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1st REAL dxm experience (good)

Hey Reddit what’s up this is actually my 1st time posting anywhere on reddit, I’ve read tons of articles/blogs on here but have never posted one until now.
Quick Background of myself
I’m 6’3 ft tall, 205lbs, (White if it matters to you lol) male, and I’m 20. Previous drug experience of DPH (didn’t care for it, only use it to sleep once in a while @ 50mg. Have never taken over 100mg), Xanax a few times (2mg or under, which was an okay experience I guess but I really don’t see the hype behind them.) nothing else other than marijuana and alcohol. I’m a daily marijuana smoker so yes I’m a “stoner” but a functioning one lmao, I don’t drink all that often but have been good and drunk easily 30-40 times throughout the past ~4 years (since I was 16) as far as the weed goes, I can smoke an absurd amount of it if I WANT to, but don’t simply because of the cost lol my tolerance to THC/weed is much higher than I’d like it to be, but it still gives me a good buzz when I smoke no doubt. I’ve thought about doing LSD but I’m still not sure enough about it to be completely comfortable talking it in fear of a bad trip. I’ve watched/read tons of videos and articles about DXM, LSD, Shrooms, etc. Why I chose DXM to be the first “psychedelic” drug I try is beyond me(even though I’m plenty aware it’s NOT technically a psychedelic drug, but a Dissociative drug). I assume it’s because it’s been compared to as a feeling of “being drunk & stoned at the same time” which was familiar to me because I’ve been there, done that.
SO, I went to my closest “Dollar General” and picked up a 4oz (118ml) of cough syrup in an orange box labeled “For ages 6 & over Adult Cough Relief” which the ONLY active ingredient in it was 15mg of Dextromethorphan Hbr per ever 5ml. Now doing basic math, I figured out drinking the entire 4oz bottle would equal ~350mg of DXM for me. So I buy it for $5 even (plus tax) and go back to the house. When I get home I do the obvious and unpackage the bottle of syrup, read the labels to make sure everything’s safe for me to take and double check my math to make sure I don’t accidentally take more DXM than intended, everything checked out so down went the 4oz of orange flavored cough syrup (at about 9:30pm) over the course of ~10-15mins along with some ginger ale to wash it down with between sips (the syrup was pretty thick so guzzling it probably isn’t a good idea).
I’d say ~30-40 mins after drinking the bottle of syrup (time now being 10:00-10:15ish) I’m eating a little snack just to have something on my stomach, I felt slightly “different” it’s hard to explain exactly what I mean by that, but I could tell my way of thinking, thought patterns, senses, all seemed “distorted” to a degree but in a fun, but somewhat confusing way. I just kept on watching whatever was on the TV I had playing in the background at the time (which happened to be “Family Guy” on Adult Swim for the majority of my memory). Nothing too major, just enough to notice something was “off” and kinda shrugged it off at first thinking “eh I bet I probably didn’t take enough to really do much.”
About an hour goes by (now around 11pm) I start noticing some minor visual distortions but more so in the way of depth perception I guess you’d say? it’s bizarre to explain into words what exactly I saw/felt, but I was enjoying it while also being curious and somewhat confused.
About ~30 mins later (time now being around 11:30pm) I decide to turn the TV off and get up to take a leak, when I go to get up this is when the phenomenon known as the “robo-walk” kick in. I could still move fairly decently, but my overall weight felt distorted and being on my feet was somewhat of a bizarre feeling. I was moving more slowly than I usually would, and was almost “shuffling” more so than walking to the bathroom. (P.S. taking a leak on DXM is also JUST as weird lol.)
I get back to my room (time now being ~11:40pm) with a big cup of water (I was thirsty, drunk like half the cup of water in 30 seconds lmao) and pick up my iphone and decide to open the “YouTube” app I had installed and watch some trippy/chill videos and listen to some psychedelic-like music (Ex: I like to listen to Synthwave, Retrowave, Chillwave, when super stoned/high etc.) this was the turning point for the entire DXM experience (for me anyways). Once I heard the trippy-trance like music along with the chill visuals that came along with the videos, it almost felt as if I was “melting” to what I was watching/listening to. It had a slight feeling of being “sucked in” to whatever I was fixated on. The high i was experiencing (oddly enough) at this point was very much like when I would smoke weed without having a tolerance built up to it (I’ve been smoking weed daily for roughly the past year now). The music I was listening to seemed like it had more “depth” to it to a sense? I quickly learned why I had seen so many people talk about DXM and music. I closed my eyes to see if I had any CEVs but I don’t think/remember totally If I did. When I laid there with my eyes closed in a dark room with the music still playing, I had a what I would best describe as a “floaty/dreamlike” state when I closed my eyes or stared into the visuals on the screen of my phone.
Another 20-30 mins go by (time now being about 12:15am) and I turn YouTube off, and open up “Spotify” and listen to similar music along with some of my favorite chill-type songs (A$AP Rocky being a favorite btw) and just lock my phone screen with the music still on at a low volume and close my eyes in my completely dark room laying on my back looking up at the ceiling fan (which was on at medium setting). The combination of darkness, the fan blowing on me slightly, and the chill music I was listening to I decided to pack a bowl (of weed, duh) on a smallish hand pipe I have (I usually smoke out out a bong, but wanted to take it slow with the weed while on DXM as it required a little more effort than usual to process/do things. I take the first hit (I was smoking “Sugar Cookies” strain which is a indica-hybrid with a strong 22% Avg. THC rating) and after the first hit or two, I noticed the weed seemed to co-exist quite well with the DXM and music I was listening to. The THC seemed to almost give the DXM an extra “kick” and combining the two substances is a great idea (in my opinion) and have good harmony together. The weed seemed to make all the effects of the DXM amplify (to a degree) but also made it even more of a strange, somewhat confusing BUT fun experience for me.
Another 30 minutes or so go by (time now being around 1:00am) and I decide to try to get some sleep as I was starting to get tired. Trying to sleep was somewhat bizarre feeling and at first thought I was gonna have to stay up a few more hours to wait until the “come-down” of the DXM. I ended up eventually falling asleep after like 20 or 30 mins or trying, but woke up around 7am-ish for some reason but still felt kinda out of it and just “not normal” (in other words I knew I was still somewhat feelings the effects of the DXM). I managed to fall back asleep after waking up and slept until around 11:30am this morning. When I woke up I will admit I still felt a little odd but I could function pretty normal and act normal I just still felt off. It’s 7:30pm as I’m writing this (The day/night following the DXM “trip”.) and I still VERY slightly feel strange but most of it has gone away after getting up, eating, drinking watefluids, etc. and will imagine by tomorrow morning I’ll feel completely “back to normal” so to speak. My overall experience: Positive, Fun, but somewhat bizarre. Will I be going back to the “Dextro-Verse”, yeah probably, just not anytime within the next month atleast. would be open to trying a slightly higher dose of DXM but still am not comfortable exceeding 500mg in one sitting at this point in time. I honestly didn’t expect the ~350mg of DXM to hit me like it did, at first i didn’t feel much of anything and figured “ehh it’s gonna be boring” but In reality, it just kicked in slower than I had expected it to. My advice to anyone that’s never tried DXM but is planning on it, 1: WAIT 2 hours before even thinking about dosing more.
2: start with a ~50mg dose to make sure you don’t have a certain Enzyme deficiency (I forget what it’s called, just look up “DXM Enzyme Deficiency” and it’ll come up.
3: Find a good DXM calculator based on your weight, age, gender, etc. A good “starting” dose for most people UNDER 200lbs would probably be (in my opinion) ~120-200mg. Start small, you can always dose more but it’s much harder (if not impossible) to Un-dose if you take too much. (Ex: puking, peeing, etc.)
Thanks to anyone who actually read all this lol feel free to leave feedback as it’s the first real “blog” or “trip report” I’ve made.
submitted by 502sloudest to dxm [link] [comments]

Best Betting Sites » Top International Betting Sites 2020

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On a remarkable assortment of video games, a vast array of wagers are used by bookmakers, which are determined based on chance. By wagering on these unique possibilities, a bettor can get money on rewarding wagers. It is consistently the situation that the very best online wagering sites for sports will be those that use the very best prospective benefits.
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Locked In

Have you ever tried breaking free from an abusive relationship, when the abuser lives in your house? I’ve done it, and it’s rough; every step can falter, every step carries a risk. Even once you’ve finally admitted to yourself what you need to do, following it through takes all the resolve and persistence that has been stolen from you, worn away along with your self-worth. I started out as bravely and simply as I could, and just asked him to leave. He laughed in my face and got another beer from the fridge. At that point, if the damage is too great, many victims give up. If you’re like me, you become even more desperate, dangerously brave now, and give your tormentor an ultimatum. There are a few ways this can go. In my case, he stared at me like I was an irritating fly, then ignored me and just kept on drinking; turning up the TV so it blared over my voice. At the start, you still wanted to be fair, because he has property in the house. His pool table, his piles of shit in the garage, his beer fridge, his gaming consoles and his couch. You’re a reasonable woman, and even though he hurt you, you still believe the man is a human being. He doesn’t have the right to control you, like he thought he did, but he does have some rights to his actual property. But he takes advantage of that too; it drags on and on, and one day it just gets too much. You serve him with a trespass notice, and when he doesn’t leave, you call the cops. You know him well; he didn’t really think you’d do it. After he’s gone, you put everything he owns on the lawn and tell him to come and collect it before it rains.
At that invitation he comes back, and of course he tries his key in the door. But you’ve changed the locks. He rages, he paces. His face is dark red, and you finally, finally can no longer see any hint of the person you once cared about. He tries a window, but you had screens and deadbolts installed on those. Eventually he sits on the stoop and bangs the back of his head against the door, calling out your name and your daughter’s name every once in a while. It stops hurting somewhere around the thirtieth time, just before the cops come and tell him to leave. When he gets into a clumsy fist fight with them and finally gets cuffed and thrown in the back of the cops’ car, you let the curtains fall back, and let seven years’ worth of tears come. You followed through. You walked to the end, and he’s finally gone. And you won’t let yourself be trapped, not ever again.
The small office safe embodied Hayden’s final act of petty abuse; he’d changed the combination right after I’d served him the trespass notice. Inside it was my passport, most of my savings, and my heirloom wedding ring. At least, I suspected the ring was still in there, since I could hear the box slide and bump into the wall when I titled the safe, but whether the money or the passport were still inside, I had no way of knowing. After trying every combination I could think of, I resigned myself to the fact I’d need to pay some exorbitant amount for a locksmith to open the thing – probably more than the savings I would retrieve as a result. In frustration I posted to Facebook, asking if anyone I knew could recommend someone who could open a safe easily and cheaply, and to my surprise, one of my old friends messaged me about a contact and said to call her for details if I was interested. “She’s a complete weirdo, but she’s really good,” Tina said, after we skirted around all the things I didn’t want to talk about. “She can basically open anything, from a locked iPhone to a bank vault, you name it.” “What does it cost?” “Well, that’s the weird part. She’ll ask you to home cook a meal for her and treat her like family for an evening. Usually she wants a big fancy pot roast with all the trimmings, then you watch shitty sitcoms with her for a few hours until she gets tired and leaves.”
“You’re right, that’s pretty weird. Does she have mom issues or something?” “Yeah. Her mom’s been in prison since before she was born.” “Jesus, poor girl.” “Yeah, pretty much a prison family since forever. Fairly sure her mom was born in jail, and her mom’s mom before that. Dakota seems to be the only one that’s managed to stay out of the joint in the last few generations.” “Can I trust her?” “Christ Ann, don’t be so judgey. Like I said, she’s managed to stay out of jail. She’s weird, but harmless.” “OK, fine. Hook me up then, I need the money from the safe for the lawyer.” “Done, sending her details to you now.”
Dakota Callahan was five foot nothing, and nothing like I’d expected; a walking rainbow with perky brown pigtails. Sunburst baubles adorned said pigtails, and dozens of colourful badges had been pinned or sewn to her sleeveless denim jacket. I knew before she opened her mouth that she was going to be chewing gum, and when she grinned at me, slightly bucked teeth fenced in a brilliant pink wad. Everything about her screamed intensity and youth, but when she smiled, the tell-tale wrinkling of crow’s-feet betrayed that she was much older than her affectations suggested. “Got a safe ya can’t open, huh?” she said, hands in her jacket pockets as she stood on my porch. “I do, yeah. Come on in. Would you like a drink?” “Sure, got any soda?” “I think I do? Let me check.” “Grape or orange. In the can, with a straw,” the woman said, then added what might have been a winning smile, without the sickly waft of bubblegum. “If you please, ma’am.” The safe sat on the kitchen table, a couple of silvery scuff marks in the painted surface where I’d futilely tried to smash it open with a hammer. “This the job?” Dakota asked, gesturing at the black cube. “That’s the one. My ex changed the combination and I haven’t got a clue what it is.” “Right. Cool.”
While I rummaged in the cupboards for a pack of straws, Dakota took a seat and pulled the safe over to her. Quick, deft fingers immediately began probing the lock as I cracked open a can of soda and poked the straw into it. “Put the straw through the pull tab,” Dakota instructed, not even looking up, “that’s how they’re designed. Stops the straw floating from the carbonation.” “I… didn’t know that,” I admitted, adjusting the straw accordingly. An unceremonious click from the safe punctuated my comment. “Done,” Dakota declared, reaching for the soda can. Dumbfounded, I stared into the opened safe, at my passport, a ring box, and a ripped brown envelope. “I’d expected it to be… harder?” I said weakly. “Most people aren’t as good as me. There isn’t anything I can’t open.” She squinted at the torn, empty envelope, “So, I’m guessing that was your savings?” “Yeah. Was being the operative word.” “Bad luck,” Dakota muttered around the straw in her mouth, then spat it free. “So anyways, what’s for dinner? Mm-mm, do I smell something good!”
Dinner with Dakota seemed harmless enough. My daughter, Vicky, was enamoured of the idiosyncratic safe-cracker and they joked and giggled all through dinner, then played together while I washed up. Replete with two helpings of pot roast and a massive bowl of strawberry ice-cream, Dakota sat back on the couch. Vicky sprawled at her feet, playing with the rainbow laces of Dakota’s sneakers while we watched the old sitcom our guest had picked; Full House. “You know, you really look a lot like Becky.” Dakota jabbed her small, agile fingers at the woman on the screen, then leaned forward to scrutinise my facial features, “Same nose, same kinda hair, same smile. Throw you in a 90s outfit and you’d be a dead ringer.” I leaned back a little. “Really?” “Yeah, totally. She was a babe and you are too.” “Well. Um. Thank you?” “Don’t mention it. I call it like I see it.” Her eyes were wide, shiny as a doll’s. “Say, can I get another soda?” “Sure thing.” The rest of the evening was uneventful. I put a reluctant Vicky to bed and Dakota stayed to chat until after 10pm – longer than I’d expected. When she eventually left, I felt like all the air had been let out of an overinflated balloon – one that I’d been expecting to burst all evening. But realistically, some shitty sitcoms, a few cans of soda, and a roast dinner were a small price to pay for the services rendered. And Dakota wasn’t that bad. She was just intense, in a particularly weird kind of way. And now that I’d changed the combination back on the safe, I’d never have to see her again.
A week later, Dakota appeared on my doorstep, with a package in her hands. “Hi Dakota, how can I help you?” “Hey Mrs C! Do you mind if I call you that? It suits you better than Ann.” There was something about her that kept you off-guard, like being blinded by a sudden glare. I frowned, but found myself nodding. “Well I guess I am still married. The divorce won’t come through for a while, so sure.” “Awesome, sweet. Oh hey! I got you a gift, hope you don’t mind. I saw it and I immediately thought of you.” The package in her hands crinkled as she squeezed it, and my gaze was drawn to the turquoise wrapping paper. My favourite colour. “That’s very nice of you, Dakota. But you shouldn’t have.” “Oh don’t worry, it cost me next to nothing, but you just had to have it.” “Come on in then. I’m baking, so I’ll open it in the kitchen.” “Thanks Mrs C. Can I get a soda while you’re at it?” “Sure. Come to think of it, I bought grape.” The gift, it turned out, was a dress. In fact, the exact same dress we’d seen the character of Becky wearing in Full House a week earlier. “Dakota, where on earth did you find this?”
She twirled a string of bubblegum around her index finger and smiled like a cat, “I got my contacts. But you gotta try it on! I bet you’ll look exactly like Becky.” “Oh hell, I’m flattered and all, but I shouldn’t. This is a bit much.” “Aw come on, just try it on. You wouldn’t believe the effort I went to get that dress. Don’t let me down, Mrs C!” There was some intangible but familiar quality to her voice, behind the peculiar intensity of her stare, that warned me I shouldn’t deny this request, no matter how odd it seemed. But other alarms were sounding too; this odd woman seemed enamoured of me in a way that went beyond plain friendship, with a particular possessiveness that reminded me far too much of my ex for comfort. My resolve gathered itself, and I let it steady me. “Sorry Dakota, this just isn’t appropriate. I’m extremely flattered that you went to all this effort, but I’m going to have to say no.” “Aww c’mon Mrs C!” Her wheedling was suddenly not childlike at all. “I just wanna see you in that dress, then I’ll leave ya alone. Promise.” I took a step back. “Maybe if I knew you better, but we’re practically strangers, Dakota.” She sucked up the last of her soda with a rattling gurgle that echoed in the can, then pushed her chair back from the kitchen table and stood up. She draped the dress over the chair back, her sticky fingers thoughtfully smoothing the fabric. “Keep it. If you change your mind, take a pic for me.” Her pout was exaggerated, like I’d wounded her. “I just wanted to see what it looked like on you.” Before we could exchange parting pleasantries, Dakota was gone, and without her colourful presence distending it, the room seemed to deflate to normal size again.
As though taking my statement about being strangers completely literally, Dakota persistently messaged me, trying to spark up a friendship, to get to know me better. It was like dealing with a puppy or a child who just doesn’t understand the word ‘no’; no matter how politely or firmly you phrase it. In the end I just couldn’t be bothered any more, and I gave in. I tried on the damn dress and sent her a picture, foolishly hoping that would put an end to our awkward online exchanges. Ironically, it did – but not in the way I’d expected. The next day I came home from work, Vicky heavy on one hip and a bag of groceries on the other, to find Dakota seated in my kitchen, patiently waiting. Cans of soda tumbled to the floor as Vicky crowed and reached for the colourful intruder, twisting out of my arms. “Dakota, fucking hell! What are you doing in here?”
Frowning, she covered my child’s ears. “Yo Mrs C, not cool language in front of the kid, OK?” My temper flaring, I stabbed a finger in the direction of the door, “I’ll say what I like in my own home, lady. Now get out.” “You know,” she said, ignoring my order, “Your Becky outfit was even better than I thought. Stunning. Babe-a-licious. Perfection.” Her sneaker stopped a rolling can, but she wrinkled her nose when she realised it was strawberry, and kicked it towards the living room. “Hey, kid. Fetch!” Vicky toddled after it obligingly, and Dakota smiled, then leaned in towards me, half-whispering. “But somehow it brought out all the mom in you as well; I could see it shining like a rosy light from every curve of your body. You’re perfect, Mrs C. So, so perfect.” She paced toward me, steadily, hands extended, tears welling in her eyes, “I want you to be the one, Mrs C, the one to look after me, to be my mom. Vicky and me can be sisters – you’ll never need a babysitter again and you can have whatever you want. And I can get you anything you want. No lock can stop me. You know what? There’s no door that can’t be opened.” Something inside me gave way then, unleashing the rage and frustration I’d wanted to take out on all six feet and five inches of Hayden, but never could. Instead this five-foot nothing woman in front of me wore it all, purely because I thought she couldn’t possibly pose a physical threat.
“Get the fuck out of my house, you fucking psycho. What the hell is wrong with you? You stay away from me and from my daughter – and if you ever break into my house again, I’ll call the fucking cops. You’ll end up in prison with the rest of your family, right where you belong. Do you understand?” “No,” she said sadly, her hand darting out to touch my solar plexus, faster than I could react, “No, it’s you who doesn’t understand, Mrs C.” I tried to reply, but I couldn’t. My voice was suddenly gone, as though she’d torn it out of my body. Instinctively, I tried to lift my hand to my throat, but it wouldn’t move. Oh god, nothing would move; not my arms, my legs, my fingers, my toes. I’d been completely locked in. My eyes were blurred with tears of utter panic, and it took me several minutes to realise they were the only thing I still controlled. “Most people know I can unlock pretty much anything,” Dakota said, gently brushing a stray bang away from my frozen forehead, “but the reverse is also true – I can lock anything as well." I flinched fiercely inside as she tapped her index finger once, hard, between my brows. “Including you.” She casually snagged another can from where it had come to rest by my foot. “Now if you don’t mind, me and Vicky are gonna drink our sodas and watch Scooby Doo for a while. And maybe some Webster after. Man, I love that kid.” She popped the tab, and warm, sugary fizz splattered my face. “Oh and next time? Make sure you get the grape.” As I watch her leave, helpless, I couldn’t help but wonder which kid she meant: my daughter, or the character from the TV show?
She kept me like that for hours. Flies drank from the corners of my cracking lips, but she left me there until my bladder screamed, until my calves trembled and tore their own fibres from holding me so still. When she eventually touched me just below the breastbone and unlocked my body, I collapsed in a weeping heap, my body spasming uncontrollably. “Damn, Mrs C! Real sorry to put you through all of that, but you gotta understand that this is a good gig, yeah? You get to wear pretty dresses and just be the best mommy all day long, and I’ll get you anything you want. Still need money for your divorce? I can get it right out of an ATM for you, easy as pie.” She squatted beside me, her deft, clever, uncanny hands working over my limbs and smoothing out all the spasms; unlocking all the cramped tissues, soothing my hurts even while I tried to control my body enough to roll clear. Her index finger finally traced the curve of my cheek, releasing the painful tic beneath my eye. “So, whaddaya say?”
It took a moment of croaking to find my lost voice, but once I did, I managed to choke out four words. “Please… don’t… hurt Vicky.” The glass of her eyes flashed with shock, theatrical. “Wouldn’t dream of it, Mrs C! She’s my sister, after all. Now, how about you whip us up another one of your delicious home-cooked meals? I think everyone’s hungry and could do with some wholesome food, yeah?” Not knowing what else to do, I wobbled to my feet and steadied myself against the counter. My skull was made of lead, and it nodded itself. “Great! Now don’t you try any funny business. You’re a lady of your word. That’s all a good woman really has in this world these days.” She handed me my apron. “You know a mommy never breaks her promises, right? But if you do, you’ll find out just what I can and can’t lock.”
I got ready for work the next day, but Dakota stood over me while I phoned in my resignation, worded to her exact specifications. “You don’t need a dumb job, you’re a full-time mom now. Ain’t that great? I’ll take care of all the money stuff.” “I have things at work I need to collect,” I told her, but I already knew she’d have an answer. “No problemo, I can get those for you.” My phone still sat on the kitchen table, a temptation, a beacon of hope. Dakota followed my line of sight before I could look away, and her ungroomed brows caterpillared into a frown. “You’re not like that, Mrs C. You’re better than that. And I know you remember what will happen if you try anything stupid, yeah?”
I knew, but I couldn’t help wondering how far Dakota’s power reached. One phone call to the cops would be all it would take, one quick message to a friend to call them on my behalf. But Dakota was always there. Even when she was watching cartoons with Vicky in her lap, she had one eye on me; possessed of a predator’s awareness that was almost inhuman. Often, she’d be waiting when I came out of the bathroom, her impish grin and infectious peppiness growing more sinister every time I opened the door and found her there. But she never made a move on me, despite her lavish compliments about my looks. And even though I was plagued by nightmares where she locked me into my own skin, then used my body however she pleased, in real life she never once abused her abilities in that particular way. Small comfort, because that didn’t change the fact that I was completely trapped. I was once again a prisoner in my own home, and far more literally than the first time around.
The first time I tried to contact help, Dakota locked me inside myself for ten hours. I was sat in an armchair in the living room, frozen in front of endless reruns of the worst sitcoms of the 80s and 90s. Of course, this time she seized even my eyelids, to prevent me from closing my eyes. I can’t begin to describe the simple torture that is the inability to blink. Once an hour, Dakota slicked drops across my sticky, filming eyeballs, and they burned like acid. By the time she released me, I was nothing but a mess of apologies, grovelling for her forgiveness. I tried not to notice that Vicky appeared to be thriving, her personality growing just as fast as mine withered. Dressed in a tiny, badge-studded denim jacket, she was becoming a miniature version of Dakota; she aped the woman’s every move, clearly worshipping the fascinating and colourful criminal who had usurped our home. Of course, Dakota’s schooling didn’t end with fashion. I shuddered when I found them at the kitchen table, playing with an assortment of padlocks, those sure, deft hands guiding my daughter’s fumbling attempts to manipulate the tumblers. But I eventually discovered a secret, something that Dakota didn’t know that I knew. At a random hour every other night, when she believed I was deeply asleep, she’d slip out and steal groceries and money; whatever we needed to keep the household running. But she didn’t factor in my history; perfectly feigning sleep is a very useful skill when you’ve lived with an abusive drunk. She was silent as a cat, the latch on the door not even making a sound, but all I had to do was wait, then call the police while she was gone.
Not wanting to risk her going through my phone if there was a delay or should I fail, I waited until she’d left the house, then pulled on a shapeless coat and walked two blocks down, where an old payphone still stood near the corner store. I hadn’t prayed since I was a child, but every step I took was accompanied by a plea to any deity listening that the thing still worked. Feeding my coins in, flinching at how loudly they clanked through the slot, I held the ragged phone book open while I dialled the local police station. The conversation went on for a good twenty minutes, with me describing how Dakota had come into my home, threatened me and my daughter, then forced me to live in subservience to her. Even to my own ears it sounded deranged, impossible, which is why I had discarded the idea of a 911 call; and at least some of the local cops knew me. I think the distress in my voice convinced the officer more than the story itself, and they promised to visit in the morning to investigate. My legs trembled with adrenaline and triumph as I walked home, as brisk and quiet as I could manage. Each breath felt cold in my chest, ragged and shallow, and I held the air in my lungs until it ached, half-convinced Dakota would be able to hear me if I breathed too loud, no matter where she was.
When the police arrived the next day, Dakota’s fury showed only as a flare of her pupils, and only when she looked in my direction. After I gave my statement to the uniformed men, she was asked to leave the house and issued with a trespass notice. Her silence and compliance deeply worried me; I’d expected a scene. In fact, I’d half expected her to just lock the men inside their burly bodies, then prop them up in the garage next to the gardening equipment. In the middle of the night I’d thought about this possibility, the authorities that represented my only hope slowly wasting away as their organs failed one by one, eventually dying in the grasp of the unnatural rictus Dakota had afflicted them with. But it hadn’t happened; it had worked, so why didn’t I feel free? To try and reclaim my sanity, the first thing I did was take the jean jacket off Vicky and throw away the lock picks Dakota had furnished her with. The second thing was to call the most expensive locksmith I could find, asking for an urgent visit. Part of me knew it was futile, but maybe if I installed enough locks, I could at least slow Dakota down if she tried to get back into the house. But the part that knew the truth was right. The very next day, Dakota arrived, two officers in tow. Different ones, not the local cops. “Apparently this house isn’t yours, Mrs Charleston,” one of them said, hand on his belt. “Miss Callahan here holds the deed and is also an occupier, so you can’t trespass her. That’s been rescinded, and I’m afraid you’re going to have to let her in.” “But… no! That’s not true. I own this house!” I protested, “My dad helped me buy it, before he passed away.” His nod was patronising, like he knew I was going to say that. Like he was humouring someone who had clearly lost touch with reality. “Well, that’s not what the records say, unfortunately. Miss Callahan owns this property.”
Dakota gave a cheery salute, then pushed past me and into the kitchen, “Thanks boys – and sorry for all the misunderstanding,” she called to the officers as they prepared to leave. “How? How did you do it?” I hissed, anger supplanting my fear. “Pfft. Electronic locks and digital locks aren’t any more complex than physical ones,” she told me, rummaging in the fridge, “records can be changed, data can be manipulated. I can make an electronic document say practically anything I want – and I own this house now, not you.” “I’ll find another way. I’ll prove you’re here illegally.” “How, Mrs C? How? Anything you say needs to be filed, needs to be recorded. It can all be changed overnight, or it can be simply made to – poof – disappear. You get me?” “But what you’re doing to me, when you lock me in -” “You can’t prove that,” she said, blithe and definite. “Then… I’ll just leave. I’ll take Vicky and move somewhere you can’t find us.” Midway through opening a soda can, Dakota paused and looked up, her hazel eyes nearly gold in the brightly lit kitchen. Predator’s eyes. “I will always find you,” she said, with paralysing certainty.
She locked me in regularly after that, every time she left the house, any time she needed or wanted to spend time with Vicky. She dressed me up like a life-sized doll, fixing and flexing joints so she could drape different outfits around my frozen limbs, ignoring my pleading, fearful eyes. Vicky treated me like a doll now too, like a thing instead of her mother; I was a passive prop in Dakota’s fantasy of her ideal family, the pretty, perfect mother she’d always wanted. As my hopelessness grew, she began locking my face into a permanent sitcom smile, the muscles of my own cheeks betraying me by beaming happily at my torturer and her four-year-old apprentice. My claustrophobia grew daily, the feel of it coalescing into rising scream that couldn’t be freed, since Dakota had also seized my vocal cords completely, to prevent me calling anyone. The silent, smiling mother; I baked, and I cleaned, and I waited on my daughters, always dutiful, always immaculately coiffed and groomed. I wanted to die. Either Dakota had never considered that I might contemplate suicide, or she thought she could prevent me if I tried. In any case, the pills I found at the bottom of the medicine cabinet would probably do the trick if I took enough of them. They were heavy tranquilisers, prescribed at the nadir of my despair when I was with Hayden, and couldn’t admit the truth to anyone about why I was so miserable. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to take them, then. Now, there was no other way to be free. Or was there? I stood in the bathroom, my fixed smile aching against my teeth, my throat knotted tight with that unborn scream, and I searched my own eyes in the mirror. They were the only part of my reflection I still recognised. And I realised that there was one other way to be free of Dakota.
The pills powdered easily enough, and dissolved readily into the can of soda. If I could have, I would have laughed. The pungent sweetness of fake grape would hide any bitterness like a charm. Poking a straw through the tab, I delivered it to the monster in my lounge, giggling as she watched cartoons with Vicky sleeping at her feet. “Cheers Mrs C,” chirped Dakota, “just what I needed. You’re the best!” Twelve minutes ticked away on the clock in the living room as I waited, the familiar throb of my face marking every second. But now even the pain felt like anticipation. Dakota stirred uncomfortably in her beanbag, then sucked in a shuddering breath and coughed a weak dribble of sticky spit. “Wha…?” She managed, trying to lift a hand that had gone floppy at the wrist, motor control beginning to desert her body. I didn’t wait for the pills to steal her consciousness. I wanted her to feel her death. Still beaming beatifically like a perfectly pleasant housewife, I dropped to my knees, wrapped my hands around her throat and squeezed. Those wonderfully gifted fingers of hers fluttered and battered weakly at my face, a stray touch unlocking half of my smile. But she had no control. As I pressed the life out of her, the movements of her hands grew more erratic, more desperate. Eventually, they stopped altogether, and so did Dakota’s struggles. I knew when she was gone, because my own throat unknotted, and the wordless scream it had held for months forced itself from the half of my mouth that moved. But I didn’t stop squeezing for a full thirty minutes after that. My hands cramped around the black and swollen flesh of her neck, and I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to let go. But I needed to be sure, and my body was honed to hold unnatural positions for hours at a time.
I drove her body as far as I could, her hands bound with wire, tape, rope and handcuffs. I buried her deep; so deep that my hands bled freely and openly by the time I’d finished shovelling all the rocks and soil back on top of her. The blood was a catharsis; this pain a welcome relief. When I got home, I packed everything Vicky and I would need, then I drove in the other direction, my half-a-smile reflected back at me in the driver’s window. For two weeks we stayed at motels and camping grounds, before I finally stopped and let myself rest, finally free of the elemental fear that was Dakota. We started our new life in a fishing town, up near the Canadian border. I got a job as a waitress at the local diner, where they didn’t mind a mute with a half-paralysed face. I could make just enough sounds to get by, and Vicky started school and slowly forgot about Dakota. I tried to do the same, to close that chapter of our lives forever. I’d even started dating again, when the message came through to my phone. I’d expected it to be the usual banter from the guy I was seeing, but instead it was a different kind of familiar:
Hey Mrs C, long time no see (haha, get it!?) In case you hadn’t guessed, it’s your other daughter here. The one you abandoned. The one you left behind. And oh man, is she pissed. She’s pissed because you broke our agreement. She’s pissed because you’ve been a really bad mom. But don’t worry, cos I can fix that! I can fix anything now. I learned SO many new things down there, down in the dark. Terrible, terrible things. Anyways, turns out there really isn’t anything I can’t unlock – even those big, black gates to the bad place – so I’ll be seeing you real soon, Mrs C! We’ll even fix up that smile of yours, so you can go back to being the best mom. Just as pretty as you used to be. See ya later, alligator,
I think I made the wrong choice. If I’d taken the pills myself, Dakota wouldn’t have gone to the ‘bad place’ and she wouldn’t have learned what she knows now. She wouldn’t have discovered how to unlock the doors of death itself – and I’d be free of her, safe behind a door she never knew existed. Of course, I would have had to take Vicky with me. I have a gun now; it’s a small thing, but good enough for at least one homicide and one suicide. The problem is, I don’t know if Dakota can follow us to the other side. If she finds us, beyond those black gates, I have no doubt that she’ll lock our souls inside themselves, then bring us back. Sometimes, there’s no first step to escape the trap you’re in; only a final leap. And you might land somewhere even worse.
But I guess I’ll have to take my chances.
submitted by Cymoril_Melnibone to nosleep [link] [comments]

I’ve been researching privacy coins deeply and feel I’ve reached a sufficient findings to merit sharing my stance re SUMO.

By Taylor Margot. Everyone should read this!
SUMOkoin is a fork of MONERO (XMR). XMR is a fork of Bytecoin. In my opinion, XMR is hands down the most undervalued coin in the top 15. Its hurdle is that people do not know how to price in privacy to the price of a coin yet. Once people figure out how to accurately assess the value privacy into the value of a coin, XMR, along with other privacy coins like SUMOkoin, will go parabolic.
Let’s be clear about something. I am not here to argue SUMOkoin is superior to XMR. That’s not what this article is about and frankly is missing the point. I don’t find the SUMOkoin vs. XMR debate interesting. From where I stand, investing in SUMOkoin has nothing to do with SUMOkoin overtaking XMR or who has superior tech. If anything, I think the merits of XMR underline the value of SUMOkoin. What I do find interesting is return on investment (“ROI”).
Imagine SUMO was an upcoming ICO. But you knew ahead of time that they had a proven product-market fit and an awesome, blue chip code base. That’s basically what you have in SUMO. Most good ICOs raise over 20mil (meaning their starting market cap is $20 mil) but after that, it’s a crapshoot. Investing in SUMO is akin to getting ICO prices but with the amount of information associated with more established coins.
Let me make one more thing clear. Investing is all about information. Specifically it’s about the information imbalance between current value and the quality of your information. SUMO is highly imbalanced.
The fact of the matter is that if you are interested in getting the vision and product/market fit of a $6 billion market cap coin for $20 mil, you should keep reading.
If you are interested in arguing about XMR vs. SUMOkoin, I point you to this infographic
I’m a corporate tech & IP lawyer in Silicon Valley. My practice focuses on venture capital (“VC)”) and mergers & acquisitions (“M&A”). Recently I have begun doing more IP strategy. Basically I spend all day every day reviewing cap tables, stock purchase agreements, merger agreements and patent portfolios. I’m also the CEO of a startup (Scry Chat) and have a team of three full-time engineers.
I started using BTC in 2014 in conjunction with Silk Road and TOR. I recently had a minor conniption when I discovered how much BTC I handled in 2014. My 2017 has been good with IOTA at sub $0.30, POWR at $0.12, ENJIN at $0.02, REQ at $0.05, ENIGMA at $0.50, ITC (IoT Chain) and SUMO.
My crypto investing philosophy is based on betting long odds. In the words of Warren Buffet, consolidate to get rich, diversify to stay rich. Or as I like to say, nobody ever got rich diversifying.
That being said I STRONGLY recommend you have an IRA and/or 401(k) in place prior to venturing into crypto. But when it comes to crypto, I’d rather strike out dozens of times to have a chance at hitting a 100x home run. This approach is probably born out of working with VCs in Silicon Valley who do the same only with companies, not coins. I view myself as an aggressive VC in the cryptosphere.
The Number 1 thing I’ve taken away from venture law is that it pays to get in EARLY.
Did you know that the typical founder buys their shares for $0.00001 per share? So if a founder owns 5 million shares, they bought those shares for $50 total. The typical IPO goes out the door at $10-20 per share. My iPhone calculator says ERROR when it tries to divide $10/0.00001 because it runs out of screen real estate.
At the time of this writing, SUMO has a Marketcap of $18 million. That is 3/10,000th or 1/3333th. Let that sink in for a minute. BCH is a fork of BTC and it has the fourth largest market cap of all cryptos. Given it’s market cap, I am positive SUMO is the best value proposition in the Privacy Coin arena at the time of this writing. *
So what’s so good about SUMOkoin? Didn’t you say it was just a Monero knock-off?
1) Well, sort of. SUMO is based on CryptoNote and was conceived from a fork of Monero, with a little bit of extra privacy thrown in. It would not be wrong to think SUMO is to Litecoin as XMR is to Bitcoin.
2) Increased Privacy. Which brings us to point 2. SUMO is doing several things to increase privacy (see below). If Monero is the King of Privacy Coins, then SUMO is the Standard Bearer fighting on the front lines. Note: Monero does many of these too (though at the time of fork XMR could not). Don’t forget Monero is also 5.8 billion market cap to SUMO’s 18 million.
a) RingCT. All transactions since genesis are RingCT (ring confidential transactions) and the minimum “mixin” transactions is 13 (12 plus the original transaction). This passes the threshold to statistically resist blockchain attacks. No transactions made on the SUMO blockchain can ever be traced to the actual participants. Nifty huh? Monero (3+1 mixins) is considering a community-wide fork to increase their minimum transactions to 6, 9, or 12. Not a bad market signal if you’re SUMOkoin eh?
b) Sub-addresses. The wallet deploys disposable sub-addresses to conceal your real sumo wallet address even from senders (who typically would need to know your actual address to send currency). Monero also does this.
3) Fungibility aka “Digital Cash” aka Broad Use Case. “Fungibility” gets thrown about a bunch but basically it means ‘how close is this coin to cash in terms of usage?’ SUMO is one of a few cryptos that can boast true fungibility — it acts just like physical cash i.e. other people can never trace where the money came from or how many coins were transferred. MONERO will never be able to boast this because it did not start as fungible.
4) Mining Made Easy Mode. Seeing as SUMO was a fork, and not an ICO, they didn’t have to rewrite the wheel. Instead they focused on product by putting together solid fundamentals like a great wallet and a dedicated mining app. Basically anyone can mine with the most intuitive GUI mining app out there. Google “Sumo Easy Miner” – run and mine.
5) Intuitive and Secure Wallet. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, yet in this day and age, apparently it is not a prereq. They have a GUI wallet plus those unlimited sub-addresses I mentioned above. Here’s the github if you’d like to review: The wallet really is one of the best I have seen (ENJIN’s will be better). Clear, intuitive, idiot proof (as possible).
6) Decentralization. SUMO is botnet-proof, and therefore botnet mining resistant. When a botnet joins a mining pool, it adjusts the mining difficulty, thereby balancing the difficulty level of mining.
7) Coin Emission Scheme. SUMO’s block reward changes every 6-months as the following “Camel” distribution schema (inspired by real-world mining production like of crude oil, coal, etc. that is often slow at first, then accelerated in before decline and depletion). MONERO lacks this schema and it is significant. Camel ensures that Sumokoin won’t be a short-lived phenomena. Specifically, since Sumo is proof-of-work, not all SUMO can be mined. If it were all mined, miners would no longer be properly incentivized to contribute to the network (unless transaction fees were raised, which is how Bitcoin plans on handling when all 21 million coins have been mined, which will go poorly given that people already complain about fees). A good emission scheme is vital to viability. Compare Camel and Monero’s scheme if you must: vs.
8) Dev Team // Locked Coins // Future Development Funds. There are lots of things that make this coin a ‘go.’ but perhaps the most overlooked in crypto is that the devs have delivered ahead of schedule. If you’re an engineer or have managed CS projects, you know how difficult hitting projected deadlines can be. These guys update github very frequently and there is a high degree of visibility. The devs have also time-locked their pre-mine in a publicly view-able wallet for years so they aren’t bailing out with a pump and dump. The dev team is based in Japan.
9) Broad Appeal. If marketed properly, SUMO has the ability to appeal to older individuals venturing into crypto due to the fungibility / similarities to cash. This is not different than XMR, and I expect it will be exploited in 2018 by all privacy coins. It could breed familiarity with new money, and new money is the future of crypto.
10) Absent from Major Exchanges. Thank god. ALL of my best investments have happened off Binance, Bittrex, Polo, GDAX, etc. Why? Because by the time a coin hits a major exchange you’re already too late. Your TOI is fucked. You’re no longer a savant. SUMO is on Cryptopia, the best jenky exchange.
11) Marketing. Which brings me to my final point – and it happens to be a weakness. SUMO has not focused on marketing. They’ve instead gathered together tech speaks for itself (or rather doesn’t). So what SUMO needs a community effort to distribute facts about SUMO’s value prop to the masses. A good example is Vert Coin. Their team is very good at disseminating information. I’m not talking about hyping a coin; I’m talking about how effectively can you spread facts about your product to the masses.
To get mainstream SUMO needs something like this VertCoin post:
For a coin with using Monero’s tech, 20 million is minuscule. For any coin 20 mil is nothing. Some MC comparisons [as of Jan 2, 2017]:
Let’s talk about market cap (“MC”) for a minute.
It gets tossed around a lot but I don’t think people appreciate how important getting in as early as possible can be. Say you buy $1000 of SUMO at 20 mil MC. Things go well and 40 million new money gets poured into SUMO. Now the MC = 60 million. Your ROI is 200% (you invested $1,000 and now you have 3,000, netting 2,000).
Now let’s says say you bought at 40 million instead of 20 million. $20 mill gets poured in until the MC again reaches 60 mil. Your ROI is 50% (you put in $1,000, you now have 1,500, netting 500).
Remember: investing at 20 mil MC vs. 40 mil MC represents an EXTREMELY subtle shift in time of investment (“TOI”). But the difference in net profit is dramatic. the biggest factor is that your ROI multiplier is locked in at your TOI — look at the difference in the above example. 200% ROI vs. 50% ROI. That’s huge. But the difference was only 20 mil — that’s 12 hours in the crypto world.
I strongly believe SUMO can and will 25x in Q1 2018 (400m MC) and 50x by Q4 2018 reach. There is ample room for a tricked out Monero clone at 1 bil MC. That’s 50x.
Guess how many coins have 500 mil market caps? 58 as of this writing. 58! Have many of these coins with about ~500 mil MC have you heard of?
I want to close with a brief discussion of privacy as it relates to fundamental rights and as to crypto. 2018 will be remembered as the Year of Privacy Coins. Privacy has always been at the core of crypto. This is no coincidence. “Privacy” is the word we have attached to the concept of possessing the freedom to do as you please within the law without explaining yourself to the government or financial institution.
Discussing privacy from a financial perspective is difficult because it has very deep political significance. But that is precisely why it is so valuable.
Privacy is the right of billions of people not to be surveilled. We live in a world where every single transaction you do through the majority financial system is recorded, analyzed and sold — and yet where the money goes is completely opaque. Our transactions are visible from the top, but we can’t see up. Privacy coins turn that upside down.
Privacy is a human right. It is the guarantor of American constitutional freedom. It is the cornerstone of freedoms of expression, association, political speech and all our other freedoms for that matter. And privacy coins are at the root of that freedom. What the internet did for freedom of information, privacy coins will do for freedom of financial transactions.
Recently a well respected engineer reached out to me and had this to say about SUMO. I thought I’d share.
"I’m messaging you because I came at this from a different perspective. For reference, I started investing in Sumo back when it was around $0.5 per coin. My background is in CS and Computer Engineering. I currently research in CS.
When I was looking for a coin to invest in, I approached it in a completely different way from what you described in your post, I first made a list of coins with market caps < 20m, and then I removed all the coins that didn’t have active communities.
Next, because of my background, I read through the code for each of the remaining coins, and picked the coins which had both frequent commits to GitHub (proving dev activity), and while more subjective, code that was well written. Sumo had both active devs, and (very) well written code.
I could tell that the people behind this knew what they were doing, and so I invested.
I say all of this, because I find it interesting how we seem to have very different strategies for selecting ‘winners’ but yet we both ended up finding Sumo."

Legal Disclaimer:
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macOS Catalina Review

In 1996, Apple bought NeXT, not only bringing Steve Jobs back to the company he co-founded, but bringing with him all the engineers and technology that would be used to replace the classic Macintosh operating system with Mac OS X, now, macOS.
Catalina, which has been available in beta form since its introduction back in June, and which goes into general release today, is the 15th version of that operating system, of the brain that runs every modern Mac.
It's legitimately one of the most exciting macOS launches ever. But it's also one of the most turbulent.
Let me explain.

macOS Catalina review: In Brief

Because there's no next NeXT for Apple to move to, the company has been doing what a responsible, mature platform company should do — step by step, year over year, methodically replacing older components with new ones. 32-bit to 64. OpenGL to Metal. Objective-C to Swift, HFS+ to APFS, AppKit to SwiftUI. These are the biggest examples but there are innumerable smaller ones.
It's a process that takes time, and one that can be messy and painful. Especially for people who have known and depended on the older technologies and implementations for years, for decades even. But also for those waiting for the new technologies to mature, to be polished up.
Not every app moved to 64-bit or was re-written in Swift year one. Not every volume was migrated to APFS immediately. And many developers won't be able to make full use of this version's new technologies like Catalyst, never mind SwiftUI, just because Catalina has shipped. We're in the midst of multiple massive paradigm shifts, each of which will take several versions to play out. Some, we're finishing up with Catalina. Others, we're just beginning.
Likewise, security. Gone are the days when the ubiquity of Windows provided the best virus protection imaginable for the Mac. The threat levels have changed, as have the threats themselves. So, Apple is being forced to go back and try to balance the traditional openness of the Mac while retro-fitting the defense-in-depth that was built into iOS from the beginning. And, while they try to find that balance, casual users might be annoyed by increased privacy disclosures and power users, increased root-level restrictions.
At the same time, Apple's scope is growing. Services new and established, from Arcade to Music, TV+ to News, are launching and venerable old iTunes simply can't keep up. So, it's now been broken up into its constituent parts. Many will love the new sleekness but some may well miss the old monolith.
Throw in some new apps and updates, ports, and new user-facing features that continue to leverage the full Apple ecosystem by letting iPads serve as secondary displays and iPhones work as a massively distributed Find My network for Mac…, and awesome new accessibility features like Voice Control, and we have macOS Catalina.
An update that shows Apple is getting better and better at leveraging everything that's come before while continuing to push forward, but still struggling with just how many landings they can really stick, year over year.
I've already done the deep technical dive. You can find 11,000 words and a full hour of video on that linked below. What I want to do here, now, is talk about the implementation and the experience.
Not how it works, which is chock full of really smart, really cool technology, but how well it works for the humans at the other end of the machine.
Read all the technical details about macOS Catalina in the deep-dive

macOS Catalina review: macOS Catalina Beta

Quick note: If you've been on the macOS Catalina Beta train but now, with the official release, you want to get off, just launch System Preferences, click on Software Update, click on the tiny Details… text at the bottom left under the big gear icon, and then click on Restore Defaults.

Do that, and your next update will be the next release version. Otherwise, you'll stay on the beta and can keep testing for as long as you like.
How to download and install macOS Catalina

macOS Catalina review: The End of 32-Bit Apps

The Mac has been shipping with 64-bit processors since before the Intel transition of 2005 and 64-bit was a headline feature of macOS going all the way back to Leopard in 2007.
Now, with macOS Catalina, the transition is complete. 32-bit apps, dragged along this past decade, will now launch no more.
You can see if you're still running any 32-bit laggards prior to updating by clicking on the Apple icon in the menu bar, clicking on About this Mac, hitting System Report, Applications, and then going through the list of apps. If any of the 64-bit (Intel) fields say no, it means that app isn't going to survive the upgrade.
If you don't do that, or if you upgrade anyway, the macOS Catalina installer will still check for you and give you a list of apps that you can't take with you. At that point, you can choose to stop and wait until you can find updates or alternatives, or to continue and leave them behind.
I'm sure there are all sorts of critical, niche apps that, despite a decade of warning, still haven't gone 64-bit. Especially abandonware. And those affected by it will no doubt be super salty that they're now officially end-of-line.
But, killing the past is what Apple does to better embrace the future and, more than a decade of writing-on-the-wall later, 32-bit apps deserve to die.

macOS Catalina review: The End of iTunes

Imagine iTunes as a bridge that carries not just billions of media files across it a year, but billions of dollars in transactions. At any given moment, it has to let you buy Taylor Swift's new album, rent the latest John Wick movie, stream millions of songs at the drop of a Siri, download the latest episode of the Vector podcast and sync it to that old iPod nano you still use to go running with every morning, rip and catalog all of Jim Dalrymple's 84 versions of every Ozzy song, make available all the new media Sony just uploaded to launch, and maintain a ton of playlists, backups, and other data – all at the click of a button. Oh, and be compiled to run on Windows as well.

Yeah, it was a quirky old battleship of an app that would somehow still beachball on an 18-core Xeon box, but we all somehow still worked and we all understood more or less how. And one thing you just don't do with a working bridge is tear it down. Not before you've even begun construction on a new bridge.
Well, macOS Catalina finally has that new bridge. Several new bridges, actually.

Now, I've said before, nothing is being deleted. Nothing is being canceled. Apple isn't closing the iTunes Music or Movie or TV Store. Apple isn't coming to your house to delete all your downloads.
Everything you could do in iTunes yesterday you can still do with macOS Catalina today. There's just no monolithic, Mesozoic iTunes app to do it all in any more.
Now, it's split across new (and new-ish) Music, TV, Podcasts, and Books apps, and an extended Finder app. In other words, it's more like iOS now. Just on the Mac.

The Music and TV apps are still traditional Mac apps. So much so, they feel like the old tabs were just torn off and given new, separate shells. But, with that legacy code also comes legacy support for everything from ripping CDs to transcoding audio.
It's all been fine for me, but I'm not a heavy Music user. I subscribe to Apple Music and my use case is almost exclusively "Siri, play…" whatever I feel like listening to at any given moment. I don't do playlists and, while I still subscribe to iTunes Match, and that's all still there as well, I really can't recall what I ripped a decade ago and what's just in the online catalog today.
Yeah, I'm the music worst.
So, there may well be database features and views that haven't all been brought over from iTunes to Music, and I really wouldn't notice. But I'm willing to bet a bunch of other reviews will cover all that in excruciating detail for you. So, I'll retweet them as I find them.
For me, the only thing really missing is polish. The interface is a little awkward teenage years. For example, click into any content and a whole new row appears up top just to contain a single, solitary back button. The loneliest back button.
In iOS, the way it works is similar but the implementation is much better: When you tap in, the master page title shrinks and becomes the back button label in the new detail view. And the pages don't fade white to transition, they slide over to maintain a sense of spatial positioning.

The new TV app is similar. It's terrific to have it on macOS. It just doesn't have the astonishingly great card experience of the Apple TV version of the app. Also, because regional licensing deals are demented, the Apple TV app will often kick me out into a local apps, like CTV, that'll then demand a cable subscription before it'll play the show I want to watch. Which is infuriating.

Podcasts is both new to the Mac and built using new technology for the Mac — it's a port of the iPad Podcast app. More on that later. The highest compliment I can give it is that it looks and feels pretty much identical to the traditionally built Music and TV apps.
Even going so far as to the implement that lonely, lonely back button the same way the Music and TV apps do.
Again, that's a nitpick and these are early days, but that I'm picking nits shows how far it's all come in just a year.
I really like device management moved over to the Finder. It makes sense being there and just works like it's always worked. Plug in, and your iOS device shows up in the sidebar. Click on it, then click the blue Trust button, unlock, tap trust, and Passcode in on your device, and you're in business.
You've got a General tab for management, which includes updates, restores, and backups, and then tabs for all your content. It's not pretty UI by any stretch of the pixels, but it's functional.
And, I think, for anyone who hasn't given up the cable for the cloud already, that's the important part.
The End of iTunes: macOS Catalina media strategy explained

macOS Catalina review: Apple Arcade

I posted a complete Arcade preview back in June. Link and video below. But, with macOS Catalina, Apple's new subscription gaming service comes fully to the Mac, and that's kind of a big deal.
iOS has never had a problem with games, quantity or quality. Though it's always been skewed almost completely towards the casual. The Mac, though, has spent pretty much all of its existence in the shadow of PCs and consoles both.
Arcade doesn't change the latter. There's nothing new that would really appeal to the hardcore shooters or simulators, custom rig builders or VR drivers. But it does begin to address the former.
For years, developers had to worry about whether or not their more creative, more experimental, more up-front game ideas could even survive in the increasingly free-to-play, franchise-driven, micro-transaction laden economy of mobile app stores. Never mind when or if they could one day even think about bringing a version to the Mac.

Now, with Arcade, indie and even studio developers are being incentivized by Apple to not just make the games they want to make, great games, but to make them great across all of Apple's platforms — including the Mac.
That includes its own tab and placement opportunities in the App Store, some of the most valuable real-estate in software.
So, you probably won't get the biggest, baddest franchises in the game, but you are getting some of the biggest labors of love by indies and studios both. And you can play them with the keyboard, the mouse or trackpad, and in many cases, the Xbox or PlayStation controllers macOS Catalina has just added support for.
I'm not sure how many people will pay the $4.99 per family subscription fee just to have Arcade on the Mac, but I think a lot of people who subscribe for iOS will find that, like Apple TV, also having Arcade on the Mac is an absolute delight.
Why people will pay to play in 2019: Apple Arcade explained

macOS Catalina review: New and Updated Apps

In addition to all the new and updated architectures and features — and there are plenty of both still to go over — some of the biggest updates in macOS Catalina are the other new, or newly updated apps.

The updated Photos app is great. Like the similarly updated iOS version, the main views now all filter out duplicates and clutter like screenshots or document captures. Then, they use machine-learned "saliency" — a fancy way to say relevancy – to focus on the people, faces, and highlights of each photo. Finally, they grid them up in different sizes, with videos and Live Photos in motion, to make for a really immersive browsing experience.
The idea is to present you with your "best shots". And, in an age where most of us take so many photos so always, we can barely remember what we took this week, never mind over the last few years, it really cuts through a lot of clutter to make something closer akin to old fashioned albums. Not in how it works but in what it means for our memories.

Speaking of which, Apple's auto-generated Memories movies proper, can now be tweaked on the Mac as well. Make them dreamy, make them epic, make them extreme. Long, medium, or short, all with a couple clicks.
Sadly, we're not getting all the new video editing capabilities Apple just added to Photos for iOS. They are simply nowhere to be found in Photos for macOS. No rotating videos, no adjustments or filters.
And to really paper cut us and pour some lemon juice on it, the edit button is right there. It even lets you click on it. But, all the actual editing features are grayed out as soon as you do.
Hopefully, at the very least, that means they'll be coming in a future update.
Also, while computer vision powered search keeps getting better and better, I still find it weird that I can't type in iPhone or iPad, even tablet, and find all the photos of Apple gear. And typing in Phone is just kinda broken. I realize that's a problem only people like me probably encounter, but when so much works the stuff that doesn't really stands out.
Mail lets you mute threads now, which is great but please don't tell any of my family, friends, and colleagues about it. Ok?
I've also been using the new block senders and unsubscribe from mailing lists features left and right. It hasn't really put a dent in the tons of ham email I get every day, but it's just so damn cathartic to do.
Safari has an updated start page that blends your frequently visited sites with Siri suggestions from your history, bookmarks, reading list, iCloud tabs, and links sent to you over iMessage. Basically, a machine learning surfaced buffet of what it hopes will be all the places on the web you're likely to want to go.
It's been kind of hit and miss for me, though. Sometimes showing relics of devices and tabs past, other times pulling up something I was just messaged. Given how many devices I review and re-review all the time, my usage pattern is probably all the deviations away from normal, so I'm interested to see how tries to learn and cope going forward.

QuickTime has a souped up inspector that shows color space, including HDR format, bit depth, aspect ratio, and scale. If a video has time coded embedded, QuickTime will show it right in the onscreen controls. It also now supports alpha channels so you can export from ProRes 4444 to HEVC and preserve transparency.
Open Image Sequence is also making its triumphant return, so you can create H.264, HEVC, or ProRes movies in the resolution and frame-rate of your choice simply by opening a folder filled with sequential images. So good.
Also, QuickTime now has a picture in picture mode so, with a click, you can leave QuickTime and keep watching your video in a floating, resizable, reposition-able window all its own.

Notes for macOS has always had a gallery view but, previously, it was restricted to image and sketches. Now, in Catalina, it shows you all notes, and all of the note, as a thumbnail so if you're more keyed into visuals than snippets of text, you can more easily find the note you're looking for. Especially, you know, if that note contains images or sketches.
There's also a new search that uses similar computer vision technology as Photos to find objects or scenes within your notes, which is great. And, there's OCR — optical character recognition — text in images, including notes you've photographed from real life or receipts you've scanned in. Which is beyond great. It was the one feature I really liked in Evernote and now it works in Apple Notes.
If you like to organize your notes into folders, you can now share an entire folder if you want to share all the notes inside it. Yeah, it's all or nothing when it comes to folders, so organize and share carefully and accordingly.
I've been doing a ton of writing in Notes and while it still lacks the plain text mode that I would personally cherish, and sometimes the sync between devices isn't as fast as I'd like, it's been a terrific workhorse.
The only thing really holding it back on the Mac, at least for me, is how abysmally side-by-side apps have been left to languish on the platform. There's a new interface for creating workspaces in Catalina, which is nice. But you still can't swap apps around within them. You have to destroy them and start over. Every time. It's depressing, especially in comparison to how much love they've gotten in iPadOS over the years.

There's an all-new Reminders app in Catalina. It uses natural language parsing to translate what you write into actionable tasks and to-dos. Even if you're writing in the Messages app, if it reads like something that would be good to remember, Siri will offer up as a suggested reminder.
If you tag someone in a reminder, the next time you're messaging with them, you'll be reminded about whatever it is you tagged them into. Also, you can add sub-tasks to your reminders and add attachments like photos, docs, or links that'll help you get all your things done. And there's a new edit button that lets you quickly and easily update and expand your reminders with times, dates, locations, flags, attachments, tasks — whatever it is.
I'm not a huge to-do user. I've always felt they were the Gym membership of apps. A New You resolution you sign up for every once in a while to feel better about ultimately not doing much else.
I use them kind of how I use Music — I tell Siri what I want to be reminded about and when and then hope and pray I actually get reminded about it at the right time. Which is almost always the case.
But, for people who do want more granularity without making task management yet one more task to be managed, and for whom Things or OmniFocus are still too much to-do, Reminders now strikes a much better balance.

Find my Mac and Find my Friends have merged, yes, like Voltron, to make something that feels like it will eventually be much greater than the sum of its parts.
Like Podcasts, it's a port of the iPad version. And, the interface actually translates over really well. Functionally, it's everything I expect. People and devices, all pinned in place.
I especially love that I can see battery status for my devices, so I know if I need to hurry up and track them down so I can charge them up.
The sidebar does reorder when it refreshes, seemingly at random, though, which also makes the map zoom in and out for no good reason. That could be the quirks of GPS, but if Apple could keep it from dancing it'd be a lot less distracting. Not that I leave it open much.
Rumor has it there'll be a lot more coming to the Find My app and Apple's Find My network in the future, and I can't wait.

There's Voice Control, which in theory will let you do everything on your Mac with power words, like right out of Dune or Dungeons and Dragons. It's still a little hit and miss for me, and I have to resort to calling up the numbers more often than I'd like, but as it solidifies it'll be one of the best accessibility enhancements ever to hit the platform.
Screen Time is also now on the Mac. So, no more hiding your social stalking or gaming breaks from the tracker.
It's not a standalone app. Rather, it's in the system preferences much as the iOS version is in settings. It's also got all the same features. So, depending on how much control you want, especially parental control, it still may not be enough for you.
But, I'll repeat this part again: What I like about Apple's approach to Screen Time compared to some others is that it doesn't fell like it's pandering or infantilizing anyone.
It gives you data and then helps you act on it when and how you want to, for yourself and for your family.
New and updated apps: Hidden gems in macOS Catalina explained

macOS Catalina review: Sidecar

Sidecar is a lot of fun. In most cases, I'm just fine using my iPad on its own. It's the best truly mobile computer I've ever owned. But, in two specific cases, Sidecar lets it perform double duty in ways that truly enhance the Mac.

The first is as a second screen. I don't usually do this on the Mac because I dislike turning my head from side to side while I work. But, if I'm working in Final Cut Pro X, which I do a lot, and I need to jump into a conference call or keep track of something in Twitter or Slack, offloading those windows to the iPad display makes a world of difference. Just so great. Especially while traveling, where it's much easier to carry an iPad with you than a Pro Display.
The second is as drawing pad. I used to use Wacom tablets back when I worked as a designer. They were great, but Apple Pencil just blew them away. No digitizer, no air gap, no reticule. Just Pencil to iPad goodness.
For Continuity Markup and Sketch, which are good examples of Apple really leveraging the integration between devices and operating systems, I can see the convenience if you're already using your Mac and you don't want to switch devices. But, honestly, I'm fine just using the iPad as an iPad.
Where it comes in handy though, is for the apps that aren't on the iPad. Then, I can just pick up my iPad, in Sidecar mode, walk over to the sofa, sit down, Pencil-push things around, and then go back to my Mac. At least in theory. In practice will come as more and more apps add better and better support for it.
iPad is the new Mac: Sidecar Explained

macOS Catalina review: Security

Apple's lofty goal for macOS is to make the system as secure as iOS while maintaining all the traditional flexibility of the Mac. And… that's easier said than done. With iOS, Apple got to start fresh and lock everything down since day one. The Mac, by starkest of contrasts, has been relatively open for decades.

For many years, that was fine. Thanks to the market share and attack surface of Windows, it made far more economic sense for bad actors to go after Microsoft users and leave Apple users alone.
But, now we have the web, we have phishing and spear phishing, ransomware and spyware, we even have ad trackers and social networks and the ability and eagerness of bad actors and unscrupulous companies to target any and every platform and person, including those of us on the Mac.
So, Apple has been carefully hardening macOS against exactly those kinds of attacks. Carefully, because people who are used to the Mac being open are concerned — legitimately sometimes, completely paranoid others — that Apple is going to impose the same type of control it has over iOS.
In a perfect world, Apple would be able to go back and implement everything from bit one. But we don't live in a perfect world and so, while I think some will find these new defensive layers as necessary and responsible, others will find them as blunt, maybe even aggressive.
For experts, there's going to be a lot to parse, from Gatekeeper now checking bundles launched via Terminal as well as files opened in the GUI, to the read-only system partition and the firmlinks that try to make the process as transparent as possible, to DriverKit and Extensions kicking just about everything right out of kernel space.
Where casual users are going to see and feel it more are with all the new privacy protection alerts. Basically, if an app — any app — wants to access anything it didn't create itself, it has to ask. And ask. And ask. And ask. And… you get the idea. Ask. Ask. Ask. Ask.
On one hand, you want this type of accountability so that malware can't just grab anything it wants, any time it wants, without your express permission. On the other hand, it can feel so annoying, and be so overwhelming, that you won't even bother reading it any more and just click away as fast and furiously as you can.
To avoid a Windows Vista-like death-by-a-thousand-dialogs situation, Catalina will try and leave you alone if you do something deliberate and intentional, like double-clicking a file in Finder, dragging and dropping a file, or use the standard open or save file function.
But, if you try to download a file from the web, it will ask you to confirm. For every site. Depending on your point of view, that can be a huge safety net. Or a huge annoyance.
It's at its worst when you first update to macOS Catalina, because literally everything will ask you for permission as soon as it can. It never goes away completely, though.
And that's good and bad. For example, I want to be notified and protected against key loggers. I don't want to be made scared of hotkeys. That requires really good explanations from legitimate app makers, not as to what they want, but as to why they want it.

Nerdier, Mac-as-POSIX-box users are going to hate it, as they've hated a lot of the security changes over the last few years. For example, the ability to set Gatekeeper to allow any app download off any website, signed or not, is gone from the GUI. To re-enable it, if you really want to, you have to go to the Terminal. I think that's a pretty damn clever compromise, but I realize not everyone will.
Overall, though, for the vast majority of users, I think it's all for the best. Complacency is the enemy of security. But it's going to take some fine tuning, a little from Apple, a lot from developers, to make it not just as tolerable as possible for users, but as valuable and as insightful as possible, going forward.

There are some cool new conveniences to mitigate some of the new security measures. Like the new, unified Apple ID pane. Or, Authorize with Apple Watch is my favorite.
Previously Apple Watch could unlock your Mac and approve your Apple Pay transactions. Now it can do almost anything Touch ID can do. Which is especially great on all the Macs Apple still hasn't added Touch ID to — which includes every desktop Mac.
The Great Mac Balancing Act: macOS Catalina security explained
Big Business: macOS Catalina in Enterprise Explaied

macOS Catalina review: Catalyst

Problem: There are a ton of apps available for the iPad that simply don't exist on the Mac. Developers may have Mac apps on their nice-to-have lists, but since their iPad apps are built using UIKit and Mac apps are built using AppKit, and since no one has the time or resources to learn and support yet-another-thing, especially for a smaller market, that's just exactly where they stay — on the nice-to-have list.
Solution: Make it easier to bring iPad Apps to the Mac.

With macOS Catalina, Apple's is starting to do just that — but in two very different ways. First, with Catalyst, which essentially lets UIKit apps run on the Mac. Second, with SwiftUI, which will one day abstract away a lot of the interface differences between iOS and the Mac.
SwiftUI is probably the right set of tools for the job, but Catalyst is the right now set. Or, at least, the right-now-er.
In theory, you check a box in Xcode, your iPad app build almost instantly for the Mac, and then you polish it up to be a great Mac app.

Like I said in the preview, there are three broad classes of apps that are good candidates for Catalyst:
  1. iPad apps that either don't have Mac equivalents or for which the Mac equivalent has fallen fallow or been previously abandoned. For them, a unified codebase makes creating or replacing the Mac app far more efficient. CARROT Weather is an example of the former, Twitter for Mac the latter.
  2. iPad apps that have relied on a website for Mac support. Here, native frameworks allow for far more features and far better performance. Netflix is on a lot of wishlists here, but TripIt is shipping now.
  3. And then there are the cursed Electron apps. The ones actively wasting my memory and destroying my battery life just to wrap themselves in Chromium for that oh-so-not-so-native look and feel anyway. Those, like Slack and Skype, desperately need to switch to Catalyst and fast. But there's no sign they're doing anything of the kind. At least not yet.
I say in theory because Catalyst feels a lot like Swift and APFS: Something that will take a few years to really solidify.

There are a bunch of Catalyst apps coming at Catalina's launch. But they're not the ones I've been looking forward to most.
Those, the ones by the really artisanal indie developers, haven't arrived yet. Because, not every framework they need is there yet, and what's there isn't always supported or documented the way they need it to be yet, to make the apps they want to make — and we want them to make.
Also, they can't offer universal bundles yet, so they can't sell one app for all Apple platforms, all at once. Not every developer wants that, not at all, but for the ones that do, it currently works for all apps except the Mac apps.
Apple also hasn't gone back to redo the interfaces for the original Catalyst test apps from last year, the odd assortment of Home and News and Voice Recorder and Stocks. And they haven't brought over apps that are still missing basic functionality compared to their iOS counterparts and, arguably, need Catalyst the most — looking at you, Messages. (sent with Lasers).
If Apple is serious about Catalyst, the way they were about 32-bit apps, Swift, and APFS, all of that should change for the much better over the next year or two.
That is, unless and until SwiftUI becomes the future of all of Apple's platforms. More on that as it develops.
UIKit on Mac: Project Catalyst on macOS Catalina explained

macOS Catalina review: Conclusion

Last year, Apple put a lot on pause to really deliver not just a few new features but a ton of refinement. This year, it feels like Apple tried to make up for some lost time and maybe bit off just a bit more than they could chew, with different updates coming at different times and a whole lot of bug fixes coming in one after the other. Next year, hopefully, they'll find a better balance.

For now, macOS Catalina is one of the most important updates we've ever gotten. It not only dismantles iTunes and sets up all of Apple's new services, but with Catalyst and SwiftUI, it sets up the future of apps, and ensures the Mac will continue to be a first-class part of that future.
I love the technology, the vision, and the direction, but it's still unpolished in parts and frustrating in others, and that'll take continued time and effort to fix.
If you're at all concerned about release version bugs or worried about app compatibility, by all means, wait and see. Let the rest of us be your testers, and when the point releases start coming, choose whichever one makes you comfortable enough to jump on.
For me, I'm all on board. I even updated my production video machine to Catalina, I missed it enough when I wasn't using it, and that's something I usually wait months to do.
What's more, with so much of the foundation of macOS now re-set, I'm most curious to see what all Apple will be building up on them next.
* More Details Here
submitted by honeybadger808 to AppleLastNews [link] [comments]

The precarious staircase on the side...

This dream felt like it melded into the subsequent or prior dream, I only remember it as well as I do because I had time to contemplate the dream due to having to use the bathroom. I thought I was gonna need to write it down but I didn't feel like it and I certainly wasn't about to light up the screen on my phone to do it. Voice recorder would actually be fine if I remembered where it was... That's how I've logged a number of dreams.
I bet that if I play back the recordings now I might even find some stuff I barely remember. Some day...
Dream from the night of 8/29 into the morning of 8/30/2019:
Physical Background Info:
The front door of my real-life house is on the side, just how they designed it. There's a small set of concrete stairs... 4-5 steps and a almost squared rectangular platform/stoop in front of the doorstep and doorway itself. There is a black metal (iron?) railing that is mostly attached but rusted out at one point near the bottom step. It used to rock freely but we bolted down the remainder of it so well that it's there to stay for at least another decades or so without further maintenance.
My real house's front door also sits across from my neighbor's front door (which is also on the side of their house). Between our houses are a pair of driveways. We each have our own driveway which can accommodate two cars if you park them bumper to bumper with a meter to spare near the stoop. So we essentially have a wide alley between our two houses. Part of it is made up of driveway space, then right behind the stoop which sits in the middle of the houses from front to back is a fence to our backyards. The first third of the backyard is part of this alley-way.
In the dream... I was on my door step, except this time the 4-5 steps below the nearly squared rectangular platform below the doorstep were all made out of wood. Seemingly similar construction to the basement stairs in our house... So, right off the bat is a difference. Wooden steps instead of concrete.
The odd thing is, these wooden steps are above a seemingly bottomless area, I didn't look straight down but there was no ground in my peripheral vision.... in the distance it appeared as though I was in a wide alley. Similarly lit to the one which half my driveway sits within during dusk or pre-sunset. Sort of like those long deep industrial chasms you see in some Star Wars games (Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, Knights of the Old Republic, Shadows of The Empire (Gall spaceport, the cargo ship, Echo Base if it were not made of ice.. think more concrete and steel). So, I went down and up the stairs at different parts of the dream. I don't remember if I went up or down first.. It's easier for me to describe the environment or setting of the dream than to recall what I in the dream actually did.
Below the steps was a ramp, made out of regular roof shingles. The type that have the gravel-like texture on top. They have some grip but can also feel a bit slippery, especially if bits of gravel get dislodged and roll freely like pebbles -- or if other particulate dirt gathers on top of them.
So in an L shape, my front door is on my left. If I walk backwards I go down the five wooden steps and then instead of ground level, a gap which then continues on a long ramp lined in roof shingles. The ramp is about 45-degrees. I believe it is the same grade/angle of slope as the stairs if you were to draw a straight line from the top to the bottom step. Considering that I was above a seemingly bottomless pit of an alley, it was a bit disconcerting to walk on this surface. I only remember traversing down very little.... I remember holding the top of the ramp with my hands so that I wouldn't slip off. I was afraid that if I went down too far, I'd lose traction and slip off completely. The ramp was roughly the same width of the stairs, maybe narrower.
[Side note: The roof shingles of the ramp were of the same color and style as the shingles above the door. Our real house has a sort of awning -- the width of the door, but it's bottom only sticks out about 16" and the shingled surface goes up 5 or so feet at a very steep angle to meet the flat outer-wall lined in siding.]
At some point, I decided to go back up the wooden stairs... but then I start noticing... "these are wooden steps above a very deep canyon-like alley... are these stable?" Maybe this thought was spawned by they already had a little "give" or rockiness from being wood... but now they started really rocking. To the point that putting weight on the bottom step made it flex a lot until I saw some wood up at the top corner detach from other wood.... nails were sticking out. I thought about just pushing it back together. I thought, maybe if I lean on it differently I could still use these steps to get back into my house...
In short form:
There were wooden steps instead of concrete steps on the side of my house where the "front door" is located and these steps proved to be so unstable when I applied weight to them for the final time before the dream ended. Instead of ground being below the bottom step was a really long ramp of similar width. The ramp was covered in roof shingles and itself wasn't bottomless form what I could figure, but I never tried traversing to the bottom of it to see where it lead. Since the stairs and ramp were attached to or next to a left-wall, I could see a long alley in front of and presumably behind me. The opposing wall was further away than the width of my driveway, but there was an opposing wall.. perhaps one which also had a set of precarious stairs and strangely placed ramp -- flush against wall with no banister.
End of dream
The other dream which happened before or after this one, not sure which.... occurred at my current old job. I just started a new job, but my old job is a consumer electronics retailer. At Best Buy, when there is only one person working as cashier it is not uncommon for others in the store to be called up to do a "code 1". In this case, in this dream... I don't remember anyone being on register. I remember feeling uneasy (as I did in my bed that night between dreams when I used the bathroom and was trying to fall back asleep) but knew that when a customer popped up someone had to help them. So I began walking to the front-lanes or front check-out counter since we don't have "lanes" in the conventional sense anymore and a customer was already "is there anyone..." when another coworker beat me to the register.
By the time I got behidn the counter, there was a small line of customers but suddenly all of the POS terminals were occupied by employees. Were they already there? Hiding... teleported.. just fast?? I don't know, I didn't see how it went from 0 cashiers to 4 in the time it took me to make my way behind the counter.
At that point I felt superfelous. At some point after this part of the dream, I beleive... I had briefly spoken to a supervisor (not manager, not my immediate supe) who used to be my supe a long time ago. I get along with them fine now, probably better because they are not my supervisor so they don't really do anything to annoy me or anything that I perceive to be annoying as a retail grunt. Yet, in this dream this supe was talking to me briefly about something... giving me an order? Critique? I don't remember, but I do remember them being a bit "b*tchy".
The weird part was, when this supe/coworker informed "I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia" or "I have type-2 fibromyalgia." To which I responded, "I could see why you feel that way.." or "I appreciate why you feel this way" in response to whatever the hell we were talking about before she bought up her diagnosis. I vaguely remember what I said but I mean like, it was said in the spirit of "I understand and here is some benefit of the doubt with a hint of positive vibes."
End of dream.
Back to real life...
I will likely hand in my resignation for the retail job this week. I had the pleasure of working as MCSA/ cashier / customer service associate for the past couple of months. I actually really liked it compared to the stress of being in Geek Squad. I was actually fine with that job for a long time but my chief weakness are my sales numbers. Past managers usually let me slide if I tried and was meeting all of the other necessary criteria for proficiency but this one asserted that my sales numbers bring down the team averages when everyone else is doing well.
I actually enjoyed most of the customer interaction in Geek Squad, even if sometimes people were annoying when you told them "this warranty covers repair.. not instant replacement." Lots of people sign-up for phone insurance but are surprised when you tell them that there is a $200 service fee (like a deductible) when they break their phone. $200 is better than $700 is probably the best comeback I have to grievances or requests for an explanation.
The only thing I hated about the job was being an Apple Authorized Service Provider. It was cool to be able to claim being an Apple Certified technician on my resume as a result of the GSX training but... well, once you get the hang of it, it wasn't so bad. Before you get the hang of it, getting a customer with Apple appointment was often something to dread. If all went well, it was fine but if it didn't ..... you might get stuck on the task for over an hour. If someone else broke n iPhone while installing a battery near closing time, you might be stuck dealing with that a bit after close.... There I don't want to bash the whole AASP thing; one good benefit was that it was another source of revenue to help both my ailing sales numbers and for the entire team to get labor hours for the time we spend doing diagnostics under Apple's warranty.
Still, in the end I hated doing Apple appointments because the higher paid advanced repair agents didn't know how to make Apple GSX orders so if I had a line of customers and they were kindly backing me up, they would still skip the apple customer and give them to me to sort out. One admitted to avoiding learning the Apple GSX process so that they wouldn't get stuck after hours or on the phone/live chat with apple to deal with the not to uncommon issues which necessitated significant effort and deviation from the planned daily routine.
Anyway, maybe the dreams were related to IRL events at work... at my old job?
As for my new job, it's cool.. I like it. I have a lot to learn, and I hope I can be proficient before the training phase ends. If I'm not good at this job, I can probably continue but it'll be a slogg to get trough. If I can get good at this, then It'll be the easiest yet most professional job I've ever had. It sure beats the retail job. Just getting consistent hours helps but knowing I got benefits and less chaos from customer interaction is nice.
submitted by djronnieg to DreamInterpretation [link] [comments]

[Trip Report] Tokyo, Koyasan, Kyushu, and Yakushima.

Here is my long as heck trip report! It’s not your standard itinerary so I hope some find it helpful!
First, my general advice on some of the basics -
  1. Allow an hour between landing and leaving! Between immigration, picking up tickets, and grabbing anything else like a SIM card, Suica, etc… the minutes add up. Time from wheels down and departing on the Skyliner was 1 hour for us - and we were moving quickly/didn’t get caught in a big line anywhere. Also do not try to do much on your first day!! We could barely do a walk around our neighborhood for longer than 30 minutes before feeling like we needed to get in bed.
  2. Pocket wi-fi is fine and all, but I had a really great experience with Sim2Fly from AIS (can buy on US Amazon.) I stuck it in the SIM slot while we landed and it worked within 1 minute, connecting to Softbank’s 4G network. It even worked when our “wide coverage” GAC Pocket Wifi couldn’t find any signal in Koyasan, Kyushu, or Yakushima. (So with that said, I recommend a Pocket Wifi that does not run on AU/YMobile.) IIJMio’s SIM also worked super well on docomo. We got one from b-mobile through Amazon that didn’t work at all, though others have had great experiences with them by ordering directly.
  3. When traveling with luggage, favor routes that don’t have as many transfers and leave more time than you think you need. Luggage gets heavy. Stations get crowded. The transfers hyperdia and google suggests are “doable,” but give yourself a margin of error just in case you make mistakes or get caught in a crowd. On our trip, my SO accidentally swiped his Pasmo at Namba Nankai on the way to Koya. He didn’t even realize it until we tried to swipe in at Namba subway to catch our shinkansen at Shin-Osaka. Thankfully I’d allowed a 25 minute buffer and remembered the route back, so I ran back and got it corrected and we still had time. There are routes that may save you 15-30 minutes with more transfers, but I’d rather be relaxed than feel like I need to rush through.
  4. Have a breakfast plan! Yoshinoya and other 24 hour spots, or convenience stores if that’s your thing (but it can get old in my opinion) are a good bet if you don’t want Starbucks, Tully’s, or your hotel breakfast. We got stuck a couple times at 9-10am searching for food before just settling on those.
  5. Google Maps is really good but not 100% accurate all the time. If you blindly rely on it you may end up confused sometimes. Look at the train times in the station, follow signs, and be careful with the exits (especially in Shibuya station - it told me to take wrong, inconvenient exits a few times, potentially due to construction.) The routes it suggests are definitely doable if you’re used to subway systems, but if you’re not then allow more time!
  6. Google translate is life! The camera made menus/food ticket machines somewhat decipherable and on occasion we used the recording feature to talk to various people (like when I returned the SIM to Amazon from a post office in Fukuoka- it was a fun experience!)
  7. I absolutely loved mobile Suica. I will sing its praises to anyone who will listen. It made my life infinitely easier. Highly recommend it for newer iPhone users. Topping up anytime with my CC took less than 10 seconds and it shows a history of your transactions/routes.
Daily stories in the context of our itinerary -
Day one:
Landed at Narita 1:35 PM. Picked up Keisei Skyliner tickets and Pasmo for my SO, got to Koenji, did some walking around and had Coco Ichiban for dinner. I’m a spice fiend so I got their spice level 10 and it was certainly as spicy as I wanted it to be! I discovered the Pokemon card collection at Hard Off and went wild - I didn’t realize there’d be so many places to buy cute card singles. I’m not a huge collector, but I keep a binder of my favorites that I’ve been collecting for the past…20 years (jesus)...and it seemed like a great, cheap way to get a whole lot of souvenirs that I knew I’d appreciate!
Day two:
Wandered around Koenji very early with some coffee while things were closed. Had Ghibli tickets for this day (any time, JTB) so made our way to Kichijoji, got some Magikarp taiyaki at Kurikoan, and walked from there to arrive around opening time. I wasn’t a huge Ghibli fan before this trip, but I do appreciate animation, and I was absolutely blown away by the museum. Very worth the trip and I get why it’s so popular! I had some friends visiting Tokyo at the same time so I met them for lunch after at Oniyanma in Nakameguro. We shopped around in the area (this ended up being my favorite shopping neighborhood - the store Vase is super cool for people into bags/accessories/fashion, as is 1LDK) and got coffee at Onibus. From there we split up and despite being super tired I went on to Ginza by myself to check out some more stores on my list (my SO hates shopping so I tried to condense it mostly to when we weren’t together) and then walked up to the Pokemon Center DX. I’d actually planned on going there the following week for the Pokemon Cafe, but after checking it out I cancelled that plan - it didn’t seem like my cup of tea and I felt like I could get my Pokemon fill in many other places. I also didn’t want to feel tied down by that plan anymore. I stopped by Tokyo Station quickly on my way back to pick up our shinkansen tickets so we didn’t have to deal with it in the morning (bought through SmartEX. Took about 2 minutes to print everything I’d purchased.) Had great omurice for dinner at Cafe Terrace Gon - it was so cute and cozy!
Day three:
Woke up early anyway thanks to jetlag and made our way to Tokyo Station for our 6:42 AM Nozomi to Shin-Osaka - goal was to make the 10AM limited express to Koyasan. We had green car tickets due to a smartEX deal (same price as regular cars when I booked in advance.) Picked up ekibens and a small packet of Tokyo Banana (yum!) for the trip. I booked Fuji-side seats and the weather cooperated - we got a clear view for several minutes! I was so happy! We transferred at Shin-Osaka to the Midosuji line, got out at Namba and walked to the Nankai station. I thought this transfer was going to be much harder than it was - it was all underground and signage was simple. We had to wait in a 10 minute line to buy our Koyasan World Heritage tickets, but managed to get on the 10AM 3 minutes before it left. When we got to Koyasan station I had my first Boss Black. I was addicted. We finally dropped our stuff off at our temple around 12:30. (The cable car was also fun - I’m a minor transit enthusiast and really enjoyed this part of the trip for all the different methods we got to take.) We had a few hours before check-in so we walked around the town, got some free snacks with promo coupons from the Heritage Pass, and had a nice leisurely meal at Kissa Yakata. This place was adorable, an older woman ran it all by herself (greeting you, cooking your meal, giving some advice about the area) and the food was great. We walked around the main junction to see some of the sites. It was really quite beautiful and peaceful, and people were fairly quiet and respectful compared to other tourist hotspots. After that we finally checked in. It was absolutely incredible - we had 2 tatami areas in our room and we were right next to the private single person onsen. It opened at 4pm and I was the first one in. We walked around the temple and just chilled out for the rest of the afternoon before our dinner. I was pleasantly surprised by the meal - there was a ton of food! We didn’t like it all, but there was a lot of rice as well. Unfortunately, the cemetery night tour was cancelled due to rain so we just went on a short walk by ourselves in the cold.
Day four:
We easily woke up for prayer (still jetlagged, we’d planned on that which is why we did Koyasan first) and it was just enthralling. Breakfast wasn’t my cup of tea, but again plenty of rice at least! We had a lot of time before check out so we took the full walk through the cemetery. It’s so breathtaking! After packing up we headed back into town and had another meal, this time at Komi Coffee. Fluffy pancakes were so so so good! Long afternoon ahead of us as we headed to Fukuoka. We were pretty exhausted by the time we got to Tenjin and just had our obligatory bowl of tonkotsu at Ramen Zen before calling it a night.
Day five:
Sarted our sightseeing at Ohori Park by renting a swan boat. It was loads of fun! We walked through after that and took in the Japanese garden - a total treat. It's small but gorgeous. From there we went to Canal City to look at the architecture. We had a blast playing Mario Kart at an arcade and I got a delicious croissant taiyaki. Took a walk through the Kawabata shopping arcade and headed to the Hakata Pokemon Center (of course) and Tokyu Hands before a late lunch in the Mitsukoshi basement food hall. There was too much to choose from and we got a bit overwhelmed, but I enjoyed a batch of Hakata-style one bite gyoza! My SO got sick this evening and stayed in. I shopped at Loft and Don Quijote, tried some grape flavored Strong Zero, then went to a yatai by myself while slightly drunk and ate another delicious bowl of tonkotsu! My SO joked that he wanted a bacon egg and cheese sandwich as sick comfort food and I was determined to make that happen in my tipsy state so I bought him a bacon and egg burger from Freshness Burger and felt very proud.
Day six:
We finally started our much anticipated road trip through Kyushu! Booked directly with Toyota Rent-A-Car and arranged pick-up from their Yakuin location at 8AM. I’d reserved an ETC card in our original booking and a Kyushu Expressway Pass ahead of time via e-mail. Grabbed a conbini breakfast for the car and a surprisingly incredible coffee from Rec Coffee! My SO was the first to drive, bless him, as I’m not as confident a driver (much better navigator!) and going on the other side of the road was a bit daunting. While our GPS gave directions in English, it wanted addresses input in Japanese. I’d read that mapcodes are useful so I’d printed them out ahead of time, but I wish I’d looked more in depth at certain POIs on Google Maps before getting the codes as the addresses weren’t always perfect (a common issue we found with GMaps in Japan.) Sometimes it’d spit us out a block or a few blocks away from where we really needed to be. We had to cross-check with my phone as we approached destinations. There was a minor scare about 2 hours into the drive when our ETC card holder started beeping incessantly and saying something in Japanese whenever the car started. We tried to translate and couldn’t figure it out, and the beeping was so constant that we needed to solve it immediately. Taking out the ETC card and putting it in seemed to fix it so we left it at that. Honestly still have no idea what it was! Our first stop was the old town district of Hita, Mamedamachi, for a short walk around. It was super adorable and quiet! Next up was Nabegataki Falls. On the way there we were absolutely awestruck by how beautiful the scenery was - while we had saved POIs to check out on Kysuhu, we assumed much of the drive would be highway-like and not exciting. The drive ended up being a huge highlight! The falls were really picturesque and lovely, definitely worth the stop. Next up on the itinerary was Mt Aso. Unfortunately, we saw online that the crater viewing area was partially closed. We decided we’d go there anyway and see as much as possible (and hope for a change in conditions) as otherwise the plan would just be to spent more time around our ryokan. On the way there we stopped by the oddest “rest stop” that was just a line of several vending machines by the side of the road with an abandoned shop next to them. The conditions didn’t get better as we arrived, sadly, but we still really enjoyed the drive and lookouts up there and the atmosphere near the top. Surprisingly, we bought a beautiful piece of art at the gift shop! Our last stop of the day was our ryokan in Kurokawa Onsen. The ryokan itself was gorgeous and the service was impeccable. I immediately went to the onsen area before the sun set. The rotenburo were split into a men’s and women’s side, both right on the river. I definitely messed up the etiquette a bit - first I walked all the way to the bath in full yukata before realizing I needed to change in a specific room. Then I realized I needed my towel from my room too as they didn’t have spares! I thought I was going to be more nervous about getting naked, but since everyone else is also naked it doesn’t feel so weird. I have 5 small tattoos and brought some “foundation tape” and medical tape to cover them up. I couldn’t see any reviews/info online stating whether or not they were allowed so I wanted to be careful. It worked fairly well, the patched up area was still visible but only if you looked closely. I thought people would stare at them and then I actually saw a Japanese woman with a much more obvious white cover-up sticker on her body! (Sidenote, the foundation tape was very difficult to get off later!) Kaiseki dinner was in a dining room area, but everyone had a beautiful private room so it felt very intimate. The food was fantastic. I’m somewhat adventurous now, though I was a vegetarian for over 10 years until fairly recently. I’m basically willing to try anything with some nudging, but still pretty scared of seafood. I tried everything they brought us which I’m very proud of, even if I couldn’t finish some of the fried whole fish. We got pretty drunk off sake and had a blast!
Day seven:
Took a final dip in the rotenburo before breakfast. I had it all to myself as it was so early! Heavenly. As it got crowded, I moved to our room’s private bath and spent the rest of the morning there. They offered us the rest of our sake for breakfast, which was kind of hilarious at 8AM. I could have spent another full day just lounging around here if it weren’t so expensive! Everyone waved us off as we pulled out. We stopped in the actual town of Kurokawa next as we hadn’t had a chance to see it the day before. It was super adorable, but I’m glad we stayed a bit further out for a less hectic experience. If we’d stayed 2 nights it could have been nice to move to a more central one, though. We got some pastries at Patisserie Roku (SO got their cream puff and it was incredible) to eat in the car as we left. Our first stop this day was Kamishikimi Shrine, up a handful of beautiful steps. We kept going up past the shrine until we made it to an opening that overlooked a valley. It was really stunning. I’d recommend it to anyone going to the Aso area! From there we went to Takachiho Gorge which was far more crowded. We were super hungry by then so we got a warm bowl of noodles from the one restaurant we could find before walking to the other “side” of the gorge viewing area. The other side (near the boat rentals) probably would have been the better place to park - there were plenty of food stalls and it seemed most of the tour busses brought people there. I originally wanted to rent one of the boats to see the waterfalls, but rowing section didn’t feel as secluded as I imagined it would be (full of families and the area was fairly small) so we skipped it and got some dango from a food stall as we left. My only “regret” of the whole trip is what we did next. We left the gorge slightly earlier than I expected and I was overly ambitious so tried drive around the Miyazaki coastline on the way to Kagoshima. In retrospect, it would have been best to just head straight there via the most direct road and enjoy the evening without feeling exhausted. I stopped at Hyuga Cape first and my SO was too tired to go to the viewing point, then by the time we got to the Nichinan coast portion it was sunset and we couldn’t get in to Udo Shrine except to look at it from afar. We didn’t get to Kagoshima until nearly 9pm and we were too exhausted to go out for dinner and enjoy the area (realistically we would have been tired either way, I guess.) We also had a minor scare regarding gas on the expressway, but thankfully found a station about 30 minutes from Kagoshima that was still open. Getting gas required a bit of translate help, but was easily done with a credit card.
Day eight:
We woke up at sunrise to make our flight to Yakushima. To make up for the missteps of the day before, I drove us the “long way” to the airport and we got a beautiful view of Sakurajima as the sun rose! Dropping off our rental car was super easy, we just had one toll leaving Fukuoka that wasn’t covered by the KEP to we pay for and otherwise were good to go. They drove us to Kagoshima airport a few minutes away and we checked our bags as the teeny plane to Yakushima wouldn’t even allow our carry ons. The propeller plane was a lot of fun for me, but anyone who is afraid of flying will not have a good time. Thankfully it’s just a quick 35 minutes or so and we just read a bit about the island from our Yakumonkey guide. Our new rental car was booked directly with NAVI and they met us at the airport. The woman we dealt with, who I had emailed with originally about our reservation, was possibly the friendliest person we met on our whole trip. She gave us trail info packets, laminated maps of the island and main towns with her favorite restaurants highlighted, bottles of water, and snacks. After asking us where we were staying, she told us which places to go to for lunch, which way to drive around the island (do it counter-clockwise as the narrow road on the Western side is scarier if you have to drive on the left), and which hikes to do We didn’t even have to plan our day out, and had enough food/water to get us through the hikes, all thanks to her! We went to Miyanoura first for lunch then started Shiratani Unsuikyo. The trail maps they give you at the hike are way more helpful than I thought they would be - almost had no need for the guide book given that we weren’t doing the lesser-known hikes. They clearly mark checkpoints on the map and on the hike and explain how long different routes will take. We decided to go off the “main” trail and connect to a walking path and nearly thought we were lost when a local man on the same path came along and asked if we needed help. Turned out he used to live in New York! We walked with him back to the parking lot (we weren’t lost after all, the path was just taking longer than we thought it would.) As I stopped to admire a cute snake, he let me know that it was super poisonous…yikes. We came across quite a few of monkeys on our drive around the Western side of the island and I was enamored! Something we realized as we drove around was that many things marked prominently in the guide/maps weren’t actually that easy to find. I wanted to see the Hirauchi seaside hot springs and we thought we were heading into a private driveway as we approached it. It was lovely, though. I’d also saved a cute looking cafe in Onoaida by our guest house, but it was closed when we got there. We stopped at another cafe across the street which was just a tiny 1-table room in this guy’s house. He gave us fruits and juice and had us sign some coasters with a note so he could put them on his wall of visitors! He had some beautiful handmade wood items for sale as well. We finally got to our lodging around 4pm and I made use of our private open-air bath, watching the sun set as I looked at the mountain - it was a moment where I almost wanted to pinch myself to make sure it was real! We had dinner nearby at a restaurant suggested by the guest house. The place was eerily quiet with bright lighting and odd music and had just 2 other couples dining in that night - it was a bit of a surreal experience. Our room that night had twin beds and we tried to share one before growing frustrated with the lack of space. As my SO moved to the other bed, a gigantic (several inch wide) spider crawled out from underneath. Suffice it to say, we shared one bed and left the lights on.
Day nine:
We enjoyed a really nice breakfast outside at our guest house, again complete with a beautiful mountain view. It was idyllic! We did the Yakusugiland hike this morning. On the drive there I got out of the car to take a picture of some monkeys and despite not making eye contact, one of them decided to chase me back into the car. I assume it wanted food, or it wanted to attack me, who knows. A nice exhilarating morning! The hike was super quick and easy and we went early enough that it wasn’t crowded yet. My SO preferred this hike, and I liked it as much as if not more than Shiratani. I accidentally stepped in monkey poop though so had to spend a good 15 minutes in the bathroom afterwards washing my shoe while a tour group arrived and lined up and watched me struggle. On the way back to town I got out of the car We stopped for sushi in Anbo at another place recommended by the car rental agent. It was probably one of my least favorite meals, unfortunately, just because I’m not a big sushi fan. It was still better than sushi I’ve had in New York, though! We stopped for some great matcha soft serve at a tea shop and by the “pillow shaped lava field” before getting gas and dropping off the car. We flew back to Tokyo via Kagoshima and landed in Haneda around 5:45PM. We got to our Ebisu hotel fairly quickly and decided on Yakiniku for dinner. Landed on a location of the Niku-Azabu chain near our hotel. Their ground floor area was full, but thankfully they fit us in the 4th floor section after a brief wait. We struggled with the menu a bit, but the waiters were super patient with us and after translating specific items and asking if we would or would not eat (no urchin, no offal), pointed us to a set meal as the best option (worked for us as we didn’t want to do the work of picking which meats to try!) They asked if rare meat was ok and I’m glad we said yes. They cooked it all for us and specified which sauces to eat with which pieces. I didn’t realize meat could taste so good! We also had a hilarious miscommunication when my SO asked if there was alcohol in his drink (it was just disguised well and we were curious to see if we misunderstood the menu) and the waiter came around and poured a glassful of extra shochu into his drink.
Day ten:
Finally a full day in Tokyo where we’re not super jetlagged! Plan was to go to Akihabara and figure things out from there. Well, let’s just say we didn’t get to much else. We shopped around all sorts of places - for manga, doujinshi, sex toys, Pokemon cards… and at Yodobashi Camera. I went wild for the cute claw machines. We even walked into the espace pachinko parlor before quickly escaping the assault on our ears (holy shit it’s so loud??) We briefly left Akiba for lunch at Izuei Honten in Ueno - this was a place my SO had tried on his last trip to Japan and really wanted me to experience. I was pleasantly surprised! We shared their lunch for 2 and were absolutely stuffed by the end. Their instructions said to put a small amount of sansho on the eel….we probably doused it far more than we should have, but the numbing sensation was so good. My friends who I hung out with the previous week were heading back to Tokyo from Kyoto and also wanted to hang out in Akiba so I went back and played a few more claw machines, tried out a purikura photobooth, shopped for Pokemon cards again (Cherumo had a pretty great selection) before briefly meeting them at the haven that is Super Potato. We made plans to meet back up for an izakaya night and picked a spot in Omotesando (friends were staying in Ginza so wanted a sort of midpoint) and, wisely, some back-ups as well. The first place we tried was “full” and told us it’d be a 2-hour wait. This happened to us quite a bit on the trip - I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt and say we just picked popular places with high tabelog ratings which meant they were often crowded and didn’t accept walk-ins… Our back-up had a table for us though and we had a great time trying various dishes and drinks!
Day eleven:
Our goal on this day was broadly to check out Shibuya and Nakano Broadway. We started early in Daikanyama as it was just a short walk there from our hotel. I really wanted to look at the architecture and it did not disappoint! We both loved it even more than we thought we would and delighted in wandering the streets there, looking through the gigantic Tsutaya, and eyeing coffee shops. It was a quick ride to Shibuya station and we stopped for breakfast in the Hikarie department store basement. I had a weirdly amazing cheese, pumpkin, and bacon croquette. We shopped a bit for clothes in BEAMS before heading to a few reuse shops I wanted to check out like Don Don Down and Ragtag. We were over shopping quickly and made our way on foot to Meiji Jingu (my feet were getting tired so we skipped Yoyogi) and while we were there we happened upon a wedding! The outfits were incredible to see (there’s a picture in my album.) From there we headed to Nakano Broadway. We explored the various floors there a bit - it’s an amazing place for secondhand anime shopping. Didn’t end up buying anything (aside from grape soft serve in the basement), but really enjoyed it. We also ate at a great gyoza restaurant just outside the main building. I stopped in Harajuku on the way back to check out a few more reuse stores on my list. Kindal ended up being my favorite. Back at the hotel we geared up for a night out in Shinjuku, finally! We saved a few restaurants to try near Bar Benfiddich (where we wanted to start the night) and unfortunately the first 2 couldn’t seat us and as I got anxious about traveling further without food, my SO suggested Hinoya under the bar. That did the trick. At Benfiddich (we went to the newer one on the lower level) I was served a fascinating pear and mascarpone cocktail, satisfying my weird request for “sweet, fruity, and creamy.” My SO got a pear brandy negroni after asking for something bitter. Next stop was a walk through the Omoide Yokocho - wish we’d waited to eat until we got there but I was stressed out without food earlier - followed by Dug’s Jazz Cafe & Bar. There’s a cover, but I thought it was well worth it. We really enjoyed the atmosphere and music and I got very drunk from the small bottle of sake they gave me! We swiftly wandered through Kabukicho and Golden Gai. Didn’t go in any bars in this area as we had planned on just looking, our goal was to cap the night with a drunken bowl of ramen at Zundoya and it was all on the way. We were hoping to check out some live music as well if possible, but it was too late by the time we got to one of the venues (Wednesday night near midnight…)
Day twelve:
I started the morning early in Shimokitazawa with a plan to meet at 11:30 for lunch at Magic Spice (pretty interesting spot.) In retrospect, it was pretty unnecessary going to Shimo this early as most of the stores didn’t even open until 11. I spent the first hour walking the entire neighborhood while photographing street art and storefronts before settling in a cafe with a coffee and slice of cheesecake. After shopping, I ended up with an awesome pair of pants for 300 yen at Mode Off! The fashion score of the trip. Next up was Ueno park and we walked the entire area. It wasn’t my favorite park of the trip, but it had some interesting architecture. I picked up our return Skyliner tickets as we were right next to the station anyway and had planned on getting a very early train for our flight on Saturday. (Of course, this ended up being a bad move, but we couldn’t have foreseen that….) We moved on to Asakusa in the early afternoon. It was absolutely packed on the main shopping streets, the temple area was overrun with people, and by the time we wanted to eat everything around us seemed like a tourist trap with minimum spends and mediocre food. We really just wanted to get out of the area quickly so I decided to make the most of the late afternoon by checking out Ikebukuro! First, I stopped at Kikanbo and had the best bowl of ramen of the entire trip. Medium sansho level….heaven. Then I happened across a pop performance in Sunshine City! I have no idea who it was, a girl group? There were tons of people watching. I heard the same song the next day on the street, but forgot to Shazam it. The Pokemon Mega Center was everything I hoped it would be. I did the bulk of my Pokemon shopping here and also stopped at a card store on the way back to the station where I found a bunch of great 20 yen singles. We went back to Koenji this evening for dinner at Dachibin, an Okinawan restaurant my SO went to the last time and had fond memories of. Tried some raw horse meat! A couple guys next to us really wanted to help us out with our order and chat. Afterwards we headed to Asagaya to check out an anime-themed bar called 44Sonic. It was closet-sized and full of regulars who encouraged us to try a calpis/shochu cocktail. Weirdly amazing. The atmosphere felt very local and casual and the place was covered in all sorts of anime merch (including figures on the bar.)
Day thirteen:
We awoke to a notice from our airline offering to waive any change fees for our flight due to bad weather in NY. Our original return flight involved 24 hours of travel with a long layover, free upgrade to a nonstop was a no-brainer! It meant we had to figure out new accommodations, though, as our hotel had no availability for Saturday night. We spent the bulk of the morning dealing with logistics to get it over with. This meant I’d also have to go back to Ueno to change our Skyliner tickets… I had plans already to meet some other friends (who were also on holiday in Japan at the same time!) for lunch in Nakameguro so finally headed out at 11:30 for that. Took a nice walk from Ebisu and did some shopping on the way at stores I’d liked previously. We met for lunch at Seirinkan pizza and it was incredible! Absolutely worth it. My friends had stayed in Nakameguro for part of their trip and took me to their favorite ice cream (Premarché) and coffee place (artless) afterwards. Both were amazing. I headed to Shibuya to shop at other stores on my list, then walked to Daikanyama from there to meet my SO for some tea. Sucked it up and took the long ride to change our Skyliner tickets. Stopped in Harajuku on the way back to shop again. We met up at a manga cafe in Shibuya, but it was closed for an event. Decided to walk to an okonomiyaki restaurant halfway between Shibuya and Ebisu, but when we got there it was full. So began our Friday night of trying restaurant after restaurant - we must have walked into 4 different ones at least - in Ebisu without being able to get a seat at any of them. Our final attempt was at Kaoriya Soba (we’d agreed to give up and eat Coco Ichiban if it didn’t work out) and they had seats available! Experience there was great and the roast duck appetizer was phenomenal.
Day fourteen:
Our first “extra” day! We just decided to wing it after dropping our bags at the new hotel. Booked tickets for teamlab Planets in the evening, did some gift shopping, then we stopped for curry at Hanaichi and made the impromptu plan to walk through Hibiya Park and to the Imperial Palace gardens. Hibiya was a nice surprise! It was really pretty, and we happened upon some sort of festival with various themed plant stands. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was for, though. It started to get super hot out and we had to take a bunch of sitting breaks on the way to the East Gardens from there. The scenery was great, though, and the grounds were not too crowded given that it was a Saturday. This was one of the most pleasant, unplanned surprises of the trip! Shopped around the Tokyo Station Character Street (another Pokemon store! It was packed!) on the way back. We had a bit of time to relax before teamlab, and my SO had made a sushi reservation that night for us in Ginza (Sushi Banya Honten) which we planned to head to right after. I’m not sure how much more crowded Borderless gets, but Planets was very manageable and super enjoyable as well! It took us about an hour to get through - I do think we could have spent several more minutes in some of the rooms, though. We had some extra time so took the train to Odaiba to get a drink and a view of the Rainbow Bridge. Our sushi dinner was great fun even though I can’t really appreciate the taste yet. We saw some other guests eating an off-menu dish and after asking about it they agreed to make one for us too. It was some sort of cheese & sea bream cooked, creamy filling with salmon wrapped around it. Really incredible! They also gave us plaques with our names written out artfully in Japanese before we left. It was clearly something they give to every tourist who stops by, judging by the instagram hashtag, but we love them anyway.
Day fifteen:
Last day! I went to Jiyugaoka to have a relaxing morning of wandering. What a weird, cool neighborhood. ABC coffee was great - nice patio to relax on. La Vita was bizarre as expected. Kumano shrine was a beautiful surprise. After I had my fill there and started to get hungry I planned my last meal… I knew I needed a final (seventh) bowl of ramen to wrap up the trip, but where to go! I considered Fuunji, Afuri, and Rokurinsha. Rokurinsha won out and I prepared myself for a long wait given that I showed up around 12:30. I was not wrong! I didn’t get seated until 1:15. Easily spent a chunk of my remaining cash afterwards on bags of kit kats at Don Quijote. As I contemplated how to spend my final hour, I realized I was right by Cafe de L’Ambre. Couldn’t leave without trying such a legendary cafe. It was certainly the best coffee experience of my trip - watching them pour water over the grounds while moving them in a circular motion was truly mesmerizing! I took in the atmosphere and chatted with a regular. As I walked back to the hotel from Ginza I saw what looked like a traditional Geisha ceremony being performed on a platform for an engaged audience. Paused for a long moment to take it all in and appreciate what I was seeing.
Some opinions:
  1. Favorite neighborhoods in Tokyo were Nakameguro, Daikanyama, Koenji, Ebisu, Shimokitazawa, and Jiyugaoka. They were so lovely to stroll around and had amazing vibes..
  2. Favorite meals overall were at Niku-Azabu, Kikanbo, Rokurinsha, Izuei Honten, and Seirinkan. There were virtually no bad meals on the entire trip, but those ones really stood out.
  3. Driving there is easier than I thought it would be! You get pretty used to the side switch. Most road signs were in English. KEP saved us about $20 on tolls. Toyota and NAVI were both great rental companies to deal with.
  4. Kyushu is super beautiful and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in nature, wants to drive around, and is going on their 2nd or 3rd trip. It’s fairly off the beaten path and not as packed with Western tourists.
  5. If you’re not a huge hiker, 1-2 days on Yakushima could be enough. Everything I read made me worry that we were spending too little time there, but honestly we’re just not that into hiking. Maybe if we hadn’t also done Kyushu we would have appreciated an extra day in nature, but the two trails we did satisfied my hiking urges and we were pretty ready to get back to a big city. If you love the outdoors and hiking though then 2 days is not enough!
Tokyo 10/14-10/16: Hotel Mets above the JR station in Koenji. Total was $170 for 2 nights, booked through their website directly. It felt like a steal, and was one of our cheapest stays, but it was also one of our smallest rooms - couldn’t open both carry-ons and still be able to walk around the room. Location was perfect for the tired first part of our trip as we didn’t have to walk far from the train with our bags. They had great communication over e-mail before we arrived and agreed to accept/hold some packages with our SIM cards and Pocket Wi-Fi.
Koyasan 10/16: Shojoshin-in, booked through Total was $230 for 1 night. I was really prepared for barebones accommodation and it felt much more luxurious than I imagined. Highly recommend this place for anyone visiting Koyasan as it wasn’t packed with tourists like some of the others I saw (literal tour busses were parked at a few) and being right next to the cemetery is ideal if that’s a big reason for your visit. There’s no curfew here.
Fukuoka 10/17-10/19: Mizuka Imaizumi next to the Tenjin area. It’s on a bunch of hotel websites but I booked through Airbnb because I had some large discount coupons due to a bad experience this summer. That made it $155 total for 2 nights for a giant room with 3 beds and a couch. It was good for what we paid, but I wouldn’t have paid full price. It was an apart-hotel with a kitchenette, not full service, and definitely had some quirks. Would maybe recommend the room if you have a large group or otherwise get some sort of large discount like we did.
Kurokawa 10/19: Yamamizuki. Lived up to basically every expectation. Booked directly through their website, $477 total for the night (final price we paid after adding the 1500 yen sake bottle) for a “type D” room with a private semi-outdoor bath and nice separate sitting area by the windows with a view. It’s just outside of town which was nice since we obviously had a car (and we actually found driving in the town a bit annoying!)
Kagoshima 10/20: Dormy Inn Kagoshima, in the Tenmonkan area. Booked through agoda, $86 total for 1 night. This was our smallest room on the trip. It was fine. Not as good as Hotel Mets for the same price, but for a Saturday night it was one of the best hotels I could find in the Kagoshima area for <$100. They charged 1000 yen for parking right in the hotel building which was a bonus after all the driving. They also had free ramen after 9:30PM which we made use of given our late arrival, it was surprisingly good.
Yakushima 10/21: Shiki no Yado, around the Onoaida area. Booked directly through e-mail with the owner (contact info on their website.) The owner is very friendly and even though he originally said they had no rooms with private open-air bath available, he put us in one when we arrived. They usually serve dinner (5/7 nights a week) and unfortunately our stay was on one of the dinner-less nights, but that meant we only paid $97 total. They accept cards!
Tokyo 10/22-10/27: we stayed at the Ebisuholic (in Ebisu.) It’s a brand new hotel and feels very trendy. We got the smallest 2-person room, but the bed was gigantic and there was more than enough space for our bags/things without feeling too crowded. The shower was huge and modern. Breakfast was basic but they have really good donuts. Total was $811 for 5 nights after an Agoda discount of 10%, felt very worth the price as it amounted to ~162/night after tax and it was definitely a step above all the other 3-star hotels we had.
Tokyo 10/27-10/28: This was our last-minute additional night and we stayed at the b tokyo shimbashi. It was convenient enough and we paid $154 for the night. Slightly roomier than the Hotel Mets, not by much though. Didn’t love the area. I don’t agree with people who say it doesn’t matter where you stay - it’s hard to stay out of your room/neighborhood from 8am-11pm every day. The hotel was decent for the price especially given that we booked it last minute for a Saturday night, though I’m sure it’s cheaper if you book in advance.
Flights were $1160 each RT. Car rentals were $58 (Yakushima) and $280 (Kyushu, including KEP.) Gas was ~$70 total for both cars. Flights from Kagoshima - Yakushima - Tokyo were $220 total per person. Shinkansens were $220 per person. Haven't fully calculated the daily spending yet but sure we kept it under $100 per person/day even counting our nicer meals.
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