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Album of the Year #20: Lil B - The Hunchback of BasedGod
(Note: This review exceeds Reddit’s 40,000 character limit for text posts so three additional comments are posted in this thread with the rest of the review. Sorting comments by “old” will bring them up for you in order.)
EPISODE I: THE HUNCHED BACK MENACE
Welcome to Old BasedWorld Hurried crowds, sparse synths and ringing cathedral bells in the streets of Old BasedWorld set the scene for our journey. High above the town in the Old BasedWorld Cathedral, a young man with a hunched back dreams of a brighter tomorrow.
Staring Out My Window “The only way you could really feel this pain is from the BasedGod” – From this opening line along with the somber instrumental accompanying it Lil B makes it clear that this project will be different from the hyphy material he’d been releasing since Black Ken. The BasedGod’s stirring musical backdrop allows Brandon to reminisce on the times he spent as a troubled youth staring out the windows of Old BasedWorld’s Cathedral (as pictured on the album cover), dreaming of a normal life with the rest of the citizens across the bridge in San Francisco New BasedWorld.
The Many Sides of a Genius Using a compilation of voicemails taken directly from Old BasedWorld’s only working phone, Lil B uses these messages to convey his own message. The people leaving these voicemails were clearly important people in Brandon’s life and, one could say, are some of the “sides of genius” that helped him develop into the man he is today. It continues the album’s narrative of a brilliant soul whose talent and ambition are unnoticed by the outside world, with only those who are closest to him recognizing the genius within.
Ain’t Gon Pick Up One of the people leaving a voicemail on “The Many Sides of a Genius” mentioned how Lil B never picks up his phone, so it’s only appropriate that the next song has B discussing why he chooses not to answer the phone in Old BasedWorld’s Cathedral. It also ties back in to the theme of unrecognized talent, with Brandon stating in the chorus “I ain’t gon pick up, nobody gives a fuck so I don’t give a fuck”. References to stomach pains and Crohn’s disease further highlight how B is feeling “sick to [his] stomach” of being disrespected: by the end of the song, the listener fully understands why Lil B wouldn’t be interested in picking up his phone.
Hunchback of BasedGod One of the album’s great conceptual triumphs. Lil B states from the jump that this song is meant to be a set of instructions for the Hunchback of BasedGod for his eventual descent from his perch back into the town of Old BasedWorld and beyond. It’s still unclear whether or not Lil B himself is the Hunchback, the BasedGod, the Hunchback of BasedGod, or none of the above: the abstractness allows the listener to form their own perceptions and create their own story. Again, there’s a continuation of themes from the previous songs, with further references to stomach pains and issues of self-worth and meaninglessness coming from Lil B: with so much pain in this world, is it even worth it for the Hunchback to enter society? By the end of the song, Brandon affirms that it is, stating, “Do it and don’t just watch/ Step in the game and have fun/ We all townspeople, we one/”. As such, the Hunchback leaves the cathedral, passing through the cobblestone streets of Old BasedWorld while hushed onlookers stare silently, as he ventures out towards New BasedWorld.
Berkeley San Francisco Its the BasedGod This song is delivered from the perspective of the Hunchback, as revealed in the first line of the first verse: “I got the hunched back from all the depression”. Themes of struggle from the previous tracks reemerge, but you get the sense that the Hunchback is beginning to build up his self-esteem, boasting how he refuses to conform to the looks and expectations of the other townsfolk. He also seems to have gotten past the lack of recognition that was hindering him on “The Many Sides of a Genius” and “Ain’t Gon Pick Up”, as he proudly exclaims, “Who cares if I’m famous?” This gives the Hunchback the confidence to finally travel across the bridge he so often observed from his cathedral window. The townspeople are stunned: the Golden Gate BasedWorld Bridge had been badly damaged and decayed for decades, with no one daring to cross in the fears that it would collapse. But the Hunchback’s persistence leads him to make it across unscathed.
Outer Mission Music With his feet firmly set in New BasedWorld, the Hunchback visits the colony of Outer Mission, a tight-knit community of New BasedWorld inhabitants who are unsure of how to react to their visitor. Lil B spends much of this track describing his interactions with the colony’s locals, which include Justin Timberlake, Alex Rodriguez, and Lionel Messi as tribe members. He also manages to make the situation surrounding the identities of his disparate personalities even more confusing, stating, “Lil B, I’ve seen him in public/ Is that the Hunchback of BasedGod, or is that the BasedGod? It’s BasedGod/” Will we ever know the difference?
Wake Up Get High Go Back to Sleep In spite of a renewed sense of confidence brought upon by his decision to leave his old life behind, not all is perfect in the Hunchback’s mind. On this joint (pun intended) he harkens back to his days in the cathedral, where he would spend his mornings smoking heavy doses of marijuana in order to numb the pain of his seclusion, often to the point of losing consciousness. It’s also worth noting that the only weed that grows naturally in Old BasedWorld is mids, so the Hunchback would need to smoke a significant amount to achieve the desired effect.
Video Game That I Still Play The irony in the title of this song is that the “video game” the BasedGod is referencing here is in fact a metaphor for his own life’s journey. As he so aptly states during the chorus: “My life is like a video game/ It’s been so weird, but I still play”. The fact of the matter is, Lil B could have chosen to rage quit this game of life long ago, but his perseverance has brought him to a new place of inner peace within the confines of New BasedWorld, even if the townsfolk are still unsure of how to respond to their new neighbor.
I Rather Die Then Go Home At the end of the previous song, the Hunchback makes reference to an incident where he visited the Café Au Coquelet, a boutique restaurant in New BasedWorld. Upon his arrival, he received a similar reaction to those he used to receive in his homeland: “I go to restaurants, people stop smiling”. While some of the townspeople have begun to appreciate his presence, many of the other New BasedWorld residents still recognize his outsider status and continue to shun him as a result. This song is B’s response, with a firm affirmation that he would rather die than have to go back to the life of isolation he led in the Old BasedWorld Cathedral, where he wasn’t really living life to begin with. That said, the song’s mistitling of based comrade The-Dream’s original line of “I’d rather die than go home” as “I rather die then go home” leaves the Hunchback’s true intentions up for interpretation.
Crying in the Club After finishing a five-course meal at the boutique, B ventures out to the party district of New BasedWorld, where he surprisingly gets admitted to one of the most exclusive night clubs in the land. As he observes the scene, the crushing reality of the differences between himself and the other clubgoers becomes apparent. A single tear is shed, followed by another, and another, until the BasedGod is in a state of full-blown emotional distress. In spite of his condition, he makes it known that he isn’t ashamed of wearing his heart on his sleeve, openly admitting in the chorus: “I don’t really care if I hurt myself, I don’t really care who sees”. This unyielding display of raw emotion brings the music and dancing to a halt. All eyes are now fixated on the strange being with the tear-stained T-shirt and the disfigured spine. He lets out a desperate plea: “I just want a hug…” To the surprise of the Hunchback, the residents of New BasedWorld collectively embrace him, looking past his outer deformities to recognize the beautiful soul that exists within. Historians would later acknowledge this moment as the primary catalyst for the BasedWorld Revolution™.
EPISODE II: THE COLD WARS
Voyage to Berkeley California Meanwhile, down in the town of Old BasedWorld, the townsfolk slept restlessly, their dreams invaded by shadowy fake based figures digging away at their souls. Every day, people would wake and stare at the Old BasedWorld Cathedral. Why was the Hunchback not ringing the bells that had kept the evil spirits of the fake based realm out of their lives? It was then they realized that the Hunchback had crossed the sacred bridge and ventured to New BasedWorld. Frantic to reconcile with the gatekeeper they had long taken for granted, a group of the townspeople decide to bravely seek out the BasedGod in the hopes that he will return. However, they recognize that crossing the BasedWorld Bridge is something no mortal man is capable of doing and living to tell the tale. Using a secret map rumored to have been drawn up by Captain 66 himself, a group of citizens board a modest ship to cross the San Francisco BasedWorld Bay on a warm summer’s eve. Will they survive? Only time will tell.
Across the Sea And here, ladies and gentlemen, we are presented with the greatest plot twist this side of the Fingerpoke of Doom: It turns out Lil B is not actually the Hunchback and/or the BasedGod after all.
Indeed, unbeknownst to the townspeople (who themselves had just assumed all three entities were combined as one person), Lil B has remained in BasedWorld all along in disguise. About halfway into their journey across the Bay, Lil B’s resentment towards his shipmates and their longing for the Hunchback’s return gets the best of him, and the violent persona exhibited on tracks like “Murder Rate” and “Domestic Violence Case” overtakes Lil B’s natural pacifist tendencies. In a fit of rage, he attacks them, “knocking them off the boat” into the shark-infested waters and keeping all of the remaining LifeVests to himself. B himself recognizes the consequences of his actions, ending the song by saying, “This darkness… It’s scary.” Nonetheless, he refuses to be stopped in his mission to visit New BasedWorld and confront the Hunchback all on his own.
Where Is the Potion Having arrived on the shores of New BasedWorld, Lil B ventures into town. Knowing that the only way to find the elusive Hunchback is through the townspeople who may have caught a glimpse of him, he travels to the aforementioned nightclub, with floors still drenched in the BasedGod’s tears from earlier, asking, “Where is the potion?” The response he’s given comes in the form of several bottles of liquor, which quickly dispel any notions of anxiety or self-doubt that may have stopped Lil B from completing his mission. A few of the club’s premium members willingly show him the spots around town where they had spotted the Hunchback, but any further clues of his whereabouts are hard to come by. Before they know it, they find themselves at one of the many riverbanks in New BasedWorld, where a celebration of the BasedGod’s glory is in full swing.
Riverdance This instrumental is what Lil B and the clubgoers heard as they made their way to the bank of the river. Speaking with more of the natives, Lil B learns more of the Hunchback’s travels and experiences in New BasedWorld and begins to put the pieces together in his mind for where the BasedGod may be headed next.
Wolves and Snakes As Lil B continues to plot his course, the BasedGod, who has just finished eating a salad on his way to the colony of Chaddick, senses a disturbance in the Based Force, feeling as though him and his hunched back may be in grave danger. He ponders on the wolves and the snakes that he was forced to deal with in his past life and reflects on the growth he’s experienced since leaving the dreaded, darkened halls of the Cathedral. In spite of this, he can’t help but shake the feeling that, like in the proverbial rear-view mirror, one of these wolves and/or snakes may be closer than they appear…
Meeting on UC Berkeley Campus Today Undeterred, the Hunchback makes his way to UC Berkeley, New BasedWorld’s sole institution of higher learning. After giving a spirited 90 minute lecture on the power of positivity (modeled after previous lectures at such high class institutions as NYU,Carnegie Mellon and Princeton), the BasedGod is greeted by a mass of adoring students at the university. The male students beg for the BasedGod to fuck their bitches, and said bitches are more than willing to oblige. In a grand spectacle, the Hunchback has consensual sex with all 1,000 of the college’s female attendees while this instrumental blares out of speakers across the campus, being awarded with a trophy as a result of his success.
Artistic or Autistic Elsewhere in New BasedWorld, Lil B attempts to strategize his next move. However, planning the escapade is made difficult thanks to B’s second most potent Internet distraction after his Twitter feed: Reddit. Going through a series of faked based comments on the hiphopheads subreddit, Lil B is particularly struck by a comment suggesting that he may in fact be suffering from the neurological disorder autism. The assertion is an eye-opening moment for him: after all, the elevated levels of lead found in Old BasedWorld’s drinking water had been a concern amongst the town’s scientists for years, and his own behaviors and thought patterns seemed to align relatively well with the common symptoms of the condition. After a brief moment of solemnity, Lil B realizes that his immaculate catalog of music has been made possible because of who he is, and if he is autistic, it is an essential component of his artistic output. This song is the result of this revelation.
Free 03 Our story continues as the BasedGod chooses to use his newfound fame and glory to give back to the New BasedWorld community. He begins volunteering at the New BasedWorld Penitentiary, espousing his worldview and giving advice to the inmates on how to make positive contributions to society after they have served their time. One particular inmate catches his eye: a fellow hip hop artist named 03 Greedo, who was arrested a few years earlier in a drug trafficking scheme. The Hunchback’s conversations with the young man have a profound impact on him, and in the weeks and months to come, Greedo becomes the model prisoner for other inmates to aspire to be, with intentions of joining the ministry upon his release. The BasedGod, proud of what he was able to accomplish, promises to dedicate a song on his new 50 song mixtape to Greedo.
Rhode Island Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area, the seventh least populous, but is also the second most densely populated. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west, Massachusetts to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south via Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound. It also shares a small maritime border with New York. Providence is the state capital and most populous city in Rhode Island.
As Rhode Island is located on the opposite side of the continent from Old and New BasedWorld, it has nothing to do with this story other than this brief mention of its existence.
I’m Depressed Again While the Hunchback is continuing to make great strides in improving the lives of the people in New BasedWorld, he continues to be fazed by an ever-growing sense of something troubling being on the horizon. A dark evil is emerging that he cannot foresee, and he worries that by the time he learns what this evil may be, it will be too late. This sends the BasedGod back into a spiraling depression, one not felt since the last day he had spent alone in the cathedral. He warns his closest confidants of the impending doom, saying, “Real talk… Feel it through your heart. Feel it through the spirit. You can feel it through the dark, cold as ever.”
Café Au Coquelet At the same time as the Hunchback is experiencing this sense of dread, Lil B has made his way to Café Au Coquelet, one of the first spots in New BasedWorld that was graced by the power and the glory of the BasedGod. Lil B immediately detects the Hunchback’s prior presence in the vicinity: all of the restaurant’s guests are acting unusually positive and based towards one another, and the only dish that anyone has ordered over the past week has been the clams casino. Lil B also recognizes that the music playing in the background of the restaurant (the instrumental that is this song) was created by the BasedGod. Enraged, he stands up on the restaurant tables and begins to lambast the townsfolk for having fallen for the lies and deceit of a false prophet. He dictates a new philosophy, beginning by disposing of the food everybody has already ordered and teaching them how to cook for themselves. Before long, the entire restaurant is cooking to “Like a Martian”. A growing sect of New BasedWorld begins to emerge in objection to the Hunchback’s teachings, with Lil B and the swag movement as their new leader.
Downtown Berkeley Protest Back in the colony of Berkeley, the BasedGod is gathering his followers together for a celebration of optimism and goodwill unto others. His new instrumental track plays as the Hunchback’s followers enjoy the festivities. It is at this moment that the BasedGod feels a searing pain encompass his entire being, and he recognizes that this is the moment he has been fearing for the past few weeks: the evil has arrived. A mass of residents from the other New BasedWorld colonies have descended upon the party with torches and handguns. Dressed in pink shirts, tiny pants and Vans sneakers, they march to the center of the crowd in unison, yelling nonsensical phrases such as “Figaro!” and “Martha Stewart!” as the frightened followers of the Hunchback look on. At the front of the mob is the leader, the enigmatic Lil B. He flashes a slight smile at the BasedGod, who stares directly back into the eyes of his former student. As the crowd of pretty residents begin to hurl insults and grievances towards the based residents, Lil B raises one hand, and the noise stops. Then, he begins to walk away. B’s worshipers follow him out of the city square in silent unison. Many of the Hunchback’s flock wonder if this is the end of the madness. However, the BasedGod knows deep down inside that this is just the beginning.
EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE BITCH
Bring the BasedGod and Lil B Gifts This is a Cold War, and we know what each side is fighting for. The New BasedWorld citizens have been divided into an even split, with half of the townsfolk (now calling themselves the “Task Force”) following the ways of the Hunchback and the other half (now calling themselves the “Bitch Mob”) committing themselves to the teachings of Lil B. In a frantic attempt to prove the superiority of one leader over the other, the townspeople begin to bestow luxurious gifts and rewards upon their idols in an attempt to make one appear more grandiose than the other. Lil B relishes in his newfound fame, gladly accepting a plethora of PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 games from his fans, along with a fully registered copy of FL Studio to allow him to produce beats on the same level as the BasedGod. Meanwhile, on the other side of the village, the Hunchback seems uncomfortable embracing his new role as a worshipped deity. Having become accustomed to people ignoring him or being flat-out disgusted by his appearance, the adjustment to now becoming the leader of thousands of men is one that is not made easily.
Body Shaming The opposing sides of New BasedWorld’s population quickly transition from honoring their respective leaders to creating smear campaigns against the opposition. One of the Bitch Mob’s most talented computer hackers manages to secure nude photographs of the Hunchback and distribute them online, highlighting the embarrassing weight gain that the BasedGod has endured over the past 5 years. The Hunchback is at first distraught upon hearing the news: “Why are they body shaming me? Why would they say all these mean things?” It is only when the BasedGod taps into his creamy center, where all the gooey happy-lovin' goo sits that allows him to be the nicest, most compassionate person he’s ever been, that he’s able to let the world know that he will not fall down so easy. He releases this song on his MySpace as a rebuttal, saying, “There's no reason to bully people and make fun of folks”. The Task Force immediately lauds the song as the perfect response to the scandal, while the Bitch Mob lashes out at the lack of trap drums and celebrity-based adlibs.
Stopped Talkin’ But I Still Rap “So self-conscious, you feel me?”: Despite the approval of his comrades, the BasedGod is unable to shake the ever-persistent sense of self-hatred that is being exacerbated by the actions of the Bitch Mob. He feels his mind regressing to a prior state of fear and insecurity akin to that of his days spent in isolation in the Cathedral. Deep inside, the Hunchback finds himself in the midst of an existential crisis: how can one speak on the benefits of positivity and self-love when one does not truly love thyself? What would the consequences be of allowing this negativity to manifest itself in real time? Surely, an admission of hopelessness would spell defeat for the Task Force, allowing Lil B and his army of pretty townsfolk to rule the land for all eternity. But it would also be hypocritical for the BasedGod to continue to preach the Gospel of Based when his mind is not in a based state of being. In a move that would prove to be one of the most shocking of the Cold War, the Hunchback gathers his followers in the town square to announce that he will be taking an oath of silence until peace can be found between the two factions of New BasedWorld, capping off his decree with the debut of his ‘final’ song, “Stopped Talkin’ But I Still Rap”. The crowd gasps and devolves into hysteria, with thousands pleading for the Hunchback to reconsider, rightly worried over what would become of the based movement without the voice of its sole originator. But the BasedGod is persistent. He silently walks through the crowd, hugging each of his based brethren (and consensually face-fucking some of the females) before departing, possibly for good. Some time after midnight, he successfully crosses the Based Bridge and returns to Old BasedWorld, making his way back to the Cathedral without a single soul noticing his presence. He travels to the deepest, darkest depths of the Cathedral’s caverns, located miles beneath the Earth’s surface, where he begins an indefinite period of contemplation and meditation. This sequence of events would prove to be a milestone of the BasedWorld Revolution™, and would be forever immortalized in the cover art for the Where Did the Sun Go? mixtape.
Intermission It was a bad time for both Old and New BasedWorld. The Hunchback just stayed inside his Cathedral and he never came out. People said his brain was infected by fake based devils. The Task Force hurt the most of all: without their leader, they crumbled and succumbed to the will of the Bitch Mob. Lil B’s tyrannical rise to power was all but complete. In the months that followed, he would expand his territorial control, conquering the villages of Albany and East Oakland and even sending troops to claim regions of land as far away as Hawaii and Nepal.
Nearly a full year after the disappearance of the BasedGod, Lil B’s armies waged war on Old BasedWorld. The BasedWorld Bridge was destroyed, leaving Lil B and his followers (who controlled the naval fleets) as the only ones who had access to both sides of the territory. After taking most of its citizens hostage and establishing a new structure of government with Lil B at the helm, the Bitch Mob began to formulate its Ultimate Bitch Plan to capture the Hunchback. One night, they rushed the Old BasedWorld Cathedral, setting it ablaze and burning the once-iconic structure to the ground in the hopes of finding the charred body of the BasedGod buried underneath the rubble. When they failed to retrieve the body, the contingent of pretty boys and girls was ordered by Lil B to venture underground, as an ancient prophecy had foretold the Hunchback’s journey to the center of the Earth. Armed with assault rifles of all varieties, they began their descent into the depths of the caverns.
However, the deeper they traveled, the more they became disillusioned by their actions, and the actions of their once-beloved leader Lil B. They did not realize that the closer they got to the Hunchback, the more they were swayed by his righteousness and his way of being. Soon, they were no more than a few hundred yards from locating the BasedGod. It was at this moment that they had a great awakening, recognizing the error of their ways and freeing themselves from the spell that had been placed on them by Lil B. They abandoned their mission, instead choosing to return to the surface without the Hunchback. Lil B, furious at the group’s reluctance to complete their task, began to chastise his former followers, and prepared to issue one of his infamous curses upon them, one which would result in certain death. Having become completely overwhelmed with the guilt and the shame of their exploits as part of Lil B’s army (and also acknowledging the fact that none of them would ever win an NBA championship now without signing to Golden State), they instead turned the guns Lil B had given to them on themselves, committing mass suicide on top of the remains of the Old BasedWorld Cathedral. Thousands of Old BasedWorld onlookers stared in paralyzing shock as the sound of hundreds of guns discharged at once. What followed was several hours of silence, as Lil B, covered in the blood of his former troops, coldly stared at the mass of dead bodies, trying his best to process what had just taken place.
EPISODE IV: A NEW HO(PE)
The Waterfront West Berkeley at Night Meanwhile, on the other side of the Bay, most of the former Task Force members still remaining in New BasedWorld have all but accepted their fates, purchasing clothing that is too tight for them to wear comfortably and listening to the government-approved “Cooking Music” playlist on a constant loop. A small contingent of Hunchback loyalists remain, holding private meetings in the basement of the Café Au Coquelet and listening to the “Based Music” playlist in shrouded secrecy. Upon learning that Lil B and a commission of his troops had left to invade Old BasedWorld, the few remaining Task Force members felt it was safe enough to worship the Hunchback out in the open one last time. As most of the Bitch Mob members who had crossed the BasedWorld Bay with Lil B had come from the village of West Berkeley, the BasedGod’s loyal comrades choose the village’s Waterfront area as the gathering place for the ceremony. Unbeknownst to any of the group’s members, the mass suicides in Old BasedWorld were taking place at the exact same time as the celebration in New BasedWorld was commencing. The Task Force members rejoice, harmoniously singing the BasedGod’s favorite songs of worship: “B.O.R. (Birth of Rap)”, “The Age of Information” and “No Black Person Is Ugly” are belted out towards the heavens. Suddenly, the youngest of the Task Force’s members (who goes by the name of u/insabnma) feels a twinge underneath his bare feet. He looks down at the ground and notices that he has stepped on a golden USB drive, encrusted with diamonds and embroidered with the word “BASED” in all caps. The curious group of based boys and girls procure a laptop and, upon plugging the drive in, are amazed to find a .zip folder of 13 unreleased instrumentals credited as being produced by the BasedGod. Even more amazingly, the first song is entitled “The Waterfront West Berkeley at Night”: the exact place and time of day that they are performing their ritual. The Task Force members ecstatically listen to the new music, with several being driven to the point of involuntary orgasm. Throughout the night, word spreads throughout New BasedWorld of the drive’s existence, and suddenly, the followers of the Hunchback have a renewed sense of hope.
Games of Berkeley and Magic Cards The next evening, thousands of Task Force members, old and new, join together in the town square of Berkeley, the last place that the Hunchback was seen alive. A Task Force party has commenced, with various games being played and the Based Music playlist blasting from the colony’s speakers. As it is nearing midnight, the townspeople are each given a magic life card, rumored to be the same life cards that were discussed in the BasedGod’s legendary philosophical diatribe [“Life on Earth”](). At the stroke of 12, the second of the BasedGod’s 13 secret instrumentals is played, as the crowd enthusiastically chants “Thank You BasedGod” along to the beat. The expectation is that the Hunchback will hear their prayer and reemerge by the end of the song. However, this was not to be the case: the instrumental ends, with the BasedGod nowhere to be found. For a moment, the Task Force is disheartened, wondering if the signs pointing to a return of the Hunchback were too good to be true. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a shooting star flies across the Berkeley sky, the brightest and most brilliant star that anyone in the colony has ever seen. It continues to arc across the northwestern skyline and appears to land in the village of Albany, a formerly based territory which has been overrun with members of the Bitch Mob. The Task Force is again filled with a renewed sense of hope at this discovery, as they courageously follow the signs that could lead them to the Hunchback’s holy ascension.
Walking Through Albany California Upon arriving in Albany, the Task Force members notice a contingent of Bitch Mob members huddled around a large crater, approximately one mile in diameter. Evidently, this is where the shooting star had landed. One of the senior members of the tribe is examining the star, which, contrary to its once large and brilliant appearance, has been reduced to the size of a small rock. Several Bitch Mob members now make their way into the crater to examine the fallen star. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the once-dead star explodes into thousands of pieces, each piece shooting out towards the heads of a Bitch Mob member (though some less fortunate members wind up getting hit in the balls). When the star touches each member, it instantly uploads the third of the BasedGod’s secret instrumentals directly into their cerebral cortex. The Bitch Mob members are at first displeased at the lack of poorly mixed 808s and rattling hi-hats, but soon after, they begin to comprehend and enjoy the BasedGod’s alternative production style. Once the song has finished, they have all been converted into full-fledged comrades of the Task Force. The Berkeley delegation of Task Force welcomes their new brothers and sisters into the fold, and the group marches on to spread the word of the Hunchback’s return to the other villages.
The Sound of Being Bullied While this is all occurring in the BasedWorld territories, something else entirely is beginning to unfold in the far away kingdom of Detroit, Michigan. Teejay Witherspoon, the Bitch Mob’s certified rarest hacker, leans back in his chair and slyly grins. His successful exploitation of the BasedGod a year ago has proven to be a major turning point in the young man’s life. His notoriety has allowed him to start a rap career of his own, with several music videos on YouTube having gone viral throughout the past 12 months. His loyalty to the Bitch Mob has been unquestioned, and he has since been promoted to a senior position within the fold. As he clicks his way through a darkweb laundering scheme one evening, he leaves to take a shit and, upon returning to his computer, notices that a mysterious golden USB drive has been plugged into the laptop. Only one file exists on the drive: an audio file entitled “The Sound of Being Bullied.flac”. Teejay curiously loads the file into VLC, and the instant the song begins, he is assaulted with a rush of crushing despair and depression. The title of the song spoke for itself. Teejay is experiencing the totality of the Hunchback’s negative emotions that had been fueled by his prior actions, but even more intensely, and as the emotions begin to amplify, he next notices that his physical being is being affected as well. His body is shaking uncontrollably, his skin is beginning to peel, his eyes are popping out of his skull. After four minutes and seven seconds of agonizing torture, his entire being bursts into flames, unable to handle the power of the BasedGod’s wrath. The song ends.
No Longer Afraid of the Dark It’s dark. The air is still. The ground is hot. Water drips from the ceiling. The Hunchback, in a deep state of reflection, hasn’t moved a muscle for over 12 months. His shriveled body has been starved of nourishment and exercise, but fortunately, his weight gain has had the positive effect of having enough fat stored to keep him alive. The amount of based energy needed to have maintained this state of being has aged the BasedGod considerably. He has been devoid of almost any sense of perception for at least a few months. A faint glow radiates from his being. He has concentrated his powers to what was thought to be an unattainable degree of positivity. Before his extended withdrawal from society, the negative side of the force was something that the Hunchback struggled to put out of mind. At the level of based he now encompasses, the light of positivity is too grand for the BasedGod to fail. He is no longer afraid of the dark. And that’s because the dark no longer exists. The cavern has been filled with his based radiance. And the Hunchback is almost ready to return and spread this radiance throughout the land.
Nepal Wants the BasedGod All across BasedWorld, shooting star sightings have been abound, and thousands upon thousands of Bitch Mob members have been converted to Task Force faithful. Even beyond the traditional confines of BasedWorld, rare star sightings have also been seen in the Bitch Mob’s disparate properties. A star lands in the Bitch Mob’s Nepalian expansion territory. After having its people cleansed with the power of the BasedGod’s sixth secret instrumental track, Nepal adopts a new constitution which entails all of its citizens to embrace the Hunchback’s teachings of optimism and self-love.
Taxi Around Town The streets of Old BasedWorld have been in dire need of repair ever since the Bitch Mob ransacked the colony, but that doesn’t stop Travis, one of the land’s only remaining horse-drawn taxi drivers, from making a buck. One evening, he picks up a mysterious hooded figure in one of the town’s more dangerous districts. The man enters the carriage, greeting the driver with two words: “Hello, Travis.” The driver says nothing. The horses begin their trek through the streets, passing by a row of burning buildings. Travis breaks his silence. “It’s lit,” he says. “The buildings, that is. There’s only a few Bitch Mob members left at this point but they always blow these things up.” The figure feels more comfortable speaking to the driver: “I hear you got the nomination”. It dawns on Travis that this person must be almost exactly one year behind the times: has he ever even heard of Cardi B? Regardless, he plays along. “Straight up. Won’t be long now.” The figure smiles, quipping, “Well, I hope you win.” He then proceeds to remove his hood. Travis looks back and momentarily gasps. His composure returns soon thereafter. Unsure of how to proceed, he attempts to continue the conversation. “I… I read about you in the papers… How are you?” Knowing he’s referring to the suicides, the figure replies, “Oh, it’s nothing new, I got over that.” They sit in silence for the remainder of the ride. Soon, the horses come upon their destination, the edge of the BasedWorld Bay. The figure gets out of the car. Turning to Travis, he asks, “How much was it?” Travis is nearly speechless. He lets out one final Auto-Tuned “So long………..LA FLAME!” and the horses gallop off.
Berkeley California Before Lil B A massive cleaning project has commenced throughout Berkeley. The townspeople have nearly all been converted to followers of the BasedGod by this point, and in a unanimous vote, the colony’s leaders choose to rid Berkeley of any and all trace of Lil B and his formerly effective propaganda. Murals are whitewashed, statues are torn down, and portraits are removed from public spaces as the eighth of the BasedGod’s 13 secret instrumentals is played on a loop. The many books proclaiming Lil B’s omnipotence are collectively burned to ash in the town square. Even saying the name “Lil B” is punishable by fine of up to $30,000, equivalent to the amount of money Lil B had charged for features (in contrast to the Hunchback’s extremely generous $0.01 minimum fee for a verse). The townspeople are once again a tight-knit unit of based human beings living their best lives. It was just like Berkeley California before Lil B.
I see this post so often, and I'm amazed that people have trouble of thinking of things to do in an urban environment, so I thought I'd lend a hand. Thanks as always to The Gollicking members, Mimir-ion, Zweefer, RexiconJesse, u/arc_onyx, InfinityCircuit and DeathMcGunz. I've built a lot of cities. I find that its best to categorize.
Arts (Theater, dance, art, music)
Nightlife (Drinking, dancing, sex)
Shopping (Basics and Luxury)
Entertainment (Museum, Library, Zoo, Circus, Auction, Sage)
Sports (Team and Solo, and includes Gambling)
Nautical (Fishing, diving, sailing, yachting)
Here's my personal city encounters lists, slightly altered with worldbuilding details to be more generic and useful. They are yours to take, amend, and discard, with my thanks. There are 6 categories, with 20 entries for each category, giving us 120 encounters. (160 with the comment, below) A d6 and a d20 can dice up a full roster of stuff to do quite quickly. Enjoy!
Free outdoor art gallery with paintings, sculpture, food vendors and musicians. A note is passed to the party from a stranger.
A new play from a famous playwright is debuting at the local theater. The party receives an invitation from an anonymous source via a messenger.
A street band is playing raucous tunes outside the party's lodgings and a crowd prevents them from entering. If they persist, they accidentally start a brawl.
A festival is being held in the city and all citizens and visitors are required to attend and pay fealty to the city's ruler. During the parade an explosion destroys some buildings and kills nearly 100 people. The party is very close to the blast and sees a hooded figure fleeing via rooftop.
A local busker who always recites bad elven poetry is found one morning turned to stone.
A band of mimes have come to the city to perform a series of comedy shows. One of the mimes is a Doppleganger and is here to assassinate one of the party's allies.
A dance troupe, known for their public and surprise appearances (a "flashmob"), starts a performance in and around the party in the street. During the performance one of the dancers lunges at one of the party members and whispers, "Help me" in their ear, before carrying on with the spectacle.
A mysterious sculpture garden has "sprouted" in a main city street, seemingly grown from the very ground itself. All of the figures are depictions of body horror and some spectators have been driven mad or died after looking at them for too long.
Artist paints caricature portraits of passers-by which come to life at night to cause havoc.
There is a sand castle contest at the local beach. While digging a pit one contestant finds a wooden chest. It is sealed with arcane sigils and very dangerous. Inside is a lifeform.
The party is asked to investigate a local art gallery as the last known location of a model that has disappeared. The party finds extremely life like statues of various people, missing model included, and discovers the sculptor is a Maedar, with a pet Basilisk, trying to replicate his dead mate (a Medusa).
The party is invited to a studio for free painting lessons. The paint fumes trigger a spell that sends the party into a collective Dream. They must find their way out and defeat the Artist-Wizard and his pet Nothic before they are bled dry (to fuel a hideous ritual).
An audience-participation theater-event is occurring in one of the parks, and the party is encouraged to join, and are asked to put on some simple costumes. Upon doing so, they are swapped with hidden Clones, who continue the performance, while the party is teleported to an underground prison full of holding cells. There are dozens of other trapped citizens there.
A new popular song is all the rage and being sung by drunken bravos and university students alike. The song has a 10% to transfer an audio-parasite, that will drive the singer mad and ultimately into a catatonic state over the course of 7 days. During this time they will be compelled to sing the “hook” over and over, in the hopes of infecting any nearby listeners.
A master tattooist has set up a temporary shop on the fringes of the city. For a hefty fee, the customer will receive an exquisite piece of personal art, and on full moons, the tattoo will be able to sense the presence of magic, poisons, disease, or creature types (DMs choice). The master will leave after 24 hours, never to be seen again and the tattoo will fade completely after 30 days.
An artist is painting landscapes on the street. She says she’ll paint any place the customer desires. For a fee, she can make the painting a one-time portal to that place. The portals always go to the wrong location (this is discovered after travel has occurred).
A local homeless man, who mimes for money along the Promenade and in the Park, suddenly finds his invisible walls and pretend ropes are real. Passersby run into invisible walls of force left behind by him, people are dragged to him by his invisible rope, and he now hides in a corner of the park, afraid he will hurt others with this newfound power. The local Telekinesis Guild (bunch of filthy impostors and con artists, mostly) are furious that he has what they secretly do not, and has put a bounty on him, paid upon live delivery to their guild house.
A local street band is performing the show of their life and the music has become magical. Any Bards present will be able to “draw” 1-3 new spells from the performance. All others will be Blessed for the next 48 hours.
An artist has set up a crude telescope, pointing at the ground. For a small fee, you can look through the telescope and see a miniature world, full of tiny blue humanoids in a stone-age environment. The telescope is enchanted with a very detailed Major Illusion spell that allows the humanoids to be seen, and is also Cursed to drive the viewer mad by causing them to see the tiny blue humanoids everywhere they go. The curse will begin 24 hours after using the telescope and will persist for 30 days or until the victim goes mad, or dies. The Curse will manifest the humanoids as watching, then menacing, then threatening, then murderous.
Some Elven sculptors have set up a “Century Garden” - plinths of stone overhung by apparatus with funnels in different angles and locations that drip acids onto the stone - slowly forming the final form of the artists vision. The artist is selling tickets (valid in 100 years) to attend the ceremony.
A local tavern is showcasing a new lager and a spruiker is on the streets handing out "1/2 off" coupons to passersby. The party is given "2 free drinks" coupons on purpose by the NPC. A stranger is waiting inside that wants to talk to the party.
A dance club, on a typical night, has been infiltrated by an Avatar of Bacchus and has caused the party to spill into the streets where it has been pulling in passersby. The party is caught up in the crowd.
An exclusive nightclub has opened, membership only. One of the party’s allies goes missing and was last seen there. The club is a coven of Sorcerers and every night they sacrifice a kidnapped customer to try to summon an Eldritch Horror.
A hot club in town is secretly run by vampires. Cover charge is 1 pint of blood. Thralls being thralls, one of them talks, and a Hunter has gotten wind of the nest. The party will see him interrogating a thrall and escalating to torture.
A drunken brawl spills out of a tavern near the party. The fight is brutal, involving makeshift weapons and ends up overtaking the party. If they do not flee, during the fracas the party notices that one of the brawlers is biting his opponents and swallowing the flesh. If they do flee, they hear the next day that a pile of half-eaten bodies was discovered in the aftermath. A new zombie-master has come to town.
While out drinking, the party sees a Silver Elf enter the tavern, and time slows to 50% of its current speed for all but the party and Elf, who remain at 100%. The Elf asks the party if they would like to play a game of chess. If they say no, the Elf vanishes, and time returns to normal. If they agree they must wager a precious/strong/important memory against the answer to any question. The Elf has an INT modifier of +4 and a +4 proficiency in gaming. Upon the conclusion of the game, the Elf vanishes and time returns to normal. The bar patrons never see the Elf.
While in a tavern, a game of darts among some locals concludes in violence and 2 end up dead. On one of the deceased bodies is a treasure map that leads to a guarded vault in the wilderness.
A particularly virulent STD is going around the brothels. Over the course of 72 hours it turns the afflicted into a receptor for mental dominance from a powerful psion. The “Mind Taker” uses these puppets to rob the afflicted and deliver their valuables to a guarded location. Then the psion drains the puppet of its final mental faculties and stores it as an energy source for later. The bodies are then destroyed using a Rod of Disintegration. One of the party’s allies (or a party member themselves) has come down with a case of “The Threads” (so named for the red lines of infection radiating from the genitalia into the legs and torso.
A dance club has been cursed by a witch to afflict some (30%) of the customers with “Otiluke’s Irresistible Dance”. Some patrons have been dropping dead from it and the club owners are covering it up by secretly burying the bodies in the basement and drugging the witnesses. The party is present for this or one of their allies goes missing.
A man attempting to throw a party so massive he will officially become “the God of Partying” wants the players to help him throw an absolute rager. If they help, he will remember them fondly when he reaches godhood. The party could overrun the region/city.
The party finds a club throwing a rager in the party’s honor. All night, people toast the party members, dance with them, and celebrate. No one in the party has to pay for drinks. The next day, the party gets the bill for everyone's drinks. The tavern was told the event was for the party and would be paid for by them as well.
A new fad in the high-end taverns of the city, catering to young noblemen with too much money and not enough sense, is a drink called The Kiss. One part grain alcohol, one part pufferfish venom - a shot of this causes hallucinations and numbness, in addition to more than the usual drunkenness. Two young men, heirs to fortunes and titles in the court, have died in the last two nights. Word is they drank too many of these. The noble families want blood, and put bounties on all known bartenders serving This Kiss. The guard don’t want a riot on their hands if they interfere with the Mixologist’s Guild, the most powerful multinational trade guild in the world. A representative from the Crown has summoned the party, to discreetly investigate the explosive situation.
A group of drunks stumble towards the party and push through/past them. During this, the party will each be subject to a Pickpocket attempt (+8 Sleight of Hand). If discovered, the “drunks” are a pack of rogues who “own” this territory. If challenged, they will flee and return with a number of Thugs equal to the number of party members.
A grifter comes up to the party and bets that they can guess “where you got your boots/shoes”. The answer is “on your feet” (where the footwear currently is). The grifter will demand a small amount of cash after this, and will become hostile if denied or hassled.
An avatar of Bacchus/Dionysus appears in the area and begins a Revel. Those who hear the music or see the dancing/drinking must save vs Wisdom (DC 20) or join in. The Revel will last for 72-96 hours and leave partygoers with 3 levels of Exhaustion (and be many miles from where it started).
A Dwarven “thrashgnome” band is throwing an impromptu concert on the roof of a local tavern. The noise is deafening and a large brawl will erupt after awhile - during the fracas an object will find itself at the feet of one of the party members. It is a powerful Fetish that was stolen from a Witch (who has been seeking it, and is nearby).
The party enters a tavern to discover their money is “no good” and they are suddenly crowned “Lager Kings/Queens” for the night, and feted and welcomed by each individual tavern patron. The party will, as the sun rises, be poisoned by the insinuative poison that was in each successive drink, and if they fail a Con check vs a high DC, they will be magically Sleep’ed and find themselves strapped to a basement altar for a hatchling Gold Dragon to feed upon. If they succeed on the check, they are very ill and considered Incapacitated for the next 24 hours.
A new tavern has appeared in the area, and will vanish after the night’s festivities to appear in a random location in the world the next night. The tavern patrons are all Fey, and this is the “Wandering Druid Pub”.
A dealer is handing out “free tokes” of a new narcotic. The narcotic is powerful and hallucinatory, but harmless otherwise, except for the addiction rate, which is near 100%. A Con check vs a high DC is required. If failed, the user must take the drug again in the next 24 hours or suffer 2 levels of Fatigue. Every day without the drug thereafter confers another level of Fatigue. If the check is passed, they will become violently nauseous every time they take the drug again.
A group of Gnomish Brewmasters have set up a tasting booth on the street and are giving out free samples of “Old Brown Mare” - a powerful stout that has a tiny side effect - 10% of the imbibers are shrunk to Gnomish height for 24 hours.
(OPTIONAL) - A cadre of bound Incubi and Succubi have escaped from a brothel and are desperately seeking an escape from the area. They will make any deal possible to make this happen.
While looking for weapons, a party member "accidentally" activates a sentient weapon, who declares the party member as "master" and demands to know what has happened since it was "put to sleep".
While shopping, one or more of the party members is pickpocketed by a young kid who is part of an "urchin gang". This gang is an arm of one of the more powerful rogue guilds in the city.
A street vendor is selling “gag gifts”, guaranteed to ensure the perfect prank. All the objects are cursed, and the vendor reveals this as if they were joking, as part of the shtick.
Upon purchasing a normal mundane item, it is found to be hollow, with an unknown substance hidden inside of it. If left undiscovered, the person who sold it will try to get the item back, by negotiation or violence, it depends on the party’s willingness to part with it.
A certain type of plush toy is all the rage in this city, and the party will acquire one upon their next purchase - all the merchants were paid to distribute these as “customer incentives.” The toys act as scrying focus for the local thieves guild. The party’s lodgings will be robbed within 24 hours obtaining the toy.
An extraordinary amount of the richer folk of the town have gathered on the plaza. Gregory’s Golden Garments has arrived back in town from one of his far-off trading junkets. He brings the most exclusive textiles and materials to town, and the auction has started (dragon-skins, silk, etc.). During the auction, someone purchases a rare bolt of material and the party finds it in their room later, with instructions to hide it. If they don’t, a group of Assassins come looking for it. If they do, they will be contacted by a mysterious agent who asks them to transport it far away for a hefty fee.
An Annual Food Festival kicks off with much fanfare. However, someone has poisoned the foodstuffs and half the city is sick with nausea and other vile emissions. The organisers, afraid to lose their heads, have set a hefty bounty for finding the culprit(s), and one of these pamphlets is pushed on the party.
While shopping for weapons, a woman approaches the party and asks them to sell a weapon for her, as she cannot. She explains that the weapon is Cursed and will not allow itself to be sold by the owner. If the party agrees, she looks visible relieved and hands the item over. Now the weapon belongs to the party member who took it (and it cannot be sold). The item is a -1 weapon.
A small purse keeps whispering at a player for them to buy it. It remains silent when others are observing it and refuses to talk if it thinks anyone else can hear it. It says it can help them (count money, hide it from pickpockets, and offer insight) if they give it something in return (it wants costly gemstones).
Every store and restaurant the party enters seems to be run by the same person. If confronted, they laugh and say they “get that all the time”, but will profess ignorance otherwise. The merchants are all Dopplegangers and today is their “Day of Pranks”. If two merchants are forced together, they will become violent and the others will run out to join them.
The party finds a flyer shoved under their lodging’s door that promises “75% off all Adventuring Gear” at a local merchant. The merchant is very chatty and inquisitive and will press the party for information about where they are going next. The merchant then sells this information to a gang of rogues who will follow the party and attempt to rob them as they exit the dungeon.
While shopping for clothes, a party member hears a weeping noise. No one around seems to be crying, so if this is investigated, the member finds a top hat that seems to be the source. If the hat is put on, the party member is Cursed with a particularly nasty form of melancholia.
The next time an item of clothing is purchased, the party member discovers that it has a large “Pocket Dimension” concealed within its folds. There is an object already inside the pocket.
A beautiful man/woman approaches the lowest CHA party member and offers to make their “dreams come true” if they will sell their soul. The man/woman will cast a real Wish on behalf of the party member (which works without the usual DM fuckery, but will expire in 1 year, and a group of Devils will appear to collect the player’s soul). If refused, the man/woman will leave, but if confronted, they will flee. The man/woman is a mortal humanoid who simply shills for a Crossroads Devil.
While shopping for arrows/projectiles, the merchant offers the party a “one-time deal” of some special projectiles that are “guaranteed to strike their target every time” and will demonstrate this quality in a shooting lane set up in the back of the shop. The projectile will work as promised within the shop itself, without limit, but outside the shop, the first 3 only will work as promised and the rest will automatically fail-to-hit. If confronted later, the shopkeeper will claim ignorance and claim the party member is lying (even going so far as to call the Watch for harassment).
The city is having a 50% sale, city-wide, for the next 24 hours. Rogues know this too, and are everywhere, preying on the crowds, or following them home to be robbed later.
While shopping for provisions, the merchant says they are looking for “exotic meat hunters”, and will pay top prices for “anything unusual” without limit, provided the meat is delivered dressed.
A new confectionery store has opened and is giving away free samples in the streets. The sweets are mildly intoxicating, and have the added side-effect of making those who eat them very amorous for the next 8 hours. The owners are clerics of the Deity of Love.
An arsonist is burning down merchant shops, by “category”. The perpetrator is a failed businessperson themselves, and is merely seeking revenge. The first things burned are the weapon and armor shops.
While shopping for armor, the merchant offers to show the party a “special selection” of exotic armor. These are all very unusual and very expensive. This is a one-time offer that will never be repeated and if confronted, the merchant will claim ignorance as to the existence of the exotic armors, and if the shop is searched, they are nowhere to be found.
The party receives an anonymous gift of entry passes to an exclusive and private club in the city. At the club, the party is approached by cultists who attempt to persuade the party into joining.
The museum is showcasing some rare artifacts. While visiting, the party is present during the brazen theft of one of the objects - an item of unique and dangerous powers.
Zoo animals have escaped and are menacing the population!
A local sage sends an urgent message to the party about a matter of great importance. The sage, a bit senile, has gotten mixed up and this is not the group he was supposed to contact. He does not realize this and treats the party as if they were hired to retrieve a book from an old, guarded crypt. If the party refuses, the Sage will eventually be foolish enough to try it himself and the party will hear about his death.
A public estate sale of one of the city’s wealthiest families is announced. The prices are high, but the quality equally impressive. In the announcement is an object that the party or one of the party members has been looking for. If they attend the sale, they discover the price is three times higher than they can afford (even after pooling money or getting a loan). The security is strong but not impossible...
The museum is showcasing the preserved remains of a long-dead monster race as part of a traveling exhibition. During a tour, or at night when closed, the monsters are revived by an interested party, and they go on a murderous spree. They attack either the party (along with many others) or one of the party’s allies.
A series of foreign street magicians has entered town and perform solo acts all over town. One of them is near the party, and they need a volunteer for a (permanent) disappearing act.
A street corner storyteller is spinning a tale of adventure and peril to a crowd. The tale sounds suspiciously like the last adventure the party had.
While eating, the party sees a puppet show happening nearby. They find it (magically) difficult to avert their eyes from the felt performers and can see figures moving out of the corners of their eyes. These are Oblique Golems, and can only move when not being viewed. The golems will attempt to rob anyone nearby. The puppets are just puppets.
An Escape Room boasts a valuable prize for any group who can escape/solve the room before the hourglass fills. Several of the puzzles in the escape room align runes and involve magic words of power. If the party manages to complete the room, they complete the spell, finding a portal now open above the building. Demons pour from it into the town, and it cannot be closed for at least 24 hours.
Some fire-jugglers are performing in the street, and they appear to be using magic to create illusionary figures that leap from the burning torches. These are actually Mephits, and the fire-jugglers did not summon them, they appeared on their own. They run off to cause havoc and burn as much of the city as they can.
A local casino is offering big prizes to “Spin the Wheel” - with only a 5% chance of winning, this is mostly a scam, but those who play are Wizard-Marked to be robbed later. The prizes for actually winning are 4-figures.
A pig-racing track has been cordoned off - turning the streets into the racecourse. All are welcome to enter, and whoever wins is offered a lucrative contract joining the “Hog Ridin’ Circuit” - a racing tournament involving half-a-dozen cities and some very shady dealings.
A masked spruiker hands the party an ornately engraved thin metal plaque inviting them to an exclusive event at a place called “The Garden”, and a map is etched on the reverse side. The event, if attended, presents the party with an opportunity to travel to another plane and earn the favor of a powerful, if enigmatic figure.
A group of acrobats are performing feats and stunts in the street. During the performance, one of the party members sees the face of one of the tumblers momentarily change into something monstrous.
A pair of dueling Illusionists is staging an elaborate mock-battle in a nearby park, but neglected to inform anyone of this beforehand and have caused a panic.
A tour group suddenly appears and engulfs the party. The guide is pointing out places where famous adventurers have died, and suddenly points right where the party is standing and begins discussing them as if they were not there! The tour group can not be interacted with (as they are projections from the future) and soon quickly departs and vanishes around a corner.
A street lottery is being held by a local neighborhood social group. The cost is low and any tickets purchased are said to go towards upgrading the local park. There is a 50% that the party wins a modest prize of home-baked goods. The locals will send a message to the party later that their tickets were fraudulent and demand a return of the prize or the equivalent value in currency. This “lottery” is a common scam run in the area on obvious tourists.
During an previous-announced free concert by some famous Bards, a bomb explodes.
A street comedian is inadvertently casting “Tasha’s Hideous Laughter” on audience members. The phenomenon is soon discovered and the comedian flees. Later, he is found dead and covered in a thin slime.
The party receives an anonymous gift of tickets to a local sporting match. If they attend, they are approached by an NPC who says they represent a "person who wishes to remain nameless, but desires to procure your services in a delicate, and potentially dangerous matter."
The party is invited by a local ally to attend a boxing match. At the match both fighters are killed by a powerful assassin who works in secret for a local politician.
The party attends a game of skill and is accused of bribing a ref to throw the game by a rogue (who did actually rig the fight, but now has been caught and is desperate). A few of his crew will back him up and some of the crowd sides with them.
A marathon race has been scheduled to wind through the city as part of a larger season of racing. A number of famous people and some talented locals will participate. During the race, several of the runners suddenly collapse and begin coughing blood. This is the start of a disease outbreak, and will, without precautions, infect over half the city in only 72 hours. The source is magical in nature, and part of a larger scheme to cripple the city by a secret faction.
A bare-knuckle street match has been set up by an enterprising rogue/wizard. A series of ringers are inviting all-comers to challenge for a fat purse. Those who fight are wizard-marked, and followed later, to be kidnapped and bound for a fighting-arena in the Underdark.
An illegal horse race, infamous in the city for causing multiple deaths every year, is about to commence once again. The street the party currently finds themselves in will turn into the aftermath of a battlefield within several seconds. The race has no rules and is heavily wagered upon by the criminal elements of the city.
A “Circus Maximus” involving blood-sport, animal fighting, and a “nautical spectacle” is going to be held at the city’s largest stadium. The public is allowed to sign up to fight in one of the 3 events. The purse for winning is generous (5 figures) and is, of course, rigged and being carefully watched by the strongest Rogues Guild in the city, who stand to make a pile of money. If the party participates, they will see that some of their opponents have been enchanted with speed and strength.
An annual Guards Competition is about to commence. They are divided into 4 teams, and the locals have lifelong and fierce loyalties
In one quarter is an annual event - the Endurance Drinking Contest. A group of competitors take a shot, perform a task, take a shot, perform a different task, repeat. The winner gets a trophy, their portrait on the wall of winners, and bragging rights. The tasks range from silly to nearly impossible.
A mounted race is about to commence, and the party runs into a thick crowd along the edges of the route. If the party chooses to stay to watch, they will see one of the riders being assassinated from a position high above the streets by a mage’s spell.
A traveling ball-team is looking for a manager and some bodyguards, and one of the party’s allies has recommended the party, as a joke. The team shows up where the party is to conduct an interview.
A boxing match has resulted in a death and the angry and bewildered crowd has spilled out into the streets in a terrible brawl, hurting bystanders and destroying property. If the body is examined, 3 small holes in the back of the dead boxer’s neck can be found and 3 small projectiles found inside the wound. The trail leads to a mage’s henchman.
Illegal cart-racing has been taking place at night among the city’s youth and an ally of the party is terribly worried about their child’s possible-participation. The racing will soon claim lives.
The Dozens has arrived in the city - a nationwide, very famous content of insults and put-downs. The entry fee is to survive a round-robin of burns during The Throwdown, where hundreds will enter. The prize is bragging rights, a 4-figure cash prize, and the chance to defend their title next year.
An ally of the party has entered a marathon footrace. During the race, the ally disappears.
A Fishing Derby, the 1st of 3 contests each year, is being held by any who wish to pay the modest entry fee. There is only one rule - you cannot use a traditional rod/reel, fly, or net/seine to catch the fish. The Derby draws the inventive and the mad, and lasts over 3 days.
A professional team of Goliath and Dwarven “Chicken Fighters” arrive at the city for an exhibition match in the city’s swimming pool. One of the Goliath recognizes a party member (whether the members also remembers them, or not) and offers free tickets. During the match, one of the Dwarves is hurt, and after a flurry of rules-consultations, its determined that a substitute is allowed. The party is looked at by the Goliath and asked for help.
A ping-pong match is being staged between Royal cousins, to settle a dispute. The match is going to be public, and during it, both Royals disappear and are replaced with monkeys. Uproar ensues.
The party finds out there is an underground avian-fighting event happening below the tavern. When they go to investigate, they find a goose and a rooster on opposite sides of a metal chess board pushing the pieces around randomly. A ref resets illegal moves and pulls captured pieces from the board. The crowd roars wildly, screaming for their bird to win the game. The party is approached by a grifter who says he knows who’s going to win and will sell the info. The grifter’s prediction will prove right 2 times, then wrong the 3rd time.
An illegal blood-sport fighting match has caused the death of a local celebrity and the party has been framed for the murder.
A local ally invites the party on a fishing trip. While on the trip, the vessel is attacked by a desperate band of Kuo-Toa, who appear to be diseased and attack with a more-than-usual savage aggression.
The city is holding a yachting regatta and the party is present when one of the ships catches fire. Many accusations are bandied about and most seem to blame one of the city’s administrators who had a grudge.
A seasonal storm rushes over the city does significant (and costly) damage to the local fleets (and any ships the party might have moored here). Trade and travel is stalled and only a hefty bribe and some forceful diplomacy can secure any movement needs that the party might have.
A local mad-wizard-inventor is launching a submarine and has asked for volunteer pilots and crew. If the party accepts, they are attacked by a great white shark. If they do not, the sub is sunk by the shark. The mad-wizard will try again next month with a new design. If the shark has been killed, this version will find a sunken treasure worth a king’s fortune.
The party is invited to a beach party by an ally. While there, a number of party-goers find themselves suddenly growing gills and webbed feet and toes and a strong urge to enter the ocean. They have been drugged by a Sahuagin Sorcerer, who is trying to build an “amphibious army” to attack the town and destroy it.
A large number of Brachia (Crab-Folk) have surfaced in the bay and are attempting to communicate via the Dream spell (which will manifest as the entire town committing suicide, and this will be dreamed en-masse by the locals). This dream is not a threat, but a warning of what will happen if the townsfolk don’t rid themselves of a recently-acquired magic item (by the party themselves, or by another adventuring group). They have 72 hours to unravel the mystery.
A number of Were-Sharks are attacking swimmers at night (mostly kids/young adults out partying on the beach). These therianthropes are not aware of their actions, but know something is wrong. While shape-changed, they work as a team, like wolves.
While passing a street they encounter a group of semi-drunken sailors. The sailors start a brawl with the party, for their fun. When magic or weapons are used things will get nasty as the sailors will pull shivs, long knives, chains, and cudgels.
Something has turned the ocean red and fish are dying in great numbers.
A large statue that could be worth a lot is trapped in a cavern in the water. If the party can retrieve it without additional help, they can claim it as their own, sell it, and keep all of the profits. If they enlist any help, the local authorities will take over the operation and claim the statue for themselves.
During a sailboat race, a school of merfolk begin harassing and destroying the boats.
A group of traveling sailors try to sell famous and popular books, paintings, and equipment to the party at a great price. Upon closer inspection, the items appear to be forgeries.
A seadragon is heading for the coast, but rumor has it she will slumber if told a bedtime story. In order for her to hear it, the party must intercept her and shout the story from aboard a ship. But it better be a good story.
An ocean water spirit wants to visit a fellow spirit friend who is further inland. They will make a path over land of water they can travel through. The party can try to convince the spirit to follow their path and plot a nondestructive course, or they can try to stop the spirit from visiting their friend through force.
For three days, no one has been able to catch a fish with a hook and line. Nothing even bites, something just cuts the lines before any fish can bite.
A local surfer has gone missing and only his surfboard is found on the beach, covered in a black slime. Days later, his head (missing the eyes) washes ashore.
An Aboleth has awoken in the bay and starts calling minions to serve it. Some of them are townsfolk, and possibly the Mayor as well.
A waterspout threatens the docked ships in the harbor. It is not a natural occurrence.
A pack of Scrag (Sea Trolls) have started plucking beachcombers from the shoreline.
First, let me say thank you to all of our wonderful readers, users, subscribers, lurkers and whoever happens to stumble bum into our little islands, /Oahu and /Honolulu, in the vast ocean of the Innernet. Hope 2017 was good to you and hope 2018 will be even more better...so...to rock it in properly, here's a handy dandy guide I've put together using a variety of sources. Please verify the information on your own and be aware, there may be changes for any kind of reason. If there are any mistakes or if you'd like to add your own, post a comment here or shoot me a PM. Your 2017 Guide to the Best New Year’s Eve Events and Fireworks in Honolulu - From Honolulu Magazine Eighth Annual New Year’s Eve Party of the Year SATURDAY, DEC. 30 AND SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Party your way into the new year with a two-day festival featuring the electro-pop duo behind “Roses,” “Closer” and “Something Just Like This.” One ticket gets you access to The Chainsmokers concert at Aloha Stadium on Saturday, followed by a countdown to 2018 at Aloha Tower on Sunday with more than 30 bands and DJs on nine stages (including Walshy Fire of Major Lazer), Eat the Street food trucks and, of course, a spectacular fireworks display. Saturday: Aloha Stadium, 99-500 Salt Lake Blvd., ‘Aiea, 5–10 p.m., all ages; Sunday: Aloha Tower Marketplace, 1 Aloha Tower Drive, 7 p.m.–2 a.m., 18 and over; $135–$300, purchase tickets here. Hideout NYE SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Start 2018 right dressed in all-white at The Laylow Hotel’s New Year’s Eve masquerade. Mingle with mysterious guests (thanks to complimentary masks!) out on the open-air lānai and by the pool while you listen to live performances by DJs Revise and Tittahbyte and get your drink on at not one, but two, bars. 2299 Kūhio Ave., 9 p.m.–2 a.m., $50 for the first 200 guests, $75 at the door, purchase tickets here. Majestic! New Year’s Eve Cruise SUNDAY, DEC. 31 All aboard Atlantis Adventures’ Majestic! for a New Year’s Eve with an ocean view of the Waikīkī fireworks, delicious appetizers, celebratory party favors and a complimentary glass of Champagne for a toast at midnight. Pier 6, 1 Aloha Tower Drive, 10:30 p.m.–12:45 a.m., $173, purchase tickets here. Monte Carlo Casino Night at 53 By The Sea SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Try your hand at being James (or Jane) Bond for a night at 53 By The Sea’s glamorous New Year’s Eve party. This black-tie-optional event features casino favorites such as blackjack, craps and roulette, live music, a cigar lounge, a martini bar and a view of the Waikīkī fireworks from the terrace lānai. Each ticket includes casino cash, hors d’oeuvres, drink/cigar tickets, a Champagne toast and party favors. 53 Ahui St., 9 p.m.–1 a.m., 21 and over, $150 per person, $250 per couple, purchase tickets here. New Year’s Eve Celebrations at Hilton Hawaiian Village SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Best known for its Friday-night fireworks in Waikīkī, the Hilton Hawaiian Village outdoes itself with its New Year’s Eve show. The resort invites both visitors and locals to the Great Lawn for live entertainment by Henry Kapono and contemporary surf-rock band Dukes of Surf, a four-course dinner, cultural activities and an impressive fireworks finale over the lagoon. 2005 Kālia Road, 7–11 p.m., all ages, kama‘āina rates: $206 (child) or $256 (adult), purchase tickets here. New Year’s Eve Masquerade Party at SKY Waikīkī SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Start the new year with a bit of mystery at SKY Waikīkī’s annual New Year’s Eve Masquerade Party. Dress to impress in cocktail attire and a mask for a night of hosted appetizers, an open bar featuring Ketel One Vodka cocktails and Veuve Clicquot Champagne and, best of all, a room full of masked strangers. Listen to a live performance by L.A.-based DJ William Lifestyle as you watch Waikīkī’s iconic fireworks show from the top. 2270 Kalākaua Ave., 19th Floor, 8 p.m., 21 and over, $150–$300, purchase tickets here. New Year’s Eve Pineapple Drop at Mililani Town Center SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Forget watching the Times Square ball drop on TV—you can see a 12-by-6-foot pineapple drop in person, right here on O‘ahu. The Mililani Town Center pineapple will drop at 7 p.m. HST (midnight in New York), making this one New Year’s Eve party that you can bring your kids and even your grandparents to. Listen to live music by Mike Love and Maunalua, win prizes in the #WeAreMililani selfie contest, be a part of a massive group dance to the “Electric Slide” and more. 95-1249 Meheula Parkway, #193, Mililani, 2–8 p.m., free, click here for more information. NYE 2018 Presidential Suite Party: Kaleidoscope SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Say goodbye to 2017 in style at the Moana Surfrider’s exclusive New Year’s Eve soirée. This ultra-luxe private party takes place in the hotel’s Presidential Suite on the penthouse level with an unobstructed view of the Waikīkī fireworks. The evening begins with live performances by local artists Starr Kalahiki and Taimane and a variety of cirque performers. Keeping with the kaleidoscope concept, the party’s theme and its menu will change every hour. 2365 Kalākaua Ave., 9 p.m.–2 a.m., 21 and over, $750, purchase tickets here. Rock-A-Hula Midnight New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Show SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Skip the typical New Year’s Eve parties for this midnight edition of Rock-A-Hula that takes you on a musical “Hawaiian Journey” from the 1920s to today. With Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Katy Perry tribute artists, hula and fire-knife dancers, a gourmet dinner and fireworks visual effects on the big screen, this show will have you rockin’ into the new year. 2201 Kalākaua Ave., Building B, Fourth Floor, 9:45 p.m.–12:45 a.m., all ages, $61 (child) to $185 (adult), kama‘āina rates available, purchase tickets here. Star of Honolulu 2017 New Year’s Eve Cruise SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Sail into the new year on this midnight cruise featuring live entertainment, party favors and a prime view of the Waikīkī fireworks. Your choice of either a three- or five-course steak-and-lobster dinner comes with a Champagne toast to 2018. 1 Aloha Tower Drive, 10:15 p.m.–12:30 a.m., $89–$257, purchase tickets here. The Countdown 2018 at Stripsteak Waikīkī SUNDAY, DEC. 31 Dance the night away at this New Year’s Eve party hosted by renowned nightlife veterans Blaise Sato and Flash Hansen and featuring sounds by DJs Delve and Hooligan on the Grand Lānai of the International Market Place. Stripsteak will offer a special New Year’s Eve dinner menu with final seating at 8 p.m. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Hawai‘i Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 2330 Kalākaua Ave., #330, 10 p.m.–2 a.m., 21 and over, $20–$50, purchase tickets here. Ring in 2018 with These Fun New Year Cultural Celebrations in Honolulu - From Honolulu Magazine First Day Hike MONDAY, JAN. 1, 2018 The first sunrise of 2018 is at 7:09 a.m. Join more than 700 people who hike to the top of Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail to greet the new year. There’ll be a pū (blowing of a conch shell) followed by an oli blessing and taiko drummers. You’ll be hiking in pitch darkness, so bring a flashlight and arrive before the gates open at 5:30 a.m. to claim a parking spot. It might get chilly and windy at the top of the trail, so bring a light jacket. Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail Hatsumōde 2018 MONDAY, JAN. 1, 2018 Usher in good luck for the new year with your first temple or shrine visit in 2018. This Japanese custom is called hatsumōde. Listen to the sounds of taiko drums, eat ozoni mochi soup (a New Year’s soup with mochi rice cake and seasonal vegetables), then let the Japanese shishi lion lightly bite your head for good luck. Pro tip: Park your car for free at Damien Memorial School and catch a complimentary shuttle to the event. Free, midnight to 5 p.m., Hawai‘i Kotohira Jinsha – Hawai‘i Dazaifu Tenmangu, 1239 Olomea St., (808) 841-4755, e-shrine.org Hatsumohde New Year Celebration MONDAY, JAN. 1, 2018 If you’re planning to stay up late, visit the Daijingu Temple of Hawai‘i between midnight and 3:30 a.m. to receive a blessing from a Shinto priest. You can buy a lucky amulet and a paper fortune to bring you good luck in 2018. Expect 6,000 people there. If you want to arrive earlier to beat the crowd, there will be a blessing on Dec. 31 at 10 and 11 p.m. Parking is available in the shrine’s parking lot and at the Boy Scouts parking lot across the street. Free, midnight to 4 p.m., The Daijingu Temple of Hawai‘i, 61 Pū‘iwa Road, daijingutemple.org Fukubukuro SUNDAY, DEC. 31, 2017–MONDAY, JAN. 1, 2018 (INTERNATIONAL MARKET PLACE) MONDAY, JAN. 1, 2018 (ALA MOANA CENTER) Fukubukuro is a Japanese New Year’s Day custom in which retailers fill bags with mystery items and sell the bags at a discounted rate. At Ala Moana Center and International Market Place, you can take part in the tradition. For example, a mystery bag selling for $50 will contain at least $100 worth of merchandise. Here’s how it works: You can visit the participating stores, including Kate Spade New York, Godiva, Eden in Love and Reyn Spooner, to pick up a mystery bag. Sorry, you can’t open the bag until after you buy it. What’s inside? It’s a surprise! Expect limited quantities and long lines, so plan to hit up your favorite stores early. Price varies, 9:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Jan. 1, 2018, Ala Moana Center, alamoanacenter.com/en.html Price varies, 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Dec. 31, 2017 and Jan. 1, 2018, International Market Place, shopinternationalmarketplace.com/holidays New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival SATURDAY, JAN. 14, 2018 Celebrate the Year of the Dog at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i’s ‘Ohana Festival. This is a kickoff event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of gannen mono, the first Japanese immigrants to settle in Hawai‘i. There’ll be a craft fair, keiki games, food booths and more. Pro tip: Park your car for free at the University of Hawai‘i’s parking structure, then catch a complimentary shuttle to the festival. Free, 10 a.m.–4 p.m., Mō‘ili‘ili Field, jcch.com/events/2018-new-years-‘ohana-festival LIST: New Year's Eve events across Hawaii to ring in 2018 K5/HNN Oahu Fireworks Displays Aloha Tower Marketplace Display times 9 p.m., 10 p.m., 11 p.m. and midnight. Barge fronting Kahala Avenue 10:30 p.m. Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort Lagoon 11 p.m. Offshore barge, Waikiki 12 midnight The Kahala Hotel & Resort 12 midnight Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, Coves 1 and 2 12 midnight Turtle Bay Resort 11:59 p.m. Oahu New Year's Eve Events Mililani Town Center Pineapple Drop After a two-year hiatus, the beloved Pineapple Drop welcomes the new year with the lowering of a giant illuminated pineapple. The man-made pineapple stands at 12 feet tall and six feet wide, and lights up with more than 2,500 bulbs. The parking lot between Consolidated Theatres and Chilis opens to attendees at noon with entertainment, lion dances and activities to follow. The pineapple will be lowered at 7 p.m. to coincide with the New York City NYE Ball Drop. 8th Annual Party of the Year This two-day event begins on Saturday Dec. 30. Headline group The Chainsmokers will perform at Aloha Stadium on Saturday. All ages welcome. Then revelers will return Sunday to celebrate the start of 2018. The best 2017 New Year's Eve parties and events in Hawaii - Hawaii Magazine OAHU New Year’s Eve 2018 at Buho Cocina y Cantina Who needs a New Year’s Eve bash when you can have a fiesta? Set in the heart of Waikiki, this chic Mexican restaurant opens its rooftop bar as 2018 makes its arrival. Honolulu-based DJ Toma will be providing the night’s soundtrack, while you enjoy margaritas and authentic Mexican cuisine. 21+, starts at 10 p.m., $50 general admission tickets, 2250 Kalakaua Ave., fifth floor, Waikiki, buhocantina.com. New Year’s Eve Celebration: The Seven Kingdoms at RumFire Party oceanfront around the Sheraton Waikiki’s pools with a perfect view of the midnight fireworks. Couple this with a constant mix of DJs, live entertainment and the famous RumFire bar for an unforgettable night. 21+, 8:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., $120 general admission tickets, VIP packages and separate Champagne Room bookings available, 2255 Kalakaua Ave., Waikiki, rumfirewaikiki.com. New Year’s Eve 2018 Masquerade Party at Sky Waikiki You’ll find the best view of Waikiki at Sky Waikiki’s rooftop lounge. An upscale dress code is strictly enforced at this New Year’s gala (men must wear collared shirts, pants and dress shoes), and masquerade masks are highly recommended. Food and drinks will be on sale all night long, with the hosted bar featuring Ketel One Vodka and Veuve Clicquot Champagne. 21+, 8 p.m. to midnight, $200 general admission tickets, 2270 Kalakaua Ave., 19th Floor, Waikiki, skywaikiki.com. Star of Honolulu’s New Year’s Eve Midnight Cruise If you’re looking for a different way to ring in the New Year, consider boarding the Star of Honolulu at the Aloha Tower Marketplace. While sailing beyond Diamond Head and down the Kahala Coastline, enjoy a three-course dinner, a view of the Waikiki fireworks and onboard entertainment. All ages, 10:15 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., $195 general admission tickets, 1 Aloha Tower Dr., Honolulu, starofhonolulu.com. 8th Annual Party of the Year Party with the masses at Aloha Tower Marketplace with 30 bands and DJs, featuring Walshy Fire of Major Lazer. There will also be food trucks and the island’s largest fireworks show. Choose the Sunday-only pass at $45 for general admission, or get a two-day pass ($135 early general admission) and attend The Chainsmokers concert the night before on Dec. 30, too. For more information, visit tickets.nyehawaii.com. Where to party on New Year’s Eve - Frolic Hawaii 8th Annual Bud Light New Year’s Eve Party of the Year 7 p.m. Aloha Tower Marketplace, 1 Aloha Tower Drive $45-150 Tickets More than 30 bands, musicians and local entertainers are performing on seven stages and venues throughout Aloha Tower Marketplace. There’ll be lots of libations, as well as food from Eat the Street food trucks. The night’s capped off with a stellar fireworks display above historic Aloha Tower. New Year’s Eve 2017 Great Lawn Gala 7 p.m. Hilton Hawaiian Village, 2005 Kalia Rd. $300 Tickets Hilton Hawaiian Village’s New Year’s Eve celebration features performances by Hoku Hanohano Award-winning Henry Kapono and Dukes of Surf. You can also enjoy a four-course set dinner—sashimi salad, Pacific crab and kabocha pumpkin bisque, petite filet mignon and butter-poached Maine lobster, and chocolate tasting trio—and a fireworks finale to top off the evening. Tiki Drop 2018 Waikiki New Year’s Eve Party 7 p.m. Tiki’s Grill & Bar, 2570 Kalakaua Ave. $79 plus tax and tip Tickets The annual Tiki Drop Party overlooks Waikiki Beach, with two live bands, a DJ, dancing and great views of the fireworks. The full dinner menu is available along with a special prix fixe menu featuring a filet mignon and petite Tristan lobster tail duet. Oceanfront Dining VIP and Oceanfront Lanai VIP party packages are also available if you want to bring the whole gang. New Year's Eve Pineapple Drop 2 to 7 p.m. Town Center of Mililani, 95-1249 Meheula Pkwy. Free Live entertainment starts on the Kanikapila Stage at 2, Mike Love and Maunalua headline from 5:15, and a countdown synced to the New Year's Eve ball drop in New York's Times Square begins at 6:59. At 7 p.m. Mililani's famous lighted pineapple drops, leaving plenty of time to go find another NYE party somewhere. Free Pineapple Drop lightup fidget spinners with $25 purchase. Bill Maher’s 7th Annual New Year’s Evening of Comedy 7:30 p.m. Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave. Tickets from $45.50 Tickets For the seventh year in a row, Bill Maher will be ringing in the New Year on Oahu. This evening of comedy will be extra special this year because Maher will be performing alongside actor and Grammy-nominated standup comedian Bob Saget (Full House) and comedic impersonator Reggie Brown as Barack Obama. SKY Waikiki – New Year’s Eve Masquerade Party 8 p.m. SKY Waikiki, 2270 Kalakaua Ave. $150-300 Tickets Masks are highly recommended for this annual event. Tickets include hosted food offerings—including duck pot stickers, jalapeno poppers, crab dip crostini and more—a hosted bar and entertainment by guest DJ William Lifestyle. VIP reservations are also available and include exclusive dining offerings with hosted bottle service. Under the Sea 8 p.m. Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, 2365 Kalakaua Ave. $125 Tickets Ring in 2018 with a splash with the Moana’s “sea-tacular” New Year’s Eve party. The evening features Polynesian dancers and fire knife shows, live music by Taimane and Manoa DNA, fun kids’ activities, an oceanfront fireworks show and more. VIP cabanas and tables are available for an elevated NYE experience. The Seven Kingdoms 8:30 p.m. Sheraton Waikiki, 2255 Kalakaua Ave. $120 Tickets Revel in the night at Sheraton Waikiki’s “Seven Kingdoms” NYE extravaganza. Dress to impress and enjoy amazing oceanfront views of the midnight fireworks. Complimentary validated parking is good for up to four hours. Hideout NYE 9 p.m. Hideout at The Laylow, 2299 Kuhio Ave. $50 Tickets Embrace 2018 at the Hideout’s New Year’s Eve masquerade. This party’s taking place at the pool deck, since the two DJs and two bars will be too much for the open-air lanai and firepits to handle. Tickets include complimentary masks, tasty appetizers and a champagne toast, so all you need to bring is your best white attire. Monte Carlo Casino Night 9 p.m. 53 By The Sea, 53 Ahui St. $150 Tickets You can bet on a great night at this black-tie event. Enjoy gourmet hors d’oeuvres, live music, a martini bar, cigar lounge, dancing, raffle prizes and more. Play your hand at the High Rollers table and ring in 2018 in style. Hawaiian Brian’s Crossroads Soulgasm 9 p.m. Hawaiian Brian’s Crossroads, 1680 Kapiolani Blvd. (concert room to the left) $10 Tickets Celebrate the new year with a House, Funk and Soul party! This party features award-winning musician, producer and DJ Cevil of thePeople’s party. There'll be goodies and giveaways from 9 to 10 p.m., so go early. There’s no better way to ring in 2018 than with some feel-good vibes. Kahala Masquerade Ball 2018 9 p.m. The Kahala (Maile Ballroom, poolside under the stars), 5000 Kahala Ave. $250 Tickets Sip on champagne and ring in 2018 in style at The Kahala. The evening kicks off with buffet-style food stations in the Maile Foyer from 9 to 11 p.m., with bar service and a nightclub and dancing area. Then, continue the party poolside with live music, a photo booth and midnight fireworks. Event tickets include complimentary tiaras, beads and festive hats at check-in, and noisemakers will be distributed at 11:30 p.m. Complimentary parking is included. Addiction’s Winter Ball 2018 9 p.m. The Modern, 1775 Ala Moana Blvd. $40 (pre-sale), $60 (general admission) Tickets Count down to 2018 with DJs and dancing. Enjoy a VIP champagne reception at 9 p.m.; presale tickets are available until Dec. 29. To book your table reservation or for more information, visit [email protected]. Buho Cantina 10 p.m. Buho Cocina y Cantina, 2250 Kalakaua Ave. $50 Tickets Celebrate under the stars at Buho Cantina’s rooftop venue. Ring in the New Year with DJ Toma and an epic annual bash! Dress to impress; for VIP reservations, contact [email protected]. Dave & Buster’s New Years Eve Family Fun 5 p.m. Dave & Buster’s Honolulu, 1030 Auahi St. $39.96 or $46.26 Tickets Enjoy food and fun with the whole family to ring in the New Year! Designed for families, this event is from 5 to 8 p.m. and attendees can choose between two food-and-games package options. They include an appetizer buffet, dessert, unlimited soft drinks, Power Cards, a video ball drop to ring in 2018 and more. AAA Hawaii Offers Tipsy Tow Service For New Year’s Eve To help remove drinking drivers from the road, AAA Hawaii is offering its Tipsy Tow service during New Year’s Eve. The service is available from 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31, until 6 a.m. Monday, Jan. 1. Tipsy Tow is available in the areas served by AAA Hawaii. AAA Hawaii encourages party-goers to plan ahead for a sober ride or use a designated driver if attending a gathering. But if those plans fall through, motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver may call 1-800-222-4357 for a free tow home of up to five miles. Callers simply tell the AAA operators, “I need a Tipsy Tow,” to receive the free tow and ride home. A regular AAA Hawaii-contracted roadside assistance service truck will be dispatched. Tipsy Tow is unique in that it provides a driver with the option of a safe ride home for themselves and their vehicle instead of driving while intoxicated. Callers need to keep in mind that the service excludes rides for passengers, is restricted to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver and the destination is limited to the driver’s residence. Reservations are not accepted. Drivers can expect to pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor for rides beyond five miles. “We want motorists to be aware of the high crash risk from drinking and driving associated with the holiday and encourage them to think twice about getting behind the wheel if they have been drinking,” said AAA Hawaii’s General Manager Liane Sumida. According to Hawaii state data, impaired driving continues to present a significant problem in Hawaii and poses a danger to public safety. Of the state’s 95 traffic fatalities in 2014, 52 (55 percent) had alcohol and/or drugs in their system. Nationwide, in 2016, crashes claimed 37,461 lives, and 28 percent died in crashes involving drunk drivers. An average of one alcohol-impaired driving fatality occurred every 51 minutes, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). New Year’s Eve traditionally is a time for home parties, as well as outings to restaurants and bars, and other excursions and gatherings. These activities contribute to a relaxed atmosphere and more drinking, according to Sumida. “It takes only one or two drinks to slow physical and mental skills and affect vision, steering, braking, judgment and reaction time,” Sumida said. “Drivers should be aware that the law enforcement agencies are using extra patrols to look for drinking drivers during the holiday.” Drinking drivers frequently don’t plan for other ways to get home because they are concerned about retrieving their vehicle. They cite the expense of taxis and time inconvenience as the major reasons they don’t use alternative transportation, according to AAA Hawaii. Today, more options are available including designated sober drivers, public transit and ride-hailing services. People convicted of driving under the influence could lose many of the most important things in their lives, such as family, job, dignity and money. AAA Hawaii estimates that a first time DUI conviction can cost approximately $15,688 or more in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and insurance costs. AAA Hawaii advises those who celebrate New Year’s Eve to keep themselves and others safe and avoid DUI arrests by following these safety tips:
Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
At social events, designate non-drinking drivers who can get everyone home safely.
Never serve alcohol to those under age 21. It’s illegal and dangerous.
Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who was drinking alcohol – even after one drink.
Call a friend or family member for a ride home if you’ve been drinking.
Keep a cab company or sober ride telephone number in your cell phone and wallet so you can call for a ride home.
As a party host, offer non-alcoholic drink alternatives and provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers; provide overnight accommodations to guests who’ve been drinking.
Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have been drinking.
If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 9-1-1 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).
Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.
Although Tipsy Tow is offered by AAA Hawaii and other AAA clubs, it is not a nationwide program. Check with your local AAA club for availability. Visit PreventDUI.AAA.com for impaired driving facts, transportation alternatives and expert advice. AAA encourages visitors to Take the Pledge to drive drug and alcohol-free.
Serenity, scuba, sports activities and sensational food-the insanely gorgeous Caribbean isles hardly miss out on anything to welcome their guests! Whether you are a bask-in-the-white-beach-sun kind of a traveller, or someone seeking some spine-tickling biking and diving activities; whether you wander for food, or simply to escape your tedious monotony- there is something for every type in the Caribbean. Choose the secluded beaches if you are looking for quiet and calm escape or try the more popular ones to bask under the glimmering sun with fellow travellers. Your options for an ideal vacation will surely outrun the length of your holiday!So, if you are already jumping on your couch with excitement, buckle up! We bring you the top 7 Caribbean Islands that you need to consider for your next travel plan:
This predominantly English speaking, neat and clean medium sized atoll is perched on the edge of the Atlantic. Unarguably the most multi-faceted Caribbean isle, Barbados is a hot favourite among Americans. Offering a multitude of accommodations and activities, it caters to all kinds of pocket sizes, diverse landscapes and cultural scenarios. Stroll around the vibrant city of Bridgetown or unwind the Harrison’s cave, the interiors of the island are as intriguing as the surrounding, quiet areas that offer sandy beaches, verdant golf courses and palatial resorts. Dance to the thrum of a Calypso song or indulge in the party-loving culture, Barbados is equal parts sporty and revelling. This one’s an absolute no-brainer. An endless ribbon of beaches frilled with the top-notch resorts that flaunt malls, family eateries and bars in the back yard define all things Aruban! With a wide assortment of casinos and nightclubs that parallelly cater to kids-friendly accommodations, Aruba qualifies to be the best Caribbean Island for all kinds of tourist-groups. Less forest-like and more on the desert side, this isle has an offbeat appearance compared to its other Caribbean counterparts. The Arikok National Park, covering almost 20% of the atoll’s landscape, offers lovely cacti-filled scenes to be unravelled. Lying outside the region’s hurricane belt, Aruba is equal parts safe and fun. The isle’s main town Oranjestad is chockfull with shops, landmarks and pastel landscapes, perfectly circumscribed in the quaint and gorgeous, and secluded beaches around.
This one’s an absolute no-brainer. An endless ribbon of beaches frilled with the top-notch resorts that flaunt malls, family eateries and bars in the back yard define all things Aruban! With a wide assortment of casinos and nightclubs that parallelly cater to kids-friendly accommodations, Aruba qualifies to be the best Caribbean Island for all kinds of tourist-groups. Less forest-like and more on the desert side, this isle has an offbeat appearance compared to its other Caribbean counterparts. The Arikok National Park, covering almost 20% of the atoll’s landscape, offers lovely cacti-filled scenes to be unravelled. Lying outside the region’s hurricane belt, Aruba is equal parts safe and fun. The isle’s main town Oranjestad is chockfull with shops, landmarks and pastel landscapes, perfectly circumscribed in the quaint and gorgeous, and secluded beaches around.
Weekly Kickstarter Roundup (11/16): New projects include Outrider, New Bedford, Robots Love Ice Cream, Sunrise City: Nights!, and more
This list is for new game projects (no RPGs, dice, or decks of cards) in the Tabletop Games category from the previous week, and projects ending this week that either will be funded or are at least 70% funded. If I missed something, please add a link in the comments. Note: I will be at BGG.CON next week and will not be posting the list. Hopefully whygook can substitute.
New last week
My Big Break
The hilarious, cutthroat board game that follows performers as they audition their way to success in musical theatre!
We’re back, with another Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama review! This week, we’re listening to Project Twilight, #23 in the Main Range of audios. Written by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright, this story features the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe. Let’s get started! I’ve been very critical in the past of Doctor Who stories that focus on the supernatural—ghosts, werewolves, vampires and the like. Project: Twilight is one of the first such stories to impress me. It uses many of the vampire tropes while managing to avoid straying into cliché; and it neatly ties into both the supernatural past (with mention of the Great Vampires of Gallifreyan history) and the technological present. All of this, in a Sixth Doctor story! Impressive indeed. The story I can most compare with this one is Night of the Whisper, the Ninth Doctor’s entry in the Destiny of the Doctor fiftieth-anniversary audio series. While that story indulges in more fast-paced action, it has a noir, detective-story vibe that shows up again here, if not as strongly. It’s an interesting coincidence that both stories involve supernatural villains (in Night it’s a werewolf), and both involve cybernetically-enhanced, mysterious figures who fight vigilante-style against the supernatural villains (the titular Whisper, and here, Nimrod). Both involve waitresses in over their heads (Rose Tyler there, Cassie here), and both involve corporate spies with shady dealings and bad fates (Cassie again here, and Daisy Hewett in Night). The Dusk casino is practically synonymous with the Full Moon Nightclub. The similarities go on, and for once it’s a good thing--Night of the Whisper is a great story, easily the highlight of its series. I was pleased to learn that this story begins an arc that will continue for some years (in terms of release dates, that is), ultimately wrapping up with 2010’s A Death in the Family. While I haven’t yet reached any of the other entries (and therefore can’t comment on their quality), I hope that they continue in this vein (if you’ll excuse the pun), and that they’re worth looking forward to. I commented in my last post (Bloodtide) that Evelyn Smythe didn’t have much to do. While that’s still mostly true here, it doesn’t feel the same; she seems much more involved this time around. It’s Evelyn who spends much of the story looking after the ill-fated Cassie, and forging a bond with her that I hope will feature into the next entry in the arc. Evelyn discovers the coded journal left behind by Dr. William Abberton, who provides the opening teaser; this in turn leads to an important revelation for the Doctor later on (though I’ll refrain from explaining, for the sake of spoilers). As usual, she verbally spars with the Doctor quite often and quite well; but this time there’s a sharper edge to it, as she confronts him about his habit of keeping things from her. She’s right, of course; it’s a flaw that the Doctor, regardless of incarnation or choice of companion, never seems to eradicate from himself. Here he conceals the nature of their enemies, and it very nearly costs Cassie’s life; there’s a scene where Evelyn leaves Cassie in a dangerous position, which she would never have done had the Doctor been up front with her. Evelyn also has the misfortune of getting sprayed with blood and entrails when a character literally explodes; I’ll leave the details to imagination, but I will say that she handles it better than most people would. The Sixth Doctor is actually fairly subdued this time around; he’s cheerful enough, but there’s little of his usual melodramatic monologuing. He has the good grace to admit he was wrong in fairly short order after it happens, which is an enormous step of humility for Six. He makes Big Finish’s first mention (to my knowledge anyway) of the Gallifreyan legend Zagreus, which will eventually figure into the main range in a major way. For once, you get the impression that the Sixth Doctor wouldn’t be a bad traveling companion after all; even at his best, he rarely gives that impression, but he nails it here. I don’t have any technical complaints about this story; the acting, the sound effects, the pacing—everything is as good as it gets. As for plot, my only issue is that I expected a much sharper reaction from the Doctor when he discovers he’s dealing with vampires. He makes much of the way in which they provoke Time Lords by their very existence; he explains to Evelyn how the Time Lords allowed the Great Vampires into the universe from their own dimension, and how they hunted the Time Lords and conquered worlds, and how every Time Lord is charged with the responsibility to destroy them wherever they find them (State of Decay). He rages about it quite emotionally—and then continues to trust and help the vampires, right up until the final extent of their plan is revealed. The contrast is jarring, and it’s hard to believe, even if the Doctor does customarily try even to save his enemies. Continuity references: Zagreus will appear again in the audios Neverland and Zagreus, and possibly others. The Doctor references the events of State of Decay as I mentioned above, indirectly at least. Evelyn refers to fishing the Doctor out of the Thames in front of the Tower of London; this is the second time it’s happened, as she did the same in The Marian Conspiracy. The Doctor mentions meeting Kublai Khan (Marco Polo) and Houdini (Smoke and Mirrors, with a different meeting referenced in Planet of the Spiders). The story takes place in 2001, making it mostly contemporary for Evelyn. Overall, a great Sixth Doctor story, and even better for having Evelyn in it. Maybe the curse on supernatural stories is broken? Eh, probably not. Still, it’s a nice deviation from the usual, and I look forward to more to come. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this one a solid 7. Next time: We meet the Fifth Doctor, Peri, and brand-new companion Erimem in Egypt in The Eye of the Scorpion! And, tomorrow, we’ll finish up the first War Doctor box set with The Heart of the Battle! See you there.
Former Turiya Advisors COO Jeffrey Levy accused of Ponzi scheme 'labelled Generous Jeff after spending $59,000 on alcohol for the entire nightclub'
· Jeffery Levy, is suspect of instigating a $8m Ponzi-style fraud. · Former Chief Operating Officer exhibited himself as a brilliant financial expert. · Allegedly assured large returns on investments but investors lost $1000s. · Hong Kong Securities And Futures Commission heard he spent thousands on alcohol. · He supposedly spent $1m on exclusive nightclubs and his gambling addiction. Recently departed Turiya Advisors COO accused of masterminding a $8m fraud to fund his playboy lifestyle was dubbed 'Generous Jeff' after he spent $59,000 on alcohol for revellers in a nightclub. Jeffery Levy, allegedly concocted the $8m Ponzi fraud which he used to fund his gambling habit and penchant for spending tens of thousands of dollars on champagne at exclusive nightclubs. The former chief operating officer racked up a bill of $1m in just 13 months after visiting the clubs, buying large bottles of champagne and going to an exclusive casino. Clubbers described Levy's spending - which included splashing out almost $30,000 on a single bottle of champagne on one occasion - as ‘crazy’. They said the amount of money he was spending must have represented part of investors' money who had been persuaded to invest in his scheme after he offered huge returns. Levy reinvented himself as a financial expert and was promoted by Davide Erro, it is claimed. Well placed sources stated however, Levy and Erro fell foul before Levy’s departure. This is believed to be due to his ‘extra-curricular’ activities. The ex Turiya Partners COO set himself up as a financial expert promising investors huge returns on cash funnelled into his scheme. In just 15 months he managed to take $8m. But many of his investors lost considerable sums of money - including a widow who lost $60,000. He is accused of running the scheme in a 'Ponzi fashion' - using new investors’ funds to pay off those who wanted to leave it. Turiya Advisors at this current time are denying to issue a release on Jeffery Levy’s departure and rumoured Ponzi Scheme which has hundreds of investors calling to the authorities warranting an investigation by the Hong Kong Securities And Futures Commission. A barmaid said: ‘According to the receipts he managed to spend about $59,000 in one night at something a high-class party within the exclusive club. And in a further example of excessive spending Levy spent almost $30,000 on a bottle of champagne while partying at a luxury Hong Kong hotel. Levy also funnelled just under $1m to an exclusive South-East Asia Casino, between joining the casino in 1 and his 2 years ago and his departure from Turiya Advisors, he visited the lavish venue 81 times. He lost $477,900 after playing games where more than $4m was passed backwards and forwards over the table, it was said. What that figure does seem to suggest is that he was an extensive and prolific gambler during that period. The amounts of money that were being lost... when he lost you may think he lost big. But $522,100 simply disappeared from the cash deposited with the casino, probably in cash withdrawals, and has not been traced. Were any of the investors told that their money was going to be put into a casino and then withdrawn in cash for it to disappear? The sums of money being spent is eye-watering and must have represented in whole or at least in very substantial part investor’s money and again you might want to ask yourselves if any of the investors were told that is what was happening to their money.
Australia is the first country to deny visa to playboy misogynist Dan Bilzerian
Only weeks after revoking the visa of self professed ‘pick up artist’ Julien Blanc, Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison has controversially denied a temporary visa to social media kingpin Dan Bilzerian after a video emerged of him kicking a woman in the face in a Miami nightclub. This morning it was revealed that the “King of Instagram” Dan Bilzerian was arrested at LAX late Tuesday night and is currently being held without bail. It’s unclear whether the arrest had anything to do with the fact that he was recently kicked out of a Miami nightclub for allegedly kicking a woman named Vanessa Castano in the face. She has since filed a police report. It appears that Bilzerian was planning an impromptu trip to Australia at the request of several “high-up and well known” casino developers and magnates, to tour the country on a nightclub circuit and to also act as a consultant on the design of the millionaires poker floors at Barangaroo and a new casino to be built in Cairns. Known for his lavish lifestyle and hedonistic ways, Bilzerian once said that his greatest fear is that “someone will break in and I won’t be able to decide what gun to shoot them with.” Words are not usually enough to prevent entry into Australia, however his recent physical altercation in a Miami nightclub highlighted his much discussed violent streak. The video clearly shows him kicking an unknown girl in what appears to be her head in an unprovoked altercation. Bilzerian was quick to defend himself in the incident, stating that “had it been a guy, nobody woulda said sh*t – I am used to doing what I want. Women fly to LA to sleep with me… It was gonna go two ways, either she makes a scene like she has – or she brags about it to her slutty friends” Senator Scott Morrison risks backlash from young voters that are keen to see this pop culture revelation in the flesh, however Morrison claims he has the support of Prime Minister Tony Abbot. Abbot himself has stated off the record “if you’re going to assault a woman, then make sure the cameras aren’t rolling” – an obvious reference to the 28 year old case in which he was said to have physically intimidated a female activist off stage at Sydney University function, before addressing an audience of 200 as a young student leader. The ban flies in the face of Bilzerian, who has been quoted as saying “when you got a lot of money, you can do whatever you want because nobody can tell you what to do.” Australia has in the past been stern with disallowing visas for self-righteous American celebrities, including the likes of Eminem and Snoop Dogg. Bilzerian, notorious for his love of guns and women, poses in one of the many social media photos that made him famous. Bilzerian, notorious for his love of guns and women, poses in one of the many social media photos that made him famous. With his own private jet an an indispensable income from a healthy inheritance – as well as his successes in gambling, gun trade and venture capital, time will tell whether Bilzerian can be kept out of Australia. The alleged felon, who was currently still held without bail in LAX has been quotes as saying “I don’t give a f*k – Australia looks like sht anyway. I’d prefer to stay at home with my cat and sleep with women that I hate” www.mypokerpal.co.uk source
I ripped open the letter. 'Dear mr Aaron Brubecker. You are cordially invited to the media industry event for networking and promotion 'Stardust.' 8 pm at Branning Hall.' '(And of course the years greatest Afterparty.)'
Oh of course!! Daphne must work in the industry as well, she recognised the letter!
As I stumbled towards home in a drunken ecstasy, I embarrassingly and unashamedly texted the number she had given me, saying only 'Yes! See you at the party! I'll be there! Xx'
My hangover the next day was tinged with the sweetest nostalgia for last night.
I spent the next week at work just thinking about Daphne and the party. Would we ever reconnect, even if we met again? I think I was really developing feelings for this girl. Overnight. It was too fast. Not the way I rolled. Got to try and keep my head together.
At the very least, she had re-instilled my passion for the monkey verses. I hadn't really looked at them for over a month before last night. It was good to get a kick in the pants. I spent the next week working on the final edit. The truth is ...there was probably only one more weeks work left in it. (At least of what I had to work with). I had kind of given up because of the missing books.
Hmmm. I should explain. See, my friend Andrew received the monkey verses in pieces,( he says, from an anonymous source).
They weren't in order, but it was easy enough to rearrange because of the subject matter. The major storyline of the two giants was the easiest to salvage of course, and to make it easy, this fabled plot weaved through a large part of the story. When I finally found the first verse --and saw it had a subheading --it was something of a revelation. But when I had found the second and third chapter heading, it had gotten more problematic. Just how many chapters were there?
There wasn't enough content to fill the other chapters, especially when the first chapter was long enough to fill a book (Fitting the title of it). See, I was positive that the first chapter that introduced Fantasy, Reality, Desire and Ambition was one continuous piece. It was like finishing a massive jigsaw when I finally put it all together. Every verse led into the next one, it just made sense. Although the name didn't come until about twenty stanzas in, right after the introduction of Gaia and Uranus -- 'The book of stars and planets'.
(This was, after all, an appropriate title for the first chapter), given that it slowly developed a kind of scientific rationality, slowly replacing ancient mythology with terminology for our solar system by the final stanza. (Replacing Greek gods with the Roman equivalents and equating them with planets, moons and constellations.)
Of course there's still a chance I'm wrong. Maybe 'the monkey verses' is its own chapter, and not the title of the whole work. Admittedly, the other two chapters really confused me. 'The book of mountains and valleys' .... That's one of the chapter name's I can't quite place..
I think I had managed to find 15 or so verses which probably belonged to this chapter. Given the mentioning of various common symbols, trees of knowledge, rivers and ocean deities. But that was all I really had to go on, and even still none of them were really connected in any meaningful sense. Not a single one of them flowed. Then the other chapter I don't think I had any verses for at all. Just the first one: 'As the monkey scoured the entire land, his perception governed by that which was in his hand....'
..Which was an oddly cryptic passage in itself, far less poetic than the rest.
It sort of reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, or that joke: 'A man with a hammer looks on everything as a nail.'
Anyway. That still leaves about 98 stanzas which seemed to be of completely unrelated material. Did these belong to either of these two chapters? Or were they completely unrelated?
The answer to that, I just don't know. This week... I've been doing a final mix and match. Running over the stanzas which have no obvious place and juxtaposing each one with every single passage to make sure I haven't made a mistake. Tomorrow night, after work I'll take the finished piece to Andrew's flat and together we can decide what to do with the excess. Wether we cut the whole lot ...or publish it all as an appendix.
So that was what I was doing when Daphne called.
....Placing random passages in different contexts till I found a match. At first I was blown away, wondering how the hell she even got my number. Then I remembered my overly forward drunken text message I sent the other night. Of course she had my number. Her introduction was very personal, no awkward reintroductions, almost as if we'd been friends for years: 'Aaron, it's Daphne....Hi!'.
I froze for multiple seconds before responding, not from nerves, but because of the synchronicity of what I was looking at. The passage I had just tried to match with the other passages of the monkey verses had finally found a coherent context. ..But ...it was not with any poem in front of me, ...it was with my own life, and the voice on the other end of the phone!
It's hard to explain what I mean....I was looking at a passage about Aphrodite you see. (The one I had been looking at for over an hour) The passage read: 'She calls her victim to their fall, makes starlight blacken and oer-shadows all, from high--'. Goddamn it, and I was reading the word high, right when she said 'hi' -- The words played over in my head again like they were being whispered by a ghost...'she calls'..Never could get my head around co-incidences like that. It sounds like the ravings of a crazy person I know, but I wonder if any readers will be familiar with this type of odd coincidence, or moment of profound meaning in their life?
'Its great to hear from you...what are...you....' I finally stuttered.
I was cut off. She characteristically spoke over me, shushing me down: 'shush shushu shuuuuu--- listen, I don't have time to talk right now. You owe me one. I found somebody you need to talk to. Somebody who knows about your poem. Just make sure you're at the party on Saturday and I'll introduce you.' I was stunned, but before I even had time to respond the line had gone dead.
I put down the phone ...and the Aphrodite passage. I probably should get some rest and not read too much into this whole chain of events. Overworking and overthinking, that was my problem. I watched some television and slowly drifted off to sleep.
I had the most feverish dreams that night. You know the kind of dream where everything ought to have a saxaphone playing in the background. You wonder if you played it back on a screen in waking life ....somehow if it even had a coherent plot?? or if the whole dream was just a series of images flashing by?? A dark skinned guy, smiling, with big white teeth. Playing cards being dealt on green felt. A black cat arching it's back. Most of all I remember Daphne. Rising over me like a new moon in a starless sky.
I woke up sweating.
I called in sick to work that day.
Spent most of the day not doing much at all. Wasn't really sick of course. Not physically. Something inside just didn't feel right. Something in the air. Something about the day.
I may have vomitted. I don't remember.
Night finally came, and I left to visit my friend Andrew. Travelled light. Just my bag, the verses, my wallet and a pack of cigarettes. I've been trying to quit smoking, but tonight I need the comfort habit. Me and Drew almost always got on the fags after a few whiskeys anyway, we had that suppressed vice in common. My bag swung against my legs as I walked, my footsteps had more of a cinematic audio quality than usual. It was a dark night, but there was no moon....no Daphne moon, like the one in my dream.
I couldn't help but think faster, and more anxiously than normal. The cigarettes helped the anxiety. Maybe it was stupid going to Andrews tonight, if what Daphne says is really true. If she knew more about the verses than me, then what the hell were the two of us going to talk about anyway? Do I tell Andrew about Daphne?
I had given up on the idea of public transport and called an Uber cab. As I rolled through the city-lights, the future flew by me, like I was a fighter jet ---flying through an exploding oil field. The future always felt like it was coming on faster amidst the lights of Hexton city.
There were three layers of future shine to my night trip. Those protective streetlights (which whispered of power, society and government.) The high rise office lights (which gleefully laughed by -- with a power far above the government.) Then far above it all ...were the stars, (which loved with a power absolute and infinite.) Or hated with the same power perhaps, .....no one was sure on that part.
The cab parked outside Andrews building.
I could hear sirens coming from somewhere. And something tickling my skin. Was it starting to rain?
I pulled my overcoat on tight and fled to the shelter of the lobby, then rang Andrews intercom. Hmmm, that's weird. There was no answer, even after I waited for 20 minutes. I rang the neighbours flat, knowing that Andrew often went around to the guys next door. I think one of the guys name was Leonard??
The intercom made that coughing sound when someone presses the receiver on the other end, but nobody spoke. 'Hh...hello?' I stammered, 'I'm looking for Andrew.' There was a muffled grunt of acknowledgment and then a buzz and click as the door released. I pushed it and walked into the hallway.
The worst thing about Andrews apartment was all the stairs. It was on level 34 so... I noticed the uncleared mail, scattered about on the floor near the boxes, and contemplated THAT many people living in a space ...and no one bothering to clean the lobby. Didn't they have strata to take care of basic housecleaning? What a mess.
When I arrived upstairs I was surprised to see someone waiting for me, but it wasn't Andrew. It was his next door neighbour. The other guy. Never did catch his name. He was leaning in the doorway and smoking a cigarette. Seemed a little late to be dressed like that... Casino suit and a fedora in his right hand. Then again I knew that Andrews neighbours were pretty weird guys.
I started to approach, but before I got within 8 metres the guy yelled out to me...'Andrews not here!'
My foot stopped in mid air like his words were a lasso, catching it from behind.
'We have an appointment. It's ok I'm not...' I tried to make a rebuttal but there was no avail. 'He's not here,' the guy yelled back...'I doubt if you'll see him any time soon. Sorry.' And, just like that he replaced his fedora and slammed the door.
'Thanks...' I muttered to no one, or perhaps myself.
'information could've been useful before I walked up forty flights of stairs.'
I banged on Andrews door for another ten minutes, but got no response. About another ten minutes later and I was in the pub around the corner from Andrews apartment block, cursing that son of a bitch for standing me up. Whiskey seemed like an insult after what had happened, so I was throwing back straight Brandy's. Something was wrong. Andrew wasn't the kind of guy to just disappear.
And why was his neighbour so determined to get rid of me?
Anxiety and questions, and more questions. That was all that passed between that night, when the brown liquid swivelled from glass to glass, and the night of the 'stardust industry cocktail party'-- when I held a Manhattan in my hand once more. The same cocktail I was drinking the night I first met Daphne. And the brown liquid swivelled around, the same colour of the carpet in Branning hall. Right now it was the colour of mystery.
Where the hell was she anyway? It was already 9:30. I was sitting at the reserved 'Pomegranate media' table and watching the boring award speeches, picking at the boney piece of quail they had served ..with an aged silver fork.
Of all people I was sitting opposite that absolute prick from accounts, Rhys. With his matted blonde hair and dopey surfers face. This is exactly why I usually ignored these kind of events, I would've thrown the letter straight into the bin if it wasn't for Daphne.
'Why aren't you up there this year?' Rhys said at one point, leaning over the table and spitting with a mouth full of quail. 'I already won the Gatz design of the year award a month ago, isn't that enough?' I cut back at him. That shut him up for a minute, but he had already broken the fourth wall. 'Excuse me' I said, and stood up, leaving my quail meat to die in peace, (If the rest of the vultures sitting around the table didn't get at it first.)
I went outside to have a sneaky cigarette. I needed it. My nerves we're at an all time high this week.
Hours rolled by, and still no Daphne. The event was winding up. I should've known I'd be stood up by a girl like that. The foolish thing was ever getting my hopes up. Then, just as I was contemplating giving up and going home, I saw her. She had come in suddenly holding a big fur coat and talking to a guy wearing green cuff-links.
She passed me and grabbed my arm, saying: 'You're coming to the Afterparty, right? Me and Eric are getting a cab now, you want to hitch a lift?'.'Sure.' I replied, forgetting all my anxiety and hostility.
The two of them both seemed of an otherworldly colour, glowing in the night, like rare precious gems, purple and green.
The car doors slammed, and merrily we rolled along. Her friend Eric seemed concerned about something as I caught a glimpse of him in the rearview, his moustache sat tight on his face, and the wrinkles in his brow, buckled under pressure, twitching like taught guitar strings. Daphne barely stopped talking the whole ride, though we two in her presence remained virtually silent. 'Holy shit Eric, you're such a club guy. I always knew it. Everything about you screams, club, club, club. And the guy with the eyebrows says he wants to turn it into a MOVIE! That's six degrees of me being a fictional character immortalised forever in Hollywood. Do you think you could ask him to put a character called Daphne into it? God.....his wife was absolutely repulsive though, wasn't she?... the way she slid around like a slug, glaring at everyone disapprovingly? What was her name anyway? Oh ...who cares, from now on well just know her as slug lady.' She bellowed out laughter and slapped Eric on the back, turning suddenly to face me: (It was clear she had consumed her share of alcohol that evening -- judging by the way she remembered me, suddenly, as if she had completely forgotten seeing me a few minutes ago). 'Oh you're coming Aaron! Good! My god, did I tell you?? I found someone who knows about your poem. You owe me for this. What favour should I ask in return? 5000 dollars? No. Actually ... I'm quite interested myself. You'll tell me what he says about it won't you?' (She turned around again, throwing her arms in the air.) 'I hope Henry comes tonight. Oh Henry. Isn't he just adorable? Everything he says is simply electric! Eric? You didn't mean it did you? You're not really going to quit?' Soon enough the cab pulled into a back street in Hydlemere, an old warehouse had been converted into a buzzing nightclub with a huge, red neon sign : 'Havana Joe's'. The street was filled with well dressed folk, laughing and drinking cocktails.
I felt odd now that I was here. The way I had built it up in my head, the two of us had really hit it off, the chemistry between me and Daphne, I thought, would be instantly recognisable. But now, I felt distant. The two of us had only really met once and I started to get the feeling that she didn't really care wether I was there or not.
It was a power game. Somehow at the bar, with that poem, I had gotten some unnatural or undeserved power, and now stripped bare I could see that...in actual truth, I really didn't have any. I followed her like a schoolboy... or an obedient puppy dog ...into the black hole of the party.
Daphne seemed to know everyone here. I felt completely invisible. What was I doing here? It was not long after walking down a crowded hallway, she turned dutifully ...remembering my place in her social to do list. 'Aaron, this is Bill! This is the guy I was talking about!' I found myself shaking someone's hand. 'Bill, this is Aaron, the owner of the poem.' The plaid, ordinary looking man's eyes lit up, 'Oh, my, yes.' he said, 'I think we have a common interest!'. Daphne kissed her hand and blew on it, 'I'll let you two talk about it huh?'
She started to walk off 'let me know what you find out.' She whispered to me as she was walking away. I suddenly remembered I didn't give a damn about the monkey verses, they had only ever been interesting to me through Daphne's eyes. Now I was suddenly in this awkward situation, talking to some dull jack-in-the-box I didn't know. Whilst the girl of my dreams walked away from me.
My eyes glazed over, I wonder if my new conversation partner even noticed, as I sunk back into a kind of feotal stage of pessimism. 'Youre friend ...with passages from the monkey verses, he received them anonymously didn't he?' Asked Bill. I half nodded in a vague sign of acknowledgment, as my soul was subject to the pit and the pendulum. 'This is so awesome. We found another one. I don't know how much you know... so I'll tell you everything I have discovered in my research. You're friend is not the only one to receive the poem. There's kind of a small community building around this mystery. We think we my have found where the writer lived.'
Whatever this was. Whatever was being unveiled to me, right now, it was nothing like what I had hoped for, nothing like...anything ...I wanted to hear. I suddenly didn't care at all about appearances, didn't care about social codes of behaviour -- I had to find Daphne, had to tell her how I felt.
'Listen' I said, 'I have to go.' Bill was startled ...like a fight had broken out. He seized me by the arm and slammed a piece of paper into my left hand, clenching his fist over it to close it with the paper inside. 'Here!?' He exclaimed, 'Listen, just meet me tommorrow at this address, the property is open to view. Trust me you're going to want to see this.' I began to walk away, ...opening a drink someone had passed me. I had a sudden inception. Like one gets only occasionally, like a wild animal must get when he fears a lion is stalking him. I got the sudden realisation now -- that I was completely alone. That I was a rogue at this party, a vagabond wandering aimlessly, damned to walk these labrynthic halls if I couldn't find Daphne. I was worthless unless I could be worth something in her eyes again.
The red lights of the old warehouse gave everyone in the place a sinister, demonic hue. The way small groups danced, and anxious-eyes popped out of red faces, gave the whole scene a feeling ...kinda like an anti drug commercial.. Or an expressionist painting. The lost and abandoned faces of Munch came to mind. As I walked aimlessly I was hit by shoulders, the pounding against me -- felt like waves pounding over me, as I floated, drifted with the current, unable to swim and hoping some rip of fortune would lead me back to her.
I wanted to skip time, and go back to that night in the bar, when the only people that existed in the whole world were me and her. I walked through room after room. This -- party --was more like a rave than a corporate Afterparty, the building was as big and hard to explore as the Australian Museum, and dimmer and redder than Hades itself. Finally I spotted Daphne hanging out with some Instagram Hoivres. I felt a final surge of courage inside, like the kind I felt when I first met her. I skulled the rest of my beer and charged towards her, trying to strut. She barely acknowledged me as I approached, I had to grab her awkwardly to get her attention.
It was one of those moments where you hope and pray that the universe will be on your side, when you'll get recognition -- that moment of special attention you've always secretly longed for ...and then the world inevitably let's you down. She seemed put out, annoyed even that I was talking to her. 'I need to speak to you.' I said, forcing her to move away from her friends who put on judgemental 'whatever' faces.
'Did you talk to Bill?' She asked, in an unsympathetic tone which inferred that I couldn't possibly have had time to, ultimately hinting I should turn around and go back and talk to him again.
I pushed her, cleverly using my body language, until I was out of ear reach of the gawking sociopaths. 'I have to tell you something. I'm attracted to you. I like you. There I said it.' Her eyes dropped to the floor. I kept speaking in desperation; 'I came to this party to see you, I don't care about the stupid poem.' She refused to acknowledge.
This was precisely the opposite to how I imagined this night would turn out. I gently put my fingers up to her chin and pushed her head up to look at me. Her eyes were watering, but not because she was emotionally effected. It seemed more like she was just irritated to be put in such an awkward situation.
'Aaar--' she suddenly pushed my hand away, as if trying to throw my affection away, something she didn't want or need. 'Aaron you... You're a nice guy... I'm sorry if--' 'I don't care how you feel' I said -- 'I just want to spend some time with you-- I ---' I started to put my hand up again and she stepped backwards 'I don't.. I'm not interested at all ok.. I'm engaged. I'm getting married in five months!! Your just a... I don't even know you--'.
And just like that. With no shots fired. No knives thrown. I was destroyed.
I tried not to burst into tears, trying to keep my wits about me.. but... I'd already been mortally wounded. She was engaged. Somewhere in the past a volcano was going off, spewing molten debris and lava into the sea, a one off event leaving formations of rocks that would last for centuries. Vulcan and Reality conspiring to build the eternal wall of inconsistency.
The rest of that night was a blur. I didn't stay at the party long and Daphne quickly moved on to laugh and chat with some other randoms. I felt a cold wind blowing from some far away place, maybe from outer space.
As I walked home, I was consumed by the kind of loneliness you feel waiting by yourself in an airport or a hospital.
I just wanted to sleep.
I passed a parked police car, some redneck cops were frisking some drunk teenagers. It was that point you reach where you realise that anything isn't possible, that things end, hearts break, people get caught, go to jail, go to hospital, die.
I think I had the same dreams that night. A black cat arching it's back. A dark skinned guy, smiling, with big white teeth. Playing cards being dealt on green felt. And the moon, yeah it was just a moon. Some left over cliches from Hollywood-- or pulp fiction embedded deep in my unconscious. Superstitious bunk. I knew they had no real meaning. After all, dreams don't have meaning. Nothing really does.
At least.....that's how I felt at the end of the night of the party.
I woke up feeling different. Somehow resolved through blood shot eyes, was I crying in my sleep? You reach a certain point in an existential crisis where you just don't care anymore. I woke up early and had breakfast in front of the television. Cornflakes. Blaring shit. It really was horse shit, TV, my intuition had always been right about that. I found the piece of paper in my pocket. Of course I was going to go. Even in the midst of utter futility human beings will find some mad purpose.
That was the last evil in Pandora's box. Wasn't it? Hope. That was the REAL secret of the Eluysinian mysteries. Orpheus, Persephone, Dionysus, Reality, Fantasy, me, Daphne. That was the one thing we couldn't abandon. The one thing we all had in common -- Hope.
I got dressed and headed to the address 'Bill' gave me. There was a weird atmosphere, a weird kind of action in the air. The address was packed too. It was like an open house inspection in a housing crisis. Weird people too. Creative types. Guys with beards, fixie bikes and antique long-lens cameras. I had to push my way through the crowd, not knowing what the hell I was getting myself into. What the hell was this? What was I involved with? And who the fuck are all these people? Must be some social media thing. The modern mass hysteria.
It took me a while to work out what I was looking at.
It was a dirty, run down apartment. By the looks of it the last tenants were squatters or vagrants. The house itself was completely uninteresting. Dull modern architecture ruined by rain damage. People walking through it were united by a sense of excitement, like tourists in the Parisian catacombs, feeling some how closer to death or life, who knows which. I was dumbfounded until I came across the first mural. Suddenly all the pieces came together. For one : hipsters and street art were obviously magnetic. Then I started to examine the images ..and as I saw the second one, it clicked, whoever lived here was irrefutably connected to the person who wrote the poem that Andrew had been given.
They were almost like chapter illustrations for 'The Monkey Verses' themselves, the graffiti murals. The first image I didn't recognise from any particular verse. It depicted a giant ape, standing over a primordial ...or hyperborean jungle. Each panel was beautifully painted, (I guessed in oils), and underneath was an ornate typographical title. The first one cryptically read: 'The book where the giant HanoKong climbs down from the tree Ygghasan and faces the seven adversities.' The next panel was on an adjacent wall and as I peered into the next room it was clear that the pieces of mural art-lead around in a trail around the house, ( as I could see a plethora of gawkers in the next room umm-ing and ahh-ing). It's hard to describe the images, as they got increasingly complex- depicting a vast array of hominid and ape like beings engaged in a variety of interrelated activities. I recognised some of the titles immediately 'The book of mountains and valleys.' 'The book of weapons and tools' (This was the chapter I had struggled so hard to find content for amidst Andrews notes.) Other chapters I had never heard of before 'The book of the key and lock.' 'The place where Halima Faughn translates the monkey verses' (this particular panel struck a chord with me, for it seemed to depict a strange elephant headed being ...writing something in a large notebook, whilst a cascade of mythical figures seemed to dance inside his mind. There were, I think, 12 murals in all, the last being a kind of mirror image of the first, depicting the same giant ape, this time climbing into the clouds with the text underneath: 'The book where HanoKong climbs up the giant ladder into the misty dimensions of Alosha.'
I tried to absorb it. Not knowing what to think. The artist inside me wanted to play journalist. To ask around, find out what everyone knew. Put more pieces of the puzzle together. Maybe even collaborate to put the entire poem together and see what other chapters everyone else had.
But the real me, whatever we call a soul, wanted to retreat. Somehow this revelation (Whatever it was) was much more of a defeat than a victory. Solving this mystery should've been exciting. But instead it just felt like another nail in the coffin. Whatever I had felt at the party when I found out Daphne was engaged was now just amplified more here, extending beyond love, relationships and social prowess. Now, even the spark of romance between me and Daphne, was being extinguished, like a supernova star burning out. I now owned nothing sacred. There was nothing that only I knew. I was nobody. Just like everybody else here. I was a just cog in the wheel. Just another chapter in the monkey verses.
The phrase stuck in my head.
Desperation breeds hope. Something inside me had to make sure, had to dig up the corpse and try to recucitate it... Had to open up Pandoras box -- one last time.
I called Daphne.
Five dial tones as I brushed past the nobodies taking selfies and snapshots in the dilapidated old house.
As I walk out the front door and into the clear air ...she finally answers. There's no response..she's silent. I feel nothing and lack fear, repeating exactly what was in my mind:
'You and me. We are just another chapter in the monkey verses aren't we.'
There was a dial tone as she hung up.
I crouched for a second, then grabbed my stomach as I limped back towards the abandoned apartment. I kneeled down near the doorway to throw up. Other people had also left tags around the property, probably hipsters and other trendy arty types. Near my feet, someone had written something cryptic in green chalk '...versus the reptile'. Another red herring. Another cryptic nothing clue - leading nowhere. Some other failed creative -- trying to add flavour to the overall puzzle of eternal bullshit, then there was a crude drawing of a serpent with an outstretched, hissing tongue.
I gagged and swallowed bile, then went home.
Still...Whatever I had done, it must have touched Daphne somehow. Three hours later I got a message. 'Meet me in the restaraunt at World Square Tower at 6pm. PS I don't have feelings for you ...so don't get your hopes up. Just feel we need some closure.'
Well. That was that.
I had previously wondered what it's like for an old man who gets told the cancer is eating away at him ..and he only has so long to live? I bet it's the same feeling a 24 year old woman gets when she hears back from that job interview she really wanted, and finds she was rejected. I bet it's the same age old feeling a homeless guy feels every time someone laughs at him, or glares at him unsympathetically when he asks for change. The same feeling I was having now.
You know when you get obsessed by something? The truth is, I really had only known Daphne for less than a fortnight. I wasn't the sort of guy to become a stalker. But I wasn't the sort of guy who handled rejection well either.
Of course I met Daphne at 6pm. Just like in the text. Of course, it didn't turn out like some Hollywood movie. No moonlight kiss, or airport chase scene. In fact ..I felt a million miles away from her. If anything it made me feel like ...like....all of life's elation, all of our hunt for the stars was... Just insane.
We sat down and ate. Barely speaking. I had fish and chips and she had pasta. In the end I had already figured out what she wanted anyway. That's why I'd brought them. She wanted my part of the verses. Me and Andrew's copy. Wanted to be part of solving the big mystery. Feed off the internet fueled popularity of it all. I handed them over, glad to be rid of the burden.
As if for old times sake, or like someone in a bar who has a lighter, but asks a stranger to light their cigarette, just because it's easier ...she asked me one more thing to settle her conscience.
'How does it end? About fantasy and reality I mean? How does it end?'
I put my fork in and ate a stack of chips.
The truth is. I didn't know. From what I read... it didn't end ...(at least in the segments that I had collated.) But as a story teller. (And a deluded jilted lover I knew I could give it a shot). I mean, I knew at least, what I considered the end. So that's exactly what I told her.
'There's an endless war.' I said. 'Fantasy's legions forge twenty one swords which are designed to end Reality's kingdom forever.' She stared at me with big eyes... Beautiful eyes... Temporarily at least... She was not filled with the loathing she had shown me at the stardust party. I went on...
'Some of the Titan's who are sympathetic with Reality's plight, forge their own sword, more terrible than any of the 21 swords. The swords is given to Reality on his 21st birthday as a gift. (centuries I suppose?) This sword was called 'The edge of Reality'.
But unknown to Reality, some of the Titans who's allegiance is with Fantasy, conspired in the creation of the sword. Unknown to the other Titan's, the sword was forged out of the same matter the 'silver key of dreams' was forged. The cursed object which Fantasy had secretly given to humanity on their 21st birthday, to sully and corrupt reality's realm. Reality's new sword, was carved from the rocks of the imagination. So, in one of the many endless wars of the gods and titans, Reality takes up his sword and challenges Fantasy to fight to the death.
Daphne looked at me. She had a look of folorn acceptance. 'And then?' She asked.
'Well...Fantasy taunts his brother with one last spiteful remark. He admits that he once loved his brother more than life itself. Fantasy, confesseses, as if reconciling with his brother, that ... In fact...Everything he had ever done, he had done out of jealousy for his brothers works. That it was Reality -- that fantasy secretly longed to be. Reality of course, tear in eye, moved to embrace his brother.'
A tear rose now in my own eye.
'But then fantasy dealt the final blow. Spitefully pushing his brother away and laughing '...but Reality... oh my brother ... don't you see. Now it's you, who's forever trying to be like me.' And with this triumph, Fantasy pulled his hidden weapon from behind his back --a chain and knocker, which was stolen from the cave of some Saturnian giants lair, in a deafening blow, he swings, shattering Reality's sword into a million pieces. The pieces fell through the wall of inconsistency, covering earth in it's glimmering crystal shards.'
Daphne sighed ... Then spoke softly and dreamily: 'a million dreamers, pierced by the shards of Reality's broken gift--- forced forever more to stare longingly at the crooked horizons, jagged lines, and fleeting moments along the edge of Reality.'
I couldn't acknowledge her, or her brilliance, but instead preferred to finish the horrible end of the story, as quickly as I could. If I could only hurt her with the truth, like she hurt me. I would do it.
'Unconquered ...Reality raises what's left of the stub of his sword.. And with one swift move, pierces fantasy in the heart with the jaggered scabbard, and death and Thanatos laugh victorious over the battlefield of all that was good, and is now forever lost. Fantasy dies forever....and the future falls into the shadow of death and misery.'
A genuine tear fell from Daphne's eye.
'Tell me something positive.' She said.
I made something up, '..perhaps when Fantasy died he was restored into the arms of his first and one true love, finality.'
She got up and left. That was the last time I ever spoke to Daphne.
I walked slowly home, passing the spot on Darling street where one of my colleagues killed himself, where his brains spilled out on the pavement. It didn't make me feel any emotion, actually the emotion I felt was the opposite of anything. Just a blackness.
I went to the Greek cafe on the corner of Bayswater Road for a coffee before I went home. As I sipped on the short black I had one last emotional thought about the whole series of events of the last two weeks.
'What if I had done everything differently?'
'Would it have even mattered?'
For some reason I pulled a marker out of my pocket and wrote the word 'stardust' on the cafe table.
Then I went home and watched TV, ready to go to work on Monday.
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