Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Thursday, October 20th, 9:07 P.M.


Thursday, October 20th, 9:07 P.M.
I've noted before about how Rinoa seems to know a lot about Trebyer.  She seemed to know a lot about what routes to take, how to avoid traffic, and generally how to get to places quickly.  I didn't know why Rinoa possessed this knowledge about Trebyer untill today.  Today, Gin sent us to Conte.  When we got to Conte, we received this greeting from the hostess, "Miss Ann!  How have you been?"
My first thought was that the hostess was either talking to someone else in the restaurant, was on the phone with someone, or was high on mushrooms.  That thought was dismissed when Rinoa said, "Chelsea!  I'm good, you?"  It was bewildered by this, so I choose not to get involved in this conversation.  I don't think any men out there would blame me.
The hostess, a middle aged opfer apparently named Chelsea, replied to Rinoa, "Oh you know, working away."
"So, how are things going with you and Darryl?"
Chelsea showed her hand to Rinoa, which resulted in one of those squeals that only girls can produce.  "When's the date?"
"We don't have a date yet, but Darryl keeps on talking about popping down to Vierdestad and pulling up to one of those drive up chapels."
"I bet your Mom would love that."  The two ladies shared a laugh as I continued to study the pattern the sound dampening material made on Conte's ceiling.
"Speaking of romantic bliss, who's this specimen you brought here?"  Chelsea was referring to me, though why she referred to me as a specimen I don't know.
"Oh, that's some guy I'm working with."  Ouch.
"Work?  What do you mean work?"  Chelsea's tone had turned from happy to inquisitive.
"That's actually why I'm here.  Is Jim here?"
"Jim retired a couple of months back, but if you're looking for the manager, I'm sure Jamie could help you.  Hang on."
Chelsea left her station and went into the back area of Conte.  I guess I must have had this puzzled look on my face, because Rinoa said to me, "You have no idea what just happened, do you?"
I answered honestly.  "No, no I don't.  Not that that's a bad thing, but-"
"Chelsea's an old friend of mine.  I interned at an art gallery she worked at.  We stayed in touch untill I got accepted at The High School For Modern Arts in Dha Chathair."
"Oh.  Is that how you know Jim?"
"No.  Jim's an old friend of my Dad's.  They used to play softball, then come back here for drinks.  Sometimes I'd tag along and cause general mischief."
"What, like pulling on tablecloths and sticking straws up your nose?"
"No, like sneaking into the large refrigerator in the back, stealing a lime, cutting it up, then sneaking into coat check and filling the pockets of their jackets with them."  I found the complexity of Rinoa's prank to be a turn on.  Weird.
After a short wait, Chelsea came back with a man in tow.  Have you ever been in a situation where everybody knows everybody except for you?  I have.  Upon seeing the man Chelsea was bringing over, Rinoa yelled, "Jamie!"  Rinoa then jumped on Jamie in that way that is awesome if you're the one being jumped on but is bizarre if you are watching it.  After breaking her embrace, Rinoa said, "God, it's been so long.  How have you been?"
Jamie replied, "Great, you?"
"Oh, up and down."  What an understatement.  "So, you're running this place now?"
"Naw, I'm just filling in for the real manager untill he wanders in here."
"What do they have you doing?"
"Balancing the books and making sure the money flows right."
"Perfect, that's why Hato and I came here today."
Jamie looked me up and down and said, "Hato.  What a fine piece of man that is."  I think I preferred Jamie's comment to Chelsea calling me a specimen.
Rinoa grabbed Jamie's attention and got down to business.  "Jamie, Gin Ayah sent us here."
“Gin Ayah from Ayah Brewing?"
"Yeah."  Rinoa pulled the invoice from her pocket, have it to Jamie and said, "He sent us to collect on this."
Jamie took the invoice from Rinoa, looked it over, and said, "Okay, I'll cut you a check."
As Jamie went to leave, Rinoa said, "Actually, Gin specified that he wanted to be paid in cash."
Jamie did not take this well.  "Cash!  Are you serious?"
Rinoa calmly replied, "That's what he said."
Turning to me, Jamie said, "Is she for real?"
As calmly as Rinoa did, I replied, "Yeah.  Gin specifically told us to tell you that he wanted the invoices to be paid in cash."
My response did not make Jamie any happier.  "I don't even know if we keep that much money here."
Jamie walked to the back in a huff, with Rinoa trailing after him.  As I watched Rinoa walk away, trying not to be obvious as I studied every move she made, Chelsea came up beside me and said, "Your name's Hato, right?"
I replied, "Yep, Hato Shurtleff."
"Have you know Rinoa for long?"
"Not really, just a couple of weeks now."
"Oh."  There was a short pause before Chelsea asked, "Are you and Rinoa like boyfriend girlfriend."
I thought about it for a moment, then answered, "I don't think so.  We haven't known each other for that long, and we haven't gone out on a formal date, but we have had some pretty deep discussions.  I don't know."
Chelsea took this all in and replied, "Well, if you and Rinoa don't end up an item, come back here and see me."  After saying that, Chelsea gave me a playful swat on the butt before heading back to her station.  We kept on exchanging glanced before Rinoa came back with the money.  Just before Rinoa and I left Conte, I glanced back at Chelsea.  Chelsea responded to my glance with a wink.
I have no idea what just happened.  I’ve never been in the situation where a woman was kind of pursuing me.  It’s weird but good.  Rinoa is still first in my mind, and I will try to develop a deep connection with her, but it's nice to know I have another option out there.  It swells my ego, as well as other things, to know that people finally find me attractive.
Later.
Hato Shurtleff

Red Reacts: KSL Pulls Hannibal

On Monday it was announced that KSL-TV was going to pull the NBC series Hannibal from it's regular lineup.  In a statement, Tami Ostmark, KSL's vice president of marketing, research and promotion said, "After this last week's episode, it just had too much graphic content for us."  "It was just too bloody and violent.  "This is beyond anything we've put on our station before. This is too graphic to be on regular TV. It should be a cable show. We've talked to NBC, and that's how we feel about it."
KSL pulling network shows from it's lineup is not new for the channel.  Last year, KSL chose to pull The New Normal from it's lineup, saying "dialogue might be excessively rude and crude. The scenes may be too explicit or the characterizations might seem offensive... For our brand, this program feels inappropriate on several dimensions, especially during family viewing time."  Other shows KSL has chosen to pull include the American version of Coupling, The Playboy Club, Poker After Dark, and Saturday Night Live.
What strikes me about this choice by KSL is the timing of it.  KSL made the decision to pull The New Normal from it's lineup before the series started airing.  The same can be said of The Playboy Club, Coupling, and Poker After Dark.  However, in the case of Hannibal, four episodes of the show had already aired on KSL before they made their announcement.  The amount of blood and violence in Hannibal was evident to many critics was evident upon viewing of the pilot of the show.  If the people who run KSL had viewed the pilot of Hannibal, as they presumably had in the case of The New Normal, wouldn't they have found objection to it then?  Or, as I suspect, did the people who run KSL not even watch the pilot of The New Normal, and made their decision based on the synopsis of the series?
KSL deciding to not air content that they find objectionable is why I, a paying consumer, have decided to, if I can, get my television content through online providers, such as Hulu.  Why should I be reliant on other people to decide what TV shows I do and do not get to watch?  Why shouldn't I, as a consumer, make the decisions on my own?  This motivation is why I watched the entire first season of The New Normal on Hulu, as well as many other series that I can find on that service.  This motivation is also why I sought out the pilot of Hannibal on Hulu.  After viewing the pilot of Hannibal, I chose not to watch the show any further due to the blood and violence that was in the pilot episode.  That was a choice that I made.  Me.  Not KSL.

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Wednesday, October 19th, 6:56 P.M.


Wednesday, October 19th, 6:56 P.M.
Today, Gin sent Rinoa and I to a place called Videospil, which is located near an arena where the Dolore Wolverines play.  This area contains many sports bars with large video screens playing sports programming, music with sports themes in them playing on speakers, and walls lined with enough sports memorabilia to crush a small child.  Videospil is not one of these places.  It seems, at least to me, that Videospil acts as counterprogramming to these sports bars without being overtly feminine.  Videospil is an arcade that serves very nice food.
As we made our way to Videospil, Rinoa and I passed the same groups of people we had before.  Some of these groups were predominately opfer, some were predominately verbrecher.  The opfer groups didn't think much of, or even really acknowledge that we were there.  We seemed to get a lot more attention from the verbrecher groups.  Their stares conveyed a mixture of contempt, hatred, and intimidation.  I didn't let the stares affect me much but the stares seemed to have an effect on Rinoa.  As we passed three groups of verbrechers, Rinoa grabbed onto my arm as if she was looking to me for protection.  If that's the case, we're screwed.
When we got to Videospil, the hostess informed us that the manager was busy and offered us a seat.  Gin had given us some extra money, so we ordered some appetizers to munch on while we waited.  The layout of Videospil is very interesting.  There's a large section where people can go and play many different kinds of video games that play music, go bleep and bloop, and spit out tickets you can redeem for small trinkets.  On the other side of the building, in its own separate section, elevated slightly from the section with the games in it, is a smaller section where you eat.  You and the people you came to Videospil with can eat and converse and fill their bellies, all while listening to and being enticed by the beeps and bloops and other general noises of people playing the games.  You can also watch the people play these games and enjoy themselves.  Rinoa and I took one of the seats overlooking the people playing in the arcade.
Several of the games in the arcade area looked like a lot of fun to play, but I knew that if I left to play the games alone I'd come off like a self indulgent jerk.  So, I said to Rinoa, "You wanna go play some of the games while we wait for the manager?"
Rinoa, staring at the arcade, looked kind of sullen before she said, "No, I don't think so."
Somehow I could sense that something was wrong, so I asked, "What's wrong, Rinoa?"  She didn't answer at first, so I looked at what Rinoa was looking at.  There were kids playing the games, and enjoying themselves as kids always do, but there were also adults enjoying themselves in a similar manner.  The adults were pressing buttons, fiddling with joysticks, flailing their arms, stomping their feet, and just letting themselves go.  “That looks like fun.”
"It looks fleeting."
"What makes you say that?"
Rinoa turned toward me and spoke.  "I’ve heard many times that situations like what is currently happening in Dolore come and go.  I’ve never really accepted that because I have yet to learn why.  Why is peace between verbrechers and opfers fleeting?  Why can't happy, fun, and joyful situations like what I see in this arcade be the norm instead of the exception?"
Rinoa's statement took me out of the mindset I was in before.  Before Rinoa's statement I had lost sight of what I was really doing, what my goal is, what is my purpose.  In that moment, in that mindset, I decided to let Rinoa into that purpose.  I didn't care if doing so prevented the development of our relationship, I just did it.  "Rinoa, I want to get to Amcan.  I want to get to Velas.  I want to get to the Velas Broadcast News Service.  I want to do that so I can tell the world what's going on in Dolore.  What I have seen, what I have been victim to, and what I am escaping.  I believe that getting to Velas and telling the world what's going on here will stop it from ever happening again."
Rinoa seemed to be uplifted by what I said to her.  Not much of an uplift, but I like the uplift I caused.  After I was done, Rinoa asked, "Can I come with you?"
Rinoa's question caused an uplift in me.  "Yes.  I'll be glad to take you along."  In the immediate moment after our conversation, I believe the question Rinoa just asked me is the best question anyone has ever asked me.
Later.
Hato Shurtleff

Pizza Hut = Facebook and Twitter


 
On Monday, news stories started reporting about a new app on the Xbox 360.  This app would allow you to order pizza from Pizza Hut from the comfort of your own couch via the Xbox 360.
Reactions to this have been mixed.  Some have lauded the release of this app as "Wicked awesome!".  Other have reacted negatively, seeing this as a detrimental outgrowth of the sedentary lifestyle that companies like Microsoft and Pizza Hut thrive on.  I have a different take on this new app.
 
At about the same time as the new Xbox Live Dashboard interface was rolled out, a couple of new apps were released.  These apps allowed you to view your Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as craft updates to both social media platforms.  These apps were touted for allowing the users of the Xbox 360 to view Facebook and Twitter from their couches.  There is just one problem with this...

Users of either of these apps could already view Facebook and Twitter from their couches.  All they would have to do is pull out their phones or tablets and use the Facebook and Twitter apps loaded on those devices to view their chosen social media platform.  In some cases, the phone and tablet apps provided the users with a better experience than the Xbox 360 Facebook or Twitter apps.  Eventually both the Facebook and Twitter Xbox 360 apps were discontinued due to lack of use.
Similar things could be said about the Pizza Hut Xbox 360 app.  If you want to order a pizza from Pizza Hut from your couch, you can already do that.  All you have to do is pull out your phone or tablet and use the Pizza Hut app that is available on iPhone and Android.  You don't need to interrupt the myriad of activities you can do on your Xbox 360 to order a pizza on your couch.  You can just pull out your phone, call up the Pizza Hut app, and order your chosen pizza without having to stop your activity at all.
There are other restaurants that have similar apps.  For example, I recently used the Chili's app to order myself a steak dinner from my car in the parking lot outside my work.  By the time I was able to drive to my local Chili's restaurant, my steak dinner was already cooked and ready to be eaten.  I'm sure if you are properly motivated, you can find any number of different apps that can allow you to order most any kind of greasy, fattening foods.
My prediction is that, like the Facebook and Twitter apps, the Pizza Hut Xbox 360 app will be discontinued due to lack of use within two years.

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Tuesday, October 18th, 7:05 P.M.


Tuesday, October 18th, 7:05 P.M.
When Rinoa and I got back to Gin's house, we went straightaway to Gin's office to deliver the money from Guillen's.  As Rinoa and I approached Gin's office, the door was open a crack and we could hear that Gin was having a conversation with someone.  Not wanting to intrude on the conversation and also being hungry, I wanted to go to the kitchen for a minute.  Rinoa wasn't interested in going to the kitchen because of something she heard Gin say.  She quietly crept up to the office door in order to hear Gin's conversation.  I did the same purely because it was an excuse to get close to Rinoa.  This is what Gin said:
"Hello, Dha Chathair General?  Yes, I'm looking for a missing person who might have been taking to your hospital.  The last time anyone from him was Saturday.  Saturday the fifteenth.  Yes of October!  Sorry, sorry, sorry, I'm just a bit tired.  Yes.  I'm looking for my father.  He's a male, brown eyes, black hair, sixty-eight years old, his name is Eugene Ayah, although most people call him The Father.  The last place I think anyone saw him was in the Third Branch of The Church of the Holy God.  Member?  He's The Father, he runs the Third Branch.  What?  You can't help?  Why?  So what if he's a non-believers, you're a hospital!  You treat the sick.  Next you're going to tell me you refuse treatment to opfers as well.  What?  What the fuck is wrong with you people!  Goddamn it!  Fuck it!  Fuck them all!"
Gin's swearing finish was accompanied by a crash we later found out was Gin throwing his phone across the room.  I don't know if I heard what I thought I heard, but I hope this doesn't affect my plane ride to Amcan.
Later.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Tuesday, October 18th, 1:17 P.M.


Tuesday, October 18th, 1:17 P.M.
Tucked in a small, quiet part of town in between a grocery store and a place to get your oil changed is a place called Guillen's.  If you look at it from the outside, you would not know what Guillen's is.  You might just think that this building has been abandoned for years, despite there being a freshly painted sign near the door.  I think that is the intent.  I think Guillen's wants to give the impression that they, and the music that is played therein, is a well guarded secret that those in the know have to clue you in to.  Fortunately, I have been clued in.
Today, Gin sent Rinoa and I to a blues bar, and upon entering I felt like I was at home.  Not the racist, violent, murderous home as I last saw it, but the warm, inclusive, safe home I had experienced before.  The music and the atmosphere of Guillen's reminded me of those occasions, before Sakoshi was born, when my parents would have company over.  The adults would be indulging in great food, great music, and great beverages, while the kids were in the extra bedroom wishing they were in on the party.  On those occasions, while they were setting up, my Father would talk to me about the music they would be listening to.  Who was playing, how they were playing, and what they were playing, and why what they were playing was so important to people in the know.  Those memories brought a smile to my face, a smile Rinoa picked up on.
"What are you smiling about, Hato?  You do know they won't serve you here, right?"
I couldn't, or didn't want to, tell Rinoa why exactly I was smiling, so I made something up.  "This song, it's by Gatton Jex.  You don't really hear his stuff that often, but I really enjoy it."
Rinoa clearly was not impressed.  "Oh.  Maybe that's who's performing."
"I doubt it, seeing as he's dead."
Rinoa was scanning the room, looking for Guillen's manager, when something caught her eye.  "Also, that sign over there says someone named Shannon Dalton is playing."
"Oh.  I wonder if he's any good."
Rinoa's continuing scan caught something else.  "The person playing is a chick."
Rinoa's observation hurt my pride, so I shut up for a bit.  Luckily at about this time we found a bartender that looked like he ran things at Guillen's.  He didn't, but he went to the back to get the person who did.  As he did so, I took the opportunity to listen to Miss Dalton play.  There's something about watching a woman play the guitar that is absolutely mesmerizing to me.  I hope it's not because I marvel at the fingerwork.
Rinoa dealt with the manager and getting Gin's money while I was watching Miss Dalton play.  I didn't even know any of that was going on untill Rinoa hit me with an envelope with Gin's money in it and said, "Let's go."  With that we left Guillen's.  I should have put some money in Miss Daltons tip glass, but not having money prevents you from doing that.
As we were walking back to Gin's, I was still grooving on one of the songs that was played.  Rinoa found this quite amusing.  While standing at an intersection, and while I was tapping my foot and humming as a volume I thought was quiet, Rinoa said to me, "Well, now I know that all it takes to make you act like a fool is to strap on a guitar and start strumming away."
Through my embarrassment, I said, "Yeah, I just get carried away sometimes."
"Yeah, guys tend to get ga-ga when beautiful women are present."
Rinoa's dismissive and borderline condescending tone caused me to defend myself.  "It wasn't the Miss Dalton that made me go ga-ga."  Rinoa shot me a look that conveyed just how little she believed me.  "Okay, it wasn't just Miss Dalton, it was the music.  Blues.  Good, old fashioned, stripped down guitar and vocal blues just strikes a chord with me.  When I'm in an environment where I can revel in that music, I just let myself slip away."
This is when the evident cynicism on Rinoa's face started to break.  "I feel that.  You're in an environment where art that you enjoy is, and you were just enjoying art."
"Exactly."
"It's like my reaction when I look at that billboard over there."  Rinoa then gestured toward an ad hanging on the grocery store next to Guillen's.  It's an ad for Pilot Bananas featuring their iconic mascot Paula Pilot: The Pilot That Fly Bananas.  This ad was a departure from the boring business-like image we usually see from Paula Pilot.  Rinoa described this ad to me far better than I can do myself.  "Look at the background, the gently sloping hills filled with fertile farms, topped by a clear blue sky.  In the foreground is the mascot, clad in the attire of the worker, holding a basket of the product just under the level of her breasts, full, perky, and on display but not in a tawdry way.  Finally, look at Paula's head.  Her hair is flowing, long, and free in the breeze, her eyes look upward optimistically while the brief hint of a smile graces her full, red lips.  That billboard is so fascinating to me as a lover of art."
The description Rinoa delivered intrigued me.  Also, I like the sound of her voice.  "How so?"
I could see a glimmer in Rinoa's eye as she explained.  "Well, you can draw different meanings from that billboard, depending on what mindset you operated under.  If you're an optimist, you see the good message Pilot Bananas is trying to convey.  You see the bright, clean sky, plentiful fields, and the strong vibrant woman as Pilot trying to say that their bananas are filled with those qualities.  However, if you're a cynic, you can derive a completely different meaning.  You look at the fields and think that there is no way that the modern day corporate run farms look anything like that.  You look at the sky, free and clear of the thick black some belched out of the trucks that move Pilot Bananas around.  Then, in the center of all this, you see Paula.  Paula, no longer the inspirational feminist icon, now transformed into the wholly unrealistic representation of the common worker, while, at the same time, acting as a sexual provocateur, with her breasts and her lips and the blatantly phallic objects she is holding near her breasts and lips."
I had to stifle my excitement at the unabashedly militant things Rinoa was saying.  I did this by deflecting.  "I feel the same way about music, particularly the Blues we were just listening to.  Depending on what you're going through at the time, good times, bad times, normal times, or whatever, you can take different meanings from the Blues.  You can commiserate with the artist about the bad times you both are going through.  You can look at your own life in comparison to the artist and see that things really aren't that bad.  The blues can also be life affirming, as you remember where you were, were you are now, and become that much grateful for the high point you are experiencing now."
Rinoa had this slowly growing smile on her face as she listened to me.  "Yeah, I feel what you mean.  Oh look, the light changed."
The traffic light had changed and we darted across the street before it changed again.  Our discussion didn't end there, we continued talking about music and art as we made our way back to Gin's house.  I think I've made a connection with Rinoa, a connection that, God willing, will continue to develop as time goes forward.
Later.
Hato Shurtleff

Red Review- The Witcher 2

By now we all have seen The Room.  If you haven't, take a minute right now and go see.  Don't worry, I'll wait.
Good.  Now we all have seen The Room.  The Room is the perfect convergence of a bad story, bad acting, bad cinematography, bad location design, just bad bad bad bad bad.  Despite the film's mastermind's frequent assertions otherwise, The Room seems to be the perfect purposely bad movie.
The Room also contains frequent sex scenes.  About ever ten minutes in the movie, there will be a scene of inexplicable love making.  Seriously, you can practically set your watch by the frequency of the fucking in The Room.  Does the frequent sex scenes make The Room better?  No.  In fact, the frequent sex scene is another thing that makes The Room the perfect bad movie.
This is Tress Merigold, a character in The Witcher 2.  The first time you see Tress Merigold in The Witcher 2, she is butt ass naked.  Seriously.  Tress is not butt ass naked for no apparent reason.  In fact, Tress being butt ass naked in the situation that we first fall upon that character is perfectly reasonable.  Still, Tress is butt ass naked.  In fact I don't think I had ever seen female public hair in a video game before I had played The Witcher 2.
The first scene involving Tress Merigold being butt ass naked is not the only erotic scene in this game.  The Witcher 2 contains frequent scenes of explicit sexuality.  Many different scenes with many different characters.  There is a pretty tasty one involving Tress Merigold and Gareth of Rivia, the protagonist of the game, that occurs early on in the game.
Does the frequent use of sex scenes in The Witcher 2 make the game better?  Not really.  The Witcher 2 is bogged down by it's complex menu screen, hard to find mission points, and high difficulty at the start.  Sure The Witcher 2 is a beautiful game, as the sex scenes make apparent, but a game cannot live on good graphics alone.  In my opinion, the gameplay must be solid and compelling in order to constitute a good game, and the gameplay in The Witcher 2 is not up to the standard set forward by such games as Dragon Age and Skyrim.  If I wanted to be immersed in the frequent sexual exploits of a hot as all hell redhead, I would lose fifty pounds then hop on Craigslist.
The Witcher 2: C-

Sometimes


Sometimes
by Hunter Red

Sometimes
You want to
Lie in the grass
Watching the sky pass by
And pretend the world isn't there.

Sometimes
You want to
Turn off the screen
Stop the endless parade of tragedy
And pretend that it doesn't exist.

Sometimes
You want to
Exist in the world
But not be effected
As if you weren't there.

Sometimes
You want to
But you can't
You cannot because the world insists
You feel, you mourn, you be here.

Sometimes
You want to.
Often
You don't want to.
And that's okay.

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Monday, October 17th, 7:30 P.M.


Monday, October 17th, 7:30 P.M.
Rinoa and I got back from Frokost at about six.  Once we got to Gin's house, we went straight to Gin's office to finish the delivery.  As we approached the office, we could hear Sam and Gin having a loud discussion.  Not a heated discussion, just a loud one.  Upon hearing the discussion, Rinoa said she had to freshen up before dinner.  If I wasn't holding the envelope with Gin's money in it at the time I might have joined her.
Slowly I crept up to the door to Gin's office and knocked on the door, to which Sam bellowed, "Enter!"
I opened the door and was greeted warmly by Gin.  "Hato, you've come back from that errand I sent you on."
As I approached Gin's desk I said, "Yes, I've got the money you sent me for."  I could see Sam was sitting in front of Gin's desk with his drink in his left hand and nothing in his right.  This is the reason I stayed on Sam's left side as I approached Gin's desk.  I didn't count on Sam reaching across his body to snatch Gin's envelope away from me without spilling his drink.
"Yoink!" is what Sam exclaimed as he yoinked the envelope from my hands.  "Let's take a lookie-here-see at what's in this envelope."  Sam was obviously drunk as he did so.  "Look!  Several hundred dollars in large and semi-large bills, and a mint!"  Sam eagerly gobbled up the mint, making obnoxious om-nom noises as he did so.  "So, Hato, did you and Rinoa play hooker and pimp so you could get this money for Gin?"
The very premise of Sam's question offended me, and I expressed my offense.  "Fuck no."  I don't know if Sam heard me as he was still on-noming his mint.
Gin tried to explain the situation to the obnoxious drunk sitting in front of him.  "Sam, I need money so I can procure plane fuel for an upcoming trip which Hato is accompanying me on.  So, I had Hato and Rinoa take an invoice over to-"
To this point I didn't know if Sam was actually listening to what Gin was saying, but Sam must have been because he interrupted Gin, saying, "An invoice for what?"
Gin calmly replied, "Alcohol."
Sam drunkenly erupted, while making sure not to spill his drink, "You sent these kids to get your money to assist in your efforts to get people drunk off your filthy stinking alcohol."
After finishing his statement, Sam finished off his drink, to which Gin had to point out, "You're drinking alcohol made by my company."
Not wanting to be the impotent victim in this conversation, I stepped in to defend myself.  "Besides, I'm an adult,  not some dopy kid.  Also, what's your problem with drinking?"
Sam blearily looked me in the eye and said, "Alcohol is against our religion, and so is the drinking of alcohol which is against our religion."
The flaw in what Sam said hit me instantly.  "You're drinking alcohol right now."
Sam, maintaining his posture from before, said, "I'm an adult!"
Gin chimed in, "You're a hypocrite."
Sam, jerking his head followed by his whole body toward Gin, said, "No I'm not, I have principals.  And another thing..."  I didn't listen to Sam's drunken rant much further than that.  I could write down what Sam said, but I sincerely don't care.
There's a courtyard on Gin's property that I wondered into after I left Gin's office.  In the courtyard I saw several of the people that fled Dha Chathair along with me.  Some of them were nursing injuries, some had not cleaned up after the trip, but most were doing what most people do when they're in a large group, taking, having some fun, and enjoying being alive.  I also spotted Rinoa amongst the people in the courtyard.  Rinoa didn’t seem to have that dark energy she had before.  I don’t quite know what it is, but Rinoa seems to be more beautiful than before.
Later.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Monday, October 17th, 2:43 P.M.


Monday, October 17th, 2:43 P.M.
The first delivery Rinoa and I made was to Frokost, a restaurant near Dolore University.  As we made our way to Frokost, Rinoa took the lead in navigating us there.  She knew which routes to take, which roads would be busy and not busy, and how to avoid crowds coming from the university.  Looking back, it seems kind of odd that she had this kind of knowledge.  It was like walking around a town with someone who grew up in that town and had an intimate knowledge of it.
The lunch rush had just hit when we got to Frokost, so we decided to hold off on getting Gin's money untill the rush had subsisted.  Rinoa and I wandered over to the Dolore University campus and found a nice water fountain that most people use to sit, talk, and be personable in front of.  We chose this spot to play with the electronic devices we were carrying.  Eventually we started talking about the devices we were carrying.
Rinoa, looking over at me, asked, "Is that a Hipster?"
I didn't know if she had not seen one before or was familiar with them, so I went with it. "Yep."  There was a long pause as I mentally kicked myself for not giving a longer response to Rinoa's question.  Finally, Rinoa tried striking up conversation again.
"What kind of programs do you have for that thing?"
"Oh, just the programs that were on it when I got it.  Clock, radio, a journal program I get a lot of use out of, music, normal kind of stuff."
"Oh.  That's cool."  After that there was another long pause in the conversation, and Rinoa's device did look interesting, at least more interesting than I was being at the moment.  Finally, at long last, I decided to look at something then ask Rinoa about it.
"What do you think of that water fountain over there?"  I thought the fountain I was referring to was a simple series of translucent squares arranged so that the water flows over then in a consistent manner.  So, Rinoa's reply shocked me.
"The angular design suggests a Galbadian influence, possibly the artist is either from that region or spent a great deal of time there.  The amount of recurrent water is reminiscent of the late Velasian artist Nomura, who sought to reflect his mindset that one must not plunder the vast and abundant resources of his native land.  Finally, the drains at the bottom, in particular the way they catch everything in the general area, may be subtly reminding people of the message delivered by Dolorian philosopher Taylor Flemming, who said, 'Everything we do is caught by someone, even if that someone is only ourselves.'  What do you think?"
Rinoa's lengthy, complex, and long answer set me back on my heels for a bit.  In that moment, about the only response I had was, "I was thinking that the sound of the falling water makes me want to pee."  We both got a good laugh out of that, although I don't know if Rinoa's laughter was genuine or if she was humoring me.
Shortly after that, we made our way to Frokost.  The lunch rush is over, we talked to the manager, and he's getting Gin's money right now.  The manager offered us a bite to eat which Rinoa refused but I eagerly accepted.  I wish I had followed Rinoa's lead because this pizza sucks.
There's something Rinoa pointed out to me as we waited for Gin's payment.  Rinoa noticed something about the students in the restaurant.  They were all sitting in groups, different sized groups, some with books and laptops, others with just food.  None of these groups seemed to have anything in common, except for one thing.  The groups with people of verbrecher descent were seated on one side of the restaurant, while the groups with people of opfer descent were on the opposite side, and none of the groups had members of both verbrecher and opfer descent.  Rinoa finds this situation to be odd.  I find it to be troubling.
Later.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Monday, October 17th, 9:37 A.M.


Monday, October 17th, 9:37 A.M.
As it turns out the armoire was stacked, with clothes.  Not clothes for me, clothes that are better suited for being put on, then slowly and sensuously being taken off.  As I tried again to drift off to sleep, I cursed the fact that I didn't have access to something, anything, that would have distracted me from Rinoa.  Rinoa didn't spent the whole night in the hallway crying, but the thought of her doing so never left my mind.
By the time dawn came around I was long since awake and long since ready to get started on going to Amcan.  Rinoa wasn't in the hallway when I ventured out into it.  I don't know where she slept but I hope it was somewhere comfortable.
When I came down to the kitchen, I found Sam digging around looking for breakfast in the particularly empty pantry.  Meanwhile Gin was drinking his coffee while being engrossed in The Financial Times, which is something I've never said before.  They didn't notice me standing there at first, so they went on with the conversation they were having.
Sam, setting aside a box full of tall dark bottles, said, "I know you like your liquid lunches, but do you have anything resembling a normal meal?"
Gin, not looking up from his paper, said, "My definition of normal is different from yours.  Also, I don't get drunk all the time.  I'd be a pretty shitty businessman if I did that."
"Really?  Then why do you have more alcohol in here than food?"
"Alcohol gets better with age.  Food, not so much."
"Well, at the very least, you should have some cereal."
"Why would I have cereal in my house?  I don't eat cereal."
"Then, what do you usually have?"
"Three cups of coffee and my fill of the half assed business reporting I get from this rag."
Once I heard coffee I thought I'd enter the conversation.  "Do you take your coffee as black as the newsprint you're reading?"
Sam was shocked by me showing up unexpectedly and spilled a package of macaroni, which he promptly went about cleaning up.  Gin folded his paper down, looked at me, and said, "Good morning, and no.  I like my coffee black, not off gray with advertisements in vivid color."
Still on the floor, Sam said, "Did you sleep well, Hato?"
Instead of helping Sam, I responded, "Yes.  I am well rested and ready for work."
That comment was directed toward Gin.  He responded by finishing his coffee, getting up from the table, and saying, "Great, Hato, follow me."  Gin then lead me out the kitchen through the living room.  As we did so, Rinoa was coming in from outside.  Gin took notice of her.  "You, what's your name?"
Bleary and haggard, Rinoa responded, "Rinoa."
Gin replied, "Rinoa, come with me."  Gin continued on through the hallway in his house, with Rinoa and I following behind him, untill we reached what looked like Gin's office.  It looked to be no larger than the bedroom I had back in Moenia Prima, expect there was a large desk with several display cases behind it.  The desk was topped with a laptop, phone, and other things you'd expect in a normal office.  The display cases had booze.  Large and small bottles of booze with different metals, trophies, and other assorted awards sitting behind them.  Gin started leafing through some papers on his desk and while he talked to us.  "Hato, you know that plane I mentioned last night?"
I responded, "Yeah."
Gin, now checking the drawers of his desk, said, "It's going to take me some time to get everything together.  It usually takes a couple of days to put together flight manifests, clearance to go over international borders, and other assorted bullshit.  What'll take the most time is fuel.  Fuel is a highly valued commodity, most especially plane fuel."
Rinoa, having now shaken the cobwebs from her eyes, said, "How can we help?"
Gin looked up from his desk and said, "I knew it was good to grab you.  What I need is money.  I think I'm going to have to bribe someone in the International League-"
Rinoa angrily cut Gin off, saying, "Those blue helmeted dipshits?"
Without missing a beat, Gin replied, "Yep, they who poorly keep the peace.  Anyway, I need to bribe someone in the International League in order to get some plan fuel.  In order to do that, I need cash."
Looking around Gin's office, Rinoa said, "You have an office like this, yet have problems with cash?"
I, not thinking anything of it, added, "Yeah, plus that bed I slept in last night was too luxurious to be cheap."
Rinoa got this offended look on her face and said, "You slept in a bed last night?"
In a bit of perfect timing, Gin, having searched the drawers on either side of his desk, opened the middle drawer of his desk, which caused his face to light up.  "There they are!"  Gin then pulled a handful of papers out of his drawer, placed them on his desk, and closed the drawer.  "These are invoices for various places that owe my company money.  Every day, you take one of these invoices to the business, tell them that I, Mr. Ayah, want to be paid in cash, not check, then bring the money back to me."
Wanting to get to Amcan as quickly as possible, I said, "Why don't we just take care of all the invoices today?"
Gin replied, "Because a kid your walking around with a large amount of cash is considered suspicious by the troops from the International League."
Rinoa found another flaw.  "Why don't you just hit up a bank for cash?"
Gin shot back, "Again, the International League.  They would be made aware of a money withdrawal of that amount and become suspicious of my company and me."
Finding another flaw, Rinoa said, "How about taking out an amount of money over several days?"
Just as quickly as before, Gin replied, "Because activity like that is also suspicious."
At this point, I felt the need to summarize.  "So you want us to collect on some invoices for you, in cash, bring them back so that you can bribe some officials to get some plane fuel so that you can fly me to Amcan?"
As he nodded, Gin said, "Yep."
As she turned to leave, Rinoa said, "I'm going to get cleaned up first.  Maybe I can use that nice bathroom Hato used last night."
As I watched her leave, I thought something and asked Gin to confirm.  "Was it wrong for me to mention that bedroom?"
Nodding again, Gin said, "Yep, but don't worry.  Once she cleans up, she'll feel a lot better."
I hope he's right.
Later.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 3- Trebyer: Monday, October 17th, 1:25 A.M.


Monday, October 17th, 1:25 A.M.
Man.  I had no idea how good a shower could feel.  The water passing over my head and over my body had the effect of washing everything away.  Dirt, sweat, stress, what just happened, everything.  That feeling, combined with my belly filled with pickles, had the effect of just making me feel good.  I hadn’t felt good like that in a long time.  Too long.
It's a good thing I got upstairs and made my choice of which of Gin's bedrooms I wanted before anyone else.  This isn’t so much a room as it is a mini-apartment.  It has a cloud-like king size bed, a shower with a showerhead positioned above your head that gently rains on you, and a large tub with jets that both massage and stimulate.  The only way this room could get better is if it had a stash of booze in it, although I haven't looked in that large armoire in the corner yet..
After I took a long comfortable bath, I settled into bed.  I didn't dress before trying to go to sleep because sleeping in dirty clothes would have hindered my perfect comfort.  As I tried to go to sleep, a sound coming from the hallway prevented me from doing so.  A persistent sound.  The kind of sound that tears at your very soul.  Someone was in the hallway crying.
I wandered out of bed and went over by the door to listen to the crying person.  I didn't get dressed because I had no intention of opening the door to see what was wrong with the person.  Also, I just didn't want to get dressed.  As I got closer to the door, I was more able to make out who the person was and what they were saying as they were crying.  Rinoa was the person who was crying, and what she said is significant.
"They're gone.  They're all gone.  I thought maybe they could survive the ride back to this damn city, but no.  No!  Those fuckers shot them.  Shot them dead!  Now I'm back.  Back here in this damn city just as alone as when I left here.  What am I even doing here?  What!  Why can't I just be rid of it.  Why can't I just leave.  Leave the city, leave these people that took my family, my friends, my whole future away from me.  Why!  Why goddamn it, why?"
What Rinoa said made me feel suddenly bad about the way I was enjoying myself in this room.  This armoire had better be loaded.
Later.
Hato Shurtleff

iLapdances


 
Recently the release of the Steve Jobs biopic jOBS was pushed back.  Speculation was that this was done so that more promotional work could be done for the Ashton Kutcher vehicle.  Other people have speculated that the movie was being canned untill it could be released quietly on a much later date.  However, after some digging around, the real reason for the release delay of jOBS has been revealed.  jOBS and Open Road Films, the movie studio behind the movie, are the target of a copyright dispute.
Dynamo is a small gentleman's club on the outskirts of Baylor University.  Like many other gentleman's clubs, they have to compete against the internet, escort services, the internet, other bars in the are, the internet, and picking up random people on Craigslist.  To help compete, Dynamo has come up with a way for customers to customize their erotic experience.
Like many gentleman's clubs, Dynamo has it's own DJ spinning the pop hits from five years ago, as well as the current Nickleback single.  In the past, this same shallow catalogue was available to be played in the club's private areas.  In late 2010 Dynamo changed this.  For a fee, to cover the cost of licensing songs to be played in a public venue, customers who choose to get a private dance can also chose which song they want their dancer to shake her ass to from their own iPods. Dynamo has called this service "jOBS", an erotic play on the iPod that would be utilized in this service.
This move was met with praise from Dynamo's customers, and mixed feelings from the club's employees.
Curtis Wilkerson, a student at Baylor, said, "Yeah!  I've always wanted to see someone dance to Mumford and Sons."
Shane Taylor, a worker at a nearby postal facility, said, "At first I thought it was a joke, but then I tried it, and I pleasantly enjoyed having some blonde woman grind on my while Kid Rock was playing in the background."
Marnie Stewart, an employee at Dynamo under the name "Charly", said "I used to like Justin Bieber.  Now, after hearing his every night, I hate that guy and his lesbian haircut."
Gregory Taylor, a retired oil worker, said, "I've tricked many girls into giving me a dance for one song and then picking a really long song.  I've grown to love Pink Floyd's early shit."
A date for the lawsuit against Open Road Films has yet to be set as settlement negotiations are still ongoing.  Meanwhile, Dynamo continues to offer the jOBS service, along with two-for-one dances on Tuesdays, steak dinners for only four dollars, and all gingers performers dance for free on Sundays.  Dynamo is generally not busy on Sundays.