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travlbug

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  1. travlbug

    Partner in Crime

    "There’s not a mistake in this world I won’t forgive you for”: Adam may not be the perfect role model, but that one line makes him damn close. For Artie, who actually gets to choose his father figure, it confirms that he has made the right choice. "Get the fuck out of here!" You see, Artie does have a way with words! (If nothing else, Ezra has inspired him to eloquence....) I’m your knight in shining armor?” [Dizzy] asked as he leaned his forehead against mine. “No, you’re my partner in crime.” Yup, that about sums it up. (That's my favorite line in the entire chapter! 😂) Can't wait to see Artie and Dizzy working in a donut shop (with plenty of sugar and coffee--just what Dizzy needs!). Can't wait to see Artie's plans for the perfect date! And what about Adam and Mason? Time for a proposal? (A donut looks suspiciously like a ring....🍩)
  2. travlbug

    Chapter 18

    The goal of anger management is not necessarily to prevent anger (unless the anger is misdirected or baseless) but to channel it into communication as opposed to violent physical and oral outbursts: In the present chapter, Drew clearly experiences anger (for how another is being treated), but how is his behavior violent--physically or orally? While Drew may benefit by discussing his feelings with a psychologist, he has a clear-cut, reasonable basis for his anger, and he does not act out, even though he feels like it (even though he is so distracted by his anger that it feels like a "memory gap"). Once again, Drew is not a typical candidate for anger management, but he is being so profoundly affected by what is happening to Cole that some insight as to why, as well as a few stress management techniques, couldn't hurt. Don't you love it when the other side makes your case for you, such that you don't have to lift a finger? Thanks, Grandpa and Laurie: Morgan and Cole couldn't have won without you! 😁
  3. Why buy a house rather than stay in the lodge? 🤔 The guilds that the players are creating appear diverse. As Theo says to Stephan, "What do you want your guild to do? Do you want to form a guild with your friends like the Indecisive Ones? Or a guild of people that you just met like The Blue Hand? And what do you want from this guild? Ultimately, Stephan says that he wants to create a "vanity" guild, with the ultimate goal being to buy better furniture for his house! (Why not? 🤗) With so many differently-constructed groups, it will be interesting to see who succeeds--and why. I love that people are networking, with specific people having specific goals. (Jerome, for example, wishes to transition from pker to protector, and Armon wants to use a wolf). Thus, we have unique people creating guilds and unique guilds waiting to engage the game content. Can't wait to see the action!
  4. travlbug

    Chapter 11

    My theory is that the U.S. became a superpower because we drink two-thirds of the world's coffee! 😂 One of the nice things about the Church of the Morning Caffeine is that you can purchase an alter (e.g., a Keurig or Mr. Coffee) almost anywhere! "As Lyssa turned to stomp back into the house David’s brain was forever seared with the image of his daughter’s butt storming off in a thong bikini bottom, not to mention the top had barely covered her, and she wasn’t even a big girl in that department." Wet willie on the one hand, and femme fatale on the other! (They grow up too fast anyway, but not that fast!) A lovely day of pool and poker! Owen is obviously ready for Las Vegas! (Good to see that everyone enjoyed each other's company!) Lyssa would like Southern California--lots of horse trails where I live. My uncle had a horse which he kept stabled in the Griffith Park area, and he rode quite frequently. While I enjoyed horseback riding at camp as a boy and a teen (yay, Cottontail Ranch and River Way Ranch!), it's just one of those things that has slipped away from me as an adult. (One of many. Sigh.) David obviously revels in his role as a Dad, and it's very clear that he's good at it! 😃
  5. travlbug

    Chapter 17

    Drew's concern that he may be developing an anger management problem is to his credit, but he's not yelling at people who leave the cap off the toothpaste or have the television too loud: Rather, he has demonstrated emotion in situations where most would feel similarly. We'll just have to wait and see if the anger becomes more generalized, but I doubt that it will. After an incredibly written scene of frottage, the boys cuddle and read IT: Does it get any better? (Yes, Drew, it does!!!) Dagwood sandwiches! 😆 I haven't seen a Blondie movie or a read the comic strip in years! (You can sometimes hear the old radio show on Sirius channel 148, and it features the same actors who starred in the movies!) Teo, I'm submitting your name to teach gay Sex Ed at the local high school. (Have you patented your survival kit? 😁) "So you take this dildo and this lube and you educate yourself": An excellent curriculum. (And what do you do for extra credit? 🤣) At least, the Petrakis adults are doing one thing right: They're providing Drew with a room of his own! I love the fact that the garage has a "sneak" door on the side, and of course, it's Teo who realizes it first!
  6. travlbug

    Chapter 16

    If Drew truly had an anger management issue, it would have been manifest way before now. I think that Drew's reaction to Joe is more due to possessiveness and protectiveness than anger, per se. (While he acts with violence, he plans the confrontation, so it is not completely spontaneous.) Further, while he argues with Mr. P. regarding his privacy, Mr. P. is the one who grows hot under the collar, not Drew. (Drew manifests anger later--e.g., in how he collects his clothes--but this appears to be in reaction to Mr. Petrakis' views/statements as espoused during the argument.) In fact, Drew really only manifests obvious anger again at the grandfather's attempt to "kidnap" Cole, and this anger is clearly justified. Now we know where Laurie's hate comes from. Ugh. And hurray for Keith! Once again, he shows his true worth!
  7. travlbug

    Chapter 5

    So the "murder" of Peris is tabled in the fine tradition of "don't make waves." That said, I doubt that the situation will stay "buried." 😁 Don't worry, Phillip, it's only blood! I presume that, by the time the father presents, he already has gangrene. Alternatively, he may have had a severe cellulitis that was creeping up the leg, with no way of stopping the infection excepting for amputation (thank goodness for antibiotics!). Either way, amputation would have been an appropriate treatment. Additionally, I love Alexios' interchange with Clodia and Thalis: While considering that the true diagnosis is a lack of exercise, and addressing it by recommending walking, Alexios tells Clodia that she has an "imbalance of bodily fluids" because it would make more sense to her (and be more acceptable than the diagnosis of "lazy slob" 😂). Likewise, the dill oil is a placebo, but it makes Clodia feel that she's gotten her money's worth. (Part of a physician's role is in leaving the patient feeling better for their visit [otherwise known as a good bedside manner], and Alexios leaves the customer satisfied while giving some sound advice. While modern physicians would not espouse the quackery, they would understand what Alexios is doing completely!) I have more respect for Alexios now, and I suddenly think that the brothers may indeed be successful in their new Roman practice!
  8. travlbug

    Chapter 10

    "David was still ramped up and even though he was pushing forty he still managed to get excited again." And at such an advanced age. (I'm shocked!) 😂 While TC was practicing shibari on David, all I could think of was David tied up like a present with a bow. (And who gets to open his present?) Renee and Mike are a lovely couple, and I'm happy to see them enjoy David's company--and vice versa. (I hate the trope where divorced people are always at each other's throats, so thank you.) The kids are also nice, and it'll be great to see Lyssa, Owen, David, and TC interact with a family dynamic.
  9. Interesting game theory--fun to read about, but I have no questions (being spoon fed is just fine). Yay for Pig Latin! (Otherwise, I'd be monolingual. 😂) Love the depiction of Sanctuary--and it's customizable! Fascinating discussion of what may happen on returning from their avatars to their real bodies--especially as regards the younger kids, and depending on how long they've spent in the game. Of course, it's too soon to PANIC! Communal living? Why not? (Teleportation circles would really give the feel of a four room apartment.) And little by little, the A team is turning itself into an amily-fay! 😊
  10. travlbug

    The Summit

    The alliance has been officially signed, but what now? There is no demon army to fight, and the demons are fighting like terrorists (achieving a specific goal and then vanishing). How can you destroy an enemy that can pop up anywhere at any time? The answer is intelligence, but then, the question arises as to how you obtain it.... "Victor and I stood looking through the large window, as we silently enjoyed the sunset bathing the skyline in various shades of red." I guess a bloody sky might be a good omen to a vampire, but as a Human, I'm not so sure...
  11. travlbug

    Chapter 14

    The "dick" conversation is rather silly in and of itself. However, its importance lies in showing how open the friends and siblings are in talking about virtually anything; and their willingness to discuss sex and boundaries is actually healthy. (I love the juxtaposition of Alessia and Teo's invading Drew's physical privacy just before dissecting his mental privacy!)
  12. travlbug

    Chapter 13

    "The living room had...art on the walls that featured partially disrobed men...." (l never believe in half measures. 😂) I love Dabeagle's portrayal of Keith: While showing his character flaws (e.g, using offence as a defense), he creates a sympathetic individual who has been molded by hurt and who sees the world through the lens of his own (painful) experiences. Yet, he's trying the best he can, and he acknowledges to Drew that he would never force Morgan to choose between his children and him. (I love that Drew realizes the imposition that children represent in Keith's life but that Keith is still willing to accept the kids for Morgan's sake.) That Morgan can see past the bluster and insecurity to the goodness at Keith's core is a measure of Morgan's own goodness as well. 😊
  13. travlbug

    Chapter 9

    Hi, Bard, I did not mean to be mysterious in any way. While Elliot was a sub, he chose a tattoo (presuming it to be an Asian Dragon) indicating power/strength, nobility, wisdom, balance, and (as a corollary to balance) half of the yin/yang. Thus, despite being a sub, he did not see himself as weak. Rather, as a sub, he felt empowered--noble--and a balance (the "yin") to his Dom's "yang." Being a sub, far from making him feel diminished, gave his spirit its unique strength, and the Dragon tattoo was his way of announcing it the world. 😊
  14. travlbug

    Chapter 12

    I love the structure/construction of this chapter: First, we start off finding Drew at his boyfriend's house: They are enjoying each other's company, and the emphasis is on comfort. Second, the scene shifts to the Patrakis' home, where practical matters are discussed, including Drew's home life, need for adult supervision (whether he wants it or not), and his relationship with both Mr. and Mrs. Petrakis. Third, we switch to Drew's house (not home), where Brax helps to stop Drew from brooding and adds some clarity/truth to his relationship with Cole. (Note how Drew gains insight from Brax--someone from outside his family--and not from his relations/location.) Finally, we end up at Cole's father's home, though the location no longer matters because Cole is there: "I ended up carrying him on my back, and we were laughing and I was off balance – and it was glorious. Fun, stupid and nonsensical, but glorious." After talking to Brax, Drew is sure in his relationship with Cole. 😊
  15. travlbug

    As They Should Be

    Sad that some people need to have an object lesson to understand the truth, but the General is one of those people. He is lucky that N'than hates violence and understands mercy. (As with @droughtquake, I though that the Shark King would take a toe or two for his trouble, as the General would still be left functional, but the scarring will be an excellent reminder--and better than the General deserves.) Smeeth is willing to go after what's important in his life, though Qa still saves the day. (That said, the fact that Smeeth tries his best makes all the difference.) The end is lovely, where N'than chooses Smeeth and "our simple life" for his future. 🥰 My thanks for a heartwarming story!
  16. travlbug

    Chapter 9

    Oops, almost forgot: I love the mention of Elliot's dragon tattoo, and I love what the choice of a dragon says about Elliot. 😊
  17. travlbug

    Chapter 9

    A 5.2? You're right in thinking that most Californians would find this pretty tame. The location of the epicenter would also make a difference in how the earthquake was perceived (was it out in the ocean, a mile underground, several cities distant, or in your face?!). Most earthquakes at this level would probably last around 20-40 seconds, but aftershocks would be a possibility. The minimal damage observed in the story is realistic. This chapter is primarily spent in TC's head, and his grief is healing. As his desire for exclusivity with David does not make sense (in the context that they are just "friends" and that their present level of commitment was never meant to last), I wonder if TC's subconscious is trying to tell him something. 🤗
  18. travlbug

    Chapter 11

    I blame the grandparents: What kind of brainwashing (and why?) was inflicted on Cole's mom growing up? I'll bet the family includes other gay members somewhere in the family tree, with the mother taught her frothing-at-the-mouth response. (Hate has to be taught, so it's a wonder she spared her own children in their upbringing.) I don't think her craziness was simply in response to her separation, as she never attacked her husband. Rather, she likely flipped in considering that her own child is "bad blood." By the way, Mrs. Bobbit, what were you going to do with the knife? (You realize, Cole, that it might not have been meant for you!) I lived (and loved) the chase scene, as Drew and Cole were accosted by, and then followed by, the mother. (It felt like a sequence from a Stephan King movie!) In counterpoint, the Dad and the policeman then ground us back into reality, as the horror recedes. At least, the boys have now expressed their feelings for each other, and they can now build a relationship! (See, Drew, Cole just naturally tastes better!)
  19. I don't think that Havar, despite his irritating demeanor, is in league with the Demons: First, if he helped the Demons to enslave the earth, the negative energy would destroy him too, no matter what reward had been promised to him. (Of course, he can just be an idiot. 😅) Second, in promoting Human genocide, he is actually acting against the Demon's interests, which is not the action of an ally at all. While I hate to say it, Havar probably feels that he is doing the Elves (not to mention all other Supernaturals) a favor by advocating destruction of the Humans, so he's probably a hero in his own mind. Further, knowing that other Elves are unhappy with Humans, I'm afraid that some part of the Elven population would also support the use of the Astra spell. (I wonder if Elves picket: I can visualize a rabble of protesters outside the palace with signs saying "Death to all Demon Food!" 😄) On reflection, I wonder if Chris could indeed survive casting the Astra spell: Instead of killing him (being 50% Human), maybe it would just "burn out" his Human side, leaving him pure Elf. 🤔 Finally, why was the Astra spell invented anyway? (Someone really had it against Humans! That said, perhaps it was merely an outlet for someone's anger, as the spell is so high level that the inventor figured it could never be cast. Of course, if a spell of genocide can be created against Humans, can such a spell be created against Demons? Should Demon genocide be considered even if feasible? If the Elves can build the Realm, why couldn't they build the equivalent of the Kryptonian Phantom Zone? The trick would be getting the Demons inside it!)
  20. Not that Chris would ever cast the Astra spell , but if he did, he'd be killing himself. 😱 (Of course, if Prince Havar convinces him to cast the spell anyway--dissembling about Chris's personal danger and the little fact of genocide--he will have had his revenge on the hated Humans and removed a rival for the throne at the same time. (Prince Havar has already proven a liar, so Chris shouldn't believe a word he says.)
  21. I love the lodge and how the rooms seem to shift depending on the person in residence and the invite. (Hilton would pay dearly for the technology. 😂) Hmmm. A top friend. I'm not even going there! 🤣 Ardine, Asa, Brandon, and Wake have an excellent team dynamic. Wake's being gay is a non-issue. No one is trying to be a star. (And they hug. 😊) So Asa and Luke have outgrown their dependency, and it's time for them to go their separate ways. They still care for each other, and it's nice to see that their decision is mutual and amicable. And as for Asa and Wake? Why not? (Carpe diem.)
  22. travlbug

    Chapter 8

    A lovely chapter, sweet as it was sexy. Throw in the talk about the kids, and it even seemed domestic. (TC himself said it felt "familiar.") Hot waxing? Nope, uh-uh, not ever! Yes, the kids know everything! (If you ever want to turn bright red, just ask them what they know. 😂)
  23. travlbug

    Little By Little

    While most players are now engaged in laying the groundwork for their adventuring--finding complementary players to join into guilds (creating complementary builds and skills)--I can't help but feel excited about the next step--moving on to actual game content. (They started "playing" the game the moment they began to strategize.) In view of the disastrous temple raid, we know for a fact that the game content has changed. So which is more important to the puppeteers who have arranged for this scenario, the game play itself (a la Ender's Game) or the interactions/ behaviors of the players? Are the "winning" players pre-selecting themselves (essentially auditioning) for another assignment/ undertaking based on their performance in the present module? (In passing, Asa Butterfield played Ender in the movie: Are you giving us a hint?) Hmmm. Granting the players genitals but no erections. I have a sneaky feeling that that's going to change. Asa, congratulations on coming out. That said, I'm really not sure why you felt the need to do so now unless you did it to build trust (a pretty good reason in and of itself).
  24. A mystery! The missing/harvested Humans are sent to various locations involving low-life trafficking syndicates, but when Frusi attacks, there is a counterattack, and the Frusi strongholds across the nation are decimated. The bodies? All Human, but with surveillance footage showing those attacking Humans to exhibit supernatural traits. Then, the victorious enemy Humans just fall down and die. (Wow.) My best guess as to what is happening (and I just have to guess!) is given below: Of course, I could be wrong, and I love that @gabz2000 frequently surprises me. Another great chapter!
  25. "Every newborn demon comes at a great cost to humanity, not only for the threat it poses to the weakest of the five races but also due to the fact that it requires the harvesting of human souls for one to come into this world." Somehow, Demons arise from human souls--not the souls of other Supernaturals (though supernaturals may be corrupted into Anami). Considering that Humans are required for the creation of Demons, it's a wonder that the Supernaturals didn't decide to wipe us out eons ago as a defensive tactic! Indeed, yet another "secret": Humans in large numbers are toxic to Elves: The Elves fled to the realm, not because they wanted to, but because they had to in order to survive. (Humans really are poison!) Yet, Elves will have to fight against Demon enslavement of Humans because the negative energy buildup that would otherwise occur would destroy them! (I was hoping that the Elves would help Humans out of altruism, but it turns out that most Elves blame Humans for their exile and that their assistance is based on enlightened self interest. Sad. 😔)
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