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Following his release from prison, Danny Ocean violates his parole by traveling to California to meet his partner-in-crime and friend Rusty Ryan to propose a heist. The two go to Las Vegas to pitch the plan to wealthy friend and former casino owner Reuben Tishkoff. The plan consists of simultaneously robbing the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand casinos. Reuben's familiarity with casino security makes him very reluctant to get involved, but when he starts to think of it as a good way to get back at his rival, Terry Benedict, who owns all three casinos, he agrees to finance the operation. Because the casinos are required by the Nevada Gaming Commission to have enough cash on hand to cover all their patrons' bets, the three predict that on the upcoming night of a highly anticipated boxing match, the Bellagio vault will contain more than $150,000,000. Danny and Rusty recruit eight former colleagues and criminal specialists: Linus Caldwell, a young and talented pickpocket; Frank Catton, a casino worker and con man; Virgil and Turk Malloy, a pair of gifted mechanics; Livingston Dell, an electronics and surveillance expert; Basher Tarr, an explosives expert; Saul Bloom, an elderly con man; and "The Amazing" Yen, an accomplished acrobat. Several team members carry out reconnaissance at the Bellagio to learn as much as possible about the security, the routines, the behaviors of the casino staff, and the building itself. Other members create a precise replica of the vault with which to practice maneuvering through its formidable security systems. During this planning phase, the team discovers that Danny's ex-wife, Tess, is Benedict's girlfriend. Rusty urges Danny to give up on the plan, believing Danny incapable of sound judgment while Tess is involved, but Danny refuses. On the night of the fight, the plan is put into motion. Danny shows up at the Bellagio purposely to be seen by Benedict, who, as predicted, locks him in a storeroom with Bruiser, a bouncer. However, Bruiser is on Danny's payroll and allows him to access the vent system and join his team as they seize the vault, coincident with activities of their other team members in and around the casino. Rusty calls Benedict on a cell phone Danny dropped in Tess's coat earlier and tells him that unless he lets them have half of the money in the vault, they will blow it up; Benedict sees video footage confirming Rusty's claim. Benedict complies, having his bodyguards take the loaded duffel bags to a waiting van driven by remote control. Benedict has his men follow the van while he calls in a SWAT team to try to secure the vault. The SWAT team's arrival causes a shootout that sets off the explosives and incinerates the remaining cash. After affirming the premises otherwise secure, the SWAT team collects their gear and departs. As Benedict arrives to examine the ruined vault himself, his men stop the van and find the bags were only loaded with flyers for prostitutes. Benedict studies the video footage and recognizes that the flooring in the vault on the video lacks the Bellagio logo, which had been added only recently to the vault. It is shown that Danny's team used their practice vault to create fake footage to fool Benedict. Furthermore, they themselves were the SWAT team and used their gear bags to take all of the money from the vault right under Benedict's nose. Benedict goes to see that Danny has seemingly been locked up in the storeroom throughout the heist and thus innocent of any crime. As Tess watches via CCTV, Danny tricks Benedict into saying he would give her up in exchange for the money. Benedict, unsatisfied with Danny's plan to get back the money, orders his men to escort Danny off the premises and inform the police that he is violating his parole by being in Las Vegas. Tess leaves Benedict and exits the hotel just in time to see Danny arrested. The rest of the team bask in the victory in front of the Fountains of the Bellagio, silently going their separate ways one-by-one. When Danny is released after serving time for his parole violation, he is met by Rusty and Tess. They drive off, closely followed by Benedict's bodyguards.
Part 6: Amazing In Depth Essay About Sopranos Symbolism and Subtext (credit: FlyOnMelfisWall source: thechaselounge.net)
Kennedy and Heidi: Vicarious Patricide as Tony’s Decompensation
At the risk of needless redundancy, I think it’s helpful to summarize Tony’s state of mind going into the episode Kennedy and Heidi. His consciousness is teeming with ancient but recently-agitated memories showcasing his father’s violence and toxic influence, like Johnny shooting a hole through Livia’s hairdo and baptizing him in the act of murder. He’s unable to shake stories of parental neglect leading to tragic outcomes for children. He’s painfully aware of Christopher’s hatred of him and desire for murderous revenge, feelings ultimately rooted in the fact that Tony guided him into the same corrupt existence into which he himself had been led by Johnny, Junior, and company, suggesting a reciprocal, if unconscious, rage by Tony towards those men. His subconscious mind is under constant assault from hats and movie posters and coffee mugs bearing the image of a bloody meat cleaver, an emblem of his own lost childhood innocence and inculcation by his father into his brutal, ugly vocation. He is racked with acute but intense guilt over the role he thinks his life’s example has played in shaping his son’s values and poor sense of self-worth. And he is still repressing a mountain of hurt over the fact that his uncle and second father tried not once but twice to kill him, a repression Melfi warned would someday result in a total collapse of his defense mechanisms, that is, a collapse of his paternal hero-worship and related quest for the macho validation that has prevented him from critically examining his father, uncle, and the men upon whom he modeled his life. Now consider the circumstances immediately before the crash. Tony and Chris are on a routine drive back from business in Christopher’s new black Cadillac SUV (the first Cadillac Chris has ever owned, incidentally.) The conversation turns to life priorities. Chris, conspicuously clad in a Cleaver hat, specifically mentions how Kaitlyn has changed his priorities, and Tony mentions the “shit with Junior”. So the context is immediately pregnant with the fact that Junior shot and nearly killed Tony within the past year and with the fact that Chris is in a new place of responsibility, a position where he is, for the first time, truly the custodian and trustee for another life. In a perfectly-timed illustration of just how ill-equipped Chris is to live up to those responsibilities, he nervously and repeatedly fiddles with the car stereo, fidgets, and widens his eyes, telegraphing to Tony that he is high as a kite on drugs. “Comfortably Numb” swells on the sound system as Tony stares at him, the lyrics underscoring that, in that moment, he does not see Chris as a youngster, as the “adorable kid” he once road around in the basket of his bicycle, but as a grown man: When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpseOut of the corner of my eyeI turned to look but it was goneI cannot put my finger on it nowThe child is grown, the dream is gone Chris swerves, and the crash happens seconds later.
Tony as the Child in the Carseat
It’s critical to note that Tony initially manifests every intention of helping Chris, even as he’s fighting his own injuries. “I’m comin’,” he says as Chris asks for help. His expression and demeanor only change when he realizes what Chris means by “help”. “I’ll never pass a drug test,” Chris moans. “What?” Tony asks incredulously as Chris is inhaling his own blood. Almost simultaneously, Tony turns towards the back and sees that a tree limb has penetrated the passenger compartment, lodging in Kaitlyn’s car seat like a spear. While Tony would somewhat exaggerate the size of the branch in later narrations of the event, there’s no question that it was large enough to have impaled or seriously injured an infant. Even after this warning shot over the bow, Tony apparently intends to help Chris, coming over to the driver’s side and breaking the window when he couldn’t get the door open. He draws his cell phone to call for help but stops when Chris again mentions being doped up, which suggests that Chris is more concerned about the legal consequences of his intoxication than about the fact that he is drowning in his own blood, completely belying his claim to a life newly ordered around the lofty priority of fatherhood. That’s the moment when Tony forms a genuine murderous intent, an intent that has little to do with Christopher’s animosity towards him or the danger that he might flip. Those are conscious, background motives that help Tony rationalize and make sense of his actions later. But the factor impelling him to end Christopher’s life is his own, fundamental identification with the child who might just as easily have been killed or seriously harmed in that carseat. To objectify this point, there is a slow pan of the limb sticking through the seat as Tony performs the suffocation, clearly not a shot representing Tony’s vision or gaze at that moment but objectively corroborating the earlier angle when Tony glances back and we see the seat from his point of view. The juxtaposition of these shots – subjective and objective – tells me the carseat is not just a convenient excuse for Tony. This is what he’s really feeling. In this moment, he is the phantom child in that carseat, a child whose safety and well-being come second to his father’s corrupt values and reckless self-indulgence, a child whose soul and humanity are metaphorically impaled by riding in and being taught to drive his father’s black Cadillac. The exclamation point on the symbolism is provided by Christopher’s hat. Incredibly, it remains on his head throughout the crash and suffocation, its bloody cleaver logo pointing towards Tony when the car comes to rest. As Tony acts consciously on behalf of an innocent child, the symbol of his own lost childhood innocence is directly before him. And, for good measure, the cap and logo stare back at him in the hospital from the gurney laden with Christopher’s bloody clothing and the black bag containing his dead body. (The logo antagonizes Tony a final time from his coffee mug the next morning before he angrily tosses the mug into his backyard woods.) Several points about the suffocation itself are remarkable. First was the look of absolute depravity on Tony’s face as he watched Christopher struggle to breathe. This look was unlike any ever seen on Tony’s face at any other moment in the series. Even when committing other personal and deadly acts of violence, his face and demeanor had always betrayed a commensurate level of animus, an active, passionate intent. In contrast, he reached through the window and pinched Christopher’s nose – and maintained that hold – with remarkable calm. His face and eyes throughout the suffocation were paradoxically both incredibly intense and completely devoid of human emotion, a look far more disturbing than any look of mere rage he’d ever worn before. Second, although this act was, in my judgment, clearly about the release of Tony’s pent up rage towards his father figures, the method of killing evokes Livia. Besides her conspiracy with Junior to kill Tony (which she rationalized was for his own good) and general obsession with stories of child deaths, she had once threatened to “smother [her children] with a pillow” to save them from a fate she deemed even worse. Tony grabbed a pillow intending to smother her in the season one finale before nursing home personnel intervened. In Members Only, Tony spoke of being smothered with a pillow as a suitable form of euthanasia. Its functional equivalent at the scene of the crash had a definite vibe of putting Chris out of his own – and everyone’s – misery. So, in killing his “father”, Tony was also paradoxically suffocating his “son”, thereby channeling Livia’s filicidal urges and concept of mercy killing. The most spine-tingling resonance with the scene comes from two season four episodes where Tony’s deep identification with “innocents” – be they children or animals – once again comes to the fore, as does his appreciation for the consequences of Chris continuing to use drugs. In Whoever Did This, Tony warns Christopher that he “can’t be high on heroine and raise kids.” And in The Strong, Silent Type, after learning that a doped-up Chris accidentally smothered and suffocated Adriana’s dog, Tony ominously snaps, “You suffocated little Cossette? I oughta suffocate you, you prick!” It’s such perfect foreshadowing that the earlier episodes seem to have been written with the outcome of Kennedy and Heidi in mind.
Righteous Retribution as the Explanation for Tony’s Lack of Sorrow
As previously noted, the most troubling aspect of the episode from the standpoint of character consistency and plausibility was not the fact that Tony murdered Chris. It was his vacuous expression during the killing and the fact that he never betrayed a moment’s genuine sorrow or regret afterwards. He remained, in fact, defiantly happy and unconflicted about it, especially to Melfi, and was sincerely troubled that neither she nor anyone else could see how Christopher’s death rescued Kaitlyn from a lifetime of risks and harm that she would naturally suffer as the daughter of a drug addict (and mob captain). In his therapy scenes with Melfi, real and dream, Tony even makes the very contrast I raise, noting that he’s never felt this way after murdering any other person close to him. He alludes to his sorrow over Pussy and specifically allows that murdering Tony B left him “prostate [sic] with grief.” In effect, Tony himself is revealing that this killing feels righteous and justified to him on an instinctive level and is therefore not one about which he can feel guilt or sorrow. That sentiment makes no sense if his dominant motives were those he talked about in therapy: Christopher’s animosity and resentment towards him after the Adriana hit and his drug-use and consequent risk to flip. Whatever weight those factors carry in justifying murder in the corrupt “ethics” of the mob (which, in any case, is less than the weight of the transgressions by Pussy and Tony B), they carry absolutely no legitimate moral weight outside it and could not sustain in Tony the sense of just triumph that he felt in response to Christopher’s death. What could inspire that sense of triumph is the perceived liberation of a child from a dangerous and toxic father, experienced subconsciously as vicarious retribution for the abuse and harm he himself suffered at the hands of his own father and uncle.
Significance of the Names “Kennedy” and “Heidi”
“Kennedy” and “Heidi” are the names of the young passenger and driver, respectively, in the car that sideswipes Christopher’s SUV before the fateful crash. The girls are barely onscreen a few seconds, just long enough to (somewhat artificially) learn their names in the following exchange: Kennedy: Maybe we should go back, Heidi! Heidi: Kennedy, I’m on my learner’s permit after dark! Much forum debate after the first airing of the episode centered around the significance, if any, of these names. I propose a related but even more basic question: why are the girls present in the scene at all? Tony’s windfall opportunity to murder Chris and pass it off as death from accidental injury was entirely dependent upon being unobserved by others after the crash. Given Christopher’s intoxicated state and inattention to the curvy road while he fiddled with radio controls, a mere swerve and over-correction or swerve to avoid an animal (Tony’s crash with Adriana, anyone?) would have easily sufficed to trigger the accident but without the problematic involvement of another car, the driver of which would have to be made to flee the scene illegally and in contravention of the ethics and instincts of at least 95% of the motorists on the road. So the very fact that another car is involved, complicating both the story and the filming, suggests some symbolic or subtextual design to the involvement related specifically to the momentous event occurring right after the crash. One aspect of that design is revealed and amplified when a grieving Kelly shows up at Christopher’s wake with dark hair framing her face and large, dark sunglasses covering her eyes. A member of the crew remarks, “Look at her. Like a movie star.” An odd look immediately crosses Tony’s face as he spontaneously responds, “Jackie Kennedy”, noting Kelly’s resemblance to the widow of John F. Kennedy. In my mind, this striking moment in the episode can have only one purpose, and that’s to evoke Johnny Boy in relation to Christopher via a kind of symbolic math. If Kelly = Jackie Kennedy, then Chris = JFK = Johnny Boy since JFK was the explicit parallel figure for Johnny in In Camelot, the first episode of the series depicting cracks in the foundation of Tony’s paternal hero worship. When that foundation completely crumbles inside Tony’s subconscious a season and a half later, it’s entirely fitting that the JFK/Johnny parallel is renewed. As for the name “Heidi”, most folks around these parts felt it was meant to evoke the idea of “orphan” because of the famous Swiss orphan tale of the same name and because Kaitlyn (and Paulie) both lost parents in the episode. That’s an entirely plausible analysis that requires no expansion, although I’m inclined to think there’s more to it than that, starting with the analogy of Tony himself to “Heidi”. No, Tony was never technically orphaned, though he arguably suffered more as the son of Johnny and Livia than if he had been. He was certainly deprived of real parental love and guidance, on both sides, and that roughly equates to the definition of “orphan”. Before discussing this episode for the first time, I never knew that Heidi was the story of an orphan, only that it was some kind of tale for children. And I knew that only because of the epic 1968 football game between Joe Namath’s Jets and the Oakland Raiders, the climactic ending of which (an improbable comeback by the Raiders) was cut off abruptly for television viewers at the end of its scheduled broadcast slot so that a movie version of Heidi could begin airing on time. I was only four at the time of this debacle but recall my parents talking about it – and the considerable chaos it caused at NBC and at telephone switchboards around the country – for years afterwards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidi_Game It wouldn’t become clear until the end of Made In America, but there’s an obvious parallel to the Heidi phenomenon in the wind-up of The Sopranos. Consider that, like the Heidi Game broadcast, Made in America featured an abrupt, unexpected termination of excruciatingly tense action at a penultimate moment, pre-empting audience experience of what appeared to be an imminent and momentous climax. The Sopranos ending may not have disabled an entire telephone network, but it certainly generated an enormous amount of controversy that, for better or worse, persists to this day. Beyond that, there were enough other football references in the final Sopranos episodes, and especially Jets references, to warrant further consideration of this football connotation for “Heidi”. In Remember When, Tony’s betting losses on Jets football games prompt his call to Hesh for a bridge loan. Later that same episode, Paulie annoys Tony and company with yet another old tale, this one relating how, after witnessing Joe Namath stagger drunk into a bar the night before a game, he bet a load of cash the following day on the Jets’ opponent. In Chasing It, Tony gets inside information on a Jets football game and is irate when Carmela refuses to bet money on it. The episode features a closeup of a large newspaper headline, “Jets Bomb Chargers”. In Blue Comet, then-current coach of the Jets, Eric Mangini, makes a cameo appearance in Vesuvio, with Artie informing a suitably-impressed Tony so the two can go over and shake hands. News articles at the time clarified that the cameo wasn’t Mangini’s idea but the idea of Sopranos producers, who contacted him months in advance and made accommodations in the shooting schedule around his availability. So this seemed more than a casual desire to have some generic celebrity show up. That especially seems true considering Mangini was given no dialog and that his meeting with Tony and Artie was only depicted in the silent background of a conversation between Charmaine and Carmela. Mangini’s only purpose on set was apparently to show his face briefly and to have the fact of his identity (Tony has to tell a bewildered Carm that Mangini is the head coach of the Jets) permeate the minds of the audience and the subtext of the scene, which is ultimately about chickens coming home to roost on Tony and Carmela because of the lives they chose. As alter egos for Tony and Carmela throughout the series, folks who took the proverbial “other path” in life, Artie and (especially) Charmaine engage in subtle gloating in the scene. Football coaching was firmly established as Tony’s “road not taken” in Test Dream, so having an actual football coach present in the episode where the unsavory and downright deadly consequences of his chosen vocation are crashing in all around him provides dramatic ballast. All the better to have the coach in the scene be the coach of the team involved in the Heidi game in view of the ending planned for the following episode. And speaking again of that ending, the wall behind Tony in Holsten’s is consumed with four large murals specifically brought in by the production crew for the shoot. The largest and most centered depicts a huge, light-colored building with lots of windows, somewhat reminiscent of the Inn at the Oaks in Tony’s coma dream. It’s apparently a high school, however, as it is flanked on either side by images of football players in full uniform with what appear to be names and year of graduation engraved at the bottom. To the side and extreme left is a mural of a tiger and the caption “Class of 1973” at the bottom. The tiger is presumably the mascot for the team and school represented in the other murals. So there is a strong symbolic presence of “football” in the last scene of the series, particularly of high school football from roughly the era when Tony would have entered high school. Finally, though it may be completely insignificant, when Tony tells Carm about the accident from his hospital stretcher in Kennedy and Heidi, he mentions that he re-injured his knee, “the one from high school.” That certainly sounds like a reference to an old high school football injury. If these loose strands from multiple episodes are indeed intended to connote football in relation to the name “Heidi”, what does that actually mean in the context of the episode Kennedy and Heidi? What does football have to do with Tony killing Chris or, more precisely, with him killing his father in the guise of Chris? The linchpin in that symbolism, it seems to me, is Tony’s old high school football coach, the guy who would have been his coach when he originally injured his knee, the guy Tony dreamt repeatedly of trying to silence or kill, the guy whose puzzling duality in Test Dream suddenly makes sense when he’s viewed as a classic, Freudian composite of opposites, specifically a composite of Tony’s opposing father figures with Johnny dressed in the physiognomy of Coach Molinaro by Tony’s subconscious in order to render acceptable imagery of his latent, patricidal feelings. If you further allow, as I do, that the Johnny look-alike shooting at Tony with a scoped rifle (ala Oswald/”Kennedy”) in that same dream is yet another Freudian “reversal into the opposite” by Tony’s subconscious to disguise his repressed paternal rage, then the Kennedy/Heidi connection is pretty clear. The names are presented proximate to the crash to connote that, in killing Chris, Tony has finally acted out the Test Dream imagery that haunted him for years: he has (symbolically) killed his father, the “Kennedy” and “Heidi” of his dream.
In my judgment, this explains Tony’s otherwise puzzling, peyote-induced insight when he proclaims, “He’s dead,” after winning at roulette on 3 successive spins, prompting him to fall to the floor in spectacular and uncontrollable laughter. What other, real death could have inspired such a euphoric and epiphanic reaction? What real death could Tony only have appreciated while in a drug-induced, altered state of consciousness? Many felt the line referred to Christopher because he’d just died, obviously, and because Tony’s gambling luck suddenly changed afterward. That analysis never made sense to me. First, Tony plays roulette at the casino while sober when he first arrives in Vegas and loses every round. Chris was already dead at that time, as Tony well knew and accepted. Indeed, Tony was never in any state of denial about Christopher’s death (or about having killed him.) He embraced it, both consciously and in his dream therapy session with Melfi after the crash. The “he’s dead” insight occurs only after Tony takes peyote and notices a sudden and complete about-face in gambling luck. Why would he need psychedelic drugs to suddenly realize what he already knew and accepted about Chris? And why would Christopher’s death be tied in his mind to his own gambling luck anyway? No prior connection between those two things had ever been suggested. On the other hand, Tony’s sudden escalation in gambling, which coincided with the agitation and intensification of his latent rage towards his father(s), could easily be seen as a subconscious rebellion against the stern, anti-gambling lecture Johnny imparted the night Tony witnessed the cleaver incident. To the extent that the rebellion results in huge financial losses and self destruction, it obviously fails. His father retains ultimate power and authority. To the extent the rebellion results in huge winnings, it succeeds, and Tony vanquishes his father. That conquest was the ineffable and elusive “high” that Tony was subconsciously pursuing in Chasing It but which he could not articulate to Melfi. Thus the sudden change in gambling fortune on his Vegas trip is easily tied in Tony’s drug-altered psyche to a euphoric realization that he has conquered or symbolically killed his father, none of which Tony could appreciate without a vastly altered state of consciousness. And that leads to why he went to Vegas in the first place. He asks that question out loud to the Vegas prostitute, Sonia, immediately before admitting that Christopher once mentioned taking peyote with her. Tony then confesses to having always wanted to try the drug. Clearly, then, he didn’t just happen to pick Vegas and didn’t just happen to make contact with this girl. His subconscious was pushing him to that venue because he craved the enlightenment of a peyote experience. So while Tony’s real motives for the murder, and for his otherwise inexplicable jubilance afterward, were completely closed off to his conscious mind, somehow he sensed their existence and yearned to unlock and understand them. However his peyote revelations didn’t stop with simply understanding why he killed Chris.
“I Get It. I Get It!”
Tony’s desert epiphany is a bookend to his near-death coma experience and, I believe, can only be fully understood in relation to it. Yet exploring that relationship is a journey all unto itself, calling not only for consideration of the coma episodes and Kennedy and Heidi but the meaning of the cut to black that ends the series. While exploring the religious and spiritual underpinnings of those episodes is of even more weight and interest to me personally than the issue of Tony’s motives in killing Christopher, it deserves and demands its own, dedicated discussion. For now, I’d simply like to posit what I strongly believe Tony’s epiphany to have been with only minimal argumentation as to why I hold that belief. The epiphany is presaged when Tony enters the casino on his peyote trip and notes that the roulette wheel is built on the same principle as the solar system. The ball spins round and round the center or “sun” of the wheel because of two delicately-balanced but largely opposing phenomena: the momentum of the ball (which, without the wheel, would carry the ball away in a straight line) and the centripetal force of the wheel (applied by the rim, which continuously pulls the ball towards the center even as the ball’s momentum continuously pulls it on a path perpendicular to the centripetal force.) The antagonism (or cooperation, if you prefer) of the forces gives rise to a unified system: an orbit. If this sounds a bit like the Bell Labs scientist’s explanation of how two tornadoes are in fact just facets of one, unified system of wind, it’s likely no mere coincidence. As Hal Holbrook’s character argued, separateness is a mirage. The universe, and everything in it, is one big soup of molecules interacting in cause/effect fashion according to laws, making it one whole, not a bunch of discrete parts. “Everything is everything,” as the black rapper reduced it. That was the philosophy that really made an impression on Tony in the days and weeks following his coma. The principles of quantum physics articulated by Holbrook’s character are likely as close as you can get to a scientific codification of Bhuddism and therefore reinforced much of what the Bhuddist monks conveyed to Tony in his coma. The monks laughed when Tony claimed he wasn’t Finnerty and explained that there really is no “you” and “me, that death would bring an obliteration of individuality. Separate consciousness – and the consciousness of separateness – is an illusion of the living. So all this laid the philosophical groundwork for Tony’s Las Vegas trip. In that trip, Tony seeks out a girl with whom Chris had slept, then sleeps with her himself. He mentions having refrained from a longstanding desire to try peyote because he always felt the weight of his responsibilities, an implied contrast to Christopher, who always indulged in drugs despite his responsibilities. The idea that Tony was seeking to almost live life in Christopher’s skin in the Las Vegas portion of the episode was something several posters mentioned in first discussions after Kennedy and Heidi aired. Even the girl, Sonia, remarks how similar Tony and Chris are, a somewhat dubious observation that somehow offends Tony but which also helps define his impending epiphany. That epiphany is spurred when the rising sun flares at him over the desert mountain vista. This recalls Tony’s earlier comparison of the roulette wheel to the solar system. It also resonates completely with the fact that Kevin Finnerty was a solar heating salesman from Kingman, Arizona, a town which, not coincidentally, lies 95 miles southeast of Las Vegas and shares the same desert landscape. Also not coincidental, IMO, is the fact that in the prior episode, Christopher spoke of the perks of joining witness protection and of “living large” in Arizona. So I believe that, in that desert sunrise on the cusp of Arizona, in fulfillment of his identity as Kevin Finnerty, solar heating salesman, Tony saw his “son” – Christopher – “rise” and realized that, in murdering him days before, he (Tony) was really “rising” as a “son” against Johnny Boy. And in that linkage, he suddenly realized that “everything is [indeed] everything.” He is both Chris and Johnny Boy, both abused and misguided son and abusing, misguiding father. He is murdering uncle and would-be murdered nephew. He is both the mother that sees suffocation as mercy killing and the son who is suffocated. Christopher is both his son and his father. Johnny Boy is Coach Molinaro. “Kennedy” is “Heidi”. Opposites are really two sides of the same coin. In that fleeting moment of insight, Tony was truly feeling “one” with the universe.
The Second Coming
The episode following Kennedy and Heidi is titled The Second Coming after the Yeats poem that grips AJ in the English lit class he’s auditing. While the poem speaks to the bleakness of his depression and outlook on life at that particular time, there’s little doubt that – like everything of substantial weight in the Sopranos universe – it ultimately relates, first and foremost, to Tony. First referenced in the Cold Cuts therapy session dealing with pent-up rage where Tony’s deep shame from the cleaver incident is finally revealed, the poem seems the veritable inspiration for the storyline (as interpreted in this article) that culminates in Christopher’s murder: The Second ComingBy William Butler Yeats Turning and turning in the widening gyreThe falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand;Surely the Second Coming is at hand.The Second Coming! Hardly are those words outWhen a vast image out of Spiritus MundiTroubles my sight; somewhere in sands of the desertA shape with lion body and the head of a man,A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,Is moving its slow thighs, while all about itReel shadows of indignant desert birds.The darkness drops again; but now I knowThat twenty centuries of stony sleepWere vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? The widening gyre, the orbit that breaks down when the center can no longer hold, is clearly a parallel to the decompensation of which Melfi warned, the point at which Tony’s defenses after Junior’s second murder attempt could no longer hold and the underlying pathological rage at his fathers would take over. True to the poem, a “blood-dimmed tide was loosed”, inspired by a perverse compassion for the “innocent”. While “the best” all mourned Christopher and thought his death a tragedy, Tony, “the worst”, was full of passionate intensity and could not understand why no one else saw the greater good in Christopher’s death. The “revelation” occurs in a “waste of desert sand”, imagery easily compatible with Tony’s “I get it” moment in the Nevada/Arizona desert. The uniquely depraved look on his face as he suffocated Christopher is evoked by the line describing a “gaze as blank and pitiless as the sun”. “Twenty years of stony sleep” refers to the decades of denial Tony maintained, the defense mechanisms that kept him all his life from confronting and admitting that, in some very real ways, he hated his father. It’s a figurative sleep that was suggested literally in the noted fact that so many episodes in season 6B started with Tony in a deep sleep. Somnolence was suggested even in the choice of the song “Comfortably Numb” as soundtrack in the moments immediately preceding the crash, the moments right before the hour of the “rough beast” finally arrived. Even the incidentals are perfect allusions, as with the image of “stony sleep” being turned into a nightmare by a “rocking cradle”, or, in this case, by a car seat with a branch sticking through it. I’m intrigued by the line describing the emerging beast as having “lion body”. It may mean absolutely nothing. But among the story points worth considering in relation to it are the tiger on the wall in Holsten’s and the enigmatic cat in Made In America. More obscure is the fact that in Remember When, the single episode most explicitly dealing with the violent release of stifled paternal rage, Carter Chong described his grandfather as a “lion” and noted that his father owned “Grumman” stock. (Grumman manufactured a number of high-profile fighter military aircraft, most of them named for some kind of cat, e.g., Panther, Jaguar, Tomcat, Tigercat.) Carter was reviewing these facts to himself in the scene immediately preceding his vicious attack on Junior, suggesting that, in acting out on his stifled paternal hatred, he was adopting the predatory, aggressive characteristics of a wild cat. Notably, when Junior, the paternal surrogate who modeled this kind of aggressive behavior to Carter, was seen at the end of that episode bruised and literally defanged, his sunken mouth void of false teeth, he was stroking a harmless little housecat on his lap. Once a lion, the former mob boss was a lion no more.
Asbestos Dumping as a Metaphor for Tony’s Toxic Spill of Rage
Kennedy and Heidi opens with a controversy between Tony and Phil Leotardo over asbestos disposal. One of Tony’s contractors was removing asbestos from old buildings, while following none of the strict (and expensive) asbestos-handling laws regulating worker and public safety, and was seeking to dump completely uncontained truck-fulls at waste stations controlled by Phil. Phil’s guys were denying the trucks the right to dump. As a consequence, huge, openly-smoking asbestos mounds were building up at job sites. After Christopher’s death, Tony was doing little to find a solution, skipping town to gamble, get laid, and get high and leaving the contractor high and dry. Finally, near the very end of the episode, the contractor dumps heaps of asbestos at dawn in an open marsh area resembling the New Jersey Meadowlands. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that gained widespread use in the 19th and 20th centuries as an ingredient in various building industry materials – including wall compounds, insulation, and roofing materials – primarily because of its extreme insulative properties and resistance to heat and fire. In the last 40 years, it’s become better-known for its cancer-causing and toxic effects on those mining and working with it in manufacturing, demolition/remodeling, or other “raw” environments. Both the heat resistance and toxicity of asbestos make the shoddy removal/dumping storyline a compelling metaphor for Tony’s equally shoddy “dumping” in Kennedy and Heidi. The smoldering heat and flames from his hatred towards his father and uncle were contained beneath his consciousness by an insulating firewall of denial and repression. In essence, this denial and repression was Tony’s psychological asbestos, and it (more or less) contained the heat and fire within him for 47 years. But it finally broke down, allowing the flames to rage and do damage and necessitating a messy disposal. Unfortunately the breakdown didn’t happen where it should have, in his therapist’s office as the result of honest introspection and dialog about little things like his uncle trying to kill him twice and his father indoctrinating him to murder at 22. That would have been the equivalent of careful, legally-compliant asbestos removal. Instead the breakdown occurred in a roadside ravine and the resulting “waste [in the] desert sand” was every bit as toxic as the smoking piles illegally dumped in the Meadowlands immediately before the desert epiphany and which we saw reprised in the very first shot of the following episode. Think about that for a moment. Tony’s “I get it” moment was literally sandwiched between shots of noxious mounds of asbestos blowing in the New Jersey wind, a significant clue that some other kind of perversely cathartic disposal was in the middle of that sandwich.
The Orbit of the ‘Blue Comet’: Long Journey to Nowhere
It’s fair to ask: if the broad strokes of my interpretation are valid, what impact did the epiphany have on Tony going forward? After the drugs wore off, did he actually retain any specific understanding of his subconscious motives for killing Chris? Was he left only with the impression that he had enjoyed a very brief moment of enlightenment but without intellectual distillation of the enlightenment itself? Because the insight was founded upon the secret that he had murdered Chris, even if Tony had retained it, he couldn’t overtly share it with anyone. Still, I lean toward the interpretation that the specifics (at least the ones I proffered) were lost to him when the altered state of consciousness ceased. When he tried to describe the magic of what he experienced in the desert to his crew, he could only come up with the most mundane, inadequate words: “The sun . . . came up.” They all looked at him like he was half retarded. He was slightly more specific with Melfi, offering that he saw “for pretty certain” that this reality is not all there is. He couldn’t define the alternative but was still convinced there was “something else”. He did speak in therapy of appreciating a balance and unity in opposites that he hadn’t appreciated before, a “ying” [sic] and “yang”. And he offered that “mothers are like buses . . . the vehicle that gets us here,” but that, once here, we are all on our own, individual journeys (mothers included.) So, to the extent his epiphany comported with what he revealed in therapy, it seems to have had little to do with fathers and with Christopher’s murder and more to do with letting go (finally) of some of his issues with his mother. But perhaps the best clue to his residual state of understanding came when he indicated that some of what he thought he had grasped in the desert now eluded him. “You think you know, you think you learn something . . . like when I got shot,” he begins. Then, speaking specifically about the peyote experience, he reports that the insight gained is “kinda hard to describe. . . . You know, you have these thoughts, and you almost grab it . . . and then . . . ftt.” He flicks his fingers away from his chin as if to indicate “nothing”. So, to paraphrase Edna St. Vincent Millay, a fragment of what he knew remains, but, apparently, the best is lost. It wouldn’t take long for all of it to be lost. By the time Tony sits with AJ’s female therapist in Made In America, “going about in pity” for himself because of who his mother was, he has come full circle, essentially back to where he was to start the series. Like a “blue comet”, his orbit was highly elliptical, if not erratic, and carried with it the potential of veering off into deep space or crashing into the sun. But despite killing his own nephew, having a near-death experience himself, and saving his son from an act of suicide, the orbit held. The sober breakthrough never came. The repudiation of his father and of his way of life never took hold in his consciousness. And so, by series’ end, we, like Tony, were exhausted from a long journey that ultimately took us nowhere. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
Divining wooly views gathered amidst shaven sheep hither Withered over swithering stalls denial state of dither Truth be told frank pens naif soliloquy Safe as house path hath proven treachery Steer clear of herd social immunity Distanced readily available data parsed trendily Blinks recount lost meanings earned from strife learned through catastrophe Graft retained splices tour de force movie Analyzed improvised differently Can't regain past yet relive history Elder protocols reference frames with specificity Documentary denotes concise recusant heresy Fish stink emanates spoils unquestioned head Rather than responsible gods chose dead Lightning rod shields guide flash EMP spread Relevance revivalist revived rival survivalist Diatribe analogous corroborates ridiculous Atoms congress fortuitous naught sea Devoid self restraint officiates ye Fitting new attire inspiring streaking Who protects us whilst we pay for havoc employ they reeking Hypocritically childish generally speaking Handshake implies word registers advice Modern intelligence is artifice Every three steps forward step back twice Deities influence me aloof aligned schism in rhyme Mother Hera ewe chimera godspeed breeds failed design Bell weather brethren splay scapegoat supine Veil of illusions enmesh conscious mind Can't feel my legs good help is hard to find Hawk departs from pleather glove turtle returns grounded dove Counteract abet anyone lapped them twice yet still they won Titans once asked before taking QE With us or against me democracy Issuance debt free usury for ye Soon to be impacting all interested negatively Cyclops blissfully fail to see plague kills with leniency World saved through open window tsunami Backdrops distinct radicle uprooted Restless tartarus not I confuted Reputed gambler prophet of doom rigged mind meld welds my tomb Despondent preach not gloom be democratic or leave cocoon Imploding race exploding time and space Unfathomable depths shallow measures Glasses adorned rose reflective pleasures Erratic compass static attained gains unsustainable Emphatically all ages deal unascertainable Sentiment key to public interest Democracy assess Big apple bests Guiding hand meaning Pantheist behest Seeking one's fulfillment complements of demagoguery Building baseless pyramid in name of Great Recovery Hallucination merits upheaval Remit repreival persecute venal Sufferance from nescience trumps all evil Yon morrows martyr covets this abysmal cross commuted Tread on entrenched fear submit control guiltily included Govern is to rule as meant to intents Resourceful proxy heir establishment Record rallys infer where loans were sent Pristine colosseums reared commerraderie Fed rum bread Dropping said crumbs returns dread Which nevermore nary imbeds Insolvent casino scenario House always wins with my reservation Sharing the bulk ignites indignation Transparency Which critiques subtly speaks Feds peak repent Weak covenants contained slain whence Green peripherals were went Theses Ben delivered on depression Maestro museum managed impression Keynesian intervention harped dystopian opium Appeal to supremacy bandwagon psychology Latin arguementum ad nauseum Better than expected mass approval Refuse discard fantasy removal If you audited our books write off markets on the morrow No one do we answer to where wheelbarrows go we borrow Sciences religious mythology Philosophised finance dichotomy Genetic archetypal entities Conversations incidental informations monumental Facets fawned fastidious selfless attires instrumental Minions mimic Socratic opinions Authority inbred majority Consider selves distinct minority Yield to ye inferiors subjectively superior Mechanisms failing sublimation with interior Greeks conceived benefits in politics Propaganda versed all in rhetoric Dwelled anarchic run redeem autarkic World perceptions inconsistent to obtained views of my own Optimism timeless shown fantastically overblown Fate collapses upon observation Ostriches banked on unexamined lives Perturbations quantum fluctuations Foregone measures austere pleasures enforced authenticity Cessation trepidation ensures no future certainty Whilst known speed and position now in sync One makes ye taller yet none make me shrink Doth not know thyself yore on the brink Fulfillment will not quail forbidden face of foreign dangers Entrainment derailed arranged marriage twixt incomplete strangers Birds of a feather flock with the weather One marked to market worth two under Bush Lemmings allegedly demand a push An existential exercise spins nihilistic nightmares Nonconformed confirmed uncomfort spirals condescending stairs Slaughter abolished pig sucklers now fly Fed up rich bullshit Which lies upon lye Doth need not for lipstick ride we bone dry Left to right wrong motivations paved by best intention Pound me with the cure denounce flesh as impure meets prevention Overdue elixir panacea Gold in led stead transmutes alchemist Fed Spirits confirmed in actions idea Though hungry swine will freely plow fall submissive tow the line No offence is meant whence I commence casting pearls before thine Lead thee to sustenance soon thou shall find You feed a seed of rage contented caged That Which hath been remains yet to be seen One finds upon a wander from yon cave we've left regression Whence without luminescence stem outlandish such obsessions Actualized self's realization Fasting of heart leaves no trace of ego I fell here from Olympus apropos Upshot in authenticity shows secure survivors test Where indiscretions excesses discretely are repressed Desperate knowledge grievous awareness I first blew reed pipes but then I digress Values eroded integrity Climate corroded ideals irresponsibility Satisfied my agency autonomous capacity Bet Dow hath finally had a bad day Bear in mind they will say twas anway Old high still standing gold stones throw away Shorting shooting slope of hope enormous towers treacherous Each new era crashes in increasing half glass emptiness Overabundance deserts time delay Accounts inner morality decay Strength in pessimism fear forfeits right Dusk withdraws from sight as shade is drawn over dawn's early light Narcissistic psychopaths inherited the earth our plight Quarrying light inspired murky night flee Ye gods laugh heartily ridicule me Reckoning another day mine shall be Subsequently I subsist shifting this rock as Sisyphus Future pulls upon me as due ration to minus remiss I'm half crazy bicycle built for two Network circuitry daisy chained to you How do I know what is reel to be true Gather input sensations scrutinize for degradation Dissembling dissemblance as lacking in resemblance Singularity prophesied end be Less threat than icons presently envied Graven is our image in our idol Misunderstood system holds revolutions banked on bridle Give me dominion over doe I care not who makes law Hegellian dialectic shock and awe Fixed moments instability move becomes necessity Moses leads bull rush reeds deceptive swaith Crisis opportunity incompetence seasons good faith Fallow plot begot furlough shrieks foul wraith Yay though I plod through the valley of death Evil gives comfort my rod and my staff No fear preparest for my enemies Parasitic symbiotes surviving vicariously Job gyrations exploitations sloth thrive ubiquitously Unnatural select evolution Bad apple genes rot barrel pollution Big bang extends concussions extrusion Elude intrusion neath tapestry relay inscribed decree Conspiracy theories deliquesced evidence coalesced Duress dressed as justice undue process Reduce the law to writ for oversight Infinitely rules stretch fractally tight Dollar press lever Wizards tweak whence practised Which deceiver Feeding frenzy at the top on last chair hot potato drops Animal farm irrigation believer Cuckoos in nested loops launched retriever Social ecological equity Fauna all created equal although some are more than most Perched aloft nights sleepless roosters backdate options after posts Tell a vision avulsed exclusive boasts Foxes bird box hens fake news oven roasts Occupy Wall Street greeting champagne toasts 5G technology expandable densification Cameras considering Laws actual ramifications Depressions perpetuate FOMO motes FIFO Ponzi scheme boat redeems fresh float Gloat sessions connoted roat smote through goat Destructions need demands feed for Which Fed never hesitates Beyond salvations hope for damnation destined reprobates Wolf in sheep's clothing with diplomacy Bragging best ever broke economy Pre warned of bubble in candidacy Memories impeach me markets relapse collapse candor Black and white deliberations compromise grey matters or Burning empire riddled Nero fiddled No new under the sun any longer What doth not kill my will makes ye stronger Suicidal quarantine commit sheer to absurdity Crash course in urgency suspends to decade Odyssey Engulf journey as is illusory Entailed magical curtailed mystery Reproduced sequence spawns duplicity Great truths infect minds space whilst time distorts fabrics ablation Balanced scales duration dual edged knife grinds calibration Wildlife exhumed landslide menagerie Submission supports popularity War of attrition print press edition Release Kraken abridged dictations unredacted memo Cognitive mind is least informed second thought tis last to know Feedback iterates habitually Zombie apocalyptic shopping spree Animal myriad corroboree Discrepancies adorable approaching deplorable Configured integrations simulate exaggerations Conceptual reorganization New century frail clings frayed to pale past Dot com bust imprints last iconoclast Tragic disposition anchored significance within story Spherical lyrical expository mourning glory Expansion dominates fertility Appropriate most apt utility Bubble envelops errs infinity Bold ignorance advanced hind sights distilled new high arrogance Underlying trauma repeats cycle till addressed complete Sublates convergence becoming congeals Cavernous kingdom stalagmite conceals Peer not in mirror prefer not appeal Sew a thought in hope to reap an action something real to feel Neverland begotten old whilst kid futures are oversold Life lived not lest bits of bites record it Biased suggestions imbue news reported Syrinx sears titans with my brand of creed Written word ceded all forgotten need to practise recall Calculated math skills lost computer brought thoughts holocost Ensconced by lantern hung from beam of straw Helios heals blow of iced ages thaw Loyal to natural attributes raw Extraordinary delusional madness of ye crowds Trot proudly upon road to serfdom congregations praised aloud Brave was this new world before eighty four Hunger games in store jaybird tweets that score Jehovah bore witnesses door to door Insure myself against four horseman paid my tithe expired spent Sow ears flying high on credit barely do I afford rent Time unwinds quickly at least doth for me April showers levee spring bankruptcy Litres live forever in latency Bailing water steady rising deep subterraneously Foresee floods invest in arks of financial calamity Extraneously Rome's blaze radiates Simultaneously Fed Witches toiled Slow perniciously satiates frogs boiled Crisis constructs messenger of sordid too tongued character Stocks which rise so should slide chosen goose footing egg opposed side Federal innovates imbibed bribed state Reserves umpire status hunched hind home plate Falling knife of fear impaled atmosphere Short bets squeezed rife barren years unfruitful bleeds contango wine Inverse ETFs unprecedented reverse splits declined Nothing it's equal creature without fear Can't fill hide with harpoons or head with spears Mire strive dire try pull in Leviathan Endless procrastination doth avert intent deflation Unclear when routes passage appears clear as destination Sorrows station seems my inculcation Divides built up babble between nations Seven trumpets summon revelation Electrostatic circumstance transmits catalytic twist Substitute reacted chemical transmits platonic tryst Ironically passion not my goal Ionically bonded blending coal Mirrored dipole roll poised down rabbit hole Experiment first ever repeats Laws defraud endeavor Mississippi reflating dollar debt exchange creating Wealth effect transfers helicopter drop Fracking reserves crack too big to stop Ineptitude or evilly adept Calm filled the room as elephants silently drowned in tar pits History Which hails tense whence Fed injections flew to market Lucrative house flipping stained soil carpet Real reign swamp purge comes to street again Broken window theory frisk fallacy Destructions need graciates feed for Which Fed never hesitates Seven headed hydra twixt blaspheming regime duplicates Purgatory epic allegory Apathy lacks worry for avoidance Dreams annoyance recurring clairvoyance Complacent consternation burns concerned capitulation Catacomb further catenates future pyroclastic blasts Install a new partition date saved last God creates man's imaged eternity Man made device for immortality Only way to beat life be articulate as dead machine Foiling might be finding wanting nothing just as pleasing Emoted thoughts and deeds confer disease Viral joy contained anxious unease Communicable known uncertainties Mention stoic abstention receive lepers reprehension Addend subconscious attention suchness sought destination Protectionist tribal groupthink ensues Misdirect blame profane color thou choose Divide and conquer plan by Jove we use Minting for a living tis nothing short of scintillating Weaponry mass produce we entropy disintegrating Rebirth essential in this finite trap Technicals crucial analysis map Impulse mined collective wiretapped caps Souls endless extrapolating each threshold encapsulating Mutually affecting Titans ever overreaching Battles march business no fight beseeching Cyanide reaction gold is leaching Settle for distraction Athene’s teaching Shares fabricate infrastructure bonds for manufactured war Master in ways of deception weaving fleece her predilection Declined vine illustrates interjection Fundamentally ye add furthermore Whole vacuus nature I find abhor Each new day opportune to go by street sideshow pundits shout Marginally most will comply seek aggressive salesman clout Run through stampede proceed in funnel out Mosaic tile code mixed mirage mud grout Worm abated hook ate some fat cat’s trout Informed when glad relate when mad great is not the worst we've had Next quarter rates Which inflates translates to direct tabled fate Disinformation chads dangling depart Troublesome travel when horse pushes cart Trojans craft driftwood regifted as art Taken rate decision interest always is a given Approached encroachment infringements lunged impingement I expunged Spell manifests as living hell digests Calcareous sponge absorbed rimstone plunge Cookbook to serve lamb seals underhand Sinter sauntered asunder plotting pillage of my plunder Attack technique intervenes quoth slighted victim claims obscene Cried mystified feeling such waste sprayed mace Save face retrace find safety inside shrouded space Access filter modified denied trash storage verified Angels four spew brimstone fire scorched ingress half expected less Trick talk turns back clock players profiles rotate roles resume Covertly campaigned defiling my name Creations Instigate destruction Erupts surreptitious instruction Bewildered heard shocked embrace loomed Gates of Hell gauge WHO won race Military missionary hold prostrate to vaccinate Chaotic Kronos ordered time consumed Stow stoked fumes subsidies gave the gods room Whilst land of the fraud is home to the knave Babylon of living nonexistent through the golden age Cassandra of this stage ilk ignores inklings of alarmed sage Chicken little forebodes sky is falling Rope a dope fades rationalisation Brittle doth be fragile ye recalling Loquacious news needs slews feigned of disambiguation Mendacious or fallacious contagious be implications Butterfly flapped wing doth not move a thing But a gnat perhaps who's too GAD to fly Financing is how but where is the why Important that all patriots patronize conquesting troops Dodge ye head stoop as pooping eagle swoops Most dismissive uninspired missive Perceptually far too derisive Guiding hand not apparent visual Missing cash flows continual residual bottom lines Pinnochio hopes to know Which ideal conjures growth sublime Dendrites potentially stimulate spine Titanic torrents mist venetian blinds Decidedly distort bilked disincline Writhe in through chasm in awe open wide Formless figures summon uniform pride Dismiss discontent conveyors subside Tributaries dispersed springs knowledge trees freeze molten ore Splintering sparks displaced thick dark coruscate tangible floor Cumulus clouds of primordial dust Question our senses in sun god we trust Sifted silts produce thunderbolts of Zeus Oval elliptical orbits the folds tidal tendency Blue sphere girds spoken word breathed clay Boulder Forge Company Quality moulding is job number one Caste mass producing consumes many sons My duty to ensure we always run Figured would be a piece of cake more at work than give and take Thought this would be my big break but not knowing literally Apprenticed construction now I maintain Composite skill same commissioning game Swim or wallow in Uranus disdain I made the trade not for reward nor deemed security Only gospel guarantee is confidence in mastery Tasked to sit in a chair contemplate stare Crosswords in wait for a breakdown repair I study craves of machines which behave Rhythmic clang links chain react percussional power set free Insatiable harmony piques morbid curiosity Beast belly bowel bubbles belch smelt death To quota of product do I owe breath Economic cauldron of corrosion We operate Vesuvius ungodly hours breathing brine Facilitate yon amplidyne oxygenate lavas shine Steering eather into three cyclops cells Myopically they motion for me when cycles in chaos my sirens knell Lion hearted as Hephaestus take knee before crucibles hearth Examine vitals symptoms prognosis deduce further impart Volt amps transcend times root of three powers Frequently electrons ebb in order Arc bath gives rise to hot molten showers May bring flowers demonstrate my will in accord rewards her Athena is truth incarnate dream she is a movement Immaculate perfection possessed no need for improvement in her coveralls Wert she to eaten apple I befall Sand disseminates beneath hourglass curves she manipulates How could I anticipate Rapt hints had she to intimate Roots hypotenuse squares summed pendulum Enlightened visions profound pit this plum On que she hooks her thunderbolts so ample in restriction Destabilized my volts despite my amping up conviction Magnetisms repulsive attraction Bipolar feedback generates action Machining floral dissatisfaction Narcissus is spring can't this robot tool be taught anything Recommence imaging thine vault undermined after fault Intuit as her nuclear annihilates tumult June accusations forced violation Vulnerable to invalidation Confrontations repudiation consents allegation Placate June”s wells breached swell fore July conflagration Use wu wei to vacate situation But weightless behemoth ate all greenbacks Can’t manage exit not even a crack Inward forays shunned malfunction unknown overgrown morass Cult of quantity all students get a pass coach seat class God’s walled over all access to egress Those who cannot do are experts at best Past practise succeeds failures teach what needs Viridescent pools dilate grey eyed dubious stressed madness Feeling she was slighted by my passage through her nucleus Disinterested I had disinterred Down period Kondratieff winter Intrinsic tragedy all fairy tales end inherently Gave me what I wished for in a way I was not hoping for Destiny permits paths forbade How shallow wilt thou will wade PCB cesspools black bile pitches glue Smoldering sand dune trenches shore magmas excess residue Admit this time smashing cymbals whilst cyclops wert drumming too Keep the fantasy alive in my head Earthquake take other route instead Always say they never saw it coming They did In Herculaneum still their brains steamed in their skulls Summer solstice solace lulls lava ladles plentiful Cumulative studies validations Inseminate process degradation Trying not to mention my invention Bending toward normalcy absorption emits diffraction Inverted perceptions withdraw inflections from emptiness Perplexing she rejects ram intellect Anecdotal evidence cached respect Zip plans to stockpile cognizance combined Designed secret punishment to circumvent I resigned Recollect for instance cognitive lessons in dissonance Logic accepts one view perceived of two Pit of mine stomach whence knot always knew Treasonous betrayed lion taming shrew Spite cleaved interface continued dutiful onward pace Humiliations goal wert to replace cheers with disgrace Orchestrations untold meticulous Malevolence is still in existence Narrative streams unfold conspicuous Childish bliss unscrupulous epidemic Narcissus Invasive species multiplied since Zeus supplied his sun’s abyss Affect change rather than effect ere cause Gaslight obfuscates reasonable laws Tall tales half truths edged lies by omission Unwary reprehense motive intents of recognition Splitting of the faculty augments a new reality Fight freeze or flee options only three Trials choose middle choice typically Stockholm syndrome captors figured friendlies Volunteer for brunt of blame acquiesced toxic shame domain Raging stirs steroid cortisol adrenaline cocktail brain Idealize devalue sudden discard Benevolent dictatorship abstained Without the faintest regret or regard Figured she was playing me but never thought she'd try so hard Had a little influence pummeling blacksmith into bard Feeling flashback symptoms PTSD Reflux acid regurgitates anxiously Facilities shut down my apogee Estranged entanglement is indiscriminate vicinity Projection deflects inspection detects proffered rejection Upon reflection I/O failed connection Reverse detail switched doppler direction Attacked mine tranquility enacted thine stability Great relationships determined by good portability Amor Fati defeat of agony Heroic transitions affirmation Chinks of crevasse evasive to bypass Labyrinth strings web of deceit light and dark unlikely meet Shadows reconnection Schadenfreude revels surrection Maze ambled afore trapped in Minotaur Disintegrating reintegration Unfurled divest individuation Emergence of self under siege August surfacing intrigues Sun god aims retribution penetrating air dilution Perpetrating vengeful execution Cyclop's blindsided coming attraction Apollo's exaction vents extraction Redress reclaimed door discharged from mine chore Concussions cavitations roar gaff retrieved my staff from shore Gangplank fastened transit for deck from wreck Embodied under mass gravitation Nothingness consistent contradiction In retrospect ahead investigate that Which is suspect Chastened flaming embers titillate orange September moon Hastened retreat not an instant too soon Burgeoning three wave prosperity shewn Wave five trait mimics Echo past monsoon Perpetually parallel dramas punctual insane Aphrodite's inception purged migraine foam seethed fire in vain Twain hath liquidity trickled down drain Consult oracle ogle tangent plane Bow to stern brood tempestuous coxswain Demurrage fee aptly sought to regain lay of way terrain Masked my gnashing lion waves stumble as they spread before me Mountain rubble crumbles bloodied red sea Locusts cannibalistic commotion Uncanny notion overt devotion Fixed betwixt twin scorpions stings subtle by a hares degree One longs to age as seas submit one hole subliminally Desire loves desire more than that desired Overtime I find wanting displeasing Fuel to fire Aphrodite’s teasing Symptomatically nymphomaniac releasing Random cosmos berth patterned beyond cyclic perimeter Doth not feel momentum ye be the tide Volume reduced ambient limiter Futile to resist flow fatal to ride Impressed by the strung rope ladder of unquestioned good status Doctors orders therapeutic regressive Hedonism Bureaucracy forced parentalism Founding fathers Titan nepotism The health preventative catechism Give only to take away to give again another day Rewards gods some token compensation Anyone here not get paid besides me Red light starboard wax eared crew rendezvous Bounded by my sacrifice to irresponsibility None of the other prize winning players gamble here but me Battened down fear gauge groups psychopathy Ever since world went into bankruptcy Call for Panic Zeus black masked his swan song Yarn for youthful innocence gone stick slip traction moves this throng Tread borderline separating time providing till from when Uneven Titans tip unbalanced ships Dualities tune unity in trine One thing I did learn when within confine Whom hath desire for nothing believes doth not need anything Misinterpretation required missing zero still a thing Axons bemoan sequence of no return Feeling slight injustice step forward commandeer ambition Venus akin to mine headache just better known rendition Under spotlight favorite position Internally propelled by externals Take this Autumnal equinox swear on the cross tis vernal All the gods explicitly sing chants how lucky I must be Bring Mordor back to toss this precious ring Prospect she fertilized inferring seed Open union upon Which we agreed Karma conflates heavens gates contrived in Pandemonium Green shoots elate consummate concerns inspire Pavlovian Theories cosigned conspiracies maligned Impermanence ineffably refined Ignorance binds energy disinclined Universal conception pride of self love contraception Trying to be pliable but find it reprehensible All dispensable Great Complacent Sea Sizing words wisely rids ostensible Lies the only guise now found comprehensible Prophylactic allude to didactic Though whilst I work at chore she’s Ares whore I snagged them embarrassingly naked afore gods before Yellen Helen neither nor wert worth war Bowl of wrath judgement ignored poor decor Titans empathizing with swimming clothes In her throws she extolled excitement being extra exposed Far be it from she to assume joint responsibility Exponential debt credits game theory On that we agree tis rigged currency Opportunistic imperialists Propaganda grasshoppers enlist ants backbone socialist Can't remember when gathered last had a say any matter Other nations forfeit right to do it Export of inflation needs conduit Concert donates borders New World Order Blockchain came about when drunk bartender could not reach the spout Yahweh will control all money now they have it figured out Waiting for my minute to be clever Stamp my name on the gods minds forever My switchblade really needs to cut them off No clue what the gods know only that they need to run the show Narcissistic parasites charisma lands entitlement Vampires nourish roots to stunt encouragement Protocol enticing invitation Condemnation staged cooperation Intolerable acts left no coercive tea leaves intact Coven of bag passing Witches gave chase across red waters Need another nine stitches sons twixt daughters Waiting in the balance moment of force Hatch guillotine MRI triggered source Soaked up dripped Wyrmwood postulated solvent tasted good Full equilibrium half ballast set assail for malice Octobers placid benign chilled chalice Brain scan photocell senses light all is well If instead bulb shows dead off with thee head Also as a godsend bonus honed mom’s splendid jury throne Captive chaperone audience fettered judgement chains inlaid Skipping to a Witch hunt after masquerade Topside upper deck on the promenade Propellor fashion later ohm made blade Behooved turtle jail sac tail flailed back satyromaniac Passionate parade personifying Nature of tirade Horney gimp hind quarters brace graced limp Llama spitting image of Obama Clinton's dole out cigars contribute scars All guests in attendance dressed as promised change we forget lest Salubrious familiar strangers grooving Harvey Danger Politically free redundancy Reagan closed asylums threw away key Identity hath no cost found when lost Consolidations vibrate quantized sinusoidal noise Pullback hull triangulate alow by my device and Echo Feel lonely frost amongst the other masks Survival is appeasing to their tasks Remember November elect Semper Meaning faithful to all members not just only archaic On the way to office run your head through photovoltaic Vanishing quickly old liquidity Seven plagues capsized immortality The line hath paid out to the bitter end Too big to sail exhale replications glorification Night zeniths elevation nadirs sun's regeneration
I smoked crack while I survived Hurricane Katrina.
A sea of suffering called me from her shores. I answered her call, charted a course for the unknown and swam out. No more a child playing in the gentle break of the surf, I was the sole survivor of a shipwrecked life. There was mutiny, fire and disasters of every kind before the hull broke in half and the depths swallowed my life whole. I was lost at sea where only sea monsters survived, and since it is better to eat than to be eaten, I became one. It is true that I survived Hurricane Katrina with my father in New Orleans, and that before our two months together were over, he threatened to shoot me with a nine-millimeter. But before I tell you about that, I need a few paragraphs to tell you about my girlfriend from high school, and that whole thing starts with a large shipment of blotter acid, printed with pink elephants. Supposedly it came from the Lavender family, whatever that meant, and it made an unlikely couple out of us. My family and I were out of town for Christmas break of my senior year, but I can't remember where we went. I think it was Mexico, and while we were gone, the captain of the cheerleading team took some of that acid with two of my friends. They tried to come see me, but since we were out of town, they couldn’t. Somehow their journey to find me and my absence mixed with the LSD to simulate feelings of love and longing for me in her. When I got back, this girl I barely knew wanted to hang out with me. She was the head cheerleader for her junior and senior years, made good grades and loved her mother. I skateboarded, slept through classes, resented the preppy kids, and wore skulls on my black tee shirt. Towards the end of our relationship, I stole 200 dollars from our friend and disappeared for 24 hours with her vehicle, until I came back and we screamed at each other. Later she dropped me off at my parents’ house, and I hurled my cellphone at the pavement in the driveway under the oak tree. Its bark bloodied my knuckles, and it felt like some bones might be broken in my hands and wrist. Inside of the house my parents and I screamed before they told me to leave and locked me out. They called the police. I stuck my fist through the window in a door on the front porch and turned the old knob to let myself in. When the cops showed up I was eating a hot dog. “Put the hot dog down! You are under arrest!” But it didn’t start out like that for us. The first time we hung out, I took two of those pink elephants, and the Jimi Hendrix coming out of her speakers caused my brains to leak out of my eyes and nose and puddle itself in an awkward Technicolor mess on my shirt. She kept her cool and comforted me as I tried to clean it up. We rode to school every morning after that and knew each other in ways that no one else did. The girl shed tears over my addiction and wrote privately in a journal about how much she loved me when we went out. After the overdose that I have already told you about and the episode with Stanky, besides the rest of our miserable 18 months together, she had enough. She moved on, and the break up played in my head over and over again. It left a smoldering heap of twisted metal and mental torment like a train wreck of my own emotions and the memories we created together. I staggered. I struggled to breathe. I fell to my knees as images of her smile and the love she once held in her eyes faded away from in front of me like smoke slowly dissipating or the mirage of a desert oasis, I would never reach. I punched myself in the face until I had two black eyes. I called her 50 times a day. I wrote a poem to tell her how pathetic I was and left it on her windshield in a psychotic spider's web of scotch of tape while she was at work once, but I never got her back. I lost her forever, and I only had myself to blame. Anyway, that gives you an idea of how things were going for me around the time that Katrina came to town, but I should also tell you about the job my uncle gave me. It was delivering trays of medical instruments and every kind of orthopedic implant to different hospitals for the company representatives and the surgeons they did business with. I disappeared into the ghetto in the middle of a delivery one afternoon and would not answer my phone. Somehow the 70,000 dollars’ worth of medical equipment ended up where it was supposed to go, but I disappeared to my friends’ house that night. In the morning my uncle called to tell me he didn’t want me to give up on life. My cell phones never had a voice mail message, but if they did, it would have said something like, “Hi, you’ve reached Riley. I’m not able to take your call right now, because I am smoking crack. Leave your name and number, and I’ll be sure to ignore it, until I need something from you. Thanks.” That brings us right up to the account of the hurricanne, because my friends only let me stay with them for a few days before they evacuated. My mom picked me up from their house and took me home to help my dad board up the windows. I stayed with my grandmother and Uncle after that. The night before Katrina made landfall my cousin and I watched the satellite footage of the huge storm bearing down on the gulf coast just below New Orleans. My uncle had rented hotel rooms for his ex-wife, my cousins, my grandmother and me, and during the storm, the windows cracked on the 21st floor of the Lowes Hotel across from Harrah’s Casino. Raindrops could be seen ripping through the city in the currents of wind pushing through the streets, and the wire and plaster materials used to construct the exterior of other buildings fluttered in the air like pieces of tissue. There seemed to be a kind of divine wrath being poured out onto the city. At least that’s what people were saying, because there had been seven senseless and violent murders in one night just before the storm. Management fed us and moved us down to the 15th floor to another room, but the water didn’t work. Eventually the storming stopped, and we made phone calls to people we cared about. I tried to call the girl whose house I slept at before she evacuated and was happy to talk to her. After that I called my mom. “Riley! The levees broke! I need you to come get me from the house and bring me back to the hotel.” “Okay. Is poppa coming?” “No. He has too many animals at the clinic. I tried to talk him into it, but I don’t think he will come.” “Okay. Well I should probably stay with him.” “Yeah. I think that would be best but come get me and bring me back to the hotel, please.” My grandmother let me take her Camry to get my mom from the house, and I went up Tchoupitoulas to get there and remember the feeling the houses gave me. They were abandoned and desperate and vulnerable prey to the looters and pillagers running around the city. Once I picked my mother up at the house and headed back to the Lowe’s Hotel down St. Charles, men hung halfway out of cars they did not own and sweated trying to get them started. All storefront windows had holes smashed into them, but everything inside was already gone. Our dog had puppies during the storm, and my dad told me about how he went outside to see what it was like and got locked out. My mom couldn’t hear him knocking so he was out there for over an hour in the rain and wind. We slept on the roof of the front porch that first night, but somebody at the hotel had given me some Xanax. I had 20 dollars in my pocket and decided that I would sneak out the front of the house and take the Camry to go smoke crack. He flashed his light on me from the front porch roof as I started the Camry and took off into the dark. No automobiles made any noise in the streets, and not one streetcar ran up or down the tracks. Telephone poles lay on the ground with their power lines tangled in messes of large live oak limbs that covered St. Charles Avenue from one end to the other. It was a dangerous prospect taking off like that into the desolate city in a small car, and it was almost impossible to get the Camry from Palmer Avenue all the way to ghetto by the parish line, but I did it. When I got to the ghetto by Leake Avenue and Oak everyone in the neighborhood converged in the streets. An atmosphere of panic hovered over us, and they walked around with the energetic fear of bees in a hive worried they would perish. Water came out of the drains and pooled in the streets. There was a man carrying a large box fan on his shoulder in the crowd, and he had the twitch in his walk that I was looking for. I flagged him down, and he ran over to the car. “What’s up, wodee?” “Looking for a 20.” “I got you. Let me put this in the car.” He put the fan into the back seat of my grandmother’s Camry and took my 20 into a house. Historic buildings across town lay in heaps of ashes smoldering, and other buildings waited to be consumed by fire or looted. A deluge of black water destroyed whole neighborhoods where families once lived and kids once played. Pandemonium swept across the city. Those who remained realized that our beloved New Orleans was drowning, and it looked like the city might never recover even if it survived this catastrophe. I sat in the car waiting for the crack head to come back with my crack rock, and my father sat on the front porch roof of our house wondering if I would come back with the car or get killed trying to smoke crack in the chaos. I lost the hit in the car before I could smoke it. There was nothing I could do to recover it, so I got out and tried to cut a deal with a guy who desperately needed gas. He said he would help me out, and we tried to siphon gas out of the car, but it didn’t work. Since I tried to help he waved his friend off who followed us around and looked like he had his hand on a pistol in his waistband. When I got back to the house my father gave me a Tylenol PM and begged me to sleep. In the morning the crack had worn off, and we began to navigate our stay in post Katrina New Orleans. We parked the Camry at his clinic in Jefferson Parish and rode around in the old Landcruiser. Sometimes we picked up the displaced people walking up and down St. Charles and took them to Oschner Hospital. There was one lady who carried a bunch of cat carriers with frizzy, frazzled hair and looked like she had lived her life as a recluse in one of the nearby neighborhoods, but the flood brought her out. When we stopped and asked her if she wanted a ride or needed help she just turned around and walked the other direction. Sometimes we got calls at my dad’s clinic from people who wanted us to break into their houses and rescue their animals, so we did. At night we tried to sleep outside, because it was so hot. Mosquitoes hung around us in softly humming clouds and bit hard even through sheets drenched in Adam’s Flea and Tick Spray. I tried to cook some steaks over a fire but had caked the seasoned salt on them in the dark so badly that we could barely eat them. There was a silence that filled the air and gave us a dread we had never known about the future of our lives. The destruction of the city matched the broken emptiness inside of me. It was fitting for me to be there and see it all. Not that either one directly caused the other, but the dire straits of the city mirrored the reality of my own insides. My childhood pediatrician hung himself over the city’s devastation, while my father focused on the litter of puppies our Italian greyhound had to get through it. As if everything happening at the time wasn’t enough stress for him, I gave him hell by smoking crack, stealing money and getting violent. I found my sister’s Adderall prescription and took the whole thing at once. Then I chugged warm beers we had until I couldn’t talk or sleep, and I smoked crack with a pimply skinned lady and her boyfriend in a crumbling apartment building called the Studio Arms by Oschner Hospital. On the way back home the cops stopped me for being out after curfew but let me go. We made trips to the house in Orleans Parish during the days and shot the trunk of a magnolia tree with the 9-millimeter out of boredom once. Two members of the National Guard robbed the house while we slept at the clinic. Both were arrested and received dishonorable discharges. After a month my dad got me a job with a contractor who lived in Harahan, and on our first job we demolished the insides of a man’s house, whose wife had just divorced him and left with his daughters a few weeks before the storm. We carted mildewed art projects made of construction paper and Elmer’s glue and photo albums in wheelbarrows out through the front door and into a dumpster. Every single memory he had of his daughters’ childhoods had fallen under the chalky brown water line a foot below the ceiling. The man sweated and took pictures hoping that his insurance company might pay him for his losses, for the things that have no price. I quit after a week. Sometime towards the end of our time together in the shambles of a post-Katrina New Orleans my dad got on the phone to help me get the 2300 dollars FEMA gave to survivors of Katrina, and after that I got into it with my dad. It was over something stupid, but I got him in a headlock and rammed the top of his skull into the corner of a doorway behind the clinic. We struggled for a few minutes before we stopped, and he said, “You attack me like that again, Riley, and I’m gonna shoot you. You hear me?” I knew he meant it, and he would have been right to do it with the way I acted. It reminded me of the time he told me he wanted to fight me as a teenager but remembered how much he paid for my teeth to be straight. I tore off in the Landcruiser up to Baton Rouge where I stayed with my mom and sisters at my grandmother’s until I could figure out what to do. Eventually, my mother and I devised the plan for me to go live in California, with my friends who had all moved out to San Francisco and planned to grow weed. They needed another roommate to make it work, so I told them I would be out there soon. My mom bought a ticket, but it would be a week or so before I could fly out. In that last week, my friend stole a car and picked me up in the middle of the night. By the time the sun came up we were trying to buy some crack in the ghetto with a fake 100-dollar bill, but when the dealer wanted the rocks back I rolled onto my back and kicked him in the face and ground his fingers under my heel before he fell out of the back seat. We may have run over him, but we definitely drove into a ditch before we escaped. All the while the kid in the back seat next to me snored and had a strand of drool hanging from his lip to the floor and his head between his legs. My mom had to come get me out of a crack house the morning of my flight to San Francisco, and my father hadn’t talked to me since we’d fought last.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy, a host of events will be held in FFRK!
FF30th Anniversary Dungeon
This dungeon event will trace the memories of 17 mainline Final Fantasy titles by reliving the first boss fight of each game. The difficulty is set at D30 and bosses will award Mythril and accessories for its series. Clearing all 17 bosses will unlock a special boss, defeating this boss will award you Tyro's Final Fantasy Grimoire that teaches him his 2nd Ultra Soul Break!
Crystal Tower ~Demon Lord's Advent~
In this challenge event, players will face five bosses on different levels of the Crystal Tower:
FFIII Xande (Brave Synergy for FFI-II-III)
FFVIII Tonberry King (Brave Synergy for FFVII-VIII-IX)
FFVI Omega Weapon (Brave Synergy for FFIV-V-VI)
FFXIII Alexander (Brave Synergy for XIII-XIV-XV-Type0)
FFXII Hashmal (Brave Synergy for X-XI-XII-Tactics)
Each boss will have different RS, but Core characters will always have Brave Synergy. You cannot exit the Crystal Tower once you start challenging it, so please be prepared to clear it all in one go. Reaching the top of the tower will let you challenge the FFI's final boss Chaos, with Brave Synergy unlocked for all realms. However, you can only challenge Chaos with a party from the 25 characters you have selected before hand for the Gatekeepers, so please plan well. Additionally, Crystal Tower will have a Classic and Elite version. The Elite version will unlock on 01/05.
The Golden Vault and Playground Roulette
The Golden Vault returns from last year along with the Playground Roulette. Take this chance to gain massive amounts of materials, orbs, gil and experience! Occasionally, special Goldor enemies will spawn that drop Casino Chips to be used for the Playground Roulette for amazing prizes! This time, a new D120 difficulty is unlocked while the lower D60 difficulty is removed, so each phase only has 4 difficulties, D15, D45, D90 and D120. The new D120 difficulty will cost 120 stamina, but the spawn rate of Gigantuars and Mini Cactuars are increased drastically. Also, Goldors will not drop only Chips now, they can also drop orbs as well. Additionally, this year's Golden Vault will have a slighly different schedule:
Prize list for Playground Roulette: Gold Roulette Prizes: 1x 6✭ Peace Ring (Accessory) - RES +20, Major Paralyse resistance 3x Crystals of each type 5x MC3 Lodes 30x Legend Motes of each type Silver Roulette Prizes: 1x 5✭ Golden Sword (VII) 1x 5✭ Dealer Suit (Core) 5x Rosetta Stone 1x 5✭ Divine Cross (Knight) - 2xST Holy physical damage, self Draw Fire. Uses Major Holy/PoweNon-elemental Orbs 10x Major Orb of each type 10x Major Growth Egg 7x MC2 Lode 30x 4✭ Motes of each type Bronze Roulette Prizes: 20x Greater Orb of each type 20x Growth Egg 15x Greater Growth Egg 10x Hero Soul 10x MC1 Lode 50x 3✭ Motes of each type Total Prizes: 1,032 (103,200 chips for all) After redeeming all the prizes, extra chips can be redeemed for 10 gil each.
Omega Time Attack Dungeon
Omega returns again to challenge players. This time, his difficulty is upgraded to [Extreme] with a Time Attack component attached and bonus rewards awarded (100k [email protected], Giant [email protected], Giant [email protected]) based on the clear time. The fastest players to defeat Omega will be put on an official wiki leaderboard as well. [Extreme] Omega will also award a 6✭ Extreme Omega Insignia - MND +20, moderate Holy resistance upon clearing it.
FF30th Mythril Dungeon
The Mythril Dungeon returns! This time, defeat the Magic Pot to gain 30 Mythrils in celebration of FF's 30th Anniversary. Not only that, a second 30 Mythril Dungeon Magic Pot will award another 30 Mythrils to commemorate the Crystal Tower Tokyo collaboration!
Omega Time Attack Dungeon
Omega will also come as a MO battle for the first time in this event. Challenge Omega and defeat him three times to earn 40 4★ Motes of each type!
FF30th Anniversary Fest
Features Ultra Soul Breaks with EX modes for 15 mainline Final Fantasy protagonist/heroes with EIGHT new USB's unveiled!
One time only, 30-pull free gift gacha banner with a guaranteed OSB will be opened to all players from 29/04 to 15/05 as a special present for FF30th Anniversary and Crystal Tower Tokyo collab. The pool of relics available in this draw will be all SSB, BSB and OSB relics released up to the FFV event "Four Hearts". Relic Pull thread
FF30th Anniversary Draw
Special FF30th Anniversary Draw that lets you choose a Burst Soul Break from more than 100+ characters! Unlike other draws, this draw is Gem-only and will be a one time draw with all relics up to the FFV event "Four Hearts" up for grabs in the pull. The banner will begin on 01/05 and end on 15/05. The selection list contains 116 Bursts from the following characters: FF1: WoL, Master, Sarah, Matoya, Garland FF2: Firion, Gordon, Maria, Minwu, Leon, Emperor FF3: Luneth, Arc, Refia, Ingus, OK, Desch FF4: Pecil 1, Decil, Kain, Golbez, Ceodore, Edge, Edward, Palom, Yang, Rydia, Rosa FF5: Bartz 1, Bartz 2, Greg, Galuf, Faris, Gogo, Lenna, Exdeath FF6: Terra, Kefka 1, Shadow, Setzer, Celes 1, Cyan, Sabin, Relm, Locke FF7: Cloud 1, Tifa, Red XIII, Vincent, Cid, Yuffie, Sephiroth 1, Zack, Reno FF8: Squall 1, Zell, Rinoa 1, Laguna, Quistis, Irvine, Fujin, Raijin, Selphie, Edea FF9: Zidane 1, Dagger 1, Vivi 1, Steiner, Eiko, Quina, Amarant, Kuja, Beatrix FF10: Tidus, Yuna 1, Wakka, Kimahri, Auron 1, Rikku, Seymour, Jecht, Paine FF11: Shantotto, Lion, Curilla, Ayame FF12: Vaan, Ashe, Balthier 1, Fran, Basch, Gabranth, Larsa, Vayne FF13: Lightning 1, Snow 1, Sazh, Hope 1, Serah, Fang 1, Noel, Raines FF14: Y'shtola, Alphinaud, Yda, Papalymo, Minfilia FFT: Ramza, Delita, Ovelia Rapha, Mustadio, Gaffgarion, Marach, Agrias Core: Tyro Relic draw thread: https://www.reddit.com/FFRecordKeepecomments/68kb1c/ff30th_anniversary_selection_draw_jp_relic_draw/
Crystal Tower Selection Draw
Crystal Tower selection banner with a one time only, 11-pull special draw that allows you to choose one Burst as a bonus. The Bursts are chosen from each of the realms represented by the Crystal Tower floors (Flr 1 to 5), with a healing burst and damage burst from each floor chosen for up to a total of 15 Bursts. Held from 08/05 to 15/05. The selection list will be: Echo BSB1 Leila BSB Cloud of Darkness BSB Porom BSB Krile BSB Edgar BSB Aerith BSB Seifer BSB Freya BSB Lulu BSB Prishe BSB Penelo BSB Vanille BSB Thancred BSB1 Orlandeau BSB Relic draw thread: https://www.reddit.com/FFRecordKeepecomments/69wawp/crystal_tower_selection_jp_relic_draw_thread/
FF30th Login Bonus
Special daily login bonus to celebrate FF's 30th Anniversary. Login Bonus list is as follows:
Day 1 - 3x Hero Souls
Day 2 - 10x Greater Growth Eggs
Day 3 - 3x Memory Crystal Lode
Day 4 - 10x Giant Scarletite
Day 5 - 5x Mythril
Day 6 - 3x Memory Crystal II Lode
Day 7 - 3x Major Growth Egg
Day 8 - 1x Memory Crystal III Lode
Day 9 - 10x Giant Adamantite
Day 10 - 30th Anniversary Potion accessory
In conjuction with the celebrations, a host of real life events are being held as well.
Crystal Tokyo Tower (28/04 19:00 - 23:00) Tokyo Tower will be lighted up for the campaign to look like Crystal Tower with special prizes in-game given out to players when it happens. The Animate branch at Tokyo Tower will be selling premium FF30th goods as well.
Tokyo Tower 4D Battle Projection (28/04 - 07/05) The Tokyo Tower Main Observatory will be holding a 4D Battle Projection event featuring scenes from the FF series bosses over the Tokyo night sky.
FFRK x FF30th Anniversary Special CM (29/04 20:00) A special FFRK CM with narration by Takahiro Sakurai and Maaya Sakamoto will air during this time nationwide on CX channel.
FF30th Commemoration Baseball Match (30/04 13:00) Special baseball match between Yokohama DeNA Baystars and Hiroshima Toyo Carp to commemorate FF30th. The opening bat will be done with a Buster Sword. 5 mythrils will be sent to all players in FFRK as well.
Twitter Stamina Refresh Campaign From 28/04 to 08/05, you can get a free stamina refresh daily by posting a tweet from in game. The stamina daily refresh will reset at 05:00 JST (that's the daily login reset) each day.
Hi everyone, I posted a few weeks back about starting to write a series about my adventures on the road - to inspire! I just finished the first section of my first story. This part takes place from 1 sunset to the next - adventures of 1 day on the road. This is part of a longer segment about a road trip to Coachella.... I hope you enjoy: ps. any feedback greatly appreciated edit: I misspelled the title :/ It’s 4:45pm on a cold April evening in Boston, I’m counting the minutes and seconds 'till I can dart out of my office and head to the airport. I have my carry on bag and backpack with me at my desk, and my mind is far from work. My father, who happened to be in the city for meetings, is waiting outside to take me to the airport. The clock strikes 5 and I am gone before the big hand ticks again. I smoke a quick spliff on the sidewalk around the corner and then hop in my father’s car - I’m officially on vacation. He drops me off, we say our goodbyes, and I arrive at the airport with enough time to have 2 beers before my flight. As I sit in my window seat waiting for takeoff, I slowly watch the sunset over the Boston skyline, only imagining what the next couple of sun sets will look like from the west. I couldn’t imagine everything I would see before the next time the sun set. The plane took off at 8pm. I’m usually the type of person to stare out the window for the entire plane ride, so much so that I usually leave the plane with a sore neck - but for this flight I knew I should sleep so I could be energized for what lay ahead. I managed to sleep for about 2 hours on the plane. I woke up to the captain calling for the final descent into Denver. We touched down in Denver in the midst of a late spring snow storm, 10:30pm local time. Syd was already at the Terminal West pickup zone waiting for me with his bags packed. We make a couple of quick stops to prep for the road (munchies and what-not) and off we went - headed West. The clock strikes Midnight as we get on the highway - it’s now officially 4/20 in Colorado, I’m overwhelmed with joy, excitement, and weed smoke. Syd took the initiative and picked up an ounce for our trip - each gram was in its own bag which was odd at the time but came in handy later on in the trip. Just a few hours ago, I was in my cubicle - now I’m in Denver on 4/20, every adolescents dream. This was just the very beginning. Exiting Denver heading West, I started to notice the drastic change in landscape. Denver sits at the very edge of the plains that spread across middle America from Pennsylvania to literally Denver. East of Denver is plains, farmland, and corn for 1,500 miles. Each farm and cornfield a spitting image of the previous one. West of Denver is the most beautiful, drastic, diverse scenery all the way to the Pacific Ocean. You have what seems like unlimited options to choose from once passing through the rockies - head southwest for desert, head northwest for ancient forests and god’s country, head directly west for a mix of both and everything in between. This trip we were going southwest. We zoomed into the rockies with snow getting heavier by the minute. I started to get nervous but remembered how I was here back in February with the same road conditions and the same fright. I then remembered how well Syd could handle these roads, so I chilled out. We passed by Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, and Keystone ski resorts, and I started to reflect about my 2 weeks of snowboarding here only 2 months prior in February. I thought about how I would love to snowboard here again one day. Little did I know, I would be working for Keystone the following Winter (more on that later). With Keystone in our rear view, we quickly approached Breckenridge, then Copper, then Vail, and then Beaver Creek. Coming from the East Coast it was hard to believe that all of these world class resorts were all within 45 minutes of each other. You can drive 10 minutes in any direction in Summit County, Colorado and arrive at a world class resort. Once we passed Beaver Creek the snow started to subside and you could see dirt and grass start to be evermore present. A relief from the harsh storm. I was now more relaxed and slept for an hour or 2. I woke up to see an array of lights in the near distance, a massive city- like region as far as the eyes could see. We were approaching Grand Junction, CO, a city declared in the late 1800s as a “grand” junction of the mighty Colorado River and it’s largest tributary, the Gunnison River. Grand Junction is Colorado’s wine country and the closest civilization to Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain which covers hundreds of miles. I was in awe as it seemed to go on forever. We passed through Grand Junction and immediately crossed over into Utah around 4AM, and I took the wheel. One thing that strikes me about these Western states is you can actually see and feel yourself crossing into another state without there being any formal notice or signs. The way the land drastically changes is amazing. As soon as we entered Utah everything around us started getting more colorful. The brown dirt changed to red clay, the tan grass of Western Colorado quickly changed to green cactuses (or cacti?). The snowy mountains changed to rainbow-colored hills and otherworldly rock formations. I felt like I had just left planet earth and landed on Mars. “This is the coolest place ever” I said to Syd. I continued on in admiration for about an hour, then I could see the very first sign of the sun rising in my rearview mirror. What I thought was beautiful before instantly appeared way more spectacular. I was in awe, trying to soak everything there was to see. I’m lucky that I didn’t drift off the road during these gazes, but luckily the Utah highway was straight and flat, with no other cars at this hour. Each and every minute grew more beautiful as the sun rose higher and higher in my mirrors. It seemed as if the sun was chasing us from the east as we bolted west at a steady 80mph. Once the sun was about halfway up the horizon behind us everything started to brighten up from the darkness of the night. I pulled over at a rest stop to climb a hill and watch the sunrise over the utah desert. I found a boulder at the top of the hill perched over a valley, and watched the sun slowly illuminate hundreds of miles of desert. I will never forget it. Now that it was bright as day, I hopped back into the driver’s seat and continued on. Syd woke up from a snooze; I tried to describe what I had just witnessed but no words could do justice. From there on, I pulled over at every scenic viewpoint that we came across, which seemed like every 10 minutes. They each got better and better the further into Utah we ventured. Sand Bench, Ivie Creek, Devil’s Canyon, Ghost Rock, Spotted Wolf, San Rafael Reef, Black Dragon Canyon, and Crescent Junction to name a few. We probably lost an hour off of our ETA for these stops, but to me they were priceless, and I didn’t care the least. By this time it was around 8am and the temperature had now reached a comfortable 70 degrees. From here the windows would be down for the rest of the trip. After about 8 hours of cruising I-70 from the snowy Rocky Mountains through the Utah desert, we passed through Fishlake National Forest in Salina, UT and pulled onto interstate 15 to start heading South. The desert had now transformed into an oasis with green grasses growing, wildflowers budding, trees waving in the gentle wind, and chirping birds greeting the morning. It was like entering a whole different environment yet there was still snow capped mountains in the near distance. I could smell the beautiful scent of the valley and everything it had to offer. I thought to myself how bad the streets of Boston stunk where my office was located, and how amazing this often overlooked section of the country had been so far. Syd was well rested at this point so we pulled over, took our shoes off to walk around the soft warm grass, had a quick beer while soaking in the morning, and hopped back on the road - Syd driving now. We only drove for about 10 minutes until we saw Our next stop was Zion National Park. We approached Zion National Park from the north, so we were able to get in without paying the national park dues. As we approached Zion, I was convinced that I had already seen the beauty of Utah, and that Zion National Park was going to look like the beautiful valley that we were in during our approach. I was wrong. We traversed the winding road that leads into the northwestern park of the park and then she revealed herself. The sheer beauty of this valley is almost indescribable, and only the finest poets could barely do justice. All of a sudden we were hundreds of feet above this majestic garden of eden. Both Syd and I had to pick our jaws up from the car floor, and still remained speechless after that. We pulled the car over and sat there in awe and tried to absorb all the beauty that was in front of us. It reminded me of the old childs movie “The Land Before Time”. I imagined pterodactyls soaring above the cliffs, gazing over all sorts of other dinosaurs that roamed the valley floor. There were emerald rivers below me and massive cliff walls surrounding me with trees and plants growing everywhere. Every color on the spectrum could be seen in this little speck nature. I pictured the natives who used to call this place home and how it must have felt to discover this desert oasis. I felt one with nature here. Syd and I must have spent an hour sitting here and admiring this beauty. We had to get going so I took one last gaze, and went back in the car. I told myself I would come back here to really explore the place. I sure did, but that adventure comes in a later story. We left Zion and had Las Vegas in our sights. Zion is only about 2 hours away from Las Vegas, so we planned on that being our next stop/point of interest. Right around this time, about 10AM, we realized that we had left Denver about 10 hours ago and needed some food. We decided we would wait until Vegas, but then all of a sudden a mirage appeared in the desert. “That *is* a mirage, right Syd?”. “It must be”. I got overwhelmed with excitement as my mouth started watering, the mirage got closer. “That mirage looks pretty real” “But it can’t be...we’re in Utah”. Yup, it was real. I rubbed my eyes to be sure. We pulled up to the Washington, UT exit signs and there was a billboard that read “In-N-Out 1 mile”. I hadn’t been that happy in a while. We checked what time they opened: 10:30 AM, we checked our clock: 10:20 AM. It was a miracle. We smoked a joint and walked in as they were taking down the “closed” sign. Now here is where I had another “holy shit it’s a small world” moment. Throughout my life I had always had these weird coincidences where I see someone I know while on vacation or somewhere hundreds/thousands of miles away. From seeing a college friend at a resort in Puerto Rico, to sitting next to my hometown buddy on a plane from the DR, to sitting across the table from a classmate in the Bahamas. As I was munching my burger, in the middle of Southerwestern Utah, two people from my highschool walked in. An older couple that was I think 3 years above me. Now we didn’t know each other well enough, so we didn’t speak but we all looked at each other with the “WTF?” eyes, and continued to pretend not to know each other, even though we both knew our stories started in a small coastal town in MA. “What a small world” I thought as I finished my burger (animal style, of course). We hopped back in the car and in a flash we were in Las Vegas. I was very excited to finally see Las Vegas. I was reminiscing of all the crazy stories ive heard and movies ive seen, portraying this to be the place of no rules where everyone leaves with a crazy story that they can’t tell their mother (I do have a crazy vegas story, but thats from a different road trip). Well, not at 1:00pm I guess. We drove up and down the strip feeling like movie stars with our arms and feet hanging out the window, trying to show off my fake Y-3 shoes (SMH). Vegas is a whole nother world during the day, and there is not much to be excited about. We parked the car at Caesars Palace and roamed around the casino, only to find desperate slot-goers at this hour. It was kind of depressing. After an hour of roaming the strip and fantasizing in the Louis Vuitton and Gucci stores, we decided it was time to leave Vegas. The next time I was in Vegas turned out to be a lot more...fear and loathing-ish, we’ll get to that later. After Vegas we were ready to get to California. We decided we would only stop for gas from this point on, and set our sites on San Diego. The goal was to race there fast enough to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean before heading to Coachella the following day. My cousin lived in San Diego at the time and welcomed us to stay the night at his house before the festival. We drove and drove racing the sun which was starting to gain on us. We crossed into California and kept driving until we hit San Bernardino and came to a complete stop. There was traffic for as far as the eyes could see. “Are you kidding me? LA traffic all the way out here” while it might not have specifically been LA traffic, there was certainly bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way to LA. “wow, people aren’t joking about LA traffic” we laughed. Luckily after only a couple miles we pulled off the exit to head south to San Diego and were back cruising along. In what seemed like a close race against time, we pulled into Pacific Beach, San Diego right as the sun was reaching the point where it really starts to turn the color of the sky to a pinkish-peach color. It was so beautiful. We paced onto the boardwalk and got a perfect spot to watch the sun set over the surfers trying to catch their last waves before darkness. We stayed and watched in awe until there was no sun left to watch. As we were exiting the boardwalk we were overwhelmed with delicious smells of local vendors preparing food for the night crowd. It felt as if we entered a food truck convention, and thousands of people now fluttered in to get a taste of the local cuisine. We walked around aimlessly smelling and tasting all they had to offer. I had a couple beef and pork tacos and a churro; Syd had a freshly caught fish taco. From there we soaked everything in, breathed a sigh of relief for we had made it and reflected on what an incredible day we just had. From there we went to my cousins loft and relaxed with him, only to begin a new adventure tomorrow.
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