Fire in the Hole

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  1. The Giants A man approached the large vending stand. He was tall and thinning in more ways than one so that the light of the distant sun, barely poking through the masses of muddy, swirling clouds above, sparkled on the top of his bald head. He couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred and fifty pounds, but the way his body moved when he spoke was like a man of far greater size. “How’s business?” he said. Another man leaned forward across the front of the stand. He wasn’t quite as tall as the visitor, but his hair was slick, with rigid shape, and more importantly on his head, and he smiled a smile similar to the one that would make any girl clad with a proper skirt in any ‘50s movie dip and swoon. “Usual,” he said. The stand as a whole was fairly sturdy, the product of a fine session of woodwork, but the ground it stood on didn’t seem sure whether it wanted to stay in one place or not. This was probably because it consisted of all the gas that just didn’t have the courage to rise and take a glance at the sun, preferring to live in the dark, cold comfort beneath the brave gases. Restless as the chickens were, the stand still stood. The visitor sighed and glanced up at the large sign hovering over the front of the stand. There, in large white paint, were the words, “Frozen Yogurt,” and the outline of a well-topped cone rested to its right. “I don’t know why you came out here,” he said. “I warned you that I’d be your only customer.” The man at the stand wobbled for a second as the chicken gas beneath his feet reared its courage in one shining moment before having the good sense to settle down. “I really thought you was exaggerating, Bob,” he said, “after all the tabloid stories about them.” “They never come out of the Great Red Spot—ever,” Bob said in the low whisper of a parent trying to carry a discussion with his or her spouse about their child while the child is glued to a television screen in the next room. “Not even when it moves.” “Yeah, I know now,” the man at the stand whispered back like a spouse. Then, with a tentative glance around him, he bent down and resurfaced with an empty cone and a metal scooper. “What can I do you for?” he said, about as cheery in manner as the gas mounds beneath him were in ambition. A soft wind blew across the gas mounds, stirring them up and even pressuring a few bodies of the stuff to work up the gusto to rise, as the man at the stand plunged the scooper into a large bin full of a greenish cream without waiting for an answer and pushed it into the cone like the proverbial parents would proceed to force their child into a doctor’s office for a short. He made two more scoops from different bins of frozen yogurt and handed the cone to Bob. “Usual,” Bob said with a smirk. The wind faded and Bob looked up at what he could see of the sky through the muddy swirls of courageous gas while licking away at the scoops. “I got tired of the music scene back home,” the stand man said. “All show and no work, you see? I figure, go out and do something, really earn something—for myself—and then go back and try again.” “Mmmhmm,” Bob hummed while he licked the top scoop clean. “But, you know, I spent so long going wild every day, I couldn’t just slip off and pick up washing dishes at a diner.” He reached down behind the stand and pulled out a mirror, holding it up so that he could check his hair and give it a quick slick back into shape. He clicked his tongue before setting the mirror down and continuing in the voice that would go along with that ‘50s movie smile, “So I said to myself, I know a guy out in Jupiter. I’m-a gonna go and-a make myself a stand.” Right around this last phrase the voice gave way to a sort of singsong falsetto and he trailed off into a series of ba da dums and la di das. “Sure thing,” Bob said, halfway through the second scoop. “But it didn’t work out.” “Nope.” Bob licked his way through the rest of the second scoop until the stand man sighed and interrupted the whole serious business of eating frozen yogurt again. “Bob, what about them?” Bob stopped cold in mid-lick and a look crept across his face that must have been either brain freeze or sheer terror. It may have been both, because he rubbed his forehead before answering in a trembling voice. “I got caught in the Spot once. Couldn’t move fast enough and didn’t know better. They are giant, I tell you. Fifty, sixty feet, and I think those were just the kids. Hairy—can’t even tell what their skin is like. The only thing I could make out were the eyes. Bug eyes, horrible things.” Bob shuddered. “But they sure did leave me well enough alone until the storm passed over and them with it.” The color in Bob’s face rose back up like a tiny mound of gas barely a couple of inches to his right rose up and went off to see the sun. Bob went back to licking the last scoop, but this time more gradually, taking a deep breath after every long slurp of the now-runny cream. Both of the men’s eyes drifted upward to take in what little of the sky they could make out. “Titan’s sure in full bloom tonight,” Bob said after one slurp-breath. “Yep. Io’s looking nice and pretty, too,” the stand man mused. “Oh, so it is.” “Bob, I’m going to see them.” Bob licked half-heartedly. “And I ain’t coming out until I sell a cone.” The man buzzed around the stand, picking up the scooper and the mirror and shoveling a couple scoops out of several different bins into several different smaller bins with lids, and began wrapping it all up in a small sackcloth. Bob slurped up the last runny bit of the yogurt and took a bite out of the cone with a resounding crunch. “I tell you, Elvis, Jupiter’s a boring scene,” he said. “Yeah,” Elvis Presley said, flashing the shadow of a smile at Bob, “but no one else need know.” He tied off the sackcloth bundle and swung it over his shoulder. “And if I got anything to say about it, no one will.” Bob stuffed the rest of the cone into his mouth and munched on it like a man sitting hunched over might rest his chin on his fist and his elbow on his jutting knee, while Elvis Presley marched off across the gas mounds. Bob swallowed just as the sleek shape of hair disappeared. “There goes a giant,” Bob said. “A real Titan.” __________________ Hooray for unpolished work written on a whim. Back to essay-writing now.
  2. That made you laugh before the fact that he was whining about no replies 8 minutes after posting the thread?
  3. Call every store that carries it every morning. If they've got it, ask if they can put it on hold for you. If you know someone that works at one of these stores, have them give you a call whenever they get a shipment in. Work out a quick text signal they can fire off or something. Just pull out all the stops you can in terms of communication.
  4. 1818 @ about 5 days, trimmed from 3286 @ 9.5 days on my hard drive but I'm currently torrenting about 3.5GB more Stuff I'll Actually Listen To which will bring it up to over 2500 @ 8 days, with another 3.5GB still free.
  5. It's spread out into several nearby states. Ohio, Maryland, VA/WVA, and even North Carolina. If you check on their website, they actually have quite a few locations.
  6. Clothing retail is by far some of the worst retail work out there. Even cashiering at a clothing store is at least three times worse than cashiering at most stores that feature other things (even if it still carries clothing--just not primarily, over everything else). Electronics stores are grand workplaces if you can deal with idiots well. Just expect to have to explain everything in simplest terms and you'll be fine. I don't know many specifics about any particular chains, but I've heard a few pretty terrible things about Circuit City (namely, expectation to work many hours--a friend going in part-time during the school year sought to work 12 hours max, but was pressured into 20 a week), and last I heard there were a few quirks about Best Buy, although somewhat balanced by a few things you could get away with. Depends on if you're principled or not. I've worked at Target for a while now, mostly in the electronics department, and it's a pretty good gig. Performance expectations can be high at times, especially during Christmas and other big holiday seasons (as already mentioned), but most of the time there are ways to ease the load and no one really minds. All in all it's a pretty easy job, cashier or sales floor (I've done both at times, and on sales floor you'll often back up cashiering anyway). The best parts are the starting pay is great for a big-name chain--$8.00/hr most places, if not universally (can't remember if there are exceptions), and you'll find they're extremely flexible about working hours. I've cut down this semester to only Tuesday nights and Saturdays, and when I told them I didn't mind working even less if they needed to distribute hours elsewhere, I got dropped every other to every third Tuesday as well, which is nice for me. Then there are almost always opportunities to pick up extra hours on a moment's notice if you want them, just put in the word). The only other thing I can tell you is whatever you do, do not work at EB/Gamestop. Especially as a newbie, the amount of crap you'd have to put up with versus the shitty pay is not worth it. I made more (a whole dollar/hr) and had an easier time starting at Target than the girl I know who's worked at EB for a year and a half.
  7. More like any month during this school year is not a good time for a short-story competition... nothing against March in particular.
  8. I might have time for something after I'm through with my psych project for Friday. Of course, I never expected to have much time for short stories until school is over, but poetry next month would be spot-on.
  9. I don't know about the character limit, but damn does the druid nerf suck (for everybody PvE-wise, not just them). It's pretty much impossible now for them to deal any damage in bear form, and forget tanking. It's become a last-ditch effort to prolong their life a little bit, if they run out of mana to heal themselves or need to give the healer extra time to get one off. Looks like Blizz definitely wanted to take the tank out of the druid.
  10. Rama, I believe there are still ways to glitch into Outland that Blizz hasn't normed. Grab a high level friend and try a 'lock summon, mage port (to Shattrath City), or meeting stone. One of them should work (and did as of last week, last time I saw a lowbie in the guild show up in Shattrath).
  11. There's a new Arcade Fire album? Bloody... and I just dropped for the new Bloc Party. I never really bought into The Blood Brothers. I just can't get into them like, say, The Mars Volta, or The Locust, or whatever else you might compare them with.
  12. Just take a look at the test realm patch notes and you'll find all kinds of nerfs. The most hilarious section is druids: -40% armor in bear form, +30% stamina instead of total health, -20% Mangle damage... holy hell is it going to suck when feral druids are brought down off their high horses.
  13. This is, of course, assuming you're in a PUG or otherwise inadequate group. Get a nice group of friends/guildies who know how to keep pace, though, and instances can be a far better grind. Especially 58+. I'm up to 65.667 and finally got my epic (riding) mount a few days ago. Since then I've already got another 200g, so I hope not to have any problems picking up the normal flying mount when the time comes. Nagrand is a godsend for a skinning Hunter. Bind and grind, skin and win. Halaa is a nice touch, too.
  14. Metal Slug 3 was insanely hard, especially since two of the bosses were immune to my normal tactic of spam-nuking grenades (since they were only vulnerable at small targets near the top of the screen). Also, the zombie level, while hilarious, pissed me off so much, especially during the part where every three seconds I was either turning into a zombie or dying as one, which took up so much bloody time. Also, I love the Wiimote + Nunchuck scheme. It's a perfect fit for me. ps everybody votes lol
  15. I sure hope it's in stock still/again next week when I have my extra 10% coupon...
  16. Interesting theory, but unfortunately it's been that way since release. Also, ditto to Bahamut on Metal Slugs being hard but incredibly fun. The camel Slug in 2 was hilarious.
  17. 60-63 isn't taking nearly as long as you described, Suzu. I didn't check /played before and after but I swear it's been a matter of hours (not days) to get halfway through 62 as I have. I really, really hate how much PUG tanks suck. I swear, if I get into Ramparts with another one who can't manage to grab the dragon as he lands, I'm going to snap.
  18. Fire in the Hole

    Zune!

    You work at Game Crazy, right? And get all this free stuff? What the hell, EB Games was shit and I'm glad I left.
  19. Classic Controllers at least are normally abundant at my Target. We only have one hanging fixture for them (fits 8-9) and they'll still last an entire weekend if they come in on Friday.
  20. So I finally got a ranged weapon upgrade after using the blue Guttbuster since level 40-some, and it was a bow. My bow skill was 160/305. I went to Blasted Lands for an easier time training skill and found the Servant of Razelikh (sp), which is a 57 quest mob that doesn't die unless you do the quest procedure (gets down to 1 health and stays there). Damn are those things great for training weapon skill. Let pet grab aggro, fire fire fire, mend pet to full when he gets down to about 1000/5000 health, and by the time he needs heal again I have full mana. Got bow to 285/305 before it was too slow to warrant, and then I got a few melee skill levels too. Then I went to Ramparts in Hellfire, was almost up to the second boss (dragon rider), and all the instance servers on Shadowsong froze. One by one they started crashing, and when I was able to log back in our group was broken and it was about to port me to Shattrath before I was booted a second time, after which I couldn't log in because "No instance servers are available." I logged into my BE alt just before the guild DM run crashed as well, and shortly after that Shadowsong went offline entirely. Everything's back up now, but so much for our Ramparts run.
  21. wait what where are you finding a finite release date?
  22. You might want to clear your cache, because you're clearly seeing an outdated version of the page. I'll take a screen if you want but only if you put forth the effort to clear your cache first. I know you're seeing an outdated version because that's what it used to say when I checked a couple of weeks ago.
  23. Uh, what? Hint: March 5 isn't Q2.