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Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Battle scenes, part 1.4.2: Defense of Kel Fimmaril, play-by-play (part 2)

Continued from part 1.

Key characters:
Kel Fimmaril (defenders)
Queen Viarra
General Derron (infantry commander)
Captain Vola (cavalry commander)
Captain Kellor (archer/skirmisher commander)
Elissa (queen’s handmaid)
Andivel (attackers)
General Varic (first in command, killed in part 1)
General Willot (second in command)
Captain Bevren (hoplite captain, third in command)

Map key:
1) Heavy infantry (hoplites)
2) Archers
3) Skirmishers (javelins, slings)
4) Cavalry (spears and javelins)
V) Denotes Queen Viarra’s position in the army

map5Stage 5: Once the attackers are a good distance from the beach and fully engaged with the queen’s forces, Captain Vola’s cavalry charges from the trees to the north and south of the battlefield, ambushing the enemy skirmishers harassing the defenders’ flanks. In loose formation and unprepared for a cavalry attack, the skirmisher formations crumple and retreat behind the hoplite lines. However, it is important to remember that ancient cavalry was not heavy enough to break a tightly-packed infantry formation, regardless of if the footmen had spears or not. Against a phalanx, the horsemen would quickly lose their momentum, making them easy to dispatch by the heavily armored hoplites. Once the skirmishers scatter, the horsemen retreat back out of range of the archers.

As always, Vola led the cavalry charge. Atten rode behind and to her right, lowering his lance as they approached the enemy skirmishers. He aimed the weapon at a retreating back as he closed on a doomed skirmisher. When the spearhead was just inches from the man’s back, Atten gave it a quick push for extra momentum, piercing the skirmisher’s linen armor and breaking the weapon off as the man collapsed. The cavalryman whipped the spear back around, pointing the bronze spike on the lower end forward.

Ahead of him, he could see that Captain Vola had kept her spear intact, slaying one running soldier and knocking down another. Atten threw his broken spear into another skirmisher, then drew his kopis, swinging it at retreating heads as he crashed deeper into the disintegrating enemy formation. As he was at the front of the cavalry squadron, his horse was more likely to knock men out of the way than to trample them, but this tended to knock them off balance to be run down by other horsemen.

Moments later the horsemen emerged out the other side of the retreating formation. Atten followed his captain as she veered left, circling out and away from the battle. He looked back at the routing skirmishers, estimating that they’d killed or wounded close to half of the sorry bastards.

Once back out of arrow range, he slowed his mustang to a trot as the rest of the cavalry reformed around him and the captain. The cavalry squadron gave their horses a minute or two to rest. “Break’s over,” Vola ordered. “Form up and we’ll go fuck up those chicken-shits with the short bows!”

Atten and the others gave a cheer as they spurred their mounts from a trot to a gallop, then from a gallop to a charge.

map6Stage 6: Seeing the damage done to his skirmisher lines, General Willot orders measures taken to protect the archers and the rear of the phalanx. He has 50 or so hoplites taken from the back of the phalanx form two walls of spears, one on each side of the archer formations.

The defenders’ cavalry pull off their charge, not wanting to risk horsemen against armed hoplites. Instead the cavalry on the right flank ride behind the defenders’ lines and join up with the cavalry on the left flank. The combined cavalry force starts riding in a clockwise circle, throwing javelins into the unshielded right flank of the enemy phalanx.

Meanwhile, the defenders continue their fighting retreat back to the city.

General Willot ran to the back of the formation and grabbed a pair of hoplites. “You,” he ordered one, “take fifty hoplites from the back of the phalanx and form a spear wall to protect the archers. You,” he turned to the other, “run down to the other side and do the same.”

Both hoplites rushed to comply. Willot watched as the horses broke off their second charge at the sudden presence of spearmen between them and the archers. The general grinned a bit as the horsemen retreated back out of arrow range. Moments later, he frowned again when the cavalry from the far side of the battle rode behind the enemy formation to join with the horsemen on Willot’s side. The combined group of nearly one hundred cavalry began riding in a clockwise circle, hurling javelins into the unshielded side of the attacking phalanx.

Willot was starting to fucking hate these people.

map7Stage 7: Exhausted, inexperienced, and under-armored, the hoplites on Kel Fimmaril’s left flank break and rout, fleeing back toward the city. It’s important to note that in ancient warfare as much as 80% of an army’s casualties could come during the retreat if routed. Staying in formation provided soldiers with the greatest amount of safety during combat, once those lines broke, it became every man for himself. Meanwhile, the victorious army had the choice of staying in formation or breaking phalanx to pursue their routing foes. Often, driven wild by adrenaline and stoked at seeing their foes flee, the victors would pursue blindly, ignoring orders to stay in formation. Lost in their battle frenzy, Andivel’s hoplites break phalanx to pursue the routing defenders, despite General Willot’s orders to stay in formation.

It was a truism of phalanx warfare that the worst side of the formation to fight on was the left flank. Since the left arm was the shield arm, the left side of the army was better protected from missile attacks—thus it made sense to position the elite hoplites with the heaviest armor on the right flank, to keep that side better protected from arrows and javelins. And thus the poor bastards on the left flank had to face off against the heavier hoplites from the enemy’s right flank. As battles progressed, the left flanks of phalanxes always tended to press inward, giving battle lines a slight s shape when seen from above.

A first-time hoplite, Arriven had heard this, but had never expected to see it demonstrated so graphically. The lanky weaver’s apprentice stood on the left flank of Kel Fimmaril’s army, facing off against the elites on Andivel’s right flank. All he could hear around him was the clash of arms and the screams of wounded and dying. The soldier at the front of his line died screaming, making Arriven second in his line of soldiers.

“Piss yourself?” a veteran named Feddin asked from next to him.

Arriven just shook his head, trying to ignore the warmth down his legs.

“Don’t worry, it happens,” Feddin told him.

Tonniv, the soldier in front of Arriven, died from a spear thrust to the neck, suddenly placing Arriven at the front of the formation. To his left, Feddin took a spear in the eye, collapsing to the ground thrashing and screaming. With an open-faced helmet and shield as his only protection, Arriven felt naked there at the front of the line. Before him, the heavily-armored Andivelians pressed in.

A spear thrust against the top of his shield slammed the bronze rim up into Arriven’s face, breaking his nose and bloodying his lip. To his right, another hoplite caught a spear in the teeth, gurgling as he screamed and died. Panicking and wanting the fuck out of there, Arriven dropped his spear and turned to try to muscle his way through the remaining two rows of infantry.

His back fatally exposed to the enemy, he felt a spearhead enter through his tunic, just below his ribcage. Arriven fell against the shield of the next hoplite in line, throwing up blood across the man’s leather cuirass. The man screamed, dropping his own spear and turning to retreat.

Arriven was barely aware of the sound of spears being dropped around him. He collapsed to the ground amid a churning forest of legs and feet.

map8Stage 8: Seeing the lines breaking, Queen Viarra orders her archers back into the city while she draws her sword and rushes toward her fleeing soldiers. She ditches her helmet so that her soldiers can see it is her, then charges the enemy line, forcing her retreating hoplites to come to her defense or face the ultimate disgrace of seeing their ruler killed or captured by enemy soldiers. The queen’s gamble works, as nearly the whole left flank rallies about her as do many of the skirmishers, bringing the enemy charge to a halt.

The queen tore her helmet off and used her xiphos to cut the straps to her quivers, letting them fall behind her. Stepping directly into the path of the lead retreater, the queen squared her shoulders and blasted the man in the head with her forearm shield, laying him out cold. The impact of her shield against his helmet rang out down the formation, the noise and sudden act of violence toward one of her own hoplites causing the others to slow their pace in surprise.

Wasting no words, the queen shrieked out one of Captain Vola’s battle cries and continued to run toward the enemy line, shoving past the retreating mob. Elissa ran behind, following the copper mane that she loved so dearly. It took a moment to realize that the soldiers around her were doing the same, turning and drawing their swords.

Once out the other side of the group of defenders, Queen Viarra led the charge against the enemy lines. She grabbed the spear of the first foe she met, pulling him off balance and shoving her sword through his t-visor. Releasing her sword, she tossed the captured spear over to her right hand and faced off against the attackers like a member of General Derron’s elites. Around the queen, her fellow soldiers re-engaged the attacking hoplites, both battle lines out of phalanx.

Elissa watched over the shoulders of her fellow soldiers as the queen lunged forward, dropping to one knee and gut-checking the next enemy with her shield. Though his bronze armor absorbed the blow itself, the impact slammed him back into two of his teammates. Her majesty then stabbed her spear to her right, catching another attacker in the armpit.

But even with the renewed fervor, Elissa could tell that her majesty’s charge wouldn’t be enough. The handmaid panicked as the enemy line pressed in around her queen.

Then far to the left, Captain Vola’s battle horn sounded once again.

Meanwhile, seeing the attackers breaking phalanx, Captain Vola’s cavalry charges the right flank, hitting the out-of-formation hoplites hard and allowing their fellow defenders the chance to rally and reform their lines. Captain Vola personally rides down and slays General Willot as he attempts to bring the phalanx back into formation.

General Willot gave a cheer of victory as he watched Kel Fimmaril’s left flank turn. The enemy phalanx curved in on itself, hoplites dropping their spears and retreating back to the city gates, forcing the archers, slingers, and skirmishers to run ahead of them. He could hear the victorious shouts among his soldiers. Suck on that, General Derron, Willot thought silently.

His elation turned to dread as he realized that his own soldiers were breaking phalanx to pursue the fleeing defenders. “No, you fucking idiots!” he screamed at them. “Don’t pursue! Don’t pursue! Reform phalanx! Their cavalry is still intact! Reform the phalanx!” He ran along beside them, pointing at the hundred horsemen on their right flank.

Willot’s cries fell flat as the entire formation continued their reckless charge, perhaps only a dozen soldiers slowing to comply. Screaming triumphantly and lost in their excitement, the soldiers of Andivel never heard his orders. With the phalanx in formation, the enemy horse couldn’t even effectively attack the flanks or rear, as they’d quickly lose momentum against the tightly packed, heavily armored hoplites. Without that mobility, they’d be quickly and easily dispatched by the heavy spearmen. But with the phalanx scattered, the cavalry could smash deeper into the formation before having to fight their way out. The battle horn and rumble of hooves behind Willot told the general that the enemy cavalry commander had come to the same conclusion.

He turned around in time to see a cavalry soldier in bronze scales riding down upon him.

Aftermath: Captain Bevren, third in command of the attacking army, manages to get the phalanx back into formation. He orders the phalanx to disengage from the defenders and leads the withdrawal back toward the beach. The defenders gather what wounded they can find and retreat back into the city. While the battle is essentially a stalemate, both sides losing about the same number of soldiers, Captain Bevren and the remaining attackers soon discover that they’ve lost the siege thanks to Queen Viarra’s trickiness…


Battle scenes, part 1.4.1: Defense of Kel Fimmaril, the play-by-play (part 1)

Not very long ago, I went ahead and looked up online articles about writing battle scenes for fiction writers. One piece of advice that I hadn’t considered, but seems painfully obvious now, was to diagram the battle and its various stages. I first sketched out a basic set of diagrams, then drew them up on MS Paint. (P.S. if anyone can recommend a good free software for building maps and battle diagrams, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!)

At any rate, here’s the battle diagrams with the play-by-play discussion. (For previous battle discussion, see here, here, and here.) Blue denotes defending forces, red denotes attacking forces. Distance from beach to city, just over a quarter-mile. Diagrams only sort of to scale. Click on diagrams to see a larger version.

Key characters:
Kel Fimmaril (defenders)
Queen Viarra
General Derron (infantry commander)
Captain Vola (cavalry commander)
Captain Kellor (archer/skirmisher commander)
Elissa (queen’s handmaid)
Andivel (attackers)
General Varic (first in command)
General Willot (second in command)
Captain Bevran (hoplite captain, third in command)

Map key:
1) Heavy infantry (hoplites)
2) Archers
3) Skirmishers (javelins, slings)
4) Cavalry (spears and javelins)
V) Denotes Queen Viarra’s position in the army

map1Stage 1: While the defenders’ initial strategy was to wait out the siege from safely within the walls of their city, while Captain Vola’s cavalry harasses the besiegers from the island’s wooded areas, just hours before the attackers arrive, Queen Viarra suddenly orders the entire army outside the walls into defensive position just up the beach.

Attacking warships arrive in Kel Fimmaril’s harbor, several minutes ahead of the troop transports. Larger ships are trireme war galleys, smaller ships are biremes. Warships contain mainly hoplite marines in heavy armor.

Defenders have their light troops (archers, skirmishers) in position to harass the attackers while they unload from their ships. Queen Viarra commands one of the archer units. Unknown to the attackers, the defenders have “seeded” the beach with broken glass, pottery shards, caltrops, briars, fishhooks, and other manner of sharp debris. Bear in mind, hoplites usually fought barefoot. Also unknown to the attackers, the defenders have around a hundred cavalry hidden in the woods to the north and south of the battlefield.

The warships touched several minutes ahead of the transports, spreading out across the quarter-mile of shoreline stretching south from the docks. Willot felt a chill as the prow and keel scraped sand, slowing the trireme to a halt.

“Everybody on the beach!” he heard Captain Bevren bellow. “Let’s show these sons of bitches how we do things in Andivel!”

A cheer went up among the marines as they started bailing off the sides of the ships into the knee-deep water.

As the hoplites started to touch down, so did the enemy arrows. Willot leapt over the side into the water, crouching amongst his men. He felt an arrow thud against his shield as he stood up. A hoplite next to him went down with an arrow in the throat. Another dropped up ahead, screaming as a bronze-tipped missile shredded his calf muscle. For the most part, though, the arrows seemed to be inflicting minimal casualties against the heavily armored hoplites.

“Out of the water!” he heard Bevren order. “Start setting up shield walls, go!”

map2Stage 2: While the transports with the bulk of the troops are still arriving, the hoplite marines from the warships storm up the beach and start setting up shield walls, staggering their shields high and low to create portable barricades against the defenders’ slings, javelins, and arrows. The sharp debris on the beach causes numerous foot injuries among the attackers and slowing their advance. Unable to retaliate right away, the attacking hoplites hunker behind their shields until the transports arrive with their own archers and skirmishers. General Varic is slain by a defender’s arrow, placing General Willot in charge of the attacking army.

Once out on the beach, hoplites began to cluster together, kneeling and crouching in places where the beach debris was thinner. As they’d been trained, they overlapped their shields, staggering them high and low to create portable barricades for their comrades to crouch behind. Willot ran up and slid to a crouch behind where a dozen or so men had set up their makeshift wall. The man directly behind him fell, screaming, with a javelin in his chest.

Arrows, javelins, and stones continued to hail amongst his troops, some punching through shields and armor, some not. Field medics—hoplites with bandage packs and basic experience in wrapping wounds, staunching bleeding, setting bones, and pulling arrows—began scurrying around behind the shield walls, checking for injuries.

Captain Bevren crouched in next to the general, bleeding heavily from a shoulder wound. “Wrap this!” he ordered a nearby medic. “The transports have finally landed, General,” the captain updated him as the medic dressed his wound. “We should have archer support any time.”

Willot nodded, watching hoplites, archers, and skirmishers dislodge from the transports. The light-armored skirmishers and unarmored archers would suffer more from the enemies’ missiles, but would also provide missiles of their own against the defenders.

map3Stage 3: Once the troop transports arrive, the archers, skirmishers, and remaining hoplites begin disembarking to join the marines already on the beach. Once enough troops are in formation, the attacking hoplites band together in a solid phalanx and begin their advance toward the defenders’ phalanx. The attacker’s phalanx contains approximately 3,000 spearmen stacked eight men deep, while the defending phalanx contains around 1,800 spearmen stacked 5–6 deep to match the attackers’ length.

Meanwhile, the attacking archers form up behind the phalanx to offer cover fire, while their skirmishers move to the ends of the army to harass the defenders’ flanks with javelins. The defending archers and skirmishers fall back through their phalanx and reform behind the heavy infantry.

“You heard the general, men—phalanx formation!” Bevren bellowed to the soldiers. “Let’s get out of this fucking sand-trap! Form phalanx!” The hoplite captain could hear other officers passing the order along to form phalanx.

From all along the beach, hoplites converged to form the phalanx, a solid line of heavily armored soldiers, eight men deep. The archers fell back to form a firing line behind the infantry, while the skirmishers broke off to the right and left of the line, intent on harassing the enemy’s flanks. Arrows, stones, and javelins continued to rain down as the front line of hoplites brought their shields up, holding their spears waist high. The second row held their spears overhand sticking between the shoulders of the men in front. The remaining rows of soldiers held their spears straight up, creating a forest of poles above the formation. This spear-forest offered another layer of protection in that enemy missiles lost most of their momentum when they clipped one of the protruding poles.

Once the hoplites were more or less in formation, Captain Bevren used his booming voice to its best advantage once again. “Hoplites, forward, march!” he bellowed down the phalanx. Beginning at a walk but eventually speeding up to a cautious jog, the formation started toward the defenders.

The enemy archers and skirmishers began falling back before their advance.

map4Stage 4: The attacking phalanx moves off the beach to clash with the defenders’ phalanx. The archers and skirmishers on both sides continue to harass each other’s troops with missiles. several minutes into the battle, the defenders’ phalanx backs off in sort of a defensive “bounding overwatch,” where the back line opens up to allow the remaining lines to retreat between them. The phalanx then reforms, making the back line the new front line. The phalanxes reengage once again for several minutes, then once again the defenders’ line retreats. This process continues for about an eighth of a mile.

General Willot fought on the right flank of his own formation as his phalanx slowly drove back the defenders. He was surprised for a moment when a whistle sounded and the enemy ranks suddenly broke formation, quickly giving up ground. Without that pressure against their shields, several attacking hoplites in the front rank stumbled forward. The defenders’ back line turned sideways, holding their shields and spears close, thus opening up their formation to allow the rest of their ranks pass quickly between them. Once the rest of the army was safely behind them, the back line reformed to become the new front line. The ranks then reformed the phalanx, shields and spears ready.

Though difficult to perform, it was a common and effective leap-frog tactic that gave the defenders three advantages. First, it allowed them to give up a good twenty-five feet of ground without sacrificing troops. Second, it forced the attackers to tire themselves slightly, having to close the distance quickly or expose themselves to enemy missile fire. And thirdly, it gave the soldiers in the defenders’ front ranks a chance to rest up from their exertions.

Despite himself, Willot was impressed that even the rookie hoplites with light or no body armor had the discipline to perform this tricky maneuver. They’ve been practicing this, Willot thought to himself. Interesting.

His own hoplites in return jogged forward and reengaged Kel Fimmaril’s soldiers. The clash of arms resumed. Several minutes later, the defenders’ line broke again to reform another twenty-five feet back or so. It was an interesting tactic, but Willot couldn’t see what they gained from it. A smart commander would have just kept the whole army inside the walls, rather than risking losing it to a superior force in the field. The thought troubled Willot: from everything he’d heard General Derron of Kel Fimmaril was a smart commander.

To be continued…

The next socially-acceptable prejudice

Here is a list of reasons why on various occasions one or more people have looked at me like I’m the most ignorant and/or evil person on earth (no particular order):

  • I’m Catholic
  • I think applesauce is the best pancake/waffle topping ever
  • I find no redeeming value in rap music
  • I think split infinitives, sentence fragments, and Oxford commas kick ass
  • I don’t believe that religion and science are irreconcilable
  • I feel like American Sign Language follows a far more logical and efficient structure than spoken English
  • There was nothing predictable, inevitable, or cyclical about the fall (or rise) of the Roman Empire
  • I don’t particularly object to the idea of same-sex marriage
  • I fail to see M-dashes as an effective replacement for parentheses in prose
  • I believe the path to heaven has everything to do with one’s treatment of other people and next to nothing to do with strict adherence to the Bible

I’ve never been persecuted for any of these beliefs and opinions, per se, but I can think of at least three people who won’t talk to me ever again because I’ve expressed one or more of these in their presence. (And to be fair, there are people who’ve admitted that they like me better for several of these opinions.) It is very likely that I’ll have one or more readers who will stop reading before finishing the above list. And it is similarly likely that I’ll have one or more readers who will attempt to argue with one or more of the above points in their comments.

It was the “Catholic” part that got me the nastiest look from a friend of a friend during a book discussion group a few years ago. She gave me a fairly cold glare, then refused to look at me the rest of the night. As for the guy who gave me a funny look over the ASL thing, dude didn’t know there was more to Sign Language than the alphabet and was a firm believer maintaining the purity of the English language. I expect he’d have been more appalled by my thoughts on split infinitives and sentence fragments.

I’m a big enough man to acknowledge, however, that I haven’t always been a believer in several of the above beliefs and viewpoints. These are all views that I’ve come to throughout my life’s experiences, and I’m not afraid to admit that any of the above views may change just as my life experiences change. As an example: until just a few years ago, I was opposed to gay marriage. It was having the opportunity to get to know a few gay people and talk to them that helped change my attitude. I had the chance to finally learn that they’re not at all like the TV stereotypes—that for the most part they’re just regular people who happen to be in love with someone of the same gender.

On the other hand, my negative opinion of rap music hasn’t improved at all over the years. I disliked all forms of rap in the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, and still today—despite multiple efforts to acquire a taste for it because my friends were into it.

The trouble I’m seeing is that we seem to live in an American society where the most popular (most socially acceptable, really) reason to hate someone is because of their viewpoints—because their life’s experiences have led them to see things differently from how we see them. We seem to have this assumption that if someone who disagrees with us knew and had experienced the same things we know and have experienced, they would see things exactly the same way we see them. (And we do this despite the fact that we can all think of times in our lives when we’ve changed our stance on a viewpoint after gaining new information and a new understanding of the belief.) I find this to be a lazy assumption to make, as, for all we know, we might see things from the other person’s perspective if we shared their knowledge and experiences.

It troubles me further that every dispute seems to get reduced to a matter of good versus evil (or at least good versus ignorant). And it doesn’t have to even be about something particularly important. In the Total War: Rome 2 forums, I continuously see people call each other “f—ing retards” over whether or not Spartan hoplites could take Roman legionaries. Discussion forums in general have become the most verbally abusive places on the internet. I think that because these are not face-to-face arguments, there’s less sense of accountability for how we address each other, and thus people put less thought into the fact that there are living, breathing, thinking people who are seeing and reading their words. I’ve seen both pro- and anti-gun-control advocates declare that anyone on the other side of the debate “needs to be shot.” Similarly, I’ve seen anti-death-penalty folks tell the pro-death-penalty folks to go kill themselves and pro-lifers wish pro-choicers’ parents had gotten an abortion.

I mean, seriously? 

It’s unfortunate that so few of the people on either side of the above arguments ever attempt to understand where the people on the opposing side are coming from. They say to ‘never compromise on your beliefs,’ but I honestly have a lot of respect for people who are willing to compromise—willing to acknowledge merit in the opinions and viewpoints of those who disagree with them, rather than dismiss them as “part of the problem.”

New blog launch!

Just launched my new blog, it’s at Spent the afternoon putting together the new blog and writing the ‘about,’ ‘introduction,’ and ‘links’ as well as the first post. It’s based on my previous two entries about commenting on women fantasy characters in smart, practical attire. (See previous discussions here and here.)

As I’m still learning how to build a blog and learning WordPress’s system, please feel free to offer feedback on the page itself as well as the individual posts. And please enjoy.

New Blog Idea

My previous blog post about sartorially smart heroines gave me an idea for a new blog. I’ll go ahead and toss this out there just to get any kind of feedback and advice on my idea.

There are a lot of image blogs and galleries out there that celebrate the smartly dressed heroine in various sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, anime, modern adventure, etc. Fuck Yeah, Women in Armor, Shield Maidens, and Armored Women, are all very good ones, and I occasionally check up on Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor in hopes that it will start updating again. While these blogs feature amazing images of paintings, drawings, even photos of women characters in effective adventuring apparel, I find them to be sadly short on commentary and explanation as to why these are useful and effective outfits.

My idea is to start a new blog here on WordPress to offer commentary to go along with the images. I plan to discuss why I find particular outfits to be effective: what works in terms of protectiveness, utilitarianism, story (if applicable), setting, environment, character role, thematic appropriateness, and genre appropriateness. As such, I intend to focus mainly on the outfit, rather than the character herself—when character comes into play, it will be in terms of how the outfit helps her complete her particular role. As in, if I decide to offer a commentary on Princess Leia’s commando gear from Return of the Jedi, it will be for the sake of the uniform’s function on their intended mission, rather than, say, a contrast with her slave-girl costume from Jabba’s Palace.

My plan is to start out by offering a couple posts per week just to see if it creates any kind of interest from readers. If there is enough interest and demand, I may try to up that to 3–4 times per week. We’ll see what happens. What does everyone think on this idea? Please offer any thoughts, questions, or suggestions, or even just a ‘like’ if you think it’s a useful idea.

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