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/r/ScenesFromAHat, where everything's made up and the points don't matter

2011.03.13 16:32 DrJulianBashir /r/ScenesFromAHat, where everything's made up and the points don't matter

An unofficial, play-by-post version of the game "Scenes From a Hat" from the show "Whose Line is it Anyway?". Not affiliated with the show, ABC, or the CW.
[link]


2020.09.22 05:56 morshedulpython Watch NFR Live Stream 2020 Texas Rodeo Onlin

Watch NFR Live Stream 2020 Texas Rodeo Onlin

Watch NFR Live Stream 2020 Texas Rodeo Online


https://preview.redd.it/2rj1w5a2hmo51.jpg?width=640&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=54c4898d92e256fd00af0a9b6036c4325887a50c

When talking about 2020 Rodeo is basically it basically refers to an annual [National Finals Rodeo](https://nfrliverodeo.com/) event that is meant to happen on Thursday, December 3rd to the Saturday 12th at the Globe Life Field which is located in Arlington, Texas, United States. Additionally, the scheduled event is supposed to cover about Bareback Riding, Barrel Racing, Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping and Time-down Roping. Importantly, NFR live stream 2020. The NFR is shaping up to be one of the most competitive and entertaining rodeos that the world has ever seen. The top cowboys in the world will be putting their boots on and taking each other on to try and claim a world championship in their respective events. Mark your calendars and make sure you do not miss out on a single second of action this December.
Long before the Dallas Cowboys were winning Super Bowls in American football, real-life cowboys were competing in the “Super Bowl of Rodeo” in Dallas, Texas as early as 1959. The seven-competition tradition began there, but also saw stops in Los Angeles, California from 1962 to 1964, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma from 1965 to 1984, and Las Vegas host since 1985 but in 2020 The National Finals Rodeo will move from its usual home in Las Vegas to Globe Life Field in Arlington in what would be the park’s first major non-baseball event since its opening this past spring.
Rodeo fans are eagerly waiting to see theNFR live stream. The National Finals Rodeo is not the only showcase of the best cowboys but also showcase of patience, bravery and spurs.

https://preview.redd.it/0iu4d9h3hmo51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3973adb40d31c07bd721194cd1115ac28f45ea98
Venue
Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas, United States
Start Date
Thursday, 3rd December 2020
End Date
Saturday, 12th December 2020
Broadcast
The Cowboy Channel
Live Stream
Watch Here
So, don’t miss a single moment of the WNFR live action. Don’t worry, If you can’t attend in Texas NFR, we’ll discuss here how to watch National Finals Rodeo online real-time TV coverage.
Contents [hide]
  • 1 When is the National Finals Rodeo?
  • 2 Where will the NFR Texas 2020 be held?
  • 3 What TV Channel will the NFR be on?
  • 4 How to watch NFR Live Stream 2020 Online
  • 4.1 The Cowboys Channel
  • 4.2 PRCA on The Cowboy Channel+ App
  • 4.3 RFD-TV Now
  • 4.3.1 Supported platforms
  • 4.4 Sling TV
  • 4.4.1 Supported platforms
  • 4.5 2020 NFR Live Stream Using a VPN
  • 4.5.1 ExpressVPN
  • 4.5.2 IPVanish
  • 4.5.3 NordVPN
  • 5 Can I listen to NFR 2020 live stream on radio?
  • 6 NFR Live Online on Social Media
  • 6.1 YouTube
  • 6.2 Facebook
  • 6.3 Twitter
  • 6.4 Reddit
  • 7 How much are tickets to the NFR?
  • 8 Everything You Need to Know About NFR
  • 9 Main Performance
  • 9.1 Bareback Riding
  • 9.2 Steer Wrestling
  • 9.3 Team Roping
  • 9.3.1 Headers
  • 9.3.2 Heelers
  • 9.4 Saddle Bron Riding
  • 9.5 Tie-Down Roping
  • 9.6 Barrel Racing
  • 9.7 Bull Riding
  • 9.8 All-Around Champion
  • 10 Contestants
  • 11 Super Bowl of Rodeo
  • 12 Miss Rodeo America
  • 13 Wrangler NFR Preshow
  • 14 Cowboy Christmas
  • 15 Standings
  • 16 NFR Prize Money
  • 17 Wrangler NFR World Champions
  • 18 Final Words

When is the National Finals Rodeo?

For individuals who plan on attending the NFR festivities in Texas, there are a variety of sponsored activities to get involved with during the 10-day period between 9:00AM to 5:00PM (PT). Each night’s NFR performances will officially take place between 6:45PM to 9:00PM (PT). See complete NFR schedule page.

Where will the NFR Texas 2020 be held?

All of the NFR’s main performances will take place at the Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Normally home of the home of the Texas Rangers baseball team, this venue can seat up to 40,300 people and tickets will go on sale to the public on Sept. 25, 2020.

What TV Channel will the NFR be on?

The Cowboy Channel is the official media partner for the PRCA and Wrangler NFR 2020. Because this is an exclusive deal between the network and the PRCA, the NFR will not be shown on any other TV network during the 10-day period.

How to watch NFR Live Stream 2020 Online

The Wrangler NFR is a 10-day event that includes the fan-favorite Cowboy Christmas as well as the PRCA National Convention. The schedule also includes nightly Buckle Presentations, Benny Binion’s World Famous Wrangler NFR Bucking Horse Sale, the PRCA Awards Banquet and Gala also the Pro Rodeo League of Women Style Show and Luncheon. All performances will be covered by The Cowboy Channel live and simulcast on RFD-TV. Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) move to The Cowboy Channel (TCC) and RFD-TV beginning in 2020. The performances will also be streamed on the PRCA on Cowboy Channel Plus app. The PRCA on Cowboy Channel Plus app users will be able to stream events both live and recorded.

The Cowboys Channel

The ultimate annual rodeo event will now be seen by millions of people live simultaneously on two national TV networks. Also included in the deal is a wide variety of other PRCA programming, including expanded live coverage of the PRORODEO TOUR and the PRCA’s Xtreme Bulls Tour events which will result in a huge increase in the amount, availability and quality of PRCA PRORODEO coverage on The Cowboy Channel here. The Cowboy Channel now available on Dish Network-232, Direct TV-603, Cox-260 anytime, and anywhere. You can enjoy Rural Media on these platforms:
  • AT&T (Channel 568 & 1568)
  • Charter Spectrum
  • Comcast
  • Cox
  • DIRECTV (Channel 345)
  • DIRECTV NOW
  • DISH (Channel 231)
  • Mediacom
  • Sling TV’s Heartland Package
  • Suddenlink
To find out if RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel are available in your area, please click here and enter your zip code also choose your Pay TV provider.

PRCA on The Cowboy Channel+ App

The PRCA on The Cowboy Channel+ App will keep fans up-to-date with their favorite PRCA rodeos and athletes, as well as provide behind-the-scenes access to livestreamed and on demand PRCA rodeo events from around the country. The content can be accessed via the mobile app (available on Android and iOS), as well as any browser, smart TV or device. Viewers will be able to enjoy free access to up-to-the-minute news, bios, rodeos and highlights. Those with a subscription will unlock premium content such as up to six simultaneous live rodeo feeds, classic PRCA archived rodeos, The Cowboy Channel video-on-demand programming, and the only place viewers can stream the National Finals Rodeo (NFR). The Cowboy Channel+ is available for only $9.99 a month or save up to 25% and purchase the whole year for $89.99. To sign up for the PRCA on The Cowboy Channel+ App, visit www.cowboychannelplus.com.

RFD-TV Now

RFD-TV Now delivers both real-time NFR 2020 LIVE programming as well as an expansive on-demand library with access to more than 90 shows such as Hee Haw, Opry Encore, The Best of the Marty Stuart Show, Ag PHD, and FarmHer, as well as daily broadcasts of Market Day Report and Rural Evening News. RFD-TV Now is available on a huge lineup of streaming players and devices including Roku players, Roku TVs, and Amazon’s Fire TV. RFD-TV Now costs $9.99 a month or $89.99 a year.
Supported platforms
Can I watch RFD-TV on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast? Yes! you can here is the complete list:
  • Android 4.4+
  • Android TV 5.0+
  • Apple TV 9.0+
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • IOS 9.0+
  • Roku
  • Web: Chrome, Firefox, IE11, Edge

Sling TV

Sling TV includes RFD TV as part of their Sling Blue Heartland Extra package for $35 a month. Sling TV has 30 channels as part of their plan, including A&E, AMC, BET, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, Disney Channel, E!, ESPN, Food Network, Fox News, Freeform, FX, HGTV, History, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, MSNBC, Paramount Network, Syfy, TBS, TLC, TNT, Travel Channel, truTV, and USA Network.
This is the full Sling TV Channel List.
Every Sling TV subscriber can record to their 10 hours Cloud DVR, while 3 users can stream at the same time.
Supported platforms
Sling TV supports a wide-range of devices to stream including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, iPhone/iPad, Web Browsers, Android Phone/Tablet, Android TV, Xbox, Samsung Smart TV, LG Smart TV, and VIZIO Smart TV. Sling TV is not available to stream on PlayStation and Nintendo.

2020 NFR Live Stream Using a VPN

Sling TV is only available to residents of the United States. Even viewers located in our neighbor to the north, Canada, cannot access the Sling TV service. In these situations, a reliable and encrypted VPN (Virtual Private Network) can prove to be helpful. A VPN will allow an individual to remotely connect to a server located in a different country that allows the desired website viewing to take place. The following VPNs can prove to be very useful:
  • ExpressVPN
  • This source offers a selection of servers that spans over 90 countries. Currently, they offer monthly ($12.95/month), semi-annual ($59.95/6-months), and annual ($99.95) plans. Included with each plan is the offer of a 30-day money back guarantee in the event that a user is dissatisfied.
  • IPVanish
  • The offering from this source includes servers that span over 60 countries. The current subscription plans consist of monthly ($10/month), quarterly ($26.99/3-months), and annual ($77.99/year) options. Included with each plan is the offer of a 7-day money back guarantee in the event that a user is dissatisfied.
  • NordVPN
  • While maintaining a selection of servers that spans over 60 countries, this VPN source currently has subscription plans that consist of monthly ($11.95/month), semi-annual ($54/6-months), annual ($83.88/year), and bi-annual ($95.75/2-years) options.
Once you have connected to US’ Fastest server, the Sling website will instantly be accessible to you. Simply subscribe to Sling Live TV service and enjoy live streaming of all your favorite TV channels right at home!

Can I listen to NFR 2020 live stream on radio?

This season, you can hear daily from the ten days of the Wrangler NFR, scheduled for Dec. 3-12 (find an affiliate near you), as well as on SiriusXM serving rural America and Canada and is available to more than 34 million vehicles and homes. RURAL RADIO also offers a broad slate of Western sports programming year-round featuring Western Sports Roundup and coverage of WPCA and PRCA events.
Launched in March 2019 under the theme of “All Dirt, All Rodeo, All Year,” NFR Extra follows current and former rodeo contestants, country music performers, stock contractors, rodeo industry insiders and more. New episodes are released weekly with the plan to broadcast daily from the ten days of the Wrangler NFR, scheduled for Dec. 3-12. If not listening on RURAL RADIO Channel 147 on SiriusXM, NFR Extra can be accessed at NFRexperience.com or on Spotify, Apple Podcast, iHeart or anywhere fans like to listen.

NFR Live Online on Social Media

One increasingly popular method of viewing NFR live stream comes in the form of social media viewing. The way this typically works is through an individual using their mobile device to live stream the event to a social media platform of their choosing. The most popular platforms for this method are as follows:
  • YouTube
  • The most popular video-sharing site on the planet has historically built its name upon uploaded videos. However, the site now allows live-streaming capabilities, making it perfect for free viewing of live events such as NFR, as long as a streaming user can be found.
  • Facebook
  • Various individual accounts or pages are bound to be streaming the National Finals Rodeo events. Interested individuals will have to search for these opportunities throughout the platform as it gets closer to the festivities.
  • Twitter
  • This platform has increasingly become the go-to place for action as it happens in real-time. That makes it a prime destination when searching for all things related to NFR. A quick search bar or hashtag follow will almost assuredly lead to the discovery someone streaming the NFR.
  • Reddit
  • Mainly known as a news aggregation site, this platform has increasingly become a well-known discussion forum hub. Within those forums, there is undoubtedly discussion concerning how to watch the NFR live stream on Reddit.

How much are tickets to the NFR?

National Finals Rodeo Tickets have been placed on this website by our trusted brokers, who offer those tickets in a range of values. Have a look at all the ticket prices and select the tickets which best suit your budget. 2020 Wrangler NFR new ticket prices are as follow:
  • Balcony: Individual – $76, Season – $760, 4pk – $304, 6pk – $456
  • Plaza: Individual – $105, Season – $1,050
  • Gold Buckle: Individual – $300, Season – $3,000

Everything You Need to Know About NFR

Beyond the payouts for the Cowboys, the PRCA estimates that the event brings in about $90 million annually to the Las Vegas economy. Furthermore, recent attendance stats have shown that 177,565 rodeo enthusiasts decked out in Wrangler jeans, Justin boots and cowboy hats attended events at the Thomas & Mack with an additional 40,000 fans who watched at the 40 hotels who hosted watch parties. It is during this rare time of the year that many marquees on the Strip have the face of bull riders replace DJs’ faces.

Main Performance

Seven main events have historically taken place at the NFR. Each event has its own monetary prizes that are paid out, and those payouts are determined by each top-placing competitor’s rank in relation to the event’s overall prize pool. Individuals placed in the top-six of a particular event are paid out accordingly, while individuals placed in the top-eight of the overall NFR are also paid out. The NFR’s main events are as follows:
  • Bareback Riding
  • This consists of a horseback cowboy using a bareback rigging as the primary means of staying on top of the horse. This grip has often been compared to the equivalent of hanging on to a suitcase handle and makes for the only support that a cowboy has on top of the wildly bucking horse. An 8-second ride constitutes a qualified ride and the cowboys is judged on riding technique.
  • Steer Wrestling
  • This act involves a horseback steer wrestler, alternatively known as a “bulldogger”, bringing a fast-moving steer to a halt on its back as fast as possible. The bulldogger utilizes a combination of strength, technique, speed, and precision to jump off of their horse from a designated starting point and onto a steer sprinting off from the same starting point.
  • Team Roping
  • Headers
  • One of two horseback team members whose job is to successfully rope the head of the steer in one of three tries as fast as possible; around both horns, around one horn and the head, or around the neck.
  • Heelers
  • One of two horseback team members whose job is to successfully rope the hind legs of the steer as soon as the header has successfully done their part. To avoid a 5-second penalty for roping only one hind leg, the heeler must rope both hind legs.
  • Saddle Bron Riding
  • Similar to Bareback Riding, the goal of the horseback cowboy is to maintain their balance as much as possible for 8 seconds while the horse is bucking. In this event, however, the cowboy sits on a saddle while using one hand to hold on to a thick rein that’s attached to the horse’s halter.
  • Tie-Down Roping
  • This event centers around a cowboy on horseback attempting to restrain a calf by throwing a well-timed rope loop that’s attached to the cowboy’s horse. The cowboy and the calf both leave from a designated starting point, with the calf getting a slight head-start. The cowboy depends on the horse to mitigate any slack in the rope after dismounting, then proceeds to tie-up the calf as fast as possible.
  • Barrel Racing
  • This is a women’s event where horseback cowgirls race against the clock to complete a strategically set course where barrels are set up as landmarks. The intent is for the cowgirls to complete a cloverleaf-shaped run around 3 barrels placed in a triangular formation as fast as possible. Barrels that are accidentally knocked over result in 5-second penalties.
  • Bull Riding
  • The cowboy on top of the bull has the main objective of staying on top and maintaining their balance for 8 seconds. They are judged based on technique and can earn extra points by spurring while the bull is bucking. The cowboy stays on top of the bull by grasping a flat braided rope, which also wraps around the bull’s chest.
  • All-Around Champion
  • Being crowned the All-Around Champion speaks volumes about the versatility and high level of talent exhibited by the winning cowboy. In order to receive this honor, the cowboy must have won the most prize money in a given year and competed in at least 2 NFR events while earning at least $3,000 in each of those events. This is widely known as the highest honor bestowed by the PRCA.

Contestants

There are 120 cowboys from all over the United States that will step foot as competitors within the NFR. A full list of the contestants can be found on the event’s Contestant Roster page. The top 10 ranked competitors are as follows:
  1. Tuf Cooper – Tie-Down Roping
  2. Trevor Brazile – Tie-Down Roping
  3. Sage Kimzey – Bull Riding
  4. Tim O’Connell – Bareback Riding
  5. Jacobs Crawley – Saddle Bronc Riding
  6. Caleb Bennett – Bareback Riding
  7. Ryder Wright – Saddle Bronc Riding
  8. Rhen Richard – Team Roping (Header)
  9. Shane Hanchey – Tie-Down Roping
  10. Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi – Barrel Racing

Super Bowl of Rodeo

The NFR has consistently been referred to with this phrase because of the sheer massiveness of its popularity and money-generating power within the context of rodeo. The event is considered to be so big and consistently sold-out that the UNLV basketball team that normally uses the NFR’s venue during the season has to annually build its schedule in a way that keeps the team on the road for the duration of the NFR festivities.

Miss Rodeo America

This event is a pageant that takes place in conjunction with the NFR as part of the NFR’s overall festivities. State rodeo queen winners from across the United States compete for the Miss Rodeo America crown and put themselves in line to potentially win $20,000, among other smaller prizes. In addition to the prizes, the winner is expected to travel to various rodeos throughout the United States and to promote the rodeo during the subsequent year.

Wrangler NFR Preshow

The former Miss Rodeo America titleholder is no stranger to the excitement of the “Super Bowl” of Western competition, with six years of WNFR reporting under her belt. She is most excited about bringing the pre-show to the fans. Be prepared for this Wrangler NFR Preshow, don’t miss a single moment of the Pro Rodeo live action.

Cowboy Christmas

For those that need a break from the constant adrenaline that comes with the NFR’s main events, the Cowboy Christmas experience allows for a welcomed change of pace. This portion of NFR centers around cowboy shopping and serves as a marketplace for hundreds of exhibitors from the United States and Canada to sell to thousands of eager buyers. Typically taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Cowboy Christmas will also move to Arlington, TX in 2020. All exhibitors will have the opportunity to Opt-In/Opt-Out for 2020.

Standings

The 2019 PRCA season has been extremely competitive as a lot of the top cowboys are gunning for glory. Tuf Cooper sits atop of the all-around standings and many experts believe that he is going to win his second all-around title in a row. There will be a lot of close competitions and many of the world championships could come down to the last day. You can check the current standings here.

NFR Prize Money

The total payout for the entire event is $10 million and will remain at that amount until 2020. After that, the amount will be adjusted and remain in place for the subsequent five years. All 120 qualifying contestants receive $10,000 as part of participating. This year’s detailed payout structure can be found on the PRCA’s 2019 Wrangler NFR Payoff page.

Wrangler NFR World Champions

2019 All Around World Champion
Stetson Wright
The 2019 NFR World Champions
Bareback Riding
Clayton Biglow
Steer Wrestling
Ty Erickson
Team Roping (Header)
Clay Smith
Team Roping (Heeler)
Wesley Thorp
Saddle Bronc Riding
Zeke Thurston
Tie-Down Roping
Haven Meged
Barrel Racing
Hailey Kinsel
Bull Riding
Sage Kimzey
For a full recap, please click here.

Final Words

All in all, the National Finals Rodeo is a landmark event and a de facto defining period of time within any given rodeo year. For anyone who is a fan of rodeo, the main events and the surrounding festivities are must-see events and must-participate experiences if the financial means allow for it. Don’t miss a minute of the exhilarating NFR live stream action this year from December 3rd until December 12th.
submitted by morshedulpython to nfronline [link] [comments]


2020.09.18 03:40 futureme0388 17/09/20

Hi FM,
Today has been alright, better than unproductive but not one of my best days either. I did 2 website front pages with a code along and I then added some extra touches to the app for H. All in all I did about 4.5 hours work so not that bad.
I spent the first half of the day playing alpha centauri again. I don’t even know why I bother since I cheat so much by savescumming that it isn’t any real challenge. Anyway, I enjoy it.
I spoke to H again. She said she’s been feeling sick from eating solid food and that’s why she didn’t talk to me. She mentioned using her old laptop and I think I came across as kind of pushy when I said to get it out. Then again, the way she acts, just dropping me at the drop of a hat I don’t think it’s really unreasonable. I mean I can understand if she’s sick, but the way she just doesn’t even bother to text despite plans is pretty bad and I feel like a pushover but constantly accepting it. Really, do I even care? Should I? It will most likely not work out anyway and getting involved emotionally isn’t what I need right now. I do like her, I do, personality wise and I do think she’s quite pretty and cute but can’t honestly say I feel intense sexual attract like I used to with R or YY to a lesser degree and isn’t that something I should want from a potential life partner? I mean I could accept it, but I did get a buzz out of having a gf who many people desired, like she was a prize, and I don’t think I will fee that from H. So shallow right? Although really it isn’t so bad since I do keep carrying on and pursuing anyway. Although I don’t have many options either, I feel fat, out of shape, old, and unsuccessful. I am working on it but I just want it to happen quicker. Honesty being single isn’t that bad at all really, even sex isn’t something I miss much although after so long it would be nice. Anyway, that is me for tonight really. I sent some pics to H of the sites I built and she didn’t message back, I don’t think I will bother with good night or good morning, she doesn’t, so why should I? Just focus on me and keep her and us at a distance. The person I want will come along one day, and even if she doesn’t I’m sure I will be happy and successful in myself and achieve my dreams. It is true through, despite setbacks, I did achieve my goals to varying degrees in many things and a career in web design, a house, money, and social status are within my grasp.
I deleted R’s best friend from fb today. I almost deleted her as well but couldn’t quite do it. I don’t feel anything for her anymore, it is well and truly dead, which is a good thing. I guess a part of me doesn’t want to seem like I’m mad, and another part wants her to one day be able to see what she missed out on? Although honestly even that is becoming harder and harder to care about as my healing approaches full circle.
That is all I have to say really. I will focus on myself and become you future me, someone who is successful in money, relationships, and time. I will make it I swear.
G
submitted by futureme0388 to u/futureme0388 [link] [comments]


2020.09.13 23:34 InterstellarTech I asked 15 social media pros for their tips on Instagram marketing

Chris Makara:
As with any social media platform, Instagram allows businesses of all sizes a great opportunity to connect with others on a more personable level. Check this out if your business is just getting started with Instagram. With that said, it is key to be as personable as you can on Instagram, and not just another logo.
First you must know your audience. An easy way to do this is by getting a list of your Instagram followers into Microsoft Excel so you can start filtering their bios. In Excel you will be able to slice and dice the data to see common characteristics among your followers.
Once you have a better idea of who your audience is, you can really get more personable with your followers.
This can be done with the type of images you post as well as the way you interact with those who leave comments. You’ll need to be sure you use imagery they relate to as well as respond to comments in tones that appeal to them.
Sure, you want to be able to make sales for your company, but constantly pushing your followers to buy can very well have a negative effect. Instead of focusing on “salesy” content, why not use imagery that shows how others use your product.
As an ecommerce site, you more than likely sell tangible items. No one wants to see your stale product image. Instead, why not use your product in action. Even better if you can have images of real customers using your products.
David Schneider, NinjaOutreach:
I believe the key to getting started on Instagram is the same for many other social media platforms – network with influencers. It is certainly possible to build an audience from scratch but it is difficult. Start by identifying influencers in your niche. Engage with them.
This can be on Instagram itself or on another medium like their website, etc. Get to know them, and then you can begin working with them if you have common goals. This will boost your Instagram presence much quicker than going it alone.
Neil Patel:
Ecommerce businesses should connect with users who have high follower counts that are engaged and would be potentially interested in their products. Once you have a list of users, I would work out deals where you give them free products in exchange for the promotion of your business.
When doing this make sure you have a lot of Instagram users promoting your ecommerce company at the same time. Making a big splash is much more effective than slowly doing it.
Richard Lazazzera, A Better Lemonade Stand:
My number one Instagram strategy for getting massive exposure and building a huge audience is to find large Instagram accounts that are already catering to your demographic and pay for sponsored posts on them. It’s the cheapest CPM (Cost-per-thousand impressions) of any ad platform right now.
The fact is, there are tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of Instagram accounts being built solely for the purpose of selling featured shout-outs to companies and brands. Many times, one person runs multiple, sometimes dozens of accounts that have hundreds of thousands of followers in a variety of niches like health, fitness, cars, sports, fashion, nutrition, and a hundred other niches.
Once you find one that targets your ideal demographic and follow them, Instagram will show you “similar accounts”. You’ll know these accounts accept paid sponsored posts if they have an email address in the bio. Usually it will say something like “For Business Inquires” as well.
From there, it’s as simple as emailing them, telling them (briefly) about your brand/company (the smart ones are also looking for a good fit) and asking for their sponsored post pricing.
Once you strike a deal with the account, make sure you review their past posts to see what type/style of photos receive the most engagement and consider this when you’re creating your ad image/copy.
Your best bet is to link back to your Instagram account, instead of trying to send the users directly to your website since Instagram doesn’t allow linking in comments.
Using this tactic makes it easy to gain thousands or tens of thousands of new followers in your target demographic overnight. The key now is cultivating these new followers with great content that appeals to them and slowly introducing them to your brand.
Melinda Fleming, Curated Cool:
Instagram is a visual medium where a lot of business owners might forget how art and a beautifully laid out IG page is paramount to success. You can’t just sell to your audience the entire time, but use a 50/50 rule on inspiration meets selling. Using posts from other people that have used your product and photographed it in a beautiful way, then tagging the person in the post title is great idea. Also creating a custom hashtag for your business is a great marketing tool. hashtags are the new search engines.
Ryan Stewart, Webris:
By far the best option (for any business) is influencer marketing. With no ads available to the greater public, influencer marketing is the only real white hat way to experience explosive growth on Instagram. The concept is simple – do some research, find Instagram users with large followings who post content related to your business / product, follow them, send them an inbox message asking if they would be interested in promoting your product for a price. 99% of them will. This can get a little costly, but it’s by far the most powerful method right now.
Ivana Taylor, DIYMarketers:
Instagram is all about getting to know the person behind the business. If you’re running an ecommerce store, then allowing your customers to know YOU both personally and professionally will attract more of your ideal customers and increase loyalty. You can use your existing Instagram profile – BUT – this means no embarrassing posts. Encourage your customers to send you photos with your product or engaging with your service. Upload pictures that show people who you are – if you like flowers, add pictures of flowers. Let your customers get into a relationship with you.
Joe Brown, MediaJunkies:
The truth is that digital consumers have the world in the palm of their hands. No matter how many apps there are, no matter how many websites there are, consumers will keep using media that is easily to digest and easy to use.
Too many functions, too many algorithms, too many marketers on social networks make consumers switch platforms as quickly as they join them.
This is why Instagram is a booming network where you only see what your network is posting, where the only thing you need to do is to swipe up and down.
As a marketer that means several crucial things:
The attention span is even shorter than on any other network. The life span of a post is shorter than on any other network. You cannot be identified as a marketer or your audience will run away. The solution is to use Instagram as a visual story teller who shares content that actually matters to people. This is a massive opportunity for everyone who is keen to build a brand with real people who are really interested in what you have to say and to show.
The future will hold how Instagram can help driving brands. The announcement of Instagram ads and the possibility of an in-build ‘Shop Now’ button make Instagram an exciting space to watch.
John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing:
Ecommerce has really been able to take Instagram by the horns and run with it. Not only is it a great way to showcase your product for free, but you can interact with and form a relationship with your fans. Utilizing hashtags, contests, and purchasing directly in Instagram can help your fan base grow from your local neighborhood to a worldwide ecommerce site. Be interesting and engage.
Asia Zukowska, Colibri.io:
Post images which engage your potential customers – See what’s interesting for your potential customers. Start by checking the most popular hashtags on Tagsforlike.com Create your own hashtag & encourage to use it – Check out how simple it is Connect Facebook & Twitter – you can post straight to Facebook/Twitter and Tumblr when uploading any image to Instagram Invite friends – Instagram allows you to find friends that already exist across yours social networks Run contests for your Followers – Select a unique hashtag for your competition and check its effects and increase engagement with River Create Instagram only offers – It allows you to attract new followers that are interested in special offers that they wouldn’t see anywhere else Ask for engagement from users – You can do this in 2 ways: a) ask for opinions b) or ask for like and show your post to other people like here Use Instagram to show off new product – Instagram is the perfect way to sneak product peeks with followers Show Instagram galleries on your site – This is awesome social proof, increasing product exposure on Instagram Partner with Influencers – This is a great way to reach new users
Aubrey Rose Madrona, SEO Hacker:
Instagram is one of the biggest image heavy social media platforms today; however, many e-commerce sites are unaware of its value. With the right strategy and content. Instagram can help the company increase its reach, engagement, and conversion.
Aside from promoting products to potential buyers from the online store, you can increase engagement with your brand by showing them behind-the-scenes moments through Instagram. By doing this, you will be able to build a strong personal bond with your customers. The platform can also be used for promotional strategies such as online contests using customized hashtags. Just make sure that every post ties back to your e-commerce website by reminding them to click the link on your bio.
Instagram is mobile-friendly and also released a web-based interface that makes it accessible via personal computer, this would mean reaching both mobile users and desktop users.
Darren DeMatas, SelfStartr:
I would start by creating a lifestyle persona of your ideal buyer. What do they like to do? How do they use your products? Where will they use your products? Once you nail that down, I would spend a few hours taking lifestyle photographs of your products in action.
Nike posts images of their products, but their page is heavily focused on sport lifestyle images. Research shows that consumers seek comfort and self-expression in the brands they choose.
A lot of new ecommerce sites make the mistake of sharing nothing but their product photos on Instagram. While product photos on a white background are ideal for your store, they are boring on Instagram. If your Instagram page is nothing but a product catalog and sales promotions, you’re doing it wrong.
You don’t have to hire a professional photographer, either. As long as you have a good camera, photogenic friends and decent lighting you can create images that generate a connection with your target audience. You can also repurpose the images on blog posts, too. A two-hour photo shoot can go a long way.
Contests and promotions are great tactics, but unless you understand your buyer, you’ll lose traction quickly. You can’t build a brand on discounts.
Jock Purtle, Digital Exits:
As a e-commerce business broker having sold many e-commerce businesses we have found that a lot of businesses can be grown up to $5m per year in sales just from Instagram marketing and community. The main strategies that founders have been using is creating customer loyalty and following on Instagram and then developing products that their customers want.
Some tips on gaining users. Do a promoted page swap where you reach out to an account and get them to promote you as well as you promote them. Another strategy is to pay for sponsored posts where you pay generally between $50 – $500 for an account to post about you, your brand or your product on their account.
Find Jock on Twitter u/Jockpurtle
Alex Ditty,SEEN:
Instagram is all about user-generated content. If your goal is to promote your products on the visual network then you need to develop a strategy that encourages and utilizes content from your community. Incentivizing your customers to share photos of your products with contests and campaigns will create valuable authentic promotion to their followers. Displaying this content on your website enables you to show your products from your customer’s perspective.
Additionally, you can increase awareness of your products by leveraging Instagram influencers like those found in the Snapfluence network. When you tap influencers who drive engagement with your target customers, they’re able to help create awareness for the items you’re selling by getting them into the feeds of those customers. Successful Instagram marketing for e-commerce will depend on driving UGC and engaging your community.
Rodney Hess,BBR Creative:
With Facebook’s constantly declining organic reach, Instagram has quickly become the social media platform for ecommerce businesses on a budget. Make Instagram a central portion of social media marketing strategy. Offer discounts and promotions for your followers. Create a hashtag that customer’s can use to have their images featured on your page. If you’re savvy enough, you could have 100% user-generated content on your Instagram page.
Original post here
Edit: TL;DR: Know your audience, Find influencers, Run sponsored posts, Go big, Form a relationship with your fans, Proportion your products/engagement posts, Use a separate business account!
submitted by InterstellarTech to growth_marketing [link] [comments]


2020.09.11 01:36 MaTeM_From_Russia [H] Kara CW FT 0.237x, M9 Doppler FN Phase 2 [W] Any Arcanas (TB/PA Arcanas with lower price) OR TF2 Keys OR CS:GO Items


Item Exterior Float SS B/O in Any Arcanas (TB / PA Arcanas) B/O in Pure TF2 Keys B/O in CSGO Items (Usually means downgrade) Tradable?
Karambit Crimson Web (SOLD !) FT 0.237x Kara CW FT 22 (20) 225 550 $ Yes
M9 Bayonet Doppler (Phase 2) FN 0.06x M9 Dop P2 24 (22) 240 580 $ Yes


Mostly interested in:

Not interested in:
M9 Bayonet Forest DDPAT FN
Bayonet Night FN
Souvenirs
Guns with expensive stickers (Kato14, Howl...) and etc.]

Feel free to inspect from my inventory
All Float Values can be found here
Don't add me please
Use Steam Offers
submitted by MaTeM_From_Russia to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]


2020.09.10 11:05 Corwin-of-Amber AITA Offering a partnership with a friend instead of purchasing art for a webcomic.

I'm creating a webcomic, plan on publishing 20 pages at launch and one a day, five days a week. Self publishing a book to sell online and at conventions (if COVID every goes away) When the comic gets to 100 pages, thwn every 100 or so after if it sells well enough. As well as selling Merch T-shirts, Hats, and such.
I'm investing around $1300 for Website hosting for a year, domain purchasing, photoshop one year, T-shirt printer, embroidery machine, misc. merch supplies, and money set aside for publishing the first book.
I have the website designed with place holder art. Characters, a rough outline story for approximately 200 pages. 25 pages of story boarded pages, with really bad art, I did try to learn. And talked with serval businesses about advertising requirements for generating revenue.
I asked an artist friend, who is employed full-time not in art, if they wanted to partner with me I do writing, storyboard, admin, and merchandise (acquisition, sale, production, and shipping). I provide them with a photoshop license. They do the art. We split income after license fees, web hostings for a second year, and the next rounds of book publishing (about $500) 50/50 NOT repaying my initial investment. If after the first year they no longer wish to be partners I would purchase their share for 50% of assets, merchandise and next year's projected income or $700 whichever is greater. I also offered to host their own page and merch on our site with a lager % going to them from those sales.
They shot me down hard not for lack of interest, but because it was an insulting offer to expect them to work for free for a year with the hopes of possibly making money. Called me an asshole and a choosingbegger, blasted me on social media, got quite a few other friends to call me out.
I could understand if they said no because they didn't like the terms or wanted to negotiate. But am I actually out of my mind and an asshole?
Side note the project is moving forward. I negotiated an art asset purchase for characters and backgrounds I can patch together myself.
submitted by Corwin-of-Amber to AmItheAsshole [link] [comments]


2020.09.10 02:22 MaTeM_From_Russia [H] Kara CW FT 0.237x, M9 Doppler FN Phase 2 [W] Any Arcanas (TB/PA Arcanas with lower price) OR TF2 Keys OR CS:GO Items


Item Exterior Float SS B/O in Any Arcanas (TB / PA Arcanas) B/O in Pure TF2 Keys B/O in CSGO Items (Usually means downgrade) Tradable?
Karambit Crimson Web FT 0.237x Kara CW FT 22 (20) 225 550 $ Yes
M9 Bayonet Doppler (Phase 2) FN 0.06x M9 Dop P2 24 (22) 240 580 $ Yes


Mostly interested in:

Not interested in:
M9 Bayonet Forest DDPAT FN
Bayonet Night FN
Souvenirs
Guns with expensive stickers (Kato14, Howl...) and etc.]

Feel free to inspect from my inventory
All Float Values can be found here
Don't add me please
Use Steam Offers
submitted by MaTeM_From_Russia to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]


2020.09.09 02:16 MaTeM_From_Russia [H] Kara CW FT 0.237x, M9 Doppler FN Phase 2 [W] Any Arcanas (TB/PA Arcanas with lower price) OR TF2 Keys OR CS:GO Items


Item Exterior Float SS B/O in Any Arcanas (TB / PA Arcanas) B/O in Pure TF2 Keys B/O in CSGO Items (Usually means downgrade) Tradable?
Karambit Crimson Web FT 0.237x Kara CW FT 22 (20) 225 550 $ Yes
M9 Bayonet Doppler (Phase 2) FN 0.06x M9 Dop P2 24 (22) 240 580 $ Yes


Mostly interested in:

Not interested in:
M9 Bayonet Forest DDPAT FN
Bayonet Night FN
Souvenirs
Guns with expensive stickers (Kato14, Howl...) and etc.]

Feel free to inspect from my inventory
All Float Values can be found here
Don't add me please
Use Steam Offers
submitted by MaTeM_From_Russia to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]


2020.09.08 01:35 MaTeM_From_Russia [H] Sport Gloves Vice BS, Kara CW FT 0.237x, M9 Doppler FN Phase 2 [W] Any Arcanas (TB/PA Arcanas with lower price) OR TF2 Keys OR CS:GO Items


Item Exterior Float SS B/O in Any Arcanas (TB / PA Arcanas) B/O in Pure TF2 Keys B/O in CSGO Items (Usually means downgrade) Tradable?
Sport Gloves Vice (SOLD !) BS 0.791x (Rank #23) Gloves Vice 33 (30 + 20 $ adds) 345 860 $ Yes
Karambit Crimson Web FT 0.237x Kara CW FT 22 (20) 225 550 $ Yes
M9 Bayonet Doppler (Phase 2) FN 0.06x M9 Dop P2 24 (22) 240 580 $ Yes


Mostly interested in:

Not interested in:
M9 Bayonet Forest DDPAT FN
Bayonet Night FN
Souvenirs
Guns with expensive stickers (Kato14, Howl...) and etc.]

Feel free to inspect from my inventory
All Float Values can be found here
Don't add me please
Use Steam Offers
submitted by MaTeM_From_Russia to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]


2020.09.07 12:31 viceVersailes The Humble Nemesis: Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The Humble Nemesis is a Parahumans-adjacent story, born from this prompt. Wanting to explore a character from another prompt, I was keen to see if I could write a sympathetic villain that was powerful without being shallow or boring, and I wanted to experiment with a take on the Parahumans setting that had more international history. I didn't succeed, but this was what resulted.
Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here. Part 5 exists as a draft that I probably won't complete unless my interest in this story gets piqued again. Below is a slight edit of the original.
---
Names say a lot. You can know nothing about a cape but their name, and you'll already have opinions. They're a message in a bottle, a distilled form of a parahuman's intent and nature. A good name can make a career, but it can also inspire with hope, or comfort with humour.
When I was a hero, back in the Golden Days when powers began to emerge, I spent three weeks and seventeen different configurations trying to find one for myself. I'd yet to stop my first robbery, or solve any configurations for flight. I hadn't even saved a cat from a tree. Nevertheless, I sat alone at home, reshaping the newly forged mass of power in my mind through every Thinker ability I could conceive of. Social Movement Mapping, Moral Codification, Precognitive Empathic Sight- I stared at the world through eyes made of energy and tried to figure out how I wanted it to see me.
Eventually, I settled on Humble. I had great power, so I had a great responsibility, and my name should have been a reminder of that. It would set a noble standard for those who would follow.
"Nemesis!" Apotheosis yelled. The hero held himself in the sky through sheer force of fury, turning emotion into radiant power. "Your tyranny ends today!" Wings of white light stretched forty feet either side of his shoulders, and a tremendous wind bellowed from their form.
It wasn't enough force to budge a hair on my head.
I'd met the man when he'd been a boy. One of Jacob's, the type of parahuman that was certain their power was a gift from the heavens. Or, originally, in the boy's case, a curse from Hell, though he'd long since left the name Fauster behind. Once he'd gotten his emotions under control, he'd gone from a D-Lister Ward with a chaotic power and terrible mood swings to one of the premier heroes of the New Age.
The skyscraper I was standing on swayed under the weight of his wind. My hearing, untouched by the upstart's ruckus, heard screams from both the streets below and within the skyscraper itself.
I need to get this fight away from the city, I thought.
Most powers had relativistic features, the so called "Manton Limitations," where powers conformed to arbitrary rules befitting human perception more than the laws of physics. Fire that only burned flesh, speedsters that could run faster than a jetplane without turning themselves or the pavement to ash.
Neither Apotheosis, nor my current configuration, had such limitations. If he struck with those wings first, he and I would be fine, but the displaced air would shatter all the windows in the city. The same would occur if I moved too quickly. The boy snarled, unable to attack, but wanting to. He waited for me to escalate, so he'd have an excuse.
I watched the winds carefully, waiting for the tower to reach the furthest point of its sway. It leaned precariously toward Apotheosis, and I got a better look at his scowl. Pores, stubble, the undulation of skin under a stampeding heart.
I placed a hand on my stomach, gracefully leaning back so that I could catch the brunt of what I was about to do.
I met thumb with flip-off and snapped my fingers.
Apotheosis merely flinched, but the force of it launched me off the skyscraper, knocking it violently to the other extreme of its sway. Steel screeched in protest, and I feared that it was about to fall as I flew. But something reinforced the structure, a lattice of canary-yellow forcefields creeping up the side like the web of a spider.
I frowned as I fell. Not Apotheosis himself. His power turned emotions into hardlight with thematic secondary abilities, but all of them extended from himself, and the colouration had been keyed off his overall mental state when I'd known him. Right now it was white, righteous fury. I hadn't seen yellow since his graduation to the League.
But the power was similar nevertheless. Had someone budded off of him?
I hit the ground at a sharp angle, the momentum from the snap still winning out over air resistance and gravity. I skipped like a stone over water, leaving shattered pavement in my wake. I allowed myself to ragdoll, limbs flailing wildly to give observers the impression that I'd been hit by anyone other than myself. Once I'd deemed that I was close enough to the city limits, I rolled onto my feet and started running. Bigger craters were made by my footfalls as I passed the cars turning onto the highway.
A mile up and away, Apotheosis's great wings gathered together into a single missile of light, the man himself the warhead. Before his aerokinesis could propel him forwards, the yellow light reinforcing the skyscraper launched out a single strand to wrap around the missile. A figure used the string to grapple up to the hero, their web of light not fading even as they abandoned it.
I focused in on the parahuman as they pulled themselves up onto Apotheosis's construct, only to find I could not identify them.
My vision was beyond sight, and it was even more refined when I was drawing strength from the target's hate. Despite that, the parahuman was blurrier than the starkly detailed Apotheosis. I recognised a similar theme and aesthetic- Templar chic- but where I could spy Apotheosis's wild eyes I could only determine that the saviour of the skyscraper was either small or a child.
Curious, I thought. Someone born in this day and age that doesn't hate me to their core.
My power adjusted slightly, trading off impossible strength and incredible awareness for impossible awareness and merely incredible strength. My wild sprint became a meagre jog as I listened in on the pair.
"Jesus Christ Lydia! Get the fuck off me, she's getting away!"
"Dad, I-"
"Cape names, you idiot! Cape names only while on missions!"
My heart yearned and my blood boiled.
That explained just about everything.
---
I dug my heels into dirt and skidded to a stop, leaving trenches in the earth. The battlefield for today was an unnamed hill in the Ohlone Regional Wilderness, a hop skip and a jump from San Jose, America. The city's skyline had given way to a horizon span of dustbowl shrubs and yellow greenery. I'd ran from Apotheosis and his daughter for mere minutes, but I had ran. I hadn't been subtle about it either. They were sure to follow.
The spot was a perfect trap for the gloryhound. In the middle of nowhere with only his daughter and the Endbringer, he'd jump at the opportunity to drop any pretence of restraint without thinking to call in League support. I wouldn't be surprised if he turned off his mandatory tracker just to throw them off. If I left him alive today as I'd planned, he'd be reprimanded for not following proper S Class Threat Protocols, which might see him clean up his act. If his daughter was a voice of reason, I felt I could rely on him not listening to one.
That being said...
The vast majority of powers came from times of sickness. The transition from human to parahuman was marked by a trigger event, the subjectively worst day of a person's life. The resulting power solved the symptoms of the disease, but exaggerated the causes. Movers gained the ability to run away from their problems, Thinkers the perspective to see them everywhere. Superpowers brought out the worst in people, perpetuating the individual's agony in a tailor-made, personal fashion.
Having your child trigger was at once expected and appalling. Second generation capes had lower trigger thresholds, but they still had to experience a truly terrible day to gain power. Regardless, their abilities inevitably took after their parents, leading many scientists to believe that powers had some critical genetic component.
Perhaps it was too much to expect from a career superhero, that he would raise a family so stable as to have a happy, powerless child.
But what did it say about Apotheosis, the man I'd come to beat some sense into, that his daughter not only triggered, but with a power antithetical to his?
The man inflicted his emotions on others in a weaponised form. The ability was versatile, powerful, and utterly self centred, incentivising the belief that his feelings mattered more than any amount of property damage or casualties. They shone with the colour of his opinion: loud, proud and unapologetic.
This Lydia, however, was clearly the opposite. Forcefields forming in lattices, not to block or defend on their own, but to reinforce what was already there. If the rope trick was fundamental to her arsenal, then the power espoused utility over potency. All of it in a farce of her father's emotional broadcasting, putting up a facade of uncomplicated yellow happiness to hide a very obviously abusive relationship.
Selfless. Clever. Lying.
I sympathised.
Powers were a portrait of their parahumans. I knew the monster I saw in mine. What creatures did I see in theirs?
A bright star lighting up the horizon broke me from my reverie. Propelled by Apotheosis's missile wings, enhanced senses caught the exact moment the dysfunctional duo spotted me. My landing crater was at the foot of the hill, and I stood unobscured at its peak. White robes stained black with blood stood out amongst the drying flora. I doffed the crown that'd been ripped from my partner's golden skull, affecting a lack of interest as I gave my opponents every ounce of my empowered attention.
"You stay back now, angel," Apotheosis intoned. Not a cape name, that one. A pet name. "This is the same woman that split Eurasia in two, she's too dangerous for you to fight."
With his volume, Lydia shouldn't have been able to hear him over the winds, and she certainly didn't say anything. Nevertheless, she responded. Her shoulders drew in tighter, and the grip her forcefield had around the missile adjusted anxiously. Aware of the hypocrisy, but too scared to say anything.
Rather than choosing to engage me from the sky, however, the pair gradually floated to the ground, kicking up almost as much dust as I would if I took a step forward.
Interesting, I thought as they landed at the base of the hill. They must be heeding the example I made of Aeronaught.
The overall effect of their costumes was that of a knight and his squire. Beneath a slapdash of purely aesthetic silver armour and a mask reminiscent of a templar's bucket helm, Apotheosis's undersuit was akin to my debut look: unadorned, breathable white cloth, like a gi bound to the body by elastic. I wondered if he was aware of the homage to myself that he'd made his own, now that the connotations were so unfortunate. As his forcefield collapsed into him, it flowed into the looser parts of the costume. The hardlight, like glass perpetually catching the first rays of a sunrise, shone through the cloth, chiselled into muscles and abs that I knew the wiry man didn't have.
In place of a mask, Lydia wore a proper sallet helmet, and it appeared her armour was much less for show. She was decked in plate mail head to toe, the gunmetal catching the midday sun at an odd angle. A sickly rainbow sheen coated the material like it was slick with oil. She clearly didn't have her father's Brute rating. He must have forked over a lot of money to keep her safe: either the metal was Tinkertech, or the whole armour was a mad scientist's pet project. Nevertheless, the dulled colours made it easier for her to stand in her father's shadow.
While their style was in harmony, the only piece their costumes had in common was a meagre pauldron each, fastened to their right shoulders. They were small, adorned with the spread wings of the League of Hope, designed to stay out of the way more than protect.
Apotheosis shared a solemn nod with his daughter, a gesture that probably held a very different meaning for him than it did for her, before he began to climb the hill up to me. Lydia gave me an indecipherable look, before abruptly remembering herself and backing away from the hill. She seemed to realise that there was no space safe from me that she could reach at the very moment my attention turned back to her father.
"Who's your squire, Apotheosis?" I drawled, taking my time with each individual syllable of his name.
"No one of your concern, Nemesis. Your fight," he cracked his knuckles mid-sentence, before adopting a wrestler's stance, "Is with me."
I raised an eyebrow. Apotheosis was many things, but he wasn't the kind of hero who could beat me. His secondary powers were his primary offence, and I could replicate any one of them and still have room to spare. In real, end-of-the-world scenarios, his main asset was his durability, but it was a far cry from invulnerability. Even if he had figured out a way to survive an actual punch from me, I couldn't think of anything in his arsenal that was remotely a threat.
So either he was stupid, he had a trick up his sleeve, or both.
Now was probably the best time to find out which.
---
I raised a hand to my stomach in the same manner I had earlier, baiting the hero. Immediately he closed the distance, keen on denying an escape I had no intention of making. His forcefield jumped out from within his sleeves and formed bladed gauntlets, which he swung at my throat.
Humouring him, I patted myself lightly, ducking the attack and producing a shockwave of force that pulverised the loose earth beneath us. Apotheosis was again unaffected, the staying-power of his hardlight too great. However, with the ground beneath us gone, the man suddenly had a great deal further to fall. He snarled. The forcefield that coated him flared with that white light of righteous fury, and he was held in space.
With his secondary power occupied, I didn't have to worry about him revealing a new trick down that avenue. I reached out a hand and pulled it back, hard enough that a vacuum opened between us, the air he was using to hold himself aloft being ripped towards me. Being flung back and forth had bewildered the man, and I punished that confusion with a kick to the false abs, sending him flying through a tree.
I wasn't here to kill Apotheosis today, nor was I here to humiliate him. I was here to beat him. Demonstrate that a fight on his own terms wasn't one he could win. And in order to beat a parahuman, you had to dismantle them. Understand where the powers stopped and the person started, and pull at the extremes of both until their whole approach came undone.
Those kinds of defeats brought about change, and if I taught the right lessons, they'd be for the better.
In my youth, I'd had to be clever. Undo the bolts on Einstein's Relativity Engine and let the reactor do the rest. Fool Pinocchio into revealing herself trying to possess Regal, only to discover Faraday's cage too late. Bait Hammurabi into controlling the laser vision and his son's breathing, so he couldn't swerve the bullet.
Now I could just hit things really hard. Which made it all the more important that I didn't.
Instead, I walked leisurely toward Apotheosis- still extricating himself from the splintered tree- and began to indulge in the most sacred art of caping.
Banter.
"You know, Jacob always spoke fondly of you in his reports. I don't suppose you remember fighting a Nazi called 'Grendaline?'" I said wistfully. "He compared your battle against her to one of our sparing matches, said you were almost as creative as I was."
With a roar, he rose from his fall and chucked a haymaker, which I caught palm to fist.
I met his eyes. "Frankly I don't see the resemblance."
Apotheosis smirked, and I frowned, before looking at the fist I'd caught. The forcefield gauntlet flickered, then flowed like water around my fingers, grabbing me by the wrist.
So that's his trick, I thought as the hero leaped into a grapple, all of his hardlight spilling out and over me. Envelop me in his forcefield, deny me the leverage to use my strength.
A good idea. If you were only fighting a Brute.
I reconfigured my power moments before I was completely immersed. Instead of hatred making me unstoppable, hatred made me untouchable. It took a mental shove to activate, my power finding the combination unsatisfying, and in that brief moment of transition I was utterly powerless. I gasped in pain as the field crushed me from every angle.
Then physics took issue to a person-sized space being suddenly empty. Dirt and debris rushed from below into the cage, through the gaps Apotheosis hadn't quite sealed off underneath my feet. Realising the futility and danger of his situation, the hero reformed his second skin, leaving a lumpy statue of myself where I was still, technically, standing, though I knew only those with enhanced senses could detect me now.
The hero stalked around the pillar of rubble, searching. I respected his caution: just because my teleportation was historically abysmal, that didn't mean I hadn't advanced it further, and he didn't dismiss the possibility even as he began to banter back. "Yeah, I remember Grendaline," he said through grit teeth. "Pretended her power made her an obligate cannibal, used it as an excuse to eat black people. Gotta say, you don't resemble her either. She wasn't half the monster you are."
I let him drone on as I went on a search of my own. Where had that Lydia gone? I spied her creeping through the underbrush, a soft golden lace wrapping her oily armour. Her forcefield?
She turned her head toward me, met my ethereal eyes and flinched.
"Dad! She's in the statue!"
He turned wildly toward the pile of dirt that'd filled my improvised prison moments before. I dropped all pretence of subtly, stepping out and returning to visibility with a grin. "Oh? Little Lydia has a Thinker power?"
She balked even as her father charged. The same trick as before, this time with no effect- I'd allowed myself to be seen, not touched. His forcefield darted out to find only air. My flesh tingled where it stood one dimension to the left of death. I phased the base of a foot in, kicked off, then left gravity behind. I leaped through Apotheosis, my curiosity piqued and my patience out.
Lydia yelped as I fell on her, hand darting into her chest.
She and her father froze as I held her gaze, eyes hidden by a visor incorporated into the helmet. I didn't need them to tell how she felt, though. I could quite literally feel her heart beat.
Of course she didn't hate me. She was too busy being scared.
I looked over my shoulder to stare at the distraught Apotheosis, paralysed by the scenario he'd gotten himself into.
"Now, Fauster. I think we three need to have a little talk."
---
We stood for a moment in the standoff that I'd already won. Apotheosis' forcefield churned and flickered, a sure sign that he didn't know what to do or what to feel. Lydia's heart hammered in my hand, unprotected by her golden armour. I was crouched over the poor girl, and while I could easily hold the position it was an awkward one for hostage negotiations.
"Get up," I said, like I was coaxing the teenager out of bed for school. Lydia carefully got to her feet, my hand never leaving her chest as I stalked behind her to face her father. I phased-in the surface of my other arm, draping it over her shoulder, and chided myself when she buckled slightly under the weight. Externally, crushing her could have been seen as intimidation, but in reality it was so easy to move under my own power I'd forgotten how much of me there was now.
Intimidation was merely a welcome side effect.
Her father seemed incensed by the image of me looming over her, and rallied his courage through that rage. His armour grew spines and burned red, and it was as though not a day had passed since Jacob had brought this wild child into our fold. "Leave her alone, monster!"
Uninspired.
"Or what, Fauster?" I mocked. He sneered at the abandoned name. "Will you have a tantrum? Pull a trick out of my hat, kill a child because it's necessary?" I tapped the crown that'd once protruded from Regal's skull. "It certainly worked for me."
A farce, that. The child killing had come later. No one knew how I'd actually defeated my old partner, and it was for the best that it remain a mystery. I'd made a habit of filling the void with implied atrocities, to bury the lead and stoke the hatred that fuelled me.
It certainly seemed to be working on the hero, who continued to fume and writhe as he strained for something clever to say. Lydia's heartbeat, however, slowed. It was still stampeding, but more sedately. She must not have calmed because of relief, but instead from distraction. Had she received some empowered insight? An alert from the League?
I rested my head on her other shoulder, opposite my arm, being careful not to crush her again or rend her pretty armour with my indestructible crown. "What do you think, Little Lydia?" She flinched, and the shallow angle allowed me to see wide eyes through the polarised visor. "Should daddy let you die so he can get one more shot at me?"
She stayed silent, so I brushed the inside of her heart with a finger, eliciting a full body shudder. There were few experiences I'd yet to have, but that was certainly one of them. Her eyes darted between me and her father. "Yes?" She squeaked.
"Oh darling," I said, hiding my horror with condescension. The girl valued her life less than an attempt she knew would fail. What had Apotheosis been teaching her? Remedial lessons were in order. "The difference between heroism and idiocy is often effectiveness," I recited, quoting the book I'd written on the topic. "It's noble to want to help, but it's stupid if it's not going to work. Take Fauster here. He chased me into a death match with only his daughter for backup. He didn't report to his superiors, and he even disabled his tracer so no one could hog his glory." They both twitched at that. Oh Damn. That was supposed to be a bluff, but they really had been that dumb, hadn't they? "Now, is he a hero, or is he an idiot?"
I could see enough of Lydia's eyes to see them glaze over, their focus clearly on something that wasn't there. Before she could muster a satisfying response, her father answered. "Anything is worth it to avenge those you have slaughtered!" He yelled, his flames rising. "Isn't that right, Archangel?" he continued pathetically.
Archangel. A heavy name, in memory of Arkhangelsk. Not fit for a child, let alone an American. "I don't think you're engaging with the question, Tim," I responded, lording his humanity over him. "And I didn't ask you. Now, once again Lydia-" I flicked the inside of her chest again, though her reaction was more restrained this time, "-is your father an idiot?"
She continued to stare at me with those unfocused eyes. I didn't know what she was seeing, but it gave her clarity, as her heartbeat had begun to settle. "Yes."
"What did you say!?" Apotheosis roared, Lydia cringed, and I giggled.
"Good! Good, that's correct. He's an idiot who's forgotten everything Jacob ever taught him." I eyed the man with disdain. "He put so much effort into you, Tim. What would he think, knowing that without him you've fallen right back into your old habits?"
I expected him to show a modicum of humility at my admonishment, but instead he worsened still. His hardlight became opaque with crimson hate. The spines grew, curling, serrating, and wrapping the wiry man in his childhood demon. The earth began to tremor and steam. "He would forgive anything if I killed the woman that betrayed him! Killed him!"
"But I don't deny that. I know precisely what I've done, Tim. You can't say the same. Seems to me that you're in denial of an awful lot." I purposefully ignored him, looking to Lydia, encased in the oily armour she had reinforced with her power. I could have sworn her whole body shivered. I didn't judge. Fear was the sane response. "He doesn't love you, does he?" I said soothingly.
That ripped the wind from his sails. The earth's trembling stopped, and his crimson ebbed into the flickering indecision of shock.
"No," she whispered, still shaking. "I'm just another sidekick."
I'd been a villain for more than a decade now, a hero for twice that. But I'd been a human for fifty years, and it broke my heart as she shook in my arms, more afraid of her father than me.
Wait.
She wasn't shivering in fear. She was vibrating.
The armour was vibrating.
I pulled away from the mad science fair project, a moment too late.
A pulse. The rainbow sheen of the armour flared, becoming an aurora around it. Red mist shot out of the chestpiece, my hand vaporised despite being a dimension away.
I screamed, all reason made formless by pain. But beneath mere thought was decades of finely honed instinct, and that more primal part roared not in fury, but in triumph.
Rainbow light around a golden form. An assault that spanned dimensions, a defence rooted in each. Immovable object and unstoppable force as one.
I didn't need to think to recognise the power used against me.
Regal's. Jacob's.
If my power had been hesitant to give me intangibility, it was eager to provide now. In a moment shorter than a notion, it resumed the shape that had made me the equal of the man I'd called my better for so many years.
The ability to direct interdimensional movement.
My scream of pain became a howl of laughter. I cradled the stub of my hand against my chest, charged the girl, and shoved.
---
submitted by viceVersailes to vicesdeVersailles [link] [comments]


2020.09.07 01:55 MaTeM_From_Russia [H] Sport Gloves Vice BS, Kara CW FT 0.237x, M9 Doppler FN Phase 2 [W] Any Arcanas (TB/PA Arcanas with lower price) OR TF2 Keys OR CS:GO Items


Item Exterior Float SS B/O in Any Arcanas (TB / PA Arcanas) B/O in Pure TF2 Keys B/O in CSGO Items (Usually means downgrade) Tradable?
Sport Gloves Vice BS 0.791x (Rank #23) Gloves Vice 33 (30 + 20 $ adds) 345 860 $ Yes
Karambit Crimson Web FT 0.237x Kara CW FT 22 (20) 225 550 $ Yes
M9 Bayonet Doppler (Phase 2) FN 0.06x M9 Dop P2 24 (22) 240 580 $ Yes


Mostly interested in:

Not interested in:
M9 Bayonet Forest DDPAT FN
Bayonet Night FN
Souvenirs
Guns with expensive stickers (Kato14, Howl...) and etc.]

Feel free to inspect from my inventory
All Float Values can be found here
Don't add me please
Use Steam Offers
submitted by MaTeM_From_Russia to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]


2020.09.06 20:21 corythephotoguy You're gonna be okay.

I want to share my story for anyone out there who’s just tested positive recently and might be feeling like damaged goods. Skip to the asterisks if you’re not into backstories.
I’m a 29m that grew up in a very conservative homeschooled Christian home, to a mom and dad that want good things for their kids. In their case, teaching abstinence was the “loving thing” and wanted to make sure their children didn’t give themselves to a partner before marriage. Admirable, but not entirely practical for a lot of us. You may have already guessed that my sex ed was nonexistent, and you would be correct.
No public school, no college experience, I moved from my hometown to the city, about 45 mins away. Apart from the topic of sex, I’d actually managed to become well-adjusted in the other areas of life, despite my upbringing. I wound up losing my virginity at the ripe age of 25 to an old acquaintance. Somewhat anticlimactic, but at least I’d gotten that first time out of the way.
I’m a photographer, and that until last year, didn’t have much money to my name, that is until I landed a job at an ad agency. Up until last fall, I’d always had roommates to offset the cost of living, and with that, I never felt comfortable bringing someone home. I was still “waiting for marriage” in most people’s eyes anyway. So sex was a pretty rare thing. With the new job has come extra money, and I wound up getting my own place a year ago. It’s been pretty great.
Now you may ask, “What, no girlfriends? No dating? What about relationships? Nothing really physical there?” Try and understand where I’m coming from, and know that with homeschooling, dating wasn’t encouraged and that severely stunted my love life well into my twenties. Lotta hours sitting in therapy has helped unpack and sort out my upbringing, for which I’m grateful. (Side note, therapy is so so so amazing, I wish everyone had access to it. If you can financially swing it, GO.)
***
Ok, the herpes part. With my newfound freedom of having my own place, I set out on my Tinder adventures as well as going out on weekends. I’d brought a couple people home within a short amount of time and was feeling pretty great about life, and had enough confidence to hop on tinder and who knows, maybe find a girlfriend? While on the app, I was still going out by myself on the weekends, and this is where I fucked up. One of my partners (on the second time she came over) let me go raw, no questions asked by either party. Should’ve wrapped it up for safety reasons, but we were pretty into it in the heat of the moment. The next day I didn’t think too much of it, we parted ways knowing that we’re not gonna see each other again and we’ll just keep it to two times.
Fast forward a week. I go on a date with a literal angel. October 30th. It’s cold. I’d already dipped into my Christmas playlist on the way there. She shows up and is so fucking cute in her little winter coat and sock hat and little winter boots. She’s tiny.
For a couple hours, we talk, laugh, share life stories, and joke around with the bartender. She’s so smart, witty, charming, has the prettiest eyes, graduated top in her class in everything, started a non-profit, and is so driven in life. God, she’s so attractive in every way. We call it an early night but the feeling is mutual. Date #2 is very much going to happen. We step outside and it’s starting to snow. Would’ve been a perfect time to kiss her, but we’re both kinda shy anyway so that didn’t happen. When I got home, I remember standing in my apartment kitchen saying to my dog, “Snoopy, I had a GREAT date tonight”.
Three dates in, things are going super well. At the end of the third date, I finally mustered up the courage to kiss her. It was well received. I found out later that that’s the kiss that sealed the deal for her choosing me.
After the third date, she’s away for the weekend on a solo trip she’d scheduled months prior, so I’m just doing my thing back in my city when it happened. That Saturday I woke up with a cold sore on my lower lip and a tingling sensation on both my lips, and a red rash on my junk. I went to the doctor and they confirmed that I indeed had both HSV1 and HSV2.
I’m devastated. My thoughts are as such:

  1. I’m now concerned that I may have kissed this beautiful little person (can’t stress this enough, she’s 5’ 2”) and given her HSV1 unknowingly.

  1. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to be in a relationship once the thought of being “unlovable” was on the table. In my mind, I’m now damaged goods. Sure, maybe I’ll have to wrap it up for the rest of my life, but the thought of not even KISSING anyone? It hurt. So so bad.

  1. It’s going to be next FRIDAY before I see her. So 6 more days until I can talk to her in person, explain what’s going on, and get her thoughts on the situation. Obviously I want to be transparent with her now that I know I have something.
That week was agony. Not only was it one of the worst weeks at work that I’ve ever had, on top of it all my body was clammy, my penis hurt, and at every turn, my lips felt like they were going to flare up. I was a mess, checking this subreddit and any obscure webMD type of site to set my mind at ease, to get some sort of positive statistic that would help me sleep at night. The permanence of it all was a lot to deal with. And to think, I could’ve avoided this completely if I hadn’t fucked up mere days before meeting this girl.
Friday rolls around, and I’d suggested this restaurant near my place that looked nice from the outside, but I hadn’t been before and neither had she, so we went. She shows up, looking STUNNING, and I greet her like I hadn’t been rehearsing any sort of herpes announcement speech over and over and over again that week. We get seated, and that’s when I look at the prices on the menu. I wound up spending nearly $200 on dinner, but hey “It’s the last date I’ll ever have, so let’s go out in style?” was my thought.
We walk back to my place, and watch a Wes Anderson movie. After the credits roll, it’s naturally time to make out. We’ve both waited until the 4th date for this, and from the outside looking in, it’s all green lights. We’re so very much into each other. “TIME TO TELL HER” my brain nervously reminds me. I’m kind of just stalling at this point, trying to enjoy the last moments with this girl before I shatter this budding relationship.
I stand up all awkwardly, and go and grab a Christmas tree that I got that week and suggest that we set it up. 5 minutes later, we’re done with that task (it was a short tree, kinda like her) and we both sit down on the couch, ready to continue whatever the fuck might happen next. I looked straight ahead while she looked at me and I said under my breath “you’re really cool… I need you to know something though. I found out this week that I have HSV1 and HSV2”. I wanted to delay calling it herpes, just cause… herpes.
She immediately says “Oh, I’m not worried about that. You know that x percent of this number of people never….” something something something, I don’t know exactly what she said cause I got hung up on the first sentence, but she spouted 3-4 facts of herpes and was super knowledgable about risks of transmission and how to mitigate the chance of a partner getting it. I was taken aback.
And then right at that moment, Snoopy took a shit right in front of us.
We cleaned it up immediately, took him outside to finish his business, and went back inside, laughing the entire time. We finished our conversation about my condition, and she was incredibly understanding. I also had to explain in that same sitting that the only other relationship that I’ve had only lasted 6 weeks, and that I’m no veteran when it comes to dating. She just took it all in, and listened. After an hour or so of talking, it was pretty late, so we hugged and I bid her farewell. We said we’d get together for a movie later that week, but I wasn’t banking on anything. It did feel good to know that at least someone would listen and not freak out.
We wound up going out on a few more dates, and then a few more, and then a few more and one day we just knew we wanted to make it official. That was mid December. Happy to say we just got a place together, and now Snoopy has her cat he can play with, although I don’t think her cat is as thrilled about it.
Herpes sucks initially. I think more emotionally and mentally than physically, really. I take a daily antiviral that I got through Roman (if you just got tested positive, they’re a great resource to get you going with antivirals). Physically, not so bad. I had around 2-3 weeks of feeling awful, then occasional outbreaks for a few days through march. Haven’t had much of any outbreaks since then. We still have sex regularly, and since she's not a fan of condoms (yay) we've never really used them. No transmission thus far.
If you’re feeling down because of testing positive, your symptoms WILL get better. Your friends WILL understand. You CAN find someone that will love you. Just take the right meds, wrap it up if that’s what your partner wants, don't have sex during an outbreak, and offer full disclosure. It’ll be tougher to date, but not impossible.
The biggest thing here is to not let it run your life. It’s something I’ve grown to not really need to think about aside from taking a pill every morning.
I hope this helps. You’re stronger than you think, just give it some time.
------------
TL/DR: I got herpes with a partner a week before meeting my current gf, but she's been incredibly understanding, supportive, and we now live together. Life is good.
submitted by corythephotoguy to Herpes [link] [comments]


2020.09.06 01:45 MaTeM_From_Russia [H] Sport Gloves Vice BS, Kara CW FT 0.237x, M9 Doppler FN Phase 2 [W] Any Arcanas (TB/PA Arcanas with lower price) OR TF2 Keys OR CS:GO Items


Item Exterior Float SS B/O in Any Arcanas (TB / PA Arcanas) B/O in Pure TF2 Keys B/O in CSGO Items (Usually means downgrade) Tradable?
Sport Gloves Vice BS 0.791x (Rank #23) Gloves Vice 33 (30 + 20 $ adds) 345 860 $ Yes
Karambit Crimson Web FT 0.237x Kara CW FT 22 (20) 225 550 $ Yes
M9 Bayonet Doppler (Phase 2) FN 0.06x M9 Dop P2 24 (22) 240 580 $ No, tradable After Sep 06, 2020 (7:00:00) GMT


Mostly interested in:

Not interested in:
M9 Bayonet Forest DDPAT FN
Bayonet Night FN
Souvenirs
Guns with expensive stickers (Kato14, Howl...) and etc.]

Feel free to inspect from my inventory
All Float Values can be found here
Don't add me please
Use Steam Offers
submitted by MaTeM_From_Russia to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]


2020.09.05 09:17 MaTeM_From_Russia [H] Sport Gloves Vice BS, Kara CW FT 0.237x, M9 Doppler FN Phase 2 [W] Any Arcanas (TB/PA Arcanas with lower price) OR TF2 Keys OR CS:GO Items


Item Exterior Float SS B/O in Any Arcanas (TB / PA Arcanas) B/O in Pure TF2 Keys B/O in CSGO Items (Usually means downgrade) Tradable?
Sport Gloves Vice BS 0.791x (Rank #23) Gloves Vice 33 (30 + 20 $ adds) 345 860 $ Yes
Karambit Crimson Web FT 0.237x Kara CW FT 22 (20) 225 550 $ Yes
M9 Bayonet Doppler (Phase 2) FN 0.06x M9 Dop P2 24 (22) 240 580 $ No, tradable After Sep 06, 2020 (7:00:00) GMT


Mostly interested in:

Not interested in:
M9 Bayonet Forest DDPAT FN
Bayonet Night FN
Souvenirs
Guns with expensive stickers (Kato14, Howl...) and etc.]

Feel free to inspect from my inventory
All Float Values can be found here
Don't add me please
Use Steam Offers
submitted by MaTeM_From_Russia to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]


2020.09.05 02:40 MaTeM_From_Russia [H] Sport Gloves Vice BS, Kara CW FT 0.237x, M9 Doppler FN Phase 2 [W] Any Arcanas (TB/PA Arcanas with lower price) OR TF2 Keys OR CS:GO Items


Item Exterior Float SS B/O in Any Arcanas (TB / PA Arcanas) B/O in Pure TF2 Keys B/O in CSGO Items (Usually means downgrade) Tradable?
Sport Gloves Vice BS 0.791x (Rank #23) Gloves Vice 33 (30 + 20 $ adds) 345 860 $ Yes
Karambit Crimson Web FT 0.237x Kara CW FT 22 (20) 225 550 $ Yes
M9 Bayonet Doppler (Phase 2) FN 0.06x M9 Dop P2 24 (22) 240 580 $ No, tradable After Sep 06, 2020 (7:00:00) GMT


Mostly interested in:

Not interested in:
M9 Bayonet Forest DDPAT FN
Bayonet Night FN
Souvenirs
Guns with expensive stickers (Kato14, Howl...) and etc.]

Feel free to inspect from my inventory
All Float Values can be found here
Don't add me please
Use Steam Offers
submitted by MaTeM_From_Russia to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]


2020.09.04 04:09 MaTeM_From_Russia [H] Sport Gloves Vice BS, Kara CW FT 0.237x, M9 Doppler FN Phase 2 [W] Any Arcanas (TB/PA Arcanas with lower price) OR TF2 Keys OR CS:GO Items


Item Exterior Float SS B/O in Any Arcanas (TB / PA Arcanas) B/O in Pure TF2 Keys B/O in CSGO Items (Usually means downgrade) Tradable?
Sport Gloves Vice BS 0.791x (Rank #23) Gloves Vice 33 (30 + 20 $ adds) 345 860 $ Yes
Karambit Crimson Web FT 0.237x Kara CW FT 22 (20) 225 550 $ No, tradable After Sep 05, 2020 (7:00:00) GMT
M9 Bayonet Doppler (Phase 2) FN 0.06x M9 Dop P2 24 (22) 240 580 $ No, tradable After Sep 06, 2020 (7:00:00) GMT


Mostly interested in:

Not interested in:
M9 Bayonet Forest DDPAT FN
Bayonet Night FN
Souvenirs
Guns with expensive stickers (Kato14, Howl...) and etc.]

Feel free to inspect from my inventory
All Float Values can be found here
Don't add me please
Use Steam Offers
submitted by MaTeM_From_Russia to GlobalOffensiveTrade [link] [comments]


2020.08.26 18:25 PleaseCallMeTall Calling Mods and Prominent Sub Members: Wanna pin an omniguide for greenhorns?

TL;DR: Do we want a pinned post with general info for newbies? What should go in it?

Hello from a greasy spaceship bicycle workshop made of scrap lumber, inside an ancient ice block building/hip-hop recording studio in the Ninth Ward. We're experiencing some void stank, we've been traveling at sub-light speed for at least 147 Earth years, the roof is leaking, and the cracks in the asphalt outside are growing more papayas and bananas than we can keep up with. One of the walls has a mystery stain on it that looks a lot like Strobe The Hobo wearing his boonie hat. We just had a near miss with a Category 4 hurricane. All is weird; all is well.
First of all, I'd like to recognize to the newer members of our mod team. u/jouscat, u/Encinitas0667, and u/gatoradewade are all experienced travelers and valued members of the vagabond community, and this sub seems to have benefitted greatly from their work. I only get brief snippets of reddit nowadays. Between feeding the guard cats that keep roaches out of the airlock, building bikes that would be unrideable anywhere besides New Orleans or The Moon, and fighting off zombified versions of ex-romantic partners, I don't have a lot of time to look at my phone. What I do see here, though, generally makes me smile.
What I'm trying to say is thank you. My gratitude extends to the many active members here who help keep this place the special, secret dive bar for galaxy-tromping tramps and globe-bounding bums that it has been for years. Vagabond isn't as good as a hot shower, a good meal and a clean squat, but it has some great moments, and I know some peoples' lives have really benefitted from the collective knowledge that we share here. There seems to be a secret effort brewing to bring an official vagabond Discord server into being. It goes and grows.
Alright, hyperbolic sci-fi circle jerking aside, let's improve the sub. I'm calling for advice here. Please comment and be heard. This is your guys' community, let's hash it out and spruce it up.
I've addressed the prevalence of newbie questions many times. Today in 2020 we still get some of the same exact questions that we did five years ago. You all know what I'm talking about. You'll see a title like "Train hopping" or "should I leave?" Or "How do you guys make money?" You get a few paragraphs describing a familiar shitty situation in some stranger's life, and a sort of call for support, usually ending with a vague plea for information on what this stranger should bring, how they will survive, how long will their money last, where will they sleep... I needn't go on.
Many of us ignore these posts. Some of us throw a casual "read the sidebar" in the comments section and move on. A few of you guys specifically mention my name or even link to one of my posts. This latter gesture is flattering, but I want the information we share with these newbies to reflect more viewpoints than just my own. There are so many experiences that have been skillfully written about here. There are so many resources in other subreddits and on the web beyond to which we could point people.
The guides that u/huckstah wrote years ago when he started this sub still hold up remarkably well. Our archives are full of everything from little pieces of practical advice to discussions about ethics and philosophy of traveling and living free. There is so much here to digest, but it's also often buried amid stuff that doesn't have much interest or benefit to a greenhorn. That can be overwhelming, and it obviously leads some people to ask for help.
Another factor that I think contributes to people's failure to research the sub themselves is trouble with the sidebar. The past year has seen me getting by without a computer, only a struggling, cracked smartphone. At first glance, I can't find the sidebar. Navigating the reddit app, or using the mobile site through a web browser, there is no way I would even be able to find the sidebar if I didn't already know it was there.
Several of you have commented in the past suggesting that we pin certain informative posts. I like this idea, but I think if we're going to hold up a single piece of info as a definitive piece of advice for new travelers, it should encompass a wide swath of the many perspectives we have about living out.
I'm willing to do the legwork to compile and format a general info post, with the intention of being pinned to the top or vagabond. Is that something we want to do, and if so, which links and posts should I include?
Though I've been less active lately, I really do still love seeing what's going on with everyone. Nothing is sure right now. We have to stick together. Thanks for putting your time into this.
Peaceably,
-Tall Sam Jones
edit: For reference, this post was specifically written to address this issue, but I think it's limited in that it only really represents my own perspective.
submitted by PleaseCallMeTall to vagabond [link] [comments]


2020.08.21 21:56 OneWhoRemembers [Part 7] Fontainebleau Forest

[Part 1] can be found here, the previous entry here.
- - -
I didn't go to Fenley, not right away. I couldn't do it. My uncle's murder was one thing, Beryl Taggart's disappearance another, but I tortured myself trying to comprehend how my investigation could result in an event like the Princess Road Tragedy. The final death toll was 29 (including the driver) with a further 40 injured, most of which for life. I was not only weighed down by enormous guilt but paranoid and terrified the Pontem were no longer content to simply observe. They were out for blood and prepared to do anything to get it.
Ignoring my instincts to flee into the empty countryside I took Gregory's advice and remained in only the biggest cities. From the sale of my home and car I had more than enough to rent a couple of storage units and a small furnished flat in each of the cities I was bouncing between.
For weeks I did nothing. I hid indoors for the most part, and at the slightest provocation would disappear to another bolthole across the country. Locations I was convinced were compromised were cut out of the network never to be visited again. My paranoia now extended to more advanced methods of tracking, after all, what if the Pontem wielded real power in their communities? What if they could see my bank records for example, or track my phone? I had taken the sim card out right at the beginning of my self-imposed exile just in case. I paid in cash, making large withdrawals only when moving on to the next safehouse.
It was a dreary Thursday evening, cold and absolutely pissing it down with rain. I was sitting at the kitchen table reading 'Blood Music', one eye on the page, one on a crack in the blinds where I could see the street below. The lights were all off as they usually were with only the dim glow of a small book light clipped onto the worn cover.
I watched the third black car of the hour slowly pass by and let out a deep sigh. That was my rule; three in an hour was too big a risk. It was time to leave again.
I had my escape locked down already only this time with a twist. I grabbed my newly charged phone and slid the sim card home, planning to finally call Gregory and ask for his help or advice. Living like this was like treading water. I was dangerously bored and wanted to do something useful.
I found my phone quickly blowing up with old messages from the family asking me how I was and whether I was okay and then most recently if I was still planning on joining them on the annual holiday, this year to the town of Avon in northern France. The last thing I felt like doing was going on holiday, but maybe a trip abroad would give me a chance to recharge my batteries and more importantly throw the Pontem off the scent for a while.
First thing I did was call Gregory.
'Been a long time!' he said jovially.
'Aye it has,' I agreed before cutting right to the chase. 'I'm on the run.'
'Aren't we all brother.'
'You hear about Princess Road?'
'What, the crash?'
'Yeah, I was there. The driver was Pontem. He swerved into traffic to get to me.'
'...what?'
'I'm going abroad for a couple of weeks but when I get back I'm going to Fenley, and I want you to help me.'
'Of course.'
'Really?'
'Yeah I've got unfinished business there myself. Got some stuff to do first so a couple of weeks sounds great.'
'Alright, I'll be in touch then.'
'Take care.'
'And you.'
I messaged my family to confirm the date and inform them I would be arriving in Avon separately, then I removed the sim card from my phone, grabbed my pre-packed rucksack, and headed out the back door.
A few days later I arrived in Calais on a ferry from Amsterdam, caught the train to Paris and finally a coach down to the French commune of Avon. It was a small town, surrounded on all sides by the beautiful forest of Fontainebleau. I felt my chest opening up with the familiar smell of fresh, sweet country air I had craved and been avoiding for so long.
My parents, older sister and her children were waiting for me in a gorgeous little cafe overlooking a quaint paved sidestreet. They were pleased to see me in good health but I knew they could sense something was wrong.
Later we made our way to the cabin, built right on the western edge of town on a ridge overlooking a vast expanse of rustling green. Trees as far as the eye could see. It was glorious.
I unpacked and helped my sister set up the dining room for dinner. Nobody quizzed me on my whereabouts or my activities all evening, and I almost thought I had gotten away with it until my father pulled me aside just before turning in.
'You know what I'm gonna say,' he said warmly, a firm hand on my shoulder. 'We're worried about you son, are you feeling alright?'
'Of course,' I lied. 'I've just been feeling a bit down ever since, you know... Been taking some time out on my own, trying to slow down a little and, you know, assess I guess.'
'Are you sure you're not in trouble or anything?'
'I promise.'
'And everything's okay with your health; body, spirit and mind, yeah?'
'Absolutely, like I said, just taking some time to myself.'
'Alright son.' He tried to smile but could only manage a half-grimace that I knew meant he didn't believe me. 'Sleep tight our kid.'
He clapped me on the back like father's do and went off to bed.
I couldn't sleep well that night and found myself sitting outside on the patio with a big glass of scotch waiting for the sun to rise.
Staring into the utter black of the night forest gave no sense of scale or three-dimensionality. As soon as the edge of the sun began to peek out over the distant horizon and those first tendrils of navy and deep aquamarine seeped into the dark, some kind of animal bellowed out in the forest and I shuddered under my jacket.
The cry was indistinct, muffled with reverberation and distance but loud enough at its epicentre to clear every roosting bird for miles around. Huge murmurations of them froghopped across the treetops and coiled up into the ever brightening sky, and with them came an unearthly dreadladen choir of cawing that filled the region like a bloodclot.
I stood, ready to go inside and maybe catch another hour in bed when the glow of the sunrise filtered through the treeline to illuminate in warm orange something watching me. I stood rooted to the spot and could only stare wide-eyed as the tall pale figure drifted like smoke out of sight behind a tree.
I blinked furiously and rubbed my eyes, narrowing them for better focus and picking out no movement at all. The figure had vanished. Had it been there at all? I found it hard to believe that supernatural or otherwise the Pontem, mimicweed, or Wild Men of the Well could be here in France as well. It simply didn't make sense.
I went inside, lay in bed, and stared at the ceiling until my mother called me for breakfast.
I cleared my head over a coffee, some fruit and a couple of pastries and joined my sister and her kids on a jaunt into town for a little sightseeing and ice cream. Of course it didn't take long for everyone to grow a little bored of the commune, after all the real beauty was out in the forest.
That afternoon we all rented bicycles and followed a quiet country road out of the town and into the surrounding woods. I was convinced that tired and bugged out as I was I had fabricated the pallid figure in my imagination, at least that's what I told myself. I had to keep up appearances amongst the family to maintain the illusion that everything was fine.
'What made you choose to come to Fontainebleau?' I asked my parents as I matched speed and pulled in between them. 'I mean, it's lovely.'
'Oh your father has been talking about this place ever since your uncle was taken from us.'
'Oh?'
'Yes that's right isn't it Gerry?'
'That's right, your uncle he, uh.' He was panting between syllables as he struggled to pedal and talk at the same time. 'He was planning a trip out here himself. I thought it might be, uh, I don't know, a nice tribute.'
I swallowed hard, not really liking the sound of where this was going.
'Yeah that's nice. I'm sure he would've liked that.'
We eventually pulled off the single lane tarmacked road and onto a fenced dirt track just about wide enough to fit a car down. In my chest my heart was hammering in overdrive and it wasn't from overexertion. The hairs on the back of my neck were permanently stood on end.
I know it sounds crazy since trees have no 'front' as such, but it didn't matter if it was oak, beech or pine I felt as though every single one I passed was not only looking at me somehow but full on gawking. Was I losing it? Now wasn't the time, not in front of the family.
An hour or so later we pulled into a small rest stop, little more than a clearing with a few benches and a couple of portable toilets. There was nobody else around.
'Whew it's lovely!' my mother gushed as red-faced she sprawled out onto one of the benches. 'Gerry get the drinks and sandwiches out would you?'
The food was dry and cloying in my mouth but I managed to force some of it down. I smiled and laughed and made eye contact when I was talking to someone, and yet no matter which way I faced the crowd of trees leered in my peripheral vision.
'I wanna go down to the stream,' my nephew whined from where he stood at the treeline, pointing down the shallow slope beyond and looking at his mum. 'It's not far, can we go?'
'Not now sweetie,' my sister said without looking up from her sandwich. 'Some of us are still eating.'
'Uncle's not!'
My niece was up on her feet next to her brother now, and both had their attentions fixed firmly on me. I had indeed 'finished' my sandwich, swallowing a few bites and slipping the rest inside my jacket when nobody was looking.
'Do you mind?' my sister implored. 'They'll just keep wittering on otherwise and I'm actually feeling pretty chill right now.'
I patted her on the shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze.
'Sure no worries. Alright you two come on!'
I had no idea I was this good at acting, and here I was striding into the forest with a big grin on my face chuckling along to a pair of whooping kids. Every tree I passed I could feel its attention pivot in lockstep to my movements. I felt like I was wrapped up in a heavy woollen blanket; I wasn't too hot, but I felt somehow squashed in or hugged by the natural world around me. Cold sweat beaded on my neck and temples, my arms were streaked with goosebumps, my guts tensed hard enough that at times I wondered if I might shit myself. Is this how Callum Peterson felt when he travelled into the country?
The creek burbled away at the bottom of the slope only a dozen meters or so from the rest stop above and behind us. I perched myself on a flat rock and watched my niece and nephew racing sticks in the water for a while. The sound of the forest was eerily quiet, I couldn't hear any birds or insects, just the background static of wind rustling the treetops high above.
The sun was bright and golden, splitting up into dappled spots that shone and danced through the canopy for as far as the eye could see. That constant movement was triggering my hindbrain in rapid fire as my subconscious registered threats everywhere. I needed to get out of there.
'How you getting on kids?' I called to them in my best jolly uncle voice, and still it cracked a little.
The branches arched above my head peered down on me like a scientist into a petri dish.
My niece and nephew blathered unintelligibly about frogs and grasshoppers and who won the most stick races, and as I pretended to listen I spotted something between the trees maybe half a mile away.
Mimicweed. Two of them standing side by side in a small clearing. The sunlight licked over their shaggy shoulders and thick, elephantine paws. The sweaty fingers of my own right hand clutched the coin in my pocket so hard they ached.
'Come on you two, let's get back to your mum,' I said, eyes fixed on the frozen figures in the distance.
The kids groaned and booed at me but reluctantly complied. I frogmarched them up the slope, quickly losing my line of sight to the mimicweed and growing increasingly paranoid that they might now be moving towards me.
The kids ran off ahead giggling and teasing one another and soon disappeared over the crest of the slope. I turned my gaze to the creek and found the rock where I had been sitting.
About a meter behind it a Wild Man stood astride its steed, one mailed hand gripping the reigns, another resting upon the hilt of a broadsword at its belt. That great animal head was tilted up toward me. Its dead black eyes were fixed firmly on my own.
I couldn't believe what I was seeing; it was noticably different from the Wild Men of Fenley, standing taller and straighter with thick powerful arms and legs and dressed up to its neck in heavy rusted armour. The steed was similarly different from the descriptions I had heard; it had a saddle and reigns and the human head was wrapped in a thick metal collar that covered everything but its balding wrinkled scalp and a pair of hollow, puckered eyes.
I turned and bolted, making it back to the rest stop in time to see my family shouldering their backpacks ready to leave.
'Ah there you are!' my mother beamed. 'You ready to head out?'
Back at the cabin that evening I finally managed to catch a few hours of sleep after dinner, waking up as the others were on their way to bed. I crept into the living room, poured myself a scotch, and huddled out on the patio staring into the forest just as I had the night before.
What the hell were Wild Men and mimicweed doing out here more than 800 miles away across the Channel? Were they following me somehow or were they already here? Were they everywhere?
I figured I would be spending the rest of the holiday trying to keep ahead of the creatures in the woods whilst acting like nothing was happening around the rest of the family. It didn't sound like much fun, in fact it sounded dangerous. What would happen if that great stag-headed warrior managed to get hold of me? Sword or no sword it looked strong enough to rip my head clean off.
I was thinking of leaving, making some lame excuse to my family and moving forward with mine and Gregory's plan to visit Fenley. I was surprised to see lights flashing on the grassy verge between our holiday cabin and the treeline.
Lanterns? No, too bright, too uniform, moving too quickly. It was the headlights of a big car, a dark green jeep-type vehicle with huge studded wheels and a small flatbed covered in a roll cage and some webs of camouflage netting. Park rangers of some kind? It was getting closer, in fact they were heading right for me.
It had to be the Pontem.
I ran into the house aiming for the front door, on the way grabbing my jacket and the biggest knife in the kitchen. As I burst into the front yard I almost knocked my sister down the steps where she was smoking a cigarette.
'Jesus Christ you scared the shit outta me. You going somewhere?'
'There's a car behind the cabin. They're coming for me.'
'That's a pretty big knife, wanna put it down for me?'
'You don't understand Kim. I'm not crazy, just stay away from... stay away from everything. The less you see the safer you'll be.'
'You should listen to your sister Thompson,' said a voice from the end of the driveway.
I spun around and pointed the tip of the knife at the shape as it stepped out of the shadows and into the light.
'Who the fuck are you?'
He was tall and broad-shouldered, dressed in an old style pinstripe suit, a jade-coloured tie and black shoes so polished they shone like mirrors. His hands were in black leather gloves, his arms and shoulders in a long grey overcoat that almost reached the ground. His head was covered in a large, slightly peaked hood but I could see the face beneath it; pale, grey-bearded, eyes ensconced behind a pair of opaque dark-lensed goggles.
In one gloved hand he carried a black briefcase, in the other he brandished a familiar wooden wand.
'You know who I am. That's why we're here.'
'Go inside Kim,' I said sternly without looking around. 'Go to bed and never speak to anyone about what happened out here.'
'I'm calling the police.' She bolted inside the house before I could protest.
'You should have backed away when your friends were telling you to. Now we have to erase your sister as well. It's good the whole family is here, you made it easy for me.'
I rushed him and he dodged to one side like a matador. I skidded into the street, pivoted around and slashed out with the knife in a wide arc towards his head. He leaned away and the blade swung through empty air. Before I could regain composure and lunge again I felt the tip of the wand touch my chest. It was icy cold. I felt a crackle of something like electricity.
'Disappear,' said the man.
I stumbled backwards, limbs feeling leaden and heavy all of a sudden. I landed on my backside in the middle of the street and stared blearily up the empty road ahead. Lights again, not lanterns, no, headlights...
A large black car pulled around the corner and crawled silently up behind the man-with-the-wand. A door opened but nobody got out.
The man-with-the-wand tucked it away inside his overcoat then bent down and lay the briefcase onto the tarmac. He unlocked it, popped it open, and pulled out a pair of handcuffs and a sack hood.
I knew where this was going.
Somehow my arms and legs were working and I managed to crabwalk far enough away to feel comfortable twisting onto all fours and up onto my feet. He closed the gap frighteningly quickly but I was ready, lunging into him instead of away and lashing out hard with the point of the knife.
I felt contact, felt it sink deep into gristly resistance, felt hot warmth flood over my hands and forearms. My attacker hissed and recoiled away with my knife still buried in his gut. Behind him two men dressed identically save for the colour of their ties (canary yellow and fiery orange) stepped out of the car, and they weren't carrying wands.
The man-in-the-yellow tie carried a semi-automatic handgun in one hand and a long, heavy machete-like knife in the other. The man-in-the-orange-tie carried a shotgun and not a farmer's variant; it was a sleek, blunt-nosed black thing, the kind a SWAT team might use.
I looked around desperately at the surrounding houses and cabins. It was late, the only light coming from streetlamps. All was quiet too, even the black car. I figured one of the guns going off may rouse the neighbours by which point it would be too late for me.
I tried to run and managed three or four steps before a second vehicle came screeching around the corner ahead. It was the jeep, and it barrelled right at me faster than I could hope to dodge or outpace. Blinded by the highbeams I froze, lifting my arms across my face in futile self-preservation and bracing for an impact that never came.
The vehicle sped past me with only inches to spare and slammed into the man-in-the-green-tie, who bounced hard off the bumper and skipped like a stone up the road ahead. It didn't even slow down, instead veering sharply to the right and dragging the man-in-the-yellow-tie under its massive front wheels before sliding left once more and finally skidding to a halt atop both corpses.
The man-in-the-orange tie discharged his shotgun across the body of the jeep once, twice, before a figure leapt down from the roll cage and skewered him through the midriff with a short silvery sword.
I just stood there in silence as the third and final Pontem agent lifelessly crumpled up on the spot. Lights were starting coming on in the surrounding buildings now.
'Hey, you!' the figure called out to me as he plunged his sword in and out a few more times for good measure. He was wearing a strange hat and uniform I couldn't quite make out. 'Come here. Help me.'
I stumbled over, numbed with shock by the speed at which everything had changed. A second figure (the driver) had exited the vehicle too and was already pulling one of the bodies out from where it lay twisted between the wheels.
I could scarcely believe my eyes; both men were dressed as Roman soldiers.
The driver was in a full set of armour including a helmet with a red fur crest, greaves, a scale breastplate, and even a pair of heavy boot-like sandals. His passenger wore a breastplate and helmet over a grey jacket and forest camo cargopants. It was a strange combination but now wasn't the time for questions. Together we slung the three dead men and their weapons into the back of the jeep.
'Here,' said the driver as he fished a set of keys from one of the bodies and tossed them at me. 'You can drive right? Julien will guide you to the right spot.'
'Uh, yeah I can drive.' I looked over at the black Pontem car, three of its doors still hanging wide open.
'Take this too.' He took off his helmet to reveal a tanned bald scalp, and I immediately recognised him. 'It'll protect you.'
The polished steel felt cool under my fingertips as I slipped it over my head.
'Uhh, thanks.'
Before I could say another word he hopped back into the the jeep and sped off, leaving his passenger and I standing in the middle of an otherwise empty street.
'Alright partner, let's get out of here before the police show up.'
'That man...' I said as I slid into the warm leather seat, inserted the key and thumbed the ignition. 'I've seen him before, out in rural Wales. I led In Via to a Pontem apostate and the historian he was hiding with, by mistake of course. He helped them get away.'
'Yeah that's what he does. Why do you think we're here? Come on, drive a little faster. Second on the left. Yeah-yeah, that one.'
I gulped as I followed his directions off the main road and down a country lane leading out into the forest.
'You sure this is a good idea?'
'Trust me, you'll be alright with that helmet on.'
'What do you mean? What does it do?'
'Aside from scare the shit out Wild Men and mimicweed? There's a thin band of basalt set around the inside. You'll be almost invisible.'
'To the Pontem?'
'Shit no, to the Lignumsphaera. You'll need this for the Pontem.' He handed me the man-in-the-yellow-tie's handgun with a grin on his boyish face. 'Be careful with that. Only got the one clip.'
Romans? Basalt? Lignumsphaera?
'I don't-'
'Relax man!' the half-Roman soothed. 'Let's get some music on. I guess you've got a lot of questions and we haven't got much time, so fire away.'
I took a deep breath and stared out into the black ahead, entombed on all sides by thick looming arches and arms of forest. Julien fiddled with the radio and found a crackly local station playing French jazz.
'Who are you?' I began.
'Julien Baker.'
'Why do I know that name?'
'I spoke to our mutual pal Gregory. I believe he showed you my article on the Wild Men of Fenley.'
'So you're the journalist? My uncle's journal told me you disappeared soon after publication.'
'Yeah, well, there's a story there alright.'
'And who's the other guy?'
'Calls himself Alphons. He belongs to some ancient society, he's cagey about who exactly but I think he's a recruiter-slash-fixer for them. All this Roman gear is his.'
'The man, the one with the green tie, he touched me with his wand.'
'They call 'em causality wands, and I don't think that's good news.'
'He said “disappear” as he did it. The same thing almost happened to me on Princess Road. What does it mean?'
Julien shrugged.
'I don't know quite as much as my outfit suggests. I doubt even Alphons knows. I haven't heard or seen anything about anyone getting zapped myself, but you're feeling alright yeah?'
'Dizzy when it touched me, but that cleared fast enough. I feel fine.'
'Good. We'll ask Alphons when we finds us.'
'Where are we going?'
Julien chuckled and raised his eyebrows.
'We've got ourselves a mission, the three of us.'
'What kind of mission?'
'Well.' Julien unsheathed his sword halfway and stared into his shining reflection. 'That remains to be seen.'
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2020.08.19 13:42 TheDamWidow2020 Virtual Dating in a Covid Crisis – A Lifesaver!

Virtual Dating in a Covid Crisis – A Lifesaver!
By The Dam Widow
The Covid crisis has presented many challenges to daily life with so much negativity surrounding it. As a “Silver Lining” person, I look deeper for positives. For example, shaking hands – just yuck! My career required a good deal of travel, and trade show activities. I carried hand sanitizer in my blazer pocket and used it after each encounter. I sanitized on planes and wore masks, particularly if I was feeling off. I was labeled a Germ-a-fob and heckled, by my peers. I simply smiled and replied “Yes, Yes I am.” I have not spoken to any of them in several years, I can’t help but wonder now.
Covid and dating, setting the stage.
All about me-
I came from a small town in northern Illinois, married young to my one and only. He became ill with an undiagnosed rare form of dementia, and when we found out he had less than 6 months to live. It was a long road and terrifying to watch my partner, lover and best friend of 38 years slowly slip away.
Fast Forward 2 years later. Whew, finally coming out the other side of grieving. I’ve moved back home to an amazing spot on a lovely dam, nature abounds. I struggled a good deal to regain “Just Me” after I lost my “We.” I’m ready to try dating, I think?
All about him-
Successful business man, with a decorated military background, traveled the world and participated in some very worthy environmental causes. He’s divorced after a 25 year marriage, they’d separated quite some time ago. Just a good guy, my friend tells me.
A trusted friend, had a friend in another state whom, she believed we’d a good match. I thoroughly verified the inform, checking on-line and asked pointed questions of my friend. At 60 I know exactly what I do not want, a drinker, must have teeth, physically fit, and preferably not bald. My bar was set pretty low, I now realize. I tell her to go ahead and give him my number. For about a week we text, exchange appropriate photos and speaking briefly, as this is his busy season. We exchange swimsuit photos, he looks fit. My friend tells me she knows of the photo and confirms it is indeed him. I send him a headless bikini shot. (Internet safety rule #1, never send anything you’d be embarrassed for your mother to see.) He quickly calls me to say, You’re hot to which I reply thank you, he wanted to know why I cropped out my head? I replied, “I might want to run for president someday.” Crickets, guess he doesn’t get my odd sense of humor. Bear in mind, it took me 6 tries to stop shaking enough to get a decent picture, anxiety is a cruel beast.
We set up a web-ex date for Sunday evening.
I’m feeling very nervous, but confident that I’m not being Catfished. I prepare for the date, spend the digging out and pressing dress clothes and heels, shaving, plucking and doing my hair. I even put on lipstick, pink in fact. I am not a girlie girl, I rarely wear make-up, and almost always wear a ball cap. Satisfied with my look, I set the backdrop. As I mentioned I live on a dam, it’s really quite unique, and most find it extremely peaceful and calming. Assuming he’d want to know more about me, I cleaned my little house and staged the patio for the virtual tour. He suggested a conferencing tool he’d used before rather than FaceTime, the graphics are better. No problem, I have an extensive IT background.
And the date begins:
He spends the first 10 minutes trying to figure out how to use the software his suggested, several times I tell him he needs my email address, he’s not listening, I text it to him anyway. Another 10 minutes, he realizes he needs my email address. (Oh man I feel like I’m back at the IT table with all the GUYS again.) I was raised not to brag, but I’m really smart. I developed workflows, installed and trained at the Pentagon, The Library of Congress and several world-wide enterprises all over the US and Canada. I’m already over this, we try FaceTime. Really! On screen we go, remember I spent the day coiffing. He’s significantly older than his pictures, shocked I quickly remember that my neck gobbles too, I move forward. He’s in a T-shirt and boxers, I immediately think, and I took off my hat for this? Then feel really foolish that I’m wearing lipstick. He doesn’t notice my shocked face, so I put on my business game and try to converse. He next tells me he’s on third vodka, and his ingrown toe nails and bunions are really bothering him, he showed them to me on camera…I'm mortified and turn my head. I suggested a podiatrist, please put them away!! I completely give up and started taking notes and doodling. At one point I forget he could see me, my facial expressions tell it all. Another 30 minutes, the tales have now been repeated 3 times. I prop the phone up so my very large dog’s face is on camera and looked at the clock, 10 minutes later he realized I was gone. Now, I know they say dogs and owners look alike, she’s a Great Pyrenees, her face is all nose. Another half hour goes by, my phone says low battery, thank you Lord. I attempted to tell him several times it was drying, I let it die.
FYI, the divorce is not final, he bad mouthed his wife constantly, as riding on his coat tails, she doesn’t deserve the money. I felt all her pain in that moment! I’m not sure what my friends’ definition of successful business is…but one that is broke, in trouble with the IRS, and owes hundreds of thousands to his wife/partner is not my definition of successful.
Collecting myself for a few minutes, all the while thinking, “Well how are you going to get out of this one Miss Smarty Pants.” – I plug in my phone. He calls, I take a deep breathe, reminding myself to speak from my heart and with kindness. He starts again, I quickly interrupt, it’s getting late. He asks me the first question in the entire two hours, would you like to talk, (or rather listen, again? I politely decline, stating that he’s clearly got a lot going on in his life, and should take some time post-divorce to move on. He argues with me, I take notes for a reason, “You’ve mentioned your wife and divorce 5 times, there’s clearly some unresolved issues.” Not taking “no” for an answer, I explain to him I am an empath and I can sense him. I kindly said you are unbalanced and spinning like a tornado, my friend. I suggested he search for peace within, he stated he is at peace and I am wrong, I hope I am. I said good night and wished him the best.
He did text the next day making excuses for his behavior, I was drunk and tired, and he truly is at peace. I chose not to respond, “Excuses only matter to the one that’s making them.”
{Block Contact}
Thank you Covid for travel bans!!
PS. That friend is no longer allowed to be my wingman.
submitted by TheDamWidow2020 to rSlash_YT [link] [comments]


2020.08.18 23:15 biggreekgeek Flatten the Curve. #49. Let's Dig into Jade Helm. AI. The Surveillance State. Internet of Things. FISA. Pentagon Preparing for Mass Civil Breakdown. What is Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio? Stay Aware and Get Ahead of the Curve.

Flatten the Curve. Part 48. Source Here
It's getting crazier day by day now, so are you following the Boy Scout motto?
On this topic, Baden-Powell says: Remember your motto, "Be Prepared." Be prepared for accidents by learning beforehand what you ought to do in the different kinds that are likely to occur. Be prepared to do that thing the moment the accident does occur. In Scouting for Boys, Baden-Powell wrote that to Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”
Why should you be prepared? Because TPTB have been preparing, that’s why.
June 12, 2014: The Guardian • Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Social science is being militarised to develop 'operational tools' to target peaceful activists and protest movements Source Here
Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. It seemed ludicrous back in 2014, didn't it? Inconceivable. Sure some preppers believed it, but they're always getting ready and nothing happened. Doomsday was always right around the corner, and then the next corner, and on and on. Televangelists have probably accused more politicians of being the antichrist than the number of politicians went to Epstein's Island.
But why would they be preparing for mass civil breakdown? Could it be the same reason as why the miltary is preparing for war, droughts and famines brought about by environmental collapse?
February 20, 2020: History Network • Here’s Why These Six Ancient Civilizations Mysteriously Collapsed. From the Maya to Greenland’s Vikings, check out six civilizations that seemingly disappeared without a trace. Source Here
All of these civilizations vanished because of some combination of exhausting their natural resources, drought, plauge, and the little ice age. Sound familiar? Don't tell me that the Rockefeller Foundation and BlackRock became environmentally aware out of a sense of obligation to the planet. They're setting the groundwork for what's coming down the pipe. This isn't about money anymore, this is about control and survival. Throw out the rulebook because the rules no longer apply.
Do you think the surveillance system is for your protection, or the protection of the state? Don't you think that an era of upcoming calamities will severely damage the communication networks, and thus the surveillance system? It might be prudent to consider that Starlink is being established to make the system redundant, so that they never lose track of the precious worker bees before they can be connected to the AI hive mind, right Elon? Neuralink, don't leave home without it.
But let's not forget about the wonderful world of the Internet of Things.
March 15, 2012 • More and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches. CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through them. Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an "Internet of Things" -- that is, wired devices -- at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital firm. "'Transformational' is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies," Petraeus enthused, "particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft." All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you're a "person of interest" to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the "smart home," you'd be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room's ambiance. "Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters -- all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing," Petraeus said, "the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing." Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices "change our notions of secrecy" and prompt a rethink of "our notions of identity and secrecy." All of which is true -- if convenient for a CIA director. The CIA has a lot of legal restrictions against spying on American citizens. But collecting ambient geolocation data from devices is a grayer area, especially after the 2008 carve-outs to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Hardware manufacturers, it turns out, store a trove of geolocation data; and some legislators have grown alarmed at how easy it is for the government to track you through your phone or PlayStation. That's not the only data exploit intriguing Petraeus. He's interested in creating new online identities for his undercover spies -- and sweeping away the "digital footprints" of agents who suddenly need to vanish. "Proud parents document the arrival and growth of their future CIA officer in all forms of social media that the world can access for decades to come," Petraeus observed. "Moreover, we have to figure out how to create the digital footprint for new identities for some officers." Source Here
December 19, 2019: New York Times • THE DATA REVIEWED BY TIMES OPINION didn’t come from a telecom or giant tech company, nor did it come from a governmental surveillance operation. It originated from a location data company, one of dozens quietly collecting precise movements using software slipped onto mobile phone apps. You’ve probably never heard of most of the companies — and yet to anyone who has access to this data, your life is an open book. They can see the places you go every moment of the day, whom you meet with or spend the night with, where you pray, whether you visit a methadone clinic, a psychiatrist’s office or a massage parlor. The Times and other news organizations have reported on smartphone tracking in the past. But never with a data set so large. Even still, this file represents just a small slice of what’s collected and sold every day by the location tracking industry — surveillance so omnipresent in our digital lives that it now seems impossible for anyone to avoid. It doesn’t take much imagination to conjure the powers such always-on surveillance can provide an authoritarian regime like China’s. Within America’s own representative democracy, citizens would surely rise up in outrage if the government attempted to mandate that every person above the age of 12 carry a tracking device that revealed their location 24 hours a day. Yet, in the decade since Apple’s App Store was created, Americans have, app by app, consented to just such a system run by private companies. Now, as the decade ends, tens of millions of Americans, including many children, find themselves carrying spies in their pockets during the day and leaving them beside their beds at night — even though the corporations that control their data are far less accountable than the government would be. Source Here
The IoT should be renamed to IoTT (Internet of Tracking Things), shouldn't it. But we can't have people figure out what's really happening, can we? It's a good thing that quantum computing isn't too close, isn’t it?
April 5, 2018: Global News • (Project Maven) Over 3,000 Google employees have a signed a petition in protest against the company’s involvement with a U.S. Department of Defense artificial intelligence (AI) project that studies imagery and could eventually be used to improve drone strikes in the battlefield. Source Here
December 12, 2019 • Palantir took over Project Maven defense contract after Google backed out. Source Here
December 29, 2020: Input • Palantir exec says its work is on par with the Manhattan Project. Comparing AI to most lethal weapon in human history isn’t comforting. SourceHere
August 14, 2020: Venture: • Google researchers use quantum computing to help improve image classification. Source Here
Hmmm. Maybe Apple will be for the little guy? They have always valued privacy rights, right?
October 2, 2013: Vice News • The hacktivist group Anonymous released a video statement with an accompanying Pastebin document claiming that there are definitive links between AuthenTec, the company that developed the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner, and the US government. Source Here
An apple a day helps the NSA. Or Google. Or Microsoft. Or Amazon. Take your pick from the basket, because dem Apple's are all the same. But at least we have fundamental rights, right?
Foreign agent declaration not required • No mention of foreign agent status is made in the Protect America Act of 2007. Under prior FISA rules, persons targeted for surveillance must have been declared as foreign agents before a FISA warrant would be accorded by the FISC court.
'Quasi-anti-terrorism law' for all-forms of intelligence collection • Vastly marketed by U.S. federal and military agencies as a law to prevent terror attacks, the Protect America Act was actually a law focused on the 'acquisition' of desired intelligence information, of unspecified nature. The sole requirement is geolocation outside the United States at time of Directive invocation; pursuant to Authorization or Order invocation, surveillance Directives can be undertaken towards persons targeted for intelligence information gathering. Implementation of Directives can take place inside the United States or outside the United States. No criminal or terrorism investigation of the person need be in play at time of the Directive. All that need be required is that the target be related to an official desire for intelligence information gathering for actions on part of persons involved in surveillance to be granted full immunity from U.S. criminal or civil procedures, under Section 105B(l) of the Act.
Removal of FISA Strictures from warrant authorization; warrants not required • But the most striking aspect of the Protect America Act was the notation that any information gathering did not comprise electronic surveillance. This wording had the effect of removing FISA-related strictures from Protect America Act 2007-related Directives, serving to remove a number of protections for persons targeted, and requirements for persons working for U.S. intelligence agencies.
The acquisition does not constitute electronic surveillance • The removal of the term electronic surveillance from any Protect America Act Directive implied that the FISC court approval was no longer required, as FISA warrants were no longer required. In the place of a warrant was a certification, made by U.S. intelligence officers, which was copied to the Court. In effect, the FISC became less of a court than a registry of pre-approved certifications.Certifications (in place of FISA warrants) were able to be levied ex post facto, in writing to the Court no more than 72 hours after it was made. The Attorney General was to transmit as soon as possible to the Court a sealed copy of the certification that would remain sealed unless the certification was needed to determine the legality of the acquisition.Source Here
Oh. FISA is basically a rubber stamp. And even if it the stage play wasn't pretending to follow the script, would it matter? Who could actually stop it at this point? The cat's out of the bag and Pandoras Box is open.
Controversial debates arose as the Protect America Act was published. Constitutional lawyers and civil liberties experts expressed concerns that this Act authorized massive, wide-ranging information gathering with no oversight. Whereas it placed much focus on communications, the Act allowed for information gathering of all shapes and forms. The ACLU called it the "Police America Act" – "authorized a massive surveillance dragnet", calling the blank-check oversight provisions "meaningless," and calling them a "phony court review of secret procedures."
So the surveillance state doesn't have checks and balances anymore. The state is preparing for Massive Civil Breakdown. They keep warning us about environmental collapse. Got it? Good. Let's keep on keeping on.
The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871 created a single new district corporation governing the entire federal territory, called the District of Columbia, thus dissolving the three major political subdivisions of the District (Port of Georgetown, the City of Washington, and Washington County) and their governments. Source Here)
The first big leap in corporate personhood from holding mere property and contract rights to possessing more expansive rights was a claim that the Equal Protection Clause applied to corporations. One of the strangest twists in American constitutional law was the moment that corporations gained personhood under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It occurred in a case called Santa Clara County, and what was odd was that the Supreme Court did not really even decide the matter in the actual opinion. It only appeared in a footnote to the case. What we are likely to have at the conclusion of the Supreme Court term is corporations that are empowered to spend in American elections because of Bellotti and Citizens United; corporations that can make religious objections thanks to Hobby Lobby; and if Jesner turns out as badly as I predict, corporations will be able to aid and abet human rights violations abroad with impunity. Source Here
"Having a corporation would allow people to put property into a collective ownership that could be held with perpetual existence," she says. "So it wouldn't be tied to any one person's lifespan, or subject necessarily to laws regarding inheriting property." Later on, in the United States and elsewhere, the advantages of incorporation were essential to efficient and secure economic development. Unlike partnerships, the corporation continued to exist even if a partner died; there was no unanimity required to do something; shareholders could not be sued individually, only the corporation as a whole, so investors only risked as much as they put into buying shares. Source Here
The way that the Arab Bank may get away with this alleged morally troubling behavior, even though it has a New York branch, is by reasserting the basic argument that was made in Nestle USA and Kiobel II: that the federal Alien Tort Statute was not intended to apply to corporations full stop. Given other cases in this area like Mohamad v. PLO, which held the word “individual” in the Torture Victim Protection Act means a natural person and does not impose any liability against organizations, the Arab Bank’s procorporate argument may well prevail. There are multiple federal Circuit Courts which have shot down the argument that corporations are immune from suit under the Alien Tort Statute. The lone outlier is the Second Circuit, which decided in 2010 that corporations are excused from suit in Kiobel I. This is the case that was appealed to the Supreme Court and became Kiobel II. Jesner v. Arab Bank was litigated in the Second Circuit. One question in Jesner was what exactly did Kiobel II do to Kiobel I. So far in the litigation, Jesner concluded that Kiobel I and its conclusion that corporations can’t be sued in federal court using the Alien Tort Statute remained the controlling law of the Second Circuit.
There's a reason people call lawyers snakes, it's because most of them speak with forked tounges. So the corporation isn't being held liable, but the shareholders can't be held liable either. That's too insane to even be called a Catch 22. We are literally being set up to have no recourse because there isn’t anybody who can be held responsible. Why is that important when I've been talking about the surveillance state?
July 14, 2020: The Intercept • Microsoft’s police surveillance services are often opaque because the company sells little in the way of its own policing products. It instead offers an array of “general purpose” Azure cloud services, such as machine learning and predictive analytics tools like Power BI (business intelligence) and Cognitive Services, which can be used by law enforcement agencies and surveillance vendors to build their own software or solutions. A rich array of Microsoft’s cloud-based offerings is on full display with a concept called “The Connected Officer.” Microsoft situates this concept as part of the Internet of Things, or IoT, in which gadgets are connected to online servers and thus made more useful. “The Connected Officer,” Microsoft has written, will “bring IoT to policing.” With the Internet of Things, physical objects are assigned unique identifiers and transfer data over networks in an automated fashion. If a police officer draws a gun from its holster, for example, a notification can be sent over the network to alert other officers there may be danger. Real Time Crime Centers could then locate the officer on a map and monitor the situation from a command and control center. Source Here
Uhm, I guess it's really is all connected, isn’t it?
June 18, 2020: The Guardian • How Target, Google, Bank of America and Microsoft quietly fund police through private donations. More than 25 large corporations in the past three years have contributed funding to private police foundations, new report says. Source Here
Long live the Military Industrial Techno Surveillance State. If you have nothing to hide, than you have nothing to worry about. Really? Are we still believing that line? Cause it's a load of crap. If we have nothing to worry about, then why are they worried enough to be implementing surveillance systems with corresponding units on the ground? Got your attention there, didn't I?
August 19, 2019: Big Think • Though the term "Orwellian" easily applies to such a technology, Michel's illuminating reporting touches something deeper. Numerous American cities have already been surveilled using these god-like cameras, including Gorgon Stare, a camera-enabled drone that can track individuals over a 50-square kilometer radius from 20,000 feet. Here's the real rub: the feature that allows users to pinch and zoom on Instagram is similar to what WAMI allows. Anything within those 50-square kilometers is now under the microscope. If this sounds like some futuristic tech, think again: Derivations of this camera system have been tested in numerous American cities. Say there is a big public protest. With this camera you can follow thousands of protesters back to their homes. Now you have a list of the home addresses of all the people involved in a political movement. If on their way home you witness them committing some crime—breaking a traffic regulation or frequenting a location that is known to be involved in the drug trade—you can use that surveillance data against them to essentially shut them up. That's why we have laws that prevent the use of surveillance technologies because it is human instinct to abuse them. That's why we need controls. Source Here
Want to know more about the Gorgon Stare? Flatten the Curve. Part 12. Source Here
Now, I'm not sure if you remember or know any Greek Mythology, but the Gorgons were three sisters, and one sister had Snakes on her head (she wasn't a lawyer) and she turned people to stone when she looked at them.
MEDUSA (Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio) is a directed-energy non-lethal weapon designed by WaveBand Corporation in 2003-2004 for temporary personnel incapacitation. The weapon is based on the microwave auditory effect resulting in a strong sound sensation in the human head when it is subject to certain kinds of pulsed/modulated microwave radiation. The developers claimed that through the combination of pulse parameters and pulse power, it is possible to raise the auditory sensation to a “discomfort” level, deterring personnel from entering a protected perimeter or, if necessary, temporarily incapacitating particular individuals. In 2005, Sierra Nevada Corporation acquired WaveBand Corporation.
Ok. Get it? The Gorgon eye in the sky stares at you while the Medusa makes you immobile. Not good, but at least it'll just freeze you in your tracks.
July 6, 2008: Gizmodo • The Sierra Nevada Corporation claimed this week that it is ready to begin production on the MEDUSA, a damned scary ray gun that uses the "microwave audio effect" to implant sounds and perhaps even specific messages inside people's heads. Short for Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio, MEDUSA creates the audio effect with short microwave pulses. The pulses create a shockwave inside the skull that's detected by the ears, and basically makes you think you're going balls-to-the-wall batshit insane. Source Here
Uhm. And drive you insane.
July 26, 2008: Gizmodo • The MEDUSA crowd control ray gun we reported on earlier this month sounded like some pretty amazing-and downright scary-technology. Using the microwave auditory effect, the beam, in theory, would have put sounds and voice-like noises in your head, thereby driving you away from the area. Crowd control via voices in your head. Sounds cool. However, it turns out that the beam would actually kill you before any of that happy stuff started taking place, most likely by frying or cooking your brain inside your skull. Can you imagine if this thing made it out into the field? Awkward! Source Here
Annnnnnnndddddd it'll kill you.
Guys, they're prepared. They've been prepared. They're ready. Remember the Doomsday Bunkers? The military moving into Cheyenne Mountain? Deep Underground Military Bunkers? The rapid rolling out of 5G? BITCOIN and UBI so neatly inserted into our minds over the last five years? They've directly told us to have three months of supplies in our homes. 2020 isn't going to be an anomaly? It's the start of the collapse of our natural resources. Take a look on Reddit and all the posts about crazy weather. Cyanobacteria blooms killing dogs and people. Toxic Super Pollution caused by atmospheric inversions killing people. This isn’t normal, this is New Normal. And they know it. They've known it for a while. Let me show you one last thing before I wrap it up.
From the earliest Chinese dynasties to the present, the jade deposits most used were not only those of Khotan in the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang but other parts of China as well, such as Lantian, Shaanxi.
Remember, words matter. Look at Gorgon Stare and Medusa. They don't randomly grab names out of a hat, or pick them because they think it sounds dystopian. They pick words for a reason.
July 7, 2017: The Warzone • There only appears to be one official news story on this exercise at all and it's available on the website of Air Mobility Command’s Eighteenth Air Force, situated at Joint Base Charleston. At the time of writing, a google shows that there were more than a half dozen more copies on other Air Force pages, as well as number of photographs. For some reason, someone appears to have taken these offline or otherwise broken all the links. Using Google to search the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System, which is the main U.S. military's public affairs hub, brings up more broken links. Oh, and unless there's been some sort of mistake, JADE HELM actually stands for the amazingly obtuse Joint Assistance for Deployment Execution Homeland Eradication of Local Militants. A separate web search for this phrase does not turn up any other results. Source Here
Now, using an acronym that indicates training to Eradicate Local Militants seems pretty dumb. It may be used in that manner if environmental collapse triggers riots, but i don't think they would warn everyone ahead of time, do you? So I dug a little bit more.
Joint Assistant for Development and Execution (JADE) is a U.S. military system used for planning the deployment of military forces in crisis situations. The U.S. military developed this automated planning software system in order to expedite the creation of the detailed planning needed to deploy military forces for a military operation. JADE uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology combining user input, a knowledge base of stored plans, and suggestions by the system to provide the ability to develop large-scale and complex plans in minimal time. JADE is a knowledge-based system that uses highly structured information that takes advantage of data hierarchies. An official 2016 document approved for public release titled Human Systems Roadmap Review describes plans to create autonomous weapon systems that analyze social media and make decisions, including the use of lethal force, with minimal human involvement. This type of system is referred to as a Lethal Autonomous Weapon System (LAWS). The name "JADE" comes from the jade green color seen on the island of Oahu in Hawaii where the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) is headquartered.
PACOM? Why isn't that command group responsible for the South China Sea?
Formerly known as United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) since its inception, the command was renamed to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command on 30 May 2018, in recognition of the greater emphasis on South Asia, especially India.
Now doesn't it look like Jade Helm is preparing for an invasion? And possibly insurrection later. Or at the same time? Or riots over WW3? Or food riots? And start thinking about why the laws are starting to exclude corporations? Then think about the mercenaries that are being contracted out by the government.
October 17, 2018: The Carolinan • In 2016, 75 percent of American forces were private contractors. In 2017, Erik Prince, former head of Blackwater, and Stephen Feinberg, head of Dyncorp, discussed plans for contractors completely taking over U.S. operations in Afghanistan. Although ultimately unsuccessful, it remains to be seen if the current administration will change its mind. Contractors are involved in almost every military task, such as intelligence analysis, logistics and training allied soldiers. Contractors are even involved in U.S. special ops missions. This is because contractors are essentially untraceable and unaccountable. Most are born in other countries; only 33 percent are registered U.S. citizens. Private military firms don’t have to report their actions to Congress, unlike the military or intelligence agencies. They also aren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act, so private citizens and journalists aren’t allowed to access their internal documents. There are also no international laws to regulate private military firms. It’s been proven that many contractors are involved in illegal activities. The larger multinational companies sometimes hire local subcontractors. These contractors sometimes aren’t background-checked. A 2010 investigation by the Senate found that many subcontractors were linked to murders, kidnappings, bribery and anti-coalition activities. Some subcontractors even formed their own unlicensed mercenary groups after coalition forces leave. A 2010 House investigation showed evidence that the Department of Defense had hired local warlords for security services. In 2007, Blackwater contractors massacred 17 civilians. This eventually led Blackwater to being restructured and renamed as Academi. Source Here
Military Exercises. Private Defense Firms. No oversight. And it's all coming soon. Read more at Flatten the Curve. Part 20. Upcoming war and catastrophes. Source Here
Nah. I'm just fear mongering and Doomscrolling again.
Heads up and eyes open. Talk soon.
submitted by biggreekgeek to conspiracy [link] [comments]


2020.08.12 23:06 CadaverCommander The Featherlight Transmission, Ch. 31

Electrofuck bases his operation out of Sector Sixteen, right at the western corner where it touches the walls with Eighteen, Five, and Three. Staying near Sixteen I understand - Electrofuck’s appetite for thump is legendary and his thirst for flesh is a close second. I’ve gone over what this place is like.
What I don’t get is why one of the most feared crime lords in the world would put his home base within coughing distance of Sector Three. Sector Three - the location of Thousand-Eyes Keep, the Hall of Resolution, and the Sink. Those are, if the profound subtlety of those fun-sounding names didn't give it away, the headquarters of the Watch, the city's courthouse, and the prison, respectively. The High Marshal lives in a literal castle not even an entire sector’s distance away. I’ve heard that it’s some kind of macho thing, and I guess I believe it. Electrofuck’s the kind of guy that will kill you for not looking at him funny (he likes attention) and then compare dick lengths post-mortem to make sure he was right.
I’m way out on the fringes of the sector, where the residential choke starts to give way to wider spaces and more utilitarian buildings. I’ve gone over what this place is like. At least it’s early in the morning and most everybody is still asleep. The swelling’s down for these inflamed streets, for now. There’s an uncommonly chill morning wind, bringing breakfast smells, dust, and plastic bags like a flock of birds across the pavement with me. They’re all the company I have here. There’s a lot of shadow. But it’s the wrong kind - softer. And not cast by the Wall, the sun’s too high now. I look up-
Oh.
Clouds. Heavy ones, like the sky is toast and someone just spread a big healthy layer of gray jam over it. They look hard and rough, like beaten iron. An armored sky.
It only gets cloudy in winter here, when the currents shift and carve some sopping wet air off the top of Thousandmire, dragging it north into the Desert. When I was a kid, I was trained to always look forward to this time of year, because the rain meant my birthday was coming soon. These days I’m just thankful for the break in the heat, like everyone else.
One of the warehouses around here is listed as abandoned, because the city long since gave up trying to figure out a solution to Electrofuck. You can tell it’s not abandoned, because there are a couple of big fuckers standing outside the front door, wearing gaudy lightshow implants, scrolling LED sunglasses, and spiked multicolored denim. Electrofuck tends to make his guys dress like him, which is to say, like a robot clown that was murdered in a hardware store. You can also tell this is Electrofuck’s warehouse because he had the facade painted bright fucking yellow, with big splattery black letters that say “THUNDERBOLTS” across the whole wall. Smaller black letters over in one corner also say, “ELECTROFUCK FUCKS YOR MOM”, in case you weren’t sure who could be responsible for this. The Thunderbolts are the only gang in the city brazen enough to shriek the exact location of their hideout like this - even the Fangs put up some pretense of hiding in between carving up civilians for their meat and hide.
I approach the door, and one of the bouncers levels a punch gun at me. I look down at him like he’s a fire hydrant. His vitae is mostly orange, and flapping like a flag in the wind. High as fuck, probably hasn’t slept in three days.
The other guy, who has bleach-blue spiky hair (another style affectation directly imitating their boss) is a bit more measured. Green and yellow. He just puts one hand on a hip holster and looks at me. I can tell he isn’t high, unlike his partner, whose eyes are buzzing like fruit flies. I’m not sure which of the five of me he’ll shoot.
Calm Son says, “The fuck do you want?”
I smile. “To get inside, please. I owe your boss a million credits. I’m here to pay.”
He holds out a hand. “I’ll get it to him.”
I look down at his hand, then back up to his face. My apertures narrow on him.
“Do you think I’m a fucking idiot?”
He smirks. “Not anymore.” The smirk melts. “Is that a fucking sword?”
“Yeah.”
“It’s fucking huge.”
“I’m fucking huge.”
“... Yeah. Take it off and leave it here while you’re inside.”
“No. By the time I get back you and your little friend here will have sold it for a bulk pack of lace doilies or whatever you people are into.”
“Then you ain’t gettin’ in, asshole.”
This one has a punch gun. You’ve got a… yeah, that’s a slab stunner. I don’t think your mommies would approve of you playing with such dangerous toys. So obviously you’ve been hitting precinct armories, or you know someone who has. And there’ll be more shit inside. Do you really think Electrofuck is gonna give a shit if I bring a big knife inside? He’ll probably think it’s funny.”
He glares at me for a moment, then points behind my back. “Step back a minute.”
I step back. He turns around and picks up the receiver of a telephone box by the door. He has a brief conversation with someone, then turns around to face me again.
“Go ahead in.”
I nod thanks at him, then go through the door.
Electrofuck has spent a lot of time, money, and manpower turning the inside of this warehouse into a kind of insane sultan’s palace, the kind that a Valtean rancher baron with really bad synesthesia might build. There’s hanging curtains strung from every angle and in every color, breaking up the space. Rugs just kind of… tossed all over the place. Couches, chairs, low tables all burdened with pills and piles of powder of every description and side-effect. Most of the Thunderbolts here are lounging like well-fed lions. Draped over the couches dazing into a boiling rainbow galaxy that only they can see, grouped up in a corner playing with some stolen Watch weaponry. To my surprise, there’s a surprisingly well-equipped dining area off to one side, where some of the thugs are cooking. I didn’t know thugs knew how to cook, as a general rule. That kind of thing is generally why one becomes a thug. There’s fucking cats everywhere. Just… everywhere, relaxing with the gangsters like they’re all the same species. There’s got to be at least fifty of them.
And at the rear of the room is the sultan himself. The king of fear and dosage and cats, the ruler of a full quarter of the city’s underground substances trade, the one who’s given me money with one hand and yanked my leash with the other.
Electrofuck.
He’s part-sitting, part-lying in a huge throne that someone must’ve custom built for him, one leg over the armrest like a petulant teen. The thing goes all the way to the ceiling, covered in cushions and drapes of every color, forming a canopy over him that smears across the roofbeams and spreads to every corner of the room, like the web of a gaudy tie-die spider. There’s an orange-and-white cat lying on his belly, and he’s petting it very lovingly, making kissy sounds. He’s using a static electricity field in his fingertips to attract shed fur out of the animal’s coat, flinging it idly off the side of the great chair every once in a while. I know a happy cat when I see one, and there’s two of them.
Electrofuck is pretty big for a skinny, maybe a bit more than six feet and two hundred pounds. There’s not an ounce of fat on him. With his cream coffee-colored skin, he looks like he was chiseled out of a block of frozen caramel. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear a shirt, presumably so he can show off his various implants, piercings, and tattoos. He’s got so many of each that it’s kind of tough to even tell where his outline is - the eye just kind of slides off all the art and metal. Electrofuck must also keep some kind of body carver on his staff, because in addition to the red LED lightshow implants in his biceps, pierced nipples (and navel and ribs and nose and et cetera), and cornea-scrambling tapestry of cartoons all over him, he has subcutaneous liquid crystal reservoirs that have been configured to flash with the electrical current given off by his heart. Every thump causes a brief glow under his skin, in a different color each time. It looks like if you cut him, he would bleed an entire rave, thudding dance music and glowsticks and all.
Like a lot of the cronies who have copied his style, his hair is threaded into an orb of bleached spikes the color of a periwinkle’s ghost. Even his eyes haven’t escaped the ferocious editing - he’s got some kind of electroreactive contact lenses that put a glowing yellow ring around his normally blue irises, making them look sort of like light bulbs.
His vitae is… imagine a huge thunderhead, dark gray and pregnant with storm, hovering over his head and all around him. The flashes rumbling inside it are purple and yellow, and it extends oily black-white-yellow iridescent tendrils all over everything around him, occasionally flickering and twitching with energy. It’s like a massive jellyfish made out of weather and directionless rage, draped over his shoulders and roiling above him.
There’s also a… guy, standing off to the right of Electrofuck’s throne.
Wait a second… I recognize that fucking guy. Wide straw hat. Blanket-y robes, wispy gray beard. This is the sleepy oldtimer who got on the train with me the other day like it was nothing. He’s leaning a bit on a metal staff, and I can see under the brim of his wicker hat that he is looking dead at my face, with an expression that’s resting comfortably between disdain and outright hatred. I wonder what I did to him. I’ve never seen him here before. Or anywhere else, before a few days ago. His vitae is the same as it was then, that strange array of gray and yellow magnetic field lines, slowly shifting and orbiting like the tide line on a beach.
I approach the throne, and as I do, Electrofuck catches a glimpse of me from the corner of one glowing eye. His eyebrows shoot up, and I can tell it’s taking every ounce of self control he has to gently pick the cat up and set it on the ground instead of exploding out of his chair like a volcano. Once the cat is clear, he leaps up off the thing and stands upright, looking down on me from the raised platform. He smiles. His teeth are all gold.
The Beast enters my pleasure kingdom once again.”
I meet his eye, smiling neutrally. “How you been, Electro?”
“Oh so good, my heavy friend. So good. Everyone SHUT THE FUCK UP!
He claps his hands together. This causes a brief flash of white energy to erupt around his hands and an actual thunderclap, the pressure wave I can feel from where I’m standing. Someone cuts off the blast metal music that was playing over by the kitchen. Everyone in the room freezes like a stuck videotape. Interesting, the old man by the throne rolls his eyes, and I have no idea what that implies. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
Electro takes in a deep breath, which means he is about to yell. Electrofuck likes yelling. For him, yelling is what causes the people around him to conform to his wishes. For him, yelling is really all it takes.
WHY. Has NO ONE. Given my motherFUCKING friend BAULRIC FEATHERLIGHT a DRINK YET? Why the FUCK is one of our most favored guests APPROACHING ME without having been offered a FUCKING REFRESHMENT?!”
The silence in the warehouse is the same as the silence that follows a lightning strike. And there’s rarely just one.
Electro’s hands ball into fists. Furious ropes of lightning explode all over his skin, lashing out at the rugs and concrete - his face is twisted into a mask of total animal rage.
FIX IT! NOW!
In the flickering shadows cast by Electrofuck’s loss of temper, his cronies start scrambling like their pants are on fire, which might very soon be the case. Even the ones that are off in their own rainbow dimension, though they’re scrambling less efficiently.
Within the space of fifteen seconds, I am fucking swarmed by gangsters, each one desperately offering me some kind of something. No exaggeration, some of them are kneeling before me. Beer, whiskey, wine, laser gin, jus de mutant, packs of smokes, shiny plates of lines of powder. Some guy in a chef’s hat even brought me a platter of fucking bacon and eggs.
I take a me-size can of beer off one of the guys and say, “Fellas, fellas, it’s ok, I’ve got my drink.” I wave it helpfully at Electro, who has mostly calmed down. “Thanks, Boss, this’ll do me.”
A few of the kneeling gangsters, who ordinarily would knife me in the ribs for my wallet if they thought they could get away with it, look back at their boss, praying that this is good enough.
Electro waves a dismissing hand at them. “All of you fuck off. The next time a fucking gentleman and friend of the Thunderbolts walks in here without this treatment, recruitment posters are going up.” That means he’s going to kill a lot of them. In case you weren’t sure.
They all go away back to whatever they were doing. I open my beer and take a sip. Actually not bad. These guys make enough money to afford the good stuff. Maybe I should be a gangster.
Electro walks down a couple more steps. Predictably, he doesn’t go down so many that his head would wind up lower than mine. Not yet, at least.
“What blows you to my doorstep, big son? Work or play? Plenty of both here. Anything for my friend the Beastman.”
“I came to talk about what I owe you.” I take my smokes and lighter out of my coat, but Electro jumps down off the platform and smacks them out of my paw like they’re a lit bomb. I frown at him. He pulls his own pack of hyper-elite gold-leafed smokes out of his pocket, reaches up, and plants one between my lips.
He lights it very daintily, saying, “No pal of mine smokes that Outer Ring gutter-ass Shallowgrave shit. My friends smoke like lords.”
I take a puff or two, and god damn is he right. This stuff is genetically modified, top of the line, laser engraved tobacco from the kinds of laboratories that get funded by tax hikes. Precision engineered for the most luxurious death sprint one can possibly experience. These are what cigarettes turn into when they’ve died having lived a life devoid of sin and desire.
He stuffs the pack and the fancy black-gold butane lighter into my hand. These two objects are worth an amount that could feed a poor family of four for about a week.
Electro backs to a respectful distance, because he is an animal and sees me as another, larger animal, despite his objectively superior killing capability. Getting too close is a sign of aggression, and Electrofuck was only ever aggressive toward me the first time I met him.
This was years ago. To keep a long and very weird story short, Electro had gone to a merc board putting up a listing for someone to help find one of his cats that had gotten lost. Now, he put up this listing under his real name, and I didn’t know it at the time. So I took it, because the payout was huge, not knowing that everyone else had ignored it because they knew something I didn’t. I’ve done plenty of lost pet cases before, they’re easy when you can smell vitae and think like an animal does.
I showed up here, very confused, thinking the listing’s address must have been wrong. But nope. Electro was a fucking mess, crying, throwing bolts, wrecking up his palace over a single lost cat. I’d never seen a man so distraught. He made it very clear to me that if I came back with bad news, or mistreated his precious kitty in any way at all, I was a dead man. Some of those things not being in my control, I was pretty convinced it was going to end up that way regardless.
But I got lucky. Dr. Whiskers was less than a block away, mating with a stray in a drainage pipe. Guess he had a date and didn’t want to tell the Boss. I grabbed him and brought him back safe and sound, even fixed the loose ventilation panel that Dr. Whiskers had probably escaped through. And that was it - from that point on, to Electro, I was a prince. Best friends. He’d insist I come around to drink, party, be pals. You can’t really say no to a man like Electrofuck, so, I did, as infrequently as possible. A few times (while very drunk) I even performed feats of strength for a laughing audience of thugs. Benchpressing their biggest guy like he was a stick, using my magic to lift and throw cars. It was fun. Electro came to respect me in his own weird way, because strength talks in these circles. And that’s how I fell in the hole with him. He let me borrow when I was down.
That’s the trick with men like Electro, though. One minute he’s your friend. The next he’s atomizing a guy for overcooking his dinner.
He continues, “I heard the insects I sent to your place, to give you a helpful reminder, were disrespectful to you. They came back home to daddy, crying with shit in their pants, saying you were so mean.”
A raised eyebrow. He’s testing me, to see how I’ll respond to this.
“Yeah, I was mean. They shocked me. I’m mean to people who shock me.”
He nods, smiling, but with a regretful edge to it. “Yeah. They said. You know, Baulric, they took my fucking words. My words, you know? And they… scrunched them all up,” he crushes something invisible between his hands for emphasis, “into this… fucking fuck ball, and tried to give it to you. I said one thing, and they just… did something else. They thought- they thought, haha, that I meant to scare you. Can you believe that.”
I nod sagely. “Misunderstanding.”
He waves a finger. “They made me into a fuck-ball, Baulric. Me. What a guy says is what he is, and they enfuckened me into a wad of fuck by trying to shove you around. They hurt you. Now, now you’re the fuckin’ bull, two bugs aren’t gonna do shit to you. But they tried. And you know? You know what, my Featherlight?”
I smirk. “What.”
“You coulda stomped ‘em into sauce. Squished ‘em up into burger meat. But you didn’t. You sent them back to me, only, to tell me that you were gonna pay me back.” I swear he looks like he actually might cry. Electrofuck is a complex being capable of feeling many emotions, but he always feels them with their meter pegged to maximum. “I wouldn’t have even been mad, my chum. Not a little. But you didn’t harm a hair on their precious little moron heads.”
I shrug. “Not a big deal. I figured it was just a mix-up. It happens, water down the gutter.”
He walks back up to me and pokes me in the chest. I feel a little zzzt of static.
You. Are. The. Big. Fucker. That’s what I like about you, Bauly. You don’t let shit get to you. It just bounces the fuck off. I don’t - haha. I don’t have that kind of self-control. Haha, when, when they came back? I fucking fried them so bad, haha.” He wipes a tear from his eye. “When they told me what they did to you. I was so fucking mad. I just! I just lost it! Completely! You don’t even do that shit. I wanna be just like you when I grow up, you fucking beautiful meat fuck. I could smooch you. I won’t, but I could.”
I smile at him, glossing right over the extremely possible possibility that he actually did tell those two poor fuckers to try to intimidate me, and just forgot about it. Or just meant it as a joke. It’s impossible to tell with him.
“It takes all kinds, Electro. This world needs some of me, and needs some of you. Otherwise shit would get boring, huh?”
He nods, hands on his hips, like I just said something very profound. “That is damn right, you know. That is damn right. Damn. Just… right off the top with that shit, huh. You’re like some kind of… wise old… fuckin’... guy. Just like that. Wow.” He shakes his head a few times, eyes wide. “So you got my money back? Shit’s turned around for you, huh. Knew it. Can’t keep a fuck like you down, huh. Haha.” A stray bolt flashes off him, and his head twitches.
I have to play it careful, here. Electrofuck cares about his money, and me phrasing this like I fucked it off will end poorly for me. But I can’t try and lie to him, or it’ll end even worse.
“I’ve got bad news and good news.”
He puts his hands on his mouth for a second. “Oooohhhh no. I hate this shit. What are you gonna tell me, bubby. What’s about to go down. You’re gonna scare me!”
“I don’t have any credits. There hasn’t been any work. None that I can do, or that people will hire me for, at least.”
Electrofuck’s thunderstorm vitae darkens. He isn’t smiling.
“That’s a real shame, my friend. My maximum guy. Because- because, it would be kind of, fucked up? If I thought you were, you know, taking advantage of me. Of our friendship. Like I’m some kind of fuckin’-”
Lightning crackles on his arms, like waiting, angry snakes, appearing and disappearing. Tzzt. Tzzzzt.
“- like a fuckin’ bank. I’m not a fuckin’ bank. I’m a guy. I’m the guy. I’m ELECTROFUCK. I own these STREETS. I am a BIG. DEAL. And a SERIOUS VIOLENCE DEMON. I am THE GRAND VIZIER OF THE ENFUCKENING.
I have to head him off, or he’ll just work himself into a tantrum that no one will be able to bring him down from. And you can never just tell Electro to calm down - he sees it as an indictment of his character. You have to distract him. Thankfully, I brought just the thing.
Calm as a cream puff, I continue. “I went to the Library, you know. To find some stuff to study. I got back last night.”
He squints at me. “No shit? Big brain shit. Fat brain shit. Learning how to cook up strategies to pay me the fuck back, probably. Is my guess.” He’s still charging up.
“I met the Librarian. He’s a nice guy. He didn’t have the books I need, but he gave me this sword to make up for it.”
“Oh yeah tell me more about your cool new sword Baulric. Excellent fucking barbarian shit on you, really great and good.”
“I got something else from him, too.”
I reach into my coat and pull out the kitten, enclosed in my fist. I hold out my two hands and open them. Sitting in my palms is the dark metal masterwork of magical artistry, innocent and perfect. It gives off a tiny mew, while looking the crackling Electrofuck right in the eye.
All the energy goes out of him. He falls to his knees, right there on the steps leading up to his throne. His hands go to up to his hair and there are tears in his eyes.
Oh my fucking god. Oh my fucking god Baulric. Baulric oh my god.
He starts writhing around like a fish that can’t get its last breath.
It’s so cute I’m going to fucking die Baulric. I’m gonna fucking croak. Please. I’m gonna die.
I kneel down to his level on the floor, and put the kitten on the wooden platform. It stands, shakes itself, and rubs its head against Electrofuck’s knee. There’s a few little purple arcs between them at the contact. The animonculus starts purring, which sounds like a comm on silent mode.
He just starts crying. The tears crackle and spit a little as they run down his cheeks. He’s so paralyzed by love for the creature that he’s short-circuiting - I can see his heart rate going nuts under his skin. I’ll have to help him along.
“It’s called an animonculus. Made by the dustfolk before they went extinct. It’s thousands of years old. Doesn’t eat, doesn’t drink, and it’s completely indestructible. Doesn’t even need batteries. It’s magic. It’ll never die.”
I stand up, leaving Electro down on his knees, crying in total mental gridlock at the mechanical marvel that is trying to climb up his leg into his lap.
I say, “Pretty neat, huh?”
He sniffs. He hasn’t even dared touch the thing, not even to help it onto his lap. Because it isn’t his, and despite everything that Electro is, he respects when something belongs to someone else.
Yeah. Pretty neat.” He’s wrapping around from raw unparalleled joy to abject misery at the knowledge that he does not own this thing. “Does she have a name.
Now’s where I strike. I put my hands on my hips.
“That’s where I was hoping you could help me.”
Electrofuck, gang boss of the Thunderbolts, one of the most feared criminal organizations in the entire world, looks up at me with tears streaming down his face, barely holding back sobs. “W-what do you mean.”
“I’ll make you a deal, Electro.”
His eyes widen. I can see his pupils dilate. His underglow accelerates its pulsing. In an attempt to make himself weirder, Electrofuck has made himself extremely easy to read.
“I just can’t get any work, Electro. And I’m in the middle of a fucked up case. You heard about the thing with Sidri Rediron?”
He nods.
“I’m on that. I was gonna get paid for it, but the Watch fucked me. I can’t just let it go, though. Some people might get hurt, and I can’t take another job and let that happen. That make sense?”
He wipes his eyes, a little more together now. “Yeah. Yeah I get that. Honor shit.”
I nod. “Honor doesn’t pay well. But I can’t help it. It’ll be a long time before I can get your money. Too long. You know how shit is for me. So, here’s what I propose. You cut me a break on the money I owe you. Yeah, I fucked you, but I didn’t mean to. And I know that just sounds like excuses. So, how about I make good by leaving her here, with you.”
Fzzzzzzt. A ripple of current thrums across his entire body for a moment.
“Are you fucking serious.”
I nod, very seriously. “Serious. Call it a thank you gift, for being an understanding guy. I don’t want you to see me as a charity case, so here’s how I can square up.”
He looks down at the metal kitten with the most reverence I’ve ever seen a man express. Gentle as the antennae of a butterfly, he picks the construct up, and holds it above his head, more tears pouring down from his glowing, sparking eyes.
HER NAME. IS. PANCAKE.
A terrible discharge erupts from his entire body, and I have to step back to avoid getting conducted to.
The old man by the throne waves his free hand subtly. Something weird happens to his vitae - the field lines extend like the tentacles of an octopus, and connect to Electrofuck’s vitae, which is currently undergoing its own personal apocalypse. I can see the voltage run out of Electro’s aura and into his, where it just… disappears. The real-world visible electricity lessens to match.
I wonder what that’s about.
Pancake, for her part, does not give a shit about being charged with enough current to melt a solid steel block, and replies to Electro with a single mew.

[you can find the first chapter back here. the rest of the chapters you can find under my reddit profile or down there in the comments, gathered by the helpful robot. and if you think my work is worth paying for, why not flip me some spare change? freelance writing is tough, but i can keep going with help from readers like you. i'd really appreciate it ♥]
[you can read this story on Royal Road too, if that's the kind of thing you're into. reviews would be greatly helpful for a new guy on the scene ♥]
[extra note: 30+ posts into this, im looking at the upvotes some other stories get around here, and i can't help but wonder - am I posting to the wrong subreddit? it kind of looks like people generally prefer... other kinds of stuff, than this sort of story, around here. is this piece "not HFY" or something? i dunno. maybe im just being insecure about the numbers. response has been kind of... tepid, it seems. i don't mean to complain, i just don't want to be posting in a place where my work doesn't belong, is all.]
[either way, thanks for reading. ♥]
submitted by CadaverCommander to HFY [link] [comments]


2020.08.11 17:18 tamdelay Harmony is Deprecated. Time to move on.

THE PROBLEM

I saw that Logitech executive interview, Harmony is only 6% of keyboard sales - it’s deprecated. We all know it. The elite is ancient, it looks like a DEC cordless phone from 2006.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2019/10/8/20905042/logitech-ceo-harmony-universal-remote-streaming-smart-tv-voice-assistant-bracken-darrell
Not only that the quality is so lacking now. Everything is so slow. I’ve tried disabling internet access and nothing works properly then - so as soon as Logitech close the servers, it’s game over.
They just closed Harmony Express less than a year old and are offloading old unsellable Elite stock to those users. Probably in a year or two at best, it’s game over. Logitech Pop is also dead, their one other smart home item. They are a keyboard company now, let’s face it.

WHY WE NEED HARMONY OR SIMILAR

I (like I suspect most of you) have high standards! I have many items in a single TV and two HDMI hubs to fit it all in. It’s nothing crazy. An Apple TV, an NVidia Shield and a few gaming consoles. But to manage it all via the LG TV remote, Apple TV remote, various game controllers and nvidias shield remote — its too much to handle for me, who understands it all, and not worth trying for guests or my partner who simply wont use it in that instance. Remembering what hub, what number, what TV input, what remote - it’s too much.
I’m not happy with smart TV apps (like I imagine most of you aren’t either) so I want to keep my streaming boxes, and not much I can do about all the consoles if I want to keep them all as they all do get used very regular by myself and with friends.
So I need harmony hub and nothing else does it. If anyone knows of anything let me know — but all I know of as alternatives are either too simple, or too complex, or require their own HDMI switch which doesn’t support 4K 60fps HDR or some other deal breaker like that.
I just want a single remote for direction and select which works with any device. Which switches my TV and hub inputs on activity change. And has universal volume control. THATS IT. No servers which can be shut off either, please.
And I need a new solution soon, as Will Harmony truly support PS4, Xbox Series X and other new devices at all or for much longer?

WHY WE NEED A TRUE OPEN SOURCE SOLUTION

So what’s the solution?
Long term - to stop this happening over and over (product dying) - it’s open source.
There is homebridge/assistant, yes. But have you noticed that they need you to configure devices in the (awful) official Logitech app? And have you noticed that app requires Logitech’s (impending death) servers?
You cannot as far as I know add new devices or activities without Logitech servers. Every open source project for Harmony relies on user setting up activities and devices via Harmony app which needs their stupid slow ass servers.
So if Logitech pull the plug - which they 100% will (they may very well refund us all, they are pretty decent about that in the past - but it won’t solve our TV problems if it doesn’t exist anymore even if we are refunded) - when they pull the plug, we are without a solution, and back to multiple remotes and remembering which hub and which HDMI input. Which is not acceptable to me.
I am not convinced we even need a server either. It’s ridiculous. Servers shouldn’t be needed to blast a few IR and Bluetooth commands. So I’m not even sure I want another “commercial” alternative to step in.

A SOLUTION!

So here is my todo list as I’m taking it on myself (as I don’t think enough people apart from us in this sub even care about this stuff in a crappy smart TV world).
I propose a new open source - server free! - alternative.
  1. It will need a decent - ideally RF/USB - hand held remote. Menu, back, directional, power, a few generic buttons for flipping activities. I can’t find such a remote. Many use IR, or a mixture of keyboard commands and IR, and almost all have built in “air mouse” and other things needless for our needs. I want something like the Logitech harmony companion remote — but with a USB dongle or Bluetooth - and support for Linux via keyboard commands.
  2. A Bluetooth dongle for Linux - easily found (and cheap!) - can’t use Pis built in as will be for receiving but cheap Bluetooth dongles are plentiful
  3. A raspberry pi and a IR blaster hat for it - easily found (and cheap!) - IR blaster like this could work Energenie ENER314-IR Infra Red Controller PCB https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00T9JPA4O/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_QaUmFb9N0TR1H
  4. An open source project. Define activities via JSON. What commands should be sent, in what order, with what delay gap? Can be IR or Bluetooth keyboard emulator paired to a device like Apple TV / nvidia shield / PS4 (so needs ability to connect to and swap between various Bluetooth devices - like harmony do it, so is very possible). I want it so I just define inside a folder activityName.json and inside there define a start routine, and an end routine, made of simple IR and Bluetooth commands, which specify which Bluetooth device to send them too. No scenes, no devices, no servers, no nonsense. I’ll get the IR data online googling to copy and paste in, or use a tool for the pi which can read them and save them into the json file. Bluetooth is even easier - just send up key, down key, return key or whatever. Probably made with Node for easier compatibility with other projects.
  5. A Bluetooth keyboard optional... which when paired with the pi, forwards the button presses (or built in trackpad movements) to one selected Bluetooth device per activity, all for text entry and use on Mac / windows outputs to TV.
  6. Some default mappings for the hand remote which never change per activity but can be overridden by an activity optionally... for volume buttons and such.
  7. A Homebridge and home assistant plugin would be nice to bring this setup into those platforms.
  8. An optional graphical user interface, probably via web server, so people can more easily set things up visually could come later.
And there we go, bingo, a workable solution. That won’t die suddenly for no reason.
The code would take time but is within my abilities. I imagine could be a group effort eventually.
The hardest and missing element is what seems to be the easiest but really isn’t — finding the decent RF/USB or Bluetooth single hand remote without any nonsense or useless features (must NOT have IR as the pi will handle that).
I really do worry about the remote too as the rest is software which can be handled by us but a hardware remote is super hard to develop from scratch so let’s hope a good one exists!!

NEXT STEPS

If anyone wants to help me please reach out.
I’m fed up with Logitech. It’s slow, buggy, and if I change a device or activity I panic as I know it will probably crash and break making a tiny adjustment. My elite remote is as good as useless too. Spontaneously stops controlling Bluetooth based devices and says to setup on an iOS or android device again. So stupid.

SUMMARY

My setup is many devices but not complex. It’s a series of a few button presses to swap around HDMI ports and Logitech are fucking it up.
Servers are the death of all smart homes too so we need this as we need a solution which will last forever and be easy to use and respect our privacy.
Great thing about this too is people will be able to mix and match what remote they use, have as may remotes as they like, and perhaps even include zigbee/RF usb dongles eventually too.
I don’t care for Alexa or google home myself but I’m sure somebody could create plugins for those if needed via homeassistant which supports them.
So - who’s with me?
We simply cannot rely on Logitech. And there is no alternatives.
A cheap free open source solution which runs on cheap and easy to access raspberry pis — with a Bluetooth or RF/usb remote (if one exists) would be lovely.

HOW TO HELP

I have started a few experiments with good success. But before I progress much further I really need to source hardware remote which is not what I expertises in.
If anyone knows of a Bluetooth or RF with USB dongle hand remote with media controls and volume etc (and not much else... and no IR! That part is important. Must have zero IR built in as we will do that via the hub instead), please please let me know if it.
Few people suggested Yio which is very nice and with a screen - but that’s a different project on a different path I think (see below) and I personally like remotes which are buttons only and last on regular batteries for a long time. For screen uses, there can be a mobile app! But if a great screen remote exists - please let me know.

UPDATES

Edit: formatting and layout and spelling, other small fixes
Note on Yio Remote: A few people just mentioned Yio. Very nice remote!! But it seems to not have a hub and do everything via the remote? Seems on first impression to be a remote to control existing hubs - “YIO Remote allows users to directly interact with their smart home hubs by using our modular integration system and extend its usage.” — I don’t have one but my initial impression is this is the Harmony Elite handheld remote but what we really need is the Harmony Hub to blast IR and Bluetooth and be “always on” ready for remote access. Perhaps though this Yio remote could be used in conjunction with an open source hub! But as it stands - it wouldn’t replace a Harmony Hub at all, unless I’m mistaken, because it won’t always be powered on and pointing at your devices. And if your devices need IR and are inside a cupboard, how can it control them? It needs a hub. We need an open source hub. But maybe this could be a lovely open source remote to control that dream open source hub. I’ll certainly take a look at Yio more to see if that’s possible. Looks pretty open, so maybe it will be possible to develop a hub, and a plug-in for that hub to be controlled via Yio. All initial thoughts. Need to research.

POTENTIAL REMOTES

Please suggest remotes to me, I will log them here
OSMC Remote + Nice design + RF and USB so works through cabinets etc - Some IR (Maybe volume is? Would mean you'd be stuck with single device IR volume control which needs line of sight too) - No power off button, and no suitable buttons for activity buttons https://www.amazon.co.uk/OSMC-XBMC-Remote-Controller-Raspberry-Black/dp/B01KR48RU8/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=OSMC+Remote+Control&qid=1597240882&sr=8-4 --
Yio Remote + Nice design with screen + Smart features - May clash with scope of this new project and be much harder to integrate - Frequent charging like Elite
submitted by tamdelay to logitechharmony [link] [comments]


2020.08.09 17:50 Cats-On-Parade Webbing Clothes Moth Since March - India Meal Moths showed up in June. I feel like I haven't been able to find expert advice and I'm desperate!

I'm seeking advice on a moth infestation I have had since March. Some details that feel important: I live in a one-bedroom apartment in a 12-apartment building in the midwest. Because of deaths in the family, I inherited some high-quality furniture, but didn't have anywhere else to store it, so honestly basically every wall in my apartment is covered with furniture. I also have a lot of art supplies (I am a fiber artist - I know, perfect for a moth infestation)/books on shelves in the house, and own a cat. My downstairs neighbor who is as self-described hoarder has told me that she has seen one or two of had what sound like webbing clothes-moths around the house for years, and has always stored all of her wool in plastic bins as a result.
The weekend before my work closed due to the pandemic, I found a tiny light-colored moth in my kitchen, that turned out to be a webbing clothes moth. Over the course of that week, I found several infested objects around my 1-bedroom apartment, especially focused on my mending basket. I removed all the wool and silk clothing from my closet and put it in plastic bags. I have kept my wool for artwork in sealed ziplocks inside sealed containers for years because of a friend's bad moth experience, so those were thankfully spared. I washed and dried all additional fabric and yarn at the highest head and immediately moved those supplies into plastic bings.
Over the next few weeks I would find objects I had missed that had been eaten here and there (a dish towel, a leather purse, a winter hat) etc., but only saw a few moths. Finally, I was sitting on my couch one night and discovered many moths flying around - when I moved my couch back, I discovered piles of moth larvae - AHHH! After this happened, I sorted through every single object in my house, moved all the furniture, and borrowed a friends industrial bed-bug steamer and thoroughly steamed all the floorboards, upholstered furniture, etc. I also applied non-toxic cedar-oil spray to floorboards and upholstered furniture, and installed 3 sticky traps - 1 in a hall closet, one in my bedroom, and one in the living room. Unfortunately, the moths have persisted.
Then, in June, pantry moths started popping up too. I have moved all of my dry-goods to the fridge, and have two gasket-sealed plastic bins of spices, etc. that wouldn't fit in my fridge. Could this be a coincidence? I've yet to see a pantry-moth flying around my kitchen (it has been cleaned head-to-toe, I haven't been cooking in it, and I'm not storing any food out anymore) but the moths keep showing up in the traps 3 months later.
At this point, I have moved all of my clothing out of the house, and am literally living out of two gasket sealed bins of clothing and towels, and the two plastic food containers. I have lifted every object in the house off of it's surface, inspected it, and cleaned twice. I finally decided to hire an exterminator, and my landlord asked that I use a major national company with a good reputation. The first time the exterminator came, they applied spray to floor-boards not blocked by furniture and left in about 20 minutes saying I had done all the right things. The second visit was a bit more thorough - dust was applied as well, and they added a few traps, and we moved a few pieces of furniture to get spray deeper in. But the moths are still persisting.
I'm honestly so stuck about what to do. The exterminator offered to come an additional time for free if the moths persisted in three weeks after treatment which is coming up on Wednesday with the offer that I move everything off of my shelves beforehand, but my faith that that will help are slim after the first two treatments had next to no effect and I'm also concerned about the health effects of all of my shelves being covered with pesticide, and I'm convinced they are burrowed into my stuff at this point anyways. Both technicians were very kind, but both seemed convinced that what they were doing would work, and didn't seem to have next steps.
I really don't want to throw out everything I own - there's some very emotional heirlooms, not to mention all of my artwork. I'm supposed to move in with my partner next month, but I'm so so terrified that it's impossible to even move without bringing the moths with me. Any advice for moving? For what next steps I should be taking? I feel completely stuck, overwhelmed and depressed. Is there such a thing as a moth infestation that lasts forever???
Moth Traps at the end of a 12 week cycle

Close-up

submitted by Cats-On-Parade to pestcontrol [link] [comments]


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