AlmightyTim posted:

I found that the best way to meet new people is to have a good hat. Not a baseball cap, but an honest-to-god hat. Make it an interesting one, and people will line up to meet you.

I bought a lime-green fedora the summer before my senior year and wore it everywhere. It came to the point where I couldn't step out for a smoke without people just walking up and talking to me about just about anything. If I broke out my pipe for a smoke, the numbers would double. Seriously, whatever you can do to make yourself interesting (or at least look interesting, but it really helps if you have something to say), will be a good thing to have.
Rellim posted:
I have been with Key Bank for checking for about 2 years now, and since I am irresponsible with money I used the online banking feature to keep track of my balance instead of using a ledger to record my transactions.

About 5 days ago, right before getting my most recent paycheck (I work part-time at Office Max) I made a few small transactions that put my balance into the negative. I thought I had about $50 left in my account due to the fact that most transactions take a few days to show up in online banking. The day I got my paycheck, I noticed $76 in overdraft fees. This was distressing but I knew it was my fault and knew that my coming paycheck would cover the fees without too much of a problem. The next day, however, I received another $76 in overdraft fees. The way my checking account works is that pending transactions count towards my overall balance and whether or not I can see them on my online banking account summary, if another transaction clears and my account balance is in the negative, I receive more overdraft fees.

Very upset by this, I called customer service and managed to whine the lady over the phone into refunding half of the second overdraft charge. Still upset about losing half my paycheck, I figured this would be the end of that all and I would be back on track. 3 days later, I checked my account balance again and saw that I had been charged yet another set of overdraft fees. I called customer service again and after arguing with the lady over the phone and crying like a woman she put me on with her manager. I cried and swore and he could do nothing for me. He kept trying to explain why $27 over my limit cost me over $200 and that there was nothing he could do about it.

I hung up on him and out of despair considered killing myself. I've had a few small problems with depression and suicidal thoughts in the past but this I think is the closest I've come to doing it. As you can tell, though, I did not go through with it and instead tore apart some random stuffed animals that belong to my sister in emo rage. That seemed to help out some and I managed to calm down. Really all this thread is is just me bitching about my fiscal irresponsibility and as unjust as it seems to me I know it's my fault and I need to be much more careful with my money.

kbandressen posted:
The warm arms of sunrise wrapped around the pidgey and lifted it from its slumber. Its eyes snapped open, performing a quick scan of the area. There were no other pokémon in sight. The bird was young, but already it had experienced the terror of a predator trying to make a meal of it as it slept.

It had been a fearow that had flown far from its usual habitat, searching for easy prey. The pidgey had barely been able to escape, flailing as it had leapt backwards out of its nest. The fearow had swooped down after it; if birds had mouths instead of rigid beaks, there would have been a grin on its face. But by some miracle, the pidgey had landed in a hole; a diglett's tunnel that extended far beneath the surface of the ground. The pidgey had been young and small enough to scramble down the tunnel, away from the fearow's snapping beak. It had been a long time before the fearow left and longer still before the pidgey had ventured out of the tunnel.

But today, there were no predators about. The pidgey stood up and stretched its wings out. It breathed in, smelling the salty breeze that blew past, from Pallet Town and the sea beyond it. Then it jumped out of its nest, gliding to the large patch of grass below. It touched down and began the search for its breakfast.

A loud rustle in the grass sent all thoughts of food out of its head. Something was walking toward it. Something big. The pidgey's body was tense, ready to defend itself. After a moment that seemed to last forever, the pidgey leaped forward to face whatever lurked in the grass ahead.

The trainer leaped back and in one smooth motion, simultaneously rotated the bill of his hat to the back of his head and threw down onto the ground a ball, half red and half white. The pidgey jumped back; it was still inexperienced, but it knew what this was. The small circle that sat astride the line dividing the halves of the ball moved outward with a loud pop and the ball snapped open in a blaze of light.

Before the pidgey's eyes could recover from the flash, something shot toward it, silhouetted by the bright light behind it. The creature's huge paw rose up and then shot to the side, out of the pidgey's vision. The pidgey started to turn but suddenly felt the soft pads connect with the side of its body, pressing its right wing tight against its torso and then knocking the pidgey away.

The pidgey rolled as it hit the ground and got to its feet as quickly as it could, rising on trembling legs. It was able to stand, but just barely. It looked toward its attacker, watching the huge cat slink back to its trainer's side and rub up against his leg. It's fur was off-white, an ivory color. It turned and looked at the pidgey with narrowed eyes and a red spot in the middle of its forehead gleamed in the sun.

One more blow and the fight would be over; the pidgey knew it. It was barely able to stand, clinging to the last sliver of its fighting spirit. But there was still a chance, a way out of this situation. The pidgey stared back at the cat, narrowing its eyes to match its attacker's. The pidgey knew it must not show any trace of fear. It took a deep breath, puffing its chest out as large as it could make it, and growled.

It took the pidgey by surprise; the sound was unlike anything it had ever made before, a sound it hadn't known it was capable of. Its voice was deep and filled with menace, a deep rumble rising into a shrill battle cry. The cat's arrogant gaze faltered as it took a step back, and the pidgey could see its mind start to fill with doubt. It looked up at its trainer, unsure what to do.

The trainer looked down at the huge cat and let out a disgusted sigh, as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing. The pidgey felt its mind flood with fear. It had scared the cat, but that wasn't what mattered; the trainer knew how weak the pidgey was, that he would surely win. The pidgey steeled itself, hoping that the cat's fear would weaken its strength. After the cat attacked again, the pidgey would make a direct assault on it.

But the cat didn't attack. The trainer's hand shot to his belt and grabbed a ball, the same kind the huge cat had emerged from. A wave of realization rushed through the pidgey's mind; if a pokémon could come out of one of those balls, it could go in as well. The trainer didn't mean to fight the pidgey to the finish, he meant to capture it. The trainer threw the ball and the pidgey had just enough time to see the cat's narrow-eyed smirk return.

The ball popped open in a flash of light, just like the first. The light was all that it could see, then it was all that the pidgey could feel; the ground disappeared from beneath its feet, the warm salty breeze gone in an instant. The light was pulling the pidgey into the ball, pulling it away from the grass, from everything it had ever known. Then the ball closed with a snap and the light was gone.

The vast interior of the room flooded into the pidgey's widened eyes. The walls made a sphere, its curves perfect except for the small round panel of metal flooring that the pidgey had fallen onto. Flickering light filled the room, radiating from several glowing rectangles that a human would identify as television screens.

The screens showed only static; a loud hissing noise filled the room. But then, one of the screens changed and the noise lessened. It showed something that looked like a green feather. The pidgey looked at it, unable to tell what it was yet unable to take its eyes off of the screen. Suddenly, another screen changed to the feather, then another, and then all of them. The noise faded as each screen changed until it was completely gone, replaced with something else.
(obey…)
It was a human voice, yet the pidgey understood it. It was terrifying, yet somehow soothing. The pidgey stood for a moment, transfixed, letting the voice fill its mind as its eyes began to close.
(Obey…)
The pidgey's eyes snapped open wide as a rush of adrenaline filled its body. The voice was getting louder, yet even more soothing. The pidgey flew, ignoring the pain that filled its body, trying to escape the voice. Then it saw something it hadn't noticed before. The line was horizontal, running all the way around the walls, sunlight seeping though. The pidgey flew toward the crack at full speed, preparing itself for impact. This was its only chance, the only way it could-
(Obey.)
The pidgey shut the voice out of its head and closed its eyes as it hit the wall. The sound was deafening. The pidgey opened its eyes and saw the room shaking as the walls tilted and rolled. The crack was sliding away from the pidgey with incredible speed. The screens returned to static and the voice was gone. The pidgey flew, trying to get back to the crack as the room whirled about it, to break its way out. But then the room slowed, the walls settling, the static disappearing and being replaced by-
(OBEY.)
The pidgey fell, landing on the curve of the wall and sliding back down to the small circle of floor. It struggled to its feet, focusing on its thoughts, trying to keep the voice out. It flew again, up toward the crack, and hit the wall again. The room whirled like it had before, the screens returning to static, and the pidgey kept its eyes focused on the crack, trying to hit it again before the room-
(OBEY!)
The pidgey fell for a moment, but caught itself in midair and flew toward the crack again, pounding itself against the wall and keeping its eyes on the crack as it whirled about the room and-
<OBEY>
There was a loud click and the crack disappeared. The pidgey looked at the green feather displayed on the screens that filled the room. It was a pretty feather.
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