Brigitte, Bandolero!, and The Rare Breed. Robert Mitchum: What a Way to Go!, Cape Fear, The Longest Day, El Dorado, Home from the Hill, The Sundowners, A Terrible Beauty, Two for the Seesaw, The Last Time I Saw Archie, The Grass Is Greener, The Way West, Mister Moses, Rampage, Man in the Middle, Anzio, 5 Card Stud, Villa Rides, The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, Secret Ceremony, and Young Billy Young. Robert Duvall: Captain Newman, M.D., True Grit, To Kill a Mockingbird, Bullitt, The Chase, Nightmare in the Sun, Countdown, and The Detective. Jean-Paul Belmondo: Breathless, That Man from Rio, Seven Days... Seven Nights, Trapped by Fear, Classe Tous Risques, The Lovemakers, Two Women, Lettere di una novizia, Love and the Frenchwoman, Le Doulos, Famous Love Affairs, Cartouche, A Man Named Rocca, Mare matto, The Winner, Sweet and Sour, Banana Peel, A Monkey in Winter, Backfire, Greed in the Sun, Weekend at Dunkirk, The Shortest Day, Magnet of Doom, Tender Scoundrel, Is Paris Burning?, Casino Royale, Male Hunt, Crime on a Summer Morning, Pierrot le Fou, Up to His Ears, Ho!, The Brain, Mississippi Mermaid, and Love Is a Funny Thing. Kirk Douglas: Seven Days in May, The List of Adrian Messenger, Spartacus, Is Paris Burning?, The War Wagon, The Way West, Lonely Are the Brave, The Heroes of Telemark, Town Without Pity, The Last Sunset, For Love or Money, The Hook, The Arrangement, The Legend of Silent Night, The Brotherhood, A Lovely Way to Die, and Cast a Giant Shadow. Charles Bronson: The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, Battle of the Bulge, Villa Rides, Guns of Diablo, X-15, The Bull of the West, 4 for Texas, Lola, Once Upon a Time in the West, Guns for San Sebastian, The Dirty Dozen, A Thunder of Drums, Kid Galahad, Master of the World, The Sandpiper, This Property Is Condemned, The Meanest Men in the West, and Adieu l'ami. Orson Welles: Casino Royale, Is Paris Burning?, The Trial, Kampf um Rom, The Thirteen Chairs, The Merchant of Venice, Battle of Neretva, Tepepa, The Southern Star, I'll Never Forget What's'isname, A Man for All Seasons, David and Goliath, La Fayette, Austerlitz, Crack in the Mirror, The Tartars, The V.I.P.s, Chimes at Midnight, In the Land of Don Quixote, Marco the Magnificent, House of Cards, The Immortal Story, and Oedipus the King. William Holden: Paris When It Sizzles, The Wild Bunch, The World of Suzie Wong, The Lion, Satan Never Sleeps, The Counterfeit Traitor, Casino Royale, The Devil's Brigade, The 7th Dawn, Alvarez Kelly, and The Christmas Tree. Frank Sinatra: Cast a Giant Shadow, The Detective, 4 for Texas, The Manchurian Candidate, Tony Rome, Pepe, The Devil at 4 O'Clock, The Road to Hong Kong, Sergeants 3, Come Blow Your Horn, None but the Brave, Paris When It Sizzles, Lady in Cement, The Oscar, Assault on a Queen, The Naked Runner, Von Ryan's Express, Marriage on the Rocks, and Robin and the 7 Hoods. Elvis Presley: G.I. Blues, Kid Galahad, Wild in the Country, Follow That Dream, Blue Hawaii, It Happened at the World's Fair, Girls! Girls! Girls!, Fun in Acapulco, Roustabout, Viva Las Vegas, Kissin' Cousins, Frankie and Johnny, Girl Happy, Harum Scarum, Tickle Me, Clambake, Easy Come, Easy Go, Double Trouble, Stay Away, Joe, Live a Little, Love a Little, Speedway, Change of Habit, The Trouble with Girls, Charro!, Spinout, and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. Edmond O'Brien: The Wild Bunch, The Longest Day, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Fantastic Voyage, The Great Impostor, The Last Voyage, The 3rd Voice, Birdman of Alcatraz, Man-Trap, Moon Pilot, Sylvia, Rio Conchos, The Hanged Man, The Outsider, Synanon, The Doomsday Flight, The Love God?, Flesh and Blood, The Viscount, and To Commit a Murder. Ben Johnson: The Wild Bunch, The Rare Breed, The Undefeated, Hang 'Em High, Cheyenne Autumn, Will Penny, One-Eyed Jacks, Ten Who Dared, Tomboy and the Champ, and Major Dundee. Warren Oates: The Wild Bunch, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond, The Rounders, Ride the High Country, Private Property, Mail Order Bride, Hero's Island, In the Heat of the Night, Welcome to Hard Times, The Shooting, Return of the Seven, Smith!, Crooks and Coronets, The Split, Something for a Lonely Man, and Lanton Mills. Sidney Poitier: In the Heat of the Night, Lilies of the Field, A Patch of Blue, To Sir, With Love, A Raisin in the Sun, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Paris Blues, The Long Ships, Pressure Point,All the Young Men, The Bedford Incident, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Slender Thread, Duel at Diablo, For Love of Ivy, and The Lost Man. Rod Steiger: The Longest Day, In the Heat of the Night, The Pawn broker, Doctor Zhivago, No Way to Treat a Lady, Three into Two Won't Go, Seven Thieves, The Mark, 13 West Street, World in My Pocket, Convicts 4, Time of Indifference, Hands over the City, A Man Named John, The Loved One, The Girl and the General, The Sergeant, and The Illustrated Man. Ernest Borgnine: The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, The Legend of Lylah Clare, Pay or Die, The Last Judgment, Barabbas, The Italian Brigands, McHale's Navy, The Flight of the Phoenix, The Oscar, The Split, A Bullet for Sandoval, Ice Station Zebra, Chuka, Go Naked in the World, Black City, and Man on a String. George Kennedy: The Boston Strangler, Charade, Strait-Jacket, McHale's Navy, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Dirty Dozen, Shenandoah, The Flight of the Phoenix, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, Cool Hand Luke, The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, The Man from the Diners' Club, The Silent Witness, McHale's Navy, Mirage, Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Island of the Blue Dolphins, In Harm's Way, Hurry Sundown, Bandolero!, The Ballad of Josie, Gaily, Gaily, and The Pink Jungle. Strother Martin: McLintock!, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Cool Hand Luke, Hurry Sundown, Sanctuary, Shenandoah, Harper, Nevada Smith, The Sons of Katie Elder, The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, True Grit, An Eye for an Eye, The Flim-Flam Man, Showdown, Invitation to a Gunfighter, and The Deadly Companions. Clint Eastwood: The Dollars Trilogy, Hang 'Em High, Where Eagles Dare, The Witches, Coogan's Bluff, and Paint Your Wagon. Eli Wallach: How the West Was Won, The Magnificent Seven, The Misfits, The Tiger Makes Out, Lord Jim, How to Steal a Million, A Lovely Way to Die, Seven Thieves, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Genghis Khan, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life, Ace High, Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, The Brain, Mackenna's Gold, Kisses for My President, Act One, The Moon-Spinners, and The Victors. Lee Van Cleef: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Posse from Hell, The Big Gundown, Sabata, Death Rides a Horse, Commandos, Day of Anger, and Beyond the Law. Richard Burton: The Sandpiper, Where Eagles Dare, Ice Palace, The Longest Day, The Bramble Bush, Zulu, Becket, Cleopatra, What's New Pussycat?, The Night of the Iguana, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Taming of the Shrew, Candy, Boom!, The Comedians in Africa, The Comedians, Doctor Faustus, Staircase, and Anne of the Thousand Days. Paul Scofield: A Man for all Seasons, The Train, and Tell Me Lies. Warren Beatty: All Fall Down, Splendor in the Grass, Bonnie and Clyde, Lilith, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, Mickey One, Promise Her Anything, and Kaleidoscope. Albert Finney: Tom Jones, The Entertainer, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Two for the Road, The Victors, Night Must Fall, Charlie Bubbles, and The Picasso Summer. Lee Marvin: Hell in the Pacific, The Professionals, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Comancheros, Paint Your Wagon, Point Blank, The Killers, Donovan's Reef, Cat Ballou, Ship of Fools, Sergeant Ryker, and Hell in the Pacific. Anthony Quinn: Behold a Pale Horse, Barabbas, Zorba the Greek, Lawrence of Arabia, Guns for San Sebastian, The Rover, San Sebastian 1746 in 1968, The Secret of Santa Vittoria, A Dream of Kings, The 25th Hour, The Happening, Lost Command, Marco the Magnificent, The Visit, A High Wind in Jamaica, Heller in Pink Tights, The Savage Innocents, Portrait in Black, The Guns of Navarone, The Magus, and The Shoes of the Fisherman. Michael Caine: Hurry Sundown, The Magus, Zulu, The Ipcress File, Alfie, The Italian Job, Deadfall, Funeral in Berlin, Billion Dollar Brain, Battle of Britain, Gambit, The Wrong Box, Woman Times Seven, Play Dirty, Foxhole in Cairo, Solo for Sparrow, The Wrong Arm of the Law, The Bulldog Breed, and The Day the Earth Caught Fire. Rex Harrison: Cleopatra, My Fair Lady, Doctor Dolittle, The Happy Thieves, Midnight Lace, The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, Staircase, The Honey Pot, and A Flea in Her Ear. Sean Connery: The Longest Day, Dr. No, Marnie, Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, Macbeth, The Frightened City, On the Fiddle, Anna Karenina, Shalako, The Red Tent, You Only Live Twice, Un monde nouveau, The Hill, A Fine Madness, Thunderball, Woman of Straw, and The Bowler and the Bunnet. Spencer Tracy: Judgment at Nuremberg, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Inherit the Wind, The Devil at 4 O'Clock, and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Chishû Ryû: Late Autumn, Otoko wa Tsurai yo, The Human Bullet, Japan's Longest Day, The End of Summer, An Autumn Afternoon, The Human Condition 3, and The Last War. Martin Balsam: Psycho, A Thousand Clowns, Trilogy, The Good Guys and the Bad Guys, Around the World of Mike Todd, Me, Natalie, Around the World of Mike Todd, Hombre, Among the Paths to Eden, After the Fox, Harlow, The Bedford Incident, Seven Days in May, Suspense, Youngblood Hawke, Everybody Go Home, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Ada, Cape Fear, Route 66, and Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?. Alan Bates: Zorba the Greek, Georgy Girl, Far from the Madding Crowd, Women in Love, King of Hearts, The Fixer, The Entertainer, Zorba the Greek, Nothing but the Best, Whistle Down the Wind, A Kind of Loving, The Caretaker, and The Running Man. Alain Delon: Is Paris Burning?, Famous Love Affairs, Rocco and His Brothers, Purple Noon, The Leopard, Le Samouraï, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, Lost Command, L'Eclisse, The Joy of Living, The Devil and the Ten Commandments, Love at Sea, Carom Shots, Any Number Can Win, Joy House, The Unvanquished, Once a Thief, Texas Across the River, Adieu l'ami, Jeff, The Sicilian Clan, La Piscine, Spirits of the Dead, The Girl on a Motorcycle, The Last Adventure, and Diabolically Yours. Peter Sellers: What's New Pussycat?, Casino Royale, Woman Times Seven, Dr. Strangelove, Lolita, The Millionairess, Never Let Go, Two-Way Stretch, The Wrong Arm of the Law, The Dock Brief, The Pink Panther, Only Two Can Play, Mr. Topaze, Waltz of the Toreadors, Heavens Above!, A Shot in the Dark, The World of Henry Orient, A Carol for Another Christmas, Casino Royale, Woman Times Seven, The bobo, The Party, The Magic Christian, and I Love You, Alice B. Toklas. George C. Scott: The List of Adrian Messenger, The Hustler, Not with My Wife, You Don't!, The Flim-Flam Man, Dr. Strangelove, The Power and the Glory, The Crucible, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, The Bible: In the Beginning..., This Savage Land, and Petulia. Walter Matthau: Charade, Fail Safe, The Fortune Cookie, The Odd Couple, Strangers When We Meet, Lonely Are the Brave, Mirage, Ensign Pulver, Island of Love, Who's Got the Action?, Candy, Cactus Flower, Hello, Dolly!, The Secret Life of an American Wife, and A Guide for the Married Man. Jean-Louis Trintignant: Z, A Man and a Woman, The Great Silence, Austerlitz, Horace 62, Un homme à abattre, La Longue marche, Trans-Europ-Express, Le Combat dans l'île, So Sweet... So Perverse, L'Américain, Mata Hari, Agent H21, Journey Beneath the Desert, Il Sorpasso, Col cuore in gola, Death Laid an Egg, Les Biches, My Love, My Love, The Man Who Lies, Metti, una sera a cena, My Night at Maud's, The Libertine, The Sleeping Car Murders, Diamond Safari, Spotlight on a Murderer, Nutty, and Naughty Chateau. Max von Sydow: The Greatest Story Ever Told, Shame, Hour of the Wolf, The Virgin Spring, Through a Glass Darkly, Bröllopsdagen, 4x4, Winter Light, Hawaii, Adventures of Nils Holgersson, The Mistress, Made in Sweden, The Passion of Anna, The Quiller Memorandum, Svarta palmkronor, The Reward, and Here Is Your Life. Richard Attenborough: The Sand Pebbles, The Great Escape, Doctor Dolittle, The Angry Silence, Upgreen – And at 'Em, The Dock Brief, Only Two Can Play, The League of Gentlemen, All Night Long, Séance on a Wet Afternoon, The Third Secret, The Flight of the Phoenix, Only When I Larf, Guns at Batasi, The Magic Christian, Oh! What a Lovely War, and The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom. Melvyn Douglas: Hud, Hotel, The Crucible, Companions in Nightmare, Rapture, Inherit the Wind, Lamp At Midnight, Advance to the Rear, A Very Close Family, The Americanization of Emily, and Billy Budd. Woody Strode: Spartacus, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Sergeant Rutledge, The Last Voyage, Two Rode Together, The Sins of Rachel Cade, Che!, Once Upon a Time in the West, Boot Hill, Genghis Khan, Shalako, Black Jesus, The Professionals, Tarzan's Three Challenges, and 7 Women. Yûsuke Kawazu: The River Fuefuki, Ken, Manji, Kiri no Hata, Cruel Story of Youth, Genocide, Fighting Elegy, and Black Lizard. John Cassavetes: The Dirty Dozen, Rosemary's Baby, A Child Is Waiting, The Killers, Devil's Angels, Roma come Chicago, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, Machine Gun McCain, and The Webster Boy. Laurence Harvey: The Outrage, Kampf um Rom, The Manchurian Candidate, The Ceremony, The Alamo, The Long and the Short and the Tall, BUtterfield 8, Walk on the Wild Side, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, The Running Man, A Girl Named Tamiko, Darling, Of Human Bondage, Summer and Smoke, Two Loves, The Doctor and the Devil, Rebus, The Spy with a Cold Nose, The Magic Christian, L'assoluto naturale, The Charge of the Light Brigade, A Dandy in Aspic, Life at the Top, The Outrage, and The Winter's Tale. Omar Sharif: Mackenna's Gold, Behold a Pale Horse, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Funny Girl, More Than a Miracle, Che!, Mayerling, Trois hommes sur un cheval, The Appointment, Genghis Khan, The Yellow Rolls-Royce, El mamalik, The Night of the Generals, Lawet El Hub, Nahna el talamiza, Gharam el assiad, Hobi al-Wahid, The Beginning and the End, The River of Love, A Rumor of Love, and There is a Man in our House. George Peppard: How the West Was Won, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Carpetbaggers, House of Cards, Home from the Hill, The Victors, The Subterraneans, P.J.,What's So Bad About Feeling Good?, Pendulum, Operation Crossbow, The Third Day, Tobruk, Rough Night in Jericho, and The Blue Max. James Garner: The Great Escape, Grand Prix, Duel at Diablo, 36 Hours, The Pink Jungle, A High Wind in Jamaica,Hour of the Gun, The Americanization of Emily, Cash McCall, The Children's Hour, Boys' Night Out, Action on the Beach, The Art of Love, Grand Prix: Challenge of the Champions, The Thrill of It All, Move Over, Darling, The Wheeler Dealers, Marlowe, Support Your Local Sheriff!, The Man Who Makes the Difference, Once Upon a Wheel, The Racing Scene, A Man Could Get Killed, How Sweet It Is!, and Mister Buddwing. Donald Pleasence: The Great Escape, The Night of the Generals, You Only Live Twice, Creature of Comfort, Will Penny, Fantastic Voyage, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Hallelujah Trail, The Caretaker, Suspect, No Love for Johnnie, The Shakedown, The Flesh and the Fiends, The Hands of Orlac, Hell Is a City, The Wind of Change, Circus of Horrors, Sons and Lovers, The Big Day, Dr. Crippen, Cul-de-sac, The Inspector, What a Carve Up!, Eye of the Devil, Matchless, Arthur? Arthur!, The Other People, The Madwoman of Chaillot, A Story of David, and Spare the Rod. James Coburn: Charade, The Americanization of Emily, The Magnificent Seven, Hell Is for Heroes, The Great Escape, Our Man Flint, In Like Flint, The Man from Galveston, The Murder Men, Hell Is for Heroes, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, Duffy, Candy, The President's Analyst, Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, Waterhole No. 3, Major Dundee, A High Wind in Jamaica, The Loved One, and Hard Contract. Cary Grant: Charade, The Grass Is Greener, That Touch of Mink, Walk, Don't Run, and Father Goose. Horst Buchholz: The Magnificent Seven, One, Two, Three, Fanny, Nine Hours to Rama, Marco the Magnificent, The Empty Canvas, Ankle Bone, Cervantes, That Man in Istanbul, Johnny Banco, and How, When and with Whom. Jackie Gleason: Soldier in the Rain, The Hustler, Gigot, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Skidoo, Papa's Delicate Condition, How to Commit Marriage, and Don't Drink the Water. Arthur Kennedy: Lawrence of Arabia, Barabbas, Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man, Claudelle Inglish, Cheyenne Autumn, Murder, She Said, Anzio, Shark!, A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die, Hail, Hero!, Nevada Smith,Murieta, Fantastic Voyage, Attack and Retreat, Joy in the Morning, Monday's Child, and Day of the Evil Gun. Peter Finch: Kidnapped, The Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Day, No Love for Johnnie, In the Cool of the Day, I Thank a Fool, Girl with Green Eyes, The Pumpkin Eater, The Flight of the Phoenix, Judith, First Men in the Moon, Far from the Madding Crowd, 10:30 P.M. Summer, Come Spy with Me, The Greatest Mother of Them All, The Legend of Lylah Clare, and The Red Tent. Hugh Griffith: How to Steal a Million,Exodus, Mutiny on the Bounty, Oliver!, The Counterfeit Traitor, The Citadel, Point of Departure, The Day They Robbed the Bank of England, The Inspector, Tom Jones, Term of Trial, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, Hide and Seek, The Bargee, The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders, On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who..., Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad, The Sailor from Gibraltar, The Fixer, Il marito è mio e l'ammazzo quando mi pare, and Brown Eye, Evil Eye. Jason Robards: A Big Hand for the Little Lady, Hour of the Gun, Long Day's Journey into Night, A Thousand Clowns, Act One, By Love Possessed, Isadora, Tender Is the Night, Divorce American Style, A Big Hand for the Little Lady, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Any Wednesday, Once Upon a Time in the West, and The Night They Raided Minsky's. George Seagel: The Southern Star, No Way to Treat a Lady, Invitation to a Gunfighter, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Lost Command, The Quiller Memorandum, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, King Rat, Act One, The Young Doctors, The Bridge at Remagen, The Girl Who Couldn't Say No, Bye Bye Braverman, and The New Interns. Rod Taylor: Chuka, The Time Machine, Sunday in New York, The Glass Bottom Boat, 36 Hours, The Birds, Hotel, Nobody Runs Forever, The Hell with Heroes, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Seven Seas to Calais, Colossus and the Amazon Queen, Dark of the Sun, The Liquidator, Young Cassidy, Fate Is the Hunter, Do Not Disturb, and A Gathering of Eagles. Robert Ryan: Ice Palace, Billy Budd, The Longest Day, The Wild Bunch, The Dirty Dozen, Battle of the Bulge, The Professionals, Anzio, Captain Nemo and the Underwater City, A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die, Hour of the Gun, Custer of the West, The Busy Body, The Canadians, King of Kings, and The Crooked Road. Christopher Plummer: Battle of Britain, The Sound of Music, The Fall of the Roman Empire, Inside Daisy Clover, The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Lock Up Your Daughters, Nobody Runs Forever, Oedipus the King, The Night of the Generals, and Triple Cross. Michel Piccoli: Le Doulos, Contempt, Diary of a Chambermaid, La Guerre Est Finit, Les Creatures, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Belle De Jour, Danger: Diabolik, Dillinger is Dead, The Milky Way, Topaz, Lady L, The Day and the Hour, Masquerade, L'Invitée, Climats, Les Petits Drames, Adieu Philippine, La dragée haute, Le Bal des espions, Amazons of Rome, All About Loving, The Sleeping Car Murders, The War Is Over, The Game Is Over, Belle de Jour, Benjamin, Shock Troops, La Chamade, and La Prisonnière. Tatsuya Nakadai: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, Yojimbo,The Human Condition: A Soldier's Prayer, Immortal Love, Sanjuro, Harakiri ,High and Low, Kwaidan, The Sword of Doom, The Face of Another, Samurai Rebellion, Kill!, Goyokin, Portrait of Hell, Get 'em All, Daughters, Wives and a Mother ,Miren, A Woman's Life, Pressure of Guilt, Love Under the Crucifix, The Blue Beast, The Other Women, Kumo ga chigieru toki, Hakari, The Legacy of the 500,000, Saigo no shinpan, Blood End, Arijigoku sakusen, Kwaidan, Saigo no shinpan, Fort Graveyard, Cash Calls Hell, Illusion of Blood, Kojiro, The Age of Assassins, The Daphne, Today We Kill... Tomorrow We Die!, Rengō Kantai Shirei Chōkan: Yamamoto Isoroku, Blood End, Hitokiri, Eiko's 5000 Kilograms, and The Battle of the Japan Sea. James Mason: Lolita, Duffy, Mayerling, The Sea Gull, Age of Consent, The Blue Max, Stranger in the House, The Deadly Affair, Georgy Girl, The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Pumpkin Eater, Genghis Khan, Lord Jim, The Uninhibited, Hero's Island, Torpedo Bay, Tiara Tahiti, The Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Marriage-Go-Round, and Escape from Zahrain. Vincent Price: The Last Man on Earth, Witchfinder General, Convicts 4, Confessions of an Opium Eater, Tower of London, Tales of Terror, The Raven, Diary of a Madman, The Haunted Palace, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tomb of Ligeia, Twice-Told Tales, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, The Comedy of Terrors, City Under the Sea, The House of 1,000 Dolls, The Pit and the Pendulum, Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile, Rage of the Buccaneers, Beach Party, House of Usher, Master of the World, Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, Spirits of the Dead, The Trouble with Girls, The Jackals, More Dead Than Alive, and The Oblong Box. Jack Nicholson: The Raven, Easy Rider, The Little Shop of Horrors, The Shooting, Head, Hells Angels on Wheels, The Trip, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Psych-Out, Thunder Island, Back Door to Hell, Ride in the Whirlwind, Flight to Fury, The Wild Ride, The Broken Land, Studs Lonigan, Too Soon to Love, and The Terror. Rock Hudson: Lover Come Back, Send Me No Flowers, The Last Sunset, Marilyn, The Spiral Road, Come September, Strange Bedfellows, Man's Favorite Sport?, A Gathering of Eagles, A Very Special Favor, Seconds, Tobruk, Ice Station Zebra, The Undefeated, Blindfold, and A Fine Pair. Charlton Heston: El Cid, The Pigeon That Took Rome, 55 Days at Peking, The Greatest Story Ever Told, While I Run This Race, All About People, The Agony and the Ecstasy, Number One, Planet of the Apes, Counterpoint, Will Penny, Major Dundee, Khartoum, The War Lord, The Five Cities of June, and Diamond Head. John Gavin: Psycho, Midnight Lace, Back Street, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Thoroughly Modern Millie, OSS 117 – Double Agent, Tammy Tell Me True, Spartacus, Pedro Páramo, A Breath of Scandal, and Romanoff and Juliet. Stephen Boyd: Lisa, Billy Rose's Jumbo, Fantastic Voyage, The Poppy Is Also a Flower, The Big Gamble, Slaves, The Caper of the Golden Bulls, Shalako, Assignment K, The Bible: In the Beginning..., The Fall of the Roman Empire, Genghis Khan, The Oscar, The Third Secret, and Imperial Venus.
My father leaves and just bought 100 hits of LSD. 60 tabs and 40 sour patch kids with droplets on them. I eat 3 sour patch kids and a tab. A hour goes by and i eat another sour patch kids. Roughly 450 ug. I decide to go to a park a mile and a half up the road via bike. the night was crisp. Short and sweater weather and my my ride was more crisp. It felt as if i was floating, Gliding along the nightly backdrop over the coast. I arrive at my destination as if nothing happened and sat on a bench overlooking the stars. Rose bushed began to grow beneath my feet. Like that one scene in the hotel from fear and loathing. On the left side of the sky was a circle. Similar to a casino wheel with Louis Vuitton and Kappa logos rotating and the other side looked like diamonds peaking out. I began to think about myself involuntarily and started talking to my lady friend via phone and got to a point where i was stopping myself from speaking. Almost like my ego was keeping me from speaking on these terms. I broke down crying trying to figure out how to break this. And i did. I tell people i died in these shorts whenever i wear the shorts in question. I begin biking back with a new found joy. Felt like ive been stripped from everything negative and felt exactly like who i wanted to be. Disaster struck... Roughly 3 miles of biking on auto pilot talking to myself about social standards and fixing myself 2 tow trucks rush toward me with a beat up car in the middle. Skrrrt.. The car goes into a alley way and pops out and stops. I thought this car was in trouble but i get to the window to try to help and a 20 year old African American male was in the car. Clearly distraught, What have i come upon i thought to myself. Am i in too deep? of corse not i continue and now notice ive been seeing the same car throughout the night driving. I can tell by the bumper handing and the lexus badge holding on with dear life. I catch up to the car and finally see the driver. Not someone i recognize until i hear my name get called from the back seat... My friend? from school. Crazy i hug him and he informs me he been following me because the car i checked on was following me. I almost begin to cry and thank them. They leave and now im hype. New found energy flowed through me and at roughly 3 am i see people on the beach. i call to them. they respond with responses from sober people. trying to keep their distance from this lunatic on a bike. They ask my name and thie new found energy flowed through me like eletricity and i told them my name. MY NAME IS _____ FUCKING __________ (blocked for privacy) and now finally begin my ride back to my house. Feeling like worn out clay afterwards. Feeling like the person ive been wanting to be for the past year and a half. I felt like me.. Thank you for reading
Some tips on being homeless because who know's when someone could use a survival tip or two: 1- Never, ever, ever borrow or accept money from anyone on the streets no matter how hard up you are. You will be owned if you do. 2- Save on Foods, Mc Donalds, Walmart, A & W & Tim Horton's all have the best Wi-fi connection. 3- Condense your life into one back pack. Simplify, simplify, simplify. This will save you mentally and physically in the end. 4- Bear spray. That is all. 5- Invest in a $10 shower vinyl Coleman pack. Stick it in a back pack and fill it up in rest stops. It's $13 dollars to shower in hotels or truck stops and that can add up very fast. 6- Find places to sleep that are dark and you can tuck yourself in 7- If you have to sleep under a bridge, tuck yourself up high and wear all black to hide yourself out from late night people sketching out or wanting to fight or looking for trouble. 8- There will always be good people who come around in spite of your situation. 9- Coleman shower pack, Truck stops, hotels & motels, Rec centers & campgrounds are good places to shower. Rivers are great for bathing. 10- If you have wheels, you are so blessed. 11- It is easier to get into a shelter if you have kids 12-Even though they say no food in your room in the shelter, some rules are meant to be broken. A back pack is great for snacks lol 13-Carry a concealed key knife- yes a key knife - easy to hide and you'll be thankful you have one. Mine was given to me by a street warrior himself. 14-Homeless life becomes so hard that it is so easy to stay stuck. DON"T STAY STUCK. 15. If you have a vehicle the best places to sleep are casino parking lots, walmart parking lots, safe feeling communities, hotel parking lots, service road truck line ups, conservatory places, river sides, crown land, ice shacks 16- A lot of people do not have your best intentions at heart so be careful what you're doing and who you take advice from when you are feeling low. 17. Remind yourself only YOU have the power to get out of the situation, 18- Most cities have community support centers and places to get food and counseling 19- The food bank line is hell. But there is some food at the end of those long awful lines. 20- The dollar store fucking rocks for little gadgets and nic-nacks if you need to set up camp somewhere 21- Try and pack a tent and find a spot you won't have to move often. Moving is so mentally draining and exhausting. 22- Don't stick around too long in one place 23- Don't buy weed off the streets. DON"T, DON"T DO IT. Don;t buy anything from anyone.. don't. 24- Don't tell anyone how vulnerable you are. People prey like motherfuckers. 25- Make up wipes work great for wiping your hands and face to freshen up. 26- Always have your toothbrush and paste with you. When you feel tired you can brush your teeth as a psychological hack to make you feel more awake to keep persevering. 27- If a street person asks you for water, it's usually to shoot up, not drink. Don't judge these poor hurting souls and save your drinking water. 28- empathize, empathize, empathize. If you are reactive to everyone and everything or are judgmental, you are hooped. 29- Always watch your back. Always. 30- Smash the tops of feet and gouge eyes if you ever get attacked and don't be afraid to fight back. 31- If you are so lucky, spend time in nature if you can 32- writing and books are a good escape and easy to pack in your bag 33-Learn to love the body you were born in real fast because doing hair and makeup ain't a thing. 34- There is a lot of free clothing that get's given out at shelters 35- Stick to yourself. Better chance at getting off the streets. 36- If you need to warm your shower pack up faster stick it under your floor heater if you have a car. 37- Get your hands on a sleeping bag and foil emergency blanket somehow 38-Always look for the beauty in the moment. Everything is art. Everything. 39-Mindset is key. Your body will always give up before your mind does. Careful what you feed your thoughts 40- Never sleep in truck stop areas. You will be meat. 41- Not all medical professionals and staff in shelters are leading you down the right path. Be choosy if you can. 42- Learn to think for yourself or else you're fucked. Intuition baby. Intuition. 43- Plug ins are found outside gas stations and fast food joints and in picnic parks to charge your phone. 44- Picking bottles will get you money. 45- Learn to wear clothing you can wake up and go to sleep in. Trust me. 46- The river valley is a good spot to hide and set up camp without hasstle for the most part. Again, don't stay in one place too long. In BC there are a lot of meth labs in forrest areas. some in alberta crown land as well. be careful. 47- Don't listen to your music or you can't hear what is coming behind you 48- Vodka helps, be mindful on how much you're consuming and if you drink too much you will be off your game to stick up for yourself if need be. 49- Shelters are sometimes are rougher than the streets but gain you access to other supports if you can get in. It is NOT EASY getting into a shelter. 50- Keep your head held high and don't give a fuck about the judgement you will receive. People will be judging no matter what you do, so fuck it. Keep going. Keep fighting the good fight. Your situation does not define you and people who judge you and look down on you DO NOT matter :)
If You See Graffiti Reading "FOR A GOOD TIME CALL:", follow this "Rule of the Road"...
The following contains a transcript from a short radio broadcast that has been picked up by various listeners across the continental United States. Many have been perplexed by its sudden appearance and how it seems to preempt whatever song or radio program they are listening to at the time. It has even been known to appear on streaming programs such as podcasts or Spotify. Listeners have described hearing different episodes and there have been many situations and incidents. A 23 year old college student named Yuvisela contacted me with her account of hearing the broadcast. She and her boyfriend had encountered the broadcast while driving one sultry summer afternoon from Austin, TX. So I have this thing with waterfalls. I’m a little obsessed with them. In my free time and when I’m not paying attention in lecture, I like to look on the internet at pictures of them and daydream that I’m there: the roar of the splashing water, the white foamy spray, my bare toes dipped into the icy spring. I’ve got a Pinterest page with hundreds of falls that I would like to visit one day. Niagara, Havasu, Victoria Falls, Gullfoss, Iguazu; they’re all on there. I keep them all catalogued for my bucket list. Yet, how many people go to the grave with their bucket list hardly finished? I bet a lot. My boyfriend, Gabriel, likes to mess with me about my obsession. He’ll come up behind me while I’m on my computer or look over my shoulder at my phone and see that I’m looking at waterfalls. “Don’t go chasing waterfalls, stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to,” he’ll sing when he catches me. It’s this old song he knows, TLC or something. He’s about six years older than me. I’ll joke with him to leave me alone and quit singing that old music, ask him if he used to listen to that on an 8-track or something. “No, my older sister listened to it on CD. You know CD’s? Those little plastic things with the holes in them? That little slot in your car’s stereo, a CD goes in there. They don’t make ‘em in the new cars anymore.” We’ve had a variation of this same conversation a bunch of times. It’s kind of a running joke between the two of us—him poking fun at my waterfall obsession and me making fun of how old he is—and while he thinks the waterfall thing is a cute little quirk of mine, he also has been supportive of my passion. That’s why he surprised me with the trip that summer. He knew that I was yearning to see some of these places. He knew that he wanted to make me happy. He knew that my resources were limited. He knew that we weren’t getting any younger; I was 23 and still had a semester to go. But he also knew that we weren’t getting any richer, either. At least not anytime soon. I know I’m a little bit older for a college student, but it’s taken me a bit longer on account of having to work and stuff. I can’t take a full load every semester. Money’s always tight. I work full time and barely stay ahead, even sending some of my money to help my mom out. Gabriel offered to help me out some and we’d even talked about moving in together, but we had only been together a year at that point and I wasn’t quite ready. Before my dad had passed, I’d promised him that I was going to get my college degree and I wanted to do it all on my own. While I loved Gabriel and could see myself marrying him, I didn’t want to deal with a transition like that so close to the finish line. Besides, we were getting along so well as it was. Why mess with a good thing? And it was a good thing that kept better. Just when I thought that I couldn’t love Gabriel more, on my birthday he surprised me with the best present I’ve ever gotten. It was a little black notebook with this kind of leathery cover. While the notebook itself was nice, it was what was inside that was the true present. At some point, he had gone onto my Pinterest page and written down page after page of waterfalls, organizing them by country and state. He had put little squares beside them, boxes to check off. The last two pages were Texas and Oklahoma. He had written a note there. It read:
“Let’s start now...” -Gabriel
* * * So far, the trip had been a blast. We had started out in Abilene where we both lived and where I attended college. From there, we went to a place called Gorman Falls at this state park. It was one of the tallest waterfalls in the state and all of the foliage and moss around it was lush and green and for a while, if I crossed my eyes just right it was like I wasn’t even in Texas. We couldn’t hit all the sites in a day. It was a road trip with multiple nights in hotels. After Gorman Falls and staying at a hotel, we headed towards Austin and stopped off at Hamilton Pool Preserve. The waterfall wasn’t as tall as Gorman, but I have to say I liked it better. The water formed a curtain as it poured off of a rocky shelf and into this sunken grotto of blue green water. We stayed at this magical place for hours, swimming in the water and soaking up the sun. I could’ve stayed longer, but it was starting to get crowded, so we headed to Austin for a night on the town on 6th Street. The next day we slept in and got a late start on the road. Lunch was at a Whataburger outside Waco. We sat and ate our food and looked at our phones. I browsed Instagram and my eyes skimmed over a gorgeous site. Yep, another waterfall. I slid my phone over to Gabriel. “Look!” I said. “Am I supposed to be looking at the butt or the waterfall?” he asked. An Instagram model was standing with her back to the camera, looking up at the water in awe. “The waterfall, silly.” “Seriously, that skinny white girl ain’t got nothing on you. Better let me take a look, just to be sure.” I stood and twirled around quickly, teasing him. “Ok, so back to the waterfall. Did you look at it?” “Yeah, it’s beautiful babe. Where was this one?” “Iceland,” I sighed. “Oh, right.” “It’s not looking good for the time being. Maybe in a few years, yeah?” “Just gotta see how the election goes. I ain’t holding my breath.” See, neither of us were U.S. citizens. We were what you call DACA recipients. Both of us had wound up in America via illegal means on behalf of our parents, back when we were kids. This was when we were too young to have any say in the matter. I can hardly remember my life before, my life back in Mexico. I grew up here, went to school here. Texas and America is the only home I’ve ever known. Gabriel, he was originally from Guatemala. His situation is more or less the same. If we were to leave the country, then we might risk not being able to get back in. You could apply for eligibility to travel if you had special circumstances, but they didn’t allow travel for leisure. We didn’t even have passports. Until then, our dreams of traveling—something we both wanted to do—were just that: dreams. There was a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. Obama and that DREAM act, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You know, the dreamers or whatever? That’s what they call us. I guess they call it that because it’s just a freaking fantasy that disappears at the slightest thing—the sunrise, your phone alarm—out of your grasp as soon as you start your day. Anyways, I applied for the DREAM act, but it hasn’t been a guarantee. We’re all stuck in a sort of limbo, waiting for the people in Washington to figure out what the hell to do with us, using us as a bargaining chip. Not Gabriel though, he didn’t apply for the act. Part of it was that he was bad about procrastinating. The other part was that he was paranoid about signing up. I told him that he was an idiot and if he blew his chance to become a legal permanent resident, then I wouldn’t follow him to Guatemala if he got deported. He told me that he didn’t trust the program, that once they had you in the system they could track you easier, keep tabs on you. Said he knew a guy that got deported this way. I told him that the guy must’ve gotten into some legal trouble, a DUI or something, to have been deported. “We’re all just one slip up from some legal trouble. Hell, some people consider us illegal right now,” he had said. It was hard to argue against that, I guess. At least he knew where he stood, didn’t have that false hope. Sometimes I think it’s the hope that gets you, makes things worse. Gabriel frowned and handed the phone back to me, looked out the window and took a sip of his Coke. I suddenly felt bad and ungrateful. Here was this amazing man that had planned out an awesome road trip just for me and I was busy looking at other far off adventures, not appreciating what I had right in front of me, the moment I was living in right now. I leaned forward and kissed him. "I don't care where I'm at as long as you're with me," I said and he smiled. What I told him just then, it was true. That didn’t mean I was going to grow complacent and quit dreaming. They did call us dreamers after all. It was one of those giant truck stops, the kind that was a little smaller than a Wal-Mart or Target, but just barely. We filled up and paced around inside and looked at the aisles and aisles of candy, the funny toys and souvenirs, and the tacky t-shirts. “Hey Yuvi, whaddaya say? It’s your size.” Gabriel asked, holding up a black t-shirt with glittery letters. “PROUD TRUCKER WIFE” it read. “Only if you get that one,” I said, pointing at a T-shirt with a semi-truck on it that read “I JUST DROPPED A LOAD”. “Eww,” Gabriel said, laughing. We both wandered around on our own. They had a huge candy section and I was looking to see if they had any vero elotes candy. I had just found a bag on a bottom shelf when Gabriel came skipping up. “We are so getting this,” he said, holding up a plastic CD case. “What is it?” “Best of the ‘90s. It’s got your song on there, see? ‘Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls.’ Can we get it? It’s only 3.99.” “Ha, ok. But only if you buy me this,” I said, handing him the candy. There was traffic from hell just south of Denton on account of construction and a car wreck or two. We were stop-and-go for what seemed like an hour. I was passenger side and Gabriel idled along. “Ok. I think now’s the time to break out this bad boy,” Gabriel said as he started tearing at the plastic wrap around the CD case. “I think this is the first time I’ve even used the CD player in this car.” “Aw hell yeah,” Gabriel said as the first song started playing. “Gettin’ Jiggy With It.” “Getting what, now?” “It’s your boy, Will Smith. Y’know the Fresh Prince? Betcha didn’t know he had a little music career.” “That guy from I Am Legend and Aladdin?” Gabriel rolled his eyes. “I guess. His older work is much better.” “Well I don’t know. You act like you're this old and wise millennial. You’re not that much older than me, y’know.” “I’m telling ya, my Gen-X sister raised me on all of this stuff. I think she was Gen-X. I don’t know the damn cutoffs. Anyways, she babysat me a lot growing up while Mama was working and stuff. She cultured my little ass. Ooh, here it is!” A new song started playing. I couldn’t help but laugh at how it started. “It sounds like porn music!” “Nah, shhhh. Shhh.” Gabriel bobbed his head along to the beat. The chorus started to worm it’s way into my head. The song was ok, I guess. I still can’t really listen to it to this day. “You gotta listen to this dope rap coming up,” Gabriel said. There was the sound of hissing and popping, wet logs burning in a fire. Whispers intermingled with the sound effects. One of the voices rose above the others and said “Listen!” harshly in Spanish, you know, “Escuchen! Escuchen!”, several times. We both looked at each other with wide eyes. The traffic crept forward slowly and Gabriel kept his hands on the wheel and I kept mine in my lap and that’s when he started to talk. It was this happy sounding older guy, talking right there on my car’s speakers. Gooood afternoon folks, Buck Hensley here with a special rush hour edition of “The Rules of the Road”. Hope ya’ll are doing alright out there while you’re idling on the clogged arteries of America’s highways and byways, breathing in those delicious exhaust fumes. I know that good ol’ Mother Earth likes to take a big fat rip of that stuff from time to time, although as of late she seems to be getting quite a contact high from that delicious Co2 and starting to feel the effects just a little too much. And yet you all keep puff-puffing and passing, never slowing down. What with your jet planes and your driving and your travel and your neverending consumption and your cow farts and whatnot. All I’m saying is that you folks might wanna slow down a bit on that stuff, because I’ve seen the end results and all I can say is that they are hilarious. But I understand if you wanna keep on keeping on and having a good time. All I can say is smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. Speaking of good times, that reminds me of today’s special “Rule of the Road”. You’re gonna want to listen to this one as it’s all about good times. Why that was Carla’s favorite sitcom for a spell there, “Good Times”. She’d watch reruns on into the night, the TV casting a pale glow that was kinda comforting across the bed, and I’d wake up to live studio laughter and her snoring softly beside me, the serene look of slumber on her face and the years I’d wasted. Gabriel and I both looked at eachother. He shrugged and reached for the stereo. I shooed his hand away. I wanted to listen to it. The voice continued. But I digress...well now, on to today’s “Rule of the Road”. If at any point during your journey you stop off for a pitstop or a potty break and you enter a public restroom to do your business, take note of the writing on the stalls. You might notice some graffiti that reads, “For a Good Time, Call” and then a phone number listed after it. If you do notice this, then take the number down for later use. Whenever you are in dire need of a good time, then give that number a call. Now before you go off with a bee in your bonnet and tell me how you ain’t gonna call no sketchy phone number taken off a lady’s or men’s room wall, let me just tell you that this will be worth it. You can trust me. When has old Bucky ever let ya down? I know what you’re gonna say next though, you’re gonna say, “Buck, I don’t ever call no numbers on my phone. I’m deathly afraid of voices on the other line. If I can’t text and send little emojis and the like, then forget it. If I can’t use an app to order Thai food or a pizza, then I go hungry that night. I haven’t even made an appointment to a doctor since I’ve lived with my parents. What if since we can’t see each other’s faces we start talking at the same time and we talk over each other and then say, ‘oops sorry, no you go ahead’ and then we both say it again at the same time and then we both start trying to talk again and then get stuck in some sort of infinite loop?” And to that I say, “fair enough.” Don’t use the phone. The consequences of not following this rule are a little less dire than previous rules you may have heard. If you don’t follow this rule then you will simply miss out on a good time. That’s it. But you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything, would ya? Welp. That’s all I’ve got on this fine late afternoon. May the wind be always at your back, your picnic basket full of snacks, and your cheese ever be pepper jack. Ya’ll stay sane out there. Stay symbiotic. Stay lonely. I'm Buck Hensley and these are "The Rules of the Road". The voice instantly stopped and the song returned playing. Gabriel had a dumbfounded look on his face. "What the hell?" he said and tried to rewind the CD. "Umm, was that part of the song? Maybe a different version?" "No way," he said and kept rewinding and playing the song over. The little skit that we heard never returned. “Weird,” I said. “Beats the heck out of me.” “Maybe the CD is haunted. That was pretty spooky, y’know? That voice telling us to listen.” “Maybe it was like a hidden track or something. They used to put those on CD’s back in the day. And this CD was pretty cheap and has all these songs on it. Could’ve been like a pirated deal.” We weren’t really scared by the broadcast or whatever it was, just more confused. It was only looking back that we saw the importance of what we had heard and how from there our path seemed to be led a certain way.. At the time it was just this weird little thing, a funny little mystery that was forgettable for the time being. We crept along for a while without incident, the traffic slowly gaining momentum. The music on the CD played on as usual and we heard no extra voices. The songs played like they were supposed to. Everything was fine. Of course, outside of Gainesville, it hit me. I had been trying to ignore it and power through until we stopped for the night, but I had the sudden urge to pee. All that slow traffic and iced tea and a bottle of water must’ve caught up with me. This was intense. Usually I could hold it pretty good, but I had to get Gabriel to stop at the first exit we saw. It was this gas station kind of off by itself and it was all dingy and old and faded and didn’t look the cleanest. Gabriel parked and my lower stomach and bladder ached as soon as I stood up and got out of the car. I burst into the place and made a beeline towards the restroom, over in the corner past the ATM and the glass fridges down a hall with burnt out fluorescent lights. They were singles that you could lock, one for men and one for women. The floor was sticky and paper towels piled out of a trash can and a strip of toilet paper floated in a pool of standing water. A condom dispensing machine was on the wall opposite the toilet. It wasn’t the worst public restroom I’d ever used and I didn’t have many options; I was literally about to piss myself. I would have to do the hover move over the toilet seat. No seat covers in a joint like this and I didn’t have time to prep it with toilet paper anything. So I was doing my business, my thighs burning from the squat, and kind of laughing to myself at the condom dispenser machine with its brands like the “FRENCH TICKLER” and that’s when I saw it, the graffiti written in Sharpie, right there on the vending machine. It said, “For A Good Time, Call 9xx-XXX-XXXX [Redacted]”. After I finished and had washed my hands, I snapped a pic of the graffiti. I figured Gabriel would get a kick out of it. “You’re supposed to call it. That’s the rule,” Gabriel said when I showed him. “I’m too nervous. You call. You heard it, too.” “Chicken.” “Yep.” “How many of those things do you even see? I’ve seen them all the time. I bet it’s just dudes pranking each other or fucking with their ex-girlfriends.” “Well I found it in the ladies room, so hopefully it wasn’t dudes.” “Okay, you enter it in your phone and I’ll dial. I’ll try to do a caller ID block or something. Let’s just see what happens.” “Are you sure?” “Eh come on. Maybe it’s fate.” The Texas travel center appeared on the southbound side of the interstate and we were soon crossing the Red River on into Oklahoma as I transcribed the numbers from the picture to the keypad on my dialer. A large casino came into view. It was ginormous with this sort of facade of all these famous buildings on its outside. I could see Big Ben and that Roman coliseum and all these other world architecture things. The casino just stretched on and on. “Aw, not again,” Gabriel said. I had just finished transposing the number into the phone. The crazy casino had distracted me. “What is it, babe?” “Another jam.” The traffic was veering into the right hand lane, but it was still moving at a decent clip, like 45 mph or something. After a mile of this, I could see a couple of highway patrol cars parked across the interstate, blocking both lanes of traffic. A state trooper stood out in the middle, waving a flashlight thing and directing traffic to take the exit. There was still about an hour of daylight left and you couldn’t even see the light. He was just using it as a baton. Somewhere off in the distance there was a thick wall of smoke filling the evening sky with this surreal haze. “Wonder what’s going on?” I asked. “Who knows? Grassfire, maybe.” We followed the other cars and trucks down the exit ramp. Some turned right, some turned left. “Right or left? Right or left?” Gabriel asked. There seemed to be more cars turning left. Maybe they knew something we didn’t. But then, we would be stuck behind them and it was getting dark and we were already behind schedule. I wanted to get the hell out of the car. “Um, right! Right,” I said, trying to pull up the GPS on my phone. It was lagging and my service had kicked over to 3G. “Freaking Verizon,” I muttered. We drove down a highway past empty fields fenced off by barbed wire. There were houses and barns and oilfield pump jacks every so often, but not much else. No gas stations or a sign of a town or much else, really. After driving into all this nothingness for a while, my phone completely lost all signal. The cars around us thinned out and there was only a black SUV in front of us. “Hey babe, I have no service and can’t pull up the GPS. Wanna turn back around?” “Nah, let’s just keep going. We’ve come this far, yeah? We’ll hit a main road eventually, get some service.” I sighed in response as he kept driving, let him know I didn’t approve. “We’ll turn north soon, ok? All roads lead to Turner Falls.” I checked my phone every fifteen seconds, looking for a signal. “C’mon Gabe, we’re gonna get lost out here. Let’s just go back, follow the other cars or see if they’ve opened up the interstate again.” “Look, this looks like a good road. We’ll cut north here and drive aways and then cut back west towards the interstate. It’s literally impossible to get lost out here. Just trying not to lose any more time.” But it wasn’t so simple and the nervous feeling in my stomach was validated when the road we drove north on turned to gravel. The sun was long gone and our headlights cut a tunnel through the night as barbed wire whizzed by, separating us from pastures that were elevated above the road on grassy rises. I started to fear the worst, thinking of every horror movie I’d ever seen that had started out this way: the headstrong man refusing to admit that he was lost and didn’t know where he was going and the increasingly pissed off and worried girl that was with him. “Babe, please just turn around,” I pleaded. “Ok, ok. Still no signal, eh?” I looked down at my phone. Finally, there was one bar of service. “Yes! Hang on.” “Oh fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck,” Gabriel said, his voice growing louder. My stomach dropped as what appeared in the rear view mirror was just as scary as any sort of Freddy or Jason or Leatherface from the big screen. Part 2
NSS report says: in 2009, Yerevan mayor Beglaryan colluded with Center District officials to embezzle property. They organized an illegal scheme to donate 4 properties worth $488k, located on "expensive" streets, to an accomplice, who then sold them to Beglaryan's family for pennies. The properties, in reality, belonged to Beglaryan. He used others to launder and conceal the theft. A felony case is launched. https://factor.am/277085.html
other criminal cases involving Beglaryan On March/24/2020 we learned that HHK Gagik Beglaryan, a former Transport Minister and Yerevan mayor, was placed on the wanted list and an arrest warrant in-absentia was issued. At the time, he was charged with embezzling $483k worth property at the expense of a kindergarten. The investigation began after new mayor Hayk Marutyan busted 27 instances of kindergarten embezzlement by the former regime.
Pashinyan's Kotayk trip / Roads and kindergartens / Magic wand / Արամուսի լավ գյազար կիլոն 2,000
Pashinyan: The first kindergarten in 40 years is being built in Aramus village. Official: // After 2018, they began enforcing tax laws and restaurants began paying taxis. That money is what's paying for this kindergarten. (magic wand) With population 4,000, Aramus will have a new gas network on several streets. By the end of 2020, the entire village will have gas. \\
On Oct-2018, two cops and their secretary in Ararat were charged with stealing $57k worth funds from their colleagues' salary bonus budget, plus some tax evasion. Today the court made a guilty verdict. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025289.html
Policeman rejects a bribe and busts a driver's license buying attempt
The report says: a few months ago, an 18yo man failed his behind the wheel test. He scheduled the second exam but failed again, so he used his friend's help to bribe the policeman in charge of licensing. The policeman refused the bribe and pressed 3 counts of felony bribery charges. The suspects are told not to leave the country. https://factor.am/277219.html
Massive property corruption ring is busted / ex-Minister
The report says: several officials stole $2.8m between 2008-2014. A company wanted to buy a property belonging to Urban Development Ministry. The Minister and other officials organized an illegal process to sell the property for half the price, causing $1.3m in damages. Similar property transactions were made for the Minister's family members. The SIS has launched a felony investigation. https://factor.am/277243.html
Lydian miner: // we're reopening the analytical chemistry lab in Gorayq village which was operating since 2007. It was earlier shut down after illegal activities by environmental activists. Local youth will be able to learn and work with science. Armenia will have its first-ever "internationally certified technology of passive treatment for acid rock drainage." (Google Translate) \\
A group of 200 Geghamasar residents shut down a highway to protest the activities of nearby Sotq mine. They complain that the recent explosions created a cloud of toxic dust. The mine's representatives agreed to meet the protesters. The highway was opened. https://factor.am/277132.html , https://factor.am/277206.html
Civil society groups discuss election reforms / Ineligible voters inflating electoral numbers
NGOs held a meeting: The govt has SECT system that contains information about whether the person is located in Armenia. Since SECT was implemented in certain checkpoints with delays, it doesn't have accurate info about people who left/entered. Another problem for SECT is caused when the person changes their last name abroad, for example after marriage. If "Sasun" moves to Russia and writes his name as "Sergey", it'll case a problem.
One way to fix the problem with ineligible voters being on voter lists, as it's done in Georgia, is to require a valid ID to keep the person on the list. These days, expired passports are not accepted for any transaction except for voting. This exception should be removed.
This will remove 188,000 people from voter lists. Inflated numbers cause various problems. It makes it harder to gather enough % votes to add an issue to a ballot.
We also need to make sure people are registered to vote in districts where they actually live. This is especially important for provincial elections because local officials have a record of collecting residents from elsewhere to vote in another location.
Many people don't want to register their real address as their voting address because they want to hide the fact that they own the new address they live in (tax purposes?). We must make it clear to the public that these electoral changes have no legal effect on their property ownership issues.
.... is being rebuilt after being bombed by Azerbaijan during Tavush Battles. New roofs were installed on several houses. Photos: https://factor.am/277077.html
Bordering villages to have Smart Barns
Moo. Thirty-four high-tech barns will be built in Gegharquniq's and Vayots Dzor's bordering regions, co-funded by Economy Ministry and the UN. Up to 70% of the barn's cost can be subsidized. Must have a valid passport and a two-week veterinary training. http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/284154/
ex-Defense Minister becomes Pashinyan's chief adviser
Vagharshak Harutyunyan was a Lt. General. He was critical of the Kocharyan administration and allegedly played a role against Kocharyan's plans to give a "corridor" to Azerbaijan in Armenia's southern Meghri province. He was fired by Kocharyan and had his military rank stripped in 2002. He described it as "political persecution". In 2019, Pashinyan restored his military rank after finding Kocharyan's decision illegal. Today he was appointed as Pashinyan's adviser. https://factor.am/277300.html https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30126601.html https://www.azatutyun.am/a/1569941.html
After Pashinyan gets grilled by BBC's HARDTalk, Ilham Aliyev next?
Tourism-Armenia Association signed a deal with a COVID testing laboratory to conduct 6-hour tests for tourists visiting Zvartnots airport. The visitors will get a 50% discount and will receive the results on email. If it's negative, they'll be allowed to exit the quarantine instead of waiting 14 days. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025282.html
COVID restrictions will be relaxed
Universities will also resume in September. Libraries, museums, theaters can operate under open-air. TV anchors don't have to wear a mask if they're alone in the room. Restaurants can perform live music under the open air. The max number of patrons near a table increases from 5 to 8. https://factor.am/277222.html
This 6-year-old kid cooks better than you. Admit it.
Mom found out about an upcoming cooking competition in Goris and registered his 6-year-old son Mher Harutyunyan. He became the youngest participant. The kid prepared a stuffed fish with a salad and was declared the winner. He won a trip to a cooking show. "Mher has been helping grandpa and mom in kitchen since the age of 3. His dream is to open a restaurant." https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025247.html
With the airports "closed", more people choose hiking and nature adventure, says the Tourism Committee. Armenia has 11 companies that organize hiking to mountains. They gather 1,000 people every weekend. Lately, there has been a great interest in rafting and canyoning. The youth also prefers horse riding and biking. Off-road car travel among a small group is also common. They install tents to take a rest. High-end hotels are already full for the next month. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1025214.html
A herd of bezoar goats was captured by nature camera
The desperate man thanked his supporters for gathering in the square for a show of support. "We built this country together. Who do you wanna give it to? Think hard, Belorussians. What is wrong with you? You've wanted to be called "people" for centuries. End me now, and it'll be the beginning of the end of yours." https://youtu.be/QvCgC_Ub1Ac?&t=73
What angered the public the most was the brutality by the special forces and executions of protesters. Local administrators were confronted and scolded by the angry crowd, who demanded the release of the detained activists. https://youtu.be/XjZn91kZZEY
Doctors went on strike because they weren't allowed to enter jails to treat the thousands of detainees. There are widespread reports of torture. Medics chanted "resign" and "tribunal". https://youtu.be/ODf4JlGD4RY
Journalists noticed a fleet of trucks coming from Russia. They said the trucks look similar to Russian National Guard trucks that often appear during protests in Russia. https://youtu.be/yGx-DvXx3wU
1) The accused are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, even if they sound guilty. 2) Currency in Armenian ֏ unless specified otherwise. 3) NSS/SIS/SOC = law enforcement agencies. QP = Civil Contract Party. LHK = Bright Armenia Party. BHK = Prosperous Armenia Party. HHK = Republican Party. ARF = Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party 4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Idontknowmuch: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 ; PART 4 ; PART 5. 5) ARCHIVE of older posts by Armeniapedia.
First post! This night has been so special to me, it really returned the idea of wonder to me and I thought I'd share it after lurking here for a while. I tend to have very vivd recollections of my experiences when high, regardless of the substance. It’s a bit long!! Hope you enjoy. I first tried psychedelics in Amersterdam last year, while I (F, then 19) was on a short vacation with my friend from highschool, Y, and her university mates. In total we were 7 people, with two couples in the group who were fighting each other, making the vibe, which was already awkward for me as the outsider of the group, veryyy awkward. Now, I've always been the kind of girl who's down to clown, but just don't have many opportunities. And while this friendgroup did a lot of weed at their university, I had found it difficult to score in my own and so was lowkey a newbie in the world of recreational substances. We only stayed for 3 nights, and as typical uni students we would spend our days going into coffee shops and getting blazed before exploring the city (highly recommend the Van Gogh museum!). On our last day, the one couple, D and O, said they wanted to get truffles. So pretty much the whole group got except one boy, T. We went to this store and the sales assistant recommended us Dolphins Delight as first timers. There's 15g in a box, and she said we should probably take 8g for our first time. One person in our group, E, wanted to go to the red light district while we were tripping, but I really discouraged that idea; I have struggled with anxiety for a long time and I felt that being in public and outside during my trip would be very stressful. So it was decided we would go back to the hostel (which was actually very luxurious and had a lot of facilities) we were staying at and relax there. At around 8pm, as we were fading out of our weed highs from earlier in the day and having had late lunches in place of dinner, we sat in our room and ate the truffles. Well, tried to. They were so disgusting! I had to layer mine on top of stroopwafel cookies just to stomach them. But I got through it, though I have to say I'm a competitive person and like testing the extremes, so I ended up eating 10g instead. Part of me was really worried that I would have a bad trip, due to my anxiety and depression, but YOLO. While waiting to come up, we all went down to the hostel’s cinema (told you it was nice). It felt like it took ages to agree on a movie, I think I wanted to watch Avatar, but we ended up watching Paul instead. I have a fast metabolism because I’m quite short and slight, so by about 20 minutes into the movie my mood started changing. The movie—which is funny if you like raunchy bro comedies, as I do sometimes—began to disgust me. I found it too crude, too violent. I also became very nauseous, and sitting in that dark room staring at a huge projector became too much for my visual senses. Me and Y walked out together after about 35 minutes and the rest of our group soon followed after. I needed to go outside otherwise I felt as though I would be sick, so we all migrated to the communal deck area. We sat down at a table and I took the chance to breathe and reground myself. I don’t remember much of this period, just that I was not engaging in conversation and was zoning out a lot. Someone handed me a blunt at one point, as something to bring me down a little, but I only managed two weak drags before handing it back as I hate tobacco. Sometime during this, T and one couple, E and W, and Y went back to the room because, well, T was bored and sober and E started feeling extremely ill, so W and Y went to look after her. So it was just me, D and O left at outside. A bachelor party of Russians started talking to my friends, but I didn’t interact as I was fully feeling it now, not yet peaking but my consciousness had definitely shifted. When I finally snapped back into myself, it was like remembering that I am an actual human that is existing in the world around her. I looked up and I saw all these strangers, and instead of feeling anxious like I normally do around people I don’t know, I just felt… uninterested. Like I didn’t care for their opinion of me. I was sitting with my face to the wind, and I realized I was feeling cold, so swapped to the other side of the table, and faced this wall of fairy curtain lights attached to a garden trellis. I would like to add that I’m moderately myopic and astigmatic, so basically my vision is shit. Lights, when I look at them, have this lens flare kind of effect when I’m not tripping, but staring at these fairy lights…. On top of the normal yellow was a glowy rainbow. It was magic. It was like there were two ways I was seeing—the “real” world and then this in-between world, where I could see the “could be”. I started crying then and there at this table. Not sobbing, but tears just fell down my cheeks soundlessly. Now, I’m part of LGBTQ, and I’m out to most people in my life but it mostly feels like their acceptance is “we’ll believe it when we see it.” I’ve never gone to any pride events before either just due to accessibility, so seeing this neon pride flag… It really moved me. I remember saying “Gay rights!”, which made my friends laugh as this was the only thing I had said in about an hour. I think this might’ve upset the Russians, because they moved away. Inside the hostel, they were playing music and people were dancing. So D said we should join them. I was glad because I was really cold actually, but I wasn’t in the mood to dance; I was more sluggish and slow, but O was very giggly and bouncy, almost flirty. We migrated inside, where 90s hiphop (Biggie, DMX, Tupac etc) was blaring from speakers. It was so loud it weighed on me, like the sound was taking up so much space that there wasn’t enough for me to dance even a little bit—which, in my distant sober brain, was disappointing because I love dancing. D went to sit by the bar while O dragged me over to a circle of people. She began skipping around and gyrating but I really couldn’t process the idea of DANCING to this very big music. I just either stared at my feet, watching them shuffle sadly from side to side, or staring at the speakers on the ceiling and feeling like I could see each sound wave pulsing from the black. I couldn’t make myself look straight at the other people—it would’ve been too overwhelming to look at these people all staring back in my general direction. It was like in those teen movies when there’s a large crowd of people around one camera while it spins in place. I don’t really remember when or why we stopped “dancing” but next thing I remember is following them back to our room. D and O mentioned they wanted to walk around the neighborhood, and I guess I just became their permanent third wheel at this point. We weren’t in the main building, but in the newly constructed extra rooms. This building was quite, and it was shocking to go from all the sensation to a creepy sterile-ness. It had been an hour and a half, I guess, since first eating the truffles. I wasn’t peaking yet even there, but I was very close. We rode the glass elevator up to our floor and when the doors slid open, the hallway, which was dark walls and carpet with a white ceiling, dim lights and a couple of support columns, had a sort of double image, as I mentioned earlier. The visual on top was like something out of a comic book, with the Ben Day kind of dots. The hallway was also distorting to look longer and more jagged, and in my head I related it to Spider-Verse’s style. That’s when I began to detach from reality and fall more into the in-between. We got to our room and find out that E had actually been sick, some sort of allergic reaction, and had vomited up all her truffles. Her girlfriend, W, was holding a plastic bag for her as they sat on their bunk, but she was laughing uncontrollably, not because she found it funny but because she was peaking, which was really pissing off E. I wanted to see Y in that moment, but in her bunk was a white cocoon. I knocked gently on it, and Y’s eyes peaked out from under her sheets. They were starry like a galaxy, and her face had taken on a rose-tinge. Actually, everything had. I was literally looking at life through rose-colored lenses. I thought she looked so beautiful. But the reason why her eyes were so fractualised was because she had been crying too. And laughing. I invited her to come on the walk with us, but she refused. I asked her what was wrong. Her grin twisted almost unnaturally large. Her hands gripped the sheets close around her body and she whispered that it was too much to see. She was overstimulated and it frightened her. She was upsetting to look at, her beauty suddenly terrible. I didn’t know what I could’ve done to ease this for her, so I just walked away to prepare for the walk. I picked up my phone, my water bottle, and slid on my jacket, because D said that I need a jacket or some sort of outerwear to keep my grounded. I ended up taking that to heart, clutching my jacket tight around me and constantly fisting my hands in my pockets. I also took more of the truffles, like 3g (so 13g total). I shouldn’t have, but I felt bad about wasting what was left, and I thought it wouldn’t that big of a deal. It was so awful trying to chew them that as D, O, and I exited the building, with me trailing behind them, that I stood over a bush and vomited into it. Gross, I know. I’m not proud of it either. But it didn’t effect my trip. I should say that I realize now how stupid and reckless it was to have done all this without a trip sitter and also separating the group. Walking around at night in a foreign country while completely mentally vulnerable like that was not a responsible thing to do and I’m so grateful that we managed to stay clear of trouble. When I do psychedelics next I will make sure to take step to ensure the safety and comfort of my group. So, it was on this walk that I finally peaked. Lads, it was fucking glorious. I don’t know if this is normal but I completely detached from reality and my perception of it. So, the neighborhood of the hostel is quite outside the city, it’s white rectangular apartment buildings and cobbled roads and there was a canal running down the middle of it, with bridges going across. It was more like a suburb, no businesses and I don’t remember seeing anyone else the whole time, always behind the couple. I think what affected my trip was the readings I did the previous semester, where I did a course on surrealism and Freud. We studied Andre Breton’s poems and manifesto and watched stuff like Un Chien Andalou. This holiday was right as I finished the semester and handed in my final essay, I think it was still sitting heavy on my mind. But who I was, who I am, didn’t exist. Instead, I saw the world as a video-game. Something like Fallout, with a desolate, post apocalyptic wasteland vibe, but it was in Beta, and we were walking along the edge of the map and so it would reset as we walked along (this was probably an affect of the identical apartment buildings, clean-cut symmetry of the streets, and the lack of other living souls). In this video game, I felt like the main character, or at least the player’s character, but my backstory didn’t feel complete. And the couple, who I had known all of 3 days, felt like they were the only people I knew ever. It felt like they were designed to be my best friends and that we were all programmed to journey together. It’s funny looking back on it, because I would try to explain this feeling to them but they would be like “Yeah, dude. We’re all connected. Our spirits have known each other forever.” And stuff in that vein. Like, they were in a very chill, nirvanic, lovey-dovey state while I was fully dissociating from reality. It was fully nighttime, this was maybe 10:15 already, so the sky was dark as night skies are. But I was seeing a sort of radioactive-colored sunset/dusk, with the majority of the heavens being a deep, luscious purple and the horizon being a burnt orange. The streetlights, which were consistently placed along the roads, where alternating in pale green to lilac. The colour-scheme doesn’t work but for me it was intoxicating. I’m a person who loves bright colourful shiny things so this was my jam. We walked for what seemed like HOURS. And normally I have low stamina and I was also wearing some new sneakers that I normally wouldn’t want to get dirty but I was so gone and above that stuff at that point. I did not notice myself walking at all. It was more like the camera from which I saw the world was gliding forward—like a video game POV. I started talking aloud about what surreality was and its complexities, but the other two couldn’t engage with me. The couple—being you know, a couple—were very much enjoying each other’s company. I was left to my own devices in terms of my thoughts and feelings, so I got out my phone and opened my notes apps to write things down as we walked. I had been actually doing that the whole time, albeit previously for weed-thoughts (I call it my dHIGHary). I’ll attach a screenshot at the end. We eventually came across this grand, sweeping willow tree overlooking the canal. Its canopy was so magnificent I don’t know if it was real or a visual. But we went underneath and I fully had a Grandma Willow moment. The bark of the tree started swirling around like cream being poured into a coffee. I think at some point I saw a face. I put my hand on it and I could’ve sworn I could feel it breathing and twisting. The other two did the same and we had a real special moment of appreciating this willow. And then they started making out against the tree so I was like “Uhhhh” and instead focused on the tall grass we were standing in. I don’t know how long they were kissing because I was hyper focusing on this grass, but O tapped my shoulder, bringing my attention back to the now. She was holding a snail in her hand and was saying “We’ve made a friend!”. I have to be honest, I hateeed bugs and insects and slimy creatures. But in that moment I did not hesitate before grabbing that snail and putting it on my arm. And then it fell off into the grass because I was off my fucking rocker. We started walking again and at the point I got stuck in two thought-loops, where I would just say the same things over and over again. One was “We’re in a video game” and the other was “Did I wet myself?”. I don’t know where the latter came from; I think I might’ve needed to pee and the warm of the friction of my jeans might’ve had me thinking I just pissed my pants. I would walk a few meters then swipe at my butt, trying to feel for wetness, and ask them again if I wet myself. I said these things so often that I think I ruined their euphoric mood LOL they got super snippy at me. So we continue walking nowhere, I’m still seeing the sky and believing I’m in a video game and doubting my bladder’s strength but I think I’m starting to come down, slowly but surely. Then we come across this… I wouldn’t say it was a cliff but like the road we were on had a sudden sharp incline to the side and then we’re overlooking this building. Even now, I can’t say what it was. In my addled state, it was this massive black building that radiated gold from the openings. It was beautiful, but foreboding. Something divine. Because it had been so long since we’d seen any signs of other people that I started crying again. But it was a nice feeling, it felt like I was clearing out my tear ducts and detoxing. It was such an easy, smooth cry if that makes sense. “This is the promised land!" I said. At that point I think the other two knew not to entertain my ramblings because they said nothing. I managed to get a blurry pic of the building, which I checked out the next day. In retrospect its nothing so mighty, but looking at it arouses an echo of its power over me. I still can’t think if it was a hotel or a casino? It seems really out of place even now. I was actually really shocked at how full the parking lot is. I think we started to head back in the direction of the hostel, then. I was nearing the end of my trip so no more incredible visions—I was still checking if I’d peed though. We took a different route back, and found an underpass with murals on the walls. O wanted to take photos against them with D, which I took, and then they started kissing again. I got kinda nervous for a second that they were going to ask me to join them, which is a weird habit of mine when I hang out with couples, but nothing of the sort happened. We continued walking and I finally snapped out of my hallucination of the video game and in doing so I started to reflect on the world and my place. I came to the realization that I am not the main character, but I am my main character. I won’t star in anyone else’s story, but merely existing at the perimeter for a moment before advancing on my own path, and vice versa. And because it’s my story, I make my villains. I decide who or what gets to be my big boss and who is just a side quest. I’m not playing to have the fastest speed run, or have the most XP and collectibles. I’m here to enjoy the game. A lot of my previous grudges and grievances melted away. I mean, there’s still people I dislike and don’t want to interact with ever, but I get to choose my response. They can’t make me not enjoy my life as much as I can because it’s my choice to let them influence me or not. And in a holistic sense, I let go of a lot of my fear of rejection and judgment. I won’t say I’m cured of my anxiety disorder but I’m so much better at socialization and being outgoing now. I think that experience also restored a lot of empathy in me for the world and its creatures that had slowly dissipated as I grew up. I can’t think of a way to phrase this well, but I feel like after this night I don’t do good things for others because it makes me look good but because it just feels like the right thing to do, simply uncomplicated. I still struggle with my ego and my confidence and my compassion sometimes, and I wouldn’t say I’m a completely changed person, but I do think something slid into place and I’m more whole as a person. Unfortunately, some of the progress I made that night got reset due to a deeply emotionally traumatic event that happened a month after and I’m still recovering from. Funny how a thing that feeds on the dead can teach you so much about life. I’m not yet done! The next part’s just fun sensations, no epiphanies. We get back to the hostel, I’m not sure at what time. Between 11:45 and 1:30, surely. My double reality vision is all but gone, but I still see things with a pink hue. We enter our room and the lights are on but everyone’s else pretty much asleep. I get my sleep things and go to the bathroom to take a shower. YALL I cannot recommend a post-trip shower enough. It looked like the water was falling really slowly, and the way the light bounced off it was like those crystal prisms. Standing underneath the showerhead didn’t feel like getting wet, but more like soft diamonds bouncing off my skin. I couldn't stop giggling in the shower. Touching my bare skin felt amazing too, like I had shed an old outer layer and what I had underneath was satin-smooth and plushy. By the time I got out and everybody was in bed/sleeping. I climbed into my bunk, and when I tell you those sheets felt like luxury defined. They were so soft and silky and feathery. It’s embarrassing to say but I couldn’t stop sighing and moaning. They were just so comfortable that it elicited a physical response from me. I couldn’t shut up, even though I tried really hard. Someone yelled be quiet and that seemed to be enough for me to stop. And finally, I saw visuals like kaleidoscopic bismuth formations when I closed my eyes as I was falling asleep. So, thats the story of what happened the first time I did psychedelics. I hope it wasn’t too much text! Can’t wait to do real shrooms next time. The dHIGHary entry (anyone else find that typing is difficult?): https://preview.redd.it/nlraaneqcdl51.jpg?width=749&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=237ff1f2691ac9d72ab55876b57dfa93cbc556dc https://preview.redd.it/wvgkmqeqcdl51.png?width=750&format=png&auto=webp&s=b02b9681921ed5aaaecd8b875f43c811cacbfdbf https://preview.redd.it/yb7i31fqcdl51.png?width=750&format=png&auto=webp&s=d2ce52074b75a8bd36d4a9248faa66d215e59867 https://preview.redd.it/fls5eqhqcdl51.png?width=750&format=png&auto=webp&s=04a335bbd1f5a4b73a90ef89e2e5106bfc28500e
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