Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Thursday, October 27th, 8:19 A.M.

Thursday, October 27th, 8:19 A.M.
Considering how the military is all about making that soldier say and do the right thing in the right way, you'd figure one of the things the higher brass would do is be on time.  Unfortunately, it appears Commander Lider doesn't see the need to be on time.  Commander Lider doesn't seem to understand that if you are not ON TIME people will end up waiting for you.  And if you keep on not being ON TIME then people will have to wait for you again and again and fucking again.
Seriously, Lider, what the fucking hell!  Ushtar isn't late like this.  He's been downstairs in the lobby of The Redford every morning without fail.  Sure it's only been three days, but Ushtar's three for three.  Lider is fucking zero for everything.
On our way over here, Ushtar was obsessing about trains again.  He was talking about wanting to see a working locomotive at a station in town.  There's a certain endearing quality to Ushtar's obsession over trains, except for one thing.  I've seen Grace.  How can a man be obsesses with trains when he's got someone like Grace?
Sitting in this waiting room waiting for a leader, again, makes me think about how much I'd rater be doing anything else.  Anything.  Anything!  Including listening to Ushtar talk endlessly about trains.  This is because hearing Ushtar talk about trains is at least something.  Something is at least something, which is better than the fucking nothing I'm hearing from Lider right now.  Fucking nothing from fucking Lider.  Fuck.
Hato Shurtleff


by Hunter Red

There are many various reactions
To the passing that occurred
Reactions had by many people
With differing connections
Both physical and emotional connections
Differing reactions, both of the kind of reaction
And of the impact of that reaction
But there is one amongst them
One who feels the impact most of all
One who is rocked to her very core
One who perhaps thought she was prepared
But when it actually happens

No one can blame her reaction
In fact, even though we don't want to admit
Deep down, when that time comes
We all hope there is someone in our lives
Who would react the same way
Not that we would inflict this upon them
But, in a way, it's comforting to know
That someone is there
Someone who cares enough for us
Someone who is close enough to us
That when that time comes
They are

Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Thursday, October 27th, 6:51 A.M.

Thursday, October 27th, 6:51 A.M.
I'm awake now.  At least, I think I'm awake now.  In my bed there's a woman.  A deep, witty, smart, and absolutely beautiful woman is in my bed.  A woman that I just had sex with.  This has got to be a dream.  Things just don't fall together this perfectly.  Either that, or karma is about to bite me in the ass.
I took a shower and got dressed, all while trying not to disturb Rinoa.  The new clothes I got look great.  They're a bit stiff but a good wash could probably solve that.  Also, I'm never wearing my told tight underwear again.  These boxers are so much more comfortable.
Before I left, I looked back at Rinoa, laying in bed with the morning sun falling on her.  For a second I didn't want to leave.  For a second I wanted to crawl back into bed with her.  Not to do anything with her, just to be there.  That second passed and I ended up leaving.  Not because I thought being there was a bad idea.  I left because I know the best way to ensure more mornings like this morning happen is if I work to get Rinoa and I to a place truly safe, Velas.  This is what I'm doing now.
I will see you later, my love.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Thursday, October 27th, 1:21 A.M.

Thursday, October 27th, 1:21 A.M.
Afterglow.  Wow.
As I was making my way back to The Redford, I ran into Rinoa and Grace.  They were out having lunch after a full day of shopping.  I didn't notice Grace was there at first, Rinoa just looked to luminous, beaming, and just simply beautiful.
I sat down with Rinoa and Grace and the three of us talked about things.  I'm confident in saying we talked about things.  Can't say which things we talked about because I don't remember.  You can blame Rinoa for that, although blame might be too strong of a word.
After a while of the three of us talking, Ushtar showed up, gave his fiancé a peck, and joined in on the conversation.  What I remember about that part of the conversation is very sparse.  The one big thing I remember is that Ushtar is obsessed with trains.  Ushtar was carrying around a new train model he had bought, his sixteenth different model of train as he frequently boasted.  Ushtar also was proud to show off a new program for his Hipster Phone.  The program, Train Tracker, detailed all of the rail lines that ran through Vierdestad, both past and present.  Weird.
We continued talking about Ushtar's obsession untill the topic changed to Grace's obsession, clothes.  Grace just went into great detail about the different fabrics, cuts, sizes, alterations, combinations, complimentary outfits, and on, and on, and on.  Honestly, the only part I listened to at all was the part where Grace talked about Rinoa's ensemble.  Rinoa was dressed in a black pencil skirt with matching black suede stiletto heels.  Her top was a dark green polyester blend, a shade of green dark enough to compliment the skirt while accenting the flickers of green in Rinoa's eyes.  Listening to Grace talk about Rinoa's outfit allowed me to look at Rinoa and marvel at her beauty.  This is something I would do again later on in the evening.
The discussion also turned toward my clothing.  Specifically Ushtar asked why I wasn't in uniform.  My intent was to tell Ushtar that I wasn't going to be in the military and that Rinoa and I wouldn't be staying in Vierdestad that much longer.  Before I could, Grace reached underneath the table and produced a bag, which she handed to me.  Apparently, while Grace and Rinoa were shopping for themselves they also got some things for me.  I peeked inside the bag and the clothes in there did look interesting.  I've yet to try them on.  Maybe in the morning.
Rinoa proposed that I go get showered and changed before dinner.  She and Grace had already made plans to eat at Lovalot without telling either Ushtar or I.  Ushtar had a problem with this because he had planned on getting drunk with his subordinates.  I didn't have a problem with this because it gave me a reason to walk with Rinoa.  Also, I like food.
Rinoa and I walked side by side, making occasional comments about various things, on our way back to The Redford.  Once we got to the hotel, we took the elevator up to our room.  Standing alone with Rinoa and seeing her in the reflection of the elevator walls made me say what I had thought of saying since I saw Rinoa in her outfit.
"You look wonderful tonight."  When I said that, I saw Rinoa's reaction.  To see that she liked what I had said was priceless.
"Thank you,” Rinoa replied sheepishly.
"I mean, you look wonderful always, but that skirt with that top and those heels, I can't take my eyes off you.  I mean, wow."
I watched what happened next on the reflective walls of the elevator, which gave this experience a kind of surreal quality.  Rinoa, standing beside me in this rickety tin box we were floating upward in, put her hands on my shoulder to support herself, and kissed me on the cheek.  Rinoa kissed me.  I saw this happen then I turned toward Rinoa.  I looked at her.  I looked at her eyes.  Her chocolate brown eyes with flickers of green spread throughout.  I looked at Rinoa and dove in.
I kissed Rinoa and Rinoa kissed me.  A flood of endorphins rushed over my body as my lips met hers.  No part of this felt awkward or weird.  Rinoa and I engaged in a full embrace felt completely good.  This is the kind of moment I did not want to end.  I wanted to stay locked in this embrace, locked in this perfect moment with this perfect woman, untill time stopped.  When the elevator reached the floor we were going to, the doors opened.  Rinoa and I broke our kiss to look at the open door.  So, in a way, the moment ended.  However, in another way, the moment did not end.
We looked at the door for a while.  Just as the doors started to close, Rinoa walked through them.  Rinoa walked down the hall toward the hotel room we share, and I followed her.  Once we got to the door to our room, Rinoa turned around and looked at me.  She looked at me.  She looked in my eyes in the same way I had looked at hers.  Rinoa looked at me and smiled and I smiled back.  Rinoa opened the door and entered the room.  I entered the room and closed the door behind me.
We didn't end up making it to dinner with Ushtar and Grace.  I didn't end up showering or trying on the clothes Rinoa got for me.  Rinoa and I didn't go back downstairs or even leave our hotel room.  We made love.  We did.  I'm not going to journal in detail about what we did, but we did.  Rinoa and I had sex.
I'm looking at Rinoa laying next to me as I make this entry.  She's sleeping simply and peacefully at rest.  She looks so serene right now.  So heavenly.  So beautiful.  I feel so lucky to have her in my life.  I feel so blessed that she is here, that I have this relationship with her.  I love Rinoa.  I love Rinoa completely and absolutely.
For that reason, I have to protect her.  For that reason, I have to protect the woman I love.  I'm getting her out of this city.  I'm getting her out of Dolore, even if that means I cannot.  Rinoa must be safe.  Safe from the people that mean her, and all of us opfers, but most especially her, dire harm.
Goodnight my ebony queen.
Hato Shurtleff

$15,000 HDTV For Sale Soon In Best Buy

LG's Curved OLED TV Launches in the U.S. for $15k (Story via IGN)

It's a $15,000 TV that's for sale coming soon.  It's a TV that is the cost of what many people's car is worth.  Why does Best Buy want a TV that is "for sale" in their stores that is way out of the price range of the people who's products they are trying to sell to?  Perhaps Best Buy is trying to send a subtle message to it's consumers.

Moving In Slow Motion: 58.3% Complete

That time has come again.  That time that I used to eagerly look forward to, but now see as a kind of a taunt.  A taunt that lets me know what I could be doing but won't because of the choices I have made, choices that I could easily reverse but choose not to.  That's right, it's payday!  Being payday, it's time to see just how much money I could be spending on things for myself, but won't because I am pursuing Project Buy A House.
This payday, after factoring in rent, food, gasoline, and other incidentals, I have exactly $259.12 that I will not be spending on myself.  That $259.12 figure is represented by the Uncanny X-Men comic shown above, #259.  Let's find out more about that comic, shall we?
Taken from Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 259 - Marvel Comics Database
"Phil Moreau and Jenny Ransome, fugitives from Genosha, are about to be kidnapped by Genoshan Magistrates, when an amnesiac Colossus suddenly shows up and intervenes on their behalf. Grateful, Phil and Jenny offer him a place to stay. In Hollywood, an equally amnesiac Dazzler awakes on the property of her former boss, Lila Cheney, and is taken in by Lila’s guard Guido. Trying to figure out who she is, Alison goes clubbing and meets Fred Stanachek, a young man whom she once helped and who currently holds the rights to her aborted movie. Fred offers to make her a star, while elsewhere Eric Beale schemes to kill her. On Muir Island, Moira has David Haller use Cerebro to find the X-Men or her missing bodyguard, Callisto. David fails but, above him, a spirit image of Amahl Farouk appears, uttering the words ‘Storm’ and ‘Cairo.’ Callisto, in the meantime, is a prisoner of Masque, who promises that he’ll break her. A short time later, a gorgeous woman, who Peter has seen on several ads, runs into him and Peter notices she’s afraid of something. In the meantime, the Genoshan Genegineer and Chief Magistrate decide to get the fugitives back at any cost."
Wow, that sounds compelling.  I mean, it would sound compelling if I knew what any of that meant.  Comic books is something I have been meaning to get into for a while.  Ever since I encountered Mayor Young, Oscar, and the other members of the Fantastic Forum, comics have seemed like something that I should be into, and the fact that I'm not speaks ill of my nerd cred.  Uncanny X-Men 259 seems like a random enough place to get into comics, let's see how much I could spend on this comic.  That is if I was in fact spending money on things that could make me happy.
On eBay you can find Uncanny X-Men 259 on sale for $1.25.  That leaves $257.87 for me to not spend.
Look at this picture of the lovely Jessica Villareal modeling the Red On Black AllGames Women's Spraypaint shirt.
Look at this picture of the lovely Raychul Moore modeling the All Games Logo Blue (Womens) shirt.
And here is Mandie, creator of the Geeky Glamorous blog, modeling the Pink On Purple AllGames Logo Shirt.

What do all of this have in common?  All of these pictures feature products that you can purchase from the All Games Shop.  The All Games Shop features T-Shirts, mousepads, and hats from many of your favorite AllGames Radio shows.  This includes the previously mentioned Fantastic Forum.  Come on, wouldn't you just love to have a collection of sexy comic book nerds on your chest?
The products in the All Games Shop range in price from $13.99 to $20.99.  If you buy all of the products in the All Games Shop, you would spend $261.75, not including shipping and handling.  Leaving off the trucker hat, since headwear of that style are not my style, that leaves $245.80 that a person such as myself could spend in the All Games Store.  That is I could spend that amount if I wasn't undergoing the masochistic chore that is Project Buy A House.  Okay, that leaves $12.07 for me to not spend.
This is Penn Jillette.  In addition to being a juggler, reality television contestant, and occasional golf ball summoner, Mr. Jillete writes books.  These books include the absurdly long titled 

"Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!: More Magical Tales from the Author of God, No!", which you can purchase on Amazon for $10.72.  Although if you are going to purchase Mr. Jillete's book on Amazon, please clear you cookies and follow the Amazon link that can be found on this website.  

That purchase leaves me with $1.35 for me to not spend on myself.  $1.35 is just the right amount for me to spend on a bottle of Coke, and still have a thin dime left over.  While there are some places that charge more than $1.25 for a bottle of Coke, those places suck.  So that it's, that is the list this week of things that I could buy for myself if I wasn't pursuing Project Buy A House.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to napping while watching The Open Championship on ESPN.

Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Wednesday, October 26th, 3:31 P.M.

Wednesday, October 26th, 3:31 P.M.
Yesterday, when I did my osher exercises after my failed shopping experience with Grace, I found a nice little park just outside of the main shopping center of Vierdestad.  A nice little patch of nature with large, leafy trees, soft plastic playground equipment, and lots of sunshine.  The park serves as a great environment to practice the skills people use to hide, evade, and kill people.  Sure, this place is also a great place for kids to play, but places can serve multiple purposes.
When you begin any osher exercise, whether you plan to work on something small or something large, the first thing you do is meditate.  You sit on the ground, close your eyes, and scrub.  You scrub your mind of all thoughts, distractions, pressures, anxieties, stresses, expectations, all of it.  You scrub and scrub and scrub untill your mind is a clear slate.  I know how this ritual works after having it drubbed into my head by my Dad.  Therefore, the first thing I did when I set out to do my osher exercises is meditate.  However today I was unable to do so.  I was unable to clear my mind.  Distractions kept on entering it.  Distractions from one source.
It was a bright sunny day today.  Like any other bright sunny day at any other park, parents brought their kids out to play.  All over the park were joyous, exuberant, and otherwise loud children.  Like ants pouring out of an anthill, there were dozens of kids scurrying on, over, underneath, and through every inch of this park.  Many times during my attempts to meditate, I was interrupted by a child or a group of children running past me, screaming aloud as they did so.
Usually when things like this happen I get very annoyed.  Usually I look at all these loud screaming kids and my feelings of rage start to rise.  Today that didn't happen.  Today I was not annoyed by these kids.  Instead, I looked at those kids enjoying themselves and I smiled.  These kids enjoying themselves made me happy.  Not only that, for the first time that I can remember, I can see myself having kids of my own.  Weird.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Wednesday, October 26th, 10:25 A.M.

Wednesday, October 26th, 10:25 A.M.
After showering and getting myself ready for the day, I went downstairs to the lobby of The Redford.  My intent was to go outside and fine a patch of grass that might actually be comfortable to sleep on.  Unfortunately, same as yesterday, when the elevator doors opened at lobby level, there was Captain Ushtar waiting to meet me.  Not that I was dreading seeing him, but I just really wanted some fucking sleep.
Captain Ushtar greeted me warmly and said that his superior officer, Commander Lider, wanted to meet with me first thing in the morning.  I feigned excitement for what Ushtar told me, but I don't think I did it well.  I squeezed myself into Ushtar's car alongside the two other military men Rinoa and I had met, Private Mik and Private Dost.  Along the way to the military base, the two subordinate soldiers talked of seeing Rinoa and liking what they had seen.  Hearing Mik and Dost talk about Rinoa like that made me feel good.  Yesterday I would have felt down, knowing that I blew my chance with a highly desired girl.  Now I have a chance and they don't.  There's an evil quality to that I can either embrace, rid myself of, or ignore.  For once, ignorance is good.
When we got to the security structure, Captain Ushtar, Private Mik, and Private Dost went about their business, while I waited for Commander Lider.  Waited for Commander Lifer in the same fucking waiting room Rinoa and I had waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited for Commander Lider.  I didn't have to wait as long this time for the guy, but still, fuck waiting.
Once I was let into Commander Lider's office, he started talking to me.  "Okay, son, this is the day."  From behind his desk, Commander Lider thrust a manila folder out toward me.  "Take this to supply and get outfitted.  Then, head out to the assessment center for your physical skills and fitness test.  After that, head out to the range for a target skills assessment.  You'll be assigned to a new command officer who you'll report to after that's done."
I'm pretty sure my face conveyed what I said next.  "Ummm, what?"
"Come on, son, this is your assessment day."
"Assessment for what?"
"The military.  The Vierdestad Opfer Military."
The military?  I'd never really thought of it before.  Sure, my osher skills can be used for combat, but I was satisfied with using them to climb tall buildings and spy on girls.  "What makes you think I'd be a good candidate for the military?"
The look on Commander Lider's face matched the one I had when he thrusted the folder toward me.  "It doesn't matter if you're a good candidate, it's compulsory."
"Yeah.  Now get down to supply and-"
"No, what does that mean?"
"What does what mean?"
When I said that, the confusion on Commander Lider's face was replied with evident frustration.  "In Vierdestad, everyone is in the military.  Every able bodied opfer male over the age of eighteen is enlisted in the Vierdestad Opfer Military.  That is what compulsory means.  You are compelled to be a member of the military because you are an opfer male in Vierdestad."
In most situations, young men have no argument against something as weighty as compulsory military enlistment.  However, due to the conversation I had last night, I did.  "I don't plan to be here much longer."
There was a look on Commander Lider's face.  It was like what I had said and the things Rinoa and I wanted to do was a complete disappointment to him.  "Oh.  Well, then, how do you plan to get out of the city?"  Oh shit.  I hadn't thought of that.
"Oh shit.  I hadn't thought of that.  And, with the blockade, it might be kind of difficult."
"Yes, son, it will.  Look, I can't force you to stay in Vierdestad.  I can force you to be in the military, but I can't make you stay here.  Take a day, think about it, talk it over with Rinoa, then get back to me."
I took that as my cue to leave but not my cue to think things over again.  Ever since I left Moenia Prima, I knew, not only what I want to do, what I need to do.  The world needs to know about what's going on in Dolore.  The world needs to know so that they can put a stop to it.  Getting to Velas is my goal, the one thing I want most out of life.  I feel so close to accomplishing that goal now, and with Rinoa's help, I know it will get done.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Wednesday, October 26th, 6:03 A.M.

Wednesday, October 26th, 6:03 A.M.
For the first time since the plane crash that brought me to Vierdestad, as I was sleeping I dreamed.  The fact that I wasn't dreaming served as a kind of relief to me.  In the time between the murder of Sakoshi and the plane crash, my dreams here consisted of me watching me.  I was watching me getting asked by the people around me "Why didn't you do anything?"  The dream I had this morning wasn't about people asking me a question.  It was about something much, much more pleasant.
The dream took place in one of those cookie-cutter split level homes that seem to be built anyplace where large sections of farmland used to be.  The home is decorated with mementos of the places where the family who lives in the home has visited, either on vacation or because they just happened to be there.  There are also pictures on the wall of the family, dressed in sweaters, nice pants, and completely unflattering blouses, all staring at the camera and smiling for no discernible reason.
It's late and the house is dark and still.  Only a couple of lights are on in the house, most prominently one over the front door.  I'm watching the door as the deadbolt is disengaged and the slightly carved piece of lumber opens.  A man steps into the light under the front door before closing the door behind him.  An opfer man about fifty years of age with slightly graying hair and goatee, wearing a nice business suit.
The man is quiet, deliberately so, as he removes his jacket and dress shoes, setting them delicately onto the shelves and hangars where the rest of the family's shoes and coats also are set.  The man looks around the house, his house, checking if any other lights are lit inside, before venturing upstairs where the rest of the occupants of the house, their house, are in slumber.  The man steps lightly and quietly, ensuring that the stairs he is ascending do not creek nor that his steps resonate through the sleeping house.  The man keeps his steps soft and his movements quiet as he opens the door to the first bedroom at the top of the stairs.
Inside the bedroom is calm and dark, the only light therein coming from an alarm clock.  Not much can be seen inside the bedroom, except for one person.  One small young girl, no more than six or seven, her skin barely visible in the darkness of night.  She lies in her small young bed, sleeping through the night with nary a care in the world.  The man juts his head into this small young girl's room, sees the small young girl is there and asleep, then leaves the room as quietly as he entered it.  The man follows the same routine as he checks in on a tall, lovely young lady, fourteen years of age, a strapping young man, sixteen years of age, and a boy who's very sight brought a smile to the man's face, four years of age.
After finishing his check-in with the younger members of the family, the man, maintaining his purposeful silence, makes his way down the hall to the door leaving to the largest bedroom in the house.  The man opens the door, in the quiet way he had before, but this time enters the room, closing the door behind him.  The room is warms and dimly lit, the only light coming from a small bedside lamp.  The room was minimally furnished, containing only a king size bed and a small dresser.  The man looks over the room and lets out a large yet quiet sigh, an outward expression of comfort.
The man approaches the dresser and begins to empty the contents of his pockets onto its large flat surface.  The man's keys, wallet, and a small amount of pocket change are placed delicately next to objects of similar kind.  A large yet not too flashy watch is placed near another watch that, while small, reflectes the brilliance of its owner.  Finally, the man's cellphone is placed in its charging station, causing the phone's wallpaper to be momentarily displayed, a wallpaper which was similar to one of the family portraits hanging downstairs.
A small walk-in closet is attached to the room.  This closet is filled with a wide variety of clothes, although only a small percentage of those clothes belonged to the man.  The man enters this room and begins undressing, placing his work clothes in a pile next to his pajamas, which he then slips into.  After finishing the slight transformation, the man steps back into the bedroom.  The man surveys the room, then focuses on the bed, in particular the person that was already in it.
Undisturbed and peacefully ambivalent to the world, a woman lays in her warm soft bed, attempting to brush off the weight of her day.  Clad in purple silk and wrapped all around in layers of goose down, this ebony queen is a vision of perpetual beauty.  The man looks upon this woman, his loving bride, sleeping in the bed, their bed, and gives a quick prayer, thanking his just and noble lord for blessing him with a companion so fine, so fair, so much a woman.
The man walks over to the small lamp that sits aside his bed and makes his first purposeful scrap of noise when he clicks the lamp off.  As smoothly as he slipped into his pajamas, the man and his pajamas slips into his side of the cloud.  Looking once again at his wife, his companion, his perfect joy, the man drifts off to a blissful sleep.
This is what woke me up today.  I woke up from my dream sleeping on my shoulder, the same position the man was sleeping in.  Unlike the man, my bed was not anything close to a cloud.  In fact, I'm pretty sure this carpet is actually delicately spun threads of concrete.
Rinoa emerged from the bathroom just as I awoke and sat up from my uncomfortable resting place.  She said things to me as I attempted to shake the cobwebs from my eyes.  Her words were sweet, welcoming, and gave me the impression she was genuinely glad to see me.  Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly what Rinoa said to me.  Sleeping on a surface slightly harder than rock tends to have that effect on people.
The cobwebs cleared from my eyes just as Rinoa leaned down and kissed me.  The kiss that Rinoa laid upon me brought back an impression that I got from the dream that I had just awoken from.  I remember feeling that the man with the graying hair and goatee was a future version of me.  I also remember feeling that the ebony queen, the man's wife and perfect joy, was Rinoa.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Tuesday, October 25th, 9:42 P.M.

Tuesday, October 25th, 9:42 P.M.
I'm going to try to get this down while it is still fresh in my mind.  I'm going to get this down, not because I think I'll forget it, but because I want to remember it all and remember it correctly.  Tonight, Rinoa Ann said something to me.  In saying this to me, I learned more about her than I had known previously.  Also, in saying this to me, Rinoa said the most significant thing I've ever heard.
When I got back to the hotel room Rinoa and I share at The Redford, I poked my head into through the door and looked around.  I walked a little bit into the room and looked around.  Then I looked around again.  Rinoa was nowhere in sight.  "Rinoa?  Are you in here?"
"I'm in here, Hato."  The general location and the faint echo I heard coming from Rinoa's voice let me know she was in the bathroom.
"Oh, I'm sorry.  I didn't know you were in there.  I'll step out into the hall."
I had just touched the doorknob leaving back out to the hall, when I heard Rinoa's voice again.  "Wait, Hato.  I wanted to talk to you."
"Okay."  I took my hand off the doorknob and started wandering toward the bathroom door.
"What time is it, Hato?"
I took out my Hipster and looked at the time.  "It's about quarter to four."
"I'm sorry, what time?"
"Three forty-three."
"Oh.  I've been in the tub that long?"
I had just reached the door to the bathroom when Rinoa said that.  "You're in the tub?"
I heard the sound of water being moved around as if it were being moved around in a bathtub.  "Yes."
Reflexively, I started wandering back toward the door to the hallway. "I can go if you want some privacy."
"No, Hato.  I want to say something to you."
I stopped wandering.  "Okay."
"But I don't want to talk to you through a door.  Can you come in here?"
What Rinoa had said stunned me.  "In the bathroom?"
"With you?"
"Yes, please."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Hato, I am."
I felt a little weird about going into the bathroom to talk to Rinoa.  I knew Rinoa was going to be naked and I knew it was wrong of me to take advantage of this situation to ogle at her.  As I entered the bathroom, I looked up at the ceiling as I made my way over to Rinoa.  Only when I sat down on the tile floor next to Rinoa, lying in a tub full of water, did I look over at her.  When I looked at her, Rinoa didn't look at me at first.  When she began to speak, Rinoa was staring at the tile wall across from her.
"I’ve been lying here, just staring at the wall, because I can't get the images out of my mind.  The image I saw out of the window as we fled Dha Chathair.  The image I saw out of the window of Gin's plane as we flew away from Trebyer.  The image I saw of verbrechers pillaging their nation’s capital.  The brazen burning of the buildings that held their government.  The unblinking murder of all those why they even suspect of aiding their enemy.  The still lingering chemical cloud that marked their arrival.  I saw all of it, and all of it was horrendous.  It's not that I hadn't seen it before.  I have.  I saw those same verbrechers employ the same tactics on my family.  The still lingering chemical cloud was there when they attacked the home my family lived in.  Verbrechers burning and pillaging buildings and destroying property were done to me and my family.  My father was made to grovel on his kneed, groveling for the safety of himself and his family, before he was executed in front of me.  Through the mists of the chemical gas that enveloped my house, I saw a group of verbrechers accost my mother.  As gasses were burning my eyes, I saw them violate my mother in multiple ways, all while she was screaming, crying, bleeding, and begging for it to stop.  Then the verbrechers made me watch as my mother, naked and covered in the byproducts of their assaults, was executed with her body falling right in front of me.  The verbrechers have remorselessly destroyed everything they see before them.  Person by person, family by family, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city.  My fear is that when the verbrechers have accomplished their horrific goal, they not only will have destroyed a race, they will have destroyed a country.  That's what I've been thinking of.  That's what I've been turning over in my mind as I've been laying in this tub, and I've come to a decision."
Rinoa turned her focus from the point on the wall she was looking at to me.  "Hato, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry about what I said Friday.  I was deflecting my frustration at being back in Trebyer, a place I swore I'd never return to, back on you.  That was wrong for me to do.  As was the way I acted when we got back to Gin's house.  All I was doing that day was deflecting my anger and my frustration.  I'm sorry.  I am so truly sorry.  While I was lying here, in this slowly cooling water, I decided that I don't want to just avoid Trebyer.  This thing, this hatred the verbrechers hold toward the opfers is not just limited to Trebyer.  It's everywhere.  It's in Moenia Prima, it's in Dha Chathair, it's even here in Vierdestad, it's everywhere, this sick, venomous, corrosive hatred is everywhere in Dolore, and I don't want to have to deal with it anymore.  I want to leave.  I want to go.  I want to turn my back on this country and never return.  And Hato, I want you to be there with me when I leave.  I don't want to go this alone, I want someone there when times are tough.  I want you."
Rinoa looked at me and I looked at Rinoa.  Rinoa had said some pretty heavy things, some of which I was still processing, but in that moment I knew what to say.  I knew how I felt and I knew what Rinoa wanted to hear.  "Rinoa, we are going to Amcan.  We are going to Velas.  When we get there, we will find a place where we can live our lives in peace.  We will do this.  Come tomorrow, I will talk to Commander Lider about getting this done.  Starting tomorrow, you and I will leave Dolore for good.  I swear, we will do this together."
As I said that, Rinoa began to smile, a smile brighter and wider than I've ever seen on her.  Then she leaned forward and kissed me.  Rinoa kissed me.
Afterward, Rinoa mentioned being hungry.  I excused myself to the hallway while she toweled off and got dressed.  We went downstairs and got some dinner from the diner this hotel has.  Rinoa and I talked.  I told her about going to see Grace at her boutique.  Rinoa commented about her fingers still being wrinkled from spending the day in the tub.  We didn't say anything different or talk any different to each other, but something was different.  Something changed.  I don't know what it is, I can't quite put it into words, but as I watch Rinoa dig into her hearty spaghetti dinner, I know one thing.  I love this woman.  I love Miss Rinoa Ann.
Hato Shurtleff

ICBM: Inadequacy Caused By Microsoft

For a while I've been feeling inadequate as a satirist.  This feeling was caused by a series of articles written by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone about the collapse of the banking industry.  My feelings of inadequacy was tempered by the fact that at least the video game industry wasn't doing things that, as I read about them, made me say "This is real.  This is not fiction.  This is actually happening."  Then I saw this.

Microsoft Actually Considered These Idiotic Names for the Xbox

This article contains a list of names considered for the new Xbox console.  These names include MAXMARZEHQ, and VERV.  Yes, VERV, which stood for "Virtual Entertainment & Reality Venture".  Not only does this seem like a joke to me, this seems like a joke I would write.  Now I feel really inadequate, both as a satirist and as a human being.  I wonder if there is anything that could help me feel worthwhile at this moment.
Wrong kind of pussy pic.

Moving In Slow Motion: 48.3% Complete

Another payday is here, and another opportunity to inflict punishment on myself is also here.  That's right, this is another list of things that I could have bought if I wasn't putting fat stacks of sweaty cash in the bank in order to save for a house.  Unlike last time, this payday I don't have any major bills to pay, freeing up more money for me to not spend on things that will make me immediately happy.  After paying some small bills and factoring in other incidentals...

I have exactly $875.89 to not spend on myself.  So, let's see what I am not buying this payday.

In the past week, DerrickH, one of the hosts of the popular internet radio program Dead Pixel Live, decided to buy a whole new computer.  This decision was driven by his computer spontaneously shutting off when it was asked to do things.  Buying a new laptop has been on my to do list ever since my laptop started freezing up when it was asked to do things.  Driven by my desire and DerrickH's retail experience, I have decided to see how much computer I could buy for myself if I wasn't putting the money away for a purpose that I have to keep on telling myself will work out someday.  Again, this being a responsible adult shit had better work out someday.  And by someday, I mean soon.  And by soon, I mean RIGHT FUCKING NOW!

Newegg.com is a place where people can buy computers, laptops, and other computer and laptop accessories.  There are many other places where people can buy computers, but Newegg has the added benefit of reminding users of the website of breakfast.  On Newegg, you can narrow your search to computers that fit into whatever their potential customer's budget is.  By utilizing this process, I was able to narrow down my search for potential laptops that I am not buying to a mere 711 products.  Not wanting to to try and pick the best from an amount more closely associated with a gas station, I decided to narrow my search further.  I won't go into the whole process I went through to narrow my search.  Why not try it for yourself and see the fun that you can have seeing all of the fun toys that you can buy and then explain to your wife why you bought a computer instead of food.

The laptop that I would like to purchase for myself if I wasn't putting money away for something that I swear will pay off someday is the 
ASUS U47A-BGR4 Notebook, pictured above.  This laptop has an Intel Core i7 2640M(2.80GHz), 8GB Memory, 750GB HDD 5400rpm, and other shit that I also do not understand.  What I do know is that this laptop is better than my current laptop, which also has a bunch of letter and numbers associated with it that I in no way understand.  Currently the ASUS U47A-BGR4 Notebook is selling for $494.99.  So, after that purchase that i will not be making, I have approximately $380.90 for me to not spend.
On Saturday July 6th, the day that people may actually read this post, the UFC is holding the appropriately named UFC 162.  UFC 162 will feature many sweaty half-naked men rolling around on top of eachother trying to assert their dominance over the other.  The main event of UFC 162 features Anderson Silva, who is the kind of man I wish I was but cannot be because I do not have the willpower to be a sexy athletic man who demands the respect of both men and women.  Also I cannot be Anderson Silva because I cannot afford the scientific device necessary to undergo the process of switching bodies with another person.  I can, however, afford the $49.99 it will take for me to watch UFC 162 on my Roku via the UFC.TV app.  That is I could afford it if I wasn't not spending money on things that I find to be enjoyable, and I find watching sweaty half-naked men rolling around on eachother enjoyable for reasons that I do not wish to go into right now.  So, after that purchase I will not be making, I have approximately $330.91 for me to not spend.
On July 14th, the WWE will hold their WWE Money In The Bank pay-per-view event/extravaganza.  I would very much like to see this event.  However, I very much do not want to see one of the participants in this event.
Recently, the wrestler known professionally as Jack Swagger was convicted of Driving While Intoxicated.  This arrest is not why I do not want to see Jack Swagger participate in the WWE Money In The Bank pay-per-view event/extravaganza   The reason that I do not want to see Jack Swagger is that, as a part of his conviction, Jack Swagger admitted to smoking marijuana before he left the WWE TV taping that he was arrested shortly after.  THAT is why I do not want to see Jack Swagger compete at the WWE Money In The Back pay-per-view event/extravaganza.   In fact, I want to see Jack Swagger be fired.  If I, or most any other person who watches professional wrestling, admitted to what Jack Swagger admitted to, I would be fired and my employer would have just cause to do so.
Okay, since WWE pay-per-view events/extravaganzas cost $49.99, that leaves me approximately $280.92 for me to not spend.
I like golf.  I like playing video games about golf.  The Open Championships is coming up near the end of the month, and I feel like playing a video game about golf so that I can prepare myself for watching nearly eleven hours of golf coverage in the four days that The Open Championship will be held.  Currently, the only current video game on consoles about golf is Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14.  I could buy Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 on Playstation 3 for the low low not low price of $38.99.  That is I COULD buy Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 for the low low not low price of $38.99 if I was spending money on things that I enjoy.  So, after that purchase I will not be making, I have $241.93 for me to not spend.
In the future, I hope to have enough money to buy a Playstation 4.  In the future, I hope that me putting money in the bank to buy a house will pay off in time for me to purchase a Playstation 4 at launch.  Failing that, I hope to have paid off enough of my credit card debt so that I can purchase a Playstation 4 at launch while also being a responsible adult.  $241.93 will greatly help toward that end.  Sure it isn't the full amount I will need to purchase a Playstation 4, but stop your goddamn complaining.  I'M TRYING!
So there it is, the list of things that I could be buying if I wasn't trying to be a responsible adult and saving money for a house.  If this list was not enjoyable to you, don't worry, putting together this list was even more not enjoyable for me.  It is my honest hope to be done with this series of blog posts in the very near future, but things rarely go well for me, so I expect this torture to go on for many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many years to come.  Sigh.

Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Tuesday, October 25th, 3:00 P.M.

Tuesday, October 25th, 3:00 P.M.
I was on my way back to The Redford, taking the very, very, very, very long way, when I noticed something interesting.  As I looked around at all the opfers that fill Vierdestad, I noticed a certain uniformity in all the men here.  By that I mean all the men wear uniforms.  Specifically, military uniforms similar to the one Captain Ushtar wears.  The opfer women dress like women usually do, and there is a wide variety of very nice clothes that the opfer women do wear.  However, all the opfer men wear military uniforms.  Weird.
Hato Shurtleff

Volume 11: Part 4- Vierdestad: Tuesday, October 25th, 1:32 P.M.

Tuesday, October 25th, 1:32 P.M.
When Ushtar pulled up to his fiancé's boutique, I sincerely thought he had taken me to one of those stores the average man has no business going into.  I thought this was the kind of place that men stand outside of while inside women look over the great many silken undergarments that are only worn in secret and in seductive moments.  For a man to go into a boutique like this, he must have no choice otherwise or possess no shame for succumbing to his baser urges.
Captain Ushtar's fiancé is a girl named Grace Stilen, and she runs Stilen's Silkenries.  This boutique mainly sells upscale fine woman's underwear, as well as stylish shirts, pants, dresses, shoes, and perfume.  Of course, you wouldn't know that if you just looked at the front of the boutique.  The front window of the store contains mannequins and posters featuring some of the upscale fine women's underwear that is sold in Stilen's Silkenries.  These displays are usually appealing to most men because most men like looking, even if just for a moment, at hot half naked women.
Upon entering the boutique, we were met by three moderately attractive women covering inventory, a well dressed, well manicured man covering the counter, and Grace.  Grace is, in a word, stunning.  Grace's beauty rivals, or even exceeds, the models in the posters in the front window of her store.  Grace met me with a kiss of each cheek, the effect of which nearly made me faint.  With a tone of voice that equaled her beauty, Grace said, "How are you, my darling?"
It was a good thing Ushtar answered first.  If I had, that may have been embarrassing.  "Fine, my dear.  You?"
"Fabulous.  Who is this masculine specimen you're brought into my boutique?"
Again with the specimen talk.  "I'm Hato."
Grace continued with her beautiful tone.  "Hato, it's a pleasure to meet you.  So, what brings you here?  Are you one of those men who gets a rush from the feel of silk on your body?"
I could feel myself blushing, I just hope it didn't show that much.  "No, I haven't quite experienced that thrill.  However, I do see a number of things that Rinoa could slip right into."
The sound of woman's name caused Grace to just light up.  "Rinoa.  Such an exquisite name.  I bet you stay up at night just saying the name of your lover."
And with that Grace touched a sore spot for me.  "Well, uh- She isn't- Uh."
Thankfully, Ushtar stepped in at this point.  "I made the same mistake, Grace dear.  Rinoa and Hato aren't together like that."
Grace seemed genuinely sorry that she had said what she said, and I believe her.  I believe her because, as a part of her apology, Grace walked over and hugged me.  "Oh, I'm so sorry I made that mistake.  I'm sure there's a good opfer woman out there for you."  That statement kind of touched a sore spot for me, but I let it go because Grace's hug was so good.  "So, Ushtar, why did you bring Hato to me?  I mean, I don't have anything he might actually fit in, much less actually wear.  Hato, did Ushie want to show you his train collection?"
I stepped in to answer Grace's question.  "Actually, Rinoa does need some clothes.  She gave me her measurements, let me find them."
I took the paper Rinoa had given me and handed it to Grace.  She unfolded then looked at it.  Then Ushtar stood beside Grace and looked at the paper.  Then Grace's employees, the three moderately attractive women and the well manicured man, stood behind Grace and looked over her shoulders at the paper.  Finally, Grace stopped looking at the paper and spoke.  "Judging from these measurements, Rinoa certainly does match her exquisite name.  Shopping for her ought to be a lot of fun."
And it was a lot of fun.  At least it would have been if I had any sense as to what Rinoa wanted.  Throughout the shopping experience, Grace, Ushtar, and the four employees kept on asking me if I thought this would be something Rinoa would want.  My constant response was "I don't know, I really can't say."  It didn't matter what Grace had in stock, what color it was, what fabric it was, what cut it was, how much skin it covered, how much skin it revealed, "I don't know, I can't really say" was my response.
Finally, after going over every stitch of clothing in her store, Grace told me to leave and not to come back unless I bring Rinoa with me.  After Grace told me this, Ushtar joined his fiancé in demanding that I go get Rinoa and bring her back to Stilen's Silkenries.  That is what I am doing now.  At least that is what I should be doing right now.  Instead of going right back to The Redford to get Rinoa, I got some lunch, did a couple of light osher exercises, and started doing this journal entry.  Now I'm nearly done with the journal entry and I can't think of anything I want to do.  Now, I guess, I have to go to The Redford and talk to Rinoa.  Damn.
Hato Shurtleff