First | Previous | Next “Why don’t you go ahead and wish Tenna luck?” Sylnya suggested while she, Draevin and Peter headed down the hill towards the arena. “I still have some errands to do before the first match.” Draevin gave Sylnya a dubious look. “And by errands you of course mean you have bets you need to place.” “I don’t see why it’s any of your business what I do with my money,” Sylnya said. “You worry about seeing Tenna off and I’ll worry about me.” “What good would that even do?” Draevin asked. “And why are you so insistent?” “Because she was really upset after you blew her off yesterday. I’m sure she’d appreciate the encouragement.” “Hey, that wasn’t even my fault. Why don’t you blame Peter for that one? He’s the one that made plans with Faernyl for me.” Peter tried to slink back behind Draevin’s back where he would be out of sight. Sylnya glared at him. “That was kind of rude.” Peter looked at the ground and fidgeted with his glasses when they focused their attention on him. They were still walking toward the arena; Draevin led them around a gaggle of young gnome girls that sounded like they were gossiping about that self-righteous eldrin, Hanu. “It was a mistake,” Peter admitted to Sylnya after they passed by. “I’ll try not to impersonate him again but I didn’t think he’d actually follow through on those plans. How is that my fault?” Sylnya let out a weary sigh. “I don’t understand it, Drae, but that girl thinks the world of you for some reason. It would mean a lot to her if you wished her luck, and it would barely cost you a thing.” “I could do it for you,” Peter offered, “as a way to make up for the thing with Faernyl yesterday.” “No, no,” Draevin said. “I’ll do it. You wouldn’t know what to say, and I’d rather you not get in the habit of impersonating me.” Something caught Draevin’s eye and he tilted his head back to see a posse of eldrin approaching the arena from a different direction. The group was on a collision-course with their own and Istven was leading the way. “Though on second thought if you’re willing to keep Istven off my back for the rest of the day I’d consider us even.” “Deal,” Peter said without the slightest hesitation. Istven was striding confidently in his full battle-regalia. He drew quite a bit of notice and it helped that he was surrounded by richly-dressed eldrin nobles no doubt seeking favors in anticipation of his winning this year’s tournament. He wore a suit of custom-fitted plate mail that was burnished black with accents of polished silver gilding. The colors of his outfit mirrored his night-black skin, while the silver accents mirrored his argent white hair. The infamous black crown of King Haedril was mounted securely to the pauldron on his left shoulder. “Interesting,” Peter said. He already had a notepad out and Draevin watched the human’s dexterous fingers sketch out an approximation of Istven’s form remarkably quickly. Instead of the piece of charcoal Draevin had grown used to, it seemed Peter was now writing with a high quality pencil. Between that and the crystal engraving stylus Peter had to have spent a good portion of his winnings from yesterday; Draevin was just surprised he hadn’t upgraded his shabby wardrobe while he was shopping. “Is that really allowed?” Peter asked as he finished his sketch and tucked his notepad away. “A full suit of armor like that? It looks like he even has a sword at his hip.” “It’s allowed all right,” Sylnya told him. “You can bring anything you want into your matches as long as you can carry it. They only restrict you to one magical item.” “Is that why you let Kot jump up into your arms during your introduction yesterday?” Peter asked Sylnya. “I really don’t have time for a bunch of questions right now,” Sylnya answered. She turned to the path that led to the betting cages. “Go talk to Tenna, Drae and take Peter with you. I’ll meet you guys back at the booth.” She slipped into the crowd and was gone before Draevin could raise an objection. Istven was coming their way. “So was that offer real?” Draevin asked Peter. “Which?” Peter asked. He sounded a little uneasy. “The Istven thing or the Tenna thing?” “Istven,” Draevin said. He grabbed Peter by his shoulders and pointed him towards the approaching eldrin. “The guy’s unstable as all hell and dangerous to boot. Just convince him to leave me alone while still maintaining the Mutual Assurance pact we agreed to yesterday.” “And how exactly am I supposed to do that?” Peter asked. “Oh please,” Draevin said dismissively, “like your wheels aren’t already turning. I saw how quickly you adapted to the situation yesterday. This should be easy for you.” “No no,” Peter said loudly in a snobby voice Draevin didn’t recognize. “I’m quite all right thank you. You may leave.” He waved a hand at Draevin to dismiss him and Draevin recognized the hand. It was his hand. And he was wearing his face too! Peter had seamlessly transformed into a perfect copy of Draevin. Draevin looked down at his own clothes and saw that he was now in the purple robes of a Guild acolyte. Peter really did think fast on his feet. Istven marched right up to Draevin-Peter and said, “We need to talk.” The crowd of simpering eldrin nobles waited behind him. Peter-Draevin cleared his throat. “Public or private?” Istven looked pointedly at Draevin—the real Draevin—and visibly sneered. “Private obviously.” He pointed to acolyte-Draevin. “You. Leave us.” “Yes sir,” Draevin answered and was pleased to find his voice sounded different. It sounded feminine. He realized with a start that he’d been transformed into a copy of the nice elf girl that had helped them at The Pot earlier that morning. Draevin slipped away without incident, his only remaining concern being how long the disguise Peter had given him would last. It would be awkward trying to give Tenna some words of encouragement while wearing the face of another woman. When he got to the tunnel leading to the arena grounds the guards waved him right through without the slightest challenge. It was probably fine for him to sneak in like this, since as a fellow contestant he was allowed to enter anyways, but it still left him a bit uneasy. Was this what passed for security? They just let anyone wearing a purple robe into secure sections of the arena? He found Tenna pacing at the mouth of the tunnel. She was wearing pale blue Ice Armor robes with frozen spikes of hair in a blatant mimicry of Draevin’s own aesthetic. He couldn’t be too upset about it though since he was the one who had taught her those spells. When she saw him coming towards her she gave a frightened gasp. “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—” she started to say. “Relax,” Draevin told her, “it’s just me.” Tenna blinked. “You?” “Oh sorry, I probably look different. It’s me Draevin,” he told her. He wiped at his face, but it didn’t do anything about the illusion covering him. He realized that he didn’t actually know how to get rid of Peter’s illusion. The spell was probably weak enough that a little interference might be enough though. With an effortless gesture Draevin conjured a light mist of ice around himself and that did the trick: the illusion immediately collapsed. “Draevin!” Tenna squealed with glee. Her apprehension was replaced with excitement and she leapt on him and wrapped him in a hug. “It’s so nice to see you.” She hopped down and stepped back a pace. “What was with the disguise?” Rather than try to explain the situation with Istven, Draevin opted to simply tell Tenna, “I had someone dangerous looking for me.” Tenna got a worried look on her face when he said it, and he immediately regretted his choice of words. Even if they were technically truthful. “It’s nothing you need to worry about. Really, I’m fine.” Tenna studied her boots for a moment; they were heavy duty, complete with spikes for gripping tight on icy surfaces. That was at least one change between their styles, Draevin preferred normal shoes that he could slide around in when he needed speed. “Nice boots,” he complimented her. Even though Tenna had been looking at them already, she started for a second and seemed to recognize them for the first time. “Oh, yeah. They’re—” Maeve’s announcement cut off whatever Tenna had been about to say. “The first match of the day is ready to begin, will the fighters please make their way to the stage.” “That’s me,” Tenna groaned. “I wish they’d let me go second today. I don’t feel ready!” Draevin patted the smaller elf on the shoulder. “You’ll do fine. You and Sharack are both registered with the Guild so you shouldn’t be in any mortal danger.” Tenna looked horrified. Her eyes practically popped out of her head. “Mortal danger?” she asked in a tiny voice. That probably hadn’t been the right thing to say. Draevin tried to salvage things and leave her with some actual advice. “Don’t worry about that. Just remember that Lizard-kin like Sharack usually open aggressively. They have big mana pools, but they don’t recover as fast as us elves. If you can hold back his opening attack it’ll only get easier. Did you eat?” Tenna frowned. “Nooooo,” she whined. “My stomach gets all queasy if I eat before a match.” She reached under her shirt collar and pulled out a necklace. At the end was a small bird seemingly carved from purple amethyst. “Won’t Tambril’s Magpie get me all the mana I need anyway?” Draevin shook his head. “It’ll help but usually not a ton. You’d be surprised how many people are able to avoid it. You’re going to have to get over those nerves. Having a full belly is going to be a big advantage. Do you think you could hold down some water?” Her mouth twisted up on one side in an uncertain expression. “Probably?” she said. Her upward inflection made it sound like a question. “Then here,” Draevin said. He handed her the water skin from his belt. “Drink this.” She looked at the skin and groaned. “All of it?” she asked. “Yes, of course! I’d have you drink three if I had three. Everything you can fit.” He patted his pockets to find something more he could give her but that had been the only thing edible. There was an old tip among elf wizards for eating non-food before a match if your nerves were bothering you, but he decided against suggesting it: the elvish stereotype of eating dirt didn’t need any reinforcement. Tenna finished chugging down the water and handed back the empty flagon. “My stomach at least feels full,” she said, clutching one hand over her torso. She looked to Draevin almost like the kid he’d first met almost a century ago. She’d been whining to her mom at the time that the ice cream stand had been out of Draesicles so Draevin had made her one on the spot. She had the same wide-eyed look now as she’d had then. Though he’d never had kids Draevin imagined this was something like the pride a father must feel on seeing their kid off to their first day of school. “Good,” he told her, “as soon as that match starts you cannibalize everything you’ve got and burn that water into mana as fast as you can. You’ll wear him down.” Tenna started to move in to give Draevin another hug but he was already patting her on the shoulder, so he just kept doing that and it caused her to flush pink in embarrassment. “Well. I think I better leave before I get you in trouble.” “Right.” Tenna nodded. “Thanks for the help, Drae!” She walked to the edge of her fighter’s box with a confident stride and waved to some fans that cheered upon seeing her. Draevin hurried to leave so he could get to his seat before the match started. On his way out he caught a confused look from the guard who’d let him past when he looked like a Guild woman. He gave the guard a grin and a wink as he went by. Fans were hurrying about with food and drinks in hand as they scrambled to get to their seats before the first match started. Draevin had to weave between them to get to his booth. When he arrived Maeve still hadn’t started the introductions. Peter and Sylnya were already seated, and Sylnya had a ticket from the betting house clutched tightly in her hand. The human and dryad were already in the middle of a conversation. “…adjust all the time based on how many people are betting on each side,” Sylnya was explaining. “So that means more people are betting for me this time?” Peter asked. “Hey,” Draevin greeted as he took his seat. “Hi, Draevin,” Peter acknowledged, while Sylnya just nodded her head. “Well, yeah,” Sylnya continued, “with that rumor going around that you’re secretly a demon more people are willing to take a chance on you.” “What rumor?” Draevin asked. Instead of answering Sylnya shushed him and pointed towards the field. “Tenna is an elvish cryomancer representing Caldenia.” Maeve began the introductions. Tenna waved excitedly from inside her fighter’s box in their direction. Draevin returned the gesture. “She is carrying Tambril’s Thieving Magpie, and her wish if she wins this year’s tournament is to liberate the people of Trenal from Eldesian Tyranny.” Tenna held up the glowing crystal bird from around her neck for the crowd to examine, though from this distance it just looked like a flash of purple light. “Tenna wants everyone to know that the war between Caldenia and Eldesia has gone on long enough and will go down as a blight on Eldesia’s history.” At her announcement nearly every eldrin in the audience went studiously silent as well as anyone that didn’t want to piss them off. The elves in the crowd cheered loud enough to make up for it though. Draevin stood up and added his own voice to the mix in a rare display of patriotism that had more to do with supporting a friend than a nation. Maeve gestured an arm toward Sharack and waited for the last of the chatter to die down before continuing. The big green lizard-kin sported a floppy ridge of spikes going down his back starting at the top of his head. He wore what looked to Draevin like a black bathrobe but that he’d been told was actually something called a kimono and he had some kind of long wooden pole strapped to his back. Peter was sketching a quick drawing of Sharack in his notepad, and asked a quick question without looking up. “Why is he dressed so differently than Korack was?” “Korack’s just more northernized than most lizard-kin,” Sylnya told him. “That’s a nice way of saying he’s totally disconnected from his own culture,” Draevin added. Sylnya just scoffed. “Sharack is a lizard-kin chronomancer representing Emperor Loktai of the Kingdom of Kreet,” Maeve announced. Being so far to the south, lizard-kin didn’t typically attract large groups of fans, but there was a smattering of applause at the mention of Kreet. Draevin overheard Sylnya tell Peter, “Chronomancy is time magic.” Peter nodded along. “As his item, Sharack has brought Musashi’s Katana of Piercing Death and his wish if he wins this year’s tournament is to end Kreet’s famine,” Maeve continued. Sharack grabbed the pole on his back and pulled the end to reveal an impressively long one-sided blade inside. As he continued drawing it out it quickly became apparent that the blade was longer than Tenna was tall. It sloped back from the handle in a graceful arch and gleamed in the light. “That’s impressive,” Peter said while many of the crowd murmured among themselves appreciably. “What’s this about piercing death?” Draevin asked in concern. He was suddenly a lot less confident that Tenna would survive. Maeve signaled the judges. The bell chimed and the match began. Index | Next | Patreon
How I applied Buffet's strategies to my own portfolio, +70% networth, beat SP500 by 40%
I believe I did pretty well in the market this year. My networth increased ~65% since its lowest point in March, ~350k to 620k. 20k from the car I bought in March. I rolled over a 401k and it messed up Mint's reporting, hence the spike from Jul -> Aug. I beat the SP500 by 40% in my YOLO account, my FAANG account went from 180->300 I did this by following some basic investing principles, buying and holding for the most part, being patient, and only investing in areas which I have expertise in. I did not buy into the TSLA hype, nor do I play options, nor do I play crypto.
High level advice:
I picked the 7 I agree with.
Invest in what you know…and nothing more.
Never compromise on business quality
When you buy a stock, plan to hold it forever
Diversification can be dangerous
Most news is noise, not news (don't read articles about investing)
The best moves are usually boring (buy and hold)
Only listen to those you know and trust
I firmly believe that anyone who follows those concepts, they will find success in investing.
Keep emotions out of the market
Don't bother timing the market. Don't get ruled by FOMO.
Understand that for some stocks, you can't really average cost down. You will have to stomach buying the stock at a higher entry point. My refusal to average up early on caused me to miss out on a lot of gains.
Understand the difference between trading, investing, and gambling.
Have an exit strategy (stop losses would have helped me a lot in March, I now learned from my expensive mistake)
Be greedy-- not TOO greedy. If a stock pops 10%, I will sell half to lock in profits. It's super common to see a lot of companies pop and the next day dip a bit due to sell off. Perfect time to grab more on the dip. This is obviously impossible to time, which is why I only sell half.
I was very specific in the types of companies I would choose to invest in within tech. I decided to follow my strengths. As a data engineer, I'm very intimate with cloud technologies, and I think I generally have pretty sharp business acumen and good strategic direction. As a result, my day to day work had me using a ton of technologies in the cloud space. I've used Splunk, NewRelic, Twilio, AWS, GCP, Hortonworks/Cloudera, Oracle, Tableau, Datadog, Sendgrid (bought by Twilio), Dropbox/box, Slack, Salesforce, Marketo, Databricks, Snowflake, HP Vertica, just to name a few. I was familiar with CDN services like Fastly and Cloudflare because sometimes, I worked with the DevOps and IT guys. Based on industry hearsay, day to day work, eventually, I got a good "feel" of what technologies were widely adopted, easy to use, and had a good reputation in the industry. Similarly, I also got a feel for what tech were being considered 'dated' or not widely used (HP, Oracle, Cloudera, Dropbox, Box). I tend to shy away from companies that I don't understand. In the past, most times I've done that-- I got burned. My biggest losers this year was betting on $NAT and $JMNA (10k total loss). After learning from those mistakes, I decided to only focus on investing in companies that either I or my peers have intimate first hand experience with using. Because of this rationale, the majority of stocks in my portfolio are products which I believe in, I thoroughly enjoy using, and I would recommend to my friends, family, and colleagues. Post COVID, due to the shift to remote work and increase in online shopping I decided to double down on tech. I already knew that eCommerce was the next big thing. I made very early investments into SHOP and Amazon in 2017 for that reason. My hypothesis was that post-COVID, the shift on increased online activity, remote work, and eCommerce would mean that companies which build tools to support increased online activity should also increase. I decided to choose three sectors within tech to narrow down-- these were three sectors that I had a good understanding of, due to the nature of my work and personal habits.
eCommerce + AdTech
IT/DevOps (increased online activity means higher need for infra)
FinTech (increased shopping activity means more transactions)
These are the points I consider before I consider jumping into a stock:
Do I feel good about using the company? Do I believe in the company's vision?
Where do I see this company in 5 years? 10 years? Do I see my potential children being around to use these companies?
What does YoY, QoQ growth look like for this company?
Is/Will this product be a core part of how businesses or people operate?
Who are their customers and target demographic?
(SaaS) Customer testimonials, white papers, case studies. If it's for a technology, I'm going to want to read a paper or use case.
In March, I took what I believe to be an "educated gamble". When the market crashed, I liquefied most of my non tech assets and reinvested them into tech. Some of the holdings I already had, some holdings were newly purchased. EDIT^ this isn't called timing the market you /wsb imbeciles. Timing the market would be trying to figure out when to PULL OUT during ATH and then buying the dip. I SOLD at the lowest point, and I with the cash I sold AT A LOSS, I reinvested that cash and doubled down into tech. If I sold in Feb, and bought back in March, that would be calling timing the market. What I am doing is called REINVESTING/REBALANCING... not timing the market. I have 50% of my networth in AMZN, MSFT, AAPL, GOOG, FB, NFLX, and the rest in individual securities/mutual funds. I have 3 shares of TSLA that I got in @1.5. Here are the non FAANGs I chose.
$SQ. I had already been invested in SQ since 2016. I made several bad trades, holding when it first blew past 90 until I sold it at 70... bought in again last year at 60s, after noticing that more and more B&M stores were getting rid of their clunky POS systems and replacing it with Square's physical readers. After COVID, I noticed a lot of pop up vendors, restaurants doing take out. A Square reader made transactions very easy to make post-COVID.
$ATVI. Call of Duty and Candy Crush print money for them. I've been a Blizzard fanboy since I was a kid, so I have to keep this just out of principle.
$SHOP. They turned a profit this year, and I think there is still a lot more room to grow. It's become somewhat of a household name. I've met quite a few people who mentioned that they have a Shopify site set up to do their side hustle. I've tried the product myself, and can definitely attest that it's pretty easy to get an online shop up and running within a day. I 5.5xed my return here.
$BIGC. I bought into this shortly after IPO. I'm very excited to see an American Shopify. BigC focuses on enterprise customers right now, and Shopify independent merchants, so I don't see them directly competing. I'm self aware this is essentially a gamble. I got in at 90, sold at 140, and added more in 120s. I def got lucky here... it's not common for IPOs to pop so suddenly. I honestly wasn't expecting it to pop so soon.
$OKTA. Best in class SSO tool. Amazing tool that keeps tracks of all of my sign-ons at work.
$DDOG. Great monitoring tool. Widely adopted and good recommendations throughout the industry. Always had a nice looking booth at GoogleNext.
$ZM. Zoom was the only video conf tool at work which I had a good time using. Adoption had blown up pre-COVID already in the tech world, and post-COVID, they somehow became a noun. "Zoom parties" and "Zoom dates" somehow became a thing interwoven into peoples' day to day lives.
$TWLO. Twilio sells APIs which allow applications to send messages like text, voice, and video chat. For example, when DoorDash sends you a text at 1 AM reminding you that your bad decision has arrived, that text is powered by Twilio. In March, New York announced that they were going to use Twilio to send SMS notifs for COVID contact tracing.
$NET/$FSTY. These two two seem like the ones best poised for growth in the CDN space. This is based off of industry exposure and chatting with people who work in DevOps.
$DOCU. people aren't going to office to sign stuff, super easy to use, I like their product.
$WMT. eComm, streaming, and a very substantial engineering investment makes me think they have room to grow. Also I really need to diversify.
$COST. When is the last time you heard someone say "Man I hate going to Costco and paying $1.50 for a hotdog and soda?" Diversification. Also cheap hotdogs.
$NVDA/AMD. GPUs are the present and the future. Not only are they used for video games, but Machine Learning now uses GPU instead of CPU to do compute (Tensorflow for example). Crypto is still a thing as well, and there will always been a constant need for GPUs.
Mutual funds/ETFs 1. $FSCSX. MF which focuses on FinTech.
$VTSAX Pretty much moves with the SP500.
$WCLD. Holdings include Salesforce, Workday, Zuora, Atlassian, Okta, New Relic, Fastly...
Titanvest: I was an early access user, and I was able to secure 0% fees for my accout. 36% gains so far. I like them, because their portfolio happens to include shares of tech giants that I either don't have individual stocks for or my stake is low (CRM, PPYL). It nicely complements my existing portfolio.
Some things I do that that are against the grain:
Not really diversified. 80% is in tech. They are in very different sectors of tech, but the truth is, when tech falls, all of these companies fall. I'm obviously long tech and I do not believe that tech will fall anytime soon. What about the dot com bubble? There wasn't a single dot com company that was integral in our lives. The internet was in its infancy then. Techonology is now such an interwoven part of our lives and I see companies like Apple, Amazon, Google to be sticking around for several generations.
I don't read investing articles. I think people who write articles about a stock all have ulterior motives-- to pump or to dump. Case in point-- Citron Research spent years writing articles telling people how SHOP was overvalued. Why did they do that? Because they were shorters at the time. I turned 5k into 27k, because I held on to most of my SHOP shares.
I don't take much value from balance sheets, other than net loss, income, YoY growth. Instead, I use my business acumen to try to pick up on info that isn't super apparent from Google. For example, one thing I always do is that I look at the career page to see how the business is growing. Increase on marketing/sales/implementation engineers is typically a solid sign that a company is preparing headcount to take new deals in the upcoming quarters. I look at the product road map, supported integrations, and customer base.
One example was how I applied the above principle was to WalMart. In 2018 I noticed that I was getting targeted by a lot of Data engineering job listing for WalMartLabs-- WarMart's tech division. The role was to build out a big data pipeline to support their eCommerce platform. WalMart's online store released in Q3 of 2019. Post COVID, I used their online store and it was a seamless experience. They even offer a 5% cash back card like Amazon. They reported strong Q4 sales last year, and they did very well post COVID. Why did I choose to invest in $WMT? Because I believe that Wal-Mart has room to grow for their online platform. Lastly... remember that wealth isn't accrued over time. It takes years to build. The quickest way to increase your wealth is by investing in yourself-- your career and earning potential. The sooner my income increased, the quicker I had more capital to buy into stocks. Also, if you've gotten this far, the point of my post isn't to say that you should invest into tech. The message I'm trying to get across is-- when picking companies, pick companies in fields or verticals you have good knowledge in. Heed Buffet's advice to only pick companies you believe in and understand. Play to your strengths, don't mindless toss money based on one person's posts on Reddit-- always do your own due diligence. Use DD as a guide and use personal research and experience to drive your decision.
Hey hey, reposting my 45+ Productivity, Life, and Self Improvement tactics - enjoy
Hey hey, ladies and gents, I posted this on productivity and it got removed without an explanation, might have been the fact that it’s a list. But still, use this as a database, it’ll really help! I spend dozens of hours every week researching, writing, and re-writing this type of content and making sure everyone that supports me gets exactly the kind of content they deserve. It's my job at this point. This database/list is a Reddit first, but I'm publishing a categorized version in this week's premium email, I'm also creating a searchable database that I'll be inviting subscribers to. I hope you enjoy this, some might sound as basic as they come but let me tell you, they help immensely. If you want more from me, my email list which is free/paid whatever floats your goal, is on my profile. -------------------
1. Try sleeping at the same time every night.
This habit enables you to fall asleep faster and wake up at the same time, like clockwork, all subconsciously. Your body clock and circadian rhythms control hormones such as melatonin. Sleeping at the same time every night is one of the queues for your body to start secreting melatonin - this is why you subconsciously get tired and start yawning at a particular time when you have a routine. There’s much more to sleep and body clock queues here.
2. Do the most challenging thing first.
This could be at the start of your day, the beginning of a project, or your study session’s first hour. After completing this task, you’ll have not only done something meaningful with your day, but you’ll feel the momentum carry through to other todo items.
3. Replace recurring decisions with routines.
Every decision you make throughout the day comes with a tiny mental tax. When you add it all up, you start performing worse at the choices that matter. So eliminate picking an outfit, deciding on breakfast, or figuring out when to workout - replace them all with a routine. The faster you commit to pre-selecting a schedule and sticking to it, the more mentally precise and swift you’ll be when you make decisions.
4. Keep airplane mode on for the first two hours of the day.
Make the morning yours, get acquainted with how you feel, and take control of your time before others try to compete for it.
5. Avoid starting and stopping to eliminate your overhead.
When you stop a task to answer an email, help someone, or check notifications, you disrupt or altogether avoid deep work. Instead, designate a time to deal with all the ‘admin’ stuff on your schedule, not someone else’s.
6. Check external solutions to your problem before inventing a new one.
There’s a high chance that the problems you have in your work, code, studies, gym routine, etc. have been repeated. If you’re messing up an exercise, ask the staff or check out a tutorial. Before doing some crazy code gymnastics, check out some forums. Before drafting a reporting template, see if the company already has a standard.
7. Asking is sometimes all you need to do to create your own options, uncover solutions, and learn.
We always hear, “If you never ask, the answer is always no.” So ask for a little extra, ask for an alternative, an exception, the dumb question. If you don’t ask, you won’t know and won’t receive it. A lot of the time, asking has a massive upside with almost no downside. We don’t ask most of the time because we don’t want to be a bother - but the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Another reason goes deep into cognitive biases; loss aversion, and mastering it will help in every aspect of life.
8. Write down your mistakes and lessons learned.
We almost always repeat our mistakes; it’s too hard to remember the lessons we thought we learned. Writing them down and revisiting them helps us etch them into our memory, but doing this haphazardly isn’t as effective as systematically. A terrific strategy is to put together a rule book or set of principles that you can always refer back to when you’re in doubt. If you can do this, it’ll be worth your time.
9. Design your environment to serve you.
Cleaning your office, eliminating distractions, getting rid of bad influences, surrounding yourself with like-minded people; these are all environment choices. Designing your environment to push yourself in the direction you desire will have a disproportionately positive effect on your success. The essential strategy here is to reduce friction within your surroundings, and sometimes it's not so obvious - ask yourself, “What’s something that gets in my way when I’m working?” and “Can I get rid of or manage it?”
10. Identify the credible people around you.
It’s hard to decipher constructive criticism from noise. If you create a list, even a mental one, of the people who matter in their feedback, you’ll have a much easier time trusting opinions without having doubts about the quality.
11. Be aware of your mental state when making decisions.
Something as trivial as being hungry can make your emotions play a much larger role ina logical decision. Reminding ourselves and being aware of our mental state can delay making decisions until we’re better equipped to handle it.
12. Making life easier for other people makes yours easier too.
Make your customers' life easier; be rewarded with repeat customers. Make your professor's life easier; be rewarded with higher marks. Make your manager’s life easier; get promoted.
13. The right type of meditation makes all the difference.
Mindfulness, spiritual, transcendental; all that matters is that it works for you. Yours might be going for a run and exercising focus, or having a coffee in silence while being aware of your surroundings. Any time you take for yourself and exercise doing practically nothing, noticing when a thought comes, acknowledging it, and moving on is meditation.
14. If it takes less than a few minutes to do, just do it.
We procrastinate on many small things until they combine to become an actual problem. So doing them in the moment is the perfect way to avoid the big one. This rule doesn’t mean disrupting deep work; that’s a form of procrastination in itself. It means that when you aren’t, you can bundle a few tasks together and be done with it in less than 10–15 minutes. Dishes out of the dishwasher, bed made, floor swept, call returned. It’s easy and will leave a clean mental state for future you.
15. Put schedules next to your to-do list items.
This will allow you to complete the tasks, and maybe not right away, but soon enough, you’ll start to realize how many items are appropriate. Say goodbye to the endless list that’s never complete.
16. Have an overarching goal for the day.
Each night, write a single goal for the next day. If you complete this, it was a successful day.
17. When reading self-help books, case studies, papers, and biographies have a pen and notepad with you.
Underlines, notes, important chapters, paragraphs you’ve read for the 5th time, and notes that are thicker than the sections they were written about — this is how you learn. Taking this much time and care may be the same time it takes someone else to read three books, but I’m betting you’ll come out more knowledgeable. Quality > Quantity.
18. Actively listen to the person when you’re talking to them
Ego is something everyone wrestles with because we’re inherently the center of our universe. Listening is such an immense exercise in focus, learning, and empathy that your ego level almost drops to zero. Too many people wait for their turn to talk instead of listening. You can avoid so much miscommunication by doing this, and you’ll be better for it. This also goes for reading emails and texts.
19. Spend time refining your diet.
The level of improvement in thinking, decision-making, fitness, and productivity has significant ties with what you put in your body. This isn’t some trivial point, either. The classic example is sugar and caffeine’s effects on performance. Protein supplements and healthy fats, an appropriate amount of carbs, all of this preparation helps. It’s likely not a placebo when someone is raving about how great they feel after switching up their diet.
20. Thank people for their hard work and acknowledge their efforts.
This costs you nothing and gives you all the benefits you could hope for. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will enhance the collective productivity and morale in your social circles, groups, projects, teams, and companies.
21. Learn to delegate and automate.
Think about a task that you often do. Do you need to be doing it? Can you put in some investment of time or money to get rid of the job forever? Does that investment pay off? Answering these questions will allow you to examine if it's viable to delegate or automate a routine. Technical automation by using Zapier, Google Sheets, and other apps can be inexpensive or free. Delegating tasks by hiring the right people might win you back countless hours of your own time. Identify. Assess. Execute.
22. Get the sleeping hours that work for you.
Don’t listen to the overworking ‘hustle’ crowd. You can get a full night's sleep and still be working hard and smart. Your hours will yield a much higher return if you’re well-rested and switched on. So whether you need nine hours or six, do it without guilt, and plan around it for significant productivity.
23. Use the 3-second rule when you’re procrastinating.
Engage your fight or flight instinct by starting a task three seconds after realizing you’re procrastinating. You count down from three, and once you get to zero, you just do the thing. There’s no question about it, no further dwelling, just action. If you fail at this once, this rule will never work again. It’s a mental exercise and sounds trivial, nonsensical even, but it works.
24. Split up your regular week and blow off some steam.
It’s hard to keep the ‘go go go’ attitude sustainable, and if you’re in it for the long game, you need to have some time for play. But many people face extreme guilt when they take time off. Don't see it as “not working,” look at it like a requirement for success and an essential ingredient for a content life, a part of the productivity cycle. Take a Tuesday or Thursday night to do something fun, relaxing, or different. Learn to split up your week, so the days don’t melt into one.
25. Dress for the occasion.
Dressing to be productive or successful will put you in the mindset to do just that. It’s your uniform; it’s a signal to yourself that it’s time to work. This is why we feel much more productive, dressed smartly than wearing what we’ve slept with and trying to get work done from the bed.
26. Split your work into chunks.
This helps with procrastination as well as organization. Massive projects and undertakings are often daunting and require more than willpower to tackle. Splitting it up into chunks not only makes things more digestible, but it also gives you a sense of progress and momentum as you complete tasks.
27. Verbalize the problem.
If you’re struggling with a problem, talk it through with a friend, co-worker, or inanimate object. When you start explaining your situation, there’s a good chance that you’ll solve it. Explaining something requires that you take out the jumbled thoughts in your head and string them together to make sense to a third party. Programmers call this Rubber Duck Debugging - explaining the issue to a rubber duck.
28. Bundle your social media distractions.
Similar to designating hours for tasks like emails. If you set a time in the day to consume Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, you’ll be less distracted by every notification that comes in.
29. Make your communications clear and concise.
Especially for emails, dot points are a lifesaver and allow people to decipher what you’re saying quickly. Beating around the bush or being overly kind never helps. Conveying urgency, being firm and clear will help someone solve your query faster than going back and forth until the email chain is 30 emails long.
30. The first and last two hours of your day are prime learning hours.
This is especially useful for committing things to memory like speeches and presentations. Reading, writing, re-writing, and verbalizing the content right before and right after REM sleep reduces learning friction.
31. Practice things in the worst possible scenarios first.
If you have an exam, a presentation, or a sales pitch, practice in non-ideal scenarios. Make sure you’re tired and in an auditorium with a lot of distractions when practicing your presentation. Or you replicate the exam conditions as much as possible when doing a test exam, i.e. try not to do it in your PJs while listening to Lo-Fi Hip Hop.
32. Ask yourself whether it’s time to switch up a habit.
The more successful we become, the more habits we need to adjust. It takes a few years into mild success before you realize that you’re spending time doing certain things when it’d be more efficient to pay for the service. What habits have you kept for a long time that may need adjusting? You could be eating healthier than the cup ramen college days, or you might not like going out as much. Assessing will help you find out.
33. Try one-word speed readers for faster reading.
Speed reading for quick information is underrated - this might not be the best thing for retention and detail, but certainly for faster information transfer. Many speed reading apps show one word at a time on the screen, allowing you to focus - you set the speed. A quick Google search should get you the right apps and extensions.
34. Prepare and bundle your weekly tasks instead of doing them in the moment.
Typical examples are meal prep, bulk ironing clothes, and even setting up your bag for the next day. Doing this reduces friction and bandwidth throughout your week, day, or morning.
35. If you want to do continuous work, switch up the ‘type’ of work, and add variety.
This is easier for some than others. Visual and design work is different from analytical work. Sitting down and looking at a screen is different from cleaning or going to the gym, and yet it’s all productive - this is also called productive procrastination.
36. Figure out what timing increments work for you.
Some people prefer to use the Pomodoro Technique to work between 25 minutes and 1.5 hours at a time and take a short break. Others will opt to work continuously and achieve a flow state. Both options work, but they depend on your preference.
37. Color code your apps for quick access.
Color coding may or may not be worth the time. Some people prefer using the search function for quick access. Though by color-coding, you can seamlessly swipe through pages and find the app you need. We’re visual creatures, and logos are more memorable than names.
38. Use The No 7s Rule
When trying to decide whether to say yes to something, it’s a fantastic strategy not to allow yourself to give it a 7/10 - because if it’s not a “Hell Yes!” It should be a “No.” You’re either going to give it a six or below (barely passable), or an eight and above (exciting).
39. Only have 3 things on your todo list.
Less is more, and that’s because you can focus a lot easier. You’ll have a purpose in your day when you have a simple story - I need to get X, Y, and Z done, and that’s a win.
40. Flip a coin
It’s the easiest way to make a decision and not for reasons you think. If you’re stuck between two options, flip the coin and commit within three seconds. What will happen is that the urgency will engage your gut, and you’ll go for the opportunity you wanted anyway.
41. Optimize light exposure to sleep like a baby.
This means light exposure through sunlight during the day and artificial light in the evening. You want a lot of sunlight and minimal unnatural light - this natural cycle is how the human body evolved, and following it will make sure you sleep very well. This cycle is built up of Circadian Rhythms to make up what we call the body clock. And among other things, natural body processes like the day/light cycle will regulate melatonin.
42. Prolonged endurance training is the surest way to clear your mind and gain a natural high.
Runners High is a real thing. When you do similar aerobic exercises like cycling and swimming, you’ll activate a flood of antidepressants and euphoriants that are naturally produced in your brain - this enables you to clear your head and will put you in a meditative state without needing to meditate.
43. The best productivity app is either a simple note app or a physical notepad.
Less is more when it comes to taking notes, and if you write them, date them, and organize them without all the bells and whistles, you’re going to have a much better time.
44. If you’re having a bad day, zoom out.
If you take your typical day and give it 100% regardless of whether luck’s on your side or not, understand that it will even out. Yesterday may have been a high, today might be a low, and tomorrow might be somewhere in between - but if you’re consistent, there’ll be an upward trend when you zoom out to a year or decade.
45. Learn the difference between maximizers and satisficers.
There are natural maximizers and natural satisfiers. The maximizers will consider every possible option, do their research, and perfect a decision with all available information. The satisficers will pick the first option that satisfies what they’re looking for. Maximizers will often feel overwhelmed or overthink fundamental decisions, while satisfiers can get through them quickly. But satisficers can sometimes make poor decisions on things they could have avoided if they did the research. There’s a happy medium of knowing when to maximize and when to satisfy. Investment fund? Maximize. Takeout? Satisfy. This is only really learned by trial and error, but ask yourself the question when you’re mulling over your next decision: Am I maximizing when I should be satisfying? Or vice versa. Cheers, That’s everything for now - if you want to subscribe to my email list, just check my profile :)
I work at a train station that services unusual destinations. Last night a passenger exploded.
“Elle is it?” “That’s what my name badge says.” I responded flatly to the man in the red bowler hat on the other side of my plexiglass ticket booth. He’d been complaining about a cancellation for at least twenty minutes. “Well Elle, I’d like to speak with your supervisor.” Great. My favourite line. I prepared my scripted response. “I’m the only staff member on duty at this time, if you have an issue you can log it with the phone number on the poster.” I tapped the glass next to the poster detailing how to contact Connected Railways head office. It was one I’d had to demand after one too many incidents with disgruntled passengers angry at delays, cancellations and prices. I didn’t control that shit, and I was sick of being abused for it. Red bowler hat inhaled sharply for a prolonged period. His face turned so red it reminded me I had some strawberries in my fridge at home that needed using before they went bad. As he took in more air, buttons on his shirt began to detach and ping in all different directions. I was suddenly more grateful than usual for the plexiglass as the little plastic pucks bounced off it. I sighed deeply and hit the red security button underneath my desk as I braced for myself for whatever onslaught was to come next. Then he blew up. Not blew up as in he ranted and screamed at me like a normal asshole customer in a service based industry. No. Red bowler hat man inhaled so much air he quite literally blew up, spattering blood across the floor of the station entrance, my ticket booth and any other passenger in a ten foot radius - Luckily there was only one, who hastily made their way to the platform. I looked on in despair as his hat rocked a little upon impact with the floor. I know I should sound more shocked, frightened even, when I talk about a man exploding before my very eyes. That would be a normal reaction; but incidents like that one were ten a penny at the station and had become more of an annoyance than a source of terror. In my line of work, a man exploding was relatively normal. Not terribly extraordinary, at least. “What a mess. Is everyone ok?” Atlas arrived, befuddled as he looked at the pile of scattered organs on the floor. Atlas was the night security guard, one of only two other members of staff in the entire station and my saviour, from both boredom and the unusual passengers. He had long, dark hair that he pulled into a messy bun on top of his head that always made his hat sit strangely. “I think so. Just need to call Nicky and get things cleaned up. Sorry for summoning you, I thought it was going to be much worse that that, the guy looked angry.” “Never a bother, Elle. You know that. Nicky’s going to love-“ Atlas was cut off by a loud and nauseating slurping noise as the organs and bits of person started to move together across the concrete floor as if they were suddenly magnetised. The blood on my booth congealed into droplets that danced down the screen and towards the collecting mass. The explosion hadn’t been entirely out of the ordinary, but this was beginning to pique my interest. “Good job you called.” Atlas continued, a curious expression on his face as the mass built to a height that towered above us both. Screaming, naked and covered in a transparent goo, red bowler hat man was reborn and much bigger and angrier than he had been before. He bent over, picked up the bloodied hat and placed it on his head before approaching the booth. I wasn’t sure on the purpose of the hat. After all, the rest of his clothes remained shredded on the floor. Regardless I found him quite intimidating and almost wavered through my next scripted response. “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave Connected Railway’s property.” Red bowler foamed at the mouth, revealing a set of yellowed teeth and continued squealing into the open air. I cringed a little and tried to look away, watching the unsuspecting, oblivious people in the street behind him and envying their ignorance. They were only a few feet away and yet to them, the incident wasn’t happening at all. Oh how sweet it must have been to not see the booth, the blood or the naked man screaming in the night. That would’ve been a real treat. The station I work at is only visible to those who are already aware of its existence, or it would’ve been quite the scene, even at 2am. That’s what I’ve deducted in my time here anyway. I’d walked this street a thousand times before my interview and never once seen a station entrance. There was no other explanation. My employment, as a normal human that stumbled across the advert by pure dumb luck, was more unusual than anything I’d witnessed from red bowler hat man. I stayed firm, maintaining eye contact as I watched Atlas creep up behind the creature and hold up a pistol. A security guard with a gun wasn’t a typical sight in England, even in the city, but then nothing about my workplace was typical. He pulled the trigger releasing a sharp point and injecting a yellow liquid into the man’s neck. I watched as he dropped to the floor, shrinking into the disgruntled passenger he had been prior to the explosion, albeit stark naked. “Where was he headed Elle?” Atlas asked, grabbing hold of the now comatose creature and struggling with the dead weight as he tossed him over his shoulder, careful to avoid certain regions. “He was moaning about the cancellation on the village line. Cordyline Hill via Monsoon Valley. I tried explaining that there was one thirty minutes after but he didn’t let me...” “I’ll take him down to the platform now and page the guys at Monsoon Valley. Village line comes in at 2.22 and reaches MV by 2.46. He should stay like this until then. He’s their problem now.” “Finish.” I added just as he walked away. I sighed. I was grateful for Atlas but he could be tone deaf at times and was blind to the irony of cutting me off just like Karen in the red bowler hat had. I leaned back in my chair, kept one eye on the large antique clock on the wall to the left and prepared for the rest of the night to go by uneventfully. I know it seems strange, to be so positively apathetic. You have to understand how real desensitisation is, the more we consume the easier it gets and bowler hat wasn’t the first and definitely wouldn’t be the last monstrous transformation I’d see. I can’t explain the things that go on at the station entirely. I have my theories, but I have no way of confirming or denying them. The only hard facts I have are these; I have never heard of a single station we service, I’m absolutely certain that at least ninety percent of our passengers aren’t of the human variety, regardless of the risk I run of being eaten I’m still paid a pittance like every other booth worker in the country and on any given day I might have to drive home soaked in blood. So why do I stay? I stay for passengers like the one that followed red bowler hat. I’m not immune to curiosity. I recognise that I’m shafted by Connected Railway on a regular basis with only a poster and a charming but undeniably human security guard for protection. But that doesn’t change the fact that when you work with things that are out of this world every now and again you come across one that makes it somehow worth it. The woman in the floor length tweed coat was not your run of the mill, angry, potentially explosive customer. She was much more. She approached with a small dog in her arms, her coat sweeping across the hard ground where bits of organ had previously been strewn, walking with such dainty steps it was almost as if she were floating. She wore a scarf that matched the coat and had a face with more wrinkles than necessary to tell a story. I would’ve put her in her nineties at best, although she was perfectly mobile. “How can I help?” I asked, attempting to put on my best customer service face. “A single to Meander Place please, no return.” Meander place wasn’t a destination I was often asked for tickets to, it sat on the barely used Epstar line, which was mostly used by the more intimidating of passengers. I’d never taken any of the trains myself, despite my curiosity, but I tried to take note of the people I saw and where they were going. There was no other viable way to pass the time. “That’ll be £29.50 please” “I’m afraid I don’t have that, I spent the last of my money in that delightful pub across the street, we’re going to have to come up with another method of payment.” I held in a sigh. The station sat opposite an unusual, traditional looking old pub called the Pickled Gnome, which seemed to be a popular stop for my passengers before their journeys. I often questioned the type of patrons that it served, although I suppose I was in no real position to. “I’m sorry, we don’t offer payment plans or alternative methods here.” “You don’t understand, do you?” The woman made eye contact with me and I felt my head freeze into position, staring back at her. Her eyes were an incredible marbled yellow with flecks of green. Her next words make my skin crawl. “This is a transaction between you and I, not a faceless company you represent, Elfida.” My blood ran cold. No one, not my employer nor even the few people I considered friends knew my full name. I managed to break my trance like fixation on the woman to check my badge and just as suspected, it said Elle. “Who are you?” “Interesting. You don’t want to know how I know your name, you want to know who I am. You have a habit of asking all the wrong questions don’t you?” “What are you talking about?” “Hah! See, again. Another useless question. I suppose as I know your name it’s only fair you know mine.. Agnes Copper. Haven’t you ever wondered why you’re here?” She placed the small, scruffy looking dog on the floor and extended a frail, skeletal hand out towards the booth. Hand shaking I pressed the security button hard, eliciting a wry smile from Agnes. “That’s not going to work Elfida. I’m glad I have you attention though, if that weren’t the case you’d have noticed the clock you’ve been watching for the past few hours stop.” She was right, the clock had stopped. And I hadn’t noticed. I gulped. I’d dealt with some incredibly unusual passengers, but none of them had ever rendered my security button useless. Or known my full name. “What do you want?” The dog barked, making me jump. Agnes shushed him before continuing. “That’s a better question, dear! Although you already know the answer. I want a ticket to Meander Place, the question is... what do you want?” I took a moment to try and comprehend her question at all. She spoke with a glee that made me deeply uncomfortable. In the short term, I wanted Agnes Copper gone and to forget about her yellow eyes. I had a feeling that wasn’t what she was referring to, however. “Come on Elfida, there must be something.” “Please stop calling me that. My name is Elle.” I spoke with a quiet defiance. She smiled, enjoying my agitation. “Oh. Am I getting somewhere? Now why would a pretty girl like you hate a pretty name like that so much?” I felt a pang in my stomach. I hadn’t thought about my life with that name for a long time. Life before Irene disappeared. “It’s personal.” “I know dear. I think you’re aware I already know the answer.” Her eyes lit up and she licked her puckered, wrinkled lips as I shuddered at her words. “You’re wondering now if I know where she is aren’t you?” I was. She was right. Who wouldn’t wonder? When my little sister went missing there wasn’t a trace of her left in my parents home... my old home. She was only eight years old and one morning she just wasn’t in the house, they never found a stitch of evidence. That was enough to drive my parents to alcoholism, abuse and eventually divorce. I got it. They lost a kid but it sure did suck to be the sister left behind in the shit storm. Ten years old and I had to roll my mother over to stop her choking on her own vomit. I put up with eight years of that before I fled, came to university in the city, shortened my name and never went back home. Of course I wondered where she was. “Do you.. know where she is?” Agnes laughed an evil cackle, sinister enough to make every bone in my body vibrate. I felt weak, like all the wind had been knocked straight out of me. I tried to control it, but tears fell against my will. I hadn’t thought about Irene in so long. “Are you a gambler, Elfida?” Agnes asked, ignoring my question entirely. “I’ve never considered myself to be a betting woman.” I answered, voice shaking audibly. “Well I think it’s time you start. If you print me a single ticket to Meander Place I will give you a clue. What a wonderful thing? A little piece of hope. The clue could lead to that little girl you seek... or it might not. After years of no answers, isn’t it worth the risk? For the minimal cost of a £29.50 ticket.” “If the clue is useless, what are the consequences?” “A better question. Finally, you’ve got it! Shame we’re almost out of time, my train leaves in a few minutes and I’m not too quick on my feet. Make a decision Elfida, I think you know I’m getting on that train either way.” I hated arrogant customers. I made a point of ensuring I did my job properly, no matter what crazy things were going down in the station, but Agnes made a compelling case. She may have looked old and frail but she froze the air in the space around her. I wasn’t confident I’d even get close to stopping her board that train. How could I let the opportunity to find Irene slip away? I printed the ticket. Of course I did. One way to Meander Place, the Epstar line. Agnes continued to frantically lick her lips as the machine made the printing noise. Her mouth moved like a snake, it terrified me. As I handed it to her through the slot she reached into her pocket and pulled out a tiny red box, only large enough for small pieces of jewellery, replacing the paper slip with it. “Thank you Elfida. I hope you find what you’re looking for.” She winked a reptilian yellow eye and shuffled away from the booth towards the platform entrance. I sat there for a few minutes. Staring at the box, then back at the clock that continued ticking the moment Agnes was out of sight. I searched for her on the platform security cam that faced me inside the booth but she’d vanished. No trace. Just like Irene. I stroked the box, unsure I even wanted to know what was inside, while simultaneously desperate to see the contents. “Elle! Monsoon Valley just called, the guy had the same argument with them. Popped all over again, the guard there is having a total crisis. Thank fuck we’re rid of that shit, right?” Atlas interrupted my deep and brooding thought. I shoved the box into my pocket as quickly as I could and looked up, blinking away any residual tears from my interaction with Agnes. “Ha, sounds like a blast.” I joked, managing a chuckle from Atlas, “We’ll have to tell Nicky about it when she’s done with platform nine.” “Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and check on her anyway, the Epstar line just blasted through there, never know what unsavoury characters might be about.” Atlas spoke seriously but I struggled to take him so. He always seemed impervious to the strangeness that surrounded us and my recent meeting had cut through my apathetic disposition. I was relieved when he wandered off, giving me a chance to breathe. After a few moments collecting myself I finally gathered the strength to reach into my pocket and open the red box. When I saw the contents I almost flung them and the box at the floor and ran. Inside was a finger, a small severed finger. The nail was painted pink, splotches on the skin around it, like it had been painted by a child. It had. I’d painted Irene’s nails that exact shade the night she went missing. But it didn’t make any sense, it had been years... and the finger was so fresh... even if she was alive, how could she still be so small? Fighting the bile in my throat I noticed a pattern... words, intricately carved and so minuscule they were a struggle to read. Find me in Thistle Park. The boys on bikes
What do the in laws families think of the Duggar’s?
I’ve always wondered what for example the Vuolos or the Seewalds truly think of the Duggar’s. So I’ve decided to make a post about it lol! Okay so first I’ll go in order... Keller’s: That the Duggar’s are amazing people and a great example of a fundie family. Ma and Pa Keller are delusional. For basically trading their daughter to a child molester for fame and power in the fundie world Is disgusting. They think the Duggar’s are so gracious for letting Anna stay after Josh gate and for helping her. I think her siblings that Left ( Suzanna, Rebekah and her brother) absolutely loathe the Duggar’s and want nothing more than for Anna to leave Josh. They even offered her an out. Rebekah is literally married to a millionaire! No doubt these three would support and love Anna if she were to ever leave. Burnett’s: I’m not too sure but I think they may be “ eh whatever!” About the Duggar’s. I just think they were happy Abbie found John David. Since they thought she would never get married and be a house daughter. Don’t know too much abt them since they are more private then some of the other in laws. Dillard’s: I think that Cathy genuinely loves Jill and has grown to be a mother figure in her life. But I’m sure she thinks the Duggar’s are absolute freaks. I think Derick‘a brother is the same. Cathy seems like she would play nice in front of them but then talk trash about the Duggar’s behind their backs. Seewalds: I think the Seewalds absolutely loathe Jessa and the Duggar’s. At first they seemed to really like the Duggar’s and the fame Ben and Jessa’s relationship brought to them. But then I think around Joshgate, they really saw how the Duggar’s were freaks. And how they looked terrible for letting Ben marry Jessa so young and stuff. I think that Ben’s sisters absolutely hate Jessa. Like her sister in law Jessica just wanted to kill Jessa when they were on say yes to the dress. And Jessa was being so condescending to Jessica about her dress not being “ modest enough”. I think the Seewalds play nice in front of Jessa and the other Duggar’s but talk shit about them behind their backs. I also think that they offer to take Ben across the country and Away from Jessa constantly 😂 Vuolos: I think they think the Duggar’s are weird. Like I think Diana and Charles love Jinger as a daughter in law but think her family is just so weird. Since the Vuolos aren’t as fundie as the Duggar’s. I think Jerm’s sisters likes Jinger. Again, I think They just hate how weird the Duggar’s are. Like isolating their kids from everything and letting Pest abuse their daughters and shit. Caldwells: I think they love the Duggar’s. Obviously! The Duggar’s go to their church. And Rumor has it that Lauren Caldwell is courting a lost boy. If that’s true, that would mean that 2 of their daughters would be marrying into the Duggar family. I think that Kendra was eligible fundie wife #1 just because of how young, dumb and fertile she is. Another rumour is that Kendra was passed around lost boys until settling on Joe. But I do think that they think the Duggar’s are a little weird. Like how they were so surprised Kendra was pregnant so quickly. But the Caldwells are very very close to the Duggar’s. Swansons: I think they love the Duggar’s. Dwain Swanson literally sold Lauren to the Duggar’s. Dwain was just glad to get rid of Lauren and that she was marrying into the Duggar’s. Killing two birds with one stone. Since Lauren was the problem child in the family. I think that they’re pissed about all the controversy over Josiah and Lauren’s marriage and all the rumours though. And how it wasn’t a “clean marriage” like Joe and Kendra’s so to speak. How Joken’s marriage isn’t really surrounded by rumours of Joe being not straight and stuff. I also think the Swansons were star struck by the Duggar’s and couldn’t believe the Duggar’s wanted Lauren to marry into their family. They even moved to Arkansas just so Lauren could court Josiah. They’re probably betting on another one of the Swansons to marry a Duggar. Which probably won’t happen. Since Lauren isn’t exactly the favourite in law. Forsyths: I think the Forsyths do like the Duggar’s but aren’t totally sold on them. Terry did take Pest to do labor in punishment for molesting the girls. So they’re still very fundie. But I think that they do genuinely love Joy as their daughter in law. But think it’s a little weird how many kids the Duggar’s have. Especially because they technically only have 2 kids. But Terry has two kids with his ex wife. So technically 4. Still very small for a fundie family. Spiveys: Absolutely love the Duggar’s. I think they also love the fame that they’re getting from Claire courting Justin. Since they weren’t very well known in the fundie world before. They seem star struck by the Duggar’s. Can’t say too much about them because we don’t know too much info about them though. So what do y’all think? Love to hear your thoughts below!!!
So, it's been a year since I joined Reddit... but do you hear that...? Exactly. Tonight gentle readers, we shall speak of my long headache going away. It's a lovely time at the Lacking Tea. Buttercup's mane is extra-sparkly, and even the Teal Deer is allowing themselves to be petted, but only a little bit. Because we've finally gotten rid of the last of the troublemakers. But I get ahead of myself. Firstly, a recap for those who haven't been reading my tales. Our hotel has been providing shelter to many of the local homeless during the Covid crisis.. This has unfortunately not gone nearly as well as planned, owing to the number of folks for whom homelessness was the result of deliberate and sustained resistance to The Man telling them what to do. About a third or so. The rest were fine folks who've just hit a rough patch, needed a little help getting back upon their feet. It pleases me that a lot of the folks who were not problematic were placed in various other housing programs, getting them more permanently housed and off the streets hopefully for good. Our county has been making great strides with a 'housing first' approach, seeing fantastic success rates and lower costs than the usual approach of making it someone else's problem, or hoping that they just die in a ditch someplace. But the riff-raff nearly ruined it for everyone. I've spoken at considerable length about the struggles we've dealt with. How the various problematic folks have nearly brought this entire project to a halt with their antics. The rise in criminal activity, casual disrespect for the hotel and it's staff, and the near-constant game of 'Guess The Odor In The Hallway' has been a great burden, one which combined with the stress of the Covid crisis, has brought your humble narrator to despair more than a few times. Gotta admit, Buttercup's been a lifesaver. But they're gone now. Some were obnoxious enough to warrant immediate eviction, others were simply not invited to continue their stay within the program. They are no longer our problem, and they're gone now. We noticed that as we were getting rid of more and more of the problem-causers, the less problems with their 'friends' we were having. No more fights, no more strange smells, no more literal pile of stolen bicycles in the back of the parking lot. MUCH better. So... I've mentioned 'Jared Mitchell' before in this post, having caught him in flagrante bikestealingo. Additionally I have mentioned his girlfriend in this post (she's the one demanding to be let into his room). These two are very firmly on the riff-raff side of things - the afore-mentioned bicycle pile was their fault - but they had been very careful not to do anything that would warrant more than a warning growl from Angry Skwrl. They were very clearly up to various shenanegains, but nothing big enough to call the cops on, you know? Still, the program is done month-to-month, and with July ending, the manager trimmed down the number of rooms we were allocating to the program. The only ones invited to remain were the highest-risk individuals - the elderly and infirm. These folks know a good thing when they see it, and haven't caused any issues worthy of note. Of the folks who were losing rooms, those who were in compliance with the rules and not causing issues were invited to other programs... Jared and his girlfriend were not invited to participate. And so, August arrived, and with it the last traces of the problematic folks we had been dealing with. A few new faces, refugees from the other two hotels in town participating in the program. Those hotels had it MUCH worse. The Motel Number had gone absolutely feral, so getting some of the 'nice old folks' out of there was a good thing. I still was keeping the front doors locked at night, and keeping an eye out fo various familiar trespassers, but overall, it looked to be a refreshing change of pace... ... until Jared walked in. I was initially worried he was pulling a 'Mike', but nope, he actually 'belonged' there. His girlfriend was renting a room. She smugly informed me that now she could have guests up to her room, that they didn't have to follow the silly rules that the program required, that I no longer had any power over them. They were pretty much determined to continue their life of shifting various stolen goods in and out of their room (spoiler: when they left, they had a LOT of stuff that wasn't theirs in there...) and whatever. Now, of course they were renting by the day, always paying cash in the mornings. Somehow they finagled a 'military rate' for a couple of the nights (betting they talked to the coworker who just doesn't care), and generally getting a very low price for putting up with them. Shady as all heck, and also baffling - for the amount of money they were spending, they could have had a house in some of the nearby towns, or a decent apartment in this one. But of course, that would require a certain amount of background checks, verifiable income, and a few things that folks who are making their living off stolen property don't have. Still, why come to our hotel? There are cheaper hotels that won't care if someone is dragging a box of stolen crap through the lobby at four in the morning. I suppose we should take it as a compliment? Being the only means of entry into the hotel at night, I got to deal with their comings and goings all night long. The thing is, the Covid crisis is getting worse here in California. In this town most folks are smart enough to wear masks, but not Jared and his girlfriend. No, they had to be reminded. Every. Single. Time. Oh, they forgot.. sorry... won't happen again... Yeah, no. Pretty certain they were deliberately not wearing them as a form of rebellion against my silly rules. The girlfriend even said "You're the only one who cares!" a few times. But unfortunately, I couldn't actually do anything. Company policy was to ask people to please wear their masks. Once they caught on that I couldn't enforce anything, they went ahead and didn't bother wearing their masks at all. I mean, there's even a mask-wearing ordinance here in town, but the cops aren't going to come out at three in the morning to write someone a citation... Finally though, new word from corporate - with things getting worse here in California, we were going to be requiring masks. No more asking, we now are to tell people they cannot enter the building without a mask. Period. I was elated, and asked my manager, "Just to confirm... If Jared and his girlfriend are not wearing masks, I get to tell them they cannot come in?" "That is correct. If they give you trouble, you can cancel their room, too." "*happy Skwrl noise*" Anticlimactically, I was to be denied. There would be no thunderous "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" uttered that night. Which is a pity, as I have Gandalf's entire speech memorized. It seems that they got into it with my manager (whom I'd been giving nightly updates) and he had given them the boot himself. They were out. Gone. Done. Corporate has been informed that they are on our DNR list, and that their Shiny Metal status should be revoked. But with that, the last of the riff raff is gone. There's a couple of folks who are not entirely trustworthy, but they are not up to any criminal activity on a nightly basis. No endless parades of stolen bicycles, unattended power tools, or recreational pharmaceuticals. I have to get up maybe three times a night to let someone in, instead of a dozen. A final gasp was had in the form of one of their friends looking to be let in. I told him he needed a mask. He said he was just going to go visit Jared. I told him they were not here. Did I know where they had gone? Nope. No longer Skwrl's problem. Closing the door now. So there you have it... there's still some homeless staying with us, at least until the end of the month, but the last of the troublemakers have left. The change in the hotel is palpable. It's quite refreshing. Well, sort of. Heat wave here. This whole week is going to be about 110F/44C. Tuesday's forecast just reads 'THE SUN IS ANGRY'. I really wish the hotel's pool wasn't out of service. Take a little time to say goodbye to Buttercup. Teal Deer; The last of the problem-causing folks have been kicked out of the hotel, your humble narrator enjoys some peace.
There's a strange newspaper that's only delivered at midnight...(Part 5)
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 It was Friday night. 10 to midnight. I knew that, right now, the newest edition of the Midnight Paper would be hitting my parents’ welcome mat in a few moments. But I wasn’t there. I’d decided, after last time, that I wasn’t going to be reading the next article. What if it contained something worse than The Hunger? I couldn’t let it become real. I didn’t want any more blood on my hands. I sat at the rickety table included in my motel room. Every time I hit a key on my laptop, the table rattled, tilting toward its short leg (which I couldn’t identify for the lift of me). I didn’t mind. I was counting the minutes with each time I hit “refresh” on the search page of Herricks High School’s website. On the search bar was the name “Stephanie Carson.” I got the Midnight Paper with The Ledge Game article on Friday, September 11th at midnight. One week later, on Friday, September 18 at midnight, I had witnessed a girl jumping off a building to end her life. I read the Midnight Paper with The Removal Doctor article on Wednesday, September 16th at midnight. One week later, on Wednesday, September 22nd at midnight, I had first heard about The Removal Doctor on the local news. That means that it takes one week between getting a Midnight Paper and the article in it becoming true. If I was right, that night, at midnight, Stephanie Carson would become real. She’d suddenly appear in the Herricks High School website as if she was always enrolled there. No memorial service. No news about a tribute or a plaque going up in her honor…just a page or two about the school’s most gifted student. Midnight. Just as I hit refresh, a heard three knocks on my motel room door. What? No…it couldn’t….but it was. I opened my door and there, on the patch of filthy rug right in front of my room, was a bundle of black paper bound in black twine. I grabbed a plastic bag that held the snacks I’d bought at a gas station, put on a pair of rubber gloves, and grabbed a pair of grill tongs. The Midnight Paper dangled off the teeth of the tongs, its strange electricity still somehow crackling through the rubber and making the hairs on my hands stand up. I dropped the paper into the plastic bag and tied it into a tight knot. Then I dropped that bag into another two bags for good measure and tossed them into a dumpster by the ice machine. By the time I got back, the shitty motel internet had finally loaded the page. “10 RESULTS FOR ‘STEPHANIE CARSON.’” I gripped the sides of the shitty motel table. Would I be too late? Was it tonight? A few minutes later I opened my motel room door cautiously. The patch of filthy carpet was empty. No new Midnight Paper. I smiled. Maybe I’d gotten rid of it entirely. Maybe not reading one was all it took for it to leave you alone. I went right to the dumpster. The bags I’d hidden the Midnight Paper in were still there. They hadn’t mysteriously vanished. I nodded and got in my car. By the time I got to the right part of town, the night was cold and bright. Streetlights glinted off of every surface, bouncing off a thousand reflective surfaces and zeroing in on my eyes. The migraine was back in full swing. I was a little used to it by now. I chugged a bit more of my soda and narrowed my eyes. I had a long night ahead of me. I stopped the car and unplugged my phone from its stand on the dashboard. On the screen was something I wasn’t proud of at all: Stephanie Carson’s Instagram account. It had taken me less than an hour to find it. I won’t write it here, but her username was a simple combination of her name and her volleyball jersey number. It wasn’t set to private either. A little scrolling had led me to a photo of Stephanie and her friends in front of a house that could only be described as “excessive.” It was as close to Cinderella’s castle as you could get while still being attached to a sidewalk. I didn’t know the exact address, but there was a photo of her in front of a street sign with the same group of friends, wearing the same clothes as before. It was easy to guess that they had taken the photo in front of Stephanie’s house and the photo of the street sign back to back. That same street sign was in front of me now…and a few feet away from it was Cinderella’s castle itself…and one of the lights upstairs was on. I walked around the block more than a few times, trying to get my story straight. I had to warn Stephanie about Mark Bailey, who she already knew about. But then she’d ask me how I knew what I did…and I was still working that part out. I could show her my posts on here, but knocking on a girl’s door and telling her that I’d posted on Reddit about her murder…yeah. No. I’d be in a straight jacket before morning. Whatever, I didn’t need to make sense. I didn’t even need to tell her about the posts. I could simply knock on her door and tell her that I’d driven by and seen a strange man peering through her windows. She’d think I’d spotted Bailey and would probably call the cops on him. Problem solved. Then why not call the cops myself? Because they’d ask questions…but she would too… I sighed. There was seemingly no way to do this without looking as creepy as Mark Bailey himself. I walked up to the front door, held my breath, and knocked. The sound seemed explosive in the darkness, but that was probably just the lateness of the hour amplifying every sound times one hundred. Still, no sound or movement or light came from inside. I knocked again, a little louder this time. A few seconds later, nothing had changed. I was out of options. I bit the bullet and stabbed the doorbell with my finger. The electronic chime echoed through the house, about as subtle as a carpet bombing. One light went on. Two. Then the whole first floor lit up. I heard muted little footsteps from behind the door as if someone was walking on a carpet. Then the latch turned and the door swung open…and something hit me on the head. “Wake up, creeper,” a girl’s voice said. I opened my eyes. Then shut them immediately. The brief glimpse of the world I’d gotten had been enough. It was white and blurred. Something cold and hard collided with my cheek, shooting fireworks across my vision. “I said WAKE UP!” I opened my eyes again. This time the world was a little less blurry. I blinked until the person in front of me came into focus. There, holding what looked like some kind of metal sculpture, was Stephanie Carson. “There you are,” she said matter-of-factly, “I was worried I’d hit you a little too hard. So. Wanna tell me why you’ve been walking outside my house for the past hour and a half?” “Mark Bailey,” I said, my voice raspy and little more than a whisper. There was a metallic taste in my mouth that seemed to extend into my lungs. Jesus, maybe she had hit me a little too hard. “Oh, great. My stalker has a friend.” “No. Not a friend. He’s going to kill you. Tonight.” That had come out a little more clearly. I would have been pleased with myself, but it was around that time that I noticed that I couldn't feel my hands. One look down and I could see why: my wrists were stuck to the arms of a chair with a ridiculous amount of duct tape. Jeez, had she used one roll for each hand? Then Stephanie said something that made me forget about how my hands were already turning purple: “I know.” “What?” I asked, my voice sounding distant and slow as if it was coming from a broken speaker on the other side of the room. “He’s been stalking me for a long time. He broke in last week and I got a restraining order out on him. He’s close to figuring it out, I can tell. He’s close to losing his shit too. It’s gonna get violent. Whatever. I figure if anyone’s going to do it, it might as well be him.” I thought back to something Mark Bailey had said in the article, something I thought had just been the ramblings of a convicted murderer: Stephanie had gotten loose and had stood next to the kitchen knives instead of running away, like she was inviting Bailey to use them on her. I cleared my throat “Aren’t you going to stop him? Don’t you want to?” Stephanie rolled her eyes like I was annoying her. Scratch the “like,” I was annoying her. “I’ll come back anyway. Well, not ‘me’ me, but it doesn't really matter. It might make my parents look back at me, this version of me, twice. Now we just gotta figure out what to do with you. If my aren'ts get back, they’ll get rid of you and stick you in an acid barrel.” “What? ‘Aren’ts?’" “They’re what I call the fake parents that live here. Like ‘aren’t my parents,’ get it? They’re drones. Mindless versions. Not the real deal. Do I have to explain everything to you? So, if I cut you loose, will you leave quietly?” “But what about Mark-“ “Oh, fuck Mark Bailey! What does it even matter? You think I’m the first one of me to die? The first one to want to?” I was speechless. That was the last thing I expected her to say. “I can’t feel my hands,” I said finally. Stephanie nodded. She grabbed a pair of scissors from a desk next to her, and that was the first time I thought to look around. The walls were white, clinical, there were tables upon tables filled with lab equipment around us. It was like a high-end research lab, the kind of place that might be responsible for creating a deadly virus or resurrecting dinosaurs…or making multiple versions of the same teenage girl. Stephanie cut the tape around my wrists. I winced, the blood shooting back through my bruised wrists felt like acid. “You can’t let Bailey kill you,” I said, rising slowly. “Who are you anyway, a teacher at Roslyn?” “Didn’t you go to Roslyn?” I asked. “No. That was Monica and Natalie. Stupid of them to send two of us to the same school, right? No wonder Bailey lost his marbles.” “So you’re not the same person?” “Wow, you’re all questions, aren’t you? You haven’t even answered mine.” I told her my name, then went about explaining everything I could about the Midnight Paper and my posts online. I let her read through them on my phone. It was then that I saw it, that “strange intelligence” that Bailey had mentioned. Her face came alive and I could almost see millions of hyper-complex gears turning in her mind. “Wormhole might explain it,” she said finally, then shook her head. “Scratch that. Simulation. Wormhole was stupid. Only…hmmm. You said you got a paper tonight, right? And that it was still in the dumpster?” “Yeah,” I said, catching up. “Let me take a look at it.” “I don’t-“ “Think that’s a good idea? Neither was touching the fucking thing, breathing its fumes, or trying to burn it,” Stephanie said. “Yeah, I guess you have a point.” We moved from one room in the basement to another, and I saw the shelves filled with the occult books that Mark Bailey had mentioned. “Those are mine,” Stephanie said. “Can’t rule anything out, right?” I shrugged, not sure what she was talking about. Then I checked my phone…and my heart stopped. 4 AM. Mark Bailey was due any second. Stephanie didn’t seem to notice, she was moving so fast she was practically a blur. By the time I had gotten to the foot of the stairs, she was already in the kitchen. That was when I heard it. A man’s voice. Mark Bailey’s voice. “What are you?” he asked, “you’re Monica-“ then, as quickly as it had appeared, Bailey’s voice was cut short. I rushed up the stairs and slid into the kitchen. There, on the tile floor, Mark Bailey lay in a pool of his own blood. His neck was cut open. Stephanie tossed a bloody knife into the sink. “Don’t worry,” she said, “my aren'ts will take care of it. Where’d you park your car?” It was almost dawn by the time we were standing in front of the dumpster. I pulled the plastic bags out and cut them open slowly with the pair of scissors from the lab. Stephanie’s face lit up the second she saw the black bundle roll out. Before I could stop her, she ripped the twine off and unrolled the Paper…then she frowned. She turned the paper toward me. “Can you read it?” she asked. I nodded. “I can’t see anything. Just black paper. No words written in white ink. I bet whoever appears in the articles can’t read them. Because I’m not real. The Paper must’ve created me like you thought.” She was actually smiling as she said it. “Doesn’t that bother you?” “No! You fucking kidding me? I’m thrilled! I’d much rather be created by a mysterious newspaper than my fucking parents. Read it to me,” she ordered. Some of the words were already being erased. But I read the article to her anyway. This was what it said: ——————————————————————————————————————— THE PERFECT BEING? EXPERTS CALL AERIAL PHENOMENON “EASY TO EXPLAIN” It’s only been two days, but the residents of a small town in upstate New York have already grown accustomed to it. There’s a strange shape in the sky that isn’t going away…and it looks like a person. The event began sometime after dawn on ———— morning. It’s now ————, and the clouds aren’t going anywhere. “It’s not just a shape,” says —————— a lifelong resident of ————. “There’s light in there. Like no matter how dark it gets, there’s something in there that’s shining. Like a little sun!” The apparition is certainly uncanny. It’s a little shape that "looks like a person in the sky.” It has all the parts you’d expect: a head, two arms (complete with their hands), and two legs (plus their feet). The arms and legs are pointed at an angle so that they make an “X” shape. “It looks like the Da Vinci man,” one woman said. She’s not the only one. Many people have drawn the comparison between the man-shaped object and Da Vinci’s iconic Vitruvian Man. If this was only an oddly-shaped object, it wouldn’t have made as big of an impact on the residents. Indeed, there’s a strange “glow” to it, as if it reflects the sunlight in such a way that the entire human shape is lit up at once. When the sun goes down, the “glow” remains, shining like a big star that often hides behind thick clouds. This is an age where everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, a gadget that doubles as an expensive camera. So why haven’t you heard of this before? The answer’s simple: it’s too far away. “It’s about the size of a fingernail,” a resident explained, “just hold your little finger up to the sky and imagine something floating up there that’s as big as the nail.” That’s not very big at all. A photography expert explained that “most phone cameras aren’t particularly good at taking photos of something that small at a distance, especially against a bright sky.” As a result, most of the images that have made their way to social media show a blurry speck against a blazing white sky. At night, the results are even worse, at best capturing a circle of light, at worst simply showing a dark sky. Meteorologists, astronomers, and aficionados of aerial phenomena have indeed regarded the apparition as “a trick of the light.” “I think it’s a kite,” said a local man who owns a high-end telescope, “some kind of man-shaped kite that someone let go of, maybe as a prank.” A meteorologist stated that “it’s easy to explain. It could be any number of things ranging from drones to homemade balloons. It’s nothing natural, though, certainly not a meteor and definitely not a sign of the end times.” So how exactly did this apparition become known as “the perfect being?” A local news station was interviewing a group of onlookers when they were approached by a “strange” man. “There was something off about him for sure,” stated ———————- a veteran field reporter who isn’t shaken up by “weirdos.” “He just walked up to the camera when we were interviewing another eyewitness and saying that he made it and that it’s the Perfect Being. A weirdo. A kook. We get too many to count. But it caught on. Mostly because people were making fun of the guy.” The strange aerial phenomenon known as “The Perfect Being” still hasn’t disappeared from the sky. Far from it. It’s actually gotten a little bigger. “It’s like it’s getting closer,” said another resident, “dropping down slowly. Like it’s falling.” Some residents have taken it upon themselves to study this steady rate of decline in a scientific manner. “If it keeps dropping at its current rate, it’ll be down in about a week,” says a young girl who looks about as serious as someone working for NASA, “it won’t drop here, it’ll drop the next town over.” We’ll just have to wait and see if this amateur astrologer is right on the money. ———————————————————————————————————————- When I was done reading, Stephanie was smiling again. “What does it mean?” I asked, already getting used to relying on her superior intelligence. “Nothing much. Just that we’ve got a doctor’s appointment,” she said. Part 6
For 2 days now and since i've heard the man city has only 13 fit players for the leicester game,i've been hesitating to put a bet on leicester, i felt the odds were so misjudged but at the end i didnt place a bet at all and now when i see leicester totally dominating i get this feelinh eating me from the inside and i get it often while betting...its when you keep telling yourself "if only ive placed this bet" how to get rid of this feeling ? It ruins the whole experience for me
Al Gore is the 52-year-old Democratic candidate and the current Vice President. His running mate is US Senator from Connecticut Joe Lieberman.
George (W.) Bush is the 54-year-old Republican candidate and the Governor of Texas. His running mate is former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.
Issues and Background
Roughly two years ago, President Bill Clinton became the first President in over 100 years to be impeached by the House of Representatives. He was eventually acquitted in the Senate. Clinton was accused of grand jury perjury related to his extramarital sexual relationship with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He was also accused of obstruction of justice. The full report from the independent counsel can be read here.
Vice President Gore has said that President Clinton made a mistake, and has even called Clinton's behavior "inexcusable," but has claimed that "the people" want to move on to other issues. Likely aware of some polling evidence that Clinton may be a drag on his numbers, he has distanced himself from the President during the campaign, emphasizing that he is his own man. Stories in papers like the Washington Post and the New York Times regularly describe leaked frustrations from Clinton loyalists and Clinton himself about this distancing. Joint appearances are being minimized. In one of the primary debates, Gore stated:
As an American who was serving as vice president, I was critical of the president. As an American, I also defended the office of the presidency against an effort by partisan Republicans in the House and Senate to deliver a thoroughly disproportionate penalty for a serious and reprehensible personal mistake on the part of the president. He should not have been removed from office for that offense. And fighting against their efforts to remove him from office and undo the act of the American people in twice electing him, I think I was serving the public interest well.
The Bush campaign, and Bush himself, have emphasized that they will bring "honor and dignity" back to the White House. In his convention speech, Vice Presidential nominee Dick Cheney said:
George W. Bush will repair what has been damaged. He's a man without pretense, without cynicism, a man of principle, a man of honor. On the first hour of the first day, he will restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office.
The federal budget is set to be in surplus for the third year in a row this year, and many government agencies and forecasters are expecting well in excess of $1 trillion in total surpluses over the coming decade. Thus, one major election issue is what each candidate will do with this surplus.
Governor Bush described his plan for the surplus in the first debate as follows:
I want to take one-half of the surplus and dedicate it to Social Security. One-quarter of the surplus for important projects, and I want to send one-quarter of the surplus back to the people who pay the bills. I want everybody who pays taxes to have their tax rates cut.
Vice President Gore's main criticism of the Bush plan has been that because the tax cuts are across the board, a large amount of the surplus dollars will wind up going to the wealthiest Americans. Bush has countered that as President, he doesn't want to be in the business of picking winners and losers when it comes to tax relief.
Vice President Gore says that for every $1 of the surplus he will use for tax cuts or new spending, he will use $2 for deficit reduction. Gore intends to set the United States on a path to eliminate the national debt by the year 2012. He also proposes $500 in targeted tax cuts intended to reach low and middle income families. Bush accuses Gore of intending to increase the size of government dramatically, which Gore denies.
Just recently, the FDA approved abortion pill RU-486. Governor Bush has said he will respect the FDA's independence, but is concerned this will lead to an increase in abortions. Governor Bush describes himself as pro-life, but says "a lot of good people disagree on the issue" and that the issue is not a litmus test for any potential Supreme Court nominations he could make. He argues there are pro-life objectives that can be accomplished which exist on broader common ground, like parental consent laws on abortion and the banning of "partial-birth abortions." Vice President Gore is pro-choice but says he would be willing to sign a law banning partial-birth abortions "provided that doctors have the ability to save a woman's life or to act if her health is severely at risk."
Following US participation through NATO in the Kosovo War and the overthrow of Milosevic in the recent Yugoslavian elections, the United States maintains a presence in the Balkans. Gore supports continued US involvement and support in the region "until the mission is complete," while Bush would like to see a more immediate reprioritization of where some resources are deployed, pending consultation with NATO allies. The New York Times summarizes their differences:
Mr. Gore is an interventionist, and over the years has repeatedly pressed for more vigorous United States involvement in hot spots around the world, including Bosnia and Kosovo. Mr. Bush denies he is an isolationist, but says United States troops should not be used for nation-building abroad. He would start by bringing home the 11,400 troops in the Balkans, once this country's NATO allies had agreed.
Following reforms in the 1980s, the Social Security system is not in particularly dire shape, though the trust fund could eventually run out by the 2030s if no further changes are made. Governor Bush has proposed a dramatic reform of the system which would allow workers to divert 2 percentage points of their 12.4% payroll tax into personal investment accounts. The Gore campaign argues that this plan will mean that the Social Security trust fund will run dry over 10 years earlier than currently expected.
Over the next 10 years, Medicare by itself is expected to run significant surpluses. Vice President Gore proposes taking Medicare "off-budget" in the same way as Social Security, putting Medicare funds in a metaphorical "lockbox" so they cannot be used for new spending or new tax cuts.
This campaign has seen significant discussion on the topic of education. Unlike other prominent Republicans, Governor Bush does not want to get rid of the Department of Education. He is an ardent advocate for standardized testing and wants to help more states set up such testing. Under Bush's plan, a school which shows poor results for three years in a row will see its students granted the option of a voucher which can be used for tutoring or private school tuition - for each student who chooses a voucher, the school will lose a proportional amount of federal dollars. Gore's plan calls for universal preschool, and for schools which show poor results two years in a row to reorganize with new leadership and even potentially new teachers.
The Columbine High School massacre remains on the minds of many. On guns, the main difference between the candidates is that Gore supports licensing for new handguns at the state level, while Bush does not. Gore also supports restoring the three-day waiting period under the Brady Law. Both candidates support instant background checks at gun shows. Governor Bush argues for greater enforcement of existing laws and raising the age when one can carry a handgun from 18 to 21. For Columbine specifically, Gore argues that some gun control measures could have possibly prevented the school shooting. In contrast, Governor Bush argues "it's really a matter of culture," that "somewhere along the line we've begun to disrespect life."
A few years ago, Vice President Gore helped broker the Kyoto Protocol/Treaty, an international commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement was signed by the Clinton Administration but effectively killed by the Senate via a resolution that strongly signaled they would refuse to ratify it. Governor Bush says global warming is "an issue that we need to take very seriously," but also says, "I don't think we know the solution to global warming yet," and that we need to have "the full accounting, full understanding of what's taking place."
Just days before the election, it has come out that 24 years ago, Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Bush says that the report is true, but argues that he has always been candid and remorseful about the fact that in his youth, he occasionally drank too much. Asked about why he had not previously disclosed this particular incident, he said he did not want his daughters to find out and for it to undermine his parenting.
Debate Excerpts Quotations in excerpt titles refer to moderator's prompt, block quotations are from named candidate(s). First Presidential Debate (full transcript) (1) Bush on whether he would "try to overturn the FDA's approval last week of the abortion pill RU-486":
I don't think a president can do that. I was disappointed in the ruling because I think abortions ought to be more rare in America, and I'm worried that that pill will create more abortions and cause more people to have abortions. This is a very important topic and it's a very sensitive topic, because a lot of good people disagree on the issue. I think what the next president ought to do is to promote a culture of life in America ... I know we need to change a lot of minds before we get there in America. What I do believe is that we can find good, common ground on issues of parental consent or parental notification. I know we need to ban partial birth abortions. This is a place where my opponent and I have strong disagreement.
(2) Gore on the budget:
I think that we have got to balance the budget every single year, pay down the national debt and, in fact, under my proposal the national debt will be completely eliminated by the year 2012. I think we need to put Medicare and Social Security in a lockbox. The governor will not put Medicare in a lockbox. I don't think it should be used as a piggy bank for other programs. I think it needs to be moved out of the budget and protected. I'll veto anything that takes money out of Social Security or Medicare for anything other than Social Security or Medicare.
(3) Bush on "nation-building":
The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place. So I would take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military power. Morale in today's military is too low. We're having trouble meeting recruiting goals. We met the goals this year, but in the previous years we have not met recruiting goals. Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we're overextended in too many places. And therefore I want to rebuild the military power. It starts with a billion dollar pay raise for the men and women who wear the uniform. A billion dollars more than the president recently signed into law.
(4) Gore on education:
We agree on a couple of things on education. I strongly support new accountability, so does Governor Bush. I strongly support local control, so does Governor Bush. I'm in favor of testing as a way of measuring performance. Every school and every school district, have every state test the children. I've also proposed a voluntary national test in the fourth grade and eighth grade, and a form of testing the governor has not endorsed. I think that all new teachers ought to be tested, including in the subjects that they teach. We've got to recruit 100,000 new teachers. And I have budgeted for that. We've got to reduce the class size so that the student who walks in has more one-on-one time with the teacher. We ought to have universal pre-school and we ought to make college tuition tax deductible, up to $10,000 a year.
(5) Bush on what he would do in the event of a financial crisis:
Well, it depends, obviously. But what I would do first and foremost, is I would get in touch with the Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, to find out all the facts and all the circumstances. I would have my Secretary of the Treasury be in touch with the financial centers not only here, but at home. I would make sure that key members of Congress were called in to discuss the gravity of the situation. And I would come up with a game plan to deal with it. That's what governors end up doing. We end up being problem solvers. We come up with practical, common sense solutions for problems that we're confronted with. In this case, in the case of a financial crisis, I would gather all the facts before I made the decision as to what the government ought or ought not to do.
(6) Gore on campaign finance reform:
And that's one of the reasons I've said before, and I'll pledge here tonight, if I'm president, the very first bill that Joe Lieberman and I will send to the United States Congress is the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. And the reason it's that important is that all of the other issues, whether prescription drugs for all seniors that are opposed by the drug companies or the patient's bill of rights to take the decisions away from the HMOs and give them to the doctors and nurses, opposed by the HMOs and insurance companies, all these other proposals are going to be a lot easier to get passed for the American people if we limit the influence of special interest money and give democracy back to the American people.
Vice-Presidential Debate (full transcript) (1) Cheney on Iraq (full moderator question included):
MODERATOR: This question is for you, Mr. Secretary. If Iraq's president Saddam Hussein were found to be developing weapons of mass destruction, Governor Bush has said he would, quote, "Take him out." Would you agree with such a deadly policy? CHENEY: We might have no other choice. We'll have to see if that happens. The thing about Iraq, of course, was at the end of the war we had pretty well decimated their military. We had put them back in the box, so to speak ... Unfortunately now we find ourselves in a situation where that started to fray on us, where the coalition now no longer is tied tightly together ...The Russians and French are flying commercial airliners back into Baghdad and thumbing their nose at the international sanctions regime. We're in a situation today where our posture with Iraq is weaker than it was at the end of the war. It's unfortunate. I also think it's unfortunate we find ourselves in a position where we don't know for sure what might be transpiring inside Iraq. I certainly hope he's not regenerating that kind of capability, but if he were, if in fact Saddam Hussein were taking steps to try to rebuild nuclear capability or weapons of mass destruction, you would have to give very serious consideration to military action to -- to stop that activity. I don't think you can afford to have a man like Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
(2) Lieberman on whether gays and lesbians should have "all the constitutional rights enjoyed by every American citizen":
The question you pose is a difficult one for this reason. It confronts or challenges the traditional notion of marriage as being limited to a heterosexual couple, which I support. I must say I'm thinking about this, because I have friends who are in gay and lesbian partnerships who said to me, isn't it fair. We don't have legal rights to inheritance, visitation when one partner is ill, to health care benefits. That's why I'm thinking about it. My mind is open to taking some action that will address those elements of unfairness while respecting the traditional religious and civil institution of marriage.
(3) Cheney on the same question as above:
This is a tough one, Bernie. The fact of the matter is we live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody. We shouldn't be able to choose and say you get to live free and you don't. That means people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It's no one's business in terms of regulating behavior in that regard. The next step then, of course, is the question you ask of whether or not there ought to be some kind of official sanction of the relationships or if they should be treated the same as a traditional marriage. That's a tougher problem. That's not a slam dunk. The fact of the matter is that matter is regulated by the states. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate.
(4) Lieberman on Hollywood:
Al Gore and I have felt for a long time, first as parents and then only second as public officials, that we cannot let America's parents stand alone in this competition that they feel they're in with Hollywood to raise their own kids and give their kids the faith and values they want to give them. I've been a consistent crusader on that behalf. John McCain and I actually requested the Federal Trade Commission report that came out three or four weeks ago which proved conclusively that the entertainment industry was marketing adult-rated products to our children. That is just not acceptable. One finding was that they were actually using 10 to 12-year-olds to test screen adult-rated products. When that report came out, Al Gore and I said to the entertainment industry, stop it.
Second Presidential Debate (full transcript) (1) Bush on whether our country's wealth brings "with it special obligations to the rest of the world":
Yes, it does. Take, for example, Third World debt. I think we ought to be forgiving Third World debt under certain conditions. I think, for example, if we're convinced that a Third World country that's got a lot of debt would reform itself, that the money wouldn't go into the hands of a few but would go to help people, I think it makes sense for us to use our wealth in that way, or to trade debt for valuable rain forest lands, makes that much sense, yes. We do have an obligation, but we can't be all things to all people. We can help build coalitions but we can't put our troops all around the world.
(2) Gore on Iraq:
I was one of the few members of my political party to support former President Bush in the Persian Gulf War resolution, and at the end of that war, for whatever reason, it was not finished in a way that removed Saddam Hussein from power. I know there are all kinds of circumstances and explanations. But the fact is that that's the situation that was left when I got there. And we have maintained the sanctions. Now I want to go further. I want to give robust support to the groups that are trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and I know there are allegations that they're too weak to do it, but that's what they said about the forces that were opposing Milosevic in Serbia, and you know, the policy of enforcing sanctions against Serbia has just resulted in a spectacular victory for democracy just in the past week...
(3) Bush on Serbia:
I think it's a triumph. I thought the president made the right decision in joining NATO and bombing Serbia. I supported them when they did so. I called upon the Congress not to hamstring the administration, and in terms of forcing troop withdrawals on a timetable that wasn't necessarily in our best interest or fit our nation's strategy, and so I think it's good public policy, I think it worked, and I'm pleased I took -- made the decision I made. I'm pleased the president made the decision he made. Because freedom to go in that part of the world, and where there's a lot of work left to be done, however.
(4) Gore exchange with moderator on eight major interventions of the last 20 years:
MODERATOR: ...in the last 20 years there have been eight major actions that involved the introduction of U.S. ground, air or naval forces. Let me name them. Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo. If you had been president for any of those interventions, would any of those interventions not have happened? GORE: Can you run through the list again? MODERATOR: Sure. Lebanon. GORE: I thought that was a mistake. MODERATOR: Grenada. GORE: I supported that. MODERATOR: Panama. GORE: I supported that. MODERATOR: Persian Gulf. GORE: Yes, I voted for it, supported it. MODERATOR: Somalia. GORE: Of course, and that again -- no, I think that that was ill-considered. I did support it at the time. It was in the previous administration, in the Bush-Quayle administration, and I think in retrospect the lessons there are ones that we should take very, very seriously. MODERATOR: Bosnia. GORE: Oh, yes. MODERATOR: Haiti. GORE: Yes. MODERATOR: And then Kosovo. GORE: Yes.
(5) Gore on "nation-building":
This idea of nation building is kind of a pejorative phrase, but think about the great conflict of the past century, World War II. During the years between World War I and World War II, a great lesson was learned by our military leaders and the people of the United States. The lesson was that in the aftermath of World War I, we kind of turned our backs and left them to their own devices and they brewed up a lot of trouble that quickly became World War II. And acting upon that lesson in the aftermath of our great victory in World War II, we laid down the Marshall Plan, President Truman did. We got intimately involved in building NATO and other structures there. We still have lots of troops in Europe. And what did we do in the late '40's and '50's and '60's? We were nation building. And it was economic. But it was also military. And the confidence that those countries recovering from the wounds of war had by having troops there. We had civil administrators come in to set up their ways of building their towns back.
Third Presidential Debate (Town Hall) (full transcript) (1) Bush on health care:
I'm absolutely opposed to a national health care plan. I don't want the federal government making decisions for consumers or for providers. I remember what the administration tried to do in 1993. They tried to have a national health care plan. And fortunately, it failed. I trust people, I don't trust the federal government. It's going to be one of the themes you hear tonight. I don't want the federal government making decisions on behalf of everybody.
(2) Gore on the estate tax:
I'm for a massive reform of the estate tax or the death tax. And under the plan that I've proposed, 80% of all family farms will be completely exempt from the estate tax. And the vast majority of all family businesses would be completely exempt, and all of the others would have sharply reduced. So 80% -- now the problem with completely eliminating it goes back to the wealthiest 1%. The amount of money that has to be raised in taxes for middle-class families to make up for completely eliminating that on the very wealthiest, the billionaires, that would be an extra heavy burden on middle-class families. And so let's do it for most all, but not completely eliminate it for the very top.
(3) Bush on morality and protecting children:
You bet there's things that government can do. We can work with the entertainment industry to provide family hour. We can have filters on Internets where public money is spent. There ought to be filters in public libraries and filters in public schools so if kids get on the Internet, there is not going to be pornography or violence coming in. I think we ought to have character education in our schools. I know that doesn't directly talk about Hollywood, but it does reinforce the values you're teaching.
(4) Gore on morality and protecting children:
I've been involved myself in negotiating and helping to move along the negotiations with the Internet service providers to get a parents' protection page every time 95% of the pages come up. And a feature that allows parents to automatically check with one click what sites your kids have visited lately.
Removed my (18FtM) IUD, immediately lost gender dysphoria and questioning transition. My top surgery is in 4 days.
Hello, Not sure if the flair fits but none of the others felt right, so we’re going with it. I’m 18 (FtM?) I’m starting to feel insane. It’s the worst feeling I think I’ve ever felt in my whole life. I have been certain, for about 2 years (I’m turning 19 this month) that I was transgender and that transitioning was right for me, but now I’m not so sure. Testosterone made me happy, and the idea of top surgery did, but suddenly it sounds like the worst thing I could do. I had my IUD put in when I was 16 I think? Maybe 15. I got it mainly to stop pregnancy risk, and a side benefit was that my cramps greatly reduced. After my IUD, I believe that’s when I started to take antidepressants, stopped taking them after a while, and basically went into a downward spiral. The Prozac didn’t help. I thought maybe puberty was what caused my depression, maybe it was gender dysphoria. I started self-harming, attempting to end my life multiple times, and everything was awful. This was all before realizing I might be trans. Also, before transitioning, I kept changing my hair color, my eye color, makeup, etc. I kept changing looks and eventually shaved my hair off. Pretty sure I went through something weird there, looking different all the time. Anyways, after a lot of self-harm and attempts, I got a diagnosis for gender dysphoria at 17 and I started testosterone at 18. It was the first thing that stopped my depression. Everything became clear: I was a transgender man. I became happier, life was great, and I watched most if not ALL the detransitioner videos, just to make sure. I looked at theory, I looked at conversion therapy because I did not want to transition. Fast forward 11 months, my endocrinologist had earlier (like 8 months) recommended that I remove my IUD. Looked it up, doesn’t cause harm to have it in. I figured, I guess I don’t need it anymore, and got rid of it, recently. After removing it (September 24th) everything felt off. I felt like it was just temporary mood stuff that would go away. Fast forward to yesterday (October 3rd). I randomly get OBSESSED with balding. Balding doesn’t run in my family, and my hair looks the same but I’m crazy so I keep seeing things. It’s like my brain is deformed, or like I’m on drugs, but I haven’t taken any. Everything just feels wrong, and it feels like I’ve teleported back to high school when I wanted to end my life. Later that night, I completely break down. I scroll through my photos, saw a photo of myself before transitioning, and that’s what caused me to just go insane. I breathe in, and all of a sudden I start panicking. It dawns on me that when I get my top surgery (October 8th) I’ll be throwing away everything. My breasts? Gone. My fertility? Probably gone. My voice? Dropped. My acne? Awful. My hair? Thinning. My genitals? Large. It’s all bad. I think about how no one will love me if I go through with this and don’t go through with bottom surgery, I’ll be some weird half-person. I proceed to go to bed. That was all at 12 am - 2 am (accidentally consume caffeine), so I figured I’d wake up and regain my sanity. Maybe it’s the caffeine? My gosh, I hope so. Maybe I just have really bad body dysmorphia, but I see myself balding (with no hair loss), with cystic acne (literally 4 tiny pimples), ugly (people say I’m actually really attractive), and scared to be a guy (I was SUCH a cute girl). But then it occurred to me: when I was that cute girl, I thought I was ugly, getting female balding, and had acne. I felt just the same way. I would stuff my bra, but that was because my boyfriend made me feel bad about my size. I didn’t actually care. Now it’s the morning (October 4th) and I’m going even more insane. I feel like the IUD caused this, because I’ve seen old photos of myself and didn’t panic quite like that. I’ve thought of top surgery. Hell, I’ve even seen videos of top surgery being done onto people, and I didn’t react negatively. I wanted that. If you would’ve asked me a year how confident I was in transitioning, I would’ve bet my life on it, which is kinda what I did. I always say that if I have to detransition, I’ll end my life. Simple. And it stands true, if I am not actually trans, and it’s somehow the IUD’s fault (which actually doesn’t make sense, but idk what else it could be since that’s all that has changed), I’m ending my life. I’m not saying it to be depressing, I’m just being realistic. I’ve never had surgery, is it normal to, very close to the date, start to feel “regret” about even scheduling? Or is this not at all normal? Like, do women have breast augmentations and think “maybe I shouldn’t do this”? Thanks for any and all answers :)
Battle Ground left a ton of continuing plot threads hanging that make me super excited for future books. This is just a list in no particular order of things that we can be fairly certain are going to happen in future books. Massive spoilers all.
Mirror Mirror - The next book deals with Harry going to an alternate dimension/universe/timeline (possibly multiple?). I suspect there will either be evil Harry or no Harry. Harry will probably run into alternate Murphy and that will twist the knife in his heart a little more.
Black Court - Dracul and co have some payback coming their way; Mavra in particular has some long overdue hurt coming her way. I vote Harry eradicates a second vampire court. At a minimum Harry is going to try to save the wardens they took or at least put them out of their misery if they've been turned. I bet that Ramirez will be involved in this somehow and may or may not be happy that Harry is involved.
Thomasand Demonreach - Thomas is definitely getting out of his cell. I suspect the fact that he will be able to talk with the other prisoner in contemplation protocol will be important some how. I'm also guessing the other prisoner in contemplation protocol is the one Harry talked to after his parkour in the tunnels. Hopefully Dresden and Lara will have figured out how to help him and are intentionally freeing him, but I could see a mass breakout scenario going down. Demonreach is definitely going to continue to be an important setting. Outsiders have attempted to mess with it multiple times already, I suspect this will continue.
Justine/Nemesis - At a minimum, either Harry will find her or she finds him. I'm not sure what happens after that. Hopefully he gets nemesis out of her, but I could see imprisoning her or something worse. I have doubts Harry will be able to save both Justine and the baby.
Nation Building - I think Harry including that in his threat to One Eye was no coincidence. I think this is what Harry meant with his talk with Michael at the end. I think Harry is going to forge the paranet, the alphas, possibly the Knights, Elaine, vanilla humans (Randy?), and anyone else who's willing into a new nation. Harry has a lot of friends who aren't a part of any Accorded nation. We already know Harry has taught the basics to minor talents and one of his biggest complaints against the White Council is its failure to find magical talents early enough to prevent them from going Warlock. I think he's going to turn the Castle into a headquarters/capital/school of a new nation. I vote naming it in honor of Murphy. I've seen "The Order of Murphy" suggested for this. Who you gonna call? The Order of Murphy.
WeddingBells - When Mab sets her mind to something, it is going to happen. I also suspect that since Fairies seal deals with a kiss, Mab will require the marriage to be consummated on their wedding night. Especially considering the... ceremony of becoming the Winter Knight. This will require Harry to get rid of his Love protection from Murphy which will be... super awkward. Harry and Lara may not be happy about it but I suspect they will grow more friendly. I doubt they will fall in love, but I could see them start thinking of the other as a deeply trusted and respected ally. They are already "favorite frenemies" and will have common cause in saving Thomas and Justine and the baby. Speaking of babies... knowing Harry's luck he's going to knock Lara up on their wedding night. I think Harry will find a way to be immune to Lara's "come hither" somehow. It could be something like the potion for immunity from Red Court venom, or something Harry specific. I also highly doubt monogamy will be a thing between Harry and Lara. The White Court doesn't really do monogamy and that seems to be a recurring thing within the Dresden Files. I don't see the two living together for any length of time. Hell they may not share a bed after their wedding night although Mab will likely require them to be seen together on a regular basis.
The White and Black Councils - There's obviously some unsettled business there. The Black Council, whoever they are, are going to come into the light eventually. I suspect their final confrontation will result in the White Council collapsing under its own weight with Harry helping the White Council off the cliff. I suspect many wizards will join Harry's new nation, a slow trickle at first but a flood by the end. I hope Harry and Ramirez can patch things up, but they can both be pretty big idiots at times. I also suspect there were some secret reasons that Harry was kicked out of the Council. Maybe Dresden needs to be independent of the White Council for some reason. I also suspect Harry's fear of his sudden lack of protection is for the most part unwarranted. He's pretty intimidating all on his own. Plus if his engagement to Lara is public, he'll have the White Court's explicit protection as well.
Back to School - Harry has had multiple very impressive people offer to teach him: River-shoulders, Listens-to-Wind, hell even McCoy in his way. I suspect Harry is going to take at least one of them up on their offer. I'm also including LtW's promise to get back to him on the whole starborn thing within a year in this point.
Winter - There's a lot going on in Winter. Harry has learned a lot more about Mab recently. I suspect he will learn more. I suspect that Merlin (the OG) was somehow involved in setting up the two courts since we know Mab and Merlin knew each other. Harry also told McCoy (I think) that he won't leave Winter without Molls. As Harry and Molls learn more about Winter, they are starting to see it as something very different from what they thought it was from the outside. I suspect they will start actively supporting Winter much more and not wanting to get out. There's also some unanswered questions about who/what the Mothers are with their talk of names. With all this going on, I suspect we will have another Fairy centric book (or two).
Immortality - Harry knows how to kill immortal beings. I suspect at a minimum he will kill another immortal being (Dracul?). There's also the theory that Harry will become immortal at some point. I'm not sold on this one, but I can see it.
Mac - Harry is definitely going to find out more about who and what Mac is (other than one hell of a brewer).
The Coins - the eventual showdown between Harry and Marcone has been explicitly predicted in the books for a long time. Obviously with his picking up Thorned Namshiel this showdown is going to include the other Blackened Denarius. Marcone probably isn't going to be happy with Harry's nation building either. With River Shoulder's warning, the Genoskwa is going to be involved.
Amoracchius - Harry is going to recruit a new Knight of the Cross at some point. There are a lot of good ideas of who floating around, but I make no bets.
Maggie and Bonnie - Harry's two love children will undoubtedly continue to grow up. I suspect Bonnie will become as useful as Bob. I make no bets on whether Maggie gets powers.
The Feds - The government - whether in the form of Agent Tilly and the FBI and/or the MIB/Librarians - are obviously going to be taking a more active role in events. We still don't know why the FBI was watching Justine. I could also see some mortal international government group forming in response to Chicago (if the Librarians aren't already international).
Big Apocalypse Trilogy (BAT) - The finale of all of this Outsiders and Starborn business. Harry is obviously going to be finding out more about what it means to be starborn along the way. Likely some very important details he will have to figure out on the fly at the last possible moment because he's Dresden. I suspect the BAT will result in some major changes within the Courts. At a minimum, some of the fairy queens are going to die and likely some of Harry's friends and allies. I make no bets on who. I also suspect that Harry will be taking over the Gatekeepers duties at the end of the series (assuming the Outsiders are driven off).
And since we're talking about Harry Dresden, he will likely have to be dealing with at least half a dozen of these all at the same time. I feel fairly confident about each of these individual points but I also doubt I'm right on all or even most of them. Thoughts? Other predictions?
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