Beste Binary Options Broker: Binäre Optionen Lernen Erklärung

Found this while browsing the internet, thought you guys would get a good laugh.

Found this while browsing the internet, thought you guys would get a good laugh. submitted by LrockG34RH34D1221 to AreTheStraightsOK [link] [comments]

A thorough evaluation of the 9/18 PTS update and base changes, as well as almost everything else coming up.

Hello, here’s another round of Esamir Rework reviews. I’ll also cover the Indar base changes, the storm, vehicle balance changes and new infantry gear. I’m not going to touch on outfit resource changes here, since this post is long enough already. I’d like to give shoutouts to aln-isolator , [NWYT]Praefectus, the pilots of [SACA] and everyone else who helped give feedback.
Here’s the image gallery. This time around the bases listed in the document match the order in which they appear in the gallery. https://imgur.com/a/5pd5VFj
Esamir has a new skybox which is much less bright. I can now see vehicle weapon tracers when shooting. This is a long asked for change.
Andvari: 3 points now, 12 min cap with 2 points, 4 mins with 3 points. Consider adjusting the timers.
Ymir: No changes to terrain that I can see. It’s a 12 minute cap with two points owned, and 4 minutes with 3 points. Might consider reducing those slightly.
Apex Genetics has had its wall adjusted somewhat, as well as the rocks surrounding the triple stack. There are now more routes for infantry to enter the base.
Aurora Materials: Sunderer garage and surrounding terrain seem to have been lowered slightly. Also, there’s now a rock at the end of the garage, which reduces the possible angles the bus inside can be shelled from. The slope between the crescent building and the road has had some paths added for infantry. Overall, good changes. However, there’s still one issue here, and that’s the possibility of shelling the triple stack balcony from the ridge NW of the base. Additional purple spikes from the cluster behind the spawn room could be positioned to block this firing angle.
Eastwake Harborage: Point has received a new structure above it. It’s now on the bottom floor of a triple stack that has an expanded balcony around its second floor. This gives point holders a lot of additional cover, but the problems with this base still exist. There’s still a ridiculous distance between spawn room and the point with minimal cover from vehicles/bolters/LAs- a literal Death Valley. The area immediately around point is still extremely harasser friendly and could use some props to obstruct harasser movement. In its current position, the teleporter room is useless since infantry leaving it must still advance through Death Valley. Sundy positions are a bit sketchy, too. Fortunately, I’ve had a long discussion and now believe this base could be fixed with a couple tweaks. Consider replacing the AI turret outside the spawn room with an AV gun. This would discourage excessively aggressive vehicles from camping Death Valley. Likewise, replacing the light vehicle pull with an MBT pull gives defenders a bit more potential firepower, and increases the area attacking vehicles must cover to protect their own vulnerable spawns. This base would also benefit from the moving of primary teleporter room to a point higher up the hill and closer to the point, as shown by squad waypoint in this image: https://i.imgur.com/TuEee9F.png. A second teleporter here at hearts waypoint https://i.imgur.com/JUbXklc.png gives defenders another route into the point without going through Death Valley. At these two locations sunderer garages could be built to create safer spawn points for attackers.https://i.imgur.com/QWblfz4.png https://i.imgur.com/w4HR05n.png
Echo valley: Rocks have been added on the exterior side of the vehicle terminal to give it some cover. However, they aren’t close enough to each other to prevent me from driving through with a Kobalt bus, nor is there anything stopping me from hacking the terminal or using a GSD to get through the shield and then start driving around the base. Placement of a couple rocks in very specific spots would stop this. Secondly, a crate has been placed between bridges to give infantry another path into the point building. It’s a cool concept, but it needs some form of obstruction to prevent me from driving harassers or possibly larger vehicles onto the two bridges and blasting point directly. Thirdly, consider some form of sight blockers on the west wall to reduce the potential for LAs to spawn camp.
Excavion DS-01E: Cover has been placed over both tunnels, which is an excellent change. MBT pulls have been added to this base, though they could stand to be moved slightly closer to the spawn room to deter attackers from hacking them and flooding the base with AI vehicles. A point is located in a long narrow building near the eastern tunnel exit. B is in a triple stack on the south side. C is located immediately west of the drill site. Capture timer is 4 minutes with two points and 1 minute with all 3.
This base is mostly fine, but could do with some small tweaks for increased cover. At A point the point holders have few options for cover inside. There are two small smokestack structures (pictures in gallery) that could be replaced with actual buildings to provide more cover from aircraft for players moving around inside the base. Timers could probably be increased slightly. Overall though it’s in a decent state.
Genudine Gardens: Some props have been added throughout the base that’ll prevent harassers from turboing around like maniacs, but the gigantic hole in the wall in one corner needs to be closed off somewhat to prevent vehicle entry or at least make it more difficult. This base would be fine if that hole were sealed or obstructed better.
Grey Heron: Additional cover has been placed on the side of the staircase leading from spawn to B/C point. The secondary route for defenders has been fleshed out- the door now is high enough to get under, and there is a hole in the floor that allows defenders to drop down to the lower level. Cover has been added on the B side of this base.
For improvements, I still think a roof is needed over the stairs from defender spawn to the lower level. A wall alone won’t stop tanks from shelling it. C could use a bit of cover, but I’m concerned that adding too much will turn it into a fortress. You can enter this base with harassers, so some bollards should be added to each entrance to prevent that.
Jaegers’ fist: Sunderer garage has been added, and the trench has been improved. This base has some odd issues from an infantry perspective, namely that attackers and defenders have the exact same routes to the point, as shown in the gallery. I have no ideas for how this could be improved. I still believe the point needs some kind of roof to block HESH spam and A2G, preferably a solid one to deter LAs from doing C4 bombing.
BL-4 Recovery and Vidar Observation Post both have spawn rooms and light vehicle terminals. This is a pretty good change, allowing closer vehicle pulls and a shorter sundy reinforcement distance for attacks on the surrounding facilities.
Jord Amp Station: More cover has been added around C point. This is a good change, but doesn’t change the fact that A is still inside the station.
Mani Lake: This one has undergone the most terrain edits, and consequently has become a lot less vehicle friendly. The two trenches leading into the base have had barricades installed, allowing infantry to move through but not vehicles. The hills surrounding the base have had their exterior faces steepened significantly, preventing treaded vehicles from driving up them. This change is excellent, but needs a bit of tuning. The Western Ridge’s southern tip has a shallow enough slope that tanks can still drive up it. On the large mountain to the West on the far side of the road, there’s a small protrusion that should also be levelled. Once these two spots are taken care of, this base will be fine. Overall, the changes are very good here.
Mattherson’s Triumph: The Sunderer NDZ has been reduced in radius, which allows the defenders to deploy inside the south tower for a safer position. This is a good change. The ridgeline to the NE has had its northern face steepened significantly, preventing tanks from driving up that side. However, the SW face has become easier to traverse, so the ridge is still usable for bombardment of the catwalks and A point. If this goes live in this state, it’s not a total disaster since tanks driving up that will be very exposed to AV fire from the tower, but it still could stand to be addressed. Likewise, there’s still a nice spur sticking out of the north end from the NW ridge that allows tanks to easily shell defender spawn and A point. The fix here is simple- flatten the spur completely.
A point needs additional work. At minimum, the windows on each tower in the room where A point/SCU would normally go should be sealed off to reduce the angles point holders must watch. There’s very little cover on the ground, especially when you consider all the angles A can be shot at from. I believe the point could be enclosed in the same type of building used at Chimney Rock’s point on Amerish. The bridges are a mixed bag. They’re identical copies with one rotated 180 degrees, which means that crate placement favors the attackers on B side and the defenders on the C side. Picking one crate pattern for all 4 bridge ends is one possible fix. I’m still not sold on the idea of both points being on bridges. They’re very exposed to A2G spam and bolters. Overall, at the very least the terrain edits are a nice start, and the sunderer NDZ change is very welcome.
Nott Communications: This base is now entirely underground. Attackers enter by overloading a shielded gate, and then drop down into an amp station interior. These gravity lifts are one way, but please consider adding an up lift to replace one of the drop pads. A point is in the position where A points usually are in amp stations. B and C are in the room where SCU would be normally positioned. At the end of this room where the tunnels and back door would normally be is a one-way teleporter, which is the only way for anyone to get out of this base right now. Defenders spawn underground and there’s a one-way shield leading to where the vehicle bay normally is. To improve this base, I’d make the one-way shield a two way shield, and reverse one of the grav lifts. I could not test the cap timer since I did not feel like ghost capping half a continent.
Pale Canyon: Some cover has been adjusted by the big yellow tanks on the SE side. A new route has been placed through the rocks at the NW corner of the base. This is an interesting change, but I don’t know how that’ll play out on live since currently I can park a bus inside the base at the same location.
The Rink: The ground texture at A point is now ice, so it’s actually an ice rink. Too bad you don’t slide around here.
Saerro Listening Post: Trees added to A point to break LOS between attacking vehicles and the tower. The wall between A and B has had some new gaps placed in it to allow infantry to get in. Interesting changes for sure, but I don’t know how they’ll play out.
The Traverse: The bridge has been resurrected, although it’s in a heavily damaged state. It’s now an infantry only playground, unless you’re a bold harasser or magrider driver. Because the storm was here, I really couldn’t stick around and take a long look at this. Lastly, the bottom of the pit has been raised a bit and paths to the bottom have been defined more clearly.
There also have been some changes to roads around the continent, but nothing major.
Indar:
TI Alloys: The removal of the bridge is a failure to understand why TI Alloys is such a difficult base to attack. On live servers, TI currently suffers from horrific sunderer placement options which combine with its central location to create a base that’s easy to defend. From the North, attackers must park their bus and attack up a hill through narrow ravines into entrenched defenders backed up by AI harassers, sunderers, ANTs, lightnings and even occasional MBTs. From the South, attackers have two bus spots: One is placed to the south-east, below the point. The other is placed directly south of the spawn room on the far side of the road. Both of these options are suboptimal- on the south east spawn the bus can easily be sniped by vehicles shelling from the Crown, driving down from the Crown, or by vehicles streaming out of the vehicle pull. The south bus on the far side of the road is also not ideal, since infantry have to cross the road and deal with a flood of vehicles as well as an angry AI turret. The only decent spawn location is at the end of the rock bridge, since that one’s reasonably safe from enemy vehicles and doesn’t involve attacking from the low ground. However, this position’s impeded by the fact that attackers from the north inevitably gravitate to the eastern side of the base since that’s safer from the defenders, forcing a three way that never ends. The result is a base that can’t be broken except by routers.
The removal of the rock bridge changes none of this, but instead creates more problems. The safe sundy position on the bridge is gone entirely. Further, the bridge’s removal allows tanks to bombard Ti from the Crown once more, since it served as a line-of-sight blocker. The new attacker foot path to the north east is extremely vulnerable to bombardment from the Crown.
As far as the base interior goes, a new wall has been added to the interior of the point room structure. This might give attackers a better chance to get to the point, but at the same time it might make things easier for the defenders should they conduct an organized push since there are fewer angles to set up a crossfire from.
So how can Ti be improved? I’d start by bringing the bridge back, or at least a small section of it to allow for a safe sunderer position at the east side. For the south, consider a tunnel leading under the road. This allows infantry to get to the base safely. I’d also consider adding in more props to restrict the passage of vehicles through the spawn room area to the northern side of the base. Removing the Kobalt bus fiesta there will make it easier for attackers to push in from the north. Lastly, if the bridge is not restored, consider creating a rock wall at the north east section of crown to prevent tanks from raining hell on anyone fighting at Ti.
Crown: The removal of D point is honestly a good thing. It wasn’t fun for anyone to attack since it’s open ground and below a cliff which enables C4 spam against vehicles and requires attackers push against entrenched infantry. Since Crown becomes a three point again, now the base cannot be stuck in a perpetual stalemate. I’m not a fan of where A point was moved to, either. I think if the rock bridge were kept then Crown would be mostly fine. With the three non-vehicle points it has on live. The issue with A being on that southern bridge is that if the attackers set up sunderers to control B, then they get A almost for free and can contest C as well. B point has been moved farther towards the center of the mountain and the tunnel system lengthened a bit, and a lot of cover has been removed at the initial entrance room that exists on live.The extra tunnel into B is an interesting idea and gives a better chance of an attack from the North succeeding, but at the same time it’s just another tunnel choke point to for aoe spam to create nasty farms. C is also problematic if it’s supposed to be the easy point for defenders to contest. It’s a fair distance from the tower, and it’s also open ground which is prime for A2G farming. I’d suggest moving this one into one of the nearby buildings if A must stay in the position it’s at on PTS. I’m not convinced the base needed any point position changes apart from the removal of D point. The current point layout on PTS favors an attack from the SE very heavily, and attacks from the East or North are far more difficult. While old A was very close to the tower, at least it provided a convenient point for attacks from the East. None of the changes really address the problem of poor bus location options, and with the current terrain there really aren’t many good potential spawn options. At most some garages could be added.
Ceres Hydroponics: Defenders now have a slightly shorter path to the point when pushing from the NE side of the base. The point itself has much less cover. I’m not going to make judgements on this without seeing how it plays out.
The Esamir storm: I’m not sure what this thing is supposed to do. The entire point of the game is large scale battles, yet this thing rolls around the map destroying the biggest fights. There’s nowhere safe from it. Sunderers will get destroyed even if put in garages. When outdoors infantry can be instagibbed by lightning for staying outside too long, and even when indoors their shielding takes frequent chip damage from environmental effects. The shield damage consistently drops players down about 150 shield points that constantly recharge, but this is enough to start messing with TTKs. For example, a commissioner can consistently OHK players. Since the shield damage is not synchronized across all players, it’s possible to be forced into gunfights where you have no hope of winning not because you were in a bad spot or outplayed, but simply because the game decided it’s your time to die. This applies doubly for lightning bolts which will randomly strike you down. There’s a text warning, of course, but random OHK mechanics really shouldn’t be a thing. You cannot use steel rain in the storm.
For vehicles this is obnoxious too. Ground vehicles lose most of their mobility, which will punish new players with poorly certed vehicles even more. Aircraft are even worse off, losing most of their vertical thrust. At times I felt like even afterburning upward was barely enough to keep the aircraft airborne. Vehicles kept in the storm for too long will simply be instagibbed, which cripples sunderers as spawns. The storm also destroys base turrets and terminals.
There are counters to the storm, though. Infantry can deploy lightning rods bought with merit that allow them to fight outside, but it doesn’t stop shield chip damage, and can equip an insulated armor suit at the cost of flak armor, nanoweave, or shield capacitor. This suit slot appears to be bugged and doesn’t actually reduce the chip damage taken by your shields. Carapace seems to be immune to this chip damage. Vehicles can equip insulated armor in the defense slot. This mitigates the performance hit to vehicles, reduces the damage taken by lightning, and prevents the storm from instagibbing your vehicle. Now, this is less of a problem in the first place for aircraft and tanks, but it screws over sunderers. Sunderers are already fragile enough even with deployment shield equipped, but forcing spawn buses to use this module and rely on their low hull HP is a very bad idea when paired with random lightning strikes and the severe lack of garages Esamir has.
With all that out of the way, the question I have to ask is why is the storm designed like this? It seems like a band-aid fix for zerging and actively punishes trying to create large fights. It cripples the vehicle game, negatively affects the infantry game, creates inconsistent TTKs, and only adds frustrating game mechanics. If the center of the map ends up with stalemates, it’ll circle around there endlessly preventing any kind of progress through the pile of three point bases. Why this, when there’s a lot more interesting concepts that could be used? For example, maybe the storm could reduce the rate at which players can spawn at a base/sunderers/routers. Maybe it could jam radaprevent Q spotting. Consider reducing shield chip damage to 50 shields instead of 150 to reduce TTK variance. There’s a lot more interesting ways it could change the game without being the anti-fun mechanic that it’s currently set up as.
Infantry gear:
Lightning grenade: Cool, you can launch a targeted lightning strike when in the storm. More instagibs is what the game needed.
Lightning rod: This temporarily redirects lightning strikes near you. This is a solution to an obnoxious problem that doesn’t need to exist.
Condensate grenade: Reduces movement speed and ROF by 20% for six seconds. This is a terrible idea in an FPS game. This doesn’t create interesting gameplay situations. Instead of being outplayed, players hit by this just lose since the game’s punishing them for playing. Keep this in RPGs and RTS games. Now, we do have status grenades already, but do we need one that’s as powerful as this one is?
BEC grenade: Similar to Condensate Grenades, this is a horrible addition to the game. Anything that hurts player mobility/damage output is a bad idea.
Neutralizer Device: Campaign reward that allows players to acquire abandoned vehicles, and apparently strip ability energy from players too. I like the idea of vehicle acquisition, but I don’t know if we’ll ever see the second use of this tool.
Abandoned vehicles: Around the continent are the hulks of abandoned tanks, sunderers and aircraft. They come with a special ability that I haven’t really tested, HEAT cannons and the first generation ES top gun. For the sake of loadout parity for all 3 abandoned MBTs I’d like to suggest the Prowler get a Gatekeeper instead of the Vulcan.
Vehicle changes: Havoc missiles: Are these things still necessary, with the liberator nerfs? These things seem redundant now, and they’ll punish rep gal balls unnecessarily hard while valkyries with rep monkeys can probably still dodge these things easily.
Phalanx AA turret range increase: This doesn’t fix any of the problems with the current AA setup. Instead, it’s going to just annoy A2A players who are flying along at high altitude and getting plinked by base AA guns, which is the reason the things got their range capped to begin with! Honestly I think these things should be replaced by weapons like Bastion CIWS guns. Those things are nasty at close range but their damage output falls off heavily at range.
Liberator: -500 HP and ESF nosegun resist from 85 to 80. While the liberator needed some changes regarding its durability and repair tanking in particular, this change spectacularly misses the mark on many levels. This change skews ESF vs Liberator combat too far in favor of ESFs. When paired with air locks this brings down the TTK to incredibly fast levels (around 9 seconds, which isn’t even enough for three dalton shots) In this post, mystoganofedolas https://www.reddit.com/Planetside/comments/ivjg8t/rock_paper_scissor_balance/ explains in great detail the liberator issues- it’s a blatant hard counter to ground vehicles, and gets brutally hard countered by ESFs on PTS. Hard counter mechanics are terrible in an FPS game. In this sort of rock-paper-scissors gameplay, things boil down less to individual ability and more towards who has an exact counter to something, which is extremely boring. There’s no skill in using A2A missiles, just as there’s minimal skill in hovering over tanks and daltoning them. In this post here https://www.reddit.com/Planetside/comments/ivsssx/did_some_basic_math_regarding_the_upcoming/, taltharius demonstrates that -500 HP barely changes anything in the case of liberators eating multiple AP shells before hitting fire suppression and flying off. Skilled gunnery should be rewarded, and sloppy flying should be punished.
So how can this be improved? Consider reducing vulnerability to ESF noseguns slightly. Adjusting Liberator resistance against tank shells, light anti-vehicle, gatling guns, and infantry rockets will increase the damage libs take from ground fire and punish poor flying/reward skilled aim. Possibly consider increasing MBT main gun elevation angles slightly, to reduce the ability of liberators to hover over tanks with minimal counterplay.
Harasser: Nanite cost to 300. Oh boy this one misses the mark completely. The problem with harassers has never really been cost related, but rather one that got introduced with CAI. The harasser itself is not overpowered and its efficiency in combat drops off hard at higher levels of gameplay. Only when harasser numbers become overwhelming (3 or more harassers vs 1 MBT) do the harassers stand a chance of defeating the best tank crews, and even then the tank usually can take 2-3 harassers with it. Harasser vs tank gameplay is extremely boring and very binary. If the harasser has a CQ AV gun it’s forced to fight at point blank which means I delete it easily. If it uses halberd or ES long range AV we both enter a boring poke fight where neither one does significant damage to the other. Even if the harasser opens up with rear hits the MBT still has an overwhelming advantage in firepower and hit points. With tanks, the problem since CAI has been poor muzzle velocity of HEAT shells which makes hitting difficult and what most players will have equipped, pathetic Basilisk DPS against everything (Kobalt kills stock harassers 4 seconds faster), Skyguards being helpless against every ground vehicle, and the Viper not having the accuracy to deal with small moving fast targets. Small changes to these three weapons will reduce harasser vs tank complaints.
Harasser vs Harasser is broken, for a different reason. Harassers have a weakness to gatling guns, which means that the Vulcan and Aphelion rip through harassers while the Mjolnir specializes in fighting heavy vehicles. In practice, this means that for low/average skilled car crews, vulcans are disproportionately powerful since less skilled players won’t know to keep outside minimum damage range. At higher levels an Aphelion car is very hard to fight. Toning back harasser weaknesses to gatling guns might improve this situation, but at the same time it might nerf the Aphelion too much. At the very least this’d probably reduce vulcan whine somewhat.
Overall, I have mixed impressions. The base changes are mostly for the better, but the storm, infantry gear, and vehicle changes are mostly bad or miss the mark completely.
submitted by ItsJustDelta to Planetside [link] [comments]

/r/reddevils 2020 Census Results

Thank you for taking part of the 2020 edition of /reddevils' census! We had 3,459 responses over the course of several days, and increase of .
Here are the results!
Age
With a year passing, it's understandable that our user base has also aged. What is interesting is that while last year 59.5% of the userbase indicated that they were 25 and younger, only 46.1% did so this year. Given that there was also a large increase in respondents for the "26-30" age group, it seems that we had a lot of 25 year old folks responding last year. Here is a chart showing the break out by age group and also an age distribution graph. I've included also a year-over-year comparison this year. These do not represent percent change but rather simple subtraction. For example, the 4.1% increase seen in the "26-30" age group comes from this year's "26-30" being 29.17% of this years census responses vs. only being 25.07% last year.
Conclusion? We're getting old folks.
Gender
As with every census we've run, /reddevils is overwhelmingly male. 96.2% of respondents indicated that they were male which translates to 3,328 out of the 3,459 responses. The number of ladies here increased greatly compared to last year with 72, up from 28 in 2019. 18 respondents declined to specify their gender while 41 responded with another gender.
Our resident Wookiees have increased in number to 3, up from 1 last year and in the 2012 census. 2 respondents responded as being Non-binary as well as 2 indicated that they were Olesexual. Each of the following received one response apiece: Coca Cola Can, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, Cube, Moderator, Divine Enlightened Energy Being, Two-Horned Rainbow Unicorn, Earthworm, Bisexual Leprechaun (who, surprisingly was not from Ireland but rather the Land Down Under), Absolute Chad, Anti-Virus, Attack Titan, Neymar, Ole-Wan Keaneobi, Parrot Lord, Frank Lampard, Optimus Prime, Potato, Slightly Under Ripe Kumquat, Gek (Geek?), Twin Engine Rafale Fighter Jet, Gender Is A Construct, Vulcan, Washing Machine, Wolfbrother, Juggernaut, Woolly Mammoth, Luke Shaw's Masculine Bottom, and Mail. There was also one respondent who deigned to use the "Other" option here to leave me a very rude message. Guess you can't please everyone.
Employment
Most of the reds are employed (75.3% across the Employed, Student Employed, and Self Employed categories), up from last years' 71.5%. Given the current state of the world, it is nice to see that most are still employed. Our student population has gone down, understadably, from 37.4% across the two student categories to 30.0%. A full breakdown of the year-over-year changes can be seen here. Our retirees increased in number from 1 last year to 11 this. Enjoy retirement sirs/madams.
Residence
As expected, the majority of /reddevils is UK or US based (25.85% and 25.93%, respectively). We have seen major changes this year, particularly in relation to Scandinavia, which saw the largest increase in percentage points year-over-year. I wonder what happened there.
If we're breaking it down by the regions I arbitrarily put into the census form, UK (England) is the clear winner for a second year running with 569 members reporting living in England and another 184 specifically saying they are in Manchester.
I received some feedback about covering large areas with a single region. This was largely driven by how few responses had come from these these regions historically. I'll include a few more next year but please do not expect me to list every one of the the 195 countries in the world. I've also received some feedback about not allowing any options for folks with family ties or had grown up in England/Manchester and had moved away. This will also be included in next years census.
Season TicketholdeMatches Attended
Overwhelmingly, most of us here are not season ticketholders (97.95%). We did see an increase in those who are, though it is fairly minor.
Most folks are unable to attend games as well. The number of fans who do go to many games (16+ per season) more than tripled from last year. You all are the real MVPs.
How long have you been following football/Manchester United?
Understandably, we don't have a whole lot of new fans. Interestingly enough though, we've had a large increase in folks who have started following football regularly in the last 1-3 years despite having followed United for longer than that. Putting on my tin foil hat, that at least makes me think we're more fun to watch these days.
How long have you been a subscriber to /reddevils and how do you usually access Reddit?
There are a lot of new-ish users with 63.6% reporting they have subscribed here for less than 3 years. We have a decent number of /reddevils veterans however, 154 users indicated that they had been subscribed for more than 8 years. It's good to see the old guard still around.
Unsurprisingly, Reddit apps are the most popular method to access Reddit by far. This is followed by Old Reddit users on Desktop, users of the Mobile Reddit website, and then New Reddit users coming in dead last. Long live old Reddit.
Favorite Current Player
The mood around this question was incredibly different than last year. Last year, many were vocal indicating that they had a hard time choosing due to our squad being shit. Victor Lindelof ended up being the by and large favorite with around a quarter of the votes, followed by Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.
This year, it appeared that there were no such issues. Only 1 response in the survey indicated that they couldn't choose because our squad was shit while the vast majority either selected a player or indicated that they loved them all. Prime Minister Doctor Sir Marcus Rashford overwhelmingly came in first place with an almost 300 vote lead over second placed Anthony Martial. Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood were neck and neck for a while, eventually settling into third and fourth respectively.
Former crowd favorites Victor Lindelof and Paul Pogba fell down the rankings with Lindelof ending in 8th place and Pogba in 5th.
Favorite All Time Player
Wayne Rooney continued to the be the king of /reddevils amassing nearly double the votes of second placed Paul Scholes. Cristiano Ronaldo came in third after a very tight race with Scholes. Beckham came in fourth followed by fifth placed Cantona and sixth placed Giggsy.
Here is a year-over-year comparison purely on recorded responses. Most players received just about the same share of the votes as they did last year. The biggest changes came from Wayne Rooney (up) and David Beckham (down). The way the numbers land, it almost looks like Wazza was stealing votes from Becks! Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had more of the proverbial pie, again I wonder whats happened there.
My man Park Ji Sung came in 11th place, good to see that there are at least 58 Park lovers out there!
Now for a bit of fun. Someone asked in the Census thread how many of George Best's votes came from Northern Ireland. One user suggested it was all of them, the data on the other hand says otherwise. Only 10 of Best's 29 votes came from Northern Ireland. George Best tied for favorite player there with Wayne Rooney with Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo tying for 3rd place with 8 votes apiece.
I did this same exercise with a few other players. Here are the results:
  • While Scandinavians votes were joint-most for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (tied with the UK), he was not the most popular player among respondents living in Scandinavia. He came in second behind Wayne Rooney.
  • Roy Keane both received the most votes from the Republic of Ireland and was also the most popular player among Irish respondents.
  • Eric Cantona was not voted heavily by the French. The British, on the other hand, love him with 82 of his 218 votes coming from the United Kingdom. The majority of Cantona voters are older, with 134/218 being over 30 years of age.
  • Park Ji Sung received the most votes from the US (21) followed by the UK (19) and Southeast Asia (4).
  • Among respondents from the United Kingdom, Wayne Rooney was the most popular followed by Scholes, Ronaldo, and Cantona.
  • Among respondents from the United States, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, Wayne Rooney was the most popular. Scholes and Ronaldo alternated in popularity in second and third place. Beckham placed fourth in all three regions.
Thank you all again for your participation. We'll run one next year and see how things have changed!
submitted by zSolaris to reddevils [link] [comments]

/r/Popheads 150k Subscriber Census Results!

Hello! Here is the general sum of the 150k census survey! We had a total of 2697 participants - a 3% decrease from the 75k subscriber census.
View the full results here!

Age Demographics of /Popheads

Age Participants Percent
2 1 0.04%
12 1 0.04%
13 6 0.25%
14 18 0.74%
15 28 1.15%
16 65 2.67%
17 119 4.90%
18 160 6.58%
19 184 7.57%
20 222 9.14%
21 250 10.29%
22 240 9.88%
23 219 9.01%
24 179 7.37%
25 138 5.68%
26 138 5.68%
27 107 4.40%
28 80 3.29%
29 64 2.63%
30 55 2.26%
31 30 1.23%
32 23 0.95%
33 22 0.91%
34 13 0.53%
35 26 1.07%
36 9 0.37%
37 3 0.12%
38 4 0.16%
39 3 0.12%
41 1 0.04%
43 4 0.16%
44 1 0.04%
45 1 0.04%
46 1 0.04%
50 1 0.04%
51 1 0.04%

Gender Demographics

(Please note that the creator of this census, me (picc), is a cis female who intended on the next two questions being gender vs sex identity and realized that the original wording of the questions were a bit confusing. I'm sorry for this and we will make sure that it's more clear in the future.)
Gender vs Sex Identity Participants Percent
Agender 21 0.79%
Cis-Gender 2455 92.36%
Genderfluid 1 0.04%
Non-Binary 6 0.23%
Pan-Gender 1 0.04%
Trans-Gender 89 3.35%
Questioning 67 2.52%
Other 18 0.68%
Sex identity Participants Percent
Binary 1 0.04%
Female 983 36.58%
Gender-non-conforming 1 0.04%
Genderfluid 1 0.04%
Genderqueer 11 0.41%
Male 1579 58.76%
Non-binary 72 2.68%
Non-binary man 1 0.04%
Other 2 0.07%
Pangender 1 0.04%
Questioning 32 1.19%
Transmasculine 2 0.07%
Transfeminine 1 0.04%

Sexual Orientation Demographics

Sexual Orientation Participants Percent
Asexual 54 2.01%
Bi and Ace 1 0.04%
Bicurious 2 0.07%
Bisexual 604 22.54%
Demisexual 2 0.07%
Don’t Identify 1 0.04%
Gay 849 31.68%
I don't know 6 0.22%
Lesbian 106 3.96%
Other 9 0.34%
Pan, lesbian-leaning 1 0.04%
Panromantic Ace 1 0.04%
Pansexual 72 2.69%
Queer 89 3.32%
Questioning 5 0.19%
Straight 878 32.76%

Current Relationship Status

Relationship Status Participants Percent
Cohabitating 152 5.65%
In a relationship 474 17.63%
Married/Domestic Partnership 166 6.18%
Single 1896 70.54%

Ethnicity Demographics

Ethnicity Participants Percent
Asian (includes East Asian, Southeast Asian, and origins in the Indian subcontinent) 392 14.59%
Askenazi Jewish 1 0.04%
Australian 1 0.04%
Black 107 3.98%
Hawaiian / Pacific Islander 5 0.19%
Hispanic/Latino/Latina (non-white) 140 5.21%
Hispanic/Latino/Latina (white) 187 6.96%
Indeginous Australian / Aboriginal Australian 5 0.19%
Indigenous American / Native American 14 0.52%
Indigenous Canadian 1 0.04%
Indo European 1 0.04%
Jewish 4 0.15%
Kurdish 1 0.04%
Middle Eastern 50 1.86%
Mixed / Biracial 142 5.28%
NZ Maori/Pakeha 1 0.04%
Other 4 0.15%
Romani 1 0.04%
White (Non-Hispanic/Latino/Latina) 1630 60.66%

Location Demographics

Location Participants Percent
Australia/New Zealand 165 6.14%
Canada 245 9.11%
Caribbean 4 0.15%
Central America 5 0.19%
Central Asia 1 0.04%
Central Europe 1 0.04%
East Asia 8 0.30%
Eastern Africa 1 0.04%
Eastern Europe 48 1.79%
Middle East 26 0.97%
North America 29 1.08%
Northern Africa 5 0.19%
Northern Europe 55 2.05%
Oceania 1 0.04%
Russia 5 0.19%
South America 90 3.35%
South Asia 20 0.74%
Southeastern Africa 2 0.07%
Southeastern Asia 85 3.16%
Southern Africa 4 0.15%
Southern Europe 33 1.23%
United Kingdom 260 9.67%
United States 1474 54.82%
Western Asia 1 0.04%
Western Europe 121 4.50%

Native English Speakers

The highest non-english native languages were: Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, German, French, Filipino, Polish, Arabic, Italian, and Swedish!

Education Demographics

Highest Level of Education Participants Percent
Attained High School degree or equivalent 213 7.93%
Completed Masters/Doctorate or equivalent 198 7.37%
Completed undergraduate or equivalent 879 32.74%
Still in High School or lower 305 11.36%
Still in college/got some college credit 1090 40.60%

Employment Demographics

Please note this census occurred as the COVID-19 shutdowns began, so this may not be completely reflective of the current status of Popheads.
Employment Status Participants Percent
Employed - Full Time 844 31.38%
Employed - Part Time 386 14.35%
Not Employed 333 12.38%
Self Employed 64 2.38%
Student (Not Employed) 1063 39.52%

Mental and Physical Health Statistics

Food Preferences

There were so many! Here are the top 5:
Note - this is the same as the last census!

How Long Have You Been a Part of the Community?

Popheads Status Participants Percent
1-2 years 869 32.32%
2+ years 1074 39.94%
3 to 6 months 170 6.32%
6 to 9 months 166 6.17%
9 months to 1 year 273 10.15%
Less than 3 months 137 5.09%

We're Overrun By Lurkers!

Lurkability Participants Percent
Lurk 1290 47.97%
Only comment 595 22.13%
Rarely comment and post 406 15.10%
Comment and post sometimes 331 12.31%
Comment and post often 67 2.49%

Other Subreddits We Use

Blackpink is in WHICH area?
HipHopHeads, Indieheads, Music, Kpop, ListenToThis, LetsTalkMusic, EDM, WeAreTheMusicMakers, ElectronicMusic, and R&BHeads say hello

Popheads is the Best Music Sub, and we have the talent to prove it

85.2% of us (2277 respondents) primarily use Popheads, while 14.8% (395 respondents) do not
88.6%% of us use Popheads as our primary source of entertainment! We also primarily use Pitchfork, NPR, and Rolling Stone.
We love making our own music! Just kidding. 82.6% (2,208) of our respondents don't make their own music.

Listening Hours and Methods

Hours spend listening to music per week

Hours of Listening Participants Percent
<5 hours 144 5.37%
6-10 424 15.81%
11-15 442 16.48%
16-20 430 16.03%
21-30 497 18.53%
31-40 318 11.86%
41-50 168 6.26%
>50 hours 259 9.66%

Percentage of that time listening to new music

New Music? Participants Percent
<20% 1719 64.09%
21-40% 755 28.15%
41-60% 156 5.82%
61-80% 40 1.49%
81-100% 12 0.45%
A little more than half of our participants listen to "pop" music more than 50% of the time.
We use phones as our primary source of listening tool, followed by computer, radio, music player, and others. We buy our music primarily as digital downloads, but plenty of us (919, 46%) buy CDs, and the cool kids (760, 38.1%) buy vinyl.
Spotify came out on top as the primary streaming service with 2,160 participants using it, followed by YouTube at 1,605 participants. (This and the above were multiple answer options). Apple Music came in with 549 participants, barely beating out Soundcloud who had 469!

Miscellaneous

We're suckers for Pitchfork!
73.8% of participants have friends they can comfortably discuss music with.
We are also a part of other communities on Last.fm and Discord! Though, 875 people said they are not part of other communities.

Favorites

Top 5 TV Shows: The Good Place, Bojack Horseman, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, and The Office
Top 5 Movies: Parasite, Mean Girls, La La Land, Titanic, and Interstellar
Top 5 Video Games: Animal Crossing, Minecraft, The Sims, Pokemon, and Skyrim
Top 5 Musical Acts: Taylor Swift, Charli XCX, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, and Lorde
Top 5 Books: Harry Potter, 1984, The Great Gatsby, A Little Life, and Lord of the Rings
Lots of you still don't read or have a favorite book!

Artists We Rated

Heavily Favored (Primarily 4s and 5s)

Heavily Disliked (Primarily 1s and 2s)

Mixed Bag (Leaning neither way)

All pets were 5/5 thank you

submitted by Piccprincess to popheads [link] [comments]

Cops called on us... for existing?

My spouse and I ( 30's cisF and 30's AMAB non-binary) had to go out and grab some things over the weekend, so we headed to the local big box store to get the various stuff we needed in one stop (we have very few shopping options). Masked and trying to get in and out quickly, we walked in, and I ran to the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom, they grabbed a basket and wandered into the swimsuit section at the front of the store. They present very masc, pre everything (still on the fence about it they say), but have expressed interest in a swimsuit recently to use in our inflatable pool in the backyard. I came out, met up with them, and we continued our shopping. About 15 minutes later, 8 cops (not merchandise/ security but uniformed, armed officers) surrounded us in the food section.
My spouse asked them if they needed something, and they got very close to us and said "yeah someone matching your description" and asked them "is that a buzzcut?" about their hair. BTW, they have BLUE hair, undercut, the long bit is at the neck and the short is buzzed (but shaggy right now). It's really, really obvious. Like, this is not an easily mistakable description-- they have tattoos, blue hair, and several very defining features/ clothing. So it was odd. The cops asked us how long we'd been in the store (I answered, saying about 15 minutes), and if we had been together the whole time-- I just said yes, because the 2 minutes in the bathroom seemed inconsequential. The officer talking to us turned to the others and they exchanged some whispers and talked, then walked away with no other words spoken to us. We were done shopping, so we headed to the front.
I am anxious an paranoid at this point, and noticed that we were being followed by the officers-- 3 in front and at least 3 I could see directly behind us. We checked out while they watched us, and they walked out right before we did-- 4 police SUV's parked in the fire lane directly in front of the doors. They watched us walk to our car, and then they pulled away.
Now, I have no ability to prove or know for certain that was the reason they were called; but it fucking stinks when I think back over it, and I have a heavy feeling that someone freaked out at "a creepy man" in the swimsuits, and when I said we were together they couldn't detain us officially for anything. We live in the deep, conservative, backward South, where even having their nails painted has been problematic for some.
I'm not even sure why I posted, beyond needing to get it out a bit-- it was so enraging for me, and heartbreaking for them; they were quiet for a good while afterward and I didn't know how to help.
submitted by Reluctant_Achiever to mypartneristrans [link] [comments]

Results of the 2020 r/Zillennials sub census!

After 2 weeks the result of our sub census are here! We got over 150 responses, which is roughly 10% of readership. You can view the full results here.
Here are some highlights:
Biographical:
Life Stage:
Values and Beliefs:
Current Events
Pop Culture:
Nostalgia:
Other:
US-Specific Questions:
I hope you guys all enjoyed this and it will be fun to see how the results change the next time we do this! Feel free to discuss any of these results in the comments.
submitted by cafezinhos to Zillennials [link] [comments]

Through 2019, I've played over 70 games, and have beaten 39 of them. Here's a short review for all of them.

I made it a goal this year to play as many games as I possibly could and try to deplete my backlog. Through doing that, I've played games this year that have made me laugh, cry, complain, hate, and love. I enjoy seeing others post game reviews like this, so hopefully there are others out there like me who just enjoy reading about games.
All games that I've completed are listed in chronological order from when I beat them, and contain a #/10 for final review score (for the ones that I completed). As a bonus, there will be three segments: Completed, Currently playing/hope to get back to, and Retired. At the end, I will include a TLDR; for my completed games in three sections; Good, Average, and Bad. Like others, I used howlongtobeat which proved to be a great tool for my backlog and clearing it out. Here we go:
 
January 2019
 
Condemned: Criminal Origins
I had tried this game a couple years back and it didn't really click. When I tried it this year something changed and I felt the need to keep playing it. The premise of the game is very unique, and although there seem to be a few games like this on Steam, there really isn't an experience like this on console. The gameplay is VERY dated, but the story, location, and overall feel behind the game drew me into it. I finished the entire game on New Years Day, and had a great time doing it. For anyone looking for a fun, old school CSI/Survival Horror esque game, even though it has its problems, check this one out. 7.5/10.
 
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
What a game. Like Condemned, this was another game that I initially tried years ago and didn't get hooked on, mainly because the driving is so bad especially when you first start out, but I'm so glad I gave this one another chance. Easily in my top 5 games played this year. Enjoyed every single second of it. Aside from the driving, I have no complaints. This is one of those games where you'll actually want to go do everything else even after you complete the story. It's that good. 9/10
 
Crysis 2
Extra short review because I kinda just blew through this one. Didn't really enjoy it at all, and while this series may have been ahead of its time, its not too impressive playing it in 2019. No story and forgettable gameplay, two things that a campaign of a multiplayer focused game relies on. You're much better off playing through one of the call of duty's if you want an FPS campaign. 4/10
 
Bioshock: Remastered
Forewarning for this one and another review coming up: I'm not a fan of this series. This is another one I tried years ago on the 360, gave up on (see a trend?), but decided to give it another go after hearing all the praise for this series. Let me just say, Bioshock is not a bad game at all, obviously, but for some reason it just didn't click with me like it has other people. I enjoyed my time with the game, but wasn't left speechless after it. The setting got old, the story never really interested me, and the gameplay was quite similar to that of other games (Fallout in particular). It looks and performs quite well as a remaster, and I'd say that's probably the best thing I have to say about the game. Not bad, but not deserving of the critical acclaim it has gotten IMO. 7/10
 
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Stepped out of my comfort zone with this one. I've never seen a batman movie before, nor did I/do I have a desire to before/after beating the game, but I still somehow enjoyed it. It's a nice little change of pace from many games, as the combat is melee focused and is set to one main location with other branching locations instead of the overly used open-world. The backtracking did get tiresome, but overall as a non-batman fan I enjoyed it. Definitely recommend it to somehow looking for a change of pace type of game. 7.5/10
 
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
After beating Deadly Premonition and it subsequently moving into my Top 5 favorite games of all time, I decided to give D4 a try after realizing I had downloaded for free years and years ago. All I have to say is this: Swery is a genius. Not a game I would have EVER expected to like, but one that I couldn't put down. Wacky characters, plot, setting, and gameplay all make D4 just a fun, enjoyable experience. It was meant to be an episodic game, but was unfortunately cancelled after the first episode, and it did leave on a little bit of a cliffhanger. Although the talk around the street is that this game won't be finished, we do have hope considering Swery shocked the world announcing Deadly Premonition 2 for next year, a game which I won't be patient for. If you just want wacky experience, definitely check this one out. 8.5/10
 
Bioshock 2
You're probably wondering why this one is on the list if you read through my Bioshock 1 summary. Well, I am too. I had burning desire for whatever reason to return to Bioshock, and experience Bioshock 2, and honestly, my experience was basically the exact same as Bioshock 1 but a little worse. While I found Bioshock 1 to have a forgettable story, I found Bioshock 2 to have a REALLY forgettable story. I also wasn't a fan of the increased combat that was put into this game, as I feel like this is the type of game where exploration should be focus and not fighting a enemies every time you enter a new location or room. Again, not a terrible experience, just not one that left a lasting impression on me whatsoever. 6/10
 
February 2019
 
Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3
Here's where the tears come in. Wow. Just wow. Before playing this series I never thought anything in any type of entertainment could be this good. I was wrong. Mass Effect 1-3 is the greatest achievement in entertainment history. Am I saying this after doing/watching/playing everything that has ever been put out? No. But I am saying it as I'm confident I, like many others, will NEVER have the pleasure of experiencing anything like the first run through the Mass Effect Trilogy ever again. This is a must play for people not even interested in gaming. The plot that carries over across all three games while taking everything you did from the previous game into account is something that I haven't seen replicated in gaming since, and that was over 12 years ago. The story, world, characters, and gameplay is truly something remarkable in all of entertainment. 2 was my favorite, only because of all the amazing characters you got to meet, otherwise 1 was very close behind. 3 was great, and despite what all the critics had to say, I felt the ending was justified. 10/10
 
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
A much better entry into the Tomb Raider franchise than Rise, one of the two games which I credit that turned me into a patient gamer. The gameplay was more enjoyable than Rise, and the somewhat open-world sections that the devs added was a nice little change to the series. I still don't think this was nearly as good as Tomb Raider (2013), but this one is definitely still worth checking out. 7/10
 
The Technomancer
My first truly bad experience of 2019. This game was just bad. It had potential and you can see it when you play it, but unfortunately it's just bad. So bad. The plot is bad, the characters are bad, and the gameplay is just downright garbage. The one thing that had true potential which was the world was just shamelessly butchered as well. No one should touch this game. 1/10
 
March 2019
 
The Wolf Among Us
Another masterpiece. This was my first telltale game and I'm scared to play another one because I know it will probably not come close to comparing to TWAU. This game has twists and turns that you wouldn't have ever expected, and draws you into the world VERY quickly. This was another one that was hard to put down. The voice acting and story are top notch, and HOLY COW, WOLF AMONG US 2 COMING?? Other than Deadly Premonition 2, it's currently my most hyped upcoming game. 10/10
 
DmC: Devil May Cry (2013)
My first and possibly my last entry in the DMC series. I know its considered to be the worst or at least one of the worst games in the series, but the main draws of the game just bored me to death. The weird enemies types with the spam attack hack-n-slashing combat just really didn't provide me with joy. The story was interesting IMO and the boss fights were cool, but just running around hack n slashing everything as well as backtracking to certain locations just wasn't fun at all to me. Another forgettable experience. 6/10
 
Watch Dogs 2
This one really surprised me. I was in the minority where I actually really enjoyed Watch Dogs 1, but held off this one due to vocal people saying that this game was political nonsense. My experience with the game was the complete opposite, as I played it from pure game perspective and didn't think much in the overall deep meaning of the plot. The setting was great, and as someone who lives near SF but absolutely hates the city IRL, it was still quite cool to experience something so similar in a game. The graphics were great, the gameplay was smooth, and the characters were interesting, which in total made Watch Dogs 2 a great experience. There were a few characters who were over the top or just not needed in the game, but all I had to do was skip the scenes they were in. 8.5/10
 
Thimbleweed Park
My first true point and click game since the early 2000's. Im a big fan of detective/mystery games, so this one was on my list for a while. Since I lack the mental capacity to solve most puzzles in games, I did have to use a walkthrough for a large part of this game. Even so, I still very much enjoyed this game. If you're looking for a fun point and click adventure game with tons of mystery included, this is a great game to choose. 7.5/10
 
Bound By Flame
As an RPG fan, I had to give this one at least a try. After the horror that I experienced in The Technomancer, I didn't know what to expect with this one. This was just average all the way through. Literally take the definition of an RPG and put it into this game. Much better than The Technomancer, but still not that good of an RPG. I'd probably suggest only to play this If you run out of other RPGs or simply just want a mediocre experience. Also, what's up with Spiders making the ability to climb up objects impossible if you're in combat? You have to clear out every single enemy in an area if you want to continue on, and this includes the backtracking and minor areas. One of the most annoying things I can remember experiencing in a video game. 5/10
 
Outward
Wasn't patient for this one but I wish I was. Like Bound By Flame, this is just an insanely bland RPG, and in this case, is considered a "Hardcore RPG". It's hardcore in the fact that you REALLY have to want to play this game otherwise you're going to be bored within an hour. Its not worth having to make the 10 minute walk across the map 10-20 times to get supplies and to complete quests. Just a totally bland game that I would've quit right away if I hadn't bought it on release. Another great example on why to be a patient gamer. I also found out later on this year that this game was already made in 2009, and was much better then. I'll save that for a later review. 4/10
 
April 2019
 
Dead Rising 2 Remastered
A classic. This was my first replay of 2019, but this time it was the remastered version. I played through Dead Rising 2 5-6 times on my 360 solo and with different coop partners. The remastered version is just a better version of this great game. Absolutely flawless performance even on my OG Xbox One. This game is the ultimate sit back and chill game. 8.5/10
 
L.A. Noire
My second replay of 2019, and, up until I played the Mass Effect series earlier in the year, was my favorite game of all time. Crime/noir is my favorite genre of games, and it's too bad we really don't see many of them anymore. L.A. Noire blows every other crime game out of the water, and not only that, but throws in the detective element and makes you feel like you are truly investigating the cases in the game. The noir element is also just totally flawless in the game. While the performance of the remastered version was again, flawless, I really didn't like how they removed the Truth/Lie dialogue options with "Good Cop/Bad Cop". I honestly preferred the last gen version. Still, I consider this game a masterpiece. 10/10
 
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Was hoping to play this after I saw the new season to get into the mood, but decided to dive right in instead. To this day, the South Park games are the only turn-based games that I've managed to play through. While I preferred the premise of The Stick Of Truth better, I still absolutely loved my time with this game. It truly is remarkable that not only are Trey and Matt able to continually make arguably the greatest show in entertainment history, but also put out really great games. 8/10
 
June 2019
 
Assassins Creed: Odyssey
I spent all of May playing this one, so that should tell most of what you need to know. I'm a sucker for Ubisoft games and the mindless enjoyment I get out of them. While nothing Odyssey does is groundbreaking, it still provided me with more than 65 hours of content and that's without the DLC, which I hope to get back to someday. Due to the story and characters, I think this is better than Origins, although both are great games worthy of your time. I'm glad the series has turned into an basically open world RPG, because I was not a fan at all of any of the older AC games. 9/10
 
Brutal Legend
Didn't even know this game existed until I picked it up over the summer. It was a fun little experience. Extremely unique, but I wasn't a fan of the main RTS element and the very empty open world. Music was fantastic though, and I really enjoyed the plot. Wish we had more games that went really outside the box like this. 7/10
 
Alpha Protocol
My second bad experience this year. I heard so many positives about this game, but I just hated absolutely every second of this one. The so-called story and "decision making" that I heard so much about was, IMO, a total lie, as none of the decisions you make truly matter, and not to mention they're insanely quickly timed so half the time you don't even know what you're picking. Im going to say it, this is just a very, very, very bad prequel to Hitman: Absolution (yes, I liked that game). This one should be buried and forgotten. 2/10
 
Wanted: Weapons Of Fate
Another one of my 360 pickups during the summer. Not much to summarize as it's apparently a video game version of a movie I had never seen or heard of. It's a nice little straightforward action game that's playable for its duration, which is only about 6 hours. Easily beaten in a day. 6/10
 
Heavy Rain
Finally got to this one after wanting to play it for so long. I heard it had everything that I wanted: Crime, Mystery, Noir elements....... and it absolutely delivered on all fronts. I actually accidentally spoiled the plot for myself a few years ago which put me off of the game for so long, but since I only knew the major twist, everything else was new to me making it extremely enjoyable to start to finish. People talk about the mainstream PS exclusives like God Of War, Bloodborne, etc., but not enough talk goes into Heavy Rain and it's later counterpart, Until Dawn. 9/10
 
July 2019
 
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
Now I'm totally in the minority on this one, but I really enjoyed this game. Disclosure: I've never played any other XCOM game due to them being turn-based, which is why I gave this one a try. This game is solid all around, but where it shines is the setting. Some of the locations that this game puts you in, including places in New Mexico and CA, along with your base of operations, are very unique. Unless all the hate for this game was from XCOM fanboys who wanted more turn-based, than I truly don't understand what the deal was. This was a great game. 8/10
 
Tacoma
Again, not much to really review here. A walking sim in space with its own little touch on interaction and dialogue. It's very colorful and different from most walking space sims. If you're a fan of these types of games, I think this one might be worth checking out. 7/10
 
Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition
As the 3rd person cover shooter genre is growing quickly on me, I decided to check out the series that a number of people have credited with starting it. I also started out with the goal of playing through the entire series for the first time before Gears 5 came out. Ultimately, it fell short after this one, but I'll save that for later. GoW: UE is a great remaster. The graphics are phenomenal, and gameplay is smooth, and seemingly is the way that someone starting out on Gears Of War should start their entry into the series. The grass is not so greener after this one, but this game by itself is definitely worth your time. 7.5/10
 
August 2019
 
Red Faction: Guerrilla Remarstered
Didn't know how I expected this one going. I love Sci-Fi and space, and had never played a labeled destruction game before, but as soon as I stepped foot on Mars, I knew this was going to be a good one. You truly don't know how enjoyable breaking everything is until you do it, and that's all you need to focus on while playing this game. Yea other elements are there, but the destruction is just so damn satisfying that it makes this game just worth it for that. 8/10
 
Gears Of War 2
Man did I have to absolutely slog through this one. I've seen people credit this game as the best in the series, but all I credit it as is the game which completely killed any interest I had in Gears of War. You can only run through caves for so long before it gets mind numbingly boring. Not to mention the completely random story bits that this game throws in. This was not a fun game at all to play. 3/10
 
September 2019
 
Dark Pictures Anthology: Man Of Medan
After playing until dawn 3 years ago and immediately saying right afterwards "If only supermassive did an anthology series. I'd buy every game on release", here we are 3 years later and they actually are doing exactly that. While I wouldn't say that this one is as good as Until Dawn, it's still a fantastic game and one that all fans of Until Dawn should experience. Not to mention it has Shawn Ashmore in it, one of the greater lesser known actors. 8/10
 
October 2019
 
Risen 1
Remember how I said a far superior version of Outward had come out in 2009? Yea, this it it. This was the ideal hardcore RPG experience I was looking for. It had everything: Fantastic story, great characters, janky combat, among all the other things that I look for in an RPG. Perhaps the most surprising part of this game was the Dialogue, and dare I say may be the best dialogue of any game that I have ever played. They have some lines in this one that are absolutely hilarious, and the best part is you would have never expected a game like this to have such strong writing, which makes it even better. This game was so close to being a legitimate masterpiece if it wasn't for the last chapter in the game which almost killed my enjoyment in the game. Other than that, this is a must play RPG. 9/10
 
Far Cry 3
Another one on the long list of games that I tried years ago and decided on trying again this year. Far Cry 3 ended up being just an average experience. Cheesy story, tedious objectives (crawl up a tower, liberate an outpost, rinse and repeat). I did like the main missions though, and the setting was pretty cool. A better game than Far Cry 4. 6/10
 
Binary Domain
Boy did I enjoy my time with this one. This one is easily the hidden gem of all my 2019 games if I don't count the arguably more popular Risen 1. This game had it all, but more importantly, found a way to skillfully mix in an engaging and emotional story with a good amount of comedy. Not to mention, it probably has the best shooter physics of any game I've ever played it. It's truly a shame this one is not talked about more. 9.5/10
 
Far Cry 5
Decided to pick this one up after not minding Far Cry 3. Let me start by saying this: Far Cry 5 is BY FAR the best in the series in almost every facet of the series' core. I can't tell you how nice it was not having to climb up 20 towers in the game. Graphics were superb, setting was by far the best in the series, and so was the story. I also didn't realize how much of a powerhouse cast they had for this game until I finished it. Impressive. 8/10
 
November 2019
 
The Outer Worlds
Easily my 2019 GOTY. I haven't had that much fun playing a game since Mass Effect in February. I know I've said it a lot in these reviews, but again, this game had it all. I didn't have a single complaint about this game. Not one. Story, graphics, characters, world, all absolutely phenomenal. I was so glad to see this game get universal acclaim. It deserved it. 10/10
 
Rage 2
And now my worst game of 2019. This game was garbage. That is all I can say about this one. Don't ever waste your time on this POS. I can't believe I did till the end. 1/10
 
December 2019
 
The Darkness
This one was another slog to get through. The reviews of this game from 2007 are not representative of the game today. I can't really say one thing that this game did positive, at least by today's standards, other than offer a unique system of combat. Everything else was just not good. 4.5/10
 
TLDR;
The Good: Mass Effect series, Outer Worlds, Binary Domain, Risen 1, L.A. Noire, The Wolf Among Us, Sleeping Dogs, Watch Dogs 2, Dead Rising 2, Far Cry 5, Assassins Creed Odyssey, Red Faction Guerrilla Remarstered, The Bureau XCOM Declassified, Heavy Rain, South Park Fractured But Whole, D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
 
The Average: Condemned Criminal Origins, Bioshock 1 & 2, Batman Arkham Asylum, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, DmC: Devil May Cry, Thimbleweed Park, Brutal Legend, Wanted Weapons Of Fate, Tacoma, Gears Of War Ultimate Edition, Far Cry 3, Bound By Flame
 
The Bad: Crysis 2, The Technomancer, Outward, Alpha Protocol, Gears Of War 2, Rage 2, The Darkness
 
Now onto games that I'm currently playing/hope to get back to....
 
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Playing)
Black Friday pickup. Really enjoying my time with this game, and after absolutely hating Dark Souls, this one has surprised me.
Kingdom Hearts 3 (Playing)
The games locations are so cool, especially after growing up around all these things... but the game is just so boring to play.
Little Nightmares
Not a big fan of sidescrollers but got this one for a good price. About half way through the game, just need to find motivation to finish it.
Fallout: New Vegas
Decided to give NV one more go and actually got into it. Unfortunately it's been paused due to me buying so many games on Black Friday, but it will soon be resumed.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Enjoyed my time with it but the turn-based combat really just makes it a slow hassle to play. Honestly don't know if I'll return to it.
Metro Exodus
Wasn't a fan of what I had played, but will likely give it another try in the future before I put it down for good.
 
And now for games that have been retired, for the better good....
 
Resident Evil 2
This was my last attempt at trying to get into the Resident Evil franchise. After trying 0, 4, 5 and now 2, this series just isn't for me. I dreaded my time with Resident Evil 2, as I can only take backtracking through the same boring hallways with no ammo so many times. (Black Friday buy - returned)
Control
Didn't have high hopes for this game so I wasn't disappointed, but this game was just really, really bad. Easily the worse lighting/color palette of any game I've ever played, not to mention there's nothing interesting at all about the game and the combat sucks hard. I also had a table stuck around my character 3 times in the first 2 hours. (Black Friday buy - returned)
X-Blades
Just a bad game.
Recore
Enjoyed the game up until the point where I had to deal with BS and wasn't willing to deal with the BS. Didn't leave any lasting expressions on me.
Alien Isolation
I can't stand insta-kill games. I've tried to pick this one up on three different occasions, but the last one was my last straw. Just not a game for me.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Bad game with the worst voice acting in a video game. What else is there to say?
Red Faction: Armageddon
Bad game that could've been good but instead is bad.
Vampyr
Another game that could've been okay but just fell completely flat on its face.
Ashen
Man, I really did enjoy my time with this game, but once they wanted me to through an entire castle with loads of enemies on each floor and no respawn points, that was it for me sadly.
Bully: Scholarship Edition
Just a boring game. I can see how it might've been fun for its time, but at least for me it doesn't hold up in the slightest.
 
If you made it this far, thank you for reading my 2019 in gaming review! Hopefully it helped out on some games on your list.
submitted by xOfMalice to patientgamers [link] [comments]

Things to Do - Jan 6-31

For January, here’s a full month of Things to Do in Dallas. I’ll probably return to including daily things to do in February, but I welcome your feedback on this format.
As always, please share events I missed in the comments of this thread.
31 Things You Don’t Want to Miss in Dallas in January (plus some fun food holidays)
Jan 6 | Dallas Mavericks vs. Chicago Bulls | American Airlines Center
Jan 8 | Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets | American Airlines Center
Jan 8 - 28 Wednesday Nights | Elvis Month | El Ranchito
Jan 10 | Dallas Mavericks vs. LA Lakers | American Airlines Center
Jan 10 - Jan 19 | Shakespeare Dallas Pride and Prejudice |Moody Performance Hall
Tickets start at $26.50
Jan 11 | Dallas Mavericks vs. Philadelphia 76ers | American Airlines Center
Jan 11 | Art Battle Dallas | Deep Ellum Art Co | $20
Jan 13 - National Gluten-Free Day
Jan 13 | Get Seasoned Dallas! with John Tesar of Knife Dallas | El Centro College | $129
Jan 14 - National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day
Jan 14 - Jan 20 | 2020 MLK Celebration Week Events | MLK Jr. Community Ctr, other venues
Jan 16 | Dallas Stars vs. Buffalo Sabres | American Airlines Center
Jan 17-Feb 8 | Ft Worth Stock Show and Rodeo | Will Rogers Memorial Center & other venues |
Adult Tickets (Grounds Admission) $12
Jan 17 | ‘til Midnight | Nasher Sculpture Center | Free
Jan 17 | Late Nights | Dallas Museum of Art | Free for Members, $5 Students, $10 Adults
Jan 17 | Dallas Mavericks vs. Portland Trailblazers | American Airlines Center
Jan 18 | Dallas ISD 2020 STEM Expo | Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
Free | Volunteers needed, learn more
Jan 19 - National Popcorn Day
Jan 19 - Back to the Future Movie Screening | The Majestic, Dallas | Tickets $10
Jan 20 | 2020 MLK March/Parade |The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center | Free
Jan 20 - National Cheese Lover’s Day
Jan 21 | Dallas Mavericks vs. Baltimore Clippers | American Airlines Center
Jan 22 | Tool in Concert | American Airlines Center
Jan 23 - National Pie Day (Norma’s Cafe has free pie today!)
Jan 23 | Garden to Table Chinese New Year Dinner w/ Kent Rathbun | Dallas Arboretum | $145
Jan 24-26 | ZestFest | Irving Convention Center
Tickets start at $15
Jan 24 | Reddit dallas Happy Hour Meetup | Redfields Tavern | 6PM
Jan 24 | Social Science (adults evening event) | Perot Museum of Nature and ScienceTickets $20 Members, $29 Nonmembers
Jan 24 | WWE Friday Night Smackdown | American Airlines Center
Jan 25 - National Irish Coffee Day
Jan 25 | Elaina Kay's Cornbread & Country with Chef Graham Dodds | Sons of Hermann Hall
Jan 25 | Lunar (Chinese) New Year - Year of the Rat Begins
The free Chinese New Year Celebration at NorthPark Center will be on February 1st.
Jan 25-26| KidFilm | Angelika Film Center, Dallas | Free
Jan 27 | Dallas Stars vs. Tampa Bay Lightning | American Airlines Center
Jan 27 | Shakespeare in the Bar - Winter’s Tale! | Wild Detectives | $10 - $20
Jan 28 | Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns | American Airlines Center
Jan 29 | Dallas Stars vs. Toronto Maple Leafs | American Airlines Center
Jan 31 - Feb 9 | Dallas Boat Expo | Market Hall | Adult Tickets $12, Parking is Free
Anytime Things to Do in January
Dallas Arboretum - $5 Admission for the Month of January
Penguin Days (Discounted Admission) at the Dallas Zoo
January is a great time for birdwatching. Bald eagles are frequently sighted at White Rock Lake. (Twitter link)
31 Music/Entertainment Venue Calendars
AT&T PAC - Shen Yun, The Color Purple, Blue Man Group and moreDSO - Scheherazade, Dvořák's Violin Concerto, Bernadette Peters and more
House of Blues - Grunge Fest, Sleeping with Sirens, Queensrÿche, Raphael Saadiq and more
The Majestic Theatre - Kathleen Madigan, Mandolin Orange, Tim & Eric, Wild Kratts Live
The Rustic - MLK Day Brunch, Wax Wednesdays w/ Field Day Records, Curtis Grimes & more
The Bomb Factory - Impact Wrestling, Dwight Yoakam, Trey Anastasio, Maldita Vecindad
Three Links - 20th Anniversary of ANS, David Michael George, Blot Out & Disowned and more
Club Dada - The World / Inferno Friendship Society, Bit Brigade, and more
Trees - The Roommates, Spafford, British Lion, and more
The Free Man - Swing, Blues, Jazz - live music every night
SouthSide Ballroom - Evil Beat Vol. 2, Armin Van Buuren
Opening Bell Coffee - Songwriter Spotlight, Dolly Parton Tribute, something every night
Poor David’s Pub - Birthday Blues with Strictly Tablue, Jeffrey Gaines, and more
Texas Theatre - Uncut Gems, Flash Gordon – 40th Anniversary, Color Out of Space and more
The Kessler - Sean McConnell, Josh Rouse and more
Revelers Hall - Jazz Tuesdays, Swing Dance Lessons, Latin Thursdays, Revelers Hall Band
Granada TheateSundown at Granada - Texicana, Le Cure, Juliana Hatfield, Lettuce, and more
Hyena’s Dallas - Bobcat Goldthwait, Erik Myers, New Orleans Kings of Comedy, Helen Hong
Gas Monkey - Blizzard of Ozz, Snakeskin Cowboys, Church of Cash, and more
Stereo Live - Doctor P & Cookie Monsta, ARMNHMR, Bingo Players & more
Addison Improv - Shapel Lacey, Felipe Esparza, Stars of Tomorrow Showcase, Michelle Wolf
Eisemann Center, Richardson - Oak Ridge Boys, Mandy Patinkin, Tapn2Tap and more
Legacy Hall, Plano - Ultimate 90s Party,Straight Tequila Nights, Hard NIghts Day and more
Lava Cantina, The Colony- Q: The Music of Queen; Freedom, A George Michael Tribute & more
Bass Hall - Shen Yun, Fort Worth Symphony: Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Wild Kratts Live, & more
Billy Bob’s - Junior Brown, Lindsay Ell, Wade Bowen, Casey Donahue and more
Arlington Music Hall - Collin Raye, Phil Vassar, The Kingston Trio, Back in Time, & more
Texas Live! - Vegas Stars, The Drop, Dave Taylor and the Groove Monsters & more
Toyota Music Factory, Irving - Morgan Wallen Whiskey Glasses Road Show, Seventeen
The Theatre at Grand Prairie - Smooth Winter Groove III, Black Laughs Matter, Stray Kids
Dan’s Silverleaf, Denton - Hares on the Mountain, Anachronic Calamity, Ottoman Turks &more
31 Museums & Art Venues
Dallas Museum of Art - speechless, Landscape of a Lifetime, Beyond Binaries and more
Nasher Sculpture Center - Sightings: Anne Le Troter
Crow Collection of Asian Art - Future Retrospective: Master Shen-Long, The Art of Lacquer
African American Museum - Kinsey African American Art & History Collection and more,
Old Red Museum - Big D Gallery, World Crossroads Gallery and more
Museum of Biblical Art - European Art Treasury, National Center for Jewish Art and more
Meadows Museum - El Greco, Goya, and a Taste for Spain thru Jan 12 and more
Museum of Geometric and MADI Art - Transparent Universe thru Jan 26 and more
Dallas Contemporary - Mabel, Betty & Bette; Directional Energies and more starting Jan 12
Latino Cultural Center - Armando Sebastian: The DreameParallel Universe starting Jan 18
Oak Cliff Cultural Center - Lucha Libre 2020 starting Jan 11
Latino Arts Project will have a new exhibit in February
Perot Museum of Nature and Science - 12 permanent exhibit halls, special exhibits, and movies
Holocaust and Human Rights Museum - The history of the Holocaust, advancing human rights
The Sixth Floor Museum - The assassination and legacy of President John F. Kennedy
Frontiers of Flight Museum - 13 galleries with stories of aviation and space flight
Haas Moto Museum and Sculpture Gallery - Over 200 motorcycles spanning 12 decades
The Samurai Collection (Free) - Samurai objects from the Barbier-Mueller’s collection
Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison - Aircraft and armored vehicles
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas - The Economy in Action (free)
George W. Bush Presidential Center
Museum of Illusions - Interactive art with illusions, instagrammable scenes
Museum of Memories - Interactive art/Instagrammable scenes
Collin County
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, McKinney - Dinosaurs Live and more
National Video Game Museum, Frisco - Videogame industry history + retro games
Fort Worth
Kimbell Art Museum - Renoir: The Body, The Senses til January 26 (Free permanent collection)
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth - Robyn O’Neil: We, The Masses; The Modern Lights, Julie Bozzi: American Food; Ruckus Rodeo (beginning Jan 17) and more
Fort Worth Community Arts Center - Cultura Del Vaquero, Western Landscapes, & more
Amon Carter Fort Worth - Scott and Stuart Gentling’s Birds of Texas, Puente Nuevo and more
FW Science Museum - Cattle Raisers Museum, DinoLabs and DinoDig®, Launchpad, & more
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame - Honoring women of the American West
Theatre Events in January
Stuff As Dreams Are Made On | Jan 17 - 25 | Theatre Three
Imagine Broadway | Jan 30-31 | Theatre Three
Broadway Our Way by Uptown Players | Jan 16- 19 | Kalita Humphreys Theatre
Zombie, Dearest | Jan 3 - Feb 15 | Pocket Sandwich Theatre
The Color of Death in Living Black & White™ | Through Jan 20 | Eisemann Center, Richardson
The Drowsy Chaperone | Jan 30 - Feb 23 | Firehouse Theater, Farmers Branch
Sherlock Holmes and the Portal of Time | Jan 9 - Feb 1 | Rover Dramawerks, Plano
Hello, Dolly! | Jan 14-19 | Broadway at the Bass
Frank-N-Friend | Jan 31 - Feb 16 | Casa Mañana
To Be Young, Gifted & Black | Jan 24 - Feb 23 | Jubilee Theatre
Ada and the Engine | Jan 9 to Feb 9 | Stage West
Ripcord | Jan 10 - 26 | Theatre Arlington
Theatres with New Shows Opening in February
Bishop Arts Theatre Center
Dallas Theater Center
Kitchen Dog Theater
Ochre House Theater
Undermain Theatre
Water Tower Theatre, Addison
Repertory Company Theatre, Richardson

Other Lists of Things to Do:

NEW! Plan Your Week from Dallas Voice, The Premier Media Source for LGBT Texas
Do214 Top Picks
Culture Map Dallas Calendar
This Week’s Beer Events from BeerInBigD.com
Dallas News Events (This page is not paywalled.)
Two Sunday Funday/Weekday Wow lists on my blog - inBigD.com
Trivia, Open Mic, Karaoke and More Every Weeknight & Sunday
Dinner Deals that Aren’t Just During Happy Hour Every Weeknight & Sunday
submitted by JustMeInBigD to Dallas [link] [comments]

DEMOLITION DAYS, PART 95

Continuing
He still came around making trouble, but oddly enough, our little cul-de-sac corner was more-or-less Batshit Crazy-free for the next 34 months.
After that, things sort of calmed down. Well, one of his older boys thought it would be fun to attack Khris, push her off her bike, and try and steal the Uzbek sapphire amulet I had gotten her years earlier.
Khris is not a small girl; she is a corn-fed daughter of the vast cow-pocked hills and rolling pastures of Baja Canada. She didn’t take lightly to some weasely little Arab probably future pole-smokers trying to steal from and assaulting her.
It took more than one punch, but Khris coldcocked the elder of the Guano Insano clan and laid him out so an undertaker could have taken easy measurements. Oh, he was still breathing, but I nevertheless think he was shammin’, playin’ possum until Daddy Dearest could come and rescue him from the rage of wrathful Wisconsinians.
Liam and I were sitting in the porch area of his villa, smoking cigars, drinking our sunrisers, watching the tableau unfold. We both thought Khris handled the situation well, particularly the outcome. The miscreant was out cold’n a foundered mackerel and Khris didn’t heel-stamp him in the chuckle-bits nor curb-stomp his head even though he had initially, and without provocation, punched Khris in the head.
Major stylistic points, Khris.
After 6 or 7 of his offspring rant to alert him, Señor Srībaśita Inasēna came over to shovel his insensible frogspawn up off the tarmac. He was ranting and raving, screaming and splitting the air with threats, dark oaths and other forms of bad noise.
He headed straight for Khris to administer a smackdown, as Khris resolutely held her ground.
I merely stood up and asked Khris if she needed some help.
She replied in the negative, stating that this fool wasn’t going to be much more of a challenge than ‘his idiot kid’
I swear, he went, even more, batshit crazy. However, something clicked and Señor Srībaśita Inasēna looked over his shoulder to see not one, but two near-identical way-more-crazy than he extra-large people standing there, both with cigars and icy cold drinks. He suddenly seemed to experience a spate of total recall how one of the large apparitions said he’d begin him on his journey toward room temperature if he so much as sneered in our direction.
He scooped up his unconscious spawn, muttered something none of us could make out, and scurried back to his loathsome piece of home real estate.
That was more or less the end of our run-ins with Señor Srībaśita Inasēna and his extended tribe.
Swing forward to the late summer. The weather calmed a bit and one’s skin didn’t immediately bubble every time one went out to collect the local morning news-rag. Things were going well for the cul-de-sac; jobs were advancing apace, children were doing well in their various studies, people were, oh what was that word? Ah, yes, happy.
Happy people do fun things.
So, it was decided it was time we have a block party.
Of course, Liam came up with the brilliant idea that we should have a pig roast.
“Umm, Liam”, I ahemed, “In case you forgot, we live in an Arabic Muslim country in the Middle East. Pigs and pork and porcine parts are sort of verboten around here. “
“Ok, Rock”, Liam laughed, “I know that, you know that, my hat knows that. But we Brits must have our bacon, sausage, and chops. It’s in our DNA. Besides, I can get one flown in through my company; under the wire. I could sneak him over here easily. We’d just have to keep him under wraps until bar-be-que time rolls around. You’re from Texas, so…”
“Adopted native son” I corrected.
“Right”, Liam continued, “But you were from Baja Canada first, so you must know how to cook a whole pig…”
“That right, I do, but…, I said, “…you want to bring a live pig in here, and keep him for a while until we can sort out the cooking necessities. We can’t use the industrial-sized stoves in the rec center at the pool. That’d raise a few eyebrows…”
Es and Cassandra wander over, listen for a bit and exclaim “Are you both out of your tiny, little minds?”
I had to admit, as I poured Liam and myself a refill, that the idea did have a certain ‘Up Yours!’ mouthwatering bacon-scented charm.
So, all four of us sat outside and over beer, vodka, and white wine for the ladies, we brewed up a perhaps passable project for our pig party.
The thing was, I’d be gone offshore for a couple of weeks and the pig would have to live at someone’s villa, under wraps, for that time; which actually escalated to 3 months.
Esme, surprising as always, volunteered to take on the task.
Might have been the white wine talking, but she admitted to missing bacon as well.
“OK, but we’re going to need a bar-be-cue pit. Where and when?” Liam asked.
“I’ll talk to Shiehk Gungan and secure permission for a Hawaiian-style pit bar-be-cue for someone or other’s fake birthday. If we can get Vonn and Honey Bee on board, their villa’s backyard backs up to a tall brick wall bordering the alley behind the City Centre. I could put in a pit there easily, and it would be out of the purview of prying eyes.” I said.
“Good”, Casandra said, “Let me get the gin and tonic makin’s and get Vonn and Honey over here as well as Dane and Dyad. Gonna have a block party, make sure you invite the entire block.”
Over the term of the afternoon, we had our plans.
Liam would secure a pig for us; approximately 200-300 pounds, on the hoof. It’d stay in our backyard under both our sun tarp and Esme Srs.’ care until Pig Killin’ Time. Liam, Vonn, and I would handle that little chore. I’d get permission to ‘dig’ a pit and install the bar-be-cue pit in Honey and Vonn’s back yard. Liam and I would handle the actual roast, and we’d all chip in for charcoal and wood smokin’ chunks, and whatever else we could find.
Dyad said she knew many, many farmers it the area and many had fruit trees, in various stages of repair. Certainly, some of that would smoke up a treat. Persimmon, pomegranate, fig, mango, durian, banana…all the earmarks of a weird pig roast.
So we had a date, a plan and the ingredients for a complete fiasco. Since Sr. Guano Insano was no longer part of the picture, and as we had few interlopers, this might actually work without all of us being tossed into the hoosegow.
I’d liberate a bit of pit diggin’ materials from work, just a small amount of dynamite, C-4, and Primacord; I already had the blasting machines. Vonn and Liam would lay in the charcoal and wood for the actual pig roast and well, Bob’s your uncle.
I went offshore to complete the 12th well on the platform and had to deal with all the logistics, bureaucracy and other sanctioned horseshit that comes with the territory. It took almost exactly 3 weeks, and at that time, Esme’s initial negative reaction to pig-sitting had changed considerably.
She had named the critter and found it to be a rather clever, and even sociable, beast. She even allowed it free reign of our house.
The name she chose was one from an old, endearing structural professor: Prof Pinkus (Prof. Pink-ass).
Ahem.
This was an unforeseen complication.
“Es, remember, “ I said over the phone, “That pig is not a pet. It’s not your buddy. It’s not going shopping with you. It’s going to be the guest of honor at a block party. Perspective, please.”
“Oh, Rock”, Es gushed, “I know that. It just makes it easier to keep up with Prof. Pinkus if you treat him like a pet rather than livestock.”
“Es!”, I yell, “He IS livestock. Soon to be deadstock. Soon to be crisply pit barbequed to a crackly crunch. He’s not your friend, he’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner!”
“OK, love you too.” Es says, ignoring me, “See you soon. Safe flights. Keep the shiny side up.”
I hang up. “Oh, shit. This does not bode well.” I mused on the flight shoreward.
I have to admit, pigs can be personable animals. Canny, inquisitive, seemingly intelligent. But even so, that does not trump them being delicious, appetizing, and delectable generators of bacon. Prof. Pinkus is going to be ham, bacon, and sausage soon. Not a boon companion.
The next day I ‘dig’ the pit for the barbeque. I used a shovel for exactly 2 minutes and dynamite, C-4, and primacord for a few more. Vonn was astonished that I not only dug a 6’x6’x4’ wide hole in less than an afternoon, but that I did it while smoking a cigar, drinking an, ok, several icy adult beverages, and never even breaking a sweat in the hellish late summer heat.
The Bobcat with the mounted backhoe, which I had ‘borrowed’ from work, helped a little.
Liam wandered over after the pyrotechnics were done. He didn’t care for them as the noise ‘offended his ears’. Truth be told, he had seen enough pyro jobs go south in his line of work and wanted nothing to do with them. I assured him I was a licensed Master Blaster as well as the one and only Motherfucking Pro from Dover, but it took some time to get him up to speed on the use of explosives for fun and profit.
We let the pit settle, as it was in mostly in desert sand held together with a bit of aeolian clay, or loess. We kept it wet and covered with sheets of canvas. It’d be fine for our pit barbeque in the days hence.
Vonn, Liam and I fabricobbled a cover for the pit which was made of thatched palm fronds supported by ½” pine furring-strips frame along the outer surface. Dane found a hunk of tin stove pipe and we fashioned a nicely workable chimney for the cover. Once the fire was going, and the pig in its new home, we could set the cover over the pit, shovel earth over it to seal it off and use the iris-valve in the chimney to regulate airflow.
One looks at it now, it would almost appear that we knew what we were doing.
Probably nothing was further from the truth.
We needed to ‘season’ the pit, but first, we needed to line the pit with rocks. This serves to hold the heat, and will even out its distribution. But, all we have to use is limestone around here and if limestone ever gets wet, there might be water in the fractures of the rocks. Heat that up to over 1000C and you’ve got yourself a nifty little bomb.
Of course, this will not do…
So, I get on the phone with several ‘exotic’ marble companies in the big city of Duhu. I call around asking if they might have some scrap sheets of granite, quartzite, granodiorite or marble.
Sure, for a price.
However, there was this one place where I knew this guy…
He took in huge, and I mean 4m x 5m x 5m blocks of exotic rock from the subcontinent; black granite, “Reaping Equinox’ black and white ‘granite’; most all these ‘granites’ were granodiorites, Inferno Granite, Black Sunset granite sliced thin into façade facing dimension stone, it was absolutely gorgeous in cross-section. However, the best stuff was igneous-metamorphic, tougher than a $2 steak, and just laughed at diamond carbide saw blades.
“Oh, sure now Mr., Dr. Rock”, Mr. Prakash Dongerkerry, the owneoperator of one particular lot I scavenge for Esme’s continuing lapidary hobby, “I’ve got some beauty stuff here for you. But I need some help with these couple of blocks I received from Kerala. Great rock, very pretty, but too tough. Burn out many saws, boss. You can help maybe?”
“Sure, Prak”, I replied, “I can help, no sweat.”
So, next Friday Liam and me, we eased over to the granite factory, C-4, blasting caps and Primacord in hand. Prak was a little apprehensive about using high explosives in a densely populated area, but after Vonn reminded him that he was working with the Motherfucking Pro from Dover, he relaxed some.
I crawled all over those blocks, marking with orange spray paint the nature fractures, flaws, and features of each block. Asked Prak how he’d like them split, and he indicated parallel to the major axis.
It couldn’t be easier. There was a main body-fracture system normal to the σ1 stress direction. The one’s parallel to the σ2 and σ3 were minor and nowhere near as clearly developed.
I smooshed some C-4 into a test fracture, primed it and shot it without much ado. It was surprisingly quiet for a detonation. A cute little C-4 POP.
A large slab of rock fell off the main block, severed as nicely as a hunk of cold butter from a hot knife.
Prak was thrilled. I only had another 12 or so shots to go.
They all more or less came off as planned. One or two busted when they bounced, even after the addition of old car tires below where I was blasting.
Prak, good to his word, showed us a huge pile of 1.25” thick sawn quartzite slabs that were rejected for mostly cosmetic reasons. It takes a bit of math, a bit of doing, and a lot of C-4 to extract slabs enough to line our fire pit from stem to stern, top to bottom.
Once installed, the pit was a tad less wide, a bit less deep, and a smidge less long, but it was the only Precambrian-quartzite lined bar-be-que pit in this or any other known galaxy.
We celebrated the initial fire up with whiskey and hors-d'oeuvres. I stuck with vodka, ice, lime, citrus stuff, and a Jamaican cigar.
The pit flared from the amount of dry wood we initially used. It burned very quickly into a pile of glowing embers. Now, we added some local lump charcoal and popped on the top, now sporting an exhaust chimney with a rather large, intrinsically-safe, unusually commercial-looking dual-temperature thermometer that somehow just appeared out of the ether.
We took it all the way up to 1,000C. Although it was designed for ‘low and slow’, we wanted to see how it would perform under alternative conditions.
We let it simmer for a few hours, then decided to kill the fire by closing the iris valve. Thus deprived of oxygen, given a few hours, the pit would be cold to the touch.
The next day, we opened the pit and shoveled out the dead embers. The pit was well and truly cold. Upon examination, it seems that the quartzite had fused to the sand on the outside of the pit. Also, sand had filtered down into the cracks around the pit, like in the corners, along joints, and been fused there as well.
The damn thing would now hold water if we wanted. We had a natural glass-lined fire pit now. We decided to try out some racked & stacked chickens first before we slowly made our way pig-ward.
We staked split chickens out on various levels in the pit. We had worked up a series of adjustable metal frames where we could lay the staked-out poultry. The racks popped right in place and after a couple of hours, hey presto bar-be-qued peri-peri chicken. And hot-butter roasted chicken. And for the uninitiated, roast chicken with smoked Hungarian paprika and Indian ghee. A real Iron Chef fusion-style mixture.
Liam and I took his Grady White out on the Persian Gulf and managed a couple of dorados, or Mahi, a largish shark, and a couple of kingfish off the deeper shipping banks. Fileted up and tacked in place, we played around with the smoking woods. Mango was just weird. Fig was weirder, almost vinegary; but not terrible. Pomegranate/tangerine tree smoked Mahi, seasoned shark steak, and Kingfish was the hit of the week. So easy, yet so tasty. It went well with Es’ famous Navajo Fry Bread.
We were gaining confidence. Prof. Pinkus’ days were numbered. We decided that the Eid al Fitr would be the time that we’d been preparing our porky pit pig production.
How’s that for cultural sensitivity? Break the Ramadan fast with a pig roast.
We’re all about cultural sensitivity.
Anyways, we hemmed and hawed over the methods of dispatching our soon-to-be-delicious 325 pounds of Professor Pinkus.
One wag suggested we have it OD on tranquilizers, trip him out a la Heath Ledger. Use loads of Nytol®, Dramamine™, oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine."
It was straight out of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers©.
We all agreed it was funny as hell, but that it probably wouldn’t work.
Then we thought we might go all Halal, just slit the pig’s throat with a very sharp knife, and let it bleed out.
Rejected as to being too thrashing, too noisy, too Arabic, and just plain uncivilized.
I thought I could get hold of a 12 gauge shotgun and some Foster Deer slugs. But again, noisy and messy. Besides, I’d have to borrow a shotgun, and that might raise some eyebrows.
We’ve managed to keep Prof. Pinkus under wraps now for almost 3 months. Hate to blow it right before the feasting was to begin.
In the end, all it took was an 18-pound maul and a solid whack to the right side of the head.
More sensitive viewers might want to skip a dozen or so paragraphs ahead. Just fair warning™.
I was elected to deliver the coup de grâce.
After walloping a bound and gagged Prof. Pinkus upside the head and basically caving in the skull, severing the skull-spinal cord connection at the atlas/axis connection, it was instant lights-out, he felt nothing.
We had already apologized to Prof. Pinkus, and thanked him for his contribution.
Seldom before has lunch ever been so noble.
Prof. Pinkus freezes and collapse, the legs give way, and the neck goes rigid. We picked up the extraordinarily sharp butcher’s knife sitting there, one hand under the chin and pull the head back. The other hand takes the sharp, stout knife under the neck and slices across the neck back to the bone of the vertebrae.
The knife hand loops around to the poll of the head, pushes down and forward while the hand under the chin pulls back and rearwards, so the neck vertebrae connecting tissue cracks. Knife hand back down under the neck, chin hand slides up and a finger hooks into the trachea and slice between the separated vertebrae.
With our previous practice and experience, 10 to 15 seconds from hammer strike to the semi-decapitated head.
Grisly but necessary.
Hanging the beast by its back hocks, well out of sight of any casual interlopers, we bleed the animal out into 5-gallon buckets, saving the precious juice. Vonn and I have visions of homemade blütwurst, blood-n-tongue sausage, and zultze or schwartamaga; lovely, lovely headcheese.
But that’s for later. Vonn gathers the blood in gallon-size freezer zip bags.
Now to scalding the corpse, scraping off the hair and external epidermal debris. We had a tub of boiling water into which Prof. Pinkus went. It was a boring, tedious, annoying repeated dunk-soak-raise-scrape-return until the carcass was clean and smooth and removed of all nasty gunk on the outside.
Now comes the really icky part™, gutting and scraping out the carcass. Before opening the abdominal cavity, it was required to de-bung the animal. Cut around the anus, go in deep but not too, pull the bunghole out, seal with zip ties, and cut and discard. Now the lower GI tract is sealed from leaking when the rest is removed. We also have to remove the male dangly bits in a similar manner as Prof. Pinkus was a boy hog.
Still hanging, we open the hog from sternum to groin, letting gravity aid us in helping Prof. Pinkus literally spill his guts. Right down into a waiting gut-bucket, or galvanized 50-liter steel tub. The chest region is split open further and the lovely and delicious major organs are singly removed by hand. Heart, liver, kidneys, etc., lungs, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, and a few other organs are discarded.
With that, we open the hog to where it will lay flat on the roasting rack. It is then hosed off and generally cleaned up before we give a good going over.
After it dries, the whole gutted critter is washed in wine. Evidently, it’s a French thing according to Honey Bee.
We wrap the hog in burlap, soak it down in cheap-ass wine and let it sleep 24 hours or so in Liam and Cassandra’s freezer chest.
The next day, the fire is started in the fire pit. We have lump charcoal, bucket after bucket of fruit tree chunks soaking in water and probably half a rick of firewood to keep the party going the next 24-36 hours.
We retrieve Prof. Pinkus from his cool, not frozen state, say hello and proceed to arrange him staked to the cooking frame in a belly-down, butterflied posture. Internally, he was well seasoned with dry rub after the obligatory internal rubdown with Napoleon brandy. We placed 40 garlic bulbs, kosher sea salt, olive oil, black pepper, and liberal amounts of Old Bay, to taste beneath him.
So, it was up to me to get the external goo ready for the pig. Kansas City-Style Sauce? Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Sauce? South Carolina-Style Mustard Sauce? Piedmont or Lexington-Style Dip? South Carolina-Style Mustard Sauce? Texas-Style Mop or Basting Sauce? Alabama White Sauce? Wisconsin Drunken Religious Experience Sauce?
“Ah, the hell with it!”, I venture, “Sauces come much later. Too early; they caramelize, crystallize, and burn. We’ll go for a good rub instead.”
I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good rub now and again?
Anyways, which fucking rub? Kansas City Rib Rub? Mustard Rub? Spare Rib Rub? Memphis-Style Rib Rub? Porker's Rib Seasoning? Best Odds Rib Rub? Carolina Dry Rub? Texas Dry Rub? Jamaican Jerk Dry Rub? Classic Pork Dry Rub?
Too much choice! Seasoning overload!
I call over everyone involved in this little soiree and instruct them to come up with a rub we can all enjoy. I had to kill and gut the critter, it’s about time I go all Subsurface Manager, and delegate out some parts of this project.
So, over beer, G&T’s, vodka and lime soda and various Froggy wines, ‘my’ crew came up with a rub that was simple, tasty and ironically reflects some of the culinary aspects of the region we’re currently defiling.
Ingredients:
• Smoked Hungarian Red paprika
• Brown sugar
• Caster sugar
• Black pepper
• Kosher salt
• Cayenne pepper
• White pepper
• Chili pepper
• Dehydrated garlic
• Dehydrated onion
• Fenugreek
• Red Cardamom
• Turmeric
• Ginger
• Garam masala (Cumin, Coriander, Green and Black Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Bay leaves, Peppercorns, Fennel, Mace, and dried Chilies.)
They went to the co-op, bought buckets of the individual spices and played the rest of the day at getting to that one perfect combination for our resting porker.
I don’t remember the exact breakdown of the proportion of the spices, but whatever it was, it tasted brilliant. Now we had about 8 or 9 pounds of the stuff. We were ready to go.
Prof. Pinkus was set on the cooking rack, belly open and down. He was doused internally once again liberally with cheap Indian Napoleon brandy and secured to the rack atop all the garlic, celeriac root, boudin, and small new potatoes.
He was tied in place with heavy organic hemp twine and had his mouth propped open to facilitate circulation of the pit’s heat and convection. He looked very Pink Floydian. One almost expected him to take flight.
The exterior of the porker was treated to a nice rubdown. I swear I saw him smile once or twice when Honey Bee insisted on a sensual massage to make the resultant meat that much more tender. Olive oil infused with lime oil and garlic after a thorough wash with more brandy. Followed by a liberal rubbing of dry rub.
Finally, ready to go, we tented the porker loosely with industrial-strength silver aluminum foil. The frame with its cargo was lowered and locked into place for at least 24 hours. Probably closer to 36, as we’re going ‘low and slow’.
We take turns, between hands of poker, cribbage, and Schafskopf, as well as numerous G&Ts, Yorshs, and vodka and lime drink cocktails, to check on our prized porker. We kept the temperature right at 2050 F as best we could.
The voluminous smoke coming off the barbeque pit was our one concern. It packed an amazing aroma and filtered around the whole compound, dragging in expectant pikers, leeches, and other forms of human ectoparasites.
We told them we were smoking a whole camel, Texas-style, a la filét de hump, and wouldn’t be ready for another couple of days; so piss off. That seemed to get rid of all but the most insistent. We finally got rid of him by using a leaf blower and directing a stream of high-velocity roast-pork laden smoke his direction each time we had to add more fuel to the fire.
Time marched on and the time finally came: the deep internal ham’s temperature hit 180 degrees F.
Prof. Pinkus was ready to make his debut. But first, we needed to get him out of the barbeque pit and over to Vonn’s garage to rest a while.
More futzing, more aluminum foil, and more beers later, Prof. Pinkus, in all his delectable roasted glory was cooling out from atop a pair of sawhorses. Of course, he had to rest after his ordeal, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t manage a few samples.
He was done to a turn. It was incredible. Crispy-crunchy-crackly over lean, moist and insanely flavorful meat. Not bad for a bunch of bumbling international mugs on their first Middle Eastern pig-roast pit-roast endeavor.
Everyone made up their own version of sauce for sandwiches and dipping. We decided that we’d never all agree on one sauce, and 4 or 5 on one porker would be just too damn many.
So, please yourself. Just do it, yourself.
Behind closed doors, Liam and I were once again elected to reduce Prof. Pinkus to primary parts. We were hopefully disguising the fact that here sits 185 pounds of delectable roast pork in a very Muslim country on one of their highest holy days.
So it was a bit unnerving when Sheik Gungan showed up and asked: “What was that wonderful aroma?”
We said smoked beef…lamb…camel…turducken…Tyrannosaur… anything other than what it really was.
He asked for a sample.
What could we do? We couldn’t well refuse now, could we?
We gave him some of the best bits to try.
“Lovely, gents, just lovely. Next time, for reference, more garam masala, and a little more rosemary. I find it really brings out the subtle flavors of pork.” He smiled, wiping his pork-sticky fingers on my HGGTG towel.
“You old fraud”, we all smiled at once.
“What?”, he shied, raising his eyebrows, “It’s for scientific evaluation purposes. It’s therefore allowed. Now, do you have any cold beer, gin-n-tonics, or vodka and lime, which I’m hearing is very nice together, that I might also scientifically sample?” he smiled toothily through his long white beard.
We had made another powerful friend. Although it cost us one smoked Boston Butt, actually off the shoulder, that’s butcher’s for you, and a half a liter of homemade Texas-style barbeque sauce and another of Esme’s homemade fennel and caraway-infused coleslaw.
Everyone on the cul-de-sac now had a freezer full of pit-roasted pork. The Brits got their sausage once Vonn and Liam figured out how to use the Osterizer® Stuffing Horn. That was almost as much fun as doing the pit-barbeque. Never leave to Brits what Baja Canadians can better do.
We distributed the bacon and hams, and the rest divided whatever was left. Which was a lot of pit-roasted pig pieces and parts.
The bones made their way into gaily wrapped gifts and were posted anonymously to Mr. Guano Insano. We hoped he appreciated all our effort.
I used Esme’s great-grandmother’s old German recipe for Headcheese. Basically, boiled smoked pork head meat in aspic jelly. With dill pickles. And pickled eggs. With special spices.
Well, I don’t give a shit. We like it.
Anyways, summer slowly slid south and the temperatures during the day got slightly more tolerable. Liam and I decided to forego his boat for a while, as launching and recollecting required us to put Liam’s boat in the water HERE and recover the boat THERE. It was trucked, via road, from the recovery place to the launch place.
Why? Damnifweknow.
It only cost something like US$5 to ship the boat back to the launch area and they actually did a good job hosing and steam cleaning the boat before parking it back in its rental dry dock. These were still the early days before gas was king in Qutur, so things were still ridiculously cheap. There were exactly 3 high rise hotels back then, as compared to the insane silhouette presented by Duhu’s current evening sun.
I had flown over some likely looking flats that might hold snook, grouper, and tarpon on my last flight back from the rig. I translated that onto whatever road maps we could find here, as most everything was a state secret, ground verification was a must.
Liam and I tossed a couple of surf rods, a cooler full of beer and some bait into the back of his new diesel Mitsobitchy Prago™, and we were off to the north of town, the least developed chunk of Duhu real estate to date.
We drove down a rip-rap road that was more just a pile of random rocks trucked into the bay area and dumped into something that resembled a straight line.
I was less than confident that we weren’t going swimming today, but Liam relished every bounce, bolt and jolt. He confided in me that one of the big reasons he took the job here in the Middle East was that he’d never in a million years be able to afford a truck like this back in bonny Scotland™. He confided that he couldn’t have even afforded the fuel for this diesel-slurper back in the UK, it was that dear.
So, down the path we rebound. I was watching the water on both sides of the narrow groin, and saw it was getting deeper, but very slowly. I looked at my GPS and saw that we’d driven some 3.5 km out to sea at this point.
“Liam”, I said, “That’s a fuck of a long way to reverse.”
“Ah, Rock”, Liam assured me, “ No worries, Doctor. It’s all a loop. We can just drive our way out of any trouble.”
I remained unconvinced.
We came to a breach in the ‘jetty’. There was some heavy marine equipment mounted on barges. They were working a large cut, ostensibly for cargo ships to pass through. There was to be a swing-bridge built after they cleared the channel, but with all these loose rocks, it was putting paid to their scheme.
We parked and wandered over to who appeared to be the head guy.
“G’Day”, “Liam says, “What’ the big fucking holdup? We’ve got fish to catch, mate.”
Liam had previously spent a few years down in Australia as if it didn’t show.
“Oh, hello”, the natty clad black man said, “We’re having a bit of a time with loose rocks here. Supposed to be angular to lock in place, but by the time they get here from the quarry, they’re a sharp as bowling balls.”
I introduced myself and Liam as he was back in the boot snaking a beer. The black feller introduced himself as Zafir Djaballah, a civil engineer late from Algeria.
“So”, I said to Zafir, “If I’ve got this straight, you cut a channel and want to line it with rip rap. But the rocks won’t stay put. How deep are you cutting and what’s the size of the channel?”
“Oh, 35’ east-west, 15’ north-south. About 15 meters deep.” He relates.
“And the road metal? Where’s that from?” I ask.
“Arabia”, he tells us, “They quarry it there and transport it here. It’s costly, but that’s about the only option we have.”
Liam looks to Zafir. “Hey, Zafir?”, Liam asks, “Y’ken who this guy is?” as he points to me.
Zafir shakes his head “I just met Dr. Rock.”
“That’s not all who he is”, Liam smiles widely, “That, my friend, is the Motherfucking Pro from Dover! If he can’t fix your little problem, he can damn sure make it go away…”
Zafir looks to me as if to ask: “What the fuck, sir?”
“Well, Zafir, “ I say, “I’m a bit of a dab hand with explosives. This sounds like a really simple problem. Drill a grid of 2 meter centered holes, and prime them with a waterproof explosive. Detonate together electrically and there you go. Channel dug and already filled with angular limestone blocks. Easy-peasy.”
Zafir looks over the water and puzzles and puzzles.
“But sir’, he says, “Where would I find such explosives and such expertise?”
“Well…for starters”, I said, “You could ask me.”
He leads us over to a company trailer, where Liam and I drank beers, smoked cigars and told the superintendent of our plans. The Egyptian superintendent, Qaaid al-Zahra, later ‘Randy’ (Quaid?…never mind) scrutinized all our identification. He was actually very impressed when he came across my Blaster’s credentials.
“Doctor”, Qaaid said, “I do like your plan. The drilling is no problem, the problem is obtaining the explosives.”
“Look, Qaaid”, I said, “Leave that to me. You’re working for a government company, I’m working for a government company. What difference does it make? How long to drill the grid of holes Liam and I laid out?”
“Oh, probably about a week”, Qaaid said.
“OK, how about this?”, I said, “Liam and I will be back out here unless the weather’s being stupid and we’ll set and prime the charges? After which, we’ll make certain everything’s green and blow this little project for you?”
“If you can, Inshallah.”, Qaaid said.
“Even if we’re out of shallah”, I said back to Randy.
That Sunday, after Liam backed us down the 3.6 km or bouncy un-turn-around-able path he drove us out on, I ordered some Kinepax liquid binaries, as it came in easy-to-use 1-meter threaded lengths in various diameters. Qaaid was drilling 3.5” diameter holes, so the 3.00” nominal OD threaded length would be a breeze. I ordered a couple of spools of shock tube, comb connectors, deflectors, and tie-ins, and a 25 kilo box of ‘Elephant Shit’.
We make sure each hole was blown clean with a high-pressure water hose. Since the water here was only 8 meters deep, we could get by with regular lightweight skin diving gear. I could leave my wetsuit, diver’s helmet and all that heavy-duty ice-diving gear at home for this trip.
Liam and I would pre-form the charges, each exactly 6 meters in length, to match the depth of the drilled holes. Individual 1-meter units just screwed together, pin and box style, it was the utmost in simplicity. Rather like Seismogel™, but packed a considerably higher wallop. All told, we would be setting off some 36 nodal points, each 6 meters deep with 6 meters of binary which weighed 5.3 kg/meter.
Turn the crank and we’d be planting approximately 1,145 kilograms or 2,524 pounds of high-energy binary explosive.
Hmph. A new personal record.
Like Guinness even cared.
So, once we got the high sign from Randy that the shot holes had been drilled and cleaned, the next part of the project was up to us.
We were both PADI-certified. Liam had done some oilfield related diving in the North Sea some years ago. I was a veteran of the Ice Wars from the days of Future Passed back in Baja Canada.
The waters here were calm, gin-clear, and warm.
The dives here weren’t work, this was a paid vacation.
I had liberated a trailer for all our pyrotechnics and Liam was elected to use his Prago as the tow vehicle. We bounded our way out to the Liam’s Pass, as we had dubbed it, with a work trailer containing some 2,750 pounds of high powered, binary explosives bouncing behind. I also had all my explosives paraphernalia there as well: new waterproof galvanometer, which in and of itself, is rather the achievement. Pliers, spare batteries, couple pair of blaster’s tools, the usual.
Lia and I had our dive gear in the back of his Prago.
A couple of single tanks, backpacks, regulators, hoses, and a few belts full of divers weights.
These must have been of Islamic origin as they are specifically prohibited by the Bible. Deuteronomy 25:13, “Thou shalt not have on thy belt divers weights, a great and a small.” And Proverbs 20:23, “Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
Why there should be proscriptions against SCUBA gear in ancient, desert-dwelling, shepherding Iron Age writings is what keeps Biblical Scholars up at night.
Although I agree, a false balance underwater keeps your Swimmer’s Ear from healing up.
At the pass, we park and call over for a half-dozen ‘helpers’. They were nominal employees of the company, but more indentured servants. Today, they were going to earn their water wings. We had a couple of large pneumatic rafts that we’d use to transport he charges to their final water resting site but damned if Liam and I are going to swim laps every time we needed to set a new charge.
So, indoctrination and Explosives For Dummies.
Safety first, second and last.
Who here can swim?
You guys can stay. OK, the rest of you blokes, bugger off.
Here’s the deal, Sparky. There are 36 lengths of Kinestix with primers already set. Those go last, as that’s where I tie in to detonate. The rest of the 1-meter long tubes are identical. Pin on one end, box on the other. Thread them together and use a single ‘O-ring’ between each. Snug them up good and tight, but don’t go too crazy. Those are binary liquids, and I’ll give them a good smack with a hammer before they go into the hole. I really only have to do the last one as once initiated, these liquids can mix in milliseconds, but I’m all for safety and doing things right the first time.
OK, so, one raft will carry the 36 initiators, that is, the last bits to go. The other rafts will carry the 5-meter long strings of connected explosives. Liam and I will be down on bottom and you guys just stay up on surface, dog paddling or treading water, but slowly feeding the lengths of tubing down to us. When you reach an end, pop on one of the other lengths, the one with the primer.
To be continued.
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DEMOLITION DAYS, PART 90

Continuing
We had three groups of demo wire: mine adit, ANFO on the mine floor, and just because, some black powder placed into the old, but unused, drill holes in the mine face. The party room was going to be detonated remotely. We decided to blow the face first, then the ANFO, then the adit. After the applause died down, I’d trigger the party room. Then, the final drinking light for this mine site would be lit. Tomorrow, we pack up and travel south.
But first!
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to your first abandoned mine demolition. This hole in the ground has become a menace, alas, through no fault of its own. But steps must be taken to remove it as a threat to society; to protect society from itself. I’ll let you cogitate over the irony of that statement at your leisure. Please, folks. This once was the provider of many a family’s daily bread, butter, and beer. A moment of silence. A moment of reverence. A moment of reflection. This is the place where you cut your subsurface teeth, where you lost your mining virginity, and now…we’re really gonna pop yer cherry!”
They laughed! They actually laughed loud and long. I was amazed. This was just my B-list material.
Dr. D and I alternated countdowns, Lucas was manning the detonators. Everybody, even the cooks, dish machine operators, and custodians joined in on the Safety Protocol song.
First went the face/black powder. A loud, rolling BOOM followed by the mine blowing a huge white smoke ring skyward. Not bad for a first shot.
Then the ANFO. Lucas needed to use the recently acquired replacement for Ol’ Reliable, my personal plunger-actuated blasting machine, as we needed the voltage and amperage. The ANFO shook everyone in camp, even set those in suspended hammocks rocking.
“We’re over a half-mile from the mine and you can actually here see the effects of low-explosives.”, I said, regarding the swinging hammocks. “Did the Earth move for you, too?”
Even that got a laugh.
Next came the mine adit itself. The sharp cracks of the dynamite were so distinctly different than the rolling thrump of the ANFO. People were getting a good physical demonstration of the differences in different types of explosives.
Everyone was about to clap, hoot, or holler, and head for the bar or leave when I shouted them down.
“What are you doing? Where are you going? We’re not done here yet, folks. We have a little bonus. Relax, sit back, and enjoy the death of the cess-pit. The end of the fetid party room. The cessation of the sewer some people around here went to have fun. Want fun? What could possibly be more fun than over 100 pounds of Torpex, PETN, RDX, Dynamite and Kinestik binary high explosives…and a remote detonator?”
All eyes one me grew three sizes that day.
“And I’m prepared to offer the honor of pressing the big, shiny red button to…the highest bidder!”
Consternation and grumbling.
“Actually, I kid. Before this, I had given a slip of paper to Dr. D. On that paper is a number, between 1 and 100. Here are some official guessing paper and pencils. The paper was recently outsourced from the DOI, so no fair trying to use any other. Now, write your guess down, a single number, between 1 and 100, one guess per participant. The closest gets the remote detonator and the honor of destroying the den of filth. In the case of prizes, duplicate ties will be awarded. You have 2 minutes before my number will be revealed. GO!”
Five minutes later, Dr. D announces the winner. There were no duplicates and my number was 86. Dr. I from Berkeley was the winner. She was a petite little hydrogeologist with a mean streak a mile wide. She grinned like a maniac when I handed her the remote detonator. She wanted to go immediately, but I restrained her for a 5 count.
“5...4…3…2…1…HIT IT!”
Whoa. Even though the mine was strictly closed, when that Torpex torpedo went off, the whole state probably felt it. It was very much like an earthquake. A very noisy, even that far underground in a closed-off mine, shatteringly brilliant earthquake.
Dr. I was ecstatic. “I did that?”
“Yes, you did. You’ll be receiving the bill in the mail.” I joshed.
It didn’t matter. Nothing could dampen the mood at that point.
Before lighting the drinking lamp, I recited a bit of doggerel for the crowd to close and commemorate our first victorious mine closing.
 “The Earth shakes, the ground cracks,
 And out steps fmax.
 Pleased as punch, fresh as a daisy,
 He watches while the world goes crazy.
 Strata shakes, structures tumble,
 Seismographs jump, formations crumble.
 When he’s finished, spent with sin,
 He returns as fmin.”
(fmax refers to the high-frequency band-limitation of the radiated field of earthquakes.)
It’s a geology thing…
They seemed to appreciate the effort. They loved that immediately afterward I lit the evening drinking lamp.
Dr. D, Lucas, and my own self had our cigars, drink, and maps. We were looking for our next contestant. Given the reaction of the crowd, I figured they’d be ready for something a little more ‘aggressive’. We had 11 days left, so it couldn’t be too far afield, as I didn’t want to waste time in transit, but here in Nevada, that wasn’t going to present a problem.
Lucas pointed out the Gobbler’s Knob mining area. It was studded with mines marked with the red ‘X’ of the Bureau indicating these mines had been vetted for critter populations and were slated for demolition, and there was quite the assortment. Sure, it was a good three and a half hours distant as a direct shot, or a full day for this crowd. However, we could just camp there for the last part of the trip; it would make a fine base camp. There were more than enough mines, in close proximity, of all types.
So, it was decided and announced. We’d all rendezvous at the titular Gobbler’s Knob gold mine area. I’d scout the area with Lucas and Dr. D, who would follow in his field car. We’d find a place to set up base camp. Sure, it was a diversion from the planned itinerary of the project, but that was at my discretion anyways. Given the shakedown at the Sharp Curve mine, we figure the less over-the-road travel for this crowd, the better.
I chatted with the concessionaires and explained our new plans. They were relieved, as once settled, they wouldn’t have to tear down and set up again every few days. We would be relatively closer to some larger cities, so they could assure us to continue the high quality of food and drink.
So, we were set. Lucas asked to ride with me and since he didn’t mind my cigars, so long as I shared. So Dr. D, in his rental field vehicle, and Lucas and I in the Hummer, hit the trail first. We’d be there in three or so hours. Real geologists don’t get lost out in the field, they just become slightly temporarily dislocated.
Not to waste any time, I had Lucas get on the radio and relate our plans to the Bureau. After this, he called the Nevada State Troopers and let them know what we were up to as well; just in case, as insurance. He called the local police in the town of Goonhaven, NV to warn them that we were on the way. They were most appreciative. They liked geologists and miners. They even gave us the address and phone number of the town’s single liquor store.
We had a radiotelephone lash up through the Bureau HF radio, so I had Lucas call the Boozerama and advise them we’ll need a lot of clear ice for the catering guys. Plus they might just want to go ahead and lay in a double, ok, triple supply of beer as there’s a gaggle of thirsty pseudogeologists on the way that are going to hang around for a week or more.
I asked them if they had any Russian Imperial Export vodka. They said they had some, but a good variety and supply of other brands. I thanked them and warned them again, that the geologists were coming. I also requested that they source some Bitter Lemon and a few cases of assorted Nehi flavors. They said they would try.
Always nice to phone ahead and give ample warning. Elicits discounts.
Lucas was a natural as a navigator.
“OK, Rock. Stay on the goat path until you hit Big Barn rock. Take a left and head up to Copperhead Canyon. Once past the canyon, go right on past Nellie’s Nipple and follow the arroyo. Once you pass Sniggler’s Gulch, hang a right and another right and we’ll be on the road to Gobbler’s Knob.”
I lowered my polychromic safety squints in place and said: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”.
I dropped the Hummer into low, stomped the gas, and leaped out across the desert; the trailer with nearly a ton of high explosives bouncing jauntily behind us.
Lucas started to protest, thought better of it, got us both a cold drink out of the back seat, just sat, white-knuckled it as he watched the desert fly by.
We made great time as we averaged some 60 miles per hour over the flat, rocky desert.
Well, maybe not average, but we did hit 60 mph until Lucas got too alarmed and worried feverishly over the trailer full of boom that was fast on our tails.
We pulled into the ghost town of the main Gobbler’s Knob camp. It was a large, open area up in the mountains. We got out and began our photoreconnaissance.
There was a lot of antique mining equipment and paraphernalia up here. Looks like we were either too high up in the middle of nowhere or perhaps the locals didn’t care enough to brave the route up to the camp area. It was as close to pristine as one could get in the region. It really looked like with a little spit and polish, one could fire up the mines once again.
The Gobbler’s Knob mining district covers an area of approximately 30 square miles in the Grunion Range in Nevada. Gold was discovered in the Gobbler’s Knob district in 1905, although quartz veins in the vicinity of the ‘Knob’ had been worked as early as 1866. The district immediately became one of the bigger "boom camps" of Nevada. The greatest production was reached in 1931, and since that time mining has declined until it was abandoned in the early 1940s. Placer gold, post-1945, from the deep gravels of the adjacent gulches have added to the total output. Total gold revenues from the area topped $550 million dollars.
The geology is extremely complex. The southern part of the district is underlain by closely folded Paleozoic rocks. These formations have been divided into five units, to four of which local names have been given. The oldest of these units, probably of Cambrian age, consists dominantly of siliceous mica-schist but contains beds and lenses of quartzite and dark sandstone and five beds of crystalline limestone. The total thickness exposed is estimated to be about 5,000 feet. Above this, and provisionally assigned to the Ordovician, is about 800 feet of chloritic schist, altered by thermal metamorphism to a "knotted" schist. This unit, in turn, is followed by 800 feet of gray limestone, partly altered to black jasper, which near the top grades into black slates. The lowest fossiliferous stratum is a thin bed of black slate' containing graptolites, which is separated from the underlying limestone by a thin layer of quartzite. The graptolites are of No-Kill-I (Ordovician) age. Above the graptolite bed is limestone similar in character to that below, followed by a great thickness of chloritic schist, with here and there thin beds of cherty slate and crystalline limestone. The total thickness of this group of beds probably exceeds 4,000 feet in the area mapped.
The Gobbler’s Knob mining district has produced an additional $350 million worth of copper, lead, silver, and rare earth elements. Productive rocks include the Pogostik Group, Euyankinme Quartzite, and Awfully Good Formation of Ordovician age, Lonesome Goose Dolomite of Silurian age, the Nowheyinhell Formation and Devil’s Dingus Limestone of Devonian age, and unnamed clastic units of Mississippian age, notably Bob’s Lime, the Coonskin Quartzite, and the Frammish metaconglomerates.
These rocks were folded into an overturned anticline and then broken by high-angle normal and reverse faults. Paleozoic rocks were intruded by a granitic stock having a rhyolite porphyry core and by rhyolite porphyry dikes. Primary pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, and sphalerite and tetrahedrite in host rocks of marble and diopside and garnet skarn have been altered by weathering to oxide, carbonate, sulfate and silicate minerals. Some mineralized rock contains remarkably high concentrations of rare earth elements and beryllium.
We had carte blanche out here. We were the only bipedal mammals, as far as we could see, for hundreds, if not thousands, of square miles. Lucas tried to raise any local folks on the HF, VHF, ULF, and CB radios. Nothing. We were isolated, but we had our traveling funnel-cake trailers bringing up the rear. It was as nice a field area as one could ask.
Lucas and I scouted the area looking for an area to erect Camp Central. I had almost decided in occupying one of the larger old miner’s shacks. That is until Lucas pointed out the local indigenous population of packrats, coyotes, possums, and probably fleas, ticks, mites, no-see-um’s, and snakes.
“Good idea, Lucas”, I replied after reflection, “Let’s find us a new spot to camp out.”
Dr. D can slaloming into the ‘Knob in a flurry of dust and flying alluvium.
“Sorry I’m late, Guys, “he apologized, “But I found an outcrop of jaspalite out in the desert. I just had to stop and take samples.”
He showed us the jaspalized lahar, or quartzified ancient volcanic mudflow, samples. They were a riot of colors. Blood red jasper, green jadeite, yellow topaz, bluish-quartz knots, and purplish purpurite, a purply-purple mineral species.
It was very purple.
Esme would have loved some samples to play with if all her lapidary equipment wasn’t already in storage.
Dr. D got out the Gobbler’s Knob topographic map and stood on the roof of his rental, another reason rental car companies hate geologists, peering through his binoculars.
Lucas and I were exploring around the old campsite when Dr. D called us over.
A short distance away, there was a prominent wavy outcrop of thickly bedded sandstone. It has some nice re-entrants, like little rocky bays in an ancient geological harbor. This was fairly close to the flat highlands of the main camp but would be a prime dwelling for trailers, with some degree of privacy and the off-site storage of nearly a ton of high explosives.
In front of the outcrop, was a flat, wind-swept sandy blowout area that would be prime for the catering trailers.
If we parked the Porta Johns behind the outcrop, they’d still be close enough to be of facility. But they’d be distant enough that we wouldn’t be gassed in our sleep if the winds shifted during the night.
Plenty of parking off-site a piece once the trailers were set. The general area showed no signs of being anything of a hydrological nature, so it didn’t act as a wadi boundary, nor were we camping in a dry wash. We should be protected from the worst of the winds and rain if the inevitable summer high-desert thunderstorm rolled through.
“Boom!”, I said, “Gentlemen, we have a camp! First come, first served. Let’s go claim our spots.”
We all smiled, piled into our respective vehicles and drove the 350 meters or so over a small rise to our new home for the next week plus.
I found a very secure dead-end slot-canyon for the trailer. I backed it in, disconnected it from the Hummer, and secured it to some rock bolts Lucas and I pounded into the very living rock walls of the canyon.
Lucas and I chose the next re-entrant to the left. It was one of the larger ones, plenty of space to park the Hummer and for Lucas and my tents. Dr. D selected the one immediately to the right of Trailer Canyon. His rental fit in parallel to the rock face, and he pitched his tent between the rock wall and his vehicle. He had a flat area to pitch his tent, drag out his work table, and sling his hammock between the car and the outcrop. He’d be protected from the wind and rain, and any onslaught other than directly vertical.
Clever dude.
He even erected a sun-shade he devised from a thick sheet of tarpaulin and some support pipes he scrounged from the surrounding area. We helped him fabricate this bit of brilliance with guy lines attached to rock bolts we pounded into the outcrop and extra tent pegs anchored deep into the desert floor.
Very clever. He was secure as houses now.
We were set and ready to go. All we needed now was the rest of the retinue to arrive.
Lucas went walkabout once we had dragged out my worktable and one of the coolers I carried. I was working away on my field notebooks when Lucas ran up with a 2x2 foot square sheet of what appeared to be weathered white Masonite.
“What you got there, Luc?”, Dr. D asked.
“There’s tons of this shit lying around”, Lucas explained, “All the same size and thickness. I figure we’re going to be here a while, so we gather some posts, and we have a supply of ready-made signs for the crowd when they arrive.”
So, Lucas, Dr. D and I spend the next couple of hours devising road signs for the new arrivals.
“Slot 1 =>. Slot 2 =>.” And so one for the basic trailer parking/tenting slots.
“Food =>”, which needed to wait until the caterers' arrival.
“Shitters =>”, again, had to wait until the Porta-San farm arrived.
And so on and so forth.
All in bright day-glow orange.
Lucas and I did a rattlesnake sweep through the entire camp area and found not even a shed skin. We did find a slot canyon cut clear through the outcrop that would provide great access to the Porta Johns behind the outcrop. It was like this place was designed for us.
The food trailers and Porta Sans arrived at virtually the same time. We directed each to the area we thought would be best for each. The Porta San driver agreed this was a good place for the loos, especially since they’d be out of the elements and still close enough to be a convenience.
The caterers hemmed and hawed a while, but over a cold beer or two, decided the areas we already designated would prove to be acceptable, with a few minor alterations. A little C-4 remade those minor alterations and relocated some errant boulders. Before you knew it, we were back in business.
We figured the day would be a wash as it would take these hydroheads most of the day to find their shoes, much less a distant campsite. So, Lucas and Dr. D went out in his vehicle and posted sings to help direct these hopeless folks to the campsite.
I stayed back at camp and pored over the maps, literature, and write-ups regarding the area and the mines it contained.
There were literally hundreds of mines out there. Some no more than small prospect drifts that chased a vein of precious metals until it petered out in a few hundred yards. Others were full-fledged scary-ass deep, hard rock mines with vertical transit shafts whose depths were measured in thousands of feet.
I discounted those the Bureau hadn’t vetted as to animal worthiness and those that were deemed animal sanctuaries. A quick count left me with 104 mines to choose from. Some I could close “Old School” with a bundle of dynamite and a quick tug on a set-pull-forget and toss fuse.
Others were so extensive, it would take me and a trained crew at least a week to explore, devise, set, prime, and charge the thing.
OK, I selected 10 easy mines for quick annihilation and set those aside as Class-1, the easiest bundle-of-boom, for later. Sort of a bonus as the project drew to a close.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to go all 1880s and pop the fuse on a bundle of stick dynamite then chuck them down a deep hole?
I know I would.
Then I chose five or six what I considered medium-class, or Class-2, mines. Multi-level, dry, no real obvious nasties like rotten cribbing, loose broke down piles of rock, talc…gad, talc… or noxious gasses. These went into pile number two.
Then I chose two that I considered Class-3 mines. Real bastards. Multi-level, flooded, raises, winzes, stopes, shifts, staves, shafts, tunnels, all sorts of fun shit. I decided that Dr. D, Lucas and I would discuss which of these we’d close. It was a point of vanity, I guess. I needed to nuke just one of these tricky fuckers to show the Bureau what they were going to be missing once I left. As well as prove what I can accomplish out in the field, even saddled with a passel of greenhorns.
With my field notebooks up to date, all my demolition paperwork in order, and piles of mine candidates to choose from, I declared the day a wash and lit the drinking light.
Dr. D looked at our supplies and declared it inadequate. Besides, we didn’t have any Bass Ale, his favorite tipple. He decides that he and Lucas would run into town, only about 75 miles distant, pick up the necessary supplies, and bet me a sawbuck he’d return before the first camper made camp-fall.
“You’re on!”, I said as I handed Lucas the cash for the wager. I also slipped him a few extra bucks if he found any good looking cigars, vodka, bourbon or beer we just couldn’t live without.
The concessions folks got wind of our plans and asked if one of their tribe could accompany Dr. D and Lucas to town with a couple of coolers for ice. They could make ice on-site, but it’d be hours before they had any in abundance. Dr. D had no problem with that as they could bungee the coolers down to the roof rack of the rental.
I asked Dr. D if this extra time to get ice would invalidate our wager.
In a flurry of dust and cigar smoke, he yelled out the window as he, Lucas and the food court guy hauled ass town ward: “No way! I’ll still beat them all back!”
I was essentially alone out in the wilds of Nevada’s high desert. Nothing much to do, I loafed around, wandered over to the boomtown remains and had a look round, and generally just mooched about waiting.
Back at Rock Central, as Dr. D had christened our campsite; as he had created, posted, and signed the signs to prove it, I was called over to one of the cook trailers. They had questions for me.
They wanted to know what the gunfire was all about the other day. They’d heard rumors of everything from armed insurgency to just some late-night target practice.
I regaled them of the story of the ‘Motorcycle Gang That Couldn’t Think Straight’ and they laughed and laughed. They were pleased to know they were well protected out here in the boonies.
After that, with nothing much else to do, I offered them all a beer or whatever else they could find in my depleted larders. They gratefully accepted and we sat around, just shootin’ the shit for a while.
Two or three beers in, one of the head chefs excused himself and returned a bit later with an unlabeled bottle of suspicious-looking clearish fluid.
“We keep some on hand for emergencies”, he told me, “But since they were working for the Bureau and had to conform to their rules, we were asked to run a dry camp.”
“Well,” I said, “As long as it’s kept under control, and as I’m the sole Bureau representative here; I don’t run a dry camp, so if it’s kept low-key, I don’t see a damned thing.”
After the whoops and hollers died down, I was presented an iced glass of very suspicious-looking homemade high-octane hooch. The head chef, who assured me he has CIA credentials, i.e., Culinary Institute of America, and knew how to run a still, promised me I’d find his latest creation most enjoyable. Or unusual, I forget which.
“Slurp!”
Jesus H. Tap Dancing Christ on A Soda Cracker! That stuff was smooth.
No, not smooth. What’s the opposite of smooth? Sandpapery? Abrasive? Crenulate? Squamulose? Rock ripping?
He smiled broadly as I choked down that slug. I gasped for breath. My eyes glazed over. My ears were on fire. My teeth vibrated. My nose ran off. My tongue was contemplating filing for divorce.
It was pure loathsomeness. It was fucking horrendous. I hated the fucking stuff.
“Care for another?” he asked.
“Oh yes, please,” I replied.
A while later I heard a car approaching. Given the speed at which it was traveling, I knew without looking who it was.
Yep, five minutes later Dr. D roared into camp, sliding backward to a stop only feet from the lead chow trailer in a cloud of Cretaceous floodplain dust.
“Did I win?” he asked, as he looked the camp over. Lucas and the cook assistant fumbled out of the car as best their rubbery legs would allow.
“Sure as hell.” I replied, “Lucas, please pay the man.”
We helped remove the coolers of the roof of Dr. D’s car. Each was filled with a single crystal-clear block of water ice. Seems this old town still had an ice house and it was simple as squash to take dimensions of the cooler, and chip a chunk of the correct size off the glacier they had in the storerooms. The cook crew were ecstatic.
Dr. D found his Bass Ale and bought the town dry. Lucas had purchased a supply of classic field camp beers: Lucky Lager, Henry Weinhard's, Hamms, Blatz, Falstaff, Walter’s Bock, Grain Belt, and Buckhorn. It was frosty, ice-cold nostalgia.
Plus, Lucas found a bottle of George Dickel, Rebel Yell, and Hoggs Bourbon for me. As well as liters of Monopolowa, Popov, Bowmans’s, Royal Gate, and Ruskaya Vodka. He also admitted to a bottle of Yukon Jack and Captain Morgan for himself since everyone else was getting what they wanted. Plus three cases of really weird flavored Nehi soda. No Bitter Lemon though…he was disconsolate. But still smiling like a loon.
Dr. D had also stopped and filled his trunk with firewood purchased from a farmer on the outskirts of town. We stacked that centrally next to where we’d construct the communal fire pit.
The high desert. Out in the middle of absolute nowhere. Camping. Few creature comforts. A serious geology job laid out in front of us, a couple already behind us. Campfires. Good friends. Good food. Good cigars. Cheap booze.
It really was like coming home again.
Finally, some hours later, just as the sun was getting ready to bounce off the western edge of the desert, the trailers and campers began to arrive. They all caravanned, en masse so they wouldn’t get lost. Their tarmacked travels took them through many tank towns, so they stopped along the way for beer, booze, and other things to make the camp run that much more smoothly.
One after another, the tenters and campers pulled in. Dr. D, Lucas and I decided we had done enough for one day, so we sat at Lucas’ and my campsite, stoked a smallish campfire and decided to sample the wares of Dr. D’s sojourn to the big city.
The trailers all parked, first come, first served. No arguments, no bitching, no sweat. The tenters consolidated the northern end of the camp area, the trailers, the south.
The chow triangle was rung and it was dinner time, all right on schedule.
Deep-fried cod and chips, mushy peas, Toad in the Hole, Yorkshire Pudding, and roast joints of beef rounded out the British-themed meal. There was Spotted Dick, Banoffee pie, and Syllabub for pudding.
You had to eat your meat or you couldn’t have any pudding.
Maybe the chef really was CIA.
After tea, and before the drinking light was lit, I called everyone for a quick meeting to explain what I had intended for the next 10 days. I explained how Class -1, -2, and -3 mines were defined. I noted that we would, at minimum, close at least one of each type in our time remaining. Everyone would be in on Class 1 & 2 mines, but I’d only ask for volunteers for the single Class-3 mine, due to its inherent complexity and danger.
I also noted that since this would be home for the next near score of days, that I have access to VHF, HF, UHF, ELF, SW, and CB radios, with a lash up for telecommunications with the Bureau HF radio, if there was an emergency. I also have a satellite phone if there were any particularly spectacular emergencies. It was available, but not for idle chit chat. Perhaps, later in the week, I noted, I could allow a 10-minute call home for everyone if there was nothing untoward that happened in the interim.
There were general shouts of approval on all points. I asked for questions, and there were none. Either I was that good at covering all the bases of these guys were really thirsty.
“Folks”, I said, “The drinking light is lit. Remember, we muster front and center tomorrow 0630. Please bear that in mind. Naz dirovya!
After a catered breakfast of breakfast pizza, breakfast burritos, and breakfast Egg WacMuffins, I had the whole crowd assembled, most all sipping coffee and a few lamenting some real humdinger headaches.
“OK, gang”, I began, “Class-2 mines today. Class-1 mines are super easy, barely an inconvenience. I’m retaining them as door prizes for the best mine demolishers nearer the end of the week. I won’t say much about these exit prizes, but suffice to say, think 1880s, and bundled sticks of dynamite.”
That got the crowd’s interest.
As usual, I broke the crowd up into groups. Dr. D, being near as up as me on mine construction and dangers, so kindly offered to take one group in the morning so I could handle the second group in the afternoon, or vice versa, just for flavor. After that, we’d compare notes, ask for volunteers, go back in and charge the mines. Then, we’d retire to a safe distance and blow the living shit out of them.
We’d alternate, and when I wasn’t in the mine, he’d radio back what he thought would be appropriate to nuke these mines out of existence. I’d begin work on building the demolition charges. After which, I’d store them, then I’d take a group on a walkthrough. We’d all get together, have a powwow, get people’s impressions and concerns of the mine and formulate a demolition procedure.
That way, in six days we blasted out of existence six Class-2 mines. We were humming along like a well-oiled machine. No bitching, no kvetching, just lots and lots of questions, good food, cheap booze, and cheaper beer with mines closing left and right.
Things were actually humming right along. Until the afternoon of day 8.
Clouds rolled in, covering the skies with their frothy white, billowy cloudiness.
I was looking up to the unfolding aerial montage when Lucas and Dr. D wandered over.
“You saw it as well.”, Dr. D noted., “Best get the word out, it’s going to be a real toad-floater.” He and Lucas were old-time field hands out in the desert. They knew what was coming.
I agreed, this had all the earmarks of a major-league desert thunderstorm. Heavy rain, wicked winds, thundering thunder, dismal darkness, all split by jagged lightning.
I called for an immediate camp meeting.
“Folks,” I said loudly, so the cook crew could hear as well, “Look due up. We’re in for a real humdinger of a summer thunderstorm. As soon as we’re finished here, get back to your camp. Secure everything not nailed down. Check guy ropes and make sure they’re doubled-down. If it’s loose, pack it, or nail it down tight. I don’t know how many of you have experienced Mother Nature at her nastiest out in the field, but make no mistake, she’s got stuff that makes my best explosives look like Tinker Toys. Get sorted and hunker down. There will be wind. There will be rain. There will be wind. They may be hail, so tenters, you might want to call in some favors with the folks who have trailers. Questions?”
There were none, but Dr. D added, “Rock ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie here, gang. It’s got all the earmarks of being a nasty bugger. Prepare to take cover and hunker down solid.”
They saw that when the two most senior field trippers said that this was to be a real event, it’s best to listen and ask questions later.
The camp scattered. Lucas and I flattened our tents, no need getting them ripped to shreds.
I made certain the explosives trailer was nailed down, locked, and well-grounded. What are the odds of a lightning strike? Don’t care. I made double-damn uber-certain.
Dr. D flattened his camp and said he’d ride it out in his rental. I offered him a spot in the Hummer, as it was big enough for us to sack out if the storm lingered.
He declined. He said he’d be fine in his rental.
The cook trailers were stowed and secured, and if the Port-a-San farm took a hit, there wasn’t much now we could do but hope otherwise.
Lucas, Dr. D and I sat out in out camp chairs, with fresh cigars and beers, savoring the ridiculously salubrious pre-storm ozonic fresh air, awaiting the inevitable atmospheric show. The clouds above roiled, rolled, and built to astonishing heights. They grew as dark and foreboding as a volcanic ashfall. Over more beer and cigars, and maybe a tot of bourbon, we watched and waited.
And waited.
“Was this going to be a false alarm?” I wondered.
KA-HOLY SHIT-BOOM! The thunder roared.
Nope. Not this time.
We all sat outside admiring the coming show. It was going to be fun, lots of lightning and peals of thunder. Torrential rains, for certain, with that exciting hint of hail that might come for a visit.
Over beers, we sat, watched, and pointed out some of the amazing structures in a building series of cranky cumulonimbus clouds.
“PLOP!” the first drops of rain appeared. The camp chairs went into the back of the Hummer. Dr. D departed to his sanctuary and Lucas and I sat in the truck, fiddling with the radios to see if we could get any info on the storm.
KRRAACK! Lightning buzzed with a vengeance.
We’re in the high desert out here. Some 9,000’ plus above sea level. Puts us that much closer to the storm.
KABOOM! Thunder rumbled.
“Odd”, I thought, “Not much rain or wind…”
The Hummer rocked like it took a hit from an RPG. The rain and wind I wondered about had arrived.
If you had anything not locked down outside, it was well on its way to California by now.
Rain pummeled. Winds howled. Lightning cracked. Thunder rumbled.
And it got very, very dark.
Dr. D did a great job of picking out our camp location. The rain puddled, ponded, then ran off to the west. The winds, for at least a small part, were funneled around the campsite rather than lay waste to it.
But that’s where all the good things ended.
The hail began. Pea-sized first. Then marble-sized. Then organic, free-range, farm-fresh, egg-sized. Finally, high-velocity ice golf balls. It made a hell of a racket on the reinforced roof of the Hummer. I didn’t even want to think what it was doing to thin-sheet aluminum topped trailers.
It grew in intensity. Winds whipped even stronger. Hail bounced merrily of the outcrops, cook trailer’s roofs and the very ground. In short order, it looked as if it had snowed. The entire campsite’s grounds were covered with whole inches of accumulation of hailstones.
Then, as quickly as it appeared, it was over. The sun cautiously peeked through the waning clouds and lit the devastated tableaux for all to see.
Lucas, Dr. D and I got out of our vehicles to survey the circumstances. We brushed the icy accumulations off our tents and raised them so they’d begin drying. There would have been nothing left if we hadn’t collapsed them first.
Slowly, the rest of the campers showed up. They milled around the snow-like accumulation and just goggled. Many had never seen, much less experienced, such climatic fury firsthand.
Of course, everyone had to pick up and examine the hailstones. Then it happened, one northern wag decided that since it looked like snow, it must act like snow. One West Coaster was the first casualty. He took a hailstone snowball to the back.
That’s all it took, a snowball fight broke out. It was hilarious, even though I was less than amused when I played innocent bystander and took a snowball hit directly to the cocktail in my hand, spilling my drink.
“Of course you realize.”, I mused, “This means war.”
Many campers learned that day, through hard experience, you never start a snowball fight with Baja Canada and Real Canada residents. The carnage was spectacular.
It was a late night before anyone hit the sack. They were having too much fun.
I finally picked the last mine of the tour, the Gobbler’s Knob #33 shaft.
I gave it several days because it was a motherfucker.
Fully 7 levels deep. A central shaft that was 33’ across the diagonal, hence the mine’s name.
The deepest record we had for the mine was the last work face in level 7 was at 2,729 feet below surface level, more than a half a mile in depth.
The last reports were that level 7 might have flooded. Looks like I’m going to need some severely hardy folks to accompany me on this initial trek.
After dinner that night, I called a camp meeting. I explained the need for the initial reconnaissance of this mine, and I was looking for volunteers. This was an entirely optional mine, although I’d like input at the nightly meetings. You don’t have to go, but it’d probably look real good on those final reports I have to write up for everyone.
Yeah, no pressure. No pressure at all.
Of course, Dr. D and Lucas volunteered immediately. Truth be told, if that’s all that wanted to go, it would have been fine with me.
However, Dr. I, the Ms. maniac torpedo detonator from earlier, Dr. F, and Dr. H and his associate made the move forward.
“OK,” I declared, “That’s seven. Just in case, do any of you have technical rope-climbing skills? That might come in handy on this recon trip.”
Dr. H decided that it might be a bit too strenuous for him, but asked if his associate, Gary the Grad Student could accompany us. This guy was supposedly half-gibbon, he was that good of a technical climber. I almost told him to get bent as I didn’t need anyone showing me up.
Of course, I relented. I noted that we’d all meet here, tomorrow, fully kitted out with all our gear, at 0600 for the initial assault. We’d take the Hummer as it had plenty of room. The mine adit itself was less than a mile distant, but we’d get so knackered walking that distance even in the early morning desert heat, that I insisted we drive, even if it took a couple of trips.
There was a pretty good Happy Hour that night, but not for six of the more intrepid adventurers. We held off until after our explorations were complete.
I had copies of the latest mine schematics and handed one out to everyone.
“Carry this with you and mark it as you go”, I said, “Find something not on the map, like an ore chute, drift, stope, raise, or winze, make a note. Also, keep tabs on where you are at all times.”
All agreed as this was serious nut cuttin’ time. This mine could be a real killer. I doubt it’s going to cut any of us any slack.
After checking and re-checking our gear, at the mine adit, we synchronized our watches and rechecked our coordinates. Our ELF radios would work underground as would the mine GPS we had along.
To be continued.
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THE TRUTH ABOUT BINARY OPTIONS - YouTube

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